Thursday, 20 March 2014

Interview with SERVERS

It was two years ago when famed underground UK Record Label – Undergroove Records – released their last album. It was going to take something special to kick this label back into life.

And it's been a while since we heard from Lee Storrar who used to play with UK Hard Rock Crew – G.U. Medicine.

Call it divine intervention or something magical in the UK Sludge/Stoner Rock air – But these two forces have combined in releasing one of the UK's Sludge/Stoner Metal debut albums. As Lee is now playing with rising Sludge/Stoner Metallers – SERVERS – and whose album is being released on Undergroove Records.

Servers debut album – Leave With Us – is winning a whole range of praise within the UK Hard Rock/Metal scene for it's breathtaking vision of pummelling riffs that blends Sludge, Stoner Metal and Hard Rock with great effect.

I called the album - “A blistering and hard-hitting 45 minute album that will appeal to fans of Baroness, Mastodon, Foo Fighters, Monster Magnet and ISIS. Servers are a hard-rocking unite combining elements of Sludge, Stoner Metal, Alternative Rock and Grunge into one unmissable package.

This is one of the best début records from the UK Hard Rock/Metal scene I have heard in years. Trust me folks when I say this album is an absolute blast from start to finish.”

I am going to delve a little bit deeper into the psyche of Servers as they have kindly agreed an interview with ourselves at Sludgelord HQ.

Q1 – Hi Guys. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you all today

Lee:All good thanks, we appreciate you giving us the chance to speak to you and your readers- today in fact we're better than usual ..we've just had the heads up that Ian Camfield is playing us on his rock show tonight

Q2 – Can you give our readers a brief history of how the band started and where it is today.

Lee: In 2010 I walked away from music (for what I thought would be) forever. I'd reached that point when the enjoyment was being dwarfed by the slog. I can remember signing off with Undergroove by sending Darren Sadler a message saying, 'that was it for me'. He replied with words to the effect of- I understand and you should be proud of all you've done and what you've achieved.

Amidst the dejection and disillusion of fronting up the fact that music was no longer part of my life, I remember saying to someone that if I don't sell my guitar and I ever pick it up and write something good, I'll want to put another band together. I did sell all my amps, but I kept my duesenberg guitar and guess what- I only went and wrote some new songs lol.

I met Lee (Wilde) years and years ago and always thought he'd be a pretty cool guy to be in a band with, so armed with a couple of new ideas (none of which made the album) I rang him up and asked him if he fancied giving it ago. We went into Flatwave studio to demo the songs with Pete Thompson. Those songs never worked out but it kept us interested. It was around about that time I received a call from Owen Packard from ET9 asking me if I'd try out vocals for a new project featuring him, Jason Bold and Mark Clayden (ex Pitchshifter). I asked them to send up the song and I'd have a go. I've got to admit, I liked what I heard, and within 3 days I'd written and recorded the vocals for 'Wretched Days'. I fired it back down to Owen, he loved it! sadly the other two didn't, they wanted someone who could growl and sing nicely and not a voice like mine lol. I was a bit disappointed but this proved to be crucial for me as it proper fired me up to try write and make something special.

Ant Nettleship got recommended to us by a mutual friend. Ant had just wound up playing drums for Disarm and was out of a band! What a recommendation Ant turned out to be, an awesome drummer, switched on to fuck and a lovely bloke.

That was it, Servers were formed.

Q3 – So lets talk about your new album – Leave With Us. So was this a hard or easy album to record for.

Lee: Lots of little different things started to fall into place that have helped us to create 'Leave with us'. Some spooky, for example Pete Thompson (who we did all of the pre-production with at Flatwave studio) one day handed me some hardware which enabled me to work on songs at home on my laptop. It was a presonus inspire 1394 interface ..well it did inspire me massively and my man number at work is 1394! kinda still freaks me out a bit.

After all the pre production was completed at Flatwave and many good laughs and good times had been had with Pete Thompson we headed into Matt Elliss's Axis Studios in Doncaster. There were never any doubt in our minds that Matt was the man we wanted to produce the album. At times it was difficult because Matt's vision of the sound he wanted for us was different to the demo's we'd produced and some of the ideas we had.

Any band will tell you that it's difficult to let go of your own concepts and ideas and place them and your entire trust into someone else's hands, but one thing Matt is, is a safe pair of hands, he knows what he is doing and the final result is the right one. By the end of recording we'd began to trust what he was doing unreservedly

Q4 – Would you change anything about it or are you happy with the way it is.

Lee: Some new songs came just too late for inclusion on 'Leave with Us'. Had we have had the time I reckon at least one of the songs on there would have yielded to one of the new songs. That said, they've now formed the platform for the next Servers album 'Chaos Monster'

Q5 – It's quite a thought provoking album. What is the main concept behind the album. And was it your intention to release something that thought provoking. Especially on the songs – Universes and Supernovas (The Ride), King Things and Mother's Grave.

Lee: Lyrically, the whole album is based around the different cults and cult leaders. I'm fascinated by the control one person can exert over another or others, that said I didn't want to write,for example a song directly about Charles Manson or David Koresh , I became more interested in their followers, the back stories, the people who got left behind when there sons and daughters left to join a cult etc or the people who were the followers...the Servers! ...that's what the main concept behind it all is...sheer utter unreserved devotion that some place in others

Q6 – Now this is the first release for Undergroove Records in 2 years. Am pretty excited they have came back as they have been quiet for a while. How did you guys hook up with them.

