Saturday 9 February 2013

Interview with Overlord

Overlord cover art

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing rising UK Blues Stoner Rockers – Overlord – who recently impressed me with their highly infectious blend of Blues Rock mixed with Sludge/Stoner Rock overtones. They are another great band from the thriving UK Sludge/Stoner Rock scene which we are big fans of here at Sludgelord. So the guys have kindly agreed to an interview with me.

So lets get started with Tal (Guitarist and Vocalist) from the mighty OVERLORD

Q1 – For people not in the know can you give them a brief history of the band and how it came about.

Tal [Guitar/Vocals]: I met Josh [Bass] back in early 2011, while looking for musicians who were interested in starting bands, and we immediately bonded over our similar music tastes. He'd been in a few semi-serious bands with Rhys [Guitar] before, so when we started looking for other people, that seemed like an obvious choice, and, with a little bit of probing, we found Kyle [Drums] within a few weeks. We were incredibly lucky really - that lineup gelled instantly, and we haven't needed to make any changes at all - we didn't even audition any other options! We started practicing in summer 2011. 

At that point, I was still pretty keen to stick to guitar only, but we were struggling to find a vocalist, and when we started writing songs I realized that if we were going to progress, I'd have to step up to the mic. We played our first gig in February 2012, and released an EP that summer, and that's about as far as we've got so far!

Q2 – How would you describe your sound.

Tal: Very bluesy, slightly trippy heavy rock/metal, with an upbeat flair and some more progressive influences.

Q3 – Which bands and artists influence you directly as musicians.

Tal: I think all of us worship at the altar of the mighty Sabbath, along with all the other 'great' classics - Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Hendrix... as a band, we're all pretty into the modern stuff that that kind of music has spawned directly as well - for example, we're all really digging Graveyard at the moment! Personally, I like to think that my listening is about as eclectic as rock gets - I'm open for anything from Buddy Holly and The Beatles to Meshuggah!

Q4 – Are your family and friends supportive of your music.

Tal: I know it's not a very rock'n'roll thing to say, but as teenagers, there's no way we could have formed this band without the support of our families/parents. None of us can drive (yet!), so we rely on them for lifts to both the studio and to gigs. My family have also served as a sounding board for a lot of my ideas - I'm constantly annoying them by bouncing a new song, some lyrics, or even the latest set of mixes for the EP off them, and despite a complete aversion to metal, they've always been full of useful, supportive suggestions!

Q5 – What is the song-writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual.

Tal: We like to write very collaboratively, but we realized from an early stage that Rhys was the most talented writer in the band, and so he tends to take the most active role - a lot of our songs have come about from a partially (or in some cases even fully) developed idea by Rhys being developed by the rest of us in the studio. That's not how it always goes though - 'Crawl On' started as a riff that Josh wrote in practice, and most of the riffs in 'Blind' are mine, plus Kyle comes up with almost all his drum parts, and similarly, as the vocalist, I'm pretty much left to my own devices as far as vocal melodies and lyrics go.

Q6 – Your debut EP has received a whole range of praise from the Stoner Metal/Rock underground. You pleased with the responses so far.

Tal: As a band in such an early stage of it's development, I don't think the response we've got from our EP could have been better - people have been really positive, and at the same time, there have been a load of really useful suggestions for improvement that I feel we're trying to take on board as we write for the next EP. Nobody's been overly negative or critical at all - its a lovely feeling! 

Q7 – Now you guys have only been around since 2011 and you performed your first gig in 2012. But you getting a lot of praise for a band so young. Has the process of the band all gone to plan or do you think you way ahead of schedule.

Tal: I'd like to think things have gone mostly to plan - as such a young band, we're all planning our futures at the moment, and we don't really know how many more years we can practically spend together before real life necessities get ahead of things - it could be anything from months to decades! With that in mind, this is really all about day-by-day, month-by-month experience, and the faster things move forward the better!

Q8 - 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.

Tal: There's a fantastic emerging scene in Oxford, and we're pretty lucky to have recieved so much support from local promoters like Skeletor. There's also a fantastic promoter dedicated to stoner/doom, who're called Buried in Smoke, and they've been a great help, but we discovered back in March 2012, when we were scheduled to play a gig with them, that their venues aren't too keen on underage bands, and actually ended up getting kicked out of our own gig before we had a chance to play! Because of the underage issue, we've had to look for gigs in other cities if we want seriously regular gigs - London, Reading and Bristol are the three places we'll be playing in the next month or two!

Q9 – Have you toured/performed with anyone famous. If so, who were your fave bands to tour with.

Tal: No tours as of yet, but we got to open for Sacred Mother Tongue/Revoker a few months ago, and that was a brilliant experience. I managed to inadvertently call Andy James [Sacred Mother Tongue guitarist] my bitch (its a long story!), but despite even that both bands proved to be really nice guys!

Q10 – What is the live Overlord experience like.

Tal: Essentially, we like to play a good old rock'n'roll set - we don't promise a pristine, note perfect set (although I like to think we play relatively tighty!) but we do promise its gonna be loud and energetic! I really like to try and get the crowd moving, headbanging and enjoying things as much as we are up on stage!

Q11 – The UK Sludge/Stoner Rock Scene seems to be thriving at the moment. Loads of great band starting to make their mark. Do you think the UK scene has reached it's peak or is there still loads of work to be done to establish it more.

Tal: There's no way I'd say the scene is peaking - its definitely bigger than it has been for a long time, but bands like Orange Goblin, who are really at the forefront of things, are only getting more popular, and since the first Desertfest in London last year, I really feel like the UK stoner scene is picking up momentum, and this year's Desertfest is looking even bigger! 

Q12 – What are your views of blogs such as Sludgelord featuring and reviewing your records.

Tal: We love it! Always nice to hear what people have to say about us, and we appreciate all the exposure we can get! Sludgelord in particular has actually generated a ton of listens, downloads and even purchases for us, so we're understandably happy to get all the attention from music sites that we can!

Q13 – What are your views record companies shutting down blogs and websites due to illegal downloading. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

Tal: I buy all my music, and I'm staunchly against illegal downloading, but I really don't see what a blog or website like this one is doing to harm anyone - if people are going to illegally download music, I don't think that shutting down music blogs will deter them, and even if blogs are directly encouraging people to download music illegally, the exposure they generate for any given artist should be considered an opportunity that's at least as valuable as record sales.

Q14 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

Tal: For me, gigging is definitely the most rewarding thing that we do - I absolutely love the feeling of getting on stage, cranking up the volume and playing to a crowd! I'm lucky in that I also quite enjoy the promotional, behind the scenes style work that is a necessity to the band. As for the least rewarding aspect, I guess we're all really passionate about Overlord, and there have been some pretty heated arguments... we like to run the band 'democratically', so things always get resolved without too much difficulty.

Q15 – Do you have any future plans for the upcoming 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about such as a further EP or debut album.

Tal: We've almost finished writing a second EP, and we're really hoping to be able to get that recorded and released within the next few months! Otherwise, people should expect lots more gigs, and hopefully some festival spots this summer - watch this space!

Thanks for taking time out in answering my questions. Good luck with the Metal 2 The Masses Competition. Hope you guys get a great experience from it and hopefully win.

Thanks a lot, and thank you for interviewing us!

Can't wait to hear more new songs from you guys. All the best from Sludgelord.

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