Old Corpse Road and their recently released debut album "'Tis Witching Hour... As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom” have attracted a lot of attention for their heartfelt music and the "awards” they received in the extreme music media. Therefore it seemed urgent to have a conversation with one of the best bands of the moment, so here’s the interview with The Dreamer…
The band name was taken from the road of the same name which rises out of the Haweswater valley and leads to Mardale. What is so special about this place in particular that made you use it?
We have spent a lot of our time in the Lake District camping and walking so the place is very special for us. On top of this we have a tradition amongst our friends where we go to the Lake District annually to indulge in a weekend of black metal, drinking and walking. One of our favourite haunts is Haweswater and walking the Old Corpse Road The name itself has such deep rooted meaning in the lore of the place so it was a very natural choice for us.
The debut album "'Tis Witching Hour... As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom” has been released in November last year. Have the expectations you had for it been met by now?
I think we have more than exceeded what we hoped for, we wanted to write an album that would feel personal and enthralling to the listener. The main goal of the album was for it to be a journey and experience and from the reviews and feedback people have really understood the album well.
According to Old Corpse Road’s site "This album release marks a huge milestone for the band and is the dawn of the next era.” Why is that?
For us as a band the album has been a long journey with many hurdles and setbacks along the way. During the period of recording I was suffering a herniated disc in my spine and The Bearer was expecting his first child. We struggled to find time whilst working, playing live and life in general so completing the album was an achievement for us. It proved to us we could overcome most of what life threw at us and come out fighting. The new era has seen us recruit a new guitarist The Seer as The Revenant is currently suffering a very severe hearing infection.
Why did you feel the need to print a special run of the debut that includes a stone taken from the actual Old Corpse Road housed in a velvet pouch?
We are great lovers of collectable CD’s and thought it was an interesting way of making a special version of the cd. The stone fragments were collected from the beginning of the actual Old Corpse Road on Haweswater by the band. It was our hope that people could connect with the band and the road itself by having a physical aspect of it in their possession.
"'Tis Witching Hour... As Spectres we Haunt this Kingdom” has received amazing reviews. How do you feel about having your work recognized and highly recommended?
It’s a wonderful feeling, a lot of hard work and passion went into the creation of the album from the music to lyrics to the artwork. We wanted to create an album that defined us, as well as creating an atmospheric experience. So the great reviews have inspired us to continue further...
Old Corpse Road create classic British black metal fused with the passion and atmospheres created by British folk tales. Plus, your site has one page titled Folklore which includes a few subcategories and in which you provide links. How important is Folklore for you?
Folklore is the driving force behind the music we create, it allows us to connect with places and sites in a meaningful way as well as allowing us insights into how our ancestors viewed and experienced the same locations. The interaction between man and nature combined with history is a very beautiful thing to us.
I read on your myspace that "Lyrically each song is your interpretation of a folktale. Each lyric has several real world factors such as location and cultural effects, these factors allow our listeners to connect to the music beyond just their imagination.” Does this still apply to the new album?
Very much so, as you read the lyrics you will find aspects of places and locations throughout the UK, the intention is that you can visit these places knowing their stories. For example the Glassensikes is walking distance from my house. It is renowned throughout Darlington for its hauntings. Its large houses are still there (as mentioned in the song) so there is a physical presence, there are the stories still told by the townsfolk and there are the legends...
What are the main topics behind the lyrics in your songs?
The lyrical topics we have covered range through many different spectral, otherwordly and legendary beings such as the harbinger of death known as the Hag of the Mist who haunts families in Wales. We have also written about Isobel who is very important in Witchlore and is responsible for much of what people think about witches. With this release the lyrical concepts are all very dark and there is a distinct connection with death and fear.
Were you surprised to be Terrorizer’s number 1 "Best Newcomer” and number 2 "Best Unsigned Act”?
Yes, totally blown away by the support we received. We are so grateful for the support from our listeners!
Were you expecting this at all?
Not in the slightest, we found out via a random post on one of our social sites and were totally blown away.
You can’t really be considered newcomers, can you? Because in 2009 Old Corpse Road unleashed their first demo "The Echoes of Tales Once Told" which also got awesome reviews.
I guess strictly speaking we are not new comers, however as we are self managed and don’t have any financial backing, it’s been a slow journey getting our name out there and gaining exposure.
What is so special about your music that seems to attract everyone?
That is difficult for us to answer as I guess only the listeners can truly say. From the people I have spoken to the ideas I’ve picked up is that they are able to create strong connections with the songs due to the mix of legend, folklore and real world aspects. The music connects man and nature in a meaningful and positive way, which is maybe a different approach to your typical hate fuelled and negative black metal.
As far as gigs are concerned, if I’m not mistaken you mainly play in the UK. Do you consider yourselves a live band? Are you hoping you will start playing live more often? Is there any particular venue or festival you’d love to play at?
We are most definitely a live band and we will play anywhere we can! We play almost every gig we get offered and actively seek out opportunities. The only things that tend to stop us are work commitments (we all work full time) and financial constraints. I don’t think we could name one specific festival because there are so many good ones. For us our main goal is to play outside of the UK. So any festival in Europe would be a great starting point!
The label Godreah Records has a few great names in its catalogue. How was the process of trying to find a label to release your work? How is it sharing labels with such awesome names?
Our experience of the music industry so far has been "interesting”, we found it very difficult getting answers, feedback etc. from bigger labels. We have a fantastic relationship with Godreah records. Crin’s dedication to the underground and black metal scene is unrelenting so to continue on Godreah is perfect for us. There is something very special about the label, its bands and its simplicity that makes for a comfortable home for us.
These days many Black Metal bands have abandoned their pseudonyms, yet OCR still use them because the personal identities are unimportant to the music you produce. However, the pseudonyms you use are totally different from the ones used in Black Metal. Why did you choose to be The Bearer, The Watcher, The Revenant and The Dreamer?
To be honest the names were chosen by each member for varying reasons which are now lost in the lore of the band. The main goal was for the names to appear simple, to have no specific meaning and therefore attract no attention. As you have already noted we prefer to be seen as a whole and not individuals.
Share a final message with the Pest readers!
Thanks for the interesting questions. Further information on the band can be found at www.oldcorpseroad.co.uk. A big thanks to all the promoters, reviewers and especially the fans for supporting the band and buying our releases. Running a band is an expensive business and without this support the band simply could not keep running!
Questions by Sonia Fonseca
Answers by The Dreamer