Friday, October 14, 2011

Interview with Bryan Tulao of Black Math Horseman

Black Math Horseman is a female fronted mellow atmospheric doom metal outfit that consists of bass guitarist and vocalist Sera Timms, drummer Sasha Popovic, and guitarists Bryan Tulao and Ian Barry.
Formed in 2006 in Los Angeles, they were signed to Brooklyn label Tee Pee Records in January of 2009. The following April, just after a playing the 2009 South by Southwest, Tee Pee released their debut album, Wyllt, which was produced and engineered by Scott Reeder, one-time bassist for stoner rock pioneers Kyuss.
-from the artist bio on

Black Math Horseman has been around for five or so years now - how did it originally come together?

The seed of what would eventually become BMH was a project that Ian & Sera had called Wyllt. Sera sang and played guitar in some open tuning she had come up with, and Ian playing guitar in a different open tuning, and no drums. Ian and I were close friends and he played me some recordings they had worked on, it was dark, hypnotic and beautiful. I honestly didn’t know how I felt about it, it was so very different from anything I had heard.

Ian asked if I'd be interested in playing bass with them, and invited me to a rehearsal. That didn’t really work out so great, so I switched to guitar and Sera played Bass. We wrote a few (I think it was 3) songs over the next few weeks. But the band really came together when Sera accepted an invitation to play a show at the Relax Bar.
At that time we had 3 songs and no drummer. We'd never even heard the songs with drums. It put a fire under our ass to either find a drummer in the next 3 weeks, or play our first show as a weird drummerless trio playing 3 weird songs.

Sash & I had played together for years in a band that had very recently gone inactive. Ian & Sera had tried to hook up with Sash months prior to play on some recordings. But Sash was always VERY elusive. I really wanted Sash to play with us, but i was apprehensive about asking him after hearing Ian's experience trying to wrangle him to play. I finally phoned him and basically said '' it's only a half hour out of your life, 3 songs, and i'll buy you drinks if you'll play this potentially one time show with us''. This was a little over a week away from the show. Sash was apprehensive but agreed to come jam with us to see if things clicked. Shortly after we started playing together we were all smiling. We came up with the arrangement for two new songs in those couple rehearsals, played our first show a week later, and the morning after that first show we drove out to our friend Scott Reeder's to record ''demos'' of the songs. Those ''demos'' eventually became the record ''Wyllt''. It's been a little over 3 years we've been a band.

What were the main influences of Wyllt; musically, lyrically, and in any other way as well?
We were very intent on the music reflecting the tone of the lyrics. I know each of us in the band have very different influences and references to the songs.

Sera writes all the lyrics, so her influences and connection to the songs are very different from mine, or Sash's, or Ian's. We're each so totally different and into, and inspired by such completely different things, art, music and experiences.But its all those things that collectively influence the music.

How was the experience touring Europe this past April? And how did the performance at Roadburn come to be?
Well, after our 2010 Europe Tour was canceled (which included Roadburn Festival) due to the Iceland volcano eruption (where we were literally pulled off the last plane headed to London from LAX), we were extremely excited, nervous and relieved that our April 2011 Europe Tour actually happened. Even on that trip, the plane we were about to board was grounded due to some mechanical issues, and the airline announced that they would ''try'' to get us on another flight. At that point I was trying to imagine who had the Black Math Horseman Voudoo curse doll. But we all made it over and were greeted and treated to a great tour team in Andreas Kohl & Roland Bergner.

We had absolutely no idea what to expect because we had never played in any of the countries we were visiting. It was great! We were just excited to be on tour and playing to new audiences each night, and experiencing all the amazing places we got to visit.
And ending the tour at Roadburn, that was perfect. A perfect day, and perfect ending of an amazing experience. We were very happy to have been invited back to Roadburn, especially after the huge disappointment of having to cancel the year earlier due to the volcano. It's borderline Spinal Tap to say ''we had to cancel our tour due to Volcano Eruption''. Still sounds crazy.

What was the response like from the audience at the shows? Does it differ from the shows in the US that you play?

Response was great! Like I said, we had no idea what the shows were gonna be like. We anticipated the possibility of playing to the bartender or a handful of people ( which pretty much happened on a couple of nights). But overall we were surprised by the great response, turn out, and feedback from people at the shows on that tour.

We predominately play shows in and around Los Angeles, which is pretty notorious for jaded audiences. I find European audiences to be much more open to music and attentive. Especially in some of the smaller cities.

What has the band currently been up to? Will we be seeing another release in the near future?

We've been focused on writing the past few months. We had recorded songs for an EP which we had planned on releasing while working on the next record, but decided to focus on the next Full length.There's been a number of delays and obstacles along the way. A new record IS coming, just a little slower than expected.

What is the bands general writing process (musically and lyrically) like?

The music comes together generally through alot of jamming. Most times Ian comes in with a riff or idea that we build from. But it always turns into something else after we each add our bit's. We record whatever we're working on, listen and decide what we like and whats not working. Basically chiseling away at an arrangement till we all feel good bout it. Sera usually experiments with vocals while we play, then writes lyrics and melodies on her own.

Asides from Black Math Horseman, what other projects are you and other members involved in?

Sera has a project called Ides of Gemini that has released an EP and is currently playing local shows.

I noticed that Wyllt is on Spotify - what are your thoughts on the service as a musician who has their music on there, and as a (possible) listener?

I've discovered some cool artists and music digging through their library. I wasn't aware BMH was on there. I'm into people discovering our music by any means possible.

What have you been listening and reading to as of late? Any notable mentions?

I'm listening to this awesome Appalachian Bluegrass CD as I write this. I've been listening to alot of Captain Beefheart the past couple days. I JUST finished reading ''The Spiritual Journey of Alejandro Jodorowsky'' (kinda bummed it's over).

Thanks for your time, any final words?

Thank YOU Chase.

Feel free to check out Black Math Horseman at the following locations:

And as mentioned, the album Wyllt can also be found on Spotify.

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