Black Mastiff formed by coincidence around 10 years ago, but they have stayed together thanks to hard work and persistence. Despite one band member living in Vancouver and the other two living in Edmonton, they think the distance made them more dedicated to their art.
Before Black Mastiff formed, drummer Allan Harding and bassist Clay Shea played together and singer/guitarist Bob Yiannakoulias was in a different band. However, both bands happened to be winding down at the same time. Harding and Shea ran into Yiannakoulias one night in Edmonton on 109 Street.
“We ended up jamming with Bob and it wasn’t even like auditions or anything; we just started playing and it worked and that was about 10 years ago,” Harding explained. “It just felt good, and since then we haven’t been apart. It was very natural.”
Harding says their long-time friendship has helped create their sound. “Over time you craft a particular sound. I feel like if you listen to Black Mastiff, you know it’s us right away, even if it’s a new record. I think over time we have really honed that in. We love each other. It’s a tight connection.”
When Harding picked up to live in Vancouver, the band decided to try long-distance. The group noticed changes in their music and writing, but it seems the differences are for the best.
“It’s giving us a chance to look at the music a little more personally and on our own time and having to be really dedicated to it. We were able to take more time to reflect on our music and really dissect it. It allowed us to take a step back and listen to it more. I think it gave us more space to explore; the music is deeper,” Harding admits.
Even though the band’s music is reaching new levels, Harding’s change of scenery still comes with some downsides.
“Everyone is like, ‘the coast is the best,’ but my band isn’t out there,” Harding laughs. “For me, it’s all about getting back together with Bob and Clay. They’re my best friends, and the hardest part of moving away is I miss my friends.”
Their newest album, Loser Delusions, has been a long time in the making. The band has had to keep themselves motivated throughout their creation process.
“The hardest part of making the album was the distance. We had to work a lot with the internet. It took us years to get it together, and we really started focusing on it about six months ago. I think the best part was the realization at the end when we had accomplished what we set out to do,” Harding says.
Describing Loser Delusions in three words, Harding says, “Artistic vision realised.”
Black Mastiff is performing at The Starlite Room with Chron Goblin on Oct. 25. The doors open at 8 p.m., and tickets are $15 online.