Grande Rock Interviews 1476

Here’s a new interview with us from Greece’s Grande Rock. We talk Wildwood, misanthropy, art, religion, etc.

1476band“It’s wonderful to happen upon new & independent bands that have their own philosophy and musical approach. That may not be very usual in our time but I can assure you that there are bands which have both the quality and the talent to deliver interesting & thought-provoking music. 1476 is one of those bands that can “attract” you, especially if you’re searching for music out of the ordinary. It was a pleasure talking with both Neil DeRosa & Robb Kavjian who are the masterminds behind 1476. By reading below, you will get to know the band better but also you will delve into the members’ inner music & life philosophy…”

Read the full interview on Grande Rock »

Hi Neil & Robb, since it’s the first time we speak can you give us a brief bio of 1476? How& when did it all start?

R: 1476 is a New England-based, two person project made up of Neil DeRosa & Robb Kavjian. We like to explore different themes or concepts with each release. Sometimes, the concept is lyrical and other times it is musical. If the concept is lyrical, that usually dictates how we approach the music – to make sounds that are suitable for the concept. If we have a musical concept, though, that could dictate the type of lyrics that are written based on the mood of the concept. This has allowed us to branch into metal, folk, ambient, experimental, and progressive territories but our foundation is primarily in dark rock based music. A lot of what we do is rooted in Western esotericism, pre-Christian mythology/mysticism, and Chaos Magic. We like to integrate these practices and studies into our music, and in turn, I find that the music reciprocates in a way, serving the spiritual explorations over time. It’s very fun and enjoyable for me working in this manner. We released our first album digitally in late 2009 and physically in January 2010 followed by an EP and live CD later that year. In December 2012, we released our second full-length and EP: “Wildwood” and “The Nightside”.


What was the music direction you wanted to follow since day one, when 1476 was formed?

R: We just wanted to be true to our hearts. We wanted to make music that felt right to us without regard for genres. The idea that was most important to me was to have no limits.

N: Having musical freedom and command over the direction. Creating music and an image without compromising what we believe. We each have a high standard of what we do as well as how we do it.


What’s your explanation of the term “Hermetic and Misanthropic Music”?

R: Our albums (especially “Wildwood”) have a foundation in Hermetic and Misanthropic ideas. This may seem like a contradiction as the goal of Hermetic practices is quite life affirming while Misanthropy harbors a disdain for life. Our interpretation of this is that our own personal and musical paths are rooted in growth and exploration in a Hermetic fashion. Despite the fact that we find this to be a very positive thing, we still can’t help feeling hopeless about the direction humanity and civilization is heading. For us, the dualism creates a nice balance that we attempt to capture in our music. All we can do is stumble down our own path, explore and learn as much as possible, and hope for the best.


Going your own personal music way was somewhat a redemptive thing to achieve?

R: For me, personally, I find a lot of redemption in it. Before 1476, I took part in a few projects that I didn’t really believe in and it felt horrible. It really made me question myself and my intentions. It made me think about why I make music at all. One of the main reasons behind starting 1476 was to feel good about what we’re creating and to contribute something genuine, heartfelt, and original to the music world. I’m not too happy with our first album because I still imposed a lot of limits upon myself at the time. I was very self-conscious about what I was writing and there’s a lot of regrets there. It’s definitely not the album I was trying to make but I learned a lot from those mistakes. Our follow up was an EP called “Smoke in the Sky”. I’m much happier with that one though I still feel I was a bit too self-conscious. With “Wildwood” and The “Nightside” EP, I confronted those feelings and I’m very happy with what we’ve done. This album and EP are where the redemption lies for me.

N: It is. I feel like it is a constant challenge, but not in a negative way. For better or worse the challenges keep us on our toes. The personal reward is always great when you overcome these things on your own. Seeing the plan come to life and become a victory is a great personal feeling for me.


What incident from the year 1476 inspired you so as to name the band that way?

R: What I like about the name is that it’s very ambiguous. The year pre-dates Colonial America. It makes me think of the European Renaissance when people began to celebrate Classical thought and the mythology of our pre-Christian roots. It’s old and remote, obscured in the past. It’s not so much an incident that inspired the name, but the ambiguous and remote atmosphere of the era. That allows much musical freedom as well. Some names can easily limit a band to a certain genre. That’s definitely something we wanted to avoid.


Apart from Misanthropy… are Animals & Obsidian Mirrors the band’s main influences as well? How are all these harmonically connecting together?

