I Am Heresy
From: Delaware/Maryland/New Jersey, United States
Lazy equation: Angry dads + Their angry kids = Tech Metal + Hardcore
Thrash Hits Verdict: Boysetsfire teases us with a reunion tour, even playing at Reading Festival 2011 and retreat back to the ether. The Casting Out calls it a day shortly after signing to Eyeball Records, Chambers unleash but one album, discharge their vocalist, and fizzle out. What does this mean? It means a bunch of dudes with jack shit to do.
Thankfully, this group of men (and boys) managed to reach out and touch one another to bring us a head-on collision of Boysetsfire and Chambers. It’s heavy metal enjoined with the youthful vigor of Nathan Gray’s own 17-year-old son, Simon, and BSF band mate, Josh Latshaw’s son, Jonah.
So far, we’ve been offered two tracks (download them below) ahead of an upcoming album on Magic Bullet Records. The music is certainly rooted in traditional metal and hardcore, but the twisted wreckage of bands gone past gives us a fusion worthy of original praise. We speak to Nathan Gray about his new project…
Describe your sound in four words.
Metal, hardcore, noise and violence.
How did this project come about? It seems like you’ve got quite a motley bunch of dudes here.
Haha. Let’s see… When Boysetsfire decided to reform, as more of a part-time production, I needed something that was going to be more full-time. Also, I felt the need to do something way more intense and heavy then I had done in the past. The first obvious choice in accomplishing that was to get together with my son [Simon] and his friend, Jonah . They were always writing the craziest shit and I felt they would start it off perfectly. After that, I immediately thought of my friend Crumbs, who is an amazing drummer and I felt ideologically we were on the same page. He, of course, suggested his brother to play bass, and since Jay is an awesome musician, I figured, why not? We started writing and throwing around ideas, but I still had this nagging feeling that it wasn’t complete. So, I decided a third guitarist would fix it, and it did. I have admired Gregg’s guitar playing for a long time. He has that perfectly raw rock n’ roll Black Flag approach we needed to offset some of the cleaner tech-metal stuff going on… and here we are.
Is it any coincidence that the sound is heavy, not necessarily sounding like the early days of BSF, but heavy to feed some sort of need to be able to play hardcore-metalcore-whateverthefuck again?
No coincidence at all. I just really wanted to get back to heavy, fucked up, chaotic music by any means necessary.
What’s the band name about?
Well…I started off calling it Characteristics of a Housefly. As you can imagine, that name didn’t really resonate with many people. So, we have a song called ‘I am Heresy’, which was already somewhat of the band’s anthem. The next logical step was to name the band I Am Heresy. Easier for people to remember, and it gives you a pretty good idea what we are about.
What are your musical influences?
Definitely a lot of different tastes and influences going on. If I were to try to guess, I would say that the kids bring more of a newer technical metal feel, whereas Jay and Crumbs’ last metal band were more of a power metal thing. Then there is Gregg who has more of a Black Flag meets black metal meets stoner-rock, sludge thing. Then you have my vocal influences, which come from an early to mid-Nineties hardcore style. So, it gets pretty interesting I think.
What are some lyrical themes you’ve got going on or would like to tie together?
I would say that most of the lyrics confront my own anti-theist, anti-religion thought pattern. There are of course other themes, but hey… check out the name.
So far, what has been the best thing about being in this band?
I think it definitely started as “Nathan picks a bunch of riff raffs, and hopes they get along” to becoming a pretty tightknit group. I am actually really excited that everyone is getting along as well as they are.
Do you feel like the response to the songs on the internet has been good so far?
It has actually been above and beyond my expectations. I feel like we have really tapped into something here and people are really feeling it. [Yes, we are – Ed]
Your first couple of shows are coming up. What do you anticipate? Anything special planned?
Our only plan is to come in, set up, and go fucking nuts. We have been practicing non-stop and just want to play the best show we can. Hopefully, that will translate into people getting really excited for what we are doing.
What bands do you count as peers?
Fortunately, we are already going to be playing with some bands I love, like Tiger Flowers and Torchbearer. I also would love to play with All Else Failed, Stray From The Path, Defeater, Converge, Touche Amore… Hell, I could write a list probably a mile long of bands I’d love to play with. I think within heavy music, we are able to fit into to several different genres.
What is the most metal thing you’ve personally ever done?
Me, personally? Shit…probably the most metal thing I’ve ever done, is listen to a Darkthrone album directly after seeing a Manowar video. Subsequently, I ended up burning down a church in a fur thong. Does that count?
While Nathan confirms that Boysetsfire “will be writing and playing shows”, he concedes that BSF will definitely play second fiddle to I Am Heresy. That means you can hope, pray and expect to see much more of them in the future. They’ve got their first couple of shows planned around New York and New Jersey. Fingers crossed they’ll make it over to the UK sooner rather than later. In the meantime, go and download those two tracks