Finland’s Benothing made my ears prick up recently when I heard their debut EP Temporal Bliss Surrealms for the first time. Since then, the band’s twisted death metal vision has been a frequent go to for me. As usual, having found a new record that I love, I wanted to talk to the people who made it. K.T. and V.V. from the band were kind enough to answer some of my questions about the band and their music. Read on…
First of all, who is Benothing and what does each member contribute to the band?
K.T: Benothing is M.F. guitar, A.G. vocals and bass, K.T. guitar and V.V. drums
Members do contribute in many ways. For our debut EP I brought most of the raw ideas and riffs to begin with, but all the arrangements have been done as a group, so the final outcome is affected very much by us all. M.F. played bass on the EP, but has since moved to guitar after A.G. taking the bass duties together with vocals. V.V. is behind the recording, mixing and mastering. He is also the one behind our surreal lyrics.
I love your new EP Temporal Bliss Surrealms. How happy are you with the result and how has the reception been so far?
K.T: Thank you! I am very pleased with the result. As time passes by, it probably feels that some things could be done differently, but recording always reflects the time and mood it was made, so there is no point to worry about results later. Better to leave recording unreleased, if it doesn’t feel and sound right. Some of the best parts for me on the EP are the “accidents” and mistakes we decided to keep.
Reception seems to be quite good, haven’t seen any bashing yet. Although that would be fine too. I believe there’s something done right if recording gets both praise from some and hate from others. I’m very pleased that the EP seems to get some “crossover” attention also from doom and sludge side, not only from a strict death metal audience.
V.V: Of course there’s stuff that you would want to do again or make slightly different but if you head on that road you’ll probably never finish anything haha! This is especially true on the post-production side of things. You know, mixing and so on. You just have to let it go at some point. It’s never finished, only abandoned! But I’m quite happy with the end result. It’s full-on DIY as it was planned to be.
I’m getting some Asphyx vibes from your music, some Morbid Angel and maybe a little Demilich in there too somehow. What have been some of your main musical influences?
K.T: We didn’t have any discussion about bands we should sound like when we began. Influences come from various sources, be it then death/black/doom metal, hardcore punk, prog or something completely different. To name some influential bands on Benothing’s sound, I would say Celtic Frost, Venom, Autopsy, Entombed, Black Sabbath, Grotesque, Darkthrone etc. Morbid Angel could definitely be on that list too. I’m personally listening to a lot of non-metal music too.
I’ve actually heard Benothing compared to Demilich once before and take it as a compliment. I don’t think we sound the same, but if we have even some of their uniqueness, we are on the right path.
V.V: My personal taste varies from old school rock to somewhat progressive pop so “influences” come from all over. Similarities are pretty much unintentional but of course some stuff will shine through. Drumming-wise I like stuff from the late great Sean Reinert (RIP), Ian Paice and Gavin Harrison for example. And the already mentioned Venom has had a big influence as a whole.
How did the band first come together?
K.T: Me and V.V began to spend time at rehearsal place around 2017 first with much more simpler and faster noise. I had been thinking about working on some more gloomier, doomier and atmospheric music and at some point I suggested that we should try to create something heavy with the loose term “death metal”. I had some ideas and riffs we started working on and as I mentioned, my thought was first to play something quite slow and simple, but faster parts came in very naturally. We had been friends with M.F before, so when he heard about our project, he offered himself for bass. His skills and arrangements on bass (and guitar) brought the material to the next level and it started to feel that we might have something worth working on. We didn’t still have a vocalist at that point and we really wished for a unique approach to vocals on material we had. Luckily me and V.V decided to grab a few beers after rehearsals and met A.G for the first time at the local pub. We started chatting with the fellow and it turned out we had similar thoughts and ideas about music. Took some time to gather in our rehearsal spot, but we kept working on the material and sent demos to A.G for vocal arrangements.
How long did it take to put the songs on the EP together and what’s your songwriting process like?
