Interview with Robert Walsh of Bitter Resolve

Bitter Resolve comes from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and although they clearly referencing to the Black Sabbath’s school, this trio comprised of Robert Walsh, Lauren Fitzpatrick and R. Corey Dial, succeeded to do far beyond than referencing with the debut called „Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning“. Stoner and doom are indeed the core of their sound, but the term „progressive“ doesn’t come as a total unknown. For this interview I talked to Robert Wash, a bass player/vocalist of the band. The full interview is after the jump.

Robert Walsh, Lauren Fitzpatrick and R. Corey Dial

Nick: So, Robert, how did the story about forming Bitter Resolve go? Have you guys had any other bands prior BR? What was your idea back then?

R: I was playing in a band called “The Dirty Little Heaters;” the singer in that band got very sick, with heart problems. I started just jamming out with Corey and his buddy for fun, as the Heaters were taking a hiatus. Bitter Resolve at that point was more of a “Rock-n-Roll” kind of vibe. The two of us hit it off real well, music wise, and we started writing songs together. I have always been on a heavy trip… With every band I was ever in. The music just started to evolve, we went through a couple of sub-standard drummers, played some shows, but we had started working on the core material for “Bows and arrows…”  We have a friend who financed our record and we needed a new drummer. So one night I was hammered in a bar in Chapel Hill when I ran into Lauren. I asked her if she would play drums on the album. She had never met Corey. Her band, The Curtains of Night, had decided to take a break, so she agreed to play on the record. I guess she dug it, because she’s still here, hahaha. So, the bulk of the material on the record are songs Corey and I wrote, she learned in a month  and we recorded together.

Nick: It’s clear that you borrow a lot from doom/stoner background but with kind of progressive approach. What is your guideline in creating a song? Is the concept of making an entity (in this case an album) different from making a song?

R: I will usually have the melody and some words first, accompanied by a riff, maybe two… Then Corey, who is a musical machine, a very talented guitar player, adds structure and coherence, he moves the concept forward. We then bring that skeleton to Fitz, and she makes it a song. All of our songs tie together, thematically. As do/will all of our records.

Nick: The debut called „Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning“ was released in 2011, how long have you been working on it? How did the recording process go?

R: Man, you know, Corey and I had been tossing those jams around for months, before we got Lauren in the band. She actually made them sound right. We recorded with our buddy, in his tiny home studio… We had fun with it. I had never recorded totally digital before, so we kind of learned as we went. It was a killer bonding experience, which, in my opinion, we needed. A bit of unity, as we were just coming together then.

Nick: The overall sound on the record is pretty raw, kind of noisy groove. Are you satisfied how it turned out speaking of production? Was it your inital idea to capture that sound-rawness without going for any polishing work?

R: Ha!! That seems to be the million dollar question. I like the way it sounds. Part of me feels like, “What kind of pussy-ears do you have?” Ha ha. Really? We recorded it for free, for the love of doing it. In my opinion it’s not even that fucking raw. Ever listen to Black Sabbath Vol. 4?  Everybody hates the way that record sounds, all the band members, critics, I mean everyone. That’s my favorite album, ever. So come on! Not that I would ever compare little ol’ us to the mighty Sabbath.

Nick: „Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning“ was self-released and you put it out on a vinyl. Why have you decided to skip over the CD format?

R: I don’t own a CD player. I think I had one in the 80′s. They are a total waste of plastic. They always felt temporary to me. Fuck a CD.

Nick: Let’s talk a bit about your influences. Which bands/musicians have been influenced your work with the band? I am sure you will mention Black Sabbath somewhere (who wouldn’t, though?), but what’s underneath?

R: I really love Waters-led Pink Floyd, Rush, Dead Moon, Neil Young, Earth, Iron Maiden, OM, Hammerhead, Opeth, Gabriel-led Genesis, Kyuss, Los Natas, the first two Monster Magnet records, Free, Grand Funk, The Byrds, Godhead Silo, Enemymine, Graham Nash’s first record, Buffalo Springfield, Moby Grape… the list goes on. We could throw Captain Beefheart in there right now. I think we should.

Nick: Is it difficult to be authentic in the present era?

R: Never really thought about that. Hmm… I don’t think so.

Nick: How much have you been active when it comes to playing live?

R: Quite a bit. We have a bunch of shows coming up. We really want to find a way to come play in Europe. After the second record comes out, we are going to try to make that a reality.

Nick: Are you already working on a new album? Could you tell how it’s going to look like comparing to „Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning“?

R: We are! We have 3 out of 6 songs completed. We are working on number 4 now. We are wanting to start recording in June, with a proposed release in September or so. It’s going to be great, I think. These will all be songs that the three of us wrote, as opposed to songs Corey and I wrote and showed to Fitz. We are stoked. The new jams are HEAVY.  Like waves, and icebergs, and planets.

Nick: How much what you do with Bitter Resolve is based on improvisation? What do you think of improvisational music?

R: Zero improvisation. I like that kind of music, that’s just not our thing.

Nick: What is your opinion in general about contemporary music? Are there any new bands you heard that really surprised you?

R: There is a lot of great new stuff out there, man. Pallbearer; ((Thorlock)) is great (we just played a bunch of shows with them); Across Tundras; Arbouretum; MAKE is a great band from here in Chapel Hill; Pierced Arrows; Horseback (also from here). I just got the new Earth record… I love it, it’s very sleepy.

Nick: What future brings?

R: For now, digging into these new songs. We have the basic ideas for the remaining songs… We just have to realize them now. It’s coming together.

Nick: Is there anything you would love to add that I didn’t cover with my questions?

R: Only a big thank you. To yourself, and everybody else who has lent us a hand. It means the world to us.

Nick: Thanks a lot for your time!

R: Anytime, man. Anytime… Stay warm over there. The sunshine is on its way.

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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