Saturday 26 January 2013

Interview with ARBOGAST

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Arbogast – the brilliant Sludge/Doom/Thrash/Punk Metal Collective from Chicago, USA

Arbogast have just released their stunning début album – I – which is starting to receive rave reviews from the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

This is what I had to say about this brilliant hard rocking trio - “Arbogast have released a stunning and outstanding album that should hopefully propel them amongst the elite of Sludge Metal as they have some major fucking talent that deserves to be heard on a bigger stage as possible.”

Well I wanted to hear more these hugely talented Sludge Rockers and they have kindly agreed with an interview with me.

So lets get down to business with the brilliant – Arbogast.

Q1 – Hi Guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you Today.

Things are good, I can’t complain. –Aaron Roemig

I just got done writing my thesis on quantum mechanics, pondering the entirety of the universe and eating breakfast.- Mike Rataj

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

AR- Scheid and I meet in college at the University of Iowa back in 2000 something. He is from Chicago, and when I moved to the city in 2006 we reconnected. He invited me to go to a mastodon show with him and a few of his co-workers. One of those co-workers I met that night was our drummer Mike Rataj. When we found everyone had similar tastes in music and that we all played instruments we decided that we might as well get together and make some noise.

Q3 – Why the name Arbogast and where did the name come from

AR- We actually got the name from Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. At the time when we were getting the band started I was really into Hitchcock and wanted to reference one of his movies. When we heard the name arbogast it sounded like it could be a unique name for a heavy band.

Q4 – How would you describe your sound as you cover a lot of genres in your music

AR- An infusion of classic thrash, metal and punk topped off with a dual vocal assault. We go fast, we go slow, we scream, we sweat, we break our shit. 

MR- we have different tastes in music that we listen to but we have an agreement to drink beer and play heavy & energetic riffs.

Q5 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

MR- max roach. 

AR- Converge, Mastodon, Battles, Boris, Torche, COC, Cephalic Carnage, Thou, Wolves In The Throne Room, Today Is The Day. We have a lot of influences ranging from old school metal, hardcore, thrash and punk, to more contemporary stuff like doom, black metal, sludge and noise rock. I also think a lot of people we’ve meet and played shows with along the way have greatly influenced us. Bands like East of the Wall, Goes Cube, Rollo Tomasi, Bison BC, Like Rats and Czar. – AR

MS- I'm obsessed with old music and in formation of this record had been really studying classic pioneers like zeppelin and sabbath. I always go back to muddy waters for the roots of rock. Other than that I have too many badasss bands in iTunes to mention. Anyone putting there back into it deserves praise right now. –Mike Scheid

Q6 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

MS-- as Geddy Lee says ‘they call me the workin man’

AR- We are regular dudes who work full time to pay the bills. I feel lucky if we get paid at the end of shows which we don’t always. My experience with bands has never been profitable. In fact it’s just the opposite.

Q7 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

mr - yeah totally, it's cool.

MS- . some people get the wrong idea of being a musician or in a band and visualize the glamorous hedonistic behind the music story. I’m really just a nerd who likes loud music. My lady loves our band, supports us doing more and would kick my ass if I didn't keep at it with these two brilliant maniacs. My kids wear mini arbogast shirts and get down to the cd too. We all have the crucial support that we need which is our significant others and family.

AR- Yes, very supportive. I’m really lucky that my wife comes out and brings her friends to our shows or else no one else may be there. Rataj’s Mom and sisters come out to a lot of our shows too, that’s pretty rad.

Q8 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

MS-we all contribute music and/or opinions so it’s shaped by all. 
AR-For the most part we write songs together. Either Scheid or I will have a riff or two put together and we start from there. We all contribute our own ideas for how our instruments should be handled. There are a few songs that Scheid or I bring to the table that are for the most part already written. But even on those everyone gets to put in their own ideas.

Q9 – Your new album – I – has just been released and is receiving some major cool praise. Bet you guys are happy with the responses so far.

AR- It’s very cool. 

mr - it's been great, i'm happy people enjoy it. 
MS -- I'm happy surprised and grateful for the reaction thusfar. I didn't expect too much negative or ripping press but indifference or silence is always something to expect.. I put all i had into this baby and it’s nice to lay exhausted after the smoke clears and hear it was worth it. If you listened and dug it thank you and cheers!!

Q10 – How big of a help have blogs and webzines in getting your music noticed to the world. Has BandCamp been a big help as well.

AR- Blogs and webzines have been a huge help in getting us out there. I feel like those types of outlets are what people are paying attention to these days. Plus its automatically international— anyone with the internet can access those publications. I’m really into bandcamp right now. I think it’s a great service for independent musicians. As long as they keep things simple and ad free then I’ll be using it.

