Saturday 8 December 2012

20 Questions w/ Lord of the Grave

Today, I bring you my 20 questions interview with yet another band I have discovered this year, the fuzzed up Swiss doomsters, Lord of the Grave.  The have recently released their 2nd record, The Green Vapour on The Church Within Records and we at The Sludgelord think it is another outstanding release. 

Because they're a new band to us, here at The Sludgelord, I thought it would be cool to get an insight into how the band started, their influences etc.  So what better way to do that, then to talk to the band directly. This is what Rob and Sam had to say, when I put them under the spotlight with 20 Questions.  Enjoy! 

Lord of the Grave

Hey Rob / Sam, How are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord. Just like to congratulate you guys on your amazing 2nd record, it very cool.

Q) Where are you at the moment and what are you doing in terms of the band?  It must be a relief to finally have the record released?

R: I’m at home and doing an interview. It is a relief indeed, it took a long time. As I sometimes reefer to it as the longest joke in the world

S: Yeah, a heavy birth indeed..

Q). I have to admit, I was not aware of your band, prior to receiving Green Vapour, so you’re another great discovery for me this year.  For my benefit as well as the readers, could you tell us a little about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? Where you’re from? When Lord of the Grave first formed? Current band members?

R: Well it probably all started when Southern Lord put out all these amazing bands that never toured or at least nowhere near us. So I decided that has to be changed in the way of playing likewise music ourselves and to force-feed people with this kinda shit.
I then started a band with the nowLOTG drummer Sam and found another guy we forced playing bass. The band’s called ANTHRAZITFöTZEL, we tried to play the most wicked kinda doom we could imagine, tried to cross KYUSS, Lowrider with Khanate, Burning Witch - EW, SLEEP with EHG, Melvins, Grief. We blew some minds definitely and even managed to record some stuff. Had an ultra small edition of a DIY rehearsal space CD-R with 2 songs on it, I guess, one was 45min the other like 20min.

We also went to a studio where we recorded like 7 songs. Somehow things in the band started to get more and more fucked up and we split up without ever releasing the material. That was estimately from 2001-2005. If you are interested you’ll find the soundcloud link on the facebook page.

After 3 month of not picking up a guitar at all and just listening to Sabbath, I took a year off bands mainly played High on Fire, Black Sabbath and Pentagram for myself.  Then wrote a couple of songs under which was ‘Lord of the Grave’ so I decided to form another band. That was 2006.   History from there, with all the line up changes you’ll also find on our fb page or SSW. Actually the band started to feel whole when Sam got on board again.

Well, we got signed by Oli who saw us at the Dawn of Doom Festival in Switzerland. We played some shows where, I guess nobody would admit it, the chick in the band definitely helped (don’t blame me for that, I just calls em as I sees em) We recorded our first record ‘Raunacht’ twice actually, recordings with us always seem to be a bit cursed. You probably haven’t heard of it ‘cause it bridges more the trad doom with the more contemporary style of the genre as someone mentioned.

If you mean by bands we’ve played with, the bands we shared stage with, that would be: shEver, Zatokrev, Palmer, Black Shape of Nexus, Beehoover, Union of Sleep, Corwen, Petrified, Kalibos, Lord Vicar, Mirror of Deception, Revelation, Spancer, Jex Thoth, WALL, Excruciation, ABRAHAM, Lombego Surfers. To me bands you play on a festival with don’t count, so I won’t mention any of them.

Our former bass player made a French goodbye, like he liked to use to call it, implying someone who leaves rudely without saying anything. So it’s Sam and myself.

S: ANTHRAZITFÖTZEL was a really unique experience for me ,but it also was connected to a very fucked up lifestyle. So after breaking up I took a break from Music until I joined LOTG in September 2009.  So here we are.

Q). Is Lord of the Grave a full time project/work?

R: It is dedication.

S: Yeah.

Q) What made you start the band?  Did you all know each other before you formed the band?

R: I guess one point was that a friend of mine offered to sell me this amplifier and I remember telling Tatsu that I will come up with a band called ‘Lord of the Grave’ when I only had the idea.

Well, we all knew each other in the different line ups beforehand, except for Simone who was the only member through an ad. Actually another guy answered, figured it’s not for him and hooked us up with her. Wouldn’t do this kinda thing anymore, only crazy people show up.

Mostly I called them and asked them.

Q) Since your inception, what were your aspirations for the band?

R: What do you want to hear? World domination? No. Putting out records, touring, playing Rock N Roll.

S: Getting High and play pounding grooves.

Q) With all the changes in the music industry, it genuinely does appear harder to make a commitment to a band, what with potential for constant touring, promotion for very little financial reward, what motivates Lord of the Grave?
R: To be able to play the music we play.

Q) Presumably you’re not flying on private jets to and from gigs or able to retire from Lord of the Grave produces?  Is there pressure on you guys to juggle work and then make time for the band? 

R: We use helicopters.

S: Get to the Chopper!!

