Electric Wizard (USA)

Metal-Roos: This is a very intense album, even darker than ‘Black Masses’. Was this a conscious decision, or was that just how it naturally evolved? What inspires you to take the music to such dark places?
We did intend to make a dark album, that was something we wanted to do, something truly dark and not just the horror movie metaphors and the occult stuff. We didn’t think it would go quite as death-obsessed and nihilistic as it did, but that was inspired by outside events – getting shafted by previous business relationships, a stupid amount of line-up problems for the flimsiest, piss-arsed reasons, and fucking having shit happen, a death in the family… people me and Mark (Greening) knew from Wimborne (in Dorset, UK) were starting to die of their various sins, heroin and shit like that, so it was a time to reflect on stuff…

Metal-Roos: Do you have any favourite songs yet? ‘Time to Die’ is incredibly heavy, with tons of fuzz and is definitely my favourite song on the album.
My favourite is actually the title track as well. I spent about a year and a half writing it, so it better fucking be, haha.

Metal-Roos: It really seems like your rhythm section is a new unit on this album. Is this just the result of jamming or line-up changes?
A bit of both. You have to pick the right people for the job, that’s where judgement and instinct come in, but there was a lot of jamming going on, too. You have to get the rhythm section tight, that’s very important, especially to create the type of music we want to create, which is very heavy at the bottom end, and to achieve that without relying on a lot of cheesy guitar tone and bullshit and pedals…

Metal-Roos: There’s a definite hypnotic feel to this album, especially in songs like ‘I am Nothing’. Was there a lot of jamming/rehearsals prior to recording?
Yeah, quite a lot, just to work out a sort of structure and have it stay in your head because you’re not counting out any particular riffs or anything you know, so you do have to practice your jams to get them good. So there was a lot of that, yes, and with regard to the hypnotic feel, the studio was kept very dark and everyone got in the right state of mind. We always go for a really heavy atmosphere, and the challenge is to capture that on tape, which is why we choose to record on analogue equipment.

Metal-Roos: Will you be touring Australia to promote the album?
Eventually, fingers crossed.

Metal-Roos: What’s the writing process like? Do you collaborate with the other members much in the process?
Some of my processes are really random, to be honest, so I couldn’t really say. I guess everything does start with riffs, though. As a doom band, a heavy metal band, it’s riffs that you base all the songs around. I mean, Liz & I work on the riffs as the basis of everything; we get a pool of 50 or so riffs, and then you’re able to jam quite freely with that until you hit that moment of… ermm… what should we do next everyone, haha?! So, yea, you need the riffs, and then you jam them. Most people who listen to or know about metal music will understand what I’m saying.

Metal-Roos: What has always drawn you to analogue recording & equipment?
To be honest, that’s how I started recording. There wasn’t an actual digital set-up when we first started making our music. And I actually prefer the honesty of it now, I don’t like creating music after the fact, I don’t enjoy that. I don’t get any fun just moving a mouse around, it’s fucking boring. I like weird old equipment that you can actually move around and do shit with.

Metal-Roos: Do you have a favourite stomp box or piece of musical gear?
Honestly, just my guitar and amp, they’re the main things for me – the Sound City 120 amp and Gibson SG guitar. Everything else I can take or leave, to be honest. It’s always nice to have fancy stuff. but it always fucking breaks!

Metal-Roos: What was the studio experience like for the album? Do you do anything different from normal?
Looking back, this time it was tense and hard work – frustrating and miserable. It wasn’t that enjoyable. It was good putting down the original tracks, but after that it was a bit of a nightmare… that’s why the album sounds like it does, really…

Metal-Roos: Do you have any comments you would like to make on organised religion to close the interview?
Organised religion?… Fuck off!

Interview Date: 2014-09-18

Interviewer: Matt Brown