‘If it’s miserable, it’s Bridge Burner!’ Remember that folks! And there most certainly is something very distinctively nasty about the sounds of Null Apostle. It’s like a ravenous bacterial entity, slithering from the speakers and burrowing its way to your brain. But one does not create such a visceral listening experience by accident. Bridge Burner vocalist Ben C Read was gracious enough to tell us about the ethics and creative processes of the band, starting with Bridge Burner‘s origins.
‘I was living in Tokyo back in 2014 but looking to move back home to New Zealand. I had been wanting to start a nasty dbeat kinda project for a while, and hit up with Josh. I had known Josh for over 10 years, and knew he had great taste in horrible music and had proven he could write fuckin’ riffs in his previous band Graves. He was super keen, so we started throwing ideas back and forth. When I got back to NZ, we quickly put together the rest of the line-up and wrote and recorded the Mantras of Self Loathing 7”.’
With each member having played in many other bands previous, the ultimate goal for Bridge Burner is to simply to create something worth contributing to the depths of heavy/extreme music: ‘There are far too many cookie cutter bands that have nothing new whatsoever to add to the musical spectrum. What is the fucking point? We want to make music that expresses the anguish and horror of modern day existence, but via music that doesn’t tread the same well worn paths so many others seem to stumble down.’
And so we get to Null Apostle, a record which takes heavy to a new level of mechanical adeptness. It seems that the band truly unearthed the secret to enjoyable heaviness with this one. Ben explains:
‘It just kind of evolved really. The Mantras 7” was put together very quickly as we just wanted to get some material written and start playing. We had a lot of time after that to mull over where we wanted to head musically, and it just kind of happened organically. We have very similar visions when it comes to what we appreciate in heavy/harsh music, and wanted to draw on influences that comprise our musical roots. We also made a conscious decision to not shy away from exploring outside genre norms. We all listen to a wide variety of music, so why limit ourselves? Obviously Bridge Burner exists within a heavy music framework, but, beyond that, why adhere to typical genre tropes? Anyway, to answer the question, it just happened organically, song by song, reaching further into different sub genres and tempos. For us, vibe trumps all. Doesn’t matter if it’s black metal tremolo, or sparse delay-driven clean guitar. If it’s miserable, it’s Bridge Burner!’
When it comes to riffs, 99% of the creative input comes from guitarist Josh Hughes, with other members contributing to arrangements, structures and ideas. But the riffs we hear come from the depths of Josh’s subconscious. And added members since the production of Null Apostle hints at there being a more varied record next time round, with Josh still at the musical helm. But Ben recaps how the Bridge Burner sound took shape in the first place.
‘Josh’s tone is key to the Bridge Burner sound, and he has curated that tone over many years. Most of it comes from a local pedal maker here in NZ: Pepers’ Pedals. He is a genius. We also had the luxury of Cam Sinclair producing the record. He fuckin’ killed it, and did a great job of capturing the heaviness that we strive for.’
And regarding influences…
‘We all have varied influences when it comes to the music we create. We have a lot of overlap though. Godflesh is a big one. Gorguts as well, in terms of thinking way outside the box in terms of riffs. Botch is another big band for us. Lyrically, my idol is Joe Horvath from Circle of Dead Children, the best lyricist in metal bar none as far as I am concerned. We try to draw from as many influences as we can, as long as the vibe is right (ie bleak).’
And from the technicalities of production, we get to the live shows, which, as one can imagine, must require a great deal of stamina. ‘To be honest, our stage show doesn’t involve any kind of bullshit theatrics or DEP antics. We get up, we play the songs – that’s it. As I write about things that upset me, I usually get upset and that shows, but that’s it. I am definitely feeling my age though. This shit isn’t as easy as it was 20 years ago, haha.’
And their favorite experience: ‘For me, it would be getting to play with Conan and Weedeater at the Kings Arms here in Auckland (an absolute institution of NZ live music that was lost recently to apartment developments – a fuckin disgrace but I digress). The crowd was great, and every band absolutely killed it.’
And with such a bold and simple mission statement, Bridge Burner is looking bright. Or should we say… er, bleak.
‘We are writing. We have tentative plans for a split with another hideous NZ band, as well as writing for album number two. We have a good idea of where we want to head musically, and want to (and will) surpass “Null Apostle” in every single way now we have our musical footing. We will definitely look at getting to Australia, possibly Japan, but for now writing is paramount…’
‘Let’s get upset.’
You can check out more of Bridge Burner on their Spotify and Bandcamp pages. For all the latest news, tour dates and merch, visit their Official Facebook page. And to hear other releases from the Art As Catharsis label, visit the Art As Catharsis website.