Bast’s might and ferocious lumber is phenomenal, ditching doom/ sludge archetypes to create their own unique blend. On stage, thickly maned, they are colossal and fascinating; by turns twinkly, progressive and phenomenally dense, they are an excellent choice for Damnation Festival and a testament to the UK’s excellent new wave of beardy, riffy metal.
Vocalist Craig Bryant and bassist Gavin Thomas kindly sat down with MetalMouth to discuss cats (at length), dead dudes and nailing tables to school buses…
Hi guys, how’re you doing?
Craig: Good thanks!
So you guys have just played; how was it?
Gavin: Brilliant, had a great time.
Craig: Yeah I had a great time, the sound was pretty good!
Gavin: Pretty good turnout as well so we were pretty pleased.
So UK doom is having a pretty good year. What would be your ideal lineup to take on tour with you?
Craig: We’ve always liked a band called Lattitudes. They’re really good friends of ours and they have a strange doomy personality with a technical edge to it which – you don’t hear a lot of stuff like that.
Gavin: Yeah, stuff like that. Also a band called Mantar from Germany.
Craig: Oh yeah. That’d be amazing, yeah. If you know anyone get in touch (laughs)
Can you explain the band name?
Craig: Er yeah – the guy who’s not here is the one who came up with it. It’s essentially the Egyptian god of cats and various other nefarious things. Mostly cats. A theme which runs through the band!
So you like the independence of cats?
Craig: It’s possible yeah. I think we just like cats. Gavin has a cat.
Gavin: I do have a cat yeah!
Craig: We all worship her. Everyone worships her.
Have you seen the Facebook page ‘metalheads who like cats?’
Craig: Yeah! There’s that Gurt song, dudes with beards…
Gavin: dudes with beards and cats!
Everyone in doom loves HP Lovecraft and he loved cats. Hated humans but loved cats!
Craig: I think Cats of Ulthar was his.
What are your top three places you’ve played this year?
Craig: I could give my top three. We played last weekend in the Midlands. It was great, it was fantastic there. A place called Glazart in Paris was really good and Audio in Glasgow we really enjoyed as well.
Gavin: Yeah Audio was good. Yeah mine would be Glazart. And, er… does this one count?
Craig: Damnation’s number one.
Gavin: Glazart in Paris was really cool. We’re going there tomorrow actually, getting to Paris after the festival. Yeah it’s a really, really cool venue.
I saw you guys in the Crypt in Bristol.
Both: Ah yeah!
Craig: That was really good as well.
Gavin: Yeah, yeah. That was a great show there as well.
Craig: Horse Lattitudes and Coltsblood…
Gavin: It had a really primitive sort of sound to it..
Craig: – We stood at the back of the room and the vibrations were insane.
A room full of dead people is pretty doom.
Craig: Pretty sure there were dead people under our feet.
Gavin: Yeah yeah there were. They had Stephen O’Malley in there as well.
Craig: Oh wow! That would have been insane.
So you’re at the festival and the day is still young. Who are you most looking forward to seeing?
Craig: Well I really wanna catch Monarch! and Ahab.
Gavin: Yeah, those are the doom titans I think. I wanna catch a bit of Vitus. Later in the day the clashes start – but yeah, Ahab and Monarch! Obviously the bands I’ve seen loads of times, Winterfylleth and Fen and that kinda thing.
You guys have quite a diverse sound. Could you accurately describe your sound using an elaborate food metaphor?
Gavin: Food metaphor? (laughs)
Craig: Oh… Um… (laughs) I’d say if it was a food metaphor, it would be a sponge cake made out of black pudding! Full of heart and offal and blood. With a topping of hope! (both laugh) I’m happy with that.
What’s the state of your current touring vehicle?
Craig: Oh the shitmobile! Yeah! (laughs)
How has it got that name? Is that a new thing?
Craig: Nah, it just gets progressively more shit – it’s a pretty rag-tag van that we picked up. I think when we looked out earlier we were parked in front of Cannibal Corpse’s tour bus – ours has the exhaust hanging off it underneath, tons of rust damage, both the wing mirrors got smashed off and are held on with gaffer tape – did you see this on the way in by the way?
Nah I ask this to everyone – you’re the first people to elaborate!
Craig: It was originally a school bus. We got a weird banquet table which we put in there – just nailed it in.
Gavin: Crudely nailed it in!
Craig: Half of the bits don’t work. Probably shouldn’t be on the road!
Craig: She’s doing alright. Did nine hours in there the other day from Amsterdam back to London.
If you can do nine hours in anything and you don’t want to fight each other, that’s pretty good.
What’s the weirdest thing you guys are into?
Craig: I really like kinda noise-rock, like noisy punk. Even stuff like the Smiths. Probably get shot for saying that!
Nah! Phil from Pantera likes them so you’re good!
Craig: (Laughs) yeah I’ve got a real soft spot for that kinda stuff.
Gavin: Yeah, I like a lot of krautrock and post rock stuff. Bands like Mogwai.
Craig: Oh yeah Mogwai. I’ve never seen them.
Gavin: Oh they’re great. They’re awesome.
What’s next for you guys?
Gavin: We’ve got a few things on in November actually. Off to Belfast and Dublin with Conan and Solmatics. In five days we’re off across the midlands with Ageless Oblivion, a death metal band from Basingstoke, really cool guys. That’ll be really good.
Craig: We’ve got a gig in Cardiff with Grimpen Mire and Greenhorn. Then we’ve got a few plans for next year already. But yeah the plan is just to stay as busy as we can for the rest of the year and then get back a bit for the new year.
Lastly – is there anything you’d like to say to the patrons of Temples Festival?
Craig Bryant: Temples festival? Thanks for booking us! (both laugh)
But yeah, for Damnation – well if you watched us, thank you very much, appreciate it – crowd was really wicked. Response was great so thanks for that. Enjoy your day!
You can buy Bast’s latest release, Spectres, here.