Summon: How did the band get started?
Mike: After spending many many years unsuccessfully trying to find local musicians with similar musical tastes who were willing to work hard on music, I decided to do it all myself. After getting online to promote my music, I discovered I could recruit vocalists online and with computers/Internet long distance collaborations are feasible. So I started a second album entitled 12 Gauge Ventilation which features these collaborations.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Mike: I tend to group my style into Extreme Metal. It tends to be a combination of Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal, Death Metal.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Mike: I am quite pleased that my music is getting positive reactions from most people who take the time to listen.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Mike: I wrote a Black Metal Instrumental that was inspired by a dark photograph from photographer Darren Quarin of Quarin Photography. It was a dark image of trees with clouds in the background and the moon in the center. The name just came to me completely inspired by that photo. I decided to use it as my projects name. From that point on Quarin Photography’s work started showing up on my web sites and in my music videos.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Mike: Mike Watson aka Montara Mike: Compositions, Production, Guitar, Bass Keyboards, Drum programming. Sometime the bass and keyboards are also sequenced. I will also do limited vocals, like a long scream in the background etc…
My Album 12 Gauge Ventilation Features guest musicians. I did all the music except for the Bass parts in 2 instrumentals.
Chris McCampbell (Oakland USA): Bass on Metal Detector and Undead Waltz
Profinator(Rhode Island USA): Vocals and Lyrics on Poisoning the Vein of Life
Stevil Haunt (Edmonton, Alberta Canada): Vocals and Lyrics on A Phoenix Rising
Ash Von Horror (Austin Texas USA): Vocals and Lyrics on Trust My Rage
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Mike: I write all the music. On 12 Gauge Ventilation the singers write the lyrics. I have a song in the works with vocalist Ash Von Horror called Vikings Gods of Metal, which I wrote all the lyrics.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Mike: My music tends to just flow out of me. If I try do do something specific, it rarely works out well. Some of my best songs were unplanned.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Mike: I am a bit disappointed with all the people who take Satantic themes in music seriously. I love Metal music and its dark themes in the same way I love good horror movies. Something to entertain you, but nothing you should act out in real life.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Mike: I tend to release my songs as they are completed so my current CD’s are an on going projects. In the past I have released about 5 obscure Electronic music CD’s that were not Metal by any means. That project never really took off and very few people know about it. But currently I have 3 main CD’s I am working on. The main Encroaching Darkness Title CD, the Encroaching Darkness – 12 Gauge Ventilation and I am also working on a completely different project with a young vocalist form San Jose, California, Drekavac (Daniel Webster). We are doing a Death Metal/ Deathcore project together.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Mike: The songs on my Title Album were going to mainly be Death Metal instrumentals, but have been morphing into a mix of Black Metal/Atmospheric Black Metal. I write and play music I like to listen to, and I guess it reflects the styles of music I most enjoy. My music are also influenced by images or events, especially nature. I am especially fascinated with storms and clouds, which are reoccurring themes in my music videos.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Mike: I tend to treat all music as my main project. About 4 years ago I took a look at my past 35+ years of guitar playing and music and realized I should be a lot better than I was. I made the decision to give up all my other interests and concentrate on my music. I am now more satisfied with my music ability having practiced hard over the last 4 years.
I have many projects on-going. I write a lot of music and send a lot of music to vocalists wanting to do projects with the realization that not all will complete the project to my satisfaction, so the more I have out there the better.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Mike: My most early influence would be Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. When I was 18 I lucked out and saw them live at what turned out to be their last performance in the U.S.. That was my first concert and saved up my pennies and bought a Gibson Les Paul after that concert. Pink Floyd would be another big influence. Also, Metal Church, Early Metallica, Iron Maiden.
Summon: Which current bands?
Mike: Amon Amarth, Decapitated, Arch Enemy, Darkened Nocturn Slaughter Cult, Immortal, Cannibal Corpse, 1349, Arkona, Watain, Carpathian Forest, Year of no Light, Dissection.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Mike: Since I am pretty much a one person project it is a bit difficult to play like. Many of my songs have 2 Bass tracks and up to 18 guitar tracks which would be difficult to pull off live.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Mike: What bugs the heck out of me is when music is judge by the location of the musicians. In my opinion, people from any location are capable of creating good music. Music fans who say they only like, for example, Black Metal from Norway are closing their minds to many other great possibilities. Having said that, all metal has a difficult time in the U.S.. The problem mainly stems from the large corporations that own most of the radio stations in this country, Like Clear Channel. They have set play-lists and you will find radio stations all over the country playing the same crap. Metal is much bigger in Europe and elsewhere.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Mike: I am jealous of the exposure metal gets overseas.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Mike: My all time #1. Favorite Black Metal Band is Darkened Nocturn Slaughter Cult. To me their music is pure Black Metal, but without the lofi production you get with many of the trve kvlt bands.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Mike: I write new material all the time. I have over 200 unfinished songs I can work on when I am not inspired to come up with a new piece.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Mike: I will continue to write and record music I like and as long as I am having fun will continue to do so until I am no longer able to pick up an instrument.
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