Thursday, 30 January 2014

Interview with Reece from STEAK

Corned Beef Colossus cover art

Today on Sludgelord, I am interviewing Reece, guitarist from – STEAK – the awesome UK Stoner Rock band who are starting to make a name for themselves within the Stoner Rock scene with their massive riffs and stories of their Superhero Comic Book Alter Egos battling the evil warlord – The Evil Lazarus.

Hey folks, I am not making this up. This is what their recent EP – Corned Beef Colossus – is all about. I reviewed it last year and I called the EP:

“Steak's time with Truckfighters is nothing short of a revelation. It has moved this band onto another level. I feel in a couple of years time that Steak will be mentioned in the same breath as their Stoner Rock heroes. Now it's time for them to get working on their full length debut album. As like their comic-book counterparts the world of Stoner Rock needs Steak more than ever.....

Corned Beef Colossus is a brilliant ride from start to finish. Steak should be proud of this release as it's going to launch them in a big way..“

Well STEAK have now signed to Napalm Records and are in the process of recording their eagerly awaited debut album. So it's cool that Reece has taken time from saving Cyclone City from wrong-doers and megalomaniacs to talk to us here at Sludgelord HQ.

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

The band started a few years back playing some form of rock, sort of speed stoner, whatever that is! We were pretty shit with a shitter name that I’m not going to say what that name was inn this interview. We gradually got our arses into gear, changed our name and released our first e.p Disastronaught in 2012? It seemed to hit the spot and we had cool artwork and shit. Things moved on pretty well from there.

2 – So. Lets start off with your sound. How would you describe your sound.

We are still tweaking our sound as with most bands. We are always fuzzy, fat and very bass driven. I like to use delay with the distorted fuzz a lot to give a very atmospheric sound. We really like to record with different producers, which help give each release it’s own identity and changes the sound slightly each time. The debut album will be different again.

3 – Which bands and artists influenced you all as musicians.

It’s no secret that Kyuss was our early influence. In our first band we was likened to a ‘Kyuss on speed’. Other obvious influences are the scandi stoner bands like Truckfighters, Lowrider and Dozer and then I like to bring a small amount of progression and atmosphere into some of our songs as I love bands like Pink Floyd and Tool.

4 – Congratulations on the success of your recent EP and being signed to Napalm Records. How did you guys hook up with Napalm Records.

It was a pretty big surprise. We was headlining the small stage at Desertfest last year and it was late and we had a few beers and was, lets say merry! Also, we had a few technical problems as Sammy, our drummer had his pedal swapped by another band and the one he was using blew apart through the first song. Anyway, the crowd was great and it went off, but we come away feeling like we played the worst gig ever. We were all pretty pissed off at our performance. Then the next day we get a message through that someone was at the gig from Napalm and they would like to talk to us. We thought it was a scam to start with, we nearly deleted the message!! Luckliy we didn’t.

5 – Pretty cool that they released your two excellent EP's on limited edition Vinyls. Did you guys have any say in the design of the Vinyl Records. And yes I do own a copy of each.

We had already planned to release the vinyl of the first 2 and we had the comic artwork for the inside all ready to go and they seemed really happy with it. It was cool to see our stuff in vinyl form for the first time. Thanks for getting a copy.

6 – What made you decide to become a musician. Any particular band or life changing event.

I always tried to learn guitar as a kid but never really had the patients to get passed the early stages. It always seemed so complicated until I found stoner rock. Get a nice guitar sound, drop your tuning and let rip. After time of playing you realise that things don’t have to be complicated and actually I think the simple stuff works best on most occasions. As we become better musicians I think it’s important not to over complicate things. Keep it simple and heavy.

7 – Where does the name STEAK come from. Any particular meaning behind it.

We had a really shit name before and we was touring with Italian band Stake off the Witch. To shorten their name we called them Stake, then after a while it just felt right as a band name. We thought with aour big meaty riffs it should be spelt like the meat. Think it has helped get us recognised in the scene at the start. “who the fuck calls themselves steak!” is one of my favourite quotes.

8 – You have read our review of your excellent new EP from last year. How would you best describe your new album.

The main difference with the new record is the time we have had to develop the songs. Napalm have been really cool at giving us the time we need. Even a simple song can become so much better with time to play with the structure. Also we will have a good 2 weeks recording this album so will have time to really get the sound we want. The first 2 ep’s were great fun to record but always felt a little rushed.

9 – Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for. As you hooked up with Mr Dango from Truckfighters to produce it and to record a blistering guitar riff on Black Milk. Was it easy persuading Mr Dango to play on the EP.

When we went to record in Sweden we hoped that he would lay something down, but we didn’t ask. Until they hear the final songs then it would be hard for him to commit. It’s great what he done on Black Milk, it really brings the song to life and is classic Mr Dango guitar, which is exactly what we wanted. I think for him it was enjoyable because there was no pressure for it to be perfect like he would want for a TF record, 2 takes and he had it down and it feels loose and loud, We love it.

