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The Pursuit of Success in the FM Metal Scene

Pursuit is a rising extreme metal band local to the Fargo-Moorhead area. The group is comprised of three members: Dalton Holden (bass and vocals), Henri Jourdan (guitar and vocals), and Wyatt “Kryos” Schirrick (drums). The group has gone through slight transitions and additions since their early beginnings, but the three members are eager to spread their notoriety outside of the FMWF area.

Humble Roots
When Wyatt joined Pursuit as the third member, the band only had about $65 in their fund!

In the group’s early beginnings, it was just Dalton and Henri. They were in what Henri described as a “tacky punk band” titled Pursuit of Cash. Wanting to write more serious music that challenged them, they underwent a rebrand to get more promotion and shows underway. They also shortened to “Pursuit” as the two felt that it would be more recognizable and easier to pronounce.

“Pursuit of Cash was a great time, but we just wanted to start being more serious about pursuing music. No pun intended,” Henri said.

Did You Know?
Henri and Dalton both have degrees in music production and produce their music themselves.

The two members decided that they were interested in finding another member who was as willing to be as committed as they were to booking shows, promoting the band, and matching the energy, leading them to Wyatt.

“Dalton and I were in the beginning stages of writing music for the ‘Scourge of Humanity’ album, which came out last September, but we didn’t have a drummer at that time. We were sitting on two and a half songs written for the album at that point. We were asking around Facebook forums for the local scene, other people that we know, and bands in the area just looking for any drummers that might want to try out,” Henri said.

“A friend of ours had hit us up saying that Wyatt is a really fast drummer who still plays in an additional band, Thrållfrost, and that we should have him tryout. We sent Wyatt the ‘Scourge of Humanity’ demos and said that we could meet up in a week or two. He came in and sat behind the drum kit and gave us a four-count. When we ran through those songs, it felt like he had been in the band for months already at that time. He was super prepared, so we offered him the role on the spot and the rest is history.”

More About Thrållfrost
“Thrållfrost was formed in the fall of 2015, and with their unique blend of darkness and technicality they have ravaged the frozen wastes of the Midwestern United States.” From Thrållfrost Website

Today, the three members are consistently practicing and creating music, with their album “Scourge of Humanity” being recently released in September 2022. Read on to check out a Q&A with band members Henri and Wyatt, where we discuss “Scourge of Humanity,” their musical inspirations, what the musical act has in store for fans in 2023 and more!

A Q&A with Pursuit

Let’s talk about the album “Scourge of Humanity” and its inspirations. How was it putting the album together?

Henri: The title track, “Scourge of Humanity,” was the first song that Dalton and I had written together, so that was the inspiration behind the album’s title. It was kind of a signification of achieving a higher standard musically for ourselves and evolving in our musical endeavors. It also has a double meaning because right around that time, which was around a year before Wyatt joined, was when COVID and George Floyd’s protests were on every headline.

There was a lot going on, both politically and socially, so “Scourge of Humanity” was fitting for my perspective on how people can be so cruel, polarized, and hateful sometimes. We’re all human and people say that a high tide raises all ships, but the entire point of existence is to work together and improve.

Was “Scourge of Humanity” the first song that you wrote together in general or the first song written for this album?

Henri: Yes to both of those. However, we weren’t necessarily thinking of recording and putting out an album at the time. That song was actually written when we were still billed as Pursuit of Cash. Over time, it’s been refined and made a lot heavier.

Wyatt: It’s been just over two years since I joined the band and we started working on new material right away. We brainstormed on some riffs and structures on our own, then would all meet up for rehearsal and kind of play it out. What’s really cool about this group is that one person will introduce a new idea, maybe there will be a counterpoint and we’ll jam it out through multiple iterations and find the perfect concept for it. You can see the evolution of Pursuit even across the album, there’s a shift in sound between the older and newer songs on the project.

Tell me a bit about Pursuit’s writing or creative process.

Henri: We do a lot of practice on our own at home. Dalton and I will be jamming by ourselves and we’ll come up with something that we think sounds really cool, then we’ll record it so that we don’t forget it. We’ll either bring it up at the next rehearsal and show the entire group or will send it to each other via email so we can check it out at home. All three of us come up with ideas all the time that we show to the band to add to and trim the fat away to try and make it as heavy as possible.

Wyatt: We record almost every single one of our practices and we have a shared online drive to trade files back and forth, which helps a lot when it comes to time outside of practice. Henri and Dalton both have degrees in music production and I use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to help expedite editing and other processes as well.

What is a DAW?
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a music production software that allows the band to record music/audio on a personal computer. It can be used for recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and more.

What are your musical inspirations outside of the metal genre?

Wyatt: I love listening to hard bop and modal jazz. The instrumentation of those players makes me want to practice and learn more anytime I hear Tony Williams or Art Blakey behind the drum kit. I like listening to blues music as well. It has its own sort of heavy tone. Specifically, Junior Kimbrough’s first album, “All Night Long,” is heavy and amazing in its own regard. We’ve talked about the space that he’s able to make around his instrument that’s incredible and fills every single cubic inch of volume when you’re listening. The same thing goes for Stevie Ray Vaughan’s studio recordings which sound just like live albums.

Henri: One of my bigger inspirations outside of metal is Pink Floyd for both obvious reasons, as well as some more nuanced reasons. I think that Pink Floyd, although simple in their instrumentation, was arguably one of the most impactful bands to ever exist and it’s specifically because of their utilization of emotion and song structure. They’ve got some really heavy riffs that are very simple. I think that’s something that we try to put into the songwriting, where it doesn’t have to be technical or brutal all the time. It just has to be emotional, impactful and make sense within the context of the song.

Band Photo 8 Credit Matt McGee
Photo by Matt McGee

Tell me a bit about your first live performance as a band.

