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Band of the Month: Interview – The Devil and the Almighty Blues

The Devil and the Almighty Blues is quite mysterious in the way that there’s very little, pretty much none information to be find about them online, so we had a chat to them to find out a bit more about the bands influences and how they got together in the first place.

There’s not a lot of information about you guys online, can you tell us a bit about how it all started?
DATAB: We’ve been hanging out together both in front of and behind bars, stages, festivals and studios in Oslo since the early 2000s. Individually, we were involved in everything from punk, americana, garage rock, metal and psych. Kim was in The Good, The Bad, and the Zugly, Kenneth had Shit City and The Dogs, Petter and Arnt in The Goo Men and Torgeir Waldemar doing his own thing.

When the five of you got together, did you have a mutual understanding of the music you wanted to make, or is that a result of all of the above clashing together?
DATAB: We met up in the studio with the aim to play heavy, repetitive, gooey blues. What we all had in common is our mutual love for the electric revolution that happened in the early 70s, when Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac with the song Green Manalishi, ZZ Top fully loaded with Marshall stacks and the king himself, Muddy Waters, released the album Electric Mud. All floating around in this blues soup is also heroes like Jimi, Free, Canned Heat, Clutch and Endless Boogie – to name a few. The playlist we put together will give you an idea of what inspired us when forming The Devil and the Almighty Blues.

As far as albums go, I think you’ve killed it with both of them, and find it pretty impossible to pick a favourite amongst the two. How do you feel yourself that you’ve developed from recording the first record?
DATAB: We’re slightly more patient now, and allow ourselves, even more so than on our debut album, for the song to take as much time as it needs to be completed.

How do you work together as a band, do you meet up on a regular basis to work on new material and maintain the old one?
DATAB: We meet up in the studio when we’ve got work to do, whether that is working on new songs or improve the ones we’ve got before an upcoming tour. Besides that we bump into each other on a regular basis on the road with various bands.

As an Oslo based band, how would you describe the Oslo music scene? Is there any other Norwegian bands we should look into?
DATAB: The music scene in Oslo’s kick-ass! When it comes to other Norwegian bands, check out Kosmik Boogie Tribe, Lonely Kamel, Spectral Haze, Electric Eye, and our label friends Heave Blood & Die, Monumentum and Reptile Master from Blues For The Red Sun.

You’re hitting the road with Blues Pills later this year, how’s the expectations towards that? And is there any chance of the five of you maybe swinging by London at some point?
DATAB: Playing live is one of our favourite things to do, and to be able to travel around with Blues Pills while doing so is just an added bonus. Good venues and good people, what more could you want? Ah, London though, that would be awesome. We’re trying to get some more dates together for winter, and hope London and the UK will be a part of that.

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Pre Bloodstock – Interview: Everest Queen

While getting ready for this years Bloodstock, we had a chat to bassist Jimmy from progressive sludge metal band Everest Queen who’ll be playing the Jaegermeister stage on the Sunday. Now, it’s pretty likely that many, and maybe even most of us will be nursing some pretty heavy hangovers by this point, but if like us you’re a sucker for big riffs, then we suggest dragging your hungover ass there to check them out

So, first of all, can we get the lowdown on Everest Queen and how you guys all met?
Adam (vocals and guitar) and I met outside our local venue in 2013 and have been playing together ever since. I approached him because he had a Venom shirt on, and just got chatting about metal. Our mutual friend pointed out that we both wanted to start a sludge or doom band, so I took his number, played it cool, and waited for three days before calling. A week later he turned up at mine with his guitar. We jammed a little and it worked way too well to not pursue it. Adam suggested the name Everest Queen and I thought it was sick because it seemed mystical and not trying to be macho. I had already written our song ‘Catacombs’, and then by the second time he came over he’d written and recorded on a CD what we later ended up calling ‘Curse of the Everest Queen’. I listened to that song for weeks, even taking my bass to work with me and practicing along to it in my car at lunchtimes! Adam knew Brad (Drums, vocals) from one of his old bands at secondary school when he was like 14, and remembered them both saying on a drunken night they should start a stoner band, so he asked Brad and we’ve been blessed / cursed with him ever since. Our first gig was in 2016 just after releasing the EP, supporting Countless Skies.

You released your self titled EP early last year, how did you experience the the process of doing so?
We recorded drums at The Practice Roomz in Stevenage, and guitar, bass and vocals at Adam’s home studio. Recording the bass was quite cool as my pregnant wife would come by and see it all happen. It was incredible watching Brad do the drums as I really got to take in everything he does more than when I play with him, his approach is like a culmination of tribal and jazz drumming, and we love getting the quirky yet subtle rhythms in there with each other. Adam’s a whirlwind man, that dude seems to know everything when it comes to guitar, pedals and recording. He made recording fun and he really gees you up to knock it out of the park. Listening back to that EP now still sounds fresh to me and we’re all still in love with the artwork which was done by the very talented Bvrzerk Iam whose work is just mint.

