BLIND: Summoner’s Circle formed in early 2015 and we spent close to nine months writing material and forming what would be the look and feel that we now have. We recorded an EP album before our first show on Halloween of 2015. Out of that lineup, only Gog and I remain. I suppose the pressures of pursuing a full-time metal band just isn’t for everyone.
But we’ve since filled the roster with some truly amazing musicians and everyone is now on the same page with our goals as a band. Originally, we wanted to do something dark and theatrical because Knoxville didn’t have anything like it. We found our theme and look, and by our second show we were opening for Deicide.
ITN Magazine: What are your memories of the performance? ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?
BLIND: We were just shy of a year as a band before our first show. I remember people, friends, being there who thought we were an out of town touring act just because Knoxville doesn’t produce costumed metal bands with black metal influences. It was a strong impact. When we first started, we fancied ourselves a theatrical doom band. As time went on and we continued to write new material with new members, doom metal just didn’t fully convey the sound we were producing. So we began using the term epic metal to describe our sound. There’s a little doom metal, a little black metal, a little death metal, and elements of progressive metal. We wanted a big epic sound so we thought epic metal just better described us.
ITN Magazine: Who are your influences and how have they shaped your bands sound?
BLIND: We want our audience to feel like they’re partaking in the invocation of a Lovecraftian Elder God. While we have a very visual aspect to our show, we want the music to convey cosmic horrors. Our biggest influences have been bands like Alice Cooper, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, and Ghost.
ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about your latest album what are the listeners in store for with this release ?
BLIND: ‘Become None’ is the worldwide label release of our independent release, previously called ‘Tome’. It has some bone crunching heavy riffs and then transitions to very dark melodic pieces. The title track speaks for itself as an invitation to join us in the shadows and be counted among the Nones as we journey to depths of madness and horror.
ITN Magazine: Where did record your latest release at? ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?
BLIND: We recorded ‘Become None’ at Wavetransform Studios and was produced and mixed by Yanic Bercier of Wavetransform Studios and mastered by the legendary Tom Morris of Morrisound Recording.
ITN Magazine: How do you feel the band has evolved musically and personally over the last year?
BLIND: We have a very organic writing process. Everyone brings their own feel and style to the music. Writing will usually start off with a single riff and we’ll just work on it until an entire song has been written. Once the music has come together, I’ll brainstorm lyrics off the feel that I get when I hear the music. The longest process is mapping lyrics to the music. But everyone is open to constructive criticism and support from other members. It’s the most supportive and healthiest writing environment I’ve ever been a part of.
ITN Magazine: Favorite memory from a show you’ve played or a place you’ve traveled to?
BLIND: The warm reception we had on the Hexed Tour with Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, and Wolfheart was amazing. There was nothing like hitting a new city every night, playing to a packed house, and hearing them cheer you on. Being the opening act and hearing the crowd chant for one more song was something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.
ITN Magazine: Favorite song of yours you’ve written?
BLIND: ‘Legion’ is my personal favorite on the album. It just has a certain feel that I love. ‘Become None’ is an anthem song rather than a horror story and it is particularly meaningful to me. It’s written in such a way that it can be perceived in multiple ways. While I had a message when I wrote the lyrics, it’s open to be interpreted in numerous ways.
ITN Magazine: Favorite song of yours that you like to play live?
BLIND: ‘Leviathan: Lord of the Labyrinth’ is probably the most fun song to play. It’s a real heavy hitter about human sacrifice to an Elder God. It’s a straight kick in the teeth.
ITN Magazine: Where do you draw the inspiration for the songs you write?
BLIND: We’re fans of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. I know we all pull from our darker, nerdy loves. I, myself, find a lot of inspiration in the writings of Lovecraft, Stephen King, Joe Hill, occult stories like movies like ‘A Dark Song’ or ‘The Void’ and even some video games like ‘Silent Hill’ and ‘Bloodborne’. Needless to say, like any good metal band, D&D and other fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings.
ITN Magazine: How important do you rate the lyrical side of your albums?
BLIND: To me, they’re just as important as the music itself. All of our songs fit the visual aesthetic that we do. I have completely scrapped lyrics I just wasn’t happy with. Lyrics are held to the same level of scrutiny as the rest of music. If it doesn’t pass quality control, it doesn’t get used.
ITN Magazine: What are your current tour plans, if any?
BLIND: We just came off the Hexed Tour with Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, and Wolfheart. We are currently looking into getting back out there in support of the new album but we’ll announce that when we can. We currently have a few one off shows like our album release show in Knoxville, TN at The Concourse, Washington DC on June 8th at Atlas Brew Works, The Gathering of the Juggalos on July 31st, and the Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival in St. Louis, Missouri on September 5th through the 7th.
ITN Magazine: Describe your live performance for those who have never seen you live?
BLIND: Our shows are a ritual, the songs are our incantations. We open every show with a human sacrifice in hopes that something on the other side will hear our call. Prepare your ears and eyes for a swan dive into the occult with fantastic tales of dark, esoteric wonder.
