Greetings Tarquin from Romania and thank you very much for granting us this interview. Basement Torture Killings is a Death Metal/Grindcore band from London. Can you please tell us more information about your band?
BTK – Basement Torture Killings was formed in the winter of 2007 with the aim of paying tribute to both the early underground death/grind bands as well as horror and slasher movies. The band members each take on the persona of a deviant serial killer.
The initial line up of the band released two full length albums “The Second Cumming” & “A Night Of Brutal Torture” along side a number of splits. We did a lot of shows in both the UK and abroad, however life got in the way and unfortunately the line up decided to call it quits. They were happy for me to carry on and they are now doing their own projects.
I found new members and we now have a solid line up and have recently released our third album “There’s Something About Beryl”. We have also toured both the UK and throughout Europe with this line up.
The band now comprises of Beryl – Hate filled snuff sermons, Tarquin – Manipulator of razor wire and gore filled screams, Dr Krauss – Medical low end bowel surgery and finally The Faceless Killer – Batterer of angelic faces.
What is your main inspiration with Basement Torture Killings? Who writes the lyrics, who does the music and why did you choose the band’s name after the serial killer Dennis Rader?
Musically we are very much influenced by 90’s death/grind, Carcass is a very big influence. I personally also like a lot of gore grind so things like General Surgery, Exhumed, Impaled, Haemorrhage etc are always on heavy rotation. On our latest release we also experimented more with some thrash elements etc. We are just fans of heavy and extreme music and that’s what we like to play. The visual side of the band is very much influenced by classic slasher movies as well as The League Of Gentlemen (UK dark comedy) and other macabre things.
The lyrics are written by both Beryl and I. We tend not to write about specific serial killers, rather we create fictional stories. They tend to be quite brutal and shocking although that is only because it fits the style of the band. We don’t really write about crimes that real serial killers have committed, although we do have some songs which are influenced by real killers. These include Dennis Rader, Ted Bundy and The Wests. But in these songs we imagine crimes they could have committed rather than actual crimes. Macabre do that far better than we ever could.
The name really just seemed fitting at the time. Bertrand (one of the original members) and I had just written a song and we knew we needed a dark and twisted name. I suggested BTK and we then played around with the initial and came up with Basement Torture Killings. Lots of bands were already releasing music as BTK or using Bind Torture Kill. I didn’t really know that much about Dennis Rader at that point, I just knew a little about the crimes and felt it would fit the band. The initials also represent the band members Beryl – Tarquin – Krauss.
I’ve also always been fascinated with true crime and have an interest in Serial Killers so that obviously has a big influence. In fact I’ve just read a book about Denis Rader and it’s a very interesting case. I know much more about his case now. But at the time we formed the band not so much.
How does the metal scene look in London? How do you collaborate with fellow metalheads from the scene?
The scene is good in London and the UK in general. It is very different to other countries as the shows tend to be quite sanitized and end by 11PM, which is very different to somewhere like Portugal for example where they don’t even start until then. But we have a lot of quality shows and there are a lot of very good bands.
We fit in with everyone else just fine, we’ve all been around the scene for a long time so we are friends with most people.
We have done splits with other UK bands such as Desecration and Foetal Juice. We have also done a lot of tours with bands from the UK. The only down side with London is that sometimes there are too many shows. This sounds like a good thing but you can only afford to go to so many shows and it means you miss out on some bands you would really like to see. But on the whole we are lucky.
What do you think about collaborating with other metal acts from the international scene, is this a possibility for Basement Torture Killings?
We have done tours with lots of international bands including General Surgery, Holocausto Canibal (we have also done a split with them), Prostitute Disfigurement, Kadaverficker, Dead Infection and many others. We would love to do more with bands from outside of the UK so that we can grow our name more.
I must say that the guys in both Holocausto, Grunt and Dead Infection have helped us lots over the years and got us playing in countries that we would not have been able to do without them. Another band we have a really good relationship is Fractured Insanity from Belgium who are starting to have a good level of success.
One of my favorite things though is when we get to play with other bands from the UK in other countries. Its good to catch up and also to know that we are all getting the chance to play our music to different and new audiences.
Do you play often live? What is your opinion when it comes to live performances?
We play live as often as we can and where ever we can. I think last year we did around 25 shows including in Czech, Portugal, Basque Country, Ireland, Belgium and Poland as well as of course in the UK.
For us playing live is our favorite thing. We try to make the show as memorable as possible and are very visual. It makes things interesting for the crowd and is fun also for us. This year we have many more first coming up including Brutologos fest in Spain, Flesh Party in Slovakia and Obscene Extreme Fest in CZ. We are also looking for more shows as well.
