Getting ready for our next attack. Sept. 8th 2017 (Friday) @ Grindhouse Skateclub
Unfortunately our gig with YÖU (MK) got cancelled due to illness of their guitar player Marko. Too bad, since we were really looking forward to this gig and playing with such a great band. Still hoping to catch up once they tour again and play “We Sing the Blues” (their rad new album that you have to check out if you’re into highly energetic and emotional Dischord-inspired melodic hardcore).
However, there was a quick fill for the date, since we got a lovely offer to play with Green Yeti and Bus the Unknown Secretary from Greece. Location was Live & Loud here in Sofia. We had some good clean fun and both these bands are fucking amazing!
Here’s some photos:
We’re announcing our next gig soon, stay tuned!
If we are inhabiting the same planet, you already know that Mike is battling some really serious health issues right now, leading him to hospitalization and urgent liver transplant. Luckily he got the operation and is now recovering. With him being an independent musician, this led to increased health expenses impossible for an underground artist to cover.
Long story short: these top notch guys from Rawk’n’Roll (pretty much the only Bulgarian stoner-sludge-doom-psych-whatever webzine, online since 2004) have invited us and a couple of the most fascinating heavy rock’n’roll bands in Sofia to gather forces and do a benefit show for Mike.
We have to give it to Rawk’n’Roll – they’re the people who brought EHG here in Sofia back in 2015. Not only that, but they let me take part in all this and open up for fucking EYEHATEGOD w/my solo drone noise outfit krāllār, along with Them Frequencies & UPYR. I’m forever thankful for that opportunity!
All of the income from that gig will be transferred to Mike IX Williams’ account. Make sure to follow the event in Facebook and do come over if you can!
Mike’s fundraising campaign is here: https://www.youcaring.com/mikeixwilliams-695413
We’re back home after three days of noise* and what should be Feedbacker‘s first (mini) tour. We did Sofia, Plovdiv and Thessaloniki gigs along with great bands, had a great time, met cool people, drove like a thousand kilometers and now we’re back in Sofia and hungry for more. Here’s a
short (well, I lied!)… a fucking long-ass gig report.
Gigs started off from Sofia along with Australian astral-space-core heroes Alithia (now that’s a fucking weird genre tag). But let me rewind back a bit…
Our initial plans included taking our new friends from Autumn Acid here in Bulgaria and share a total of four gigs with them, with dates both in Bulgaria and Greece. Long story short, almost a month before the start of said tour we fucked-up and had little to no luck with finding a vehicle big enough to fit both bands, so Autumn Acid had to cancel the Bulgarian gigs and we had to leave Athens for another time…
Bummer! But hey, we’re both bands that do everything DIY and we actually learned a lot from that experience, so no big deal. Trying to book a gig in Plovdiv for the first time, I contacted Nikola of TDK (and Post-Culture Stage) and we were lucky enough to catch him in the right moment while he was also booking Alithia for exactly the same dates we needed. So we ended up with gigs really fast. Thanks a ton, mate!
Now, Alithia turned out to be top blokes, but I could never imagine playing with them otherwise… let’s just say it was a unique and very diverse combination. We started off from Sofia at Live & Loud Club, which is a quite big venue, at least in my book.
Фондация Обещаното Нищо (Nikola’s other band, young lads from Plovdiv) were on the bill as well. This night we had to provide the whole stage backline, drums and amps and all that jazz. We don’t have much to write home about in the amplification department yet, but luckily I got some ace friends, who let me borrow some cool amps. This is the time to say thanks to Paco from Comasummer and Mihail Ballou from King of Sorrow for providing us with decent guitar and bass rigs.
Day I: Sofia
27 october happened to be a very busy day in Sofia, gigwise. The Ex and Bernays Propaganda were in town, and some other cool events were happening in different locations at the same time, so we were a bit fucked and not many people showed up. However, the guys from ФОН played a good show, and Alithia… well Alithia are real pros and played a show that easily could’ve been a fucking arena thing. Now these guys have some stage presence! Feedbacker played a short set that went really well, imo.
We were happy when we came off the stage, but not that happy when we had to haul all the gear in the back of my trusty old Renault wagon. Thanks to Niki (Comasummer) we succeeded to fit a whole drums set + 2 amp heads + huge ass 4×12 guitar cab + a bass cab + 2 guitars + all the drum paraphernalia + 3 persons and unload all this crap into 3 different locations. I got home as early as 4AM and I was barely able to hold my eyes open. Yay! Rockstar life!
