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Creation's Tears - Interview

Interview with: Brian Eddie Reynolds

Conducted by: T.V.

Creation's Tears album Methods To End It All was released two years ago and gained a lot of positive reactions from critics all around the world. This album represents to their main man Brian much more than just a collection of songs, it's a personal statement of everything that he went through in his life. He was capable to gather some really impressive guest to perform on that record, including Lee Morris (ex. Paradise Lost) and Sarah Jezebel Deva (Angtoria, Cradle Of Filth, Therion,...). We talked with Brian about a lot of things concerning their album, world problems and his future plans.

T.R.: Creation's Tears were formed back in 2002, but you were debuting in 2010. What took you so long to release this album? Brian: It largely boils down to the same thing that is the ruin of most bands; line-up issues. Creation’s Tears formed in 2002 and very soon after that we played our first gig in Belfast supporting Vader.  The scene here in Northern Ireland is quite small, but, I feel we’d managed to get a strong line-up of musicians together at that time.  After only a handful of gigs and no recorded output, Creation’s Tears split in 2004/2005 as a couple of the band members relocated to far off places. My music is a personal outlet and I tend only to write after some painful event – how fucked up am I? So, after a four year break from writing music, in 2009, I contacted my former bandmate and bassist Ian Coulter and we began jamming again.  We advertised for a guitarist and a drummer but we weren’t successful in finding the right guys here in Northern Ireland. I’d been dreaming of doing a quality album with a “proper” producer for many years and the time just felt right to accomplish that.  I took the bold move of booking the studio time with Jens Bogren and David Castillo (Opeth, Katatonia, Devin Townsend Project, Soilwork, etc) before having a band line-up in place.  It was important to me that Creation’s Tears would deliver the best possible product so I set about the task of finding a fitting drummer.
T.R.: The production on this album is not the usual kind of gothic metal production, but more rocker one. Who had the main idea of creating such a sound, you or the producer?
Brian: This was my first time working with some notable producers.  In the past with my former band, we’ve always recorded in a local studio with an engineer who doesn’t specialize in metal music as there’s very limited choice in this country and we had a small budget. I’ve always set up my own sounds for the previous recordings with my old band. This time though, we travelled to Sweden to record in Fascination Street where many of my favourite metal albums have been recorded and we worked with a much bigger budget for this album. In terms of sounds, I went to Sweden with a very open mind.  I didn’t take a guitar, amp or effects pedal with me. I wanted to build a sound from scratch in the studio. Given their track record, I’d have been foolish not to allow the producers to make some production calls and David Castillo played the biggest part in setting the guitar sound.  I personally might have chosen a heavier guitar sound (as was the case with my home recorded demos for the Methods album) but using a more rock sound allowed David and Jens to bring a lot of clarity out in the mix. Production is subjective, but personally I’m happy with how it turned out. I’ve never really thought of Creation’s Tears as a Gothic Metal band – we’re not female fronted and we don’t use keyboards. That’s a label that some reviewers have attached to the band and I often think that’s based on the fact the Methods producers have produced some Goth albums and that the album personnel includes Lee Morris (ex Paradise Lost) and Sarah Jezebel Deva. Other reviewers refer to Creation’s Tears as progressive. I think it’s a hard album to label but being independently financed gives us the freedom to flirt with more than one genre.
T.R.: If you don't consider your music as gothic metal, but neither is in my opinion usual progressive metal, then, what kind of definition do you think would be appropriate as there are also some classic goth rock elements?
Brian: There are elements from several genres on Methods To End It All. You have some Death Metal growls in “Untimely Reminder,” you have Doom moments in “The Last Tear Is Cried For Romance,” you have an acoustic ballad – what genre is that, you have Goth, you have some Progressive moments and other influences too. I don’t set out to write a song that fits any one genre. If I write something and I feel it should be on the album, be it Thrash, Death, Goth or whatever, then I’ll put it on there – simple.  I think that makes Creation’s Tears difficult to categorize, though that’s not my intention, but I don’t think we tick all the boxes of one specific genre.
T.R.: Have you been involved in any other musical creations before forming Creation's Tears?
Brian: Yes, my first band, with whom I played for a few years was called Apathy (from Northern Ireland as there are a few bands with the same name).  Initially I was the lead guitarist there and later after a line-up change, I took on lead vocal and guitar duties.  We recorded a few things back then, but I think I’m most proud of our Inertia album from 1995.  A couple of members left in 1997 and that spelt the end of Apathy.
T.R.: You had quite impressive guests on Methods To End It All album. How did you get in contact with Lee Morris and Sarah Jezebel Deva?
Brian: Well, I’m a big fan of the Draconian Times album and the dynamic that Lee Morris brought to Paradise Lost’s sound on that particular album especially in songs like “Enchantment” and “Shadowkings”.  When I dug through my CD collection looking for great drummers, this guy always stood out for me. He was quite hard to find; he’d been off the scene for a while.  I finally managed to get hold of his phone number and gave him a call.  From our initial conversation, he was polite but I thought he’d given me a kind of “luke warm” response so I didn’t think he’d get involved.  I call it a “polite fuck off” but it’s important to remember that I was just some random guy calling him up so I think he feared I may be a deranged stalker (he was half right). He asked me to send across some demos which I did and he was really into them; he has a really wide musical taste and that’s something that I think is lacking in some musicians. We hooked up, jammed, recorded and the result is Methods To End It All.  Lee is a really cool guy; very easy-going and super focused on any project he gets involved with. There’s some video footage of the rehearsal and recording sessions.

The story is much the same for Sarah Jezebel Deva. I really liked her vocals on the Angtoria album God Has A Plan For Us All and since hearing that I thought she’d be perfect for the track “Creation’s Tears”. This was a song I’d written in the early 90s for my former band Apathy. I sent Sarah the original Apathy version of the track and she loved it. She compared it to early Anathema and from that point, she was involved.  There’s some video footage of the recording session with Sarah:

T.R.: You must have been talking with Lee why did he left Paradise Lost after Symbol Of Life album?
Brian: I haven’t really spoken to Lee much about his departure from Paradise Lost but I have spoken to him about some of the great experiences he had with them and he’s told me stories about the buzz he got from one of his first gigs with Paradise Lost at Dynamo and how cool it was to chat with Ozzy Osbourne and so on when Paradise Lost toured with him. Icon and Draconian Times are still up there among some of my favourite albums.    
T.R.: Is there any possibility that Lee Morris becomes a permanent member or do you have already a steady line-up for Creation's Tears now?
Brian: Interesting question. In the past I have been frustrated with the continual cycle of jamming with guys who end up leaving due to other commitments and so on, so when I reformed Creation’s Tears in 2009 it was intended as a studio band with a whole new vision; to write and record a 3 track demo with great musicians and a top producer. Once I booked Jens Bogren to do the demo, the idea grew into a full length album and then Lee Morris and Sarah Jezebel Deva got involved.  To that end, with Methods To End It All, I’ve achieved everything that I set out to do; I really didn’t have a grand masterplan for Creation’s Tears thereafter. I did put a local line-up together for two gigs and that was fun. Conor Mullan played drums for the shows and he’s a very sound chap and a great drummer. I’m not sure what comes next for Creation’s Tears as a unit, but, to answer your question… Lee Morris was the most fitting drummer for the Methods album.  He has always been a gentleman in my experience and he is very affable and very humble.  He has become a good friend and he’s an amazingly talented drummer who I feel is hugely under-rated.  We’ve already agreed that he’ll be there for album number two if we choose to write one. Similarly, I couldn’t imagine recording without my lifelong friend and bassist, Ian Coulter who I call my “quality control” guy.  He’s my sounding board and I really like his playing style. Again, Creation’s Tears is independent.  I write songs that are real to me and convey real emotion so I don’t know if album number two would sound anything like Methods To End It All… it all depends on my mood at the time. That raises the question as to whether Creation’s Tears actually needs a stable line-up.  Like for example, if Sarah Jezebel Deva was a full time member, rather than a welcome guest, I’d always have to write songs that suit the female voice.  I like the idea of having complete musical freedom…not sure that I’ll call Lou Reed just yet but it’s nice to be in a position where there are endless options.
T.R.: Just for my curiosity, what are the chances that we'll actually see in the future no.2 album from Creation's Tears? Or, perhaps are you going to ease the impatience of fans with any single release?
Brian: At this moment, we have no plans for second album; I did what I set out to do with Methods.  If a new challenge, goal or opportunity arises, it could happen.  That’s what Methods was all about – realizing a dream – my dream.  There are maybe a few other musical ambitions I’d like to realize, but for now, I’m pleased with Methods and don’t feel the urge to follow up just as yet. I have a few song ideas, a few “oohs and aahs” on my iPhone but I haven’t written any full songs as yet. We talk about the possibility of album number two every now and then, but that’s as far as it’s gotten. There’s no pressure to get something recorded – no record company deadline. To take time over recording, record abroad and record with a good producer (the way in which we did with Methods To End It All) costs a shitload of money and more people choose to download albums than to purchase so that’s something we have to be conscious of.  I suppose the songs are like my personal vehicle, an outlet for a lot of emotions, so I’m not sure how we’d release second album…you know…is there a need for a CD, is it something exclusive to our closest fans, is it digital, etc, etc? I’ve done what I set out to do with Methods so I’m not sure yet as to what new challenge or goal to strive for with album no.2, but when the time is right, it will happen.
T.R: Which are the songs that you prefer to play live?
Brian: I enjoy playing “I Fail”.  “Parody Paradigm” is cool too.
T.R.: If you'll be planing a tour..., is there a special band that you'll be glad to play and tour with?
Brian: I’m still waiting for Hetfield and Ulrich to call me. It would be great to play alongside some of our musical idols – I’ll join the long queue.
T.R.: Have you ever thought about making any video?
Brian: We did think about it, but I’m not convinced that the expense is justified for Creations Tears.  You make a CD and people download illegally without paying.  Should you just do a digital release rather than have the outlay for stock – it’s a tough call? I think something like a lyric video has as much power to attract just as many views on Youtube as a professionally shot video.  Realistically, I can’t imagine that there would be an abundance of TV music stations willing to put a Creation’s Tears video on rotation, so Youtube is where it all happens for us and lyric videos are great for that purpose plus it gives people the chance to connect with the lyrics too.  I don’t think there’ll be a professionally shot video for any of the tracks from Methods but it’s an option I’ll not rule out for the future.
T.R.: You are active in the music business since early 90's. How would you describe the difference between that time and todays musical scene?
Brian: I wouldn’t say I was active in the “business” back then as such. Apathy made a couple of demos which sold well but our only encounter with the business was with record stores.  Back then, there were record stores – today there’s none.  I’d see that as the biggest shift; people used to buy music, value it and appreciate it more where today there’s such an abundance available freely online that music has been devalued by many (not all) in society.  It’s a sad reality. 
T.R.: It's there any deeper meaning in the band’s name, Creation’s Tears?
Brian: Surprisingly, I think you’re the first interviewer to actually ask about the meaning of the band name.  More often I’m asked why I chose the name of one of my old songs from my Apathy days. I had thought about using the name Apathy again in 2002, but I found via the internet that there were a few bands with the same name. Beyond that, Creation's Tear’s’ music was slightly different from what I’d been doing with Apathy. I remember a dark night many years ago (early 1990s) with the former Apathy guitarist Phil Coulter.  We were in a very secluded area, a car park beside a big river here.  Let’s say we had consumed something that makes you see the world through different eyes so we spent the whole night talking. It was dark and the rain was beating down.  We were sharing stories of painful memories (sounds like a fun night out – eh?) and I remember coining the name, “Creation’s Tears”.  That event then inspired the song which years later became the band name.  
T.R.: And the same question about album title. Does it concern a personal or global view?
Brian: Well, musically the album Methods To End It All album was a very personal statement for me, a kind of “fuck you” to all the people who told me I would fail. Many people have immediately jumped to the conclusion that the title “Methods To End It All” is a reference to suicide but – I’ve never said that.  In a sense it is a global, open-ended statement - it can mean whatever you want to apply it to; suicide, methods to end your pain, methods to end war, methods to end the global financial crisis…   
T.R.: As you mentioned… A lot of shit is going on in the world right now with political, financial crisis, wars and manslaughters in the middle east, etc. What's your opinion about all this?
