Interview - Caladan Brood - "Music has always been something that both of us are deeply passionate about"

Caladan Brood is an american epic black metal band, founded by two guys in 2008. In 2013 they released their debut album "Echeos of Battle", which  got quite big notoriety in the metal underground. Thoroughly deserved, in my opinion, as it brings us more than one hour of music on really high level. Read below what authors of this LP had to say about their musical inspirations, fantasy literature and some other things. Maybe they aren't the most talkative persons in the universe, but I think you'll get a proper view on their creativeness.

1.Hello! You started with your band in the year 2008, but your debut album was released in 2013. Why it took you so long?
Simply put, life kept getting in the way. There were extended periods where the album would sit untouched for months at a time due to school, work, and other obligations. It felt really great to finally arrive at the finished product!

2.Your album brings a lot of epic and melancholic tunes. It's very monumental, and when I listen to it I feel a lot of sorrow. Why did you decided to play such music? Do you think there is lack of bands playing similar stuff?
Music has always been something that both of us are deeply passionate about. We settled on this genre since we are huge fans of bands such as Summoning, Elffor, Nazgûl, and other similar groups, and we wanted to try our own take on that style. There is a pretty good number of bands playing keyboard-driven medieval/fantasy black metal, but perhaps not in this particular vein.

3.It is impossible to say that Summoning wasn't your big inspiration. Why do you love this particular band so much?
We love Summoning because they truly translate an immersive atmosphere through their music in a deeply sincere and truly unique fashion.

4. I would say that even if you were inspired by Austrians, your music is much more calmer. There is also way more folk elements in it. Can you agree with me? To be honest when I listen to “Echeos of Battle” I always think more about vast, wild landscapes and graves of fallen heroes than about great battles.
There are some moments where folk elements appear in our music, but the focus is on medieval sounds, not necessarily folk.

5 What are your other musical inspirations? Metal bands, movie soundtracks, maybe some traditional folk music from Europe?
Yes, we take a lot of inspiration from film scores. We are also heavily influenced by game soundtracks such as the Elder Scrolls series, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, Diablo I & II, etc. From the metal side of things, we drew inspiration from the obvious artists such as Summoning, Elffor, Nazgûl, early Nokturnal Mortum, Graveland, Vordven, and other black metal bands with epic, medieval, or fantasy themes, and we were also influenced by bands such as Bathory and Moonsorrow, as well as medieval/fantasy ambient (I’ve noticed people on the internet calling it ‘dungeon synth’ lately) such as Mantle of Dust, Lord Wind, Wongraven, etc.

6. You label your music as epic black metal. Yet for many people black metal must be raw and dark. How's important this “genre” thing to you?
We didn’t want to invent some fake genre that doesn’t exist in a pretentious attempt to make ourselves ‘stand out’. We call it epic black metal because it informs the listener that the songs will be long and include orchestral arrangements juxtaposed with tremolo-picked guitar work and screeching harsh vocals.

7. When it comes to lyrics, you based them on the world of “Malazan Book of the Fallen”. Why did you choose this particular world, and not I.G. very popular now Middle-Earth or Conan's universe?
The Malazan Book of the Fallen is our favourite fantasy series and it allows us a lot of material and thematic elements to explore within the context of our music. Middle-earth is a wonderful literary universe, but it has been done so many times that we couldn’t have possibly added anything new on that front. Robert E. Howard’s hyperborean world is another literary universe that we are very fond of, but its more barbaric, rough-hewn nature and adventurous swords-and-sorcery approach makes it more suited to traditional heavy metal bands like Manilla Road or epic doom metal bands.

8.You also named your band after one of “Malazan...” heroes. Why did you choose Caladan Brood? What is special about this character?
Caladan Brood is a character who wields a vast amount of power, but very little is revealed about him throughout the series. We felt that the aspects of power and mystery made him a fitting character for a band name.

9. What are your plans for the future? Are you currently working on the next album? And which music direction will you choose? There will be more epic tunes or aggression and fury? Or maybe something else?
We are always creating music. Our music will still be the same genre, but we will of course look to develop new themes without our style.

10. I know that currently there are only 2 members in your band, but did you consider to play live gigs?
No, we do not play live gigs.

11. You are bounded with Northern Silence, and it seems that they promote you quite well. They will release a LP version of “Echeos...”, it was your idea to do it? And what do you think about collaboration with them?
Northern Silence usually does vinyl issues of their releases (which is great, since we love listening to music in this format). We love working with Northern Silence; it is a supportive label that is passionate about what it does, and they really let us have creative control over our releases.

12. You told me many people think that you have something in common with vikings and paganism. Is it not strange that even if they can easily check everything via internet, they are still to lazy to do it? Don't you think internet, which should be a tool for getting knowledge, paradoxically make people only more indolent?
Yes, it is strange that so many people are so quick to jump to conclusions. We get called ‘pagan metal’ quite often, which isn’t true at all; we are a non-religious band. Just because there are keyboards in our music doesn’t mean we are religious. But people will think what they’d like to think. Once you’ve released an album, you are no longer in control of how people will percieve it.

13. I touched a paganism topic. I know that there is a growing number of asatru (germanic pagans) in USA. Do you think there is a point in being pagan in America? Also, do you personally have any interest in European myths and legends?
We are definitely interested in European myth, legend, and folklore from a literary standpoint, not a religious one. As for your question as to whether or not there’s any point in being pagan in the United States, I suppose there’s the same point in that as there is in being a member of any religion; it serves some sort of personal reinforcement of a worldview. As for us, as I stated above, we are non-religious people and our music is non-religious music. It is about fantasy literature and themes that tie in with said literature.

14. When I saw a cover art of your debut (great picture by the way), I immadietely thought “they must be from England” hehe. How it is to live and play such a music in this city? To be honest when I think “Salt Lake City” I have only Mormons and Winter Olimpics in my mind haha!
You wouldn’t be alone in that, haha. It’s fine playing this kind of music here. There is a metal scene here, albeit a very small one. In fact, it has probably been beneficial to us since people seem to be curious about hearing a metal band from the land of the Mormons, haha.

15. You seem to be a big fan of fantasy literature, so can you recommend some books and films that you really like?
Besides Malazan, we can recommend the works of Robert E. Howard, the Elric saga by Michael Moorcock, The Black Company and Dread Empire series by Glenn Cook, The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell, The Horus Heresy series (various authors). Some films we’ve enjoyed recently with medieval or fantasy themes include Ironclad, Centurion, and Black Death. Naming things like this that we enjoy is always stressful since we always forget to include important titles, haha. You get the idea, though.

16. Some time ago we could see a new movie by Peter Jacksson – “The Hobbit”. What do you think about it? For me a movie was only OK, but nothing more. They wanted to make another “LOTR” based on the book for kids, and it simply failed...
Well, seeing as The Hobbit is a children’s book, it stands to reason that they’d approach it from the standpoint of a children’s film. It was too cartoony for our tastes, but not a complete failure.

17. OK, last question for you. What was the last metal and last non-metal album that you have listened to and made on you big impression?
This should come as no surprise, but the new Summoning album has of course been wondrous for us, especially with it being such a killer album after such a long wait. As for non-metal, we’ve been enjoying the new Funker Vogt album, as well as ‘Ein Wintermärchen’ by Draumar (a long-time favourite of ours!).

18. Thank you very much for this interview! Last word traditionally belongs to you. Cheers!
Thank you for taking interest in our music. Cheers!

Photos: band's archive.
Interview by Vladyka 2013. Please do not copy this interview without HA'Z permission. Respect the copyrights! 

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