The final lineup of this band has been together since Fall-2011. All of us grew up around the Chicagoland area and some of us knew each other throughout high school and beyond. Prior to this time, three of the band members joined forces and started writing material, most of which was ultimately scrapped after the final lineup coalesced. The approach to creating and writing our music has been a very natural and loose approach, and is purely democratic. Some songs might start with a riff or melody brought in by a member, but the majority of the material is simply developed from jamming together and letting the piece take itself to wherever it wants to go. It’s certainly not a band where one member writes the songs, then everyone else learns them. Everyone comes from different backgrounds, both personally and musically, so everyone has the ability to provide their input and drive it where they think it should go. It’s always interesting to go back and listen to older demo recordings to see how things have evolved over the years.
How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the album?
There is certainly a heaviness and “girth” to most of the material which quite simply comes from our love for plugging into big amplifiers and playing loud and aggressive music. Most of us grew up with classic rock, metal, prog-rock, psychedelic rock, etc. so it was just a matter of taking those elements and putting our own passion into it. One thing that was very apparent with this group, even in the early stages, was that everyone prefers to add their own textures and sounds to whatever section we may be developing rather than everyone just jumping on the same rhythm or riff. There are often times when the piece may lend itself to everyone hammering away on the same thing, but most of the time we prefer to create broader soundscapes where we can all individually add our own styles and textures to the composition. Nods to classic psychedelic and progressive music tend to spawn from this approach. We feel this helps create a more enjoyable listen to break up the onslaught of sludge and doom elements.
The band has been around since 2011 but waited until 2016 to release any music, can you tell us a little bit more about the first 5 years?
As mentioned, the first couple years was really spent just feeling each other out stylistically and seeing where the music would take us. There certainly was a period early on when we maybe became a bit too anxious to get out and start playing shows. This lent itself to material which was possibly a bit under-developed and premature. There was a definitely a moment in time where we said, “wait a minute, let’s step back and reassess what we’re doing here”. Most of this material was either completely scrapped or majorly reconstructed in the coming years to be where we wanted it. So in general, most of the 5 years was spent hammering away in the practice space, while still keeping up our live chops by playing a handful of shows each year.
What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
In the most general terms, the main subject of ‘Ego Death’ is life and the common experiences in human beings. Everyone on this earth is searching for a better understanding of who we are and why we’re here and trying to break away from the mundane into a higher sense of self. As it is in most creative (i.e. non-pop) music, we don’t try to be too specific with any of the subjects or themes, rather allow the listener to apply their own qualities and experiences to find their own meaning.
I know that the band’s name means 'faces of the god' in Polish, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
Honestly, we had no idea the band name translated to that. Naming a band is probably the worst part of being in a band and of course, this took time to agree upon. I guess we feel ‘Faces of the Bog’ does a decent job describing our sound while maintaining a bit of originality. And all the good names were already taken using words such as “witch”, “electric” “bong”, and/or “mountain”… :D
What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We’re very fortunate to be part of this great underground/independent Chicago music scene and have shared the stage with many great local bands over the years. It’s hard to pick specific shows that might have been our best or most memorable – we’d probably have to say our album release show was at least one of our favorites. Being able to play the album in its entirety to a full video backdrop and lights was a great opportunity to really project the album to the crowd and present it as it was intended. In line with the music on this record, our stage performance typically involves thrashing out during heavy sections and being “stoic-as fuck” during the psychedelic moments.
Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Absolutely! We’ll be heading up to Minneapolis and Milwaukee in late February – we made one-off trips to those cities over the past summer and are really looking forward to get back up there. We’ll have a handful of shows in Chicago throughout the year, but are trying to get out of town a bit more to spread the music around. Details are not ironed out as of yet, but we’ll likely be playing some more Midwest dates in the spring, then getting out to the East coast in the summer and perhaps some Southern states in the fall. A West coast trip is also on our list for the near future.
According to the Metal Archives page the band is signed to 'DHU Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
We played a handful of shows last year with our buds in Mother Crone from Seattle – an excellent doom-thrash outfit from the PNW. They ran into a couple transportation issues while out on tour and we were fortunate enough to be able to help some good dudes in need. They more than repaid the favor by putting us in touch with Robert Black at DHU Records out of The Netherlands. DHU is a do-it-yourself label that releases limited edition vinyl packages for some of the heaviest in underground music today. We quickly forged a great relationship and are completely ecstatic that DHU will be helping us release our debut ‘Ego Death’ on 2LP vinyl later this spring.
On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of sludge and doom metal?
It’s truly amazing these days when an underground band from a US city like Chicago can release an album completely on their own and people from all over the world can gain access. We’ve been amazed and humbled by the feedback we’ve received all over the world. Fans from places like Germany, Norway, Portugal, Brazil, Australia, Russia, etc. etc. have reached out to us to give their kind words to what we’re doing. In general, we’re very proud of the common feedback being that the record is maybe a more listenable album when compared to some other doom/sludge outfits out there today. Combining all of the elements like psychedelic-rock, doom, thrash, sludge, stoner-rock, jazz, blues, prog, etc. was simply the music we wanted to hear, and finding that others enjoy it as well is just an added bonus.
Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Only time can tell. We’re excited to start writing the follow-up album, but right now the emphasis is on playing more shows and sharing the music to a broader audience. I think we’d all agree that whatever it is, it will be out sooner than 5 years!
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?
There are so many to list and it would be impossible to include them all. Since we all come from different musical backgrounds, we all probably started with main influences in our own playing. Then getting turned on to unfamiliar musical interests from bandmates was and is a great experience. That’s the beauty of starting a band – you immediately are exposed to new influences and styles that you might have never discovered on your own. But to answer the question, some easy ones to note would be bands like Black Sabbath, the Melvins, Tool, Pink Floyd, Rush, Led Zeppelin, etc. Nowadays a lot of us are listening to new material coming from bands like Russian Circles, Yob, Neurosis, High on Fire, Mastodon, and on and on.
Does Occultism play any role in your music?
That could probably be a complete interview in itself. But we’d never be so obvious and give those details away so easily…
What are some of your non musical interests?
Since unfortunately playing in Faces of the Bog is not a full-time paying gig (at least not yet), all of us have other jobs/careers to keep us busy and some of us even have families of our own. Outside of those duties, other avenues for creativity include painting/sculpting, writing, martial arts, etc.
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Nothing besides just saying again how fortunate and grateful we all are that the stars aligned and this project finally came to fruition. It’s great to share something that we’re all extremely proud of with the rest of the world, and it’s very humbling to hear that others are enjoying it. Keep an eye on us as we continue doing what we do and hopefully we’ll be able to press on and bring more music your way. Cheers.