There was only one band left on the roster and it was Liturgy, a “transcendental Black metal” band. My only real exposure to metal up until this point was the True Norwegian Black Metal book by Peter Beste (which is a collection of photos of Norwegian metal heads decked out in corpse make-up and decapitated goat heads). So, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to appreciate the “extremeness” of black metal.
Liturgy was a treat. The sound was fast, loud, and punishing – but very musical. The guitarists played melodic double-time riffs over a cacophony of repetitive drumming, supportive bass, and free form screaming. Though their music was distorted, you could still hear the harmonization and counterpoint of the melodies being played. One of the most affecting moments was when the vocalist sang by himself and created a harmony using a looping pedal. It reminded me of a Gregorian chant.
Although I missed the bulk of the showcase, I was still able to catch an interview with Ray Weiss one of the founders of Beast Reality earlier in the evening. We spoke about the creation of the label, the acts on Beast Reality, and the music scene in Bushwick.
BTR: I want to talk first about your new label, Beast Reality. When did you start it?
Ray Weiss: The label, in essence, is starting tonight with our first release! We put up the website with some free downloads and information about our physical releases a month or two ago but tonight is the true beginning.
BTR: I imagine that’s pretty exciting!
BTR: So I’m curious, because for the most part labels – even indies aren’t doing well. I mean you’ve got to be sort of crazy to start your own label. How do you see yourself avoiding the pitfalls of a label system?
RW: Well, I guess my intentions are not to turn a profit. I’m just doing it because I love to do it. I’m willing to lose money on it. Of course, I want the bands on the label to do well, and I’ve been able to get some of them write-ups. I guess I don’t see Beast Reality as a normal label, I see it more as it’s own sort of creature –
BTR: A beast if you will –
RW: Yeah sure, but it’s pretty much dictated under the terms we’re given, how music is marketed in 2010. It’s geared towards the blogosphere.
BTR: Well, on your Myspace page, you state that you branched out from Tamur because you wanted to become a more legitimate label and create commercial opportunities for your artists.
RW: Yeah, the main difference between Tamur does and what I want Beast Reality to do is – and you should get the guy from Tamur’s opinion on this – they saw Tamur as a really open collective that was really inclusive to everything, and there are a lot of benefits to that, but at the same time I wanted to be more exclusive or anti-populist. I want to keep the music on a consistent level, a good level. I want to build a brand based on recognition of bands that sound alike.
BTR: What do we have in store for tonight?
RW: First we have Sweet Bulbs, my new band. It’s me and a couple of guys from Michael Jordan –
BTR: Who are apparently now defunct?
RW: That’s breaking news.
BTR: Because they were awesome.
RW: I know. It sucks. It’s the reason Mike [of Michael Jordan] and I are playing together. I promised him we would do something if he wasn’t with them.
BTR: What are you playing in Sweet Bulbs?
RW: I play the drums, Mike plays guitar, and this girl Inna sings. There’s that and then Fiasco’s going to play. Everybody knows and loves Fiasco. And then there’s Brandon Can’t Dance, a Beast Reality artist from Philly, and then Liturgy – which is very new age black metal.
BTR: Can Brandon dance?
RW: Actually, you might be surprised to find out that he’s one of the best dancers I’ve ever seen. But that’s all I’m going to tell you.
BTR: Lastly, do you still see Bushwick as a fertile place for music? I’ve been here for a year and a half, and even in that short amount of time I’ve seen it blow up.
RW: I think it’s more than just Bushwick. I think with the accessibility of stuff kids put up on the Internet, anywhere you go there are kids doing the same thing. It’s like a nice collective unconsciousness where everyone knows what’s going on without actually talking to each other. So while Bushwick is great, it’s in the city – I mean we’re gentrifying the fuck out of neighborhoods with our indie rock (laughs)
RW: In terms of just music, it’s great. More people are getting involved instead of just the few people who ran Bushwick. More bands are getting shows, there are more kids –
BTR: Like the all-ages events.
RW: That’s actually one of the best things to happen.
BTR: I feel old now when I got to shows
RW: I remember when this girl asked if I was in the “older band” at a show and I nearly flipped out at her. I was like, “I graduated high school 4 years ago, you’re calling me old!” I think Bushwick’s great, but if Williamsburg is any indication of what this is going to wind up like, maybe we better enjoy it while we still can before we get priced out of it.
BTR: I think that’s a good note to end this on. “Enjoy it while we can”
Also, check out the band Liturgy live (tour dates below) and online at http://www.myspace.com/liturgynybm .
Catch Liturgy LIVE!!!
Feb 13 – The Hexagon – Baltimore, MD
Feb 18 – Don Pedro’s – Brooklyn, NY
Mar 6 – Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY
Mar 13 – Scion Rock Fest – Columbus, OH
Mar 14 – Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
Mar 15 – The Mopery – Chicago, IL
Mar 16 – Camp Concentration – St. Louis, MO
Mar 17 – The Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
Mar 18 – House of Tinnitus – Denton, TX
Mar 19 – SXSW: 20 Buck Spin showcase – Austin, TX
Mar 19 – SXSW: WFMU/Aquarius showcase – Austin, TX
Mar 21 – Bro Fest 2010 – Dallas, TX
– Thompson Davis