Tuesday 29 January 2013

20 Questions w/ Moghul

Moghul 2013
Another day, another interview.  We are either spoiling you guys or we dont have lives, either way, you win?!  I am excited to present my recent interview with this much lauded band, Moghul from Birmingham, England.  The spiritual home of heavy metal! 

I have said this before, but I'm gonna say it again!  The UK are producing countless talented bands in the sludge doom stoner metal scene, many of which we have featured on the blog.  These guys are going to be at the forefront of that scene over the next 12 months, mark my words.  

Moghul are creating quite a buzz due to the release of their brilliant debut release, Dead Empires, which Steve reviewed brilliantly a few weeks back but also on the back of their live shows too.  So on the day of their vinyl release of Dead Empires on the Devizes Label, it is with great pleasure I bring you my interview with Moghul.  Check out what Adam had to say when I presented with a new improved 20 Questions to him.  Enjoy, Sludgers!

Crushing Live

Hey Adam, How are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord.   
Hi Sludgelord, many thanks for the great review of our debut EP and thank you for taking the time to ask us a few questions.
Q) How are things in the Moghul camp? What are your immediate plans with potentially a full year of band promotion ahead of you?
A) Things are great in camp Moghul at the moment, we are full of high spirits and creative energy.  Our immediate efforts are going towards a follow up to our debut EP.  We would also like to cast our nets further with regards to gigs so if you are reading this and want us in your town get in touch!
Q) From what I remember, James contacted me towards the end of last year, asking me if I would be interested in checking out your band.  So, Dead Empires has now been released.  First of all, congratulations on such an amazing debut.   Can you tell us about the record and the process of putting it together?
A) Thank you for your kind words.  We are genuinely grateful to anyone who takes the time to listen to it and we have received some great feedback to date.  It was a very organic process and the two tracks were written within a short space of time which led to them complimenting each other.  We tend to jam out riffs until we find a groove and something that sticks and just build from there.  We seemed to get a burst of influence and creativity once we turned our lockup's light off and used a dim red bulb as our only source of light.   
Q). You hail from the home of heavy metal, Birmingham, so that is a pretty heavy legacy to continue. Haha.  Could you tell us a little about the history of the band and some of the bands you've played with? When Moghul first formed? Current band members?
A) Birmingham has a rich heritage in heavy music which has definitely had a hand in shaping us.   Moghul formed out of the ashes of a previous band, Oar.  Oar represented a period of experimentation in both sound and approach.  After Oar's drummer moved to the sunnier climes of Vietnam we recruited close friend Tom Woods.  We spent a good deal of months honing and shaping ourselves into what we are now and as our music began to take a different direction we felt it apt to change our name.  
We have been lucky enough to share stages with some amazing bands such as Conan, Undersmile, Black Magician, Limb, Throne, Jacknife Holiday, Meadows, Alunah, Widows, Slab, and Tree of Sores to name but a few.  
Q).  Which band or artist turned you guys onto music and specifically introduced you to Heavy Metal and wanting to form a band?
We have all enjoyed a diverse range of music for all our lives so pin pointing a specific band is very difficult however, we definitely would not be the band that we are without the likes of; Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Iron Monkey, The Melvins, Conan, Sunn 0))), Sleep, Om, Slomatics, Eyehategod, Earth and Neurosis. 
Q) What was your motivation to start the band?  Did you all know each other before you formed Moghul? The name comes from your love of curry, specifically Chicken Madras or were you yanking my chain?
A) Collectively our motivation was to push ourselves to create monolithic walls of sound to take the listener on an epic voyage.  We wanted to write the sort of music that we would love to listen to ourselves. Three of us (Joe, James and Adam) have been playing music together for 10 years and grew up together on the same road.  Our friendship and shared love of music has been the basis for our creative output. 
Although we all love a good curry and Birmingham has some of the best curry houses around I am afraid that our name has a bit more symbolism than that of the humble madras (AP, yes im the asshole, haha).  We chose the name as we love the imagery of an ancient dynasty and felt that it sat well with the various themes of our music.  We don't like to take ourselves too seriously so you never know you may see a track entitled "Ode to an onion bhaji".
Q) Since your inception, was your plan always to write and release your own music? 
A) In short yes! We have always wanted to take things as far as possible.  We have reached our first goal with the EP release and we are now working toward achieving others!
Q) In your experience, how easy/difficult was  it for your band to get coverage and get gigs? 
A) We are fortunate that Birmingham has some really good promoters such as Heretic and Sirius who are really helping independent music and have put on some great events.  Once we started gigging we began to make links with various people which has helped to secure gigs and spread the word about the band.  Our biggest break with regards to exposure came when Paul Kenney at Devizes Records approached us about releasing our EP.  We cannot thank Paul enough as he has really worked hard on this release and getting our name out there.
Q) Based on your own experience, what do you think is the most important thing for a new metal band to do in order to promote themselves?
Playing plenty of gigs is always a good start however, we have found that getting gigs with quality bands is better than quantity.  Gigs also give bands a great opportunity to network. We are lucky that we live in an age where all it takes is a few clicks on a computer and you can discover the world so we definitely recommend taking advantage of things like bandcamp, Facebook and internet blogs.

