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Sacriphyx Interview for NWN site

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Sacriphyx Interview for NWN site Reply with quote

This will be posted on the NWN! interviews page soon.

Having only heard three tracks by Australia’s Sacriphyx, I cannot say that I can yet fully understand their mission. What is immediately apparent, however, is that Sacriphyx play a more dynamic and emotive strain of metal than I have heard in years. The lyrics of the first demo are devoted to articulating the intricate and complex state of the mind of the soldier in combat at the battle of Lone Pine. The music accentuates this endeavor as it evokes all at once the glory and anguish of war. Melodies that rise to triumphant heights then crash despairingly make up the fabric of their long and precisely crafted songs. Intending to uncover more about this heretofore virtually unknown two-man project, I summoned drummer and lyricist Neil Dyer to provide new insight. Prior to making contact with Neil, I partially expected another self-important musician type who takes his work overly serious and tries to insist that the listener approach the music with a particularly serious mindset. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Neil, while clearly articulate and intelligent, also provided some of the most level headed and genuinely metal responses that I’ve heard in while and without a trace of pretentiousness…

J.C.: Hails Neil…As Sacriphyx is still in its primordial stages, perhaps you can discuss the formation of this project.

N.D.: Sacriphyx was formed in early 07. Like many other bands it was created during a drinking session.

J.C.: Can you explain the meaning of the name “Sacriphyx” and from where it is derived?

N.D.: The word Sacriphyx has no meaning. The word came about with us being dickheads joining names together and chopping words in half etc: Fuck there was some shit names thrown about ha-ha. Then we landed on Sacriphyx by chopping sacrifice and asphyx. Looks tough and sounds mean! Also I hear the name was also used in a movie. Must be a classic..

J.C.: In a scene that sometimes walks a line precariously close to fantasy-role-playing-game-like aesthetics, it is refreshing to see a band whose imagery and content seem more grounded in reality. Was there a conscious decision on the part of yourself or Anthony Till to avoid many of the common visual and lyrical trappings of metal? Or do you feel that this is a mischaracterization of your imagery and aesthetics?

N.D.: I had called Anthony about what path he wanted to follow lyric wise as I had myself an idea. I had not written lyrics before but wanted to try writing about a passion of mine. Tales of the Australian soldier, the triumphs, the pride, the horror and the loss. He like me thought it was different and should pursue it.

J.C.: Can you describe the source of the logo? It is certainly a departure from the usual metal imagery. Explain the significance of the musket and sword.

N.D.: I created the logo but fail to see both the musket and sword ha-ha! There is a .303 Lee-Enfield rifle and an 18” Australian issue bayonet of cold hard steel. This rifle was used by most commonwealth forces during WW1 and to a lesser extent WW2. A fine accurate rifle by all accounts and an evil looking foot and a half of steel that put terror in the hearts of their foes.
The way I see it, the logo has old English font, weapons and droopy parts. What do you mean not the usual metal imagery? (I guess you have a point there, Neil.-J.C.)

J.C.: The band photo you used for the CDr demo were taken in front of a war memorial and the recording itself is dedicated “to those that fell at Gallipoli.” What is the importance of this to you? (I should admit here that I am no student of history. A quick search reveals, however, that Gallipoli was a WWI battle at which many Australians sacrificed their lives in the course of war. I should simply let you explain further….)

N.D.: We dedicated the demo to those that fell at Gallipoli as the lyrics were about a battle there and the withdrawal, it was a sign of respect for those brave men who fell.

In Australia we have ANZAC Day, a public holiday to commemorate the dead (and living) from all wars past and present that Australians have been involved in. This day falls on the 25th of April which signifies the date which Australians landed at Gallipoli back in 1915.

It was Australians baptism of fire. Australia proved to the world this day they were a fighting force to be reckoned with, further more they were, being volunteers, a unique army. Some fought for defense of the mother country England, some because of the eight bob a day pay but most to see a bit of the world. I will quit here as I have already summarized a great deal and if I go further I will write a novel.

The band photo has the Australian War Memorial in the background, it was here I had to get permission to use the new cover for the demo 7”.

J.C.: Do you have any formal education or training in history or is this merely a passion you have cultivated on your own?

N.D.: I have no formal education on Australian history, only from the books I read. The passion I have for Australians at war and Australian history as a whole would have come from my father who ever since I was a young fella dragged my brother and I to ANZAC Day dawn services followed by the march. I’d have to say it wasn’t ‘til the last of the original ANZAC’s started to die off around 6 or 7 years ago that my interest really took off and now as a consequence I have trouble finding enough books on the subject to fill my need.

My old man has been over to the fields of France and Belgium on a few occasions to do a bit of amateur archaeology, bringing back bits and pieces of war. On the last occasion he found (near Pozierres I believe) a rising sun badge that adorned the Australian slouch hat. Perfect condition and a remarkable find.

J.C.: Both of the songs are lyrically devoted to the scene of this battle. Is this going to be a pattern for future Sacriphyx releases? By this I mean, do you intend to focus on war and conflict and do you intend to specifically focus on particular wars and battles?

N.D.: All lyrics for upcoming releases are about battles involving Australians in WW1, the lyrics for the demo and awaiting press releases, split 7” with Stargazer and split LP with Resuscitator all deal with Gallipoli with one song on the 12” being an exception. Lyrics for the full length will be all upon The Western Front. From there we will enter WW2.

J.C.: Clearly the scene you set in these songs is one that pertains in large measure to your homeland, Australia. What is your perspective on your heritage and your culture? Is nationalism important to you as an individual or to the creativity of Sacriphyx?

N.D.: Australia has, though a short history, a rich one. From convict settlers, to exploration, to gold rushes, bushrangers and war. All these are packed with incredible stories that put phantasy novels to shame. It is a great country (or was?) and am proud to call myself Australian. Being so far from Europe we have to make do with what we have hear and you won’t find me complaining about that, we have killer bands, past and present and a free going attitude to most things in life. We tend to take the piss out of everything and hope there is no such thing as karma.

I was bought up to be proud of my Australian heritage and it’s a shame to see our unique culture turn to shit, what was once the lucky country is slowly drowning in a sea of shit. Is it the failings of school teachers to teach Australian history? or is it just that the youth of today couldn’t give a fuck. There is nothing I hate more than seeing our flag being burnt for political reasons when the only reason they have there freedom is because of the diggers in WW2 who fought for flag and country. I will stop here, I get too worked up.

J.C.: Is your reverence for war and battle politically significant, and, in your opinion, is metal an appropriate vehicle for politics?

N.D.: Sacriphyx is not a political band, I will try to leave politics out of my lyrics though in some battles it is of vital importance. I have no ill feeling towards those the Australians fought against in WW1; my lyrics are mainly about the soldier and not the reasons for the war. Anthony himself is of German stock but he finds no difficulty in singing about these topics because of the nature of the lyrics.

People will use any tool for politics, metal is just one. Do I believe metal is an appropriate tool? Depends of what nature the politics is about.

J.C.: Obviously, war has always been a recurrent theme in metal. However, these days, the term “war metal” is often applied to bands that simply have album covers depicting goats riding in tanks wearing gas masks and holding grenade launchers. (Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate so-called “war metal” and delve into this genre of music regularly.) Do you feel that you are presenting a more sincerely realistic variety of “war metal?”

N.D.: I see where you are going with this question and it has been discussed whilst on the turps. The way I see it, war is war. Wether it is a world war, war against religion, war against poofters, if you sing about war you have the right to call yourself war metal. But in saying this War Metal is now a term for a style of death metal. So for us to call ourselves war metal it would lead people to believe our music is something it is not.

Sacriphyx plays death metal with war themes.

J.C.: Musically, Sacriphyx seems most closely akin to the early 1990’s Greek sound (i.e. His Majesty and the Swamp, Thy Mighty Contract, etc). Much of the Greek sound seems similarly to evoke scenes of conquest and noble pride in the warrior heritage. Were you drawn to this sound because it suited your needs thematically? Were you heavily influenced by that Greek sound or did you arrive at a similar style by some other means?

N.D.: When writing began it was some death metal with tinges of thrash. Greek sounding riffs just started to creep in here and there and worked well. Both Anthony and myself love the old Greek albums, it really is some powerful stuff, so mixed with classic death metal riffs as well as some slow heaviness it has created something unique. I agree very much with your thoughts on what the old Greek riffing style conjures up in ones mind. It is much needed when dealing with the lyrical themes.

J.C.: The music you play is powerful and monumental, but also highly emotive. The solo at the beginning of “Victory of Withdrawl” is remarkable…simple, yet simultaneously full of glory and despair. And you flow seamlessly into triumphant passages that sound of the conquest and victory. I have heard one other track that I understand is going to be part of a new album and it has a similar style. Blending slow and melodious passages with faster and more triumphant parts. Is this what we should expect from the new recordings?

