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Interview: THE PROPHECY
Title: Dedicated to complexity

These devote servants of the large Doom Metal prophecy hailing from the United Kingdom. Their current third studio album „Into The Light“ shows the British downfall ensemble as enthusiastic composers, whose highly complex creations contain high emotional energies.

Moreover the new songs are enriched with a necessary portion of excessive rhythmic pressure. To the outstanding intensive style of the Irish sorrow men Mourning Beloveth not very unlike working, the quartet proves here to be an extraordinarily competent union, which seems to be well balanced on each other.

Fine result on „Into The Light“ is an immensely manifold unusual long play experience, whose sensational animated feeling-plains above all prick immediately out. The Prophecy really playing totally sensitive. Yet also hardness fanatics get their costs here, just as friends of extremely exactly pointed playing precision.

Entraining are also the ecstatically struck drum turbulences of drum-fur tormentor John Bennett.

Beside it these guys control a very earthy appearing and in places unexpectedly melodic guitar work.

A very constructive combination. Idealistic mind and vocalist Matt Lawson gives my curiosity some commendable detailed answers.

Hey Matt, how are you? Hopefully fine and in best shape!

„I think we are all a little hung over from our album launch party!”

What is the greatest fact within all your done music at all for you?

„It’s got to be ‘Into The Light’. Obviously we are happy with all our releases, but feel we have really achieved our vision with this album, it sounds exactly how we want it to sound, and that’s a great thing for any musician.“

What are you looking for in terms of development of musical style?

„With all the focus being on getting the new album out we are now in the exciting position of having a blank canvas for the next album; usually we've already had lots of ideas already in the bank by the time we launched an album but this time we are starting from scratch. It's going to be exciting to see how things unravel and in which direction the songs will go and at the moment every rehearsal is bringing some new ideas. We will always progress from album to album and in many cases from song to song, however there is no grand master plan, it’s just a gradual evolution. As we become more experienced and more able musicians we are able to realize our ideas more fully, sometimes this is to produce more technically challenging music on a performance level and create something that will surprise people and grab their attention, at other times we strive to make our music as deep and sometimes ‘beautiful’ as possible. It will be great to see how our next album develops, and that’s both exciting and scary!”

Seems, as you lay a lot of worth on emotional and atmospheric passages beside dark melodies in The Prophecy – what's your ideal song currently?

„This is something that we’re most of proud of with this album, and it’s nice for us when somebody recognizes that! Some our songs can be very aggressive and full of venom and spite yet others are much softer and have a quite bleak but hopeful feel. We include whatever fits and works with our ideas at the time. If you listen closely to particular songs you will hear elements of Rock and influences from a range of bands outside the Metal spectrum, but ultimately we like it heavy and are a Metal band so we will always bring our influences back to our own sound. If it’s more Doom, good, if it’s more Death, good. At the end of the day it’s just got to sound right to us. I don’t hear massive amounts of Doom in our new album, but then again it’s not all out blast beats and double pedal Death Metal. It’s definitely got a dark and melancholic vibe at times which I guess brings about the Doom atmosphere. The ideal song is probably one that combines all of these things wrapped up in a big sound! Our favourite songs are usually the ones we have written most recently, we all really enjoy the epic melancholic more ‘ballad’ like songs on the album, but also love some of the big heavy angry stuff, especially live!”

Tell about the main contents of the lyrics of The Prophecy! Are they oriented in philosophical ways or more fantasy based?

„In The Prophecy, the function of the lyrics is to translate the music we create into words. Sometimes there's a strong narrative, sometimes the lyrics are more obscure dealing with subjects that can be interpreted differently by individual listeners. I find that the music tends to choose the topic more than us making a conscious decision. It’s a kind of puzzle where gradually the lyrics become revealed after much searching. I also feel its important for songs not to be explained too fully by either the lyrics or the lyricist. I like to let people interpret the lyrics themselves and find their own meaning within themselves.”

Report about your proudest achievement inside The Prophecy so far!

„Ultimately our proudest achievements would have to be being able to record and release our music and looking back at how things start as just a little idea and then holding the final album in your hands and thinking “We did this”. For people to like our music and to be able to move people on an emotional level is an honour and something for which we are very grateful. Our greatest achievement to date is probably getting Into The Light out on a decent label. We’ve been together eight years now and released three albums and as we have grown as musicians, we have formed an increasingly close understanding of each other and as such we’ve been able to express ourselves more fluently and become more creative with that expression. Into the Light is definitely our most polished recording so far. We promised ourselves with ‘Into the Light’ that there would only be one rule…to tell our story truthfully and to try and give it a 'live' feel, letting our instruments and voices sound like they are meant to. We're proud of the album but more so the concepts behind it. Every album is an achievement but the amount of song writing, preparation and planning that went into the new album was phenomenal. We all decided that to facilitate the writing process we would take a break from live shows for most of 2008. Even still we only just got the music written in time with the final touches only being finalized in the studio. After the recording there was the “Into the planning” phase as our label boss termed it, with the mastering and artwork to get ready in time for the release date deadlines. Fortunately we managed to find the right people to work with, Greg Chandler of Priory studios is an absolute professional and knew exactly what we wanted in terms of sound, Paul Kuhr again was spot on with his artwork concept and Tom Kvålsvoll from Strype Audio mastered the album perfectly. In addition Code666 are doing a great job of getting the album out so all the hard work has paid off in the end.”

