Colours of the blues: exploring King Colobus with vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson

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2017 has started with a bang, certainly in regard to introductions to and debut releases from fresh and truly striking bands. One of those making the biggest impressive impact is UK rockers King Colobus. Recently their self-titled first EP was rebooted into national attention, a release to steal one of the lines in our own review providing a “four-track theatre of blues and alternative rock [which] trespassed and seduced the imagination and passions.”

With thanks to Garry at SaN PR we leapt on the chance to learn more about the EP and its creators with King Colobus vocalist/guitarist Stewart MacPherson also touching on their beginnings and other aspects of being in a band…

Hi, thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

Your bio says the band officially began in 2015 but I believe its origins and seeds began long before then. Tell us about its beginnings and lead up to stepping out as King Colobus.

The first ideas started in a 3 piece band called BIBLE JOHN AND THE REPTILES, which included me (Stewart), GRIFTER bassist Phil Harris and former BROTHERHOOD OF THE LAKE drummer Rich Robinson. We spent months rehearsing and just before taking things live, Rich started to have back problems. The whole thing capitulated until James Bailes moved back to the South West. He and I had jammed out demos and worked together on various projects when we both lived in London. We got together and started to share ideas that we thought really deserved a life…and so KING COLOBUS was born.

The re-location to Devon of yourself and James from London seems to have been one of the sparks to the birth of King Colobus. Was that just coincidence or there was something you found down there, apart from meeting Gavin and Simon, which instigated the band?

The main thing that changed for both James and I was fatherhood. We both wanted our kids to grow up in a better environment and having both come from the South West, I guess this felt like the best option. There is also a great opportunity down here to create an alternative music scene. It has been blighted for far too long with tribute bands and folk music and venues like THE JUNCTION are starting to put alternative music firmly on the map again. There’s a lot of talent down here, but it just needs to get its fair share of the opportunities.

kc2_RingMasterReviewIs there a specific meaning or inspiration to the band’s name?

A King Colobus is a monkey that changes colour when coming out of childhood. I found this intriguing.

It is fair to say that your sound is a tapestry woven from a variety of musical textures and styles. How would you describe it to newcomers?

I would say that it is very much rooted to blues, with a heavy dose of trucker rock and grunge. There are so many pleasant, yet sometimes surprising comments we get from people regarding what they can hear in us, we encourage you to listen and draw your own conclusions!

Is there any particular inspiration you would say has helped shape your music as a band and individually?

I think if you heard 3 or 4 of our tracks, you would hear elements of Sabbath, Alice in Chains, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, Interpol, and Johnny Cash…but to name a few. The likes of Bowie, Radiohead, and Morrissey have always provided a lot of lyrical inspiration, as they tend to tell stories that interest and make you dig a bit deeper into what is being said.

You recently re-released your self-titled EP to swift acclaim it has to be said. How did you approach its uncaging this time around compared to its first outing?

When it was first released, we did it just so that people could have something to take home at gigs if they liked us. After a while, it started to get a great response and people started getting in touch to order it online. It was at this point where we thought that it should be given broader exposure.

Can you personally put your finger on why it has caught the imagination of press and fans alike with great force?king-colobus-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

I think PR has a lot to do with it! You can have the best EP in the world, but it needs PR to get heard…then it needs to sound good for people to talk about it!

As broad as its songs in many ways are in sound there is an intimacy at the heart of the EP which suggests certainly lyrically personal experiences provides their seeds. Where do you draw inspiration most often for your tracks?

Everything I sing about is personal, or it is based upon something I know about. Sometimes looking at personal experiences of those who are closest to me provides for a better story. There’s no point in talking about California if you get me.

How does the songwriting predominantly work within the band?

Most songs are written acoustically at first. I perform solo acoustic gigs around the South West and ‘test’ things out before approaching the band with the idea. It’s a great way to test out the dynamics of a song, without the frills. I think it also helps us all to look at each track from a different perspective, without some massive riff dominating the landscape.

Can you give us some background to the tracks within the EP and their themes? king-colobus-cover-artwork_RingMasterReview

GET UP was actually written around the time of the 2012 Olympics. I lived in Hackney Wick at the time, so it was right on my doorstep. The track was based on the idea of it being used for Olympic Games footage. Needless to say, it didn’t, but it still made for a good track!