Day II: Plovdiv
28 october – we took a 2 hour drive to Plovdiv with Desi and landed in the center of the city right into Rorschach’s (aka Post-Culture Stage).
We met the Alithia guys and our new friends from Plovdiv and had a cup of nice hot coffee while waiting for the soundcheck. We had a nice little chat with John Rousvanis – thanks for that, mate! Mindflux from Plovdiv were the opening act that night and they were really fun to watch.
They are really young fellas and it was their first hometown gig, and the audience cheered them up a lot and I got myself thinking about my first gigs when I was their age, some 15+ years ago… duh, I guess that doesn’t make me old at all… more like ancient!
We kicked off with a little fault-start. Some dumb fuck (me) pressed the mute button of one of my amps, so I started the first song with half a rig.
Soundguy wasn’t very happy with the fuzz mayhem coming out of my pedals, but I was, so fuck it, right? Here’s some more lo-fi footage from that night.
The venue had really small stage and it was all vibrating from the low frequencies, so one of my amps was constantly trying to jump off the cab. I had to literally kick it back in place inbetween songs, and on one occasion – during a song. This kind of shit is pretty stressful, I’ll tell you that, so we skipped our last song and got off stage faster than usual.
All in all it was a fun gig to play and there were some familiar faces in the crowd, so we were happy. We had to stay in one of the ФОН guys’ place that night, but right after the gig we decided to drive back to Sofia and take a proper shower before heading to Greece the next day. So we did exactly that. We fucked a little with the GPS taking us to weird dark places in Plovdiv, but eventually we got back on the speedway and made it home. We got in bed earlier than the previous day. Sweet!
Day III: Thessaloniki
29 october – I was really excited to play this city as we never did that before and there were some really good bands on the bill that night. We had some company – my main mate Koko and his friend Veni with us and he did most of the driving, which was way cool for me as I was a little tired and absent.
We had an easy ride and got to the venue like an hour earlier. As always, we missed out the left turn that had to take us straight to Biotexnia so we did a fucking full circle around and man – finding a parking place in Thessaloniki is almost as fucked as it is in Sofia! We started unloading our stuff only to see Stratos from Autumn Acid (and Hak Nam Collective, who were organizing the gig) coming down the street with his drums stuff on his back.
Now comes the good part! Biotexnia is a great self-managed place in Thessaloniki, ran by three different collectives who make gigs and whatnot there. Being a political (read anarchist) place, I felt very much at home. We got a yummy warm meal immediately and got treated really nice by all the guys and gals we met.
The Rita Mosss and Friend of Gods guys were there as well and they were also doing a three day tour around Greece, so we were pretty much on the same page. I have to say all these folks were great company, we felt like we’re friends for ages with all the dumb jokes and nice chats we had throughout the night. It seems that gigs in such places start really late, like 12PM the earliest, so we had plenty of time to do a proper soundcheck, hang out, have coffee, pizza, vegan gyros, smoke 10,000 cigarettes and all that. Here I do exactly that (the smoking part) on the amazing terrace they have in Biotexnia.
After playing gigs for so many years this was the first time someone (aka the most calm and easy-going soundguy, ever!!!) came to me and said “You just set everything the way you want to, like you’re rehearsing, and we’ll make the front of house sound from that!“. I was in heaven! You can tell it was a good soundcheck just by looking at this picture:
Also, I felt in love with that fucking Ampeg VH-140C amp, it sounded so clean and transparent and had the best reverb channel that I immediately decided to use live. A fucking thing of beauty!
Actually, because of that amp we started our set with a intro we never played live before. Everything was so at home with us in Biotexnia that I knew we’ll play a good set hours before we came onstage. And we did. Room was full, spirits were high. We had a great time!
Rita Mosss came out first around 12:30 and man did they do a great set! They started and finished as they were playing one big track consisting of many songs… amazing! Their drummer Dimitrios hit so hard that he broke the floor tom at some point, but didn’t stop (two guys fixed it in the meantime). Fucking flawless! Fantastic bass/drums duo noise-punk madness, I loved every fucking minute of their set. I really wish we had more bands like this back home. Now that would make our local gigs a lot less awkward…
Halfway through their set I just brought my phone out and shot a little video, fully aware that it will both sound and look like turd… but I had to. Here it is:
Feedbacker came on second and we did our set in front of a very cool crowd, I really hope that everyone was having a good time. I know we did!
