Satan’s Satyrs: Band Of The Day

By on 30 September 2013


Spinning Satan’s Satyrs’ awesome debut album ‘Wild Beyond Belief!’ is perhaps the most fun you can have without resorting to wildly dangerous (and possibly illegal) activities. The record’s 8 tracks are positively seething with a frenzied, untamed energy that takes everything you love about doom metal and punk rock and smashes them together in a glorious, technicolour explosion that will leave you begging for more (it was streamed in full on this very site last week, in case you missed it).

The band were already turning heads back in 2010 with a demo full of dirty, raucous doom-punk, and the follow-up EP ‘Lucifer Lives’ was like peering into an alternate universe where Jus Oborn somehow wound up fronting Venom and ‘Easy Rider’ was a part of the national curriculum. In other words, it totally fucking jams, and is well worth the hours you’ll spend trawling eBay for it.

Unlike some of their contemporaries, the band’s acid fried B-movie aesthetic feels less like a tired cliché and more of a real labour of love. Sure, these days you could frisbee a Black Sabbath record out of your window and hit approximately 12 supposedly ‘retro’ sounding bands with it, but Satan’s Satyrs manage to distance themselves from the hordes of ’70s obsessed chancers by exuding a wild, sweaty, meth smoking biker gang vibe that feels seriously unhinged and genuinely dangerous. The band have achieved the seemingly impossible, by taking a host of familiar influences and turning them into something completely fresh and engaging.

We caught up with frontman Clayton “Claythanas” Burgess to talk about his love of B-movies, how the band came to support Electric Wizard at Roadburn and why the band’s next album is going to blow our minds to smithereens…

WORDS: Kez Whelan

WHO ARE THEY: Satan’s Satyrs
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Virginia, United States
FOR FANS OF: Electric Wizard, Midnight, Venom
LATEST RELEASE: Satan’s Satyrs / Ohmwar Split (2013)

How did Satan’s Satyrs get started, where did you form, how did you meet and when did you begin?
Claythanas: “Back in 2009, a friend and I were just hanging out in our basements, watching horror films, listening to Black Flag 45’s on 33′. Listening to a fair amount of Electric Wizard, Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General, all  that sort of stuff, and it just kinda came naturally out of that. We had time to kill, we had the inspiration right in front of us, so we just decided to form the band. We had nothing to lose really!”

Did you have a specific intent or sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow as you played together?
Claythanas: “In the beginning, to put it as bluntly as possible, I wanted the speed and aggression of Black Flag, but I wanted the psychedelic, downtuned, horror infused atmosphere of Electric Wizard, and I just wanted to combine the two into one band, really. We were listening to those records, they’re still two of my favourite bands, and I always was fascinated by the similarities and the differences, and the space in between. I feel like they’re both equal bands, they had so much in common, but so much different, that I just wanted to explore that area.”

You were selected by Jus Oborn to play at his event at Roadburn last year, that must have been quite an honour! How did it feel?
Claythanas: “It was just fantastic really, I can’t think of a better band to be asked to support. No bullshit, you know! I mean, maybe Black Sabbath, but you know… I’ve always been a huge fan, and this band wouldn’t have got started without their influence, that’s for sure. We’re definitely indebted to them for eternity!”

What are your ambitions for Satan’s Satyrs?
Claythanas: “I think about that sometimes, and I’m not totally sure myself. Like I said, when the band started, it was just two friends hanging out in the basement, but a lot has changed since then. I mean, we played Roadburn, and that was a huge turning point for me. I mean, playing over there in Europe, the crowds are fantastic, the people are fantastic over there, it kinda woke us all up and made us realise that there is an audience out there who appreciate this kind of stuff. I think where we are now, we have our fantasies, but we kinda keep our expectations low and see what happens, you now. I mean, in our fantasies, we wish we were up there with Black Sabbath playing the California Jam to a couple hundred thousand people, but you know, no expectations, we’ll just see what happens!”

What is it that appeals to you about the B-movie aesthetic?
Claythanas: “It’s another thing that I think about from time to time, and I get asked this a lot… I usually can’t come up with a good answer… It’s just… I dunno! It’s my vibe, you know, it’s what I dig. It removes yourself from your current time and place. You can get immersed in it, it does detach you from reality a bit, just ‘cos it’s a different era. You can watch a million films and it kinda becomes natural to you. And, at this point, it really is natural, it’s just what I like and what I do, I don’t really have a choice anymore! Instead of watching cable tv or whatever, I’ll just put on a film, and it’s what I soak in, and what I put out. Ever since I got into Sabbath when I was like, 10, there’s always been an interest in darker themes, the occult, witchcraft, that sorta thing. And I think the 60s and 70s were the golden era for those themes in film. You can find 100 films on that subject, then 100 more, and 100 more, it’s endless really.”

With this whole ‘retro’ revival thing that’s going on, there seem to be a fair amount of older individuals trying to emulate the past, resulting in fairly boring sounding bands. On the other hand, you have younger bands (like yourself) who sound much fresher and more invigorating, even though you weren’t alive during the time a lot of the bands you’re taking influence from where alive. Do you think that’s to do with trying to create your own vision of a certain aesthetic rather than reliving the past?
Claythanas: “Yeah, I think so, we grasp at the past, but inevitably we do it in our own contemporary way. I don’t think it’s entirely possible to detach the contemporary from what we do, but we’re trying really hard, you know! And I think in our quest, we kinda get our own sound, our own vibe. I mean, the stuff back then, is still exciting for us, but…. we go after that era, that vibe, when we come to film, or music, but we do it in our own fucked up way, and I don’t think it could be any other way really.”

What’s been your best moment as a band?
Claythanas: “Without question, Roadburn! Before Roadburn, we hadn’t done too much… we’d done shows, local shows and tiny tours, but playing Roadburn, to a European audience, was just fantastic. I mean, the halls were packed, the people went really wild for it. People were cheering between songs, in the States people just clap, you know? But over there people were going nuts! Since the begining, even since the first demo tape, we’ve always had pockets of people in Europe who’ve really appreciated it, you know, like would spread it around different countries, and it was really great to finally let some of them hear what was up, and play for them… like I said, it changed the view of the band for me, and it changed my perspective of what we were capable of. We’re still riding high on that good time, and we wanna see how far we can take that excitement that’s been generated over there!”

What’s next for you guys?
Claythanas: “We’re going to the studio this Monday, actually. Yeah, we’ve got a deal with Bad Omen records over there, and Trash King is handling our production in the states, but it’s the first time we’re going into a real studio in the band’s history, and my personal experience, so it’s gonna be wild! We’re going in Monday to do our next full-length, our next LP. I’m really excited for this material, it’s totally improved from the last record, I mean the last record I recorded by myself over 2 years ago, and now we have a full lineup, and a lot has changed, you know… It’s sometimes weird to hear what people have to say about the band at this point, because what people know as the band and what we know as the band are two different things, and I’m glad that we’re finally getting in the studio and we get to put out something new so people can hear our new sound and know what’s up. We’re working on European dates for Feb, early 2014, I can’t say too much, and I’m sure there’s still a lot that needs to be figured out, but it would be just perfect for us… It’s about damn time! We’re gonna get a new record out, and I’d love to tour Europe and let people hear the new vibe!”


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