Sunday 13 March 2016

An Interview with ELEPHANT TREE

Today's guests will be releasing their highly anticipated S/T debut album in April 2016 via Magnetic Eye Records. Last year they released their acclaimed EP – Theia.

Elephant Tree's debut album has a very different sound to Theia and it's already starting to receive some serious praise within the Doom/Stoner Metal community. It's already being touted as an Album Of The Year contender. It's a favourite album of the whole team here at Outlaws Of The Sun.

I wanted to see why the band change direction for their new album. Here's my interview with ELEPHANT TREE....

Hi guys. How are things with you today. Thanks for doing this interview.

All good, fresh back from Manchester and having a few weeks off before heading back out when Pete returns from Thailand.

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

Ask R D Ronald!

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

Jack and Sam met while working together in London. We met Pete while we were out drinking at Crowbar in Soho and twisted his arm to come to a jam. A few weeks later Riley took Sam's old position at Jacks work and got invited along with his sitar. We started writing Theia from then.

How would you describe your music.

It's hard to describe really. At its roots it's basically stoner rock but because we all have such varied influences there's no one genre we really stick to. It depends on who you ask, which is never a bad thing because it means we get to play with a wide variety of awesome bands. How would you describe it?!

Your new S/T album is about to be released in April 2016. What can people expect from the album.

It's very different to Theia. We didn't want to restrict ourselves to a certain sound and writing from a fresh sheet gave us more creative freedom. Also due to Riley's work constraints we decided to drop the sitar and he moved into more of a producer role. The album is heavy and recording at Church Studios gave us a lot of equipment to experiment with. Also recording on the same desk that was used by Pink Floyd was pretty cool.

It has a very different sound to your debut EP – Theia.  As the heavy sludge sounds and vocals are nowhere to be seen on this album. Was that an easy decision to make to leave those sounds off the new record. As your fans discovered you from Theia's heavier sounds.

We never head into writing a track thinking we have to stick to a specific sound. The next album could sound completely different again, we just head into the practice room and play. Whatever we like gets recorded.

I think you made the right choice as your new album is absolutely incredible. It's really starting to make an impression on the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community. Has the responses for your new album surprised you so far.

Always. When we started Sam had only ever had a handful of drum lessons, Jack hadn't played for years and Pete and Riley were very new friends. Two years later we've recorded two records and played with bands we never thought we'd share the stage with. It moved really fast and we just seem to gel as a band but the response from fans still floors us when we see posts about our music online and people show up to gigs!

Looking back would you change anything about Theia.

Not really. It reflects the stage we were at as a band. It was done over one hazy weekend in Sam Thredder's (Slabdragger) Cro’s Nest Studio and we had great fun recording it.

Was recording the album a different experience to Theia. Did you do anything differently when recording the new album.

We recorded the new album at Paul Epworth's the Church Studios in Crouch End. Going into a studio that's usually used by the likes of Adele when you've recorded you're last record in a loft studio is a bit of a system shock. We settled in really quickly though and working in there was easy.

The album is being released via Magnetic Eye Records again. How did you hook up with them. Did you have any offers from other labels to release your album.

We got a message off Mike Vitali at Magnetic Eye Records shortly after we released a demo of Attack. He told us about hearing it and seemed to really dig it and offered us a contract. We'd had a few other offers but no one that had actually taken time to Skype us. Working over the different time zones can be a bit awkward at time but we appreciate the work Mike puts into the label and it’s reassuring to know he’s passionate about the music.

What inspires you when writing and recording music.

Everyone has their own inspiration when it comes to adding a piece to a track. We try not to get too bogged down in sounding like anyone in particular or composing in a certain way. The tracks are better for it when they are written more organically.

Do you have an advanced set-up when playing live or recording new material in the studio.

Not really. The studio takes tend to be slightly more complex, especially with our latest recordings, because we have more gear to play around with. Jack took full advantage of the vintage and custom effects pedals at The Church, but it’s cool that his set-up evolves and changes over time. No two shows are the same and we’re always up for experimenting with effects and set-ups. The last thing you want is for your sound to come across as boring.

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

It’s tough. There’s so many other great bands out there that are all making noise on the scene so it’s hard to make yourself stand out. Also, making any money is tough. Recording an album is an expensive task and the last thing you want is to sacrifice quality because you can’t afford to work in a particular studio. That’s not to say you can’t make an awesome record in a front room or a home studio but there’s a certain vibe that comes from being able to walk into a room and crank up your amps to 11.

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

We all chip in with ideas. Usually one of us will come into the practice room with a melody or a riff and then we’ll all play it through and decide what we like and what needs changing. Eventually after a few run-throughs we’ll have the beginnings of a track.

Will you be touring this record heavily this year. If you are, can you give any details out.

We have a few dates in the pipelines but nothing confirmed yet. We’re looking to go back to France at some point and maybe visit some more UK venues we haven’t yet been to. Hopefully we’ll be able to announce more details around the end of April once the album is out.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.


Words by Steve Howe and Elephant Tree

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for arranging this interview. Thanks to Elephant Tree for taking the time out to talking to me. Elephant Tree – S/T - will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Magnetic Eye Records from April 22nd 2016.


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