answers by Dirk Verbeuren (drums, guitar)
1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the musical project these days?
Sure thing! We have a new split release coming out in December with a Swedish death/crust band called Usurpress. Our side is called “Animalist” and has eight new tracks which were completed over the past two years or so. It’s our second release with the current line-up of Sven, Shane and myself. My good friend Sylvain Coudret of Scarve and Soilwork contributed a guitar lead to the song “Fashion Victims” which is also the first promo track of the split. Selfmadegod Records is releasing the CD version and a 10” vinyl is due out on Doomentia Records, I’m guessing early next year.
2.How would you describe the musical sound of the newer material and also how does it differ from past releases?
“Animalist” combines punk and death metal riffing with a lot of blastbeats, d-beats and some darker and groovier sections. The songs are spontaneous and mostly short with opinionated and sometimes humorous lyrics. I’d call it grindcore. When comparing it to our debut EP “Noistalgia”, one difference is that I produced this new one myself. I spent a lot more time working on it. I think it sounds heavier and punchier. Every instrument can be clearly heard without losing the rawness of the performances. If you enjoy bands like Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Rotten Sound and Brutal Truth, you should like “Animalist”. But it’s rather hard for me to analyze it. I just know I enjoy listening to it.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the newer music explores?
“Double Standards” talks about injustice against women. In many countries, men get away with rape while their victims are accused of adultery and mutilated or stoned to death. “I Am Become Lust” addresses the sexual facet of man’s deep-rooted animalist nature. “Fashion Victims” is about the fur industry’s barbaric acts against innocent creatures. “At Any Cost” talks about eating meat. I tend to believe that a few hours spent at a factory farm would change most people’s food habits. The title track addresses how the human race is irreparably degrading the earth and, as a result, destroying itself. “Nature Of The Blast” and “Relentless” are more light-hearted, commenting on grindcore and credit card debt respectively. “See-Through” talks about how extremists, in this case religious ones, fail to make any kind of sense.
4.The band members are all from different parts of the world, how did you get the recording process started?
I usually start with the drums, just playing and recording whatever I feel that day, usually with some sort of song structure or guitar idea in mind. Later, whenever I have some time, I write and record guitar tracks and rough bass tracks. It’s often a spontaneous process; I avoid over-thinking things when it comes to Bent Sea. Once I have a bunch of songs that sound decent to my ears, I send them to Sven and Shane. For “Animalist”, Shane actually came to my home studio to record. We also tracked bass for a couple of songs on the “Barge To Hell” cruise which Napalm Death, Brujeria, Lock Up and Soilwork were all playing. Sven recorded his vocals in The Netherlands while working on a new album with System Divide.
5.Does the band ever plan on touring or is this strictly a studio project?
I’d love for Bent Sea to hit the road one day, but it’s not a priority as of right now. All I want is to record and release music whenever I feel inspired, without pressure. If and when things fall into place, and our busy schedules match up, I’ll be more than stoked to play some shows though. Hopefully by then we’ll have a few hundred songs to choose from!
6.In the last few months you have put out splits with both Usurpress and Torture Division, what are your thoughts on the other bands that have participated?
Usurpress kick major ass. I really enjoy their music and in my opinion, they contributed some of their best material yet to this split. I discovered them through their producer and ex-bass player Lawrence Mackrory, who also sings in my other band Scarve and who mastered “Animalist”. As for Torture Division, to me they’re the epitome of Swedish death metal. I love everything they’ve done and also the innovative way in which they release their music. They absolutely rule. If you don’t know these bands, you should definitely check them out! www.usurpress.comwww.torturedivision.net
7.On a worldwide level, how has the feedback been to the newer music by fans of grindcore?
It’s a bit early to tell since the promos for “Animalist” have only just been sent out. But those who heard it really seemed to enjoy the split with Torture Division. Some grindcore purists might dislike the “all-star” nature of Bent Sea, but I don’t see the band that way. It’s my personal take on a style of music I grew up with and love. I just happen to play it with friends who are in estalished bands, which helps to spread the word, of course. But we don’t have any sort of master plan or intentions to get rich or anything like that. Bent Sea is 100% from the heart.
8.What is going on with the other bands these days that the band members are involved with?
I’ve been touring since March with Soilwork in support of our latest double album “The Living Infinite”. When I’m not on the road, I’m doing session work for various bands, teaching drums, recording for the Swedish music software company Toontrack and writing for a Dutch drum magazine called Slagwerkkrant. Sven has been touring with Aborted and will be opening for Soilwork in 2014 with System Divide, together with Darkane, Lawrence Mackrory’s other band. As for Shane, he’s been touring with Napalm Death and working on various other releases, like the Mutation album and new Brujeria and Venomous Concept records. And that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. He beats us all when it comes to being in several bands, haha! As a matter of fact, Shane and I also play in a new project called Tronos with producer Russ Russell and contributions by Billy Gould (Faith No More), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and Silke of The Gathering.
9.What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
I recently started working on a full-length and if I succeed, the result will have to be diverse. It will definitely still be grindcore but not the monotonous kind. My attention tends to wane very quickly when an album repeats the same tempos and riffs over and over. My goal for the first proper Bent Sea LP is to create something extremely intense and heavy, yet with enough different ideas for people to enjoy listening all the way through. I’ve been super busy but the ideas keep popping up in my head and I’ll continue writing and recording as soon as I can.
10.What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Recently I’ve been listening to Portal, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, F.K.Ü., Autechre, Scorn, Brutal Truth, Public Enemy, Devin Townsend. It fluctuates between times when my head feels too saturated for music and others where I can’t stop devouring it. As for the music that influences Bent Sea, I’d say it’s the sum of all the stuff I listened to as a teenager: grindcore, death metal, thrash, black metal and bands like Godflesh, Cathedral and Endvra.
11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?
I love being around my wife, dog and cats. There’s no place like home. Besides music, I’ve been very interested in animals ever since I was a little kid. They’re absolutely fascinating to me. I can spend hours sitting in my yard watching birds and insects doing their thing while my dog is running around and hanging out. I also like good food, movies, video games, traveling and hanging out with friends.
12.,Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for supporting Bent Sea! Check us out at www.bentsea.com and follow me on Facebook for frequent updates: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dirk-Verbeuren/130681981708 Cheers!