Thursday, February 14, 2019

an interview with Treasonist

When it comes to death metal and grindcore, Portland-based Treasonist represent the best of both worlds. Their self-titled debut keeps things short and to the point, without ever getting monotonous - no surprise, considering the band is made up of lifers from respected acts like Benumb and Jungle Rot. Guitarist Andy Goodman was kind enough to field my questions.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce Treasonist - who are you, where are you from, and how would you describe the music you make?

We’re four dudes from various backgrounds, primarily located in the greater Portland, Oregon area. We make a strain of deathgrind that is always intense but never afraid to step outside the box and into strange territory.

DoC: If you would, please give a brief history of your band - what led to you forming? What did you set out to accomplish?

Pete (vocals) and Jason (drums) have been friends for quite some time and wanted to do a new project. They had another guy on guitar and asked me (Andy) to play bass, but that ended up not working out. Jason then approached me about starting a new project with me on guitar and that ended up being Treasonist. Jason and I jammed a couple times to get a feel for it before we added Brian on bass and it kind of took off from there.

DoC: The members of Treasonist have spent time with a number of notable grind and death metal bands, including Jungle Rot and Benumb. How would you compare Treasonist to your past bands? How have your past experiences shaped the way you approach playing music today?

I think Treasonist stands apart from those other bands in that we have a somewhat experimental vibe to a lot of our songs. For instance, we will mix hardcore vocals with death metal riffs or sludgy grooves and it somehow works.

DoC: Your debut EP is fantastic. Where was it recorded? What was the writing process like?

We recorded the drums at our practice spot in Hood River and the guitars and vocals at Brian’s recording space in Portland. Brian, in addition to being a fantastic bass player and vocalist, is also an excellent producer and operates under the alias of Pale Magus Productions. After recording the tracks we had them mixed at Audio Siege studios in Portland.

Writing the demo was, overall, a very collaborative process. Brian had three songs ready to go and I (Andy) came up with the riffs for the other five and we jammed on them at practice until we got them right.

DoC: The level of musicianship on your songs is quite high, but would you say that Treasonist is "technical"? Why or why not?

I appreciate that! However, I wouldn’t say we’re technical, at least as far as the guitars are concerned. We’re all accomplished musicians and we’ve been playing our instruments for over half our lives, but ferocity is always the goal with Treasonist. A few sweep picking parts might sneak into some of the songs but that’s all in the name of building tension.

DoC: Treasonist deals with a lot of real world issues. Do you consider yourselves to be a "political" band? How do you choose the topics you write about?

We are a political band, but we don’t advocate for any particular ideology. Our view is that humanity is naturally corrupt and we’re watching society fall around us as we speak.

DoC: The first EP was co-released by Horror Pain Gore Death. How did you become involved with them?

Pete and Brian have worked with Mike Juliano in the past and he was interested in putting out the demo for us. I believe that Mike reached out to Pete when he heard that Pete had a new project and the rest is history.

DoC: You're based in Portland OR, which has been a hotbed for heavy music for quite some time. How would you describe the scene there? Who do you consider your peers?

The scene in Portland is nothing short of amazing. There are so many talented bands right now that it’s frankly insane. Unfortunately, we’ve only been able to play in Portland once so far, so I don’t know if we really have any peers at this point but that’s going to be changing very soon.

DoC: Finish the following sentence: Death and grind go together like...

Middle aged women and serial killer documentaries.

DoC: What's next for Treasonist?

We’re busy writing and rehearsing a ton of new material. We’re planning on getting back into the studio to put out a full length very soon and have entertained some offers to do a split as well. The future is very bright for Treasonist.

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