Crawling and romancing the shadows with Gnostic Gorilla

Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gnostic Gorilla is a dark electronic project which wears unpredictability as easily as imagination in its ear gripping sound. Recently we had the chance and pleasure to talk about the solo project with creator Dean Mason, exploring its origins and music amongst many things as well as picking at Dean’s thoughts about music in general.

Hello Dean and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Thank you. My pleasure!

Can you first introduce the project and give us some background to how it all started?

Sure. As a teenager, I began exploring the idea of recording music. I was of course a major day tripper…I mean…day dreamer. Hahahahaha! So I ventured out to record two songs, Dark Hallway and Golgotha for a single. I had some excellent musicians join me in the studio (Dave Davidson, Tony Bourdeau, Shaun Saunders and Chris Byrnes) and with the help of my parents I released the 45 rpm under the so called label name “Lonely Ghost Productions”. That was my first experiment with recording music. I left it at that and went to school to find some sort of career. In 2012, I returned to recording, as a hobby and recorded exclusively electronic music with a dark bent. (Gothic/Dark Wave/Industrial) I released a few singles on iTunes etc. and then in 2015 I released the first album (St. Basil’s Asylum) using the project name “Gnostic Gorilla”. Before that I was using the project name “The Lonely Ghost Project” but that changed once I learnt there was an American band called “The Lonely Ghost Parade”. I wanted to avoid confusion. So that’s a brief history of “Gnostic Gorilla”.

What inspired the name “Gnostic Gorilla”?

As I mentioned earlier, initially my project was called “The Lonely Ghost Project” but I changed it to “Gnostic Gorilla”. I had a song called Gnostic Gorilla (now renamed Eye for a Lie) and I decided to use that name for the project. The idea behind the name is a sort of convergence of two world views: the religious ‘creation’ story and Darwin’s theory of evolution. “Gnostic” means “knowledge” or “to know”. That is a reference to the “tree of knowledge”. Obviously, “Gorilla” is in reference to the idea that we evolved from some sort of ‘ape’ species (not specifically the Gorilla of course) and here we are. “Gnostic Gorilla” is not about Gnosticism as some may think.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the project and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

In many ways a lot of it was allowing the creative process to dictate where I wanted the project to go and how I wanted to sound. I started off doing simply instrumental/soundtrack type recordings. Then I decided to try and do a complete song with lyrics/vocals. The first song I did as part of this new electronic music pursuit was a song called Requiem for the Prophet of Doom which was a tribute to Peter Steele of Type O Negative who passed away in 2010. There were two versions of that track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEnSgqaI3JA & https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0N7Uxzg7ac

That was released under the name “Dean Mason of The Lonely Ghost Project”, as singles. Soon after this, I began to really become more interested in a sound that was more industrial and Gothic or Dark Wave and eventually after a few more singles I recorded St. Basil’s Asylum which is now rereleased by Cleopatra Records. Most of my music has been industrial or Gothic since then.

Do the same sparks still drive the project or have they evolved over time and equally since your early days, how would you say your sound has specifically evolved?

Sort of continuing on from the previous question…yeah…there was definitely an ‘evolution’ of sorts. I look back on what I did in 2012 and some of it doesn’t send me far, with the exception of Nietzsche’s Cyborg. I will always be proud of that song. It was a game changer. It’s on St. Basil’s Asylum even though it was recorded in the fall of 2012 and St. Basil’s Asylum was released in 2015 and then rereleased by Cleopatra Records in 2018. But back on track here, I guess for me, I became more interested in an abrasive and weird industrial sound. (Psalm for the Lost was actually more of a retro Goth/New Wave type deal though) My latest album, Freak’s Mind is in my opinion one of my strongest in many ways. The next album to be released by Cleopatra Records (Shaman Rave) will blow your socks off! Promise!

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

A bit of both… I don’t want to be boxed into a specific genre to be honest. So, I go through phases where I really like menacing and weird industrial and then other times I prefer a more velvety Goth or Doom Psychedelic type mood in my music. I have been inspired not only by other artists but also by some soundtracks like, the soundtrack for Sinister which is absolutely mind numbing! So sometimes I watch a movie like that or like Queen of the Damned and it gives me inspiration. So, yeah, there is an evolution of sorts but I never deviate too far from being a dark electronic act.

Presumably there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on your music but your approach to and ideas about creating and playing music?

