Burnt By The Sun | Interview with Dave Witte

[Burnt By The Sun]

Six years on from their critically acclaimed second album “The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good”, Burnt By The Sun are back to discharge what is supposedly their final dose of anger-filled brutality. “Heart of Darkness” is brimming with wrath and fury, making it their most savage and caustic output to date, so it's a shame that we'll likely never hear from them again.
Scratch the Surface quizzed drummer extraordinaire Dave Witte (Discordance Axis, Municipal Waste and Birds of Prey among others) about their will to put Burnt By The Sun on halt indefinitely and their downright nasty farewell album “Heart Of Darkness”.

Burnt by the Sun have regrettably announced that their long awaited third full-length “Heart Of Darkness” will be their last work. If that turns out to be the last of them, then I’m entirely convinced that Burnt by the Sun are going out in style with their strongest and most intense material to date. What made you decide to stop it here during a time in your career that seems to be very prolific and stimulating?

"First of all, thank you. We are glad you enjoy the record so much. The story behind the last record is, that we only reconviened to do this record for ourselves as we thought BBTS was a part of our lives that was missing since Mike and I left back in 2004. Since our departure everyone’s lives have progressed in different ways making it impossible for us to continue doing the band full time.”

I imagine that playing in a recording and touring metal band like Burnt by the Sun takes a lot of commitment in order to be successful and attain some recognition. Leaving home and being away from family is tough, plus the income isn’t always adequate so you’ve to get day jobs to cover all the expenses. During these 10 years of existence what were the strongest adversities that you all had to face and overcome?

“BBTS was pretty much always a part time band. No one could go out on tour all year long, so we had to be creative and clever and how we could maximize our time for touring. We didn't do the band to make a living, we simply made the band to please ourselves and write music that we want to hear and we were proud of. I would love nothing more than to do this band full time, but it's just not possible.”

What else do you all do when not on tour or recording for Burnt by the Sun?

“We all have full time jobs and families besides me. I'm the only one who doesn't have children and Mike will be a father for the first time this coming December. Some of us play in other bands as well, keeping those musical muscles in shape, ha ha.”

Turning into your new album “Heart of Darkness,” it has a more straightforward and fierce approach than the previous two works. Songs like “Inner Station,” “Cardiff Giant” and “There Will Be Blood” for instance are between the most savage and frenzied musical assaults I’ve heard this year. What made you move in towards that direction?

“The goal for this record was to strip it down to a raw element and make the most brutal and savage record that we have as a band. It had to crush everything we've done in the past and we are very happy with how it turned out. It’s a true release of negative energy, real anger. Not sugar coated, watered down or hipster in anyway.
It’s not perfect, it’s not forced, it’s from our hearts.”

What tracks from “Heart of Darkness” are you particularly fond of? I’ve read somewhere that “Goliath”, previously released on slip 7” with Car Bomb was particularly inspiring for the writing of the whole album, is that right?

“Correct, “Goliath” is the catalyst for this whole record. Basically John wrote this song and it’s what lured Mike and I back to BBTS. “Goliath” made us realize what was missing from our lives. My personal favorites are "A Party to the Unsound Method" and "There Will Be Blood" (which John and I wrote two days before went into the studio), but I love all the songs. They each have special moments for me and if they didn't I wouldn't want them on the record. I think this is our most solid consistent record as a group.”

On the new record you worked with Trax East Studios’ owner Eric Rachel, who have previously produced and engineered acts like God Forbid, The Red Chord and The Black Dahlia Murder to name a few. What was like to work with him as opposed to working with Matt Bayles (Isis, Botch, Mastodon, etc,) who produced the previous two full-length works? Are you completely satisfied with the end results?

“We are completely satisfied with Eric, he captured us at our best I think. Matt Bayles is amazing in his own right, don't get me wrong, but I think Eric really nailed it. We've known Eric for years and we've been going to Trax East studios since the early 90's, so it was a no brainer more or less. Eric is very easy to work with as well, very laid back and has great opinions as well as being able to get a great performance from you.”

Lyrically, the new record is heavily inspired in a novel by Joseph Conrad with the same name, where the author gives emphasis to the theme of the duality of human nature and all the atrocities mankind are able to commit. What was motif or inspiration that motivated you to come up with the idea of doing a concept album about Joseph Conrad’s novel?

“It just seemed to go hand in hand with current events and life in general. We are in dark times and there are a lot more to come I think. We are all feeling the effects world wide.”

Knowing how corrupt interests abound in the societies we live in and the darkness that lies within civilised persons, how much of this story is related to things happening in and around your own life?

“It has a lot do with it, like I just mentioned...current events are at an all time low, things are spinning out of control and crumbling. Look at our country for example, fear and lies are not only condoned they are enforced and made a standard. The dumbing down of society, the collapse of the economy, the greed and enslavement of healthcare, political personal agendas, religious fanatics, etc. We’re going on a wild ride.”

What are you all planning on doing in the future and after the demise of Burnt by the Sun?

“To keep on truckin’! Music is my soul and I'm its slave more or less.”

More info at: www.myspace.com/BurntByTheSun
Photos by: Scott Kinkade