Q) If someone was unfamiliar with your band, how would you describe your sound and do you feel it has evolved?  What you think about the band being compared to Electric Wizard and Sleep? 

R:I think it’s kinda hard to explain music without hearing it, like with a dish without tasting it.  Green Vapour is the closest thing of what I wanted to do about ten years ago. I went to more or less experimental phases within the genre to find, what is to me, or should be, the quintessence.

I don’t mind being compared to EW and Sleep, I mean it’s kinda obvious.  What bothers me more is that some people seem to reduce it to that. I don’t know if they’re the only bands they know in this vicinity.  Actually I thought we would get the CoM some more. A lot of riffs remind me on HoF, EHG, Black Sabbath, Melvins more so than Sleep and Wizard. From those two we rather have the vibe.

Q) Are you big fans of rock/metal, if so what are you listening too at the moment?

R: Mainly we are.  I found myself listening to a lot of Stooges and AC/DC lately. Besides the obvious and above mentioned, I enjoy finding these weird, fucked up underground stoner doom sludge bands on youtube that are really hard to find else, like Stonehelm or Belzebong. And of course the occasional blues.
Sam also listens to a lot of  death, brutal death, grind.

S: Yes I have a passion for Grind and Hardcore. Also I listen to Iron Monkey, I like sludgy stuff that pounds.

Q)  Who would you say are your influences/heroes both musically and artistically in terms of the bands sound and subject matter for your lyrics? 

R: The obvious and above mentioned. We’ve always tried to conquer a special sound, not THEIR special sound, like Sleep, EW, Melvins, Earth, Vitus, Hendrix, HoF, Spirit Caravan. I’m not sure if we even come close.

Artistically it was hard to find a conclusion with our former drummer, our views on outlook differed quite a lot. To me it should have a touch of the golden age of the 70’s to which they now refer to as heavy psych. A friend of mine, he’s a crusty, saw the records I have and said: ”Oh, these guys really care about their covers.” I thought it was quite funny. Best is something that catches the eye, my eye. With style, Rock N Roll style. Gangnam Style?

Lyrically, well, I guess it always changes. I love Jus’ lyrics for example, they are very clear, witty, weird and easy to remember. I get ideas from all kinds of things. Walking helps to get the lines together. Well I may be influenced but I say it as I see it and how I think it should be said. That’s the advantage.

S: I don`t write lyrics, but there are Drummers who impressed and kinda influenced me. Like Justin Greaves or Keko from Weedeater or Mr.Hakius.

Q)  Why the name Lord of the Grave?  Do you have some weird fetishes you want to tell us about, hehe? 

R: No, we keep our fetishes to ourselves.  It came from the heavy Sabbath phase I told you earlier. I figured, when a band, then with a Sabbath name. That’s about it.
I could tell you about this weird thing, that we, as musicians, are not the Lord of the Grave, that it is this entity which guides us in our directions, but I’m not gonna.

Q) The name of your record Green Vapour implies an association with a certain medicinal/recreational drug?  Is that fair? Indeed the label stoner doom has a generic association with drugs and that you music is only for ‘stoner’s’?  What are your thoughts?  Does that bother you?

R: The typical joke would be:”I’m stoned, I don’t give a shit.”  Guess what, I don’t even give a shit when I’m sober. Music and drug use go hand in hand. Period. You’ll find it in every kinda music, even in ‘Ländler’ (google that). I mean they can’t be seriously doing this shit sober, can they?

Music evolved through cultural, recreational festivities where they used it as a trance inducing tool for a spiritual purpose and/or mating. Mind altering substances give that an extra kick.

Stoner just happens to advertise this a lot, they took the torch from Reggae.   You don’t have to be stoned to enjoy stoner music, but it helps and is probably the best music to get stoned to.  Keep in mind:  "We hate trend. We hate corporate attitude. We hate the word 'stoner'. Death to false stoners!! Let there be DOOM!!"

S: I don`t consider myself as a “stoner” even though I am heavily stoned all the time. I just wanna be high when I play the Drums, out in Space.

Q) I’m assuming all musician like to talk about gear, so with that in mind what gear do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use?

R: Shitty, cheap and sublime. And most preferably vintage.  My guitar is a Gibson SONEX, I found it in a second-hand guitar shop in town. It’s a cheap guitar looking kinda similar to a Les Paul with the features of an SG. Later found out that Jimmy Bower uses one as well, so it’s kinda the EHG sound you’ll get. Only other player I know of is Hank III. 1981. I really like the head.

My wah is a cheap crybaby they had on display on the counter.  I use two amps with the Switchblade pedal from EHX, with that you can mute one amp or have both amps running with a tip of your foot. You can use that as a power effect just like most people do that with distortion/fuzz pedals to get the extra punch.

As for fuzz, on ‘GV’ it’s the Russian black Big Muff in the big housing, on ‘Raunacht’ the Boss OD-2r Turbo Overdrive. Now I use the Fulltone Octafuzz, which sounds cream.  One amp, which is the one I told you about earlier, one of the reasons this band happened, is a Marshall Superbass fullstack from the 60’s.

