Tuesday 9 August 2016

"Riffs are our Future" - In conversation with Godstopper Mastermind Mike Simpson and New Song Exclusive

Like a disgruntled commuter waiting for the number 83 bus, invariably you wait that long for your mode of transport to come along and then 2 -3 come along at once.  Not that I am comparing today’s featured artist to a bus, but Hex Records will be releasing another batch of material from Toronto's Godstopper, a band we featured just last week with the premiere of a new track from their forthcoming split with compatriots The Great Sabatini set for release via No List Records.  

In addition to properly giving their download-only 2015 full length "Lie Down" (with "The Children Are the Future" EP as bonus tracks) a proper physical release on CD, Hex Records will also be releasing a new 12" EP entitled "Who Tries Anymore"Godstopper is essentially the project of songwriter Mike Simpson who has members backing him up live and sometimes in the studio. Their heavy-handed approach brings to mind everything from The Melvins, to Cave-In, Mare and Torche.

So with the release of "The Children...","Lie Down", and now on "Who Tries Anymore" the progression from harsh, down-tuned sludge fests with hidden hooks and melodies has almost been reversed.” Who Tries Anymore" is Godstopper presenting their most blatantly catchy songs to date whilst retaining their core heavy elements, in turn this material showcases the exceptional song writing talent of Simpson coupled with his pitch-perfect vocals. 

Today, we are delighted to have been given another opportunity to showcase this unique band, with the debut of their track “Halfway” from their forthcoming EP.  Not only that, you can check out my short interview with Godstopper mastermind Mike Simpson, all of which can be viewed and consumed below. 

SL: Mike, thanks for do this, can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Godstopper and the release of your current record?

Mike Simpson: That would take a long time! I’ve been playing music since I was about 12 years old. I started playing in metal bands of the “post-metal” and “progressive” variety about 10 years ago. I had a more funk-oriented band that I led for a period of time, sort of a la Mr. Bungle. I started Godstopper in late 2010 (after a false start consisting of one show in 2009), recorded a demo by myself, and then got others to join the band and play with me.  In addition to the demo, “Empty Crawlspace”, we’ve released a full length “What Matters”, a split 7-inch with Tendril (featuring our track “Everybody Writes Good Songs”), an EP “Children are our Future”, and a second full-length “Lie Down”.

SL:  What can you tell us about your upcoming record and where do you feel it sits within the context current doom scene

Mike Simpson: I think you could say we are doom-inspired, but from more or less the get-go I figured “doom” wasn’t the best classification for us. This was verified when I sent the demo tracks off to Edgy 59 from Burning Witch, who was kind enough to respond to me with his feelings on the music…I’m only paraphrasing his words slightly; he said “call it what you want, but this is not doom”.

More recently, through a random facebook conversaton, I got Sean “Pellet” Pelletier (Bobby Liebling’s manager, or at least was so in Last Days Here…I’m sure he’d be familiar to you and your readership!) to listen to the music, which I recall him describing as “melodic post rock”.  No mention of doom.

Point being, if those two guys, who I’d consider to be among the best authorities on what doom music is, don’t think it’s doom, I don’t think I’d call it that either. More realistically, I’d say we are one of many bands who include doom music into a broader stream of influences. I suppose this would make us “post-rock” or “post-metal”, although both of those classifications miss the mark for me, in terms of the impression they give.

SL: What was the mood in the camp going into the recording of the record?

Mike Simpson: One track, “Halfway”, was recorded with the full band back in fall 2015. The other four tracks were recorded with just me playing the instruments. For those tracks, I was happy to see things through from creation to execution. It also gave me a good excuse to improve my drum skills (in the beginning, I played drums for our live shows, but have since switched to guitar).

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Mike Simpson: We have three releases coming…”Who Tries Anymore” is already available via Hex Record’s bandcamp, and pre-orders for the vinyl can also be made there. Additionally, we have a split tape with The Great Sabatini coming out later this month, through No List Records. And we have a split with GRIZZLOR coming out through Corpse Flower Records in the fall. We’ll play shows as the opportunities come. Due to the level of time and money investment required, it is doubtful there will be a tour from us anytime soon.

You can stream the track “Halfway” below and pre-order Godstopper’s new material at the Hex Records with one simple click here
Band info: facebook