Now on Sludgelord I am interviewing UK Doom Metal Maestros – Gallow God
Gallow God recently impressed me with their excellent début album - The Veneration Of Serpents – which harks back to the good old days of Traditional Doom Metal which can scare the living daylights out of you.
This 67 minute epic is one of the finest Doom Metal débuts I have heard in a long time.
So much that I had to do an interview with this great band. And Thank The Doom Metal Heavens – Gallow God have kindly agreed an interview with me.
So lets get down to business with these superb Doom Metallers.
Q1 – Hi guys. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this.
DAN: Hi Steve, we are doing good thanks, Thanks for the brilliant review and also for contacting us to conduct this interview. When we read the Sludgelord review we were all in agreement that "He gets it" so cheers
Q2 – Can you give people a brief history on how the band came about.
DAN: We formed in 2009 as a two man studio project, at the time it was just Ric and Myself and between us we recorded our first EP False Mystical Prose. After the release of the CD we started to gain quite a bit of interest so we decided to expand the project into a full band. There have been a few line up changes along the way, most of which took place whilst recording The Veneration of Serpents, so that was again mostly recorded as a two man thing, although Mitch did play bass on a few tracks and our former drummer Jim Panlilio added some extra drums here and there. Finally toward the end of 2012 the line up was solidified with the inclusion of Mitch Barrett on Bass and Chris Takka on Drums.
Q3 – You have just released your excellent new album – The Veneration Of Serpents – which seems to be getting a whole load of praise from the Doom Metal community. You guys pleased with the reviews so far.
DAN: The reviews have again been amazing and I'm very happy that the response has been so positive. After the incredible reviews we got for False Mystical Prose I was actually a bit worried that we wouldn't be able to live up to the expectation, but the general consensus seems to be that Serpents has taken what we started with False and surpassed it, so we couldn't ask for anything more!
RIC: The reviews have been very positive so far. A few early reviews suggested that some songs like Gaslight and A Misers Land were too long in some parts. We listened to the criticism and made a small change to Gaslight. But overall I think it was because of the heavy riff’s and faster pace of the songs on this album. People seemed to forget that previous song like The Sin and Doom of Godless Men and Ship of Nail were very slow, repetitive songs. This was our feel when we came out so why would we not write slow miserable doom.
Q4 – Was it an easy album to write and record for. And if so would you change anything about the album since it now has been released.
RIC: I think it was quite straight forward from writing the structure of the songs etc. Me and Dan are quite good with this and then it's just a case of doing the finer things to make it sound right. Dan will probably disagree as he had to do most of the drums and vocals which took some time but we are really happy how it turned out. Being the artist I think you will always hear things that you're not happy with, it’s the nature of the beast.
DAN: Yes, the Writing for the album was fairly painless although getting the Lyrics written dragged on a bit. I could have just written any old shit but I am a bit of a perfectionist with the lyrics, and they had to be something that I didn't think was stupid or too clichéd. I wanted to believe in what I was singing. They are also very deeply researched and for the most part if I am writing about a subject then they have to be accurate. Apart from that it was just time consuming designing the sounds for the leads and the overall sounds for the songs...as well as the dreaded drum editing. When you listen back you always hear things that you think you could have done better but at some point you just have to walk away and say it's done.
Q5 – Though it's a very dark and creepy album. It's great to see a band sticking to proper traditional Doom Metal. Was it your intention in releasing a dark and brooding album for you first début album.
DAN: Hell yes, that is the whole point of the band, we are not trying to reinvent the wheel, we wanted to keep it Pure, Traditional, and full of Doom. Ask anyone what the blue print for traditional doom is and I would think most people would give you the answer Black Sabbath by Black Sabbath... so we did an album of that. of course it goes deeper, there is a lot of personal torment and frustration in the album but it is shrouded in tales of folklore and mysticism. Hopefully the point gets across.
RIC: Gallow God is dark, miserable and depressing. Ask anyone who spends any amount of time with me will see my depressing side!!! Me and Dan have had so much stuff happen in our personal lives that it is hard not to write songs like this. I think we have some light in certain parts of the songs like Waters of Death.
DAN: There is no Light, only Darkness... haha
DAN: I'm glad you got that from the album, that was definitely part what we wanted to do but without the need to resort to gimmicks like sampling hammer horror films and stuff like that, that stuff is cool but it's been done and all the good lines have been taken! the whole vibe for me is The Wicker Man / Blood on Satan's Claw, taking traditional British folklore and exposing the real horror behind it. I think The Circle is the top contender in those stakes. But there isn't a constant concept running throughout the whole album. Each song has its own story and the inspiration was taken from far and wide ranging from Classical mythology to Ancient Mesopotamia, World Religion, The Occult, Lovecraft, all that good stuff.
