Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Wow. I mean wow. I hoped this day would come, that my writing got me the chance to speak to someone that I respect as an artist and am a big fan of musically but I didn’t really think it would. I leapt at the chance to interview Sami Albert Hynninen, a man whose rich and iconic voice adorned one of my top ten favourite doom records of all time, ‘II: Crush the Insects;’. Thank you Sleeping Shaman for affording me this privilege. I just hope I did it justice.

Originally posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/r-z/sami-albert-hynninen-sandy-williamson-quizzes-the-opium-warlord/

Hey man, thanks for giving us the time to speak to you, and personally I’m honoured to interview you as I was and still am a huge Reverend Bizarre fan! First off, what are Opium Warlords up to at the moment?

Hello Sandy! Thanks for having me here! At the moment I am still doing the promotional work – meaning these interviews – for Taste My Sword Of Understanding, but the next album is constantly in my thoughts.

Is there new material in the pipeline after this new record, or will there be a break? I know some bands can be hyper productive!

We have already been working on the next Opium Warlords album, but because of all the other things, which have kept me occupied, it has been ”sleeping” for a while. I hope to return to it when the winter comes, and when I am, at least partially, done with some other projects; Spiritus Mortis album, Tähtiportti album, and Azrael Rising compilation.

I know exactly how the next SIX Opium Warlords albums will be. All the music, and lyrics have been written, and also sleeve designs are clear in my mind. Actually, even after these six records, I have many others ready to go. So, there will be no time for breaks! But, as I suffered from severe burn out for many years, I now try to learn to take some things bit more easy, and to get some rest when ever I can. I was very close to being institutionalized, but that was also because of some other troubles.

If it sounds strange that I have so many albums just waiting to be recorded, I would like to point out, that it was like this with Reverend Bizarre also. I have never been in a situation of ”what will I do now?”.

Your newest release ‘Taste My Sword of Understanding’ is almost the most accessible record that Opium Warlords have done, the term being relative of course. Did that come naturally or was it a deliberate direction?

I agree! This is almost as soft and smooth, and conventional, as it will get with Opium Warlords.

Already when we did the debut album in 2009, I knew that Taste My Sword Of Understanding would follow it – and it was recorded in 2010! – but then, because of certain things, We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky came out of the blue in between. Otherwise I have been following the original plan. I have in my mind a much longer continuation of records, which together build a larger creation – so there is an exact place for each record to appear.

This may sound like a deliberate business type of thing, but actually it is all very natural, and strictly bound to the artistic construction. I just happen to have all of this material, and very clear vision of everything. It won’t follow any easy to listen – hard to get – easy to listen – hard to get -pattern, but I do try to help the audience a little bit to go through all of this music, so these more listener-friendly records will be placed every now and then to the discography. I do not have any motivation to try to make things as hard as possible for the audience, like I maybe sometimes did with some other bands.

Of  course during these past long years, some of the songs, and records, have shifted places, and some material has been added or dropped out, but basically the plan is rather strict.

Taste My Sword… is very different from what you’ve done with Reverend Bizarre in the past, was that a conscious decision to step away from what you were known for, to break out of a comfort zone?

This ”different” material existed already before Reverend Bizarre. It has been with me all these years, but Reverend Bizarre – which originally was just a side-project, to all the avantgarde and crossover stuff I was doing in general, – became so big, that it took over everything else, consuming all of my time. Not until I started The Puritan in 2006, I was able to do these different things again. Now with Opium Warlords I have, in many ways, returned to what I started in the early 90′s.

But I am never on a comfort zone! I always go forward with everything. It was like this also with Reverend Bizarre. We did not make the things easy for us.

Opium Warlords seem to take influence from so many places; be it epic doom, ambient or noise, even elements of black metal. Which bands have cast the longest shadow over ‘Taste My Sword’?

