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Interview: Northern Oak [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , on 25th August 2011 by Hannah


Hannah nabs Northern Oak for a chat during Bloodstock Festival 2011

Hannah- Hi guys! You’re playing the New Blood stage tomorrow. Have you guys played this sort of festival before, or is it your first time at something of this size?
Chris- It’s the biggest thing we’ve played. I know a lot of people at Bloodstock will just wander around and stop to see a band; it’s pretty rare that you’d get that anywhere else.
Martin- The other thing we’ve done recently is Pagan Pride, but it’s not quite as big!
Chris- Yeah, that was last weekend. It was quite cool, it was in a bandstand in a park, with lots of people standing around.
Catie- I think we were maybe slightly too heavy for that crowd, though. All the other bands were a lot more folky and rocky.
Martin- There have been quite a few people here at Bloodstock that have come up to us and said ‘Ah! You were are Pagan Pride!’
Chris- Yeah, from our acoustic set earlier you wouldn’t have got that we’re quite so heavy. It was very stripped back. We’re going to play one of the songs tomorrow, Arbor Low, and you’ll see it in full power. It’s a lot more…
Martin- The amps are up to 11!
Rich- I’ll actually have room to run around on the stage.
Chris- He needs a runway. We have to actually plan a runway for him to go back and forth.
Digby- And I’ll be playing keys, which will be nice, because I’ll actually know the pieces.
Chris- Yeah, today we amped up the folk side. We’ve got some really talented multi-instrumentalists.
Martin- Yeah, Caitie can play more than one, Digby can play more than one…
Hannah- I must say, I got quite excited when you brought out the recorders!
Catie- They have a really bad press, because people associate them with squeaky primary school children.
Chris- We definitely upped that. We walked past earlier in the day, and we thought it was an acoustic stage, but there were people that were playing metal! Fair enough, but we’re going to ramp up the acoustic. It was a lot more twinkly than normal, we thought we’d concentrate on the cleaner bits.
Hannah- I think it’s good, because it will give people a chance to see the different sides of your stuff. I think you’ve been described as folk, black, progressive metal! Would you say that was fitting?
Rich- I hope not, because I hate prog!
Martin- I’m with Rich there! I suppose maybe in the mix of things, there’s prog.
Hannah- You can definitely see the the folk and the black sides, and I guess you can see the prog in your instrumentals and that…
Chris- I like prog!
Caitie- There are aspects. Normally when people see ‘folk metal’ I think they expect sort of jiggy Korpiklaani stuff, but we’re not really like that.
Chris- I think it’s the lyrics that are the most progressive part of it. A lot of progressive lyrics explore weighty concepts, and I don’t want to speak for Martin’s lyrics, but they’re definitely heavy! The last album was a concept album.
Digby- But thankfully we don’t do dragons.
Hannah- I was going to say, your music is very English in its’ folk sensibilities, because unlike the Scandinavians and their dragons and monsters, English folk tends to be about people.
Chris- I spent some time looking up a lot of English folk stories, to see what we have over here, and it’s not really got many mythical creatures.
Martin- There is a song about Gawain and the Green Knight.
Digby- Having said that, Chris, the one on this album that you wrote the lyrics for is about mythical creatures, is it not!?
Chris- It is! It is, I will admit. It’s Sylvan Lullaby, it doesn’t sound like trolls and elves and that. I’m reading the Hobbit, actually, and I like the bit about Mirkwood. I thought- I’m not going to write about Tolkein, but I’m going to take the thing about being trapped in the forest and trying to escape before dark.
Hannah- So, when you’re live and you’re all plugged in- it’s not just the mics and the bass guitar, would you say that it’s really different?
Rich- Oh, it’s more brutal. I would say so. There’s also the thing when we have four vocal parts in certain songs.
Chris- He’s very proud about his vocals.
Digby- I can’t sing, so I just play the keys.
Caitie- I can’t sing, but they force me to anyway.
Martin- The good thing about doing an acoustic set is we can do things we haven’t really played.
Chris- The first track was the intro track off of our album, and we haven’t played that live in ages. We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for it- we got told three weeks ago! They rang us and asked if we wanted to do an acoustic set, and we were like great! Now lets work out an acoustic set… argh!
Hannah- No pressure then! It worked out really well, though, you couldn’t tell! Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me guys, looking forward to seeing you ‘properly’ and plugged in tomorrow.

Northern Oak’s second full-length album, Monuments, is out now.

