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Belzebong interview with Sheepy Dude, Alky Dude and Cheesy Dude

January 29, 2014

Belzebong interview with Sheepy Dude, Alky Dude and Cheesy Dude

The narcotic properties of Belzebong, while not fully
medically tested at this point, will definitely hinder fine motor skills and
impair higher brain functions.  The fun
doesn’t stop there though.  Belzebong is
guided by a deranged Bong Jinni that offers up ancient riffs from the Pagan
witch Sabbaths that occurred in the mountain ranges surrounding their hometown
in Poland.  Now normally I would scoff at
such a claim, but the more I listen to Belzebong the more I wonder.  They do sound heavier and harder than
ninety-nine percent of the biggest metal bands going, and they do it all
without having to play a million miles an hour. 
It’s like this, have you ever had your dope dealer tell you to be
careful with drugs before?  A sale
preempted by a cryptic warning or the obligatory, “Only take one hit of this,
don’t smoke too much of that…”  Well take
it from Uncle Jerk when I tell you to carefully inhale the riffage on this
one!  Prepare to feel your body fade
away, your brain turn to sludge and your face melt instantly.  I’m serious. 
Be warned, this is some heavy shit. 
I’m not sure there’s any other way to prepare listeners for the
blistering, stoney, Armageddon style riffage that is Belzebong.  I listen to a lot of heavy music, stoner
rock, desert and even dead ahead metal from time to time but Belzebong take the
cake.  While they might not even have a
full-length album out yet, their songs are plenty long enough to lull the
listener into a false sense of security while they’re becoming so inebriated by
it that I’m sure it’s illegal for them to operate heavy machinery after
listening to the complete “Dungeon Vultures” or “Acid Funeral” tracks.  Don’t take my word for it though, judge for
yourself…

Listen
while you read: http://belzebong.bandcamp.com/
© Paweł Wygoda

What is
Belzebong’s current lineup?  Has this
always been your lineup or have you made some changes over time?
Sheepy dude: 
Belzebong’s current lineup is Cheesy dude, Alky dude, Falony dude and
Sheepy dude.  There’s also Boogie dude
who’s responsible for the video-visuals at our gigs.  The thing that’s really changed over time is
our drummer, few years ago Falony dude replaced the former dude Jelony.  That and we’ve grown moustaches.
Alky dude:  Once we
had a vocalist, but, as the legend goes, we forgot to pick him up from a
parking lot somewhere along the highway and there’s a rumor that says his ghost
now wanders the streets of Salem.
The more people I
talk to the more I realize most musicians who are trying to pay the bills these
are days are in more than one band.  Are
any of you in any other bands that are currently active?  Have you released any music with anyone
else?  If so can you tell us about that?
Alky dude:  Never paid
a bill with music, mostly in cash, or bank transfers.  Yeah some of us are involved in other bands,
playing totally different stuff though.
Sheepy dude:  Yeah,
music and bills don’t mix man.  To pay
bills eventually you’re going to need a real job.
Where are you
originally from? 
Alky dude:  Kielce,
Poland in the middle of Europe.
Sheepy dude:  The city
where the wind blows cold as fuck, so they say. 
It’s located in these old ass mountains. 
Actually they’re so old they don’t look like mountains anymore man.  They’re pretty low; lots of forests around,
witches, boars and shit.  There’s a hill
where witch Sabbaths took place a long time ago in the pagan times, that’s why
a witch riding a broomstick is the official symbol of the region.

