Dark Autumnal Symphonies
CoC interviews Ted and Erika of Autumn Tears
by: Pedro Azevedo
Two years have passed since the release of _The Garden of Crystalline Dreams_ [CoC #23], second act of the "Love Poems for Dying Children" series. During this period, Autumn Tears re-released their debut _Love Poems for Dying Children_ [CoC #37] with renewed production, new artwork and a new song. Now they have decided to fill the gap between _The Garden of Crystalline Dreams_ and their forthcoming third act _Winter and the Broken Angel_ with an MCD: _Absolution_ [CoC #43]. For the second time [the first can be found in CoC #23], I have interviewed Ted and Erika in order to find out more about Autumn Tears -- who now have a third element, singer Jennifer LeeAnna -- and also their own label Dark Symphonies, which promises to become very active in the year 2000.

CoC: What has happened during this time leading to the release of the _Absolution_ MCD? More specifically, what is the story behind Erika's near departure from Autumn Tears and her subsequent return?

Erika: After finishing the recording of _LPfDC Act II_, we were both quite tired of Autumn Tears, especially me. The entire process of creating that album was fraught with tension. Ted and I both are fairly headstrong people and we had a lot of conflicts over what the music should sound like. Because he writes nearly all of it, he felt he should have the last say on what got used and what didn't, but at the time I wasn't having any of that, so we fought quite a bit. The idea of having to go through all that negativity again on the third album was what made me decide to quit. I didn't feel I could be involved in Autumn Tears without having input with regards to both the music and the vocals. It wasn't a near departure -- I was officially out of the band for about a year. 1997 was very busy for Dark Symphonies once _LPfDC Act II_ came out. I got really busy handling all the paperwork, and Ted was stretched very thin between handling the daily business activities. Shortly thereafter they [Ted and new vocalist Jennifer LeeAnna] wrote and recorded "The Intermission", which appeared on the repress of _LPfDC Act I_. Business took a turn for the worse in '98 [for Dark Symphonies], when we encountered some explosive competition. That made it very difficult, because Ted and Jen were working on the music, but there really wasn't enough money to pay for recording as well as release the Blood Fire Death label stuff (Krieg and Centuries of Deception). Those weren't as successful as Ted had planned, either, so we didn't recoup the production costs very quickly. Nevertheless, Ted kept churning out the music. Of course, since I was involved in Dark Symphonies on a daily basis, I couldn't help but hear how advanced and lovely the new material was. It made me feel pretty sad and left out to not be a part of it, but the bad taste left in my mouth from _LPfDC Act II_ still hadn't faded. Late '98, Ted was asked to write a track for a compilation themed around the Tarot deck. The song, "The Absolution of What Once Was", was written for the Death card. Ted kindly asked if I would like to come back as a session member and do the vocals. I said yes, because I did miss writing and recording. Working on that song brought the itch back in my veins again. I rejoined, and things have been moving forward ever since. Ted and I have a better trust and understanding for each other as musicians now. We both did quite a bit of growing up in the time between mid-'96 and late-'98. There's none of that tension from before. Dark Symphonies has also been extremely successful in '99, and the new CD, _LPfDC Act III: Winter and the Broken Angel_, is planned for release in late January.

CoC: Could you give us more details on the novel you are writing? What is it about, when and where it will be available, etc.?

Erika: Ah yes, my infamous novel. I feel badly that everyone got all excited about it and then it fell through like so many other projects one reads about. I had an agent for a while but she sucked and didn't do any work for me. She never even read the book. Plus, while I was waiting for this woman to do something with my story, I had a change of heart. I really began taking a cold, hard look at what popular writers are writing today, and realized that if I wanted a chance at getting published by a big name publisher I'd have to slash my story to about a third of its length, swallow all my ideals, and basically sell out totally. To do that, given my very strong stance on selling out in music, would have been the ultimate hypocrisy. Basically, the book is still a viable idea, and I did start writing a little bit of it over, but it's not going anywhere anytime soon. I also have another book that's about a third complete and is much more likely to see the light of day than the first story. I'm debating whether I should distribute it through Dark Symphonies when it's done. I feel I would reach a far more appropriate audience that way than through traditional publishing. However, that's on hold, too: most of my creativity is being put towards finishing _LPfDC Act III_, and also in my solo project, Chaliss.

