Interview with Bap from Triggerman

Easily one of the biggest thrills is when a band or release hits right out from the blue and emerges as something to ignite the deepest passions and satisfaction. One such mighty example came through the album Hail To The River Gods from Northern Ireland metalers Triggermen. The album was a rampant tenderising of the senses by an irresistible blend of metal, stoner, and classic rock with a wealth of other strong spices to make for one bruising glorious enjoyment. Yes we rather liked it! To find out more about the release, band, and life as a rock band in Northern Ireland, we had the pleasure of chatting to vocalist and guitarist Bap.

Hello Bap and a big thanks for taking time to talk with us.

No problem at all…Thank you for reviewing the cd…

We must before going on say thank you to you for approaching us about reviewing your excellent new album Hail To The River Gods, as sadly if you had not we still might not be aware of the band. Even in the big open to all and easy to access world of the internet does it frustrate that it still is so easy to be missed?

We kind of adopt the attitude to just keep doing what we are doing no matter what because we just love playing rock music together, so frustration at that is not really a big issue with us although we are happy when more people hear our music. I think we only really get frustrated when the van or a piece of equipment breaks down thus getting in the way of playing….The internet really is what it is…To be heard above the rest you have to be better, stronger, louder and smarter or have a gimmick of some sort, and since we don’t have a gimmick we have to rely on using the other ways if we can.

Could you just introduce the members of the band and give some background to the entity that is Triggerman?

Well… the band members are Rory on Drums, Niall on lead guitar, Dixie on bass and myself (Bap) on rhythm guitar and vocals. The band has been in existence for 10 years now but the current line up has been together for  just over 2 and a half years . And we just love to play big riffs with loads of groove with a tale or two on top.

Do you have a musical history before Triggerman?

We have all played in various groups over the last 20+ years in Derry and have all known each other nearly as long as Derry has such a close knit musical community, so it was probably just a matter of time before we eventually all played together.

The band name is dramatic and direct, is its inspiration as obvious as one imagines?

We spotted the name in a newspaper not long before the band played its very first gig. We were looking for a one word name and it just seemed to stick out. There are no connotations to it at all other than it seems to suit big riff music….Although if we ever get a female member we may have to rethink the name of the band…haha…

As mentioned your latest album Hail To The River Gods has just been out a matter of weeks. We described it as having ‘the rhythmic bombardment of a Black Tusk, the monster riffs of a Mastodon, and the mischievous grooves of a Red Fang’. Is that close and how would you describe it?

Jeez! That’s esteemed company indeed…Well we do seem to fit in along with those bands alright, and we do listen to them loads…We have played with Mastodon way back in 07 although with a different line up and we seemed to go alright with their fans then……We have been categorized in with the stoner genre but the last time in the studio the engineer Frankie described it as Muscle Rock….It doesn’t really matter whatever way people describe it, it’s ok with us, as long as they are listening to it.

Hail To The River Gods has a great eclectic breath to its body which takes on many flavours. What are the biggest influences to you and those which have inspired the album?

Well musically we listen to anything from the bands you previously mentioned right through to folk music and everything in-between. We all love music that has a lot of integrity, strength and power in it and you can find that in the most unexpected places. There is so much out there to listen to and be influenced by outside rock music that we don’t want to miss out. A big inspiration lyrically would be folk music as I grew up listening to my father learning and singing songs all the time. The lyrics for the title track Hail to the River Gods are influenced by various Irish songs of men going to sea and leaving their loved ones behind. I loved the way that those songs can tell a whole story with a message that means something… and we do live in Derry, a city with a long connection with the sea. But also I do love the songs that are just all about drinking and having the craic too. One of the joys of growing up in Ireland.

In our correspondence with you it was mentioned that there would be a digital availability of previous album Brand New Day and that it was more similar to how you sound now. That kind of suggested Hail To The River Gods is a one off departure in sound and attack. Can you expand and explain exactly how it lies in context?

