"With people telling us that we couldn’t do it, I was going to make sure that they would eat their words, end up apologising to me and then listen to these songs non-stop because they loved them so much." - Adam Di Macco
Lorna Shore have just released their new EP '...And I Return To Nothingness' via Century Media.
Though it serves as the band's first recorded material with new Vocalist Will Ramos, the three-track offering is so much more than an introduction to their new chapter. It's a mission statement of bludgeoning intent. A vicious, varied and volatile mix of bile-drench deathcore, beautifully symphonic death metal and triumphant black metal, the band present everything that they have been, that they are and that they will be in one crushing boot to the face. It's an extraordinary piece of work that makes the future very exciting indeed.
But how did it come to be? We sat down with guitarist Adam Di Macco to talk about its creation, making it through the hardest year of their career and shoving the naysayer's words straight back down their throats...
First off, what has it been like for you to watch this new era of Lorna Shore unfold before your eyes, especially after keeping it to yourself for so long?
“We’ve been so overwhelmed by how the reaction has been, to be honest. We didn’t anticipate it at all. We’re very excited about that, but we were not prepared in the slightest, which I feel is a good thing because it keeps us humble and grateful. Those feelings have always been at the forefront of who we are as a band, appreciating the little things.
“The thing is that at the core of everything, we love music. That’s why we do this. Then when you have the bi-product of that love of making music, being able to travel and meet people is awesome, and we’re grateful for that. But at the end of the day, we’re still fans of music. We know what it’s like to hear a record that you hear that gets you so excited. So if people get that same feeling when they are listening to us, that’s so awesome. Simply because we know exactly what it feels like.”
So, wherein the last 12 months or so did the contents of this EP start to come to life?
“So, this is a very complicated situation. Around this time last year, I felt very worthless as a musician. There was still the possibility of touring coming back in the Fall around late Spring/ early Summer, so at first, it felt like a case of getting through the Summer, do things I enjoyed and then get back to it. I was excited about it at first. Once we were in the heart of the Summer, the conversation turned to the fact that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. So I felt purposeless and lost because it felt like everything I did had no meaning. We had released a record ‘Immortal’ six months previous, so it’s not like we were thinking of making another record, so what do we do? It was also really hard to promote that record, so I didn’t know what to do.
“I remember calling Austin [Archey, Drums] around this time and making a statement like, ‘If I don’t play the guitar for the next two months, nothing will change'. And that spawned the idea of making something to work towards. I would consider writing but then think, ‘There’s nothing to look forward to, so why am I putting myself through this?’ So I decided that I needed a deadline of some form. So I called our A&R and asked if it would make sense to go to the studio. He was sat on the fence but ultimately said, ‘Just make sure you can come back out in the strongest way possible’.”
And where did Will fit into that?
“So this was around the time when we had a few ideas about how exactly we reveal Will. At this time, I was still unsure about Will. He did a good job filling in on tour for us, and we got along with him, but another trial would be seeing how he sounded on Lorna Shore song that was made for him, rather than somebody else. A song where the lyrics need to be written, the patterns needed to be planned, the vocals worked out. That’s the actual test. It’s one thing to perform somebody else’s material, but another to come up with your own, and it making sense for the band.
“So going in the studio was us also see if he was a good fit. From a management perspective, it was a case of seeing how much we could do from a budget perspective. I wanted to go in and do a song or two, but that quickly switched to an EP. So this was sorted in August, and we had studio time booked for November, so we had three months to write. There were seven completed songs in total and many other ideas, and it was the most prepared we have ever been. Then the first thing Will worked on was the chorus to ‘To The Hellfire’, and he nailed it. So in a way, it was a move fuelled on selfishness in me needing something to work on, but also make sure that Will is the guy we definitely want. It was a case of using this time we had, and it ended up working out great.”
When you’ve been doing this for so long, you don’t have any space to be sceptical or unsure about what you’re doing. You want everything to be right, because otherwise, what’s the point in doing it?
"I’ve always looked at bands like Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Whitechapel, who have released multiple records and been around for a long time but still feel modern. How do you stand the test of time? How do you build longevity? Many of us want short term results, but it’s in the long term where I feel you can really shine. I don’t want to be a blip on someone’s radar for a bit and then go away. I like the idea of being a longstanding household name. For Lorna Shore, we are thinking about such a big game that we want to make sure that everything is right and works towards that. With every record, you chip away and get closer to your sound when it comes to the music. You define it more and more, and we’re willing to take as many chances as we can to do that. I want to push the threshold as far as possible and create the musical version of adrenaline. You can’t play it safe, especially in extreme music. It’s called extreme for a reason; it’s not called that because it’s comfortable."
