Exclusive Interview: Exdestrier talk writing and recording “Glorious Barbarism”!
Quite how Edinburgh natives Exdestrier ended up choosing Blackened Sludge Metal as the genre in which they wanted to paint remains something of a mystery, but it’s cold in the North so they probably drank some Scotch Whiskey in front of an open fire… either way, the trio who comprise vocalist and bassist Chris Smith, guitarist and vocalist Tommy Concrete formerly of seminal Hardcore Punks The Exploited and Guitar and drummer Didier Almouzni, a man known for his work in Power Metal monsters Dragonforce as well as Razor Of Occam have created something different. Progressive structures and in lyrical themes from dark fantasy realms, tales of medieval landscapes, gruesome warriors and a looming gloom are all present in “Glorious Barbarism“…
How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path of the new record? “It was absolutely essential. We’ve got eighty odd years combined experience, between us we’ve easy been on sixty odd albums across multiple styles. We don’t need to learn how to do anything, it’s all there ready to be mined. The main issue was will we get on? Chris was best man at my wedding and we’ve been in bands for years so that’s no issue and within a few minutes of meeting Didier it was clear that we were on the same page musically and got on fine. We don’t always agree but all of us are way past any pre-madonna diva eras that we went through as younger ego fuelled musicians so the process is pretty smooth and painless”.
How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “It’ll start with a riff, usually from Chris. Then we’ll figure out the beat, tempo and whatever. Then over time I’ll adapt how I play it with harmonies, inversions and dynamics. We’ll do this with each riff then piece them together and get a feel for how each section flows into each other. Vocals come last, and least. We fuck with it until it’s no longer annoying”
You recorded yourselves in Edinburgh before sending “Glorious Barbarism” to be mixed and mastered by Gwen Kerjan (Banane Metalik, Toward The Throne, Devoid) at Slab Sound Studio, France. What brought about the decision to follow that left and path for the recording? How did you finds working with Gwen Kerjan? “We recorded Glorious Barbarism before we’d even played a gig so it was really early days in the band, we were still finding the feel. It was important for us to have the musicality of what we did as the main thing. So I think it was the smart move to send it over to Gwen and get him to re-amp the direct inputs and basically create a sonic mix that he felt was sympathetic to the actual music. I really didn’t like the process and wasn’t into the idea of it at all, but I think the end result is great as we were denied bringing any preconceived ideas into our sound. Working remotely was a challenging experience for me personally and not something I would rush to repeat, however the end did justify the means. Sometimes having a whole lot of experience can get in the way of being totally subjective to creating something fresh, and this certainly side stepped that. Besides, this is just how it’s done now. You have to mutate to survive and challenge yourself to new ways of doing things. Especially so after playing in bands for thirty plus years”
If you had the opportunity to work with a guest in the studio next time around, who would you like to work with and why? “Probably a really smart chef. Someone who could rustle up amazing healthy meals so we don’t eat shit the whole time”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “No. I’m very much from the second wave of black metal school of production. I don’t relate to gear fetish at all. I heard Robert Fripp describe the heaviness of Black Sabbath as being ‘An equipment demonstration’ and that King Crimson was heavy on a mathematical level. That was a real game changer for me in how I approach being a musician. The sound and tone is whatever, switch the amps and pedals around and sure it makes a difference, but compare that difference to transposing the songs from The Enigmatic Scale into The Blues Scale and the difference is enormous. Besides, Gwen re-amped everything and I have no clue what gear he used”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “It would give us some stuff to punt on Reverb I suppose. Endorsement from something that we use would be useful, strings, sticks, picks. Save a bit of money. Not something I’ve ever chased to be honest, I tend to stay away from anything ‘businessy’ all that shit sucks the fun out of being in a band. Besides, when you have an endorsement that’s puts someone into the equation that you have to answer to for whatever reason”
“Glorious Barbarism” by Exdestrier is out and available over at bandcamp.