Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
I was playing in a stoner doom band years ago. We were a trio called Bonework, and we broke up. The drummer for Bonewom and I decided we wanted to keep playing music together, so we started another band called Skull Island, after the island in the San Juans with a dark history, not thinking about King Kong, but it worked both ways. We had a bass player and were playing instrumental stoner doom, but all of the sudden there were stoner doom bands everywhere. The bass player decided to move on, and we had a hell of a time finding a new bass player. Some interesting auditions there. We did the usual, talked to our musician friends and people we knew who were good players in the local scene, but after nothing panned out, we put up a craigslist and facebook ads looking for other musicians. Colin answered the ad, and when he came, I knew pretty quick it was a good fit. I don’t click with every guitarist I play with, but Colin and I clicked right away, and he was a solid player, a cool guy, and was willing to invest in his gear to sound badass without us having to bug him about it or anything. That is the root of A//TAR, and how we ended up originally going in a post-metal direction.
We are band people that love playing in bands. Nate, Juan and I knew each other because we play in another band together called Hound The Wolves. Nate and Juan also play in a band called Tigers on Opium. Casey has a duo project called He is Me. We have all played music for lives. And most of us have been playing in bands for years.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
My musical interested were drifting away from stoner doom at the same time, and I had become more and more interested in Neurosis, ISIS, Cult of Luna, and a number of lesser known bands in the post-metal genre. My feeling was the post-metal offered the opportunity for me to express the clean/heavy, ying/yang thing I love. I had written the riffs for Induction and Horology.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
For one reason only. Because they enjoy our music and want to support us. I know some people bandwagon because it’s cool or whatever, but fuck that, support the shit you like. Be you a metalhead or not. But the reason to buy our demos and albums is because sales equal unequivocal proof that there are people that will part with their money to.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
We have one release called Hallowed that was put out last Fall. The public response has been good. Rather than tell you how the public media received us, let me share two quotes from our local hometown paper, and from JJ at the Obelisk.:
“When tsunami-like tunes such as “War Altar” and “Induction” are cresting, with Burke and guitarist Colin Hill oozing chords together as the rhythm section lumbers beneath them, it’s both awesome and fearsome.”
“it is straightforward in its arrangements to be positioning itself as a root form of post-metal, bringing the aesthetic full circle and back to its cerebral roots in churning rhythms and shifts between deeply-weighted contemplation and voluminous sway and crash.”
“This is a decidedly American ideal: the crafting of identity through reconciliation with history either personal or cultural, and if Alltar‘s scope is set to encompass, well, everything, then it seems only fair to call that ambitious as an understatement and remain impressed at the sense of focus they nonetheless conjure throughout their well-plotted material, delivered with what sounds like a burgeoning sense of patience.”
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
Yes, we play live regularly, or we used to. We did a west coast tour in support of the Hallowed release and that was a lot of fun. We also play local shows regularly. That is, we used to. We have not done a show since Ceremony of Sludge IX back at the end of March. The show was recorded, and we have mixed and mastered our set from that evening and are releasing the audio as a new live album called Live at Ceremony of Sludge. The album has us performing two new songs that have not yet been publicly released. The album comes out in February.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Alltar is a new band on the rise! We are blazing out own path rather than relying on the flavor of the moment or simply imitating the greats. We bring passion and pour of ourselves into the music we makes. We have played a lot of killer shows providing support for well known artists. Alltar played Justin Brown of Witch Mountian’s Ceremony of Sludge IX with Usena, Brume (SF), and Glasghote and last years Ceremony of Sludge VIII with Young Hunter, Maximum Mad, and Hair Puller. Alltar toured regionally in support of Hallowed and has provided support for Rosetta, Ails, Eight Bells, and Serial Hawk and played with Un, and Witch Ripper. Check is out, and hit us up if you have ideas. We are here to share what we create with people.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
As mentioned above, we are putting a new live album with new tracks. Because of the COVID shutdowns, we are focused primarily on writing new material right now, getting ready to record our next album. We plan to get the material finished, do pre-production of the album, then start the process of recording. We do not foresee playing shows any time soon, but we will be keeping an eye on how things are looking.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
First head to www.alltarband.com as the one stop shop location with links to all of our social media. I am a huge fan of Bandcamp, so I would suggest heading to https://alltar.bandcamp.com/album/hallowed to listen to and purchase our album. That being said, we are on all the major streaming platforms, so you can find us wherever you prefer to shop online for music. We also have merch on bandcamp. Also, for your readers, we have five download codes of Hallowed that we can provide to your readers. Just send us a message and mention the PEST interview, and we will send code to the first five people. Thank you for taking the time to interview us!