The self-titled KING COLOBUS track is based on my teenage years in Plymouth, so it’s a very personal outlook on my experiences throughout the nineties.

TITS AND TEETH is generally about how disposable the music industry has become and how we find ourselves absorbed by TV judging panels, who apparently know what they are doing.

WAIT is borne from a political platform. We keep on telling ourselves that if we vote a different way, things are going to change for the better. We need to believe this to keep going, but it’s far from the truth.

Live you have shared stages with the likes of with Sea Sick Steve, Band Of Skulls, Crazy Arm, and one of our favourites De Staat and that alone shows the diverse appeal of your sound. What is it you think about the band in sound and live which tempts such an array of artists and their fans into the world of King Colobus?

I think good music will always be just that and hopefully we have gained some new fans through doing our best to put on a good show when we play live. All of these bands are genuine, as are we.

Talking of Sea Sick Steve, the last time we saw him highlighted the trend it seems of people going to shows not so much to watch the artist but to socialise, certainly at higher profile events and venues. The sound of chatting often intruded on the music. If you have come across this, how as a band do you mentally deal with it on stage?

I think it’s our job to try and capture the audience’s attention. If we don’t, we need to do something about that! Sea Sick Steve was a really nice guy to talk to and he gave us so much great advice; I wish I brought a notepad! At the end of the day, you are in a bubble when you are in a band, so audience chatter really doesn’t bother me if it happens…but it rarely does!

What is next for King Colobus live and release wise?

We are just starting to branch out of the South West, as we are really keen to get involved in other musical pockets around the country. We’ve been busy scheduling this, as well as festival dates. As we deal with this ourselves, it is quite challenging. We also go into the studio again this Summer to record another 4 track EP, so this will be out way before the end of the year.

Big thanks again for talking with us. Anything you would like to add?

If there are any towns/cities which would like to see King Colobus, let us know!

Check out our review of the debut King Colobus EP @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/king-colobus-self-titled-ep/

http://www.kingcolobus.com/    https://www.facebook.com/kingcolobus/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Brain Pyramid – Chasma Hideout

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As impressive debut albums go, Chasma Hideout from French psych rockers Brain Pyramid is right up there amongst the most enthralling and scintillating propositions. The seven track sonic exploration is a transfixing adventure of ear bending, mind warping psychedelic revelry, but one equally bred on the finest stoner rock grooving and experimental mischievousness. At times it feels like one massive glorious jam but throughout there is an enterprise and inventiveness which just as potently leaves senses basking and passions greedy. If the album is your introduction to Brain Pyramid, be prepared for one ruggedly spellbinding ride.

The Rennes band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo drawing on inspirations from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, Motorhead, and Blue Cheer alongside those of Kyuss, Sleep, Nebula, Earthless, and Orange Goblin. Last year’s well received Magic Carpet Ride EP put ears and attention on notice but now with bassist Ronan Grall of Huata alongside the founding duo, Brain Pyramid is ready to really stir things up with their thrilling offering.a0031606373_2

The earth bound spatial adventure is started by Living in the Outer Space, a country twang and kick over of a truck engine the lift off to a groove driven flight through sultry skies and flaming sonic landscape. Instantly riffs draw a raw canvas framed by an unpredictable rhythmic incitement. It is a compelling coaxing but it is the similarly unpolished vocals and senses entwining grooves which brings the strongest colour to the contagion. A flirtation with a noir wrapped jazzy seduction provides a new twist of pleasure before the fiery surface and enterprise of the song re-establishes a forceful and gripping presence. Continuing to surprise and enthral, the song is a sizzling and immersive treat but only the beginning of the fun.

The following Lazy instantly unveils its funk seeded heat and tenacity, the lure bubbling with relish and energy the more the song reveals itself. Grooves and rhythms make a flavoursome embrace whilst the bass with its throaty temptation offers intriguing shadow soaked hues. It is a roaring blaze of melodic and sonic toxicity, the song worming under the skin through the excellent slightly deranged craft of Lainé and the irresistible heavy stoner-esque stroll of the track. Its success is soon surpassed by the even hotter creative breath and climate of Landing on the Pyramind. Soaked in tenacious and intensive blues flavouring, the song twists and entwines ears with serpentine agility through scorching grooves and another deliciously imposing bass tone. It is a big boned temptress with all the moves and invention to enrapture anyone with a lust for dirty riffs, thunderous rhythms, and caustic sonic beauty.

