Creating An Odyssey: Eric Wallace of Black Breath

Black Breath, photo credit- Invisible Hour

Black Breath, photo credit- Invisible Hour

On their recent tour with Goatwhore,Black Breath (Southern Lord) guitarist, Eric Wallace had a quick chat with Ghost Cult prior to the Boston, MA show at Brighton Music Hall. With their latest release, Slaves Beyond Death (due out September 25), being announced, Eric expressed what could be expected from the upcoming record.

“Expectations… I don’t think I like that word. I like to approach other people’s stuff as open minded as I can and then be surprised. I realize it sounds like I’m setting the bar low but I mean there’s elements of stuff we’ve done in the past for sure and then there’s also kind of new takes on all of it. To me it’s more expansive in a way. Not like it’s going to be a prog record or anything! Sure the songs are all longer and stuff we haven’t done in the past that we’re trying out on this record and I think turned out pretty rad. I’m excited for it to come out because I think it’s cool and I want to start playing the songs more, live. I hesitate to say too much because I want to hear what others think of it. I mean what are you supposed to say? “It’s the heaviest record we’ve ever done! It’s gunna fucking blow your mind!” I mean it either is or it isn’t. It’s up to the listeners and how they receive it. We made a record that were excited about and I think I can leave it at that.”

 

Black Breath Slaves Beyond death abum cover

Eric also spoke highly of the continued success of recording with Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studios in Salem, MA:

“At this point we’ve spent the better part of 2 months there now over 3 albums. Pretty damn easy to work with him especially where we’ve toured with his band and recorded with him in that space with generally the same setup before. Not much arguing there as we just do it and if it doesn’t sound good how can we make it better. It goes pretty fast which is why we were pretty excited to go back for this record with the amount of work we’ve done, just building on that makes more sense than starting fresh somewhere else. It’s killer. I think it works out great. We did get it mastered with our buddy Brad (Boatwright) in Portland at Audio Siege. He’s been doing a ton of mastering for a lot of different bands, first time we went to him and that sounds awesome as well. It all turned out nice.”

Eric Wallace of Black Breath, photo by Evil Robb Photography

Eric Wallace of Black Breath, photo by Evil Robb Photography

Continuing on the topic of writing, and how it has evolved over Black Breath’s career: “With our EP we just threw what songs we had up there since we didn’t have a contract or anything. Basically let’s get this out there and see if it sticks. So we did that and got hooked up with Southern Lord. With Heavy Breathing we got together with Kurt since no one in the band had done that before and Greg from Southern Lord was really into the idea. Whatever songs we had after that EP through the touring up until the recording process, that turned into the album. The album itself was written well before we even got there really. Nothing specific up to this point really. With Sentenced to Life, I think we as a group consciously decided that we would sort of stream line everything a lot more as in trim the fat, shorten things up, get to the fucking point and then get out. And that was basically what we did with Sentenced. Make it to the point, shorten the songs, and get rid of the unnecessary stuff really. With this new album, since we already did the shortened approach to writing, we pretty much did the opposite approach on this one to expand and make way longer songs. Same style of riffs and song writing we had going, but how do we make this more of an odyssey? There’s a lot of tracks on the new album that has fast stuff and slow stuff but there’s a mix of both in almost every song so I don’t know what you would call that approach necessarily, but plenty of bands have done it.”

TIM LEDIN