Saturday 2 August 2014

Interview with Harriet from Black Moth

Today's guest is part of a band who burst onto the Stoner/Doom Rock scene back in 2012 with their critically acclaimed début album – The Killing Jar. It's great style of Doom, Stoner Rock, Hard Rock and Occult Rock won then a huge fanbase within the Doom/Stoner Metal scene. And with a string of acclaimed live performances behind them most recently on Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats European Tour which I witnessed first hand the blistering power of this great band.

They are about to release their eagerly awaited 2nd album – Condemned To Hope – in September 2014 which no doubt we will be reviewing very shortly.

But before then it's time to find more about rising UK Hard Rock/Doomsters – Black Moth. I have been given the chance to speak to Lead Vocalist – Harriet Bevan.

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

Excellent thanks! Getting closer and closer to album release so it’s exciting times.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

We met in Leeds, donkeys ago, and we’ve been like a dysfunctional riff-worshipping family ever since. Our rehearsals have always been pretty organic, whereby we each come with a very different set of nterests/influences yet somehow they all come together to make something that kinda works. We’ve been playing together for years in various amalgamations, originally dabbling in retro 60-70s garage punk/proto metal but eventually we settled on a more modern take on all our vast and varying influences, which is the bizarre winged beast you see today.

Q3 – How would yourselves describe your music as you have a lot of different sounds going on.

Good question. We try to refrain from answering that as we actually relish our genre promiscuity and hate to be defined, but I can say we like to explore the meaning of “heavy” from a number of different angles, be it through monster riffs, disturbing rhythms or unnerving lyrics. Genres that have been flung at us include stoner rock, occult rock, hard rock, doom metal and even glam rock so take your pick!

Q4 – Why did you choose the name Black Moth.

There are many and multifarious reasons the moth imagery appealed to us. They are fascinating creatures and have often been used as a poetic motif to represent the struggle of the artist (See Tennessee Williams’ Lament For the Moths) but overall, it just seemed to suit us.

Q5 – Your début album – The Killing Jar – was released back in 2012 to some critical acclaim. Did the responses from fans and critics surprise you.

Actually we were bowled over by the response. We had a sense that what we were doing was good and different, but the positive press response and rapidity with which it spread worldwide really blew our minds.

Q6 – Looking back on The Killing Jar. Would you change anything about it. Or is it perfect the way it is.

Never look back! Nothing and everything is perfect.

Q7 – I saw you guys recently in Glasgow on the Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats European Tour. You impressed the hell out of me. That was an awesome gig by everyone involved. How did you get on the Uncle Acid Tour. And how did the fans treat you overall.

Thanks dude! I loved that show also, the Glaswegians are always a killer crowd. The whole tour was amazing though to be honest. Couldn’t have been more perfect for us as Uncle Acid had just been touring with fucking SABBATH so the fans they picked up were an ideal audience for us to be meeting. We played in some incredible places like Warsaw and Prague… and of course we finally reached the powerful Scandinavian metal contingent in Sweden and Denmark which was truly awesome. They know how to mosh on the mainland that’s for sure.

Q8 – We have to talk about your new album. Condemned To Hope. WOW. That is one one bleak title. Can you tell our readers what they can expect from the album.

It’s a weirdo. It’s even heavier than the last one… but twice as weird. It was written during a time of considerable turmoil in our lives, and under a lot more pressure than our debut, but somehow it came together as if by magic in the end. Like all good things.

Q9 – What's different to this album compared to your début album.

Our songwriting has improved a lot, and the lyrics are more grounded in the present than the gothic horror of The Killing Jar. It was also written in perhaps a quarter of the time! The first album is a band finding their feet. We pretty much know who/what we are now.

Q10 – Was Condemned To Hope a hard album to write and record for.

Yes and no. Like I said, it came out of a heavy time but as a result of those circumstances, we resolved to drop everything and get in the rehearsal room for a solid month, and it was quite a luxury to give it that kind of intense focus.

Q11 – What influenced you when recording the album as the cover gives a very dark and haunting experience. Was that the case when recording it.

No actually! We spent much of the recording experience laughing our asses off and fooling around. Our producer Jim Sclavunos and studio engineer Andy Hawkins proved to be quite the comedy double act. I went in to record my vocals to find a gold jacket they were insisting I wore, and a stack of porno on my lyrics stand. I think the humour always cuts through with us!

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

Group collective entirely.

Q13 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album stand out that influenced you to become a musician.

That’s really difficult. I am a true music fanatic so my taste is ridiculously broad. The others are largely the same but have their leanings… Nico [Carew, guitar] loves his rock & roll, punk, black metal, roots, anything but disco (which I love), Dom [McCready, drummer] is the biggest metalhead. Dave [Vachon, bassist] loves his 70s rock and prog and Jimmy is a former grunge kid who recently rediscovered his love for UK garage. Iggy and the Stooges and Black Sabbath are probably our ultimates, but as a vocalist, I particularly adore Grace Slick.

Q14 - 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.

I have no idea how to answer this. I’m just the vocalist! Tips…. Experiment! Have no prejudices, keep and open mind and explore the glorious world of sound. All the advice a young musician needs comes from John Frusciante’s interviews (though the rest of the band will kill me for being such a fucking hippy).

Q15 – If you could change anything within the Hard Rock/Metal scene. What would it be and why.

I’d say a large chunk of it needs to open its mind and be a bit less purist. Sorry. More interesting music comes from experimentation and freedom and metal fans can have a curiously conformist attitude at times. It’s nice to be a part of a tribe, sure, but do we really need all these rules!?

Q16 – The UK Doom/Hard Rock/Stoner Rock scene is thriving at the moment. Tons of great bands to check out. What are your own personal views of the UK Hard Rock scene. Can you see it growing even bigger or do you see it flat-lining at some point.

Bigger, definitely. Riffs are a basic human right, and they’re spreading.

Q17 – Your new album will be released on vinyl. Did you have much input into the design of that or have you left it to the record company to decide.

I am very much involved in the visual decisions yes. The vinyl package will be extremely special. I still have to pinch myself that we have an original artwork from Roger Dean, and it will be a gatefold American-style tip on sleeve in heavy duty card. It comes on heavyweight 180g black and cream vinyl with lyric insert and free download of the album. This is limited to just 500 copies.

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

Do it for the love of music, only.

Q19 – What are your thoughts of the entire crowd-funding scene. It seems to have it's defenders and people think it's a waste of time. Would yourselves ever participate in a crowd-funding project.

I don’t know enough about it to comment I’m afraid. We’re ridiculously old school in our approach, for better or for worse. I’m all about DIY initiatives though and it seems very empowering so yeah, why not?

Q20 – Will you be doing an extensive Tour to promote the album. If so, when will you be touring and will it be other parts of the world.

Abso-freakin-lutely. UK dates already booked and Euro dates in the pipeline. We would love to play further afield, very much, so fingers crossed the second album gives us the kind of exposure we need for that!

Q21 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Luv u xx

Well thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album. Can't wait to hear it.

Thanks to Harriet for talking to us at Sludgelord HQ. Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview.

Black Moth's new album Condemned To Hope will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from 15th September 2014 on New Heavy Sounds

Check The Band From Links below

Written by Steve Howe