Friday, 31 August 2012

20 Questions w/ Fight Amp!


 
Fight Amp 2012

 

 
Hey guys.  Aaron here again with another edition of the world famous 20 questions interviews.  This week we bring you the excellent New Jersey noise rock crew, Fight Amp.
 
I reviewed their amazing split 7" with Burning Love a few weeks ago here and with the impending release of their 3rd full length album, Birth Control, I thought it would be cool to get the band to talk to us.  Too my surprise, Mike McGinnis was kind enough to hook us up and answer some questions.  Its a great interview and I can't thank Mike enough for taking the time to talk to us.  Enjoy
 
 
 
 
 
Q). Hey Mike, how are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.
 
 
A: Hey, thanks for the review and interview. We're always stoked to work with blogs like yours.
 
 
Q). Where are you at the moment and what are you doing, in terms of the band?  You got a new record coming out, presumably you’re preparing for a big tour, right?
 
 
A: Basically we're in waiting mode, just counting down until Birth Control comes out. We have an eastern half of the US tour planned for the fall in which we'll hit The Fest 11 in Gainesville and a couple other fests we're playing along the route that have yet to be announced. We're casually writing some new material while we're hanging at home and practicing a couple different sets for when we hit the road.
 
 
Q). I recently reviewed you split 7” with Burning Love, which is an amazing disc and package, however for those people who are unfamiliar with your music.   Could you tell me little bit about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from, when Fight Amp first formed? Current band members?
 
 
A: Thanks for the kind words. We were real happy to be able to work with Hell Comes Home as that's an amazing and ambitious project that Joel put together. It was an added bonus when we found out we were able to do our split with our friends Burning Love. As far as a brief Fight Amp history...we're all originally from West Deptford, NJ, a suburb of Philadelphia. We started in the fall of 2003 and played our first show in January of 2004. Jon and I have been steady members since we started and our current (and hopefully lasting) line-up consists of myself (Mike McGinnis) on guitar and vocals, Jon Dehart on bass and vocals, and our new drummer Dan Smith behind the kit. Dan started playing with us on a national tour we did with Weedeater, Saviours and Bison BC last September/October and has stayed with us since then. We've been touring every year since we started, sometimes as a part of packages and other times by ourselves. Aside from the Weedeater tour we've done packages with Trap Them, Kylesa, Zoroaster, Rosetta, A Life Once Lost, Coliseum, Burning Love and a bunch more. All in all we've been able to do stuff with bands we've been fans of for years so we consider ourselves lucky to be in the position we're in.
 
 
Q). Is Fight Amp a full time project, or do have other bands?
 
 
A: Fight Amp is definitely full time. Dan, our drummer, is in another band called Prophet Said I as well.
 
 
Q). Probably a stupid question, but are you or would you like to be full time musicians? Presumably you work jobs too, right?
 
 
A: If given the opportunity we'd quit our day jobs and tour with Fight Amp for the majority of the time, but that's much easier said than done. We all have day jobs (most of the time) but we generally keep the type of jobs that allow us to tour when the opportunity arises.
 
 
Q). Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?
 
 
A: Yeah, those genres are important to us for sure. I'm spinning Talking Heads – Remain In Light while I'm answering these questions and just took Steel Pole Bathtub – Tulip off of the turntable. As far as new bands, I think the record industry may not be what it used to be, but it seems like there are a ton of great current metal bands and rock and roll influenced bands playing right now. I think it's a testament to metal/punk/rock itself that when the industry is in this massive transitional phase that bands like Torche, Red Fang, Kylesa, Weedeater, Baroness and others like them are able to forge past the roadblocks, bring their music to large audiences while still maintaining integrity and creative control.
 
 
Q). When you started Fight Amp or Fight Amputation as you were previously known, what were your hopes for the band?
 
 
A: I can't speak for the other guys in the band, but we've honestly exceeded the goals I had in 2003/2004. Granted, those goals weren't too lofty. I think when we first started playing the goal was to shed the types of band members that had stopped us from touring and putting out records, and we finally were able to put together a group of people that wanted to do those things. Tour and put out a record or two. We had already gotten a tour and a record under our belts by late 2004 (we did a Black Flag style super messy summer tour with our friends Gunna Vahm that summer and Reptilian Records released a split 7” between the two bands by that winter) so since then it's really just been setting our sights on the next goal and trying to get there. We had no 5 year plan at that point; I was 19 years old and was happy to be in a van with my friends headed out of state. I'm 27 now and still happy to be doing those things, but we're now always in a better position than the year before, so we keep trying to push forward and cover new ground.
 
 
Q). If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound? Has it evolved?
 
 
A: I guess it depends who I'm talking to. I generally just keep it simple and tell people punk or metal if they're not too into music beyond the radio or what's popular. Otherwise, I usually say punk/metal influenced noise-rock. We honestly have a pretty hefty hardcore influence too, and that used to show a lot more in our early stuff. That's the evolution that happened, and it was totally inadvertent. We still show hints   of it though, and I think our sound just got more well-rounded. It's almost like once a band blends punk, metal, hardcore and rock and it becomes more seamless is when they get dubbed “noise-rock” or half-jokingly “grunge”. Most of that stuff is generally influenced by a little bit of each of those genres and beyond and those terms almost seem like a place to put bands that don't adhere to one or two genres exclusively. Our buddy Christian from the band Whores has semi-seriously dubbed what his band, Fight Amp and a bunch of others do as “second wave” noise rock. I'm down to push that moniker if he is, it always seems like people can dig something more if they can identify with the label its given.
 
 
Q). Why the name, Fight Amp / Amputation?  Where did the name come from?
 
 
A: It came from two places really. There's a line that loosely references it in Velvet Underground's “Rock and Roll”, and there's also a His Hero Is Gone song called “Voluntary Amputation” on Fifteen Counts of Arson. Both of those bands are heavy influences on us and I guess we just picked up on the term amputation from both of those records.
 
 
Burning Love / Fight Amp Split 7" cover art
 
Q). What is the scene like in your hometown of New Jersey?
 
 
A: Two out of three of us live in Philadelphia right now, and the part of NJ we're from and one of us is currently living is right in the shadow of Philly. We've always fed off of the scene in Philadelphia and shows here are our hometown shows just like when we play in NJ. We've also always tried to support things that happen independently of the city in NJ and have thrown shows there in the past, lived in houses where we've been able to have basement shows often, and tried to generally give it a name of it's own. Honestly though, it's tough without a central city and Philadelphia right in the background. As far as the scene right now in Philly and it's surrounding areas, I'd say it's doing fairly well and there are still good show spots in rotation in most parts of the city. A few new spots have opened recently and new people have been taking the reins of booking here and there. There are also a bunch of good bands playing locally right now like Ladder Devils, Bardus, Bubonic Bear, Cassilis, A Life Once Lost, Sadgiqacea, Far Out Fangtooth, Pissed Jeans, Gholas, Psychic Teens and a bunch more.
 
