[Interviews] Of Feather and Bones – « Despair and strength »

Embrace the wretched flesh is Of Feather and Bone‘s first album and it ranks easily as one of this year most powerful release for hardcore. With a mix of influences ranging from 90’s metalcore to crust and with some death metal thrown into the mix, the trio has successfully transferred the energy of a live show into a high kick of a recording. After being reviewed by yours truly, the band accepted to answer some questions to get to know them better as they continue their journey.

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Could you tell the readers who you are, where do you come from and how the band was formed ?

Alvino (vocals, bass): My name is Alvino and I sing and play bass in the band. We are all from Colorado and all live in Denver. Of feather and bone was mainly formed by Dave (guitar) and Preston (drums). They have been in a few bands together before and have a great chemistry together. In their last form of a band played a show and didn’t have a bass player, I asked if I could join along. After that and a lot of changes and writing, the three of us went to Salt Lake City to record our first ep « false healer » with Andy Patterson.

Where does the name of the band come from ? Considering your choice of artwork I would assume there was some kind of spiritual connotation to it.

Alvino: The name was pretty much formed by all of us sitting around shooting ideas to one another. We wanted the name to not be already taken, obviously. But when « Of feather and bone » came up, it clicked for all of us. Something different. It has dark connotations to it and allows for interpretation on different levels. I wouldn’t necessarily consider it to be a « spiritual » name per se, but more so holds a meaning of despair and strength, which is reflected in the lyrics.

The artwork by Dylan Garrett Smith is very distinctive. Did you bring ideas and suggestion to the artist or was he inspired by your music ?

Alvino: We couldn’t be happier with the way the layout and artwork turned out for « embrace the wretched flesh ». We’ve been working with Dylan for the past three years. He’s done a lot of artwork for merch for us and logos and other projects. He’s not only an amazing artist but one of the best friends we’ve made doing this band. When it came to deciding what to do for artwork for this and the title of the album was decided on, it was an easy decision that Dylan should do the artwork. We knew we wanted to take the approach we did for the vinyl pressing of « false healer ». Released on hydrogen Man records out of philly, Dylan used a photography piece of his to really make an awesome cover for that record. When we discussed what we wanted for this new record, we saw Dylan had some new photograph projects and collaborated with him on the ideas. The finished product was an amazing photo that he took along with his partner who is an equally as talented artist.

Unlike a lot of contemporary over produced album, Embrace the wretched flesh retains most of the human energy and the natural feel of a live band. How did you achieve this result in the studio ?

Alvino: We love recording with Andy because it’s fun, honest and raw. We record with the same equipment we use live. Dave records in the same room with his amps and cabinets and Andy captures what we sound like live in that regard. We also do this with the bass recording. With his input and our being prepared, we always come out of there with something we’re extremely happy with.

I hear a lot of 90s metalcore (Deadguy, early Converge) in your music, did these bands influenced you and do you feel a connection between their style of chaotic hardcore and your music ?

Alvino: I feel a connection to a certain extent. Dave especially, has roots in 90’s hardcore. Both of us being a little older, we were around for some of those days and being introduced into hardcore and heavier music a little by that style. Bands like Turmoil, Disembodied, etc are bands we love, but don’t exactly aim to sound like when we write. When we write it’s very organic. It pulls from styles of hardcore, grind, crust, d-beat, black metal and death metal. All styles filled with a ton of bands we all love. I’m sure the 90’s style of hardcore has ingrained itself into our brains that it’s natural to take some influence from there and considering when we’re on the road a lot of 90’s hardcore is on heavy rotation on the stereo.

Do you feel that playing with a darker tone communicates better the emotion you’re trying to convey through your music or is it more of an aesthetic choice similar to your choice of album cover ?

Alvino: When a lot of the riffs and arrangements were written and finalized for the record, it had such sad and dark tones that it made writing lyrics to it much more compatible. The lyrics to this record totally convey a message that is from a dark place that I pull from and the music compliments it. We don’t aim for an aesthetic, it kind of happens naturally on its own. We aim to keep this band heavy, fast, violent and dark and when we write, if that comes out, cool. If not, then so be it.

Your songs have a lot of mosh parts, do you compose them to incite a reaction from the audience or to make your music more aggressive ?

Alvino: Much like the dark tones, the heavy parts also occur naturally. If we can bang our heads to it when we play it and it makes us pumped about the song, then we keep it. Our focus is never aimed at how people will react to it. It’s mainly, if we’re happy with the song, then we hope other people will be about it as much as we are if not more. If kids want to bang their heads up front with us or mosh around, we’re down for all of it.

Do you have any intention of playing in Europe next year ?

Alvino: We do plan to indeed! No exact time is set right now but we’ll be out there for sure!

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