Beast Impalor Interview
Many a folk metal fan (including yours truly were anxiously awaiting an official release from the mighty Beast Impalor. One of many fine up and coming acts from down under, they finally released a killer EP simply entitled “Goblin” recently to much praise. I sent some questions to the guys and vocalist Adam Klückers and keyboardist Tim Brown tackled them for us. From the EP to playing live to influences, we got a lot of great responses….check it out….
Congrats on your new EP “Goblin”….what has the feedback been so far regarding it?
“Thanks a lot! Well so far, so good! Honestly the feedback has been surprisingly fantastic. We really just weren’t sure what to expect. We reached 1000 streams on Spotify within just over a week since release, and ticked over 2k just before the end of the month. We’ve put the EP up on sites like Bandcamp for a ‘name your own price’ type deal, where it’s free unless a listener chooses to pay, and have actually had plenty of people checking out and paying! Really didn’t expect that!”
Could you give us a brief history of the band and how Beast Impalor became the name.”
It’s a bit blurry now haha. Reece (guitars) and Tim (keyboards) have known each other forever. Back in college there was some bad high school band and we think that this was one of the random names we came up with. Tim says specifically the spelling of ‘Impalor’ is intentionally wrong and was inspired by the old Transformers cartoon as they had names like ‘Devastator’ and so it was fun to go with something dumb like that. Yet people tend to pronounce it ‘Impala’.”
You have been in existence for almost 10 years….why/how is “Goblin” your first official release besides singles up to this point?
“Yeah, you would think by now we’d have had a little more under our belt. As Tim tells it, basically after getting the demo together in 2013, it wasn’t until 2014 that we had our first show. The demo was only 3 of us, Reece, Tim and Adam (vocals), so we needed to find extra members. From then, we played a whole heap of shows over 2014 and 2015. Our previous bassist, Ethan (now in fellow Aussie band Triple Kill, who we love!) ended up moving to a different city, so we were on hold for a little while looking for a new bassist, that wasn’t too much of a disaster, but after we had to move on from our drummer at the time, we took a whole year off trying to sort something out. It’s basically this which slowed us right down, but still helped us get to where we are today, as once we resumed playing, we played a good couple of years non-stop up the east coast of Aus, and only when the frequency of shows started to settle (and the shows became larger!) did we take the time to plan out the EP, which itself took a while due to the bands individual busy lives.”
Stylistically, I can hear a lot of folk metal influences familiar to many of us…. who are the biggest influences on your sound?
“Finntroll we’d say was the groundwork for the band back in the day. The first song Tim wrote was “Goblin” way back, and while it doesn’t sound quite Finntroll-ey, it was definitely a Finntroll mood we had that day. Trollfest is sort of another influence, and people say we sound like Mr. Bungle – but honestly we started to get into that band after we made our first releases, which is cool! Definitely lots of silly video game music has an influence too. Tim says the playing style of other bands like The Black Dahlia Murder influence his guitar playing when writing.”
What other influences do you have to your music? Books? TV? Movies?
“The absolute biggest influence is a strange one on our music, and that’s the Nintendo 64 game Banjo-Kazooie! Both Tim and Reece played it religiously back in the 90s, and you can really hear it in our music. We are all really into high fantasy stories and folklore, too. We all have also played Dungeons & Dragons together and separately, which is really fun, not to mention everytime we go on a road trip for a show, Adam likes to bring along some Choose Your Own Adventure book to pass the time, since touring Aus takes a while!”
Goblin, Carnival or Circus
Is straightforward folk metal the easiest description to someone who hasn’t heard your music, or do you prefer a different description or genre tag?
