To begin with, congrats are in order on an amazing record with “Sleep At The Edge Of The Earth”…have you gotten some early reviews and how have they been?
Dan: We’ve gotten a couple from folk-metal.nl, valkyrieswebzine.com and deadrhetoric.com so far and they’ve all been very positive. It’s exciting to see such kind words this early.
After releasing “Olden Trails And Deathly Trails” in 2012, did you have a “vision” of what you wanted the new album to become?
Evan: We didn’t really have anything in mind right away. A lot of the ideas for “Sleep” were actually already written when “Olden Tales” was released. It was just a matter of piecing them together. I think the overall vision naturally came together when the songs began to take form. The songs presented the vision, I suppose.
Is there a central “theme” or a “concept” to the new album even it is not a specific idea?
Evan: There’s not really any concept, but there are a lot of recurring themes both musically and lyrically. Overall, I like to leave most lyrical content left to the listener’s interpretation, because I think it’s usually more gratifying to discover your own personal connections to certain phrases or ideas, rather than trying to dissect what the writer’s thinking (Sometimes I don’t even truly know what I was thinking). But, as for some generalities, the album deals a lot with themes of isolation, paranoia, and agoraphobia.
In comparison to “Olden Trails…” the two things that come to mind is that “Sleep….” is much “heavier” and more “progressive”….do you feel those are accurate at all? If not what do think the main differences are between the two? Is “progressive” one of those words for you that is a “double edged sword”?
Dan: Definitely. One of our goals on this album was to get the heavy sections heavier and the soft parts softer and I think that kind of dynamic range resulted in pushing the album further into the “progressive” realm. As far as the term “progressive” goes, I see it more as an adjective than a genre. It doesn’t really define the overall sound of an album but rather establishes a mentality of wanting to push some boundaries.
You have a 4 part track entitled “Ash Memory”….Was this written as one song and broken up into 4 separate parts or were they 4 songs that thematically seem to work together as one concept?
Dan: Evan wrote it as one song. We were originally toying around with idea of having it be a single track as well as having all the parts happen at different points in the album rather than having them all consecutive. But once the other songs came together it was clear that they had to all be heard one after another. Splitting it up into four different tracks just made it easier to scroll through.
Evan: I think we also felt like the 4 tracks were distinct enough that they’re listenable on their own, as well as altogether. Even though it’s definitely one piece of music, we’d rather give people the option of listening to certain sections, rather than forcing them to always listen all the way through (although that’s certainly recommended).
When writing material, are you ever concerned about how you will ever perform them live with so much instrumentation going on?
Evan: It’s definitely a concern every once in a while, but we never let it affect how we make the album. We don’t want to sacrifice how we want the album to sound, just because we’re worried about pulling it off live. Because of this, we do end up having to rearrange certain parts for the live performance. But we kinda like that the live versions aren’t necessarily exactly what you hear on the album. I think it makes for an interesting, different experience.
You recently completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign……what are the pros and cons of this process for you?
Dan: Kickstarter is great. Before crowdfunding became a thing there wouldn’t have really been a way for us to make this album happen. We either would have had to spend years saving up our own money to try to pay for it ourselves or wait to see if a label would want to pick us up. I think the benefit of crowdfunding is that it allows artists to keep creating by essentially having people “pre-order” the album. It keeps the underground music scene from stalling. The disadvantage for the artist is that to have a successful campaign you need to put a lot of time and money into setting up the campaign, delivering the rewards, and trying to get everything done in the amount of time you promised. But I think it brings artists and their fans closer and that’s always worth it.
How do you feel about being an independent artist without a label? Do you prefer it in some respects to being signed to a label? Are you comfortable with all aspects of band promotion be it social media, touring, etc?
Evan: Since we’ve never been signed, it’s honestly a bit hard to say, because we don’t really have anything to compare it to. It’s all we’ve known as a band, and we’re doing the best we can with the situation. It’s definitely not easy, and there are many drawbacks. But, for all we know, it’d be even more difficult to be signed to a label. So we’re just going to enjoy where we’re at, and keep progressing when we’re able. We’re definitely not opposed to talking to labels, but the conversations have never come up. I guess the same could be said for any serious booking agencies or promotional companies, etc. I think we’re comfortable with it for the level that we’re at – but it’s hard to think of moving significantly upwards without some more assistance in those departments.
How do you all balance personal and professional lives outside of Wilderun? What is the preferred methodology of writing and recording?
Dan: Wilderun is done almost entirely remotely through Facebook, email, phone, etc. So the hardest thing (for me at least) is keeping things on schedule while still working and living in my personal life. It’s definitely easier to have a designated time every week where everyone meets and writes or rehearses.
Evan: Yeah, our current method of writing and recording isn’t exactly “preferred” haha, it’s more just a necessity for our situation. But it seems to work alright. Hopefully one day we’ll all be in the same place.
What is the folk/symphonic/progressive scene like in the Boston area? Who are some of the bands you play shows with that need some people to pay attention to?
Evan: Well, there are certainly more ‘progressive’ bands that I can think of than folk metal bands. Off the top of my head, a few I can think of are The Deadstation, Lattermath, Protean Collective, all of which are definitely worth checking out. The one folk metal band I can think of is Dainsleif, who are some buddies of ours – Definitely give them a listen!
Jeff (folk-metal.nl): Do you have a specific genre tag that works for you or could you care less?
Evan: It seems to be becoming vaguer to us – so we’ll just leave that up to the fans.
Hopefully you have some tour plans for 2015 in the works…..???
Evan: Well, we can’t say anything just yet, but we’re definitely working on some stuff! Keep checking back to our website/FB page in the next month or two.
What are you listening to right now, either newer or older stuff? What other influences do you all have that impact the Wilderun songs??
Dan: At the moment, it’s a lot of Death Grips and Ministry.
Evan: Been in a bit of a hip-hop mood lately, listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar, Gravediggaz, Clipping, Earl Sweatshirt, GZA. Also some Dub groups like Scientist and King Tubby.
As far as groups at all similar to Wilderun (nothing I just mentioned haha), been listening to some Thyrfing, Glittertind, Ensiferum – as well as that folk album by Jonne from Korpiklaani – great stuff!
Evan: We hope everyone really enjoys the album! Thanks for the interview!