Brand New Day is a good introduction to the band. The songs though are quite similar in their tempos and pacing as over half of them were written before Rory joined the band. The song Voices which was the last song written for that cd, shows where we were going towards the next album (River Gods) with the drums opening up a lot more and bringing a lot more weight to the riffs. Hopefully we can expand on that even more in the future as the 4 of us have really gelled together and have really started to challenge each other.  I am still really happy with Brand New Day and all of those songs still get played live.

Some of the songs on the album have a mythical theme such as Rage Of The Goddess and others like Rise Of The Woodsmen seem like a slab of historical life. Is there a connecting premise across the album?

There definitely is an earthy/mythological feel to the album and the songs do tend to connect with each other in different ways. Rage of the Goddess is a description of the earth and her different Celtic aspects and that if we turn our back on her she is not going to be happy, and  you could say that Rise of the Woodsmen are the men who tend to her woods coming to her defence. I suppose the overall premise of the album is that everything is connected in some shape or fashion.

Referencing the earlier question about the sound of the band, is this lyrical direction on the new release your usual area or do you bring a more personal aspect lyrically on other songs?

I tend to fully write the lyrics after the music is finished but there may be a small idea or song title hanging around beforehand. Sometimes the feel of the music will influence the lyric writing, or a song title may influence the tempo or riffs such as the title track. The riffs in the title track just seem to have the feel of the sea. Each of the songs does have a personal meaning to me in that the lyrics evoke personal memories or feelings or is just how I feel about things. When the lyrics are connected to yourself then I feel you are able to deliver them with ultimate conviction, and I am extremely lucky and grateful that the rest of the band gives me free reign to do that.

What inspires your ideas for songs predominantly?

Well musically we are all involved and because there are so many influences in there it’s hard to pin down what is the predominant influence. It may just take a drum beat or a riff to start things off. For example Thon Strange Brew came completely off the back of a drum rhythm which Rory played and really didn’t take that long to put together once Dixie locked in with him. The lyrics for said song then all just seemed to arrive at once. As for the solos Niall tends to rip it out according to how the tune feels or flows… He plays what’s right for the tune from being minimal on Thon Strange Brew to ripping it out on Rage of the Goddess…He’s a gifted wee fecker so he is.

From the big sounds you create one imagines you are a band which plays around with epic noises and towering riffs etc until a song seeds itself. What is the reality of how the songwriting happens within the band?

As far as creating the noise goes we are quite minimalist and simplistic in our approach. I don’t use any effects pedals at all and just rely on the tone of the guitar and the amp head. Dixie our bass player is the same and Niall would use a distortion and wah pedal. Keeping it simple seems to work for us. As far as song writing goes there is no set formula. Sometimes it will start with a riff or a beat. In saying that as the music is not very complicated the riff needs to have a certain character all its own so it can take a while for it to come along, which is why we aren’t always the quickest when it comes to writing. But we are happy to wait because we want to enjoy playing the songs for as long as possible, not drop them from a set after half a dozen outings.

Are the things which inspired and influenced you as musicians and a band still the same a decade or so on or have they like the band, evolved?

Well new bands always come along with new ideas which make you take notice and think “that’s really interesting”. But I think we are still pretty much still influenced by the fundamental principles of song writing which is to write songs which hopefully capture the listener from start to finish with a strong rhythm and a good story/message on top all finished off with a scorching/sublime lead guitar to hopefully make it sparkle…Well we are hoping so anyway…lol

I believe there have been a few changes in line-up over the years; do you feel most bands need that to retain the freshness and enthusiasm in their energy?

Not necessarily…You just have to look at the likes of Clutch and Mastodon who have been playing together for a long, long time and look set to continue to do so thankfully. Some musicians just find the right combination right at the start and others later on. And some musicians just like exploring new horizons with different players throughout their careers. That’s the beauty of playing music, there are infinite combinations and I am pretty sure there is a combination out there somewhere which will push rock music into the next universe…I don’t know if it will happen in my lifetime though, but I live in hope…

Northern Ireland seems very alive with rock and metal bands right now, what is the reality there?

