(Austin Weber brings us this premiere of a new music video from Samskaras, along with an interview.)
Last we covered Montreal-based progressive death metal duo Samskaras, the band had just completed a new single, “Red Hill”, and we premiered the lyric video for it alongside an interview with the band’s vocalist, guitarist, and bassist, Eric Burnet (Unburnt, Derelict) in 2014. Just recently, the band dropped Asunder, a fantastic four-song EP, which shows the band experimenting with a lot of new ideas including the integration of tasteful clean singing in some of the songs.
In the spirit of keeping up with artists we’ve covered before, we’re happy to premiere a new music video today for “Fuelscape”. Eric asked if we’d be interested in pairing it with an interview like last time, and this one features some additional answers from their drummer Alexandre Dupras (Teramobil, Unhuman) too.
*If you haven’t heard Samskaras – Asunder, it’s available as a pay-what-you-want download on Bandcamp here:
Interview with Eric Burnet and Alexandre Dupras
Austin: You all just released a new EP called Asunder. For our readers unfamiliar with the band or the new release, can you explain what it’s about and what you all are trying to achieve musically?
Eric Burnet: Asunder is our first unified statement. Our two singles from 2014 helped us get moving, but this EP is more cohesive and closer to our “sound”, if you will. I really wanted this to happen organically by writing from emotion rather than trying to make it sound like anything in particular, or attempting to fit into any one genre. People seem to think that the label of technical death metal fits us best, and I don’t disagree, but I think that the clean vocal passages and the influences from black metal add dimensions that wouldn’t have been present if I had been consciously trying to write tech death.
Lyrically, Asunder is two pairs of songs, each walking down the positive and negative paths that humans can take. Two of them deal with personal struggles, and the other two with larger civilization-sized issues.
Alexandre Dupras: I approached these songs with the intention to provide equal amounts of brutality, groove, and precision to enhance each riff in cool ways.
Austin: Can you tell us about the lyrical themes and musical inspiration(s) behind the video for “Fuelscape” we are premiering today?
Eric: “Fuelscape” is a song in which I tried to capture the feelings of horror and resignation I get when I look at images of massive industrial mining projects like the Alberta oil sands. Basically these are vast areas of the boreal forest that oil companies completely strip and grind up to get the bitumen out of the soil. What’s left looks like the moon plus lakes of toxic waste. When I look at images of that, I have a hard time feeling like humans are going to make it. I know that’s really depressing, but the song “Solar” provides the positive counterpoint, so do check that one out too.
The video for “Fuelscape” however is just Alex and I slaying through the track. We worked with my good friends Mat Barbeau and Leo Low, and the idea was just to put together a great-looking representation of what we look like playing our music. Since the band hasn’t gone live yet, this is a dimension I felt was lacking and wanted to address with this video. We shot it at The Grid (Chris from Cryptopsy’s studio), where we also recorded the EP.
Musically, “Fuelscape” probably has the most black metal in it, or at least influences I associate to Enslaved. Gorguts and Cattle Decapitation were also very heavy influencers of the riffs on this song.
Austin: Last time we spoke in 2014 (when doing the “Red Hill” interview) you mentioned possibly turning Samskaras into a band that can play live too. Is that still something you all are planning to do?
Eric: Very much so. I’m speaking with different musicians now, and we’re hoping things will come together in the next few months. It was necessary to wait until we wrote enough music to fill a live set.
Austin: What inspires you two as musicians?
Eric: Expressing myself and seeing my work resonate with other people.
Alex: I just really enjoy developing ideas that will compliment the songs I’m working on.
Austin: What’s next for Samskaras in the immediate future? Are you all writing more material? Taking a break?
Eric: No breaks! As mentioned we’re looking at recruiting live members. I’m also three songs deep into writing the next release.
Austin: Is there any chance you’ll devote time to crafting a full-length or do you think singles and EPs is the way to go for you all? If so, why?
Eric: I personally prefer listening to full-lengths, but for Samskaras an EP makes more sense for the next release. There are a few reasons for that. First is that we’re new to the scene. A full-length would take a few years to complete. I think that’s too long at this point, if we want to grow the name. Second is that the band being new, a second EP gives me a chance to try things I didn’t do on Asunder, and then look back and see what I like best before committing to 10 to 12 compositions in one go. Lastly, and most unfortunately, is finances. The costs of full-length recordings are between two and four times as much as EPs. Many fans have generously answered our pay-what-you-want offer with actual money, and it’s hugely appreciated, but we’ll definitely still be investing our own cash for the foreseeable future, and that of course also takes time to accumulate, because we also enjoy shelter and groceries.
Austin: Are there any new or upcoming bands in your area you’d like to mention that most people might not know about?
Eric: I would highly recommend checking out Alex’s band Teramobil. They’re an instrumental trio, and he’s joined by Mathieu Bérubé from Unhuman on guitar, and Dominic Forest Lapointe from Augury and ex-Beyond Creation on bass. I also think that people who discovered Samskaras with this release would probably also like both my old band Derelict, and my other band Unburnt. Both can be found in playlists on my Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/ericburnetmusic). The guys I play with in Unburnt are also in an excellent melodic death metal band called Odium, and they have several great albums.
I am aware that this answer has been rather self-promotional, but I can live with that!
Austin: Any final words or a parting statement?
Eric: Big thanks to Austin and NCS for the support, you guys have helped put Samskaras on the map. And many thanks as well to the countless people who have shared our music on social media, on college radios, reviewed in on blogs, etc. It makes a gigantic difference. Cheers!