CVLT Nation Interviews Lenny Smith, vocals for Atriarch
Photos: Robert Hanna
Can you briefly tell us the genesis of Atriarch, how the band was formed and what you set out to do when the band first started?
Genesis is an interesting word. We crawled up from primordial ooze and started slithering directly into the abyss of oblivion. There is no ending and no beginning. We are currently being born into the world and have already died, countless times. So did we really start this project, or has it always been there and we are just following the path to a preordained destiny…
What is the band’s purpose in this world for you guys?
We are filling a void, opening a gateway, piercing a hole in the veil. While the world teeters on the brink of total annihilation, there is also creation, bringing balance. As we destroy and consume, we also share and create…
Deathrock, doom, black metal…. How did you come up with such an unusual splicing of genres to forge your sound?
We simply do what comes naturally. None of us listen to only one type of music. That’s so fucking boring. The last thing we would want would be to fall into a category and be confined by genre.
Maybe it’s the result of sound quality, but this album seems way more metal-oriented than earlier work, and the deathrock element complements more, rather than being the driving force – do you agree?
I don’t know. I don’t think about it like that. It’s not one thing or the other. It’s just what it is. It’s is our art, our creation. Once it is out of our hands and in the world, it becomes filtered by your perception and that’s how you will see it. No matter what our intention is…
Who would you say are Atriarch’s biggest influences?
Life, death, chaos, rebirth, beauty, our relationship between light and dark. Our reaction to a cold, unloving and dying world.
How do you guys write music? Can you tell us how Atriarch songs are born?
I don’t believe that we do “write” songs. We summon them. They are a manifestation of our collective consciousness…
Eyes, pathways, journeys… Recurring themes in the titles and artwork of Atriarch, how come?
The eye is the gateway to the soul. The pathway represents the soul’s journey. Our art is chosen to aesthetically represent vision. It’s part of the spell that we are casting and have been trapped inside for an eternity….
What do you think are the major differences between “an unending pathway” and earlier works?
First off, the production is far superior. Also, we’ve been channeling together for almost 5 years now, so our song summoning is much more advanced and also our connections to each other have become deeper and more powerful…
What themes does the album cover and what is it about?
Death, rebirth and our perception of this version of reality that we are subjecting each other to. Everything that has and will happen, is currently happening, has already happened and will continue to happen, simultaneously. It’s only our perceptions or our ability to perceive this that make our lives seem linear.
We hear a huge leap in sound quality and production on this new album that really makes your sound and style come together this time around, do you agree?
Yes, Billy Anderson and Relapse helped make this superior production possible.
Can you tell us how it was to work with Billy Anderson and how this partnership happened?
He channeled our sound perfectly and added to the magic with his own wizardry. Working with him was like finding our 5th member. Meeting him was simply by chance, he came to one of our shows and we were all instantly friends.
The partnership with Relapse, how did it happen and how would you deem the collaboration so far?
They are the ideal medium for our craft at this juncture. We are excited about and happy with this collaboration so far. They have been great to work with. We have connections to Relapse through their Portland crew. Everything just fit together naturally.
Are you happy how this record came out, or are there things you think could have been better?
There are always things that “could have been done better” – we need to just let them be what they are and were intended to be, and find the beauty in that. We are extremely happy with how this record came out. It is perfect how it is…
Do you think Atriarch is a band that is a vessel for experimentation for you guys, and that your sound might change and evolve in the future, or do you think it’s just a conduit for you to play this deathrock and metal hybrid and that it is not destined to?
It’s constantly evolving and changing. We will continue to push ourselves into uncharted territory. So I’d go with the vessel for experimentation over staying the same. Staying the same is fucking boring and sounds like a creative prison. We will continue to do what comes naturally and not force ourselves into any limitations.
What are the band’s plans for the immediate future?
We’re leaving on a west coast tour and will begin work on new material when we return.
Which bands have you enjoyed listening to lately?
Rome, The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud, Early Swans, Corrections House, Statiqbloom, Fio Gras, Wardruna and Godflesh, just off the top of my head.