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Today XS ROCK Talks with “Blind”, vocalist for the incredible metal band “Summoner’s Circle”
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Blind: We are currently in the final stages of recording our first full-length album, entitled “Tome”. The new album should be out sometime in the first quarter of 2018. We also just released a music video for the first single off the new album, called Become None. The video was shot and edited by Norwegian videographer Thomas Mortveit in Knoxville, Tennessee, and can be found on our YouTube & Facebook pages as well as our website.
XS ROCK: How long have you guys been together as a band?
Blind: Summoner’s Circle was formed in early 2015. Our debut performance wasn’t until October 30th of 2015. We took our time finding some truly great talent in Knoxville and established early that we would be a theatrical performance. Around the time we were finalizing the look and antics of the band, we entered the studio to record a three song EP, called First Summoning. By our first show we had the EP ready for a crowd that probably thought our look was a one-time Halloween costume. I think we were the only band that night to stress that we didn’t know we were supposed to dress up for Halloween.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Blind: Each member has their own reasons for their music endeavors. Some of us just have music and metal in our veins and they’ve been making music either on their own or with others since they were kids. I, myself, have always had a fond spot for bands that performed as a character. Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, GWAR, Dimmu Borgir, Ghost, etc. the gimmicks and theatrics of their performance always struck me and made me think “man, that’s the way to be a band.” We looked around our local scene and there were no bands doing a theatrical performance. Mix that fascination with a love of horror, D&D, video games, and movies, then you have a ripe mix of source material to draw upon for lyrical content as well as visual spectacle.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Blind: We all love the excitement of writing new material. We get pretty excited about each new piece we compose. However, nothing compares to that feeling of performing to a crowd. Especially a crowd that hasn’t seen you before.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Blind: We’ve been fortunate to not have anything crazy happen, yet. It’s pretty commonplace for us to get strange looks after a show and stopping at a gas station or Waffle House still covered in blood and corpse paint. We did recently have some battery trouble at a rest stop and a fan traveling to South Carolina to see us play was able to give us a jump. More serendipitous than outrageous.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Blind: “Could you sacrifice my child on stage?!” There’s no shortage of people willing to get bloody on stage with us, but we always find it humorous when parents volunteer their children.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Blind: Mine were not. I grew up in a very religious family. The kind that actually thought AC/DC meant “Antichrist Devils Children.” To this day, both in Summoner’s Circle and previous bands I’ve been a part of, my parents have not been to see me perform.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Blind: “Leviathan” is a lot of fun to play live. The crowd always seems to get into it and it’s just a fun song. “Balrog General” is another one the crowd tends to move around to. Those are the crowd movers, but I think we, as a band, really enjoy performing “Become None” and “Legion”. They’re more melodic but powerful. And since “Become None” is an invitation directly to the crowd, despite it’s more melodic tone, it has the ability to really get people going.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Blind: Fear Factory and Cannibal Corpse were my earliest metal inspirations. As time went on, I got really into Scandinavian melodic death metal. Bands like Scar Symmetry, Kalmah, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Disarmonia Mundi really finetuned my taste. But I ended up taking a lot of vocal inspiration from bands like Watain, Extol, Into Eternity, and Immortal. I found performing heavy metal music to be cathartic. Performing a costumed, theatrical performance really taps into one’s creative nerve because it’s not just the auditory experience but visual and sometimes olfactory as well. It’s more than just playing music. It’s giving a show to stick in the minds of your crowd.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Blind: Ghost and Black Sabbath first and foremost. We just did a single show with GWAR and I’d love to tour with those guys. Opeth and Alcest would also be on the bill.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Blind: We’ve had some really good shows with some amazing bands. Bands that I never thought I’d get to play with like Pentagram, Goatwhore, Crowbar, Deicide, and GWAR. All those gigs were huge milestones to us. But for me, I think our greatest accomplishment has been our music video for “Become None”. My college education was in cinematography and I always loved writing stories. The video is a ten-and-a-half-minute horror short film. Just seeing my concept move from script to final product was the most amazing thing, to me.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Blind: I would be working as a photographer and videographer. I actually shoot all our promo photos.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Blind: ESP and Gibson guitars, Orange and Marshall cabs, Kemper, Mark basses, Meinl cymbals, Vater sticks, Roman daggers, and the good ole vocal chords.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Blind: Metal is alive and well throughout the world. Though I do find it disheartening that much of the world is more enthralled by a dude with a Macbook or a dancer who buys all their music from other people. Real musical talent and training often goes unnoticed. Hopefully, as the metal scene continues to grow and be recognized for the musical feat that it is, people will see that it is a force to be reckoned with.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Blind: I can recite the entire script to Spaceballs. I’m a huge movie nerd.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Blind: Epic metal with occult overtones. We are the music that Cthulhu listens to.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Blind: The new album, “Tome”, will be out early 2018. The first single “Become None” and “Minotaur” are available now on Bandcamp, and the music video for “Become None” can be viewed on YouTube, our Facebook page or our website at www.summonerscircle.com. So get ready, acolytes, we have good things on the horizon and we’ll be coming to a city near you.