Saturday, 30 August 2014

Interview with SNAILKING


Snailking are about to release their début album – STORM – which I feel is going to make some waves within the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene.

Snailking already made a little dent with the Sludge/Stoner Metal world back in 2012 when they released their début EP – Samsara. But trust me when I say it doesn't compare to their blistering and heavy as hell début album Storm which I described as:

Snailking return with their 53-minute début album - Storm. A blistering and heavy onslaught of heavy spacey cosmic Doom/Sludge Metal riffs that owes more than a nod to Ufomammut, Yob, Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath

Storm is an intense and richly rewarding experience that you will be reliving for a long time to come. Snailking have created something special here. If you are into long drawn out epic and heavy as heck Doom based Sludge/Stoner Metal then this is as good as it gets. Storm is incredible.”


Snailking have kindly agreed to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

Q1 – Hi all. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.

Hi! Things are great, we just received the first copies of Storm ourselves can’t wait to see it be released.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

Frans and I are childhood friends, we’ve gone to school together and lived near each other growing up. We decided to start a band back in 2010 with another friend of ours named Adam. In 2012 we parted ways with him and met Jonas through the internet. He joined Snailking in March of 2012 and we immediately began refining the songs we already had together, and wrote some new ones. Jonas owns his own home studio, and we used just that to record Samsara just after three months of playing together. Since releasing Samsara we’ve been busy writing and working on the new material and playing live.

Storm cover art

Q3 – Your new album STORM is about to be released via Consouling Sounds. In your own words what can people expect from the album.

A more sharpened Snailking all in all I think. I think the new record isn’t as raw as
Samsara was, and by raw I mean that performance-wise Samsara wasn’t the best at all times. We recorded it over just a weekend, and took about two weeks mixing and mastering it. We spent a lot more time making this, we begun in October of 2013 and ended up finishing it in April 2014. Just the writing alone took us over a year. Storm is much more coherent, we had more focus of writing an album here where as Samsara just was thought of as a demo to show family and friends first of all.

Q4 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. And why did you call the album – STORM.

Recording-wise I think it went very smoothly. We had worked on many of the songs for well over a year when we started recording Storm so I believe we had a vision of what we wanted from the start. The only song we wrote in the midst of recording the album is the bonus song Void on the CD version.

Storm for me represents a “stormy period” in one’s life, a turbulent time. I write the lyrics and for me a lot of inspiration came from being on a sick-leave from work for 4 months because of too much stress. It turned my world around and took me a lot of time to get back on my feet. I lost the sense of hunger and had friends calling me just to see if I had eaten anything. So for me it’s about depression, feeling alone and being mistreated. 

But I also like to think it’s about rising from all that and coming back. Needless to say I had a hard time emotionally writing the lyrics. It’s all written very metaphorical and that was the intention, I like when you make your own assumption of what it’s about. What it means for me doesn’t necessarily have to be the same for the other members in the band. So it’s really meant to mean whatever one makes out of it.


Q5 – What influenced you when recording the album.

Well time for one, we had lots of time recording this album which means we could really sink our hearts in to it. We spent half a year in the studio as I said and I hope that really shows. This time around we also knew that people dug what we were doing before-hand so I think we were overall more confident this time.

Q6 – How would you describe Snailking's overall sound.

I would describe our sound as a heavy doom/sludge three-piece with an atmospheric vibe. I personally have always like the idea of a group with three members where each instrument plays an equally important role.

Q7 – Which bands and artists influenced you as a musician.

We listen to a wide variety of different bands from a variety of different genres ranging from Black Metal to Electronic music but we all meet somewhere in the doom and sludge sound. Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Harvey Milk, Melvins and YOB are some of my top bands though.

Q8 – How did you hook-up with the guys at Consouling Sounds. Did you have any other offers from different labels to release your début album.

Back when we released Samsara, truthfully it was just basically to show family and friends that “this is what we’re doing”. I posted a link to it on Reddit and it gained attention quick. The first couple of days we had well over 1000 plays. I think five days after we posted the demo on Reddit Mike from ConSouling Sounds contacted us through there and said “Hey, we wanna work with you”. Seeing that they worked with acts like Amenra and Alkerdeel we said yes very quickly. We had no other offers at the time, it just felt very right to go with ConSouling Sounds from the start and we haven’t looked back since.


Q9 – Congrats on getting your record released on Vinyl. Did you have much input into the design of the cool vinyl. Or was that left to the label.

Thanks! As we did with Samsara we left the artwork to our friend Johan Leion. We were really satisfied with the last one and gave him pretty much free hands. We just told him some vague ideas of what we wanted, pretty much “just think storm” and he did his magic. The artwork is equally important to us as the music itself so we wanted it to reflect the county Småland in Sweden which we all live in which is known for its dense woods.

Q10 – Which format is your preferred choice for people to listen your music on. CD, DD, Vinyl and Tape. And the reasons why.

