You can read this post in: Portuguese (Brazil)
Roland Deschain is the mastermind behind Echoes of Gehenna. With only few songs in his bandcamp he already shows his talent as compositor. Coming from Berlin the young talent has a lot to show. Below you can check the interview we made with him.
GroundCast: To warm up, could you tell us how came the idea to create the project “Echoes of Gehenna”?
Hi, GroundCast. Thanks for the opportunity! The idea came when I was still part of my old band Avataria back in 2014. It was great to gather experience with them, rehearse and play live shows but I could never really meddle in my own ideas and style. Ultimately after two years I felt that the music was nice but not exactly what I wanted to achieve. Musically speaking there was not enough atmosphere and heaviness. When I wrote my first 1-2 songs to contribute I quickly realized that this does not fit Avataria and would stay more intact and appreciated within my own separate project.
GroundCast: What are your influences?
My influences are all kind of atmospheric music: Mostly doom metal, atmospheric black metal, ambient and post rock. Back then I started to discover metal with the band Opeth, who already have some sort of dark atmosphere if you want. Some time later I discovered bands like (old) Katatonia, Swallow the Sun and Shape of Despair which greatly influenced me and bound me to the doom metal-genre for many years. From there post-rockish bands like Mono or Alcest and atmospheric black metal bands like Darkspace or Wolves In The Throne Room were my next discoveries and remain great influences up until now.
GroundCast: You come from Berlin, Germany. How is the musical scene in Germany (by your perspective), could you say pros and cons from the scene you are into?
I only ever lived here in Berlin so I don’t really have much of a comparison, but I would say that it is very much alive. If you are interested in a band and you want to see them live, you have good chances to see them perform here at some point. There are many (small) venues as well where underground acts get a chance to play their first shows. This is important as atmospheric music represents a rather small subgenre within the big metal community.
GroundCast: From all possible metal genres, why did you choose something more atmospheric to make a project?
I find that most other metal genres are mostly exhausted in terms of originality. For me the atmospheric direction still holds somewhat of a spark of originality that is worth exploring. Apart from that I feel that emotive music is the most powerful and interesting. I personally don’t care very much about technical skills or speed. If it fits the song to deliver the message it is fine, but not as a stylistic mean by itself.
GroundCast: In the Bandcamp I found songs from an “Upcoming Album”, could you tell us how was the process of composition and recording and when this release will get a name and release date?
Yes, you are right. I usually collect different ideas and moods over time and once I have enough of them collected I try to fit them together into a song. Sometimes this process is very easy and I can write a song in about a week from scratch to finish. Other times it takes many months to finish one. It greatly depends on my inner mood and motivation. When I listen to some new music, I might take inspiration from that as well.
I hope that the album is going to be released this year, but I cannot promise it. There are still three songs actively in the making. When this process is finished I might re-record it professionally in a studio to get some better sound. The album name will also be decided by then. I have some ideas already, but I should like the name for a certain amount of time until I will settle for it.
GroundCast: What does Echoes of Gehenna represents to you and how it connects with the songs and lyrics from the project?
First of all it represents my very own idea of music that I would like to realize. As it is a solo project (with some guest contributions), I am free to do whatever I like, this was important for me. For me the perfect mix would be a blend of dark and melancholic songs, that have a crushing doomy edge and a certain fusion of black metal coldness. This is all mixed with ambient bleakness, a slight progressive touch and prominent foreground lead-guitars that might remind you of Paradise Lost. The lyrics try to emulate the music and are more subordinate. They deal mostly with the coldness of space, dream realities and primordial entities of the cosmos that no man could hope to comprehend. This is of course very much inspired by Lovecraft as I read all his stories and am a fan of his concept.
GroundCast: We now live in the internet era and even countries like Germany (that are very strict with illegal download) people always find a way to download something. What is your opinion about this?
I think that practically there is no good way of preventing people from illegally downloading music. The technology is there so as a musician you have to deal with it. Furthermore I don’t think it is so bad, as especially for smaller projects, it can actually greatly contribute to the popularity. If at first the project doesn’t sell many albums but the music gets more popular I would be totally happy with it. I am also not settled yet about a price for the album once it is finished. It might be that I will give it out for free or for a very low price to encourage people checking it out. If I am not mistaken the band Sólstafir owes much of it’s popularity to this ‘sharing-culture’. Needless to say that they are very popular by now.
GroundCast: What is the future of the project?
The future is currently mostly me finishing the album and possibly planning a small selection of gigs with friends as guest musicians. Currently I am working on the last songs and also the artwork. I cannot say much for the future after that I am afraid.
GroundCast: Do you have other bands or projects that you are involved now?
Yes, I am currently involved in the band Tru’nembra ( http://tru-nembra.bandcamp.com/ ) which stylistically (and ironically) is not very far away from Echoes of Gehenna. Here we follow a more democratic approach of songwriting of course but still we have doom and black metal influences paired with (a little bit less of) atmosphere. If you like bands like Ahab, My Dying Bride or early Katatonia I would encourage you to check us out. We also play some shows during the year but mostly in Berlin as the band is still relatively fresh.
GroundCast: Which bands do you know from Brazil and which ones you like and why?
Sorry, but I only know two Brazilian bands from my active memory: Thy Light and Helllight. Both I like for their emotive music which (if I would think stereotypically) would not expect from such a sunny country. I had the luck to visit Brazil twice so far and I know that it is not all sun of course. There is a metal scene there too and you guys even have some regular atmospheric events (!) like Overload in São Paulo. I think that is great.
GroundCast: Thanks for the interview, now you can say something to our readers.
Thank you again for the opportunity. There is not much to tell. I hope some of you guys will check out my project and enjoy what they hear and see, cheers!