Sonic Lord are a 4 piece hailing from Birmingham, England and deli ever a lethal dose of Stoner induced Doom and its hard to believe that although still relatively unknown in the greater scheme of things have actually been plying their trade for around 8 years. With their latest 7″ ‘Trawling Through Sludge’ picking up some positive reviews throughout not only the underground but the mainstream as well, I caught up with Dave, Rich, Kear & Todd for a heavy dose of sonics…
Let’s start at the beginning by giving us a brief introduction to the band, your current members and what their role is in Sonic Lord?
Dave “Doom-meister” Day on guitar, with fuzz overload.
Rich Bowker from the fiery bowels of Smethwick underground on vocals.
Kear Connor hitting things caveman style.
Todd Connor supplier of bass lines.
Using only 3 words, how would you describe your music?
Todd: Heavy distorted sludge.
Dave: Bowel wrenching grooves.
Kear: Rah heavy doom.
Rich: Dark mesmerising doom.
Who would you site as being a major influence on your sound, both from music and non music sources?
Todd: There’s no major influence for me but everything I have ever heard has, in some way helped plus a varied sound is more interesting than just cloning one band.
Dave: Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi is an amazing guitar player. There are too many bands to mention but here are a few – Goatsnake, Iron Monkey, Trouble, Sleep and Cathedral… Non-music I’d say old horror movies.
Kear: Other stoner bands such as Acrimony, Wall of Sleep, Orange Goblin that’s to name a few, there are many more!! Kerrang! Metal Hammer and other magazines prove very helpful to us too.
Rich: Myself personally I’d say The Who, The Stones, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and grunge in general. Non-music related I’d say the late author Philip H. Dick.
What have you released to date and if still available where can people get hold of copies?
Dave: Demos such as “Gargantua”, “Trawling Through Sludge” (the original rough demo) and “Beyond The Pale (Part 1 & 2)”. We feature on Catacomb Records “The Sound of The Catacombs” with our track “Come Back Down Again” and the re-released and newly recorded “Trawling Through Sludge” out on Catacomb on Limited Edition orange 7″ vinyl. Only the vinyl and compilation is currently available from Catacomb, decent record strores or us.
How do you go about writing new material, do you just jam as a band and full songs develop form from these sessions, or do you come up with ideas individually which is then developed by the rest of the band?
Todd: Mainly just by jamming and then Rich will pull some lyrics from his magic bag and there you go!! We all have input into the songs, if we don’t like something we change it.
Dave: Yeah we just turn up to rehearsal and jam – it happens naturally, riffs come out of nowhere!
Who writes the lyrics and what subject matters do they tackle?
Rich: Myself. They deal with frankly dark subjects, depression, anxiety, drug taking – all the nice things in life!
Kear: Yeah Rich writes them from his days of drug induced madness and from the influence of the bowels of life.
Todd: Rich comes out with some of the most amazing things sometimes and areas covered are influenced by his long walk of life.
What equipment do you use to help mould your sound? Do you have any specialist or even custom gear and is it important to get your guitar tone exactly right?
Dave: Matamp GT120, 2 4×12 Matamp Green Cabs, Gibson SG Standard, USA Big Muff PI, Jim Dunlop Crybaby DOD Flanger. For studio work I double track the guitars with my old Sound City 120 head.
Kear: I use Zildjan Cymbals and Ludwig Drums.
Todd: Keep it simple – Fender P Bass, it’s not vintage but I like it! Trace Elliot V Type Bass Amp, 2 x 15 Speaker Cabs and a Boss Bass Over Drive.
Is playing live important to Sonic Lord as over the 8 years you’ve been around you’ve managed to share the stage with some awesome bands?
Rich: Definetly, rock is all about live music, a great rock band can only be gauged on how good they are live!! I personally like to go and pretend to be Roger Daltrey or Eddie Vedder.
Kear: Yes it’s a great experience, people are usually friendly and appreciate our music. We’ve seen some great bands play too. It’s good to play in different areas for a change too, rather than staying in your home town.
Dave: Yeah we’ve been around for sometime now playing all the toilet venues on the underground but we have played with some ace bands such as Khang, Sloth, Firebird, Blackrock, Mistress, White Fang, Berserkowitz, Bastard of The Skies and Benediction… oh and my other bands Godsize and Alunah!!!
