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Interviews

Introducing: experimental math rockers BASTOS from Bucharest, Romania!

BASTOS‘ split with their townmates PANDREA is surely an interesting, very consuming trip, taking noise, instrumental and math rock music into the swamps of psychedelia (mostly thanks to the other band). This short record fuses together their signature math rock and post hardcore sound with nuances of experimental jammin’ to create an exhilarating listening experience from start to finish.

Here’s my introduction to the band, including an update on their upcoming debut solo EP (to be released in 2015 via Dvvm Records), touring pland, and a lot more. Read up below.

Hey there buddies! What’s up? How’s Bucharest?

Hey man, we’re doing pretty good over here, Bucharest is kinda, really cold, plenty of stuff to do, just too cold to do them.

Ok, so what is BASTOS, how did it come to life and what stuff are you hoping to do?

BASTOS started as a bedroom project and we didn’t really knew each other back then. Last year in October we started searching for a rehearsal room and a dear friend of ours that owns a print shop gave us a room to practice. Our first set of songs were kinda long in structure with long post-rock bridges, but after a half a year we started writing more punchier math/hardcore/somehow-punk songs. Next year we will try to have as much releases as we can, some splits and an EP (we already worked on it and have all the written material) and we are hopping we’ll go on an European tour late spring. That’s as far as we can see for ourselves.

BASTOS means high five in some parts of Romania and it’s also a pack of smokes.

What are your musical backgrounds?

We all come from various musical backgrounds, some of us even play or have played in various bands that are stylistically different from what Bastos is, like jazz or even crust, but somehow we found a common ground in this band, guess we all secretly listened to the same kind of music, but never found the right people to do it with. I think we can say that we all love punk, we’re not gonna get into subgenres, because no one really cares about that, but yeah, punk was and will be our thing.

Sure, we won’t go there :) Is this new split with PANDREA your only record so far? Can you introduce the other band and tell us the story of your of how you decided to work together?

Yeah, sure man, the thing is we got some exposure when next dog studio, a somewhat known studio from Bucharest, wanted to record our first release. Grig, the guitarist from PANDREA, after hearing the news sent us a PM to do a gig toghether and we told him, forget the gig, let’s do a split instead. We kinda knew PANDREA because they play this punk with old fashioned lyrics (in a good way) that we really dug and in 2013 they had some gigs in Bucharest, and we went to some of them. We had like this secret high school crush about their music, groupies in a way, so it was a blast hearing we had the go go for a split. Grig also recorded the hole thing, he’s an excelent recording engineer.

The Next Dog Studio broke up so in the end we didn’t record our release with them. So yeah, the PANDREA split is the only thing we have for now but we’ll be hitting the studio again in the first months of 2015 with Grig for an EP and we’re looking for some other bands to collaborate with. We write songs like crazy.

Ok guys, was there ever the idea to expand to a full band and spice the music up with some vocals?

Yeah man, this will be our first order of business in the next year. We kinda always fooled with gang vocals and a little sampling occasionally and we love it. Live we do that and we will scream our guts out on the ep. We have a new song that we wrote italian lyrics, simple stuff, sort of a tribute to the italian screamo. who doesn’t want to sing in Italian? right?

Haha, exactly! Anyway, was you local neighborhood been nice to math rock and instrumental bands recently? How popular is this genre and style in Bucharest?

Well there are a few bands playing instrumental that get here on their tour and we have some local ones as well. Not so much mathrock bands or screamo or emo, the ones that we would like to see, but it’s ok, things are starting to change. math is out of the map but the good news is several bands have already taken this instrumental approach (postrock, indie, ambient) so people gather more and more at performances.

What do you think about your local scene in general? How thriving is it? I was struck by one of the comments from Italian hardcore band HIEROPHANT, who revealed in my video interview that their national heavy music scene sucks, because of someof the unpleasant aspects of relations between bands out there. On the other hand, I’ve interviewed dozens of Italian acts that portrayed their local music communities in the most dazzling terms. How is it in your area?

Honestly, our scene is really young, yeah, we’ve had bands doing music since forever, but there was never a real scene, there were people attending shows, but not that many bands who understand what a scene is. I’m not that familiar with the Italian scene, but they’ve been doing great music for ages there, and they seem to have a scene for everything from screamo to crust. But you know, there will always be unpleasant aspects of relationships between bands in every scene, you just can’t like everyone. The scene here seems to have grown, and as it grows, it has created really nice bonds between people, as I’ve said the scene is not big here, you usually get new bands with people from other bands who are already part of the scene, so there are way to few people to have bad realionships, honestly at this point there’s alot of love going on in this scene, everyone helping each other, sure there are some small groups who are not that friendly, but we’re already so few, so who needs bad vibes.

BASTOS live

So what do you think the catalyst for the popularity of independent music is and where do you see it headed in the coming years?

At this point, for sure the internet is. If it weren’t for the internet we wouldn’t be here talking to you, it puts out there a lot of artists, that wouldn’t be known. Take for example HAVE A NICE LIFE, they never tour, so technically it would be hard to hear about them, but thanks to the internet, their debut LP is now considered a modern clasic. Another catalyst would be I guess, the desire of people to do whatever they want with no boundaries, which atracts a lot of followers, tired of the same old shit.

I think right now, we’re living exciting times for music, so much to choose from, and so much creativity thrown into music. Judging by the past few years, yeah you still won’t be able to make a living out of music, but the independent music scene is going to grow, as it always did.

Alright guys, so what are the immediate and future plans for the band? What else do we need to know about BASTOS before we say goodbye?

Well, in the first months we are going to record our debut EP, after that, do a short Romanian tour in April and then hit Europe in May.

Our dirty secret: we like Dawson’s Creek!

Haha, awesome! That soundtrack! :)

Ok guys. Thanks a lot for the quick update! Cheers from Warsaw!

Thanks a lot man, hope we’ll get to see Warsaw as soon as possible with a quick tour. Cheers from the balkans. Much bro love.

BASTOS Facebook
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bastosmove@gmail.com
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