The Howling Void is a one man recording project hailing from San Antonio, Texas. Ryan executes all instruments and vocals in a genre referred to as “symphonic funeral doom metal” (metal played at a slow tempo with orchestral elements). So far, three full length albums and one EP have emerged from this project, with another full length album coming soon. I highly recommend checking this music out to anyone who enjoys metal.
THE GARAGE: Hello Ryan! Thank you for agreeing to let me interview you, it’s a pleasure. How have you been?
The Howling Void: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions, I appreciate it. I have been alright; life has been relatively uneventful recently, which is just fine with me.
THE GARAGE: What inspired you to create The Howling Void and what inspires you to continue?
The Howling Void: Musically, I wanted to combine the symphonic atmosphere of Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse” with the crawling, glacial, massive doom of bands like Thergothon and Skepticism. For some reason I can’t really explain, I have always wanted to blend that truly orchestral atmosphere with massive waves of doom; for some reason, it just makes sense to me. And honestly, beyond that, the motivation is inexplicable to me. What I mean is that I really can’t articulate why it is I write this music, or music in general. I know most musicians have lofty, book-length explanations as to why they create art and how it supposedly functions in the grand scheme of things. But I don’t. All I know is that I am compelled to create music. Don’t know why.
THE GARAGE: What is the reasoning behind being a one man project? Did you ever consider making a full band out of this?
The Howling Void: I am a recluse by nature, so it really is just a natural extension of my way of life. I would like to perhaps play live someday, and if that opportunity arose, I would put together a full, live line-up. But as for writing and recording the albums, it is an intensely personal effort. To clarify the recluse statement: my reclusive nature has less to do with misanthropy and more to do with a simple desire to be left alone. I prefer solitude. Working as a one-man band is a perfect crystallization of that mindset.
THE GARAGE: You just completed the recording process of your next album, “Nightfall” so I understand. How has the writing and/or recording process changed since previous releases?
The Howling Void: I usually write half the album from melodies in my mind, and half from melodies that are improvised on the spot, on the piano. This time, I tried to compose all of the major melodies in my head and then transcribe them on piano. There’s no grand, meta-musical reason for this; I just wanted this album to be constructed that way. There is a difference, though subtle, in the quality of songs that I write with these two methods. I really wanted to capture those intuitive melodies on “Nightfall”.
THE GARAGE: How has the response been to the teasers you’ve released so far?
The Howling Void: Overwhelmingly positive. I am fortunate to have a very supportive fan base, as small as it is. I was somewhat concerned that perhaps the lack of the typical “funeral doom vocals” was going to alienate some of those people, but everyone has been very supportive of the chanted vocals thus far. I have simply grown away from those vocals, and have come to embrace the chanted style as something that seems to fit perfectly with my vision of The Howling Void. So I was glad to see others be receptive to it.
THE GARAGE: What specific artists, albums, or musicians influence you?
The Howling Void: The Howling Void, specifically, is influenced by Emperor (In the Nightside Eclipse, only) and of course Thergothon and Skepticism. As for myself, aside from those bands, I tend to immerse myself in music from the 50’s and 60’s. I don’t listen to a lot of metal anymore. Barely any, to be honest. Most of the metal influence is in the form of memories from my youth. If you want ideas of what I mean by 50’s and 60’s, I am talking about artists like Jim Reeves, Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Cascades, The Doors, The Beatles, Don McLean, and so many others. I love listening to music from long-gone eras. Almost all music written today makes me sick.
THE GARAGE: Your last EP “Runa” did not have a physical release (at least not that I heard of), will there be a physical release of “Nightfall”?
The Howling Void: There are plans for a physical release of “Runa” early next year on vinyl, but those haven’t been finalized yet, so I don’t have any further details at this time.
THE GARAGE: What is your stance on physical vs. digital music?
The Howling Void: It’s honestly not something I think about often. I understand that some people prefer one over the other, and for myriad reasons, but I honestly just don’t go out looking for music anymore. So I don’t really feel one way or the other. I know it’s a somewhat evasive answer, but I just don’t really think about it.
THE GARAGE: Will The Howling Void ever play live?
The Howling Void: I would like to play live someday, yes. But I won’t do it in your typical live venue under your typical live show circumstances. I understand that some people enjoy the live show experience, but I get nothing out of it. I neither enjoy being the audience nor the performer. This is mainly because I don’t enjoy being around people in general, much less crowds of them, especially not crowds of drunken and belligerent people. I feel like The Howling Void is totally incompatible with that type of situation. If I would play live, it would ideally be in a venue with seating, and it would require an audience who is looking for a meditative, contemplative experience. All of this sounds highly unlikely, so I don’t expect to play live any time soon.