Tuesday 27 January 2015

The Fourth Round - Desert Storm Returns (New Interview)

It's been a while since we featured UK Blues/Hard Rock/Stoner Metallers – Desert Storm. Well about 7 or months or so when they were about to embark on a massive UK Tour with Stoner Rock Legends – Karma To Burn – and to provide details of their eagerly awaited 3rd album Omniscient

Omniscient is about to be released upon to the world and what an album Desert Storm have created here. It's a stunning mix of Blues Rock, Hard Rock, Stoner Rock, Sludge Rock and a hint of Psychedelic Folk. This maybe the album that will turn Desert Storm into one of the UK's best Hard Rock/Stoner Metal bands. These guys deserve a shot at the big time as they have toured extensively over the last 5 years or so. Tours with Karma To Burn and Honky. Plus supporting Red Fang shows you how talented these guys are.

I described Omniscient as:

Their third full length record sees Desert Storm blending Hard Rock, Blues, Psychedelia, Folk with hard-riffing Sludge tinged grooves. Desert Storm have excelled themselves here while Horizontal Life was a great album for the guys, it was a little bloated at times. Though that is not the case here as Desert Storm have released an album that builds upon what came before it and only enhances their well deserved reputation.

I don't know what more I can say about the album. I think I have covered all the bases here. The album does sound incredible from start to finish. Legendary Producer - Billy Anderson - has mastered this bad-boy so you know it's gonna sound fresh, loud and crisp. He gives Desert Storm sound such a dynamic feel that makes you feel you're seeing the band perform live in the comfort of your own home.

My final thoughts on the album - Well, what do you think? - Omniscient is a testament to Desert Storm's talents for delivering another great album to impress people with. It sees the band turning into one the UK's finest Hard Rock/Stoner Metal Bands we currently have to offer at the moment. On this form, who is going to stop them? Omniscient is a must have album. Plain and simple.”

Desert Storm have kindly agreed to another interview with me. Can you believe my 4th interview with them over the years. You can read the previous interviews below.

So if you want to find out about the history of the band then please read the other interviews. As this interview will be focusing on the last 8 months or so of life with this hard-rocking band. Matt (Vocals), Chris White (Guitar) and Ryan Cole (Guitar) are back to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Q1 – Hi guys. How are things with you all today.

Good thanks!

Q2 – So you're new album Omniscient is about to be released. So are you excited, nervous or thrilled what people are going to make of it.

Matt R - Bloody relieved to be honest. We've been sitting on this for too long.

Chris W - A mixture of all of them. Every new release is a bit of a jump into the unknown, a lot of people say that they don’t care about reviews or what people think, but really everyone does, you want to know that people enjoy what you produce!

Q3 – Was it a hard or easy album to write and record for. As you have a lot of different sounds going on with the album.

Chris W - We have taken that approach with all of the releases so far, so it’s something that we are constantly trying to tweak and refine to get the right balance, in some ways it gets easier as your experience grows, however you are constantly being exposed to new influences so there are always new things to work on!

Q4 – It's very different to your last album – Horizontal Life. It seems more focused and more driven. Though I still love Horizontal Life. It seems this album is where every song has a purpose with a beginning, middle and end. Was that your intentions before recording the album.

Chris W - We have to make sure every song has a purpose, really that has to be the aim before every release. It’s very difficult because different people will respond and identify with different tracks, you can only hope that find the album as a whole pleasing to listen to and that they find something of value in the whole piece.

Matt R - A small criticism with Horizontal Life was that it was too long, so before hitting the studio we decided on the best songs to feature on Omniscient. We have loads of material and in the past we might have recorded whatever was most ready, this time we thought about the cohesiveness and what we wanted to present. The track ordering is more clean-cut on Omniscient too.

Q5 – What things did you do differently when recording the album. It has a more sombre and heartfelt feel compared to your previous albums.

