Scorched Moon – Forever Seeking Dawn

Saturday, 30th September 2023

Photo credit: Magenta Skull Photography

Earlier this year, I had the honor of reviewing Scorched Moon’s debut album Obsidia, and anyone that has heard it has been immediately gripped by this very unique progressive metal album. Fans of Æther Realm, Opeth, Ne Obliviscaris, Wilderun, and An Abstract Illusion will definitely want to be paying attention.

I sat down with vocalist/guitarist Trapper Lanthier and vocalist/keyboardist Matthew Boatwright to talk about their upcoming tour with Ice Giant (whom I also interviewed – link), their aforementioned debut Obsidia, classical composers, future plans, being an independent artist, and more.

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

Trapper Lanthier (guitars/vocals): We are Scorched Moon; we’re a progressive metal band from Atlanta, Georgia. We write concept albums; we’ve got another one that we’re working on that’s got more connections to this first one, but that’s a whole other problem. I’m the guitarist and vocalist and also the founder, but we all do a little bit of everything.

Matthew Boatwright (keyboards/vocals): I’m Boaty, or at least that’s what everyone calls me. I’m the keyboard player and the vocalist in the band. I am the second member now based on our current lineup. I never thought I would be the second oldest, but that’s for fun stories later. I’ve been with the band for five and a half years. I have not been with the project since its genesis in Atlanta, but with now being the next longest standing member, it’s been a wonderful journey going through and getting this first album off the ground.

Dead Rhetoric: I’m sure you all are very excited for your first tour. What are you all doing to prepare?

Lanthier: Well, I’ve been making spreadsheets to try and curb my anxiety more than anything. I’ve got a spreadsheet that has a list of all the venues with all their addresses and our load-in times and also where we’re staying for each night on the tour with their addresses, names, and phone numbers so that we get done with the show. We go, “hey, we’re coming, we already confirmed it with you a couple weeks ago. Thanks. We’ll see you in a little bit.” I’ve been reaching out to friends to try and A) get people to come out and B) find places to stay in all those cities just ’cause it feels like the thing to do and I know somebody in most of these places except for Richmond.

Boatwright: We’re definitely spreadsheet people for sure. Other than, in addition to the standard prep of solidifying all our sleeping for sure, sleeping’s a big one for me, and then considering, honestly a meal plan or some kind of like finances for food, ’cause it’s a trip, you know, as wonderful as the tour opportunity is, it’s also a trip. Planning vocal and health stamina is a big thing for me. I have a lot of commitments here and I have all the high notes in the live shows. So, I have to make sure I don’t run to the finish line by like day two or three ’cause then it’ll just be voice cracking for like another five days.

Lanthier: I’m a little worried about running my voice down too, so like, we’ll work on that one together, Boaty.

Dead Rhetoric: What about this first tour are you most excited for and what are you most nervous about?

Boatwright: I’ve accidentally answered this question already, but excited: travel; nervous: voice. Thankfully, I could be running on one hour of sleep and I can still play all the piano notes I’ll ever need to, but the voice doesn’t work like that. So, I hope and pray I get at least six hours of sleep, enough hydration. Drinking water is also the other key to it. I hope I’m hydrated enough to get the job done.

Lanthier: I’m planning on bringing gallons of water; I wanna bring some coolers. I have some plans about food also, so we can come up with something for that eventually. As far as being excited and being nervous, I’m excited for the whole thing. I’m excited for the prospect of going and taking our music to places that it’s never been before. I’m excited about performing in front of people in places that I’ve never been before. I’ve never gotten to go to New York; I’m very excited about getting to go to New York ’cause I’ve never gone before. And much like Boaty, I’m worried about blowing my voice out too quickly. So, that’s a thing that I’m concerned about because my buddy Jake from Æther Realm, I’ve watched him show up on a tour and be like, “Hey man,” [raspy voice] I’m like, “bro, stop talking.”

Boatwright: We’ll make ourselves little placards, little necklaces that have big old laminated sheets of paper like they did in high school that says, vocal rest.

Lanthier: Yeah, not allowed to talk right now.

Dead Rhetoric: Get one where on the other side you can have a whiteboard and just write what you need to write on it.

Boatwright: Absolutely, absolutely, yeah. Wet erase markers at all times. That’s funny.

Lanthier: Nervous, I’m nervous about the whole thing, oh God.

Boatwright: To be fair, Trapper’s always nervous. So this is a bit part and parcel. We just have something new to be nervous about.

Lanthier: It’s a whole bunch of new sets of situations that we’re going to be playing our way through. And I’m excited about it because I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. And I think it’s going to go pretty well overall, so I’m stoked.

Dead Rhetoric: You all have done an excellent job putting together your first album, a music video, and now a tour without a label. A lot more bands seem to be doing this now. What made you decide to go the independent route, and do you intend to stay that way?

Lanthier: So I kind of had always intended on going the independent route because it just seemed like, at least for the very first thing, the thing to do, you do it as best you can yourself, and you go out and do the thing. And if we can stay independent, I wouldn’t mind staying independent, but if we could find the right contract with the right label, I think that it could be beneficial also.