Brian: The world is in a terrible fucking mess. I think that many people in the world have lost their sense of respect.  In these financial times, people should be uniting and helping each other, not trying to destroy one another. Even in metal music – it used to be like a brotherhood / sisterhood where there was like a code of conduct where every “metalhead” would look out for each other.  Maybe I have just romanticised my memories, but that’s how I like to recall it?  Nowadays, you just have to read the comments on Blabbermouth to see that people are more interested in bitching about things rather than uniting to make metal stronger.  That’s not Blabbermouth’s fault – it’s just a reflection of how some people choose to act.  It’s a sad situation – we should be helping each other out.
T.R.: It's almost two years since you released Methods..., still how are you satisfied with it now?
Brian: I’m very proud of every aspect of the album.  Obviously you learn along the way so there’s some things I’d do differently next time, but Methods To End It All is how it was meant to be. The songs are all personal to me; each one is about a real event from my life.  I don’t write fictitious lyrics so some of those songs cut deep for me on a personal level.  Odyssey has the power to bring a tear to my eye. Methods To End It All is a sincere statement.  The album was also intended as a “fuck you” to the people who doubted that we could do it. We pulled this album together without the support of a record label and that gave me a lot of freedom and control to put out a product with integrity. David Castillo (the man behind the latest Katatonia albums) was meticulous as an engineer.  He consistently demanded my best. Mark Mynett (the drum engineer we used) has a great ear for drum recording and Lee’s been back to Mark to do a couple of sessions since recording Methods. Jens Bogren (Opeth, Amon Amarth, Devin Townsend, etc) did a great job on post-production, mixing and mastering too.  Abigael Dani provided the front cover image. He hadn’t intended that photograph to be an album cover but I remember just being completely blown away when I saw the image in his portfolio. The imagery can just take on so many different meanings and that compliments the way the lyrics are written too. Several reviewers have commented on the quality of the artwork and that’s purely down to Abigael Dani. Jonny Crozet digitally enhanced Abigael’s cover photo and really brought the best out in the colours. Crozet has a great eye for these things. A record label could have been a great asset for promoting and distributing the album though I think one of the great things about not using a record label is the artistic freedom we had. There’s no record executive saying “play this / do that”. For me, sadly many of today’s albums become very “samey” and a lot of bands have to repeat a similar formula in each song to establish their brand identity. For Creation’s Tears, we were able to go from acoustic ballads like "Odyssey" to Death Metal growls in "Untimely Reminder". There’s straight down the line rock in "Another Collision" and depressing dirges in "The Last Tear Is Cried For Romance".  "I Fail" seems to have emerged as a favourite for many people though I’d have to say my favourite track changes every day depending on my mood. Two years down the line, I remain proud of what we have achieved with Methods To End It All but equally important to me are the kind messages I receive from people who have been touched by one of the songs, connect with a lyric, have been inspired to play or write or have been given the confidence to “go it alone” without a record label.
T.R.: And what about the label Cure For Poison? How much help have you got and how are you satisfied with them?
Brian: Creation’s Tears aren’t really on a label – we’re independent.  Cure for Poison is a “label” I had to set up so we could get proper distribution and certain rights for Methods To End It All. If the right label came knocking our door, we’d have to consider our position as it would be great to have the power of a good label’s marketing, but at the same time, I like to be in complete control of the music.
T.R.: Anything that you would like to add at the end?
Brian: Many thanks for taking the time to interview me and for your support for Creation’s Tears.  I wish you every success with the website.

( p.s: you can download a free three track sampler here: )

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