Saturday, 31 May 2014

Interview with GURT

I should of interviewed today's guests a long time ago as they have been one of the finest bands within the UK Sludge/Doom Metal scene over the last few years.

They have released a few EP's which has won them some acclaim with fans and critics alike. But it's their eagerly awaited debut album – HORRENDOSAURUS – which is going to take these filth ridden noise terrorists onto the next level. As HORRENDOSAURUS is pure evil. Plain and simple. Plus it's a brilliant debut album that has impressed the hell out of us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Ladies and Gentlemen, It's my honour to be interviewing GURT. You need more info. OK how about a quick recap of my review of HORRENDOSAURUS.

HORRENDOSAURUS has a killer charm of it's own. GURT stay loud through out the entire album so you don't have to worry of there being a “LIGHTER/MOBILE IN THE AIR” type song as that ain't GURT's style. The band stay pissed off through out as they unleash a barrage of brutal songs to rock out to. Tracks such as Horrendosaurus, Eve's Droppings and Hoboreaper have a constant supply of dangerous riffs which the band expertly delivers time and time again.

If Gareth isn't scaring the hell out of you with his impressive death based growls then the action packed riffage the band lay down will have you begging for more. This is one hell of an impressive debut album. I haven't stopped listening to it since I received a copy to review.

This album is meant to be played as loud as you can. Who gives a fuck if it upsets your neighbours. Tell em you're partying with GURT and their monster of a record called HORRENDOSAURUS. And they ain't fucking invited. If the afterlife does indeed sound like this then I may never want to leave!!!!”

You will be hearing a lot more from GURT over the next few months as with their debut album release they are supporting Canadian Doom/Sludge Metal overlords – DOPETHRONE. Now that is going to be one hell of a fucking line-up. You can feel the pain now!!!

Anyway this is GURT's time. So lets get started.

Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.

Busy, stressed but excited! Lots to do yet a load more to look forward to over the coming months!

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band started and where it is today.

To keep it very brief we started in 2010 with a different line up, our original Guitarist Jamie McCathie and Bassist John Hughes now live abroad but the 4 of us created the band as we all like Iron Monkey and wanted to do something new (all but Gareth were previously in a blues rock band called ROWSE) Rich and Spicy joined the band in 2012 and have been awesome ever since. We have all been friends since the beginning and although we have Jamie based in America now he still is a big part of the band and helps with our writing process and we were lucky enough last year to play a show with him and Rich in Paris so we hope to do more work in the future with both guitarists but as you can guess the trans Atlantic thing does not help much! We also have Bill Jacobs (of Diesel King) that helps us out on drums now and then so he is also part of the GURT family too…

Q3 – So. How would you describe your sound. You must be sick of me calling you Doom/Sludge Metal. Or is that a pretty accurate term for you all.

That is probably best, we are most definitely a Sludge band but we have a vast range of influences, someone once referred to us as PARTY DOOM which we liked the sound of. We consider ourselves a bit more upbeat and fun compared to most of our peers so that what we most want to be known for!

Q4 – How did you all become involved with music.

Rich, Simo and Spicy all have a history of being in other bands over the years and have played instruments for many many years where as Gareth has blagged it…

Q5 – Why the name GURT. Any specific meaning behind it.

Yes, simple meaning really… it’s a Bristolian slang term for MASSIVE or GREAT!!!
It’s not all the other stupid meanings that’s you see on Urban Dictionary.

Q6 – So lets get talking about your new album. HORRENDOSARUS. What a brilliant album it is. Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for.

Writing is fairly easy for us in that we are all on the same page and nothing is over thought or overcomplicated. So the album came together pretty quick, a riff will be brought to the table and we will all work on it until it something fun is created! We think the worst thing people can do is over work something or try to deliberately write something that is DOOM or SLUDGE as it will be fairly obvious that it is forced. Most of the songs on HORRENDOSAURUS sound so different from each other and that is just how it is, we never intend something to sound a certain way.

Q7 – It's been a long time coming as GURT have released a few EP's over the years. Why the long wait. Plus I bet your glad the album is finally being released upon to the world.

EPs cost a lot less to produce and we do everything ourselves so it’s that simple really. We are more bothered on getting stuff out quickly but we felt it was about time we did a full length and we worked hard on ensuring we had the money to put out the best release we could, so its feels amazing to know we achieved what we could for ourselves. We just hope the rest of you like it too!

Q8 – What is the overall concept of the album for people that haven't heard it. As it's one mean angry pissed off album. I love the first track - “Gardening with Cthulhu”. That insane speech. WOW. Where did you find that soundclip.

For me (Gareth) lyrically it’s a collection of songs about angry and nasty things or situations but done in as fun a way as possible so I guess that is a concept in a way. Gardening with Cthulhu is literally about gardening but put together in such a way that it sounds like some bleak end of the world situation from which no one can escape, but its actually about harvesting a crop of Peas! The sample was found by Simo online from some mental Evangelical dude.

