RESTLESS SPIRIT “Power In The Blood”
By: Lord Randall
Begun in 2015 under the moniker WITCHTRIPPER, after a short stint as DMP, this clearly RESTLESS SPIRIT was born from the bowels of Long Island, NY. A few years and two albums later, in typical uncompromising “Noo Yawk” fashion, founding vocalist/guitarist Paul “Father Damn” Hayden guides Lord Randall through the doomed-out trio’s newest, “Blood Of The Old Gods”…
WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: So, back before RESTLESS SPIRIT was RESTLESS SPIRIT it was WITCHTRIPPER, then DMP for a bit. Did the sound morph at all, and would you feel comfortable in saying that what you’re doing in RS now is the culmination of what you began in the other two bands, or should RS be looked at as very much its own beast?
PAUL “Father Damn” HAYDEN: Not really so much for WITCHTRIPPER. What happened with that was it began as a solo project for Marc, and I helped out on some guitar parts. But once we started DMP, we needed some songs to tour on that people could hear beforehand, because our first EP wasn’t out yet, so we just threw them out there and played them as DMP. RESTLESS SPIRIT is very much a continuation of DMP in that regard. WITCHTRIPPER is just an interesting relic, pretty much; maybe one day we will rework those songs to fit in with our modern sound.
WC: As a musician/vocalist, how have your influences changed over time? In my experience, you start with a foundation, trying to add your own flavor or take on what those who came before have done, but at some point your sound begins to (we’d hope) develop into something “yours”. While you’re not at all leaving or denying your roots, you should, at least, be trying to put your own stamp on things, right?
PH: As far as putting my own stamp on things, to be honest, it’s not something I consciously think about. We just get in a room and play. We don’t really think about what we are doing. For us, it’s much more natural to just let it flow. After we are done writing I can analyze parts and rhythms and see where they came from, but in the moment, I’m just focused on the here and now. How pretentious, right? Vibe it out, man…
WC: 2019 brought “Lord Of The New Depression”. What was the “new depression” you were referring to in the lyrics?
PH: It’s me. I’m selfish. I almost only ever write about myself. At the time I was in a horrible spot. I’ve struggled with mental health issues my entire life. I felt like, at the time, this thing was getting overwhelming, and I tried to cope with it through ways that were really only damaging me further. I wanted to create a character, or an embodiment, in the “Lord Of The New Depression” to comprehend what I was going through better and express it that way.
WC: What was your guitar setup for the recording?
PH: The main sound you’re hearing is a Gibson SG with Lace pickups through an Orange Rockerverb and a Peavey XXX. In one ear I used a Way Huge Swollen Pickle (Sounds positively scandalous!--shocked Dr. M) and in the other was an EQD Cloven hoof. There’s only one guitar player so I wanted to thicken everything up by using different tones and layering them to hell and back.
WC: What were the lyrical inspirations behind ‘Crooked Timber Of Humanity’?
PH: Immanuel Kant wrote that “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” I think what he was getting at is that humanity is not perfect and therefore perfectionism is inherently pointless. But the way I interpreted it at first is that humanity is, or could be, pretty twisted at the core, and there are often pretty evil intentions. So in this song it’s about trying to find your own path through the wickedness of the world.
WC: Do you see yourself as a lyricist as more of an observational writer or a storyteller?
PH: Definitely a storyteller. It’s much easier for me to relay my feelings through things that have happened to me. I also read a lot and watch a lot of movies, so things in a storytelling format just make a lot of sense to me. I don’t have much use for observing the outside world in my songs. If it didn’t happen to me, I have a hard time creating something out of it.
WC: Annoying, isn’t it, that in this age of literally thousands of years of human history to draw on, and knowing that everything’s cyclical (as history proves), we still can’t get over the speedbump of just being kind to each other, keeping your business your business, and not trying to force some personal agenda when it comes to everybody else?
PH: When you give every single person in the world a soapbox, things are going to get chaotic. I miss when back in high school, everyone thought it was cool to never read, to just reject everything, and act like they were dumb and didn’t care. Now everytime I open the internet I have to read thesis papers in the form of Instagram posts on the dynamic ethics of microaggressions, whatever that means.
WC: Goes both ways, though. I am a firm believer in both a right, a wrong, and even that there are grey areas, but this country’s so damn divided right now, and it’s along some two-party system that “seemed like a good idea at the time”.
PH: Yeah, and while I was more or less just poking fun about the self-seriousness of everything these days, I do understand that this generation is just fed up. I mean, half of our population feels like the other half wants them dead or their rights taken away. So I do understand it. Compassion is out of style… moral authority is what’s in right now. Maybe in ten years it will be cool to get along with one another again. People are being engineered right now to not want that and to just stay angry with each other.
WC: I’m a fan as well, so gotta ask. In your mind, who today is even approximating what TYPE O NEGATIVE did during their time? When people bring up the lack of originality in hard music, they’re one of my first mentions, because no one has sounded like TON before or since. I mean, you can pick up references in their music, of course, their choice of covers, but, man…
PH: Well, like you said, no one will ever sound like TON, so no one should try. I don’t think there are many bands right now that are completely original and influential in that same regard in the underground scene. You have some much, much bigger bands like MASTODON, GOJIRA, and GHOST, where when you hear it, you’re just like, damn, that’s where everyone is getting their sound from. Like those bands or not, they have a distinct sound.
WC: RS is playing a set of TYPE O covers…what has to make it, keeping in mind you’re playing them as RS, not as a TYPE O tribute band.
PH: This is a very easy question. ‘Blood And Fire’, ‘An Ode To Locksmiths’, and ‘Some Stupid Tomorrow’. Basically anything that I think we could put our own spin on easily. Their bigger songs like ‘Christian Woman’ or ‘Black Number One’ would just sound idiotic if not done by them. The only good TYPE O cover I've heard in my entire life or want to hear is ‘Love You To Death’ by PALLBEARER.