Last year you released your latest album entitled “There’s something about Beryl”. Can you shortly sum up how things went along with recordings? Are you fully satisfied with your work? How did you decide to collaborate with Beryl?
I think the album came out well. We took a little too long to record it and I think we may have captured some better performances here and there if we had to work a little faster. But the songs are good and the album sounds really good. I really like the production which was done by Ivy Skuratov of Death Culture Studios. Looking back there are always things you would want to do differently now but that is always the way.
One thing that we will do before the next release though is to rehearse all of the songs and know them inside out. Before we used to write music over the internet, record and only then learn to play them as a band. This time we did a bit of both, the songs which we had rehearsed the most however came out the best and I think we will work hard to get the songs nailed in the rehearsal studio before recording.
As for Beryl I have known her for a long time and we needed a singer. I sent a message on face book to ask if she was interested and the rest when from there. It was not a case of wanting a male or female singer, more of having someone in the band who we would get on with and would make a positive contribution. She was an obvious choice from the start. We had a singer prior to her for a short period and he nearly destroyed the band despite having great vocals. It is important to get the right fit if you know what I mean.
Do you have any plans for a new record in the near future? What about a future tour?
I already mentioned some of the shows that we have coming up. We are doing a short tour through France, Spain and Portugal with Foetal Juice in May. We have some UK shows coming up including playing with Avulsed. Dead Infection and Pestifer are coming to do some shows in September and we have some more things lined up. Of course there is also the festivals I mentioned previously.
As for a new release, we are in the writing stage at the moment, but we aren’t going to rush this one. We may do another album or we may look to do 2 EP’s to be released some time apart. We are also going to be featuring in a tribute to Holocausto Canibal soon which Im really looking forwards to doing.
What is your opinion towards nowadays metal scene and how are things going in England?
The internet and modern recording methods has meant that it is much easier for bands to get listened to now. I think that this is a good thing, however it has also meant that a lot of the larger tours are supported by “Buy ons” which means that its the bands with the most money that get these rather than the most deserving. In the past a band would have to be signed to a good label and then the label would invest the money this meant that a band was likely to have already worked hard. At the same time the DIY scene is thriving and you can do some really good shows.
I am 40 now so of course I find some things very strange within the scene and in particular within the black metal scene. But I think that is just me getting old haha, I do know that there didn’t used to be so much policing of music in the past but that is just a sign of the times.
Overall though I think that the scene is healthy and shows are being supported which is only a good thing. Plus for us it means that we get to travel to some awesome places and meet new friends whilst sharing our music.
What are your personal musical preferences? Do you listen only to metal or do you also prefer some other musical genres?
Well apart from the bands I mentioned earlier I’m also a fan of lots of different styles of music. Nick Cave is someone who makes some really interesting music in my eyes. Metal wise I like Thrash, Black Metal, Death Metal etc I don’t really like overly technical music though, it just does nothing for me. Outside of metal I like lots of different bands, for example Therapy are a band I love. So much so that we covered Knives on “There’s Something About Beryl”, I also listen to PJ Harvey, Suede all sorts of stuff really.
We conduct within our magazine a project about female musicians in the underground metal scene. What is your personal opinion towards this and how does Basement Torture Killings fit into this? Do you see any differences when it comes to female fronted Metal bands? Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?
I can only really give you my views on this and can’t really speak on Beryl’s behalf. To me its not about the sex of the person but there ability and stage craft. I know that some bands rely heavily on the fact that they have a female vocalist, but for us it was really about finding the best person for the job.
I remember when Arch Enemy first got Angela and everyone was saying wow she has really good vocals for a woman. I know it was novel at the time to have a female singer but to me stating wow they are good because its a she is stupid, they are either good vocals or they are not. As for Arch Enemy I always thought they were rubbish compared to Carcass haha.
We are obviously very aware that we have a girl in the band, but its not really something i think that much about. I do think that its awesome that its easier for girls to be involved now and that they aren’t just seen as gimmicks any more. I don’t really know about advantages or disadvantages for other bands but I can tell you for us, having Beryl in the band had been nothing but positive.
Thank you very much for your time and feel free to add some last words for our readers.
Thanks for the interview, I’m sorry its taken so long to get it back to you. I’ve really enjoyed responding to your questions and I hope it leads to some people wanting to check us out. Hopefully we can make it to Romania at some point, I’ve heard about a killer festival over there that we’d love to come play next year.
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Check out the latest Basement Torture Killings – There’s Something About Beryl: