Baest - Interview


If you haven't heard of Baest yet and you like death metal, you need to catch up quickly. They're already icons in their native Denmark, they're headlining Copenhell for the second year in a row and no wonder - their last two releases: "Necro Sapiens" album and "Justitia" EP are just brilliant. And I think that if you have fans traveling all the way from Brazil to Poland just to see Baest live it means that the band has reached a certain level of popularity. Since I saw the video for 'Crosswhore' I knew they were something else and after watching some of their live performance videos I knew I wanted to see them playing live. And not only did I get to watch them at the Mystic Festival, I also managed to talk to Lasse and Simon after the show. Their live performance is filled with energy, especially with Simon engaging with the crowd and trying to stand or climb onto things which are not usually for standing or climbing. But during the conversation both guys are calm, very friendly and easy-going. So, put on their last EP or album to play in the background and enjoy reading the interview below.

Maciek

So first of all, awesome show although it was quite short, was it initially planned to be that short?

Lasse Revsbech: Yes we didn't have any more time, uh we were like pitch perfect you know. The timing was perfect in terms of the contract.
Simon Olsen: Yeah we have a certain kind of contract that is scheduled that we have to keep within nothing less, nothing above. Just right on the spot, 45 minutes. But we hope to come back with a larger repertoire of songs you know.
LR: The bad thing is that this was obviously a pre Corona booking.

Oh, was it?

SO: Yeah from 2019 actually , I don't know if that's a bad thing but we were scheduled for 2020.
LR: Corona came, they rescheduled it. We have a few of those.
SO: Yeah we are a completely different band from that time.
LR: Well we released one album and one EP since then so yeah.

Yeah completely different, but speaking of the band - since you started this band you managed to keep the same lineup which is nowadays quite an unusual thing. How do you guys do that?

LR: It's very important to us that we have our community thing and it was the best thing we ever decided on. It's like we want to be best friends, we respect each other.
SO: It's also how we have organized the band, we are very good friends but we also know each other's limits and how we organize the band is like a firm. It's like what works for us as well. We are very compassionate about our relationships in between, but we also demand our private life as well and we have to put that into schedule as a way to keep a balance so when we are not on tour we are doing our own thing mostly in good times.
LR: We've just been on a 5 week tour, and today was the first show after that tour and I think somebody was like "it was lovely not to see you guys, but it's lovely to see you guys", that's the relationship that we have, it's like you know what I mean?
SO: A relationship isn't about always being together, so when we are not together, it's just a balance you know. We have to keep on doing that.

And mostly from your side but also the whole band is giving a lot of energy during the show. You are such a lively person I don't think I have ever seen that kind of person before. What is your secret, how do you get so much energy?

SO: Liking what we do. Like it's so simple as that, liking what we do and if you really like what you do, you put some energy into it. You also have some kind of responsibility when you are in front of a crowd you know? And also we are that kind of band you know, we are not like a withdrawn, dark, sour, obscure death metal band. We are energetic, happy and like there's so many people talking about being true. We are true to ourselves, we are happy people and we are energetic people and that shows in our show so that's what we put into it.

Yeah but the energy you give, you should release some exercise dvd, instructions for metalheads how to do it.

SO: Absolutely, it's also exercise for me you know. It's like to first two tracks are like fucking nightmare you know - why didn't I warm up or anything like that but after 2 songs we're quite warm.

During one of your recently released videos ('Ego Te Absolvo' - https://youtu.be/Lx-QUfKtAY0), it shows historic videos from your past when your hair was short and it was smaller venues. When you think about those years behind, how much do you think has changed inside the band?

