Interview: Infant Island

Infant Island

On Friday, Infant Island will release one of the best records of 2024. “But Drew,” you say, “there’s only been 12 days of the year so far!” Trust me, I just know. Obsidian Wreath has been four years in the making from Fredericksburg, VA’s Infant Island. The quintet’s debut album on Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm’s Secret Voice imprint (the band’s third full-length album overall), Obsidian Wreath captures the how desolate and dark our modern world is against a furious, scathing back drop of hardcore, screamo, and post-rock, as the album’s ten tracks paint a picture of survival, anxiety, and community. I was fortunate to speak with vocalist Daniel Kost, guitarist Alexander Rudenshiold, and bassist Kyle Guerra about the album’s themes, creation, and more.

So I’ve been listening to the record for a couple of months now. I’ll get into some real questions, but I just have to say “Clawing, Still” is my fucking favorite song on that record right now. I like how that breakdown happens in the beginning of the song and just kind of sets the tone. I make the stink face every time I hear that song and I love it. It is just really aggressive. It’s a really cool Infant Island song. 

Daniel Kost: Thank you so much. It’s actually my favorite song on the record too. It’s really fun to play. 

It sounds like it’s really fun to play. It’s cool. It’s a pretty fast song too, I feel like for Infant Island song too. It’s under three minutes. 

Alexander Rudenshiold: Three minutes? Oh my God. 

Yeah. I think it’s like 2:43, but I might be wrong, but it’s in that range. 

Kyle Guerra: It’s probably only two minutes long when we play it live, we play that shit hyper speed live. Yeah, it’s a little challenging. 

I love the pacing and the sequencing of this record. I feel like the first couple of tracks are very heavy, very in your face, “Another Cycle” has another pretty heavy breakdown too, along with “Fulfilled.” Obsidian Wreath starts out heavy and then as it goes on, it spaces out a little bit and gives those moments a chance to breathe, like the track “Kindling” and the closing track, “Vestygian.” How important is that sequencing when you are putting this album together? 

AR: It is very important, personally, for me at least, and maybe Kyle and Daniel can speak to this too, but I feel like when we sketch the songs out, we sketch them out with an order in mind, so the entire time, it’s not like we wrote the songs and then put them in order afterwards. It’s like when the song is made, it knows where it’s supposed to be. There’s a place in the record for it that it goes from the start. So from the very first moment that the songs were written, or for this one at least they were going to be in the place that they are. 

KG: Yeah, I think the sequencing is very important because I mean, all the songs are cohesive and whatnot, but you were saying that it’s heavy at first, but then some songs get a little more chill and shit like that, and I feel like, yeah, making sure they’re all in the right place and they all take the listener to the next sonic location, I feel like that’s all important. I feel like it’d be less important if all the songs were literally just, I don’t know, just fast death metal songs or black metal songs. The sequencing would be less important, but they all sound like Infant Island songs, but they all also have their own little character to ’em, and they have their neighbor tracks that they need to be next to. 

DK: Yeah, I guess to add my little bit, I think as the vocalist role, it’s really interesting on how everything kind of fits together. Watching everyone kind of jam and figure out, oh, we’re working on this song, and then you get what you get out of it and then you’re like, oh, that sounds cool. We like that we’re going to formulate around this. And then the next song, it’s kind of like a story to me. So stepping in, I feel like I’m the last person kind of adding stuff after. I feel like the way we write records is I kind of come in and that’s when I write a lot of the lyrics or the vocals and stuff, and I kind of do the finishing touches. So I’m always really satisfied with how everything turns out, the order and stuff. I don’t know if there’s an algorithm or anything like a complete way we do that. 

It’s just kind of the natural progression of how we feel the record should go. And then there’s a couple of times where maybe we’ll switch things around, but I don’t know. I trust these guys to make it sound like the heaviest possible, and I think we’re all kind of on the same page with that. 

KG: I will say, I know one thing was purposeful with this record, and I’m surprised Alex didn’t mention it. Not that we really truly care what other people really have to say about our music, but a frequently said thing about Beneath was people said that it started really slow. There was the first track and then there was a noise track, and then so this time we were very purposeful, like, no, this shit’s just going to start  in your face and then we’ll get to the other cool shit later. 

