Brown Jenkins interview (03/2008)
|Conducted by:||Lucas (e-mail)|
Hi UA, this is Lucas (a.k.a. Nervel) from the international webzine MetalStorm.ee. Not long ago I got blown away by your first EP "Dagonite". Its enveloping, claustrophobic Black/Doom is very well-performed and overwhelming. Congratulations! In the (un)light of this demo and your upcoming album, I'd just like to ask you a couple of quick questions.
- First of all: how are you?
I'm doing fine today, just trying to keep busy.
- "Brown Jenkin" is of course a character spawned by the mind of the famous H.P. Lovecraft. What made you decide to adopt it for your band?
I wish I could say it was the result of really deep thinking on my part, but the truth is that I had been planning a new band based on Lovecraft's world and I couldn’t think of many more suitable phrases or names than that. I wrote down a number of them, all just phrases pulled from his stories, and Brown Jenkins seemed to fit the best. It never occurred to me for a second, for example, that people wouldn't know where it came from or that they would think it was strange or whatever. It doesn't seem strange to me at all... I think of it as being orthodox, actually, just... obvious. It doesn't have anything to do with the music, it's just a name. It's better than "black ____" or "_____ funeral" or whatever, I guess. "X or n-throne."
- On the Moribund Cult Records re-release of your EP "Dagonite", there is some rather odd artwork. What is the message, if any, behind it?
The cover? That's just a very basic symbol of the sound of that album: guitars on top of guitars. Brown Jenkins' material is really solipsistic, you know, when it's not reflecting Lovecraft or coming out of that world then it's just my personal feelings, my emotions, my life. I suppose some might see that as being narcissistic, but I just write what I know about. I tend to live in my head most of the time, I'm an introvert, so the music exists in my imaginary world. As far as the rest of the Jenkins artwork goes, it's either self-reflective body stuff or just images from my life altered to fit the tone of the music, I guess to show "the way I see things", or something of that nature. This band isn't "about" anything at all, it just comes straight from inside me, from my dreams even. "Angel Eyes" is almost completely taken from my dreams.
Cover art for the EP "Dagonite", re-released by Moribund Records.
- You have a début full-length planned, titled Angel Eyes, to be released on the fourth of april this year. Can we expect a new direction, or will you stick to the atmosphere and feeling so greatly expressed on "Dagonite"?
Well, not really. "Angel Eyes" is pretty different from "Dagonite". Faster, more complex, based more in switching through riffing sections than the slow building of atmosphere. I tend to think of it as being darker and the riffing more abstract or strange. Listen to it and see what you think.
- In some other interview with you I read that your fuzzy, distorted sound is not really a product of your musical skills or production knowledge, but rather a lack thereof and the right equipment. Does that mean it will definitely disappear once you expand your equipment?
Ha! Well, the guitar sound I have is the one I want, but the way it comes through when recorded was, on "Dagonite", a result of the bad recording equipment I had. My guitar sound is basically Burzum crossed with Bethlehem. I still like the production on "Dagonite", of course, but there's a lot of stuff going on in those songs that was covered up by the distortion of the recording and the bad equipment, and then was further flattened when the recording was compressed during mastering. Compression, especially of a metal guitar sound, tends to take out some of the dynamics. I’m always building up my studio, so my albums will only sound better over time. "Angel Eyes" sounds better, the next one will sound better than that. It's just a matter of money, you know.
Cover art for the upcoming album "Angel Eyes"
- What happened to your other band Starshine? Is it still going strong?
Oh no, that ended before Jenkins even started. We put out two recordings with Starshine and I think that went as far as it could.
- At the moment Brown Jenkins is active as a one-mans-band, while at some point there were the other members Oscar and Less. What happened to those?
They left because the band wasn't getting enough attention…or they were just bored, I guess. I really don't know or care. I write all the music anyway, so it doesn't matter.
- What are your favourite bands in this day and age? Are you still stuck in 'the good old days', or do you see the current evolution of Heavy Metal as a good thing?
Well, I grew up listening to stuff in the late '80s and early '90s, and those bands and those albums are still my favorites. I like a lot of the newer things that have come out since, but I can't say I exactly enjoy the direction metal is going in these days. For example, while I enjoy a lot of technical death metal albums I can't say I understand what exactly they're trying to do with their music, what they're trying to prove. I think the black metal movement is dead. The forms of metal that I enjoy are usually considered "retro", so there isn't any kind of progression happening there... I also really don't like the commercialization of so many aspects of metal. I like music made by amateurs for amateurs, I tend to loathe "professional" metal full of sad clichés and easy feelings, easy atmospheres, the lowest common denominator life, etc. In my opinion metal is a form of music that should always be underground, made by people because they love it and wish to communicate or explore something real. I don't understand how people can do it for a living, or tour constantly or whatever. Who cares? I usually don't like "touring" bands. Also, by keeping it an as amateur pursuit you're immune to a lot of the pressures of the record/music industry. You can't be pressured to change your music, for example, because there's nothing these people can offer you.
- And is there non-metal music to be found on your shelves?
Oh, sure... I enjoy all kinds of music. Contemporary classical, dark ambient, noise, jazz, all kinds of rock music, punk, etc.
- Classic "Deserted Island top 10" question: you are stuck in the middle of nowhere and only allowed to bring your 10 favourites albums. Which ones? What are the albums that you absolutely cannot live without?
Well, I can't rank them, but here are 10:
Autopsy – Severed Survival
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures
Morbid Angel – Altars of Madness
Possessed – Beyond The Gates
Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky
Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark
Burzum – Hvis Lyset Tar Oss
Pestilence – Consuming Impulse
Godflesh – Streetcleaner
Voivod – Killing Technology
- Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, in return, you can have the last words of this interview...
Thanks for the interview and your review, I appreciate it! Thanks to anyone who reads this. People who want to listen to Jenkins or learn more can go to the myspace page (myspace.com/brownjenkinsband) or the Moribund site. Cheers!
||Posted on 26.03.2008 by If you're interested in extreme, often emotional and underground music, check out my reviews. I retired from reviewing, but I really used to be into that stuff.|
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