Friend of Gods were third on the bill. They play a very energetic blend of math rock and punk. You should check them out! They are also really, really cool blokes and it’s super fun to be around them. We’re definitely going to join forces again in Athens and I really hope I can bring them to Sofia sometime soon.
Autumn Acid got onstage and then things got really heavy. They sound huge! And a lot better than the last time I saw them in Serbia, where the sound was a bit fucked up. They play really exciting post-metal sludge thing with growling vocals and weird time signatures. I hope we’ll have more to write home about very soon with them, but I won’t talk much until I know shit’s being done for sure. But, man, what a band they are!
After the show we put my wagon to another test – this time it was 6 adults + a dog (Kim) + our gear – and we made it like this to his place. Stratos was an amazing host and I cannot thank him enough for that. We had perfect place to sleep and rest, and his pets are so darn cute it’s almost embarrassing. We got to bed somewhere after 5AM and had a good rest.
In the morning we had a cool chat and a cup of coffee and after that we spent some time wandering around a desolate Thessaloniki, having more coffee and buying useless shit here and there before heading home.
Now that’s a really huge gig report, but I had so much to tell, and believe me when I tell you this is the short version. Thanks to all wonderful bands we shared a stage with in Bulgaria and Greece and hope to see you guys somewhere down the road very soon!
* P.S. I stole this headline (“Three days of noise”) from Rita Mosss & Friend of Gods. Sorry guys, it was too good not to!
Shentov | Feedbacker
EP release: ✓
First hometown show: ✓
Another small challenge that kept our hearts pumping and our heads spinning, at least for the last few weeks. So, our EP is out and I couldn’t be more pleased about how it turned out. I am getting a bit obsessive with the idea of having a plan and sticking to it, marking goals and putting small check marks next to achievements. It is something I never really did before, despite being in bands since I was 13. Now that I am an old fuck I know better and tend to drain all the pleasure potential out of breaking down dreams into realistic goals and then fulfilling them with passion. It certainly has something to do with growing up, that’s for sure.
So, our release date was actually my birthday, which was a happy coincidence or probably fate of sorts. Some months ago my main mate Angel at Amek Collective offered us to play a show with his band Leaver on Sept. 21th and also start a small tour from there. Well, the tour part fucked up for a number of reasons, but this Sofia gig happened, and it was good. A Rubicon of sorts.
Sofia is a small place and we pretty much know each other, so there is no real boundary between artist and audience. I prefer to see a glass half full in this case, and think of it as possibility to play for a circle of friends and affiliates rather than fans. Coming from a hardcore punk background makes me appreciate this way more. Gleeful as it may sound, this is also a huge challenge, so you probably get my excitement as well as my anxiety. Many people who showed up on the gig are aware of what I have done in the past with KPD-0 and other bands I played with, so I felt that the Feedbacker thing has to be different. Bigger. Better. Thorough. Raw & pure. Honest. Without compromise.
Mount of Artan was pretty much testing the waters for me and Desi and it got us confident that we are on the right track. Recording made me realize what we actually sound like in a way that is not possible otherwise. Dealing with the whole release thing mostly by myself (with the precious and unquestionable help of my life partner Kristina) got me more involved with every single detail of our expression.
I put a lot of thought into what I want the release to look like, and I pictured a final product (as much as I hate to use exactly this word describing what we do) that fully embraces my thoughts and searches as of now. Probably that’s why I decided to deal with things I usually don’t have the balls to deal with – like cover designs and stuff. Once I started to actually get things done I understood why I actually do this. Once I looked at the finished and printed covers and inserts I actually saw what I have done. A sharp, contrast, monochrome image, filled with (dark) symbolism.
There is a story behind every single symbol that is on the front or inside our first EP. This recording has been really important for me, mostly because Feedbacker is what keeps me sane going through the pile of personal shit that 2016 got me. And Desi has been a fantastic band mate, going stronger with every step we make. I have to say that I am really not used to that level of acceptance and support of my creative ideas.
All in all, now we have a thing. An object. A release. Couple of tapes and CDs that we can show the world.
