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26/10/2009 – Interview with ENOCHIAN THEORY

In May this year I got a request from a British trio, ENOCHIAN THEORY (pronounced E-KNOW-KEY-AN) (official website), to review their newest release, "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio", which I did in August. The music can be catalogued under the Progressive Rock/Metal tag, though there's much more to be heard on that album. Comparable bands would be OPETH, PORCUPINE TREE, PAIN OF SALVATION and many more, heavier and softer. You can check out the review here.

Interview possibilities were available, obviously, and the questions were barely sent or vocalist/guitarist Ben Hayes sent back the answers. One would think he has other things to attend to, more time-consuming matters, but nevertheless kudos for a fast service. As ENOCHIAN THEORY do it all themselves, from recording to promotion and bookings, the fast replying may be related to that. Anyway, if you're seeking something new/original for your collection, "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio" is an album to own. The only question is now: how do they pull it off live?

Enochian Theory logo

What can you tell about the forming of the band and choosing such a strange name? I found something on Wikipedia - - but the reason should not be searched there, should it?

Greetings Tim, thank you for this chance to talk to you and the readers of Thoughts Of Metal. The band formed at the end of 2004 as a 4 piece with just one make music we liked to play. There was never any thought of being "different" or "the best"...we just wanted to enjoy playing music and that is still the case. We slimmed down to a more effective 3 piece at the end of 2007 for various reasons and have never looked back. As for the band name, we know what it means to us, what it stands for and what it suggests...and that is all that counts. People are welcome to interpret it as they see with anything we offer up.

Before having brought out "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio" you got a lot of positive feedback from labels, yet you chose to do it all yourselves. For what reason? To have more control over your music, gigs and anything else? Wouldn't it have been easier to then license your music to labels?

We discussed licensing the album through AMR to other labels, but the discussions we got back weren't what we were looking for...thus we decided to do it all ourselves. It was a case of keep on waiting or get on with we opted to simply do that. The result has been a lot of hard work but we have to be pleased with what we've achieved without the help of a bigger label. I also feel it's about having a sense of control too...we don't feel that anyone else would have the same drive and passion for the band as we do, so that is another reason why we choose to release "Evolution..." under our own label. But as I always maintain, we're not adverse to working with another label, but it's a tricky business at the moment and things have to be right for both parties.

Plus, if the label is not financing, you have to put your own money into your project, right? Or did you manage to find sponsors/endorsers?

The label is our own, so yes, it's all our own money into this project.

Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio coverWhen I look at the cover art of "Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio", there is indeed "creation out of nothing", but its impact isn't so beneficial to nature. Industry destroys all. Or is it more like the contrast between creating jobs and an economy versus the destruction of the earth?

The need for progress at the expense of nature has always been the way of mankind...nothing has changed over thousands of years. I'm personally waiting for Nature to turn around and bite us in the ass...I have belief in Gaia and the balance of the earth. When the great storms come...I'm going to be laughing while a sip my cocktail and the waves wash us all away...

You didn't print the lyrics in the booklet. As a result it's up to the listener to make his/her own interpretation of the songs. Was that the idea or did budget play a role or is there something else that made you skip that part?

I deliberately declined to put my lyrics in the artwork as I don't want to talk about them. I find it frustrating trying to explain what the songs/lyrics mean as it's nothing to do with anyone else, so I opted to not put them in. My logic is that if I have whore something I love to keep on doing it...then I'm going to keep a little bit just for myself. I may put them on the bands forum at some point...but I have a lot to deal with in regards to them still so the time isn't right to share.

The album contains several short tracks, almost like interludes, if you will. Is this because you're trying to tell a story with each track being important, as a sort of chapter? Could you describe what the story is or the songs are about?

There is no concept as such but merely a representation of how I see certain things and how certain events have shaped me as a person. It's observations, thoughts, ideas, hopes, fears and everything that goes with being alive.

Enochian Theory bandWhere did you get your inspiration for the lyrics?

Life...and all it entails. There is no greater inspiration.

The transition between "Tedium" and "The Dimensionless Monologue" didn't go very smooth. was the first one cut too soon or is it meant to be like that?

I think it works perfectly and you're entitled to your opinion but it's what we wanted and that's all that counts. I think the epic explosion of noise as it kicks in is the perfect marriage of madness and honesty.

"T.D.M." is the last part of the "The Dimensionless Monologue" trilogy. Do these letters stand for something else than "The Dimensionless Monologue" or was it just a play with words and letters?

