Friday, April 27, 2012

an in-depth INTERVIEW with Ron from ICE DRAGON / TENTACLE

Life is not always easy, but it's agreeable to count on a few  unwavering supports, could they be human, musical or whatever thtat can help you feeling stronger... For about one year that I entered the world of ICE DRAGON, this band is a real unwavering support that brought me a lot personally, not just musically with their awesome Cosmic Doom but as a whole entity :  humanly, conceptually, lyrically... Their 3rd album "Tome of the Future Ancients" is such a masterpiece that during about two weeks it represented at least 90% of my musical listenings, then it slightly decreased mainly by one band's fault : TENTACLE... the new side-project of those crazy wizards !!! The debut ep of this Sludge beast is another stunning effort of this hyperproductive guys that I strongly advise you to check out...  
Always curious about the good thoughts of  Ron (voc/drums), I've had a long chat with him yesterday evening, enjoy this cool one !

A month after its release and about 50 listenings, I'm more than ever convinced that "tome of the future ancients" is your most achieved work so far, still full of contrasts but darker, more hypnotic too than your previous albums ... How would you characterize it and make the difference ?
We've all been saying it's the most "Ice Dragon" of all our music so far. haha. Which is to say that it's very true to what we are trying to accomplish with this band. We don't wanna just do what everyone else is doing, we don't want to be a "doom" band or any kind of band for that matter. Just make cool, weird, ORIGINAL music. This has the most "we don't give a shit" feel to it I think and that's exactly how we wrote and recorded it. Not to sound like a pompous ass though, just saying it's kind of like a heavy rock album with a punk spirit to it. Make sense?
The darkness of it comes from drinking heavily and having lots of fucked up thoughts all the time. At least from a lyrical perspective.

"the black book of hour" and "night" have a different tone, more menacing , including your vocals... I see those songs as a kind of transition between the "usual" ICE DRAGON and your new project TENTACLE , what's your opinion ?
I'd say you are dead on accurate with that! haha. TENTACLE is essentially going to be the heavier more menacing version of Ice Dragon, lot's of downtuning and screaming and yelling.
OH YEAH, and "Night" was just an awesome idea we had to make a song with 1 riff, and 1 word. Has nayone ever done that before? I'm not sure. Maybe they have and we are just idiots.

Songs from TENTACLE like "alone in my grave" or "talking, bending, dripping, breaking" certainly retranscribe some of those fucked up thoughts you're talking about, but I.D. has also this kind of lyrics , do you see a difference lyrically wise and conceptually between both bands ? Does TENTACLE represent another alternative to your creative needs ?
 Yeah, for this first release those TENTACLE songs are probably fairly close in theme to Ice Dragon stuff. I would say that they are definitely going to get more and more fucked up as we move ahead. More evil and depressing stuff. We've been working on some new ID stuff already and it's coming out much more rock-ish, a little faster, and more fantasy style stuff. It's still very Ice Dragon though.

I've read surprising things in a critic of "tome of ..."... So far, which critics on the new album did you find interesting/justified/constructive ? Do you feel some songs could have been effectively shorter ? that's perfect in my opinion, after all there's just 2 songs that last more than 7:30 !!!
Yeah, overall I think the response has been really great, considering it's such a weird album. I personally really like that YOU have used the word "hypnotic" in describing it. That's exactly the idea. I think of a lot of these songs as "Drone" style music really, just with drums. I gotta say that Wes Cueto and BrokenBeard both have done excellent reviews of it, very well written stuff and spot on reviews.

Coming back to labels on bands music, I know some new ears that are enjoying the sound of TENTACLE on the SLUDGE front, I think especially with the awesome "alone in my grave"... did you already feel it ?
Yeah, definitely a Sludge vibe going on there. I hope it sounds something like Alice in Chains + EyeHateGod + Ice Dragon. haha. But it probably doesn't. I just like to think that. Or hope for that.


In our first interview last summer, you told me that you were not really looking for LIVE performances which seems more than confirmed by the fact that ou didn't give any gig since then (if I'm not wrong)... I guess you've had some propositions though ? are you still in that state of mind ? considering this is exactly the same line-up I suppose things are gonna be the same with TENTACLE ?
Yeah. We are just WAY more into recording now. Shows just tend to be a huge waste of time for the most part. At least in our opinions. You alway sound "AMAZING" to the people who are there, mostly because they are shitfaced and will like anything as long as it's loud, not because they are actually into your type of music. Or at least that's about 99.9% true. You gotta lug around tons of gear, pay for taxi's or gas or both, if you make any money on the door or merch you just lose it in buying beer or travel expenses. Etc. Etc. Etc. It's not all it's cracked up to be. THAT BEING SAID THOUGH.... we are definitely considering playing live again sometime this year. We just want to find exactly the right time and venue for it when we can all feel good about it and give people a damn good show.

Lucky will be the choosen ones !well , something totally different now, How do you see the sudden changes concerning your brothers of PILGRIM... you know their deal with Metal Blade, tours, etc... ? Could you imagine your reaction in front of the same proposition ? are you all three thinking the same about that ?
I think it's totally fucking awesome for them, and they deserve it for damn sure. I don't think any "big" label would want anything to do with us really, we just don't have the right sound and definitely do not have any interest in playing ball as far as doing shit that they want. We're older and don't want to be rockstars or anything like that, we just want to make music in a basement and get drunk. Getting shit released on good formats and nice quality is rad though. And never say never and all that. I like what we're doing now though and I just hope we don't fuck it up.

