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A Dirty Dozen with BALROGATH – August 2023

| 28 August 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Brooding and melodic with a fiery modern energy, “We Bring Calamity” kicks in the gates with the first single “Calamity.” Playful rhythms and soaring leads that will get buried in your head for days followed by powerful vocals tearing the sonic landscape to shreds make this track stand out as a powerful starting place for this release. “Of The Abyss” picks up where Calamity finishes, setting an engaging groove to headbang along with. Again the use of rhythm stands out, with an ebb and flow to the lyrics and percussion that crashes like the thunder of waves. Just when the mist clears, a powerful and familiar force gathers momentum, “Endless Lifetime of Hate” has begun. A familiar song for long-time followers of the band, finally manifested in its true form. A mighty, frantic expression of love for fantasy explodes as the final track on this crushing EP.” We get the band to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

On our first release we have a lot of fun moving rests and silly transitions. One song (“Stormruler”) has basically the same words in a different order for every chorus, and no two riffs go into each other the same way for 12 minutes.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

All the members of Balrogath have had a lifelong passion for song. We’ve worked hard to become proficient at our instruments and since 2018 have worked together to present our own unique blend of Metal. We have had a couple solid releases and hope to grow and make even more success as we continue on into the future!

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Again different for all of us. Chris developed a taste for live music really young when he was hanging out in coffee shops and going to punk and ska shows in Jr. high school. TJ’s older brother gifted him the Brave New World album by Iron Maiden when he was a kid and changed his life. Jesse saw Ozzy when he was 12 and metal became a way of life.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Chris Saunders: Devin Townsend, his range, is writing, his wall of sound has framed my writing and performance.

TJ Riggins: Brittney Slayes, Come sing the nerdy words I wrote instead of the nerdy words you wrote.

Jesse McCrank: Mononeon, Amazing chops, funky as hell, the ultimate groove.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Chris: Practice guitar, video games, playing with cats.

Jesse: Video games, hanging out with my daughter, playing to a metronome.

TJ: Reading fantasy, video games, skateboarding.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Death metal about wizards and dragons. Someone called us blackened traditional metal once? I don’t know, we’ve never been upset about a review.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

We kinda all cook, haha, we met working in kitchens, but Chris hosts a lot of the time, so he probably does the most cooking. We’re also all pretty good about splitting up beer duty (buying and drinking) but TJ probably. Jesse is absolutely the first one to play some acoustic around a fire.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Chris: Got to make chili for Devin Townsend once, meeting the Dev and Tosin Abasi had him pretty struck.

Jesse: seeing Plini, the level of skill and talent is mind-blowing.

TJ: One time I was talking to some friends about how much I love Epicloud by the Dev before a show and they all stopped talking. I turned around and Devin Townsend was a foot away from me,  he told me to enjoy the show. I was speechless.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Chris: Catharsis of creation, if I couldn’t do that, making guitars.

Jesse: The emotional release of music, so yeah, the catharsis of creation. I guess sound engineering.

TJ: Getting to create with my best friends. I don’t dream of labour, I don’t have a dream job.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

What has been your biggest hurdle or obstacle musically? Committing to a regimen and following through, committing to theory and understanding why it’s important. “What bands are your influences?”

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

There are some shows, in retrospect, we should have backed out of. We have shared bills with bands and people who have done or said things we can’t support, y’know?

Jesse: I had a drum teacher that I was in lessons with that I eventually left, because I had trouble committing to a schedule and a regimen.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Chris and TJ: Rock in Rio by Iron Maiden. Getting to be on stage and part of one of the greatest live albums in history? Yeah.

Jesse: Iowa by Slipknot, that’s the first time I heard double kicks in that regard. It was a big deal.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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