I do not think that Opium Warlords is clearly connected to anything. It is just music that I have kept hearing inside of my mind. It goes deeply into my own life; especially memories of my childhood, and things like that. Of course you can hear elements of black metal, ambient, and so on, but I do not have any particular artists that I would really try to follow when working with Opium Warlords. Quite opposite! Sometimes I wish we would have some references in the studio, to make few things bit easier, but we have none.

But when it comes to my love for minimalism and repetition – two key elements in my music – I am able to give you a few names. Those who, one at a time, introduced me deeper and deeper to that world, were Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Death Trip, Circle, Godflesh, Arvo Pärt, Helmet, The Wedding Present, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Tony Conrad, Saint Vitus, NON, and also the Sisters of Mercy. Bit later my passion became more full with Burzum, Skullflower, The Ramones, The Fall, Suicide, DAF, Ildjarn, The Stooges, Loop and Von.

Maybe I forgot something crucial, but here they basically are, and I guess I do somehow ”associate” with these, even when my own music, with its bombastic, or ”epic” – as you say – qualities, and psychedelic rock softness, is quite far from any of them.

Mahavishnu Orchestra, with their repetitive structures, and this certain sound, comes quite close to some of my works, but then again, their very complex solo elements are very far from my slugpaced compositions. One album that also has to be mentioned  here is Coroner’s experimental masterpiece Mental Vortex. Back in 1991, it had a huge impact on my future music to take the turn towards unconventional forms.

When it comes to slowness, which many seem to think to be another main element in my works – I do not necessarily agree, as it is not about slowness, but intensity – I had this taste for slower music already years before I, in the early 90′s, found about the genre ”doom metal”. So, the  idea of slowness did not come to my music originally from actual doom metal, even when it became stronger because of that, but quite contrary, this fascination of mine was the reason for me to get interested in the doom-tradition in the first place.

The whole idea of a genre of bands intentionally playing really slow music, was – especially in the prime years of some really fast stuff – something so surreal and ”fucked up”, that it hit me really hard, while at the same time matching with my taste for  low-speed moments. For similar reasons of ”surrealism” I, much later, got into primitive black metal.

Basically, almost everything that forces me to ask the question ”WHY?”, has something interesting in it. It was already there in my first serious initiations to the music; the cold, almost hostile atmosphere in the pop music of The Human League and Kim Wilde, and the arrogance of W.A.S.P., Venom, Motörhead and  Alice Cooper Group.

‘Taste My Sword…’ is an uncomfortable album in many ways, both in atmosphere and in lyrical content. It comes across as very melancholic in places. What inspired you during the writing?

It is bit hard to say, as I have had this album with me for so long time, and it is already four years since it was recorded.

Almost all of the compositions existed, together as an album, already in 2002, and the lyrics came before and after it, one by one. The only answer I can give, is that the life itself inspired me. Everything in this album is real and true, even when veiled in symbolism and metaphors. I do not write pure fiction. Everything is connected to what I feel, or experience, or see around me. I live a very solitary life, without many social activities, almost completely isolated from the human world. In this solitude I inhabit my own inner world. All my music and lyrics, and art, already exists there. My job is to make it exist to others too, as it is the only way for me to become free of all of this material, which often feels like a burden to me.

The record has many standout moments, particularly the crush of ‘Mount Meru’ and the ritualistic ambience of ‘The Solar Burial’. Is there any song on the album that you particularly enjoy more than the others?

I don’t think it is fair to lift up any song from the entirety they together build, and I do not particularly ”enjoy” my own music – as I never listen to it after the hard work of mixing and mastering is over – but In Melancholy Moonless Acheron is perhaps the ”heaviest” of all of those songs, when it comes to the subject matter, and the essence. It is so ”private” and real that it is almost unbearable to me. I am happy I was able to record it. But then again, I am happy that we were able to finish this whole album!

You haven’t played live for a number of years, but will we get to see Opium Warlords as a live entity someday? Perhaps at something like Roadburn?

We were asked to play at Roadburn after the first album came out, and for sure it would be the best place for Opium Warlords to do the first ever show, but I am afraid my days as a live-musician are over. It is already hard enough for me to deal with all the everyday things, like going out to buy some food. I can’t see myself standing in front of an audience anymore. I do not have any self-confidence left – execept when producing my music, which is something I KNOW I can do!

