Summon: How did the band get started?
James: Most of us started playing together in a previous band, named Project JIM, which played more of an experimental and technical style of death metal. Our previous drummer left the band in 2011, which resulted in us being on standby for quite a long time. Before and during this period our influences progressively matured and shifted towards something resolutely more death metal, heavier in atmosphere, leaving some of the technicality aside. Once we found our current drummer, we quickly decided to wipe the slate clean and start something new: Barús.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
James: I would say we play a dense, oppressing, and monolithic form of death metal. We’ve been called progressive death metal, which considering what we play is quite fitting, but we’re not very attached to the progressive/technical death scene, and feel a lot closer to old school death, at least in terms of rawness and atmosphere.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
James: The response to our first EP (released in March this year) has been pretty amazing! We’ve had very positive reviews and overall great feedback, from people all over the world actually. It’s nice when you put out music that is very personal and has a strong meaning for you, and that people understand it and appropriate it.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
James: The word ‘Barús’ comes from ancient Greek. It translates weight in both a literal sense, something that is heavy, monolithic and imposing, and in a metaphorical sense, such as a mental burden, grief. It is at the basis of the subjects developed in our music.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
James: We have Keithan on vocals, Rémi on bass, Alexis on drums, and Marco and James (myself) on guitars.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
James: I write most of the music, but sometimes we also use a more collaborative approach, generally for musical arrangements. Keithan writes nearly all the vocals.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
James: Barús expresses the burdens of the human spirit such as grief, self-doubt and melancholy, with an introspective and sometime fatalistic vision of life and death. The lyrical topics address this in both a visceral and metaphorical way.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
James: I think that Satanism in extreme metal can be very interesting when taken from a more philosophical standpoint, for instance the way Deathspell Omega discuss it in their lyrics. I do find that a lot of bands, especially in black metal, tend to use Satanism in quite a caricatured way, which is a bit of a shame. I’m much more interested in the notion of Occultism, as least in music, as it points on a much larger scale towards the unknown and the immeasurable, a mysterious force. So while I definitely wouldn’t call Barús a Satanist band, some of the aspects of our music could be called Occult, the lyrics in particular.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
James: Our self-titled EP is our first release (March 2015).
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
James: There are four songs on our first EP. “Tarot” is probably the rawest song, alternating between frenetic dissonant sections and some very rhythmic and groove-oriented parts. “Disillusions” is more progressive, and moody. “Chalice” is quite monolithic, with a certain Occult side. “Cherub” finishes the EP and mostly revolves around slow death/doom. I won’t say too much, since it will be nicer for people to discover the songs for themselves.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
James: Yes. Within metal, Keithan and myself play in Maïeutiste, a French black metal band. Our first album will be released on September 19 2015 through the French label Les Acteurs de l’Ombre. Keithan also plays bass in Caïnan Dawn (black metal) and Marco plays in The Walking Dead Orchestra, a brutal death band. Outside of metal we also have several projects, ranging from grunge rock to ambient electronic music.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
James: I think in terms of metal in general we could mention bands like Converge, Deathspell Omega, Burden (US), Meshuggah (specifically the Catch 33 era), Ataraxie, Bethlehem. Our music doesn’t necessarily draw directly from the styles of these bands but they each have something unique and personal, a strong identity. Also a lot of bands outside of metal, like Ulver (mostly the electronic work), Mogwai and such.
Summon: Which current bands?
James: Most of the above really, since they are (nearly) all still active. There are a bunch of great current bands, but as for Barús we try to look mostly inwards for inspiration and try to avoid drawing explicitly from other bands. It’s more interesting and satisfying to try to create something personal and maybe a little different from other stuff going on.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
James: We’ve only played live once so far, as Barús has only existed officially for 6 months (since we released our EP). We try for it to be representative of the themes of our music: something heavy, uncomfortable and oppressing.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
James: Not yet with Barús but some of us have with our other projects. We will definitely try to if we can in the future.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
James: It’s hard to say, since we have only played one live gig so far. We have several shows this Fall, so we’ll see!
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
James: Again, we have only played live once as Barús, but the response was great. I think people understood what we were about: that we weren’t there to get people head-banging and moshing, but we wanted to cast the dark and oppressive aura of our music onto them for the duration of our set.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
James: To be honest I don’t know the US black scene as well as I should. There’s a lot of good death metal coming out of the US, though I’m more into the old school murky stuff than modern death metal.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
James: I suppose it depends where you are, but to a certain extent things are always the same: there is a lot of pretty bland music going around, but also a lot of hidden gems, even very small bands. As for France some interesting stuff is coming out at the moment, although not too many that come to mind in terms of death metal (at least the type of death metal that we are into).
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
James: The latest things to have really caught my eye are Dead Congregation (fantastic death metal), Lychgate’s “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” (very experimental and well written black metal), anything by Undergang (very dirty old school death metal) and also “Through Lung and Heart” by Devouring Star, a Finnish band (occult black death).
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
James: We have just finished writing and demo recording for our first full length album, so we should start the actual recordings during the winter.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
James: Hopefully a physical release of our first EP (we’re discussing it with a French label) and also finding a deal for our upcoming album! And we’re looking forward to playing more Barús shows, in France and abroad.
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