So who’s familiar with a Greek sludge band? Thought as much, so here I introduce Guinea Pig, one such Greek sludge band. A band that meld a very riff heavy groove with some tasty throat lacerations of a very Johnny Morrow variety. Not knowing much about them I fired over an interview so they could share their vision with the Shaman brotherhood. Read on friends…
Hails to you, our sun dwelling Greek brothers of doom. How are things in the world of Guinea Pig on this fine day?
Hello Andrew. First of all, thanks for your interest in Guinea Pig and our music endeavours. We’re doing fine although the last few days it’s been somewhat rainy over here.
Let us start off with this simple question, why Guinea Pig? You guys like the small chubby rodents a little too much or is there another inspiration for the choice of moniker?
Well, the answer to this question is quite simple as well. We didn’t take a lot of time to come up with our name; we started playing and somewhere down the road we decided we needed a name and that’s when Guinea Pig came out. We most probably decided to go with this because it sounds good and we also like the Guinea Pig Japanese horror movies.
I got to say Guinea Pig are the first sludge doom band from Greece I’ve come across, what got you guys together and how did you reach your sound?
We started as Obey in 2006 but after a lot of changes in line up, the band took its current form and was renamed to Guinea Pig. From the beginning, we got together in order to jam heavy music close to the bands we like in this genre. We’re still experimenting with our sound but we’ve found – more or less – a music direction that everyone in the band is happy with at the moment, although this may change in the future.
The band have just released a 3 song demo, what response have you had to the release so far? How do the 3 new songs compare to your earlier material?
The world is going crazy over it! Especially the chicks. Seriously now, these are the first songs we composed as Guinea Pig and hence the first to be recorded. We’ve printed 300 copies of the demo and we’ve already sent out about 200, both via mail and hand to hand, and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback which shows that there are people who actually like what we do.
The biggest single influence I hear on your demo would be the caustic bile of Iron Monkey, especially in Christos’ blackened rasp. With your first song on the demo called “King Monkey”, how much influence do you draw from those mid-nineties pioneers of sludge?
Iron Monkey is definitely a big influence for all of us and we’re happy that it shows. Apart from that, everyone has his own influences that he brings into our music despite the fact that some are more obvious than others. Overall, I’d say our music is mostly influenced by Iron Monkey, Acid Bath and Eyehategod.
I can see you’ve got some shows coming up in your homeland, what would you say an average Guinea Pig show is like?
It’s not like we’ve done hundreds of shows but we’ve enjoyed each and every time we’ve performed live. Necessities for a successful Guinea Pig live are lots of beer and booze, sunflower seeds (a recent addiction) and heavy filthy music.
What’s it like getting shows in Greece when you’re a sludge band? Most people associate your country with a more black metal scene, do you face much stereotyping?
Actually, the most active scene in Greece the last few years is the stoner rock scene, with more bands emerging every day. So, I’d say that it’s not that difficult for a sludge band to get an offer for a live show, especially if you’re really looking for such opportunities. Of course, it helps if you know the right people…
Do you remember the first show you ever played? How was it, describe your feeling when you first took to the stage? Do you have any tales about the band, any funny anecdotes?
It was less than a year ago and we were a bit anxious about it but the booze helped us get over it. It was a really nice show overall.
Well, just before we went out and played our recent show in Athens, Seraphim while trying to do a weird and dangerous acrobatic move was sabotaged… His jeans were torn along the seam from the bottom to the top! He had no extra pants but fortunately Christos had so we managed to start the show…
Also that night Christos was trying to produce the most disgusting alcoholic mix ever and try it on himself. He actually made it. Pure vomit…
Have any labels showed an interest in the band? Do you have aspirations of being signed or do you prefer it in the underground?
We don’t have any offers up ’til now but we haven’t sent any promotional copies to any labels so it is to be expected. Although we aren’t looking for a label at this moment, when we’ll be ready to record new material, we may look for labels to help us with the distribution.
If you guys got to play on a dream tour package opening for 3 bands what 3 bands would you play with and why?
Cathedral: The doom masters.
Iron Monkey: Risen back from the dead.
Darkthrone: What do you mean “why?”
How do you think the future will pan out for the band? Where do you see Guinea Pig in one year? What about 5 years? Any musical plans?
It’s hard to tell where we’ll be in a year from now, let alone in 5. We’re at a point where we’re happy with what we have and we’re planning to keep it up as long as we can. At the moment, we are discussing about doing a split LP with a band from the USA, but more on that once it’s finalised.
Tell us a bit about the musical blueprint for your song writing how does the process evolve? And give us an insight into the lyrics, who writes them and what inspires those words?
Yiannis writes the songs and we choose the few that we like. Plain and simple. Christos and Andreas are responsible for the lyrics. Words mostly express violent and suppressed feelings which are metaphorically describing our every day lives. They are products of visions and hallucinations due to liquor abuse.
What do you guys do when not formulating new sonic forays into the sludge, tell us a bit about each of you? Are any of you in any side-projects?
We are in between things at the moment. Some of us are trying to finish with our studies while others have regular jobs. Music-wise, all of us participate in other bands (regular bands not side projects). Andreas is the voice of Revolting Breed, Christos performs vocals for Hedon Cries and Seraphim is the guitarist of Bohemian Grove. Actually there is quite a mix of sounds we are interested in…P.S.: Christos and Seraphim on their little spare time play Warhammer!
Now, desert island disc time. Scenario is; you have been instructed to live the rest of your life on a desert island in solitude and in your new home you’re only allowed to take 5 records. These will be the last records you will ever hear again, which 5 would you take and why?
We are a bunch of assholes and we won’t answer such question! Except for bassist (of course) who would take all 14 Darkthrone albums well hidden inside 5 jewel cases…
What are your thoughts on the world of metal at present and what do you think the future holds for our beloved genre?
It’s the same as always. There is a whole industry based on metal music which works like a commercial company. Ads, promotions and huge revenues for the few who manage to become part of it and the rest stay in the dark but there is always the underground which keeps going without the commercial spirit that the music industry is based upon. Whoever is worth it, will last through the day and the rest won’t. Regarding the sludge genre, unfortunately there are very few well known bands still playing that kind of music and the underground seems somewhat sterile although there are some very good bands with great potential. However, for the genre to grow and attract more people to this kind of music there must be an outbreak similar to the one in early to mid ’90s which gave birth to bands such EHG, Iron Monkey, Grief, 13, Corrupted, Noothgrush which were the forefathers of that genre.
And so we have reached the end of our conversation, thanks for filling out the questions and please feel free to write down any final words…
We’d like to thank you again for the interview and everyone that has supported us until now. We hope to see you guys on the road. Cheers!
Interviewed by: Andrew Sloan