With the imminent release of their new EP ‘Ride The Snake’ (reviewed HERE) leaders of the one band genre of Party Stoner, Groan recently embarked on a UK tour with the likes of Sir Admiral Cloudsey and Atragon. During this time they discovered that Newport Pagnell services sells cider and managed to answer some questions from Mark Hunt-Bryden in the back of their van somewhere between London and Birmingham, possibly in their pants as threatened by vocalist Andreas Mazzereth. Here we asked them about the birth of Party Stoner, their recent experience at Hard Rock Hell and even managed to get them to answer a question seriously…
Your EP ‘Ride the Snake’ is a lot of fun to listen to. It sounds like a lot of fun to play and perform and lives up to its ‘Party Stoner’ tag. What is your approach to song writing? Do you come up with a concept and write to it or do you fit the subject matter to the music?
Mazzereth spends a week in isolation in his private library reading ancient texts and watching young women stretch. Mike thinks about riffs when he’s lifting weights, Leigh chucks in some half-baked ideas when he feels like it and Zel spices it all up by smashing things when needed.
‘Party Stoner’ as a concept… You are clearly aficionados of the NWOBHM, Hair Metal and Doom. What possessed you to put them all together?
We were stoned at a party and realised the soundtrack to that freewheeling night should be called “Party Stoner”, whatever it may be. Later that night, after consuming synthetic hallucinogen 4-HO-MET, the sound itself, the combination of which you speak, came to us all independently in our dreams, and thus, PARTY STONER came to be.
Having read some interviews on line (particularly the hilarious one where Mazzereth interviews himself) and listening to the lyrics you don’t take yourselves too seriously. Is this important thing to survive as a musician or a band?
If you’ve read Mazzereth’s interview with himself, it should come as no surprise to you that this question will get you one raised hand.
What gets you out of bed (so to speak) as a band? What are your goals and what drives you?
We saw a lot of bands playing stoner and doom and we thought “that looks like the easiest thing on earth”. It is.
Doing my history homework the first album was written and recorded separately and the band communicated via the internet. You had a new lineup change this year. Has this affected the way the band work in terms of dynamics/song writing and hanging out or are you still ‘scattered across the UK’?
In terms of songwriting the process has always been the same. Our rhythm section lives close to each other now, so they can be credited with the improved tightness in the live shows. More changes to come, strap yourselves in.
‘Ride the Snake’ is being released on Superhot Records, also home to the fantastic Trippy Wicked amongst others. Could you tell us a bit more about them and what do they bring to the table for you as a band?
We really wanted to get the EP out before the end of 2013 and nobody was interested. Leigh co-runs Superhot Records with the talented Chris West, and was impressed enough by the demos to release his own band’s music.
The EP has been self-produced and released via an independent label – With all the talk about the effects of illegal downloading decreasing sales and band earning less money from labels, is this the future for the industry?
It’s not the future, it is the present reality faced by so many hardworking bands such as ourselves. We make enough money to break even sometimes, and that feels like a bonus.
Does producing the album yourself help how you write a song – i.e. knowing the best way to present it in the studio or do you just jam?
We have a strong idea of what the sound should be like (the brief for ‘Ride The Snake’ was “a cross between Iron Maiden and Church of Misery”), and because Chris West and Mike are talented producers (Mike owns his own studio, The Vaults, Warrington) they’re able to achieve what we had in mind from such a simple brief.
Who is your ultimate Woman of Doom?
Nigella Lawson, off her face, dishing out a hot slice of pie.
Is Leigh still listening to uncool stuff? Any recent examples?
Zel’s favourite band is the Spice Girls, so maybe we should be asking her instead. But seriously, Girls on Film by Duran Duran is the greatest song of the 20th Century.
You have recently played Hard Rock Hell along with acts such as Black Star Riders Paul DiAnno, Grifter and are just embarking on a UK tour with some fantastic bands like Iron Hearse and Sir Admiral Cloudsey.
Firstly how did Hard Rock Hell go?
Did you stay the whole weekend?
Are the crowd more into it being a less commercial event?
Any eventfully occurrences whilst there?
We couldn’t stay the whole weekend because we had been hired to play at a private function in the Lake District the following day. Mazzereth was overwhelmed by the amount of grey sweatpants on display, Zel was really impressed by the pizza, and Leigh was in bed by 10pm. Jim is unavailable for comment.
What are you most looking forward to about the other UK dates? Any particular bands you are looking forward to playing with or cities you are excited to be playing?
We can’t wait to play Edinburgh for the first time because it’s socially acceptable to drink your own body weight in alcohol. Maybe this time our rider requirement of Buckfast will be fulfilled. It will be a great honour to play with the heaviest doom band on Earth, Atragon. We shall be weeping tears of heavy metal joy.
And lastly any final words?
This one’s for your mother. Ride the Snake and doom on.
Interviewed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden