Thursday, 31 October 2013

A Conversation with Fuzz Guru, Brad Davis (Fu Manchu)

If you are a fan of the fuzz created by Fu Manchu, then you are a fan of Brad Davis. He is the sound behind the fuzz drenched guitars on so many seminal records throughout the years.

It all started back in 2006 when Brad was buying a lot of fuzz pedals from different stores and pawn shops. It was at this time he decided he would start building his own pedals, mostly just trying and building for friends.  Skip ahead to 2013, and the Creepyfingers fuzz pedals are one of the most highly sought after fuzz pedals in the game.

Brad has built his own company by supplying great pedals at which a performer can afford and have a magnificent  piece of gear for many years.

The name Creepyfingers was actually coined by Brad’s friend, Emily Burton. It was a name that definitely fit the vibe of the pedals the man was and creates today.

It all started with Brad wanting to capture a simple fuzz tone. One that captivated him while being a young music fan growing up.

This was the fuzz tone of the 70’s. Like so many performers, this time has such a rich and distinguished sound for so many different genres of music. The guitar tones really had their own sound and sonically hit you in many different ways.

Therefore, when Brad started fooling around with making pedals, he was shooting for a pedal that would capture a real sound, one that emulated what he had in his ears and firmly enjoyed.

Once the word got out, people started going on the Fu Manchu site, message boards and friends starting discussing these fantastic pedals that Brad had constructed for them.

There are many different pedals in the creepyfingers domain and new ones will be shortly gracing us. Brad let me know that these will be something that people will be enjoying and that he is very happy about. As being the player of 2 of his pedals, I have witnessed my tone transform into something that I would never have achieved until speaking with Brad.

The thing about Mr Davis that is so refreshing is that any question you have, he gives you as real answer. If he does not think the pedals you are looking at will do the trick for you, he will suggest one that might be more up to snuff with what you are seeking to do.

I found this to be very helpful as I had thought I wanted one pedal when in turn he turned me onto something different that works better than I could have ever imagined. Brad could have easily just took my money and send me a pedal, however, and here is where you want to pay attention, he cares about tone and cares about what his consumer wants. Therefore, in my case, he actually listened to the music I make and suggested what would be the best fit, and he could not have been more correct.

For people in the guitar game that want a pedal that is built for the players, constructed of heavy duty material, so it will not crush under the foot of a guitarist, and really want a pedal that will transform your tone into something you have invading  your head, Brad Davis is the one to speak too.

Creepyfingers is not just a line of pedals, it is a line of goodness and why guys like Brad Davis are so valuable to the music world. He is a brilliant bass player, constructer of some of the best pedals in the world and a man that cares about his consumers, fans and most of all, is about trying to make you psyched about plugging in your guitar and being blown away by what comes out of the amp.

Make you sure you visit the Creepyfingers site and start your eternal quest for tone here, at the Camelot of Fuzz.

Eat a peach,

Words by : Marc Gaffney from Gozu
For more information :

Interview with Black Tusk

Outside of Manchester's Alter Ego, Andrew Fidler, guitarist/vocalist of Black stands smoking a cigarette. The smoke billows from it, mixing into the cold, Mancunian air.

Before our interview, he enquires about Sludgelord, about what music is covered. At the mention of Windhand, he chimes in:

"We're good friends with them. We had them play a house party but it only lasted one song ‘cause they were so fucking loud."

He takes another drag, a wry smile across his face.

Welcome to Manchester, the rain has just about stopped. Being from Georgia you must be freezing?

I am Cold. I’ve got some long underwear I’m probably gonna put on after the show.

Is that the fun of touring though, travelling and seeing different places, you’re literally a world away from home right now?

[Laughs] Oh yeah. It seriously is a world away from home, but it’s fun. The weather’s interesting. At home it’s probably about 75 degrees or something .

Going back to the beginning of the band's history, you were all neighbours, tell us a little more about that?

We were all in old punk bands and Savannah’s quite a tight-knit community,we’ve only gottwo punk houses that are on the same street. Then both thosebands went south because members didn’t want to tour, but [the rest of us] wanted to tour so we just thought, ‘hey we both play the same kind of music, let’s get together and jam.’

Did you ever expect Black Tusk to get this far?

I don’t know man, being in a band is such a crazy thing, there’s no telling what’s gonna happen. Look at our buds Red Fang, they’ve been slugging it out forever you know, then they had that break and boom, they’re selling out places all over, so who knows?

We’re gonna keep slugging it out and see what happens. That was always our intention with this band. ‘If you wanna be in this band then you’re gonna have to tour, if not walk out now, not in 5 years from now. It’s all in, all or nothing.

It’s an attitude that’s got you this far.

Yeah, well that and a pretty good work ethic.

This tour is in support of your new EP Tend No Wounds, what was the thought process behind releasing an EP rather than a full album?

We had some songs that we’d been sitting on but our tour schedules crazy. We write all our songs in one session. If we had gone in another writing session for the EP in kinda might not necessarily be in the same vain you know? We wanted something new and we’ve been touring for a while and we wanted them in some form of medium for the fans and so we could play them live. It just worked out with our tour schedule that we put out a new EP. Next time we have a writing session we can start with a clean slate.

Is it more of a case of capturing a moment in time then?

Pretty much, that’s how we’ve always done it. However the process could take a couple of months but we like to immerse ourselves in that and make a jam space‘till it’s done.

So, for myself and others who are yet to witness a Black Tusk live show, what is it like?

It’s gonna be loud [laughs]. We like to have fun on stage and hopefully the crowd do the same. We try to put our energy into the crowd so they can give it us back.


Are you guys self-managed?

We have a manager and booking agents. He handles business stuff, recording sessions and gets us on bigger tours. We have our own lives too so we’re juggling the band with wives and girlfriends so it’s helpful to have another voice guiding in the right direction and giving us ideas. He also does all of our web stuff which is awesome.

You definitely have a big online presence, which in today’s age is necessary.

Yeah, well most print stuff has gone the outlet now is the internet. Some nights when we go into one of our video song everybody knows that fucking song and they go crazy.

When we started touring we didn’t have a Myspace or anything like that. There’s this magazine in the States called ‘book your on fucking life’ which basically had loads of phone numbers in it so I booked our first tour by writing letters and making phone calls.

Looking at your Bandcamp page you have a lot of comments from fans saying that you're always willing to take the time to chat with them after a show. How important is it to do that, because not every band does?

I keep up with the Facebook page and I always try to get back to them. If it wasn’t for the fans we’d still be jamming in the garage so at shows we always take time to hang out with them and drink beers.

On the Truth Untold video the three of you are wearing Venom, Sabbath and Motorhead shirts so your influences are clear to see, but do you draw influence from any bands that people wouldn't expect you to?

My guitar work is a little bluesy. My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was a boy. I’ve never taken a lessen other than my dad showing me a few chords so I’m basically self-taught.

Words and Interview by : Phil Weller

For more information :

Bitesize Album Reviews

Deteriorate cover art

Grime - Deteriorate

At first listen, Grime seem like a bunch of seasoned veterans, having been fortunate enough to perfect their craft for years on end. The Italian act’s first full-length, Deteriorate, combines the best elements of sludge and doom metal, but makes the sound their own. Admittedly, each track begins fairly similarly, but once you’re deep into the real meat of the music, you’ve got a weird Sabbath-meets-the-gates-of-hell aesthetic that you just want to play over and over. This probably sounds intriguing—and it is—so get this crushing collection of music in your hands as soon as possible.

