Jeff Carter

Interview: Jeff Carter of Darkening

I have previously wrote about Darkening‘s debut album “Augür” here, and I felt that it was necessary to conduct an interview with the band’s mastermind Jeff Carter and find out what lies behind the music he brought into life through this release.

Jeff was kind enough to answer my questions in the interview below.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life is going pretty well, actually. With the release of the album, I seem to finally have free time here and there to do other hobbies besides music.

Speaking of new music, you recently released an album. Are you satisfied with the reception you received for “Augür” so far?

Yes, so far, the reception has been quite great. There are a few music entities interested in hearing where I take things next, being as this was kind of a surprise album for older fans of mine – they are excited as well. Kind of a different musical approach than people are used to hearing from my earlier compositions, which incorporated input from other musicians (Deus Invictus, The Chariot, were some earlier work of mine).

Darkening - Augür

What is “Augür” about?

On a personal level, Augur is about many things…some of which I will not get into…but to basically graze the surface – nightmares, omens, and how they correspond to real life situations and events. I sought to capture the essence of what it is like or might be like right before something tragic happens directly to oneself, predominantly the feeling that you know deep down, via sickening feeling, that you or someone else has a cursed existence for the next few minutes. There are many stories that sort of link together a tragedy, or string of tragedies. Some subjects include a religious person seeking death after being misled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a girl who grows up in a government facility who finds out she has special telekinesis after the tests and unleashes the power on all humanity, and finally a person who is possessed with a spirit which makes him a werewolf, among other subjects. All stories are partially inspired by my love for horror movies, but interlaced with the fact that some things aren’t explained, and some things that happen in life can be quite creepy and unsettling. Darkening is the band that specializes on bringing that fear to music. The term “Augur” itself means “interpreter of omens”.

Jeff Carter
Are there any touring plans?

Not in the immediate future, being as we are a studio band. Of course as coverage, exposure, and fan base increases…so would our desire to support it with a live show.

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

I would really love to get out to the UK, Germany, Sweden….to name a few…

Who and what inspires you the most?

Mysticism, nature, heavy metal bands of the 70′s. Myself and the studio players on this album included, do not really like very many “newer” metal bands….we grew up on the 90′s death metal scene and kind of skipped back to old Black Sabbath. Of course music inspires us, inspires me…so I really won’t go into too much without sounding like just another musician in an interview…haha. Obviously my family goes a long way towards my inspirations. Lastly, Darkening is mostly inspired by pioneers in art and music…and by the fans.

What other genres of music do you listen to?

Lots of electronica (progressive house….I guess because it’s “prog”). Um….anything from jazz to reggae to 80′s pop. Anything can be entertaining if played with precision and done well. I am a huge fan of The Police, in fact, that is where a lot of my drumming influence comes from. And of course: Motorhead.

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Huge Stewart Copeland (The Police) fan. I grew up listening to his drumming in the weird reggae time signatures, which kind of opened up the door for me as a kid to listen to bands like Rush, Yes, and Blue Oyster Cult. I learned to play “blast beats” when I was 12 years old after getting pretty hyped up hearing a Cannibal Corpse album I bought at the record store. Took a while, but after jamming with high school friends and acquaintances for years, I tried to step up my game on drums to a “professional” level – trying to make as few mistakes as possible. After all, if it wouldn’t sound good on an album…why bother playing? Perfection was key. With guitars, bass, and singing on albums…mainly got the practice in on other peoples’ guitars…and singing in my car when I was younger. It took years before I tried to test my vocals out in front of people. Also a pretty big fan of Opeth and some of the other Scandinavian bands out there.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Just would like to say thank you to the fans for their support, thank you to Annie and all at Prog Sphere for what they do, and thanks to Progstravaganza for the superb interview. You all are great! Happy Holidays from the Darkening camp!

You can buy “Augür” from Bandcamp here, and follow Darkening on Facebook.