Meddlefan is a busy man, you have no idea just how many interviews he throws our way. Does the man ever fucking sleep? I think not! A good thing for us though, as he always manages to make them bloody well entertaining, so maybe not sleeping would make ALL of us far more fun! Anyway, here he is today talking to two members of those masters of all things Death/Doom orientated, Temple Of Void, and we can only say fuck yes to that! Let’s give a large round of applause to Alex (Guitar), and Brent (Bass) for sharing their time with us!
Hi Guys! let’s start with the obligatory opening question, what part of the world are you guys from?
Alex: We all live in metro Detroit. But I was raised in Scotland til I was 15.
And can you share with us what it was like growing up there?
Alex: Growing up in Glasgow in the 80’s and early 90’s was awesome. It’s similar to Detroit in the way that adversity breeds resilience and creativity. It wasn’t easy. But steel sharpens steel. And like most “old people” I look back at the pre-internet days with nostalgia and reverie.
Where is the coolest place you have ever visited?
Alex: I’ve seen some pretty amazing Buddhist temples in China, Thailand, and Cambodia. So those are some of my favourite places to visit. I don’t know if “cool” is the right word, though. Awe inspiring? I love going back to Scotland and England. I love the tranquillity.
Brent: Iceland, Hawaii and the Grand Canyon. All places that had a very overwhelming power to them. In Iceland I visited Helgafell which was an important meeting place a thousand years ago in pre-Christian heathen times. The mountain was said to be dedicated to Thor. Kings would meet there annually to hold moots, discuss laws, settle disputes and hold rituals. So knowing all that history made it a very cool place to visit. Also I was completely alone while standing on top of it.
The new album, care to share the tile with the readers, and when they can get it?
Alex: The new record is entitled “The World that Was,” and it’s available on all formats from just about anywhere you buy your music from. It’s out March 27th on Shadow Kingdom Records.
What was the first CD , cassette, or vinyl you can remember buying?
Alex: Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” has got to be one of the earliest tapes I bought. And I know for sure their ‘88 follow-up, “New Jersey,” was the first CD I purchased. I can’t think of the first record I purchased, tbh. Growing up my parents didn’t have a turntable so I was always listening to my friends’ vinyl. Pouring over the details of their Iron Maiden 12” singles and gate folds. Soaking it all in.
What kind of musical influences did you listen to growing up?
Brent: I got into music obsessively at a very young age. I started with Motley Crue, Poison and Ozzy but quickly got into more underground and extreme stuff. Sepultura “Arise”, Grave “You’ll Never See…” and Morbid Angel “Covenant” are some of the first Extreme Metal albums I ever heard. I also spent a lot of years listening to Hardcore and Punk. I still listen to old NYHC like the Cro-Mags, SOIA and Agnostic Front from time to time.
Alex: Brent and I followed a similar trajectory even though we were on opposite sides of the ocean. Sepultura’s “Chaos AD” and Paradise Lost’s “Icon” were huge for me at the time. But I was super into old Hardcore Punk for years, too. Misfits, Bad Religion, Cro-Mags, Black Flag, Rollins Band…
Always gotta ask, what is your favourite Pink Floyd song?
Alex: “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The guitar. The tones. The minimalism.
What are some of the more obscure bands that you like to listen to?
Brent: Cruthu. They’re a more “traditional” Doom/Heavy Metal band from here in Michigan. I don’t know if they’d be considered “obscure” per se. But I definitely think they deserve more attention. They released an album called “The Angle of Eternity” on The Church Within records back in 2017 that I think is a really unique and cool album.
What is your favourite kind of alcoholic beverage?
Do you guys smoke weed?
Brent: Some but not all of us.
Can you share with us any other projects are you involved in?
Alex: TOV and Hellmouth. But Hellmouth are somewhat on hiatus right now as I only have so much time I can devote wholeheartedly to any given project. Time spent with one is time spent away from the other…
All of the previous The Temple of Void albums are killer in my humble opinion. How do you think the new one compares?
Alex: It’s our most cohesive journey. From the album art through to the way the songs are sequenced, it just flows really well. It’s a complete package. Definitely the best sounding of the three albums, too. Same studio, just that we dial it in even more each time. Fans of the first two will dig it. But we haven’t re-written “OTATS” or “LOD” and we won’t ever do that. Each album has its own unique flavor. Fans will hear elements that would sound at home on either of the prior two records, but they’ll also hear we’ve taken the writing to new heights, too. Of those in our inner circle who have heard the record already, they hear a positive maturing in the writing. Every note sounds more considered, allegedly. We didn’t set out to make it sound how it sounds per se. We just follow wherever our fingers take us. Probably the biggest and best change is the improved sound design and synth layers. I think they had a great depth and atmosphere to the songs. This album has more dynamism than the prior two, in my opinion. Probably some of our heaviest moments to date, as well as some of our most melodic. A true ‘Death/Doom’ record.
Everybody should be aware I am a huge Conan fan by now, so what scene in Conan the Barbarian is your favourite?
