Interview – Bastard Priest

Stockholm’s Bastard Priest play raw old school death metal with a distinct punk rock attitude. Imagine Discharge jamming with Entombed circa ’89 and you won’t be too far from the band’s gloriously heavy assault. M3 got in touch with drummer/vocalist Matt Mendoza to talk about their decision not to play live, limited edition pressings and why death metal doesn’t have many hit singles…

M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Matt: Bastard Priest is a Swedish Death Metal band that started out in the early 00’s and so far have released one cassette demo and two LPs.
We consist of me, Matt Mendoza, on drums and vocals and Inventor on Guitars and Bass.

What inspired you to form Bastard Priest? What are your own musical backgrounds?
Both of us have a background in listening to rock, punk, metal and everything in between since we were kids so Bastard Priest consists of influences from all those genres.

What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Vinyl and cassette if we’re discussing sound – MP3’s or whatever streaming stuff if we’re talking ease of listening and portability. I usually buy the records I like on vinyl and listen to them at home and if I really like them I try to get the some sort of digital version of them to listen to at work or when I’m traveling.

Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
In some musical genres yes, but I think those genres weren’t supposed to do “albums” anyway – like dance, disco music is all about the hits and singles. As for better music or rock music I think that the idea of the “album” is actually coming back – more bands do thematic albums or albums that revolve around a certain idea or concept and I find that cool. As for the genre we’re currently placed into – I think more death metal bands should do 7″ and EP’s. Death Metal is historically an “album” genre (or LP genre) but I think death metal actually needs more hit singles! Hahaha!

Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
It depends on what you mean by “record store”. I think the normal record store that stocks all the latest CDs with the latest mainstream artists are having a really hard time nowadays and most of them are gone anyway. All that shit is bought so much easier on the internet. As for used records or specialized stores I think they’re doing quite good – I can’t say for sure cos I have no insight in the economics of a record dealer but I try to visit my local favorite places as often as I can and try to pick up stuff from them instead of buying off of some internet distro. In any case – I think the digital age killed the mainstream stores but we’re all in for it not to do so with the metal and punk stores.

Do you think the recent popularity of limited edition pressings, coloured vinyl, rare tape releases etc is in some way a reaction the easy availability of digital files?
Yeah, could be so but that stuff has been around forever – limited stuff is always gonna be popular and I think it’s more of a tradition rather than a reaction.

Bastard Priest has so far only existed as a studio project. Was it a conscious decision not to play live, and if so, why?
Since we’re a two-piece it came so pretty natural – we were all into making songs and do recordings and we never focused on preforming live. To be honest I feel it’s quite a relief not to have to think about doing shows and tours and stuff like that.

As a non-touring band, how do you feel when people try and justify illegal downloading by saying that the band can reclaim that money through touring and ticket sales?
I don’t know – it’s a pretty hot potato your throwing in my lap here. I think the illegal downloading brings both good and bad things. It all depends on what band we’re talking about and how much is at stake. I can really just answer for myself and my band and I chose to see the download thing as a good thing that helps promote and spread the music. Bastard Priest is obviously not a band that’s in it for the money so I think it’s just benefiting us. Die hard fans and people that actually care about music will buy our stuff anyway so.

What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
I don’t really see any challenges to be honest. If you wanna make music and know how to do it there is nothing that’s gonna stop you. I’ve struck a single tone in hope of getting famous or make a lot of money so I have a hard time understanding that kind of attitude. I’ve always played music cos I wanted to or cos I had an idea of what I wanted to create. If you have heart and dedication in what you do and you do it 100% and good people will acknowledge you and your work. I think the biggest issue for me is that most people lack anything that even remotely can be called “good taste” – but that’s a completely different discussion.

Finally, what does the future hold for Bastard Priest?
More recordings and more releases I hope – we’ve been on some sort of on-hold for about a year now but we recently started things up again so we’ll see wherever that takes us! Keep it real – stay hungry!

For more information about Bastard Priest, you can visit their official website and find them on Facebook and Bandcamp.

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About M3 Event

The music industry is rapidly changing. The internet has enabled widespread piracy, as well as a variety of new business and distribution models. We want to offer an engaged audience in and around the Euregion an opportunity to develop a coherent and detailed picture of the future of music distribution. On the 31st of May 2012 a music conference in Maastricht, consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking. We hope to utilise the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon.

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