Lords of Bukkake – Desagravio

Like Grime, Lords of Bukake trudge at an incredibly slow pace, stringing together line after line of sluggish chord progressions. At the core, the music is relatively simple, but with a twist: the vocals were recorded through a wavy-sounding filter making you, for lack of a better word, feel totally psychedelic. It’s pretty far out there, man. And it’s worth a listen. Play “Boca Acida" once, and you'll know what the fuss is about.
Words by : Adam @TheMetalAdvisor

You can buy these records for here and here

Live Review : Black Tusk, Alter Ego, Manchester, UK, 9th October 2013

Black Tusk Live Review
Manchester, Alter Ego 9th October 2013

There are a maximum of 30 people in the room. Bassist Jonathan Athon is admirably honest to say that it hurts playing to so few people, it can be demeaning. To travel half way across the world to play to a small cluster of fans can be a harsh reality check. Yet, those in attendance more than make up for the lack of numbers. Drinks flow and everyone can get up close and personal with the band, creating a constant stream of interaction between the two. For a band so used to playing house parties for fun in their home town of Georgia, this was an extension of that.

Main man Andrew Fidler warned me before the show that it was going to be loud. I may have underestimated the statement. In the tight confines of the venue their dirty, snarling sound pinballed off the walls as Enemy of Reason pounded at your ear drums.

Black Tusk are a no frills kind of band and they show they produced exemplified that in the best possible fashion. Their simplistic songs had brilliant driving rhythms that shook the floor and got the crowd moving.

The ferocious Truth Untold draws the best reaction of the night and gets a few more heads banging and Athon jumps into the crowd to make things even more intimate.   

Fidler’s rasping guitar tone and Athon’s booming bass combined to form a giant wall of sound, all underpinned by James May’s (no, not that one) animalistic drum work. It was a set packing enough punch and power to full crowds four times the size as this one, which seemed a crying shame that they aren’t doing that. But they played with full hearts, giving every second, every note everything that possibly had to give. The music industry can be harsh and cruel, but here we witnessed a courage and determination that, if there is any justice, will pay dividends in the long run.

It was, in all, a fantastic show. But, there was always a lingering sense of disappointment in the air, from both the band and the fans. The small audience never quite mustered up the party atmosphere this band required, that the night required to make it truly special.

Words by : Phil Weller

You can read Phil's review of Black Tusk's latest record here

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Interview with ENVOYS

Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing UK Instrumental Progressive Post-Metallers – Envoys

This awesome hard-hitting Post-Metal collective have won a great deal of praise for their amazing début album – Violescent. It's blend of Doom, Post-Rock and Post-Metal riffs is a winning formula from start to finish. And one you don't often hear from a début album.

It's different vibes gives Envoys a different take in the realm of Post-Metal. I originally described the album as:

“Violescent is an album that needs to be played on the loudest speaker system possible to get the full effect as believe me you will miss many noises and effects on your first listen. This album took me a few times to experience the full effect of it all. So don’t go expecting an easy listening. This is one of the most rewarding album experiences I have had the pleasure to listen to this year.

The album is a work of art. Just embrace this excellent album for all it’s worth. There are plenty of hard-hitting riffs to be had. This is a forward thinking album that people will still be talking about in the years to come. And I will end my review there.”

The band have kindly agreed an interview with us at Sludgelord. And it's a task I am more than happy to carry out as I am a huge fan of this great band.

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

Tom A: Thank you! Feeling like the weather, rain one minute and sun the next!

Q2 – For people not in the know can you give a brief history on how the band came about.

TA: I was tired of trying to get a couple of new bands off the ground and was urged by my friend to go onto Gumtree to seek new musicians to play with.. I'd thought for years that you know most of the musicians around here in Leeds who are into the same thing as you, but upon looking, the first advert I see is for heavy/doomy instrumental band needing a guitarist and bass player. So I responded to the add, got an email response from Steve (who I of course knew!) and I replied and went down to jam with him and Chris (drums) and it was also Dan, the bass players, first meeting with them too. Turns out, even if you know someone, you may not know that they're trying to get a new project together.

Steve Creek: Me and Chris have played together since we were at school. After our last band broke up, we had a few jams just the two of us and struck upon a sound we both liked, so went in search of musicians. The universe delivered Tom & Dan, which was a sweet deal.

Q3 – So you're new album – Violescent – really impressed the hell out of me earlier this year. It's won some praise within the Post-metal scene. Have you been happy with the responses so far.

TA: Cheers! We've been overwhelmed by the response actually - it seems to have really been "listened" to by quite a lot of people and they seem to get it and pick it apart which is what we'd thought may not happen. But people seem to get it and the comments we've had have been heart warming!

SC: The majority of feedback we've had has been really positive, which has been great. It's hard sometimes not to dwell on the negative comments we've had, but at the same time those drive you forward so it's all good.

Q4 – Was it an easy album to write and record for.

TA: The writing was quite organic in how lots of it came about. The recording was quite a task due to time/cash constraints. We found ourselves having to record at odd times in strange environments - it made it quite tricky it took a long time. But, for every Saturday we sat in a cold storage room re-amping guitars in the adjoining practice room, there were the days where we were recording exciting new instruments or adding layers to songs that were really tying everything together - plus the knowledge of having done it yourselves against all the odds is a good feeling.

SC: The album is pretty much the first set of songs we wrote together. We only wrote maybe two songs that didn't make it on there, so what you're hearing is pretty much the origins of the band. Starting a new thing is always challenging I suppose, but writing and playing together came pretty naturally. Tom did all the hard work in recording, so I can't speak about that!

Q5 – Is there anything you want to change about it or is it perfect the way it is.

TA: Personally I think the beauty of when something is done is it's done and there is no point lamenting over any details. I mixed it, which makes that an even harder thing to say, but I think it captures a time and place and I'm over obsessing about certain sounds/levels. The idea in my head was to make it sound like us, make it organic, capture the natural sounds and use as little processing as possible and I think that has pretty much worked. The cello we recorded in a mill and it's just the natural reverb and tonality from a couple of mics that you hear. It certainly has the warmth I think we have.

SC: I don't want to change the album. I just want to make another one! I think if you finish a piece of music and don't feel any urge to go out and better it with the next thing, there's something amiss.

Q6 – It's a very multi-layered album. You guys must of spent a lot of time discussing ideas in where to put a particular riff, sound or vibe. How did you decide on how the songs would sound the way they did. Any heated discussions of any kind.

TA: It was actually quite a peaceful writing process. The final song was one of the first that I worked on upon joining the band and that went through various changes over the year and a half before recording it, with more tweaks and changes going off, but it was quite a fun process that really wasn't too thought out, apart from maybe the weird polyrhythm bit in the middle which obviously has to be worked out. Admonition was probably the last song to be finished and seemed the most fraught to put together - but even that fell into place seamlessly once we were in the zone with it.

SC: Having two effect-laiden guitars and an effect-laiden bass occasionally led to moments where we had to step back and give each other room in the mix. But on the whole we're usually really into each other's ideas, so fights and tantrums were kept to a minimum.

Q7 – How would yourselves describe your sound as you have a lot of great sounds going on at the same time.

TA: Dynamic & textured with flourishes of vocals!

SC: Heavy noodling.

Q8 – Which bands and artists influenced you as musicians.

TA: For me it's a definite blend of 90's metal/rock that was challenging such as Tool & Soundgarden et all. But I was also majorly into the stoner/doom side along with some homegrown hardcore stuff. Mix all that up with the ethereal qualities of Sigur Ros and it's led me down some strange paths!

SC: Deftones, Pelican and Tool are big influences for me. Also less well known proponents of heavy, progressive and experimental stuff, such as Rosetta, Mare, and Kayo Dot.

Q9 – What is your fave track off the album. As I am torn between too – Bread & Bullfights and Ego is the Mankiller.

