DUST PROPHET “A Storm Of Time In Space”

By Lord Randall

Have you heard the words of the DUST PROPHET? Have you heeded? Well, if dust and sand were snow and mountain, the Granite State quartet would certainly be speaking truth. As it is, “One Last Look Upon The Sky” will open eyes and ears to what’s to come. In this case, “what’s to come” is a heavy, psychedelic trudge ‘n’ march through the wastelands of the world and a hope to maybe rebuild? Lord Randall sat down with founding vocalist/guitarist Otto Kinzel to discuss…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: New Hampshire, New England in general has always had a thriving regional music community. I hate to use the word "scene" due to the connotation, but there've been Cable, Scissorfight (from New Hampshire, go figure), a host of others. How did a band from the White Mountain State end up with the name Dust Prophet? Also, how did the band come together?

OTTO KINZEL:  It wasn't until COVID lockdown that we found Tyler MacPherson (drums) and finally got some momentum. Jason [Doyle, guitars] did all the mixing & mastering for the album and has been a close friend for a long time. We came to the conclusion that having a second guitar player would be very helpful, especially live so that I can focus on singing & expanding my range and role as a vocalist. 

As for the name of the band, we just thought it was a cool. We wanted to find a name that conjured a specific image related to the genre of Stoner/Doom Metal. We had a few preliminary ideas that eventually evolved into DUST PROPHET.

WC: Due to the relatively small size of the states in New England, do you think that makes it easier to find folks to play with, venues, etc because it's really not that far of a commute, even between states?

OK: Yeah, I think there's definitely something to that. It's easy to play in multiple different states on consecutive days. We played in 7 different states this past year, and the majority of those were in New England. Because most of the states are smaller, it makes it a little easier to find other bands in the same genre. It's a small network in that regard.

WC: With 6 of the 9 tracks on “One Last Look Upon The Sky” being released as digital singles, do you see that as kind of the way forward in these "click-listen for 10 seconds-move on if you don't like it" times? 

OK: It’s just the reality of the times we live in. I'm guilty of it myself. So, we're hoping to use the singles as a platform to get people interested in the band and expose them to what we're all about, and hopefully they like what they hear and buy the album. And if not, that's ok. Maybe they'll download a single or two. It's not a "good" or "bad" thing, it’s just the way things are.

WC: Do you think that maybe the PR/Publicity firm and social media are in a very real way taking the place of the labels, except for tour support? Labels make money from bands, bands make money from fans, fans buy merch and tickets, and if bands can't tour, well then there's the whole circle of life interrupted.

OK: Great question! Short answer: yes, I think the days of "having" to have a label in order to get your music out to the rest of the world are over. We're proof of that. We've had single premier in some very high-profile magazines & have been featured on some larger podcasts and internet radio shows. That was all doable through social media and having a fantastic PR partner in C-Squared. Curtis Dewar and Cori Westbrook make magic happen. But that's only one side of it, and I really overly simplified the scenario. Labels have adapted and the good ones look like they understand the means of supporting bands in 2023 is vastly different from any time period before. We'd LOVE to be on a label; right now, we are 100% completely independent. We did all the tracking in my studio and hired the person to do the post-production/mixing/mastering; we setup distribution; we setup the publishing ourselves; we hired the PR company and worked with them on the campaign; the album is self-released & we handled all the merch and physical product manufacturing. We book our own shows and tours. Having a label to help with some of the legwork would be massively helpful! But it has to make sense for both sides both in a relationship sense and a business sense.

WC: The artwork of the album is striking, and I have to confess, I got a bit of a “Halloween III: Season Of The Witch” vibe, albeit desert instead of small town America. There's a lot going on within the piece, though; two moons, a sun, the 3 figures, but it's the two in the foreground that I keep coming back to. How did the art develop, and who's responsible? What feelings are you trying to conjure when someone sees the image?

