Friday 10 January 2014

Interview with Barricade

Terrorlight cover art

Now it's my pleasure to be interviewing rough and ready Danish Sludge/Hardcore Mob – Barricade – who impressed me with their excellent new album – Terrorlight. If you love heavy and hard pounding riffs that High On Fire are known for then you're going to love these brilliant hardcore sludge rockers.

I recently described their new album – Terrorlight – as:

“If you want a full-on action packed Sludge Metal experience to test yourself against then I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

It may not be the prettiest of sounds or the most original, but not many can match the excitement that Barricade have laid down to rest here. Terrorlight is a true adrenaline rush from start to finish”

Barricade have kindly agreed to talk to us here at Sludgelord. So lets see what they have to say.

Q1 – Hi guys. How are you today. Thanks for doing this. Really appreciate it.

Hey. You are welcome man and thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Your words on Terrrorlight are very flattering!

Q2 – For people not in the know, can you give a brief history on how the band came about and where it is today.

Well, some of us go way back and have been playing music on and off in different bands (mostly outside the metal genre). We started off as a 3 piece band with drummer, bass and guitar – sharing the vocals between the string instruments. At some point we needed someone to fill in for our drummer so we got a friend from a former band constellation to join us.

When our drummer came back we suddenly had different songs written with two different people behind the drums. We got the idea, to try out the songs with both drummers thundering at once – just for the fun of it (Swear we didn't know Kylesa at the time!). And after having trashed around for too many months and too many nights wasting gear, beer and our eardrums Barricade finally came to life. While it, in mysterious ways, worked with two drum sets - we ended up with a lack of heaviness on the strings.

By sheer coincidence one of us ended up in a camp at a festival with our other guitarist – he was made a full blown Barricader in January 2011. This makes our current line-up the following: Daniel (drums), Tejs (drums), Patrick (guitar), Jonathan (bass, vocals), Lars (guitar, vocals).

The story then takes off like a rocket. We suddenly played festivals and had quite a few gigs on our hands plus we put out two EPs and our first album Terrorlight (if you’re lucky enough you might be able to dig them up from the depths of the net somewhere - we'll leave that as an exercise). So the brief history of Barricade leaves us with awesome times and back-breaking hard work.

Q3 – Now congrats on your new album – Terrorlight. Are you guys pleased the album is finally out of there for everyone to hear.

Thanks man and yep it’s fantastic - and congratulations to you for being (to our knowledge) the first outside Denmark to review it! We are so pleased that it's finally out there – the good reception has blown us all away. We didn't quite expect our little DIY production to get this much attention. It’s a great feeling! It’s a very rewarding experience and is fuel on our fire – we’re already working on new material for a new EP or possibly an album for 2014.

Q4 – How would you describe your sound as you guys include a lot of different noises, sounds and ideas.

We always try to make it feel right. You know, make it fit into “our” sound and sound like Barricade whatever that is. But it’s a work in progress and it’s growing and evolving all the time – actually every time we plug into our amps. It’s a bit hard to describe, but we tend to go for energy and feeling. We try not to limit ourselves in regards to inspiration and “what goes”.

That’s crucial to our sound and what Barricade is all about – heavy and fast paced riffs with a no-nonsense quality to it. Raw, massive and dense. In addition to that we like to play with the whole band setup and soundscape – we try to give it a new vibe – which is why we have two drummers and primarily use effects on an already heavily distorted bass rather than on the guitars.

If you twisted our arm for a more precise description we'd might end up with this recipe: 5 collective influences, a grain of DIY, 2 oz. of sludge, 1 spoon full of hardcore, 2 drips of misunderstanding and half a brick of rootlessness. Shake it hard, pour it in a black cup and put a nice thin yellow straw in it. You pretty much have our sound.

Q5 – Was Terrorlight a hard album to record for. And would you change anything about it.

The recordings took place in Patrick's old studio (he has since moved on to a new and more established one) and then it was mixed by another crew. To be honest it actually was a bit hard to make. Not because of the material and the writing process but because we decided to do all of the recording ourselves. That was a first time for all of us since none of us had recorded an entire album on our own before. This meant that there were a lot of bumps on the road but we came through. Long nights, coffee and beer - you know the drill.

The whole process took a lot of energy and time. But that’s how we like it - we have our roots in the DIY culture which means that it was natural for us to do everything by ourselves; graphics, cover design, printing and distribution. Also, Lars made his own label “Black Grain Records” that we released Terrorlight on. In regards to distribution, well, why not go directly to the local record shops or have a few copies in your bag? So we took our bikes and bags and now have copies in many of the record shops in Copenhagen. It’s been a cool experience and we’ve learnt a lot by going the DIY way all the way through. Yes, there have been a few bumps but we’re thick-skinned and stronger than ever!

Next time we record we hope to bring heavier sounds to the bass and guitars. We have upgraded our back-gear and pedals since the recordings of Terrorlight so we hope to bring the new hardware to good use but we haven’t fully decided on how to approach the whole thing yet. We’ll try to plan it all a bit better (emphasizing try). One thing is for sure though; we’re going to produce it ourselves again. That’s how we roll.

Q6 – What gear and equipment did you use when recording the album as Terrorlight is one mean loud and angry album.

