Saturday, September 14, 2013

... “Hanging on rope from Satan’s beard” : Interview with PLÖW

Plöw is a professional and bloody vigorous band from Denmark. Dudes play sludgy stoner doom rock and have really great tunes to offer, this music surely makes your beard thicker and dick longer. Seriously. “Bicentennial Picnic” was band’s second Ep, CD was released in 2011 and I guess that title track “High Tide” leaves no chance for those who know a lot about qualitative heavy sound and search for new methods to increase adrenaline in blood. A month ago Plöw have finally prepared their first full length album “No Highness Below The Crown”, and James Becker (guitars) are ready to shed the light onto this record.

Hello mates! We did an interview with you just in January 2012 ‘cause I was literally knocked down with you heaviest hit “High Tide” but look – I was survive and I see that Plowmen have  prepared something new for fans of deadly heavy doom rock. So what did you do since that time?
Well our biggest change is that we have changed drummers since recording Bicentennial Picnic. We were sad to part with our old drummer and great friend Søren. But at the same time we were super excited to add another friend; Rasmus to the lineup. After he joined the band we started playing shit load of gigs to follow up on Bicentennial Picnic. And it was in that period we started writing and constructing what was to become No Highness Below the Crown.

How often do you play gigs? And does it help you to clean your mind and come to realization how the band could sound better?
We try and play pretty much every gig we get offered. So I would say that in average we play two gigs a month. But sometimes it is more though. For example here in the autumn we have about 10 gigs coming up to follow up on the new album. We also expect a busy spring. But yeah man playing live is what all of us live for. Don’t get me wrong studio work is fun as well. But playing live is also where we get to know each other even better and helps us become more of a unit. So yeah it makes us sound better as we get tighter and tighter with every gig we play.

You released “No Highness Below The Crown” through Mighty Music and I remember that you were searching for label to produce the album few months ago, how much time did you spent to find them?
I have been gathering information regarding possible labels the last 2 years or so. So I had made a shortlist of about 20 labels I wanted to contact. And when we had the album raw mixed I sent out physical promo packs to all of them. I am still waiting on answers from 18 of them hehe. Interestingly enough Mighty Music had not made my shortlist. It was our front man Rune that found Mighty Music via a local band in our scene that is signed there as well. After Rune wrote to Mighty Music, the cat was out of the bag so to speak. Things went very quickly after that. There went about 6 weeks from first contact to the ink drying on the contract.

So do the guys from the label do all dirty work for you now? Or did they only release your “No Highness Below The Crown” and distribute CDs as you do all promo stuff?
Well they do take care of all the “boring” work like releasing and distribution. I mean our album is available in 15 countries. That is work and contacts you can’t really achieve on your own as a DIY band. They also do allot of PR work for us as well that is quite valuable. But there is no way I can sit idle and just wait, watch and hope that our label will get us where I want us to be. I spend countless hours in front the computer writing to people from every corner of the world. That is one of the reasons why I am talking to you for example.

I bet that Plöw Ep “Bicentennial Picnic” was the thing that made Mighty Music believe in you. How long did you feel supportive wave from those who dig into your tunes’n’melodies?
Bicentennial Picnic definitely stirred up some attention. But I am not sure if it was the sole reason for Mighty Music signing us. Like mentioned before, we had a raw mix of the new album for them to listen to. I also think the one of the deciding factors was that they did not have very many stoner acts on their roster beforehand. The only band that they have that has a remote influence to stoner/sludge is Helhorse.

Almighty Plowman was a symbol of the band – a skeleton like man who tastes the death and stretches his luck everyday. Did he return in songs of “No Highness Below The Crown”?
You will notice our much loved god like powered hero already on the art-work of the album. You will also notice his “better” half Margareth joins him to form a twisted couple of heroism and destruction.  Everything that happens on No Highness Below the Crown is the Plöw-man’s universe. For example then the couple is mentioned in Margareth and Bloody Temper. In Margareth you hear about how she betrayed the Plöw-man by having a steaming affair. And in Bloody Temper you will learn that the Plöw-man is not to be killed and that he won’t be messed around with. He will always crawl back from the grave and avenge broken vows. Originally those two songs are the one and the same. But we felt we had too much to say, so we made it a two piece.

