Thursday, 6 March 2014

Interview with VOLUME IV

Long In The Tooth cover art

Today's guests on Sludgelord is the brilliant hard-rocking genre defying wrecking crew known as VOLUME IV – who are about to release their eagerly awaited debut album – Long In The Tooth – on my fave record label – Ripple Music.

Who is Volume IV. Well this hard-rocking trio consists of

Joe Carpenter – Guitars/Vocals
Troy King – Drums
Blake Parris – Bass

When these guys join forces you better stand back as they kick up a mighty whirlwind of gigantic riffs to slay you with. If you love Sludge, Doom, Stoner Metal, Southern Rock and Swamp Rock then Volume IV is the band for you. As these guys have crafted a stunning debut album which I described as:

Volume IV have delivered a stunning debut album packed full of monumental riffs for you to devour. If you need more proof then I advise you to check out the gigantic sounds of KONG. A murky swamp based blues stoner rock blast that will have your heart beat thumping 100 times faster as Volume IV are fearless in their approach to music.

Long In The Tooth is a brilliant debut album and its the perfect introduction to Volume IV’s crushing riffs that will have you coming back for more punishment.”

So let's get started with this hard-rocking brotherhood of outlaws that is VOLUME IV

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

JOE: Great, riding in the van, just did 2 great shows and heading home.

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

JOE :Troy and I played in a band together a few years back and he and Blake were jamming together when we started discussing another band, we got together and it was pretty instant…pretty much that simple. Blake fit in immediately with what we were doing.

Q3 – How would you describe your sound. As Volume IV has something for every one. Sludge, Doom, Stoner, Hard Rock and even a hint of blues.

JOE : I think you pretty much described it right there, we like everything and don’t wanna be confined to one thing, we sound like we sound no matter what ,so why not mix it up.

Q4 – Congrats on your new album – Long In The Tooth. It's a brilliant album which seems to be getting a lot of love within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal community. Are you proud of the album.

BLAKE : Thanks !Yes, it was a very natural album to make. We are still very much in evolutionary state, we are already writing new songs for a follow up and they are a bit different but very Volume IV at the core.

Q5 – It seems it has been a long time coming. I first heard snippets of the album back in Summer 2013. Any reason for the long wait. Or were you waiting for the right time to unleash the album on an unsuspecting public.

JOE: That had a bit to do with Ripple, we signed on but their release schedule couldn’t allow our release until early 2014.

Q6 – You are signed to my fave record label – Ripple Music. A great label dedicated in releasing only but the best releases in Hard Rock and Classic Rock. How did you hook up with Ripple Music. Ran by some great guys who honestly care about the bands they sign.

JOE: I was keeping an eye on Ripple for a while, they indeed were putting out impressive stuff, so I approached them about releasing our EP and they really liked what we were about so they offered us a deal. They are fantastic guys who are true fans and get behind the bands the sign,

Q7 – Was it an easy decision to sign to Ripple Music. Did you have any other offers to sign to other labels.

BLAKE : Yes, we had a few come across the table but the Ripple guys are really passionate about their label and a bit more artist friendly that most so it was kind of a no brainer to go with them.

Q8 – Congrats on your album being released on 3 different versions. Most bands don't even get 1 edition but you have 3. How pleased are you with that and how much input did you have with the design of vinyls.

JOE: Very pleased to have multiple format release, especially vinyl, I thought I’d never get to see us on a record like I did when I was a kid buying KISS albums. Ripple gave us full reign with the artwork. Bryan Wills and his daughter Chloe designed the cover from pencil sketches she was doing on her school notebook.

Q9 – Was Long In The Tooth a hard album to write and record for. Would you change anything about it or are you happy with the final version that is being released.

TROY: It was very easy to record for the most part, we set up very much like we do live, all in the same room and just laid it down like we would live. Most tracks were one or 2 takes only. Our producer Neil Yearta is very old school when it comes to recording, he doesn’t like to edit all the live magic out of the mix. My drums have a very open sound, they aren’t triggered or over compressed.

Q10 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular album that changed everything for you.

JOE/TROY/BLAKE : We dig everything from Miles Davis to Voivod, lots of organic music as well like The Band, Tom Waits, 16 Horsepower…old country stuff like Ferlin Huskey, Farin Young, Jerry Reed.

JOE: Blake is a great steel guitar player and we try to incorporate it into our darker acoustic stuff.

Q11 – What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

JOE: I use the tried and true Gibson and Marshall rig, usually my SG through a Silver Jubilee 100w and a ’76 JMP 50w and 4x12 cabs. Blake uses Orange and Ampeg rigs with a Fender P-bass or a Rickenbacker and a Big Muff when he wants some dirt. Troy is using a DW kit, very John Bonham oversize everything.

My only advice is to make your sound as much your own as possible, it’s hard this day and age but try and find something that stands out and makes you unique.

Q12 – What is the writing process in the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.

JOE: At this point I pretty much write everything, riffs, lyrics and arrangements. I record in my home studio and send it to the other guys then we hash it out in rehearsal.

Q13 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene. Where bands ask fans to fund their next album. Are you a fan of that platform. Would Volume IV ever go down that route.

JOE: I’m against it personally; I think if you have to beg your audience to support you then maybe you should reconsider what you are doing or at least how you are doing it." I ain’t asking nobody for nothing if I can’t get it on my own", to quote Charlie Danials. Time are hard, especially for indie touring bands but I just can't bring myself to go that route, to each his own I suppose.

Q14 – Will Volume IV be touring much to support the new album. If so, which places will you be visiting. Though I would love you to visit the UK one-day.

BLAKE : Any place that will have us and we are financially able to get to. Europe and Japan are high on the list.

Q15 – If you could change anything about the Sludge, Doom and Stoner Metal scene. What would it be. Good or Bad.

JOE: We love it, I’m pleasantly surprised that we are accepted as well as we have been since we take a different approach. We don’t tune down like most bands in the genre, we apply a more hard rock feel to it.

Q16 – You have read our review of your excellent new album. How would you best describe your album?

JOE: I think you guys nailed it, not much more I can add. I’m elated that it is well received.

Q17 – In 5 words or less, describe the live VOLUME IV experience.

JOE/TROY/BLAKE : Loud,Raw, and Honest.

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

JOE: Do your own thing, be a first rate you, not a second rate imitation.

Q19 – Well guys, finally do you have anything to say to your fans.

JOE/BLAKE/TROY : We appreciate the support and that you are digging what we are doing. Please buy albums and help out your local scenes and up and coming bands. It’s hard to make a living at this and love for making music is what drives us forward. We hope to see you all soon. CHEERS !!!!

Thanks to talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. All the best with your brilliant new album.

Thanks to Mona at Platinum PR for arranging this interview. Long in the Tooth will be available to buy from March 11th 2014 on CD/DD/Vinyl from Ripple Music

Check the band from links below.

Written by Steve Howe