Oct 30, 2008

BIG ELF INTERVIEW

Bigelf are bringing real rock music back to the masses in a way the masters did way back in the 70's.Big,theatrical and bombastic.The new album "Cheat The Gallows" has been getting some great reviews and they currently poised for a US tour.If you miss big grand rock albums like you used to come out in the 70's then Bigelf might just be the closest you are going to get to it in 2008.Damon from Bigelf did this interview with me.

1. First of all I must ask, how come the band takes so long between releases? I don't mean to be pushy but the waiting between Bigelf albums is always a long and painful experience.

Well, it's not for lack of material. I have the next 2 or 3 albums already written. It hasn't been an easy road for the Elf, we tried for two almost years to get "Hex" released on a decent label, but no dice. The time spent is more about finding people that want to do something substantial with Bigelf, not just put a record out...anybody can do that.

2. What's the reaction been to the new album? I have read a lot of positive reviews for the album.

 Reaction has been phenom. Most common adjective: Bombastic. I guess that relates to Queen, I'm fine with any comparisons to Freddie Mercury...good or bad. Okay. maybe not "Hot Space".

3. Do you think the current music world can still make room for your style of music?

I don't see why not. Today music needs more real rock & roll whether it's theatrical or stripped down, experimental or melodic. Our slice of the pie has diminished over the years, rock & roll needs to reclaim it's position in the music industry.

4. What is the main difference musically for Bigelf from "Closer To Doom" to now.

We call "Closer To Doom", Bigelf MKI. We had a different line-up back then and of course that alters the feel and vibe of the band. Oddly enough, the style and influences are still about the same, but it's how each individual approaches their instrument inside the song that changes the sound of the music. I think we have more of our own thing now on "Cheat The Gallows". I like "Doom" though, especially the title track, certainly a live favorite.

5. The Mellotron and the classic Hammond C3 organ is a big part of the Bigelf sound, how hard or expensive is it to buy and maintain such instruments?

I've been collecting vintage gear for years, long before they were astronomically expensive, no bandwagons here. Though I rarely have breakdowns, I have an arsenal standing by(3 M400's and handful of C3's). Maintenance isn't that big a deal, moving them is the real problem. I'm sure Froth and I will have severe back problems 20 years from now. Oh, the evils of rock & roll.

6. The song "Gravest Show On Earth" is one of the most classic openers for an album I have ever heard. It sounds like it could have been a hard song to record, is this right?

Thanks, it's definitely a band favorite. I wrote that song 13 years ago, I always new it was going to be a spectacular opening track for a dark Sgt. Pepper/circus type of album so I just put it away for safe keeping. Recording? It wasn't as straight forward as the rest, with a complex song like this there's a certain level of experimentation(winging it, if you will) you must go through because there's lots of augmentation to be done after the fact. It wasn't until we started recording "Gallows" that I was able to connect the theme of Gravest Show to the finale of Counting Sheep. All I can say is... a dream fulfilled.

 7. "The Evils Of Rock & Roll" is currently my favorite on the album, can you tell us the story behind the song?

The story is still telling itself. This is a wicked business we're in, who's knows what's going to happen next. I guess I was reflecting a little in this song about all the things we've gone through as a band and, as friends. It has been hard to say the least. My best friend who recently passed away would tell me when I was disenchanted about Bigelf or at my wits end, he always said... "If it wasn't hard, anybody could do it".

8. The music scene in the US sucks like we all know, do you think there is any hope for it to return to the classic days when music was about quality or do you think all hope is lost? To be like it once was....?

Unfortunately, I believe that's gone forever. There's so much technology in the world today, distractions...some good, some bad...it's just the way it is. For some people, music will always be their salvation, because they depend on it. For others, it's just background. In the past, music was on the front-line of escape, a release, a getaway to everyday life. That's how I was when I was a kid, music was everything. I guess the real answer to that question will be answered with the success of Bigelf?

9. I hear all the classic rock influences in your music like Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Beatles etc but on the new album I keep thinking ELO. Is it just me or is Jeff Lynne and Co any sort of influence?

It's really his band before ELO, The Move. I've always been obsessed with Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, they really are some of the most underrated musicians alive today, imho.

10. Any plans for a big US tour and if so can we have some details?

Just missed an opening slot for AC/DC, that would have been killer...but you know what they say, "It's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock and roll". I know that was corny, but I couldn't resist cause it's true. We're also trying to snag some dates in the U.S. with Yes as I write this.

11. You always look impressive in live photos with a spectacular theatrical presence, do you think people still want that from a rock band? It seems to be sadly lacking from 99% of bands these days.

People need it like oxygen. They need a show, a grand performance, entertainment for Christ's sakes.. I remember going to see AC/DC or Van Halen in the late 70's and it was something of high standard and skill. You couldn't just cop it with an re-issue Gibson SG and pre-distressed jeans from Melrose. Rock concerts these days are completely inferior in every single way!

12. What is the current live set of songs looking like and how do you choose what songs to play, they is so much great stuff. It must be hard to choose. Our songs are very diverse which can make set lists difficult. We pretty much stick to the rock songs for live shows, a few prog moments and a psychedelic passage here or there. Here a set list from The Roxy. The Evils Of Rock & Roll Pain Killers Superstar Neuropsychopathic Eye Gravest Show On Earth Blackball Rock & Roll Contract Disappear Hydra Money, It's Pure Evil Money Machine Burning Bridges

13. What is some of your favorite bands of the moment and how do they rate compared to the 70's bands?

 Nothing really compares to the 60's and 70's for me.

