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Bastard (Graveyard)

Interview with Bastard from Graveyard
by John Dafopoulos at 30 January 2010, 9:01 PM

It’s kind of rare to see a Death Metal band emerging from Spain and it is even rarer for that band to be kickass enough to make you try to melt their new CD by listening to it every single day. This band is GRAVEYARD and the band’s leader Bastard was willing to answer a few questions to METAL TEMPLE.

Hello Bastard! First of all congratulations on your new album! Can you give us a short bio of the band for the people who don’t know GRAVEYARD?
Hi there! GRAVEYARD originally was created back in 2001 or so. We had lots of riffs, the logo, the whole idea in terms of style, sound, attitude… The thing is that we didn’t have a drummer at the time so the project stayed on hold until summer 2007 when we found Gusi, our current drummer. Once he joined the band, we went to a filthy garage and recorded our demo "Into The Mausoleum" in 1 day and a half. That was around August 2007. Shortly after, the Spanish label Black Seed Productions offered us a deal so we re-released that demo on MCD, found a second guitar player and started rehearsing and playing live. Since then, we have released that MCD on vinyl and 2 7" splits as well. Our new album "One With The Dead" was out on September 2009.

What seems kind of strange is that even you are from Spain, a country that is more into traditional Metal, you chose to play Death Metal, which resembles to bands of the old Swedish Death Metal scene. How did you end up choosing to play this kind of music?
This is how it goes: we don’t gather around a table and start thinking on which style we want to play with our band. It happened spontaneously, I mean, back in 2001 me and Julkarn were playing in Black Metal bands so there was no sense to start another Black Metal band. We have always been into Death Metal so it was a logical step to start playing the music of DEATH again sooner or later. In fact, we played Death Metal before Black Metal… Anyway, we created GRAVEYARD due to some concrete circumstances. I mean, if we had been listening to RUNNING WILD like maniacs when we decided to create band, maybe nowadays we would be talking about our Heavy Metal band called GRAVEYARD, hahaha!. To be honest, its fucking difficult to know why we ended up doing a Death Metal band instead of a Rock & Roll band or a Heavy Metal band…

Really, which are your influences as a band? I noticed some GRAVE, DISMEMBER and ASPHYX elements in "One With The Dead".
GRAVEYARD is all about Death Metal and since we are in our thirties, its obvious which kind of Death Metal bands we listened to when we were teenagers and still do. I mean, I respect modern Death Metal bands, but it doesn’t work for us. And that’s an honest statement because we didn’t grow up with those modern bands. When I was 14 or 15 years old, there was just MORBID ANGEL, DEATH, ENTOMBED, MORGOTH, ASPHYX, OBITUARY, AUTOPSY, DISMEMBER, NECROPHOBIC, PESTILENCE… So that was the Death music we enjoyed then and still do today. I mean, when I think about Death Metal MORBID ANGEL immediately comes to my mind. And it happens now or 15 years ago, it doesn’t matter. So you can imagine what are our influences… Just put some Doom acts like CANDLEMASS, COUNT RAVEN or TROUBLE, a little bit of old shit like SLAYER, CELTIC FROST, MOTORHEAD and VENOM and some Heavy Metal such as RUNNING WILD, IRON MAIDEN, BARON ROJO and a few more. That’s the formula.

I read that Dan Swano was the man that took on the mastering duties. Did you know him or you just contacted him for the job? He has done a great job once more!
I have known Dan for years. Besides, I really love his sound production work (recording, mixing, mastering…) so it was logical for us to ask him to do the mastering on "One With The Dead". To be honest, if he doesn’t know how a Death Metal band should sound, nobody knows…

Who has designed the cover? It has this old school vibe I personally love. Most artworks are totally "digital" nowadays. IMAGE Well, we used that painted cover because it fits perfectly with the music we play. I respect digital covers, and actually sometimes they work, but GRAVEYARD means "classic" so we had to go for a painted cover. We asked a good friend of us, Roberto Fernandez Giordano, to do the cover. He used to be a Death Metal maniac back in the day and now he listens to Death music from time to time, although he’s not as fanatic as he used to be. Anyway, he knows how Death Metal covers should look so it was pretty easy for him to create that one. He’s a respected tattoo artist here and he has done some tattoos for me and Julkarn. He has done 3 covers for us ("Into The Mausoleum", split with DEATHEVOKATION, "One With The Dead"). I guess he will continue working with us as long as we give him a copy of each record and pay him a few beers, hahaha!