Well, one of my first inspirations would be Gary Numan. I mean, I was a huge KISS fan when I was still in diapers hahaha …but Numan was the one that inspired me to consider doing my own thing in music. That said, I don’t write and record in the style of Numan. I owe more to Ministry, Skinny Puppy and Rammstein as far as recording style goes. I also am very much inspired by Peter Steele of Type O Negative and Jim Morrison of The Doors, especially for their unique lyrical style. Did you know that the first time the term ‘Goth or Gothic’ was used in reference to a rock band was when someone did a review of The Doors, the day after (or close anyway) that Morrison had met Andy Warhol? Anyway…I owe a lot of gratitude to Nash The Slash for being an inspiration as an indie artist as well.

Is there a certain process to your songwriting?

I usually begin a track with a general idea of the kind of mood/style I want to pursue. Then, usually, the song ends up being something totally different than want I first imagined. I usually start with either synth riffs/loops and/or beats/drum patterns and build from there. Kind of difficult to explain how a song evolves and usually I look back and think, “how did I even come up with this”?

… And where do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Many of my songs address the human struggle. I never write ‘love’ songs or ‘sex in the corvette’ songs…there are ample of those so …why compete right? I usually write in sort of ‘mystical’ story form. I use a lot of imagery and I allow the listener/reader (of lyrics) to decide for themselves what it means to them, even though I may have a specific idea in mind. I often use religious imagery and also imagery of ‘battles’ or ‘war’ but not in the sense that they are LITERALLY about armed combat. The imagery of ‘battle’ is more of an emotional/psychological journey of that inner struggle. I use a lot of religious imagery, but I don’t push ANY sort of religious point of view…for or against. Again, I let people decide for themselves what any song could mean. I address the issue of mental illness and depression and even the tendency for despair. I don’t encourage ‘despair’ but that experience of wondering where there is hope is quite universal. As well, I often, in veiled language, address the ‘tribalism’ that we humans seem to cling to. I have a real personal distaste for hatred of any kind and the world is full of that. Religious people bashing and rejecting others for being ‘different’ or of the ‘wrong tribe’ and all the bigotry and racism and all the phobias that still exist in a so called ‘evolved’ modern world. That ‘tribalism’ isn’t just from those of a religious persuasion but it also exists among ,many ‘atheists’ and ‘secularists’ who can be just as hateful towards those of the ‘other tribe’. We just don’t know how to leave each other be do we?! Hatred of any kind is for the birds. Wait…not even the birds want it!

Give us some background to your latest release.

The latest release is Freak’s Mind. It’s very abrasive and weird and even at times ‘gothadelic’ (a term coined by Peter Steele by the way). That album is the album that wasn’t supposed to be. I never really wanted to record anything new but one song at a time, and I ended up recording an album’s worth of dark wave/industrial/Gothic madness and I’m really proud of this album. It touches on all those subjects I mentioned earlier. Womb To The Tomb is one of my favourites on that album. It’s a strange combo of wild 60’s psychedelic with raging industrial sounds. Veil is a powerful song, which was recorded in 2013 actually. It’s a good album and I’m not the type that easily says things like that about my own music.

Could you give us some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?

Womb to The Tomb is about the cycle of life more or less, but also looks at the life of a corrupt village and all its citizens, including the powerful who take advantage and the victims who are taken advantage of. It’s kind of inspired by modern day events, without being specific. Chaos Frankenstein is sort of a ‘mystical’ telling of conflict and chaos and suffering and deception. Finally, (I won’t dissect every song) Freak’s Mind, the title track, is more or less about someone struggling with some sort of psychological or emotional turmoil.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

At present, Gnostic Gorilla is not planning on any live shows. I’d need to lasso a bunch of musicians to do that and I don’t see it happening. I don’t think so anyway…Maybe a one off someday.

It is not easy for any new act/artist to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands/artists?

