I remember the first time I heard UK death metal/doom unit Indesinence, it had an incredibly profound effect on me. I hear death metal and doom bands I like all the time, especially ones that mix the two elements together like they’ve always belonged. But with Indesinence’s music, it was one of those feelings that I had found something for which I had been searching for years. They weren’t just heavy and murky, they had something lurking beneath them that provided a measure of mystery. They seemed far ahead of where so many other bands of this ilk were treading (which is funny considering the very odd cover song they added to the record we discuss today), and they were just so much more interesting and substantive. That carries over into what has become their swan song, the unreal “III.”
As noted, I’ve long admired this band, as well as this record, but it really struck me one morning driving to work, as I was headed down Penn Avenue toward Point Breeze, that it felt like the sky had opened up and poured abundant light upon me. It was during the “Mountains of Mind/Five Years Ahead” that is truly hit me how special this collection is, and just how mighty Indesinence had become. The second half of that track is the aforementioned cover of The Third Bardo’s 1967 single that really hit the nail when, in perfect deathrock drama, Ilia Rodriguez sings back “I’m five years ahead of my time,” because it’s true. Indesinence live far and above so many other death/doom bands, and they do it with substance, ingenuity, and intrigue. The fact the band chose to disband following this amazing record is a heartbreaker, but as you’ll read in our interview with Rodriguez, it was well in their plans.
Much thanks to Rodriguez, on super short notice, to give us elaborate, thoughtful responses to our myriad questions. I hope you enjoy reading his answers as much as I did. The band has meant a lot to me as a listener and writer, and I’ll always hang onto tracks such as “Nostalgia,” “Desert Trail,” and “Strange Meridian” as our final trips into the band’s tumultuous dream world. (July 24)
MEAT MEAD METAL: We are naming “III” as one of our top 5 metal releases of 2015. It’s another captivating, adventurous record from Indesinence and really one of the most unique death/doom offerings out there. How do you feel about the record now that you have a little bit of distance between you and its creation?
ILIA RODRIGUEZ: Thanks for your words. I am really happy with it, and I think the same holds true for the other guys involved. We managed to cram a lot of work into relatively short recording timeframes and still came home with a mix that pushed the right buttons for us. A lot of this is thanks to the studio mastery of Greg Chandler, who deserves a big part of the credit. As usual, there was the odd technical glitch that we didn’t notice until after mastering stage, but considering the amount of material and ideas that went in (we literally worked day and night through some of it) such warts must be lived with. Perfect albums are boring anyway! Only Steely Dan and Boston could get away with them.
Every Indesinence release has felt like a coherent progression from the previous, and this is no different. Explaining why in a logical way is difficult. A piece of work either feels right or it doesn’t, and if doesn’t, you shouldn’t release it. Luckily I stand behind everything we’ve done 100%, period.
MMM: Sadly, the band recently announced “III” would be the final work from Indesinence. Why was this the right time to bring an end to the band, and what are your ambitions going forward? Do the respective members intend to remain involved in your other projects?
IR: The decision was made almost two years ago. A series of circumstances led me to realize the band was no longer sustainable without a struggle on various fronts, a struggle that was wearing me down. I still fully believed in our work, but furthering the band was becoming a burden to me on a personal level. It was a question of focus and energy and, in order to protect my mental well-being, something had to give. Musically, it also felt right to close the chapter and move on. I spoke to the guys, and we felt we still had one more great album in us, and it made sense to wrap things up nicely with it. We had enough ideas in mind for a solid basis, so over the following year we invested ourselves in consolidating the songs and finding a good conceptual flow to them, and an emotional arc that worked. We also went into a European mini-tour with Esoteric and Procession in 2014 knowing that those would be our final shows.
I live in Spain now, and Andy also moved to New Zealand this year. In some ways it’s of course a pity the band is no longer, but it had to happen, and I have no regrets. We are all still friends and proud to have been part of this humble but solid body of work. Andy (McIvor) and I might continue working with Anil (Carrier) on Binah, as we all enjoy the chemistry in creating that music, plus it is essentially a studio project, and we all have home studios, so physical distance is not an obstacle. I imagine everyone else’s bands and projects (with the exception of perhaps Code) will continue.
MMM: Dream states and slumber long have been a part of Indesinence’s inspiration. What is it about these things that have caused you to create this music?
IR: Just a natural fascination with them that has never waned, really. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. It might stem from the fact that we spend so long living in a state of “conscious reality” that the feeling of there being a more abstract realm of perception beyond the veil of everyday consciousness is just really intriguing.
