About a month or so ago, I reviewed the debut album by The Destruct Principle. titled The Malignant Hymn, and it also made my top twenty list of albums that dropped in 2018. For those unfamiliar, they are a band that hails right from my area, in Harrisburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Their brand of heavy metal resides heavily on the industrial and black metal side of things, although brings in many ideas from elsewhere and isn’t constructed strictly around that. While my take on the album was just completely from an outsider perspective, getting the chance to actually speak with the band gave me so much more insight on what went into the band’s songwriting and live gigs.
Specifically, I got the opportunity to talk to their frontman Addam Robert Paul. A few times throughout the interview, he talks about how “the music is yours to do what you want” with as soon as it’s purchased, which was quite evident in my review. However, talking to him gave me an entirely different outlook on the record, the band, and what the live shows are all about (I definitely need to get out to one of these, soon). The mind of Addam is quite an interesting and extreme one, yet it’s very concise, well spoken, and blunt. I am honored to have gotten the chance to hear from him. So enough about what this interview entails, here it is!
Indy Metal Vault: Hello, and thank you again for taking a few minutes to answer some questions for us. Something that really stood out to me was the fact that you guys play a very unique style of music. Not too many people combine black metal and industrial, among others influences. What drew you guys to want to make music like this?
Addam Robert Paul: There wasn’t a conscious effort to make or blend any specific styles. It is what the sound needed to be. A cinematic soundscape is something I’ve always been drawn towards. Larger than life, it reaches beyond the norm. I’m somewhere else. When I listen to something, I want to be transported into that world. Characteristics of its own, it breathes.
That’s not to say a stripped-down approach is boring – that’s the fault of the artist if something bores me.
You don’t need a huge array of bells and whistles to create an atmosphere, it just happens to be so that the styling associated with ‘industrial’ or ‘black metal’ fit with what the sound on The Malignant Hymn required.
IMV: Something that I always ask every band is how they found each other or the story behind the formation. That said, how did The Destruct Principle. come to be?
ARP: The Destruct Principle., the conception and original formation of it, dates back to 2012.
I’ve been involved in a number of other projects over the years with (guitarist) Jared Barkley Wood, and during our time working together we’ve found we each enjoy a bit of the extravagant and theatrical. Discussions were had in creating something in the performance art realm, beyond the structure of a common band. At its beginnings, The Destruct Principle. wasn’t even necessarily going to have
‘songs’ per se, it was more of a stream of consciousness performance. It has since evolved into what it is, but that core idea is still intact and will manifest itself as it needs to. The live performances are still in their infancy as far as what is to come. Performance Art with a Bleeding Heart. A Self-Trans-formative Psychodrama.
IMV: I noticed that there are a lot of samplers and instrumental tracks between most of the “normal” songs on The Malignant Hymn. Was this done to tie tracks together in a more conceptual manner, or are they meant to serve their own stand-alone purpose?
ARP: Whether it be one, two, or thirteen songs, there is always a concept behind it. To answer the question, both. Every song has it’s own purpose, for me. There was a need for each. There is a representation through every track. What may sound like a wash of noise to someone else holds a value to me for specific reasons that only I know. One of the hardest pieces to commit to this album was one of these tracks, in that it is a constant reminder to me of the true, horrible nature of people, captured in audio form. Those who you think you can believe in or trust, as we know, you cannot. Though it is up to each individual listener to decide if they ‘need’ any song, I’m more than aware many ripped or downloaded the album and removed all of the instrumental tracks. While that’s unfortunate to those creations, I understand the limited concentration of the current times, or they may just not enjoy instrumental/noise tracks. Once released, they can do as they please with it.
I love OSTs for films and games – the vocal is only one piece of the portrait, not always necessary. There are plans in the future to have full instrumental only releases, as well. The Destruct Principle. isn’t necessarily a ‘band’ only. It’s a full brand.
IMV: This somewhat goes hand-in-hand with the last question, but in what manner were the songs on The Malignant Hymn written? Was it more of a bottom-up approach where a bunch of finished songs were pieced together or was it done in a way where every track followed each other and drew from one another in a serial way?
ARP: There are two answers to that question. Musically, they were all in various states over time. Some came to fruition due to other tracks manifesting and inspiring them, while a few pieces had been dormant for some time, then revisited and re-imagined. Those that did not work within the realm of The Malignant Hymn were set aside, possibly for a later time. Lyrically, there was a very concise and particular way I went about each piece, with numerous revisions, until they fell into place, interacting with each other as they needed to.
