Saturday 24 February 2018

An Interview With Gareth Kelly From GURT and WHEN PLANETS COLLIDE

UK Party Doom/Sludge Metallers GURT released their latest album SKULLOSSUS originally back in May 2017. I missed it first time round though I've corrected that mistake by (finally) reviewing the album today. Which you can read here.

I was given the chance to speak to Gareth Kelly (Lead Vocals) from GURT where we discussed the making of the new album, future plans for GURT and the fantastic Promotions Company/Record Label – When Planets Collide – that he also runs.

Gareth is a very busy person and I'm pleased he agreed to do this interview.

Skullossus was released last year. Were you please with the initial reviews the album received. As it’s received some great press recently over the last few weeks.

Yes, we were over the moon with the press received, we have had some great feedback but the icing on the cake was getting 4 K's in Kerrang! very chuffed with that one.

It seems a lot more people are discovering the album now and not when it was released. What’s happening. Have people been waking up to the power of GURT. Or was it lost under a ton of great albums released at the same time.

I have no idea, you tell me!? It was certainly sent out into the world and we put a hell of a lot of work into getting it in front of as many people as possible just recently we have starting on more press as we have a lot planned for 2018 and thought is was a good idea to remind you all we are still here, plus we recently released a video for 'Broken Heart heroin Man' so that seemed to help peak peoples interest again who may have missed it first time round!

What can people expect from your latest album.

its more varied than our previous efforts and we have just done what felt right, we never try to follow what is popular at the time and we all have such varied music tastes nothing ever comes out the same each time. Expect Doomy, punky, poppy, sludgy, riffy, party vibes I guess!

Did you do anything differently when recording this album compared to your previous album.

Not mostly really which is where we can improve, this time round we are taking our time a bit more and not rushing too much as we always try to get a release a year out and it sometimes puts us under unnecessary pressure. we recorded it with Steve Sears (Titan Studio, Watford) this time which we have done on our previous 2 EP's too, and he knows us so well now he knows how to get the best out of us. So we don't see us looking for someone else when it comes to album number 3.

Was it a more easier experience recording for Skullossus.

Yes, for sure. we were a lot more relaxed about the whole thing and loads of ideas formed whilst in the studio which is something that has happened quite a bit since we have been recording with Steve. Although the songs were mostly written before entering the studio there were a number of little unique parts that did not happen until we started in the studio, the best example is the saxophone in 'Jon Gar Seeya Later' that was not originally written in to the song and was a mad cap idea that evolved during the recording process and then we called a friend who played Sax and she came in on the last day and nailed the solo! We were very happy indeed.

GURT are celebrating their 8th year as a band this year. Are you going to do anything special for that landmark. Or is it business as usual.

As with every year we always have lots planned but nothing special to celebrate 8 years, we have to wait for a big number like 10! We have decided to start writing again and all going well will break our trend of doing splits and EP's between albums and just get on and try an get Album No. 3 out ASAP...

Did you ever expect that GURT would last that long.

We take every day as it comes, just happy to be playing with best mates in a band that wipes the floor with most other shite out there! But we have outlived a hell of other bands that we have shared the stage with over the years so must be doing something right.

What have been your high points and low points during that time.

Loads high and not so many low, The best has to be the 2014 Euro tour, having Dopethrone as our best mates. Playing with Red Fang in the Black Heart and playing Bloodstock twice on the SOPHIE stage!

Looking back would you do anything differently.

Of course not, every single person that is or has been in GURT (7 of us over the 8 years) are best friends and we have always done exactly what we want and what we all agree on. If someone is not happy with something then we do not do it. Being in a band should always be about having fun and doing what makes you happy with it never being a chore which is what we have maintained all this time, and may explain why we are still going strong!

Will GURT be touring heavily this year or even record and release new material.

Touring is going to be a thing but not "heavily", this first part of the year is about us getting some material together and seeing what happens with that, we have lots of plans over the Summer which some of which has already been unveiled but as always it will be a productive 2018.

You’re also involved in running When Planets Collide. How is that going. Are you still releasing records and putting on gigs with WPC.

Its all going really well, my day job has meant that a lot of changes have been and are coming in my life so it is always a hobby and cannot dedicate all my time to it, but I have moved from the Windmill in Brixton to the Unicorn and Black Heart in Camden having put 2 shows on in 2017 and a recent revamp of the 'Winter warmer' in January this year at the BH. That was the best show I have ever done so shall be returning with a new 'Summer Sizzler' at the same place on July 13th. I am also going into year 7 of working at Desertfest and the stage I run with Matt from Human Disease is the best its ever been, we have Weedeater headlining this year so pretty much reached the top as far as I am concerned!

As for the label, its starting up again for 2018 with the new Ritual King EP coming out February 23rd and I am looking to do a collaboration with another well known label later in the year for a more than obvious release. More on that once things take shape...

When did you start running When Planet Collide and the reasons why.

WPC started in 2010 as a way to combat 'pay to play' gigs for our scene as there were not many kind promoters around then as there are now. It was also a way of getting GURT onto bills that I wanted to see them on, booking people like Ishmael, Dopefight and Funeral Hag was awesome and got us meeting some of our best friends of today (none of those bands exist anymore though sadly!).

Is it a hard balancing act being part of GURT, running WPC and perhaps enjoying your normal life away from music.

Yes it is very much so sometimes, but I would not EVER change it! I have a great job, am happily married and still have time to do all these other things I love, its always best to keep busy.

I know I’ve asked you this question previously in other interviews I’ve done with you. What is your verdict with the current state of the UK Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal scene. Is it getting easier or harder to participate with the scene.

Its great to see it so healthy, especially when you see all the younger fans at shows and starting bands of a similar style. But the lines are blurred on what you have to sound like to fit in to these very vague sub genres. We have changed a great deal over the years and really consider ourselves just a "UK Heavy Rock" band these days so as long as there is a load of shows that we can play at we are happy to see it all blossom and get involved in the fun.

If you could change anything about the scene. What would it be and the reasons why.

I would like to see more people at shows and buying merch from bands rather than talking about how much they like stuff from behind their computers and complaining about how hungover they are!

Before you go do you have anything to say to your legion of GURT fans out there.

YES!! WE love you all, we have some exciting plans this year and make sure you come see us, come say hi, buy some shirts, drink some beers and lets all have a great positive 2018 full of kisses and wonders xx

Words by Steve Howe and Gareth Kelly

Thanks to Gareth for doing this interview. Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview.

GURT Links

When Planets Collide Links