Your first album "the burl, the earth, the aether" has just been released on vynil, can you present this please ? I know "tome of the future ancients" will be also released on Yersinia Pestis rds, any more details about the date release ? Any hope to see "the sorrowful sun" on vynil too ?
The Burl vinyl came out FANTASTIC, we are way psyched for that. Goatess Doomwych, Vesa Lahde, and Stone Stallion Rex handled all the artistic stuff and it's all amazing. I can't wait to hang that poster on my wall man! Tome is going to be epic on vinyl, Josh McAlear from Yersinia Pestis is doing a ridiculously awesome cover for it too. I have no idea on a release date for it, but sometime this year probably. No plans for Sorrowful Sun on vinyl yet, but it'll be re-released on tape by Acid Punx very soon.

Joe uses mellotron and sitar on the album, does he practise that occasionally or maybe through some other musical projects ?
Joe never practices. haha. He's just awesome. He actually got that sitar over in India too. He definitely doesn't just "play bass" ya know? He's much more involved in the writing than most bass players are. Much more.

On a recent photo, I've seen Carter with a homemade double-guitar in hands, did he use it for any of your recordings yet ? Does he play only on homemade material ?
Carter used that double neck sg on almost all the TENTACLE stuff. He played mostly the twelve string on all it. It gives it all this huge warm sound. I love it. He makes guitar shit like crazy, it's pretty rad. And that guitar just looks totally boss.

In your opinion who's actually the most underrated band in the scene ?
Probably Spelljammer or Monolithian. Not that they don't get good reviews or whatever, just not enough people talking about them in general.

You guys show in various circumstances a great sense of humor which confirms your attitude and thoughts towards the too frequent politically correct in terms of image and communication... is is a subject that you already spoke about with other bands friends ? is there any band that you feel particularly closed to your ideas ?
Yeah, we like to have a sense of humor about all the bullshit "band stuff" for sure. We don't want to be seen as a funny band though, like musically, our music is very serious to us. People should be more serious about their music and less serious about photos and acting tough and cool and whatever the hell. All those newer photos we took of us in wigs and shit were kind of a poke at all that. Like bands playing dress-up for their photos and pretending they are rock stars when most of them work at Jiffy Lube or a shitty office somewhere and wear khaki pants all day. Just be yourself, make fun of yourself a bit, and have fun.

You released split eps with PILGRIM late 2011 and then recently with FELLWOODS, those are both good friends, how did both projects happen exactly ? did you bring the project to the labels or ...?
As far as the splits go, Pilgrim could have picked anyone they wanted, certainly someone cooler than us, haha. That split came out really badass though and I think a lot of it is because we are all pals and get along real well. Both those tracks were recorded in my basement, they are both called "Astaroth" and they are both very very doom. One time The Wizard was sleeping on the pullout couch in our extra room and me, Count Elric the Soothsayer and Krolg, Slayer of Men were drinking and fucking around making noise and shit and we went in there for something. I forget why exactly. Anyway, The Wizard was all sleepy and he gets up real fast looking all crazy like a wizard and he's like "Watch out! there's poop everywhere! There's poop all over the bed and all over that blanket! It's weird grey poop!!!" So me and everyone else checked out the scene, but there was no poop anywhere. We even went so far as to take the blanket out into my kitchen and hold it up to look for the poop. There was no poop.
Fellwoods are way rad guys too. We haven't had any of them come to sleep over yet though. Maybe someday. Adam asked us to do a split with them and of course we said yes straight away. They rock out, and that split is going to be more of a rock and roll monster I think. The art is superb that's for sure. That'll be a good summertime jam I think, open up the windows and be grilling with that one blasting out the neighborhood

Last month in the Wives ov Doom pt2 Sam revealed that you were about to have internet at home, is it effective ? by what did you start : listening podcast or watching porn or both at the same time ?!!!
We STILL don't have internet at home. That shit is $$$. Plus me and Sam aren't exactly your typical 30-somethings I guess. We don't have cable either. No computer cuz we broke the last one. Neither of us has a smart phone, just regular old flip phones that call and text and that's it. No dishwasher, no microwave, no car. We ride bikes and I have a broken down '77 Dodge van sitting in the driveway. I'll get around to fixing it one of these days. BUT, I do have 4 turntables (one is all tube), 3 tapedecks, 2 cd decks and an 8-track player all hooked up and rockin. Sam goes to library a lot for the nets and I just do it at work.

With all your successive releases, the menu of your BANDCAMP page looks great, in 2 or 3 years it'll be as exciting as the menu of The Grass Company in Tilburg !!! you told that you're yet working on new I.D. material, can we expect something for the next winter solstice ? any new T-shirt planed ?
The new Ice Dragon stuff we have been working on is coming out real cool. A lot faster, a lot more rockin'. Maybe people will hate that about it though, we'll see I guess. We've also been doing a ton of the dreamy stuff, but that might just be used for something special. It remains to be seen.It's funny you mention the winter solstice too.... we were just discussing that the other day...
Shirts will happen. We want to do a different design though so it might be a little while before we get up and rolling with one. Merch isn't really our strong suit i guess. We're working on it. I put some extra studs and some spikes on my leather jacket last night, it looks really powerful. Also I have been drinking that Miller 64 lately, it's crisp and refreshing and helps with keeping away the beer belly a little.
I like to smoke my pipe in the evenings. Like a regular tobacco pipe. Been doing some of the Captain Black lately. Have a cup of strong french-press coffee along with it, or a glass of scotch. It helps you relax and ease away the onslaught of thoughts that are always whirling around.
I guess that's all I got. This has been terrifically fun Steph! It's always a pleasure chatting with you. I hope everything is going well with you and in the splendor of France. Wish I could have a smoke and some wine and cheese with you sometime over there. Ah, that would be the life.

Thanx a lot Ron, that was deeply interesting :) and indeed that would be really cool, you'll be always welcome even in 20 years !!! everything can be ready in 5 secondes here, I'm waiting for you my friend !

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