God Damn Sheffield Picture House May 2015
Vulture Hound catches up with the UK’s hottest metal act at the moment God Damn with a Q&A with Tom and Ash.
How did you meet each other?
T: How did we meet each other? We kind of properly spoke to each other properly at a house party wasn’t it?
A: Had we seen each other play?
T: Yeah, I think we’d seen each other play but we hadn’t properly spoken to each other until we went to like a house party. Funny enough the drummer in my old band used to have house parties in a place called Coven, and we used to hang around there and smoke and drink – don’t put that in cause it’s cliche.
A: Yeah, I suppose we were both in different bands in the same kind of circuit.
How did the name ‘God Damn’ come about?
A: It was just a bit of a joke really to start with.
T: Yeah, it was a bit of a joke.
A: But then when you’ve played a few shows under a certain name.
T: Yeah, well we were just supposed to be a joke band, initially we didn’t wanna like play any shows or anything in particular, we just wanted to piss people off, we keep saying that, but it was true. We just wanted to make really annoying, loud music and now we’re kind of undoing all the bag work.
What are your greatest musical inspirations as a band?
T: Kinda like, Nirvana.
A: NME described us as a mixture of, The Melvins, Pixies, Nirvana.
T: I guess there’s some stone and metal influences in there but we don’t kind of hang around too much so the stone and metal thing doesn’t really apply so much, does it? I think the big guitars are kind of stonery and stuff, and you’ve got like a lot of classic rock kind of drumming like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple and things like that.
Your new album ‘Vultures’ was recently released on May 11th, in comparison to some of your older EPs, when you were a three piece, do you think that your sound has changed since it’s become just the two of you?
T: I think it’s got bigger.
A: Yeah definitely, I think it’s got bigger but I think it’s just what any band I suppose goes through, you just naturally develop your sound, and it probably would’ve naturally developed anyway.
T: It would have always developed, even if we were a three piece.
A: But I think sound wise, we’re better for it.
T: Definitely, well, not even necessarily better for it but it has changed the sound, but on the record we didn’t want it to be a two piece record, we didn’t want it to sound like a two piece, we didn’t want it to be something that kind of pigeonholed us and we didn’t wanna have our instruments and just the fact that there’s two of us, limit us, you know?
A: We just wanted to sound like a band.
T: Yeah, we just wanted to make a big sounding record as well. There’s plenty of guitar layers, there’s plenty of vocal layers, there’s plenty of drum layers as well, isn’t there? There’s extra rhythm bits and things like that.
A: Everyone’s heard two piece albums.
T: It’s not a two piece album by any stretch of the imagination really, but we can still play it live. I think what it does is, because on the record you can’t like see us and you can’t get the vibe and the atmosphere, so by adding extra bits and extra pieces to it, it creates more of that atmosphere. That’s kind of what we did actually. The crooks of it is two people, but we created more of an atmosphere with extra layers, which is what you get live anyway.
What are your personal favourite songs of the album?
T: I like ‘Silver spooned’ and ‘Skeletons’.
A: It’s kind of hard to say really, I like ‘Vultures’, I think because it shows all the different sides.
T: It’s kind of like the album in one song as well, it has all the different sides of the album. The mafia sides, and the stoner kinda sides and all that stuff.
A: I just like them all, really.
T: I wouldn’t say “Oh no, I really don’t like that one.” It just depends on what kind of mood you’re in, because there’s songs for different moods. It’s quite a morose sounding album a lot of the time, but then there’s some party riffs in there and stuff isn’t there?
A: Yeah, definitely.
T: There’s uplifting bits as well. We make horrible music but it makes us happier people because it all gets released.
What are your favourite songs to play live?
T: I’d say ‘Silver Spooned’ for me.
A: I like playing ‘Silver Spooned’ live, too. ‘Maladie Melodie’ is quite good too.
T: Maladies fun yeah, I’d actually say that that’s my favourite. It’s proggy enough, but not too long that you get a bit out of breathe and there’s a big kind of ‘Rage Against The Machine’ styled riff in there, yeah it’s a big riff and the dynamics are quite heavy. It goes really quiet with the riff and you get the build up and stuff, and again it’s a party riff.
A: One that always gets a quite good response as well is ‘Skeletons’.
T: Yeah, cause it goes really quiet and acoustically and then it’s that dynamic thing where four minutes of the song is just quiet strumming of the guitar and little bits of drumming and stuff, and then it kicks in and then it goes quiet again. I think it’s just like, when we play that song in the set, I kind of go “Oh well it’s the first time we’ve stopped and actually sang a song”. It’s nice to do that really.
You’re soon to be supporting the ‘Foo Fighters’, how does that feel?
A: I’m still waiting to turn up and I’ve just won some tickets or something.
T: Yeah, it does feel like we’ve won some tickets or something, or we’ve won a battle of the bands to do it. I guess in some ways, it is a battle of the bands to do it, because bands get put forward and they pick the bands don’t they?
A: It’s surreal, it’s something I never expected to happen yet, or for a while at least.
T: Yeah, we’re playing grotty little clubs and then we’re gonna go and play a stadium in front of 25,000 people, in this little van.
A: It’s dead exciting though.
T: Yeah, it’s dead exciting. It’s mental, isn’t it? I’m sleeping better now, the first couple of nights I found out, I was waking up really early. I think i’d woken up really because we’d announced it at like 7 in the morning, but it’s crazy because like normally we post something on facebook and it gets like 100 likes or something like that and it’s got like 1,000 likes and it’s reach was 42,000 or something ridiculous. Not that that overly concerns us, but it’s pretty cool, and it’s a household name. My parents know that I’ve done something good with the band. Actually, saying that, my step-dad’s a little bit older and he went “Oh yeah, I think i’ve heard of the kung foo fighters actually.” But yeah, mates from school are getting back in touch and going “Oh, so you’re doing something with your band?” and i’m like “Well I have been playing in bands since we were little kids.”
You’re due on stage in the next few hours, do you have any pre show rituals?
T: We warm up, don’t we? Ash gets a drum pad and drums for 20 minutes.
A: Yeah, and I put my earplugs in and that, to get used to wearing them because it’s like a totally different thing.
T: I do some scales and I do a lot of screaming and I jump and jog and stretch. We have a little cuddle don’t we?
A: Yeah, that’s our only proper ritual.
T: Even if it’s three people watching us, we have a little cuddle.
Finally, what is your plan for world domination?
T: I think we’re gonna capture Dave Grohl and it’s gonna be like hostages and we’re not gonna let him go until somebody let’s us get played on daytime radio. No, I don’t know what’s the plan for world domination. It’d be great to get more shows like the ‘Foo Fighters’ one, because that would change everything.
A: Hopefully, fingers crossed more will come from it.
T: But we’re not going to bank on that, if nothing did come of it, at least we’d done some cool stuff.
A: I’ll tell you the plan if you’re talking world domination, it’s to keep working hard.
T: There you go, work harder, find new ways of working even harder.
Interview Olivia Cole
Photo’s Tony Woolliscroft