Thursday 30 January 2014

Interview with Reece from STEAK

Corned Beef Colossus cover art

Today on Sludgelord, I am interviewing Reece, guitarist from – STEAK – the awesome UK Stoner Rock band who are starting to make a name for themselves within the Stoner Rock scene with their massive riffs and stories of their Superhero Comic Book Alter Egos battling the evil warlord – The Evil Lazarus.

Hey folks, I am not making this up. This is what their recent EP – Corned Beef Colossus – is all about. I reviewed it last year and I called the EP:

“Steak's time with Truckfighters is nothing short of a revelation. It has moved this band onto another level. I feel in a couple of years time that Steak will be mentioned in the same breath as their Stoner Rock heroes. Now it's time for them to get working on their full length debut album. As like their comic-book counterparts the world of Stoner Rock needs Steak more than ever.....

Corned Beef Colossus is a brilliant ride from start to finish. Steak should be proud of this release as it's going to launch them in a big way..“

Well STEAK have now signed to Napalm Records and are in the process of recording their eagerly awaited debut album. So it's cool that Reece has taken time from saving Cyclone City from wrong-doers and megalomaniacs to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

1 – Can you give our readers a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

The band started a few years back playing some form of rock, sort of speed stoner, whatever that is! We were pretty shit with a shitter name that I’m not going to say what that name was inn this interview. We gradually got our arses into gear, changed our name and released our first e.p Disastronaught in 2012? It seemed to hit the spot and we had cool artwork and shit. Things moved on pretty well from there.

2 – So. Lets start off with your sound. How would you describe your sound.

We are still tweaking our sound as with most bands. We are always fuzzy, fat and very bass driven. I like to use delay with the distorted fuzz a lot to give a very atmospheric sound. We really like to record with different producers, which help give each release it’s own identity and changes the sound slightly each time. The debut album will be different again.

3 – Which bands and artists influenced you all as musicians.

It’s no secret that Kyuss was our early influence. In our first band we was likened to a ‘Kyuss on speed’. Other obvious influences are the scandi stoner bands like Truckfighters, Lowrider and Dozer and then I like to bring a small amount of progression and atmosphere into some of our songs as I love bands like Pink Floyd and Tool.

4 – Congratulations on the success of your recent EP and being signed to Napalm Records. How did you guys hook up with Napalm Records.

It was a pretty big surprise. We was headlining the small stage at Desertfest last year and it was late and we had a few beers and was, lets say merry! Also, we had a few technical problems as Sammy, our drummer had his pedal swapped by another band and the one he was using blew apart through the first song. Anyway, the crowd was great and it went off, but we come away feeling like we played the worst gig ever. We were all pretty pissed off at our performance. Then the next day we get a message through that someone was at the gig from Napalm and they would like to talk to us. We thought it was a scam to start with, we nearly deleted the message!! Luckliy we didn’t.

5 – Pretty cool that they released your two excellent EP's on limited edition Vinyls. Did you guys have any say in the design of the Vinyl Records. And yes I do own a copy of each.

We had already planned to release the vinyl of the first 2 and we had the comic artwork for the inside all ready to go and they seemed really happy with it. It was cool to see our stuff in vinyl form for the first time. Thanks for getting a copy.

6 – What made you decide to become a musician. Any particular band or life changing event.

I always tried to learn guitar as a kid but never really had the patients to get passed the early stages. It always seemed so complicated until I found stoner rock. Get a nice guitar sound, drop your tuning and let rip. After time of playing you realise that things don’t have to be complicated and actually I think the simple stuff works best on most occasions. As we become better musicians I think it’s important not to over complicate things. Keep it simple and heavy.

7 – Where does the name STEAK come from. Any particular meaning behind it.

We had a really shit name before and we was touring with Italian band Stake off the Witch. To shorten their name we called them Stake, then after a while it just felt right as a band name. We thought with aour big meaty riffs it should be spelt like the meat. Think it has helped get us recognised in the scene at the start. “who the fuck calls themselves steak!” is one of my favourite quotes.

8 – You have read our review of your excellent new EP from last year. How would you best describe your new album.

The main difference with the new record is the time we have had to develop the songs. Napalm have been really cool at giving us the time we need. Even a simple song can become so much better with time to play with the structure. Also we will have a good 2 weeks recording this album so will have time to really get the sound we want. The first 2 ep’s were great fun to record but always felt a little rushed.

