Interview: Canadian metalcore act HORCRUX on the process behind sophomore EP HERETIC and more.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to introduce an interview our editor-in-chief Alex with metalcore quintet HORCRUX hailing from Ottawa, Canada and consisting of Michael Labelle, Scott Norris, Jon Gervan, Ryan Shields and Zack Bray. We are catching up with the band after the release of their sophomore EP HERETIC out on July 16th, 2019 following up debut EP THE DARK MARK dating back to 2018.
In this personal interview with vocalist MICHAEL LABELLE we got to know the band a little better talking about their journey and signature sound. We discussed in detail the creative and writing process behind new EP HERETIC, the lyrical themes and the influences. We also explored a couple of tracks off the record, LINGER and ILLUMINATE and discussed their future plans.
- Hello HORCRUX and welcome. There seems to be a curious reference to Harry Potter series behind your name. Would you mind introducing your band and journey to our readers? How did you come up with this name?
Hey everyone! We are Horcrux. We are from a town called Ottawa in Canada. We were all good friends before Horcrux some of us even in the same bands. We formed at the very end of 2015 where we started writing music, went to Allspark Recording studio in Toronto Canada to record a couple of songs and then shot our debut music video for The Outsider! The name Horcrux was actually suggested by Ryan Shields (bass player), the name fit very well with the image we are trying to portrait. There’s a few Harry Potter references scattered across our songs but none of the songs have any connection with the Harry Potter series.
- On July 16th 2019 you unleashed your sophomore EP HERETIC, following up your debut EP THE DARK MARK dating back to 2018. So what was different for this album as opposed to your previous material and in what measure has the sound progressed?
I would say the biggest difference between albums is our sound. When we wrote the Dark Mark EP we were trying out things to see what we liked and what fans would like. Our new Heretic EP has a more mature sound to it, it’s a lot more consistent and overall a better product in terms of production, lyrics, etc…
- Let’s discuss your influences and some of your most listened to albums or bands while working on HERETIC EP.
I think we all have different influences when it comes to music. I would say our biggest influences would be: Polaris, Ice Nine Kills, Erra. These 3 bands have released a new record within the last couple of years that we all really loved.
- What was the typical writing and creative process approached when you guys sat down and recorded this EP?
We stripped down what worked and what didn’t work from our first EP. We all have a pretty basic understanding of modern recording music and we are blessed to have our own workstations in the comfort of our homes. Someone will write a song or an idea and send it off to the others. The recording process was very easy for this EP, Scott recorded all of the guitars in his home studio, drums and vocals were recording with Adam Newcomb and then the files were sent off to Mike Stringer (Spritibox, Iwrestledabearonce) for mixing and mastering. Everyone who worked on this EP did a phenomenal job and really helped us portrait our image and sound to everyone.
- What main lyrical themes are discussed along the tracks and what message are Horcrux getting across, if any?
On our Dark Mark EP I (Michael) was struggling with several different things at the time. I felt really low and the lyrics explain the story that I was going through at the time. Being in a much better place now, lyrically Heretic is not so much of a personal experience from my point of view. I looked at other sources to feel inspired such as things going on around the world, people’s stories about struggling with addiction, etc…
- Your sound seems built around a heavy structure which is also exposing a balance of many elements such as progressive riffs, atmospheric elements, synth and catchiness, just to name a few. So let’s discuss the features that you consider to be typically Horcrux’ and crucial when it comes to describe your signature sound.
A crucial part to our sound would be our verses. All of our songs are equipped with some heavy verses that sets the mood of the songs.
- What were the most challenging aspects working on your new record?
I don’t think there was a point in the record where we were really challenged. We’re all really good friends and enjoy playing music together so anything that came onto our path we kind of just brushed off and kept going. Unfortunately I don’t have a concrete answer for this one haha.
- I would love to have more details about songs LINGER and ILLUMINATE.
Of course! Let’s start with Linger. This song was one of the very first songs that we wrote for this record. We felt Linger was a good choice for our first single as it has the core Horcrux elements. Funny story, the lyrics for Linger were actually lyrics that were used for our very first song that we wrote as a band that never made it onto any of the EP’s. Illuminate was also written early on in the record, the lyrics talk about someone who’s obsessed with the thought of death but is to scared to cross into the afterlife.
- What song do you consider to be the most experimental on this record and how much have you wandered beyond your standard music output for it?
The most experimental song would be Illuminate. We’ve done a similar song on our previous EP called Live Through Me which we experimented with singing vocals for the first time. I feel like we really found the happy medium between a “less heavy” sound and a “heavy” sound with Illuminate. I don’t think we really told ourselves “okay we’re going to write a song like this now” Scott (guitarist) sent the first idea and we all really clicked with the song. The lyrics came to me really quickly because I just felt a connection to the sound of the song.
- What else can we expect from Horcrux for the rest of the year? Any future shows, festivals, new materials tracking, anticipations…
We definitely have quite a few things lined down the road. We have 2 shows in our hometown coming up during the month of September, followed by couple of shows with our friends in Feels Like Home in October (can’t spill any details on this one yet!). We’re working on some more things to help get the Heretic EP out to everyone with playthrough videos, a track by track meaning of the album, etc…
Thank you for your time Horcrux. We are longing for more music to be dropped by you and keep on supporting you on our pages!
Thank you so much for having us!
Horcrux – Heretic EP tracklist:
4. Left Behind
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