Monday, July 25, 2022

Blasted Heath Interview


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

Blasted Heath officially formed in March 2020 during the start of the Covid lockdowns. Our previous project (Crown Hill Vulture) was sidelined, so three out of the four members continued on with what at the time we considered a "side project" that kind of took over as the main project. The three of us lived in close proximity and had a lot of time on our hands, so I might have pushed for foregoing a demo and just self recording a full length album right away. That ended up taking WAY longer than expected however, so here we are two years later finally about to release it! 

2.You have an album coming out in August, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?

Our guitar player Billy had asked me what kind of "side project" I might be interested in doing, and I had been kind of infatuated with the first Bathory album around this time, because I liked that it was sort of black metal but it also had this real punk element to it, almost like Discharge. So I started listening to more D-beat stuff in general around this time as well as a lot of the old school thrash I had always been into. I was gravitating toward stuff with a rougher recording aesthetic, which was a good fit because Billy came from a punk and hardcore background, and since he was also the recording engineer, had an appreciation for this sort of approach since he'd recorded punk and hardcore bands and knew how to get a lo-fi sound in a skillful way. This ended up being the approach, kind of going for lo-fi and hi-fi at the same time. We recorded in the basement live guitars and drums and dubbed bass and vocals after the fact. Our bass player Joe joined kinda late in the process but we are very happy he got to contribute to it, he is a lovely guy and helps lift our spirits at times when we'd rather be yelling at each other. 

One of the final steps was going to a studio called Postal Recording in Indianapolis to run the stems to reel to reel tape, which is something I've been really interested in doing for a long time. Billy mixed the hell out of it for months after that and then we sent it off to Dan Swano for that final polish, and there you have it. 

It's kind of like a black thrash and d-beat album but the influence of our previous project, more sludgy Neurosis type stuff with Pink Floydish psychedelics just kinda crept in naturally. I had been really into science and outer space youtube channels like PBS Spacetime and Kurgsegat at the time so this outer space theme just seemed to fit with everything that was going on. Billy has the most ridiculous pedalboard you've ever seen so the sonic possibilities felt kind of endless. 

3.A lot of your lyrics cover outer space phenomena, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

So yeah I sit around and get high and watch a lot of science content on Youtube. I am not a scientist of any sort but I really enjoy trying to wrap my head around some of the bigger concepts and I'm a huge proponent of science literacy in general. So PBS Spacetime, PBS Eons, Kurgsegat, Event Horizon, Cool Worlds, Stefan Milo, Astrum. Anything properly critical that talks about space and the formation of the universe fascinates me, as well as human evolution and the biology of Earth. I also have a lot of dread and dissatisfaction about the state of the world, especially the USA where I live. This kind of manifests in me wrestling with the end of existence, the arrogance of humankind, and our incredible irrelevance when you try to comprehend the scale of the universe. 

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Blasted Heath'?

Well it came from a band name brainstorming session of course. The outer space themes and dreading the inevitable end of existence were already strong elements, so we definitely wanted the name to reflect these things. This made "something from HP Lovecraft" kind of a natural fit. The "Blasted Heath" from The Colour Out of Space is described almost like the wasteland resulting in the wake of an impact crater. It's much weirder and more interesting than that in the story but maybe I'm just leaning into a dry science based interpretation. I'm a proponent of the idea that a lot of scientifically credible outer space phenomena can be just as frightening as any fiction. 

5.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?

Our drummer Conrad had been working on the cover art for almost as long as we've been working on the album. If I'm not mistaken, he had already come up with the skull in a cracked space helmet idea, and I might have suggested making it an Ape skull to fit with the song Ape. Or even a reference to all the apes NASA blasted into Space to test things before sending any people up there. Conrad was very into the idea of doing a hand drawn cover and worked on it for a long time, which fits the old school vibe really well. He incorporated the "Vela" nebula into it, which is an image I found online that fascinated me so I'd made it our initial profile picture on some of the socials. The way it ties together with the nebula almost exploding out of the little hole in the space helmet (like a gunshot or something) is really cool. He killed it and we are very happy with the result. 

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

We got to do our first show opening for Nunslaughter at Black Circle in Indianapolis where we're from, and we can't thank Dustin Boltjes enough for putting us on that for our first show. That one stands out the most! We've played a bunch around Indy and once in Lafayette but we're hoping to expand beyond that very soon. It's a pretty no frills kinda live show right now, though there has been some discussion of incorporating some video projection so we'll see where that goes. 

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?

Nothing specific but we're definitely open to it, or at the very least get out and play some shows around the midwest very soon. 

8.Currently the band is signed to 'Wise Blood Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?

Wiseblood Records has grown up locally around Indy in the last few years on a similar timeframe to ourselves. We think Sean Frasier is doing a kick ass job and we are super happy to be a part of it along with a lot of other cool stuff he's got his hands in lately. He's great to work with and we hope to see him expand his reach even further in the future. 

9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and thrash metal?

It's a little early for that! But we certainly hope a varied multitude of people get around to checking it out when it comes out in August. We've got some great feedback so far in town and hope to expand further. 

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

The overarching idea is that we got pretty out there and weird on this one and actually want to put out something a little more "in your face" and straightforward for the next record, but I would not call that a "direction" exactly because I think the idea is to always take a new approach with each record, do something unique. We aren't far enough in yet to say we might not completely change our minds either. Early results on new material is take the hardcore and thrash elements and turn that up one more notch, at least so far! 

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

For myself, I started with old Metallica and while we haven't talked about that much thus far, the idea of being "thrash" but in actuality sort of having a lot of varied tempos on the album comes from them. I hate when albums get samey or songs start to run together, so there has been a goal to get to that old Metallica thing where each song really stands on its own, each with a unique identity. I hesitate to speak for the other guys, but I can say Billy and I both really admire Darkthrone and respect their entire career. They perfectly ride the line of giving you what you expect but also throwing you curveballs, and really never sitting on the same exact sound for too long. I love the classic Darkthrone but I almost equally love some of their later output like Hate Them, FOAD, Arctic Thunder, etc... Also I have to give credit to Billy for turning me onto Black Breath who have become one of my favorite bands, you can definitely hear some of that "black hardcore" in the Blasted Heath sound and they are a direct influence. My personal favorite records so far at least from 2022 are either the new Devil Master or the new Demiricous if we're getting super current. 

12.Before we wrap up this interview?  

Thank you for taking an interest! Our record will be out August 12th, it's called "Vela" and it's on every goddamn format, Tape, CD, Vinyl, Bandcamp, and will hit the streaming services as well before long! We are a meat popsicle.