Monster Mash with Witness the Apotheosis

“They say I suffer from insanity
Just between friends
I’m not suffering at all
I kinda like it here”
— From the song “Asylum” by Witness the Apotheosis

Witness the Apotheosis is a darkwave/industrial duo from Athens, Georgia and consists of Terance Schmidt and Zak Vaudo. Both provide vocals, electronic programming and compose the music. Zak also plays cello while Terance plays other instruments. In describing their synergy, Terance said, “Zak is certainly better with beats then I am, I tend to get things started, then Zak will bring a lot to the rhythm. I tend to do pretty well with creating melody – basslines, arpeggios, that sort of thing. Zak has much more experience with the genre of music that we make; he’ll pull us back in that direction when I go too far towards my rock roots.”

The song they shared with us is “Asylum” from their debut album Monomyth. The voices inside my head that scream at me from behind my eyeballs totally love this song. Apparently I’m in good company. Zak told me that “aside from being a fan-favourite, ‘Asylum’ has always just jumped out as one of the more unique songs in our lineup; it showcases our blend of style backgrounds better than any of our other works.” Terance added, “it’s the song that we have the most fun with on stage. My favorite memory playing that song was one time we completely freaked out our audience with it. After the song they just stood there, silently. I looked back at them and said ‘your silence is all the applause I ever wanted.’”

Both Terance and Zak were originally from Queens, NY, but met in Athens, GA. Terance is a fan of the music from Athens. He said, “I enjoy the B-52s, REM and Pylon especially. Music Hates You is also an influence. The bass in Pylon and REM is something I think I may draw from somewhat.” Zak noted that there isn’t a lot of electronic music in Athens to draw from, saying, “the last one that had any influence on me was Unavox. I let Terance pull the rock elements; electronic music tends to resonate the most with me.”

Myself, I love the little references to Greek myth in their band name, album titles, and such. Terance mentioned the time he sought advice from an oracle, in this case, a tarot deck. “I did a tarot reading to get some idea of how things might work out with Zak and I doing a band. It came up with the World card, which is the best card in the deck to draw. In the explanation book for my deck, one of the lines was that ‘they will all come to witness the apotheosis’, so that was a good sign. Apotheosis means becoming god-like. I like to say that when you get up on the stage and do your thing, you transcend ordinary humanity and become something more, so the name really makes sense to me.”

Even though they enjoy playing gigs, they both agreed that creating new music was more fun. Inspiration has come from many places. For Terance it has even come from just walking down the street. “Asylum started out with the line ‘I really like the flowers but what did they do with my mind?’ I was walking down Washington Street in Athens to Hot Corner Coffee when it came to me. I started writing lyrics for it and thought it would be funny. Then it got more serious, and yet still funny. It’s rare that I sit down and say, ‘Now I’m going to write a song about X.’ Instead it’s usually things that come out spontaneously and then we’ll build on them; that seems to work best.” Zak added that “the album Monomyth draws its inspiration from Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces, as does the band’s name (the Apotheosis is one of the many steps on the Hero’s Journey). The Monomyth is the singular idea, the foundation of the myth. This debut EP is our foundation.”

Witness the Apotheosis

After Monomyth, they created and released When the Night Comes. As Terance puts it, “Monomyth was a ‘gotta have something done for Frolicon,’ a convention we played. I was literally finishing it up just in time to burn it and go.  When the Night Comes was more of a remix album of the title song. It was really cool to hear what other artists did with this song that we wrote. The track I find most interesting on it is “Modern Prometheus”, which is some very out-of-genre music for us that I started playing with late one night and Zak reading a poem over it. I never imagined I’d like it as much as I do.” Zak added, “for me, I really wanted to create a single that showcased one of our favourite songs and the transition it had undergone (with the ‘New Wave Cut’ being the first draft and the ‘Album Version’ being its reinvention). It was imperative to me that any remixes of the track were strikingly different from anything else on the single; I hate remixes that sound like they’ve been added in as filler. The Dark Clan and Creation bring extremely unique sounds to the track, giving the song new and engaging faces.”

To check out the band, visit their Bandcamp site at witnesstheapotheosis.bandcamp.com. You can also find them at ReverbNation, MySpace, Facebook, and in all the dark corners of Athens, Georgia.

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