I AM HERESY: interview with Nathan Gray

NATHAN GRAY (Boysetsfire – I Am Heresy frontman) talks about the music, the style,
the philosophy, the viewpoints of I Am Heresy: apocalyptic black metal and hardcore
with Satan’s flavour.

1. When and why the I Am Heresy project started? What’s I Am Heresy message?
N- I AM HERESY formed around 3 years ago. I wanted to do something new musically, with a band that I could more freely express my religious/anti-religious viewpoints. The statement that this band makes is from a Satanist/atheist/anti-theistic viewpoint. We use symbolism, archetypes, and apocalyptic scenarios to invoke thought. We challenge spirituality, what I would refer to as the 3 major “white light” religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism), as well as the notion of good and evil itself. Not everyone involved is a Satanist, but we all have a very strong belief in skepticism, being ones own god, and questioning everything.

2. Hardcore, black and melodic metal, growling/melodic vocals and 3 guitars: it sounds like a dark, extreme formula. Your sound is really unique and unheard, keeping hardcore roots alive then mixed with rough extreme metal and the special touch of Nathan’s vocals. Am I wrong?
N- I am very glad and proud to hear that it comes off as eclectic as we feel we are. We try very hard to be ourselves, and stay true to what inspires us…Which hopefully keeps us from being too easy to define or categorize.

3. I confess: waiting the concert in Bologna of last april 2014 I’ve listened only to I Am Heresy for several months (I think 6/7 or so) and it was never boring, I find the songwriting really amazing.
At the moment there’re no bands sounding like you, this isn’t just black metal, hardcore metal, doom metal… whatever. Have you ever had so clear in your minds which stuff you wanted to play
in I Am Heresy?

N- Never. We just play what we feel is necessary and what moves us as individuals and a band. We all have very different influences that we try and I feel succeed in blending together to create something unique.

4. Did you guys get inspired from the Satanic Bible writing music and lyrics? With a few words: what’s written in that book? Did you read everything about that?
N- I (Nathan) most certainly did. I am a Satanist, and have taken a good deal of inspiration from The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, as well as The Satanic Scriptures by Peter H Gilmore. This is of course not where the inspiration ends, and I would find any band fairly boring that just copied and pasted the same rhetoric that they read instead of using the inspiration to create their own world of possibilities. If you would like to know what these books contain, I would recommend that you read them. Maybe you find your own thoughts and ideologies in the pages…maybe you don’t. Satanism is about the power of the individual to educate him/her-self, gather knowledge, and be the “god” of their own existence instead of looking to others…especially made up deities.

5. The satanistic topic is very clear and well exposed as long as your standing against Catholicism and the Christian Church. What’s the difference between being atheist and satanist? In your point of view is it necessary to be Satanist if anyone is just adverse to Catholicism? In my point of view I don’t think so.
N- Atheism is simply not believing in a deity. Satanism is Atheistic religion. It is never necessary that anyone join a certain group, sub-culture, or religion to fight against weakness, cowardly sky gazing, or abuse of power. Satanists do not proselytize, or try to convert anyone. You should be you, and find your own path. Satanists believe in a pluralistic society in which all our able to believe as they wish as long as they don’t push it in the face of others or become subsidized or promoted by governments at the expense of the tax paying public.

6. Skeptic and Satanism: what do they have in common?
N- Satanism is a religion based on being a skeptic. There are no gods to reward and protect us, and no devils to punish or torment us, so we better learn to grow up and fight for ourselves if we hope to evolve.

7. Well, don’t you think that the Satanistic Doctrine figure out like a “closed casta”?
I’ve realized that today Satanism and Occultism are getting just something cool.

N- Those who use satanic imagery to be “cool” or follow a trend will fall by the wayside soon enough. I do not concern myself with those people. If I see cool Satanically inspired artwork, often times I will ask the artist about their ideology. If it becomes obvious that they have no idea what they are talking about, I know that they are not worth my time…but really, isn’t that how most ideologies, social groups, and relationships work?

8. “The death of god, is the birth of human potential”: that’s true and It could belong also to Atheism; the human potential is something unbelievable. Explain more about this concept please.
N- It is an absolutely atheistic viewpoint. I find it detrimental to our evolution as a species to continue to create gods and “boogeymen” to do work for us that we can much more successfully do ourselves. Nothing fails like prayer, and nothing succeeds like hard work and commitment.

9. This is a personal question: what is about you and the early “philosophy” of Boysetsfire about communism/anarchism/fighting for rights/equality etc.? What is still there of that time?
Maybe the old Boysetsfire’s fans are thinking if you’re a different person right now.

N- I sincerely hope my viewpoints and ideology have evolved since my early 20s. I found myself in the pages of LaVey’s words because of my already hard felt beliefs, and who I have always been as a person. It is my path and mine alone. As I said, I am not here to convert anyone. I still believe strongly in standing up for your self, fighting against any system left/right/centrist whatever that wants to oppress you or I as individuals, and participating in the continuation of our human evolution. I feel very strongly that gay rights are currently at the center of this battle towards finding who we are as a species, as well as riding ourselves of every god we have created that mandates we convert, oppress, or change others by force or coercion.

10. Talking about your shows, there’s a real, true choreography, that’s cool.
How European fans have been this year? When will you come back to Europe for a new tour?

N- We have had a lot of fun creating even more of a show for those that want to check us out. Music has always been a ritual process for me, and we are now looking into portraying this “ritual chamber” atmosphere in our live shows. As sson as this tour with So Hideous is complete, we will be auditioning new drummers, and then I will have a much clearer perspective on where we will be from there, but we hope to be back over into Europe as soon as possible.

11. Are you ready to tour with So Hideous this july? How is going “Thy Will” in USA right now?
Are you working on new songs?

N- We are very excited. So Hideous is an amazing band, and really great guys also. Danny (their drummer) has stepped us to fill in on drums for us this tour, which will be so incredibly helpful.

12. Thanks a lot for your time, I hope to see you soon live, come back soon In Italy!
N- Thank you so much for this interview, and your support!