Flourishing – Garett Bussanick (guitars)
Tags: band > debut album > Flourishing > Flourishing Band > Flourishing Metal Band > Garett Bussanick > grindcore band > marsicano > music > Sum > time > vocal point > Wetnurse > Wetnurse Band > Wetnurse Metal Band
Wetnurse guitarist Garett Bussanick is working on a new project, Flourishing. This three-piece from trio is a death metal/grindcore band that tries its hardest to not be a death metal/grindcore band. Their debut album, The Sum of All Fossils, defies any strict guidelines or genre descriptions. From the epic build-up on ?Momentary Senses? to the rough clean vocals on ?By Which We?re Cemented,? Flourishing is not content with being just another ordinary band. Bussanick was gracious enough to grant me his first phone interview ever, where we talked about the new album and finding a comfort zone as a vocalist/guitarist.
Dan Marsicano: The Sum of All Fossils is the band?s debut album. For somebody listening to the record for the first time, what can they expect?
Garett Bussanick: The heart of it is grindcore/death metal. There?s a lot of various vibes that we went for to help make the album something that can be listened to from start to finish; a journey. There?s quite a bit of layering going on, melodies tendencies here and there when it was right.
Since there are so many layers to this music, and you guys are a three-piece, do you find it hard to recreate the songs live?
Yeah, definitely. When there?s two or more guitar parts going on in the proper recording on the album, with me being one guitarist, it?s not going to happen. Usually, I have to choose what I feel is the coolest thing or the vocal point or the thing that works the best to play live. Actually, I have to change over time a little bit here and there.
Do you think playing the songs live make them even rawer than the studio version?
Yeah. Of course, it?s a little more bare-bones, so it doesn?t really get the idea across that I would like to. I?m more interested in making what we do clear with the recording, not so much in a live setting. It?s fun to do, but I rather make our intent clear with the recording.
Do you think it would ever be possible for you to recreate the studio versions of those songs in a live setting like you would like them to be?
No, I don?t think so. We would probably have to get at least another guitarist, and that?s not going to be happening.
Is there any reason why that won?t be happening?
The three of us have a chemistry. I think we?re completely satisfied with what we?re doing as a three-piece. We?re not really looking to alter things. We don?t focus on the live setting. We?re much more focused on the writing and the recording of the music. The live stuff is just a byproduct of doing stuff with the band and playing some shows now and again. The focus of our efforts is the writing and recording.
Since you focus so much of your efforts on the albums, why didn?t you just make the band a studio only project and not play live?
Each of the three of us feel differently what their favorite part of doing the band is. So we do live stuff to satisfy everybody. Me personally, I know I don?t love playing live as much as our bassist Eric (Rizk) does. It?s not a bad thing. I?m all for it. If it?s going to be fun, let?s do it.
Do you feel the same way with Wetnurse too about playing live?
Somewhat. I think Wetnurse is a little easier. That band, at least up to our last recording, the things we did on Invisible City aren?t terribly difficult to reproduce live. Maybe that?s a factor. Doing that stuff is more doable. Flourishing is a little more like what I could do with the studio. I?d rather be as creative as possible with Flourishing. It?s going to render doing it impossible in a live setting.
With The Sum of All Fossils, did you have a general vision of where you would had like to see the music head or did it just flow naturally?
The basic ideas come naturally. I never really zero in on a genre that I want to fulfill the cliches of. We focus on originality and attempting to write the most meaningful songs we can. When we get together and start putting stuff together, genre is not really something that we look at and try to fit into. We start getting something together and see where we can take it based on making it the most meaningful and impactful statement we can with whatever song we?re working on. Considering a full album, we definitely wanted to write songs that had various scales and stuff. Maybe the song happened to be naturally going in a more aggressive direction, and therefore, to counterbalance that for an album, I also want to write other things that aren?t full-on aggressive. I?m interested in writing things that are less than brutal.
In your opinion, do you think the band has progressed between the EP A Momentary Sense of the Immediate World and The Sum Of All Fossils?
That EP had some not-death metal/grindcore kind of stuff, but the EP probably had the higher percentage of death metal/grindcore. The album, I think a lot of it, couldn?t be considered death metal or grindcore. One could say that in itself is a progression, but I think the number one idea is, ?What can I do to make the recording very interesting?? That?s the main points that would lead me to try other things and dabbling with whoever I would see fit to try to make recordings interesting. There?s progression. I had never done the clean-ish singing on that one particular song ?By Which We?re Cemented.? It was totally something I went for. That was a conscious decision.