Did the music
scene where you grew up play a large part in your childhood or musical taste?
Sheepy dude:  Nope,
not really.  The local scene here is
mostly focused on hip hop shit, which has never interested us.
Was your household
very musical when you were a child?  Were
either your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely interested
or involved in music?
Alky dude:  My parents
weren’t, but my granddad used to play drunken folk chants on the accordion at
parties.
Sheepy dude:  No,
there were no musicians in my family.  I
got hooked on my own.
What was your
first real exposure to music?
Alky dude:  80’s
disco/pop on the radio.
Sheepy dude:  I think
that a Dr. Alban cassette was the first shit I got to listen to.
Cheesy dude:  My
father used to bring home some Russian vinyl from the black market in late
80’s.  I remember the Commodores, Bon
Jovi and Michael Jackson in particular.
If you had to pick
one defining moment of transcendent music to you, a moment that changed how you
heard music and opened the door to all the infinite possibilities, what would
it be?
Alky dude:  Hearing
Sodom’s In The Sign Of Evil when I was ten years old.  Followed by Venom and King Diamond later on.
Sheepy dude:  Oh man,
listening to music while trippin’ in the woods, seeing sounds and shit!  That experience changed my view on music and
other stuff.  The doors of perception
were opened wide and my musical taste even changed a bit too; I have swum into
the open seas of psychedelia.
When and how did
you all originally meet?
Alky dude:  We met in
the woods surrounding our city. 
Seriously.  And it was hell a long
ago.
Sheepy dude:  Yes,
Cheesy, Alky and I have known each other for a while.  It’s hard to tell you exactly how we met in
those woods, but we’ve been good friends ever since.
What exactly led
to the formation of Belzebong and when was that?  Is there any guiding force or universal principal
that you all subscribe to?
Alky dude:  A
toothless gypsy fairy with a rat on a string we met in a damp cellar gave as
bong full of riffs.
Sheepy dude: 
Something like that.  Sometimes a
rat on a string is a bat on a stick.  The
guiding force is a bong with a gravity that draws us all together to smoke some
shit and make some badass riffs.  Smoke
and riff, riff and weed, that’s our game, that’s our creed.
What does the name
Belzebong mean or refer to?  I seriously
dig the name!  How did you go about
choosing it and who came up with it?
Alky dude:  Once
again, the legend goes that it was the Bong Jinni from the afore mentioned
bong.  He came up with the idea, or maybe
it was someone else?  Hmm…  I don’t remember.

Sheepy dude:  The Bong
gave us the name.  Well, actually we
accidently released a green Jinn from the old bong that the gypsy witch gave us
the other day.  It didn’t grant us any
wishes though, greedy motherfucker, but it did give us that funny name which
defines our style so well.
Where’s the band
currently located at?
Alky dude:  Four
different cities in Poland, in a 500 km perimeter.
Sheepy dude:  Yeah,
we’re a bit scattered.  We rehearse in
Warsaw, the capitol of Poland.
How would you
describe the local music scene there?
Alky dude:  It’s
okayyy…
Sheepy dude:  The
scene is growing man.  There’s some
interesting bands coming up, there’re some cool shows too, and even a stoner
festival with some big names on it.  Not
bad at all if you ask me.
Are you very
involved in the local music scene?  Do
you book or attend a lot of shows?  Do
you help to record and or release any local music?
Cheesy dude:  Check
out Weedpecker dude, they’re pretty awesome. 
I recorded some FX-textures for their track “Weedfields”.
Do you feel like
the local music scene where you all are at has played a large role in Belzebong
in any capacity or do you feel like you could have done what you have and sound
like you do regardless of your geographic location or musical
surroundings? 
Sheepy dude:  Not
really.  Actually location had nothing to
do with our sound or style since there were weren’t any other bands in Poland
even slightly similar to what we were doing back then when we started.  So we didn’t really look locally for
inspiration, we’ve found that elsewhere on the internet and shit.  Then we just put the bong in motion and the
riffs followed.
While we are
talking so much about Belzebong’s history can we take a moment to talk about
your musical influences?  There are some
pretty obvious sounds that you draw from for a lot of your music, but there are
a lot of less apparent elements to the music that only become audible when you
listen to the music a few times and start to pick it apart a bit.  I’m interested to hear who you’d cite as your
major musical influences?  What about
influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?
Alky dude:  Songs
’bout drugs and space, in general.
Sheepy dude:  Bud,
cheeba, chronic, dagga, dak, dank, dope, doobage, draw, dro, electric puha,
frodis, ganja, grass, green, hash, hay, herb, indo, instaga, kush, leaf, Mary
Jane, nugget, nug, pot, reefer, schwag, sensi, skunk, sticky-icky-icky, tea,
tree, wacky tobacky.  Weed…  The main musical influences on Belzebong are
bands such as Bongzilla, Electric Wizard, Sleep and Weedeater to name the
obvious ones.  There’s also some bluesy
and psychedelic stuff, some drone and of course Black Sabbath.
I would like to
think I’m fairly good at a lot of things, and I love what I do.  I love tracking down, talking to and sharing
great bands with people.  But one of the
reasons I will be forever grateful to the internet is being able to link people
to music instead of having to describe it because I am shamefully bad at
it.  I end up spending a bunch of time
meandering on and on, using needless verbiage and ultimately end up confusing
more people than I interest.  Rather than
me taking some awkward stab at describing your sound to our readers, how would
you describe Belzebong’s sound to our readers who might not have heard you
before in your own words?
Sheepy dude:  A poet
would say it sounds like a stoned ass motherfuckin’ giant goat tumbling down a
staircase straight to hell in slow motion. 
I’d say it’s the sound of thick smoke bubbling up from a dirty old
bong.  I’d say it sounds like feeling
really stoned in mysterious and eerie surroundings, like a space swamp and
shit.

