Okay Vault Hunters, here’s the thing…this interview with Daxma turned out so well (thanks entirely to them – I just asked questions and then tried to stay out of the way) that I’m going to be uncharacteristically brief in my intro so we can get to it.
So this what you need to know about Daxma:
- The quintet of Forrest, Isaac, Jessica, Kelly, and Thomas hail from the Santa Cruz/Oakland area.
- They’re one of those bands that it’s probably a disservice to try to slot into any sort of category, but since metal people do tend to like their genres I’d say the band plays a richly textured progressive doom/post-rock hybrid that prominently features violin and contributions from three different vocalists.
- The Head Which Becomes the Skull is an absolutely gorgeous record that I guarantee I will be writing about again in December when the Vault writers start compiling our year-end best of lists.
- Daxma are not just incredible musicians. They’re also thoughtful, passionate, warm human beings, and the 45 minutes or so that I spent chatting with them via Skype is one of the absolute highlights of everything I’ve done not just here at the Vault, but any other site I’ve ever written for as well.
You can stream or purchase The Head Which Becomes the Skull from Daxma’s Bandcamp. Check it out while enjoying my conversation with them below.
Indy Metal Vault: First off, I just want to say that I love the record. I was really happy when it showed up in my inbox – within 30 seconds I knew I was going to listen to the whole thing straight through, which rarely happens. So thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Isaac R (guitars/vocals).: Of course – we’re happy to be here and to give this a shot.
IMV: I always like to do a little bit of research before interviewing a band, but looking around on the Internet there is basically nothing out there about you guys. I know that Isaac was in Leucosis for a little while back in the day, like at the very beginning. And aside from that, there’s nothing out there. So…can you go through everyone’s backgrounds and how you came together? I know it’s the totally clichéd question.
IR: Yeah, the origins of Daxma. And previously we had a different spelling of the name: it’s pronounced Dak-ma, so let’s get that out of the way, not Dacks-ma like we keep hearing people pronounce it. It started in Santa Cruz with our former guitarist Stephen Ritchie. I grew up in Santa Cruz along with Kelly, and even though as you previously said I had played in a black metal band, we wanted to try something more experimental, more free-form than what we ended up doing. These are all older friends and then newer friends who were living up here in Oakland. After a year of playing with our old guitarist Stephen, we all kind of coalesced. Forrest joined the band later and things really started to get going just after the release of our first EP The Nowhere of Shangri-la.
IMV: It mentioned in the promo materials that only some of you are coming from a metal background: some of you are coming from a classical background, some are coming from a psychedelic background…
Jessica T. (violin/guitar/vocals): My background playing music was a classically trained background, so I started playing piano when I was really little and violin when I was about eight years old. All of my training has been in the classical realm for the most part, so this is really the first project I’ve done that is outside the classical. I mean, I’ve loved metal for years. It’s primarily what I’ve listened to for years, but I’ve never really tried playing it until I joined this band, so it’s been a really interesting experience trying to push outside my comfort zone and to translate my background so it fits with a completely different genre. Actually, metal and classical aren’t that different, so it’s pretty interesting – it wasn’t as big a leap as I though it was going to be.
IMV: I can see that. I think with black metal there’s a lot of the same melodies, especially in the German stuff, as you would find in classical music. So that makes a lot of sense.
Tom I. (drums): I played for a couple of years in a project that started in Santa Cruz and them moved up to Oakland. We didn’t really get too public, but it was sort of a psychedelic doom metal band. We were called Slow Potion, but much did not come from that. I did play pretty regularly with those guys for several years, so I think that a lot of my influence stems from the psych scene and from the stonier/doomy side. I think that’s a fairly big influence for me.
Forrest H. (guitars): I started playing guitar at a pretty young age. I kind of explored a lot of different genres growing up. My brother was really into sort of more progressive stuff and a lot of instrumental stuff, so I started dabbling into that. I did a lot of projects probably up until 2011, and then I kind of stopped playing in bands and kind of just messed around on my own until last year. Daxma has been the first band I’ve played in within this genre, but following Tom’s footsteps I did play in a few stoner/doom bands and then some more like indie/progressive stuff.
Kelly D. (bass/vocals): I think I’m the only one here that hasn’t played in a band before now. I played poor piano and shitty guitar as a hobby for years, and then a couple years ago Isaac was like “you’re going to play bass now.” So like “alright, might as well give it a shot” (laughs). So here I’m and I’m loving it. I just didn’t have the confidence to really do anything with it before.
