Featured Artist

Cosmic Rock

Tonight we have a special interview for our Featured Artist with a very cool individual: guitarist/singer Dana Helmuth of the Maryland doom metal band Yatra. Joined by Maria Geisbert and Mike Tull, Yatra rose from the ashes of the earlier band Blood Raven and is winning new fans and followers by storm. Known also for his excellent tattoo work and artwork, Dana sat down with us for a cool talk about the band’s history thus far, inspirations and news. Check out their new single and forthcoming album on Grimoire Records. - G

 

1.Hey Dana how’re you today? Good to speak with you and how have you been?

Hey, I’m doing great today, thank you. Winter has finally settled in here and it has gotten cold this week. We just had a great show in Frederick, Md yesterday, which was also Marias birthday, so it was a good time that we carried on through the night.

 

2.Tell us a little about your background. Are you guys from Maryland originally and How did you two meet and form the group?

Yes we are all from different areas of Maryland. I grew up on the ocean, Mike about a half hour drive inland, and Maria is from inner city Baltimore, about two hours from the coast. I’m also a tattoo artist, so I met Maria through a friend of hers that I was tattooing about 13 years ago, and we always just kept in touch through mutual friends over the years, and then we met Mike through a mutual tattooer friend of mine who knew that I was searching for a drummer. I had been playing in a band called Blood Raven which had dissolved, and wanted to continue onward. Maria had learned all the material and strong armed her way into the bass position, I continued writing and we met Mike a few months later and carried on from there with him playing drums.

 

3.Growing up what were some of your favorite bands and records that inspired you?

We all grew up playing music from a young age. Personally, for me my music choices have always been based around guitar players, so lots of different genres. I was turned on to some great players at a young age . Everything from whatever the current punk and metal stuff I was finding and listening to, and then also I was learning from like King Crimson and Segovia and John McLaughlin, and loads of blues too. always Maiden and Zeppelin and Hendrix. all the guitar stuff. So it was mostly from a guitar student perspective. Also heaps of the current punk rock and metal stuff I was finding on my own. I think I was equally into Greg Ginn, Ravi Shankar, Randy Rhoads and Robert Johnson at the same time at a young age.  I loved Kiss and Sabbath and Randy Rhoades and Motörhead and dark throne and obituary. Later it was burning witch and goatsnake and yob and sleep. indian is amazing and high on fire always great albums. current stuff we are into is still like dark throne and classic norwegian stuff, then dopethrone and cough and conan and fister are some newer bands we like. I played in a lot of different bands, building my chops, as did Maria and Mike. Later on, while Coming up in the Baltimore scene as a young guitar player, I also worked at a rock club called the rev, which was the spot for all touring bands to play so I got to see some great shows and also open up for some great bands. Maria has a similar story as she was a bartender at another Baltimore rock staple, the Ottobar, and was constantly exposed to the best shows while working there, and also was able to open for a lot of great bands at the time.

 

4. You guys have a new single out now can you tell us about it? how would you describe your sound?

The first streaming song from the new album is ‘black moon’ and i think it’s a pretty good mix of our influences. black metal influenced vocals, slow heavy riffs and rhythms, some open spacey parts, and heavy fuzz.  i write lyrics from a fantasy-based perspective, influenced by all the epic battle writers like Howard or Tolkien or Martin, and also Norse mythology and heathen ritual concepts. very allegorical and abstract. no love songs or politics .

5.Very cool brother. Any news on the upcoming album?

Our album ‘death ritual’ will be released jan 4 on cd and vinyl. it is available now for preorder through Grimoire Records.

 

6. To new listeners ready to check the band out live do you Any plans?

We are very much into the live show and performance and feed off of that energy and experience, so we play as much as possible. that’s the magic for us. We love it. as a trio it’s easy for us to adapt to different stages and venues and different situations. We are in beginning stages of tour planning after our album release, and eager to play in Europe, or whatever comes at us.

7. Any last words today for your fans?

We hope everyone enjoys our record, and look forward to meeting lots of new friends on the road.

Sounds awesome bro, look forward to it. - G