Rock/metal music is definitely making big strides here and making its presence felt. It has always been there, and I think its honesty and consistency along with bands really becoming savvy with the internet and getting their message across more effectively seems to be really hitting a chord with a lot of people who would only have received their music through the mainstream media. The thing about rock music I believe is that it’s a far more honest art form than some of the shite which is being peddled as music. I mean 1 Song written by 5 producers and recorded in 6 studios and a video all of which costs about £2million to produce and 2 weeks to forget about and means fuck all to anyone…Jeez I could buy nearly every rock band in the north an entire new set of equipment with that, And can you imagine the possibilities then…Sorry…Rant over haha…

From the outside there also seems a bond between bands which finds them helping and supporting each other, is that the case?

Very much so. Northern Ireland isn’t all that big so most of the bands have invariably played on the same bills together at some point and in doing that have shared beer and transport together thus building up a camaraderie. Each band obviously has to look out for its own interests but where help is needed it is often given wherever possible as word spreads fast in a small place like this.

You have just come off supporting Sepultura in Belfast, their only UK headlining show this year. How did that go and did they like being blown offstage by your performance haha?

Haha…I don’t know about that. I thought they were immense that night and they seriously rocked. We really enjoyed it and I thought we gave a pretty decent account of ourselves although I was quite nervous. I had a surreal moment during the sound check when I looked round and their backdrop and equipment was all in place and all of a sudden memories of seeing them in the Ulster Hall in the 90s all came flooding back. It was a moment I won’t forget alright…And we had a beer with Derrick Greene after, although i was a bit inebriated at that stage so i don’t know if he understood a word i was saying. Haha…

What is next up for and from Triggerman?

Well hopefully we are going to be able to push the cd a lot further afield but as an unsigned band resources are limited but we are going to do our utmost to make it happen. We are lucky that we have a lot of friends and family with various talents who believe in us are trying to help us achieve this. In the short term we are going to keep on gigging and hopefully we are going to have a video for one of the songs done by the end of the year.

Thank you for taking time to chat with us and for one of the releases of the year for us.

Thank you very much for listening to the cd and for the kind words.

Any last words you wish to leave behind?

Never give up.

Read the Hail To The River Gods review@

The RingMaster Review 16/09/2012

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Janice Graham Band: Assassiner

Sometimes you just have to kick yourself at being so slow to discover certain bands whilst the mystery as to why is a frustration hard to erase but made up for with insatiable energy. Such is the case with the Janice Graham Band. The young band from Manchester has been pulling in great acclaim all year at the very least but it is with the release of their new single Assassiner that our introduction is made and as they say, better late than never.

The single is immense, a refreshing and ingenious song which is bursting with imagination and uniqueness from the heart of their musical home city and British eclectic invention as a whole. The song is a piece of brilliance, a wanton and wicked first meeting for all newcomers and the continuation of what came before for existing fans from their strongly and eagerly received debut album It´s Not Me earlier this year. The young quartet, averaging 21 years of age, have thrilled and earned nothing but impressive responses for their live shows along with their previous release. Now with the new single through Acid Jazz Records and taken from their forthcoming album, one can only expect the horizon, near and far, to be burning with big things for the band. All this from hearing one song you say…yes but what a song.

     Assassiner is stunning, a mesmeric and enrapturing piece of composition and imagination. It is a mesh of rhythms, textures and sound brought through a filter of ska, jazz, rock, hip hop, punk and more. Think Sonic Boom Six, Cypress Hill, Wu Tang Clan, Arctic Monkeys, The Specials, and nineties band Honky and you get a flavour of the quite delicious treat awaiting within the song. From its opening brewing breath around a throbbing pulse soon joined by a dark velvet bass croon, the song instantly draws full attention and lip licking anticipation. Bassist and vocalist Joe Jones prods and probes the senses with his accent driven swagger and lyrical sharing, aided perfectly by drummer Tom Scott and trumpeter Josh Hunt, whilst the guitar of Andy Morton is a shimmering heated and sinister breath amongst the dub heartbeats and electronic whispers, the sounds of Hunt bringing further character and atmosphere to the shadowed presence.

