Christian Mistress Interview
So the Scion Metal Fest happened a few weeks ago and I had tickets and I had arranged to meet up with Christian Mistress for an interview, but unfortunately for me, I had some family matters that took precedence, so not only did I miss the chance to interview them in person and see them perform, I also missed out on seeing Agalloch, Nails, Anal Nathrakh, Woe and Cough.
But all is not lost, Oscar & Christine from the band graciously did an email interview for me. The edited version will be in the next issue of Obscene Magazine, I’m working on the layout right now. That issue should be out within the next week or so. But in the meantime, here is the actual interview they did.
SilasLikesMusic: How did you guys get together?
Oscar: Ryan and I have been writing songs and playing together since 2007. We knew Christine from a show Ryan had played with her previous band “Buried Blood”. We were interested in working with Christine, but it didn’t come together until we started playing with Reuben and Jonny in 2008. Christine joined shortly after. We had about 4 songs at that point. The chemistry felt great so we went with it. Eventually Reuben conceived our band name.
SilasLikesMusic: You guys have a retro sound but one that is original and does not sound dated. How do you maintain that classic sound without sounding clichéd?
Christine: We don’t have a retro sound, we have a heavy metal sound. Everything we write comes straight out of a combination of compulsion, years and years of practicing music, playing music in bands, working on the overall sound, how to make the songs better and better. We work at the music but we never consider how it will sound dated or otherwise.
OSCAR: We write what we feel, we use rock gear to play our music, rock music is bound to come out. I feel a classic sound is more appropriate than dated. We avoid cliché’s by writing what’s best for our songs and not caring if it fit’s into any predicate of what metal/rock is supposed to be.
OSCAR: As a band we have a lot of different tastes and I think that’s cool. My favorite guitarists are Uli Jon Roth and Glenn Tipton as of right now. But there’s a revolving door of many great musician/composers.
SilasLikesMusic: What bands are you listening to these days? Do you listen to modern metal much or do you prefer the classics?
CHRISTINE: I am listening to Rainbow, Scorpions, Six Organs of Admittance, Swans, Laibach, Entombed, Midnight.
OSCAR: I’m obsessed with the band “Ghost’ right now. I love their record Opus Eponymous. The record reminds me of “Don’t Break the Oath” era Fate and B.O.C with a sinister swamp vibe, real cool.
CHRISTINE: He is friends with a mutual friend of ours that turned him onto us. We don’t know him personally. It’s all overblown at this point – that dude likes many, many bands. A lot of the bands I have seen him mention are fucking great but in the true tradition of West Coast livin, it’s not that big of a deal to us who likes who.
SilasLikesMusic: Up until recently, you guys have had little or no presence on the internet. That fact that you have garnered so much positive press with little or no promotion speaks volume for how great you music is. Was it a conscious decision to avoid the web and social media?
CHRISTINE: Maybe we wanted to prove a little how you don’t need to be a blip on a screen to be a band but it was never intended as any kind of huge ordeal, we were not prepared for people to think it was such a shock that we wouldn’t be on social networking sites. Not too long ago a band just starting out had to book a tour over the phone! Believe it! I’ve done it. It’s really a simple concept to us – that kind of representation is just not what we identify with – there is so much more – holding a record in your hands, artwork, lyrics, a recording not mass regurgitated to your computer. So, at first the decision was no social networking and we had no website because it sounded boring to make one, eventually we put up the website to post tour dates, it is little more than that even now. You know the internet makes it possible for everyone to say their thoughts, whatever, I say listen to the music not someone hiding behind the computer screen with opinionated words- positive or not.
SilasLikesMusic: Tells us about “Agony and Opium.” Where does the title come from? What does it mean?
CHRISTINE: Agony and Opium is an all-encompassing life force. It means everything all at once – an onslaught of the great things the horrible things, how we deal with them. It means that one day you can just hate everything about your life or situation and the next day, not give a shit about all that and just have a good time. We got the title from a description of the colors of a river in a medieval plague “the waters the color of agony and opium” by Antonin Artuad.
SilasLikesMusic: Is there a recurrent theme throughout the album?
CHRISTINE: A vast emptiness, nothing holy. Words made to melt stone.
CHRISTINE: Oscar writes most of the songs, Ryan has written a couple. We all work on the arrangement and adding parts. There is input from all of us. Oscar is an excellent composer, he and Ryan definitely have their music theory down. The music usually comes first, the vocals take a couple weeks to a month after the song has been worked out a bit.
SilasLikesMusic: So what’s next for Christian Mistress? Have you started working on a new album yet?
CHRISTINE: As for new material, we are in the process of writing a new record. The 2nd LP should come out sometime in 2011. We promise it will be longer than Agony and Opium!
The very immediate future – March 2011, we have a re-release of our demo that we made 300 cassette copies of in 2009. Those cassettes are gone now but a new label curated by Tyler Davis (Ajna) and Dennis Dread called Unseen Forces is releasing that 2009 recording on vinyl for us. It has a hand made silk-screened cover, new artwork and is a limited press of 300.
SilasLikesMusic: So, all five members of the band get stuck on a desert island and as a group, you can only have 1 album. What album would all of you agree on?
CHRISTINE: Killers? Not sure, we usually don’t agree on the same things and that’s a good thing in life.