Brooklyn’s Fliege take box office smashes and turn them into industrialistic black ‘n roll masterpieces and their latest, The Invisible Seam, comes off as epic as its subject matter, Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. It’s always a challenge to make a project like this work AND be a project that garners a rabid fan base but Fliege has done it with their excellent attention to detail and superb skills behind their instruments. Unsettling black metal splayed across industrial rhythms and dark 80s inspired rock make for a picture perfect vision of the chosen subject and as you’ll read in the Profile answers below, multi-instrumentalist Coleman Bentley is as down to earth about it as you can get. Our very own Ian covered this album in depth so go here to read all about it but first, check out what Bentley has to offer about the band and their music. Also, don’t forget to hit those links and show them some support!
How did you first get into playing music, and have you achieved the level of success that you hoped for?
We all got into making music at various points. I’ve been playing guitar and writing songs in various capacities since 14, Chris similarly. Incredibly, Pete only started screaming when we started this band in 2016 and now he’s one of the nastiest vocalists in metal. Remember kids, practice is overrated.
Our initial goal with Fliege—which was just an inside joke amongst friends for a year before we finally decided to do something about it—was to play one show. So it has definitely exceeded every single one of our expectations, but we’re not done yet. We’ll just keep raising the bar a little at a time so we don’t bite off more than we can chew.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, and praised? (If you don’t have a story, please tell us any funny/embarrassing story.)
We recently did a pay-to-play on a six-band bill. Doors were at 7pm and we were supposed to go on at 7:30 but at 7:16 they still hadn’t let any of our friends who we had sold tickets to into the venue. So we asked the door staff and they were shocked to hear people were lined up down the block. Apparently the bouncer never got the memo that they were open for business. So they slowly started filtering everyone in, checking bags like the FBI. We stalled for five minutes and then had to go on, only to get cut off after 15 minutes. Hey, leave ‘em wanting more, amirite?
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?
The greatest thing in metal right now is the diversity of the people making it and the diversity of sound as a result. There is almost nothing you can’t find in metal these days. There is almost no one you can’t find making it.
The worst part of metal is the inherent pushback from the jabronis, neckbeards, and gatekeepers. “mEtAL iS sUPpOsEd tO BE DanGeroUs.” Yeah, so are helicopters. Who the fuck cares?
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?
Welllll, we want to be careful about framing Fliege as a political band for woke brownie points, because the reality is we’re writing albums about our favorite cult horror movies.That’s definitely the passion this band was built to serve. That said we’re all personally left-leaning and that does work it’s way into our music from time to time. “Four Suns” is very much about the impending heat death of our planet. “March of Whips” rejects the “suffering will set you free” mantra of Catholicism and capitalism. “Blood of the Earth” is about fighting fear mongers with fear of your own and “Die Raval” is about gleefully watching a rapist die from the plague. It’s there if you want to look for it and you can ignore it if you don’t.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
I was in 7th grade, so probably about 13. My dad is a classic rock radio guy and had always loved Black Sabbath, so when I started digging into all of those bands for myself, I just naturally started with Paranoid. Then I got Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and one of the radio stations had Judas Priest’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” and I just absolutely fell in love. I even remember doing a presentation on Judas Priest in 8th-grade music class and my music teacher—this super mild-mannered middle-aged woman—was rocking the fuck out. She loved it.
From there I went through all the classics—Randy Rhoads and Iron Maiden became very important touchstones—and had a brief-but-intense flirtation with all the shred and prog dudes when I thought I wanted to go to Berklee. But I really didn’t start getting into the extreme stuff until I heard Mastodon’s Leviathan and Opeth’s Ghost Reveries. Those albums opened my ears to growling and screaming because of their immediate adjacency with melody.
Luckily for me, my parents have been the “if it’s something you like and want to work hard for, go for it” types. They don’t get extreme metal, but they get that I get it and that’s enough.
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?
Well, Pete (our lead singer) and I met writing for a music blog and up until this month, I had written a weekly metal column for FREEwilliamsburg in Brooklyn called This One Goes to Eleven for going on five years. So we totally understand the other side of the coin—we understand the critical mass and the deadlines and that a lot of people writing about this stuff are doing it as a passion project too. That has helped us a lot, kind of understanding how the machine works and how to pitch effectively. But what I would say is ORIGINAL WRITING is like a drop of water in the Gobi. I understand the magnetic pull of a good press release, but by putting honest, original thoughts and feedback on the page, I think it gives the band the sense you actually listened and readers the sense that it’s a band worth investing time in, worts and all.
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.
Not sure this world is something we want to take ownership of at the moment. A bit of a fixer upper. But yeah, we all have day jobs. It’s not kvlt, but it allows us to buy new gear, hire talented people like Brad Boatwright to help us master, and not think of every song as a rent check. It’s beyond exhausting to work a full day, come home, and drag our asses back out to practice, but in today’s streaming environment, I don’t see how else you do it.
Short term goal wise, maybe a mini Northeast tour just to say we did it. Long term? Keep writing better songs, keep evolving our sound, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.
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)
Falls of Rauros’ Patterns in Mythology and Ossuarium’s Living Tomb definitely saw the heaviest rotation from me in 2019, but I also adore what Sturgill Simpson is doing and really dig the current emo scene. Pete and I certainly overlap on the emo front, but he listens to a ton of underground New York hip hop as well, while Chris is our prog guy. Who knows, maybe an emo rap Zappa freak out is in our future.
What is the 12-month outlook for you or your band? Any specific events on the horizon that the masses should be aware of?
Well, we’re starting to stitch together some new material and there’s talk of bringing a real living, breathing drummer into the fold. Would love to play some beyond-NYC shows too. Philly, Providence, Pittsburgh, Boston, Baltimore promoters, hit us up! Horror-cons, let us know! We’re around.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the publication)
Many thanks to Coleman and Fliege for their time!