Very Strange Meat – A Interview With Karol From Brains   Leave a comment

BRAINS was formed by laapot666 in 2009 and plays Blackened Rock n Roll exclusively. Brains’ ultimate aim is to create serious, honest and dark Rock n Roll steeped in the influence of traditional rock arrangements, black metal atmospheres and psychedelic/stoner vibes. BRAINS released their debut demo in early 2010 entitled STRANGE MEAT and made it available as a free download. Since then BRAINS have been putting in much work in the jam room and on the live circuit with a view to becoming a live force to be reckoned with. (Lovingly stolen from their Myspace Page).

Q: Hello mate! I’m truly glad to have a chance to discuss your band Brains because I was pretty amazed as I’ve heard “Black is Thee New Black” compilation and your song “Black On Black” is on there. Sorry but I’d want to ask you to introduce yourself to our readers, man!
A: Hi Aleks, Thanks for taking an interest in the band. I’m Karol and I play bass and do the vocals in Brains.

Q: Ok, Karol, as I understand – Brains is a “young” band but it sounds very professional with the first demo “Strange Meat”, from where did you appear? Where did you get such fresh and clear ideas for your music? Well, their freshness is a question for those who grew up in 70s maybe but I deny not my words – “Strange Meat” is fresh and thick!
A: Brains is pretty far from being a young band (but we’re very good looking!). We have actually all played together in various styles of band in the past so when we were getting together it didn’t take all that much thought. As for where the ideas for the songs come from,  I’m really not too sure. A riff comes along, or a lyric that you like, and you build on it musically or thematically from there. But yeah, there is a definite 70’s influence in there too. The professional sound is due to kindness on the part of local studio owners, and friends with excellent skills on Pro Tools, and lots of patience.

Q: Oh, of course it was obvious that you didn’t take your instruments just month ago! And I do not mean that you’re young cause I saw your photos in MySpace 🙂 Well, I have another one ordinary question – if I do not ask you then someone else will, so why did you name your band Brains?!
A: Well most importantly I just like the word Brains and everything it implies. The brains is the nerve centre of the body where all music and art, pain and pleasure, fear and joy is processed. Its also quite mysterious. The idea does not actually have anything to do with zombies or anything though most people seem to think this is why the band is called Brains.

Q: Ha-ha, firstly I was thinking that it was about zombies indeed! It would be very good if you introduce also your band-mates! I think that a good band is a some kind of family or a gang at least, though Brains looks like a eccentric occult commonwealth disguising itself as rock musicians.
A: I don’t know what to think, man. Brian is the lead guitarist and he’s in charge of the sweet guitar tones and solos. Ronan, who plays rhythm guitar, comes from a more metal background and provides the much-needed crunch and feedback, and Evin on drums looks after the grooves.  We do all come from playing different styles though – Evin has mostly played in Alt/Punk bands, Ronan in Black/Death metal bands, and Brian in 70’s style classic rock bands. He also plays in a traditional Irish duo, so I guess you could say commonwealth.

Q: Well, Karol, I’ve mentioned “Black is Thee New Black” compilation, and I must say it was a first time when I have heard of Thee Big Black – what is it?
A: “Thee Big Black” is an English, free downloadable ‘zine. I think they’re on their seventh edition now. Basically it’s your traditional zine in a downloadable format. It focuses on all things dark and heavy with album and demo reviews, gig reviews, interviews, band features etc. It also features a mini comic with every issue. Well worth a look.

Q: There are some people who still think that “real”, paper magazine is better than web-zine or free download zine as Thee Big Black or Deutschland Doom. What would you prefer a publication about Brains in paper magazine or in a web-zine?
A: It doesn’t effect  me one way or the other to be honest, I’d like a publication about Brains in whatever has the larger readership :. I am old enough to remember the days of Photocopied ‘zines, tape trading and all that carry on but I don’t get romantic about it or anything. If you ask me these publications exist to spread the word about underground music and if it can be done more efficiently online than on a paper copy so be it.