Q) What are some of the difficulties/frustrations of being part of Moghul, because there are many other commitments such as family, work etc, that perhaps restrict the amount of time you can dedicate to the band? 
A) I think that we would all like to spend a lot more time in the studio but unfortunately we all have jobs and James has recently started a family.  The time that we do have together we make the most of  and the band helps us to escape the constraints and monotony of working life!
Q )Don’t think about this too much, but  If someone was unfamiliar with your band, what words immediately spring to mind when you think about your sound? 
A) Mountainous, seismic, brooding, slow, low and groove laden!
Q)  Tell us some of your influences/heroes both musically and artisticall, both metal and non-metal? 
A) We are big Sabbath fans and coming from Birmingham greatly admire and appreciate what they have brought to the world of music.  We jointly have a love for Star Wars, Wizards and mythical beasts and these have featured in past music.
We embarked upon our musical life playing different instruments to what we do now which saw us playing a lot of classical music and whilst we may not be queuing up outside the symphony hall we still enjoy the odd symphony or concerto!  It could be said that many parallels can be drawn between music of the past and present and our past playing of classical music may explain our penchant for drone and in particular bands such as Sunn 0))) and Earth.  We all grew up in families in which music played a big role and it is this exposure to the many forms of music that has helped to mould who we are today. 
Q)  It might sound like a stupid question but, how important is the band’s chemistry when writing and performing?

A) When writing we all definitely have to be on the same page for it to go anywhere.  Our on stage chemistry comes from the pleasure of performing the material that we have sweated over! 
Q) Did you agenda when you began writing the new record?
A) Not as such, we just set out to write the best music we could produce and have fun at the same time! Fun is the key element, you have to enjoy what you are doing. 