14. You have a original vocal sound, is that something you have worked on or has it happened naturally?

 Thanks. Growing up I always wanted to sing but couldn't, I wasn't naturally gifted and had to work at it until my 20's. Harmonizing came very easily to me, so I set my mind on The Beatles(big surprise) as a learning curve and went from there. As a teen, I remember trying to sing the harmonies to "Because", Paul McCartney is probably the single biggest vocal influence for me.

Thanks Earthdog
http://www.myspace.com/bigelf

Oct 27, 2008

IRON VOID INTERVIEW

Iron Void are a classic old school Doom Metal in the traditional of Sabbath,Vitus,Cathedral and Pentagram and they do it well.They should have a album out next year but in the meantime we have a pretty cool demo to doom out to.Steve and Sealey did this email interview.


1.Old School Doom never seems to die,what is it about the old school approach that appeals to you?
Sealey: I don't think it ever will. There will always be people who dig the old school bands. Those bands had a unique atmosphere and had the ability to write really heavy songs, but not at the expense of melody, which i think has been lost a bit in the majority of modern day metal bands.
Writing songs in the old school style just comes naturally to me, it's generally what i listen to when i'm at home.
Steve: There seems to be something pure about the older, original band's approach. Pagan Altar and Pentagram just sound more natural and powerful than newer styles. Maybe it's because they weren't trying to be their favourite bands as much. They had their own identity. But then again, Witchcraft have gone on to be a great new band and they are entirely 60's and 70's influenced,right down to the amps and equipment they use. I think it's just the overall vibe. It's also traditional.

2.Tell us about the bands background like how did the band get together?
Steve: I knew Sealey from the original Iron Void,then he joined So Mortal Be (myspace.com/somortalbe). After some lineup changes, Diz joined and it basically became 3 quarters of Iron Void plus me. So we thought wouldn't it be cool to give it a new lease of life?
Sealey: I've known Diz for many years, he played drums in the original lineup of Iron Void and we've been in a couple of other bands together aswell. I joined So Mortal Be late last year and we had a few lineup problems, then i asked Diz to join and it ended up being 3 ex-members of Iron Void (Russ, the drummer who originally replaced Diz was our guitarist/vocalist up until recently) and Steve, so i decided it would be a good idea to resurrect the name, especially since we were playing some of the old songs.

3.I have read that you will be recording soon,any updates on that?
Steve: Lack of funds has delayed things a bit and it's important we find the right studio. Things are settling down with Diz now, so hopefully no later than the new year.
Sealey: We are planning on recording a full length album in the new year, we have plenty of material, enough for 2 albums! It's just taking a while cos we are financing the recording ourselves at the moment, and Diz only joined us in July this year!
However, if anyone is interested, we have an 8 track live demo, which includes a cover of 'Born Too Late' by Saint Vitus available directly from ourselves, which we will also be selling at our gigs. If you want a copy, just email or send us a message and we'll send you our contact details. The CD is £3, to cover the cost of postage and packaging.

4.I have been receiving quite a few friend requests from Doom bands from the UK in the last month or two. Is the scene growing there or has it always been the same?
Sealey: I personally think the scene is growing gradually. When we first started out, there was a handful of bands in the UK playing this style, namely Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Orange Goblin, Mourn, Solstice, Warning and Blessed Realm and that was about it!
The internet has obviously helped things a great deal, but there's some fantastic new british doom bands like The Lamp Of Thoth, Centurian's Ghost, Witchsorrow and Misericorde, so all in all it's a very exciting time at the moment for the UK doom scene.
Steve: I think it's the same, in my opinion. There is more interest thanks to the internet and myspace, which I think has helped some of the all dayers such as The Doom Metal Inquisition gigs. But it's not as if you get the same following as mainstream metal, which has a lot more support from teens.

5. On your profile you list as influences tons of classic Doom bands,is there any one band that stands out?
Steve: Pentagram, Sabbath and Saint Vitus. I can't pick one.
Sealey: I think all the bands we've listed have influenced us in one way or another, but i totally agree with Steve, Sabbath, Vitus and Pentagram are the main sources of inspiration for Iron Void's music, without a doubt!
6.What is some of the other bands you have played with?
Steve: Sealey's list is probably huge. Loads of crap with mates in the late '90s, including the less than legendary Cyamese Onion - A prog, Goth, stoner / doom hybrid that failed to set the world on fire. The first serious band I was in was So Mortal Be, which started late 2002 as Horned God. I was in the metal band Donwnwords for a year or so during the SMB period, on bass. I also play bass in Drop Tank Racer, a stoner / heavy rock band influenced by Fu Manchu and Kyuss with my childhood friend, Rob.
Sealey: If you're talking about bands we've played gigs with, the original lineup played gigs with Blessed Realm and Khang, amongst others. Recently, we have played with our good friends, Pilgrim Father's (who are just about to do a European tour supporting Monster Magnet and Nebula!), Misericorde, Diz's other band,One Man Down (Hardcore Punk) and M.B.T.
On the other hand, if you're asking what bands i've previously played with, me and Diz were both members of Scion (Progressive Death/Thrash Metal) and Sermon Of Hypocrisy (Extreme Black/Death Metal). I was also in Tomb (Heavy Doom Metal, featured Jamie 'Boggy' Sykes from the legendary Burning Witch & Thorr's Hammer on wardrums!) and Black Maria (Sludge/Doom Metal similar to Eyehategod).
7.The band started back in 98 but you have had some line up changes over those years.How hard is it do you think to keep a stable line up?
Steve: I spent a couple of years trying to find good a drummer. But it has been more a problem of commitment and ability than people leaving. That's what killed off So Mortal Be, along with money and transport woes.  It is quite hard sometimes with people trying to fit work, family and college around gigs and rehearsing. Back in 2000 I was watching Iron Void with a beer in my hand and now I'm in the band. I never thought they'd resurface to be honest. But it shows that there are potential band members all over the place if you know where to look, so we haven't given in.
Sealey: The original band split in 2000. I've spent the last 8 years playing in various metal bands, playing different styles,but i think the hardest thing is finding like-minded people who share not only the same taste in music, but also the same level of enthusiasm as i do. Some people just want to play in a band for fun, and it's rare you'll find people who are actually serious about it, who want to take it as far as it can go and give it 100% commitment.

