Intervista Sojourner (Mike Lamb)
Soujurner are a young and interesting band. TrueMetal.it got in touch with mastermind Mike Lamb to know them better.
Hello, welcome on Truemetal and let me start admitting that your new album “The shadowed road” is a very good work.
Thank you! We’re really glad that you like it, we appreciate it.
According to your bio you come from New Zealand, but actually you are more or less from all over the world. How did you get to know each other?
Yeah, for bio reasons you can only usually list one country in most places, but it’s fine because the core band is from New Zealand. I got talking to Emilio (the singer, ndr) after he contacted me about enjoying one of my other bands, Lysithea. We talked about doing stuff for a while, and eventually I wrote the song that became ‘Heritage of the Natural Realm’. I felt my whistle sections were a bit lacking, so I got Chloe (my wife and longtime bandmate) to fix up some of my bits that I’d written. It infinitely improved it, and after that Chloe and I ended up writing all of the music together from that point on. Technically Chloe and I are the guitarists and songwriters, but we both share duties with keyboards, piano, and tin whistle when it comes to the actual recording and writing of the albums. We got one of my longtime bandmates, Mike Wilson, in to do bass as well. Then in 2017 we recruited Riccardo from Italy on drums, who I met after he contacted us. So we’re very much a New Zealand-based band, we just have international elements.
I see you live in different parts of the world as well. How do you share your ideas while composing an album?
The songs are all written by Chloe and I (though Mike Wilson contributed a couple of riffs to the song ‘Our Bones Among the Ruins’ on the new album), so basically it’s all written and recorded in one place by the two of us. We have demo drums which I’ve written, which we send to Riccardo and he rewrites or fixes up, then he goes into the studio to do the final takes. Mike Wilson writes his bass bits to the finished versions of the songs, and Emilio does the same with his vocals. They all send the files back to me, and I mix them into the final mix of the album and request any tweaks that I need from any of them.They all send the files back to me, and I mix them into the final mix of the album and request any tweaks that I need from any of them. So really there’s not much sharing of ideas needed as it’s all decided in one place in a single studio between Chloe and I, it would be fairly messy to try to do it across continents online. It’s quite straightforward in the end, not as complex as the international spread might make it sound.
How does it feel to work with a legend of Viking/avantgarde metal like Oystein G. Brun?
It was amazing, as Oystein has been one of my musical heroes since I was a teenager. He is incredibly professional in his production, and I’ll definitely be working with him again in the future.
In my opinion, your sound recalls in certain ways Barren Earth. Do you feel similar to any artist?
Thank you! I really enjoy Barren Earth, so that’s a great comparison. I think if I had to give a short list of bands that have influenced the sound in particular I’d say (off the top of my head) Moonsorrow, Wintersun, Borknagar, Mgla, Rotting Christ, Dissection, Gallowbraid, Alcest, Draconian, My Dying Bride, and many more.
Which are on the other end, your influences beyond music?
There are a lot of influences from literature and film as well, soundtracks are a big inspiration as well. Nature, the beautiful scenery of New Zealand, Scotland, Asia, and Europe…we’re influenced hugely by the places we’ve been as individuals. It’s hard to pin down exact influences, but travel would be a big one.
Can you tell me something about the artwork, which is in my opinion very nice?
The Shadowed Road artwork was done by Romanian artist Sebastian Luca, at the request of the band. I worked closely with him to come up with what you see on the cover. We wanted something that represented Scotland (where Chloe and I are currently based for a couple of years), and that is particularly based off some of the scenery seen on The Isle of Skye. We’re very particular about artwork, as it’s the thing that’s going to sell your album to people at first glance. It needs to reflect what you want your music to evoke.
You are going to play in Glasgow, later this year. Are you planning a complete European tour and how is it, in general, your touring activity?
We’ve got North of the Wall on the 26th of April, followed by Dark Troll Festival in Germany on the 10th of May. I can’t say much more about beyond that just yet, but there are definitely plans to get around a bit more in the coming year.
Last famous words…
Thanks for the interview and thank you to everyone for your support!