10 – Obviously you guys are influenced by Comic-book mythology. Was that an easy decision to include Comic-book stuff and humour into your music.

We all love comic art so it was the prefect thing for us. Artwork is so important in the stoner scene and it allowed us to become these desert dirt bag super heroes. We are chilled about our music and I think the comic art reflects that pretty well. Nothing too serious.

11 – How did you guys hook up with DC Comic Artist Eduardo Ferigato to design the EP cover and artwork.

We found an agent that looks after some of the south American comic artists. We knew we picked the right guy when we got the final disatronaught cover.

12 – So which Comic Book Publishing House do you prefer. DC or Marvel. And the reasons why.

It’s a hard one, but I think DC. It’s characters are darker and batman is still the coolest hero. He doesn’t where red pants over his tights for example!

13 – What is the songwriting process in the band. Is it a group process or is it down to one individual.

It’s quite varied really and the whole band get involved in the composition. Reece (guitar) comes up with a lot of instrumental songs and we build from the basics. Cam (bass) also comes up with some banging riffs and songs and it always helps to have songs coming from different members, It gives a more varied sound over an album. Sometimes we just jam something out but usually needs someone to take directive lead of here the song goes. When Kip (vox) digs something he hears at rehearsal he will step up and bash out some vocals. Sometimes it works from the start sometimes the final song is totally different to how we started.

14 – Do you guys gig a lot in your hometown or do you have to travel further afield to perform regularly.

We try not to play too many gigs in London. We have a really strong fan base in London but nobody wants to see the band they like every week. We seem to be getting a lot of attention n Europe and playing with Monster Magnet in Spain, which will be cool. We will do a full UK tour when the album is released, just in case we miss the cold and rain too much.

15 – In 5 words or less what is the live STEAK experience like.

A fuzzy stoner booze trip for desert rats (more than 5!)

16 –Your debut album is being released later this year on Napalm Records. What can we expect from this. More tales from Cyclone City. More supervillians to defend it from.

Yep. We expand on the story some more, introducing Sammy (drums) and going back to pre Disastronaught and how it all became so bad in Cyclone City. The e.p’s got into the thick of the action, but being a debut album it feels right to start at the start. We have a whole story written and still plan to release actual comics. Each e.p or album release representing another story or comic. The album will be the very start of the story but will also work if you read them in the order of the music releases.

17 – What is your verdict on the whole crowd-funding scene currently going on. Are you a fan of this medium and would yourselves ever go down this route.

To be honest I don’t know much about it. We have been lucky enough to be able to fund everything ourselves and now Napalm helps out with that now. I guess it works though, if fans want to see a band release something then they can play a direct role in making it happen. Any way of helping underground bands play and release music seems a good thing to me.

18 – The UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene is currently going through a transition at the moment. Lots of great bands and albums starting to be released. Can you see this continuing or do you see things dying down a bit.

Yeah it’s great what’s happening. Underground bands are getting recognition for what they do now and that’s amazing and totally different to a few years ago. My concern and what I’m noticing is that some of the bigger promoters/agents are starting to take notice. Great for the bands at the moment, and steak are no different, but as soon as people think they can make serious money from it, it turns to shit. It happens every time and that’s why I love stoner and Desert rock, it stayed underground.

19 – If you could give any advice to someone wanting to start a band. What helpful advice would you give them.

Follow your passion and do it for love. Fuck what happens, enjoy it while your doing it.

20 – Finally, Thanks for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ. Do you have anything to say to your fans.\

Thanks! Seriously we never expected people to dig what we done. We love a style of music and wanted to play along side bands we respect. We found a family in the stoner rock scene that makes the effort to come to shows and that’s rare.

Well guys thanks for doing this. All the best.

Check This Great Band Below:


Thanks to Reece for talking to us here at Sludgelord HQ and Thanks to Claire from Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview so quickly. 

Written by Steve Howe

BUIS - BUIS - EP Review

BUIS cover art

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 10th January 2014
Label: Self Released

BUIS, EP track listing:

1.Shadows in the Glass 05:18
2.Moloch 02:31
3.Pitch 06:50
4.Stuck in three thousand 05:36

The Band Members:

Lead Vocals: Rien Oortgiesen
Guitar: Julian Klaassen
Drums: Chris Hofs
Bass & vocals: Mark Lindhout


BUIS is a four-piece band from The Netherlands. BUIS plays stoner-rock with hints of doom, a pinch of sludge and a dash of post-rock.

We’re currently working on our first EP, which we recorded in March 2013. It's currently being knob-twiddled into something nice. It will be released in the beginning of 2014.


BUIS is a Sludge/Doom Metal/Stoner Rock Band from the Netherlands which I have became quite a fan of recently thanks to great bands such as Komatsu, Dresden/Leningrad and Monomyth to name but a few.