 
Q). What made you start the band?  Did you all know each other before you formed?
 
 
A: Like I said before, basically just the urge to tour and put out records. The first line-up of Fight Amp, which included Jon and I and our first drummer Scott, second guitar player Mitchell and singer Sean was basically a coming together of our previous two bands, Funeral Bird and David Is Burning. Neither of those bands were ever able to put out a real record or do a real tour because of personal bullshit, so we just wanted to move past that point. Jon was the only member that wasn't in either of those bands, but he and I actually grew up in the same neighborhood and knew each since as far back as I can remember.
 
 
Q). Do you view yourselves as an underground band, if so, Is it a struggle in your hometown and is their camaraderie within the scene?
 
 
A: I never really thought about how underground we are honestly. I always view us as having a cult following. We don't have a ton of fans, but the ones that are into us seem to dig us a lot and always support us. Honestly our following is more of a nation-wide thing since we've always toured and just slowly built it up on the road rather than concentrating on our home-town. It's not a struggle here by any means though, we generally play some awesome shows here when we do and can headline smaller venues if the line-up calls for it. Camaraderie is an interesting thing here...there is definitely some that exists, but a lot of it is splintered between different groups. It's always changing and hard to describe really, but it always seemed to me like the scene here used to have really diverse crowds and shows, and lately the genres have sort of separated from each other a bit and metal shows are metal shows, hardcore shows are hardcore shows, etc. That's not to say there isn't camaraderie though, just a bit more separation.
 
 
Q). Listening to your music, I felt there is an influence of 90’s noise rock, such as the AmRep bands, such as Helmet and also bands such as Scratch Acid for example. What would you say are your direct influences musically and artistically? Did those influences contribute directly or indirectly to the type of music you write?
 
 
A: Helmet and Scratch Acid specifically are pretty big influences on us. Direct influences are hard to say sometimes, because we don't ever try to sound like one genre or one group of bands. All three of us and all of our past members have had pretty large and diverse tastes in music, so it all bleeds through sometimes. You may not hear it, but a lot of it happens within the writing of the song-structure rather than specific riffs or parts. For example, we're huge Pixies fans, huge Sonic Youth fans, and while our music doesn't sound like those bands, we've learned a lot of song-structures and writing techniques from the records those bands have done and a lot of that lies deep in our music. As far as what we wear more visibly on our sleeve, a lot of people say (and I agree on most of these) that we can be similar to Melvins, Karp, Nirvana, Unsane, Cherubs, Helmet, Black Flag and a bunch more.
 
 
Q). What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines?  Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?  Is the mainstream something you aspire too?
 
 
A: I love when blogs review and interviews us and cover us at all. There's a way more personal touch than something mainstream, obviously. We have been in a bunch of mainstream magazines though, and that's always cool too. I don't know if we aspire to the mainstream or anything like that, but we'll always take what we can get within reason. Whatever makes what we do easier for us and for people to hear us is fine by me, as long as we maintain our integrity and creative control.
 
 
Q). Your split 7” with Burning Love is amazing, as is the Hell Comes Home mail order package, some amazing bands on there.  How did that come about and what are your thoughts about it looking back?  Is the song on there, representative of the direction of your current record, Birth Control?
 
 
A: Joel approached us with this incredibly ambitious subscription club. He put together such an awesome group of bands so we were immediately into doing it. It's a lot like the Sub Pop subscription club they did way back, and it's honestly an awesome idea that will introduce a ton of people to a bunch of bands they wouldn't otherwise hear. We're happy to be a part of it. The song we contributed actually is appearing on Birth Control, but it's an alternate version with a different drummer, a little slower and sludgier and recorded to tape rather than digitally like the Hell Comes Home version. We intentionally made it slightly different so it wasn't the same exact thing that appears on the 7”.
 
 
Q). Birth Control will be your 4th full length release to date, how does this record compare to your previous records and is it your best work to date?  What can we expect from Birth Control?
 
 
A: It's actually our third full length, although we've had so many splits and short releases at this point that they exceed another full length. Birth Control, I think, is the best of both worlds when compared to our records Hungry for Nothing and Manners and Praise. I think we sort of combined elements from both of those records while moving forward and making a record that was more album-oriented with peaks and valleys. I think it's our best work to date without question, but of course I probably said the same thing when asked that question after the other full lengths as well. If you're not saying that on the heels of completing your most recent record, then something isn't quite right. I can say this time though, when I think about each individual element of the album, that it's the best we've done. I think it's our best vocal effort, our best production, our best tones for each individual instrument, our best song writing, and our best album structure. Again though, that's all relative to the listener, so we'll see how people feel about it.
 
 
Q). Some of your previous records were produced by Philip Cope of Kylesa fame and Kylesa were actually selling your CDs when I saw them in Sheffield, England in 2010/11.  Seems like he and Kylesa are prominent figures in support of your band, is Philip doing this one (Birth Control) and what was he like to work with?  He’s an amazing talent.
 
 
A: That's awesome he was selling Fight Amp CDs. I can't say enough good things about Philip Cope to be honest. I've liked and respected him and his bands since Damad, and I continue to be a Kylesa fan. He and the other members of Kylesa have always supported us and it's been awesome being friends with those guys, they're real good people. Philip did not produce Birth Control. We decided to stay local this time and go to a studio in our backyard and mostly self-produce. I can't say the album wouldn't have come out just as awesome with him at the helm though, I'm sure it would have. Working with him on our previous two full lengths were great experiences, and Philip has knowledge about heavy music, recording and producing that should be shared with other heavy bands and helped make us who we are today as a band. We hope to work and tour with him again in the future.
 
 
Q). Does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?
 
 
A: Hah. Sometimes, yes. I'm most surprised when people tell me “Fight Amp is my favorite band.” That's sort of heavy and I'm not sure I even understand the implications of that statement...hah.
 
 
 
 Q). 3 albums and 5 splits since the bands inception, what are some of your highlights so far? What are your aspirations for the future?
 
 
A: Most of the highlights come from tours and recording albums. Recording the three full lengths has each been an awesome experience of it's own, from living in The Jam Room crammed in there with Phil Cope, no shower, and nothing but Sam Adams Winter Lager to drink (it was summer) for a couple weeks on end, to getting too drunk for Steve Poponi's comfort in Gradwell Studios. Our early tours were by the skin of our teeth type situations, usually rolling into towns on fumes and hoping to make enough to get to the next city, eating dollar store bread and cans of tuna, so we had a hell of a lot of crazy experiences on those trips. We even cleaned the Emos bathrooms and floors one day for extra money on an early tour. Lately it's the people we meet and the people we tour with more than anything. Spending 7 weeks with Dixie Dave filled my mental notebook with stories. As far as the future, we just want to hit the road for Birth Control and help spread it around as much as possible. We hope to spend some more time with more awesome bands, and hopefully get to Europe in the next year or so.
 
 
Q). You’re signed to the awesome Translation Loss label, were you fans of the label before you were signed and how did that come about?
 
 
A: Yes, at the time (2007) Translation Loss wasn't as big as they are now, and I knew Drew long before he started the label from playing with his band, Balboa. They had shown interest in us early-on, and I knew Drew as a friend and his label from being local and some of the records that had started to release, so things just worked out. We actually agreed to sign with them during the recording of Hungry For Nothing, as the indie label that was planning on putting that record out dropped out of the project the day before we left for the studio, and TL came to the rescue and did an awesome job promoting Hungry.
 
 
Q). Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite’s places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?
 
 
A: Well, more stories than I can write down or even remember to be honest. Just for the hell of it, I'll tell you that one time in Montreal, I had a bit too much to drink while in the red light district, quit Fight Amp and fired the other band members at the same time, wandered into the city (I had never been there before in my life), got lost, and slept in an alley for about an hour. We got completely separated, and one of the last things I remember is being freezing cold and finding a hotel. The guy there let me rent a room (I had just enough space left on a credit card that I was saving for bills) and I woke up in a hot-tub the next morning with french TV blaring at me. That was my low moment, figured I'd throw it out there for you. Hah. As far as favorite places, anywhere in Canada is always killer, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco/Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Austin....a bunch more have shown us awesome times, but I'd fill this page up if I kept going. Also, I can't say there's a single band we've toured with that we didn't enjoy sharing the road with.
 
 
Q). Did you have an agenda or a game plan in terms of what you wanted to write for Birth Control? Does everyone contribute song ideas?
 
A: This was actually the most we ever planned out the writing of a record. In the past, we've always had a lot of songs and then organized them into a record after the fact (with a few exceptions, especially on Manners and Praise). This time we actually lined up eight ideas as far as theme and lyrics went, and then filled in the blanks from there as we wrote and inserted music into the spaces we created. We also were way more aware of what was missing on the album as we went. As we approached the end of writing it, for example, we realized most of the songs were mid-paced or fast, and we wanted to have peaks and valleys, so we were wrote a couple of slow songs at the end of the process to help round it out. This process was a change for us but it actually really worked for us and I'm sure we'll use it again. We're the type of band where every member contributes to the writing process. Sometimes someone will take the lead and pour out ideas, but it's really whoever has the ideas at the time that brings stuff to the table, then we all shape the song together. I will say that Jon and I have always been the two primary songwriters, but every drummer we've played with has had crucial input on our songs, and every past member has had creative input here and there while playing with us.
 
 
Q). How do you feel about the digital era of music and people downloading music for free? Would you or have you ever considered releasing your music for free or ‘pay what you like’ to raise the profile of the band?
 
 
A: Personally I think the digital era is inevitable and whether we like it or not it's here to stay. I'd love for more people to be into physical copies, but that's just not the case. I like being able to download music, and I know others do too. It's a double-edged sword, and I think it helps more bands than it hurts, but knowing for sure the positive or negative impacts is impossible. No alternate reality exists where the digital age never happened, so there is no way to judge it for sure, even by looking at rock and roll history. I support music blogs and anything independent, therefore I support the digital era of music, at least to a certain extent. We actually do have a lot of our albums available for name-your-own-price or really cheap on our Bandcamp site. It's just not possible to do that with everything though, as there are labels involved, etc.
 
 
Q). What are your plans for the rest of the year and any chance you're coming over to the UK?
 
 
A: Basically just do the Birth Control record release tour and prepare for as much touring as possible next year. We'll also be working on new material in our off-time. No solid plans to get over to the UK, but we'd love to if the opportunity existed.
 
 
Q). Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, do you have anything you like to say to your fans?
 
 
A: Thank you! I can't say this enough, every time someone asks me this question; thank you to everyone out there that has supported us, come to our shows, bought our records, cooked us dinner, let us sleep on your couch, toured with us, etc etc. Without you guys we'd be nothing but three dudes jamming in our basements.
 
Again I have to say a massive thank you to Mike McGinnis for hooking us up with this amazing interview.  Top man!  Do yourselves a favour and check out this amazing band.  You can preorder their new album here.  Also check out the link below for more info about the band and the amazing Translation Loss Label
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Interview with BEARFIGHT!


Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Matt and Jeff from possibly my fave Sludge/Stoner Metal Band around at the moment. BEARFIGHT!

I reviewed their brilliant debut album - GNARMAGEDDON just recently.

Well the guys have kindly agreed to an interview with me.

Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...

Matt - We all grew up playing in all kinds of bands around Savannah, Ga. Most of us grew up playing mostly in punk/hardcore influenced bands but have all played a super wide variety of stuff. We all knew of each other, some of our bands had played together in the past. Colin and I were working at a local music store and after a long list of bands that fell apart due to whatever bullshit reasons bands fall apart…

I had been playing drums in all kinds of working/wedding/event kind of bands and was just trying to keep busy playing, but was not satisfied just playing covers in bars and events that I would otherwise, in any normal situation, never be at. I was missing the shows of bands that I actually liked, and wishing I could be a part of the music scene that I actually enjoyed and grew up in, but 5 nights a week I was playing "Moondance" or "Take A Walk On The Wildside" with some great musicians and learning a lot…trying to learn to play styles I'd never played, learning how to groove with musicians of all backgrounds…but just being miserable while doing it. Just wanting to write real songs that I felt passionate about. 

So Colin would always hear me bitching at work the next day. Up until that point all of my experience musically had been behind a drumset, with the exception of one really shitty punk band that never played anywhere other than my parent's garage where I played guitar. I always told him how much I loved playing in that band, and I always played guitar still, but just by myself and never had the nerve to show anyone the songs I wrote or ideas I had. Finally he encouraged me to show him some of the tunes…probably mostly to just not have to hear me bitching about playing "play that funky music whiteboy" 65 times a week…so I showed him the material and we went into the studio that we both did some session work for here in Savannah and recorded rough versions of 5 songs where I played the drums and 2 or 3 guitar parts, he played bass, and I did the vocals…(very badly and nervously). 

I was proud of the material but still really nervous to show it to anyone else, until one night I was out bouncing around checking out different bands because in Savannah you can go out any night…bounce from bar to bar, get a beer, put it in a plastic cup, and walk right back out in the street to the bar next door and hear another great local band…particularly blues bands. We have a few really great local blues musicians that could easily be playing on way bigger stages and blowing some of the bigger names away. Anyway, I ran into Jeff at one of these bars. 

