Revelations of Doom - A Interview With Within The Torn Apart

By Earthdog

 Within The Torn Apart started out as In Emptiness in 2006, Before that, Napalm Dave started making bass drones back in 94 but didn't really start taking it seriously until 98. Dave's biggest influences at that time were Pot, Earth and Black sabbath, Dave made several tape demos from 94 or so until 2005 off of which several demos where used on the double DMA exclusive album, After 2005 Dave laid off drone for a bit and started working on other projects, Then around late 2006 Dave started going under the name In emptiness for his drones and created a short 4 track demo, That demo sat on his computer for several months, One track off the demo titled In Emptiness was released on the Spookcore records mix-tape compilation from early 2007 and it can also be found on the first WTTA demo. The other 3 tracks are lost, accidentally deleted off of Dave's old hard drive before he had a chance to burn them to disc.

 After taking a few more months off from his drone music to work on other projects In Emptiness came back and the name was changed to Within The Torn Apart, One demo was made with Mr Morder before he left the band, This demo has went on to be downloaded over 7000 times, Soon after the "Drone in, Blood out" e.p was made, About 7 months later the "Sun Setting" e.p was released, "Now in this time of Death" which was the first full length album was released for a week on DMAR but was soon pulled off due to changes needing to be made to the album (Pat will be rerecording most of the original guitar parts from this album due to several mistakes in the original recordings)

Soon after the completion of "Now in this time of Death", Pat joined WTTA as a session guitar player and after years of session members and guest spots WTTA is a 2 man band from here on out. 

Here is an interview with both these guys that now make up the drone doom band, Within The Torn Apart. This interview was done with both these dudes separately and then joined into one monster of an interview. They are about to unleash their new album"Time Wilts Away In This Era of Death",  which by all reports and from what I have heard is their best and heaviest work yet. They have made a slight shift from straight-out drone, ambient doom to a doom-drone mix so this should be their most appealing album for the traditional doom fan. Show some support and buy the album once it's released, keep an eye out for the release date and other info on what should be a remarkable album from WTTA.

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last interviewed you Dave.  Can you tell the readers about what you have been up to since the last interview?

NAPALM DAVE: Not too much. Working on music here and there but, other than that, I've been taking it easy and focusing on my kids and trying to get used to being 31 now, having to accept that I had to grow up and I'm not 19 anymore.

WC: I read this album will be more doom than drone. What is the reason the music has headed in this direction?

ND: You read correctly, I've been doing this on and off for a very long time and my goal for most of that time was to sound as much as I could like Sunn O))) because I wanted to prove that, despite being a Christian band, WTTA could offer the same exact sound that a secular band could. After completing that goal, it became boring and it eventually felt like I was putting out the same song over and over again at different lengths, So, about 10 months ago when Pat and I first started working on music together, I started to realize that I can prove that same point without sounding like someone else.

PAT: Dave told me that he wanted to kind of move into a more doom direction. I think he's grown tired of doing the same kind of thing. There's a lot of drone on this record, but there's a lot of doom, as well. It's a mixed bag. I contributed to more of the doom side and he contributed more to the drone side and we kind of had a head on collision and that's what ended up on the record.

WC: Tell us about the new album, can you give the readers a run-down of some of the material?

Pat: Most of my riffs on this album were from songs that I had written nearly ten years ago. We just toyed with them a bit and made them work. I was glad to finally have a project to use my material for.

For this album, I was heavily influenced by Earth's "the Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull " and Pink Floyd's "Animals" album. I like the big "epic" sounds of those records. Another influence that will probably surprise a lot of people was Metallica's "Load" album. That album has a lot of slow, fat, heavy riffs. Songs like "Cure," "2x4," and "Poor Twisted Me" in particular.

As for some of the new songs:

"Withered In Blood Tide" is part new stuff and part old stuff. The heavy part is new, but that clean part at the beginning has been sitting around on tape since 2003. That song was partly inspired by hyenas. I was watching a documentary about how they behave in the wild. They're like the serial killers of the animal kingdom. I wanted transform their behaviour into music somehow.

