Lamentations of the Ashen: “If you didn’t pay for it, you don’t deserve to hear it.” [Interview]

We recently hosted a stream of a song by Lamentations of the Ashen, a black/doom metal project from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here is an interview with the man behind this project, Bon Vincent Fry, where he talks about past and future releases, songwriting, influences and illegal downloading.

Lamentation of the ashen logo

Veronica: What urged you to create Lamentations of the Ashen?

Bon Vincent Fry: Well, the idea of it started to emerge somewhere around 06/07. Black metal had an increasingly central role in my musical interests during that time and I was really just inspired to create.

Veronica: Your second album EKIMMV was recently released in cassette format, even though it was originally released online in 2011. Why didnt this happen earlier?

Bon Vincent Fry: I was originally planning on working with an overseas label to have it released on CD but it didn’t work out. I also had some tentative interest by another label here in the US but nothing ever came through. I just decided to make it a digital release with hopes that eventually someone would take it on. It was all I could do.

Veronica: What does the name of the album mean? Is it an acronym? How does it relate to the lyrical content?

Bon Vincent Fry: No, not an acronym. ‘Ekimmu’ is a babylonian name for a lost, malicious spirit that torments the living until it attains what it needs to pass on. I came across it in a book I was reading and I felt like it was a metaphor for myself and the things I was going through at that time in life.

Veronica: You will be releasing a new album soon. Tell us a few words about it.

Bon Vincent Fry: Well, it’s been a long time coming. The first riff ideas for it started to appear in the summer of 2011 when I was recording EKIMMV. I feel like it’s definitely a really potent release that shows a good deal of progression overall with songwriting, etc. so I’m really excited about it. It definitely expands and improves upon what has been heard in EKIMMV while also nodding back in the direction of earlier works like In The Burden Of The Heart’s Plaint, which was my first album. I think a lot of fans will be happy to hear that, judging from all of the enthusiasm I hear for that record.

Lamentations of the Ashen - EKIMMV

Veronica: Your compositions tend to be rather lengthy and you incorporate various elements from different styles in your music. Is this a conscious effort? What is your approach to songwriting?

Bon Vincent Fry: Yes and no. I guess there is a part of me that expects by now that when I write a song it’s probably going to be long, but at the same time, thats just always the way it happened. I like long compositions though. I like songs to be like these big, dynamic movements that sometimes have an introductory segment along with different combinations of build-ups leading into euphoric, climactic parts with quiet, ambient or minimalistic segments placed within. I think maybe the variation in musical styles that I tend to incorporate is what makes this work.

Veronica: What inspires you to write music?

Bon Vincent Fry: It’s my sanctuary ya know? Where I find peace. There’s something inside of me that keeps me moving and needing to do this every day. It’s all I really have.

Veronica: Which bands/artists and albums have been influential to you?

Bon Vincent Fry: Abyssic Hate, OCEAN, Warning / 40 Watt Sun, MONO, Austere, Year of No Light and stuff like that.

Veronica: What is your view on illegal downloading and social media?

Bon Vincent Fry: I am very passionate about embracing the physicality of media. I love records, tapes, CDs and all that. I love albums and I love OWNING them. In the past, I’ve made my recordings available for free download, but in hindsight, I see it as a paying of dues. I’m really not sure if I want to continue to do that. I’ve spent probably 10K on each album I’ve done and I gave it away for free because I hoped people would listen, but at some point, I think you need to draw the line. The fact that no one even knew about my first album until I intentionally leaked it to a download blog really illustrates the troubled landscape that underground music is currently in. With that said, I think it’s really up to the artist/label. Some people will press LPs and then put up free downloads on Bandcamp too and it still works out. So, I suppose if a band wants to give you their music for free, they’ll be somewhat flagrant about it. If not, buy it. If you didn’t pay for it, you don’t deserve to hear it.

Veronica: Will Lamentations continue to be a solo project? Have you ever considered working with other musicians to perform your music live?

Bon Vincent Fry: I’m really on and off about this. If I had label backing from someone who wanted to commit to me for a couple records and throw a little cash my way, sure, I’d tour as much as I could. That isn’t currently the case though so I’m really content to just write and record. That was the original intention of this project anyway and it’s worked out well so far so it’s all good.

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