It's time for another exciting instalment of where I interview bands who are appearing at next month's Borderland Fuzz Fiesta. Today's guests are Swtichblade Jesus who released a stunning debut self-titled album back in 2013 which won them a loyal and dedicated following in the Stoner Metal community.
I wanted to catch up with the guys as I hadn't spoken to them in a long time. And I was more than happy to do this interview. So lets get started and see what the guys have been upto recently.
For people not in the know, Can you please tell them how the band got together and where it is today.
We started out in 2010 as with the 4 of us just to have a good time. Found a singer we dug and put out our debut through Heavy Planet's website as an exclusive and Kozmik Artifactz/Bilocation picked it up the next day. The year went great, our singer parted ways and I picked up the slack which most seem to enjoy. I have more of a Motörhead/Clutch/Orange Goblin feel. Our old singer wanted to come back so we tried him out for this past year but it just wasn't working out. But during that time we lost valuable writing so we feel we're a little behind. The first record has a southern blues/metal feel while this follow up we've been digging with a lot of Earthless and Samsara Blues Experiment so adding that onto our already Clutchness. I'll be honest all I want to do is play Jimi Hendrix heavier and louder than anyone else.
How would you describe your music? You’re scheduled to play Borderland Fuzz Fiesta in February 2016. How did you get involved in that festival?
A heavy psychedelic fuzz laced with bludgeoning riffs and heavy grooves. You'll hear hints of Clutch, ZZ Top, Hendrix all the way to heavy Pantera riffs. We got in it because of the last tour we did with Fuzz Evil. You get someone drunk enough they'll agree to anything. But yea they're great buds of our and can't wait to party with them again.
What can people expect from your set at Borderland Fuzz Fiesta?
Loud grooves. Loud Riffs. Heavy times. We're an energetic band that runs around and like to get in your face, so hopefully we'll get a crowd that digs that.
Which bands are you looking forward in seeing at the festival?
All of them. We have some great friends on Ripple that will be there, our buds in Funeral Horse, Elder, just going to be a rad time
Will you be performing any warm-up gigs before the festival?
Yea we have a few planned to break up the 17hr drive, a few here in town also. We're usually playing twice a week, but the line-up musical chairs halted that which we didn't like, but we're back in full force.
It's been 2.5 years since you released your debut album. Has it surprised you how well received the album was received by fans and critics alike.
So much. Damn it's been that long? That 1st year he left I had to learn the lyrics, then he came back the following year and had to learn the new stuff, now we're back to the 4 Amigos. Damn it has been that long. It's beyond surprising honestly, hell we hit a Top 10 of 2015 with Ripple's release of it last year so I guess we did something good. Honestly man you never know how anything is going to be received these days so if you stay true to yourself and don't jump on any trends you'll come out well. Just need to bust out the jams. We love and respect all of our fans for sticking with us and not forgetting we're still pushing, up against a rock a year ago but still pushing.
Did you ever expect the album to be released on Vinyl and sold out on 3 different editions. Plus your album was released on CD by Ripple Music in 2015. How did you guys get involved with Ripple Music. Will you be releasing your new album via Ripple Music anytime soon. How hard is it being in a band in today's climate? What are the most difficult challenges?
Shit I'm surprised I got out of bed this morning let alone all of that. We've been very fortunate to have had that experience with our first album, many of our buds are busting their ass just to hope to cut a split with someone. I believe we wrote a few timeless songs on that honestly that can transcend genres, that might sound pretentious but I really feel that with Bastard Son, Wolves and Oblivion.
I sent the guys from Ripple a strippergram and a bottle of whiskey with a note that said "let's party". Actually Bill from the Soda Shop/Evil Engineer got that going, he posted a lot and I guess they picked up on it. Without him or Reg from Heavy Planet you might have never heard of us. We have a split with Fuzz Evil coming out with Ripple and hopefully they'll grab the follow up from the debut next year. We love those dudes, got to meet them a few years ago in Dallas and can't wait for February.
Honestly man, it's hard financially, I hate that speech and never use it but it's true. Do you have a dependable job that you can support kids or do you have a what the fuck ever job so you can leave and party. We have both, so you gotta choose your battles, you can't expect one dude that has a wife to leave his job so you can party all the time, but nice thing with us is those guys can take off whenever as long as it's warranted. Me I can do whatever as I'm a graphic artist on the side. Most difficult aspects....hmm can't really thinking any but schedules. Everyone has been in a band before this and lived the van life so we know what we're going into for the most part besides a promoter running out on paying us.
What inspired you to become a musician? Any particular album, band or life-changing event that told you – Yeah, that's what I want to do....
Metallica's Cliff'm all and Pantera's home videos. Then got heavily into SRV and Hendrix and it was all over.
What is the song-writing dynamic in the band? Is it a group collective or down to one individual?
Definitely a group collective, I'll start with a riff as Jon jumps in then everyone else as we start to morph it into a badass entity. I'll record some riffs and send them out also and we'll bounce off each other till we find something we're happy with. Also new pedals help clear the mind and write different. Got some righteous atmospheric pedals lately.
OK… if you had the chance to put on a festival, which bands would you put on. It can be any bands from any era of music.
Motörhead, Deep Purple, Sabbath,Hendrix, Pantera, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Clutch, Orange Goblin, Earthless, Kylesa, Baroness, shit basically anything that's killer and has a bitch'n groove.
Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans?
Thank you for sticking with us and waiting so long. Thank you for being the greatest fanbase ever, without you we wouldn't be where we are, y'all lose your mind at the shows and send us great messages, thank you for being rad as hell.
Words by Steve Howe and Switchblade Jesus
Thanks to Wayne Ruddell for arranging the interview. Thanks to Switchblade Jesus for taking the time out to talking to me.
Swtichblade Jesus Links
Early Bird Two Day Pass: BFFEarlybird.brownpapertickets.com
Dead Meadow Single Day: BFFDeadmeadow.brownpapertickets.com
Elder Single Day: BFFElder.brownpapertickets.com