He and I had known each other since highschool…our old bands played together a lot during that time, our bands would have 500 kids packed into the YMCA because it was the only place that allowed all ages shows, and I knew him to be a really cool dude and kickass guitar player. So we were talking and I had a few beers in me so I had the confidence to tell him to take a walk to the car with me and played him the material. He seemed really surprised that it didn't suck because I'm sure I prefaced it with something like "hey dude I wrote a bunch of songs where I'm singing and playing guitar…it's awful…you wanna hear it?" But he said he'd like to play it…still seeming skeptical about me playing the guitar instead of the drums…but he was in. So we jammed with our buddy Jacob on drums and it was starting to sound pretty good and we were all stoked. We were out drinking a few weeks later with our buddy Christian, who had also grown up playing in bands around here and knew our old bands, and he was in a band that had become pretty popular in a city about an hour from here, Brunswick, Georgia. 

Jeff had shown him the recordings and we were just talking about them, he told me he really liked the direction it was going, and while talking I mentioned that I had always wanted to have 3 guitar players…one because of my lack of confidence in my own playing and wanting to compensate for that, and two because everyone layers the hell out of guitar parts in the studio, and live can't reproduce it. A perfect example of that is in a Doomriders (who are amazing) song called "Lions" it has the breakdown part that is super heavy and it plays just the chords for a minute…and its one of those parts that just makes you make a mean face and get really pumped no matter where you hear it…then the harmonized guitar lead comes in and the chords drop out….and it's still amazing, but I always found myself going…man I wish that chord part had kept going behind that! It seems like with only two guitars you have to sacrifice parts sometimes to have the next cool part come in. I always thought it'd be awesome (and a giant pain in the ass to organize) to have three guitar players to really fill out the sound. So he was into the idea, we all got together the next day, with gnarly hangovers, and showed him the songs, it sounded awesome, cluttered, but awesome. 

It sounded like too much at times, but at some parts it sounded so great that we realized if we took the time to really structure the guitar parts we would be able to do a lot of cool guitar stuff. So we just kept playing and writing, they came into the studio and added some of the new parts they had written and we were thinking we would actually release the cd when it was done. We ran into a speedbump with our drummer though because he is a chef at a really fancy, well respected restaurant around here and his life is in the kitchen. His schedule didn't allow him the time to take it as seriously as well all wanted to. He was a good drummer, definitely capable musically, but he just didn't have the time. So we just kept recording and writing, until a new guy got hired on at the factory that I work at. My boss kept telling me that this dude he was hiring was a badass drummer and that he just knew that I was gonna want him in the band. I kind of laughed it off, thinking we'll see how good he really is. 

So we met, right off the bat I could see he was a really cool dude, and when it came to drumming…super confident…maybe even a little cocky…haha…but when he played I totally got it. My boss had actually undersold the dude…he blew me away. This is a generalization, but most heavy musicians I know only play heavy…especially drummers. You can have the fastest blast beat playing, fastest double bass skills in the world, and put him in a quiet jazz club and tell him to play "Satin Doll" or some standard and just watch him choke. A big thing for me and all the other dudes in the band is being well versed in all forms of music and being open minded…you know…not saying "that band sucks" just because the style doesn't appeal to us…but rather "i can't stand the music…but damn that bass player had a solid groove"…or "man that singer was great". Colin said one time "There's only two kinds of music….good shit and bad shit" and I really agree. So I was super surprised when this dude sat down and stirred up a thunderstorm of mercilessly heavy drumming…then played a bossa nova groove, followed by a straight up funk beat. He didn't have a car at the time…so I gave him a ride home and showed him the cd on the way. He said "that's badass" and that he was in. 

So I told all the other guys about him. We got together, and after the first song we all instantly went from pretty stoked to hang out and play music together, to completely fixated on taking this band as far as we can. The next step was scrapping the album on which I personally had already spent 2000 dollars and a few months recording as more of a solo project in collaboration with friends, in favor of recording the whole thing again plus a few more songs with our buddy from another awesome local band, Slave Grave in his house in exchange for beer and some gear trading. We recorded it on small computer speakers…in 4 days, then I did the vocals at home in my closet…edited them and got it mastered by Anthony Stubelek at Rockstudio in Brunswick, Ga. He engineered and produced all the Circle Takes The Square records and a lot of other Georgia bands too. We got it pressed…had a release party…had a blast…and now we're talking to you.


Q2 – Which bands influence you on your music.

Matt - We all grew up in the heavy music scene, but have played and listen to all kinds of music, and no doubt all of our individual influences is what defines the sound of the band, but the most prevalent common influence between us however, is a huge love of classic rock…Sabbath, Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Skynyrd. Heavy, loud guitars, fearless exploration of self expression - they just wrote what they wrote, whether it was a ballad or a wall of sound heavy song, if you didn't like it, too bad. 

The other side of that is the modern heaviness of all the awesome bands we got to see growing up around here…High On Fire, Damad, Mastodon, Kylesa, Baroness, Black Tusk (and all the bands all of the guys in all these bands were in before landing in those bands)…getting to see all those bands so early on in their career and so early on in our love affair with music is probably the most dominant influence on the band, I know for me it is for sure…from the sound, to the intensity, the approach and the ethics we learned in that scene…all of that is hugely important to us.

Q3 – How has your music been received by fans and critics. Has it all been positive.

Matt - I mean…all we have to go on is what we see at shows and what people say. One great thing about the Savannah music scene is that there is really only one place to play for a band like us…and it is (in my opinion) one of the best venues in the southeast, The Jinx. All the bands we love played there, and it has kind of been the gate keeper for bands around here. If you go play there, and keep the crowd, and get to come back, that's a compliment to your band. Growing up the way we did, your favorite band is also at your show the next night if they are not on tour, and that can be nerve racking, and if you run them out of the place…it's pretty good indicator that you are not going to be invited back. 

 I love that about playing around here because it weeds out a lot of bullshit bands, and keeps the intensity up. When the feedback of the amplifiers dies down after every song, I nervously wait for "boooOO" and every time it has been a big crowd, excited, ready for the next tune….thankfully. Other than that we have had a few reviews online, a lot of sales from the bandcamp page…and fortunately…really no bad feedback. I'm sure it will come, it is inevitable, but we are our hardest critics. We know what we need to work on and where we can improve, and every day, practice, show, session, is a chance to grow and learn.


Q4 – Is the band a Full Time Project or do you have normal jobs to do as well to support the band.