"Time Wilts Away"  is a song I wrote 10 years ago. It's probably the biggest departure on the album from the kind of stuff that WTTA usually does. I re-recorded it for a side-project that Dave and I were gonna do, but we liked it so much that it ended up on this record.

"C.O.U"  is a tribute to my Pops. We used a rather unconventional means of recording that, but I don't want to give away too many of our secrets. Haha.

"Orion's Chamber"  is a good example of how well Dave and I work together. He simply hummed a riff and I translated it to guitar and added a few of my own things to it.

"Crack the Pillars" was the result of staying up too late and jamming at 3am. I record all of my practice sessions. I was listening back to that night's stuff and  I thought that particular riff was pretty cool. Dave agreed and it's on the album with very minor changes from the original 3am practice recording.

ND: The new album is something else. Let me give you a basic run down of what has happened since the last time you interviewed WTTA. At that time, I had just put out the "Sun Setting" E.P. which wasn't even supposed to be released but due to unprofessional session members, I couldn't release the material that was supposed to be put out which was a double disc set of all new material at that time. It ended up not getting released. So, it was all sat on.

Fast forward a year to when I sent you what was the finished version of that double disc to review for DMA. After receiving an 8 on the review, it made me think "Why?" So, I asked you and you made me realize that it was too much material to digest at one time. I took that hard at first because, like I said, the material was going on two years old at that point. The first 8 months, myself and said session guys made huge amounts of progress. Then, the second year was spent waiting on said session guys to get off their butts and work. Point being, I wasn't happy with the score. I soon got over it after realizing your point.

So, the point to that long-winded answer is that I split those into 2 full lengths;, One was "Now In This Time of Death", which you have heard, and the second was "Time Wilts Away". I trimmed away the fat and added several tracks that me and Pat wrote together using riffs he had written years ago. Then, we added two tracks that I and Jason De Ron of Paramaecium worked on, one track with Sebat of Frost Like Ashes, and 2 soon to be finished tracks with Victor Griffin of Place of Skulls.

Me and Pat took several non-traditional directions when it comes to drone. Those directions were blues and doom. There is a lot of Pink Floyd influence on this album and a lot of Earth influence. You can hear some Place of Skulls influence in there as well. It's the final album that will have just pure drone on it. It's also the final album to not have full drum tracks on it. It will also be the final album to have guest spots other than vocals on it. There's a lot of finality to this album, but it's also the doorway to where we want to go sound-wise. The next album, which we have already started working on, will sound like a mix between Earth, Floyd, and Sabbath. Traditional drums and time signatures, lots of percussion, full vocal tracks from me and Pat, and very little drone actually. If I could compare what we are working on now to anything ,it would be Camel of Doom.

WC:  In the past you have been influenced by Earth & Sunn o))). Has anything changed with your influences that has push the new recordings into a more straight doom-metal direction?

ND: Yes, a lot, Though Sunn are still an influence, they are not as much as they used to be, My Sunn worship was more than obvious on the first 4 releases, but not so much on "Time Wilts Away" and wont be at all on "The Revelation Within". On "Time Wilts Away", you will hear a huge amount of Earth influence in there and, like i said before, you will hear Pink Floyd in there a lot. We had planned on covering Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" but canned it due to lack of time. There's a lot of thrash influence on Pat's end. In fact, some of the riffs used were originally thrash licks he slowed down. On my end, I was hugely inspired as of late by Nadja and even more so by Coil, which is strange because Coil used to be the biggest influence for my other projects, but I brought that cold industrial sound into this album and it worked very well. I would also say Throbbing Gristle is a huge influence on what we are doing now.

WC: How do you analyze your own playing? Do you ever think about it?

ND: Nah. I don't much care. I play what I play and record it. I never second take anything; never have. I might adjust it in the mix, but never, ever, re-record anything. It's always from the first take. As for how I perceive my own sound, I think it's very raw, dark, and very cold. It's from the depths of my depression and anxiety, so it's not pretty.