And being based near Birmingham what is the scene like there these days as from all accounts it’s not as strong as it once was?
Dave: No major gigs, no stoner / doom scene… not even any decent metal gigs!! Occasionally bands come through like Clutch, Nebula, Alabama Thunder Pussy and Brum’s own Napalm Death!!
Kear: Admittedly there’s a lot of music for kids around now but I think there is still an appreciation for our music and even though it’s not as popular AS popular, it sometimes raises a few eyebrows which we enjoy.
Todd: There’s not many places to play really, The Foundry used to be really good until it went. It will be a big loss when the Flapper and Firkin goes too but I suppose there is always Scruffy Murphys for now.
You recently released a 7″ via Catacomb Records, as I’ve done a separate interview with them, can you briefly tell us what your involvement with Catacomb is, how have the sales gone for the 7″ and have you had much positive feedback?
Rich: Dave and his squeeze Soph run the label so obviously we are completely connected, sales have been pretty good, and we’ve sold copies in America, Austria, Japan and Holland, which I’m over the moon about.
Dave: Yeah I co-run Catacomb with Soph, it’s a way of putting out music we like and the 7″ is selling really well. Get your copy now before they run out (laughs)!!
Kear: The feedback from magazines has been great, I never expected so much positivity. Sales have gone pretty well. I knew Soph and Dave before the start of Catacomb – Soph is superb at art and design and Dave is a tremendous guitar player!!
Todd: Yeah Soph and Dave are great people and it’s nice to see their dream of doing what they do come true. We’ve received some good feedback especially as a result of the Catacomb compilation!!
Your track ‘The Fallen’ was also featured in Kerrang! in their ‘Top Ten Tracks You Must Hear’ chart, although it’s a magazine I don’t read (I guess that’s the elitist coming out in me!), it still must have been quite a surprise to see your band listed, so do you think this helped you gain a few more fans from the exposure, or do you think the average Kerrang! reader isn’t yet ready for your illicit grooves, or the fact you don’t wear eyeliner and straighten your hair?
Rich: I’m really please about appearing in Kerrang!. Any publicity can only be seen as a good thing, I think in the world of rock it’s such a diverse genre now that there’s a following for all kinds… even ours!!
Dave: For us the exposure is great; it makes it all worth the while especially as we don’t follow trends we just play the music we love.
Kear: We were pleasantly surprised by the listing and hope we gain more fans.
Rich: Yeah I hope we gain more fans, we could add something different to their line up of spot the difference wannabies… not that I am saying we are better than anyone, just a little different.
A little dickie bird told me your vocalist Rich suffers from some crazy drug induced flashbacks so if true, do you have any funny tales or anecdotes you could share with us?
Rich: Hmmm, the truth of the matter is that I used to be a drug monkey yes, especially with LSD. Some of my experiences I have written about in songs such as “Altered States”. I now abstain from drugs.
Dave: Yeah, Rich has his moments!!
Todd: Rich is a weird and wonderful person who tries to be friendly to everyone he meets, sometimes a little too friendly which can cause a few funny looks!!
Your members are also involved in other bands/projects so can you tell us a little bit more about these?
Dave: I play bass in the sludge band Godsize and guitar in Alunah. I also write my own stuff in my studio at home – kind of ambient noise stuff.
Kear: Yeah Godsize get the crowd rocking, Aluna are kinda melodic, head nodding, female fronted (by Daves girlfriend Soph), stoner rock, excellent!!
Todd: Godsize are kinda evil sounding metal with GREAT RIFFS!! Aluna is slightly laid back Doom / Blues who were put together by himself and Soph for the love of what they do!
And lastly, what are your future plans? Any releases or gigs you can tell us about?
Rich: To continue to write, record and gig. I would like to take the band as far as it can go!
Dave: We will be mixing the song “Cold” for future compilations, and will be hitting the studio next year for the album followed by a UK tour.
Kear: Look out we’ll be about soon.
Thanks for the interview people and please use this space for any final words…
Rich: Thanks to everyone who supports Sonic Lord and to lovers of Rock in general… God bless!!!
Kear: Anyone who enjoys this music, doom on, chill out and exercise your ears.
Todd: Thank you very much for taking interest in what we do, to anyone who likes the sound of the Lord… please buy a 7″!!!
Dave: Cheers Lee (and Ollie from Grifter… you know why!!!)
Interviewed by: Lee Edwards