Interview with DESOLATE PATHWAY
The Band: Desolate Pathway
Answers by: Mags (drums), Vince Hempstead (guitars, vocals)
DESOLATE PATHWAY is on of those bands with classic and epic sound that captivates the true metal guy from the very beginning, impossible to resist their call. They are a good team playing with soul and dedication, so the natural and fresh touch of theirs sound arise in every track of the new album “Of Gods and Heroes”. Just one more info: Vince Hempstead has played with Pagan Altar, you still need more to listen to them? We are still shocked with “Of Gods and Heroes” and we are already begging for a third effort.
Hello! What’s the origin of Desolate Pathway? How was it born?
VINCE: the name Desolate Pathway was originally going to be the album title of solo project Origin Konrad.
I decided to form a band as the tracks were too good to keep as a solo project and then change the name to Desolate Pathway as the name fitted the tracks and style very well.
It seems there have been some changes in the line-up because in your first album, Valley of the King, there were two more guys onboard. What happened?
VINCE: Simon and Jim had other commitments beyond the band and they found it very hard to give what we expected to make the band work. We have been struggling to find the suitable members but we also want it to be the right member. We are holding auditions soon, so we hope this is positive for us.
I think Vince Hempstead has collaborated with other bands as cult act Pagan Altar, how was it?
VINCE: I applied for the guitarist position from an online advert, had the audition, nailed the tracks and the job was mine. It was a shock as I was playing in a local bar in my old band when I heard the news and then went on to travelling overseas to play festivals. Very surreal at first but an amazing experience meeting metal supporters.
Sure, an awesome experience. Mags is a great drummer and it’s not usual to see a woman behind the kit, how did you enter the band Mags?
MAGS: Thank you. I saw an online advert for a drummer for Origin Konrad back in late February 2014 and applied. Vince told me that they were looking for someone to play live by around August after the first album had been recorded as they had already got someone to record for the album and auditions wouldn’t be until June/July. As it happened, auditions came earlier than that, in May and meanwhile the band name had changed from Origin Konrad to Desolate Pathway. I was sent 3 raw demo guitar tracks to write drums for my audition. I nailed the audition and, after rehearsing for a month or so, Vince asked me if I would record my drums for Valley of the King and we recorded in September.
Smooth and easy. What difference are we going to find between your first album and “Of Gods and Heroes”?
VINCE: The biggest difference is the progression of the tracks being more mature, not as raw as Valley but keeping context of Epic Doom. Also all bass on the new album are guest slots so each track has a different influence running through the bottom line. Also myself as a vocalist will be the most noticeable to fans from the first album. I have tried to focus on more expression of the tracks rather than just singing more Epic too.
Yes, we will talk about you as vocalist a bit later. How long have you worked in your new album “Of Gods and Heroes” and how was the composition process?
VINCE: Overall around 21 months. The process for this was myself and Mags both compiled lots of riffs and lyrics together, then I would create a basic guitar tracking and then we would build on this by rehearing them as much as possible until we came up with the right sound and arrangements to finish the album.
MAGS: I make crappy demo’s of my songs and ideas and Vince always complains that they are horribly fuzzy haha!
Yes, so this takes us to the next question. Is this a new experience for Vince Hempstead, I mean doing almost everything by yourself in terms of composition?
VINCE: I need to put everyone right on this because a lot of people think I have done everything but although it started like this with the solo project, Mags and myself have been the true core members since day one of Desolate Pathway and we both give equal input on every band decision and creation.
This is how we have stayed together and everyone else goes because they don’t have the musical passion like Mags does.
MAGS: I don’t understand why this is assumed. Vince and I work as a team and Of Gods and Heroes is a composition/collaboration between myself and Vince.
And you have done a great work together. Because from the very first listening we were surprised by the classic sound and the elegance in every song of your new album, what bands have influenced your sound?
VINCE: Black Sabbath and Candlemass are my 2 favourite doom bands so we try and mix the classic and epic elements of both bands into our music. I also like Manowar and Iron Maiden guitar tones and solos along with the story telling on most tracks.
MAGS: I am a massive My Dying Bride fan along with Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and, of course, Black Sabbath.
We were also surprised by Vince’s vocals, it’s not easy to find a so talented guitarist with that powerful voice, even in the first album you were not in the vocal duties, how this change happened? How did you become a vocalist?
