INTERVIEW: Rich Robertson – Bohemian Grove

You don’t have to look far to hear or read someone spouting about how good the British music scene currently is. I mean, you’re literally reading an article all about that very fact right now! The statement is true though, and rough stalwarts BOHEMIAN GROVE are a fantastic example of that fact. Representing the heavier side of the British underground, BOHEMIAN GROVE bring a Deathcore sound that is rich with grooves and shatteringly powerful riffs. Guitarist Rich Roberston sat down with us to talk about the release of the fourth music video from their debut album Hollow, as well as how the band channel their creativity and how difficult it can be to balance a full time job with an erupting creative outlet.

How did BOHEMIAN GROVE start?

Rich: So me and our guitarist Jonny [Lang] were writing some stuff outside of the band already and our vocalist, Spencer [Costello], got in touch with us one day out of the blue. He was in a band called WITH ONE LAST BREATH and had done some stuff with them already, and yeah, he stopped performing with them and he got in touch, we knew he was a sick heavy vocalist and we were all over it. We already some bits written cause we were already in bands before and it just took off from there. That was back around about 2013.

What was the first set of material BOHEMIAN GROVE released after forming?

Rich: Eternal Ruin was our first EP, and then we release Silence Of Decay was released just after that; I think it might’ve been just a few months after. We just have loads of material and we just out the first one out really quickly to make a big splash, so we followed up with Silence Of Decay, which was kinda like part 2.

Did you get your first big tour off the back of those EPs?

Rich: We just did loads of odd shows. At the time we didn’t have any real management or booking. We were just shows here and there, sometimes going further afield. But we went on tour with SILENT SCREAMS a couple years back and that was kinda like our first proper, proper tour. That was awesome that.

What was it like going from recording EPs to your full-length Hollow?

Rich: Well to be honest it was a pretty lengthy process. We started putted songs together and decided to do a full length and we really wanted to sound a lot more defined. So we really took the time to put things together and then out of the blue we got offered a massive European tour with ASKING ALEXANDRIA, and we wanted to get it out before then. So we just had this HUGE drive to finish it, it was quite an interesting process to be honest cause it was slow, slow, then really fast having to write and record eight songs before we toured!

How did you land a tour like that?!

Rich: Our Manager, an absolute legend called Gino Scarim, does sound and front of house for those guys. It was us, and SILENT SCREAMS, another band he manages, got on the tour via him really.

Some bands draw a line between recording and playing live. When writing, do you think about how the music will translate to the stage?

Rich: Oh yeah definitely. It’s a 50/50 split to be honest. We get together to write and we come up with cool sounding things for the CD but then we also meet up, and we’re like, right, it’s gonna be a live show, what can we do to make it sound awesome.

How excited are you for the release of the music video for Refuse To Be A Martyr?

Rich: Absolutely excited. I think its one of the best tracks on the album and the video we got done by a guy called Shawn Hodson, who is also amazing, is absolutely brilliant! It’s one of our best! It’s just a really cool video and track and I can’t wait.

How do you come up with concepts for your music videos?

Rich: To be honest with you, one of our members Paul [Key], he’s really into this stuff and he came up with a mega story-board and ideas for the setting and what we were going to do. Him and Shawn had that on lock down from day one. There’s loads of effort that goes into it. Obviously you turn up and do what you gotta do and sometimes things can happen, but there’s a lot of planning that’s goes in.

What’s the story behind the new video?

Rich: So the video is essentially supposed to be, the representation of the song is about the powers that be in the world today and control. You can see it everyday in the news and stuff like that, but the video is about someone getting possessed by a force that they can’t see but they can feel, and they begin to go insane and it’s the idea of being possessed and controlled by the powers that be without knowing about it.

With the release of another music video, is it fair to say you like to give a visual representation to your music?

Rich: Yeah, this might be our fourth music video. We put one out ages ago last year that we did ourselves just in a practise room and that was for a song called Demons. Then we did a song for They’ll Never Speak, then one for Go Alone and now one for Refuse To Be A Martyr so it’s our fourth one now, yeah I’d say we really like representing our music visually! We’re all quite creative people and there’s always ideas going round the table and in this day and age you have a great platform to put stuff out there and putting it in front of people. It’s always on the cards for us, what new content to do, and a music video is just a natural choice.

What’s the plan for the future of BOHEMIAN GROVE?

Rich: To be honest with you, we are panning on putting a new EP out in the future but that’s not really in the short term. We wanna just get out there, play loads of sick shows and try and get onto some great tours and just really take this as far as it’ll go. Thankfully we’ve got really good management behind so hopefully that’ll happen sooner rather than later.

How difficult is it to balance full time work and investing significant time into a creative outlet?

Rich: It can be difficult, its all about motivation at the end of the day. Some days there’ll be not much going on, the band will be quiet or you’ll be focused on work but other times you’ll just find yourself motivated because things will be picking up, it’ll be happening for you and when you’ve had great opportunities like we have it does motivate you and you just find the time to balance things.

Any word on what’s on the horizon for next year?

Rich: We’ve got a couple of irons in the fire for next year with regard to tours and some weekenders. Then we’ll be getting stuck right in and seeing where these tours take us!

For more information on Bohemian Grove like their official page on Facebook.