Two of Arizona's heavy metal finest are undergoing a shakeup. Nate Garrett announced in an interview with Metal Injection that he is parting ways from death metal masters Gatecreeper, focusing his energies on his critically acclaimed doom passion project Spirit Adrift.
Drummer Marcus Bryant will remain with the band, while Eric Wagner and Chase Mason will exit Spirit Adrift to concentrate fully on Gatecreeper, having released their highly acclaimed sophomore album Deserted with Garrett on guitar this past October.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg…
Spirit Adrift is primed to re-release their critically acclaimed debut album Chained to Oblivion on March 27th through Prosthetic Records (pre-order here!). Garrett further added that a brand new Spirit Adrift record, less than one year removed from their third album Divided By Darkness, is currently in development and expected to drop in 2020!
Check out our revealing interview with Nate Garrett on the future of Spirit Adrift, split with Gatecreeper and much, much more!
On Amicable Split with Gatecreeper and Re-Shuffled Lineups
2020 we're splitting the band up. This is the year that we finally had to do it. Eric and Chase are going to continute on with Gatecreeper and then Marcus and I are doing Spirit Adrift. Gatecreeper has got a new live guitar player and we've got a new live bass player and guitar player.
Eric and Chase write the Gatecreeper stuff and they started that band. I write all the Spirit Adrift stuff and I started that band. It just kind of went without saying. We just reached a point of diminishing returns. For awhile it was cool and it was working, but I think we reached a point where both bands were suffering by sharing the members. We're gonna be two separate entities moving forward.
I don't know if I'm far enough away from it to really have a lot of perspective on it. I'm glad I got to play on that record and I'm glad I got to do that last tour. We handled everything the right way. A few of us had been talking about splitting up the bands for a really long time and then we just had an adult conversation about it, and everybody handled it really well. That last Gatecreeper tour was awesome. Exhumed, Netcrot, Judicary, all of those dudes are really, really cool. I got a lot out of that tour, so I'm glad to have gone out on top in that band.
On Re-Issuing Chained To Oblivion
The whole idea for the reissue came to me…I just had YouTube going in my house, just playing random metal songs and one of the songs from (Chained To Oblivion) came up. And usually I can't stand to listen to my own music. I hadn't listened to that album since we released it, but I heard the song and I was like, this doesn't suck at all, this is better than I remember. It was cool to kind of revisit it with some distance. I just kind of remember it was an extremely difficult album to make. Not just emotionally, but logistically. It was me and one other guy who was engineering and producing and he sang some backing vocals and did some alternate percussion and stuff. We were just locked in the studio. We stayed awake for I think like 30 hours straight on the last two days to finish it. So it was brutal man. It was really intense in a lot of different ways. I think it kind of flew under people's radars. So I just had the idea of reissuing it.
A lot of people still tell me that's their favorite Spirit Arift album, which is pretty cool … It's interesting that still after several releases that a lot of people seem to really relate to Chained to Oblivion. I want to particularly mention Jesse Jacobi who did the (all new) artwork because it's stunning. And he and I share some pretty profound experience that is directly related to Chained to Oblivion. So I didn't know that when I asked him to do the artwork, so it was a very serendipitous, cool kind of thing that he had a direct insight to the themes of the album.
On Connecting with Listeners
It does blow me away. I work really hard and I think that consistency in the music can be attributed to the fact that I don't really care about anything else except for the music at the end of the day. At the beginning of Spirit Adrift when I first was doing the E.P., I remember going to Tucson to see Yob, and I talked to Mike from Yob about a lot of different things. And he gave me, as usual, some really strong wisdom and advice and he talked about how success in the terms that most people would measure a band success, those facets of success can actually detract from the most important thing, which is creating art and creating music. The more you get locked into the business side of things, press and agents and managers and touring, that can actually become a detriment to the music. That stuck with me.
I've always kind of been hardwired that way, that the music itself is not just the top priority, but the only priority, that nothing else matters to me other than the music. Everything else is a byproduct. So that being said, I have been completely blown away that it's connected with so many people. That's the real goal. Tours are cool and press is cool and year-end lists are cool, I guess. But all of that to me is indicative of what's really important and that's making music that connects with people and helps people the way that it helps us.
On Evolving and Changing Sounds & Influences
Spirit Adrift, I'm starting to realize, is always going to be completely reflective of where I'm at personally when I'm writing the music. The early stuff, I was in a certain headspace and dealing with certain things and the music is reflective of that. As I kind of like regain my footing in life and regain some mental energy and I get some spiritual energy and that sort of stuff, the music I think is a little more energetic. I really started to revisit all of this stuff that first got me into metal, which was Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, that sort of stuff. That's the stuff that got me into metal. That's still my favorite stuff. That's still the best stuff. I mean, they invented it and they perfected it. I like all kinds of different more recent bands.
