Sunday, February 9, 2014


In the closing weeks of 2013, a band came across our radar that simply left us gobsmacked and gasping for air. The bone crunching sound they were producing was as if we were getting open-heart surgery without any anesthesia, but were being reassured by the surgeons we were going to live and it was going to be fine. That is the sound of Toronto's Biblical. They are totally pulse pounding but there is some sort of hope in the thunderous sound they are creating. After hearing their new single, "Second Sight," we wanted more and had to make them our first Rising Artist of 2014. The band, who are set to release their new album, Monsoon Season next month, are gearing up for the road and gigs ahead. We spoke to singer and bassist Nick Sewell about their journey, the making of Monsoon Season, and what it is like to hail from Toronto in a day and age where Justin Bieber and Mayor Rob Ford are giving a great city a bad name. Take a look at our interview with Sewell below:

Monsoon Season has been in the works for some time, how does it feel to finally be releasing it?

Honestly, we’re thrilled. We can’t wait for everyone to hear it. It’s been a ton of work to get to this point and the fact that the release is right around the corner is a little surreal. And so far the response has been amazing.  Making a record, there are many moments of uncertainty. Is this material up to snuff? Is that performance ‘the one’? Does that mix capture the vibe we’re going for?  To be able to look back on all those decisions and actually be excited about the result is a wonderful feeling. 

Biblical happens to be the most badass name of any new band emerging, who picked it and how did you land on it?

We’ve actually have a good story for that.  Back in early 2010, Ghostbusters seemed to be playing on TV like every other day.  There’s that scene where they’re trying to convince the Mayor to take action and Bill Murray says “this city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.”  I saw it and I thought Biblical Proportions would be a cool name for what we were doing. I brought it up at practice and everyone liked the sentiment.  After about half an hour we decided to drop ‘proportions’ and just go with Biblical. Good call. 

What does the title of the album, ‘Monsoon Season’ signify?

Monsoon Season started out as just a song on the record. It’s a pretty epic number that clocks in at over 11 minutes and has a really oppressive atmosphere. Originally, we were going to call the record something else, but as we got into mixing we started to feel more and more that both the song and the title really captured overall flavor of the record. Sonically, we try to create tension in our music by using dynamics. We like to let things simmer and then come crashing in with a big change. The image of a storm rolling seemed like a good fit. 

Lyrically, I was writing from a strange place. The last five years have been really up and down. There’s been a lot of illness in my immediate family and regrettably a number of deaths. So for me,  Monsoon Season was about getting through a period of sustained turmoil. There were many moments of hopelessness. Now that I’m on the other side of those experiences, I did my best to inject the record with as much of that as I could. 

On your site, you describe your sound as “The sound of mountains splitting and oceans parting.” What does that image mean when you hear that phrase?

We’re really into developing tension with our music. When we get loud, we like to do it suddenly, especially after longer passages of mellow. Giving people a reference point of a mellow dynamic versus a loud one makes those moments have way more impact. That phrase is trying to capture those feelings. 

There are so many styles within this band. You are part prog, part metal, part garage, what do you classify yourself as?

We never refer to ourselves as anything other than a Rock band. There are so many genres and so many amazing ideas they all have to offer.  People call us different things, but the only thing that always fits is Rock. 

Who are some of the influences that make up Biblical?

There’s the obvious starting point of 70s guitar rock as our foundation. But we’re much more interested in music that’s not related to what we’re doing. We’re all big fans of the 60s David Axelrod produced stuff, Brazilian psych/samba like Marcos Valle and Os Mutantes. We love heavy stuff like Funkadelic and even weird keyboard stuff like Bob James. All of it informs our music in some capacity.  Matt and Jay both work at record stores so they’re walking libraries of information.   I say Rock-wise, the one thing we all agree on is the MC5.   But when we’re on the road, we honestly don’t spin a lot of rock records in the van. If we do, it’s going to be obscure like T2 or Truth And Janey.  

The band has been praised for your live show, is there pressure now living up to the hype on an album?

Normally, I’d say yes. But in this case, we’re really satisfied with the record.  It’s got it’s own identity and a consistency that carries through the whole listen.  I think anyone who sees us live will really enjoy it. And conversely, anyone who hears the record first will be really happy to see what we do with the songs live. 

Hailing from Toronto, which these days is mainly known for the music of Drake and the city’s mayor these days, how has the city played a role in your music?  

Toronto is a great city to live in. There’s a pretty big and diverse music scene and a ton of venues to play.  If anything, I’d say the city has allowed for a lot cross pollination between different groups of people and different genres.  Matt, Jay and Andy regularly sit in with a ton of different groups that play everything from soul and funk to folk and experimental. I think the city is just big enough to allow for those genres and scenes to co-exist without being too isolated and impenetrable. 

So many heavy bands have come from Canada in recent years – Fucked Up, Metz, Death from Above, how does Biblical stand out from the pack while continuing the legacy of what already is?

Those bands are great and we’re thankful that there’s credible, heavy music coming out of Toronto. We’ve shared bills with some of those bands so it’s not totally incongruous, but I don’t think anyone would confuse what we’re doing. Really, the similarities begin and end with ‘loud’.  But hopefully that pedigree gives people a reason to check out what we’re doing. 

Where does Biblical go from here?

The focus right now is to play as much as we can.  The record comes out in March and we look forward to setting sail.  There are a lot of places we want to visit!