WC: With past recordings, you have always had a strong melodic element even though some people may not hear it the way I do. Do you think in terms of melody when composing music?

ND: I hum a lot. Most of my tunes come from just siting there and humming out the parts where most people use their instruments. I never have. I have a sweet Sony mini recorder and I hum ideas into it and translate those into whatever instrument I end up using. I also use my keyboard to create a lot o the structure and almost all melodies. My bass rarely ever sees any kind of action until it's recording time. The only time I have ever used my bass for any kind of free form drone was on the "Drone In, Blood Out" demo

WC:  Back in 2009, you mentioned WTTA would be a live band but it never happened as far as I know. What happened with those plans?

ND: That was going to happen but, due to my personal life, I had to bail on the idea. Plus, Pat joined the band and I felt it wouldn't have been fair to him to have 2 versions of WTTA. There were 3 live songs recorded with me and 4 other people. You have one of those demos on the double DMA set I sent you, but that's it for live WTTA. Maybe, in the future, Pat will come down here long enough for us to do a short tour. If so, it will be recorded.

WC: You sound real excited about the new album. What is it about the album that makes you so positive?

ND: It's such a huge step into a new direction. After years of doing the same thing, it gets stale. Pat is bringing a totally new style to WTTA and that was much-needed. In fact, "Now In This Time of Death" was to be WTTA's final album, but after realizing that working with Pat was making the music fun again, that all changed.

WC:  So what is like working with Pat?

ND: Great. I've had many guests and session members over the years in WTTA. Working with all the guests was a blast because they usually got things done on time, but the session members are a different story. I won't sit here and dog anyone out but let's just say there is a reason that they never became full members. With Pat, I don't have to deal with that. When we work, it's done together and it gets finished right then and not weeks or months later. Nothing gets put on the back burner, which is a huge plus for me since we all know why the double disc ended up taking so long. That is a prime example of unprofessional session members. Pat is far from that; he is the most professional dude I've ever worked with and is an absolute joy to work with and very good at what he does. We click musically and always end up having the same ideas.

WC: Has the new album got a common theme? Even a lot of instrumental albums have a recurring theme or melody that holds it all together. Does this album have that element?

ND: Dying, death, rebirth. That's all I will say. Anyone who has any sort of depth will pick up on this upon the first listen.

WC:  You are very prolific when it comes to recording projects. Is it because you love writing and recording or are you never satisfied so you have to keep on trying something new?

ND: A bit of both. My mind is always going 100 miles an hour due to an anxiety disorder and being bipolar. So, to curb the depression that stems from that, I write all of the time. Music is 90% of my life. It heals and takes my mind off of life's struggles. I have cut a lot of my projects down though. TMD is over. I have one album left to release and that's it. Other than WTTA, I don't really have anything I'm working on at the moment, but I do have plans for an industrial project later this year, plus I will be getting back to my horror scores.

WC: Have you worked out how the new album will be distributed?

ND: Not yet. We were looking into a few things but, at the moment, we're not sure yet.

WC: After the new album is released do you have any plans for the next chapter in the life of the band?

ND: More work on The Revelation Within". Not too sure from there. We plan on stretching work on that out 6 or 7 months, This album will have a lot more time and effort put into it than anything else WTTA has ever done. WTTA will be around for a lot longer, I will say that

WC:  You always seem to be working on other projects as well and you have the forum site. Do you want to give those things a plug?

ND: Sure, although TMD is over now, I am fixing to release the final album which, in my opinion, is way better than the first album. Then, there is the second CBFDIB album that me and Eric will eventually be finishing later this year. Me and Pat will be making a Within the Torn page soon. The forum has been revamped and it no longer accepts new members. It's as strong as ever but, from here on out, is only for the people who originally joined it. A closed society if you will, but the forum is open to where anyone can read everything on it and all of the downloads are available; just no more members. There will still be updates, new links, etc, nothing really else has changed. As for anything else I'm doing, like i said earlier, I will be working on an industrial project later this year similar in sound to Ministry, Circle of Dust, and Coil. That's about it for now.

