Summoner’s Circle is a six-piece theatrical metal band that blends elements of doom, death, black and progressive metal into what they refer to as simply Epic Metal.
For the band, every song in an incantation, every live performance is a Summoning, and everything they do is tied intrinsically to the mythology, or lore, they have created.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
BLIND: We have just come off the Hexed North American Tour with Children of Bodom, Swallow the Sun, and Wolfheart. Now we’re gearing up for the label release of our debut full-length album, which has been re-named ‘Become None’. The album will be released on Pavement Records, worldwide, on May 17th, 2019. We have a coinciding album release show on May 24th, at The Concourse in Knoxville, TN, with our good friends in Warclown and Absent from the Body.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
BLIND: Summoner’s Circle first formed in early 2015. We spent the majority of that year writing material and entered the studio to record an EP for our first show, which was Halloween of 2015.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
BLIND: Well, Knoxville has a history of birthing heavy metal bands but absolutely no bands with a theme or costumes. That and we’re all a bunch of nerds who fondly remember acts like KISS, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and now Ghost. We just thought we could make a splash by having a really nerdy, D&D meets H.P. Lovecraft, themed band heavy on occult influences.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
BLIND: I, myself, have performed as a vocalist since I was a teenager. The other guys have had much more experience than me when it comes to musical endeavors. They all come from a long history of playing multiple instruments going back to the ’80s. I was always more of a visual artist who just liked making a fool of myself on stage with a mic. I guess I was good enough at it that Gog asked me to help found Summoner’s Circle as the vocalist. From there I just kind of took over when it came to creating art, photography, video concepts, and other visual aspects to make the atmosphere we go for.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
BLIND: Hopefully something dark and otherworldly with a hint of something hauntingly beautiful. The image I get in my mind is that of an Elder God spinning visions of insanity and awe before it destroys everything before it.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
BLIND: Geez, right now, I’d just be happy to pay my bills. But our goal from the beginning was to take chances and see just how far we could go. So many bands fall victim to the two-year curse or lack of enthusiasm from the members. We have an extremely dedicated group of guys who really believe in what we’re doing. So long story short…world domination?
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
BLIND: Both are exciting for me. I love seeing how just a riff becomes this epic piece. Then going to the studio and hearing it for the first time mixed together is a truly special thing. But I gotta say, that feeling you get on stage in front of a thousand or more people is spectacular. My personal favorite thing is after the show and hanging out with fans and talking to people.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
BLIND: I write lyrics that are greatly inspired by the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. Cosmic horror is just such a fascinating source material that makes one’s mind race with possibilities. Each song is meant to be its own, contained, horror story. I might find inspiration for a feeling in other areas like movies and video games. The only song that breaks this style is the title track off our new album ‘Become None’. While it’s worded in a manner that fits our aesthetic, it’s an anthem about throwing away the archaic ideologies of your parents, becoming a clean slate, and coming up with your own ideas. Truly becoming one of the ‘Nones’.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
BLIND: Having good music with interesting lyrics is always the primary focus. The visual aesthetic, while very important to what we do, would be meaningless if the music sucked.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
BLIND: We’re surprisingly tame on tour. Just the usual goofing around, especially when packed into a 15 passenger fart wagon. The game of “Who cast the poison spell?” has become a game we’ve all had to endure. Most recently, on the last night of the tour with Children of Bodom, in New York City, Hex accidentally sliced his hand open and cut through both tendons on the backside of his left thumb. We managed to get him to a New Jersey emergency room to get stitched up we had to weave an appropriate story to the crowd for why there was no keyboardist on stage. Due to the restrictions of the venue, we weren’t able to perform our regular human sacrifice on stage, either. So I showed the crowd my dagger, apologized for the lack of human sacrifice, and informed them that Hex had an accident with the dagger. As such, he’s in a New Jersey ER and the blade has mistakenly had its daily fill of virgin blood.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
BLIND: We actually have parents asking us to sacrifice their children on stage. Kids seem to love what we do and we’ve had no shortage of parents wanting to see their offspring on stage getting bloody. We do have an age requirement, of course.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
BLIND: Absolutely! Coming from Knoxville, our friends are really pushing for us to go the distance. Some of us, however, have families that come from a much more fundamentalist background. While they may support our success, they still have yet to see us perform. I doubt they ever will but the invitation is always open to them.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