“We get a lot of people calling us Goblin Metal, Carnival or Circus Metal, even sometimes Party Metal, but we see Folk Metal as a blanket term for the sort of style of metal we play, as this is what most people will consider us to be, despite having no folk or acoustic instruments. We use Folk Metal for convenience, because we commonly are told we are similar to Finntroll but also we have symphonic influences of bands like Dimmu Borgir. For the rest of the music, we’re told our sound has a bit of Mr. Bungle, and we’re told we have a gypsy-vibe too. We’re fans of Australian acts The Woohoo Revue and Ungus Ungus Ungus, who do crazy blends of those genres, which definitely inspired us, which are jazzy and folky too. I guess we use Folk Metal as well due to our lyrical content. Lots of stories about goblins, trolls, bears and magical things. Our song “Savage Bear Ambush” is about Goldilocks, but the bears rise up and declare war on the humans in the end – so there’s some fantasy elements to us, too.”
I would call the EP a concept piece…..how did you come up with the idea and will this be something that you elaborate on in future releases?
“Good spotting! The whole story we’ve got going in a big concept which we plan to spread out and expand on as time goes by. The EP is the groundwork for the story we have planned for an album, which we are currently working on songs for. The EP sets the scene, introducing the world and some major characters, like “The Witch”, our half man-half goblin experiment “The Haemo-Goblin”, and the mad-man who made him, “Doctor Makrelmorgue”. It’s not really a big thing, but we consider “Zoo”, our single, to be the first proper release of ours – it starts the story off and ends with a fadeout that’s the same as how the EP begins.”
Beast Impalor Inside
How does the songwriting work in Beast Impalor if there is a specific process or does everyone contribute to the riffs, lyrics, etc.?
“It’s a bit mixed. Reece comes up with some good short riffs, and Tim usually then expands on them and does the majority of the rest of the writing on guitar – until those guitar parts somehow become whacky keys and a song starts to form. For the EP, Andy (bass) filled in his parts really well, and it’s not just a “lower version of the guitar”. To be honest he’s probably the best guitarist in the band haha. The three guys do most of the music, bouncing ideas around when they can. It’s good because you have Tim who’s into heavy keys and orchestral pieces, Reece is good at the chunky riffs and Andy brought in the gritty thick low end which really made the EP stand out. He calls his tone farty, though. Adam and Tim work on lyrics together – Adam’s great at telling a story and coming up with ideas for how we should structure the songs. He works on what we need to do on stage, he’s a fantastic and super energetic front man and that’s what makes our show shine, so he’s really good at seeing where we could have moved more, getting us to fill the space of the stage and really bring the show to life, rather than just standing and headbanging – but he says he doesn’t have a musical bone in his body!”
What about practicing and band rehearsal…..is there a set schedule or is it more open ended? Are there challenges with everyone’s busy schedules outside of the band?
“Before COVID we’d try and meet up semi-regularly to stay rehearsed in our songs and tight on stage. There’s a small studio in Canberra called Redsun, where we’ll usually book a room, do a run through of what we know well, then work on what we need to learn/improve and try to mash out some new ideas. Closer to tour dates we try more into it to fine tune what our plan is. Most of us are from the same city but Andy travels a few hours – but the fact we’ve been playing with a MIDI track for years now means we’re pretty tight with our timing, so rehearsal usually ends up as a bit of a casual catch up anyway.”
Australia has a rich history of folk metal acts from Trollgasm, Valhalore, Troldhaugen, Claim The Throne and many others….how is the folk metal scene in your opinion?
“Yeah and we’re friends with most of them haha! Australia has some killer folk metal bands that we have all grown to know and love. We’ve made some awesome friends along the way and contacts to help us get off our feet. We’ve played plenty of shows with Troldhaugen and Valhalore around the country – and definitely check out our friends in Saralisse! The community is small but growing really fast, so it’s tight and everyone is close and friendly – that’s the best thing about Folk Metal. You don’t really get those angry or aggressive types of people in the crowd. You get people from all around the bush, some of them don’t usually listen to metal at all, but the atmosphere that is created through these bands is fun and energetic and brings people in. Everyone’s friendly, everyone’s pleasant to be around, they are here to listen to songs about epic battles, and silly stories of creatures and beasts and have a dance to it. One day hopefully we will meet some of the other Folk Metal crowds from around the world.”
How do you feel about playing live and touring? Is it something you are all into doing or a necessity to help promote your music?