The song is a powerful and irresistible companion with a haunting yet hypnotic ambience wrapping its feisty and attitude lined masterful invention. It is rare to be stopped in ones tracks by anything these days, something which ignites emotions barely inspired by music today but the Janice Graham Band do it with ease. If you are looking for truly skilled originality and natural imagination then these inspiring young bucks will easily and fully feed your desires and more, just go and bask in their ingenuity.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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Giants: These Are The Days

British punks Giants have just raised the intensity of their already ascending rise to the fore of UK rock music with their new mini album These Are The Days. Raw and abrasive yet melodically smouldering and as expected fully anthemic, the release is a thumping explosion of melodic, skate and hardcore punk which elevates an already impressed view of the band.

The Essex quintet still approaching two years into its life, first grabbed wider attention with their debut self released EP, as well as their storming sets alongside the likes of The Bled, This Distance, The Ghost Inside, This is Hell, For The Fallen Dreams, More Than Life, Azriel, and Haste The Day, each show and step creating a honed sound and an irresistible energised experience for a growing following. The new release is set to accelerate the rate of their ascent to what one can only see is national recognition.

These Are The Days opens on the thumping clash of sound and energy which is Did It Mean So Much To You, the track a fiery riot of muscular riffs, coarse vocals and scarring melodies. It is a hungry and forceful assault brought with craft and unbridled passion, the guitars leaving a smoking trail whilst the bass is simply a deliciously heavy dark predator throughout. It is a mighty start to the release and already shows a deeper strength and maturity to the sound of Giants which the following songs all endorse.

The following song When It Comes Down To It is a continuation of the aggression, its raw breath a scraping rub upon the ear smartly soothed by heated harmonies from excellent clean vocals amongst caustic shouts and sharp incendiary melodies. The track bristles and swaggers throughout before launching into one of the best finales in a song for a long time, its united shouts and driving thrust irresistible.

The tempest of attitude which is Snakes with its snarling bass intro next leaves one breathless and sets things up powerfully for the first of two tracks which are easily the best on the release. Won’t Be Told is an immediate anthem for voice and heart with group chants and metallic intrusive riffs riling up the senses. The following melodic vocals amongst further squalls of spite and knee buckling rhythms  as the song moves forward, are sparking and rabid making for a storm of total pleasure. Violent and merciless it lights up the air with fine craft and imagination.

Another Day, Another Year (Wasted) is similar in structure to its predecessor and alongside it steals the honours on this impressive release. Once more the bass is a real highlight, its tones a bestial and immense presence within another metal driven slab of punk rock. The band fusing multi genres with great skill without losing their core drive of sound.

With the brief instrumental Bottled Up leading in to the tempestuous closer Boneless, the EP is an energising and fully pleasing release which deserves every good word and acclaim it is destined to receive. These Are The Days shows that British punk rock is back at a forceful high with Giants right to the fore.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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Sonnymoon: Self Titled

Photo credit- Patti Miller.

Unclassifiable, almost indescribable, and thoroughly enthralling, the new self titled album from US experimentalists Sonnymoon is a bedazzling jewel of this musical year. It is a release which magnificently stretches the sounds conjured within as much as the listener, an album which at times is pure rapture and celestial manna for the senses and in the moments where individual taste means a less cohesive connection only ever leaves one smoking in grateful  thought and imagination.

Sonnymoon consists of Dane Orr and Anna Wise, who met whilst studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The Boston duo already have found acclaim through debut EP Golden Age of 2009, two track release Blast Off at the tail of last year, and the 2012 EP earlier this year. The new album is the band at its most magnetic yet, a journey of intangible and mesmeric soundscapes which almost defy logic but fluidly bring everything into a seamless and ingenious union. It is near impossible to describe their sound but calling it a fiery blend of The Sugarcubes, Rip Rig & Panic, De Staat, Propaganda, and Peaking Lights, is kind of in the ball park. The release is provocative and evocative, something to fire up the mind whilst igniting the heart.

Released through Plug Research, the album is in the mind twisting the psyche immediately with opener Wild Rumpus. Released as a single earlier this year, the song is a kaleidoscope of invention and its sonic offspring. It enters on a disorientating wind of electronics expulsions sending thoughts scattering in all directions before settling into a lively trip of eager jumbled rhythms, disharmonious whispers, and celestial dazzles. The enchantment which is the voice of Wise permeates the assembled entourage of sounds like a siren, her wonderful tones pulling everything round her like a melodic magnet. It is a stunning start soon accompanied by further outstanding pieces off composition and its realisation.

The warm perpetually evolving Greatness holds the heart in a seductive embrace with again Wise shining like a sun amongst the ever shifting infectious sounds of Orr. Completely different from its predecessor but still as innovative and compulsive, the track sparks the remaining fires the first left merely smouldering.

The album is kind of in two halves though it is preference to the sounds which makes the distinction. The first part is an energetic nonstop escalator of imaginative and air juggling invention whilst the second is a more relaxed and unassuming collection of songs though no less visionary. The likes of the wonderful sultry jazz coated Kali and the simmering Watersboiled accompanied by the irresistible temptations of Flit, Fleet, Float, and Nothing Thought, has every thought and emotion lifted and immersed into the beauteous contagion the songs offer. Kali is aural sex, its seduction through harmonies and shadowed caresses addiction forming whilst the following Watersboiled is a simmering orgasmic treat with sizzling harmonic kisses and splintered melodics upon dark pulses. It is again an infection of the deepest form and along with its sister in delicious wantonness just before, they are not only the best moments on the album but arguably in indie music this year.

As mentioned the latter part of the album has a more reserved and settled presence though there is no lack of unpredictable and thrilling invention, just an overall smoother flow of whispers and stroking warmth. Songs like the slightly corrosive Others By with its squeezed ambience forming bulges of disturbed energy and scorched melodies and the woozy Every Summer Night leave one lost in wraps of feverish sound and vision whilst the closing Just Before Dawn just sends chills through the body. Its first half is a wonder borne of Young Marble Giants, that same simple elegance pouring from every note and syllable into the ear. Nearing its fourth minute and halfway in, the song dons an orchestral lined cloak and transports the listener into a world of courtliness driven by natural peace and grandeur.

To be honest this only gives you a glancing blow at representing the majesty which is called Sonnymoon, band and album. It is a release which inspires and incites with every second whilst offering the time of your life in fractured excellence and discordant blinding beauty.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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Evil Entourage: The Opposition

Insidious, the title of the first track on the new EP from Mexican death metalers Evil Entourage sums up the release perfectly. The Opposition is a release which beckons, entraps, and then unleashes its venomous heart deeply within the senses. It is violent and nasty but speared with precise grooves and intrusive energies which only leave one desperate to be violated over again.

Formed in 2004 in Tampico, the quartet has apparently become a major force in the underground metal scene in their continent and listening to The Opposition our first introduction to the band, it is no real surprise their stature there and one which should be emulated further afield ahead. From their debut demo in 2005 Devoured by Holocaust, the band has earned and built a strong eager fan base. Their first album Dominion of 2007 found a good response at home and around the world with the following years finding the band opening for the likes of Vital Remains, Nile, Decapitated, and Severe Torture, as well as sharing stages with established Mexican bands. 2010 saw second album Desecrators, a more brutal release than its predecessors, garner further strong acclaim from fans around the globe, as did their first videos.

Released through Chaos Records, The Opposition is set to spark an even greater reaction and recognition with its uncompromising compulsive sounds. Evil Entourage goes for the jugular immediately with the aforementioned Insidious. The track is an instant barrage of crushing rhythms and rampant riffs cursed with the excellent bestial growls of the vocals. They feast on the senses whilst the emerging infectious groove ignites up the air within the rabid intensity. From a raging charge the song at points drops into a prowling stance before revolving between the two, the tempest of malevolence never diminishing or less than impressive.