Do you all enjoy
recording?  I know that most musicians
can appreciate the final product, there’s not a whole lot in the world that
beats holding a finished album in your hands and knowing that it’s yours and
you made it.  Getting into the studio to
record that material though, it can be really trying to say the least!  How is it recording for you all?
Alky dude: 
Unfortunately we can’t reveal to you the secret of our recording
procedure.  We can only say that it’s a
ritual which involves virgin sacrifices.
Sheepy dude: 
Recording is kinda fun.  We’re
usually stoned.  But to be honest I
prefer live shows, where we’re much more stoned and it’s even more fun.
How do you all
handle recording?  Do you head into the
studio to record or is it more of a DIY project on your own time, terms and
turf?
Sheepy dude:  Yep,
it’s more of a DIY, on our terms with the help of our friends and the bong
Jinni occasionally, kind of thing.
Cheesy dude:  We take
our old vintage amps and effects and put up some microphones.  A wall of fuzz and a mist of psychedelia are
required to produce our stuff.
Does Belzebong do
a lot of preparation work before recording getting all the arrangements and
changes just the way you want them?  Or
is it more of a flexible organic process where things have room for change and
variation during the recording process?
Sheepy dude:  It turns
out to be pretty flexible, ‘cause it’s always time for a good change.  We often play our songs differently at
different shows, and the recorded versions are just one of those different
versions.  It could be a little bit
slower or even super slow depending on how much weed we smoke while playing
it.  The main structure of the song and
the riffs are solid and set before recording, but a lot of stuff, space effects
and arrangements are often improvised by Cheesy dude on the spot.

Electro Harmonix Belzebong Pedal
Can you tell us
about Belzebong’s songwriting process? 
Is there someone who approaches the rest of the band with a riff or more
finished idea to work out and compose with the rest of the band or is it more
of a cohesive exchange of ideas while jamming together in the practice space?
Sheepy dude:  Usually
we work on ideas at home separately and bring them to the practice space.  Sometimes it’s just a riff or two, and
sometimes it’s a whole raw piece.  We’ll
add some other riffs, check how they fit, smoke a lot of dope.  That’s it.
Alky dude:  It’s more
of a cohesive exchange of ideas while jamming together in the practice
space.  Yeah, space is the word.
You guys seem
pretty open about your drug usage, at least as far as marijuana is concerned
with Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves being the name of your first album and
your name containing the word bong.  Do
substances play a large part in your songwriting process?  Do you ever utilize psychotropic drugs when
writing or performing your music?



Sheepy dude: 
Marijuana, yes.  We’ve dedicated
our music to that very substance.  The
substance is the process itself.  From
the early beginning to the very end of it. 
We want to produce sound and riffs that make you stoned just by
listening to it.  We had to soak every
single note with smoke to do so, even if that meant we had to be getting baked
constantly in the process.  That’s real
deal stoner magic right there.  We don’t
use any other drugs when writing or performing music because it would make a
dissonance in our message.

© Marcin Pawłowski
 © Marcin Pawłowski
© Marcin Pawłowski

Alky dude:  Never did
it sober though.
Let’s take some
time and talk a little bit about your back catalog for a moment.  Your first release was 2011’s Sonic Scapes
& Weedy Grooves which at that point was a self-released CD housed in a mini
album sleeve, hand numbered and limited to 420 copies ha-ha!  Can you share your memories of recording that
first album?  Was it a fun pleasant
experience for you all?  When was that
material recorded?  Where was it recorded
at?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?


Cheesy dude:  I
remember it was cold outside…  We
recorded it in Cracow with our friend Misiek in two days.  A lot of people ask us about the equipment
that was used, the only thing that I can really say is that a Big Muff was
involved in the process.

