Monday, November 18, 2013

... pray at the altar of the Temple : an Interview with Jon Rossi of PILGRIM !!!

A little week has passed since the stunning  performance of PILGRIM in Paris and the same feeling prevails : with their utterly crushing doom, the wizards of Rhode Island slayed impressively everything around this night !!! 
If 2013 kind of ends sadly with the demise of TGoS, I'm convinced that PILGRIM will considerably reinforce their position within the Doom scene in 2014; indeed everything indicates that those young hopes will become pillars of the US scene with their upcmoing sophomore album, about which Jon Rossi (Guit/voc) kindly agreed to speak to me, along with his appreciations on the tour of course... Thanx a lot mate :)

Hi Jon ! I left you pretty enthutiastic in Paris a few days ago, how has been the tour going on since the beginning (Belgium, England, Spain) and those last dates in Holland, Denmark and Sweden ?
-The tours been good so far! Just about every show has been packed or sold out. That's really flattering! We feel really fortunate that Windhand wanted to take us with them. Sweden last night at Truckstop Alaska was wild and a lot of fun, definitely my favorite show thus far. People in Sweden get drunk as fuck! All the shows have been solid aside from a few little hiccups (in Bilbao, Spain the power cut out during the opening bands set and didn't return for 2 hours. Then in Denmark only about 10 people showed up). The overall chaos of the shows is building. We're all getting exhausted so the passion is more furious now and the playing is tighter. It was getting pretty boring there for a while, at least for me personally!

This tour covers a great part of western and northern Europe, did you have special expectations about new visited countries like Spain and France ? Have you seen or heard things that surprised you?
-Not really. A lot of the stereotypes and smack talking about the different countries is pretty spot on. England was uptight and whacked out, Spain was wild, Holland was reserved but passionate, those kinda things. I've never eaten so much Bree in my life. It's good but it smells like farts. I also like how the toilets here have a piss and a shit button. Very crafty. Also rotaries are way more convenient than four way intersections.

What’s fun and boring or disturbing in Europe for you and does really make a change over life in the States ?
-Driving from venue to venue is BORING AS FUCK. I've never slept so much in my life! The constant waiting around is such a bummer to me! I have the most fun when we're playing and our crowd is into the music and is rocking with us. I also really really enjoy meeting new people. I've talked to a ton of people I've only ever met on the internet discussing music. It's cool to finally meet all these dudes! I hope I didn't give off a bad impression, I'm usually pretty drunk after sundown! The States are the States. The more I dwell on it, it's really pretty much the same there as it is here, except for some minor differences like I listed above. I like Europe but I don't think I'd ever come love here.

After a common US tour last winter, the fact of touring again with Windhand makes things easier for everyone I guess, was that the band that asked for you or a business between labels and bookers ?
-Garrett Morris (the guitarist of Windhand) and I have known each other for a while, we used to listen to each other's bands on MySpace Music back in the day hahaha. I must have been 16 or 17 then. Eventually we stayed at his house a few times and our bands became friends. We always talked about wanting to tour. They asked us to come with them and now it's finally happening! There's no label interest or bookers involved between us. We're just great friends.

Count Eric the Soothsayer left the band just a few weeks before you were supposed the enter the studio for your 2nd album, was it a sudden decision you didn’t see coming ?
-That is a very long and personal story. I suppose it was rather sudden. I will say that I am deeply saddened by the situation and wish it hadn't ended the way it did. It was all so stupid. It was sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was stupidity.

The recording was delayed of about two months, did you look for a new bassist immediately or did you know you had to handle the bass duties for the album and maybe re-arrange a few songs ?
-No, I'm rather comfortable playing the bass. I'm actually quite glad that I got to do it. Back with Elric, I would write the baselines and then show him how to play them. We're going to take our time trying to find a new bass player. Our good friend Braddock (the drummer of the amazing ICE DRAGON) is filling in with us for this tour. He's doing an amazing fucking job. What a guy. So handsome and muscular, he makes us look like fucking losers haha.

With the experience of the 1st album, tours, Roadburn… the band has quickly matured, was your approach of studio different this time?
-We got really lucky with our sound Engineer Mike Moebius. He fucking rules and he basically made our next record a fucking masterpiece sonically. It's funny, just days before we chose him we were scrambling for someone, ANYONE to record the record and just get it fucking finished. We were so tired of sitting on it. At the last second we got a call from Henry our manager recommending Mike. Mike had just done the first NATUR record and we are really good friends with them, so it all came full circle. Our approach was very calculated this time. We knew exactly the feel and sounds we wanted. We experimented with tone just a tad. We've been sitting on these songs for so long that it was like child's play blowing through take after take. I think it only took about 3 days to finish all the tracking. Fuck it came out good.
Judging by new songs heard in Paris like ‘Master’s Chamber” and “Void Worship”, it looks like new album will be even more crushing and rooted in Trad’ Doom misery… could you speak a bit about its general mood please ?
-Well the record will be called VOID WORSHIP, and I feel like that's the general mood of the record, conveying the misery of the void, but through powerful and engaging music, not weak atmospheric sort of bland stuff. It's hard to speak on the theme of the record as a whole. There's a lot to it! It's more of a song to song basis like the first record. There's fast upbeat tracks, there's instrumentals, there's 5 minute hammers and 11 minute epics. It's got everything! I'm very proud of the work we've done this time around.

I know you’re a great fan of Black Metal stuff, particularly Darkthrone and Burzum and this we can hear in a song like “Adventurer”, is there still some of those elements in new album which bring a kind of epic north vibe, the beginning of “Paladin” perhaps… ?
-I think that the influence I'm drawing from in black metal is the fantasy aspect of it. That epic, radiant, adventurous feeling you hear. Folklore and fantasy collide a bit.

We’ve been lucky to get to hear 3 new songs in Paris, new album will contain 8 ones, if possible could you please give a couple more song titles and the album title ?!

Masters Chamber
The Paladin
Arcane Sanctum
In the Presence of Evil 
Void Worship 
Away From Here

You’re actually in Scandinavia, do you feel any special vibes within the northern darkness, the call of the ancient ones ? Do you see a difference between scandinavian people and Spanish/French ones ?
-Nah, not really. Perhaps if I was left in solitude and could reflect on these things I would feel that. But being on tour means you're stranded in the van and at gas stations and populated areas so it's difficult to get into that mindset, at least for me personally! I have noticed how absolutely beautiful everyone here is, with their log flowing golden white hair. True nords!

What’s next for Pilgrim after this tour ? you guys told me that new album should be out in April ? Which continent would you like to play on next - in 2014 or a bit later ?
-Asia! I want to go to Japan so bad! Yeah, the record will be out in March or April.

Well, hopefully this interview was not as gay as last one, hahaha ! thanx a lot Jo, all the best to you and your mates for the rest of the tour and future. Hail the wizard !
-I shall forever pray at the altars within the Temple of Perdition! Hails!

No comments:

Post a Comment