Are there any other steady band members except you James?
I have no permanent band members working with me at this time however change is possible. Becoming a permanent member of the Endless Void project requires participating as an effective group member. In order to this candidates must be able to work with me as well as consider the direction of my career as a solo artist. More than likely people will "come and go" and I will have to hire (utilize) temporary members to accomplish goals and objectives. In other words, I will find musicians who are willing to sit in for "gigs" (shows) on a temporary basis. Local musicians from overseas locations will suffice as long as they perform (play Endless Void music) well and pass the audition. This approach is economical and realistic since everybody likes a home-town guitarist and drummer. Besides, I have found through past experience that group experiences become "stagnant" and I have been thought of as "needing minions to due my dirty work" (assist me in playing shows).
Your music is definitely influenced by the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). Why did you decided to play Heavy Metal Music?
Yes I am certainly influenced by the N.W.O.B.H.M. and the reason I choose to write songs reflecting this period and movement is due to the fact it has left a life- long impression on me. I am influenced by this music because it has "Backbone" (strength). For example the bands Withchfinder General and Venom introduced their "wild and radical" music styles while rejecting the mainstream media. Despite some harsh and brash satanic lyric content by the band Venom, their potential as New Wave Metal artists "shines through" in the popular Ballad "Countess Bathory" which I consider a genius collaboration in song writing. Similarly, Witchfinder General’s songs "Love on Smack" and "Friends of Hell" are also classics and very popular.
Actually, it was the "Death Penalty" release which introduced me to the N.W.O.B.H.M. than other bands and their songs followed: (1) Tank/ "T. W.D.A.M.O." & "Shell Shock," (2) Angel Witch/ "Angel of Death" & "Atlantis," and (3) Merciful Fate/ "A Dangerous Meeting" (is actually from the Netherlands but belongs to the time period and style of the movement because of various similarities). However, I must clarify my position and opinion regarding the N.W.O.B.H.M. in its entirety therefore I need to include some additional information. I never liked all of the songs written by all of these artists for one reason or another (personal preference) and I have to honestly say the satanic issue is a "bit" extreme. In fact, it can often ruin the listening experience. Never the less, the previously mentioned songs are some of my favorites of the N.W.O.B.H.M. (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement.
You are since 1985 musically active. What does fascinates you this very day ath the traditional Heavy Metal?
My status as the "front man" of the Endless Void only lasted about two years. I actually began performing at 17 and stopped at 23 years of age. During this performing spree I played with the bands Paradox (1982), After Forever (1982-1986), and Aragon (1985), as well as Final Judgment (1986-1987). We played in bars, clubs, basements, and a rock war (stage) as well as a public school (stage), a living room "gig," and several outdoor shows (stages). All of these bands were from the Erie Pennsylvania area of the North (Lake Erie) during the 1980’s.
Eventually I chose to explore contemporary Metal bands, write songs, and record in the studio instead of performing. Reasons being, I preferred to write music and was attempting to establish a solo career as an Independent artist. Besides, I did not want to be considered a "third rate" performer infringing on other band’s copyrights (playing songs without the permission of copyright owners attempting to generate money). Seemingly the fact of being a corner bar performer or a "want to be" in some ethnic club selling beer at inflated prices was not appealing (nor was supporting a private community of ethnic people loyal to their grandparents home land). Concerning why I am fascinated by Heavy metal… it is certainly not for the previously mentioned reasons (copyright infringements and ethnocentric motives). Rather I enjoy the powerful influence playing Metal music can have on an audience and the fact it brings me gratification and a feeling of accomplishment.
You released in 2012 the demo EP "Apparitions". What are the differences in terms of your previous releases?
Yes I released the "Apparitions" EP in 2011. At first it was available in the form of self-produced media and later as professionally duplicated media. Reason being as I learned first-hand making the "Final Doom" CD music production is extremely expensive! Giving away free music in the Underground and Independent music scene is practiced, expected, and accepted. Regarding the "Final Doom" CD it was professionally duplicated from the beginning. Additional characteristic of the "Final Doom" CD includes: (1) It was an optimistic music venture with the intention of exploiting local talent and gaining recognition in the form of a Demonstration disc and (2) attempting to have it recognized as an Ep because it was seemingly passable to the average layman.
