The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS -Bryan Herweg - Pelican - June 26th 2014



Post-rock, instrumental, progressive, heavy rock - call them what you will but it doesn't matter. Pelican have been at it for over a decade and their most recent album "Forever Becoming" saw some changes within the band and on the music front that have kept this band moving forward much to the delight of their fans. The band are about to hit Australia in July for a tour that is sure to be something not to be missed. We caught up with bass guitarist Bryan Herweg to discuss the tour and the album.

Andrew: How are you?


Bryan: Good, how are you doing?


Andrew: Good thanks! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, it's much appreciated.


Bryan: Yeah no problem.


Andrew: So what has Pelican been up to so far this year?


Bryan: Just doing a little bit of touring here and there and that's kinda about it actually, playing some shows. And enjoying the response from the new record and stuff like that.


Andrew: How are the fans responding to the new album?


Bryan: It's been great! I've been happy with it, it seems like people are receptive.


Andrew: Any difference between the latest album and previous stuff from the fans persepctive like are they thinking it's a better album or not as good as before or..?


Bryan: I've gotten a lot of postive comments from people honestly. I don't feel like there's as much criticism as usual so that's good so yeah it's been well received I think as far as I'm concerned haha!


Andrew: I've heard the album and it's maybe a bit darker and heavier than previous stuff. Was that something that was intended that way or was it a natural sort of progression?


Bryan: I think it was a natural progression. We had a different element as far as writing goes, a new guitar player. Trevor (de Brauw) and I, the other guitar player, wrote a lot more on this record together which we hadn't previously so yeah there was a little bit of other elements that made it a bit different.


Andrew: Obviously this was the first album without the founding guitarist Laurent (Schroeder-Lebec), how much of an impact did it have on the album writing?


Bryan: Well I think it had a pretty big effect on it because like I said, it gave Trevor and I a chance to really sit and write together which we hadn't done too much prior to this. And then Dallas (Thomas) our new guitar player came in to the studio and really helped put the icing on the cake so to speak and helped out a lot putting his two cents in. It took a little longer to write with Larry (Herweg) our drummer being in L.A. and we kinda took our time with it because of the change without Laurent so we just kinda wanted to slowly ease back into it.

Andrew: And how is Dallas as far as the writing and performing goes compared to your previous guitarist?


Bryan: As far as differences goes they definitely have different styles. I feel like Dallas stepped in perfectly, I felt it was seamless with him coming in. Dallas is a little more classically trained I guess you could say, I don't mean classically as in classical music but like he's a little more taught than the rest of us, we are all kinda self taught. Other than that I feel it's been pretty seamless, I don't see a huge difference except for little nuances here and there that I think we might hear. I don't know if the fans have really...I mean we've had fans that have not even realized that Laurent is not in the band anymore haha!


Andrew: Oh really?


Bryan: Yeah we had a guy come up and be like what happened to your guitar player? He looks totally different haha. So I was like well that's a different guy!


Andrew: I was going to ask whether fans have been receptive to Dallas but I guess not too many have noticed I guess which is surprising!


Bryan: Yeah totally surprising!


Andrew: You will be coming to Australia next month in July, what can we expect on this tour?


Bryan: Hopefully we live up to our name and give a good show. We're going to be doing a lot of the new stuff but we'll definitely touch on some old stuff.


Andrew: How many times have you been to Australia before?


Bryan: Just once. This trip will be my third time. I went and travelled with a friend of mine who was going to school down there. That's actually where we got the name "Australasia" from our first record so I was down there right around when we were writing our first record. So I have been there twice already but as band only once.


Andrew: And how was the previous expeience with the band?


Bryan: Oh it was phenomenal! We were surprised and happy with everything, the turnouts and just being down there. It's a beautiful country.


Andrew: Do you find the Aussie audiences much different from American audiences or European audiences?


Bryan: Yeah I feel like every country is a little bit different. It's almost 7 years ago now but as far as I remember, I remember people being very enthusiastic and that's all we want. We want people to get riled up and rowdy and have fun but I guess every country differs. Even here in the States every state differs but I remember being well received.

Andrew: When you perform live and because your music seems very conducive to improvisation, do you do a lot of improv on stage?


