Ice Giant – Altering the State of Galaxies

Saturday, 14th October 2023

Photo credit: Matty Thrash Photography

Although Ice Giant has technically been a band since 2015 and put out their debut in 2017, the band has gone through some transitions, both with their members and their sound. While the first release was solid, it still felt a bit disjointed at times, but this is not the case with their sophomore offering. They’ve tightened up their sound and crafted something very unique with an excellent mix of melodic death, thrash and power metal elements. Being a sucker for concept albums and science fiction, this scribe was confident that Ghost of Humanity was going to hit all the right notes and it absolutely does. We chat about their influences, the current state of the music industry, how changes in state laws have impacted where bands can safely tour, and interests outside of music.

Dead Rhetoric: Please introduce yourselves, what your role is in the band and tell me a little bit about your band.

Olive Gallop (guitars/vocals): Hi, my name is Liv; I founded the band. Started writing for us back in 2014, we started playing shows in 2016. I play guitar and I sing for the group. One of the guitar players and one of the singers for the group. My favorite band at the moment is Immortal, as you can see by my massive flag on this side of the room over here. My day job is helping adults with autism, so I’m a psychologist.

Eddie Shifflet (guitars/vocals): My name is Eddie Shifflett. I am also other guitars, other vocals, and writing. I’ve been in the band since 2017. And outside of this I teach music, teach guitar, and I have a very awesome cat named Sophie. That’s me.

Gallop: We love Sophie very much.

Shifflet: Yes, she’s great.

Daniel Saillant (bass/vocals): My name is Dan Saillant. I play bass. I do a lot of our live production stuff, including dealing with our live sessions, our monitors, and then sometimes I play bass, and sometimes it’s okay. Professionally, I do administration for a cancer research lab at Boston Children’s Hospital, and I teach a marching band.

Gallop: Watching him do both over the course of this past week, it was like a sitcom of him coming home and being like, “okay, cool, I have now finished one job, it is now time for me to start the next job.” Meanwhile, it’s like 11.30 PM.

Saillant: I wake up at seven in the morning, I have to go teach for three hours, and then I get an hour break in which I have to go right back to writing for the marching band, and then I teach for another three hours, and then I have a two-hour break in which I have to keep writing for the marching band, and then I have to teach for another four hours, and then I get to go home, and then I still write for the marching band for like four hours. So that’s done, luckily. Camp is over. Band camp is brutal, but it’s a lot of fun. It’s rewarding.

Dead Rhetoric: I thought you had both at the same time for a second. I was like, wow, that’s impressive, the administrative work and teaching the marching band.

Saillant: Well, I tried that for a few days and it was just completely, it was, yeah, I think I did last Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and I was doing that and it was just too much.

Shifflet: Have a band come to the office. That’ll be fun.

Saillant: 180 people stuck in the middle of Boston Children’s Hospital just blasting away John Williams music.

Alexander Paiva (drums): My name is Alexander Paiva. I play drums. I joined the band exactly a year ago. And for my job, I work at IHG, Intercontinental, which is in Boston and I’m a steward over there. But other than that, I’m also in four other projects, so I’ve been keeping busy, trying to make time between work and the bands.

Gallop: We all know how it goes with drummers.

Paiva: No, it’s nothing extraordinary compared to the rest of you guys.

Shifflet: Drummers are super humble. Alex is amazing.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel you’ve progressed as a band between your first self-titled album and your second album, Ghost of Humanity?

Gallop: Well, that’s an interesting question. The lineup on the self-titled was completely different than what you see here. Technically, I am the only member that has carried over from them, but I have also transitioned in that time. So there’s a different name and like a different vibe of a person on that record. So effectively, the entire lineup is different for Ghost of Humanity. So the main, like, if I were to keep it short, you know, how we’ve progressed is we’ve essentially become a new band. And I think that the spirit of that statement is still applicable in a less literal kind of way, just ’cause Eddie’s been in the band for basically as long as I have at this point. We have been just honing our craft and really trying to decide what we want to sound like and what influences we want to bring in over the course of the six years that it took to get Ghost of Humanity out. And we’ve completely reinvented ourselves ’cause the first record was very traditional kind of United States power metal kind of business, which that’s fun for sure. But we’ve got so many inspirations and influences outside of that. My main squeeze is the Scandinavian melodic death metal kind of stuff. And then Eddie comes from a Death, Lamb of God kind of perspective. And then including everybody, Dan brings in this amazing progressive flavor. He’s gotten us all into Alkaloid and Obscura and Beyond Creation and stuff like that, which is so sick, so incredible. And then like, Alex can do like everything. Like, you know, if you look at his YouTube channel, he does covers of like, Dream Theater, Cradle of Filth, like just you name it, like he is on top of it all. And so like, we just have all of these really cool influences that we figured like, well, let’s just like utilize them all, you know, and, you know, we, we just when we’re like, now, especially like, since we are together as a unit and have been for a while and are really getting to know each other’s personalities musically, the way that we write is just so cool and cohesive and stuff. Anyway, I’m getting off track, but the point being that we are all fans of music as much as we are performers. So we just kind of decide like, oh, man, what do we like right now? What do we want to write? What do we want to smash together and see what happens? And that kind of resulted in Ghost of Humanity. There’s a ton of genres on there. And we think that there’s a little something for everybody. Basically, if you like extreme metal, you will probably like Ghost of Humanity.

Shifflet: When I first entered the band, I got to see Ice Giant live a couple times and just like Liv said, I got that classic power metal, classic thrash vibe. And I understand it was a really fun band and some great potential. So, as Liv and I started to work on these new tunes and she came forward with a lot of ideas already and I was like, “this is where it’s going.” It’s like honing in those great thrash and power metal elements and moving it forward into this awesome tech prog direction. Then as we got to write those, her unique influences and the power metal and me, for death metal, it just fit together really well and to help complete that whole sound. Then we introduced the symphonic; we just knew we wanted a really cinematic presentation with everything. Having a symphonic orchestra as well as different sound design elements that you might see in movies and things like that. So a lot of elements elevated new elements.

Dead Rhetoric: Alex, Dan, do either one of you want to chime in on that? I know that you weren’t on the first record, but feel free to chime in anything you’d like to, of course.

Saillant: We’re not on the second one either. We joined a little bit later, but just from a songwriting perspective, as I was joining, the mixes were being done. So, I’m not performing on the record either. We had Peter de Reyna playing on the record and he is a player that has been somebody that I’ve looked up to for a while. I’m a huge fan of his projects, Seven Spires, and then more recently, Ok Goodnight he’s an incredible bass player. And just as the mixes were being done, and I was able to hear all of the layers getting stacked on top of each other slowly; the levels of nuance in the project is, I think it will surprise a lot of people. I think it’s really interesting.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell me about the writing process for Ghost of Humanity. When did you start writing it, was there any specific inspiration for the concept?