Matt - We all have full time jobs, Jeff is an awesome sushi chef and works doubles 6 days a week, Christian cooks 3000 hours a week in the best local grass-fed burger joint (Green Truck Pub…definitely gets our bear seal of approval) Colin plays in various bands around town staying super busy, and me and Lee work in a factory all day and do odd jobs on the side as well as play in other bands. That being said…any minute that is not spent at work or at some other endeavor that keeps us from playing music, all of our efforts are geared toward pushing this band as far as we can. We practice late at night…get two hours of sleep and go back to work, we are online all the time promoting and booking, constantly writing and sending song ideas to each other…it's safe to say we are all complete slaves to our music.

Q5 – How do you cope with families, full time jobs and being part of a band. It must be a struggle at times.

Matt - It's tough, but we are all incredibly fortunate to have very supportive wives/girlfriends and families…we all have been at this for a long time on our own. We've all sacrificed and had our hearts broken in our other bands…missed all the birthdays, holidays, family events, been broke, been hungry. We are all uncompromising people, and such, have filled our lives with like-minded people who we are fortunate to call our friends and families, and who understand how important this all is to us, and support us all the way.


Q6 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.

Jeff - Well, as Matt stated earlier- Bear Fight started as a studio "project". He approached me with five or six songs that were basically finished and ready to be mixed. I wrote some guitar harmonies here, threw in some counter melodies there. I approached things with the mindset of painting a background rather than trying to change his ideas. I liked where he was going, just wanted to inject the songs with some steroids. As we started to play together more outside of the studio environment, Matt and I started trading guitar riffs back and forth and building off of one another. 

It became a little more collaborative at that point. When we decided to invite Christian to the band, the sky was the limit as far as chord structures and guitar harmonies go. We started practicing about twice a week. One practice would be just the three of us with guitars and the other practice would be the full band. I'd say that "Gnarmageddon" is a 60/40% type of deal where most of the song ideas originated with Matt. I was very pleased with the finished product because I know how bad he has wanted to bring these ideas to life, and its very cool to be a part of that. As of now, the song writing process is very collaborative. Each of us are constantly recording riffs here and there and emailing them back and forth. I feel like we don't get enough done at our full band rehearsals sometimes.


Q7 – How did the name of GNARMAGEDDON for the album to came about. And the amazing cool retro album cover as well. Really suits the album's tone and mood.

Jeff - If I remember correctly (which I probably don't), we were all out drinking one night (which is how most of our bad ideas start out) and we were having all kinds of fun with the band name. We were discussing "guitarmonies" and legal troubles such as "probeartion". We all have kind of a stupid sense of humor. For what its worth, we think we're pretty funny dudes. I vaguely remember walking through a rowdy area of downtown Savannah around last call. People standing in the middle of the road, fights breaking out, car horns blaring, flashing blue lights. Matt very calmly (and very drunkenly) looks at me and says "Dude, its fucking Gnarmageddon out here." 

Probably the most intelligent thing that has ever been said on that particular street corner. As for the album art, we have a really good friend by the name of Deighton Abrams that is a fucking fantastic artist. He is one of the few people that had access to our music before it was released. He drew up a few designs for us and we sent him some rough recordings periodically so that he could kinda get ideas for cover art. He blew us away. His brother, Schuyler Abrams, also did some fan-fucking-tastic artwork for us. The back of our CD as well as the face of the CD itself was designed by Schuyler (I'm not sure if you have a physical copy of "Gnarmageddon" yet, but the art is tasty). We plan on using some of their designs for shirts and stickers and such in the future.


Q8 – What is the gig scene like in your home town. Do you get a chance to do a lot of local shows or do you have to travel further away from home to get your music across. (I know there is a cool scene in Bearfight! home tome of Savannah. Home to Baroness, Kylesa and Black Tusk. But I still gotta ask for investigative purposes).

Matt - We have the opportunity to play a lot locally, in the early stages of the band we have taken every show we can get…to open for bands we like and respect, to get a buzz going. We've been kind of stuck with just local shows for a while though, due to band members' various legal situations…but as of now we are free and clear and will be getting out on the road a lot.

Jeff - We've been playing twice a month here in Savannah every month since January. I don't want to be the local band that everyone gets sick of. We try to keep our set fresh every time we play, but we definitely are ready to branch out to other cities.

Matt - We have a lot of stuff lined up around the southeast, and in 2013 will be doing a lot of touring.

Q9 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.

Jeff - My personal opinion is this: I play music that I enjoy listening to in hopes that other people will enjoy it as much as I do. If someone gets ahold of my music for free and really genuinely enjoys it for what it is, thats awesome. Don't get me wrong, its nice to be able to cover all band expenses with merch sales- but how do you promote merch sales without giving a little something away? In the early stages of a band like us or a band that is on a relatively small independent label, you aren't making enough money off of record sales to make a living in the first place. Nowadays, the CDs are what promotes the live shows. I just want our music to be as accessible as possible.

Q10 – Finally what are the future plans for the band.

Matt - We are currently writing and in October are going to a farm/survival compound that our friend owns and I work at on the weekends when we are not playing shows to record the next album. It's way out in the woods away from everything so we can get away from daily distractions and just focus on the music. Also we will be in our own element out there. We can hunt, fish, shoot, be outside and not hear cars and neighbors. All of us being from the south, we all grew up with an affinity for nature and that is a recurring theme on the next album, our love of the place that made us who we are. I can't wait. The new material is the music I've been wanting to write my whole life. It's gonna be a great time.

Jeff - Keep writing music and get filthy rich and have our own Bear Fight backyard petting zoo filled with all types of bears.

Well guys thanks for your time. Can't wait to hear your new material. And lets hope you don't have any Cabin In The Woods, Evil Dead or Tucker And Dale type dealings when recording it.

All the best from Sludgelord. Keep up the excellent work.

Check This Great Band Below:


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Interview with Sorry For Nothing


Today I am interviewing a cool band and one of the best bands my native North East of England has to offer. SORRY FOR NOTHING

I have featured these brilliant Blues Stoner Rockers a few times and they’ve recently been mentioned on two of the best blogs around. Heavy Planet and The Soda Shop, so you know these guys are good when mentioned on our respective blogs.

I have known John (the drummer) for about 8 years now, and the rest of the band Rob on Vox and Guitars and Stu on Bass for a few years. (John is now part of the Sludgelord Team AKA Furious).

These guys are one of the tightest units I have seen. They kick arse (ass/butt for Non UK Viewers) wherever they go. They have supported Fu Manchu, Truckfighters and The Answer.

If it wasn't for this band The Sludgelord Blog wouldnt be around. As John asked me to do a review of their brilliant 2011 album – Psycho Monster Resurrection. So I created this blog just for them. To make the blog look good I put a few free download articles together to make it look impressive. And the rest is history.

People actually took notice of me and its gotten better and better. But it's all down to these guys. If they didn't ask me to review their album then Sludgelord would never of happened.

So with this in mind I asked the the guys could I do an interview with me.

