Friday 18 January 2013

Interview with Prosperina

Today on Sludgelord it is my great pleasure to interview Prosperina. A band we haven't even featured on the blog. Though Dar from Sigiriya told me to check these hugely talented Sludge/Stoner Rockers when I interviewed Sigiriya back in Oct 2012.

The members are:

Gethin Woolcock
Owen Street
Yo-Yo Walsh

Prosperina are a band who on the rise with their steady mix of Sludge, Stoner and Doom Metal with a hint of Post-Metal about them. Their debut album - Faith In Sleep has been receiving rave reviews across the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene as it's a brilliant album to check out. I will be reviewing it soon. But Gethin guitarist/vocalist has kindly agreed an interview with me. 

So lets get down to business with one of South West Wales finest upcoming bands - PROSPERINA.

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

Hi, thanks for your kind words on the band. We're pretty good thanks, The sun is shining for the first time in ages so that's put a smile on our collective face!

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

I was in a band called The 9ine beforehand which ended in quite unfortunate circumstances when our bass player nearly killed himself on a motorbike in the Pyrenees mountains. When we decided to call it a day I was just writing stuff solo and one night I made a demo of the track Temples and thought to myself 'I've gotta hear this with a full band' - that was the genesis of Prosperina!

Q3 – How would you describe your sound.

1 part doom, 1 part stoner, 2 scoops of prog, 3 heaped measures of hard rock and a shot of melody carried by what I hope are reasonably intelligent lyrical musings.

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

We all have a pretty varied taste in music and listen to anything decent that comes our way - one recent album review said something along the lines of 'chanting like stoned Druids one minute and laying down pop harmonies like the beach boys the next...' so I guess that sums up our aural diversities! If you want me to be more specific on the rock stuff then I listen to a lot of Soundgarden, Kyuss, Tool, Sabbath, Floyd, King Crimson etc. Some of Owen's favourites are Torche, Fu Manchu, Electric Wizard and Deer Tick whilst Yo listens to tons of old skool funk and soul as well as the heavy rock stuff. You should see him playing funk grooves!

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

We're part-timers at the moment but we all work in music. Yo does drum lessons, Owen works in a big backline and studio hire company and I produce records and teach a bit of guitar.

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

Yeah - to be fair we have awesomely supportive friends and family. Being in a band can take up masses of time but fortunately our folks are all prepared to put up with us and our whims and our mates in the Swansea massive are always prepared to come out in force and show us the love whenever we play locally. Respect to them!

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

Faith in Sleep was a full band realisation of songs that I'd written (with one or two small exceptions). Things are changing a bit- I think the format for the next stuff we write will be a case of me writing the bones of songs and then spending a lot of time messing about with different ideas in the band room until we come up with something transcendental!

Q8 – Your début album – Faith In Sleep – looks like it has been out for a while. Can you explain how the album came about as I have found articles on the web dating back from Summer 2011. But it looks like it has officially been released in 2012.

Sure - basically we did a low key self-release to begin with and later picked up with our label (Maybe Records) who decided it would be a worthwhile exercise to re-release the album properly - for that we are eternally grateful as the re-release got quite a bit of attention.

Q9 – Faith In Sleep is now slowly gathering pace amongst the Sludge/Stoner Metal critics and crowd. Have you been pleased with the responses received so far. I will admit I have only known your existence since early November but fell in love with your album right away. (But I did that recommendation from a very cool source – Dar from Sigiriya – You can't get any cooler than that!!!).

Wow thanks! Really glad the album made an impression on you. Dar is a legend and Sigiriya are the real deal - anyone who hasn't heard them should definitely check it out - I worked on the production of their Return to Earth album and we had a lot of fun.

As for the response to Faith in Sleep we're really pleased and humbled by the critical response we've had. Every new review that came through after the release was super exciting and to see it gather pace was like all our birthdays coming at once man.

Q10 – How did you guys hook up with Joe Gibb to co-produce the album. He has worked with some big bands like Jane's Addiction and Massive Attack. Your album sounds immense so congrats on that score.

Yeah we're pretty pleased with it too. I used to work at a commercial studio with Joe a few years back. We made a lot of records together and got very used to working together. When we started Faith in Sleep I knew I wanted Joe involved somehow. He's a pretty crazy character but he can't half mix a track down.

Q11 - Is there a scene for bands like yourself to perform in your home town on a regular basis. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform on a regular basis.

