Tuesday 26 August 2014

Interview with Vultures At Arms Reach

It's always cool when a band goes the extra mile and does something special for me to review their new album. Take today's guests for example. They sent me a copy of their excellent new album – Colossus – on Vinyl which I was very thankful for.

And it sounds epic on Wax. It's an excellent début album that will hopefully win them some praise within the Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

I originally described the album as: “Vultures At Arms Reach finally unleash their début album – Colossus. A noise rock driven Sludge/Stoner/Doom/Post-Metal hybrid that maybe very hard to describe but you can’t deny the sheer volume of riffs the album packs within it’s short 32 minute running time.

Colossus is a heavy pounding album full of violent mood swings with a slightly distorted crazy view of the world. Vultures At Arms Reach may take influence from a diverse range of bands such as Kowloon Walled City, Mastodon, ISIS and even Faith No More, but you can’t deny the sheer scale of the whole musical landscape that the album projects. As it’s a progressive wonderland of huge violent riffs waiting to be discovered.”

Vultures At Arms Reach have now been on the blog no less than 3 times so I am definitely a fan of these great Sludge Rockers. The guys have kindly agreed an interview with me. So let's get started.

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

Better than we imagined.

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

We actually started out as a Misfits cover band, and that lasted about 30 minutes. None of us had played together or even seen each other play live before, so we had no idea what to expect. The cover band idea started drunkenly at a local dive bar pulled together by a dude that knew we all played. During that first practice the Misfits songs were just plain old shit. So Travis started jamming some Sabbath style riffage and eye contact was finally made amongst everyone. We are a band of accidentals, we weren’t even supposed to record our first EP, the studio time was meant for Nate’s jam band that cancelled last minute. So to put out a record (COLOSSUS) and get rid of over 600 copies the first month is a new thing to us.

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

We try not to emulate, but it’s bound to happen at some point, and we are trying to evolve into something that is its own thing. But I suppose as a blanket statement to cover our sound I’d say violent stoner post-metal.

Q4 – Why did you choose the name Vultures At Arms Reach.

A few people have told us that it’s too long, then I say “And they will know us by the trail of dead…” then they don’t say much, but the name is political, societal, and combative.

Q5 – You're new album – Colossus - has been released. Can you tell us what the album is all about.

It’s about war at it’s core. Track one is a call to arms, 2 and 3 are amidst the combat, 4 is the aftermath of war, 5 is the remorse of combat, and 6 sending the troops back in for another round.

Q6 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

The writing process is fairly easy to us, we took our time to record the record since we knew we were pressing vinyl this time.

Colossus cover art

Q7 – Why did you call the album – Colossus. Any particular meaning behind it.

Well, it was named after the artwork that Nik Burman gave us, which was originally titled Vulturassic, but I saw the art and thought this thing is colossal.

Q8 – As you know from my review I detected a slight Faith No More vibe on a couple of the songs. Are they big influences on your music as a whole.

They aren’t a huge influence to any of us, I remember that song Epic with the fish flopping around at the end of the video. I’m way more into Mike Patton rather than FNM. Fantomas, Mr. Bungle both crazy and amazing stuff there.

Q9 – You're releasing the album on vinyl yourselves. Was that a hard or easy decision to make as it can be a very expensive business.

Well, wanting to make a vinyl is an easy decision, paying for the fucker took some time, but it was well worth the stress, time, and money. I know a lot of people that want to be on vinyl around Santa Cruz, and hopefully we inspired some of us smaller bands to aim higher.

Q10 – Did you have any offers from independent labels to release the album on Vinyl.

There was interest in putting out our new album over a year and a half ago, they were wanting cassettes, and we were wanting vinyl. It ended up being too much money on their end, so we did it ourselves.

Q11 – What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Both. The more epic and dynamic songs are written as a band, some of the more straight ahead songs are written singularly. We have 4 new songs so far for a next recording and it’s literally split 50/50 between writing together and writing separately.

Q12 – How big of a help has BandCamp and the Sludge/Stoner Metal community been in promoting your music.

It’s the only format we use besides Facebook, and because of rad dues like you, people are listening to us.

Q13 – It seems the albums is starting to receive some impressive reviews. Has the response pleased you all so far.

I’m stoked if someone puts in 0 dollars in the name your own price section, because they wanted it. So the fact that there are so many bloggers out there sharing our music is sometimes overwhelming and surprising.

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.

We are a trail of chords and gear. You’d think there was a 5 piece band playing until we get on stage, and only 3 dudes walk out, and each year it just gets worse. Because, if we want it, we work for it and buy it. The future is bringing us some ridiculous set up times.

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

I would ask it to be more humble, especially if you’re growing in popularity.

Q16 – What is your favourite song off the album and why.

Brian’s is Draugr because he gets to go into drummer land. Nate’s is Heavy Hands because of the hook, and mine is Colossus because of the effects work. It sounds just like that live.

Q17 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Weed out the jerks in the band right out of the gate, then don’t hold ANY expectations, play because you love to.

Q18 – 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 much about it, I know a few promoters and bands that have used it around here and it seemed to work out well. I see no problem in it, because it’s the crowds choice whether they donate or not.

Q19 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

You make us better and hopefully we give you something too.

Thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album. Hope you manage to sell all of your vinyl and to release great records in the future.

Check The Band From Links Below

I want to thank Vultures At Arms Reach for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. If you haven't checked out Colossus then do so as your missing out on a brilliant album. It's available on BandCamp Buy Now Download. So headover there now and show your appreciation for this great band now!!!.

Written by Steve Howe