Monday, August 22, 2022

an interview with Pathos & Logos

Pathos & Logos isn't just a musical outlet for drummer Paul Christiansen and guitarist/bassist Kyle Neeley; the Denver-based project also allows the duo to showcase their talents in the visual arts and explore their interest in esoteric knowledge. Their latest pan-sensory experience is a four-song EP titled Cult, which they self-released this past June. Paul was kind enough to answer my questions. [Thanks to Char Tupper from Breaking The Law PR for organizing this Q+A.]

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Pathos & Logos?

Pathos & Logos is our band, but it’s also a statement about our music. One of the interpretations of those two words is “emotion and logic”, which are two of the most important considerations in what we do creatively.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - how did the two of you meet, and what did you set out to accomplish with this project? Why did you make the choice to remain an instrumental duo, rather than expand into a more traditional line-up with a vocalist/bassist?

Pathos & Logos started in 2018. After several other more traditional projects didn’t work out, we realized that we would likely get more accomplished as a duo, so we made that choice and haven’t looked back. It wasn’t really our initial intention, it was an arrival born out of necessity, but it’s proven time and time again to be the best choice we could have made.

DoC: Going in to your first album, Glory to The Order, how clear of an idea of what type of music you wanted to make? How would you say you've changed as musicians/songwriters since that release?

For Glory To The Order, we wanted to make music that showcased the spectrum of our musical tastes, and we lightly experimented with some of the occult or esoteric ideas that mean so much to us. Since that time I would say that the fundamental creative drives have remained the same, but we're definitely approaching what we're doing with much more focus and intention.

DoC: To what extent is your music an expression of Magick/esoteric knowledge? Would you describe your beliefs as a philosophy, a religion, an expression of your art/creativity, or something else?

Our music has become much more of an expression of Magick over time. Initially we had certain loose elements of it incorporated, but with our new release CULT, we brought in a system of Magick, Art and Music that we created because it felt right to us. The system we devised pre-dates the band, and something about the process of creating this new music seemed to require the esoteric or Magickal aspect.

I would honestly use all of the descriptors you provided to describe our beliefs - it's a natural development of the way Kyle and I have always felt about music and art. I want to make it clear that although we have borrowed some pre-existing symbols and recognizable imagery, the scripts we use, the meanings we ascribe to the iconography and images and the overall purpose of all of it is not only original, but was devised without outside research. We didn't spend years scouring ancient tomes or studying religion or thaumaturgy, we just went with our intuition and created it.

We don't talk about it all the time publicly, but one of the secondary purposes of this project is to support and promote the idea of spiritual autonomy - you don't have to farm your spiritual world and beliefs out to an outside system, institution or religion if you don't want to, it is completely valid and just as effective to entirely create your own custom path (if not moreso).

DoC: Tell me about your songwriting process - how does a song typically start for Pathos & Logos? What are "Wisdom Parts", and what purpose do they serve in your songs?

Our process now more than ever involves the incorporation of certain rhythms that we've tied to Sigils in our system. By connecting these symbols to these particular rhythms, the music is vested with the energy of these intentions, so every song is essentially a spell, or what we've begun to refer to as a "Formula". All 12 keys and their relative minors have also been given meanings, and some of them actually have a dual meaning, so that's also a very significant consideration.

All of this information is encoded in a book we made called The Sanctum Innan, and we now use that as the foundation for everything we write. "Wisdom Parts" is an affectionate term for the proprietary system we devised to write Meshuggah-style polymetric patterns (there's a story behind that we'll tell another time). It's a very exciting and motivating way to write heavy music, and it increases the likelihood that you're creating something original.

DoC: You have a new 4 song release out called Cult. When did you begin working on this EP? What do you want your listeners to experience while listening to it? How would you compare the music on this EP to your previous work?

The music for CULT was completed a year or a year and a half before we started actually doing work to assemble the release itself, because we knew we weren't going to go with a traditional format when we put it out. We released it in a format we created called a Codex (designed like five Tarot cards with QR codes on the back), and although we like the idea of people experiencing it any way they choose, there is a narrative and a design to it that was deliberate. It unfolds as a Ritual that is meant to guide the listener from initiation into The Order, which is our own self-styled mystery school, to the state of becoming the IVDEX (you-dex), or The Judge, the true master and arbiter of one's fate. This is definitely a heavier release than Glory To The Order, and although the next record will likely showcase a bigger stylistic blend, we're not gonna relent on the heavy side either.

DoC: Tell me about the recording sessions - where did they take place? How would you describe your relationship with Nick Pelc, and what would you say he brings to your sound?

We've recorded for a long time at Augminished Studio in Littleton, Colorado. Nick Pelc is the engineer there, and he's truly brilliant - from the recordings we do to the video content he produces for us, he is a consumate professional and an absolute visionary. We are proud to call him our friend, and we'll definitely be working with him for the next 600 years.

DoC: Tell me about the artwork/visuals that accompany the album - who created it? How does it tie in to the themes of the album? How important is the presentation of the album (including the booklet layout and tarot cards) to appreciating/understanding the music?

Kyle made the art! It took him a long time and a ton of trial and error, but it was well worth it. We're very happy with the way the art came out. The images on the cards are meant to suggest ideas, thoughts or feelings rather than make any outright statements, because we truly do want people to interpret what they're seeing and hearing in the way they personally choose. For those interested in the narrative we included with the art and text, it's meant to support the idea that the recording itself is a ritual. It's significant to us personally, but for other people it's ultimately subjective; anyone can respond or not respond to it any way they choose.

DoC: If Pathos & Logos didn't exist, what would you be doing instead?

Pathos is now so central to both of our lives that I don't even know how to answer that question. Whatever that something would be, it couldn't be any better than what we're doing now, that's for sure.

DoC: What's next for you?

All that's next is more of what we've been doing - travelling, creating, and connecting with new people, which is really the most exciting part for both of us. You can check out tour dates, videos, photos and get your own Codex in either a card or coffee table book format at, check us out on Instagram, and also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Thank you so much, and Glory To The Order.

photo by Ignacio Orellana

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Pathos & Logos on Bandcamp

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