Interviews page - last updated December 18th, 2007
INTERVIEW WITH ETHODIUS
Done by email from Gira777@aol.com
How did the idea for Ethodius come about and when did you establish the band?
A friend of mine, Lynn, from the SCA, a group that is dedicated to researching and recreating pre-17th-century European history, found the name Ethodius for me. She had a red thin hard cover book dealing with ancient and medieval names and found the name Ethodius. She pointed the name out to me and immediately it caught my attention. Ethodius was also the name of two Scottish kings, Ethodius I and Ethodius II. Ethodius was established around 1993 although I have been working with sequencers as far back as 1991 and playing piano since 1984.
What made you choose the name Ethodius for this band?
Ethodius is a name that goes back before the Medieval Times. This was a time in which men and women were able to relate and exist for the most part on a very equal level. The Vikings and how they ran the ships were a good example of this. Today the treatment of women in some workplaces differs significantly from the privileges in which men receive, even though both may have the same amount of credentials. This early time period was also a time in which both men and women were alowed and expected to express a fair amount of appreciation twards each other by way of appearance and persona. Today, in some parts of society, these permissions and expectations do not exist in the same manner. During most of these early time periods, expression was done in the style of costuming but it was also done and just as importantly with persona. Men and women were allowed and expected to be cordial towards each other in a very ballanced manner. Today, in some parts of society, men and women are treated quite a bit more differently from each other by a way of more contrasting dress codes, roles, and personas.
This early period in time also consisted of great conflict between people that had different viewpoints towards certain religious beliefs. There was a great deal of conflict between the Pagans and the Christians. It is also recommended that "The Commentary" be read.
Where there any other bands that you were in before this project?
There was one I was in for a very short time over in Ypsi., Michigan. I can't remember it's name. They didn't seem too serious. Most of the people in the band kept drinking quite a bit during rehearsal time. There are some musicians that can get away with this like Tom Waits. I think drinking kept the band from accomplishing its good.
Are there any side projects in the works?
Aside from Ethodius, I have to keep up on my keyboard and/or acoustic piano playing and practicing. I work on music that is quite demanding, material by Dubussy, Beethoven and others. I have a few peices recorded to DAT which I am striving to refine as well as I can.
What equipment do you use and does it vary?
I use all Tascam recording equipment and two sound modules: The Ensoniq ASR-10 and Kurzweil K2000. Yes, it varies quite a bit. For example, 'A Noted Reunion...." was done with the ASR-10 alone. The Deepest Voice was done mostly with the K2000. For post-production (or touching up mixdowns) I have used Digidesign Session 2.0. Some may find this software old and limited, but I have found it to work for my needs, so I still plan on using it because some small features don't work the same way even in Protools 3.2. Some tracks don't get any post-production work like the two tracks I mentioned in this paragraph mainly because I didn't feel like the EQs didn't need any further adjustments.
With the samples from Excalibur, Guinevere, and Brides of Christ what prompt you to pick those particular movies and samples?
The tone of the samples in general are what I look for at first, but what they say is more important. They are all samples that have quite a bit of substance in both the way they are spoken and what they say. "The Commentary" helps to explain how the samples tie in with the meaning of what the album is about. The samples from Brides of Christ remind the listener that there is still quite a bit of conflict in our world that stems quite a bit from different religious beliefs or the desire for someone to discard Christianity.
Is there a Theme for the entire CD or do separate songs have separate stories behind them?
It may seem that the theme of the CD at first glance is about the Medieval times, and to a certain point that is true, but overall the CD is about our society as it is now in comparison to what it was like back then. It also is about how one may feel about issues such as religion like in the track 'A Noted Reunion....'. Some of the material such as The Deepest Voice may just help one reflect on ones own emotions and feelings in general.
I noticed that religion was a strong theme for Ethodius is there a reason for this ?
Religion was something that was presented to me at a very young age so as a result it still tends to affect me. I don't like to uphold religion as the most important issue, because being spiritual is more important. Music is a form of being spiritual for me, not as much as being religious. The reason I say this is because when I think of religion, I think to some degree of simply believing in printed words. Music goes far beyond this and so does spirituality or the emphasis on ones deepest feelings.
Where do you see Ethodius in say five years?
Hopefully with at least two more full length CDs.
What direction do you see Industrial, Darkwave, Gothic, and Electronica music headed in?
To be honest I would like to listen to quite a few more of the newer albums both underground and popular to give an accurate answer. Industrial and Gothic are two very subjective terms right now. What most people consider 'gothic' I would only consider 'darkwave'. OES or Ordo Equitum Solis plays a different version of the same piece on two of their albums that I would consider to be a very good example of what is 'gothic' It is a piece called 'Reis Glorios by the composer Guiraut de Borneil. He lived and composed right within the gothic period (1150 AD-1450 AD) . Because of this I don't really care to use the term gothic to describe the modern bands like Clock DVA which is very much synth driven, and as a result more in the electro or EBM vein. There are quite a few good underground bands right now that play out around here like Rhea's Obsession. They are the Dead Can Dance of the new day. I believe that the direction of new music in general is quite strong. There will always be fads, but there will also be other great bands, you just might have to look for them more than what is advertised by the media.