Shifflet: It started pretty much right before I entered the band and then really took off when I entered the band. Liv had a lot of ideas set up and bringing those styles together; she brought in some ideas and then we worked together on arrangement, adding new riffs, adding melody and shape. And then as we got to write together, we got to form newer songs on the record. And then concept-wise started to come a little bit after the music instrumentation of the record. I was discovering Star Trek and things like that; really getting this meaningful, theme driven sci-fi. I think we really shared that we wanted to say something special with the record; that humanity can be working in a better direction, that we can save our environment, that we can get rid of these negative things, the negative uses of capitalism and colonialism and all these things in our country today and throughout history. And I really like history too and I just was like, I can see these patterns over and over and let’s stop that pattern. So we’re trying to get that through and to this space opera of a futuristic Earth, people having to escape this biomechanical plague, and they find this other constellation of peaceful planets and what Earth could be in the future. So we finished shaping, especially the lyrics, but everything throughout the record is saying something; one of the groups in the story is conveying the positivity of a moment or the downfall of a moment. It’s kicking around a lot of ideas and over COVID as well. But it took a couple of years and pretty much started right away in 2017.

Dead Rhetoric: Well, I have to ask, what is your favorite Star Trek? I’m a huge Trekkie, so I have to ask.

Shifflet: Full disclosure, I haven’t gone through the whole lore, but it’s like, I just, I can’t… I can’t. It’s between the original and the next. You can give props to the original for trying to get that whole premise across of theme driven sci-fi and things like that and it’s nice to see that they both kind of share that. There’s obviously technological improvements on that second one, but I can’t.

Gallop: Brittany, you should ask me that same question.

Dead Rhetoric: I would love to.

Gallop: DS9 the whole way. There’s no competition. Like, Captain Sisko, my boy. Like, Garak is a queer icon. Like, let me just say that right now.

Dead Rhetoric: 100%

Gallop: Yes! Right?! Anyway, love Next Generation though; Jean-Luc, my boy, always. But yeah, no, DS9. Not even close for me.

Dead Rhetoric: What is your favorite part of the writing process when making new material?

Gallop: Well, that’s one of my favorite parts of just being in a band at all. My whole MO as a person is connecting with people and so I figured that, if I can express a feeling through music, then somebody out there is gonna relate to it and that’s a connection built. And it happens to be through this medium of rock ‘n’ roll that is just such a fun and high energy way to communicate and it just makes me so happy to be able to achieve those connections in that way. Also, if you’re a musician and you stumble across a cool chord that you haven’t used before and you’re just like, “ooh, just the texture of that is so nice” and I’ll get excited to use this new thing that I found and put it here. I’m like… I don’t know, like, if a squirrel and a mad scientist were the same person and they ended up playing heavy metal, that’s my personality. So, that’s where all this is coming from. But also with Ice Giant songs, the stuff that I write rarely ends with me. So, one of my favorite things to do will be like, “okay, I’ve written a song and it’s pretty good, but it needs to be excellent.” So I’ll just be like, “Dan, here you go; do what you want with this.” And you know, almost a hundred percent of the time, whenever any of these guys come back with those songs, it’s a million times better. And I’m just like, “whoa!” So that’s another one of my favorite parts is when the collaborative effort turns these songs into these just amazing pieces. It makes me so happy. And the greatest example of it, I think to me, on Ghost of Humanity at least, is the song “Legacy,” which is the last track on the album. And I wrote that one and like I said earlier, it was OK. But then I gave it to Eddie and then Eddie came back later on and he was like, “how about this?” And I was like, “oh, my God.” And then we gave it to Vikram Shankar, who is in Silent Skies and Redemption and he did the orchestrations for our entire record. So after we got the song back from him with all of that stuff, I was just over the freaking moon. So like I said, when the collaborative effort creates a product that is more than just the sum of its parts, it’s just this amazing thing that all of us poured our souls into. I love, love, love, love, love when that happens.

Shifflet: Yeah, and it’s something that it’s easy for us to, I think, even glaze over at this point but we’ve kind of established this really good sense of communication where it’s like no egos and just honestly letting everyone’s strains come forward and everything like that. So I trust my bandmates to really think through what they’re doing and pour their heart onto something and it’s lovely to have tracks where everyone’s soul is imprinted on there, you know.

Dead Rhetoric: Now that you have a 2nd album under your belt, do you think you prefer to play live, record in the studio or both?

Shifflet: I guess if I had to pick one, I guess it would be playing live, but it’s so apples and oranges because the recording process, it can be painful because we see the vision of what the album looks like, but I’m still sitting right here having to get everything recorded out. With what I was recording too, there were some opportunities where I was just throwing in some one take things or some leads I didn’t know I was going to put on there or different things, different layers. So you can have a lot of fun layering things up that you didn’t know in that final process, but live you… if I could have a crowd standing here, cheering me on to do it a bit, maybe it would level it out a little bit. But just having that connection with us live and how we just go up there and just lose it and it’s throw down. And it really establishes that connection and so I mean, I would have to go live, but it’s different parts of the whole thing.

Saillant: Yeah, studio recording is a process that’s 100% about the subtle and the minutia. You know, as you’re recording things, you have to really pay very close attention to timing and tone and how it mixes in with everything else. Whereas live, you just don’t have the time to really think about all those tiny little subtle things. You just kind of have to do your best with those minutia things. And playing it live is about taking everything you’ve learned in the production of the studio and reproducing it entirely via your personality on stage. So, in the studio, it’s all about the music; live, it’s probably half about the music and half about the personality of you on stage. So it’s a different experience. They’re both important, but it’s wonderful either way. So I love doing both.

Shifflet: If I could also add to that point too, there was, especially after that last studio session with Brian Westbrook (who mixed the record, is amazing, runs RPM, Sonic Titan Studios), and we were there for like nine days, and we had to condition and we were going in there to finish all of the vocals and harmonies and some extra guitar tracks and that process too, we came out of that way tighter. So recording and that album, exactly how Dan put it, it elevates you to a different level to then take it live, where before that recording process might not have been possible or as tight. So you learn a lot of things in that recording process and makes it easier to bring that live. When you’re recording, to Dan’s other point, even if I sit here and play something correct, sonically something might not be working out with how I was holding my fingers. There’s different little things you have to really pay attention to, or maybe I need to change the octave over to here, even though it’s the same octave, different parts of the guitar sound different. So all those little tiny things and how they’re stacked up and harmonies are working out, no pitches are off; it just helps tighten everything up so you can bring it live too.

