There is a certain amount of what you might call madness that goes into making a piece of more avant-garde Metal. Coming up with ideas that push boundaries and make you question what you’re listening to, while being hooked, like a white knuckle ride that you simply can’t get off. A group of musicians who have an interest in the Occult and are yet split far and wide have got together to form Lam and their debut EP “Liber K” is exactly that kind of music.
Obvious question first; How do musicians from Warrington in the United Kingdom and Méribel, France come to work with Mike Pilat on lead vocals (from acclaimed Swiss metal band Herod, ex The Ocean) on this project? What was working together like in a practical sense, when it came to sharing ideas and recording parts? “So, a little complicated but Ben and I (George Whalley) are based in Méribel, France and Mikey and Jimmy (James) are in Warrington, UK. I first met Mikey at a session in his studio ‘The Vaults’ in Warrington, drumming for a band that Jimmy was playing with. I kinda then poached Jimmy to come and play in a band with Ben and I out in the Alps for the winter seasons. Obviously Covid hit, so Jimmy returned back to the UK and we started writing riffs to fill the time! We were exchanging parts over the internet back and forth, fleshing out basic structures, which eventually turned into this EP. It kind of all seemed to fall into place, once the bed of the songs were written with the rhythm section, Mikey was pretty much given free reign to do what he does best, lyrically and melodically he pretty much encapsulated the whole thing on the first attempt!“
You’ve used footage from Benjamin Christensen’s 1922 film ‘Haxan’ in the music video for “Ruin” and have taken your name from an entity encountered by occultist Aleister Crowley in the 1910’s, so how did choosing the concept of the Occult come about as inspiration for the bands cryptic writings? “So I’ve always had a bit of an interest, or more a fascination with the Occult – but it tends to have this association with groups of cloaked figures meeting in ritual, doing weird things, summoning demons by cover of night! But what if in the case of Lam, this entity that Aleister Crowley allegedly was communicating with, rather than it be a demonic or angelic spirit, could it have been an extraterrestrial? If you look at the portrait of Lam, it bears striking similarity to what modern day conspiracy theorists would call a Grey alien. So in that sense, have we got the wrong end of the stick with all this witchcraft malarkey? That’s kind of why Haxan felt so right to use, in Benjamin Christensen’s film he’s actually comparing witchcraft and demonology to the practises of modern day psychology, and it looks seriously macabre 🙂“
We’ve described “Liber K” as if Gregory Puciato and Mike Patton got together and recorded their memories of an hallucinogenic nightmare; so musically who were your inspirations for Lam? “Haha! great stuff! Well definitely have listened to a lot of Mike Patton in the past, especially Mr Bungle, but I’m a huge fan of Meshuggah so I guess some of that comes out in this as well. Funny you say Puciato, I would have said Mike Patton and Phil Anselmo!“
Sonically there are very few stones left unturned with “Liber K”; you have odd time signatures, brass moments and pounding rhythms. Is there anything that you would not consider putting into your music? “I guess we’re pretty open to everything really – the first tack on Liber K, ‘Lament’ which has got the brass in, originally had parts written for Violin, Mandolin and Accordion as well. Because of lockdown’s, timings and recordings, it just wasn’t possible to get it all on there considering the circumstances! As long as it’s heavy, dark and evokes a reaction then its ticking all the right boxes for us“
What does the future hold for Lam? Do you see yourselves as a studio only project due to the geography or is there some hope of seeing these songs performed live at some point? “So at the moment we’re in the process of writing/recording a second EP, hoping to get that out before the end of the year at the latest – but yeah once we’re allowed to play properly again, it would be great to do the whole thing live and get it out on tour for sure!“
“Liber K” by Lam is out now and available over at bandcamp