LR: We are constantly evolving territory so like we still play small shows because like certain territories we are bigger. Denmark we are a name, of course. In Poland we are apparently a bigger name than we thought. We are always humble - whether it's 12 people or 30000 people , we don't care, you get the same show.
SO: Exactly, and those guys really put some thought into it you know, like this Danish metal band we have to experience this, like also put a lot of energy into it. So also to take one of your old points into it - as we put a lot of energy into it those few people also put a lot of energy into it and a lot of people don't know us around the world. In Denmark for example, but it's also enjoyable. You have to enjoy the shows, even the shitty ones and the small ones as well. They are not maybe not shitty because if you have a crowd that puts the amount of energy into the show as well, you get a fucking show out of it. World class fucking shows.
LR: One of the funniest shows was in Paris - we played one song in Paris.
SO: Our show in Paris was cancelled by the promoters and, fucking long story... but we put on a show anyway. We tried to contact the venues, and one venue was like okay, if you want to do the final slot which is 30 minutes, you can have it. And then we got informed that there are 3 other bands that are playing and they are playing 30 minutes but it took 45 minutes so we went on at like 22h55 and the sound curfew in Paris is for some reason at 23h00. So we played one song, we played 'Ecclesia'.
LR: 30 People just banging their heads, best thing ever. We got drunk with all of them.
SO: There was a couple - Pearl, if you hear this Pearl we fucking love you! They travelled 600 km to see us, just to see one fucking song.
LR: They cried.
SO: Yeah, they fucking cried because we only play one song but because they came and saw us for instance, that's fucking passion.
LR: We love shows like that.
SO: And then the shows in Budapest, Vienna, it was like small clubs but there was so much energy.
LR: And then Germany I was so surprised, and the UK.
SO: Fucking everywhere.

And obviously to have that much energy in your music you have to create good music. What are your inspirations - so many different genres, anything from Morbid Angel, a bit of Death for example those progressive things with solos...

SO: And 70's and 80's fucking rock music.

For at least for the two of you, what are you most diehard fans of?

LR: Well for me the whole project started with us with me and Svend being huge Bloodbath fans. We knew that we were, and when we started this band we maybe didn't know each other that well at the time but we just discovered that there was so much that we loved you know, we kinda have the same taste whether it's Rainbow or
SO: Dio or Iron Maiden...
LR: Or Toto we just have similar taste across genres but yeah obviously Bloodbath and Morbid Angel... But recently, especially for me and Svend until the Necro Sapiens album we were like very much Carcass "Heartwork", like we just fucking love that. It's a lot of things. Opeth, we simply just love Opeth, everyone does in the band, but we kinda synchronize.
SO: Thin Lizzy
LR: Fucking Thin Lizzy, Mark Knopffler ...
SO: Dire Straits man
LR: I started playing Thin Lizzy when I started playing guitar, that was the first band for me. Thin Lizzy was like the ... and Iron Maiden of course , everybody loves Iron Maiden, who doesn't ? I mean, good music, that's our inspiration I would say. We try not to limit ourselves.

There are a lot of inspirations like you said , but you are quite a unique band as there are not that many bands from Denmark recently playing that good death metal. Do you see any new bands, are you the only ones in the area doing that?

LR: Actually a new thing for us is that we inspired younger people to get into this kind of music.
SO: That is a huge thing, also a strange thing to listen to like theres these guys - Halsbrækker, this is a Danish word that doesn't matter ("Neckbreaker" in English - MW), they are 17/18 years old or something like that and like fucking shredding the shit out of them and when they go play they are playing decent shows in Denmark like they have to be picked up by their parents because they are not old enough to be at these places you know. And they are huge fans of Baest, like they started the band because of Baest and man, that's a strange thing because we also started back in the days like being inspired by the people our bands and stuff like that fucking inspiring a whole young generation to start a fucking death metal band using HM2 pedals, fuck man. It's like we try to be modest and in Denmark we are quite modest people there but fuck man we are icons

Yeah you are icons, yeah it's over. The time to be modest is over now. You can act like proper metal stars now.

SO: Yeah we can show off now ....no no no, I also want to put the focus on the young bands because they are so fucking talented , they are so good and I just want to entyce them to do their own thing and sometime they will also find their own path and own way and that's so cool.

So speaking of your latest EP, you put Entombed A.D. 's track "Second To None " - who is the biggest Entombed AD fan or was it just because of Lars?

LR and SO : Everyone.
SO: Especially after we toured with them and I was listening to that album a lot before but when we went on tour with them and met all the guys and we listened to that song every fucking night, we went upfront to that song because it's got a feeling you know.
LR: Fortunately it's an awesome song, I don't know if they captured that energy on the record that they have live. When I listen to it I'm like shit, I'm so happy that I listened to that live because that was one of the best songs ever live. We were so keen on doing that.
SO: Yeah man, there was no discussion, and after he died, I was like that was the tribute because it's our personal thing within the guys from Entombed A.D.. We absolutely love them, we got some good friends there from Sweden.
LR: We were heartbroken when LG died.
SO: And went so fast.