IMV: So what’s the common musical thread uniting you all? Is it basically Godspeed You! Black Emperor if you were going for a more progressive thing at the beginning? Because when you say “progressive” with the sound that you have, I automatically think Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antenna to Heaven. And I do hear some of that in your sound.
TI: I’m not opposed to that comparison, personally. I can say that Isaac and I at least, because we’ve been friends for a pretty long time, I think one of the bands we bonded over pretty early on was actually Godspeed.
IR: I think we’re all Godspeed fans in this band for sure, so I would say that’s a common thread uniting us. One thing you touched on when we were talking about transition to metal: yes, we’re all into metal and we are playing in a metal band, whatever loose meaning that has. But post-rock and other genres have definitely influenced us, and we’re not trying to fit ourselves into any particular label.
IMV: And I can see that, because it sounds to my ears anyway like you songwriting style has more to do with creating textures than it does with anything riff-based, or as riff-based as anything you would find in the doom genre. Is that a fair assessment?
IR: Yeah. Speaking of the way that we go about writing riffs, I think the greatest amount of inspiration probably is to be found in post-rock or post-metal compositions where you’re building these crescendos, right? You’re building these epic crescendos and then you let it loose or you let it kind of dissipate. What we wanted to add to that kind of composition style all together, by playing the way we play, is a heaviness. We love the heaviness of the doom metal genre, but the post-rock that’s out there I’d say it’s not heavy enough (laughter). And I think we all wanted to add what we can to take the parts of the genres we love and blend them together in a way that we see as right.
IMV: I’m guessing you guys get a lot of SubRosa comparisons with the violin. But I’d say that they’re more riff-based than Daxma is – I hear something different between the two bands.
IR: Jessica, you should field the SubRosa comparisons (laughter).
IMV: You’re probably getting sick of the SubRosa comparisons already.
JT: Yeah, I love them. I’ve actually met the SubRosa violinists a couple times. I like worship them as people they’re amazing and super sweet and I just told them…I was like “you’re such a big inspiration to me.” I got some rig advice from them too, because I’m trying to use the same rig for my guitar and my violin, which has proven to be very difficult. Having one amp head and cabinet that works for two very different instruments…
IMV: I can imagine…
JT: Yeah, so they’ve given me some really good advice on that because violin – I was only playing acoustic prior to this band. This is my first foray into rigged violin. But yeah, we’ve definitely gotten a lot of SubRosa comparisons. But we’ve also heard from our friends that what I’m doing with violin is pretty distinct and different from what they’re doing, which is also good to hear because I think I’m trying to create my own style of violin playing with this band and it’s just very experimental for me. I’m just trying to see what sounds good and getting feedback from my bandmates, and if they think it sounds good too then just move forward. It’s already evolved quite a bit from when I first joined, and I imagine it will continue to evolve.
IMV: For me, I think the big difference is in SubRosa I think the violins dominate. I don’t hear a lot of guitar in that sound, where there’s much more interplay between the violin and the guitars with Daxma.
JT: That’s very fair. Yeah – absolutely.
IMV: So since we’re talking about songwriting, I noticed from the PR package that you guys tend to function as an egalitarian unit – would that be the best way to put it? Like the PR stuff that came along with the promo was fascinating because it almost read more like a manifesto (laughter) than like—and I’m not saying that I think you typed it in a shack somewhere on a rusty typewriter—but it was much more of like “this is the philosophy of the band” and also a couple of words about the music, which is very different from the stuff that I usually get. But I teach college English, I was a philosophy minor as an undergrad, and I’m really looking forward to talking about Kierkegaard at some point because I love Kierkegaard and I love Marx and that really drew me to it as well. But in terms of the songwriting process, since you have this sort of like leaderless, anti-totalitarian approach to what you, do what is the songwriting process like? Is it just like a lot of woodshedding in the practice room until you get those textures down, or what’s it like?
