Interview: Book of Wyrms

Recently, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Book of Wyrms.

Hey, how are you?

Doing great! Waiting to find out when we can get the vaccine and start doing shit again. We’re having a lot of fun now that the record is done – there were a lot of things to think about and handle, and now we can finally just chill and enjoy the fun parts of putting something out. It definitely helps that Spring is hitting; we love being outside and doing outdoorsy shit, so between finishing the record and finally being able to go out into nature, this is a time we’ve been looking forward to all Winter.

Can you tell us something about the history of Book of Wyrms?

We started in like late 2014, and quickly added Chris on drums. We made a demo with our friend Garrett (who also did the first LP) and then found our guitarists on Craigslist. We started touring pretty early and our first LP, Sci-Fi/Fantasy came out in 2017 on Twin Earth Records. The early days were a haze of jamming in some weird old buildings – first we were in the Garber Building in downtown Richmond, where a lot of really cool heavy bands had their practice spaces before it got bought out for condos or some bullshit. Then we moved to what was basically an artist commune where we had to build our own room, and there were people living in there with no heat or insulation. We had to use a wood stove in the Winter and play with gloves, and in the Summer we had to use bug repellant. One night there was a mindfulness seminar happening and we needed our gear for a show but they made us wait while they voted on whether we could come through and get our shit. That building also got shot one time when Chris and Kyle were standing outside. A little while after that, our next record, Remythologizer came out and one guitarist, Ben, quit. We kept touring as a four-piece until Covid, and spent this last year writing and recording the new record, Occult New Age.

For people not knowing Book of Wyrms (yet), how would you describe your music yourself?

We call it Space Metal, but we’ve changed a lot over the three records and a demo. We were much more of a traditional doom band when we started, and that’s changed over time as we got more comfortable with each other’s personalities and our own abilities. It’s gotten weirder and more ambitious, but I still think Space Metal is as good a descriptor as anything. 

When someone doesn’t know Book of Wyrms yet and you can choose one of your songs to present yourself, which song would that be?

Oh god that would freak me out! I’d be scared to pick the wrong one. From the new record, I’d show them Hollergoblin (I don’t know if it’s out yet), because I’m just really proud of that one. It shows a lot of the range of shit we do, and has one of the better hooks I’ve written. Off of any of the older records, I’d say Blacklight Warpriest (from our last record Remythologizer), for really the same reason – it’s just a good summary of what we’re going for.

What makes Book of Wyrms unique?

The vocals and synth work. It’s a hard style to sing in – you know we’re going to fuck your voice up and make you sound weird, but you still have to give a performance that would sound good even without doing a bunch of shit to it. The result is that haunting, airy sound, but it kind of goes against the common wisdom of cranking the vocals. And then the synth is pretty essential, whether it’s creating an alternative texture to the heavy instruments or doubling as a second lead/solo instrument. Those two elements just add like a splash of hypercolor paint to the dark monochrome of being heavy.

Any future plans you can already tell us something about?

Occult New Age is officially out on May 7, and so it’s been hard to think about other plans for a little while, especially since touring hasn’t been possible. We want to get on the road again as soon as it’s safe, and we have tentative plans to do the West (touring in America is complicated because the middle of the country requires long drives between gigs, while the coasts and the South have lots of places closer together).  

Any upcoming gigs for Book of Wyrms? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yeah, we absolutely want to play some dates in Europe and The Netherlands is always a “must” for bands going over there. We also were looking at some Canada dates, and everyone had been working on passports before Covid hit. Anyway, we’ll be over there as soon as we figure out how to make it work.

How do you think your life would be without music?

Honestly, without music I’d probably spend all my time in a forest. I’d basically become feral.

What advice would you give to young and starting bands?

Remember that this shit is supposed to be fun. Treat everyone you meet with respect and gratitude – that’s really the only currency you have when you start, and people have long memories.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

Thank you all for your support and interest, and we hope you dig the new shit! Stay weird, everyone!

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