TA: Probably Ego as I really like the vibe and the way the writing came about. A very collaborative effort which had Steve bring in a not far from finished piece of music and after learning it, I came up with the ending and it just all fit. It took very little time for a song that is quite varied. Also, due to the odd conditions of the recording, a lot of the cleaner guitar sounds on the album were done in the early hours of the morning as it was the only time we could find to use the studio and not be at work, and Steve hit some great spacey tonal parts on that song at 2am in the morning whilst we were struggling to keep going. Always reminds me of that.

SC: I think Admonition is my favourite. I've got a soft spot for Miyagi too, which was one of the earlier songs we wrote.

Q10 – I am big fan of your hometown of Leeds musical scene. Got lots of great bands within the Sludge, Post-Rock and Post-Metal scene. Plus you have loads of great venues. What's your verdict on the Leeds music scene and the UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom/Post-Metal scene as it's thriving at the moment.

TA: Leeds has always been a great place for loads of styles of music, but the heavy side of it seems to be undergoing a resurgence of the last few years. There's some great people working towards putting bands on from all over - such as Stew & Kerrie @ Bad Owl Promotions and Paul Priest with 'Kin Hell Fest (amongst other things!) plus so much more. Lots of amazing local bands which we're fortunate to be able to see and play with, but also nationally, the whole scene seems to be spewing up more talent than is normally feasible at the moment. I just heard Tidings from Edinburgh for the first time last week and they were great!

SC: Loads of my favourite bands are from Leeds, which is a great thing as a musician. You can walk into your local and find yourself chatting to your favourite guitarist over a pint! Having bands like Red Stars Parade and Humanfly living on the doorstep has been a huge inspiration over the years, and the likes of Sunwolf and Himself are keeping that alive for me.

Q11 – Do you get regular gigs in your home town. Or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly. As Instrumental Post-Metal Music can be a hard sell if your not as well known as Pelican, Russian Circles and Mono.

TA: We have played Leeds a fair few times and are "yet" to have a bad show in terms of crowd/reception. As I said, the whole scene up here is healthy and we have seemingly managed to cross a few boundaries. We've been the heaviest band on the bill and also been the virtual pop band at some gigs! But we have been over to Belgium recently which was a fantastic experience, our lovely buddies from Lost in the Riots hooked us up in London earlier this year and we are hopefully making our first trek across the border to Scotland in a couple of weeks too to play with Celestial Wolves from Belgium & Vasa - this is all happening with some awesome bands and really good promoters making the shows worthwhile.

Q12 - What are your favourite bands you are currently listening to. Any bands that myself or our readers should check out.

TA: I'm sure you already have, but Sunwolf from Leeds are dirge kings, Tidings as I mentioned I thought were great. Bands we've played with/playing with recently such as Lost in the Riots, Eye of Daw, Celestial Wolves, Alright the Captain… all making for a very exciting crop of bands out doing some cool stuff. I could highlight one accidental happening at Santiago's in Leeds.

Went to see what turned out to be an uninspiring band, only to be dragged up to the other gig room by local sound hero Eden Townsley - up there, a colossal noise was being made by Selenites - who upon talking to, we found were from France and had ended up at the venue by chance after having another gig cancelled. They were absolutely brilliant and their recorded stuff is too! Honorable mention to my buddies in Monolith Cult also, played in Khang, Threads & Silverburn with members of that band and have always had massive respect for them all, but they released an album called Run from the Light this year which blindsided me in how good it was!

SC: Sunwolf, HImself, and Palehorse.

Q13 - What are your views of bands using websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to fund their new album releases. Some people and bands are for it. Some are not. Would you consider doing some thing like that yourselves.

TA: I think it's down to the individual band. There is definitely going to come a point where there's too many people doing it and it becomes the norm and people don't get involved as much. We toyed with it for Violescent, but just ended up doing a pre sale to help us fund the Vinyl pressing which we did via our own page setup with PayPal. It cost us less in terms of fees, butttt... if it hadn't have worked we would've had to concede defeat and refund everyone whilst losing the PayPal fee. Luckily it was ok and it achieved what it set out to, which was a decent percentage of the Vinyl pressing funded!

Violescent cover art

Q14 – Who designed the excellent album cover. Did you have much input into the overall design.

TA: My ex-girlfriend is a photographer/artist called Ruth Stanley who created the images. Steve actually saw it on her Instagram and put it forward for the artwork. It's a couple of dead Bee's that have been enlarged onto film, not as simple as that but without giving too much away. Apart from a filter, the images are the original film developed images - we put it together onto the artwork templates with Chris from the band using his skills there. Again, we worked with each other doing it and managed to get it all done ourselves and it has the same natural feel we were going for with the album.

Q15 – In 5 words or less describe the Envoys live experience.

TA: Tall, hairy, ginger, brown and noisy.

SC: These guitars are really loud.

Q16 – What is the songwriting process in the band? Is it a group collective or is just down to one individual

TA: Generally, Steve starts with all the ideas, riffs, song structures, feels etc. Then he puts them together with Chris on the drums or with me in my attic, where I write my parts over the top or maybe some additional stuff. Then we start to hone/change stuff if it's needed, adding, subtracting, envoysying it - vocal ideas tend to dive out at me personally either at the rehearsal space or whilst listening to a rehearsal recording. I make sure I'm not really listening to what Steve is (and therefore be influencing him somewhat) so that when I add guitar parts they're cut from a different cloth to hopefully keep things unique. Bread & Bullfights was slightly different as I blasted out those riffs to complement the intro which I'd had sitting around since I first started using our tuning, took it to the room and we put that together very quickly.

SC: I write the songs and then the other guys make them worse. It's a case of damage limitation.

Q17 - Has BandCamp been a big help in getting your music across.

TA: I think BandCamp is excellent actually after initially being a bit frosty to it. People are into going and listening on there but also have the ability to download or buy the physical copies. We've even had people overpay, bless em! All that stuff has helped us do things like get our new T-Shirts made, which we can then put on Bandcamp, which helped fund us go to Europe etc.

Q18 - What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band? Obviously, the reality of how expensive it is being in a band could be considered as a negative aspect

TA: The most rewarding aspect is probably feeling part of something - we're all pretty different but all feel quite close and tied together by doing this. That's my opinion and the others may say different! The least rewarding aspect was probably part way through the recording where I personally was tiring of it due to the process and my personal situations. The day we recorded the big drum intro to Bread & Bullfights and all the Cello parts changed that though as it was very inspiring!

SC: Writing new music is always the most rewarding thing. The least rewarding aspects relate to claustrophobia of our underground bunker practice room and some of the wind emissions that occur therein.

Q19 - If you could provide words to wisdom for people wanting to start a band – What would they be.

TA: Make sure you enjoy it and push to do something extraordinary. You may not get another chance!

SC: Don't fall into the trap of thinking something is good just because you made it. Step back from what you're doing frequently and challenge yourself to be better. Something I'm still learning!

Q20 - What pisses you off most in music. Or do you not let the bad things in music stop you from performing and writing songs.

TA: People trying to capitalise on it who have no right to. We're really lucky, but I have been at the hands of some unscrupulous types in the past - I still see it now with maybe the odd promoter/venue, but it's just time to avoid them. Luckily, every band/promoter we've been involved with have been amazing - we hope to keep it that way!

SC: Bands that I love continuing to make music long after they stopped being good.

Q21 - Finally do you have anything to say to your fans.

SC: I love you, Mum.

Well guys thanks for your time. I hope you continue to release great music and I hope to hear a lot more from you guys in the years to come. If you want to see these guys on tour then check the Tour Poster below.

Check this excellent band from the links below.


