ETHICIST is a power trio from Cincinnati, Ohio. Their black metal is surrounded by influences such Post Black Metal, Crustcore and everything that comes across their path, making an unique sound that it’s not restrict to any genre barriers.
Please, describe the music and aesthetics of Ethicist.
Chad: We never really set out to be a certain type of band, so in that sense I see our music as coming from a very organic place. On our first release, nothing was dressed up too much. We were just trying to capture our songs at the most volatile moment, to document the sonic impetus of the tracks. There are no central themes in the lyrics and we have no political agenda. What ever has caught our attention at the moment is ripe for dissection.
Johnny: It’s hard to describe our sound as a whole because it changes so much from song to song. I’d say that’s by design, but sometimes it’s just accidental. I mean, we basically just play what feels and sounds good to us. If I had to simplify it to one word, that word would be grimy.
You released your first demo on cassette. There seem to be lots of bands releasing cassettes nowadays, specially on the black metal scene. Why do you chose that format? Do you think it matches the roughness and hiss of black metal?
Chad: I think cassettes are an interesting point of contention for some. I wanted to have a physical product available at our first live show, something tangible but not a CD. I was able to receive, print for and produce the first run of 25 blank cassettes before the show. I personally like some of the sound aesthetics of cassettes, but I grew up with them. There is something to be said about the tangibility of music. I’d love to release the first one on vinyl, though. This next record is planned to have a vinyl release this year.
Johnny: I think it can definitely help provide atmosphere to the overall listening experience. I’ve always loved tapes and records because you can hold them and be in awe, like, “This band rules and I’m holding their songs in my hand.” CD never really did that for me.
Still talking about cassettes, your next release will be out on Grimoire Cassette Cvlture this year. They seem to be one of the best in releasing cassettes of this kind of music. How did you manage to do it?
Johnny: Grimoire is great and Kneeko is definitely dedicated. Honestly, it just kind of fell into our laps. It was a very cool moment for us.
Chad: Yeah, I’m so happy we’re working with Kneeko. He got in touch with us really early on in his label’s formation and through a series of emails we were set to deliver II via Grimoire. I got to hang out with Kneeko in San Diego last year and showed him the progress on the new tracks. He has a wealth on knowledge on the more bleak and experimental side of heavy music and keeps releasing these modern classics. its great to be a part of the whole thing.
Besides this next tape, what 2015 can expect from Ethicist?
Johnny: There’s a possibility for another release late in the year and we’re planning to put out a limited package in the summer, which we’re very excited about.
Chad: Before II is even released we will start working on our next record. We’ll be in the studio in February and we’ll be playing some shows around then. More shows after that, a few limited tours as well.
Unlike many of the black metal projects I have interviewed these days, you’re not a one-man project. Do you play live a lot? Do plan on touring this year prior the new release? If so, where are you going?
Chad: We play often, but everything we’ve done has been very D.I.Y. We don’t use a booking agency, so all of our contacts and shows have come as a result of some connection we’ve shared with some very gracious people. However, we will be on the road some this year promoting II. We really hope to have the opportunity to perform abroad at some point.
Johnny: We play out a decent amount. We try to keep the shows limited to playing with appropriate bands or people we’re friends with, bands we really like etc.
Your second release “Cricket” sounds very different from the first demo. It shows more of a post black metal approach instead of the brutal assault from before. Is this your new path? What sounds are you aiming to do now?
Johnny: We really have no set direction for our newer songs. You’ll find that the more in your face moments are still present in other songs on II. The newest songs we’re writing feel more sludgy than previous tunes, but retain the brutality and post metal moments Ethicist is known for. Speaking on a personal level, I plan to have more D Beat stuff in future songs
Chad: We actually had quite a few more songs written before we released the first cassette. Some tracks that may never be heard and some that have yet to be heard. This new record is a continuation into the expanding valley of the bleak and the etherial, but some of our most aggressive riffs and wretched, reverb atmospheres are written, yet to be heard.
Thank you very much for the interview. Feel free to say what you want now.
Johnny: Thanks so much for this opportunity and a huge thanks to everyone who digs what we’re putting out. We’re very grateful that people enjoy what we love doing and we can’t wait to put more music in your hands.
Chad: Thank you for getting in touch with us. It’s amazing to have our music shared around the world. It’s humbling to have so many who have reached out to us with kind words, reviews and the genuine friendships that result from having shared a stage, a conversation, or our record.
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