Boatwright: Yes, we’re poor. If not, like when in doubt, the other reality of it is at least in the 21st century, starting, it would be a blessing, a wonderful stroke of luck to go straight into a label signing. And we know how to put ourselves out there. And to build a solid foundation for something you would want to show a label, definitely takes time. I think these last five years have been very valuable. A lot of us have gone through the learning curve on our own, or at least independently. And I think if I look in retrospect, I would much rather go through the learning curve without a label breathing down my back. Because I would then make some crazy like if I messed up financially, I’m screwed, the band is screwed. Thankfully, one of Trapper’s superpowers and it’s truly a superpower, speaking as another extrovert in the band, Trapper is one of the most well-connected people I know. Genuinely and he’s not like some secret networking guru. He has a very welcoming nature and in a community that’s both very welcoming but full of a lot of different people who don’t always belong. Trapper is a wonderful beacon type individual and that personality has really lended itself to let us be an independent band and make music and find opportunities to promote and publish the music without breaking the bank. The same goes for myself and Michael and Jade, but it’s worth noting that Trapper has a wonderful set of relationships that have nothing to do with getting famous, but that really, those friendships have really helped us springboard, you know, off into the world a little bit.

Lanthier: It hasn’t hurt that I’ve managed to make a lot of friends in a lot of places over the years.

Boatwright: It’s a lot of good friendships. It’s very wholesome. And committing the time I have the ability to put myself out there whenever I go to a metal show, I always walk away with two or three new friends. But for me, I’m super busy. And I’m very grateful to be in a band that can make music and Trap, the time that you have to take to go to the local shows and be regular at these venues is also worth noting. So, you know, kudos in many different ways.

Dead Rhetoric: It’s good also that you guys are in Atlanta because you seem to be, especially the last couple of years, getting every show.

Lanthier: Damn near. It’s part of why I moved here, myself. Like I was living in Savannah for a while and I moved to Atlanta ’cause I was just like, I wanna be able to go see shows and man, I’ve gotten to see so many shows. And there is something to be said for the community that we have around here too and the fact that there are so many shows and the fact that there are a lot of local bands, Atlanta is exploding with great music, right?

Boatwright: We are rich. We are rich with talent. And we have an international airport, which does not hurt. That’s very, very nice.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell me about the music video for “K-186f.” What made you choose that song for the video treatment, and how did working with Partita Studios go?

Boatwright: It hits all the right notes. It’s quick, it’s very technical and kind of overwhelming, but in the prog way. And we don’t overstay our welcome. We kind of say everything we need to say.

Lanthier: It’s good, it’s short, it’s to the point, but it’s also got a lot of what makes us us musically. There’s lots of vocal layering, Boaty has some lead vocals, I have some lead vocals, there’s vocals mixed in. There’s crazy time signatures and epic harmonies; it’s a big shebang in a very small package as far as the genre is concerned. So when it came time to pick a song that’s like, which one are we going to present to the world to see us playing for the first time? It just felt like the right decision to be done with that.

Boatwright: So, Partita Studios are a couple of my very dear friends. This is where my friendships actually helped out. I went to a music college with the two people that make up Partita; Rachel Rabeneck and Andrew Niehoff. And it was easy, it was just hanging out with two friends. I’d done film work before; it is not different from being like an extra on a film set or being any kind of crew on a film set. It’s just a long unbroken day, just figuring out ideas together and taking the shot and then taking like three other shots, repeating that to make sure that all of your shots have covers. But it was a dream. You know, I was working with three of my favorite people to write with and two of my favorite people to film with. So, it was a day in the shade for me.

Lanthier: It was quite a bit of fun. I’m really glad I got to use the brewery I was working at at the time, which I got laid off back in April and then they closed in June.

Boatwright: What? But it was nice. I thought it was nice. It was very wholesome to use the place of work.

Lanthier: It was, it was very good. I loved that brewery. I’m only saying that, to say that was one of my favorite places that I’ve ever worked in my entire life. I got to play a guitar solo in our music video on the brew deck where I was making beer every day and it was special. It was a very long day; I had the key to the building because I worked there and then I was obviously also the last one to leave because I had the key to the building. It was like 1 a.m. or something by the time we left and I had gotten there at like 8 a.m., so it was a solid, just long day, but it was very good though. I had a lot of fun; it was fun hanging out with Rachel and Andrew, they’re both brilliant at the things that they do. It was quite good to work with them and I want to work with them again for sure going forward. Boaty also didn’t say this, but he plays D&D with those nerds.

Boatwright: I do; I’ve run a campaign for them. I’ve been in a campaign with them. The bonds are deep. It’s also worth saying Rachel and Andrew were about four or five years into what they do. Niehoff has been behind a camera for years now, Rachel is the creative mind, she put together the shot deck and all of the conceptual ideas and Niehoff found all the technical work to make it happen. So, walking onto the set we had practically no improvising to do. And all film sets or music video sets, there’s always a surprise. There were very few surprises and it just made the day so much easier.

Dead Rhetoric: Changing into another song, tell me about what you’ve affectionately called “The Grieg Riff” from “Silence Painted Crimson.”