Q) What were your aims for Dead Empires and how do you feel about the record now that it has been unleashed on the unsuspecting public?  Is there a particular theme running through the record?
A) We are overjoyed at the release of the record and are overwhelmed by the response we have received. We just wanted to put something out there which we felt happy with ourselves, it has come as bonus that so many people like it! We hoped that the record may open doors for us and expand our horizons and so far it has been an awesome journey. 
Thematically the EP deals with things such as antiquity, the decay of civilization and oppression.  We do however actively encourage the listener to digest our soundscapes and come to their own conclusions. 
Q) After a relatively short period of time, Dead Empires got picked up for an amazing vinyl release.  How did that come about?
A) We had seen via Facebook that Devizes Records were looking for bands to work with and after posting a link to our bandcamp page Paul from Devizes approached us.  We all met up and discussed the ins and outs of it and as a band we found it really inspiring to hear someone outside of the band who was so enthusiastic about what we had written.  
Q) I’m assuming all musician like to talk about the gear they use, so with that in mind what do you use in terms of guitars, amps and why? Also what tuning do you use?
A) We definitely love to talk gear and find that when we socialise outside of band practice gear still features heavy in our conversations! James mainly uses a Gibson SG and a Gibson firebird, Joe uses Telecasters and Adam, a Jazz bass and a Gibson SB 400.  We have experimented with various tunings and a current tuning of choice is drop A# / Bb.   With regards to amps we have journeyed a long quest for great tone.  James uses an old matamp white and an Orange OR 50, Joe uses a Laney GH100 and a Laney Supergroup and Adam uses a Matamp GT200. 
Q) You’ve only been around for a relatively short time and from talking to bands, such Meadows recently (Check em out); they said you were one’s to watch.  How pleasing it to hear comments like that from your peers and how do you feel your band has generally been received?
A) All feedback we receive is greatly appreciated and to date we have had a really positive response.  We take all critique on board as we want to grow as a band and create the best music that we can.  We are genuinely flattered when other bands and audience members approach us after a show to let us know that they enjoyed our set and it is still something that we are getting used to.  We had the pleasure of sharing a stage with Meadows before Christmas and they blew our socks off with their frenetic riffage!
Q) For a band such as yourselves or anyone for that matter trying to get coverage or exposure, how valuable are blogs such as the Sludgelord?  Does this type of media coverage translate to people buying merch, downloading music etc, coming to shows?
A) Internet blogs such as your good selves and review sites are invaluable to bands as they help to generate exposure.  We have all been turned on to bands which had not yet encountered because of the Sludgelord and others.  We feel that there is a definite correlation between media exposure, new fans and music sales so in terms of a band trying to cut it's teeth this type of coverage is worth its weight in gold. 
Q) Quick fire question, what’s your preference?  Cassette, CD, Digital Download or Vinyl? And why?
A) You can't beat vinyl for its full and warm sound and although digital downloads definitely help bands to reach a wide audience nothing beats a vinyl.  From its packaging and design to the variety of colours and limited editions, for us, vinyl wins hands down.
Q) Reviewing records within sub genres of metal such as sludge/doom/stoner etc, you often listen to a lot of stuff which is quite similar. What sets you apart from your peers and what are your thoughts about being part of any scene?
A) We feel very fortunate to be part of the Sludge/Doom/Stoner scene and there is a real melting pot of talent and creativity emerging at the moment.  We always try to keep things fresh and inject new ideas into our music.  We would like to think that we evolve with each track we write.   
Q) Do you have any interesting stories from your tours, favourite places you’ve toured and bands you’ve toured with or bands you’d like to share the stage with?

A) We have not yet played a your however, we hope to be able to share some tour stories with you in the future.  There are so many great bands out there that we would love to share a stage with but to name a few; Sunn 0))), Slomatics, Electric Wizard, Sleep, Moss and Kongh. 
Q). In terms of the band, what are your plans for the rest of the year?  Can we expect new music from Moghul or big tours ahead?

A) At the moment we are working towards our next release.  We are aiming to get back in the studio in the spring time and then unleash the leviathan in the Summer! We would love to embark on a tour and play some festivals, we just have to wait and see what opportunities come our way. 
We have been lucky enough to land the main support to the almighty Serpent Venom, on the Chaos Festival bill.  Chaos Festival has been put together collectively by Heretic Promotions and Sirius Promotions.  It is a three day festival with day one dedicated to Thrash Metal, Day two, Doom/Stoner/Sludge and Day 3, Black/Death and Grind!  It promises to be a great weekend and takes place of the easter weekend.  We also have some other exciting shows in the pipe line.
Q) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to your fans?
A) We would like to say thank you.  Without your continued support we would not be able to continue to do something we love! Fans have given us the greatest gift of all, their time. 


Another cracking interview and as ever show your support thanks to Adam, James and the guys in Moghul for  helping us set up this interview. Check the links for more info on the band. Record is available to buy via the label.   Cheers Aaron