Interview with Amenra 2013

By Bradley Smith

 

Iíll be honest, I am completely entranced by your newest album, Mass V.  I read somewhere that as a band you use a somewhat jamming process to create the album.  Is that the same process you use on all your albums? 

 

pretty much yes.  we start from one riff. dissect it. and start working around it.  jamming. build a world around that one place.  and see where we end up. sometimes you feel 'the something' being there, that means it's a keeper.  

if not it goes.

 

And do you think it makes the album sound somewhat more spontaneous in the end?  

 

maybe yes. I don't know.  what I do know is that every song or part has maximum impact the first time we play it in our rehearsal space. as soon as we pinpoint a part and decide we're going to use it. it already loses some of it's magic.  because the spontaneity disappears a little.

 

Because I will be honest, all your albums seem very controlled in their own way.  Anyways, how do you feel that Mass V is a progression/development from your previous efforts.

 

the first chapter in the writing process is very spontaneous. very organic. and then we start talking about the why, the what.  why do we play this, what does it mean to each one of us, and what do we want it to mean to everyone.  and from then on it becomes premeditated, controlled. every note, chord sound or word is weighed to its maximum effect. everything needs to have purpose.

 

Within the foundation of Amenra there is a positivity, like a family I believe you said.  How does that fit into the musical output of Amenra? 

 

there is light within everything we do.  it's our lifestory, individually and collectively. every moment we encounter in our lives that has an impact on our being, is translated into something eternal.  it is our way to cope with it all. we give it a place. it is our way to warn the people we care about. or let others know that they are never alone in everything that comes along.

 

For me the music has a definite spiritual side, but it is also fairly bleak and dark.  And what would you say is the spiritual base for Amenra? 

 

goodness within. heart.

 

How big of a roll does aesthetics play within Amenra?  

 

a very big role. everything is equally as important. every move we make.

 

I mean, that it really seems to take the right frame of mind, the right atmosphere to truly immerse oneself in the music of Amenra.  Would you agree?  

 

one has to oblige him or herself to go inside this world indeed, it's not always 'fun' to force yourself into working with ones fears or uncertainties, pains. one has to focus.

 

And what do you think are the perfect settings and visual aesthetics that embody the message and emotions of Amenra? 

 

there is no such thing as perfection.

honesty and sincerity is a good beginning.  only sing and work around things that really matter to you.

 

How does that separate Amenra from the typical band? To me there is a definite focused effort to present Amenra in a certain light on all fronts (Musically, visually, merchandising, artistically, etc.).

 

why not try to take everything that one step further.  just try to do everything within your might, everything humanly possible, use your powers. to surpass yourselves and everything you have ever done or tried. failure is nonexistent. from each creation you grow, and learn.

 

On the topic of aesthetics, The Church Of Ra website is one of the most Intricate that I have ever seen in relation to music oriented projects.  Why did you put so much time and effort into the website and what are we seeing when we look at it?

 

again. why not? because it is not necessary? it is for us.

 

I wanted it to be something where people had to look for everything, we don't want to 

serve everything on a silver platter.. 

you see the world that lives within everyone, the thoughts and moments everyone encounters in life. and when we all join forces, this could be the world we'll meet each other in. we visualize and ascend.

 

Why do you think it requires so much energy to put on a live performance and do you think that really shows the true nature of you as a band?  Or is it more a message/emotion you are trying to convey to the audience that dominates your performances?  Why do you have to perform? 

 

the live settings makes it possible for us to become the music, as well as the people in the audience.

it will always be hard to dig deep, and stir all the black matter that lives in the bottom of our hearts upwards. summon everything that ever hurt us.

it's not a very pleasant thing to do. Every time again.

 

it is the message yes. it makes it all more 'understandable'

 

why? because we 'have to', simple as that. by whom I cannot answer. I wouldn't know. I believe it's something that we were meant to do.

 

we have to because we were assigned to for some reason. we were put together to.

 

The Church of Ra, what is it? 

 

it's an assembly of kindred spirits, who are willing to walk that unnecessary extra mile. 

it is expression through self reflection. it is an individual/intrinsic quest for one personís truth. a personal truth.

it is a vehicle to translate that longing for truth into artistic images and sounds.

whatever medium one functions in.

 

And how does it relate to Amenra? 

 

we are its core. 

 

What is the unifying theme that binds all the related artists under the umbrella of The Church Of Ra?

 

truth.  worldliness. 

 

Members of Amenra are involved in a myriad of other projects like Syndrome, Sembler Deah, Kingdom, Blind To Faith, and one of my favorite hardcore bands, Oathbreaker.  How does that affect the musical output of Amenra?

 

Through our 13 years of existence we have had inspiration and ideas that sometimes weren't fit for Amenra. sometimes one makes a few steps off course, it is then that we form sideprojects.. I believe it makes us grow as musicians, it makes Amenra rewarding to come back to. 

Like that we never tire. I mean, writing Amenra tracks is done in different ways. it's not a 'fun' thing, it's a shared experience. the sideprojects allow Amenra to go on forever. without compromise.

 

So it makes it interesting to work with other people as well. We are all looking forward to write Mass VI. We feel as if there's a new world opening now for us, musically.

 

For me, some of it is really different such as Oathbreaker, and some of it is very similar, such as Sembler Deah.  But as an artist I would imagine it helps keep you fresh in all of your outputs rather than burning out. Does it free you in some ways to explore ideas you wouldnít be able to feel out in the framework of Amenra?

 

indeed. Like Syndrome for instance is Mathieu's personal solo outlet. 100% what he feels,

without anyone interfering in his world. As well as CHVE for me. Kingdom and Sembler Deah we formed to tell different stories, less universal and sacral.. 

 

Negative energy seems to dominate the world at large today.  Do you agree?

 

Yes 

 

What are some reasons for this and how can we as individuals and as a group work towards turning a more positive outlook on life?

 

just live by the goodness inside your heart. it's there you'll know when you make decisions with your heart. Empathize. 

 

Iíll be honest when I read interviews with you regarding positivity and the unity and brotherhood of man and such it sounds like such a hardcore attitude.  Are there some hardcore roots in there that helped shape your outlook on life?

 

yes we all have a background in straight edge hardcore. It has influenced us in many ways.

we are still very DIY in everything we do, we're almost autistic when it comes to keeping things in our own hands. As well as a humble way of looking at things. One should be thankful for every chance he gets. whatever it may be, big or small.

 

it comes back at you always.

 

Solitude for me is a vehicle for self-discovery and transcendence.  What does solitude mean for you and what can be gained from it? 

 

insight. 

 

Whenever I listen to Amenra I feel truly isolated.  Do you think that is a feeling that you try to imprint upon your music?  If so, why? 

 

alone and aloneness - Townes van Zandt said it best. aloneness can be compared to solitude. more of a state of being than a situation to be in. less bound to time it is definitely in there, solitude, loss, melancholy.. the hurt maybe.

existential emptiness if you will.

 

So what does the near-term future hold for Amenra?  And how was your tour with Oathbreaker?  That tour seems so perfect despite the musical differences between the two bands.

 

more shows, writing new work. acoustics as well. just continuing what we started 13 years ago, nothing more nothing less. we try not to set goals. We always see where the road takes us.

 

touring with Oathbreaker makes more sense to us than anything.

 

Thanks for taking the time to spend with Nocturnal Cult Webzine and creating music that I have found to be truly moving.  Iíll leave any words of healing and individual unity to you.  Leave us with something abstractly inspirational.

 

heart.