Guest Interview: Sean Barrett Gets to the Root of Things with Lord Almighty
My pal Sean Barrett sat down with the Gaia-loving black/thrash/hardcore/what-have-you phenoms Lord Almighty to talk moving up, Inter Arma, and staying true to yourself. Prepare for righteous riffs and thoughtful dialogue.
Channeling primordial natural forces through hypnotic riffs, furious blasts, solemn leads, and wretchedly evil vocals, Lord Almighty are four creatures who emerged from the earth to find each other in Boston and deliver some timeless black metal. When utilized, their clean guitar passages speak wisdom from a nameless past. This first track of their debut EP will let you know what I’m talking about:
After their cow skulls were placed upon the merch table, we gathered in the venue’s basement for the following chat:
Toilet ov Hell: So, I guess we’ll start by talking about this tour. Do you go from city to city with a different opener each time?
Goose (Guitar): It’s all sorts of different every day. Some shows where we’ve never been, we’re playing a little earlier. Some shows we’re headlining. It’s all over the place.
So it’s just you on the road alone?
All: Yeah. Hey, here’s Phill (bass).
Goose: We’re kind of just lone wanderers, really.
Last time I saw ya (less than a year ago), you were in the middle of six bands in a warehouse, but now you’re headlining this actual venue (on a Saturday night). Do you have a sense of things happening on a bigger scale?
Phill: Yeeeeeeaah, in places that we’ve been.
Goose: Shows are hit or miss. Sometimes things work out last minute, sometimes you get ‘em in advance, you know. We play with Coffin Dust most times we come to Philly, and those guys are fucking solid as hell, and good buds of ours at this point. [Author’s note: total fucking siqqness]. That’s always awesome.
Keenan (Guitar, Vocals): Yeah, it definitely varies, but, in the places we’ve been playing multiple times, it’s been growing, which is sweet. We’ve got a lot of familiar faces that we run into, a lot of new friends, which is cool.
Phill: I think every time we head out, it feels bigger and bigger, at least to us. We keep comin’ out.
Keenan: We get to play with Inter Arma on this run –
Keenan: -which we’re excited about.
Chris (drums): It’s definitely a lot better too in Boston-area. We have a good following up there.
Goose: We had a pretty sick night in Providence last night. We’ll definitely continue to hit that place up every time we’re on the road, and keep branching out and out. Onward and upward, man.
Tell us about the black stuff with which you smear yourselves.
Phill: It’s dirt from places that we find that are special. Sometimes it’s very spontaneous. We’ll be hanging out in the woods or something – which is a rarity for us, being in Boston all the time – and there’ll just be a perfect little grove with sunshine, and it’s like “Oh, grab that dirt.” Then we just make a little cocktail with some other shit in there to make it not completely fall off as soon as you start sweating.
Goose: We put charcoal in there. It’s charcoal and dirt and whatever else is –
Keenan: – animal piss! [Laughter]
Phill: No piss. [Laughter] I was walking home from work at dusk, and passing through a wooded area, and saw a path, and I was like “Y’know I’m gonna see what’s down there,” and walked through the woods – and we needed dirt, so it killed two birds with one stone – picked up a handful, brought it to the boys. [Laughter]
Is dirt just part of your gear now?
Goose: Oh, we’ve got plenty.
Phill: It’s also part of our skin at this point. It doesn’t go away.
Keenan: It smells good. The smell of the earth is nice. I like it.
Phill: It’s dirt but it smells clean.
Keenan: Yeah, it’s weirdly clean. It’s awesome.
How do you keep in touch with nature living in Boston?
Keenan: Originally, I’m from Virginia, so I grew up in the woods. Basically, how it all started was a bunch of my Virginia boys moved up with me to Boston, and we had this wild time in Boston, whatever, whatever. A lot of them eventually were moving back, and I just remember getting in the moving truck and waving out the window like “See ya!” and I was like “They’re going back to the woods.” So that’s kind of where it all started. These two [Goose and Phill] are from New Hampshire.
Goose: I grew up in rural New Hampshire. It was just a huge, huge, open, middle-of-nowhere land, small population and trees everywhere. You could fit Boston in that town multiple times, but four thousand people lived there.
Keenan: Chris is from Mauritius.
Chris: A tropical island in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
Phill: So that’s the woods, right?
Chris: More like a beach.
Goose: There’s something to be said about being deep out into nature, you know? It reveals a different part of yourself.
Keenan: It’s kind of also like a reference to us going back to our roots of where we came from, in a way.
What do you think, in the end result, is the difference between a band who pulls from their own experiences in nature vs. a band who just listens to Darkthrone?
Goose: There’s certainly a difference between people who can get out there and they feel something different than they normally would just being in society. You get in touch with a different part of yourself. Versus someone who’s just hopping on a bandwagon – and, you know, we all love Darkthrone – there’s a different mentality to it when you’re joining a social clique versus joining yourself in your own element.
Word. Anyone else?… or did he pretty much nail it?
Cool. Are the paths of the last album paths in the woods or metaphysical paths?
Keenan: It’s more about every person is walking a different path, metaphorically. It’s just kind of a conglomeration of everybody. We’re all doing our paths through life, and just trying to touch each person, no matter where you’re at.
Phill: All four of us, we couldn’t have more different ways of earning money, and none of us do that together, but we all converge with this band, via the paths. It’s all about the woods.
Keenan: Gettin back to ‘em!
Wrapping up, are you gonna be working on the next album after this tour?
Keenan: We are.
Goose: We got a lot of new music.
Keenan: This next year is gonna be a buttload of work.
Goose: We got a lot of ideas, we got a lot of things in the works. We can’t elaborate too far on them right now.
Keenan: A lot more touring coming up too.