AZRAEL'S BANE - MODERN DAY BABYLON
AZRAEL'S BANE were formed in 2002 and they quickly earned themselves solid reputation and toured with several big metal names. In 2010 they took a break, but returned last year. Now their second album "Modern Day Babylon" has been given an official release, and the band is hard at work to follow it up with a new one next year.
1.How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
So far so good. It’s just come out so we haven’t had a whole lot of input yet, but the vast majority of what we have heard so far has all been positive.
2.How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
It took about 6 months from start to finish.
3.What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
We were looking for big drums, big vocals, big guitars, big everything really.
4.What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
We did a lot of the production stuff ourselves, with either myself or Brent Marches, our bass player, handling production duties, but the engineer, Greg Gill also acted as producer. He handled mic selection and placement, cabinet and amp selection etc, and did a great job coaching. Things like pushing us to get a better take when we thought it might be good enough. It can get frustrating when you’re in there trying to get it done and you’re struggling with a particular vocal line or guitar lick. It’s easy to think, “That’s the best I can do, let’s move on.”, when it really isn’t. Greg was the guy who would say, “Let’s try that one more time”, or, “Let’s take five and come back to this a little later.” He also mixed it. His input on the back end was crucial.
5.And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
I’m mostly happy with it. Like anything else I’ve ever recorded, you get done and you listen back and wish you had done a few things differently.
6.Did the producer use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
I don’t know how experimental it is, but we did try a technique for doubling vocals that involved playing them back through a speaker in the live room with a couple of room mics in there. I think we tried that with a few other guitar tracks as well. I honestly don’t recall if they ultimately made the cut or not though.
7.How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't?
We recorded all the backing tracks live, with all of us in one room playing together just like we would on stage. The vocals and solos are all overdubbed, but all the drum and bass tracks and a lot of the rhythm guitar tracks came from those takes. It’s not ideal, but in terms of trying to capture that “live” sound and energy, it’s the closest we’ve been able to come up with.
8.Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
That’s a tough one. It’s like asking who your favorite child is. I really like most of the songs on the record. Pressed, I guess I’d say I’m most partial to “Save Us All”, “The Promise” and ‘Damian”, mostly because they all rock pretty hard. From a lyrical standpoint, I’m probably the most proud of “Shades of Memory”. I was able to come up with what I think are some really good lines in that one.
9.Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Not at all. We’re trying to capture whatever that particular song needs to say. It varies greatly from song to song. Most of our songs start with a guitar riff then build from there, so the lyrics usually come last. I usually get an idea very early on of where the song wants to go and try to write lyrics accordingly.
10.Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
I don’t know that time itself changes things as much as the things you experience along the way do. We’re all more accomplished writers than we used to be, simply because we’re more experienced, and of course whatever music we’re listening to at the time might find it’s influence in there, so all of that plays a role in the final product, but really, our formula hasn’t changed all that much over the years. We tend to start with a riff that one of us comes up with then build it from that point with all five of us putting in our input along the way.
11.Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
I’ve heard plenty of stories of other bands going through that type of thing, but we never have. I’m not sure we’d deal with that very well. We’re a pretty independent band. We do what we do and we’re pretty protective of our material. It would be tough listening to some guy in a suit telling us what our songs should sound like. We discuss marketing strategy with the label. Things like, which song should we promote the hardest? Which one should we shoot a video for? Things like that, but as far as our overall sound or which songs make the album? Never.
12.Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
There aren’t many that are safe to print. One I can share: I was in the studio doing some post production stuff when Ripper Owens and Bobby Blotzer came in. They were working on a tribute record at the time. I ended up hanging out to watch their session from the booth and wound up at Bobby’s house sitting on his couch with a couple of acoustic guitars writing a song with him and Ripper until the wee hours of the morning. It was a lot of fun. That’s really tame compared to most of the stories we have. I think it’s safest to say that we had a very good time making this record.
13.How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
I’m not real fond of labels, and it’s kind of difficult to nail us down to one thing but our material is basically old fashioned melodic metal with some power and prog elements thrown in. We’re a hard rock band with a couple of bad ass guitar players, a great rhythm section and good clean vocals. We have big vocal harmonies on most of our songs and we try to write stuff that is memorable or catchy while still being musically interesting.
4.Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
That would depend on which one of us you ask. We all have some pretty varied influences. We take all of our varied influences and put it into the pot that is Azrael’s Bane and what comes out is what you get. We’ve definitely got some Queensryche, Maiden and Savatage type elements to what we do and I’d say that all of us draw some inspiration from the guys in those bands among many others. For me personally, when it comes to Azrael’s Bane, I draw a lot of inspiration from guys like Dickinson, Dio, and Tate. I’ve learned some lessons from all of those guys and applied them to what I do.
15.If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Thank you very much for the support and interest in Azrael’s Bane! Please look us up on our sites, azraelsbane.net and facebook.com/azraelsbane to see what we’ve been up to and what we have in store. We’d love to hear from you!
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