People know you as a guitarist, but this is the first project where you contribute your vocals and they take center stage. Did it take a while to find your voice as a singer?
As far as death metal influences, I imagined it?s pretty straightforward death metal vocals. As far as the vocal style itself, not necessarily what I?m doing with the patterns, but tone-wise and sound-wise, I really like trying to do my best attempt at someone like John Tardy. I?m interested in pushing the patterns I come up with. On that end, I almost look at it a lot of the time from the perspective of pop music. Sometimes, not necessarily every song on The Sum of All Fossils, but some of the songs where the vocals are almost taking center stage. I would say in a lot of death metal, there?s a lot of songs are written where vocals are very much an afterthought. Some of the stuff on The Sum of All Fossils, I wanted to try to make the vocals the driving force, and have the guitar stuff be a little more minimal or bare-bones.
What made you want to be a singer? Did you know you could do this when you first started playing music or did it take a while to realize you had a voice suitable for this style of music?
I had never properly sang for a band until this version of the band existed in 2009. I had old version of the bands that existed. I had dabbled with doing vocals for some of the stuff then, but I never played a show. It wasn?t until 2009 where I decided, ?All right, I want to work on this and make it something I can pull off.? I started focusing on it a little more. A lot of the Flourishing songs were written before I would be able to sing and perform at the same time. Not in all cases, but there were certain songs that were written I had lying around, I had come up with vocal patterns for, but I never tried playing the guitar and singing at the same time. I had to work on that, to get up to speed on being able to do that live.
How long did it take you to feel comfortable to do both at the same time?
I?ve messed around with it for a long time, but officially, I was never a vocalist/guitarist until I sang in 2009. It all depends. A couple of years was my comfort zone with it.
When you play live, do you focus on getting every note down on vocals and guitar or being an energetic presence on stage?
I look at it as a push-pull. It?s even harder in Flourishing because, for instance, I played with Wetnurse live before I played with Flourishing. Wetnurse, there was always a push-pull between precision, machine-like playing versus getting involved in the show. That was always a push-pull then. Then you start throwing in that I have to belt out vocals for a half-hour into that equation, it?s a constant push-pull. Everything winds up suffering a little bit I think because I feel the need a little bit to…giving each part of the live experience my all.
I have not hit a point where I can do that, in my own mind. I don?t nail all my guitar stuff perfectly. I don?t nail my vocals perfectly, in my mind at all. If I was to remain unmoving and a little calmer, something I would do in rehearsal…I have not adrenaline going, any emotions going in rehearsals compared to a live show. In rehearsals, I?m much more able to pull off things pretty effectively. In a live show, I?m out of breath after I open my mouth, and I?m hitting various wrong notes and everything. There?s all kinds of curveballs in a live setting, such as sound and lights. I can count a bunch of shows where the lights weren?t so good. I can?t see my fretboard, my hair is all in my face, I?m sweating, I can?t see the mic in front of me. All these distractions wind up catching me off-guard.
When you have those situations arise during a live show, have you played enough shows that you are able to keep your composure or do you still feel kind of frazzled?
I?ve played a fair amount of shows. Definitely more shows with Wetnurse than Flourishing. Flourishing has played maybe only somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 shows. I think the key to getting comfortable with all the uncertainties of playing live is really being on tour for a month. When you do that, I think that?s why bands get really good and accustomed to playing live, doing it night after night. Flourishing has never done that. I don?t see us doing that.
As far as getting ultra-comfortable and ultra-confident, I don?t think that will be happening with Flourishing. Our shows are too sporadic. We?ve played like five or six shows in 2011. There was a little period in April we did it and then a little period in July. Backing up to April, we hadn?t played a show since October. We?re not a very well-oiled machine, jumping back into it after five months. I think going on tour and doing it every night just turns you into a machine. That?s the deal with Wetnurse. You don?t even think about it anymore. You just go out and you nail it and you can handle any curveball.
What?s the one thing you?re most proud of with The Sum of All Fossils?
I?m happy with each individual song and I think in nearly ever instance, we wrote the songs we wanted to and have them be as impactful and meaningful as possible. That?s probably what I?m most proud about. I?m happy with the quality of the songs that we wrote.
If you could tour with one band, past or present, who would it be and why?
Righteous Pigs. I don?t even know if Righteous Pigs ever did a tour themselves, but they are definitely a favorite among the Flourishing band members.