AR: We’re receptive to criticism. 

Yeah, everything sounds super intentional on the record. There’s some heavy records you listen to and just sounds like just 10 or 11 songs put together. And I know when a record is intentional for me is when I can refer to each track by its title instead of saying, oh, I really like track six. That’s when I know it’s made an impact of being intentional and this record every single song has a really cool identity. While you say it’s still sounding like Infant Island, it’s really rad. 

DK: Thank you so much. That really feels great to hear. I’m glad. I don’t know, it’s nice to know that anyone enjoys our stuff. You’re awesome that that makes me feel really great. I’m glad. 

AR: Yeah, thanks for that. For real. I feel like, yeah, to build kind of on what Kyle was talking about as well, I think part of why the last record Beneath was so had so many sort of divergences in it, the noise shit at the front and then the ambient tracks, it’s trying to make it all make sense. But I think this time we wanted to, I mean I know I wanted to, when I was thinking about writing guitar parts, I wanted to make it all meshed together smoothly for the entire runtime. And I hope that’s reflected in especially the first half of the record where I think at many points we try to make it a continuous mix. The first two songs we actually recorded in one – it was just recorded once together and it’s one click track if you go back on the original demo files and things. And yeah, I think that that was from the start because of how people reacted to the last one. Part of what we wanted to do is, I don’t know, this is going to sound weirdly data driven if you look at the streaming numbers for the last record, people don’t make it past the second track, which is funny. It’s funny to me, but also I would like people to make it to the meat of the record. 

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I don’t know if this was intentional or not, but just the observation I had with the two pre-release songs you’ve put out with “Another Cycle” and “Unrelenting,” it’s like you’ve put out one Side-A track and one Side-B track, and I feel like that had to be kind of intentional to what you were alluding to. 

AR: Yeah, I mean, I think those are some of the more hype sounding tracks too. Part what it is. I don’t really remember how we came up with which songs we wanted to put up first. I think that Jeremy (Bolm) really wanted to put out “Another Cycle” first. 

DK: I think we all kind of agree too. I think for a lot of us our favorite songs on the record are the same ones like “Unrelenting.” So it just kind of seemed like, I don’t know, when Jeremy brought it up, we were like, yeah, we should release this. We love the whole record. But yeah, I don’t know, it just feels kind of a lot more, there’s a lot more focus on this and less start and stop as there was on Beneath and just kind of going through the whole thing without looking back. 

KG: So is kind of how we do our live sets now too. I feel like we’re very, it doesn’t stop even when we stop to tune everyone else is just doing some ambient or noisy shit. So it really does just kind of sound like one continuous thing. 

AR: That reminds me of when we started band I remember how we used to start all of our sets with the first song and these long three minutes of guitar swells and we really don’t do that anymore. 

KG: Well, that was also because coming from the other band that our drummer, and other guitarist and myself were in Small Hands, when we would play shows, people go outside and shit between bands. So part of that was just to, well, instead of telling everyone to come back in, let’s just start making noise.

Yeah. You mentioned Jeremy, this is being released on Secret Voice. it’s awesome that you’re working with him and his label. And obviously you put out “Aurora” on the Balladeers, Redefined comp that came out last summer. What’s the timeline with Secret Voice –  being on the compilation and then having this record come out on it? How did that all come together? 

AR: It was very fast.

DK: It was very fast on Jeremy’s end, but we were label hunting for a long time. 

AR: Yeah, we were trying to find a home for this for what, two years. 

KG: And then we literally got to the point where we were about to just say, fuck it, we’re going to self-fund it  and just put it out ourselves. And we kind of told Jeremy that and then Jeremy was like, “Hold on.” (laughs) I believe he was like, “let me see how well the compilation does. And then depending on that, I could probably do the album.” And he did the album. 

