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With the release of the brand new debut album from Illimitable Dolor and new work coming up from The Slow Death, it seemed like a good time to get to know the multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter behind the two bands, as well as learn of his (many) other projects.

Interview with The Slow Death.
With the release of the brand new debut album from Illimitable Dolor and new work coming up from The Slow Death, it seemed like a good time to get to know the multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter behind the two bands, as well as learn of his (many) other projects.

In the hot seat: Stu Prickett, variously guitars, vocals, bass, drums and keyboards with Horrisonous, Illimitable Dolor, The Slow Death, ex-Backyard Mortuary, ex-Bludgeoner, ex-Broken Anatomy, ex-Decayed Divinity, ex-Of Grief Everlasting, ex-Stone Wings, ex-Elysium, ex-Mournful Congregation (live).

1) Greetings Stu, thanks for agreeing to do this interview! So, the Illimitable Dolor is out now, and you guys seem to have played a few shows. How are you feeling about the progress you’ve made with the band thus far? Are you currently working on anything with any of your other bands at the moment?

Cheers Dante! The Illimitable Dolor album has been out for a month or two now and has been getting great reviews and feedback, far better than I was expecting it to get to be honest. The shows have been really good too so far. The band has been progressing really well, it's now a 6 piece band. The first album was just 3 of us, The second album is almost finished with 4 of us on it and we are currently writing the third album which will be the entire current lineup. With my other bands we are currently close to finishing up the new The Slow Death album and writing for the Horrisonous album but that won't be released til next year sometime.

Illimitable Dolor.

2) From looking through the bands you’ve been involved in, I’ve gathered that you tend to focus on playing two different genres; straightforward sounding death metal and more atmospheric sounding death/doom. What is it that makes you want to perform in both death metal and doom metal bands? Do you prefer writing more extreme material or more atmospheric stuff? Are there any other genres (metal or non-metal) that you would want to play at any point?

I've always loved both death metal and doom metal. They both have their appeals to me, death metal for the aggression and doom metal for the emotional and heaviness. Playing death metal live is a really enjoyable thing for me. The doom side of things has varied from a live perspective but I loved doing Mournful Congregation live and Illimitable Dolor even moreso. I would definitely have to say that my heart is more into the writing of doom, it always has been, I get a lot out of writing doom stuff myself. I haven't really been motivated to do anything in other styles really, heavy downtuned guitars are my thing.

Stone Wings.

3) You’ve mentioned that Elysium, Stone Wings, and The Slow Death are all connected. While they are all stylistically the same (melo-death/doom metal), I feel as if the three all have their own personal nuances in them. Elysium has very airy and ethereal feel, Stone Wings is more upbeat and faster paced, and The Slow Death is extremely bleak and funereal. Do you agree that the bands all differentiate in such a way, or do you feel as if they are all generally the same material? Do you feel as if your songwriting has evolved over the course of the three bands?

Elysium and Stone Wings is exactly the same band, we just had to change our name as we were getting legal threats from some young dickheads from Western Australia who had only existed for a short period of time but they had registered the name here. Besides that there are Elysium's popping up everywhere so we agreed a name change was in order. The music would have been exactly the same even if it was still called Elysium. Our songwriting style definitely progressed though during those years though but I disagree Stone Wings was more upbeat and faster paced than Elysium, I think it was the opposite, particularly the promo we did in 1999, that was way slower and not at all upbeat besides the short middle track, but that's the beauty of musical opinions haha. The Slow Death is a bit different as it evolved more out of my solo project Of Grief Everlasting rather than Stone Wings so it was always more epic and depressing sounding. I think my writing definitely evolved over the decade between the bands to be more depressing and bleak.

4) The Slow Death has become a lot more complex over the course of the three albums; more intricate guitars, more keyboards and piano, more variation in tempo, etc. As of yet, do you feel the next release of TSD will differentiate from the albums in any way, aside from the introduction of Gamaliel as the new vocalist? There were quite a few guest musicians on Ark, will there be any on the upcoming release? Any hints as to what the theme of the album will be (considering how all the releases have been concept albums)?

