This is an English version of an interview done by Spanish based site Necromance Magazine, we thank both them, the band, and Aaron from Black Metal Daily for giving us the opportunity to run it very much! Right down the very bottom you will find all the links your blackened hearts may desire to find out more!
Welcome to Necromance Magazine. Can you introduce Atræ Bilis to our readers?
Hi David. Thanks for inviting us to talk with you. We also appreciate Necromance Magazine’s warm review of DIVINIHILITY, So we thank you for that, too. We have also included the link to the one from The Metal Wanderlust (Done by Dex from Black Metal Daily) as well below.
ATRÆ BILIS is a death metal project from Vancouver, British Columbia. We are four friends with different backgrounds. Luka plays drums and is originally from Serbia. Brendan and Jordan have always lived in Canada, and they play bass and sing respectively. I am David. I play guitar and I’m originally from Australia. Our previous bands played a mixture of black, death and grind.
None of us knew each other before ATRÆ BILIS. Luka and I first met in a local record store and started playing together a week or so after that. It took us a few months until we discovered Brendan through personal projects online, and a couple more for Jordan to find the three of us through an advertisement that we had posted. This advertisement originally sought one person to sing and play guitar, but Jordan fit in with us so well that we decided to proceed with the line-up you now know. We have now been playing together since late 2018, I believe.
Your debut “Divinihility” will be out in August 2020, what can fans expect on it?
That’s right. DIVINIHILITY will be available on CD, vinyl and digitally through Transcending Obscurity Records.
It’s difficult for us to describe our sound to other people – We have a bias and if we’re totally honest with you, we still don’t really know how to illustrate it. We never had ambitions to sound like anything specific, so we like to avoid expectations in that sense. But, based on what critics and reviewers have said about DIVINIHILITY, fans should anticipate dissonant death metal with moments of technicality and atmosphere.
Is there something that you want listeners to walk away from this album with?
DIVINIHILITY has no political impetus or social agenda, so we consider ‘want’ to be a strong word here – Listeners should interpret the record freely. To us, its themes are centred on experience and exploration. If there’s something we’d like the record to achieve, it’d be connecting with listeners who walk away from the songs feeling as inspired and empowered as we do playing them.
Is there anything about the record that might surprise fans?
We were meticulous about the record’s production details, so there’s not a great deal about it that was surprising for us once it was finished. We were however, pleasantly surprised with how effortless it was to manage the artwork. The artist, Adam Burke, was enthusiastic about our cover’s concept when we connected with him. He sent us one sketch to review, and then got to work in finishing the artwork that you see now. Besides that initial sketch, he received no further comment from us.
But, if we were to flip this question around, we find our fans surprising us. We rely on their perceptions of what we do to gauge our sound. We’d never considered our songs to be on the technical spectrum, even momentarily for example, but that’s what some people are hearing which is wild. Further, fans also say that we are uniquely Canadian. And, as complimentary as that statement is (Canada’s bands are truly amazing), the reality is that half of the band just ended up living in Canada after other lives abroad. So I’m not totally convinced that the environment has influenced our sound to that degree, per se.
How was the album written, and what was your involvement like?
DIVINIHILITY was written in two stages. Musically, it fell together on its own accord. We didn’t (and still don’t) rely on software or home recordings to compose our music. We find that we write most organically within our rehearsal space. So in that respect, our primary writing apparatuses are our practise regimen and the rehearsal space itself. I think that the reason that our foundations have needed so little is because Luka and I seemingly share a very natural musical chemistry. Guitar riffs, drum patterns and arrangements just somehow happen when we’re in that space together. For me, the song writing process for DIVINIHILITY felt more like strapping into a seat and enjoying the ride than anything else. As Brendan and Jordan joined us after most of DIVINIHILITY was arranged, I was very much involved. Nonetheless, the songs were definitely refined through their perspectives, instrumentation, and a pre-production session at Rain City Recorders, which we did three weeks before starting the actual recording sessions.
Lyrically, there was a little more pressure. We used this three-week window to complete them. I also had a lot of involvement with the lyrics, which wasn’t my intention from the outset. But, the other guys were supportive of the proposed ideas so I just rolled with them. In total, I wrote the lyrics for the first four songs on the record, and Brendan wrote the lyrics for the last. Once we had enough content, Jordan then utilised the pre-production recordings to demo his vocal arrangements and to make the lyrics work. This process also allowed us to review them contextually. Jordan managed to adapt and relearn multiple song revisions under a really demanding crunch. Shout out to Jordan!
Did you have an idea of what you wanted “Divinihility” to be when you first started writing for it?
