Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lord Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

Steven Kerchner (vocals): We've been busy since recording last August integrating our current drummer Tony Petrocelly into the creative process. We've got a handful of new songs for an upcoming EP, as well as a song in the works for an upcoming 7in split with our friends in Endmaker.

2. You have a new album coming out in May, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

Will Rivera (guitar): We pride ourselves on never having any two of our releases sound the same or staying in one niche for too long. After having gone in a more cerebral and progressive direction on Awake, we wanted Blacklisted to be a much more visceral experience. Awake was much more of an introspective album, whereas Blacklisted moves the focus to the outside world and the music needed to reflect what we're exposed to on a daily basis. It's a much angrier and vicious release, but in the end we want to offer hope. It's easy to be the misanthropist or nihilist, but much harder to find a reason to fight through all of the filth and ugliness we see. We definitely branched out musically and anyone who has paid attention to our releases will find a red thread that connects all of our music.  In my opinion, we expanded our sound to truly represent the pedigree of the band members but still retained LORD's signature vibe.

Kerch: I think anytime LORD has a new release or begins writing new material it is drastically evolved or varied from the immediately previous effort.  In this case, Awake was an emotionally supercharged and globally conscious album, whereas Blacklisted is faster, more raw, and while still maintaining a globally conscious edge is also definitely the most pissed off ever lyrically since I joined the band.  

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

Kerch: Mile After Mile, the opening track on Blacklisted, is a song about a man named Tom Mitchell who lost his daughter to childhood cancer.  Seeing the eyes of this man fill with such passion and conviction as he continues to fight to bring more research, more funding, more awareness and more support to children with cancer and their families, convinced me this was a man that is an inspiration to the rest of us.  Rising above personal loss and dedicating his life to his foundation, Stillbrave, he has relentlessly improved innumerable  lives.  This song in particular is about one of his fund and awareness raising adventures where he, just a regular dude, trained and trained in order to run a 200 mile marathon, each mile dedicated to a different child and he's doing it again this year!

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name LORD?

Will: When LORD began in the Spring of 2005, the name was just meant to invoke something powerful without necessarily aligning us with any belief system or sound.  I was listening to a lot of releases from the Southern Lord label at the time so it just seemed like the logical connection for the sound we were initially going for in the beginning. It's taken on many connotations over the years and we even flirted with a mantra on Chief by enforcing the idea of self revelation and belief, but ultimately it's a term of power.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Will: I can sum it up in 3 words: Loud, Passionate and Chaotic.  We give it all we have every time we step on stage, because for us it's more than just a rock show, it's truly a method of catharsis.  There always seems to have been a black cloud that has followed this band and the members and instead of letting it destroy us, we unleash that on stage.  For us, it's not about who is the most extreme or even being popular, it's about integrity and being as real as we can be...warts and all.

Kerch: The Stoner Hands of Doom Festival in 2011 is still by far one of the most memorable shows of my entire life.  LORD played immediately after Cough, who features a former band mate from my first band so it was great to play with them.  We got to the venue to find out our then drummer was stranded two and a half hours away and we rushed out to get him and rushed to get back, the whole time questioning if we would make it back in time.  We made it with just moments to spare and the sonic bloodletting that followed ranks in my top five most memorable shows that I've been a part of.

6. Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

Will: As far as touring plans go, we're looking to do a few long weekend stints and plenty of regional shows throughout the VA/WV/MD area.  We're also hoping to branch out into other regions if time and finances allow.  We're doing this all on our own so it has to work for the 5 of us to take these risks financially without any label support.

7. Currently the band is signed to Heavy Hound Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Kerch: I was booking a weekly metal show at a local bar here in Northern Virginia with two friends of mine.  After building a supportive community and gaining a lot of interest from more bands in the area, the idea eventually was to be able to offer quality local shows with a revolving door of bands, not just the same ones again and again, and be able to offer these bands inexpensive studio access as well as inexpensive production of said recordings. I met Xeukatre this away and was pleased to be able to record them at K Hole Studios.  Shortly after launching the label the venue closed for unrelated reasons and things lost momentum, but I continued to release albums mostly from bands I'm involved in. 

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner and sludge metal?

Will: Not sure how much of a worldwide impact we've had considering no label, lack of distribution and constant setbacks with line-up changes over the years, but I'd have to say that the stoner/doom/sludge scene has always been very good to us and has welcomed us back time and time again despite internal struggles and growing pains.  We wanna make good on people who've invested in this band and be able to be proud of the music that we create without bowing to expectations.  We feel that all we need to do is keep pushing and get ourselves in front of the right audiences.

9. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?

Kerch: Palkoski released our final album in 2016 and I have since been focused mostly on LORD.  More recently however I got more serious about a hardcore grind project called Pain Tank whose debut album will be dropping not long before LORD's Blacklisted album, and I have been playing drums again in a project called Tumba Carcomida. 

Will: Tony is the main man behind the death metal band Construct of Lethe.  I am currently working on the follow-up to the Absent Sky debut and later this year will be releasing the long awaited debut EP by my dark folk project Barren River, which features the vocal talents of Ashleigh Chevalier.

10. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

Will: We've already started writing new material that will be released as a 7" vinyl split w/ Endmaker from Texas and also an EP that will hopefully see a Fall release.  So far, the material seems to be a cross between the progressiveness of Awake and the aggression of the Blacklisted material.  We're firing on all cylinders right now and the writing is definitely broadening our musical scope, with us incorporating influences from outside our usual arsenal.  We experiment with our sound to keep things interesting for us.

Kerch: The upcoming EP we're currently writing has quite a bit of dual percussion between myself and Tony, so it's definitely another journey, very unlike Blacklisted or any other previous effort.  I've chosen a few topics to tackle lyrically.  One song is called “Le Fleur Du Cobalt” and is about the use of child labor in the DRC to mine cobalt and other minerals needed for Western consumption.  Another one, entitled “Scorched” is a telling of the Earth revolting against its inhabitants.

11. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Will: Not many people know this but the idea for LORD was actually conceived when most of the original lineup went to see Crowbar with Entombed and The Mighty Nimbus in February of 2005.  If you add some Celtic Frost, The Melvins and Cathedral, you have the early blueprint for LORD.  Over the years, our sound has evolved and has begun incorporating post metal, death metal, thrash and even traces of old school black metal. My current musical obsessions would have to be Inquisition, Immolation, Karyn Crisis' The Gospel of the Witches, Profanatica and Mark Lanegan.

Kerch: My approach to our 2011 album Awake was heavily influenced by old school hip hop.  Sometimes people think I'm kidding, but I'm telling the truth! There's a raw honesty in a lot of old school hip hop and music that speaks to me, that is transparent, that is honest, that grips me physically with goose bumps or an increased heart rate and this is a quality I seek out in all forms of music.  This is a quality I seek to always include in my own music.  Meaning what I say in my lyrics and being passionate about what I'm saying translates through the experience of performing the song into the listen.  When I listed to what we have created I want to enjoy it too, be proud of something. 

Todd Wuehrmann (guitar): Steve has recently turned me on to Viscera Infest. I think they might be my new favorite band. Soilent Green's Sewn Mouth Secrets in currently in my disc player. 

12. What are some of your non  musical interests?

Will: I can't really say I have any non musical interests.  Music is truly my life's passion.  The only other things that occupy that aspect of my life would be film and writing.  I'd love to write a screenplay someday as well as compile some of my writing.  We'll see I guess, but music is truly what I obsess over.

Kerch:  I need to be active creatively all the time, it's a definitely a healthy outlet for me.  I have three fully active projects right now and I'm still trying to fill my time with playing more music, I can't help myself.  I've also spent a considerable amount of time learning Eyal Yanilov's Krav Maga, at one point even training to becoming an instructor.  I absolutely love spicy food and all kinds of peppers.  I have a pepper garden that is rapidly expanding every year and growing more varieties.  I love to make different hot sauces and spicy treats from my pepper garden and share them with my friends and family.

Todd Wuehrmann (guitar):  Kayaking, hiking, weight lifting. I like to keep my blood pumping.

Chris Dugay (bass): I'm a volunteer firefighter with Citizen's Fire Company in Charles Town, WV and I love hiking civil war battlefields along with other local historic/scenic sites.

13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Will: I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us through years, all of the people who've taken a chance on booking us, and the bands that have shared a stage with us.  We're sincerely grateful to be able to continue to create our art and have anyone care about what we'd do.  This is something that we would do even if there wasn't an audience, but to have anyone else invest themselves in what we do is truly humbling.

Kerch: I am grateful to everyone who has been a part of this journey through life and the music that LORD has created.  Specifically in correlation to the Blacklisted album, I want to thank Tom Mitchell from the Stillbrave foundation for his role in inspiring and contributing vocals to the song Mile After Mile and the women, among them Amber Lyon of Reset, that inspired the lyrics for the song The Heart of a Hero.

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