Then again the last gigs I ever did, were so chaotic, that it almost became dangerous to me, and to all the others too. I am happy I was able to go through them without ending up in a hospital or a jail. Well, actually I kind of ended up in a hospital though, as I had to go and get several anti-rabies injections, and go through electrocardiography tests, and get some new medication, after the last ever trip I made with a band. My health just collapsed!

Because of all of this I had to make  a conscious decision to give up playing gigs. Not that I would be missing those times.

However, I have NOT made a decision of not bringing Opium Warlords ever to the stage though. Maybe some miracle happens, and I become bit better, and find time and money, and interest to put together a live show, but when thinking about it right now, I do not really see it coming. I am happy with forgetting the songs after they have been recorded, and I do not miss playing with other people again.

You’ve been part of many bands over the years, which holds the fondest memories for you? I know for me, I first heard Reverend Bizarre on ‘II: Crush the Insects’ and I was spellbound. ‘The Devil Rides Out’ is still one of my favourite songs.

I am glad to hear that it is your favourite! It is one of  my own favourites in Reverend Bizarre material.

I guess the fondest memories I have of some of the better times with The Candles Burning Blue, Reverend Bizarre’s strange trip to USA, and the final gigs in Europe and Finland, the earliest times with The Puritan, Werwolf Lodge gigs, and now, the studio work with Taste My Sword Of Understanding. There have been great studiosessions with all of the bands I have been in – especially the purifying outbursts with Armanenschaft, Azrael Rising and March 15 – but the good atmosphere of the latest Opium Warlords sessions is completely new thing to me, who have been used to rather rough situations. I am still in control, but my dictatorship, and sadism has become lesser.

Was it surreal getting a number one record in your homeland with a 16 minute track? That would never happen in the UK!

It was surreal to get that number two with Slave of Satan first. I got the phone call of its chart position while walking alone in the woods, close to my mother’s house, checking out the horrible disaster the approaching motorway project had caused to the environment. Hearing those unexpected, unbelievable news, surrounded by that sad landscape of destruction and rape, was like being in a strange dream. It felt really surreal! Slave of Satan is probably the longest top 5 single ever – being exactly as long as a record can officially be to still fall into the category of ”single” – and should have been reported to that Guinness book. I would love to be there with Napalm Death and Manowar!

When Teutonic Witch hit the number one, it did not feel so strange anymore. We were almost used to that, and after those, we started to have chart position with all of our last records. Each of the splits where there in top 10, and So Long Suckers was number six on the album chart, I think, but Finland is a very small country, so the sales were still minimal, and we got no money from all of this extravaganza.

But, yes, it was surreal and funny! For that brief moment we were a poisoned  arrow in the world of the record business, among those household mainstream names.

Does living in Finland or being Finnish bring anything unique to how you write music? There are so many excellent Finnish metal musicians, there must be something in the water!

I am unable to say as I have nothing to compare it with; I have always been a Finnish, living here, but sometimes I wonder how it would have been, if I had been born in New York, or San Francisco, or London, or English countryside, or Berlin, or Tokyo, or living in any of these places right now. If I would have been living in some big city, many things would have been easier for me, as I really do not fit in too well with a small town atmosphere. In a bigger place there would have been more ways for me to fit in, but maybe I would have also become more similar to all the others. Now here in Finland, in this shithole town, I never felt to fit in to anything, and my own inner world grew stonger and stronger. I have always been a loner, and I have been beaten up here many times. I know I am hated, and laughed at. All of this can be heard in my music. My music resonates Lohja.

Now when I am getting bit older, I often feel this strange longing to some other life; why did I end up here, into this life? Why could not I live the life of David Bowie, or Jimmy Page, or Mike Patton. Why can’t I live like Sting, somewhere there in Highgate? I am tired with all of the hardship, and depression, and minimal record sales, and paranoia, and OCD, and everything. But obviously my destiny was to become this sub-marginal underground musician; with those few records once there in the Finnish top ten hah hah! I will never see the places I wanted to see.

Talking about Finland; the cliché is that because of the short summer, and very long, and dark winter – fortunately for me as I am not a summer man –  we would have all of these angry and depressed metal musicians, but then again, most of the Finnish musicians just follow what bands in USA, UK, or Germany have done before them, so I am not sure what is the truth behind all of these myths, and I am not even convinced about the excellency of the Finnish metal musicians. However, we DO have some bands here that really have done something special, something ”Finnish”… Terveet Kädet, Sielun Veljet, Mana Mana, Radiopuhelimet, Circle, early Unholy, Beherit, Noitalinna Huraa!, Nekro-Torso, Tasavallan Presidentti, Smack, Panasonic… and Hurriganes!

Thank you for your time, do you have any final words for our readers?

Thank you for this chance to be here, and greetings to the readers too!!! I hope some of you  out there got curious enough to check out some of my records! In 2014 records have come out with Opium Warlords, Azrael Rising, March 15, Tähtiportti. And more will follow! Take it easy, and take care!

I had the pleasure of interviewing The Wizard from Rhode Island’s heaviest sons, Pilgrim after reviewing their latest record, ‘Void Worship’. Originally published here at the Sleeping Shaman: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/g-q/pilgrim-sandy-williamson-questions-founding-member-the-wizard/

 

Where did the idea for Pilgrim come together?

I started Pilgrim back in 2011. The original concept of the band was to mix my worship of doom metal with my worship of fantasy games and role-playing. I always felt like the way fantasy was represented in metal was not exactly the way I thought it should be in my head. It started strictly as a recording project, but it quickly turned into a live band when I asked Krolg to play drums.

What is the doom scene in Rhode Island like, and is there anything specific about the state that led you to creating Pilgrim’s style?

There’s not too much doom metal in Rhode Island. There’s us and our friends in Balam and that’s about it, at least for the style of doom that we enjoy. The scene has grown quite a bit though. A doom metal show in Rhode Island is ALWAYS sold out, whether it’s in Providence or not. I’m quite pleased with the scene here now.

I’m not really sure that anything about Rhode Island has influenced our music. I didn’t even know that HP Lovecraft had anything to do with Rhode Island until I was a young adult. If Pilgrim was Rhode Island inspired, all the songs would probably be quahogs and sail boats.

‘Misery Wizard’ was very well regarded when it was released in 2012, did this create pressure for the second record?

There was massive pressure on ourselves to not fuck up the actual recording quality of the record. We were quite unhappy with how our sound came across on the first record and were HELLBENT on making sure that our new record was one of the heaviest things people ever heard in their lives. Krolg and I find the first record to be quite embarrassing now sonically. We can barely listen to it.

Many doom bands can share such similar traits and styles that a new band can become lost in the mix, no matter how good they are. Has it been difficult to ‘breakout’ and become a unique entity?

I don’t think so. Originality and uniqueness is something that we wholeheartedly represent as people. We absolutely loath unoriginal music. It’s such a waste in our eyes. There’s a difference between worship and utter unchecked plagiarism.

Did becoming a duo affect the recording process for the new record?

No. Although we credited Count Elric on bass guitar on the first record, he never actually played on it. I played bass for that record as well. So it was pretty much exactly the same experience tracking wise. The major differences were that we worked very closely and intently on the sonic quality of the record, something that we neglected horribly on the first one.

Onto ‘Void Worship’. There’s something inherently dark about it, an ominous vibe permeates each song. What were the main inspirations for it?

It’s simply our second record. There was no crazy concept or planned goal for this record (other than being heavy and awesome). It’s just a collection of songs, the next chapter in our musical pilgrimage. A lot of the material is actually old material from before Misery Wizard that I recorded, forgot about, and then rediscovered.

The lyrics themes are a bit private, but I think anyone with a keen mind can figure out what the songs are about if they listen closely enough.

