Today I am interviewing Serbian Hard Rock/Stoner Rockers – TONGUE – who I have been such a fan of over the last few years or so.
Tongue have released 3 well received EP's and their recently released single – No Handles To Hold – which sees Tongue deliver their sharpest and grooviest Stoner Rock single yet. If you're a fan of Nirvana, Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Kyuss and Fu Manchu then you seriously need to check out Tongue's awesome back catalogue to see why I rate this band very highly indeed.
I originally interviewed Biza back in 2012 but a lot has happened since then and I decided to catch up with Biza and Tongue's new guitar player – Ana.
So lets get down to business with TONGUE.
Q1 – Hi Biza. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this. It's great catching up. Been a while since we carried out our last interview.
B: You're welcome man, it's a pleasure talking with you again. Sludgelord is amazing and we are willing to talk only with true r'n'r renegades! I am doing good these days, lots of planning!
Q2 – Can you give people a brief history of your musical background. How Tongue came about and where it is today.
B: I've started Tongue as my solo project back in 2010. I wanted something new and fresh for me at the time, my wish was to expand my musical creativity.
You know, i've been playing guitar in a hardcorepunk band for years and years, put out a lot of records, done some touring, so i came to the point that i don't have anything more interesting to offer as a main
songwriter. I think i've reached the top in certain genre, i didn't wanna repeat myself so here i am looking for a new challenges. My previous band disbanded the same year so it was perfect time
for Tongue. After few years of releasing different EP's and exploring i think we made enough good songs for our first live performances.
Q3 – Since I last interviewed you, Tongue has released 2 more EP's and a new single. No Handles To Hold. You have been very busy indeed. Have you received more recognition for your music with Tongue.
B: You know, we're the band that's still at the beginning even if we have a few releases out. A lot of people don't know much about us and that's fine but what i noticed is that people don't dig so much
our musical diversity, it's like they want us to go in just one direction so we got some reviews like: "they finally found their thing or this is the style they should stick with".
Fuck that man, i don't wanna be generic or predictable, i wanna be mysterious...like you never know what's gonna happen next, that's thrilling, playing safe is boring to me.
Q4 – So lets talk about your new single. It's probably one of your best tracks to date. Shows Tongue in a more upbeat mood. Was that the intention to release a more vibrant and upbeat single as your previous EP's did feature some dark songs.
B: I always loved pop and dance rock music, especially from the 80's so it was natural thing for me to include some type of similar musical vibes into some of my songs. I knew that's gonna happen, sooner or later.
Mixing those ideas with various r'n'r stuff is a recipe for "No Handles To Hold".
Despite that i think this song is still very dark lyrically so it's not always the case that lyrics do match the music. I have a bunch of new songs that are completely different.
Q5 – You now have a new band member joining Tongue. Ana. Hi Ana. How are things with you today. How did you both meet and when did you decide to ask Ana to join the band.
A: Hi Steve! It’s been fantastic lately, especially since I’m back in Belgrade to play with Biza and some other bands that inspire me. Since I’m living in Oslo, Norway for some time now, I use all the free time I can get to come back and do some shows, record songs and just enjoy while jamming with some really cool musicians. Belgrade has a lot of great artists to offer to the world, so I’m using all the opportunities I can get to be inspired and grow artistically. Biza is a very huge part of that scene and I’m very lucky to have known him some years back, since we’re both part of the underground alternative scene. I’ve also been a huge fan of his work, so it was kinda natural that this collaboration happened.
Q6 – Have you written any new material together or played any shows together yet. Or are there plans for both of these things in the future.
B: No we haven't yet but i am very open to work with Ana on some future stuff. She's an amazing and very talented girl in my opinion and above all great friend.
I look forward to all our new adventures, and am so very grateful to have her by my side. I hope we'll be touring Europe together later this year.
Q7 – In your own words. How would you describe your overall sound as Tongue does feature a lot of different sounds.
B: Our music is like orgies in the dark. You are actually not sure who you're dealing with but the pleasure comes from different sides. It's still better than pissing in the wind.
A: I hear a lot of various influences mixed up nicely into a meaningful rock’n’roll pie, sweet & juicy so you just can’t get enough of it!
Q8 – Which artists and musicians influence you both individually and as a band.
B: I always admired musicians who are not afraid to explore and take risks with their music but at the same time are down to earth people and are not pretentious assholes.
I like people who rock hard and don't give a fuck, Lemmy from Motorhead for example.
A: There’s a lot… But if anybody asked me which artist I would want to be born as, it would probably be Mike Patton or P.J. Harvey because of their artistic versatility and just pure talent.
Q9 – Has the Serbian Stoner/Hard Rock Scene changed much since the last time I interviewed you back in 2012. Can you get gigs more easily or is still very hard to arrange.
B: No it hasn't changed at all, serbian stoner/hard rock scene almost doesn't exist, just a few bands here and there.
Most of the bands play some indie/shoegaze/pop/post-punk/instrumental/ambient/metal thing
and i am not much into that trendy stuff.
And clubs...it's not so hard to arrange the show but we have a lack of crowd support here, people have lost interest in good rock music, that's a shitty fact.
Q10 - What is your live set-up when performing on stage. Any advanced rigs or are you guys have a more straight forward set-up.
B: We perform as a trio, 2 guitars and drums, no bass. We use standard live set-up but we also run one guitar through another separate channel including poly-octaver and bass amp so we can get some bottom end sound.
And yes, i hate strobe lights! ..and smoke machines too, I only like to operate them.
Q11 – What are you thoughts on the crowd-funding scene where bands and artists ask fans to help fund their latest album, tour or release. Are you fans of this medium. Would yourselves ever go down this route.
B: That's pretty lame if you ask me. I really don't know where that shit came from. It's more easy to make albums today than 20 or 30 years ago and you don't do that every day.
Almost every kid knows how to record a song at home easily. It's not just showing disrespect to your fans but to other musicians as well. Fuck those hipsters, fuck them!
Sadly we had that issue here with some local morons. They wanted like 200 euros for having a dinner with you and let you be in their rehearsal space, and they're not even famous.
Hilarious stuff man.
A: Honestly, I’m less irritated by crowd-funding than Biza. If a band has an opportunity to be helped by its fans, I don’t see it necessarily as a hipster thing. New technologies - new evolution of resourcefulness, because you still need money for printing LPs, T-shirts, not to mention all the other expenses involving recording and equipment. If you have a fan base, it can be useful.
Q12 – Tongue has had quite a journey over the last few years or so. What have been the highs and lows over the last few years. And would you change anything about it.
B: I am proud of that first Tongue EP, it was something completely new to me and i was in a position to do the things I never did before.
On the other hand I’ve lost respect for some people that were around the band, got disappointed and stuff like that but I wouldn't change anything, I believe everything happens for a reason.
At least I owe nothing to anyone.
Q13 – You give your music away for Free Download via Bandcamp. Is that an easy decision to make. As it's obviously very expensive to record music.
B: I think i'll always give my music away for free because i wanna reach out to as many people as possible. I never cared about money and this is not about money.
Sometimes music is a way to help people, make them happy or bring them together and that's exactly what i wanna do.
Besides that, if someone really like your band and want to show some respect he'll buy the record or pay the ticket to see you, and if not it's still ok.
Q14 – What are your thoughts on BandCamp. I think it's a brilliant and powerful website which has introduced me to many great bands such as yourselves. Has it helped you a great deal in getting your music across to the masses.
B: Bandcamp and similar sites are not important as blogs are i think, at the end of a day it's just a hosting service, blogs are much more than that.
Without blogs people wouldn't be able to hear many great bands and read about them.
Mainstream media are all about popular acts, they don't give a shit about good, less known bands. So thank you man for doing all this! You rule!
Q15 - If you could give any advice to people wanting to start a band what would it be.
B: I'll quote one famous musician: " When you expect anything from music, you expect too much ".
Play music for yourself and be yourself, if others like and appreciate it then great. Give your best all the time and never lose your faith.
A: If you love music and to perform, do anything to make it work. There will be ups & downs, as always in life, but never give up, because life is all about being creative & having the aesthetic pleasure from being inspired.
Q16 - Apart from the new single what else do you have in store over the next 12 months or so. I am hoping a new album will be released soon.
B: We'll be start working on some live project, it will be audio/visual thing with live EP to follow. Next year you can expect our first full length album, half of the songs are almost done.
I hope we'll be doing European tour later this year and soon we'll have vinyl with our EP trilogy on it.
Q17 – If you could change anything within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene. What would it be and the reasons why.
B: I'd like to see less generic bands. Most of the bands sound the same and it's so boring. Bring some originality to your music, take some risks.
A: I wish that there were more girls involved with playing and composing, ‘cause it would definitely bring out a more interesting feel to it, like Kylesa guitarist Laura for example – she blew me away when I saw them live! Ladies can definitely find a way to express themselves in this genre of music.
Q18 – And finally, do you have anything to say to your fans.
B: We'll rock the world! Don't forget us.
A: Stay true, and In September – come to see us live on tour!
Thanks for doing this interview. Really appreciate it. As you know I will always promote your releases. Keep up the excellent work. And no doubt we will hear from you again. Keep on rocking!!!
Thanx so much man for your support, stay cool!
Written by Steve Howe