Introduce yourselves and tell us what you've been up to recently?
We’re Thirty Aethyrs, namely Rich, Jack, Gerb and Malus. We’ve been rather quiet recently, as there have been some major upheavals in our lives, but we’re still here, lying dormant, ready to explode. We’re working on a new album at the moment and really looking forward to playing one of the songs at our headline gig on June 8th.
And how did you get together? The name?
Christ, this is going to be a long one… I’ll start with the name! It’s to do with the Enochian occult system of magic, which relates to the extra-dimensional beings known as “angels”, for want of a better term. Popularised mainly by Aleister Crowley and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Call of the Thirty Aethyrs is part of a very long and complicated ritual to summon and bind these entities. I actually recorded a section of the Call, in the original Enochian language, hoping to use it on the last release. But… well, let’s just say that strange things happen whenever I try to play it.
A few years back, I [Malus] was working on a sort of industrial project with a Manchester hip hop producer, who had a few records out in the late 90s, and I needed a guitarist. I’d heard that Rich had a bit of skill, so gave him a go… We quickly decided that we wanted to move on from the industrial music (though I’m still in touch with this hip hop guy, he’s always got advice for marketing etc), and so it wasn’t long before we started writing our own material, using a few session musicians. Aethyrs was always just the two of us, writing, recording and releasing, but never playing live. You know, real Darkthrone style; true black metal. After the release of our first EP, “Master of the Spheres”, Rich disappeared off into some cave somewhere for a few months, and I had zero contact with him. To be totally honest, I thought he’d lost all interest in making music together, but then he came back with these four beautiful tracks, that definitely told some kind of story, and we decided it was time to at least get a drummer on board to record them. Jack auditioned, and the first thing we noticed was that this guy had a real vision and dedication, which was exactly what we were looking for. We finished writing and recording these tracks, which became “Phoenician Apocalypse”, and decided to play live. For that, we’d need a bassist… So along came Gerb, guitarist for Synapse… and the rest, as they say, is history.
Who are your biggest influences?
Musically, we’re undeniably influenced by the whole progressive black metal thing, with bands like Enslaved (as much as we try to distance ourselves from such labels). We’re all fans of music from all genres. I think it’s pretty detrimental to pigeonhole any art form into categories. Somebody once said that we reminded them of Primordial, which is a huge compliment!
As a group, we take influence from the more traditional black metal bands like the aforementioned Enslaved, Watain etc, but we all listen to a massive variety of music. Perhaps some of the more obscure influences in the band come from artists like Bjork and The Dresden Dolls. My particularly theatrical influences of Marillion, Shining and Birdeatsbaby definitely come across in what we do. Jack wants me to mention Linkin Park here, but assures us that this will never penetrate our sound. There don’t seem to be a lot of bands like us in the unsigned metal scene at the moment, which is a good thing we hope!
Which is the one song you with you'd wrote and why?
There’s absolutely loads of incredible music out there, and we take influence from so much of it. That said, we pride ourselves on doing our own thing and try not to sound too much like anyone. We think it’s important to try and develop our own sound, rather than getting too hung up on how awesome other bands/artists are! I don’t think there has ever been a time where we’ve sat down and thought, “Wow, they beat us to the mark on that one!” but we have a lot of respect for other music.
Here at Designer Magazine we're all about supporting the scene.. which are your fave local bands and why should we check them out?
It would be sinful of us not to mention Eternal Quarter here! We’ve played with them a few times, and are proper straight up guys. Although our musical styles are hugely different, they’re always deeply supportive of us. And right back at them!
Significance of Hate are worth a look [Gerb plays bass for them, too]. Oh, and Sermon of Orion, if you like your classic style black metal, laced with total conspiracy and paranoia! It would be unfair not to give a shout out to Rich’s side project, Arcanist. They have a couple of demos out on Youtube, and are still looking for a vocalist, if anybody out there fancies giving them a go.
What's your biggest promo tips you can give to other local bands? How do you push your band forward?
Be different. Don’t follow a trend, and don’t be afraid to bend conventions. If a chorus doesn’t fit, then you don’t need a chorus! If you’re honest, that will reflect in your performances. Conversely, if you seem to be trying to hard (like shoehorning a chorus in, just because you feel that it HAS to be there), that’s an immediate turn-off for us, and we’ll likely lose interest in the rest of your set. Like I mentioned earlier, don’t restrict yourselves to one or two influences. Listen to a huge range of music!