We used our old and heavily worn gear. Some good stuff and some crappy stuff as well. Guitars are Gibson Les Pauls (one standard and one Studio version). An old Valvestate VS100 and an all-tube Peavy was used for the guitar amps with a 4x12 Orange cab connected. We used two different drum sets a Sonor and a Premier – both standard setup. A Fender P-bass and J-bass where used on an old UK version Ashdown amp connected to a 4x10 Ashdown cabinet. We used a lot of different microphones including some cool old Sennheisers from the 70's. Effects (mostly bass) ranges through some old stompboxes – phasers, flangers, choruses, delays, Rats and Muffs. The sound is basically what we got out of this gear – so no re-amping nor any sound replacements have been made.

Q7 – Have you been pleased with the responses so far you have had for the album.

Yeah it’s been really great! Terrorlight has received some very cool reviews (not least the one from this great site – thanks man!). The response has all in all been great really from fans and friends and we really just want to push it all forward. In other words expect something really heavy, really soon!

Q8 – What is the song writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

It’s a mixed process. The string boys usually bring some riffs to rehearsals and then we try them all out, throw in old and unused riffs and sometimes new riffs evolve spontaneously from that process. So it’s a very collective process. Sometimes it leads to nowhere and ends up in Lars’ “archives” but usually we end up with a new song or half of it. We just bring whatever we have in mind and try it out. On top of that we tell the drummers to beat the shit out of it and correct it if the beat/riff is too weird.

Q9 – What is the whole concept of the album. Or do you want people to find this out for themselves.

Terrorlight doesn’t have a concept as such. But then again it's bound together by the lyrics that create a sort of two-sided narrative. The lyrics have a universe of their own and are created by Jonathan and Lars who both contributes to the writing. If you listen closely or search for it you might find some very clear statements. It’s a blend of sci-fi-horror, no more bullshit attitude and a tad of all-empires-are-evil statements. Other than that it’s just a way to express our passion for heavy down-tuned music.

Q10 – Now how did you come up with the name Terrorlight for the album. And what is the meaning behind it.

We had a way too long discussion on that one, but in the end we decided to name it after the song that we liked the most – also, the “Terrorlight” title has a reference to the dim light that shines in your face under interrogations and shit. Somehow it just made sense.

Q11 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.

A lot! But to name a few: Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Slayer, Mastodon, Raised Fist, Kylesa, Red Fang, Black Tusk, Mötorhead, Lamb of God and on and on and on. We like all kinds of hard rocking music from stoner rock to death metal and we are influenced by it in different ways – which also reflects in our approach to develop the Barricade soundscape - we mix our different preferences and ideas together.

 Q12 – What made you want to become a musician. Any particular group, album or life changing event.

Well, a lot of us grew up with the whole grunge era alongside stuff like Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden and such – it kind of kicked us down the basement stairs where we could plug in some cheap equipment, add some teenage rage to the instrument of choice and suddenly the gates to the metal world opened up!

Q13 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal community been in getting your music across to fans.

It has been a huge help and it is how we get our music out there. Besides concerts all the different forums, blogs and social media is pretty much the way it is nowadays. At least for now. All these platforms and tools is a great way for a small band to get out there. It’s a great network and people are genuinely interested in what’s happening and what people are doing – and it’s a very inspiring community to be a part of.


Q14 – Terrorlight is being released on Vinyl. Congrats on that and especially on your debut album as well. How did that come about. And are you Vinyl Heads yourselves like us here at Sludgelord.

Thanks man! Yeah some of us are vinyl heads and have never really stirred away from that path. The whole thing with a vinyl is that the experience is so much bigger and with a lot more nuances – the sound opens up, the cover makes sense and you tend to listen to the whole record – all in all you’re just more focused on the whole experience. Music deserves that.

We decided to go that route with Terrorlight as well – not least since we know that there are a lot of vinyl heads out there. CDs are almost dead but we still had them made, however, we can see that people mostly go for the vinyl. It might be a culture/community thing – you know if people are really interested they want the whole experience and the vinyl gives them that. We feel that way as well and often bring home vinyls from a show when checking out new bands.

Q15 – Do you perform many gigs in your home-town or do you have to travel further away to perform live regularly.

Yes we have played a lot of shows in and around Copenhagen as well as some festivals and we’ve taken the trip to Sweden a few times. For 2014 we’re planning a mini-tour to Germany that we’re really looking forward to plus a mini-tour in Denmark and possibly a quick tour to Sweden as well.

Q16 – Are you all full time musicians or do you all have full time jobs

No. We all have normal full time jobs and some of us have small kids – but we use all of our spare hours to rock out as much as possible!

Q17 – In 5 words or less – describe the live Barricade experience.

Massive, sweaty, ugly, energetic and LOUD!

Q18 – If you could give advice to someone wanting to start a band. What advice would you give them.

Do what you feel is right and play your ass off. It is live performance that gets you a reputation and a playground for your ideas. Most importantly: If some douchebags should tell you to stop doing what you love and care about the most – tell them they suck donkey balls and bring shame to all of humanity.

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

Thank you for the love and support. We will never forget you!

Well guys, thanks for doing this. I really appreciate it. Best of luck with your album.

Thank you so much – may the heaviest of sludge in all realms be under your guardianship always!

Thanks to the band for doing this interiew. You can buy Terrorlight on DD/CD/Vinyl from Barricade’s BandCamp Page.

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