Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Interview with...BONGRIPPER

Many many moons ago, I stumbled across a dismal and relatively dormant band myspace page with a depressing grey background and an image of a Mountain Goat as a profile picture, despite this gloomy simplicity, the bands name was Bongripper. I glanced over at the music player only to find an 80minute gem, 'The Great Barrier Reefer' (2005).  Since then I have maintained an interest in these four doom slingers from Chicago and had the pleasure of seeing them play at this years Roadburn Festival in Tilburg.
We got in contact with Bongripper to find out about their recent experiences, this is what they said.

BS - Did you expect Satan Worshipping Doom to get the response it got and how has it changed the life and progression of the band?

Nick - We had no real expectations during the almost two year writing process, but it did feel like a new direction for the band.  This was the first time we were intentionally writing for a 2LP and the first time releasing any material on vinyl.  We wanted to take the different styles and influences of earlier work, but in a more focused and punishing way.  The goal was to make a album that had 4 separate parts while still retaining the journey aspect of a cohesive full album.  I think this formula allowed more people the chance to get into the music now that we didn’t have the straight noise and drone sections like on previous albums.  It also allowed us to write shorter tracks for the “Sex Tape/Snuff Film” 7” and the upcoming tracks for the splits with UZALA and HATE.

BS - Has the success of the album made any difference to your gigging opportunities?
Dennis - Yes, and no. On one hand we got to play Roadburn this year, and we have played on some bigger shows that have come through the Chicago area. On the other hand we are still a unsigned band, with no label support or booking agent. So that can limit some of our gigging opportunities.

BS - We attended the mighty Roadburn festival this year and it was a fuckin’ life changer, how was it for you guys?
Dennis - Well, I can’t speak for everyone in the band, but it was probably the best musical experience of my life up to this point. Not only were the shows, and festival as a whole, amazing, but everyone involved with the festival were amazing. From Walter, Jurgen, Marisa, Steph, Boris, the bands, to the fans. Everyone involved made us feel right at home. It was truly an awesome experience.

BS - How did it feel when you were first asked to play? 
Dennis - I had to read the e-mail a couple of times. I was in a bit of shock. We had a feeling that we might be asked, but I wasn’t going to assume anything. I also remember feeling very proud. Like I said earlier we are an unsigned band, so we do almost everything from setting up shows, to selling/ shipping our own records. So for us to get that opportunity was a lot of hard work paying off.

BS - How did you find the European crowd in comparison to the response you get back home?
Dennis - Well, i think the biggest difference I noticed was that the European crowd seemed to be a bit calmer, and not in a bad way either. I remember walking onto the stage for the first set at roadburn, and when I looked out into the crowd, everyone seemed to be very relaxed, maybe it was the heat, and in the middle of hanging out with really good friends.

BS - Since 2005 you seem to achieved quite a lot, generating a more enthusiastic response with each release as well as some pinnacle moments on the road, what do you expect the future may hold for Bongripper?
Nick - It has been amazing that we have reached as many people as we have.  We do not send our albums for review to magazines or websites.  We put out records ourselves and we are lucky that people are passionate to spread the music to their friends.  As for future releases, we already have our music recorded and ready for the splits with HATE and UZALA so we are currently writing for the next 2LP.  It is hard to say how the music will compare to previous releases, but we are aiming to put together a devastating doom album that will empty your colon and your prick.  No one left dry.

There you have it, thanks again to Nick and Dennis from Bongripper for answering our questions. Here is a track from their latest release:

Words by Dan S.

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