Doom Shall Rise from the Underground!
Interview with drummer Drumster of Gorilla Monsoon by Vera in June 2006
Doom metal may be not that huge in popularity as classical heavy metal or gothic metal, but the good thing is that the feeling of congenial souls amongst musicians and fans of the genre is deeply rooted in everybody’s heart. That feeling bubbles up almost every time when speaking with a doom band. It was not different with Gorilla Monsoon, a German doom outfit with slightly stoner overtones who released their excellent debut album ‘Damage King’ this year. Drummer Drumster took the time to tell more about this seminal band.
It all started in 2001 when four Black Sabbath fans founded the band. Can you tell a bit more of these starting days?
All of us were very enthusiastic. Finally we got a band all of us are satisfied with. It was a very wild time with a lot of drugs and parties (still it is, but not so self-destructive). There was this magical feeling about doing something special. The band grew very fast, because we used our experiences from our past bands. Nobody of us was and is focused on becoming rich by music or shit like that. We just did and do what we like. We wanted to set a sign: there is still something other, here we are, eat shit!
Where are you from in Germany and what about the local scene?
We are from Dresden, that is 200 km in the south of Berlin. It is a beautiful town with a lot of this baroque-buildings, the most initiated by August the Strong, a famous leader in the 18th century. The size is maybe like Amsterdam, with 500 000 inhabitants. The local scene is very good. There are a lot of bands from rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, punk, stoner, doom, heavy, to death and black metal. Everybody knows each other, it is a very good climate amongst the bands. The local heavy-pub Heavy Duty is the meeting point where you can get all the news and rumours… A lot of underground concerts are in Dresden also, so the scene is very alive.
‘Damage King’ is your debut album, but you released two demos and a split EP before. Are we speaking of songs one can find on the debut too?
Yes, “Law ´n´ Order” is a new version of “Fuck Humanity” from our first demo. But all the other songs are new ones. For the second album we are going to do some new versions of songs from the second demo. But till now, nothing is concrete. The split song never will be on another record, also our maybe future split releases. Because that is our tribute to the vinyl! If you want it you have to buy the vinyl version.
Your music is a mix of stoner and doom, sometimes there is a thin line between sub genres. How would you like to describe your music yourself?
We like to say HELLROCK. It is a mix of stoner and doom, yes. But there is also an influence of old school Swedish and English death metal (e.g. Entombed, Bolt Thrower). And Rock ‘n’ Roll like Hellacopters, Danko Jones, Motorhead we like, so we mix it in also. The southern guys like C.O.C. and Down we love very much. And if you listen carefully you can find influences of old Manowar…
Gorilla Monsoon is a band that played many gigs. What were the highlights until now?
Definitely the Doom Shall Rise gig in 2005, the Stoned from the Underground Festival 2004, Wacken Open Air, the support for Hidden Hand… And all gigs the crowd went crazy. We are addicted to the energy that comes from in front of the stage. If the crowd is awesome the concert is nearly always great!
‘Doom Shall Rise’ seems the ultimate place to be for doom fans (like me J ) You played there. Can you tell as much as possible about that event?
It was a big honour for us, that we were invited. We met a lot of friends and the atmosphere was great. We enjoined it in all kinds of enjoying could be (talking to buddies, drinking, drugs). As we went on stage the venue was packed up with people. We were a little bit excited. But the crowd went crazy. It was a kind of veni, vidi, vici. It was a great moment for all of us. We got new contacts, the reviews were great… After the gig we drank till death, so my remembrances are gone, sorry…
What are the next tour plans? Where can we catch you guys live?
Right this moment we are back from the tour with Metal Church and Victory, great experience by the way. The summer is picked up with festival shows:
07.07.06 Rock Harz Festival, Dorste
So, sorry that there are no shows in Belgium, but we are on the hunt!
