Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that if you're looking for more sick music, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
If you include Dallas, Texas natives Baring Teeth's two-year existence prior to their current name change when they previously were called Soviet, the band has been active for over 10 years with all the same members. In that time span, the dissonant focused technical death metal outfit has churned out two highly impressive albums and are about to drop their third full-length, Transitive Savagery, this Friday, November 16th through Translation Loss Records. We've got the early full stream of it for you directly below, and like their 2009 debut Atrophy, and 2014 follow up, Ghost Chorus Among Ruins, the band shows once again on Transitive Savagery that they're one of the most creative and important voices in the dissonance focused complex death metal sphere.
It's a simpler summing up then it offers in full when listened to, but to, me the new album splits the difference between the overwhelming aggression and chaos of the first album with the increasingly unorthodox and experimental tendencies that informed much of the second album with an added new influence from dissonant black metal this go around. Like all their music, it's better to hear Baring Teeth than have it be explained in terms that may sound like it's just another band because they're not that easily made sense of through written description alone.
So check out the early stream of Transitive Savagery below and if you dig it, pre-order links for Transitive Savagery are available here and here. You can also follow the band over on the Baring Teeth Facebook Page. If you want to learn more about Baring Teeth and Transitive Savagery as you listen to the early stream here, keep scrolling and check out our in-depth interview that follows below with the band's guitarist Andrew Hawkins who also does half of the group's vocals.
Can you all explain what the band’s name means to you all and why it was chosen to represent your style of music?
The name represents primal aggression. Even during the quieter parts of our songs, there’s always an underlying menace.
Were you all seeking to do things differently this time on Transitive Savagery?
Our goal with the new record was to up the brutality as much as possible while still staying true to our previous albums. We didn’t want it to sound like a completely new band, though. At the same time, a lot of new influences creeped their way into the songs, which added a heightened sense of aggressiveness.
How did former Sunless member Andrew Notsch come to be involved in creating the cover art for Transitive Savagery?
We’ve been fans of Sunless for a few years now and always liked their aesthetic a lot. Andrew’s style fits in well with ours — earthy forms made abstract. We hit him up to do a shirt design last year, and that went great. So we extended the offer to design the new record. We’re really happy with how it came out.
In what ways would you consider the new album to be different from the prior 2014 album?
The new one is more to the point, especially with the compositions of the songs. They’re still disorienting, but on the previous records, we’ve thrown in a lot of riff changes and transitions specifically intended to be disorienting. Now we focus more on making the song structures a little more linear while still stretching ourselves with rhythm and melody.
What’s the band’s songwriting process like? Would you mind running through how the band’s music is written and worked on? Is it mainly collaborative, mainly led by one member, etc? Was it a different process for the new album or no? Has it been the same process per album or has it varied?
Typically it will start with a guitar riff that I’ll demo and send to the other guys. Sometimes I’ll be able to map out a decent song structure beforehand, but often we work that out when we’re jamming together. It’s very collaborative. We varied that process up on this one, though. A few sections started with a drum beat that Jason wrote and sent to me. I would write a guitar riff on top of it, and then we would figure out where that part fit into the songs. That process felt fresh to us, and it resulted in some of the more ‘out there’ sections of the record. We’ll probably follow that approach more going forward.
How did the members of Baring Teeth initially find each other? Once you did, what led you to change names from Soviet to Baring Teeth after two years?
Scott and I have been playing together in bands for about 15 years now. I think we met when I was 16 and he was 18 or so. Our first band fell apart in 2007, and we decided to continue writing together. That ended up being Soviet, which obviously evolved into Baring Teeth. But Soviet and Baring Teeth are the same guys and the same songs.
We’ve always been big fans of Jason’s drumming but didn’t know him personally. I actually used to see his bands play shows starting when I was in high school. I got his contact info from a mutual friend and hit him up out of the blue in early 2008. We jammed a few times and realized that we all had a good chemistry, both musically and personally. Things just took off from there.
The name change from Soviet to Baring Teeth happened for a few reasons. We did a lot of research before choosing the name Soviet to make sure there weren’t any active bands using the name. We didn’t find any and couldn’t identify former bands with the name that would result in confusion. Over time we realized that people did end up getting confused, mainly because of current bands with similar-sounding names. We also didn’t feel that Soviet was the most fitting name for who we are and what we want to do with the band. Baring Teeth came into the mix because a band we’re huge fans of — The Great Tyrant — had a song called ‘Bearing Teeth’. I don’t remember how we decided on changing ‘Bearing’ to ‘Baring’, but we contacted The Great Tyrant and got their blessing to use it.
What draws you all as individuals to want to make pretty out there metal music as opposed to something milder or non-metal even?
I’m not sure, really. For me, it’s just what comes naturally. I can’t really write anything else. Even if I wanted to start a band trying to fit into a specific sound or trend, I wouldn’t be able to.
