Metal act Bane Of Bedlam is act that wants to live out their dream of living off music. They have played shows like any other band, written and recorded their own music, and just do this repeating cycle again and again until it stinks in to whoever has a listen. Bassist Nick Walker discusses of playing shows and making music and much more.
1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Bane Of Bedlam, and how long the band has been together.
Nick: I am Nick Walker the bassist, songwriter and co-founder of this band. Bane of Bedlam has been together since 2008.
2. Tell us the brief history of your band.
Nick: Myself and Chris Parker (guitarist/songwriter) left the previous band we were in. Assembled the lineup from members of other bands on the scene. We immediately got ourselves a rehearsal studio and started writing and rehearsing 5 nights a week, for about 4 months until we started live performances. Since then, we've played countless shows including international supports and festivals, released one demo, 2 EP's and finally our full length. In that time however our lead guitarist broke his back and was forced to eventually step aside from Bedlam. We decided in order to pursue our dream we would make the interstate move from Brisbane, Queensland to Melbourne, Victoria, 1800 kilometres away. This is where we currently reside and are loving it, preparing local and Australian shows in support of the album-'Monument of Horror'.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Nick: We're in Melbourne, VIC (Australia) for the moment, and it is hands down the best live music scene in Australia, especially in terms of Metal. The bands are all really tight with each other and there's a real supportive network down here which is an amazing thing to see and experience. The venues are amazing, the culture is alive, there's a lot of drive down here. Other bands to check out include Desecrator, In Malice's Wake, Mason, Metalstorm and King Parrot to name a few.
4. What type of band are you?
Nick: We started as a thrash influenced band, and therefor labelled ourselves thrash. However we don't really have the typical 'thrash' sound (clean/high pitched/yelled vocals, classic 'thrash' structure etc), so these days we just refer to ourselves as a heavy metal band. We've been referred to as death thrash, we like that one haha. We have brutal vocals, speed riffs, guitar solos, melodic harmonized sections, blast beats, grooves, everything that metal is. A 'groove laden death-thrash' machine. As far as what type of band we are, we are definitely a live band, as opposed to a studio band. We write for the stage, for the feel, the movement. If we cant reproduce it live, we don't write it.
5. Why did you want to name the band Bane Of Bedlam? What does it symbolize and represent for the band?
Nick: In our personal opinion, its got a great ring to it. Literally, it suggests our sound is the most vile thing that exists in the most hellish place one could imagine.
6. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Nick: That's a massive list... Everything from early Metallica (CLIFF BURTON!) to The Beatles, Iron Maiden to Fleetwood Mac, early Sepultura, Pantera, Pink Floyd, Mastadon, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, Cannibal Corpse, Supertramp, Slayer, Lamb of God, Testament, Rainbow, Megadeth, John Lennon, Eric Clapton, that list goes on. Artworks by Marco Hasmann (who did an amazing job of our artwork for 'Monument of Horror'), Ed Repka, Jackson Pollock, public figures like Ricky Gervais, Jim Jeffries, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins - people with intelligence and knowledge who are trying to make the public aware of what is really going on around them in this world in which we live. Because its pretty fucking scary. Aside from that, one of my biggest personal influences always has been and always will be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Nick: Society, religion, politics, corruption, deceit, lies, and the king of it all-'Government'. We've had enough, we can see what's going on, we're just vocalizing our views and trying to help spread the word.
8. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
Nick: Absolutely. From top to bottom, we try to never repeat the same idea twice and keep things constantly moving and evolving. Usually Chris will call me up and say 'dude I got a new riff', or vice versa, we'll meet up somewhere, I'll get a feel for it, add my thing, new section/counterpoint/melody etc, then we'll call it a skeleton. We'll take the 'skeleton' to the studio, get Glen (drums) on board and we'll eventually turn that into a song. Sometimes in a day, sometimes over the course of a few months. We'll nut it all out - accents, tempo changes, feel changes (grooves, half times etc), solo sections - then and there, live, in the studio. We'll record it on some shitty recording device, send it Brad's way (vocalist) and he'll get a vocal melody down which he'll turn into lyrics and give a reference name, like 'Willem Dafoe' for example haha. From then on, its rehearsed flat out until it becomes second nature to play. Its why we're together-the writing and playing.
9. What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Nick: "Metal" - 3 Track demo in 2008, we gave that away for free to build a following. Got some local airplay off it, was definitely a good little stepping stone. "The Last Testament" - 7 Track EP in 2010, we're all sold out of that one now. Featured our brother and lead guitarist Paul Merenda (who broke his back). We smashed that whole recording out in just over 48 hours, it got us more national exposure/airplay, international airplay and landed us our first East Coast Australian tour. "Live Thrashin Titties" - 7 Track live EP recorded at a seedy strip bar in Queensland, only a few copies ever made it out into the world. But they're out there. Somewhere haha. Dodgy recording, but it captured the vibe and aggression "Monument of Horror" - 8 track album recorded over the course of 2 and a half years. Began in Qld, with massive problems, finally ended in Melbourne. Its only been out for a month or so but its doing awesomely. Selling really well, getting overwhelming response from everyone who's heard it, gathering a lot of momentum and we're about to start touring it nationally. Cannot wait!
10. What are your dreams and goals?
Nick: To be able to plug in and play music everyday, and live comfortably off it. To tour the world, play massive stages with inspirational bands, release a continuous stream of album after album, to get a signature model bass would be pretty rad as well haha. To make music our life.
11. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Nick: They should know Bane of Bedlam is the driving force for the members lives. Its why we wake up and go to our drab day jobs, to fund this thing. We've been around for some years now, doing things our way, paying no attention to passing trends, and we couldn't be happier with what we've achieved this far on our own. The countless hours of hard work, sacrifice and dedication are starting to pay off, so it feels like we're only just beginning. We'll keep doing this til the day we die. Live shows are like a wrecking ball of potent energy, and the crowds explode accordingly.
12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Nick: www.baneofbedlam.com/bigcartel - buy the album! www.baneofbedlam.wix.com/bane-of-bedlam - official site. YouTube channel, Facebook, its all there. Type Bane of Bedlam into the internet, you'll get a link somewhere.
13. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
Nick: There's an Australian tour in the works, talks with some outside parties who are interested in what we do, so that in itself is exciting. By mid-2014 we plan on having another brand new track and accompanying film clip released, more tours/events, and by the end of 2014 there's gonna be another full length album nearing completion.
14. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Nick: We're just 4 dudes playing the music we want to hear. If you like it too, then make sure you come catch us live. If you don't like what you hear listen again. You might pick up something you missed.
15. Any final words of wisdom?
Nick: Cliff Burton, Dimebag and Randy Rhoads. And watch this space.