EMQ’s with PALACES
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Atlanta, Georgia based Hardcore Punk/Grind/Death Metal band Palaces. Huge thanks to them for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Bumpy: My name is Bumpy Bronson; I play bass and begrudgingly share vocal duties with Eric.
JB: Jonathan Balsamo, drums. Palaces was formed in 2010 when I met Eric and M Chvasta (Bass) whose band Light Pupil Dilate was breaking up. I was in Atlanta math-rock band Sorry No Ferrari at the time and wanted to do a heavy project again as my background is metal. We all had similar tastes and began writing songs that we would record and release in 2012 on our first album titled “Tarnish”. Chvasta left the band in early 2014 to focus on his other band Dead Register. After a year of being inactive we were contacted by Jeremy Weeks of Atlanta hardcore band Get Damned. He wanted to join Palaces on bass. We had played shows with Get Damned and were fans of theirs, so we said yes of course haha.
Eric: Hey I’m Eric Searle. I’m the guitarist and sometimes vocalist. As JB said, Bumpy called us up after our old bassist left. We jammed a few times and it felt good, so we decided to carry on as Palaces. We rented a few spaces before settling in at Bill Kelliher’s rehearsal spot ‘Ember City’ where we wrote a good bit of the new record.
How did you come up with your band name?
Bumpy: Eric said he liked it because it was vague or some shit. Pretentious ass…
Eric: He’s not wrong. It was basically, “Hey, what about Palaces?” Nobody could find a reason to hate it, so it stuck.
JB: It immediately resonated with me for several reasons. I feel like it’s a name that doesn’t suggest any particular genre or sub-genre of metal as I feel we don’t fit into a particular classification of metal. It doesn’t colour one’s pre-listen opinion of what they are about to hear. Additionally, it has always been a metaphor for our physical existence – we each inhabit a body and mind that is our Palace. Physical structures get weathered, decay and become ruined eventually and at the same time are beautiful.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
Eric: We’re from Atlanta Georgia USA. The scene here is getting bigger and better all the time. There are a ton of killer bands here. Every type of metal/rock can be found. People are very supportive of the local scene. We have great clubs/venues/art spaces/ warehouses to put on shows. It’s a great place to be as a musician.
Bumpy: It’s full of variety and has had some real crushers in the past, a little bit too much butt rock now, but what are you gonna do.
JB: Before Covid hit there were shows almost every night of the week, sometimes several a night. All the bands, clubs and promoters make this a great city to play music in, a very inclusive and supportive scene.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Bumpy: It’s an album titled “Hellas Chasma” and the first single from the album is ‘Swarm’.
Eric: It’s 9 songs, but not too long. The songs are pretty eclectic. We’re not a ‘one note’ band. There’s a lot to chew on, but it isn’t too difficult of a listen.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Bumpy: Personally, everything from Faith to No More to Sumac, but Caleb Scofield (R.I.P.) and Brian Cook are the two most effecting and influential bassists that have saturated my music brain the past 20 years.
JB: I think as a band we have drawn on a pretty diverse range of music and it all ends up in there somewhere. I personally have always been into Death Metal and Technical Stuff, I grew up listening to thrash, punk, and evolved from there. As a group I would say bands like Cult Leader, Converge, Intronaut, Today Is The Day, Ken Mode, Baptists, Keelhaul, Mastodon, Botch, Dillinger Escape Plan, Oathbreaker and The Armed.
Eric: As a guitarist I love King Buzzo, Bill Steer, East Bay Ray, Johnny Marr, Kevin Shields, James Hetfield, Keith Huckins, etc. There are too many bands to name, but a few would be Fugazi, Smiths, Converge, Deadguy, Dissection.
What first got you into music?
JB: My Dad who was a stoner mathematician, growing up listening to Black Sabbath, Zappa, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Santana – that whole 70’s scene.
Eric: I’ve been hooked ever since I was a small person. The first artists I remember liking were Fats Domino, The Beatles, Genesis, Traveling Wilburys, and Michael Jackson. My parents played all that stuff.
Bumpy: It’s always been there. My dad played piano his whole life and as god fearing as he is, he can shred something fierce on the keys like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Billy Joel.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Bumpy: Stephen Brodsky. I love everything he touches, and I am one of the biggest Steve-stans I know.
Eric: Probably Michael Gira. He’s great at organizing musicians and pulling things out of them to serve his songs. I’d be honoured.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
JB: That is a tough one, maybe Hellfest?