R: We used these three words as brief description for the themes in “Wildwood”. The idea behind “Wildwood” was to do a commentary on human nature using animal, elemental, and nature imagery. That’s what “Animals” represents. One of the underlying themes on the album is facing inner truths and dealing with how unpleasant that can be. Obsidian (or black) Mirrors can be used as an evocation or scurrying tool. When in a trance state, one can gaze into an obsidian mirror and see abstract images if practiced regularly. These images are projections of the user’s subconscious which can be equated with facing inner truths. So, if you put the three concepts together you have a commentary on humanity’s instinctive (“Animal”) nature and how it conflicts with living in civilized societies. I had many self-realizations and inner truths to face (“Obsidian Mirrors”) as a result of exploring these ideas… and my final result was a severe lack of faith in humanity and its future which is what the term “Misanthropy” is referring to in this context.


How did you come up with the title “Wildwood” for your recent work? What is & where is that “Wildwood”?

R: There is an area near where I live that always reminds me of a memory I have from childhood. It wasn’t an event but an overwhelming feeling that I don’t know how to describe. So, I guess it would be a memory of a feeling. A few years ago, I was in that area unexpectedly and I saw a street called Wildwood Terrace. I instantly associated the name “Wildwood” with the memory of that feeling. I told myself that I’d like to make an album called “Wildwood” someday to try to capture that emotion somehow. I don’t think I succeeded though hahaha.

N: For me “Wildwood” is a state of mind. I tried to recreate the feelings that it gave me when recording the drum tracks an express myself accordingly. It is a place where I go, or sometimes end up internally.


Which are those stories that you say through your songs? I’m talking specifically for “Wildwood”.

R: Every song is about something different. They are all based on personal experiences, thoughts, feelings, observations, etc., about the human condition. The song “Stave-Fire” is about the concept of “Truth” and how elusive it is. Pure truth rarely shows itself but when it does, it seems most people want to avoid it. “Horse Dysphoria” is about how man continually separates himself from nature and intuition which could ultimately result in his destruction.


As I read on your website, those songs that were left out of “Wilwood” cuz’ they didn’t fit the album’s atmosphere were individual releases under the title “The Nightside” as an EP. How did you feel like doing so?

R: I felt good about it. I’m happy we gave these songs a proper release.


What are the differences and the similarities that “Wildwood” and “The Nightside” EP are sharing?

R: The differences are that “Wildwood” is more dense, driving, and erratic in structure while “The Nightside” songs are more moody, ambient, and direct. The similarities would be the lyrical themes because “The Nightside” songs were originally written for “Wildwood”. When we integrated the songs into “Wildwood”, the album sounded too unfocused so that’s why we removed them. We were happy with them though so we decided to release them separately and we thought they flowed really well together.


How daring is it to release two different albums at the same time especially in our time?

R: I think it depends on what type of artist is releasing the music and the type of audience they have. For us, it works out well because we currently do not play live. This allows us to write and record more frequently. The reaction from our fan base has been quite positive regarding this. We’re very lucky for that.


Tell us a few things for Damian Kavjia & Alexandria Noel who are participating in both works?

R: Damian is my son and enjoys learning about music and the recording process. I was happy to include him with a few spoken word parts. Alexandria Noel is a painter, illustrator, and graphic artist that did the layout for “Wildwood” and “The Nightside” EP. She contributed spoken word vocals to the albums as well.


The recordings and mixing (for both the full-length album & the EP) were once more done by you at you own Seraphim House in Massachusetts. You probably like to have a total control on all things when it comes to music and sound engineering. Is this the ordinary way of producing music?

R: I guess it wouldn’t be considered ordinary because most artists use outside studios, engineers, and/or producers for their albums. I do believe producing, recording, and mixing your own music is the more responsible choice though. Music is an abstract art and it’s not easy to communicate in words what your vision may be to an engineer. I believe every musician should learn as much as they can about audio production. Imagine if someone doing an oil painting didn’t know anything about paint thinner or the oil paint itself… Imagine if another person had to mix the paints for them as they were painting and the artist had to rely on this other person to get the colors right for a vision that’s in their mind. It doesn’t make any sense. Obviously, a painter needs to understand their medium, their tools, and how colors work. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be the same for musicians.

N: For us it is, but in music as a whole I would say not so much. In American pop music many aspects are controlled outside the artist hands. Many of today’s new talent are lucky if they get to keep a single verse they may have wrote. Never mind a full chorus. I think music could be a little bit better if more musicians took interest in learning about all aspects of making an album.


It seems that you have made a good team with Sean Glonek as he did the mastering for both the full-length album & the EP, right?

R: Yes, Sean is an engineer we’ve worked with since the beginning so we feel he has a good understanding of our mindset. He’s taught us a lot about engineering and mixing though we still have a lot to learn.

N: Sean is fantastic at what he does. Every time we work with him we learn something new.


Are there any plans to release any atmospheric & dark video with weird soundscapes any time soon?

N: We have been thinking about videos for some time now. It is definitely in our future, but we have no plans as of right now.

