J) It's kind of a funny story of how it came to be. Sam, George, and Steve were all in a band called Defending the Kingdom, and it was in the process of winding down. About that same time, I had inquired about some Sunn cabs on Craigslist, Sam turned out to be the seller, and I noticed he was wearing an Isis hoodie, which is a band that's been an inspiration to me since their inception. We talked sporadically about gear and bands, and just kept a dialog going. He invited me to jam some months later, and a childhood friend of mine that I hadn't seen in a decade or two, Steve, was their drummer. It was instant chemistry! We all come from different backgrounds musically, which lends itself to an in-depth and interesting writing process, more so than anything I've ever experienced. We're all fans of some fairly disparate styles of music, but we always find common ground in heavy, emotional riffs!
2.How would you describe your musical sound?
G) We originally wanted to be sludgy doom but started to evolve along more of a post-metal trajectory. Steve and I try to provide a stripped down, solid background for Jason and Sam to go crazy with. We tend to fall into a groove and let them solo, make noise, add embellishments and so on. The biggest thing for us is just doing something interesting that feels right and not being a slave to traditional song structures.
S) We try to get every riff or passage to have as much atmosphere and mass as we can manage. George and Steve also have a really keen knack for maintaining momentum and movement. Stylistically, I think we maybe expected to sound like Bongripper or Sleep, initially, and there's definitely an element of that, but we also had this massive raft of 90's influences like Soundgarden that started to seep in, plus bands like Cult of Luna.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
J) Man, that's tough. We may seem very politically oriented, but in reality, we are just talking about the social climate around us, as we have vastly different political views. Our goal, lyrically, is to talk about our darker life experiences in an inspiring way and hopefully create a sense of self awareness in an environment where there isn't much middle ground between being lost and being trapped. Even if the world is crumbling around us, we're called to love each other as human beings, and there CAN be a light at the end of the tunnel if we choose it. It's human nature to wrestle with notions of retribution against the people who've wronged you, people who you may feel have damaged the human condition. Most people seek change by criticizing their immediate situation, and oftentimes that only contributes to the problem.
G) Dark themes and lyrics for dark times. Most songs are us directly working through our baggage and personal trials.
S) Sometimes it's easier to let go of a thing when you can just scream it out. A lot of it is just this dejected lament, but we try hard not to get whiny or preachy. Two of us live sober and I think one of the underlying themes was breaking the connection to a thing you falsely love. In a larger sense, tho, that can also encompass toxic interpersonal relationships, toxic economic and social systems, etc.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Pyreship"
G) I always thought the concept of the Viking pyre-ship ritual was both awesome and terrible. You would have soldiers drinking and piling the decks with food, treasure and weapons. It was a sort of farewell celebration because you were sending a loved one off to a better place and doing it in style. But, one of the darker aspects, which most people don't know, is that it wasn't uncommon to force slaves and concubines to burn to death with their masters. Some wives even chose to burn with their husbands. So this beautiful funeral celebration can also be a very disturbing affair. And that kind of strikes a chord with us. It seems like more and more we're surrounded by people obsessed with wealth and fame who are happy to let the world burn down around us. And we're stuck with them, so you just have to try and find the beauty and hope in it if you can. It's a powerful image. Good and bad. Hope and sorrow.
S) This is much more of an abstraction, but it touches on what George was saying. I really liked the idea of the burning sea - Earth is a water droplet floating in space and we're causing it to heat up and evaporate.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
G) Well, our first show was opening for Conan... so it's hard to top that. But honestly we've been blessed to play with some awesome bands full of amazing people. Most recently we played in Lafayette, Louisiana with our label mates Forming The Void. Awesome band and the nicest guys. That was a great show.
Live, we try to let the music move us and give everything we have. We're not a bunch of 20 year olds jumping around or trying too hard at Dillinger Escape Plan craziness. But we all focus on playing well and being tight too.
S) Yeah. Conan for sure. I was going through a really rough time when we played our first show, and when they launched into Total Conquest I lost my fucking mind.
We pack a lot of amp weight on stage, try to effect as huge a sound as we can, and really get into each song without coming across like we're trying way too hard. Moving tons of air is a big part of our live set.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
G) We're trying to focus on playing more out of town shows and are hoping to do a weeks' tour here and there & maybe fly out to some festivals. That kinda thing.
We have some really cool shows lined up. Another show with Conan. Our album release show with Forming The Void. A few other big shows in the works.
7.Currently the band is signed to 'Black Bow Records' are you happy with the support they have given you so far?
J) We couldn't be happier to work with Jon and Black Bow. I wish all labels were as easy to work with and still took care of business like they do! We feel like they run a label for the musicians. We are completely honored they have asked to work with us!
S) Agreed. They have some really great bands on the roster. Jon is a really down to earth dude who still manages to be totally passionate about his art and the art of others and sharing it with the world, whether live or recorded.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and post metal?
G) Despite each of us having been around for awhile the band is still kinda new. So we're still getting ourselves out there. That's where Black Bow is truly a godsend. They have the means help bands get out to a bigger audience a lot faster. Every time we play or get our music to a new group of people the response has been amazing. We get a lot of "holy shit man!" It feels like it's already something big and it hasn't even hit the streets!
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future/
G) Our first album is us kind of finding ourselves. Figuring each other out. Now we just click. The new stuff we're working on has a better groove to it. The dynamics are more drastic and flow better. We'll probably have a bit more vocals. It pretty exciting.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
G) All of us are influenced by stuff like Neurosis, and Isis but then we all kinda have our own odd little favorites. Jason loves emo stuff like Drive Like Jehu. Steve is all about Radiohead and Messugah. Sam is kinda all over the place. Everything from Nick Cave to Kowloon Walled City. Sam and I both are huge death metal guys too. But I'm probably the only guy really into hip hop and rap. I grew up in New York so I'm all about Wu Tang, Gravediggaz, Mos Def, that kinda stuff. My favorite new album it the new Kendrick Lamar. But the whole band's been obsessed with the new Cult Of Luna album Mariner and this Belgian band Brutus. The singer for Brutus is also the drummer. She's ridiculous. To play and sing like she does she must have lungs like a weather balloon.
S) Everything George said but I'd add that I consume 80's thrash in unhealthy doses, and the death metal bit is contemporary brutal death metal (the Euro variety, not its degenerate bro-dude American counterpart). Also, did you know there's this whole YouTube sub-genre of sci-fi soundtrack music that's slowed down like 800-2500%? If you're into ambient or drone shit, go do yourself a favor.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
J) Sprituality, family, yerb, skateboards, Topo Chico.
S) Bikes, cats, knives, coffee & cookies.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
G) Yeah! Go to Pyreship.com. We've got a blog, links to our Instagram, Facebook, merch store... all that stuff. Our album is out on May 26th. Buy it. Stream it. Live it. Go check out Monarch cabs. Go check out Sam's other band Omotai. Go check out Forming The Void and all the awesome bands on Black Bow records. And thank you guys for talking to us.
S) Monarch cabs. You want one. Or in my case, fifteen.