Fortunately, you can always discover wonderful gems in the underground. One of them is Theandric‘s EP Flight Among the Tombs, which already enchanted me during the first listen. Against this background, it is not surprising that we asked the band’s founder, Paul Tiseo, if he would like to answer a few questions for us. Luckily, he had time for us. We hope you enjoy reading!
André: Paul, thank you very much for taking the time to be on our blog. How are you doing?
Paul Tiseo: I am doing well, although my heart is breaking for the Ukrainian people currently suffering the senseless scourge of war.
Yes, of course, this topic overshadows everything. Nevertheless, we try to focus completely on the music today.… Which album did you listen to last?
Sepultura – Quadra.
Are you a vinyl freak? Or do you not really care about the format?
I really like vinyl, but I actually prefer compact discs in terms of regular listening, as I have hundreds in my collection. If I started collecting vinyl I would go broke!
It is no different with me…
The best part of vinyl is the size of the sleeve which can really help you appreciate the artwork and package design. We designed our own art to have some subtle details and easter eggs which require a closer look to appreciate. Some of my favorite album covers are Iron Maiden – Powerslave, Candlemass – Nightfall, Wishbone Ash – Argus, Sepultura – Dante XXI, and Bolt Thrower – War Master!
That’s what I call a tasteful selection! Let’s talk about your band: Some readers probably don’t know Theandric yet. Please tell us a little bit about the history of your band? And please also mention your great EP Up the Irons (An Epic Hymn to Iron Maiden)…
Theandric originally began as a one-man solo project, but I always had the vision for it to become a full-fledged band. It was just a matter of connecting with the right musicians. In 2011 I worked with a producer and musician Andy Patalan who helped me record the Up the Irons EP. On that recording I did all vocals, guitars and bass. That EP features the epic hymn to Maiden and one original song. The idea was to try to out-do Steve Harris by writing the longest, most epic Iron Maiden song with lyrics that express the whole spectrum of Maiden lore. It wasn’t meant to be anything too serious, but alas I still got hate mail from Maiden fans who don’t like what I said about Janick Gers, haha! Later I entered a musical phase in which I was playing nothing but acoustic guitar, and I was writing a lot of songs in a folk vein. Eventually after seeing Spirit Adrift play in Detroit in 2017 my love for metal was revitalized and I started writing new material. Around the same time, I helped out some friends by playing bass for 2 shows, and that’s how I met Bill Bogue (guitar) and Matt Voss (drums). I connected with Aaron Wienczak (guitar) through an ad he placed on the Internet. I shared with them some of the new material I was writing and they were enthusiastic about working together. Matt Voss performed on the EP but was not able to commit long-term, so we are working with my good friend Lawrence Nagel on drums, a talented drummer in his own right.
How would you classify you stylistically? It’s clear that you are an Iron Maiden fan – but there is also a good shot of epic doom on your current EP Flight Among The Tombs.
We think of ourselves as a traditional heavy metal band with progressive leanings, but we don’t want to be caged into any one genre of metal. We wanted this release to give a taste of some our sound and influences, but also to hint at the vast scope of sounds we will use in the future. That’s why you’ll hear world instruments, mellotron, acoustic guitars, pipe organs, etc.
I think the EP I just mentioned is great from front to back – also because it’s so multifaceted. When were the four songs written – and did you write them all by yourself?
The songs were composed in 2020. For this batch of songs I wrote the music and lyrics for 3 out of the 4 songs, while the title track “Flight Among the Tombs“ was a collaboration between myself and guitarist Aaron Wienczak. He shared with me some old riffs he had and they inspired me to write lyrics and provide a broader arrangement for the song. I adapted one of his riffs into the baroque organ intro that opens the EP. Also, both Aaron and Bill compose their own guitar solos for each song; we like to consider each solo as a mini-song in its own right. We did have other songs written, but we felt that these four tracks were the strongest. Thank you for commenting on the multi-faceted nature of the songs! With this release, we wanted to introduce the new lineup to the world, and give listeners a sense of some of the variety of our sound. We are still developing our own sound and don’t want to be pigeonholed into any one genre at this point, though we definitely see ourselves as a heavy metal band. But we like to draw from traditional, doom, thrash, prog rock, and classical music to do what’s best for each song. It’s a thrill to create without putting artificial boundaries on yourself.
