Saturday 4 May 2013

New Sludgelord Interview with Desert Storm


Well this is a first for me on Sludgelord. I am doing a follow-up interview with a band I originally interviewed in August 2012.

Desert Storm – The brilliant Sludge/Stoner Rockers who are starting to make waves with their brilliant new album – Horizontal Life – which ourselves at Sludgelord are massive fans of. It's been receiving praise all over the Stoner Metal world.

And if that's not enough the band have been participating a whole range of well received gigs with legendary bands such as Karma To Burn andHonky and they will be supporting the mighty Red Fang in June 2013. Plus a forthcoming tour with Peter Pan Speed Rock.

Well it's time to catch up with probably my fave UK Stoner Rock Band.
Q1 – Hi guys, Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.
All good thanks!

Q2 – A lot has changed over the last 9 months since I interviewed you guys. Doing some high profile tours and released a brilliant new album. Bet things have been quite hectic for you all.

Chris B - A hectic 9 months, but it’s good to be busy with that sort of thing.

Matt R - It’s definitely been busy! We keep on top of it for the most part though so all’s well, be great to be doing this full time to devote all our attention.

Elliot C - Yeah it has been hectic, we now have a european booking agent at Soz Concerts (NL) and have a 4 date tour with Karma to Burn in Holland in October, and possible shows in Ireland, Belgium and Germany so things are looking good!

Q3 – Supporting Karma to Burn and Honky must have been a highlight for you. As you know I saw you guys in Newcastle last year supporting K2B. What a great gig that was. How was that tour.
Chris W  - That tour was incredible, it was great being with the Karma To Burn guys who were awesome to tour with. Playing night after night is such a different experience to just playing stand alone gigs, so good to have some veterans to show how it’s done!

Matt R -We had a total blast and played and partied. Tore up a few places around the UK and K2B smashed it every night. Was a working holiday for us so we made sure to relax with a few brews too!

Ryan C - Yeah The K2B tour was awesome, as was the Honky one, all great guys, we had a blast!
Q4 – And recently Honky. How did that tour go. I heard you guys were awesome on stage from a few mates of mine who saw you guys live.

Matt R - We were on tour with Honky recently and they were really cool man, down to earth fellas and such an amazing stage performance. Real salt of the earth guys with a taste for Jim Beam! Like their daily bread but it was great to party with them too and their tunes are damn catchy.

Elliot C - Yeah buy 421, great record!

Q5 – Congrats on getting the Red Fang Support Slot. Really great you got that gig supporting such a great band.
Chris B - I think that gig is going to be a real highlight this year, it’s not everyday a band like that comes to town so to be on the bill for their only UK show is unbelievable.

Matt R - Can’t wait for that gig as they’re a killer band, it should be pretty busy too as it’s their only England headline show of 2013. Definitely have to get a few drinks with them in the British fashion they’re fuelled on beer.

Q6 – And now your trying to get to play Download Festival. Hope that works out. Since I voted enough times for you guys to play. HA HA. Have you played any major festivals like that as I think you will within the next couple of years.
Chris W -Unfortunately the major festivals have eluded us so far! However with things like that you have to be patient because it is where pretty much every rock/metal band aspires to be, as you say hopefully the opportunity will present itself in the next couple of years, all you can do is keep trying!

Matt R - We’ve played the Bulldog Bash, Desertfest and Brisfest along with a couple of smaller local festivals before, but it would be awesome to hit up Download. Donnington park is like a rite of passage and there’s almost a heritage to the place, have had some great times there. Thank you for voting repeatedly man! It’s in the hands of the judges now so here’s hoping.

Q7 – Now –Horizontal Life. What a fucking album that is. Totally different to your last album. It's getting some great praise within the Stoner Metal world. You guys pleased and happy with responses so far.

Chris W -Thanks. We are really happy with how it has been received, it’s been interesting comparing peoples favourite tracks everyone seems to like different parts!

Q8 – It has taken a while for it to come out. It was supposed to be late last year. Were there problems trying to get it released. But it was definitely worth the wait.
Chris W - There were a few issues, however you are always going to get delays as you are trying to pull so many things together to one date, as soon as one thing slips it takes everything else with it, we had to postpone the release date twice, then when we got the final release date it was April Fools Day! I was worried we would have trouble convincing people there was actually an album at all!

Matt R - Initially it was the money to push it out. When the album got near completion it was more the logistics. The music has been written for some time but we’re just glad it’s finally here. We’re thankful that it was worth the wait.

Q9 – Seems the fans are loving it as much as the critics. Bet your pleased with that aspect. I think it leaves Forked Tongues in the dust and puts Desert Storm on a different level altogether.

Chris W - Certainly our main objective was to ensure Horizontal Life was a huge step up on Fork Tongues, and I think as an overall package we have achieved that, so the fact that people seem to have appreciated that is really great. We are already at work on the next record, so our aim is to match that level of improvement once more, it’s a challenge we are all looking forward to.

Matt R - Forked Tongues was a different point in time for us. It’s just all come with the experience, we’ve not intentionally changed as a band and the music is fairly similar, just revamped and honed into what we are today. It’s all about capturing that live experience.

Ryan C - Yeah definitely a step up from Forked tongues though there is still some strong stuff on that record that still features in many sets. Songs like Pocketwatch, Ol' Town & Cosmic Drips. But I feel on the whole the material and production is more solid on 'Horizontal life'.