Paiva: Hmm, it’s hard to pick either honestly, but I’m going with Dan’s answer, I like both. But I feel like when it comes to, as something he would say, when it comes to recording, yes, to me, it’s not only you’re creating something new, but also everyone’s honing their skills at the same time when it comes to writing new material or recording. And then when you play live you’re showing everyone what we all learn and then see how much as time goes by, the sound has changed and how much they evolved or stuff like that. On my end, I didn’t really record as much, other than just for me, YouTube covers that I did over the years. But after reviewing, looking back and seeing what could be done to make the sound better, reading the comments or feedback and just constantly trying to stay motivated about what to do next. In the recording process, when I do covers, I try to not get too perfect; sometimes the more you do, like recording wise, it’s best not to get too perfect then. Sometimes one take you make, it could be the one you were actually looking for rather than going over and over and over and then getting exhausted.

Shifflet: If I could throw one more thing in too; a difference between obviously recording this record and playing it live, is that Liv and I have gotten to see Dan and Alex make the parts their own and tear the hell out of them. Incredibly impressive and all the growth that’s happened over the past couple of years of bringing those parts forward has been really cool to see. So everyone come see us on tour starting September 8th. Because we’ve done our one offs and some short stretches, we did one with Empress not long ago, but this is going to be next level and everyone can see that the album presented, as it should be; everyone’s really tearing it up.

Gallop: The answer is both because everybody’s basically said everything that I would have said at this point. Studio is great because that’s where you can get your most creativity out, and I love making art, and music is my favorite way to do that. And so being in the studio and doing that, it just feels amazing and cathartic and it’s as close to a purpose on this planet as I can find, so that’s pretty cool. But then live is just a whole different animal man and I started playing music because I wanted to play live. And I’m well aware that this band has come under fire and blah blah blah, but before all of that happened, I had watched a video of Dimebag Darrell playing at the 1991 Russia show with Pantera. And that’s the one where there’s like a sea of a million people; you cannot see the back and Dime’s just up there going fucking ape shit and everybody’s going nuts for him and he’s going nuts for them and the tunes are sick and everybody’s having a great time and I was 14 years old and I was just like, “oh yeah, I want to do that.” And so that’s kind of been the jam ever since then. So, I guess if I had to pick, playing live would have just a little bit of a leg up on doing studio stuff. I love them both, but I play music because I want to play live. So, I’m very excited for tour, as you might imagine.

Photo credit: Matty Thrash Photography

Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the music industry currently, especially in regards to metal?

Gallop: Ooh. Big question. Well, the landscape is certainly changing, as it always does, but things had been becoming more digital and online for a while now. But I think really during the pandemic, that got accelerated. And so you’re finding a lot of bands that have incredible online presences now, especially with Discord servers and Twitch streams and all this kind of stuff that you can consume outside of seeing them live; which is very cool and a good way to stay relevant. But of course that means that your band members have to be streamers and moderators and all sorts of different kinds of entertainers besides just being musicians if you want to maintain that level of personality online. And tons of bands are doing that and doing it wonderfully. Like, Unleash the Archers does a great job of that. Herman Li and Dragonforce do that really well. And gosh, even like Empress and Seven Kingdoms, Lords of the Trident, all those guys have an incredible online presence. And those are our friends, you know? So it’s seeming more likely that you’re going to find your fans in those online spaces nowadays. Because any band will tell you that just playing live and selling merch and stuff barely gets you anywhere, at least when you’re small. But getting online, making these communities, and developing a following, sometimes even almost like a cult for your band. That’s kind of the way to have a hardcore fan base nowadays. Because the hardcore fans, these guys will buy all of your merch, they will attend all of your streams, and they will rep you till they fucking can’t. And that is so, so, so important, because think about that person goes anywhere, and they’re wearing an Ice Giant shirt and somebody’s like, “oh, what’s that band?” And then they geek out about that band and then that’s a pretty convincing argument for the other person to then go look you up. So what I’m trying to say is, as far as the industry goes, this DIY effort of being online and developing a fanbase for yourself is paramount nowadays and it’s interesting because this is all the work that labels and stuff used to do for you. And they still do, but they don’t pay attention to us folks down here, so getting online is kind of the way to do it. So anyway, I’ll be Twitch streaming tomorrow at 7. That’s a joke. I will not be doing that.

Shifflet: We will soon!

Saillant: We will be doing that.

Gallop: Yeah, we are working on that actually. We do have a Discord server, that is true.

Shifflet: Yeah, I think Liv put that perfectly. And in an optimistic light, it’s an ability to take it all into your own hands, and after all the work we’ve done, we’re holding all of our cards to where if we want to work with somebody we can make that decision. We can choose these communities that we have built around us and we don’t need to outsource as much things to make our own content because we can just do that. Everyone here has experience and skills to do that and can let our personalities come forward. So if we can just keep getting out the word and keep doing what we do I think is going to keep working out.

Saillant: Yeah, COVID really was a massive, massive… I don’t think people are quite registering just how massive the paradigm shift COVID really was. Like, yeah, sure, there was a shutdown for a while, but the ripple effects of that shutdown are still being felt now, and they probably will be for another couple of years at the very least. And that is exemplified by considerations that we had to make while booking our tour. Because pretty much every day, if not every week for the last probably year and a half, tour announcement, tour announcement, tour announcement, tour announcement, tour announcement. Every single band is touring right now because they had an entire year when they couldn’t; a year plus even. So while we were booking our tour, we knew we wanted to release our album around this time of year, we knew it was gonna be done around now, just ’cause there’s a lot of local things happening around like RPM Fest, for example. We played that last year, and that’s like a huge community event in Massachusetts and New England and the local area up here. So we knew we wanted to release around now, and we started booking shows, and then a tour would be announced, and I’m frantically thinking, “Oh God, is that gonna overlap with our date, is there going to be a huge show at MGM Music Hall down the street from The Middle East, where we have our release show that’s going to completely cannibalize our entire audience?” And it’s not something that we didn’t have to think about previously. We did, sure, but nowhere near to this degree. On this tour alone and the week that we’re going to be out between the 8th and 15th, I think is our last day. Mr. Bungle is touring. Dethklok and Babymetal are touring together. VOLA is on tour.

Gallop: SeeYouSpaceCowboy.

Dead Rhetoric: ProgPower’s happening.

