In The Company of Serpents
Brown Notes & Scratchy Throat
Who were you influences when you first started playing your instrument?
I first started playing guitar when I was about ten years old, and at that time Nirvana was huge for me. I also was introduced to AC/DC very early on by my big sister (inadvertently- I stole her cassettes of Back in Black & If You Want Blood... while she was away at boarding school), and discovered Sabbath's Paranoid around the same time. These influences, plus a timely discovery of punk rock, and the fact that I've never been much of a lead player, led me to really appreciate dead-simple-but-heavy guitar work.
How did the band form, and how did you get the name?
I formed the band in early 2011 with JJ Anselmi as a two-piece. We were both playing in country-tinged Denver bands at the time, and he heard me sound check with some Earth riffs (probably from Bees or Hex- I don't recall), and we struck up a conversation about how we both wanted to play that sort of music. Re: the name, I came up with the sigil/logo of the Cross of Lorraine with an ouroboros over the lower bar first, and then JJ suggested the name. I'd had the symbol in mind as soon as we started playing together, and had no idea what we'd be called.
“Lux” is technically the bands 4th record. How does that feel?
It feels good! I'm glad this still brings so much passion to my life. This is our first record as a three-piece as well, and it has really helped in expanding our writing.
What was the writing process like for “Lux”?
It's been a long, but fairly organic ordeal. The first track written was The Fool's Journey, and that started to come together basically as soon as we'd finished the previous record, Ain-Soph Aur in 2017. I'd originally imagined a general theme to the record which factored the birth of my daughter and my own spiritual journey, but as things unfurled their wings in our lives, I learned that certain things I'd written were about much more. It's been a revealing process for me.
When writing a new album, where do you find the inspiration?
I typically start with riffs and arrangements that I develop alone on guitar, and from there I work up lyrics dealing with whatever is captivating me at the time. Sometimes I will write something with a particular concept in mind, and only well-after its completion will it reveal to me that it is about something else entirely, or that there are other facets to it that I'd not considered during the writing process.
The new album, Lux, feels like a journey. Can you describe the concept behind the album?
This one has an over-arching theme of Light being the fundamental root-essence of being. My daughter's name gets its etymology from Lux, the latin for "light" as well, so in that way this record is both a form of esoteric prayer to the All, and a message of love to my daughter.
Pick 4 bands for you to tour with, and you open the tour. Go!
If we're talking active bands only, then Neurosis, Swans, Yob, Chelsea Wolfe. I would be thrilled to witness that sort of bill, much less perform as a part of it.
How has the current pandemic affected your current touring plans?
It's too early to say, as we hadn't planned on a national tour until the fall, but it's obviously reshaping the entire face of live performance. Most of my friends play music because of the intensely enriching, therapeutic, and cathartic aspect of live performance, and we may not be a thing in the new world being born.
Any last words/shout outs?
Thank you to my bandmates, Ben & JP, and to our co-conspirators on this record, Ethan McCarthy, Ben Hutcherson, & Paul Primus. Thanks as well to our extraordinary engineer, Dave Otero.
Thank you for your time!