Tag: Sleeping Shaman
Our current booking agents, Future Noise, who are this year celebrating 10 years in existence as a promoter/booker/label/PR…etc company, have recently undergone a cabinet reshuffle. From now on Grifter’s gig booking will be handled by our good friend and long time supporter of the band Mr. Lee Edwards. Lee is no stranger to the murky world of rock and roll. He has previously run a label, promoted shows and, since 2005 run the very successful and popular website The Sleeping Shaman (www.thesleepingshaman.com). This year he launched his new label, Shaman Recordings, who have recently released the debut album from Scouse doomers Black Magician on vinyl to rave reviews. Lee has been associated and working with Future Noise for some time and is now stepping up his involvement to push the company further forward booking gigs and tours for bands on the roster which includes Wino, Undersmile, Paul Catten, The Sontaran Experiment, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, Ufomammut, Serpent Venom, Pombagira, Domes Of Silence, Jucifer, Lazarus Blackstar, Charger, Black Star, Bastard Of The Skies and Black Magician amongst others.
We’re very excited to be working with Lee and look out for plenty of Grifter live activity in the future.
To book the band please contact Lee at email@example.com
NEW INTERVIEW IN SLUDGELORD!!!
Ollie recently did an interview for the very fine Sludgelord webzine. Big thanks to Steve Howe for doing this and to Lee at The Sleeping Shaman for hooking us up.
“Today on Sludgelord I am interviewing Ollie (Vocalist and Guitarist) from Grifter. The awesome Blues Rock/Stoner Rock Combo who have gained a whole load of praise for their superb S/T début album which I reviewed earlier this year.
Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc…
Ah, this tale goes back to the mists of time. We formed in September/October 2003 in our original home town of Plymouth. Phil (bass), Foz (drums) and our original singer Nev were in a band called 16 Stone Mullet and I was in a band called Conrad. I was sick of my band and their guitarist was going to university so we hooked up and started jamming. By December we had a set together so we played a gig…then Nev walked off stage and left the band right there and then. Exactly one month later we were back at the same venue as a three piece with my good self taking over the vocal spot…and that’s the way it’s been ever since.
Q2 – How would yourselves describe your sound.
We always get called stoner/classic/blues rock or whatever…and that’s fine if it gives people something to hang on to as a description. But I think Phil summed it up best when he was talking to someone at a gig and they asked him what sort of music we play and he just replied Rock And Roll. That really sums it up but if I wanted to flesh it out a bit for people so they don’t go away expecting us to sound like Elvis I’d say dirty heavy rock and roll.
Q3 – Which bands influence you on your music.
I think like most bands we have direct and indirect influences. The direct influences would be bands like Black Sabbath, ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Motorhead, Clutch, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mountain…etc but between us we have a huge range of music tastes from 90’s grunge to reggae and ska to punk to NWOBHM to blues to thrash to hip hop to 60’s soul and all of them have little creeping influences on what we do even if they may not be entirely obvious. It may be something as small as suggesting a bass line that draws from reggae even if the guitars are heavy and stuff like that.
Q4 – Is the band a full time project or do you have full time jobs to contend with.
I’d say it’s a bit of both really. We all have full time jobs…I work for an energy company, Phil works for a metalwork design company and Foz is in construction. On the other hand the band is pretty much at the forefront of our minds most of the time and we’re always thinking about some aspect of it whether it’s the music, promotion, business…etc. Fortunately the band pretty much pays for itself most of the time and any money the band makes goes straight back into the band.
Q5 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music.
The song writing process is pretty much as it comes. Sometime songs just come out of jamming or sometimes Phil or I will come in with a riff…Phil tends to come in with a few riffs that work together in a sequence but I’m more likely to come in with a verse and chorus complete with vocals. We then get together and start to put flesh on the bones. Foz will find the groove, things will get twisted around a bit, the groove will dictate maybe what sort of middle section we’re going to use and it all gets built up from there. It’s very rare that anyone will come in with a whole complete song as we’re of the mind that one person’s ideas aren’t necessarily the best all the time and it’s everyone’s input into a song that makes it what it is. Even if someone does come in with a whole song it usually gets ripped apart and put back together again.
