Interview by Gary Spiller for MPM
A few weeks ago on a chilly April morning MPM photographer / reviewer duo Kelly and Gary Spiller headed south to Teignmouth having been given exclusive access by hard-rocking trio Ethyrfield to the set for the video shoot for ‘Remembering the first single to be released from their forthcoming album ‘In Delirium’.
Afterwards Ben (lead guitar / backing vocals), Dan (drums) and Zach (bass guitar and lead vocals) sat down to have a chat with MPM about their impending long player, trombones and lunar phaseology.
MPM – Gents thank you very much for allowing MPM exclusive access to the video shoot for your forthcoming single ‘Remembering’.
Ethyrfield – You’re welcome Gaz.
MPM – The single seems to possess quite an emotive subject, talk us through it please.
Ethyrfield – Well the song was written about a year ago, the song itself is about dementia and not only our experiences of it but of what we thought others were going through when they’re actually experiencing it themselves. A lot of it is based upon things here and there that we heard about the experiences for example how to describe it and also some of the thoughts and feelings they go through.
Also to use some of the terminology that a doctor would give to describe dementia within the song, in some of the lyrics. It’s hard to describe it and in the song we choose words that professionals use and tried to think of it that way.
MPM – It’s got a kind of haunting feel to it.
Ethyrfield – Yes, it’s a dark song.
MPM – Yeah, wow but what a way to introduce the forthcoming album! This is going to be the first single from ‘In Delirium’?
Ethyrfield – Yes it sure is, there is outline plans for a second single but we at the moment this single is the main song for ourselves.
MPM – Your launchpad effectively.
Ethyrfield – Absolutely., exactly. We felt there wasn’t any other songs to open with. It’s the strongest song we can go off with.
MPM – It certainly stands out. There’s nine tracks there on the album that I’ve had the privilege to listen to all of them over the past week. It’s a really strong album and for me it represents a progression; a journey, if you like, from your first EP to the second EP with the track ‘Taurus’ acting as the bridge into this newer material.
Ethyrfield – Thanks! With the first EP we were experimenting with a new sound because at the time we were just dipping our toes into that whole nu-metal thing. We had just come out of pop-punk sound. We completely changed, like everything even the band name! The entire style changed with that first EP and with ‘Taurus’ it was literally that. It’s not intentional at all, it’s just how our songwrting has evolved.
MPM – An organic evolution effectively.
Ethyrfield – Yes and we like with ‘Taurus’ we were still finding our footing. It was like we wanted to be a ‘prog’ band back then but we didn’t know how to write progressive songs back then. It’s not quite as focused as this album is.
MPM – Yeah there’s so much energy channelled into this release. There’s so many different aspects to the album. It’s almost like it’s a cut diamond, multi-faceted. You hear so many different elements. Talk us through some of the influences that have played their part in the creation of ‘In Delirium’.
Ethyrfield – There’s loads of influences on this album. You could go through each song and there would be different ones within each one. Songs like ‘Delirium’ we took heavily from Opeth and Steven Wilson, there’s small jazz-like segments. Just little parts like that, they wouldn’t hold back from doing that stuff. We love that!
MPM – Your influences shine through and are worn proudly but what is the overriding thing for me is that you’re creating a new sound. I think, personally, a gamechanger.
Ethyrfield – Thank you, we certainly like to think we’re going in that direction.
MPM – You’re not going to get yourselves categorised in one metaphysical box.
Ethyrfield – Yeah we think that’s because we’re too ADD to stay the same thing over and over again, we get bored of the same genre so that’s why it’s so multi-faceted. It’s all over the place (in terms of musical style) because we can’t just focus on one thing!
MPM – Absolutely, the first track ‘River’ it’s like ‘Wow! That’s so unexpected.’
Ethyrfield – Yeah, that’s the plan of it!
MPM – What a way to start an album!
Ethyrfield – With our two EPs the fanbase we do have will have expectations; but with this album is a bit of jump from that. So why not give them the most ‘they will not be expecting this’ sort of moment in ‘River’.
