Infernal Dominion presents an exclusive interview with Ryan Henry - the talented force behind Reclusiam and Necare. After being active in the underground doom metal scenario for more than a decade, Ryan created his solo project 'Reclusiam' to unleash dark and macabre sounds which he could not work with while serving his duties in Necare. He has released one demo under this moniker so far and it got great reviews in the doom metal underground. After 7 years of its release, Ryan has now re-pressed the demo again for close friends and fellow doom metal maniacs. So now here is an opportunity to get familiar with this true artist and read about his experience and musical journey so far.
Thanks for giving the interview, Ryan. For the few people who don’t know about your band, could you tell us something about Reclusiam? How it came about and where it stands now?
Reclusiam began in 2004 after I had spent a few years listening to Evoken, Shape of Despair, Thergothon, Skepticism, Esoteric – basically, the giants of funeral doom. I decided that I wanted to create something darker than the work I was doing with Necare (my doom/death metal band) at the time. Something less complicated structurally but more visceral and heavy. I didn’t want to limit myself by writing verse/chorus patterned songs – I simply wanted them to meander along and build in intensity. I also wanted to incorporate more abstract dark ambient into the music. As of now, the project stands where it did upon the release of the debut album. There is no new material recorded, but there are songs in the works.
It has been 7 years since the release of the brilliant ‘’Reclusiam’’ but we haven’t had the pleasure of hearing anything from your project afterwards. What were the causes which led to this period of dormancy?
After the release of the 2004 self-titled album, I felt I had “said all that I wanted to say” with Reclusiam. A year after the CD was released, I moved to a city five hours away from the studio where Reclusiam was produced. If the project is to continue, I have to work with an engineer who knows exactly what I want, sound-wise. That engineer is Jhon Ackerman, who recorded the debut. Honestly, I’ve spent the past few years just being a metal fan and not an active songwriter/musician per se. Over the past few months, though, I’ve been working on ideas for more songs and attempting to write new material. But I won’t release anything else until the time is right and the music is as good as or better than the debut.
It is great that you have planned to re-issue your only release for fellow fans and friends who somehow missed the opportunity of owning the first press. What is different in the new repressed CD? I read somewhere that you planned on covering 'Doden' by Nortt. Are you planning to record any new music for the new CD?
This second pressing is identical to the original pressing, save for an improved rear traycard print. There is no new music on the CD. It is, for all intents and purposes, the same as it was in 2004. I would love to cover Nortt’s “Doden,” if I can work out the royalty side of things with the artist and his label. That’s something that will hopefully happen down the road on a future release.
Reclusiam' was an independent release. Are you planning on approaching any labels for any help in releasing the CD?
I have actually had offers from labels to release the album. To this day, I prefer to keep the 2004 self-titled release and any other music I record as Reclusiam completely independent. This way I retain creative control over the music, art, and media exposure. I can offer free downloads and share the music any way I’d like if I remain independent. There are pros and cons to having a contract with a record label, obviously. So if production of the album exceeds my personal financial capabilities, I might have to seek label support.
What formats are you planning on re-releasing ‘’Reclusiam’’ in? Is it only to be repressed on a CD or in vinyls, or maybe even cassettes?
“Reclusiam” will be re-released as a CD only.
I personally think that your self-titled release was one of the best works in funeral doom which I have ever heard. The somber and highly captivating atmosphere of the music creates a feeling of dread and despair within me whenever I listen to it. What inspired you to create such intense music?
I definitely appreciate the praise for the Reclusiam CD, and am extremely glad that it has affected a few listeners in a positive way. My inspirations were born out of a rather dark period that was beginning in my life. I was confused and anxious and music was my only outlet for these feelings. Rather than pour out dark, personal emotions lyrically, I simply put the negativity and hopelessness into the music. I left the lyrics somewhat abstract and open to interpretation.
After this release, where do things stand with Reclusiam? Would you be willing to ever play live?
Again, I am in the planning stages for a follow-up release to the 2004 album. Also in the works is a possible split CD with
doom/death metal band Nevertanezra, with new Reclusiam material. If you haven’t heard Nevertanezra, I highly suggest seeking them out. Their vocalist is Rick McCoy, formerly of Avernus, and he has expressed interest in taking over vocal duties for Reclusiam – at least for that release. Avernus’ “Sadness” demo is one of the reasons I am playing doom today, so that would be an incredible honor. As for playing live, I don’t foresee that ever happening. Utah
Tell us about your previous Death/Doom band called ‘Necare’. It was another brilliant band, and I wish you guys had made more music. What were the reasons for Necare splitting up? Are there any unreleased tracks that you might release in the future?