The pair of Lucifer and Twin Headed Giant provides strong individual temptations, the first a mesh of lumbering intensity and sci-fi noise which leads into a smouldering psychedelic wash of sinister persuasion. This in turn slips into something ferocious and fiery, heavyweight riffing and destructive beats punctuating burning grooves; The Doors meets Orange Goblin and Desert Storm if you will. Though it does lack something compared to its predecessors, the track’s dark demonic texture and presence leaves ears enthralled before its successor draws on even stronger seventies psychedelic and heavy rock inspirations to cast its pulsating and pleasingly raw mind-bending adventure. Guitars and keys radiate hallucinogenic sonic colours aligned to a warped imagination whilst rhythms just as voraciously impose upon and stalk the psyche with the gripping cleaner vocal delivery.

  

The song is a fireball of sound but even its qualities and potency cannot match up to the album’s pinnacle, Into the Lightspeed. The instrumental is sensational; an impossibly addictive and infectious stampede of hooks and grooves bound in another seemingly organic and improvised majesty. Its opening is a riotous almost chaotic coaxing which flirts with disaster as eagerly as the senses before settling into a gloriously robust and hungry swagger of rhythms from Gautier-Lorenzo. Every swing resonates through to the bone even when Hammond-esque keys wind around its spine with taunting relish and the bass of Grall adds its own irrepressible throaty resonance. Spicy grooves and deeply rooting hooks are no strangers either as the piece continues to grow and increase its enslavement on ears and emotions. The track is a mind-bending, thought twisting journey and quite brilliant.

   Chasma Hideout sees its title track bring its triumph to a close. Flowing out of the previous track, its celestial exploration proceeds to soar across an expansive melodic and cavernous ambience, guitars and bass slowly swaying with evocative radiance and imposing enterprise as the good ship Brain Pyramid fuels its flight with a transfixing creative sonic illumination. The song leaves listener and album on a high, its energy and incitement continuing to increase with every second of its creative hunger and technical urgency.

The track is a captivating end to an awe inspiring release. Managing to impress and offer more with each and every listen, Chasma Hideout is one of the year’s real treasures and Brain Pyramid a band destined to leave psychedelic rock aflame now and ahead.

Chasma Hideout is available now via Acid Cosmonaut Records @ http://acidcosmonautrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chasma-hideout

https://www.facebook.com/brainpyramid

RingMaster 02/10/2104

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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Conjuring Noise: The Great Sabatini Interview

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Having inflamed like so many others, our passions with their blistering intensive and thrilling album Matterhorn, Canadian noise metallers The Great Sabatini returned earlier this year with an even greater mouthwatering proposition. Third album Dog Years is a masterful tempest exuding virulently destructive and invasive sonic devilry; an enthralling examination and manipulation of the senses. Not needing to be asked twice, we rifled questions at Sean from the band to discover the depths of The Great Sabatini, talking about origins, lyrical intimacy, musical magick and much more…

Hey Sean good to meet you and thanks for giving over some of your time to chat with us.

Tell us about the birth of The Great Sabatini and the time leading up to the uncaging of the band in 2007?

Hey, nice to meet you too. It’s our pleasure to talk a bit about our dumb selves. All of us came together when bands we were previously in collapsed. We all decided to start moving away from the kind of things each of us had been doing with past efforts, musically. It seemed to come together easily, naturally. We just kind of went with the flow.

How did the four Sabatini’s meet?

Rob and I have been playing music together since we were 15 or so. We’ve played in bands together since that time. We knew Joey from other bands around town, and even shared a jam room together years before we started playing together. We met Steve in Sudbury, 2004 at a really crappy weekend fest that both of our bands at the time were playing. We became fast friends, and the rest is history.

Did the band start out with a specific intent and is that still the same driving force now or has it evolved with your music?

I think the only intent really was to move away from our previous musical comfort zones. Rob and I were used to writing more technical metal things in standard tuning, so there was a focused effort to distance ourselves from that. We bought baritone guitars and started slowing things down naturally, due to the nature of the much lower tuning and feel of the instruments. You can’t be as busy sometimes when you’re playing in a lower register, so riffs start slowing down for clarity’s sake. In regards to intent, it’s the same as it was from day one; keep challenging ourselves to create music that subverts our own comfort zones as artists. It might not be a huge leap from record to record, but there is movement, and growth, with every new project we take on

You sound is a unique brew of noise, sludge, doom, progressive rock…and plenty more. How would you describe it to simplify things?