BUIS are slightly different to those bands playing a more Fuzz Based style of Sludge/Stoner Metal packed full of great riffs and a lot of groove to rock out to. Lead Vocalist – Rien – has a hard rocking gruff exterior which gives his vocals a different edge for this style of music. And it's works wonders for BUIS.

It helps they have written some action packed riffs on this superb EP. It maybe only on for 20 minutes or so but BUIS have some truly great ideas for everyone to check out especially on the excellent track – Pitch – which is the EP's standout track. It starts off with a cool slow Post-Rock vibe before exploding into a loud wall of noise. Rien is on fine form once more as he channels some dark Scott Kelly type vocals. This is one mean pissed off song and the power of the slow paced riffs make this track the true standout.

Though the other 3 tracks are superbly played and written as well. This EP shows that BUIS have a lot going for them. A different kind of Stoner Metal. One with brains as well as braun. This is music to make you think.

Here is another band that I can't wait to see what they can on a full length record as BUIS have huge potential. This won't be the last we hear from BUIS. Bring on the full-length!!!

You can download this brilliant EP on BandCamp Buy Now Download. So headover there now if you want something different in your Stoner Metal riffs.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Written by Steve Howe

Check The Band From Links Below

Helms Alee - Sleepwalking Sailors - Album Review

Sleepwalking Sailors cover art

Album Type:Full Length
Date Released: 11th February 2014
Label: Sargent House Records

Sleepwalking Sailors, album track listing:

1. Pleasure Center
2. Tumescence
3. Pinniped
4. Dangling Modifiers
5. Heavy Worm Burden
6. Crystal Gale
7. New West
8. Fetus. Carcass.
9. Slow Beef
10. Animatronic Bionic
11. Dodge The Lightning


Helms Alee's music is exactly the sort of mutant, fantastic hybrid that used to only occasionally erupt out of small, isolated scenes, uninformed by trends of the day — instead inspired by the band’s own collective contributions. The Seattle trio’s unique amalgam of metal, art rock, pop and punk is charmingly reminiscent of the fertile creativity that groups once had before the Internet seemed to instruct bands to only copy one another. Helms Alee’s third album, Sleepwalking Sailors sounds like many styles combined into one, and none of it concerned with any notion other than creating vital, urgent and uniquely characteristic music.

Bassist/vocalist Dana James, drummer/vocalist Hozoji Matheson-Margullis and guitarist/vocalist Ben Verellen combine a vast array of ideas within a single song, while still sounding entirely cohesive. Their songs are undeniably heavy, but also freely roaming through icy post-punk and warm melodic haze at any given moment. Any given song can be pummeling one moment and then subtly shift into triply harmonies without the listener even realizing what has happened.

"The weird thing about it," Verellen muses, "is that we've got three different people contributing lyrics, parts and melodies to each song. So, they end up being disjointed by our individual input. We spent 3-1/2 years writing the songs for this album, so it's thematically all over the place."

Sleepwalking Sailors was recorded with engineer Chris Common (These Arms Are Snakes, Pelican, Chelsea Wolfe) in Seattle, with intentionally built-in limitations. "We recorded the album to tape in order to confine ourselves from ProTools refining every detail. We ended up with something that sounds really big, but also a bit more aggressive." Helms Alee's previous album Weatherhead was released in 2011 to much acclaim by their longtime label HydraHead just before it went under. Undaunted, and as a testament to the band's strong fan base, Helms Alee originally crowdfunded Sleepwalking Sailors, eventually raising an impressive recording budget. Upon hearing Common's early mixes, Sargent House quickly offered to bring the band onto their management roster and release the new album. Throughout the course of the album's creation, the band's independent aesthetic becomes clear: a dedication to truly representing themselves, regardless of trends and outside influence.

The Band Members:

Ben Verellen
Dana James
Hozoji Matheson-margullis


Helms Alee's debut for Sargent House is a complete monster of an album, full of melody and math. They strike a delicate balance of outrageous fuzz and clean post-rock that allow for an enormous pallet of sounds. Every song is layered expertly and shifts organically between savage riffs and delicate soundscapes.

In Sleepwalking Sailors Helms Alee have added to their bag of tricks, building off the dynamic and aggressive records Weatherhead and Night Terror. As usual, Matheson-Margullis lays out lots of toms, with a touch of double-kick here, extra rolls there. The vocals have more harmonized passages and layers. James' bass lines walk melodically, and Verellen's guitars sound dynamic and live. Everything has a little extra heat in it.

Pleasure Center starts the album off going from shoegaze-y guitars to thunderous double-kick drumming, with wonderfully layered vocals. Tumescence follows with some savage fuzz, tom-heavy rolling drums, and ends by showing off their expertise in head-banging maths. More loud-quiet-loud rocking comes next in Pinniped, starting with a crashing intro, falling into a rolling melodic passage, and a crushing end.