Vinyl, it’s just something special with that vinyl sound. And besides, you can really see the artwork better than on the small CD covers. But in reality I listen to MP3s the most, it’s just more convenient and easier to carry around.

Q11 – You first came to my attention and perhaps the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene back in 2012 when you released – SAMSARA – to some acclaim from fans and critics alike. Did the response for SAMSARA surprise you back then.

Absolutely! It took us some time to fully comprehend what had happened, we weren’t expecting to receive any attention at all let alone get contacted by a record label.

Samsara cover art

Q12 – Would you change anything about SAMSARA or would you leave it the way it is.

Samsara was a nice experience, Jonas had just joined the band and this was our first recording together. Because we pretty much rushed everything and did it over a weekend there are lots of errors and mistakes that we hear but people probably don’t notice at first glance. I like Samsara as it is, it took us to where we are now and I’m glad it did. But if I had to have changed anything I would’ve liked to have spent more time on it, there was no need to rush it.

Q13 – What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

We all write our own parts and we mostly jam stuff together. Songs can take months to take shape, and they can end up sounding totally different from what they started as. We do all the music together so it’s a collective effort and I do the lyrics.


Q14 - What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

I usually use a Laney GH100L amp in either one or two 4x12’s live. On Storm we used both that and my Laney Klipp. On Samsara we mainly used my Matamp GT1. I’ve had almost the same pedals on both records with the exception of the Univibe which was an addition to Storm: Guitar > MXR Dynacomp > ROSS Distortion > Whirlwind Phaser > MXR Univibe > MXR Carbon Copy Delay. Frans plugs his bass into a Marshall VBA400 400W bass amp and uses and old Acoustic 2x15 cab. For all his distorted goodness he use an Aguilar AGRO Distortion pedal. Jonas regularly makes changes to his drum setup so it’s hard to keep up but he uses a mix of a PDP 805 kit and a TAMA Imperial Star kit. He often plays a 20” ride, a 20” crash and a 22” ride and an 18” china of different brands.

We use the same equipment live as we did in the studio.

Q15 – Do you play many gigs in Sweden or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We haven’t done that many gigs in Sweden actually, it’s more than our gigs abroad but not by much. There are many bands in Sweden as most people know, and there are only a few places to play so there’s often a long wait to get to play. Or you need to book gigs many months in advance which we’re never really good at as we’re more the spontaneous types. It’s actually easier for us to get gigs abroad and that may well be because we’re always a tad late in to the planning process. We’ve been on two mini-tours since releasing Samsara and played in countries such as Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France.


Q16 – What is your whole view of the crowd-funding scene. It's very controversial at the moment with the Hard Rock/Metal scene. Some bands are for it and some are against it. Would yourselves ever participate in a crowd-funding project.

I don’t think we would ever do any crowd-funding, just because we wouldn’t want to feel obligated to a lot of people that has backed us. We like to take ourselves all the time we feel that we need, and having a lot of people spending money on let’s say a recording would make me stress out. We’re not against it, it may work for some people and I could see myself back a project if I believed in it but it’s just not for us.

Q17 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Don’t think of starting a band, just do it. It’s very easy to get stuck in the idea phase never to move on past that but if you throw yourself head-first in to it you’ll always end up with a more rewarding result I think.

Q18 – Do you have any other exciting plans over the next 12 months or so. Tours to promote the new album.

We’re working on a European tour to promote the album now and we’re dreaming of travelling farther away to play in the future. About 50% of our fans according to Facebook comes from USA and we’d love to play there some day but when you finance everything from your own pockets it’s just not financially possible at the moment to go there.

Q19 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Thanks for sticking with us and thanks for all the support you’ve been giving us, this has been a humbling experience for us all. Check our Facebook page to keep updated on tour plans and we’ll see each other on the road!

Snailking – thanks for doing this interview. All the best with the album as it's a phenomenal début album. Been great talking to you.

Alright man, thank you!

Storm will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Sept 15th 2014 via ConsoulingSounds.

Check the Band from Links Below

Official
Facebook
BandCamp

Written by Steve Howe

Interview with BEAK

beak

I originally reviewed today's guests début EP – Eyrie – back in April 2012. To tell you the truth I forgot all about them as it's been a long while since we have heard from them. Shame on me as I have revisited Eyrie the past few weeks now as I have been preparing for this interview.

BEAK are about to release their eagerly awaited full length record - “Let Time Begin” - in Sept 2014. I have been hearing a lot of great things about this record. I declared these guys as one of the next breakout stars of the post-metal scene back in 2012. High praise indeed but BEAK actually do have something about them to make them one of the best upcoming bands from the burgeoning Sludge/Post-Metal scene.

I can't wait to review this record which we will be doing soon as it's been ages that we have featured BEAK on Sludgelord HQ. But all that is going to change with this interview and a future review of Let Time Begin.

These guys are going places so before then lets see BEAK has to say to ourselves.

Q1 – Hi all. Thanks for doing this. How are things with you today.

