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Cloak's Scott Taysom: "In more literal or mundane terms, we plan to conquer everything in our path and destroy all that stands in our way. Carving our own path through the medium of art and music has been our life’s work, and Cloak is the pinnacle of it

Interview with Scott Taysom from Cloak
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 20 November 2019, 8:53 PM

Exploring the dark side of everything can only be guessed as something that can be equaled to anything that is out of this world. The journey could be endless, and there is nothing to expect other than being shocked along the way. The wicked blend of extreme Metal, bred in the US, Cloak, may as well be on the right path to excite and surprise its listeners, with every album out. Steinmetal had a talk with Scott Taysom of the band, regarding the new album "The Burning Dawn", recently finished local tour, vision of darkness and more…

Greetings Scott, I am pleased to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how has life been treating you sir?

We just got back from our first tour of "The Burning Dawn" cycle which took place in North America with 1349 and Uada. It was a fiery explosion of chaos and hell just as it should be. The new material was very well received.

What seems to be an even darker experience than before, Cloak aspire to explore what is horrid, and majestic, in its own special way, with the newly released sophomore. “The Burning Dawn”. After probably listening to the whole album for many times after it was finished in the studio, what is your vision of darkness and how it was developed through the songs of “The Burning Dawn”.

To me, darkness is the uncharted territory within the physical and metaphysical world that one must enter to be truly free. The path to spiritual liberation is a lifelong journey, and a final goal that I believe can’t be reached until after life ends. It can only be strengthened during the lifetime of one who is willing to live outside the barriers of the flesh. To spot an illusion is difficult, but it becomes more apparent the more you open your heart to the darkness. That being said, in more literal or mundane terms, we plan to conquer everything in our path and destroy all that stands in our way. Carving our own path through the medium of art and music has been our life’s work, and Cloak is the pinnacle of it all. It’s a vessel to explore the darkness, spirituality, strength and discipline. “The Burning Dawn” is an even stronger effort towards these concepts that were explored initially with “To Venomous Depths”. Both of these works serve as different explorations of this sort of energy and determination.

Other than blackness, what would you say are the key themes that are vastly investigated throughout “The Burning Dawn” experience? Where do you find yourself in these lyrical aspects and philosophies?

The album deals with a threatening and dark presence that resides just below the surface, waiting patiently to strike. There is a very sinister feeling that lives throughout the album, sometimes it can be more apparent and at other times it hides its face but is certainly there. It could take multiple listens to hear what may have not been obvious the first few times, but there are certainly new sounds and energies that will appear with each new listen. It all depends on what the listener is willing to take in.

With the album now up and about in the Metal market, what have been the reactions towards it? I know you just finished a local tour, what were the reactions of the fans towards the new songs played live?

The reception during the North American tour has been exceptional. We can’t wait to bring the show overseas in the not so distant future.

Promoting an album strongly throughout whatever means necessary has become quite a task, yet it proved itself to bring results. There are many platforms that are in the service of both bands and labels alike. Which of the promotional platforms do you prefer personally?

Physical products of course are our preferred method of promotion for our albums. When you buy the record you get all of the art and the packaging which we put a lot of effort into. Touring is also a preferred method of presenting the music in the most aggressive and forceful way.

Cloak’s musical direction on “The Burning Dawn” took it even further into a kind of diversity that I find very easy to attached to. While being bleak on top is the main feature, the dangerous meeting of both melodic Extreme / Gothic Metal and Hard Rock is wonderous. What is your take on this special fusion? Is there a way to take it forward into something even more uncanny?

There’s no restrictions in the way that we write music. So who knows, we could do an album that is totally different from the two we have already put out. It depends where we are in our lives and what we want to do with our art. I think mixing the aggressive with the melodic is something we do really well. That sort of balance makes for a wide range of emotions that I think is important to capture when you dig into what our music is all about. All emotions in life are important.

In comparison to your debut album, which musical aspects were emphasized to grant the album a higher level of uniqueness?

I think we just became better and more confident song writers as a whole. We emphasized on both the gloom and the aggression, which culminated into a final piece that is dark but also inspiring in a way.