8.I am a huge Sabbath fan and have been for over 30 years,what album or era of Sabbath is the biggest influence on you?
Steve: The '70's Ozzy stuff for me. Anything from the '70's, although I have recently been listening to Dio and Heaven and Hell era stuff, and it's better than Ozzy-era purists would have you believe. It's all Iommi, and every record he's done has had fantastic riffs on it, even Born Again, which I don't like much. It's all Sabbath!
Sealey: Sabbath changed my life! They are my favourite band!
It's impossible for me to pick one album, but i'd say the first 6 albums with Ozzy are the biggest influence on us, but i agree with Steve, the Dio-era stuff is really good aswell!

9.Tell us about some of your songs and what are they about?
Steve: The darker side of life I'd say. Depression, alcohol, broken hopes / failed relationships. We're big Cathedral and Sabbath fans, so it's really classic themes reinterpreted from our own perspective. Some fantasy / medieval  stuff thrown in as well in places.
Sealey: 'Demon Drink' is quite self-explanatory, it's about alchohol abuse and all the pain and misery that entails. The verses and choruses are from the perspective of the drink talking (similar to 'The Lost Feeling', or 'Just Another Notch' by Vitus) and the middle section is the victim crying out for help.
Not 100% sure about 'Fire Nerve', cos Paul, our original vocalist, wrote the lyrics, but in my opinion it's about being pissed off with everyday life in this sick society we live in and not being able to break free from it all.
'Own Worst Enemy' is about some arrogant people i've known in the past who couldn't admit when they were wrong and too self-obsessed to care about anybody else. It's just a real pissed-off, old-school Heavy Metal song!

10.What is happening as far as future gigs,is there a lot planned and booked?
Steve: We're trying to book a few local gigs at the moment and hopefully do some supports for established bands. Beyond that, it would be nice to get on the Doom Metal circuit and maybe do some European shows. We get more worldwide attention on the 'net than we do at gigs here at home to be honest. I think The Lamp of Thoth would agree that they are more in demand in Germany than they are in Wakefield, too :)

11.Thanks for answering these questions,would like to add anything?
Steve: Doom metal is the best! The fans / supporters are very enthusiastic and helpful and every band I've spoken to has been friendly. Not many egos going around. I know it's cheesy but I always say, there isn't a Doom band I don't at least like in some way. Never found one I hated. I honestly can't say that about any other form of guitar music. Thanks for the interview. We appreciate all the support we get.
Sealey: Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview, we are more than grateful! If any labels, promoters, venues are interested in working with us, please do not hesitate to get in touch!
DOOM OR BE DOOMED!!!
http://www.myspace.com/ironvoiddoom 

Oct 26, 2008

Interview With Steve From The Wounded Kings

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The Wounded Kings have a album out called "The Embrace Of The Narrow House"and if you like heavy spiraling Doom then this might be for you.It has a sound of raw despair combined with a haunting feel to the tracks that leaves you wanting more.It is a essential listen,i did this interview with Steve from the Doom Duo.
1.I think the album must be one of the spookiest album's released in recent times,are you all big horror movie fans and do you have a interest in the occult?

I used to be fanatical about horror movies, collecting and watching absolutely every dodgy exploitation,cannibal, zombie and slasher film I could get my hands on! Not easy in the late 80's early 90's when the BBFC had just about banned or ripped the heart out of every horror film going! Thank fuck for video trading back then! - and a really dodgy geezer down our local market! I still have a soft spot for Anthropophagus, Absurd, Island of death etc.. but I suppose my tastes have become slightly more discerning these days, my real fav's, the ones I keep coming back to, time and time again are numerous Hammer films, Night of the Eagle, City of the Dead, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue, Straw Dogs, An American Werewolf in London and I never, ever get tired of Rosemary's Baby, for me that's the most unsettling and overtly Satanic film ever made!

There is a definite interest in the occult that runs through our music and lyrics - I'm into Esoteric Philosophy, Tarot, the Dark Feminine, Occult History and the fragility of the Human Condition - rather than being a ritualist or practising occultist !

