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Home1.0 Musik1.3 InterviewsInterview Encephalon

Interview Encephalon

Matt Gifford, mastermind of the band Encephalon, answered a few questions about the new album “Echoes”.

Your new album “Echoes” has been released now? Are you satisfied with the result?

Yes the response has been great so far, it’s a less challenging album then our previous 2 albums WE ONLY LOVE YOU WHEN YOU’RE DEAD and PSYCHOGENESIS, so I think people were able to latch on to the catchier songs a lot quicker and we got a lot more club play, especially in europe. In the few months Echoes has been out it has amassed more than half the streams WOLYWYD has since 2017.

It took 6 years until the new album could be released, what kept you?

It was more like 4.5 years, which is about the average length we have spent on our best albums. WOLYWYD was an experiment in writing very quickly so we were able to put that out in 2 years, that album has very little singing on it – perhaps I spend too much time tuning and editing my vocals? We also released a goth rock side project called HEADLESS NAMELESS in 2020 where Alis is the singer, check it out if you liked the song EMULATIONS. The Headless album and Echoes were both double albums and we do all the mixing, mastering, artwork, basically everything you see and hear was created by us.

Where do you see the difference to your previous songs?

Psychogenesis is a concept record about the destruction of the universe and WOLYWYD is about a celebrity coming back from the dead. Im very much writing from a narrator’s point of view on PSYGEN and I’m deep in character throughout WOLYWYD – The songs on ECHOES are very personal and have a lot more of my “self” preserved within them, much like our debut THE TRANSHUMAN CONDITION. On THC I was writing as an absolute nobody who had no idea if anyone would ever like a single song I wrote, and I would write songs about wanting to be a machine so that I wouldn’t have any emotions or doubts. Now 10 years later I know where I stand and ECHOES very much speaks directly to the listener, it’s loaded with little references to other Encephalon songs for the fans who really read the lyrics.

Do you still think about the order of the songs when compiling the album? In times of downloads and streaming it doesn’t seem so important to me anymore, although your album is also available on CD.

I obsess over it. The album is still the art piece to me. We didn’t put PSYCHOGENESIS ZERO at the start because it was the best song, it’s there because it’s the beginning of the end of the world. LIMB FROM LIMB’s lyrics are literally the first thoughts of a cyborg attaining consciousness and the last song WHAT PART OF ME DIES are his final thoughts. Despite having less of a story, the tracklisting on ECHOES is very important, we slowly introduce some simulation theory concepts and eventually by the final track we are tying our whole career back to the beginning, as the last words you hear are from the title track of our first album. All that being said, I’m fully aware most people don’t listen to the full albums through everytime, and we usually know what songs are going to be most popular and it’s totally fine if only a few songs stick out and make a playlist.

Is the CD release important to you?

I think so for the full albums, I’m not opposed to releasing some stuff purely digitally but I do like having the CDs to look back on. I still know a guy who only listens to CDs – on a discman!!! so I gotta keep Brad happy.

What are your sources of inspiration?

Early Playstation era RPGs and sci-fi games! Our name comes from XENOSAGA where the “Encephalon” is a virtual reality simulation machine, which really ties into the current albums themes. Hideo Kojima is a genius and the AI speech from MGS2: Sons of Liberty will never leave my brain. I have played around in Virtual Reality headsets and that definitely got me questioning what it could all be like in the future.

What is success for you?

Being a zen motherfucker

Are there any plans to bring Encephalon to European stages?

Not at the moment, I would love to one day. The new album has performed way better in Europe than our last two – perhaps they were too American-Industrial inspired? Hopefully it will happen soon.

Speaking of live performances. In Germany we have the phenomenon that many concerts can’t take place. Especially the smaller bands are suffering from a huge oversupply, high costs and lack of personnel? How does it look for you in Canada/USA?

Probably similar, and then the tours that do happen seem to get cancelled a lot due to covid and passports and other stupid things.

Looking back in the history of Encephalon, would you have liked to have done something differently?

I wish I would have held my head up higher throughout. We spent so long getting our first album done and I thought it would change my life but it didn’t and its depressing going back to the same job as before. I am truly grateful of the good times and people I have met, and I realize now its pretty stupid to expect to make a career out of music while living in Canada. We have a really solid fanbase, with so many people who have stuck around for the journey and I am grateful for all of them in a way I never expected before.

Which album did you buy last?

genCAB – Thoughts Beyond Words – it’s fantastic!

What is the Surfacer EP about? The songs were written between 2005 and 2009? Why the release at this time?

Most of the songs were released on our first EP Drowner, but we had more songs from that era that we never released despite being pretty good, so we decided to release it all as an album. I always wanted to do a double album.

I wish you continued success. The last word belongs to you

Thanks for the interview! And thanks to everyone who keeps listening to Encephalon.

Encephalon @ WebLive


Encephalon Live

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