Wednesday 16 May 2012


To Cross the Great Divide Cover Art

Hi all. Well my next victims of hard-hitting Sludge Metal Investigations and Interviews are with brilliant Sludge/Stoner/Ppst-Metal Noise Makers – PIKE. Who's debut album “To Cross The Great Divide” has became my fave full length record of 2012.

I kindly asked Alex and the gang if I could interview them. They said Yes. So lets see what they have to say  

Q1 – First of all thanks for agreeing to this. Can you describe how your band came about or maybe a brief bio 

No problems, thank you for thinking of us! Pike came to be about four years ago, in the beginning of 2008. The band i played in at the time, a punk rock-outfit, were just splitting up and Alvin and Erik had just quit the band they were in, the fuzzrockers Menhiir. 

So basically we decided to start a band. Well, actually they had already decided to continue playing together and since I was out of a band and they needed bass and vocals, we decided to join forces. We didn't have a goal or anything, we just wanted to play some really heavy music and then it's just rolled on from there.

And so, it's really fun to be playing with my brother who is one of the absolutely best drummers I've played with, and one of the best I've heard actually. And Erik is an amazing guitarist, just brilliant. It's really great to be playing with two of your best friends and to be able to create something so enormous together. I'm really proud of us and of what we've accomplished so far.

Q2 – How would you describe your sound as you float between many genres such as Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Post-Metal. But you do it brilliantly well

That's probably the most difficult question to answer because, as you say, we kinda float in the middle of all the genres you mentioned. I usually just call it doom or sludge, because if someone asks and you answer "metal" most people think it's like Iron Maiden-metal, or Metallica-metal. If they're not into the whole scene of course. But yeah, doom or sludge I would say, if I would have to label it.

Q3 – Your debut full length is an amazing album. What is the inspiration for this album. I felt it was like a battle against the elements or a battle for survival at times. (I could be wrong but am happy to be told otherwise)

Thank you, we're glad you and hopefully a few others like it. The inspiration for this album has come from different places, literature, history and what not. And a lot of it is just from life, death and everything in-between. Some songs just come from an idea or an image that pops up in the mind, like At the End of Existence. 

That whole song is basically the dying breath of a person, the moment this person siezes to be. The soul leaving the body. And like I mentioned litterature, Ned Land is based on the character from Jules Vernes masterpiece 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and depicts Neds final journey and how he never makes it to shore again.

We never had a theme or a concept in mind for this album, but when we had these songs ready and we were ready to record them, we saw that all of them dealt with death in one way or another. And that's where the title comes from too, as a way to tie it all together. Someone crossing over, crossing the great divide. Basically the title is To Die. And it's a really cool title that we like a lot and I'm proud we came up with it.

Q4 – Who are your musical influences. Any artist that stands out for you.

We all have a lot of different influences and listen to a lot of different music, and have different favourite bands. If you look at my record collection you'll find everything from Bob Dylan to black metal, including mainstream pop, hip-hop and.. Yeah, there's a lot of different stuff going on for each of us. But some bands that we can all agree on is Slayer, Kyuss, Motörhead and of course Black Sabbath. Without Sabbath there wouldn't be a Pike.
Of course there are more bands and influences but it would be too long a list for you to publish.

Q5 – Sweden has a great international reputation for producing great bands in whatever genre. Seems to be like a musical mecca for bands to come from. What is your country's secret (My Faves are Truckfighters, Signo Rojo, Graveyard and Ghost)

I don't know if there is a secret.. Maybe it's all the darkness we have throughout the year? I really don't know. But I agree that it is quite impressive for such a small country to produce so many good bands and artists, not only in the metal-genre.

Q6 – Have you toured with any of the bands listed above or any other famous bands

No, we haven't toured with any of those guys. Actually we have yet to do our first, proper tour. We have played with Kongh a bunch of times, and they've become good friends to us. We've done gigs with Skraeckoedlan, Asteroid and El Gordo as well. 

And Ozo from Truckfighters produced our two demos (Beneath Death Valley (2008), Beyond the Surface (2009), both out of print, but we're hoping to re-issue them on vinyl sometime in the future) and they were also recorded in their studio in Örebro, Sweden.

Q7 – Is Pike a full time job. Or do you all have respective jobs, families etc that make Pike more of a hobby than anything else

No, Pike is not a full time job. If we wanted to make money we couldn't play the kind of stuff that we play. We do it because we love to do it, and because we have to do it. There never was a choice. 

When we first started playing together we all felt that this was it. I've never had the same feeling playing with other people as I have when I'm playing with Erik and Alvin.

I study at the University in Uppsala and Erik study at the university in Växjö, and Alvin have a job back home in Kungsör. So we're really spread out, wich makes it difficult for us to rehearse as much as we would like to, but we've never viewed Pike as a hobby. Pike is Pike.

