Tuesday, 10 September 2013

An Interview with DoctoR DooM


Not to be confused with the dutch grindcore band DR DOOM or marvel comic book character, Victor Van Doom’s alter ego, Formed in 2011, this incarnation of DoctoR DooM is a Rock band, from Ariège, the Midi-Pyrénées region of France

Their sound is firmly rooted in the classic era of the 60’s and 70’s, a vintage sound with a loose and almost garage rock aesthetic, with hints of blues and hard rock.

Releasing their debut 3 track EP of original songs in 2012, entitled DoomO. DoctoR DooM evokes the nostalgia within you, to reminisce about your love of rock music, the first gatefold vinyl you held; it transports you to the classic era. The good news, is that it has been picked up by STB Records for an exclusive and stellar vinyl release

It is clear from talking with Steve at STB Records that his enthusiasm for this record, left him with little doubt that a full vinyl treatment was required. Fast forward to the present and we are a matter of weeks away from what is promised to be one of STB Records best releases to date. Therefore, in preparation for this release, I thought it would be great to get the lowdown from the band themselves and fire some Questions at them. So you sludge maniacs, I present to ‘DoctoR DooM’, cue sinister soundtrack. 


SL) Bonjour, comment ca va ? Guys, welcome to the Sludgelord. I think I just said, Hello, how are you in French, is that correct, haha 

DD)We’re very well, thanks for having us on the Sludgelord man! Your French is faultless, for the moment ;-) 

SL) I hope you are well, how are things at DoctoR DooM HQ at the moment? You have a secret villainous bunker; you’re planning world domination from, hehe. What are your immediate plans for the rest of 2013? 

DD) We set up our headquarters at Sebastian’s (the bass player) place at the start of the summer. He is also the one who takes care of all the sound engineering/recording studio work and the associated gear. So we are starting to be set up in our bunker!

We have several gigs in the coming weeks, the first with our new drummer, Michel! Therefore we are honing the set, with new pieces and arrangements. When we come back from the Doom Over Karalis festival in October, we’ll get to work on our new recordings, at home, while continuing to work on new material. 

SL) Before we get onto the good stuff, (imminent vinyl release, Yay), Can you perhaps give us an idea of the roots behind band? Who are you, that kind of thing? It is your opportunity to tell the world about yourselves. 

DD) We are all from a Metal background (Jérémie and Michel also play in a neo-thrash band called Worselder), but we wanted to do something else, go back to the roots of rock. This is what brought us together as DoctoR DooM. None of us are professional musicians; we all have jobs on the side. Only Sebastian spends 100% of his time on musical activities, between the band, various instrument lessons, and his new recording studio. Talking of which, you can see what he does on his website www.gradusadparnassum.eu 

 SL) What was it like growing up in your hometown and being fans of rock / metal for example? 

DD) We haven’t all lived in the Pyrenees for our entire lives, so we would be talking more about the French scene in general. France - in particular the southern half - isn’t particularly a Rock friendly place, it can be hard to find satisfaction. However, the country isn’t completely without quality bands, and the transport infrastructure allows you to easily get to the cities and festivals. 

SL) Are you comic book fans or did the connection to Doctor Doom, come from your need to teach the world, how ‘doom’ is done properly? The undertone of the question is to be taken as good humour only, Like the Doctor’s of Doom will see you now, ha-ha? It’s a great name btw. 

DD) Ha-ha. Finding a band name was definitely one of the harder tasks we have been faced with! Many ideas, but never one with full support form the whole band... The name DoctoR DooM was accepted unanimously: the fun aspect of it being the bad guy from the comics, the word “Doom” which for us refers more to the heavy and dark side of Black Sabbath than current Doom music, also, a name that is easy to remember and pronounce. 

SL). Let’s, get serious for a moment, (cue interrogation face). I recently wrote a feature about STB Records, Steve is a great guy and his attitude to the way he releases records is borne out of his love for music first and foremost, which then translates to a superior overall package. DoomO looks like it is getting the 5 star treatment. When did you guys first hook up with STB Records and how did it come about? 

DD) Steve, from STB Records, contacted us subsequent to the release of our DoomO, which we had promoted on several websites and blogs. We exchanged a few messages, and he proposed to take care of putting out a limited edition vinyl. Every time people ask us “how did you do that?” we don’t really know how to answer ... Probably the right people at the right time, and the faith that Steve has placed in us.

It’s incredible for us! We are a fresh relatively unknown band, and all we did was put out a little EP for free download, and we end up 1) signing a contract 2) with an American label 3) to release on vinyl 4) with STB records! We couldn’t have dreamed of anything better.

What’s more, Steve has a perfect understanding of the DoctoR DooM vibe, and straight away we felt like we were in good hands with him. He is the man and label that we needed! If you are reading this, Steve: Thanks man!

SL) With the release perhaps only days / week away, what can you tell us about the release and what are your overall thoughts about having what is your debut 3 track released on vinyl? 

DD) We can’t wait to get our hands on this disc ourselves! Bringing out a record is in itself very rewarding, but vinyl is pretty much a work of art! We still buy vinyl records ourselves, as well as having music in a digital format, for that unique sound and the artwork on the covers. When our DoomO came out on Bandcamp, several people asked us if there was a vinyl edition, even though they can download the tracks for free. It’s very flattering, and it shows we aren’t the only ones to appreciate this medium. 

SL). I have been lucky enough to have seen the new artwork for the Vinyl release which is killer. Taking the release as a whole, how much involvement did you have in terms of overall package? 

DD) We mostly let Steve do his thing, as we have seen other releases he has put out, and were very impressed with the quality of his work. His style corresponds exactly with what we are looking for. We gave Steve some basic ideas about the vibe of the band, and let him do the rest. 