AR: I think I messaged him at the end of August saying, Hey, just so you know, we’re putting this out by ourselves. Fuck it. It’s been too long. And then he was like, “whoa!” And I think we wanted it to come out by November, which I guess was wishful thinking, but really stoked on how fast it’s been able to turn around, especially after the past few years where you hear horror stories of record lead times and stuff. 

Yeah, I remember a couple years ago, I think it was you and I who we were DMing about it, you’re like, this record’s done, but getting vinyl out is terrible and the industry’s kind of fucked and the overall status of the world is just shitty with touring. So obviously this record’s been written for quite a while and I know some people probably call it a pandemic record, but I don’t really sense it as a pandemic record other than it’s just written during that time. But I love how Infant island, just like you write these songs, you record them, but you don’t necessarily release ’em in chronological order – you just release songs when you feel like it’s time to release. It’s very similar with the releases in 2020 and you had the collected releases of everything, and then “Aurora” on the comp too. And then these songs are about are three and a half years old. So this, how do you decide what to piece together, what you want to release when you want to release it. Why was Aurora the song for the compilation? Just like take me inside the mind of Infant Island and putting records together. 

DK: Well, truthfully, correct me if I’m wrong, everyone else, but “Aurora” is a newer song than the whole album. 

AR:Is it, I can’t remember. 

KG: It is we recorded it with the other thing that’s not out yet that we’re still finishing, remember? 

DK: Yeah. We weren’t playing early versions of it live though, right? It had been circulating in the live show?

KG: No, no. We only started playing it live on that Greet Death tour.

DK: Yeah. Oh yeah, I guess you’re right. Oh man, that’s crazy. Everything just seems to have come full circle since Beneath, but I feel like Beneath is so long ago now in terms of where we were all at and our writing styles and just things we’re going through at the time. So I guess Aurora could have been on Obsidian Wreath, but I don’t know, it’s kind of a haze me at this point now.

KG: I mean I could explain why I feel like sometimes older songs and things happen out of chronological order. I feel like we had a similar thing happen with Beneath, and that’s why Sepulcher came out the way it did, where it’s like we make a body of work and we end up sitting on it waiting for it is time to come, but then while we’re waiting for that album or that project’s time to come, we start getting bored because we’re playing all these songs that are unreleased, that are technically new songs to listeners, but we’ve been playing them for years. So then we wrote Sepulcher and then we wrote that after Beneath was done, but then we had both of them finished. It was like an EP before Beneath, like surprise, here’s this. And technically these songs are newer than Beneath. And then like the same deal with the new record and “Aurora” and this secret extra third thing. We sat on Obsidian Wreath for so long and then we just started working on new things. And then Obsidian Wreath is going to have this moment, but then we also don’t ever really stop making music, whether it be in Infant Island or other musical endeavors. So while one thing is on wait, we make something else and then maybe that thing’s time to shine just happens to be a little earlier. I don’t know. 

AR: We also take a really long time to finish shit. That’s a personal failing of ours, but I think we have various levels of perfectionism among us, which especially Austin – our drummer…our drummer and multi-instrumentalist, let’s say. He spends a lot of time writing extra parts or like piano and stuff. And getting all of that in line can take a really long time. And that adds to the weird gestation period of our records, generally speaking. But I think this time was sort of a perfect storm where that, and then like label shopping and the way that was all fucked up by the pandemic and supply chain stuff, it’s like everything that already takes a long time for us because we want it to be right, took even longer. And it’s the sort of thing where because you have the opportunity for it to take longer, it takes even longer. It’s like, oh, well we don’t have anywhere yet, so let’s just take a little longer on this. Let’s just take our time with it and sort it out. And I think we also ended up being very patient through the process of this, and that means that when it’s time, it’s time. And until then.

And Matthew Michel also produced “Aurora” with you guys too? Is he just kind of an unofficial member at this point when it comes to producing Infant Island records? 

KG: I feel like after recording with Matt, what, three times now? Yeah. I feel super comfortable with Matt. Matt definitely knows what we’re going for and I love Matt’s mixes. I love Matt as a musician himself and all the musical endeavors he’s been a part of every record he’s touched too, besides ours. I think it sounds good. And I think he has fun producing us too, because we get, I feel like maybe at least at first, we definitely got him out of his comfort zone a little bit because we were doing things sonically that I don’t think he was used to putting his hands on, really.

