The Wisconsin doom metal group Asatta are featured this week in Meet The Band, our weekly feature that gives you the opportunity to get to know a new or up-and-coming group. Asatta’s full-length debut Spiraling Into Oblivion was just released. Bassist Joe Arenas introduces us to Asatta.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Asatta.
Joe Arenas: Neil (drummer) formed Asatta in late 2011 with Jay (guitar) coming on board shortly after. Sean (vocals) and I were next with Kara (keys) being the final piece for us to be what we are today.
Describe the songwriting and recording process of Spiraling Into Oblivion.
We write as a group. We start many practices with a jam, which we record. And many times songs will develop off those jams. Or someone will bring in an idea which can be anything from a riff to a complete song on their instrument and everyone fills in their parts as we jam on that initial idea. We like to take an organic approach to writing. If you try to force a song to go in a particular direction it tends to sound forced, so we put value in the “vibe” of the songs we write.
We went into Howl Street Recordings in Milwaukee with Shane Hochstetler in July of last year to record. Shane brought out the best in us by letting us be ourselves, but also pushed us to make the best record possible. We went in totally prepared since we’d been playing the songs for a while. Which was great since the more time you have to play with a song the more interesting you can make it.
Laying down tracks was done over a four or five-day period and that was followed by months of mixing, mastering, artwork, and everything else that goes into making a record. We’re excited to finally have it out on September 2!
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
There are many standout memories, such as having John Liedtke and Maddie Frank join us in the studio. Both of them added amazing contributions to the tracks “She Died Long Ago” and “Breath Of Kali.” Both were great people and great to work with.
How would you characterize the album’s style/sound?
Our roots are deep into doom/stoner metal. Spiraling Into Oblivion is our attempt to expand upon the spectrum of doom metal with incredibly heavy groove riffs and vocals that not only soar melodically, but dip into the depths of sludge as well.
What has been your most memorable live show?
Opening for Ufomammut last year! If anyone is not familiar with them I highly recommend checking them out. They came to the States from Italy for their first U.S. tour and the total experience of that night was pure magic. Great people, great music and flowing drinks. It doesn’t get any better than that!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We’re always setting up local shows, but we have a great three day run coming up for the official release party of Spiraling into Oblivion. September 16 at the Wisco-Madison (WI), the release party at The Metal Grill in Cudahy (WI) on September 17, and September 18 at Reggie’s in Chicago. Our friends in Blunt from Dekalb, Illinois and Order of the Jackal from Madison will be joining us for these shows.
We’re also looking at longer runs for 2017 with both east and west coast tours being considered as well as a possible European tour if we can work it out.
What’s the heavy music scene like in Milwaukee?
There’s a thriving music scene in Milwaukee and Wisconsin, for that matter. Name a genre and it’s not hard to find a band killing it here. The heavy scene is no different.
What’s in your current heavy musical rotation?
Lots of Big Business, Elder, Clutch, Graves at Sea, Purson, Kadaver, Zebras, Black Cobra, The Budos Band, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats, just to name a few.
Anything else you’d like to mention/plug/promote?
We can’t say enough about Shane Hochstetler! He’s the inspirational sound engineer at Howl Street Recordings and amazing drummer with the bands Zebras and Bad Grades. Do yourself a favor and check out what ever he’s involved in. Thanks, and keep it heavy!
(interview published September 3, 2016)