Q6 – You have received a whole load of great praise for your excellent début album. That most of took you by surprise. Are you happy with the response you have got so far.
The response to the album completely blew us away. Out of all the reviews we’ve had, which I think is getting on for about 40, we’ve had only 2 more negative reviews, maybe a couple that were a bit non committal and the rest have raved about it which is incredible. What really amazed us is when the end of year best of lists started to appear on various websites and we were on a whole bunch of them like The Obelisk, The Soda Shop, Heavy Planet, Chybucca Sounds…etc. We totally didn’t expect that and it’s quite humbling really to think that three scruffy buggers from the west country can plug away in quiet oblivion and turn out a bunch of songs that people rate as one of the best albums of last year.
Q7 – Your début album was released by the excellent label Ripple Music. How did you hook up with those guys. Great Label and run by a bunch of cool guys.
Ripple is an awesome label and we hooked up with them really at the start of their journey. They hadn’t even released an album when they asked us to work with them so we’ve been growing together. Basically they ran a review site first The Ripple Effect, and I sent them a copy of our previous EP for review. I’m not even sure at that point I was aware they were doing a label. Anyway, they loved the EP, gave it a rave review and then started to ask how we were fixed label wise and would we be interested in being part of a vinyl compilation they were thinking of putting together with Stone Axe, Sun Gods In Exile and Mighty High as all 4 bands had some links by playing together or releasing split vinyls…etc.
Q8 – What has been the reception like to your live gigs. Has it all been good responses. Any major live highlights so far. (I saw you guys perform an excellent performance when supporting Orange Goblin earlier this year).
At the risk of sounding big headed…and I really don’t mean to…the response to our live shows is always pretty amazing. Even if we play to crowds who don’t really know who we are we always seem to win them round and get a great reaction. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe it’s because we actually engage with the crowd and try to get some sort of rapport going with them rather than staring at our feet plus, playing the style of music we play, it makes us want to move and we’re passionate about it and I think that sheer enjoyment comes across to an audience.
Gig highlights? There have been loads. Obviously the Orange Goblin tour was incredible, we had a total blast and were really taken aback at how good the reactions were every night…people chanting the band’s name…etc. Headlining the Black Heart stage at Desertfest was also a killer gig as was playing the Freak Valley open air festival in Germany. In 9 years worth of playing gigs we’ve been lucky enough to play with some incredible bands and play some killer shows.
Q9 – Do you get many gigs in your home. Or do you have to travel around a lot.
We could get a lot more gigs at home if we wanted but we prefer to spread them out so we don’t burn out the local crowd. We’d rather make the hometown gigs a bit more special and get other quality bands on than just do everything that’s going. It is difficult there though as venues have taken a hammering and so many have disappeared but a few people are still flying the flag and keeping it alive. Most of our gigs are further afield. We prefer to do that as it’s more fun for us to get in the van, have a road trip and get to play to new crowds and meet different people/bands.
Q10 – Does your family and friends support your band.
Our families are tremendously supportive. Phil and I are both married with kids and the band sometimes takes us away from them but they put up with it all and are very proud of what we do. Apparently I’m some kind of hero at my eldest daughter’s school!!!
Q11 – What is your opinion of the current state of the UK Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. Great bands coming through. Not enough cool venues across the UK to put them on.
There are some amazing bands who are working very hard to put out quality releases and gig as much as possible and keep the scene afloat. Venue/promoter wise it’s a lot harder but there are some that keep things going and they do seem to be able to put on good gigs and get good turnouts so there is definitely a scene there to build upon. It helps when magazines like Metal Hammer devote an entire cover mounted CD to up and coming UK bands of this genre as they did recently as it shows that people are taking notice. It would be great of there were more venues and promoters who could pay the bands for the travel…etc but I’m hoping it’ll pick up slowly.
Q12 – What are your fave bands around at the moment. Any new ones you can recommend for ourselves to check out.
Of the UK bands we have some amazing talent here. Mother Corona from Oxford have released an amazing album and the new Alunah album is incredible. General are band from Birmingham who’s new album has just come out on Catacomb Records and is a real killer , they have an awesome vocalist. Other ones to watch are Desert Storm from Oxford, Steak from London, Undersmile from Oxford, Smoke Pilot (formerly Medamaki) from Evesham, Trippy Wicked and the Cosmic Children of the Knight and Stubb from St Albans, XII Boar from Aldershot, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell from Hastings…the list goes on.
