Interview: Bog

Interview: Bog

Jun 24

Bog Band Photo


An Interview with Austrian Post-Metal Band BOG


Brutality in heavy metal, for all its effectiveness, is an easy idea to get across: loud volume, fast tempo, and maniacal screaming. Conveying a strong sense of an emotional arc over the course of a song, let alone a full album, is a bit trickier and requires a great deal more finesse and attention to detail. The modern ‘Post-‘ genres of metal/rock/black may not have the exclusive trademark on emotionally compelling music but it is where their strong-suite lies, at least when crafted with a skilled hand.

Austrian atmospheric metallers BOG certainly qualify as having skilled hands, as their debut full-length attests. Following two EPs, Unshriven is being released today (24th) and main songwriter/mastermind Tim Primbs took some time for an interview about it.



What’s the history of the band?

I started BOG in 2014 as a solo-project. I needed a creative output to process several experiences with death in that time. I wrote and recorded the first EP Gustave in only three days. After that I started to work on the second EP Auguste and also on the first full-length album Unshriven simultaneously. While I was still working on Unshriven in mid 2014 I had the idea to form a band around the solo-project to bring the music to life on stage. It’s not easy to find musicians that have the same taste in music but I asked friends to spread the word and the first line-up was ready in September 2014. We played our first gig in March 2015. Since then we had a couple of line-up changes. And now we are rehearsing and planning the album release-show that takes place on June 24 in Vienna at Venster99 together with my friends in Mountain and 00y 18, aka Michael Zimmel.

How do you approach keeping a song emotionally engaging when writing? Post-rock and shoegaze can easily get lost in itself and often becomes aimless or repetitive if it lacks careful dynamics.

I think my ‘secret’ is that I don’t think too much about all of that when I’m writing music. I transform my experiences and emotions into music. When I feel the urge to write music I sit down, play and record all of it at the same time. When I wrote Unshriven I just played the whole night because I had a lot ‘to tell’. I wasn’t thinking about how the album should sound. I found the right rhythms, melodies and sonic images that fitted my mood and the story I wanted to tell. Speaking for myself, writing music is a natural thing. It happens at the right time. I’m constantly recording a lot of new ideas but I am still waiting for the perfect moment to work them out. But first I need to finish the whole Unshriven process before my head and heart are open for writing new songs or putting together a new record.



There’s obviously a closely personal story to this album’s concept, can you touch on that?
Three years ago I was working at a hospital where I met Eva, a 17-year old girl who was diagnosed with leukaemia. We had a special connection and everyday I had the chance to get to know her a little bit better. We also had a very similar taste in music and I got to show her a lot of new music while she was fighting her battle against cancer. We talked about everything under the sun, about her way to cope with her disease and about her thoughts on death. After she found a donator for spinal cord [sic] the donator got sick and she had to wait only for another two weeks to receive the donation but suddenly her good mood changed to being cynical and she was kind of giving up. At that point her physical condition got worse and worse every day and I really had the urge to stay by her side through her process of dying because I know what that feels like since I had a near-death-experience myself. It was an indescribably intense time for both of us and I wished she was still around so I could show her what she inspired me to. I worked her process of dying into the songs and into the structure of the album. Unshriven is a station album: 11 Tracks shape 11 stations. 2 parallel levels tell the story (reality and metaphor) about two travellers. The first level is about Eva, her last weeks of life and how she handled the process of dying. The second level is the accompanying metaphor: it tells Sputnik’s journey through colours, emptiness and darkness, of its homesickness and its attempt to return home.

There seems to be an important focus on visuals in the way they compliment the sound; how does the imagery and aesthetics tie in with the music?

