Interview: Ashen Horde

Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:

Tintregen is an EP that explores the theme of torment. While not connected by a story (as has been the case on previous Ashen Horde releases), each song examines the subject in a different way. From nightmares and invasive parasites to imprisonment and the loss of a loved one, Tintregen focuses on how we react when thrust into agonizing situations.

Musically, the EP continues Ashen Horde’s blending of various extreme metal genres, incorporating elements of death, black, thrash and grind, among others. The band aims to challenge listeners, but not ostracize them.

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?

I’ve always loved bands that don’t feel bound by a specific genre or sound. The ultimate musical freedom is to play what feels right, regardless of whether it fits into a specific box. Ashen Horde was my attempt at doing just that: writing the music I wanted to hear and play, but not forcing it into a specific label. I do think the band has evolved, but the core intent has not changed.

How does your writing process normally work out?

I almost always write the music first. There’s nothing quite like the rush of being creative (or at least trying to be). Sometimes I’ll sit down with my guitar and see what happens, and other times I’ll think of melodies when I’m doing random things. I’ll mix and match, change and revise until I have a song that makes me happy. Lyrically, I tend to just throw a bunch of ideas on paper (usually around a theme) and see what happens. I can’t speak to Stevie’s writing process, but I love that we have very different styles when it comes to lyrics, as it really adds another dimension to the band.

What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?

Honestly, I just want to continue pushing Ashen Horde as long as I’m enjoying it. I realize that extreme metal is unlikely to make me a rock star, and I don’t expect we’ll ever headline Hellfest. But being able to make music that I love, and that other people surprising seem to be into, is what I find satisfying. I’m certainly not opposed to becoming wildly popular, of course, if that’s an option on the table, haha.

What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?

So many bands could be blamed for the Ashen Horde sound! I am an absolute music-obsessed lunatic, and love so many bands and styles. Clearly, my love of black and death metal cuts through most obviously, but I like to think that everything I love influences what I write in one way or another. So while it’s the proggy weirdness of Enslaved and Ihsahn, the chaos of Brutal Truth, the endless riffiness of the Wildhearts, the cold grimness of Tulus and Darkthrone, or the relentless melodies of Helloween and Stratovarius, it all shapes what we play.

What’s next for you?

We’re already knee-deep in work on our fourth album, which we’d like to release next year. We’re hoping to partner with a great label that will help us build our profile and get our music to the right ears.