In The Woods… are a band that for many have never seen the acclaim of their progressive counterparts like Arcturus, Virus or even Solefald, and yet their music has always stood on par with these acts. We had the opportunity to speak with them following their stellar new album "Cease the Day".
How do you feel the sound on "Cease the Day" has evolved since your last album "Pure"?
ITW: The musical style of ITW has changed a little since "Pure". There is more use of guitar chords and intervals, as opposed to power chords (as previously). This is due to the riffs being written by James and Bernt [vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist James Fogarty and guitarist Bernt Sørensen — Noizr], and makes for a final result that is less dependent on keyboards to provide the melodic features. In terms of the production, we are far happier with the mix results on "Cease the Day" as opposed to "Pure".
What differences do you think have marked the band since the revival of ITW? Whether that be sonically, thematically or philosophically.
ITW: The biggest difference is the change in lyrics and vocals. Whereas Jan’s vocals leaned more heavily on theatrics [ITW’s ex-vocalist Jan Kenneth Transeth — Noizr], James relies more on his composition and technical abilities. The lyrics on the last two albums are far less subjective than those of the 90’s albums, which allows a wider scope of lyrical content.
"Cease the Day" is a grand sweeping record, filled with restraint and a clear vision, can you describe the writing process for an ITW album, how collaborative is it?
ITW: The writing was handled 50/50 between James and Bernt (with the exception of "Transcending Yesterdays" and "Cease the Day"). They were exchanging riffs, and then met up in James’ hometown (Brighton, UK) for a few days to arrange the demo versions of the songs that became the album. The process was probably the most direct and quickest of all ITW albums.
James, it’s been recorded multiple times that you reached out to Anders in the hope of reinvigorating ITW, 2 albums later, looking back on the progress the band has made, is it surprising the progress and achievements that have been made?
ITW: I was coming home from the pub and smoking a joint on a regular basis, and the first album I would put on was "Heart of the Ages" – that’s what made me think "shit — this needs to be brought back!". It’s one of the few black metal bands I can still enjoy after widening my horizons since I was a teenager. It was never my intention to play such a central role in ITW – I simply wanted to help in any small way I could. It has been great fun.
Do you feel that In The Woods has reached the initial vision for what the band should sound like?
ITW: No, we will be able to say that when we have had enough. We have not had enough yet. The vision of what the band should be has changed over the years with different members. We feel that we have now created an ITW from an alternate universe and are seeing what we can do with this band, and where we can take it. We are enjoying the creative process – that is all that matters for us.
Where do you see the band developing or evolving from here?
ITW: No idea – but isn’t that great?
Noizr: "Cease the Day" is out now via Debemur Morti Productions and is available for order in vinyl and CD here. The digital download is available via Bandcamp. Follow the band and Debemur Morti Productions on Facebook.
Interviewed by Dan Thaumitan