Sonic Scapes &
Weedy Grooves was extremely well received. 
How do you feel about the receival of the album?  It has to be kind of overwhelming!  While a lot of bands these days are lucky to
sell out a pressing of 300 LPs in a few years I know the initial self-released
CD pressing of 420 copies sold out and then was re-released in several forms by
Emetic Records.  They started with a Tour
Edition of 30 copies on translucent green vinyl, followed by a run of 300
copies on translucent green vinyl with alternate artwork and 500 more copies of
the CD again housed in a mini album sleeve. 
Instant Classics issued an ultra-rare edition of 66 copies on cassette
tape this year (2013) as well.  Emetic
Records has also issued a black vinyl pressing of the album this year.  Do you know how many copies that black vinyl
pressing is limited to?  Is that out of
print at this point?  I checked out
Emetic’s webpage and couldn’t find any copies on their site.
Erratum:  The 30 piece
Tour Edition was a before the tour idea. 
In fact it sold out pretty fast. 
The black pressing was limited to 500 copies and it’s already sold out
as well.  No further represses are to be
done on wax, cd or tape.

Sheepy dude:  Yes,
it’s awesome that the album was so well received.  I guess we were just very lucky.  Shit rolls on though man.
You followed up
the extremely successful Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves with Dungeon
Vultures, a single-sided 12” limited to 350 copies Instant Classic Records
earlier this year.  Was the recording of
this material very different than the session(s) for Sonic Scapes & Weedy
Grooves?  What can our listeners expect
from the new album?  Did you try anything
new or radically different with the songwriting or recording of Dungeon Vultures? 
Sheepy dude:  The
recording ritual on Dungeon Vultures was pretty much the same as the Sonic
Scapes process.  A lot of smoke and shit.

Cheesy dude:  We
recorded it with Misiek again but this time it we were in Warsaw, in the
Belzebong dungeon.
Alky dude:  Yeah, we
loaded the bongs even more than usual.

I know that
Dungeon Vultures is limited to 350 copies but there were also 42 copies that
came with “personalized Ouija boards for summoning the Bong Jinni”.  What did the personalized Ouija boards
consist of?  What brought about the idea
of including Ouija boards with copies of the album?
Alky dude:  It was the
Jinni again.  By using this board one can
summon him and decide whether to smoke or to smoke, ya know.  But first, you have to put a resined
inflorescence on the board so the Jinni’s satisfied when he appears.
Does Belzebong
have any music that we haven’t talked about yet?  Have you been featured on any compilations or
have any exclusive tracks featured anywhere?
Alky dude:  It’s in
our heads man.  It just needs to be
recorded sometime soon.
Sheepy dude:  That’s
pretty much all of it, new tracks can only be heard live for now.  We’ll put them on a record soon.
With the somewhat
recent release of Dungeon Vultures are there any other releases planned or in
the works at this point?  If so can you
talk a little bit about them?
Alky dude:  EmeticRecords is pressing the US version of Dungeon Vultures on green wax with
additional 2009 demo tracks, never before released on any physical media.
Sheepy dude:  Yeah man
we’re baking some new material to be released sometime next year.  As for now the Jinn has suggested “Drug Me To
Hell” as the name for the new album.  You
can expect some quality Belzebong’s riffs and shit on it.
Where’s the best
place for our US readers to pick up copies of your music?  With the recent insane international postage
rate increases I try to provide people with as many options for picking up
music as I possibly can!
Alky dude:  Emetic Records
is the place!

What about our
international and overseas readers?
Alky dude:  There’s
eBay, Discogs and some distributors, but be aware, this stuff is selling faster
than you can roll a fatty.
And where’s the
best place for readers to keep up on the latest news from Belzebong like
upcoming shows and album releases at?
Alky dude:  Facebong page.
Are there any
major goals that you all are looking to accomplish in 2014?
Alky dude:  Play
sober.  Nah, just kiddin’ ha-ha.  That won’t happen.
Sheepy dude:  Hit some
festivals, hit some bongs, record and release some shit, have a good time and
get more people stoned with our sonic dope.
What do you have
planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year if anything?  With 2014 right around the corner what about
the New Year?
Alky dude:  I think
that we’ll get wasted as usual on the New Year’s Eve.  Some touring plans are being crystalized in
Heisenberg’s lab right now.  We’ll see.
Do you all enjoy
touring?  Do you spend a lot of time on
the road?
Alky dude:  In fact we
spend more time on the road than in the clubs ha-ha!  And yeah, we enjoy it; adventure!!!
Sheepy dude:  Bong in
hand, the road ahead.  We love it man.
You have played
with some seriously awesome bands over the last few years.  Who are some of your personal favorites that
you’ve had a chance to share a bill with?
Alky dude:  Pentagram,
oh and Gebarrmaschinenman, or whatever they were called.  Great experience!

