Monday, April 16, 2012

an interview with Steve from THE SLUDGELORD

As for bands we're listening, we also all have some faves when it comes to blogs/webzines; one of mine, along with Doommantia and Captain Beyond Zen, is The SLUDGELORD from England, ran by the cool Steve Howe... I really enjoy its diversity, simple approach and the general quality of the bands featured. Steve recently started to publish some cool interviews, an interesting evolution which led me to ask him a few questions to present his nice blog :

Hi Steve, so how did you come to create your blog about one year and a half ago ? Was "the sludgelord" a name you had in mind for a while and why that name ?
I used to write for mates blog before it went belly up due to lack of interest. Give it up for a year or so.
Until my mates band needed a review for their new album. Mainly press material. So I created blog for that purpose. Also decided to include free legal downloads to make it more focused.
Sludgelord was a spur of the moment fed-up-pissed off angry choice. As every other name I chose was already taken. I thought Lord Of Sludge first. But thought might be too stupid. So chosen Sludgelord.

You cover Stoner and Doom as well and without any difference but is SLUDGE your style of predilection ?
I dig all kinds of rock/metal. But I have always been drawn to Stoner/Sludge side of things for the last 12 years or so. As the music spoke to me more. Not that I am a dope-smoking head-banging hipster. Far from it. I didnt get into Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal about 2000. When I discovered KYUSS and SLEEP. That lead to more discoveries like Neurosis, ISIS, Pelican etc.. Plus I was a big fan of Sludge Swamp and StonerRobixx.
Those blogs broaden my horizons a little bit more. Now Sludgelord focuses on Stoner/Doom/Post-Rock/Post-MetalSludge/Black-Metal etc..

You recently started to do interviews, how did this idea mature ? More generally ,how do you feel the blog has evoluted since the beginning ?
Yeah I have done that. More bands have asked me to do interviews. But I relented as I am not very good asking probing questions. But decided to give it a go since Mediocracy and In The Company of Serpents asked me as well.
I kind of enjoyed it actually. Got some great answers back. More interviews will be coming in the future. Just waiting for people to get back to me.
The blog has evolved big time since it started. I never expected I would be here 15 months later and getting more viewers by the week. I honestly only did this gig to help a mates band out for their new album. It just got bigger and bigger. And I am not complaining at all. If people still want to read then I will happily do this.
So I can blame Sorry For Nothing for starting what became Sldugelord.

I suppose that most of the stuff reviewed come directly to you via bands and labels? do you still have time to look for new bands by yourself and then contact them for a feature ?
Well at the beginning all of the stuff I featured was my own checking the web for great discoveries. Plus BandCamp has been an enormous help.
Bands and Labels came about a few months into Sludgelord. They were all independent and I wanted to help the underground scene to gain that more publicity. I still spend a few hours every couple of weeks hunting bands down. Though more are emailing me nowadays. Which is a great thing. Means more great bands to publish.

You've some help from a contribuor for a few months, was it him that proposed his contribution ? Would be interested to get some more help , expecially now that you also post interviews ?
Yeah Phil aka PJ Sludge has been on the blog a while. He asked if he could help as he give me some tips that turned into brilliant bands for the blog. He knew his stuff and I was happy to have Phil on board.
Phil has got a lot of great exclusives for the blog – Torche, Ufomammut, Pelican and Black Breath to name a few. He is working on some of his own features as we speak.
The blog might be going under a little re-vamp behind the scenes sort of things. Another member is joining soon. (Will reveal all next couple of weeks). And we will probably each have our own role. But all free reign on what to publish.
I do have a few more interviews and features planned in the future. Just need to get it started.

How do you situate the Sludgelord among all those Doom/stoner/sludge blogs ? don't you feel sometimes there's just 3 or 4 blogs like Doommantia, The Obelisk, Cult Nation, that seem to exist for 90% of non-musician people and also the bigger underground labels?
Well I feel we all have a great role to play in publicizing great underground Sludge/Stoner Metal bands. I love reading all of those great websites and if they get the big exclusives then good on them.
I would rather the band have somewhere to go to for wider publicity. As the mainstream are rather picky when it comes to Sludge/Stoner/Post-Metal/Doom Metal bands.
I tend to focus on the bands still trying to get their material heard. And that's where I feel we come in. Bloggers are a great resource for bands to get their music reviewed and checked out from many people as possible.
I am proud what I have achieved with Sludgelord so far. There is enough room for everybody in doing what they need to do. Spread the word of great music.

Just like me, I'm convinced that you don't do this for getting free promo stuff and gold medals, but have you ever felt some kind of frustration after posting a great review from a more reknown band that didn't get any attention from the band and their label (almost guarenteed if this comes from Profund Lore for example!) ? Also, I'm sure that small bands too, sometimes don't share the link of your works, can you understand this ?
Nope. I am all in it for the free stuff. LOL. Nope. I am doing this for promoting great underground bands.
Yeah I do get frustrated when I dont hear from bands. But this is in the minority. As long as the band gets some publicity from my articles then I know I am doing something right. I have had plenty of emails from bands telling me this. Tells me I am doing the right thing with blog.
I havent had much dealings with Profund Lore. Phil is the guy who gets the labels to send him stuff. But we have positive responses so far.
I went to see Pelican at Glasgow recently and my review of their excellent new EP is on their publicity sheet for the new EP. I also met Phil for the first time at this gig as well. Even got to meet Trevor from Pelican. Hell of a nice guy.
So great night for me personally. Saw a brilliant performance by one of my fave bands. Met Phil, Met Trevor and saw my review was on the publicity sheet.

How are views developing for the Sludgelord ? From where do you get the most fans ? Are you surprised by statistics sometimes ?
Views are getting higher and higher each month. Which I am totally happy with. I dont focus on stats that much but I am amazed how the blog has took off recently. Either I have a stalker or I am doing something that the viewer likes. I just do my job in promoting great music.
Most of the fans are across the globe. USA, UK, Russia, Canada, Germany, Italy, France and Australia.
I mean if you told me when I started this thing I would pass the 150,000 view mark in a year I would of laughed. But it has got better and better. Discovered some great bands and met some great people.
Long may it continue.

What your hobbies outside music and bloggin' ? Does Madame Howe understand your passion and all the time you give to it ?
Well I am unattached at the moment. So I can give as much time I can give to it. Not to say that will change. LOL. But for now I am happy doing my own thing.
Anyway hobbies – Reading, Cinema, Football (Support Newcastle United), Listening to music and socializing with friends. Usual boring stuff.

Any special thing you'd like to add Steve ? Please let us know which are your fave latest releases reviewed on the Sludgelord and what's coming up shortly, including interviews ... thanx mate
Well my fave releases. That is a tough one. In no certain order – Huata, Bezoar, Torche, Pelican, Wizard's Beard, Crown, CONAN, Summoner, Behold The Monolith, Pike. All will probably be revealed in my end of 2012 list.
Future of Sludgelord, More interviews, new member starting shortly. Plus I am in the process of doing a monthly feature which will take a bit of time for me to do. Don't want to say much but it means bands long gone that sort of thing. I have a couple of articles done but am still working on them.
Will be the normal free downloads which I know is a big part of Sludgelord. Which I like doing anyway.
Probably more joined features with your great blog.
Great talking to you. Keep up the great work. And one day maybe we can banish all Emo/Hair-Gel metal crap forever.

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