Gates To The Morning – Interview
Interview with Sean Meyers of Gates To The Morning and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
SM: I try to avoid getting boxed into genres but I think it’s safe to say you can classify Gates To The Morning as a progressive metal act, although I like to draw as many influences as possible into the mix. Maybe we can call it “Progressive Metal Fusion,” but that’s up to the listener.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
SM: Gates To The Morning was a black metal project I started over a decade ago, but half way through the recording process all the files got corrupted and I just gave up on it because I had so much else going on at the time. Now years later I had all this material that was piling up and I felt I had to do something with it, like unfinished business. It was only supposed to be a solo studio project but I’ve expanded a bit and now I have some amazing musicians playing on the album with me, and there is hope to manifest it into a live act, at least for a few shows to promote the release of the upcoming album.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
SM: Musically anything from Black Metal to Jazz and everything in between. It would be exhuasting to list all my influences but I actually did TRY to do that on the Gates To The Morning facebook page. I love hard bop and have always felt like hard bop is the heavy metal of jazz. Art Blakey’s “Free For All” is one of my favorite records. The project originally start out heavily influenced by 1st and 2nd wave black metal, and also the more symphonic and keyboard based bands like Emperor and Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus and Borknagar.
Non musically , Tolkien always has and always will be a huge influence. Norse Mythology and Northern Shamanism, and other topics that might considered “esoteric” are an influence. Robert Anton Wilson’s “Prometheus Rising’ and “Cosmic Trigger” were important books when I was young. One of the tracks off of “Return To Earth” is named “Chapel Perilous” which is a term popularized by Wilson. “Crossing the Abyss” is another song title that has similar subject matter and references to the process of “Dark Night of the Soul.” Many of the lyrics deal with a deep and somewhat radical process of unlearning.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
SM: To be able to sustain myself with music. My dream is to sit around writing and creating music all day and then playing and performing at night. I’ve always made it a goal of mine to see the world through music, so touring is part of that dream. Whether its the studio, or rehearsal space, or live performance, if all my time is occupied with music and creation then that is a dream come true.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
SM: I write all the music and lyrics although musically I am open to input from the other musicians I’ve worked with. The process for “Return To Earth” was that I wrote all the songs and then handed them over to Dylan Jacobus to write his basslines, and then Ill give them to Mark Glaser to write solos and leads over everything, and Anthony Gobielle who is out in Los Angeles who helped write a lot of the keyboard parts remotely.
Lyrically and thematically the songs are about the journey of the individual, particularly one who is going through some type of an awakening or as I like to say, “unlearning.”. It’s a journey that is arduous, triumphant, tragic and beautiful. I covered some other topics in one of the previous questions. “Return To Earth” is a concept album about my own personal journey but it is open ended enough that it can be relatable to anybody who is on a journey of their own.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
SM: I have mixed feelings about it. Most artists are definitely getting the short end of the stick these days, and it’s bad. People don’t realize that the artists you love need your support, otherwise they are not able to afford to make all of your favorite albums, especially the independent, self funded artists. However, when I was younger I totally annihilated my computer from downloading music off of Limewire, and I discovered so many bands that way, and the ones I really loved I would then go out and buy their albums or see them on tour, or buy their merchandise, etc. So in a lot of ways if I wasn’t able to download all that music, I could not have possibly afforded to take a chance on buying all these different albums and then I very well may not have discovered all these great artists that I was eventually able to support in some way. It’s a tough call.
PD: What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
SM: It’s very dense. I am brushing up on my music business books. It is not my forte but its an absolute necessity because you can be taken advantage of. I went to college for Jazz performance and my least favorite class was music business. I had a great teacher and I still consult him on certain things to this day, but it just seems so unnecessarily complex and twisted and it drained me to think about, so I didn’t do very well in that class. It’s necessary though, I have to learn to navigate the beast of the industry and then carve out as much freedom as humanly possible.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
SM: This may seem shallow but whichever song has made the most money. I wish I was a ghostwriter on some Taylor Swift song so that I could make enough money to comfortably make my own music and break into the industry. Take a catchy melody with hooks and a recycled chord progression and take it to the bank so I can comfortably sit around and write progressive black metal records, haha!! Like I said , you have to learn to navigate this beast of an industry so you can create your own freedom and find good and like minded people to work with. From a more artistic standpoint, a lot of the songs I really love I am glad I didn’t write. When you write a song, you are so close to it, that many times you are not able to appreciate it the way an audience can.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
SM: Bad live sound. Especially at metal shows, louder does not always mean better. I want be able to hear everything. Clarity in a live mix is so important, unless the intent is to not have clarity and have everything really blend, but that has to be done with purpose.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
SM: Releasing “Return To Earth.” It is a summation of my musical and life journey up until this point and I have been able to get so many of good friends involved with it and have met new and amazing people, so its been a very enriching experience.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there
SM: There are no shows set in stone yet, because my intent was to always keep this as a studio project. But as things have progressed I do now have desire to manifest this into a live lineup, so Im hoping there will be 3 shows sometime in the spring or summer along the northeast coast, so keep an eye out. All updates can be found at www.gatestothemorning.com
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Artist location – Bloomingdale, New Jersey
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