Bumpy: Reading/Leeds or Glastonbury. They sound so ancient but are still going and have been a huge part of music history.
Eric: HellFest. The line-up is fucking stacked every single year and it looks like it’d be a blast to play. Definitely would love to play Wacken or Brutal Assault too. Any of the Euro festivals please, thank you!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Bumpy: Pretty sure he wasn’t a fan, but a guy gave me his phone number and said we should “text metal.” Yeah, I don’t have his number. Must’ve lost it.
JB: No weird gifts yet but we have gotten some rad hugs.
Eric: Oh yeah, that girl outside 529! Hugs.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
JB: Thank you for listening to us, thank you for coming out to a show and supporting us in any way.
Bumpy: No one’s gonna wait on you to show yourself. If you wanna do something in music or media, do it. Like now. Don’t ask permission. Bug the shit out of people you don’t know to listen or let you play or whatever.
Eric: When you come to one of our shows, just be ready to throw a chair at somebody!!!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Bumpy: Aforementioned, Caleb Scofield.
JB: Isaiah Ikey Owen
Eric: Probably Jeff Buckley, but what if it’s better on the other side? I wouldn’t want to bring him back to this place.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Eric: Creating and writing is my favourite thing about being in a band. I love putting the pieces of the puzzle together. That said, turning up loud and bashing shit out is pretty amazing. I don’t really hate anything about it. Sure, it takes a lot of time and doesn’t pay nearly enough, but I’m not mad about it.
Bumpy: Shows. Ever since I was a seventh grader, nothing knocks the self-gratification meter off the charts like playing live. It’s a cliché that’s been worn down to the bone, but I’ve played for 6 people before and I’ve played for 300+, and I felt just as elated as I always have been. Having said that, I think the hate part is what you make of it. If you give more power to hating something, you’ll come to hate shit you used to love, so I try not to feed that bastard any energy.
JB: I love playing live more than anything, I love the energy and volume, playing for people who enjoy relaxing to loud heavy music as a counter to the nature of modern daily life. I guess waiting to play the set is what I hate the most, I’m always impatient to play!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Bumpy: Make it go back to how it was. The 90‘s really were the best to me. Nostalgia is the enemy but if I could have been a bit older back then and had the chance to experience the grunge, alternative, punk, metal, etc. of that time at festivals, in Blockbusters, in magazines, in Beavis and Butthead episodes; everything just mattered a little bit more to people back then. Music stuck with you for longer.
Eric: It’s a pretty fucked up industry. I feel like there’s the “Industry” and then there’s the “Underground”. I don’t participate much in “Industry” driven music. My musical family and community seem to be in the “Underground”. That’s not by choice though. If death metal bands were getting millions of YouTube views per song, I’d be cool with that. But then that would get ruined too. It’s a vicious cycle.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Eric: Clutch – “Transnational Speedway League”
JB: Mastodon – “Remission”
Bumpy: The Mars Volta – “De-Loused in the Comatorium”
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Bumpy: I’m a sucker for cassettes. They remind me of being a kid. My parents didn’t keep records at home, so I never caught the vinyl bug.
JB: I personally love vinyl for sound.
Eric: Vinyl, Downloads, CD’s, Cassettes in that order.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Bumpy: December 2018 with Cult Leader, Primitive Weapons and the unfuckwithable God Mother from Stockholm. Never played with a crazier band.
JB: For me it’s a tie between opening for Cult Leader/ Godmother and opening for Atlanta super group Primate back in January 2020 – that was a fun show.
Eric: We’ve played with Ken Mode a bunch. Always nice to knock around the balls with those guys.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Eric: Probably my money-making job, but life would suck a little more if I didn’t play music.
JB: I would be playing drums in my garage – essential to maintaining sanity.
Bumpy: Anything in my power to leave this country until it stops eating itself alive.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
JB: King Diamond X 5
Bumpy: You, Eric, JB, the Jesus from Big Lebowski and Bernie Mac.
Eric: Grandmaster Jay, Richard Spencer, Black Thought, Nadine Strossen, and Elon Musk. What a party that’d be.
What’s next for the band?
JB: We hope to get back to playing live when possible, releasing the new album and doing some touring.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Bumpy: I have family in the UK, and they think they are biscuits, I guess there’s the answer. They also let their 53-year-old son still live at home, so there’s that too.
Eric: Lost me on that one homie.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Bumpy: Listen to Young Beasts, Malevich and Lost Hours.
Eric: Cheers mates.
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.