Last march the Beast as God/Crows split 7″ was released, this split vinyl is the come back of Crows after their incredible  first album Better of Dead out in 2014. But the huge surprise is on the A Side with Beast as God a Metallic Hardcore band from Notthingham. This interview was made with Jérémie, natif from Bordeaux (France) but living in England since a long time. This is the opportunity to speak about the beginning of BaG, the new split 7″ but also about his love for Punk Hardcore and DIY.
(This interview was made few months ago and BaG just annonced that the band was over… A Last Tape EP will be out soon)

 

Before we talk about the split, can we go back to Beast as God’s history? Can you introduce us the band’s members and tell us how did BaG start?

OK, so Beast as God started in 2013. It was born of my desire to do a brutal, Metallic Hardcore band. I have been playing in a number of Nottingham bands for years, most notably Dead In The Woods, a crust/space rock which transformed into Nadir, a more full on Spacey project…
Nadir was ace, and I am very proud of it, but I was missing the aggro. At that point in my life, I was dealing with some very heavy shit, a major family crisis, and so I felt I needed an outlet to express that, to let go of the frustration… And thus I asked Steve Larder (also of sludge punk monster Moloch and now in dirge punk band Bloody Head) if he was interested in doing something like that, he said yes so we got to find a line-up. We enrolled another Steve on drums, and Matt Grundy, who was on guitar in DITW had just returned to Nottingham, so it felt very obvious to ask him to join on second guitar. The bass was filled by Boulty, who has been on numerous grindcore bands and runs the near mythical Stuck On A Name venue/studio…
Once we had a line-up, I made a mix tape to everyone, so they had an idea of what I had in mind, mostly 90s metallic hardcore “holy terror” type bands, 
Japanese Burning spirit type stuff and some of the more discordant early Hydra Head bands to round it up.
This line-up wrote and recorded the tape EP and the song for the split with Crows but by Summer 2015 our drummer Steve was moving out to take a scholarship in Chile so we needed someone else, and Phil, who has been he plenty of bands with Boulty before and was playing guitar in instrumental post metal band Megalodoom, stepped in.

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/stuckonaname/

 

Let’s come back to your last EP. The band’s name as well as your lyrics are about the fall of humankind. The track “Eschatological Vision” transport us in the skin of the destructor of Humanity (knight of the Apocalypse?). “I Know Who You Are” is referencing Janus (a Roman god), there are quite a lot of references to Religion and mythology in those lyrics. Is that a real source of your inspiration, or do you use it to strengthen the apocalyptic bent of your words? I also have a feeling that the “Beast as God” is you, or more precisely your character in the band, he is some kind of ultimate force judging Men. (That question is going far out…)

Lyrically, the EP was myself trying to exorcise some demons, as I said my family had experienced something very traumatic, and I needed an outlet for it. I will not and cannot go into the specifics, but those were very trying times, and during those, I experience the worst and the best of human nature… Eschatological Vision is a song of pure anger, that filling when you are so upset that you just want to fuck it all, and yes, in my “on stage” megalomaniacal persona, becoming god and condemning humanity to its doom.

The period of my life I document in those lyrics (albeit in a very oblique fashion) had me confront how low and despicable some people can be, and how much the system, the thin veneer of civilisation we trust to keep us safe, is only here to keep the status quo, not to profoundly support or help you or your loved ones…

Lyrically, that tape is very bitter, very negative, “Eschatological Vision” is declaring humanity not worth saving, “I Know Who You Are” is about a single person, I realised afterward that the lyrics can apply to many situation, and be seen as generic, about politicians or whatever, but no, they are about one very specific person.

Against a Dark Background” is a more generic song, a foreboding tale. It is storytelling, the certitudes that one day our cities will lie in ruin. Our lives will be no more than campfire tales told by some few elders…

And “Eulogie” is a more introvert song, it is a reflection of where I was at that point, of all the things I had to lose to survive, but also how much being in that band, having that outlet, using an artform I felt in love as a much younger person meant to me. At the same time, the song laments the loss of that wonderful revolutionary enthusiasm of my youth, of the fact that I was viewing music, and Punk Hardcore more specifically as magical, “more than music”, but at the same time celebrate the fact that I am still here, still an actor and a creator…
Now, the religious vocabulary is mostly the result of my catholic education, I guess. When I want to explore this side of my persona, those are the images, the words, which I find allow me to express it the most. I can’t find the exact quote, but I once read that Nick Cave was saying that even though he doesn’t believe in God, in his songs, God exists, and he is the vengeful god of the Old Testament, to which I can relate. (Obviously, I am in no way comparing myself to the immense talent of that man.)

