Interview with Enthauptung – Atmospheric Black Metal from Buffalo

I recently spoke with  Daniel from Enthauptung we talked about all sorts of cool shit, Astral Projection, The Adirondack Mountain range in upstate New York and playing gigs in abandoned grain silos – read on

* So one of the toughest things most bands find is coming up with a cool band name since most of the good ones are “already taken”. If I am not mistaken Enthauptung means Decapitation or decapitated? How did you come up with the name?
You are correct that Enthauptung means decapitation, in german. The idea to use this as our band name was brought forth by a former member whom discovered the word whilst studying music by a German composer known as Arnold Schönberg. We enjoy the aesthetic of Enthauptung, feeling it fits well with the trend in black metal to have a name of foreign origin and of difficult pronunciation. We use Enthauptung simply as a name, and not for the meaning of beheading. We don’t want people thinking it’s used for the sake of titling ourselves after decapitation, so we don’t discuss the origin of the name unless asked.

* You guys play a nice blend of Atmospheric Black metal, I like it a lot – how did you guys end up creating music like that ? I mean did you start by listening to Slipknot and Metallica as your gate way bands and soon found yourselves immersed in DSBM? or was there one person in the band who led the charge musically or?
Oh man… talking about where our sound came from could take me all day, I’ll try to answer efficiently. Our style is a powerful blend of everyone who has contributed to our creative process. I started this band with some college peers when I was an undergrad, inspired deeply by USBM bands such as Krallice and Wolves in the Throne Room. Simultaneously, our drummer at the time and I were playing tech death metal on the side. Through this we brought in Joe who currently plays guitar with us. The death metal wasn’t really going anywhere so we decided to focus strictly on black metal. However, the roots in tech death spurred lots of the characteristics that define us such as odd time/rhythm patterns, intricate harmonies, and scarce repetition. We have gone through quite a few lineup changes but I am incredibly grateful and fortunate to have always surrounded myself with superb musicians. Our current line up is the best I could ever imagine it being and all of us are strongly contributing to the creative process. Joe and I both have backgrounds in jazz, Jason is clearly very well disciplined and trained in theory, and Derrick is questionably superhuman considering how great he is as a self taught drummer. Derrick has yet to record with us and we are extremely excited to do so. All of us have backgrounds and interests in a wide range of metal subgenres, and other genres as well (jazz, post rock, folk…). We choose to play atmospheric black metal with this eclectic background in mind which contributes to our uniqueness.

* How was the recording process for the album Adirondack and were you guys happy with the entire process and finished outcome?
Adirondack was self recorded and produced at Joe’s personal studio. We did a great job with it and are extremely satisfied; however, naturally we have our gripes with it. A few drum parts were conceived on the fly, vocals were all recorded in one day on a thrown out voice, and the time to mix and master was rushed based on deadlines. I think most listeners would never notice or complain, but we as the creators will always look back on it lingering on what we should have done differently.

* You guys sing about some pretty bleak subjects..what inspires your lyric writing?
The themes of my lyrics have ranged over time, from depression and negative emotions early on, to themes on dreaming and psychedelic experiences, to concepts on fantasy, desire, and the unknown. One thing that remains constant is that the lyrics will always be a reflection of myself, my emotions, and my experiences. I’ll never waste time singing about idiology, religion, or social commentary.

* Songs like distortions in space (from your last EP A forming Void) seem to me to be about astral projection? If so do you practice? Any weird experiences with it?
You are close there. Inducing altered dream states and dream journaling have been massive influences on me, and generate a strong sense of imagination and creativity. I’ve written lyrics about Astral projection, and I practice AP alongside lucid dreaming. Distortions in space; however, is about a salvia trip I had when I was younger. It was a very traumatizing hallucination, but also incredibly eye opening. Circadian/Petrichor are songs about lucid dreaming and AP. The lyrics to circadian that are printed in the Paths Forgotten insert are directly extracted from a lucid dreaming experience I had where I was alone in a desolate landscape coated in pine trees and standing knee deep in snow. Despite alone and in the cold, I felt at peace. It was absurdly realistic, I recall the setting vividly to this day. I didn’t want to wake up, and after I woke up I thought about it all day… I just wanted to go back.

* What do you think has been the biggest change in Black metal in the last 15 years?
Black metal can be pretty sounding  nowadays. Debatably…

* You guys are all the way up in Buffalo right? (To be honest at first I thought you guys were from some weird little mountain town in the Adirondacks – that would have been cool too) How’s the scene in Buffalo? do you find you play more Canadian shows than NY state shows?
I WISH we could live in the Adirondacks. Unfortunately the Adirondacks don’t have concert venues. Or jobs. Enthauptung is based out of Buffalo, though I moved to Maryland for a valuable job opportunity, a decision I’ve been fighting to come to terms with. The buffalo scene is small but close knit, and some of my best friends I’ll ever have are a part of the scene there. Partnering up with Rochester, we’ve got tons of talent and a lot of great people who are all friends with one another. We don’t get huge shows or massive headliners, but we get intimate crowds and plenty of talented acts visiting our DIY venues. Lastly, Enthauptung has never played in Canada, nobody has ever reached out to us. We’d love to though.

* What’s been the best gig you guys have played to date? and why was it?
Our album release for Adirondack. It was surreal… Through a lucky set of circumstances we were able to set up a show inside an abandoned grain factory, and had bands play inside a (150 foot?) tall concrete grain silo. It was November. It was cold. It was dark. It was windy and we didn’t have much shelter from the increasing winds, but we did have bonfires and crockpots filled with chili. We lit the pitch black interior with candles and dark red/blue stage lights. It was the single most raw and DIY shit I’ll ever see in my life. When we were loading in, my friend placed a snare down and gave it one hit inside the silo and it reverberated for perhaps 10 seconds, shooting chills up my spine, letting me know we were about to experience something insane. At the end of our set during an encore, the winds picked up to violent levels as it began hailing while we concluded our set with circadian. Candles and empty beer cans flew all around us as we collectively realized we had summoned a fucking hurricane.

* Do you have any plans for touring – either the US or Europe or like many BM bands do you just plan to play “events”?
We would like to tour, yes. I believe in 2018 we will have had time to spread more word and expand our network such that we can set one up. It will happen one day, I won’t allow myself to have it not happen.

* Have the band played NYC before? if so how was it? I presume you guys have all visited NYC in the past?
We have never played NYC. Comparing ourselves to a few of the bands in Brooklyn, I think we’d be received well there. I cant speak on behalf of the other members, but I have a love hate relationship with NYC. None the less I’d love to experience playing out there and channel the energy of such a large, exciting area into our performance.

* What can we expect musically for the next album?
We are halfway through writing a new album. Our next album will follow the same trend our previous releases have followed; a continued expansion towards a better version of what we already do. Faster playing, better harmonies, more eclectic, better production… We are not changing our style, nor or we capping out our capability. We are just continuing to produce a better version of what we already do.

* Any final words? Shout outs to friends and family?
I firstly want to thank you for reaching out to us for this. It means a lot to underground musicians every time someone new takes interest to what they do. I secondly want to give a shout out to people who still take the time to listen to 10+ minute songs in full. Desire for instant gratification is all too common these days, and if you are taking the time to listen to our extensive songs in full I hope you find it rewarding.