Interview: Obsessive Compulsive [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags on 25th August 2011 by Hannah


Hannah sits down for a chat with Obsessive Compulsive at Bloodstock Festival 2011

Hannah- Hello guys! Cheers for chatting with me. So, obviously you are playing on Saturday; but, this time, you’re playing the Jaegermeister stage, which is acoustic!
Pete- Yeah, and it’s not even a stage!
Hannah- Oh, so should we call it the Jaegermeister piece of ground?
Kelii- The Jaegermeister yard.
Pete- Really, we’re just going to take over the whole arena.
Hannah- Quite right, just jump on! How do you think you’re going to translate into acoustic?
Giz- Well, we played an acoustic set at Download Festival, which was the first time we’d ever done acoustic.
Hannah- How was that?
Dani- Daunting.
Kelii- It won’t be quite as terrifying this time, will it?
Giz- It is kinda different, because obviously we aren’t an acoustic band, but we’ll just get up there and do our thing, and it’ll be cool.
Pete- We’re the heaviest acoustic thing you’ll ever hear!
Hannah- Well, I was going to say, actually, because your music is quite high energy, and acoustic tends to be really laid back and trippy.
Kelii- Yeah, our music is quite high energy, but we are quite eclectic; the whole album is very eclectic. It is quite different. We have a lot of slow songs that we don’t really want to play live, ‘cos we don’t really want to bring the mood down in the middle of a punky set, so it’s really good that we get to do something different.
Hannah- It gives you a chance to spread your wings.
Kelii- Yeah!
Pete- It translates surprisingly well; you’ve got the highs and the lows.
Giz- It’s really nice to do something like this as well, because people get to come and see a different thing, a different side to us.
Hannah- I guess what’s also different with acoustic is that everyone is so much closer, as well.
Kelii- This one will be really intimate, yeah. We can see their ugly mugs…
Giz- They can see our ugly mugs, too!
Hannah- So, your album has lots of different influences; would you say that you as a band have a particular sound?
Pete-  As said, it’s very eclectic. We have lots of different influences between all of us. It comes in from every different area and different genres.
Kelii- We all like really vastly different things. Between us all, we all like lots of different  styles. I’m not saying that we’re some kind of crazy band that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before!
Pete- We’re not trying to do everything in one go.
Kelii- Yeah, we don’t go out of our way to write really crazy shit, we just write what comes out. Sometimes it might take a grungey sort of sound, sometimes it might be more metal or punk, or even a bit of glam rock! We don’t really think about it too much.
Giz- Whatever comes out, comes out. We’re not trying to put any pressure on it, we’re just making our music; we’re just being creative.
Hannah- You can really hear that, because it all sounds really natural. Sometimes when bands try and do a different sound, it sounds really forced, but yours doesn’t, it all flows really well.
Kelii- Thank you! It all just sounds like us.
Giz- It’s ‘cos we’re all really rubbish at playing our instruments! Apart from Dani, Dani pulls it all together for us.
Hannah- So, how different is it then playing live than playing in the comfort of a studio, where it doesn’t matter if you get it wrong!?
Giz- Live’s always different because you’ve got the audience in front of you, and you’re feeding back off them.
Kelii- And you’ve only got one shot.
Giz- It’s all there in the moment, whatever happens happens. But playing live is what we’re all about. We love being on the road, touring and playing shows.
Hannah- Are festivals different yet again?
Pete- Yeah, you don’t have to go outside to smoke.
Giz- Festivals are really good fun, we really do enjoy playing festivals. If we can, we always love to come down and have a few beers with people.
Kelii- It’s especially nice to get out of Manchester where there are a bunch of knobheads being knobheads.
Hannah- A good thing about festivals like Download and Bloodstock is that you get heard by people who wouldn’t normally pick up your CD in a shop.
Giz- Yeah, it’s really important for us to get new people listening to our music.
Kelii- We’re still a tiny band.
Giz- Yeah, we still want to hand out flyers and talk to people, get them to come and check us out.
Pete- Everything’s so over-saturated in the media, there’s so much going on. So to actually get face to face with people and to get to show them what we’re made of.
Giz- It’s really great because we get to hang out with people. We’re here all weekend- if people want to come down and see us, then great. If people want to come and have a drink with us, then even better!
Pete- If people want to buy us beer, then ever better still!
Kelii- There are bands that are our size who are only here for the one day, and I don’t understand it! I will be there for as long as I possibly can.
Hannah- Exactly. Well, thanks very much for taking the time to talk to me, guys! I look forward to watching your set.

Debut album, Dreams Of Death And The Death Of Dreams out now, via Vociferous Records.