Kevin Quirion interviewed by PSL
You've probably been asked this question before, but can you tell me how the Order Of Ennead project came about?
I was jamming with our bass player, Scott Patrick, in my other band Council Of The Fallen. We'd jammed with a couple drummers, but found no one that would stick. Took off about a year and I ran into Scott at a Cradle Of Filth show and he mentioned Steve Asheim from Deicide heard the stuff and wanted to jam. I didn't believe him, but went over and we started working out some songs pretty quickly. Started jamming weekly and had the first album ready to go soon after. I had and still do have a lot of material written so it wasn't' just thrown together. We just needed to write the drum parts and change some arrangements.
You've probably been asked this before as well. Do you see Order Of Ennead as a continuation of Council Of The Fallen? Stylistically the two don't seem far apart.
It definitely is. We could have kept the Council Of The Fallen name, but wanted to start fresh since we had Steve and eventually John in the mix. In Council Of The Fallen, we had death and black metal vocals and in Order Of Ennead it's just the black metal. It's a significant change that can warrant a name change. Musically it's the same. I wrote the Council Of The Fallen and I write the Order Of Ennead so it's no going to be that different. John Li's solos do add a different element as well where Council Of The Fallen had very few solos.
What exactly is the Order Of Ennead, and who came up with the name?
Steve came across the name Ennead while reading some books on Egypt. We have no ties to Egyptian mythology though, we just borrowed a name. The Ennead is the creator gods in that mythology that gave man knowledge and civilization. We've used that knowledge aspect in a lot of the lyrical content.
The music of Order Of Ennead is a mixture of different genres. Could you say something about what inspires you?
I listen to death and black metal equally. To me there is no difference in the styles. I can listen to Immortal and then Cannibal Corpse CD's right after each other and then put in some Nevermore. In the early 90's I got into all of the early death metal bands, before that it was Kreator and Testament and then in the late 90's black metal bands learned how to write better songs so I started listening to that. Some of the more, some people have used the word "progressive" sections, come from slower black metal passages and Death.
If you take the music from the debut and put it up against An Examination of Being where do you feel the biggest difference is?
There is no difference to me. I wrote some of the songs on this new one before we released the first one. Overall this new album has some more chunky, palm muted sections which gives it a heavier sound, but I could interchange songs from both releases and be fine with it. The recording is better for this one. I like the overall sound better and then vocals are more layered.
How do you go about writing the songs? Do all four of you contribute?
No. I sit at home and write songs whenever I get in the mood. I'll go on month long writing binges. Sometimes I'll start a song and not finish it for months or years. I'll have five songs going at one time. I never force to finish a song. It gets done when the song wants to get done. When I have a bunch of songs written or previously unrecorded I'll give them to Steve and he'll pick which one he wants to work on. We'll jam on the riffs. Sometimes we'll change the arrangement to make the song more drum friendly. Later when we have some songs demoed out I'll have John Li come over and lay down some leads. Every once and awhile John will have some arrangement ideas at this stage also.
How big a role do the lyrics play for the band, and the music?
I don't know how much for the rest of the guys, but since I'm writing the lyrics I take my time in doing so. I don't want to write lyrics that in ten years I'll be like wow those are silly and kind of dumb. I'm 35 and not a gore fan or Satanist so I'm not going to be writing the typical genre lyric. I'm intrigued by the question of why we exist and how we exist so the lyrics are on that topic and it's an endless source for inspiration.
The lyrics, what kind of issues do they deal with?
Besides the question of existence, which this new album centres around, the first album dealt with severing any negative issues in your life. It could be an addiction, a person or a situation. I even had a guy mention to me that he really identified with our song "Conferring with Demons" because he had a drinking problem he couldn't get under control. I know this is metal and drinking is part of it, but when it's a negative aspect to your life it isn't good. I'm an artist so I enjoy creating and addictions like this tear things apart. Sorry I have a tendency to babble on a bit. So the new album is centred around exactly what the title says, examining our being.
You recorded at Audio Hammer Studios with Mark Lewis. You also recorded the debut there. What made you chose Mark and Audio Hammer to begin with?
Our bass player met Mark before and told him about the project and he was interested. I think he was just interested in working with Steve, but that's just me [laughs]. Audio Hammer has recorded a lot of bands so we wanted to give it a try. Now they haven't recorded any bands with a black metal influence to the music so there was a bit of a learning curve there, but with this second album any kinks were worked out for sure.
How much does the band decide in regards to the production? Do you all have something to say or is it Mark who is in charge of everything?
We usually have a pretty good idea with song arrangements, vocal patterns and things of this nature. Mark will add a cool guitar melody here and there, helps arrange some solos, layering of vocals and if a part needs some spicing up with a guitar part or more vocals. He's very helpful in the studio.
Do you think you got the production you were looking for?
It turned out great. I never go in looking for a certain sound. I write the music and let Mark come up with guitar tones and drum sounds. That's what he's there for. I like to be there for the mixing just because sometimes there's a guitar part that should be more dominant that someone who didn't write the song wouldn't know it's the main part at that time. We're very happy with the end result and Steve and myself already have five songs demoed for the next one.
Well, Steve is in Deicide and they put out three records with Earache. So when it came to looking for a label Steve already had a relationship with them. It was an easy choice.
You often hear bands talk shit about Earache Records in terms of getting little or no promotion. Are you happy with them?
The label isn't what it used to be for sure, but whatever. I'm happy for now and we'll so what happens with this new album. We want to tour and do our part in the process.
Both you and Steve play in Deicide as well. Does this ever conflict or is it no problem getting things to add up?
Not too much, but we did have to refuse a Cannibal Corpse tour because Deicide had dates and John Li was in school and not available. These issues are being addressed though. If Deicide has dates then Deicide has dates. If I wasn't playing with Deicide I'd be working a regular job and Order Of Ennead wouldn't be doing any touring so one feeds the other.
Do you have to work for a living or can you live of the music?
Because of Deicide I don't have to get a regular job. Being in a band is work though, you can't just slack off. I've learned 20 plus Deicide songs, solos and I've started doing back up vocals also. I don't want to lose my job so I jam with Steve a couple times a week and I'll even go through the songs by myself at home once a week to stay fresh and tight on the material.
How much are you going to tour in support of An Examination of Being?
Deicide has six weeks booked during the summer and John Li has school. We did tour for nine weeks on the first album and I'd love to double that. We're looking for tours right now to jump on and a lot of it will be finding the tours. It's tough getting the attention of booking agents with so many bands out there and we aren't playing a style that is the most popular right now, but we aren't changing so people will have to come around to us.
Is John Li able to go on tour with the band or will Jack Owen once again be filling in as tour guitarist?
John will be busy with school for a lot of the touring that we want to do, Jack is also moving out of state and won't be able to help out. So we've recently started jamming with Shannon Hamm, he's played with Death in the past and also in Control Denied. So whenever we need he'll step in. It's hard to find someone that can play solos well and who is available to tour. The availability is totally an issue with most guitarists. It's hard to ask someone to tour and make little to no money for months. They have to be stable financially, have no young kids they need to feed and girlfriends that won't be angry that they tour so much. It's a lot to ask.
Anything you'd like to add to conclude this interview?
Just give the CD a listen and if you see me on tour with Deicide come and tell me what you think about Order Of Ennead. Hope to see everyone on the road. Thanks for the interview eventhough I know you don't care for our style much. Maybe some of your readers do. Thanks again.