BISON B.C. INTERVIEW
BISON B.C. - interview with Dan And, October 2008
Hailing from the Great White North, Bison B.C. figure to spread their brand of groovy and doomy Metal to an unsuspecting world world. If not for a substantial underground following we may never have heard from these guys, however with some road success, most notably their opening slot on a 3 Inches of Blood tour, Metal Blade were forced to take a look at this Vancouver product. Here's my recent interview with Dan And.
I've heard that Vancouver is a music and art Mecca. What about Vancouver, and Canada in general do you bring into your music? Is there a 'Canadian style', or something unique compared to say, Swedish Death Metal, American Grind, etc.?
Vancouver is one of those of those towns that has a really bad rep around the world (for our weather, drugs, crime, social / mental health and poverty issues) but for some reason is also an insanely creative and active melting pot of talent. I don't really know why that is but it's gotta be some kind of reaction to all the shit we deal with by trying to show the world that there are a ton of awesome things going on here that just don't make the 6 o'clock news. We're lucky to have a ton of different styles of tunes thriving in their own ways despite the ever shrinking amount of venues due to bar owners opting to host hipster dance parties instead of live shows. Bands here are being fucked over by venue after venue because of quick cash grabs by bar owners. It's sad for the bands but it's really gonna be sad for those bars when the american apparel ads move on with their lives and there are no bands that'll play at their bars cuz they fucked us. Rock n' roll never forgets, fuckers.
Besides hanging on our chesterfields with our tongues or waiting to go tobogganing, being a band in Canada is brutal for the simple fact that most of our major towns are so fucking far apart. Touring here can be super tough to pay for gas and afford to eat, especially for newer bands. It's a huge commitment to start a touring band here and you've got to really want it because it ain't fun. That being said, we also have some of the the raddest towns to play with the most loyal and stoked kids and fans anywhere. They remember bands that make the effort to come through their towns and get rad with them. As per the states as well the coasts are easier to deal with it but 80% of our god-damn country is endless prairie drives!
Do you guys like lean meat? Or are you named Bison because the word is both singular and plural at the same time? Is b.c. 'before Christ', 'big cocks', 'borderline crazy', etc.?
Lean meat is where its at. You could say that lean meat is 'brutally crucial'. Or 'brutallies crucials'.
Quiet Earth will be released in a few weeks… compare the recording of this new album to Earthbound? Do you go into recording this album confident? Do you write the songs beforehand, then record? How much direction did your producer provide?
We pretty much started writing new songs as soon as Earthbound was finished but were still working on some of them while we were back in the studio over a year later for Quiet Earth. Earthbound was done in only four days, including mixing and mastering, with Jesse Gander at the Hive Creative Labs in the industrial outskirts of Vancouver. Jesse's an old bro of ours who has recorded literally hundreds of Vancouver bands and he totally fuckin blew us away with how he was able to capture us on disc. It's pretty crucial to work with someone you totally trust and respect in an environment where you are comfortable because recording is an awkward enough process as it is. We had more time to spend and wanted to see what else Jesse was capable of bringing to the table for us so we went right back. He's such a rad dude and will tell you straight up if he thinks something sounds like shit and has a lot of input into trying different things. He is also totally down with having 40 of yer buds come by to get hammered and record gang vocals or spending hours making a dog sound like a flesh eating demon spirit.
Obviously, from what I've heard, you guys take a riff and just tear it up in all different directions. You really seem to grow a riff (hope that makes sense). What bands would you call riff masters?
Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Budgie, Blue Cheer, Cactus, Captain Beyond, Cream, CoC, Deep Purple, Doomriders, Earthless, Fu Manchu, Gun, Maiden, Kyuss, Leafhound, Zep, Melvins, old Metallica, ZZ Top, QOTSA, Van Halen, Rush, Sleep, Thin Lizzy, Muddy Waters, 3IOB, Danzig, Black Mountain, C'mon, Mastodon...fuck, a ton others too but that's all i can think of now.
Quiet Earthgives me an impending doom vibe… could you explain a bit about what the album and cover are about? Is society about to fall apart?
Society already has fallen apart. As far as i'm concerned, at this point we're polishin the fuckin brass on the Titanic. The covers (both drawn by our tight bro Mike Payette) are a theme that basically stemmed from an idea of a race of Bison warriors from another planet watching us and our inability to sustain ourselves and as such deeming us an easy target for destruction to further expand their interplanetary empire. The albums themselves aren't concept albums but if people really delve into the lyrics i'm sure they can spot the songs here and there that tie in with that idea.
There are a few solos on the record, who handles the solos? Which guitar player comes up with the riffs?
James probably handles about 75% of the initial riffs and i the other 25%. We all tweak and arrange them as a group if we feel like they need it but sometimes we love em just the way they are. We all have equal input on the arranging and adding of little things here and there.
On Quiet Earth any song that has only one solo is James but on both parts of 'Wendigo' the first solos are me and the second ones are James. The final crescendo solo of 'Wendigo 1' is both of us ski-poling each other. Shit, maybe we oughta Slayered up the credits a lil more and clarified that.
What's the longest touring, you've ever done? Is it as fun as we outside the realm may imagine it? Any cool stories of debauchery and mayhem?
With this band so far just three weeks here and there. We're about to leave on Oct 9 for two months across the States and Canada so we'll see who snaps first. Ha! Touring is always a rollercoaster. Sometimes it's a shit ton of fun getting hammered in some bar with a bunch of rad peeps you just met after playing a rad show and other times it's just sitting in the van for 12 hours then playing a shitty show then getting right back in the van and driving more. We try to make the most of it and have fun wherever we go and sometimes that leads to having a few more cocktails then you were planning on and getting into a little bit of trouble. It's a hard balance to keep with letting loose your frustrations of being away from home and being insanely bored all day and not getting into too much trouble and making enemies anywhere where chances are you will be returning to one day. Get totally rad but don't shit where ya eat, y'know?
Have you ever had a Bison Burger? Do you put ketchup on it or steak sauce?
Both, and it was fuckin delicious. Two of the best meals i ever had were both bison meat. One was a burger made by my bro Todd in my all-time favorite bar Thursday's (now Logan's) in Victoria that he would 'Dan-size' by adding cheese and bacon to. The other was also in Victoria but in a douche bag pub/lounge in the rich tourist part of town that was a bison, fig and goat cheese salad. Phe-fuckin-nomenal.
Thanks for your time Dan. Good luck with the new record, hopefully I'll catch your NYC gig.
Thx dude, stay rad. I'm totally diggin yer email address, Appice is the man. (vanillafudge[at]optonline.net)
- Alan Gilkeson