Graveyard are a relatively young band manned by not-so-young members who have lots of hair and vinyl records. The passionate Spanish quartet who comprise its line up play honest old school Death Metal that harkens back to their teenage mid-90’s influences. (It’s listed and elaborated upon in the answers below.) So if you’re reading this, you might like them—a lot. It may have been a year since the release of their unrelenting “Into the Mausoleum” EP, but it’s never too late for a small interview, which is eagerly answered by their exuberant guitarist—just count the number of exclamation points he uses. Coming from the steaming armpit of Barcelona, here’s J. Bastard talking about getting drunk, playing gigs, and his beloved gear.
Hola Graveyard, what’s going on in your lives right now?
Hi Miguel!!! There are a lot of things going on. I’m smoking like hell in my working desk while I’m trying to answer your interview with the mighty Putaraeon playing in the background!!! (Check this band out!!!) Our bassist Julkarn is currently unemployed so he’s probably sleeping, or watching boring stuff on TV! I think our guitar player Sbe is working now so poor lucky guy, hahahaha! Finally, our drummer Gusi is probably suffering from a huge hangover since he hangs out and parties every single night! Last weekend he crushed his car and now he drives around the city with a half-car without black-window glass, Hahaha! Anyway, as you can see, there’s nothing special going on in our lives right now…
Can you tell the story of how your album, “Into the Mausoleum”, was born? Where was it recorded? Who wrote the lyrics? What kind of reception did it enjoy from your fans and the press?
“Into the Mausoleum” was unleashed back in the summer of 2007 inside a dirty garage somewhere up in the hills of Barcelona. We gathered together and spent two days abusing drugs, subjecting ourselves to massive alcohol injections, and worshipping Death Metal. What came out of that weekend were Graveyard and “Into the Mausoleum” being born. As far as I can remember, we wrote the lyrics in a serious state of drunkenness so don’t take them too seriously, hahahahaha! “Into the Mausoleum” is full of classic Death Metal themes meaning total 100% bonehead lyrics! It’s just five songs full of zombies, death, darkness, pestilence, coffins, maggots, graves and stuff. The whole project was a funny thing, but at one point, we realized the people and press who actually listened to it were going crazy over the material so we took the whole thing to a more serious level. Fortunately, we’ve been very lucky when it comes to feedback and press.
Played any shows recently? What kind of venues does Graveyard usually play gigs in? How are the crowds?
We did our first show in March 2008. After that show, we did five more shows in the next three months if I’m not mistaken. Then we stopped for a while and now we’re back with a vengeance!!! A month ago we played here in Barcelona with Artillery, Necrodeath and Girlschool in a pretty cool festival. Last week we supported Hail of Bullets in Barcelona as well. We had Martin Van Drunen on stage with us crushing the classic Bolt Thrower hymn “Cenotaph”!!! In four days we will play with Finnish gods Lie In Ruins here in Barcelona and the next day we will move to Madrid to play at the Trauma Fest together with some pretty cool acts like Demigod, Dead Congregation, Vomitory, Regurgitate, Haemhorrage, Skepticism, and a few more bands. We used to play in small venues and I think that’s the best place for a Death Metal performance and the Death Metal hordes love it! We have a cool army of followers here so every show is a celebration of pure Death and Alcoholism, with everybody going crazy like hell, raising Satan and drinking beer. Raise your shovels!!!
When did you become addicted to performing? What goes on before Graveyard plays a gig? How much cerveza do you drink before hitting the stage?
Since we’re all in our 30’s, we have done a LOT or performing before with some other cool and boring bands. Julkarn and I were almost five years out of the scene when it came to playing live so imagine how wild we got when we hit the stage as Graveyard on our first show in March 2008!!! Before hitting the stage we normally do a few beers, but you know how it goes, sometimes you drink more than necessary and then you’re onstage pissed off and drunk as hell. I remember a show here in Barcelona in June where I was really really drunk I had serious problems seeing the strings, hahahahahaha!!! But the real party always comes after the show, at least in 95% of our gigs!
When you’re playing the guitar, do you stick your tongue out and wag it? Y’know, try to look wild and shit? Have you ever drooled onstage because your mouth was open and you were too fixated on your playing?
Noooo man, that belongs to the Hard Rock hordes. I just look at my guitar, move my head, smoke a cigarette, and drink beer between songs!!! I’m not that much into “stage poses” to be honest.
Has really crazy shit ever happened to you or the band during a gig? Were you ever hit in the head by a shoe, get lost backstage, or escape from a burning venue?
