It's quite rare for me to buy a Vinyl Record before I have finished listening to the whole album. But that's what I did with today's guests immense début album – Far Dark Helm.
I described the album as:
“Dwell's début album – For Dark Helm – is a disturbing and chilling tale where the world is on the edge of destruction and you can feel that depressing atmosphere through out the album.
hey deserve credit for being miserable as hell. It gives the album a more destructive and thought provoking feel to it. The last two tracks – Far Dark Helm Pt 2 and For Dark Helm Pt 3 – carries on the sonic assault with determined accuracy. It's one powerful ride you will not want to end.
The album is a brilliantly executed affair from start to finish with an excellent uncompromising story to tell. If it's good enough for Noah Landis then it's good enough for you. Awesome as hell. End Of.”
I wanted to find more about these guys as this album is seriously a stunning and dark mysterious affair that will have you coming back for more. And any band that can get Noah Landis from Neurosis to record and master their début album must have something about them.
Ladies and Gentleman – It's time to talk to DWELL.
Q1 – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today.
Things are alright with us. Keeping up with the perpetual grind as usual and keeping our heads above water. Tucker has left Dwell in pursuit for Thailand travels and we have brought on board our good friend, Riley on drums who is helping write the next Dwell album.
All is good in the western front and we’ll keep putting out the tunes as long as we’re breathing through these lungs.
Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history on how the band started and where it is today.
The band started as a collaboration between Tucker and Sam. Chris Clarke joined with Randall Day( ex-Collapse) to write rhythm and bass riffs when they arrived in Oakland from Texas. Randall’s riffs are featured on early Dwell tracks and the Demo you can find on our band camp. Randall then left Dwell and California to pursuit old ventures in Texas. The Trio dynamic has sense taken much presidency with Dwell.
Today we’re looking at potential label options and taking the next step from our foundation as a band.
Q3 – So. How would you describe your sound. Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal. Or something far more sinister.
Slapping a label on Dwell is like slapping a label on water. We have and will take many forms but will consistently be Dwell. We haven’t necessarily strived to become something specific, but rather developed our sound as a result of our journey. We have a lot of Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal influences but don’t have any attachments to specific genres.
If we come off as sinister it is simply because there is a lot to be said about the energy Dwell comes from. Our intention is not to project this negativity, but to offer insight and perspective into our surroundings.
Q4 – How did you all become involved with music.
We all came from various backgrounds, but all share a deep appreciation for heavy music and have had, in one form or another, strong connections to music our entire lives. Mostly we are all driven by the idea of a progressive sound that would evolve and take on many forms.
Q5 – Why the name DWELL. Any specific meaning behind it.
We chose Dwell because it was very definitive our personal experiences. We all have individually dwelled as subjects in a shared reality, and we reflect what it is that we undergo and what we witness within our personal realms. To dwell is to be a part of your surroundings and beat with the network.
Dwell embodied our purpose of creating this music and telling our story.
Q6 – What is the overall concept of the album for people that haven't heard it.
The concept for Far Dark Helm focuses on the distant forces that watch over us. Those who hold the reigns, man the ship, and pull the trigger. To the unseen faces behind the helm, we are pawns in a game, and this album reflects our minimal influence.
Q7 – Noah Landis of Neurosis fame recorded and mastered it. How did you guys hook up with Noah. And what was it like working with him.
Chris met Noah a year or so back and conveyed our concept. We have always been fond of Neurosis, and owe them our roots in the Bay Area metal scene. Noah had always brought his very best to the table for Neurosis and various projects, and we really could not have asked for anyone better to help bring our artistic vision into reality. I mean, we live in Oakland and it’s a small fucking world. We live amongst our heroes and work with them to keep our musical scene alive. Noah has been there for Oakland and we ultimately were fortunate enough to work with him.
Q8 – Did he give you any helpful advice when you were making the album.
Noah definitely helped mold our idea of this vinyl. Noah gave us room to think and helped wind the river to get to the sea. Recording on actual tape was the best thing we could’ve done.
