What a surprise! I kind of enjoyed “Dissension” the debut from US progressive metal band ETHEREAL ARCHITECT, but I honestly didn’t expect the band to go on and release something as good as “Monolith”. So far album of the year for me, and the only album I have awarded a perfect 6/6 in Scream Magazine this year. It’s been something like five years since the release of “Dissension”. Is it according to a plan that the follow up is released now, or did you originally plan to have “Monolith” out earlier? If so, what caused the delay?
– We had hoped to release the album earlier. We lost our original bassist, so that caused quite a delay. He had planned just to be out for a year, so we took a hiatus and waited for him. His move became permanent and we lost that time. The recording itself took longer than planned as well. In the album, you’ll hear the great number of vocal harmonies, guitar layers, and different keyboard parts. Each song has about 100 tracks, so it took a very long time to record, edit, and mix such a large project. That’s part of the inspiration for the name, “Monolith”, says David Glass, guitarist and mastermind of ETHEREAL ARCHITECT.
How would you compare the new album to ”Dissension”, both when it comes to songwriting, performance and production?
– The new album is a far better product in all facets. I wrote most of “Dissension” when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was still learning music theory and recording techniques. Now, I have much more experience and knowledge and have truly developed my craft. I also have been working with my band for many years, so I know how to write to everyone’s strengths. I know exactly how fast my drummer can play, and exactly how high my singer can sing, so I was able to push everyone and really maximize their capabilities. When you hear “Monolith”, you’ll hear a whole new band.
As with the first album, you’re also releasing “Monolith” yourselves. Didn’t the first album generate any interest from the labels, or do you perhaps want to be in control of your own product?
– Honestly, we did not pursue any record labels with our first album. We felt that we still had a lot of growing and maturing to do before we could be successful. Now that “Monolith” is out, we feel that we have a product that can compete with the best metal bands out there, so we’ll be aggressively pursuing label interest this year.
There is another bass player on this album than on the debut. Why isn’t Darby a member of the band anymore, and when/where did you find Thad? What has he brought into the band?
– Darby moved to Taiwan some time after we released “Dissension”. He had just graduated from college, and decided to move there for a year to teach English and perhaps learn a little about his roots (he is Taiwanese-American). He had planned on returning and rejoining the band to record the new album, but he ended up falling in love while overseas. He got married and now lives there with his wife. Thad joined the band in November 2011. The album was almost entirely recorded, and we had auditioned a number of bass players, but Thad came in and blew us away. He played the songs better than we did, so we all got inspired to practice harder just so we wouldn’t get showed up by the new guy! He plays fretless bass, so his style his very unique and he adds a lot of nuance to the music. You can hear his fretless work showcased best in the songs “Obisidian” and “Obscura.”
On your debut you wrote all the music, while Adam did most of the lyrics, with you contributing to some songs. Have you used the same “recipe” for the new album? If so, are you satisfied with doing all the music alone, or would you like the others to contribute?
– For the most part, that’s still the way we put our songs together. I wrote all the music for “Monolith”, and then I sent the songs to Adam and he wrote the lyrics. We collaborated a little bit – he wrote a few vocal melodies, and we worked on some Spanish lyrics together. I wrote the bass and drum lines as well, but Thad and Jake both added their own style to my writing to make it their own. However, I really enjoy writing music alone. Writing music is my greatest source of pride and self-image, so it is difficult for me to compromise with someone else’s perceptions. I value other people’s input, but ultimately, I’m writing music for myself and so I’m the one who needs to be satisfied.