Interview : Cumbrian Black/Death Band Blind Spite

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Can you please provide some background information about Blind Spite? When and where was the band formed? Also, can you please provide some insight into the name?

We are a blackened death metal band from Cumbria, and have been active since around 1996, with myriad personnel and sound changes and developments over that time. The relevance of the name has changed as the band has developed. What was originally a lashing out at aspects of society and dogmatic thought, has moved through into an examination of what causes people to cling to those ideals. This has brought us toward a more philosophical bent, examining themes of magnitude and metaphysics and the relative human insignificance in the face of it all. It can probably be best associated with a desperate and violent struggle for comprehension currently.

Do you believe that being based in quite an isolated, under populated part of the country feeds into the band’s lyrics and the overall tone of the music?

To an extent. I think the vast wilderness element is something we all key into to some degree, and that informs the ideas of sublime that comes through in the atmospherics we aim at. But I think it is probably that idea of something huge and uncaring that comes through rather than particularly romanticised vision of landscape.

You state that your music is an uncompromising and expansive take on the human condition and the vast uncaring universe we inhabit. Can you please go into a bit more depth about this? 

A lot of the themes we use veer toward an examination and critique of the nature of deity or belief, and the expansive sound we aim for works with that as well. It’s that idea of the sublime, but perhaps on a more conceptual lines. The more we discover, particularly in the realms of physics and its various associated lines of thought, the less we find we know, and it’s that idea of examining that from a very earthy human perspective. The horrible realisation of our own insignificance, or something to that effect.

What are your thoughts on other extreme metal offerings from Cumbria, and have you found there to be quite a supportive network in the borderlands, or do you need to travel further afield in order to find necessary support?

There are a lot of great black metal projects hidden about the place, though hidden is definitely an apt term as they can take some finding. With regards to live bands it can be pretty sparse, there are a few around, but what with the county being so big and empty, they tend to exist in isolation in their particularly towns to a certain degree. There isn’t a great deal going on with regards to the scene in Carlisle where we’re based, so we tend to travel a lot, which does have the benefit of bringing us to new audiences.

Your latest release Dethrone The Earth is a brutal, accomplished attack of blackened death metal. Can you talk about the concept behind this release and the response you’ve received so far? Can you also explain the inspiration behind the title?

Dethrone The Earth is the coming together of a lot of material that had been waiting to be recorded for a very long time. Some of the tracks had been written for years prior to the release and as such have had time to develop together and evolve, which has probably played a large part in getting our sound to where it is. Conceptually, it again works through a lot of material that’s been a long time coming, but again has had time to mutate and ‘bed in’ so to speak. It works from societal issues, through into cosmic magnitude without becoming too disparate. It’s somewhat of a statement of intent.

Dethrone The Earth is based on a line in a news article which described the reversing of the earth’s magnetic field, thus ‘dethroning’ it. From that line it developed into something along the lines of dimensional collision. As a title for the release it sets the tone of the desperate insignificance perfectly.

Something I really appreciate about Dethrone The Earth is the fact it’s such a diverse release. There’s never a dull moment. It makes for a really invigorating listen. Can you talk about the importance of making music that’s multi-layered and interesting?

I think there can be a tendency in metal to stick to a template. It’s very easy to copy that standard black metal sound, or to stick to the death metal basics, but ultimately self defeating. I don’t think we particularly go out of our way to do something that hasn’t been done before for its own sake, but we do aim to make something worthwhile rather than to fit a specific genre. The aim is usually to create something intense and that holds that expansive atmosphere, and that can’t be done without adding extra elements and pushing new ideas or techniques. It’s just a case of using what works and building onto that naturally.

How would you describe the journey that the band went through to create Dethrone The Earth?

Long and arduous. Due to various lineup changes and hiatuses it’s taken a long time to get everything down and recorded and to our current level. As I’ve mentioned, it has allowed things to develop and come together organically with regards to our sound, and Dethrone The Earth provides the starting point from which we can develop further. It’s probably best described as a necessary struggle.

What are your honest thoughts about digital downloads, and what is your personal preference when it comes to collecting music?

It’s very hard to make any kind of case either for or against downloads without ending up contradicting yourself later down the line. They do have their merits – music being online and easily accessible allows bands to reach a much bigger audience than before, but at the same time leads to a very saturated ‘market’. The argument then is that you still have to be good enough to stand out amidst this tide of digital music, which then evens out the pro’s and the cons.

I think the key problem I have with digital format is that it’s very throw away. Without the effort needed to acquire something, or the physical artifact to hold, the danger is that something really great only gets a passing listen, and is then consigned to the depths of a download folder, never to resurface. There’s something about a tangible object that a download can’t emulate.

These are still aspects of personal taste though, and we leave the option open for those who want to download, or who’d rather pick up a CD. As times change the significance and viability of downloads as worthwhile artifacts in some form may change. Ultimately, it’s up to the artist in question how they release their material.

If you had the ability to change one thing about today’s music industry, what would it be?

Whilst any band should be able to self promote to some degree, I feel like far too many have now fallen into the realm of ‘marketing’. There seems to be more of an emphasis on acquiring fans, than letting the merits of your music attract them for you. I think this is probably why there are so many very generic sounding acts at the moment. Once nestled in a template the marketing takes hold and the songwriting goes out of the window. I’m not against social networking, It’s a great way to keep people informed of what you’re doing and contact promoters, but I feel like you actually need to be doing something before you update about it. Let’s just rid the world of the like button.

I’m really curious about the design on the new t-shirts that you have available. Can you talk about the illustration and the concept behind it?

The design is based on an illustration of the path light takes to the eye during an eclipse. This was then altered to include ‘symbols’ that correspond to the letters of the band name and a redrawn blinded eye. I like the intersection between science and mysticism – to a non expert the lines of light movements, or describing the theorised movement of cosmic phenomena are just as esoteric as any magic. With some understanding, they can perhaps become more so. It again boils down to that idea of the sublime, and how we cope with something bigger and unexplainable. And it happened to work quite well as a design.

What are the near future plans for Blind Spite?

 To keep playing live for the time being while we cement material for the next release. The live environment allows for that little bit extra freedom and sometimes can force experimentation by necessity, that can help songs develop in conjunction with honing them through practice.

 

Where can we find out more about Blind Spite?

 We have a band camp (where you can pick up Dethrone The Earth, and merch)

here:

http://blindspite.bandcamp.com/album/dethrone-the-earth

A sound cloud here:

And a Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blind-Spite/116157081728527

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