Profile: Ross Bradley of GOD ROOT

Godroot
GOD ROOT (pic courtesy of Dante Torrieri)

If you’ve missed out on Philadelphia’s GOD ROOT, fear not as they will be releasing their second full length, Salt and Rot, next week. Avant-garde, tribal and sludge are but a few things on offer with this new, meticulously crafted album but overall it’s a 33 minute journey into escape and exorcising things you have no control over. And as we all know there is plenty of that in the world. The trick here is in how this album is written and pieced together, one track is ritualistically tribal for a build up of sorts and the next is a sledgehammer of sludge that comes off strangely cathartic. It’s an albums worth of material that is unlike anything you’ve heard but will quickly become something you can’t live without. Ahead of the album’s release we got a chance to ask Ross Bradley (bass/vocals) our set of Profile questions and he was more than generous with his answers so read on to see what he had to say.

God Root - Salt and Rot

How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?

I personally started playing music when I was like 11 because I lied to my friends at school about being in a band. I’d bring in like Slayer and Nine Inch Nails tapes and said it was me on the record. When it turned out they actually played instruments too and wanted to jam I had to actually buy a bass and learn how to play something on it. I pretty much still feel like I’m just covering up the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing. 

I feel like what we actually want to achieve boils down to making music that is honest to ourselves. We’re definitely not into weird slow art metal for money or fame. We just all have shit we want to prove. It might sound dramatic but every time we perform or write a new piece we’re giving ourselves something to live for. This is really meaningful to all of us and we wanna reflect that importance and vitality back to the people listening. I think, in the end, music and performance is really all just some desperate attempt to connect with other human beings. Nothing else is really worth this much work. 

What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.

We pretty much just pester the shit out of people. We find that has worked for us.

What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?

I’ve been seeing so much written about “the state of metal” recently. Metal’s OK. Same as ever. I guess the biggest positive for me is seeing new diversity in the scene… I’ve seen an influx of really sick heavy bands featuring trans folk, women, POC, etc. Watch an OZZFEST video from 15 years ago and it’s just a sea of Pantera-shirted white dudes resting Coors lights on their cheeseburger gut. It’s pretty vital to just have some new perspectives injected into this shit. Go buy a HIRS record.

I think metal does run the risk of getting kind of derivative. We all just want to hear some interesting and compelling new stuff come out of the scene. There’s a roughly 50 year legacy of this stuff all available for everyone to listen to and there’s just kind of no excuse.

It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).

There’s a good deal of personal pain we’ve poured into this project. We all were in and out of some pretty dark shit during this writing process and “Salt and Rot” is kind of just what came out naturally trying to make sense of it all. On the song “From Hounds to Silent Skies” we invited our friends and family to let go of their pain as well. We had them read personal writings and stories of whatever they needed to “let go” of and we processed it into the song. Trying to charge the song with a kind of cathartic magickal energy. 

In a more global sense, we feel pretty connected to nature/the natural world and that is sort of the common link between the 5 of us. We don’t all see eye to eye on every political philosophy but I think we all agree human society as we know it is fucking up the planet. Everything from deforestation to poverty to sexism has a foot in this kill-or-be-killed oligarchy bullshit we’ve resigned ourselves to. Most of our music has a foot in wanting to destroy those systems and take control of our own existence.

What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?

I was pretty young. Like 8? My friends’ older brothers beat us up for not listening to Iron Maiden. I listen to Metal mostly to not get beat up. 

I think Fred (Grabosky, drums/vocals) was more of a punk kid growing up and got into metal kind of backwards thru stuff like His Hero is Gone and early Kylesa and such.

Most of our parents are pretty supportive about this stuff thankfully. Our guitarist, Keith (Riecke), his dad Gary is a super sweet guy and has helped us out a couple times . Jordan’s (Stiff, guitar/electronics) mom said we sound like Black Label Society which is still my favorite review we’ve gotten.

What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?

I don’t know. I think unless you’re being mandated to do otherwise – really don’t be afraid to inject your own voice into your writing. Every great bit of music writing I’ve read is reflecting on an experience or a personal relationship to the music. That’s part of why I think top 10 lists are so appealing to folks. You want to hear about the writer’s values and thoughts. Too often I’m finding myself reading what is essentially just a commercial for an Oranssi Pazuzu album or the newest MGLA when I know that shit inspires and deserves more attention. Put some personality in the work. 

What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.

Well about half of us are visual artists; Fred and Jordan are both fucking incredible illustrators. I work at a comic book store and a pizza museum cause I’m a fucking insane person. Fred also has a job restoring stained glass church windows which is kind of ironic given all our feelings on religion.  I would actually love to start a cult. I’d need a good sales pitch though. There’s a wikipedia article I read somewhere about people who worship the riff from “Boris” by the Melvins. I could be a fucking pope of that shit.

When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)

The new Oxbow record is insanely good.  The new Tau Cross is really scratching my insatiable Amebix itch. Also anything that Jay Gambit puts out as Crowhurst totally slays.  Mostly just listening to a lot of hillbilly records lately tho. That’s some truly heavy music. 

“Amebix Itch” sounds fucking disgusting. I should get that looked at. 

Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)

Mire.

Many thank to Ross and GOD ROOT for their time!


Salt and Rot will be available July 17 in digital format on Horror Pain Gore Death Productions and in limited edition CD format from the band. To stay up to date with their upcoming East Coast to Midwest tour and for more information on GOD ROOT visit their Facebook page.

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