 

How did the idea of doing a split with Crows came over? I think this project was a long time in the work, seeing as « At The End Of My Path » is a track recorded in 2015.  

Crows approached us with the idea of doing a split with them after we played together in Nottingham… We recorded just before Steve left for Chile and we did not knew who would be our next drummer at that point, so the song we recorded was the last of the song we wrote with Steve, it was the only song we could record…
It took forever for the record to come out, I honestly didn’t think it was coming out after a while, let’s say maybe it was a case of too many Chiefs, not enough Indians…

 

 

I find that « At The End Of My Path » is the most accomplished of your songs, more Metal (the vocals at the beginning are borderline Black Metal) and darker, with that cold and creepy 2 minutes piano/sample outro. Where did the idea for that outro came from? Why did you choose that title for the split, is there a specific story behind it?

Yes it is more representative of what we sound like now. The tape EP was a result of us playing within the parameters of that mixtape I had made, and At The End of My Path is the start of us finding “our” sound, I would say. The sound has evolved a bit more with Phil on drum as he has a monster swings which we can build upon…
The lyrics of that song, which is the last one we recorded with Steve, bring closure to me writing specifically about that time in my life. The lyrics invoke the feeling of absolute exhaustion we (my now wife and myself) felt at our lowest, that feeling that every ounce of yourself has been stripped away, that you cannot possibly give any iota more without ceasing to be… but at the same time, the realisation that you are still standing, that after adversity did its best, you are still here, still yourself, and you are made of much sturdier stuff that you though possible… being exhausted, that close to being beaten, yet but triumphant…. so when we recorded the song, I heard a piano outro, for me, the song was not finished without it. And luckily for me who has zero musical talent, Matt, our guitarist, is an incredible talented musician, and not only did in understand what I was hearing in my head, but he made it better that what I envisaged but adding layers of electronic music to the piano piece, which create the perfect atmosphere for the song… (If you dig the outro, you should check is electronic music project Deadbeat at Dawn)

 

Eulogie” is the single track in French and I have a feeling it is the most personal, the other tracks are more general but that one seems to be your own point of view on life at that moment. Is that why this track is written in your mother tongue?
As I explained above, all the songs were personal, but they were songs of anger (chant of anger? ah!) written using “metal English” to express myself, whereas 
Eulogie is not a song of anger, but a song of introspection. All the other songs are looking out, projecting rage and disgust, “Eulogie” is looking in. So I felt that the slower tempo, and the more in looking nature of the song was a good fit to have French lyrics. Having some of my lyrics in French is something I try to do, but the language is not always an easy fit over heavy music, and I find it to work better with a slower tempo…

 

On the “Live Autumn MMXIV” live tape released by Psychic Revellion, there’s 3 tracks “Tempest” “Anathena” and “Deliverance” which are neither on the demo nor on the split EP, have you got a new EP or even an album in the work? The writing/recording process seems to be very slow with BaG, I am sure because of your personal lives and many other bands, have you got any new material waiting?


Once again, we recorded that live tape ages ago, with Steve still on drums, the plan at that point was indeed to rerecord those songs as part of any future releases, but we have decided since not to record 
Anathema or Tempest, those two songs are no fitting well with how we sound nowadays and we have long stopped playing them live…

It took us a long time to get things back in working order around the change from Steve to Phil, not only because we needed to find a way of writing music which was still BaG, but with Phil drumming style, which is quite markedly different from Steve’s but also because, yes we all are on the older side of things (age range from early thirties to early forties) so between jobs, kids, partners and health issues, before even factoring other bands… well, everything takes time!
But things should start to happen in the near future, we are releasing a split EP with 
Rot in Hell on Feast of Tentacles Records soon, which will be Phil first appearance on a recording, not sure how soon this will be, but things are in the work… Deliverance is still part of our set and we will recorded it soon as part of a new EP with 3 or 4 other new songs, vinyl is my first love, but putting record out is taking ridiculously long, so once again we will release the EP as a tape, so it should happen sooner rather than later….

 

 

I know you are a major fan of metallic hardcore but as well of Japanese Hardcore and more generally of the whole Hardcore Punk scene. Can you tell me where is this passion of yours coming from, and what does Punk and Hardcore means for you, not only the music but the whole philosophy.

Wow! Where do I begin?