N.D.: Anthony is a genius when it comes to the way he can change the feeling of a song with a solo or lead and the way he places them in the song after a certain lyric to add power and meaning. It’s a bloody honour to be in a band with him.

Songs recorded for the next two releases are along the structure already shown on the demo, but not all. There are songs that do not hint of any Greek influence then there are others that reek of it! Expect some death/thrash and also some slow heaviness. What will be will be in the bunker of Sacriphyx.

J.C.: Do you derive any influence from genres of music other than metal?

N.D.: If I do get influence from another type of music it would have to be folk music, both Australian and English. I grew up in a house where it was played often. Some lyrics are patriotic, some are depressing as all fuck and others are uplifting. The music catches the feeling of the lyrics in most cases. Hopefully one day when I’m an old geezer with a beard to put Ned Kelly to shame I’ll take some Sacriphyx lyrics and put it to folk.

Anthony has discussed an idea of doing a folk like song (acoustic guitar and clean vocals) when we write the rest of the forthcoming album.

J.C.: Aside from historical texts, do you turn to other literary sources for inspiration either musically or lyrically?

N.D.: I use to read a lot of Phantasy novels and some macabre horror but now only read these for a breather between history books. I do not believe I get inspiration from these besides perhaps The Silmarrilion which is a book filled with tales of dread, woe and an odd victory here and there, very much like war I suppose. This is one book I tend to find myself reading again and again.

J.C.: How is your relationship with the Australian scene? Does Sacriphyx perform live? Are either you or Anthony members of other bands?

N.D.: I’ve been playing live in bands for over a decade now and played in most states, same deal with Anthony. In a scene as small as Australia you pretty much get to know most people and bands from interstate. They look after you when you’re interstate and vice versa. It does not take long to get the name of a new band out across Australia because of this.

Sacriphyx is pretty much confined to a studio band for two reasons. One being we live close to 4hrs drive from one another and the second being there are only the two of us. We have not ruled out the possibility of playing live but will need a session musician. Anthony has a great deal of contacts overseas as he toured some years ago playing drums in Ghastly. His wish is to tour overseas again when Sacriphyx’s name spreads.

Other bands I am involved in are Stone Wings, Innsmouth and Crone. Anthony is involved in Misery’s Omen, Demons Gate, Ghastly, and probably a dozen more that I am unaware of ha-ha.

J.C.: You play drums and write the lyrics, but Anthony supplies the vocals. Is it difficult to write lyrics and yet permit someone else to utter them? Is this because his vocals are superior (indeed, Anthony’s vocals are exceptionally well-suited to the music of Sacriphyx) or because it is difficult for you to sing and play drums simultaneously?

N.D.: I’ve never tried to do vocals and have no problem writing lyrics for Anthony to sing. He puts the lyrics well to the music and I can’t ask for much more then that. I reckon if I tried to do vocals my lungs would collapse and I’d keel over and die. Being both an asthmatic and a smoker may seem extremely tough but it does make me somewhat short of breath.

J.C.: The demo recording was, according to the insert, recorded in a studio yet the sound is a bit murky. While this does not in any way detract from the effect of the music, I am curious to know what type of equipment you used. Analog? Cassette? Digital?

N.D.: The demo was recorded at Anthony’s home studio using digital equipment. All pretty complicated stuff if you ask me so I couldn’t give you much more details concerning this. Give me the old brown two track tape recorder any day.

J.C.: What lies ahead for the Sacriphyx batallion?

N.D.: For the moment we’ll be rehearsing and concentrating on recording material for a full length album and make sure it’s ready to go once the next two releases are out later this year. I do not remember what we have discussed past this point for when we catch up we tend to hit the piss, next thing you know is you are waking up feeling shit and forgetting all that was discussed. I reckon there could have been some killer ideas unfortunately. But I can assure you Sacriphyx will not lay wounded calling for the stretcher bearer but will charge ahead with bayonet held high.

J.C.: Any final words?

N.D.: First a mighty thanks to both yourself and Yosuke, if I ever find myself in America be not surprised when I come a knocking with a slab of Fosters tinnies on me shoulder and a pack of Winnie reds up me sleeve. Cheers to those who have supported Sacriphyx’s short journey this far. Over and out.

Last edited by illomen on Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great work on all sides.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this is up in the interviews section now.
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