Castevet: Interview with the Experimental Black Metal Band (Paragon Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Castevet: Interview with the Experimental Black Metal Band (Paragon Records)

Castevet - Interview with BrooklynRocks (Paragon Records)Castevet has been around the NYC scene since 2007 and the band just released their debut 7", "Stones/Salts", on Paragon Records in March '09. This disc is an impressively packaged clear vinyl 7" (check out the picture below) that is limited to 300 copies. Castevet's next show is at Market Hotel on August 21 and they are sharing the bill with Tombs, Batillus, & Liturgy. Tickets are $10 and will probably go quickly.

BrooklynRocks: What’s the deal with Castevet? The band seems to play out only once every few months and there is almost no information about the band on the Internet.

Ian: My name is Ian, and I play drums. Andrew is our guitarist, and Josh is our bassist. To give a brief biographical overview, Castevet has been in existence since late 2006. “Stones/Salts”, our debut 7”, was completed in February 2008. The release of the 7” was delayed due to financial issues. Also during 2008, we encountered some personal differences with our original bassist, Dan. We ended up parting ways with him around March of 2008. Things became uncertain for a few months as a result of these issues, so Andrew and I collectively decided to defer live shows until all of our cards were on deck. We spent the rest of the year focusing on writing for our full length. “Stones/Salts” was released in March 2009, and our new bassist Josh joined in February 2009.

BrooklynRocks: Your music has both a lot of complexity and subtle nuances. Can you describe your songwriting process?

Ian: The nuances are a result of motif. Establishing themes and motifs for each of our songs is essential in seeing them through to completion. It also gives each of our songs an identity, and allows Andrew and I to better understand why we wrote them to begin with. The songwriting process begins with Andrew writing riffs, and then him and I organizing them into a structure. Once we are happy with the layout, I will compose drums that support the riffs while adding more rhythmic depth. The bass is then written to support both the guitar and drums.

Andrew: Lyrics and vocal patterns are generally written after the music is completed. Aiming for a strong sense of depth to our compositions is intrinsic to our songwriting process. For us, it is vital to create layers of texture and harmony that touch on a wide range of emotion.

Castevet - 'Stones/Salts'BrooklynRocks: With the new 7”, how much of the riffs/songs were written in advance and how much was worked out in the studio? What did Colin Marston add to the recording process and how did you hook up with him? Are you working with Colin for your full-length?

Ian: All of the material for “Stones/Salts” was written in advance, and none of it was worked out during recording. Every song we write is demoed/pre-produced on my home studio setup. We prefer to work this way; it gives us better control of the music’s outcome. Demo-ing all of our material allows us to take the role of the “listener”, and really gauge whether we feel strongly about our ideas. Colin did not record the seven-inch, but will be recording the album. Andrew and I have a tremendous amount of respect for his work ethic, so needless to say, we are excited to work with him.

BrooklynRocks: Going back to what I think was the band’s first show (Rockstar Bar – Summer ’07), how has your music changed over the last few years? Is there such a thing as a typical set for the band and how many songs from the live set are going to make it onto the full-length?

Ian: I don’t think our music has changed very much since 2007, but I do believe we now have better insight as to how to create it. When Andrew and I first started working together, we had no real intent other than to really push ourselves musically. We never said, “let’s play this, or that”; we just played without preconceived visions. The “Stones/Salts” material was written in a way that I would compare to walking down a pitch-black hallway. We had to really feel around, and be over analytical to reach a result we believed in.

Andrew: I feel our compositions have gained a much greater sense of clarity and intent since 2007. As a result, we’ve been able to focus on expanding our textural palette. The full length will have a much wider range of instrumentation and tones.

BrooklynRocks: What do all of you do when Castevet isn’t playing? It seems like more musicians are playing in 3 – 4 bands just to be able to pay the bills. Is this the case with you guys?

Ian: I work full time. Living in NYC is too expensive to not work. I do play in other bands, but this provides nothing towards an income.

Andrew: I am currently a college student, and I teach guitar on the side. I also participate in the local free improve and noise scene, and plan to do some more extensive gigging/recording with it during the fall.

BrooklynRocks: Is there a metal (black or otherwise) scene in New York? What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about black metal bands and/or their music?

Andrew: There is a pretty rich and diverse metal scene in New York; we feel privileged to be a part of it. I would say one of the biggest misconceptions about Black Metal bands is the assumption that the members of these bands are only capable of pursuing this one genre. I have many friends who play black metal, and who also heavily involve themselves with other genres. I find that these specific people end up doing great things, especially outside of the realm of Black Metal.

BrooklynRocks: Can you explain references to “The Lesser Key of Solomon” and Paimon in your MySpace bio?

Ian: Take the Paimon reference as you wish. “He giveth Dignity, and confirmeth the same.”

BrooklynRocks: What is next for Castevet and what are the goals for ’09 and beyond?

Ian: Recording our album in September and solidifying a release for it is priority. Once that is done, our goal will be to play lots and lots of shows. We have some small tour endeavors in the works for fall/winter of 2009, and even some ideas for 2010.

BrooklynRocks: Is there anything you want people to know about the band or any final words in general?

Andrew: Ask why. Thank you for the interview and the support.

Ian: Thanks a lot for the questions, and the support!

Castevet's MySpace Profile