WC: Not many would know about you, Pat, so I guess you better fill them in now. Tell the readers a bit about yourself ?

Pat: I grew up and still live in a very small town in VA. I've been blessed to have a very supportive and close-knit family who supports me in whatever I do, especially music. When I was five years old, I started playing guitar. I saw the video for Metallica's "One" and that was it, man. That was when I decided I wanted to become the king of the riff. Haha.

My Grandfather bought me this cheap Japanese electric guitar, which I still have to this day, and I started learning chords and the basic stuff like that. I think the first song I ever learned to play was "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". That was the first song I ever played in front of an audience, as well; it was at my first grade talent show. The amp I used at that time had this built in distortion effect, so I played the metal version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" complete with this Steve Vai-like whammy-bar dive at the end that broke my high E string. Haha.

I only took maybe two guitar lessons, but they didn't help me much at all. I guess I already had my idea of how one should play the guitar and what it should sound like in my head and whatever the teacher was trying to do sounded wrong, haha, so I dropped out of music lessons and tought myself with tab books and Guitar World. My music teacher in high school helped me a lot too. Other than music, I'm a huge movie buff. I love horror, spaghetti westerns, and stuff like that. In my time away from making music, I create art, I like to cook, and I'm an avid knife collector.

WC:  Now that you have teamed up with Dave, how does it feel to be playing doom? It is not really the music you grew up with, is it? Correct me if I am wrong.

Pat: You're right; it's a pretty big change from the music I usually write/play. Primarily, I'm a thrash metal guy. I also play punk and a little blues; my two biggest influences are James Hetfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan, so I'm used to playing FAST. I love playing and writing doom and drone, though, because it's a challenge for me to play at a slower tempo and not go a million miles an hour all of the time.

WC:  How would you describe your musical techniques? Do you have a particular style of playing?

Pat: I just try to play with a lot of feeling. I'll try to play what feels right as opposed to what's 'right' musically; Simply put, I don't like to use too much music theory. If it feels and sounds right, it works for me. Sure, I like to use certain scales and modes but feel, emotion, and atmosphere come first.

For example, since this album featured no drums or anything to keep time, I had the freedom to not have to play in any time signature and I wanted to use that to my advantage to make my riffs sound a little uneasy and chaotic. However, I was so used to playing with a metronome and in time, some of my early demos didn't have the chaotic or uneasy feel that I wanted. It was actually a little hard for me to play out of time; it's usually the opposite for some people. I guess I'm fortunate in that regard. Haha.

I ended up using the metronome in an unconventional method; I used it to deliberately play out of time; I would skip beats, play before or after the beat, or ignore the beat altogether. I'm sure a lot of purists out there would frown upon not playing in time and say "that's wrong" or whatever, but it really gave the music this out of control vibe. It may not be "right" musically, but it gave the music soul. After all, if the song has no soul, who wants to listen to it?

As for my style, I like to use a lot of palm muting, pull-ons, and hammer-offs. I like to make all of the riffs sound fluid and almost bluesy.

WC: You live with an illness, like I do. Do you feel this inspires you to play doom? I was speaking to Jerry from Lazarus Complex (who also has serious health issues) and he said the way he feels physically, doom is the only music he can play and that his sickness actually inspires him in some ways. Do you feel the same?

Pat: I got sick in 2003. I have COPD and severe-persistent asthma and I've nearly died from it a few times. I'm not able to work and I can't go outside much. It's hard to even go buy groceries. I get inspired by the notion that I have to do something with the time I have left on this Earth and not waste it. To be honest, being sick is the farthest thing from my mind when I'm making music. If I weren't writing music and keeping busy, I'd sit and think about being sick all the time and I would get depressed. I use music to take my mind off of being sick.

WC:  Lets talk guitars, what equipment tdo you use?