Jangling guitars start off Dangling Modifiers, joined by a heavy dose of toms, fuzzy bass and alternating screams with airy singing. Heavy Worm Burden has some of the busiest drum work on the album, leading to a heavy turn and melodic build that finishes the song. Crystal Gale is a short interlude before the heavy start of New West. Here, with the drums solo, the quality of the recording really shines. The drums are nicely resonant and live sounding, even when the rest of the band joins in. Nothing gets muddy, despite heavy doses of delay, vocals, and distortion.

Fetus Carcass brings more counting fun and head-banging riffs. Slow Beef evokes Mogwai with a build from atmospheric guitars to a bombastic end with touches of keyboards adding another layer in the mix. The penultimate track, Animatronic, is a brief, but superbly heavy tune. Dodge the Lightning finishes off the record by showing off a little bit of everything Helms does so well, with multiple vocal lines, rumbling bass, and dynamic guitars.

This is by far the best sounding record they've released. Every instrument and vocal line sits perfectly in the mix, the drums clear and live. Each sound distinct but unified, creating a colorful and layered aesthetic. The songwriting is superb, and as always there is a fun complexity to their rhythms while steadily grooving through odd-time. This is a gem of an album. Everyone should buy it as soon as they can.

Written by Ben Bowman

Sleepw alking Sailors will be avialable to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Sargent HouseRecords from February 11th. Thanks to Rachel at Silver PR, Sargent House and Lisa at Suburban for sending us a promo to review.

Check The Band From Links Below


NIBIRU - NETRAYONI: Ritual I and Ritual II - Album Review

NETRAYONI: ritual II tears of Kaly cover art

Album Type:Full Length
Date Released: Out Now
Label: Self Released

NETRAYONI: ritual I the Kaula's circle, album track listing:

1.Kshanika Mukta 17:12
2.Apsara 10:35
3.Sekhet Aahru 05:09
4.Qaa-Om Sapah 13:15
5.Arkashani 03:25

NETRAYONI: ritual II tears of Kaly, album track listing:

1.Kwaw-Loon 16:35
2.Sekhmet 07:25
3.Celeste: Samsara is broken (remastered version) 10:54
4.Viparita Karani 07:54
5.Sothis 02:03

Band Info:

Nibiru is a massive trio formed in Italy by Ardath, RI, and Siatris, with a huge abuse of watts, tribal rhythms and enochian chants, Nibiru redefines the concept that underlies "psychedelic sludge". from the debut album "Caosgon" released in February 2013 until the explosive "Netrayoni" out in February 2014, the watchword is: ritualising improvisation. What makes Nibiru an individual project compared to the mass is that every single piece is born from improvisation. No preconceived notion, pure primal instinct, frenetic drum and gaping bass lines create plots on which harrowing guitars give a new meaning to the word "psychedelic", all enriched by ancient vocals born to open your mind and see beyond.

The Band

RI - bass and liturgic organ
Ardath: guitar & voice
Siatris: drums, percussions & Virus


Almost a year after releasing one of my fave records of 2013, Italian Psych Sludge Metallers – Nibiru are back to inflict more sonic devastation upon to the world.

They have just released a truly stunning two-part album that runs for a mind-expanding 95 mins or so.

Netrayoni: Ritual 1 – The Kaula’s Circle
Netrayoni: Ritual 2 – Tears of Kaly

If you are a fan of their debut album then you are in for a wild ride as Nibiru are back stronger and stranger than ever before. Nibiru have further enhanced their self-proclaimed – Tribal Psychedelic Sludge – experience. Imagine BONG jamming with Ufomammut and that is only a glimpse of what to expect on this psychedelic journey into the unknown.

Nibiru have embraced the Drone side of their music unlike ever before as it violently clashes with the warped out vibes of their Doom/Sludge Metal riffs they brought to the world less than a year ago. The first album is probably the most drone based of the two releases with plenty of twists and turns to keep you in a trance through out. Nibiru add distorted voices that echo from a distant world or dimension with the heavy and slow pounding sludge metal riffs trying to confuse you at every turn.

Netrayoni is an unconventional album, as it has no set narrative or structure to fall back on. This is Nibiru doing what Nibiru does so well. Playing music that only they can truly understand as this album will frustrate, confuse, delight and thrill you all in equal measure. Nibiru leave no stone unturned as they blaze through 95 mins of immense Psych/Drone based Doom/Sludge Metal music that comes from a long lost world. It may have some recognisable speeches and noises through out the epic running time but this album will leave you emotionally drained at times. As the band lay on epic riffs that, have the power to last for days.

When Nibiru do include vocals they are very hard to decipher and that is the point. They are carrying the same vibe from their last album but on a bigger scale as it still feels the band are trying to communicate with a lost civilization of some kind. If you love the first epic track – Kshanika Mukta – then you are going to dig Nibiru in a big way. If after those incredible 17 mins, you are feeling rather unmoved or slightly nauseous by the experience well my advice is to turn back now as the album(s) only become stranger, crazier and louder with each passing moment.

Netrayoni is a deeply moving and involving album that becomes a better experience the more times you listen to it. Therefore, you may need a few listens before getting the full effect. As you are going to miss a whole load of noises and riffs as Nibiru have a lot going on at times. This is a very-multi layered album.

The 2nd part of the album feels more of a spiritual successor to their debut album as it features the same sort of music that made me a fan of their music in the first place. It is a lot more straight forward compared to Part 1 but do not think the guys lay off the crazy psych sonic riffs they played earlier as they do not. Part 2 is just as imaginative though the band combining the two worlds from Netrayoni and Caosgon for one wild unpredictable ride.

Netrayoni is a surreal psychedelic nightmare come to life. It embraces the crazier side of music with more riffs you could possibly imagine. It is a truly stunning work of art though it may divide opinions within the Doom/Sludge Metal community as it you need to give this album your full attention. Even if you lose one second of concentration you may have a different experience altogether than the one you should be expecting.

Netrayoni is one of the most creative albums I have heard in a very long time. Nibiru are one of the new breed of Italian Sludge Metal bands and I recommend you check them out now, as Netrayoni is a brilliant and uncompromising album from a truly talented band that can only become better. I cannot wait to see what they come up with next as Nibiru have potential to be one of the most creative and forward thinking bands within the scene.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Written by Steve Howe

Netrayoni: Ritual 1 – The Kaula’s Circle & Netrayoni: Ritual 2 – Tears of Kaly is available to buy on DD and Limited Edition Double CD.

Check the Band from Links Below

BONG - Stoner Rock - Album Review

STONER ROCK CD cover art

Album Type:Full Length
Date Released: 25th January 2014
Label: Ritual Productions

Stoner Rock, album track listing:

2.Out Of The Aeons

Album Info:

BONG have summoned the tones of the elder gods with their epic new genre-defining album, ‘Stoner Rock‘, their fourth full-length release on Ritual Productions.

BONG are the ultimate drone-lords of the cosmos and with ‘Stoner Rock‘ have rewritten the commandments of a genre as they explain:

It is a tongue-in-cheek dig at our usual classification as stoner rock and what the term has come to represent. The idea is to create our own definition of ‘stoner rock’ by creating an album so utterly stoned and repetitive to be a million miles away from the usual definition.”…they continue…”Those who know Bong already will get both the humour and the philosophical redefinition… those who don’t know us will either get it when they listen or will never understand BONG at all.”


So we have a new album by seminal Drone/Ambient/Doom Metal overlords – Bong. Stoner Rock. Wait a minute. Hold the phone. Stoner Rock.

So Bong’s press release says this is their interpretation of a Stoner Rock album as they have been called a Stoner Rock band in the past. What.. – Who called Bong a Stoner Rock band. They are anything but. Have they heard their previous releases especially their excellent last album.

Bong, Stoner Rock. Seriously. WOW. Maybe I am getting old or out of touch with the genres. As Bong’s new album – Stoner Rock – is anything but Stoner Rock. It is a 73-minute sonic odyssey full of fast-paced Stoner Rock riffs that will get your heart racing.

Seriously – No – This is BONG people. When does Bong play fast-paced riffs. This is Bong playing slow-paced music full of heavy atmospherics, which is what they do best. The album features 2 songs both running for around 36 mins each.

First track – Polaris – is a36-minute musical odyssey into the drone-based minds of this highly creative musical collective. It embraces drone-based atmospherics with subtle hints of Doom Metal. Bong are playing tricks with your mind as they include drone/doom based riff trickery here as they make you a part of their magical drone-based wonderland. It is a journey you will not soon forget as Bong blend doom/drone noises with no Stoner Rock riff or vibe in sight. This is the soundtrack to another world waiting to be awakening from its long peaceful slumber. Hypnotic Doom/Drone Metal at it’s best.

You may think nothing much is happening on this track but you will be wrong as Bong are masters at making the smallest of noises and riffs sound absolutely huge. And boy do they impress here. The band are on fine form through out with each band member playing their part in bring the world of Stoner Rock to life.

Second track – Out Of the Aeons – starts off with a pulsating Drone/Doom Riff, which lasts almost the entire song. Drums and guitars barely move out of first gear while still maintaining a majestic presence before Bong start adding ambient-based tribal noises into their sound. This track is a concept piece about making contact with an sentinel being or that sentinel being contacting humanity as Bong include a cool spoken verse featuring out of this world lyrics which sorts of embrace the vibe that a lot of Stoner Rock bands play on.

Stoner Rock is another brilliant release from these visionary rockers and only enhances their reputation as being one of the worlds leading Doom/Drone Metal bands. Stoner Rock may not appeal to all but, for long-time fans like myself – this is the perfect soundtrack for who worship at the place of Bong. And there is no better place to be right now.

An incredible album that only Bong can deliver. Now lets see what happens if we start calling Bong a Pop Band.