Adrift for Days' 'Come Midnight...' vinyl release

 Come Midnight... cover art

Adrift for Days' 'Come Midnight...' vinyl release

Adrift for Days psychedelic/doom epic 'Come Midnight...' is getting a vinyl release through Doognad Records on on 28 November 2013.

Sydney's Adrift for Days have made their name with an introspective blend of psychedelic rock, post-metal, doom and drone. 

Their sophomore album, 'Come Midnight...', is an ambitious sonic journey that draws on the traditions of Earth, Neurosis, Boris, Pink Floyd and Rosetta.

When originally released through Art As Catharsis in late 2012, 'Come Midnight...' was met with near-universal acclaim; being named Brag's Album of the Week, as well as making many 'best of 2012' lists.

Now upcoming Norwegian label Doognad is re-releasing 'Come Midnight...' in all its glory as a 2x12" gatefold vinyl package. Pre-orders are available now.

If you thought doom was a dead-end genre, let Adrift for Days lead you to the future.

- The Brag

Adrift for Days have delivered another masterpiece of modern sludge/stoner metal... a band on the verge of true greatness. 

- Sludgelord

For the uninitiated, the diSEMBOWELMENT/Bad Seeds hybrid Adrift for Days has conceived may prove to be incomprehensible, but for those who know, it is a masterpiece.

- Loud Magazine

For fans of: Earth, Electric Wizard, Cult of Luna, The Doors, Monster Magnet and Neurosis.

Adrift for Days LP launch shows
About 'Come Midnight...'

"Come Midnight..." is an intense, dynamic and deeply personal album that takes you for a nightmarish trek into the depths of man’s soul. It the soundtrack for journeyers, for seekers, and for wanderers engaged in their own search.

For best results, listen while in the throes of a mescalin binge and lost in the pitiless freeze of the desert night air.

'Come Midnight...' was recorded at 301 Studios with Tim Carr (Matt Corby, The Herd, Dumbsaint, Serious Beak, Julia Stone, Kyu, Urthboy).

New Interview with Adrift For Days

Come Midnight... cover art

It's been a long time since I have caught up with Adrift For Days. The brilliant Aussie Sludge/Drone/Doom/Stoners who released in my opinion the best album of 2012 with Come Midnight.

Come Midnight is going to be released soon on vinyl courtesy of ace record label - Doognad Records. I thought it would be cool to catch up with these amazing sonic maestros to see hwo they have been getting on since the last time I spoke to them.

1. Hi guys. Thanks for doing this. It’s been a while. How are things with Adrift For Days today?

Mick: Great, really looking forward to the Come Midnight vinyl release and the new music we have been writing.

2. Well it’s been almost 14 months since I last featured you guys. So what’s been happening since then.

Lachlan: Mick (vocals) has welcomed a little droner, Jayden, into the world. Ron (lead guitar) has been touring extensively with Dumbsaint. Matt (bass) and I have been fiddling with a bunch of other projects. Steve (drums) has been deep chilling.

3. Come Midnight was your last album. It received a whole truckload of acclaim even being my fave No 1 Record of 2012. It seems the album struck a chord with the Stoner/Sludge/Doom Community. Looking back are you proud of the reviews the album received?

Mick: Thanks Steve! You guys at Sludgelord have been great to us and to a lot of underground artists. It's a nice feeling to get good feedback when you have worked so hard on something you are passionate about. I am very proud of that album.

Steve: I was blown away, I didn't expect the plaudits and comparisons to bands I look up to. It was great stuff to read.

Lachlan: We’re just humbled and contented.

4. 12 months on would you change anything about the album or are you happy with the way it is?

Steve: Selfishly (maybe stupidly) I don't listen to the album anymore because I can't help but take apart my drumming and criticize it. "I could have done this better" is my main thought. I guess it's a learning tool now to help me grow as a musician.

Lachlan: At times I can’t help but nitpick and think “what if we cut some of the length out?” or “were we trying to be too ambitious?” But then I always accept that a recording is a representation of a time and place in our lives.

Overall I’m pretty content with what we did - I think the production is great. What we’re not happy with we’ll learnt from, and hopefully the next one will be even better.

Mick: Every musician will always criticize their own work, that is why we hardly ever listen to our art. I just try and look forward these days and hope to better myself with every album we do.

5. Have you been touring regularly or performing gigs over the last 12 months or so. Any favourite gigs or particular highlights?

Lachlan: We’ve been a little quiet since our ‘Come Midnight...’ launch tour. Mick needed a little time off with his newborn; it’s given a bunch of us time to focus on other projects.

We’re getting back into the swing now. I’m really happy with how our live sets have been sounding -- and I've loved playing with local bands like Helm, Dumbsaint, Solkyri, Eleventh He Reaches London, Mother Mars and Yanomamo.

We’re looking forward to the next era of our little drone band.

6. Now Come Midnight is now being released on Vinyl via Doognad Records. Congrats on that one. Great label. How did that came about?

Mick: Thank you. We are over the moon.

Lachlan: Thomas from Doognad got in touch. The offer he gave us was very generous; and looking at the quality of some of his other releases (Demonic Death Judge’s latest in particular) sealed the deal!

7. Plus it’s being release on a rather nice limited edition splattered edition. Did you have any input into the design of the vinyl or was that left up to Doognad to do?

Ron: Thomas has been fantastic. He gave us complete creative control. I worked with Thomas on getting the package together -- with a gatefold cover, 180 gram vinyl, and lyric sheet. We’re so stoked that this record really will be exactly how we imagined it.

Mick: I enjoyed it a lot more than the CD. It sounds really good!

8. I think Vinyl is the perfect format for Come Midnight due to the epic sounds you included originally onto the album. Have you heard the final result yet. Can you tell people what to expect when it goes on sale on Oct 29th though shipping out in Nov 2013.

Lachlan: We got the album remastered for vinyl. We’ve spun the test presses and can confirm it is full of warm, fuzzy, psychedelic goodness.

Steve: It sounds fucking epic!

9. What have you all been doing individually for the last 12 months or so. I know Lachlan has been busy with his label and other bands. What about the other members.

Mick: I have been a little quiet of late with my family but I have still been writing and recording music. Look out for The Isolation Tapes.

Lachlan: Yeah, Mick and I have been working on a new acoustic project together we’re calling The Isolation Tapes.

I ran away to an isolated cottage in the Blue Mountains to record. I didn’t speak to another human being for most that time. It was a really cool, cathartic process; it’s helped me deal with a lot of shit I’ve gone through this year.

Mick is laying down his vocals at the moment. We’ve got some violin and textural recording still to go soon before this gets released - but I can’t wait. It’s a big change for both of us.

Ron: I’ve been touring quite a bit with my progressive post-metal band Dumbsaint. We’ve had some great shows with Earth, This Will Destroy You, Grails, Twelve Foot Ninja, and also released our debut album Something That You Feel Will Find Its Own Form.

Lachlan: Ron and I also recorded and released a Battle Pope record together. We went on a crazy, hedonistic tour to support that earlier this year… it was pretty fucking wild.

I’ve been doing the Art As Catharsis label thing; we released some awesome stuff by 100 Years of Solitude, Fat Guy Wears Mystic Wolf Shirt and Snakes Get Bad Press.

Matt and I recently released Jackals’ debut EP Dronepunk. We’re hoping to get to south East Asia next year. Matt has also been playing in Hobo Bordeux and Face Command. They’re all pretty different projects!

Steve: I’m just trying to be a better musician.

10. So can I ask if we will be expecting a new album/EP in 2014 or is that way too early…

Lachlan: We’ve been writing! We’ve got no shortage of new ideas; the trick is going to be being a bit more ruthless and cutting everything down to the essentials. We’re exploring some new sounds, some new moods, new influences - there should be at least a few surprises in store.

