Saturday 22 December 2012

Interview with Caravan Of Whores

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the excellent UK Doom Laden Sludge/Stoner Rock Band – Caravan Of Whores.

Caravan Of Whores have been around since 2002 but their current formation has been together since 2009.

They have released two excellent releases – A Cosmic Interlude and Road To Kurti. Two great releases which I have reviewed on this blog.

They have supported some of the UK's best Underground Sludge/Stoner Metal bands and are starting to make a name for themselves on the UK Sludge/Stoner Scene.

Plus their guitarist John Slaymaker regularly contributes reviews on this blog. So they are good friends of the blog and it's my honour to interview them.

So lets get down to it with Caravan Of Whores.

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

Things are fine thanks, we are busy trying to get gigs set up for the new year. Also looking forward to the coming break where we will be able to meet up and rehearse the new material, really looking forward to just jamming and making shit up.

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

Pete started the band back in 2002 as a three piece heavy metal band doing some covers but mostly original material. Previous members are Dick Cordrey, Andy Joyce, Darren Gilkes, Brett Nicholls and Daz St Vincent. It ended up that in 2009, Pete, Jamie and John decided to take the band in a more stoner /doom direction.

Q3 – Where did the name Caravan Of Whores come from

Well it turns out that the name is a line in the script for the remake of the film the ‘Four Feathers’ where the lead character, has to cross the sudanese desert to rescue his comrades, via a camel train/ travelling brothel.

Q4 – How would you describe your sound as you cover a lot of genres in your music

Well we started out as a riff based stoner doom band and our writing process involved a lot of jamming. So it just sort of developed into a psychedelic cloud of drug induced droning doom. Newcastle Brown, Chicken Doner Kebabs, plenty of Yorkshire Tea and Herb helped immensely

Q5 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Well to start with, if there is a god it’s Lemmy. It’s difficult to say anyone in particular as we have all come to this from different backgrounds. For John it would have to be typical stoner bands like kyuss and fu manchu, also doom bands such as Sevenchurch and Reverand Bizarre. Collectively we are driven by the ultimate desire to rock the fuck out. I guess Kraut Rock, psychedelic and experimental genre’s as well.

Q6 – Are you all full time musicians or do you have regular jobs to pay the bills.

Pete is a self employed builder and john drives a truck whilst Jamie is currently residing at Brighton University.

Q7 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Yes mostly, the most effective gigs are weekend gigs so that can be strenuous on relationships, but when it boils down to it we are who we are and we’re gonna do what drives us as musicians.

Q8 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

Well i suppose our songs start off as one lone riff, Pete will jam vocals then we will see what goes with it. We are all guitarists and we have a pretty decent reservoir of material, sometimes Pete will come in with a complete song and other times

Jamie will take us on a cosmic journey.

Q9 – Your currently unsigned at the moment. How hard is it for bands like yourself to get gigs on a regular basis. The UK has some amazing underground Sludge/Stoner Rock Bands around at the moment. It must be hard to get regular gigs. Or the lack of places to put our type of music on.

Being unsigned is how all the real bands generally start out and continue in that way for a long time. We basically just pushed for gigs anywhere we could. There isnt much of an underground scene or any music scene in banbury at all. So it really was just taking a chance and playing anywhere we could, We have played to anyone and no one. Myspace and Facebook have been the major tools in gig getting. 

We tried further afield and would end up playing to an empty hall at a yorkshire biker festival, while all the bikers would stand outside and admire their bikes. It was then we realised we needed to be part of a scene. The first stop being Oxford with the ‘Buried in smoke’ promotions team, they do monthly nights at the Wheatsheaf. It is an excellent club like venue with one of the best sound engineers we have encountered. It was there that we have got to open for bands like Witchsorrow and godsized.

But even then the regularity of gigs can be sparse, the scene does stretch country wide, London is the epicentre then mainly big cities after that. But the actual venue’s are small in number and there are so many awesome doom bands based in the uk currently fighting for that gig slot.

A Cosmic Interlude cover art

Q10 – You have supported and played with some of the best current UK Sludge/Stoner Rock Bands have to offer. Which bands have been your favourites to play with.

Well one of the first proper doom bands we ever played with would be Undersmile, great friendly people and have also been very helpful with hints and tips. Also other oxford bands like Desert Storm, and Mother Corona. Goatleaf, The Bendal Interlude and Jacknife Holiday from Ooop north. Bournemouth dudes ‘Skeleton’ are awesome as are witchsorrow and those crazy wild XIIBoar mentalists. Johnny came in his pants when we supported Serpent Venom in Birmingham. More recently Brighton’s fabulous Enos and doom merchants Sea Bastard.