High on Fire has always been a huge influence there. I'm of the age that I was like 13 or 14 when they were first starting to put out albums. So I was listening to Black Sabbath and these older bands and I was right at the right age to discover High on Fire as they were like first becoming a band. So I have a very special connection to them. I would say that High on Fire and myself, we share a lot of the same influences. There was always a big connection there I really understood from day one. Even a band like Crowbar is a big influence. Crowbar has really slow stuff, but they have really fast stuff too. So I've never been one to care about like rules or subgenre or anything like that. I think all of the best bands are just what they are. They kind of carve their own path and they're not beholden to any rules or subgenres. I think that's just what I'm naturally inclined to do is whatever I want to do.
On a Return to Epic, Long Tracks
Again, I think it's reflective of my headspace at the time. I always set these weird kind of arbitrary goals for myself just to keep things interesting for me and fun for me during the songwriting process. And I had an idea going into Curse of Conception that I had a very specific artistic goal that kind of made it impossible to write super long songs if I wanted to achieve this weird goal that I set for myself. It wasn't really an option to write songs of that length. And that idea continued and evolved on Divided by Darkness. So yeah, I would say the more concise songs are both a reflection of where I was in my life and also kind of just a result of setting some specific artistic goals that I was trying to accomplish. That being said, the album that we're working on right now has a song on it that is I think like eleven and a half minutes. So don't ever think that you know what to expect with Spirit Adrift.
On Lineup Changes Impacting Studio/Live Performance
As far as studio stuff goes, it's not really going to change there because Marcus and I play on this newest record and then his brother also contributed some keyboard parts. And that is exactly how we recorded Divided by Darkness. Marcus on drums, me playing all the stringed instruments and doing all the vocals and his brother contributing synth. It's exactly the same. Before that Jeff had played on some material and then before that it was just me. It doesn't alter the studio stuff at all. We will have a live guitar player and a live bass player. Not the album that we're working on for 2020, but in the future, I could imagine our new guitar player contributing to recording and possibly even songwriting as well.
On the Passing of Reed Mullin and Upcoming Tour with COC
Man, what a tragedy. That almost happened to me. So I really feel for him and his family and everybody that loved him. And I loved him. I didn't know him personally, but I heard Animosity when I was 13 and it fucking changed my life. But that tour is still happening.
We have more live stuff. We just confirmed Migration Fest. We're probably going to be doing something pretty big in December. We're gonna take it one thing at a time. We've got guys for this COC tour that's already ready to go. We're getting older and we're responsible guys. I certainly value in myself my life responsibilities. I'm married and I want to be the best that I can be in all areas of my life. So with touring and with recording and stuff, I want to make sure it's the best possible stuff that we can be doing, because I don't want to be neglecting certain areas of my life unless it's really worth it. Moving forward we're gonna be busy, but I definitely want to be more selective about what we do and make sure that everything that we're doing is awesome, you know, because life is too short to be doing stuff that you don't want to do.
On Upcoming New Album in 2020
Our new record will be out in 2020 for sure. I didn't even intend to write a new record. And in fact, I didn't want to because Divided by Darkness took so much out of me. It was really difficult, really challenging. And a lot of that was self-imposed challenges. So, yeah, I didn't even mean to write a record but seriously every time I picked up a guitar I was writing my favorite riff that I had ever written. Riffs grew into more riffs, which grew into songs and suddenly I realized that it probably wasn't something that I wanted to relegate to an E.P. or a seven inch because it was all really good. And then more kept coming out. And then when I realized it looked like I was working on another album I started to really buckle down and I started approaching it as I approach an album, which means throwing a lot of stuff away. The timeline for the fans looks a lot different than the timeline does for me. What seems like a fast turnaround to the fans isn't necessarily a fast turn around me because it all depends on when I start writing. And the turnaround is about the same as they've always been for this album. And if anything I might have actually worked on this one even longer than the last one.
No one has any reason to believe dudes in bands when they say that their new album is the best album they've ever done because everybody says that about every album. If I said this is the best album we have ever done there is no reason for anyone to believe me. But what I will say is it's definitely my favorite album that we've ever done. And it's not even finished yet.
I will say that there have been objective improvements in my singing, in my playing and my songwriting, and there have been objective improvements in Marcus's drumming. And I have watched him, over the course of the past six months, put himself through boot camp, and he is playing better than he ever has and I'm playing better than I ever have. And I'm singing exponentially better than I ever have. But the songs are purely subjective. Like whether or not you like a song is purely subjective. But I definitely know that we're playing and singing better than we ever have. And we've both been through some pretty rough stuff in the past six months. His dog died and then my dog died in January. They were like our best friends, you know. So I think the emotional power in this album is like unmatched with anything else we've ever done.