One of this year's great releases is Tempest by American doom metal band Lycus. They have been touring extensively through North America after their album release, but still managed to find the time to answer some interview questions Val LittleJohn asked them. 

(((o))): Not all of our readers are familiar with Lycus, so can you please introduce the band to us and tell us a bit about the history of Lycus?

Lycus: We initially formed back in 2008 as a 3 piece in the Sacramento area. In the following year we released a 2 song demo and played live locally a few times. Due to the difficulty in maintaining a reliable line up we disbanded in 2009. Myself [Jackson Heath] and other founding member Trevor continued to jam together and eventually decided to relocate to the bay area. In the bay we played together under the moniker Temple of Saturn for a few months before deciding to reform Lycus. We reformed in February 2011 and soon recorded Demo MMXI with 2 new members.

(((o))): Who would you say your biggest influences are musically or otherwise? What inspires you to create the style of music you do?

Lycus: We really just play what we love. That should be the only inspiration a musician needs.

(((o))): How has it been working with 20 Buck Spin? Are you a fan of a lot of the other artists on the label?

Lycus: We couldn’t have asked for a better label to work with. Dave has been extremely good towards us. We were already fans of the label due to the high caliber releases he continually puts out, and now we’re working together, pretty sweet.

Lycus logo

 

(((o))): Who are a few of the other bay area bands you recommend checking out that are similar in style or just worth hearing in general? Do you have a kinship with any in particular?

Lycus: Yeah definitely. There’s Brainoil (Greg Wilkinson on bass/vocals, who recorded both our albums). Laudanum (really fucked up noisey doom, recently disbanded)… Noothgrush, Black Fucking Cancer for really solid black metal, and also our buddies in shoegaze band Whirr who we’ve toured with and are doing a record release show together with on July 27th.

(((o))): Who are some of the bands that influenced you in your youth that may have helped shape your love for music or your style in general?

Lycus: I couldn’t possibly list our collective influences but they range from Jazz to Black Metal, encompassing everything in between.

Lycus(((o))): Aside from him being an incredible artist, what made Lycus go with Paulo Girardi for the cover art for Tempest?

Lycus: We were familiar with his previous work and Dave at 20BuckSpin had worked with him for a couple releases as well. Seemed a logical choice as the artwork for the demo was much more gray scale and simplistic, we wanted a clear change in artwork to go with the different vibe of this record.

(((o))): Any plans for additional touring aside from the west coast dates? East coast? Europe? Etc.

Lycus: We plan on hitting the east coast soon and hopefully Europe in February if we can afford plane tickets in time haha.

(((o))): What is the most memorable moment of the gigs you’ve played so far? Do you have any amusing anecdotes or great stories you’d like to share with us?

Lycus: The first time we played Seattle about a year ago (The Comet Tavern) Daniel collapsed during the last minute of our final song. He claims he was playing and his leg just gave out, though to the audience it must’ve looked like he was totally wasted. In falling down he managed to entangle Trevor’s cymbal stand in his chord and unplug a few of my pedals. Luckily Adrian from Bell Witch was in the audience and assisted Dan in getting to his feet whilst I fixed my pedals. The ordeal was hilarious and Dan didn’t miss a note through the whole thing.

Another highlight was a recent local show where our guitarist Dylan lit himself on fire during our set, and in Portland a few days ago when he decided to wear a dress.

(((o))): What do you feel sets you apart from other bands playing within the same genre?

Lycus: Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in doom to be too original, but you can twist it to sound unique. To remedy this we try to not confine ourselves to a particular style and I feel the record is inspired by many different genres we enjoy. We will continue to push the boundaries of genre-hopping in the future to create unique doom.

(((o))): Where do you draw inspiration for your lyrical content from? Ex: Books? Religion?

Lycus: Well Demo MMXI was much more politically tinged in lyrical content, and consisted of general hatred for industrial civilization. Tempest draws from that realm but with a  much more personal approach, and is a complication of our lives experiences, both good and bad.

(((o))): It seems as though Tempest has been well received in general by the metal community. Did you expect such an incredible response to the album?

Lycus: I try to go into a record release with no expectations in mind. We had a great label by our side, were really meticulous when writing and recording, and overall did our best. To me that’s all that is important, whether we are satisfied with the record. We would never release something we weren’t proud of.

(((o))): Thank you very much for you time. Do you have anything to add?

Lycus: Yes. The vinyl release of Tempest got delayed by a month but they are finally here! Order over at our bigcartel page or at the 20 Buck Spin web shop. They look gorgeous and are available on black and limited amount of clear vinyl.

Read Val's review of Tempest here. And she also reviewed one of the recent Lycus gigs here.

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