Red Descending: Interview
If you like your metal loud but melodic and with a good pinch of darkness and a tad of symphony, you should most definitely check out Red Descending. These Australians have harvested praise and applause worldwide with their 2008 debut Where Dreams Come to Die. And now they are working on their second album. I’ve had a chat with Bernard Shaw, the band’s vocalist and bass player.
Earlier, The Baboon already posted the song Fragile Nation, off Where Dreams Come to Die. If you haven’t already, give that a listen. It’s worth it! In this article you’ll get fed two more tracks.
Q: Bernard, you call yourselves Red Descending. Any communist sympathies?
A: HEAPS! Haha! It’s great to hear what people make of the name. There are many images that come to mind, both dramatic and disgusting and also the communist thing. We don’t consider ourselves a political band but do find the communist topic interesting and love hearing people’s views. I think there are pros and cons of the idea behind a communist state. In reality it doesn’t seem like any government has made it work without a torrent of corruption!
Q: How did you come up with this name?
A: The name is actually from the Dark Tranquillity song Wonders At Your Feet!
Q: Your 2008 debut release Where Dreams Come to Die is a generally dark, sometimes somewhat oriental sounding album, mostly due to the classical ambient/atmospheric backing. Yet, it features a great amount of variation. Each track has its own distinct identity, but all together they manage to form a unity. It is also an album that is very well listenable both in a careful, concentrated way as lightly, as background music while working (like while writing articles like this). How long did it take you and Ian to write all ten songs? How does that process generally work? What stimulates writing?
A: As this is our first album, one or two songs like Slaughter Falls originate from back when we first started jamming in 2003, and other songs like Fragile Nation were made at the time of recording. Each song came together differently. Some evolved from jamming as a band with a few riffs while others were made late at night after Ian was possessed by the rat gods in his attic. I then grab hold of the music and start screaming into a microphone after listening to a bunch of inspirational metal. Some songs only take a couple of days, but others can take months after reworking the ideas. Orchestration (through Ian’s programming and synths) is quite a timely process but is usually the last job on the list. We were a bit worried about how all the songs would work together, but the vocals and orchestra seemed to mould everything and give it the Red Descending consistent sound.
Q: On the album there are only a few moments of enlightenment, for example a few such passages in the song Landscape (intro, chorus), on an otherwise melodically dark album. Nonetheless they are there. Why do you do that? What’s the message or purpose?
A: We like to structure our songs to create a journey and the same goes with the album. The album has some dark lyrical ideas and we thought we should give the album some sort of resolution by the final song. “I’m alive” is the last thing which is said so I think that despite a somewhat depressing turn of events, there is some hope (and a new album) around the corner.
Q: About the album title: where is that? Where do dreams go to die? How does this reflect on yourselves?
A: The title WDCTD summed up the ‘Descent’ of the album. Themes that include demons, lies, wars, death, murder, lost quests and nightmares, all of which would kill a warrior’s hopes and dreams. The warrior inside could be any of us. Or any of you!
Q: My personal favorite on the album must be Slaughter Falls. Which is yours?
A: It is hard to name a favorite, because some songs we have worked on or played so many times we are sick of hearing! At the moment I would go with Fragile Nation because it is great fun to scream the ending. I will never get sick of doing that! AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHH!
Q: You mentioned work on a second album will commence later this year. Is the dark oriental setting something you will continue to build on?
A: We would love to create some new imagery with our songs and hopefully another music video or two to go with it. We always aim for some variation between extreme sounds so I’m sure there will be segments of your oriental setting included!
Q: What are the plans for the second album? Have you set an intended release date yet? Do you have title in mind yet? Have all the songs been written yet? What can we expect?
A: We have about half of our songs written so far, they are faster, with more blast beats and tremolo but still have the dark symphonic sound from WDCTD. They are also a few minutes longer, with some epic direction changes, however we won’t give a release date until the recording process is well underway (see Wintersun!).
Q: I noticed you like KFC and bourbon. Do they combine well?
A: Bourbon first, KFC the next day! KFC is the cure for any hangover and the fastest way back on the bourbon bandwagon!
If the songs you’ve heard from Red Descending here on The Baboon made you hungry for more, you can get a digital copy of Where Dreams Come to Die via iTunes. A proper hard copy can be gotten through Mills Records.
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