INTERVIEW | Bear
Progressive metalcore band heading to India
2018 is turning out to be another great year for rock/metal fans in India with acts like Incubus, Veil of Maya, Plini amongst others performing in the country. Next month, Bear from Belgium will join this list. The band released their 3rd full length album, /// via Basick records last year. The album combines technical and groove metal resulting in the soundtrack to destruction.
I spoke to the band ahead of their India tour about their unique sound, their latest release /// and what the Indian audience should expect from their shows.
You are embarking on your first your of India next month. How does it feel?
James: It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but it does feel pretty surreal. We’ve always wanted to tour abroad and we’re extremely excited to do it.
Dries: We have no idea what to expect. It’s going to be a culture shock for sure, but we don’t really have the time to worry about that, seeing as we’ll be thrown into the deep end.
The tour is being organized by Ram & Abhijith, the team behind Unscene. How did it come about?
James: We were tagged in a post on Facebook, about getting us to play in India. We responded (half jokingly), saying we’d love to come if someone was willing to put it together. Almost straight away we got a message from Ram, asking if we were seriously interested in doing it, and we just went from there!
Your sound is a mix of technical metal with groove with a raw finish. How did you come up with your unique sound?
Dries: It’s just everyone’s personal influences put together in a melting pot, and this is what comes out of it. We all share a common ground of course, but we also listen to a lot of different things. The love for heavy and technical stuff is obvious, of course.
We just try to write the best stuff we can come up with at the time. Sometimes it’s a bit more groovy, sometimes more hectic. It all depends on our mood.
It’s not something we came up with through hard contemplation. It did involve a lot of work, but we let our preferences and feelings direct the creative process.
Your latest album /// is an intense listen. Tell us a bit more about the album.
Maarten: /// is about human fears. Fears that are permanent yet different for each human being. /// also symbolizes scars these fears leave. These scars gradually build up, are easily made and very hard to erase.
Did you try anything different with the songwriting and recording of /// ?
Dries: We’re really critical about the things we write, and we’re not ashamed of telling each other to alter some parts, or say we dislike something. We really try to come up with the best end product we can, and it’s always been that way.
Recording-wise it was the first time we recorded with Stef Exelmans (our live sound engineer and the guitar player for the band Atmospheres). He really knows the band and how we’re supposed to sound. He’s a real friendly, professional, and awesome guy, which helped the process go extremely smoothly. Among the new things we experimented with, the most notable were trying a lower snare-sound (Serch typically has a more high-pitched snare sound), as well as a slapping bass part.
What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?
James: I’ve been listening to a whole range of stuff lately, but here are a couple of the records that I’ve been inspired by when it comes to writing:
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Gojira – Magma
Pianos Become The Teeth – Wait For Love
Behemoth – The Satanist
Rolo Tomassi – Time Will Die and Love Will Bury It
Converge – The Dusk In Us
Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun
Car Bomb – Meta
Code Orange – Forever
Thrice – To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
Dries: All sorts of different stuff. Converge (new album), Lo!, Vulfpeck, John Mayer, Minus the Bear, Brother Strut, Mastodon, Cave In (especially the Perfect Pitch Black and Antenna albums), Botch, Thrice, Alt-J, Gojira, Meshuggah, Vintage Trouble.
We shared stages with Lo! last year and they were an awesome and inspiring band to play with. As for other bands… I was really blown away by seeing Vulfpeck live, such a great band. They don’t have anything to do with metal, but are a great inspiration to me. Last (new to me) metal band that really caught my attention live was Karnivool. Ace musicianship with a perfect live-sound… I was completely sold.
Maarten: My favourites at the moment are:
Leprous – Bilateral
Septicflesh – Codex Omega
Ihsahn – Arktis
Kvelertak – Nattesferd
Obscura – Akroasis
Tribulation – Children Of The Night
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Gojira – Magma
Tame Impala – Currents
Serch: There’s a whole bunch of stuff, but some of the stuff I’ve playing a lot recently are:
Hopsin – No Shame
Animals As Leaders – The Madness Of Many
Beneath The Massacre – Incongruous
Token – Eraser Shavings
Nag – Circles
Nasty – Realigion
Beastie Boys – The In Sound From The Way Out
War From A Harlots Mouth – Voyeur
Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza – Danza 4
Do recommend bands from Belgium that the readers should check out.
Leng T’che, Brutus, Slow Crush, Arson, Oathbreaker, Cyclus, Off The Cross, Aborted, Atmospheres, Strains, Amenra.
Do you have any more shows/tour planned this year?
James: We’ve got a couple dates here and there and some more to come, but we’ll also be focusing some time on working on new music!
What are you looking forward to at your shows in India?
James: Just a crazy vibe, and people losing their minds! We really have no idea what to expect, and that makes the shows even more exciting! We’re really hoping to be able to share our music to a lot of new people.
Do you have any pre show rituals?
James: Not really, maybe the occasional fist bump or high five, but we usually just get on stage and do our thing. We do wear white on stage, so you could say that is a ritual of sorts.
Dries: Everyone has their own rituals. Some of us try to stretch and warm up, while others just need their pint of beer to enter the right state of mind.
You are known for your energetic live performances, what can fans expect from your set?
James: Total unadulterated chaos. Our aim is to leave you having seen the most intense show possible.
Thanks for answering all our questions. Do you have any final words?
Thank you to everyone in India who has checked out our music and plans to come out to a show. It means a lot to us and it’s crazy to think that we have people that like our band somewhere so far away.
More information about the band’s debut voyage into India can be found at this link:
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Interview conducted by none other than Peter K aka Trendcrusher. He, much like the rest of us, is someone who has an insatiable desire to discover the most obscure bands from around the world, and is an active supporter of bands from the region. He is a frequent contributor to Transcending Obscurity in addition to running his own blog called Trendcrusher. We can’t thank him enough for sending in interviews to help continue to build the content of our site.]