Q: I’m sure it can! And I’m sure that this compilation helped you enough to spread Brains’ vibrations over the masses with your classic blues/hard rock song “Black On Black”, do you set yourself as an object dissemination of your music world-wide? Which ways do you go spreading the Word of Brains?
A: Well we do our best to promote the band in the usual ways. Sure the “Thee Big Black” compilation was great, at the very least for introducing me to the couple of great bands that I might not have otherwise heard. Other than that, we tend to rely on positive reviews, interviews with fine people like yourself, gigs. That and spam, lots of spam.  To be honest I don’t think the promotional end of things is anyone’s specialty, but we do what we can.

Q: The cover-art of “Black is Thee New Black” looks like it’s authors work in a seafood restaurant as Brains “Strange Meat” art-works shows us that you prefer beef over marine products. Who is the author of your art-work and how do it and album’s title reveal its conception of this demo?
A: The cover for “Strange Meat” was designed by a friend of mine called Leon Nelligan. Basically he was given a free reign on design for it, as we didn’t really know what we wanted on the cover. It turned out we knew what we didn’t want though, so it took the poor guy a couple of attempts before we eventually agreed on a direction – from there, more back and forth. In the end we were happy with the artwork, it is nice and simple. The Brains lettering was designed by me. It took a long time ’cause it was the first time I had picked up a pencil to draw in a good few years, and it still needed fixing.
The “StrangeMeat” demo didn’t or doesn’t really have any concept as such. It’s a bit of a mixed bag of styles with a central rock sound. We had a shortlist of maybe nine songs for the demo – after eliminating a couple we were left with the first 5 tracks, and then we decided to put “Strangemeat” the song on there, because it’s a bit jarring after the first 5 tracks. So the demo title seemed obvious after that.

Q: As you say – Brains play Blackened Rock n Roll and we can see in your web-page that your influences are Tom Petty and Burzum for example, strange mix indeed though I didn’t catch Varg’s spirit in your songs. For what do you like this project?
A: Yeah, the Tom Petty and Burzum influences have been commented on a couple of times now. When writing these songs and trying to find a style that suited me, I was aiming for somewhere in between the nihilism and atmosphere of Black Metal, and the traditional structure of Classic Rock. I am a big fan of Rock Music of all kinds and Tom Petty would be one of my favorites. I am also a big fan of metal, and Black Metal in particular.  I guess the Rock end of things overpowered the black metal in the end but I like to think there is a couple of subtle black metal-isms in there too.

Q: I hope that state of things will remain the same in your next works and you will not start to play blast-beats based blues black metal… or will you?
A: No, Its fairly safe to say we will not be playing blues inspired black metal although  the English band Screamin Deamon did it to great effect on their album “The decline of the English murder”, but, no, its not a road we would be interested in going down.

Q: Your song “Black On Black” is about Dracula as “Wolfbeast” is about werewolves as I see, and your “retro” rock’n’roll sound makes me suggest that you’re big fans of old black-and-white horror movies, but your vision of these subjects is brand new. Do you miss the times when Black Sabbath was one and only heavy band on Earth?
A: Well “Black on Black” was written two years ago during Halloween week – I was reading the book for the occasion and it seemed like a good idea to write a song about the Count himself. That one was fun to write. Wolfbeast, however is not really about werewolves. It’s more about the consequences of your actions, fear, paranoia etc., although you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.
Personally I am happy to be living in the 21st century as far as music is concerned.  I think Black Sabbath has been a huge influence on anybody that makes heavy guitar based music, but they’re not everything.

Q: I even starting to think that Black Sabbath made more reforms in people minds than any political or religious figures, but just look what Ozzy does now! Man, don’t you think that watching his example we can draw a conclusion that his way was wrong? You may do not answer – it’s your choice.
A: I think maybe when he was doing so many drugs his brain shut out he’s wife’s nagging, now that he doesn’t do the drugs I guess its not as easy to ignore her so he does what he wants her to do and makes silly tv shows and acts like a clown. Maybe that’s what he has taught us, do drugs and ignore your wife.

Q: Karol, I hope that it’s not too boring but I want you to comment on other songs on “Strange Meat” demo, if you don’t mind?
A: “Wolfbeast” we have discussed. “3ft wide 7ft tall” is our only love song, and was written as an ode to nine green females that were staying at my house for a while. “Black on Black” as you know is a more doom inspired song about Dracula.  “That Awful Witch”, believe it or not, is actually a true story. It has a simple blues progression, and lyrically is about an episode of sleep paralysis I had, when I woke up in the night but couldn’t move or speak. I could hear doors in my house slamming shut and people talking and walking around my room – scary shit! “Muddy Water” is probably the most musical song on the demo with lots of ins and outs, guitar passages etc. It’s about one really bad day.