Boatwright: I’m actually going to let Trapper toss this one first. Because I didn’t say anything about it. I think Trapper is the one that brought it to life.

Lanthier: Well, no, it’s just “In the Hall of the Mountain King” by Grieg has the has that one figure and it’s kind of in like it’s in just a Aeolian and so I was like what if I took that and then I made it in Locrian down here and it just kind of is like a cool sounding riff that calls back to like a classical piece of music that I quite like and it also calls back to the band Savatage which was a big like American power metal band in the 80s which they also had an album called In The Hall of the Mountain King where they did “Prelude to Madness” which was their cover of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” which is their song “In The Hall of the Mountain King.”

Boatwright: Layers, there’s layers to it.

Lanthier: Indeed. Oh yeah, so that’s the basic story behind the Grieg riff is it’s just, I was just like, what if this but here? And I was like, “Oooo.”

Boatwright: It was nice. And we can dive more into how it works later, but I will promise you, it’s just a lot of Trapper and I looking at each other, like, “this? Oooo.” And then he’s like, “this? Oooo.” And it’s just that over and over for hours.

Lanthier: It’s like, that’s a cool idea. That’s a cool idea.

Boatwright: “Oooo.” Yeah. Repeat ad-nauseam and it’s an album.

Dead Rhetoric: How did it come about getting Vincent Jackson Jones (Æther Realm) to do guest vocals on “Silence Painted Crimson” and what strengths do you think he added to the song?

Lanthier: So, I met Jake and Heinrich (Arnold – Æther Realm) at a regional Burning Man event called Transformus up in Asheville back in 2016. I was hanging out and I saw a dude in a TRVE Brewing shirt across the field and I had just traveled across the country and back just like, camping my way. And I’d been in Denver and I love Denver and I’ve been to TRVE and I was like, “that person, they’re gonna be my friend.” So I walk up to him and I start talking to him and like, I find out that he’s in Æther Realm and I’m like, what? I’ve listened to your band before, because that was before Tarot came out. So they hadn’t quite reached the beginnings of their heights even. But I just kind of ended up making friends with him because it was like, “Hey dude, I know your band. That’s tight. Let’s be friends.” And just, at some point in the past, I was like, “Hey man, you want to do a guest vocal spot on our album somewhere?” And he was like, “Sure.” So, speaking of strengths that he adds to the song, we kind of wrote the song with his guest vocal spot in mind because we knew that he was gonna do it for us, ’cause we’d been talking about it since 2016.

Boatwright: It works very nicely for high concept when you need a villain character and that usually comes when you’re doing a storytelling purpose. It’s hard to build that inside the band and it was just the most convenient because Trapper’s like “Jake will do it” and we’re like, “hell yeah, absolutely!”

Lanthier: And I mean, the first time I ever like got goosebumps listening to my own music, it was like, I wanna say the third mix that we got back from Alex Parra, of “Silence, Panic Crimson” and it was when Jake’s voice came on, just chills went down my spine and I was just like, “Ahhhh!”

Boatwright: He has an excellent harsh voice and it’s nicely, noticeably different than Trapper’s, but they both excel at mid screams, I’d like to say. Not too much high and not the rumbly lows, but like right there in the middle. So you got this very nice similar but different vibe in that song and it’s bone chilling. You know, you get the chills ’cause he’s an excellent performer and an excellent screamer.

Lanthier: Yeah, he did a pretty wonderful job of his entire performance for it too. We basically sent him the section of the song, he sent us back several layers of his voice and we just kind of clicked it in there and it just worked immediately, it was fantastic.

Boatwright: It’s nice working with professionals, you know? I mean, it’s just like, got it.

Dead Rhetoric: If you had to pick 1 other person, other than Jake, to provide a guest spot (doesn’t have to be vocals) on a future album, who would you pick?

Boatwright: Oh boy.

Lanthier: Is it just one? Because I have a list.

Boatwright: We both have long lists. In what order do we ask the Dream Theater people?

Lanthier: If you’re talking about dream guest spots, I mean, I wouldn’t mind having a John Petrucci guitar solo on my album somewhere, sure, but like…

Boatwright: I’d like to sing with Devin Townsend. That would really make my day, you know? That would be phenomenal.

Lanthier: That would fucking rip. But like, I mean… as far as realistically people I would actually want to ask for album two; I want to get Wayne (Ingram) from Wilderun.

Boatwright: Oh, you’ll be so proud of me Trapper, I wrote it down. The only thing I wrote for that question was “Wayne from Wilderun.” Like Taylor Washington from Paladin, yes, but I was like, “oh, that’s right, we know Wayne, that counts.”

Lanthier: Wayne is an absolute sweetheart. What a good hug; dude gives a good hug. I’d like to get, let’s see, Wayne. Yeah, Taylor. It would be cool to get a guest vocal spot from Taylor, just ’cause he’s a local buddy of ours. I can’t remember how many shows we’ve played with Paladin.

Boatwright: Seriously, without diving too much into it, he has the voice of Bruce Dickinson reborn and he didn’t train for it. He just has the born talent of Dickinson. He didn’t realize until he was like 30 or something it was insane. No, it’s wild.