Necare split for many reasons, one of which was to allow G.C. to concentrate on his work in progressive metal Vanquish -- and for me to work on Reclusiam. Recording the album “Ruin” for Firebox Records was exhausting, to say the least, and I think both of us were burned out on Necare. As for unreleased tracks, there really isn’t anything that the general public hasn’t heard. We did a couple of covers for fun in the studio and on the four-track in our rehearsal space, but those are long gone.
What is your opinion of the Doom metal scene nowadays? Do you still feel the strong sense of identity as you could when you were first making music, or has your interest somehow dulled over the years?
I’m very detached from the doom metal scene. I still correspond with friends in Evoken and Pantheist, for example, but I don’t actively follow modern metal scenes of any kind. I never really fit in to the doom scene when I was an active part of it. There were great people and musicians involved with playing doom, but I always felt like I was lurking along the periphery. Still, I made some great friends and met some good people.
Both Necare and Reclusiam have had some great cover art which perfectly fits the abysmal atmosphere of the music. Who were the artists which were behind the artworks for ‘’Ruin’’ and ‘’Reclusiam’’ and what were the concepts which they had incorporated for creating them.
Necare’s “Ruin” had cover and interior/traycard photography by David Penprase, who is probably best known for the cover of Anathema’s “Serenades.” He’s a hell of a guy and 100% supportive of struggling underground musicians. Reclusiam’s cover was rendered by a
artist named Alice Duke who I discovered through deviantART. I liked her illustrative style and she was completely professional to work with. I’m not sure what she is doing now. The concept for Necare’s cover was abstract, really. For Reclusiam, I wanted a picture to go with the theme of that spoken verse in “Litanies of Rust and Decay.” I had the artist depict a chanting priestess reading from a book of chaotic verses, standing before a barren industrial backdrop. UK
Besides your doom laden musical shenanigans, you are also indulged with literature and have penned a book on Zombies. Would you like to shed some light on this work of yours? Were there any specific reasons which led you to work on a topic which has already been exploited an umpteenth number of times?
I feel that most zombie literature and film focuses on gore and splatter rather than the personal struggles faced by survivors fighting to stay alive. I wanted to do something different. My book “Six”, available for download at www.sixnovel.com, concentrates on a group of survivors trying to make their way across a dangerous countryside. It starts with six characters, and, one by one, they die off until there is one left. So it’s not a matter of who dies, but how he or she dies. It is a gruesome tale. Killing the undead and the living, however, is never glorified or depicted as easy. Every action has a consequence; every mistake ends in a dire result.
Coming back to music, which albums have you been spinning a lot these days? Any favorites among this year’s releases?
Mostly old stuff, actually. In the realm of Funeral Doom, there have been some newer bands that have caught my interest over the past few years. I find Ahab, Nortt, Black Wreath, and Catacombs to be enjoyable and atmospheric. Outside of the doom circle, I’m digging the work of French bands like Alcest and Les Discrets. I can tolerate some DSBM – namely Forgotten Tomb, Leviathan, and some of Xasthur’s mid-period work. On the non-metal side of things, I enjoy dark ambient like RAAN, Atrium Carceri, and Darkened Soul. As for this year’s releases, Disma’s “Towards the Megalith” and the new Exhumed album “All Guts, No Glory” are currently kicking my ass.
Thanks a lot for spending your precious time and answering these questions Ryan! The last space is all yours. If you have something to say to your fans or doom metal aficionados in particular, then go ahead!
I’d like to thank you for the interview. I enjoyed answering your questions immensely. As for all the doom fans out there, if you haven’t heard the Reclusiam album, you can download it for free in .mp3 format at www.reclusiam.com – if you like what you hear, buy a CD! They will be available through me directly; through PsycheDOOMelic in Europe, and Deserted Factory in
Asia. Doom or be doomed!
Interviewed by Gautam Shankar and Ankit Sinha.
Check out Infernal Dominion's review for ''Reclusiam'' here - http://infernal-dominion.blogspot.com/2009/09/reclusiam-reclusiam-2004.html
You can download Reclusiam's music officially from Ryan's personal website here - http://www.reclusiam.com/
Buy the album if you like his work!