February 28, 2020 Interview – Adam De Micco of Lorna Shore
The past few years have not been kind to New Jersey’s Lorna Shore, and yet, they have inspired the band to turn out their most dynamic album to date, Immortal. Released on January 31st, 2020, the band’s Century Media debut sees core members Adam De Micco (guitar) and Austin Archey (drums) undefeated and still producing passionate, incendiary Metal. Taking their sound to the next level, the pair, along with Guitarist Andrew O’Connor, are proud to admit that they have refused to be bested by any hardship.
An album that begs to be heard, Immortal is nothing short of demonically blackened, deliciously wicked symphonic ambitions and epic aggressive intentions. De Micco recently sat down to discuss how he and bandmate Archey have weathered the storm, all things Immortal, upcoming tour dates, and much more.
Cryptic Rock – It’s no secret that the past few years for Lorna Shore have been very trying. You have had several key members depart the band, found a new vocalist, and then had to part ways with him after the album was recorded. In fact, there was a question as to whether the album would even be released. What have these past few years been like for you and Austin?
Adam De Micco – It’s been really rough, since 2018 has been really rough. It’s crazy, because in 2017 I think the band was on such a high. We released Flesh Coffin, then we did a lot of touring. Everything was going really, really well, and it was really awesome to see the fruits of our labor come to a point. Before Flesh Coffin we were struggling a lot, but with Flesh Coffin we had a lot of touring success and we were just feeling really, really great.
2018 happened and I think the morale of the band was a lot different. Tom [Barber] left and then the morale was really, really low. Thankfully, we found a vocalist, went into the studio and recorded new songs right away. So, the morale wasn’t that low for that long, because of the fact that we were able to get back on the horse right away and be productive. It didn’t really slow us down because we still maintained touring; we had touring obligations and we were working on a new record.
We kind of felt like, okay, we released these songs, people are really enjoying them. We did a headline tour last year, we were on Summer Slaughter. We were on the Fit For An Autopsy tour, we’re about to release a new record and we finally got a label. We were like, oh my god, things are finally on the up! We finally found a good home for the record, the record’s about to come out, we were shooting music videos. Everything was going in the band’s favor. Unfortunately, the album didn’t come out when we wanted it to, but we were like, screw it, maybe 2020 is a better year for the band.
2019 was a big year of putting the pieces together, and it felt really, really good; it was a more positive note and we were starting to see the upswing of it all. Then everything happened at the end of the year, and we’re like, damn, we’re back to square one again. So, there’s a common trend where we start doing well and things are looking good for the band, and then something will derail us. But, as always, we get back on the horse and make another positive stride. With breakdown comes breakthrough. At this point, I’m not opposed to having situations that are negative, because they always turn out in our favor—that’s where my head’s at recently.
Cryptic Rock – This all segues beautifully into Immortal, the title of which seems like an affirmation that the past few years have not beat you down. Was that the headspace you were in for the record?
Adam De Micco – Oh yeah, that’s totally true. After we experienced losing our original vocalist, Tom, we had a sense of confidence like we can’t be beat. Even though people are naysaying, we felt like we were still not bested.
We had thought of the album title “Immortal” before we had any of the other songs written. I was thinking that I wanted something short and sweet and to the point. I wanted something that you see it and you know what it is right away, not some long-winded explanation where there’s five words that make no sense. I like to be to the point.
It’s something I thought about at work. I was just trying to think of something that was, I don’t know, maybe a synonym of “immortal”—I just kept stumbling across that word. One day, me and Austin got together and he just mentioned out of the blue, “Yo, what do you think of this idea of naming the album ‘Immortal’?” I was like absolutely—I was literally thinking about this earlier this week at work.
From that moment we knew we were naming the album “Immortal,” because what’s more of a testament to who we are? Going into it directly, we are immortal and we feel, as a band, that no matter what the circumstances, we can still overcome. Having that headspace going into the record was a lot more certain than saying ‘I don’t know what we should name it,’ and having no purpose. I think that fueled the fire when writing the record.
