Interview with Lance Blastoff of The Beast Of England and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
L: Hey, Pete! Lance here, representing for the Beast of England. Damn, sounds like I’m in court. Thanks for having us. Well, me.
Describe the band? Fluid, I hope. Adaptive to what the people who make it – and the people who hear it – might be feeling. We’ve played a few different kinds of music but the basis of what we do now, and will do in the future, is Heavy Rock. Like, the early forms of what became Heavy Metal. Sabbath, Zep, the usual suspects. And the subgenres that grew from that: Doom, Stoner, Sludge, etc.. I want us to have the freedom to go into any area we want, but that’s the core, the default. We didn’t start out with that, but that’s where we are at.
And, hopefully, I think of it as healing. I think that’s a big component of heavy music that gets overlooked. It’s healing properties. Like probably a lot of people, I have needed a lot of healing in the last few years. Music is one of the only things that consistently provides that.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
L: Personally, I am from the San Francisco Bay Area. Started making music in my teens. My friend, Daniel, who’s in the Beast of England, and who I’ve known since kindergarten, had a bunch of gear set up at his house when we were teenagers. I would go over and he would show me stuff. “Here, take this bass, or this guitar. Play these notes.” And he would just play drums or guitar and I would just play what he showed me. Or he would play something and I would just sing, come up with lyrics and go for it. That was the start.
As for the band, we have an odd history. We’ve been around awhile, on and off. Started out as my solo project and it was not at all full time until more recently. It’s evolved into more of a band and the style of music has changed. So I really feel like we’re a new band, since we weren’t really a full time thing before. But I didn’t change the name because I just like it. We still have kind of a rotating cast of characters. But there are some consistent people that have stuck with it. Daniel is one; he’s been involved in most things we’ve done. My partner, Kat, is another. And my good friend, Tim. He’s been involved with basically everything we’ve done so far.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
L: Too many artists to list, as far as influences. But also life and the people around me. Certainly the musicians I play with are a huge influence. Shaping what I do.
Subject matter for songs, it comes from everywhere. One area I was really interested in, as we were writing the stuff on the new EP and the stuff from the upcoming full length, is the interconnected nature of things and the idea that matter and energy are never really destroyed. Looking at mortality through a different lens.
I got interested in the concept of simulation theory but purely as a concept – not something I hard core believe or disbelieve but I just like the idea of it as a metaphor for existence. The notion of patterns, code sequences behind everything.
Of course, life moves fast and ideas that seemed poignant when you started writing them can quickly seem out of touch with who you are by the time you do anything with them. By the time we recorded the songs, I was already less interested in those subjects because stuff happened in my life. And I found the way I had been looking at things, lyrically or otherwise, kind of quaint. Or just something I wasn’t as connected to. But I think that’s the restless nature of people trying to make any kind of art.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
L: I want to say it’s to be truthful but I suspect that I would be lying.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
L: Anytime I really manage to say what I am trying to say with the music. It doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but when it does….
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
L: Well, I will let you know. Just getting started on that. Ha ha. I know it’s a cliche but it’s not the part of this I really enjoy, even though it can sometimes be fun. Because we started recording right before the pandemic hit, we have kind of ended up a cross between a live band and a bedroom project. It’s been interesting. We tracked drums and rhythm guitars right before the first lockdowns. I thought I would bang out the rest of the tracks at home in a couple weeks but it didn’t work out that way. I became distracted. But it eventually started coming together. But as far as promotion – yeah, just figuring that out now.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
L: The old fashioned way. Go to shows, get to know bookers or other people at the club. Or hang with the other bands. For this band, we haven’t started focusing on that yet. Our drummer is on tour at the moment, anyway, working as a tech. But we are focused on finishing the songs we still have in production; we’re planning a full album. After that, we’ll focus on gigging.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
L: It’s all part of the landscape, now. It can be hard to make money sometimes, I guess (isn’t it always, ha ha), but it also gives you different avenues to get heard. So, I guess it just “is what it is”.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
L: Another one where there’s too many to count but one that I was just listening to today that has that vibe is Townes Van Zandt’s “Waitin’ ‘Round to Die”.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
L: The business? Ha, maybe the whole thing? I don’t know.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
L: We’ve got a few more songs that are at least halfway recorded and those are the main focus. Again, with the intent of getting a full length album done. There’s a lot of debate, speaking of business, about releasing albums versus singles. I don’t have a strong opinion from a marketing standpoint – I just want to make an album because it’s a form that means something to me. With the hope of putting it out on vinyl.
And, of course, writing new stuff.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
The Beast Of England links:
Band/Artist location – San Francisco, CA
Facebook – You Tube – Bandcamp – Reverbnation –
Twitter – Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer –
Check our page for The Beast Of England