OK: Thank you! The artwork was done by the one and only Mirko Masala! They're an artist based in Germany and we LOVE their work. You can see more of what Mirko does at www.behance.net/mirkowgastow

Early on when we were collaborating with Mirko about the artwork, we had a general idea of what we were looking for, both in term so the overall "vibe" and the message we wanted it to convey. We joke that the three figures in the represent the three of us, but that was just a coincidence. And now that Jason is in the band, we're a 4 piece. We were drawn to this image for many for the same reasons you listed. With the tile of the album, “One Last Look Upon the Sky”, and the overall feeling of apocalyptic despair that runs through many of the songs, this piece of art just resonated with us.

WC: What was the recording setup for the album? Were you all in the same room, or mostly digital and file-sharing?

OK: All the tracking was done between my studio, which I custom built in the lower level of my house, and Tyler's studio. He has a drum set that specifically setup in his studio that is fully mic'd, level tested and always "ready to go" so to speak. Its never broken down or taken to gigs, so aside from normal tuning procedures its very much a "plug in and go" situation. So, all the drums were recorded at his place, with me running the board and providing guide tracks on guitar. All the guitars, bass, vocals and other instrumentation was done at my place. I ended up serving as the primary engineer for the entire recording, so I was present at all sessions. After all the basic tracking was done for any particular part, I would do the track editing and get all the tracks ready for mixing, and once a song was completely finished, we would hand it off to Jason. I'd export all the WAV files and use a file transfer site so he could do all of his work in his own studio, which is already engineered and established for the post-production work he does for different artists, video game studios etc.

I prefer to record all my parts, both guitars and vocals, by myself. This is because I usually do lots of multi tracking and it can be a very nuanced thing for me. Once I would be totally finished, I would create rough mix and send it to everyone else, to listen and critique. It was easier for me to be free and comfortable without having to worry about another person being there.

WC: The keys are very tastefully used here, and I do get a bit of a Ray Manzarek vibe in some places. In my opinion, that guy really held THE DOORS together musically. Not that that's what's happening here but having a bassist who's also a keyboardist opens up new avenues, of exploration.

OK: Absolutely. We love layering the music with extra guitars, sometimes extra layers of drums or percussion, and also with all the melodic additions Sarah brings.

WC: Lyrically, could you go a bit into the inspiration for “Put To The Question”…

OK: Sure! On “Put To The Question” - lyrically this song is about the Inquisition and the means of being tortured to extract confessions from the poor souls who were targeted, all in the name of "God". Being "put to the question" was a term used for forcing an individual to answer for whatever false charges they were being accused of. I write a lot about the hypocrisy of religion and The Bible, and this song and the subject matter is an example of that. No one was safe from persecution, not even other holy people of the cloth.

WC: Being born in the Southern US and living around the country, only to find myself back in the South reaching middle age, the reference to Flannery O' Connor in your bio intrigued me. Of course, every region of every country has its own "style", or lens through which it views and interprets the world, but there's something about O' Connor, Faulkner, McCullers. Same as Bradbury, Serling and Ligotti for the Midwest, etc. Who (aside from Lovecraft, of course) would you recommend for quintessential New England gothic/horror/fantasy, or just stories in general?

OK: The Southern Gothic style of literature is so unique and unquestionably its own genre, but it you're looking for a distinct New England author cut from the same cloth then authors like Shirley Jackson & Nathaniel Hawthorne are the "classic" writers. Stephen King touches on this style in some of his work. I would consider both “Carrie” and “Salem's Lot” to be examples of New England Gothic, although I'm sure there's a Literature Professor out there who would think I'm stupid for that assertion. I'm a big fan of Mark Danielewski, as “House Of Leaves” had a huge impact on me when I first read it. He's not from New England but he's a really damn good writer who more people should appreciate and respect. It's actually a passion of mine to compose a score to a reading of “House Of Leaves”. I've tried pitching this to Mr. Danielewski but he hasn't returned my emails.

WC: Plans for 2023?

OK: We plan on playing out a ton to support this album. We already have a dozen shows for the first quarter of 2023 booked, and once we eventually have some downtime we're going to start tracking for the next album, as we already have 7 songs finished and ready to record. So hopefully we will be talking to you in 2024 about the sophomore album's release



Bandcamp: https://dustprophet.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dustprophet