In the studio we did feel really defeated, because right before we left for the studio we lost our other guitar player, Connor [Deffley]. It was like, okay, now it’s just me and Austin. Losing someone who’s been in the band for years definitely sucks—especially someone who you’re friends with. That definitely lowers the morale, if you will. It could have easily been a defeat. We could have thrown our hands up and gave up, but I think that we channeled that frustration, and whatever we were feeling at that time, into the record. I think you can sense that and the way that it was our outlet to use that as fuel for the record, as opposed to complaining or throwing our hands up and quitting. I think that’s a lot more useful!
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely, and the album is all the better for it. You can tell that you put all that frustration and passion into every ounce of the record.
Adam De Micco – I have students and they ask me “How do you channel your emotion?,” but I don’t really sit there and think that I’m going to write this to be that. It’s more so that if you’re just feeling it, when you make decisions on parts, it’s because you’re feeling something; like this sounds good when you’re feeling angry because it’s really speaking to your anger, or this sounds good because you’re feeling emotional or you’re upset. It’s not like I’m sitting down and going, okay, I’m angry, let me write an angry song. That’s inauthentic. So, I guess how it all came about was just us being honest, and we’re feeling this and it feels right because it was describing sonically how we felt.
I didn’t really ponder that until after the record. In the studio, Austin was dealing with certain stuff back at home. I got kidney stones. We were sleeping on air mattresses on the floor. It was the middle of February, in the middle of nowhere in Michigan, so we didn’t experience anything past 12-degrees. There was basically an ice storm every day. There was a lot of frustration going on, whether it was personally or environmentally or everything that was happening internally as a band, because there were also issues on the industry side. You can sense all of that and it’s a lot of fuel to write a good record, because we had a lot of resources to fuel those emotions; there’s anger, frustration, upset, sadness, discomfort, whatever.
Cryptic Rock – Obviously the record has been out for a few weeks now, what has the reaction been, thus far?
Adam De Micco — It’s been really overwhelming, honestly. I knew going into it that this was our best record to date, but I didn’t think it would have the same magnitude that people are referring to it as. This was our best record, in our opinion. The fact that people are putting it out there and saying, “This is the best album of the decade,” “This is the best album of the year!” It’s only January and people are already thinking that? It’s really, really overwhelming to have people think that much about what you’ve created.
We were just in competition with ourselves—let’s just outdo ourselves. We’re not trying to outdo anyone else, we’re not competing with any other band. We’re not competing with anything else other than we need to write a better record than Flesh Coffin, because we want to display ourselves as best as we can. That’s what we went into the studio with. The outcome being what it is, people are messaging us, tagging us, and telling us, and it’s just been very overwhelming, really humbling to experience.
Cryptic Rock – There is not a single negative comment on your Facebook or Instagram, which is unheard of on social media.
Adam De Micco – Yeah, I think the negative comments are for the other drama of the band; it’s not so much negative comments as far as the music is concerned. I’ve seen a couple, and that’s fine, but it’s so watered down with how much has been positive. Me and Austin always joke that the first week is when everyone loves the album, and after a couple of weeks of them listening to it, we start getting a bunch of negative feedback. So, we’re bracing for that, I guess, but we’re going to bask in all the positive feedback that we’re getting.
Every time I listen to records and I’m like, “This is, for sure, the album of the year,” it’s weird to think of my band being some other people’s album of the year. I couldn’t put myself in the same category with the other bands that I listen to, but it’s interesting that some people would do that same thing for us.
Cryptic Rock – Well, Immortal is a brutal but beautiful album. That said, let’s discuss some of the tracks more in-depth. Perhaps you can offer up some insight into the writing, recording, or anything noteworthy behind “This Is Hell,” fan favorite “Hollow Sentence,” the more melodic “Obsession,” and “Darkest Spawn.”
Adam De Micco – Actually, I’ll do it in order of how the songs were written. So, “This Is Hell” was the first song we wrote as a band since Flesh Coffin. That song went through multiple iterations, because that also was a song that we were supposed to do when Tom was still in the band.
Most people don’t know the story of how the album was written—we did two singles first with Josh [Schroeder], and then we went back another year later to do the other eight songs. Before that, we were doing two singles with our original producer Zakk [Cervini], who did our EP Maleficium, but it just didn’t work out. One of the songs was “This Is Hell.”
