Interviews: Sophist

Today, we have the pleasure of speaking with the fierce and uncompromising musicians of Sophist. This Canadian band blends the raw aggression of grindcore, the darkness of black metal, and the brutality of death metal to create a sound that is unrelenting and unforgettable. With a history spanning several years and a reputation for their intense live performances, Sophist is a force to be reckoned with in the metal scene. We'll be delving into the band's history, its influences, and its plans for the future. So, let's get ready to talk metal with Sophist and follow the band on their Facebook Page.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Davis: It was just one of the ideas which popped into my head at the time, and it was suitable for all the rotten feelings behind it.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Davis: We were heavily inspired by black metal and grindcore, and there are only a handful of bands that fuse those genres. I had a lot of ideas about a certain sound I wanted to carve out. Now we are adding more death metal and increasing the focus on industrial and electronic elements. The new EP is on a higher level than our previous material, and we can be proud of that.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Yes, we were all active in our local metal scene. Michael and I were playing in a death metal band called Sallow Regent, but we started demoing the songs black metal and grindcore songs that would become Sophist. Unfortunately, Sallow Regent was killed by the pandemic and by distance. We were friends with Helge, he played and recorded with a lot of different bands, so we invited him to join after our first EP.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Davis: Darkthrone, Anaal Nathrakh, Kekal

Michael: Misery Index, Dead Kennedys, Napalm Death

Helge: Emperor, Death, Judas Priest

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Davis: What really inspired Sophist at the start was a lot of black metal and grindcore. Anything with a seething, evil sound and albums with classic 80s and 90s production also – we try to incorporate the old sound. We are adding more death metal now and that is probably because we all have a history of playing death metal - death and thrash metal were big phenomena in our city. I’ve been listening to lots of synth-wave and phone lately, which could be an interesting factor when I start producing our next songs. (But not too much…) The lyrics for Sophist were originally centered on the occult and alchemy. Also nihilism and hopelessness for humanity. Now I have shifted to writing about working-class politics and class struggle. In the new song “Piercing the Nervecenter”, the lyrics are adapted from a poem at the end of “Sabotage” by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Sophist has never published lyrics and never will, but it would not be hard to understand the gist of it all.

6. Where was your last gig?

Not applicable. Studio project, no plans to play live.

7. Where would you like to act?

Not applicable. Studio project, no plans to play live.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Not applicable. Studio project, no plans to play live.

9. Whom not?

Not applicable. Studio project, no plans to play live.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

It wasn’t really an issue when we were playing live in other bands. We had a pretty good amount of experience and were used to it. Just have to do it.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Davis: Anaal Nathrakh, Fukpig, Gorgoroth, Napalm Death, Rotten Sound, Darkthrone, Mayhem, Satyricon, Shining, Thorns, Kekal, Suffocation, Aura Noir 

Michael: Misery Index, Misfits, Dead Kennedys, Napalm Death, Divine empire, Suffocation, Butthole Surfers, Cathedral, Sepultura, Nailbomb, Old Man's Child, Dismember. Exhumed, Mortician, Defaced Creation, Aborted, Ramones, Thorazine (Calgary metal band ) Macabre, Acid bath.

Helge: Emperor, Entombed, Death, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Death Angel, Abysmal Dawn, Immolation, Sepultura, Queensryche, Black Sabbath – musicians that may surprise some people but as a guitar player/ musician they do interesting inspirational work. Like Randy Rhoads, Phillip Sayce, Frank Marino, YoYo Ma, Silk Road Ensemble, Yngwie Malmsteen, Melechesh, Marty Friedman, Justin Johnston

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

We’ve had scammers pretend to be from an underground zine and ask for free stuff, but they were not actually associated with those zines. That was pretty ridiculous.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Since we’re not playing live and travelling, we don’t have a lot of interaction with them, except with ones we know personally. We’re certainly thankful to anyone who shares our stuff or interacts with it on social media, that helps us out big time.

14. What do you think of our site?

Independent and underground metal media is important, so we appreciate what you’re doing here.

15. Something to add?

"Avenger... Liberator..." is available on Bandcamp on March 24 and on all streaming platforms on April 28th.

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