As a kind of inside joke, we refer to our sound as “swamp trench arithmetic”. Maybe it hints at a sludgy math-rock vibe… Usually I describe us as a sludge band, because for all the variety rolled into our songs, all of it is pretty grimy or sludge-based. The end result is sort of wrapped up in this sludgy package.

We discovered you through your second album Matterhorn, a startling and riveting treat to our ears. How would you say your music and 1964881_815898598424769_284230856_ncreativity has changed and evolved from your first days, through that great album and onto the just released Dog Years?

I think that, as songwriters, we focus on making things simpler; communicating ideas in a simpler way. Part of that is recognising our strengths, and reining them in. We want to include a myriad of ideas and influences into our sound but feed them through our creative process in a way that results in more a more cohesive end result. I suppose one might call it “nuance”… Not something that most folks associate with brutal, loud music, but I feel that there’s more and more depth and nuance to our songs as we go. Matterhorn was the first time I really felt like we’d accomplished a certain level of that in our music. The songs are relatively simple in structure and riffing, and seem straight forward production-wise, but there’s a subtle balance of feels and ideas stitched together throughout. I think Dog Years employs this much better. Taken at face value, it’s a loud, raw, angry record, but there’s a lot going on in the songs, in a way that isn’t like an overt genre mash-up kind of thing.

We feel the brilliant Dog Years, and it is, is less cruel and destructive than its predecessor but has a more intensive and precise examination of the psyche which makes it just as exhilarating and threatening. Is that something you would agree with?

I do agree. Matterhorn was about cruelty and violence and the harshness of life, ‘cos that’s what I felt when I heard the music we were writing. Dog Years, musically and lyrically, is kind of exploring the things that drove us to play music initially. It has some throwback moments with the punkier parts, and maybe it rocks out a little easier. I still feel like it’s a punishing, loud, angry record but maybe you picked up on the focus of the record. It’s hard to tell sometimes, as the creators of the music, how much of what we’re saying is obvious and how much is completely buried in the end result, but Dog Years is more of a look inside OUR heads and our history, to some extent.

Did you approach the writing and recording of your third album in any way differently to the previous release?

Well, we usually do a lot of writing together in the jam room but a few small bits were demoed separately and sent out via email to the guys, and then tweaked and moulded by each of us on our own time. The songs are totally malleable… they can change easily before we hit the studio. In the past, a lot of our material, especially the Matterhorn stuff, was played on the road a lot before it was recorded, so the songs adapted and changed a bit more, but almost all of the Dog Years material was written and then quickly recorded with less time to mutate. Maybe that gave it a bit more immediacy, or urgency.

I guess the studio and recording process is something always bringing new lessons and discoveries which can be used or avoided next time. Was there anything from Matterhorn which had that inspiration and any new things learned with Dog Years?

There’s always a learning curve. We’re always learning things and trying to apply them the next time around. I can’t think of any major things that happened with Matterhorn that wound up shaping Dog Years in an obvious way… we’ve always strived to make things sound more raw, natural or live-sounding on our records and Matterhorn was a nice step in that direction, but Dog Years, I feel, has a bit more of that raw thing going on.

How long was the new album in the making?

We started writing in earnest at the start of 2013. We spent a lot less time on the road that year and really just focused on writing. By December 2013 we were in the studio and by February of this year the record was mastered. It was a pretty quick turnover, for us.

Like a great many bands do you have to struggle and deal with obstacles of everyday life when it comes to creating and certainly recording a record?

Obstacles are always present. But we’ve been a band for almost 7 years and we deal with things together, in a focused manner, quite efficiently. Making records is something we’re always trying to get better at, but we’ve all been doing it for over ten years and our collective experience is constantly being employed to overcome any obstacle. Thankfully, we’re all really good friends, so we’re good at working together to accomplish our goals

There seems an intimacy at times to the lyrical side of your music which suggests inspirations often come from things close to home and personal experiences. Give us some idea of stories or situations to songs upon Dog Years.