What are your musical roots and what kind of music do you like to listen to nowadays? (in other words a kind of evolution of your musical taste)
The roots are BLACK SABBATH, 80´s Metal like Ozzy solo, WASP, Dio, King Diamond, Thin Lizzy, Motorhead, Doom like Saint Vitus, Revelation, Candlemass, Cathedral, Old School Death Metal like Unleashed, Benediction Napalm Death. In the end of the 90´s we found out that Kyuss, the Hellacopters, C.O.C., Down, Electric Wizard, Eye Hate God make great music. And nowadays we listen to all of this plus newer Stoner Stuff like Dozer, Grand Magus, also music like Disbelief, Gojira, a lot of underground bands like Versus The Stillborn Minded, Weed In The Head, Days Of Grace, Rock ‘n’ Roll like Danko Jones, also bands like Mastodon or the Ocean. We are music junkies, we are always on search.
Now let’s focus on Jack’s vocals a bit, cause vocals are quite special on the record. What kind of distortion/effects do you use? Live also?
He mainly uses delay! He likes to play with the effects, so on the record there are some funny things like 70´s sounding distortion. When he is experimenting and he found a funny sound he likes, he will use it with a smile. On the record, if you listen carefully, there are songs where the first words have got an effect, the next few don’t and than there is the effect again and so on. It is just a kind of “lets check out what the fucking effect board is made for”. But live he only uses his eternal love DELAY.
Still about the vocals: there are some grunt like outbursts and sometimes even a bit Neurosis alike. Any comments on that?
Difficult, I am just the drummer, you know. These are just his feelings right in the moment he was recording the voice. No calculation or something like that.
What are your sources of inspiration lyric-wise?
All the shit that happened around us. Showing our big “fuck you” to this sick society and people who are against us. Also our way of life with a little bit black humour and sarcasm. Jack wrote all of the lyrics on this record. He likes it straight, bluntly.
At the time of recording you had no label. Can you tell me about this recording process? Where? How Long? Did you use an extern producer?
We recorded it in our hometown in the studio of the guy, who is mixing us live also. No big thing! We produced it by ourselves and him. We just wanted to do a new demo, but the owner of the Heavy Duty pub, I mentioned above, said “No, you have to do a whole album! Stop doing this small steps!” So he wanted to lend us money. So we did the album. All in all it took maybe about three weeks split up over a longer period. The recording process was very easy, no time pressure, no stress. Everything and everybody were relaxed. But the next record we will do anywhere on another place. Just to get experience.
Then Armageddon came in your life and that’s a worth telling story too, I guess…
Yeah, we won this Metal Battle Contest, initiated by the W:O:A Organizers. And that was the first price. But first we don’t wanted to be on that label. We first thought, they only are in this true metal thing. But they chose us because our music and our live performance was convincing them. We talked a lot with them and we found out that this are really great guys, believing in what they are doing. So we signed the contract.
After that the album was fine tuned at the Absurd studio in Hamburg. What did they do there? Big changes?
After the fine tuning it was more differentiated, while staying with this thick, fat sound. The disadvantage was that the vocals went a little bit into the background. But all in all the changes were not so much. Only sound stuff.
Who are the main composers in the band and are the songs a result of jamming?
Most of the time Jack comes around with a guitar tune and then all of us start to play and jam. The whole band is involved in the song-writing. Sometimes we got a new song within 10 minutes, sometimes within 10 months. There is no master plan, if nobody has got an idea we sit down and start to drink and to smoke.
But… the songs itself remained quite compact. Is that something you do consciously?
Hm, if we realize that it seems to be sounding like just put together to have a finished song, we stop and do another try.
We cannot ignore a psychedelic touch either. Where is that influence coming from?
Ha, ha, weed! Nothing more and nothing less!
Is anyone of you involved in other projects/bands?
Yes, Phil is playing in a band called Sethqen (www.sethqen.de) and Jack is singing for Senorita Spitfire (www.senorita-spitfire.de) myself plays in a band called Giant’s Saints but they got a break and I don’t know for how long it will going to be.
Do you have already ideas for new songs?
Yes, there are already four songs in a kind of finished. And we have got tons of riffs, that are not used already. Slow ones, fast ones, not so fast ones, heavy ones, funny ones, heavy ones… (black pussies, white pussies, big pussies…)
What are your plans for the near future?
Playing, playing, playing as much as we can and meanwhile playing and writing new songs!
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