Chris W - We recorded it all in one go in the period of about a week, on previous releases the process had been stretched over several months depending on our various other commitments. I think doing it in one period has given more coherency to the sound and feel, plus we were considerably more road worn by that point so plenty more real life experiences to draw on!

Q6 – What influenced you when writing and recording the album.

Matt R - There are so many different subject matters coming across in Omniscient, some are bluntly put ideologies and some are lore-ish tales. We have an appreciation for so much that it's difficult to list.

Ryan C - We all listen to lots of music, a lot a bands from the 70's...the classic rock stuff to the sludge/doom/stoner stuff.

Q7 – This is a question for Matt. Matt – your vocals are very different compared to your other albums. On Home – your vocals are more sombre and heartfelt. Whilst on Queen Reefer and Horizon I felt you were venturing into more extreme vocal territory compared to your earlier releases. Did you want to something different on this album. What preparation did you put yourself through when recording the vocals for the album.

Matt R - To be honest I wanted something new and old for Omniscient. Recently I've been thinking what else can be done with my vocals. After spending so long twisting and contorting them to produce the low end gravelly barks, it's been interesting to experiment with new techniques. We'll leave it up to the listeners to decide what works! I actually had a stinking cold during our time in the studio which worked really well for some of the more guttural sections. For the most part we started with getting the cleaner stuff down so I didn't ruin my voice too early before moving on to the throat shredding vocals. In terms of prep, it was practising thoroughly and warming up. Vocal pastels, water and proper food. I smoked whilst recording Horizontal Life too which didn't make it easy. All lyrics to hand in the studio for reference and generally a cleaner or more professional approach to being in the booth.

Q8 – Why did you choose the name Omniscient for the title of your album.

Matt R - I didn't. Can't even pronounce it.

Ryan C - well we had a few ideas, I personally think the best idea was 'Shield' but Benoist was was like 'oh people will think it's a gulf war reference'...we get that a lot anyway, so I don't know why he was so bothered really....in the end the other album names were pretty shit, so we all thought this was the best we had, and the meaning of the word is pretty cool too.

Q9 – So the album is being released on DD/CD via Blindsight Records. Was it an easy decision to go with Blindsight once again to release the album. Did you have any other offers from labels to release your album.

Matt R - Blindsight worked really hard for us on Horizontal Life so we decided to work with them again. We have a good working relationship and we're pleased that they've taken on Omniscient.

Ryan C - Yeah Umair at Blindsight is a good guy!

Q10 – Though the album will be released on Vinyl through Secret Law Records later in 2015. Can you give us more details about the Vinyl release.

Ryan C - The Vinyl will be a limited run of 300 and will be released on Secret Law Records on Sun 28th April which is when we perform at Desertfest!

Q11 - How important is a physical product to your band being either CD or Vinyl. As some bands are relying on Digital Downloads for their first release(s).

Ryan C - Very important, a lot of people still really like to buy a physical copy be it CD or Vinyl or tape cassette! Also very good for touring as bands rely on selling merch! I love to have a physical copy of my music.

Q12 – You recently completed a mega 2014 UK Tour with Karma To Burn. How did that go. Any funny or exciting stories you can tell us all. It was cool meeting up with you guys in Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Awesome show you put on there.

Ryan C - Thanks, glad you liked it! It was a great tour!

Matt R - Thanks man! That was a slug of a tour as it was 18 dates back to back without a break. Afterwards we all agreed that it could be done again. Once you've survived a couple of weeks on it non stop, you know that you're ready for those longer stints. There were a couple of messy after party nights which were good fun! We almost left Chris W behind on the ferry coming back from the last show in Belfast, I think we were all fairly braindead by that point.. Was great seeing our extended families all around the UK too.

Q13. It seems you have a great friendship with Karma To Burn as you have done previous tours with them over the years. And another short UK tour coming up in April 2015. Have they provided you with any advice or words of wisdom.

