The Endless Winter Inside
CoC interviews Clint Listing of Long Winters' Stare
by: Pedro Azevedo
While the American doom scene may not be exactly crowded nowadays, once in a while an interesting debut happens -- that's precisely the case with Long Winters' Stare, who have just released their _Cold Tale Eternal_ EP on Pantheon Records. Currently looking for a path that will lead the band to a better future, vocalist Clint Listing answered my questions. Without any further delay, here is what he had to say.

CoC: Please tell us about the early days of your band.

Clint Listing: This lineup has no real early days -- we've been together for only 8 or 9 months. The lineup consisted of Greg (synth/midi, guitar, contrabass), myself (vocals and guitar) and Jason (drums), who has left the band after the recording of the MCD [_Cold Tale Eternal_].

CoC: You seem to have taken a turn towards more gothic influences since your early days as Manthing. Why did this happen?

CL: As Manthing we were more into the sludge/doom thing, you know, Crowbar, Eyehategod, Grief, etc., but we started to really get into My Dying Bride, Anathema, Mindrot and that style of things because of a friend of mine that works at a local record store who played this stuff because she thought we'd like it. At this point we asked Greg to join during a session he was recording for us and he said yes! The rest is doom history... <laughs>

CoC: Your band's new name, Long Winters' Stare, is quite interesting. What personal meaning does it have for you?

CL: We wanted something dark, depressing and full of reflection, because our songs were starting to become very much about the emotions of the blacker side of life. The true meaning of the name is 15th century English -- it means "Endless Winter".

CoC: What bands would you mention as your main musical influences?

CL: Currently, the music that fills our creative vibe would be Emperor, Theatre of Tragedy, In the Woods and Dimmu Borgir. But the bands that made us what we are would be 80s power and thrash metal like Judas Priest, Metallica, Mercyful Fate and prog rock like Queensryche, Yes, Rush, etc.

CoC: And what inspires you in every day life to work in a doom band?

CL: The pure sadness of living in a country like America, where metal music has been totally forgotten. The understanding that the world has become so politically correct that no one fights for what they believe in anyway. It fills my very soul with hate!

CoC: What do you think of the doom scene over there in the USA? And what about the thriving European doom scene?

CL: In the American doom scene, there is Solitude Aeturnus, Morgion, Novembers Doom and ourselves. The European doom scene has been ungodly for 30 years. We're working on moving over to Europe this summer for good, so hopefully, if all works well, we'll be part of that scene. Europe is the place to be for any real metal band.

CoC: What is your opinion about the recent melodic doom bands showing up in Europe, many of which mainly using female vocals?

CL: I like some of it -- In the Woods, Theatre of Tragedy and a new band called Apostasy from Norway do it very well. You need to mix the darkness with the melody, or else what's the point? However, I think some bands just do it to sell CDs and you can hear it.

CoC: One of the distinctive characteristics in your sound is the frequent use of a contrabass. How, and why, did you choose this instrument?

CL: Well, Greg is the master of the contrabass. It's basically an upright bass played with a bow, like a cello. We love epic symphonic stuff and strings are a must for that, so we knew we needed a deep and piercing sound. Greg knew how to play the contrabass and the rest is here for the world to hear.

CoC: Your band doesn't have a bass player, yet your sound definitely has plenty of bass -- enough for the lack of a bass player to go unnoticed. How did you do that?

CL: Well, I play drop tuned to C and I use guitar and bass amps together specially eq'd. So there is bass, just not by a bass player (which I was for seven years). We're just not in need of a bassist. I think this gives us a unique edge.

CoC: I heard you might be signing a deal with Misanthropy Records. What's the current situation?

CL: I'm sorry to say that we won't be working with Misanthropy. We have moved into a more symphonic black/doom style Misanthropy are not fond of, but we will have a split CD with Ningizzia (from France/Sweden) due out on Pantheon Records in November 1998.

CoC: So how likely is it that you will to travel to Europe in the future for some live shows?

CL: The Misanthropy deal is out, but we have several other offers in Europe so it looks good. Maybe we will be touring there sometime in 1999.

CoC: Which bands would you like to play with over here?

CL: That's easy: In the Woods, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Opeth or In Flames. We're very much into the more progressive side of the doom and black metal world. These are the bands we dream to tour with.

CoC: How have thing been going concertwise in the USA?

CL: Turn outs for metal shows in the USA are poor. Ancient just played here in New York City to 50 people. Most think Korn, Marilyn Manson or Deftones are metal here. Only Pantera and Machine Head style bands do well here and it's a damn shame.

CoC: In your opinion, what is the most important feature in a Long Winters' Stare concert?

CL: The music. It's all about the music, nothing more!

CoC: What changes can we expect in your music in the split CD you mentioned, relative to your EP?

CL: Longer, grander much darker and epic music. We're mixing black, doom and progressive metal together and finally making our own sound. The EP _Cold Tale Eternal_ [reviewed in this issue] on Pantheon Records is a great beginning. We're very proud of it, but it's just that -- a beginning.

CoC: What are your hopes for the future of Long Winters' Stare?

CL: To make the best and most true music we know how to and never let trends or people tell us to do otherwise.

CoC: Feel free to write a final message here...

CL: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and check out _Cold Tale Eternal_ on Pantheon Records. Thanks to Anish [Pantheon Records] for believing in us.

(article submitted 8/7/1998)


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