Falloch - Brush the Dust Away
By: David E. Gehlke
With black metal and its various sub-categories, it always comes back to nature, doesn't it? By all appearances, the style has moved past the cartoonish Satanic aspect and into the foreboding world of frost-bitten, wooded, and desolate landscapes. Because of this, it has allowed the style's reach to become even more uh, far-reaching, which would explain the advent of Cascadian black metal and in the case of the band at hand (Falloch), Scottish black metal. Rather, Scottish black metal with a post-rock, folk twist. Sheesh, these terms are getting really out of hand...
The band's 2011 debut Where Distant Spirits Remain (Candlelight) was a critical success across the board, with many lauding the band's earnest and ethereal brand of post-black folk metal. Falloch's Scottish roots rear their head on more than a few occasions, giving the album a sort of airy and homegrown quality that is a fortuitous combination of Agalloch and Alcest. Pretty good company to be in. And as things would go, the band was able to pair with the aforementioned duo for some live dates, all before founding member/vocalist Andy Marshall departed in May of this year. As such, Marshall's departure leaves instrumentalist Scott McLean as the only "official" member in the Falloch ranks, and with some live dates in the rear-view and an impending new member search, Blistering tracked the man down for a Q&A...
Blistering.com: First things first, what led to Andyís departure from Falloch? Did you see it coming?
Scott McLean: Basically he didnít enjoy playing live and also didnít enjoy singing, so as we started to play more gigs, it became clear that he was losing interest in the band.
Blistering.com: Does his departure kill any momentum you had built up?
McLean: Everything has happened a lot faster than I could have imagined from when we started. Our album was our very first release, we didnít release an EP or do a demo or play any shows, so the band has only been about publicly for just over a year and then we had spent a year previous to this working on the album. I donít think it will kill too much momentum, obviously it will take time to find a new vocalist but Iíve been writing lots for the next album already so once we have a new vocalist things should hopefully be able to happen pretty quickly.
Blistering.com: Do you think youíll look for a similar songwriting partner, or will you steer the band more in the direction you want it to go?
McLean: I wonít look for a similar songwriting partner as I have a strong idea of where I want the next album to go. But I will work on the songs with the next vocalist and the rest of the band so itís not like they will just be playing things I have written for them.
Blistering.com: After the release of Distant Spirits, you were able to pull together a live lineup. Do you foresee those members having an increased role?
McLean: Yeah they will have an increased role. I hope that on the next album we can create a more cohesive sound as a band, as I feel the first album works well but it doesnít have the chemistry of a whole band playing.
Blistering.com: In terms of writing for the second album, where are you at the present time?
McLean: Iíve probably written about five songs so far that would be in contention for being used but it all depends on how well they work together as an album and what the songs I write next sound like.
Blistering.com: Direction-wise, do you plan on picking up where Distant Spirits left off, or will you try new things?
McLean: The next album will definitely be darker and I hope that it can be more varied mood wise as this is something I feel is perhaps lacking in our first album. Overall it will be a similar style but at the same time it will be quite different as obviously there will be different people involved in making this album.
Blistering.com: How would you rate the live gigs youíve done thus far?
McLean: I would say they have been quite inconsistent so far. Some have been great but others have been terrible. In general playing live is something we need to improve on quite a lot as a band, but weíve only played 12 shows so far so we are still fairly inexperienced.
Blistering.com: Were there any concerns in pulling off your material since it was composed and performed primarily by you and Andy?
McLean: Some parts of the songs we have had to rearrange a bit for playing live, that was probably the hardest part as when we were writing the first album we werenít really concentrating on writing an album to play live. Beyond the rearranging of some parts there werenít really any other concerns as both Ben and Steve are great musicians so we didnít have to worry about that aspect.
Blistering.com: Are there any bands you currently feel that youíre aligned with? Judging by your previous live dates, youíve played with a pretty well-rounded (and excellent) bunch like Junius, Alcest, Les Discrets, etc.
McLean: Yeah itís been great to be able to play with those bands, Junius in particular blew me away when we played with them, every night they were incredible. I probably would say that we do fit in with those bands quite well, so it would be nice to play some more shows with them at some point.
Blistering.com: Finally, whatís on the agenda for the rest of 2012?
McLean: Weíre playing one gig in Romania, at Dark Bombastic Evening in August, which will be the last gig with Andy singing and playing guitar. For the rest of the year I will be concentrating on writing the second album and sorting out a full line up with a new vocalist.
Falloch on Facebook