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Terminus's David Gillespie: "...when we were younger we might have held the view that Metal is a way of life, but as jaded middle aged men, we can see that in comparison to our "real" lives this music really is a only a small part of who we are."

Interview with David Gillespie from Terminus
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 14 October 2019, 4:30 PM

Leaving an offering and then off, back to the shadows. Some acts just simply don't wish to step out into the public without being truly prepared. However, when that offering is out and about, it is no less than amazing, worth waiting for. Terminus, the long running Epic Metal, isn't always there, yet it is working, cloaked by a grey cloud, and when they strike, it is hard to fierce. Steinmetal had talked to David Gillespie of the Terminus duo, about the new album's music and lyricism, Sci-Fi, Heavy Metal and more…

Hi David, I am pleased to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, I trust that you are doing well and things are running smoothly on your end?

As smooth as can be, looking forward to the album being released.

After taking on the Metal scene, earlier on in 2015, with a promising release, you certainly took your time to gather your force of will and mind to come up with your next in line, the sophomore album, “A Single Point Of Light”.

To be honest, at least for the moment disregarding the actual idea of concept, the first thing that came to my mind, also when I peaked at the artwork, was that out of all the evil in the world, there is still hope for mankind with a chosen few of people, more than a handful, that are representing the light in the human persona. I wonder what is your opinion on that view? I think it may also connect to your shared conception towards Science Fiction?

The artist - Anais Mulgrew - had her own ideas of how the piece related to the lyrical themes and I have mine, no more or less valid than anyone else. To me it represents the central idea in the 4 song arc that closes the album - the birth, or rebirth, of a new intelligence inside a machine.

If we are talking about Science Fiction, what is the nature of your fascination? Which direction within this rather vast genre are you into?

Whilst I do enjoy a good tale of heroism in the vein of classic Star Wars etc. that doesn't really qualify as Science Fiction to me. Science Fiction, at its heart, is a medium for the conveyance of ideas and those are the types of stories we focus on. The Asimov stories are about statecraft, the means to control a populace en masse set against a Sci Fi backdrop and the songs on our new album approach different ideas in a similar fashion. The best Sci Fi always has an engaging idea at its core that will stick in your mind regardless of the narrative it's paired with.

In reference to “A Single Point Of Light”, into what will the listener getting into? What kind of entanglements are to be faced within the script of this sophomore?

As Roy Batty once said - "I want more life, father". We consider what bargain our main character may enter into so that her intellect, consciousness or soul might live on and the circumstances and outcomes that result from her decision.

Slowly dropping into the musical area, I must say that “A Single Point Of Light”, which is my first time listening to Terminus in depth other than clips, is probably one of heavier, and energetic, Epic Metal driven albums I have listened to in a while? Isn’t that extra mile of energy not really in the spirit of actually telling a story? Weren’t there thoughts of putting on a rather atmospheric show in play other than bursting out guns blazing? Not that guns blazing isn’t extra crispy and great of course

You are making the incorrect assumption that our songs tell stories rather than trying to cut to the core idea. This is a problem James and I very quickly learned to reconcile. Even the story of a very short 200 page Scif Fi novel is difficult to condense into three verses and a chorus. We mostly take a different approach - focus on an idea, a character, a key incident in the plot whether the source material is of our own creation or not.

Our first album starts in the way you describe, so we wanted something different this time. I'd recommend all your readers track down and buy "The Reapers Spiral"  in addition to "A Single Point Of Light".

While we do like to tell a story, we are a heavy metal band; the music is paramount. Maybe some day we'll do something more overtly atmospheric, but if we do it will be under a different name.

Therefore, I would also ask, how did you connect the storyline of the album, which is mostly the last four tracks, to the hell-bent music? Would you say that the last track, “Spinning Web, Catching Dreams” could be an example?

