Ok so, a while back a friend of mine on Myspace named Mike had asked me if I could do an interview with him for an online metal 'zine website that he and his buddy were putting together. I told him sure, and we conducted this interview that went fairly well overall. Anyhow, a few days ago he contacted me to let me know that the zine/website is now in limbo due to he and his buddy having a falling out of sorts. So the interview basically is a waste, as he has no means to publish it elsewhere. He asked if we wanted to use it for the website or something, and then asked if I'd post it here on the forum in case anyone was interested in reading it. So here you go. Not really exciting or anything but I told him I'd put it up so it didn't go to waste completely. Mikey B: When you joined the band back in 1999, did you foresee yourself still being with them 8 years later, and did you see the band even still going strong by 2007? Larry: Honestly, I didn't really give it all that much thought, haha! At the time when I was asked about trying out for the band, which was around late 1998, I hadn't seriously played with a band for a couple of years. I opened up a small business a couple years earlier and was focused mostly on that. Also, some things that had occurred with my previous bands had really discouraged me from being a part of the whole metal scene, and I got disinterested and soured on it for a while. I was acquaintances with Paul and alot of my ex-bandmates did time in ND, so I always kinda kept up on what was going on with the band. I liked what I heard when I heard the rough mixes for "Of Sculptured Ivy...", and it occurred to me that I would be playing something a bit fresh and different from what I had played previously, so that was a big lure for me. I knew once I started jamming with them that we were a good band with alot of promise, but it was hard to imagine that 8 years or so later we might still be doing this. You really just kind of take it as it comes and do the best you can, and not really think that much about the future I guess. I'm glad we're still here. But it's still a struggle just like before! MB: With all the different member changes over the years, I wondered if you still keep in touch with members once they've left the band. Do you regularly talk to any of them or is it a case of "once you're out, you're forgotten"? Some bands seem to completely lose touch with ex-members from what I've seen, and it always seems weird to me given that there must've once been a fairly strong connection with them at one point when they were still in the band. Larry: We do keep in touch with some of them. It kind of depends on the circumstances of why they left, I suppose. We don't automatically shut them out of our lives once they're not a member anymore. But obviously, them not being involved with the band tends to create a rift of sorts and makes it harder to keep in touch with them as often. We still consider ourselves to be good friends with many of them, while others....not so much haha. And yeah sometimes it is weird when you fall out of touch with them and become more like acquaintances, after you spent alot of time with them in the band before. But it's kinda true of people our age anyhow, because as you get older you become more preoccupied with work or family or whatever, and you don't have as much time to chat or hang out with friends like before. Anyhow, we don't usually intentionally shut out ex-members of the band, sometimes time and distance just winds up getting in the way of keeping in better contact with each other. We wish them all the best. MB: What do you feel are the best songs Novembers Doom has created to date? And can you give any insight as to why those particular songs stand out for you? Larry: It's kinda hard to choose because all of our songs are important to us in some way or another. But let's see....Well, if I was going to make a compilation cd for someone of our strongest, most representative material, I'd probably choose these: The Pale Haunt Departure, Autumn Reflection, Dark World Burden, Collapse of the Fallen Throe, Rain, Leaving This, Drown the Inland Mere, Not The Strong, Last God, In Memories Past, Silent Tomorrow, For Every Leaf That Falls, With Rue and Fire, All The Beauty Twice Again, Nothing Earthly Save The Thrill, Amour of the Harp. Obviously it'd take too long to explain individually why each song is one I chose, but basically I'd have to say that those particular songs are ones I feel are not only very strong, well written and performed songs, but also are songs that really represent all the different sides this band has shown over the years. To listen to a song like "Amour of the Harp", and then "For Every Leaf That Falls", and then jump to songs like "Not the Strong", "Pale Haunt Departure" and "Rain", you can really see the many changes and amount of growth that's happened over the years. To my ears though, even with all those changes, I think it still remains identifiable as being Novembers Doom throughout. Alot of that has to do with Paul's vocals and vision, of course. MB: How do you feel "the Novella Reservoir" holds up to the rest of Novmbers Doom's back catalog? Obviously I would assume you're proud of it but do you feel it's strong enough