Vancouver, B.C. indie metal band, Imonolith is locked, stocked and ready to release their full-length debut, State of Being, on March 27th. It may be their first album together, but it’s certainly not the first recording in which these five gentlemen have been involved. They are all career musicians who have been involved with some very noteworthy acts; Drummer Ryan “RVP” Van Poederooyen and guitarist Brian “Beav” Waddell were members of the Devin Townsend Project for nearly a decade, Jon Howard is best known for this work fronting both Threat Signal and Arkaea, guitarist Kai Huppunen previously worked with Methods of Mayhem, and bassist Scott Whalen played in Canadian electronic/alternative group Econoline Crush. Talk about some firepower…
After nailing down the lineup, the quintet quickly got down to work writing and recording their debut between March and July of last year. To create the classic metallic sound they were seeking, they captured the audio in particular ways, like the drums being recorded to two-inch tape with no samples, vocals being kept raw without autotune, and guitars only going through amps. It was a true band experience where the creativity they could concoct together would be what would ultimately drive this album. It’s safe to say it was a success, with the release also including guest vocals from Johannes Eckerström and Meshuggah frontman Jens Kidman.
With such an awesome new group comprised of so many experienced and skilled musicians, it felt like a good time to catch up further with Imonolith and learn more about their origins and debut album. So, we spoke with drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen about the band’s formation, what it was like to get musically acquainted with each other, and why they went old school with the recording process.
I’m not going to call you a supergroup, but you guys certainly come close. What’s the story behind how you all met or first became acquainted with each other? Did you know each other previously?
Ryan Van Poederooyen: “Brian and I have known each other for eighteen years through playing together in the Devin Townsend Band and Devin Townsend Project. Both Brian and I knew Kai through the Vancouver music scene. Kai and Scott played together in Econoline Crush, that’s how we were introduced to Scott. Jon was the only guy in the band that none of us had a connection to. We were all introduced to Jon through a mutual friend.”
What came first, playing live gigs together or writing and recording together?
“Writing and recording together came first. After a year of being together, we played three shows in support of our single, ‘Hollow.’”
When you did first get in the studio together, what was it like? Was it at all difficult to discover a new chemistry with new, already well-established musicians?
“It went very smoothly. We’re all very experienced musicians and have recorded many albums collectively throughout the years as professional artists. It was an easy and fun process recording our debut album. The chemistry was natural and very organic. ”
Your debut album, State of Being, is just about to arrive. What are you most proud of with this album?
“I’m most proud of the fact we were able to pull this album off independently on a grand scale. We’re releasing this on our own label, Imonolith Music. It takes a ton of work, focus, and professionalism to put together a proper worldwide album release. We’ve done it. We have an incredible sounding album, with killer songs and an awesome team of people behind the scenes, from business partners to management, PR, social media people and more. I’m grateful we’re in a position to do it this way.”
State of Being was recorded between March and July of last year and is now arriving about a year after you began. Has this been a time-consuming album to get right?
“It wasn’t a matter of getting it right, we knew what we wanted from the beginning. It was a matter of achieving our goal. It takes time and money to get things where you visualize them. So we took our time with the album to make sure we got it right every step of the way. No mistakes. We did exactly that and are very happy with the results.”
With it being quite a while since you actually finished recording the album, has it been an agonizing wait for you to have to wait this long for fans to actually hear this?
“Yes and no. We were so inundated in making the album that we did not feel too much pressure in wanting our fans to hear the record. This is our first record EVER! If this were a second or third record, I think we would maybe feel differently. What matters most is getting it done right and then confidently presenting it to your loyal supporters.”
You chose to record this album in a really old school, organic way, with drums recorded to two-inch tape, no auto-tuning on the vocals, and guitars recorded just through amps. What was the goal in recording in this way?
“We wanted to create our own sound. There is nothing more real than recording everything organically. Most albums these days are recorded with samples and DIs, auto-tune and so on. We knew recording it naturally would help have our album stick out a little more. We’re very happy with the results. We had an amazing producer/engineer at the helm who could make that happen too. Nothing against samples, auto-tune or DIs. We may record our next album with some of that stuff. We just wanted to focus on our natural, organic sounds for this album.”
What have you most enjoyed thus far about Imonolith? What’s made this different than your previous bands?
“I love that fact that we’re an actual band. For example, Brian and I played in the Devin Townsend Project and that was never a band. We were hired guns playing someone else’s music. We knew that going in and are very grateful for all the time we spent in the DTP, but being in a band situation is much more rewarding and liberating. We’re also the most experienced we’ve ever been in our careers. That experience helps make things even more enjoyable in a band situation.”
Would you say that each of you now considers Imonolith to be your primary band? Or will you continue to juggle this with other bands and projects?
“Yes, 100 percent. Jon still has Threat Signal, but Imonolith is his main priority. I know Kai and Scott write their own stuff on the side but everyone’s focus is on Imonolith, 100 percent.”
So with State of Being arriving now, what’s the plan going forward? Do you have a lot of touring planned for the rest of the year?
“We will be focused on supporting the album and touring anywhere and everywhere we possibly can over 2020 and 2021. We’re excited to play shows world-wide and support the music we love creating and playing. It’s exciting times for Imonolith and we’re going to give it all we have!”