INTERVIEW: Eareckson Murray of WESTWARD JOURNEY, REBEL SCUM, SACRIFICIAL BLOOD, HELL EVER AFTER, GOBLIN HOVEL

Eareckson has really helped me grow as a person since I met him in 2014. He always leads by example. He’s exactly what the scene needs more of. Over the past 8 years, I’ve seen him go above and beyond to promote and benefit shows that didn’t even involve him as a promoter or performer, meanwhile, hosting shows in his own basement (The Lair 2013- 2019) once upon a time to make up for the loss of a beloved venue (The Funeral Home). Currently, it looks like his promoter days are done, but Eareckson is still VERY active in the local band circuit, playing multiple genres on multiple instruments. Most recently, Eareckson was added to New Jersey death metal dudes, Sacrificial Blood on GUITAR. We haven’t seen Eareckson doing live guitar on stage since CAIN in 2019, so that will be a treat. Those dudes will hit the stage on June 4, 2022 at the Coming of Rage Productions 10-Year Anniversary Show. The flier for that event will be toward the back of the zine right after one of our later interviews. For now though, let’s see what Eareckson has to say about the very busy life he leads…

1. Last we spoke, you were transitioning away from Westward Journey and getting back into full band life. How are things going with Goblin Hovel, Hell Ever After, and Rebel Scum?

That’s true, I am now a part of 4 active bands, and haven’t been composing solo ambient material for a while. I was asked to play drums for a live electric Goblin Hovel show last summer, and afterwards was then asked about recording drums for an electric Goblin Hovel album, so be on the lookout for that sometime this summer/fall.

Hell Ever After is going well, Duran is a great band leader and he values input from others, so it’s a welcoming environment to all. We are getting closer to finishing the full opera and have a handful of live shows planned for the year.

Rebel Scum has a show planned this summer working with material from our newest EP, plus another one coming out later in the year. It’s cool to be getting back to this material, going more in a black n roll direction, with some very hard hitting songs.

2. What do you have planned for the future of Westward Journey, if anything?

At the moment I don’t have any plans, there is an idea I had a few years ago about a concept album of a monk’s travels through Asia and his troubles on the road, finally triumphing at the end. It would have many non electronic instruments, namely Asian folk instruments like Shakuhachi, Dan Tranh, Koto, and perhaps a guest or two. Who knows when that will happen, perhaps if and when it becomes a focus again in the future. It was part of the original inspiration for Westward Journey.

3. You’re still posting videos for your electronic musical pursuits pretty often. Have you recently come into any new synths or any new gear that is worth mentioning?

The world of synths is both overwhelming and accessible to all these days. There are instruments as cheap as $40 and as expensive as several thousand, I’ll give a small list of some that I think are standouts these days.

Korg NTS-1 is a $100 small digital synth that is easy to use, has great built in effects, and you can play with for hours and get lost in. It does require a small amount of setup, but I love going back to it and just creating ambient loops to zone out to.

Soma Lyra 8 ($800 ish) is a strange one, it’s unconventional and unpredictable, it can be used from anywhere from harsh noise tones to low drones to beautiful soundscapes, if you can figure it out. There’s no keys on it, but instead touch pads that respond to your finger pressure, with many modulation options built in. It’s not for everybody, but for those who are willing to explore for a time, definitely a lot of fun. I enjoy putting the Reverse Reverb effect on it.

Bonus answer: if you want to have an extremely cheap working keytar (however short) pick up the Rock Band 3 Keytar controller, the Wii one is the cheapest of them all, I got mine for less than $30 brand new. It has a MIDI out port so you can play it through real synths.

4. What’s your current live setup for Westward Journey versus what you do with Hell Ever After?

They’re both the same synth engine, the Yamaha RS7000 synth/sampler/sequencer. It’s a workstation that I compose patterns on for Westward Journey, and can also play via MIDI keyboard in Hell Ever After. The end synth stabs with delay in The Parade was actually a sequenced part in the recording. It’s an extremely versatile piece of gear with a ton of depth. 9 out of the 10 songs on my Westward Journey album, Human 2.0, were done solely with this.

5. I hear you’re playing guitar live for the first time in a while at the 10th anniversary of Coming of Rage Productions. What can you tell us about that?

I’m playing with the band Sacrificial Blood from New Jersey. Cain did a tour with them in 2012, and that’s when I met one of my best friends, who most know as Lumberjack. When I was asked to help out by playing guitar for some shows, I jumped at the chance to play music with Lumberjack again, we haven’t played music together since Evil Death II at The Lair in 2016. Their style is a pretty fast death thrash, so I’m experienced in that field. I’m very much looking forward to it! We are also doing a handful of shows on the east coast this summer.

6. What’s your favorite local release (aside from stuff you’ve done) of the last 2-3 years?

Some of my favorites would be: Wandering Oak – Passage, HUNS – Ubergang 1, Bud Redding – Control/Career, and Bubba Crumrine – How Brightly Can You Burn? (The Death of Youth).

7. Plug any and all upcoming shows you have for your various projects.

Sacrificial Blood – June 4 at Mohawk – Coming of Rage 10th Anniversary show

Hell Ever After – May 13 at Stamps, May 14th at Rockin Buffalo Saloon, June 25th at Buffalo Metal Fest (Lewiston Metal Fest??)

Rebel Scum – August 13th details TBA

8. Where can we find all your music online?

Each project has a bandcamp, a quick search to find each is easy!

Westward Journey also has a soundcloud which has different songs than bandcamp, which only has the full length.

9. Since you’re now playing drums again, this time in two bands, did you find it easy to transition back to the “back of the stage”? Were you always consistently practicing drums, or did you have to brush up before getting back into it with Rebel Scum and Goblin Hovel?

During the original Rebel Scum days, there was a time where that was the only band I was doing on drums, and it had no blast beats whatsoever. In the new era with Justin Foley, it definitely steered the direction to one where there’s a lot more blast beat sections, so with that and Goblin Hovel incorporating those, I definitely had to spend some time practicing on my own to get better. I feel confident to a certain level, but am still no Alex Perez or Joe Musial.

10. Do you have plans to jump back on guitar for another band in the future full-time?

At the moment I do not have plans to do another band on guitar, but if somehow an industrial metal band forms, I would play guitar for that, as it’s been on my bucket list for over a decade now. Otherwise, no plans. I am enjoying being someone who plays keys or drums to songs other people wrote. It still feels good.

HELL EVER AFTER
REBEL SCUM
WESTWARD JOURNEY
SACRIFICIAL BLOOD
EVIL DEATH II

*Taken from our May 2022 issue: “One Cold Spring in Buffalo”

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