Q11 – Your music has been well received amongst the Stoner/Sludge Rock fraternity. Are you pleased with the responses so far.

Yes, you could say we’ve achieved all we set out to. But you get a little whiff of success and you owe it to yourselves and your fans to try harder, thanks to the internet we have fans worldwide. Ok few in number, no mansions and flash cars but a new van would be nice..

Q12 – How big of a help have blogs and webzines in getting your music noticed to the world. I bet BandCamp been a big help as well.

This is the most important question here, webzines and blog’s have been paramount in getting our name about and increasing our profile, they will always be the stepping stone to getting into mainstream media. Myspace is dead now but it was the first real help for new bands, i suppose facebook is the one at the moment, but now that seems to be about profit, who knows where thats going. Bandcamp is bloody awesome, every time we get a good review in a webzine the next few days bandcamp can literally throw money at us. So much so we sometimes even break even. Ha.

Q13 - 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 yeah we love it that anyone wants to talk about our music, luckily this has mostly been positive, so it’s a bloody big incentive to keep slogging on. We have had a track featured on the covermount cd of Metal Hammer this summer, as a part of a uk up and coming sludge and stoner bands feature. That was Fantastic and we did’nt even badger them, they contacted us. So they obviously heard of us from somewhere.

ROAD TO KURTI cover art

Q14 – Now your first two releases has some brilliant artwork on the covers. Can you tell us how the artwork came about and who designed and who drew it.

I guess when it came to artwork we decided to go for something that suggested our band name, hence the camels. Our first e.p. A Cosmic Interlude, Pete knew this local young artist called Jonah Wimbush. He done a great job on the cover and created three freaky cool Arabic type characters, which i suppose led us to our next e.p. where we had to move quick so we commissioned a poster guy from the u.s. that we knew over the internet, called Cale Griffith. He uses photo shop but does stuff for quite a few big names in stoner rock. Also another friend Ben Mobbs did the psychedelic aardvark picture on the inside cover for the ‘Road to Kurti’ e.p. who i no doubt will be contacted for future releases.

Q15 – The UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene seems to be on the rise again. Some brilliant bands around that we have featured on here. Do you think this will continue or has it reached it's peak.

There are shitloads of cool UK sludge/stoner/doom metal bands around and i think that it can only continue, because for whatever reason a band implodes, usually it’s down to the actual passion of the members desire to make music. So an individual will continue in some form or other and this is basically musical evolution. I just created a new word ‘doomolution’.

Q16 – 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.

We listen to so much different music between us, i suppose there is an amount of classic stuff i.e. the typical ones like Sabbath to motorhead but also our tastes continue to evolve each day. Jamie our drummer/guitarist/sample extraordinaire would be happy to play one note all day long. Myself (john) needs a riff to really groove to. Then we do meet so many cool bands on the road , so how about Serpent Venom, Sea Bastard, Undersmile , Desert Storm, Witchsorrow, Enos, Mage, Skeleton, Goatleaf, and the Domes of Silence.

Q17 – What were your original intentions when you started the band and have they been met yet.

Yes our intentions have been met, because all we wanted to do was make our own music, not necessarily to sound like anyone else, i mean we all have our own influences and no doubt you can hear them in our sound but, it is all about just doing the music, not be contriving in any way. I suppose you got three geeks doing something they really needed to do.

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

Well we just wanna play, we have been applying for all sorts of festivals and support slots, but there is so much competition and it seems that you gotta tour the mainland at some point. Profile is the key to getting gigs so i suppose it’s all about increasing that. It’s a viscous fucking circle as is life. The good thing about that is we absolutely love playing live and don’t mind spending the money to do it. So i suppose sometimes it’s down to our fans if they wanna see us, to badger their local promoters into putting us on.

Q19 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band?

Well the most rewarding aspects are actually playing together, the buzz of just jamming is so immense. The fact when one of us starts playing and the others can predict what your going to do next is beyond belief, when you get to know a fellow musician and feel their groove nothing else should matter. Success is your downfall. It’s when you consider someone else’s (other than the band’s) expectation that it all goes to shit. And i suppose it’s cost us a fortune to record and gig, so the fact that we may no longer be able to afford this bliss is the least rewarding bit about participating in this band. Now that is fucking doom.

Q20 – Finally, Do you have anything to say your fans

Yes we have everything to say to our fans, if it were not for people to cheer us, buy our cd, like us on facebook or just turn up to our gigs, then we would be that band that nobody has heard of!. So Thank You All. Oh and Cheers.

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. All the best from ourselves at Sludgelord. You know we are all big fans of your music. Can't wait to hear what you guys come up with next.

Check This Great Band Below