Saturday 17 November 2012


Artesian cover art

Today on Sludgelord it is my pleasure to interview One-Man Australian Sludge/Doom/Stoner/Post-Metal Maestro – Judd Madden

Now Judd has been doing his own blend of Sludge, Stoner, Doom, Drone and Post-Metal for about 2 years now.

He has released a string of brilliant albums which have been acclaimed within the Doom/Stoner/Sludge Metal Underground. All which can now be downloaded for free on his BandCamp Page.

Judd's new album – Artesian – is a stunning collection of Stoner/Doom Metal tracks you should all check out now.

I have been a fan of his for ages now so I was pleased Judd agreed to an interview with me.

So let's get started with this hugely talented Aussie. 

 Q1 – Hi Judd, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.

No worries, it's my pleasure. Things are good with me today, just chilling out and playing some games, looking for new music, mucking around on the guitar.

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

Well, I'd been playing heavy music for many years, and when my band broke up (in 2009) I decided it was time for a solo project. A serious project, that pushed my limits.

I wanted to make music that was focused, experimental and super doomy. So I write, play and produce it all, and since then I've released five albums. People seem to be enjoying it, and I love making it, so... life is good.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound. As it crosses many genres and styles of music.

I always just call it "doom metal". That's the simplest. There's a lot of stoner, sludge and post-metal in there as well, but the sub-genres are pretty loose in my mind. If I'm describing it to someone who isn't in the metal world, I'll just say that it's heavy and loud - but not aggressive, quite slow and instrument-focused.

The album Float is obviously very different, more of an offshoot of my core sound.

Q4 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as a musician.

The most influential are the heavy bands I've listened to most: Yob, Goatsnake, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Boris, Bongripper, Pelican, Earth. More recently it's been a bit more obscure: Pombagira, Weedeater, Slug Lord, Scott Walker, Eagle Twin, Eye, Indian, Rwake. But everything you listen to affects your sound. So there may be hint of jazz, blues, classical, electronic and whatever else. Rain on a tin roof, thunder.

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

I'm a graphic designer. That pays the bills, and that's why I can give away my music for free. A couple of years ago I started working four days a week, which has been amazing. That fifth weekday (today!) is my music recording day, and it is ridiculous how much you can get done, especially as a solo project.

It's a good life balance; I couldn't design all the time, and I probably couldn't write music all the time either.

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

My friends who are into metal have been really supportive, and they listen and give me feedback and encouragement. Friends who aren't into metal understand what it means to me, and they're happy that I'm enjoying it, but they don't really listen or start headbanging along... haha... which is fine of course.

Mum and Dad love it, they've always been my biggest supporters through life, putting up with the drums and the hour-long piano doom sessions when I was a kid!

Q7 – What is the song-writing process in the band. How long does it take you to record your albums as you have been very prolific of late.

As a solo artist, the process is extremely fast. It's different per song; sometimes I'll have a couple of key riffs that I'll build around, other times I'll just have a certain sound or group of instruments I want to throw together.

Usually the drums are tracked first (while humming the riffs / structure in my head), then I'll layer in the driving instrument and add sections from there. It's actually quite improvised, and I only have rough plans when I'm starting a song. Lots of surprising things happen along the way.

There's no repetitive rehearsing for me, it's just playing and creating different things until something sticks. 

Artesian took about three months, one/two days a week for all the writing, recording, production and release.

Q8 – You have received a whole truck load of praise for your music across all the main Stoner/Sludge Webzines. Bet your pleased with the responses.

Yeah I'm stoked! You guys fucking rule. We live in a wonderful age, where you don't need a label or a promoter to build up a bit of a following.

Q9 – What inspires you to write and record for each album. As all your albums have a great feel and flow to them. Also you add some wonderful titles to your music as well.

I just have this... need... to play music. I get all twitchy and weird if I'm away from it for too long. Everything is inspiring, the world is inspiring. For me lately it's been computer games (Borderlands, Starcraft, Diablo), movies (The Fountain, anything from Kubrick), books (Orson Scott Card, Peter Hamilton, Stephen Donaldson). 

And all the amazing music in the world, more than you could ever listen to. People putting themselves into waveforms that you can listen to years later, thousands of miles away. Water is a big theme for me, it's the life-giver, and taker. The titles on Artesian are from the poem 'Drought' by W.G. Ogilvie, so full credit to him.

Q10 – 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.

Right now I'm really digging Eagle Twin, Conan, Pallbearer, Animals as Leaders, Swans, Paul Chain and Kylesa. So yep, I'm open to all things heavy. And I'll always listen to classic stuff like Sabbath, Count Raven, Sleep, Penance, Reverend Bizarre, Saint Vitus, Yob and so on...

Q11 – 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?

Well with blogs such as yours, we're really speaking to a specific audience... one that has a fair chance of enjoying the music. So that's just awesome. I'm still way too underground to be featured in any mainstream mags, and not playing live is an added hurdle (as a lot of local press is around upcoming gigs and things).

 But that's never what this was about, it's about playing doom, which is a niche genre with a niche audience!

Q12 – Have you had any press from people/websites in Australia. Or is it just overseas where you get the most recognition.

There's been a little bit in Australia, but really it's pretty evenly distributed around the world. The local scene is very much built around live gigs and festivals, so my music isn't really part of it unfortunately.

As a fan, I go to a lot of metal gigs, so sometimes people recognize me and have a chat!

Q13 – Are you fans of any other one-man metal projects like Deterior, Cloudkicker and Diamenson X. Are you aware of their music or any other projects like that. 

Cloudkicker was certainly a massive influence on me starting this whole solo thing. I love his work, and he's so popular now, it's an absolute inspiration. Haven't heard of the other guys but I'm listening to Deterior now. Sounds good! 

I recently got into Sithu Aye, he's more tech/prog but very impressive. My main concern with one-man projects is the programmed drums, there doesn't seem to be a lot of solo guys actually playing drums.

If it's done really, really well (e.g. Meshuggah - Catch 33) I don't mind, but there's always just something about it that troubles me.

Q14 - What are your future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

I want to play live. Somehow. I've got a great drummer lined up, I think we just need a bassist... and that would do it. Anyone in Melbourne hit me up if you're interested!

And I've got ideas for a couple of albums, one a very mathy/prog type of thing (like the song Chaotic Neutral), and one a super super heavy as fuck slow doom thing, likeDrown times ten.

Q15 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of releasing and recording music as a solo artist.

The most rewarding part is just the whole creative process, starting off with a small idea and seeing it grow and change and become bigger than me. And actually listening to the songs at the end is quite rewarding, because that's the first time I hear them fully. 

Before then it's focusing on one instrument at a time. It's a bit anti-climactic doing the actual release, I just send out an email, put it up on Facebook and... have a beer!

Getting feedback and reactions from people is a real thrill, I get so many messages and emails from all around the world, it's good to know people enjoy it.

Q16 – I have to ask this question but it has been a popular one. What is your stance with major league labels closing down blogs and websites that share links.

For small artists like myself, who don't rely on music as a source of income, it's shattering. Our music is made to be shared, it's not about money or labels. I can understand if you're trying to earn a living from it, then illegal distribution seems to cut into your profits... but if more people hear your music, then there's a bigger chance you'll build more 'real fans' who will come and see you live, or buy merchandise, or will fork out for that next special edition album etc. The whole industry is all over the place, I don't know the answer. My music will always be free, that's all I know.

Q17 - Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Thank you for listening! Thank you to everyone who has written to me, it really means a lot. Keep supporting underground music, be nice and enjoy life.

Peace, love, doom.

Well Judd thanks for doing this interview. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord. Cheers. Steve.

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