The English language is a wonderful thing...and this is simply me playing around with words.

How does the writing process occur? Does everyone deliver input or is it always the same people that lay the foundations?

Well, there is only 3 of us in the band, so yes, it's the same people doing everything. I started writing "Evolution..." in January 2008 using my home studio to get ideas/demos down and then I'd send these ideas to the guys who would add their own thing before we all got together in the practice room to finalise the songs as a band. We found this way of writing a lot more effective as we needed to get a record done quickly.

Was it more difficult to write this album than "A Monument To The Death Of An Idea"?

Personally I found it a lot easier and liberating writing the new album. The previous E.P took about 2 years to develop and write as we were learning our craft then and I was stuck behind keyboards back then...something that I wasn't that good at! After becoming a 3 piece, I switched to guitar and things were easier as I could just write on my own and then work on these ideas with Shaun and Sam once they were ready to go.

Speaking of "A Monument To The Death Of An Idea": is this a new song that just happens to have the same title as the EP or is it a re-recording of the one of the older songs?

It's a new song but shares the name of the previous E.P because it represents me basically saying goodbye to lot of things in my life. Letting certain things go and accepting what I have before me...and then embracing and loving all that I am and have. I don't like myself very much sometimes and this song reminds me that to be loved, you have to first love yourself...not in an egotistical way but merely looking after yourself and not letting foolish pride destroy things around you. Humans are inherently destructive creatures...whether in the literal sense of the word or in other subtle ways and that is one of the themes running through this song. I'm impressed, you managed to get me to discuss a song plus its meaning and I didn't feel odd about it at all...well done, Tim.

What bands/artists/styles are you influenced by? I've seen other reviewers add KATATONIA, PAIN OF SALVATION, THE GATHERING and PORCUPINE TREE, as examples, yet you also seem to have added Doom influences and Pop stuff à la COLDPLAY.

We like a lot of different music as a band/people and this incarnation of the band is in a Prog Rock style. There's a certain selection of Britsh bands that we adore and we wanted to do a modern take on their past efforts. We can only aspire to be as good as they are, but we are what we are. The influences for this record are sometimes obvious but at other times they are not. I find it amusing that people assume we're influenced by certain modern acts but it couldn't be farther from the truth in most cases. I like it when people get some of the more obscure influences as most of the time those acts really did/do inspire us. I really would have to write a list about 20 pages long because we really do listen to a hell of a lot of different music.

Enochian Theory bandWhen playing live, do you change the compositions a little or do you play what you recorded for the album?

We play the album as it it. There are extra melodies and such that we add live to make it more interesting for ourselves...or perhaps they are added because now we've had time to play the songs, we maybe wanted these extra ideas on the record...but alas, once something is committed to can only expand in those ideas live.

"Evolution: Creatio Ex Nihilio" got a lot of praise and few reviewers didn't like what you made. As a musician it's important to get promotion and through reviews you can draw several people to the website, MySpace, etc... and hopefully make them buy the album. When you're working on a new release, do you then take certain criticism into account (if justified)? Or are reviews just a nice read?

I'm always curious to read what people say as it's interesting to see how people interpret you and/or your art...but usually my logic is that 95% of these people really have no idea what they are on about or they have this terrible preconception of what a band is going to be because they've been placed in a certain genre. For example, giving someone a prog rock album who listen primarily to Black's pointless as they won't get it because they either choose not to or they cannot understand it. I guess we don't really worry about good or bad reviews, as all press is good press, no? We've had some people check us out after being slated in a review and have found they like guess my point is proven. Only in some cases do I actively want to know what certain people/magazines say as I respect their opinion over others. For instance, Dave Ling, who writes for Metal Hammer magazine UK (amongst others) is someone I respect as I've followed his reviews for years and having him give us a good review was pleasing.

Nowadays it's hard to survive on album sales only. Do you all have dayjobs (next to ENOCHIAN THEORY) or do you lives revolve around music?

We try to spend as much time working on the band but yes, we have to live.

Do you then still have time for yourselves, family, hobbies, ...?

Without fail. The band isn't our lives, it's an added bonus that we love working on to be creative and expel some things that we perhaps cannot say any other way. Without all the other things in life, the band would be a rather redundant and tiresome exercise.

That's it. Many thanks for taking the time to reply. Good luck with the gigs and work on a new release. If there's anything you feel like adding, fire away. :-)

Thanks for the interview, Tim, and I hope your readers find time to check out the music.

Darkest Regards,
(on behalf of ENOCHIAN THEORY)

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