Stu, John and Rob working hard as usual

Q1 – For people who are unfamiliar with your band, can you tell them little bit about the history of the band? Where you're from, band members, when you formed?

(Rob) The band has been together for over ten years under various names but with the same line up of me on vocals and guitar, Stu Sewell on bass and my brother John on drums. We all live in various places in Northumberland with me living in the most rural place, a small village near the fishing town of Amble.

Q2 – How would you describe your sound?

(John) Pretty much the same as you’ve described it. Blues Stoner Rock is a good enough description for what we do. 

(Stu) Like a lot of bands, we aren’t that bothered about how folk describe us, it’s more important that they just listen and they can form their own opinion of what we sound like. 

(John) Plus, the name of the band is more a statement of intent rather than being an indicator of the style of music we play. That frees us up to move around between genres perhaps more than some bands, and at the end of the day, we make no apologies for the music we play.

Q3 – I know you have regular jobs to support Sorry For Nothing. Is it a struggle to combine the two when it must cost a lot of money to do?

(Stu) Yes it’s a struggle. To be honest, it’s not so much a money thing, more of a time factor and logistical thing due to our location. Rob’s the worst off. He works a 9 to 5 job, which, on a good day, is an hour drive from his house. That makes it pretty tough for getting to gigs further a-field than our immediate area. 

(John) We used to run a covers band along side SFN for a while, just so we could get some money together as the covers pay a hell of a lot better than doing your own material. That financed the first album. We luckily sold enough copies to then record the second album. Hopefully if enough people read this and think we’re cool, they’ll check us out, buy the latest album and then we’ll be able to finance doing another one! 

(Rob) Like Stu said, it can be a right royal pain in the backside for me if I’ve got to go home, get my gear, and then travel out of the area. We try to keep gigs further away for the weekend. We just can’t do it through the week. If the venue/promoter wants you at the gig at 6, I’m sometimes not even home then so it’s a physical impossibility. 

Q4 – Are your families supportive of what you do?

(John) Yeah, they’re all very understanding. We just try to steer clear of booking gigs on our wives’ birthdays or on wedding anniversary’s and stuff like that – it’s more than our lives are worth! 

(Rob) They do try and support us the best they can, coming along to gigs and that. Plus, as we’ve been doing this a while, our parents have all helped out one way or another at some point, like loaning us cars to get to gigs and stuff like that.

Q5 – Your profile has got a lot bigger recently due to online game Super Crazy Guitar Maniac Deluxe 4 using your track “Swallow Your Soul”. How did that come about?

(Stu) Well we got a random email from the creator of the game series asking if we’d like to be included on the SCGMD4. He’d come across the track while scouting for unsigned bands to feature on the latest instalment of the game. It seemed like it might be a decent way to raise the profile of the band so we said ‘hell yeah’. 


Q6 - You have received a lot of great praise for that one. Local newspaper interviews and YouTube videos as well. Plus more fans from South America. I bet you all thought What The Fuck is going on.

(Rob) Too right. We figured we might get another couple of dozen fans or something. We never expected things to kick off like they did. The video that Stu created for Swallow Your Soul had been on YouTube for a year or so and only had a couple of hundred views. Within three weeks of being on the game we’d seen the number jump to over 15,000 views and had a boat load of positive comments. 

(Stu) Yeah, and one twat that disliked it just for the sake of it ha ha!

(John) It’s bloody great like. We’ve past 30,000 views now and there’s even been folk posting lyrics to the song online. It’s pretty mental like.

Q7 – Are you pleased with the recent exposure. Especially on Heavy Planet, Soda Shop Podcast and our good selves of course?

(John) Nah, it’s shite. We’d love to remain totally unknown with no exposure! 

(Rob) What John’s trying to say is it’s pretty amazing. Being featured on Heavy Planet, Soda Shop and your good self’s blog is awesome. They’re all well respected blogs with a great audience so it’s much appreciated.


Q8 – How has the reaction been like to your music overall?

(Stu) Very positive. In fact, I think we’re yet to get a rubbish review!

(John) That’s only because we haven’t sent it out to many places for review. Good reviews are great, but we much prefer it when someone has heard us, liked us and takes the time out to tell us what they think.

Q9 – Do critics reviews bother you as a band or do you just care what the fans think?

(Stu) We’re very lucky that all the reviews we’ve had have been good. Naturally if a bad review came along we’d be a bit pissed off seeing as we work hard on creating good music. But, at the end of the day, if someone doesn’t like what we do it’s not going to stop us writing the songs we write, or playing the way we play. It’s their opinion and they’re entitled to it and we can’t help it if they have no taste! But fans opinions are usually the best.

Q10 – What is the song-writing process like in the band? Is there one main songwriter or does everyone contribute to all the songs?

(John) Around 90% of the time Rob will come up with an idea, riff, or pretty much whole song. We’ll jam the ideas through, add bits, take bits away, shave a bit off here, add a bit there and then the song evolves into something that’s pretty much impossible to dance to. 

(Rob) The whole process is quite organic really and works well for us. It might take a bit longer to come out with a complete song but you can be assured we’ve put a canny bit into it.


Q11 – How is the Metal Scene in your home town or surrounding areas? Are there a lot of places for bands like yours to play at on a regular basis?

(Rob) Well there’s not much of a scene that we know of. Certainly the individual places we live there’s absolutely no places to play at all, but in Newcastle, which is the nearest city to us, there’s a decent amount of venues that’ll put on original bands. They’re usually run through the same promoters though, and I guess if you were a new band, you’d maybe find it difficult to get a gig. 

(Stu) We’ve been around the block and there’s a decent amount of folk who know who we are and we still find it difficult to get gigs. There’s still a shit load of venues that are stuck in that ‘cover band’ mindset.

Q12 – Do you tour on a regular basis. What has the reception been like to the band performing live?

(John) We wish! No tours to speak of just yet. We’ve tried to sort it out before but it’s an absolute nightmare for us to all get the same time off from work together for one thing. 

(Stu) Even though our families are all supportive, we’ve all got commitments and as none of us are teachers, we don’t get anywhere near enough holidays from work to be able to go out on tour and spend time with our families. Weekend jaunts are a definite possibility but even those are a pain to sort out. 

(Rob) We always give it our best shot when we’re performing live and that’s (usually) reflected in the reaction we get.

Q13 – Have you toured with bands who you didn't like but did it anyway?

(Rob) We’ve played with a few bands that were arrogant and thought they were better than they were, but we’ll not mention any names.

Q14 - How do you feel about blogs and websites giving music away for free? As when I originally did articles I was asked to provide copies. Told them no of course. Buy from the band themselves.