And sorry to continue on the sad subject but I wanted to ask how did you get into contact with Trevor to get him to do the guest vocals on 'Gargoyles'?

SO: Label, but also I wrote to him on Instagram and he responded immediately. He was like yes I do, when, where? Like he was on. He mentioned us. He used to have a blog years ago called The Obituaries where he was worshiping and writing about new music and underground music bands. We met him in 2018 and at Copenhell in 2017 as well. They were playing with HateSphere and he was like so easy going at least also on social media and when we wanted to do this song and we tried to search for any features in our minds, our first thought was trying to contact Trevor. It's a dream, he's a fucking icon within that world as well.
LR: We were stoked. Mikeal Akerfeldt because he doesn't growl that way anymore, like Corpsegrinder, Mikeal Akerfeldt and Trevor... and obviously Simon wrote to him.
SO: Yeah, he's an amazing man.
LR: Basically it's the weirdest thing because it was his last release ever. We don't feel like it was for us to get that but obviously we are just so proud.

Yeah obviously you have a commemoration of that.

SO: When we got him to do the vocals, he sent back the tracks, I did some queue tracks for him and I really wanted to take care and trying to do a good job because it was Trevor and when he sent them back it was like 200% over my expectation and I was almost fucking crying when he sent that back because it was better than I could have imagined and that is so strange because I was full of happiness when the single came out. I was so proud. And then obviously he passed away, there were so many mixed feelings. So it's so strange to think about right now
LR: So abrupt.
SO: Yeah, abrupt. And that's what it does to people. Not only it puts grief and sorrow into you but it also confuses you completely, messes you up.
LR: Also the hard thing about LG was we actually had scheduled dates where we were going to play the same festivals and places as Entombed A.D. and then Corona came and then he died and that was like a bummer of course big one like shit. But we also had the same feeling with Trevor of course and we kinda got hit twice by that feeling like shit, that was unexpected, and we have a small feeling of like being a bit unlucky with that, like two people dying within such a short time the icons that we work with, like shit how can we express our gratitude.

Well playing it live definitely gives it a tribute.

SO: Yeah, it lives on and we definitely got two good memories from this EP and those 2 people I want to remember the good things, you know we have to think about the good things coz they left a great fucking footprint.
LR: Actually this was kinda special because this is the first time we played it live after his death, because we played it on the whole tour and then we went home and of course he died so today I was quite emotional when you dedicated it, Simon, I was like shit but people responded very well.
SO: And it gets very quiet.
LR: Yeah people respond to something like that it clogs up and yeah...
SO: I could feel a lot of respect from the crowd, like people turn very quiet all of a sudden and they knew that was happening.
LR: I was very emotional.
SO: But first of all we want to remember them for the good things they have done to people and inspired a lot of people. And there's an intuition of what was happening especially with Trevor and I just want to say to those people who actually suffer or have issues with mental health - get help. And also LG with his cancer procedure as well - get help. Take care of yourself, and there's also a reason why we take care of the private parts of our lives because that's what's happening if you don't take care of yourself as well.

And speaking of doing live shows again, you have done this festival - is there some ongoing tour now?

OS: You can say that. Next week we are playing Sweden Rock which is also the moniker of Copenhell, it's a lot of great bands.
LR: And then we are playing Copenhell which we are headlining as well. In Denmark we are quite a thing apparently, it's quite nerve wrecking. It's like Metallica on Wednesday, Kiss on Thursday D.A.D on the Friday Judas Priest and Iron Maiden are playing the good headlining slots and a lot of cool bands as well. Is Bad Religion playing before us?
OS: Yeah, a lot of legendary bands
LR: And The Hellacopters got moved to earlier but like all these awesome older bands, everyone is playing at Copenhell and we are playing the bigger stage Friday at 17h45.
OS: It's like a smaller Hellfest. Have you seen that fucking roster? Like, every cool band was playing Hellfest. Like, what are they doing next year you know? To keep up with that fucking standard .
LR: It is nerve wrecking and we are looking so much forward to Copenhell.
OS: That will be our biggest show to date, so fuck man. A lot of pressure was put there, but then coming here and being praised in Poland like we weren't expecting that many people at the Mystic Festival.

