Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview with Phyrexia (UK)

Phyrexia are a band that plays Epic Extreme Metal. They are from London (UK) and they began their course as a band in 2008. Even being a relatively recent band, they are already about to release their first album, and they already had a very good experience by being on the same stage as Bal-Sagoth last year. 
If you haven't had the chance to see them live, you will have a great opportunity in July the14th at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston.
You can learn a bit more about them on the interview below, with Dan Saunders, who plays guitar and sings as second vocals.

How did Phyrexia start?

Much the same as a lot of bands; I was playing music with a couple of people from high-school when I was 15/16 - It wasn't long before I began writing my own stuff. In true dramatic teenage fashion the 'band' disintegrated after a couple of months and I kept on working on the material outside of my studies. About a year later I did some really basic demos and got a full lineup together, utilising the contacts I'd made through other bands, music projects, etc. It's been going ever since.

Do you consider that it was hard to "stand on your proper legs" as a band? We can't forget that you started only in 2008 (or so sources say), and in 4 years you are already in a good place!

That's correct, things only really got underway circa 2008. It has been difficult at times - we are relatively young musicians and have never played what's fashionable or popular. On the other hand this has in turn led to a strong sense of identity and independence - we haven't ever relied on anyone else and we've always tried to handle the situations as they arise as best we can, taking the next logical steps to up our game. We've always firmly believed in crafting our own opportunities, and I think our hard work is reflected in what we've achieved in that time.

What are your main influences? What bands do you think had the biggest contribution as an influence to your music?

Every member has their own influences and they are reflected, however subtly, in the music. As far as musical direction goes bands like Rhapsody, Rotting Christ, Emperor, Chthonic, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Bal-Sagoth, so on and so forth come to mind. Video Game Music has also played a massive role (especially the music from the Castlevania franchise). We've also taken a lot of influence from our contemporaries and the bands we've played with, most notably Reaping Havoc and Carpathia.

In your myspace profile it says you consider yourself as an Epic Extreme metal band. Can you describe that concept a bit? What exactly do you feel when you say "Epic Extreme"?

 'Epic' has always been a constant term used to describe the music - even in the earliest days it was how I described what I wanted to write when auditioning members. We've always just wanted to capture that very grand, over the top fantasy vibe with our music, and we wanted to play extreme metal. We decided on the self proclaimed 'Epic Extreme Metal' tag a few years ago as the best way to describe our music, rather than 'symphonic blackened power death'. We have a lot of musical ideas from across many influences, and describing the music in terms of what genre we fit in with just doesn't do it justice.

What was the highest moment of your career so far? The moment you consider as the most remarkable and important for the development of the band?

I would say when we supported our long time influence Bal-Sagoth in July last year. It was definitely one of the best times we'd performed as a band and we drew a very handsomely sized crowd. It was just great to play a show with a band who'd inspired us so much!

What can we expect of your new album? When is it really supposed to come out? Sampler sounds quite good!

Thank you! It's scheduled for a Summer release - we're probably looking at late July to mid August. The artwork has just been completed so we're just figuring out the funding for printing, and then it'll be ready! We can't wait to release it - the foundations for some of the tracks on it were laid down nearly 5 years ago, so we're looking forward to moving on, but also to having something more representative of us. The quality of the recording and our performance has improved tenfold since our last release. We're really happy with it and we think, considering the response to the sampler, a lot of people may be pleasantly surprised!

How do you see the underground metal scene in London? We could expand this question to UK or even to Europe but let's say London for now.

It is what it is and we've never known anything different, so it's difficult to have any real perspective. We figure that our music would probably be more popular in other regions like Scandinavia and Japan, but that said we're extremely grateful to the fans who consistently come down to our shows. There are some great nights for underground metal in London (for example the free entry nights at the Unicorn), but like anywhere else there is a supply and demand problem which leads to a not so healthy scene.

How do you see the roll of social networks in the development and advertising of an underground band? Do you think they make life easier for bands now, compared to bands from 90's, for instance, where everything was by post and radio? Or do you think things became more trivial?

Again this is part of the supply and demand issue. I think that in generally with the internet and social networking people are becoming more detached from the real world and real events (like live shows) - it's a lot less effort to stream or download a track than it is to go out, pay entry and travel to see a band. It's a completely different experience and because of the surplus supply maybe the demand for that live experience simply isn't as high as it was 2 decades ago. It really depends on what direction you want to take your band in. It's certainly harder to make an impact based on the live experience, but the live scene is by no means dead. It's a lot easier to get exposure to a wider and global audience, but it's also more difficult to make an impression on them. That isn't necessarily a negative thing - it's just change, and if you're going to be in a band today there isn't any point in wishing it was 1992 again.

Does any of you have any side projects?

Yes - Paul and Tom play in Carpathia, which is a UK Progressive Extreme Metal outfit. Elliot plays with Aeternum (UK) and Simon plays with Premature Birth.

Any upcoming shows you want to advertise here?

Currently we only have one booked - July 14th at the Fighting Cocks in Kingston.

Any advice you want to give to new bands?

Nothing beyond taking what you will from this interview!

Elliot Beaver - Vocals 
Dan Saunders - Guitar, Second Vocals 
Vicki Thompson - Keyboards
Paul Nazarkardeh - Guitar
Simon McAuliffe - Bass 
Tom Atherton - Drums


Children of the Dawn (2011 EP)

(All photos are courtesy of Phyrexia)

You can find more information and music of Phyrexia on the following websites:


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