Thursday, April 28, 2016

St. Bastard Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?
My name is David Richman and St. Bastard is my one-man doom machine. It’s a single-seat vehicle that I drive to hell and back again. I’ve been a drummer for four decades, always in projects led by other people. But last year I decided I had some vile and horrendous visions of my own that I wanted to translate to music and convey in song. So I took up my battle-axe and started swinging.

2.How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?
I try to make the heaviest and ugliest music on Earth, but with memorable riffs and hooks. There’s stuff out there that’s certainly heavier than St. Bastard, but I think even with my very limited ability on guitar I deliver some cathartic, crushing sounds.

3.Your label your music as 'dad doom', can you tell us a little bit more about that term?
Being a dad, I have a lot of daily responsibilities with family stuff, but in between that I work on the music. I run everything by the kids. They love it! The other day we were in the car and one of them asked me if I ever listened to anything but rock. (By “rock” she meant metal.) Of course I do. But in the car it’s all metal all the time.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with your music?
The Bastard’s lyrics are talk therapy, confession and raw venom. All the words that are difficult to say to people in my life are there in the songs. That and straight-up dark poetry.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ‘St. Bastard’?
For me, making ugly, extreme and dissonant music is about being a good person who goes to the dark side and brings something back. Even the sweetest, most well-adjusted and wonderful people have ugly, scary and weird things about themselves that they might successfully suppress or control. Beyond every light there is blackness, an abyss. Beneath order there is chaos. That’s what St. Bastard is. And I like band names that have the word “Saint” in them.

6.On the recordings you record everything by yourself, do you prefer this over working with other musicians?
I like having total control, and when a song is done I feel a sense of accomplishment that the thing is 100% me. But on the other hand, it can be more difficult coming up with ideas and developing them with no one else to provide feedback or add creativity.

7.Can you tell us a little bit more about the live bad that you have formed for shows?
When I decided to make St. Bastard into a real band I wanted to be the frontman, something I’d never done before. I’ve always been the drummer in other people’s groups. I have a very high standard for drummers and I knew I needed a great one. I read somewhere that the band Hull had played their farewell gig and broken up. Hull was a Brooklyn-based metal band that had been around for over ten years and had success, touring and releasing albums. Their drummer, Jeff, was out of a gig, so I cold-called (emailed?) him, introduced myself and asked if he wanted to play with me. He did. He’s great. On bass there's Dan, who can play the shit out of any style of music. He was in Sabbath Assembly. But I had to provide a bass for him on this gig; I couldn’t ask him to ruin one of his basses by setting it up for the beastly and hellish tuning St. Bastard uses. So I let him play my Bastard bass, expressly anointed for this band.

I’ve used a bunch of other guitar players live: Pete from Valient Thorr, Tom from Nuthouse Recording/Revolver Magazine, and Devin from the Punk/Metal Karaoke Band. But we've done our last few shows as a trio, with me as the only guitar player. It’s nerve-racking being the only six-stringer up there (I’m not really a guitarist!) but there’s a leanness and simplicity to the sound that I like. We might go forward as a trio in the future.

8.Are there any shows planned for the future?
St. Bastard is playing a show in Brooklyn on June 3 at Lucky 13 Saloon with our friends Eternal Black and Beefrot. Come out!

9.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
In my former life I worked at a record label for nearly 20 years. I’m glad to be out of that business! I have no real interest in going back in any capacity. I don’t really care about putting St. Bastard’s music onto a piece of plastic at all. Releasing things digitally is fine.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?
There have been a few Facebook likes and blog posts from people in Europe and even Asia praising the Bastard. It’s good to know metal is truly a global language.

11.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
I like releasing digital EPs. When I finish a batch of three or four songs I like to put ‘em out on the Bandcamp site as is. Each little song cycle represents a season of St. Bastard, and I like to get the stuff out there pretty regularly. Other than that I’d like to keep gaining confidence as a frontman, play live regularly here in NYC, and widen the circle to do some regional gigs in the Northeast.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I like to say I’m into space…or all the space filled in. I listen to a lot of ambient music; it makes for a minimalist vibe and I like that. Otherwise, I’m a sucker for a great riff, bludgeoning rhythm and menacing atmosphere. I’ve been listening to Coffinworm, Indian, Lord Mantis, Conan, Graves at Sea, Tombs, With the Dead, Fister and Primitive Man.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Life is all about being a good dad and family man and making crushing sludge metal.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for peering into the void with St. Bastard.

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