Agalloch interview (09/2006)

With: John Haughm [Guitars, Vocals, Songwriter]
Conducted by: Dream Taster (e-mail)
Published: 15.09.2006

Band profile:


Hi guys, first and foremost let me congratulate you on your latest album 'Ashes Against The Grain', which is creating quite a buzz around the world. I am pleased to tell you that it is currently voted album number 1 of the year 2006 by our website members.

- That brings my first question. Do you feel like Agalloch is finally getting the recognition it deserved through hard work and dedication? I mean, it is your third full-length album and all three are absolute masterpieces.

It's cool. I'm sometimes surprised to see these kinds of reactions and I hope that our work will stand the test of time. We've never been a band that feeds off of mass recognition anyway. We just do what we do and hope it turns out for the best. I mean, we would do everything exactly the same even if no one knew or cared about us…

- Tell us about your creative process, how songs come to life with Agalloch.

I compose the foundation of the songs; the rhythm guitars, various leads and melodies, and the arrangement, and then give them to the other guys on CDr demos so they can create their parts. I think it's actually a rather boring process and one which has come to a bit of a dead-end for us. Relying on rough-sounding CDr demos in the creating process has lead to a lot of frustration in the studio.

Some bands come up with a new full-length album per year while some others take more time to craft an album. You belong to the second category and I find that those are the bands that never disappoint.

- Is there any outside pressure on the band members or do you guys feel free in your musical creation?

No pressures at all…at least no one outside of the band is pressuring us to release albums more often. We wouldn't allow it anyway. We have had some pressure to tour a lot more but we can only do what we can with that. We are not the traditional recording/touring/recording/touring type of machine that many labels expect of their bands.

- How do you prepare mentally before recording an album on which you worked for over several years?

There's no special preparation, really. We just go in and do it. The pre-production is always fun because that is where the process begins. There is an atmosphere of excitement, wonder, and hope in what the final product will end up being. It goes downhill from there…

Let's cut straight to the action! Touring has started and you are going to take over Europe in November with shows in The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Germany.

- First, tell me what are your expectations, your wishes before conquering more European fans? Which part of touring are you looking forward to?

My expectations and wishes are that we play our best and hopefully won't have too many bad experiences on stage. Since we don't play often, we try to give the best performance possible, which sometimes doesn't work out very well. When we have a bad show for sound reasons or whatever, I'm always really pissed off about it because I feel like we ripped off the audience. I'm guessing the first show in Helmond will be rough but after that, I think we will be fine. With touring, I love everything from watching the landscape pass by through the window of the bus to being a sweaty mess on the stage floor, beating a wall sound out of my guitar. I enjoy meeting the bands, seeing new cities and venues, seeing distant friends, …everything. Since we don't do it often, touring is still a magical experience for us and I don't think I would want to do it so often that it lost that magic.

- You will be hitting the stage alongside Novembers Doom and Thurisaz. This promises fans some fantastic shows. How well do you relate to those bands?

Well obviously we have a good history with Novembers Doom. They toured with us when we supported The Gathering in '04 and we also played with them at The Day Of Equinox fest last year. I am looking forward to traveling with them again…plus it's Europe, which is a first for both of us. I expect a great time.
I don't know anything about Thurisaz but I look forward to meeting them and watching them play.

- How was your gig in San Francisco at the beginning of August?

It was ok. We were quite tired because we had taken an early flight to San Francisco that morning, met a friend of the promoter who drove us all over the city and surrounding areas for a few hours, and finally didn't hit the stage until late that night when all of us had been up for 20 or so hours by then. It was also very chaotic playing on other equipment and dealing with a virtually non-existent backstage with little lighting. So it wasn't the best situation to get into the proper state of mind to put on a great performance. I definitely fucked up a lot and was pretty annoyed the whole time because the sound on stage was horrible. I literally couldn't hear the drums. On the plus side, it was great to see our friends in Ludicra again and play another show with them. It was also nice to get out of Portland for a night and hang out in San Francisco. Those were the best things for me, anyway…

- Which song from 'Ashes Against The Grain' do you enjoy more when performing on stage?

Probably "Limbs" because it has just an amazing build and release at the beginning. The whole song is quite intense live. I also like "Bloodbirds" because, again, of the emotional build and climax where everything falls apart. I totally let loose at the end of that song.

- So now, how do you envision the future of the band?

Who knows. It's too early to say. I think we will release another EP early next year but beyond that, I don't know. I actually need a bit of a vacation from the band so maybe next year will be more inactive for us. I hope so anyway.

- Thanks for your time! I wish you all the best for November. Any last words you want to put out there?

Thanks for the interview. Cheers!


Posted on 15.09.2006 by Bringing you reviews of quality music and interesting questions such as:

"A picture is worth a thousand words. How many words is a song worth?"

I have only got so much patience and skills, you do the math.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 113 users
19.09.2006 - 06:10
Account deleted
agalloch is one of the best bands ever to inhabit planet earth. good interview!
09.10.2006 - 22:40
Angel of Lust
Great Band, The Mantle is an incredible album.
Good interview, very interesting.

"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear,
and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown."
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
29.12.2006 - 17:13
Agree @ Both comments
The silent moment, right before the dusk fades away
I open my eyes, but the darkness stays

Hits total: 10055 | This month: 9