This is also another thing that is amazing about your band, that when you are being watched live, it's an amazing thing when you see how accurate you are with regards to the riffs, the solos. Standing there I just couldn't believe how you can recreate it and still be so mobile on stage this is amazing. What is your warm up routine before you go on stage?

SO: Nothing, drink beer.
LR : Being nervous as shit and peeing several times, and trying not to get too stressed.
SO: There were some mistakes today, but you probably didn't hear them.
LR: I love mistakes because you feel alive. You have to find each other again but...
SO: Sometimes a mistake is not a mistake but a "ah ha" when you listen to it again.
LR: Sometimes it's like no one noticed or listened but I took some liberty there...
SO: That's the curse of being a musician or artist you know. Always being insecure about yourself, but the show must go on, you know. We can't just stop because of making one mistake.
LR: I'm a guitar player of course and at some shows I actually tried to do too much to warm up so my fingers were just too tired. That doesn't work, and not touching a guitar doesn't work so it depends on the day. How hungover are you, how big is the tour. On day 31 of course your fingers are fucked because they are so tired. But today I felt so awesome and energetic.
SO: For me I am a singer. I have to be prepared, but I usually am not, and that is a vocalist's curse. but sometimes you also have to struggle to put the right energy into it.
LR: I would say the best rehearsal is playing live.
SO: It's violent music, so someone has to suffer. It has to be you, you know.

But only for the first two tracks right?

SO: Yeah, and the crowd has to enjoy themselves, so you have to suffer at some point you know.

And what is your perfect setting to write new music, are you already writing some new stuff while you are touring?

LR: No, not when we are touring. It's hard when we are touring. When we get home it's like riffs come out of everyone. At least for me, when a tour is 31 days, you don't get time to sit down and be creative, so when I get home it just flows out.
SO: For me it comes in waves.
LR: You get so stressed though, you are a perfectly good guy when you get stressed.
SO: I am a lazy motherfucker but when it comes to that time, I just watch a movie or something like that and then something comes into mind and I have this little scrap book that I write things in, like ideas for later or something like that. And then at some point I just take it with me to the studio and stress out really much and that's key to my creative part. As I mentioned I also "suffer" during these procedures, but that's also when I know that we put a lot of balls into it.

I also wanted to ask you about the inspiration behind your lyrics, what are they? Because they are so "evil" (laugh).

SO: Yes, but also regular, modest things, I also like artists, literature and poems, like, just words that I reflect upon and the times we're in. When we write an album we try to make a theme for the album and create a frame to work within. Before Necro Sapiens album for example I was watching "Exorcist" movies a lot, but I was also listening to The Doors, also during the new EP session I was reading series of short stories especially one based on poems by William Blake, which was about misogyny, the relationship between man and woman. I thought that was quite interesting because it was done in a strange and kind of Blake-isque way, but also put in everyday situations, relationships between two people and between people in general. Couple of weeks ago I was watching "True Detective" series, the first season. There were some speeches there and I thought "this is inspiring" and I was trying to write that down. So I reflect upon things which send some energy to me and it's my own interpretation of it. I guess it's the same for a lot of fucking people, you know, someone has something much more clever to say than me. You know, it's just lyrics, sometimes it's just about the words, the bad-ass words.

They just sound good growled.

SO: Exactly! It's like when you say "cunt", it's even more bad-ass when you growl it, that's just it. It's also what metal music is about, it's about putting energy into words, putting feelings into it. The music sounds "evil" but the intention is good.

So, the last thing I wanted to ask about is the cover art. I can see some similarities between the "Necro Sapiens" album and "Justitia" EP cover art.

SO: Yes, Mitchell Nolte did the artwork for both of them, fantastic guy, he's done some work for Vampire and Aborted as well. The first two albums were done by two different guys but we like the work of Mitchell, he understands the "universe" we try to create and the EP is a kind of a "thread" from Necro Sapiens so we tried to use some ideas from Mitchell for it again.

Thank you very much, it was a pleasure watching your show and chatting to you, any last words for the readers?

SO: Take care of yourself, listen to death metal, look after your mental health and your health in general. Come and spend some time at the festivals, it's our first show for a long time and you know, you need it. So see you out there and we love you!

Entered: 6/28/2022 8:11:09 PM

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