2.Your influences range from classic doom to psyche to stoner doom but i also hear a lot of 70's occult prog stuff like Goblin in there.Are they a influence on you?

Not really - don't get me wrong, I think the soundtracks to Deep Red and Suspiria are fuckin awesome, but I've only ever listened to Goblin in the context of the films themselves and not as stand alone pieces of music. It's cool if you hear similarities though, but I'd say it's more by accident than design!

3.Hows the reaction to the album been,i know there has been some really good reviews.

It's been extremely positive considering we've come from total obscurity. I know a lot of people like to get to know their bands a little first, with a demo, 7" or split Ep etc.. but I've been working on this stuff, locked away in a basement for about 3 years and the way the songs and mood developed over time it just never occurred to me to do it any other way than with a full album.
Of course it could've completely fucked up for us, but luckily so far it hasn't. We've been really pleased with all the fantastic reviews and support the albums getting at the moment - people really seem to be into what we're doing. We really wanted to create a dark as fuck album with no respite from a sense of evil and dread and I think we've got pretty close!


4.I have always thought of the UK are being the birthplace of Metal,do you feel the same living there and how is the doom scene in the UK generally received?

I've never really thought about it, but I think your right, Maiden, Sabs, Zep, Motorhead the whole NWOBHM, Deep Purple, Budgie, Witchfinder General etc.. etc.. the list goes on and on..generally though, I don't really give a shit where it's from as long as it's good. As for the U.K Doom scene, I don't really know - there's some good bands coming along, Witchsorrow, The Lamp of Thoth, Pombagira and a few others, but for me living in Dartmoor pretty much cuts you off to any regular going down the pub doing gigs together type of thing!

5.How about gigs,are they easy to get over there or are venues for this sort of music growing thin?

To be honest I don't really know, from a personal view point we've actually had to turn a few shows down as we're not up and running yet as a gigging outfit. We ARE working on this though and hopefully next year we'll be ready to do some killer shows. Come back to me on this one in about a years time!


6.How long has The Wounded Kings been going and what bands did you play in before?

The bands been going since 2005, but the idea of The Wounded Kings has been around since 2003. I did a solo project before I meet George which was an experimental dark soundtrack to an imaginary film - other than that I played in a couple of death metal bands in the mid eighties but that's about it. It's taken about 20 fucking years to learn to play all the instruments properly!

7.Was the way you approached this album any different than other stuff you have done?

Definately, previous efforts have either been me trying unsuccesfully to convey to other members of a band whats goin' on my head and making a right balls up of it, or sitting around at home writing stuff within the confines of sampled drums etc..

This time round I've had the space to get the drums set up and basically have a full working studio in my basment whenever I needed it! Hooking up with George was the key though, being able to show him the riffs and then playing along with the drums really lifted the previous restrictions I was having. He's a great musician to work with, it just opened up the floodgates! Also a 9 month old son really teaches you the art of focusing the minimal free time that you have and making sure that you don't fuck around and you get something constructive done!



8.What kind of support are you getting from the label and magazines?

Support has been really good so far, Duncan is a sound guy with real integrity, he's had the balls to back a completely unknown band with no prior fanbase or reputation! The mags have really got behind us as well, I think they like the fact that we're a bit of an enigma!

9. Do you think it is possible to be too heavy?I had a debate with a friend of mine and he was saying some bands just sound like a distorted mess.

It's all about personal taste man! A distorted mess in my opinion is exactly that, a distorted mess. For me Johnny Cash's track 'Hurt' is as heavy as anything by Vitus', just in a different way, it's really all about the sentiment and where the band or artists are coming from at the time. Cash was dying when he wrote that song so you tell me whats fuckin heavier than that! I think it's impossible to be too heavy cos it's all completely subjective. What the fuck is heavy? Name 10 bands you think are really heavy and I gaurantee someone else will come up with 10 more that they think are heavier. In the end I don't think it really matters, it's all down to whether you like what your listening to or you don't!

10.What are bands you listen to outside of the band? I hear so many influences in your music that i am just curious.

There's the usual suspects Vitus, Sabs, Frost etc.etc. but otherwise I stick pretty much in the 1968 – 75 area with the likes of Steel Mill – Green Eyed God (awesome progressive Rock with a slight occult vibe), Museo Rosenbach – Zarathustra, Hairy Chapter – can't get through this, Night Sun – Mournin , Nosferatu – Nosferatu, Faithful Breath – Fading Beauty, Il biglietto per le inferno, Procession- Frontiera, The Mr Albert Show – Warm Motor, Aprhodites Child – 666, Beggars Opera – Waters of Change, Virus – Revelation, The human Beast - Vol1, Golem - Orian Awakes, Catapilla – both albums, I Teoremi and the list just goes on and on…



11.I personally hate the mainstream media in the US,is the media in the UK any better in your view?

To be honest I don't really read the mags very much (only the ones we're in - haha!) but generally the dealings I've had so far with journalists have all been pretty good.

12.What are some of the future plans for The Wounded Kings?

At the moment we're deep into the second album, 4 tracks done so far. I'd say it's got a slightly heavier vibe than the last one; it's got real weight to it, but otherwise no radical new direction bullshit. We thought about adding some other instruments but it's fuckin difficult finding a harp player out on the moor! We are also looking to team up with a couple of other guys after Christmas to start rehearsals to take Embrace of the Narrow House out on the road, so pretty busy really!

