After describing their ferocious sound in a review last week, guitarist BJ Rochinich and bassist Joel Wadsworth of Ancient Shores were both kind enough to answer some questions. Keep reading to learn more about one of the loudest bands on the loudest label, A389 Records. Wilderness, jazz, and busted heads; we’ve got it all:
Mister Growl: How did you decide on the name Ancient Shores and what does it mean to you?
Joel: The name to me means that we are able to try different sounds and not stick to one specific niche. From the beginning, the band has always been trying to be a little "off" and non-conventional sounding. I know I personally enjoy the fact that we don't have to stick to one specific sound to keep listeners engaged. It's very liberating to be able to walk into practice with an idea that is drastically different from the last idea presented and it be able to get fleshed out.
Mister Growl: Outside of music, what else has influenced your sound or approach to music?
BJ: I can not really substantiate anything other than "each other". I can bounce any idea off of anyone else in the band in person at practice, or by sending ideas through the internet, or by simply talking about parts whenever I see one of my bandmates in public. The amount of feedback and rate of response has helped me develop as a songwriter; I appreciate everyone for that. Having earned the trust of other musicians has been essential for me.
Joel: When we were writing for the 12" split I was spending a lot of time on a job out in the woods in the middle of nowhere. I was walking along hillsides for days and to help pass the time I'd constantly be humming chord progressions in my head. Due to nothing but repetition I was able to remember a good portion of progressions that wound up on the record. I'm sure a lot of great riffs didn't make it out of the woods though.
Mister Growl: How did your relationship with A389 develop?
BJ: Basically we sent them some music we had, and it went from there. Dom is great about listening to music; he loves music. If you watch the documentary piece about A389, you will see what I mean.
(Editor’s Note: This is ABSOLUTELY worth your time. - MG)
Mister Growl: What's the local music scene like in Morgantown, WV? How has your city/geography impacted the band?
BJ: It is a great scene. A variety of music styles and bands exist in the area, and surrounding areas as well. Members of bands in Morgantown moved elsewhere but still play in their respective 'Morgantown' bands. It is really a good place to be to play and see music. It is also in proximity to a lot of cities that get good tour packages. I can not really provide evidence where the geography has impacted the band's music, but being close to cities where music is a significant part of their culture is pretty, pretty great. Driving in a region dense with mountains worsens our fuel efficiency. I do like West Virginia very much, though.
Joel: I live about two hours south of Morgantown and Greg lives around an hour northwest. Being separated makes for very efficient practices when we all get together. They're more focused and there's a lot less bullshitting while we have our amps on since we don't get four practices in a week. For me it makes for shows mean a little more too. I don't get to see the guys that often so it's cool that when I do it pretty much always involves loud, awesome music.
Mister Growl: Most surprising album you love?
BJ: John Coltrane's Meditations is an album that I really enjoy that may surprise some. I think it has things that Coltrane did carefully, but at the same time it can not be diagnosed by just musical experts or just people who skim or skip around through a records content. It is polarizing in that people at both end of the spectrums of appreciation think its aimed right at them. Meditations should be experienced.
Joel: I don't really have any that would be surprising to me. Everyone's got their thing and music that's theirs. In terms of an album that caught me off guard and actually surprised me I'd probably have to go with Isis - Oceanic. That record completely changed the way I thought about music and the creation of music. At that moment it surprised me because I wasn't listening to longer drawn out pieces of music. In the overall context of time it's not surprising I love that album because it's perfect.
Mister Growl: How receptive have listeners from outside the heavy music community been to your band?
BJ: I personally can not even tell. We have great friends with eclectic tastes that support us no matter what. It's possible they hate the tunes, but they would not tell us. I think our friends and anyone that does listen to us sense that we love writing music and at least work at it. Our friends and relatives are amazing supporters.
Joel: Yeah, that's tough. I don't know how many people who listen to music outside of heavier styles would be actively reaching to listen to us. In a live setting, people can be swayed with the visual part just as much as the audio. Greg busted his head open during our last set and people really got into his intensity. We didn't play with any other bands that were "heavy" in a traditional sense so it's hard to say.
Mister Growl: If Ancient Shores had to have a mascot what would it be?
BJ: An empty field.
Mister Growl: What's been the most insane moment at one of your live shows?
BJ: Playing on a stage that Black Flag also played.
Mister Growl: What projects are you currently working on?
Joel: Starting the writing process over. Some of the guys are in other bands too. Check out Sweet Life, Sleepwalker, Karma to Burn, and Pat Pat.
Many thanks to BJ and Joel for their time! Follow the links below to support the band and the label, it’s well worth your beer money. Also, thanks to Andy Pickens for the band photo.