STORMCAST are back and they are not taking any prisoners. Their new album The Ghost Eater is due out this Friday and it will mark a new era for the band. I spoke to founder and vocalist/guitarist Mike Angastiniotis about the album, the band’s new direction and messages within the lyrical content.
You’ve just come out of a hiatus from STORMCAST, were you working on anything in particular (i.e. experimenting with the sound, working on other projects)?
Mike: To give you a bit of a backstory, the reason for the hiatus was to change the band members. All the members left the band and I wanted to continue with the band, so I was in pursuit of looking for new members. Whilst that was happening, I was writing music on the side. I spent the time during the hiatus rebuilding the band and writing music for The Ghost Eater.
The change of line up would actually explain the slight change in the sound. In The Ghost Eater, there isn’t orchestral elements and more clean vocals. I take it that’s the new direction for the band.
Mike: I mean with regards to the music for this album, I didn’t want incorporate orchestral parts as I wanted to focus on other aspects. Also I’m not very experienced with writing orchestral parts. So, I decided to make it a little more progressive, a bit more technical and experiment more with those elements.
I noticed the progressive parts and I did like them. Even though it’s a new direction for the sound, there is still the familiar sounds of STORMCAST for instance the Black Metal Style vocals. Would you agree?
Mike: Yes, that was the purpose. I didn’t want to ditch the sound completely whilst going in a different direction. We’re focusing the sound towards a particular aspect whilst maintaining that aesthetic Stormcast is known for. So when you listen to the music, you can still hear the same band but we’re doing something a little different. The songs were also built around the guitar parts. I took over all the instrumentation this time whereas last time it was fifty-fifty with the other guitarists in the band at the time.
In terms of the lyrical content, what did you guys explore when writing for The Ghost Eater? The line ‘The Mind Is Overrated’ from the song Hyperion stuck out.
Mike: If you’re talking about that song particularly, Hyperion translates from Ancient Greek as the high one. This was a song I wanted to engage with the listener. I wanted the song to give them a sense of encouragement, we need to encourage one another in life generally because there is a lot happening around us.
There’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty so we need to give encouragement. In terms of the song; I’m trying to say be yourself, take those risks and go for it. Don’t look back. It’s in the lyrics, you reap what you sow. Put in all the effort and see the fruits of your labour at the end.
Well that song particularly did its job of giving encouragement. So, the transition to Resonance with the line “with you in sight, we can accomplish all” adds another layer. With all the uncertainty going on, especially in the UK right now, is this a way of saying stay united and we can fight this?
Mike: Yes, the message in simple terms is “I’m there for you”. If you take Resonance from its scientific meaning, it means when two things come together there is a strong synergy and power between them. It emits that exploding power that emits and that’s Resonance. I really like the lyrics for that song. I visualised in my head how the lyric video would look and the video is quite close to what I was going for. I’m really happy with it.
I understand you worked with Scott Rudd on this video, he has done videos for the likes of OPETH, ABORTED and THY ART IS MURDER. How did him working on your video come to light?
Mike: I sent him an email. A friend of mine had seen his work before and I told him that I needed to get a lyric video done. This friend told me to check this guy [Scott Rudd] out. I didn’t know him but I knew a few of the songs that he did lyric videos for. He’s English and lives somewhere in the Midlands. He said to tell him what we wanted and couple of minutes later it was sorted out.
Did you go to his studio and work on it or was it done over email?
Mike: We never met up in person. Over [Facebook] Messenger I showed him what album artwork I wanted to incorporate and I asked him what could he do with regards to animation. He told me what he could do whilst referencing some other videos he has worked on and this concept. I asked could he do this and he said “yes give me two weeks”.
With the lyrical content of the album, it brings the theme of the album cover to light. Someone reaching out for help and support. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Mike: The foundation of the album artwork influenced the lyric video but a lot of it is added artistically. For instance, the animation of the trees and the colours whereas the album artwork was done by Lenore at Ani Artworks. I had this concept in my mind, I also had the album title and some of the lyrical concepts. I said I wanted a figure representing darkness and power in an elegant way. I wanted that figure to be the Ghost but not a white sheet.
I have a little challenge for you, for those who don’t know STORMCAST or need reminding what you guys are about. Describe your sound in three words.
Mike: That’s a very difficult question, that’s more difficult than job interview questions. I guess one of the words would be honest; we draw inspirations from various places but we always try and get across how we feel. So honest is definitely one of them.
I would also say ambitious because we are trying to discover new things and try new stuff. We also want to learn more about our music and about ourselves in the process. Lastly, I think daring is a great term to describe our music.
You did very well and could give a more detailed description now if you wish, particularly with new members. Are there new influences? When we last spoke, influences included FLESHGOD APOCAPLYSE and ROTTING CHRIST.
Mike: I think the genre is what the person makes of it. Once you listen to it, then you can decide.
Are there any songs of The Ghost Eater you are looking forward to playing live? The Apprentice should be an interesting one to hear.
Mike: The Apprentice is a track I am definitely looking forward to playing live. It’s definitely the most technical song on the album with a few parts to it, so that would be interesting to play live. The other song I am really looking forward to is Lushai Hills.
It’s funny you mention Lushai Hills as I was listening to that earlier and saw it’s going to be released as a new single with a music video.
Mike: I’m glad you saw that. The video with the ghost with the smoke is part of the music video that’s coming out with it. It’s going to be cool I promise. It’s out this Friday and that is a track I am really looking forward to playing live.
Finally, other than promotion for The Ghost Eater, what are future plans are there for STORMCAST?
Mike: The main priority now is to get our live show up to speed. While that is in place, we plan to arrange some future shows around England before you look into touring Europe and see what we can do there. Definitely a couple of shows around Brighton within the new year towards January and more live shows in wherever we can go.
Thank you Mike and good luck with the album release.
The Ghost Eater is due for release 26th October.