Saillant: There’s just so many. So being that we’re almost completely an independent DIY band. You know, we produce, well, with the help of Brian Westbrook and Sonic Titan Studios and Jack Kosto did our mastering, but otherwise, you know, we wrote it. We are the ones that were at the forefront of all that production. We booked our own tour. We had the art commission, but like all of the Photoshopping and CD production and the merch production, all of this is on us. And being DIY that is easier than ever now because also the pandemic has forced the hands of a lot of people like that, where if we want to do this whole band thing, if we want to make music our career, we need to be able to play shows and we need to be able to have those opportunities in addition to really carving out a great online space for ourselves. And being that the pandemic forced everybody onto the internet for about a year and a half means that pathways and systems for booking shows have been made a lot more accessible by necessity because if a band needs to survive, then we need to be able to book shows. And being that, you know, the internet has developed so much, like Zoom, even for example, Zoom calls like this, were not really a commonplace thing until that happened. And the advancement of technology and the advancement of the interconnectedness of all of our communities over the internet, over the course of the pandemic, I think it has really helped us a lot.

Gallop: I will add one quick aside thing. I’m really proud of Ice Giant. We have played every year since our inception and that includes the pandemic. We didn’t play during the pandemic, we did not do that, we were responsible when everything got locked down. But in early 2019, we played a show before everything got shut down. And then when things were starting to lift, like near the end of 2020, we got to play another show. So effectively, we did not break our streak of playing shows every year while still being responsible.

Dead Rhetoric: With so many bands choosing to be independent of a record label nowadays. Tell me about your thoughts as a band that has gone this route and if you intend to stay that way. What do you feel are some advantages and disadvantages to being an independent artist?

Gallop: Dan, I feel like that’s a you question.

Saillant: That is definitely a me question. I do a lot of the business side of things and looking inside of things management. We all take responsibilities and share in that effort, but that has been a big focus of mine for the last couple of months. Being an independent artist allows us to have complete control over everything we’re doing at any given moment. And I think that a lot of smaller bands especially kind of get spooked by the concept of record labels because you hear all these sensationalized, romanticized stories of bands getting screwed by record labels or losing ownership of their music and things like that. And that does happen to an extent. Whenever you’re on a record label, the record label is primarily there for distribution of your music.So they’ll get it onto streaming services, they’ll get the CDs out into stores, they’ll get vinyls made if it’s economically feasible to do so. And then you get a percentage of your sales instead of all of the sales. So what we have decided to do is we’re a smaller band. Could we have submitted this album to a record label and seen if we got attention and distribution for a record label? We absolutely could have, but we chose to go this route just so we could keep 100% or roughly 100% of our royalties. And in addition to that, especially in the advent of the internet, there are lots of relatively easy ways for fans to get their own distribution nowadays. Like we’re using DistroKid, for example, CD Baby is the same thing. I think we used CD Baby on the previous album. So digital distribution is very easily accessible nowadays and it’s not super expensive. There’s not really any reason for us to need wider distribution yet, but in the future, I think our goal is to try and see what we can do as far as record labels go. But when we do that, it’s either going to be on the next album or the album after that, depending on how we do this one. Because we want to make sure that this band has a stable enough financial foundation for us to continue growing and for record label distribution to not hamper us too severely. So the biggest benefit to a record label, other than the wider distribution opportunities, is that as a band continues to grow, the workload also continues to grow. So right now, all it is is we submit to DistroKid and we’re done and we get CDs printed and then we have to ship a bunch of things, but what happens in the hypothetical future in which we end up with like 40,000 Spotify listeners and we’re selling like 100 CDs a day. It just becomes infeasible for us at a certain point. And that’s where record labels and booking things and all that help because it offsets the workload. And also, record labels have been doing it for years and years and years and years at any given point. So they’re a well-oiled machine, which we’re kind of figuring it out as we go. So yeah, that’s where we’re at.

Shifflet: Yeah, definitely all in that same vein, we’ve been building this to run this whole thing as a business. We’re in LLC, we’re producing our inventory, we have a good creative process to keep music coming. And so we’ll take those meetings as they come, but I just feel that they’re definitely looking for bands that are already established, where they have that strong financial base. If they go into business with us, they know that we can hit the road and we can tour and we can do the thing. So it might be easy for maybe a band that hasn’t gone through all those steps to have some ten men or something for it, but I don’t think that’s merited, you know? Those labels are still existing in their business as well. So I think bands that are established and ready to hit it, then those labels are going to show some more interest. So I think that’s not for the sake of that, obviously, but I think that’s some of the things are going to be coming across with this album release and this tour that Ice Giant’s ready to go.

Dead Rhetoric: Along with the current state of the music industry and touring costs, many bands, including yourselves, have utilized crowdfunding to help fund albums and tours. What are your thoughts on using things like GoFundMe and Kickstarter? What about Patreon for providing exclusive content to fans?

Gallop: Well, we made one. Like we said earlier, we are a very DIY project right now and being in a band is extremely expensive. There’s just no way around that except for learning how to conduct your business very well and sometimes the generosity of others. So, we, as it would be implied through this, are for the crowdfunding kind of approach. And there have been some incredibly generous people who have told us through their donations that they wanna see us continue things or do things at the pace that we wish we could and it’s pretty nice. And to me, personally, it’s like some people will buy CDs and vinyl, and a lot of people still buy merch, which is great, but it’s all less than it used to be, as far as the greater scene of heavy metal is concerned. And then also thinking about what I was saying earlier, we all have to be multifaceted entertainers. Donating to bands in this way, especially with the Patreon thing, is basically being like, “I want to see you do all of these aspects of entertaining, focused around your music, but I’m gonna pay the subscription fee for that, or I’m gonna donate to your GoFundMe so that you can produce this thing.” And that corresponds to this whole new landscape of music that we’ve been talking about. It’s not like bands are asking their fans to give more money than they used to. It’s just a different way of receiving it for the bands and then its output in a different way than it used to look to. But a lot of metal fans are– I’m going to try and phrase this not as harshly, but a lot of them are kind of stuck in the past and are kind of like, “you’re a band, you should be doing only that and asking for anything more is entitled” and blah, blah, blah. And that’s just not true nowadays; the landscape is different and you have to adapt in certain ways and this is one of them. So yeah, I’ll shut up now.

Dead Rhetoric: No, I 100% agree and I think it’s one of those things that people need to remember, no one’s requiring you to donate. If you can’t donate or that’s not your thing, you’re not required to. You can still enjoy the music through things like Spotify and doing things like buying vinyls or whatever you wanna do. I’m very pro Patreon, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, ’cause I think it is, like you said, a great way to go ahead and move forward with the way technology has moved forward.

Shifflet: Yeah, and I think people will get their money’s worth because as you keep supporting these bands, and like we said in the beginning, we’re working day jobs and the more resources we have, the more content and fan outreach we can do. And a lot of things with Patreon, and things like that, will be extra content anyways, so it’s just another level in which fans can have a direct hand in supporting the project. And it’s very much appreciated and people will get their money’s worth.

Dead Rhetoric: I loved your music video for “Ghost of Humanity;” the nuclear bomb clips were very haunting and impactful, especially given the current state of affairs with the world. Tell me about the creative process for making the video, what led to using the aforementioned poignant imagery within it, and how was working with Matty Thrash Photography?

