|Dan Tibbals' extended answers to our questions make this interview a rather complete overview of Gallow God's career and modus operanti as a band. Find out about one of the most exciting recent Doom bands here.|
|1. Hi Guys, doom-metal.com just reviewed Gallow God’s debut, The Veneration of Serpents, and we thought an interview would be the next logical step. Obviously not everyone may know the band yet so please introduce Gallow God to our readers.
DAN: Hi Frédéric, thank you for contacting us to conduct this interview.
Gallow God is a Traditional Doom Metal Band from London England, The band was founded by myself and Ric in 2009 as a two man studio project. My own personal goals going into the project were to try and create the heaviest, slowest and most miserable sounding Traditional Doom that we could wrench from our sorry souls.
We self released our first EP False Mystical Prose in December 2010 and it was quickly picked up by PsycheDoomelic for a CD release and also Terror from Hell for the Vinyl release. Due to the unexpected interest in the project we expanded into a full band with the aim of performing the songs live.
The writing for The Veneration of Serpents started in Early 2011 and was handled in much the same way as False Mystical Prose, the two of us individually write and record ideas and send them to each other to discuss structure and then expand upon the original ideas as a team. The live line up has undergone a few changes recently and the current line up is as follows
Dan Tibbals - Vocal / Guitar
Riccardo Veronese - Guitar
Mitch Barrett - Bass
Chris Takka - Drums
2. Most, if not all, reviews, be it for False Mystical Prose or The Veneration of Serpents, have been positive. On the other hand, some reviewers see you as a band strictly playing Traditional Doom Metal, even labeling you purists, while others, and that would include us, think that Gallow God’s music spectrum is vaster with references to more extreme acts in the Doom Metal genre. What’s your take on this and do you think both genres are really antagonistic or can they somehow be reunited?
DAN: Yes it has been interesting to read people's opinions on this aspect of the music, It seems to be a bit tricky to clearly and neatly place the band into one sub genre and be done with it. I think categorising bands and styles is fine, if you like band A and band B and C play something in the same vein then you have a starting point to go and check out some new stuff. I think your observations regarding the more extreme elements in the music are well founded, especially with regards to some of the slower tempo's or maybe the relentless monotony of some of the riffing. I suppose it would be fair to say we are trying to take Traditional Doom to its extremes, and over emphasising some of the traditional elements that we really dig, so in that respect I think there can be a meeting point between the traditional and the extreme, although I would say we are definitely approaching it from the purists point of view. That's not to say that we don't all listen to the extreme forms of doom, we do, and it would be foolish to deny the influence that it has had on our interpretation. If there is something that appeal's to people on both sides of the fence then that's cool
3. Talking about reunion… Ship of Nails, the last song from False Mystical Prose, featured some Death Metal growls and, somehow, my more extreme side was wishing for more of these peculiar incursions. What did motivate you in the first place to include guttural vocals in this one song and why just once as if it were some kind of incident, private joke or personal challenge? And furthermore, if you were to record Ship of Nails all over again, would you still record it that way?
DAN: I would absolutely keep the Death Metal vocals in Ship of Nails if we were to re-record it. The motivation for their inclusion was really just the riff itself. It needed something powerful and aggressive and different to my clean vocals and the Death Metal style worked. In the mid to late 90s I played in a Death / Doom band so had used this vocal style before, although I was a teenager back then and it had been a bloody long time since I last did them, but they fit with the riff, and they sort of reminded me of that time period so they stayed. You would not believe the amount of times it has been commented on. It could be argued that as they are used so sparingly they have had more impact than if I had just done the whole album in that style? I don't know, I didn't really think it was that much of a big deal, not strictly traditional, but traditional in the sense of the 90s stuff that got me into doom in the first place. It's not something I intend to do more often in the future, but if the right riff comes along I would have no problems using them again.
4. On with the exceptions: in The Veneration of Serpents, Scarborough Fair really does stand out, almost like an interlude between a more “classical” first part and the last part which to me sound like two funeral dirges that could well have been written by bands like Asunder or Mournful Congregation. What’s the story behind this peculiar track?
DAN: Yeah, it's a weird one isn't it. the story behind it is kind of a case of necessity and getting an idea out of my system. We had a gig booked, it was really a kind of practice thing to see how we would get on in a live environment. We were playing to an audience who for the most part were not metal fans, let alone doom metal fans. So the set list was trying to accommodate this, not very successfully I might add, we still played Ship of Nails. Anyway, we needed one more song, and we decided we should do a cover of something, something that would at least be familiar to people. we tried a few well known metal songs, they sounded alright, still kind of doomy because of tunings and guitar tone, but not really us, if you know what I mean. I had had that idea for Scarborough Fair for years, so I mentioned it to the lads, they went away and unfortunately listened to the Simon and Garfunkel version on YouTube and told me to fuck off... I said, give me the weekend to record a demo so you can see what I'm getting at. I recorded the demo and the guys got it and really liked it so we performed it. the version on the album, is still the original demo guitars and bass I recorded with re recorded drums, vocals and the solo overdubs. We did agonise a bit of whether to include it on the album or not, I didn't really want a cover song on the first album, but we had gotten used to hearing in the track listing so we decided to leave it in.
5. Could it be an indication that your music could go in a different direction with the implementation of more folk elements or would you rather consider it a one-timer?