Bryan: No not really, we never have. I think people think that because we are an instrumental band that we improv and jam a lot but we don't. We really stick to what we write and how the record is, it's pretty much as close as we can get to the record. As you play songs over and over probably hundreds of times at this point, yeah things are gonna change a little bit and you might throw little fills in or little leads or whatever here and there that you didn't do before but as far as jamming things out, we don't do that. We're just not a jam band haha! Thank god haha!


Andrew: Haha! Well how does the writing process go then? How do you come up with ideas and put songs together and things like that?


Bryan: Typically it starts with one of us having an idea and kinda get a nice base for a song down and bring it to someone else. We tend to work in pairs a little bit, this record was definitely in pairs. And just kinda work through and try to build a song and bring it to everyone else and be hey what do you guys think of this? And we'll play it and then we'll kinda jam things out and see where the song goes and what is working and what is not working and then adding things to it. Typically the way the song starts out is not the way it ends up, with everyone's input it usually morphs into something a little different.


Andrew: I also wanted to know what kind of influences you have as far as the band and also personally as well. Who are your biggest influences and the reasons you started the band in the first place?


Bryan: Back in 2000 or even in 1999 when we started practicing together, We were big into Nuerosis, for me personally a huge influence and Godflesh, Goatsnake. Those heavier bands that were doing things that weren't tradditional metal. And then my brother and I were very much into the grunge scene when we were in high school, Soundgarden and stuff like that. That was all very big influences on us and even Tool back in the day and that's only to name a few and that's mainly for our music but musically we are kinda all over the place. A lot of local punk rock shows we were going to and seeing bands, everyone comes to Chicago so we got to see a lot of bands so there's just a ton of influences.

Andrew: Yeah obviously that whole grunge era influenced a lot of bands afterwards and I guess that's where the term 'post-rock' and all that stuff came from.


Bryan: Yeah you could say that. I still like to think that rock is here so I don't like to think rock is post rock.


Andrew: Yeah I know what you mean, labels can be very constrictive and people like to label things a certain way. So what's next for Pelican after the Aussie tour?


Bryan: We have a couple of festivals coming up and we are going to start writing immediately. We have an EP coming out, I don't know the release date off the top of my head but we have an EP coming out soon and we're just starting to write again so we're hoping to put out another record as soon as possible. We don't want to wait another 4 years.


Andrew: Yeah that's right because I would imagine being the last album was back in 2008 or 2009, the fans have been waiting quite a while for a new album to come out. I have a couple more questions that we try to ask everyone to see what your answers are. If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history what would it be?


Bryan: Haha wow that's a tough one! I would have to say The Cure - "Pornography".


Andrew: Why that album?


Bryan: It's one of my favorite records and I feel like no other record during that time sounded like that and I just think how different all their music is over the years. How it's changed and how they have gone into pop to just dark, depressing music and that for me is one of my all time favorite records. I feel that record is just so bizarre in a phenomenal way that I would love to have seen the thought process and what they were thinking about .


Andrew: And for you, what is the meaning of life?


Bryan: Haha wow some philosophy now! I don't know. I would love to just continue to say do what you love but that's just really cliched and cheesy because it doesn't seem to work out nowadays but I don't know. That's all I have done my whole life, continue to just try and work through all the bullshit and pretend that everything is working out great for you haha!


Andrew: You can only do what you can do and I think if you do what you love, I think that's the right direction. I think if you do what you love, you can't go wrong really.


Bryan: Yeah I guess as long as you have something that you love, I would say life and work and all that shit sucks but as long as you have somme sort of creative outlet or something that you love to do on the side is extremely important so you can get away from all the bullshit.


Andrew: Yeah exactly! For me personally music is a big thing and I think doing stuff like talking to you guys and things like that, that's my thing and obviously music is your big thing so yeah it's all cool.


Bryan: Yeah I mean life otherwise kinda sucks haha!


Andrew: What else are you going to do? Haha!


Bryan: Haha yeah! If I didn't have music I don't know what I would be doing.


Andrew: Well it's been a pleasure chatting to you and we look forward to seeing you in Australia next month so thanks again!


Bryan: Alright great man, great talking to you.



Bryan spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe June 2014





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