Limbic Riot Interview

Limbic Riot reside in Stockport, Greater Manchester, they’ve been around since 2002 but with line up problems things began to stagnate until 2006 when they drafted in members from metallers Uchi Deshi and with it came a new mind set and direction, focusing their sound on a more slower, heavy and sludgy feel. In 2007 they played with the likes of Volition, Manatees, Charger and Blood Island Raiders, and with a split 7″ due out in early 2008 with Power Violence grinders Jonathan Ross I caught up with their longstanding vocalist Pete to ask him a few questions.

As usual, let’s start at the beginning by giving us a run down of your history and current line up?

The initial line-up was formed at the end of 2002. The band was formed by Gregson (guitar) and the first line-up included him, his younger brother, two of his brother’s friends and myself. We were all very young at this point and three of the band were still in school! We were highly influenced by Raging Speedhorn who were then hugely popular and in my opinion were one of the best live acts in the country. Our style was very derivative of Speedhorn and Iron Monkey, but Gregson’s song writing ability helped get us noticed and we were chuffed to have our demo reviewed in Rock Sound.

Prior to joining LR I was also singing in a metal band called Uchi Deshi with some mates from college. In 2004 Gregson and I were asked to join I-Remain and whilst he thrived in the band, I didn’t and only appeared on their demo. After this happened, the band began to stagnate. Gregson committed to I-Remain full time and the other members gradually dropped out so I drafted in the guys from Uchi Deshi over a year or so and that’s basically how our current line-up came to be.

From an outsiders point of view, you very much tread a similar path to the likes of Noothgrush, Grief and even Corrupted to a degree, comparisons aside though, how would you describe the music of Limbic Riot and what influences your sound?

I would describe our music as slow, crushing, harsh and pessimistic. As ever, modern life in general influences our sound and the band is a catharsis. Another influence is that we have all been very heavy weed smokers at various points in our lives, Matt and Nick (Bass) still partake but Ben (guitar) and I have more or less given up due to various horrendous mental effects sustained. Ben is very well read and versed in philosophy and fairly misanthropic in his outlook. I am profoundly misanthropic (renounced misanthropy as of 06/08). I have had a very bleak outlook since I was young. I’ve always had a deep, foreboding feeling that everything is constantly getting worse, especially the human race.

And what about your lyrics, who writes them and what subject matters do you cover?

I write the lyrics, they used to be more personal and self referential but since the change in style I feel they have improved. They now express ideas and feelings though more abstract concepts. For instance on the surface, ‘Destitute Carapaces’ was about a fly trapped in a spider’s web waiting to be devoured, whilst surrounded by its deceased swarm, this was actually a metaphor for the break up of my family. ‘Immobile Corroded Vat’ is a bit more humorous, it’s about a rusting vat filled with a sludge that has become self aware, at the end of the song the vat bursts open, sending the sludge washing down a street whilst engulfing people and melting their screaming faces. ‘Grey Beach’ was inspired by a scene near the end of H.G Well’s The Time Machine, but the lyrics came out very Lovecraftian, with aquatic horrors dragging the narrator into ‘the black mass of pulsating squids’.

Who came up with the moniker ‘Limbic Riot’ and does it have any underlying meaning?

I came up with the name originally as an e-mail address, the original name Gregson had for the band was ‘Hard Boiled’ because we were both obsessed with the John Woo film of the same name. Then, after one too many egg jokes we changed it to Limbic Riot. There is no underlying meaning and the name is derivative of Cephalic Carnage, I have petitioned to change it many times but to no avail!

Limbic Riot

Hard to believe you guys have actually been around since 2002 as you spent a couple of years in the wilderness with line up problems, you then returned with a heavier, more distinguished sound which is quite removed from your earlier days. So can you tells us, what happened during your quiet spell and was the new sound a conscious effort or one that just happened naturally once your new members had settled in?

Around the time the other members of Uchi Deshi joined, they weren’t really into sludge/doom and our drummer Matt described our then style as a ‘Frankenstein of metals’, which was apt even though he made the classic monster/creator mistake. We played a few gigs (the band’s average was 5 a year!) but then it all began stagnating again, mainly due to laziness, skunk and a lack of interest.

After a break we reconvened at the end of 2006 and wrote ‘Grey Beach’. This was a major turning point as we were all really pleased with the song and it was exactly the kind of style I wanted to listen to and play. I suggested that given the strong Doom/Sludge/Stoner scene in Manchester and my ties with it through Load of Noise and Future Noise, that this was the direction we should pursue in order to become more active as a band. Although our music isn’t overtly complex, the other three guys have been playing together in bands for a decade now and are all highly skilled musicians. They could probably play any style of music they set their minds to, so it’s great to have that ability as a base to draw on.

You’ll also be releasing your debut record in the form of a split 7” with Power Violence lunatics Jonathan Ross via Force Fed Records, with 2 very differing styles on show, who came up with the concept of this release, how you got involved and when is it likely to see the light of day?