After we tour this record a little bit, we’re going to knuckle down and finish writing our new album. I’d say we’re looking at a mid-2014 release.

11. Has the Australian Musical Scene changed at all over the last 12 months. Or is still hard for a Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal band to get attention in Australia. As there are a lot of brilliant bands around at the moment.

Lachlan: To me it feels like we’re in a bit of a lull. When we started out in 2009, the scene seemed really strong; we had Doomsday Festival at it’s peak, we’d just discovered exciting Australian bands like Space Bong, Hydromedusa and Looking Glass.

Nowadays we have more international bands than ever reaching our shores thanks to Heathen Skulls and Life Is Noise - but I haven’t been blown away by any new local bands. Maybe I’m just more jaded or more isolated, but I want to hear new sounds! I’m waiting for that next local band that inspires me and forces me to pick up my game.

There are always cool new Australian bands appearing (Hiatus Kaiyote, 100 Years of Solitude, ACHE) -- they just don’t seem to be in the stoner/doom genre right now.

But like I say, it could just be my tastes. I always need new ideas and new music; I can’t sit still.

12. Which albums and artists have you been checking out in 2013. Any personal faves currently rocking your world.

Lachlan: They’re not all new, but I’ve really been enjoying Chelsea Wolfe’s Pain Is Beauty, Dustin O’Halloran’s Lumiere, Joanna Newsom’s YS, Scott Kelly’s The Unforgiven Ghost In Me, Bon Iver’s self-titled album, Hiatus Kaiyote’s Tawk Tomhawk… Not a lot of heavy doom and stoner in there… Boris kicked ass in Sydney earlier this year.

Steve: Om’s Advaitic Songs really got my attention.

Matt: I've been listening to Twelve Tone Diamonds, Dead Kennedys, John Barry and Anklepants.

Mick: Hookworms - Pearl Mystic, The Dillinger Escape Plan - One of Us Is the Killer, Palms - Palms, Clutch - Earth Rocker, Doomriders - Grand Blood, Vista Chino - Peace, Church Of Misery - Thy Kingdom Scum and Author & Punisher - Women & Children.

I think they were all released in 2013. That is just a few. Plenty of great releases this year. Been on a Hellacopters, Greg Weeks, Bad Brains, The Shrine and Dr John kick lately as well.

13. What are your views on bands and artists using fundraising websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to raise funds from fans to release their next album or musical product. Are you fans of that process. Would Adrift For Days ever go down that route.

Lachlan: Musicians, artists and labels are still struggling to find sustainable models for the digital age. I don’t mind the idea of crowdfunding; but I also haven’t personally supported many crowdfunding projects.

I don’t really think I’ll be trying it out for any project in the near future - it just doesn’t overly appeal to me right now. Art As Catharsis is a low-cost model as it is. There isn’t a huge need for that kind of money.

14. What are your plans for the next 12 months or so. Anything we should be excited about.

Lachlan: We will write, record and release a new 12” LP - then hopefully tour the hell out of it.

15. Last question – Do you have anything to say to your fans.

Mick: Thank you all for the love and support you have shown us. Spread our name around and enjoy life.

Well thanks to the guys for doing this interview. Always great catching up with this amazing band. Hope your vinyl sells out and no doubt it will.

Check This Great Band Below

Vinyl Corner: In the Company of Serpents - Of The Flock (Album Review)

Brown Notes & Scratchy Throat: Grant Netzorg
Skins: Joseph Weller Myer
JJ Anselmi: Black priest, Shaman and former skinsman

Bio: In the Company of Serpents are a doom/sludge two-piece from Denver, Colorado. Founded in early 2011, the band came into being when vocalist/guitarist Grant Netzorg met drummer JJ Anselmi at a show their former bands were playing. JJ has since left the band on amicable terms, and Joseph Weller Myer is slaying the skins in his stead.


We didn't dare look away. None of us. We waited patiently, hopefully, all huddled together in small clusters scattered across the barren valley at the base of the Great Mountain. Our ancestors told us of this place. They have a name for it, spoken only in whispers. Loosely translated it means, In The Company Of Serpents. From the highest peak, when the sun is high above, you can make out the rivers, creeks and streams below, appearing as giant intertwined and glistening snakes along the valley floor.

In early September tribal Elders sent 2 warriors to climb the mountain and seek out the sacred medicine tablets which could save our people and change our world. But the warriors didn't return until late October. Many of our sickest and youngest were lost.

 "There they are!" someone screamed and pointed toward a small tree on the steepest side. Straining to peer through the thick, acrid smoke surrounding the jagged mountain cliffs, I agreed, noticing two shadowy figures ambling slowly toward us. It was them. As they got closer, two thing were immediately visible: they were injured but still carrying something in their arms.

I don't know how. Joseph was barefoot and his hands were badly damaged, all of his fingers and knuckles bloodied and battered. The expression on his face was somewhere between that of determination, bliss and horror. Grant's left hand was just as bad. The tips of his fingers had been rendered throbbing, puss-filled blisters yet he showed no pain. They smiled as they approached.

The tribe went wild. All of us. Grant and Joseph's arms were filled with stacks of medicine for their people. They had done it. Together, each raising one of the sacred hand-sealed tablets above his head, they yelled, "OF THE FLOCK!"

And it was good.

Take one look at their Bandcamp page and you'll plainly see how I feel about this two-piece and their new record. I kinda yell it from the rooftops. "Their vinyl debut will be amazing," I say, right below the artwork. I'm a fucking psychic. Much like a Sabbath record, there are plenty of moments here that one could call 'beautiful', in addition to those of utter destruction.

"Ash Swamp" is a minute-long acoustic intro preceding the groove-filled, powerful "Craven" which I think has a strong Down or C.O.C. vibe to it. With whiskey-soaked vocals, "Blood from Stone" is much slower sludge-filled doom, building with intensity as each minute passes. To my ears, the title track has a somewhat southern feel to it and could be the most intense, bring-it-on-home song on the album.
"United/Culling Essence From The Void" ends abruptly after nearly 8 minutes of punishment and one word comes out of my mouth: 'Woah.'

Yep, it's that good.

Hit the stream below. Listen and love. Then get their self-released limited vinyl.

Support the underground.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Oranssi Pazuzu - Valonielu - Album Review

Oranssi Pazuzu is a Black Metal / Space Rock / Psychedelic / Experimental Band from Finland.

The members are:

Jun-His: the voice, close distance guitar
Moit: deep space guitar
Korjak: drums
Evill: synthesizers, organ, effects
Ontto: bass guitar

With the recent inaugural Housecore Horror Film Festival still fresh in our nightmares, now is the perfect time to get to know Oranssi Pazuzu. Few bands epitomise the creative marriage between horror films and heavy metal better than these Finns. In the world of doom there’s Blizaro and Head of the Demon, for electronic soundscapes with metallic touches there’s Werewolves in Siberia and Lazerhawk, the death metal / horror standard is still Portal and for black metal, there’s HHFF darlings BlackQueen and Oranssi Pazuzu. There are others but for now, let’s concentrate on O.P.

When I say black metal, I’m not talking about asphyxiating walls of sound and nauseating blast beats interrupted intermittently by screeching vocals. Oranssi Pazuzu certainly makes black metal their starting point, but there’s nothing ordinary about their music. Where most black metal bands will smother a listener in noise, Oranssi Pazuzu incorporate the open spaces of doom in order to hint and suggest things in the shadows of their tones, although, it takes a little while for the band to get there on the album. The opening pair of tracks is relatively straightforward. They put the band’s identity on display: roomy arrangements, blood curdling vocals and keyboards as a lead instrument. It isn’t until we reach “Uraanisula” [molten uranium], the album’s centerpiece that the real genius of Oranssi Pazuzu reveals itself like insects crawling from a disturbed corpse.

