God Damn

God Damn

I caught up with Thom, James and Ash (who joined half way through) from God Damn to talk about the new album, touring, recording amongst other subjects. Later that night they would support Red Fang at Newcastle’s The Riverside. Standing on the banks of the Tyne, here’s what they had to say:

W:       I saw you guys live when you supported the Foo Fighters at Manchester’s Old Trafford cricket stadium. How did you feel going into such a big occasion?

T:        I think I was just coming to terms with the fact that Dave Grohl likes my band and that was more shocking than playing in front of 25,000 people. They played to 65,000 and we played to 25 when they came through the door. Still the biggest amount of people we played to and you could see some confused faces which is good and you could see some happy faces and you could see some rockin’ faces. Do you know what? I was no more or less nervous than I was at any other gig. You just kinda do it. I think you’re more nervous a week before when you’re like ‘oh shit are we good enough to do this?’ and we totally are. There was some anxiety.

W:       How would you say the experience changed your career?

T:        I mean it sounds good doesn’t it? I’d say it’s opened up a lot of doors for us. People were a lot more interested, we got our fanbase opened up a lot after that but I think in order for that to make a real difference you’ve gotta be doing the whole tour with them and you’ve gotta be doing daytime Radio One all the time. It doesn’t break your band at all, it was just something that was really really nice. A little thing in life that I never thought I’d get the chance to do. If we get to do it again, amazing, if not then we’re not gonna lose any sleep over it. Yeah, it was one of the most fun days of my life, definitely.

W:       You started as a 3-piece, went down to a 2-piece, now you’re back to a 3-piece again with James involved?

T:        Yeah it’s fun really. We’ve always said that we’ve always referred to ourselves as a band. It was an annoying thing where we had to be a 2-piece and we felt comfortable being a 2-piece and we enjoyed being a 2-piece. But we still saw ourselves as a band and the fact that we didn’t want it to be a gimmick. And I’m not saying that other 2-pieces are a gimmick, however I didn’t want to restrict ourselves. We didn’t start off as a 2-piece. We might for some reason end up being a 2-piece at some point in the future, we might end up being a 10-piece.

J:         It’s a fluid thing.

T:        James is in the band now, so it’s good

W:       You have a new album out, Everything Ever, released on the 23rd of September. How would you say your music has developed since you released Vultures?

T:        [Towards James] How do you think the music’s developed from an outsider point of view? From an outsider on the inside…

J:         I’d say it’s gone bolder, I think. It’s just generally a step forwards in every direction. It’s   heavier, it’s catchier.

T:        Yeah that’s what we tried to do, it’s just developing more, really. That’s kinda where we got that title. When we were talking about the album I was thinking ‘how is it different to Vultures?’ It’s a lot more. The heavier stuff is heavier, the poppy stuff is poppier, the weird stuff is weirder and that’s kind of where ‘Everything Ever’ came from. And, you know, ‘God  Damn Everything Ever’ sounds funny.

W:       Would you say this is your best work so far?

T:        [Confidently] Yes. There’s been songs on other records or other EPs, releases and demos that we’ve done which are, you know, it’s hard to say which of your babies you love more and which is your best work. Undoubtedly some of the best stuff we’ve done is on previous   records, however I think this is the best record we’ve done as a whole.

God Damn

God Damn

W:       My favourite songs on the album are ‘Six Wires’ and ‘Easily Misbled’, what are your favourites?

J:         I love Six Wires as well actually.

T:        I like Six Wires. Six Wires is fun, it’s got some dirty horrible drop-A tuning.

J:         Maybe It Bites as well.

T:        Yeah that scares me, It Bites, cos it’s so fast and we haven’t started playing it live yet. We can play it and we’ve played it in rehearsals and we played it when we wrote it but I know that it’s going to kill me live, to play that song. It’s just relentless. I think my favourite on the record is Violence. It’s got my favourite lyrics in there. There was a lot of Tom Waits style    lyrics in that song. I was talking about it the other day. There’s algorithms that will match people. One of the lines was ‘they say we’ll need computers to help us breed’, which is what happens now. People are on Grindr or whatever apps people use to hook up. But there’s all           algorithms which are put in place to match you with people. That was just part of the song but I quite like that lyric. I didn’t really give it much thought at the time but then we were talking about it the other day and I was like ‘oh, thats what that one was about’. You kinda figure stuff out about yourself and about the songs after doing them. You might have an intention but then sometimes you’ll realise what you were on about ages afterwards… Mr. Ashley Weaver has joined us!

W:       We were just talking about everyone’s favourite song was on the new album.

A:        I quite like, if I had to choose, of course I’m going to be biased cos they’re our songs but if I had to choose… I quite like Oh No, thats a good song.

T:        Yeah you’ve always said that. It’s like a Weezer-y Brit Pop kinda thing. We wanted to write the most direct, stripped down song that we could.

