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The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society Leaves The Frozen Forests Of Canada To Talk With Metalunderground.com

Photo of Woods Of Ypres

Band Photo: Woods Of Ypres (?)

David Gold (Woods of Ypres) and Aaron Palmer (ex-Woods of Ypres, Arkayic Revolt) of The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society sit down with Metalunderground.com to discuss the formation of the project, the meaning behind its name, the recording of its debut 7" Vinyl "Future Northern Prosperity" (reviewed here) and its future going forward. David Gold also discusses the current status of Woods of Ypres, its signing with Earache Records and shares an interesting story from the road during the band's last tour stop in Vancouver.

Cody B: So first off I need to ask about the name; The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society. It’s quite an interesting one. How did you guys come up with that name and what is the meaning behind it?

David Gold: From our perspective, Northern Ontario is a very black metal environment where the towns are small and the nature is wild and inspiring. Yet, despite the fact that they have tall trees, lakes, waterfalls, a sky full of starts, long and cold winters, solitude, beer, the Internet, Northern Ontario produces so little metal at all, and black metal is especially rare.

We believe to be the only ones tapping into our local natural resources in order to make music, and hence The NOBMPS: The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society was the most fitting name we could give our project. We are a society of only two, making black metal in and exclusively about Northern Ontario.

Aaron Palmer: We agreed on the name because we felt it captured our location which provides our inspiration and musical style while being palatable to a wider audience.

Cody B: There are just the two of you in the band, how did this come together?

David Gold: Aaron and I go way back. We met in Windsor in 2001 and he co-founded Woods of Ypres with me in summer 2002, he performed on Woods I: "Against the Seasons" before moving to Thunder Bay, in Northern Ontario the day after he finished his parts in the studio. This is the first time we've collaborated since.

Aaron and I started this project when we unexpectedly found ourselves both living temporarily in Northern Ontario in the fall of 2008. He was living in Wawa, Ontario (population 3,000) and I was living in Sault Ste. Marie (population 70,000), both in the middle of nowhere but three hours away from each other. That was closest we had ever been to each other in 6 years, and we decided that was enough of a reason to make some music together.

Aaron Palmer: In 2003, I left Woods of Ypres to attend University in Northern Ontario. In the autumn of 2008 I landed a job north of Sault Ste. Marie Ontario (Dave's hometown and where he was living at the time). We had spoken about collaborating on music before, but given our proximity to each other we decided to start writing riffs with the intent of forming a new project. Halloween 2008 marked our first face-to-face jam session, and it was so productive we decided to move forward with the two person black metal band that is NOBMPS.

Cody B: Since the band is fairly new to the metal world how would you describe The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society’s sound, message and also what you stand for as a group?

David Gold: The NOBMPS is a two-man, dual-vision, multi-instrumentalist switching black metal band inspired by and exclusively about Northern Ontario. The formula is as follows: We both write one song each on which we perform the vocals, guitar, and bass and then we drum on each other's song (so for example I drummed on Aaron's song and he drummed on mine), then, we release them exclusively and independently on 7" vinyl, with MP3 downloads.

Aaron Palmer: We approached NOBMS with an open canvass for song-writing, though we knew it would have to be underpinned with a black metal nuance. It would be difficult to attribute one 'sound' to NOBMPS as both songs released to date were influenced by different styles. Rediscovering the Divine was inspired by Old Man's Child, Devin Townsend and (perhaps unconsciously) early Woods of Ypres, and is best categorized as "Melodic Black Metal".

Cody B: The first release from this project is the Vinyl 7” called “Future Northern Prosperity.” Describe the writing process.

Aaron Palmer: The writing process started with Dave and I agreeing to each bring one song to the table in autumn 2008. During the initial 'Halloween session' we showcased our riffs to date, and discussed the best way to arrange them into songs. Over the winter we wrote lyrics and refined our songs individually, coming together every few months to test them in a live scenario. By early spring we had two solid products, and spent a weekend in May recording the album.

David Gold: We jammed for the first time in a candlelit basement in Sault Ste. Marie on the evening of Halloween 2008. We had each prepared basic riff arrangements of our songs on guitar for the other one to drum to. Then it was decided that it was important to the vision of the band that I visited Aaron and experienced Wawa later that winter, where we did some photos in the deep snow and continued to develop our songs and the concept of the band. However, this wouldn't be a real band without a few more logistical challenges. If I remember correctly, Aaron's truck broke down on his way to Sault Ste. Marie, and then so did my car just as I was preparing to leave for Wawa, but we were able to salvage both weekends and stay on schedule. Above all else, Aaron and I like to be productive with our efforts.

Cody B: Only two songs have been released so far, can we expect to hear more?

Aaron Palmer: We plan to release another two-song album in October of 2011, and each following year successively.

David Gold: This band works best, two songs at a time. We intend to record two more sometime next summer and release them in October 2011 (we're an October-November band). My next song is inspired by my year spent living alone in a cabin on the shore of Lake Nipissing in North Bay (Fall 2009 - Spring 2010). I already have a good start on the lyrics and some great depressive, icy-cold-blue, melodic black metal riffing.

Cody B: How was working with Fursy Teyssier on creating the album’s cover art? He’s worked with bands like Agalloch, Alcest, Neun Welten and your other project Woods of Ypres. Did he capture the vision you had in mind for “Future Northern Prosperity?”

David Gold: Fursy is a very nice guy and works very cooperatively with us. We sent him our photos, the two tracks and told him what kind of a theme we were looking for and he put it all together quite nicely. He does classy work and he never stressed me out and for that I give him full marks. 10/10.

Cody B: So what are your opinions on the current Black Metal scene?