Hi there. Things are great. We’re excited to finally be releasing our follow-up. We are honored by your praise and glad to talk.

Q2 – Can you tell our readers a brief history of how the band came about and where it is today.

We’ve been playing music together for around 10 years now. When I joined up with Jason and Chris, they were the Timeout Drawer, playing another kind of post- or something music. Back then there was a lot of experimental electronic and rock going on in Chicago. It was back in the days you could be in a band with a pair of CD players and a mixer. 

We took elements of what we were hearing around us and made our own brand of instrumental rock. After our final record Nowonmai and its EP Alone, we decided the form was too rigid and we wanted to strip the music down while focusing on the heaviness. We were getting older and angrier and we wanted more catharsis in our music. These days we get together as old friends and push ourselves to make the best heavy music we can.


Q3 – So it's been a long time since your début EP – Eyrie – was released. 2.5 years. What have you been doing since then.

Yeah well working at jobs for all of us. We’ve played a lot of shows in Chicago and neighboring cities. Jason and I made other bands that play around on occasion. Chris got a baby. Opened for some of our favorite bands. We wrote Let Time Begin and recorded it in the midst of all that.

Q4 – I praised Eyrie to high heaven when it was released back in April 2012. What was the overall response to the EP. And where you happy with responses that it received.

The record was received the way that all of our material has been received it seems. Critics who listened to it and wrote about it gave it a lot of praise. We got a lot of positive response from friends and fans. We’re very grateful for the attention it got when it got attention. I can’t say we did much more than break even financially, but in this climate breaking even is a win.


Q5 – Finally you’re about to release your début album – Let Time Begin. Bet you guys are excited it's finally being released upon to the world. What can people expect from the album.

I think there is a lot more confidence in this record than Eyrie. When we wrote Eyrie, there were 10
songs we tracked. 5 of that 10 didn’t make it because they were part of our transition from post-rock to the heaviness. The 5 that made it had a sound that we were just discovering in ourselves. We took that momentum into this record and evolved it. Much tighter arrangements. More melodic. Those who’ve heard it tell us it sounds like we mean it this time.

Q6 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

The writing was easy. Like I said we came out of Eyrie finally knowing what to go for. The concept was there from the start. We almost called Eyrie Let Time Begin, but I’d written the title track to Let Time Begin by the time we got around to titling Eyrie, and I wanted to build the record around the themes the title suggests. Almost all of the basic ideas for Let Time Begin were in place as Eyrie was being released.

That’s the writing. Then comes the tracking and mixing. We are very methodical about our recording process. We also have to work around everyone’s tightly packed schedules, and that prolongs the process even further. Add healthy amount of second guessing at every milestone and here we are 2 years later.


Q7 – What influenced you when recording the album.

The title came from the book Legion by William Peter Blatty. It’s part of the Exorcist series, and Jason can’t get enough of that guy. There’s a theory the main character has in the book that the Big Bang was Lucifer and his minions falling from heaven. Earth as we know it was made from the light they brought with them, and we are all a part of that fall. I took that and added passages from Paradise Lost (Milton), Leviathan (Hobbes), and other collected phrases I keep for the writing process. I’m a subscriber to the “cutout” method made famous by the likes of William Burroughs and David Bowie. I tried to maintain an underlying theme of the Big Bang itself. I wanted the concept to suggest these massive universal forces and our place as frail temporary forms of life despite them.

Q8 – I have read the album is going to be a prequel to Eyrie. Was that an easy or hard decision to do. Is your sound different or a natural progression to Eyrie.

I’m not sure that what you read came off perhaps the way we might have intended. The concepts around Eyrie were around the idea that everything fades and all things must end. At some point life as we know it won’t be sustainable on this planet, etc. Big surprise. Metal band shouts about the apocalypse. I’d like to think that I have my own spin, but I’m sure all the other metal bands would also like to think that. 

Since we based this record on our universe coming into being, you can see how conceptually this record precedes Eyrie. Musically we were just trying to make more cohesive songs while trying to maintain what we liked about what we did with Eyrie.

Q9 – It's being released via your drummer Chris record label – Someoddpilot Records. Was that another hard or easy decision to make. Did you have any other offers to release the record. Or does this maintain some sort of self control and ownership of your music.

Honestly we didn’t want to take on the monumental task of self-releasing our record. It’s part of what took us so long. At the same time we didn’t trust a majority of the prospects of which we were aware. We did try to shop it to a select few of the labels we did respect and trust, but in the end the best option was for us to release it ourselves. Today’s labels don’t give you anything more than street cred and maybe a little financial support. Maybe. SomeOddPilot already has the same distribution the other labels have, and Chris can make images that bypass the need for any introduction. The rest is the legwork and that’s on us. With a label it would still be on us.

Beak_LetTimeBegin_550x550

Q10 – I love the freaking album cover. Mysterious, bleak, hostile and very cold. Chris – What influenced you to design this cover. And did you have much input from the other band members.

