Thursday 15 September 2016

INTERVIEW: “What is this New Sorcery, you speak of”: In conversation with Dave Gates (Season of Arrows) and THE SLUDGELORD PREMIERE of “New Sorcery”

By: Aaron Pickford

Nashville’s Season of the Arrow will release their new album “Give it to the Mountain" via Static Tension Recordings on October 28 2016. The band’s blend of doom and stoner rock has won them both critical acclaim and rabid fans in their local area. “Give it to the Mountain” was recorded by Mikey Allred from Dark Art Audio who recorded the likes of Inter Arma (Relapse Records), Across Tundras (Neurot Records), and Yautija (Forcefield Records).
The band’s self-titled debut album was universally hailed by critics indeed we remarked that
“The album was a fantastic debut album that takes influences from a whole range of bands but still maintaining their own identity. Now armed with a new label and a soild gold sophomore record, I envisage a lot of buzz being generated around the band, in the same way as Windhand garnered a few years back. 
Today Dave Gates, guitarist with Season of Arrows discusses their new album but first we premiere a new track from the forthcoming album. 

SL: Dave, good talking to you. Could you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Season of Arrows

Dave Gates, (guitar): Well once I learned how to play “Wild Thing” on guitar I knew what I was born to do. Ha! No really, both Brandon (Shepard, guitar) and myself grew up listening to metal and punk rock. We were influenced like most people from the early days of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Danzig, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and later on Melvins, Godflesh, High on Fire, Torche, The Jesus Lizard, ISIS, The Sword, early Mastodon, Neurosis, etc..

We love the intensity and energy those bands seem to carry with their music. Brandon, Brad (Lawson, drums) and myself all played in a hardcore metal/rock band called Fall With Me for about 8 years in the late 90s. So we have been friends for a long time and played many shows together. That chemistry is hopefully brought out in the way we play together now. Like all good bands, it’s hard to keep it going, so eventually that band ended. Several years later, Brandon and Stormie(Wakefield, vocals) started a rock band called Snow Queen. I joined them after they put out their first record and we had a run there for a little bit, but we noticed that our music was going in a heavier direction.

We started a new band and added Shawn (Van Dusen) on bass and Brad on drums and called it Bleeding Heart Blues. We felt that we might want to bring in a drummer that will add to that dynamic and I’ve been friends with Brad since the 6th grade. Shawn also brought a new powerful sound on bass and is Brandon’s cousin. Bleeding Heart Blues had a bit more of an aggressive hard rock metal sound than Snow Queen and we played in that band for about 2 years or so. Same thing happened, the music we were writing and feeling was getting much more intense, darker, and heavier. Thus, Season of Arrows was born.

Everything clicked right away and we started writing songs quickly. In less than 6 months we were in the studio recording our first full length self titled album as Season of Arrows. We signed with The Path Less Traveled Records (Normal, IL) and got lots of good reviews and played with some awesome bands like ASG, Neon Warship, Windhand, and Scorpion Child to name a few. Fast forward to two years later and we are about to release our second record which we recorded with the very talented Mikey Allred of Dark Art Audio. Mikey did our first album and he has worked with several great bands like Yaujta, Greywoods, All Them Witches, Inter Arma, etc..

SL: For folks unfamiliar with your band, is there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point band to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Dave Gates: We try not to pinpoint any particular sound and just play what we feel. There has been a few comparisons like Windhand, Pallbearer, or insert any doom metal band with a female singer. lol! You would be very surprised of what each member in this band listens to in their spare time. Not all of us are even into doom sludge metal for example. I think what continues to inspire us is that feeling we get when we write a new song and we work on it over and over until it gets to where we want it and then you get that feeling. There is nothing like it, especially when you are on stage and it is all clicking. I constantly go out to random shows and find myself impressed with so many awesome underground bands, many that are not that well known. We go to some black metal, hardcore, hip hop, post rock, ambient, blues and some good ole fashioned classic rock shows.

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

Dave Gates: It’s very dark and haunting sounding, full of rich heavy guitar tones, with lots of textures and soundscapes. We find that sometimes less is more. On this record, we really wanted to let the songs breathe a bit more and let that open space shine through, especially in our riffs. I hope that the current doom scene is into this new record, but you never know what people are going to be into. We do this because it is a part of us and we can only hope that many people will be able to identify with this record on their own personal level. Perhaps it will mean something different to them, which is always very interesting to us.


SL: Does anything spring to mind when you think about the completion of your upcoming record and how is the mood in the camp at present?
Dave Gates: We feel that it is a more focused, stronger, and darker sounding album than our first and we are ready to start writing for the next one before too long! I think in the end, if you stay true to who you are, your unique sound will be created.

SL: What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?
Dave Gates: For one, we had all kinds of tuning issues with the down tuning and low open notes resonating throughout both guitars at times. :) No, honestly it was really cool. Mikey is awesome to work with and also very encouraging in what we do. I was impressed that Brad knocked out all the drums in the 1st day of recording. I also thought it was cool for us to leave our heavy music comfort zone and try to explore other influences like we did on the song “Bellow”. We broke out the acoustics and played with some really interesting sounds, even had Mikey play keyboards on it as well to fully capture that mood we were going for. That was really special and completely different for us. We wanted Stormie's vocals to be in the forefront of this particular song. Not sure we will ever play that song live, but we feel it helps break up the heavier songs on the album.
SL: With a solid gold album in the bag, how is your schedule shaping up over the next 12 months?
Dave Gates: We hope to play several shows within the next year, hopefully a few more festivals too. Soon we will be in talks with our friend Joshua on doing a real music video, think David Lynch meets Alfred Hitchcock mood. Our next show is here at The End with Kyng and a great local band called Howling Giant. I believe that you have featured them on here before. One of our big goals is that we would love to play in Europe. So, stay tuned and be sure to follow us Facebook, Instagram or Bandsintown.
SL: Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?
Dave Gates: We want to thank The Sludgelord for all of your support. Without underground music sites, it would be even harder to get your music out to people all over the world. We’re also very excited to join Static Tension Recordings (Portland, OR) and look forward to working on many great things with them moving forward. They will be releasing “Give It to the Mountain” digitally on (Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, etc.) CDs, and limited edition cassette tapes on Oct. 28th. Matter of fact, you can pre-order our new album today here

Nothing says Happy Fucking Halloween, like a new Season of Arrows record. As far as advice, we have been playing music for a long time now and we try learn from our mistakes and continually push ourselves to grow as band. Don’t give up the fight and be sure to stay true to who you are.
Thanks again, we hope you enjoy this special song stream of “New Sorcery” today.
Band info: facebook || bandcamp