Q9 – Why did you call the album – Far From Helm. Any particular meaning behind it.
It’s about who is behind the wheel and how we play into this long division.
Q10 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album that stand out.
We love the Melvins, Kyuss, Sleep, My Dying Bride, Salome, Isis, Tool, and Cult of Luna. Not to mention, Zeppelin, CCR, Pink Floyd, The Allman Brothers, and many others!
Q11 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it down to one individual or is it a group collective.
Sam and Chris do most of the writing and always have a concept in mind. They bring it to the table and everyone contributes. From there Dwell only further evolves.
Q12 – Your album is being released on Vinyl. Are you releasing this album yourselves on Vinyl. If so did you have any offers from a Record label to release your music.
We released the album totally DIY. That’s Dwell. DIY. We have since then been hit up by labels and our currently weighing out our options. We shall see…
Q13 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Doom/Sludge community been in promoting your music.
Band Camp has been a huge help for Dwell. But more importantly it’s blogs like yourself that keep us going. We are definitely a part of that generation that looks to the internet for the new, freshest, dankest shit that hits our ears.
Q14 – What influenced you when writing the album – Far Dark Helm. As it goes to some pretty dark places.
When you live in Oakland its pretty easy to hit those dark places. It’s home and we love it. Yet, no one will lie to you and tell you its safe. No one will sit there and tell you its humble. Oakland can be cut throat and embodies a great deal of American history dealing with civil rights and the liberties of the unjust. Nothing is yours. Not even your life. Fight for what you have and strive for what you want. A lot of us don’t have much so we hold on tightly to what we have got.
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.
Sam plays out of a Sovtek custom fitted head , a Mesa Boogie 4x10 cab and a 4x12 peavey cab with a mostly Boss setup. Chris has a California B-52 tri-rectifier head he has custom fitted with 4x12 Crate cab with Celestion Speakers and a 2x12 Blackstar open back cab. Chris also has a mostly Boss pedal setup. Drums are a stand alone basic 4 piece setup.
To our fellow doom/sludge heads, play music that you have fun playing rather than worrying about trying to play something that you think people will like. Create a sound that truly pleases you, and play loud as fuck!
Q16 – We are massive Vinyl Heads here at Sludgelord. Are you vinyl fans yourselves.
Chris is huge in to vinyl, and we are all tone junkies. Chris encouraged the idea of releasing the digital format for free and charging for vinyl. There is so much warmth and depth on vinyl. Sonic qualities aside, we felt that providing vinyl is the best way for people to have a physical form of our music in the day and age of digital music.
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 perform about once every two months, usually just taking offers as they come. Sometimes we get a streak of shows but that hasn’t proven to be what were about. Our sets run an average of 45 minutes to an hour to play a minimally comfortable set. We have played with many great musicians and bands whom we love. Being part of a densely populated area with such an involved metal scene, we take what we can get so Dwell can keep making the music we love.
Q18 – 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.
We grew up in a generation where you could download any goddamn record you pleased. In a time in which Labels dominated what everyone listened to and most people would know nothing beyond what they were fed. Bands need funding but more importantly in this saturated scene they need exposure. They need to get there shit out there! Crowd-funding can be a way for fans to meaningfully support a band without any interference from a middle-man. One of our biggest influences, Cult of Luna, had to get funded by their fans to release what we believe was one of the most impeccable albums of 2013. You have to do what you have to do. Always remember your roots and who has helped you grow.
Q19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.
Don’t look back. Making music is a process. You will learn. You will stress. You will grow. There are many components to making music, yet there are many more to being in a band. You’re a family and you must give as much as you receive in any such endeavor. Always remember why your dong what your doing. Most importantly have fucking fun.
Q20 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.
We would like to thank all of you for your support. We hope this record resonates and we’re excited to share our new work with you soon.
Well guys. Thanks for doing this. All the best with the album.
You can buy this album on Buy Now Download/Vinyl from BandCamp now.
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Written by Steve Howe