The band Order of Thelema are a killer black/doom band and here is an interview with keyboatd player Amie:
Tell me how the band formed and were you in any bands prior to the release?
The band formed in December of 2013; Adam and Jason had been playing in another non-metal band for the last five or so years and had just left that band. Musically, Adam has always been heavy into black and doom metal so when he left the previous band he made it a point that he was going back to his roots and the music that he has always been into. Adam, Jason, and Gary started writing the first songs and for a few months it was just the three of them. They were discussing the need for a keyboard player and who they could possibly bring in, that’s when I mentioned that I would like to do it. Finding a bass player was another issue; Matt was the last one to join the band after months of searching. When he came in the first time and jammed with us, it just clicked and we all knew he was our bass player.
How did the band come up with their name and were any other band names considered? Who designed the logo?
We wanted a name that had more of an “occult” feel. We tried to sway away from the typical black metal names, i.e. less Satan and more occult, but still keeping a dark feeling overall. The occult and left-hand path are major influences in our music so it was only natural that the name reflect that. Really there were no other names considered, we went without a name for a long time. When Adam threw the name out we were all like, “Yeah, that’s the name!” The logo was done by Gragoth at Luciferium War Graphics; he did an amazing job bringing our music into the logo.
At what point in life did music start to enter your life and how did you come to discover the underground?
I have been around music my entire life. My father has played music since he was a kid and I really got my love of music from him. It wasn’t until around 1996 that I got into the underground. I actually met Adam, Gary, and Jason when they were playing together back then. I went to see them play the first night that I met them. I met Matt soon after that too when he jammed with them for awhile. At this time Adam was also playing guitar for the atmospheric doom band Thorns of the Carrion; a short time later Gary joined Thorns of the Carrion as well. That was my first real look into the underground metal scene. I started working on my first zine soon after that as well, meeting a ton of bands and trading tapes and CDs (back when we used to have to use the “real” mail!). We were all kids back then and here we are 18+ years later jamming together. It’s amazing!
At what point did you start to play keyboards and did you take lessons and how long have you been playing keyboards for?
You know it’s kind of funny that you should ask that; Adam, Gary, and Jason started jamming together last December (2013). They were brainstorming ideas for potential members and I asked if I could give it a shot. I joined the band in February of this year (2014). So, to answer your question, I’ve been playing keyboards for about 9 months now. No previous lessons or musical ability to speak of. I grew up around musicians (my father being one of them) and I’ve always had the desire to play music. I guess you can say that I’m getting my chance.
What are some other keyboard players you like?
Oh, man! That’s a tough one. There are so many great keyboard players. First and foremost, Ray Manzarek of The Doors for sure; he was a legend! Martin Powell is another personal favorite; My Dying Bride is still one of my all-time favorite bands.
How does a song come together and are you involved in any of the song writing at all?
Usually Adam or Gary will come in with a riff or a stripped down song, we’ll jam the basic idea and see how it feels. If we think it’s something worth keeping we’ll move forward and start working out melodies, lyrics, arrangements, etc... Once the song is completed, that still doesn’t mean we are keeping it, we’ll play songs for a few weeks before we decide to keep it or scrap it. The song has to have atmosphere and feeling to it, every song has a meaning or personal experience behind it. We are very adamant about not just writing a dark song just to write something. If a song feels rushed or flat to us we would rather scrap it and work on writing something better. I do write all of my own keyboard parts, however, and give my input as the songs go through the building process.
Now where is the band based out of and are there many places to play down your way?
We are based out of Florence, KY which is about 10 minutes south of Cincinnati. Yeah, actually there are quite a few places to play around here; we have a pretty active metal scene in our area.
Has the band played live a lot and what is your live show like and are any live clips up on sites like You Tube?
No, we actually haven’t played out live yet. As a group we decided that we were going to take things slow and really focus on writing quality songs before playing out. Listening back to early versions of the songs on our demo, there is a very noticeable difference, the songs changed considerably and for the better. We didn’t want to start playing out early on and be playing songs that weren’t ready to be heard.
I have a copy of your excellent demo which came out in 2014. How was it going into the studio and is this the bands 1st release?
Thank you! We’re glad that you enjoyed it. Recording this demo was an absolute blast. We actually started recording on my birthday which held even more meaning to me personally. We really enjoy the recording process, for us that’s where the songs come to life. Through our entire writing process we come up with little things for each song, things like whispers in certain spots or layered keyboard to add atmosphere. Once the basic tracks are recorded that’s when we get the chance to go in and add these little pieces. You may not hear them all on your first or even second listen, but over time you start to pick up new things that you may not have heard before. We love to experiment with the tracks; there are things such as whispers, chants, and we even used backmasking on one of the tracks.
This was our first release; we have recorded other individual tracks, but those were more for us. When we recorded the demo we really felt that the songs were finally at their best and ready to be heard.
Have you sent any copies of your demo to any record companies yet or do you plan to in the future?
We haven’t submitted the demo to any record labels. We will probably hold off until we record the full length album, which we plan on releasing around the beginning of the New Year.
For somebody who has not heard the band, what would you say the band sounds like?
Honestly, we don’t really identify with any other band(s). If we have to put a label on our sound, then we say atmospheric black doom metal. We all bring different musical influences to the table, but we try to keep them at just that, influences only. We would rather let something influence us over trying to sound exactly like someone or something else. Other than that, we leave it up to the listener to decide.
Tell me a bit about each other band member.
Gary – Guitar/Vocals (ex-Thorns of the Carrion)
Adam – Guitar/Vocals (ex- Thorns of the Carrion)
Amie – Keyboard/Vocals
Jason – Percussion
Matt – Bass/Acoustic Guitar
What are some of your favorite bands that you are into?
We all have such a wide variety of musical tastes. Adam is into mostly black and doom metal currently a lot of French Canadian bands such as Sorcier des Glaces and Monarque. Gary is also really into doom and black metal; he’s currently been listening to My Dying Bride, Behemoth, and Twilight (US). Jason is more outside the norm, so to speak, he’s into a lot of psychedelic rock as well as stoner doom and atmospheric black metal such as Drudkh and Agalloch. Matt and I are also all over the place with what we’re currently listening to. I’ve been currently listening to a lot of older Ancient Rites stuff. I really dig The Diabolical Serenades album from 1994. I almost always have The 3rd and the Mortal’s album Tears Laid in Earth on repeat as well.
In any given week how much time is spent doing band related stuff.
Between rehearsal, personal practice time, the recent demo release, answering emails, and promo stuff, we’ve been staying pretty busy with it. It’s certainly an everyday daily task for sure, but we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you at all ever feel restricted being behind your keyboards?
Hell yeah! You should see the small corner that I play in at rehearsal. I trip over cords and unplug shit every time that I go behind my keyboards. No, but in all seriousness, I love playing keyboards and I’m beyond honored that I get to play with such an amazing group of musicians. I do a few “spoken word” and singing parts on the demo as well. I have input in pretty much everything we do; we keep things very equal and balanced.
Horns up for the interview, do you have any last words to wrap this up?
Horns up to you, Chris for the interview! For anyone who might be interested, our demo is still available as a free download over at http://orderofthelema.bandcamp.com so go download it. Stay true and stay underground!