CHRIS - Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad it has impact. One of the best parts of being the drummer in the band and artist, it allows me to have a completely immersive understanding of the music concepts, and I find the ideas for our covers coming straight out of me, almost naturally. The other guys trust me to do that, and of course I am being led by Jon's concepts.

I've done 40 album covers over the years, and I've come to understand them backwards from the moment they are lifted out of the bin at the store - what's the most iconic impactful form the concept could have when I first pick it up? That's what I'm thinking. Often that involves ambiguity - my favorite thing about this one is that you can't tell if the pyramid is rising or being submerged.

I admire Storm Thorgerson, who designed nearly all the big rock covers of the 70's and 80's and was a master of the mysterious narrative, and Factory Records designer Peter Saville who is equally the master of the simple and iconic. I took the photograph while vacationing in Wisconsin, atop a 200 ft cliff looking down at Lake Michigan. I knew the record was about the beginning of time, and the vast body of water - the scale of it! - just screamed something to do with origins. I had a crying baby with me, and I had little to no time to get this picture. Such is life!

Q11 – What formats will the album be released on. Please say VINYL!!!

I really want to say vinyl. I do. At first at least we’re going to do a small run of CDs and downloads of course. We’re going to get a feel for the market and hopefully we can find a way to get it on some vinyl shortly thereafter.

Q12 – What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Most of the songs come from a riff that Andy or I have. I get pretty involved with the arrangements because that comes from the lyrics and vocals of which I’m in charge. Most of the songs I’ll get to the almost done point and we will then play the shit out of them and changes will emerge or not. In the end it has to be a consensus and the band has to be satisfied. Into The Light was the most collaborative I think, and I think it shows as it’s one of the more dynamic and complicated tracks on the record.


Q13 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians. Any particular band or album stand out that influenced you to become a musician.

These days it’s all over the place. I would say a couple of the most influential bands for this record would be Enslaved and Killing Joke. The self titled record of Killing Joke they released in 2003 has been with us from the beginning. Enslaved keeps getting better with everything they release. We look up to them or their attitude and their musicianship especially. I think everyone would agree on those two. Any other influential bands would be different for each of us.

Q14 - What is your musical set-up when playing live or recording your music. Any hints and tips would you like to give to the budding musicians out there.

I personally am never satisfied with my sound. I’m always trying to get at something I never feel is perfect. Andy has had his sound dialed in since day one. Jason has a love/hate relationship with his keyboards. Chris has played on the same drum kit for close to 20 years now if you can believe that. My advice to budding musicians would be that it’s in the playing. That is after you’ve at least done enough for your setup to make it work for you. But it’s the playing that makes the difference. As a band. You don’t even know what you’re working with until you can play as a band.

Q15 – Do you like being classed as part of the Post-Metal scene. As some bands are really annoyed by that term. How would you describe your own music.

I guess I don’t feel one way or another about being classified as post-metal. If that makes it easier to write about it then it is what it is. We never sat down and said “let’s make post-metal now”. We were playing what we felt and it turned out to be called that. I don’t have any other thing to call it, so it’s fine.


Q16 – Do you play many gigs in Chicago or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We get enough shows in Chicago to keep us pretty busy. We’ve branched out here and there and it’s been hit and miss. Because there’s no money for bands at our level, it’s hard for us to get out there as much as we would like. We are grateful for what we can do however.

Q17 – What is the local metal scene like in Chicago. It does have an affinity with Post-Metal with bands such as Pelican and Russian Circles coming from that area.

There are great heavy bands everywhere, but Chicago does seem to have some of the most interesting. I really enjoyed the Bloodiest record and I keep hearing great things about the latest Lord Mantis record. There is a lot of talent here and Chicago breeds an energy that is perfect for heavy music.


Q18 – What is your whole view of the crowd-funding scene. It's very controversial at the moment with theHard Rock/Metal scene. Some bands are for it and some are against it. Would BEAK ever participate in a crowd-funding project.

You mean like Kickstarter? Shit man, if we didn’t do that Kickstarter project for our first record, we’d be in debt for it no doubt. To be honest I was against it when the idea was proposed, but in the days when music is otherwise free, it makes sense to at least tell the people that it costs money and time to make the music they’re listening to. It’s another form of what bands do when they distribute their music. Just more direct.

Q19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What would it be.

Play a lot. Play all the time. Make it your religion. Make it fun. Be good to each other and respect that the other dudes or ladies in the room are all there to make music. Get over yourself. The sooner the better.


Q20 – Will you be doing an extensive Tour to promote the album. If so, when will you be touring.

We have an east coast tour in November we’re looking forward to. We hope that momentum will pick up from there. We’re down for whatever.

Q21 – The last thing before you go, Do you have anything else to say to your fans.

Shitsya. Thanks for listening. We know you have many other choices when you fly, and we are honored when you fly with us.

BEAK thanks for doing this interview. As I said before I can't wait to hear the album. All the best with the albums release and forthcoming tours. Been great talking to you.

