In mid-2009 a duo of musical veterans from Columbus, Ohio, teamed up to form The Black Antler, a return to their metal and hardcore roots. And considerable roots they had, guitarist/vocalist Adam Lowe, and drummer Alex Weinhardt cut their teeth in a buttload of celebrated indie and underground bands including Six Gallery, The Phantods, Inept, To Dream of Autumn to name a few.
Ghettoblaster caught up with drummer Alex Weinhardt to talk about their LP, 100 Wolves (which drops on February 28), a ferocious record that pushes their skills to the absolute limits. This is what he said about it…
When did you begin writing the material 100 Wolves?
We started writing the material for 100 Wolves immediately after recording our previous EP. Ryan (bass) had just joined the band and although he tracked all the bass parts on the first EP, the songs had all been written, some for a few years. We were anxious to get his input and start creating new material and wasted no time getting to it.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
In some ways they were all difficult. In the initial stages of writing the first few songs as a three piece we had a little trouble finding what direction to take our material. I remember specifically working on a song and it turned into this psyched out six-minute slow jam, that although was awesome, wasn’t the sound we were going for.
As far as the studio goes, the drums were probably the most difficult aspect of the recording process. Some of the songs push the limits of the speed and technicality that I’m capable of playing. Although I intentionally challenged myself with this material, it made recording a difficult process. I think I had to do like 10 takes of “Feathers” before getting a good take.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
That’s a tough question to answer. Most of our songs start off as a riff, or idea and generally speaking, we aren’t sure where the song is going to end up. As I mentioned above, there were some bumps in the road while writing these songs. We were getting used to writing with a new member and trying out new things, some that just didn’t work. There were many instances where we would work on a part of a song, stew on it for a few days and then come to the conclusion that it just didn’t sound like The Black Antler and move on.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Nope. 100 percent The Black Antler.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
We didn’t have a ‘producer’ per se. Ben Miller did the tracking at his parents’ house in Granville, Ohio. He has a studio that mostly consists of the gear that made up Central City Studios. His parents also have a beautiful pool, a fridge stocked with beer, gatorade and red bull and a closet filled with every size of swimming garment you could possibly need. Needless to say we had a great recording experience!
The tracks were mixed by Bobby Leonard at Paper Tiger Studios in Columbus, Ohio. It was a very straightforward process that only took a few days. Both Bobby and Ben did a great job in helping to shape the sound of the record.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
Lyrically the songs on 100 Wolves revolve around concepts like politics, nature and the human condition. I don’t think there are any overarching concepts that tie everything together other than we write about things that effect us.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We have been playing some of these songs since the release show of our last EP. The title track, “100 Wolves” was the first song we wrote with Ryan and since we started playing it, it has always elicited a positive reaction from audiences. Currently we play all of the songs as part of our set along with some newer material that will eventually be a part of a full length to be release in the future.
(Listen to The Black Antler here: http://theblackantler.com/.)