Friday, April 8, 2011

Novembers Doom - Interview - Larry Roberts

Novembers Doom has been one of my favorite bands for many years. And seeing as they have a new album coming out in May I figured I'd see if they had time for an interview. Luckily they did! Larry Roberts, The guitarist graciously took time out of his busy schedule and sat down to answer a few questions. 

They are from the Chicago area here in the USA, So if you live near there check them out at one of their local shows. I hear those rock out! Also they will be hitting the road after the new album Apohotic comes out. So be sure to catch them while they are on the road! 

Be sure to check out the following links and support Novembers Doom! 
Novembers Doom on Facebook
The Official Novembers Doom Webpage

Don't forget to support, In Metal We Trust! Like our facebook page and get updates for new reviews and interviews! 
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Shawn: Good evening and thanks for taking the time to sit down for an interview. Novembers Doom has been around for a good amount of time. Are you excited about the upcoming album?

LARRY: Yes, we've certainly been around a long time! And yeah we're definitely excited about this new cd, we've got high hopes for it. Hopefully the fans old and new will feel as strongly about it as we do.

Shawn: Aphotic, Is your eighth studio album and it's set to hit stores May 10th. Are you content with the album? And how do you think it compares to your other albums?

LARRY: I'd say we're very content with the new cd, for sure. On our last cd, "Into Night's Requiem Infernal", I thought the writing and playing was good but we were somewhat rushed due to changing drummers only a couple months before we entered the studio, so a lot of changes were made to the songs and I think in the end it could've been better than what came out. But with this new cd, "Aphotic", we really took our time with it, making sure the songs were exactly how we wanted them to be, and paying more attention to minor details than we have in the past. The new rhythm section of bassist Mike Feldman and drummer Sasha Horn made a big difference too, and I think they're an improvement on what we'd had on previous albums. Which isn't to say that the old guys were bad, far from it. But now I feel like I have a lineup that can accomplish just about any musical task I set to them, and that's a great thing. This new cd definitely starts a new chapter for Novembers Doom. It's not a major departure for us musically, but there's definitely some new elements here which give it all a big kick in the ass.

Shawn: Novembers Doom is most commonly referred to as a "Doom Metal" band, but I don't feel that really comes close to describing your music at all. It has so many different layers. Don't worry I'm not going to do the dreaded genre question. But How tiresome is it to be Pigeon hold into a certain genre? and in most cases it's because of the "doom" in the band's name.

LARRY: I agree with you 100%, being referred to as a "Doom Metal" band is far too limiting for us, and I think it's done us more harm in the long run than any good. Of course Doom is a major element of what we do, but I think so much of what we do appeals to fans of other kinds of music as well. It's funny because on the other end of the spectrum, we have Doom metal fans who complain that we're not Doom enough anymore, and yet there's still quite a bit of it in our music to be found. I guess it just bothers people that we're not completely one style or another. Nowadays especially it seems that many people want their bands to be easily pigeonholed into a specific genre, so we frustrate a lot of people because of our diversity. But we get bored playing only one specific style of music all the time, and our influences are so varied that we can't help but sound the way we do. As for the band name, I don't think people should assume we're some funeral doom-type band just because of the name, but it does happen, you're right. I never understood it. Christian Death and Megadeth don't play death metal, yet the word is in their names! Oh well, since our roots are more rooted in the Doom Metal scene it doesn't really bother me so much, I just wished people wouldn't assume things before they listen to it.

Shawn: One thing I, and I'm sure most of your fans enjoy, Is the deep meaning in your lyrics mixed with the beautiful and brutal melodies. Can you give us a small example of what the lyrics on the upcoming album are about? "Without giving away any spoilers of course" and how do you think they compare to the lyrics of "The Pale Haunt Departure" Which is actually my favorite Novembers Doom release thus far.

LARRY: I don't know if there's any way to really discuss the lyrics without giving something away!! How they compare to the lyrics on "The Pale Haunt Departure" is that Paul has mixed things up a bit more this time, not going for quite such personal lyrics all the time, or at least not as obviously personal. There are still some which are undoubtedly quite personal and emotional like the lyrics to "What Could Have Been" from the new cd, but there are some songs like "Six Sides" which is more like telling a fictional dark story like you'd hear on an older cd like "The Knowing". I think there'll be a lot of various insights and theories from fans about what the songs on this new cd are about, so I'm very interested to see what people think about them.