AR: Yeah, I think this time he really got what we were trying to do on Obsidian Wreath. I remember having a conversation about the snare tone and he was like, no, because on Beneath we used one of his snares, a really nice snare. I’m talking out of my zone. I don’t know shit about snares, but I remember we were having this conversation about using this really nice snare on Beneath, and he was like, you should use this one and not yours because it’s going to sound better. And I think it sounds great on that record. I think it sounds great, but it was hard for Austin to play. I think he said it was hitting a pillow. 

KG: Yeah, he usually uses a piccolo snare and it’s a lot tighter and it’s easier for him to blast on. But on the other drum, it was a really deep snare and yeah, I remember him saying that on any of the fast,blasty parts underneath, he was like, “yo, I was struggling. I couldn’t really do it how I normally do. I actually had every single hit had to be like a hit.”

AR: But I remember when we were recording of Obsidian Wreath, Matt was like, “no, I get it now. I get this other snare sound. Now I understand why you do it because I’ve seen you all a bunch more times now and I think it’s going to sound better. We ended up using Austin’s piccolo snare, which he found in the back of a car in a junk yard at some point when he was in high school.

That’s sick. 

AR: Yeah, literally a junk snare, but it’s what he usually always play.

Yeah, the record sounds great. I mean, everything comes through really with a lot of good clarity. Nothing feels overpowered, everything hits really well. It sounds way better than I think Beneath sounded like you said you guys have that rapport now and it just took you to that next level. Beneath is one of my favorite heavy records, but I really do think this one just blows it out of the water. No disrespect to Beneath, but this is just such a great record. 

KG: Wow, thank you so much. I think everyone involved with both records leveled up a lot between both of them, not only us, but back to Matt, again – Matt produced and mixed so many records between the two records and upgraded recording gear and everything that even just from a production standpoint too, it’s definitely a 100% step up, too. And Matt’s production’s never been lackluster. I remember when we first recorded just the initial no-mixed recordings of Obsidian Wreath and listening to them being like, damn, this isn’t mixed. And it sounds better than Beneath already.

One of my favorite things when reading about Infant Island is how writers struggle to put you guys in a genre, which is always hilarious to hear what style of music Infant Island is on a specific day, which kind of brings me, I like the diversity of the guests you have throughout the record. I mean, you got Greet Death, .gif from god, Undeath, For Your Health. A bunch of different artists throughout  the spectrum of heavy and experimental music. And that just makes sense for an Infant Island record. How important was it to bring in this sense of community from all across heavy music into this record? 

KG: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a let’s bring a purposeful, I want to bring all these people in to this record before we did it. I think it’s just like we have so many friends that are really good at what they do that there would just be moments on the record where we’d be like, this person would be perfect here for this and this person would be perfect here for that. And they were down to do it. So it just kind of worked out that way really. And we just have a lot of really great friends and we love shining light on all of our great friends as most of them enjoy shining light on all their friends too. 

AR: So I feel also it was just kind of, I feel like we hit up (Andrew) Schwartz from .gif because we’re like, oh, it’d be sick if there were lows here. And Daniel does sick lows but to contrast them, you know?

DK: Well, first of all, Schwartz is awesome. I was stoked as fuck to have them on the record. I don’t know, it’s just for me at least, I didn’t realize that we kind of sprinkled in a bunch of friends throughout the whole record until it was kind of finished and I was like, holy fuck, look at all this company! But yeah, I think it worked out perfectly. Schwartz fucking killed it. I think they did vocals on “Another Cycle” and then maybe “Clawing, Still” a little bit. I can’t remember. I mean everyone, all these people are friends and I don’t know, I think it’s just less about getting the amount of people like features and stuff and just more like, man, I would love to do this song with somebody that I love their music. I think this works. It felt really collaborative and yeah, I’m just fucking stoked. I think everything came out so perfectly and yeah, Alex from Undeath did vocals, King Yosef did some vocals. Greet Death homies, I think For Your Health too. I dunno, these are all people we met on the road and on tour and have played shows with, so it didn’t really feel like a big stretch to ask them to be a part of something.

