Slabdragger, who are soon to be blowing us all away at Supersonic 2011, hail from the badlands of South (‘Sarf’) London and so far have released one mighty album on Holy Roar Records. If you love great music then check it out. Their singer/guitarist is hardcore legend Sam Thredder and they have one hell of a lovely sound that completely knocked me out when I first gave ‘Regress’ a spin. Think the thick soupy riffs of Electric Wizard, Sleep and Yob, coupled with some very tasty drumming and an occasional double vocal attack that lifts the heart out of the ribcage. I sent them some questions and Sam kindly answered them. Thanks to Lee & Lauren for sorting this & to Sam & Slabdragger for being such grand gentlemen and such fine purveyors of doomological excellence. Can’t wait to see ’em.
Is a ‘slabdragger’ an adjective that describes a troll hauling a huge tablet of stone? Or a ghoul possessed of some frightful hunger and strength? Explain the name please guys…
You seem to have summed it up perfectly!! It originally came about when I was recording a death metal band and someone did a gutteral growl that literally sounded like a a concrete slab being dragged across a concrete floor. I named it the ‘slabdragger’. After I recorded the demo version of ‘Splice the Mainbrace’ I decided the name would fit perfectly and modified the meaning to refer to anything to do with moving heavy objects, be it the guys who built the pyramids in Egypt or big fuck-off construction vehicles etc.
For the benefit of the anally retentive amongst us, would you kindly introduce yourselves & describe your role within the band, and then list your releases as Slabdragger so far?
My name’s Sam Thredder and I play guitar and grunt down mic # 1. Yusuf Tary plays bass and screams filth down mic #2. Matt Byrne plays drums. So far, all we’ve released is a double gatefold LP on Holy Roar called ‘Regress’, we didnt even do a demo or anything apart from putting two rough tracks on Myspace soon after we started! The LP is also going to be released as a limited run Cassette, a guy in Ireland is sorting it out!!
Will you mainly be playing material off your shockingly good album (‘Regress’) at Supersonic, and how will you go about wooing audience members who have not heard your excellent music?
Well, as our LP contains every single song we have written so far apart from 2 new ones, we will probably end up playing a whole set of tunes from the album as we usually do. It depends if our new ones will be finished and rehearsed in time, but I definitely want to destroy Brum with our new piece of total destruction entitled ‘Deathhenge’ – think Buried at Sea meets Motorhead at a Discharge after party listening to High on Fire while ripping bongs and chugging beers. Wooing eh? We’ll just plug in, turn up as loud as we can and rip out some powerful shit. That’s our main goal in life and if we gather some new fans while doing it then it’s all good!!
Who do you want to specifically check out at Supersonic whilst you’re there?
There’s loads of bands I wanna see!! Electric Wizard, Monarch, Scorn, Envy, Turbonegro, Circle, Pharoah Overlord… too many hahah!!
What are the lyrics of ‘Bab El-Mandeb’ about? Who writes your lyrics and what kind of things interest you and influence your words?
Aaaah. Yes. Bab El-Mandeb. Yusuf wrote the lyrics for that one. It basically puts us in a ship heading for the Seven Brothers archipelago through the Bab el-Mandeb (Gate of Greif/Bridge of tears in Arabic) strait which is the entrance to the Red Sea, Africa to the west, Saudi Arabia to the east. The waters there are notoriously difficult to sail and rife with pirates (if not in real life, pirates are definitely rife in this song haha). Bab el-Mandeb is also thought to be the place where the first humans crossed from Africa to the rest of the world.
Yusuf tends to write alot of the lyrics although we do modify them as a band to make sure everything works etc. I have written a couple of songs, Erroneous Maximus being one and Murky Fen being one I mostly wrote but was more of a collaborative effort I suppose!! We’re generally influenced lyric-wise by prehistory, human evolution/regression, stories about ridiculous things, heavy stuff, ocasional nods to TV and film (Iron Vulture is about the Jawa from Star Wars and their huge rusty desert vehicles), haikus, marijuana and having a sense of humour amongst many other things!!
Name some classic albums that influence and inspire the way you play music?
Oh man…. hard question…right. Off the top of my head. Black Sabbath ‘Master of Reality’ (all in fact), Iron Maiden ‘Number of the Beast’, Bad Brains ‘ROIR tapes’, Mastodon ‘Remission’, Electric Wizard ‘Dopethrone’, Sleep ‘Jerusalem/Dopesmoker’, Bongzilla ‘Stash’, Yob ‘The Unreal Never Lived’, Minor Threat discography, Rush ‘2112’, Zappa/Mothers ‘Roxy and Elsewhere’, Leeway ‘Born to Expire’, Cro-Mags ‘Age Of Quarrel’. There’s millions!!! I’d be listing albums all day if I carried on so I’ll stop.. haha
What’s ‘the scene’ like in the part of London where you live? Is it a bit ‘Nathan Barley’?
Hahahaaaaa. Not at all!! It is if you frequent places like Shoreditch and Hoxton but we’re from Croydon which has no real scene apart from a few bands and a terrible ‘rock club’ mentality from most people that live there who would rather go to the Black Sheep and listen to Disturbed on a nightly basis than actually go to gigs!! Hahaha! The ‘scene’ in London is great for this kind of stuff, cool people and cool vibes make for cool shows!!
Riffology – the academic study of the structural and artistic properties of the riff. All Day And All Of The Night; Sweet Leaf; Sunshine Of Your Love; Dethroned Emperor; Dopethrone. In your opinion, what is the heaviest riff ever written by man (or woman), and more importantly, what is it precisely that makes it heavy?
Again, Oh man….. ‘She’s So Heavy’ by The Beatles. Yep. It has it all, sounds like Sabbath before Sabbath, ominous and creeping with an awesome little turnaround back to the first note. Heavy AS FUCK. Again, I could list riffs for hours..
If we’re talking PHYSICALLY heavy, then the whole of ‘Tarpit Carnivore’ by Torche..
What happens when we die?
Fuck all mate!! The worms get a nice meal and some people get sad. That’s it.
Plans for the future – what’s coming up in the Slabdragger diary?
We’re currently booking a UK tour for November time, and have our LP coming out on a limited edition cassette. Other than that we’ll just keep on jamming and writing the heaviest shit we can!!
For more info on Slabdragger, point your browser to www.facebook.com/Slabdragger.
Check out ‘Erroneous Maximus’ by Slabdragger below.
Interviewed by: Adam Stone