Body Harvest Interview
Of all the bands we’ve interviewed in advance of Bloodstock, Body Harvest are one of the most established. They’ve been around for several years and are well established in the Death Metal scene. However, some of you may not be so familiar with the Bristolian brutes so I started by asking Jake Ettle-Iles, vocalist and guitarist with the band to provide a quick history of the band and introduce us to the current line-up.
“The origins of the band trace back to December 2011 when myself and Gareth first started writing songs together. We played our first ever show in Bristol in March 2012 opening for Exhumed and Anaal Nathrakh. In late 2012 we changed the band name to Body Harvest and began recording our debut album Futile Creation, which was released in April 2014 through Grindhouse Music. Over the next few years we played all over the UK including supporting the likes of Vital Remains, Vader, Immolation, Cerebral Bore as well as touring with Mass Infection and Hideous Divinity. Currently we have been recording our second full album entitled Parasitic Slavery that will be released very soon. The current line-up of the band is Jake Ettle-Iles - Vocals & guitars, Gareth Nash- Vocals & Guitars, Dan Shaw Odell – Bass and Will Pearson – Drums”.
As Jake mentioned, the band’s debut album, Futile Creation, was released in 2014. It’s an impressive debut alright. With Will and Dan on board, I asked Jake how the band’s sound and style changed since that album was released?
“Our main goal with Futile Creation was to write something as fast and as heavy as possible which I’m sure most people will agree we achieved. We really wanted to up our game with the next album, so we spent a lot more time with the new songs to make sure they were the best quality as possible. The speed and intensity remain but songs are a lot better written, structured, technical and varied as apposed to those from Futile Creation. The addition of Will and Dan has also played an important role in the entire bands sound. Will’s technical ability is much better than anyone we have had in the past and Dan approaches the songs as a bassist instead of just mirroring the guitar parts. Also, mine and Gareth’s vocal ability has improved majorly since recording Futile as at the time we had only been doing vocals a couple of months”.
And for clarity, for those who haven’t heard of you, summarise the Body Harvest sound in five words.
“Fast, Intense, Relentless Death Metal”
With a huge range of bands in the death metal genre, both old and new, who are the main influences for the band?
“Our main influences are Death, Decapitated, Morbid Angel, Misery Index, Hour Of Penance and early Fear Factory but we are influenced by all kinds of death metal, thrash metal and all other metal subgenres”. As with all my interviews, I asked Jake to surprise us with something you also like? What’s the guilty pleasure? “Haha! Well not guilty pleasures but there are definitely a few that would surprise people. Gareth is into a lot of Glam and Power Metal (Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, Dragonforce, etc), I am into a lot of Industrial music (SPK, Killing Joke, Swans, Eisenfunk etc), Dan is probably the most diverse of us since he’s into a lot of Reggae and Hip Hop. I think we all grew up with the NU Metal phase as well, so I guess you could put Limp Bizkit down as a guilty pleasure haha!”.
As regular readers will know, we at the MoM spend a lot of time in Bristol watching bands so we appreciate the scene there. How would Jake describe it? “The scene in Bristol is absolutely fantastic. There is always something going on no matter what night of the week it is. There are so many great bands about at the moment and everyone in the scene helps to support each other. We couldn’t ask for a better metal scene!”
Of course, the main purpose of our interviews is to preview some of the bands who qualified for the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage via Metal To The Masses. Every band we’ve interviewed has worked incredibly hard to get to a position where they were ready for Metal To The Masses. Jake tells us the Body Harvest road to the final story. “Entering Metal To The Masses was something we should’ve done a while ago but we wanted to wait until the time was right and we had a consistent line up. 2018 was the right time for us! We just treated it like every gig we play where we give it our all and try and get the crowd involved as much as possible”.
Did the band feel confident you could get to the M2TM final?
“We definitely thought we had a strong chance of getting to the final especially considering we were one of the more established bands but when we got to the heats and saw how fierce the competition was we knew we would had to give it our everything to secure a place there”.
With the build up to the final important, how did the band manage to balance gaining support and avoiding saturating everyone? Jake explained “We just continued doing our thing, played as many shows as possible, kept practicing together and hanging out together (very important). As well as that we have been busy recording our new album Parasitic Slavery which we have now released new singles (Hierarchy Of Grief, Apocaylptic Abomination and The Prophet) from. We also just shot and released a video for our 3rd single The Prophet. As for the shows themselves, we made sure to keep changing up our setlist to keep it new and fresh for everyone as well as showcasing our full repertoire”.
The Bristol final was a half day affair with intense competition in what was I’m sure, a very warm venue. Every band experiences a range of emotions during the final and I asked Jake to tell us a bit about how it felt when the band were told that they’d got a slot at BOA. “We were absolutely ecstatic when it was announced that we would be playing Bloodstock this year! I think all of us had been pretty tense leading up to the final so that’s one of the reasons we kept ourselves busy. The final was an absolutely insane show on an incredibly hot day with most of the best bands in the scene competing.”
Body Harvest have earnt a Friday slot on the New Blood Stage, along with some brilliant other new bands. What can we expect from you guys – why should those who are undecided come and watch? “You can expect an intense, relentless, energetic bludgeoning of death metal fury! Our aim is to be faster and heavier than any other band on the bill and we guarantee that on the Friday of Bloodstock!”
And as fans, who is Jake and the band looking forward to seeing at BOA this year?
“Bloodbath, Suicidal Tendencies, Emperor, Judas Priest, Mortishead, Septic Flesh, Cannibal Corpse, Gojira, Exhorder, Mr. Big, At the Gates and Watain”.
I’m assuming Body Harvest are Bloodstock veterans, so I asked Jake to explain, for anyone who has yet to experience Bloodstock, why should you go? “All four members of Body Harvest attend every year with one of us attending every year since 2009. Bloodstock is by far the UKs best heavy metal festival, we miss it when we’re not there and it’s fantastic to be surrounded by like minded metalheads. We wish we could get away from society and just live at Bloodstock haha!”
As I said, Body Harvest have been around for a few years and as Jake mentioned earlier, they have shared the stage with some real Death Metal legends. What about the highlights so far.
“We’d have to say Bristol Deathfest 2017, a two-day event with some of the best death metal bands around (Vader, Immolation, Hour Of Penance, Defeated Sanity, Dyscarnate, etc) in our own city. We opened the whole event, it was brutal! As well as that we’d have to say our tours with Mass Infection and Hideous Divinity”.
And finally, after Bloodstock what‘s next for Body Harvest?
“Our main priority after Bloodstock is getting our new album Parasitic Slavery released. We have had a few offers for the release but we are waiting for the right one. Once the album is out we are going to tour as much as possible and then start writing music for our 3rd release!”
Many thanks to Jake for answering these questions. If you haven’t seen these guys live, I suggest you rectify that on Friday 10th August at the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage where I am sure they will lay waste. It should be a brutal affair.