AR: I feel like a lot of people ended up in the gang vocal section on “Veil.” I remember we played a show with Closer in Pittsburgh, and we were all sort of blown away by literally every single kid in that basement was singing along to all of their songs. And it was such a cool vibe and we’re like, damn, I wish we had a part people could sing along to.

KG: We’re like, yeah, but then people have to be able to know what we’re saying.

AR: And there’s like, I don’t know, there’s no better part to sing along to than the gang vocal part. I mean, we haven’t played that song live and nobody’s heard it. We haven’t played that song before. 

KG: We played it live. Isn’t that has the bass intro, right? Yeah. Yeah. We played that on the Greet Death tour a couple times. We just cut the end short. We were like, I’m not trying to yell that gang vocals just like two of us for ever. 

AR: (laughs)It is been so long. I feel like part of what I was thinking of, because I ended up having to ask people to join in on that, well first of all, we met these people on tour and stuff. You brought up Undeath. We know Alex because his old band played our first album release show in Fredericksburg. So we’ve known him for a long time, and it’s crazy that Undeath has blown up the way it is. It’s fucking awesome. Part of what I was thinking about with the gang vocals was in high school I put up this punk band called The Black Sparks, and they had this sick ass – it’s like a DC high schooler punk band, but they had a really dope gang vocal part on one of their songs that had a whole bunch of their friends in it. And I had never heard anything like that before, and it was something that ethos-wise, I wanted to recapture and I don’t know, that was just what I was thinking about when we were talking about the part. So I think that was sort of a studio decision, thinking about doing the gang vocal park there. 

KG: Yeah, I just feel like we’re a very just community driven band in general that I feel like something like that where we have so many people in the scene and various scenes dipping their toes in tracks and stuff. I feel like that it really just comes naturally just because of how just the way we just operate on a day-to-day basis outside of the band too. 

Yeah, I was going to say, I like the gang vocal part on that song happens at a really cool point in the record. It’s literally the center point of the record. It recenters things before you get into the side B side of the more spaced out, slower songs, and it’s a really cool moment. It’s cool to hear all the people you had help out on that. 

Another thing that I find really striking about the record is the album art. It’s different from the kind of art you’ve had on previous releases. It feels very vibrant with the colors, but still having a darkness to it. I know reading the press release about Sarah Bachman did the art, and how did that collaboration with Sarah begin and what made it the band decide on this being the best visual representation of the record? 

KG: We’ve just known Sarah for so long. Alex, you’ve known Sarah longer than the rest of us, but I mean, I feel like I’ve known Sarah forever. 

AR: I mean, I think sort of background of this is work from a small town generally speaking, and the music community here is pretty tight. People who are around, and Sarah’s always been involved in the local music scene herself as someone who’s run shows and stuff. And now she also plays music now, which is sort of recent, has a song out on a comp or something now. But her brother is also – he’s one of the other people who’s a notable musician from Fredericksburg and they’ve always been into folk art and stuff from around here. She’s always been, but she really picked up this awesome art painting style and I dunno, I saw, I think we all had started seeing her talk about it more on Instagram and stuff. It just felt right because it is sort of like what you were talking about earlier, Kyle, we’re very tied to our local community.

KG: And also just the more we, the record kind of came to being done and everything. We just …not that everyone featured on the album is from Virginia, but just to us, all the people who had major hands in it and everything. It just feels like a very Virginia ass record. And Sarah also in her art and also just, she does a lot of research and I guess, what would the word be? Like anthropology on just a lot of Virginia folklore and things, traditions and old things. And she incorporates all that into her art. It just felt, yeah, it felt like when we started thinking about what we wanted the album art to look like, we were very…we wanted it to be very, we’re all Fredericksburg, we’re all really close to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Mountains and everything. We’re like, I want it to look like that. I want it to look like I’m stepping out or just driving down the street from where I live and just old rolling hills and just Sarah really captures that. I don’t know, just the whole, what it feels like to be out there.

