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Wythersake's Gabriel Luis: "Man is evil because Man is good. That might not make sense to people at first – but if you think about it enough it will…"

Interview with Gabriel Luis from Wythersake
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 March 2021, 11:51 PM

Complexities and interesting turns of events when it comes within mankind's vastness. Whether it imposes systems on others or rather wishing to live in harmony, there is a measure of uncertainty, a kind that is hard to explain and gather around it. It might sound odd or out of reach, but it is rather thought-provoking. The US extreme Metallers Wythersake write their material out of life's experiences, yet coloring it with elements that might raise questions on their intentions. One would recognize it as a research time. Steinmetal had a chance to talk to Gabriel Luis, founder of the band, about the new album “Antiquity”, signing with Scarlet Records, musical and lyrical vision and more…

Hello Gabriel, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, what is going on your end? How have you been doing?

Thank you for reaching out. I have been well – just preparing for the album release.

Even though Wythersake has been there for the past five years, and you guys sure spread new material around, throughout that period of time, yet the full fruition came with your signing to the Italian Scarlet Records and of course your debut album. Let’s go backwards a bit, what was your source of motivation to start Wythersake to begin with?

I was in a previous band that had experienced a small amount of success, we had toured the United States and it had opened opportunities for me to travel and play in Europe, but after the release of our album it was clear that people were starting to move away from having similar goals – with the label and within the band. It just so happened that Daniel was in a similar place, I met him when he recorded in my studio and we began Wythersake as a two piece, focusing on our sound first, and letting things happen organically with the lineup. I had gotten to a point where I felt like if I wanted something done how I envisioned it, I would need to just do it myself and then have the right people on board with similar goals and ideas that could contribute. James had just released an EP with his studio project - Monadnok - around when we were looking for a second guitarist, and after hearing it we knew we had to reach out to him. Cody happened to grow up with James and I knew him from the scene locally, so everything just worked out great.

Signing with a label such as Scarlet Records, which has been known for its mixture of Metal directions and also since it has a long history, was probably quite the step for you. Was it your first intention to sign with a European label other than focusing on the local North American market? How do you feel about this signing?

Our goal was to be able to work with a label that would assist in our development and begin a career potentially while still giving us the freedom we have had so far when it comes to our song writing. Scarlet made that clear from the very beginning which was awesome for us. We did not really have an opinion on whether a European label should our focus or vice versa – but we also are not that surprised it worked out this way. Like you said - Scarlet has had a very diverse catalog over their years which is great. I grew up listening to many of their bands. We are happy to be part of the family!

You have been releasing singles since 2018, and only three years later, you are coming in with your debut album, “Antiquity”. Now, I am sure that it was ready beforehand, probably in 2020, and you synchronized a timetable with the label, nonetheless, were you waiting for the right timing to release the album? Were there thoughts to have it out and about earlier on?

When the band was started the goal was to have label support within 5 years – everything we have done has been executed more or less along the timeline that was set when everything got started. We wanted the presentation to look good from the onset – and based on our experience before, we were able to refine things a bit to prepare to shop the album. The singles and our presentation with the artwork actually helped us get our deal. We began tracking the album in the fall of 2019 and finished in 2020 right before the pandemic. We signed with Scarlet late 2020 for a Spring 2021 release which all just worked out perfectly.

With the coming of “Antiquity”, you raised burning hot questions and inquiries in relation to history long gone, but in the same breath, still relevant, particularly in several parts of the world we live in. First things first, why did you find so fascinating about the Middle Ages that led you to somewhat research the dominance of ignorance?

I guess I should clarify this – The album is not actually based on the Middle Ages thematically. The album title and the concept draw from it loosely. Lyrically the album is more about personal enlightenment and the isolation someone might feel when going through their own renaissance. Finally understanding things but feeling like the people and the world around you are still stuck in the dark. The album is very iconoclastic – and not in a rebellious way just to be trendy. The concepts are based off my experiences.

What can you tell about the album’s artwork? which is very much inspiring, it had me thinking quite a lot, other than simply looking it at because it is well made.

The artwork really caps the album off for us – we all really love the work that Alvaro (AV Ilustracion) did. I told him what the title track of the album was based on – in a very general sense since I wanted him to have freedom with the art, and he did a great job.

It has been said that man is evil by nature. I can’t say that I don’t relate to that notion, as it proved itself right many times throughout history. How do you find this notion connected to the sights and echoes of “Antiquity”?

Man is evil because Man is good. That might not make sense to people at first – but if you think about it enough it will. Its sort of like – to know happiness you must experience sadness. There’s a duality.

