Saturday 9 March 2013

Signo Rojo Interview

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing the excellent Sludge/Stoner Metal band Signo Rojo.

Signo Rojo were probably the one of the first bands that I featured quite heavily when I first started Sludgelord.

I am huge fan of this brilliant band. And they have received loads of praise through out the world of Sludge/Stoner Metal for their outstanding debut S/T album. If you haven't heard of these guys. Why not as they are a fucking brilliant band. So get checking now.

Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...

Well the band formed in late 2009 after the members met at a local gig and discovered they shared a passion for really heavy music. We immediatly started working on original material and have been quite prolific in the songwriting department ever since.

Q2 – How would yourselves describe your sound. I would say Sludge, Stoner, Post- Metal type influences.

I guess most bands would say the same but our influences are quite varied and diverse. We've come from quite a broad set of musical backgrounds so we have alot different influences to tap into.

For example, i'm more from a crust/hardcore-punk background while some of the others were more Death/blackmetal- or grindcore-type guys.

In the beggining there was definetly a clear post-metal vibe to what we were doing but it has evolved into something different over the years. Not overtly different from the old sounds if you ask me but that might just be me sitting to close to the trees to see the forest so to speak.

Q3 – Which bands influence you on your music.

Alot of great band like Neurosis, The Melvins, Mastodon, Opeth, Gojira and a ton of others. Also there are alot of influences that might not be as apparent to the listener but still play a major role in our music. Things like 70's progrock or videogame music that all of us are big fans of.

Q4 – Your debut album was released about 2 years ago. It has received major praise almost everywhere. You must be real proud of that record.
Both yes and no, we're very proud that the record was so well recieved and that people like it. That is awesome!

But the record itself is really rough and, in hindsight, a bit underdeveloped due to the circumstances in wich it was made. Seeing as we had close to no budget and had to do all the work ourselves (except for the final mix that a friend of ours, Tim Uhlin, did for us. There is a version of the album somewhere on the web with my original mixes. But please don't bother looking for it, it sounds shite! ) the final result was passable but not great from a personal standpoint. But sometimes it's the rough edges that gives an album character but that's hard to see for yourself when you are caught up in the middle of it.

Q5 – Is the band a Full Time Project or do you have normal jobs to do as well to support the band.

All of us have dayjobs and/or are studying right now. But that's kind of part of course with this type of music, we don't have any high-flying dreams of "rock stardom" or anything like that, that just isn't in the cards when you are playing sort of left-of-field type music. We just have to balance maintaining an income to live and play the music we love. It's not always easy but it's well worth it!

Q6 – How do you cope with families, full time jobs and being part of a band. It must be a struggle at times.

It is kind of hard, as i mentioned earlier, the band eats up alot of the free time that you'd normally spend with your family or significant others and that can be quite grating sometime.

Q7 – You guys were the first major band that I became a major fan of when I started the blog. It got me a lot of big hits as well which I can only thank you for. Has the blogging world been a great help in getting your music across.

Oh man, it's the blogging world has been really great to us as a band. It's definitely the best way to get our music out there to the fans that enjoy the somewhat esoteric noise we create.

It is a great outlet for the underground scene and not only for us as musicians but for us as fans aswell. I can't tell you how many awesome bands i've discovered through yours, and similiar, blogs.

It's the international word of mouth!

Q8 – When I first heard your record I couldn't believe it was a demo. As it put most major league releases to shame. Was it a hard album to record. What were your original intentions for the album. And has it met your original objectives.

The album was kind of hard to record, it ate up practically all of our free time for a couple of monthis and it was both physically and mentally taxing.

It met our objectives so far as it was a fair representation of where the band was at at the time but i could have used alot more polish wich would have been easier if we hadn't done everything (sans mixing) ourselves and instead could have concentrated on the performances and songs abit more.

Q9 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.

We usually used to write riffs and parts of songs indivdually at home and meet up in the rehersalspace and work them together as complete songs together.

Nowadays when we're a bit more geographically spread out it is more often complete songs that were written by individual members of the band that are being brought in and rehearsed "as-is" with small changes here and there.

The former method is by far my personal favourite but unfortunately it isn't applicable right now.

Q10 – Sweden has a brilliant reputation for producing amazing bands in whatever genre. What is your country's secret. Stoner/Sludge/Post-metal seems to be one of the things you are great at.

I'm not sure really, i guess it has to do with the long winters and generally shit wheather that lends itself to long hours in the rehersalspace.