Q10 – Was it a hard album to write and record for. As you have included a lot of new themes. Space Rock and Heavier Sludge Metal riffs for one.

Chris W -Most of the material was already in place, so the music came together quite quickly, we did make some significant changes though to some tracks for the album, the middle section of Titan was entirely new and had not been originally written like that, it was a case of trying to make the album hang together as a whole rather than just a collection of songs put next to each other.

Matt R - Not at all man, if anything it was probably easier. We’ve got loads of influences and dig all sorts of genres, so it was like we’re opening up. It’s easier to write because we’re not picking and choosing “suitable” material so much. We play what we want which is totally liberating.
Q11 – Was it an easy decision to change your style and sound. Or did you always want to experiment that little bit further. 

Chris W - We always wanted to experiment, the willingness to experiment and explore new sounds is really at the centre of what we do.  The bluesy groove stuff will be our staple sound, but we wanted to bring in other sounds around that to keep it sounding fresh.

Matt R - It’ll certainly be interesting for us to see where the next recording goes. Change is inherent in nature and life so we’re bound to change as a group and musically. We’ll always retain the Desert Storm sound though!

Q12 – How did you get Billy Anderson to master the album. He has done a fantastic job on it. Probably the best you have ever sounded.

Matt R - We got in contact and he expressed an interest. It was great to have such a master engineer in the final stages of production to lend his ear. Must say we’re so completely grateful to our producer Jimmy ‘Evil’ Hetherington to record and mix with, the both of them have certainly done a bang up job with the sound.

Elliot C - Yeah both of them did a great job, Jimmy deserves a lot of credit for his good job on recording and mixing and also helped with the mastering.

Q13 – Now I have to ask about the amazing album cover. Fuck. That is probably one of the best album covers and packages I have seen this year. Who came up with the space/sci-fi/intergalactic design.

Matt R - It was Chris Hitchman, he has done some amazing work for other bands so we were drawn to his stuff from the off. The artist’s name is Chris Hitchman and he’s produced work for bands such as Monster Magnet and Spider Kitten. He’s a great illustrator with a very keen eye within psychedelic mural pieces. Definitely chuffed with the final product. Our bassist Chris Benoist did the final arrangement.

Q14 – Now what does the album cover mean!!! - or do you want people to figure that one out for themselves.

Chris W - I don’t think we even know! I think it’s one for the fans to get their own meaning out of.

Matt R - There are a number of influences to it. We wanted Chris to have freedom to draw as he does best, but you might notice some of the lyrics lying intrinsically in the art. 
Q15 – You guys are also now involved in Promoting gigs with your Buried In Smoke Promotions. How did that come about. Great work you guys are doing there. Congrats on the bands your currently promoting now. Especially K2B.

Elliot C - Yeah me & Ryan have been doing that for almost 3 years now, with Matt helping out with posters from time to time. But we've also had Cale at Intergalactic rock posters work for us before...currently doing the posters though is Gareth Kelly (GURT) who does a fine job.

Q16 – Does the Promotions Company help in a way to get you guys more gigs and stuff. What is your verdict on the current UK gig scene from both sides of the fence. Mainly promoting and performing with Desert Storm.

Ryan C - Yeah its a good scene man, lots of cool bands emerging and it's great to bring them to Oxford. We do this to help build a strong local rock/metal scene and to help give Desert Storm exposure. I would say it has definitely helped us get gigs in other towns too.
Q17 – What has been your main highlight over the last 12 months or so. You have had such a great 12 months or so.

Chris W - Highlight would be touring with Karma To Burn and then with Honky. Being able to share music with them was such a great experience.

Matt R - Brisfest and Desertfest were a blast, but then so was the tour with Honky… we’ve had some great shows around the UK too. It’s really difficult to pick any one experience as we’ve met and played with so many cool people. After a year of drinking it all rolls into one big knees-up really!

Q18 – What words of wisdom would you give to people who are thinking about starting a new band of their own. What should they not do!!!.
Chris W - I would say not to force yourself into one sound straight away. It can take years for a band to really develop and find it’s true voice, so I think just play what you want to play. At the end of the day, you need to be having fun! It sounds childish but if you are in a band and not having fun there is something seriously wrong! I think sometimes people can forget that.

Matt R - You’ve gotta love what you do because it’s by no means easy. The enjoyment is completely worth putting in the effort of organizing, getting to a show with your gear, staying sober enough to play and get your shit home. You put time, money and practice into your passion to create those sounds that need to be heard (by the band as much as anyone else). You won’t regret trying, even if it’s not meant to be. If it is you’ll realize what you were put on this planet to do.

Q19 – Finally – Do you have anything to say to your fans.

Chris W - Thanks for all your support over the last year. Special shout out for John Daniel and Emmett Casley for having to put up with us on two tours!

Matt R - Thanks for all the support you’ve given us and the love you’ve shown. For coming to the shows and rocking out. For buying stuff and drinking with us and being really cool people. You are one of the driving forces of Desert Storm and we totally feed off your energy on stage. Wherever you are, inside or outside the venue, we thank you! 

Well guys thanks for doing this. Been great catching up with you all again. All the best with the new album and forthcoming gigs and tours you have. Hope to you see guys soon back on the live stage....

Check Out Desert Storm From the links below