Photo courtesy Elder Spell
Until now the most mysterious and otherworldly phenomenon out of Volusia County for us was the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, but new DeLand horror-synth project Elder Spell
just might snatch those bragging rights.
The solo project of one Geoff Scott, formerly guitarist in now-defunct local doom metal band Bog Prophet – a band that OW
's Bao Le-Huu called the most impressive new sludge sound to spring from Orlando’s tar-blooded bowels back in 2013
is a radical departure from sludgy metal towards haunted, lo-fi electronic innerscapes.
Elder Spell creates a potent hybrid of dungeon-synth weirdness, 8-bit videogame soundtrack and synthwave kick on debut album They Live in the Trees
. And it's great local-centric listening for halloween.
Elder Spell shines through virtue of pure sonic and visual eccentricity – the saxophone on the track "Patrick Swayze," the Twin Peaks
moves on "Ancient Rite," even the bonkers cape and wizard hat combo worthy of Mystery Fun House worn by Scott in promo photos.
Scott answered a couple of questions about his journey to Elder Spell for the Weekly
Tell us a bit about your musical background.
Before I moved to Central Florida eight years ago I was playing bass up in Panama City and the Gulf Coast area, playing in jazz bands, black metal bands, psychedelic hardcore, and horrible radio-rock cover bands. Hell, in between this latest release and Bog Prophet I was actually playing a lot of banjo and trying to put together banjo covers of songs
that shouldn't be played on it.
What was it that inspired you to switch from heavy music to home-brewed electronics?
My 6-year-old daughter was getting exceptionally well at her toy piano so I decided we needed a proper keyboard. After a couple of months, I had amassed a number of synths and connected them all in a sort of automated MIDI orchestra. One genre that's always been hugely inspirational, but without a personal outlet for me to express, has been movie and television scores. Mark Snow's scores from The X-Files
and film composers like John Carpenter, Hans Zimmer and James Horner have always been the best examples of expressing emotion through music for me.
With my synth orchestra, I was able to easily just start writing songs more in that vein for the first time. Before long I had written half an hour of a nonexistent ’80s horror score modeled in song format. I started passing some early recordings around to friends, who told me I had made a synthwave album. Electronic dance music is one huge genre that has been a mystery to me. I'm a hella introvert and the concept of going to giant dance parties with flashy lights and people performing on a laptop is just so foreign and repugnant to me. But discovering synthwave and related genres like horror synth, dungeon synth and comfy synth have been really eye-opening and refreshing. Immersing myself in that music has given me a million ideas for an Elder Spell follow-up and I'm really excited to see what it's going to sound like with a new genre in my arsenal.
Listen to Elder Spell's They Live in the Trees
below via Bandcamp
and revel in the seasonal vibes …
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