Shane from JR/Atavist recommended us to the label which was cool of him. Duane of Force Fed is influenced by Slap-A-Ham Records so I think he was up for it as he didn’t have many slow bands on the roster. It should be a good mix and I actually prefer splits with two different styles on them as it gives a strong contrast. It’s been delayed by various things but it will hopefully be out early next year as soon as the JR stuff is ready. The track we have recorded for the split is ‘Grey Beach’.

And are there any other new releases or plans to record in the pipeline?

We will be recording some more tracks early next year for an EP which will hopefully be put out by Future Noise recordings. After that we hope to write our first album and get that sorted over the so-called summer.

You’re also part of the PR roster with Future Noise, so can you tell us how this came about and what sort of help they’ll be giving you?

This came about through me knowing and working with Dave of FN who kindly offered to get the band on the roster. The PR is in the early stages at the moment but it should cover general promotion and gigs which will be a massive help as we’re on the roster with some brilliant bands such as Volition and Lazarus Blackstar.

Limbic Riot

You’re also going to be helping Future Noise by promoting a few select smaller gigs, mainly at the Retro Bar in Manchester, so can you tell us a little bit more about these?

This is just an idea I had recently as I’ve always been interested in promoting gigs, although I usually have bad luck with it. The first gig I ever put on was an alldayer in Stockport in 2003, ten bands played and I also played two sets as well as organising the entire thing on my own – it was intense. The next gig was supposed to be a release gig for the first issue of Load of Noise zine. Aped Bi Sapien were going to headline and confirmed but then Joolz from the band died suddenly which was terrible and obviously meant the gig never happened.

I put on a small gig at the Retro Bar back in May for Load of Noise which went ok so I thought of doing a couple of gigs early next year to book some of the bands I wanted Limbic to play with. The line-ups are not set in stone yet but I’m hoping to have The Freezing Fog and Among The Missing play on the bills.

Speaking of Manchester, what’s your current view on the ‘extreme’ metal scene here at the moment?

I think the Doom/Sludge/Stoner scene is very healthy at the moment and this is largely down to the excellent work by Future Noise and your good self. Roadkill Records is also a great label and record shop which also serves as a physical base; selling zines, demos, tickets and stocking flyers etc it really helps the scene. It also helps that there are plenty of decent heavy bands based in Manchester who are able to help each other out.

And how easy do you find it to get gigs not only locally, but elsewhere in the country?

For us it has never been easy to get gigs to be honest, but we are seeing a bit more interest as of late, I feel that we have progressed a lot this year and Myspace has been a major tool in achieving that progression. We also smashed our pitiful gig record with a total of 7 gigs this year. We made it out of Manchester for the first time this year thanks to our Sheffield based friends Beserkowitz and next year we will hopefully be playing in Nottingham thanks to Notts Noise.

Limbic Riot

Furthermore what kind of feedback have you had from your despondent drones?

Since we have focused our style the feedback has largely been positive from fans of the genre. Other people, such as friend’s girlfriends have told us that they hated every second of it and others have said it was too heavy for them, which is cool.

I can’t do an interview with you without giving a mention to your cracking zine ‘Load of Noise’, not that long ago you decided to put it on hold, but the good news is it didn’t last long and you’ve since announced that your now working on issue #6, so can you give us an insight as to why you started it back so soon, what is likely to featured and a rough idea when it’ll be available?

First of all, thanks for the kind words man. There were various reasons why I stopped Load of Noise but the main one was that I just wanted a rest from it so I could listen to music purely for pleasure, without having to review it afterwards. I also knew that I needed to evaluate and improve my writing as I had started to loathe it. When I said it was finished I had a lot of people telling me they were gutted, which was a surprise. After the break I felt refreshed and started writing again and was fairly happy with how it was going. Then a guy from New Mexico got in touch and said that Load of Noise and the zine making guide I wrote had inspired him to do his own zine called Big Whoop (which is an ace zine). That was the best compliment anyone could pay Load of Noise, I was inspired by this and then decided to resurrect Load of Noise in order to fill the void left when I stopped it.

I’m hoping to cover a couple more genres in issue 6 such as Power Violence and also to have more articles and features. The interviews will be less generic than before as I’ve worked on my interview technique and approach to writing questions. A couple of the bands I’ve interviewed so far are the almighty Fistula and the insanely good Magrudergrind, I’m also hoping to interview The Freezing Fog and Unearthly Trance amongst others. It should be completed and available around February 2008.

Seeing as you’ve wrote stacks of interviews over the years what question would you have liked to have been asked?

Nothing else mate these were right on.

Thanks for doing this interview Pete, and please use this space for any final words…

Thanks a lot for the interview and support Lee, it is much appreciated and thanks for taking the time to come up with the good questions. Thanks also to Future Noise and everyone else who has helped us out this year. I’ve just finished work on a video for ‘Grey Beach’ which is available to view on our Myspace page and You Tube. It was inspired by a trip to the Lakes in which my girlfriend and I actually stumbled upon the Grey Beach itself (minus the hideous octopods).

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Interviewed by: Lee Edwards