I AM PARIAH – Interview
THERE IS A STORM COMING – AN INTERVIEW WITH I AM PARIAH
A few weeks ago, yours truly received a very cool promo package from the ever-reliable Stampede Press containing an upcoming EP by a British metalcore/experimental outfit named I Am Pariah. Its title and artwork instantly drew me in, and its three compositions literally tore the walls of my craphole apartment down. These skilled musicians offer something different, something that is musically rewarding and unpredictable. ‘Charm Before the Storm’ will be released in late November and trust me when I say that it slays. Obviously, we had to have a chat with the group (more specifically Dave and Ben), so read on and make sure you pay the band’s website a visit afterwards. You can pre-order the EP now.
Greetings and thanks for taking the time to talk to us today! First of all, how are you doing? For those of us who are not acquainted with the history of I am Pariah and your recorded outputs so far, could you briefly tell us a bit about how the band came into existence and where you guys all met as well as how and why you decided to join forces and so something creative together? What was the motivation and agenda behind the launch of I am Pariah?
Dave: Hey, all good here! I Am Pariah was conceived from the ashes of a few local bands halfway through 2013, so we all knew of each other right from the word go. We gelled straightaway when it came to putting our first EP out, so that was a good indication that we were on to a decent thing. Over the years we have gone through some line-up changes, with Ben jumping off the guitar onto vocals, which has given us a new perspective of what we want to write and how we want to execute it. For me I can remember watching the Pantera home videos when I was in Year 9 of school and thinking "Holy shit, this is what I want to do! Seeing 4 guys doing something they loved and having the best time doing it!". That was the moment I picked up a bass and started learning Pantera and Slayer tracks and knocking about in a few college bands.
Ben: I have to agree with Dave on this one. As a teenager, I watched my idols strut around on stage and challenge every belief my elders had about what was "normal" and acceptable. Music was provocative and scared people to the point where it was something other that sounds coming from a speaker. I think I can say we aim to bring that edge back in our delivery. Music is also coping mechanism for me, it’s that friend that is always there to talk to you and tell you that everything’s fine. And a reminder that if everything’s not fine, times do change. I would like to hope people find similar comfort in our songs.
I was blown away by the unique atmosphere and variety of your upcoming EP, the brilliantly conceived ‘Charm Before the Storm’. It is such an inspired and inspiring listen. What are your thoughts on its three tracks and are you satisfied with the result? To these ears, it comes across as hugely potent and focused. What does the title of the EP connote or signify?
Dave: Thanks very much for the kind words! ‘Charm Before the Storm’ is a line from the lead single ‘Suck It Up’. It’s a play on words of ‘Calm Before the Storm’. This EP was written as an analysis of different aspects of current society. Looking further into our lives and realising that things can change at the drop of a hat, for better or worse. We tracked the EP in our rehearsal room, and it was then mixed and mastered at Lower Lane Studios by Sam Bloor. Overall, we’re really pleased on how the EP has come out. I think we’ve taken everything that worked well on our first EP ‘Procreate//Annihilate’ and just run with it, refining our sound throughout the songwriting process.
We’re at a point now, where we feel confident in pushing our sound to different places it has been in the past and always want to try new things and not tie ourselves to a particular genre, and just write what we would want to hear from a track.
The way in which the music and lyrics complement and enhance each other is awe-inspiring. I was wondering if you could elaborate a bit on the importance of the words to the songs and the theme/concept of the whole thing? I love the fact that there is an introspective quality to each composition and yet the lyrics are written in such a way that one can easily interpret them differently depending on one’s perspective, which is to say that they seem to function like a comment on the present-day human condition in a more general sense too.
Dave: ‘Suck It Up’ targets the topic of chaotic relationships, which comes from our own personal experiences of being wronged. People aren’t always what they seem, you think you know them, but it can be all smoke and mirrors, this isn’t your usual love song. Life can be going so well, then out of nowhere a certain turn of events can completely turn your life upside down. To ‘suck it up’ is probably the worst piece of advice you can ever give to a person in crisis. In past times, that would have been the norm for humans to appear to be ok and hide their weakness. Nowadays you have a choice – you either accept what’s happened, open up and develop yourself with the support of others around you, or you can follow the tried and tested method of closing off from people, and go down the rabbit hole alone and suffer. We all yearn to be happy, and some people are happy living in their own misery. Some people love to hurt others, and there are others who are oblivious to the hurt they can apply to others; this doesn’t matter as long as the outcome benefits them. The song talks about people may be fighting a war within their own heads between emotion and logic, we can be blinded by love, and even the likes of our closest friends cannot tell us otherwise. There is always that ‘Honeymoon’ period, but it can be merely an illusion that fades in time, usually following the storm.