Yeah again thanks for giving us the time.

Thanks to Jason Goldberg for arranging this interview.

Check BEAK from the links below. Our review of Let Time Begin will be published very soon.


Written by Steve Howe

Hoverfest 2014 Festival by Ben Ianuzzi



Ben from Mountain God here.

The whole purpose of this piece is to give readers a sense of what Hoverfest 2014 was like, how Mountain God got there, and how the event came together. Additionally, rather than give a minute by minute account, I’ll take the risk of getting pretty personal to show you all just what this event meant to our band.

For those of you who don’t know, Hoverfest was a single day festival held in Portland, Oregon on August 23rd, 2014. The event included such acts as Mountain God, Holy Grove, Wounded Giant, Eight Bells, Witch Mountain, Acid King, DANAVA, and Yob. The impetus for the show was to gather bands and friends together in one setting, all of which/whom were connected by the genre of doom/sludge/stoner rock, or to brilliant amp builder Nial McCaughey of Hovercraft Amplifiers. The event was an absolute, rousing success, with huge props given to Todd from Cravedog Entertainment, the legendary Billy Anderson, as well as Nathan Carson from Witch Mountain and Nanotear Booking.

A little background….

While this piece isn’t intended to give a complete story of Mountain God necessarily, readers should have a touch of information about whom we are so as to provide context for how we got to Hoverfest (have faith, you’ll see how everything will unfold…). Mountain God’s story began in May of 2012 when Ian Murray (drums) and I (vocals, guitar) got together to jam. I had decided the previous fall that I wanted to get a doom band off the ground, and when I couldn’t find players in the suburbs I opted to make the hour trek weekly into Brooklyn, where there is fairly awesome underground scene. Ian and I found one another through craigslist and instantly hit it off, with him adding killer drums to the riffs I had written previously. The band’s lineup was finalized that August with the addition of Nikhil Kamineni (bass, engineering) and Jon Powell (keys). We put out one EP called “Experimentation on the Unwilling”, and have a second tentatively called “Forest of the Lost” ready to be mastered. While our lineup has changed due to the travails of work and schedule, Mountain God is still going strong as a three piece with the addition of Dickler Dialogue on drums. They are all such great people, past and present members alike, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed creating music with them.


Hovercraft Amplifiers…

Right around the time MG started recording our first EP, New York was blasted by Hurricane Sandy. Our studio in Gowanus was pretty much washed away, with both Nikhil and Jon losing the vast majority of their gear. I remember looking at a pic of a collapsed wall inside the space and thinking, “we’re done”. I was devastated for them, as they collectively lost in the neighborhood of 15,000 dollars worth of gear not to mention the destruction of their facility. Many bands and studio owners had their livelihoods taken by this act of nature.

Mountain God regrouped, finding a new space in DUMBO, and temporarily using my own subpar gear that I pulled out of my apartment living room. Now, I can’t remember what particular day it was exactly, but I distinctly recall Nik uttering the word Hovercraft in response to what the hell we were going to do. He had been surfing the net and came across Nial McGauphey, who at the time had just started his company and had been putting his amps up for sale. Nik raved about the sound and talked about the innovative nature of how Nial would use recycled parts to create these beautiful, vintage sounding tube amps that easily could take on any Marshall, Orange, Matamp or Sunn.

So, Nik bought a cool looking orange Falcon for a totally affordable price and we eagerly awaited its coming. When it arrived and was fired up, we were blown away by what came out. It was no different than hearing that first chord or sound off of a great transformative album….we just sort of knew that these were the amps that were going to define our tone. For me personally, it rivaled and in many ways surpassed any head I had ever played. We got hooked across the board. Sure enough, we currently own multiple Falcons, Dwarvenauts, and a single Baltar for bass. It also doesn’t hurt that Nial is easily one of the most knowledgeable builders in the field, and incredibly fun to interact with. His passion for the craft of amp making and music in general is refreshing given our world of cookie cutter, poorly designed products and mass consumers who only want the cool, hip thing regardless of quality.

Hoverfest 2014….

This past spring, after ordering the Baltar, I was sitting on my couch in front of my laptop and randomly asked Nial if he had ever thought about holding a festival, representing all the bands that used his gear. He said yes, that it was something that he would love to work on. Having put the conversation out of my mind, I was struck a few months later when Nial and Nathan Carson followed up with our band and told us about Hoverfest. They finished by saying that they held an opening spot for us if we wanted it. I was pretty taken aback, even more so when I found out whom we would share the stage with. While it made absolutely zero financial sense, as often happens in this industry, it was decided quickly within the ranks of the band to spend a few days in Portland and play this show.

Most squares, those soulless cadavers that walk the streets each day with only thoughts of money, conformity, and keeping up with the Jones’ can’t understand this concept. I ran into a few of these types in the weeks preceding our little adventure, those mundane characters who say things like, “travel all that way for 30minutes of playing??? How do you even know anyone will be there to see you at noon???”