You’re so right. It’s not easy. I mean, as far as having an impact is concerned. It’s a different world… a different industry and there are many factors that make it very difficult to make a dent anywhere, even locally…especially if you’re in a bigger city. Technology and the age of communication (social media) make it so that anyone can set themselves up and do music and even videos and put it out there. It makes for a VERY clogged reality in cyberspace. There is SO much out there. Everyone wants to be considered the next big thing…Fair game. But here’s the thing, it’s all been done. After KISS and Sabbath, and Manson and Depeche Mode and Numan and NIN, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Ice T, Eminem, Shaggy, Run DMC etc. …how does one come up with a unique style? I don’t want to be a pessimist but let’s be realistic. It’s VERY difficult to make a dent because it’s almost impossible to snap people out of an oversaturated “yawn…I’ve seen it all before” mindset. You can’t impress people easily. You can barely shock people unless you are involved in some sort of controversy or are pretty like a Barbie/Ken doll. Legends/pioneers are no longer being made and I know that would piss a lot of people off to hear that, but it’s true. As for my own situation, I must confess that as I proud Canadian, I am very unimpressed with the way I’ve been treated by the reps/labels in Canada. I have a label deal with Cleopatra Records (LA) for two albums, a deal with KL-Dark Records in Germany and Nowhere Now Records in Australia and have never even received a reply from the Canadian labels I sent music to. Kind of disappointing but I guess they’re all waiting for the second coming or RUSH or Justin Bieber or Gordon Lightfoot.

How has the internet and social media impacted on your project to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the project grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands/artists struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

As I said before, the world has changed dramatically in more ways than one. The internet and social media have forever changed MANY things, not just music. Look at what it’s done to the world of politics! (not always for the better) Even the Pope has a presence on social media. Hahahaha. But more specifically related to the music industry…it’s a mixed bag I suppose. It’s great to promote one’s music/art but also you’re not the only one doing it. Millions are doing it. With regards to the reality of ‘streaming’ though, as an example…that too is a combination of blessing and curse. What’s happening is people don’t feel like buying music is even a concept. It’s not their fault. It’s the way things evolved. (There’s that word again…hahahaha) Younger people grew up knowing nothing else and so, even the concept of music as art is kind of challenged. It’s rarely seen as ‘art’ and just part of the regular noise and scenery of cyberspace all mixed in with the latest ‘app’. It’s like music is there for the taking the way fruit on trees is there for the taking…it’s just a part of the way life goes. It’s all there to snatch and rarely pay much more than a standard monthly fee or something and have unlimited music. Hey, I do it myself, so I’m not criticizing. Also, it needs to be said, with reference to struggling artists: there are also different organizations that promise ‘hi-fi mega stardom’ for a fee! Some of these take advantage of artists, even some of the big labels have jumped on that bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, there are some decent, honest organizations that genuinely want to assist struggling artists, but there are also a lot of vultures out there cashing in on Wendy and Charlie’s dreams of “making it”. I guess in the end, like anything else, it’s what you do with it right? Maybe it’s just another challenge for artists to be creative, even with regards to promoting and marketing.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

It is I who thank you! All I can say is that if you are a struggling artist…be true to the art, to being creative. I know that sounds like hippie bullshit, but it’s true. As soon as your goal is to become a ‘celebrity’ you’re setting yourself up for deception. Don’t dream about being a ‘star’. Instead, be creative and express yourself and be true to yourself…regardless of who does and who doesn’t approve. The rest will follow because in the end, authenticity speaks louder than the need to be ‘worshipped’. That’s what I believe.

Explore Gnostic Gorilla further @ https://www.facebook.com/gnosticgorilla/

Also grab your copy of the Various Artists Compilation album, Nowhere Now Volume 2 on Nowhere Now Records @ https://nowherenowrecords.bandcamp.com/album/nowhere-now-volume-2    featuring Last Call (Heed The Drones) by Gnostic Gorilla

Pete RingMaster 12/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Impulsive Compulsions PPCO SAMPLER02

This month sees the next issue of the ever irresistible In The Club Magazine, the online celebration of all things DIY by Herts based Indie label Perfect Pop Co Op. This copy also includes the second volume of Impulsive Compulsions, a free album presenting more sounds and members of the Perfect Pop Co Op family in their enterprising glory.

As its predecessor, the album is a tantalising and intriguing not forgetting rousing proposition and reminder that the real heart and organic pleasures within music still breed and reside in the DIY fuelled underground. In no particular order allow us to tease you with what is on offer within another real treat from Perfect Pop Co Op, well a second treat as the magazine itself is a rather fine and fun thing too.

Earlier this year, ears and imagination were over excited by the new EP from She Made Me Do It. The band is the duo of Shaheena Dax (Rachel Stamp) and Will Crewdson (Rachel Stamp, Adam Ant, Scant Regard and many more) and the Drenched EP four tracks of their uniquely seductive and multi-flavoured ever blossoming sound. Impulsive Compulsions 02 features one of the EP’s tracks in Broken Morning; a song from its first strum of tantalising guitar which had ears attentive and then swiftly enslaved as it opened its magnetic arms to a richer sound and the mesmeric tones of Dax. Instinctive catchiness and creative eagerness roam the song, sharing a contagious indie rock swing around one compellingly persuasive chorus. Irresistible moments with She Made Me Do It are certainly not a rare thing but few times have been as delicious as this.