I think personally I just wanted to try to convey through different stories the utter hopelessness of inevitability and the world weary mindset
Q7 – Who came up with the excellent album cover. Sets the tone really well for the entire feel of the album.
DAN: That was actually the artist Barry Cervantes interpretation of one of the possible album titles, when I first contacted him he asked for an idea of what we were after, I sent him a list of possible album titles one of which was The Veneration of Serpents as well as a few inspirational pictures and this is what he came back with. As soon as we saw it we knew it was the one.
I was asked once who it was meant to be, was it Jesus? Odin? someone else? and my answer was that it was neither really. Its more just a representation of idolatry and the disturbing concept behind it. In the west at least, that kind of Odin/Jesus type image is the most widely recognised form of Idol, so he is our Serpent Lord which is the subject of the title track on the album
Q8 – You guys first came to my attention a couple of years ago when my brother bought your début EP. False Mystical Prose. He loved it and raved on about it to me for weeks. I finally relented and listened to it. It blew me away. It has been released on Vinyl. How did that come about.
DAN: The Vinyl came about after we received an email from Stefano at Terror from Hell records to see if we would be interested in doing it, of course we jumped at the chance so he also got in touch with Mark at PsychDOOMelic ( who we were signed with at the time) about joint funding and they both agreed to 50/50 funding so we went ahead with the project.
Q9 – Will the new album be released on vinyl. Though it will be a double disc vinyl with it being on for 67 mins or so.
DAN: I'm not sure, I would love to say Yes but as yet we have no response from the few labels that we have contacted about it. You would not believe the amount of emails and facebook messages I have had asking the same thing. Unfortunately we can't afford to print them ourselves at this point as we had to pay for the artwork and CD release, so if anyone reading this can sort us out get in contact!
Q10 – What is your fave track off the new album. Mine has to be your cover of Scarborough Fair. Why did you guys start covering that song. Your version is probably the best version I have heard so far. Creepy as hell.
RIC: Dan came up with idea to do this song and to be honest at first I did not think it would be good. But once he did a demo version, It sounded so good that apart from a few tweaks went on the album as it was.
DAN: Thanks for the Kind word Steve, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
The Scarborough fair thing came about because we needed an extra song for a gig and we decided to do a cover. We tried a few metal songs, and they sounded ok, but didn't really fit the style of the band or what we were about. I had had the idea for Scarborough Fair for years, The thing I like about it is the list of impossible tasks the protagonist requests of his former love, if she can complete them he will love her again, again this fitted in with the air of hopelessness that the rest of the songs had so I mentioned it to the lads as a possible contender.
They went away and unfortunately listened to the Simon and Garfunkel version on YouTube and told me to fuck off!... I said, give me the weekend to record a demo so you can see what I'm getting at. I recorded the demo and the guys got it and really liked it so we performed it. The version on the album still contains the original demo guitars and bass but with re recorded drums, vocals and the solo overdubs. We did agonise a bit of whether to include it on the album or not, I didn't really want a cover song on the first album, but we had gotten used to hearing in the track listing so we decided to leave it in. I'm glad we did now!
Q11 – Do you guys perform regularly within your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform live on a regular basis.
RIC: Gigging to be honest has not really happened due to band members leaving and changing. Also at the start we did not look to be gigging etc. We did have a gig in May with Isole but had to pull out due to my ill health. Going forward we will probably do a few shows now and again.
Q12 – The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently on the rise with many brilliant bands currently out there. Which bands are you currently digging. Any you like to recommend to our readers.
DAN: I honestly think that we are living through the Golden Age of Doom right now, there are so many good bands around its hard to keep up with everything. but a few of the newer UK bands I have been digging recently are Black Magician, Witchsorrow, Serpent Venom and Weed Priest from Ireland. I know the question was about UK bands but I've got to say Finland's The Wandering Midget have a new album out and it hasn't left my turntable since it turned up in the post.
RIC: I quite like a few bands. I still like Black Magician and Procession. Also The Wounded Kings.
Q13 – Do you guys have full times jobs to contend with. Or is music classed as your full time job.
RIC: We all work full time and it is very hard to balance out all the things needed to run the band. It can take over, so we need to have breaks now and again which never happens.
Q14 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music and the decisions you make when performing with your respective bands.
DAN: They are yes, although it can become frustrating for them when "band stuff" eats into normal day to day life or if you can't do this or that because you have to do things for the band. also responding to emails and packing orders, trips to the post office, all the admin that goes into a band are all things that take up time and divert your attention. Saying that my family and close friends have been my biggest supporters and I am hugely grateful to them all.
