Destroying the Devoid’s brainchild chats with yours truly about his side project and first full length solo album “Paramnesia”. The album is out now and ready to put you on the precipice of what may be waiting for us after all.
Clash: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at Rockbrary. We’re excited for your solo project, Destroying the Devoid, and the full length album “Paramnesia” I heard it in its entirety today and it is fucking awesome! Tell us about what inspired/influenced the making of the record.
Craig: Cool! Thanks man. A lot of the influences ranged from film score music and different bands I was listening to. I get inspired by bands that do things differently. For example bands of the progressive genre like Dream Theater, Opeth, or fusion solo albums. The film score influence is what listeners have been picking up on the most. The album has a thematic and cinematic sort of vibe and it’s definitely something I wanted to have throughout and just sort of give people somewhat of a break from the constant death metal, heavy sound and dig deeper into where the songs are going. I mean you can do fast death metal stuff all day but for me, musically, I was aiming to do something different. Before I joined Arkaik I had this idea of starting a death metal band that would sound sort of like Dimmu Borgir. At the time I was already into bands like Suffocation, Spawn of Possession, and really into death metal but the sound I was looking for was more like…..you know, when you listen to Dimmu Borgir it’s heavy black metal with the score of something like Batman behind it. I wanted something similar to that. I thought it would be really cool incorporate orchestral music with death metal. I had the idea in my head before bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse came around but when I was in Arkaik they weren’t that kind of band so I started putting together the idea for a solo album. I was able to write music all around like if I wanted to do one session that was more orchestral than another I could back off the metal portion of it and let the orchestral stuff flow out.
When I wrote “Endless Cycles of Lunacy” (track number two off Paramnesia), which was the second song I ever wrote, it gave me direction and I could see where I was going with it. I was digging a little deeper into my song writing and I felt I was really starting to find the sound I was looking for. Adding synthesizers to the music broadened my horizons a little. I love bands that have keyboardists in them. Death metal musicians aren’t too keen on keyboards but I’m really into bands like Children of Bodom and Dream Theater. I also experimented with midi software when I first started recording the album. I’d take my Guitar Pro files and mess around with them like if I had this arpeggio I would add a synthesizer effect or something and it would sound pretty cool. I did the same with the guitar riffs and it just built over time. It was pretty exciting. Especially since it was what I always wanted to do.
Clash: It’s exciting hearing about it! Tell us a little about the themes behind “Paramnesia” and the song writing process. It feels like you wrote the soundtrack to a sweet nightmare.
Craig: (laughs) Well when I first started writing the music, about 2 or 3 songs in the process, I was experimenting with things I wanted to touch on lyrics wise. The theme of the album, overall, covers human perception and how people see things. Not everything in the world is great and wonderful but it isn’t depressing or sad either. The first piece of music I started writing was a minor arpeggio into a major arpeggio and it correlated with what I wanted to go for. It ended up becoming this musical motif. “Paramnesia” is about how we see ourselves and the world while dealing with our problems. It’s not human perception from a spiritual vibe. A lot of bands nowadays are getting into the whole universal, astral oneness sort of thing which is cool. When I was in Arkaik we we’re probably one of the first bands to sort of do that with death metal and more bands are doing it now like incorporating sacred geometry in their artwork and stuff. With this album I was trying to go for something more realistic from a “here on earth” type of perspective without it being sappy or depressing. I had my own abstract way of going about it lyrically.
The whole theme of it all is, basically, how we see ourselves. If you look at the album cover there is a guy looking into a mirror and the image looking back at him is this hideous monster and you have this desolate, grey, bleak vibe. Even though that isn’t the guy’s reality it’s just how he sees himself. Media, in general, is a factor. When we watch commercials on TV you never really see anyone sad. All we see are people telling us what we need and how we must have it because we’re miserable and then we become sad because we don’t have what ever it is they’re telling us to have. We’re being sold on the media’s ideals of what it takes to be beautiful and successful. The name of the band (Destroying the Devoid) symbolizes getting rid of that sense of entrapment and empowering people who are devoid of happiness. Like saying “Screw that! I’m going to do things my way and create my own version of what I want my life to be”. It all comes from a positive perspective. The last 3 songs on the album are sort of a mini concept. They weren’t really written to go with the rest of the songs. Those tracks are mainly about dealing with death, mostly from my perception. The whole idea revolves around my thoughts of what it would be like to transcend into the afterlife and returning in the first person perspective and coming to terms with losing someone. We live, people die, and we move on. It’s the nature of the beast.