It’s true that the trip literally cost thousands and none of us in MG are particularly wealthy. For us, though, sharing a stage with Yob and all of the other awesome bands on the bill means far more than having a few extra bucks lying around in the old bank account. Money can be made again, but opportunity doesn’t always knock twice. It’s not everyday that someone gives a band the chance to play with genre definers like Witch Mountain and Acid King, with their wealth of experience, hard work, sweat, and devotion to music so paramount. For us, the chance to share the stage with these giants was never a real question. Not to mention meeting the man who helped MG find its sound, tone, heart, and soul through the production of the most badass amps around. Not to mention working with Billy Anderson. Not to mention meeting new, awesome people who like to go to festivals to listen to the kind of music we play and enjoy. No brainer.

Experimentation On The Unwilling cover art

The Festival….

Rather than give a blow by blow account of the whole show (which would be difficult anyway due to the great amounts of PBR’s finished with spiced rum that I drank after our set) I’d much rather hit some of the high points, to give readers an idea of what it felt like to not just play, but simply be there on the grounds.

a) The bands.

I’ve never, in my whole life of playing music, ever encountered a group of more humble, kind, and interesting people playing in so many great bands. There were no egos, no walls between artist and fan, and a sense of camaraderie that quickly shined brightly over the venue. Simply put….everyone was so fucking nice. The music was incredible all day. Yob’s cathartic, epic riffs, the serenity and power of Andrea Vidal’s voice (Holy Grove), and the virtuosity of DANAVA’s chord progressions were all things that immediately stood out. I could go on and on about every single act.

b) The venue.

The show was held in an alleyway behind Cravedog, which gave the show a very intimate feel. There was a beer garden, several food trucks doing catering, and a merch booth for people to purchase albums, shirts and other cool band related stuff. Turnout was awesome. Even when MG went on at about 12:20, there were easily 50 people in the audience, and I’d surmise that by the end of the show 400-500 people were in attendance. I also felt very taken care of by the promoters, a level of respect that was so uplifting. Todd allowed bands to hang out in the Cravedog office, which was filled with snacks and the aforementioned treasure trove of PBRs (and I believe I mentioned spiced rum?) Pizza was ordered for all of us, with bands and event organizers meeting, sharing stories, telling jokes, and talking shop.


c) The gear.

For musicians, I think it is safe to say that gear collecting can be an obsession. When we arrived at the venue, there were about 15 or so Hovercraft half stacks, each one being unique and available to play on stage. That was fucking cool. Thank you Nial!!!

d) The fans.

Everyone was in good spirits, chatting, enjoying beverages (and possibly other substances, but I’m not sure I can totally speak to that…) and quality time with other people who equally enjoy music. There was a lot of love and respect in the air, something I’ve never really felt on the same level at a rock festival.

e) Portland

.is a very cool city. Great beer, tasty food with lots of vegetarian/vegan options as well as great swathes of meat for those that choose to embrace a more carnivorous nature. I personally had never been to Portland or the west coast for that matter, so it was a fun and new experience for me.

f) Nial…

is a fucking genius. If only the world had more people like him, artists and creators who are willing to put themselves and their art out there, society would be a far more interesting place. Our band got a chance to hang with him at his home, as he barbequed up all sorts of meats and vegetables. It was quite good, and I managed to sneak into the conversation that it would be great to have a 2x12/1x15 Hovercraft cab to go with my Emperor of the same caliber.

Final Thoughts…

For a new, underground band like ours, playing Hoverfest was a dream come true. We work pretty hard and take our music seriously, so to see everything pay off felt joyous. On a personal level, I had one singular moment that stands out more than any other. Those that are “too cool for school” so to speak may find it a bit lame, but I’m going to recount it anyway, regardless of how I’m perceived, to answer the question posed earlier by the squares, the one that goes, “why would you spend thousands to go all the way out there to play for 30minutes???

After our set I was totally shot, soaked in sweat, and frankly, unsure of how we sounded. For those people that don’t play, music sometimes can sound very different on stage than it does to the crowd, particularly when playing outside. So, as I gathered my gear and started carrying guitars back to the rental car, my mind wandered with thoughts of apprehension. If you’re an artist and not constantly thinking about whether your work is being presented accurately, you’re probably not a real artist anyway.

After throwing the gear in the car, I made a bee line back to the stage area to find the guys, my wife, and something cold to drink. That’s when Mike Scheidt came walking by on the other side of the lot. With Yob being one of my favorite bands, I waved, said hello, and was sort of leveled when he rapidly made his way over to me. Believe it or not, I really had no idea what I was going to say exactly, despite knowing for months that it was more than likely that I’d get a chance to meet him along with many other musicians. I conjured up something along the lines of, “I’m a fan” or something in that vein. Mike gave me a firm handshake and simply said, “you guys sounded great”, and went on for a few seconds about the performance. We talked for a bit and eventually shared a space in the merch booth, at which point I got to meet Aaron and Travis at different points in the day. One probably can imagine how surreal this was for me.