I think like many people I fell in love with punk hardcore in my late teen. I never felt I belonged in high school, I was in a very bourgeois Catholic secondary school, and struggled to relate to many of my peers, same at Uni really, and typically I was finding solace in music, and finding I was really attracted by the heavier, faster and weirder things… I first found the more “tough guy” hardcore scene, getting into Biohazard and Madball from watching late night music videos on TV, then getting into things like 25 Ta Life or Neglect on a magazine (Rage) cover mount CD. Through that magazine especially I found a whole scene which was developing around bands such as Kickback and StormcoreStormcore guitar player’s zine “Hardside Report” was what introduced me to the whole idea of DIY, that if you liked a band, you should just book it in your local venue. And for a while with a friend we were putting on bands such as Stormcore, or Belgium’s Out For Blood at the mythical local Jimmy Club… at the same time, I was getting friend with the more politicised side of hardcore, which was revolving around the excellent Stonhenge label. But to be honest, even though I loved the music of (most) bands in both “camps”, the whole macho “crew” thing on one side, and holier-than-you attitude and lecturing stance on the other side stopped me to totally relate to either. Then in a short succession, I discovered bands such as Unruh, Stalingrad, Catharsis or Gehenna, the last three especially left a long-lasting impression after seeing them live, they had the passion and obvious politics of the “emo” scene but no lecturing (well, in some case, *cough* Catharsis *cough* there was plenty of lecturing on stage, but it was not explicit in the artwork or lyrics) and the musical heft of the “tough guy” bands, but none of the posturing… This was a revelation, heavy, angry, to the point aggressive music, hardcore fucking punk, you know?

And the more I explored music (=became a collector nerd) the more I realised that for me, that intersection between metal and hardcore create some of the most passionate music, AmebixGISMVoivodNeurosisStarkweatherIntegrityThe SwarmDeathside, etc. but also “newer” bands such as Rot in Hell or Withdrawal kept my love for this kind of music going…
I discovered traditional 
Japanese Hardcore a bit later and was blown away, the fact that those guys had absolute mastery over their instruments but when most Western hardcore bands became boring hard rock once they learned to play, they were using this mastery to up the ante and just fucking kill… To this day there is an energy in bands such as Judgement or Crude which I seldom find recaptured anywhere else…

And to finish, for me, the importance in Punk/Hardcore is the DIY philosophy, teenage me was a blinkered idiot, thinking only “my” music had value and everything else was shit, my listening habits have changed greatly, from electronic music to 60s psychedelia to A LOT of traditional heavy metal, most of what I listen to now would have been anathema to my younger self, but punk/hardcore remains my first love… And no other scene/sub-culture I know is still so brilliant at encouraging spectators to become actors, and for me, this is what is the most important!

 

What are your last record purchases and what can you recommend us?

The last few records I bought were:

Endless Grinning Skulls “Risus Sardonicus” LP EGS is a Nottingham trio made of some proper hardcore lifers, the ex-members of list is staggering (let’s just name Heresy, Hard To Swallow and Army of Flying Robots), they play raging hardcore punk for our times, this is their second LP and an absolute blinder, somewhere between Discharge, Rudimentary Peni, Killing Joke and Gauze, but without a bit of nostalgia, just killer socially engaged punk music.

 

Gnod « Just Say No to the Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine” LP: Gnod is a Manchester based collective which of late has been spewing a large number of great records (3+ a year) and can mutate from an all-electronic project to a “classic” rock band. Experimentation and a certain psych undercurrent is what threads all of their output (aside from every record I have heard so far being absolutely brilliant) and this rather gloriously named LP is from the “rock” side of the band, and is maybe my album of the year, imagine Head of David (LP era) playing Space Ritual and you’ll be in the right ballpark…

 

Pye Corner Audio – The Spiral 10” Last year Stasis album still hasn’t left the side of my turntable, minimalist synthwave with a weird dark BBC radiophonic orchestra feel to it, like the score of a very unsettling Doctor Who episode that you can dance to.
Martyrdöd – List – LP Bloody good fist in the air scandi d-beat with a great Dissection melodic black metal feel to it. I Love their first LP, but though In Extremis and Sekt were weak, so gave up on them, I am pleasantly surprised with that one, what a rager!

 

And just yesterday I ordered the new Integrity record (This interview was made in July so the new Integrity album wasn’t out at this time). Integrity is a band I have been following for a very long time, and very much part of Beast As God‘s DNA. The new album is amazing, Domenic Romeo, the new guitar player (who was in the amazing Pulling Teeth and runs A389 records) is shining throughout! The music is very varied, with every song bringing something different, but uniquely Integrity. It’s their first LP for Relapse record which means they are now label mates with Tau Cross and Iron Monkey, two bands which new records I am awaiting impatiently!