IR: I’ll start, because as you’ve figured out we don’t want to put forward or represent one of us that is responsible for what ultimately results as one of our Daxma songs. Multiple of us will bring riffs to the table–and yeah, a lot of what we’ve done so far, though it’s not looking that way for future releases, comes from riff ideas I had–but once we get to practice together in subgroups of us, because getting five people together is kind of hard, we will start working things out. I will be working with Jessica one-on-one, I’ll be working with Forrest one-on-one, I’ll be working with Kelly one-on-one, or smaller groups of us will come together. And once we’ve figured out sort of harmonies and the ways that these different riff ideas stitch together and how we can build up a crescendo, maybe we’ll bring it to Tom then and the song will change from there. So I might start the process in terms of bringing a riff idea, or at least that’s the way it’s been so far, but this all goes through so much editing.
TI: So to piggyback a little bit on what Isaac said, all of our songs sort of start with someone bringing a riff to the table, and it’s usually not just a single riff. It’s sort of this skeleton of riffs, and I think that the way these usually take shape is everyone sort of learns the song as it was originally intended, and then once we’re at that point we sort of play it through and then we violently destroy that song and rebuild it as a group. One really tangible example of this is when I first heard the song which would become “Birth,” the first track on the album, Isaac pitched that to me as an idea when he wanted me to join the band back in 2015…
IR: That’s probably our oldest song…
TI: Yeah, it’s really our oldest song, and it was this like sixteen minute drone that was just like at ten beats per minute and there was just an occasional guitar strum (laughter), and I thought it was really amazing. And there was no sense of tempo – it wasn’t even drone to a metronome. It sort of waxed and waned through this ethereal phasing, and I heard the backbone of that was like “this is absolutely brilliant” and wanted join him. But as you can hear, “Birth” sounds nothing like that now.
IR: And not long later we found Jessica and violin gets added and it really transformed.
TI: So we bring it together, we all learn its original intent, and then we start all critiquing and reconstructing segments of that and a lot of that…someone will do something a little different one practice, and if we like it we’re not very shy about stopping practice to flesh that little difference out and maybe play with that, and sometimes that becomes the song. That’s happened, I think, with a lot of our work. So I would say I don’t think any of the songs that we have now even remotely resemble where they started. One person just brings it and we all work on it together until we’ve decided it’s done and that’s generally how that works.
IMV: So it sounds like a very organic process then, and you try to stay out of the way of the song as much as possible.
TI: Yeah – absolutely.
IMV: So how long does that process generally take? Because you write long songs and if you’re writing them (laughter). Which is not a criticism, because they don’t feel…one of the things I love about the album is that I put it on and then its over and I don’t even realize that it’s like what, 55 minutes?
IR: Something like that…
IMV: And it goes by in a flash, so the songs definitely don’t outstay their welcome. In fact, I’d like it if a couple of them were a little longer – the last track especially, the title track. I wouldn’t have minded a couple more minutes of that. But when you’re writing these sixteen minute long songs and taking this organic approach, how long are we talking about until you get to the final product? Or is it even a final product – do they continue to evolve as you play them live?
TI: That’s a really interesting question. I have something I think I want to add about that before anyone else might want to chip in. Some of these songs have taken a couple years to make, so I would say “Birth,” the first song, and then “Abandoning All Hope,” those I think were really being worked on pretty consistently for…
IR: I think there’s actually–really sorry to interrupt, but it’s important to clarify–I don’t know if you’ve seen that we released one EP prior to…
IMV: That 30-minute long single song, right?
IR: Yeah, it’s a 30-minute long song that was written actually after most of the material that we released on album one.
IMV: Oh – really?
IR: So we’ve been working on album one since the beginning, for years now. I mean, its been a while. But “Eons Apart,” that one 30-minute track, was something that came later because we just felt we still has so much work to do on the songs that became The Head Which Becomes the Skull.
TI: So yeah, the timeline’s a little scattered, but “Eons Apart” is an interesting thing for Isaac to bring up, because that song came together from first riffs to recording in about three or four months. I think we only rehearsed it altogether as a band a handful of times before we walked into the studio with that one. Whereas The Head Which Becomes the Skull, that one, as Isaac pointed, out has taken a couple years of work. So it’s really variable – sometimes the songs come together, and some of the songs on that came together really fast…
JT: The title track came together pretty quickly.
TI: The title track, I think we really fleshed that out from its first concept, when we really started working on that it took us what, two or three months and that was done? About that?
JT: I think the original, the skeleton for the title track maybe had been sitting around for a while, but we didn’t really spend time working on that until towards the end of our songwriting process. Kind of late in the game before we went into the studio, so then we actually didn’t flesh it out until…
IR: So I think here’s the important part: even though things do happen organically, our original concept of the title track possibly barely involved Kelly’s vocals. And we had this thing that happened when we were in the studio, at Earhammer studios in Oakland, Kelly took over that song…
JT: She really transformed it.