We play shows whenever and wherever possible these days but our home crowd is always enthusiastic and theres quite a lot of good bands to play with in Swansea. There's a lack of decent venues here but The Garage is one venue we love to play. Always goes off there for us and it's now become our home gig.

Q12 – Have you toured with anyone famous. If so, who were your fave bands to tour with.

We've played some great supports (Orange Goblin, Taint, Russian Circles, Oceansize) but no big tours as of yet. This year's going to change all that though as we plan to do a lot of touring to support the album. As for supports then they've all been really good people. Most guys who play in bands are generally reading off the same page and seem to get along without too many stresses.

Q13 – What is the live Prosperina experience like

It's much more aggressive and edgy than you would expect if you'd just heard the record. We have a visceral approach which is spearheaded by the aggression of Owen, whilst Yo-Yo looks like he's cracked the secret of perpetual motion. I'm usually curtailed a bit by the fact I need to be near the mic for vocal duties but I get around when I can!

Q14 – Congrats on getting your DesertFest slot. Bet your looking forward to that. Great festival with lots of great bands on this years line-up.

Yeah that's gonna be a real fun weekend for sure. The line up just keeps getting stronger with all the new announcements too. Hopefully we'll get asked to play the one on the continent sometime too. That would be seriously epic: to play them both.

Q15 – Obviously your from Wales who have a rich history of brilliant Sludge/Stoner Rock bands such as Taint, Acrimony now Sigiriya, Zonderhoof, Hark, Spider Kitten and Thorun. Plus newer bands like The Witches Drum as well. Can you recommend any more bands for our readers to check out.

Ah yeah for sure - some of our mates are in great bands. Ripping Cones and Tabula Rasa are both really good bands in the classic/stoner rock mould. A new band who are up and coming locally are Never the Machine Forever - they supported at our album launch for Faith in Sleep and were really good and have a fresh sound that borrows from progressive rock, hard rock and a ton of other stuff. Our ex guitarist Baptist has just just started a new project called 'Sump' too. I heard the demos they did and they're gonna be a great band

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/Post-Rock/Post-Metal.

I pretty much listen to everything that crosses my path as long as its good but lately I've gone back to listening to a lot of my older records. I've been enjoying The Doors, Tool, Kyuss, Acrimony and Isis again recently. As for newer stuff I really dig my Hark 7" and I've also been listening to Band of Skulls and Baroness a fair bit. I Just got copies of the latest Soundgarden and Deftones records but am yet to fully explore.

Q17 – What are your views of blogs featuring and reviewing your records, as opposed to mainstream music magazines? Has your music reached the mainstream mags at home or around the world?

I think blogs are great for the underground music scene. It's really difficult for new bands to get any coverage in print these days so the blogs provide a genuine opportunity for bands to get some coverage while they are building things up. We genuinely respect the work of people like you guys because it is passion driven in the same way as writing music is for us. 

As for the mainstream magazines, they've been really kind to us - we got into most of the big rock mags with Faith in Sleep and we're really made up with the coverage they gave us - they all seemed to have good feelings about Faith in Sleep too.

Q18 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

To be fair there aren't many down sides to playing in a band - its pretty rewarding on the whole but if I had to pick anything I guess it's the moving tons of heavy gear and sorting travel logistics and finance. That side can be pretty boring at times. On the plus side there's a hell of a lot more - playing shows, partying afterwards, meeting other bands and music lovers, making records, getting free drinks and riders on bigger shows- I could go on...

Q19 – Do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

Hell yeah- we're gonna be really busy this year. We're looking forward to promoting Faith in Sleep for the next six months or so and using any spare time to demo new material then we're gonna be starting work on our second full length towards the back of the summer. We're massively excited about that and we'll let you guys know how we're getting along. We've already got a good crop of new tunes coming together into a really cohesive shape so we have a mighty strong feeling about this year.

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

Thank you all for your support over the last few years. Every single one of you that we've met without exception have been sterling characters and we can't say how much it means to have you all putting in the effort to support us. We sincerely hope we get to meet a lot more of you this year so come and say hello if you see us hanging about at a show. Cheers!

Thanks to Gethin for doing this interview. And for Chris for arranging it. Much appreciated guys. 

If you haven't heard Faith In Sleep then your missing out. Prosperina are a force to be reckoned with. Review of this brilliant album will be posted soon. Awesome band highly recommended by ourselves at Sludgelord.

Check This Great Band From The Links Below:


Check out - Trees Have Eyes - from their excellent debut album - Faith In Sleep