Saillant: Well, we climbed a mountain, so that was a lot of fun.

Gallop: Yes, that entire music video and the photo shoot subsequent to it is literally climbing, uh… I forget the name.

Saillant: It was in Holyoke, Mount Tom. It was Mount Tom in Holyoke.

Gallop: Mount Tom, that’s right! We literally climbed a mountain. With Alex’s whole drum kit, mind you!

Paiva: In the morning, seriously, I was really gonna leave behind my dolly and wheeler thing, to carry the drums. I’m so glad I brought it, ’cause I did not expect for us to carry all the heavy… the drums, particularly, up those steep hills and then try to hold on as it goes down the hill, like up and down, up and down, especially after when we finished, taking the photos and the video.

Saillant: By far, the most physically taxing day off.

Paiva: Yeah, Dan and I were hauling the drums the entire way. We were taking our time, but when we got close to the car, we were both exhausted. And I had to ask him to drop me off to work ’cause I had to work right after the shoot. And I was about one minute late, but I barely made it and at work we had a party for like 300 people, for dinner. So I’m like, “whoa.”

Dead Rhetoric: Oh gosh, so you’re saying you slept good that night?

Paiva: Oh no, I had to go back to work at six and more. But it was worth it. We had a lot of fun from our trip going to the mountain and then doing the video shoot. It was a lot of fun.

Gallop: For sure. And working with Matty made that so great. He is just the chillest guy in the world. He’s just super nice, super accommodating, really talkative, which is great. If I wasn’t chit-chatting that morning, I would have fallen asleep while walking. He’s such an awesome creative force, too. He was guiding us on how to pose, how to get the correct lighting and stuff. Couldn’t speak more highly of Dr. Matty Thrash, that guy is awesome. And then as far as the creative process for the album goes, this is my favorite question that you’ve asked so far. So, we kind of touched on it a little bit earlier with saying that we just kind of combined the influences that we wanted to hear and then, like Eddie said earlier, we wanted to put together a meaningful message and all of us are very societally conscious and we want to see more fairness and less oppression in the world. And so, our album turned out to reflect those sentiments in the way of being, like Eddie said, pretty anti-capitalist and then also very pro-environment. The overarching message of Ghost of Humanity is that no matter what, if we don’t change what we’re doing right now, then the planet’s gonna die and that’s just our inevitable fate unless we change something about it. And the way that we illustrated that was by our characters going to an entirely new planet and then not changing their behavior and then wrecking that planet completely. So it’s not a matter of place, it’s not a matter of time, it’s just gonna happen unless we change something about it. And heavy metal has been a wonderful way to express feelings of negativity and horror and anything that you might want to vent as a feeling. And lots of bands will go after these fantasy themes. Cannibal Corpse sings about zombies. DragonForce sings about valiant heroes and stuff. Which is all great stuff, I’m not knocking any of that. But actually, Mario Duplantier from Gojira put this in a way that really resonated with me. Real life is horrific enough. There’s plenty to think about in the realm of our reality and so we chose to follow that. And through metaphor and story, we decided to really tackle this hard truth about our environment and our society and vent our own feelings about it. And that’s why songs like the title track, “Ghost of Humanity,” end in this horrifically sad and grandiose way. And then songs like “Legacy” have all of these blooming feelings coming off of the melodies and stuff. Meanwhile, “In the Maw of Reality” is just jarring and hits you in the face super hard. And then “Grandeval’s Machine” is stomping you to the ground and grinding your face into the dirt. It’s like, this is what it feels like to know that you’re being taken advantage of, not being paid enough, your environment’s dying. And speaking for myself as a trans person, there’s a culture war being waged against me just because of who I am and it’s all pretty nasty. So, being able to vent those feelings through our music was really, really important to us. And that’s kind of how we informed our musical decision-making. And yeah, I think I’m gonna leave it there for now. I just talked a lot.

Saillant: Specifically on the nuke shots that you had asked about, those were actually Matty’s idea. So, we filmed the music video and we also did our final shoots at an abandoned ski lodge at Mount Tom in Holyoke. The video was filmed and some of the photos were also taken in the same location in what I’m assuming was some kind of old garage. The door is gone; it’s wet and gross and dank in there. And we set up all of our stuff and we wanted to have the vibe that we were playing in a wasteland because the song “Ghost of Humanity” at this moment is about after humans have settled in a new place, the same tendencies start to cause the same problems and that’s kind of what’s happening in the story at this moment. So, we wanted the video to feel as if, where we were playing in a wasteland, is foreshadowing of what is to come if we continue our behavior. So being that we were in this gross, dank, little garage. If you look outside of the garage, it’s a mountain behind us. There’s a quarry over there; it’s beautiful blue skies all over the place. There’s a lake down the road and it’s like, “oh, this is nature, that’s not a wasteland.” We can make the inside of the garage look that way. But just the rest of the environment doesn’t get that vibe. So Matty’s idea to get that vibe was to add all of those nuke shots in there and show the environmental destruction. Instead of having it already having happened, like we initially had the idea of, show it in progress with the nuke shots. And I thought that was genius because it didn’t even register with me to do stuff like that. But that was a really good artistic, creative thing that he brought to the table.

Gallop: For sure, and it fits that part of the story in the album so accurately, because like you said Dan, it’s like when people’s tendencies are starting to shift towards the toxic again. So it’s like this is an active happening at the moment, for sure.

Dead Rhetoric: Getting back to the point about the culture war, and you don’t have to answer this if you don’t want to, but I am curious, because unfortunately, I am in Florida and it’s a disaster in many ways and I’ve talked to some friends that are trans and have left or are in the process of leaving the state because of it. Is that something you all factored into any touring locations?

Gallop: 100%. Yeah, so we are not going to go to Florida until we figure out a way for me to stay safe. We would have done it, we would have continued on to maybe Orlando or whatever, if not for this kind of thing on our current tour, but we’re stopping in Atlanta. Because, I’m sure you know this already, Brittany, but just to say it’s for anybody who might be listening, the way that the laws are in place in Florida right now, there is technically a pipeline for which I could be executed for being trans. And the way they’re pulling that off is by having drag be banned, and of course, drag just means trans people. And they’re banning it on the idea that it’s a sexual act and it’s inappropriate and it should be in clubs and clubs only. And then they put in a new law that says that if you commit a sexual crime in front of a child, then you could receive the death penalty for doing so. Therefore, if you are trans and found to be doing drag in public, you can be accused and convicted of a sex crime. And if you did do it in front of a child, meaning if I exist in the same room as anybody under the age of 18, then technically a result of that could be giving me the death penalty. So we’re not going to risk that.