Q: I’m sorry if that’s too personal for you but didn’t you get how you fall in that state of “sleep paralysis”? As I can suggest – thanks to MySpace once again – you have an interest in occultism so such experience must be not just scary but even interesting for yourself. Or well… you know… We made an interview with one fair gentleman who likes heavy and slow music and he told me how he fell in such terrible state through dope-smoking that it helped him to compose one great song and to broke this bad habit after such occasion.
A: Its not at all a personal for me.  Yeah, of course it was an interesting experience and even when I woke in the morning I knew what had happened as I was aware of sleep paralysis and how it works. That said, when its actually happening you are dreaming even though it seems like you are awake so you believe that all this is really happening so it is quite scary, occult interest or not.
I sleep my best after smoking dope personally, its when I am straight that my dreams get a bit mad.

Q: It’s said that “Brains’ ultimate aim is to create serious, honest and dark Rock n Roll”. Ok, I’m agreed, man! But your song “Strange Meat” sounds not serious at all, it’s like a bloody crazy country music. Why did you decide to close album with such freaky track?
A: OK that’s true, I don’t know why we finished off the demo with such an off-kilter song. I suppose we do have a lot of different influences, and although we felt the songs that made it on to the demo were the ones that were best representative of what we do, we also have a lot of variety in our music. So I guess having “Strange meat” on there is a kind of warning to people to not get too accustomed with this particular sound……or something.

Q: Did you want from the very start to made your first release available as a free download?
A: I’d like to sell it for a hundred dollars a pop, but I don’t think we would have many takers. Seriously though, for the moment I have no problem giving our music away. It didn’t cost us a fortune to make, and the more people that listen the better.  Of course we will be selling hard copies and merchandise at gigs, because there are still people who like to have these things, and I think there always will be. But unless the record industry comes up with a way of curbing illegal downloading, then the days of making money from album sales are dead and gone.

Q: I know that your mates – Castero and Brigantia – made the same with their first releases, and I bet that you know these gentlemen very well. Hah… Castero loves rock’n’roll as much as you do, though they prefer groove. Are you friends with such noble sirs? Are there another new honorable downtempo bands in Ireland which are worthy to mention?
A: Castero and Brigantia are both excellent bands, they both seem to work really hard. Although there has been much talk, we still have not gigged together, so I don’t know the guys personally. There is some stuff in the works though, so by the time this gets published I’m sure that will have changed. There’s lots of good music in Ireland at the moment – Howlin’ Widow, from the North, and Realistic Train, from Dublin, would be two more to check out.

Q: You have a plan to record a full-length CD – it’s not a question because the answer is well-known. Do you already know where will you record material for your first CD? Did you find a label to release it?
A: Yeah, we will record a full-length album at some stage – for the moment though we are concentrating on our performance and trying to get as tight as possible. I think this is the most important thing for a new band, to be impressively well rehearsed from your first performance, and then to have something to give/sell to people if they want to hear more. We do, however, have quite a bit of material, so maybe there will be something done in the new year.

Q: It’s my personal question, Karol, I’d like to ask you about modern Ireland, what is it like mate?
A: Modern Ireland is ok – the economy is fucked, and the cities and towns are the same wherever you go, but there is a lot of beautiful countryside and that’s where I spend most my time, so it’s ok by me.

Q: Karol, it was the last question, thank you for your answers. My best wishes to you and your family, I want to wish you and other gentlemen of Brains good luck and both spiritual and creative development. Say few words for our readers, man!
A: Thanks for taking the time man – I really appreciate the support.
Brains’ “Strange Meat” demo can be downloaded for free at Brains Bandcamp  – 6 tracks of Blackened Rock n Roll from the south of Ireland.  Roll it up, smoke it up, turn it up.
Cheers Aleks
Interview Conducted By Aleks Evdokimov


Posted August 26, 2010 by doommantia in Brains

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