Interview with Jason Wisdom, vocalist and bass player for Becoming the Archetype.
In what ways has God made an impact in your life in 2010?
Wow. That is an opening question if I have ever read one. In 2010, God made a huge impact on our lives in BTA through our trip to South Africa. Even more so than on our previous trips abroad, it was amazing to realize that wherever we go, even on another continent, there is a remnant of God’s people who long to take us in as family and bless us with their fellowship. Relationships. That is the best thing about being in a band. We hope to make it back to S.A. really soon.
What bands/music has influenced you most recently?
Deep down, we have always been influenced by the same bands: Opeth, Dream Theater, Living Sacrifice, Extol, Mastodon etc. That is unlikely to change. But at this point in our career, we are pretty familiar with what your fans like/dislike from us. Because of that we draw most heavily on our previous albums and the reaction we get on the road for influences. Nevertheless, we have never been predictable from album to album and Celestial Completion will be no exception.
Why such a long break between albums?
It has taken a little longer than we hoped, but we didn’t want to rush things this time around. We wrote this album the “old fashioned way”. We huddled up in our practice space and hammered through riffs until they became songs and then worked on them until we were satisfied. That is a very uncommon way of writing here in the future. In fact, not since Terminate Damnation have we written an album that way. The others were demoed and emailed back and forth. This album is very organic in that regard and the energy is super high like on TD. With all of that said, it hasn’t really been that long. By the time the album comes out it will have been just over 2 years (28 months) since Dichotomy.
Is Celestial Completion a concept album?
Yes and no. As a lyricist, I am not capable of writing without some sort of theme or concept in the back of my mind. But we have never done a “Concept Album” in the purest sense. By that, I mean an album where every song tells one unified story. Conceptually, Celestial Completion is most akin to The Physics of Fire. There is a song that spans 3 tracks and tells a unified story. However, unlike TPOF, that story is not related to the rest of the album. The bulk of the album is dedicated to themes of light, levitation, putting a positive spin on Armageddon and a potpourri of assorted ideas.
We heard there were going to be some interesting instruments making a cameo? Can you tell us any of them?
A friend of ours that plays traditional Indian instruments came by the studio. He added: sitar, tablas, and tamboori. We also had friends that play violin and horns stop in. I went to college with a girl who sings operatically and she came by to share her talent. The icing on the cake (at least for me) was when we were able to get Dennis Culp of Five Iron Frenzy (my favorite band ever) to play Trombone on the song “Cardiac Rebellion”. It is ska-tastic! These and much much more will be heard on Celestial Completion.
Is Celestial Completion was taken from Extol song? If so, what’s your favorite Extol album?
Yes and Undeceived. That is unanimously our favorite Extol album, and collectively probably our favorite metal album ever.
Will there be another hymn on the new album?
No hymn this time around. We have talked about doing an EP of hymns in the future. That would be fun. But we do have a song that incorporates elements of a Latin Mass. That is the track we got my friend to sing operatically on. It is super epic and black metal. A black metal mass!
Will there be any surprise guest vocals, like Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter on Dichotomy?
No surprise vocalists this time. Other than the opera vocals everything was done from within the BTA ranks. And I really went off my rocker this time experimenting with all of the different ways that I can manipulate my voice. It sounds like a bunch of people. Anyway…people will be surprised though to hear the addition of Daniel’s voice in a lot of places. He adds a very nasty high pitched screech that works really well alongside some of my guttural lows. There is also a good bit more singing (clean vocals) on this record, all performed by BTA, primarily Seth and Daniel. And that leads us to the next question…
What does your new guitarist bring to the table?
Other than what I just mentioned above, Daniel brings a lot to the table. It is safe to say that he combines the best elements of all that has ever been a BTA lead guitarist. He shreds like a demon but also has the style and finesse to write beautiful leads. He wrote some greats riffs and even though he didn’t write many songs on the album, he is prepared to take the blame if people hate the new twists we have put on the BTA sound. Haha.
Are you guys planning a national tour to promote the album?
We plan to get out on the road as much as possible. Unfortunately, headlining on the road is really hard these days. We will be out doing all that we can, but we are also trying to look for opportunities to open for bigger bands.
Can you give us an update as to why members left, and where they are now?
The lineup for Celestial Completion is essentially the Terminate Damnation lineup. Duck was out for a few months when we recorded Dichotomy, but he promptly returned. The main difference is that Jon left and Daniel took his place. Jon has a beautiful baby girl and is currently at home providing for his family.
In a previous interview, you guys mentioned that you would love to do a tour with Living Sacrifice. How was The Very Metal Christmas Tour you guys did in December?
That tour was a huge blessing for us. A dream come true. You are right, we always wanted to tour with LS. They have been our heroes for a long time. It was great hanging out with them and sharing the stage each night. I was fortunate to share the microphone with Bruce on “Reject” most nights (which was awesome!), and Duck got to play “Flatline” with them in Little Rock. We also loved touring with our good friends in To Speak of Wolves and our new SolidState bros, As They Sleep. It was a great tour. We miss all of those dudes already.
Celestial Completion will be in stores March 29th!!
Becoming the Archetype is:
Jason Wisdom – Vocals, Bass
Seth Hecox – Guitar, Keyboard, BGVs
Daniel Gailey – Lead Guitar, BGVs
Duck – Drums