I only recently discovered the formidable force of Grimpen Mire when they unleashed their 2nd recording ‘Death On A Moor’ as a free download and was instantly blown away by their unrelenting take on Crust riddled Doom, so if your reading this and haven’t got a copy, what are you waiting for! Intrigued to know more about what makes this band tick I fired off some questions to Guitarist Jim and Bass/Vocalist Paul.
Can you give us an introduction to Grimpen Mire, current members and releases to date?
Jim: Yeah, Paul on Bass & Throat, Ian on Drums & Jim on Shrieks & Guitar. We got together late 2007 did a demo mid 08 & have our current EP ‘Death On The Moor’ available to download now.
A question that Adam asked me and I had absolutely no idea, where exactly in the Midlands are you from?
Jim: Erdington in Birmingham & Willenhall which is kinda near Wolverhampton. We all live pretty close, so it’s really easy to hook up for rehearsals, gigs & stuff.
The term ‘Grimpen Mire’ is taken from the novel ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ , but why did you chose this as your bands moniker and do any of your members have an interest with the work of Arthur Conan Doyle and of course Sherlock Holmes?
Jim: I think the name represents the dense atmosphere we aim to create musically.
Paul: Grimpen Mire is a dangerous and sinister place, which suits the aesthetics of the band. There is no especial interest in Conan Doyle’s work. However, the darker aspects of English history and literature are fertile lyrical ground for crushing doom.
Your music certainly has 1 foot stuck firmly in the past with bands such as Amebix, Sabbath, Frost & Vitus being name dropped, but how would you describe your illicit tones and would you agree or disagree that these bands have had an influence on your sound?
Jim: I actually only bought ‘Arise’ by Amebix this week to check them out. People have been referencing them quite a bit but we haven’t heard much to be honest. I can really see the similarity though! A band I should’ve heard years ago. The Sabbath, CF & Vitus influences are all spot on but we don’t try to be retro. The stuff we play is just what comes naturally and we want to make music that makes us feel the way all those classic bands do. I like riffs that are filthy but memorable.
Paul: I also agree with these influences, especially Celtic Frost, my all-time favourite band. Also Hellhammer and Darkthrone, although I don’t think we’re particularly black metal-sounding.
And who else would you site as an influence, both from a musical and non-musical perspective?
Jim: Musically, Kyuss & Soundgarden had a massive impact. The Groundhogs, Led Zep & Cream were all bands I grew up with, hearing all the time. I have to mention Mark Knopfler too cos the live version of Sultans Of Swing made me want to play Guitar in the first place.
What about your lyrics, who writes them and what themes/subjects to they follow?
Paul: I write pretty much all the lyrics these days and they tend to follow the usual subjects: death; madness; doom; despair; occultism etc. I prefer to leave them up to interpretation by the listener. However, some are obvious: ‘Rats in the Walls’ is taken from the H.P. Lovecraft story of the same name. ‘Grimpen Mire Part II’ is inspired by The Hound of the Baskervilles. I think in future I’ll be concentrating more on the macabre aspects of Victorian and turn of the century England, than Conan Doyle specifically.
Can you give us a run down in the equipment you use?
Jim: Gordon Smith Guitars – I like ’em so much, I have 2. I use a Peavey 6505 for it’s massive OTT Valve distortion (Hi Gain input of course). An old Colorsound / Sola Sound Wah, A 70’s Morley Echo Chorus Vibrato pedal & a D*A*M Sonic Titan. Any piece of kit called ‘Sonic Titan’ has gotta be good.
Why did you make your latest recording ‘Death On The Moor’ available as a free download and will it ever see an ‘official’ CD or even vinyl release?
Jim: Just wanted to get our new material out there as soon as we could. The Internet is such a great tool for spreading the word, it can’t be ignored. We’re planning to record some more tracks soon & then we’ll have a full length ‘Death On The Moor’ album. We definitely want to get some hard copies pressed cos the whole package with artwork & all is always a good thing. I like shiny discs too!
Where did you record the tracks on this EP as you’ve managed to capture a thick & heavy sound, yet it’s clear enough for your more subtle moments to stand out and now that this recording has been unleashed on the public, are you happy with the overall result?
Jim: Well, we flew out to L.A. and spent 3 weeks in a big, plush… No, it was fairly DIY. Our mate Rob Stimpson brought a load of equipment to our rehearsal room and it was all done in a weekend in Walsall. Totally happy with the way it sounds; gritty but dynamic (oh ignore me I’m waffling)…
What about Record Labels, have any been in touch and shown an interest in releasing anything by Grimpen Mire?
Jim: No. We ain’t really been chasing yet though.
You’re a band I’ve yet to witness in a live environment, so what can people expect from a typical Grimpen Mire gig and how did the recent show at Doomsday at The Snooty Fox in Wakefield go?
Jim: ‘EVVY Some of it was filmed, we’re gonna get it on Youtube. I think we sound very much like the recorded stuff but louder and more raw. Nastier.
Jim is also involved with crusty grind band After The Last Sky, so how easy is it for him to adapt to the 2 differing styles and is anyone else involved in any other projects/bands?
Jim: The slow & fast styles balance out I think. There haven’t been any problems yet. After the Snooty Fox gig I went to Stoke to play an ATLS gig & it’s just great getting to play so often.
A more personal question, which do you prefer, vinyl or compact disc?
Jim: I like sleek, shiny vinyl mostly but CDs are better in the car.
Paul: CDs. Vinyl gets on my tits – credibility be damned (not that I have any).
What does the future hold for Grimpen Mire?
Jim: Death on the Moor according to the EP! But hopefully more gigging & some sort of album shaped release soon. We’re working on more material and already have stuff waiting to be recorded.
Thanks for the interview and please use this space for any final words…
Paul: Thanks for taking an interest.
More info on Grimpen Mire at: www.myspace.com/grimpenmire1971
Interviewed by: Lee Edwards