Interview with Barishi

I originally got my hands on Barishi’s self-titled, self-released, full-length album via guitarist Graham Brooks who was filling in for fellow Vermonters, Vaporizer during a tour with Vattnet Viskar. After figuring out who the hell I was, he passed along a copy of the record and Bob’s yer fucking uncle. That was about a year ago and the band is back with an EP entitled Endless Howl which comes off the back of a surprising and successful – relatively speaking, of course – crowdfunding campaign. The band play layered and luxurious progressive metal, though the new EP rages a lot harder and sees them heading down an angrier and more vitriolic avenue. Go check them out for yourself as they’re a week into a month-long tour with Felix Martin and his 14-string guitar as we speak. Below, Brooks introduces the band to the Deciblog.

Can you outline the band’s history for us?
We formed in 2010 as an instrumental trio trying to play King Crimson-esque fusion. We did that for a couple years and just naturally started to get heavier. We met our singer Sascha [Simms] through a mutual friend and hit it off immediately. I think that is when we really started to develop as a band. We did a little touring and started to play out a lot. In 2013, we released a self-titled full-length. We’ve spent the last few months recording this EP.

Vermont has this reputation/impression of being a home for counter-culture and free-thought, as well as being a magnet for idealistic youth at the university in Burlington and the various liberal arts colleges around the state. But there have been very few bands that have made as much impact on the broader extreme music scene. Are there bunches of super-talented players/bands in your neck of the woods that the rest of the world hasn’t heard of chomping at the bit to be discovered? Who are some of the more promising local bands?
There are a ton of really talented metal bands in Vermont right now, and there have been for a while. There is a “Metal Monday” at Nectar’s in Burlington, which has blown up into it’s own awesome scene and seems to be bringing these sweet bands out of the woodwork. In Burlington alone there is a treasure trove of talent: Vaporizer, Vultures of Cult, Abaddon, Boil the Whore, Savage Hen, Brave the Vertigo and Gorcrow are a few that come to mind. In the town we live in, Brattleboro, there is a sweet math-y band called Decapathon, an awesome stoner/sludge duo called Smokehound and, of course, Witch.

I could have just looked it up, but what the hell is a Barishi anyway?
A Barishi is a shaman in Siberian and Mongolian cultures who specializes in bone-setting.

Tell us about your new Endless Howl EP. Was the plan to do an EP after the full-length or did something lead you down the path towards a shorter release?
We wrote all the songs on Endless Howl during the recording process for the full-length. I think the songs are a better representation of us as a live band. They’re a little grittier and a little less proggy. I think that we started to change pretty quickly while we recorded our full-length and you can hear the results of it on the EP. We wanted to have something that represented how we currently sounded, but didn’t have the budget for another full-length.

What sort of response did you end up getting for the full-length?
Overall, the reviews were very positive. We were honored, no question about it. There were a few lukewarm responses, but all with valid critiques, so we really can’t complain. We’re really looking forward to seeing reading what people think about the new EP and the feedback thus far has been great!

I’m assuming whatever popularity you were able to generate from the album spurned the idea of being able to do a crowdfunding campaign for the EP. Were there any ethical discussions about crowd funding within the band? How successful was the campaign?
We were on the fence about doing a crowdfunded campaign. We were always against the idea of having a rewards system where someone would donate fifty bucks or something like that and just get a CD as a perk. We wanted people to be able to donate an affordable amount and get something cool in return for the price that we’d sell the item at a show. We made close to $3000 with the campaign, which was truly humbling. We still covered the majority of the cost out of pocket. Like a lot of metal bands we are all are working minimum wage jobs and living below the poverty line. Running a campaign was really our only option to get our van together and record the EP.

Was there anything about the EP – writing/recording style or methodology – that was outside the box for the band?
Not really. We’ve always written songs in the same room with everyone having input. I think we consciously tried to have a stripped down approach to recording. We really wanted the EP to have some serious punch and think we definitely got it, so mission accomplished! It sound great and we’re quite certain that the listeners will agree.

How would you characterise the material of the new release vs. past works?
I would say that the EP is more immediate sounding than the exploratory nature of the first album. The songs are less proggy and and more concise. We are always trying to improve as songwriters and I hope it shows with this recording.

Felix Martin tour poster resized

You’re going to be on tour with Felix Martin for about a month. How did you score that run? I’m assuming you haven’t toured this extensively in the past, so what are you anticipating and did you seek any advice from more seasoned tour folk that you know about how to manage?

We got the tour through Tone Deaf Touring and it will be our longest run to date. I have done some touring as has our bassist Jon [Kelley] with different bands. I had the pleasure of hosting King Parrot from Australia while they were working on their newest album and they definitely imparted some sage wisdom about life on the road.

Anything else you feel I missed or you want to add?
We’re stoked for this tour and are very grateful to all the folks who donated to us and to Tone Deaf Touring and Metal Injection for hooking this up. Please check out the full-length album and Endless Howl EP on our bandcamp page. Thanks for the questions.

Barishi on Bandcamp
Barishi on Facebook