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Bark's Martin Furia: "I think we didn’t mess up, and if we did I wouldn’t care, that’s the Bark way!"

Interview with Martin Furia: from Bark
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 18 December 2022, 9:52 PM

Every aspect of life can be written into becoming a song, well that is pretty much a known fact, and there shouldn't always be a fine line that unites the songs. When it comes to the band Bark, and their new album, "Rambler Of Aeons", it is about a memorial, remembering people that were dear and passed away. Nonetheless, there is enough dealing with present troubles to have one digesting bit by bit. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with Martin Furia of the band, also part of the German Thrashers, Destruction, about the new album, signing with a label, musical development and more…

Hello Martin, it is great to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end?

Hi Lior! Everything is fine here, Thanx for having me!

With most of the world’s release from the captive grasp of the pandemic, things began to improve for people. True, there is the war of the East to worry about. Nonetheless, culture wise, it is nearly back to normal. The question is, and it would be interesting to know from you, what is the new normal?

Mhhh, well the new normal is definitely different. I can’t say things came back to the way they were, it changed and not for the better. In the music industry things are very difficult nowadays, touring is much harder, it became a lot more expensive, fuel price alone is a nightmare and a strong factor to cancel tours. Everything actually became a lot more expensive, in general, and you see people take a lot more care of their money and can’t spend so much in going to shows, or buying music, merch etc. It will take time for (if it ever will) to be the same as pre pandemic times. Also the world is full of conflict, division, hatred, turmoil. Freedom is turning into a rare value in many places of the planet. It all looks quite disappointing to be honest, we really went a lot backwards.

Your main band Bark, which you have been one of its founders, in a way is also challenging your new position with the German legendary Thrashers, Destruction. Since Destruction is quite the live band, while also being highly creative in the studio, is there enough time to provide Bark with its needs, also on the live front?

This is a non-issue for us. I’ve been touring heavily since 2012, I’ve always worked as a sound engineer and it was always a challenge to match my schedules with the ones of the band. So there always have been friend musicians helping with that. We have this situation very well straightened up within the band, we are a pack, we want the best for all and we don’t waste time bitching around problems, but looking for a way to make us all happy and better.

Gradually, with the demise of the pandemic, Bark had been creating new music, two years after the previous album. The end result of this journey came out in the image of “Rambler Of Aeons”. Furthermore, this record brought with it a new deal with the French label, Listenable Records. From what I could gather it is the biggest label the band signed with since its formation. How do you feel about this signing? What are your expectations from the band’s new home?

We have always been a very independent band since the beginning and we actually rejected some labels in the past because we thought they were not the right partners for a band like us. Listenable saw us live in Alcatraz festival in 2021 and they loved the band and our previous album “Written in Stone”. They came with a great proposal and a lot of respect to our way of working and we thought it would be a great step ahead for the band to be backed by a good label that is also a fantastic partner. It definitely brought a lot more attention to the band from outside the Benelux, we also started to make some promotion in US and the album will be released in Japan soon. So we can feel the band is growing. Also they take care of manufacturing the album, promoting it, etc, which we used to do ourselves, and we can focus more on the artistic side of things. So far it’s been great and we hope to keep working with them for a long time. Listenable is the perfect label for us and their team really likes the band. We just want to keep working with them and make it a great partnership both for them and for us

As much as I am into mystical symbolism, and also add to it the mysteries of sci-fi, or ancient beliefs, you have to help me out here. The “Rambler Of Aeons” is quite the title, nevertheless, it would be great if you can provide a good explanation for its meaning, and what does it mean to you?

