Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Barren Heir Interview

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

Bleak sludge metal, with lots of left turns. Bluesy, atmospheric guitar work and the occasional prog section.

2. How would you describe the musical sound that has been presented on the recordings you have released so far?

Like a big angry sea monster coming out of the water. But then it crashes back against the ocean super hard and it’s not even pissed any more, it’s just bummed.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Self-reflection. Observations on life and those around you. Dead ends.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Barren Heir’?

It’s sort of twofold. The three of us were in a previous band that had a lot of lineup changes. We struggled to find an identity because of it, and after a while we just had enough. We knew we were capable of doing something good together. So when we started this band, it was clear in our minds that it was always just going to be the three of us. This band only exists because we’re very close friends, and meeting up to jam every week has been a regular part of our lives for 10+ years at this point. If any one of us were out of the equation, then there’s no more Barren Heir. It also just kind of nailed the vibe of our music and is sort of an ambiguous word pairing, which I’m all about.

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

Last year we got to play a super nice venue here in Chicago called Lincoln Hall. I never thought we would have an opportunity to play a place like that. It was the record release show for a band from here called Outrun the Sunlight. They put the show together and were nice enough to bring us on. All the bands (Outrun the Sunlight, Sioum and REZN) did great and sounded massive in that setting. It was just a totally new and very memorable experience playing a venue like that.

People often say our live shows feel improvised at times. After we’ve been playing a song for a while it changes a bit so I think our live shows have something a little bit extra than the recording. I would consider us more of a “live band”, meaning I’d rather have people be introduced to our music in a live setting.

6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

We’re heading south for a week over Memorial Day weekend, and currently booking something a little more extensive for late August. No specific plans just yet beyond that, but we’re steadily going to begin touring more. And definitely a release show with Cokegoat once we have these vinyls in hand.

7. Recently you where a part of a split with 'Cokegoat', what are your thoughts on the other band that had participated on the recording?

They're great! We loved their band before this and were immediately on board when Jeff initially brought up this idea. We owe them a lot of “thanks” for spearheading this and keeping it on track. Before this, we never worked with any sort of time constraints. It was just, when it's done, we’ll record it. So we learned a lot, we worked under pressure and that really kept us on our toes. If they didn’t say, “hey, be ready to enter the studio in October”, there’s no way would have been studio ready with new music by then. Typically things move a lot slower with us. It’s not laziness, it’s just a slow process letting everything take shape. I over scrutinize little things until there’s nothing left. And of course that drags things on endlessly. Sometimes you just need that push, or need someone to light the fire under you.

8. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

Not actively seeking something out. I’m open to the idea of if it, but it’d essentially have to be a perfect pairing.

9. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge, doom and post metal?

From the little we’ve seen it’s been positive. With Tired Turns (our debut / only other release), we sold a very modest number of copies online, yet the majority of those were international orders. That was unexpected. I was surprised and excited that anyone outside the US bought it.

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

Hard to say. I would guess that we won’t ever make the same record. I hope at the end of the day we’ll have released a lot of records and covered a lot of territory, musically.

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?

Rage Against the Machine and Tool were two of the earliest bands I became obsessed with after I started playing bass in grade school. Thanks to my Mom, ├ćnima from Tool opened up a whole new world of music around that time that I had previously closed myself off from. Shortly after that my cousin gave me a burned CD of the first Mars Volta record and that similarly blew my mind. Jon Theodore’s drumming on that is one of my all-time favorites. Another thing that sticks out was seeing Russian Circles when I was 16, and it was shortly after they released the Enter EP. They played the Arlington Heights Knights of Columbus in front of a small crowd and it was like nothing I’d seen at that point.

Nowadays I’m always hoping around and always trying to find something new to listen to. For work I do graphic design, so I sit at a computer and I’m free to listen to music the whole time. Recent heavy rotation albums: Amenra (Mass VI), Deem Spenser (We Think We Alone), Yussef Kamaal (Black Focus), Portal (Ion), Brother/Ghost (Buried), Frank Ocean (Endless).

12. What are some of your non musical interests?

All three of us love Basketball.

13. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for taking the time.  

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