Lame? Maybe. Idol worship? Possibly. The way I see it….one of my favorite bands thought our little underground band was good. And ya know what? Maybe some other people at Hoverfest thought we were OK as well. And that, in closing, speaking for myself, is one of the coolest things about travelling all the way across the country on a financially ridiculous trip to share a stage with bands that you admire and respect. Cause maybe, just maybe, people will end up respecting your art just as much as you respect theirs.

So, thank you to Nial, Nathan, Billy, Todd, all of the bands, and all of the people that came out to make Hoverfest what it was. I can honestly say that playing this festival was as transformative, spiritual, and uplifting as any other experience in my life. Thank you all.

If you were at Hoverfest, I would highly recommend that you post some comments here about your experience, reach out to the bands via social media, or contact any of the people I mentioned here to stay thank you. I’m tired of so many shitty things in our society getting praise. Let’s for once praise something that deserves praise. Or if you’d rather, spend some time posting ridiculous cat videos which will get 1 million hits on You Tube. Your choice.

Written by Ben Ianuzzi

I want to thank Ben for writing this awesome article on Hoverfest. Thanks Ben.

Check Out Mountain God from the links below

Red Kunz - Teeth, Hair & Skin (EP Review)

Teeth, Hair & Skin cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 15th August 2014
Label: Hummus Records

Teeth, Hair & Skin - track listing:

1.Transatlantic 03:13
2.The Beggar 03:00
3.Four Good Reasons 03:46
4.Prisms 05:00
5.Teeth, Hair & Skin 06:15

Bio

Good records sometimes need to go that easy:

Saturday, January 11th 2014 : Aaron Beam and John Sherman (RED FANG) fly to Switzerland straight after the band's performance at the famous Letterman Show in New York to meet Louis Jucker and Luc Hess (KUNZ) at the airport. The 4 guys drive to Lausanne, straight to the venue LE ROMANDIE, put their two bass amps and drums on stage, then go out for a beer in a funny local cover bands festival.

Sunday 12th, They write 4 songs in the deserted venue and go to sleep.

Monday 13th, a whole crew of video makers, graphic designers and other creative minds set up its camp in the
club's backstage. Mission is to get the most work done within a week.

Tuesday 14th, Everyone is super pumped and party a little too hard.

Wednesday 15th, The band spends the day tracking songs, goes out for a walk, buys a small acoustic guitar in a pawn shop, comes back to the club, plays the tunes again in front of the crew's cameras and decides to keep these takes as the final ones.

Thursday 16th, Aaron and Louis write vocal lines and lyrics in Jucker's attic studio. John and Luc drink beers and eat pizzas.

Friday 17th, The whole town is gathered in a packed venue to see the new born RED KUNZ playing their first record : TEETH, HAIR AND SKIN, 20 minutes of raw bass riffing and double drums battles that somehow manage to sound like proper catchy songs. Fact is that they were all conceived and taped within a single and cool week of friendship, beers, and jams.

Members

Aaron Beam and John Sherman (Red Fang)
Luc Hess and Louis Jucker (KUNZ,ex-The Ocean Collective, Coilguns, The Fawn)

Review:

Here is something different to check out. Red Kunz. A collaboration between Aaron and John from Red Fang and Luc and Louis from KUNZ. Red Kunz is a strange sounding experience. A Noise Rock/Stoner Rock collective writing tunes that features elements from both bands but still sounding fresh and exciting all in one go.

It's always great seeing bands and artists doing something different that they are known for and Red Kunz is no exception. Their début EP – Teeth, Hair and Skin – is 20 minutes of great music that ventures from Noise Rock to Stoner Rock with relevant ease. It has a dark nightmarish pop based atmosphere holding it all together. It's a thrilling ride from start to finish as Red Kunz blast through this EP like their lives depended on it.

It has a creaking lo-fi experimental vibe to it which amplifies the Drum and Bass aspect of the record to perfection. The EP's finest moments appear on the excellent last two tracks – Prisms and Teeth, Hair & Skin. As the band have more time to build up the mood and atmosphere with some impressive riffs of their own. This is where Red Kunz come into their own existence as a collective unit. The EP becomes a more exciting challenge to listen to as the music takes a life of it's very own.

All in all Teeth, Hair & Skin is a superb EP from start to finish. Lets hope this is only the start for Red Kunz as I definitely want to hear more!!!