Clash: Right on! The cover artwork is pretty cool. It reminds me of Stephen Gamell’s work. Anyone who knows him would definitely appreciate the cover a little more. I think it fits perfectly with the concept of the album.
Craig: Yeah I could see that. I never really thought about that until you mentioned it but I could definitely see that. It has that grey, eerie, weird feel to it. It’s pretty cool now that I think about it. I actually wanted to do something a little different. Nowadays you have a handful of artists who partake in bringing cover albums to life for bands. A lot of it is computer generated or digital which is cool and I have nothing against that. I’ve seen some pretty cool digital artwork but at the end of the day it all sort of blends together. I wanted to incorporate real photography into the artwork. Sure there is a little photoshop in there but I wanted it to be more real. The album has some digital and human elements and it all goes well together. I was trying to take a different route with it all even with the themes. I didn’t want to overdo it with bright colors and images but rather have it be more thought provoking or intriguing.
Clash: Awesome. What are your favorite films and were there any that might have influenced “Paramnesia”
“They Live” (John Carpenter film from 1988) It’s a bit of a conspiracy theory film. In the movie you have these aliens hiding amongst society and they’re controlling the people. It wasn’t necessarily what I was going for with the album but I’ve always loved that whole “more than meets the eye” kind of thing where people aren’t fully aware of what’s going on around them until someone stumbles onto something then start to question it all. To some people it may just be a cheesy old movie but I think the film is pretty forward thinking for its time. It’s a very cool movie and definitely one of my favorites. I recently saw “The Witch” (Robert Eggers film from 2015) I really liked it. The score and film were done very well. Listening to the film score alone was pretty intense. I was driving and listening to it and there was this crazy build up leading to up to the sound of witches going “ooooooohhhhhh”. It was pretty scary. If you hear the score by itself you almost don’t need to watch the film to know what’s happening. It was done very well.
Clash: Any plans on taking “Paramnesia” on the road?
Craig: There are no plans for touring right now. When I wrote the album touring was an afterthought. Seeing as to how it’s just me there are quite a few things to take into consideration like finances and peoples jobs. It’s funny because I’m being asked about that quite a lot actually. It would definitely be cool to play the songs live. There are some people I have in mind to help me bring this vision out on the road if the circumstances allow it and it all falls into place. I would definitely do it. I’m not against it. That’s for sure. I’m not rushing to tour though. I just wanted to be able to sit and write music comfortably without the stress of meeting studio deadlines or prepping to hit the road and all the stuff that comes with being in a band. Not to say that being in a band is not fun but I just wanted to enjoy myself writing music. We’ll see what the future holds.
Clash: What’s up with Deeds of Flesh? Is there going to be a new album any time soon?
Craig: Yep. We’re almost done with the main chunks of the songs. We’ve outlined the tracks and now we’re getting ready to layer them with bass and vocals. Most of the drum tracks have already been written by Darren (Cecsa) who is replacing Mike Hamilton. We just announced Darren as our new drummer for the band recently and he’s been in gear laying down the drum tracks for the record. Once it is done it’ll be go time and we can hopefully release by….I’m hoping sometime early 2017. I’ve been writing a lot now I’m done with the solo project stuff I can focus on finishing the Deeds album. Once that’s done I’m going to go back into writing mode for my next solo album which will be a follow up to “Paramnesia”. I have a back catalog on Guitar Pro ready for me to work on and I’m looking forward to it. I’m very excited for the new Deeds album but I’m definitely ready to see where the rest of the solo music goes.
Clash: Well I’ll definitely be looking forward to the follow up for Paramnesia. It’s a great album and I hope you get to tour for it. Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview for Rockbrary. Good luck with all your future endeavors!
Craig: Thanks man. I really appreciate it.
There it is ladies and gents, lovers of the dark side and perception of reality. Craig has given us the insight of the meaning of the band’s name, and the theme of this brutal, cinematic score if we may! Stay tuned for more news, and here is a sick song by this talented composer.
Destroying The Devoid– “Paramnesia”- Paramnesia
Interview By: Clash The Impaler