to compete with any or all of your past releases? Larry: I think it holds up to the old albums just fine. Each cd we make, we create it in a way that we want it to be able to stand alone regardless of what came before it or after it. Like I said before, I think there's always a common thread throughout our cds that keeps it identifiable as being "us", but we try hard not to repeat ourselves too much, and we try to push ourselves forward in trying things that are new to us. "The Novella Reservoir" may not appeal to some fans who loved "Of Sculptured Ivy..." or "The Knowing", etc., but that doesn't mean that "Novella..." isnt a strong cd in its own right. It's just different. We realised a long time ago that we would be risking possibly losing some fans by always evolving and modifying our sound from cd to cd, because alot of people don't want a band to change. They pick up on a certain cd from a certain era and say "I love this" and then they want to continuously hear more of the same. But that unfortunately doesn't interest us. It just gets too boring to keep following the same formula all the time. MB: What prompted the injection of speed and heavier riffing on the new cd? There's definitely more of a sense of aggression on songs like "Drown the Inland Mere" and "Dominate The Human Strain" than what I'm used to hearing from you guys. Was it a conscious decision from the beginning of writing for this cd to up the ante where the tempos and aggression were concerned? Larry: Well, it was....a halfway conscious decision, haha. We knew that we liked the direction we'd taken on the last cd with songs like "Dark World Burden", because it was very comfortable and exciting to play songs like that. So we did go into the writing process with the mindset that we'd like to possibly venture more into that territory. But we didn't limit ourselves in any way as to what we could and could not write. While writing this cd, we wound up discarding alot of song ideas and parts, and it just turned out that much of those discarded ideas were the slower, more mellow ones. It wasn't even that they were all "bad" ideas exactly, it's just that we weren't clicking with those ideas as much as we were with the heavier more driving stuff. We were struggling with some other ideas, and then I brought in "Rain", and within a practice or two we had that whole song worked out. Same with "Drown the Inland Mere". Those songs felt very natural to us. We were conscious of the fact that they were somewhat different from what we'd done in the past, but rather than hold that against them, we realised that it made more sense to continue with these songs since they were flowing so naturally out of us. MB: Alot of focus in the press lately for you guys seems to be around the lyrics and subject matter of the last few cds, which have definitely taken a more personal, naked approach rather than the more typical lyrical style that was found perhaps on your earlier cds. Are you guys surprised with the attention the lyrics are getting from people, and have you been pleased with the response you're getting to this more revealing style of writing? It seems like the reactions to them have been sort of mixed, from what I've read.... Larry: Yeah, we definitely have experienced some love/hate from people with the lyrics on the last two cds. It's definitely a more novel approach in the underground metal scene to write lyrics that are so personal and genuinely emotional, and I think alot of people have a hard time relating to it. Paul knew that would probably happen but he really needed to write the songs this way. With all of the things going on in his life, and the physical and emotional pain he's been having to deal with, it just would seem really ridiculous to keep writing some gothic metal poetry shit or singing about war or demons or whatever the fuck. Just as much as we've been criticised for the lyrics, we've had people come forward to say that the lyrics really touched them deeply, or that it helped them deal with their own problems and sadness. Seriously, in my mind, just knowing that even a handful of people were genuinely touched and thankful for what we've written, totally outweighs all the naysayers and shittalkers. Those people can just fuck off anyhow, go find something better to do than over-analyzing some death metal band's lyrics haha MB: It was a bold move, in my opinion, for you guys to release The Wayfaring Chronicles, a book dedicated to reprinting all the lyrics from your discography, as well as adding photos and anecdotes relating to each song and time period of the band. Some might say it comes off as self-aggrandizing, whereas I tend to think of it as being a great offering to the fans and critics as an insight into your songwriting and inspiration behind the writing process. But knowing how alot of people in the scene tend to be rather nitpicky and critical about stuff like that, were you concerned at all about people taking it the wrong way? How has the reactions been from your fans towards the release of the book? Larry: Once again I have to say, we basically just did what we wanted to do and didn't worry too much about the negative comments that might come from it. If anything we were more concerned about someone else stealing