Thursday, December 22, 2011


This is probably the interview I was most excited about doing (I guess Luka also shares my thoughts about that) and it finally arrived. Austin took his time with the answers due to his various commitments, but the wait definitely paid off. Excellent interview, definitely check it out, big thanks to Austin once again!
1. Hello Austin, how are you? First I would like to thank you for taking your time and doing this interview. Please, introduce yourself.

Thanks for the interview! My Name is Austin Lunn. I play everything in "Panopticon".

2. When and how did the idea to create "Panopticon" arise? And why that name? As much as I know, it is a prison.

I had just quit a band I had been working with for years and was living with a friend who is a recording engineer (his name is also Austin Lunn...weird huh!) and we had some spare time one day to record, so he recorded me playing some raw black metal. Every now and then we would record songs I wrote and eventually we had enough for an album. I put the album out myself (under a DIY record label we decided to start) with hand screened packaging and xeroxed booklets (the wrong ones were printed...FULL of typos and spelling errors! Ha.) It was just intended to be something for me and my friends, nothing serious...and then it started getting more attention and grew from there.
The name is from Jeremy Bentham's architectural model. I think it is a good metaphor for society. How through the illusions of the media and our own lazy ignorance we police ourselves.

3. Is it hard working as a one man band? Thus far, what have been your experiences concerning that, both good and bad?

No. It is really fun. It is a good way to be creative, to release stress and have a cathartic outlet.I love doing a solo project. It has pushed me to learn recording, learn new instruments, try new things.

4. Tell me something about your local music scene. Is there anything particular that you love or hate about it?

There are a lot of doom bands here at the moment. Generally our scene is pretty small (in regards to metal). I love Louisville just because of the people. I don't really go to shows a lot anymore...I am married with a child on the way, a professional brewer and musician, so my time is pretty eaten up. But when I get the chance to go to gigs, I do enjoy it.

5. And what are your thoughts about this kind of music on a global picture?

I think people take black metal way too seriously. Music is an outlet, not a holy grail or an idol we worship. I don't really even consider "Panopticon" to be a purely black metal band. I would like to think it is just metal, but it has so many stylistic ties to black metal...but that is the point, it isn't about fitting in, it is about creating what you feel and want to hear.

6. For now you have released several albums and a few splits, tell me something more about your work thus far.

I just released a new album "Social Disservices" and I have a new one, "Kentucky", on the way. Both are concept albums about things I care deeply about. It was good to explore them fully and I hope folks enjoy the records.

7. When we talked you mentioned that you are currently working on a new album. I also see that some songs are already done, so when can we expect the album in its final form?

Everything is done, SD is out but "Kentucky" won't be out till Spring.

8. Do you have a circle of people around you who work with you or do you always work alone? As much as I heard, you have guest appearances on your records, even a member of the legendary "Amebix" was present on the last album.

My friends hang out some times while I am working. Some times they will assist in engineering. I like to have guests, usually friends like Jack (from "Seidr"/"Kôlga"/"Giant Kind"), Johan ("Austaras") or Rob (from "Amebix"). I think recording with your friends can be a special thing.

9. Tell me something more about the things that influence the sound and form of "Panopticon"? 

"Weakling", "Emperor", early "Dark Throne", "Amebix", "Neurosis", "Death", "Sepultura", "Gorguts", "Hypocrisy", "Opeth", "Katatonia", "Bathory", "Docc watson", "Townes Van Zandt", "Johnny Cash", "Flatt & Scruggs", "Pete Steele" (the bluegrass musician, not the Type o guy), "Tater Tate", "Godspeed You Black Emperor", "The Apple Seed Cast", "Mono", "King's x", "Camel", "Pink Floyd", "Neil Young", "Crass", "My Dying Bride", "Control Denied"...the list goes on and on...

10. On the previous album there are a lot of refferences to the highly influental movie "The Seventh Seal" by Ingmar Bergman. You also have the final scene of the movie tattooed on your arm. Tell me something about your thoughts concerning that movie and how much did Bergman actually influence your work and in what way?

