Wednesday 6 November 2013

Interview with WHITE FIRE

Tomes cover art

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing rising US Sludge Metallers – White Fire.

The brilliant Sludge/Stoner Rockers who impressed the hell out of me with their amazing début album – Tomes. A blistering thrill ride of awesome riffs which I described the following as:

“White Fire are unrelentless on this album. They play at such a fast pace I'm surprised the band don't stop for a rest themselves as the listener doesn't even get one second to catch their breath. So if you want an album that will seriously surprise you then Tomes is it. White Fire have delivered a brilliant début album that will have you coming back for more.

Don't let this album pass you by as you will definitely regret it. Need more evidence to check them out. OK - Listen to Tree Of Woe. If you miss the heavier earlier days of Mastodon then this track will rock your world. Original. Maybe not. But damn you don't care when the riffs are spectacular as this.”

Nope – Still haven't heard of them. Well shame on you. As you're seriously missing out. You need to check em out. You love High On Fire, Mastodon and Kylesa. Well check em out now. To help you make that decision I am doing an interview with this great band.

So let's get started.....

Q1 – Hi guys, how are things with you today? Thanks for doing this. NATE: Thanks for the opportunity.

We're doing great.

Q2 – For people not in the know, can you give a brief history on how the band came about?

 NATE: Before we started, I really only met Spencer a couple of times. But it had been a while since I'd been in a band, and I thought he'd be a great fit for me musically. It turned out he knew an amazing bassist too. I brought in a few songs I'd been working on and we started there. Since then, it's become much more collaborative.

Q3 – So your new album – Tomes. What a brilliant album that is. It has impressed the hell out my friends and colleagues. So is the album getting a good response from the Sludge/Stoner Metal world? If it isn't, then it should. 

NATE: I would say that, aside from the people who found out about us from you, not many are aware of us yet. Hopefully we can continue to gain traction and generate interesting music.

DEREK: The fact that you or anyone outside our sphere of St. Louis is listening to it with enthusiasm is really unexpected and awesome.

Q4 – Was it an easy album to write and record for?

NATE: It was a fairly easy process. We kept it stripped down and wanted a live sound and I think we achieved that. As far as having CDs made... That's another story.

SPENCER: I think so. The three of us, as musicians, click pretty well. Whenever one of us would hit a wall/were out of ideas, someone else could pick it up and run with it.

DEREK: Besides finding time to get everyone together, it was really easy. We tracked 75% of it live in our buddy’s basement in 4 days spread over several months.

Q5 – Did it meet your original aims and objectives as a band before you started recording it? 

NATE: I think every musician has problems with things they record so of course there are little things that we aren't entirely happy with. Overall, I think it's a good record, but we have better in us.

SPENCER: I actually have no idea what we were aiming for, outside of heavy and melodic.

DEREK: I ended up liking all of our songs a lot more after hearing them recorded. I think one big objective was to write songs that would justify our presence on stage opening for bands we like.

Q6 – Is there anything you want to change about it or is it perfect the way it is? 

NATE: I probably would’ve added some varied guitar tones. I only did two guitar tracks per song.

SPENCER: There are a few elements that I thought could be more present or obvious, and a few fills I wish I could have re-done, but I'm happy with our effort nonetheless.

DEREK: Just like my life, I only want to go back and fix all of the parts I fucked up.

Q7 – How would you describe your sound, as you have a lot of great sounds going on at the same time?

NATE: It's metal-based, but we all listen to a ton of other kinds of music, so all of that filters in there as well.

SPENCER: Just heavy, loud, melodic rock. A buddy of mine slapped the term "sludge n' roll" on us, which I thought was becoming and fairly accurate.

DEREK: I’d call us a straightforward, catchy post-hardcore/sludge band that isn’t afraid to show its sensitive side.

Q8 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians?

NATE: Cave In, Refused, At the Drive-In, Torche, Breach, Fugazi, Mastodon, Intronaut, Metallica, Zao, Burst, Knut, etc.

SPENCER: Anything I listen to influences the way I play, whether I realize it or not, and I have pretty varied taste in music. From Mastodon to Zeppelin to Morbid Angel to King Crimson.

DEREK: My favorite bassists are probably Willy Graves, Brian Ritchie, Caleb Scofield, Brian Cook, and Carlos D.

Q9 – What is the local scene like in your home town? Do you get regular gigs, or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly?

NATE: We play around here exculsively so far. We haven't had any out of town opportunities come up yet. So we try to play at least a couple shows a month and try to get on the good tours that come through. As far as heavy music, there are a ton of great bands in St. Louis.

SPENCER: It's cool, complete strangers will just come up to you after your set and want to talk music, which is all I really know anything about. We really only play locally right now because the three of us are busy with work/school/dumb shit.

