A day after the release of Beastmaker‘s Inside the Skull and before their set at Philadelphia’s Voltage Lounge, I was able to speak to guitarist/vocalist Trevor William Church and bassist John Tucker outside the venue. We discussed everything from their new album, influences, and their deserted island album.
Spencer: So your new album came out yesterday, I reviewed it and I liked it a lot.
Trevor: Thanks man, appreciate it.
Spencer: And you’re on tour now, so how does it feel?
Trevor: It feels really good man. There’s a great sense of accomplishment in finishing an album and then actually going from California to the east coast to start a tour and actually arrive and start doing it. We had some nice struggles on the way too, so overcoming all that, it’s been awesome man. We had a good show last night and sold some records. Everybody’s been posting their shit on Instagram right now, you know the vinyl and all that. So its really cool, the energy is right.
Spencer: Good to hear. And you guys have two albums and an EP and you’ve been around for three years. How have you done all that material in a short amount of time?
Trevor: John, how did we do it?
John: We started jamming for a while, just jelling really, really hard, really good. And this guy just tapped into this frequency and just started pounding out songs left and right, all over the place.
Spencer: Constant songwriting.
John: That’s it, constant. It’s this huge lump sum of songs that get written and then they get fleshed out per album. But initially we were just feeling the vibe for everything real well. And it just inspired this guy.
Trevor: We all had to play together. I think that’s what started the inspiration because at first we didn’t really have any songs. John came in and then boom this was starting to work out. I basically just write all the time. He’s right, I tapped into something where I can just keep going. We already have another album ready to go basically.
Spencer: Oh wow.
Trevor: We’re so far ahead I have enough music to go into ten years from now, even if it’s garbage. We’ll flesh out the b-side shit some day (laughs). What I’ve been doing now is I’ve been going back and fixing some of my shitty demos making them sound a little better just in case somebody’s like “where’s all your guy’s b-sides?” in thirty years and I’ll be like “Dude, I got a treasure trove, what’s up?” It’s like Bobby Liebling shit
Spencer: Yeah, he’s got like hundred of songs.
Trevor: Songs that just come back from the dead.
Spencer: That’s cool man, and obviously I can tell the Pentagram influence.
Trevor: Oh for sure.
Spencer: So terms of the new album, was there a central theme you were going for with the songs, the lyrics?
Trevor: Well definitely horror-inspired. Inside the Skull, the idea for the song, which is obviously the title of the album, is to attain new things in life, to get to greater higher points in your life. You usually have to sacrifice something to get to that point. Even if it’s just something as little as time. You get that promotion at work, all of a sudden all your dreams are left behind, you left shit behind. So in this song, somebody finds the gift to immortality and with that, they’re confined to be in one place forever and can’t really break out of that. So that’s the concept, you have to give something up to move forward. You know what I mean? And that’s what I was thinking at the time. And of course all the horror stuff. Tombs of the Blind Dead, all the tings that inspired the Beastmaker songs, the Mario Bava films. And even Hitchock. I started to dive into that a bit more cause we even share the same birthday. So we have a song on the new album called “Night Bird” and that’s my first tribute to Hitchcock’s inspired music I suppose. I’ve definitely gone a little bit more into some of that direction on some of my new songs. Using some of the more thriller murder mystery stuff that I also really like. I didn’t want to just always have to do horror. Even though I don’t have anything against it, that’s probably all I’ll ever write. It’s cool to throw that shit in there. And then on Inside the Skull, we have another song called “Give Me a Sign”. When we do a ballad, if any song has clean tone at the beginning of it, that’s more of a personal song I suppose about life and things that are dark and fucked up that we have to overcome it. It’s about overcoming things, that’s what I always say.
Spencer: Cool, and going off on that, the samples you have on the album, I’m wondering how did you picked those.
Trevor: Well dude, honestly there would be a lot more if there was up to me. There’s definitely laws and shit that are in place.
Spencer: Fair use and all that.
Trevor: Yes, bad things can happen and we’re not on fucking Warner Brothers or some shit where you can have some lawyer team handle all that shit. We’re on an indie label out of London. We looked it up and we found that if you use a little portion of it, it’s very highly unlikely to get caught up it the mix. So I only used two samples in it. One was from The Bible movie, that’s on “Of God’s Creation”. I felt like it fit right because it’s about how much I dislike organized religion, so I wanted to throw that in there. The other one I really wanted to throw in there was The Abominable Dr. Phibes quote “Nine eternities in doom,” which is a great part of the film. I feel like that sums up what the album is about, being in doom for eternity. I feel like it’s never going to end, the doom. I wish I could put a sample on everything, we’d probably over sample everything, we’d run out of shit to do. There’s going to be more of that to come and our drummer Andy, he’s really good at putting stuff in, he has a rap group he does and he samples all king of cool shit from interviews to… we might dive down into some of that later on.
Spencer: And you guys when on tour with Blood Ceremony last year. How was that?