Tell a ´bit about the usual processes of the songwriting for your musical creations on the new album! And how would you describe your working style for your music?

„Rather than work within a genre we've only ever focussed around the feelings that the sounds we create evoke. We don't set out to be Doom, Death or Prog but rather to make something we're moved by and let others judge what genre we 'should' be in. Sometimes we get ideas that set off in a fairly heavy and extreme style and need to be kept that way, whilst others seem to need to be more melancholic and veer towards a doomier style. At the end of the day I don't think it matters as to what people label us. It's the music that counts and we don't like being constrained by the limits of any one genre. The majority of people seem to label us as some sort of Progressive Doom and if that makes them happy that they've got us categorized and indexed then that's fine with us. Of course there are probably plenty of other people wanting to class us as Death Metal or Dark Rock or a plethora of other sub-genres.”

Which artistic ways are you still seeking with your music?

„We just want to write songs we enjoy playing and hearing, it’s really important for us to be our own biggest fans. We always try to get real songs rather than just a collection of riffs and we are now more confident in keeping things really simple and stripped down if that’s what works best, yet as musicians we are keen to stretch our own individual performances on a technical level.”

Why do you make this kind of music?

„We make this kind of music because it’s the music we love, if we don't like it then what's the point of playing it? If we were in it for the money and fame we would play some crappy commercial music just to appeal to the masses and make a quick dollar. We find the way we write and what we enjoy hearing tends to be this combination of dark and light, it’s not normal to be only angry, sad or happy and our music reflects this. Why this is the case is a different matter. Maybe it’s the whole dark satanic mills and barren moorlands that give us an environmental influence. The theory is that you are a product of your surroundings and it certainly gets “grim up North” although at the same time there's beauty and even a sense of grandeur about it. Playing the kind of music we do makes us feel very free on a creative level and we don’t feel we are constrained by certain rules, if we want to include something that feels very ‘pop’ we will, if we want a big heavy Rock riff we will, if we want some slap bass or Jazz style drums we put it in, it’s a very free style and that suits us fine.”

Who are your favourite bands and who are your heroes among them?

„Greg is a big fan of classic Rock and Metal and guitar heroes such as Malmsteen and Van Halen, John likes everything, and I mean everything, you should hear his ipod on shuffle! In terms of drumming he enjoys Brann Dailor, Primus, Stuart Copeland… Gav is a big Metal fan, mainly heavy extreme stuff and is a big fan of bass heroes such Steve Digorgio and Les Claypool. Matt is into alot of Doom Death but also likes quite a wide selection of Rock and Metal besides. Ultimately though we've all been brought up on different bands and all have different influences. Non of our parents were particularly musical, but we all got into music at a fairly early age (at least when it came to listening anyway). As a result we all had to be self taught and find stuff out the hard way. Of course we all have some common influences, some of which we had when we started and some of which we've grown to love as we've gone along. The music that gets regular playing time in the bus on tour or on the way to gigs is a very eclectic mix and couldn’t really be classed as an influence, Immortal to Danzig, Primus to Tenacious D, some odd Jazz stuff along with classic Metal and Rock. Whether this seeps through into our music is a different matter!”

Do you like it much to play live?

„As much as we are excited and really pleased with the new album it’s getting to play the songs live that we look forward to the most. In fact we often have to control our urges to play new songs before they are fully written. We try and gig as often as we can, it’s a great release on an emotional level and there aren’t many better feelings than playing a great gig. Getting on stage, making lots of noise and head banging is a primal thing, although sometimes we pay for it the next day and can suffer from ‘rock leg’ and ‘head banger’s neck’ but once you’re on stage again it’s amazing how quick you forget. We love playing for people who appreciate what we do. We've been very lucky as a band in that we've been able to tour all over the world with some great bands, meeting some great people and having some great experiences. We've always tried to work hard when it comes to touring as its something we all enjoy doing. We learned a lot about touring in our early days when we toured Europe and the USA with Morgion and later with My Dying Bride in 2003. When you are all in close proximity on a tour bus for hours on end you need to be able to get on with each other! It definitely helps the band bonding! It’s not all been plain sailing though, our tour bus broke in Portugal in the middle of nowhere just before a festival gig, leaving us stranded. Fortunately the festival organizers came to the rescue picking us and our gear up and getting us to the festival in time. We had three days of uncertainty as to how we were going to get home, but managed to find some last minute flights, but the 72 hour return drive to collect all our gear in a rental van was far from pleasant.”

What are your plans for upcoming live shows?

„The Moscow Doom Festival is our next big event and promises to be a great experience. I think Moscow is somewhere that we have all wanted to visit and we're all really looking forward to seeing how the Russian Metal fans react to the songs from the new album. We've also got a tour planned in October are currently discussing plans with a few promoters which should include some German dates if all goes to plan. We’re always keen to drink more good beer and play to the well-informed German Metal fan!”

What are your personal plans for the future?

„As I mentioned earlier we have got a ‘blank canvas’ to write our next album and we are getting a few ideas together already. Combine this with striving to get more gigs in new places, drink more beer and meet more like minded Metal fans, it’s what it’s all about! The last two songs we wrote for Into the Light were 'Water's Deep' and 'All is Lost' and I would expect we are going to continue in that direction but its still early days and even we Prophet's don't know what the future is going to bring at this stage.”

© Markus Eck, 24.02.2009

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