Monday, August 21, 2017

Draghkar  interview done by Patrick posted on 8-21-17

Interview  with  BW.  vocalist and  guitarist   of  Draghkar   done  by  Patrick

1. Hello  please  introduce yourself  to the  readers?
BW: Hello, I’m BW, the guitarist, vocalist, main songwriter, and founder of Draghkar, a death metal band from Los Angeles, California. 

2. When  did you  first  discover  metal  music  and  who  were  some  of the  first  bands you listened  to?

BW: I was actually raised on metal; my dad isn’t really into extreme metal (with some exceptions), but I grew up on a steady diet of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Sleep, and whatever he happened to be into over the years. Some of the first bands that I had an independent interest in were Metallica and Slayer as a kid, neither of which my dad is into- he mostly loves things that are slow and heavy, and that means that he stopped listening to thrash in probably ’85 or ’86, according to him. He was definitely extremely formative to my taste (in particular my love of doom metal, but just in general as well), and introduced me to bands like Celtic Frost and Rotting Christ a bit later down the line.

3. When did  you  first  get the  idea  to  form  this  band? How did you choose  Draghkar   as the name  of  this  band?

BW: I’ve only been playing guitar for a couple of years (started halfway through December 2013), but I knew pretty soon after starting that I wanted to write and play music. I started doing vocals right around the same time as I picked up the guitar at the urging of a good friend (“how the hell can you listen to so much death metal and not try growling yourself?”) and was well on my way to writing music within the year. The summer before releasing World Unraveled, I was driving and listening to Massacre’s “From Beyond” and had the idea for a song pop into my head. From there, I went home and wrote the first Draghkar song in a period of about four hours. Though I ended up scrapping the song in the end, I was able to use it to recruit a bassist and drummer (neither of which ended up staying in the band through the recording of the demo), and the band came from there. The name comes from a monster from a classic epic fantasy series, Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time.” 

4. Draghkar   is   getting  ready  to  release  their  debut demo  World Unraveled which  will  be  released  through Blood Harvest Rec. how  did you come  in contact with this  great  label?

BW: After digitally releasing the demo back in February, I asked a couple of friends with a lot of experience for advice on finding a label. One of the promos I sent out went to Rodrigo, and to my immense shock, he emailed me back about putting it out. Given how good the label and their roster are, I had no expectation at all of ending up on Blood Harvest, and I’m extraordinarily proud and grateful for the opportunity. 

5. How  long  did it  take  the  band to  write  the music for  the  debut  release? Where  did  you  draw  inspiration  for  the  lyrics  on  the  debut and  what  are  some  subjects  you  wrote  about  on the  debut

BW: I wrote the music for the demo more or less on my own over a period of three or four months. The lyrics come from the same book series as the band name, and cover a conceptual storyline from the novels that culminates in the end of the world. This was mostly as a homage to Robert Jordan, whose literature was foundational for the development of my taste in fantasy; future releases will not be inspired by the same material except insofar as all of the things that I love come together to influence my songwriting.

6. Besides  the  debut  World Unraveled  does  the  band  have  any  other merchandise  available? If yes  what  is  available and  where  can the readers  buy  it?

BW: We have shirts, a small amount of longsleeves, and patches available on our bandcamp page, and when we start gigging in the near future, all of those will also be available at shows.

7. I believe  Draghkar  is  a  two  man  band  are their  any  plans to  add more  members to make  a  full band  or  do you  prefer to  work  as  a two man  band?

BW: The lineup has changed again since the demo, and has been filled out to form a full band for writing, recording, and live purposes. I enjoyed functioning as a two-piece, but I have nothing against larger lineups.

8. What does underground metal mean to you?

BW: It represents a spirit of discovery and love towards music more than any single other thing. There’s a wild variety of people involved with making metal music, and I’ve met people making well-respected underground music that range from bartenders to teachers to engineers to cashiers to attorneys, with personality types that range as widely as their careers do. Between the introverts, extroverts, extraordinarily kind and intelligent people, and the moronic assholes, there’s always at the very least a deep shared love for this music that goes beyond aesthetic or style. As much as I like other types of music, metal is and likely always will be the dearest to my heart, and especially where the pulse of the underground lies.

9. Besides  working  in  Draghkar do  you  currently  play  in  any  other  bands? If yes  please  tell  the readers about  them?

