(Last Friday we had the pleasure of premiering a full stream of Providentia, the superb debut album by a mysterious Greek entity named AWE. Now, KevinP brings us a new installment in his short-interview series, in which he quizzes an anonymous member of the band.)
K: So you don’t disclose who is in the band or what roles they play. Why is that? And what can you tell us?
It is really irrelevant who is in the band or what the contribution is of each member. You have to perceive AWE as an autonomous entity or as a vessel through which we can manifest our artistic desires. It is for the above reason that we didn’t create fake personas with fancy nick-names in order to please our egos. So, the important thing for us is for the listener to be patient, dive into our music, and grasp what we want to communicate through AWE.
K: Even though you have existed since 2007, the first recorded material anyone could experience was “This Nature is not of yours”, on the Monomaniac vol 4 compilation. Your song lasted 90 seconds (as did the songs from all the other bands on it). After hearing “Clotho” on this year’s Moerae split and the debut full-length, Providentia, none of which has a track less than 15 minutes long, that’s quite a drastic shift.
Chronologically speaking “This nature is not of yours” was envisioned and composed last in the chain of our releases. This track marked almost a new era for the band concerning composition, arrangements, and the conceptual theme behind the lyrics. We simply made a 90-second track because of the concept of the compilation, that every song must have a run-time of no more than two minutes. So that track is actually the drastic shift that you are referring to and not Providentia or “Clotho”.
Almost eight years ago when we were composing the material for Providentia we realized that the long, epic tracks would fit better into the kind of narrative that we wanted to present through AWE. Also, we didn’t want to create 3-4 minute tracks that fall into the structure of a rock/pop song and we discarded the banal idea of chorus, bridge, solo, chorus, etc. Black metal is an unconventional form of art that cannot be bound in any musical form. We continued that structural form for “Clotho” as we wanted to expand the idea of creating long, epic tracks, but adding more to it in terms of composition and arrangements.
K: Speaking of “Clotho”, I’m absolutely enthralled by its ending. I’m assuming that is a keyboard made to sound like a theremin?
It is indeed a synth that we made with one of the native synths of Ableton Live. For the ending of “Clotho” we were looking for a sound with feminine qualities, but at same time we wanted to bring a feeling of deliverance for the listener. It was the perfect way of closing the track, with a theme that never actually ends but overlaps again and again until the final crescendo in order to fade into warm noises.
We excessively use synths and electronic sounds to give greater depths to our music, adding new dimensions that sometimes you can not actually hear but rather feel. Electronic and ambient music is one of our big influences. For instance, the middle instrumental part of “Clotho” is really an homage to all those great Kraut Rock bands from the ’70s. Bands like Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream, Can, Faust, influenced us in order to introduce organic ambient sounds into the music of AWE.
K: So your most current release (and debut full-length) Providentia is actually your oldest written material to date. I could not tell that from its composition, nor does it feel “dated” in any way. How does it feel to have it finally released? Should we expect a follow-up sooner rather than later?
We started writing Providentia around 2008, and some of the themes of the album are a decade old, dating back to 2005. The album grew along with us and changed as we changed as human beings. All these years we were constantly changing riffs or the structure of the whole album, adding new themes and ideas along the way. Also, new members found their way into the band, bringing a breath of fresh air to the material.
To give you an insight, Providentia was originally meant to be one big song. We soon discarded that idea (it was too much even for us) and we broke that one song into 4 stand-alone tacks. After some period of time we also excluded the 4th track, giving to the album its final form we have now (3 songs).
Many of the themes of that 4th track, which didn’t find it’s way into Providentia, were introduced later in “Clotho”. We keep changing or adding things all the time, even while we were in the studio. If you heard the demos of Providentia you would notice that the vocal arrangements are completely different from what you hear now; it is really an alternative version of the album.
We are perfectionists and we do not stop if we aren’t completely satisfied with the result. If it weren’t for Pulverised Records pushing us in the right direction, we probably would still be in the studio changing details all over and driving ourselves mad.
Another important factor that contributed to what you stated is that we closely pay attention to the production of the album. We were all in the studio managing even the tiniest details. We worked really hard along with the engineer in order to approach the most suitable sound for the compositions.
It is a strange feeling to have it out there, subjective to the public, something that you worked on for a really long period of time and it is really a child of your intellect. It feels like you’re losing something that you had well-hidden inside of you and now everyone can see and comment on. But art cannot survive hidden away from the public or from society, living inside the creator. It would eventually become sterile and lose its purpose.
Right now we are working on new material, probably what will be a second full-length album, but it is really early to foresee the outcome of it. For sure, it will be something different from Providentia, a new chapter for the band, both conceptually and musically, and again we will take all the time available to us in order to materialize what we have envisioned. It is a common truth among us that “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”.
K: With the amount of effort and time this release took, what do you hope the listener takes away from it?
We know that we have created an album that needs time in order to be rightfully perceived, and it demands the listener’s full attention. Also, an understanding of the lyrics and the conceptual idea surrounding them are really important in order to grasp what we want to deliver through Providentia. So, what’s important for us is for the listeners to be absorbed by the whole atmosphere of the album, to lose themselves in it and the at same time to understand what we want to deliver through the lyrics and concept.
Regarding the artwork of the album, we think that Viral Graphics did an amazing work transforming our music and lyrics into powerful, minimalistic images. This visual contrast to our music and lyrical concept is really what we were aiming for in the LP / CD design.
Providentia is set for release on November 13 by Pulverised Records. The album features cover art by Greek illustrator Konstantinos Psichas (Viral Graphics). You can pre-order it on CD from Pulverised Records HERE. There will likely be a digital release via Bandcamp as well (HERE).
And in case you missed our premiere, enjoy the album stream below.