Wednesday 5 February 2014

Interview with BAST

Sludgelord HQ are pleased to be interviewing one of the hotly tipped bands of 2014 from the UK Extreme Metal Scene - BAST

Bast music is a deadly mixture of Doom, Sludge, Black Metal and Hardcore. Taking influence from bands such as Neurosis, Yob and Eagle Twin – Bast are going to be one of the big bands to look out for in 2014.

Their début album ‘Spectres’ is a co-release between Burning World Records and Black Bow Records, the new label founded by Jon Davis of Conan and, more recently, the man behind SkyHammer Studio. And what a fucking album it is. This is what I called it earlier today:

I am going to say this now but SPECTRES is an AMAZING album. This is my fave record of 2014 so far. Nothing will prepare you to the stunning and brutal riffs that await you on Spectres. BAST are going to destroy your world with this album with it's heavy and dangerous mix of genre defying riffs...

Spectres is a brilliant début album that shows Bast are on the verge of greatness. Catch them while you can as these guys are going to be huge in the years to come.”

You need proof to see how good these guys are. Check out their BandCamp Page and the list of bands they have toured with.

Nachtmystium (US), Ufomammut (Ita), A Storm Of Light (US), Minsk (US), Winterfylleth, Zatokrev (Swi), Ramesses, Black Sun, Latitudes, Bong, Lord Vicar (Fin), Firebird, The Psyke Project (Den), Horse Latitudes (Fin), *shels, H A R K, Spider Kitten, Serpent Venom, Witchsorrow, Necro Deathmort, Walk Through Fire (Swe), Switchblade (Swe), Galvano (Swe), earthtone9, Inborn Suffering (Fr), Indesinence, The Wounded Kings, Pombagira, Dopefight, Undersmile, Iron Witch, Hammers, Astrohenge, Diet Pills, S&M, Mother Corona, Enos, XII Boar, I Like BUGS, Bastard of the Skies, 5symbols (Cz) and tonnes more...

Now that is one huge fucking impressive list of bands. We had to find out more about from them.

So let's see what BAST have to say to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Q1 – Hi guys. How are you today? Thanks for doing this. Really appreciate it. We are huge fans of Bast already at Sludgelord.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

Q2 – For people not in the know, can you give a brief history on how the band came about and where it is today.

The first iteration of Bast came about in 2008, following a tonne of misguided childhood projects founded by our guitarist and drummer (Craig – guitar/vocals & Jon – drums/vocals). We recruited Gavin to perform bass duties in 2011 after a short stint as a two-piece and a few line-up changes. This arrangement is the current and permanent roster, with which we wrote and recorded Spectres.

Q3 – Now congrats on your new album – Spectres – and singing with Burning World Records/Black Bow Records. How did that come about singing with those two labels.

After recording the album at Skyhammer Studio we were contacted by the owner, Jon Davis, expressing his interest in releasing it on vinyl & cassette through a label he was cooking up behind the scenes. We had a huge list of potential labels, which we intended to spam the hell out of, but the opportunity landed right in our lap.

The wheels were set in motion before we had a chance to jump on the ball with regards to a CD release, as Jon shot the record over to Jurgen at Burning World who was keen to get involved. We've been pretty lucky as a lot of things fell into place at the right time.

Q4 – Is it daunting to be the first band signed to Jon's label – Black Bow Records. How did you get to work with Jon. Did he give you any helpful tips or advice.

To be honest, it isn't something we've given much thought to. Our experiences at Skyhammer were very positive and we're very proud of what we managed to achieve. Working with Chris and Jon was great fun and the vibe was pretty relaxed.

Both Jon and Jurgen have been supportive throughout and we definitely feel like we're in safe hands.

Q5 – How would you describe your sound as you guys include a lot of different noises, sounds and ideas. Doom, Sludge, Black Metal, Hardcore to name just few or such.

You've pretty much covered the majority of the styles that we're fans of. It was clear from the onset that we'd never be a more focussed genre band, and whilst drawing from every corner of extreme music, our long term goal is to produce the most cohesive blend of the above as is possible for us to achieve.

Q6 – Was Spectres a hard album to record for. And are you pleased with the final result.

We were adamant on recording with Chris Fielding being avid fans of the catalogue of music to which he’s credited, to the extent of foregoing other options during studio complications and his eventual relocation from London to Skyhammer. Despite this, it was well worth the wait and we didn't encounter any other problems recording-wise. We had a long time to sit on the record and knew the material well, so pretty much everything was recorded naturally, without a click, as we wanted to capture a sound and feel representative of the tracks as they're performed live. Needless to say, we're extremely happy with the end result.

Q7 – The next question is from a friend of mine who has seen you guys live in action. As I haven't had the opportunity yet. - What gear and equipment do you use when performing as you guys have a brilliant loud and violent sound that just crushes everything in sight.