During the pandemic we lost quite a few friends. If you listen to our previous albums, there’s always this Spanish speaking Voice. That was my friend Pato Larralde, an incredible Argentinian singer. He was the Voice of Dog. He, unfortunately, passed away. He was a fantastic artist, and his lyrics were amazing, he was a big influence to me. HE IS the Rambler of Aeons, someone who left this world to just go wander in time and space. This is why there is no Spanish speaking on this album, and there won’t be anymore, because it was all him. Also the Death of Lars Goran Petrov, who was, is and will always be a huge inspiration for us sparked the song “For a Legend”, I wrote the whole song the same day he died and features a killer solo from my bro Guilherme Miranda, from Entombed AD. The Ramblers of Aeons are the Immortal Souls, the ones that leave the physical world to roam in Eternity.

In contrast to the signs and symbols going on, the themes on the album feel loose enough, as if you were trying to cover as much ground as possible in order to reach lighter aspects of life other than going through the sketches of art and riddles that might be harder to decipher. In your view, what is the unifying theme that stands as main on the album?

Yes, our topics vary a lot, this is definitely not a concept album. That being said, Death is a very strong presence in this album and in every BARK album in general. We approach the topic in many ways though. But, really, we can write just about anything. Anything can turn into a Bark song, were we always have these characters, gamblers, drug abusers, drunk asses, demons, witches, it’s always a bit dodgy and heroic and antiheroic at the same time.

The artwork, made by Alcides Burn, is quite interesting. We talked about symbols, mysticism and whatnot that is about things that might be bigger than us to comprehend. What can you tell about the vision that led Burn to this artwork? Did you provide music in order to entice this creation?

Alcides Burn, is a Brazilian artist I know for quite a long time and he already made our previous album cover “Written in Stone”. Working with Alcides is just great. He asks you for the concept, some guidelines, lyrics, music and then he delivers a first sketch that already blows your mind away. We always start from this Dog God we have, that is present in all our covers, it’s like our Eddie and we think in which situation we want to put him. We have the intention to homage Pato Larralde, and we mixed some Hinduist mythology in there and came up with this esoterical, mystical artwork.

Certainly one of the varied form of Groove Metal that I heard in a while, taking me into a mixed form of a trail, crossing Metal’s tradition, along with its melodies, yet striking hard with Thrash Metal and glimpses of Hardcore and portions of Death Metal meets Hard Rock for a great measure. In a manner of speaking, there is enough for every Metalhead right here. When it comes to taking Bark’s music forward, how do you view what happened musically on “Rambler Of Aeons”?

Well, I think we became better songwriters and we came to understand better album by album our own sound. In “Rambler…” we have refined our craft in what I consider a good way, it’s still always raw, will always be, it always sounds like BARK. Somehow we always manage to put something different in there. We have a lot of different influences; we don’t out ourselves in corners or boxes. We love punk, thrash, death, rock, Hardcore, heavy metal, we love music in general! We manage to throw it all in there and make it sound coherent and not just like a mix of stuff. The cool thing is that it always sounds like BARK. It can be anything, but in the end still sounds like us. We feel this album is a new chapter, but not a disruptive one, we are refining what we did in “Written In Stone” and we feel as a band that we are now a better version than previous years.

We talked about the variety within the musical aspects of the record, therefore I wonder, which form of influences landed on guys while writing the songs for the album? From where I am sitting, it is as if you had quite the diverse listening list.

Yes, we listen to anything, be it metal or not!

While keeping it short and sweet, at least in most of the songs, there is enough content within each track. What can you tell about the songwriting process? What were the main aspects that you took good care of while writing the music? Would you say that you changed your approach towards the songs in contrast to the previous record?

Not really, we always compose more or less the same way. We recorded the album in around a month. But we worked on it for like more than one year. We have our own studio in our rehearsal place, so we can take things easy and focus on making great songs that we enjoy listening and playing.

In general, the songs start from a riff or an idea I hum or play with any guitar I have around on my phone at whatever random moment. When I think I have way too many of those phone recordings, I go to the studio and do what I call “Riff Archeology".

I listen to all those phone files and separate the good ones. Then grab the guitar, play them, program some drum grooves, sometimes I can maybe put some reference vocal lines in there and shape that stuff in a good enough way to show it to the band, so that the guys can judge the ideas with justice. I’m a record producer, so I know how I want things to sound, and Bark is also a kind of sound, it has to sound like Bark from the get go, otherwise it won’t cut it.