This isn’t sunshine pop. This is night music, music to turn the lights out to and to blast at high volume. Instrumental “Reikä Maisemassa” [Hole in the Landscape] takes it to a whole other level. Paranoia inducing echoes and spine tingling synth scales have you looking over your shoulder. Loose stringed bass jangles like a giant spider, and disembodied howls get the sweat pouring and I’ll be damned if this four and two thirds minute interlude isn’t the true highlight of the disc, a necropolitan chart topping single.

But for those that crave a little bit more traditional structure and arrangements, the follow-up “Olen Aukaissut Uuden Silmän” [I am (for) opening a new eye] isn’t exactly a Walt Disney production either. Chilling soundscapes give your delicate nerves some Celtic-ally Frost-ed tips and you get the impression in places, here and there, that this is the kind of music that Rob Zombie could only dream of making, because there’s a sense of fun here as well. Oh, you’re not on a Hollywood set. The house is real, its murderous history tragically true, the staircase really is rotted and the cobwebs aren’t props, but there’s a fun thrill in roaming around this forbidden territory, isn’t there? All the more fun because you might really get hurt.

The sense of adventure comes from the band’s space rock leanings, and as you listen to closing track “Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa” [The circle is a line in the dust] you realize that the haunted house is actually located on a hostile and distant planet. It shouldn’t be there, the explorer thinks. Gasp! This planet was never inhabited by man!!

I don’t know anything about Oranssi Pazuzu. I don’t know whether this is their first or tenth album. All I have to go on is the music and what I know is that ‘Valonielu’ is a grotesquely gorgeous soundtrack to nightmares. If you’re daring enough, won’t you enter the haunted house of the orange demon on that hostile planet? Horror fans, I’ll see you in there!

Written by Lucas Klaukien

Thanks to Nathan and Svart Records for sending us a promo to review. Valonielu is available to buy now from Svart Records & 20 Buck Spin from all good stockists now.

Check The Band From Links Below


DER_WARRIOR - ehrenfeld³ - Album Review

ehrenfeld³ cover art

DER_WARRIOR is an Instrumental Doom Metal Band from Ehrenfeld, Germany

The members are:


DER_WARRIOR is another brilliant band coming from Germany. I am a very big fan of the German Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene as I have discovered many great bands from there recently - Wall, Nightslug, Union Of Sleep, The Moth, Wolves Carry My Name and Alpeh Null.

DER_WARRIOR play slow and heavy instrumental Doom Metal music to give their music a dangerous and very hard edge. Their debut album - ehrenfeld³ - is a powerful album indeed. 35 minutes of slow driven Doom Metal riffs that packs quite a punch. There are only 3 tracks here each running past the 10 minute mark. If you're expecting fast paced riffs you will need to look elsewhere as the band take their time creating a dark and violent atmosphere that only Doom Metal con provide.

I have had this album for a long time now and I apologise to the band for not reviewing this sooner. As they have created a dark and brooding experience they should rightly be proud of. Imagine Sunn O)))  jamming with Electric Wizard and that is what to expect from this excellent band. Long drawn out drone based Doom Metal riffs with enough power to destroy everything in it's wake.

First track - Field Of Honour - is a heavy and powerful track played could test the patience of long-time Doom Metal fans. As DER_WARRIOR never speed things up and it's the more better for it. They have time to build up the atmosphere before unleashing long heavy epic riffs that will last long in the memory.

The other two excellent tracks - Helios and iii - carry on this sonic form of attack. Slow, epic and thunderous riffs delivered with expert timing. DER_WARRIOR are a very powerful unit indeed. They play off each other like their lives depended on it. Crunching guitar riffs combine with some expert drumming. The drumming is one of may favourite aspects of the album. Subtle, understated and sometimes hidden from view. But when called upon they are unleashed like a world class assassin taking out their intended target. Deadly but accurate!!!.

ehrenfeld³ is an excellent album full of great vibes and riffs to explore.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Thanks to DER_WARRIOR for sending me a copy to review. You can buy ehrenfeld³ on DD/Vinyl from BandCamp now.

Check The Band From Links Below


Ancient Warlocks - S/T Album Review

Ancient Warlocks is a Fuzz/Doom/Stoner Metal Band from Seattle, WA, USA

The members are:

Aaron Krause: Lead Vocal, Lead Guitar
Darren Chase: Rhythm Guitar
Anthony "Oni" Timm: Bass
Steve Jones: Drums

Ancient Warlocks is a band I have been a fan of for a couple of years now. Ever since I heard their Killer Moon's (Demo) release and subsequent releases such as The Superwizard single and Mos Generator split.

Their sound is made up of Fuzz, Doom and Stoner Metal for a heavy as fuck experience. The band are about to unleash their excellent S/T debut album upon to the world. 8 tracks running for a brisk 33 minutes or so. Plenty of time for the band to make you a fan of their great music.

Ancient Warlocks have been described as one of the best kept secrets of the Seattle/Washington Stoner Metal scene and on this form it's not hard to see why. Before listening to the album I had heard about 60% of the songs here on the album. As they have previously been released or I seen them performed live on YouTube. But you know something they still sound so fresh and original that you don't really fucking care.

First track - Into The Night - starts off with a Truckfighters style fuzz based riff before exploding into a loud wall of Stoner Metal riffs with Aaron's vocals soon come screeching in. You can hear a slight Ozzy influence on Aaron's vocals and it gives the track a slight occult rock vibe. The band on blistering form here. Laying down the superb riffs that will entertain the hell out of you for the next 33 mins.

2nd track - Lion Storm - starts off with a bass heavy riff which takes the album into louder territory before Aaron starts singing another dark tale to entertain you with. The Ancient Warlocks Brotherhood provide brilliant support with excellent mid-paced riffs to crank up the atmosphere. This track has a cool 70's hard rocking vibe that old-school rockers will instantly love.

3rd track - Sweet's Too Slow - is a more faster affair with the band laying down some of the albums finest fuzz based riffs. This track is my fave track off the album. As it has a catchy chorus you can singalong/head-bang to with blazing riffs playing in the background. Wait until the last 30 seconds when the guitars are played at a 100mph. Perfect Headbanging material right there folks.

Ancient Warlocks carry on this damn fine delivery of finely tuned Fuzz based Doom/Stoner Metal riffs to prove why this band will be one of the biggest names in Stoner Rock/Metal in the years to come.

Check out other excellent tracks - Cactus Wine, Super Wizard, White Dwarf and the amazing Sorcerer's Magician which ends this album on a creepy and brilliant finish. Full of scary riffs with the band on fine demented magical form.

This album may of been a long time coming but it has definitely been worth the wait. Ancient Warlocks have a stunning collection of songs here. Sure there is only 8 of them and you may have heard them all before. But that's not the point. You haven't heard them like this. Professionally recorded and played they way they are meant to be played. Loud, Heavy and full of amazing riffs.

This album is Ancient Warlocks calling card to the realm of Stoner Metal that an important band has truly arrived. It's time for Ancient Warlocks to claim their throne as one of the genres leading lights in the years to come.

Brilliant and Highly Recommended.

Thanks to the band for sending me a copy to review. Much appreciated guys. Ancient Warlocks S/T Debut Album will be available to buy November 2013 from Lay Bare Recordings/Burning World Records on Limited Edition Vinyl Packages from here.

Check The Band from Links Below.


