Band

The Living Fields plays an eclectic smelt of metals fleshed out with piano, violins, viola, cello, acoustic guitars and a variety of internal and external musical influences. Though built around a core of deep respect for the early death /doom architects, The Living Fields' songs are rife with healthy doses of thrash, black, Viking and epic metals that reflect the underlying moods and themes of the lyrics. Higgs' storylines typically veer far to the left of the self-centered cliches of doom (love, loss and death) in favor of more universal horrors that flow freely from the seemingly endless parade of humanity's self-inflicted plagues. Oppression, injustice, suffering and man's inhumanity to man flourish with such virility in today's world that merely turning on the news offers up ample material for an entire album. Reading any book of history provides enough for a dozen.

Though friends, the only members of The Living Fields to have met – much less played together – are Jason and Samu. We hope to close the divide between us all in the coming year, but for now we do what we must.

Rekindle the fire and let it burn.

Jason Muxlow | guitar, bass, orchestration

Guitarist Jason Muxlow founded The Living Fields in 2002 and has steered its overall course from the north side of Chicago for nearly ten years.

For “Running Out of Daylight”, Jason primarily plays a 7-string Conklin guitar through Laney amplification and Celestion speakers. Acoustic parts were played on a Taylor. Leads, melodies and other small parts were tracked on the Conklin as well as a Gibson SG and BC Rich Mockingbird.

Jason also plays with Earthen Grave (featuring virtuoso violinist Rachel Barton Pine and ex-Trouble bassist Ron Holzner) and works with Samu on Fields of Burden:

Jon Higgs | vocals, lyrics

Vocalist Jon Higgs has been the voice and lyricist for The Living Fields since 2002 and has appeared on all our releases. Jon resides in London with his wife and their first child, Victoria. Jon has been the driving force of the high energy New Zealand / London band Monsterworks since 1996:

Personal Statement

I am from a small town, Wainuiomata, at the bottom end of the thoughtfully named “North Island” of New Zealand.

After early brushes with Kiss (a six year old would inevitably be drawn to their showmanship/makeup) and Michael Jackson (Eddie Van Halen did a lead on “Beat It” after all), the first serious musical progress was made with the discovery of Twisted Sister; primarily the darker “Under The Blade” album. I was ten years-old.

Jump forward a few years and Bon Jovi was in the charts, but at a similar time Queen had done the “Highlander” soundtrack and released the “A Kind of Magic” album; the stand-out song of which, for me, was “Gimme’ the Prize”. Things were looking up.

One day I asked a school friend with an older brother to “copy me some Iron Maiden tapes, Bro.” The friend did so (Seventh Son of a Seventh Son), but copied more albums from another band, Judas Priest. After initial disappointment, it proved to be the best mistake ever made. The albums were “Defenders of the Faith” and “Ram It Down”, quickly followed by “Turbo” and “Screaming for Vengeance”. To a fourteen year-old even “Turbo” sounded good.

At around the same time I was mowing lawns to make pocket money; all of which went to the local record shop to buy cassettes from another new discovery: AC/DC.

And so it was that the trifecta of AC/DC, Judas Priest and Queen established a musical direction that lasts until this present day, along the way picking up a broadening of horizons in the form of the Big Four of Thrash, Paradise Lost, Carcass, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Pantera and others.

In my first year of University I obtained an electric guitar from my younger brother, finally able to replace a well worn tennis racket with an SG shape bound to it (true story). A backpacking American visiting our house called Jungle taught me musical theory one afternoon which gave enough information to be able to practice on the new guitar and start making up tunes. I always found playing covers required too much patience than I could muster. The most I have ever managed was the first minute of “Enter Sandman”.

In the last year of University I met Ian (who overheard me listening to Cannibal Corpse) and we eventually formed our first band: Monsterworks, utilising Jared as drummer whom I knew from High School and jammed with frequently on trips home for holidays. We all had similar musical tastes and, with Ian, the specific bonding agent of Queen (before he introduced me to Deicide and Obituary).

In 2001 Ian moved to London and I eventually followed to reform Monsterworks in the UK. However, during that time Jason, who ran a metal review/news site Deadtide, that had reviewed Monsterworks, approached me about doing vocals on a doom project which, at the time I believe, he wanted to call Narcissist. Having never been asked such a thing before I agreed without even hearing the music.

I wrote some lyrics and the track was called “Empire’s Fall”. I do not recall exactly whether vocals were recorded at home or possibly in a studio in East London I had used for another band I joined called Blimp, but it seemed to work and we both liked the experience. Certainly I used that studio to record vocals for the first full EP called “The Miseries Never Cease”. Neither of us thought Narcissist was appropriate so Jason suggested a long list of band names (a hobby of his), one of which was The Living Fields which seemed to suit us best.

I like working with Jason because he usually provides me with themes (even song titles) to write for which, after being main songwriter and conceptual artist for Monsterworks, was a welcome collaboration; i.e. it sent me in new directions lyrically. We seemed to have a similar world view although our contact was limited to one or two telephone conversations (the last being in about 2005 I reckon) and e-mail correspondence.