Lanthier: Also, it would make me really happy to get guest solo spots from Heinrich and Donny (Burbage – Æther Realm). And I wanna get a guest vocal spot from Kyle (Walburn) from Tómarúm just ’cause like, he’s our buddy too. I booked the first show he ever played; I’m always real proud to see them out doing stuff in the world. It makes me really happy.

Boatwright: I would certainly also reserve dream spots for a lot of the Haken people. They’re my favorite band. So singing with Ross (Jennings), solos from Charlie (Griffiths) or Rich (Henshall), would be insane.

Lanthier: He’s got such good phrasing.

Boatwright: Yeah, Henshall’s got such a weird brain.

Lanthier: If we’re talking about dream level, I’d like a Marty Friedman guitar solo, that’d be tight too. If you wanna go into those, that’s a whole other, I don’t know, Arjen Lucassen, and I could go on for hours.

Boatwright: We’re nerds.

Lanthier: We are nerds.

Dead Rhetoric: Speaking of future albums, I know you’ve just released Obsidia this year, but do you all have anything in the works or still recovering from the last album?

Boatwright: There is no recovery. At least two of the people in our band, their coping mechanism with life, is writing music. So it never stops; not really. There’s always something, even if it’s not Scorched Moon, one of the four of us nerds is on their instrument writing something.

Lanthier: Yeah, I’ve been working on some riffs today actually. We started working on new material while we were recording for Obsidia. While I was warming up one day before doing some guitar recordings, Jade and I were just like, “Huh, what about this riff? Huh, what about this riff?”

Boatwright: Oooo, see? See?

Lanthier: “Oooo, oooo, what if you did that?” “Oooo!” It’s a lot of positive, creative energy happening when we’re getting together and working on stuff. So, the new stuff is coming and it is flowing out very naturally. We have…

Boatwright: The blueprints for at least seven or eight different things.

Lanthier: Yeah, yeah. We probably want a few more, but we’re getting close to at least having the blueprints for most of the rest of the next thing at least.

Boatwright: Yeah, it’s a good problem to have too much material. I definitely set a very unique sentence in rehearsal one day, which was after going through one of those creative moments and copying it and recording it and making sure we had codified the idea somewhere, I just kind of stood there was like, “Hmm, man, it’s going to be hard to get any of these songs less than nine minutes long.”

Dead Rhetoric: That’s a very progressive metal problem.

Boatwright: What a problem, right? We all just looked at each other and we’re just like, “God bless.”

Lanthier: Yeah, so, we’re working on the next thing. Jade’s ripping to go on it. Michael’s excited to get some more stuff done on it and we’ve been hitting it whenever we can. And I’m excited about everything that we’ve been putting together for it.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell me a bit about your writing process for Obsidia. Did you already have a lot of it written before you brought other people into the band or was it something that just started fresh with you all writing together?

Lanthier: Initially when I first moved up to Atlanta, I started working with a different drummer and it was kind of like, I would come up with a riff and I would bring it to him and we would bounce the idea off each other and form a thing. And Boaty actually joined pretty early on in the process. I think we had like maybe three songs?

Boatwright: Three songs. We had a fourth that was tied to our now ex-bassist and it was a good song, but it was very much tied to that bassist, who isn’t with the band anymore. So we let that song go with that bassist. So three.

Lanthier: Yeah, so we had three songs kind of put together by the time Boaty joined in. And then when Boaty joined in it just started becoming more and more of what it was over time.

Boatwright: Which was great. I was gonna say I’d never written before. So I was very happy that, you know, the stuff I could give the guys was stuff they liked. I was very insecure and worried that I just put out a bunch of mishmash and they’d be like, “oh, it’s sounds stupid.” But an album later, you know, it worked out nicely.

Dead Rhetoric: But instead they were like, “Oooo.”

Boatwright: Oooo, yeah.

Dead Rhetoric: I think you need to have that hidden in a song. With a chant going like, “Oooo,” just hidden somewhere.

Lanthier: Don’t worry, don’t worry. I’ll talk to Jade about this later and he’ll be like “Oooo!”

Boatwright: Jade will find a place for it. He’s very, Jade’s comedic timing is top notch. And he’s our, both our drummer and our engineer, our audio engineer for at least getting raw files. So he has a wonderful sense of timing. Just a top notch sense.

Lanthier: He does need it being a drummer and all. But yeah, some songs were more “hey guys I have a bunch of these ideas” and then sometimes it was like “hey I’ve got this one idea” and then Boaty was like “ooo I’ve got these ideas.” It kind of depended on the song.

Boatwright: It was very jigsaw. Trapper had already fleshed out a really solid concept for the album. It comes from source material that both he and I know very well, which allowed for such smooth creation of ideas. But it was just very much riff to riff to riff, find connective tissue, repeat ad nauseam. And thankfully, a lot of the riffs, maybe because we had talked about concept before, built it up first, a lot of puzzle pieces unintentionally fell into a very convenient place for the story. We had a lot of happy accidents in a really good way.

