-Interview- Ellimist (1/6/22)

Ellimist talks about telling stories through their music, the current Metal scene and much more.


From: Connecticut
Sounds like: Progressive Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name “Ellimist" and is there any meaning behind it?

Anthony: Ellimist began following a chance rereading of the Ellimist chronicles, a story by KA Applegate. The concept of an album quickly became the seed of a band, and after obtaining permission from KA to use her story as the basis for the album, the music and artwork were created. Initially, I planned on Ellimist being a one off solo album, but recognized the potential for it to become something bigger. I trademarked the name and formed an LLC because I believe in what Ellimist can be, and I’m hoping eventually we will become bigger than the sum of our parts, as some of the best bands I know have become.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

You are not alone. Our goal is to tell stories, to write strange and fascinating music, and to create a sonic universe that people might find comfort in, but my biggest goal as an artist is to reach the people who have ever felt like I have; alone, apart from everyone else, someone who doesn’t quite belong to any group or people. For those people, I hope to offer at the very least some solace through understanding. I hope that that message comes through clearly!

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

We’re hard to describe, because our music changes to tell the story. If anything, I would say thematic, with an ebb and flow. We have as many brutal passages as well as softer ethereal passages, and we’re comfortable with both. We’ve been described as a mix of revocation, Devin Townsend, and Dream Theatre with some jazzy/bluesy stuff thrown in. The first album was written, recorded, and produced by Anthony, and it’ll be interesting to bring the second album to life working with Mike and (hopefully) a drummer and bassist once we can complete our live outfit, which has proved challenging. Regardless, we’re slated to start working on the album in the new year (2022).

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Anthony: I’d love to tour with Revocation, Exist, and Fractal Universe, I think we’d be a good fit on that bill. Touring is far down the line for us, though, we still haven’t completed our live lineup or played our first official show yet, we’re hoping to this year!

Mike Fitts: I’ll give you four! I’d love to tour with Sabaton, Second to Sun, Cattle Decapitation, and Reflections.

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

Anthony: Covid hasn’t affected us as deeply as others, seeing as we haven’t played any shows yet, though we’d like to. At this point, both myself and Mike have had covid. I’ve seen the effects of the pandemic halt tours, and most shows these days are hit or miss re: cancellations. I play as a solo act (Matt Danger) and have been jumping on bills whenever available to fill in open slots due to corona related issues, so I’ve tried to see these things as an opportunity. I’m sure as we fill out the lineup and start booking shows, it’ll offer it’s challenges though.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Metal?

Anthony: As a POC in metal, I’ve experienced both the best and the worst of the metal community. 95% of the people I’ve met have been kind and welcoming, but I have definitely run into elitism and flat-out racism in the past, and these issues continue to plague the community, especially in the more fringe genres. I think because some genres derive from certain locations, (as does much music) initially it carries the stigmas from those places. People forget that music is meant to grow to become more than where it came from. In much the same way, I feel it’s sometimes necessary to separate the art from the artist. I fell in love with the music for a number of reasons, but mostly because it just connected with me and how I felt. It is difficult at times to be reminded that I’m an outsider. I will say that it doesn’t happen frequently, and that some of the best people I’ve met have been through metal. I think people are beginning to address these issues head on, moreso in recent years, and it’s refreshing to see people stand up for each other and speak out on their experiences. I think the elitism in metal is also a challenge to the genre. There’s still a huge culture that shuns people, or looks down their nose at other genres and styles, even in the many subgenres of metal. That’s part of the reason why Ellimist is so varied. I wanted to make something that pushes boundaries, so that it’s not just ‘Metal’, but is something greater. There are aspects of melodic death metal, black metal, progressive metal, technical death metal on the debut album, and we hope it helps to bridge those gaps. That’s one of the things I appreciate about Mike’s taste in music. He also has a diverse pallate, which I know is gonna bring great music on the next album.

Mike: Despite the pandemic, metal musicians still have been putting out great music that is as powerful and inspiring as ever. Metal music has been perpetually evolving since its inception. Experimentation with mixing genres/subgenres is to thank for this. That is not slowing down. I don't see people ever losing interest. In hard times in particular, this is when profound, heavy music has captivated me the most. Live music will come back in full eventually. Till then, I don't see any sign of decline. With strong new releases from the likes of Trivium, Mastodon, SION, to name just a few, I only see furthered inspiration and the birth and creation of many glorious endeavors for this year, 2022.

7. What’s the current music scene like locally there in Connecticut?

The music scene in CT isn’t great, if I’m being honest. People don’t really support each other here as they do in neighboring states (like MA, NY, RI). THAT BEING SAID, there is a TON of great music here, and a ton of great artists and musicians from Connecticut, and there are great shows and venues to be found if you know where to look. It would be nice to see more people coming out to support each other at local shows, which is a challenge everywhere (especially in these trying times). Every band I’ve met in CT works their ass off to get people in the doors, with varying degrees of success. It’s no secret that people consider CT a pass through state, but we’re working hard to change that! There are plenty of venues and metal fans here, and only by working together can we make the ‘scene’ better and more exciting! It’s happening, slowly but surely. Mike’s from MA, and we’ve both noticed that the turnouts there are significantly better all around. Once we have a live act together, We’ll be happy to represent both CT and MA wherever we play.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services payout to artists?

It’s a broken system. The music industry has basically devalued music to the point to where it’s basically free, and people don’t understand the amount of time that goes into making it. I, for one, think our endeavours are worth way more than what the major streaming services dish out. As a band that’s still working on finding our audience and new ears, we value the broad reach and accessibility that services like spotify can provide, but it’s challenging to make noise in an ocean of static. Especially as a band that funded everything out of pocket, making back any kind of overhead remains a challenge, and honestly (as most bands these days do) we’ve accepted it. People make “broke musician” jokes, but the reality of being a modern metal musician means putting in inordinate amounts of time playing shows, marketing, making music, all while somehow still supporting yourself, before it even has a chance to pay off, unless you get incredibly lucky. Modern musicians need to wear many hats, being good at the music part of the job isn’t enough anymore. I’m glad services like Patreon are becoming more widespread for artists with an established audience, so that they are able to directly connect with people who want to support them. With all that said, the costs and means of production are no longer a bar to entry, since making music today is much easier and less expensive than ever. Our debut album was recorded at a semi-professional home studio, after all, and we’re incredibly proud of how it came out, despite not being produced at a fancy studio. In short, I think good music is worth more than it’s currently valued at, even though it is easier to make. Gotta love the ole’ stereotype of putting $10,000 worth of equipment in a car and driving 100 miles to a venue to play for 20 people and $50 dollars! But still, we do it because we must, and we love the music.

9. What’s next for Ellimist?

We’re working on putting together a live act (bassists/drummers, contact us at ellimistband@gmail.com, we need you!) and making some new merchandize. We’ve got plans for our second album “The Decimation of the Large Magellanic Cloud), and even a companion novel in the works Titled “Cyr the Destroyer” which tells the story of Cyr. Beyond that, we’ll see what the future holds! We’re excited though, the next album will be markedly darker in tone, thematically!

10. Any shoutouts?

Shoutouts to Destination Dimension, Fox Vibes, Solemn Vision, Lame Genie VGM, Incandesca, Writing in the Skies, The Beast of Nod.