the idea and getting it out first! This book was something Paul had been wanting to do for himself for a while, and his wife talked him into the idea of making it something that would be available to the public. He was kind of skeptical at first but then got into the idea once the project started rolling. I was surprised he was willing to do it since he's usually not too crazy about giving too much meaning away, but there's always so many people asking about the meaning of certain songs or cd titles, and alot of misinterpretation out there as well. So this was a way of getting it all out there for people to read and hopefully have better insight into what the songs and the band in general are really about. I'm proud of it, frankly. Again, the naysayers can think whatever they want. Until they really do something creative personally and put it out there for others to pick apart, I think they ought to mostly keep their bullshit to themselves, heh. MB: What's next on the horizon for ND? You guys recently completed a tour with Agalloch, Saturnus, and Thurisaz in Europe...are there any more plans to tour either in North America or overseas again? Larry: Touring is tough for us because we all have families or jobs or other "real life" commitments that limit our availability. We've been gradually trying to do more roadwork and live apperances recently because we want to get out and promote and support these cds as much as we can. Fortunately we're starting to get better offers for tours and shows, so that helps the situation some. We're going to do a short jaunt in the U.S. in April with Saturnus and Thurisaz again, bringing those bands over here for the first time! We're really looking forward to it. Other than that, I'd say it's a good bet that we'll return to the road in Europe again in the near future. We'd like to get out to more areas in North America as well, playing the west coast and southwest finally. It's just a matter of it making sense financially and logistically in order to do it. As much as we'd like to drop everything and spend every last penny on this stuff, we just can't do it anymore. So we're working on trying to find some promoters and clubs who'll help us make these gigs happen. I'd really love to get up to Canada again too, and hopefully play more cities up there. MB: Have you started to think ahead to the next cd, or is it still much too soon, given that the new cd is only just now coming out? How far ahead do you usually start to think and plan for the next project? Larry: We're always thinking ahead a little bit, but songwriting takes a long time for us, and it's not something so formulaic as being able to say "Ok lets start writing here and now." Whenever I force myself to write is when it completely breaks down and nothing good happens. Usually a good idea or two will finally pop up and that'll be the creative spark to get the songwriting process going. As for what direction the next cd will take, I really have no clue. All I can say is that it'll probably be more of us forging ahead while still trying to retain the good things we've accomplished. I can tell you this, whether people realise it or not....writing cds doesn't get easier as time goes by, it get's much harder! It's hard to keep things familiar without just repeating yourselves, and it's also hard to do things that are fresh and new without going too far off the beaten path. But anyhow, I'd say it's a good bet that we'll start writing some song ideas in the near future, especially since we take so long. We're very picky! MB: Lastly, you guys seem to be pretty approachable to most people, and you've been known to answer emails and messages on your website and forum directly. Do you feel that being more in contact with the public helps you guys get further in your career? Do you see taking it to the next level at some point, like maybe having online chats in a chatroom for fans, or even doing regular "meet and greets" when you're on tour, etc? Larry: The fact that we're "approachable" isn't really a strategic career move, but more the case of it just being how our personalities are. We're not "rockstars" and we're not snobby assholes either, we're music fans and we're down to earth people. A part of the fun of being in a band like this is the fact that we get to meet so many different people from all over the world, and make friends and acquaintances that we might otherwise have never had. Now and then we run into problems where some people overstep their boundaries with us and think they can be as critical or smart-assed as they want with us, when they barely know us in fact. But that's not a common problem, more a rarity. We have met alot of cool people and we enjoy being able to joke with them and get to know them. Sometimes it's hard to keep up with all of the messages and mail and stuff but we try. As for plans for meet and greets, well we always make ourselves available to people before and after our shows anyway. If someone wants to talk to us or get a picture or signed cd it's not hard. And online we're easily reachable through our website or online forum, so anyone out there who wants to drop us a line, please feel free to do so. We'd like to see more people drop in at the forum and let us get to know them!