Lanthier: I do remember the time that you and I sat down together and we’re like, all right, let’s plan out what we want for the rest of the songs. It was pretty early on, I want to say, and we sat down and went through and like, okay, here are our targets. And we actually did a pretty good job of hitting all of our bullet points, I feel like when we went through and did the thing. And considering how riff to riff it is, I actually do feel like it’s pretty cohesive in comparison to certain other prog bands. So that might just be me.

Dead Rhetoric: I believe you’re a fan of many classical composers; who is your favorite, and what about their work inspired you and the creation of your music?

Lanthier: I’m gonna let Boaty go first on this one. He’s got vocal performance degrees, so he’s got actual opinions.

Boatwright: I do, and I will take too long if I sit here. Also, nobody wants to hear a 20-something year old talk about music opinions, ’cause all the 50-plus year olds would be like, “I thought the same thing when I was young.” It is hard to say who is my favorite classical composer for everything, that’s not quite fair. So I grew up playing piano; I will say Grieg is actually my favorite pianist. I’ve played a lot of his work over the years and it’s always felt very thrilling; the music always told a very easy story. For vocal work, I still have a lot to learn just for all the experienced people out there judging me. I don’t know much, but Vaughan Williams is a British composer. He’s one of my all-time faves. He doesn’t write a lot of operas or bigger works, but he writes art songs and sacred music and things for a lot of ensembles. And he is just one of the best people to make English a beautiful language to listen to and makes very pleasing to the ear music without making it too easy or too difficult. I think he writes a very fine line where his work is approachable, but it’s not just your 4/4 Baptist music that you see in a hymnal every day. He has an individuality about him, but it’s easy. It’s easy to the ear; it’s easy to listen to every time. And I hope, hope I can put some of his beauty of bringing many voices into one texture. As well as, not as much this past album, I didn’t have a lot of lyrical input, I had a lot of musical input, but what I’m very excited about for Scorched Moon 2 is the lyrics. Trapper is the wordsmith; Trapper creates many of the lyrics, but we’ll get to be at the ground floor. We’ll get to build them together, build the musical lines, build the vocal lines. And since I’ll be singing them as well as him, a lot of the times I’m very excited to put a touch like Vaughan Williams or a tune like Grieg into the music, both because I’m inspired and it’s nice to give homage, if it’s not too obvious. It can get very blunt at times, you know? So, those are my two favorites.

Lanthier: I’m gonna also go with two. I have a particular time period that I like, which granted, Boaty will probably correct me on this, but I like romantic and late romantic works mostly. My two favorites are Hector Berlioz for the Symphonie fantastique. He was like, “Ah, I’m gonna write this whole thing and it’s gonna be a big story” and it was fun and silly to me how far he went. And like, I like Hector Berlioz and I also like Sergei Rachmaninoff. I love, particularly Rach 3, but I also like his Concerto No. 2 and Symphony No. 2, but Concerto No. 3 is just, Rach 3 is just so good. Especially the third movement, it just, every time I listen to it feels like I’m flying. I love Rachmaninoff. I love his phrases. I love his sense of musicality. I love his chord choices. I feel like if I were better at piano, I would want to write stuff like Rachmaninoff and I feel like some of it comes through in the music a little bit, but like, I don’t know. I find that if I sit down and I’m like, all right, I’m gonna open like MuseScore or something and write with like notation software, I find that I sound more like Rachmaninoff, which I think is hilarious.

Boatwright: They are. Berlioz is a romantic composer and Rachy was technically after the romantic period, but he was very much inspired by the romantic period. That’s two correct answers. You did good.

Lanthier: Let’s say late romantic. I call them late romantic eras. Technically after but late romantic, early modern. Whatever. However you want. I don’t know. I’m not a music historian. Don’t look at me. I only took one music appreciation course. You’re lucky to get this much.

Boatwright: I didn’t say anything. I said nothing.

Dead Rhetoric: I like a lot of classical composers. I do not know anywhere near as much as you guys. So to me, you both sound like geniuses.

Lanthier: No, we’re just nerds.

Boatwright: I have an undergraduate degree, and that’s it. Only a bachelor’s. Nothing fancy.

Dead Rhetoric: Circling back to your upcoming tour, do you prefer playing live or recording in the studio?

Lanthier: There’s different things that I like about both of them, and there’s different things that are difficult about both of them. Playing live is very much about how tightly can we get everything together? How tightly can we go out there and do the thing? It’s a lot of, all right, well, we got one chance to get out there and do it, and then it’s done. It’s always fun, it’s always challenging, it’s always great to get out and see new people and meet new people and have friends come out and hang out. Live shows are one of my favorite things, just in general. So I love playing live, because I like being on stage and presenting the music. It’s always such a thing leading up to it, and then it just is gone as soon as you get on the stage. It’s like, “Ahh! All right, guys. Bye!”

Boatwright: And we’re out!

Lanthier: But also I do love writing. Writing is why I started playing guitar in the first place; I wanted to learn how to create music that I would enjoy. That was literally my goal; I want to write guitar music that I would like. That was where it started for me and to me, that’s what recording in the studio is. It’s taking your ideas and bringing them to life and to me that’s special and powerful. They’re both great and important things and I don’t know that I have one that I prefer necessarily. Because also recording in the studio is a lot of, all right, I’m gonna play this one song all day. All right, I’m gonna play this one guitar solo all day. All right, I’m gonna sing this one song all day. Recording is a process in its own ways, too. So, I don’t know. They’re both great, and they’re both difficult, and I love them both a lot. So that’s where I land. Boaty?

