Death metal duo Boethiah rip buzzsaw riffs from the mouths of black holes on their new EP release, Celestial Gateway. Full of rampaging instrumentation and interstellar atmospheres, Celestial Gateway is essentially what would happen if Bolt Thrower were transported to the far reaches of deep space. With one foot in death metal lineage and the other in cosmic exploration, Boethiah sets themselves apart from a lot of their contemporaries.
Svbterranean recently caught up with the duo to discuss the new EP, band beginnings and science fiction.
Could you please introduce yourselves and your roles in Boethiah?
Sean: 25 years old. I play guitar, song writing and perform vocal duties in our band. I’m a lifelong music fan and have been corrupted with metallic filth for the last 15 years or so.
Derek: 24 Years old. Bass, drums and songwriting.
How did Boethiah come to be?
Derek: Boethiah was started in 2012 by myself as a solo project. this quickly changed and I asked three other friends to join the band. Within months of the band starting, we had a complete lineup.
What was your first exposure to the death metal genre and what keeps drawing you back to it?
Sean: I got into metal around the time I was in elementary school, 9 or 10 years old. I had older neighbor kids I hung out with who got me into Metallica, Megadeth, Maiden. I was hooked and grew from there. I finally had access to the internet, other kids, and borrowing cd’s from friend’s. I remember watching MTV Headbanger’s ball and seeing Morbid Angel be interviewed. I had already been introduced to harsh vocals and more extreme stuff like Slipknot or As I Lay Dying through my neighbors, but true filthy death metal was the next step up and there has never been no looking back.
Derek: I remember getting my Thrash fix one day and seeing a recommended video from Earache’s youtube channel. It was Deicide’s new music video for “Homage for Satan”. The thing that keeps drawing me back to it is the fact that the music is very intricate. Most people think of growls and noise when it comes to death metal but its not. My favorite underlying theme is that most of it composes many aspects of music theory, which I am big on.
How has writing with Boethiah pushed you as a musician?
Sean and Derek: Since we don’t live close to each other, we’re forced to write out all our music so we can hear it.. We’ve both been pushed with perfecting the art of having whole songs done. Since we can’t sit down next to each other and play riffs, we have to write them as closely as possible and use musical notation and tabs to articulate subtleties and nuances in playing. Derek doesn’t just play bass, he writes entire songs, as do I. We constantly criticize each other and make sure we’re making the best material that we can.
What do you feel are the advantages of writing and recording as a two-piece?
Derek and Sean: Simplicity. Shared vision. Ease of communication. There’s only two of us, two brains. Less egos to go around. We both have similar goals with different ways to approach them, so our differences complement each other.
How do you feel Boethiah approaches death metal differently than other modern practitioners of the genre?
Sean: The first and most important part of music to us is that it is fucking fun and an escape from the mundane reality of existence. An expression of our conscious and unconscious beliefs. We never set out to prove ourselves or change the world, we’re in it for us. We both love the Swedish death stuff a lot. I love the Florida bands like Morbid Angel and Deicide alot, where Derek is really into the UK bands like Benediction , so we write different but complementary riffs. Our biggest approach difference is how we write and we like themes and stories. We like catchy songs and don’t mind having a memorable chorus.
Derek: We focus a lot on music theory and incorporate a wide variety of what goes with it in our music. We also assimilate styles from other genres of music such as Thrash and Crust punk to name a few.
What can you tell us about the writing and recording process behind your newest EP, Celestial Gateway?
Sean: The EP material was being written towards the end of the recording of our debut LP. We never stopped writing. People like to think we just wrote a whole EP in 1 month and released it within the year from the album, but truth is, we never stopped writing. We pretty much write whole songs alone and ask for input and critiques. Once we feel good, we record a demo version to see where things go. I usually track guitars, have derek do drums, then he does bass, then I go in and add leads, harmonies etc. Just like a real studio session, except he’s sending me his takes and I re-amp them and mix.
How do you feel this new material compares to your previous works?
Sean: I feel that this material is more cohesive as a whole and shows our new explorations. The 1st LP was a mix of old material and newer material that I brought in once Derek invited me back. Now that we have our writing method down and ideas are formed, the music flows easier. I believe my production skills have improved, and I think the music is more, dare I say “progressive” and interesting than our previous offering.
Derek: This EP had no older material that we reworked. It was all brand new. I would say it was a slight step above the LP because we aim to outdo ourselves with each new release. We mastered the ease of being a two piece and even though we live nowhere near each other anymore, it was easy to get everything done.
Celestial Gateway is full of science fiction themes. What drew you to the realm of science fiction for this release and are there any particular sci-fi pieces (literature, film, etc) that were an influence on this record?
Sean: Since writing our debut LP, the science fiction theme was always present. We are both huge into Star Wars, warhammer 40k, Aliens, Predators, and epic sci fi in general. Of course H.P. Lovecraft, horror, and the occult. HP Lovecraft was definitely my biggest influence in writing these lyrics. A passage from The Call of Cthulu spoke to me and made me think of multiple themes and ideas relating to the human mind and experience. I read alot of philosophy and occult literature. Of course, our name is from The Elder Scrolls Series. Boethiah, Daedric prince of treachery and deceit. It just fit into our theme of being deceived, being miserable, and being a slave to this mundane existence.
Derek: We are huge on science fiction, conspiracies and knowledge. We aim to add that to our music to give more thought behind our lyrics. The thing that drew me the realm of science fiction is the fact that life sucks and the only true thing is fantasy. The fact that their is a lot that is unknown about space is what drew us to us to this theme. To answer the second half of the question, I love Star Wars and the mysteries of space.
What is next for Boethiah in the near future?
Sean: Live shows. We are planning a few shows for 2019. We’ve been focusing on our new Distro/Label we just opened, Desert Wastelands Productions, the logo which you have seen grace our releases. New material shall come out in 2019, but in a lesser, more concentrated and lethal amount. Stay tuned.
Derek: Live shows and hopefully small tours here and there. We are dividing our time between growing as a band, our new Distro/label; Desert Wastelands Productions and networking with other bands, labels and distros.