SL) As music fans yourselves and given that music seems to be so disposal at times, it important to offer a great package to your fans, and yet not alienate them by producing something which is not affordable. Did you approach the vinyl release with trepidation or were you confident that STB Records would produce a product you could be proud of? Have you seen the finished product and what are your thoughts, not it is finally done? 

DD) We haven’t yet seen the finished product, or the special editions, but what we have seen so far is great. Our contact with Steve has been nothing but positive, and gave us great faith in him. And he has delivered, in particular by organising a competition to create the artwork for the limited edition (won by Barla Horn, thank you!). STB Records will also manage the distribution through their website, and are already doing a great job with the advertising, which of course is great for us. 

SL) Taking the vinyl release out of the equation for a moment, what are your thoughts about DoomO now, given that they were your first original songs and perhaps they’re a few years old. Are they representative of the direction your music is headed in the future? It has received some great feedback. 

DD) The tracks on the DoomO are not that old, since we finished composing them around the end of 2012. We still play them, and they are still representative of our style. Our new drummer, Michel, has more of a Hard Rock playing style, and brings more of a high energy flavour to the DoctoR DooM pieces. Our new songs are somewhat different, but fit in to the set very well. We have many new ideas in the works that still require some work to become finished tunes. 

 SL) Tell us some of your influences/heroes both musically and artistically, both metal and non-metal? Was their a specfic band or artist turned you guys onto music and specifically introduced you to Heavy Metal/Rock and wanting to form a band? 

DD) Each band member has their own favourite artists, from different musical styles and eras. But our main influences would be Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Graveyard, Witchcraft, Horisont, Gentleman Pistols and many others!

Sebastian, the bassist, has a solid classical education and great diversity (he plays all the keyboards and extra instruments on the DoomO), and brings a lot to the compositions. We all started playing in bands fairly young, and gained much experience until we found the right people in the right conditions, which brings us to where we are now. 

SL) Using those influences as a reference point, Did they form the basis of the direction where you wanted to take the band and how approached writing DoomO? 

DD) We don’t in fact set ourselves any rigid goals. We allow ourselves anything, and let the pieces come together by themselves, in a way that gives us pleasure to play them from start to finish. Generally it all starts with a few riffs brought to the band, often composed on acoustic guitars, and little by little the piece takes shape. When a section of the piece isn’t right, we remove it, what we keep is that which everyone is happy with, and the pieces mature with time. Even if we now have our own recording space, composition always goes through a group process and rehearsals.

SL)Steering away from the record a little, I’m assuming all musicians like to talk about the gear they use, so with that in mind what do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use? 

DD) Ha-ha, yes, we are proper gear geeks, and we would be happy to talk about it, thanks for asking! We use a setup that is relatively simple, even though it is quite costly. Our main guitars are modern Gibson ES-330s, but we use other older solid body Gibson’s such as old and heavy Les Paul Customs.

As we play with an almost clean sound, we need guitars with a lot of character and sustain. Our main amps are Fender Supersonic 60W, with a light crunch setting, feeding into Marshall handwired series cabs. We add some effects and drive pedals as needed, but our base sound is raw.

Several basses are used, but the particularity is that they are played through tube guitar amp heads. Mostly a Laney Supergroup or a Laney LH50R, sometimes with the addition of a few effects, old school! Sebastian’s studio contains a well chosen mix of analog gear and modern digital technology. As enthusiasts, between us we have a nice little instrument, amp and effect collection, and we experiment quite a bit, but always sticking to a “live” vibe: the essence of our songs has to be reproducible at gigs.

For example, for our participation in the upcoming Doom Over Karalis festival (12 October, Cagliari, Sardinia), we are just taking out guitars and a few pedals.

 SL) Has their been much opportunity for DoctoR DooM to do live shows and is playing live important to DoctoR DooM, because touring can depend upon work commitments etc? 

DD) Since our first performance in May 2012, almost every gig brought us another one. We must have played about ten times since then, and have always been very well received. Doom Over Karalis will be our first concert abroad; we are honoured to have been invited to this festival!

Playing live is important to us, it is the time to share our music in a direct manner, and Rock has an enthusiastic and vocal public. It’s the time when we truly reap the rewards of our work in rehearsals. But it’s true that we can’t really think about touring for the moment, because of our jobs, and we have to keep time to record and compose. Maybe a mini-tour in the Summer if possible? 

SL) How valuable are blogs and social media? 

DD) Internet is a fantastic tool, and we owe our connection with STB Records and the broadcasting of our band to Facebook and the network of blogs. We have had much positive and always friendly feedback from many sites. It’s also through this means that we discover many artists who influence us, and we find out about gear, recording techniques etc. We also communicate between ourselves a lot via email. 

SL) Quick fire question, what’s your preference? Cassette, CD, Digital Download or Vinyl? And why? 

DD) First, Digital Download, for the content, speed and practical side, and then Vinyl for the packaging, the sound and the aesthetic. 

 SL) Merci beaucoup and Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans and what can we expect from DoctoR’s of DooM, in the future, new record ? Tours? 

DD) Merci beaucoup à toi, man! It’s wonderful to see people take an interest in our music, and we would like to thank all those who have partaken in the adventure, nearby and from afar, starting with Steve from STB Records, Jo l’Haricot, Fabrizio Monni (of Black Capricorn), Xavier Aliot, and many others! Maybe we will see some of you at Doom Over Karalis, and we hope to put out some new recordings before the start of 2014.

Don’t hesitate to write to us or come and see us, it will be our pleasure to reply to you! ROCK ON !!! 

Thanks to DoctoR DooM for their time. Much appreciated guys.

Expect an exclusive vinyl review over the next few weeks and an official release date announcement exclusively at Sludgelord.

Interview by Aaron Pickford aka DOUBLEADOOM77

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