Gorillas. Wizards. Riffs.
Long Island New York. Bertrum is Merlin’s former apprentice. He’s been around for about 1400 years.
How did you meet?
Bertrum sold Mike a TV and they both went to the Helmet show where they played Meantime in full. They’ve been jamming ever since, bringing in Mike’s friend Gabe (from Kaiju Daisenso) and Bertrum’s friend Ryan later on.
How long have you been playing as a band?
Some of these songs are seven years old. This form of the band wasn’t finalised until May 2018.
Before you get sick of being asked… Where does the band name come from?
Because Bertrum is a wizard who is also a gorilla. When in a record store, he saw some Phish, Korn, and B-52 records and figured bands just call themselves what they are.
Also, the riffs are big and ravaging while still being a bit magically delicious. Hence, Gorilla Wizard.
What are your influences?
All kinds of heavy music. Metal (obviously) hardcore, punk, grind, prog death, tech death, deathcore, metalcore, doom, stoner rock, sludge. Give us good riffs and punishing drums and we’re happy idiots. Notable metal influences are Black Sabbath, GWAR, Helmet, Opeth, Strapping Young Lad, Type O Negative, Orange Goblin and Amon Amarth.
Bertrum is also into blues, funk, dixie, and electronica.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Really straight forward riffs with enormous grooves. We definitely ape certain acts, but we really try to make the riffs as big and crushing as possible.
The schtick is also something unique, but we feel like metal is loud and bombastic. Specifically, these riffs and the whole package needed an equally bombastic presentation. Go big or get the fuck out of the way.
We know we have an absurd schtick, but make absolutely no mistakes: we aim to make head crushingly heavy metal. The most important part of this whole project is the music. It’s gotta be good and we take the songs and writing process very seriously.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Absurdity. All of our song titles are working titles that become literal in meaning. Subtlety is not our strong suit. Also, “what does the riff sound like?” All the titles come from how we think the main riff “feels” so they get weird sometimes.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
So far only one. We treat our live act like a ritual. We want the audience to really walk away with a full experience, not just watching some assholes play instruments for 30 minutes. We try to put on a full performance piece. You came to be entertained, and we will deliver the goods.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Bertrum once got wasted and fell asleep on the toilet at a Who Concert in Madison Square Garden. That’s pretty weird.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Bertrum – Agile 8 String with D’Addario NYXL strings
Mike – Pearl 4 Piece kit with AAX cymbals and Pearl double kick
Gabe – “Does that mic work? That’s what I’m using.”
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Tales from the Cauldron the debut album out August 23rd. Come see Gorilla Wizard live, August 24th at Mr. Beerys Bethpage. Christmas show coming Dec 20/21 – announcement soon.
What are your plans for 2019?
Plug the album, play some shows, work on Ryan’s solo project a bit, work on Kaiju Daisenso a bit then work on the next album.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
GWAR, Gorilla Wizard, Patterns of Decay. We would love to open for the mighty GWAR! They are a huge influence and we’d fit right into that atmosphere.
There’s a great up and coming Long Island band, Patterns of Decay that we have been trying to arrange a show with and it never seems to line up. They’re ferocious and we can’t wait to get a show with them together.