Christ, it is tough to believe The Day the Sun Went Out came out long enough ago for Boysetsfire frontman Nathan Gray to be playing in a band with his seventeen year-old son, but what perhaps surprise even more is the buzzing vitality of the raw, frenzied, shades-of-early-Integrity metallic hardcore I Am Heresy delivers.
Gray kindly offered Decibel the opportunity to stream two tracks in advance of the band’s upcoming Magic Bullet release and also gave us the lowdown on what it is like to pursue a “black metal Black Flag” sound with one’s very own spawn.
I AM HERESY: “I AM HERESY” by Decibel Magazine
How did I Am Heresy come about?
When we got Boysetsfire back together we decided early on if we were going to do it, it was going to be a pretty part-time thing — and, honestly, I’m not ready to retire. So basically I decided in whatever I did next I wanted to get back to heavy, chaotic, fun music. I was trying to figure out who I know who might want to play that kind of music and it ended up being…my son. He’s an incredibly talented guitar player. I’d hear him in his room playing all kinds of crazy shit. And I was like, “Uh, let’s do that.”
How old is Simon?
He’s seventeen. He’ll be eighteen in February.
Is this band a surreal bonding experience? I mean, if you had a rebellious son, he might be, I don’t know, bullying nerds in school or something…
Oh, I don’t even want to think of the things he’d be doing! [Laughs.] I don’t know. Maybe it’s weird. We get along really well. We like the same kinds of music. You know, playing music with my son is sort of like playing with anyone else who is really talented and writes music I like.
And it works!
Yeah, it does. It’s funny because I started I Am Heresy with my son and his friend Jonah, who is actually Josh from Boysetsfire’s son. While we were putting the rest of the band together those two said, “We’ll get some of our friends to do it.” And I replied, “No, no, no, no.” It’s one thing to be in a band with my son and someone who is practically my nephew. It’s another thing completely for a 40 year-old man to be in a band full of seventeen year-olds. Nah, I don’t think we’re going to do that. [Laughs.] For the other three guys I ended up getting friends of mine.
I AM HERESY: “BUTCHERS” by Decibel Magazine
You spent a lot of time the last several years doing more melodic stuff with The Casting Out. Is it cathartic to return to something as vitriolic and heavy as I Am Heresy?
I’ve always enjoyed a lot of different styles of music. What we do with Boysetsfire I enjoy. The stuff I did with The Casting Out, which was more pop punk, I enjoyed. This band, though, really feels like coming home. It’s one of those things where we play and I’m like, ‘Ah, that’s me.’ There are all these styles that I enjoy and want to play and just have fun with, but this dark, fucked up, angry stuff is just who I am. So it’s cathartic. It’s letting out that inner turmoil. It’s almost like sitting on a psychatrist’s bench for little bit. It’s wonderful. It’s great. It’s what makes me happy.