Dead Rhetoric: No, I 100% do not blame you. We’ve thought about leaving the state, but for now we’re like, “you know what, we own a house here, let’s just stay and fight the good fight and try to change things as best we can.”

Gallop: There’s no wrong decision there. Like, either get the fuck out and keep yourself safe or, stay and try and make a difference. Either way, you’re doing great, so thank you.

Dead Rhetoric: Yes, of course. I’d love to come see you guys. I was wondering about that cause I knew Florida wasn’t on there and I was assuming it is because it’s not safe to be in Florida. I have several friends who are like, “I’m not going there because it’s not safe.”

Gallop: It’s been a huge bummer for me as well because I love going on 70,000 Tons of Metal, but it leaves out of Miami. So I can’t go right now.

Shifflet: Yeah, there’s a legacy of death metal there and we would love to do a show on the beach, but people have had to fuck that up, with the shit we’re singing about on the record. So it’s been a really awesome setting up the tour and we could all speak to this, that just like-minded folk and enlightened folk, LGBTQ+ have been able to across the country,because we haven’t been south of Maryland, so having that network, a network of safe places to go and places that everyone will be welcomed, as they should, has been very helpful in setting up a tour that we want.

Gallop: I love talking about this shit. I want to make people aware, I’m pissed. I want to express that I’m pissed that I have to be careful just because of who I am. You know what I mean? For Christ’s sake.

Shifflet: Yeah, so this tour is four friends having an awesome time and that’s all it should be and other people shouldn’t turn this into a big hate filled thing and get their head out of their ass. We’ll move on.

Dead Rhetoric: Scorched Moon also released an album with a space themed concept, so you both touring together is very fitting. Was that just a happy coincidence or did you all specifically seek each other out based on that theme?

Gallop: So Trapper (Lanthier) is a very good friend of– actually, all of them are very good friends of mine. But I met Trapper first, which is why I mentioned him. I lived in Atlanta for two years. I had a partner down there. And I got to meet Trapper while I was down there. And he was concocting Scorched Moon as we were hanging out there. And of course, this was during the pandemic, too, so he couldn’t play and I couldn’t play, but it was cool to see how he was working. And then fast forward to when we’re trying to play on the tour, Dan actually came to me and was like, “hey, what if we get Scorched Moon? They have a really cool progressive spacey feel too. That would be super sweet.” I was just like, “all right, let me freaking text Trapper real quick.”

Saillant: I had no idea that she knew them. I just found their album and was like, “Oh, this sounds kind of sonically similar to a lot of stuff we have, and it’s also a space themed concept album. This band is cool, we should hit them up.” Turns out, she knows them.

Gallop: I know everybody, bitches!

Saillant: So it was both indeed. We did seek them out because of the space themed concept album, and we also happened to know them, which is a good piece of connection. So I don’t know. It worked out really well.

Shifflet: They’ve been great collaborating; Dan and Trapper have been spearheading a lot of the tour logistics and stuff and it’s been a great collaboration. So we’re definitely all geeking out about actually being on the road together. So all this work’s about to come to fruition here.

Dead Rhetoric: I’m going to assume you all are fans of the science fiction genre, do you have a favorite book, show and/or movie within that realm?

Saillant: So, in terms of influence on the album, which it was all written before I was involved, and Star Trek definitely played a huge factor in that, but in terms of favorite books, I’m a massive, massive, massive Wheel of Time nerd. I can’t get you the whole collection because there’s 15 of them, but this is the first one. I’m a pretty big fantasy, sci-fi reader. Wheel of Time season two is coming out this Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The show is definitely the show. Is it good? I don’t know, we’ll see, but you know, I’m gonna watch it. I’ve read this series twice, there’s 15 books, it’s like four million words, it’s amazing. Here’s my other super fancy pretty book; this is my special fancy edition of The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, this is leather-bound, it’s got gold leaf on the pages as well. So, I’m a big fantasy fan, definitely. All that kind of stuff is my bread and butter. I was very happy to learn that Ice Giant was a concept-based band in sci-fi. And as we’ve been working on the following, you know, we’re still very much in the early stage just talking about that, but definitely in terms of concept and lyrics and things like that, me being a massive fantasy nerd is absolutely going to have an influence on that.

Gallop: I’m so fucking excited because, just, yeah, I’m so fucking excited. Hell yeah.

Shifflet: I’m just really drawn to the ones that, like I said with Star Trek earlier, had that theme running through them where they’re made dark and beautiful. Like Blade Runner, especially 2049 for me, was really awesome. And I’m also an anime fan, on the art with the blue wires that go to everybody, and that’s a symptom of the biomechanical plague, that was slightly inspired by some things I saw on Akira. Like that Tetsuo gets connected to and the pain and then things like that. So yeah, I like me some sci-fi.

Gallop: We’re all adjacent, if not direct anime fans as well. I really enjoy… there’s some strange, futuristic animes that I really like. I don’t know if anybody has heard of Arcane out there, but really, really enjoyed that. And then I watched RWBY a bunch when that was coming out, so that was really cool. But yeah, I don’t know. I feel like… I don’t know. It’s hard to explain this feeling without first being like, “Okay, so this is the way my mind works. By the way, I’m autistic. And also, this is the nuances that go into the way I think, blah, blah, blah.” So I’m going to leave it there for the time being. We’re all anime fans and that kind of presentation and unique way of doing art definitely seeps into our music as well.

Dead Rhetoric: It’s fitting ’cause I’m wearing my Princess Mononoke pants right now.

Gallop: That’s my favorite Ghibli! Oh my god!

Shifflet: Alex, are you an anime fan?

Paiva: Yeah, I don’t know much. I haven’t watched that much lately. So it’s just because of work.

Shifflet: Next Ice Giant movie night is going to be Ice Giant anime night.

Gallop: Wait! Wait! Wait, wait, wait, wait, no! Guys, guys, guys, guys, we have to watch Princess Mononoke together. Oh my god, oh my god.

Dead Rhetoric: I was going to say, I think Princess Mononoke is a good intro to that kind of stuff because it’s very dark but also very enlightening. It reminds me of… this is going to sound silly, but it always reminded me of the anime of, like a dark FernGully, you know?

Saillant: Yeah, I love FernGully too. Lots of similar themes to our album to Princess Mononoke and FernGully, but it’s like industrialization, how it has an effect on the environment.

Dead Rhetoric: Outside of music, what other activities do you enjoy?

Saillant: I’m just going to hold up Wheel of Time. Wheel of Time is my obsession. Most of my friends are really sick of me at this point just because I don’t shut up about Wheel of Time. Oh, yeah, Eddie’s got the sword.

