Plague of CarcosaInterview

LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up? 

Eric Zann: I started the project on my own around 2016 with a heavily downtuned guitar. The project grew when I brought that guitar in one day to a session with some other musicians I was with, and they loved the sound – from there, we shifted our focus to mostly fleshing some ideas I had, and the band was born. We recorded 2 singles with that lineup, one EP with just myself and that drummer. Now Alexander is behind the kit and we are writing for a new release.

LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you guys have been holding up?

Eric: We both have day jobs to keep us busy – I’ve been working at home for a software company, and Alexander actually started working at a music shop a few months ago. Overall, we’re both very fortunate in that respect.

Alexander: In addition to the day job I’ve been working on a lot of solo music. I’ve got some new stuff unrelated to this band hopefully coming in the next few months.

LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?

Eric: It admittedly takes a long, long time for me to write one song I’m happy with, but now we’ve got 2 or 3 since the pandemic started, so I’ll take that as a win.

Alexander: I seem to grow two incomplete projects for every one I am able to complete so in a few more months I’ll be a full-on procrastination hydra and we’ll have to shift from Lovecraft to Greek mythology.

LOMM: Modern sounds are my thing  How about you? What does your genre means to you, why did you choose this genre?

Eric: Generally speaking, I do go for modern sounds too – I love the thick, fuzzy, oppressive atmosphere bands like Bethmoora, Bongripper, Cough, and Cult of Occult give off. That’s really what drew me to doom in the first place – the atmosphere served as a catharsis for my emotions, and playing it became an outlet.

LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
Eric: I always had a soft spot for HP Lovecraft, and while the theme didn’t seep into the songwriting itself until a little more recently, I knew I wanted to take that ‘cosmic horror’ imagery and run with it. It was only later on that we actively started trying to reflect the actions in his writing with our music.

LOMM: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspects of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve
Eric: I think we nail the atmosphere of HPL with our overall sound and the production duo we worked with. Our structures could probably use some tightening though.

Alexander: I think that’ll be the component we develop most. I come from a heavy improv background so there’s structure and then there’s structure and I could probably stand to be a bit more repeatable.

LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
Eric: Fantastic! Of all my musical projects so far, this has been the one that’s been the most well received.

Alexander: The reception to the music we’re making together has been very positive. It’s nice.

LOMM: Have you ever been on a tour? Given live performances? Is it tough for you not to be able to do so now?
Eric: No tours with this project, no, but with other bands in the past. We keep mostly to local shows since it’s often hard to get transport outside the city. We do miss playing live, which is one of the reasons we decided to do this set!

Alexander: I spent most of 2019 and the previous few years on tour with various groups, so this has been the longest stretch of being in one place that I can remember. I’m definitely looking forward to a time when we can share this upcoming material with audiences outside of Chicago.

LOMM: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?
Eric: Well, we’ve been doing some writing during the pandemic, so once we get a set of songs fleshed out that we’re happy with, I’d like to hit the studio again. I’d say we’re well on our way there, just some more things to figure out what to do with.

Alexander: Write, record, play, tour, write, record, play. Hopefully.

LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process? Who is writing the lyrics?
Eric: The next pieces will revolve around the following HPL stories: The Cats of Ulthar, The Doom That Came To Sarnath, and The Dunwich Horror. The ideas for their progressions come from the build and flow of the respective stories, as well as a little back and forth between ourselves.

Alexander: Coming into writing a record with Eric, seeing how he’s got a clear idea of the feeling he’s going for, it’s a lot of auditioning parts, rewriting riffs into different time signatures, bending the drum parts into the correct shape for the moment. It’s a lot of fun to find that balance between his initial thoughts and the atonal chaos that I’m usually going for.

LOMM: Which is more exciting? Being on the road or studio?
Eric: Being on the road is certainly more exciting from an adventure standpoint, but much more taxing. Being in the studio is more exciting from a musical standpoint, since it means we’re preparing new things to share with the world. They both have their merits and charms, and one isn’t inherently ‘more [adjective]’ than another, in my book. But, I’ve never been on the road for more than 10 days at a time, so what do I know?

Alexander: They do both have positive points, for sure. Personally, though… touring is better. The music is done and you can let it breathe and shift. But that’s also coming from someone that hasn’t spent much time in a professional studio. It’s kind of fun that we’ve had these opposite experiences.

: Who is composing the songs?
Eric: The both of us, with guidance from HP Lovecraft himself.

: What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
Eric: Bongripper is the band that ‘made me start’ Plague of Carcosa. Beyond that, we’ve drawn comparisons to Slomatics, Conan, Thou, Sleep, and others in that vein. 

Alexander: For the new stuff I’m drawing from Dead Neanderthals, that first Mastodon record, Naked City. Rabid Rabbit’s C Section. Stuff like that.

LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
Eric: While we will ALWAYS try to put on the best show we can, at the end of the day, I do this as my own outlet. If I’m writing something, I’m not gonna take into account what anyone else’s reaction might be, other than ‘does this sound good to me?’

LOMM: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Eric: Crafting songs that have made people happy, or otherwise inspired them. Seems like a cop out answer, but really, we’re a small operation.

LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?

Eric: We sincerely appreciate everyone who takes their time to listen, reach out, or otherwise enjoy what we do. It means the world! We’re not a big band, it’s just the two of us, and we do this all in our free time on our own. Every little ‘pat on the back’ we get, or every little ‘come to Europe,’ or every ‘I listened to this yesterday and dug it’ comment makes us happy.

Alexander: That’s true. If you like something, tell the people that made the thing.

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