I recently spoke with Seth "Count Seth" Hecox of Becoming The Archetype to discuss the band's newest release, Celestial Completion. This disc marks a bit of milestone for the band as they introduce many instruments not usually found on a death metal record. While their distinctive approach of aggressive, technical guitar playing, frenzied rhythms and throaty, snarling vocals is still accounted for, they've added horns and sitars to the mix, creating a whole new vibe. Here's what Hecox had to say about the writing and recording of the new CD, Celestial Completion.
Hey Seth how are you doing?
Seth: I am doing great... ready for the interview man. We are doing great. We have all the stuff going on with the album and all the website stuff and Twitter accounts... it keeps me busy that is for sure.
But busy is good, don’t you think?
Seth: Oh yeah, I hate the temptation of being bored. It is sometimes hard when there is not much going on though.
Now that your new CD, Celestial Completion, is completed, how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Seth: Yeah we are. As far as the songs and the production go we wrote them all as a band. This is the first time we have done that. We wrote the songs together and practiced them in a live setting and we did some pre-production. We then played them for our producer Matt Goldman and he is really good with songwriting and clean harmonies and things like that. This gave us a chance to branch out and do something really different. Sometimes a band wants to experiment, but they don’t really have the right tools and it comes out sounding forced. But we had the right tools with our producer. It made a lot of sense to add in the clean vocals and the weird instruments and stuff because Matt really understands that stuff and he is familiar with that kind of territory musically.
Speaking of weird instruments. I think it is fantastic to hear horns and other instruments at work in a BTA record. Where did that come from? Was that Matt's idea or was that something the band thought of?
Seth: Man, actually the weird instrumentation is something that I have been pushing to do for a long time now. I actually wanted to do something like this on Dichotomy. I wanted to get a sitar player. I have been into Eastern music for a while now. I am a big Beatles fan and they have those tracks with Ravi Shankar and the sitar stuff. When we were recording Dichotomy we tried but we couldn’t get a sitar player to come down for an affordable rate so we just used a sitar sample. However with Celestial Completion we actually knew somebody who played sitar.
We met someone in Chicago while on tour and I got his number and when it came time to record this album I gave him a call. He was a super nice guy, super accommodating and we made a track for him in "Cardiac Rebellion" and he added a couple of other touches here and there. The horns are something that I was really into as well. We wanted to throw in as many instruments as possible and then try to stick with the ones that made sense and sounded good. One of the other things we have been talking about for the past few albums is adding Hip-Hop vocals to the mix. It just hasn’t worked out yet. It is kind of cool because in the BTA camp there are always tons of ideas swirling around and occasionally as we keep looking at them one will sort of rise to the surface and make itself possible.
I do a lot of reviews and listen to a lot of records and I see different people try these sorts of things all the time and I don’t necessarily think it works. However I do think it works quite well on Celestial Completion.
Seth: Well thanks, I appreciate that. Like I said we had wanted to do this for a while, but we did not want to force it; you have to have the right combination and it just kind of has to happen.
You just mentioned my favorite track on the record, "Cardiac Rebellion," but is there a track on the record that you like the most?
Seth: Well I really like the last track, "Breathing Light." We actually strongly considered doing our first music video for "Breathing Light." It came down to either "Breathing Light" or "Magnetic Sky" and we ended up choosing "Magnetic Sky." "Breathing Light" is such a moving track and it is so huge sounding and grand in its scope. I wrote that track mainly as an output of a couple of other things that I had been experimenting with. I have never used guitar pedals but I had bought a delay pedal and have been playing around with it for the past year or so. I came up with this little, simple two string thing that kind of had a U2 progression to it and I started working on it and we just began working on the song. It came out really well and it actually made Duck and I cry when we heard it after it was mixed; it is a pretty emotional song for me.
What is the significance of the title, Celestial Completion?
Seth: Well we had a whole pot of ideas as usual and we probably had ten or twelve titles on the board in the studio for what we could name the album. We started thinking of using a song title or lyric from a band that is not well known that we look up to. I started thinking about what bands or song titles are really inspirational, but are not super popular. Our favorite Christian Metal band is Extol. So I started thinking about Extol and we decided right away that we had to name the album Celestial Completion.
It is a song title from Extol’s first album and it is a super epic song, it is a least 7:00 minutes long or something. But it is a really great song and it fit the overall theme of the album. "Celestial Completion" refers to the moment in which we are completed spiritually and that really is a good way of wrapping up what the album is all about. It is sort of seeing the good side of the end of the world. The end of the world is normally seen as being a catastrophic and terrible thing and yeah there are catastrophes happening in the physical world, but spiritually it is a great time, It is a moment of promise it is a moment of transcendence and it is when we get to see ourselves for who we are and find our completion.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Seth: We have an April and May tour we are headlining through the Midwest and we have something in the works for the summer, but I can’t mention it just yet. We are getting the European tour dates lined up now, we are talking about Australia and we are talking about South Africa again.
What artists would fans be surprised to find on your iPod?
Seth: I got the new Cee Lo Green album and I think it is pretty awesome.
Tell me about a book or two you have read that you think others should read.
Seth: I really enjoyed the "Dark Tower Series" by Stephen King.
What 3 words best describe Becoming The Archetype?
Seth: Fun, Nerdy, Energetic.
If you were a superhero, who would it be and why?
Seth: Can I make up super powers?
Sure this is our interview; we can do anything we want.
Seth: This is a fun game we used to play with some of our friends who are into comic books. We used to play a game where if you could choose any superpower what would it be? We would come up with some of the most outlandish things. Here are some of my favorites. Josh Scoggins from The Chariot said that if he could have any power he would want his fingers to be Twix Bars and they would just regenerate so you could eat a Twix Bar anytime you wanted. It is kind of weird because it wouldn't help anyone, but you, but it was fun. We used to come up with great ones like that. Our friend Tim said that he would like to have a tongue made of bacon that he could eat at any moment and it would regenerate. I think if I could do anything I think it would be cool to swim on the air. So I could just push off of my house and just swim in the air.
Any closing words at all?
Seth: I am really excited about the CD. The music video we are going to release is awesome. We want everybody to have fun when they think of BTA. We want them to have fun and smile when they come to our shows. I hope that comes through and I hope that people can embrace the spirit of fun nerdyness.
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