“We love it! We have made so many friends around Australia, both in and out of bands that we get to catch up with – whether we are on tour or they are on tour, if we’re not playing the same shows together we’ll meet up. It’s a chance for us to check out what other bands are up to, not to mention seeing all these people who you don’t even know come out to your shows from a city almost 800 kilometres away just to see you play. It’s definitely the best way to get our name out there, sell some merch and see the country. Australia is really spread out, so playing a capital city is a fair bit of distance to travel, so it’s also fun playing smaller shows in other towns in between. Mostly these days we play in Melbourne, we seem to have the best crowd response down there, though it’s about an 8 hour drive away, it’s always worth it.”
“It’s essential for bands to tour, not only to get your music and your influences out there but also to see what other people are doing. Some shows that get offered to us, even if they’re a bit far away, all it takes is for us to see the line up and go “yep we know those bands, we love them, let’s do it!” In Australia it’s difficult to make it as a muso, in any genre, so playing shows is more often than not at a financial loss when you take into account the travel times and fuel, but it’s always a memorable experience and once COVID starts to backoff, we’re sure to be back on the scene again.”
The community is small but growing really fast, so it’s tight and everyone is close and friendly – that’s the best thing about Folk Metal
7The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone on some level….how did it affect Beast Impalor if at all in regard to recording, touring etc.?
“Well essentially there’s been no touring, full stop. Australia basically shut down entirely back in April/March. We were lucky to be a part of QUESTFEST, which is a fantastic Aussie Folk Metal mini fest put on by some friends of ours. Basically straight after that, COVID really took off and started its world tour which hit a few places in Aus pretty hard. We were due to perform around Sep/Oct with some amazing international acts, all of which have now been cancelled. We also were lucky to play (and get into the finals!) of the Australian Wacken Metal Battle, which gave us a chance to get to play at Wacken! But both the Finals and obviously the festival itself were cancelled in the end, though it’s for the better.
It was honestly not great timing, as we had planned to release the EP in March/April, just as everything got bad here. So we held off on it, and off the physical copies/merch, as our best selling point is the merch desk at our shows, and so without that we thought we should hang onto the physical release for now. We decided with that in mind to still release the EP online for free.”
“Personally Tim is back to writing new music and hopefully the break of performing will help get some more new music underway! Luckily our city, Canberra, avoided most of the COVID nastiness, but we try to play more shows in Melbourne and Sydney, both of which were hit really hard. A lot of our friends are in Melbourne so it’s sad to see what’s going on, but us Aussies are good at bouncing back and there’s guaranteed to be some fun new festivals and plenty of gigs to catch up once COVID starts to relax, hopefully soon!”
The EP was released on Bandcamp and this is a huge outlet for most bands….how has your experience been with it?
“Always great! The demo was put up way back in 2013, and our single ‘Zoo’ was added to it as well. We always put our music up for free, with the option for the listener to pay if they like, and it’s always humbling and surprising when we see people have actually purchased the songs – for real money! Now that we’re putting our official releases on to streaming services such as Spotify/YouTube Music/iTunes etc, we’d still like to keep using Bandcamp regardless. It hosts our merch and will definitely have physical copies of our releases… once they exist!”
Favorite music from 2020?
“Tim is keen for Finntroll’s new album! So far the singles are fantastic and it’s been too long since they last released something. Tim is probably the biggest folk metal fan in the band so this is a big deal – though all of us would absolutely love to tour with Finntroll! Outside of that, Haken’s ‘Virus’ is great, though Ensiferums latest ‘Thalassic’ probably takes the cake for Tims top metal release.
Adam’s not your typical metal head, he likes everything from Aborted to obscure rap artists, and a big release for him this year were the countless singles released by BBNO$ (baby no money) and the new album by Oliver Tree.”
“Thanks a lot for letting us have a chat! We’re super happy with the feedback of the EP, and more music is definitely to come sooner rather than later. Keep an ear out on the story, as the album is going to be full of silly goodies expanding on our Beast Impalor world. Hopefully by 2021 COVID starts to recede and the planet can get back to some kind of normal, and we’ll be back on the road once more!”
Photography: Natan Goldsworthy @Odin.imaging