After years of touring and performing experience in countless renowned bands in the heavy music scene, drummer/producer/songwriter Jeff Carter (The Chariot, Deus Invictus) saw the industry fit to receive something more in the veins of raw brutality. Taking all personal ideas and moulding each one into a beautifully complex, dark, and quite heavy landscape, Carter’s latest project, Darkening, was born.
Jeff recently spoke for Moshville about the band’s beginnings, the debut album Augür, and more. Read on!
Tell me how did you go about forming Darkening.
Darkening is really just a band / project that I formed out of boredom and/or annoyance with today’s “metal scene”. I played in the metal scene for upwards of 12 years, but seemingly there was always a clique or gimmick, and I couldn’t get the fix I first stumbled upon when I was a 10 year old kid listening to Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse albums. I kept going heavier and heavier with my musical tastes. There’s great deal of adrenaline involved with making this kind of music, so I want others to have the joy of experiencing it as well as venting in their own way. That’s kind of the mission statement.
There’s always been the stigma of what a metal band is or should be, but I based this project off of what I saw and felt with the metal bands I grew up listening to, predominantly the german/swedish death and blackened death scenes. I created and still continue to create music that I myself would love to hear in a band, but can’t quite get all of the aspects from other bands…and that’s why I do what I do. I suppose that is where a few of my friends also agreed and decided to step in on guitar recording duties to assist. The band, or project, was formed in August 2012. I finally had enough of other bands flooding the mainstream with the exact same riffs as anyone and everyone else. Usually I am a drummer by trade, but over the years and years of doing so, I picked up guitar, bass, vocals, mixing, and the likes. I’ve really learned a lot…no…a TON from my friends around the Atlanta area and beyond.
In July you released a debut album titled Augür. Are you satisfied with how it turned out to be in the end?
I believe it turned out exactly how it was envisioned. There are always a few set backs when you are recording everything from beginning to end, and doing it yourself. One could say there’s much room for mistakes, or the “saturation” of the ears from hearing your own songs every day, all day long. But I think having Nich and Mike help me out and play the heavy electric guitar parts on the majority of the album, just really seeing their interpretation on an actual electric of what I originally wrote completely acoustically, really gave new insight to what could’ve been an even longer process. The album is very dark – big surprise, huh? [laughs]
Maybe next time, I will not write a death metal album completely on acoustic guitar. That would be something I’d do differently next time.
You know, growing up, I was always the quieter child in both home and school classes. I had a really different perception of the world around me, or so I was told by people close to me. Of course, years down the line I had friends, many friends and even lost a few in horrible ways. It was always haunting, you know, thinking about lost family members, lost friends, the “negative” things in life. I was plagued by nightmares as a kid (which can be attributed to my love of horror movies), but through all the fear…I believe I learned to harness it. This band is about harnessing fear directly into music; the darkness of humanity, of life itself, the ironies. It is all compounded into heavy, relentless, harrowing and haunting music. Just happens to mainly come out as death metal, because of the raw emotion involved. I could say the band directly involves my intensity. It explores everything that everyone would rather not explore, but each song reads like a horror novel, and I think that hooks some people.
Does the artwork for Augür hide a story behind or did you just find it to be fitting with the material?
The picture is actually one that I took of a graveyard down in Savannah. After doing some touristing around, I heard some pretty frightening tales that were at times so bad, it was unbelievable that the town was still standing. It felt cursed in time. Graveyard pictures are one of the oldest subjects of death and black metal cover art, so really it was a throwback to albums I grew up listening to…kind of an homage, if you will. The underlying theme can be disputed….you have a graveyard of dead, properly buried amongst a city (Savannah) that was BUILT on top of the dead. I’ll let readers and listeners come to their own conclusions.
There are lots of different elements in the music of Darkening starting with extreme metal genres, prog metal, atmospheric music, etc. How do you manage to mix these stylistically different elements?
You do things for a while and it just begins to flow. There are abrupt changes here and there, but after quite a few years in the music scene, you learn to tailor the transitions better, and complete them as one flowing thought. Dreams and nightmares progress naturally into and out of fear and distress, so with Darkening’s music, it comes quite naturally as the lyrical story takes place – the music almost always matches the mood, unless a weird kind of….opposite sound is needed to pair with the lyrical ideas.
How would you describe your music to someone who didn’t listen to it before?
It is hard to describe myself because it is solely based off of emotion, and funneled into my favorite music format which is black metal, death metal….anything heavy. There are no limitations to what someone might think of when they listen.
Are there any projects you are working on besides Darkening?
At the moment, no. Focusing on this full time to show others I am dedicated to bringing them my rendition of metal.
Will there be any gigs or tours in support to Augür?
It might not be impossible in the future; really only time will tell. At the moment, it is just me writing and producing and recording everything – with friends acting as studio musicians to streamline the process more so than if I did it myself. If I were to get permanent members, as well as building more support out there…I couldn’t rule it out.
Is there anything you want to add?
Would just like to thank the people at Moshville for taking the time and asking the questions! You guys keep doing what you’re doing. Thank you.
As far as Darkening – hope to keep everyone entertained for a quite a while. Thank you to the fans out there!