R: There are no plans for that at the moment but it’s definitely something I’d love to do! Does anybody need an art film scored? :P


What do you think about that digital/downloading trend of our time? What’s there for a band when most people are downloading their albums and not even care to listen to them most of the times? What shall change so as to make it through?

R: I’m honestly not a fan of the mp3 format though I think it has come a long way. I’m happy that most are available in high resolution quality now from sights like Bandcamp or directly from the artists. What I don’t like is that it allows music to be consumed in large amounts. You literally have access to thousands of albums at any moment if you want. So, like you said, many people don’t care about the albums they’re downloading. A lot of good art gets overlooked because too much is being consumed too fast. With what we do in 1476, the visual art and the lyrics are just as important as the music itself so the CD and vinyl format is best for us. Also, vinyl is making a huge comeback and I think that it will flourish right alongside downloading. A vinyl that comes with a free hi-res download is perfect. You get a beautiful physical product with the art intact but also the files to back up on your computer to put on an iPod for travel or burn to CD. If you download mp3s from our Bandcamp page, you will get hi-res files, the lyrics, liner notes, and PDF files of all the album art. I don’t think that’s the best option for what we do but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s much better than what a site like iTunes or Amazon offers for downloading. Also, it supports the artist directly. But at the end of the day, the essence of the art form is lost with downloading. To me, downloading is like making a black and white photocopy of a Van Gogh painting and then telling people you collect art. (i.n.: You hit right on the spot dude…)


It’s time for the Weird Questions now!!! Why do people tend to turn their backs on original acts while they easily follow trends and copycats on our time?

R: I think there are two main reasons for that. One is that the music industry is a business and businesses all have business models. Once they find a model that generates the most profit they repeat it endlessly in order to make their businesses flourish. I think that’s why we see so much of the same type of acts repackaged over and over again. To the industry, it’s not art, it’s a product. And if the product isn’t broken, then why try to fix it? The second reason is that people are attracted to comfort and familiarity creates comfort. If an artist makes an album or song that people love and connect with in a deep way, they grow comfortable with it. It can provide an emotional safe haven for them. So, when the artist has to make a follow-up album, the audience usually expects something similar to what they’re already comfortable with. If the artist does something different, this type of audience gets disappointed. Usually people with that type of mindset stick to the trends and copycat bands because it fulfills their need for familiarity. And that’s fine, too. There is a place for that in the music world along with bands who try to be original. The Ramones, Iron Maiden, and Darkthrone to a certain extent are good examples, I think. They all have very specific sounds that they more or less catered to throughout their careers. But, as far as I know, it’s a genuine thing and, for me, that’s what’s important.

N: I think because it is simply easier. There is nothing challenging you. Nothing that the music industry is throwing at you is really making you think too much. It mostly satisfies base feelings that keep things safe. Not every original act has something profound to say, but the music industry has a pretty one track mind. (i.n.: I totally agree with both of you guys…)


What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?

R: The lack of attention to craft and detail. The lack of passion for art and creativity. The lack of sincerity and integrity. So many in the industry are so focused on “making it” that all of these things I mentioned take the backseat to the desire for success, fame, and/or money.

N: The money aspect and how safe everything is. Going back to the question before about trends, things are packaged in such a way where they are safe and a sure thing. American music needs things to be packaged in such a way that the sound is completely understood, the message so simple and dumb down. As far as money everything is a brand, and about making yourself a brand. It doesn’t matter too much about the music and the art form. Producers and a really good team will take care of a lot of that shit for you these days.


Which is the record you wish you had written and why?

N: Oh man… I would say “Marbles” by Marillion. There was a time before I knew of Marillion where I had a lot of very specific feelings. A hole I was trying to fill and these ideas I could not express. When I heard “Marbles” and the lyrics, all was filled. It was as if Steve Hogarth wrote it for me. I know how lame that can sound but it is honest. “Marbles” helped me through a specific part of my life and will always be special for that reason.

R: “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd. I love every aspect of it: the lyrics, the songwriting, the performances, the production, the album art… It’s always been the perfect record for me. I love the analogue synthesizer sounds so much. I think at the time they were supposed to sound futuristic but, ultimately, they sound dated nowadays. But there’s a certain charm to it all – synths that were supposed to imply the future sounding distinctly like the past – the 70s to be specific haha. A bunch of Klaus Schultze’s stuff has that sound as well as the song “Who Are You?” by Black Sabbath which I love as well. So, it would have to be “Wish You Were Here” or maybe “Shadows of the Sun” by Ulver. They’re both just such beautiful and haunting records.


Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?

