The Summoned – Revel in Controlled Chaos Part II

Saturday, 1st July 2017

Read Part I HERE.

Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the cover art for Sessions – how did the idea start and develop?

Murphy: We talked about how we wanted to come up with an idea that would encapsulate what we were getting across. We looked back at the last record, and we liked the way the digital art came to the forefront of it and the wooden mannequins being a huge thing. That’s become our own little mascot or Eddie so to speak. We took the wooden mannequins, there is a faceless and nameless type of thing to it, you can do a lot with it. We wanted to use the wooden mannequins as a representation of the doctors. When you are in that situation, there are a lot of times when you go to a hospital you won’t remember who the doctor was- and 90% of the time, the doctor doesn’t remember who you are either. If you look at it from that aspect as a mental patient, you are going to psychiatric work and it’s not somebody that you will see every day, with rotating doctors this could be a reality. With the cat scans and perceiving the cat scans, you see the patient in the straightjacket right in the room on the opposite side. Joe the artist we hired to do this did an amazing job with the comic book style artwork, we wanted to get away from the graphic art style and try something different. It’s a lot softer, it throws you that curveball that it doesn’t look like a super technical death metal band album artwork.

I really like that, it’s what we wanted. With our new logo we have for the band, we wanted to get away from the illegible death metal logo and the typical death metal artwork. We are a death metal band, and I don’t want to be unlabeled that, but we are more of a progressive band and the cover and logo speaks to that. It’s so much more of a mentalist type of thing, non-traditional space theme. It’s not any Dan Seagrave’s artwork, which is all totally amazing- we can’t even touch that. I like that hand drawn, comic book style stuff- Todd McFarlane was the inspiration for that. We wanted to go for that Spawn style, comic style. He captured that for us- it didn’t take as long as we thought it would.

Dead Rhetoric: What is the bass situation like currently for the band? Do you hope to stabilize that position sooner rather than later?

Murphy: Yes, we are currently in the middle of trying out a new bass player. I did track all the bass for the record, but we’ve got somebody that we’ve grown to like very much and that’s all kind of where we are at with that. We’d like to solidify that as soon as possible, that definitely looks like with the guy we are trying out now that’s going to be a reality.

Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the Massachusetts and New England heavy music scene in general? Do you feel fortunate to have so many great bands, promoters, venues, and fans as a supportive community?

Murphy: I love the Massachusetts metal scene. The whole New England metal scene is awesome. It can be a little oversaturated from time to time, where there could be a lot of shows going on, and a lot of really good bands everywhere. So it can be daunting when you are trying to book a show, and you are worried about the draw because you are 30-60 minutes away from another really good show. The fans alone make this scene amazing. The support that we get from all of our fans and the metal community in the New England is by far one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life. I love it and I swear by the scene. It does have its moments where it feels like its dying and there’s not as much going on- but when that one show comes up and everybody is there, it’s always a really good time. A lot of the promoters around here are awesome people, really good at what they do.

The caliber of bands around here speaks for itself. It can be shocking sometimes. Being a band 30 minutes north of Boston, you can go two hours southwest to Connecticut and there is this whole other sea of bands that is just as phenomenal as right next to Boston, where in the city there (are) hundreds of good bands. Boston is a breeding ground for amazing musicians- granted Berklee is there, so that helps too. You go 30 minutes north of us in New Hampshire, and there is an awesome scene there, very tight progressive bands coming out of there- and then another hour and half north of there and there’s Maine, another great scene. One of our biggest influences is from Maine, Last Chance to Reason. We got lucky enough to become really good friends with those guys, Evan Sammons their drummer is our engineer and producer for our new album.

Dead Rhetoric: You are a yoga instructor, also conducting Metal Yoga nights. How did you become interested in yoga, and what do you see as the major benefits in combining these two activities?

Murphy: I became interested in yoga about six years ago. Initially as a weight loss technique, and I ended up marrying yoga with regular exercise and changing my diet. I became a vegetarian, and I ended up losing between 60-80 pounds, and yoga was huge for that. Seven days a week, for an hour and a half every day, and that’s how I originally got into it. As time went on, I became much more aware of my own spirituality and my own inner path I was working on for my own consciousness. Yoga resonated, I stuck with it, I swear by it as a practice. I think everybody can do it, it may not be everybody’s thing, for some it may be contemplation or meditation. For me, it’s tough to sit for an hour without my brain going off the wall. Meditation in action works for me, that’s why I use yoga. The physical benefits are all there, flexibility and strength, and to calm the mind down through working in those movements of breath, mind, and body- it’s a very peaceful thing.

With the metal yoga, I wanted to marry my two passions- heavy metal and yoga. It’s for the heavy metal connoisseur who may think yoga is weird, you can still come to the class to get all the physical and mental benefits without ever having to read a Hindu or Buddhist spiritual text. And you can listen to some really good music while doing it. And for the practitioner who is not into heavy metal, my whole thing is to put yourself into this state of mind where the intensity of the music that is being thrown at you forces you to calm your mind down. Using that to create a space that might agitate or cause mental distress- can you breathe through it? Sitting in the car in traffic for 30 minutes is the same thing as blasting music that you might not necessarily want to hear. Can I breathe, can I calm the mind down and work through this? I went into it with that mind set. It’s a gas for me, I’m blasting death metal, hardcore, progressive music- I get to have a good time.

Dead Rhetoric: What types of goals do you set for The Summoned? And how do you define success at this point?

Murphy: For us, goals are definitely to hammer on. Continue to do more tours, and bigger tours. Success for us would be to continue to do this, at a bigger pace- to hit the road more. The end game for any musician is to make a living off of music. If you have been doing it for long enough and you are not telling yourself that you want to live off of it, you are doing it just for fun- and that’s cool. Music is a fun thing, but for The Summoned we want to do this for the next 30-40 years, until they can’t play the guitar anymore and they pry it out of my hands. Success would be just that- to bring our art to other people and let them enjoy. Money is money, man. If I have enough to pay my rent and have a roof over my head when I’m on the road, that’s fine. I don’t need to make a ton of money- if I wanted to make money I’m in the wrong music scene. If I wanted to make tons of money, I should play pop music. I know none of the guys are in this to make money- we are in this to write the music that we want to write, and for the people that want to hear it. I think that is successful enough. We want to be on bigger tours, and that all comes with the right place, the right time, and the right people.

We are not on a label, we have been DIY since the beginning. The EP was technically released under a very small label, but they didn’t do anything for it- so I don’t consider that real label support. We paid for our own recordings, we paid for the pressing, we pay for our merchandising and artwork- the whole thing. We book all our own tours- it would be nice to have someone in our corner. We have management now, Fresh 2 Deaf management which is Rob Wharton from the band Cognitive. We’ve known him for years, and he’s been very helpful helping us push this press release and having Clawhammer PR help us with the new record, which is great. We’ve never had anything like that before- we are still a DIY band, but to have a couple of people who are hooking things up. It shows that people are checking the stuff out.

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