Thursday 6 July 2017

An Interview With Jake Wallace From ELDER DRUID

Northern Ireland Doom/Sludge Rockers - Elder Druid - have came a long way since they released their last EP - Magicka - back in Sept 2016. The EP was released by Black Bow Records (Jon from CONAN's record label) and the band have received acclaim within the Doom/Sudge/Stoner Metal Community.

I interviewed Jake last year which you can read here. Elder Druid have just announced they will be recording their debut album soon. I wanted to find out more about the album and what Elder Druid will have in store for us.

I'm happy to report that Jake Wallace (Lead Guitars) has agreed to talk to me about the new album.

Hi Jake, Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today?

Hi Steve, no problem at all cheers for having me! Things are very good. Just preparing to head off on our first mini-tour of England in a couple days time.

You’re about to go into the studio for the recording of your new album.

Yes, we’re booked into Start Together Studios in Belfast with Niall Doran on the 18/19/20 August to record our first full length studio album.

Can you tell people what to expect from the album and when will it be released?

This album is a culmination of everything we’ve done so far. Over the past few years we have written around 15 or so tracks and this album will be the best 8 tracks from that time. The album will comprise of 2 tracks we've previously recorded on our last EP ‘Magicka’ and 6 brand new ones that haven’t been recorded at all yet. It will released around late September/October 2017.

Are you releasing the album yourselves or do you have a label interested in releasing it?

As it stands, we are releasing the album ourselves although we have a few labels in mind.

You have Niall Doran from Start Together Studios recording the album. Was it an easy choice to go with those guys as they’ve recorded some cool bands such as Slomatics and Nomadic Rituals?

Yeah absolutely. Niall was the first guy to ever buy an Elder Druid t-shirt and we’ve lost count of the number of people he has recommended us to. The studio itself is absolutely incredible and the fact that Niall is such a huge doom fan himself makes the process even better. When you hear how heavy albums like ‘Estron” by Slomatics or ‘Marking the Day’ by Nomadic Rituals are, it just seems like a no-brainer to be recording our album here.

Is the album going to be a different sound from your previous EPs? Or will it have a similar sound?

I feel like this is by far our heaviest music to date. It just took time to flesh everything out to the point where we were all totally comfortable playing the newer material. We’ve been gigging the new material extensively and it has been going down very well at all of our shows. We’re just about to embark on our first mini-tour of England where we’ll be playing 3 shows in Sheffield, Mansfield & Camden so that gives us even more time to see how people react to the new stuff. There isn’t really a consistent theme or concept with the new album as opposed to the magical themes of ‘Magicka’. The general theme for this album is just heavy fucking riffs.

Do you have plans to release the album on physical formats such as CD, cassette or vinyl?

Yeah we’ll definitely be releasing the album on CD and hopefully vinyl too.

What have been your high points and low points being with Elder Druid or your musical career in general?

That’s an interesting one. High points so far would be getting our debut studio EP released on Black Bow Records. We’re all huge fans of Conan and that label and to get your debut EP released by one of your idols was quite something. Also getting to play at Canalaphonic Festival in Dublin last September was a great feeling. Mainly the opportunities we’ve been getting for gigs across the UK and being invited to this year’s Siege of Limerick festival in the Republic of Ireland. The only low points we’ve had are when we’re tuned down to ridiculously heavy tunings.

Looking back on your musical career so far, is there anything you would change? Or any funny stories that have happened on your musical journey?

I can’t imagine changing anything in terms of Elder Druid. We’re a very consistent band and when we have a plan, we get there without too many distractions or problems. I feel like we’ve achieved quite a lot in the short time we’ve been an active band and there are a lot of opportunities out there in the world of stoner doom, ready to be seized.

In terms of funny stories, our relationship with the band ‘Wizzerd’ from Montana (USA) is quite a tale. We received a message from one of their members saying that they were “blazed and long boarding through their town at 3am listening to Elder Druid’’ so we struck up some correspondence and around a year later, two of the guys flew over to Ireland to hang and jam with us before we all went to Desertfest London. That was a trip. From one Facebook message over a year ago to jamming out and witnessing bands such as Sleep, Slo Burn and Bongzilla in London with these dudes. We have some plans in the works to get over to their neck of the woods so keep your eyes peeled for a Druid invasion, America.

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

I’d just like to say thank you to yourself Steve, and many other outlets and publications within the stoner/doom/sludge community because without you guys, a lot of bands like us would be totally unheard of. The greatest blessing about this type of music is the rock solid community around us all and it’s so fucking cool to see a scene where everyone just wants to help and jam out to some slow, heavy riffs. So thank you to the writers, reviewers, journalists and to the fans. We really appreciate all the support and we’ll continue making heavy music until our bodies give way. Cheers!

Words by Steve Howe and Jake Wallace