There have always been challenges with keeping a one man band like Autumns Eyes relevant. Whether it’s struggling to stay afloat with metal news sites who refuse to post your updates simply because you don’t have enough followers on social media, or trying to reach an audience that’s oversaturated with an abundance of content. The uphill battle never gets any easier, but thankfully these issues are all superficial in the grand scheme of things. The true challenge for me has always been finding a musical space for the ideas in my head to live out their days in glorious gloom ridden infamy. The process of starting and finishing an album is tedious, agonizing, maddening, and yet one of the most satisfying feelings I could ever experience. Figuring out where and how to start an album can prove to be one of the biggest creative obstacles as a musician. Thankfully, this time around I have a solid grasp on where these macabre melodies are headed.
Throughout each year I catalogue different musical ideas and riffs that popup either during a practice session or even randomly into my head. The ideas get recorded in a rough format, and placed into a folder on my computer for safe keeping. Currently I’m sitting on a few hundred ideas, many of which never seem to find a home. So when it came time to start recording a new album, I dove head first into this folder and quickly said “fuck no” to all of them.
Creating an album must begin with a vision, or else you are simply shooting ideas blindly in the dark. While my vision wasn’t quite in focus yet, there was enough there to grow roots and establish some basic foundations. For one, the album has to sound old. I don’t mean old like a throwback from the eighties hair metal scene, or some stoner rock band from the seventies. I mean old as in ancient, like a moss ridden tree stump lurking beneath the branches of a dark forest. I want this album to have a sense of foreboding history, much like the place I call home, New England.
How does one approach translating a feeling into a sonic environment? It starts with crafting the production of each and every instrument before recording even begins. This involves finding a drum sound, guitar tone, bass guitar sound, and making sure they all play nicely together. The goal of this task is to build your list of ingredients before you start cooking so to speak.
I was heavily inspired by the band Satyricon, who showed me how important it is to let instruments breathe. So often the world of heavy music uses sounds that are copied and pasted from one band to another in what seems like an assembly line of similar sounding songs. Satyricon has not only crafted a sound of their own, but more importantly, they showcase how space creates separation. This gives the music room to move and breathe on its own. A difficult task, especially with music so heavy and saturated by complex layers of production.
As for the content itself, the songs are shaping up to be a blend of material from “The Awakening of the Sleeping King” and “Surrender the Fire” albums. A healthy combination of heavy and melodic, while staying within the confines of an old and organic soundscape. The last album “Ending Life Slowly” was more of an exploration into gothic rock, with spooky sounding keyboards and gloomy yet polished production. Since I tend to always follow each album with the opposite themes of its predecessor, expect this new outing to be more of a rustic offering. I also welcomed the return of acoustic guitars on these songs, as they do a great job of bridging together the heavy and somber elements.
While some of these details laid out during the recording process have cemented themselves in stone, many of them will change as the recording process moves forward. Songs tend to form a life of their own after they’re created, and they often evolve into something completely different than from the day they were born. It’s one of the exciting aspects of creating music that I’m always anxious to take part in. When these songs are released from the confines of my demented skull, they take on a life of their own. Where they end up and how they turn out is just a reflection of my own daily experiences. A bad day might shift the tone of a certain melody, whereas a good day might create something more hopeful. It all depends on what life has to throw at me, and how I can translate that experience into songs that I can share with the rest of the world. A process I’ve always respected and taken great pride in.