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Interview: Wake’s Ryan Kennedy on new album ‘Thought Form Descent’

Posted by on August 12, 2022

Photo credit: Cole Hadley

 

Canada’s blackened/death metal outfit Wake have released their overall sixth full-length album, Thought Form Descent, on July 22nd via Metal Blade Records. We caught up with bassist Ryan Kennedy to discuss their latest offering. 

 

What was the process like recording Thought Form Descent?

We were lucky to have a bit more time to do this one than we have in the past, so we were able to loosen up a bit, float ideas with a little more confidence and elbow room. Dave Otero is a pretty good co-pilot, and he’s an ideal fit for our band, as he has a ton of experience with technical and complex metal, but also a keen affinity for melody and modulation. Though the songs were almost entirely complete when we entered the studio, we weren’t afraid to make some broad sweeping changes if a better idea presented itself. We wanted the album to come together the way we felt, which was pretty open, pretty free. It’s got a wide expanse of ground it covers, and I think it’s due to that openness we allowed ourselves to have.

 

How would you compare the new album to 2020’s Devouring Ruin?

The two share a lot of ideas; especially in terms of the ground level musicality. Devouring Ruin is a very melancholic album. It was reflected by our personal lives and the state of our shared relationships from 2017 to 2019. The result wasn’t just fast and aggressive but lost as well. Thought Form Descent is much much more diverse. Collectively we’ve expanded and improved ourselves, we’ve crossed the crucible that we were in back in that period, and come out as a much more refined and clear set of individuals. I think TFD really is just the pure expression of that state; it remains angry to a pinpoint but is not afraid of any other state, or any other corner to shine light on. We do keep our core ideas intact in both, but we wander a lot further on TFD.

 

How has the pandemic influenced the writing for the new record?

We had no choice but to write, so write we did. I got COVID in November 2020 and contributed some writing from my quarantine via demos. Essentially it forced us to hunker down, and we delivered. 

 

Can you talk more about the songs “Mourning Dirge (Repose of the Dead)” and “Venerate (The Undoing of All)?”

Both songs are long, expansive, and channeling some of the not-so-metal influences we all share. Mourning Dirge was meant to be anthemic and fast and the outset of the narrative for the recording; it wound up in the middle. Venerate was a long long project that took us nearly a year to complete. We rewrote the middle section three or four times. Connecting really simple, chordal ideas with dissonant chord changes and back again, it took awhile to get it right. We’re no stranger to longer songs but these were giant projects.

 

 

 

How was it like collaborating with Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts/Vaura for the songs Pareidolia and Observer to Master?

Kevin pretty much responded instantly with his portion of the songs. He has a real affinity for what he does and it seemed like he barely had to try to complete his parts, haha. It was an interesting left-field collaboration for an interesting left-field part of the song Observer To Master; I liked the jarring, obscure layer. It really changed the part.

 

 

 

Do you have any plans for this year or early next you can share with us?

We are playing several release shows for Thought Form Descent after our recent American tours, and some festivals in North America in the later part of the year. Continuing to enjoy the chance to play and travel the world again amongst like-minded musicians and fans of such music.

 

Is there anything else you want to say or add about the new album?

Listen to it with your eyes open but focused on no specific space, and pay attention to your breath. You might be surprised by what you see.

 

 

 

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Categorised in: Interviews, Releases