Saturday 24 November 2012

Interview with SONANCE

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Ben Chappell (Guitar and Screwdriver) from the brilliant Ambient/Sludge/Doom/Drone Metallers – SONANCE

Sonance have recently released their brilliant début album – Like Ghosts - I rank this as one of the heaviest and loudest of 2012.

If you haven't heard – Like Ghosts – then your missing out on a true masterpiece of Extreme Metal. Sonance are starting to receive praise all over the place. And it's not hard to see why.

Their blend of Ambient/Sludge/Drone/Doom Metal will haunt you for days. I love it. So am pleased to say Ben has agreed an interview with me.

Q1 – Hi Ben, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you guys Today.

BC - Good thanks man. All the better after reading your review earlier today.

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

BC - Chino and Tom wanted to do a slow and heavy band, I wasn't up to much so agreed to play guitar. I found Jamie on the street so I took him in and gave him some pots and pans to beat with spoons. He soon learned to talk properly and play drums, so we started rehearsing. A few months later we added Will and began writing a set; there was no real goal besides writing a heavy, slow, dynamic and interesting record and recording it.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound. As even I have a a hard time describing it.

BC - I'm not sure. I think it's definitely thought provoking, and it's clearly heavy. There are elements of despair, grief and depression in there as well, as well as some bleak soundscapes. If I had to make band comparisons, maybe Khanate, Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Ocean. People have mentioned Neurosis, but I don't see it myself.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

BC - I think a collective one would actually be Neurosis, oddly. Not art, but The Road by Cormac McCarthy influenced the lyrics on the record to a certain extent.

Q5 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

BC - We all have bills, therefore we all have jobs.

Q6 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

BC - Absolutely. We've all been doing various bands throughout the years and everyone has always shown great support.

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

BC - Well, we are spread a little around the UK so we use Dropbox to collect ideas, usually myself and Will recording small guitar parts. Then we just take them to the band and put them together until it sounds right. We are already planning our next recording and this time we will still use the same approach but we will probably practice a lot more as (for example) just me and Jamie or me, Jamie and Chino or me, Jamie and Tom to feel out the initial ideas more. Will is in London, but when he is back in Bristol we'll catch up as a five-piece to finalise the jammed ideas.

Q8 – You have released your brilliant début album. It's been receiving some amazing praise. Bet you guys have been happy with the responses so far.

BC - Overwhelmed if I am perfectly honest. If nothing else it has surprised me just how popular heavy music still is. Which is awesome news indeed.

Q9 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. I love the style of genres you have on the record.

BC - It took a while to get it right. We played with Monarch! in London and we just weren't ready' on reflection we shouldn't have played that show as the sound wasn't right and we were sloppy. We really didn't sit down and think of any genres and try to take influence from or anything. It was all just guitar riffs. The start of Side B is a drone we play to start our set live. The drums were recorded at a studio in Bristol, the rest was recorded in Will's shed. DIY.

Q10 – How did you decide which parts and genres ended the way they did on the album. Was there any hard decisions made when recording Like Ghosts.

BC - Not at all. We had the main song, which is Side A - that was the only part we were sure of. Then we had this drone and a six minute song whch eventually became Side B. It's written with a vinyl release in mind.

Q11 – Is there a scene for Sludge/Doom/Stoner bands to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

BC - I'm not really aware of that sort of scene in Bristol, there are heavy bands though and Bristol is a musically diverse city. We've played a couple of shows here and that Monarch! show in London where the scene is pretty huge. Saying that, I don't think we'd be out of place on a post-rock bill, for example. So pairing us live with other bands isn't really an issue.

Q12 – What is the Sonance live gig experience like. What should people expect in seeing you guys live.

BC - We have live visuals that Will put together, some black and white moving image stuff. It works really well and there are a couple of YouTube videos about (search 'Sonance Cube Bristol'). We are unsurprisingly loud, but try and keep to the dynamics you hear on the record. Jamie hits the drums really, really hard.

One of the Sonance Cube Bristol YouTube Videos

Q13 – Do you have any interesting and exciting stories from tour. Have you toured with anyone famous. If so who have been your fave band to perform for/with.

BC - We've not toured properly yet! We are in March, some UK/Euro dates with our friends in Pohl (check them out). Ask me again at the end of March 2013, I'm sure there will be plenty to tell then...

(Sludgelord - Check The Link For POHL Folks. Awesome Noise Rock Band)

Q14 – What are your favourite bands around at the moment. Do you listen to modern day rock/metal or do you just listen to the classic era of Stoner/Sludge/Doom Metal.

BC - We listen to everything. Jamie's favourite band is Harvey Milk. Will's is Xiu Xiu. At the moment I am listening to Young And In The Way, Martyrdod and Harvey Milk as well actually. Me and Chino are currently disagreeing over the new Neurosis; he thinks it's great, I think it sucks.

Q15 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags, at home or around the world?

BC - I love the reach that the blogs have given us, we had our first writeup in Russia before we'd even linked the record to Facebook. Then Forever Cursed picked up on it and everything went off! I love the effort that guys like yourself are putting into spreading the word about good, honest bands and music. I've just put myself forward to help out with, so I'll be helping out some awesome bands with reviews and such fairly soon.

Q16 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

BC - For me playing a great live show. The reviews have been amazing (so far) too. There aren't many negative aspects. I guess unproductive rehearsals can be a drag, but those will always happen, you just have to move on.

Q17 – Will you be releasing your album on Vinyl as it feels it was recorded for that purpose. Especially with the song titles you came up with.
BC - Hopefully. We need a label though, or some spare cash. Do you have any?

Q18 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

BC - None that I didn't already mention - tour mainland Europe in March, write and release a new record. We've been invited to a festival in the South of France in May, and we may plan to tour some more in Portugal, Spain and France later in the year.

Q19 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

BC - Just a huge thanks for the response and the support. For anyone that has shared links, written reviews, played, downloaded or bought the songs - thank you. I would especially like to thank Artvr and Tiago for all their help. And of course a big thanks to you, The Sludgelord!

Well thanks to Ben for taking the time out. We at Sludgelord wish them very best for the future. If you haven't download their amazing debut album then check it out. Your missing out on something amazing.

Check This Brilliant Band Below: