Sunday, June 19, 2016

interview: Bushwhacker

This prog extreme metal band was born to run, they were born to dream, the craziest boys you ever seen, they gotta do it their way or no way at all. They turned loose from Yukon to Vancouver, Canada and they’re loving every minute of it. They’re not men or machines, they’re just something in between. Everyone’s watching to see what they will do, everyone’s looking at them, oh, everyone’s wondering will they come out tonight, everyone’s trying to get it right, get it right.
This band does not wear hot leather pants nor red headbands, but they do play prog extreme metal and they want something from you: “Tell people about us, come to our shows, bring your friends and buy our music and merch.”
When this publication sent them some questions, this is what they said. Listen to their latest album The False Dilemma in full at the link below and take it from there.
Greetings! How’s life in Canada treating you?
Oh, hi there, Metal Bulletin! Yes, we are in Canada... Vancouver, British Columbia to be exact. It's just north of Seattle on the Pacific coast to give people an idea, if they don't already know. Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada (after Toronto and Montreal, respectively), so the heavy music scene here is not too shabby in comparison to other cities in Canada. There's a ton of well established bands, great promoters and devoted festivals that have helped pave the way for up and coming bands, while also encouraging a lot of bands from abroad to make Vancouver a regular tour stop.
Here is the band’s official biography.
“In an era of over-classified genre taxonomies, it's a breath of fresh air to find a metal band that just makes music. Vancouver's Bushwhacker is one such. Their sound combines influences from many decades, from traditional death and black metal genres to 60s and 70s British prog and psychedelia, and even further to jazz and darker 1800s-era classical. The result is a complex and thoughtful arrangement that both challenges and pleases the ear, defying classification.
Though Bushwhacker now resides permanently in Vancouver, the stark wilderness and mountainous landscapes of their Yukon homeland still shine through in the power and intensity of their music. Formed in Whitehorse in 2008, Bushwhacker began with four high school friends that shared a love of old-school thrash metal. With Geoff Woods on guitar and vocals, Cavan Egan on guitar and vocals, Sean Komaromi on drums and Keenan Dennehy on bass, the quartet began to write and perform original music. They released their self-titled debut in July 2011 and followed it with a tour through BC and Alberta that ended in Vancouver, their chosen new home.
After settling in Vancouver, the band parted ways with Dennehy and brought in fellow Yukoner Rory O'Brien on bass and vocals in October 2012. With the addition of another composer and vocalist, Bushwhacker then began a new era of songwriting; inspired by all the variety and opportunity the city had to offer, they began to explore new avenues and sounds.
August 2013 saw them in the studio at Rain City Recorders, putting the finishing touches on their newest work, a one-song, 20-minute EP called Fish Guy. A shining example of evolution done right, Fish Guy features all the passionate metal fury of their earlier works, while still boiling, now carefully honed into effective, driving riffs and passages, framed and punctuated by evocative, dexterous psychedelic breaks and solos. Classic thrash vocals have expanded into a medley of layered harmonies, eerie growls and epic choruses, carrying lyrics full of ancient nautical superstition.
In 2014 the band again entered Rain City Recorders in Vancouver to record what would become a career high water mark in The False Dilemma. Engineered by Stu McKillop and Mark McKitrick, and mixed/mastered by McKillop, The False Dilemma is a profound slab of Heavy that drips of Black and Death Metal whilst delving deep into the realms of psychedelia, which sees the quartet evolving into a darker, fine-tuned machine of cynicism The False Dilemma will be released on March 5, 2016 through Bandcamp.”
For new listeners reading this interview, what should they expect? Can you tell us a bit about your recordings?
We've got 3 recordings available at the moment: our self-titled debut, the Fish Guy EP and our most recent full-length The False Dilemma. All of out releases are available on ITunes, but our latest album is also available on most streaming platforms (Spotify, Google Play, etc.)
As far as what to expect from us musically, there is no easy way to describe our sound; there isn't a "go to sub-genre" that we fit into neatly. With every Bushwhacker release we've evolved and progressed in a way that reflects our personal tastes, musical environment, and development as musicians; however, there is a certain something that we feel unifies our releases and makes them "us". The first album was very much influenced by old-school thrash metal, with some progressive/psychedelic leanings. Our second release, Fish Guy, is much more refined and delves deeper into our progressive/psychedelic side (it's one 20 minute long track) and the writing is more technical, while showcasing more of our sludgy and extreme metal influences. Our latest release, The False Dilemma is more pseudo-proggy extreme weirdo heaviness. Basically, that's our vibe. Make things heavy and crunchy, but then mess with people's preconceived ideas by throwing some spaced out riffs in the mix.
As for the recording process, we did The False Dilemma at Rain City Recorders with Stu McKillop and Mark Mckitrick (where we also recorded our Fish Guy EP). They're rad dudes to work with, so we've been very happy with the way both those releases turned out. We'll likely go to Rain City again for our next recording, but it will be in a new, larger studio space, as they've since moved locations.
How do you see the music of your band?
Every time we attempt to classify ourselves into a metal sub-genre some nerd tells us that we don't fit their criteria for whatever sub-genre we tag ourselves with. This coupled with the fact that we don't give a flip anyway means that it is up to the listener to decide because we really could not care less. We make music that is often heavy and if you like it good, if not is it too late now to say sorry?
What led you to the life of a musician?
Living in a small town can be really boring. Many people turn to drugs to kill the boredom. We simply added music to this formula to create a cocktail of non-boring.
Do you plan to tour?
We have a few gigs lined up this summer: July 9 in Vancouver, BC with Mos Generator, Wake, M16, Skull Vultures and Year of the Cobra, and July 16 in Whitehorse, Yukon with The Vagitarians) The show in Whitehorse will be our first gig in our hometown since we relocated to Vancouver 4 years ago, so it will definitely be a very special occasion for us. We don't have any touring plans lined up yet, but we would like to hit the road extensively again in 2017, after we release our next record, which we are currently writing.
What type of lyrics is important to you?
Our lyrics are better than Loverboy and we are also from Vancouver, so I think we are doing just fine. But if you want a piece of my heart you better start from the start.
What is the connection between your personal beliefs and your lyrics?
All of our lyrics touch on sociopolitical, religious, and philosophical issues. This is because we are all thinking about these issues all the time. We can't be afraid of discussing these things because if we were we would not be true to ourselves and that is more important than any business we might obtain. Many of our lyrics are metaphorical, this might not always be obvious, but if you dig into a song of ours that doesn't have an obvious meaning there is probably something there if you dig a little deeper.
What other news do you have?
Our next album will be lit. Stay tuned.

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