And this is what we did last Thursday. This gig holds a special place in my heart. Perfect organisation (kudos to Amek and Angel for that!), lovely bands and acts to share a stage with. Lot of friends and familiar faces in the crowd. Nice venue, probably my fave club in Sofia. I will spare my usual blabber on this one. Instead here’s some photos (courtesy of George and Velislav):
It took us almost a week to get our heads straight and realize the power of this special moment. Words are shallow and fragile and can not convey the gratitude we feel. Once again Amek showed us how it’s done! Their friendship, trust and support are truly a gift. We would like to thank Trysth, Leaver & Ivan Shopov for being brutal artists on stage and wonderful people in general. And personal thanks to every single person who came to the gig and to those who heard our EP and messaged us with kind words and support.
Here’s a video of our full set:
Our next gigs are soon to be announced and yet this is another challenge, preceded by some months of hard work and preparations. We can hardly wait to break out about this. Stay tuned!
Shentov | Feedbacker
The first track off our upcoming s/t EP is alive, premiering on Lunatic.bg:
Read more in Bulgarian: http://lunatic.bg/feedbacker-ep/
“Music for the last days. Thundering post-apocalyptic noise that echoes leaving pulsing scars across the subconscious. Sofia noise-rock duo Feedbacker is probably the best kept secret of Bulgarian underground. So far.
Feedbacker is brand new band, formed in late 2015 by Ivan Shentov (ex-KPD-0) and Desi Petkova (ex-Comasummer). Their live debut was at this summer’s Mount of Artan festival in Serbia, and their first local gig will be this Wednesday – Sept. 21 in Mixtape 5 with Trysth, Leaver and Ivan Shopov (aka Cooh and Balkansky).
September 21 is the official release date of the EP through Kontingent Records (tape & CD editions). The album was recorded and produced by Michael Slavov (King of Sorrow, Expectations).”
We’re busy doing stuff lately and very happy about it. One week left until our first gig here in Sofia. Our EP is done, mixed and mastered and a bunch of tapes are being dubbed as we speak; we also have a couple more things to get all starry-eyed about in the following days.
We’re letting the first track break free soon, followed by an exclusive album stream and will reveal more on the go. Meanwhile a lot of rehearsing is taking place, we currently eat, drink and breathe Feedbacker. Silver hours of glorious noise. We’re cooking a nice tight set for our first hometown gig, as well as some new songs that didn’t make it to the EP.
A year of first things
Until now 2016 has provided feral ground for new beginnings and debuts: out first festival gig, our first EP and first live in Sofia being among the most important for Feedbacker. Same applies for my other projects, and also a lot of personal stuff, but that is another thing. All of this brings a lot of food for thought about our band situation and what we do, how we do it and how we want to do to it in the future.
The benefits of self-produced music and working with friends
DIY ethics has an awful lot to do with Feedbacker since day one and this is not entirely an accident. Recording our first material reflects that approach almost perfectly. We made all recordings with our mate Mihail, who plays guitar in King of Sorrow and lately he is really into recording and producing stuff and audio engineering. He’s gaining some experience and widening his expertise with recording both new songs by Trysth and Leaver‘s first album; we’re sharing the stage with both bands on Sept. 21
We recorded in our rehearsal space, nothing fancy, just four walls and our amps and drums. Sessions went smooth and fast, coining most of the stuff right away with virtually no overdubs. All vocals are done straight away, one take and that’s all. We kept the takes with the best energy, even when they weren’t perfect. It’s and easy and obvious choice as we rely on raw energy a lot in our music. The whole process felt natural and calm, nothing like the nervous wrecks I’ve experienced with other bands recording in a studio paying by the hour. Working as a team without such limitations has inspired us all a lot.
Actually we weren’t chasing the best quality of the most flawless take, we just wanted to make a good recording of a set of songs, catch a certain vibe, capture the energy. Our mission was to test the grounds as it was our first more focused recording experience with Feedbacker. We were free to set the sound we wanted without fearing “professional” criticism from the this-isn’t-how-it’s-done type. This turns out to be of crucial importance for the creative process I think recording pretty much is.
Using a lot of fuzz and incorporating various glitches and what may seem a malfunction of my effects rig is really a big part of the Feedbacker sound and it’s what makes this band sound like itself.
Personally, I was feeling weird about entering a studio with this rig and approach – bass lead, bi-amping, unorthodox fuzz-stacking and so on – as this is new to me as well. Working with a friend has given me freedom to experiment and gain more profound understanding of what I do with sound and feel comfortable in the process.