(John) It’s probably been said a million times before, but it’s a double-edged sword. It’s brilliant that people are listening to your music, writing about it on blogs and facebook and whatever, but it does cost a canny bit of money to record and put a CD out there. As long as we’re not in serious debt then it’s all good. 

(Rob) At the end of the day, Henry Rollins said it best, and I quote “I’d rather be heard than paid”. If someone can’t afford to buy our stuff, then we’re cool with them downloading it free from somewhere. As long as they love it and then leave a nice comment on our Facebook page!

Q15 - What are the most/least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

(Stu) Working with two brothers – what a nightmare! 

(Rob) Having to have a bass player! 

(John) Working with two fucking children. 

(Stu) We all agree that getting a good reaction to CDs or gigs is the most rewarding, and that buzz you get from being onstage – it’s pretty special. And there’s not a lot of things better than someone coming up to you and telling you what you do is great. It’s nice to get your ego stoked from time to time.

Q16 – What are the future plans for Sorry For Nothing?

(All) Another album! 

(Rob) We’ve been writing some new songs with the view to putting another album out. It’s still early days in the writing of it but things are shaping up quite well. Watch this space!

I want to thank you for participating in this interview. And can you tell John I want my £7 for reviewing your album. Most bands send us promo copies to review free of charge. But not John. Nope. He charged me and got me to design and run this stupid blog as well.

So thank you Sorry For Nothing.

Check These Cool Rockers Below:

http://www.sorryfornothing.com
http://www.myspace.com/sorryfornothing
http://www.twitter.com/sorryfornothing
http://www.youtube.com/sorryfornothingrock
http://www.chevstar.com

Interview with Ollie From GRIFTER


Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Ollie (Vocalist and Guitarist) from Grifter. The awesome Blues Rock/Stoner Rock Combo who have gained a whole load of praise for their superb S/T début album which I reviewed earlier this year.

Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...

Ah, this tale goes back to the mists of time. We formed in September/October 2003 in our original home town of Plymouth. Phil (bass), Foz (drums) and our original singer Nev were in a band called 16 Stone Mullet and I was in a band called Conrad. I was sick of my band and their guitarist was going to university so we hooked up and started jamming. By December we had a set together so we played a gig…then Nev walked off stage and left the band right there and then. Exactly one month later we were back at the same venue as a three piece with my good self taking over the vocal spot…and that’s the way it’s been ever since.

Q2 – How would yourselves describe your sound.

We always get called stoner/classic/blues rock or whatever…and that’s fine if it gives people something to hang on to as a description. But I think Phil summed it up best when he was talking to someone at a gig and they asked him what sort of music we play and he just replied Rock And Roll. That really sums it up but if I wanted to flesh it out a bit for people so they don’t go away expecting us to sound like Elvis I’d say dirty heavy rock and roll.

Q3 – Which bands influence you on your music.

I think like most bands we have direct and indirect influences. The direct influences would be bands like Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Motorhead, Clutch, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mountain…etc but between us we have a huge range of music tastes from 90’s grunge to reggae and ska to punk to NWOBHM to blues to thrash to hip hop to 60’s soul and all of them have little creeping influences on what we do even if they may not be entirely obvious. It may be something as small as suggesting a bass line that draws from reggae even if the guitars are heavy and stuff like that. 


Q4 – Is the band a full time project or do you have full time jobs to contend with.

I’d say it’s a bit of both really. We all have full time jobs…I work for an energy company, Phil works for a metalwork design company and Foz is in construction. On the other hand the band is pretty much at the forefront of our minds most of the time and we’re always thinking about some aspect of it whether it’s the music, promotion, business…etc. Fortunately the band pretty much pays for itself most of the time and any money the band makes goes straight back into the band.

Q5 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.

The song writing process is pretty much as it comes. Sometime songs just come out of jamming or sometimes Phil or I will come in with a riff…Phil tends to come in with a few riffs that work together in a sequence but I’m more likely to come in with a verse and chorus complete with vocals. We then get together and start to put flesh on the bones. Foz will find the groove, things will get twisted around a bit, the groove will dictate maybe what sort of middle section we’re going to use and it all gets built up from there. It’s very rare that anyone will come in with a whole complete song as we’re of the mind that one person’s ideas aren’t necessarily the best all the time and it’s everyone’s input into a song that makes it what it is. Even if someone does come in with a whole song it usually gets ripped apart and put back together again.

Q6 – You have received a whole load of great praise for your excellent début album. That most of took you by surprise. Are you happy with the response you have got so far.

The response to the album completely blew us away. Out of all the reviews we’ve had, which I think is getting on for about 40, we’ve had only 2 more negative reviews, maybe a couple that were a bit non committal and the rest have raved about it which is incredible. What really amazed us is when the end of year best of lists started to appear on various websites and we were on a whole bunch of them like The Obelisk, The Soda Shop, Heavy Planet, Chybucca Sounds…etc. We totally didn’t expect that and it’s quite humbling really to think that three scruffy buggers from the west country can plug away in quiet oblivion and turn out a bunch of songs that people rate as one of the best albums of last year.


Q7 – Your début album was released by the excellent label Ripple Music. How did you hook up with those guys. Great Label and run by a bunch of cool guys.

Ripple is an awesome label and we hooked up with them really at the start of their journey. They hadn’t even released an album when they asked us to work with them so we’ve been growing together. Basically they ran a review site first The Ripple Effect, and I sent them a copy of our previous EP for review. I’m not even sure at that point I was aware they were doing a label. Anyway, they loved the EP, gave it a rave review and then started to ask how we were fixed label wise and would we be interested in being part of a vinyl compilation they were thinking of putting together with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High as all 4 bands had some links by playing together or releasing split vinyls…etc. 

Obviously we said yes as the chance to have some vinyl out and to share it with some incredible bands was too good to pass up. When it came to recording tracks for the vinyl (which came out on Ripple in April 2011 as Heavy Ripples Volume 1 double 7”), we decided to record an album’s worth of tracks and see what we could do with them…at that point we hadn’t discussed doing an album for Ripple but after the first day of recording they asked if they could put the album out as well…and here we are looking at doing a second album!!! 

As a label though they’re everything you could hope for, their growth trajectory has been on a consistent upward path, they’re unbelievably enthusiastic and passionate about their bands and music in general, they have good business sense and they’re loyal as all hell with a real view on helping bands to develop and grow. Plus Todd and John are both awesome, lovely guys.

Q8 – What has been the reception like to your live gigs. Has it all been good responses. Any major live highlights so far. (I saw you guys perform an excellent performance when supporting Orange Goblin earlier this year).

At the risk of sounding big headed…and I really don’t mean to…the response to our live shows is always pretty amazing. Even if we play to crowds who don’t really know who we are we always seem to win them round and get a great reaction. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s because we actually engage with the crowd and try to get some sort of rapport going with them rather than staring at our feet plus, playing the style of music we play, it makes us want to move and we’re passionate about it and I think that sheer enjoyment comes across to an audience.