 Alongside and around it, the goodness is just as potent as epitomised by tracks like I’ve Had Enough and Superslider from Tagas and Venus Overload respectively. The first is a lively simmer of electro pop rock, a bubbling slice of melodic radiance echoed in similarly warm vocals, a track which just nags at the senses with its teasing harmonics. Tagas is a solo project, an intimate exploration and reflection of its creator and the track here an embrace of melancholy and warmth with a great early Depeche Mode hue to its temptation. The second of the two is a band which released a self-titled album back in 2012 from which their contribution to the sampler comes. Their sound is a collusion of experimental and noise rock, a challenging and rewarding mix which had us mesmerised. It is raw, abrasive and persistently compelling with a great whiff of Buñuel to it.

No compilation from PPCO would be complete without a track from Reverse Family, and Sampler 02 offers up Friction from the solo project of Dermot Illogical. Melancholy also soaks the heart of this song, it a riveting piece of the individual post punk meets noise pop which escapes the imagination of its creator. The track haunts ears and imagination from start to finish but with an infectious momentum which infests hips and spirit.

Another electronically bred enticement is offered by The Scratch, the Logical PV Remix itself almost itch like in its temptation; repeat listens the only relief to its electro/indie pop antics while Andreas And The Wolf course the instincts to rock with their own wonk punk sound. Public Domain is a sizzling lure of unapologetically untamed rock ‘n’ roll but crafted with a mischief and imagination which hones it into one devilish tempting.

Even more feral in its own way is Valerie Leon (Queen of Neon) from The Bleeed, a band arising from the offshoot creativity of members of The Tuesday Club a couple years back and a song which is punk rock in its honest purity but unafraid to embrace other bold essences including a Swell Maps-esque irreverence.

Talking of The Tuesday Club, they stamp their inimitable presence on proceedings with an extended mix of their song Beat Oven. First appearing on the Boo Hoo EP, the now fully grown track is a boisterously swinging slip of the band’s eclectic rock ‘n’ roll, a sound which dips into the spices of a host of decades to create its own unique virulent recipe.

The D.O.D.O tell us it is Just a Game to stand just as tall as its sampler comrades, the song one also unafraid to lean on flavours past and present to create its provocative incitement and ear grabbing catchiness; an infectiousness just as ripe within the electronic resounding of Interesting Times from Dislocated Flowers. A dark, haunting verging on apocalyptic throb behind an evocative sample, the track simply resonates from first to last breath.

Completing the line-up of pleasure on the album is Jordan Thomas (though tagged as In The Evening on the promo sent over to us) from Jordan Thomas maybe better known as J-Rod to fans as a former member of The Tuesday Club. This too is an infective piece of sound, Thomas easily getting under the skin with his melodic amble of enterprise and craft.

And that is Impulsive Compulsions PPCO SAMPLER02, another very tasty and highly pleasurable parade of bands and projects past and present so go check out the new In The Club Magazine now @ https://perfectpopco-op.co.uk/magazine/ after all that is a damn fine read too.

https://www.facebook.com/perfectpopcoop/

https://www.shemmdi.com/   https://www.facebook.com/shemademedoitpage

https://www.facebook.com/tagasmusic/

https://thevenusoverload.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/reversefamily/   https://reversefamily.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/thisisthetuesdayclub/   http://thisisthetuesdayclub.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/dislocatedflowersmusic

Pete RingMaster 05/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Moonshot – Last Train Home

Try tracking them down in Google and UK bred Moonshot is an eagerly evasive proposition but musically they are one warmly welcoming pleasure especially courtesy of new album, Last Train Home.

Consisting of Dan Kent and Rich Wolfe, Moonshot is an electronica weaving melancholy embracing duo which have been no strangers to praise and recognition through previous releases. Last Train Home is our introduction to their sound which has been described as “Depeche Mode meets Pet Shop Boys and Hurts at Massive Attack’s house party!” You may easily add other eighties nurtured artists to that list yet the London and Margate hailing pair have a sound which is as potently individual as it is at ease revealing its likely inspirations. With radiance burning vocal harmonies and a melodic enterprise which almost physically resonates through every vein of the band’s writing, their new album has proved an unexpected and at times breath-taking treat.

