Interview by Dylan Raine
BIZAR BAZAR is a mix of Metal, Rock and Folk with a touch of insanity. Their recent release ‘Circus Metal Maniac’ is an exceptional show of talent, unique sequences, expressive guitars, and powerful vocals to mix up everything we once thought was real. I caught up with founding member and musician Fabian Vestod for a few thoughts about his ideas, dreams, and how he perceives the music as a whole.
Hello and welcome to Metal Shock Finland, I’m Dylan Raine and recently reviewed your ‘CIRCUS METAL MANIAC’ album.
Hello Dylan, first of all, thanks for making this possible. I also liked your review very much; your ears and imagination captured the soul of the record, my best compliments.
Can you introduce yourselves and tell me more about the concept of the CIRCUS METAL MANIAC?
My name is Fabian Vestod, artist, musician and magick lover. Along with other projects, mainly I do play guitar and sing for Bizar Bazar, back to the “Circus metal Maniac” recording sessions I did take care of the drums as well, Snake Green produced and mixed the whole thing, also tracking the bass, now as official band, mr top hat Simone Merlenghi took the throne behind the drums, then Alice ‘Cecilia’ Lane on bass and Raedon Mac (from the UK band Control the Storm) on accordion. 3 gingers in the band! (Cecila dyes her hair in black). Circus Metal Maniac was the culmination of travels, life experiences and visions translated out of music. Like reality meets dreams. Circus as chaotic, gypsy, nomad, misunderstood – Metal as the main musical influence – and Maniac as the behaviour your need to break artistic boundaries.
How would you say this album stylises your musical influences within it?
Musically I was influenced by many different bands, you can hear the 70s the 80s and the 90s I guess… but it is also through visualisation that I came across this record. Everything has a shape then a sound or vice versa. This is pretty much what the song “lost inside the bazaar” is about. Focus on visions and let them talk through your instrument, or play your instrument to shape an upcoming vision.
Who influences you most as a band and individually?
Well, if we go back in the day, when I was just a kid, Mr. Mustaine is the one who influenced me the most. He was a ginger like me, he was angry and very talented, alone against many, unique guitar style, song writing and voice. I’m sure he used to hit people with a slingshot laughing at them…Then fortunately I have opened my mind to almost every genre of music. Still, mostly, I do appreciate music that sounds like flash and bones. Over producing your music feels like having sex with your clothes on…
What would you say was the most fun part about making the album and which parts (if any) did you want to shout and scream through annoyance?
Scream through annoyance none. A great memory, apart from having friends and musicians stopping by and in somehow getting involved in the recordings, is when I went to North Beach in SF at the old music shop to get the marching band bass drum, huge man. No way to put it in a car or a cab. So I started walking down the street towards the bart station carrying that fat drum on my back. Every Italian in the hood of course knew me, ‘cause I was working there, and they were all like ‘minchia vai’, then when I got to the studio in Berkeley, after another long walk, Snake Green (producer and loyal friend) looked at me and gave me that smile “you are one crazy mother fucker”.
If you had the opportunity to do it again would you? and if you could include any real, or imaginary characteristic to the feel what would it be?
Oh, of course.. I already did. Let me reveal something: through the years I did record a lot of music with different producers… Snake Green, Juan Urtega, Dario Mollo and just recently with wizard Russ Russell… So I have material worth 3 or 4 records! As imaginary about Bizar Bazar, first record was attached more to the city life style even if I gave it a theatrical feel and look, next record is going to be mystic, shamanic, same character who experiences forests and deserts instead in door places such as theatres, brothels or alcoholocausting parties.
Fabian and Russ Russell in the studio
Can you tell me what it was like working with Russ Russell?
Working with Russ, even for the first time, was like going back home to visit one of your best friends. He’s a very welcoming person; he made the entire band feel at home. Everyone within the band was extremely happy and looking forward to work with him again. He does what he does for passion more than for business. After a massive day of recordings, he didn’t go to bed, to celebrate he stayed up until 4am to share drinks. Next day we were flying home he was going masked to the roller coaster. On the other hand he’s highly professional, relaxed and talented in his job, can you get more than that?
Has the public response to the CIRCUS METAL MANIAC been as you expected or hoped for?
Expectations? Take those out of your life; if you want to give yourself a headache, drink a couple bottles of wine, at least it’s a noble headache. Just do the things you love with passion, devotion and everything will come together. I’m happy the album got reviewed worldwide after such long time it was recorded and been kept in the closet (my bad on that one)… reviews have been great so far! maybe more to come. Then, to make a real fun base and strong followers you have to prove yourself on stage more than spend hrs online.
What is your best song to play live and what is it about the track that makes it great to play?
Not the best but the more fun to play I personally think is “Lost inside the bazaar”. So many up and down, it’s a roller coaster. My vocals are way stronger now and we made some instrumental changes through the song, drums are more dynamic and we added black metal fast guitar picking in two sections and an Arabic guitar solo at the end. I always look into people eyes when we do play that song and say I was on psychedelic drugs when I wrote it… Yeah!
As a lead guitarist myself I absolutely love some of the intense solos in the album, and I’m sure there will be a few of us asking how you created them, what was going through your mind whilst building the music?
As far as “guitar solos”, it wasn’t me. It was Alessandro Gaza aka Joey Tassello who flew from Italy to California to track those crazy solos… I thought about him while I was recording my guitars. He’s a terrific guitar player; he also helped me to put the band together when I first got back to Italy. Current line up is different though. We took two different paths during the first steps of the band so he’s no longer with us. We wish him the best. We are now looking for a lead guitarist.
CIRCUS METAL MANIAC contains some very interesting sequences from what we would see as a traditional fun fair or circus, where were these recorded?
At the legendary Different Fur studios in San Francisco and at Mojo Studios (hail mojo!) in Berkeley.
Do you have any plans on another album, videos, or any demos that may be popping up very soon?
Absolutely, we are about to release an official video for a song we recorded with producer Russ Russell in the UK which is Megadeth’s “Sweating bullets”, a cover yes. Russ is an incredible character, he has all the qualities a wizard would have, and he’s funny as hell and bringer of wisdom; looking forward to work with him again. It was perfect timing to pay tribute to Mr.Mustaine and Co. Then I already written a new album, actually two, I’m practicing the songs with Simone at the moment and starting pre production in a few days. Can’t wait to enter the studio with the band for the real thing, hopefully this time supported by a label!
Do you have any shows/tours planned?
We are talking to get ready to tour actually… Possibly a lot. After releasing the video will start looking for a lead guitarist. So, any management, booking agency or whatever able to sort this out with us, please get in touch with Bizar Bazar. The band must tour! Its rock and roll bro, even if helpful to use internet to promote yourself, the dust and mud from the road tastes much better.
Can you provide us with some links to your music?
Still debating on some distribution deals, for now…