Rigel Walshe interviewed by PSL
If you should mention three things that set Sedition apart from The Law of the Strong what would these then be?
I think for a start the production is a lot better. We were aiming for a raw and nasty sound with The Law of the Strong, but I think a lot of the detail of the songs was lost in the murkiness, and we definitely wanted to go for something clearer, but still with a raw and nasty edge to it.
Second I think the song writing is a lot more focused. One of the strengths of the first album was that I think we managed to combine a lot of eclectic influences and write some quite epic songs around 10 minutes which were brutal and not overly repetitive. However these were also weaknesses in that I felt like a lot of the reviewers really didn't manage to grasp the totality of what we were doing and just called us "warmetal" or "metalcore" or "raw death metal", None of which I thought was at all accurate. Also the longer songs were definitely draining and dragged a bit for us when we played them live, so we wanted to create something a little more stripped back, concise and to the point.
Third I believe the performances on the new album are also superior, coupled with our new drummer I think the band as a whole sounds more cohesive on this album.
Musically you sound more mature and accessible now. Have you done anything differently with regards to writing or is it just a result of natural progression?
Thanks. I think after the first album we wanted to make things a little more concise on this one, I felt that on the first album the songs were strong and managed to combine a lot of diverse influences, but we wanted to strip things back a bit on this one. That's why I personally steered away from epic 7-plus minute tracks like on the first one. Maybe we will come back to that sort of stuff later, but on Sedition we wanted to make it more focused and more to the point.
Since your previous album The Law of the Strong you've been reduced to a trio. What happened?
We had some issues with our previous drummer in regards to commitment and musicianship so he got the boot. Also our second guitarist Tony had a daughter and with the financial realities of touring and everything else that goes along with being an extreme metal band in an obscure country he decided to leave. Martin then joined shortly after. We made the decision to drop to a trio for a few reasons, but mainly because we don't want anyone is the band who is not 110% committed, and the bottom line is that when you live in New Zealand plane tickets make it pretty difficult to break even on tour so having one less member makes things a lot more realistic financially.
The addition of drummer Martin Cavanagh have this changed anything musically?
Yes, Martin definitely has a different style to Phill, and I think it was a change for the better.
You've recorded Sedition in KOG Studios. What made you try a different studio this time? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Well the first album was recorded at a really basic studio, and this time we wanted to go for something a bit more professional, and we also had a lot more cash to spend on this one, in fact we spent about 6 times what we spent on the first album recording Sedition. In New Zealand there really aren't any studios or producers that have done a death metal album before so we had to do a lot of hunting to find the right person to record us. We approached pretty much very studio that was worth working with here and we found that Dave at KOG was definitely the most enthusiastic about the project and had the most professional attitude, so we went with him. I think the album was definitely a learning experience for him [laughs], but I'm very happy with the results of his work.
You split with Agonia Records and signed with Ibex Moon. What made you do this move?
Well we had some bad experiences with Agonia Records on our European tour and after we returned, certain things that were promised were not delivered and we didn't feel it was a good move to stay with the label. I had been writing to John and the rest of the Incantation guys ever since they toured here, and I asked John what he could offer us. He gave us a pretty good deal, and so we decided to go with him. I think for us the fact that he was a guy we felt we could trust, that we would be a priority for him and that had the relevant connections for a band of our style all were important factors that swayed our decision.
I understand you're currently looking for a label to sign for the European territories. Have you had any luck so far?
Ibex moon was planning to licence it out to a European label for a simultaneous release with the American release date, and we almost reached an agreement with Neurotic Records, but due to various business reasons unfortunately it couldn't work out. It's more difficult to reach such an agreement once it is already available and people can download and mail-order it etc, so we will see what happens in the future, I believe they are still open to offers.
There's been some controversy surrounding your person in New Zealand. What was that all about?
Basically I was the subject of Tabloid style expose article on the perceived conflict of interest in the content of my lyrics and my occupation at present as a Police Officer. This story then became the no1 story on the top 6 O'clock TV news show here. It was fairly big news and was quite a controversial story for about a week and a half in letters to the editor, talkback radio and so forth. I still am recognised fairly often in public in relation to it.
It was definitely our best tour yet. We toured with the American Disgorge through New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand and Indonesia were fucking amazing man, the crowds there are totally crazy and probably the best we have ever played to in the world. Over there its another world, you're like Michael Jackson or something [laughs], every time you came out of the backstage room you would have like 50 fans run over and ask to get a photo with you and have you sign shit, it was a pretty mind blowing and humbling experience.
Has it affected you live that you have been reduced to a trio?
Not really. We don't have a lot of twin guitar parts and Joe is a pretty tight and skilled player so I don't really feel we have lost anything. Also when you live so far away from everywhere and you have to fly anywhere having less members makes touring a lot more feasible and realistic from a financial perspective.
Are you going to tour Europe in support of Sedition?
We will be over to Europe to tour for this album. Unfortunately not having support from a European label makes it a little more difficult to get on some of the tours out there, and at the moment we are concentrating on a US tour in May/June with Vital Remains and Incantation, however we do have the relevant connections through the label and will definitely be over to Europe in the first half of next year I think, its just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity to come available.
Could you provide an update on the New Zealand death metal scene? I'm mean besides you and Ulcerate it doesn't seem that visible!
New Zealand is pretty sparse. The population here is only 3 million in the whole country. There are some killer death metal bands like Ulcerate, Demiurge, Asphyxiate, Relentless Attrittion, Odiusembowel, Metayard and Sinate here, but its very, very difficult to get your music heard outside this country, even in Australia unless you work very hard or happen to have a decent label.
Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Thanks for the interview Per, you can check out our music at www.dawnofazazel.com or www.myspace.com/dawnofazazel.