Brilliant. End Of.

Stoner Rock will be available to buy on CD/Double Vinyl from Ritual Productions now and Double Vinyl will be released Feb/Mar 2014.

Brilliant and Highly Recommended.

Written by Steve Howe

Check The Band From Links Below

The Double A Doom Interview : Demon Eye

So what a start to 2014 has been in terms of quality music.  Kicking things off was the stunning new record by Blackfinger and in hot pursuit shortly after, was the brilliant new record by Demon Eye. Released on the excellent, Soulseller Records, home of The Sludgelord approved Norwegian doom band Tombstones, Leave The Light encompasses the spirit of the 70's era doom and yet it refrains from sounding typically retro.  Having honed their songs to perfection, Demon Eye have received much praise for their debut record, which our good friend and Sludgelord contributor, Lucas Klaukien raved about here at SludgelordHQ

Let's get down to business, talk is cheap and I am sure you don't want to hear me prattling on for the sake of it.  I hooked with Erik Sugg, front man for Demon Eye and fired some questions at him. So enjoy the interview and if you haven't heard their record, make sure you do so.  Cheers and thanks for reading.  AP.   

(SL) Let’s kick things off, who are you, state your name (s) and purpose?

(ES) I’m Erik Sugg.  I play guitar and sing for Demon Eye.  Larry Burlison is the band’s lead guitarist.  Paul Walz plays bass and does the “evil priest” voice on our song, “Fires of Abalam.”  Bill Eagen plays drums and sings all of the vocal harmonies with me.  Our purpose is to write heavy, evil music with melodic hooks and cool dynamics that entertain us and make our live shows entertaining for the audience.  

(SL) Summarise your musical journey (s) this point?

(ES) We started as a deep cut ‘70s rock tribute called Corvette Summer.  Really we just wanted to have an excuse to get together play the unheard songs by bands like Deep Purple, UFO, Budgie, etc., great tunes that you never hear on classic rock radio.  Not only did that end up being a total blast, but it also helped us get really tight as a band.  We all grew up on hard rock and old school metal, so it was a natural progression for us to start writing material of that ilk.  I spent a weekend in the North Carolina mountains by myself in a dark, wooded area where I read lots of H.P. Lovecraft and wrote some doomy riffs on an acoustic guitar  When I got home I shared my songs with the guys and everything just came together.  “Hecate” was the first Demon Eye song.  We were loving the direction of our material, so we recorded our first six songs at a friend’s studio, put them up on a bandcamp page, and the next thing we know we’re being contacted by all these righteous folks from all over the globe, telling us how much they dig our music.  We really couldn’t believe it.  Not long after that we signed with Soulseller Records and began recording the newer material, and played lots of fun shows with amazing bands.

(SL) What can fans look forward to from you in 2014? How is your schedule shaping up?

(ES) The release show for “Leave the Light” will be in Raleigh on February 1st.  We’ve also got an upcoming gig with some Relapse recording artists, Lord Dying.  In between all of that we’re looking to play more shows regionally, and should also be making our way north of the Mason Dixon line for the first time, probably during the summer.  The subject of touring overseas has been introduced to us, but we’ve got a lot of things to consider before that happens.

SL) What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your new/current record?

(ES) I think the very first thing that ran through my mind was, “Damn that was fun.”  Or I could be remembering that completely wrong and actually thought, “I hope I didn’t screw anything up.”

(SL) Who handles song writing duties?

(ES) Everyone.  Initially I was the one who brought riffs to the table, but from where I stand, if you don’t have a great band to help bring the music to life you might as well just keep your riffs on a dusty shelf in your bedroom.  For our song writing credits we do a 25% split each, (just like Sabbath and Led Zeppelin).  Larry remains inspired and always comes up with killer riffs, (“Edge of Knife” and “Silent One” are Larry’s tunes), and Paul has written some great stuff as well, (“Devil Knows the Truth” was his idea).  And Bill’s role can not be understated.  Drummers often get disregarded when it comes to song writing credits, but without having a beast of a drummer like Bill, someone who has incredible ideas and adds such powerful dynamics to the music, there isn’t a whole lot you’re going to be able to do, even if you have the most rocking riff ever.  

So far the fellas seem cool with letting me handle all the lyrics, which is fun for me because I get to incorporate a lot of the classic weird fiction and vintage horror films that I enjoy.  Also, even though I’m generally a pretty mellow, pleasant person, I do have some dark things rambling through my mind quite often.  It’s great to be able to address those thoughts through our music.

(SL) How long was the gestation of your new/current opus from conception to delivery?

(ES) It’s been a bit of a jagged time lapse, but a very productive one.  I believe we started recording our first six songs with Alex Maiolo at Seriously Adequate Studios in Carborro, NC during the Fall of 2012.  We just took our time and did things at a relaxed pace. The session was mixed and mastered by Pete Weiss at Verdant Green Studios in Vermont during the Spring of 2013 and the music was uploaded to the Internet by April of 2013.  We got the record deal offer from Soulseller during the Summer of 2013, went back to Seriously Adequate later that fall to record additional material for the full length LP, and Pete finished the mastering for the entire project at Verdant Green in October.  All of the finished masters were then given to Soulseller and the production factories in late 2013, and that pretty much brings us up to date.  “Leave the Light” will be available internationally as of January 24, 2014.

(SL) The artwork is really great, was it designed with a particular physical format in mind? Who designed it?

(ES) John Hitselberger, a local Raleigh artist, created that excellent imagery.  Believe it or not, that is a hand painted piece on canvas and has been in a few international art exhibits.  What you see on the record cover is the scanned version of the actual painting.  I believe it’s for sale of you’re interested ;)

(SL) As a music fan yourselves and given that music seems to be so disposal at times, how is it to a great package to your fans, and yet not alienate them by producing something which is not affordable. What are your thoughts on the finished physical product? What format is/will be available?

(ES) Soulseller is releasing our album on vinyl, on CD, and as a digital download.  It’s great to see that people still value having a physical, tangible item in their hands because that’s the way we feel as well.  When we initially finished recording our first batch of songs our main priority was in just getting them online so people could hear them.  We did burn a few CDRs as a give aways for a big show with did with The Sword last spring.  Much to our surprise people started writing us to see if we could sell them those CDRs via mail order, regardless of the fact that the songs were available as a free download at the time!

(SL).  Speaking off, getting a record out there are you a) Indiegogo (crowdfunding) or b) career no no

(ES) Not to give you a generic answer, but I don’t have much of an opinion on it one way or another. Unless it’s something like the whole Amanda Palmer debacle where she raised one million dollars via crowd sourcing and then wanted to hire volunteer musicians for a tour without paying them, (that is until she was very publically denounced over it), I’d never judge someone for going down that route. If a band I like is using crowd sourcing to release a record, I’m certainly not going to forego buying their album because they used Kickstarter, Indiegogo or whatever.  That said, I don’t believe I’d ever use it.  I’m too lazy and it seems too complicated, haha.

(SL) The best and worst things about being in a band?

(ES) The best thing about being in a band is that you have a full time, 24 hour a day vehicle for expressing yourself musically.  That is pure gold. The worst thing is when you become your own worst enemy, like when you start worrying about what other people think, what other bands have that you don’t, and just working yourself into a negative frame of mind..  All of that is completely unnecessary.  It will make you become combative with everyone, even your band mates, and eventually your music will suffer.  It happens to the best of musicians, though.

(SL) Influences and heroes, what are turn offs and turn on’s?

(ES) Attitude goes a long way with me.  I’m not down with musicians who act like douche bags.  That is, unless it’s a punk band and it’s kind of their “deal,” you know?  I grew up near Virginia Beach where the great punk band, The Candy Snatchers, originated.  Their singer, Larry May, was a total lunatic and would always rage at people and talk a lot of smack, (a band I was in years back, who gigged alongside the Candy Snatchers, was a victim of that once, haha).  But man, Larry is the most entertaining and intense frontman of all time.  In those circumstances you sort of expect someone to be a bit of a dick, you know?  That’s how they should be!

I do need to say that in my experience, metal folks are truly great down-to-earth people.  Metalheads typically get a bum rap for being thugs, burnouts and losers, but that is seldom the case.  Most of the time they’re just working class, mellow minded people know how to have a good time, (unless you lived in Norway the ‘90s I suppose, haha).  Being that’s the case, I’ve never met anyone in the metal community who was a difficult personality.  Demon Eye played a show this past fall with Mike Scheidt, of YOB, Vohl, and Lumbar.  It was a thrill for me because I’m a huge fan.  I can say in all honesty that Mike was one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever encountered, one of those rare folks who just radiates positivity.  That makes me want to support his music even more.

SL) Any record from the past or present that springs to mind?

(ES) Some recent faves for me include Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats - “Mind Control,” Blood Ceremony - “The Eldritch Dark,” Church of Misery - “Thy Kingdom Scum”, Noctum - “The Final Sacrifice,” and Amon Amarth - “Deceiver of the Gods.”  Larry’s been digging Steve Harris’s “British Lion” and the UFO “Hot’N’Live” anthology.  Paul’s getting his blues on with B.B. King’s 1970 record, “Indianola Mississippi Seeds,” and the self titled Grand Funk Railroad album.

Photo (C) Ken Trousell

(SL) The last album that kicked your arse?

(ES) For me, Hot Lunch’s self titled record.  They’re a Blue Cheer-style proto metal band from Oakland, California and they are HOT shit.  Their singer, Eric Shea, is a modern day Ian Gillan.  Larry’s choice would be Horisont’s “Time Warriors.”  A killer Swedish band.  That record is chock full of some sick, harmonic riffing.

(SL) What was your first instrument or musical experience and what do you use today?