The following Swathe To Blind is an abrasive heavyweight corruption of blistered and guttural vocals, flesh flailing riffs, and barbarous rhythms. Like the opener it has a merciless energy to its staggering onslaught yet is mesmeric from its grooved insatiable appetite. Arguably the old school core and thrashing intensity offered here and throughout is nothing distinctly new but it is certainly one of the most contagious and gratifying genre releases this year.  By the second song you know the recognisable intent of the band and sound but also that it is being brought on an unstoppable surge of irresistible and greed evoked might.

The excellent From Inside I Burn and the ravenous and spiteful True Rejected enflame and squeeze the ear into misshapen satisfaction with their twisted melodic scorching and annihilatory riffing spiked by vicious rhythms to open the wounds even wider. With muscles bruising the senses alone the songs, and EP overall, are destructive animals from which only pleasure is derived. Musically the band is accomplished without being overloaded with flair but they know how to deliver sounds and grooves which leave only submission in their wake.

Featuring special guest appearances from Fabiano Pena (The Ordher) and Tommy Dahlstrom (Aeon), The Opposition is excellent, a release which has no need to find new weaponry to deliver death metal at its absorbing and addictive best. Evil Entourage is set to step from a whisper to a loud shout on lips around the world, with this release their first words.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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Emperors Of Wyoming: Self Titled

Though the sounds which make the debut self titled album from Emperors Of Wyoming a release sure to ignite a multitude of hearts, they are not generally those which feed our personal passions but it is impossible not to be impressed and persuaded by the wealth of invention and inciteful songwriting enclosed. The ten songs of Americana, country and folk rock which call out from within the Wild West cloaked release, are heart borne slices of organic and distinctive sounds, the album itself one to evoke satisfaction and instinctive joy.

     Emperors Of Wyoming consists of Wisconsin musicians, brothers Frank and Pete Anderson, Phil Davis, and Butch Vig, four artists who all played in Madison bands in the seventies and eighties, sometimes together though never as a foursome. All are men with a friendship between them which time had no erosive power upon. Vig, who went on to be one of the most influential producers as well as the drummer in Garbage, played in a band with Phil called First Person before the pair began Fire Town, a band with similar elements to The Emperors Of Wyoming and went on to release two albums with Atlantic Records. The other members also had their important entrants in the Wisconsin scene but most importantly the friendship between the four never faded after they went their separate ways in life. 2009 saw them all come together with the idea of starting a new folk/country rock/band. They took their time to write and create the album, with all men using the internet to share their individual instruments, parts, and ideas with Frank Anderson as the hub. It has to be said listening to the songs one would never have the suggestion of this background to the recording in their minds, the sound a tight and cohesive presence in the ear.

Released through Proper Records, the album opens with the emotive The Bittersweet Sound Of Goodbye and instantly the album offers a natural breath which carries the essences of Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, and to a lesser extent Bob Dylan. It has its own unique voice though with engages from the first song with its whispered passion and concise play through to the final track of the album.

Next up Avalanche Girl is a stroll of jangling guitars and the Midwestern sensibility which pervades the whole release. It is a warm and melodic piece of country pop which easily slips through the ear with an infectious gait to its classy walk.

The Stones like I’m Your Man with its southern twang, the Traveling Wilburys toned Cornfield Palace, and Brand New Heart Of Stone, a resonating song with a Neil Young whispering, all treat the ear and emotions to skilfully crafted and heated slices of classic America. They are songs with a mesmeric quality without being overly infectious but sure to light up smiles on all who relish americana and country rock at its best.

Of all the songs the excellent Cruel Love Ways had these resistant intentions wrapped up in blissful satisfaction with its vibrant heart and rock energy. A song to easily lose oneself within, it is the best track on the album and one which blends the classic aspects of the release with a modern thrust.

Ending with two covers, the first a reworking of the traditional Wisconsin river ballad The Pinery Boy and the other a version of the John Martyn track Bless The Weather, the album is a sure fire heart pleaser for all with an americana and country rock passion, and to be honest it even had moments which had these muscular preferring preferences feeling nothing but enjoyment.

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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