The sonic explorations one uncovers when encountering Ark Of The Covenant are as intensive as they are spiritual. Guaranteed to inspire as well as rip off your face, the music as presented by Ark Of The Covenant will make you want to take on the world at large. Their latest magnum opus Self Harvest has been unleashed through Facedown Records and it’s destined to finally place this hard working collective on the metal map. About to hit the road with Float Face Down and Bitter End, Ark Of The Covenant continue to deliver a positive message while inspiring ferocious mosh pits all across the nation. Here is an interview we conducted with one of the navigators of the ark to find out more about their dynamic new album, life on the road, playing Facedown Fest, and other topics of interest. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Ark Of The Covenant, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Dan Graves, I play bass, I also do vocals and the band has been around for almost 4 years now.
Where is the band based out of and what is the music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
We’re from the small north eastern state of Connecticut, minus our guitarist Brad, he’s from Rhode Island but they don’t really exist haha. The music scene in CT is pretty interesting. Like everywhere else venues have gotten shut down, bands broke up, rent went up, the economy crashed and all that took a toll on the scene as a whole. But more recently I’ve seen the CT scene start to breed a lot of new bands and it almost reminds me of when I first started going to shows 13 years ago so it’s quite exciting. For the most part though CT is a pretty elitist scene. You won’t see too many traditional hardcore kids at modern metalcore shows or anything like that. When it comes down to it though we all get along and have a mutual respect for one another and our individual Beliefs. CT bands to check-out: Forsaken (https://www.facebook.com/forsakenct), Currents (https://www.facebook.com/CurrentsCT), Hostage Calm (https://www.facebook.com/HostageCalm) and The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die (https://www.facebook.com/twiabp) Just to name a few.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Self Harvest?
“Self Harvest” as a whole isn’t a concept but the album itself has a couple songs on it that do tie together. But I guess the main theme of the record is simply as a believer your life isn’t perfect nor is it ever going to be. It’s a collection of songs that tell the life learnings and personal parts/thoughts of our lives. Alex and I really wanted to work hard to make these lyrics as personal as possible.
Select two songs from Self Harvest and what inspired the lyrics?
“Abandoned” the first track off the record is very personal to me, I wrote the song about a time in my life where my previous band of 3 years had broken up and I was the only one left from that band that was a Christian. Those guys were the people I grew up with in church and initially the way I got saved. The song is about a time where I was literally alone and calling out to God having no answer from him and just flat out questioning if he exists or not. “Why do we cry out? Why do we cry out to nothing? No sign in the stars, an abandoned body gone cold without your presence“.
“Self Harvest“, the title track of the record is a graphic look into a man on his death bed. Throughout the song he’s contemplating if his life was worth serving God or not. What’s profound in this song is that the man even mentions how these machines are keeping him alive and the process of his mind and body slowly dying. Then finally coming to the conclusion in his final minutes that he will always serve God and profess his name and then he dies. “His fire surrounds this heart slowly beating. This is the final harvest of my life“.
Who produced Self Harvest and what was it like working with them?
Our now guitarist, Greg Thomas (Misery Signals, Shai Hulud) who also did our EP produced our full length. Working with Greg is always amazing due to his cinematic view of writing music. It’s just mind blowing how profound his view of music is and just how he writes. I feel like every time we go there we always learn something new about writing. He really brought us together as induviduals and a unit after our guitarist Jacob left in the middle of tracking. Thanks to Greg we were able to make a record we never thought possible. I feel like every heavy band should make a record with Greg, it would make the world a better place haha.
Describe your music to a sweet elderly church lady who decides she simply must go to one of your shows.
I’ll say to her “Remember when you saw Elvis, and you thought to yourself ‘The way he moves on stage is so distasteful’? Imagine him pissed off and jacked on coffee.”
Any strange or scary happenings while out on the road or at a show?
On one of our first tours we played a show in South Haven, Mississippi and we got offered a place to stay at this apartment in Memphis, TN. To make a long story short the guy who invited us over had 5 people staying in a one bedroom apartment, was having a party with about 20 people in said apartment, guy who invited over slept in a small tent right next to the kitchen and we got no sleep due to all the drunk people and drunken drama/shenanigans. The next day we had to drive to our show in Oklahoma City and our drummer Mike was driving that day. We were all so tired we all passed out and Mike was driving over a bridge and dozed off. The van started going up over the barrier and Mike woke up just in time to turn back on the road before we went over. Needless to say that scared everyone enough to stay awake. Except for me seeing that I slept through the whole ordeal and woke up well rested at a rest stop haha.
What was the experience like playing Facedown Fest this year?
Facedown Fest is always an amazing experience. This year was no exception. Just a ton of love, family, fellowship and worship. We were all just extremely stoked on the fact that both days were at The Stronghold this year. Being a band that likes interacting with the crowd, The Stronghold makes for a great intimate experience with our fans. Jason Dunn has a large Family who has an overall goal of reaching out to kids who wouldn’t think that music like this would have such a positive message.
At this point, would you consider Ark Of The Covenant to be a Christian band or ministry. Why or why not?
Absolutely, I would consider us a Christian band and a ministry. We aren’t preachers by any means, we’re just a group of extremely nerdy, normal guys who have had a lot of life experiences and without Jesus Christ in our lives we wouldn’t be anywhere in life. We have a strong relationship with God personally but we don’t push it on people by any means. We want people to approach us as just normal people. Not band guys, not Christians, just normal guys they can sit down, have a beer with and talk about their lives with. We aren’t perfect guys by any means but I believe our message and what our intentions are as a band are genuine. We want to make relationships with people, if they have a problem with what we believe and want to yell at us at the top of their lungs, we want them to have that outlet to do so. We’re here to serve and be an example for any person that comes to one of our shows.
When you look back on your work on the previous EP Separation, what do you think of it now?
Honestly listening to that EP really makes me laugh every time I hear it. It makes me realize how long ago we wrote that music and how far we have come as writers, musicians and just individuals. I mean we wrote that EP in the spring/summer of 2010, I think some of those riffs were from late 2009, it’s hard to remember at this point it seems so long ago haha. My honest opinion of the EP is that it got us to where we needed to be, even though we weren’t really sure of what we had. We’ll forever be indebted to Andy Nelson, formerly of “Wrench In The Works“, for contacting Jason for us and thinking that we had the potential to be a part of the Facedown Family.
If you could open for any band either now or from the past, what band would it be and why?
We have had the discussion of the “Dream Tour” multiple times on this tour cycle and I believe it came down to Meshuggah, Deftones and/or Misery Signals. All of those bands have had such a strong influence on us not only as musicians but the overall atmosphere and tone to their music taught us how important it is that the music speaks as much as the lyrics. Plus if I got to hear “Be Quiet and Drive“, “Bleed” and “The Year Summer Ended in June” every night, my life would be made hahaha.
What’s up next in the summer for Ark Of The Covenant?
We got lots of stuff in the works, an east coast run in the works, a few festivals, there’s talks of a Canadian tour, so it’s look like it’s going to be a busy summer for AOTC.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thank You Highwire Daze for the interview and of course Thank You to our Fans! Hope to see all you guys soon and have some heavy hangs! And last but not least, Quit Your Band and Get a real job.
Ark Of The Covenant is:
Alex Vincelette – Vocals
Dan Graves – Bass/Vocals
Mike Hnath – Drums
Greg Thomas – Guitar
Brad Thibodeaux – Guitar
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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