These days I will have an idea of the topic of a song while the music is being put together. "Spinning Webs" is an example of one where I more or less completed the music and handed it over to James with a brief of where the song sat in the narrative, characters involved and their motivations. James tends to handle the longer songs better than I do.

With that said, in your view, other than being energetic and heavy as an iron fist, what makes an album such as “A Single Point Of Light” to stand out in light of the waves of albums coming out, attempting to carve into the stone of the genre?

There is a lot of shitty, retrograde Heavy Metal being released at the minute but Epic Metal is much the same as it ever was. Within that niche our lyrical bent sets us apart - not only the Sci Fi aspect but because we don't write songs about grand acts of heroism and battle.

Musically speaking I think we have a broader palette than most. As listeners will find on the album we go everywhere from a crawl to a breakneck charge and everything in between.

Though you have in league with your partner, James Beattie, for over two decades, you probably know him better than anyone else, how do you appreciate his vocal efforts on this album? It appears to me that he really went out of his way, displaying various types of vocal patterns, all in all, which were greatly produced.

Natural variation would explain a lot but vocal “patterns” tend to be dictated by the lyrics and even the phrasing of certain words, the latter being something James pays particular attention to.

While doing the songwriting sessions of the album, which elements did to better take into account? Such elements that you can regard as the next musical, and songwriting, development of Terminus

We dropped some of the elements from the debut that we felt weren't as strong as we would like. There are a few small things we added that have a touch more atmosphere but really we focused on what we feel is our core sound.

Going back to the last track of the album, “Spinning Web, Catching Dreams”, this is quite an amazing work, I would dare to say ambitious, yet it actually greatly succeeded in capturing attention. What can you tell about this piece of epic music? How does the story ends with this number?

The last four songs don't necessarily form a contiguous narrative. They are aspects of a whole and different characters perspectives on incidents throughout that narrative. "Spinning Webs" would chronologically be the beginning of that story but musically fits as the last track. It describes the end of our protagonists natural life, how she seeks to live on and the consequences of the bargain she makes.

Coming yet another tough nut. Which of the tracks on this album is your first choice? That one track that sent you through cycles of wondering relentlessly

That would be an ecumenical matter. More time was spent on "Spinning Webs, Catching Dreams" than any other song - I think that one was reconstructed at least 3 times.

Here is an off topic question for you. When you sit down and listening to music, which format do you think that is better suited for you: Vinyl, CD or Digital on your computer or rather streaming online? Please elaborate on your choice

If you have a good turntable, good sound system and clean records then Vinyl is the best format. Most of my listening is digital, though.

Another one out of the border. There has been a perspective regarding Metal music that is not merely a musical genre, but a religion, a way of life, like any other sort of belief. It is like a guiding light that helps us become better people, friendly and welcoming. Certainly we aren’t in the 80s anymore, and stereotypes became weaker, do you still believe that this notion about Metal as a way of life still relevant?

It hasn't really been our experience that being into heavy metal makes anyone a better person. Quite the opposite in fact,but it's the same in any walk of life. You'll always find really nice, community minded people, but you'll also find people within that small group who are prepared to tear everything down around them because they want to feel important. So, maybe when we were younger we might have held the view that Metal is a way of life, but as jaded middle aged men, we can see that in comparison to our "real" lives this music really is a only a small part of who we are. We love it,and we've met some truly wonderful people through it, but let's not pretend that it is the most important thing in our lives.

Back “A Single Point Of Light”, how are you planning to support this album live?

Nothing whatsoever, we've made it pretty clear we aren't playing live shows anymore.

Looking forward for the future of Terminus, where do you see the band going? Let’s call it your five years plan and beyond

We'll keep writing music and if we feel it's good enough to release, we'll record it. It will be several years before you hear any more from us and any future releases will come as a surprise when we appear to be dead. Exactly like this one did.

David, plenty of thanks for the time you invested for this interview, much appreciated. This album is quite amazing, and it is heavy as it can get, thank you sir.



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