Magazine December 2009/January 2010. English translation.
Interview by Breda Massmann
Okay, so the most obvious question first: what have you been up to in the past five years? Why the relatively long break between „Unholy Burial“ and „Eminence Of Demons“?
Time could seem to last forever and time could also go by in the blink of an eye. Overall, it’s nice to make people hunger for more. We really took our time working on this CD and some changes were also made during the recordings. I had so many ideas that I wanted to bring to the songs and my goal was simply to make this the best CD possible. I could really feel a change within myself toward this CD. Another thing we did for “Eminence of Demons” is that we got some friends involved in the recordings. Working with their schedules and with some being in different parts of the country was also a factor in the time it took to get everything done.
How did it happen that original member Rob Reimer and Rikk Agnew joined forces with you?
Bringing Rob back was something I wish we had time to do for “Unholy Burial”. But since the songs on “Unholy Burial” were mostly written and recorded in a few short months in order to meet the release deadline, there was no time to get Rob involved. Even though I am proud of that CD, I felt overall, there was something missing. For “Eminence of Demons” it only made sense to bring him onboard because I’ve always felt that our combined writing styles created very unique results as apparent on 1982 EP and so many other songs which we wrote during that time. As far as Rikk Agnew, our friendship started of course back when he was in Christian Death. I asked him if he’d be interested adding some guitar tracks and he immediately said, yes. He’s really amazing to watch in the studio.
What happened with Tony Havok and Brian Elizondo who were playing in Voodoo Church whilst doing „Unholy Burial“?
Tony and his wife Barb (Darlin’ Grave) recently moved out of the Los Angeles/Hollywood area. Having them playing in VC was not only a lot of fun but also a wonderful experience. We’ve been through a lot with Tony and Barb was a perfect fit with the band. They’ll be missed and we wish them the best. Brian Elizondo is now living in Miami, Florida but we still stay in contact. Brian is also co-writer for the song “Darker My Love” which is track number two on “Eminence of Demons”.
In comparison to „Unholy Burial“, I personally think your new album appears more detached from what’s known as gothic rock or deathrock….your songs are dark and gloomy and melodic rock, in my opinion you managed to escape from genres. How do you view this?
When the song writing began for “Eminence of Demons”, my goal was to make each song the best they could be and for the whole CD to be the best collection of songs possible. Writing songs in only a traditional deathrock format was not something I wanted to limit myself to. I wanted to be able to create and follow new ideas and be bold to try things in new directions. It’s hard for me to just stay in one place and still be creative. I have always been this way and if I wasn’t like this back in 1982, the songs on the EP would not have happened. Overall, while writing songs for “Eminence of Demons” I was only writing what came natural to me at the time. As I grow and change, so does my song writing but the dark and gloomy style will always be with me.
In addition, I think your new record is far more groovy than your previous material. Do you agree/disagree?
I do agree completely. With the extra time that we had with the writing and the recording of this CD, we were able to try different idea’s. I wanted the songs to either have more momentum and drive or have more emotional changes in the melodies. Just writing a bunch of songs in a medium pace with lots of minor chord changes does not challenge me enough to keep me interested. I have also never been one to follow trends or stay grounded or limited. Being different but true to myself has always been who I am.
Once more, you managed to create a balanced mix of thoughtful and rather powerful tracks. Though, I have the impression the record overall inhales thoughtful, melancholic air. How do you view this?
I always try to create an atmosphere or an environment with my songs. Kind of like with a book, you become a part of the story and feel like you understand what is happening or that you may visualize something new and interesting. This is how I feel with this CD. I want you to feel apart of each character within each song. I want to create this kind of journey. Also, there were things that happened in my life in the past couple of years that did influence certain songs and added what I felt were thoughtful and emotional elements. From the EP to “Unholy Burial” to “Eminence of Demons”, I’ve been a part of every one of those songs. There is no one else who has ever been in Voodoo Church involved with the band on that level. With that said, I do have an amazing writing team with me, Randall Cole and Rob Reimer. When it comes to writing a song, we are always on the same page. We become one entity.
"Delicious Suicide“ in my opinion is one of the most heavy tunes in Voodoo Church’s history, the riffs are even flirting with metal. What did inspire this song, any certain experiences or bands?
I’ve always loved the combination of a good dance beat backed up with powerful guitars. And this is what you hear with Delicious Suicide. I was going after a “powerful” sound and not a “metal” one. It’s a song that is not meant for you to just sit still and listen to. As far as Voodoo Church’s history and its sound, we’ve always been a “Guitar” band. Powerful guitars have always been the foundation of Voodoo Church songs. As an example, the song “Burning Obsession” which is track number three on “Eminence of Demons” is melodic and dark and has heavy guitars. Originally this song is one that Rob and I wrote around the time of the 82 EP and it was always intended to sound this way.
What was the most difficult moment or song whilst working on the album?
The most difficult song we’ve worked on was a song called, “Dead Flowers” which didn’t make it on the CD. Sadly, it’s a song Brian wrote the majority of the music for but it just wasn’t coming together. Now we might release this song on a special page of our website that can only be reached with a password. This password can only be found in the pages of “Eminence of Demons”. Another thing is something I think will bother Rikk more than anyone. Because of time and our schedules, he wasn’t able to add additional guitar tracks to the end for the song “Lullaby Curses”. He has some wonderful ideas but we just were not able to make that happen.
How did the idea come up to name the album „Eminence of Demons“? How does the title relate to the lyrical landscape of the album?
I came up with the name shortly after Unholy Burial was released. The original concept was going to be based on a Grimms Fairy Tales theme centered around the song, “Lullaby Curses”. The title “Eminence of Demons” appears in this song. It was a fun concept at first but then we scrapped that idea and decide to make it more personally related to us. But by then, we’ve really grown attached to the album title and decided not to change that.
If you’d have the possibility to shoot a movie based on „Eminence Of Demons“, how would it look like? Whom would you chose as director?
That is very difficult for me to answer because I could more see the songs from the CD being in different movies. Such as the songs “Flesh” and “Veils of Masquerade” being in a vampire move while other songs could be in something darker. Not too long ago, we were asked if some of the songs from Unholy Burial could be in an independent film
called “Animal’s on Drawbridge” which is actually an action/comedy. We were also involved in some of the musical score for the movie as well. But for “Eminence of Demons”, each song has its own feel to it, so the possibilities are endless. As far as a director, I would prefer someone who has the ability to capture dark heavy moods like Christophe Gans or Alex Proyas.
Are there any plans to present this album live? Maybe aven some European/German gigs?
We hope so! Going on tour is a big dream of ours. As of the time of this interview, there have not been any confirmations yet. I do have some big ideas as far as live shows so it would be great if everything could fall into place. This would not only be great for Voodoo Church but would also be great for fans everywhere.
What else is on your schedule for 2010? Any news with regard to a re-release of your EP from 1982? Any cooperations with other musicians?
We’d like to re-release the EP and we do get requests for it. We’ve thought about re-mastering the original recording and also record many of the other songs Rob and I wrote back then that never got properly recorded. It would be great to release a CD of songs strictly from that era in time.