The week’s featured Meet The Band artist is the British group Screaming Beast. After a couple of EPs, they are releasing their full-length debut album Our New Narrative Of Hate. Vocalist Anton War, guitarists Arun Kamath and Rory Vallely, bassist Jason Hartley-Smith and drummer Dan Mucs introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Screaming Beast.
Anton and Dan got together in 2013. They were in different bands but dug each other’s styles and wanted to work together. The original idea was to have a bunch of musicians that could come in and out of the band almost like session players. That’s how good the metal scene is in Manchester! We are blessed with some really great musicians that can jump into any project at any time to help out.
By 2016 things had moved on and Arun and Rory were more like full-time members playing gigs etc and in 2017 Jason joined on bass and we had a band. The evolution from two members to a full five-piece has been organic and it does not feel forced.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for Our New Narrative Of Hate.
We have a really odd setup as Dan is based in Sweden and the rest of the band is in Manchester, UK. So a lot of the songs are written with us all sat in our studios on our own writing riffs or songs and sending them back and forth to each other.
Arun is the keeper of the music, he does all the cleaning up and putting into a working format and keeps an eye on all of us to make sure we don’t misbehave once they are in pre-production format. Then it goes to Dan who weaves his magic and makes it sound like Screaming Beast. It doesn’t matter what we send him, nursery rhymes, doodles, fast food, anything, it all comes back with the Screaming Beast sound!
Once everything is in order then we re-record any parts that need it and generally tighten things up. When that is done we bounce it back to Dan who does the mixing and then we spend a few weeks listening and making adjustments as we need. The great thing about working in the 21st century is that we all have studios and this gives us the ability to make as many changes or experiments as we feel like and to ensure that we do not disappear up our own behinds we just put a “must be done by” date on it and we stick to it.
How has your style evolved from your EPs?
I think we have gained confidence and evolved both musically and as a band. We have gone from a core of two people (Anton and Dan) to five full-time members who contribute both musically and help out running the band.
Stylistically having five people with such diverse tastes in music now contributing can only bring more magic to our sound but we have to keep an eye on Jason to make sure he does not take us off into some psychedelic jazz odyssey direction with funk undertones.
What inspired the album title?
It just felt right, as in many respects it represents the journey of the band. It’s our story, with bits of everyone in there. It also seems to chime with what we see happening in the world.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
Lyrically Screaming Beast draws a lot from personal narratives, human frustrations that are felt by many of us. Each track explores its own theme, from social inequality to traumatic experiences, all of which are entirely universal and relatable to our audience. There are also hints of anarchy, contempt for the wider system and references to the brotherhood and belonging that metal provides.
There are some notes regarding the lyrical direction which will be available on our CD Baby page when the album goes live on March 23rd.
Why did you decide to go the independent route for the album release?
Our creative control is crucial to us, we don’t want our sound to be dictated by outside sources. We want to be able to walk down any musical avenue and have the freedom to explore what we want to say next. From a journey point of view, it’s certainly more interesting to do it ourselves and to make all the mistakes.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
To move the band forward and take some steps to having music as our full-time jobs. To be honest we would be happy if our music just paid for itself and we could tour a couple of times a year. But none of us would say no to music being our full-time jobs, touring, recording and generally having a blast.
What has been your most memorable Screaming Beast live show?
We played the Sophie Festival at Rebellion in Manchester with a bunch of amazing bands (Evil Scarecrow, Footprints In The Custard, The Heretic Order, Prognosis, Skeletal Damage, Terralith, Atorc, Winterfire and Chainsaw Penis) for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was our first outing with this lineup.
The Sophie Festival and the Foundation are big deals to the metal community in England, especially Manchester and the North West of England as she was a girl who was beaten to death in 2007 for being different so we all take part and the proceeds go to the foundation. It was such a great gig as the crowd were really into all the music and that gave us the energy to go the extra mile, it’s so cool when the crowd and band vibe of each other. It was an amazing lineup with every band giving 100 percent!
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We are hopefully playing a festival in June and we are talking to various people about doing more live shows but it’s all in negotiation at the moment. Rest assured the Beast will be amongst you soon.
