TMR: How is Blossoming From The Grave different than your debut album?
With “Blossoming From The Grave” we were able to make a more coherent and collaborative sound than on “The Inquisitionist”. When we released our debut we had been together for hardly a year and you can hear a lot of influence from our previous projects. With Blossoming we have definitely found our own sound and are excited to grow on that. We’ve grown individually as musicians but more importantly we have grown as a group and I think that’s reflected in the albums competitively.
TMR: What sets you guys apart from other progressive death metal bands that makes your band unique?
The live use of cello and keys definitely set us apart during our live performance. People are always intrigued when we are setting up our gear and it makes for a really fun and unique show.
TMR: How did Gourmand form?
Gourmand is a collection of musicians from prominent death bands from the Kansas City area including A Plague In Faith, Obliterate the Apex, Marasmus, and Hate Made Easy. All of our string players had played together in previous projects mentioned above and we were lucky enough to meet our drummer, Trevor Hall, in 2016. He is what ultimately brought the band to life.
TMR: What shows do you have coming up to support your upcoming album?
We have our CD release show scheduled for Saturday, Aug 18th in Kansas City. In October we will be opening for Ne Obliviscaris before we head to Cincinnati for small run of shows.
TMR: Who are your biggest idols?
Our musical influences range pretty wildly in the band but we are all obviously huge fans of the OG death metal bands as well as Opeth, Pink Floyd, Between the Buried and Me and as funny as it sounds, Dave Matthews Band. We also have a huge amount of respect for our local and regional friends in Origin, Troglodyte, Marasmus, Torn The Fuck Apart and Dischordia.
TMR: How does Gourmand write? Is it more spontaneous or more structured and planned?
For this album we had Ben, Danny and Scott compose their own songs. Once they bring them to the table Trevor and I help chop them up and rework them into a collaborative effort. We typically rely on our strings players to supply the basis for the songs and then as a group we shop them.
TMR: How were you introduced to music and your instrument?
I had a pretty traditional “millennial metal head” experience. As a kid I grew up listening to Linkin Park, Slipknot, etc. and then I was very strongly influenced by the New Wave of American Heavy metal. I come from a very musical family and always sang in choir. When I was 15 I got The Zen of Screaming and never looked back! I started playing cello when I was 10.
TMR: How did cello become a main component of your sound?
Like I said I come from a very musical family. My mom is a piano teacher and always had me involved with classical music. In 5th grade I started playing the cello and did all through high school but I really fell away from the instrument in college when I was involved in my old band as well as musical theater and choir in college. When we started Gourmand we realized that we would never be the best death metal band of all time (Because Suffocation is already a band, am I right?). So after college I decided I should put my cello to use and try to do something different with our sound.
TMR: Rattle off some of your favorite bands of any genre right now.
Oh, man. Suffocation, Death, Morbid Angel, BTBAM, Pink Floyd, Rush, Dave Matthews Band, The Mars Volta.
TMR: Your house or apartment sets ablaze and can only grab 3 things…what do you grab?
Easy! My cello, my Nintendo Switch, my bucket of cellared beers stashed in my basement.
TMR: What’s your favorite piece of gear you own?
I just got a new wireless Shure Beta 58 and I will never go back.
TMR: Explain the meaning behind the album title and the concept of it.
Blossoming from the Grave is a really personal and emotional album for me lyrically. In the past I hit all the metal stereotypes, right? Anti-Christianity, existentialism, being pissed off at the world etc. With this album I wanted to get back to why I started writing lyrics in the first place, which was to express myself. The album more than anything is about a lot change in my life and how I have coped with it. Not to get too personal, but I basically wrote each song as a chapter about things that are important to me at this time in my life. I wrote songs like A Message In Wax, Perpetual Sickness, Siren’s Song and The First of My Name to be deeply personal to my own story while still being loose enough that listeners may be able to relate to some of the emotions.
TMR: What was it like putting together the music video for Blossoming The Grave?
Our friend Emmanuel Carlo is a local film student here in Kansas City and a great supporter of local music who did all the shots while Ben edited the video himself. We shot the video in Ben’s home studio in the middle of the night after I got off a late shift at work. When we did our outside shots it was about 2 AM in Ben’s backyard and we were being SO loud. Honesty we were trying not to laugh the whole time because the situation was so ridiculous and we could only run the song once before we had to stash all the equipment and cut the lights. His neighbors had to be pissed! Anytime we do some sort of video shoot or pictures we are just cracking each other up and roasting each other. It can be hard to maintain a serious face on camera sometimes.
TMR: Your best memory as a musician?
We went on a short tour with Unmerciful this Summer and played Spring Meltdown Festival in Lake Tahoe. We got a free room and everything and kept joking the whole tour saying “this is what fame feels like”. That show was great and it was also the same night as the return of the Faceless with the mystery lineup so everyone was on their toes and having a great time. It was a truly rewarding experience.