Hello! Thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. As always I kindly (or most of the interviewers, to be frank) ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
Hi everyone, My Name Is Richard Stancato and I do everything in Valley of hinnom. I am also a guitarist and vocalist in Warforged.
Valley Of Hinnom released the band’s first EP right now in 2014 and I should add that it’s a fine example of atmospheric Black Metal and Post-Metal. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process, as well as the feedback you were given so far?
Recording process was mostly me until the very end. I wrote and recorded all the songs in my home studio. All of the guitar and bass sounds were a Fractal Audio Axe Fx 2. Drums are programmed. I wrote the songs as i recorded them, letting ideas come to me naturally and setting them down in the DAW, this method seems to work best for me as it is very organic and spontanious. The EP was mixed and mastered by Spenser Morris and he also recorded the vocal parts in his home studio. Spenser additionally contributed to drum programming, adding a more natural feel to the parts. I had been listening to the drum parts for months, so a set of fresh ears was good to tweak them. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, it truly makes me happy that people appreciate the music that I put out.
The EP, named “Acquisition of Guilt”, features “only” three songs and I say only because it makes you want to listen more and more. Do you plan a full release soon?
A full release is planned for sometime in the future. I am currently not sure what the next release will be though. I am currently writing more music and I will have to see where the ideas take me length wise. I have looked into releasing a split with a few local black metal acts that are headed by close friends. All I know for now is that more music is definitely on the way.
As I type this interview, I’m listening to “Acquisition of Guilt” again and again and I must say, one more time, that I’m impressed. I’ve read a review in which was stated that “you can feel the difference in emotions with all three tracks” and I completely agree. Are we reading in to much about it or was something intentional. Could you please tell us what each song is about?
Thank you, the emotion of each song is different because they were written at very different times in my life. “From the Tallest Point on Earth” was written sometime in 2012. “The Road to Endless Torment” was written in early 2013 and “The Dull Blade” in mid 2013. The emotion in the instrumental of each song is exactly what I was feeling at the time. I attempted to capture what i was feeling without worrying about riffs or structure or anything like that until later. I wanted it to be raw emotionally. The Words are an afterthought, hence why I do not include them with the release, they do not matter as much as the music itself. I went through some tough boughts with depression in my life and each song is a picture of how I felt during each one and how I wished to deal with the negative people and things in my life.
You’re also on a Blackened Death Metal band called Warforged, which released an EP in 2014 as well, named Essence of the Land. Some years ago in you were also a part of a Deathcore band as well as a live band member for the atmospheric black metal act Austaras. Having that all in mind, do you feel that any of these experiences you had/ have somehow influenced you when it comes to Valley Of Hinnom? Be it about do’s or don’ts.
All of these different experiences and bands have molded the way I think about creating music. I have influence coming from all sides so for valley I tried to pull my own writing sound out of each of these projects. I am/was not the main writer in any of the other projects mentioned, so this was my space to do exactly what I want with the writing. Don’t take this as me disparaging any other musical thing I do, but when working with other musicians there is always a compromise and this was a place for me to have total control.
In another review it was stated that, for the reviewer, at times Valley Of Hinnom reminded him of Lifelover, one of my personal favorite bands. Was this band an influence for you somehow? Speaking of that, what were the main influences for you when it comes to music?
Funny you bring that up, while I enjoy their music, I totally can’t hear the comparison, but I am flattered my music brings comparison to such a great band. I seem to be influenced by other American black metal bands. My main influences for this release were Panopticon and Lake Of Blood but I also tried to bring in some of the soft clean sections of bands like Mono and Envy. The contrast is something i was definitely going for. Austin Lunn of Panopticon was the person who gave me the Idea to do this project in the first place and for that I thank him.
Speaking about the band’s name, Valley Of Hinnom, what does it represent concerning the music or perhaps the concepts behind the band? Are you interested in Jewish history/ mythology? For those whose aren’t familiar with it, please, explain what Valley Of Hinnom is.
Personally I am interested in the mythology, religion is a very interesting subject for me. I wanted the name to have some weight and represent something heavy and slightly evil. the valley was where pagan worshippers burned children alive as sacrifices to moloch and Baal. This is also the “hell” that the bible speaks of.
This is interesting; yours is the third interview I’m working today that is about a “one man band”. And like I asked them all, I’ll ask you the same, since I find it interesting to read different musician’s opinions on a same subject. For you, how hard it is to start composing all by yourself? Is it easier being on a band with other musicians? What are, in your opinions, the advantages and disadvantages of being on a “one man band”?
The advantage, as I stated earlier is that I have complete control. This also seems to be the disadvantage. I can’t turn to another band member and say “do you think that works?” I just have to go with it. I think it is easier to write with other people, but I think the struggle of doing it by yourself sharpens the ability to write, I have definitely improved from this project.
Nowadays we see that many are starting post-black metal bands. How do you feel about this? Is, in your opinion this genre overflowing, much like it happened with Folk Metal a few years ago? I do think that your music is music original and very qualitative. How did you manage to do that with a style that almost every single day there’s a new band?
Thank you, I am glad the music comes off as original, I am definitely influenced by other bands, but I try not to make it too obvious. I feel like the genre is gaining a lot of new bands and new fans. Some certain bands from the genre are getting extremely popular, almost breaking into the mainstream, while I am happy the music is getting to more people, I think there are other bands in the scene that are being ignored even though they are much better than the bands gaining huge amounts of hype and popularity. Of course this is all my opinion so take it as you will.
Outside the metal scene, are you involved with other bands or projects that might interest some of our open-minded readers?
No, not really. Valley of Hinnom and Warforged are my two main projects right now. In addition two those two I also write and produce for a 2 man Grind/Slam project called Cheerleader Concubine with Devin Garvin, who also designed Valley of Hinnom’s logo and album art. I will also be recording bass on the next Austaras Record.
How do you feel about the musical industry for the underground bands nowadays? How hard is it to be able to tour, release an album, to promote the band?
I have not been on tour yet, so I cannot comment. It seems to cost a lot though, Warforged is trying to get tour ready soon. With both bands protion has been easy since we have such supportive fans and friends. Releasing an album is all about the right combination of money and time. Patience is key.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, it’s all a matter of opinions, views, etc.) we’ve reached the end of this interview. I hope that you enjoyed answering it as well as our readers reading it. Thank you very much again for your time. Do have any last words for our readers?
Thank you, I certainly had a good time. Ill just leave you with where you can find everyone i mentioned in the interview in case you want to look more into them. Thank you all for taking interest in what I do.
Spenser Morris: email@example.com
Devin Garvin: https://www.facebook.com/katastrophedesign?fref=ts
Valley Of Hinnom: https://www.facebook.com/ValleyOfHinnomBM?fref=ts
Cheerleader Concubine: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheerleader-Concubine/132238276798961?fref=tsApril 20, 2014