Boatwright: I thought very long about this question because I think everything I’m going to say is going to make me sound very much silver spoony. So I apologize in advance, I really don’t mean it this way. I prefer studio work by far. I do love playing live; it’s not that I don’t like playing live. I’m lucky enough that I have a decent amount of other live performance opportunities, like singing with the opera, which is something I’m very grateful to be able to do and I’m able to scratch that itch really nicely. And I have an abundance of live time and so between what feels like excess with the live shows. And somebody’s holding my voodoo doll, I think, because at live shows, there’s always something that goes way wrong for me. My luck is not good with live shows. I get through it, thankfully, but it’s always something and it’s always something different. So, as somebody who lives by spreadsheets and who lives by preparation; some people love the explosive nature of what could happen on stage, something new. That gives me anxiety, true anxiety and so the repetition of studio work. Also because studio work does not take too long for me, which I’m very grateful to say, I understand the exhaustion of singing the same song all day, but on the flip side, you could also get it right in two or three takes. And then it gets a lot easier and that is the silver spoon part of the answer I’ve got for you. Thankfully, thankfully, at least for this album, this first album, studio work was very smooth with me and Jade. And so probably because of the smooth nature actually made it really, really fun. My voice was shot because three hour sessions of hitting high harmonies that I wrote for myself was a mistake and I will learn from that. But it was fun, it was very fun. So, I think I prefer studio work more, but I am very grateful that I get to play live shows and have a lot of different performance opportunities.

Dead Rhetoric: Music is obviously something you all enjoy immensely, but what other activities do you all enjoy?

Boatwright: A lot. I like to keep my time full. It’s also one of the things I’m working on is, I know time management, but I fill up my schedule really fast. I love getting outdoors with hiking. I play a lot of racquetball, which is technically indoors, but it’s good exercise. I’ve played with my dad for years and years and years; it’s a great hobby. Like Trapper, I love writing and reading. A lot of my writing, if it’s not music, turns into D&D stuff ’cause I’m one of those nerds and I did commit to being a DM. So, just insert all the memes you want on that side of life. Spending time with friends, a variety of exercise that’s not just lifting weights, and then the nerd package of writing, reading, video games, board games. That little box is something I align with a lot. And board games these days, I feel like it’s the smallest of all of those, but I have three bookshelves full of board games, a collection I’m very proud of.

Lanthier: Outside of music, like I said earlier, I like to brew beer, I like to make mead, I like to create alcohol, it’s fun to me, it’s a fun rewarding process, I like fun, rewarding processes, it’s I like to do something and then have a result at the end of it, it’s rewarding, it’s nice, keeps me doing things. One of my hobbies is spinning fire. I have a bunch of props that have Kevlar wicking on them and I dip them in fuel and light them on fire and spin them around and that’s a whole lot of fun. I have a lot of friends that have a whole community that I am a part of with that as well.

Boatwright: He’s very good at it. It’s fun to watch him spin fire, for sure.

Dead Rhetoric: You need to get a show where you can do that; just be playing and just spin fire on the side.

Lanthier: I can’t say that that’s not a thing that I’ve been playing around with and I have a New Year’s Eve show I want to put together where I’m gonna get some metal bands from around the southeast to come play for New Year’s Eve. We’re going to have my fire spinning friends to come hang out for New Year’s Eve. We’re gonna have a big party. It’s gonna go all night long. It’s gonna be a big crazy New Year’s Eve time. It’s the thing I want to do. When will I make it work?

Boatwright: Tune in next episode.

Lanthier: I like to organize things. I used to run fire spinning events at one of the breweries that I worked at. It’s a thing that I like to do. I help organize FLAME, Flow Arts Movement Exchange is what FLAME stands for and it’s just like a learning festival for fire spinning and it’s a fun thing to be involved with. Like Boaty, I also like to read and play Dungeons and Dragons, write, and I’m less on the board games personally. Like, I really like Betrayal at the House on the Hill and otherwise I don’t care that much for board games. That one game, just like, yeah, I’ll play that any day.

Boatwright: But how many hours have you put into Tears of the Kingdom?

Lanthier: I have put at least 230 hours into Tears of the Kingdom.

Boatwright: Let’s go!

Lanthier: At least 230, so I’ve gone full bore on Tears of the Kingdom too. Like if we’re on that subject, well, I’ve gotten all of the temples, I’ve gotten all of the shrines, I’ve beaten the game. I haven’t done all the side quests and I haven’t found all of the collectibles, but like I’ve done most of the big core things as far as the game is concerned. So yeah, I like traveling. I also like going hiking. Theoretically, I like kayaking and going fishing and stuff, but I never get the time to do those things like I want.

Boatwright: Potential hobbies is an actual category. I have some as well.

