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A Dirty Dozen with BLIND of SUMMONER’S CIRCLE – June 2019

 

According to a recent press release: “Six-piece theatrical metal band Summoner’s Circle releases Become None, a full-length album available worldwide via Pavement Entertainment. Stream the release now on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon. Become None is the follow-up to the band’s 2015 EP, First Summoning, and produced by Yanic Bercier at WaveTransform Studios.” We get vocalist Blind to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Become None is the label re-release of our independent release Tome.  It’s an album that goes from high energy, heavy hitters to epic melodic pieces. It has a little bit of each members’ personality and taste in it.  Each song tells a story of cosmic horror with the exception of the title track which is an anthem for the band.  While it does have a specific meaning to me, it’s written in such a way that it can be interpreted and perceived a number of different ways to the listener.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I got the itch in elementary school when I first heard Fear Factory.  They were so heavy with catchy riffs that didn’t just sound like noise.  Over the next few years I expanded my metal library to bands like Strapping Young Lad, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Dimmu Borgir, etc.  I attempted a band while in high school but being from Clinton, Tennessee doesn’t produce many metal heads outside of the casual Metallica and Pantera fans.  I didn’t actually get into a real band until I was in college.  At that time I was singing for a progressive death metal band called This House Is A Morgue and a Gothenburg-inspired melodic death metal band called Mass-Neotek.  While not much came from either group, they did earn me some namesake for my ability on the mic.  When Gog and our original rhythm guitarist, Magog, asked me to help them start Summoner’s Circle because I favored a more European style of vocals over the American vocal tone, I knew it was something I was going to love doing.  The role of vocalist and lyricist in a ground-level theatrical metal band was a great opportunity.  They also let me take the reigns on a lot of the visual aesthetic as well as utilizing my love for photography and digital art to create the images we use and many of the flyers we make for events.  It just checked so many artistic boxes for me.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

I think the biggest push towards what we do, for me at least, was finding Cradle of Filth.  From there I came across Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Immortal, Opeth, Ghost.  These bands not only fueled my thirst for the kind of music they were making but also the visual appeal they brought to their art and live performances.  That being said, the first band that really struck a chord for me to want to do a visual performance was actually Marilyn Manson during the Antichrist Superstar era.  The idea that they could do so much with such a dark theme was incredibly appealing to me.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Vocally, it would be Dark Tranquility, Immortal, Opeth, Devin Townsend, and Scar Symmetry.  Musically, for the band, I would say Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Ghost, Opeth, and Candlemass.  I think you’ll hear some of those influences in our songs while maintaining a sound that is uniquely our own.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Just one?  Man, that’s a tough call.  I think collaborating with Mikael Åkerfeldt would be incredible.  Not just for what he can do behind the mic but also to have his input on the actual song-writing to get something really powerful would be a lot of fun.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

We just simply use the term epic metal to describe our sound.  We’re not pigeon holed into a single genre.  There are elements of black metal, doom metal, death metal, and progressive metal.  About the only thing that makes me cringe is the use of “TRVE” or “KVLT” to describe any metal band. That general idea that for something to be good, it has to sound bad and not be enjoyable by everyone.  I will be the first person to stand against this mentality and tell people to just like whatever you like, be supportive, and be proud of the bands you support when they do well.

7. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

That feeling of freedom to pursue something you love is incomparable to anything else I’ve ever done.  Our favorite thing to do after a show is hang out and meet the fans.  We don’t like hiding backstage in a greenroom.  We love hanging out and meeting people after our set.

8. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Absalon and I will be the guys cooking, Y’Takt is the guy getting the drinks (even though Absalon will be the guy pouring tequila down your throat), Gog is the guy with the acoustic guitar, Hex and Drøm are the guys soaking up the good time and the first ones eating the food.  And when ƒrix² is with us, he’s the guy cooking the food, serving it, offering seconds and thirds, and pushing you to do shots of obscure Canadian liquor that’ll make you question your life decisions.

9. When was the last time you were star struck and who was it?

Going on tour with Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, and Wolfheart could’ve provided those star struck moments but I think we all maintained our professionalism during that tour.  As much as I admire Swallow the Sun for their music, talking to Mikko Kotamäki was a bucket list moment for me.  I used to listen to their music non-stop when we were first forming Summoner’s Circle.  I’ve met a lot of metal idols like Lars Palmqvist and Roberth Karlsson of Scar Symmetry, I’ve interviewed Devin Townsend, and shared the stage with GWAR, Deicide, Pentagram, Mac Sabbath, Goatwhore, and now the bands on the Hexed Tour.  The closest I’ve come to going full fanboy is probably while photographing a Ghost show and I managed to catch a shot of Papa Emeritus III looking right at my camera.  No interaction other than that.  I fanboyed over getting that shot of Papa looking right at my lens.

10. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

I work as a photographer outside of Summoner’s Circle.  Between the band and working as a photographer, I couldn’t imagine a more satisfying career.  But if I’m being honest, I’ve always wanted to branch out as a writer.  I love telling stories.  And everything I do, from performing with Summoner’s Circle, to photographing events like a wedding, fashion show, or a Blue Angels performance, it’s all telling a story.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”, even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I think the hardships we’ve endured, from lineup changes, to bad shows, have all led to where we are now.  We can’t grow as a band without having a bad show or learning what people can or cannot handle.  Better that it happens on a smaller scale before growing to a major problem where it matters.  The only thing I think I’d do differently, is when we shot our music video for “Become None” with Thomas Mortveit, we’d have shot a second video during our time just so we could have another one in the chamber.  It always helps to plan ahead and have more than just one thing to drop.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Recording can be a stressful time for some bands.  We’ve heard horror stories for some and great tales of success and fun for others.  I definitely wouldn’t want to be a part of one of those sessions that led to band members quitting or being fired.  I’d really love to have been just a fly on the wall when Iron Maiden tracked Number Of The Beast.  Knowing what that album was for the band and what it did for metal music.  Yeah, I’d have to say Iron Maidens’ Number Of The Beast.  I mean, that was history in the making right there.

SUMMONER’S CIRCLE LINKS:

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Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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