Monday, August 29, 2011

interview with Newfoundland kings : SHEAVY

YES, I finally got it back !!!! Thanx to Paul Gruchy and Jason Williams (first and actual drummer) to have helped me reaching Steve Henessey for this interview... it was worth waiting ! For various reasons SHEAVY represents a lot for me : the perfect blend of metal, doom and  stoner, catchy melody and heaviness, highly skilled musicianship with one of the best singer from this side of the Aatlantic (understand whole North America), an awesome sense of harmony from Steve... but not just musically, indeed, like this wonderful island of Newfoundland, this band breathes authenticity and magnificence at a rare point !!! I often read or hear "yeah great band, I love the "celestial hi-fi" album", ok this one is a cult release but be sure that SHEAVY still has a lot to offer with a very personnal style, more metallic but still easily recognizable. Both "the golden age of daredevil" and "disfigurine" had been in my top 10 of 2010, so I felt like a real necessity to ask a few questions to Steve about those memorable releases and the near future...  ENJOY !

* Hey Steve, how is it going for Sheavy these days ? with 2 new albums released, 2010 has been a fruitful year for the band, what’s your look on it a few months after?

I’m happy with what we did in 2010. It was nice to get recordings done with the new lineup since some of the guys had never made a full album from start to finish. This year has been a bust though. We had a fire in our jam space that left us homeless as a band for a while and we definitely lost a bunch of momentum. I’m hoping to get writing again over the next few months. We already have a bunch of new songs that just need to be arranged

* “the golden age…” was yet a bit heavier, but “disfigurine” is in my opinion your most METAL album, was it a deliberate choice or did it came naturally with Chris bringing new metallic blood ?!
Yeah, I think it was the infusion of new blood with Chris and Evan. They brought a more metal vibe to the band. Disfigurine is about as metal as I’d like to go though. I’m much happier with the slow doomier stuff but hey, I don’t dictate what gets written.

* You said that you would be enthusiast to do the RPM challenge again and then slip into doom mode with 2 super sludgy 18 mn epic trax (!!!!) even having yet an album title and artwork in mind, I doubt this was totally serious, could you really imagine a 100% doom album from Sheavy ?
I’d do a 100% doom album in a flash. I think I’d have a hard time selling it to everyone in the band though. The songs on Sheavy albums tend to show our varied interests. The writing is more spread out than ever these days so the tempos and tuning preferences tend to vary. 

* How about the “Best Of” ? why was it delayed ? maybe three albums within the same year would have been a bit too much ?
I’m pretty disappointed the third record didn’t get done. One of the guys basically threatened to quit if we didn’t slow down a little so I took that as a sign. But they should know by now that I’m not happy if I’m not writing or recording. If we’re not touring, we should be making records. Hey, that’s how I feel.

* I’ve read last autumn that you already had quite a number of new songs, so for the 2nd year in raw can we expect 2 albums for 2011 ?! Could you speak about some new songs or at least the general mood of the album?
At the rate things are going we’ll be hard pressed to get a new record out before the end of the year. We’ve been jamming for a few shows and that pretty much kills the songwriting jams. I can pretty much only speak for the tunes I’ve been writing with Jason but the songs are a little less metal, a little more classic rock, a little less epic in length and I want to bring the synthesizer back. I want it back bad!

* You cite Ian Gillan, Peter Gabriel and the singer of Yes as sources of inspiration, but aren’t there any more recent or actual singer that, if not inspire, impress you?
I don’t listen to much modern music to tell you the truth. Skeletonwitch and Mastodon are recent faves but more for the instrumental aspects of the music. Some of that pagan/satanic rock stuff like The Devil’s Blood and Blood Ceremony have quality vocals. Even the dude from Ghost has a cool voice. I don’t know, it’s a bad time to answer this question, I’ve been listening to nothing but Steely Dan for the past three months. Makes me want to make a killer sounding record though.

* Personally I would classify you in Doom METAL (with stoner overtones), but you’re often categorized in stoner, do you care about that and make a real difference ?
I don’t get hung up on musical categories. I come from a small city where we’ll share the stage with a punk band and a hardcore band on the same night. It’s all music man and if it’s got loud guitars I can dig it. I just tell people I sing in a metal band. I think we’re a hard band to peg in terms of categories.

Having passed 4 months in 2008 in Saint Pierre et Miquelon, I’ve been a few days in St John’s and its area, enjoyed it very much with beautiful landscapes, icebergs, whales, puffins, etc… sure the climate was cold and often foggy, but I thought it would have been really worse, did you notice a real evolution in the climate within the last 10 years ?
No, I don’t think the climate has changed that much. We seem to be getting wetter winters and colder summers though. This summer sucked. July days at 8 degrees celcius with fog, rain and a north wind. Hell, it was warmer in the far north! This is a rugged and beautiful place. All those icebergs off our coasts are a testimony to global warming. Oh they look beautiful, but that ice, belongs in Greenland. 

Since about 15 years Newfoundland has developed quite much with natural resources, did you feel personally the benefits of that ?
I think the obvious benefits of the oil boom are being felt in parts of the province but there’s a definite divide. I mean there’s 5% unemployment here in St, John’s right now. I can remember days when it was 22% or higher. So yeah, it’s easier to find work, the jobs are better paying but shit is also getting more expensive and the rural areas of the province are not necessarily reaping benefits. If all this oil money passes us by without the creation of sustainable industries and a good infrastructure for the future, then we’ve failed miserably. The oil will dry up. What then? Check back on us in twenty years and see how we’ve done

* How about live dates ? I imagine it’s not even possible to play in quite many areas of the island, so in which other part of NF is it rather easy to play?
Being a band that plays all original heavy music there are only a small number of places viable for gigs. Gander is a good location in the central part of the province while Corner Brook is a good option on the West coast. Those places are also easy to play because they’re off the main highway. But to tell you the truth it’s the cover bands and tribute acts who do the best outside of St. John’s. The markets are small, the drives are long and there just aren’t many venues that would book a band like us.

* Your website is awaiting a serious lifting, update and development, don’t you think that with the incredible power of the web, you could more develop your name?
Yeah, the website’s been in a sorry state for a while. Occasionally I’ll get motivated to work on it but then I’ll get depressed about putting a bunch of work into something and not being able to tour. I don’t have any illusions about getting rich on this stuff. I’ll agree with you that the web is powerful but it’s also a desert and a minefield. I’d be content with a single web page that shows the band name and nothing else. I’d probably rather be a mystery than a brand.

* I bought your two last albums with All That Is Heavy, but it seems that some people don’t know where to find them, could you give precisions about distributors currently selling your stuff ? We’re also a few guys to await T-shirts, any possibility with that ?
Yeah, we had a bunch of shit luck with our distribution last year. The US worked out well but Canada and Europe were messed up due to some stuff beyond our control. Daredevils and Disfigurine are now available in Europe through Code7 Distribution which I believe is a subsidiary of PlasticHead. As far as shirts go we haven’t done much lately. I normally design and print them myself so the runs are super small and they get bought up at shows here in St. John’s. I’m hoping to do a bigger run and have some on eBay to coincide with our next release. Just gotta get that thing done!!

*  Well , thanx a lot Steve, add some words if you wish…
Just wanna thank all the fans who’ve continued to support us and who’ve showed interest over the years. The musical landscape is constantly changing but I think you can count on us to keep putting out music that stays true to the roots of classic rock and metal. Now if I could just get the guys to do that doom album I’ve been dreaming of. Hey, no worries, I’ll never stop dreaming. Peace!