Lanthier: They’re not really potential hobbies because they’re things that I’ve done and have equipment for. Like, I have a kayak sitting in my backyard and I’ve got fishing poles in my living room. I know how to do these things; I’ve been fishing since I was a child. I almost died in the bay kayaking once when I lived in Savannah. That was a fun time.

Dead Rhetoric: Oh no.

Boatwright: Oh boy.

Lanthier: I’ve also kayaked around the entire back end of Tybee Island. I like camping. I like going to regional Burning Man events. Those are fun. There’s one called Alchemy in Georgia that I like to go to. As you well know, 70,000 Tons of Metal, I consider that. That’s a hobby.

Dead Rhetoric: The fact that it’s not just the festival; we also have the whole community we’ve built around it. It’s not like when you just go to a festival and see some bands and then leave. Like MDF feels like that; you go to MDF, but there’s not really a community, I feel that’s been built around MDF. Whereas ProgPower and 70K seem to have built a little more; people still continue to talk to each other from those events afterwards.

Lanthier: Yeah, we meet each other and talk to each other and we have Discord channels, as well you know. But that actually kind of comes back around to Boaty’s thing about me having lots of friends. It’s literally just I go on 70K every year and I talk to people and that’s how all of this happens.

Boatwright: Low and behold.

Dead Rhetoric: It’s a great way to meet people though, because you’re stuck in an area with a bunch of people that have a very similar, oddly specific interest.

Lanthier: You know, it’s true. And it’s frequently people who are like the most dedicated they can possibly be to those oddly specific interests because it’s a high barrier to entry. You have to really want it to end up going; it’s a whole thing. It’s also the best experience on the planet as far as I’m concerned. I know I’m preaching to the choir with you. I’ve been trying to talk Boaty into going for years, but he’s just like, “nah.”

Boatwright: I’ve also been poor or busy or in school. It’ll happen. It’ll probably happen before I’m 30. So I’ve got time.

Lanthier: Yeah, I know it will. I believe in you.

Photo: Mar Morannon

Dead Rhetoric: Tell me something about you all or the band in general that might surprise people.

Lanthier: This is maybe one that I don’t know that I have.

Boatwright: I wasn’t good at this one. Yeah I was stumped. Both Trapper and I did fraternity in college. We’re both in the same fraternity which is part of the reason that we got to know each other. It’s not a frat, it’s a music fraternity, so it’s a bunch of nerds and it doesn’t count.

Lanthier: Yeah we were both in a fraternity. His roommates at the time were friends of mine from when I was in, in college, and when I moved up here and I was like “I need a keyboard player.” His roommate Goose was like “my roommate plays keyboard, and wants to be in a metal band,” and I was like “okay, Boat!”

Boatwright: We’re in.

Lanthier: And here we are. I guess I would, if I hadn’t said spinning fire was one of my side activities, that’s something that people would find surprising, I feel like, just like it’s not something that people see every day. It’s real normal to me, ’cause I do it with friends a lot. I’m just like, oh, there’s somebody spinning fire over there. I’ve seen them do that like 8 million times. What’s up? But like, to people that aren’t used to it, it’s like mind blowing every time. We’re generally like as a group of people more open to just strange things. I feel like some people prove me wrong on that sometimes, but yeah, that’s their problem.

Dead Rhetoric: I think the vast majority are like that though; my husband always said, “we’re people that have oddly specific interests and get really into those oddly specific interests.”

Lanthier: Yes, that’s true, very true.

Boatwright: That’s called ADHD, that’s hyper-fixation. As someone who has ADHD. I speak for experience.

Lanthier: Are there any metalheads that are neurotypical? I don’t know.

Boatwright: No, doubtful, highly doubtful. And if they are, they don’t make good music. I know the moment I named drop a band for being the neurotypical band. I’m going to get an insane amount of backlash. So, I’m going to be smart and be quiet. The only thing I could think of that is something that people might find surprising about me is that I’m pretty straight laced. Now some people might not find that surprising at all, but I’m asthmatic, so I can’t do a lot of weed. And I have a long history of addiction in my family, so I don’t do a lot of alcohol, but I was a bartender for years, so I know how to make them more than I drink them. But I don’t know, it’s just, I don’t drink a lot, I hardly ever smoke and so, if nothing else, I feel like it sets me a bit apart from a lot of the metal communities. I don’t have a lot of ingestibles. To be clear, there’s no aversion. There’s no hate or judgment on those who do. I’m just like, but it’s definitely funny ’cause I will be sitting in band practice and I will be like, “Hmm, it’s just me.” Interesting. Not much more than that, but it’s just funny.

Lanthier: Indeed.

Boatwright: Oh, something about the band. I did write this down because I thought it would be funny. All four of us are some degree of also being a power metal nerd, which I would like to argue is very far away from prog. I’d like to think that they’re oppositional by how they’re…

Lanthier: Not really, they’re so close to each other.

Dead Rhetoric: As we have a festival called ProgPower.

Boatwright: I know, but like they’re set up to be very different. Where like prog metal is long and technical and power metal is cheesy and easy. But it may be, well no, it’s not surprising ’cause Trapper has a Blind Guardian tattoo, but all four of us are big power metal nerds as well.

