INTERVIEW: Black Pyramid

Interview by Matt Frighetto 
StonerRocK from The USA
Black Pyramid - The Cauldron Born

Matt - G'day guys, can we start with giving a brief description on how you guys met and what's been happening to date?

Clay - We met and formed the band around the exact same time so almost two years this fall. As of late, we're focused on not only trying to actively promote our debut and play out as much as possible but also record a session for the upcoming split with Old One. We stay busy.

Andy - I had just quit my band at the time, and was looking to start something new up. I had posted a "musicians wanted" add up on, and had replied to some other guy's add, so had Clay. The other kid was in Connecticut, and it was then that Clay and I realized we both were in Northampton, so we just ended up meeting up and forming the band. Yeah, like Clay said, we're just out to make music, be it on tape or live.

Gein - I met Clay when we were both playing in another band called "The Crimson Ghosts". I went to go see Witchcraft with Clay and that's when he introduced me to Andy. I ended up joining Black Pyramid in winter of 2008.

Matt - Black Pyramid was formed from ashes of other bands, was it a hard transition to get to the final product of black pyramid?

Clay - No, none whatsoever. I really had no expectations musically speaking to shed or compromise. None of my prior bands had done anything like this so I just kind of went in blind but ready. I'm definitely grateful for the final product. Having it received well is a huge bonus, to put it mildly "Very humbling"

Andy - We've pretty much just done what's come naturally to us, playing in Black Pyramid has been less of an ordeal than other bands

Matt - You guys have been fairly busy, demo, 7inch and now the LP, where was the LP recorded and who did the work twisting the knobs on this Record?

Clay - We recorded it at my studio where we've recorded everything so far. We rehearse the stuff at the space, come in when I have an off day and lay it down. Everything just sounds much more cohesive if you do it all at once. We don't tinker with the song so much in the studio as we just go for the right sound so that helps keep our focus.

Matt - the Record has fantastic production, how long did it take to record and was it costly?

Clay- Thank you. Everything was kept in house; we recorded all the instruments, did all the edit work and created a pre-mix, then Matt Washburn flew up to full on mix it. He's the man we trusted to give us the right sound and he did it. The entire album was mixed in two days.

Andy - It really didn't take all that long to record at all. I did most of the guitars in one day except for the solos, some leads and the acoustic. The vocals took basically a day; I started to lose my voice and touched up a couple of parts on a guitar day. Gein did the bass work in a day.

Matt - At that point where you guys solo without Label or were you guys looked after?

Clay - No, everything we've done has come out of pocket. We're grateful to the labels that care to release it.

Matt - Meteorcity picked up you guys right? And Electric Earth is doing the vinyl pressings?

Andy - Yeah, Meteorcity released the CD, it's just available through their All That Is Heavy store at this point, but it will hit the European distros on July 13th. The Electric Earth vinyl hopefully will be out at the same time. It's going to be a 2xLP with an extra track on it.

Matt - It wasn't extremely long between 7 inch and LP, did you have majority of the material written?

Andy - Well, it was about a year, but yes, the material was mostly written, if not fully arranged, by the time the initial 7" was released.

Matt - What is Black Pyramids song writing process?

Gein - Anyone of us could show up to practice with a song. As a band we work together to tweak the arrangements etc until we arrive at the finished product.

Andy - It depends on the song. The first batch of songs I wrote right after Palace in Thunderland dissolved, but I felt I had to prove to myself that I could write heavier material for a three piece. It was the three demo songs that came first, Visions of Gehenna, Mirror Messiah, and No Life King. I wrote those just by listening to some of my favourite records and then locking myself in a room with a ton of beer and going to town on the guitar. Wintermute came right after that, even though it was the last one that we arranged, and Caravan was basically written as well, except I had a softer ending that was really close to Celephais, but Clay and I revised it to be heavier. The Worm Ouroboros came next, I had the intro written, and Clay and I were jamming on it. I came up with most of the riffs for it, but Clay had a lot of input towards the arrangement and direction of the song. For Twilight Grave, it was totally the opposite, Clay played me a recording of most of the guitar riffs, I learned them, changed a few things, added a chorus and ending, and that was that. Cauldron Born I pretty much came in with and we worked out an arrangement for it. Macedonia, the track that's going to appear on the vinyl, Gein wrote most of that, same with one of the tracks on the Old One split. For the 7" split we're doing with Tenspeed Warlock, we recorded a song called Blood from the Godless Sky, and Clay was just messing around with this drumbeat I dug, and the riff popped into my head. We just do what comes happens naturally, usually one of us has either an idea or a rough arrangement, and the rest of us work it out.

