Sunday, July 28, 2013

... Nothing but gnarliness : an Interview with Grant from IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS !!!

In the category of the terror-duos (where we always speak about "power trio(s)", why not naming crushing duos of guitar and drums like this ?!) there's a band coming from Denver whose second album is one of the most anticipated releases of this 2nd part of 2013, I've named IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS !
Since a somber evening of January 2012 - when Grant contacted me, his music has rarely left my ears more than a couple of days; I will never get enough of ultimately doom-infused Sludge songs like "Dirtnap" and "Canto III Inferno" but am now also very excited about the upcoming "Of The Flock" album which should be nothing but a genuine masterpiece of infectious crushingness !!! The Denver area is already largely devastated by their numerous slaying live aggressions (this impressive amount of gigs implied quite a few questions below...) and now I'm sure that with this sophomore album ITCOS are gonna bite this fucking world with ferocity, you'd better be on their camp ! 

In about 2 years of existence, how many gigs did ITCOS give so far ?
I have no idea, man.  Quite a few!  We’ve been in the habit of playing live at least a couple times each month, and there have been a bunch of really fun gigs.  The shows with Bell Witch and Samothrace were both really cool, & those folks seem like really solid people.  We also recently played a short-notice gig with The Body, and that was great.

I know that Denver has a pretty active underground scene but (from what I see) other local bands  are even not half as active as you are on the LIVE front, how do you manage to play live so often ? are you still working hard to find new gigs or is it mainly organizers who contact you  now ? 
Most of the time other promoters or musicians will get a hold of us, which is awesome, but on other occasions we end up reaching out to venues or promoters.  As of this writing we’ll be opening for Weedeater in a week, and we never would have landed that gig without reaching out to the promoter & having some friends and another local promoter put in a good word for us.  Thanks, Taylor & Manda!

Of course the music and people behind it are the most important but do you think that the fact of being a duo helps to make things easier  ?
In my experience fewer bandmates equals fewer headaches.  Joe & I get along wonderfully, and it’s much easier for us to book shows when we only have to worry about our two calendars.  In fact, that’s probably why we’re lucky enough to play as often as we do. 

Do you have a kind of local base fans which has grown with time-  following  you regularly, or does the fact of playing with so many different bands, at different venues – make the audience and conditions always different ?
We’ll see some familiar faces at most gigs, but it all comes down to the lineup and the gig.  We always dig playing in front of fans who already know us, but it’s also cool to play in front of crowds who may never have heard of us.  It poses a new challenge when you’re playing for people who have no idea what to expect.

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you on stage ? and apart the usual possible technical issues, what’s been the shittiest ? 
We’ve definitely both been drunken messes on stage before, but I like to think that we still pull it off decently enough.  Joe has been known to play in his underwear if it’s too hot onstage.   As far as technical issues are concerned, they’ve mostly been stupid shit that could have been prevented.  I bought a bunch of cheap speaker cables off amazon, and they would literally rattle themselves out of the speaker jack on my ampeg 8x10 from the vibration.  Because of this we played 2 or 3 shows where my bass rig was randomly cutting out before we figured out the culprit. 

If I’m not wrong, you never played outside the area of Denver so far, has nothing serious ever been proposed or … ? do you think this could change quickly ?
We’ve played around Colorado, but, no, we’ve not toured beyond that yet.  We plan to tour more in the future, but it will need to mesh with our work schedules.  We’re certainly not averse to touring, and would jump on any decent opportunity that presented itself.  

Which band(s) have you been the most proud to open for / play with ? Which one did impress you the most  ? 
Man, there have been so many awesome acts that it might be tricky to cover them all.  Both the Samothrace & Bell Witch gigs were amazing.  The Body was basically a sonic bludgeoning- definitely a memorable gig.  Jucifer was an immense tinnitus monster.  Ides of Gemini were very cool as well- very ethereal & somber.  We’re opening for both Weedeater and Windhand in the coming month, so we’re very excited about that as well, and we’re also playing a show with our friends in Ladybird, which we’re very excited about.  I think my favorite gig that we’ve played thus far, however, was the anniversary party for TRVE Brewery, which was put on by Obsidian Fog Promotions.  TRVE is a local brewery run by metalheads, and all of their beers are homages to various metal bands.  That lineup was comprised of some of Denver’s best heavy acts, and was a blast to play-  Primitive Man, Call of the Void, Belhor, & Speedwolf were all on the bill with us, so it was a really killer bill that covered a bunch of subgenres. 

Grant, could you please tell us a bit more about the album “of the flock” and its date of release ? Does it differ from the debut on any particular point(s) ?
We received test pressings recently, and are hoping to have it in hand by late August/ early September.  The biggest difference would probably be that Joe is drumming on this one, where as JJ was on the original release.  I’m happy with it, and we were lucky enough to get Billy Anderson to master it.  I’m very excited about the packaging that we’re doing for this release, but I won’t go into too much detail about that here (indeed you already did it here mate ... hahaha !).  Hopefully that aspect of the record will speak for itself.   Musically, I think this is a significantly heavier batch of tunes, but that’s kind of up to each listener and his/her opinion. 

Has your approach of studio-recording been different than for your debut ? Do you consider “of the flock” as your first complete album ?
The approach here was very similar to the last record, which we definitely considered a ‘complete’ record.  There are more atmospheric passages on this one, including two instrumental intros, so there’s perhaps some greater depth in that regard.   We returned to Module Overload studios, & Jamie Hillyer (who recorded the last one) was again the engineer here. 

I guess that during quite some time you were playing the self titled debut in its entirety on stage but this certainly has changed with including new songs over the last months, which old song(s) did you remove from the setlist and which one(s) do you think you’ll always  keep throughout the years ?
It all depends on what Joe & I are interested in playing.  We both love every song from the original release, but it gets boring to keep playing the same shit.  Recently we’ve broken out both Dirtnap and Canto III Inferno live, but we’re primarily focusing on the newer material in the sets we’ve been playing.


You self-release the new album,  didn’t you look for a deal and/or get any label proposition ? would a vinyl edition of it be an expected ultimate achievement for you  ?
We honestly haven’t shopped around.  Several labels have gotten in touch with us, but it didn’t seem like they were offering anything we weren’t already doing ourselves beyond slapping their name on our shit.  We’re not opposed to being on a label, but are content to continue down the DIY path as long as it makes sense for us. 
We’re really excited to have the next record coming out on vinyl.  It has been something of a dream for all of us, so we’re happy to see it come to be.  If Of the Flock does decently  enough we’ll probably reissue the first record on vinyl.   We’re also working on a split record right now with Ladybird, and we’ve tossed around the prospect of a couple other collaborations, so hopefully we’ll have another one for you here shortly!

Thanx mate, all the best for this new album and hope to see you down here in Europe next year, that would be so fucking awesome !  cheers

Thanks, Steph!  We really appreciate what you’re doing, and are stoked to appear in Temple of Perdition once again.  


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