AR: we say Fredericksburg, but especially the rest of the band are from further west and the area, Fredericksburg is just the closest city to stuff. So you drive out in Orange County, Virginia, and you do see the Blue Ridge. Fredericksburg is where everybody ends up, but you go further, you get closer to that nature, which is what Sarah captures so well. And she’s very also into  occult and Appalachian witchery and stuff and bringing those influences in is I think something that we all wanted as part of the aesthetic and ethos of the record. 

DK: To add one last thing, I was really excited to have Sarah a part of the artwork for the LP because one, I really love her style and her paintings. I’ve been following her art page for a while and it’s just spectacular. But I feel like, I think if I’m not mistaken, Sarah was like, she’s kind of been around since day one of our band, and I definitely remember her being at a couple of our early shows and I only met her, the only reason I had a relationship with her was that she was best friends with one of my coworkers when I moved into Fredericksburg, where I live now. So it felt like home. It felt like right. Also, her art is just fucking kick ass and it just felt good to have somebody that has seen us progress the entirety of our existence to come back and be like, this is where we are, we’re here. This is kind of like that our home illustrated in the album art. So I don’t know, I think it just felt right. 

That’s awesome. I really love the art. It really does exemplify the tone of what the record’s about and the vinyl variants matched really nicely with it too. And that first pressing is also pretty close to selling out too, which always pretty exciting to see. 

DK: Yeah, shout out Jeremy for helping us get this thing released for sure. I think it looks great, and I’m really happy that it’s almost out.  

Yeah, obviously Jeremy is a huge fan of vinyl so it’s no surprise how much love and care he puts into what he releases on his label.

DK: It feels really good to have somebody that really gives a shit about the art they put out and help see it through. I dunno, I love Touché Amoré and Jeremy’s bands for upwards of 10 years now. So just to have him involved in anything at all is, I mean, I don’t, fuck man. I don’t know what to say about it. So I’m really proud of this record that we wrote and it’s my favorite record that we’ve ever done. So to have that at the culmination of somebody that I look up to help us put it out is just like, I mean, I don’t have words for it, it’s just so fucking awesome.

You got like a small run of shows in the new year then that recently announced that ZBR Fest in Chicago. What kind of new songs are you excited to play that maybe you haven’t played before or forgot that you played before? 

DK: I’ll give you two answers. I’m excited to play “Clawing, Still” every night. That’s my favorite song to play. It’s kind of difficult, but it’s just really fun. It’s really heavy. I think it kind of glosses over everything we do in the record. At some point in the song, there’s lows, there’s fucking crazy guitar, there’s insane drums, everything, bass slaps. And then I’m also really excited to play the last song if we decide a way to figure that in, because I think it’s the song we haven’t played at all or played the least – “Vestigian.” It’s really, I don’t know. I’m intimidated. So I want to get that fleshed out and see how that goes, and hopefully people respond to it in a good way. I love that song as well.

AR: Yeah, that song is going to be the hard as fuck to play. (Laughs)

I like it. It reminds me of early Explosions in the Sky, some of the musical parts of that song, the way it builds. 

DK: Yeah, I can see that for sure. Yeah. That’s awesome.

AR:  We actually have, I think a bunch of touring plays the year sort of coming together Sick. Yeah, we have, I think it’s going to be a whole month around ZBR Fest, so keep an eye out for that. 

In a perfect world, what are you hoping people take away from this record? What looks like success for Obsidian Wreath to each of you individually and collectively? What’s success for Sepulcher in 2024 with this record and beyond? 

AR: That’s hard. Maybe people listening past the first song (laughs). I don’t want to see the Spotify numbers drop after a noise track again. 