Chris W - We have a good friendship with them apart from me and Will. Will hates me and reminded me on a daily basis, it was so relentless I still can’t used to walking into a room and not have him stood there ready to tell me to fuck off. I miss it in a weird way.

Q14 – I know you all have day jobs away from Desert Storm. How hard is it combining the two. It must be hard especially when you have to tour and promote your new album.

Chris W - Touring is our holiday! Every spare minutes we have goes into the band in some way, be it writing, organising, promoting, gigging, rehearsing.

Matt R - It's all down to time management and knowing what we can realistically accomplish in our time off. All our holidays go on the band, weekend shows are no problem, midweek shows are possible but a little more difficult etc. Again, we've pushed it to the extremity before by doing UK tours while working (RE: Nashville Pussy, Honky...) It just results in brief sleep deprivation and exhaustion. We're in agreement that you only live once and we should make the most of being able to while we're still in our 20s.

Q15 – The UK Hard Rock/Stoner/Doom/Sludge Metal Scene is probably more vibrant than ever with tons of great bands starting to appear. Have you noticed this yourselves or do you just focus doing your own thing.

Matt R - Totally, there's such a community for this kinda music in the UK now. It's here in a big way and there's no denying it.

Q16 – Which bands/artists are currently rocking your world. Any bands would you like to recommend to our readers.

Ryan C - I think there are some awesome bands coming out of south Wales - Suns of thunder, Vails, Prosperina, Sigiriya, Hark. Our mates in Mother Corona rock too! Bands like Conan & Bast seem to be getting a lot of recognition too, both great!

Q15 – What is your musical setup when playing live or recording new material. Do you have an advanced setup or basic setup.

Chris W - Live is very basic, usually just guitars straight into amps with very few if no effects. It’s a direct hard hitting sound that’s also practical, there’s just less to go wrong! In the studio there is quite a bit more experimentation as you have time and space to do things there that you could really do live, unless you are playing really large venues.

Q16 – What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective.

Ryan C - It usually starts around a riff that Chris or myself will write, and we kind of take it from there, jamming and seeing what else happens, and Matt usually writes lyrics to the music....he used to write lyrics in his own time before the music was written, I also felt this worked well lyrically.

Chris W - We will each bring pieces that we have written, then as a group arrange it into a song structure. It remains a very open process so that we don’t have one person walk in and say “This is how it’s going to be”.

Q17 – A question for Ryan. You are involved with Buried In Smoke Promotions. How is that going at the moment. I see you are promoting the tour with Dutch Space Rockers – Monomyth and the forthcoming UK Tour with Karma To Burn. Do you have any other exciting tours coming up. Plus how hard is it running the promotions company in today's UK musical scene.

Ryan C - Yeah got some real cool stuff coming up, we have tours for Karma To Burn, Monomyth (NL), WhiskeyDick and shows booked for Electric Eel Shock (JPN) and Conan! Lots of good stuff in the pipeline, going very well this year it seems. I don't think it's too difficult, but there is always a risk financially! I can be frustrating when bands agents don't reply too. But me and Elliot both really enjoy booking bands we love to listen to and see play ourselves. Find us on facebook to keep on top of the gigs/tours - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buried-In-Smoke-Promotions/152851731433057

Q18 – Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.

Ryan C - Cheers for the support, see you at a show!

Matt R - Thanks for all your support and for coming out to the shows, you make it all the more meaningful.

Well guys thanks for this. All the best with your new album, vinyl release and forthcoming tours. I am hoping to see you guys on the tour. Thanks again.

Desert Storm – Thank You!

I want to thank Matt, Chris and Ryan for taking the time out to talk to us again at Sludgelord HQ. We are huge fans of these guys. Their new album Omniscient is available to buy now from Blindsight Records and all good stockists. The Vinyl of Omniscient will be available to buy from Secret Law Records from April 2015.

Words by Steve Howe and Desert Storm.

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