Volume IV is a name you’re going to be hearing a lot of this year. Their apocalyptically heavy sound is a molten alloy of stoner rock, classic metal and just general bad-assery, and their new record ‘Long In The Tooth’ is practically guaranteed to be featuring on a lot of folks’ end-of-year lists. They like their riffs thick, their beards long and their amps turned up to 11. It’s a dark sound, no doubt, but it’s an inviting one – that’s exactly what happens when you get three mean mothers playing their asses off for your listening pleasure.
Their label, Ripple Music (which has an awesome new website, don’t you think?), is excited to be releasing ‘Long In The Tooth’: the record has more highlights than Dave Lee Roth’s toupe (and that’s a tonne, folks). If you want a taste of what it’s like on the dark side, check out their monstrous tracks like ‘Kong’ and ‘Blackwater’, they are some of the meanest tunes you’re likely to hear this year.
Ross Horton tracked down head honcho Joe Carpenter to make him answer for Volume IV’s crimes against ear-drums and neck-vertebrae the world over:
Your record ‘Long In The Tooth’ rattled my head so much I had to be hospitalized. So it’s a good job healthcare is free in the UK. Do you often find that your fans get severe neck problems from banging their heads to your record? How’s the general reaction to it been?
I believe we are sending a few into chiropractic care yes. The reaction has been great, I’m pleasantly surprised and very humbled as this is a labor of love.
‘Kong’ is one of my favourite cuts on ‘Long In The Tooth’ – can you confirm whether King Kong plays on the track? Did he show up with a Sunn amp and a Gibson SG? How did it get so heavy?
He showed up late so we gave him a back up vocal track. For gear it was the time tested and proven Marshalls, SVT’s , Gibson’s and P-Bass and beer.
I can smell Matt Pike’s putrid breath all over this record – ‘Looking Low For A High’ sounds like High on Fire bullying Down. Is he a particular influence or are there other artists that you admire more than that scaly demon Pike?
I think I’m more of a fan of the same influences he may have. I have a catalogue of classic metal, hardcore and just plain old rock n roll in my brain.
‘Wager’ and ‘Blackwater’ have a classic vibe, you’ve got that Sabbathy dinosaur-bollock-swinging rhythm down pat – did you name the band after your collective favourite record? It’d be a bit hard to name a band ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’.
When I formed Volume IV we were actually a four piece and I thought it was a proper description, then we lost a member and it turned out to be for the better, the name stayed the same. I dig so much music man I could give you a list a mile long, but as far as heavy music, I dig VoiVod, Mercyful Fate, Motorhead…you know, the classics.
You make a tonne of noise considering there are only three of you in Volume IV, and everybody hates the tag ‘power trio’. Do you fancy coming up with a brand new tag that means ‘three kickass metalheads in one destructive unit’?
I like that one !
It says on your press-kit that you think too many recordings are click-tracked and mechanized? Tell us why only true metal comes without the aid of studio tricks? (And then can you go back in time and let Sabbath know before they record 13? Cheers)
I think that organic music has a certain swing to it a subtle shift, like a heartbeat or breathing. If you lock that to a click track it takes the human qualities away, that’s my opinion. We just stood in the room with the drums, the amps isolated and pressed record for the basic tracks, then overdubbed extra rhythm guitars and solos and vocals. We kept it all pretty raw and live.
My brother heard me listening to ‘Long In The Tooth’ this morning, and he said if I continue to listen to this genre of music, I’ll eventually shrivel up and die. What genre do you class yourselves as, if any besides ‘heavy metal’.
I didn’t think we had much class, hahaha. I thought we are too metal for rock and too rock for metal, we kinda fill the middle void between the two.
Your vocals on ‘Blackwater’ are immense – can you confirm or deny the rumours that no microphone was used and your vocals just scorched the tape? It’s a fucking heavy track, readers – it’s about a romantic dalliance with a fine young lady.
I can neither confirm nor deny due to pending litigation.
I say this to all the guys, but I’m from Birmingham, England – you’ve probably heard of a few blokes from round this way before right? Any plans for a jaunt over to these shores soon?
Management is in talks at the moment, hopefully this record will afford us the privilege to visit your fine country where the forefathers of metal hail.
If you could compel any musicians, living or dead, to support you on tour, who would they be?
Phil Lynott, I’d give anything to have seen him in the flesh.
Finally, why do you think it’s silly that marijuana isn’t legal anywhere in the UK?
I think it’s silly that marijuana isn’t legal everywhere.
Interviewed by: Ross Horton