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Twilight’s Sanford Parker: We’re All ‘Really Into the New Sound’

Anna Cerniglia

There’s a phenomenon sweeping the nation — and it’s called Twilight. No, not the kiddie vampire series of books and movies. We’re talking about the veritable super group of underground American black metal luminaries, Blake Judd (Nachtmystium), Jef Whitehead aka Wrest (Leviathan, Lurker of Chalice) and N. Imperial (Krieg). The trio joined with Aaron Turner (Isis), Stavros Giannopolous (the Atlas Moth) and Sanford Parker (Minsk) to write and record ‘Monument to Time End.’ With so many talented cooks in the black metal kitchen, there could have been one of two outcomes: either the album would be a mishmash of the members’ respective influences and ideas, or it would be downright breathtaking.

Thankfully, the result is unarguably the latter. ‘Monument to Time End’ is surprisingly and impressively coherent and the ideas presented are well integrated. Noisecreep caught up with Parker, who also handled recording and mixing duties on the album, and Judd to get the inside scoop.

How did the process of writing and recording ‘Monument’ compare to the process of writing and recording ‘Addicts’?

Judd: They were pretty similar sessions, considering that three of the same people were involved with both, and they were both recorded at Semaphore Recording. As for the writing part, it was completely different with Twilight as Stavros Giannopolous, Wrest and myself were the main writers for ‘Monument …,’ the three of us were jamming together preparing for that ahead of time. And when N. Imperial showed up, we completed writing at the studio during the session for the material he contributed. ‘Addicts’ was all put together by Jeff Wilson and myself, and then we figured the drums, etc. out at our rehearsal facility with Wrest when he came into town a few weeks before tracking began.

How did Aaron Turner come to be involved? How involved was he?

Judd: I asked Aaron to join Twilight a few years back, as he was very vocal to me about being into the first album and all of our individual bands. As for his roll on this record, he was the only member who was not there for writing. I think a lot of people are confusing riffs/songs as his writing — as I’ve read inaccurate speculations in reviews, etc. online. He contributed a lot of guitar overdubs, vocals and noise/effects. The songwriting/riff writing was done entirely by me, Stavros, N. Imperial and Wrest.

Parker: Aaron was supposed to meet us for day one of recording, but he was opening a record around the same time, so we moved forward without him. After the first wave of dates we recorded and mixed the whole album, I think it was in like seven days or something. None of us were really happy with it, though. It just didn’t sound right. It was missing something. Everyone parted ways and went on tour and what not, after a couple months we decided to get everyone back together and try to make since of this horseshit. During that break, Blake had emailed the songs to Aaron and he laid down some guitar and vocal stuff. We reentered the studio, dumped in Aaron’s tracks and started reworking the songs, editing out some parts effecting some stuff. The songs took on a new vibe and attitude. We were all really into the new sound.

How did Stavros Giannopolous come to be involved?

Judd: He and I were working on material for a project we had talked about doing together a while back, and then we found out Wrest was going to be in Chicago for some time tattooing, and that’s when the decision was made to record this new Twilight record. I asked Wrest and N. Imperial what they thought of bringing him in (neither of them knew him prior to this recording), and I played them both some Atlas Moth material and they were into it. So I simply asked him if he’d like to join the band and take the material we had been working on together to the table. So that’s what we did, and I feel that it worked out brilliantly. He will definitely be involved on the next record

Do you think the mega-blockbuster book and film franchise that shares the band’s name has boosted awareness for the band at all? Or do you think it just confuses people? To me, it seems to make information about the band more difficult to find.

Judd: I have no idea and do not care. We were called Twilight before that s— started. I have no idea if the people responsible for that garbage are aware of our band, nor do I care.

Will there be a vinyl release for ‘Monument’?

Judd: Yes, Southern Lord will be releasing this shortly. The artwork is a little different. Aaron Turner re-worked the CD version and made the LP a bit different. The files I saw looked really cool, so we are all looking forward to seeing the end result, which should be out shortly as we received test pressings quite a while ago.

Will Twilight ever perform live?

Judd: There are talks of doing one U.S. show and one European show in 2011. That is yet to be confirmed, however.

Parker: There’s talk of playing a certain kick-ass European fest next year, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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