BLIND: Invest in yourself. Good gear is great but invest in your time. Be a spectacle. Surround yourself with people that want it as much as you do. And don’t be afraid to look like a fool on stage. I would say we need more costumed acts. It’s just fun. But if that’s not your thing, just focus on writing good music. Practice and play to a click track, it’ll really tighten your performance. And for the love of all that is unholy, don’t trash talk other bands. Get close to everyone because you never know when someone else is going to be doing really well and they may want you to play with them on a big show or go on tour with them. You’re never too cool to promote, network, and do things well. Being trve or kvlt just makes you that guy…don’t be that guy.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
BLIND: I personally love performing Legion. It’s my favorite song on the album. It just has this moody feel that I love. And from our EP, ‘First Summoning’, I love playing Leviathan: Lord of the Labyrinth. It’s just a powerhouse of a song that is fun, heavy and gets people banging their heads.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
BLIND: There’s a ton of bands that inspired me to be a metal vocalist. Bands like Scar Symmetry, Fear Factory, Behemoth, Strapping Young Lad, Dimmu Borgir, Nine Inch Nails, all really inspired me. But with the coming of Ghost, I think they went a long way to re-inspire people as to what is possible by making fun music and a unique visual approach.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
BLIND: Oh, this is an easy one. We’d do a world tour with Ghost, Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, Swallow the Sun, and a hologram of Tiny Tim.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
BLIND: Getting ‘Become None’ out worldwide along with the music video for the title track is probably one of the biggest accomplishment so far. But none of us can deny how amazing it was to complete a tour with icons like Wolfheart, Swallow the Sun, and Children of Bodom. It took us to Canada and opened us up to whole new crowds. It was a massive step for us.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
BLIND: I’d be doing what I do when not making music, photography. I just can’t sit in a cube anymore working in a nightmare routine. My brain just wanders and envisions stories and art too much for that. I love taking pictures and spending countless hours turning them into composite art pieces.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
BLIND: Let me give you a brief list of some of the gear the band uses:
Absalon – Gibson flying V, Mesa dual rectifier amps, DR Strings.
Y’Takt – Markbass Tube800, 1×15, and 4×10 cabs, 2006 Fender Getty Lee Jazz Bass made in Japan, 1982 Gibson Explorer Bass, 1982 Gibson G-3 Grabber, DR Strings 50-110 Neons for live, DR Hibeams 50-110 for studio, Line 6 wireless G10, Sennheiser e835, and Dunlop tortex picks.
Gog – Kemper Power Profiler, ESP V2, Orange cabs, Mission Engineering expression pedals.
Hex – Roland Juno keyboard.
ƒrix² – Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Evans heads, Vic Firth sticks
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
BLIND: The music scene is strong but, at least here in the US, I think it sometimes doesn’t know how strong it is. Just recently we’ve started seeing all these news articles about how metal is the fastest growing genre of music. I would argue that there have been waves of popularity and that it never actually went away. It’s just continued to grow on its own. Fans of rock and metal music are fiercely loyal. They don’t dip out when the mainstream turns a blind eye to the genre. At the same time, there is a certain amount of apathy towards smaller bands trying to carve a niche for themselves. A lot of Americans won’t go see a local show without a larger headlining act. Maybe it’s just a lack of publicity or a feeling that they can go see a local band any other time. And when they do come out, there is an unsightly tendency to show up for one band and then leave. We didn’t see that in Canada and from what we’ve heard from European bands, that trend isn’t popular there, either.
If you’re asking about the rock and music scene as perceived by mainstream music, I think it’s a uniquely American thing to flock to more simple music because it can be easily churned out with little effort. There is a lot of musical talent that gets overlooked for the sake of simple beats and trite lyrics. All we can do to counteract the industry is keep doing what we do and insist that people show up for an entire show, support all bands, and prove that we are 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: We’re all huge nerds. I, myself, can recite the entire script to the movie Spaceballs. We love hanging out with people at our shows. Come up and see us at a gig and we’ll be your best friends.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
BLIND: ‘Become None’ comes out worldwide through Pavement Records on May 17th. You can find it on all digital retailers and fine music stores. There is a CD release show in Knoxville on May 24th, and we’ll be in Washington DC on June 8th at Atlas Brew Works. We’ll also be performing at the Full Terror Assault Festival in St. Louis and The 20th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos.
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
BLIND: Thank you very much.
SUMMONER’S CIRCLE is:
Blind – Vocals/lyrics
Gog – Lead Guitar
Absalon – Rhythm Guitar
Y’Takt – Bass & backing vocals
Hex – Keyboards
ƒrix² – Drums (Studio and writing)
Drøm – Drums (Touring, live drummer)
SUMMONER’S CIRCLE can be reached at:
Youtube: Summoner’s Circle