The fact that The Breathing Process set a benchmark back in 2008 for infusing symphonic black metal into deathcore coupled with the fact that their just released fourth full length, Labyrinthian, is their best yet is nothing short of impressive. In fact, there’s very little ‘core’ left to their sound other than a brutalicious breakdown here and there. It’s an album that steps on the gas just before the green light and doesn’t let off until the last second of its nearly an hour runtime and EPIC is definitely a worthy descriptor, particularly when the symphonic aspect of their sound trickles in around the edges. We recently had the chance to pose our Profile questions to guitarist Jordan Milner to get some insights so read on to see how it went down and be sure to snag a copy from the links contained within.
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
I was about 12 when I got my first guitar. Nu-metal was the big thing then. I loved pretending that I was in Slipknot and running all over my basement with their first album at full volume. I was every bit of their target demographic; angry, depressed, suicidal. Them and Deftones were the first bands that I really felt something from listening to. Falling in love with music made me want to create it.
I suppose success, particularly in art, is kind of subjective, isn’t it? We will always have goals as a band. We always have the desire to push ourselves as far as we can go. What I have gotten from playing music, writing music, performing music, releasing records, in a therapeutic sense, means more to me than any commercial success could bring. I love having commercial success as a goal to reach for, but it was never a requirement for me to be happy playing music, and it still isn’t today.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
A very long time ago, one of the first tours we ever did, we were on the west coast somewhere. Oregon, I think. This was before social media was a thing. Unsigned bands could just book full US tours with resources like bookyourownlife.org (jesus, I’m old lol). We had gotten a show in Portland with The Acacia Strain. We both came from the New England scene at the same time, so we were all friends with them. They were on their very first U.S. tour, just before 3750 came out. A few days after that show, they were playing in Kansas City. We had played Kansas City the night before and had a day off the next day. So, we figured, we’d go to the show, who knows, maybe the promoter will throw us on it. We got there right around when the other bands were arriving. We see The Acacia Strain and one of them mentioned that the other band they were touring with had dropped off that show. I found the promoter and told him “We got added to the tour to replace (said band).” TAS had no idea that I had done this. The promoter panicked because he had replaced them with a local band. He ended up adding us to the show as the opener. After that decision had been made, the local band that he added at the last minute pulled up. I had to watch this poor guy that I had just completely lied to go outside and tell this poor band that they had been kicked off the show. For my penance, we sounded absolutely horrendous, and I have never forgiven myself for doing such a shitty thing. lol
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
Great things in metal: I love that extreme metal is reaching heights that it never has before. Legit metal bands are getting Grammy nominations and winning them. Mid-level bands can make a legitimate living because the scene has grown so much. It’s an exciting time for extreme music. There are so many amazing albums coming out this year, and so many incredible new bands.
Worst things: Political debate.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
What we put into our music is our raw emotions. Everything, whether that be socio-political issues, our relationships, our daily existence, all affect us both positively and negatively. There is no one thing at a time that inspires our music. It’s more of an assembly of all of those things at once. We are able to channel that into different types of songs, which is why our music has never really been committed to any one thing as far as style goes. A lot has happened to our society throughout this whole pandemic thing. Hopefully, we will all learn from it and find a way forward.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
What got me into metal was pretty much being the stereotypical angry teenager. Only I wasn’t just angry. Your emotions are so heightened at that age because they are all foreign. They were all very intense feelings for me, to the point where I needed a lot of help to redirect my course in life.
When I was about 13, I had to spend a year in a juvenile detention facility. I was completely out of control. Skipping school, fighting, smoking and drinking etc. One thing about that place was that I was allowed to have a CD player in my room. I would sit there for hours just listening to albums like Slipknot’s ‘Self-Titled’, Deftones ‘Around The Fur’, Converge’s ‘Jane Doe’, Zao’s ‘Where Blood And Fire Bring Rest and Peace’ (to name a few). There was this college radio station that was near the place. Wednesday nights at 11pm they would play death metal and metalcore stuff until midnight. That’s how I really started getting into the underground of metal.
I was super “goth” in those days lol. Goth at that time was like Hot Topic, nu-metal, huge pants, black nail polish, hating your existence, etc. My mother thought I was turning into a devil worshipper or joining a cult and feared for my wellbeing. She eventually grew to understand that it made me happy though, and very much supported me playing music.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Honesty is the best criticism in my opinion. I personally love to hear what we can work on, or where we missed the mark. It helps us analyze our own music much better.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
Our goal is to serve as a beacon of hope for those like us. We all have darkness inside. We all need an outlet for that. That is what we are.
We do all have normal jobs. We all have lots of different hobbies! I myself (Jordan) and Dan are avid gamers! Chris is an aspiring author and has written several books. Sara loves the gym. Alex produces a lot of hip-hop artists in Florida. Bryan is starting a hilarious YouTube channel.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
Between all of us, we have a vast array of musical tastes. It’s really hard to narrow that down. A few metal albums I know that we are all currently listening to are:
Rivers of Nihil “The Work”
Signs of the Swarm “Absolvere”
Turnstile “Glow On”
Sleep Token “This Place Will Become Your Tomb”
Spiritbox “Eternal Blue”
Veilburner “Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull
Inferi “Vile Genesis”
Black Breath “Slaves Beyond Death”
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
We are hoping to get on the road as much as possible next year. Lots of things currently in the works that will get announced relatively soon!
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
Many thanks to Jordan and The Breathing Process for their time!