RIC: I would have to say Yes as well, we probably drive them mad about band’s and music but they have been a great help.
Q15 – Which bands and artists influence you on your music. And have you met any of your musical heroes.
DAN: Our Influences are pretty much the same as most other Traditional Doom bands influences I would guess, Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Candlemass, Iron Maiden, Reverend Bizarre, Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Solstice, Warning, Electric Wizard, the list goes on and on, I think all of the Doom bands I am into have personally influenced or inspired me in one way or another. I've met a few guys from other bands over the years and they have all been cool, down to earth blokes.
RIC: I have had our cd passed on to Toni Iommi but he said we were too good ha!! I have met few guys from bands like Bruce Dickenson who is amazing.
Q16 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.
DAN: We write and record riffs or songs individually and then bring them to the table for the rest of the band to expand on, not all the ideas make it through, we cherry pick what we think are the best ones and try to improve upon them. We then jam them in the rehearsal room to see how well they work and go from there
RIC: Going forward we will try to write in the studio when we are all jamming together to see if this can inspire us even more.
Q17 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band. Obviously the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect
RIC: I guess it's getting an end product from a idea that you have as a song or a riff and see it turn into something that people enjoy and give great comments to. Negatives are its bloody hard work and you're not gonna make millions from it so sometimes you think is it worth it? Me and Dan have put a lot of money into the band and Mitch and Chris have also now started contributing paying in money to the band but it can get expensive.
DAN: for me the positives are when you listen back to something that you have put your heart and soul into and worked really hard towards and you don't totally hate it haha.
But honestly, as cheesy as it sounds the most rewarding thing is the feedback that you get from people who have listened to your music and say such amazing things about it, it's very humbling and I feel privileged that we can in some small way contribute to doom metal and share our interpretation of it. the negatives would be the things we have already mentioned, The time expense, the monetary expense and all of the other mundane stuff that goes on behind the scenes when you're running a band.
Q18 – If you could provide any advice to people wanting to start a band, what would it be.
DAN: Hmmm, well firstly some technical stuff. Learn how to use your amps and pedals / equipment, keep it simple, work on your sound, you don't need the most expensive gear, you can get a usable sound out of almost anything, but make sure your happy with it, a good sound will inspire you to write good riffs. write lots of stuff and record it, even if you just use your phone to record. Listening back to it will give you an idea if it's any good or not. if we write a riff that sticks in our heads for days after we have played it then we usually know it's a keeper. recording everything will also help you remember what you have written, I know I forget things after a day or two if I don't record them.
Being in a band can be a lot of fun but if you want to take it a bit further than just jamming with your mates then be prepared for the time commitment. we are not the biggest band out there but we do do everything ourselves and I can definitely say that sometimes it's like having a second job.
Bands have ups and downs, just roll with it and try to sort things out and get on with the job in hand, try to remember the rewards and the sense of achievement you will get when you complete a song or a record or whatever
RIC: I guess it would be to join a pop band as their songs are only 3 min not 10!!! Just have fun and try not to beat yourself up to much which is hard when it’s your baby!!
Q19 – So what are your future plans for the next 12 months or so.
RIC: I will probably drink myself to death!! I am getting over Heart surgery and just want to get healthy again. Going forward hopefully we can do gigs and new material.
DAN: At the moment we are taking a bit of a break over the summer, it's been nonstop for 4 years and this is the first extended period with no writing or recording that we have had. We are all tinkering around with other musical projects outside of Gallow God but when the nights start drawing in again and the air gets colder hopefully the Gallow God will reawaken
Q20 – Finally do you have anything to say to our readers.
DAN: We would like to thank everyone who has bought CD’s, downloads and T shirts or checked out our music, and everyone who has taken the time to write the fantastic reviews we have been receiving or contacted us to tell us that they liked the album.
Anyone interested in checking the band out should visit www.GallowGod.co.uk where We are streaming three of the tracks from The Veneration of Serpents and False Mystical Prose is streaming in its entirety. Or you can find us on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, last fm, ReverbNation
Also thank you Steve for the amazing review we received on the SludgeLord and for providing us with some great interview questions, a lot of the time we end up answering the same things over and over again so it was good to have some new questions to think about. Keep up the good work with the Website and keep the updates coming on the facebook page!
Well guys thanks for your time again. Best of luck with your excellent new album. Hope to see you guys perform at a gig one time.
Well thanks to these superb Doom Metallers for their time and giving me a great interview. People check out this brilliant band now. You won't be sorry.
Check the band from the links below.