Hello and thanks for taking part in our by-now traditional end of year recapitulation – now, to the questions!

For the benefit of our readers, please identify yourself and what you do in the band… “Hey guys, I’m Zach and I perform vocals/bass in death/doom band Black Trillium“.

Good to have you aboard – and congrats on getting The Fatal Shore out this year even after the pandemic hit! What sort of a year do you think it’s been musically, notwithstanding the chaos going on in the real world? And what were your musical highlights in 2020? “Apart from the fact that live music has been completely dormant, it’s been a great year for releases! Unfortunately, those bands haven’t been able to tour and perform said albums, but hopefully we can see the return of touring next year. Some personal highlights from this year include Mr. Bungle, Enslaved, Ulver, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Kirk Windstein, Anaal Nathrakh, Blasphemer, Dragged Into Sunlight and Benighted; also the 20 Buck Spin and Profound Lore labels have been putting out loads of great stuff this year, so throw them in the pile too”.

Some good ‘uns in that list – Paradise Lost and Anaal Nathrakh have been getting a lot of airtime in the Sentinel Daily office! Any lowlights for you? Or do you prefer to try and stay away from things that are going to make you disappointed? “Within the musical realm nothing really comes to mind in that regard, except for Absu breaking up, which sucks because I was just getting into them in the last couple of years and was looking forward to the next album in the planned trilogy. That and of course all the cancelled tours and gigs!”

We can’t talk about 2020 without mentioning COVID- how did it impact on your band specifically? And how did you combat COVID setbacks? And, moving ahead, do you think the way we do things like touring in the future will be able to take any positives from what’s happened since March? “At this point in time, we have predominantly been a studio project with a scattering of live shows throughout the years since our conception, so honestly the pandemic hasn’t truly set us back in any real capacity this year as far as performing is concerned, although we would have liked to of had the option to promote the new album with a couple of shows or maybe a small tour. Not sure what changes the future will bring for touring out of this, I really can’t see anything changing though, maybe venues will continue to enforce various social distancing policies to some degree? It’s tough to say”.

If a worldwide pandemic had happened twenty years ago it’s arguable that the effect on bands may have been even worse given the absence of the internet and social media – Do you think the fact that fans now have a much more direct line to bands meant that social media played a part in helping bands survive this period of financial instability? What do you think of the rash of pay per view concerts we have seen spring up recently? “Most definitely, social media is an essential tool and the biggest asset a band can take advantage of to expand and engage their audience, and the ability to communicate directly with fans through these platforms has been huge throughout the lockdown period. I’m definitely a fan of the online concerts, a great way for bands to perform for fans and bring in revenue that would have been lost from cancelled tours”.

And what about the ‘Zoom Jams’ – are you a fan? If so, what ones should we be seeking out on the internet to cheer ourselves up? “Can’t say I watched many to be honest, so I can’t really comment, I’m sure there’s some great ones out there though”.

I can thoroughly recommend anything featuring Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante – he’s put together some great lineups and played some storming tunes. Now, shows are tentatively being booked now across the world for 2021 and beyond – what does the next twelve months hold for you? “Well, we have started working on a follow up to our debut album, so we will be busy writing and demoing ideas for the next year, but we also have a B-side from The Fatal Shore that will see the light of day hopefully early next year, and we are in the early stages of planning some media to release with it. We would love to bring the new material to the stage as well, so hoping that opportunity arises for us”.

It’s our end of year-round up, so of course our thoughts are turning to the Holiday season. What’s best for you? Christmas or New Year? And what will you be drinking? “More of a Christmas fan myself, usually don’t really care about New Years Eve, I will be happy to see the end of 2020 though so I will be celebrating that. Drink of choice for Christmas this year will be Innis & Gunn Bourbon Barrell Scotch Ale, get your hands on that one if you can, incredible beer!”

I’ve been enjoying the booze recommendations that this series has thrown up! And talking of booze, You’ve been invited to the Sentinel Daily office party -we’ve let you take charge of the stereo for five songs. What will you play? “I’ve been on a sludge/stoner/southern metal tear lately, so going to thrown in with these picks: DownStained Glass Cross, Clutch‘s D.C. Sound Attack!, Amerijuanican by Bongzilla, Melvins‘  A History Of Bad Men  and NeurosisThe Doorway“.

All-time party starters the lot of ’em! But that’s enough festive fun – here’s your chance to speak directly to our readers – what would you like to say to them? “Cheers to everyone who checked us out this year and in years gone by, and for supporting the Aussie doom scene. Hoping we can bring some misery to the stage for you in the new year. Enjoy the holidays and have a heavy fucking Christmas!”

Thanks for taking part!

Black Trillium‘s album The Fatal Shore is out now.