Whose idea was it to cover "A Tale Of Creation"? It is a really great cover that gives the original song an even more wicked tone.
We have always been die hard CANDLEMASS fans so it was logical for us to cover that one. Besides, we did some Death Metal covers in the past like DEATH or BOLT THROWER so we decided not to make some different stuff. The thing is that our friend Perra from NOMINON is also a sick CANDLEMASS fan so when he stayed here at my place around the days we were recording "One With The Dead", I asked him to play drums in that cover song and he agreed. Then, I asked Dan Swano to do the vocals on that song. Initially, he was supposed to record the whole song with growls, but he told us that he was not into growling anymore so he offered us to sing the clean parts on the choruses and leave the rest of the song for Julkarn’s growls.

You have shared the stage with many known acts. Which one made the best impression on you? We have shared stage with a lot of cool bands like NIFELHEIM, REGURGITATE, MACHETAZO, ASPHYX, NOMINON, LIE IN RUINS, HAIL OF BULLETS, NECROS CHRISTOS, KAAMOS, MORBOSIDAD, PROCLAMATION, HORRID, NECRODEATH, AVULSED, ARTILLERY, HATE… And some more I don’t remember right now. We have met most of those bands and we have become good friends with some of them. But the ones we had more contact were NOMINON, LIE IN RUINS, ASPHYX and HAIL OF BULLETS. You can notice it since we have included them as guests on our new album, hahaha (Martin Van Drunen was supposed to sing one song in the album, but it was impossible at the end due to the release of their "Death… The Brutal Way", that came out around the time we were recording our album). In the next few months we have shows scheduled with TORMENTED, HORRID, DECAYED and DISHAMMER so I guess there are some cool parties waiting for us, hahaha.

How is your collaboration with BlackSeed Productions until now? Are you satisfied with the effort they have put on you?
They were the very first label interested on us. After Black Seed, a lot of labels also contacted us so we had feedback from labels like No Colours, Xtreem Music or Ibex Moon. But we are ok with Black Seed Productions. I know they’re a small label compared to those mentioned above, but I think it’s better to be a main priority in a small label more than "another" band in a bigger label if you know what I mean. They have done a great job in terms of money and dedication to the band, more than those other labels do with their own bands so we are not planning on switching labels right now. I don’t know what will happen in the future, but today Black Seed Productions is perfect for us.

Have you started thinking about your next release or is it too early to be talking about new material?
Two guys in the band live quite far from the other 2 so sometimes it’s difficult to arrange rehearsals, to meet for writing new stuff… When Julkarn comes to Barcelona 2 days before every show, we go to the studio and record some basic ideas, simple riffs, melodies… Then, when he leaves, the other 3 guys get all that stuff and work on it arranging it into songs, send it back and forth, make changes, etc. Then we go to the rehearsal place and play the until we create the final song. So that’s what we have been doing since we released "One With The Dead"; writing stuff even before we know what to do with it. Right now we have enough songs for 2 splits and the next full-length which will be recorded around late 2010 and released in 2011, I hope. We want to go one step further and do something a little bit different, including the Swedish/Classic Death Metal approach of "One With The Dead" but getting back to some of the more morbid, evil and atmospheric elements of "Into The Mausoleum".

Most of you are involved in other bands/projects? Does this affect GRAVEYARD’s program?
Yeah, our drummer Gusi plays with MORBID FLESH and INSULTERS, Julkarn plays with STORMWRATH, Sbe plays with ERED and I’m playing with LUX DIVINA. (There’s some other studio projects as well). All those other bands are not a problem concerning GRAVEYARD’s schedule. GRAVEYARD is not a 2-days-a-week rehearsing band or something like that. We only rehearse for a few days before every show and we only do a few shows per year so there’s enough time to work with other bands.

Thank you for this interview and I wish you and your band all the best! I leave the last words to you…
Thanx so much for the interview!. All the respect for you guys, you had one of the best scenes in the world back in the 90’s with ROTTING CHRIST, VARATHRON, SEPTIC FLESH, HORRIFIED, NECROMANTIA, NAER MATARON, THOU ART LORD… Those names send chills down my spine!


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Edited 26 September 2022

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