Mmmmm…let me think…Well, there has always been crazy things going on in our shows, especially during the after show party. But unfortunately, I don’t remember those things very well, hahahahaha! I do remember one time our drummer was very thirsty and he brought a one Litre glass of whisky onstage. He left the glass on the top of the amplifier and because of the power of the amp, the glass fell down and spread all the whisky around the microphone patch of the stage. I was looking at the whole sequence and I thought, “Ohhh my god, now the venue is gonna explode!” Hahahahahaha! But the funny thing is that nothing actually happened. Another very funny moment was when our drummer was totally drunk and he went up onstage while Nifelheim were playing (we supported them in Portugal). So he went onstage but the bodyguards forced him to leave, but he didn’t want to leave the stage, so he got his ass kicked and was throw down to the mosh pit—that was very funny! Hahahahaha! I have more anecdotes, but all of them are related with alcohol.
Does Graveyard have a number one fan? Like the person who’s always at your gigs, it’s already creepy?
Yeah we do. But I don’t think we have a number one fan but a few hardcore diehard followers. My girlfriend, her sister and a friend of both are our three most hardcore fans! They have been in every gig we have done. Then there are some other local guys that have a lot of memorabilia from us like pics, photos, promos. These are actually young guys who think we’re more important than we actually are, hahahaha!
Who are some of the better-known bands Graveyard has had the pleasure of opening for? In connection with this question, who are some fo the bands you’ve seen live who’ve left a lasting impression?
We have been very lucky to play with Enslaved, Brujeria, Nifelheim, Fleshcrawl, Obscure, Artillery, Necrodeath, Girlschool, Forbidden (That show was finally cancelled!!!), Hail of Bullets, and in a few more days, Lie In Ruins, Dead Congregation, Demigod, and Regurgitate!!! Hmmm…I saw Benediction live last week and it was a blast man, I didn’t expect a cool show but honestly, it was one of the best Death Metal performances I have seen in ages! Septic Flesh a few weeks ago was also pretty cool. But probably, the best three shows I have recently seen are Asphyx, Impaled Nazarene, and Bloodbath. Ahhh…I almost forgot to mention Merciless, they’re fucking brilliant!!!
Has the band made any enemies in its own scene after being the butt end of someone’s shit talk?
Fortunately, not. Probably some venue owners who had to pay the bill after an insane beer party, hehehe…but when it comes to musicians and the press, we don’t have enemies. Remember, we’re doing music and it has sense just for fun, so the whole “enemy—shit talk—bullshit” doesn’t work with us. It’s probably more appropriate for the Black Metal movement, because Death Metal and Graveyard are just about fun, hell, beer and music.
According to a reliable source I consulted, The band has been around for a while now. How much has the metal scene in Spain changed since Graveyard’s early days? Why hasn’t your country been able to keep up with Germany and Sweden in terms of a vibrant metal scene?
Actually, we haven’t been around for a while! We recorded “Into the Mausoleum” in September 2007 and release it at the end of 2007 so officially, we just have one year of existence!!! Countries like Germany and Sweden have some pretty cool things that we don’t have here in Spain. In those countries, the government helps you in order to obtain a free or very cheap rehearsal room. Instruments and gear are cheaper and you also have a helping hand from the government. Music wise, those countries have a huge past when it comes to traditional and classic music so it is a good background for the metal hordes to grow up with. Here in Spain there’s only folk shit and the government doesn’t give a fuck about either Rock or Metal music. There’s also the weather issue; Since we have a lot of sunny days here, we use to spend a lot of time out on the streets walking, drinking or playing soccer. In the northern European countries, it is totally different since they have rain and snow the whole year and it allows them to concentrate on their rehearsal rooms and their music. I would also add that Spain was under a dictatorship up to 1975 so rock and metal music didn’t start here until the 80’s. At that time, Sweden and Germany had a larger tradition with either rock or metal bands so it means that they started before us and will always walk one step further than Spain. Finally, none here knows how to speak or write in English so that’s a handicap for local bands because they only focus on the Spanish market due to the language limitations. It’s sad but true!
Have you been able to travel a lot because of Graveyard? Tell us about the places you’ve been to.
Since Graveyard is a one-year-old creature, we haven’t been able to travel much. Though we have been to different parts of Spain and Portugal. We were invited to play in Berlin but we declined because we had a better show the next day so we preferred to focus on that show instead the German one. Anyway, we have received offers to play in France, Italy, Finland, and Germany so we will see!!! As a tourist—or metal-tourist if you prefer, hehe—I have been to Stockholm, Gotenburg, Oslo, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Milano, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Eindhoven…Basically most of the European capitals!!!
Did any of you have to make sacrifices in the name of Graveyard? Have you ever lost a girlfriend because of the band?
