Two of Denmark's heaviest and best upcoming Sludge/Stoner Metal bands have joined forces to release a split album. The following details from their BandCamp page will tell you all you need to know about the album.
“Two bands from opposite ends of Denmark. Slowjoint from the southwest and Gaia from the eastern. The two bands have two distinctly different sounds, but share a love for big amplifiers and heavy fuzz - as well as a very loose approach to song writing, and a base in stoner / doom.
Slowjoint and Gaia have played together and supported each other for years now, and finally they are putting out a a split. In addition to offering new music from both bands, the music on the split is also the the most accomplished from both bands.
The Split has been released in a collaboration between Virkelighedsfjern, Svensk Psych Aften, AUSI Records, Magisk Stat and the record shop Vinyltrolden, where a reception is also being held on Wednesday, November 1st, which is also the official release date.”
I was asked to do an interview with representatives from both bands and I've managed to catch up with Dennis from Slowjoint and Kriller from GAIA.
I've interviewed Dennis multiple times over the years as I'm a huge fan of Slowjoint. I'm fairly new to GAIA's world. So I was pretty excited what these two crazy riffsters would reveal.
Find out below....
Hi guys. How are things with you today.
Dennis (Slowjoint) : Hi Steve, We’re good thanks. The Danish fall is beautiful.
Kriller (Gaia) : I agree, and perfect for this kind of music. Also, I'm tired....always tired.
So we are here to talk about your new split record coming out on November 1st. Can you give our readers more info about this release.
Kriller: Well, it's coming out on vinyl, which is possible because of the Labels Virkelighedsfjern, Svensk Psych Aften, AUSI Records, Magisk Stat and the record shop Vinyltrolden. They help with both money and distribution, but it is still mainly a DIY product. We do all the boring stuff our selves. Like vinyl pressing, press contact, distribution (for the most part) etc. We put a lot of work into it and are extremely excited for the release.
Dennis: Actually you can preorder it on virkelighedsfjern over at their BandCamp page. The cover looks fucking great in vinyl format. It’s painted by NMAAR, you should check him out. Awesome hand painted work.
How did this collaboration come about. Did you know each other before you recorded the record.
Dennis: Yeah we’ve known each other since we started the band. Played one of our first shows together and been playing together here and there around Denmark. They’re good guys and we have kind of the same mentality about being in a band and writing music. Gaia is hugs and doom in a perfect combination.
Kriller: Ha ha....thanks - I think. The main reason we are doing this collaboration is that we know each other. Back when we started there wasn't much going on in regards to doom in Denmark, so we found each other pretty quickly. The family is growing now, which is great. That also means more focus on this kind of music in our small country. And well, as Dennis says we have a similar way of doing music. It just makes really good sense to us.
Dennis: It really feels like sort of a family thing. I know quite a few guys from other stoner bands personally, only because we have the genre in common. It’s great that way and makes it even more fun to do this.
Whose idea was it to release a split record.
Kriller: Well, Slowjoint sent us a bunch of songs that they wanted to put out. At that time they weren't really sure how. This was about a year ago I think. We really liked the songs and we wanted to help and since we had already decided to enter the studio later that year, we asked them if they wanted to put out a split. And they did.
Are these entirely new songs. Or are you using old unreleased songs.
Dennis: We recorded them late last year along with the “hashed Potato” single that we released back in spring. One of the songs have been around on the internet but the rest is all new. It’s our first recording with Tor, who’s our 3rd drummer. They seem to wear down pretty fast, ha-ha
Kriller: Yes, we do not bring our b-game to splits. We are really proud of these two songs. The first one, Wound Gratuity, is actually a song we wrote for this split. We had to, because we didn't have any other song that were short enough to fit on there.
Dennis: It’s an ongoing problem at my house. Never short enough to fit..
Who is releasing the record and what formats will this be on.
Kriller: As I said earlier this is mainly a DIY record but we are getting some help. As for formats, it will be out on Vinyl and pay-what-want-download at Bandcamp. Hopefully someone will throw on pirate-bay and shit like that. For me internet-music is free. I like the physical products. Maybe there will also be a tape later...
Dennis: We’re all in for a tape release
What does Slowjoint's side of the record sound like.
Dennis: It sounds like us. Like three guys in a room. Compared to “Up Shit Creek” it sounds a little different but it sounds a lot more like us. The last song “Politicks” is a one take jam. One of Tor’s cymbals collapsed to the floor during the end of the song and you can’t even hear it cause everything is so loud! We sure had us a good time with Jacob (DeadRatStudio) and we’re returning there soon to record a full length.
Kriller: To me it is the best I have heard them sound on record. Definitely the closest to their live sound. Other than that I would say this is slacker/rebel-music. Love it.
Dennis: Haha, rebellion against well written music
What does GAIA's side of the record sound like.
Kriller: We got to play a lot of shows just before recording, so it's definitely our tightest stuff so far. At the same time there is a looseness to it. It's also heavier and slower than what we have done before. We really wanted to get into some very minimalist stuff this time. Few and very simple riffs, no solos (almost) and a lot of feedback. I think if you like things like Toner Low, Floor and Harvey Milk, you will enjoy this.