The story goes like this: Two guys in the 60’s made some kinda drug deal and with the money from that they bought this amp. They played throughout the 70’s and in the 80’s this amp has seen a lot of illegal punk shows on the streets. Apparently both of the owners died and the amp found its way to the band room of my former guitar teacher, now friend. He said they want to get most of the old junk they had out.

Because it is a bass amp and I was known for doom he wanted me to have it.
From their bass player I got a 215 bass cab, which turned out to be an acoustic 420. I use that with a Sound City 120 from 1972.

Sam uses whatever gnarly drums he can find that are around.

Our bass player used a Fender Bassman with the pyramid speakers (this thing smelled horrible) and a London City 250 with a 415 cab. Some kinda Ibanez bass from the 80’s.

Tuning on ‘Raunacht’ was dropped B, now we are dropped C.

Q) What is the scene like in your hometown?  What are your thoughts?  Where do you think Lord of the Grave fit within that?  Any bands we should be keeping an eye out for?

R: Well, you know Switzerland is small, so from our hometown there’s Zatokrev, Phased and Snarf. Fredy from Zatokrev does really a lot to keep some kinda thing happening. I don’t know if we really fit in, I’m not sure if I even want to or care.

I saw Snarf last weekend they were really good, it’s such a shame they don’t have a label. It’s the band of the guy who recorded ‘Green Vapour’.  So labels out there check out this band and get in contact
They probably even look alright for the ladies.  Hellroom Projectors is another band I would recommend. They are not from our town actually but still, it’s a Swiss band.

They play some fine Stoner rock.

Q) What are your views of blogs such as the Sludgelord reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? 

R: Fantastic. I mean these blogs are from fans for fans. What better could it get?
Opposed to the mainstream metal media that mostly doesn’t get it anyway.

Q) How do you feel your band has generally been received and does it surprise you when people buy your music and merch?

R: The people it is for appreciate it; the rest can fuck off for all I care. With some people that buy our stuff I’m actually really surprised by, small percentage.

For example: A friend of a friend of a friend was at our Record Release Party, ‘Green Vapour’ was on and he asked me, if it’s this kinda music we do. I said: “No, that IS actually us” – “Ah, sounds cool, give me a CD then.”

Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite’s places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with?

R: SAS in Delémont was my favorite show, KV Nürnberg is a good place and Horst from Psychedelic Network/Immerhin Würzburg is great. Bands would be Lord Vicar, B.SON and Petrified.  Besides that, what happens on tour, stays on tour.

Q) You are signed to The Church Within Records.  Can you tell us a little about them and what it means to be signed to label who have championed great doom bands? 

R: Oli is great, he’s a doom master. I also appreciate his courage to gather around himself these fucked up characters that happen to be in doom bands.

I like the fact that he has bands like the Walruz, V-TSM, Spancer , the Deep Blue, Unorthodox and us on his label

Q) What are your thoughts about Green Vapour, now that it has been unleashed on the unsuspecting public?

R: It turned out pretty good. Thanks to everyone involved, you know who you are.
‘anuspecting pubelick’ is good.

S: I am happy with the record. Took a while, but who cares.

Q) What was your agenda when you began writing the new record? Is it your best work to date? 

R: Yes it is. I had a wonderful muse. I’m actually afraid not being able to get something like this good out again.

Q). In terms of the band, do you feel that 2012 has been a good year for the band and what are your plans for the rest of the year and 2013.  Some of our readers are keen vinyl Junkies, any chance your releasing your music on Wax?

R: Apart from the fact that the record finally came out, it was a horrible year for this band.  We’ll see, waiting for dec 21, we expect zombies, nuclear holocaust, two suns rising, sun not rising at all, meteors, the gates of hell open, apocalypse, aliens, floods and volcanoes, mass amok, super virus that kills mankind instantly, resurrection of the dinosaurs, earthquakes, pole shifting, WW III and what not. So if none of this gonna happen we’ll plan for 2013. Has it never occurred to you that we could be lazy fucks and won’t put any effort in something that’s probably worthless?

Oli is probably gonna release some of his catalogue on vinyl next year, amongst ‘Green Vapour’ hopefully. Keep in mind, although he has or had names on it like Lord Vicar, Orchid, Seamount and St Vitus, he’s still a rather small independent label that has to check the cash flow.

Apart from the artwork I’m not so sure if ‘GV’ would make such a great vinyl though. Has something to do with splitting up the song or get the bass loss. Really special underground stoner doom sludge never reached the vinyl phase anyway in my opinion.

Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?

R: First of all, thanks for the interview, Aaron. I hope you guys enjoyed reading it.

Get the record, get drunk, get stoned, get high, get laid, get fucked.

Fuck it!

The End

A massive shout out to Rob and Sam for taking the time to answer my questions.  Also thanks to Jan at Sure Shot Worx.  You can read our review here and purchase Green Vapour here check the links below for more info about the band .  Hails to you guys for reading, cheers Aaron!