MPM – Totally, we don’t want to give away too many details just yet but it’s such an unexpected and thoroughly enjoyable experience. It sets up the rest of the album really nicely.
Ethyrfield – Cheers, that was our thinking behind it. We’ll throw the ‘weird’ one out there straight away and set the tone. There’s lots of moments like those in ‘River’ that make appearances throughout the album.
MPM – That’s for sure, for me ‘In Delirium’ isn’t a straightforward rock album in the AC/DC vein.
Ethyrfield – Definitely not.
MPM – This is something else; it’s got a classical feel to it without being outright classical. Sort of a lunar feel where the songs go through different passages. Would that be how you looked at it, designed it?
Ethyrfield – Yes, we definitely thought of it more structure-wise way. We tried to be more picky about it, the structures had to make sense to us. It wasn’t like a simple song strucure where you’ve got verse, chorus, verse chorus.
MPM – And repeat!
Ethyrfield – Yeah, in terms of songwriting there’s a lot of criticism on our own part. Where we’d criticise our own songs and analyze it. We’d think ‘Is it getting boring at this point?’ We’d think ok let’s cut that part back, let’s make this part come in further or come in earlier at this point. It makes it more like pleasant to the ears and easier to listen to.
MPM – Yes! You’re almost wandering along in one direction then suddenly it jumps. Not in a nasty, caustic sort of a way but just a shift that …..
Ethyrfield – It takes you somewhere else. It’s so we don’t loose the listener. It’s all about keeping them engaged in that sort of mindset. It’s what all our favourite bands do. Exactly why we do like ‘Prog’ so much. They can have a ‘growling death-metal’ section and then go into a more gentle section.
MPM – And why not? ‘In Delirium’ is just a beautiful melding of so many different things I think you’ve created an ‘Ethyrfield’ sound.
Ethyrfield – Thank you. It’s what we’ve been trying to do since ‘Taurus’ really.
MPM – And now you’ve set the bar really high. How do you follow that?
Ethyrfield – It’s going to be quite the tough sort of thing to do with that we think. We’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing so far. We don’t think ‘Oh yeah we can definitely write songs that are better than that in the future’ but we’ll see where things take ourselves.
MPM – This album has been some time in coming and a number of cracking tracks like ‘Blisters’ have fallen to one side in that time.
Ethyrfield – Yeah, songs that we liked and were relevant. ‘Blisters’ was a really old song and we think that it ties in to the whole self-analysis and self-criticism of that. In a way we’d say that time structure-wise ‘Overgrown’ kind of took over from that song.
In our minds ‘Overgrown’ was a better version of it. We couldn’t include ‘Blisters’ with ‘Overgrown’ already selected. It just made sense to us at the time really. It was purely about what are the strongest songs we have. Some of the songs were only written a couple of months before the actual recording of the album. ‘Remembering’ was the last one that was written and kind of shows, we think, that throughout that entire period our songwriting was at it’s best towards the end.
MPM – It’s certainly maturing for sure; like a fine wine if you wish to utilise an anology. There’s so many emotive subjects in there, a lot of meaning and I hope that other people pick that up.
Ethyrfield – Yes, there’s a lot of meaning in those lyrics epsecially at the mid-point of the album. We took a lot of care to really focus upon the lyrics; more than we had done before.
We’re not just trying to tell a story like a fantastical one. We’d like to do that but for us there’s a lot more emotional attachment to songs when you really have put your own personal experiences into the words.
It’s not to say telling a story is a bad thing because we’ve done that on this album too and there’s some really good lyrics on them also. However, there’s more attachment to the song when it relates personally to yourself.
MPM – The album it’s a lovely, full sound that, in my opinion, that’s been enhanced by the keyboards. Tell us a bit about them and who provided those for you.
Ethyrfield – So the keyboards came around because this was the first time we’ve done pre-production. So there was a lot of preparation before going into the studio. We spent about eight months doing the guitars, programming the drums and so forth because we didn’t have the means of recording them.