David Gold: I don't follow it, and for no particular reason. I think there's just as much good music coming out now as ever, is what I mean. I listen to and appreciate what I like and ignore what I don't. Aaron and I do our own thing in this band, which probably has more to do with discovering black metal in the used CD bin at Dr. Disc in Windsor in 2001 and seeing P.E.M. era Dimmu Borgir and Midian / Bitter Suites to Succubi era Cradle of Filth at Harpo's in Detroit. Aaron and I once had a conversation, back in 2002, when we were conceptualizing the first Woods of Ypres band and we discussed whether or not we wanted to be the kind of black metal band that wore corpse-paint. To our benefit and avoided eventual embarrassment, we thankfully decided go without the paint and Woods of Ypres has never looked back. However, the NOMBPS is different. This band allows us to do all the things we wanted to do, and not what we think we should do. So, we wear corpse-paint and write black metal songs about Northern Ontario. It's a dream come true for a couple of old friends in their early 30's.

Cody B: Switching topics; there have some recent major developments in the Woods of Ypres camp over the last few weeks and months and just recently the band announced its singing with Earache Records. How did that partnership come to be?

David Gold: Woods of Ypres has been pushing forward since 2002. In the last two years we recorded two new albums, W4: "The Green Album" and W5: "You Were the Light", went on four tours and played over 100 shows in North America. On the last leg of our most recent tour of North America, we played in Manhattan, New York, the A&R rep for Earache had come out to see us. We had a quick chat after the show, I gave him copies of the our albums, the offered us a good deal and a few weeks later we were signed.

Cody B: What will be the first release under their imprint?

David Gold: They will be releasing the entire Woods of Ypres discography in 2011. Stay tunes for details!

Cody B: So it’s obvious now that Woods of Ypres are not disbanding as previously reported. What is the story behind that entire situation?

David Gold: It's complicated. Woods of Ypres never disbanded, but I did move to Kuwait to work for a while. I'm there now. Leading up to the move, I had to close Krankenhaus Records (our indie label) and sold off all my guitars, so the rumour of the band breakup was pretty convincing. We knew it wasn't the end of the band, but because I was moving away for an undetermined length of time, we couldn't know when or how soon Woods of Ypres could resume. We were going on a big independent tour this past summer, and doing another album right afterwards, and since we didn't know for certain if and when we'd ever have a chance to do either of those things again, we just started saying they would be our last. From our perspective, going into that tour and that next album, we needed people to pay attention this time around, to come see the shows and hear the new album when it came out. "Don't miss it! This is your last chance!", etc... This band has continued to put itself through hell to keep going, and sometimes I would start to think that many people took it for granted that we're just too stubborn to quit and assumed that we'd always just be there. Meanwhile, keeping this band going for the love of it is easy, but it has always been challenging for practical reasons and we've endured many total disasters and still kept it going. Referencing that "Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone" thing, everyone had a little scare and now we all have a second chance at a better relationship with everyone as we enter a new era of the band and much bigger opportunities with Earache.

Cody B: The last time Woods of Ypres played Vancouver you guys had a giant concrete block thrown through your touring van's front window, what the hell was that about?

David Gold: Members of an unnamed, coward, jealous Vancouver black metal band smashed the windows of our band van while we were on stage playing to a full house at the Cobalt. They paid to get in, watched the first song from the front row, gave me the finger from a crowd of happy headbangers, then went outside, vandalized our van during our set and were later arrested at McDonald's, jailed for the night and released in the morning. I can't even imagine how ashamed I would feel if I ever intentionally damaged another band's equipment, nor can I imagine ever hating another band so much that I would actually do that to any band, especially a fellow Canadian, independent one being on tour and so far away from home on an independent budget. I mean, it's not like they threw rocks at the Metallica bus for selling out on the Black Album. This isn't Norway 1991. It's Canada in 2010. I mean, elitist leather jacket moustached Vancouver black metal goofballs? Seriously? How about we grow up! I still can't even believe it even happened at all! It was all so ridiculous.

The only part that really made me upset was the money, though. $2,200 later, we got the windows fixed and hit the road to Victoria where we arrived just in time to play a great show and get ripped off by the promoter there. That's life, doing this, it sucks. When it's happening, you want to quit and kill yourself, but it's almost always funny afterwards and it makes for great stories, a couple years later. We took that concrete block with us and I currently have it on my coffee table back home. Evan from Woods’ joked that he would take it with him as carry-on luggage on his flight back to Vancouver this summer, but, even if we were as emotionally irrational as those guys, we couldn't even consider an "eye for an eye" revenge on guys when they don't own cars or even have driver's licenses. Besides, were a much more peaceful group who prefers to make music and not disrupt other bands from making theirs. It's respect. Maybe we'll turn that block into some kind of trophy, or maybe I can sell it on eBay and make a couple bucks from it. We'll spin it, somehow.

Cody B: What is the future now for Woods of Ypres and The Northern Ontario Black Metal Preservation Society going forward?

David Gold: Write and record two songs a year with increasingly more epic/grim corpse-painted photos to match until we can get the support to schedule the writing and recording of a full length NOBMPS album. I imagine that we may eventually consider playing some live shows in Toronto to start, rather than a very poorly attended tour of Northern Ontario.

Cody B: Aaron, this question is for you. What other musical/metal projects do you have lined up?

Aaron Palmer: I've recently started working with the London, Ontario based metal outfit Arkayic Revolt and will be playing bass on their 3rd album.

Cody B: So before we sign off I’d like to thank you both for taking the time to talk with Metalunderground.com. Any final words the two of you would like to say?

David Gold: "C'mon, Sault Ste. Marie!!!"

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