ITN Magazine: Getting radio airplay and support is important for a any band, What is your view on that?
BLIND: Radio play will always be important to a musician even if the radio has changed over the years. The metal community remains ever vigilant and continues to grow despite the blind eye that mainstream media gives us. Radio support may have gotten smaller but the demand for metal music grows larger every day.
ITN Magazine: Do you see as we do that most local radio rarely support the up and coming new bands and even more local bands just starting out?
BLIND: Absolutely. I understand that it’s hard to push rock and metal as a radio station when the entirety of the industry and turned it’s focus on the more simple and trite music of the day. So when you do have a radio station that will play real music, they’re under pressure to play music that is already known. People aren’t willing to risk playing an unknown band when you can play favorites from 30 years ago. This stagnates the music pool. There seems to be a disconnect between what metal fans want and what radio stations are willing to provide.
ITN Magazine: What do you think of the music industry right now?
BLIND: The scene is stronger now that it’s ever been. The demand is there. I see every day a new article about how metal is the fastest growing genre in music. I think that’s only partly true. Metal never went away. The industry did. So it continued without mainstream support and built a fan base that is more dedicated than any other genre. It’s grown so much that the mainstream has to take note of it. I might also point out that this is a uniquely American problem. Canada and Europe doesn’t seem to have this problem. The industry supports both metal and pop music alike. But here, the industry found they can mass produce cheap music by employing anyone with a copy of Garage Band to make simple beats and trite lyrics, and the masses bought the advertising not knowing that they could get more quality out of an 8-bit video game soundtrack. All we can do is continue to grow and make our demands until the industry has no choice but to look at us and hear that we have a lot to say.
ITN Magazine: Did you find it hard to break into the business and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
BLIND: We’re still trying to break into it. Our biggest obstacle is just making people aware that we exist. The Hexed Tour did us a lot of good on the East Coast and Eastern Canada. But we didn’t go out West on that tour. There are still a lot of people who would enjoy what we do but they need to be made aware of our existence. So, in that regard, we’re still in the thick of it. I look forward to coming back in the future and providing a better answer to this question.
ITN Magazine: Tell us about your thoughts on your local music scene?
BLIND: The local scene is the backbone of any real music scene. There is no local scene for pop or rap music. It’s either you go big on a television show or you sell your life’s work to a producer who gives it to talentless pop-star to make millions off of with a career that matches the shelf life of their physical appearance. Local support is the bedrock of all rock, punk, and metal bands. Unfortunately, in our home town, venues have begun to dry up and the few that are left have a larger focus on appealing to some kid with a MacBook who calls themselves a DJ than a group of people who have spent their lives learning their craft. Being from the bible-belt doesn’t help, either. We’ve actually been banned from a venue in Knoxville over our look. They just had to cater to the delicate sensibilities of their base. They don’t mind booking the Butcher Babies playing a topless show but if you make an inverted cross logo out of the shape of the state…well, we can’t have that.
ITN Magazine: Are there any new and upcoming bands that you are into?
BLIND: Absolutely! We’ve played with a multitude of great bands in the same position we are in. Bands like Casket Robbery, Nevalra, Thy Antichrist, Rhythm of Fear, Dead Medusa, Warclown, Absent from the Body, Eyes of the Living, Realm, Gone in April, Hell Scorched Earth, Winterhymn, Deconbrio, and Fable Cry just to name a few. All are tremendous acts and all are great people to boot.
ITN Magazine: How has Social Networking (Facebook,Twitter, etc.) impacted your band?
BLIND: With the lack of support from venues, radio, and other traditional forms of promotion, Social Networking sites have been the only way to get word out about who you are and what you’re doing.
ITN Magazine: Where can our readers find you on the web?
BLIND: SUMMONER’S CIRCLE can be reached at:
Youtube: Summoner’s Circle
ITN Magazine: What equipment is the band using and do you have any endorsements currently?
BLIND: Let me give you a brief list of some of the gear the band uses
Absalon - Gibson flying V, Mesa dual rectifier amps, DR Strings.
Y’Takt – Markbass Tube800, 1x15 and 4x10 cabs, 2006 Fender Getty Lee Jazz Bass made in Japan, 1982 Gibson Explorer Bass, 1982 Gibson G-3 Grabber, DR Strings 50-110 Neons for live, DR Hibeams 50-110 for studio, Line 6 wireless G10, Sennheiser e835, and Dunlop tortex picks.
Gog – Kemper Power Profiler, ESP V2, Orange cabs, Mission Engineering expression pedals.
Hex – Roland Juno keyboard.
ƒrix² - Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads,Vic Firth sticks
ITN Magazine: Thanks for answering these questions. Do you have any last comments for our readers?
BLIND: Thank you very much. Keep an eye out for us as we have some big things on the horizon. If you want us in your town, talk to your local venues and promoters, tell your friends and help spread the word. Walk with us in the shadows and Become None!
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