9 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. As you hooked up with Mr Dango from Truckfighters to produce it and to record a blistering guitar riff on Black Milk. Was it easy persuading Mr Dango to play on the EP.

When we went to record in Sweden we hoped that he would lay something down, but we didn’t ask. Until they hear the final songs then it would be hard for him to commit. It’s great what he done on Black Milk, it really brings the song to life and is classic Mr Dango guitar, which is exactly what we wanted. I think for him it was enjoyable because there was no pressure for it to be perfect like he would want for a TF record, 2 takes and he had it down and it feels loose and loud, We love it.

10 – Obviously you guys are influenced by Comic-book mythology. Was that an easy decision to include Comic-book stuff and humour into your music.

We all love comic art so it was the prefect thing for us. Artwork is so important in the stoner scene and it allowed us to become these desert dirt bag super heroes. We are chilled about our music and I think the comic art reflects that pretty well. Nothing too serious.

11 – How did you guys hook up with DC Comic Artist Eduardo Ferigato to design the EP cover and artwork.

We found an agent that looks after some of the south American comic artists. We knew we picked the right guy when we got the final disatronaught cover.

12 – So which Comic Book Publishing House do you prefer. DC or Marvel. And the reasons why.

It’s a hard one, but I think DC. It’s characters are darker and batman is still the coolest hero. He doesn’t where red pants over his tights for example!

13 – What is the songwriting process in the band. Is it a group process or is it down to one individual.

It’s quite varied really and the whole band get involved in the composition. Reece (guitar) comes up with a lot of instrumental songs and we build from the basics. Cam (bass) also comes up with some banging riffs and songs and it always helps to have songs coming from different members, It gives a more varied sound over an album. Sometimes we just jam something out but usually needs someone to take directive lead of here the song goes. When Kip (vox) digs something he hears at rehearsal he will step up and bash out some vocals. Sometimes it works from the start sometimes the final song is totally different to how we started.

14 – Do you guys gig a lot in your hometown or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We try not to play too many gigs in London. We have a really strong fan base in London but nobody wants to see the band they like every week. We seem to be getting a lot of attention n Europe and playing with Monster Magnet in Spain, which will be cool. We will do a full UK tour when the album is released, just in case we miss the cold and rain too much.

15 – In 5 words or less what is the live STEAK experience like.

A fuzzy stoner booze trip for desert rats (more than 5!)

16 –Your debut album is being released later this year on Napalm Records. What can we expect from this. More tales from Cyclone City. More supervillians to defend it from.

Yep. We expand on the story some more, introducing Sammy (drums) and going back to pre Disastronaught and how it all became so bad in Cyclone City. The e.p’s got into the thick of the action, but being a debut album it feels right to start at the start. We have a whole story written and still plan to release actual comics. Each e.p or album release representing another story or comic. The album will be the very start of the story but will also work if you read them in the order of the music releases.

17 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene currently going on. Are you a fan of this medium and would yourselves ever go down this route.

To be honest I don’t know much about it. We have been lucky enough to be able to fund everything ourselves and now Napalm helps out with that now. I guess it works though, if fans want to see a band release something then they can play a direct role in making it happen. Any way of helping underground bands play and release music seems a good thing to me.

18 – The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently going through a transition at the moment. Lots of great bands and albums starting to be released. Can you see this continuing or do you see things dying down a bit.

Yeah it’s great what’s happening. Underground bands are getting recognition for what they do now and that’s amazing and totally different to a few years ago. My concern and what I’m noticing is that some of the bigger promoters/agents are starting to take notice. Great for the bands at the moment, and steak are no different, but as soon as people think they can make serious money from it, it turns to shit. It happens every time and that’s why I love stoner and Desert rock, it stayed underground.

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

Follow your passion and do it for love. Fuck what happens, enjoy it while your doing it.

20 – Finally, Thanks for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. Do you have anything to say to your fans.\

Thanks! Seriously we never expected people to dig what we done. We love a style of music and wanted to play along side bands we respect. We found a family in the stoner rock scene that makes the effort to come to shows and that’s rare.

Well guys thanks for doing this. All the best.

Check This Great Band Below:


Thanks to Reece for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ and Thanks to Claire from Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview so quickly. 

Written by Steve Howe