England’s Winterfylleth stand on the cusp of greatness with their third record “The Threnody of Triumph” - due to see the cold light of day on Candlelight Records on September 10th - and we took some time to talk to C.Naughton (vocals/guitar) about the recording process, what this record means to the band and the future of Winterfylleth.
“The Threnody of Triumph” is your third record – how did you approach writing/recording after the wide acclaim “The Mercian Sphere received?” Did it affect how you went into the process? Are tracks fully formed before entering the studio?
I think this record was potentially a little daunting for us; coming into it on the back of a strong second album that was so well received. Initially we felt the pressure a little bit, but you have just got to get past that and do what you do.
Once we sat down and started formulating ideas then things started to come naturally as they always have. The most difficult part is just that first idea or spark which gets you thinking, and then it’s a relatively easier process to have an anchor point for what you are going to do.
With this record, it was a bit more of a team effort and was a great opportunity for me, Nick (Wallwork – bass) & Mark (Wood – guitar) to work on new songs together. It was also good to have some new influences coming into the songs and get their input on the writing a bit more. I think in the end that this actually helped the process and made for a great album.
We are pretty regimented when it comes to album pre-production and all the songs are always finished before we go into the studio. It makes for an easier session and gives you all a ‘known entity’ to work towards. Things obviously change or come out differently as a result of doing the recording in a proper studio, but it’s good to have a solid base to work from and push forward. Sometimes ideas come to you, or things sound different in that environment so you go with it. It makes for a more organic and less stressful process.
Can you talk a little about the themes of the record and what you wanted to achieve with this release?
The theme of this record is, as always, conceptual in nature. The ideas on the album are tied back to how history relates to the modern world and how our ancestors viewed things like spirituality etc…
The idea of a threnody is a sort of deathly lament or ode to your lost friends or loved ones, and the balance between the loss of death and the celebration of remembrance runs quite deep in the songs.
The album also deals with dark-ages beliefs in life-after-death, the relationship between the soul and the body in early medieval Britain and how the landscape of Britain played a part in these beliefs. Again focusing very much on the folklore of the High Peak region near to where the band hails from. So its ancient and more modern history tied in to a central concept.
The cover art is very evocative – how did you choose it and how does it tie into the ideas and themes behind the music?
The cover art was taken by the very talented Sara Lovisa at Austere Photography and represents a scene from Snowdonia, a region of national park fairly near to where we live. We chose it because it represents the beauty of the British Isles and was such a stark and awe inspiring image that it adds a certain feeling to the whole thing.
In terms of the concept, it is not specifically linked to the spirituality feel directly, although it does tie in with a sort of spiritual connection you get to a place and the feeling that it stirs up in you when you see views such as that.
The sound of ”The Threnody of Triumph” seems to moving a little further away from the initial Winterfylleth tone (a little post rock creeps into the guitar at times, the emphasis on melody is more prominent) – is that something that came about organically in the studio?
I’m not sure it’s necessarily as a result of the studio, but rather us maturing, getting better and more comfortable with what we can do as a band. We have had a really solid line up (which also features S.Lucas on drums) for many years now and that really helps you to gel as a band. It also means you learn from one another and get better together, pushing each other as you go along.
Our sound has moved into new areas so that we can keep building on the mood and emotions in the Winterfylleth music, without giving up what we think is our ‘trademark’ sound – if you will. We wanted more harmony and melody in this record to contrast the darkness and sorrow of other aspects of it.
I want to build on what we do, rather than have a wholesale departure from it because it’s go to see bands progressing throughout their albums. That said, I personally I hate it when other bands go totally off piste and try and find themselves by doing an experimental album or something. So it’s a balance for sure.
You recently re-released “The Ghost of Heritage” – what prompted the reissue and how does it fit into the Winterfylleth timeline? Was it a deliberate move to reissue it so close to the new album?
The reason for the re-issue was fairly multifaceted. Firstly it was important for us to have all of our albums under one banner (Candlelight) and secondly it was to put the whole recording session together on one disc for the first time. During that recording session we had laid down two additional tracks for a split that never happened in the end.
We ended up re-recording them for “The Mercian Sphere,” but I also wanted people to have the chance to hear the full “The Ghost of Heritage” session as one disc. Thirdly we also wanted to redo the artwork with better photography and have it tie in with the fonts, style and feel of the others, so we wanted to give it a revamping and re-released it as a result.
You’ve got a couple of summer festival appearances and Damnation Festival has just been confirmed – are there any plans for a full tour or shows later in the year?
Currently there aren’t as we have been focused on the summer festivals and doing the new album this year. We are looking to get a bigger tour next year and looking to play alongside some of our musical heroes as a result. We are working on a few things, so keep your ears to the ground and there will hopefully be some promising announcements in the coming few months.
What does the future hold for Winterfylleth? Shows/tours overseas? Do you have any firm desires for the progression of the band?
At the moment our focus is very much on the festivals, Bloodstock, Damnation and others. I suppose our longer term aspirations are to take the band on tour into Europe (and beyond), continue to make great albums and to keep the message alive. We will continue to keep supporting the grass roots of the UK scene and to play the smaller shows as well as the bigger tours and hopefully we can help some other bands get their music out there as a result.
Anything else you want to throw in – go ahead! Thank you!
“The Threnody of Triumph” is out on September 10th in the UK/Europe and the 24th in USA/Canada. We hope you enjoy the records. See you on the road quite soon!