13.Any bands that you would love to tour with?

Morte Macabre for sure, now that is one spooky fuckin band and I'd love to persuade one of the guys to sit in on our set and replace all the keyboard parts with mellotron! That would be really something!

14. Ok thanks for the interview,anything else you would like to add?

We really appreciate everybody's support so far, carry on buying our album or if you've downloaded it and like it, fuckin buy it!


Cheers Earthdog!





   http://www.myspace.com/thewoundedkings2 

Oct 22, 2008

Interview with Ryan From Hyperion Blast

Their Myspace page reads "this is heavy as a brick wall caving in on you" and its pretty accurate.Hyperion Blast are what sludge metal is and should be.The new album is available through Poison Tree Records and from what i have heard its one of the albums of the year.Ryan from the band was kind enough to do this interview with me.




1.Lets start with the basics,how long has the band been together and how did the Hyperion Blast formed?
We started out in the fall of 2007. Todd and I had been in bands forever together and had an itch to get something new going after our old band came undone. he knew Kevin from work and Marc went to school with Todd's wife. we kinda just all got together and started jamming on some songs i had written. it was super laid back and we really kinda made sure to not have limits on ourselves as far as what it all sounded like.

2. Forecasters of the Armageddon was a great way to kick off the band's recording career.How do you think the band has progressed since then?
The new songs although still simple and heavy as bricks are a little bit more mature i guess. with forecasters we were trying to find out what we had in us and that's what came out. We love the tunes on that, but since writing it we have found our sound a bit more. When people hear the new songs verses the first ep i think they can pretty much pick out that they are written a while after the band had been together.

3.Sludge Metal i think is the best way to describe the band sound. Is this a term you are happy with?
Yeah, overall the "doom" genre is so huge and there is so much to do with it. But we keep a low end filthy sound and it sounds like mud spewing from equipment. Im always trying new ways to get my guitar to sound dirtier and muddier. I think sludge would suit us fine, we dub it pure buffalo filth.

4.The new album is on the Poison Tree label,how did that come about?
Matt actually contacted us about it and said he was interested in working with us.We had only made a few copies for our friends so to get a bit more distribution of course was a welcome offering, from chats with matt he seemed to dig it and be behind what we had going on.

5. Do they have enough promotion going on for your liking?
I think he's doing a great job, we hear a lot from people that ordered the ep digitally through poison tree that they dig the tunes and all that, so he is selling copies which is what its all about. I've never met matt but the dude seems real dedicated to the bands he works with and trying to get it heard by as many people as he can. Seems to be a very good dude.

6.The songs are fairly short compared to a lot of other bands in the genre which kind of makes me wanting more. Is this the way the band prefers to write?
I have a short attention span, when i am writing songs i have no idea what i am about to do. I just turn the amp on and start making noise, there usually is about 10 minutes of total shit that comes out then i will start stumbling onto some riff and be like "whoa thats fucking sweet" then i play around with that a bit a create an outline for a song. When the songs get to long they become boring and repetitive. Some bands can pull it off. I think we'd rather punch ya in the skull real fast and before ya know it yer getting kicked in the ribs and so on. Short and slow is the way to go.

7.You have done a good number of shows,what is like for the band getting gigs.I know some bands that seems to have a hard time?
It's hard, we now kinda book most of our own stuff at venues here that we got into and did well at. We are a little more selective on shows now too due to various reasons, as for getting out of buffalo it's super hard. We all have full time jobs and all sorts of other commitments that gotta come first, to some it probably sounds like we lack dedication but it couldn't be more opposite. We do as much as we possibly can to get out there.We are super dedicated but also super limited.

8.You have played with some killer bands,is it important to play with good quality bands. It must help with gaining popularity?
Yeah. fuck our first ever show was with lair of the minotaur, can't really beat that. We've played in front of a lot of crowds of mixed people, some loved it and we hear  and see them at other shows. There are always those who just don't seem to understand what the hell is going on. Its a bit much for someone unfamiliar to watch all the feedback and self abuse. We are a little more selective on shows now like i said, we've been in front of every crowd imaginable from pop punks to black metal fans. So we kinda got a bit of our own crowd now.

9.Tell us more about the new album,how long did it take to get together?
It took a damn long time, we had a few songs and ideas that just didn't make the cut. We actually are in the process of finishing the last song for the cd right now. Musically i guess overall it came together quickly once we had the basic outline done, the lyrics on the other hand took some time. It's a very personal cd.I think the tone of it all as far as mood is darker and a little more "uncomfortable". The lyrics are just as important as the music to us and that usually eats up a lot of time to get it to all work out together.

10.What is the Doom/Sludge Metal scene like in Buffalo?
difficult.There is not a ton that pops off the top of my head, bands people might hear that have a doomy vibe are the midnight ghost train who is fucking amazing. I highly suggest looking into them, corpus dei is another one. There are a few more rock n roll doom bands around also, but as far as the full on sludge there isn't much at all. Bands like low road revival and 137 are sweet as hell, down the road in rochester ya go orodruin and crucifist who are both amazing as well. We play with mostly death metal and hardcore bands and that rules.

