Departe - After "Failure, Subside"
Departe revealed their debut album to the world “Failure, Subside” in 2016 to universal praise. A record of such depth and sorrow combined with live shows all around the world that cemented their reputation of being post metal, Black metal pioneers.
And then nothing ….
Whilst there has been no new music Guitarist/vocalist Sam Dishington explains the Tasmanian Quartet has been far from idle: We have been quiet, but behind the scenes we've been working hard on new music. We are making sure to take our time finding the 'right' sounds and vibes for the new material - we didn't want to just release another “Failure, Subside”, we want to push ourselves and build something new and fresh, and it's been taking us a long time to find what we're looking for. That said, the picture of where we're going moving forward is clearer now than it has been in quite a while, and we're looking forward to finally being able to come out of hiding, so to speak. The planned follow up to “Failure, Subside”? Yes, that's what we're working on building, a second full length album. Have any side projects been occupying the band members time? There have been a few projects happening between us, though none of them really occupy great amounts of time. Our guitarist Mitch plays in a dark hard-core/post metal band called Trespasser with members of another band we've played a lot of shows with, No Haven. They only play every now and again, so it's always a real treat when they appear on a line-up. Our bass player Jed plays bass in an old school mosh metalcore band called Break Through who are developing a good name for themselves on the live circuit in Australia. They were due to travel to Sydney to record an album around this time, but the current quarantine climate has put that on hold for now. I'm looking forward to hearing what they produce when it eventually comes together. I myself have had a few projects happening too, I tend to hop around between ideas and just do what I feel at the time. I've dabbled in a bit of solo work with Idle Pulse, Quiet Waters, and a brief stint with No Lower Place To Fall and Writhe, and I've been involved in a few collaborative efforts in the form of Úkryt and Verëvkina. I'll likely be diving back into some or all of those projects later on, once the Départe album is finished. Will it be thematic/conceptual in nature like “Failure, Subside”? I'm sure it will carry some overarching themes like “Failure, Subside” did, and most of them will probably be roughly the same, themes like grief and loss, but I'm sure as with the music the themes will grow and expand beyond what they were on that album. I intend for the lyrics to still be quite personal, but I'd like to branch out and deal with some broader issues as well. We'll see what the music calls for and where my head is at when it comes time to write the lyrics I suppose.”
Your thematic inspiration? Personal experience, primarily. From a lyrical standpoint “Failure, Subside” was essentially me working through taking negative emotions and personal struggles and trying to apply a 'light at the end of the tunnel' mentality to them. There's plenty of negative music out there, especially in the more extreme genres, and I didn't feel like I needed to add to that. That's not who I am, so in my eyes for me to write about negativity and just wallow there without pairing it with a 'way out' I feel like I would be misrepresenting myself as person. Is it difficult to follow up “Failure, Subside” considering its critical success and the bands that you have inspired? It actually has been incredibly difficult, and it's part of why the new material is taking so long. We didn't want to just write another “Failure, Subside”, because we've done that, that's where we were back then, we've grown as people and as musicians since then so just trying to create 'that vibe' again would be a bit of a cop out. But at the same time, we don't want to leave it behind, because that sound is who we are as a band. So the struggle has been in trying to strike a balance between the sound that we established for ourselves with “Failure, Subside” and the direction we want to take it. I spend a great deal of my writing time 'stuck' analysing things - analysing our past material, analysing the new material, comparing them, and trying to establish what part of our previously established sonic identity I feel like is 'missing' or needs to be accentuated in the newer material. Again, it all comes down to balance - the balance between where we've been, and where we're going - and it's been quite difficult to find. Tasmania has had some great influential bands. Is it a strong supportive scene? The Tasmanian scene is small, but some of my favourite bands have come from here, namely bands like Ruins, Psycroptic, Trespasser (though a few of those guys moved to Melbourne) and Orrery. There's only ever really a handful of local bands active at any given time, so that usually either means that there's either not many shows on, or the same bands are playing every show. Thankfully we have touring companies such as Soundworks Direct and Southern Extremities who bring international touring acts down here on a semi-regular basis, which not only breaks the monotony of seeing the same bands all the time, but it also gives the local bands a chance to play some bigger shows and get their music heard by the people running the Australian touring circuit.
Does its isolation help or hinder your music? For us, specifically, it helps. It helps because there's an element of the 'exotic' when you're from a remote place like Tasmania. We're still Australian, but we're on an island, and we are separate from the thriving and probably at times oversaturated scenes of cities like Melbourne or Sydney, and that on its own is a point of interest for a lot of people. For most bands though, I would say that the isolation of living on an island is a hindrance. It makes it quite expensive to travel, and even harder to get shows and break into the scenes in the bigger cities. You recently donated proceeds to the Australian bushfire appeal. Are Departe a big part of the community? Not particularly, as least as a band. The fires were a nationwide natural disaster, and everyone in the country knows someone who was affected by them in one way or another, be it someone who was evacuated, someone who lost their home, or someone who's loved ones were in danger. The bushfires affected everyone, in one way or another, so we as individuals just used what we had in our hands to help in the only way we felt like we could. We had a resource, so we used it. We weren't in a position to do 'benefit shows', all we had was merchandise, and so, we sold it and gave away the proceeds. We all wanted to help and to contribute, and this seemed like the most effective way of doing it. How do you progress as musicians and the song writing process? Is it an intensive rehearsal process or is it spontaneous? When we're writing, we don't spend a lot of time in the rehearsal space. Our process is usually anywhere from one of us to all of us, sitting in a bedroom, hunched over a computer and recording ideas. It's not really 'spontaneous' in a way that it would be if we were jamming live, it's more of a process of trial and error and of experimentation and trying new things until we find the 'thing' we're looking for.
What influences the band? Books? Music? Art? Mostly music, sometimes art. For me, aesthetic is the second most important part of the 'full band package', second obviously to the actual music, so I draw a lot of inspiration from the way other bands present themselves, from their music videos to their photo shoots to their album art and merchandise. Outside of that, as for most people I imagine, the majority of our inspiration just comes from the music that we enjoy. There's the obvious bands, bands like Gorguts, Ulcerate, Deathspell Omega, Neurosis and Rosetta, the bands that very clearly influence our sound and influenced how “Failure, Subside” turned out, but on the new material we're broadening that spectrum of influences to things that you may not necessarily notice as plainly as some of those other influences. - Bands like Karnivool, mewithoutYou, Daughters, even Pianos Become The Teeth. With bands like that, we draw less 'overall' inspiration and instead look at things like 'how do they achieve that particularly feeling', or 'what dynamic elements are they using to convey that energy'. It's always interesting analysing things like that for me, picking apart why something sounds the way it does, why it carries that impact, and how I can rebuild it into a tool I can use to create my own art. What is the best way to Describe Départe to the new listener? Dense, dark, atmospheric, dissonant, melodic, and emotional. What got you into metal and do you listen to any new music? “To be honest, and this may get me in trouble with all those people that were just born listening to death metal - it was Limp Bizkit. Prior to Limp Bizkit, I enjoyed rap and boy bands. That said, I wasn't heavily into music until I got into heavy music, something about it woke up a passion in me. I went from rap to Limp Bizkit to Slipknot to Dimmu Borgir and the rest is history. I listen to new music all the time, it is very exciting to me hearing what the bands I have loved for a long time continue to bring out, as well as experiencing what new artists are bringing to the table.” Top 6 favourite albums of all time: Just based on what springs to mind,
White Pony by Deftones
Catch For Us The Foxes by MewithoutYou
Nine Odes To Oblivion by Orrery
Determinism of Morality by Rosetta
Keep You by Pianos Become The Teeth
Sound Awake by Karnivool “Thank you to anyone who's reading this who's supported us over the years and waited patiently while we reinvent ourselves. We look forward to showing you what we've been working on and seeing you on the road in the not too distant future.
All photos courtesy of Void Revelations LTD.