Cognizance's Alex Talks Inceptum Release, the Band Behind It, and the Future

UK death metal act Cognizance have been hard at work writing and recording for their latest and newest EP addition "_INCEPTUM". Guitarist Alex Baillie discusses the EP, some insight on the band, and the future plans ahead!

1. What type of band are you?

Alex: We are a modern extreme metal band. But I guess our style fits the bill for Death Metal.

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Alex: The three of us come from different cities/parts of the UK. But pretty much everything we do is at Henry's place in Leeds or Phil's place in Newcastle. I live out in the middle of nowhere near York.

Leeds used to have a pretty busy metal scene, most of the big metal tours would have a date in the city but from 2010 this deteriorated pretty quick.. Poor turn outs to shows and venues closing down have pretty much signed off Leeds getting all that many badass metal tours. They usually go to Manchester instead, which isn't that far away.

However Leeds still has Damnation festival and Ghostfest which are two pretty big metal festivals. They usually both sell out and have some cool bands playing.

3. What is the story behind the name, Cognizance, if there is one to tell?

Alex: Henry and myself spent ages searching for a name that sounded cool, wasn't a pluralized name (yawn) and had a fitting meaning behind it. I stumbled across the word Cognizance in a book I was reading at the time. I liked the context it had been used in  and I thought the word sounded bad-ass when spoken out loud. The name was finalized after all of Inquisition had been recorded and we needed a band name for the artwork.

4. Who are your musical influences?

Alex: We each listen to a wide variety of music and bands. But for me personally as a guitarist writing this style of music my biggest influences have been; Metallica, Megadeth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cynic, Extol, Necrophagist.

5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Alex: Our songs have varying different concepts and subjects. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Deep Geological Disposal- This song is about disposing of nuclear and transuranic waste deep into the earths crust. It addresses the consequences of our energy-hungry lifestyles and the implications of storing the waste using this unsustainable method (although we have limited choice). The lyrics can be found in this YouTube description of the song:

The Succession of Flesh- The lyrical theme in this song is about the connection between humanity and it's exponentially evolving creation; technology. We live in an age where technology can be viewed as an extension of our consciousness, yet some people still refuse to acknowledge how this can benefit us as a species.  A cognitive philosopher called Andy Clark wrote a very insightful (and painfully complex) book about this, it's called 'Supersizing The Mind'.

You can check out the lyrics for The Succession of Flesh here;

6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Alex: Yeah we write our own songs. I'm pretty much a hermit when I'm not at work so usually all I do is play guitar/write music. It usually starts with a couple of riffs I've been working on, I'll track them in, fire up some drums in EZ drummer and then flesh out the song from there.

The arrangement usually takes me quite a while and the other guys will let me know if they think the arrangement sucks or not. For me this is the hardest part of songwriting. Once the arrangement is finalised and I've programmed some rough drums. We'll look at putting some bass tracks to the song, followed by the lyrics.

Henry has the fun task of trying to vocalize my lyrics to the song and fire in the phrasing blind on the spot. We have done this for pretty much all our songs, it seems to work for us and gives him a real hands on creative approach to his vocal recording.

7. You have your new EP release "_INCEPTUM", what can people expect from it?

Alex: People can expect some intense hard-hitting material, with melodic riffs and solos in there to compliment Big Macs demonic vocals. Alongside this Alex Rudinger laid down some crazy drum tracks which compliment the technicality of the pieces without being too over the top.

8. If you had to pick one song off the new release, to show someone to introduce them to your music, which would you pick?

Alex: With it being a two single release it's a tough cookie to choose which song would be a better representation of the band. Although I'd probably go with The Succession of Flesh. It's a slightly slower song for us, a less complex arrangement and has plenty of melodic hooks in there. I'd say that would be a good starting point for a new listener.

9. How does it feel to have yet another release under your belts and added to the Cognizance name?

Alex: It feels tight.

10. Did you guys have any leftovers from this release that will be used for future releases or have you gone forth and already written material for future purposes?

Alex: At the time when the songs were finished for recording that was all the useable material I had written. Although since then I've got around 5 songs in the works, 3 of them fully written.

11. How about shows and touring, what can we expect to see from that side of you?

Alex: That's the million dollar question for the three of us. We are unsure on the touring front at the moment, mainly due to the incomplete line up. We would love to play a summer festival or two in 2015 to show what we got!

12. What do you guys have planned for the unforseen future?

Alex: More songs, more merch, more recording, more projects and musical ventures with Cognizance.

13. Anything else you'd like to add or would want to say?

Alex: Thank you to everyone that's supported us - from liking a status to buying some of our merch. We run this show ourselves so we couldn't do it without you guys, thank you all!

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