The Slow Death has definitely become more intricate. The self titled was fairly basic in general and II was kind of a bridge to what we became. With those two albums I always kept it to the point where we could have played it live for most songs in case we wanted to but when we started on Ark I'd given up any idea of playing live and just decided to layer as much as I wanted to. I love to layer guitar harmonies and I think it's my strong suit so it was very liberating to me to just stack as many layers as I wanted to. Ark was layered and intricate to the point where I don't think we could top it in that direction, at least for now so the new one is more basic in that way, it reminds me of more of a mix between the first and Ark. There are no guests on this one, just the band members. It's a little more stripped back but still sounds obviously like TSD. The theme is a bit political this time about political unrest and basically is described by the title 'Siege". Once again Mandy has written all the lyrics.

The Slow Death.

5) The lyrics of the Illimitable Dolor were written by Paul Hardacre, and when reading through them, seem kind of surreal and cryptic. Was there some sort of general theme behind the lyrics on the album, and did you have any part in writing them as well? Also, where did the idea of the cover art come from? Did you have a specific theme in mind, or did you just have the artist come up with something on her own?

Paul Hardacre did indeed write the lyrics and they are very surreal and kind of cryptic, i had to ask him myself what they were about and the answer is it's apparently about the creation of a philosophers stone. The second album, which we have nearly completed recording is a continuation of these lyrics. I had no input with the lyrics, I'm honestly a pretty crappy lyric writer which is why I enlisted Paul to write. It's a partnership that is working well as the lyrics stand apart from most doom acts I think. I came up with the basic idea of what I wanted for the art and presented that to my friend Anne O'Neill who ran with the idea and in my opinion came up with something phenomenal. It's probably my favorite album cover I've had, it's just a shame the cd prints came out a little too dark and lost a lot of the detail.

6) Has there been any consideration of posting your material from Of Grief Everlasting? You’ve mentioned a couple of the songs from A Journey into Melancholia were later used for TSD’s first album. Do you plan on reusing any more of the material from that early band for TSD or Illimitable Dolor? Has any of the early material from Elysium been used for more recent tracks?

I've thought about posting the OGE stuff on youtube and maybe bandcamp but it's not one of my priorities presently. I did use songs from the first two demos for the first two TSD releases, that is true. I don't plan on using anything else from those demos though, I think I've used all the decent material. The 3rd one possibly in the future. I haven't used any early Elysium material for TSD however we are using some of those songs for the band Dark Epoch which besides myself features Pim from Officium Triste and Tim from Aldebaran/Mournful Congregation. That album has been in the works for years but will happen eventually. We did however use Stone Wings material that was written in the period between Bird of Stone Wings and when we split up, one of the songs from the split and 2 on Ark came from those songs. Also one from the upcoming album.

Illimitable Dolor - 'Comet Dies Or Shines':

7) What are some bands or albums that you feel have helped shaped your style of songwriting throughout the years? Growing up, were there any people who inspired or supported your choice to become a musician? Are there any recent bands or albums that have inspired you lately?

I think the bands that influenced me most were bands in the early to mid 90's like Anathema, My Dying Bride, Skepticism, Funeral, Paradise Lost, Cruciform etc. I think I settled into my own style quite a long time ago though so no bands really in a long time has influenced my writing. A lot of newer bands and releases do inspire me though to want to create. Evoken, SubRosa, Shape Of Despair, stuff like that. Growing up there wasn't really anyone that inspired me to become a musician that I knew, I just became obsessed with Metal when I was about 12 and went from there. My parents were fairly supportive of my music to an extent. I have always worked full time on my normal job as well as doing the musician thing so it probably never seemed to a problem to anyone haha.