Inside looking out to our current reality, no matter that after the Middle Ages, people began to wake up and understand that they have been played by a form of rule that enslaved their minds, how do you find the elements of “Antiquity” in the present day?

Yes, I guess it can be applied to present day religion and politics. A lot of what I write I am leaving up to the listener to interpret and apply how they see fit. If it can be thought provoking, then I am all for it.

I have been hearing a lot of voices, from various folks, most which I interviewed earlier, in regard to the opinion that people have been fed by their governments about the pandemic and means to handle it. Do you find any relation to the questioning made within “Antiquity” to the pandemic period when it comes to politics taking its toll on the citizens?

As far as my personal opinion on this and it relating to the album, I really don’t have one. The album was written prior to anything that is going on and comes from more of a spiritual and anti-religious point of view.

“Antiquity” took me on a musical journey, sailing upon the symphony right into the belly of the beast, its core foundation, a unison of extreme Metal of the highest order. How do you find the band’s development, in contrast to your previous works, while working on “Antiquity”?

Well, a few of the tracks – such as The Advent – was one of the first songs written and completed when the band first began. Half of the album was written while we were releasing singles and the other half was written the year we began tracking. And we have plenty of songs to spare – I am constantly writing and recording demos. So, it was just a matter of choosing what songs felt right for the album.

Thinking about it, I can somewhat understand why it may have taken you a while to unleash “Antiquity”, it must have been quite the challenge. Do you consider yourself a perfectionist, striving to perfect even the smallest of details?

It depends – I prioritize things in a way that allows me to be critical of the more important things and not worrying myself with anything I feel might be trivial. The only challenging part of the whole process was mixing and mastering it at the end. I finally just told myself the album is done just leave it alone. Mixing is one of those things that is never perfect, and you always hear things you could have done different. If you don’t accept that you will get “over analysis paralysis” and never finish your work. I also always make sure to hear what the rest of the band has to say, because I know I miss things. And at the end of it all there was still a timeline set for us. So we feel it has taken the proper amount of time.

I believe that one of the toughest aspects of songwriting is to find that thin line that connects between the lyricism and the musical end of a song. How were you able to reach that near perfect integration on “Antiquity”?

Well first I would have to say Thank you!

Normally I would have a whole song written and recorded with lyrics as a demo fairly quickly. Maybe since I know what the song structure is and what the feel is It just happens to be easy. I really am not sure – James will send me demos he has written and the same wheels start turning in my head. I can hear what the vocals are doing and where and what the lyrics might be based on. And then it just happens – I did not revise anything lyrically on the album that I can recall. So maybe it was luck.

With that said, what do you think that Wythersake presents as highly fresh and outstanding with the presentation of “Antiquity”?

I would have to say the guitar work – We get grouped in with the Symphonic Black Metal genre which is fine with us. You do not hear a lot of emphasis on the guitar solo in black metal. Most of the album reviews seem to support this. Wythersake songs will always have Lead Guitar. When James came into the fold, we were very excited to have a second guitarist that could also shred.

“Through Ritual We Manifest” is one hell of an epic, it crosses the band’s forte fluently, it flows rather fast through the airwaves, and shares quite the dramatic peaks. I sensed that it delivered the band’s essence with its length, and captured great moments. What can you tell about the arrangement and overall creation process of this epos?

I wrote that song in two days – start to finish and had a demo done. It just poured out. Writing long songs is easy for me – It’s the short songs that are hard actually!

Usually it is one of the tougher questions that I ask, but I think that I will change it for this time around. Instead of asking for your favorite number from the album, I would like to know on which song do you wish to talk about, perhaps share the experiences behind it? Did you have any personal connection that is worth mentioning?

My Profane Goddess is actually about alcohol addiction. I don’t think anyone would really know that right away – but yeah. Addiction, isolation, manic behavior and choices. We are our own God – we can control our paths (for the most part) – for better or worse. You can sit on your ass or get off of it and control your life.

How have you been handling yourself through the pandemic? Since it is not possible to go live and of course there is culture that is out of order for the moment, how do you find sanity?

We have stayed productive actually – we got the album done and signed with Scarlet and now we are just pushing the album as best we can. The internet is a valuable tool. Of course, playing live is a goal but in the meantime, we can practice and make sure we are sharp and ready to go.

Gabriel, I wish to humbly thank you for this interview, your progression and tending to extreme Metal is simply sublime, I enjoyed the record very much. All the best and cheers.

Thank you for opportunity and the support! The guys and I are proud of the album and we are just getting started! Take care!



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