It's time on Sludgelord to catch up with one of the bands who made an impression with us last year with their blend of Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal riffs. I have already interviewed this great band before but a lot of things have happened since May 2013 and they asked for another chat with ourselves and I wanted to see how the guys from VALFADER are doing. And what they have in store for us in 2014.
They are about to release their superb EP – Opening. A 1-track EP which lasts for a mind expanding 14 mins or so. I recently reviewed the single/EP and I had this to say about it:
“Valfader have really outdone themselves here. The instrumental work is awe-inspiring at times. You would expect a song like this from a legendary Prog Rock band. Not a band like Valfader. And I do mean that as a compliment. Their song-writing has came on leaps and bounds since their debut release. Imagine Mastodon jamming with YES then that's the vibe you get from OPENING. You will lose your mind, body and soul as OPENING features some heavy bone crunching riffs indeed. Play this track nice and loud to fully understand it's power..”
Lets see VALFADER have to say to us at Sludgelord HQ.
1) Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today. Thanks to talking to us at Sludgelord HQ.
Hey man – thanks so much for having us back!! We are good thanks – looking forward to another, and hopefully bigger year for Valfader!
2) So it's good to talk to you again. Can you tell our readers what has happened since May 2013 when I last featured you guys.
Wow – it has been an unbelievable year for Valfader since releasing our debut EP. We genuinely couldn’t have anticipated the response that got! We aren’t a band that fits nicely into any one genre, so we were really nervous what people would think. However after only a few hours of going on bandcamp it spread worldwide and received so much praise and support, it totally blew us away. This really upped our expectation and ambition for the band, so since then we have been working pretty hard on putting ourselves out there and getting noticed! We had a release out on Easy rider records, a feature in Terrorizer magazine, and made some really good friends in the music world!
3) You have a new EP – Opening – to be released soon. Great EP. Was that a hard EP to write and record for. As you have slightly changed your sound from Stoner Rock more to Progressive Rock/Progressive Sludge Metal. Was that an easy decision to make.
Dean - I wouldn't say it was difficult, I find with songwriting, the best stuff usually writes itself. Once you have a basis for a song, which in this case was the clean guitar intro, it's usually a case of letting the feeling of the song guide you and tell a story. With Opening, it had to go through a lot of emotional twists and turns to reflect the journey of processing tough issues. So I tried to just play what felt right at the time without analysing what I was doing, I can't say there was ever a point where I considered genre or style too much.
As for recording – we were pretty lucky to win a competition to have a day in the studio at Stage 2 studios in bath so we were determined to get Opening recorded. We thought we would easily get it done in a day as we had been playing it live for a while. However, at 14 mins long, each time we played a part and listened to it back, at least half an hour had gone – so the day went pretty quick!! As for the change in sound, we really didn’t think about it much. We never set out to be any particular style or genre of band or have any particular sound. We just want to write some music that we thinks sounds good and emotes particular feelings we are having at the time, rather than worrying if it conforms to some preset model.
4) Are you going to stick with that style of sound in the future.
Probably not!! Sacred spiral was the last track we wrote for the EP which has more of a prog rock vibe to it and Opening seemed to take it even further in this direction. However we are now working on three new songs, one has a more classic sabbathy sound, more like green sleeps, another has a more stonery, deserty vibe to it, and the last one sounds like nothing we have done before – even we can’t describe it!! Plus Dean mentioned the other day that he is working on another instrumental song which is only 3 mins long which is weird for us as all our other songs work out to be about 10 mins long on average. So I guess we have a pretty diverse sound!
5) You know what I think of Opening. How would you best describe it yourselves.
Dean - I think that of all our songs, Opening has the most passion and intensity to it. It feels less self-conscious to me, and more honest. I hope that it can inspire some kind of emotional response in people, perhaps providing hope as well as an outlet for rage. My dream has always been to give listeners Goosebumps with our music, as personally this is how I gauge the power of a song.
Gaz - One long ass track, haha. It's doesn't seem that long when playing it but after recording & listening to the playback why, that's half an hour gone.
6) I see your debut album was released on Cassette Tape by Easy Rider Records. How did that come about. Very good friends of ours. Awesome label.
Yeah we were really lucky here. As mentioned after releasing the EP we were sending literally thousands of emails out to reviewers, promoters and record labels. The vast majority of people never replied, a few replied with polite rejections, but Dan from Easy rider records actually listened to the EP and replied straight away saying ‘what do you want to do?’. This really caught us by surprise, but we were absolutely thrilled as we really liked the vibe of his label and the bands he chooses to represent are killer. He really took a punt on a small relatively new UK based band, and we are so grateful to him for that. The music industry really needs more guys like him, people who are just really into music and want to support the scene.
7) Will you be releasing any more new material in 2014. New EP or album or such.