All in all, necessary rerecording, mixing tracks, and overdubbing was not possible due to limited finances. Although there are many single tracks on the disc that were more than adequate the overall sound quality was poor with the exception of a couple songs: (1) "New York Girl" (Tom Hitt on drums & engineering at Cycling Troll Studio 1992) and (2) "Andromeda" (Walt Slivinskis Melodian mix-down 1988).
For example, the lead guitar (Charlie Hunter) and bass tracks (James Owen) in the song "Prophecy" were excellent but the drums (midi-sequence) and rhythm guitar sound (no pre-amp) was sub par. The vocals (Darin Hilinski) and drums (Dave Owens) as well as the rhythm guitar & bass guitar tracks (James Owen) in the song "Andromeda" (choir version) were more than adequate sounding. The lead guitar tracks (written by Steve Maynard) sound different than what was expected a result of his decision to play and record without a preamp (straight through the mixing board). However this was an experimental factor and idea contributed by Steve Maynard (lead guitar) during the collaboration. Never the less he executed his playing ability and talent successfully.
Furthermore, I need to make known neither Honeybear nor E-media duplications were to blame. Instead, limited finances and hasty production on my behalf was much of the cause as well as other uncontrollable factors (many mix downs at many different studios by different engineers and methodology). All in all the "Final Doom" CD sounds exactly like a demonstration disc recorded at many different locations with many different musicians and certainly cannot be combined with the "Apparitions" EP. Although I once considered doing it and naming it the "Grave Digger album, it simply was not possible because of many obvious differences (audio). In conclusion, both "Apparitions" & "Final Doom" speak for themselves. Another one of my favorite releases was "New York Girl" in 1992 by Antithesis Records. These are out of print but I have a couple copies left.
Can you please tell the readers who still haven’t heard about ENDLESS VOID and "Apparitions" in short the context of the four songs I could listen to?
The first song recorded at PRO Star Studio for the "Apparitions" EP was "Apparitions & Undertaker." It is a ballad containing an opera like vocal solo near the end of the song and is very similar to a penny dreadful because it is short, brief, and straight to the point. However, it is written in narrative form and put to music. The song is about a murderous Virginian undertaker who kills a young couple in a cemetery. Envious of their youth and love for one another the ghoulish hand preys on their vulnerability as they search for a place to be alone together. The mischievous couple encounters the undertaker who overly familiar with his surroundings but unsure of his faculties. As a result, he locks them inside a crematory and gasses them to death. Having no remorse for his heinous actions he returns to the funeral parlor to play his dirges on the organ.
The second song I recorded is "Spiritualistic Medium." It is a traditional Heavy Metal song with an old school- Acid rock sound beginning with distorted guitar harmonics. It is also a combination of two different songs titled "Unreal" & "Generation X" written and performed with two different bands After Forever and Endless Void; the main rhythm, refrain, and lead guitar section was rewritten and rearranged. The song is about innocent victims of murder who return form the "spirit world" to haunt a medium. The spirits relentlessly torment the living until their untimely deaths are known to all.
The third song I recorded is "Bereaved." This particular song sounds a little bit like Rock-a-Billy combined with traditional Rock-n-Roll and some Downer metal influences. It also has a "wild" sounding psychedelic lead guitar section. It is about a troubled individual confronted with modern day problems and hardships while experiencing personal misfortune and bereavement. Salvation and the Day of Judgment are contemplated.
At last, the fourth and final song I recorded at Pro Star studio is "R.I.P/ March of the Dead." I selected "R.I.P." (Rest In Peace) for the name of the guitar introduction and included it on the front of the album cover in calligraphy because it is relevant to the CD’s theme of death. "March of the Dead" is an upbeat song about the deceased who rise from the grave and return to life roaming the country sides, church yards, and city streets searching for innocent victims to kill during the witching hour; the lead guitar section of the song contains a classical and chamber orchestra like arrangement which is full of melody used to convey the feeling of sorrow; the main rhythm and refrain sections of the song emphasize the seriousness of the matter. With no place to hide or escape all succumb to death and madness.
