Interviews: Oak, Ash, & Thorn

This is a new interview with the Pagan Metal/Heavy Metal/Black Metal/Folk Metal band Oak, Ash, And Thorn from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on his FACEBOOK PAGE

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or came out just like that?

Adam, vox/guitars: We’ve always had an interest in Celtic paganism, and the oak, ash, and (haw)thorn trees were especially important to the ancient Celts. One of our members at the time pointed this out, and the rest of us said, “That’s our name, right there: Oak, Ash & Thorn.” It’s like Crosby, Stills, and Nash, but trees. 

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Cierra, drums: I wanted to play metal because it’s what I grew up listening to. My parents are both metalheads and musicians themselves, so music - especially metal - was a big deal in my household. 

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Adam, vox/guitars: Yes, we did. The northern Colorado metal scene is relatively small and was even more so back when we began. All of the members of OAT that initially started the band had been kicking around in other bands for some time and in most cases had played together previously. It was only natural for the four of us to come together; I had the strongest bond with them by far of any musicians I’d collaborated with up to that point. 

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Cierra, drums: I can only speak for myself, but my favorite bands right now are Eluveitie, Satyricon, The Black Dahlia Murder (RIP Trevor), and Judas Priest. It’s always changing. 

Adam, vox/guitars: ‘90s Euro black metal is my absolute favorite music anywhere ever. Beyond that, I love Tyr, In Flames, Type O Negative, Skinny Puppy, Ulver, Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy… Stop me. 

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Adam, vox/guitars: The music that I grew up loving and that I still love (see above). Also, metal stereotypes like the grandeur of the forest, pale silhouettes of moonlight, and ancient heroic mythical cycles of the folklore of my ancestors. Or some shit. 

6. Where was your last gig?

Cierra, drums: Our last gig was at the Moxi Theater in Greeley, Colorado. One of our favorite places to play! 

7. Where would you like to act?

Cierra, drums: Personally, I would absolutely love to play the European summer festival circuit. Always love watching so many familiar bands playing the same festivals in the same weekend, and just knowing that everyone is over there at the same time, is really cool.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Cierra, drums: It would be a dream come true to open for Amon Amarth, Eluveitie, or Satyricon for me. 

9. Who not?

Adam, vox/guitars: I mean, I guess shitty people with shitty attitudes. Also, grossly incongruous bands, I suppose, although lineups of strictly pagan/black/death metal bands get real boring, real fast. 

10. Have any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Cierra, drums: I typically get a little nervous before most gigs but I think that’s a natural response to doing any kind of performance. There’s a lot of pressure knowing that people are spending their time and money on you for entertainment. The best advice I can give for beginners coming into it is to just practice and rehearse your ass off. Get good at playing the music, get good at performing the music, and be confident in yourself. The rest will follow. 

Adam, vox/guitars: I don’t get stage fright anymore. I find that creating a persona that you can really slip into - a second-stage skin that’s reserved especially for performance - is essential. With that as your clothing, you’re bullet-proof. 

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Cierra, drums: The death metal/deathcore/metalcore that was huge in the mid-2000s influenced me most in the beginning. Bands like Slipknot, Lamb of God, Shadows Fall, Whitechapel, TBDM, Suicide Silence, etc. Nowadays for me, it’s more like Eluveitie, Satyricon, and pretty much most folk and black metal. And still, TBDM let’s be honest. 

Adam, vox/guitars: I’ll say it again: ‘90s black metal. When I discovered it in the late ‘90s as a young teenager, it felt like finding a home that I didn’t know I’d been missing, one that was ultimately more home than anything else I’d experienced up to that point. More than people, more than places… Hearing music like that for the first time, in and around the woods in rural TN where I grew up, is an experience of an intensity that has never been replicated for me. If we could inspire that same awe in one person with our music, then I would say we’d been successful. I’m also especially partial to the live presentation of industrial and noise artists. Faceless dudes hiding behind spiderwebs of patch cables, man; that’s what inspires me. 

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Cierra, drums: Can’t say I’ve had any weird encounters like that yet. Let’s raincheck!

Adam, vox/guitars: I’d say immediate sex - sex right now, immediately - but seems that’s pretty common for our rock ‘n’ roll chaps. So, the weirdest thing… Sex yesterday? 

13. What do you think of your fans?

Cierra, drums: I think they are absolutely amazing. They are loyal. Most importantly for me, they are (those of them that I know personally anyway) loving people with good hearts. We’re in really weird, really trying times right now, the fact that anyone is coming out to shows and buying merch from bands really is a testament to love and dedication. Can’t ask for more than that. 

14. What do you think of our site?

Cierra, drums: I think your site is a treasure trove of new bands to check out from all over the world, a real handy resource! Thanks for everything you do! 

15. Something to add?

Adam, vox/guitars: A couple of dear friends of ours play in an excellent instrumental prog metal band called Pathos & Logos, also from Colorado. We toured with them this past April on a few dates, and at one show, I heard Kyle, the guitarist/frontman, say the following to close their set. It was exactly what anyone needs to hear all the time: “If you don’t believe in magic, you’re gonna have an awfully hard time finding any.” 

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