The following is a super informative and interesting interview with a good friend of mine, Alexander "Wurm" Erhardt (drums, bass, vocals) of GIGABASTARDS. He talked about the fresh album "V:EX" and also went into details regarding his other activities and the underground life of Toronto. Enjoy every bit of this great conversation!
GIGABASTARDS is an extreme grindcore/noisecore unit comprised of two entities from Belgium and Canada. Tell us about the start, the first releases of this noise-carriage as well as how this distant alliance was meant to work and succeed?
- GIGABASTARDS was formed by Johan and myself almost two years ago. I have known about Johan and his various extreme music projects since the Bloodbucket Productions "Buckets of Blood Vol.1" compilation, when he submitted his HXP (Hybrid Xenomorph Predator) track for the comp and I have been following his music since then. The truth is that I was really intoxicated one night and was listening to old school grindcore and lamenting that there is nobody in my city that wants to do this style of music. So I drunkenly sent Johan a message asking if he would make some noise if I sent him drum tracks. He agreed, so the next day I recorded 3 tracks of drums and sent it to him, a little while later I got his parts and GIGABASTARDS was born!
Your newest release is called "V:EX" and it contains 47 songs in over 31 minutes. Reveal the readers all the necessary information about it, like the musical and lyrical contents, what have influenced you to write such material, etc.
- "V:EX" is our most ambitious release to date. It is a unique grindcore/noisecore concept album based on the deadliest nerve agent mankind has ever created. VX. The title is a play on words seeing as the album is angry and extreme from start to finish. The lyrics deal with the history, creation and use of chemical/biological weapons throughout mankind's existence with some not so pleasant observations of current world affairs. It is an uncomfortable, extreme album, an ugly reflection of man's continuous desire to destroy itself.
So far it is available online in a digital form, but you have plans to release it as a deluxe CD version through your label Bloodbucket Productions in early 2019 and it will also include your very first EP as a bonus. What are your expectations as for the selling of the physical CDs? I mean, lately the new generation is pretty lame and not too supportive. How do you see this situation for example in your region?
- For me, the expectation is nil. The music industry has vastly changed and most of the new generation does not buy music in physical format, they do download albums to their mobile phones using services like Apple Music and Spotify. There is however a small demand from the old school for a physical copy of the music and this release is for anyone who appreciates having an actual CD/cassette/vinyl of music they like.
You are also active in AMMO (Heavy Metal) and KRYPT OV NEKROS (Occult Ritualistic Soundscapes). What should we know about these bands?
- AMMO is a 4-piece heavy metal/speed metal band from Toronto. We have an 80's influenced sound which is funny to me considering I am the only one in the band that was alive then. We are about to release our first EP, which should be out early next year. We also have plans to record a full-length and tour in 2019.
KRYPT OV NEKROS is the sound equivalent of shapeless darkness. This is a project that contains no musical qualities (aside from the odd droning bass) and is more a channeling of my darkness, hatred and occult mysticism. I have been told numerous times that KON would be the perfect soundscape for a horror movie. Currently working on a new release, which should be out before the end of this year or beginning of 2019.
You annually organize Bloodbucket Metalfest in Toronto. Which bands are you going to treat for the next year? Do you have any bands of your dream that you definitely want to feature there?
- Bloodbucket Metalfest has been going for 13 years, I have decided to take a couple of years off from doing the fest to focus on other things. The main goal of the fest is to unite the spectrum of heavy metal under one banner thus giving the fest variety. There are many many bands I would love to have play the fest, dream bands for me would be DARKTHRONE, MYSTICUM, PESTILENCE, GLORIOR BELLI, DEAD INFECTION, DHG, DEVOURMENT, MORTICIAN, RAZOR and most of all CASTRUM!!!
How's the metal life over there? Which gigs/bands you've visited for the last time? Any cool festivals/concerts ahead? Also tell the readers the most significant concerts of your life?