What's the best gig you've played to date and why?
Back in Februrary, with Designer Magazine, at Dry Bar. We were on total top form, played through our Live Apocalypse set flawlessly, and the crowd responded with what can only be described as utter barbarism. Trust me, that’s a good thing. The barrier got ripped up and carried away, as did one or two audience members. I remember Rich telling me afterwards that he “…felt sorry for the people stood at the back, who didn’t want to be in the pit, but standing on stage watching that wall of death made me feel like a badass,”. Huge credit to Eternal Quarter, who were on after us, for holding that crowd’s interest!
Where do you go for pre gig food and where do you go post gig clubs in Manchester?
Barburrito, over on Piccadilly Gardens, is great. It’s like Subway, but with Mexican food. For a drink, I’m quite partial to a cocktail. Try Alchemy over on New York Street. It’s pricey, but they do the most extra-ordinary magic over there! We’re not all that big on the whole clubbing thing. We prefer a nice quiet drink in a traditional English pub, followed by the traditional forgotten stumble/crawl home. We’re country boys, mainly, so it’s a lot safer to pass out at the side of the road than it is in the centre of Town! On Christmas Day last year, I woke up covered in anti-climb paint. There isn’t even anything in my home town with anti-climb paint on it, so I have no idea where that came from.
What do you like most about Manchester?
Well, it’s a pretty dreary place, lacking in character, but there’s a certain pride to be had when a man can utter the words “I’m from Manchester,” anywhere in the world, and people will know exactly what that means. I think there is more of an identity globally for Manchunians than any other city in the country. Certainly more than London or Liverpool, and nobody outside of Birmingham has even heard of Birmingham. It’s obviously down to the success of Manchester United, and the Madchester music scene, but still. It’s like every Manc is a celebrity, when abroad. And when you tell them you’re also in a band… Break out the champagne!
Best gig you've been to of all time (and why?)
Rich and I were lucky enough to catch My Dying Bride, which is surprisingly the only gig we’ve ever actually been to together. I have no idea why. They were phenomenal. The sound was perfect, they were tight, and the setlist was incomparable. They strike that perfect balance of honest crowd interaction, without coming across as either patronising or over-familiar. I can’t abide those bands who talk to you like their best mate, or like “Holy fucking shit, motherfuckers, this is the best fucking crowd of the tour,” YAWN!
Jack’s best memory of a gig was Anti Flag, at Leeds Festival, with the drummer coming down into the crowd to play. Obviously, being a drummer, he gets some satisfaction there! Gerb likes his groove metal, so rates Lamb of God’s live show above anything else. You see, we’re diverse!
What one book would you say all of your fans should read and why?
I’m actually working on a novel, so that, when it’s out! Seriously, I’m such an avid reader; I should probably stay away from this question, otherwise it would probably take up all the space on the internet. I’ll read anything from Bulgakov through to Rowling, Tolkien to Alan Moore.
Fave movie or TV show of all time?
Undisputedly, we are all HUGE Lord of the Rings fans. Also, try the TV series Firefly. You can pick the box set up on Amazon for like £12. It is the single greatest thing to ever happen to television, and the man who commissioned its cancellation after not even a single series is the biggest fool on the planet.
Which football team do you support?
Jack is the only football fan in the band. This may be controversial in a Manchester based magazine but he supports… Liverpool. Please don’t throw eggs at us! They might hit me! I’m more of an ice hockey kinda guy. Nobody is better than the Manchester Phoenix.
And finally we're all about the live sweaty gigs - final chance to say why we should check you out live?
People seem to respect our honesty, that what we are doing is something real. We perform every note and every syllable from the bottom of the heart, and when you deal with a subject matter such as ours, I think that our audience really feel as though they have been dragged along with us. There’s a sense of brotherhood, I think, between those who have suffered and survived. When I come off stage, in tears from closing our set with Six Feet of the Abyss, and we have people coming up to us saying that that was the best live performance they have EVER seen… that means a lot more to us than anything.
And if we want to know more whats your facebook / twitter addresses?
Magazine unless otherwise stated.
All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
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