The emotional and spiritual expression and experience of Ironwood

One reason I like"Storm Over Sea". It's not a long boring jam session it keep the listener's attention. And here are some questions I asked the band about the album and other stuff.

How the manage to combine these elements and make the music exciting at the same time?
Thank you so much for your kind words. Interestingly, we believe that the way our final product comes out is as much planned as unplanned. Often songs we've written have been anything but planned through; we find ourselves, in some mysterious way, channelling music which has an unknown origin.  When a song is being created, it unfolds like a journey, taking us through a process where time sometimes becomes irrelevant and it is simply about being mindful. We feel our final products continue this trajectory as does the experience in listening.
In this sense we believe that we create truly progressive music commensurate with this sense of journey. The pieces aren't "songs" in the conventional sense of the word. They aren't necessarily a collection of simple repetitions of riffs but are a much more emotional and spiritual expression and experience we share. From this we believe our music has the capacity to be more engaging for the listener and as such keeps many attentive. We're certainly very fortunate to have listeners jump on for the ride.

How the managed to get Dan Swanö involved was hard to convince him to get on board?
Firstly it is important to know that we operate in a very independent way. From the compositional stages to the pre-mixing stages we were independent, basically recorded everything ourselves without relying on too much external support. When we began mixing Storm Over Sea, we actually initially fell into old patterns from previous releases. We utilised the same mixer and had the same mastering plans. As mixing commenced we realised that not only was this approach not meeting our growing standards but it also did not do justice to the sounds we were hoping to achieve.
At this point we looked outwards to sound engineers we respected and asked if Dan Swanö was interested. Although busy at the time he was able to put aside some time to work on our material in a couple of months and we were on our way!

Explain to me about the recording process, was it hard to work dan?
Hard couldn't be further from the truth. He was prompt, cued in to our sound and amazingly professional. All these years we worked under the assumption that mixing was akin to pulling teeth. In working with Dan it was easy. He completed an initial mix within less than a week and integrating our feedback mixed and mastered this beast in a matter of days. We're all very happy how Storm Over Sea came out and it's clear his mitts have been all over this.

Are you please with the job Clawhammer doing in promoting the band in the USA?
Clawhammer have been most helpful in the promotion stakes. In fact with their help we were getting reviews before we even released the album. What more could we want? Their networks have certainly enabled our sounds to travel to wider audiences and for that we are thankful.

Is it hard to pull these songs off live?
Short answer? No. Long answer? Not generally, but it is exceptionally important that the live sound engineer understands what we are trying to achieve. Without this, live shows can get a little tricky. Don't forget we value layers to our sound: we ask a little more than the simple set up for your typical rock band. In the live setting we generally try to create what we've been able to create in the studio so this means three vocals, acoustic guitars with heavy electric guitars, bass, simultaneous samples in addition to the dynamism of the drums. So from an engineering perspective it can be difficult to have all the elements sitting together well, and also for us to hear ourselves, which is especially critical for nailing the vocal harmonies.
As for actually playing the songs? We sure do pull it off! I have to admit though some songs do require a little more concentration than others, especially when you're multitasking with singing, playing two guitars, and coordinating samples throughout!

Have the band ever play any shows outside of Australia?
As yet we have only played in Australia, although that doesn't mean we specifically chose this. To play in other countries is certainly an opportunity we wouldn't turn down. We're developing a strong connection in the North West of the U.S and I sense when the time is right, we'll make our way over there at least.

Can you name some of the bands Ironwood shared the stage with and what bands you like to tour with and why you want to tour with these bands?
We have often played with a fantastic Sydney based band, The Veil. An interesting concoction of doom metal and Tea Party inspired rock'n'roll. We've also been very fortunate to have played some gigs with Futility, a Canberra based doom band. Very much looking forward to new albums both of these bands are due to release in 2011. In both cases, touring with these guys is a blast. We all get on well and seem to sit on very similar pages musically, even though our musical influences vary quite a bit. It is a real pleasure to play with both bands. In recent times Ironwood has really focussed on creating our latest opus rather than gigging, and I have to say I've certainly missed that.

Of all of the influences which bands influenced Ironwood the most and why?
There are too many to name individually. We come from such diverse musical backgrounds and ultimately that has culminated in the sound you have before you. However, we do have common ground and I cannot help but think of a handful of bands that we have collectively connected with that has no doubt influenced our sound. It has to be said that we draw as much inspiration from progressive rock of past eras and from folk music as we do from black metal and its cousins.
Curiously reviewers find all sorts of sounds and influences in what we do, some which we could have predicted, but many not. So comparisons to Agalloch or Enslaved are expected; to Death or Pavor less so (although once such connections are made…they do make sense!). That seems like a strong demonstration that we’re succeeding in transcending genre boundaries and breaking down the temptation some folk have to lazily box music into arbitrary categories.

When you're not playing in Ironwood what other things you like to do in your spare time?
We feel deeply connected to the natural world. Apart from the inspiration nature lends our musical and lyrical creativity, I make every effort to connect through other means. I live a very active life and this goes with being in Australian bushland very well. Mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking are all on the cards whenever I can.  Apart from that I'm completing a PhD in Clinical Forensic Psychology.
Henry also is co-editor of Hex magazine (, writes for the Elhaz Ablaze website (, and has recently created a therapeutic rune reading service (

Any live shows or festivals appearances planned after the album is released?
No touring plans in the immediate future; we’re going through some transitions in our membership and for now have opted to focus on upcoming projects. In fact we have actually already commenced writing for the next album! In the more distant future, we would like to and will shed our studio cage and share these sounds in a live setting once again.
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Dec 16, 2010

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