Interview with PROFESSOR EMERITUS
The Band: Professor Emeritus
Answers by: Lee Smith (guitar), Pat Gloeckle (drums)
When I first listened to the debut album, «Take Me To The Gallows», from this US act I told myself I had to know more about the guys, because there was just too little information about PROFESSOR EMERITUS. This document is the response to that commitment, you will discover a band full of passion, ideas and still many things to offer, apart of some surprise in the text.
Hello guys, you are presenting your debut album on November 13th under the name of «Take Me To The Gallows», what are your expectations about it?
Pat: Hello! Well, we hope that people like the album, of course. We spent a lot of energy, time, and emotion to get the album written and recorded. We are very excited that is finally now about to be released by a great underground heavy metal label No Remorse Records!
«Take Me To The Gallows» is a great album, but first we would like to know a little about more Professor Emeritus, your background, etc…
Lee: Professor Emeritus began as Tyler Herring and myself (Lee Smith). This was probably around 2010. Most of the music was written between 2010 and 2012. Pat Gloeckle (drums) joined on in 2013 and then MP Papai on vocals in 2015. In terms of the writing, I wrote the majority of the music, and MP, Pat, and Tyler wrote the majority of the lyrics. I played both guitar and bass on the album. More recently, Tyler Herring has stepped back from an active role due to other commitments. The band now includes Tyler Antram (guitar) and Jose Salazar (bass) in addition to MP, Pat, and me. Tyler Herring will continue to be involved, primarily contributing lyrics.
How or why did you choose Professor Emeritus, a cool name, for the band?
Lee: I became intrigued with it as a band name when I walked by the Emeritus Professors’ office every day in college. And surprisingly I wasn’t able to find any existing bands using the name.
Professor Emeritus features members of bands like Satan’s Hallow, Moros Nyx and Tiger Fight, how has it marked or influenced your style in this new project?
Lee: The biggest thing is that we have played in bands together for so long. All of us have played in bands together in the past. Professor Emeritus is probably the fifth band Pat and I have played in together. That chemistry and experience was already in place when the full Professor Emeritus lineup started to come together. Sound wise, I think there are elements of the bands you mentioned. The interesting thing is that most of the Professor Emeritus music was written before any of those bands had formed!
Cool! There is not much information about Professor Emeritus, I know you are a new band but still with your long experience… you try to keep it underground or it’s just the warming up?
Lee: I really wanted to make progress in the production and release of the album before becoming much of an online presence. We all know of bands that burst on to the social media scene months or years before any music is released. The music is the most important thing to me, so I wanted people to have a song to hear the first time they saw the band name.
Well, we got not only a song but a whole great album, «Take Me To The Gallows» was recorded and mixed from September 2014 to December 2016, a long effort it seems… what do you think?
Lee: The initial recordings were done with the intention of using another singer. That didn’t work out, so we kind of sat on the recordings until I asked MP to join. We then re-entered the studio in May 2016 to record vocals. Mixing was an iterative process that took several months.
What has been the most difficult part of composing the songs for your debut album?
Lee: As I mentioned, most of the music was written several years ago. I tend to write a lot of music, most of which nobody ever hears but me. So it was a challenge trying to sort through dozens of song ideas that could potentially have worked for Professor Emeritus. Then shortly before entering the studio in 2014, I came up with “Chaos Bearer”, to give the album a more straightforward song.
Did you have a hard time defining the style you wanted for PE of it was all clear from the very first chord?
Lee: I had a very clear vision of how I wanted the band to sound. I believe “Burning Grave” and “Rats in the Walls” were the first songs written for the album, and I think they really set the tone early on.
The artwork was done by Adam Burke (Pagan Altar, Portrait), a great reference already even before opening the booklet…
Lee: Adam is an amazing artist. I just love his style. I look forward to every time he posts a new piece he’s been working on. We have worked with him in the past, as he did the fantastic cover of the Moros Nyx album.
Being your first recording as PE, «Take Me To The Gallows» is an excellent debut that places you in a good position in the current doom & heavy metal scene…
Lee: Thank you for the kind words. I don’t have any expectations in regards to popularity or anything like that. There are so many great newer bands I love, like Eternal Champion, Terminus, and Gatekeeper, among others, and that is exciting and energizing.
Pat: But at the core, the music is art that we create for us. If it catches on and people like it, well that is a bonus!
Sure, in your album we find a classic fistful of songs with a very big vocalist and a variety of sounds from doom to heavy metal
Lee: I really enjoy that kind of variety of style. A lot of my favorite bands haven’t stuck to one style throughout their careers or even within individual albums. Manilla Road and Thin Lizzy come to mind as examples of this. Both of those bands cover a wide range, while also keeping their own identities.
Lee, you are my hero! «Take Me To The Gallows» will leave the listener with the sensation that you are playing anthem after anthem, it seems the 2 years of mixing and recording are paying off…
Pat: I am definitely proud of the album and the work that went in to it. I am interested to hear what more people think of the songs after the album is released next month.
You have been able to record songs with a slow pace as Burning Grave or the one that gives name to the album, as well as tracks like Chaos Bearer that delivers the 80s vibes of bands such as Judas Priest or Cirith Ungol, amazing!
Pat: I think it is important for an album to take the listener on a journey. Since there was a lot of material written, the songs that were chosen to be recorded for the album were on purpose to give balance between the fast, slow, doom, high energy, etc. Hopefully the listener feels the music and changes emotions along with the songs.
Are you planning to present this songs live or it’s more a studio effort? Say live, please, please
Lee: Initially it was going to be more of a studio project. But over the last few months the timing felt right to turn Professor Emeritus into a real band. We actually played our first show in early October, opening for Manilla Road.
Holy shiiiit!!! What are your plans for the future?
Lee: We are hoping to schedule some shows over the next year or so. I’ve also got several song ideas in the works, and I plan to bring them in to rehearsal at some point and see where we can take them for a follow up album.
Awesome. Thank you guys and congratulations for your awesome and stellar debut
Lee: Thank you very much for the interest in Professor Emeritus!