Demos were put together for a full length album where Jason had also found a real live drummer to participate. Chad definitely added a new dimension and organic feel. After writing lyrics, again mostly based on Jason’s concepts followed by my research into the suggested subjects, it seemed to take forever to get everything recorded but when it was finished the self-titled album was pretty epic. Possibly the best lyrics of anything I have done are for the song “Burial at Sky” about the unlikely subject of Tibetan “sky burial”. It involved stepping completely outside of my own beliefs and presenting a unique story/emotional narrative. “Running Out of Daylight” is similar in that it involves describing a man having a crisis of faith which I have never had (or am likely to have). Those kinds of challenges particularly interest me.

The new album has also taken awhile to reach fruition but it has been worth the wait. Along the way Jason sought our approval for adding a new member, Sam, which has worked out great. It was good for Jason to have someone to bounce ideas off who was in the same state and country!

Personally I find metal an important part of my balanced lifestyle which also involves being relatively newly married with a baby daughter. I like to discover new bands (like Between the Buried and Me, most recently) but always keep grounded with the ones I started with and everything since. Metal these days suits all moods (Ulver is basically the new Pink Floyd) so there is no need for any other style of music in my opinion, nor time in the day to listen to it all anyway.

A lot of bands seem to want to distinguish themselves by saying that “the music industry is saturated with too many bands that have no soul we are the real deal” etc, but I disagree; I think metal music as a whole is incredibly strong with far too many talented bands to count, both old and new. The Living Fields is, I believe, just content to do what we do and enjoy it and hopefully reach a few people along the way with what is, overall, a positive message.

Interests (that are not metal)

  • Weightlifting (which does in fact involve a lot of heavy metal)
  • South Park

Favourite Bands

  • AC/DC
  • Judas Priest
  • Queen
  • Type O Negative
  • Carcass

Favourite Drink

Guinness

Equipment

Vocal:
  • SE Electronics
  • Shure
Guitar:
  • ESP
  • Gibson
  • BC Rich
  • Diezel Amps
  • Mesa Cabs

General Philosophy

Education* is the answer to all of the world’s problems. Education begets technology which improves standards of living; education helps us learn to understand other people’s problems and how to solve them. I do not believe in shoving your beliefs down someone else’s throat because, by learning about the natural world, everyone will eventually forget to rely on the possibility of supernatural intervention.

We as humans don’t need to actually know the truth; we should just strive to find it with an open mind, while minimising divisive influences that could destroy us all.

Music is essentially pointless; yet music is essential.

(*by which I mean proper education that relies on falsifiable evidence and objective reasoning)

Postscript

I thought I had been pretty thorough. I was wrong. The three main “favourite bands” I cited are accurate but this is a heavy metal biography and there is something missing. AC/DC would strongly refute being referred to as heavy metal ("High Voltage Rock n’ Roll" is the appropriate term); Queen, while they had heavy metal aspects, borrowed from a myriad of styles (which is what I liked about them); Judas Priest is definitely (definitively) metal but not to everyone’s taste. There is one band that is heavy metal incarnate and belongs somewhere in every biography for a heavy metal musician.

I first heard Black Sabbath in the Tony Martin era because this was about when my own metal journey began in earnest. “The Shining” from “The Eternal Idol” had a catchy video shown on a late night music TV show. Most importantly it was a great song.

At roughly the same time I first heard Ozzy Osbourne when “No Rest For the Wicked” was released. To begin with I did not really like his vocals but Ozzy is like a hypnotist and pretty soon you belong to him. Ozzy had an earlier album “Speak of the Devil” which contained a bunch of live songs that, confusingly, were not on any of his solo records. We discussed it amongst ourselves, marvelling at how good those songs were; but we were young, nave and innocent in such matters. Then someone with an older brother said, “You guys are retards; Ozzy used to sing for Black Sabbath”. I suppose the fact that “Black Sabbath” was a track on “Speak of the Devil” should have given it away.

Discovering Black Sabbath in about 1989 is a weird time for it to happen because there was already a rich history. Imagine what it is like to be able to buy a new Black Sabbath album every week or so for a few months and listen to it for the first time. That is the kind of experience you can never recreate. Because of this, it is difficult to now admit with jaded experience, Tony Martin meant as much to me as Ronnie James Dio. Luckily I never heard the incredibly average “Forbidden” album because by 1995 I was more into death metal. The classics took a back seat for awhile, but never left the bus.

So in conclusion, I never met a metalhead that did not like Black Sabbath or, let’s face it, owe their entire existence and happiness on Earth to them. The fact that I omitted this institution from my initial essay is mind boggling but I guess every now and again we can surprise ourselves. I apologise.

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Chad Walls | drums & percussion

Drummer Chad Walls joined the band in 2005 and appears on both “Running Out of Daylight” and 2007's “The Living Fields”. A full-time drum instructor and touring musician, Chad made his mark playing with a number of death metal bands (Pustulated, Brodequin, Dislimb, Enter Self, Besieged) and has been called into service for roadwork by the likes of Paul Dianno and Exciter. Chad resides in Ottawa, Canada with his wife.

Samu Rahn | guitar

Guitarist Samu Rahn joined the band in 2009 and was instrumental in seeing “Running Out of Daylight” to completion. Prior to “Running Out of Daylight”, Samu released an EP with his solo project, Cairn and has been working with Muxlow on their side project, Fields of Burden: