Monsoon Season, the new LP from Toronto’s Biblical, is set for March 11 release via New Damage Records. Monsoon Season is packed with thunderous rock drenched in haunting, psychedelic tinges. Their unique take on heavy psych-rock helped land them on the same stages with the likes of Kyuss Lives, Red Fang, Fucked Up, The Sword, and more. It also earned them high praise from tastemakers like Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, Decibel Magazine and Metal Sucks.
Comprised of Nick Sewell, Jay Anderson (drums), Matt Mclaren (guitar/vocals) and Andrew Scott (guitar/organ), the members of the group previously served time in Toronto area bands of various musical style including The Illuminati (formerly on Century Media subsidiary Liquor And Poker Records), The Bicycles and Steamboat.
Biblical will be appearing at this year’s SXSW and will be announcing North American tour dates shortly. But before they do, Ghettoblaster caught up with Anderson to discuss the record. This is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for the album?
This record is a bit of a half and half. Some tunes were developed on the stage while the other half were done in the studio. It’s been a lot of fun to have tunes that are still developing live, rather than have a whole album that’s already road tested.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
Probably the one song that didn’t make the record! It’s still under review. Sometimes the sum of songs parts don’t add up which can be frustrating but it forces you to take it apart and go back to the lab.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Second Sight!” When Nick and I did the beds, it had a completely different vibe. Nick spent time dissecting it and ended up taking the song to a much darker place. Sometimes you need to close your eyes to see the big picture.
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Christine Bougie plays lap steel on a couple songs. Her ability on that thing is off the charts. Having her lend an outsiders ear to the songs was a real treat.
Did anyone produce the album? Who engineered and mixed it? What input did those people have that changed the face of the record?
We, as a band, produced the record. Leon Taheny recorded the drums at his studio Candle recording here in Toronto. The idea was having a big drum sound to build on and that definitely was achieved. The rest was recorded in the basement of a music shop that Andy (our guitarist and keyboard player) works at and our practice space in an old garage. Being able to work off the clock really let us explore ideas and find what was right each tune. Once that was done, Matt Dematteo worked his mixing magic and really took it to the next level. All praise be Matt!
Is there an overarching concept behind the album that ties the record together?
I would say loss and how one overcomes it. Nick went through a lot when writing the lyrics for the record, with a lot of illness in his family. There is a heaviness to the songs both in volume and in theme that come out of that. Bad trips are welcomed in this group—they can be inspiring. That being said, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and laugh a lot. Maybe the next record will have some comedic relief.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
The title track “Monsoon Season” seems to be a real crowd pleaser. Having a 11+ minute song in your set is a good test of an audience’s patience. But when people cheer mid song, that’s a good sign that you’re doing something right.
(Give the song “Second Sight” a listen here: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/16207-second-sight/
Also give “The Quiet Thiefs” a listen here: http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2014/01/biblical_releas.html
More info here: www.biblicalband.com/)