Is there any band who inspire your style of playing more than others? I feel that you could be spiritual successors to Cathedral, you have the same eccentric, dragging groove that they had.

Thanks! I think a massive amount of initial inspiration for Pilgrim came from Sleep and Electric Wizard. Electric Wizard warped my fucking mind. That band changed who I am and who I will always be. Quite brutal. Eventually, the mighty Reverend Bizarre became my #1 inspiration as far as the style of doom that I loved. Slow, crawling, epic, expansive, but not cheesy.

You recently played with Mount Salem in Chicago, one of my own new favourite bands. Is there any bands you’ve toured with who you’d recommend people to check out, and is there anyone you’d like to share a stage with?

The best tour we ever did was with Windhand, but everyone knows who they are now! Some extremely excellent bands we’ve played with that I recommend are Druglord, Natur, Balam, Ice Dragon, The Wounded Kings, and Sinister Haze, just to name a few.

We’re really hoping to share the stage with Conan or Bongripper sometime soon.

If you could sell the idea, the concept of Pilgrim in one sentence, what would it be?

Fuck, I can’t. Something about heaviness and wizards, whatever.

Thanks for the interview and please use this space for any final words…

Take drugs, worship Satan, reject reality.

This was originately posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/g-q/mount-salem-sandy-williamson-interviews-vocalist-organist-emily-kopplin/

Mount Salem are not just another occult doom band with a female vocalist to add to the growing pile. Their debut record ‘Endless’ is a stunning collaboration between doom and psychedelic rock, and displays a remarkable maturity for a band so new. I got the chance to interview vocalist and organist Emily Kopplin about just how the band came to be the new guiding light in doom. On a personal note, this was a huge honour for me as I’ve found their debut record to be an early contender for my favourite record this year. It’s soulful, epic and beautifully presented.

Hey Emily, thanks for giving us time to interview you. First off, what are the band up to today?

I wish I could say we were up to something exciting, but the four of us will be working our respective jobs today. It’s Friday though so I can’t complain!

Mount Salem were formed in 2012, which dark cosmic forces brought the band together?

We have been friends for a few years, the guys build and ride vintage motorcycles and have a shop together. We’ve all been in bands over the years but never together. They were talking about getting together to jam and were interested in trying different instruments from what they used to play. Kyle (guitar) used to play drums, Cody (drums) used to play guitar, and Mark (bass) also used to play drums. Kyle was originally going to do vocals, but I was sitting in on a practice one day trying to help him write vocal melodies and they just let me do it instead.

Your new EP ‘Endless’ was originally self-released, and is being re-released by Metal Blade, how did that come about?

We originally released ‘Endless’ over a year ago with six songs. It was recorded shortly after we started playing together, before we had even played a live show, and those were the first batch of songs we had written. When Metal Blade approached us and expressed interest in rereleasing it as a full length we were stoked because that was a chance for us to go back in the studio and record two additional tracks. It was nice to have a few new songs to choose from this time around so we added ‘The Tower’. There’s an instrumental track on the album called ‘Mescaline’ that we’d always wanted to expand on and create a full song so we wrote ‘Mescaline II’. It was nice to breathe some new life into the EP and we’re happy that it’s getting more exposure than we could have done with it on our own.

As a metal band, is signing to such a legendary label a dream come true? Does it present you with additional pressure about your forthcoming music?

It’s definitely a huge honour to be welcomed onto the Metal Blade roster alongside some legendary artists. Working with them has been a great experience so far and we’re grateful for all the doors that have opened because of it. I think any pressure we’d feel about recording the next album will be more about pleasing the fans of this current album rather than trying to stack up with our peers.

I reviewed ‘Endless’ for The Sleeping Shaman, and I must tell you, it’s got to have been one of my favourite records of the past few months, who or what were your main inspirations while writing it?

That rules, thanks so much. We’ve all got different tastes in music and I think everyone’s individual influences shine through a little. Mark is typically the one more into the heavy side of things, Kyle and Cody like the bluesy psychedelic aspect, and I like the melodic and dynamic aspects of song writing. We’re all obviously influenced by 70s rock & roll though.

