Tuesday 2 September 2014

Interview with Shooting Guns on WolfCop Soundtrack

Today's guests impressed the hell out of us here at Sludgelord HQ in 2013 when they released their 2nd album – Brotherhood Of The Ram.

It's an album that was critically acclaimed by fans and critics alike for it's heavy psychedelic style of Doom/Stoner Metal riffs with intelligence to match. It's an album that I still regularly listen to this day.

I had to catch up with Shooting Guns 12 months on after I interviewed Chris from the band as a lot has happened since then. The guys have been working on their very first film soundtrack for Canadian Horror Action Comedy – Wolf Cop – which is getting a some damn fine praise itself.

Though I haven't seen the film yet (I will do, when it's released in the UK) but the guys have kindly let me listened to their incredible soundtrack for WolfCop. And what an album this is. A stunning mix of ambient based Doom/Stoner Metal score with tons of creepy overtones to match the horror aspect of the film.

The album will be released in Sept 2014 with details to be provided by the band at a later date. Or hopefully in this interview.

Shooting Guns have kindly agreed to talk to us once again at Sludgelord HQ and it's an opportunity I didn't want to pass up. So lets get started with all things spooky with Shooting Guns. You can read my previous interview with Chris here.

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

Things are going great, Steve. Hopefully the same for you!

Q2 – Before we start talking business with WolfCop. Lets re-cap on your 2nd album – Brotherhood Of The Ram. 12 months on. What a great album that was you guys. It's been acclaimed all over the place. Did the response for the album impress the hell out of you. Did you expect that kind of response.

Thanks! Yeah, saying we were surprised is definitely an understatement. Before BotR, we had handled almost every aspect of album releasing/promotion ourselves so when we partnered with Daniel Hall at RidingEasy Records, I think that played a big role in getting the word out, especially outside Canada. We’re still floored by the response since we never go into making a record thinking that anyone will like it… if we did, we probably wouldn’t even record!

Q3 – What else has changed for you for the last 12 months or so. I see you have performed a lot of gigs recently as well.

We spent the winter and spring working at a pretty breakneck pace with recording and touring. We’ve also had a chance to collaborate with some amazing musicians like Zach Low (guitar) and Toby Bond (synth/viola) during these recording sessions so the sound is definitely evolving. As for gigs, we’ve played some show in Canada throughout the year and are very excited to be opening for Red Fang in October for a few dates in Western Canada.

Q4 – What has been your personal highlight over the last 12 months or so since we featured you last.

I’d say our little Western Canadian tour this past June was definitely a highlight and one of the most fun tours we’ve been on yet. All the bands that we played with were so great to watch (Earthless, The Shrine, We Hunt Buffalo, Solids, Bonspiel, Public Animal) and we all feel pretty lucky to have been able to share a stage with them.

WolfCop Soundtrack cover art

Q5 – Right. Down to business. You have a new album/soundtrack coming out to the Canadian Horror/Action/Comedy that is Wolf Cop. How the hell did you get involved with that. As not many Doom/Stoner Metal bands do a movie soundtrack.

CineCoup, the company responsible for producing WolfCop, approached out of the blue asking whether we’d be interested in scoring a film. We naturally gave them an emphatic yes as it’s something that we’ve always talked about doing and since these opportunities don’t just come along where we’re from, we figured this was our chance to see what we can do. I remember after the initial phone call where J Joly, CineCoup CEO, was asking whether we had a studio ready to go and I said “of course we do”, running to the nearest music store and renting mics, preamps, monitors, etc., and putting a studio together that day. We were definitely flying by the seat of our pants.

Q6 – The soundtrack is amazing by the way. Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

It was very challenging, especially at the start, since we’ve never done anything like this before. It was particularly difficult since we were commissioned to lock music to the action for all 86 minutes of material we were presented with. It took us over 4 weeks to get the first 20 minute reel done but by the end when we were in the swing of things, we were able to get the last 20 minute reel done in 3 days. Normally we spend months sculpting extended jams into something for an album and with this we had to come with an idea that was already fleshed out and make it fit within the context of the movie so we had to approach composition in a whole new way.

Q7 – What was the creative process for that album like. How many times did you have to watch the film to write the music for it.

We’ve probably seen the movie over 300 times before it was ever officially screened. We started this project during a -50 blizzard so we locked ourselves in the studio every day, putting in at least 8 hours for the first month, teaching ourselves how to pull this off and writing material at the same time. It was pretty touch and go, especially at the start, but we used the pressure to force us to deliver the reels under a very tight timeline. We presented CineCoup with over 80 minutes of original material, all locked to video, in under 2 months before we were initially approached to do the soundtrack.

Q8 – You have written 35 minutes for the soundtrack. What influenced you when recording the album as it's very ambient based with a major 80s Synth-Rock type feel. Though still including the Shooting Guns sound that we all know and love.

