|Photo taken by Sally Townsend |
Edited by Olivia Franks
Beastmaker is a heavy band from Fresno- California. I've heard you mention in other interviews that Fresno is not the place for a metal scene, does this still hold true, and do you feel you guys have had any effect on the area?
There still is not much of a music scene here for us. there are other genres of music that have some stuff going on but for us we just kind of try to focus on touring. I don’t think we’ve had much of an effect on the actual scene but I know that people look up to what we are doing.
When the band first formed in 2014, did it take a while for things to start to get going with recording and getting gigs? And did you guys have a lot of gear back then?
everything happened very quickly. we put out the you must sin demo and then we were signed by rise above records. we had some gear. not as much as we do now but a good amount. we started recording right away and gigs kind of just fell in line for us.
Being from Fresno, and going by what you had previously said about it being pretty baron of music, how is it that you came to meet and form a band with the other members- Andres Saldate (drums), and John Trucker (bass)?
Andy and I go way back and have played in other bands together. John was in a local band that was ending and he is actually a bad ass guitarist but since we really needed a bassist I thought what the hell he might say yes. Obviously, he did. I think the timing for us to do Beastmaker was just right.
This seems sort of the quintessential interview question, but I like to know the answer to this question, as I'm sure a lot of other people do- How was it that you came up with the name Beastmaker, and was that your first choice for the band name?
I came up with the name Beastmaker a long long time ago. I was traveling in an indie rock band at the time that sucked ass but I got to travel so I was along for the ride. I was in Texas drunk as fuck I don’t drink anymore but there was this band dressed in all leather playing guns n roses type rock and I really dug them. I thought their names was Beastmaker and I was like that is an amazing name turned out their name was Peacemaker…I was disappointed and was like well this name is awesome I”m gonna use it.
Was it tough to get gigs around town because of the lack of a music scene, or is there just not really any other heavy acts to play with, so getting a show is tough in that aspect?
There are places to play around Fresno they just don’t really have an audience. we’ve always looked at Fresno as however many friends you have is the way it goes here. We are a little older and I do not go out and party at all so we aren’t the cool party band in town. getting shows was not hard..there used to be a dive bar “Audies Olympic Tavern” we played there a lot he really supported what we did and he still is a good friend of ours but he had to shut his doors..
The first release from Beastmaker was self titled, and eventually re-recorded, or re-mixed into the EP "You Must Sin". Was there a lot you wanted to change in the mixing and recording process for it, and where was it that you recorded "You Must Sin"?In retrospect you want to change everything. at the time we did the demo we went back and re recorded it for the album. we had never really played out of town at this point. didn’t even have merch. it all happened quickly so we just jumped on board and did the best we could.
After the release of "You Must Sin" the band got signed to Lee Dorrian's record label- Rise Above Records. How did that happen, and how did you feel whenever you guys got signed to the label?
|Photo by Sally Townsend|
When Beastmaker got signed to Rise Above Records, did that change a lot for the band in terms of things going more smooth and promotion being better at all?
I mean nothing about being in a touring band is smooth. Especially not for us..we have broken down so many times in the middle of nowhere. Its crazy. but as far as getting shows and tours and what not it all became very simple. things kind of just come to us I guess. People ask us to go on tour and we did. Lee got us our first tour ever with Blood Ceremony so we had a great start because of him.
Has Lee Dorrian and the bands he's been in been a big influence on you musically throughout the years?
Cathedral is a rad band. Gaz is a great guitarist who has written some pretty stellar riffs and he is a great lead guitar player as well.
The latest release from the band was "Lusus Naturae", which features songs from "You Must Sin" along with new ones. Did you feel you wanted to include the Ep with new material you had, and was it a fairly smooth process to record and get everything done?
it was fairly easy we didn’t go into thinking ok this is gonna be tough we just played the best we could. mind you we had really just started so we were not as tight as we are now. a lot has changed in 2 years. we’ve been put to the test on many occasions. we wanted the EP to be included because rise above was releasing it and we wanted those songs to reach a broader audience plus it was only out for 2 weeks before we got signed so it was all still very new
What are some of your favorite bands old and new?
There are so many to name that I like it’s impossible. right now id say for old bands I’ve been really digging Def Leppard, Ozzy, Motley Crue. For new bands man there re just so many I like Gravebreaker and Spell a lot..
What are some hobbies you have or favorite things to do?
I help rehabilitate native birds of the central valley. this all happened by default. my fiancé has been doing it for years but she is teaching full time so I started kind of taken some of the responsibility. My main hobby is music. I play drums, bass, guitar, I sing.. I have my own recording studio. I love animals..I have 3 dogs and 2 cats. I spend a lot of time hanging with them. I used to be heavy into skateboarding but at my age I’m fragile..I still cruise around.
Who are some of your main influences musically and just in life in general?
My dad Bill “electric” Church is a huge influence. he was in the sammy hagar band and montrose. My uncle Bob. Randy Rhodes and Jake E. Lee. Zakk Wylde is a new one. after touring with him I really dig his solos.
What other bands had you had before Beastmaker, and what kind of music did you play in them, or what instrument?
|Photo By Bobby Cochran|
Well my first real band was Scattered Fall we played punk music. after that I had many failed attempts of bands. I joined this indie rock band in Sacramento called “an angle” I hated the music but my friend Matt was the bassist so we just went from state to state causing a rawness. I eventually quit that to start Beastmaker..we played everything from Thrash, to Psychedelic stuff in the beginning. I never really got it going. I had a drinking problem in my mid twenty’s which prevented me from really staying focused on bands. I always played and stuff but I didn’t take it seriously. I was in a couple math rock bands at one time very briefly Yacht Club and Marathon. just noodley guitar stuff. it never worked out.
