VOICES OF MASADA interview
1) How did you choose the name of the band ?
Ray: Fortunately, I had nothing to do with it
Danny: Masada was a fortress in ancient Palestine. At the time of the Roman occupation, about 1000 people resisted in it for nearly 4 years after the Romans had declared the conquering of Palestine, despite all efforts by the Roman forces to conquer it or force surrender. Eventually, when it become clear that the Romans were about to break into the city, the occupiers decided to take their own lives rather than fall to the invaders - 1000 people, including women and children killed themselves/each others and when the Romans finally entered the city all they found as a prize for their efforts was a pile of corpses - the ultimate act of defiance in our opinion, together with the refusal to surrender and being willing to pay the ultimate price for what you believe in. That is all I can tell you about it, hope it clarifies it a bit.
Rob: I don’t think I can add anything to what Danny has already said on the matter.
2) How did you come to play together ?
Ray: I auditioned when they were looking for a singer.
Danny: Voices of Masada derive from a very long-running collaboration between Rob and Eddie (who previously was in Revolution by Night), which took the shape of a band about 3 years ago when I joined on bass (I previously was in Burning Gates and with them I had met Eddie while on tour in the UK, we kept in touch and when BG split – I had meanwhile relocated to London – he contacted me and asked me to join him and Rob). Originally Eddie was supposed to be the singer but after spending the first few months rehearsing, writing and perfecting materials, we decided to audition for one and he reverted to the role of guitarist. This resulted in the recruitment of Raymon, in October 2003, and with that the line-up was finally complete. Recently, then, Eddie left the band due to personal differences with the rest of us and at we have decided that, at least for the foreseeable future, we will go on as a 3-piece. We may recruit another guitarist eventually, but that will only happen if and when if we find someone we are 100% satisfied with and confident about.
Rob: I first met Eddie in 1993 at local youth club in Canterbury when he was Seventeen and I Sixteen. We discovered that we both played the guitar and later in the year began working together musically for the first time. This musical collaboration continued for several years during which time several members came and went. Unfortunately, due to our studying at University at different times and different places in the UK it was not possible for any serious work to be done for several years, and mainly we focused on composing music rather than trying to recruit new members. It was during this time that part of the music on the last album was composed. Once we had completed our degrees, we started where we had left off musically and soon began working with Danny and Raymon at which time the current band emerged. Danny has described how he met Eddie, and we found Raymon by placing an advert in the Devonshire arms in Camden. Raymon responded to the advert and auditioned. We were all impressed with his audition and accepted him on the same day.
3) I’ve got the feeling there’s a new energy in the British scene with new bands emerging (Ghost of Lemora, Screaming Banshee Aircrew, Voices of Masada, of course…), is it something you feel too as a band ?
Ray: Yes. There seems to be some good bands crawling out of the woodwork. It’s nice to see after the lack we’ve had since the late 90’s.
Danny: I agree, the situation is now a lot better than it was a few years ago, and (apart from a couple of inevitable exceptions) more importantly there is a fair amount of cooperation and dare-I-say it almost friendship between us (with the bands you mentioned as well as some others, such as for example Rome Burns or older bands such as The Faces of Sarah, or even NFD who at the moment are objectively one step above all of us), which I think we can all only benefit from – let’s just hope it lasts!
Rob: In some respects there is a new energy, although few bands play straightforward goth rock these days. The genre has fragmented into several smaller musical styles, as I suspect it has elsewhere. Whilst this is not necessarily a bad thing I sometimes struggle to find something that unites all of these diverging groups.
4) Regarding the album now, what do these ‘ four corners’ mean ?
Ray: I’m afraid we can’t tell you: Official Government Secret.
Danny: Yep, sorry man – that is a secret among us in the band, and it will remain as such.
Rob: Boring Isn’t it, but as much as I’d like to I can’t let on.
5) You didn’t sign with any label to produce the album. Is it a choice to keep the absolute control of your art ?
Ray: We had the choice, but we decided at the time that we didn’t want to wait any longer to release our album.
Danny: the thing is, we would have wanted a label, but not at all costs – if we were to do it, it had to be done pretty much on our terms (or at least terms we considered acceptable). As Ray said, we got a couple of offers that we could have found interesting, but they would have involved waiting quite a while longer before putting the album out, and we felt the release was already long overdue, so we went it alone; of course though, not without securing a couple of distribution deals (with Strobelight and Resurrection records), which is what I think is really essential. When the time comes for our next work I guess we’ll go the same way…and we’ll see whether the outcome will be different or not.
Rob: Unfortunately, we suffered several setbacks with the production of the album; such that when it was finally completed we were all determined to release it as soon as was feasibly possible. As the money for the production was available to us at the time we decided to produce the album ourselves rather than wait.
6) A question for Eddie. I noticed he wrote the main part of the lyrics, has he never been tempted to sing too; or I could put the question in another way and ask Raymon if he has ever been tempted to write his own lyrics ?
Danny: Like I said above, before Ray joined Eddie was supposed to be the singer, but as neither he nor us were completely pleased with the overall result he happily went back to his original role of guitarist and we auditioned for a “proper” singer and found Ray.
Ray: funnily enough, That’s what I’ve been doing, but as the late joiner to the band, I didn’t have the opportunity to write the lyrics for many of the songs on the album. I’ve contributed to Flight, and I wrote new lyrics for Shine, but of the new songs that we are working on, I’ve written much more of the lyrics.
7) You’ ve been playing in many places recently, in Leeds, Turin, Dornbirn…what were the reactions of the audience ?
Ray: Really good. It seems that Goth Rock is something that people are missing. It sometimes felt like people were only interested in the latest craze – it was ebm and now it’s deathrock, but from the reception we’ve had, there are people out there who want what we play.
Danny: the 3 gigs you mentioned were absolutely fantastic, for all sorts of different reasons. We have quite a few more gigs scheduled and more we’ll (hopefully) be able to announce soon, we can only hope they go as well as the last few.
Rob: Reactions at all recent gigs were good, although those in Turin and Dornbirn were exceptionally good.
8) What are the projects for the near future of the band ?
Ray: Bigger and better things… we’re currently planning a tour for the autumn, and also to take some time out and work on some new music – it’s going to be interesting. Most importantly is learning to work together again. The dynamic is very different to when eddie was with us, so we're in a process of discovery again.
Rob: We need to get back to composing music again after recent upheavals.
9) Thanks for the interview, the last word is yours…
Ray: No, the last word is always goodnight
Danny: Well, the last word’ll be Rob’s actually apparently, as, as always, he’s the last to answer the bloody questions!
Rob: That’s because I usually have better things to do than you layabouts! (joking of course!)
Many thanks to Danny, Rob and Ray for their kindness
Twilight, May 2005