Interviews: OWDWYR

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Extreme Metal/Technical Death Metal/Progressive Death Metal band OWDWYR from the USA. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

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

Max: The name came about after a long period of workshopping that left us unhappy. Part of my lyric writing process involves blending words together into portmanteaus or acronyms to make new words with a layer of deeper meaning. The name OWDWYR came about that way - it’s actually an acronym and holds a deeper meaning that we hope to develop with the lyrics over time.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Max: I wanted to play in a band that felt like it didn’t fit perfectly in any handful of genres. The specific blend of music that we’ve been developing allowed me to pull from my background of classic death metal and apply it to a project outside of my comfort zone.

Paul: I’m not even sure what genre we are, honestly. We often say technical, progressive, grindy extreme metal with a classical core. That is already 5 different things. A lot of people opt to call us Avant Garde when they get frustrated, which suits me fine. I think ultimately I don’t really want to fit in one genre definition. Once you do that you lose the ability to explore.

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

Max: I met Paul around 2005 when I was working in my first metal band. We wound up playing plenty of shows in our respective bands over the next few years, during which time I also met Chris. In 2011 I was asked to join Isyou as their vocalist and played with Paul and the rest of the band for a little under a year. Paul and I kept in contact after that and would send compositions that he had been developing, which turned out to be the first few OWDWYR songs. Rather than release an EP or something, we decided to save everything for a full length release, which we finally realized with “Receptor.”

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Paul: Genesis. They are excellent musicians that created dynamic songs across 4 different eras of the band. They wrote pop songs as short as 3 minutes and magnum opus prog pieces as long as 23 minutes. Brilliant, brilliant artists.

Chris: Honestly, my all-time favorite band is Queen. Some of the best vocal harmonies I've ever heard from any band and Freddie's showmanship is true inspiration.

Max: Too many favorites - the first coming to my head is Tom Waits. Dude has a spectacular back catalog and each album is a new experience.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Max: At this point everything, really. Prose that blow my mind. A performance that resonates deeply. Emotions that feel applicable to something creative and permanent. I used to wait for inspiration to strike when I was feeling bad or wanted to internally work through something specific to “stay true to the genre,” but it would often result in creating something artificial or creating nothing at all. Being open to influence has allowed me to grow as a writer and musician immensely.

Paul: It really can be anything. The most basic answer is exposure to artists, composers, songs, etc. that compel me to model parts of our songs afterward. Something a bit more interesting is how just experiencing life can inspire songs. “Cower” was inspired by me hearing a police siren. “Reverie” was from the 3rd month of shelter-in-place during the pandemic and reflected my mental state at the time. The first riff in “Supplicant” was from me and my old roommate getting wasted one night and just screaming riffs we thought were cool at each other.

6. Where was your last gig?

Max: Picture it. Sicily 1912

7. Where would you like to act?

Max: I think I speak for all of us when I say that we’re ready to perform this music wherever it takes us - domestic and international.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Max: Too many to list. I would love to be able to continue integrating additional musical instruments on tracks that would benefit from a variety of timbre, so the door is potentially open for plenty of incredible performers we’d be honored to work with in the future.

9. Whom not?

Max: We like working with people who are open to collaborating on a shared artistic vision, so we would not work very well with people who cannot.

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

Max: I’d recommend developing a stage personality and wearing it like a mask until you’re ready to embrace being yourself (or if you are more comfortable embodying your performance persona as a permanent fixture onstage, that’s okay too!). I absolutely still get performance jitters and likely always will, but the medium of metal performance allowed me to develop a confidence that got me through show after show for years.

Paul: I have always had a touch of anxiety before I’ve played - especially with music as technical as the bands I’ve been in. This is not a healthy suggestion, but I always had a drink or two. Enough to take the edge off, but not enough to get drunk. I also try to take some time to warm up that day, especially before we go on.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Oh, there’s a wide variety of influences between members of the band: Wendy Carlos, Genesis, Pantera, Human Remains, Meshuggah, Seputus, Gorguts, Candiria, Between the Buried and Me, Tom Waits, Queen, The Dillinger Escape Plan…once we get started, it just keeps going!

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

Max: Hmm, I can’t very easily recall anything strange that a fan has asked me for. That said, I have had instances of people doing weird things during shows. I used to perform in a sort of business casual stage outfit with a tie, and I almost got choked out by someone who felt they needed to pull on my tie and basically turn it into a knot around my throat.

Paul: In our old band, Isyou, we had a fan tattoo our name across his chest. Like, it was so visible. But we weren’t even big! Drawing 20 people in an absolute shithole bar would’ve been a huge success for us. I was absolutely shocked someone would put our name on their body for the rest of our lives given we hadn’t really achieved much.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Max: Wonderful. Being able to interact with people about how something you’ve made has influenced them is an incredible experience.

Paul: I am absolutely grateful that anyone takes the time to check us out and listen to us. There is SO MUCH music out there, and given we are completely new, we are indebted to anyone who would consider themselves a fan.

14. What do you think of our site?

Max: BtC is a great way for metal fans to get to know their favorite bands and discover something new! We appreciate being able to express ourselves and have the chance to cross paths with new listeners who may not have heard of us otherwise.

15. Something to add?

Max: Keep an eye out on us, we have many more surprises in store.

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