- Metal life is good here in Canada, we have many bands and we (especially Toronto and Montreal) get almost every tour come through our city. The downside to that is that because we get everything the local scene (Toronto only) gets ignored and there is not a lot of scene mixing (black, death, grind, heavy metal) happening. Montreal is a different story though. This year I attended 3 festivals here, Earslaughter Fest (grindcore/death), Quebec Deathfest (death/black/grind) and Messe De Morts (black metal), all of which took place in Montreal. The biggest fest in Canada is Heavy MTL, you guessed it, in Montreal.
The most significant concerts of my life were: KISS 1979, METALLICA/METAL CHURCH 1986, SLAYER/MOTÖRHEAD/OVERKILL 1988, D.R.I./KREATOR/HOLY TERROR 1988, DEATH/DEVASTATION 1990, MORBID ANGEL/ENTOMBED 1991, NAPALM DEATH/CARCASS/CATHEDRAL 1992, KING DIAMOND 2016, MYSTICUM 2018 just to name a few. Of course, there have been tons of killer local shows that are significant too. I will say though that the 3 fests I went to this year were easily the best shows I have seen in a long time; the band rosters were incredible. I want to go some fests in Europe soon too or better yet play them!
Would you be so kind to speak us a little bit about the underground scene of Toronto. Any interesting newcomers or time-tested bands we should definitely check out and listen to?
- The Toronto scene has (RAZOR, SACRIFICE, PILEDRIVER, even RUSH) and still does breed some killer bands. As I mentioned before, there is not enough genre mixing in my opinion, so we have several mini-scenes within the city thus none of them are totally supported by the whole. Toronto is spoiled, superficial and very fickle, so you really have to have determination and thick skin to survive as a band.
As for current bands that I can recommend... for black metal fans check out PANZERFAUST and NUCLEAR HAMMER... for death metal fans check out ADVERSARIAL, DISGUST, G.O.D., GRAVITATIONAL DISTORTION and HUMAN COMPOST... for grind fans check out BLEEDING OUT, TOMB MOLD and, of course, GIGABASTARDS... for heavy metal fans check out AXXION, SKULL FIST and AMMO.
You are capable of playing on different kind of musical instruments (drums, guitar, bass). Which was the first you scored and when? Also please list us what kind of guitars, basses and drum sets you own. Name us your favorite one.
- My first instrument was a guitar that my mother bought for me in Calgary, Alberta when we were travelling across Canada when I was 5 years old. My mother told me that I wanted to trade the guitar for a spider-man on a string toy, but she didn't let me and I am glad, she took me to see KISS later that year! I still have the pieces of that guitar today! In my guitar arsenal I have a B.C. Rich Ironbird, B.C. Rich Warlock, Jackson Strat, Jackson Warrior and Goya Acoustic. My favorite axe to play is the Jackson Strat, my favorite body shape is the B.C. Rich Ironbird. All my guitars are 6 strings and drop tuned to B, except for one, which is used for various tunings. As for basses I have a Tobias 4-string and a Fender 5-string and for drums I have a vintage 1980's Pearl Export Series 5-piece that is chrome and after the latest GIGABASTARDS album is in desperate need of new skins, haha.
Can't neglect the question. Why did you decide to split up HORDE OF WORMS? What was the main reason for doing so and do you see any possibility for its reunion?
- Ah, this dreaded question. Well, to be honest, it wasn't really a decision that came easy and it boiled down to various external forces that caused the dissolution. Without getting into the gory details I will say that between work, wife and sharing a drummer with ADVERSARIAL it became a struggle to be the only one trying to coordinate everyone and everything so that the band could move forward. It truly is a shame we never recorded the last record we wrote, because it was killer!!! As for a reunion, at this point in time it's not likely to happen. I even considered getting fresh blood in, but it would not be the same.
All that being said, I am working on new music, which could be considered and evolution of worms... you have been warned!!!
Transfer the last necrotic words and giga wishes of yours to the readers of Encomium. Thank you!
- Thanks to you and Encomium for your support of GIGABASTARDS, Bloodbucket and the worldwide metal scene!!! Stay proud, stay metal!!! Check out the following links for more info!!!