Q10 - What are your favourite bands you are currently listening to? Any bands that myself or our readers should check out?

NATE: Locally, check out Everything Went Black, The Gorge, The Lion's Daughter, Anodes, Fister, Bastard, ((Thorlock)).

SPENCER: The new Gorguts record is insane. "Habitual Levitations" by Intronaut is probably my favorite album released this year.

DEREK: Spencer and I have a punk band called Cathedral Fever. Anyone reading your website will enjoy Rowsdower, whose drummer recorded our album. Also listen to Heavy Horse, Grand Inquisitor, Black Fast, Fumer, Dibiase, Jack Buck, and Il Cattivo.

Q11 - What are your views of bands using websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their new album releases? Some people and bands are for it. Some are not. Would you consider doing something like that yourselves?

NATE: I'm not really a fan of it unless it's a smaller band who just needs a little help. When I see bands who have had international success asking for money, I find it kind of annoying.

SPENCER: Do what you want, approach music however you like. Personally I feel it's more rewarding to give it everything you've got and be 100% responsible for the quality of a record. We don't have much money to blow on band projects, but we make it count.

DEREK: I never really mind as long as they’re using it as a pre-order system.

Q12 – Who designed the excellent album cover? Did you have much input into the overall design? 

NATE: Our good buddy Brandon Hoffman did it through his Your Arsonist imprint. He's been a great friend of mine for many years. You should check out his band Everything Went Black.

Q13 – In 5 words or less describe the White Fire live experience. 

NATE: Loud, sweaty, cathartic.

SPENCER: Do we even play instruments?

DEREK: Glad I brought ear plugs.

Q14 – What is the songwriting process in the band? Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual?

 NATE: At first I brought near complete songs to the table and so did Spencer. We would tweak them a little but they stayed essentially intact. The new stuff we're writing is more eclectic and collaborative.

SPENCER: Tomes was mostly written by Nate, I contributed a couple songs as well, but mostly it was just riffs he had written a while before. Based on our new material though, it looks like it will be much more of a collaborative effort.

DEREK: Nate is the main songwriter, and I have a few songs I’ve started teaching them. We generally have someone bring a rough song to practice before we all start adding our own parts.

Q15 - Has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across?

NATE: It definitely has. We had a lot of people download our record just by stumbling across it on there. I love that website and it provides a wonderful service.

SPENCER: Yeah, apparently, a metric fuck ton of people from all over the world have downloaded the record. It's exciting and gratifying to say the least.

Q16 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously, the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect. 

NATE: I can't think of anything negative other than I don't get to put in as much time as I'd like to. We're all busy with work, school and other musical endeavors. Other than that, it's been a great experience and I hope we continue to produce good music together for many years. There are some exciting things coming down the pipeline.

SPENCER: Other than the knock-down, drag-out screaming matches that occur on a weekly basis between us, and the subsequent bloodshed, I feel it's a pretty positive and rewarding thing we have going.

DEREK: Obviously, being creative is its own reward. We don’t have very high expectations for “success”, so I don’t anticipate seeing any negative side as long as we’re all friends.

Q17 - If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band, what would they be?

NATE: To quote the wonderful Dave Grohl, "Just get in the garage and just suck!" Seriously, you're not going to get good at it without practicing and you're probably going to suck at first. But if you throw yourself into your music, I don't know of anything more rewarding. And people can tell if you're faking it, so don't do that.

SPENCER: Ya should really just don't.

DEREK: Don’t do it with people you can’t hang out with outside of practice.

Q18 - What pisses you off most in music? Or do you not let the bad things in music stop you from performing and writing songs?

NATE: I don't think we listen to that much current pop music but I think it's safe to say that most of it is pretty much garbage. I personally hate when people are so blatantly fake in their songs. I can't stand when people are clearly just in it for the money or the fame. That sucks.

SPENCER: Same things that piss me off about the rest of the world: competitiveness, greed, egos, closed-mindedness, general disrespect. Luckily I rarely, if ever, have to deal with that shit here.

DEREK: Unless you have a good reason, and if there aren’t a whole lot of people there to begin with, leaving a show before the last band plays is shitty. I feel so bad for good bands who play to just the 3 of us at the end of the night because some band in between left with all of the people they brought.

Q19 – Finally, do you have anything to say to your fans?

NATE: If someone has listened to 30 seconds of one of our songs, I'm grateful and I thank you. I'm glad people are connecting with our music from all over the world. It's an honor to make music.

SPENCER: I love you.

DEREK: You are welcome in my home.

Well guys thanks for your time. I hope you continue to release great music and I hope to hear a lot more from you guys in the years to come.

Check White Fire From Links Below