Interview: IATT

On September the 27th IATT are going to release their new album, titled Nomenclature. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen already reviewed Nomenclature here and now he also interviewed them.

Hey, congratulations on your new, upcoming album, Nomenclature. I really like it.

Paul: Thank you, we’re glad you enjoyed it.

For the release of Nomenclature you signed to Black Lion Records. What makes Black Lion Records the best record label for IATT at this moment?

Alec: We were very excited to sign with Black Lion Records for this release. Looking at the roster of bands BLR had to offer, we felt that they we’re a perfect fit for us. A lot of great talent on the label, and considering our sound is heavily influenced by European metal, being on a European label made a lot of sense to us.
Most importantly, we wanted to feel assured that whomever we chose to partner with, they’d get what we were doing as a band and back us 100%. We’re not trying to do something standard musically, and we knew that might be a little risky for someone to invest in; but Black Lion have been real fans of what we’re doing and nothing less than supportive through this release.

Nomenclature will be released on September the 27th. Anything special planned for the release day?

Jay: We are working with Black Lion Records on a few things that will surround the release date. We have yet to announce them but rest assured; you will want to keep your eyes peeled.

The lyrics of Nomenclature, just as the lyrics on its predecessor St. Vitus Dance, are about the mysticism and the dark nature surrounding primitive medicine circa 1700. How did you come up with the idea of working with this theme?

Jay: Your theory about the correlation between St. Vitus Dance and Nomenclature is correct, and it’s always rewarding when such things are recognized. Initially, St. Vitus Dance was unintentionally the introduction to the theme of primitive medicine and occultism for IATT. St. Vitus Dance was intended to be a preview of what to expect from a newly rebirthed version of IATT. There was a mental evolution that took place lyrically that aligned with the sonic progression. Coming from a medical background it was natural for me to dive deep into medical history and draw inspiration from the barbaric malpractice that took place. Nomenclature is filled with songs that are a blend of personal experience and the mysticism in early medicine.

Around your signing to Black Lion Records and your announcement of Nomenclature, you said that around 1700 the worlds of science and the occult/superstition weren’t very far from each other, and at times became interwoven in an effort to unravel the secrets of the human body. With nowadays knowledge, what do you think of that?

Alec: From a historical standpoint, it makes a lot of sense that 18th century medicine would be filled with superstitions. With science still fairly young, it wasn’t uncommon to blame maladies on demons or malevolent spirits. Also, medical knowledge was still very limited at the time, and superstition played an intricate roll, for instance: it wasn’t uncommon for doctors to perform trepanning (the act of drilling or scraping a hole into a human’s skull) to relieve patients of evil spirits or bad blood. 18th century science mistook seizures for spiritual possession, the cure: cooking/crushing the hair of a healthy man and deer bones into a fine powder that then needed to be digested two days before a full moon… that really happened! Sometimes the greatest source of horror material comes directly from historical truth.

How do you see the combination of science and the occult/superstition here and now?

Alec: Luckily we’ve come pretty far from brain drilling as an acceptable cure for headaches, but even today we still find some relics of these old practices. If you’ve ever said “bless you” to someone who’s sneezed, you’re participating in a very old practice of warding off evil spirits being expelled from their body. In some parts of the world, spirit healers, psychic surgery, and “praying the devil out” are still very much alive and continue to be used to this day. Medicine and science by nature are fields that continue to grow and change over time the more we learn and discover. We’ve come a long way, but as long as humans continue to seek knowledge, I’m sure there will always be superstitions and strange ideas that fill in the gaps.

There is very much to be heard on Nomenclature. While writing it, where did you start?