Will you be touring this record heavily. Or will it just be local shows here and there.
Dennis: We’ve been talking about doing some German and Swedish shows as well as some Danish shows.
Kriller: We are in the process of booking shows in Germany. Hopefully that will work out. It can be hard to get out of Denmark and tour. I'm not exactly sure why.
Dennis: For a start you should tour with a bigger band than us, haha
What are the future plans for both bands in 2018 and beyond. Any new full length
albums being released in the future.
Kriller: We just recorded another split that will be out next year. We got this stupid idea of putting out three splits in one year. Not because splits are stupid, we love those, but because it is hard work and we are slackers. We don't like work. But all kidding aside, we want more Danish music to come out on vinyl, and this is our way of making that happen.
Dennis: We’re planning to record a new full length album as soon as we find the time for it. I have a lot of riffs, lyrics and kind of a theme figured out already we just need to get together and jam the shit out of it. Other than that we just plan to keep the grass growing around here and maybe play some of the neighbour countries. We played Flensburg in Germany last weekend and it went pretty well so hopefully we will return to Germany soon. Hopefully with Gaia.
You're both from Denmark. What is the current state of play of the Danish Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. Is there an active community for you to do regular gigs and participate with.
Kriller: It's growing. Back when we started there was nothing and shows with local bands where a disaster. Now more people are showing up, and more bands are coming out of their rehearsal rooms. We have a lot of good bands these days like Bethmoora, Dirt Forge, the Quitters, Carcus, Drukner, Heathe, Konvent, Ordeal and more I guess. It seem like there are a lot of new bands starting up. Which is great.
Dennis: Yeah it was a lot harder to get to play shows when we started and it’s not even that long ago. Now I feel like a lot of the gigs we get is because of a member or more from other bands passing the word around. And I try to do the same even though it’s a little more quiet around where I live.
What influences you both when writing music.
Dennis: I like old time blues just as much as I like sludge metal. Obviously we’re influenced by Weedeater and Bongzilla, we can’t hide that (why would we?) but I think what really influenced me with those guys is the way they use the blues to create heavy music. I’ve been in other faster heavy bands as a singer but when I started Slowjoint I started writing riffs. And the only thing I had any experience with instrument wise, was the blues so I think that’s where the influence came from.
Kriller: In terms of writing music we are heavily inspired by bands like SUMA, Harvey Milk, Floor, the Melvins, Toner Low and Electric Wizard. Other than that I am also into stuff like drone and kraut-rock, which I think influence the music quite a bit. In terms of lyrics I find a lot of influence in negative feelings and philosophy. For instance the song There is Nothing Left comes from the feeling of emptiness I got when I was looking at pictures of old beat poets. I thought to myself who will we remember from our time, and drew a blank. That made me feel really empty inside.
Are you all involved with different musical projects or is this your main band.
Kriller: All of the members of Gaia are part of the space-rock band called Måneskjold (Moonshield). That's a lot more up-tempo and fun, with lyrics in Danish. We also have a lot of small projects. They come out through Virkelighedsfjern. Well, the ones that don't completely suck.
Dennis: Yeah you should check Morten and Kriller’s side project God Dam. I guess it doesn’t completely suck, haha. I have a blues and country inspired solo project called No Teeth. It sucks for sure. I’ve made a few cassette recordings and plan to release it some time. There’s this song about a mailman who is also a speed dealer which I’m very satisfied with. Tor is playing grind and doom in Compassion Fatigue and Black Acid Crystal and Patrick just made a YouTube channel where he is filming his adventures in the Danish nature. Trying to find rare species and stuff. So that’s kind of his “side project”.
What is your musical setup when performing or recording live. Is it an advanced setup or a basis setup.
Dennis: I’d say we’re pretty basic with one guitar, one bass and one drum set. But of course we like big stacks and loudness. Patrick usually play a Marshall full stack of one kind or another. I play a Sunn concert bass with a peavey 2x15 cab. I sometimes run it parallel with a yamahab100 and another peavey 2x15 cab, guess where I got that idea, ha-ha It adds some extra fun and rumble even though the Sunn and Peavey, The Pocket Setup as I like to call it, do the job just fine on it’s own. I brought it when we played with Bongzilla in Copenhagen back in May. Cooter played it too and he seemed to dig it. And it didn’t break like the rest of the amps he borrowed on their tour. It’s a tank.
Kriller: We have the same set-up. Which is why touring together will be great.
Dennis: I never thought of that. That’s fucking great. Stage shift in five seconds.
How hard is it for both bands to stand-out from the crowd. Or do you not worry about things like that.
Kriller: I think we stand out. We do things in our own way and plan on doing that till we die. I'm not sure that everyone knows what to do about us. A local booker once called us un-bookable. That was quite funny. In terms of getting out there, in Denmark there aren't that many bands, so we're doing alright.
Dennis: We don’t worry that much about it. Just try to be ourselves and have fun with it. That being said I think all bands need to put a little effort in getting the word around but there are many ways to do so.
Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.
Kriller: We have very supportive fans, which is great. Keep being supportive and we will keep making music, deal?
Dennis: Thank you and fuck you.
Words by Steve Howe, Dennis and Kriller.