Friday, October 21, 2022

an interview with VoidOath

Costa Rica's VoidOath put out one of the more impressive debuts of 2022: Ascension Beyond Kokytus is a stellar album that marries crushing death/doom to a classic horror tale. Guitarist Jose Rodriguez was kind enough to answer my questions about his band, the album, and the Costa Rican metal scene.

Dreams of Consciousness: What is VoidOath?

VoidOath is a project that aims to explore themes found in different horror works such as movies, books, video games, etc, through heavy riffs and ambience.

DoC: Please give a brief history of your band - what brought you together, and what were your goals at the time?

We knew each other from the local scene and from our other bands. We got together with the goal of creating something heavier/darker than what we were doing at the moment. We started talking about possible concepts to base the new project on, and we discovered that we were all horror fans. That ended up becoming the inspiration behind our demo Illumination Through Necromancy.

DoC: Your first release was the three song EP/demo, Illumination Through Necromancy. What were your intentions for this release? How well do you think it represents the band now?

Our intention was to convey some of the themes and atmosphere found in the horror video game Silent Hill. We think it still represents the band well in our approach to writing music; we try to define a concept, the themes we want to represent from it, and then shape the sound around that.

DoC: What is your songwriting process like? Do you have a main songwriter, or do you write together as a group?

We usually get the song's main intention from a band member, and then we shape the song together in rehearsals, trying different things to find out what works best for the song/album.

DoC: On 30 September 2022, you released your first full-length album, Ascension Beyond Kokytus. When did you begin work on this album? What do you want listeners to experience from it?

We started working on ABK as soon as we released our demo, it took about 18 months to finish writing and recording the album. The main ideas behind the new record are paranoia, isolation, helplessness and chaos.

DoC: Your album is inspired by the story "Who Goes There?", which was later adapted into John Carpenter's film, The Thing. What drew you to this story? Is the album a direct retelling of the story, or more about the feeling/themes that it conveys?

It's just one of our favorite movies, and we like the lore and the concept of cosmic horror behind it. The album is trying to convey some feelings found in the movie/book, but is also based on the lore to it - so it's not a retelling, but it is heavily based on the story.

DoC: The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by your guitarist, Jose Rodríguez. What can you tell me about the studio where you recorded the album, A Cabin in The Woods? What were the sessions like? How would you describe Jose's approach to recording/engineering music?

Cabin in the Woods Studios is actually Jose’s house in the mountains of San Jose, a wooden structure which helps a lot in the overall acoustics for the recording. We gathered and recorded the drums first, playing live along all the strings. Once we had the drums done, we recorded the guitars and bass over the guidelines that the first session left. In that way we can achieve a better sound without compromising the organicness of the whole thing, without it sounding plastic or too processed. We like our sound as natural as it can get. Last we did vocals, and some details like synths and other arrangements.

Jose has been working not only with VoidOath but with almost all of the other side projects we have, and he always manages to make it sound different from one another. We keep in touch very closely in order to be on the same page regarding changes and whatnot, and his response is always accurate.

DoC: Tell me about the two labels that are releasing this album - Cognitive Discordance and Cursed Monk. How did they get involved with this release? What can you tell me about the physical releases they are producing?

They’re both DIY labels: Cognitive Discordance is based in Costa Rica, and Cursed Monk is based in Ireland. The album is being released by both labels in limited CDs; each label has a different CD edition though.

DoC: It's been a few years since I interviewed a band from Costa Rica. What's the scene like now, post-Covid? What bands from the area do you think people reading this should know about?

The scene is recovering, a lot of venues were shut down and didn’t come back, but it’s slowly making a comeback. New venues are starting to arise and that is a silver lining. There are a lot of great bands here, bands like Bloodsoaked Necrovoid, Astriferous, Aversion, Deplorable, Candarian, Dumah, Age of the Wolf, Liberosis, Noche, and Crypt Monarch.

DoC: What's next for you?

We plan on playing our new album live as much as we can. On Oct 23rd we will be presenting it in its entirety, with Deplorable and Aversion in downtown San Jose, which makes us very excited. We have a small run of tapes coming along as well, and we are looking for viable options to maybe have it on vinyl - who knows, it might be possible.

VoidOath on Facebook

VoidOath on Bandcamp

VoidOath on Instagram

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