Teeth, Hair & Skin is available to buy now on Buy Now BandCamp Deal. Along with an impressive set of CD/Vinyl packages from Hummus Records BandCamp Page

Check the Band from Links Below


Written by Steve Howe

Poisoned By Life - The End (Album Review)

The End cover art

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 01st August 2014
Label: Self Released

The End - track listing:

1.Burning 08:31
2.Last Breath 09:23
3.- 01:05
4.Prayer 05:32
5.For A Dying Man 11:30

Bio

Poisoned By Life is a brand new doom trio from Central New York. They only just released their first album, titled The End, on August 1st 2014, for free digital download, and independently on CD. Influences range from riffs, guitars, and atmosphere, to fear, spirituality, and longing. Poisoned By Life is currently not seeking to write new material or play live shows, but continuation of the band is indefinite and full activity will be resumed at a later period. Until then, doom metallers Poisoned By Life leave behind their first monument to doom and darkness for worship by all

Members

Sarah Schuster - Bass
Glendon Allen - Drums
Vincent Wisehoon - Vocals, Guitars

Review:

Here is a stunning début album to check out from a fantastic Doom Metal band by the name of Poisoned By Life. Their début album – The End – is a dark and heavy depressing affair which offers a fresh spin on the Doom Metal scene as they include elements of Occult based Hard Rock.

The End is 36 minutes that will chill your soul to the bone. The riffs are fucking awesome through out. It's a shame the band are currently on hiatus as they have created a brutal and highly intelligent album that not only embraces the Doom Metal philosophy but also asks some thought provoking questions which there are no easy answers to. Death is a big factor with Poisoned By Life's music. It embraces the dark murky worlds of Doom Metal that you wouldn't normally hear on a début album such as this.

The album will leave you feeling mighty depressed and I am OK with that. As Doom Metal should make you feel uncomfortable and questioning hard-hitting subjects such as Death and the Afterlife. Opening track – Burning – opens your mind to this dark and mysterious macabre world that Poisoned By Life have created here. If you don't like this track then it's best to turn away right now as the band don't change course at all for the remainder of the album.

By the time – For A Dying Man – appears I am at the mercy of this great band. The riffs are relentless and the mood is bleak throughout. I need to find a way of escaping as I seriously need a rest for the dark unrelenting vision the band have bestowed upon to the listener.

The End is a stirring, complex and highly challenging album that will put a lot of people off. I loved every brutal and bleak second of it. Download this now if you're looking for something dangerous, depressing and wholly original. It's available on BandCamp Buy Now Download.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Check the Band from Links Below


Written by Steve Howe

OHHMS - Bloom (Album Review)

Ohhms 'Bloom' Artwork

Album Type: Album
Date Released: 6th October 2014
Label: Holy Roar Records

BLOOM - track listing:

1.Bad Seeds
2.Rise Of The Herbivore

Review:

I originally featured OHHMM back in March 2014 as a band to look out for with their blend of progressive stoner metal riffs that stood out from the crowd. Well since then OHHMS have been hard at work on their début album – Bloom – to be released on Holy Roar Records. OHHMS got signed to Holy Roar Records by sending them music and only one other band has done that before. THROATS.

Now don't go thinking that these guys are a flash in the pan hipster band latching onto the current fave sound within the Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. As OHHMS are anything but. Let me tell you now that BLOOM is an incredible début album.

32 minutes of loud, bombastic and finely tuned sludge/stoner/doom/post-metal/psych-rock/noise carnage that makes you fall in love with music in the first place. How the hell does a band like OHHMS exist. As they sound like a weird supergroup rock collective though only if that supergroup consist members of ISIS, Pink Floyd, Torche, Monster Magnet, Mastodon and Baroness. First track – Bad Seeds – is an epic 18 minute thrill ride that pays homage to those great bands but OHHMS pull it off with great style and substance of their very own. It proves what a great talent OHHMS actually are as their ideas are bursting with manic violent addictive energy to impress you with.

The riffs are deafening with lead vocalist Paul leading the charge with loud as hell destructive vocals of his own. It's a rare thing for a band to release such an overly confident début album such as this. The styles of sounds that OHHMS have created here shouldn't really work but to their credit, the band take you on action packed journey where there is no turning back.

I still don't know what genre these guys fall under. When I first featured them I thought they were a instrumental rock band as the track I featured was purely instrumental. Thank fuck that OHHMS have turned out to be something different as Paul's vocals along with the riffs offer something very different that make you feel alive. OHHMS do include long passages of ambient based instrumental rock within their music from time to time. Mainly at the end of BLOOM which sees the band drift into post-metal territory.

Rise of The Herbivore is the 2nd epic track that BLOOM has to offer. 14:25 minutes of experimental Sludge/Stoner/Noise/Doom Metal craziness that once again shouldn't really work but OHHMS impress yet again. It features the same path as the first track with ambient based vibes slowly building up the atmosphere. Wait until the 5 minute mark when OHHMS unleash a loud and violent assault on your senses. Paul's vocals have a crazed slightly deranged mad-man feel about them which even scared me at times.

BLOOM is a brilliant and thrilling début album from a band who are going to be HUGE in the years to come. 

Thanks to OHHMS for sending me a promo to review. Bloom will be released via Holy Roar Records on Vinyl/DD/CD on 6th October 2014.

Check the Band from Links Below


Written by Steve Howe