Henri: Our first performance was at a festival called Safety Joe Fest in June of 2021. There’s a guy who was a friend of mine named Joe Genovese, a very nice and supportive guy, and a member of the Duluth/Twin Cities scene, who, unfortunately, died by suicide a few years ago. Years before, he was nicknamed “Safety Joe” because he showed up to a show in this crazy fluorescent safety vest, and the nickname stuck. Now, Safety Joe Fest happens every year at Waskos Campground for suicide awareness in his honor.

Wyatt: I remember coming off stage and the three of us were curious how we even stayed together since we couldn’t hear each other. I remember it being a little bit of a mess for our first show together. We had a mutual friend there who was saying, “You know, it wasn’t that bad. You just need some more time together on stage.” Comparing June of 2021 to our show in Omaha in January of 2022, it’s two completely different performances as far as being able to read each other’s body language and being able to jam with one another.

Is Pursuit signed to a label or completely independent?

Henri: That’s kind of a gray area. Our album is distributed by a Twin Cities record label called Town Tyrant Records, but the complication comes where it’s not really an active label, unfortunately. The gentleman that runs the label said that we were kind of the last release that they wanted to put out. So we are technically signed, but at the same time, we have done the vast majority of our own promotion and distribution

It’s nothing against the label at all, as it’s more of a circumstance rather than a characteristic of the people involved with it. They have helped us out a bit financially, which came in really handy when we were preparing for touring and stuff like that. I’d say we have been doing most of the distribution ourselves, but at the end of the day, it’s worth getting a lot better at that and learning the ropes. I think that it’s more effective and feasible to do things yourself.

Rather than comparing ourselves to other bands, I like to compare us to where we were as a band two or four months ago and how we’ve grown.”

-Wyatt “Kruos” Schirrick
Band Photo 7 Credit Matt McGee 1
Photo by Matt McGee

What are some of Pursuit’s goals as a band?

Wyatt: Personally, I’d like to see us have a wider reach. In these last two years, we’ve been able to grow so much through social media on our own. When we see people wearing our merch at a show that we’re not playing, it’s a great sign to see that it’s growing steadily. It may take a little while, but it is growing bit by bit. Every show seems to be getting a little bit better and a little bit more in merchandise sales. Rather than comparing ourselves to other bands, I like to compare us to where we were as a band two or four months ago and how we’ve grown.

Henri: I used to think that getting signed by a label was the main goal, but we’re focused on personal improvement and putting our best foot forward before reaching out to look for any “big opportunities.” We want to get out on the road a bit more, as well as study what the best shows and most interactive crowds were from recordings. We’re studying those performances and what made them such impactful experiences, then we try to improve upon that.

Where did the idea to record all of your shows come from?

Wyatt: My girlfriend bought me a camera that’s designed specifically for musicians for live concerts. I watch it like how a sports team watches its recaps. That’s why I’ll even call it “game tape watching” to see how we did during previous performances. It gives a whole new perspective and avenue for improvement. I’ll see things like “Oh, my left hand wasn’t quite where it needed to be” or “I’m not giving as much energy during this song.” I don’t think any other local bands do that. It gives us some really good content for social media as well. It acts as an archive and it’s cool to see the progression.

We record almost every single one of our practices and we havea shared online drive to trade files back and forth, which helps a lot when it comes to time outside of practice.”

-Wyatt “Kryos” Schirrick

What can people expect from Pursuit in 2023? Could it be another album, more shows, new merch or any singles?

Henri: A bit of all of that stuff, honestly.

Wyatt: We’re recording and releasing a demo as our next “official release,” before an EP down the road, that will show what we’re capable of as our next release. We want to release a little something to keep our own momentum going. We’ve created a distribution line for record stores around the country. We also have a Bandcamp website that’s owned by us and we use that platform to promote ourselves. So we’ll release it there. We’ll have limited physical releases, but it’s basically a teaser of what’s to come from Pursuit.

Henri: We wanted to put something out that would keep our name relevant, but also something that people could buy and support us through. While it is a demo, we’re still going to do proper tracking, mixing, and mastering so that people aren’t paying money for something that isn’t up to our standards to be released. We just want to show people that we’re working on new stuff and we also want to see how people respond to the new music as well. It’s a bit of a test to see if people are liking where we came from, along with where we’re headed, and then it’ll also help us raise some money for new merchandise and more.

Practice Makes Perfection
While the band has a hard rule of rehearsing at least once a week, they try to meet up more than that. Whether it’s working on structures, having a quiet writing session, or practicing for upcoming performances, the members of Pursuit are always striving for improvement.

Is there anything else that either of you wanted to mention to readers?

Wyatt: Every time we make a sale through Bandcamp, the platform takes a small percentage cut, because they have to keep the infrastructure on Bandcamp. The Bandcamp platform launched an initiative called “Bandcamp Friday.” Bandcamp Friday is on one Friday of every month in 2023, where every purchase that someone makes on our site goes directly to us. So if someone is reading this article and wants to support us or any other local artists, this is one of the best ways to do it because we get the most money from sales of merchandise that goes towards gas and repairs on our van for touring, promotion, artwork from local artists, and more of a cushion for the band.

While Pursuit may still be an up-and-coming act, look out for them to expand their reach in the extreme metal scene. Stay up to date on the latest news, including new music and performance announcements, by following Pursuit on the social media platforms below. Support Pursuit through Bandcamp, along with all major streaming services, including Spotify.

Upcoming Bandcamp Fridays:
May 5th
August 4th
September 1st
October 6th
November 3rd, and
December 1st.

Support Pursuit

Bandcamp: pursuitfargo.bandcamp.com

Facebook: | /PursuitFargo

Twitter: @PursuitFargo

Instagram: | @PursuitFargo

Written by Grant Ayers

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