Seemingly lunging out from the void towards the end of last year was a monstrous and mysterious extreme metal entity. The album Bishop, the band Bishop from France, the band members unseen, the artwork dark and ominous. No track titles, just 37min of apocalyptic stones from the skies (read our review here). I was happy to have the opportunity to talk with the band. Find out what they had to say and be sure to check out the album, out now on No Good To Anyone, Specific Recordings and Neutral Recordings.
Thanks for agreeing to this interview for Blessed Altar Zine. First of all, who is Bishop and what does each member contribute to the band?
Bishop: Hello ! it’s a pleasure for us too, even if it took us so much time to answer ! So Bishop is made of four long time friends evolving in common and related bands for years. Matthieu sings and plays synths, Arnaud is the drummer, Julien plays guitar, and Loïc is on Bass-Piano .
From the first moments of the first track I knew I was going to love this album. You’ve got such a powerful sound. How happy are you with the way the album turned out?
Bishop We couldn’t be happier with how things turned out, the record sound is smashing and exactly how we wanted it. It’s been a ride to create this but finally it’s real !
If I had to describe this music to someone I might call it apocalyptic sludge metal. At times I’m reminded of Neurosis, Godflesh and even Cop era Swans. How would you describe Bishop and what have been some of your biggest musical inspirations?
Bishop: We really love these bands, but honestly, there wasn’t a precise artist or genre in our minds during the making of the album. But when you listen to the different parts, I think you can hear we listened to a lot of black metal, melodic crust and punk in our youth, and that’s what coloured our sound .
I found out about the album because I follow No Good To Anyone Productions. You released the digital version with them, but you also have Specific Recordings and Neutral Records due to release the album on vinyl and cassette. How did you end up working with these labels?
Bishop: All those labels are owned by really close friends, and already released some material from other projects we had, so it seemed obvious to us to stay in that dynamic .
The stark cover artwork, the lack of band photos and untitled tracks all add to a sense of mystery and bleakness. How intentional was this?
Bishop: We always had a connection and curiosity to strange and dark things. In such a rich and stuffed project, we thought it would be great to let room for the listener to decipher and make his own conclusions .
What topics and themes are the band exploring on the album?
Bishop: This album is about a person, going so far, and being so deeply touched by his frustrations that he creates a personal army and goes to war in a world that doesn’t exist. To be more specific, the topics would be the impossibility to question oneself, escape, mental illness, and the need of power following a life of frustration .
As far as I can gather this is the first Bishop release. What has been the history of the band so far? What was the songwriting process like for these tracks and how was your experience recording the album?
Bishop: I’ll answer your two last questions here : Bishop started in a basement, nearly ten years ago, with endless rehearsals and writing sessions, several line up changes. It’s been years of doing, undoing, making things more complex, and then conversely simple just before recording it.
It’s been long, painful and exhausting, especially the songwriting and recording of vocals, but as said before, we’re really happy with the outcome, and if we had to change something, we would probably do it a completely different way.
With live concerts hopefully becoming more possible again do you have plans to do live shows ?
Bishop: Yes obviously we’re all really busy right now, but our first shows should come around spring of 2022 !
Finally, is there anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Bishop: Well what can we say except support your local music, listen to all the scene from Metz, and there’s plenty ( DCA, Oi Boys, Loth and many more… )
Thanks a lot for your patience and hope we can catch you someday on a show !
Interview by Tom Osman
Thanks to Bishop for their time. Get yourself a copy of Bishop by Bishop on digital, CD, vinyl or cassette. Support the labels, support the band, support the underground.
No Good To Anyone (for CD)
Specific Recordings (for vinyl)
Neutral Records (for cassette)
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**