Joe: When writing for IATT in general, we always strive to write music that we would want to hear as a listener. We all have an extremely diverse taste in music, so to be able to blend that into an album’s worth of music was the goal with Nomenclature. IATT’s signature sound has always been our dark and aggressive style with progressive elements thrown in here and there, but we wanted to push those boundaries with this release and really showcase where we are as a band. Writing this album was a meticulous and tedious process. While pushing the more progressive side of the genre, we had a whiteboard in our rehearsal space to map out time signature, tempo, and key changes for each song. We did this all while maintaining our dark and aggressive sound, which was very important to us. You will hear many different styles and elements within each song that come together to make Nomenclature what it is. From the opening track Cor Pulmonale, you hear our signature aggressive black metal stylings, which is what we wanted to have kick off the album in a relentless form. Tracks like Yersenia Pestis bring you the more progressive side of things, with the evil carnival sounding riffs followed by a clean jazzy bridge. Tracks like Blade of Trepanation, a wall of emotion that brings you on an epic journey, has many different sounds purposely and carefully blended together. From the dark undertones in the first half of the track, to the rock and roll in the middle, all the way to the doom metal sounding interlude, we wanted it to sound like a wall crushing the listener’s journey right before seeing the light again when the song comes back around full circle, leading you to the outro where we wanted the listener to have a sigh of relief when the acoustic guitars and ambient soundscapes come in, leading you to the closing track. Arsenic Ways closes the album with its technicality, variety of time signatures, and use of chord extensions and progressions throughout the track. We felt it would give the listener a good sense of what Nomenclature was about by the time they finished listening to it in its entirety.

In July you released the live music video for Nomenclature‘s closing track Arsenic Ways, which is almost five minutes long. The album version is a bit more than seven minutes long though. Why did you shorten it for the video version?

Jay: The live music video for Arsenic Ways came from a show that was headlined by Obscura. As you can imagine, the show was run on a very strict time schedule, and in order for us to play our best songs; the instrumental/outro portion of that song was not played. We look at it as a radio edit and album version.

I really like the artwork, which is made by your guitarist Alec Pezzano. What’s the story behind it?

Alec: Glad you like it! The concept of the album was nailed down well before the artwork, which really gave me a solid direction creatively to come up with something that fit. We discussed the time period of the album’s themes, thinking of textures of old leather and copper/brass to give it that aged, antique, 18th century feeling. I really took time and care in setting up a cohesive design for the packaging as a whole, creating the inner booklet of the album to look like an old medical journal with aged anatomy illustrations, scribbling in the liner notes, fingerprint smudging… I wanted this to look fairly authentic, like this was a medical students’ ledger, and that in itself had its own story. With each page of the booklet, we see a man’s descent into madness. The horrors (both physical and metaphysical) he’s witnessed begin to unravel his mind, and we follow his journal as he falls deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, progressively becoming more chaotic in design.

On the cover the first N of Nomenclature is typed in reverse. Was that a deliberate choice? If yes, can you tell us the motivation for doing so?

Alec: Yes, not only for aesthetic design, there was absolutely intent. It was inspired by old gravestone etchings, in which you can find instances of the reversed N’s carved into many older headstones of that time period. It’s a very small detail denoting the time period in which the album’s theme takes place, and though I didn’t expect anyone to think anything of it, I do take a lot of care in placing several small details and hints about the album throughout the artwork (especially the booklet). I’m a big fan of finding/incorporating “easter eggs” in artwork, and this album is packing quite a few.

Our readers question comes from Amanda Marie. Her question is: “If you could trade places with anyone in the band for one day who would it be and why?”

Jay: So this answer may be an inside thing amongst the band, but I will do my best to explain my choice. If I could trade places with any band member it would be with our drummer Paul. It seems that Paul is very laid back and goes about his day without worry. He has a very even-keeled personality. Paul also has the ability to pick up an instrument and just shred on it without any practice. He definitely has a natural talent that goes unrivaled within the band.

You currently have only one upcoming show announced. Can we expect more IATT shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Alec: We’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now. We’ve only got one show officially announced on our social media, but we’re working with our management on solidifying a short run tour in support of the album as well as several shows to be announced for the end of the year into 2020. We’ve also been very busy recently shooting a brand new music video for another track on the album, and have a lot of content coming up very soon. Stay posted to our social media and Black Lion’s too, as we’ll be posting a lot more shows, videos, merch, and a bunch of other things we can’t quite release yet… In regards to the Netherlands, YES! Overseas travel and things like that (planning, preparation, logistics, and funding) are dependent on the album and the label, so we’ll see.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Alec: Thank you so much for taking the time to check us out. Nomenclature is available Sept 27th via Black Lion Records. Pre-orders are still available, and I think there’s a couple of Limited Edition T-shirt/Album BundlePacks (through Black Lion Records), so definitely secure yours now while they’re available. Please like & follow us on our Facebook and on Instagram to keep up to date on everything we’ve got coming up. We’ve got a lot more exciting news dropping soon.

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