11.I hear a slight Weedeater influence in your songs?Would you say this true or have i just smoked way too much of the good stuff?
Ha. ready for this bombshell, none of us smoke weed. Shhhhh, keep that to yourself, haha. We all have a tendancy to tip to bottles of this and that though but yeah the weedeater sound seems to be part of us. They are one of our main influences actually,them and celtic frost and of course sabbath.

12.The internet seems to be pretty important these days for promoting bands,how important is it for Hyperion Blast?
Well when we kicked off i did a ton of online promoting and it seems to have payed off, we get people from all over the globe coming to check us out. I was in bands before the days of the internet when you had to mail shit all over the place and so on, it was fun but time consuming. The internet is a great way to get people to not only hear your band but also to see a little about you. Find out whats up with those men behind the madness.

13. Do you ever wish you were on a major label(nothing wrong with Poison Tree)?
Our look on it is if you have a label and are interested in working with us and what we do then lets talk, know going in that this is what we sound like, this is what we do and who we are as musicians. We will never compromise any of it for a label or anyone else. That being said if someone wants to give us money and treat us real nice and not fuck with our sound then bring it on.

14.I find the Metal scene to be kind of frustrating at times with too many sub-genres and such. Is this something you feel as well?
It is and it isnt. I mean broken down to the main genres is sweet. Then there are of course off shoots of it all.But it gets confusing when people are like what do you sound like and you say "well a little like this band. we are slow and heavy and noisy" and they are like "oh, cool. so like slipknot?" ..."NO!!!" it basically gets confusing. Here is our new sub genre. "hyperion blast is four normal dudes who for 40 minutes of the night turn into drunken self-destructive psychopaths". that not really a genre yet but maybe it will catch on.

15.I seem to hear a new Sludge/Doom band almost on a daily basis. Do you think there is too many bands doing this music now?
Yeah i hear a some here and there.and it rules.It was tiring to see all the polished up shit coming out. Make it dirty and low end but to me doom has been my passion in music for life and i enjoy bands with people that really get into the whole doom tag and really get it. I fucking hate when some emo kids start a doom band up cuz its like the new hip thing that week.

16.What is future for Hyperion Blast and what would you like to see happen with the band?
We have a new ep coming out and are kinda talking with another label now about future releases, don't wanna give out a name yet and put them on the spot or start rumors and shit. We'd more or less like to just see people dig what we do even if they don't get it. Doom is simple to get but this for real is like a fucking diary and our souls are exposed each time we play. The best feeling in the world is playing a set, feeling it and knowing others are feeling it. Some of our best shows have been the worst sounding things ever. We get into this zone and whatever is on the mind that day comes out in feedback, banging and screams, in the future we plan to just take it as it comes. We have a blast doing what we are doing.

17.What would be the dream gig for Hyperion Blast,bands,venue etc?
Ahhhh, well the place would probably be the tudor lounge. We've played there a few times and chris (who books and is also in down the drain as well as the bartender) always takes care of us and makes it feel like home turf. For the bands. black sabbath, celtic frost, acid bath, weedeater and us. Can the tudor hold that??? hahaha.

18.Last one,give everyone a run down of how to obtain the album.
Forecasters of the Armageddon is available by going to www. poisontreerecords. com. it is there for digital download via itunes, napster and more. the new ep will be out on december 13th. we are putting that out limited to 100 copies. it will be digital from poison tree, available in europe though sound of charge and the before said label may do the actual cd in the states and north america. if you want a copy of the new eop you can visit us at www. myspace. com/endtimeblast and/or visit our online store at www. hyperionblast. bigcartel. com to pre-order it. all orders will come with a free cd-r of the Forecasters ep and stickers.

Thanks a ton for doing the interview man. Stay heavy.

Oct 21, 2008

Interview With Rich From Keef

1.How did the band come together and what other bands did you play in before Keef ? I posted an add for a doom metal side project. Tryg the bass player from Electric Magma (www. myspace. com/electricmagma) joined me. He also brought with him Magma’s backup drummer. I knew Greg (our singer) from previous jams, and Keef was born. I also played lead for Dipsomania for awhile as well (www. myspace. com/dipsomania13) before going with Keef full time. 2.You have a very old school approach to doom,is this a natural thing or something you had planned out when starting the band ? Defiantly natural. It is how we write, and how we play. 3.Tell us about influences,you have a 70's feel to most of the songs. Old Pentagram, Saint Vitus, old Sabbath. Also some newer bands as well, like Electric Wizard, Goatsnake, etc. 4.What is your local scene like,is it hard for doom acts to get gigs? I don’t think the Toronto scene is too bad at all. It has something for everyone, including Keef. In fact there is a whole site to promote the Toronto Doom/Fuzz scene (www. toohightogetitright. com). 5.What is your main subject matter in your songs ? I honestly have no idea. I think it is dark though. 6.Are you sending the demo around to try and get a record deal or do you plan on releasing a album yourselves,if so when do you think it will be available ? We are pretty lazy, maybe if someone did it for us, for free, we might consider. As far as releasing these songs, I think we will just make it available for free download somewhere. A blod will be posted as soon as that is done, hopefully within a month. 7.The songs are very easy to get into,very catchy grooves.Tell us about some of the songs.Have you got a favorite track? Thanks, I tend to just start riffing right away. I don’t have the patience to start songs off with long droning tones or feedback. I guess my favourite track would be Animal Control, it is a bit longer than the rest, and has lots of heavy riffs. 8.Any plans of touring the US ? We can afford that right now. A tour is needed though, maybe this summer if we are lucky. 9.You are fans of Black Sabbath,have you got a favorite album that you always go back to ? Usually Master of Reality. 10.What has been the reaction like to the demo,everyone that i have spoken to loves the stuff. Yeh man, people seem to dig it. Lots of random people have been messaging me wondering where they can get a copy. I am also pretty satisfied with how it turned out even though it was recorded rather quickly, 1st and 2nd takes only. Tim, the guitar player from Electric Magma, recorded it for us. He did a great job. 11.Where would you like the band to be in say 2 years time ? A full length done, more shows, more doom. 12.What is the best band in Canada at the moment in your opinion? Whoever Neil Young is playing with.

