Saturday 26 September 2015

Interview with GARGANJUA

I was asked recently to interview UK Sludge/Doom Filth Merchants – GARGANJUA – as I was a fan of their debut EP – Trip Wizard. GARGANJUA will be releasing their debut album in early 2016 and by all accounts it's going to be HEAVY!!!

Before then I decided to catch up with the guys to see how things are going with the band and what we can expect from the album. So lets get started with GARGANJUA!!!

Hi guys. How are things with you today.

Hello, We are very well thank you.

So why did you choose the name GARGANJUA for your band. Any specific meaning.

Haha the name came about as we wanted something that sounded MASSIVE, sort of like Mastodon or Bison haha. We came up with Gargantua originally but there are a few bands called that we changed one letter to be "original" haha.

How did the band get together. Did you all know each other before forming the band.

We've all known each other for years and all played together in various other bands but It started off with Scott and Gaz(bassist) getting together and recording riffs in Scott's bedroom and that was basically how Trip Wizard was born. We decided to ask Benj to be involved as we all have similar musical tastes and it went from there really. Played a couple of gigs and just really enjoyed it so decided to record something. We never thought it would get out of the bedroom to be honest.

How would you describe your music. Apart from it being pure fucking heavy.

Musically I'd describe it as Melodic Doom. There are so many genres and sub genres that I dont give it much thought but that'd be our interpretation.

You released your debut EP – Trip Wizard – last year. How was the response to that EP. I loved it when I reviewed it for The Sludgelord.

Trip Wizard seem to get a positive response which was surprising. I mean, we loved it but personally, it was very stripped down and basic so I didn't expect much of a response but it was very positive.

Would you change anything about it.

We wouldn't change anything, we had such a blast just jamming and hanging out, it sort of felt like it used to back in the day when you're starting your first band. It just flowed and felt great. I still love listening to it. Probably the best first record I've ever been a part of.

Apart from the music itself, I think the album cover makes it stand out. Shows your wicked sense of humour. Who designed the cover.

Got to be honest, the artwork was just a really old school public domain image that we loved haha! We were so keen to get the EP out, we just found something simple we liked quickly haha.

You're about to release your debut album soon. Can you give us more details about that.

The new album is completely different from Trip Wizard!! A lot has changed for us in the last 18 months, on various levels and we started to look at our music differently. We wanted to expand the sound, explore melody more and lyrically, write about more than just goblins and wizards. Basically, it's like a different sound all together now. We got a second guitarist on board which gave us more to do dynamically and personally, its a game changer.

Its 4 songs and 40 minutes long. We are planning on releasing a "single" soon and will hopefully release before the end of the year but we haven't set an official date yet.

Are you releasing it yourself or have you got a small label to release it.

The album is going to be released digitally through Black Bow Records and physically through Hibernacula Records

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

Being in a band is tough but it always has been in our opinion. We weren't playing in bands in the 90's when record labels had cash and getting signed was deemed as "making it". Things have clearly got harder in recent years but if you enjoy it, its worth it. We've always had that attitude.

Some people say the UK Sludge/Stoner/Doom Metal scene has hit it's peak and it can't get any bigger. What is your own verdict on the UK scene.

Our perception of the UK scene is that it's very strong, probably the strongest its ever been. There is a definite sense of community in stoner/doom especially and I think that's down to people still really having a love for live music. It still feels like days of old when people would travel to shows, help each other out and generally rep for each other. Its a great place to be.

How is the scene like in your home town of Leicester. Do you play gigs there regularly or do you have to travel further afield.

The Leicester scene has definitely improved over the last year, there are a couple of people doing really good work locally for the city which is great to see but our attitude has always been to travel to everywhere we can. We've done the whole, week in, week out in your own back yard type of thing but reaching new audiences and making new friends is what we like to do.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Song-writing wise, certainly for the new album, the blueprints for the tunes were done by Scott. They'd be emailed over and if the rest of us liked it, we'd set to jam the idea out and gradually the fine tuning begins and everyone will contribute in their own way before the song is complete. Although I believe the title track was born out of a spontaneous jam at practice and just grew into the beast it is now within 2 hours haha. Lyrically is generally a 50/50 job between Gaz and Scott.

With you guys being from Leicester. We have to talk about MAGE and the sad passing of guitarist – Ben Aucott. I spoke to Ben a few times via Social Media but he was a lovely real genuine guy who I knew did a lot for the local music scene. How is everyone doing especially the MAGE guys who I have a lot of time for. Amazing band and people as well. My condolences to Ben's family and friends at this sad time.

Needless to say, the loss of Ben shook the local scene massively and has continued to extend outwards. Collectively we've been jamming within the same scene as Ben for over 12 years and his previous band with Andy, Outburst were hugely influential on us growing up. I cannot imagine the impact its had on the Mage boys but its a great community and we all chat and are there for each other every step of the way. Its a day by day thing.

And your performing on the Ben Aucott memorial gig in November with Mage and Temple of Lies. How much of an honour is that. Can you give us more info about that gig.

The only word to use is 'honour' at being asked to play the memorial show, we'd have been there regardless anyway but to able to jam it is obviously extra special and a great way to celebrate Ben's life.

The gig is at Duffys in Leicester on November 28th so come down, jam your balls off and raise a beer to Ben.

Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Can't wait to hear your debut album. All the best with Ben's memorial gig. Looks like it's going to be a top night. Before you go do you have anything to say to your fans.

Thanks for your time and the only thing left to say is, keep your eyes peeled for the album and we also have some tour dates to announce for early 2016 so hopefully we will see you soon.

Words by Steve Howe and Gaz Owen

Thanks to GARGANJUA for taking the time out to talking to me.