WODE is born in the post-industrial gloom of Manchester, UK. A Black Metal Quartet that with each release shows itself curious in exploring new territory. WAGNER & HEAVY METAL asked singer & multi-instrumentalist MICHAEL CZERWONIUK about the band's influences and sources of inspiration.
Difficult to say. A song will typically start with one of us coming up with a riff at home, which may have been influenced by something we were listening to or just through playing around on guitar. Once the riff or fragment is brought to the rehearsal room it will go through various changes and new sections will be written on the fly. Sometimes these sections will be labelled ‘the x-band riff’ if there’s some similarity to another band and for ease of communication, but any similarity will usually become apparent a bit later on. The music, particularly with the new album, passes through a lot of different styles (black metal, death metal, heavy metal, punk, doom metal) partly because we want a song to take many unexpected turns and also just because that’s the kind of music we’re into. I think the care we take when arranging makes the music sound cohesive despite being so varied, and the band’s personality makes the music sound like its own thing rather than a sum of its parts.
2. Burn In Many Mirrors means again that the band has expanded its sound compared to its predecessor(s). Is every new record a conscious exploration of new territory? Do you think it's important not to repeat things? How do you see the development of the band's music?
We try not to repeat ourselves too much and tend to view each album as a separate statement but we don’t have a preconceived notion of how an album will sound before we start writing. Once we’d written the first song for the album (Sulphuric Glow) it became apparent that we were tapping into something that felt new to us, more dramatic and with a lot of different elements. But again, that exploration was quite an organic thing, aided by a few beers and the enjoyment of following a song down the rabbit hole rather than writing with some grand plan in mind.
Of course some elements from the previous albums are going to be present either intentionally or subconsciously, simply because it’s mostly the same people writing the music, but generally we are always trying to push things into different territory.
3. Does each band member bring their own specific influences or are all the band members into the exact same music?
We’re not all into the exact same music but our tastes tend to align when it comes to the fundamental music that the band draws from. We all contribute riffs and sections when we write together and each of us has a different way of writing and type of riff that we tend to come up with, which is what makes the music quite diverse.
4. Beside influences inside metal (Judas Priest etc.), do you have any influences outside metal?
The music we write is fairly oblique in nature so we’re open to inspiration from a wide range of sources outside of metal as long as it fits the right kind of mood. For example, the nihilistic heaviness of a band like Swans in their early days, the raw power(!) of the Stooges, darker 80s punk/post-punk like Amebix, Die Kreuzen, Christian Death, Killing Joke, the atmosphere and synthetic elements of groups like Coil, Dead Can Dance and Popol Vuh all feed into what we’re doing in some way.
5. How do you rate the importance of the lyrics? What inspires the band the most when it comes to writing lyrics?
Lyrics and themes are very important in building a world which an album inhabits. Much like the music, lyrical inspiration comes from a lot of different sources. Our environment - the post-industrial gloom of Manchester - is a constant source of inspiration, films, conversations, dreams, folklore and mythology, writers like William Blake, Arthur Machen and Robert Macfarlane are all points of reference for the new record. As important as the lyrics are, the vocal delivery and phrasing is just as important. I’ll always favour a lyric that sounds good amongst the music rather than trying to shoehorn in something that reads well but doesn’t necessarily fit the structure.
6. Final question: does the band have any specific goals in mind (besides world domination)?
Right from the start the goal has only ever been to write the kind of music that we’re proud of and would want to listen to. Any praise or tours that come along with that are obviously a bonus but the main thing is that we continue to be excited by what we’re doing.