December Moon have remained one of England's best kept secrets for quite some time. The band moved in secrecy and anonymity until the release of their debut "Source of Origin" last year via Spinefarm Records. A few unofficial demo rehearsal recordings had in the meantime been circulating throughout the Underground scene and have given December Moon somewhat of a cult status. It is both a pleasure and an honour to offer you this chat with Robyn Eaglestone...
(A small excerpt from the interview featured in full on Dark Oath #6)
Although you handle most of the stuff in December Moon, your work with Cradle of Filth is apparently much more restricted. Don't you plan to write any material for CoF and concerning December Moon, how does the writing process takes place?
When you ask 'don't you plan to write any material for CoF?', you make it sound like I'm not a CoF writer even though I agree with you about CoF being much more restricted mainly because there are five other people to get my ideas past which wouldn't be much of a problem if I was happy by letting them sodomize my ideas, but like everybody in CoF, that isn't the case. The song writing in CoF is a very touchy situation to be in, whenever those situations arise, mainly because we have totally different personalities, so you can see why song writing in December Moon is a much different process, more like air sculpture.
I know that you've left Cradle of Filth for a couple of times already, has the thought of focusing solely on December Moon ever crossed your mind?
No, never! Even if I left CoF tomorrow, I would still find or form another band in which I could cooperate. It's the best way to maintain er... a plethora of inspiration. I think WAS shares this very same view.
Did your involvement with other bands, in your case with Cradle of Filth, and WAS' part in The Blood Divine, brought any legal bothers concerning contracts and so on? Will your ties with other bands/labels be hindering to the progress of the band in the future or are things sorted out by now?
No, not at all. The only contract that caused any problems was the one I signed with Cacophonous and as far as contracts preventing a new DM album from being released, that causes no real obstacle because WAS is signed to Peaceville which is sponsored by MFN.
Much of the arrangements used by you add a quite medieval vibe to the music, should this be a proper complement to the lyrics? Tell me a bit about the lyrics, by the way, I read that they have a veracious fundament, is that so and in what way? What true to life events lead you to write lyrics?
Veracious fundament? You're being a little vague, aren't you, Joćo?! (I'm referring to your interview on Deprived. - Ed.) But that's ok, because so are the lyrics. Well, not so much vague, but universal seeing as they were written by the collective intelligence of five people. The only song that was written by one person is 'You Can't Bless the Damned', which was based upon the pestilence that raped my home town of Ipswich in the 14th century so I suppose yes, you could say that this track has medieval overtones. As for true life events that led to their compositions, I would say that anything and everything that we might see going on all around us every day of our lives is useful. There is much to be perceived in life if you simply open your eyes and see things as they really are.
'Nocturnal Transcendency' seems to deal with life after death, do those lyrics portray your view concerning that matter? What do you expect from Lady Death yourself?
Not especially life after death, although this is relevant, but more the transition from one state to another whether this be in life or otherwise. I suppose that if I was to die and found myself aware of a new realm then these lyrics would still apply but these lyrics would apply if they were talking about thoughts that occur when we pass from consciousness into sleep and even from vigilance to ignorance. I personally believe that in every individual there's a conceivable possibility for a unique portal of perception. I'm expecting something inconceivable from Death. Sorry, Joćo, but I'm still alive...?
December Moon "Source of Origin"
CD 1996, Spinefarm 8 songs, 40'
I suppose a few of you should know of my love for December Moon... Well, anyway, that matters little right now, but it will of course be influential for this review... The very first song that Robyn taped me for this new project of his grabbed my attention immediately, and although that song has unfortunately been left out of the band's debut CD, other fine pieces have come to replace it. December Moon dwell in melodic and epic-laden atmospheric Black Metal, enhanced with bold and noble orchestrations and fine musicianship. Musically, the duo found inspiration in the very first bands of the genre and hence influences from the likes of Celtic Frost, Merciful Fate, Bathory and even Sabbat (UK) are easily noticeable. Still, and instead of reveling in no more than retro-Thrash Black Metal, December Moon have propelled their music into a modern soundframe and class and have indisputably found an original sonority which I would advise for those into Emperor or Bal-Sagoth, for instance, even though this is rather different from either band. "Source of Origin" is highly resourceful in excellent riffs of all sorts - grim melodies, quick slashing sections, epic midtempos or even some extra-melodic soloing, all of which thoroughly complemented by Was' exquisite drumming which despite being somewhat technical is nonetheless very dynamic and fluent, raspy though clear vocals and an excellent use of keyboards that provides an impressive medieval orchestral atmosphere to things. Pretty much every riff on the album is a winner and just as well, every song has an individual character; they are all easily identifiable and most of all, memorable, catchy and refreshing. The album takes off with 'Exaltation of Power', an epic-laden Black Metal anthem, that makes way to the midpaced viciousness of 'You Can't Bless the Damned' whereas the uptempo, doublebass drum propelled 'Nocturnal Transcendency' leads into the blissful serenity of 'Winter Sunset', an instrumental synth piece of impressive beauty, and 'Black Millennium', a somber, slightly Baroque, Dark Ambient piece (picture Mortiis' darker creations). 'The Apparition of Mother Earth' introduces Robyn's own impersonation of King Diamond's vocal variations along with the moody vocals of Rachel, 'Twinned with Destiny' steps into a more laid back and mystic, somewhat Folkish, approach and last but not least, the trumpet/string/etc. arrangements laid over the fine Black Metal of 'An Empty Gesture' is the proper finale for an album which I rate as one of the best released last year. Buy!