One of the things that attracted us to this project is that CineCoup really wanted the soundtrack to stand by itself as a Shooting Guns record. For Side A, we took everything that we had written from the first ¾’s of the movie and condensed it down to the most energetic tracks, with the last few songs showing casing Toby Bond’s composition and synth skills. Side B is the last 15 minutes of the movie, as-is and uncut, so it has a real ebb and flow kind of vibe. There’s a lot of action at the end of the movie with a lot of quick changes so hopefully it stands on its as an extended piece.

Q9 – How much involvement did the film producers and director have with the making of the soundtrack. Did they leave you upto your own devices. Or did they tell you how they wanted the album to sound like.

They gave us some examples of what they liked in other soundtracks at the very start but in terms of creative direction, we were given free reign to do whatever we wanted. If anything, they just kept saying make it loud with lots of guitar so we were happy to work within those parameters.

Q10 – Were there any differences from recording your earlier albums compared to the Wolf Cop Soundtrack.

Night and day. We set up a new studio that is solely dedicated to the band so we’re pretty happy that we were able to walk away from this in a position where it will be way easier to push out more material. We hooked up our recording computer to a digital projector so we were watching scenes from the movie while we were recording, getting the transitions and fills matched to the action on screen. While we’ve typically mixed our previous albums ourselves, we’ve got to give SJ Kardash (Full Color Studios) credit for mixing this album and making it sound louder than anything we’ve put out before.

Q11 – Now the film is finally completed, how excited were you seeing the final result onto the big screen with the music that you created for the film.

It was equal parts excitement and relief! We put so much time and energy into getting the project completed on time that it was difficult to appreciate what we actually produced from a creative perspective. Once it was on screen, it was refreshing to appreciate the soundtrack for what it was. We ended up selling out the theatre and throwing an afterparty show on opening night so it was definitely a big highlight for the band.

Q12 – How has the reaction been to the soundtrack and film in general.

I’m still surprised by how much attention that it’s been getting. One of the things that attracted us to WolfCop was that it’s written, directed, filmed in our home province of Saskatchewan, where very little film and television takes place. We’ve always wanted to promote the weird and interesting stuff that comes from out here so that was the big thing that won us over. That said, WolfCop certainly isn’t a think piece and doesn’t take itself seriously so we were unsure what people would actually think of the finished product. It’s been very surprising seeing how the film did at Cannes, film festivals, and how it continues to screen at new theatres across the world (seemingly) every week.

Q13 – Are you excited or scared that people around the world will be hearing your music for the very first time onto the big screen or in the comfort of their own homes in the future.

I find it very exciting. We were fortunate to partner with One Way Static Records (out of Belgium) that will be releasing the vinyl soundtrack (on a gatefold jacket, no less) at MondoCon in Austin, TX this Sept 20-21. From there, it will be made available at Beyond Fest in Los Angeles, CA, then through OWS in Europe and Light in the Attic in North America. Each of these channels exposes us to an audience that would likely have never heard of us otherwise so it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

Q14 – Do you want to make more movie soundtracks or was this a one-time deal only.

I think we would but now that we know how much work it is, we’ll definitely need more than 2 months to do the next one!

Q15 – I hear the album will be released on Vinyl and CD. Can you please provide more details when this will be.

Vinyl will be out though One Way Static on Sept 20. OWS is also producing a limited edition on cassette (with a VHS clamshell cover) exclusively for Record Store Day. Dub Ditch Picnic (a great Winnipeg-based label that we’ve partnered with on several previous releases) will be handling the CD release and RidingEasy Records is distributing the digital release. The iTunes link is geni.us/tlM and you can also but digital versions directly from the band at wolfcopsoundtrack.com.

Q16 – Which format is your preferred choice for people to listen your music on. CD, DD, Vinyl and Tape. And the reasons why.

We’re all vinyl fiends and after hearing the test pressings, I think this album sounds better (or at least louder) on vinyl but we’re grateful to anyone that wants to check out what we do, regardless of the format.

Q17 – So I have to ask this question – When will the next “proper” Shooting Guns album be released. Or is it too early to tell at the moment.

We’ve got a couple of split releases in the works for later this year/early 2015 and with our new studio set up, we’re in a position to start putting out a lot more material at a much faster rate than we’ve had in the past.

Q18 – Do you have any other exciting plans over the next 12 months or so. Tours to promote the new album.

We don’t have any tour plans in the works as we want to spend this winter producing as much material as we can. The colder the winter, the more we record, so it’ll be interesting to see how many albums worth of material we’ll have to promote next year.

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

Just a huge thank you for your incredible support! We’re still blown away by the reactions that we had to BotR and are grateful for everyone who has spread the word. We haven’t toured outside of Canada yet but it’s not for a lack of wanting to. We hope that someday we can tour the US, EU, and beyond but in the meantime, we’re going to keep cranking out loud jams as much as we can.

Shooting Guns, thanks for doing this. The new album/soundtrack is awesome. Can't wait to see the film and see the final result of your music against B-Movie – Action/Comedy/Horror movie heaven.

Thanks to Shooting Guns for talking to us at Sludgelord HQ WolfCop Soundtrack will be available to buy from 18th September 2014 on DD from BandCamp and other digital platforms. Vinyl details will be released shortly by the band.

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Written by Steve Howe

Check out the trailer for WolfCop.