READING - A cluttered desk, dusty old guitars exiled in the corner, a production console on a bureau, wires snaking their way across the floor to various instruments and pedals – this is the scene of Derek Swindell's bedroom in Wakefield.
“It all started in a bedroom,” Drew Kachmar remarked with a sly smile.
“Yeah, I just recorded a few songs and showed them to Drew,” explained Swindell. “I was like 'Hey, man! Look at this – make something to this!'”
And they did just that, creating what would become the band's first EP, entitled Splitting Plum Trees. Derek took care of the music while Drew focused on the lyrics and vocal tracks.
Next, the two needed a name for the group. “[Drew] took a piece of paper,” explained Swindell. “He wrote 'Asceral' and I wrote the word 'Envictus', and it kind of just happened from there.”
Now under the name Asceral Envictus (As-ser-ral En-vick-tus), the duo aspired to enlist more musicians.
“Months later, we were like 'Oh man, we should make a band,'” said Swindell.
So, in January of 2016, the two reached out to their fellow Reading Memorial High School graduates, Ian McGregor and William Downing. The two had been in a high school band with Derek called Illum for whom McGregor played the drums and Downing played the guitar. This time around, 'Willy' would trade in his guitar for a bass. “We naturally said 'Yes!',” noted McGregor.
In just one year, Asceral Envictus has played in 15 shows across Massachusetts (“We counted one time,” Willy remarked), have been on a local radio show, and independently recorded two projects from the confines of Derek's bedroom.
“Everyone always asks us what we're trying to do; we're not trying to do anything,” said Swindell, who has since become the musical mastermind behind the band, as well as lead guitarist.
“Other than play music,” Ian chimed in.
And that's just what the band is doing thanks to a crowd-sourcing campaign hosted by Indiegogo.
“After we released our first two projects and started playing a few shows, a producer named Bryan Fennelly reached out to us,” explained Derek.
The opportunity they were presented with was the ability to record a single at Plaid Dog Studios in Allston. They would then reach out to friends, family, and other listeners for the funds required to record the rest of the album in exchange for merchandise upon the album's release.
“We got to $9,500,” announced Derek, clearly still in shock from the overwhelming support the band received.
Thus, the four Reading Memorial High School graduates hit the studio in January and will continue working on their album, Infinite Themes Through The Key Hole, as Winter gives way to Spring.
“They're friendly musical people,” said Derek of those the band has worked with at the studio, “It's been a great time overall.”
He also explained how beneficial it is to have Fennelly on the production side of the album.
“Its nice to have that sort of second opinion on the producer's side and the engineer's side...He takes the sound from 'Oh!' into 'Nice!'”
After such tremendous progress, asked where the band saw themselves five years down the road, “Well, hopefully we'll have our own practice space,” said Ian, who's basement the band has settled for throughout the past year.
“New equipment,” added Kachmar, “Yeah, for real, just a place that we can call home,” continued Ian.
“I like to think that we are further than we are,” said Derek “Considering, in the first year that we've been together, we've accomplished a lot more than I thought we would.”
The band expects their first studio album to be released mid-Spring, and has already plotted out their next album.
“We have a whole bunch of shows set up for after this,” said Derek, “I feel like it's going at a nice pace, so I hope we continue going at this pace and have a successful future. That's all you can hope for.”
For my full video-interview with the band, check out “Asceral Envictus” on Facebook.