2017 was quite a year for Ba’al. The quintet played Bloodstock, released their debut EP “In Gallows By Mass” to critical acclaim and in so doing became the first APF release to be reviewed in all three of Terrorizer, Metal Hammer and Kerrang! Guitarist Nick Gosling and bass man Richard Spencer talk about their past, present and future.
What was your highlight of 2017?
Rich: A big question, so I’ll keep it band-related and obvious: playing Bloodstock! It’s a festival I’ve always loved anyway and had been meaning to go back to for a while, and what better way than to be chosen by Sheffield music fans and people from Bloodstock themselves! We had a blast and were floored by how full that tent was. Aside from that, I was personally able to go abroad three times this year including for Roadburn Festival, which was incredible.
Nick: Graduating was a nice but sobering experience as I now have to start thinking about taxes and responsibilities. I also worked for a festival in Sheffield called Sensoria which I met some sublime people through and hopefully it’s something I can be involved in again. It’s actually been a really great and eventful year with a lot of firsts for me so there’s a high bar for 2018, and that’s without even mentioning all the stuff I’ve done with Ba’al.
As a member of Ba’al What’s your proudest achievement so far?
Rich: I could easily repeat my first answer, but actually it’s the EP ‘In Gallows by Mass’ I think I’m most proud of, personally. You can really hear bits of all five of us on that record and it was a slog to get it written and recorded, but I think it really paid off. People seem to be going mad for it too, which is humbling and also a big relief since we kept them waiting for so long!
Nick: Playing Bloodstock and releasing our EP really stand out I suppose, I never pictured anything from this year ever happening to me and definitely not at 21, it was something I only hoped I could experience at some point much later in life. I don’t really know where we’re going to go from here, hopefully upwards!
Which of your label mates are you most looking forward to seeing at the 3rd February APF Records Showcase, and why?
Rich: I’m sure I’ll not be the only member of Ba’al to say Mastiff. I love nasty, horrible sludge and these guys know their shit in that regard. BongCauldron are always fun though, and seeing Pist again will be cool.
Nick: From what I’ve heard I think The Hyena Kill will be fantastic, I really enjoyed their album and if they’re anything like they are on record when they play live I know I’ll have a great time during their set.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Rich: Ba’al have played so many cool shows it is a hard thing to call. Our Bloodstock warm-up show at a little DIY rave venue in Sheffield was a memorable one that was fantastic. The EP launch recently was also right up there, partially because it was the first time we’ve ever been able to play 5 songs in one set… I’ll not even start on the weird ones my other band have done because I’d be here for a while…
Nick: We played MADE In Winter at the Audacious Art Experiment which, as an event, was an absolutely visceral experience complete with visuals, sweat and more people crammed into a room than should realistically have been crammed into that particular room. I can’t remember how well we played or if people liked us but all the other bands were excellent and there was a real sense of community as well. It felt like it was the place to be in Sheffield that particular night and I loved being a part of that. Doomlines III was also a highlight, the whole night was brilliant and I remember us all feeling like we’d done alright.
What are your plans for 2018?
Rich: We’re recording a track with Russ Russell in February which is an insane opportunity! Other than that we’ve got a lot of gigs booked around the country, including our first mini-tour, so we’ll see where that takes us and how many songs we can get written in between…
Nick: We’ve got 1 plan which is fairly set in stone but beyond that I think we’re just playing it by ear. It’d be nice to have another EP done and out there or even an album and certainly some more gigs under our belt but I suppose we’ll just see what happens, fewer plans mean everything is a pleasant surprise. As for me personally I’m in a weird transitional period between leaving Uni and making something of myself so I’ll be pretty busy, and stressed.
Tell us something we don’t know about you or your band?
Rich: There is a 16 year age gap between our oldest and youngest members…
Nick: I guess it’s quite interesting that the last band I was in was a fairly mainstream sounding pop-punk band which I joined during college with 3 close friends. I think we did 2 gigs in the year or so that I was in the band, we mostly just played FIFA and drank alcopops. But now I’m in an underground post-metal band and another member went on to do quite well on the X Factor, so it’s safe to say we’ve ended up in pretty different places musically!
Anything to declare?
Rich: I’ve declared it before and I’ll declare it again, no matter how often I am ridiculed: Permission to Land by The Darkness is the best album.
Nick: Not really, I live a very sensible life where Tabasco on my beans is about as dangerous as it gets.
Ba’al’s “In Gallows In Mass” is out now on APF Records and can be bought from:
The APF Records Showcase takes place at The Bread Shed in Manchester on 3rd February. Tickets available from: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/418903