EMQ’s with BRYAN ECKERMANN
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with San Antonio, Texas based Melodic Blackened Death Metal solo project Bryan Eckermann. Huge thanks to Bryan for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Bryan Eckermann, I play all instruments in this project, as well as producing, mixing, and as of late artwork, videos also. The history of my solo music goes back pretty far, dating back to 2002 in its initial origin under the name Winters Plague, although I specify more in my bio that it was created in 2011 and the first actual official release came out in 2014 with my debut CD “Ghosts of Earth” under my own name.
How did you come up with your band name?
Well this was a debate back I had back in 2011, before that I was writing music under the name Winters Plague, but I had yet to officially release an album, I only had demos at that point. So back in 2011 I had what would inevitably be a full first album ready for release (“Love and Hate” which subsequently never came out) and I made the decision that it might be best to put it out under my own name. That idea obviously did not come to fruition until 2014, but the seeds were sown then and moving forward I knew I would push forward using my own name for the project.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. And still to this day reside here, the metal scene has had its ups and downs over the course of my 20 years in this scene. When I first started out, it was pretty horrible actually, early 2000’s you would be playing in a bar with 10 people watching and each other band was pretty awful. I would say though, at least from my perspective around 2005 and still to this day, the metal scene locally has thrived and always had some outstanding bands and fans, I have had the privilege to play lots of shows around the surrounding areas with my other bands over the years, (Wings of Abaddon, Blessed Agony, and more recently Scars of the Flesh, and a fill in stint with Cerebral Desecration).
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
My newest solo album “The 7th Sin” which happens to be my 7th album, was released on July 10th, 2020. For this release I decided to release each song as a single ahead of the full album coming out, with a custom artwork and video designed for each track. The last and final single ‘Succubus’ came out on June 19th, and it happens to be the opening track for the CD. Also once the artwork for ‘Succubus’ was released, I held a fan vote for which song artwork would grace the front cover of the album, inevitably the “Succubus” artwork won the vote and the full CD title was altered to be The 7th Sin to not take away from the song itself and to give a better full album title. Each of these artworks are featured in the physical disc booklet, a 16-page design with lyrics for each track as well.
Who have been your greatest influences?
My biggest influences…hmmmm. A tough question to answer because there are probably too many to name. But I’ll shoot out a few of the main ones that perhaps shine through most in my writing style. Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, Old Man’s Child, Amon Amarth, Immortal, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Death, King Diamond, Iced Earth, and many many more. Those I guess are just some of the biggest ones, bands I have followed their entire careers.
What first got you into music?
I’ll take you back to around 1996 ish, I was in high school, I already had a love from growing up for the typical, you know, Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Queensrÿche etc, just stuff I heard on the radio and my older brother was big into a lot of the 80’s metal. So, what I had at hand was very limited, but that opened the door for later. I had a friend who played guitar, I went to hang out with him one day after school and saw him playing some Metallica stuff like ‘Disposable Heroes’, ‘One’, ‘…And Justice for All’. I was just blown away, I told him, “how do I do that? teach me?” lol. He gave me the simplest short tutorial, and I went out and started learning on my own, teaching myself over the next few years as best I could, from the very beginning I wanted to write my own stuff, I tried and tried but everything pretty much sucked for those first few years. Around 2000 I wrote the first songs that would become Blessed Agony, my first band that lasted until 2009. There is a lot more story to tell of the in between of then and now but that meeting with my friend was a definite catalyst that projected me into this life, and I have just never looked back, always pushing forward.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