We would love to release a follow up EP or possibly a full abum. As mentioned we have 3 songs fairly near finished and another 2 in development so have plenty of material. Unfortunately releasing new material is pretty expensive and we are all pretty broke at the moment so it may have to wait a while.
8) Your Debut EP has struck a chord with the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal crew even more since I last featured you guys. Has this all taken you by surprise.
Yes definitely! We were completely blown away by the amount of positive reviews, fans getting in touch to say positive things and how far around the globe it has travelled! It is very lovely and humbling for us – so we would like to say a huge thanks to everyone again.
9) Have you performed more gigs over the last 12 months or so since you have received more exposure.
Yeah we have done a few but not as many as we would like. We still find it difficult to get put on bills, as a lot of people work with bands they know. However 2014 is shaping up nicely for gigs so we are really going to go for it, get out there, travel a bit further and try and see some people. We love playing live, it really is the best part for us. We would also love to get some festival slots as well.
10) The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently going through a transition at the moment. Lots of great bands and albums starting to be released. Can you see this continuing or do you see things dying down a bit.
It definitely booming at the moment! There are so many truly excellent bands doing amazing things, that it’s hard to keep up! We really hope that it continues and that we can play a part in it. We have to say that our experience of the whole Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene has been really positive. There seems to be some really great people involved who work hard to support the scene, just because they are fans of music and not to make money which is so refreshing and fantastic. Notable mentions would be Dan at Easy rider records, Cowbell promotions in Bath and of course yourself! Fans have been amazing too, really supportive and with a real passion for the music
11) We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you Vinyl Fans yourselves.
Yeah big time!! We love vinyl and all have record players and collections at home. We have always said we would love to have a Valfader release on Vinyl.
12) Who has been your favourite band that you have performed with and reasons why ?
Gaz - For me it's Caravan of Whores, Thorun & Mother. Why, because they blew me away especially C.O.W! I was hooked within 20 seconds & I can't wait to play with them again at the end of May.
Dean - Caravan of Whores for sure, also Mother Corona and Thorun.
Matt - Definitely looking forward to the gig with Grifter at the end of Feb!
13) What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene currently going on. Are you a fan of this medium and would yourselves ever go down this route.
We’ve talked about it as a possibility. Releasing music is a costly business and we are definitely limited by the funds we have, so it may help with that. It’s a different method of funding and one we aren’t totally aware of, and maybe a little uncomfortable with so we may or may not go down this route.
14) I know I asked this question the last time but your answer may of changed. Who are your favourite bands that are currently rocking your world.
Dean - I've Just started getting into Etherial Riffian, fuck those guys are awesome! Love the artwork and the shamanic narratives, and the music just carries me away, beautiful! Also really like the new Earthless release, guess there's a bit of a psychedelic theme at the moment!
Matt – I’m still mourning the loss of ISIS. I love this band so much and they were going from strength to strength then quit – WHY??? Since last we spoke I’ve been checking out some newer bands and releases. Ones I’ve really enjoyed recently have been Sunburster, Wolves carry my name, Canyon Observer, Light bearer, Mouth of the Architect’s Dawning, and particularly Oathbreaker’s Eros/Anteros
Gaz - For me I'm listening to a lot of The Melvins & I'm always got them blasting out of my headphones atm. The same goes for a lot of bands tbh with you, kyuss, Red Fang, Cathedral, Shrinebuilder, Sleep etc etc Oh & Witchcraft.
15) The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently going through a transition at the moment. Lots of great bands and albums starting to be released. Can you see this continuing or do you see things dying down a bit.
Gaz - Let’s hope so mate because there's so many great bands out there atm & let’s face it it hasn't been this good in years. There's always been a stoner scene chipping away here & there but nowadays it seems like everyone is singing of the same sheet & it's great. No egos, no bullshit, just good heavy groves followed by a pat in the back & a pint of real ale, haha.
16) Have you noticed anything different within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal Scene and Blogging Community within the last 12 months. Good or Bad. And how would you fix things if you could.
All I've really noticed is the scale increasing, perhaps it's because I'm paying more attention to it now, but I love the sense of growing community and the passion that's out there for this kind of music. I suppose the only downside is that there's such an enormous wealth of great underground bands, it's impossible to catch them all, so it seems sometimes that bloggers' reviews and posts fall on deaf ears, which is a real shame because so many of these bands deserve way more attention than they get.
17) Finally, Thanks for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. Do you have anything to say to your fans.
Just another huge thank you! Seriously – it is so rewarding and gratifying when people get on touch and say nice things, we really appreciate it! Keep an eye on us for 2014 as we will hopefully be getting out there and playing somewhere near you!
Well guys thanks for doing this as it always great catching up with you. All the best. Best of luck with your new EP
Check Valfader from links below
Written by Steve Howe