DAN: I would consider it a one-timer really, although I wouldn't be surprised if we did incorporate folkish elements in the odd track down the line, but not enough for it to be considered a change in direction. It's the same as the Death Metal vocals really, textural elements to give a piece of music the right feel. Lyrical subjects I often draw upon are taken from British, Scandinavian and European folklore so in a way it would be fitting.
6. Initially, False Mystical Prose was self-released, it was only some time after that Psychedoomelic and Terror From Hell went on to release CD and vinyl versions. What’s the plan for The Veneration of Serpent. Have you already inked a deal with any of these two labels for the distribution of your debut? When can we expect the “solid” release?
DAN: We haven't signed with anyone yet, we have shopped the album around a little, but we have again arrived at the decision to self release the initial CD run due to the time frame we need to get the album released. We can't afford to wait for the right deal and then again for a release date that could be a few months down the line. Hopefully someone will pick up the Vinyl rights at some point, and maybe a larger production run of CD's but we will have to see. I would expect the solid release to be toward the end of March 2013
7. Riccardo also play's in Dea Marica, which released Ritual of the Banished last year, incidentally making us think that Gallow God were done for. Where’s the motivation for him in playing Dea Marica and Gallow God when both bands play about the same kind of music? Don’t you think it could be seen as being redundant?
DAN: I don't mean to speak for Ric but I would assume his motivation comes from having ideas that he wants to develop and explore that don't fit in with what we are doing in Gallow God. I would also add that we have both found the comparisons or references to each of the bands in the other bands reviews etc quite frustrating, understandable and maybe inevitable but frustrating none the less, as apart from sharing a member we are separate entities. Also the assumption that any kind of side project undertaken by any of the members would have any bearing on Gallow God's existence is unfounded. When we are ready to call it a day we will let it be known. Another bit of misinformation that has done the rounds is that Dea Marica's songs are Gallow God songs that didn't make the cut for the album, again this is untrue, the odd riff may have been written with Gallow God in mind but they were never expanded upon, I've got a load of my own riffs that we never worked on, so Ric has taken his initial ideas and expanded them into full songs for his own project.
The process we follow when we record for Gallow God is that Ric usually records his guitar or bass parts first to demo versions of the songs and these are then sent back to me. I will then re-record and edit the drum tracks, which is a long and tedious process, design the lead sounds and record my guitars and bass parts. Finally the lyrics are written and the vocals are recorded. All of this is very time consuming whilst also holding down a full time job and dealing with normal day to day shit, so Ric is actually left at a loose end for quite a long period of time before we get back together to sort out the finishing touches and mixes. So he has plenty of time for his own creative endeavours.
8. Lots of Doom Metal bands change their orientation over time. They sometimes experiment with other genres for a while before they “come back to their senses” or simply leave altogether the realms of Doom. Is it something you’ve already given some thoughts about or is there just no way this is going to happen to Gallow God?
DAN: No, Gallow God will remain pure. As a musician you do have the desire to explore new things and add them into your existing sound but if anything ever detracted from or overshadowed the Doom then that would be the time to start a side project to get it out of your system. Again, I wouldn't be surprised if one day we did an acoustic song, but you can bet your bottom dollar it would be the most miserable sounding song on the album.
9. In past interviews you’ve done, I read all about your influences varying from Black Sabbath to early My Dying Bride, Isole, Candlemass, Saint Vitus and so on, but in your mind what are the recent bands worth following in the genre?
DAN: There are loads of great bands doing things at the moment, but of the more recent offerings I would highly recommend Pallbearer, Black Magician, Witchsorrow and Pilgrim.
10. On a similar subject, many bands have been reviving the “occult” rock scene of the 70s, which people seem to always assimilate with Doom Metal. A trend soon to be forgotten or do you actually see some values in this?
DAN: Hmmm, I have mixed feelings about this style of music, some of it does sound quite authentic, and like a lot of Traditional Doom guys I am a bit of a gear head, I'm interested in vintage tube amps, old speaker cabs, 70s effects pedals and guitars all that shit (not that I can afford much of it mind), so I like that side of things, but a lot of it seems to overdo some of the novelty stuff like flutes and Jon Lord style Hammond Organ, or stupid costumes. I like a lot of the old bands from the 60s and 70s so when it's done well its quite nice to have a new old style record to listen to. If there was a proper doom band with that sound I would probably be into it. For me Witchcraft's first album is probably my favourite example of the style along with some of the stuff Graveyard are doing, although I wouldn't put the latter in the Occult/doom category, its more just 70s styled rock, the only other stuff like that I have in my collection is Jex Thoth and the Blood Ceremony album. So to answer your question, I think it is a trend, but I think some of it is valid and the good bands will remain while the not so good ones will fall by the wayside. The good stuff has its place in Doom.
11. Thanks for your time, it’s the traditional “last words” section of any interview so here’s your chance to say just about anything be it on music, horse meat, David Cameron or your favourite football team! Thanks and cheers!
DAN: Again thank you very much for your interest in the band and also for your original and thought provoking questions. Anyone interested in checking us out should head over to www.GallowGod.co.uk where you can have a listen to a few of the new tracks from The Veneration of Serpents and also stream False Mystical Prose in its entirety, and stay tuned as we will be updating with details of the album release in due course. Cheers