“Captain Fungus” became my favorite album track for today, who is that dude?
First of all he is the king of the mold (fungus). It is a symbol for the force of nature and how it can be provoked and messed with. Like mentioned before the Plöw-man is all mighty, so it means that he does not always appear as a “man”, but sometimes as a force of power. You will also notice that the captain is having one last bash (night out) where he gets wasted on moonshine, goes on a rampage and drowns the Lord of Guss with a rope made from Satan’s beard. Basically he is gearing up and getting ready for autumn (sideB on vinyl).


What’s about this verse from the song “Let’s ride the tide, Tell hipsters to hide”? Do you have a damned lot of hipsters in Denmark?
Haha we have a lot of guys with bad haircuts riding bikes with no gears and playing synthesizer. I would actually rather call them posers than hipsters, like they say being a dick head is cool.

Same epidemic spreads on full speed in Mother Russia too! Yet your lyrics…  Such a deep fucking symbolism! Now I see how your lyrics are rich with metaphors and sacred knowledge! :-) Who is your favorite rock / metal lyricist?
I talked to our Lyric man; Rune Bæk. He mentioned that he is trying to develop his own style and does not want to rip anybody of. But if he should mention any body he would have go all 1994 on your ass and mention dear old Kurt Cobain. I mean we all love the old grunge bands as it is our childhood music. Rasmus is the biggest grunge head of us all. He is actually at a Soundgarden concert as we speak.

The album was recorded in two different sessions, can you tell about it?
We borrowed our drummer´s mother´s house down in south Denmark for recording the first 5 songs. We set up our own studio there and camped out in the whole hose for about 10 days. It was bloody intense and basically went in no way according to plan. The idea was that the first 5 songs (side A on vinyl) where supposed to symbol a hectic shitty summer. Well as it turned out, those 10 days were exactly just that. Our producer left us half way through due to a family member passing away. He also got diagnosed with diabetes 2 later that week. I had to leave the session half way through due to an allergic brake out. I came from south Denmark looking like a person suffering from the black plague. So there was quite some work to be done and tracks to be laid and recorded later that summer.
The autumn (side B) on vinyl went a bit smoother. We had rented a studio this time around and had 4 days to get the job done. The writing process of the last 3 songs was also allot more intense as we only used a short month on writing them. You will for sure detect a heavier even more progressive feel to the last three songs. We tuned down in tempo and tone and let the massive rain and take control of our creativity. No sickness affected this recording only massive amounts of caffeine and nicotine and a blinding ambition of creating something beautiful but scary at the same time.

Man, what did you forget in Iceland? I see that you’re heading there again to play a gig and I remember that you did a gig or two there already so why don’t you want to visit warmer countries – Finland, Sweden, Estonia or Russia? Oh, damn – you were born in Iceland! I remember it, yes!
Haha yeah man I am born there. But it will be fun to visit again and now with my “new” band. I haven’t played a gig there in over 5 years. We are stoked to be joining the mighty FUZZ FEST. I am crossing my fingers that some of the local bands like Völva, Brain Police, Plastic Gods and the Vintage Caravan will be playing as well. No matter what I know that my man Mr. Diego won’t let us down and provide a solid two day festival. But for sure we will also be venturing to “warmer” places in the near future. We might actually soon have some news on that.

Völva is damned good too, we were speaking with them 4 or 5 months ago. I hope that you’ll understand me – I talk with people about music and riffs, and music and then how album was recorded, so let’s make my work a bit more various if you don’t mind. What new did happen in your life during that year besides Plow release? How did you spend your vacation?
It’s funny you should mention that. We were just discussing the other day that the album marks a cross road in all our lives in one way or another. Our bassist Mads has a one and a half year old son. And the little fellow has left big marks on our album (the first song “Storm” is named after him fx). So needless to say Mads is just enjoying being a family man and just started a new job as well. Our front man Rune is reinventing himself as he just had life altering experience. But I won’t go deeper into that at the moment. My self and Rasmus have both started new studies this fall. Rasmus started an education at the VIA Teacher Seminary and I started my education at the Royal Academy of Music. So we are looking forward to all the challenges we have ahead of us.

Well, James, thank you – I see that all Plowmen have a lot to do in this year, so I wish you all the best on your way. And send my best greetings to other guys!
I would like to thank your readers for taking the time to read this interview from some Icelandic guy living in Denmark playing in a small sludge band. I hope to meet some of them along the way. Ride the Tide.

Interview by Aleks Evdokimov

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