As the EP now’s a while away, have you got any new releases coming up, or maybe even an album?
An album is in the works, but there will be something special happening for Bloodstock, should everything go according to plan, which so far, touch wood, it is. The songs are there and structurally complete, we just need the time to record as we are all incredibly busy even though we still practice at least once a week on average. We will get recording once we have had the honour of setting foot on the Jager Stage at Bloodstock 2017. We had planned to begin recording several months ago but gig offers just kept coming in, in addition to a mini tour with Zhora and Morag Tong, as well as advancing through Metal 2 the Masses. The mini tour, Metal 2 the Masses and other gigs further afield helped us improve as a band as we’ve had the opportunity to play with some high grade bands that we are fans of, we feel this’ll help us achieve our goals when recording the debut album. We’ve got some great ideas on how to follow up the debut album as well, we’ve always got something up our collective sleeve, and whilst we appreciate the wait for the album has felt long, it’s gonna be worth it.

So – Bloodstock! What’s your expectations for this years festival? Are you staying for the whole weekend?
It would be a foul smelling lie to try and be all calm about playing Bloodstock, it’s always consistent in the lineups and it won’t bow to mainstream trends like other festivals have in the past. Fuck those guys man, they know who they are. Expectation wise – we are going to embrace playing the biggest and best metal festival in the UK whilst bringing the riffs. Big, surly, epic riffs that people are going to walk away remembering and craving more of. We always like making new friends, checking out new bands and showing why we are worthy to play this hallowed ground. Sadly, I think we’re gonna miss the Thursday due to Brad and I starting new jobs that week, but I’ll be checking them out regardless via youtube, bandcamp, whatever – why wouldn’t you at least check out new music when it is right at your fingertips these days?

Who are you guys most excited about seeing at this years festival?
Ohhms, Zhora, Mist, Bossk, Inquistion, Corpsing, Iron Rat, Hundred Year Old Man, Ba’al, Atragon, Hatebreed mainly because the song ‘Destroy Everything’ makes me think of my 2 year old son being let loose in our nearest Lidl. Biggus Riffus and Hanowar look like they will feed the need for some epic riffs and classic metal.

What’s your relationship to the festival, have you been or played before?
I went in 2008, and then again in 2012 for my stag weekend where I was lucky enough to be allowed on stage whilst Grand Magus performed. Cool guys who managed to cross Bathory and Dio, both bands that I love.

What’s your festival essentials?
 This year it will be our instruments and music gear but normally ear plugs, wet wipes, toilet roll, water and sun cream. Oh and steamed hams. We’re all about the steamed hams.

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We’re Back at Bloodstock!

We’re back at Bloodstock Festival this year and we couldn’t be more excited about it! We’ll be in the Serpents Lair for all VIP’ers to get their hands on our jewellery, as well as out and about enjoying the music. To get ready and in the mood, we’ve put together a playlist featuring the bands and artists playing the festival. You’ve got six and a half hours with pre-Bloodstock entertainment, so turn in up to 11 while packing your bags, and we’ll see you in the pit!


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Band of the Month: The Devil and the Almighty Blues

July’s ‘Band of the Month’ is hailing all the way from the land of ice and snow; They’re The Devil and the Almighty Blues, and they’re from Norway – no way, you might say, surely Norway’s only black metal and 80’s pop icons A-ha? Nope, Norway’s got a booming and blooming music scene that’s somewhat overshadowed by it’s brother in the east, Sweden, so let dive into the deepest forests, climb their highest mountains, fall into dive bars and caves (Bergen’s actually got a music venue in a cave in the mountains called ‘Hulen’) and indulge on everything our Viking friends in the North has to offer.

Since the birth of The Devil and the Almighty blues they’ve released two records; Their self titled 2015 debut album which received critical acclaim due to it’s heavy, slow raw and bluesy sound, followed by the equally excellent second album fittingly named ‘II’, both released on Norwegian fuzzy blues, dirty stoner and muddy doom label ‘Blues For The Red Sun‘.

Photo by Øyvind Toft / Toft Concert Photography

On the bands Bandcamp page you’ll find nothing but stellar reviews for both of their albums;

“I just sold my soul to the Almighty Blues. Again. It’s dense, it’s alive, true and authentinc.
I feel like I am in a god forsaken pub for the bikers in the middle of Norway. It’s 4 a.m. I am so hangovered I wish to die, but I keep conteplating on life over yet another beer.”

“Authentic to the last letter and the final note, The Devil and the Almighty Blues does exactly what it says on the timeworn, nicotine ‘n’ whiskey stained tin. For ‘II’ does indeed contain the mightiest blues to be found across any of the Devil’s domains.”

“It’s no secret that to master the blues one would have to sell their soul to the Devil. Well, these Norse sure know their way around it!”

