Deathwhite have recently released their debut album – For a Black Tomorrow – into the world, and if you haven’t yet had a chance to sample the band’s emotive melodic metal, then I heartily recommend that you do. It’s a very catchy and memorable collection of songs, one which I very much hope to be able to catch live in the future, if rumours of future shows are true.
As Deathwhite are a band that I discovered and enjoyed early on with their debut EP Ethereal, I couldn’t resist putting some questions to the band, which they were good enough to answer…
Introduce us to Deathwhite – what are your influences?
We are influenced by a variety of bands, although we primarily take cues from English and Scandinavian doom bands such as early Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, along with Katatonia. However, it is rightful to point out that we aren’t a doom band, nor do we sound like any of the above-mentioned groups. We, in essence, are privy to bands with a dark or melodic style, those who are willing to push boundaries but also convey a sense of song and structure. That sounds like an awfully broad statement, but the foundation of Deathwhite is actual “songs,” so we are always fascinated by bands who are well-versed (no pun intended) in song construction over technicality.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Tell us about For a Black Tomorrow – what’s it feel like to have your debut album released into the world?
We, as you could imagine, are incredibly happy and proud. For a Black Tomorrow was originally going to be released independently in February of last year. We got in touch with the label literally a week before its release, where we had to subsequently pull the album from all digital outlets and refund those who were kind of enough to place pre-orders. So, the album has been delayed for roughly a year, but the wait ultimately proved to be worth it.
How did your previous two EPs prepare you for For a Black Tomorrow?
It’s a cliché, but true: they both demonstrated what we did right and wrong. An EP is far easier to put together than an album since you’re dealing with a limited number of songs. You can really pour all of your ideas and focus into this select group of songs on an EP, while for an album, you need to be aware of song order and how each song works alongside one another. Beyond that, we felt we found our own sound on Solitary Martyr. For a Black Tomorrow was simply us trying to write better songs than before.
How did you end up signing with Season of Mist, and what’s It like working with them?
As mentioned above, we signed with Season of Mist right before the original release of For a Black Tomorrow. Leading up to that, we actually reached out to them. The Solitary Martyr EP generated enough good press and goodwill that we felt confident enough to solicit the band to labels. Season of Mist was always at the top of our list. They have a tremendous roster, full of diversity and intriguing, boundary-pushing bands. We feel right at home, actually. Working with them thus far has been a pleasure. We’re an unconventional band, but they’ve never balked at any of our ideas and have gone above and beyond. They’re incredibly supportive, to which we remain forever thankful for. They took a risk on a band who has yet to play live, which is generally unheard for larger, successful independent labels. Therefore, we will do our best to make good on their investment.
What’s the process you use for writing songs?
Songwriting in Deathwhite begins with one member writing all of the music and lyrics. It’s a time-consuming, somewhat arduous process since we don’t rehearse the songs until we are preparing to enter the studio. Once the songs are far enough along in the demo process, the other members are brought in, which is when the songs start to develop. We will subsequently adjust the vocals and lyrics, enhance the drum parts and tack on guitar melodies and harmonies. It’s a very collaborative process, which, thus far, has worked. We plan on keeping this arrangement for the foreseeable future.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
“Dreaming the Inverse” is probably our favourite, although the title track is one we enjoy just as much. We stand behind each song on For a Black Tomorrow, although it was pretty obvious that “Dreaming” was the right choice for first single/video.
How do you think your music will progress in the future?
We have begun composing songs for our next full-length and based on the demos, the songs are heavier, perhaps less reliant on the riff style we employed on For a Black Tomorrow and Solitary Martyr. Meaning, there will be a stronger doom influence than before, which naturally takes away some of the lighter elements in our music. The songs still rely on vocals, which will remain the defining element of our sound, but, we want to push the metallic envelope a bit here. We all come from extreme metal backgrounds, so we should be able to apply heavier sounds into Deathwhite.
How did you choose the cover artwork?
Our artist, Jerome Comantale, designed the cover. We worked with him on the Solitary Martyr EP and were quite happy with his work. With the new album, we gave him the title, some simple instructions and perhaps a song title or two, then he came up with the cover. He’s brilliant in that he doesn’t need much direction; he’s fully capable of creating eye-catching artwork without the band hanging over his shoulder. Once we provided the cover art, we knew it was the right one.
How important is good album art to you?
Very important. It’s often the first thing people will see in relation to the band. Having a cover that fits the music and draws potential listeners in is of utmost importance, which is why we work with someone of Jerome’s ability.
With music becoming increasingly digital in nature, what’s your take on the digital/physical debate and the current state of the music industry?
It’s certainly not the same as it was ten years ago, let alone twenty. The industry has shrunk while new bands continue to pop up, which makes the market increasingly competitive. Fans have more options and ever before and yet, it’s difficult to get people to actually pay for music. So, that’s the ongoing dilemma for labels and bands: how to monetise music. While there will always be a need for physical product, especially vinyl, the advent of streaming services is starting to overtake traditional album downloading and MP3 files. Unless someone figures out how to generate more income for the music industry, it will continue to shrink. But, metal, unlike other genres, has a loyal fanbase, consisting of people who don’t mind paying for music or a concert ticket. That should ensure the genre’s stability for years to come.
You originally formed as just a studio band, will there be Deathwhite live shows in the future?
Yes, we are currently in discussions to play our first shows later this year. Nothing is confirmed, as we are waiting for the right opportunity. We don’t want to play shows just for the sake of playing shows, if that makes sense. It has the be the right venue and with the right bands. As you mentioned, we started as a studio band. We never intended to play live, but it has been suggested to us by multiple parties, not to mention by those who are in Deathwhite, that we play live. We recently started having full-band rehearsals, marking a first for Deathwhite. We have added a second guitarist/backing vocalist along with a bass player, so we should be able to present our songs properly in the live setting.
What are the next steps for Deathwhite?
Live shows appear to be in our immediate future. We will also continue to write new songs in preparation for our next full-length, which will hopefully come sooner, rather than later.
Any final words?
Thank you for the great interview and support. We are quite grateful.