INTERVIEW: Steve Miller – Oracles

Out of all of metal’s interesting and new projects, ORACLES came out of nowhere. Consisting of members of ABORTED, SYSTEM DIVIDE and DIMLIGHTORACLES instantly caught the attention of the heavy metal community. Now, the band have dropped their debut recordMiserycorde (read our review here), the band are looking ahead to the future. We caught up with guitarist Steve Miller to chat about the project and how it formed, Miserycorde and it’s messages and themes and what ORACLES aim to achieve.

ORACLES formed out of the ashes of SYSTEM DIVIDE, can you describe how the band formed?

Steve: As happy as we were with all the opportunities SYSTEM DIVIDE presented, we had already been talking even at that time about doing something very different with the music. With the dissolution of SYSTEM DIVIDE it was pretty much perfect timing to act on those plans and start something completely different.

The band can be considered as a ‘supergroup’ with members from a range of bands, what is the aim and purpose for ORACLES?

Steve: The whole idea behind ORACLES is to push our personal boundaries as musicians and get both ourselves and our listeners outside of our respective comfort zones. ORACLES is the perfect platform for this given all of our varied influences and interests and our desire to create something intense, engaging, and unique.

Your debut record, Miserycorde, has been out for just over a week – how have you found the early reception?

Steve: Oh man, we are very pleasantly surprised with how well this release is being received. Just this week alone we have had over 30,000 plays on Spotify and that number keeps growing. It was kind of a big deal for us, as a new band. We just played Antwerp Metal Fest as well and the reception from the crowd was just awesome as well.

Can you explain the writing and recording process for Miserycorde?

Steve: Being that we have members all over the globe, in five different countries, we definitely use the internet a lot. Long story short is that things get demo’d out by whoever is writing the song and we send it back and forth through email with comments and notes or ideas on how the song can be changed and made better. When it came time to record Miserycorde, we had already laid all the pre-production groundwork so tracking was very smooth and not much of a fuss. Once everything was laid down then Jacob Hansen worked his delicious magic on the thing and took everything to the next level, giving it that professional level of quality and resulting in the finished product!

In terms of musical influences for the band’s sound, do you take from your own respective bands for influence?

Steve: You know I really wouldn’t say so, or at least not as much as you might think. A lot of us have a death metal or black metal background, and of course Mendel [Bij de Leij, guitars] has his prog/shred projects, but I think with ORACLES we are all challenging ourselves to go against our standard methods in order to come up with something new. It can be frustrating at times, but I think the end result is well worth it. There’s a definite sense of accomplishment when we know we’ve gotten a song just right.

What are themes on Miserycorde? What are it’s messages?

Steve: Great question. Lyrically and as a whole package, Miserycorde definitely takes its thematics from the general global political and cultural landscape. I think right now we are living in a time where the average person feels a great amount of dispossession and disinterest, as well as disgust towards the workings of the powers that be, so to speak. Miserycorde is intended to be an artistic reflection of that collective feeling of discontent and sense of impending change.

One of the unique aspects of the sound of the band is the combination of Sven and Sanna’s vocals. What do you think the impact of having dual vocalists is?

Steve: I think it just makes the whole thing heavier by way of contrast. Having these crisp and soaring vocals from Sanna [Salou] over absolutely heavy, pounding riffs like in Body of Ineptitude really just serves to make the whole package sound much heavier. It really pulls you in. Just when you are getting comfortable listening to Sven [De Caluwé] scream his throat to pieces you’re smacked in the face with a big hook and Sanna‘s powerful vocals. Likewise, just when you think things might be taking a turn for the lighter, there’s Sven again just ripping into it. I love the interplay between the two of them on the album.

Was it difficult to try and balance the guttural and clean vocals?

Steve: No not at all. That might have been the most organic thing in the whole writing process. Sometimes their vocals fight back and forth, sometimes they set the stage for the other vocal presence. Everything just kind of fit right into place. Sven and Sanna are both total pros and total artists, and I think they just work well together both on paper and on the album.

The record has a plethora of guests (Ryan Knight/Per Nilsson/Jeff Loomis). Why did you decide to bring in these guests?

Steve: I think you just answered that question by naming names haha! Who wouldn’t want those guys on an album they wrote? I was psyched to have them all on the album, but when I heard the solos they all wrote I needed to change my pants. Hopefully it has the same effect on our listeners.

What are your hopes and aspirations for Miserycorde?

Steve: We just hope people have as much fun listening to Miserycorde as we did writing it!

How does playing in ORACLES differ from your previous work?

Steve: Me personally, I come from a death metal background so this is quite different. I’m very comfortable with technical music but ORACLES is a different monster and I find a lot of it quite challenging both mentally and at times physically. The stretches and changes on Scorn for example are absolutely murder. I’m not ashamed to say that it took me a couple of days to get that one down.

The record also features an interesting take on The Beautiful People by MARILYN MANSON. How and why did you decide to do this cover?

Steve: We have this joke in the band, that Mendel is always saying. It’s a quote from Yngwie Malmsteen: “More is more”. One day he sent us all a demo he had whipped up for The Beautiful People, and it was just blast beats all over the place. We thought it was hysterical and just said ‘screw it, let’s put it on the album’. Too funny not to share!

The death meal scene is a tried and tested style of music. Do you think ORACLES’ take on the style makes you stand out in the crowd?

Steve: Absolutely. I wouldn’t really call us death metal, but I don’t know of any other band with a female vocalist that are as death metal as us. It’s hard to place us in a genre.

Now, with the record out, we can look ahead to touring. What touring plans do the band have for the rest of 2016 and beyond?

Steve: We have a couple of festivals lined up through the end of 2016, but we are looking forward to a more active 2017 with more festivals and perhaps a tour or two.

We’ll close by offering you the floor – do you have anything to say to the readers of Distorted Sound?

Steve: Thanks so much for the interview today, and thank you all for reading! You guys are a big part of what we’re doing, and we are all humbled by your support. Seriously, you are all awesome.

Miserycorde is out now via Deadlight Entertainment.

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