Some of the songs relate to people or things in our personal history. Pitchfork Pete is about a guy Rob and I knew many years ago. Some of the songs deal with our rituals, our perception of our lives as romantic black-magick purveyors of the Almighty Riff. When the reality of being a penniless touring musician sets in, the thing that keeps us going is the magic. Music is total magic and we have fun projecting some kind of cartoonish self-importance onto the band. It’s much more fun to think of ourselves as traveling Riff-Warlocks spreading the unholy gospel of Satan through amplified guitar riffs than it is to see ourselves as the jaded, ageing heshers that we ACTUALLY are. We’re following our dreams. Dog Years is a glimpse into that world, we hope. Lyrically it’s all about that… the world we’ve created for ourselves, full of feral beasts, oracles, war-cries, Viking battle-lust and strange visions. But sometimes this kind of fantasy shit collides with the naked truth of our choices in life, and that’s where the “Dog Years” thing comes in. One day, maybe, we’ll be old men looking back on these times as our Dog Years, all that time we spent hammering away at our dreams.

487212_598817973466167_250606339_nHow does the creation of songs more often than not transpire in the band?

More often than not, Rob and I write riffs or ideas in our own time, and then, when we get together, the ideas are presented and everyone puts forth their own takes on the riffs and we arrange the structures together. There isn’t any one mastermind. Everyone’s fingerprints are on the end result.

Is there a particular moment or twist in Dog Years which gives you an extra inner tingle of pride or just satisfaction?

I think each of us probably has his own moment like that, but for me, Akela was one of those. I wasn’t thinking that would be on the record, but the guys heard my demo, and wanted it to be there. It’s a pretty naked thing, for me, to have a song like that on there. There isn’t any wall of noise to hide behind. I recorded that in my room at home and everyone agreed that to re-record it might ruin it. So, I feel pretty happy that Akela is on the final cut.

Tell us about the great ‘scary’ album cover.

We wanted the cover to reflect our childhood in some weird way. We were aiming for an image that looked borrowed, from another time, not from 2014. I made the puppet, and he represents a certain aspect of our collective personality. Rather than actually steal an old image that may have worked just as well, we opted to create this thing ourselves and hopefully imbue that aspect into it in a subtle way. Really, I want people to see it, react to it, and fill it in with whatever feeling they think is best.

The album has been released on the great Solar Flare Records. How did that come about and is it true that the equally brilliant Sofy Major has some inspirational input?

We met Sofy Major first in North America when they came here to make a record and tour a bit and then later when we played with them in France. Sofy Major/Solar Flare are the raddest dudes on the planet, so their interest in Dog Years is incredibly flattering. Those dudes have been through a lot and suffered it all with a smile on their faces so that alone is a huge inspiration to us. Their music is incredible… I don’t wanna butter them up too much, but getting to work within that particular family is a huge privilege.

What is the Montreal metal and rock scene like right now and specifically in regard to your style of creative mayhem?

Montreal is always a hotbed of awesome music. In recent years, more of the sludge, doom, noise-rock and stoner rock stuff has been surfacing, which is nice, but I feel like everyone here is reacting to their surroundings, in a nice way… nobody is trying to sound like anyone else, I feel. Everyone that I know kind of does his or her own thing and tries to blaze their own trail. Sometimes it’s hard to be heard among all the amazing bands and artists, but we have our niche.

What comes next for The Great Sabatini across the rest of 2014?

We’re just about to get home from the first stretch of touring. We’ll probably do a few small things this summer but in the fall we head out again to do some touring in the U.S and then get ready to hit Europe in the spring of 2015.

Once again big thanks for sitting down with us; any final words for us to contemplate?

Thank you for your interest and support. Final words? Ummmmmmmmmmmmm……

And lastly give us an idea of the biggest inspirations on you musically and individually.

Take your basic 80’s/90’s generation stuff, all the grunge, punk, metal and hardcore, and throw our dad’s old Beatles, Zeppelin, Sabbath, and King Crimson records in there too. We’re all just disciples of this great tome of Rock. Finding a nice balance is the hardest part when starting a band, but ALL of that stuff is in our music, and album covers, lyrics etc. You could get real specific and say things like Melvins, Today Is The Day, Helmet, Jesus Lizard, Napalm Death, King Crimson, or what have you, but there’s just too huge a range of stuff influencing us to make for an easy answer.

http://www.thegreatsabatini.com

Read our review of Dog Years @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/the-great-sabatini-dog-years/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://www.audioburger.com