– To begin with, I’d like to ask what was the idea you had in mind when forming Tanith. How does Russ think this project differs from Satan?
He and I had talked about doing a project with original music together and what that could look like. The idea of a 70s inspired band suited our vocal style, and we both love music from that era, so we went with that. Blue Oyster Cult was a big inspiration. And I think for Russ, forming Tanith was a way to use some of the ideas he had that didn’t fit into the music Satan was making.
– The name of your band refers to a character from The Devil Rides Out. Can we find any homage to Hammer horror movies (great names like Terence Fisher, Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing) in your compositions?
Not currently, but I’m not against it! Really enjoy those films…
– The mix between female and male voices that you blend in your music is a delight to our ears. I’d like to know what bands you took as references for this vocal approach.
Blue Oyster cult, as mentioned above. Fleetwood Mac, a great harmony band. David Bryron era Uriah Heep. Really its all about listening though and finding that spot where the voices blend in the right way.
– The global pandemic separated the band geographically, with Cindy and Keith living in Brooklyn while Russ stayed across the ocean in Newcastle. How did you face this challenge? Have you been able to return to normality when it comes to rehearsing and performing shows?
Well stuff slowed down quite a bit as we were dealing with lockdowns and adjusting to the new reality of living in a pandemic era. At some points it felt like everything was up in the air, whether we would be able to play again. We did chip away at songs during that time, very slowly, but it wasn’t really until I was able to travel to the UK or Russ was able to come back to the States that we made any real progress. Once Russ was able to come back over, everything shifted and we began to plan for the next recording session for the new record.
Since Russ lives overseas, normal I suppose is writing in creative spurts and honing material overtime. It’s just we have more frequent visits than we were able to during the pandemic.
– Four years after your wonderful debut, In Another Time, we’re surprised with this Voyage. I’m curious to know about your feelings for both albums.
They are both like children! Hahah. I’m very proud of both. IAT has a nostalgic innocent quality to it when I listen back. There is something very sweet about it. The think with Voyage, there’s a lot of character exploration and a lot of strong musicianship on the record. Very happy with how both sound and the compositions.
– In Voyage we can enjoy «Seven Moons», the second part of the epic Galantia trilogy, started in your previous recording. It’d be amazing to learn about the story behind these songs. What does “Safna hér börnin mìn” mean?
You’re the first person to ever ask what those words mean! “Safna hér…” is Icelandic for “Gather here my children” The Goddess portrayed in the trilogy is calling all the children of the earth to come to her new world on Galantia. A kind of space rapture I suppose…There in the new world, a higher race of beings evolved…
The seed of the idea began with the song “After the Goldrush” by Neil Young. Russ used to read a lot of sci fi and i’m sure that influenced some of the story behind these songs.
– How is it for you, as a couple, to share this musical project? How did you meet?
It’s very exciting to be doing this together, to work on creative ideas and to perform together. It’s something real we can have while living so far apart. Russ and I were introduced though a mutual acquaintance in Montreal.
– You’re accompanied by Keith Robinson on drums. Have you worked with him before?
Not before Tanith no, but we had heard Keith play with some other friends of ours and liked his drumming style. He’s very tasteful and doesn’t overplay but has a very solid, grounded style. He’s a great listener, player and overall musician in addition to all the other things he does for the band.
– In a way, your sound could be framed in a kind of revival of seventies bands like Wishbone Ash or Thin Lizzy, along with other bands like Hällas, Night or Wytch Hazel. We’d like you to recommend us other bands with a similar style to yours.
Agreed and I love that other bands are being inspired by the music of the 70s as well. I like what the band Spell is doing and also Freeways, both from Canada.
– Your recent album marks the departure of Charles Newton from the band. Was it a scheduling problem on his part? Have you considered bringing a second guitar back?
You could say it was a scheduling problem since he had moved to New Mexico during the pandemic, which made things even more complicated. You could say it was a lot of things…I think the pandemic had something to do with it as well. He didn’t want to continue with us though even though we wanted him to stay. He’s a great and very versatile guitar player and writer. But in the end, we would rather have someone in the band who 100% wants to be there over someone who doesn’t. Yes, we are looking for a new second guitarist, as we can’t play our songs without the dual sound.
– Although we can find nods to Greek mythology in your songs («Dionysus» or «Adrasteia» come to my mind), I’m interested in your main literary sources of inspiration.
Kim Stanley Robinson, who wrote the Mars Trilogy. HG Wells, “The Time Machine”, Isaac Asimov, and probably most of all Philip K. Dick. Russ used to read a lot of sci-fi.
– Russ’ way of playing the guitar is unmistakable. Who are his main idols?
He loves Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore.
– Finally, I would like to highlight the beauty of the album cover, which seems to be inspired by South American mythology. Could you explain what the illustrations of your two recordings represent, as well as the artist behind them?
Thanks! Both paintings are by Brooklyn artist and set designer Luke Cantarella. They portray aspects of the story of the Galantia trilogy. The hybrid owl woman is the main character in that narrative.