We have always envisaged DIVINIHILITY to be a conduit for us doing cool things with our lives. If this record, which is a taste of things to come, allows us to spend more of our personal time amongst other artists, thinkers, and new opportunities, then our initial ideas and motivations will have fully manifested. Everyone should be a believer of what they do.
You recorded “Divinihility” with Matt Roach and Jesse Dean at Rain City Recorders. What did you think about working with these guys?
Matt Roach was introduced to us through Rain City Recorders, which is a collaborative of producers, engineers and technicians. As we had never met Matt before, it was important for us to communicate our ambitions and to manage everyone’s expectations before we started working together. Matt was incredibly enthusiastic and he went out of his way to make us feel comfortable throughout the project. As I took time off work to be at the studio as often as possible, Matt and I spent more time together than anyone else. We now know a lot about each other’s personal lives thanks to long days in small quarters. Both of our work ethics are intense, so at times empty stomachs and little sleep magnified those intensities. Ultimately though, I feel those conditions brought the best energy out of the record and bought us closer. Matt always went that extra mile to appease oddball, often frustrating requests, all while juggling his other clients and their equally important projects, which is testament to his professional commitment. We look forward to working with Matt again.
Jesse Dean and Matt worked together to expedite the recording and engineering process. We didn’t have as much direct contact with Jesse as we did with Matt, but Jesse was a super cool guy and was also really easy to work with, just like the rest of the production team, which also included Emily Ryan the assistant engineer and Alex Glassford the drum technician.
What was your favourite moment during the recording sessions?
There were a lot of memorable occasions. Most often, they centred on us laughing about how heavy the songs were shaping out. Perhaps an omnipresent British Columbian cloud inside the control room had a lot to do with that. Or perhaps we will always just feel like excitable kids when it comes to heavy music. Either way, the sessions were full of laughter. If I had to personally choose a single favourite moment, it was likely first walking into the studio to start the sessions, feeling proud of what we were going to undertake.
Lyrically, is there a uniting theme running through the songs?
The record is a conceptual work, so all of the songs are lyrically (and musically) connected. To maximise the experience, DIVINIHILITY should be listened to in its intended sequence. The lyrical narrative involves a profound psychedelic experience, passing through death’s gate and being reborn as a maggot inside the same, departed body. Things do get gnarlier from there too, but you’ll need to pick up a physical copy of the release to read along to find out what happens next.
Where does the album title “Divinihility” come from?
Under full artistic liberty, “DIVINIHILITY” is a combination of two words: ‘divination’ and ‘nihility’. It is both the zenith of the story arc and the closing lyric.
What can you tell us about the first reactions from press to the release until now?
Press reactions have been extremely positive. Most impressions are that we’re an interesting band, which is a humbling and rewarding association. In saying that, responses will surely vary with time. It is still very early days for us, so we’re grateful for everyone who has taken time to write about us in any capacity. Every single review, interview and opinion gives us traction, so thank you.
What made you sign with Transcending Obscurity Records? Did you receive any other proposals?
When Transcending Obscurity Records contacted us, we were also in contractual negotiations with labels from the US, Italy and the Netherlands. While we would have been pleased to sign with any of those other labels, we found Transcending Obscurity Records to be most reasonable and willing to meet us in the middle of the road during our negotiations. We believe that they put in an extended effort to work with us because they genuinely believe in what we do. This, coupled with the risks that they were willing to take with us, is the primary reason that we chose to sign with Transcending Obscurity Records. This label is doing things with us that they have never done before, and we don’t take it lightly. There are some really interesting bands on the label, and we’re excited to see what they achieve with the support of Transcending Obscurity, too.
Anything you would like to add to finish the interview?
Thanks again for the interview. We hope that everyone reading this interview is keeping safe during these times. Remember, be excellent to each other, and support artists however you can. Sharing links, leaving comments, and making recommendations to others costs no money, and it increases an artist’s presence exponentially.
If you haven’t heard our music, please feel free to find us on Bandcamp or Spotify:
Bandcamp – https://atraebilisdeath.bandcamp.com/
You can also pre-order DIVINIHILITY at the following purchase points:
Indie Merch Store – https://www.indiemerchstore.com/b/atrae-bilis-canada
For all press, management and booking enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
So there you have it, as stated many thanks to all involved! Here’s a couple more links to check out!
Here is a link to Necromance Magazine.
And a link to the original Interview in Spanish!
And their review in Spanish!
And finally, a link to The Metal Wanderlust review!
Here’s also a sneaky one to Black Metal Daily haha! Well worth a look people!