Oct 16, 2008

INTERVIEW WITH JAKE & SOPHIE FROM ALUNA

Aluna were kind enough to do this interview with me,make sure to check out their EP "Fall To Earth" out on Catacombs Records.

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1. First of all I have to say the "psych doom" tag seems to fit you but I also hear a lot of late 60's Psychedelic influences also. Are any of those bands and influence and if so which bands?
Jake: Well we've pretty much adopted the "psych blues doom" tag…I'm not really sure where it came from but I think it suits us pretty well. The "psych" thing mostly comes from Soph's contribution to the band.

Soph: Yeah I'm in love with the psychedelic style, whether it be the art of the poster artists or the music, and even though I wouldn't put us in the same category of say 13th Floor Elevators or The Grateful Dead (even though If I had my own way then who knows…), I'd like to think that some of my influences shine through. I would love to have been in San Francisco around 1967… or Paris around 1895, both exciting times and areas for psychedelia.

2.The one thing that sets you apart from other bands is female vocals, which makes a refreshing change in the world of Doom and Stoner Rock. What is the general reaction you get from people regarding this?

Jake: Well it's definitely been a talking point. Some people love it, some hate it but hey...we feel it works and more importantly we are all friends…this is what ALUNA is so take it or leave it is the attitude. Obviously we would prefer if you take it (laughs).

Soph: We've been criticized for not being true doom (whatever that is??) and it's a bit of a joke with the band to be honest, the people who matter to us are the ones who listen to our music with an open mind. A lot of the time, the doom heads prefer the music to the vocals and the classic rock / stoner heads like the vocals but would prefer a less heavy sound. We get a lot of, let's say, mature fans – generally people who have grown up with Sabbath and Zeppelin, which is pretty sweet.

3.Speaking of vocals, I love the lay back approach to singing that Sophie has. It gives the music a serene quality, was this something you set out to achieve or did it just happen naturally?

Jake: Naturally really. I don't think we have had a master plan other than we wanted to have "songs" and maybe try a stand out a little from the crowd for better or worse (laughs). We know we aren't re-inventing the wheel and but it would be nice to think we kinda have our own sound. I think all of us are improving with our own instruments and so on.

Soph: Thanks, i'm not a balls out, loud, in your face singer and even though my voice has developed I've never trained it so the voice you hear is just how I naturally sound. I think the contrast to the heavy, doomy nature of the music makes my voice appear even more laid back. The contrast has happened naturally, but we're happy with it.

4.You come from a famous part of the UK for Hard Rock/Metal, is this an inspiration for you?

Jake: Well I guess I kinda take it from granted about how cool it is to come from the same region as Sabbath, Priest, Napalm etc. If you stop and think about it then yeah it's a really positive thing to be able to say you come from that area. To be honest though I think the local scene is pretty shit now in terms of both local bands wanting to do something even 1% original and turnouts to gigs for anything other the emo or deathcore/hardcore/applecore or whatever the "in type" of music is at the moment. Having said that there are a couple of new venues recently opened up in Birmingham so maybe that will help get people out to see live bands.

Soph: Lots of people who live outside of the UK always point out that it must be really cool to come from The West Midlands and we never really think of it… it would have been cooler for us to have been around in the late sixties / seventies when we would have played amongst the legends. Robert Plant occasionally pops up at our guitarist's other band's gigs, Zeppelin are my favourite band so hopefully one day he'll come to an Aluna gig, Napalm Death practice in the same studios as us, we see Lee Dorrian of Cathedral around at gigs, Slade used to play my local town hall and I see Roy Wood from Wizard down the supermarket (laughs) so I suppose it is pretty cool!!



5. The "Fall to Earth EP" has been getting some great reviews, are you happy with the reaction so far?

Jake: Yeah mostly. You can't please everyone all the time and we've no desire to but it is nice to have the positive feedback. I think the album will be step forward again though - we can't wait to do that.

Soph: It's always nice for people to appreciate your work especially when so much time, effort and money has gone on it. The EP was a vast improvement on the demos and the next release will be a vast improvement on the EP.

6. I am a big fan of vinyl and I read somewhere that the EP is going to be re-released on Vinyl on Nasoni Records. Any more news on that?

Jake: We're due to record the extra bonus track "Halo" mid November for it so hopefully Nasoni will get it out early '09. No date set in stone yet though. I think it's planned to be a ltd 10" release so that sounds cool.

7.You played with some killer bands, is there any one band or gig that stands out above the rest?