Has your taste in music differed at all through the years, and has there been any turning point when you found the main kind that you liked, and kept coming back to it for inspiration and enjoyment?
I grew up in a musical family. I was into everything man. Punk, Metal, Rap, Motown,..etc. Ozzy was really the turning point because I could mimic his vocals pretty well. but in my teenage years it was bands like misfits, metallica, even green day. just so much music how can one really just pinpoint one thing you like. I definitely liked underground everything. I went to a lot of punk shows when i was younger so that was were I found a lot of music. I always sought new shit to listen to.
I noticed you have a few tattoos. When was it you got your first one, and which is your favorite? I really like the Danzig/Samhain one.
|Photo by Sally Townsend|
What is your main guitar, and what kind of gear do you use? And what gear would you like to have eventually?
my main guitar is a Gibson Les Paul Custom its an Sg body with 3 pickups. I have quite a few different amps here but my main one is a Hovercraft Falcon 100 with 2 4x12 worshipper cabs. I have a ton of pedals but mainly i use my custom delay by gremlin noise machine. I use a lot of pedal from lone wolf audio as well. I just bought a vintage bc rich eagle bass in white. I want a bc rich eagle in white. I have the bass now i want the guitar version.
Your Dad, Bill Church, has been an active musician with such acts as Montros and other Sammy Hagar projects. How has that affected you musically, and how was it to grow up with that going on in your life?
My Dad is an amazing musician. I had a lot of support from my Mom and Dad they always bought me guitars. when they saw me improve i’d get a new one till they got me my first Gibson Les Paul. after that I was on my own. But my Dad was very loose with me growing up musically he bought me whatever tapes i wanted..he bought me Slayer South of Heaven when i was like 7 years old. It drove my Mom mad. She thought I wanted to worship the devil. haha. but she then realized it wasn’t really all about that. They bought me skateboards. Skate Videos I was a daredevil kid in a way. I had a lot of sense though I never did anything that I thought well I don’t think you should do this cause you can get very hurt. I knew when to draw the line.
There are some definite horror influences in Beastmaker's songwriting and imagery, where would you say your love for that kind of stuff started, and has it become more a part of your life over the years getting into your songwriting and everything?
|Photo by Bobby Cochran|
My Dad again. We started watching Vincent Price movies at some point. I can’t recall my age but the first one I really remember was “the last man on earth”. I still to this day am terrible with movie titles I forget them easily. Same with song titles. but my Dad was into old movies so I watched a lot of James Dean and Steve Mcqueen stuff. his favorite tv show is “the prisoner” we watched that a lot. My friend Tony really opened up the world of horror for me. I kind of just watched whatever I could find. I have my favorites now mainly because of imagery. The blind dead series being one of those films.
I've seen where you often do livestreams on the Beastmaker page on facebook where you play guitar, and sometimes give tips. Do you feel that that is sort of an outlet for you to just play whatever, and get technical whereas in Beastmaker the music style is slower and very heavy?
|Photo by Sally Townsend|
That brings me to my next question, about your newest project, called "Haunt", which is a band you have by yourself. It seems to have a more traditional heavy metal sound with a lot of leads and fast paced heavy riffs. When was it that you decided you'd like to do this, and how did you record everything?
I do it the same way I do Beastmaker I write everything by myself and record it. My friend Daniel played drums on the EP. My drumming is good but I like other people to get involved in my music. it feels to weird to let it be all me. Honestly Haunt is really more my style of music when it comes to what I really listen to. When we started doing Beastmaker with John we wanted it to have a sabbath groove at the time. But that is such a small sliver of what I’m really all about. I listen to very very little doom bands. I love early candlemas and witchfinder general, electric wizard stuff like that into it. So, I guess these things just happened naturally. I needed to just be a guitarist and Haunt gave me that outlet but I ended up just doing everything. I wasn’t even going to release it but my lady just kept on my ass saying you need to put this out so after a year of letting it just sit on my computer i put it out.
Had you known how to play drums before you wanted to start the solo project, or did you pick them up with the intention of making Haunt? I'm guessing bass just comes natural since you play guitar in Beastmaker.
|Photo by Sally Townsend|
What was the first guitar you ever got, and was that the first instrument you played?
It was red memphis. I was 5 years old when I got it. My first instrument was drums, but I didn’t like it.
How early on in life did you really get into music and have the interest to start playing an instrument?
I was born with an instrument in hand man. my whole life I’ve had instruments. My first recollection was a drum set I was like 4 years old. I got it for Christmas, I was stoked but it fizzled out. Guitar became my focus, but really skateboarding was my main focus for many many years. I always played but man I loved skating with my friends.
How are you feeling about the upcoming European tour that Beastmaker will be going on later this year, and have you been on the road a lot before this for as long a time as you will be for the tour?
|Photo by Sally Townsend|
What are your thoughts on your contribution to music thus far, and what are some of your future plans and goals to come?
Well I feel like I’ve really just gotten started. Beastmaker is evolving. Haunt is also getting ready to do a full length and I’m bringing in some homies to play with me this time around just to give it a more band feel. I’m proud of the work I’ve done thus far. I just hope I inspire people to play music and have fun. In the end I do this for others to enjoy. I’m always moving forward so really I only live in the song until it’s done and then I move to the next.