Photo by Øyvind Toft / Toft Concert Photography

There’s different ways to describe this band, their influences, and their personal take on slow, Norwegian, raw 70’s influenced blues, and the best description I’ve seen and heard so far, you’ll find on the band’s own Facebook page;

“When the 60’s turned into the 70’s there was a musical crossroads. The American blues had had it’s run with teens on both sides of the Atlantic long enough so that the blues-offspring named rock’n’roll had to expand or die. It did not die, it expanded in all kinds of directions! And right there in the crossroads between blues-based rock and all the world’s other sub-genres of rock, something happened to the blues. The format got experimented with, expanded and almost made unrecognizable. But at the same time the roots to the original ’real’ blues was never lost. Where Peter Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1970 with the track «Green Manalishi», where Johnny Winter stretched his musical legs, where ZZ Top bought Marshall full stacks and shot from the hip, and last but not least where the legend himself, Muddy Waters, stretched the limits of that was ’legal’ with the album «Electric Mud». And not to forget Hendrix, Free, Canned Heat and the rest of the gang from the Woodstock-era. The result was a highly electric musical revolution, where e.g. the newly born genre hard rock walked hand in hand with traditional delta blues.

It is out from this musical mud The Devil and the Almighty Blues have found their inspiration. Their music is slow, heavy, melodic and raw, all without losing the almighty blues out of sight.”

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Interview: Daisy Coburn

23 year old Daisy is somewhat experienced within the music industry, as she entered the scene as teen pop icon ‘Daisy Dares You’ nearly a decade ago. Years later, she’s ventured down the dark path of rock ’n’ roll, and is currently co-fronting her own band ‘Clever Thing’ with former ‘Bad for Lazarus’ frontman Rich Fownes. We had a chat with the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist about her current musical projects, and what the future holds next for her.

Daisy Coburn by Sarah Piantadosi

You first entered the UK music scene at quite a young age as ‘Daisy Dares You’ playing pop music, which is pretty far from the music you’re currently making – at what point did you decide to change direction and genres?
I think the transition musically and personally birthed just as Daisy Dares You came in to fruition. It began in a genuine place, just writing silly pop songs that, in the brain of an early teen, i never imagined or even understood what it meant to be defined by those things. So when it came out in to the public domain, all my instincts rejected the opportunity. Emotionally and creatively. Not only was the pressure unquantifiable, i really evolved to dislike the music i was releasing. And i predict the culture surrounding it contributed to that feeling, the disposable, fast food nature of the music industry is not for the faint hearted. So I quickly retreated and went back to basics. Taught myself to play the drums, explored my instruments and bought a little tascam 8 track, which gave me a new lease of life, totally liberated of the rollercoaster i’d just jumped off.

So you clearly started writing at a young age, do you come from a musical family?
I grew up with the unwritten law that music is essential to all life, my parents totally expressed their emotions with music, both listening to it and writing it, so it was easy to tap into that language. They loved different things but in my memory they all amalgamated quite harmoniously. I’d say my childhood soundtrack courtesy of my folks ranged from Siouxie and The Banshees to Madness to Neil Young to Nirvana, and the list goes on.. Commercially eclectic and generally really fun.

‘Bad for Lazarus’ at Glastonbury 2015 by Keira Anee

I first came across you a few years back fronting Pink Lizards and playing guitar, before you later that night took the stage on keys with Bad For Lazarus, do yo prefer to share your time between different instruments or are you more drawn to a specific one?
My default is guitar because it’s where I write the bulk of my ideas, then piano occasionally to get a different perspective on ideas when I’m feeling in a rut. But all my adrenaline goes nuts for drums! It’s usually circumstance that dictates how much time I spend on each instrument. If I had a drum kit in my room it would probably be a different story.

From the ashes of Bad for Lazarus and Pink Lizards we got Clever Thing, how would you describe the band, your sound, and how it all came about?
At The Drive In meets Phil Spector, Black Flag meets Billie Holliday, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion meets The Andrews Sisters.. We are trying to mess with the parameters. More then anything its supposed to be really cheeky and fun. And these contrast references are supposed to represent Rich and Me i guess. I listen to a hell of a lot of 20s,30s swing and jazz and Rich grew up on punk and people fucking shit up for the sake of it. Without denying our blatant individual personalities, both of us are completely attracted to the opposites we bring to the table. They work well together because however it’s been executed, all our heroes have been coming from the same place. Completely surrendering to the art. Genuine is the tie that binds.

You released your EP ‘Fixer Upper’ earlier this year, have you got an album planned?
We are aiming to record something substantial by the end of this year with Rich’s teen crush Alex Newport (At the Drive In, The Icarus Line, Tigercub) Which we are all totally ecstatic to be doing. In the meantime we’ll be releasing something special we’ve already recorded with our musical Godfather Ally Jowett…

I know you’ve got some solo projects as well as Clever Thing, how’s the rest of the year looking for you?
Doing as much as humanly possible! As well as Clever Thing i’d like to release some of my own stuff, but we will see… Time flies when you’re having fun!

Header photo by Keira Anee