Local Limelight: Q & A with Bodhisattva

 by Zach Richter
 published on Thursday, March 2, 2006

Bodhisattva is going places. Literally. Its travel schedule is insane -- the band is going to play at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, this March, has a mini-tour planned for April and an East Coast tour planned for summer.

Bodhisattva consists of Justin Cory on guitar and vocals and Shane Sittig on drums and vocals.

Bodhisattva has been together for four years, ever since the two members got tired of playing in traditional punk rock bands. Cory and Sittig have been making unique "indie experimental metal" ever since.

The band's influences include everything from Mars Volta to The Beatles. They simply play the kind of music that they like to hear.

Cory sat down with SPM to talk about the positive side of screaming and other "hardcore" topics.

SPM: Is there a meaning behind the word "bodhisattva?"

Cory: It is a Buddhist word. "Bodhi" means enlightened, and "sattva" means being. A bodhisattva is the most compassionate person in Buddhism, like a saint or a prophet in the Catholic Church. They reject Nirvana to help people. We got the word from Jack Kerouac's book "The Dharma Bums."

SPM: What is the most hardcore thing you have ever done?

Cory: On our first tour we played a show in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 29. I've been a fan of the band Submission Hold for a long time, and they were playing in Vancouver on July 1. We stayed for the show and then drove 22 hours straight to play two shows in Tucson. When we got home, it hit us, and then we hibernated for a while.

SPM: How did Bodhisattva get on the bill at South by Southwest?

Cory: It never dawned on us to try before now, even though we've been together for four years. We really spent a lot of time on our first album, and it showed. The panel of judges wouldn't have selected us if the album hadn't been quality stuff. If you want [your music] out there, just do it. If we hadn't, we would still be looking for a label with music that wouldn't be new to us anymore.

SPM: Why do you scream so much in many of your songs?

Cory: I feel passion when other people scream and when I scream myself. Screaming can convey lots of emotions, not just sadness and anger. I mean, I can scream for joy. Your voice is an instrument, and screaming is just one way to use your instrument. I utilize it the way I want to. I scream less now. I want [the screaming] to be more important, I want it to be the crest of the wave.

SPM: You seem like a pretty mellow guy. Why are most of your songs so angry?

Cory: Neither of us is always angry. We are not violent "type A" dudes. I worry people might get that vibe through some of our music, but we aren't like that. Things are just rough in the world, like the environment. [Shane and I are] fine with the fact that people have already altered it, but now that we [as a society] know [that we are destroying the environment], but we're not doing anything to fix it. That's not right.

Reach the reporter at zachary.richter@asu.edu.




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