MPM – Sort of like a homegrown studio?
Ethyrfield – Yeah, exactly. While we was doing the songs in some of the demos that didn’t make it we wondered what we could add to make things sound bigger and better. We thought about adding Hammond organ.
MPM – Yes because that Hammond sound really swirls around, entwining itself to the song.
Ethyrfield – Yes, precisely and it was by doing that first step we realised ok keyboards can be something that we can do. So we put loads of keys on it and when we went to the studio we put on even more than was on the demos because we felt it was such a good idea! That was thanks to our producer Josiah Manning (Kris Barras Band). He knows his stuff and he did loads of piano work and electric organ as well.
It added so much to the sound. It’s always something we’ve been intimidated by because you never want to make something big for what we can do live.
MPM – Yes, that brings me neatly on to your next steps going forward. Do you envisage yourselves expanding with keyboards?
Ethyrfield – Yes for sure; we toying with an extra guitarist at some point and keys for sure. Although the three piece, although we like it, will have to go eventually. Maybe even an eight piece trombone section. Brass! That could be the next album perhaps (laughs!)
MPM – You’ve wrapped up the video for ‘Remembering’ today. Jonny Finnis (Reigning Days) has done a fantastic job I feel.
Ethyrfield – Yes we’ve worked with him before. He’s really good at what he does and a great guy as well. He actually made one of our very first music videos. ‘Show Me God’ had a video produced by him and there was another music video from when we were about ten, but we won’t tell where you can find that one!
MPM – I’m sure the good public can find that one if they google hard enough. It’s pretty evident you’ve used the lockdown period to maximum benefit by producing ‘In Delirium’. What’s your plans going forward this year and into next?
Ethyrfield – It’s really about getting out there and shoving it down everyone’s throats. Force everyone to listen to our music! Seriously though we truly want to get back on to the gigging scene; it’s one of the main things we’re going to do. Having this long stretch of time without any gigs has made us hungry.
MPM – You had the gig down at ‘The Yard’ in Cornwall with King Creature and Daxx & Roxanne.
Ethyrfield – Yeah that was the first time back for a long time and it’s been a while since then to now. That was back in September. It’s been rough for us as musicians; we’ve gigging regularly since we were nine or ten. So for all that to suddenly stop is a shock to the system; we’ve got to sharpen up in terms of practise and so on. We’re raring to go.
MPM – You’ve got a great platform to build upon from the performances at Giants of Rock, Bloodstock and Hard Rock Hell.
Ethyrfield – For sure and we’re looking forward to getting back on the stage at such events as HRH NWOCR in Leicester in the new year. Before then we’re at Love Rocks in June and SOS Festival in July amongst others.
Remembering’ is released on Monday 3rd May and the official video is on the official Ethyrfield Youtube channel.
Release day is going to be a busy one for the band with Emerging Rock Bands Radio, who have been very supportive of the trio, giving ‘Remembering’ it’s first spin across the airwaves on release date as dj’s Dean Parker and Will Parker play the track on their shows between 7pm and 10pm.
Additionally a revamped website goes live the same day to mark the official launch of the single with pre-orders for ‘In Delirium’ being available shortly afterwards.
Given that the collective age of the band is just 55 years to put out such a professional video, a top notch album is a fantastic achievement with all things considered but then add in the fact that this project is a completely homegrown venture. Entirely funded from within the families of the band with no label or agencies assisting this is an amazing feat. Here’s to the very future of rock in my humblest of opinions.
Catch Ethyrfield live at ….
12 June – Love Rocks Festival, Dorset
19 June – Supporting Sons of Liberty at Thekla, Bristol
2 – 4 July – SOS Festival, Manchester
25 September – Cardiff Live supporting Scarlet Rebels at Fuel, Cardiff
11 – 14 November – HRH ABC, Great Yarmouth
22 – 23 January – HRH NWOCR – O2 Academy, Leicester
30 April – Station 18 Festival, Hangar 18, Swansea
Photography by Kelly Spiller