We rescheduled studio time and then went into the studio in May, and “This Is Hell” was a song that we had. My approach was that I wanted to write a very mature version of the band. I wanted to write something that was over-the-top, and I really wanted to have something that was kind of different from what the band has done. That’s kind of what came about, that was our first approach—Let’s try writing a really dark and mature song, and really push the envelope as far as threshold for what people are used to from the band. We tried doing everything that the band does, but kind of crank it to eleven.
That’s how that song came about, and that was also the first song that we put real effort into orchestration. Our friend JD [deBlieck], who was in Ice Nine Kills, he did the production on it, all the orchestra stuff. It was really awesome to create music with that in mind, because it really pushed that idea across. That really was the foreground for the rest of the record. To us, “This Is Hell” was a very modern-day version of Lorna Shore as a band; everything that you’re used to from the band just on eleven.
And then the next song out of the two singles was “Darkest Spawn,” and some of those parts were written for the two songs that we were going to do with Zakk. I had the chorus written and the cool story about that song is that we went into the studio with that song not put together. I basically had five parts written and I was like, okay, we’ll put this song together with Josh.
When we went in the studio with Josh, he was like, “Let’s just try doing a very basic Pop structure,” which is like verse, half-chorus, post-chorus, verse, full chorus, bridge, chorus and outro. It was a very simple, Pop structure orientation. I tried to follow his lead and his guidance, and I think that’s how that song came about the way that it did. It’s a very digestible, understandable song.
It’s also different from “This Is Hell” because it’s not as aggressive; it’s heavy-oriented and has a lot more emotion, as far as melody is concerned. “This Is Hell” is a lot darker and more aggressive, whereas I think “Darkest Spawn” is a little bit slower, a little bit heavier, and more melody-based. So, it’s two different songs, which is awesome to have two songs recorded at the same time that I think are different.
I felt the song was kind of lacking, guitar wise, and thankfully we didn’t put out the song right away, so I had time to add a guitar solo to that. I think that really changed the dynamic of the song; it took it from a good song to being a lot better of a song. So, yeah, that’s how “Darkest Spawn” came about.
“Hollow Sentence”—I’m going to be very biased because that’s my favorite song on the record. The purpose of that song was just to do everything that I like to do in our music, and just put it all into a song. A lot of the riffs, a lot of the melodies, a lot of the choruses, that, to me, is my depiction of what I like to do in our band. All the previous stuff that we did in the band that I’m like “I loved doing this,” I did that again, because why not?
My big focus was writing more of a Metal song as opposed to a regular Lorna Shore song. This was basically one of the first songs that we wrote for the record after “Darkest Spawn.” I was like let me try writing this without Deathcore in mind; let me write just a Metal song. I was perfectly fine with not having any breakdowns or heavy parts to the song—it just made sense to break things up. I really just wanted to write a Metal song based around melody that seemed over-the-top.
It’s definitely my favorite song just for the fact that it has all of my favorite elements of the band, and I wrote it with the intention of it being my favorite song. (Laughs) I just wanted to do everything that I love to do guitar-wise. Everything that I like to hear in music, I put it all in that song! So, “Hollow Sentence,” to me, is just me writing my favorite song. (Laughs)
The purpose of “Obsession” was to write a dynamic song on the record where it’s also different from the rest of the songs. Me and Austin were like we should definitely write some songs that don’t have any heavy parts or any breakdowns, to display the band in a different light. When it came to “Obsession,” I think myself, Austin, and Josh were not all on the same page, and we were all trying to do different things with the song. I was like why don’t we just write a bare-bones, simple, more emotional-based song?
If we’re going to do a quote-unquote emotional song, let’s really focus on emotion; let’s dive in headfirst and do an emotional song. Let’s not do any heavy riffs, let’s not do any technical parts; let’s write a bunch of parts that focus around expressing our emotions. Let’s really channel our emotions and do it to the full extent, as opposed to dabbling in it.
After we all kind of got on the same page it made the song come together a lot easier. It made sense to not put anything really heavy in it, and it made sense not to put anything technical. We’ve done moments that we do on “Obsession” in other songs on this record and on previous records, but never to the point that an entire song is based around that. To really paint a picture, have an ambiance and an emotional backdrop is something that we’ve never really committed to fully doing.