Matt - You guys have a massive sound, what equipment do you guys use?

Clay - As a drummer, you just go with what sounds right for the band. In our case, using big toms, good cymbals and a Ludwig Supraphonic seems to do the trick. Until we start playing venues with massive PA's, I will always be playing an acrylic drum kit live. I couldn't imagine playing anything else when you have to compete with these frequencies.

Gein - Fender Precision Bass (w/ Bassline Quarter Pounds and Badass II bridge), Fender Bassman 300 and Ampeg SVT 8x10 speaker cabinet.

Andy - Live I'm using an Ampeg V-4 through an Ampeg 4x12, I drive it with an MXR Distortion +. In the studio, we got the basic sound with that setup, doubled it with a Marshall Super Lead, and then used an Orange Tiny Terror for the solos and leads, and a Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier for the clean parts. Really, my secret weapon in the studio is a J Everman Fuzzdrive pedal.

Matt - I guess it's easy to pigeon hole bands and put them in genres, but what are your main influences and how would you describe your brand of rock?

Gein - My main influences as far as writing go would be Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Samhain.

Clay - My influences run the gamut so it's hard to pinpoint which ones raise their head when writing or arranging. I think we strive for a general 'mood' in writing a song more than a specific sound. Does the final song ultimately compliment the basic idea behind it? The sound will ultimately show itself but you have to set the stage first.
I really have no idea how to describe our sound. We will jokingly bounce labels off each other during the drive to a show or whatever but it's really anyone's guess where we fit in.

Andy - I see Black Pyramid sound-wise as a combination of doom, psychedelic rock, and classic metal. There are obviously influences from all over the spectrum of heavy rock and metal. Sabbath, Judas Priest, Budgie, Deep Purple, Captain Beyond, Flower Travellin' Band, Hawkwind, all of that classic material from the 70's. Also krautrock and prog like Amon Duul II, Ash Ra Tempel, King Crimson, etc. Then of course Witchfinder General, Iron Maiden and Angel Witch, those are the three big ones for me from the NWOBHM era. Saint Vitus and The Obsessed, Trouble, Pentagram, all of that old school doom as well. Celtic Frost, The Melvins, and Cathedral are big ones. One reviewer wrote that he thought he heard some Hammerheart or Twilight of the Gods era Bathory in our sound, which was really astute as I zone out to both of those albums during the long afternoons. For more modern stuff, Electric Wizard, High on Fire, The Gates of Slumber, Warhorse, Eyehategod, Sleep, etc... I listen to a lot of old death metal like Entombed, Obituary and Carcass, and a lot of new black metal like Nachtmystium, Wolves In The Throne Room, and Secrets of the Moon. I also listen to a lot of old hardcore like Void, Black Flag, Cro-Mags and early Corrosion of Conformity. Really I tend to draw ideas from everything I listen to, which is why I hate to limit myself and listen to as much different music as possible. I never know what will inspire me or make me think up a killer idea.

Matt - I guess you be pretty busy promoting record at this stage, what's the plan for tours etc?

Andy - We'll pretty much play it by ear, but we'd like to head south down the east coast, and venture into the Midwest this fall. We'll also be playing the Stoner Hand of Doom festival in Baltimore this September.

Matt - Is Black Pyramid your only project or do you guys have other bands?

Gein - I currently still play guitar in a horror-surf-metal band Gein and the Graverobbers.

Andy - I play bass with my friends in Robert American's Little Brother. I also play music with my girlfriend, with her on bass. We have a band we're putting together called Danger Bird.

Clay - No, this is it. I'm pretty much swamped with work and life so Black Pyramid gets my undivided attention. We're extremely happy what we have achieved since we started so it really behooves us to stay focused on song writing, recording and playing out. I think our previous experiences in previous bands help us realize the importance of staying in motion. As soon as the material for the Old One split is done, we're getting back to work on the second album.

Matt - Is music your lives or you guys work? If so what you guys do for work?

Clay - I work in my own studio out here in Williamsburg, which is only a few miles from Northampton. I've been running Black Coffee Sound for almost five years and even with the current economic slowdown, I've been very lucky to still have pretty regular business. Good word of mouth has helped considerably.

Gein - I work in the shipping and receiving department for Kramerica Industries.

Andy - I sell vintage clothing. Music is my life, but unfortunately it's not my living at this point.

Matt- How do you see the current music scene? Do you guys catch many new bands coming up the ranks?

