Interview: Rhett Davis (Stygian Crown)

With their self-titled debut Stygian Crown released one of the best doom metal records of 2020 – no doubt about it. That’s why my colleague Tim (Mr. Metalsson) and I gave this amazing quintet from Los Angeles a spot on our Top 15 newcomers list which we published yesterday. As you can imagine, we’re really glad that Rhett Davis (drummer) – who was also responsible for all the lyrics on Stygian Crown – was available for an interview.

Hi, Rhett, thanks a lot for your time. How are you doing? 

I’m doing well, thank you! As best as can be under the circumstances! 

How are you dealing with the current situation? I suppose the pandemic destroyed a lot of your plans with Stygian Crown. I hoped to see you live on stage at Hammer of Doom and Hell over Hammaburg, for instance…

It did put quite a few wrenches in the works to any musical plans I had. I do hope that all parties involved are still willing and able to postpone.

I hope so, too, and keep my fingers crossed. What was the last record you listened to before answering my questions?

The last full record was the King Diamond Black Rose demo recordings. 

How would you describe the feedback you received after releasing your debut album?

Positive. Obviously we can’t appease everyone but we were well received overall. Honestly, that is all I could ask for or hope for.  

Do you often read reviews about your own music?

Not often or try to avoid them. My bandmates send stuff back and forth and I’ve read some. I really put effort to not take them seriously but at times I have been swept up by words of strangers and I have been both humbled and angry. I am human. I think as a band you want people to click with your art, and do hope to see a favorable response. I’ve been making music so long now I’m usually pretty unphased by it. 

I think we are a work in progress. We are still learning from each other, experiencing what we want to be and what we could be.

Rhett Davis

What do you think about Stygian Crown? Are you completely happy with the final result? 

I think we are a work in progress. We are still learning from each other, experiencing what we want to be and what we could be. I’m learning a lot from Melissa (vocals) and how we can best shape these songs with her vocals and vice versa. I believe the next release will be more deliberate and mature. 

What’s your favourite track on your debut? For me, it’s really difficult to choose because there’s definitely no filler material on it.

»Two Coins for the Ferryman«. It has a rock format I’ve always wanted to do on drums. I also love the lyrics and everybody’s input into the song. Andy’s solo and Melissa’s vocals are highlights to me personally. 

Melissa is a stellar vocalist. Who is responsible for her amazing vocal lines?

Melissa. She needs no instruction. If anything I might influence a couple things but 99.9% of it is her. 

Are you already working on your next studio album with Stygian Crown? If so: What may we expect stylistically? Will there be any changes?

Yes. We have 3 songs worked out so far, another 5 in the early phase. We have the album artist hired and an album title. We hope to record by summer of 2021. 

We have the album artist hired and an album title. We hope to record by summer of 2021. 

Great news.

On our blog, we focus on epic metal and epic doom metal. How would you define the term »epic«? We received a lot of different answers regarding this topic in the last few weeks. 

Epic to me is larger than life. A story with many twists and turns that in the end makes you both exhausted and elated.

2020 is a catastrophe but fortunately there are lot of solid releases. Are there any records that you would strongly recommend, especially to epic or epic doom metal fans?

I really like the bands Gygax, Spellbook, Smoulder, Destroyed In Seconds, and Thronehammer

What do you generally think about the North American metal scene? In my opinion, the creativity of acts like your own band, Concilium or Crypt Sermon is mind-blowing.  

On the top of head one of my favorites are Demon Lung and I’ve been a fan of Behold! The Monolith for many years now. Looking forward to more music from both bands!

It promotes cowards, it rewards the stupid and narrow-minded.

Rhett Davis about social media platforms.

What’s your opinion about social media platforms? I talked with a lot of young musicians and most of them stated that they are very important for them nowadays in order to reach a larger audience.

As a method to reach out to a fanbase, share and promote music, it can be helpful. But it’s limited. It’s also seriously convoluted and has a tiny memory. Here today gone tomorrow. I personally hate it since it gives a forum for the uneducated, the callous and the worthless, by and large. It promotes cowards, it rewards the stupid and narrow-minded. If anything it’s just cemented my misanthropy. 

Last question, it’s a bit nasty: Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus

Candlemass. There would be no Solitude Aeturnus without them. Just as no Candlemass without Black Sabbath. Love all bands aforementioned though!

Rhett, thank you very much. We look forward to your next album with Stygian Crown. Stay safe!

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