The Reticent - Say Just Words
By: David E. Gehlke
The English translation of The Reticent's new Le Temps Detruit Tout comes to "Time Destroys Everything," which in metal's long-standing philosophical bent, makes one's brain start to churn. For the most part, it rings true, for as main Reticent dude Chris Hatchcock would tell us below, nothing is permanent, meaning, impermanence is forever en vogue. It's like the various Hollywood starlets and their race against time by employing Botox and/or plastic surgery, or the athlete that's well past his or her prime but doesn't quite realize it, or, the legendary band who is in denial that retiring gracefully is a better alternative than dragging things out. Those kind of things. Rather than fight against time and its cruel ways, it's probably better to embrace it.
Le Temps Detruit Tout is constructed out of the progressive metal mold bore by the likes of Tool and Opeth, although the latter's Scandinavian influence is the most telling trait over the course of the band's second album. Hathcock's rangy clean vocals are blissful and convincing, especially on the acoustic "Lie to Me," which is the album's shining moment, while complex and layered numbers like "Silence" and "With Folded Arms" suggest there are plenty of uncharted waters for multi-instrumentalist Hathcock to explore.
With live dates just around the corner (Hathcock has since assembled a backing band), we figured it was nigh time to snag the North Carolina-based musician for a quick chat. Here's what ensued...
Blistering.com: We’ve interviewed a lot of one-man bands over the years, but none quite like The Reticent. Do you find that people are surprised that this is in fact, a one- man project?
Chris Hathcock: Some folks seem a bit surprised when they come to find out that this is a one-man project. Although, I think that this kind of expressive, personal music lends itself to the one-man-band idea pretty easily.
Blistering.com: From a sonic standpoint, the new album sounds rather professional, which again, is quite unlike what most bands of this ilk are doing. Can you describe how much work goes into getting The Reticent to sound the way it does?
Hathcock: I went to the studio two different times to record this album for a total of about six days of studio time including mastering. I am rather obsessive about the way I want things to sound so when I am preparing to go into the studio (all the way up to the night before I go in) I practice over and over and use some low-tech recording equipment to get an idea of what it's going to sound like. Then every night of recording my engineer gives me a rough cut of everything we did and I listen to it a few million times on the way to my room and then a few million more on the way back to the studio. Through all that repeated listening and rehearsal, I try to identify both the things that the song needs from a compositional standpoint (a harmony here, one less repetition of a riff there, a better choice words, etc.) as well as the production issues such as balance, blend, quality, etc. (e.g. use of different types of distortion on the guitars, EQ on the bass, reverb on the vocals, etc.). Now, I am by no means the best at either of those things (composition or production) but I do earnestly strive to produce something that is true to the spirit of the project.
Blistering.com: Clearly, The Reticent is a departure from your work in Wehrwolfe. Has this kind of music always been your preference?
Hathcock: I don't think I could ever say that any particular genre is my preference. I love the last Gorgoroth album as much as I love The Incident by Porcupine Tree which is also as much as I love Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. I think it can be boring to just do the same thing forever. I know guys who have played the same style for decades now and that works for them. And especially if you are getting recognition and a following for it, stick with it. But for me, creatively my palette is too wide. I listen to everything - and I mean that quite literally. I've studied music for years, gotten two degrees in it, and the more I have studied the more diverse my taste has grown. I imagine if The Reticent continues on, I will explore more styles and this project will evolve as I have.
Blistering.com: The regular band environment usually allows for a good avenue to bounce ideas off one other. Do you have anyone you use for honest opinions of your work?
Hathcock: Anyone in close proximity to me at any given time may be the unfortunate subject of a "Hey, listen to this..." request. Most often, I watch their reactions rather than ask for critique. However, my current band mates have provided an avenue for shaping new ideas that I didn't have on the last record. So when we are rehearsing a new track I've written, I always feel much better when I can make them smile with the riff or they say "Oh, that's cool!" And we've even done some jamming of old tracks from Amor Mortem... and the guys have all brought some interesting ideas into the mix to give it a whole new vibe. In fact, I think it would be great if we all recorded even just an EP of retooled versions of some of my past stuff with their additional flair on it.