DK: I don’t know. It’s just a wild time to kind of ponder where we’re at now and just any success we’ve had. I just think the fact that this band’s still going and that we all are still deeply passionate about creating art together is…that’s the thing I’m most happiest about. And everything that comes after that is just a cherry on top of the cake. Not to sound cliche, but yeah, I don’t know. Like Jeremy, putting our stuff out is a huge check mark for me and just being able to play ZBR Fest at the beginning of the year. So I don’t know, I guess to sum it up, just if people come to the shows and enjoy the record – that would be a perfect scenario for me. I just want to keep doing this thing. 

KG: I really don’t really know how to fully answer either too, because I don’t know if I just set my bar low, but this band’s already checked a lot of things off my list for me. So it’s like, don’t really know. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know…every opportunity that we’ve had and been given, it’s always just been, I guess, a surprise. I’m like, oh wow, really? That’s really awesome because we just should feel like five dudes from a small town doing stuff. I feel like it’d be cool…I feel like success to me would be, I like how the band takes me places I’ve never been nor ever really had the opportunity to go to. So I think success off this record for me would be like, if it gives us the opportunity to go do Europe and go to Asia and other places. I’d like to see the world more. What do I want people to take away from the word though? I don’t know. I feel like, Daniel, what would you say to that? You are really the lyricist (laughs).

DK: Oh, I’ve always enjoyed records that kind of leave the listener up to interpret it as they will and get whatever they need to get out of it. It’s a fast, heavy, aggressive record. I would say probably our most of all that. So I hope it moves people and helps people connect in some way for how  lost a lot of people feel in this day and age. I hope people like it and it get something out of it. That’s the best scenario if anyone told me that I’d be fucking stoked. It’s such a personal piece of art and work that we’ve done.

I mean, this is one of the records where I’m excited to write about, I don’t write as much anymore. I don’t do as many interviews anymore, but when I heard this record the first time, I knew I had to get Infant Island for an interview and have to write about this record.I listened to this at least three to five times every week since the beginning of November. It’s incredible record and I’m really excited for fans of the genre and heavy music and of Infant Island to hear it. I’m just really excited to see what people write about it, what people say about it. And I think your band deserves a lot of those accolades. It’s been really moving for me. So I know it’s just one opinion, but it’s probably going to be one of the best records of 2024, which is crazy to say right now because Alex and I were talking about list season before everyone else had hopped on. I could say with a shadow of doubt, this will probably at least be in my top 10 next year. That’s how much this record has impacted me in the short time I’ve been able to listen to it. 

AR: That means a lot. 

DK: Yeah, seriously, thank you so much. Yeah, fuck. That makes me really happy. I mean, we love making records. We love people hearing about if they like it or not, but at the end of the day, these records are for us too. We make art because we have to make art. It’s what we do, what we’re passionate about. So the fact that you said any of that is fucking incredible to me because I’m really happy with it and I didn’t know how people were going to take it. It is a lot different from our previous ones, the self-titled, Sepulcher, Beneath, you name it. So any positivity is just astounding to me. I’m really, really lucky to have people like you and to ask us these questions and fucking give a shit, man.  That makes me feel great, and I’m really happy to even be involved in anything at this point. 

AR: Yeah, I feel like, I don’t know, I’m glad that, I mean I hope people connect with it at the same time. I feel like this record more so even than the previous ones, for me at least, comes from a really dark time and place. And I think we’re still living in that dark time and place. And I don’t know, at the same time as I hope people connect with it, and I hope it makes people feel less alone in this crazy fucking age that we live in. But the fact that people do connect with it if they do, is also sort of depressing.

DK: I think that’s my true intention with it, is to connect with people on it through however they see fit and just like, yeah, they’re not alone, but I dunno, I didn’t want it to appear as an apathetic, super isolated record. I kind of wanted at least lyrically to make people feel empowered for how fucked up shit is and how hard it is just to be alive sometimes. 

KG: So I feel like a lot of the record is also just finding your own personal peace and pockets of beauty in the chaos, watching the kind of world burn around you, but not trying to completely lose yourself in the nihilism. Just getting lost in nihilism and like, yo, everything’s fucked. It’s just going to keep being fucked and shit’s been fucked, still is fucked, but keep your head up. Keep pushing for that world that you and your friends paint.