IMV: Much like a lot of black metal bands, Satanism is an obvious common theme here, which is also evidently part of the live gigs too. What inspired this? Is the imagery a gimmick, or something that was actually a reaction or reflection from real life views?
ARP: I am only speaking for myself here, but I believe you’d find the other members to be in agreement; absolutely nothing about The Destruct Principle. is a gimmick. The blood you see pouring from my head onstage is real, the energy reflected from our Live Ritual is real. We feel that every night. The audience can, as well. It’s easy enough to see a picture or a shitty cell phone video and passively reflect that it’s a gimmick or insincere. Those that have witnessed a performance with an open mind will tell you otherwise. You can feel the intensity and the sincerity of what we are.
Satanism, at its core, is the belief in yourself, holding no one person or being higher than you. Your life is yours, live it to it’s fullest. I’m assuming you’re addressing the real ideas of Satanism, and not the idiotic Theistic way; that’s as nonsensical and ignorant as Christianity. I AM the being and force of my life. I will worship at the altar of my own mind. I will do no harm to others unless deserved. Though if you do create a situation that is deserved of my aggression, I will burn your world to the ground. Repeatedly. I promise. Satanism is bathed in the theatrical. I love the theatrical. Who enjoys boredom?
I am theater. I am a clown. A very dangerous clown. I am the performance in my one-man show, repeating in my mind. So, of course, we’re going to present imagery to represent that. It in no way lessens the authenticity or value to be extravagant. When I’m at a show, entertain me. When I rarely go out to a show, I give the benefit of the doubt that it will be worth my time. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case. If I’m taking the time out of my schedule to support something, it better be worth the time I’m losing towards my own works. No one will leave one of our Live Rituals bored. They might not enjoy it, but they’ll be entertained, or disgusted; hopefully both, most likely.
IMV: What all goes into preparing for one of your live shows?
ARP: Everything. Countless hours of thought, preparation, time, building and creating, designing. All that you see we do ourselves. From the beginning concepts, the designs onstage and merchandise, building what you see onstage, accompanying backing videos, we have as much of a hands-on DIY approach as possible. Live, online, we control it all. It is our world. The concept behind the Live Ritual will change with time as well. There are many performance concepts currently building in my
mind that will eventually be realized. As far as preparing for a live show, we are our own crew. Most time before we’re onstage is ensuring all is set-up and ready to go, putting on our doll face, energizing each other. Otherwise, you’ll find us at our merch table for the rest of the night.
IMV: With a lot of bands that use over-the-top imagery like this, it can cause some ruckus at venues, so much to the point that some venues won’t put up with it. Any crazy situations like that ever come up with you guys?
ARP: We’ve been banned from venues due to desecration of worthless religious objects, without even performing at them. Though, in humorous human nature, there have been no objections to my hand being six feet deep inside some of our members. We’ve been told we are not allowed to do our bloodletting at numerous venues, otherwise we could not perform. There have been instances of intoxicated nothings insinuating their strength, only to flee with their tails tucked when called out or vanish once we’re offstage. Believe me, if you act out enough at a show to garner my attention and ruin it for those enjoying the Ritual, you better be prepared after. I like to think of us as Controlled Chaos. Yes, onstage it is a spectacle. But we’re not the common ‘let’s fuck this place up’ types of idiots. That’s a useless exertion of energy. If a venue/promoter is willing to host us, we appreciate that in we are now able to reach that audience. So, unless a venue is too weak in the spine to allow free expression, they will not be ‘putting up’ with anything from us other than a show that is rarely witnessed.
IMV: How are things looking in the realm of a follow up to The Malignant Hymn? Do you plan on something that will take a similar approach, or will it veer off into different territory?
ARP: Creations are constant in the world of The Destruct Principle. The future will be similar in that it remains authentic and true to the moment inside my head, inside our collective whole. What that might be, it could be anything. It will always maintain a true power and energy, regardless of the ‘style’ the compositions contain. There has only been a glimpse into this world with The Malignant Hymn. The world will become darker, more abrasive. The world will become bright, and beautiful; blinding and complete. So different, yet the same. The listener creates their own world from ours. It is everything, and in time, nothing at all.
The Malignant Hymn came out on Halloween of 2018 and can be found physically and digitally over on the band’s Bandcamp page.