Lanthier: Yeah, true.

Dead Rhetoric: I can definitely see the argument though for how they’re very different, but I feel like the fan bases, a lot of them tend to come together really well.

Boatwright: They’ve gone very close to each other. Power and doom are a better oppositional context.

Lanthier: Yeah, I would say like doom is like, how long can we take this thing and make it just drag out forever? And power metal is just like, “yaaaa!”

Boatwright: Or tech death, like power and tech death are very oppositional.

Lanthier: Well, so that’s not necessarily true because there’s some tech death that has power metal elements. It’s really like–

Boatwright: I did not mean for this to become a tangent.

Lanthier: Ok, ok, let’s reel this one in.

Dead Rhetoric: After this tour, what is next on the agenda for you all?

Boatwright: “I have this idea.” “Oooo!” “I have this idea.” “Oooo!” Probably for like four months straight. It’s going to be a lot. You know the sound of dogs scratching at the door because they know that you’re about to take them on a walk? Yeah, that’s Trapper and Jade right now. So I promise you, it’s going be like we’re done with the tour, we’re gonna make the next album. It’s gonna be a lot of fun writing.

Lanthier: Yeah it’s gonna be like, all right tour’s done, writing mode, let’s go!

Boatwright: Pick up my quill.

Lanthier: Yeah, that’s pretty much the plan. We have one more show that’s unannounced that’s gonna be for Jade’s birthday later in the year.

Boatwright: Ooooo, you don’t know when Jade’s birthday is.

Lanthier: But there’s that and then other than that there’s nothing on the docket for live and I would very much like to get the next thing as ready as we can, as quickly as we can. And I know Jade feels that way and I know Michael feels that way so I want to get on writing.

Boatwright: I want to write too, just to be clear. I’m very excited to write; I don’t have as much time as the others to write, but I’m excited that it will come together at a decent speed. It’s gonna be a good time. No one’s gonna be intentionally slowing down the process. And we’ve played a lot of live music since March, so it would not be surprising for a lot of us to be more comfortable in the writer’s room for a little bit.

Lanthier: Yep, it is a little bit like lower pressure because, there’s always so much like, “okay, well, we’ve got that idea,” “well, we also have this idea,” “all right, which way are we going to go?” And then, “well, what if we use both ideas in these different ways?” We have a very good writing chemistry, especially right now. And I’m really excited about the material we already have written. And I’m very excited about the material that we’re currently writing, because we’ve got a couple of different songs currently in the band motor, as it were. Boaty’s been working on one that we sat down with as a group recently.

Boatwright: Oh man, my little pet project, yeah. If it comes to fruition in the way that I think it will, I think it will.

Lanthier: It’s going to be fucking epic!

Boatwright: It’s obviously not just mine, but I have a very high investment in one song in particular and as it comes to light, I’m gonna be a very proud music dad watching my little child go out into the world because I have ideas and they’ve funneled mostly to one song. So I’m excited, I’m very excited.

Lanthier: Yeah, I’m excited for that one. Like I said, I’ve got one I’ve been working on and Jade’s got one he’s been working on. We’re gonna probably work on it some after this because he actually swung through like 10 minutes before the interview started. But yeah, after the tour we got one more show and then we’re trying to get some writing done. I would like to do some more shows next year if we can get as much of the writing done as possible. If we can get the writing where it needs to be, sometime next year, I wouldn’t mind doing another tour, so long as it fits within the schedule of making the album happen is kind of where I’m at. But there’s no concrete anything with that so far.

Dead Rhetoric: If you guys do a tour with Tómarúm, then you can just make Michael do double duty all night, right?

Lanthier: We’ve been joking about that for a long time.

Boatwright: There’s always been a little bit of pain in his eyes whenever he starts laughing about that. Just a bit.

Lanthier: Michael’s an excellent bassist though.

Lanthier: I’m really proud of the Tómarúm boys. I’m really proud of Michael for becoming a part of the Tómarúm Boys also. He and I have been playing music together since we were like 19. It’s cool that somebody I’ve been playing music with, that I still play music with, is in a band that’s making those kinds of strides. It’s good stuff. I’m proud of the Tómarúm dudes. I’m proud of what we’ve managed to accomplish. We’ve managed to do a pretty good amount, especially considering that we don’t have a label or anything behind us. ‘Cause, man, there’s something to be said for when a band gets on a label and then there’s like fucking eight articles about this band joining this label. And then the band puts out their first single and there’s like eight articles about the band putting out their first single. There’s so much of the industry that is very like, oh, the labels get the space and the promotional material. Doing promo, oh boy, but it still worked pretty well overall. Thank you for helping with that, by the way, greatly appreciate it.

Dead Rhetoric: Absolutely.

Boatwright: It’s been lovely getting to talk to you. Thank you so much for having us.

Dead Rhetoric: Yeah, absolutely. Is there anything else you guys wanna add before we finish up?

Lanthier: Nothing I can think of offhand, Boat we got anything?

Boatwright: I’ve said plenty. It’s fun to chat.

Dead Rhetoric: Absolutely. We’ll end this with a good “Oooo”.

All: Oooo!

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