Jake: Well the "big" bands that we've played with have never been anything other than 100% really friendly & encouraging towards us. To have guys from Trouble & Paradise Lost say they enjoyed your set is obviously a bit weird but they are conversations we'll remember for the rest of our lives.
The gig that stands out for me though was the one put on by Ninehertz (kinda like the UK version of Stonerrock.com) where we supported Toner Low in Sheffield. It was prob the best we'd played and gone down in terms of a stonerish/doomy kinda crowd and I think that gave us heaps of confidence in terms of moving forward and forgetting any negative crap after playing to two men and a dog propping up the bar in Birmingham.

Soph: Yeah Trouble, Paradise Lost and Orange Goblin were the best gigs for me in terms of how we played and how friendly and accommodating the bands were, I don't think I managed to say a lot to Trouble – far too star struck, I let Jake and Dave do the talking!! The Toner Low gig was amazing, I hadn't really heard of them before and they blew me away. One of the top gigs for me was in Bristol courtesy of Land of Nod Promotions, we played with our friends and label mates Grifter, we invaded each others sets and it was a really fun night!! We now have the attitude that it doesn't matter who you're playing with or where you're playing, play it like it's your last!!


8.Tell us a bit about inspiration for lyrics?

Soph: Mother Nature is at the forefront of my inspiration; she's the driving force of everything we do and how we feel on a day-to-day basis. All of the songs are pretty happy and positive, the only "dark" song I have written is called "Call of Avernus" which is about a poisonous lake in Italy whose fumes are so toxic, birds are believed to fall right out of the sky… I thought that was pretty amazing so it became our "dark" song (laughs).

9.What is the scene like in the UK for this style of music? Are shows easy to get and how often to you like to play live?

Jake: Mixed at best I'd say. There's like a circle of venues/promoters throughout the country that will put the decent shows on but I've been to some where I wonder how they get anywhere near to breaking even. Thankfully they care enough to keep putting the gigs on …otherwise we'd all be screwed. We play live as much as we can though. So far this year we've done about 30 gigs up and down England with some more in the pipeline. It's the only way to get ourselves out there and we love doing it.

Soph: Yeah we have promoters such as Land of Nod and Ninehertz who specialize in stoner / doom, and venues such as The Old Angel in Nottingham, The Civic Halls in Wolverhampton and The Barfly & The Academy in Birmingham where bands such as High on Fire, Clutch, Orange Goblin, Baroness, Brant Bjork, Hermano and Taint play. We hassle promoters on an hourly basis if there is a show we want to play and it generally works out for us.

10.Tell us about what you think is the best track on the EP and is there a track that the crowd at shows seems to enjoy more than others?

Jake: I think "Spend My Time" is the strongest on the EP, we tend to close with that live…but I have a soft spot for "Show Me How" as well - it's really simple but really catchy. Saying that, the new stuff we've come up with recently is a big progression in terms of writing…we really want this stuff to be heard now.

Soph: My favourite is "Spend My Time", live I prefer "Circle of Stone" or our new one "Call of Avernus", the one which seems to get the crowd going is "Living Fast in An Ancient Land".

11.Tell us what are your favorite bands and what does the band listen to while at home relaxing if you get much time to do that. You seem to be pretty busy.

Jake: Well I'm lucky - I work from home so get to play music all day. I like a lot of different styles really. Stoner/doomy stuff I guess is my first love but it can be anything from Slayer, Entombed to industrial, Electro..whatever (Guess that means I loose my Doom credibility now?). At the moment though I can't stop listening to The Dawn…a British Rock band from the late 90's. They only recorded two six track mini albums before splitting but are well worth checking out if you get chance…very classic bluesy sounding with dreamy vocals.

Soph: I listen to all my music in my car on the way to and back from work. At the moment I'm listening to a real mix such as Jeff Beck, Janis Joplin, Goatsnake, Life of Agony, Acid King, May Blitz, Captain Beyond and Jethro Tull.

12.What is planned for "Aluna" in the upcoming next 12 months?

Jake: Well from the 1st of January we'll be known as "ALUNAH" due to minor irritation this side of the pond which we've had to take care of!!! We've got the "Fall To Earth" vinyl coming out, a split 7" with Queen Elephantine on Catacomb Records then we want to record the album and do a stupid amount of gigs…that's the plan at least.

Soph: Pretty much what Jake said.

13.I would love to see you come to the USA.Is there any chance of that happening anytime soon?

Jake: We'd love to but there aren't any plans due to money/time/work. If a tour came up and we could somehow find a way we'd jump at the chance. We're open to offers !!!


Soph: I would LOVE to come to America, I've never been I know Jake and Dave have, and for my first time to be with the band would be amazing.


14.Finally is playing at the Roadburn Festival something you would be interested in.

Jake: Yeah just to see the other bands would be awesome, I was watching the Solace Dvd from there the other day funnily enough. If we were offered it we wouldn't think twice.

Soph: Yep, it would be ace. I would be happy with just visiting as I've never been. Playing would be awesome!!

15.Thanks for spending the time answering these questions,would you like to add anything?

Jake: Only a massive thanks to you for your help & time. Very grateful to people like yourself for caring.

Soph: Yeah cheers for the interest and your time. Check out www.alunaband.co.ukwww.catacomb-records.co.uk or www.myspace.com/catacombrecords
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