Beastmilk - Climax - Album Review

Beastmilk is a an Apocalyptic Post-Punk Band from Helsinki, Finland

The members are:

goatspeed - guitars
kvohst - vocals
paile - drums
arino - bass

In theory Beastmilk is a band I shouldn't really be reviewing as I am not the biggest Post-Punk fan. Something just doesn't agree with me and Post-Punk bands. I usually give them a wide berth to listen to a band that I am more suitable to. But Beastmilk are definitely exception to the rule as their debut album - Climax - impressed me in a major way.

They must have some talent as Converge Legend - Kurt Ballou - produced Climax. If it's good enough for Kurt to produce then it's good enough for me to check out. And what did I think of the album after listening to it. WOW - This is an incredible ride from start to finish.

You see Climax is more of an experience than an album. Beastmilk have conveyed so many moods and atmospherics into their debut album that it's one of the most unique and freshest debuts I have heard in 2013. Post-Punk, Heavy Rock and Dark Rock interact to provide the listener with a brutally honest view of the world.

First track - Death Reflects Us - shows that Beastmilk don't fuck around with the dark moods. The track sets up a dark and dangerous apocalyptic mood with blazing heavy rocking guitars with the delicious dark vocals of Kvohst on full throttle through out.

Imagine Joy Division going that little bit darker and you should end up with Beastmilk. But there is so much more to their sound than that. As they have a truly original presence of their own that feels like an out-of-control madman stalking their intended victims throufh a derelict building from a scene from a classic horror movie. Beastmilk are masters of setting up the tension before ripping it apart with delicious fast paced riffs.

Check out tracks - Genocidal Crush, You Are Now Under Our Control, Surf The Apocalypse and Strange Attractors. These tracks prove that Beastmilk have a very bright future indeed despite the dark imagery they conjure up.

Though the track that makes the album something special indeed is - Ghosts Out Of Focus. A storming 5 minute track that shows Beastmilk creative talents in full force. Jagged and dangerous guitars playing in the background with Kvohst once again on fine demented form. But this track has a beautiful haunting vibe to it. It's quite an uplifting song especially when the excellent slower based emotional chorus kicks in. It's a track that has the power to lift anyone out of a dark mood. It's quite uplifting in places and that's what make Ghosts Out Of Focus such a powerful emotionally charged track.

Obviously production is near perfect with Kurt Ballou behind the desk. He has managed to convey the intensity of Beastmilk's music and make it sound something special indeed. The album has a very dangerous presence indeed and I contribute that to both Beastmilk and Kurt Ballou considerable talents.

Climax is a revelation. It impressed the hell out of me and this isn't really my sort of thing but I never wanted the album to end. I was rather sad when the 38 minutes were up. Though the album becomes a much more rewarding experience with each listen. So take your time with this album as you may miss certain vibes and tones on your first listen.

All in all Climax is quite possibly the finest debut album I have heard in 2013. It's a wonderful album that I recommend you all check out.

Brilliant and Highly Recommneded.

Thanks to Nathan and Svart Records for sending us a promo to check out. Climax will be out available to buy on November 29th 2013 from Svart Records.

Check The Band From Links Below


Thursday, 24 October 2013

20 Questions w/ Granite House Records

Having spoken to two of the emerging underground label of late, it was only a matter of time, before we hooked up with Granite House Records.  A relative newcomer to the scene, Granite House have released 3 records thus far, Meek Is Murder, American Heritage and the excellent new release from Canadian Sludgers, Pyres.  I actually have all 3 releases, so I was keen to find out more about the man behind Granite House.  So without further delay, check out this edition of 20 Questions with John i.e. Granite House Records
Interview :

John, How are you?  I appreciate you taking the time to talk to talk to us, here at the Sludgelord. Kudos to you, as I am are big fan of what you’re trying to do at Granite House records and your support of underground music.

Thanks a lot, man; I appreciate it! Things are going great! 

SL) Where are you up to  at the moment and what are you doing in terms of the label? Pyres have been receiving rav reviews for their debut long player, you must be stoked about that?

At the moment I’m enjoying a fine, artisanal ale by the name of “Imperial Pumpkin.” Also hoping the Royals and Pirates make it to the playoffs in some fashion.

As far as the label’s concerned, it’s still trying to figure out what to do for 2014. Doom? Proto-metal? Psych-folk-jazz-fuzz? Either way there’s going to be plenty of solos and riffs; a veritable “major rager.”

And yeah, I’m super-mega-stoked on the rave reviews for the new Pyres! I knew they’d be getting some good words, but the overload of positive responses has been incredible.

SL) I have spoke to two other cool guys about their labels, Dan at Easy Rider and Steve at STB, I think its cool to get the lowdown on the grass roots of how their labels started.  For those people who are not familiar with you or your label, could you tell us a little about yourself, your label and why you decided to start Granite House Records ? It is your opportunity to tell the world about your label?  .

I guess it all started back when a buddy of mine dubbed me a copy of Spine of God; which was, what... October ’91? Around this time I became what some may call a “music snob.” Also listened to Master of Reality on my walkman during study hall, experimented with The Pod, and saw a video about dead embryonic cells.

The “Death Metal Winter” of ’92 unfolded. Obsessions over Oasis and Electric Wizard soon followed. Introductions to Atomic Rooster, Truth & Janey, and T2 snuck in along the way. S.F. Sorrow was born. The vinyl addiction had peaked.

‘Round 2009 or so, I started whining about bands that only had CDs or mp3s, but no vinyl for me to buy. The seed had been planted, but there wasn’t a catalyst at this point.

SL) What made you start the label and were you involved with bands before?

Noticed a column in Decibel magazine called Needle Exchange. Shane Mehling had reviewed a 3-way split called “Lose/Lose/Lose” that was released by Brutal Panda. It featured tracks from Kowloon Walled City, Fight Amp, and Ladder Devils. It ruled. I bought it. That was the catalyst. I began thinking of my next move. I wanted to put something out on vinyl, and on my own!

I never was involved with bands that much. I was a door guy at a small music club for a bit and ran into a lotta random people as an attendee at SXSW over the years, but no higher-up connections.

SL) You’re a music fan first and foremost, given that music seems to be so disposal at times, it important to offer a great package to your fans of your artists, and yet not alienate them by producing something which is not affordable.  What is the ethos behind what you’re trying to do with the label?  (My view is quality at a affordable price)

My ethos is one word: quality. I’d rather release a quality product and let it collect dust, than put out a piece of shit that sells out in minutes. The ultimate bummer is paying $10-$20 for a new record and it sounds like a VG+ garage sale item.

Two of my releases are at $18, which isn’t cheap, but for what you get, it’s totally worth it.

SL) What / if any  bands may have inspired you to start the label or was their a specific reason you felt you wanted to support the bands you have for example ?

I wouldn’t say there were any bands that “inspired” me. Like, I didn’t listen to a bunch of Fugazi and then run out and start a label. However, there were a couple bands that I heard and thought, “Wow! This’d be great to hear on vinyl.” “Sum of All Fossils” by Flourishing and Pallbearer’s first demo come to mind.

I don’t have a deep, philosophical reason for supporting the bands I work with. It’s all about the music for me. I release what I want to hear on vinyl. I’m a selfish bastard. Maybe I should listen to more Fugazi?

SL)  Is there a specific person or persons that you looked up to in terms of modelling your label upon?

Like I mentioned earlier, Brutal Panda was a big influence when I started out; I dug their simplicity and directness with their releases. Daniel Hall (who started Easy Rider Records) helped me out a ton with some initial start-up questions I had.

SL) In your experience, how easy/difficult has been to get coverage for your releases?  I’m guessing press coverage does help, but does that necessarily translate to selling units?