K.T: It feels that it took forever to even get the songs ready for recording. Actually some ideas were still left open for recording sessions. It took some time to understand what we are trying to achieve and songs kept evolving step by step. We did a lot of demoing and really focused on arrangements and overall feel. We got rid of a lot of riffs and ideas that didn’t feel right or broke down the atmosphere. Arrangements got more complicated during the time, but our intention itself never was to write “complicated” music. Most of the ideas are actually quite simple, but we appreciate music that stands the test of time and reveals something new even after multiple listens.
Recording process was (at least for me) very relaxed as we recorded at our rehearsal place where V.V has built a decent studio. Guitar, bass and drums were recorded live on the floor and additional guitars, vocals and everything else on separate sessions. Mixing and mastering took a while, but we didn’t have any hurry with this project.
V.V: Yeah we surely did our “homework” on arrangements and I think it paid off in the end. Lots of little twists here and there. And basically no choruses hah! Have to give credit to our vocalist A.G. for the performance. The dude basically came straight away to record his vocals in the studio. We didn’t rehearse even once with him before hitting the record button. We kinda arranged the vocals on the spot which wasn’t that easy all the time. Recordings of the vocals took a bit long ‘cause the pandemic shit came down just as we we’re in the studio. But on the other hand it freed us from any time restrictions and we could focus on crafting the EP in peace.
Everlasting Spew Records release a lot of good music. What attracted you to working with the label?
K.T: We sent a pre-mastered version to some of our personal contacts. A.G had been in contact with Tito, who got excited about the song and offered to release the EP through Everlasting Spew. Tito and Giorgio seemed very professional and easy to communicate and work with since the beginning, so we decided to go with them. They also work very hard on promotion and that is just perfect for an unknown band like us. Worst case scenario was that we would release the EP on cassette ourselves, upload it on Bandcamp and have ten friends listen to it haha.
The EP has a CD and a cassette version. How much of an input did the band have in choosing the formats?
K.T: V.V and M.F are cassette enthusiasts and they insisted the EP be released on tape. Of course we were hoping for vinyl too and that will actually be released in 2022 too. The delay is because of the pressing issues all over.
V.V: Yeah a tape was pretty much a deal breaker for me. No tape, no go haha! Of course all of this meant more work for me because all of those formats need a dedicated master and some tweaking in the mixes too. Vinyl and tape versions also include something that other formats don’t. Artwork was a bitch to figure out for every format too but we managed to pull it off.
What were the first musical influences that first motivated you to pick up your instruments and start playing?
K.T: Very basic answer for a 90’s kid, but definitely Metallica and especially their Ride the Lightning album. For Whom the Bell Tolls was probably one of the first songs I tried to learn. I was also often watching Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock and some Iron Maiden concerts on VHS. Those made a huge impact on me as a kid.
V.V: I started with Deep Purple and Hurriganes (from cassettes of course!). Mr. Paice has a great feel and groove and Remu from Hurriganes is just.. well Remu! Sings and drums poorly but is still great. Dave Grohl’s drumming on the Queens of Stone Age was one of the major reasons I picked up the drumsticks at the age of 13-14. The fills in “No one knows” sounded so cool. And they still do. Must not forget Igor Cavalera or Dave Lombardo. Those old school hard-hitters appeal to me.
For our readers, what’s one book and one record they might not be familiar with that you’d recommend they check out?
K.T: I’m going with the reading/listening now approach with this one:
Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson. Interesting and amusing book about the human mind and reprogramming it.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away. Great album to clean your ears.
V.V: I suck at reading anything. I might have had a book next to my bed for six months and I still haven’t finished it hah. So no reasonable recommendations from here. As for the record I would go with “The Return of Bruno” by Bruce Willis. After some adventures at the Nakatomi building every Christmas the man has time for some bluesy stuff.
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
V.V: Buy records, discover new stuff with an open mind and attend live shows! Treat nature with respect and don’t be ignorant a**holes.
interview by Tom Boatman
Thanks to K.T. and V.V. for their time. Temporal Bliss Surrealms is available now on CD, cassette and digital download from Everlasting Spew Records. Follow the band on social media to keep up to date with future news and releases.
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre**