Saturday, March 31, 2012

an interview with Ollie Stygall from GRIFTER

I presented you these british masters of powerful Heavy/Stoner Rock band a few months ago ((here). Thomas from Time to Blast (an excellent french webzine and radioshow) kindly proposed me to share this nice little interview he recently did with Ollie (voc/guit), just a few days before embarking with Orange Goblin for an important UK tour, followed by first continental dates with italian psyche-rockers DOCTOR CYCLOPS. Give a look on all forthcoming dates listed below and if you haven't yet, check out the great debut album of GRIFTER on Ripple Music ...

 What have been your previous experiences before Grifter ?
 We've all been in a lot of bands in the past, most of them have been local bands covering anything from punk to hard rock to thrash...etc. Foz, our drummer's most successful band was a psychobilly band called The Lost Souls and Phil and I used to be in a band many years ago called Nero Circus who shared a label with Acrimony, put out an album and did some touring in Europe and toured the UK with Orange Goblin in their early days. We've spent a lot of time building up to Grifter and this beats everything!
Can you tell us about the beginning of Grifter ? 
We started the band in September/October 2003. At that time it was mostly a side project but it quickly became apparent that this beat everything else so it became our main focus almost immediately. We did the usual thing of playing a ton of local gigs and demoing tunes and slowly people started taking notice. Thanks to getting stuff out there on the Internet we started getting gigs further afield and label interest...etc. it's all snowballed from there really.

How could you define your spirit and  music ? 
Rock and roll is a spirit in itself and we play rock and roll. We try to avoid labels and genres for what we's just rock and roll with guts and drive. We want to play stuff that, first and foremost gives us a buzz...then hopefully other people will pick up on that buzz we're getting and some of it may rub off on the crowd. 

What are your lyrics about and why ?
All kinds of things really. Some are daft stories like Bucktooth Woman and Alabama Hotpocket that amuse me and others like Asshole Parade have a more serious meaning looking at humanity and how we've kind of lost control of ourselves financially and spiritually. Something like Strip Club often gets misinterpreted but is actually pointing out that some guys value intelligence and personality in women and not just tits and ass. I kind of like to take rock and roll cliches sometimes and flip them around.

How did you end up on Ripple Music ? 
Initially they were a blog so I sent them our last EP, "The Simplicity Of The Riff Is Key", for review and they loved it. At that point they were getting ready to launch the label and asked if we'd be interested in doing a vinyl split with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High. Obviously we weren't going to turn that down. We decided to go ahead and record an album at the same time as recording tracks for the split and while we were doing that the guys at Ripple offered to put it out. They're great guys and a great label. They've achieved so much in less than 2 years of being a label and have so much more potential.

What are your plans for the near future ? New album in the making ?
 Ripple have asked for another album so we're getting songs together for that as well as getting ready for the Orange Goblin tour and our first trip to Europe with our Italian friends Doctor Cyclops in Belgium and to play the a freak Valley festival in Germany.

Could you tell us a little anecdote about your gigs supporting Orange Goblin and other great UK acts ?
We're really excited to be doing these gigs with them. I've known them for years but to be invited to tour with them and have Ben make all the arrangements with the promoters for us is a big thrill. Over the last 8 years we've played with so many great bands over here in the UK, too many to mention and we've made some good friends along the way. One of my favourite things is to get various members of other bands up on stage with us to help sing our set closer "Sweat Like Horses"'s always a drunken party!!!

What about the gig with Stubb (one of my other UK favorites of the year) and Doctor Cyclops last december ? 
That was a great gig. We heard that Doctor Cyclops were coming over to see Cathedral's last gig so I figured it would be good to get them a show n London so we got our buddies in Stubb to play and had a great band called Ten Ton Tabby opening. We got a great turn out and all the. Bands played killer sets. Doctor Cyclops impressed a lot of people.

Is it your first time touring Europe ? (what are you expecting from this great tour ?)Phil and I have been over in our old band but this is our first time with Grifter. We can't wait to get over there as we've heard European audiences are great. It was awesome to be invited to play the Freak Valley festival and, having played Belgium before I know the people there are amazing. We're hoping to put on a good show, meet some awesome people and drink some killer beer.

If you think of anything else, feel free to add !
Cheers Tom. We hope to meet you all on tour at some point to share a beer and indulge in some kick ass rock and's all about the rock and roll!!!

April tour with Orange Goblin
Saturday 7th - Desertfest, Camden
Sunday 8th - The Fleece, Bristol with Church Of Misery, Dopefight, Slabdragger
Monday 9th - Legends, Newcastle
Tuesday 10th - The Classic Grand, Glasgow
... Wednesday 11th - Sound Control, Manchester with Jucifer, Bastard Of The Skies
Thursday 12th - The Garage, Swansea
Friday 13th - White Rabbit, Plymouth with Kernyuck
Saturday 14th - O2 Academy, Oxford with Desert Storm, Komrad

Thursday 17th - Room 66, Leuven, Belgium with Doctor Cyclops, Wheels Of Smoke
Friday 18th - La Theatre Du Taverne, La Louviere, Belgium with Doctor Cyclops
Saturday 19th - Freak Valley Festval, Netphen, Germany

Friday 22nd - Underground, Plymouth

Saturday 21st - Scream Lounge, Croydon with Trippy Wicked, Mother Corona

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