Interview with Whispers In The Maze.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Emine: In terms of what I would be doing today: I am not a full-time musician, I am also studying. I am very interested in scientific research, and I am planning to continue both together for a long time. What got me into playing music was the need to be more involved in the things that move me. Enjoying music just by listening was not enough. I had to be in it, had to be part of it. I had to create music or at least create the sound. I also enjoy playing in cover bands or learning instruments to play just because I like the sound of the instrument.
Mike: Music is one of two major passions of mine, and for me, it became a cathartic or therapeutic release from all of the nonsense, stress, and overthinking of everyday life. I don’t think about much while I play (insert drummer joke here?) The chance to play with like-minded musicians or even ones that are very different and to create art is what got me into playing music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Emine: As I mentioned, I am doing research. I’m doing my master’s, which takes pretty much every free time I have. I also try to be involved in the scientific community. How does it influence my creativity? If I have to give a very specific example, in our next EP, one of the songs will be about a parasitic flatworm that I learned about in a biology class. It is hard to give examples, really. Being curious and digging deep into things is in my personality; the same goes for when creating music. I am patient and can focus just on a little piece of music to make it sound better.
How long has your band been around?
Ben: The band was formed in late 2015. Emine and I were both just moving to Ottawa from the West Coast and the East Coast of the country, where we had left other projects behind. We had in common that we didn’t know any other musicians in Ottawa and a shared taste for melodic death metal.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Ben: Ottawa is relatively close to Montreal, the Metal Capital of Canada, where every sub-genre is represented. Consciously or not, I think a rich local scene inspires us to put ourselves out there.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Emine: I have a thing for labyrinths. My first band in Vancouver, Lethal Halo, was originally named Lost in Labyrinth, which we changed the name afterward but still wrote a song with the same title. The contradiction of the complexity of a labyrinth and the struggle to find a solution intrigues me. I definitely need to give credit to Jorge Luis Borges’ The Garden of Forking Paths in this bewilderment. And the word Whispers adds more contradiction to the title, given the loudness that comes with our genre. Nothing is simple in life, including within ourselves. Our band name, in a way, points to that.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Ben: In 2019 in Ottawa, we opened for a tour package including Black Crown initiate, Inferi and Warforged in a venue that was way too small for it. Each band showed up with its own full backline and humongous amounts of merch. There was so much gear and merch everywhere that we were wondering where we would put the audience. Needless to say, it was a packed show…
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Ben: I prefer to play small underground venues that are packed rather than larger ones that look half empty with the same amount of people. I’d like to play at Turbö House in Montreal.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Ben: I consider a show to be a social event for both the bands and the fans. I like to play with other bands we are friends with (there are too many to name them).
Mike: Great question and there are too many to mention. Off the top of my head? Somewhere in North America or Europe opening for Lamb of God or Gojira. I’d pay to be on that bill.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Emine: Oh boy. I will actually give advice to female musicians first. Being a female musician in a male-dominated genre, even after playing for over 30 years, I know sexism still exists today. I was very, very lucky to have wonderful musicians around me that saw me as a musician, not a female musician, and showed me respect as any other. I did cross paths with the opposite, though, and I did my best to stay away. My advice is to respect yourself and expect the same respect from others. If you are devalued because of your sex or gender, just move on. Never assume you can do less just because that is what is expected from you. And my advice to anyone: playing in a band can be intimidating. Don’t be scared to play with musicians that are better than you; that’s how you grow. Being in a band is serious teamwork. Contribute and listen. And don’t be a flaky musician. Show up at the jam space on time and well-rehearsed!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Emine: Work harder. Practice more.
Ben: Choosing the right people to be in a band with is more important than choosing the specific sub-genre you want to play.
Mike: I agree with Ben’s perspective - play with people you get along and work well with versus merely looking at musical ability or showmanship. Don’t play music with people you don’t get along with, kids!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Emine: This is hard to choose. I, for one, have emotional attachments to some of the riffs, and I can hold on to them for years until they find a good home. Bleeding Pain from our Threads Unbind EP has some riffs like that, which I am very happy with how they turned out with this band.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Emine: This is another tough one. If I had to choose, I would say Climbing The Abyss because it has so many different parts, and I feel like I am surfing through different emotions throughout the whole song!
Mike: Chained to the Grave and Bleeding Pain are two of my favourites, but every song has its moments that allow me to dig in or lay back, which makes them enjoyable in their own ways. Playing the newest material is the most fun right now because they’re new and fresh.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Emine: Our writing process is based on full collaboration. So the inspiration can come from within, or from something that another member plays. Sometimes we jam stuff at the jam space, but mostly we do our homework at home. We use Guitar Pro to tab our lines, and we pay attention to what everyone is playing when we are writing our own stuff, to make the whole sound better.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Ben: I don’t think we are a band with a particularly strong message like Gojira or Cattle Decapitation. We are more about telling stories we hope people find interesting.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Emine: We definitely do! As we are only four, sometimes the voting system doesn’t work well. Sometimes we can convince each other, sometimes not. And that’s ok. We all respect each other and want to continue together that we end up agreeing to disagree on certain things.
Ben: No, never… ;-)
Mike: I disagree with Ben (I’m kidding). Disagreements will inevitably creep up in every band, and ours is no different. I think we’re always pretty respectful of each other’s opinions and have become quite good at compromising if one of us really takes a strong stand on something. Communication is key to avoiding big disagreements. This is part of being in any band.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are currently working on our next EP, Stories Untold: Chapter II. As we are still in the writing phase, we don’t have a specific deadline. However, we recently released a video that we would be very happy if your fans check it out!
Music Video - Poisoning Imagination -