Monday 25 September 2017

INTERVIEW: Foehammer at Shadow Woods Metal Festival September 14-17, 2017

By: Mark Ambrose

From September 14-17, hundreds of metal fans descended on White Hall, Maryland for a weekend of camping, music, and generic mayhem at the third annual Shadow Woods Metal Fest.  THE SLUDGELORD was on the scene and managed to snag a few interviews with performers, artists, and the people behind this unique, amazing musical event.  In our first interview we sat down with Annandale, Virginia’s Foehammer, whose self-titled debut on Grimoire Records was one of the highlights of 2015.  With a new record on the way, Jay (bass/vocals), Ben (drums) and Joe (guitar) sat down to share their thoughts on the festival, the state of local music in Washington, D.C. and their plans for the immediate future.

This is your first Shadow Woods Metal Fest.  What’s your impression so far?

Jay: Super chill and really fun.

Ben: It’s fantastic and I wish I had come to the ones earlier.

Joe: Yeah it totally makes me wish I had caught the earlier ones.

What are the plans for the future?

Jay: So we did a record last year with Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations Studio.  We got it mastered with James Plotkin of Khanate fame – semi-fame haha – and Australopithecus Records is putting it out.  We’re finishing up the vinyl details now.  It should be going off to the plant within the week.  So hopefully, by the end of the year we should be seeing that out.

Are you planning on any other physical formats or just vinyl?

Jay: Our plan for now is just vinyl and digital downloads.

What have been the current playlists for you guys?

Ben: The new Queens of the Stone Age is pretty awesome.  And the new Bloodclot, the hardcore band, the supergroup with Nick Oliveri and John Joseph, Joey Castillo and Todd Youth is REALLY good.  That’s like my favorite now.

Jay: I’m really hooked on this EP by this band Pregnancy out of Australia.  It’s really sick, nasty, vomitous, grinding shit.  I saw Secret Chiefs a couple weeks ago so they’ve been back in the playlist, and that’s just amazing, amazing stuff.  As well as that Dead Cross record.

Joe: Yesterday I listened to Ariel Pink’s “Before Today” – that’s not very metal at all but it’s amazing.  Lately I’ve been having a metal dry spell – I go through phases of that so I’ve been listening to a lot of different ethnic music.  A lot of Indian stuff, especially – oud players, guys like that.  And a lot of pop.  Stuff that makes me wanna chill.

Ben: The “electric years” of Miles Davis is on current play.

How was the Sunrot/God Root show at Atlas Brewing?

Ben: Oh my god – both so awesome.  Corpse Light too.  I said on my Facebook page that’s the heaviest show that I played or have been to this year.

Jay: We’re really good friends with Chris from Sunrot.  We did a tour with his other band, Thera Roya, last year.  We went down to Texas and back.  They also put out an amazing EP.

Ben: Love you guys!

A lot of bands have members multitasking – are you guys doing any other projects right now?

Jay: Ben and myself have another band, Black Dominia.  It’s bass, two drummers, saxophone and theremin.  It’s like heavy doom, psych, jazz.

Ben: One hundred percent improv.  Never the same song twice.

Joe:  I just started playing drums in a prog band very recently that’s Gong influenced.  It doesn’t really have a name right now.

Well we’ll keep our ears open for Joe from Foehammer’s latest prog project. 

You guys are located in the DC suburbs – what is the scene like there?

Jay: Most of the scene is in DC proper, but DC has always had a problem with keeping venues around.  It seems that venues that cater to underground bands don’t really stay around for more than a year or two.  You have your big clubs like Rock and Roll Hotel and Black Cat, but they don’t really put on too many doom or “our music” kind of shows.  Venues that do, don’t last too long.  Of course, Chris Moore does an amazing job.  I think a lot of credit is due to him building a scene in DC where there wasn’t really a cohesive scene for a long time, honestly.

Any upcoming shows or events that you want to hype?

Joe: We’re playing with The Sidebar in Baltimore on November 9 with Bell Witch, Primitive Man and Corpse Light.

Who are you looking forward to seeing here this weekend?

Ben: Woe and Vastum.

Jay: Black Table – I spent some time playing touring bass for them so I’m really excited to meet back up with them.  VastumPanopticon.  Definitely Withered.

The End

This interview transcript has been slightly edited for clarity.  Thanks to the wonderful Shannon Void for setting up the interview and for being an all round badass.  Many thanks to Jay, Ben, and Joe. 

Band info: facebook |bandcamp