A dream collaboration for me would be Peter Tagtgren of Hypocrisy/Pain/Lindemann, since he is pretty much my musical idol in every way, a close second would have to be Galder of Dimmu/Old Man’s Child, I just love the way he writes so much. Those are big dreams lol, but never say never. Until then I always love featuring my favourite vocalist who I have worked with for years and years, Kobey Lange, we have played in Blessed Agony, Wings of Abaddon, Scars of the Flesh, and Cerebral Desecration together, and written countless songs together. So, featuring him on my solo stuff is always a definite. We just work so well together, so for this new album I featured him on the track ‘Morbid Beauty’, he actually wrote the lyrics to that song and we trade off vocals back and forth. My good buddy Jon Santiago (The Jon Santiago Project) also slayed a killer guitar solo in that song.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I guess the dream festival for me and probably a ton of other metal bands, would be the Wacken festival. To me it has always been the top of the chain when it comes to those big European festivals, I can’t say positively as I have never been able to attend one, but from afar, that just seems like the place to be. And if you get to play on that stage, you in a sense have “made it” in this metal world. Fingers crossed for that to happen in my lifetime also lol.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Hmmm I don’t think I can really recall receiving a gift from a fan, or at least a strange enough one for me to remember fully. My fans are pretty awesome people nonetheless and I actually have many of them who I keep in touch with through social media etc. I always make myself available to respond to messages etc, or give insight when asked any questions. I can say I am a fan first, and musician second. So, I know what it’s like to want to talk to someone you admire and have them actually be cool with you, and not just blow you off so to speak.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
THANK YOU, I tell this to my fans all the time, on email responses, comments, shares of my posts, shares of my videos. I will always be the first to thank the people who support me endlessly. I feel it is necessary to show your appreciation, cause nowadays how often does that actually happen with bands you like. I can name a few that I am a big fan of that have done that for me and I know it makes you feel good as a fan to be acknowledged. I’m still what I consider a small time artist, or underground, but I like to think that even if I somehow got bigger and kind of famous, that I would still treat my fans the same way, I understand it would be way more difficult to interact with that many people though.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
For me it would be Chuck Schuldiner, a man that influenced so many within this genre in the years of his life, and probably 100 times more since his passing. He was definitely taken too soon, and almost in the prime of his writing. Death – “The Sounds of Perseverance” is an album that changed my life, it was the first album with growl/heavy vocals that I ever got into, and it was the slippery slope that led me into so many more great bands.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I enjoy more than anything the creation of a song, the process from beginning until hearing that final finished product. It’s comparable to a drug in my eyes because that feeling you get hearing your creation come to life is…well there is just nothing to me that comes close. Maybe it’s why I have so many albums and songs written over the years with not only this solo project but my other bands too. I think I’m somewhere around 15 albums released, and probably another 10 albums worth of unreleased stuff hiding on my computer at home lol. When it comes to what I hate about being a musician it is probably the business side of things. It’s something that I’ve grown into doing since my first album, trying to be self-sufficient, and I have much more success now then in those early years, so it’s a learning process still to this day, and one that no matter how many times I do it, I just hate it. But it is a part of the process, to get your music out to fans, so I must accept it and with anything I do, I try to give it my all and do to the best of my abilities.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I feel like with how easy it is for your music to be heard these days by fans, it is almost a million times harder to get your music heard by the “industry” especially since there are endless bands out there, and the funny thing is so many of them are killer, but just get no recognition. I personally have submitted stuff to labels, media, etc. etc. to about an average of 0-1% response, it’s very frustrating. But it’s a who you know kinda world, not a are you talented world. I’m not sure how it could all be changed for the better, all we can do is adapt and try our best with how the world changes.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
I’m going to throw a random one out at you for this as there are easily 20+ albums I could have a list of, but here goes…W.A.S.P. – “The Crimson Idol”, an album I have heard thousands of times, and in my eyes one of the greatest concept albums of all time. I guess I’m throwing it out there partly because here, just a few years back, they re-released it, re-recorded completely. Which for a band, it is completely unheard of for you to go and redo your greatest album. It’s the equivalent of Metallica redoing “Master of Puppets” or the ‘Black’ Album? Like how in the hell or why in the hell would you try to do that? lmao. Anyways, I heard they were going to do it, and obviously I didn’t have a lot of faith that it could be up to par with the original, nevertheless better… But low and behold, I remember I pre-ordered it and couldn’t wait ‘til it arrived so I streamed it on Youtube. My jaw hit the floor and probably has since still retracted lol. Everything about the album was done better, with only one exception, the took the cussing out of the words on Chainsaw Charlie. Which a lot of fans complained about, but I for one, it doesn’t bother me much. I give the re-release a 10/10 especially since it contained a two-disc version of the concept with extra songs and the original was only one disc.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