© Kemper
 © Kemper
© Kemper
© Kemper

Sheepy dude:  Well yes
indeed.  There were many awesome bands we
have played with last years.  My
favorites?  Weedeater for sure, love
these guys.  Ufomammut, we had some fun
together, Bongripper and Conan in London that was heavy as fuck!
Do you have any
funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to
share here with our readers?
Cheesy dude:  Once I
had a nose bleed for half a show, once someone gave us a pipe with something
other than weed in it, once a guy stood on his head on the front of the stage
surrounded by green smoke.

© Hubert Herbut 
In your dreams,
who are you on tour with?
Alky dude:  Rihanna
and Janis.  That would be a perfect
combo!
Sheepy dude:  Spinal
Tap!
With all of the
various mediums available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose
and prefer the various methods that they do. 
Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you are listening to and or
purchasing music?
Sheepy dude:  Music
itself is something ethereal, wax, cd or tape, it’s just merely the
vessel.  My preferred medium would be
telepathy.
I grew up around a
fairly sizable collection and fell in love with being able to hold music in your
hands.  There’s something about having
liner notes and artwork to look at that offers a rare brief glimpse inside the
minds of the artists that created it and make for a more complete listening
experience, at least for me.  Do you have
any such connection with physically released music?
Alky dude:  Well,
yeah.  Sometimes I spank it when I get a
nicely pressed piece of wax man!
Sheepy dude:  I like
the smells.
Do you have a
music collection at all?  If so can you
tell us a little bit about it?
Alky dude:  It’s a
vast one.  Find me on Discogs.
As much as I love
my collection of music it’s always presented a number of problems for me when
I’m not around the house.  Even with the
portability of CDs and cassettes I could never manage to muster up everything
that I would want to listen to on any given day.  There would inevitably be “that one” album
that I really wanted to listen to but hadn’t thought to bring.  Digital music has changed all of that
though.  It still weirds me out having my
entire music collection at the click of a finger but more than that when teamed
with the internet digital music has been a real game changer, and as always
with the good comes the bad and vice versa. 
While digital music seems to be leveling the playing field somewhat for
independent artists willing to promote and keep up a strong online presence and
has exposed people from all over the world that they otherwise would never had
heard of.  On the other hand illegal
downloading is running rampant in the industry and the face of the music
industry is rapidly changing to say the least! 
As an artist during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on
digital music and distribution?
Sheepy dude:  It works
just fine for us.  Our music spreads all
over the world, and gets to places and people we never thought of getting it
to.  More listeners are exposed to the
effects of our weedy tunes as they’re passing it to each other like a slow
burning joint.  That’s awesome if you ask
me.  If someone gets our shit for free
somewhere, legally or not, and has fun with it, we won’t be bitchin about
it.  Have a toke mate.  The shit sells anyway.
I try to keep up
with as much good music as I humanly can. 
I spend countless hours poring over the bins at the local shop and
talking to the record store clerks digging for tips and tasty treats.  A lot of the best tips that I get come from
musicians such as yourselves though, is there anyone from your local scene or
area that I should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?
Alky dude:  Check out
our friends Weedpecker.
Sheepy dude:  Yeah,
check that shit man.
What about
nationally and internationally?
Sheepy dude:  We
should ask you man, you’re the pro.
Thanks so much for
taking the time to make it through this, it wasn’t short and I can’t imagine
that it was super easy but hopefully you had a little fun while doing looking
back at things in the big picture and seeing what you’ve accomplished!  Is there anything that I missed or that you’d
just like to take this opportunity to talk about?



© Marcin Pawłowski
Alky dude:  We’re
Belzebong, we play joke, give you poo as dope.

Sheepy dude: 
Aawwwright.

© Rafał Kudyba
DISCOGRAPHY
(2011)  Belzebong –
Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves – digital, Cassette Tape, CD, 12” –
Self-Released/Emetic Records/Instant Classics (Originally released on CD in
mini album sleeve limited to 420 hand numbered copies, re-released by Emetic
Records in a tour edition on translucent green vinyl limited to 30 copies,
regular Emetic Records translucent green vinyl with alternate cover art limited
to 300 copies, Emetic Records CD mini album reissue limited to 500 copies,
Instant Classics Cassette Tape version limited to 66 hand numbered copies,
Emetic Records black vinyl edition limited to 500 copies)
(2013)  Belzebong –
Dungeon Vultures – single-sided 12”/Double-Sided 12” – Instant Classic/Emetic
Records (1st pressing limited to 350 copies, 42 copies with personalized Ouija
boards, 2nd pressing limited to 500 copies on Swamp Green Vinyl with unreleased
demos on B-Side)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright http://psychedelicbaby.blogspot.com/2014
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