John: Oh man, Blood Ceremony tour was amazing. All the venues were awesome compared to a lot of things you see in the U.S., things we’re used to. They really take care of you. The crowds were amazing, really receptive. Blood Ceremony kicked ass obviously. Just seeing Europe from that perspective was really eye-opening. But overall it was an awesome experience.
Trevor: And they’re one of my favorite bands personally. We listen to them pretty frequently I would say.
Spencer: Oh yeah, they’re one of my favorite newer bands for sure.
Trevor: They’re really talented. That was our first tour ever actually as Beastmaker. We’d never toured before that so that was the most amazing thing because how many fucking bands get to go on their first tour ever in Europe with Blood Ceremony man? And play Roadburn.
John: And With the Dead as well, we played a couple shows with them. It was awesome, Manchester at the Deaf Institute and then O2.
Trevor: No, we played Manchester and Birmingham.
John: Birmingham was O2.
Trevor: I think both of them were. I think O2 is just what everything in Europe is called. All the places are. The Deaf Institute is in Manchester and Birmingham we played at some weird… We played at two different places there. There’s like four venues… We don’t have any of that shit here, there ain’t no fucking way.
John: The third floor was like this venue.
Trevor: Huge venue. The place we played with With the Dead was this huge badass stage and then we played with Blood Ceremony and we’re on the ground. You know if you could imagine Blood Ceremony playing on the ground, I can’t. They’re way too good to be playing on the fucking ground man. But we rocked that shit, that was our last show of the tour. So it was fucking badass, that’s all I can say about that one.
Spencer: I’m curious about some of your influences that might not be too obvious, music or otherwise.
Trevor: Well pretty influenced by Ronny Montrose, my dad was the bass player in Montrose so that has a pretty big ordeal in my life, being around that kind of music. Van Morrison is another one my dad also played in. That’s what I heard a lot when I was young, he was always playing Van Morrison and all his brothers, Montrose, everybody still to this day. Ronny Montrose, I’m just going to give it up to him for that influence that nobody would probably see or hear really. But if you listen to “You Must Sin,” I actually kind of took the riff from “Rock Candy”. So there’s Ronny Montrose influences in our songs and “You Must Sin” is the song.
Spencer: Cool, nice. What is your deserted island album?
Trevor: I already know which one I’d have, I can’t live without it: it’s Kill ‘Em All by Metallica. That’s just one that never gets old. I’ve been listening to that shit since I was seven years old. Twenty-nine years of listening pleasure. Can’t say that about every fucking album dude.
John: That’s what I’m thinking, like what’s that? That would be Houses of the Holy, Led Zeppelin cause that was like the first album that blew my mind when I was like eight.
Trevor: I don’t know if I could live without Danzig I, oh my God. I have to rethink my whole thing now because I forgot about Danzig. Danzig’s my hero. Like straight up, if there’s somebody in my life that’s a hero, it’s Danzig. I don’t know, that just my fucking shit. Same with Andy our drummer, we’re fucking huge Danzig fanatics but, damn man I guess Kill ‘Em All has to win.
John: Kill ‘Em All definitely takes Danzig, I don’t know that’s a toughy.
Trevor: So you’re Led Zeppelin, I’m fucking Metallica. You see where we get the shit (laughs). That’s how we meet in that middle Sabbath thing.
John: Cause we both love Sabbath.
Spencer: Oh yeah, I’d say the first or second Black Sabbath album would be mine.
Trevor: We’re like… I’m thrash metal, you’re fucking ’70s metal, and he’s listening to hippy shit. That Lord of the Rings shit, flowers in your hair.
John: They’re multi-faceted.
Trevor: Wearing blouses and shit, Robert Plant EEEEEEEEHHHHHH [high pitched wail].
John: There would be no Axl Rose if it wasn’t for Robert Plant.
Spencer: That’s a good point. And if you guys could have one musician guest on an album, who would you pick, any musician?
Trevor: Jimi Hendrix.
John: (laughs) Yeah, Jimi Hendrix.
Spencer: What about living? Make it a little challenging.
John: Jimmy Page, I mean if we’re going to go full on whoever’s living at the moment.
Trevor: I would want Tony Iommi.
J0hn: Even James Hetfield might be…
Trevor: I don’t need any YOU, WOOO-OOOOOA.
Spencer: You can just sample that!
Trevor: I don’t know what I’m going to do with that in my song, it’s too tough.
John: A guitar riff though.
Trevor: Yeah, he could do his guitar and go JIT JIT DUNUNUN JIT JIT JIT JIT DUNUN JIT JIT. The jit jit shit. You know about djent djent, right?
Spencer: Yes, I’ve heard so many different ways to pronounce it.
John: Djent, with the D-J at the beginning.
Spencer: I’ve heard d’jent too, but I’m sure that’s not the right…
Trevor: That’s another genre (laughs)
Spencer: Yeah (laughs all around), a variation. I think that’s all I got for you guys.
Trevor: Right on, that was fun.
Big thanks to Trevor and John for the interview. It was definitely one of the most fun and chill interviews I’ve had in a while.