I've also heard the theory that the lack of job oppurtunities for young people over here provides alot of free time to noodle about.

Q11 – Can you tell us any great bands to check out from Sweden regardless of any genre. Or are there any other bands from other countries your big fans of at the moment.

Oh there are lots! Of course you have to mention bands like Kongh, Moloken, New keepers of the watertowers, Pyramido, Splattered Mermaids, Suma, Colossus, Malum, Switch opens, Rosvo, Koloss, Walk through fire, and on the stoner side of things you have bands like Skraeckoedlan, The Graviators, Odyssey, Truckfighters, and those are just a few of all the great Swedish bands around nowadays!

On the international side of things you have Zatokrev, Earthship, Obelyskkh, The Ocean, Ufomammut, Lo!, i could keep going forever so i'll stop myself there.

Q12 – Do you gig a lot in Sweden or do you have to travel further afield to get your music across. Any plans to tour abroad.

There are always loosley laid plans and high hopes but nothing has come to fruition yet. We're not great bookers and planners anyone of us so we would love to get some help sorting something like that out. We'd love to play abroad!

As of yet it has been quite Sweden-centric though.

Q13 – Have you toured with any famous bands and have you got any interesting stories from your tours?

We have, as of yet, not really done any proper tour. We've been trying to gig regularly though on weekends and whenever all the members can find spare time. We've played with some really cool cats along the way though like Rosvo, Walk through fire, Colossus, Splattered Mermaids and Koloss to name a few and we've had a great time doing it.

I'm not sure how many interesting stories there are though. Probably the standard "drinking to much and raising hell around town post-gig" -fare that i'm sure you've all heard too much of.

We do seem to have a knack for unfortunate situations while traveling though, running out of gas in the middle of a freeway, accidentally pumping ethanol in the dieselpowered rentalvan blowing the gigpay plus alot money out of our own pockets. Things like that.

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

The most rewarding experiences are by far the live shows, there is just nothing like when you get in a good exchange of energy with a crowd. It's hard to explain it but there is something magical there.

It's also great when you get to hear your music is appreciated. I mean it's quite an insular thing, working on music and then when complete strangers gives you praise for something that, at least to start with, was only a way to express yourself to yourself... That's a great feeling.

The least rewarding is when there's an uphill struggle. When you're unsuccessfully trying to book shows, trying to get some attention to a new release/song and getting nothing, playing to a disinterested crowd. Things like that. It feels like your banging your heart against a wall and no-one is paying any attention to what you are doing. Fortunately those situations generally are pretty few and far between but everyone who's ever been in a band has experienced them. Artistic people are generally pretty needy and can easily fold and say "to hell with it" when they are not fed with the adoration they crave, you have to learn how to push through those situations.

Q15 – Who designed the Signo Rojo logo. Simple but very effective. It tells you what to expect your great band. Loud, heavy and not to be messed with.

That's the work of the great Costin Chioreanu of Twilight13media! We are really happy with his work and recommend working with him to everyone!

Q16 – I have to ask this question as it's a firm fave on the blog – What is your view of blogs giving music away for free. Some people are for it and some people are against it.

Giving away music for free can be a great thing, we're really not in it for the money so if it encourages more people to give our music a listen we're all for it! Our last album is available for free as we speak and it seems future releases will follow suit.

Q17 – Finally what are the future plans for the band. (Please say new album. Need my next fix of Signo Rojo magic.)

There is a new album on its way, all the music has been written (some of it go waaaay back, written during the recording of our last album 2 years ago now) but we've had some struggles with the practical side of things. Getting studiotime, raising money for said studiotime, finding people to work with, finding time when everybody can rehearse and so on so it's been dragging on for far too long now. It will be released though and we won't disappoint you. Big things are coming!

In the meantime we've released a live recording of one of our shows this last summer we got a hold of. It perhaps isn't as tight as we would want or as pretty-sounding. It is really a "warts-and-all" release but we felt we at least owed those people who've been patiently waiting for the next album for so long something. It consists mainly of material that will be on the next album, so get a sneak peak on some new Signo Rojo material!

Well guys thanks for answering these questions. All the best from all of us at Sludgelord. Thanks. Steve.

Thank you guys for a wonderful blog and for helping us out as much as you have!

And please check out our t-shirts and merch on our BandCamp  All the money that comes in goes directly into funding the upcoming album! Cheers! /Jonas

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