It opens with the lively shimmer of Winter Within, instantly alluring electronic dew glimmering in ears before the song springs into its creative canter around falsetto set vocals. As another burst of energy is triggered, the duo’s truly captivating harmonic union descends perfectly tempered by the darker tone and pulsation of rhythms. Contagion soaks every aspect of the track, its lushness and shadowed intimation a cradle for the band’s vocal prowess and its own suggestiveness.

The following Winter Will Pass is a warmer glaze to the slight chill of its predecessor, again a crystalline soundscape conjured this time with a hue easy to hear why Depeche Mode has especially been mentioned in reference to the Moonshot sound. It too has a dark breath to its often cool caresses and is just as inescapably entrancing before the melancholic sombre of Dark Clouds floats across the senses and imagination. Kent and Wolfe are a sunspot of harmonious beauty, their vocal craft and ethereal dynamics the real sun and heart of the album but as here keenly backed by the understanding adventure and at times climatic contrast of their music. Like a fusion of The Radioactive Grandma and Ladytron the song is irresistible.

The steelier presence of next up Too Much makes just as potent an impression with its rockier ambience soaked saunter, guitars and synths gently swinging to the earnest croon of the vocals while Speak No Words offers a cinematic allusion to its shadow hearted intimacy. The latter also has an instinctive catchiness in its belly which erupts in a chorus which simply beguiles from within the song’s otherwise darkly lit slightly heavy climate. To be honest there are so many major highlights within Last Train Home, and though this may not consistently be one for personal tastes that chorus is aural alchemy.

Illuminations has its own distinct drama, its initial melodic crystals subsequently discoloured and revitalised by the dark atmospheric shadows and headier heavier touch of evocative rhythms. Vocals counter the song’s bold trespass with their usual harmonic radiation, seeping under the skin and into the imagination as richly as the apocalyptic theatre around them.

We did not take to the album’s title track as keenly as other songs yet its melodic luminance as unsurprisingly the band’s vocal enticement is impossible to gloss over as it entices on its way to passing satisfied ears over to Hunting Down the Hunter. You would not say the track was predatory but it definitely has a certain dark edge to its tone and touch even as its dance and infection creating instincts collude and escape into a broadening landscape of persuasion.

The final pair of The Way To Go, a caress of acoustic guitar and vocal reflection within an electronic misting which in certain moments rises to its dramatic feet with compelling tenacity, and the similarly accomplished Angels in the Snow ensures the album’s conclusion is a hug of captivation. The closer is a fascinating slice of storytelling adding just another dark meets light shade to the album’s creative landscape.

Truthfully we did not expect to enjoy Last Train Home anywhere as much as we did due to that fusion of comparisons earlier mentioned, but it was a surprise we have only greedily devoured. There is every chance you will too especially if electronic, pop, harmonic, and atmospheric enterprise is your particular treat.

Last Train Home is available now via F&G Records @ https://fandg.me/independent-label/shop

https://twitter.com/m00nshot

Pete RingMaster 06/09/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Dark Stares – Darker Days Are Here To Stay

With a clutch of praise wearing EP’s already under their belt UK outfit Dark Stares have now raised the ante with their debut album. Continuing the open evolution of their sound across those previous encounters, Darker Days Are Here To Stay is a release which maybe smoulders more than roars but like the band’s previous releases, just captivates but with an even greater depth of adventure and seduction.

The St Albans band’s individual alternative rock tempts like a fusion of Muse and Queens Of The Stone Age but equally has drawn references to the likes of Wolfmother, Royal Blood, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. Formed in 2011, the quartet released their first EP, Tell Your Friends, the following year. Its well-received introduction to the band has been built upon in sound and success across the likes of Octopon and Soul Contract as well as a host an eagerly supported singles. Self-produced, Darker Days Are Here To Stay continues the band’s DIY intent with a raw magnetism and organic radiance which just commands attention.

The album opens up with Liquid Reign and a sonic limbo from which a swagger gaited groove, firm beats, and the tantalising voice of Miles Kristian Howell emerge. The track settles into an infectious swing entwined in heated sonic vines as that initial groove continues to wind around ears and appetite. Crystaline in its melody, crisp in its rhythms, the song is a warm yet invasive seduction as catchy as it is hauntingly provocative.