Q8 – Do you get a lot of gigs or is it a case of where and whenever in your own hometown or other cities in Sweden.

As I mentioned earlier, we can't rehearse as often as we'd like to so we don't play a lot of shows right now. We did play a release party for the album on april 6th, and had a blast. So we'll see if we can do some one-offs this summer perhaps. But when we're done with our academic work the plan is to start hitting the road, in Sweden and Europe.

Q9 – How has the reaction been like to your music. National and International. Any good or bad experiences.

The reaction has been mostly good, I'd have to say. But it's a bit difficult at times when you this type of thing. People don't always get what were doing. Our first demo, Beneath Death Valley, got great reviews both in Sweden and internationally. 

But our follow-up Beyond the Surface, on which we started to stretch out the songs and went a bit more psychedelic, wasn't as well-received, at leats not in Sweden. It did great internationally, but in Sweden people just didn't seem to get it. They thought we were just smoking weed and recording 15-minute riffs without any thought behind it, wich wasn't the case at all. But the album has been well- received so far, and we're very pleased with that since we're very proud of what we have created.

Q10 – Your artwork for your new album really sets the mood for the overall tone for the album. Like a caged animal waiting to be released back into the wild. What influenced it.

Yes, I agree, it really fits the album perfectly. I'm not really shue what influenced. The idea came from som photos Erik had taken on a fishing trip and then played around with in Photoshop or something. But what influenced it?

 I don't know really, we just wanted that "feeling". And nature has always been interesting to us with all it's mysteries and we felt that we could get the right tone and feel if we went for some forest on the cover.

But it was a long process to get to where we ended up with it. When we settled with Mattias Lokgård to do the artwork, he immediately got what we were looking for in the artwork and he nailed it basically. Really great guy who has done a lot of art for us.

Q11 – I have to ask this question as it's really popular. Where do you stand on blogs and websites sharing your music. (As stated before. I never do on Sludgelord without the band;s permission. I bought the album out right from BandCamp)

I think it is a great way to get your music out there, and it is always good to have collaborations like that with different sites and whatnot, to get a bit of momentum going. But it has to be done right, and in complete understanding.

To have an album posted for free download for a limited time, or to have a song or two available for free is great marketing and something you could do in cooperation with a blog or site or on your BandCamp and whatnot. It's a way for the bands to let people know they exist, and a way for people to discover new music. But I wouldn't want to give away my work for free, all the time.

Q12 – What about the crackdown on various blogs and websites being shutdown by certain companies and authorities.

I'm not sure I've heard anything about that, so I can't give you a great answer there I'm afraid. But if they're sharing music illegally, then I can see why they're getting shut down.

Q13 – You recorded the album in one week in Jan 2011 (according to BandCamp anyway). Why the long delay in getting this superb album released.

Yeah, we had a week booked in the studio in january 2011, but it actually only took four days to get the recording done. The long delay is due to a lot of different reasons. First, we had the mixing and mstaering done, and this took a little bit longer than expected.

But the real reason is because we didn't get a label to release the album. That is what took the longest, so finally we decided that we would do it ourselves, so I started Death Valley Records.

And the artwork dragged on for ages as well, as we didn't really see eye to eye with the first artist we had on board. And Mattias Lokgård took a bit convincing, since he's usually really busy with his university-studies. And when we finally got all the pieces together, a year had passed since the recording.

Q14 – What are the future plans for PIKE. Any international touring plans or just usual plans.

The future plans for Pike is to continue to do what we do. We rehearse when we can, when we're all in the same place. We hope to do a one-off show or two during the remainder of the year. But not touring until our studies are finished, as we just can't fit a tour into our schedules as long as we're at the universities.

Music-wise we're working on new songs continously, but a new album is probably a year, maybe two, away. We're hoping to re-issue our demos on vinyl since they're out of print, and there's hopefully some merchandise in the works as well.

Q15 – Why The Name PIKE

The name Pike comes from the fish. That band is named after the fish. Erik and Alvin are both avid fishermen, and the pike is their favourite fish, and mine. And we thought it would be fitting to name our band after it since the pike is an evil, sinister fish. Even though we all love Sleep and High on Fire we didn't realize that Matt Pike is named Pike. 

But that was a pretty fun coincidence. Son, once and for all: Yes, we are named after the fish.

Q16 - Thanks for you time and answering the questions so honestly. All the best and I hope it all goes well for you in the future.

Thank you Steve, keep up the good work your doing. And keep spreading the gospel of Pike!

So Thanks To Alex and the rest of the PIKE crew. Check them out. Their album is still available from BandCamp and its fucking brilliant.

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