Exclusive Interview: Whispers In The Maze talk writing and recording “Stories Untold (Chapter 1)”!

The second of our pair of interviews with Canadians Whispers In The Maze takes a look at the ingredients list on the wrapper of their new EP “Stories Untold (Chapter 1)” but instead of looking at the Saturates or Sugar content instead we discuss with the band things like gear, working with Dave Sarazin and how Messora fits into the puzzle that they’ve created. If you missed it, the EP is one which orientates around Melodic Death Metal but has a whole lot more going on and as the title of the record suggests, it features some older material that has finally be committed to tape having reached its full potential.

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path for your new EP “Stories Untold (Chapter I)“? “As we get older and start to get more responsibilities in life, progress with the writing isn’t always very satisfactory. Even though we have other material in the works, we didn’t want to wait too long to release them. And one nice thing about this band is everybody considers themselves as part of a whole, and there is no issue in recording material that was written by previous members. All of the songs belong to the band, not an individual person. Everybody can put their own input and a song can grow until it is recorded, which happened with the songs in this EP. So when the idea of recording, even re-recording, the old songs came up, nobody objected”

“In terms of recording, we initially had other plans. In our previous recording we had spent a weekend at the WolfLake studios, which was a very fun experience (sleeping in the tracking room with your bandmates, learning who snores the most [haha]). But as COVID messed with everybody’s plans, we decided just to focus on the end result in this recording”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Writing the music is a collective process. Everyone contributes. It usually starts with someone bringing a few ideas, and then everyone contributing. Ultimately, everyone writes their own parts. We use Guitar pro extensively to share and organize our ideas, before we try them in the jam room. Ideas tend to evolve or change from there once played ‘live’ in person in the jam room. Once most of the music has been written, the person who is going to be the lead vocalist on the song then writes the lyrics. After this is done, then the final song structure is put together”

Stories Untold (Chapter I)” was recorded, mixed and mastered by Dave Sarazin, how did you find working with him on the material? “Dave and [guitarist] Vitto are good friends. Dave also teaches audio engineering to would be producers, which might explain how he was able to be so patient with us. Tracking with Dave here in Ottawa ended up getting us great results, and we all enjoyed the tracking and production experience. This was also our first time using Raven Street Studios to track drums, so we are happy with the drum tones we got”

We’re pretty Eagle eyed and have noticed there are some lyric writing credits for Zach Dean for the past two of your EPs. What can you tell us about the band’s relationship with him and how that dynamic works? “Zach left the band when he had to move from Ottawa to Montreal. Ben [Bertrand, bass and vocals] kept playing and recording for Zach’s project Messora for a few years after that. The songs credited to Zach he wrote while he was still with us. Those were passed over when we recorded Threads Unbind in favour of songs written by Marc-Alain, our vocalist at the time. Now we finally got the chance to record them”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound?

Ben: “Ibanex BTB fretless basses (except for a Dingwall Combustion on Chained Till The Grave), Darkglass X-Ultra preamp. I like to keep it simple, and DI straight out to the front of house when playing live most of the time”

Emine: “I use my favorite Schecter for Whisper In The Maze: Blackjack ATX C-1 FR, with the hot Seymour Duncan Blackouts pickups. I play with D’Addario strings (EXL148) which are optimized for C-tuning, which we are tuned to. I am not much of a fan of effects and I like the pure sound of a tube-amp. Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster gives me the crunchy, warm sound I like. And it has a built-in reverb, so I don’t need any pedals!”

Mike: “I use Pearl Masters Studio drums, and Pearl kick pedals, Gibraltar drum rack (work smarter, not harder!), Sabian cymbals, and Vic Firth drum sticks. Also, my drum throne, made by Roc-N-Soc, literally saves me from butt and back pain, so this is a pretty essential piece of gear”

Vitto: “Jackson SLAT8 8 string multiscale guitar, Fortin Grind overdrive, either a Peavey 5150 amp head or a Rev G3 / G4 preamp in front of a Seymour Duncan Powerstage”

“We have a saying in the band that goes “there is always a gear solution”. Often, we have gear solutions even when there is NO problem”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “Endorsements are not what they used to be. There is no ‘free lunch’ anymore. Emine had a Schecter endorsement for a couple of years, by which she collected a nice collection of guitars that she adores. An endorsement for things we use a lot of, like drum sticks, drum heads, and strings, could bring some savings. However, we like trying new toys too much to stick with a single manufacturer for anything beyond that”

Stories Untold (Chapter 1)” by Whispers In The Maze is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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