At the time I present the ideas they are pretty good sounding and “record quality”. Then starts a process that I really love, that is to ruthlessly judge the songs with the band. We all sit together, have a drink and listen to everything. Everybody give their opinions and ideas and at this point songs can be completely erased or shifted, twisted and whatever is needed for us all to be satisfied. What remains of this process is like twenty un/finished songs. And that is our starting point as a band towards a full album.

Each musician composes and beefs up the songs, layer by layer. By the end of that process, it becomes clear which songs hits us hard and which songs don’t and what we consider to be the best, makes it to the album.

Rehearsing the songs in such a time period, where you had restrictions going on, did these obstacles have you postponing milestones in the album’s completion?

We don’t really rehearse the songs before recording. Demoing, composing, recording, arranging is kind of the same process and it extends in time as long as needed. So that was not a huge problem. You could meet with one or two people and work, sometimes restrictions were lifted and we would get together all of us and listen to the songs. But we don’t rehearse the songs until the album is actually released.

Sound wise, you once again engineered the album, attributing it a measure of Thrash Metal sound, nonetheless, maintaining the lead guitars that amazing Judas Priest styled sound pattern, while also bringing to the table the twin guitar heroism. What can you tell about the direction of sound that you wanted for the record?

I’m happy to know you like the production! Well, I always want BARK to sound as heavy as possible! Sometimes that is a problem because I believe in contrast, if everything is heavy in the end nothing is heavy. So we work hard to create nuances, with breaks, adding guitar dubs, guitar harmonies that sweeten things up a bit, taking the guitars out and leaving just the bass, adding backing vocals or gang vocals. It’s all a game of giving and taking and it’s more on the arranging stage than in the mixing. Sound wise I didn’t really have a reference besides our previous album “Written In Stone” but more in a way that I wanted it to sound equally big but a bit more refined.

Mostly, I like to mention songs that I found to be the most prominent, nevertheless, I would like you to give me your input about the song that really challenged you while it was written, also while it was recorded? Was there that one song that you had contemplations about, a kind that somewhat messed you up?

I love all the songs in the album. I have my favourites of course. “Rambler of Aeons” gave this epic template and the name came as soon as I played the first riff, it was like a revelation. I love “Kid Giant”, “Underworld”, “Messiah From Hell”, “Dead Man’s Hand”, “For a Legend”, pff I like them all! The hardest one was “Still Walking”, I always wanted to make an easy simple song, and when we started working on that one it proved really hard to make those! To keep it interesting, simple, to the point but still relevant and important. I love the twin guitars on that one, the lyric is one of the most heartfelt we ever wrote, it was tough one. I think we didn’t mess up, and if we did I wouldn’t care, that’s the BARK way!

Sooner than you think, and Bark is a decade old, are there thoughts about preparing a special form of tour for the occasion, or rather unleashing a kind of best of or rare recordings? There are also innovative options that are possible, if you had any ideas?

To be honest we didn’t even think of that! It’s amazing it’s going to be 10 years of BARK! FUCK!!! We should do something!

Were there considerations on perhaps taking Bark to tour with Destruction, unless it was already done of course?

Not really on tour. We played together some time ago, when I was doing only sound for Destruction, it was a lot of fun!

Speaking of shows, are there close shows to support Rambler Of Aeons”? If so, can you share the dates for the readers?

Our album is just out and we are in the process of booking shows, we have some lined up for the first 4 months of the year and working on some summer festivals. I unfortunately don’t have the dates here but they will be announced soon our socials. We want to play everywhere and bring our music to as many places as possible!

Martin, it was great to have you for this interview, I was glad to find your main band, and it was a great pleasure to listen to the new record. All the best

Thanx Lior, I’m really happy you enjoyed the album! Thanx for your support!



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