Seattle’s thriving music scene has churned out a number of influential artists over the years, that much is undeniable. But one of its best kept secrets will soon no longer be a secret at all. The “secret” in question is the monolithic doomgaze outfit He Whose Ox Is Gored. Their eclectic style merges ethereal shoegaze and electronic textures with bellowing sludge and doom, with a dash of mathematical complexity and post-hardcore drive thrown in. Constant sonic refinement over the span of their relatively short existence culminates in one of 2015’s most interesting releases, The Camel, The Lion, The Child. The enthralling full-length caught the attention of many publications, who in turn praised the album’s songwriting, composition and overall style. American Aftermath recently caught up with keyboardist and vocalist Lisa Mungo to discuss the new record, future endeavors and more.
Hello! Could you please introduce yourself and your role in He Whose Ox is Gored.
My name is Lisa Mungo. I write/play synth/sample parts, yell inaudibly, and occasionally hit a few correct notes singing in this band.
How did He Whose Ox is Gored come into being?
Brian (guitars/vocals) and I worked at a music store together. We shared our solo work, and realized we had some crossover. We formulated a game plan, and went to work on writing our first EP.
What can you tell me about the writing of the new record The Camel, The Lion, The Child?
This record was a huge process. It took some time to dig in to the ideas we wanted to work on. Some of the songs started with previous lineups and went through multiple versions. It was about two years from the time we started writing to when we finished recording.
What is the origin of the album’s title? Do the lyrics tie into the title in anyway?
I fell in love with Nietzche’s Thus Spoke Zarathrustra years ago. The weight and heaviness of that work always felt close to me. There are recurring themes both musically and lyrically throughout the release that pay homage to the work as a whole, but specifically to The Three Metamorphoses.
Does the artwork tie into the album thematically?
Not specifically, other than that it’s made to be a little disorienting. The album has a lot of push and pull with tension and dynamic, and we wanted the artwork to reflect that in a way, but still be more about abstraction. The layout and art design make you flip the record around to read everything correctly, the way you might have to put the album on a few times and go back over songs.
From your recordings up until now, how do you feel He Whose Ox is Gored has progressed?
I like where we are, and where we are going. It’s easy to get distracted by life, and I’m excited that we’ve been able to push ahead. We are concentrated on putting out work that is focussed, and have already started writing new material for a future release.
Do you feel being involved in the Seattle music scene contributed to yours and the band’s growth?
Yeah, definitely. Seattle has a ton of awesome bands and a healthy music scene. It’s really exciting to be able to see shows almost any night of the week where bands are really talented and are working on something that’s their own. Not every city has that.
What is next for He Whose Ox is Gored?
We have a new 7″ coming out on Fainting Room Collective in 2016, as well as a few dates lined up with Intronaut. We’re still feeling out whether or not we’re going to shoot for SXSW, since it’s been a couple year since we’ve been. Hopefully, we’ll find our way over to the east coast around summer, and we’ll be laying the groundwork to head to Europe by the end of the year. And riffs, always riffs.
Any final words or thoughts?
Thank you so much for reaching out. We love the publication, and we wish all of you the best.