R: “Blood Inside” by Ulver. It has a Bach passage, elements of pop, Beach Boys style vocal harmonies, 70s style guitar solos, noise, elements of soul, industrial, metal, dance, odd time signatures, awesome synth programming… It’s heavy, abrasive, and dense but beautiful and spacious at the same time. It really has a little bit of everything put together in a seamless, beautiful way.

N: Perfectly stated by Mr. Kavjian! “Blood Inside” for me as well.


Why did people stop carrying about Nature and started “raping” it at a certain point? Where will all that lead to?

R: I think the main causes would be greed and laziness. I can’t say where it will lead for nature. Nature has an amazing capacity to heal itself over time regardless of how much we destroy it. What bothers me is that I don’t believe humanity can heal itself from the path it has chosen. Choosing money and technological advancements over a more natural lifestyle that’s in harmony with nature may very well be our downfall. As far as we can tell, it may have been the downfall of older civilizations (like the Atlantians if that truly existed). As time passes, we push ourselves further and further away from nature at an ever increasing speed. This is commonly accepted as progression and advancement but I find it to be the opposite. There is a pill for every condition, pills that just mask symptoms instead of allowing the person to heal naturally… or in the case of anti-depressants, the pills allow the symptom to be masked leaving the person devoid of true, natural feelings. Instead of figuring out solutions to problems and facing them, we avoid them. A lot of these advancements have made our minds and bodies weaker. For example, people don’t remember phone numbers anymore because they’re stored on cell phones. Many people can’t read maps because of GPS. Our foods are pumped with unnatural trash. Who knows type of effect that will have in 100 years? Social Networking pages have contributed largely to the decline of human interaction. I go to a local cafe regularly to write lyrics and I can’t help but observe people when I’m in there. 99% of everyone there has their face buried in their cell phones. I see couples on dates completely ignoring each other because they can’t put their phones down for 5 minutes. If they looked up once in a while, they may see that they’re missing a beautiful world or a very beautiful human being sitting on the other side of that table. Nature is resilient and it will endure. I’m quite sure of that. But humanity has to come to rely on its devices so much that I don’t believe WE will endure when Nature takes back what’s rightfully hers. (i.n.: I so feel you fella…)


In which BC era would you choose to travel if you had the chance and why?

N: Ancient Egypt probably. I’d like to see how things really went down. There is always that possibility of aliens… Who knows.

R: Any era that would allow me to see if Atlantis existed and what that civilization was like.


Are religious groups responsible for what humans do to each other and for all that hatred & evil in all historic time periods?

N: I think religion is a big part of it, but the human race takes it to the next level. Doing things in the name of – insert any god – to make material gain. Land, money, blood. Take your pick. Religion and politics seem to be the two excuses people may throw around to achieve a personal gain.

R: I do feel that they have created an alarming amount of problems, destruction, and pain for humanity throughout time and they continue to do so until this day. Religion should be a private matter. I think if religion wasn’t celebrated or practiced publicly and in groups, the world may be a safer, happier place to be. As good as their intentions may be, it almost always leads to death, destruction, extortion, scandal, etc. It’s as ironic as irony gets actually. How can all this devastation come from ideas that are supposed to be based on love and spirituality? It’s mankind. Humanity seems to be devoted to corrupting and misusing all in its path.


Is misanthropy a tendency or an inner philosophy? Are you aware of who was the first misanthrope of the human history?

N: It is more of a tendency. I wish it wasn’t at times, honestly. It’s not something I really look for. For how bad the world gets and how ridiculous things are I have pretty close to zero hope for the human race. Very rarely does someone pure and with outstanding character move me to believe otherwise. There are times it hold me back because I have zero faith, but also other times it pushes me to go that extra mile, work that much harder to be better, and set an example. Even if no one looks, I have a standard for myself that I need to keep, or strive to stay as close as I can.

R: As a person who tries to show common consideration and kindness to the people I interact with every day, misanthropic feelings tend to be a reaction to how I’m treated in return and how I see people treat each other. The concept of honour is very important to me and I find it sad that such things are considered outdated. I don’t know who the first misanthrope in human history is. (i.n.: It was the ancient Greek Timon the Misanthrope, he literary invented the term “misanthropist”…)


Imagine that your girlfriend/wife/life partner is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? 

R: Criminally… (i.n.: Hehe that sounds quite scary!)

N: I would first try to remind myself that they are just things and that it is okay. But when I go to listen to that album that keeps me from having a meltdown I’ll freak the fuck out and want blood. Ms. Noel… (i.n.: Let’s hope that thing will never happen hehe smiley)


I think we’re over guys. Close this interview in your own words…. Thx for the music! Take care dude!

R: Thank you for your awesome questions and kindness to us, Thanos… It’s very much appreciated.

N: Thank you Thanos for having us, and thank you to the fans reading this who have supported us thus far. Words cannot express how much it means to us.