Tag Archives: interview

Interview: Mastodon

Interview: Mastodon

A couple of days after their sold out show at the Islington Academy, I’m sitting in the offices of Warner Brothers Records awaiting Mastodon. In true rock and roll fashion the band seem to have gone missing in London, and I’m reassured now and again that they will eventually turn up. The wait gives me enough time to have a look around the place. Colouring the boorish white of the walls are framed posters of all of WB’s big, and not so big, artists. The Enemy, Gnarls Barkley and Greenday are all proudly on display, and yet there’s something puzzling me. It seems strange that despite their rather remarkable success (Grammy nominations, big sales and almost entirely positive critical feedback) there are no Mastodon posters on the walls at Warner Brothers. Continue reading Interview: Mastodon

Interview: These Arms Are Snakes

These Arms Are SnakesCurrently preparing for a major US headlining tour with Young Widows, Seattle-based These Arms Are Snakes rode out a wave of newfound popularity on the back of the stunning new album Tail, Swallower and Dove (review) and an earsplitting, beer guzzling, tour of Europe. Brian Cook, bassist for TAAS and about a million other bands, took some time out to have a chat. Continue reading Interview: These Arms Are Snakes

Opinion: Independent’s Day

The music industry is in tatters. Every week there are ever more depressing reasons to give up hope on the music world altogether. CD sales are falling faster than Icelandic bank stocks, big wigs with stupid names are sitting at the boardrooms of the most powerful labels in the world, and Saturday night talent contests exploit the young and the beautiful, only to leave them on the side of the road with nothing after a year. That’s before we even consider the knock on effect of that ghastly label ‘the credit crunch’, causing music labels to fold and young artists to disappear in a sea of debt. Is it any surprise that Slipknot, those purveyors of doom and gloom for unloved teenagers across the globe, named their last album ‘All Hope Is Gone‘? Continue reading Opinion: Independent’s Day

Interview: Russian Circles

Russian CirclesIt would be fair to say that there were some nerves on my behalf before I sat down and spoke to Chicago’s Russian Circles, but these all but dissipated with Dave Turncrantz hospitable attitude, and the fact that sitting but a metre away from me, Brian Cook is clipping his nails. With MC Hammer and various other 80’s cheese blaring out of the PA, I settle down to talk to the band about Station, the recruitment of Cook and plans for the future…among other things. Continue reading Interview: Russian Circles

Interview: Bossk

I know, I know – I’ve been going on about Bossk incessantly recently but as of now all that is pretty much going to end. I promise. If you haven’t checked them out already then I don’t think there’s anything else I can say that can tempt you, but just before they took to the stage one last time at Camden’s Underworld, I sat down in the murky Underworld office to have a brief chat with Tom Begley, bassist and all-round wonderful bloke. Some people might have been concerned about how England were going to fare against the Kazakhs…the only thing on my mind was why this was the end. Read on to find out. Continue reading Interview: Bossk

Interview: Red Sparowes

Band: Red Sparowes
At the Soundless Dawn, Every Heart Shines Towards the Red Sun, Aphorisms.
Los Angeles, California

Well known for extensive song titles and solid songwriting, Red Sparowes are a highly regarded instrumental group, performing music in a similar vein to Pelican and Neurosis, without any vocals. The band features current and ex members of prestigious bands such as ISIS and Neurosis. They just completed a pretty extensive tour, including a few blistering dates in the UK, and have released their latest EP ‘Aphorisms’ via digital distribution outlets. I spoke to Greg Burns (bass, pedal steel) and Dave Clifford (drums) and here’s what they had to say for themselves. Continue reading Interview: Red Sparowes

Interview: Black Cobra

Black Cobra

Black Cobra are guitarist Jason Landrian and drummer Rafael Martinez.

Since coming to university I have been lucky enough to meet people with a vast range of music tastes and loves. Some of the bands I’ve been introduced to have been absolutely terrible, but there have been a few fantastic diamonds in the rough. One such example is Black Cobra, a stunning two piece that put the likes of the White Stripes to shame, with a sound akin to that of being punched in the face repeatedly by Joe Calzaghe. After seeing them at the Underworld in London, I decided to learn a little bit more about Jason Landrian and Rafael Martinez’s pet project.

