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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Interview: Keith D. of Unearthed Elf


Soon, on October 31st, Unearthed Elf will release Into The Catacomb Abyss. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen already reviewed the upcoming album here and now he asks some questions to Unearthed Elf’s sole member and founder Keith D. Read the interview below.

Hi, how are you? And how is your knee?

Hey there! I am fine, I am grateful despite life's trials. My knee is better, I can walk normally but it's still awkward going down stairs and sometimes when I get up off the couch it makes a terrifying sound like someone is smashing a bag of Cheetos. I can get around but I will not be playing soccer or Capoeira any time soon. I didn't do those things to begin with though. But now I definitely never will.

Congratulations with ‘Into The Catacomb Abyss’, it’s a remarkable album to say the least, especially genre-wise. I have been told you have written this album when you were recovering from a knee injury that kept you chair-bound for quite some time. Can you fill us in on the details of this story?

Yes, thank you very much! A few years ago, I was going to see Alestorm and I was very excited to see them, so much in fact that I drank way too many North Coast Old Rasputins at the bar. Being the dumbass that I am, I said "I'm not too old to mosh, I'm going to go have fun in the pit!" I would soon discover the cold hard reality that I am indeed too old for such activities. You ever drink so much you are convinced you are invincible, like when you get the star in Super Mario Brothers, but then the star quickly runs out and you die because you got cocky and thought you could kill one more Goomba? I'm not sure exactly what happened but I fell on it all weird and felt something pop. After some tests, the doctor said it was a torn ACL. I was okay for about a year, but then one day I was just standing there and out of nowhere my knee completely gave out... the ACL then tore completely and ripped up the meniscus in the process. I was completely unable to walk, and the pain was excruciating. I managed to crawl to my car and drive home, but it was so bad I couldn't even get out of my car. I had to sit there and wait for my wife to come home and save me! I had to get surgery immediately. It was a very depressing and difficult time for me, and things weren't really going well with my other band, and now I definitely had to cancel a tour that I worked so hard to set up, and all of this was heartbreaking for me. It was just like all this horrible shit was happening all at once. I had my guitars and a digital recorder at home, and I was completely off my face on painkillers from the surgery, so I started crafting songs mostly just for entertainment. I had a lot of weird and fun ideas that I wanted to make into full-blown songs. It got out of hand and I ended up with a whole album's worth of tracks. Working on these songs gave me something positive to do with my time, something that I could work on with a real goal in mind, instead of just wasting time. I practiced my guitar a lot and learned a couple of new techniques by studying tutorials on the internet. I did nearly all my guitar and vocal demos at this time, just using a metronome since I couldn't play my drums. My cat would give me weird looks while I was tracking my vocals as though to say "this is an interesting twist in my usual day, but what the fuck is wrong with you?"

What, if any, is ‘Into The Catacomb Abyss’ storyline?

I am still trying to figure that out.

Where did you get the idea to combine power metal with doom metal?

Well, those are my favorite types of metal music for sure. So to me it makes sense to incorporate elements of both styles. I love the over-the-top theatrics and epic atmosphere of power metal, but I also love the slow mournful heaviness of doom. So those are definitely the two biggest influences.

What made you decide to do everything by yourself?

Probably because I knew that nobody else would want to be in this band with me! But I did set out with the specific intent of keeping it 100% a completely solo album. I had a very specific vision in mind for it, and I wanted it to be a personal journey. Also, it was a blast! This was the most fun I've ever had making an album, every day in the studio was just absolute fun. I was sad when it was over, and I left New Jersey with a serious bagel addiction that left me jonesing for quite some time.

When listening to your album, I got the feeling the music transforms from power metal to doom metal or vice versa three times, every time over the course of three songs. Is that just my imagination, or did you deliberately compose the songs that way?

I wish I was cunning enough to do something so sneaky and cool! But no, I think that is coincidence. Really interesting observation though!

What are your plans with Unearthed Elf?

I had always intended it to just be a side-project for fun, like something I would just do on the internet or whatever. I never originally had any intentions of trying to make it an actual live band or anything. I am just doing my best to spread the word about the album and I guess I will see how it is received.

Any chance on touring?

I have had a couple of excellent drummers hit me up about wanting to play it live, but I'm really pessimistic that I would be able to find other players to fill out a live band. I just don't know anyone else who is into this type of music. I figure that if the pieces of the puzzle fall into place then it was meant to be, and if it's not then it won't.

If you plan to keep on going with Unearthed Elf, how do you plan to combine it with Arctic Sleep?

Well, neither one is able to play live, so it has never been an issue. And let's face it, they are totally separate entities.

Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview, is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Cheers, thank you, be excellent to each other! Don't eat poisonous mushrooms... And remember that any kind of elemental fire magic attacks are usually pretty effective against mummies.

Unearthed Elf Official Website
Unearthed Elf Facebook

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