INTERVIEW: EARECKSON MURRAY (KEYBOARDS AND SYNTH AT HELL EVER AFTER, WESTWARD JOURNEY)

Eareckson Murray (keys and synth at Hell Ever After)

1. Is there any story behind your Hell Ever After stage costume? How did you arrive at the “hidden face”/phantom look?

When Duran suggested that full stage costumes would be implemented, my first thought with the theme of Hell Ever After was the background musicians Arthur Brown’s Fire video. They were wearing black cloaks and had a spooky look to them, plus the air of mystery, who the heck is that guy up there, is also a factor. Just being a faceless, nameless character that provides that atmosphere makes it (hopefully) that the focus would be on the other musicians onstage.

2. You seem like you love being a part of Sacrificial Blood (New Jersey death metal), and it’s great to see you playing guitar on stage again. Do you have anything else coming up with these guys that you’re allowed to talk about?

Right now we just have a couple east coast shows, the band is writing material but there’s no plans for a new album yet, just a couple recordings whenever they get around to it. I might be on them, might not, as I’m all the way over here.

3. Have you given any more thought to the concept album idea you had for Westward Journey about the monk? I think more people would love a followup to the last WJ album than you might realize.

I have not yet. I actually recently got back into playing synth after a long hiatus, just different mental energy going into other hobbies. When my favorite musician Vangelis passed away May 17th, I became a lot more inspired to play synth again and got back into it. Because I always considered Vangelis to be a modern classical composer who used modern technology to enhance his music, I actually started to relearn piano playing as well. I strongly believe that styles of piano, synthesizer, and keyboard are different from one another. I got my old lesson books from when I was a kid and have been working to learn reading music and proper techniques again. I do have an upcoming show at The Honey Room Friday September 16th with synth master Jenn Taiga, Lara Buckley, and Budd Redding, which will be my first of the year.

4. What was the first show you ever put on (booked and promoted) by yourself with no outside help?

My first show ever was to help out the band Mortals from NYC, a heavy sludge 3 piece, which I was asked by Steve Peck in Rochester for a Buffalo date. I booked Inerds and Ancients of Earth as locals, and hosted it at The Funeral Home. It was a pretty good turnout. But my second show, and the one I did all by myself was because I wanted to bring a couple Rochester bands to Buffalo. The lineup, from opening to headlining, was Eira (debut show), Vile Vindiction, Sodomus Divinium, Desekrator, and Seplophile. Being Eira’s first show, they drew a massive crowd alone. The rest of the bands also had a good turnout and it was wildly successful.

5. Aside from the stress that naturally comes with being a promoter, let alone a “club owner”, do you ever miss “The Lair” enough to ever get back into booking and promoting again?

Definitely not as a regular thing. If I feel an event is special enough (and it’s gotta be REALLY special), I will put in the work to make it happen, but these days I always suggest others for anyone who reaches out to me wanting to play Buffalo.

6. Getting into “Lair history”, did you originally start throwing shows in your old basement out of necessity after The Funeral Home closed?

Absolutely. I had so much fun doing DIY shows that I wanted to continue it in some way. I specifically was looking for an apartment where I could run a space to host bands, and I got lucky enough that it was in a good location with no direct neighbors and plenty of free street parking. I almost DIDN’T rent there because I thought I needed a whole house to do that in, but renting just the lower floor with basement access was good enough for me and lasted the 6 years The Lair was open.

7. Which project do you find to be more challenging on drums: Goblin Hovel or Rebel Scum?

Goblin Hovel is a lot more musically complex, so concentrating on making sure I play things correctly in the correct time signatures and all that takes a different kind of concentration. For Rebel Scum I can pound away at the drums, going with the flow, and I think because of that I naturally play heavier in Rebel Scum, as it’s straightforward and I can really emphasize fills and hits.

8. Given the trajectories of each band you’re a part of, which project do you think will be the next to release a new single or album?

Goblin Hovel has a new selection of songs written but not yet presented to the rest of the band, but I know that during the winter we will all be learning that, I’m not sure if it’s for an EP or an album. I believe Sacrificial Blood will have a new song or two out either late this year or early next year.

9. Of all the bands you’ve been in that have since parted ways, which of your past projects do you miss the most?

I’ve been having a lot of Cain memories, the band technically isn’t over, and Bryant and I have talked casually about another (final?) show, but with my busy schedule, wouldn’t be able to make it happen for a long while. Throne of Wilderness was literally a week away from recording our debut album before we split, so that’s an opportunity lost that I always think of, it could’ve been very cool to have that out. At least we have our 2-track demo on Bandcamp.

10. Completely getting away from the musical part of your life, now that you’ve been there a few years, how are you liking living in Kenmore vs Buffalo?

Kenmore is NICE. I’m not really farther away from anything than I was before living on Niagara St. The house is much nicer than my apartment, even though now I have to rent a practice space, but that’s no worry, it’s only 5 minutes away. We got lucky too, that we bought the house right before Covid and this crazy price surge in housing.

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