BASTARD SAPLING hails from Richmond, VA, led by Drew Goldy (guitar) and Gregory Ernst, better known as “Elway” (drums). Their bio on Facebook simply reads: “COLD, NO BULLSHIT, VINTAGE BLACK METAL.” One listen to their music, in particular the new record Instinct is Forever and it’s very hard to argue with that assessment. Our own ERIC THE BULL managed to snag an interview with Drew to take a look inside the inner workings of the band and get a preview of what’s coming nest. Take a look:
Drew: In October of 2007, the first songs/skeletons were recorded on an old Tascam four-track tape machine. This was basically the beginning, I didn’t know many people in Richmond at the time, especially ones that were into the shit I was. So I poorly recorded everything myself just to get it out, wasn’t the best point in my life either. So it was born out of a vastness of emotions and ambitions to create (also some other things not so good). Let’s just say it was and always will be an escape or savior.
Shortly after I met Elway, we jammed a couple of times at this shithole of a house I lived at-Same room I recorded the first jams in and it just clicked. It was a great feeling. The same with Vocalist Mike (Paparo) who joined us late 2007/early 2008 and we continued as a three piece forming our first few songs from dissected riffs and structures from the 3-song Tascam tape. We played a few shows as a three-piece until Steve (Russell, guitar) joined us that same year. We continued forming songs and did the 2008 Raw Live Demo without bass.
Then in 2010 we went on a full US tour with our brother band INTER ARMA. That’s when Trey (Dalton) our bass player stepped up to fill in for someone who basically quit. He completed the line-up that we have now, couldn’t be happier with these dudes making the band what it is. Been a long road…
Amps: What have been the biggest influences to BASTARD SAPLING since the band’s inception?
Drew: A lot has changed since the inception or concept of the band because it’s not just one dude, ya know? I can say that musically, we are all very diverse in what is appealing to us. Some of that shines through here and there, though it’s safe to say there are obvious musical inspirations from bands like ULVER, EMPEROR, CRAFT, IMMORTAL, ENSLAVED, DAWN, WEAKLING, TAAKE, DISSECTION, HORNA, LEVIATHAN (US) and so much other shit it would make any basement black metal nerd’s head spin… Don’t hate. As I kind of mentioned before- it’s escapism an alternate plane we come together on to get our shit out. Lyrical influences for Mike and me are very personal and dark, sometimes there’s hope…but they will always remain a slap in the face to the reader.
Amps: I really enjoyed your debut LP, Dragged From Our Restless Trance. What were some of the differences regarding your approach in writing and recording Instinct is Forever, compared to Dragged…?
Drew: Dragged… was a complicated process, some songs were years old and a couple new so I would say it’s less cohesive writing-wise; some personal things came up so that slowed the process down as well. We pulled it together and got it done nevertheless. It’s a neat representation of the material we had at the time, kind of a glimpse as to what we would accomplish on Instinct…
Another important factor was our friend Garrett Morris from WINDHAND captured our 7″ and Dragged… on a Reel-to-Reel analog tape with maybe 16 tracks. So that was tricky too, limited to what we could expand on, some things were left out even though it has depth and warmth to it. So that left things at next time around….”full speed ahead no fucking around”
Amps: Last year at this time, the band’s Facebook page posted “Studio time and two full-lengths on the horizon. They will see the light of day next year. Until then….” Since we already know about Instinct is Forever, what can you tell us about this second full-length album?
Drew: Yes, that was before the decision was made to combine all the material as one cohesive record. So Instinct released by Forcefield and Gilead Media is all of our material after 2012’s Dragged…
Amps: For someone who has never witnessed a BASTARD SAPLING live show, how would you describe what they can expect visually and musically?
Drew: People have high expectations in general, most the time too much. There is no gimmicky act, at the end of the day this shit is about the music. It feels like we aren’t even around anyone else when we are playing out. We’ve all got chops and we give a fuck about the noise we are creating. Though you will see incense burning (laughs)!
Drew: Yes. (See dates below)
Amps: What are some of your favorite releases of 2014?
Drew: Honestly haven’t been digging into that much, BOLZER is sick. MGLA as well. There is a band from Charlottesville, VA called SALVATICUS that has a cassette out. It’s fucking awesome. Look them up.
Amps: What do you like to listen to away from the group?
Drew: Lots and lots of ALLMAN BROTHERS and murky-ass hip-hop.
Amps: Tell us ONE thing about you that we can’t find on the internet in this age of Google and Wikipedia.
Drew: We played a last minute basement show in Minneapolis on that tour in 2010 with INTER ARMA and it happened to be FALSE’S first show (they are a rad group of people too!). But anyways, So there was a donation jar going around and its contents at the end of the show were I think lots of change, some bills, rolling tobacco, little bit of weed etc… But where it gets interesting is the bag of mushrooms that showed up!!!
We all tripped and walked to a Grindcore Fest in an alley down the street where our singer decided to stand on a bonfire… On the walk back I remember jumping into a graveyard over a fence that wasn’t really a safe distance…..Then we ate very spicy ramen and passed out on a hardwood floor after multitudes of beer consumption….. We will party. We are from Richmond after all.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the BASTARD SAPLING fans out there?
Drew: Believe in yourself, everyone has self-worth no matter what you’ve been through. Never give in. Find an outlet; let your demons stay there. Have a beer and check out the moon once in a while. Hope our tunes can take you away from a shitty day. Cheers and maybe we’ll see ya around.
So there you go. If you haven’t already, pick up some BASTARD SAPLING, especially the new one Instinct is Forever. And if they’re coming to a town near you round up some metalheads and go see ‘em and report back to us. ~ETB
9/26 Baltimore @ Sidebar
9/27 Philadelphia @ Beaumont Warehouse
9/28 Brooklyn @ Acheron
9/29 Allston MA @ Ask for venue location
9/30 Quebec City @ Salle Unisson
10/1 Montreal @ Turbo Haus
10/2 Ottawa @ Pressed
10/3 Toronto @ Smiling Buddha
10/4 Pittsburgh @ Mr Roboto Project