W:       The God Damn sound is big and aggressive. How do you create that in the studio?

T:        When you’re doing a record you do what’s necessary for the song and the instruments you’ve got in the room and you try different things out. Now it might not necessarily sound like what you demoed or what you are going to play live. We have our ways of playing stuff live but when you’re in the studio you can make it sound bigger. I use a lot of fuzz and a lot of disgusting sounds live but on the record there’s nothing heavier than a clean guitar. Sort of 60’s sounding… Beatles sounding guitar can be the heaviest thing on a record. It’s all very well layering it with fuzz and pedals and stuff like that but you can get a whole load of fatness and nice tones just using rockabilly amps and guitars and clean stuff. Fairly tame things can be the heaviest.

A:        For me it’s about still maintaining the energy but being more focused and precise with it. I  actually quite enjoy playing to click as well in the studio.

T:        You do don’t you, you like getting locked in. It’s quite a magical thing to watch, young Ashley playing to click. When he nails it as well you’re like ‘that was perfect’. He’ll do it first take and we’ll have to do it 2 or 3 takes afterwards to be convinced that the first was the better one. It’s good to watch him do that.

A:        It’s mainly the precision as far as drums are concerned. On this record we used vintage stuff, like we used big drums and that kind of thing. It’s cool just to be in there really.

T:        There’s equipment and certain tones that we like to use live. Go-to gear. We used to have that on the record as well but it’s like being in a sweet shop when you’re in a nice studio like Ross’s. Picking out all your little flavours.

God Damn - Everything Ever

God Damn – Everything Ever

W:       You’ve been on the road since the day of the album release. It’s been a combination of headline shows and supporting Red Fang, like you are tonight. How’s that been?

T:        It’s been amazing. I think it’s the most fun I’ve had touring. We had a bit of a break before. We’d been touring for a long time. It’s been a buzz. We’re first on but we’re first on to two bands that we massively respect. If somebody had said ‘do you want to do a first-on tour for academies?’ we’d be like ‘….well kind of’ but it’s the fact that we’re on first to Torche and Red Fang, two legendary bands that we love. It’s been really cool.

A:        Been amazing to get on with as well.

T:       Most time you’ll go on and there’ll be a few people there because we’re against the doors but by the end of the set it’s been a full room and we’re winning people over. That’s more fun sometimes. You cut your teeth doing that.

W:       Do you have any favourite venues or cities to play?

T:        Newcastle!

A:       We played a venue that we’ve all wanted to play. We played Koko last Tuesday in Camden.

J:    My favourite place on this tour… Koko was amazing. I thought last night [Glasgow] was pretty cool. It’s weird playing student unions. That’s an odd thing.

T:        I really like Newcastle.

W:       Do you prefer recording or playing live?

T:       Sometimes I am in my element in the studio. I fucking love being in the studio. I like both. There are times when the studio is hard work and it’s still enjoyable and there’s times when live is hard work; when you’re loading in and out. They’ve both got their ebbs and flows…  Their ways and their bees knees… The dog’s bees knees.

A:        For me it’s all about live. Studio is fun and that, but…

T:        He does a lot of sitting around.

A:        It drives me crazy sometimes.

T:        The thing is he does his stuff, he does a great job and it doesn’t take him that long. My job is painting the rest of the picture. He lays the foundations and I ask what the picture is gonna look like. That’s the bit that takes time. He’s doing his job right cos he doesn’t take long and he has to sit around all the time.

W:       What can an audience expect from a God Damn show?

J:         Tinnitus.

At this point, conveniently, Andy the sound man came over.

Andy:   Expect the unexpected. It’s an experience. It’s something other bands don’t deliver. It’s a rollercoaster ride of sound and emotion, passion. They are committed.

J:         A full-on sonic assault.

T:        It’s quite intense, but then it’ll have its ebbs and flows… The dog’s bees knees. It pulses, it throbs.

J:         The bee’s bollocks.

W:       What does the future hold for God Damn?

T:        A lot of touring, a lot of festivals next year hopefully.

A:        Yeah man! After tomorrow’s show in Southampton, we’ll be heading straight to Portsmouth to get on a ferry. Touring with Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes for three weeks. Then we’re going to start with them in Paris on Thursday [6th of October]… and Europe.

T:        It’s relentless, it’s exciting, it’s intimidating all at the same time.

A:        Then the rest of the year I’m sure we’ll be back round again.

T:      Yeah, we’ll be doing some headline stuff around December time that we’re going to  announce. Then I guess it’ll be support slots and it’ll be festivals and stuff.

God Damn. December. Don’t miss it.

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Will Lawton

I am a third year music student at the University of Leeds and am passionate about experiencing music. In my view, being able to hear, see and appreciate the human involvement in playing an instrument or singing is the most important thing.