VINCE: I was originally going to be the singer so I auditioned for my own band haha. Mags said no. I must admit it was crap. But I am always thinking ahead so I would practice singing the tracks while I would learn and write the guitar parts.
When Simon left we auditioned but no one was suitable so I decided to give it another go. We gigged with me singing and everyone was very positive so from then on I will remain singing with my only aim is to improve again on the next release.
MAGS: Vince offered up his vocals right at the beginning but they really were not good enough. Next time around his vocals had vastly improved and were more in line with the sound we wanted. Many people have since said that he should have done the vocals from the outset.
If he still has more things to improve as vocalist that would be incredible. Anyone that listens to “Of Gods and Heroes” will agree that Vince is a great guitarist, you do a great work with the riffs, the melodies and solos, creating awesome atmospheres
VINCE: Thank you. I just write what feels right at the time. I’m more productive if I don’t think about writing and just pick up a guitar and jam. Luckily I have a mini studio at home so I can easily record anything I do.
With solos Mags would agree I am a nightmare. I could record a solo over 20 times until I’m happy with it.
I don’t like to work in the basic 4/4 verse/chorus. I like to surprise the listener.
MAGS: Yes Vince is an awesome guitarist and composer and works very hard to get the end result he wants. As a drummer who composes, it can be difficult for a guitarist to put across the feel of the piece I have written but he plays my compositions and riffs way better than I ever could and keeps the original feel I created which is fantastic.
A strong point in the album is that you are able to fuse epic heavy metal with darker sounds, near to the doom or the Sabbath universe, the consequence are vibrating songs that touch your feelings
VINCE: A lot of feelings and emotions are present in each track, especially during the writing process with many things reflecting our moods. All this helps in the creative process.
MAGS: Every track is written from emotional depth and raw passion so this is bound to reflect in the finished works.
It really does. Enchanted Voices or The Winged Divinity are songs with much elaboration, but we also get some straight forward tracks as the heavy Gods of the Deep with a display of solos really amazing. What kind of songs you enjoy more playing?
VINCE: I like playing all of them although the crowd favourites seem to be Medusas Lair and Trojan War. If I was to pick a favourite it would probably be Enchanted Voices as it represents everything we are about musically.
We have never played The Winged Divinity live but once we find the right bassist then I would love to do that track.
MAGS: I really enjoy playing Gods of the Deep, although we haven’t played it live for a while and I do hope to play The Winged Divinity live soon, it really is a great track. I often can’t hear everything whilst playing live but I like listening to Vince’s amazing solos when I can hear them.
Into the Realms of Poseidon show your development in the slow pace, so we almost have every kind of composition
VINCE: It’s the centre of the album where we bring the listener down to a slow easy pace while creating more atmosphere and story before we once again hit the listener hard back into the Realms of Poseidon.
I would say that the presence and influence of the NWOBHM sound is clear in your music, among some dark approach, right?
VINCE: I have liked NWOBHM for 30 years so you could say there is a massive influence that comes naturally without trying to replicate where a lot of bands nowadays make that mistake.
MAGS: Nothing is ever planned or specifically written into any particular genre so basically what comes out is from our subconscious.
And a great subconscious you have, that is a treasure. Time to talk about gigs, are you playing live in the next following months? Any dates out of the UK?
VINCE: We have just played a great gig in Malta and we have one booked in London for January. We have a couple of possible gigs that we are waiting on confirmation outside the UK although we cannot say until they are confirmed.
Hope some day you will land in Spain. Do you have a line up for the shows and will you sing and play guitar along?
VINCE: Yes I will be playing guitar and singing live too. So far we have had help from some really great temp bassists, Addam Westlake from My Silent Wake and Jonathan Seale from Iron Void.
After the auditions for bass we have decided to stay as a strong 3 piece.
Good. How can we get your album “Of Gods and Heroes”
VINCE: Just visit our website www.desolatepathway.com or digital download is available from most online digital distributors.
And finally, Vince and Mags, what are your plans for the future?
VINCE: We hope to get invited to some more really cool gigs, gather a larger fan base and meets lots of great people in the process.
MAGS: World domination.
I am sure we will hear much more and often about you. Thank you very much for your kindness attending us, if you wish to add something…
VINCE: Thanks for asking us your questions and if there is anyone interested in booking us or to ask any question to the band directly they can firstname.lastname@example.org