True to the doom genre, North Dakota’s Egypt have been on a slow burn lately, and they are threatening to burst into flames. Formed in 2003, they released their first full-length, Become the Sun (Review), in 2013, and continued to pick up steam with 2015’s Endless Flight (Review). Now, the band has released Cracks and Lines (Review), a five-song EP culled from the recording sessions for that last album. Jason Z caught up with Egypt frontman Aaron Esterby a couple of weeks ago to talk about the new release and the future plans for the band.
You guys have an EP coming out soon. What’s the scoop on that? New songs? Cover songs?
Yeah. We have an new EP/LP/album, whatever you want to call it, due to be released on June 20. The title of the record is Cracks and Lines. Most of the material on it was written during the Endless Flight sessions and was kind of sitting in various stages of completion. It’s five-track album that covers a good amount ground for a 40-minute record. Some ground we haven’t really covered before. It’s not some wild departure or anything, but there are a few things that might be a bit unexpected. We’ve never really felt like we should be tied down to any sort of genre or sub-genre of music or whatever. We don’t focus on trying to be heavy for sake of being heavy. What happens, honestly, just happens with us.
The album consists of four new, original songs and a cover of the KISS song “Watchin’ You.” Easily one of the best KISS songs. We hope our version does the song justice.
Also, we recently recorded the Thin Lizzy song “Suicide” for a killer Thin Lizzy tribute compilation that will be released on a new label called Glory or Death Records. Tons of great bands on this comp … High on Fire, Mos Generator, Mothership, Wo Fat, plus a bunch of other wicked bands. Super stoked to be a part of it. The Kickstarter campaign recently wrapped up on it, and I think they raised somewhere in the realm of three times the amount they were asking. Pretty rad stuff. I think it’s slotted for release later this year.
You also have another European tour coming up this Summer. You really excel across the pond. What are your likes and dislikes about Europe?
We are super excited to be heading to Europe for the third year in a row. We’re are so lucky to have opportunity to tour over there. The crowds everywhere have be great. The hospitality is off the charts. It’s a completely different world as far as supporting music over there. People seem to genuinely care about it. I’m not trying to rip the U.S., because we’ve played some fantastic shows here at home. But, there is something special about playing over there. As I said, we are fortunate. Never in a million lifetimes would I have imagined that our music would have allowed us an opportunity to do this sort of thing. We are extremely grateful.
Any plans on a North American tour in the future? Any big gigs planned?
That was the plan this year. Europe came knocking and it was hard to say no. We haven’t toured extensively in the U.S. at all. It is something we really need to do. It can be difficult. We are pretty much a part-time thing, unfortunately. Everyone has a families and jobs. It can be hard to align the time to put a tour together. It will happen. Maybe not this year, but soon. We promise.
Other than Europe on the horizon, we have been given the opening slot for Ghost here in our hometown of Fargo, N.D. That should be pretty cool. We get to play a bigger local venue. Looking forward to that one.
Tell me about coming from a small market town like Fargo? Does it make touring and recording an obstacle?
Fargo has been good to us. People like to complain about it, but I think the scene here is great. The local underground is full of talented musicians and great bands. Gorgatron, SOTOS, Brutalur, Benefactor, Demifiend, Go Murphy… the list of fantastic local bands could go on and on. If I had to complain about something it would be lack of venues and, of course overall level of support. People still don’t like paying a cover, and just like Anyothertown USA, the majority of the population wants to hear a bad band playing bad covers of bad music.
As far as recording goes, it has zero affect on us. (Guitarist) Neal (Stein) is an engineer, and we have our own studio/rehearsal space. We’re covered on that front. Touring can be a bit of hassle because we are kind of in no man’s land, but bands from around here tour all the time without issue. Just have to put a few more miles in.
Do you think being further away from major markets has contributed to the Egypt sound?
I don’t think so. We just do what we do. Like any other band, our influences subconsciously dictate what we do. This day and age no one is really far away from anyone. Everyone is a click away. Deep.
Where did the Egypt name come from?
I’ve been asked this one quite a few times. There is nothing deep or spiritual or anything. Just thought is was a cool name. At the time I wasn’t aware that there was another band named Egypt from the U.K. A cool band with ex-members of The Groundhogs. If I had known that, we never would have used the name. Also, I never really imagined that our music would have been heard by anyone outside of Fargo, so (I) wouldn’t have thought the name mattered at all. We’re kind of stuck with it now. Could be worse.
Egypt will play KVLT BP in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday, July 8. The band will also play Red Smoke Festival in Pleszew, Poland, on July 14 with Kadavar, Acid Witch, and more. Check out the full roster of European dates below, and buy Cracks and Lines here!