DIY, Doom and Roadburn – An Interview With Inter Arma
Inter Arma have a unique and growing place in our doom metal scene. Watching them play at Roadburn was a totally transcendent experience – this is a band who understand the power of DIY and respect that scene, but also who work hard to help develop everyone around them. Now as they come off their transcendent 2016 release Paradise Gallows they have the world at their fingertips.
The last time I interviewed you was three years ago at This Is Hardcore – how has your life changed since then?
I guess it has and it hasn’t. We’re a little busier. It’s the same thing though. We go on tour, we come home, you go to whatever your job may or may not be and then we go back on tour or to record. The shows are better maybe.
I feel like with this third proper full length you’ve reached a new height…
I guess so. I guess that’s the goal. You want to view it differently and you want people to view a lot of it differently. That’s mostly happened with Paradise Gallows. I think we are going in the right direction.
What defines the right direction?
Clearly the goal for any of us is to be able to survive off of what we love to do which is play music and you can’t survive if you make no money at all. While we are certainly not rolling in it so to speak, things are better now than they were three years ago. It’s a steady progression artistically, financially and security wise. Things are good. Certainly better than what they were.
What trajectory do you have in the long run?
That’s a great question and I don’t really have an answer for that. I don’t think we have any illusions about what you can do with a band like ours, but I think you could get to a point where what we do facilitates certain parts of our lives. I feel like artistically we have done well and can continue to progress. As far as the other stuff who knows? It’s a crapshoot. I don’t want to project too much on what we can do and what’s possible.
But like… you opened for Carcass!
Technically we opened for Deafheaven who opened for Carcass if you want to split hairs. But it was amazing to be sure. As a bunch of heavy metal nerds – to go out with a band like Carcass is insane. That’s not something any of us ever expected when we started playing. Those are bucket list kind of moments. It was rad. If that’s any indication of what can happen, then awesome!
I feel like you haven’t had an opening slot other than that to propel you forward?
Definitely not – not in that way. The Russian Circles tour was cool and it had a similar vibe in terms of the kind of shows. But going on tour with Carcass is going on tour with Carcass. That’s crazy for any metalhead.
What attracted them to you?
I don’t know honestly! It was a combination of them and their people and Deafheaven and Deafheaven’s people wanting to find a band who fit in the gap in between their.
How has your Roadburn experience been?
Short, but good. I just got to see Ulver which was…rare. I feel lucky in that aspect of it. We’ve only been at Roadburn for a few hours but it’s still cool that I got to see Ulver. That in and of itself is good enough. I don’t think I ever planned on seeing that band, so way to go Roadburn!
When we played Roadburn a few years ago it was one of the coolest show experiences we have ever had in terms of response and stuff. It was our first really big show. I feel like we played relatively well and the crowd seemed into it. Anyone who has been to Roadburn knows how cool it is, so seeing it from the other side is pretty awesome.
What makes it special to you?
As someone who has not had a lot of European festival experience, I always imagine Wacken and Hellfest to be larger than life enormous experiences which are in certain ways pretty awesome, but Roadburn has a sense of intimacy that often gets left out.
Do you want to play those giant fests or do you not care?
I would love to play them. If we don’t, c’est la vie. We are not opposed to playing something like that. There’s no weird ethical thing. We grew up as a band in the DIY scene and that will always be a part of us but that doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t play big huge shows.
Well what I love about my relationship with you is I’ve seen you play big fests and basements – how do you balance those things?
We’ve learned to not ever have enormous expectations. If something is fucking awesome then that rules. If the show is less than what you’d hoped for then it’s fine. We grew up in the DIY scene which is maybe you play to 100 kids in a basement or maybe you play to seven dudes in a bar. It doesn’t bother us if we don’t play to many people. We try to stay relatively even keel in general. If you expect too much you will be inevitably disappointed and screw that.
Why do you choose to tour so much?
It’s what we do. We’re a band and bands play music. Music is what you do. I don’t understand the idea of only being a recorded project, the live part is what counts to me.
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