Cryptic Rock – Now, in March you’re taking the album to Europe for the Faces of Death Tour with Decapitated. This begs the question that I’m sure everyone is asking you: Have you found a new vocalist or will this be an instrumental set?
Adam De Micco – It’s not going to be an instrumental set. We have someone filling in for the tour. We’re excited to get back out there because we didn’t want the situation to slow us down, especially after the positive reaction to the record. It would really be worse to just sit around and do nothing, so we’re making sure that we’re keeping things going.
Cryptic Rock – So, what’s next after the European tour?
Adam De Micco – Because of the fact that we were unsure if we were going to do the European tour, we were putting the brakes on a lot of things. Now that we are guns blazing on this European tour we’re pretty much ready to continue to tour. I just really want to plan the rest of the year with touring as much as possible; touring in places we haven’t hit yet and really just push the record. Clearly people are having a positive reaction to the record and we want to bring that to a live environment, as well.
Cryptic Rock – That will be great. Now, 2020 marks ten years that Lorna Shore has been a band, and more specifically, October 7th will mark ten years since your debut EP, Triumph, was released. Are there any plans to celebrate either anniversary?
Adam De Micco – No. I think it’s cool that bands do that, that they go back to those records, but as a band we’re always thinking forward. I don’t see putting out a record like Immortal and then midway through our touring cycle be like, okay, let’s honor a record that not many people know about. I feel like that would just be doing a disservice to the band and doing a disservice to our current record.
Maybe we would consider throwing some of the songs into the set, but to really focus on it doesn’t seem like our agenda. It’s cool that other bands do it. I was stoked to be on the tour where Black Dahlia played Nocturnal in its entirety. I’m definitely grateful for bands that do that, but from our standpoint, we’re really focusing on our current work. It’s our favorite work and we just want to promote that as much as possible.
Cryptic Rock – Okay, the last two questions are just for fun. What’s the strangest or wackiest reaction that you’ve seen to the band’s music?
Adam De Micco – I think the wackiest or strangest reaction would be playing new songs live and people are mouthing the lyrics. I always felt like that was a really strange reaction. We played “Death Portrait” live on two tours before the song was released. We were on Summer Slaughter and I was seeing people mouth the lyrics, and I was like you don’t know the lyrics! I promise you!
Even when the song was out and you could hear them people were asking us for the lyrics, so how can you know the lyrics off of just seeing it live? I thought that was the epitome of strange. You don’t know these lyrics, so why are you doing this? (Laughs) Just have a good time—you don’t have to put on a front!
Cryptic Rock – Well, you know that they are really into the band if they are trying to know the lyrics!
Adam De Micco – Totally! I’m into the band and I don’t even know the lyrics! (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) Okay, last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, do you have any favorites?
Adam De Micco – Yes, I definitely am a Horror and a Sci-Fi fan. I loved Horror years ago, but not so much anymore. One of my favorite movies is a Horror/Sci-Fi film, which is The Thing (1982). I love that movie! It’s a movie that I used to watch all the time with my dad, and we liked it a lot. It’s a good movie but it’s also very comedic, not on purpose. (Laughs) It’s one of my favorite movies, because The Thing combines some of my favorite things: aliens, Horror and survival.
The Exorcist (1973) is another one of my favorite movies that I just thought was way ahead of its time. I think it started the trend of all these paranormal movies, and it did it back in the, when was it? The ‘80s or the late ‘70s. Yeah, it was way ahead of its time and it was super scary. It definitely touched on religion, which I don’t think a lot of movies in Horror were doing that. As far as mainstream movies were concerned, no one was really touching religion and using that as a basis.
That’s my two pinnacle Horror movies, but now I’ve just been into Sci-Fi more. I’m just really nerdy—I grew up loving Star Wars. I don’t know if that’s considered Sci-Fi, but that really started me being into thinking space was cool. (Laughs) I love the movie Interstellar (2014), that’s a great picture with Sci-Fi being the premise. It’s a well-done movie. I loved Interstellar so much. I loved the music score and that also influences me musically; the soundtrack showed how monumentally music can set a backdrop for pictures.