Interview with THE LONG DARK ROAD

The Long Dark Road (shorted to TLDR for the impatient!) is a new black metal band out of Canada. Although comparisons to shoegaze-laden contemporaries like Deafheaven are valid, they only go so far; The Long Dark Road’s style of blackgaze is far more punk and progressive-influenced than the bands you may be reminded of at first. Taking the stance of would-be outsiders looking into a genre and stirring it up, there was much to be asked of TLDR.

Hey! Thanks for taking the time to respond to this interview. How’s it going?

Rad, maybe even super rad? Just woke up to this so how could it be better?

First of all what led you to call this project The Long Dark Road? I feel like the implied imagery of the name says a lot on its own but it would be interesting to hear your thoughts in depth. Also, the band’s acronym TLDR has its own meaning in internet lingo– something I thought was pretty funny, even if it was unintentional.

I called this The Long Dark Road because it seemed fitting at the time, it was the title of a poem (which eventually became the song The Long Dark Road). It’s about how long life is, how slow it can seem, especially when you’re not able to function in a normal way. At the time, I was in the middle of a two-year long separation from my wife where we still lived together because of our daughter and financial issues, that sucked, it was like pulling teeth. It’s funny…or maybe ironic, the name is about a long battle with mental illness, the songs are al super long, the name says  ‘long’ in it and the abbreviation of the name (TLDR) stands for ‘too long didn’t read’. I can’t remember who pointed that out but I’m going to own it.

Your press kit states that The Long Dark Road was started the day you heard Deafheaven’s Sunbather. What was it about that album that struck you so hard?

First, it sounded real, that was huge. I had been hanging out with my brother Tob who listens exclusively to computer metal and I was at the point of abandoning metal altogether, so tired of the editing and perfection. Deafheaven didn’t try to hide their mistakes it was awesome. I think there might be a bit of a resurgence of music that is real, hopefully. But the big thing was that I heard that album and said this is great, I wish they’d drop the screaming, or at least use the screaming to create impact. (The truth of the matter is I don’t think anyone would have liked the album though if it didn’t have all screaming) So I was like, ‘If they’re not going to do it, maybe I can.’ I think that is the reason I write a lot of music, I hear some awesome thing and think, ‘I wish it was this way’. That album Sunbather totally got me into Black metal and rebirthed my love of metal.

The thing that arguably sets TLDR apart from so many of these likesounding blackgaze bands i your willingness to experiment constantly. How might you describe your sound within the context of black metal or experimental rock?

I’ve been told that the TLDR album sounds like what would happen if a punk rocker tried to write a black metal album, that’s pretty accurate. I get bored quickly and hate bands that spoon-feed me music. Its not enough to deliver one sound, one style, it has to play with the genre(s) and do something cool. I would say I’m an outsider looking in on the metal scene, I take the stuff I think is awesome from it and try to do it myself. Because I’m not as technically gifted as most metal dudes, it doesn’t come across the same I guess. Its funny, I was always criticized in the punk scene for being too metal and not being metal enough for the metal scene. I once got a letter from Fat Mike which said ‘We don’t sign metal bands’. I like the term experimental rock. I guess if I was to describe the sound we would be melodically punk black metal that remembers hardcore from the nineties halfway through the song and then plays too long and forgets what they were getting at. We just call it blackened punk.

Any bands you would compare yourself to the most?

Deafheaven, Raised Fist, Refused, Nomeansno, Propagandhi?

How would you describe your past musical experience, especially with how it compares to your recent time in TLDR?

This was the first project that I have done where I was entirely in creative control, usually there’s a bit of collaboration, (U) the band for example has a lot of that, writing for (U) is a major process, it usually requires relearning to play our instruments and really pushing what we can do as musicians. TLDR was more like a marathon, it wasn’t to crazy to learn but it was so fast and long, it took some time to get my wrist to go that fast. When compared to (U), which is defiant and eccentric, a writer gets shielded from criticism to a certain degree. If someone was down on it I could say to myself, ‘well maybe they just don’t get it’. TLDR was deliberately focused and less weird so it leaves me with less room to hide from criticism. It was a great purging and a hard album to complete. I burned through three drummers and two guitarists. I was homeless, bouncing around, living on my brothers’ dime as they say, fun times.

What would you like people to take from your four-song debut?

I hope it makes you feel angry, sad, confused and liberated. I hope there are people who like it, I hope people get it.

Do you have any favourite songs or moments from the album?

I like the second song I will follow, there’s a riff in there that I love to play live, plus it also has the fastest moment of the album and I love speed.

What advice would you impart to other musicians when it comes to their own creative ventures?

Don’t shy away from who you are. It’s hard and embarrassing to be honest, to own your mistakes. Since most musicians suffer from mental illness I’d say use your music to keep yourself from the ledge. Create and defy and never stop no matter how bad it gets.

What’s the experience playing live and touring with TLDR been like? Any set plans for the future?

I’m writing the next TLDR album and working on it with the new (hopefully permanent) members. As for touring, it’s been great thus far, the next tour will be the first with Liam and Quinn but the shows we’ve played clicked immediately so it’ll be rad.  Live is where music is meant to be enjoyed, and if you come see us we will kill it as hard as we can. Also I will have three other releases this year which should be cool.

What have you been listening to lately?

Free Salamander Exhibit, Oathbreaker, Deafheaven, F.O.D., Mute, Melvins, Bad Brains, Bracket, Faith No More, 88 Fingers Louie, Flying Luttenbachers, Mr Bungle, Zeal and Ardour, Baroness. Prog folks should definitely check out Free Salamander as well as Sleepytime Gorilla museum and Nomeansno. Oh, You should check out (U) the bands albums ‘we are’ and ‘sinister trailerpark magic’, some shameless self promotion.

Anything I might have missed? Words for readers?

It is super cool to have the chance to do this interview, thanks for the opportunity! Music doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be passionate.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: