Progressive melodic brutal death metal Bookakee have released their latest release "Whorrific" with plans to tour left and right. Drummer JP Bouchard discusses this release and those touring plans and even plans on making new music and even a video.
1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Bookakee, and how long the band has been together.
JP: My name is JP Bouchard and I've been the drummer for Bookakee since January 2013. The band itself has been together since 2007.
2. Tell us the brief history of your band.
JP: The band was formed in 2007 at Montmorency College in Laval (north shore of Montreal) by guitarist SP Gagnon, alongside with bassist Jo David and former members Simon Ducasse (drums), Jérôme Gosselin (guitar) and Bruno Fournier (vocals), who was soon replaced by brothers Tito and Gonzo Ortiz on vocal duties. That's when the band's image and concept appeared. They splashed green paint all over their clothes, started throwing inflatable dolls in the crowd, added dancing girls with masks spraying the crowd with water guns. After playing a few shows, winning a battle of the bands and recording a demo, the Ortiz brothers and guitarist Jérôme Gosselin left the fold and were replaced by singer Philippe Langelier and guitarist Mat Paré. The lineup recorded the first EP, Invasion of the Depraved, in 2011 and went back to the stage with a new appearance, wearing full on makeup, courtesy of Philippe Langelier. They opened for national and international acts such as Obscura, Cryptopsy, Augury, Beyond Creation, Powerglove and many more. The band was even brought as a late replacement at the Heavy MTL festival in Montreal, sharing the stage with Origin, Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Faceless and Exhumed. In late 2012, original drummer Simon Ducasse announced that he was leaving Bookakee, and that's where I step in. After only a month of learning and practicing songs, we were ready to go back to the stage and that's what we did throughout the year, in between recording sessions of what was to become our first full length album, Whorrific, released on Friday the 13th of December, 2013. As of now, Bookakee is playing as many shows as possible to promote this beast.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?
JP: The band is based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and to say the truth, it's one of the best metal scenes there is. There is plenty of great bands striving for complexity and originality, trying to get the recognition they deserve. Except for the already well known acts of our great scene, like Cryptopsy, Augury, Beneath the Massacre, Despised Icon, Beyond Creation, Neuraxis, Unexpect, Ion Dissonance, Blackguard, Quo Vadis, I would vividly recommend Brought by Pain, The Unconscious Mind, First Fragment, Magister Dixit, Obscurcis Romancia, Shades of Dusk, Unhuman, Teramobil, Pronostic, Dark Century, Hollow, Hands of Despair, Unbeing. That's all I can think of for now.
4. What type of band are you?
JP: I guess we could describe our style as Theatrical Technical Progressive Melodic Death Metal. Perhaps, Death Metal would do.
5. Why did you want to name the band Bookakee? What does it symbolize and represent for the band?
JP: It was actually meant to be a joke at first (college humor, you know?), but the name stayed. It doesn't really symbolize or represent anything for any of us, but it's still catchy name.
6. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
JP: We have a lot of musical influences; each one of us listen to many different things that the other members might not like and vice versa. The range of our influences goes from brutal and technical death metal to progressive rock to jazz to pop and I think it's the secret of a good songwriting, since we don't limit ourselves thinking ''Oh, this is not brutal enough'' or ''This is too jazzy''; we just go for whatever sounds good and original to us. As for non-musical influences, I guess I could say that horror movies and video games are a big part of it.
7. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
JP: Our songs are really only stories told in the most gore and gruesome way we can think of, usually with a bit tongue-in-cheek humor. It can be about some guy rotting alive in his coffin, describing everything in details, or about an invasion of blood and sex craving zombies, or about an artist making sculptures out of dead bodies. It's all it is, stories.
8. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)
JP: Yes, we do. Most of the time, our guitarist SP will record a bunch of riffs or fully written songs and send it to everyone. Then, everyone is free to bring in ideas and we work from there.
9. What can you tell me about your "Whorrific" EP release?
JP: First, it's actually a full length album, clocking 62 minutes spread over 15 tracks. It was recorded at our guitarist SP's home studio throughout the year 2013 and released in December that year. The artwork and layout design was done by our singer, Philippe Langelier. Four of the songs on the album were on the Invasion of the Depraved EP, released in 2011, but were (obviously) re-recorded and adapted to my playing. Sticking to the music itself, I think ''eclectic'' and ''surprising'' would the right terms to describe it, though I strongly suggest that you guys listen for yourselves.
10. What are your dreams and goals?
JP: We really just want to bring our music to as many people as possible and to play for as many crowds as we possibly can. There is hardly any other goal for band to strive to achieve, in my opinion.
11. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
JP: We are the hugest, messiest and more unique unsigned band there is. With support of the right people, the already endless possibilities we take our shows/music to would be even more endless.
12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
JP: You guys can buy the digital version of our album (or stream it for free) on our Bandcamp at http://bookakee.bandcamp.com/album/whorrific, or buy the physical copy and some exclusive merchandise on our IF Merch page at http://bookakee.ifmerch.com/en/
13. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
JP: In the next few weeks, we'll be releasing a video for A Night to Dismember, the opening track of the album, and just keep promoting the record, playing everywhere possible, as far as we can.
14. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
JP: Basically, we want people to be mind fucked by the originality and diversity of the music. We want them to wish they had the band playing live in front of them because there's much more to Bookakee than the music, there's also a huge visual aspect to it and the best way to witness it is to come the shows.
15. Any final words of wisdom?
JP: Stay in school, say no to drugs.