With the release of Baptists’ latest album, Beacon of Faith, on the horizon, I took the opportunity to put some questions to the band’s guitarist, Danny Marshall.
In case you’re wondering, Beacon of Faith is a raging triumph of an album (full review here). According to Danny, music is a “release” for Baptists’ members, and by the sounds of this record, they had a lot to get out.
While many bands try to differentiate their sound on different albums (to varying degrees of success), Baptists have stuck unapologetically to their visceral signature sound. When I ask Danny about that, he tells me:
“We still set out to do the same thing we’ve always tried to do — just write and play music that we enjoy playing and that is a release for us. I think that the mix of this album sounds more like we sound in a live setting than our previous records did, so maybe our sound has grown a bit in that regard, but yeah — we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel over here!”
On an album without a weak track, Danny admits he has trouble choosing a favourite, saying:
“I flip-flop back and forth between a few — this album was kind of a long process, so we’ve had a lot of time to think about them! I have favourite parts more than favourite whole songs. I like Capsule — Andrew nailed that one, and it’s kind of a different feel for us. Gift Taker is cool. I like the herky-jerky ones. Bevel Down, cause it sounds like NOFX.”
While Baptists are often, and probably always will be, compared to Converge, that is far from the only influence on this album. Due to the extended time frame in which Beacon of Faith came together, a wide range of different influences were able to creep in, according to Danny, who says:
“Some things that I was listening to a lot in that period were things like Sweet Cobra’s Earth, anything those Texas guys do — Impalers, Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip — all that shit is the best… Ajax, Blood Pressure, and a bunch of other stuff.”
He adds with a chuckle, “There were a few months that I think I only listened to Like an Ever Flowing Stream [by Dismember]. But, I think it’ll always be my “ol’ faithfuls” — stuff like Hot Snakes, Neurosis, Nirvana, Converge, Disfear, etc. — that, although I might not listen to on as regular of a basis, are still maybe the longer-term influences that show in our songs. On the guitar side of things, anyway.”
One thing that has come up in other interviews with members of Baptists is the difficulty of functioning as a band whose members live hours away from each other. Trying to be the glass-half-full guy, I ask Danny if there are any upsides to that which balance out the difficulties, but he shoots me down.
“No,” he laughs. “There aren’t really any upsides to it. I miss jamming every week or two… uh… or three, and being able to have a bit more of everyone’s immediate influence on new shit that we’re working on. We get to the same end result now, but it just happens over a longer timeline and through voice memos or one-man demos until it makes it to the point where the whole band is playing the song.”
Thinking further, he adds: “The upside, I guess, is that it kind of forces you to put more thought into it. Thinking does not come naturally to us. Mostly, I just miss seeing those guys all the time and hanging out.”
When Danny makes it into Vancouver, he has a couple of favourite venues, saying:
“Antisocial is the best to play at because it’s fun, it’s not a venue and because I love Michelle. I wish Richards was still there — I think that was my favourite to see shows at, or at least I had a lot of fun times seeing bands there, and it was fun to play at, as well. I’ve got a soft spot for the Biltmore, too. We played there a lot for a few years. It’s a good size… low, big stage. Are there still loud shows there?! I have no idea – I hope so!”
Fret not, Danny! There are still shows at the Biltmore. (A definite highlight in the coming months will be Dead Quiet with Hashteroid on June 15.)
Beacon of Faith, Baptists’ third LP comes out on Southern Lord on May 25, 2018. Order your copy via the record label or Bandcamp. As well as digital download, you can get the album on CD, black vinyl and silver vinyl.