(Rules of The Gauntlet: The artist (in this case, UK dark rock band Her Despair) is sent a butt ton of questions ranging from standard to stupid from which they must choose at least 12 to answer and return them to us with a minimum of tear stains).
Tell me about your new album. The writing,vibe,production/producers, etc.
“Exorcisms of Eroticism,” coming 22 November 2019, is the dark and dramatic collection of six new gothic rock anthems from HER DESPAIR. Designed to unravel the mysteries of the theologic and the erotic, each song is set to a storm of symphonic instrumentation; providing the perfect soundtrack for your sorrows.
We could not be happier with this forthcoming release. It very much continues on the styles and themes we have previously explored, but develops them much further. There’s more orchestration, everything sounds much bigger, and generally we feel they’re the best group of songs we have composed yet. We are confident that our fanbase will really enjoy it, and sincerely hope it also draws new people to the band.
We recorded at Whitehouse Studios with Matt Bew again, who produced our previous release “Mournography,” and can’t compliment him and the Whitehouse team enough. Fantastic people to work with, and Matt is amazing for bringing out the best in the artist.
The first two singles “The Exorcism” and “Pandaemonium” have been exceptionally well received, and so far the press reviews have been very positive (except one, which absolutely crucified us). We’re really looking forward to seeing what kind of reception the release gets when it’s available.
How often do you work on your music?
I go through phases where I’ll write the skeletons of several songs in fairly quick succession, then refine them as I go along afterwards. When I’m deeper into the songwriting process, I’ll work on them frequently. Then when I’m happy enough with where those songs are, and we’ve worked on them more formally as a band to the point we feel they’re complete, I’ll try and give myself a rest from writing. It doesn’t always work out though, and inspiration can strike at any moment. Hence why I’ve started on ideas for the next release after “Exorcisms of Eroticisms” already…
Do you have names for your instruments? If so what are they?
I have a white Gibson SG named Lucie, a black SG called Midnight, my bass is named Patricia, and my microphone is Mercy.
What’s the stupidest thing you have ever heard someone say?
That they don’t like the Sisters of Mercy.
Who are your influences?
First and foremost, the Sisters of Mercy. Other crucial influences would include Type O Negative, HIM, Suspiria and Merciful Nuns.
Which band member are you positive is an extraterrestrial and what does their planet look like? Details!
We are all extraterrestrials from the Planet Despair, where everything is black and enveloped in smoke.
What was the last song you listened to before this interview?
Right now I’m listening to Insomnium’s “Shadows of the Dying Sun” album, specifically my favourite song “Lose to Night.” The whole album is sensational, and beautifully produced.
If you were facing unbeatable and fatal odds what song would you want to check out to? Why?
I’ve always thought the best way to go would be whilst standing atop the mast of a pirate ship, suitably attired, as it sailed over the edge of Niagara Falls. Purely for the sake of consistency within the fantasy, let’s go for the main theme from “Pirate of the Caribbean” as the accompanying soundtrack.
Where do your song names come from?
More often than not I’ll have a working title for a song fairly early in the songwriting process. I find it’s not only helpful in order to reference the song itself – rather than saying to the band “let’s play that new one that starts on E then goes to G” or something – but it can also convey the general mood of the song. This approach doesn’t necessarily always work, as setting yourself a title can limit you lyrically and thematically, so occasionally the title may change as the lyrics develop. However, overall the song titles generally stay quite close to their first drafted name. More often than not, they’ll materialise in my mind unprovoked. A couple of words to work around here, a full title there.
If you could accomplish one thing in a music career what would it be? When you achieve that will you quit?
The dream would be supporting the Sisters live. After that I feel there would not be much further for us to go, at least in terms of what I’m hoping to achieve, so who knows. I can’t imagine quitting though; I’m too addicted to writing and playing music.
Top five favorite albums?
Sisters of Mercy – Floodland
Fields of the Nephilim – Mourning Sun
Woods of Ypres – Green Album
Nick Cave – Push the Sky Away
Misfits – American Psycho
If you had a time machine what would you do with it?
Bear witness to the Crucifixion.