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Bison BC

Het is altijd goed om met de mannen van Bison BC te praten. Dit zijn de echte riff-brouwers van deze planeet. Ze leven voor de heilige graal der riffs en knielen elke dag bij het altaar dat bestaat uit alles dat Black Sabbath ooit uitbracht. Als de band echter niet religieus bezig is dan blazen ze zalen vol mensen omver met hun monstergeluid. Het nieuwe album 'Lovelessness' zal gelukkig aan dat natuurgeweld voorlopig geen einde maken. Gitarist James Gnarwell heeft wederom het woord.

Door: Jasper | Archiveer onder different metal

Hi guys, how is Bison BC doing these days?
Great, I was just swimming in my guitar shaped pool. Things couldn't get much better. We just had a great band meeting last night which turned, quite quickly, into a jim beam fueled dance and P.A. karaoke party at our jam spot. I'm actually a little sore, I think I may have fallen down while air guitaring the solo in 'Cowboy Song'.

With 'Lovelessness' you're releasing your fourth record already, the third on Metal Blade. When you started out, did you ever expect Bison BC to get this far: releasing records on a renowned metal label and touring the world?
No I didn't. To this day I am still confused to why a label such as the blade would want anything to do with us, haha. I mean its been a great relationship, and we are honored they would extend themselves to a bunch of anti social Canadians. In the 80's I was a fat pimpled face punker in Winnipeg growing up with Metal Blade releases. The only bummer was that there was very little blood letting or ritualistic slaughter involved in our actual signing of the contract, which incidentally, wasn't made of human skin.

My first impression of 'Lovelessness' is that it's a bit rougher around the edges, filthier, stripped even. Was that the idea in the studio?
Yeah, the idea was to make a live sounding rock record, that you could tell was performed by human beings. Real live hung over or drunk human beings; angry and hurt from the night before, only to have tried to sleep it off on a hard wooden floor for a couple hours. The process was really bare bones and quick, I mean we did it in eleven days, tracked all the music in like five days. When you go at it from that angle, the end result is gonna sound rough, angry and real.

I know of people who weren't too impressed by your albums but got into Bison BC through your live shows. Is that something you are trying to capture on record as well?
That was also one of the main goals. We wanted to make a more organic and live sounding record. So we approached the performance as if we were on tour, our time in Chicago was basically an eleven day tour of the same city, playing everyday to the same grizzled prickly dick, Mr. Sanford Parker.

You too, said you preferred touring over recording. Does recording ever become a “necessary evil” for you guys? Or is that putting it too strongly.
Recording is an entirely different art, one that we are still trying to perfect. Though there is no ultimate end to be reached, there are always new things to try and new approaches. Touring is a different type of engagement, meeting people, performing. Travel is exciting, especially with great dudes, being a working, traveling band is the best life.

You come across as laid-back joke-around kinda guys. However, with 'Dark Ages' things got a little bit more serious I felt, and 'Lovelessness' also has a vicious vibe. The days of 'Stokasaurus' and 'These Are My Dress Clothes' are definitely over I presume? What happened?
Well, I think I wanted to use the band as more of an exorcism for myself, more of a release. This album is the most personal I have gotten in regards to songwriting and content. Approaching topics and feelings that maybe weren't popular in the music world we are involved in. That being said, now we have an album about love. Not very 'metal', but fuck it, I don't give a shit how metal we are. I had a thousand broken hearts over the past year for many different reasons, I also have a loud and angry rock band, why not put them together and scream myself sane?

How much is Bison BC still about having fun for you guys?
Like I said, we still fall prey to sudden dance parties and copious amounts of drugs and alcohol. Life is too short, have stupid fun as much as you can, it evens out the heartache.

band image

Can you explain the title and the artwork with reference to the lyrics?
The cover is a detail of a photo I took of the post-op spleen and tumor which was removed from my lovely dog Milo. Unfortunately the cancer would invade his liver shortly there after and he would leave us May 17th, 2012. The guys actually thought it would be perfect, and I must say I agreed. The idea of something so lovely and completely full of love and compassion and innocence be taken in such a painful and violent way, decimated by cancer, suffering and not understanding any of it, that was a large idea behind 'Lovelessness'.

Do you “worship” the riff as in, would you say it's something that floats around in the atmosphere that you could catch and play, or do you think it's just man-made without any of that mumbojumbo?
No man, its in your fucking heart and soul. Songwriting is inside, and putting it out is sometimes like birth, the pain of labour, putting yourself into a song, it was a little painful for me this time round. But I wanted to challenge myself, see if I was brave enough. It was a better experience for me, and selfishly, that's all I care about, I couldn't give a fuck if this doesn't make any top ten lists or bullshit like that.

Which contemporary band has the best riffs at the moment? Do you think there will ever be another riff band influential like Black Sabbath again, or is that a technical impossibility?
That is a technical impossibility. Contemporary bands like Yob or unearthly trance, they make interesting heavy music that really moves, really takes you somewhere. Melvins will always be there, saving music. They are the closest we could come to a Black Sabbath.

Don't you ever feel bad that Sabbath existed? I mean, you will never write an original riff because of them...!
I think about that a lot. This album, I tried to add more punk rock, but there's still some Sabbath worship there haha. I should build a time machine, and start Black Sabbath myself, like a day before they did, is that possible? Does that make sense… is Sharon Osborne going to sue me for thinking about that?

You told us about beer drinking the last time we spoke, but on 'Clozapine Dream' it seems that you also use other materials sometimes! Are drugs an influence?

That song is actually referring to an anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia. Its not a recreational drug, though we may or may not use recreational drugs as well as some select psychiatric medications to make it through the day. Mostly booze though, even though Dan is currently on the straight and narrow and I quit smoking. We are lame rock and rollers, always quitting something – Masa and Matt are still weed addicts though.

So, touring! When can we expect the Bisons to trample The Netherlands again?
We are just now discussing with the powers that be when we will return to Europe. We will be there next year sometime, keep your ears peeled for details. Can't wait to see your faces and eat all your good cheese and drink all your beers.

What are your further immediate plans and what about your goal for the distant future?
Relaxing these days. But we will soon return to the jam spot to start rehearsing for tour and to escape the rain. I've started writing for the next record already, so I will be working on that in between bottles of wine at home watching my shows. Peace.

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