On their sophomore full-length record, Viscères, Bind Torture Kill unleash dark and furious hardcore assaults that refuse to show mercy. This Lyon-based trio is armed to the teeth with grimy dissonance and volatility, resulting in an intense and chaotic listen that will have fans of the ugliest hardcore has to offer completely enamored. Although the year has just begun, the genre will be hard-pressed to crank out something as vicious as this in the months to come.
Svbterranean recently caught up with guitarist Yann Alexandre to discuss the band’s sound, the new record and more.
Could you please introduce yourself and your role in Bind Torture Kill?
Hello! I am Yann Alexandre guitarist and principal composer in Bind Torture Kill.
How did BTK get its start?
BTK started in 2007, as Benjamin Garçon (drums), Mickael Fernandes (bass) and I decided to start a new project. We had been playing together for quite a few years in different bands. Benjamin an I started the music together … around 1995!
With this new band we did not have a particular style in mind, just want to do something dark, angry and violent. For that we auditioned singers and very quickly it is my brother, Olivier Alexandre, who has imposed obviously itself, compared to his vocal power, the necessarily natural relationships we had with him and especially thanks to his incredible thirst for good beer. Then we needed a name that sounded good, that we found fun and that reflects the style of music we aspired to. « Bind Torture Kill » was born.
What influenced the decision to write and perform without bass guitar?
It’s the instability of the bassists in the group that influenced us to play without bass. Very quickly Mickael Fernandes left the group for professional reasons and we have chained a lot of bassists then. In 2013, after the release of our first EP (on which there is a real bass), we separated from our bassist at the time and deliberately made the decision to continue at 3, without bass. We used to repeat without bass and we found that it did not sound so bad, that it gave a more punk dimension to our music. We did not want to stop and wait to finding motivated musician, so we continued as a trio.
Then I built my configuration gradually. Initially, I had a single guitar amp with two 4×12 cabinets in stereo. Then I got another guitar amp head. This is the configuration you can find on “Condamné”.
Then I tried to connect my guitar on an old bass amp that rotted deep in our room and I thought out-of-use, which turned out to be wrong! With a big distortion we said to ourselves: « Fuck! Why we did not try before! » Then, impossible to backtrack! I got an octave and it gave me the configuration you can hear on “Viscères”: a guitar, a bass amp and two guitar amps.
How do you feel the absence of bass has influenced writing for BTK?
The big constraint imposed by the absence of a bass is that only one line is possible. So you have to fill everything with a single guitar (the solution would be to use loopers, which I will perhaps one day for that matter …)
Gradually, I started to play the guitar differently, thinking that a bass line was to be felt. The flights too long are therefore often proscribed, not to lose the massiveness of the sound.
Otherwise it’s always me that brought the riffs in BTK, without necessarily thinking of bass even when there was one! So it did not change things dramatically. What is certain is that it has amplified the raw side of our music.
In general, how do you feel writing and performing with BTK has pushed you as a musician?
On one hand, I compose riffs for over 10 years, thanks and grateful to BTK. Looking for new sounds and composition working grew up myself, in some way . On the first EP for example, in a very technical approach, my riffs were much more complicated at that time. And I always wanted more. So at that moment, I have evolved a lot from a pure technical point of view. But I learned to leave a little aside for the benefit of efficiency and ambience, a heavy note well placed and sounds chaotic is worth more than 10 fast! It’s more from this point of view that I consider myself to have grown up as a musician. It is now the sounds that take precedence over speed or technique. It’s the only musical project I’ve had in a few years, and this motivates me to make music, to stir my guts to birth pieces.
On another hand, and precisally, BTK guide me on a perfectionist approach of music. Time is over nad no other training has such motivated me, nothing else in life except my son. Finally the fact of finding myself alone on the guitar for a few years has inevitably allowed me to change the vision I had of my instrument. This allowed me to take more insurance in playing Live.
My Sound also changed. Playing one instrument to ring big and heavy requires great energy from mind…
I did not think that this project would take me so far , playing on three amps at the same time and so on … But I’m not the only one to have grown up, on a won gained maturity as the group progresses.
We all still have full things to say and lot of experiments to do! And that’s really great and cool, you know.
From an outsider’s perspective, the French heavy music scene seems to be very fertile for bands of BTK’s caliber. How do you feel the French music scene has influenced BTK, if at all?