The following Sweet Rider 5 is also the band’s new single, a track similarly woven to the first but with a fiery lining to its golden glaze and a whiff of latter day Depeche Mode to its air. The guitar of Harry Collins casts another alluring web of sound and heat; tendrils of enterprise which tease rather than entangle the imagination but have it alive all the same as the dark tone of Brett Harland Howell’s bass and the urge of Taylor Howell’s beats tempt the body.  So absorbing it feels much shorter than it really is, the track still ends too quickly but Pedal Pusher soon has all focus on its fuzzy, enticing saunter. An electronic grumble adds inventive shadow to the mesmeric charms of guitar and harmonies and equally a raw edge courting intrigue and dark melancholy to contrast the radiance on offer.

Darker Days is next, its electronic scuzz even deeper and dirtier than in its predecessor to accentuate the candescent sounds wrapping broad and intimate shadows. Richly captivating with its own individually bold sway, the song wears the scent of post punk and neo-psychedelia in its creative sigh; a The Jesus and Mary Chain meets The House of Love kind of wash adding to its rich pull before Animal floats in on a sonic breeze. Its climate is soon a sweltering embrace easily luring ears and imagination to its exotic heart and bluesy drama. It is a track which epitomises the album, making a strong and potent first impression but only glowing brighter with every listen.

Across the likes of the more volatile rock ‘n’ roll of Ordinary Way with its scuzzy touch and unpredictable air and the irresistible Hips Don’t Shake the album just drew us deeper into its grasp. The first of the two did not connect as thickly as other tracks but its successor more than compensated with its addictive twists and infectious almost mischievous character. There is a constant Josh Homme like hue to songs if mostly a mere dash of colour but makes for a compelling ingredient in the album’s best moment.

Cruise Control equally dips into that spicing for its raw harmonic roar, Muse-esque spatial hues fusing with the song’s sonic fuzziness while So Good serenades from within its cavernous heart. The second is a tapestry of imagination, every move unexpected yet instantly embraceable as the lucent croon of the song envelops ears and a by now greedy appetite.

The pair of Their Game and Feels (So Sad) bring the album to a beguiling close with their respective indie rock and hypnotic glow of melancholic yet lustrous beauty. They complete a release which just captivates but with moments that had us drooling. Even so we still have the feeling that Dark Stares has not come close to finding the boundaries of their sound and that makes the anticipation for their next release as strong as the enjoyment found with Darker Days Are Here To Stay.

Darker Days Are Here To Stay is out now through iTunes and other stores.

https://www.darkstares.com/   https://www.facebook.com/DarkStares/   https://twitter.com/dark_stares

Pete RingMaster 22/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Lotus Interview

The Lotus is a rock band with its roots in Italy but is currently based in Manchester, UK. It is also a creative adventure which embraces an array of flavours and styles in “a visionary and characterful musical journey”. With a new album in the works, we threw a host of questions at the band to discover its beginnings, latest release, what fuels their creativity and more…

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

Hi everyone and thank you for interviewing The Lotus. The band started in 2004 when first Rox met Luca: we initially began playing some covers as many kids do but we immediately realised we wanted more and we immediately started working on some ideas and riffs.

That’s how it started really: in 2008 Kristal and Marco joined the band and that was the real start of a professional band as we decided to record and release our first album, which eventually came out in 2011.

Have you been or are involved in other bands? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?

Apart from Luca, actually all of us are still playing with many other bands! Mostly metal and rock bands though and I think that always influenced our music in same way.

Rox is playing with Italian prog rockers InnerShine and UK progressive metal band Prospekt, and also with pop folk singer and songwriter named Sukh. Marco is the drummer of two of the most famous Italian metal and rock bands, which are Elvenking and Hell In The Club, and Kristal is the lead singer of melodic death metal band called Lost Resonance Found.

What inspired the band name?

The band’s name was chosen randomly by our first guitarist who was in love with R.E.M.’s song Lotus. We liked it and we realised then, that it was the perfect name for us. A few months later we also found out its meaning of purity and rebirth and we realised that was the name we really wanted.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As we said before, as soon as we got confident in playing together we immediately started to feel the need of composing our own songs and being rock stars! LOL

Regarding the sound, well, that’s a tricky one: we have never had an established sound or a path we wanted to follow, we just write songs we like and lyrics from experience and feelings we have during our own life.