KD: Unintentionally (laughing).
IR: And it’s one of those things that you see it happening and you’re like, “that’s how we’re going to do that now.”
JT: And then once she laid down the lead vocal, the melody, in studio, and we were all blown away by how amazing it came out, I ended up writing the harmony, the high part that I sing, in the studio the day we recorded because I heard it once I heard her voice. So the vocals of that song were created basically in the studio.
TI: So I think the answer is these songs come together, it takes anywhere from about 40 minutes to three and a half to four years. How’s that? Anywhere between there (laughing).
IMV: Okay, with like two to three months generally being the quick ones.
TI: The quick ones are a couple months, yeah. And it’s like for them to get to their final state. And to answer the final part of your question, whether or not they evolve after we’re done, yeah actually. I think there’s small nuances that we’ve at least in private discussed that we sort of would like to have made, and we’re still thinking about transforming these songs and continuing to have these songs grow, even though we know we should probably be working on the next ones (laughing). So that process doesn’t ever really stop.
IMV: Do you play out a lot? Have you done much gigging or touring?
KD: I feel like we kind of have been this year, at The Golden Bowl in Oakland. That has been our spot. But in general, no.
IR: Not yet.
KD: Not yet.
IR: We haven’t had the opportunity to do anything like a tour yet. We’d like to in the future. But honestly, our primary focus right now, because we’re all busy people and we try to do our best and to put everything that we can towards this, and working with that, our priority is writing. We want to keep making more albums.
JT: We’ve played only what, six shows this year?
TI: Six or seven, something like that, within about a six month span. So about one a month for half a year.
IMV: Is it a test of endurance to play live given how long and…
TI: No, it’s pretty straightforward.
IMV: I guess I’m thinking more of the like…because it feels like very emotionally draining music as well. So not necessarily physical endurance, but sustaining like those moods for fifteen, sixteen minutes at a time, because my guess is that you can’t play it without feeling it with that type of music. If that makes any sense…
IR: It does just kind of…you get into this zone and it feels great, but when you are in that zone I don’t think you’re focusing on the passage of time in any sort of “oh man, this is going on so long.” It really does just pass by.
TI: Yeah our sets are over pretty much like, they start and in the blink of an eye they’re done. It goes by lightning fast, for me at least.
IR: So we’d love to play longer sets sometime (laughter), if we’re ever welcome to do that. With long songs it’s hard to fit all we want to do into a 35-minute space.
IMV: Oh, yeah…you’d be playing like two songs.
TI: That’s exactly right (laughter).
IMV: So you brought up Earhammer Studios. Did you guys do digital or did you record to tape? I’m curious about the sound of the record and how you achieved that because it sounds really good, especially for an unsigned band that I’m guessing wasn’t going in with a whole lot of budget. But Earhammer’s got a really good reputation for that kind of thing.
TI: It was done digitally. Greg [Wilkinson], who runs Earhammer, he’s a wonderful human being, and I think he’s a friend of all of ours at this point…
IR: He did both the EP and the album…
TI: I think in terms of the sound, we really asked a lot of Greg, and he stepped up and did a really good job trying to accommodate our sometimes ridiculous demands with all the different instruments and sounds and textures that we were trying to put down. Given that your big studio recording, they’ve literally got hundreds of mics and these just enormous cathedral-sized rooms and all this, and Greg’s got a great setup and does an amazing job with what he’s got. And I think that was a huge contribution for us being able to get the sound, and why he’s able to get that sound for so many bands. And a big part of getting that sound once the primary tracking is done is really taking the time for everyone to listen on as many mediums to every mix that you can and give really critical and detailed, nuanced feedback to that mix. Because really making sure that nothing is overlooked in that process is crucial if you want a coherent sounding record. And that starts as soon as you step into the studio and continues all the way through mixing and even through mastering. So I think something we really took a lot of time and care with, especially for The Head Which Becomes the Skull, was making sure that we were all happy with the mix before we sent it off to be mastered, and that we were happy with the master before we finally called it quits.
IR: And we really need to thank Brad Boatright at Audioseige…
IR: I know he does a lot for a lot of bands, but I have no idea if he works as hard on any release as he worked for us because we did multiple passes and felt like maybe we were asking too much of his time. And he is just the sweetest guy, and in the end he came up with a version he was proud of and that we were proud of, and we said “this is it.” But that came after a lot of back-and-forth.
TI: Brad really did a phenomenal job. and so did Greg. So I think the mixing process…if you want an album to sound good, you need several things, right? You need a guy like Greg doing the recording and mixing, and you need a guy like Brad doing the mastering, and you really need to make sure you’re walking into the studio well-prepared, well-rested, well-fed – that you’re actually able to show up each day and treat it like it’s the most important thing in your life and not show up unprepared for that process.
IR: We tried our best (laughter).
TI: It’s hard to make five people all line up to make that happen for a week straight, but we did our best.
KD: We did pretty good.
TI: I think so too.
IMV: Yeah, it sounds fantastic. And it doesn’t surprise me to hear that it was a complex process because it’s complex, nuanced music. And I think that if the mix weren’t exactly right, some those textures would get lost – especially when you’re using an instrument that isn’t common in this sort of music. Which complicates the mix, but I think it’s also for the better too, because there are only a handful of bands I can think of off the top of my head that use that violin texture, and basically love all of them.
So moving on, I wanted to ask which came first, the musical approach or the band philosophy?
TI: I think they were kind of simultaneously, as far as I can tell.
IR: I mean, I think we can all sort of agree on a level of political understanding with each other in these general terms: opposed to hierarchical structures, opposed to Capitalist oppression in this world. Seeing eye-to-eye on that, and already understanding each other as people from our backgrounds in political organizing from the past. Knowing each other that way, we kind of just walked into it with an understanding of “these are the values we hold, let’s make some really killer music,” and let’s use this music as an opportunity to say something–anything–about our ethics towards this world. I don’t know which came first. I think we all just kind of met each other and felt similarly about issues in this world, and were able to create an artistic project inspired by coping with a lot of those things in this world.
IMV: So who’s responsible for bringing in the Marx and the Hegel and the Kierkegaard (laughter)? Is it a common interest, or is one of you a grad student?
IR: We could talk the philosophy, the nerdy elements of the philosophy and which books these came from, but I think the bigger picture is these general ideas about inequality and oppression, and pretty much the state of the world and how everything’s gone to shit and how we’re all just trying to survive through it, is something we can all relate on and try to use music as something elevating and uplifting to help us and help others make sense of it all and get through it. But as far as where Marx and Hegel and Lacan and all these names come from, it’s my background studying philosophy.
IMV: I figured it must be one of you in philosophy. And I think Hegel in particular, and the whole Hegelian dialectic, is definitely coming through. There seems to be something dialectical in your approach to making music as well, because you’ve got these beautiful, hypnotic song structures that it’s very easy to get lost in as a listener, but the last thing that you seem to want the listener to do is get lost in them. It says in the PR pack that you want to inspire your listeners to take action afterwards, so there’s these competing impulses or this duality there that creates an interesting tension for me as a listener. But what sort of action are you hoping that listeners will take? You’ve talked about political organizing – if you were to say “alright, now if you’re inspired by this go do X,” what would you hope would be the next step for listeners who were inspired the way you want them to be?
TI: That’s a big question.
IMV: Yeah, I know it is…
IR: And I don’t want to act as though we’re throwing out this generic “do something” as though it’s some slogan. I think that we would like to inspire people to both have–and these are the loftier ideals that maybe sit behind what we do–have the inspiration, hope, and courage to try to confront how the world is and how fucked up things are. I think we can all agree on embracing a multitude of tactics, and we’ve all had various political organizing, or various sort of (I hate the word) activisty backgrounds, but there’s not one single way that I think we’re trying to espouse people to resist the way the world is currently. I mean, that’s my two cents. If anyone else wants to weigh in…
TI: I think that simply the world and the universe in general is suffering in chaos, and I think that human beings are in this interesting position where we like to divorce ourselves from the animal kingdom, from being animals ourselves. But we are things that evolved and we are subject to the same forces, which are chaotic and sometimes cruel and horrible like everything else. And I think that when I’m playing this music, when I’m thinking about what I want to bring to this what I’d like people to move forward with from this, I would like people to really challenge things. Since I really think things are kind of an artifice in society, I think we can do better. I think we can make a humane artifice. I think we can make one that focuses on taking care of people instead of just having one that allows for rampant exploitation, and for the wealth that allows for the wellbeing of such a small portion of the population. And I would like people to find that strength to do whatever it is that’s important to them to make that better world for everyone. I know that sounds a little hippieish, but I think if everyone were to do that tangibly, actionably, and immediately, that would be a pretty amazing thing to watch.