Musically the main influences of Bind Torture Kill are mostly American, Anglo / Saxon. In another way, we can say that a particular “French scene” has influenced us in recent years is the scene that embodies the label Throatruiner Records. It has influenced us by its dark side, with groups that have the ability to integrate between them different extreme styles (black, grind, hardcore, post, punk, crust …) to make “mass killings” and unhealthy. There is also a philosophy of sound, a natural aesthetic that we like a lot, both on the work of the drums and the dirty grain of guitars. From this point of view, we can say that indeed, a certain French scene inspires us.
What can you tell us about the making of your newest full-length, Viscères?
We recorded the album in November 2016. We had worked a lot upstream, few elements had been left to chance before entering the studio, to be as effective as possible. The order of the songs was for example already established, which helped us for the sequence of the songs, the transitions on the album. Only some guitar feedbacks have been improvised and hacked with pedals in the studio. We decided to record the instruments separately in 6 days. Finally being a little early, we could start mixing on the 6th day. We worked with Kris Banel at Warmaudio Studio and it was a real pleasure and a great comfort to collaborate with him, despite the limited time available. One of the big challenges was to bring a massive dimension to the sound, to manage the fact that there was only one guitar and that it had to sound the closest to a group having a normal configuration with the less a guitar and a bass. On the recording you can hear the same configuration as that of the live: a guitar, plugged into 2 guitar amps and a bass amp, equipped upstream of an octave to get closer to a real bass sound. I think we did pretty well the bet and that Kris brought to the album the punk and raw dimension that he needed.
Nick Zampiello from Boston’s New Alliance East Mastering then did the mastering to give the album the potato and the color it needed.
How would you compare it your previous full-length, Condamné?
We wrote this album with a focus on the effectiveness and intent of the live. The riffing is less complex, the songs generally shorter than « Condamned ». Punk and Hardcore have somehow taken over the Death Metal, even if it is still there. Paradoxically “Viscères” also takes more time to land, with heavier passages, ambiances, which allowed us to gain relief, air to come back stronger behind. This evolution was done naturally, without much calculation, we just wanted to make the music we love by combining all the influences that interest us and to have fun playing these songs live. Otherwise from a sound point of view, everything sounds more raw and natural too.
What are some of the lyrical themes explored on the record?
The titles of BTK always recount in a neutral way various bloody or sordid incidents. But on “Viscères” the themes of the lyrics have evolved a lot. While it was exclusively about Denis Rader, the serial killer who called himself BTK on our EP, and on “Condamné” it was about him or other psychopathic killers; on “Viscères”, the concept of a serial killer has been set aside for the benefit of macabre and tragic stories, past or contemporary, which we believe are representative of the madness of the world. Bind Torture Kill is inspired in some way by the darkest of the human being and regurgitates him in the face of his listener. We are all witnesses of near or far of all this shit, it does not leave us indifferent, we tell it differently. But there is also a good dose of second degree in BTK, we are not a group that takes itself seriously.
“Au fond du trou” tells the last minutes of a man who deals with mafia, he ends his life at the bottom of the hole … the toilet …
“Nourrir le singe” narrates the overdose of a heroin addict, “Perte et fracas” the misadventures of a protester against riot police, “Pestilence” the epidemic of Black Death that has fallen on the Middle Age in Europe.
“Sanguinaire” describes the know-how and procedures of a hangman.
“Chacal” recounts the practices of the corpse robbers during a war.
Finally “Abject” focuses on some Buffalo Soldiers, black soldiers who served under the US flag and who were forced to beat and oppress the Indians to secure their own freedom.
In short! What happiness!
How do you feel the artwork compliments the themes/tone of the record, or vice versa?
The artwork depicts a jackal fighting over a carcass with vultures. They are scavengers. This illustration therefore directly refers to the title “Chacal” (jackal in english). We wanted a strong, aesthetic and dark image that illustrates the dynamics and the darkness of “Viscères”. The choice of animals appeared to us as an original way of diverting the remarks made by our music and our texts. And Tyron Gearing’s perfectly met our request.
What is next for BTK after the album’s release?
After the release of “Viscères” the goal is to give as many concerts as possible to promote it!
Any final words or thoughts?
Thank you to everyone who is interested in Bind Torture Kill and everyone who took the time to read this interview to the end! Thank you to you for your excellent questions and to Didier Bazy his help for translation was precious.
See you soon I hope!
Viscères will be released on January 26 via WOOAAARGH/Troffea Records/HELL-J Industries.
Read our review of the record here.
Follow BTK on Facebook.