Lethe have been responsible for one of the best multi-textural dark-Rock albums of some time in their début album When Dreams Become Nightmares. I asked them some questions to see how it all came about…
Hi! For those who are unfamiliar with your band, introduce yourself!
Tor-Helge Skei (THS): Hi everybody! We are Lethe.. 🙂 We’re a Norwegian/Swiss band, or project, consisting of Anna Murphy (Eluveitie, solo, Fräkmundt, nucleus torn, and heaps of other bands/projects) and Tor-Helge Skei (Manes, Manii, Kkoagulaa, etc.).
As Lethe is comprised of members of other bands, how did this project come about?
THS: Mostly by chance, actually. I posted something on my blog a while ago, about me thinking abut doing an album of cover songs, and wondering where I could start looking for vocalists and contributors to that. Shortly after, I got an email from Anna, and we almost immediately started working on a few songs (among others, ‘Hutterite Mile’ by 16 Horsepower). It didn’t take long before we just knew we had to do more music together…and the idea about Lethe was born..
Anna Murphy (A): A journalist (singer of Three Days of Silence) contacted me because Tor-Helge was looking for musical collaborators. So we got in touch, started on some music, finished some cover songs and decided to do a real project.
Is it important to keep Lethe a fully separate entity from Manes/Eluveitie?
THS: The chemistry in the various bands and between the members are quite different, and that influences how we approach music and presentation and everything, so there’s not much real effort being done keeping them separate, really. It comes naturally.
A: Well with Eluveitie it’s pretty obvious that Lethe has nothing to do with it apart from some members maybe pitching in from time to time, but Lethe and Manes share a lot of the same collaborators so there’s more connection there. I can imagine doing shows together and combined things like that, but of course they’re still to be looked at as separate projects.
What were the influences you drew on for the sound of Lethe?
THS: Oh, the usual, I guess. Life, death, mental processes, nightmares. Everything that happen/s/ed in our lives.
A: Lyrically as well as musically we have no limits, that’s probably what influences us most, because then we can draw inspiration from everywhere 🙂
The songs are multi-textured and very well composed. How did the writing process work for this album?
THS: I can only speak for myself, but it’s quite similar to how the ‘writing’ is done in the other bands/projects I’m involved with…chaotic, unplanned, whimsical…the music kind of grows on its own, and we just follow along 🙂
A: All hail the internet. Most of it was done by exchanging files back and forth. Most of the initial sketches came from Tor-Helge and I built my parts on top of them. To finalize everything and also record some things together I went on a trip to Trondheim.
Do you feel you accomplished what you set out to with this release?
THS: Yeah, since we had no concrete plans for the final result. It was more like pushing it in a direction we would like to see it go.
What would you do differently next time, if anything?
THS: Hmm.. Anna talks about some smaller mixing and audio issues she would like to do better on the next album, but I don’t hear much of that 🙂 She works in a studio, and is a lot more focused on sound quality and frequencies and stuff like that, while I’m obsessed with the general feeling and mood only. I guess we’ll do it quite similar to how we made this album, but with other songs and ideas, of course. Actually, we’re working on a set of songs for the next album already, even if the first one isn’t officially released yet 😀
A: Nothing except maybe the mixing. I’m not quite 100% happy with it and I’m learning more and more each day so I think the next one will sound better 🙂
How do you feel this album fits into the wider music scene?
THS: A little on ‘the outside’ of everything, I guess. Never been interested in being in the middle of any genres or milieus. For me, the exploration of new and unknown musical paths is massively satisfying and motivating, but I have no idea if the ‘general music listener’ thinks like that. Can’t start focusing on the potential reaction while making music! The only thing that would do, is putting breaks on the creative process. No way.
A: I have no idea if it fits anywhere, but I don’t really care either.
What are you listening to at the moment that you want to recommend?
THS: It’s been a lot of Lethe and Manes lately, of course, because of the new albums from both. Apart from that…varied stuff, mainly…Dälek, Shpongle, Blut Aus Nord, Jega, Ggfh, Billie Holiday, Buddy Rich,
A: Frostmoon Eclipse, they’re cool
What does the future hold for Lethe?
THS: New music, new albums, new personal horror stories.
A: No idea, let’s see! 🙂