Q11 – Was “I” a hard album to write and record for. It has some hard-hitting and powerful riffs. Can you tell us what the overall album is about.

AR- It was definitely a challenge to write and then to learn to play it. Some of the songs came together fairly seamlessly, while others were arranged a few different times before we were happy. The overall goal of the record was to keep it heavy and interesting to us. 

MS-it wasn’t easy i can say that. The easy part was coming up with chunks of music and riffs.. that just comes out when it’s ready to randomly and the challenge is arranging it. The biggest challenge was that we took it a step further than arranging tight knit songs to arrange the whole album as one flowing piece. I feel really good about that outcome in that since it was a lofty goal. It actually came together a lot more effortlessly than I expected. The album is about a lot of shifting parts and symbols but mainly the commonly touched on decline of western civilization and hysteria about what may lay ahead. It’s a flowing concept album about the good/evil tug of war and evils descent upon this clueless blinded heard.

Q12 – Are you happy with the final result. Would you change anything about the album. Or is everything the way it's meant to be.

AR- I’m good. Everyone involved in helping us make this album did an amazing job. I feel like I could spend an eternity in the studio tweaking every little thing. But there comes a point when you just have to accept what you have and I’m happy with what we have. 

mr - there's always things you would like to 'change' but i'm very happy with the release, andy got my drum sounds exactly as i wanted them.

MS- there are imperfections but i think it’s exactly the way it was meant to be. I’m proud of it.

Q13 – You are currently signed to ace record label Nefarious Industries. How did that come about
AR—We met the guys who run Nefarious Industries through their bands. We put out a split 7” with Greg’s band, A Fucking Elephant, back in 2010. Then we met Kevin playing a few shows with one of his bands called East of the Wall. Later when we went out to see East of the Wall on tour in Winter 2012, I spoke with Kevin and he mentioned that if we put something out, NI would be interested in helping us. We really like everything that they put out, so we are stoked to be a part of the roster.

Q14 – What is the live Arbogast experience like. Do you get many gigs in your home town or do you have to travel a lot to play your music. Have you played with anyone famous.

mr - "self proclaimed most exhausting band"

MS- We’re all very excitable and get overexcited when play live I’d say. With the intensity we break strings and drums a lot.. I have to watch my arse for Mike’s cymbals flying off and hitting me.. It’s fun for us.. There’s nothing more liberating than being on stage.. We mostly play here but are starting to tour a bit. We’d love to get over there sometime.

AR- We tend to play our hometown of Chicago about once a month. Our next Chicago show is with Arctic Sleep and Guzzlemug on February 28th at The Burlington. We are definitely open to travel if something is offered.

Q15 - What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?

mr - I'm happy for any positive reviews. it's humbling to have people enjoy your music.

AR- I like Sludgelord, I follow your facebook feed. You guys cover a lot of good music. We are greatly appreciative of anyone who takes the time write about us. We have not been covered by any mainstream magazines as far as I know.

Q16 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

AR- I’ll listen to anything. I try to stay open to all different styles of music. As far as bands I’ve been listening to recently I’d say definitely Pallbearer, Samothrace, Whores, Young Widows, Norska, Ken Mode, METZ & Fight Amp.

Q17 – What were your original intentions when you started the band and have they been met yet.

AR- I’d say we set out to keep it heavy and write interesting original material. 
mr - our goal was to write music we enjoyed playing. a year ago we decided to write an album and we did. it feels good to continually set benchmarks and achieve them.

MS- i just wanted to blow off some steam and do what I love in at least some capacity. My goal was and is to write the music that i’d like to hear and give somebody out there even if it’s one person a song or record that helps them get through a tough time.

Q18- What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

mr - we're working on II..

MS- more writing, playing and working in touring finally..

AR- Our friend is putting together an animated video for our song 'forming the flock' due out in April. We also just shot some footage for a heavy metal cooking show called 'brutally delicious'. And right now we have few dates booked for our April tour to the eastcoast. 4/4 we have a house show booked in Philly w/ Carved Up at Kung Fu Necktie, 4/5 we are playing The Place in Brooklyn w/ Bangladeafy and 4/6 at Asbury Lanes in New Jersey w/ Wreaths. More dates TBA.

Q19 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

AR- Definitely the most rewarding part for me is getting to play with other likeminded bands.
mr - it's been great to make so many friends in the local metal scene, everyone in chicago that we've played a show with is usually someone that contacts us or that we contact a few months later to play more shows. it's cool.

Q20 – Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thanks for checking us out. Spread the word. -AR 
mr - thank you. see you at the show..

Thanks for doing this guys. Good luck with the future. We are big fans of your music at Sludgelord and we wish you all the best. We hope to see you guys live in action sometime if you ever hit the UK.

You can buy their debut album from BandCamp on both Physical and Digital Releases now.

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