Would you care to list some of your favorite current year music releases?
I’m really into the new records from Mortuus, Lago, Our Place of Worship is Silence, Cognizant, Autokrator, Un, Infernal Coil, Imperial Triumphant, KEN Mode, Zevious, Necrophobic, Frontierer, Sectioned, Fawn Limbs, Engulf, Great Falls, Hate Eternal, and Cantique Lepreux (which isn’t out yet, but I know I’ll love it).
Any new bands that rule from your area or elsewhere you’d like to shout out?
Oh for sure. Dallas has a great music scene. Some of these bands aren’t new, but they still rule — Cognizant, Partaker [hi Sterling], Cleric, Kaliya, Akkolyte, Unconscious Collective, Kolga, and I’m sure a lot others that I’m forgetting.
What goals do you all have for Baring Teeth for the rest of the year? Any 2019 plans in the works being considered?
I really want to do a few runs similar to the East Coast shows we did last year and hit cities we’ve never played before. That’ll be a big goal. Also, hitting the West Coast would be huge. It all depends on the timing. We’d also love to play some festivals. I know we would do really well on those if we had the opportunity.
Would you care to explain what Transitive Savagery means to you all more in-depth as a title and an idea?
It centers on people’s tendencies to rationalize horrible behavior by any possible justification — usually religious or political beliefs. We live in a supposedly civilized world, but people are just as awful to each now as they’ve ever been.
After having hit the ten-year mark as a band, when you sit and reflect on the band's existence and what’s been achieved, how do you feel?
I feel grateful that we’ve had the opportunity to do this for three albums. Atrophy was the first full-length album I’d been involved with, and that in itself was a huge accomplishment. That record took a lot of time and energy to make. It was a big undertaking for a band with no resources or label backing. We actually didn’t get involved with Willowtip until after the album was fully recorded, mixed, and mastered.
Our philosophy has always been to focus on the music first and worry about anything else band-related after. I think that shows in the albums we’ve written. It might take us a long time to come out with records, but we use that time wisely.
What keeps you all passionate about making new music under the Baring Teeth moniker?
It’s just fun to stretch ourselves as musicians. The three of us write in a way that’s really complementary to each other’s styles, but we’re still able to push each other. We still have a lot of room to grow and new things to try. I don’t think we’ll ever be bored of each other musically, and as a result, I hope our music never becomes boring to listeners.
Whereas a lot of bands that play music like yours go super raw and murky, explain your feelings and rationale behind the “cleaner” and more organic sounding production Baring Teeth has always had?
In a real basic sense, a song with cleaner production sounds heavier to me than the same song with intentionally murky tones. Plus, given how abstract our music is, the cleaner production style definitely plays in our favor. I don’t know if people would be able to enjoy what we’re doing otherwise.
Who do you all consider to be major influences on you all as musicians?
The biggest are Neurosis, Scott Walker, anything involving the Gorguts/Dysrhythmia guys, Playing Enemy, Mare, Wormed, Tool, Dillinger, and a lot of Jazz and Classical.
How did the members of Baring Teeth come to be involved with making music? Is anyone in the band formally trained as a musician or taken years of lessons?
We each have some formal training, but Scott and Jason have a lot more of it than me. Jason actually teaches piano and drums. I started playing guitar when I was 14 because of bands like Rage Against the Machine, Tool, etc. Shortly after I got into Dillinger, Unearth, Poison the Well and began going to shows. But I didn’t really play in a band for 3 years after I picked up the guitar.
Are there plans for a fourth album or is the band squarely focused on promoting the upcoming one in the present?
We’re focused on the upcoming record for now. I’m working on new ideas, though, to make use of the downtime that’s left before the album comes out. We’ll start playing a lot of shows in January.
What are some of your alls favorite non-metal genres/styles/bands?
Really anything that’s a little left-of-center: 70s progressive rock like King Crimson and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jazz, modern classical, Scott Walker, electronic stuff like Aphex Twin/Squarepusher/Venetian Snares, Radiohead and Jonny Greenwood.
What jobs or things are you all involved with outside of Baring Teeth?
None of us do anything terribly exciting for work. I’m a software consultant, Jason gives drum and piano lessons, and Scott works at a fire systems company.
I’ve noticed that each of your albums are roughly the same length give or take a few minutes and each has near the same number of tracks too. Is this on purpose, or is it more tied to what you feel is the optimal length and number of songs for music as out there as yours?
Moreso the latter. Since our music is so dense and disorienting, the shorter length is ideal. As our songs get longer we’ll probably have fewer songs to reach the same length. The first track on the new LP is only a minute and a half long, so the other 6 songs average about 6 minutes each.
If you have any final thoughts or things you’d like to say, go for it?
Thanks to everyone who pays attention to our music. It means a lot to us.