Wednesday 4 January 2017

INTERVIEW: "Nine Eternities In Doom" - An Interview with Trevor Church from Beastmaker.

By: Steve Wilson

Fresno California’s Beastmaker delivered one of the standout stoner/doom albums of 2016 with their debut “Lusus Naturae”. Their second album is out soon, to be followed by an extensive tour. Steve Wilson spoke to their founding member, singer/guitarist Trevor Church about his musical influences and plans for the band’s future. 

SL: You’ve just recorded a new album. What can fans expect when it’s released?

Horror and Doom. There is some Hitchcock inspiration and we’ve got some guest musicians on this album namely Johanna from Lucifer and Nate from Salem’s Pot. We wanted to continue where we left off on our debut writing dark riffs and lyrics of terror. I put some time into writing my guitars solos on this one. Our debut it was just improv solos. So, there are some subtle changes. Most importantly it’s heavy and filled with horror!

SL: Your debut album was released last year (“Lusus Naturae” - out on Rise Above Records). I’ve been lucky enough to hear an early version of the new one. It sounds a little more polished than its predecessor. Have you gone with the same studio, or do you like to try somewhere new each time you record?

We have built a studio at my house and that is where we do everything. Andy does all the mixing and mastering. I write all the music and engineer the record. We have an incredible dynamic together. We both pride ourselves in going through the learning curves and coming out on top. Coming from a place like Fresno there really aren’t any places I’d take Beastmaker to record an album. It’s costly to travel to record an album and we have no time limit. We can work as long as we feel we need too, getting the best result we can.

SL: Lusus Naturae” and the accompanying 7” vinyl (“You Must Sin”) have artwork by Branca Studio. They have also designed merch for the band. How did you get together with them?

Branca Studio contacted me a little after the release of our demo. It really has been an amazing partnership. Sometimes in life things just click. It was fate that we crossed paths. I think he is the best graphic artist in the business. I don’t even have to give him direction. He just knows what’s up! You can’t buy that kind of friendship man. 

SL: You recently toured the UK and Europe in support of the first record. How did you find it? Was there anything you’d do differently on the next tour? 

Well, I would prefer to not break down multiple times in a rental next time around. We absolutely love touring the UK and Europe. The fans are amazing over there and it just makes it so worth the energy it takes to get on a plane. Hopefully this next time we have a driver. John and I drove and it was pretty interesting. Really it was an adventure. I got off the plane and next thing you know I’m driving on the other side of the friggin road going through roundabouts. We love that kind of thing though.

SL: Beastmaker are strongly influenced by horror movies, particularly those of Italian director Mario Bava (check out ‘Mask of Satan’ from the debut album). What are your favourites? Are there any obscure ones that have inspired Beastmaker songs that we should search out?  

I don’t know about obscure but the biggest influence when it comes to songwriting is “Tombs of the Blind Dead”. That is the epitome of what I’m trying to create musically. I like a lot of different movies from the 50’s to the 90’s. I like to create my own stories though as well.

SL: Moving on to musical influences now - what did you listen to growing up? What goes into the Beastmaker sound beyond the obvious Black Sabbath influence?

I can’t speak for my band mates on this but for me it all began with skateboarding. My cousin Michael was 5 years older and listening to punk/metal. I was like 6 years old when I started listening to bands like The Misfits, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motley Crue, Dead Kennedys, The Exploited, Sex Pistols, etc…Witchfinder General, and Danzig are really big influences for me musically. I feel connected to what they do and I try to recreate it with my own twist.

SL: For those that don’t know, you come from a musical family. Your dad, Bill Church, played bass in legendary ‘70’s rock band Montrose alongside Sammy Hagar, who would later replace David Lee Roth in Van Halen. Not too shabby! While this must have influenced you growing up, would you say that it has helped you as a musician (in terms of how to start a band and keep it going), or did it not make much difference?

My Dad is an amazing musician, so not to be inspired by him wouldn't make much sense. I had musical instruments all over the house my whole life. Originally my folks wanted me to be a drummer. I have many drummers in my family actually. My Mom’s cousin is Denny Carmassi also of Montrose and Heart to name a few. But, I didn’t like drums much and that’s when guitars started coming around.

Once again my Cousin Michael played guitar and taught me quite a bit. I can’t remember a time in my life where playing music didn’t exist. My cousin’s Brandon and Daniel were also musicians and we learned from each other. I actually really avoided my Dad’s music in my teenage years. I was really embarrassed of “I Can’t Drive 55”.

I was listening to a lot of different music in those days, mainly punk rock and Sammy Hagar to me was a mainstream thing. I always loved the Montrose record though. “Rock Candy” was the first song my Dad taught me to play on guitar. We went camping and I remember saying “hey shows me rock candy” and boom, ‘You Must Sin’ was created. Maybe some people will hear the influence.

SL: Last question! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. What are your plans for Beastmaker in the coming year?

We’ve got our new album coming out in spring. The rest will unfold. We will be hitting the road for sure. With some new things for our live show.

Band info: facebook | bandcamp