Wednesday 4 August 2010

Interview with Matt Mendoza of Bastard Priest

Bastard Priest are about to unleash their debut album, Under The Hammer of Destruction, so I caught up with vocalist and bringer-of-thunder Matt Mendoza to talk all things Bastard Priest.

AFITFOG: Hey Matt, I just want to begin by getting this one out of the way—where did you get the name from?
Matt Mendoza:
Well, me and Inventor [Bastard Priest guitarist] talked about getting together doing a heavy metal band and I think one time we talked about all the bands out there having a name with the word “bastard” in it. I can’t remember how really, but we settled for Bastard Priest after a while. But it’s just a name, you know.

So what made you decide to start the band? Was it because when you started in 2007 it was a reaction to all the bad, generic-sounding thrash and death metal bands around at that time?
No, not really. I mean, Bastard Priest is not some crusade against bad music. I have no real problem with bad, or what I think is bad music, I just don’t care about it. As long as I can do whatever I want, I don’t care for what others do. But of course I have opinions on the generic or “modern sound” of today’s metal and heavy music. I think the sound on a lot of modern metal or punk is just without a soul and has no personality. Me and Inventor often talk about good/bad sound/production, in the sense that you have what most people would consider “bad production”, but for us that’s the thing we find good about it.

Which bands do you rate?
Well, the first that comes to mind is the Norwegian band Obliteration. They have a very dynamic, cool sound, and they make incredible songs. Their take on death metal is pretty different from ours, but I just love ‘em. I like the sound on the stuff that Death Breath has done. Morbus Chron from Stockholm has a good thing going, also. Another cool band is Maim from Sweden, they’ve just recorded a new album. I got to hear two songs and it’s gonna kill! If you’re into punk stuff, check out Warvictims from Sweden. They do the most perfect 90s Swedish raw-punk. Their split with Flyblown is highly recommended. The state of punk/hardcore is kinda stiff and uninspiring right now, I think. But it all goes in circles, you know, and right now it seems to be at a low. I try to keep up to date with what’s going on with the bands I’m into. I really don’t pay that much attention to any of the big bands anymore, except for AC/DC. I saw them twice on the tour they just did.

You have a fairly unique style. Did it take a lot of practice to achieve this sound, or did it just come naturally?
No, we just sound the way we sound. We were brought up on heavy, fast music of all kinds. So I guess all those years of listening to everything from the Rolling Stones to W.A.S.P to Koro to Kuro to Darkthrone, and so on, has a lot to do with how we sound. Me and Inventor come from a hardcore-punk background when it comes to making songs and playing music—and that’s a big part of the songwriting. No long extensive parts with “challenging” guitar solos or technical drum solos, you know. We just try to keep it short, fast and loud. The music is what’s comes out of our minds and so are the lyrics and artwork.

Were you trying to emulate some of these sounds/bands with the new record?
The album that we’re putting out now spans a fairly large period of time. The oldest songs on it are from 2007 and among the first ones we ever recorded. I remember trying to do really easy songs and focus on it being more hard-hitting and memorable than technical or weird or anything like that. We listened a lot to old Master, Autopsy and Possessed when doing the songs, and also a fair share of Crow, Anti-Cimex and Discharge. On the B-side of the album you have our “Merciless Insane Death” demo from 2008 in its entirety. It also features two or three new songs that we did early in 2009. So this release is more like a collection of what we’ve done so far.

Who does all the songwriting, and when and where are the songs written?
We both write the songs. Usually we sit at home and record stuff and write down arrangements and then we meet up and lay down the songs and structures. We usually record whatever we come up with and listen to it afterwards to come up with additional arrangements and/or corrections. Songs usually start off with just a riff or two, and then we build them up from there. Most of the solos and additional noise is developed when we’re recording stuff.

What are you hoping to achieve with this record?
I don’t know really, we haven’t thought about it like that. It’s cool to get a vinyl release of the demo and the songs we did before that. It’s also good that hopefully more people get to hear our stuff since the demo’s been sold out for a while now. We’re currently working on new songs for a new release. I think we’re halfway there, and we’re hopefully recording later this autumn. I have no real details for any of this right now, we’re just making new songs. They sound the same as the old ones.

Are either of you guys working on any other projects?
Right now all my creativity goes in to making songs and stuff for Bastard Priest. I have a hard time doing more than one thing at a time so right now I’m working hard to have nine or ten new songs ready for recording. Keep on keeping on!

The LP is available now on pre-order from the excellent Blood Harvest Records, here.

1 comment:

Boogie Woogie said...

Awesome interview. Got their demo a while back and am psyched to hear that more is on the way.