And in terms of this EP, you’ve pushed so many different corners of what Lorna Shore could be and created three very different strains of it. You’ve got the use of melody, the symphonic elements, the testing of Will’s capabilities. It feels almost like a manifesto more than an EP…
"Every time we write a record, we always make sure we have a purpose. It gives a reason for doing things and for writing in a certain way. It always makes things easier. For this EP, it was me, Andrew [O’Connor, Guitarist] and Austin in a room brainstorming, and the notes that I had saved on my phone from those sessions are precisely how it turned out. We wanted the first song to be a heavy and dark song made for vocals that had three breakdowns. That’s a note on my phone, and that is what ‘To The Hellfire’ is.
"A lot of the conversation around the band at this time was that whatever we do wasn’t going to be Lorna Shore anymore, and it was going to suck. Everyone had a lot of doubt directed at us. So if you don’t think that’s part of the reason for writing the EP we have, you’re beyond yourself. With people telling us that we couldn’t do it, I was going to make sure that they would eat their words, end up apologising to me and then listen to these songs non-stop because they loved them so much. Those people are the reasons these songs sound like this. We took that anger and used it to our advantage.
"We also wanted to touch on all different aspects of the band and cover all of our ground with Will. So you have ‘Of The Abyss’, which is more of a typical Lorna Shore song, the sort of thing we would normally do. But it’s also done better than any other Lorna Shore song we have done like that too. Then you have ‘…And I Return To Nothingness’, which is the riskiest song. It’s not heavy, but it’s very emotive, melodic, big, and the song I have wanted to write with the band for years. So that’s why so many avenues are touched on. These are Will’s capabilities and our capabilities, and if you doubt any of us, you’re a moron. I’m not trying to be rude or an asshole, but that’s exactly where we were coming from."
Especially during a period where people’s opinions were even more amplified than ever before because everybody was on their phone so much more of the time, it must make that fire inside of you burn all the brighter…
"It wasn’t easy to watch either. We had nothing to distract ourselves with initially, so all we could do was look on the Internet and read comments. The people who are complaining are always much louder than everyone else. Then me and Austin were personally getting messages with people telling us what they thought. Like, just because you have access to us doesn’t mean you can share all of your thoughts on my band with me. Regardless of what we do for a career, we are still human beings on this planet. But when you’re treating people with that much disrespect, don’t ever think that it’s not being used as fuel to prove you wrong. Every time we would post something - a drum play-through, the instrumental release – those opinions got put right in our face all over again. It wasn't easy when we didn’t have this EP that we knew would blow them all out of the water in our back pocket. I hope that people in the future will have a bit more empathy and understanding for others. How can you push that much negativity out into the world?"
When the ‘To The Hellfire’ video dropped, it felt like there were even more voices having their say on you as well, albeit you showing exactly what you’re capable of. It’s still a very intense position to be in…
"It’s hard. I felt pretty numb during the release. I wasn’t happy or sad with how it was going, just very apathetic. I didn’t know what was wrong. I then talked to our producer, and he said, ‘You have to understand that you do things for your own reason’. And he’s right, I had my moment in the studio whilst making it, and that’s when I felt proud. At that point, what the rest of the world said didn’t matter, but I was happy. It was hard not to clap back and argue with people throughout the last year, and I’m proud that we didn’t. We kept our heads down and invested the energy into this thing which worked out better for us. Now I’m reaping what we sowed, if that makes sense, There are many emotions and reactions still coming through now, but I’m very much at peace with it all."
Ultimately, the fact that you were able to produce an EP like this is all that matters. You could have backed down, but you faced off against the difficult days and came out the other end stronger than ever...
"For sure, and we are already writing LP 4 right now. We’re going into the studio in November, and we don’t want to stop the train now. I think that everyone included in the creative process of this EP knows that it was about learning lessons for us to take forward into the full-length. There is so much more we want to do already. How can we hit it harder? These are the best songs we have written now, but I don’t think they are the best songs we will ever write. This is another bridge to another place. So I’m excited for what the future is going to hold. But yeah, this EP gave us a belief in ourselves and made us want to trust in ourselves that little bit more."