Rise Of The Simians are a fairly new name to me and was only recently introduced to them after their guitarist Sloan, contacted me about submitting reviews to this very website. But what about the band in question, based down south in the medieval town of Hastings, these Sabbath/Crowbar worshippers deliver heavy, ferocious and darn right filthy sludgecore from deep within their black hearts, wanting to know more about how the simians will rise, I fired a few questions over to Sloan.
How goes it Sloan, firstly, lets start at the beginning, why did you start Rise Of The Simians and can you give us a run down of your current members?
It goes good bro, a cold cider, a dark room and Doom metal on the stereo. The beginning? Well the band started as just me and Rog (drums), we’ve known each other since school days and we used to play Autopsy style death metal back then, and very badly played. We went our different ways and met up again about 6 years later with a view to re-starting our old band. Neither of us had instruments so I got a cheap guitar and we salvaged Rog a rusty old drum kit that someone had left for scrap, and started forging what is now Rise of the Simians. We now have Pink Sock on bass (we choose to call him Hellbilly though, as not one of us has approached the subject of his nickname yet so we figure calling him Hellbilly is better) and Luke joined 2 years ago, which is also when I state our official birth as a band is.
What have you released to date and how can people get hold of copies?
So far we have recorded two Demo CD’s. Our first one we did last year and we have just finished our 2nd CD. Both recorded live in one take, fuck ups an all. I fucking hate fiddly shit and clean metal, it should be dirty and messy, kinda like that DIY punk vibe. We hand out free copies to those interested at shows, otherwise a few songs from each are available on Myspace as a download.
Where did you get the name Rise Of The Simians?
That’s taken from the idea of anti-Darwinism. Ya see Darwin declared ‘only the strong survive’, those most suited to their environment do best and therefore we evolve into stronger, smarter, quicker beings etc, etc. Anti-Darwinism on the other hand declares that these days now that we live in an environment that cares for the convalescent and less developed we are actually causing evolution to grind to a halt, that maybe, in fact we’re de-evolving…hence the rise of simian life. I also dig the monkey nod to one of the best British bands in the last 15 years…Iron Monkey!
You use the term ‘Bastardized Metal’ to describe yourself, why is this?
To be honest I have absolutely no fucking idea. It may have been on an old bio or something, Organ magazine said we called ourselves that, but I can’t remember saying it. Beats me man.
And how have people taken to your sludge encrusted drones in the underground?
Generally pretty good, I’ve been quite surprised, our demo’s sound shit, it’s all DIY’d and low-fi fuck ups all over. And in spite of this we’ve still only had good reviews for our first demo. We still haven’t promoted our new CD, so I have no idea what people think of that yet.
When writing new material, are there any particular processes you use?
Yeah definitely, at the start of the process we all sit round a table with a cup of camomile tea and we take it in turns to read passages of The Watchtower out to each other, a lively debate then follows on the finer points of Jehovah Witnessing. By that point we’re ready to channel the love of Jesus through our instruments.
Although joking aside, I write riffs and structural ideas in solitude, I’ll show em to Luke and he’ll add some bits and second guitar parts and then when we have a basis of a song we’ll show it to the other guys and work on it as a whole. Both me and Rog come from the early 90’s death/Doom/Black metal scene, Luke’s from the Hardcore scene and Pink Sock’s straight outta a correctional facility for public exposure, so we got a fairly odd mix but we all meet in the Sludge!
Are lyrics important to the band? Who writes them and do they follow any particular subjects or themes?
Yeah they are. I think lyrics should be as important as the riffs. Traditionally I’ve written most of the Lyrics, Luke’s done a few songs and I can’t comment on what his are about, but with my lyrics I always try and set a defined theme to a song. That helps to create the song’s atmosphere and will influence the music as well. ‘Black Vein’ is about mental institution, ‘Cursed Law of Thelema’ is about Mr A. Crowley, he lived and died in our hometown, before he passed he cursed the town and the future lives of its inhabitants stating no-one will ever leave. ‘3 Day’s’ is about Christianity and more specifically witch execution, in truth I was just looking for an excuse to have a song with the very first line being ‘Cunt priest…’.
Your track ‘3 Days’ featured on the cover disk of Issue #22 of Zero Tolerance Magazine along with an accompanying interview, firstly how did this come about and do you think it gave Rise Of The Simians some good exposure to a wider audience who might have otherwise overlooked you?
I was really surprised by that one, we just sent em the Demo and hoped they might review it, 3 months later we got an e-mail outta the blue from them asking if we want an interview and CD appearance. It was that simple, ZT magazine really supports the underground, I’d encourage all bands to send their stuff there (and the Sleeping Shaman of course).
How often do you get to play live? And being based in Hastings what’s the scene like in the South Coast, are gigs easy to come by?
Nowhere near as often as we’d like. There is no Doom scene here, bar Hastings the South East of England is fairly affluent, and so Doom Metal is non-existent down here. I’m of the opinion depressing climes breed Doom, and the South is all a bit floral and posh, Hastings on the other hand is the one damp turd in the sea of diamonds. So it’s easy to write doom here. We still haven’t played on a bill with another Doom Metal band, the closest we’ve got is playing with Pig Iron.
And have you had many opportunities to play outside of your local area?
Yeah we get gigs in London as often as we do Hastings. Our brothers in Thirteen Wolves (check them out) are our gig buddies so we play up there quite a bit. It’s difficult down here with so few Doom bands, we’re desperate to play up North. There are so many good British bands coming from the North.
Although only early days as your still a demo band, have any labels shown interest in releasing anything by Rise of the Simians?
Fuck no. Record label types are normally pretty business savvy folk and they’ve got too much common sense.
What does the future hold for you? Is there any great master plan?
Do some bands really plan out their future? Christ, I’m happy just writing a few more songs that rip-off Sabbath, Wizard and Crowbar a little bit less than the last few did. Other than that we might try and outweigh the collective body mass of 1996-era Crowbar. We’re all gonna hit a 9000 calorie-a-day diet and do as little as fucking possible in the hope that body weight is equal to riff weight, that way we’ll crush more than anything has ever crushed before!
Your also involved in the Black Metal project Fjelld, can you tell us a little bit more about this, who’s involved and what you aim to achieve from it?
I’ve had this idea for a while but I’ve only started making it a reality a few months ago. I have riffs and ideas that are not really appropriate within ROTS and really want to keep things minimal so I asked Rog and the dude was eager as fuck to play some fast double-kick and blast beats so we started jamming songs. They’ve developed a bit now and I’d say we sound like very early Emperor jamming with Celtic Frost and Grails. We’re currently working on our demo entitled ‘The Cyclical Storm’.
As we’re just over ½ way through the year, what are your top 3 albums of 2008 so far?
Ahh, what a question…fuck. Well, after much rummaging through CD’s I reckon I’d have to say:
Cursed ‘III-Architects of Troubled Sleep’
Grand Magus ‘Iron Will’
Cult of Luna ‘Eternal Kingdom’
But I’d like to make a notable mention for that They Are Cowards demo, that’s a grim, grim sound those fella’s have got.
Thanks Sloan for answering my questions and as with all my interviews please use this space for any final words…
If you have read this the whole way through you’re either too damn underground for your own good or an idiot, so cheers and we welcome you on equal terms
Cheers for the interview Lee, the support is much appreciated. DOOM ON brothers!!
More info on Rise Of The Simians at: www.myspace.com/riseofthesimians
Interviewed by: Lee Edwards
Photo Credit: Gemma Shaw