BW: Yes, actually! I’m releasing a black metal demo with a couple of friends under the project name of Grave Spirit in the extremely near future and working on a traditional heavy metal project with a couple of other guys. Both of those are firm studio projects with no intention of playing live; I like to have a way to write music without the concern for being able to replicate it live or having to dump the time into rehearsing it. Though the heavy metal project is still unnamed and seems far from a release, Grave Spirit’s first demo, Beast Unburdened By Flesh, will hopefully be out within a month of me responding to this interview. I am extremely excited for its release, and think it’s some of the best material I’ve written to date.

10. Draghkar  comes  out  of California's death metal  scene  what  is your  opinion  of   the metal  scene in  California?

BW: I think that it’s been getting better and better in the last few years. It’s always had a ton of creativity in the Bay Area, and Los Angeles had a massive scene in the ‘80s of course, but Southern California had relatively little going on for years. These days, the Bay Area is among the foremost death metal scenes in the world in my opinion, and Southern California has had good bands popping up faster than I ever would have believed.

11. Who  are your  all-time  favorite  Californian bands  and  are  their  any  new  bands you  feel the  readers  should  check  out  soon?

BW: I almost feel like being from California is cheating when asking about all time bands from the state because so many of my all time favorites in general are from here. Bands like Tyrant, Slough Feg, Possessed, Terrorizer, Hexx, Slayer, and Autopsy make up a lot of the backbone of my listening, and always will. For newer bands, though, I can’t recommend Ascended Dead or Necrosic enough, and though they’re technically a reformation, Ruin is a big recent favorite as well. Some other bands to check out include the mighty Rude, Ancient Empire, Vastum, Acephalix, and Skeletal Remains, and for bands that just popped up in the last couple of years, there’s Crematory Stench, the aforementioned Necrosic, Ensepulcher, and Funeral Chant, off the top of my head. 

12. BW  you  handle  the  vocals  for the band  when  did you  start growling? Do  you  do  anything  special  to  keep your  throat and voice  healthy?

BW: Like I mentioned earlier in the interview, I started around the same time that I picked up the guitar, so either in late 2013 or early 2014. Other than just making sure that I don’t strain myself to the point where it hurts, I have nothing particularly special that I do; I was taking singing lessons for regular clean singing for a bit to protect my voice when I do that, but I was growling before I was singing, and my habits for the style remain unchanged.

13. Who  are  some  of your  favorite  vocalists?

BW: David Vincent on the classic Morbid Angel stuff, Martin Van Drunen across all of his bands, Rob Halford who needs no introduction, James Rivera from Helstar and a slew of side projects, Chris Reifert from Autopsy, Jukka Kolehmainen from Abhorrence, and the mighty Bruce Dickinson come to mind. I’m also a huge fan of Johan Langquist, who sang on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, as well as Robert Lowe, the vocalist of Solitude Aeturnus. Really too many to name.

14. Besides  the  vocals  you also  take care  of the  guitars when  did you become  interested in  playing the  guitars? Are you self-taught or  did you  take  lessons  when  first  starting out?

BW: The same friend who convinced me to start doing vocals got me interested in playing guitar. He was always playing when we hung out, and after harassing him to play the same cool riffs over and over again, he got fed up and told me that if I got a guitar, he’d just show me how to play them myself. I ended up taking lessons for a couple of months, but for the most part am self taught aside from some valuable lessons on how to properly hold the guitar and pick (turns out I’d initially been doing it wrong) as well as on how to warm up, stretch, and minor details like that. 

15. Who  are  some  of your influences and  favorite guitarists? Besides  the vocals and guitars do you currently  play  any other  instruments?

BW: If I had to point at just a handful of influences as a musician and guitar player, I’d point first to Trey Azagthoth, Tony Iommi, and Tom Warrior. I learned a lot of guitar from Morbid Angel, Black Sabbath, and Frost/Hellhammer riffs, and couldn’t separate them from my guitar playing even if I wanted to. Some other massive influences are Eric Cutler from Autopsy, the guys behind Abhorrence and early Amorphis, Chuck Schuldiner from Death, and Bolt Thrower as a whole both for my guitar playing and for how I do vocals.  As of right now, I only play guitar and do vocals.

16. Thank  you  BW. for  taking the  time to  fill this  interview  out  do you  have  any final  comments for  the  readers?

BW: Stay morbid, stay death, stay metal, buy some Draghkar merch, and check out Grave Spirit. 

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