Are you school trained or self taught musicians?
School trained. I have had serious piano lessons for over ten years now.
Is there a sort of mysticism underlined in your music ?
I like to record things that sound that way quite a lot. It is good if an artist can make something sound 'enchanted' or 'mystic' without spelling it right out in black and white.
There does seem to be an ethereal romantic presence is that intended?
It is intended for all the tracks on the self-titled CD to be of a more slow and mellow nature if that is what you mean. The romantic presence is not completely intended, but my belief is that it is from the strong classical and romantic influences such as Beethoven mentioned earlier in the interview.
What bands influence Ethodius? What bands do you listen to ?
SPK, OES, Glod, and Dead Can Dance along with quite a few others have all influenced Ethodius. Other artists with a bit of material coming from a few different genres. The local metal scene is quite active right now with places like Harpos that have been booking bands like Satyricon from overseas. There's also new artists coming out of the scene in Norway which are quite good such as Pazuzu. That's interesting because Pazuzu is a non-metal project, but is promoted well in the metal scene. The same is true of Mortiis, former bassist of Emperor. I know that these bands have had an influence on the compositional or emotional aspect of Ethodius. There are a few other bands that are 'off on a tangent' so to speak such as The Durutti Column and The Arts of Noise that have been influential. There's also some other great avant-garde bands somewhere in between the Alternative and Classical genres like 'Kronos Quartet' and 'Dreaming of Beauty' that are fantastic.
Have you ever performed live and if so what was the performance like or consist of?
Ethodius has not performed live, but I have played in a fair amount of acoustic piano concerts. Sometimes as a soloist, other times with other musicians playing other instruments. Events like the MSBOA (Michigan State Band & Orchestra Association), and Interlochen.
Are there any rumors or strange events surrounding Ethodius?
The only thing that I can think of that may be worth bringing up is why I am not currently taking keyboard or piano lessons right now. The main reason is that I don't want there to be any excuse for me to not get this Ethodius material out there in best possible form. When I am talking lessons, It would take up quite a bit of my resources each week for the lesson, and I would need to practice for hours each day. That would really limit the time that I could spend with Ethodius. I need to get Ethodius out there now so that I will have time to promote it in the future.
When should we expect some new material?
Demo tapes are now being made for 'The Aesthetic Myth' The CD should be nearing completion around the end of this year.
Do you have any advice for struggling musicians in this or any music field?
As long as you are able to pay your bills with your job, then record the kind of music that you believe in.
When should we expect a tour?
Playing out is very difficult for Ethodius because of the studio setup. It is hard to say. More investments will need to be made for some more equipment to make playing out more practical.
Do you think creativity in music has suffered because of the clone bands copying NIN ,Marilyn Manson, Skinny Puppy, and Black Tape for A Blue Girl?
I don't think that creativity itself has suffered. I don't feel like I am the one to judge whether or not these bands are creative or promoting creativity. I do believe though that there needs to be a stronger message to people sent from the media that tells them that a certain kind of mindset is more important than wearing a certain kind of T-shirt. A Visual is important but it should not be regarded as the most important thing above a positive or artistic mindset. I don't hear this from the media very much at all. I sometimes hear this when I get into a conversation with someone. My music teachers have stopped me in the middle of a piece because I was just playing the notes and not the music. This is something that should be taught to everyone who wants to even listen to music.
In your opinion do you see the States cornering the market on Ethereal etc. or is Europe beating us out of the market?
I would like to do more research on this, but from what I have seen, I think that the market is somewhat equal. I can not get any of the CDs by Pazuzu, who are signed to a label in Norway at any of the stores around here. I think that is rather unfortunate, as they are quite good. I would have to ask some people I know in Norway and Sweden about how they obtained the import CDs that they have. I know they are quite familiar with the bands like Black Tape for a Blue Girl and the other projekt recording artists, but they might of obtained those CDs from being on the internet, so it is hard for me to tell anyone what the market is like over there. OES is from Europe and quite a few people know about them here in the states. When they played here four years ago, there was a local band called Glod that also played so it is hard for me to say who was there to see which band, but some were there to see both. There were around 200 people there and I would say that isn't too bad for an underground concert.
Final words you like to share no matter how bizarre?
Your questions have been helpful in having me explain Ethodius to other people and I appreciate that.
I would like to thank Ethodius for talking with us. The romantic and cultural
tones of this CD is fantastic. I hope that Ethodius keeps doing music like
this for years to come. If you are inquiring about the Cd contact
firstname.lastname@example.org. Until then remember THE POETRY AND MUSIC WITHIN CAN STIR
THE BEAST WITHIN!!!!!!!!!
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McAllister interviews Ethodius in the summer of 1999 : Read