That film is my favorite film. I struggle with mortality and spirituality a lot since my Ol' Man died, and I think Bergman really addressed those issues in a way I can understand. It is an intense film, and the OTSOM album kind of coincides with it.

11. On several photographs I saw that you do ink print screening on wooden boxes for "Panopticon" releases. You also do patches and shirts, so tell me something more about that? How much is this aspect of "Panopticon" important to you, since this way of crafting is slowly dying due to modernization?

I have always been very DIY. I grew up in that scene. I think it provides a personal touch to the band. At this point, the project has gotten past me being able to keep up with the demand, so I do less and less DIY things...but most often, when you get a "Panopticon" shirt, I silk screened it. So that is kinda cool, if it is something you care about. It is nice to make connections with the bands you like. I know I get excited when a record or something has a story or connection behind it.

12. You are also involved in several other music projects, can you tell me something more about that?

"Seidr", my doom band. I have a band with Jack called "Kôlga" and some other projects in the works. I also do session gigs.

13. Aside of music, do you have some other hobbies?

Yeh. I am an avid out doorsman, Fly Fisherman, I like traveling, gardening, brewing beer (but that has become my job, so I guess it isn't a hobby anymore). But mostly I like to spend time with my family.

14. You are an anarchist and a pagan. Could you tell me your thoughts concerning these two ideologies? How did you actually get entwined with these ways of life and what makes them appealing to you?

I think there is a difference between political and spiritual. I have an interest in history. I think there is a lot to learn from the past,and both of those concepts, paganism and anarchism, have a rich history that is at our fingertips. I was exposed to classical anarchism at a young age and the love for liberty and autonomy has always rung in my ears, and as I soul search, various forms of paganism seem to be where I fit in the world. It is personal, intimate and private. It isn't a schtick or a gimmick, it is just an aspect of who I am.

15. I wanted to ask you about the runes and Thor's hammer. Here, the surrounding is a bit conservative when it comes to those things, so if you are seen with those kinds of markings you are immediately tagged as a national socialist. Tell me something about that when it comes to your local environment, is the situation similar or not?

Those are ancient symbols that existed long before any of this political bull shit. I hate the fact that people are assuming that some one who bears those marks is one way or another politically. Spirituality and Politics are two different things.  Thor's hammer is a fertility symbol, a symbol of life and strength, not a symbol of hate. The runes brought wisdom to men (according to the lore) and the ability to communicate, divination from the gods...these are things that are a part of an ethnic culture and sacred, not something to just be slapped around for the sake of posturing, right OR left. It is my hope that people will be aware of the power in symbolism and not misuse it.

16. I am always interested in hearing what do my interlocutors listen to in their free time. Which releases in the past year grasped your attention the most? And what are your all time favorites?

"Falls of Rauros", "Blood of the black owl", "Fauna", "Warning", "Townes Van zandt" ,the new "Wolves in the Throne Room", "Death" and "Songs:Ohia" have been my playlist lately.

17. Time for you to ask a question!
What was Carl Sagan's pen name when he wrote about Cannabis usage?

A pretty interesting thing to ask, if I may say so. The pseudonym was "Mr. X", of course.

18. What are your thoughts when it comes to diy music and the internet? Do you have some particular blogs or webzines which you actively follow?

I have blogs I like to follow just because they put up new bands I haven't heard yet. But I am not much of a blogger type.

19. At the moment, what are your plans for the future with "Panopticon"?

I have a few splits to prepare for...but honestly, I want to work on "Seidr" for a bit and then maybe record a folk/bluegrass record. So "Panopticon" may chill out for a bit. Who knows!

20. In the end, thank you so much once again, hope you enjoyed the interview. Any final message for the readers?

Thanks to all of ya'll. I appreciate the folks who might see me at a gig and drink a beer with me, or the people who write me letters from the heart, and all the folks who pick up the records and listen to them. Thank you all so much. I appreciate everything you do for me, and I hope I can repay you with music in the years to come.

Thanks again for the interview.