Friday, February 19, 2016

"ME"TAL 101 w/ Yidhra Exclusive Interview

YIDHRA are a super impressive stoner/doom band out of LA. Their latest release, Cult of Bathory, is an EP that quickly made me a fan of the band. They are serious about their (witch)craft and are an amazing live band as well. We had the opportunity to speak to them via the web where we got some incite into the band, their influences and a whole lot more. Take this journey with us and make sure to pick up Cult of Bathory. We promise this is gonna be one of your favorite releases of the year.

HMT: Hi Guys, thanks for your time, I've been listening to Cult of Bathory several times a day this week. Here are some questions, feel free to answer as many as you wish in as long a format as you choose. We're happy to promote the album any way we can.

Ted - Great thanks for the interest and support

HMT: There are elements in many of your songs that stray outside of the Stoner/Doom/Sludge genre which set you guys apart from the rest. Take for instance Iron Mountain, where I hear a Middle Eastern tinged rhythm two thirds in. Outside of the genre what types (not necessarily bands) of music or even cultures have influenced your playing?

Dave - Well, that particular song was written by Ted. I assume what you're talking about is in the "quiet" part of the song, I just play what I feel, just that simple. And on that particular song, it is the only song that I did any overdubs/additional recorded takes, because the EP was recorded LIVE & the initial take the quite breakdown was a little too quiet, so Bill asked me to do another lead with a bit more dirt to it, so both tracks are in the recording. All of which was improvised.

Ted - I'm sure there are a lot of things that sink into our psyches and influence our writing without us even being aware of them.  I personally like to immerse myself into all kinds of different music and cultures but I don't actively learn how to play them. I prefer to let what comes from me be, from me. That's also why I never bothered learning many cover songs. That being said, I am always drawn to extremes but mostly moody and melancholy these days.

HMT: In order for Yidhra to exist at this state you had to make a collective decision to move on after Grant Story was involved in a tragic car accident that left him paralyzed. Has Grant heard "Cult of Bathory"? Any reactions?

Dave - Well, unfortunately Grant has passed. So, no....he never got a chance to hear it. He had only heard Hexed (our 1st album), which he did like. The accident that Grant had was in the very early stages of the band, I had only written 3 or 4 songs at the time, so we were still in the obvious early stages of the band. It is really sad what happened to him, but I think he'd appreciate the EP.

HMT: While the band is named after a creature from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulo Mythos, you guys definitely write outside of just the Lovecraftian spectrum. Do you plan on basing any future albums on one specific theme of the occult or do you keep it open to whatever it is that your reading or experiencing at the time?

Dave - I think it will be an open kind of thing, besides I just stick to writing music. Ted is the wordsmith, which he handles quite well, I must say.

Ted - Thanks dude! Much like the 'what influences our playing?' question earlier, I sort of let the moment and/or music guide me. Not to sound all "New Age-y" or anything, but most of the time I let the music guide me on the lyrical path. That's not to say that we won't ever do a themed or "concept" album, just that if we do it will be dictated by the mood of the music we are writing at the time.
Cult of Bathory artwork

HMT: I love your front cover artwork, please tell me about the origin/art direction of it? It really fits well with the story/theme of the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory.

Dave - We just wanted to convey a creepy vibe, those old Victorian age photos do that so easily.

Ted - I came up with a few different concepts but Dave and I agreed that this one was the most apropos. We also really liked how it tied in with the "HEXED" cover.

Hexed artwork
HMT: What have you taken away from working with Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Corrosion of Conformity, Trouble, etc.) at Skull Seven Productions? How hands on is he?

Dave - Bill is just awesome. With both recordings he just let us be us. Like I said earlier, about 'Iron Mountain', that was the only song he suggested I do another take. I trust him enough if I did something that sucked he'd let me know. Or if he had an opinion on a song we'd all take it into consideration.

Ted - Like Dave said, Bill is AWESOME! He knows exactly what we want and how to help us achieve it. He is as "hands on" and, in equal measure, "hands off" as he needs to be.

HMT: What are your plans for touring out this year? Who would you love to tour with?

Dave - Obviously we'd like to do as much as we can. Hopefully we can land a good booking agent sometime soon. As for what band(s) to tour with, I personally, don't have any particular or specific choices as long as we compliment each other. We have been pretty lucky with who we've done local shows with, like The Skull, Bongripper, Crowbar, Goya, and we have a show coming up with Conan. That's just a few, so it's been pretty good so far!
Ted - Like Dave said, we're currently looking for an agent who can help us put together some good tours and maybe hit some fests. We've done the trip to the Pacific Northwest a few times but we need to hit some new spots and get overseas as soon as possible.

HMT: I think it's genius the way you offer your fans various limited colored vinyl packages. It's obvious that it's been a success with the first bunch of them selling out. Are you finding more people are interested in owning one of a kind vinyls versus a straight up cd?

Dave - Oh yeah, vinyl is a big thing in the scene, which is nice. If we can offer as much cool stuff as we can it will always benefit the fans and us.

Ted - I've been a collector forever so we try to do things that we'd want for ourselves.

HMT: I've read stories for years about Sabbath and Zeppelin dealing with occult-like experiences while they were either writing or recording an album. Have you guys ever experienced anything that was out of the ordinary or difficult to explain during the process of writing or recording this album?

Dave - LOL!!! No, maybe if we get to record in an old castle in the future... who knows what could happen. Outside of the band I've had a couple "ghostly" experiences...but nothing scary. Just the usual shadow figures.

Ted - Nothing notable during this album per se but I've had my share of unexplainable experiences during my lifetime. It was accepted and embraced with my family so it's all kinda in my DNA.

HMT: With this album now in the books, is there any downtime between now and your next album or are you guys already writing?

Dave - Downtime? Not too much. I'm always trying to add to my  "Book of Spells" or, Riffs in this case. Hahahahaha, We are currently working on new songs, between gigging.

Ted - We never really stop the creative process. We're constantly coming up with new stuff. It just takes a while to get to it all.

HMT: Were there any difficulties or benefits to tracking this album live in the studio versus how you've recorded before?

Dave - No, not really. Just gotta be prepared (well rehearsed) before recording. We recorded this EP in about 8hrs. And when we recorded Hexed we laid down the 9 songs in a little more than a week. Budget often room for mistakes. Just go in and knock it out as tight as possible. Again, working with Bill makes it easy to do...relaxed laid back yet no messing around.

Ted - I would say the only difficulties would be that there was a serious lack of a safety net. But like Dave said, that is rectified by coming to the studio prepared. As far as benefits, I think the organic, natural,  groove and flow that you get when you track live is a definite benefit. There really is nothing quite like it. It's sorta like the difference between tubes and solid state or vinyl and digital you know?

HMT: Thank you so much for your time!

Dave - Thanks for all your support, we really appreciate it.

Ted - Yeah, seriously... Thank you!

Ted Venemann: Vocals/Guitar/Theremin
Dave Krocker: Lead Guitar
Thomas Harris: Bass
Chris Hannan: Drums

Check out Yidhra's Links for more info below!
Official Yidhra Facebook Page
Official Yidhra Bandcamp

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