Q&A with Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats / Dethklok)
Reflections on touring Australia with The Aristocrats back in 2016
Bryan: Yes, we enjoyed that tour, it was great for The Aristocrats to finally get down to Australia. It's not easy for a band like us to get down there and make it work, we are very grateful to the people at Thump Music who helped make it happen and all the great fans that came out to see us in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Those were the 5 shows that we did down there. Of course there is some great music going on in Australia, I'm friends with some of the Karnivool guys, especially Jon Stockman because I was so into the bass sound on "Sound Awake" and the whole productions of that album. I got to reach out to them and meet them in Perth and John was the one who introduced me to Forrester Savell who's the one that ended up mixing "Scenes From The Flood" and that show in Brisbane was the first time we ever met, so that was actually a big show for me personally in terms of that solo album and also The Aristocrats had a great time at all the shows we did in Australia.
On the inspiration and recording process for Bryan's solo album "Scenes From The Flood"
Bryan: It had been awhile since I had done a solo album, my last solo album came out in 2008. I'd lived 5 years and I'd moved halfway across the United States and changed a lot of things in my life and in 2013 I started travelling a lot more for work and for music, touring, some things were changing and some things were not working out the way I had imagined they would and I was a bit confused and it somehow started showing up in the music. I started to work some of that out in the music I was doing. A couple of melodies popped into my head in late 2013 and when that happened I realized " uh oh this isn't really Aristocrats music" it feels a little maybe more serious and I think maybe I'm starting to write another solo album. So over the next few years and it was years, more and more ideas popped into my head. I was on tour almost constantly from 2013 to 2016 and more and more stuff started popping up into my head and I didn't have time to demo it, so I started using the iPhone voice-memos and making text notes and next thing I knew I had a bunch of song titles, 3 then 5 then 7 then suddenly I had 10, 12, 14. Then I was like " uh oh this isn't a regular album anymore, It's a double album." I kind of just kept going until at the end of 2016 I had 18 songs, 18 song titles in sequence and I pretty much had the whole album in my head which was crazy and I just needed to demo it. So I took 2017 completely off the road and I did nothing but demo the album and at the end of 2017 I had a full demo album, then the next year and a half I recorded it and it took 9 months to mix it. Forrester (Savell) and I worked together so closely it was amazing. Just an absolute legend/pro, his ears are just the best and he was very patient. So finally 5 or 6 years after it was originally conceived it was done.
Were the songs all Bryan compositions or was it a collaboration with other musicians?
Bryan: There was no real collaboration I would say, I did write it all in isolation but there is 1 song out of the 18 which is a cover of Janet Feder's "Angles and Exits", I just thought it was a really beautiful song, it's from the album "This Close" which I highly recommend. Other than that it is all my original music and it was weird just having so much original music floating around my head all at once.
How did Bryan manage to get so many big name artists (Christopher Allis, Bryan Beller, Nili Brosh, Paul Cartwright, Darran Charles, Julian Coryell, Mike Dawes, Janet Feder, Guthrie Govan, Ray Hearne, Gene Hoglan, Mike Keneally, Jamie Kime, Fred Kron, Teddy Kumpel, Jake Howsam Lowe, Evan Mazunik, Nate Morton, Rick Musallam, Mike Olekshy, Griff Peters, John Petrucci, Matt Rohde, Joe Satriani, Rishabh Seen, Joe Travers, Leah Zeger) to appear on the album?
Bryan: I asked them. You don't ask you don't get. I felt that if it was going to be 88 minutes, 18 songs, so many different scenes. There is a reason it is called "Scenes From The Flood" there are so many different scenes and changes. I don't think it would have been right to have all the same musicians on every song, like a group of 5 or 6 musicians playing every song on the album, I think that might have been a little ear fatiguing after awhile. So I just wanted to make sure different tonalities were coming and going, and then it was just a matter of asking all the people I'd been playing with. I know maybe it seems a little gratuitous but Joe Satriani and Jon Petrucci and Mike Keneally and Guthrie Govan and Gene Hoglan from Dethklok and Joe Travers and Ray Hearne from Haken and that was an exception because I didn't know Ray and I wanted a different sort of sound from what I'm familiar with. But for the most part these were people that I just knew, and I just figured I'd just do what is right for the song.
On the upcoming Dethklok reunion at the Adult Swim festival happening in November and on whether Bryan knows if we will ever see more Metalocalypse?
Bryan: I won't be playing it because I will be on tour with The Aristocrats in Europe. So imagine my frustration and my disappointment about that because I love the Dethklok gig, it's so much fun, it's such a great show and of course I wish it was still going on. As far as Dethklok and Brendan Small and another season? that's above my pay grade and has to do with the television network and Brendan so I just can't comment on it. Of course I hope and wish it happens just like many other fans.
Listen to the full interview
Check out the first single "The Storm"
"Spanish Eddie" from the latest album "You Know What..? by The Aristocrats