Archspire: The Toilet ov Hell Interview
If for some reason you you haven’t checked out Archspire and you like tech-death, you are doing it so unbelievably wrong. The band released my favorite album in ages earlier this year in The Lucid Collective and I don’t think anything will be topping it. When Papa Joe told me that I was going to get to interview Archspire, I sat there for a bit processing what I had just read, and then I did one of these. I’m stoked to have been able to ask Archspire vocalist Oliver Rae Aleron a few questions. But enough of my fanboying, check out the interview below:
As a vocalist, how do you discuss particular song passages with your bandmates in Archspire? Do you use technical descriptions or is it closer to “that widdly widdly diddly part”?
Oli: Well Spencer and I have definitely developed some interesting and sometimes goofy ways of describing ideas we have. Most of the time I’ll just memorize the amount of notes or the techniques within the riff and use those to describe where i think the changes should be. For example I’ll be like “Hey Dean can you try going up higher after the second sweep and then cutting of the last 3 notes on the sec repetition?” Or if I have a pattern in my head for a chorus for instance like when I wrote “Lucid Collective Somnambulation” I was like “Ok guys can you play a riff that goes dun dun, dun dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun.” and usually they’ll just know exactly what I mean. It’s really cool to work with dudes that know so much theory but will still humour a vocalist and try out all my weird ideas.
As the end of year approaches, we’ve been thinking about the best albums of the year and The Lucid Collective is definitely on my short list. If you had to make a top 5 list of the year what would it look like? Additionally, what album are you most looking forward to this year?
- Fallujah- The Flesh Prevails
- Misery Index- The Killing Gods
- Animals As Leaders- The Joy of Motion
- Beyond Creation – Earthborn Evolution (which is not released till the end of the month but got a sneak peak, amazing album!)
- Rittz- Next to Nothing
What is your favorite band, and which bands influence you the most?
That’s impossible to answer really. I can say my favourite live performances have been from Tool, Weird Al Yankovic, Animals As Leaders, Russian Circles, and No means No. As far as albums go my favorite band changes constantly.
Right now my biggest vocal influence is R.A the Rugged Man. His flow is flawless and fucking insane. I’ve also been examining the super speed syllable patterns of Twista and trying to apply that to the new Archspire material.
You’re on the record as a hip hop fan, as are a number of TOH readers. I’ve got to ask you a very divisive question: Who is the best MC in the Wu Tang Clan?
I think the Wu Tang really does form like Voltron. Individually they aren’t the best in the game but together they destroy everything else. 36 chambers is one of my favourite albums of all time. Brilliant.
How does one fathom infinite depth?
One simply cannot. The idea behind this song came from fevers I used to have when I was a kid when I was sick, where I would hallucinate objects becoming very minute then very immense in an instant. I later came to the conclusion that all matter contains infinite depth. No matter how far into an object you look or how far out of our universe we can observe, it will just keep on going. It’s a sickening thought so I thought it would make a cool premise for a death metal song.
I guess I was drugged a lot as a child… or whatever.
You released this video earlier in the year. What kind of exercises did you do to get that MASSIVE diaphragm? Do you have any advice for young vocalists?
Don’t sing from your throat! That’s something I learned early on that helped me a lot. I’m going to embarrass myself here and be honest. When I was too young to realize how uncool they were, a friend from Australia showed me how to play didgeridoo. Although it’s really annoying to hear some asshole busking with one on the street, it was a really excellent tool to learn circle breathing and to strengthen the fuck out of my diaphragm.
…But lets just keep that between us.
It seems like there are so many amazing bands coming out of Canada right now. Where is the secret underground Canadian death metal factory located?
Clearly it’s in Montreal somewhere.
If you could pick any lineup to tour with, what would it be?
- King Diamond
- Weird Al
- Animals As Leaders
- Tech N9ne
- Spice Girls (but before they got all old and rank, and just so I could cut and paste all their best parts together to create a super spice girl called “Frankenspice” to be my bride.)
It is waaaaay too early to ask this, but I can’t help myself: Are you guys working on new stuff yet?
Yes! we have a bunch of riffs in the bank and have just finished the outline of a new track. It doesn’t have a tittle yet but it’s the fastest song we have written to date, 360 bpm.
There are a bunch of video game nerds at Toilet ov Hell. In fact, one of our writers once described Archspire’s sound as “a sweet game for Windows 95 with blastbeats.” Are you a gamer? What are some of your favorites? And do you guys game as a band?
We had the new Mortal Kombat game hooked up in our van a few tours back and I had a lot of fun with that but honestly gaming is not for me. Until they have a virtual reality game where you just bone chicks in public washrooms I’ll just stick to the real world.
What song is the most fun to play live? Additionally, if you could cover any song in the world what would you pick?
We just started playing “Seven crowns and the oblivion chain” on our last tour and it’s by far my favourite song to play live right now. I love matching those quick snare bursts. I always wanted to do a black metal cover of “Ghetto Vet” by Ice Cube but that’s never gonna actually happen.
I know some of our readers would destroy me if I didn’t ask this one: what gear is essential for Archspire?
We recently all switched to in ear monitors and it’s been the best move we have ever made. we all have the click track running really loud in our personal mixes which as a vocalist was hard to get used to but know I can’t imagine playing without it.
How would you like to see technical death metal evolve as a genre?
I’d like to see more ladies at the shows. As far as the music goes I have no preference really as to how it evolves. I like it when bands do their own thing within the genre, so I’d like to see more of that individual creativity.
Lastly, thank you for making such rad music and for taking time out of your schedule to talk with us. Is there anything else you want to say to the loyal flushers here at Toilet ov Hell?
Big thanks to Seasons of the Mist.