8) When writing or practicing music, some people have certain “rituals” they do in order to settle in and get focused; they need to be in a certain frame of mind, or it needs to be a specific time of day, etc. What do you do in order to get focused on writing material? Do you have a set time of day dedicated to writing, or find that you need to be in certain mood to feel inspired?

Nothing like that for me, whenever I pick up a guitar I get inspired most of the time. I usually like to have a few days set aside to work on songs though. Sometimes the music flows, sometimes it doesn't, but that's pretty rare to be honest.

9) Something that I’ve found interesting about TSD’s split release with Majestic Downfall was the cover of “People Like Me, People Like You” by Clare Bowditch. It’s not every day a doom band covers a song from an indie/folk musician, but it was done rather well! How did the idea for that cover come about?

I'm a big fan of Clare Bowditch and other female artists like Sarah Blasko, Tina Dico, Charlotte Martin, Anna Von Hausswolff, Agnes Obel etc, so I listen to quite a bit of that kind of thing when I'm in the mood. The first time I heard that song by Clare Bowditch I knew it would make a great doom song and would suit TSD, so I did a demo with Mandy and a drum machine and it worked so we recorded it properly. It was really downtuned though so it was right at the bottom of Mandy's register but luckily it worked out. I really like our version.

10) It’s my understanding that with TSD, you write the bulk of the music and then let the other musicians add in their stuff. Is this how the songwriting process works with your other bands as well, or do the other musicians have more part in how the songs are formed? Do you prefer to work with a full band, or to have your own project in which other musicians contribute to songs that you wrote entirely on your own?

This process has been true for most of my bands. When I write songs I do prefer to write the whole song rather than just bits of a song. It does depend on the band though. It won't change for TSD, it will always be myself and Mandy writing the albums. Illimitable Dolor is in the process of becoming a more collaborative band though, the third album which we are currently writing is becoming more of a band effort which I'm trying to get happening as I want it to be a true band and not just guys that play songs I've written. Because the second album was written and mostly recorded before we became a full band though that was also written by me.

The Slow Death - 'The Chosen Ones':

11) Out of all the bands and projects you’ve played in, which has been your favorite? If you were given the opportunity to go back in time, is there anything you would have done with your music differently? Would there be any bands you wouldn’t have played in, or musicians you would have liked to have worked with?

It's hard to pick a favourite but I think that would be split between The Slow Death and Illimitable Dolor, both for different reasons. I don't have any regrets about any of the music I’ve done or the bands I've played in. If I could have changed anything though it's probably the time wasted with Stone Wings doing nothing but it's not worth worrying about now. I've worked with a whole bunch of musicians but it's always great when I get to work with new people. There's a couple I'd like to work with now that I'm sure will happen in some way.

12) You’ve mentioned before that you don’t see TSD playing any live shows, due to the distance between some members and the complex arrangements in the songs (particularly the multiple layers of guitars on Ark). Hypothetically, if TSD were to perform live, how would you picture it?

The only way this would ever happen would be in a great venue with a great stage and great sound. It would have to be quite a large band to pull the songs off, more than those of us in TSD. It will never happen though as the band isn't big enough to pull off such an event.


13) On the topic of live shows, do you foresee Horrisonous or Illimitable Dolor having any tours in the future?

I'd definitely like to with both bands so we'll see what the future holds. It costs a lot of money for a band to travel from Australia to the US or Europe, particularly for 5 and 6 piece bands but i really hope to be able to tour with both sooner rather than later.

Well, that should just about wrap everything up. Thank you so much for doing this interview, and if there is anything you’d like to add, feel free to say whatever you’d like!

I'd just like to say expect new albums from The Sow Death and Illimitable Dolor this year and from Horrisonous early next year. you can contact us through our facebook pages. Cheers!

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Visit the Stone Wings bandpage.

Visit the Illimitable Dolor bandpage.

Visit the The Slow Death bandpage.

Interviewed on 2017-05-20 by Dante DuVall.
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