Shawn: You guys have toured all over. How do some of the other countries you've performed in compare to American crowds? and what would be your favorite place to throw a gig.

LARRY: I think there are good fans to be found everywhere, and we've been fortunate that almost everywhere we've played we've had mostly good, memorable experiences. We do enjoy playing the States but touring here is much harder, because the distances generally are farther between the big cities, as compared to western Europe where you can play major cities like Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, etc., and they're much faster to travel between. Plus out there in Europe there's a lot of smaller towns in between the big cities, and many of those smaller towns are VERY metal and have great venues to perform at. The promoters in Europe tend to take metal bands a bit more seriously, whereas it's harder to find serious yet honest promoters here in the States who are willing to work with really underground bands like ours. But that being said, we've had some good experiences here in the U.S. and Canada. It's hard to pick a favorite place to play but we adore Belgium, they've been very good to us and we've had some of our most memorable shows there, whether playing to a packed house at the Biebob club or playing to thousands at the Graspop festival. But, I gotta say, it's always great to play to an enthusiastic hometown crowd here in Chicago, which has been happening more and more recently.

Shawn: Any touring plans after Aphotic is released?

LARRY: We're very eager to get out and play some more here, which we've unfortunately been a bit lax about in the past couple years. We're going to remedy that this year by playing East Coast, West Coast and Midwest dates throughout the year, even if we have to break it up into several various small tours instead of one long tour, we'll make it happen one way or another. We've got dates on the East Coast coming up in early May as well as a record release show in Chicago, and we're now looking into making those West Coast dates happen sometime around the end of the summer if not sooner. Hopefully a promoter from Canada will step up and get us back up there too, we love it there. As for European tours, unless something comes up sooner, I don't think we'll hit those shores until early 2012 unfortunately. We're eager to get back there.

Shawn: One thing you guys never disappoint me with is album art. Who was the artist you used for Aphotic? And did he have complete creative control? or did you have something specific in mind?

LARRY: We always retain creative control on everything we do, from album art to songwriting to t-shirt designs and whatever else. Many bands sign record deals where they give up those rights to the label or management who try to force their ideas on the bands and we just couldn't stand that sort of thing. Of course we're always willing to listen to new ideas and suggestions but in the end we make the final decisions and it has to be done our way. The artwork was done once again by Tommy Genest, who did a great job on the last disc. He adds his ideas and touch to project but Paul usually has a pretty clear idea in his head of what he wants it to look like, and conveys that to the artist as best as he can. I'm glad you like the cover art, and I think when you see the inside art too you'll really appreciate it more.

Shawn: Also does the album art for Aphotic have anything to do with the lyrical content on the album?

LARRY: Yes, somewhat. If it ties into any song in particular it'd probably be "The Dark Host", which is the first song on the cd. And really I think this song and the artwork set the overall tone and mood for the rest of the album, although as is typical for us, no two songs sound exactly the same on this disc. But the dark mood is prevalent throughout.

Shawn: Ozzy or Dio era Black Sabbath?

LARRY: Honestly, it depends on my mood. I'm a big Sabbath fan so I'm into almost all the different lineups of the band, each one had good stuff to offer. Lately if I listen to Ozzy-era it's the latter records like "Sabotage", "Technical Ecstasy" and "Never Say Die", I think these are somewhat underrated. I love Dio-era too of course but it's such a different vibe than the Ozzy stuff, so I can't really choose. I also LOVE Gillan and "Born Again", one of my all-time favorite records, and "Seventh Star", which I agree with most that it should've been an Iommi solo record, but it's great nonetheless and Glenn Hughes is one of my favorites. "Headless Cross" and "Eternal Idol" were really good too.....man there's no way I can choose, haha!

Shawn: Well that will conclude our interview, Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. and if there’s anything you would like to add or share feel free.
The final word is yours!..

LARRY: Thank you as well for taking the time to interview us and give us the exposure, it's always most welcome. I don't have anything major to add other than saying thanks to the fans worldwide for their support, and hoping that they'll all check out "Aphotic" and give it a good, fair listen! That's all we can really hope for, and here's hoping you like what you hear. Also, check out the Novembers Doom Podcast we do weekly. You can find it on our website at www.novembersdoom.com or at iTunes. It's filled with stories throughout our career. Cheers, folks.

Larry Roberts,

Guitarist, Novembers Doom


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