IR: Probably not the worst thing if we’re all a little hippieish.
IMV: No, not at all. So it sounds like you’re talking about a deeper level of engagement than just like “go give $25 to the ACLU” and do some “hashtag activism.”
TI: Most definitely.
IMV: And put this border on your Facebook page for the next two weeks. That kind of stuff drives me nuts, so I guess I’m right there with you on the hippieish stuff…
IR: It’s not just that – Oakland in particular has been the scene, Oakland and Berkeley have been the scene of a lot of chaos between right wing, white supremacist groups as of late, this is in the last year, and a lot of people standing up against them and facing a barrage of obstacles. I think it’s important that we put forward that we’re in solidarity with all people in this country, and particularly in our local community, in standing against the rising tide of fascist tendencies, or at least its public face resurgence.
IMV: Switching topics, so is it difficult to function with a leaderless band? How do you decide anything?
JT: It definitely takes more time because it requires a lot of group discussion, and reaching consensus as a collective is time consuming. But it’s important to all of us, so it’s worth the time and perhaps delay. I don’t know if I’d say difficult, but I’d definitely say it takes longer.
TI: I’d say it takes more work. Everyone has as much responsibility as they want. If you step up to take a role, that’s more likely than not something that’s going to be available to you. There’s always something to get done, and usually that means that one of us will just step up and claim that role and work towards that, and make sure that we’re in communication with the others. Where things tend to take a little bit more time, as Jessica pointed out, it’s really important to make sure that everyone is okay with whatever it is that one person is doing and that we approve of that process. And if differences of opinion come up, no one person is able to be like “no, this is the way it’s going to happen.” It’s something that we all have to talk about. So yeah, it does take more time, but to be perfectly honest I actually prefer in my free time to work like this because it’s the most respectful and equitable way to work with your peers, even if it does take longer.
IR: It’s important for a project that we do out of love that it’s done that way where we all see each other with equal respect, and wanting to make sure that everyone’s on board and everyone’s happy, and everyone’s enthusiastic about any decision we make.
TI: Absolutely. If one person were in charge, I think–at least for me and I can only speak for myself on this one–I think that it would feel like yet another job. This is absolutely a labor of love with people I love, so that’s absolutely not what I want. It’s the only way I can really see moving with something like this, at least for me. I think other people might feel similarly.
IMV: And it probably helps to avoid the rotating lineup trap that a lot of bands fall into if there’s that mutual respect there. I think I’m getting to the end here in terms of what I have for questions. Any plans for a physical release of The Head Which Becomes the Skull? I really want this record on cassette.
IR: On cassette? The EP’s on cassette. We’ll take that into consideration as we move forward (laughs). Eventually we’ll be releasing onto a physical platform: vinyl, I guess it would have to be a double vinyl…
TI: It’s a double. We got it mastered for a double vinyl.
IR: So it’ll happen. When, I don’t know.
IMV: I think that covers it on my end. Anything you all want to add? I’ll leave the last word to you.
TI: If you did want to just nerd out about Kierkegaard, we could all just leave the room and you and Isaac… (laughter)
IMV: I would love to just nerd out about Kierkegaard, because that whole birth to death thing – you’re pulling that from Kierkegaard, right? Like the stages of man’s development and…
IR: The stages of man’s development, yes. But there’s so many different philosophical narratives you can follow with that. I picked arbitrarily as a source of inspiration that I proposed to the others as Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit and the birth of self perception up through absolute consciousness, which is the ending. But Kierkegaard only shows up–I just want to touch on this from an earlier question of yours–Kierkegaard only appears in the track “Abandoning All Hope,” and the question is “how can one believe in anything?” I got really enamored with Fear and Trembling, and Jessica sings the line about the Knight of Faith, and how can you choose in blackness. I think given the way the world is, and what it means to have hope in change or things becoming different, it takes a kind of leap of faith by virtue of the absurd. That’s the Kierkegaard tie-in, and track three, “Abandoning All Hope,” is something that explores that. So that’s what the track is kind of about.
IMV: So there’s the Kierkegaard. I’m satisfied now (laughter).