Pat:  For this album, I used my mid-80's ESP Explorer (which Dave affectionately calls "The Brown Thing." Haha.) for almost all of the heavy parts, which is 98% of the record. It's got a Seymour Duncan Screamin' Demon humbucker in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan PAF at the neck. To get the tone I wanted, I switched it to the middle position, which is both pickups at the same time, but I dialed back the volume on the bridge pickup a bit to fatten it up a little. It's tuned to standard E, but I tuned to drop D for a couple of songs.

I also used an ESP Eclipse with EMG active pickups for two songs that I tuned down to C# (C-Sharp) for.

For the few clean parts, I used a Jay Turser semi-hollowbody with Seymour Duncan P-90 pickups. I love that it almost sounds like a strat, but it has an even more bell-like tone and is a bit fatter-sounding.

For most of the album, I used AmpliTube Effects Modeling & Recording software. For a couple of songs, I went the traditional route and mic'd my trusty old Randall RG100 amp with a Fender 4x12 cab with Celestion speakers and I used an Ibanez SM-7 distortion pedal and a Digitech Acoustic Simulator pedal. Most of what you hear is me plugged right into the computer using the AmpliTube Software, though.

WC:  How do you and Dave put together the music for WTTA? You live in different states, so how does it all work?

Pat: We'll sit and talk on the phone about song ideas. I have my guitar out most of the time and we'll come up with stuff or I'll have a riff that I had written previously and we mutate it into something that works. I record all of my stuff in my little make-shift studio and then send it to him, then he'll write his parts or use something that he had written previously that works with the riff. We produce it together over the phone and once we're happy with how everything sounds, Dave mixes everything together.

WC: Among the 3 of us, we have talked about the destruction of the underground scene before but what is your thoughts on the future of doom-metal?

Pat: I think the future of doom metal is very bright. With all of the crazy stuff going on in the world today, we doom guys certainly have a lot of stuff to write about. We can voice our opinions and emotions through our music and hopefully change the world for the better. People in the world aren't happy with the way things are going and I think their musical tastes will change in order to reflect that. I think a lot of the bubblegum stuff will fade away because the world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. I think that's what doom is all about.

WC:  Back to playing, what gives you the most satisfaction when composing music?

Pat:  Knowing that I'm hopefully making my friends and family proud. This album is dedicated to my Pops (Grandfather) who passed away in August. He always enjoyed hearing me play, even if he wasn't the biggest metal fan out there. I just want to make him proud. I know he's in heaven looking down with a smile.
Hearing Dave's reaction to the music we're making together is very satisfying to me, as well. For the first time ever, I'm confident in my abilities as a guitarist.

WC:  We all know the underground scene in America has no real support anymore so what do you hope to achieve with the release of the new album?

Pat: Just having it heard and appreciated is achievement enough for me... that maybe someone will take the time to listen to it. I'm not interested in groupies or getting rich. I just want people to hear our hard work.

WC: What is it like working with Dave?

Pat: He's the Lars Ulrich to my James Hetfield. Haha. We work great together. We very rarely butt heads over anything and, when we do, it's almost immediately resolved. We pretty much have the same taste in music and the same motivation, so we're the perfect team.

WC:  Has the new album got vocals? I don't think it has as I haven't read anything about it. If not, what emotions do you hope to unleash through the music?

Pat: No vocals on this one. The overall vibe of this record is mournful, at least from my side of things.. I lost my Pops in August and I wanted to get my emotions out through the music. A lot of what you hear is me trying to stay sane throughout the whole grieving process.

WC:  Once this album is out, do you have future plans for more recordings with Dave?

Pat: Absolutely. We're already working on the next record. It's going to have a lot of old-school doom mixed with a very small amount of drone and a few other things tossed in the mix. I'm already excited about some of the early stuff that we've come up with. It's very experimental.

WC:  Thanks Dave and Pat for the interview. Any last words?

Pat: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my music and give people a peek behind the scenes of what goes into making the whole WTTA thing click. I hope I won't alienate too many fans by being the "new guy." Haha. Thanks, Ed. It's been a pleasure.

ND: God bless. Thanks to anyone who listens to what we do.