How did you two form Black Cobra, and what were your aims in doing so?

We formed Black Cobra in 2002. Jason [Landrian, guitarist and vocals] was living in New York and I was living in Los Angeles. We had known each other from Miami Dade Community College in Florida so we kept in touch throughout the years. Our aim was to create music we wanted to hear and play.

I was introduced to you guys via a friend who’s taste in music is anything but accessible. A lot of what he recommends I really struggle to get into, but having listened to Bestial a few times it’s really grown on me. Do you find the accessibility of your music to be a bit of a hinder sometimes, and find that people don’t give you enough of a chance?

It depends, many times people know what genre we are so they have an idea of the nature of our music but other times people find it hard to digest right off the bat. We don’t feel it’s a hindrance at all.

What would you say to those who don’t consider this kind of thing music?


What inspired you to begin making this music? Are there any bands or artists in particular who motivate you personally?

From playing in our previous bands Cavity and -16 –, we were exposed to a certain style of hardcore and metal which had a big impact on our style and approach towards heavy music. Some of the artists that motivate us include Iron Maiden, Harvey Milk, Ennio Moricone, and Jimi Hendrix to name a few.

Jason, how do you manage to coax that bellowing growl out of your vocal chords? Have you ever run into any problems vocal-wise?

It was a lot of experimentation with vocal techniques and it eventually developed into what we have now. No problems as of yet.

For only two members, with just a guitar and a drumkit, you make a shitload of noise. What’s the working relationship between you two like? Is it easier to compose songs with fewer members to dilute the original ideas?

Having only two instruments has challenged us to approach our writing in a more strategic fashion by maximizing the usage of our instruments and the equipment.

‘Sugar Water‘, from their debut full length Bestial.

I’ve also read that, in your early days, you had quite an interesting method of piecing together your songs by emailing riffs to each other. Although I doubt you work like this today, how did you find this method of literally trading off each other? How do you feel it affected the music that came out of it?

It forced us to work at a slower pace than what most bands are used to. We would write the basic structure of some of the songs and we would listen to them sporadically. Here and there we would make changes, with sometimes weeks, of elapsed time before we would continue to work on them. This process was very interesting and also different from anything we had ever been involved with. We don’t feel it hindered the process, in fact it allowed us ample time to make all the necessary changes we wanted until we were satisfied.

You released two albums last year, Bestial and Feather and Stone. Are Black Cobra going to be quite as prolific this year?

Due to our heavy touring schedule we won’t be putting out an album this year.

Black Cobra live

Live, they are an unstoppable force, a show of pure sweat, energy and noise.

You recently came over to the UK supporting The Sword, how did that go?

It was a great experience touring with The Sword and Saviours! We have been there twice before and it’s been getting better and better every time.

Are there any plans to return to the UK in the near future?

We would love to return to the UK this year but as of right now we have no plans. However, we are touring Europe with Saviours in May and June.

As music artists you are intrinsically embroiled into the heated debate over record labels, music piracy and the relevancy of physical media to today’s music buying generation. Have you ever thought about where the music industry is heading as a whole, and does it concern you?

We have witnessed for the past couple years that the world of independent music has been growing consistently. Underground metal specifically has always depended on live shows and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change anytime soon. We have been able to continue touring because more and more people are showing up at the shows from increased exposure of our music scene.

What are your plans for the future?

To continue touring and releasing albums.

Once again, thanks for letting me pick your brains, and best of luck for the future. I’m hoping to see you guys come back to the UK very soon!

As they said, Black Cobra will be touring around Europe in the next few months, so if you have the chance to go see them then it’s definitely one you do not want to pass up. If you’re a fan of Boris, Goatsnake or the brilliantly named Indomitable Iron Sloth then Black Cobra are sure to be right up your street.