On “The Battle of Sherramuir“ you dedicate yourself to an exciting chapter of Scottish history. Do you have any connections to Scotland? Or were you simply interested in the topic?
I actually have some Scotch-Irish heritage from my mother’s side, while my father is 100% Italian. “The Battle of Sherramuir” takes inspiration from a number of Scottish sources: a traditional Scottish folk tune, the poetry of Robert Burns, and the circumstances of the Battle itself. At first I tried to sing more of Burns’ poem, but I soon realized that there was no way I could sing his words authentically as a 21st American! So I decided to focus my lyrics more on the idea that life is a battle that requires each of us to commit to fighting for what we feel is right. Being passive or lukewarm will result in defeat and despair!
In general, your lyrics are quite sophisticated and simply well-written. I assume that they are very important to you and that you invest a lot of time in them.
Thank you! Yes, I put just as much effort in the lyric writing as I do in the musical composition. It is typical for me to take several weeks to find just the right words for a song. Often they don’t come to mind until the middle of the night when I should be sleeping! I often use my smartphone to write down lyrical phrases or ideas so I don’t forget them. As you may have guessed, I take a lot of inspiration from literature, poetry, history and the Bible. Both romantic and modern poets have inspired me, such as Robert Burns, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Anthony Hecht.
Theandric are a classic underground band that lives on mouth-to-mouth propaganda. How difficult is it to get noticed these days, given the flood of releases?
It is really challenging, and in light of that we secured the cooperation of Clawhammer PR who provided promo for us for the release of “Flight Among the Tombs.” They work with Cruz Del Sur and many other labels and bands of note. As a consequence, we were really pleased to read the many positive reviews of the EP. We put our hearts and souls in the EP and so it confirmed for us that we have something special to offer creatively. Nevertheless, it is really hard to connect deeply with listeners when there are so many options available to music fans, but that’s what makes great outlets like the Epic Metal Blog so invaluable for metal fans and bands!
Thank you very much, Paul! What are your plans for Theandric? Will there be a new release in the foreseeable future, maybe even another full length?
This year we will be playing a number of local shows, but we are working on a lot of new material as well. We plan to release one or two new singles before 2022 is over, and I hope we can enter the studio next year to record a new full-length album. I have a historical concept in mind that has been inspiring a variety of new songs but I can’t reveal it yet!
Are there any live dates planned for this year?
Yes! We have local shows coming up in April, May and June! On April 23, we played with two Michigan progressive metal bands, Imminent Sonic Destruction and Entransient. On May 20 we play with the all-female tribute band The Iron Maidens along with Burning Witches! And on June 9 we are really excited to share a bill with Anvil, White Wizzard and Midnight Hellion!
Let’s assume you could play an extensive tour in Europe with Theandric. Which bands would you like to play with? Dreaming is allowed!
Well, since dreaming is allowed, I would like to put together a traveling festival in which we perform at every medieval castle in Europe! There would be 3 stages:
Prog Rock stage: Malady, Haken, Steve Hackett, KING’S X
Heavy stage: Hooded Menace, Temple of Void, Alkaloid, Opeth, SEPULTURA
Main stage: Candlemass, Spirit Adrift, Europe, Theandric, IRON MAIDEN
Wow, where can I buy tickets? Which five albums would you take with you to the notorious desert island?
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Bruce Dickinson – The Chemical Wedding
Europe – War of Kings
Genesis – Foxtrot
King’s X – Ear Candy
Is there one song that you would call an all-time favourite track? A track that is very special to you…
We had a string quartet perform an arrangement of Steve Hackett’s “Horizons” at our wedding, so that song is very special to me and my wife!
Last question: According to Metallum you are from Michigan. What is the metal scene like there?
We have a cool and supportive scene here with lots of talented musicians. We have Temple of Void, a death/doom band who recently signed with Relapse Records. For fans of prog metal, I recommend Imminent Sonic Destruction and Entransient. For traditional doom, check out Cruthu. Part of the joy of being in an original indie band is making new friends with people in the scene.
Paul, thank you very much for your very interesting answers!
Thank you so much for the support, metal brothers! We would welcome your review of our EP as well!
I can assure you that a review will be up on the blog soon!