Gig highlights? There have been loads. Obviously the Orange Goblin tour was incredible, we had a total blast and were really taken aback at how good the reactions were every night…people chanting the band’s name…etc. Headlining the Black Heart stage at Desertfest was also a killer gig as was playing the Freak Valley open air festival in Germany. In 9 years worth of playing gigs we’ve been lucky enough to play with some incredible bands and play some killer shows.

Q9 – Do you get many gigs in your home. Or do you have to travel around a lot.

We could get a lot more gigs at home if we wanted but we prefer to spread them out so we don’t burn out the local crowd. We’d rather make the hometown gigs a bit more special and get other quality bands on than just do everything that’s going. It is difficult there though as venues have taken a hammering and so many have disappeared but a few people are still flying the flag and keeping it alive. Most of our gigs are further afield. We prefer to do that as it’s more fun for us to get in the van, have a road trip and get to play to new crowds and meet different people/bands.

Q10 – Does your family and friends support your band.

Our families are tremendously supportive. Phil and I are both married with kids and the band sometimes takes us away from them but they put up with it all and are very proud of what we do. Apparently I’m some kind of hero at my eldest daughter’s school!!! 


Q11 – What is your opinion of the current state of the UK Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. Great bands coming through. Not enough cool venues across the UK to put them on.

There are some amazing bands who are working very hard to put out quality releases and gig as much as possible and keep the scene afloat. Venue/promoter wise it’s a lot harder but there are some that keep things going and they do seem to be able to put on good gigs and get good turnouts so there is definitely a scene there to build upon. It helps when magazines like Metal Hammer devote an entire cover mounted CD to up and coming UK bands of this genre as they did recently as it shows that people are taking notice. It would be great of there were more venues and promoters who could pay the bands for the travel…etc but I’m hoping it’ll pick up slowly.

Q12 – What are your fave bands around at the moment. Any new ones you can recommend for ourselves to check out.

Of the UK bands we have some amazing talent here. Mother Corona from Oxford have released an amazing album and the new Alunah album is incredible. General are band from Birmingham who’s new album has just come out on Catacomb Records and is a real killer , they have an awesome vocalist. Other ones to watch are Desert Storm from Oxford, Steak from London, Undersmile from Oxford, Smoke Pilot (formerly Medamaki) from Evesham, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight and Stubb from St Albans, XII Boar from Aldershot, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell from Hastings…the list goes on.

On an international scale Ape Machine from the States are incredible, they have 2 self released albums out and are hooking up with someone very cool for the next album. We’re hoping to get them over to tour next year. Also The Lord Fowl album on Small Stone is a killer. I also have to give mention to our label mates Stone Axe, Mos Generator and Mighty High from across the pond for all releasing amazing stuff and our buddies in Sun Gods In Exile. Also check out Doctor Cyclops from Italy who have a new album out now on World In Sound…we toured with them in Europe and they totally rule. Finally check out Bushfire from Germany who have a killer sound and amazing front man.

Q13 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

The most rewarding are things like writing a killer song in practice and the buzz that we get from that, playing awesome gigs to amazing crowds and meeting new friends, getting amazing feedback for our album…etc. The downside is having to deal with all the business stuff and stressing about being able to afford to do stuff…we’d like to do a video but that costs, we have a new album to record and that costs…etc. Trying to get gigs that will at least cover petrol costs. It would be great to have someone on board who could deal with all that stuff for us so we can concentrate on the music as the bigger the band gets the more that side of things takes over. We’re getting there though, we’re building a good team.


Q14 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.

This is a tough one. I’m guilty of downloading stuff myself …though it tends to be older obscure hard to find stuff or stuff I already have on vinyl though I have grabbed downloads of other stuff to check out. It is certainly one way of spreading music far and wide and getting bands heard and I don’t think any band will turn their noses up at an increased fan base…it’s particularly rewarding when you get positive feedback from people about your stuff. On the other hand, being in a band is a huge financial commitment, similarly running a label, and bands need to make a return on their investment into their music to be able to continue doing it and illegal downloading does draw income away from the bands and labels so people downloading everything are running the risk of killing the industry. 

I was talking to someone the other day who boasted that he never paid for music…great…if everyone thought and acted like that no-one would be able to afford to record and release stuff, and then where would you be? Free music is a great idea as long as it is kept under control…we have free stuff on our Bandcamp page but we’d rather people bought the album in some format, either CD or digital…partly so we can afford to keep going and partly for the sake of our label who have made a big commitment to us.

Q15 – What advice or words of wisdom would you give to upcoming bands and musicians who are about to start a Sludge/Doom/Stoner Rock Band.

Make sure you have decent gear so you can get a decent sound from the off…stop using Matamps and Big Muff pedals, everyone has that sound now, you need to stand out. Also, don’t set out trying to be a stoner/doom/sludge band. Listen to a range of stuff and play what feels right to you not what you think will fit into a scene…don’t just copy your heroes as you won’t stand out from the pack and people like sincerity and a touch of originality. If you write a riff that sound like a dead ringer for Fu Manchu or whoever then bin it or rework it into something of your own. It’s a hugely over populated market and you need something to stand out…don’t forget all modern rock music springs from the blues, go back and listen to the source.

Q16 – Finally what are the future plans for the band. Do you have more tours planned or new releases we should be aware of.

We’re constantly working. At them moment we’re writing songs for album number two, we have nearly 7 songs in the bag now and we’ll look to maybe get another 3-4 written before we plan to head in and record. We’ve road tested some of the songs and the response to them has been amazing so we’re confident the album will be pretty strong. Ripple want to release the album and we have some plans to give it plenty of promo like shooting a video…etc Also Ripple have grown hugely as a label since the first one and will be able to make a bigger splash when this one drops. 

We’re always looking for gigs and aim to do at least 1-2 a month to keep our hand in, we’re slowly building a team of people to help us book gigs as well. As I mentioned we’re also looking to bring Ape Machine over for a tour next year and hopefully get back over to Europe…we have some people talking about helping us with some stuff over there. Our buddies in Doctor Cyclops are also looking to come over for a few shows and there is a plan to get over to Italy to play with them. The Grifter machine is rolling but everything in good time…it’s a long old slog but we’re up for it.

Well guys thanks for answering these questions. All the best from all of us at Sludgelord.

Thanks again to Lee from The Sleeping Shaman for setting up this interview for me. Much appreciated dude.

Check these great rockers from the links below:

WWW.GRIFTERROCK.CO.UK
WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/GRIFTERROCK
WWW.MYSPACE.COM/GRIFTERROCK
WWW.REVERBNATION.COM/GRIFTERROCK