Home SceneInterviews Hiss From The Moat Interview: It doesn’t matter what type of Metal or music you do, if you touch people, you are doing something right

Hiss From The Moat Interview: It doesn’t matter what type of Metal or music you do, if you touch people, you are doing something right

by Vjeran

When we started Metal Jacket Magazine, we wanted to somehow bring our readers closer to bands that might have a harder time breaking through to listeners in the sea of ​bands and music.

To begin with, it would be best if you introduced your band.
James Payne: Hiss From The Moat was started in 2006/07 from James Payne with some friends in the area of Milan, Italy. After writing the first EP the band started to play shows around Italy and in some venues in Europe. As the activity started to get more intense, some members of the band stepped aside to continue their studies and jobs, and James started to play with bands such as Hour of Penance and Vital Remains. The band then decided to release some of the material that had been in standby for a long time which has then been released digitally from Nuclear Blast in 2013. In 2016 the band started working on a new album later called The Harrier and released from M-Theory. In 2019/2020, with the pandemic blocking all the live shows activities, the band started the writing process of the upcoming album THE WAY OUT OF HELL. As of today the band members are James Payne on drums, Jack Poli on guitar, Max Cirelli on guitar and vocals and Carlo Cremascoli on bass.

Is it hard to keep all the members together since this music has no income?
James Payne: Not really because all the members of the band work within the music business and we find the time to work on our music and band activities. We all know what it takes and how to organize our lives to carry on the band as a side business for now.

How do you finance yourself and can you cover the costs of recording, equipment, concerts with music?
James Payne: We all see the band as a side-business in which we invest time and money. Part of the money we make with what we do, we re-invest it in this band and with the eventual growth of the band we will see our investments coming back in the long run. Often people and bands expect their money back within the circle of the release of an album, but it actually takes many years before a band can really start to profit. As any other long term investment really.

What made you start playing metal music? Who were your role models in the beginning and has that changed over time?
James Payne: We were and we still are influenced by many different bands and artists. I think metal was the most natural way to express our creativity as we were all fans of the music and of many bands, as for most of the metal bands. But in the last releases we have tried as much as possible to have our own identity and not get too influenced from any other band.

Is it hard to find a publisher or is it better to self publish considering the internet?
James Payne: It depends on many things. The internet is a place where everything can happen. But it’s also complicated to reach people and create your space in a very saturated market like metal music is, so maybe having someone that knows how to do the job, who already has connections and will help with a more strategic plan to release the music can really make a difference for some bands.

What have you published so far?
2009 – The Carved Flesh Message
2013 – Misanthropy
2019 – The Harrier

How do you create songs, how do you record them?
James Payne: We always start from something that we want to communicate. Some sort of message or topic. From there we know what type of atmosphere we want to create, so that we don’t get lost in the writing process, especially because we live far away from each-other: I live in LA, Jack in Liverpool and Max and Carlo in Italy. And then from there we usually start from having as many riffs as possible and go from there.

Where do you get inspiration for the lyrics?
James Payne: As I was saying earlier, we always start from having something to say before creating the actual music. Max and I read a lot of books and we share many interests in different topics, so we usually start from there. But then each album is different, sometimes a song is very personal to one specific member, sometimes Max and I sit together and we try to put into writing concepts that we want to communicate.

What is your favorite song you’ve made so far and why?
James Payne: Personally I think my favorite song is „Starying At the Abyss” from the upcoming album. When I listen to that song it just gives me a different vibe compared to anything else we ever written. It really reflects one part of my personality.

Where can readers listen to you and maybe buy your material?
James Payne: We are on every social platform, just look for Hiss From The Moat on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify etc… and we have merchandise on Bigcartel, Indiemerch and Bandcamp.

How do you organize concerts, is it difficult for you and how many people come to such concerts?
James Payne: Since we live all very far, it is difficult for us to just organize single shows here and there. We are planning on going on tours and performing at some festivals mainly.

In which countries have you played and where did you have the best time, where is the crowd the craziest?
James Payne: We always had great times in Italy, where we played most of our shows, but surely South East Asia and Germany have also been places where we had a great time and the shows were amazing.

What do you think about the digital release and is it serious like CD or LP?
James Payne: I think today most of the distribution is digital. It’s a great way to easily put your music in people’s ears all over the world with no distribution limits. So many people can easily discover the band and then come to the shows, I think it’s a great tool as serious as the physical releases.

Was metal music more honest than today?
James Payne: I think there have been moments where Metal and heavy music was more needed and felt by people. It was a new energy that many people related to. Then, things also become trends and more polished and can take many different roads. But I also think that art is always honest for artists, it’s just that not everyone out there is an artist.

How do you comment on this bunch of sub-genres in metal and is it good for metal or is it destroying it?
James Payne: I think that art is just art, I never cared for the different names in Metal. I think it’s simple, some bands have personality, some bands sound like other bands. Then people categorize everything to try to put them in a specific place. But what counts in the end is the energy in my opinion, not the name. It doesn’t matter what type of Metal or music you do, if you touch people, you are doing something right.

Do you support this commercialization of metal music and how about the wearing of metal t-shirts by some “exposed” people who do not belong to this philosophy of metal music?
James Payne: I think that everyone should do what they feel like doing. I don’t care what people listen to and wear. Music is a culture, but it’s also great if a band can make a great living because their merchandise gets sold a lot. I’m not mad at Metallica because they had great success with their art. If you raise the level, you raise the competition and the quality in my opinion, and that is often needed to filter out some of the terrible music that pollutes Metal sometimes.

What would you change in the world of metal and would you like to go back to the time before the internet if you remember it at all?
James Payne: I think I would change some of the formats, I don’t understand why bands release a 10 song album and then never perform the entire album live with the album production etc… on stage. I think that would be great and would make sense. Bands write hundreds of songs and then always play the same 20 live for 30 years. I was born in a small town in Italy and it was very difficult to get new music and underground music for me, it was frustrating. With the internet I managed to discover so many new bands and to appreciate so much more music, so in that sense no, I think the internet is great. But I do miss that magic and mystery of the bands before the Internet made everything so reachable to the point you know what everybody does every moment of their day…

How important is supporting the local scene and can you single out a band from your area that you would recommend to our readers?
James Payne: I never thought supporting local bands just because they were local was a good idea… I support art, whatever touches me, no matter where it comes from, my town or the other side of the world. I never wanted my band to have charity from my town to support me, I wanted people to appreciate my art for what it was, not where it came from. Then I think it’s important to support the local promoters and whoever put their lives into keeping the music industry going all the way up to your small hometown, that I support a lot! But it’s a different thing.

How do you see this situation in the world and how do you think it will develop? Will they imprison us again, scare us or maybe send us into a big war?
James Payne: It’s impossible to predict things, but I think people have to go back and take more information from their reality and what they live in their real life and not only from the internet and the media.

Finally, what would you say to our readers and why should they listen to you in the sea of bands that are offered to them every day?
James Payne: They shouldn’t… but if they happen to listen to us, and like what we do, they gain a new band to enjoy.
Thank you for your time!

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