Brent: Conan pushing the Wheel of Pain. It’s such a great metaphor for life. Life can be hard but you have to keep pushing forward. Trudging along. People will fall by the wayside as time goes by but you have to keep going. In the end you’ll come out stronger. And hopefully someone someday will throw a warrior queen into your cage as a reward. ha ha.
Who are some of your favourite authors?
Alex: Howard and Lovecraft are both a given. I dig the classics like De Camp, Burroughs, and Moorecock, of course. Recently, I think Erik Larson is amazing. I dig Brian Keene. I read a lot of non-fiction. A ton of bio’s. So there aren’t really specific authors that I would list for all that stuff. I read them based on who the subject is.
Brent: As far as Fiction goes, I read a lot of Sword & Sorcery/Fantasy stuff. Joe Abercrombie, Glen Cook, Steven Erikson, Ian C. Esslemont, Daniel Abraham, R. Scott Bakker and of course G.R.R.M.
Who are some of your favourite characters in modern horror films?
Brent: Art the Clown from the movie “Terrifier“. I hope to see that turn into a proper horror movie franchise. I also like Victor Crowley from the “Hatchet” series and Baby, Otis & Capt. Spaulding from Rob Zombie‘s movies.
How do you prefer your music. CD, Digital, Vinyl?
Brent: CD. It’s convenient, affordable and takes up very little space. I own over 2500 metal CD’s so those 3 factors are pretty important to me. ha ha.
Do you like Black Metal? Brutal Death Metal perhaps?
Alex: I’m huge into Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Burzum. I like the first and second waves more than anything that has really came out since. I don’t keep up with it very much. “Filosofem” is my favourite Black Metal record. Mgla rules.
What would you consider to be some of your greatest influences when writing music?
Alex: It all stems from early influences. The stuff that we were all immersed in when we were in our early teens probably cemented itself in our DNA more than anything else. I think I have a unique riff-writing style and that’s due to a very diverse set of influences. Early on it was lots of Punk and Hardcore, mixed with early 90’s metal like Sepultura “Chaos AD”, Paradise Lost “Icon”, Iron Maiden “Seventh Son…”, Machine Head “Burn My Eyes,” and Metallica. Grunge hit and Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Paw, Temple of the Dog, and Alice in Chains all made their imprint. Then over time I just got into more extreme music and more variety. In creeps Jazz, Drum’n’Bass, Hip-Hop, Shoegaze, etc. Black Metal, Death Metal, Doom Metal, everything gets thrown into a blender on a subconscious level. So it’s rare to ever point to a singular source or say we draw from one particular well of influences. Each one of us has our own unique back story when it comes to music. And it’s how we bring that all together that makes TOV sound like TOV.
Where would you like to go on a vacation?
Alex: My wife and I turn 40 this year so we’re heading to Italy. Going to the F1 race. After that, I’d like to go to Japan.
Brent: Norway. I’d like to try and make it over there for their Midgardblot Festival this year. And then afterwards explore as much of Norway as possible.
Do you like to climb or hike?
Brent: I love hiking. For the last 8-9 years my wife and I have been travelling for the specific reason of hiking new areas. We’ve spent a lot of time in the National Parks out west and even managed to get over to Iceland last summer.
D.C. comics, Marvel, or none?
Alex: Dark Horse
Hobbies, any to mention?
Alex: Music is number one. But I play Dungeons & Dragons regularly, and I’m really into Warhammer “Age of Sigmar” and 40’k. Starting up a Call of Cthulhu game, too. So whether it’s painting minis, reading fantasy novels, or playing D’n’D, fantasy takes up any free time I have left outside of being a dad, husband, and guitarist. In the summer I ride motorcycles with friends, and follow Formula One religiously. The gym is always a constant, too.
Brent: Music, Gym, Travelling, Reading. Though the gym is really just an aspect of my life that has to happen on a daily basis. Like eating and sleeping. My favourite hobby these days is travelling with my wife. That’s about the most fulfilling way I can think to spend my time.
Do you like to paint? Draw?
Alex: I paint Warhammer miniatures every Saturday night with our ex-guitarist, Eric
What would be some of your favourite foods?
Alex: Had the most amazing vegan corned beef deli sandwich for lunch today from a new spot near my work. God damn, it was good!
Cooking. Your kind of thing?
Alex: Absolutely not. But my wife is a pretty amazing vegan cook, so I get taken care of very well.
Brent: Yeah I like cooking. Just depends on my mood. Cooking is apart of my job actually. I’m a career fireman. So sometimes I cook for 4-6 guys. It can be stressful because the last thing you want to do is serve up a terrible meal. I’d never hear the end of it from them.
What is your favourite album all time?
Brent: That’s a pretty hard thing to have a definite answer to. But for the sake of the interview I’d say Danzig “III. How the Gods Kill“. It’s a perfect album to me.
Alex: I think Brent picked a very fucking solid suggestion there. I might piggyback this and go with Danzig “II: Lucifuge“.
Well I hope I can get to see you guys on tour sometime. I just want to say thank you again for doing this interview, very much appreciated.
And there you go. more Meddlefan madness. Our thanks to these guys for taking the time to share their thoughts with us! All hail the mighty Temple Of Void! Here’s some links people, you know what to do!