That is a highly debated and personalized question to any one person’s taste for sure. But for me it was always CD’s. I started out with tapes back in the day, but they all ended up ruined from overplaying, so I started buying CD’s around the time I started being a musician. I am and have always been a big supporter of band’s I like. To this day I believe I have somewhere around 1500 CD’s wasting space in my apartment. I do tend to like to keep them in good condition now versus the ones I first bought, nowadays, I’ll buy them and rip them on the computer right away or lately I finally caved and have been using Spotify which I do enjoy it. I definitely see why physical media is becoming a thing of the past, but I myself will always love to hold that physical copy in my hand, to see the full booklet with the lyrics and artwork. (Partly why I went a bit extravagant on my new album booklet)!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
That’s a tough question to answer, I have played a lot of gigs opening for national bands I love, here in Texas… too many to spout off…, but I’m gonna have to go with the last show I played, which happened to be our first live show as Scars of the Flesh this past January, it was a local show, but featuring quite a lot of killer bands, and headlining was Vesperian Sorrow. The turnout was great for a club that size, we went through months of preparation for that night, as we had two fill in members, drummer/bassist, to make us a full band for the first time. And when the night was over, I believe we got the best response of anyone, we played great. It was a night that will stick with me for a while. It was also the first time I shared the stage with my best friend Derek (Scars other guitarist, and original Blessed Agony member) since 2004, so it was a long time coming for us.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I have already started building my other side of things, which would be artwork. I have spent a few years now getting better at doing album arts, shirt designs, flyers etc. I just recently launched new Facebook/Instagram pages “The Art of Bryan Eckermann”. I still right now don’t have as much time to invest in it as I want to but it’s something I am going to slowly do to fill the gaps when I need a break from music, and perhaps my artworks will start to be featuring on bands other than my own things soon enough. We will see…On another note though, I have spent many years in the producer side of recording as well, that is another thing that I plan to do more of in the future outside of my own projects, but for that end of things, there are a lot of tools I still need to purchase, and me and my wife need to get a house before I can make some noise seriously lol.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
The five people that will pay for my dinner for me lol, jk jk!
What’s next for the band?
I have some other musical endeavours up next after this, a few surprises I can’t say just yet. And we also are going to start on our next Scars of the Flesh album writing process soon. But I can say, I already have most of my next Bryan Eckermann album written, it is going to be a BIGGGG endeavour. I’m thinking a 2-disc concept album right now, I have about 109 minutes of music, just no lyrics. I had a lot of it done even before The 7th Sin came about, I just know my vision for that album is going to take some years to put together how I want it. We will see what happens, but for now, my fans should know well that I don’t waste time, whatever comes next, they won’t need to be waiting too long for.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Right now, I would say my Facebook is where I am most active, but I also do Instagram, just not as often. I have an official Youtube Channel for my content people can subscribe to and always be kept up to date on what’s new. Here are some links below, and I have a new merch site to add onto my already existing Big Cartel, Bandcamp ones. This new site is for shirts etc, it gives fans more options and me an option to have way more designs available, since they print as ordered and ship for me.
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Hmmmm, I have no clue! I’ll go with biscuit lol
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
I hope everyone who reads this will take the time to check out my new album “The 7th Sin” on July 10th or after, or perhaps you can find it before lol. Anyways, thank all of you guys who support me. More tunes coming soon!!! always!!! Cheers!
And thanks for having me btw
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