– Hello and first of all, thanks for taking the time. How is everything going right now with CASTLE? What are you currently up to?

Everything is great. We just finished back to back tours, a Canadian headliner and a US tour with Lord Dying, also just wrapped up recording a new 7″ that will be released in the spring and are currently writing for our new record. Up next we are doin our California Cult tour starting January 16th.

– «Castle» is a really simple yet powerful name for a band, it algo gives an esoteric, almost mythical vibe. How did you come up with it? What meaning does it hold personally to you now?

It was a name I had for a very long time, since I was a younger and I was waiting for something that fit the name. When I started writing the first record in 2006 , the first song I wrote was Butcher of Los Angeles, the second was Descent of Man and I knew that Castle would be the name for this project. It just fir. At the time I also had the artwork and the name «In Witch Order» for the first record as well… so it was definitely something that was a long time coming.


– You have released 3 albums in 4 years, and you have also had a huge live activity. Have your experience on the road and on stage affected in any way what you have done on your newest «Under Siege»?

Absolutely. It played the largest role of any new experience when it came time to write. We played omething like 200 shows after Blacklands and in doing that we went from a band that wrote songs to a band that was living and breathing the songs so to speak. In a way the songs from Blacklands evolved greatly over the year and a half we performed them live and when we wrote for Under Siege there was a concious effort to make the songs leaner and meaner – more ready to play live if you will.


– And how do you think has both the band and you personally evolved since your previous «Blacklands» came out?

Like evyerthing I suppose, experience is constantly evolving us and our music. Playing live brings a sense of confidence in your playing, your voice, your writing and all these things. There’s a transfer of energy that’s addictive and that becomes part of how you write. There was also a lot of traveling involved and that’s something that isn’t for everyone but we love it. You have to work at that too though, travelling the right way.


– You have released all your albums in a quite short period of time, so I guess you may have a lot of ideas so, where do they arise from? What are some of your strongest inspirations? Or did you also have older material already written?

It’s a little of both… I wrote steadily while the band was a solo project from 2006 to 2009 so I had all the first record and half of Blacklands done. For Under Siege, a lot of that material was new or stuff that I wrote for Blacklands but didn’t fit the mood of the record. I also go into writing a record as a full time activity, like 8 to 12 hours a day… for a few months straight. Inspiration comes from anywhere really – I think the art is in being ready.


– Getting deeper into this new «Under Siege», for the cover artwork you have, once more, worked with Russian artist Denis Forkas. How did you or he work on the cover? Did you give some some kind of guidelines?

We approached Denis with the labyrinth concept we had been writing the music and lyrics to and there was some synchonicity there because he had also been doing his own study of the labyrinth myth over the last couple years. he showed us some sketches and we talked back and forth and developed the idea from there. I really like working with Denis because as the project goes on there is some inspiration there on our end with the ideas that are coming from him.


– It portraits quite good the album theme which, for what I’ve read, came out from the song «Labyrinth of Death». Would you mind to elaborate a little bit on the album’s main theme?

The first song we wrote was Labyrinth of Death and the whole thing started there but by the end we were taking that concept further by constructing the music as if it were a labyrinth with parts overlapping and themes coming back around in different songs. This was used more for an effect rather than as some high minded concept. We wanted the listener to get a little lost in the music and not really know why.


– And how good does the album’s title, «Under Siege», depict that theme?

It was just a title that felt strong and encapsulated the feeling of the record which has a heavy mood but is mixed with these soaring melodies that defy that. I think the term Under Siege really sums up the feeling of fighting through that labyrinth, both figuratively and literally, in your mind or in your life.


– Your two previous records were written in just a few months, and on this new opus you keep that energy and honesty, but with more refined songs I would dare say so, how was this time the songwriting process like? How long did it take?

Well I think I mentioned earlier the first record took about 4 years of writing and about half of Blacklands was done during that time as well. Finishing Blacklands took about 4 months… With Under Siege, I wrote Labyrinth of Death, Pyramid Lake and Be My Ghost off and on during breaks in touring during the spring/summer of 2013 and the other five songs I wrote in one block of time, from Sept to Dec 2013. So all in all it was around 6 months of writing.


– On the other hand, another standout element off this record is its sound and production: alive and raw, really organic, capturing the esssence of the music. How were the recording/production sessions like and how did you team up with?

We worked with Billy Anderson who produced Blacklands as well so I think there was an immediacy there since we had worked together. In addition I think the natural or organic quality comes from the way we record which is primarily live. There’s very little editing if any. We don’t use any effects on our instruments except for a little delay, and all the other gear we use is very simple, classic stuff – it all adds to the end result sounding well suited to the music.


– Your music takes your listener tu a singular place, and you don’t know where are you heading next when the next song starts to sound so, what’s for you the music of CASTLE? What does the band mean to you in your life?

That’s a very cool thing to hear. It sums it up very well and I think we do try to tell some story with the music… the band started as an instrumental band so for me still, the music has to work on its own without vocal. If it can stand alone then you have a good song and the vocals we have learnt album by album how to make the songs and the story stronger.


– I think with each album you have taken a new approach, making each album stand by their own with different trademarks, still sounding as CASTLE. For instance I feel this album is more epic and heavier than your previous ones. Was this how you envisioned the album or do you just go with the flow?

This is very much how I envisioned the album.. there is a time when I do go along with the flow – the initial creative process and then the craft comes after that in honing the vision… the editing and arranging of the music – that definitely entails vision.


– There are a lot of influences from traditional Metal styles here, and less of the SABBATH-esque vibe I think, still having a really dark, almost ritualistic atmosphere. Are you open to embrace different influences? Does the music you are listening to during a certain period affect what you create with CASTLE?

Yes, most definitely. The music we listened to the most before we wrote this record was older Judas Priest. They provided much inspiration in rhythm and form and also classical music of different sorts. I like the juxtaposition of the two.


– All this about «Under Siege» being said, how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Labyrinth Of Death


– I read some months ago you were working on a live album. Are there any news on this?

Yes we are always working on a live album! We have several recordings… just not the right one yet.


– And finally, what’s next for CASTLE? What are your near-future plans?

Releasing a new 7″ and writing the new album and recording this summer. Of course some touring in there too.


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to fo it

Thanks for the interview and support!


Tania Giménez


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