On an international scale Ape Machine from the States are incredible, they have 2 self released albums out and are hooking up with someone very cool for the next album. We’re hoping to get them over to tour next year. Also The Lord Fowl album on Small Stone is a killer. I also have to give mention to our label mates Stone Axe, Mos Generator and Mighty High from across the pond for all releasing amazing stuff and our buddies in Sun Gods In Exile. Also check out Doctor Cyclops from Italy who have a new album out now on World In Sound…we toured with them in Europe and they totally rule. Finally check out Bushfire from Germany who have a killer sound and amazing front man.
Q13 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.
The most rewarding are things like writing a killer song in practice and the buzz that we get from that, playing awesome gigs to amazing crowds and meeting new friends, getting amazing feedback for our album…etc. The downside is having to deal with all the business stuff and stressing about being able to afford to do stuff…we’d like to do a video but that costs, we have a new album to record and that costs…etc. Trying to get gigs that will at least cover petrol costs. It would be great to have someone on board who could deal with all that stuff for us so we can concentrate on the music as the bigger the band gets the more that side of things takes over. We’re getting there though, we’re building a good team.
Q14 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.
This is a tough one. I’m guilty of downloading stuff myself …though it tends to be older obscure hard to find stuff or stuff I already have on vinyl though I have grabbed downloads of other stuff to check out. It is certainly one way of spreading music far and wide and getting bands heard and I don’t think any band will turn their noses up at an increased fan base…it’s particularly rewarding when you get positive feedback from people about your stuff. On the other hand, being in a band is a huge financial commitment, similarly running a label, and bands need to make a return on their investment into their music to be able to continue doing it and illegal downloading does draw income away from the bands and labels so people downloading everything are running the risk of killing the industry.
Q15 – What advice or words of wisdom would you give to upcoming bands and musicians who are about to start a Sludge/Doom/Stoner Rock Band.
Make sure you have decent gear so you can get a decent sound from the off…stop using Matamps and Big Muff pedals, everyone has that sound now, you need to stand out. Also, don’t set out trying to be a stoner/doom/sludge band. Listen to a range of stuff and play what feels right to you not what you think will fit into a scene…don’t just copy your heroes as you won’t stand out from the pack and people like sincerity and a touch of originality. If you write a riff that sound like a dead ringer for Fu Manchu or whoever then bin it or rework it into something of your own. It’s a hugely over populated market and you need something to stand out…don’t forget all modern rock music springs from the blues, go back and listen to the source.
Q16 – Finally what are the future plans for the band. Do you have more tours planned or new releases we should be aware of.
We’re constantly working. At them moment we’re writing songs for album number two, we have nearly 7 songs in the bag now and we’ll look to maybe get another 3-4 written before we plan to head in and record. We’ve road tested some of the songs and the response to them has been amazing so we’re confident the album will be pretty strong. Ripple want to release the album and we have some plans to give it plenty of promo like shooting a video…etc Also Ripple have grown hugely as a label since the first one and will be able to make a bigger splash when this one drops.
Well guys thanks for answering these questions. All the best from all of us at Sludgelord.
SLEEPING SHAMAN INTERVIEW!!!
Almost forgot about this. Here’s an audio interview Ollie did with Mark from the Sleeping Shaman back in January that has now seen the light of day. It makes for fun listening.
EURO TREK POSTER!!!
Thanks to Lee at The Sleeping Shaman for this.
GRIFTER MAKE THE TOP 10!!!
This seems to be becoming a bit of a running theme but we have made the Top 10!!! Big thanks to Lee at the Sleeping Shaman for including our album in his end of year top 10 albums.
Future Noise website revamp.
Our good buddies at Future Noise have had their website completely revamped by Lee from The Sleeping Shaman and it looks pretty tasty.
Future Noise are an awesome label/booking agency/PR Co based in Manchester responsible for some excellent releases from the likes of Charger and Black Sun and numerous gigs/tours including the recent Ufomammut tour.
Go check out heir new site at http://www.future-noise.co.uk