CoC: Regarding Autumn Tears' new vocalist Jennifer LeeAnna, what will be her role and your own in the future of Autumn Tears?

Erika: Jen and I share vocal duties about 50/50. She has her songs, I have mine, and we sing together on a couple. Jen also has written a song, but due to the fact that we want to release the CD in January, that song will be something people will find on a compilation CD, should we be asked to participate in one. Ted, of course, is the main man for music! There would be no Autumn Tears without Ted, especially since the vision is solely his. For _LPfDC Act III_, he's singing a lot more than before, and it's working out great. We're all very happy with our roles.

CoC: The _Absolution_ MCD seems to be unrelated to the "Love Poems for Dying Children" series and instead seems like more of a collection of also more or less unrelated material. What were the reasons that made you want to release this MCD and choose each of its three songs?

Erika: _Absolution_ came about because we knew _LPfDC Act III_ was going to take a lot longer than we had anticipated. It was a way of saying to the fans: "Hey, we didn't forget you and appreciate your waiting for _LPfDC Act III_, so here's a little something to tide you over." It's been met with absolutely fantastic enthusiasm, which is quite heartening, since the music is different from the previous releases. "The Never" is the only song that pertains to the story established in the first acts. As I mentioned before, "The Absolution of What Once Was" was meant for a compilation, but there had been significant delays and we decided to put that song on the mini so people would get to hear it. "The Dance" is Ted's experiment. It's one of those love/hate songs. I wasn't involved with the writing of that at all, so the first time I heard it, after it had been completely recorded, I was like, "Ted, what the fuck are you thinking?" But now I think it's a great song. No, it's not traditional Autumn Tears. It's there to show that we can do and are interested in other things. People have responded very well to the mini.

CoC: What were the events that lead to the lyrical contribution on "The Absolution of What Once Was" by Claudia Lingstadt-Kukulka? Will that happen again in the future?

Ted: Claudia has been a close friend of mine since August 1997 and even since that time I had been extremely impressed with her writing style and vision. Originally from Germany, and having English as a second language, she has adapted incredibly with her use of the language and its meaning. Based on my fondness for her deep, emotional work, I asked her to participate on this particular track, which she gratefully agreed to do. She also has written the lyrics to our epic 14 minute track on _LPfDC Act III_ entitled "Winter's Warning", which will beautifully illustrate the native seasons as characters in a way never done before by Autumn Tears. I find it both refreshing and powerful. She will also participate in my own project, entitled Pandora, which I will be involved with next year and which will include Peter and Ida from Arcana.

CoC: The other two songs on _Absolution_ feature some percussion and rhythmic sections, especially "The Dance", which is rather different from what Autumn Tears has produced so far -- an experiment. Do you intend to use such rhythmic elements often in the future? What made you want to experiment in that area?

Ted: No, that was one of the points I was trying to illustrate with the MCD: it was only -experimentation- and did -not- reflect the progression of Autumn Tears. I did it so I could try something different and satisfy the urge in such a way, rather than completely change the direction and sound of the band as so many others have done in the past. I may choose to experiment from time to time, but the focus and direction of the band will always remain.

CoC: What else can you unveil concerning the upcoming third chapter of the "Love Poems for Dying Children" series?

Ted: I can assure everyone that it will be the finest, most elaborate and darkest work we have ever done, and will most definitely be a progression, yet will not stray too far from what we have accomplished thus far.

CoC: What do you expect the future of Autumn Tears to be like after that third full-length album is released?

Ted: Perhaps another MCD with some experimental songs to get it out of my system, and then we will return with a fourth album so grand that I cannot even conceive it at this time!

CoC: And what have been the developments regarding your label, Dark Symphonies?

Ted: We have recently opened our doors to signing bands of integrity and excellence. Our upcoming roster includes Maudlin of the Well, Rain Fell Within, Corvus Corax and Long Winters' Stare, which will be released between now and May 2000! Stay tuned until then.

CoC: Final words?

Ted: My deepest apologies for the lateness of this interview and my sincerest gratitude for this opportunity, Pedro. Thank you again.

Contact: mailto:darksympho@aol.com http://www.borg.com/~lordxul/tears.htm

(article submitted 15/1/2000)


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