Andy - Yeah, we get to see a lot of up and coming bands, both regionally and locally. It's always cool to play with our Meteorcity/Electric Earth label mates Elder, who are from eastern Mass, and there are a lot of great bands from the Boston area, pretty much too many to list, but really I think it's cool that a lot of heavy, out there bands are starting to come out of Western Mass, which isn't traditionally known for that kind of thing. There are great younger bands like Cats, Mire, Dangur, Sasqwash, Overman and Ponds, and that's refreshing to see coming from an area that's been so devoid of quality heavy music for so long.

Matt - Who would you recommend checking out that you have heard lately?

Gein - Elder and Lord Fowl

Andy - Elder's album is really smoking. Hackman's second album, Enterprises, is some of the best riffing around. The Jex Thoth album is some great zonked out heavy psych. The Gates of Slumber's Conqueror is some of the finest doom I have heard as of late. Nachtmystium's Assassins: Black Meddle Part I is incredibly awesome. Cobalt's latest album, Gin, really slays me, that's my favourite release so far from this year.

Matt - What's playing in the Black Pyramid stereo at the moment?

Clay - Since we've had a baby, Brian Eno's ambient work seems to get played a lot around the house. Nick Drake, Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto, Willie Nelson... stuff like that.
On the other hand, we've been playing the shit out of Grand Funk's 'Live Album' lately along with the Scorpions first couple of albums, Lucifer's Friend, Hawkwind... the kid doesn't seem to mind. Far be it from me to deprive the child out of the essentials. I think 'Inside Looking Out' qualifies.

Gein - Prong "Beg to Differ"

Andy - Currently in the five disk changer are the following: Hawkwind's Space Ritual Sundown, Electric Wizard's Come My Fanatics, YOB -The Unreal Never Lived, Cro-mags - Age of Quarrel, and Saint Vitus - Born Too Late

Matt - What's the best black pyramid gig so far?

Andy - We've had some great gigs, I think my favourite was when we opened for Joe Hasselvander from Pentagram and Raven's band, The Hounds of Hasselvander. Ogre was on that bill too, and I love those guys. Some of the house and DIY shows have been excellent, with a lot of energy. The Butcher Shoppe in Allston Mass strikes me as particularly memorable, lots of moshing and bodies moving around. We've had good shows in New Haven Connecticut as well, when we played Lord Fowl's CD release party it was a great show at this place just called Bar.

Gein- My favorite was with Lord Fowl in New Haven CT.

Clay - I'd say pretty much any gig that winds up with physical damage to property due to volume is worth mentioning.

Matt - What was the worst?

Andy - Probably when we played in Rhode Island to this crowd of kids who were there to see some death core band. The place wasn't a very good venue to begin with, the billing was uneven, and the PA was awful. Most of the fans of the other band went outside when we hit our first note, and we played a short set. When we announced that we were playing one more song, some fat kid right on the side of the stage started screaming "NO!!! No more, we want to hear such and such band now" (I don't even remember the name of the death core band). I just yelled over at him, "Shut the fuck up, we're playing one more, so deal with it", and that was that.

Gein - The time we played for 7 minutes and had the plug pulled on us for "being too loud". Although, in a way that was kind of cool. If I didn't have to lug my SVT down a flight of stairs I wouldn't have been as annoyed.

Matt - Given chance to jam with anyone dead or alive to form a supergroup who would that consist of?

Gein - Bruce Dickenson, Steve Harris, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, and myself on third guitar... We would be an Iron Maiden cover band.

Clay - I'd trade all the supergroups in the world just for a Super 8 camera and a time machine so that all the amazing bands that never 'blew up' could be captured in a live setting somehow. I mean Black Sabbath was about as big of a name as you got when it came to 'heavy metal' in the 70's. But for their ten years with Ozzy, you hardly have any good live performances caught on video. It's always cool to scan YouTube and find Captain Beyond and Lucifer's Friend performances on German TV or whatever, so many awesome bands but so little footage. This answer is about ten miles from the actual question so, sorry. It's morning.

Andy - I'd definitely want to jam with Wino on guitar, probably Geezer on bass, and Nick Mason on drums. I'd also like to play with Peter Green, as I love the expressiveness of his playing.

Matt - What's the plan for the future?

Clay - Hopefully we just keep doing what we've been doing and hope it brings similar results. We're stoked with everything so far and it's really starting to gel so we're ready to get to work on the follow up.

Andy - Yeah, we're not stopping, we're going to travel in a straight line and gather as much momentum as possible. Anything that gets in the way does so at its own peril.

Matt - Thanks a lot guys, this is album of the year so far for me! I hope to see you guys in Australia some time for weed and beers thanks for your time and all the best with the record...

Clay - Thanks so much, honestly. We appreciate it like you wouldn't believe.

Andy - We'd love to make it to Australia, someone help us make it happen...

MeteorCity Records
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...