The first two releases were a real bitch, quite honestly. Mostly because the vinyl was released after the main PR push for the CD release, I had just started the label, and no one knew who the hell I was. Definitely not bitter about anything though, and am categorizing those releases as “learning experiences.” Haha!

Pyres, however, has been a totally different experience. Even though I didn’t use an official PR firm, I was able to organize a bunch of coverage by simply asking people for it, and trying not to be too pushy in the process. I’m sure I failed in that regard a couple of times. haha! But, in general, I think I succeeded. It was kinda fun!

As far as selling units, I’ve noticed that press helps, but what really drives sales for small labels are vinyl nerds (like myself) that hang out on Instagram or in internet forums like Vinyl Collective.

SL) What do you look for in band, in order for you to say ‘hey id be interested in releasing your stuff’, specifically Meek is Murder, American Heritage and Pyres?

With Meek is Murder and American Heritage, I loved their newly-released albums (Algorithms and Sedentary, respectively) and also liked that they were working with seasoned producers like Sanford Parker and Kurt Ballou. I knew that I’d be dealing with high quality standards from the start.

With Pyres, I had six beers and randomly happened upon their demo on Bandcamp.

I don’t really have any logic behind my decisions when looking for a band. It’s always an immediate “holy-shit-this-rules” kind of moment when hearing the band’s tunes for the first time. Then I send an email. Then, on a personal basis, I find out if the band is cool with me, and if I’m cool with the band.

SL) Based on your own experience, what do you think is the most important thing for a new label to do in order to promote themselves?

Pay $5000 to a PR firm and keep the champagne chilled!

For reals though, I’d say develop your online presence/following before you release anything. That way, people know who you are, and it’ll be easier to create a little buzz for what you’re trying to sell. *takes off marketing suit*

Also, email a few labels that you’ve bought records from or industry people that you like or seem approachable and ask for a little advice. There are a lot of super-nice people out there.

SL) A particular frustration of mine and most fans of music is the cost of postage, as this cost is often above and beyond the cost of the product.   What are some of the difficulties/frustrations of running a label, because there are many other commitments such as family, work etc, that perhaps restrict the amount of time you can dedicate to the band?  Not to mention the financial pressure? 

I can sum up the U.S. postage situation for international delivery pretty easily: HATE.

I can sum up difficulties/frustrations of running a label pretty easily: Unreturned emails.

A great way to offset the financial pressure of running a label: Don’t do it for the money (at first???).

SL) How valuable are blogs and social media? What are your thoughts on changes in the industry over recent years in terms digital versus CD/Vinyl? Some label perhaps do not advocate including DD codes for example?

Shit. If it weren’t for Instagram, Bandcamp and Vinyl Collective, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have sold out of the limited versions for Meek is Murder (white vinyl) or Pyres (black and caramel swirl vinyl) as quickly as I did. Twitter’s fun, and it’s a great way to meet people and learn about obscure proto-metal, but I don’t generate a whole lot of sales from it. I think it’ll be really cool to see Google+ take off in a couple years, once more music people get involved. Blogs are cool too, because they help with the scenario of:  “well, so-and-so liked it, and I trust their judgement, so maybe I’ll think about buying it.”

I think it’s great that vinyl sales increase substantially from year to year. Still a small sliver in the pie though. Kinda reminds me of the relationship craft beer has with macro beer. Some people bag on digital, but not me. Love me the Bandcamp where you can get FLAC or 320 kbps if you want! Only drawback to digital, though, is the growing trend of people only listening to a single or a couple tracks from an album, which ends up diluting the strength of an awesomely-constructed full-length piece. Because of this, I can totally understand why some labels do not advocate digital downloads. However: Your label? Your rules! I offer digital downloads, but if I work with a band in the future, and they say, “Dude. No digital downloads. We wanna be #kVlt,” then I’m not gonna automatically disagree with them.

CDs? Not really sure what those are?

Also: Glad to see that taping did not kill the music industry, as older record sleeves had previously indicated!

SL) Is there a massive cost in terms of signing the band, manufacturing the music and the promoting it?  Is running a label sustainable financially and can you make a living do it?

I can’t really get into the millions of dollars that I use to acquire talent for my roster, but I can say that manufacturing is a big part of the cost. Promoting is free, when you use social media, so no cost there for me! Maybe someday there will be a cost for promoting... if a PR firm returns my emails? Running a label can be sustainable financially, yes. You can also make a living doing it! But, I, alas, do not make a living doing it... yet!

SL) Lets concentrate on your recent releases; our blog recently reviewed Pyres as many many others have done and Steve interviewed the band.  Their new record is amazing and they’re great guys.  How did your involvement come about and what are your thoughts on the final result in terms of Year of Sleep?  Was it pleasing to see it finally released and what are your thoughts on how it has been received? 

Thanks a lot for the review and the interview; we greatly appreciated that! Like I said earlier, I found the Pyres demo on Bandcamp. I emailed ‘em, got a conversation going, found out they had some new songs in the works, they had a solid timeline for when the songs would be ready for recording, and we went on from there. Final results? Excellent. I knew their stuff was good, but getting great reviews and a couple “best album of the year” nods is always icing on the sludge cake!

SL) Given that you have a number of releases under your belt, how do you measure the success of future releases, are you reliant on selling all of the record to release the next one ? Why didn’t you release Salem’s Pot yourself ?

As long as the buzz and the press coverage increase a little bit with each release I’m happy. I like to sell a good chunk of one release before moving on to the next one, but I’m always ready for a surprise. As for Salem’s Pot, I absolutely love the band, but wanted to keep my label geared more toward riff-metal for my 3rd release. I could see myself releasing stuff like that in the future, just not at the moment. Definitely stoked that Easy Rider Records put it out!

SL) Labels such as STB and Easy Rider, place a significant importance on the releases having a sense of being a collectable, with Standard and Die Hard Editions.   Whilst Year Of Sleep wasn’t released in this specific format, e.g. Die Hard editions but you did have a standard release and the caramel vinyl release.  What do you feel is the significance of releasing such a packages ?

My stance on die-hard editions is kind of like my attitude towards digital downloads. I could go either way. Not using die-hard editions isn’t a personal “choice,” per se, I just haven’t done one yet. Maybe for a future release I’d do one? Like I said before... Your label? Your rules!

SL) If you could have released any record past or present, what would it be and why?

Wow! My answer could change hourly! This is the hardest question in the explored universe! British Steel? Seven Chalices? Seven Churches? Dopethrone? Symphonies of Sickness? Kill ‘Em All? Definitely Maybe? Hell Awaits? Shit. My mind = blown. Can’t compute. Meltdown. Okay, fine, um, I’ll chose Truth & Janey “Erupts!” because it’s one of the best live albums of all time. So fresh. Raw. Solos. Power Trio!!!!!

SL) What are your thoughts about free legal downloads (I am referring to bandcamp) and the difference between buying a physical copy? Is that helpful to you?

I’m down for some free downloads. Who isn’t? Free downloads let you check out and absorb an album before you decide to purchase. With so much crap music out there, who can you trust except yourself?

SL) IMO Year of Sleep is your best release to date, that caramel vinyl is one of my favourites of the year.  What are your plans for the rest of the year and 2014? Any exciting releases to keep our eyes on? 

Thanks man! Glad you dig it!

Plan for remainder of 2013: release limited 7” which will feature two bands from the Denver Black Sky ( festival in December, here in Colorado, U.S.A. Speaking of die-hard editions...

Plan for 2014: Prepare for an epic release. Band unknown...

SL) Thanks for answering my questions, but one final question, you got anything you like to say to people who buy your records?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to say a few words. People who buy my records: thanks a bunch; you make me want to wake up every day! #WPUKD


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