No! Graveyard is a hobby, so none of us is gonna loose their girlfriends or jobs because of the band. I think it’s quite stupid if you do! You should be able to manage both, life and music, easily. At least I can!
You like discussing the band’s gear? What are the weapons in Graveyard’s arsenal? Meaning, what kind of equipment do you have—amps and shit?
We have a cool arsenal of weapons, hahaha! I like to discuss gear so much since I’m a sound engineer and run my own metal studio!!! (www.moontowerstudios.net) I use a few guitars like the Ibanez Ex-series and RG 420 and a cool LTD 400 Explorer-style and a Jackson Kelly. When it comes to amps, I’m loyal to Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier. That’s the real shit man, haha! Over the years I have (ab)used Marshall, Peavy, Carvi…But Mesa Boogie has no rivals!!! I also use a huge arsenal of pedals like TC-electronic Nova-Delay; Ibanez tube screamer; ISP Dezimator; Boss HM II; Fender tuners and some others I don’t remember now. Sbe, the other guitar player, uses a Gibson Flying V guitar and an ENGL Powerball amp with the Boss HMH II pedal. Our drummer has a normal Pearl Kit and our bass player bought a cool Warwick bass guitar a few weeks ago. He doesn’t have an amp since he is not a bass player but a guitar player! He always uses the bass amp from the other support bands.
I interviewed an Italian band the other day and they admitted to being fanatical football fans. I’m sure you’re one too. Would you like to leave a message for all the Italian football fans?
75% of GRAVEYARD hate football—I’m the other 25%, hahahaha!!! I am a huge soccer hooligan. Actually my team is F.C. Barcelona. I have been supporter of that team since 1989! I’m proud of it man, I have seen some memorable matches across the years. But I do know a lot of things about Italian Calcio!!! I actually love the Italian League, Forsa Alessandro Del Piero, hahaha!!! Since 1994 there has always been an intense rivalry between Spain and Italy when it comes to soccer because we lost to them on ¼ finals in the USA World Championship. They stole the match from us then!!! Fortunately, in the latest European championship in Germany last summer we had our revenge and we crushed them during the ½ finals. So bye-bye Italia, hahahaha!!!
When did you get sucked into metal? What album changed your life?
I got sucked into metal during the early 90’s when I was a teenager. The whole extreme metal scene embraced me around 1994 with bands like Slayer, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Pestilence, Necrophobic, Death and Entombed. There are LOTS of albums that changed my life, but the three more important ones are Metallica’s “Ride the Lightining”, “Altars of Madness” from Morbid Angel and “Left Hand Path” from Entombed. I should also name a few Heavy Metal influences like Savatage, Running Wild, Candlemass, Motorhead, Rough Silk, Exciter, and UFO who all brought sense to my life!!!
And what got you hooked on the old school death metal you play?
I always enjoyed ALL different old school styles, no matter if we’re talking about Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thrash, Death, Doom, or Black. I don’t care that much about new trends or new styles, I only focus my ears and attention toward the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s music. That was the shit I grew up with so there’s no need for something new! I prefer to still worship the old shit. Concerning Death Metal, for me there’s only the Old School Formula. I don’t like Brutal Death; I don’t like Grindcore; I don’t like Deathcore; I don’t like “Melodic” Death (at least what is now known as Melodic Death!!!). Only DEATH METAL is real, and it has to be about death; it must be metal; and should be dark, atmospheric, gloomy, evil, raw, and brutal (which doesn’t means fast!!!). That’s the deal for me.
Which member of the band has the biggest record collection?
I have never seen our drummer and second guitarist’s private collection. But I can tell you I already own between 4,000 and 5,000 items (vinyls, tapes, CD’s). I am a maniacal collector and I usually spend 50% of my salary BUYING music!!! Julkarn, our bassist and singer, also owns a pretty cool collection of about 5,000 or 6,000 items as well! Both of us enjoy buying music so much—fuck mp3 and massive downloading!!!
What part of Spain is the band from? How good is the life where you live in?
All of us were born in Barcelona and the surrounding area. Julkarn, our bass player and singer, currently lives in Valencia, which is three hours away. But he comes to Barcelona every now and then. Life here is perfect. I love the weather, I have my own home and studio, and here we have lots of metal pubs, metal record stores, metal venues, and lots of shows!!! Unfortunately, a huge economic crisis is engulfing us right now and life is more expensive than ever!
Unfortuantely we’ve run out of time Graveyard. Thank you so much for this interview. Are you gonna plug in your guitar and practice after answering this?
Yeah!!! Now I will move back to my studio and finish recording a new act called Decapitated Christ—check them out!!! Thanks for your time and support!!! Cheers!!!