Musicscan: First of all I’d like to know, why you chose the bison to name your band after.
Bison B C: We wanted a ‘heavy’ name, to go with the music. We wanted something that was real, organic and that still exists. Bison are amazing creatures that have fought extinction – mankind almost wiped them out. They are very noble and stoic beasts – and they are fucking huge… they could kill you, if they wanted to. Now that’s fucking heavy.
Musicscan: Would you please be so kind as to sum up the band’s history up to now?
Bison B C: We started playing together about 2 years ago. We had all been in other projects prior Bison. My old band had ended, and after living in a wasted depression for about 3 months I crawled out of my alcohol soaked haze with a bunch of songs… heavier, slower, gnarlier than I had ever written. I hunted down the rest of the dudes and there you go… Bison is born.
Musicscan: You signed to Metal Blade Records in June. Had the album been recorded at that time and how did it all come together?
Bison B C: The album had been mostly written, but not recorded when we were initially talking with Metal Blade. We had time booked, so it was perfect for a fall release. We got to spend two weeks recording, which is the longest we have spent in the studio. Our first album was recorded in four days, including mixing and mastering. So 2 weeks was a luxury. There was a little writing and arranging in the studio, but that was just part of the experience. We wanted the Metal Blade debut to be heavy as fuck… so we worked vey hard, with the help of Jesse Gander, who is a great engineer and sort of silent producer, or sage. We trust him with the tunes, so we welcome him as sort of part of the band, when we are in the studio.
Musicscan: What did it feel like to be signed to such a renowned label?
Bison B C: It was an incredible feeling and a little surprising, considering the only person from Metal Blade that had seen us perform was Sarah Lutz who works at Metal Blade Canada. She was a big part of it happening, she really went to bat for us, she really believes in this band. I think there was a lot of word of mouth talk about us at the time, and ‘Earthbound’ was getting some good reviews. They could tell we were ready to go out on the road, and write music and make albums. They were just stoked. I grew up with Metal Blade, a lot of the music that shaped me came from that label, so its an honor to be part of that family now, years and years after being a little thrash kid in Winnipeg checking out Death Angel, D.R.I. and Sacred Reich albums.
Musicscan: You recorded “Quiet Earth” with producer Jesse Gander. What was the decisive factor for working with him?
Bison B C: Well, Jesse is a good friend of ours. I have personally been working with him for almost 10 years. He knows the band, he understands where we want the songs to go, and he has an incredible studio that is comfortable and affordable. He shares a passion for music, especially underground music, and is a part of a pretty incredible music scene in Vancouver. I really want Vancouver to be a part of this band, because Vancouver support made this band. So as a result, we like to record in Vancouver – use Vancouver musicians Like Collin McKill and Cris Derksen who did strings on Quiet Earth, use Vancouver artists and photographers. It’s all part of creating a sustainable music/artistic community in our city.
Musicscan: How long did the song writing process and recording take you?
Bison B C: The song writing is constant. The one thing I love most of all, is locking myself in our jam spot, drink beer and play really loud guitar. I can do that at any time of the day, so that really helps writing – I can play loud guitar pretty much whenever I want to. Riffs are floating around constantly… I work on songs all the time; it’s not very time-line specific. We ended up doing a bit of arranging and lyric writing in the studio, but most of it had been worked on pretty much as soon as our first album was finished. As I mentioned earlier, we recorded and mixed the album in two weeks, which in the grand scheme of things is pretty quick, but we work with what we got. We do well under those conditions, especially with Jesse Gander at the helm.
Musicscan: With what vision sound-wise did you enter the studio?
Bison B C: I think we wanted a more mature sounding album, with different layers to it. Different levels of tension – some real texture to it. We also wanted it to be heavier sounding, we concentrated on the guitar sound a lot, so it was all encompassing. It was nice also to work with Colin McKill and Cris Derksen, who performed the violin and cello for the album. It was nice arranging that into the compositions, it adds something a little organic to the songs they appear on. Very moody… you know, lots of emotion in those instruments.
Musicscan: It was quiet funny reading the press information for your upcoming record. There it draws a comparison to some desert-like scenario. That would absolutely match your sound, so I could really imagine that while listening to “Quiet Earth”. But now you’re from Vancouver in the south west of British Columbia – how would you say that still matches and what would you say are the main influences on the sound of BISON B.C.?
Bison B C: Our influences vary and are quite eclectic. I mean, it is a very emotionally driven sound for us. Our day-to-day lives influence this band, what is happening in the world, our city, and our lives all add to the sound. Musically speaking, we love all kinds of music from metal to pop. I mean, Neil Young is an amazing songwriter, you take that influence and add to the sonic quality of say slayer, or black Sabbath, and you get a different type of metal I think. Song writing is an art in itself. Riffs need to be placed within a song, that is the trick.
Musicscan: Why is the record called “Quiet Earth”? What’s the lyrical concept of the record?
Bison B C: The calm before the storm. I think the album is about many different levels of death. Our planet dying, spiritual death, physical death, escaping death. The album starts with Primal Emptiness of Outer space, which is about escaping death, getting a chance to start new. The album then ends with Quiet Earth, which is about the death of the human race… and after that, the earth will truly be quiet. It’s a bit of a bummer I guess… I just have very little faith in our survival as a species. Maybe we can progress… the U.S. just elected its first African American president… which is amazing for such a racist country to do, especially when they play such a huge role in how politics plays out the whole world over… so that’s a step in the right direction. I still think we are all fucked in the long run.
Musicscan: Are there any plans to come over to Europe and do a tour here?
Bison B C: Well there are some plans, and we are waiting to dot all the I’s and cross all the t’s… sometime next year you will see our ugly mugs yelling on a stage near you… keep an eye out. We would be very honored to play through Europe.