Lee: Me and Darren had worked together with my previous band so the connection was already there. I rang him up shortly after we'd completed the demos for 'Universes..' 'Mega High' and 'Once I'd Started..' and explained what I was doing with Servers. At first he was a little reluctant, he explained that the world had turned and that the music industry had changed beyond recognition, but I simply wouldn't take no for an answer. I told him that we were gonna create something special, something that simply couldn't be ignored no matter what state the music industry was in. I sent him the demos and kept pestering him. He started to get excited.

Q7 – Are you proud that your the first band they are releasing an album for in 2 years.

Lee: For sure, immensely proud, previously Undergroove had lots of great bands to look after, keep happy and work on behalf etc. At the moment, selfishly, it's just us, which for obvious reasons has to be a good thing. Also I know Darren's been absolutely blown away by the reception the Undergroove resurgence has had

Q8 – Which bands and artists influenced you as a musicians Any particular albums stand out.

Lee: I'd have to say Mastodon, The doors and Killing Joke for me

Lee w: black sabbath - sabbath bloody sabbath was a huge influence on me, as was Isis panopticon, they just showed me how dark and moving music can be when it really grips you

Q9 – Now you have read my review of your debut album. How would yourselves describe it.

Lee: Steve, if you'd have given me the paper and pen and asked me to write a review of 'Leave with Us' I couldn't have done a more complementary job, and from the bottom of our hearts we thank you. Makes all of the hard work worth while

Q10 – The UK Hard Rock scene is currently going under a great revival. Have you noticed anything different over the last few years. Or have you not noticed anything different. Some great bands coming from the UK Sludge/Stoner/Hard Rock scene.

Lee: We could be wrong but we feel that people are growing tired of all the shouty bollocks every band and their dogs are churning out. We've tried to steer clear of any scene or obvious pigeon hole options, it's been fun reading exactly where people are trying to fit us in. That said, the danger is that we may fall between the cracks of the genres...a risk we're willing to take

Q11 – Now your album is winning praise all over the place. I bet that has caught you by surprise. Or did you know you had something special with Leave With Us.

Lee: You can never be sure that people will understand or like what you're trying to do, but from the very start we knew that we had to write an album that simply couldn't be ignored. We had to try and make it something special that would instantly grab peoples attention. Its been a huge sigh of relief that people are digging it though.

Q12 – Why did you choose the name SERVERS for the band. And the album – LEAVE WITH US. Any particular meanings.

Lee: Servers are dedicated, they perform no other tasks besides their server tasks. 'Leave with us' are the final words Marshall Applewhite says on his heavens gate exit speech , trying to recruit others to join the 38 followers who all committed suicide simultaneously with the promise (from Applewhite) that if they leave the vehicle(their bodies) they were in, they could board a spaceship that that was hidden behind the Hale Bop comet that had come for them to take them to the next kingdom level above human. And they all did! unfuckingberbastardleavable! ...Servers

Q13 – What is the live SERVERS experience like.

Lee: We've got a few things going off live, all based around the cult thing! We like to think of a servers live show being a gathering that's an extension of the albums songs, we don't want it to be an experience like others where you simply see 4 guys playing songs in front of you.

Q14 – What are you thoughts on the crowd-funding scene where bands and artists ask fans to help fund their latest album, tour or release. Are you fans of this medium. Would yourselves ever go down this route.

Lee: Things like Pledge are a great idea, and becoming a more and more powerful fund raising and marketing tool ultimately empowering the band. It'd be foolish to rule out going down this route at some point in the future, you never know what’s around the corner.

Q15 – What is your live equipment set-up. As you guys pack a lot of different sounds. It must be fairly complex to replicate live.

Lee: For a starter, although we are a 3 piece band there are four of us live, Server 5 plays the second guitar. Both me and Server 5 use Peavey Amps for our sound, bass wise it's ampeg. We also use samples to support what we're doing. We've got a Fostex

D2424LV Mk2 playing along with us. Ant the drummer plays along to a single continuous click track that links the songs,

Q16 – If you could change anything about the UK Hard Rock scene. What would it be and why.

Lee: Get rid of the metal by numbers shit, there seem to be a lot of replication in bands these days where the formula is pre determined and you can simply guess what's coming. You get line ups with 4 bands in front of you where it's difficult to see any difference in the bands, it's just relentless double kick with an angry dude screaming at you about the same content. It just gets boring…

Q17 – Do you guys tour in your home town regularly. Or do you have to travel further afield.

Lee: We fully committed to recording the record first before even contemplating playing live, now the record is finished and out there we're turning our attention to the live circuit and picking up what we can where we can. Anyone wants us, we'll come and play to you

Q18 – I love the album cover. Who designed it and what does it mean. Or is this something you want people to discover for themselves.

Lee: The album cover was created and conceptualised by Pete Thompson (Server4). There's hidden shit in there ...the plan is, when we've got enough Servers signed up on our web site we're gonna be throwing a few puzzles out to find Servers who are really keen to move into a higher order. They'll have to surrender their current Server number and get issued with a designated higher order number ...go grab a number from

Q19 – If you could give any advice to people wanting to start a band what would it be.

Lee: Try and make it special and sound like no one else

Q20 – Well guys thanks for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. Do you have anything to say to your fans.

Lee: Go grab a Server number and leave with us

All the best guys. Best of luck with you album. Hope to see you guys at a gig one day.

Thanks to Servers for taking the time to talks to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Leave With Us is available now on CD and DD from Undergroove Records from all good stockists now.

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Written by Steve Howe