You can’t divide those two aspects. Music generates pictures, at least it does in my head, and of course I want to catch them and add them to my music. Of course everyone has different visuals in their head but I try to put out a complete package – my world – with my art. My music should fit to the visuals and of course the opposite. I wouldn’t be able to separate these two levels of art that interlock perfectly: the visuals and the music. And because of that it’s even more important for me to provide for the visuals myself to achieve a synthesis of the arts. I’m not a man of many words, that’s simply not the way my brain works. ‘Speaking’ through images, visually and acoustically, is my preferred way of communication.

With music that is predominantly instrumental, how do you decide when, where, and how to utilize vocals?

The first two EP’s Auguste and Gustave are instrumental and have no vocals whatsoever. When I started to write Unshriven I had the feeling that I needed some words to get all the thoughts and emotions out of my head. Vocals and lyrics add a completely new level to music and you can dig deeper. Vocals can give power and meaning to a song that a complete instrumental song couldn’t. Since we are still an instrumental live band I tried to write the songs in a way that would work with vocals/lyrics as well as instrumental. So I added my vocal ideas very carefully.

Who are some of the guest musicians on the record and how did the collaborations come to be?
The reason why that album is what it is now is Matthew Jon Prokop’s fault – he is the drummer of the Viennese band Lehnen. I think it was at the gig of the awesome band Rosetta in Vienna, when we all hung out together after the concert. Matthew and I talked about the first two BOG EPs and how the progress with the album was. A few days later I got a message from Matthew: he offered me to play the drums in the studio. On the first two EP’s I programmed the drums with drumming software, so I was really stoked about Matthe’s offer to actually have the opportunity to have real drums on the album and also Lehnen is one of my favourite bands (check them out!) – so I was completely honoured! Matthew contacted his buddy and sound engineer Ronald Dangl to record the drums. After a few months of practising we locked ourselves up in the S.T.R.E.S.S. studio in Graz (Austria) for a weekend and recorded drums. Matthew and Ronald did an outstanding job!
To that time I was still looking for singers to contribute vocals on the album. Ronald knew someone who would fit perfectly to the song “Stay” and that’s how Julia Schwarzer came on board.
Joel, the singer of Lehnen, did the vocals on “Vanish”. This song just cries out for a voice like Joels! His voice carries the mood and the atmosphere just perfectly.
Josh Wing did most of the vocals for Unshriven. he is the singer of the Portland-based band Sól. I have been following them since their amazing debut Black Mountain and I just asked Josh if he wanted to be a part of the whole thing. He loved the idea and was in right away. Two weeks later he had already sent me the finished vocal tracks. I couldn’t believe that after all this time searching for a singer that Josh would go to the studio immediately. He’s the most reliable and nicest guy on earth! And he did an outstanding job. Apart from the drums, Josh’s vocals made the album perfect for me. He added those vibes that I’ve always wanted but couldn’t deliver myself since I’m not a singer.
Christian Pobaschnig, a good friend of mine, of the Austrian band Mountain added keys to the song “Marrow”. He lent the special touch to this song and I’m very happy that he is part of the record.
That’s the other aspect of the album: Besides the very sad and emotional background of Unshriven I ended up with so many new friends that gave the album the special touch. I’m more than happy about how Unshriven turned out. I will be forever grateful for that.



You hired Will Benoit for the mixing and mastering of the album, a man that has worked with a who’s who of artists in your genre (Caspian, Junius, Rosetta, etc.), it must have been important for you to capture the sound aesthetic those albums had.

Yeah, that was a very important question for me. The first time I heard about Will was, I think, in 2010/2011 when I had a vinyl of Junius in my hands (another one of my most favourite bands). I knew that he had also worked with Matthews band Lehnen. Matthew strongly recommended me to work together with Will concerning the mixing and I’m more than happy with the results.

The album’s release is coming up; what are your plans going forward?
We shot our first official music video a few weeks ago, together with the great cameraman Jörg Varga. We will release that very soon! We will also try to play as much live-gigs as possible and, of course, Unshriven was not our last album, so I hope there are a lot more records of BOG to come.


BOG can be found on Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, and Twitter