Guitar-wise, we use a Les Paul Custom running through a JCM 2000 with a fairly simple selection of pedals – Boss Delay, EQ & a Morley Wah. It's not your conventional doom rig but gives a nice balance between the sludgier low-end and gnarly treble. As for bass we are using a custom EGC Series One running through a Gallien Krueger MB Fusion 500, with an array of effects (fuzz, synth, delay and other assorted nasties). Other than a walnut Black Panther snare, our drummer uses a Roland SPD-S for live samples/effects.

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

So far our writing, particularly in regards to Spectres, has been a more collective process. First, we tend to discuss a loose narrative or story as a group surrounding a collection of songs as a whole, in order to establish some kind of starting point or ideas to work from. The main guitar riffs and sections will be written based on these ideas, and then as we jam them out as a collective, a stronger narrative is formed as we piece things together. As the bass and drum parts develop, atmosphere and dynamics tend to evolve, and lyrical themes and ideas will be introduced when things start becoming more defined. The final stage is to simply play the hell out of each song to allow any natural changes to occur.

Q9 – What is the whole concept of the album. Or do you want people to find this out for themselves.

Essentially, it follows the journey of a primitive man seeking wisdom within the sacred caves of his forefathers. He descends into a cavern believed to be inhabited by ancestral spirits in an attempt to seek out the mysteries of the shamans who came before him.

To us, it’s a short tale of isolation, the conquest of fear, and ultimately, acceptance of hard earned truths. All formats of the release will include lyrics in the liner notes, so we strongly urge the listener to read them along with the record to draw their own conclusions.

Q10 – How did you come up with the name Spectres for the album. And what is the meaning behind it.

Spectres is actually the first song we wrote for this album, and is the centre of the whole record in theme and position in the track listing. The writing for all other songs spread out from this point in both directions - two songs on either side. It just seemed like a logical step to choose this as the title for the record.

Q11 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.

Too many to mention. Other than the more obvious aforementioned influences, we find ourselves drawing from everything - from 70s psychedelic & progressive rock, grindcore & punk.

Q12 – What made you want to become a musician. Any particular group, album or life changing event.

Freddie Mercury.

Q13 – You have performed with some brilliant bands over your career so far. Which bands have been your favourite to play with and the reasons why.

It's an ongoing source of pride for us to play with some of our favourite bands such as Ufomammut, Nachtmystium and Winterfylleth, as well as our buddies in Latitudes and Serpent Venom – two consistently cracking bands and a bunch of nice guys to boot.

Q14 – Spectres is being released on Vinyl. Congrats on that and especially on your début album as well. How did that come about. And are you Vinyl Heads yourselves like us here at Sludgelord.

We only expected an initial CD release and would have been quite content with this, but we were very excited when we were offered a vinyl release for our debut. We're extremely proud to be releasing the album on pretty much every format going and hope that it will reach as many people as possible, in their preferred medium. Who doesn’t like vinyl?

Q15 – Are you all full time musicians or do you all have full time jobs

If only. Currently we all have full time jobs and the band remains the key project that takes up most of our spare time.

Q16 – In 5 words or less – describe the live BAST experience.

Such doom. Many riff.

Q17 – The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is popular as it ever has. Do you think the scene has reached it's pinnacle or do you think it can get bigger and better.

The amount of doom/sludge gigs, and people in attendance, has most definitely increased since we started playing, as well as the amount of bands starting up. Most promoters seem pretty dedicated to extreme music as a whole, rather than throwing together line-ups that are continually catered to a single sub-genre – styles will come in and out of fashion, but the fans and people involved seem to be advocates of everything heavy or experimental. We often see the same faces at the different types of shows that we're lucky enough to play, be they more centred around doom, stoner or black metal.

Q18 – If you could give advice to someone wanting to start a band. What advice would you give them.

Buy a tube amplifier. Find a tight drummer. Play any gig that comes your way. Don't try to consciously sculpt your sound too much – let it develop naturally over time.

Q19 – You're about to go on an epic UK Tour with Conan in March 2014. You guys looking forward to that one. What can people expect on that tour.

Other than ourselves and some devastating doom, compliments of Conan, all of line-ups feature some seriously awesome bands from a fairly mixed bag of metal – Indian (USA) in London, Corrupt Moral Altar in Manchester, Witchsorrow & Ageless Oblivion in Basingstoke, Sea Bastard in Bournemouth & Brighton, Spider Kitten in Cardiff and Bismuth in Nottingham, to name but a few.

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

Thanks Mum.

Well guys, thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it. Best of luck with your début album.

Trust us folks when we say Spectres is an incredible album. Spectres is available to buy from Feb 2014 from Black Bow Records on Vinyl and Burning World Records on CD and Vinyl

Check The Band From Links Below

BandCamp - There is a live demo available for Buy Now Download of Denizens available.

Written by Steve Howe and BAST