If you listen to our songs you can really understand there’s something that binds everything which is not the genre.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We would say we’ve evolved as musicians and composers rather than our music’s evolved. We’re still writing what we want, without any boundary and we love what we’re doing: we’re just better in what and how we play and write!

Has the growth within the band in music, experiment etc. been an organic process or more the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

We always wanted to try new things so actually nothing’s changed since 2004 from this side: probably being mature musicians affected our way to play and compose music and you can probably hear that on our latest releases.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

We grew up with completely different music backgrounds and this colourful music palette brought the unique sound we have today. We are big fans of Queen and Muse, as you might have already understood :), but also Pink Floyd, Metallica, System Of A Down, U2, Depeche Mode, or even some heavier stuff like Slipknot.

Is there a particular process to the songwriting within the band?

Normally Rox brings the main ideas and Luca some lyrics inspiration: back to our earlier days we used to mainly compose our songs in the rehearsal room but now, thanks to technology we often produce full demos on the computer.

We actually have to do this way also because Marco and Kristal are living in Italy and rehearsing would be definitely not very much affordable. 🙂

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Lyrics are mostly inspired by our everyday experiences and translated into a more poetic and hermetic way.

We talk about love and death, and human life: as we do for our music, we don’t have any limit in our lyrics’ themes as well!

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

We’ve released our latest EP in June 2015 just before we moved to the UK. Its name is Awakening and is actually a mini concept album. It’s an ambient Prog Rock opera which will delve into your inner core.

We are currently producing our new album with Muse early producer Paul Reeve (Showbiz), and we have already released three new singles: Mars-X, Perfect Love and Five Days To Shine. They are very different from our past works, simpler song structures, more melodic but still very ‘creative’. Someone said: ‘If Muse and Deftones met in a pub and had a cheeky couple of Sambucca’s and hit the town and ended the night with a ride on a spaceship, that’s exactly what this song sounds like.’

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Our latest song, Five Days To Shine, is very personal and we think the more you listen to it (or watch the video) the more you understand that. It basically talks about a man who waits for five days to know his fate with his girl. He thinks that’ll be alright but he knows the future isn’t bright.

We made the video representing this man as a kind of ‘creator’, who’s trying everything to restore what he’s lost but eventually he gives up. We filmed it in a stunning place in Manchester called Hulme Hyppodrome.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We used to go into the studio with rough demos and we’ve always struggled to work with limited time. That’s why now we tend to basically go to record with all the songs pretty much finished, so that we can concentrate on instruments’ sound and performances.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We’d define our live shows as heavy metal. Even though our music is mainly rock, The Lotus as a live act is more energetic, more aggressive. I think that’s one of our main strengths. We have played more than 120 shows in our career but we’re definitely looking for doubling it within the next few years!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

We are coming from a different background which is in Italy, so we’ve definitely found a more fertile place to keep on growing our seeds.

However, these days it seems more and more difficult to have a solid fan base which follows you everywhere ‘physically’ and not only on social media.

If you’re not convinced on what you’re doing it’s better you choose another job!

Talking of social media, how has the internet impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?

We think internet and social media are both good and bad thing.

They really give anyone the opportunity to get out from the anonymity and be the star you always wanted to be, but the problem starts when music is not enough anymore. You really need to let everyone come into your life. Everyone must know who you are, what you are doing, when you are doing it. Even all the pretty small things you want to keep secret; just let them go and share them with everyone. We find this a bit scary but that’s what it is now, so you have to get used to it. And we are getting used to it!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

2018 will bring a lot of new things: we will go back to the studio to finish recording the album between March and April. Then we are expecting to release the fourth single as soon as we have everything in its place and the album immediately after that. If you want to be updated on what we’re doing you can visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thelotusofficial  or our website www.the-lotus.com . Thank you!

Pete RingMaster 08/02/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

The Sourheads – Care Plan For The Soul

Since forming in the Spring of 2016, UK rockers The Sourheads has drawn increasing attention and support through their live presence, singles, and most of all their dirty, multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll. Now the band has added another accelerant to their emergence with the release of debut album Care Plan For The Soul. Offering nine slices of rowdy but skilfully woven incitement embracing classic and fresh rock diversity, the release thrusts the listener into a grubby cellar of salacious intent and irreverent sound; a temptation the body gets the urge to dance to and appetite the need to increasingly devour.