Shifflet: I’ve been actually studying HEMA a little bit and trying to get somewhat efficient with this. It’s hard to find a studio or dojo, whatever you call it, to actually work around here, but it’s been very therapeutic. And I don’t know if it’s gonna be a security measure on tour. No, kidding.

Gallop: I’ll have smaller knives. What? Who said that?

Saillant: Yeah, I want a boss sword, absolutely!

Gallop: Boss sword! Let’s go! So to answer your question, Brittany, there’s two things that really pervade me outside of music. And one of them is super deep and the other one’s not at all. But with my transition, literally my brain chemistry is changing, so I love reading about and then experiencing other people’s perspectives on, you know, just what it’s like to turn into a woman. So, I spend a lot of my time reading about that and spending time with other trans folks, you know, kind of connecting over that stuff and it’s really sweet. So that’s the really deep one and then the other one is I fucking love fast cars so much, dude. These guys can vouch whenever we’re in the car together, even if we’re talking, if something green and shiny goes by I’m just like “oooo.” And I got a new to me car recently and I wanted a small pickup truck, so I could have gotten, you know, a Tacoma or an old Nissan Frontier or whatever. Nope. I got the Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which is objectively not a great pickup truck, but it looks so freaking weird that it was just like, “yeah, oh yeah, I gotta do that one.”

Dead Rhetoric: I totally understand that for the longest time growing up I wanted the Subaru Baja cause I was like it looks so weird.

Gallop: I love a Subaru Baja! Those are so weird! Hahaha! Yes! Hell yeah!

Saillant: Well, we’ve neglected to mention our shared hobby: D&D.

Gallop: Oh my god, yeah, I can’t believe we’ve forgotten to do that. Literally our dice are right here. Yeah, so Dan, you’re in a game with the PQ guys, right?

Saillant: I wanna start it, it hasn’t started yet, but I’ve been talking about it for years. So, Alex and I have another band, Perennial Quest, it’s a power metal band. And to put it mildly, everybody in Perennial Quest is fucking crazy. So the thought of our Perennial Quest Dungeons and Dragons game, just recording it and putting it out to the world, the concept of that is so funny to me because I’ll take it a little bit seriously and like Davy might take it a little seriously, but then like Sam and Andrew are probably gonna create the most absurd, ridiculous characters and Sam’s character is probably gonna be like a milk mage or something like that. Like ridiculous, ridiculous, absurd bullshit. So yeah, no, I want to do that, but we haven’t done it yet.

Gallop: Just to give some perspective on how insane Perennial Quest is. So Dan, you have mentioned many times that the Wheel of Time is your favorite. What is rolling out soon that corresponds to this love of yours? You don’t have to actually explain it super hard if you don’t want to.

Saillant: The amount of lore that I have to explain to make this really make sense is going to be ridiculous. It’s going to be recounting months and months and months of times, but basically, we used to do this thing where Perennial Quest likes to run jokes into the ground until they’re just not funny anymore. And what we started doing in mid 2022, I want to say, is anytime we make a joke, then one of our chosen jokes of the month that we just are running into the ground and it’s not funny anymore, then the person that made the joke has to drink a punishment drink. And we’ve changed up what it is over time but it’s a conscious combination of the most disgusting things imaginable. It got to the point where we had Andrew drink… What was it? It was like, root beer, liquid smoke, instant mashed potatoes, Vienna hot dog juice; it was disgusting. It was absolutely disgusting because this was around when Top Gun: Maverick was coming out and he’s obsessed with Top Gun. So he would just talk about Top Gun constantly and then we had to put a stop to it. So naturally Wheel of Time Season 2 is coming out. So it’s my turn. Oh god I’m gonna be destroyed. We’ve decided to have me drink what’s called a Brat Water Negroni. The Negroni is a cocktail with a Campari and vermouth and things like that. So what we’ve decided to do is replace all of the ingredients with a slightly grosser alternative, including a Malört. There’s a, I don’t know what it’s actually called, but there’s a Chinese licorice liqueur that’s just disgusting. And an absolutely ridiculous amount of Angostura bitters, just like everything, it’s disgusting. So I’m going to be completely dead in about two months from drinking all these, it’s going to be funny.

Gallop: I mean, follow Dan Saillant on TikTok, like he does document this stuff.

Dead Rhetoric: Alex, I don’t think we got to you. What’s your hobbies outside of music? Hiking up mountains with drum sets?

Paiva: Yeah, that’s a warm up every day.

Shifflet: Normal workout in the morning before normal work.

Paiva: Let’s see. Mostly cooking and as well as exercising. Well, with exercise in part, though, it’s been on hold because of a back injury, which I’m currently trying to take care of later this year, then hopefully we’ll get back on track on that. But as for cooking, I don’t know, there’s something I really enjoyed when cooking for friends or family. When Perennial Quest and Ice Giant played, was it last year or two years ago?

Saillant: It was last year; RPM.

Paiva: Yeah, RPM fest. I wanted to cook everyone a nice meal in the campsite. So I made a homemade hamburger helper ’cause that was the only ingredients I had left, before we were heading out the next day.

Saillant: It was incredible. I rolled back to the campsite, unbelievably day drunk because it’s a festival and I’m going to be feral all weekend. And I just see Alex with this giant portable grill with a propane tank and he’s wearing gloves and he’s got a giant wok looking pan. And he’s just like going crazy with a mac and cheese and I’m just like, “dude, I’ve had 15 beers since 1pm. I need this in my life” and it was crazy.

Shifflet: He saved lives that day.

Paiva: Also, I think that morning of, I did make everyone breakfast too.

Gallop: Oh man, that was the best. I woke up at like eight that morning and then went and showered ’cause we were about to go play and then came back and then there was just bacon and eggs and toast and I was like, “oh yeah, all right, let’s go.”

Paiva: Yeah, to me, when it comes to cooking for a special occasion, whether it be a hangout or a certain time with friends and family, I just love seeing the faces, like people enjoying something I make, especially when it comes to Thanksgiving. It keeps me happy and seeing them happy, and it feels like when it comes to having a nice… whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it’s something everyone’s gonna be happy at that moment, you’re enjoying something but also talking about anything like life or how everyone’s doing and or just having laughs and just having a great time really.

Gallop: Alex is a giver and we appreciate it.

Saillant: “Man, make some mean pizza too.”

Shifflet: Yep, Ice Giant movie night. He made this… it wasn’t quite a Sicilian… it was… what were you calling it?

Saillant: I was trying to make a grandma style, but I think it was just regular, just like a sheet pan pizza, honestly.

Shifflet: It was the bomb, it was awesome and I was driving back to Maryland that day and I got a bag of that; kept me alive going home and some crumbs fell by my feet in the car and I had to leave them there for a few days, they were sentimental, I couldn’t. No, but that was… he makes a mean pizza. We got to figure out the Ice Giant anime night; maybe after tour we’ll have an Ice Giant anime night to celebrate tour and got to figure out a smorgasbord to work up here.

Gallop: I still got all my fucking Wisconsin cheese that we got to burn through too.

Paiva: Oh, you could think of something nice with that one.

Gallop: Yeah, so I was out at Mad with Power last weekend. No, sorry, two weekends ago. And of course, if you’re in Wisconsin, you got to get all the cheese you can. So I got a maple syrup infused cheddar, I got a chocolate cheddar, and then I got a 15 year old ridiculously sharp cheddar. And just so good, very very nice. I’m eating all that. That block of chocolate cheese, oof, no, nobody’s touching that, but me.

Shifflet: That’s an interesting one. I’m gonna have to get some chocolate cheese. Try that out.

Paiva: Yeah, me too. I never tried that either. Yeah, I’m curious to see how that tastes. Chocolate and cheese put together. Wow.

Gallop: It’s really, really good.

Dead Rhetoric: If you could pick one band to do a tour with, who would you pick?

Gallop: Amon Amarth, no question. That would be the sickest in the world. I love them. They’re so much fun. I learned how to do my deep guttural vocals by copying Johan Hegg, to start at least and their sensibilities as musicians are incredible to me. The way that they compose their sounds informs a lot of the way that I like to do the same. So I look up to them as musicians and performers and also just as a young kid first discovering extreme metal, hearing “Guardians of Asgaard” and being like “We’re the Guardians!” Just like “Yeah! So cool!” So if we got to open for them I would be over the moon.

Shifflet: I just saw them, the other day, open up for Ghost too and there were a lot of people there that’d never heard of them before and everyone’s “ROW! ROW!” It was the shit! Later on, I’m going to be like, “oh, I should have said that band,” but Fleshgod (Apocalypse) is definitely a special band for me. That would be really cool. And they’re a road beast and I got the opportunity to open up for them one show when I was in Vivisepulture and they were just incredibly nice and super cool. So being on a tour with them, that would be absolutely sick. Ice Giant, I think, kind of like in that same vein with Amon Amarth, will work for a lot of different crowds. I think a prog crowd could work for us, I think a death metal crowd, I think a power metal crowd. So that’s a hard list to pick from. But yeah, Fleshgod would be pretty cool.

Paiva: If I had to pick which band, two bands I would like to open for one day or have us, I would say Between the Buried and Me. I think it fits well; Ice Giant is also progressive, but Between the Buried and Me is also progressive, but more complex than I get, in my opinion. But my brother introduced me to Between the Buried and Me when I was in college and just was blown away really, especially with Blake’s drumming. It opened a new map for me to explore or to learn more on the progressive side of drums because before I used to specifically play straight double bass and like thrash type of beats or as Andrew would say, like the DragonForce beat. But when I listened to Between the Buried and Me, it was something different. It was not just straight up double bass or the DragonForce beat. It was just something different. I see him utilizing rudiments, different techniques, he’s so articulate with the fills and everything. And the different time signatures, like how he plays the drums on each record that really is so hard to follow but at the same time it makes me want to learn more; like how does he do that, I would like to learn how to do that. That second band would probably not fit with Ice Giant, but for me on a personal level, when it comes to inspiration I would say Dimmu Borgir.

Gallop: Oh dude, I would kill! That would be so fucking cool!

Paiva: Yeah, when I was in high school, at the time, the drummer Nicholas Barker, he’s one of the most super talented metal drummers I’ve ever heard and he inspired me back when I was in like eighth grade. That basically got me set to want to have the drum set that I have now and want to play blast beats and all that stuff and go as fast, trying to be as good as him. Just to open with Dimmu Borgir, I would beg to let me come play with them or something. Yeah, they inspired me a lot back in the day.

Saillant: Beyond Creation is the dream for me. I heard that first album a decade ago, completely changed the way that I thought about bass and everything. Musically, they’re amazing. They have three albums. I think they’re all perfect. One of my favorite bands ever; that would be the dream.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for you all after this tour and is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up?

Shifflet: We’re about to hit this, something that we’ve been waiting years for. And speaking for myself, I’ve been waiting to feel this way about a release my entire life. But we’re about to release this record in like 10, 11 days, which is blowing our mind. We’re about to go on this tour from Mass of Georgia. And then when we get back, we’re going to get down to recording some other releases coming up. Not to disclose too much, but some other releases are coming up and we’re gonna get to writing. Big things coming, #bigthingscoming. And we also have a lot of ideas already for the next record like Dan said, it’s in that early stage where we’re gonna be seeing through those rest of the stages as soon as we get back. I think there’s some more ways that we want to convey some other songs on the record. So far, people have only heard/seen two music videos and one visualizer for the third. So some other possible content around other songs on the Ghost of Humanity record might be on the horizon as well. And yeah, so very, very, very busy and more touring hopefully.

Gallop: Trans Liberation now. I’m sure your readers can get down with that. Equity for everybody, let’s fucking go. And what else? Guillotine billionaires, sure. Anyway, not that I’m gonna get too political here. But yeah, no, everything Eddie said is true, we’re working on more material. New, new stuff, as in what we are writing for what will eventually be “Ice Giant 3” is uncomfortable. It is going to be anxiety-inducing, super fast, and just… BLEGH! So look forward to that. In a good way, for sure. What else? We are waiting on the last bits of our merch to be shipped to us.

Shifflet: We’re going to be shipping all that out before we leave for tour, so get pre-orders in now, now, now.

Gallop: Yeah, that’s right, that’s what I’m getting to. I’m going to link our Bandcamp, where we have our merch with all of our pre-order bundles and things like that. So if you do want to have a bit of Ice Giant merch in your life soon, then do order some pre-order stuff. And while we are going to be together during this week leading up to tour, we’re going to be able to autograph things. So if that’s something that you’d like, then we can certainly do that. And try to think. Hit up our GoFundMe if you want to just contribute to our cause. And I think that’s it.

Shifflet: We have other forms of content and stuff also going through Ice Giant TikTok. Ice Giant YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and different kinds of content relating to the songs and not some funny stuff, some performance things. So like and subscribe.

Gallop: Also, quick shoutout, Escuela Grind, who is hitting up Europe, which is fucking sick for them. They’re a fellow Massachusetts band who has the most relentless touring schedule I’ve ever seen in my fucking life. But yeah, just they’re doing great. Hitting up Europe right now. Also fellow gender-divergent folks in that band and that just makes me super happy. So hell yeah.

Shifflet: And just one last thing from the bottom of all of our hearts, every shoutout, like, comment, positive vibe from everybody is really appreciated. So thank you for supporting our heart and what we do and we’re going to keep on pouring our souls out for y’all, because we really appreciate it

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