‘Sicko’ – This song is about somebody with antisocial personality disorder, who had traumatic experiences of abuse and neglect, and was an outcast to society. The song deals with the debate of mad or bad. This person exploits, manipulates, and violates the rights of others, and would lack concern or remorse for others in distress, and show a disregard for the social norm. It is loosely based on the cases of David Berkowitz (Son of Sam), Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Charles Manson to name a few. The crescendo of the track is a musical interpretation of the journey from delusions of grandeur to psychosis. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain because that man is you.
‘Kill the Modern World’ – This song is about the struggle to understand change and modern mindsets as you are growing older. You have the feeling that society is changing around you, you feel like you are on a treadmill trying to keep up with it, so you burn out, you develop a hatred for it. The use of social media has been a positive and a burden upon society. We are all stuck to our devices and have less human interaction as a result. We are now more connected than ever, yet it seems we are further apart emotionally. Who are we to judge this change? Society will evolve regardless.
The cover artwork is outstanding. Is there a deeper meaning to be discovered there? Either way, it looks amazing!
Dave: The artwork was actually done by the same person that designed our band logo! We have his graphic design Facebook page liked, and I was scrolling through Facebook one day and saw his latest commission that he was looking to sell, and I was like "That’s it, that’s the EP artwork right there!". "Like a wolf in the night, I will fight" is a line from lead single ‘Suck It Up’ so the artwork fit perfectly of this menacing-looking wolf with red eyes stood there under the crimson skies.
What bands and artists out there inspire you guys to compose music of your own, both musically and lyrically, that is? What about other forms of art; do they serve as a source of inspiration as well? Or perhaps everyday existence and daily encounters with others fuel your imagination with respect to writing those evocative and thought-provoking lyrics of yours?
Dave: Our lyrics are inspired by what goes around us as we lead our day to day lives. We usually bring an idea to the table of something that grinds our gears, and Ben goes off to form the lyrics.
Dave – Pantera, and KISS without a doubt
Steve – Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Avenged Sevenfold
Ben – Marilyn Manson, Green Day, T-Rex and The Beatles. And not forgetting the world of video game music; Nobuo Uematsu and Masayoshi Soken.
In terms of writing and arranging songs for I am Pariah, who exactly does what in the group? How do you go about composing and arranging your song material? Is that done collectively or is it a case of bringing finished pieces to rehearsals for the others to learn and put their stamp on?
Dave: We use online storage to bounce ideas about to each other, so that when we come together for a writing session, we’ve already got some solid ideas of where songs can go structure-wise. Let’s say for example, if there’s a part of the song where there’s going to be a solo, Steve will go away and write that, then track it in the studio (under extreme scrutiny). As we’re refining the structure of tracks, we think about parts of the songs that may weight lightly and focus on certain elements such as vocals, to not over complicate the experience for the listener. If one of us is a bit sceptical about a section of the song, we work on it until we’re all happy, there’s no compromise.
Two of us have Music Technology degrees, so during the recording we mix as we go along and refine that until the very last bounce.
The current Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, what are your plans for the future in terms of playing gigs and perhaps touring a bit in the UK and elsewhere?
Ben: Yes, I feel that COVID-19 has turned the music industry on it’s arse. We always tried to be pretty active on social media before the virus, however I think that the overwhelming lack of face to face contact did have a negative effect on the band. The only way we managed to pull through was adapt. For instance, I was recording vocal demos in my car with my iPod headphones. We saw a lot of people pushing against the rules of COVID-19, but we can say we managed to follow them. After a long time of isolation, we eventually met up outside to film something for social media. It was great to see the band again – I might actually try to like them from now on! Ha-ha. We are currently working with our booking guys to try and fill up a few weekends through March and April 21′.
What are you currently enjoying listening to at home? And what are some of your all-time favorite albums?
Dave and Ben: At the moment we are really digging the new Marilyn Manson, Ozzy Osbourne, John Petrucci and Kill the Lights albums.
All-time favourite albums? Wow . . . where do we start?! In no particular order:
Nine Inch Nails – ‘The Fragile’
Pantera – ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’
Marilyn Manson – ‘Mechanical Animals’.
Thanks once again for your time. Any final words to the readers of Eternal Terror Live?
Dave and Ben: Stay safe out there and most importantly, look after each other!