The cover of "Apparition" is simple but at the same time effective. Was this your intention’?
I wanted to utilize traditional artwork because of its importance to me. Calligraphy was practiced by monks to translate the Bible letter for letter. The artistic style writing in bold /black conveys power and strength as well as reinforces the theme of death and seriousness. Furthermore, using Gestalt visually conveys the CD’s meaning in one glimpse. Also some N.W.O.B.H.M albums were released in black and white and I prefer to show my influences.
Are there many possibilities for your for gigs? And what about the musical scene in general. Is there a big Metal scene in the USA? Do you have contacts to many other musiscians?
Yes there are many possibilities for future shows and like-minded musicians. More than likely I will attempt to play a large bill as an opening act rather than being a headliner. Reason being, I am an Independent artist and neither overly popular nor established in the professional music scene. As a result I do not possess a large following. Regarding the metal scene in the USA it is huge as well as "faddish and trendy." These are the marketing tools of capitalist music production and promotion. Regarding contacts in the music field there are many but I am my chief source of self- promotion and music production.
Is there any new material maybe for another release in 2013?
Yes, I am presently working on new material. Specifically four songs: (1) "Stars in the Sky," (2) Abducted by Alien’s" (3) "Love Cult," and (4) "Troubled Times." More than likely the title of the next four-song release will be named after one of the songs on the disc and will be finished by the end of 2013.
Are there any gigs or tours planned for this year?
Touring is my dream. Perhaps I will find like-minded musicians (a drummer and guitarist) overseas or abroad who are as talented as "Derm the Germ," Vinnie Vincent, and Yngvae Malmstien capable of performing and "vibrating the roofs off of concert halls and transcending vicious lead guitar riffs into the limits of outer space blowing people’s minds." This is my primary goal and objective as well as returning to the studio and recording.
Any last words to our readers …
The "Apparitions" Ep is my favorite release to the day. It was my intention was to capture the attention of superstitious people, ghost hunters, and obscure music collectors, but most importantly Doom metal fans and music critics. However, it was never my intension to send a negative message to the world through Doom metal music. Rather, I wanted to introduce controversial topics about paranormal activity using fact, fiction, and the unexplained. By combining a sub category of Heavy metal referred to as Doom metal music with "spooky" song lyrics I believed I was utilizing the most appropriate means of accomplishing my objective. Especially since such song topics are included in the contemporary sub-categories of the Heavy metal (Doom) genre.
To clarify my position regarding the matter, I want to let people know "I do not want to be considered Alastair Crowley’s bastard son of the Black metal movement." I reject Black metal as a means of expressing myself musically but this does not disclude me from making known the paranormal experience in sub-categories of the Metal genre. Rather, I prefer to be considered a song writer interested in unexplained phenomena, the supernatural, paranormal activity, and the otherworldly expressing myself through Doom metal. The fact that such topics can overlap at times due to similarities is unavoidable. For years, major religions, politics, and cults as well as ethnic societies have been propagating each other to these topics in hopes of controlling one another psychologically. Presently these topics are becoming associated with UFO’s and human encounters with alien life forms (extraterrestrials) from unknown regions in outer space. The explanations and scientific thesis to logically explain the unnatural phenomena has become endless.
With this in mind, I combined song writing and the unexplained with fact and fiction. This approach gives listeners the chance to use their imaginations, form their own opinions, and come to a conclusion regarding such controversial matters. All in all the CD was created to impress aggressive and obscure music fans as well as propagate others, not to morally corrupt the world’s youth and society by hinting to Black Magic as Black metal does. In conclusion I suggest everybody maintain an open mind regarding song topics and music as well as avoid "song sharks" and financially bias commentary in the field of webzine critical review. Most importantly get a copy of the "Apparitions" Ep for free even if it is in the form of self produced music media as it is available through me ([email protected]).
Many thanks for the interview and all the best for ENDLESS VOID in the future.