And things often get ugly with the sound when we play our shit – most of it on purpose, of course.
On behalf of the mixing and mastering process we have given Misho a lot of trust and, aside from a few basic things we wanted, it’s all his creative work. Giving other people power over your work may be frightening, but also can be very refreshing and in the end we are pleasantly surprised by how the EP turned out.
The do-it-yourself approach continues with the artwork and preparing the whole release, we made the artwork 100% by ourselves, facing all the limitations and tiny little problems with graphic design, printing options and what not. Hopefully a glimpse of the front cover will be available on our Facebook by the end of the week.
DIY is love
As much as I’d like someone else to take care of all this, we are doing this release through my label Kontingent Records, which in the end of the days is always a valid option to bring some of my music out of the world. This is why I started in the first place, so you get the picture.
It’s a lot of work and hassle, that’s right. A financial burden? Very likely. But I feel empowered and very much in control over my creative output, and that is always a good thing in a world where we’re taught from an early age to ask for permission and conform to rigid rules and being told we’re not good enough.
Looking at your own music (or, insert whatever you do) taking shape from a single idea arising through layers of chaotic noise and random drumming to a song, then into recording and into a physical carrier is hands down the best feeling ever. Holding your own tape. I mean, it’s magical! Look at this beauties! They sound killer, too!
So, we will have a pretty limited stock of this EP, and each and every copy of it will be made and prepared by ourselves, which is kinda warm, and personal and sweet. Or I have been over-romanticizing things. Could be. Fuck if I know!
So it’s only a week until we come out and cease being the best kept secret in the local scene, eh! Lots more regarding our EP will be revealed in the following days.
Shentov | Feedbacker
We are beyond excited about our first hometown show.
September 21st, Mixtape 5: we are sinking deeper into dark sound and raw energy with some of the finest local acts – emo-dronebois Leaver, epic post-metal riff monsters Trysth and the spectacular and multi-talented Ivan Shopov (who also made this rad artwork). This show is finely curated by Amek Collective, they book rad shows and release weird new music, check them out!
We celebrate 10 years of Trysth, who have been one of the finest and most intricate bands in the doom, sludge and alternative metal scene.
Leaver have their new album Head Home and haven’t played a local show since April, and we’re really happy to share the stage with them.
Ivan Shopov is our very special guest. He’s in for an atmospheric modular synths live set. Sounds cool to me.
We have even more to share. Our first EP is already mixed and mastered by Mihail Slavov (Expectations, King of Sorrow) and on 21th we’re presenting it in its’ entirety + some new tunes.
We will reveal more in the next days, so stay tuned.
Shentov | Feedbacker
We dug deeper in the last few months, diving head-first into recording some tracks for what will be our first release. Of course we did everything DIY. It was all whirlwind, heat and flash. Within a week we tracked down bass, drums and vocals.
It’s pretty raw. It’s pretty exciting. Most of the stuff is done in one take, no overdubs. Stripped-down, basic and furious. This time we went on to try and catch the most righteous Feedbacker live sound.
Basically, it took us 3 days to track down 5 songs, relatively painless.
Using a bass guitar (a regular 4 string, as well as Bass VI) to hold both low-end and provide harmonic overtones at the same time is indeed a tricky business, but also rewarding in terms of experimentation. Playing through a wall of Orange amps is cool and pretty much the epitome of being in a sludge band: warm all-tube sound, tons of headroom, rich fat bottom end and all that. I found out valves tend to feed back in a pretty unique way through my current effects rig. Very distinctive and much “rounder” than what I usually get out of the solid state amps we use in our rehearsal place.
Fuzz-stacking was a tough job this time, since my “signature” Depressor pedal (which is basically a very edgy and chaotic Fuzz factory clone) was acting weird and created a wild, constant buzz. Of course, where other would cringe, I got all excited about all the harsh gritty noise coming out of the speakers and you’ll probably hear what I am talking about in the intro of one of the numbers.
I also have to say that Desi is one of the hardest hitting drummers I’ve ever played with. Oh, boy!
Five tracks are nearly done as we speak. Our mate and recording engineer Mihail Slavov (Expectations, King of Sorrow) did an amazing job at capturing the rough spirit of our first songs. Next thing we’re up to is mixing and editing, starting this week. Stick around and you’ll probably hear the fuzzed-out roar somewhere this autumn.