Saturday 9 May 2015

Interview with Scott from Holy Serpent

Shroom Doom cover art

I'm a huge fan of the rising Aussie Stoner/Doom/Psych Scene and it's been a while since I've interviewed an Aussie Stoner Rock band. Well I think it's time to change that with today's guests who are about to release their brilliant S/T on RidingEasy Records.

It's already winning praise within the Doom/Stoner Metal community and why not as it's a fucking MONSTER of huge epic riffs. Our very own team member – Håkan – raved about this album and he said this about it recently:

“Daaamn! Where have these guys been hiding? A brand new acquaintance to me, Holy Serpent from Melbourne, Australia are phenomenal! Not knowing what to expect when I pressed play, The album blew me away completely. Fuzzed out, trippy and low end heaviness emantes from the speakers, engulfing me in a wonderful trance. Going slow and for emotions, Holy Serpent can add another disciple in their psy quest for world domination. Each spin bring out more and more, leaving me flabbergasted at how they can put so many angles into their songs without suffocating the music. Because the music flows so naturally and with such ease that I'm left speechless....and that's a damned good thing!”

I'm talking about rising Aussie Psych Stoner/Doomsters – HOLY SERPENT – And I've been given the chance to speak to Scott (Guitars/Vocals) from the band.

Hi Scott. How's it going. Thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated.

Our pleasure!

For people not in the know can you give a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

The band came about when Scott and Nick started working at the same bar in Melbourne. Couple of muso’s chatting about stuff. It lead to a collaboration and Holy Serpent was born. We’ve been a band for less than a year and are absolutely blown away by the attention we’ve received so far. We’d like to take this thing as far as it can go!

Now we have to talk about your new album. WOW. What an album. What can people expect from the album. 

Its a real slow-burner… Melodic at times but always Heavy as Fuck.

Was it a hard album or easy album to write and record for.

Some of the songs came together super quick, others we had to spend a fair bit of time on the arrangement / melodies. The recording process was a breeze. We did it in Scott’s lounge room over one weekend. These were supposed to just be demos, we never intended on putting these recordings out on vinyl, it all just happened.

Why did you choose the name HOLY SERPENT for your band. Any particular reason for this. 

Nick came up with the name. I think he just liked the imagery it conjures up in ya brain. Culty, religious, snake stuff…. There’s no deeper meaning to the name, it just sounded cool to us. 

RidingEasy Records are releasing the album. How did you hook up with Daniel and his fantastic label. Did you have any other offers from other labels. 

Daniel contacted us a couple days after we had put our initial demo’s online. We had no idea it was gonna make this sort of impact. We got contacted by 3 or 4 companies, all offering different sort of deals. Riding Easy seemed like the right choice because Dan was so enthusiastic about Holy Serpent.. He seemed motivated as hell and we knew we would be right at home with all the other bands on the label.

Good to see your album is being released on Vinyl. Betcha stoked on that one. Not a lot of upcoming bands get there debut albums released on Vinyl. And in 3 separate editions with 2 of them sold out. Congrats on that one.

Oh hell yeah! Its all pretty crazy. Its surreal to see pictures online of your record in other peoples homes! We haven’t even seen them in the flesh yet, they’re being shipped over from the states in time for the Release (May 12th).

What is your setup when playing live and recording in the studio. Do you have a a basic setup or a more advanced setup. 

Live its just your regular guitar, drums, bass scenario. Pretty basic. We don’t want stuff to be too complicated otherwise it ruins the fun. We just need loud amps and beer onstage. 

Which bands and artists have influenced you all as musicians. Any particular bands or albums that have made a lasting impression.

When we first started writing together, Nick and I bonded over Uncle Acid, Witch, Pentagram and Roky Erickson to name a few.. I think the melodic nature of these bands really helped shape the Holy Serpent sound. We wanted to be brutally heavy but have some ethereal melodic vocals, just to change it up a bit..

The album is winning some major praise within the Doom/Stoner Metal community. Has that surprised you in anyway. Or did you know you had something special on your hands. 

Total surprise. We were just hoping the local community would be accepting of it and maybe throw a few gigs our way, we had no idea it was gonna garner so much attention, especially overseas. That was just mind-blowing. It still is.

Which bands are you currently digging at the moment. Are there any bands/albums you would like to recommend to our readers. 

The new Monolord is on heavy rotation. So brutal! Watchtower from Melbourne just released a sick 2 song EP which is killer!

What's the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it down to one individual or a group collective. 

These songs came about through Nick and Scott recording early demo’s on Scott’s computer.. Programmed drums, there were synths on some of the tracks when we first started writing them. I was playing a moog synthesizer for a lil while there...Generally though, Nick will come up with a few riffs then Scott and Nick will arrange the song. From there, Scott goes away with a pen and paper for a good while and really hones in on what the lyrical and melodic content should be. Then the song is sorta fleshed out at band practice. 

The Aussie Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently riding on the crest of a wave at the moment. Tons of great bands starting to appear and winning fans all over the world. Has that surprised you and other Stoner Rock bands back in Australia that the world is discovering so many great bands such as yourselves. 

Well, I guess its just getting its time in the sun a bit more now. People been slogging away for ages, it’s not a new scene down here. It definitely surprised us with the attention we received. Especially cause we were a brand new band. Not so surprising for other bands doing awesome things down here, they deserve it!

Is that vibe being discovered by the Aussie Stoner Rock scene back home. Especially when a ton of great bands are getting signed to overseas labels.

Yeah, because of the attention Aussie bands are getting overseas, people here in Australia are starting to pay attention too.. like, “ if people overseas dig it, maybe I would too!”. The overseas attention is definitely helping build the local scene.

You're about to go on an epic Tour of Australia in June/July. You guys excited for that. What can people expect from that tour.

Super excited! Our good friend Anthony from Von Grimm Records put the whole tour together for us.. Wouldn’t have been as EPIC otherwise. If you come to the shows, you can expect it to be Loud as fuck, Fuzzy as hell and God-damn Righteous! 

Are there any plans to tour overseas at any time in the future. Or is that too early to tell at the moment. 

It’s something we would love to do, but at this stage it’s too early to say. Hopefully after a second album we will have enough reason to tour overseas.

What other plans do you have in store for you in 2015. Anything you like to share with our readers. 

We are writing for album #2 already. Hoping to put something out early next year. our main focus is just writing a follow-up album that is considered as good as or better than our debut.

Well Scott, thanks for doing this. Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans. 

Thank You all so much for the incredible support. It’s been an amazing ride so far and there’s no way we wanna slow this train down at all! You’re all fuckin’ champs! 

Words by Steve Howe and Scott Penberthy

Thanks to Richard Jones at Sheltered Life PR for arranging this interview. Holy Serpent- S/T will be available on CD/DD/Vinyl from RidingEasy Records.

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