Do you feel that it’ll be difficult to stand out amongst the vast legions of Jex Thoth and The Devil’s Blood clones that have appeared over the past few years? I’m of the opinion that your material is strong and that your probably one of the best vocalists of that style, but what do you think?

Although there are a lot of bands popping up that are playing music in the same vein as us, we don’t really focus on setting ourselves apart. We just focus on writing music that we enjoy jamming and hope other people enjoy listening to. I think part of the reason people like what we do is because you can tell we’re not trying too hard, we write simple songs that get the point across.

What impressed me a lot about ‘Endless’ was it’s ‘less is more’ approach. You guys seem to take a more straightforward approach, and it works so well. The addition of the organ gives you that extra little bit of churchyard occultist feeling, but you use it subtly and sparingly. Was this a conscious decision or did it appear naturally?

Like I said earlier, most of those songs on the album are a display of our first efforts at songwriting together so I think that’s where that raw, basic feel comes from. I didn’t want the use of the organ to be the main focus and come through abrasively in the recordings. I like to use it as more of a complimentary accent to the songs rather than the meat and potatoes.

What are your future plans for Mount Salem? Will we be seeing a debut LP sometime soon, and possibly some more extensive touring now that you have Metal Blade behind you? I’m kind of hoping you make it to the UK sometime in the near future because I’d like to be front and centre!

We’ll definitely be recording a follow up after this Summer. We’ve been writing some killer new stuff so I can’t wait to have it recorded. We’ll be touring the US in May then hitting Europe in the Fall so keep an eye out for dates! It will be my first time overseas so that’s something I’m really looking forward to.

Thanks for the interview, have you got any final words for those who are maybe just finding out about the band?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and possibly taking even more time to listen to our music, we hope to see you out on the road!

HAIL SALEM

This interview was originally posted here: http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/interviews/g-q/godhunter-sandy-interviews-guitarist-jake-brazelton/

Godhunter are Arizona’s scorched answer to sludge. A dark, malevolent beast that mixes equal parts raw hardcore with slow, lurching doom riffs to create a new sound in the dank world of sludge. Their new record, ‘City of Dust’, looks like it may become a sleeper hit of 2014, and is already receiving great reviews. I got the chance to ask guitarist Jake Brazelton about their new record, playing with heroes and surviving the suffocating heat of their home state…

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions guys. You formed in 2008, and released your first EP ‘Wolves’ in 2011. How did the band come together and was that three year gap between forming and releasing material an intentional decision? 

We actually started in 2009. A few members of the original lineup were playing together in a different band in 2008, but Godhunter wasn’t born yet. It was really just an idea at that point. Our first EP, a split EP with Methra, actually came out in 2010. We followed that up with Wolves in 2011, then a couple more splits in 2012 and 2013, all leading up to City Of Dust being released in 2014. We try to have new material out pretty constantly. Like the Melvins said, people never forget about you if you keep releasing music.

Your first EP ‘Wolves’ is a much more straightforward beast than your newest record. Is ‘City of Dust’ the culmination of how you wanted your band to sound, or do you feel that you’re still evolving as a unit?

As long as this band is together, it will constantly be evolving. We have no desire to stay locked into one scene or genre. I know it may sound a bit clichéd, but we are constantly exploring new sounds, new bands, new ideas. This band thrives on making music that is new and interesting to us, and we feel that if we find the music interesting, then hopefully everyone else will as well.

Onto ‘City of Dust’, I was fortunate enough to review it for the site, and I found it a refreshing mix of sludge and hardcore. Who are your main musical influences, and where do your lyrical inspirations come from?

We pull musical influences from all over the place; Baroness, ASG, Goatsnake, Black Flag, Eyehategod and tons of other bands. The best way to keep your sound evolving and progressing as a musician is to listen to a shit-ton of different bands and keep pushing yourself to be better. Also weed. Weed is our biggest musical influence. Lyrically we pull from outrage. The complacency of the masses, the incompetence of the government, and basically everything that pisses us off gets channeled into our lyrics.