MMM: At the same time, I sense a bit of a nautical feel to the record. The way some of the music seems to sail and float in the murk, the image on the album cover… Is that an accurate assessment of what’s going on?
IR: Yes, and I am really glad you picked up on this. It is a theme that gradually crept in and took over much of the album. The sea has influenced me a lot, as I was raised very near it. I grew up in the towns of Trapagaran and Barakaldo in the Basque Country, so the coast was always very close by. I also have vivid memories of walking around the coastline in Asturias (also right by the Atlantic), looking for mussels and staring at the horizon. After twenty years in the big noise that is London, I also seem to have gone right back to it, as I currently live in an island (Majorca), something that I didn’t really know was going to happen when working on the album.
The sea is beautiful, and I find the architecture and overall sensorial stimuli that occur around it fascinating. It can be merciless and harrowing, but it also feels soothing and cleansing. The material on this album is probably the most landscape-inspired we have written, so the nautical ambience had to be there at the right times, and it’s great to hear it comes through well.
MMM: While the entire record is enthralling and expansive, I can’t help but ask about “Mountains of Mind” and its seemingly strange but ultimately sensible inclusion of The Third Bardo’s “Five Years Ahead (of My Time)” into the song. What led you to unearth that song, and why was it fitting for you to blend it into the back end of the track?
IR: We thought it would be a nice touch to have it in there as a coda to “Mountains of Mind” rather than as a self-contained track. These details just make albums more interesting, in my opinion … a bit like what Type O Negative did to Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” by adding their own coda to the song, but the other way around! In fact, that was one of the things I loved about Type O, the way they messed with unlikely covers until they made sense within their albums. Definitely an inspiration.
Some of us are great fans of psychedelic music in its various guises, and we wanted to grab this song and do our own rendering of it. The Third Bardo were a killer band, and, like other great bands of their era, only released a couple of singles. If they ever hear our cover, I hope they aren’t too annoyed by it! It is a fantastic tune that encapsulates both underground rock and roll and the exploratory spirit of its time. I did ponder whether to include it, partly because it had already been covered by The Cramps, Monster Magnet, and a bunch of other bands. But we just had a strong hunch that it could fit really well into our album, sonically and thematically. I think we got away with it.
MMM: A great reason I’ve always related to Indesinence’s music is the band brought something fresh and different to death and doom. There is nothing conventional to what you do, and the music always stood out from the rest of the pack. Was that intentional, to try to walk different paths, or was it an organic part of creation?
IR: This is probably not an “either/or” scenario. Our inspirations when we started were probably obvious (I was listening to Winter, Thergothon, and Dusk for the first time in ages recently, and it really hit me how much we had borrowed from them and others), but our listening habits were also pretty varied, and it was always clear in our minds that we wanted to pave our own way, to write Indesinence music. I guess around the time we managed to establish our sound on the “Ecstatic Lethargy” demo, things started to become organic. From “Neptunian” and “Noctambulism” onwards, songs took shape naturally and subconsciously and, aside from the odd intentional nod, with no direct references in mind. Of course making original music within such a specific framework is difficult, but we have always been naïve enough to try anyway. Like I tend to say, we weren’t concerned with being unique so much as with writing music that was good and meant something.
MMM: With Indesinence closing its final chapter, what did the band mean to you, and what was its purpose in your creative life? What do you hope it meant to other people?
IR: Indesinence literally took over my life for almost 15 years. Even when doing completely different stuff, it was always in the back of my mind. Some of the others who have been in the band were better than I at juggling the band and other priorities. Personally, while I managed this to some extent too, I also found it difficult. Nobody’s fault really; just how my brain is wired. Each step of the creative process was all-consuming and left me drained. For better or worse, this drainage was necessary to write stuff that reflected the honest and intense vibes that we felt were needed for a record to bear the Indesinence logo. I guess that’s ultimately what these albums capture; a great outpouring of energy, most of which did not come from easy places.
Looking back, I feel proud and a bit nostalgic, but also very relieved. The sadness will go away. There’s a universe of music to explore, and life is too short. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking a band has to last forever at all costs, but it really doesn’t. Many bands that inspired us weren’t around as long as we have! Our records might be a drop in the ocean of metal, but we feel grateful to have been that drop. If some people still remember them and tap into their energy through the years, then their job will be done. It’s no longer just our music; it now exists for other people to just enjoy, and I hope they do.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Indesinence
To buy the album, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/