(ES) My father bought me an acoustic guitar when I was nine years old.  He tried to show me how to form a few basic chords, but I had a total brat attack over not being able to play and didn’t touch it again until I turned 15, haha.  I wish I had still had that guitar, even if only for nostalgia.  These days I play a Gibson SG through a Laney AOR Pro Tube half stack.  Larry plays the same rig, but is a Stratocaster man.  I’ve never seen anyone wield a Strat the way that Larry does.  He really knows how to bend the tonal dimensions of those guitars.  Paul plays a Rickenbacker bass, which we collectively love, and Bill is currently playing a Sonor kit with Paiste cymbals, (although I’m convinced he could pound garbage cans and make them sound good).

(SL) One item, gear or otherwise that characterises your band and one item from your set up you cannot live without?

(ES) I really like that Larry and I both use the same guitar heads, the aforementioned Laney AOR Pro Tubes.  They’ve helped give us some distinctive tones, plus there’s something striking about seeing a band where the guitar players have matching rigs.  I don’t think either one of us are particularly wedded to the Laneys because we both like to keep our eyes open for other cool gear, but it's hard for me to think of playing another amp because I really love my Laney.  It’s the Iommi/Sleep “Holy Mountain” amplifier for god’s sake!

(SL) Pro-tools versus old school?

(ES) Both have their merits.  Sometimes I think a lot of bands who go through that painstaking process to recreate a vintage recording are putting a lot of unnecessary energy into the whole thing.  I've done sessions in the past with bands where we used the old analog tape machines.  At times I thought it sounded great and that we achieved what we were going for.  Other times I was like, “Is that all?!” But at the same time, I can remember how floored I was when I heard that first Witchcraft record years back.  That was recorded vintage style, and it completely blew my mind.  I think when it comes down to it you can make anything sound good as long as you have an engineer who knows their stuff. Alex Maiolo, who recorded “Leave the Light,” is a perfect example.  Alex has really eclectic musical tastes, but he grew up on classic rock and early metal.  He’s one of those guys who knows how to zero in on a particular sound and use the proper tools to get the sounds that work.  I wish I had the attention span and the equipment knowledge to reveal what all he used, but Pro-tools was a definitely part of the process.  

(SL) Has there been much opportunity for your band to do live shows and is playing live  still as important today given the influences of the web and social media ?

(ES) Demon Eye is fortunate to live in an area where there are plenty of opportunities to perform live. We couldn’t not do that.  For me, playing live is vital.  I’m all for promotion via social media and the Internet, but a band has to be able to pull off their music live.  Granted, there are exceptions, like if someone is just tinkering with experimental ambient-type music.  Music like that could probably survive just by being passed around the Internet.  But if you play with a blood and guts band, I want to see you do it in real life.  I want to hear it and feel it.

(SL) Who are some your favourite bands you have toured with and what have been your band highlight (s) thus far?

(ES) So far our favorites have been: Hour of 13, the brainchild of the masterful doom riffster, Chad Davis.  The Sword, a band who everyone knows well I’m sure ;)  We had a great time opening for them.  Sinister Haze, a traditional doom band from Richmond, Virginia, who I once described as “Blue Cheer on a bummer acid trip after washing down some ludes with cheap malt liquor.”  Mike Scheidt, from YOB, who was doing a solo tour when we played with him.  Uzala, a loud, dark band from Boise, Idaho.  Mountain Thrower, from Wilmington, North Carolina, who have a vintage Cream/Hendrix sort of thing going on.  The Great Dismal Swamis, from Norfolk, Virginia; a super fun, trashy Stooges-esque rock band.  The Church of Zann, a powerful Lovecraftian three piece from our great state, (Benjamin Powell from the Valient Thorr is their drummer).  And Corpse Mountain, a younger band from here in Raleigh who we recently hooked up with.  Not only do they have the best name ever, but they’re an excellent band with some very twisted riffery.  Meeting all of these righteous folks, not to mention all of the great people who come to our shows, or the ones who reach out to us online, have all been highlights.  It’s been a blast.

(SL) What are your survival tips for the road ?

(ES) Don’t be too proud to crash with somebody's parents and eat their food!

(SL) Vinyl Junkie or Ipod flunky? Discuss

(ES) I’m a total vinyl junkie.  A friend of mine, who is a stellar garage/psych DJ, has a wife who refers to his record buying habit as “black crack.”  I’m definitely this sort of addict as well.  Some dick stole my Ipod a few years ago and I’ve been without one ever since, but I honestly can’t say that I don’t miss it all that much.  There are so many different ways to access music these days.  My main methods for listening to music are vinyl, (there’s typically never a moment in my house when a record isn't spinning on the turntable), streaming on my smartphone, (for when I’m driving or walking around town), or just browsing on YouTube.

(SL) Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

(ES) Nah, not really.  Just try not to be schmucks to one another, and have a good time, all the time.

Words and Interview by : Aaron Pickford

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