I noticed on your Facebook page that you’ve toured a lot with EyeHateGod recently. Being the hugely influential band they are in this style of music, was this a dream support slot for you? Are there any other bands out there you’d like to support?

We would have loved to do a tour with Eyehategod, but it was only one show up in Phoenix. They are one of our favorite bands though, so it was a pretty amazing experience. We do have a few bands that we’d love to play with, like Mastodon, Converge, Rwake or Baroness, just because they are also very influential on us.

Arizona strikes me as unusual as a location for a band that plays a style of metal much more associated with the swampy, humid Deep South. Does coming from Tucson present you with any unique influences for your sound? Is there a vibrant sludge and doom scene there? Are there any bands that we should keep an eye out for?

Dude it’s the fucking sun. In place of hot and humid we just have fucking hot. Having to endure 5 months of temperatures over 100 degrees makes a person pretty upset. You just have to channel that into making angry music. I wouldn’t call it a vibrant scene for sludge/doom bands but there are some rad fucking bands out here in the wild west. Bands like Lethal Dosage, North, Territory, Sex Prisoner, Sorrower, Seas Will Rise, and Cave Dweller are all fantastic bands.

How was the writing and recording process for City of Dust? Did you experience any problems?

The writing process was great. Each member of the band brought ideas to the table and we worked them out as a group. We tried to push ourselves at all points. Constantly writing new shit and re-writing other parts to fit together better. It was a constant struggle to not write 10+ minute long songs. Recording is always a bit of a struggle; everything from scheduling to gear problems. But since we recorded with Ryan Butler at Arcane Digital Recording everything came together. Butler is really good at his job and made everything way easier and less stressful.

As 2013 has just finished, the internet has filled up with endless lists of best records from 2013. What were your favourite records of last year, and what are you most looking forward to from 2014?

Each member of the band will have a different top ten list so I will just list a couple records I know we all dug. Ultraviolet-Kylesa, Soma-Windhand, MCTTG-Subrosa, Mind Control-Uncle Acid & The Deabeats. Our favorite album would have to be Blood Drive from ASG. In 2014 we are pumped for the new Truckfighters, Agalloch and Mastodon among others.

What has been the most important event musically for your band since you started?

I doubt we can pick just one event but we can pick two. One was when we got to play with Eyehategod in Phoenix and the other was when we got to play with Clutch in Tucson. Playing a show with one of your favorite bands is always a dream come true.

For me, the track ‘Shooting Down the Sun’ from your new record is a standout. It feels like a dark country ballad. As it is vastly differently from the majority of the album, was this a conscious decision? Do you have an acoustic or country influence?

We do enjoy quite a few bands of that nature. Some guys in the band really like old country like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams, some of the guys like newer bands like Amigo The Devil or Chelsea Wolfe. We’re also pretty big fans of music like Roky Erickson and 13th Floor Elevators, so making a grandiose dark country tune just seemed to fit for us. We’re not a band that likes to be pigeonholed into one sound. If there is an influence that we enjoy, it’ll probably turn up on the album at some point.

‘Snake Oil Dealer’ was also a favourite track of mine from City of Dust. Do you guys have a favourite Godhunter track, and are there any that are better to play live than others?

Every single time we get a new song ready to go it becomes our favorite song to play. The newer the track is, the better it is to play live.

You seem to be touring a lot, how are the live crowds responding? Is the live experience of Godhunter essential to understanding the band and do you feel your music and lyrics translate well to the live stage?

 People seem to dig it so far. Getting people out of the fucking smoking section and in front of the stage is hard to accomplish but somehow we seem to do it. Most of the time anyway. So we are a live band, first and foremost. We write music and lyrics with the stage in mind, not the studio. If you can’t get it done live no one is going to care about your band. In the age of stealing everyone’s album off of the internet and cell phone videos of bands playing on youtube you have to be good live in order to entice people to show up. In order to really understand the band you should see us live. Fuck YouTube videos.