How did you find yourself one with the music while writing the material for “The Burning Dawn”? What inspired you in particular? What led to the connection that you knew that you are on the right path?

It’s so hard to say one or two particular things that inspired us. It could be anything from a Danzig song to a shadow that a tree casts in the Autumn time. Becoming one with the music has already happened very early on in our career, so that wasn’t hard to achieve. At this point we look inwards for inspiration, and that is an endless energy which is everchanging.

How would you describe the songwriting process of “The Burning Dawn” when it comes to the entire band? What is your approach towards writing a song and how did it work out for you on the new album?

One of us will come up with an initial concept or structure for a song and then we go from there. We let things build naturally and we’ve learned that forcing songs usually goes very wrong. One thing that did change on this album is that we didn’t think too hard about the structure or certain parts of a song, we just let the music flow and whatever came to us at a certain moment usually stuck.

Do you believe that the musical style of Cloak, along with other bands such as Tribulation for that matter, can be considered the evolution of Extreme Metal? Without referring to any form of trend but yet as another wave of Metal music

It’s not something we really think about or care about. We do what we do, and we aim to be the best at it.

Which of the album’s songs do you find as the most influential? Please elaborate on your pick

Scott: Standout songs to me have always been "A Voice In The Night" for its simple and mesmerizing groove, "Into The Storm" for its relentless aggression but somber ending, and "Where The Horrors Thrive", which I think may be one of the best songs we have ever written. A very special song on the album is also "Lifeless Silence". It’s a bit different, yet extremely haunting. That song is so powerful to me and contains some of the most sinister energies on the album, both musically and lyrically.

The album’s closing track, “Where The Horrors Thrive”, which you talked about, probably sets the standards in the diversity of extreme Metal. It displays a fine string of emotions, marvelously crafted into melodies and riffs. What is your appreciation of this track?

I said that as soon as we finished it, which was actually pretty early on in the song writing process. It all started from a simple riff that Max was strumming before we started rehearsal. That lead riff became the chorus and we just built the song from there. Music is magic, you never know when inspiration will strike. In this case it was accidental but no coincidence.

As mentioned earlier, you just finished a tour in the US headlined by 1349 and supported by Uada. Did you have a chance to play in new venues in the US that you have yet to play in? How do you summarize the experience of this tour? How did work for Cloak?

It was the perfect line up to go out with. All 3 bands offered something different, but at times similar. We played venues that we haven’t, but that kind of stuff doesn’t really matter. The performance is the key, and we put on the best show we possibly could every single night. It was exhausting but so rewarding.

Next year, you are about to head for Europe to support the mighty Batushka. Any expectations that you care to share about this small journey? Have you played with the Poles in the past?

This will be our first time touring in Europe so it will be a brand new experience. I have no expectations, we will just do what we do best and hopefully connect to those who are willing to listen.

Let’s call it the five years' plan, where do you see Cloak heading in the coming years? Any particular goals that you wish to achieve?

We’ve always had high goals. We’ll continue to write, tour, and expand our live show. I want to conquer lands that most bands tend to skip, I guess you can consider that a goal.

Have you already started sharing ideas for perhaps a next album? Any new plotted course when it comes to the band’s music?

After “The Burning Dawn” was written and recorded, we haven’t attempted or even had time to write. We want to focus our energy on the wave of this album and ride it until it feels natural to begin the next album process.

To which bands have you been listening to lately? Any promising newcomers that are worth mentioning?

Today I listened to both Vargrav albums, very dark black metal from Finland. It stays true to the 90’s style that was coming out of Scandinavia. Most of the new releases that are held so high by metal publications I personally think aren’t any good. I really can’t think of any right now that I liked.

Other than the Batushka support tour, any additional plans for 2020 to support the new album?

Nothing set in stone other than some small festivals and one-off shows. We’ll see where the year takes us. No rest for the wicked!

Scott, I wish to thank you for this interview and for your time to make it happen. I wish you guys all the best and keep up the amazing work. Cheers.

Thanks for the interview.



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