How did you get started in music?
Anton War: I heard Iron Maiden and Metallica.
Dan Mucs: It all started at age 6 with a recorder in primary school, then from age 8 I started going to a “proper” music school playing the flute (which I did until I was around 17/18), picked up the guitar at age 14, drums at age 16, then all downhill from there.
Jason Hartley-Smith: I started playing Piano at age 5 and moved to clarinet and then at 13 bass guitar. My family are very musical so it was easy to explore that side of myself.
Rory Vallely: I think I asked for a guitar for my 14th birthday or something, which was unsurprising as I was brought up hearing a lot of guitar based music. It was a pretty awful red strat copy, but at least it wasn’t a bass.
Arun Kamath: I had been learning many different instruments as a child, and the musical bug just bit me! I picked up guitar aged 10 or 11, and pretty much haven’t put it down since!
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Anton: Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Velvet Revolver, Avenged Sevenfold, Bleeding Through
Dan: Metallica, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Sepultura, Tool, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, pretty much the usual suspects.
Jason: Kiss, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Roy Harper, Steve Hillage. You could not really get more predictable if you tried. I guess the common theme is melody and groove. If you got that then you got me.
Rory: Meshuggah had a huge influence on me musically, along with Gojira, In Flames, At The Gates, Death, and later Neurosis. When I first picked up a guitar though I was all about Rage Against The Machine, they have so many brilliantly simple riffs.
Arun: I was into indie rock and punk, and grew up on Indian music. Actually started playing the guitar because of bands like Oasis and Stereophonics – I’m not ashamed to admit that. However, one day I heard a Pantera song, and my life was changed forever! I then started listening to stuff like Pantera, Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, the list goes on. Early inspirations on the guitar would include Dimebag, Slash, Joe Perry, Angus/Malcolm Young and a whole raft of others.
What drew you to metal?
Anton: Metal provided an escape growing up that I desperately needed.
Dan: I still recall seeing and instantly being hooked on Metallica “Enter Sandman” music video on TV when it came out in 1991, I think that was that.
Jason: It was the only thing loud enough to drown out my internal dialogue! Metal music is full of life, intrigue, joy and passion. Metal music will surprise you both with the ingenuity of the songwriting and the emotion that it allows you to express or to feel. It is life.
Rory: The epic riffs. And also that deal I had with Beelzebub.
Arun: It was a complete package. It had great musicality, technicality, ferocity, often a strong message in the music. I just loved the sound of it, it spoke to me on many levels. The sense of community that comes with metal is second to none too; you meet pretty much any metal head and you instantly have quite a lot in common. No matter how outcast I felt elsewhere, I knew I had a home in metal.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Anton: System of a Down
Dan: Can’t even remember really, probably watching some local bands in my hometown.
Jason: Iron Maiden’s World Slavery Tour 1984 was my first “big” concert, but we had this great local pub with a big shed out the back where they would have bands playing every weekend and they did not seem to mind serving me beer (I was 14), which was nice of them. (laughs)
Rory: Metallica at Leeds Festival I think. My Mum had to come along with me, I remember that much!
Arun: It was either Papa Roach (not the most metal answer, I know, but bear with me!) or Fear Factory. Both in 2000.
How’s the metal scene in Manchester these days?
Manchester has an astounding metal scene, to the point that you expect an unsigned band to be good and they are. There is such good competition between bands in Manchester that it encourages you to be better both as a musician and as a songwriter. There is also great camaraderie and we all jump in and help each other in whatever way we can.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Anton: Adrenaline Mob, Device, Fire From the God’s, Leprous and Devildriver.
Dan: Killswitch Engage, At The Gates, Feared, Van Halen, Cher.
Jason: Twelve Foot Ninja, Black Label Society, Kings X, Frank Zappa, Evil Scarecrow.
Rory: Deftones, Celtic Frost, M83, Old Man Gloom, Rosetta.
Arun: Exodus, Sylosis, Decapitated, Nevermore, Skyharbour.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Check out our YouTube channel for our new video for “Despair” from our debut album Our New Narrative of Hate. The album is available on all digital platforms CD from CD Baby.
(interview published March 24, 2018)