Q9 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.

Everything from the obvious like Weedeater to Sabbath, but the best are the more obscure influences that we have that add a different sound to our band Primus, The Tiger Lillies, Mike Patton, Pink Floyd to name but a few and Gareth is a massive Nu Metal fan which we don’t talk about much!


Q10 – Love the album cover. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have with overall design.

The legend that is Dominic Sohor is the man that did our cover, we have worked with him on 2 of our best selling shirts (one of which was a limited design for Desertfest 2013) and we have noticed that a lot of other bands in our scene have started going to him now for work to be done, watch out as he is getting a lot more work in and we really expect him to get very big as his work is so amazingly detailed and he works damn hard too! We have as much input as we want into what it looks like but we trust him 100% to come up with something awesome so we leave him to it.

Q11 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.

Always collectively, everyone has their say and if we don’t all agree it gets scrapped.

Q12 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

Massively, as we are DIY all the way sites like Bandcamp allow us to look after our own back catalogue and control all the funds (if any) that we get from putting our material out there. As for the community, everyone helps each other out and that is vital from the larger London promoters like Desertscene and Human disease who we have been good friends with for a fair few years to the newer breed like the Southern Doom Crew in Bournemouth or Submerge and FOAD in Manchester we all keep in contact and we all help each other in ensuring the scene (and our music) thrives the best way it can!

Q13 – What is your verdict on the current state of the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. It has been thriving over the last few years. Can you see this continuing or do you see a natural decline when you're performing gigs at home or on the road.

Its beyond amazing and only going to get bigger if everyone works together, the bands like ourselves that have been around for a few years are now getting friends in Europe and beyond which is opening the doors to more exciting areas so if it carries on this way we can’t see it declining anytime soon.

Q14 – Gareth. More a question for you. The album is being released on your own label. When Planets Collide. How did you get started with that. The Label and PR Side of things. As you have released a ton of records by other bands this year. Plus is it a hard task combining your work with the label and the band.

When I started WPC it was (and still is) a way of giving newer bands a chance to play gigs with other like minded bands and help make the community grow. So the label I started with exactly the same ethos, obviously it was there to help GURT grow as a band too but bands that are starting out don’t have much support so I hope that a label like mine can give bands a hand with getting their material to an audience that’s knows that they are likely to enjoy what they hear. BUT yes it is VERY hard work and I can see myself having a nervous breakdown in the next few years ha ha!! I love it and would not change it for the world but work a 9-5 day job so ideally it would be nice to put all my effort into the band and label. But I guess thats the dream for everyone right?

Q15 – What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

Guitar, Bass, Drums and Vocals? Keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate things!

Q16 – We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves.

Yes very much so and Gareth and Rich in particular spend way too much money on buying vinyl … but with pressing vinyl comes a lot of stress!

We have already had a 7 inch split with Dopefight out which is now long sold out and have the album out on vinyl too so can’t wait to get that in our hands!!

Q17 – Do you guys perform a lot of gigs in your home town or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We play a fair few shows in London but we are lucky enough to have played in many other towns and cities in the UK and Europe and obviously we have this 21 date tour coming up! We have more plans to do longer tours with our first full UK tour being planned for early 2015.

Q18 – Plus you have a European Tour supporting DOPETHRONE coming up. How did that come about. And what can people expect from those shows when they see you live in action.

We played a show in Paris last year for Stoned Gatherings and the promoter is also a booking agent (Dead Pig Booking) he loved what we do and we got on well so he has come on board as our European booking agent and literally a couple of weeks after the show he offered us this, as you can guess we were well up for it! With this being our first time in many new cities we are going above and beyond with these guys getting to be the first to see songs from our new album being played live, its going to be MEGA!

Q19 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene. Where bands ask fans to fund their next album. Are you a fan of that platform. Would yourselves ever go down this route.

It’s very funny you should ask this question as we were very very close to actually using Pledge music to fund this album, with us being unsigned and DIY we thought it would be a great idea but when we worked out the math (they take 15% commission for doing very little) we thought it may be a risk but should we just put up the money ourselves and hope that we get enough pre-orders from our fans to mean that we don’t have to lose too much money before it is released. And fortunately for us IT WORKED!! We have had an overwhelming response and because of the various options we had on our bigcartel we made more than enough money to cover everything and for that we can’t thank our fans enough…

Q20 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Be patient, work hard and do everything yourself!! DIY FOR LIFE!!!

Q21 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Thank you for the support, thank you for helping us release this album into the world, Come see us on tour, buy some merch and say hi!

Well guys. Thanks for doing this. All the best with HORRENDOSAURUS and the forthcoming tour with DOPETHRONE.

HORRENDOSAURUS will be available to buy from When Planets Collide Records on CD/DD/Vinyl from June 09th 2014.

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Written by Steve Howe

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