Ken Sorceron Talks Mishaps Leading to Abigail Williams' Dissolution and Future in Music Business
Band Photo: Abigail Williams (?)
Inconsistent members, misrepresentation and the doldrums of answering interview questions with an assembly-line frame of mind have led to the dissembling of Candlelight Records’ most prolific band Abigail Williams. One question that founder and mastermind Ken Sorceron scorned was “tell me about your band name?” Abigail Williams was one of the accusing girls in the Salem Witchcraft trials. The group’s dark ambiance and orchestrations aptly describe a style of black metal that conjures images of superstition and witch burnings. Unfortunately, these ideas were not clearly expressed in their early marketing plan.
These mishaps are some of the reasons Sorceron is closing this chapter of his life. However, music is in his future plans. Metal Underground.com climbed into his van parked outside Beerland in Austin, Texas to find out more about Abigail Williams’ final hour and what the future may bring.
Darren Cowan (Rex 84): Why haven’t you done many interviews lately?
Ken Sorceron: I don’t like answering the same questions everyday. When you have a new record, they’ll (pr) will have anyone with a blog interview me for some reason—things that five people look at. Anyone with a You-Tube channel. You really have to wonder, is it worth me having to feel like a broken record? So I just stopped responding for a while. I was interviewed the other day. The first question was, “Tell us about the band name.” It was a video interview. I said, “no, I’m not going to answer that question.” They thought I was joking. I am not joking, ask the next question. [laughs] I have no problem answering any other question, other than that right now.
Darren Cowan: This show at Beerland is part of your last tour. Abigail Williams toured continuously. You shared stages with Enslaved, Dark Funeral, Mayhem, Rotting Christ and many others. Do you feel like your band progressed through all of those tours?
Sorceron: I feel like we progressed, musically, a lot but...
Cowan: Did you gain a larger fan base?
Sorceron: Not at all. We went somewhere for a minute and then went down, down, down.
Cowan: Is that part of the reason you’re splitting the band?
Sorceron: It makes it easier, you know what I mean? I feel like I’ve kind of just grown out of it. I want to do something else. I want to have a band that when you say the band name, you know what they sound like. A lot of people think those (first and second albums) are so different. One has crap loads of orchestrations and keyboards. The other isn’t that far off, musically, other than it doesn’t have all that. This has been a part of my life since 2005. It hasn’t been easy. I put everything I have into it. I’m proud of the music I made. I got to work with some of my favorite bands. I did a lot of cool shit, you know, but I would rather take the next step.
Cowan: The last album, “Becoming,” showed the band stepping into a new direction. Will you further explore that direction with your next band?
Sorceron: Yeah, definitely. I’m going further into it. I’ve already been working on the music for it. It’s an exploration into that realm or more. There are some new elements as well.
Cowan: I hear doom and psychedelics on “Becoming.” It’s a much slower album.
Sorceron: It definitely still has the doom, even more so, and some psychedelic stuff. Also, there is a lot of string section, i.e., cellos and stuff like that.
Cowan: Is the project fully assembled?
Sorceron: I wouldn’t say that. I have people I’m working on music with, but we don’t have the actual, ready-to-go-live lineup. I thought I did and then shit happens. I don’t want to rush into things. I want to make sure the first thing we put out is representative of what we want to do. The band name is Vesica piscis.
Cowan: You thought you had a live lineup, but that didn’t work out. Was that the case in Abigail Williams? I ask this because you went through many members.
Sorceron: This is really hard work, and dealing with a lot of young people who think they want to do this and then realize it’s fucking hard. Then they change their minds or they realize they don’t even want to play this type of music. They want to do death metal or something. It took a long time to find people who wanted to do the same thing that I wanted. I would say our earlier stuff would have sounded a bit different. That was the case from the start. You work with what you have around you. That music wasn’t bad. I liked it, but I was still writing stuff that was similar to this stuff even back then, but no one was interested. At least no one was interested in the case of my immediate musician friends.
Cowan: Is that why you had metalcore elements on the first record?
Sorceron: I don’t see metalcore elements. I think of metalcore as hardcore breakdowns and tough-guy vocals.
Cowan: Where did this tag come from?
Sorceron: I’ll tell you. This is another reason I’m quitting the band. It came from a sticker on the CD that our record label put on there.
Cowan: So they put a metalcore tag on your music to try to sell more records?
Sorceron: Yes, and they didn’t ask us. Then, I was fucking pissed about it. I didn’t know anything about the music industry at the time. I had no idea what a one-sheet was and that they send that out to everyone. It’s a description telling people exactly sounds like for reviews. It’s a no-brainer. These people just crank them out. “Sounds like this. It says right here." Here we go. There is no say in it. I was fucking pissed! I broke up the band. That was one of the reasons. I was upset about it. We didn’t even know that the EP was coming out in stores. They told us we could make a tour EP for the one tour that we had. I was thinking limited runs, something to sell while we were working on our album because we weren’t done yet, so we used all of these old songs that had nothing to do with what the album would sound like. You can see those songs aren’t even alike. “Watchtower” sounds nothing like “From a Buried Heart” We never had anything in writing about an EP.
Cowan: If you could take that out of your discography, would you draw a line through it?
Sorceron: No, I still think it’s good. I like it. At first I was pissed. I didn’t think it was ready for people to hear on a mass scale. It did well, which surprised me. I’ve grown to enjoy it.
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