Hailing from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, The Sourheads embrace an array of inspirations in their sound ranging from Deep Purple, Kasabian and The Doors to Kyuss and Clutch. It is a web of punk and garage to psych and classic rock which is just as grungy as it is melodically enticing and within Care Plan For The Soul an incitement which makes a potent first impression but really grows in persuasion listen by listen. Mastered by Pete Maher (The Rolling Stones, Depeche Mode, U2), the album swiftly grabs ears and appetite with opener Demon. Straight away it is enticingly grumbling in ears, bass and riffs an irritable lure soon bound in sonic tendrils as familiar and new endeavours collude in the blossoming growl capped by the slightly gnarly tones of Jake Coxon. The bass of Ben Taylor continues to be a belligerent presence in the caustic captivation, guitarist Mik Crone and drummer Chris Lambert adding their bold touches to the ever evolving roar maybe best described as Turbonegro meets The Senton Bombs meets Guns n’ Roses.

It is a great start to proceedings which Morally High continues with its spicily grooved stroll. Carrying similar essences and flavours to its predecessor in its own individual way, the track is equally as infectious and magnetic with again classic and modern textures rubbing excitedly again each other within its controlled yet salacious swing. As the music, Coxon has a snarl to his croon, attitude dripping from every syllable and note before My Rock And Roll steps up to coax bad behaviour with its blues skinned devilry entangled in more of the great guitar enterprise which veins the whole of Care Plan For The Soul.

Power Of Addiction shares some of that psychedelic influence next; keys and melodies a sultry tempting while Rag And Bone Man has a great scruffy feel and character to its predacious gait and rhythmically rousing proposal. The song alone sums up the variety of flavours within The Sourheads sound, a host of rock bred essences embroiled in its inescapable command of body and imagination. It all adds up to one of the biggest highlights of the release, one quickly matched by the voracious punk ‘n’ roll of Don’t Get Caught (I Am The Lotus). Like The Stooges and Eddie and The Hot Rods caught in the act by The Vibrators as AC/DC hold the camera, the track is superb, taking best song honours with its manipulative temptations and craft.

Both Secret Cigarette and Warbird take a firm grip of release and listener next, the first an invasive but seductive fire of blues and classic grooves with punk bred kindling while its successor merges sullied rock ‘n’ roll with some of the most addictive melodic hooks and enterprise within the album for another pinnacle. As with many songs, it openly draws on some classic punk hooks and teases but equally shares psych rock imagination for the album’s most imaginative moment to stand alongside its best.

Care Plan For The Soul concludes with Mad Dog, a song rising from an initial Queen/Skid Row like invitation into an invasive and volatile ballad which becomes more captivating by the minute and listen, much as the album itself.  Indeed just as many will take to the release within seconds many others will need time to explore and discover its qualities; the big rewards for the attention we can vouch for as too the finding of a potential of even greater fun and adventure ahead with the Sourheads.

Care Plan For The Soul is available now through Oak Island Records on CD, Vinyl and Digitally.

https://www.thesourheads.com/    https://www.facebook.com/thesourheads    https://thesourheads2.bandcamp.com/

 Pete RingMaster 23/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Lee Murray – Rust

Ok let us first dispense of the elephant in the room. Lee Murray was once the drummer of nineties pop band Let Loose which had a host of hits including Crazy For You but do not hold that against him as you contemplate checking out his new solo single Rust. You will find a song which is an infectious slice of rock pop with a steely edge to its textures and acts like a magnet from start to finish.

Already renowned for his drumming, Murray is equally skilled as a composer and producer. In his own songwriting and solo sound he has drawn on inspirations ranging from Kaiser Chiefs and The Killers to Depeche Mode and Gary Numan, the latter a definite spicing to the single. Equally it has a feel of The Wonderstuff to it especially around one contagious chorus.

Straight away riffs and rhythms tenaciously invite attention, crowding enticingly around Murray’s potent tones as guitars send melodic flames across their bow. It all unites in time for a rigorously catchy surge leading to that vibrant chorus, repeating the cycle with increasing energy and a fervour which reflects the song’s theme of getting sucked into a toxic relationship which is initially exciting, but one where “you’re attracted to the danger and free spirit only to find it becomes destructive”.

We will admit we were surprised by Rust, quickly enamoured, and now rather intrigued to find out if the song is a potent sign of things to come from his solo adventure.

Rust is available to pre-order now and to download from October 6th 2017.

https://www.facebook.com/officialleemurray/    http://twitter.com/leemurraymint

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright