Thursday, 17 October 2019

An Interview With Dave-O From THE GRAND MAL

The Grand Mal is a new a band featuring twin brothers Ryan and Elliot Cole from rising stoner metal behemoths Desert Storm and complimenting the Cole brothers in The Grand Mal are Mother Corona vocalist Dave-O and bassist Rob Glenn.

The Grand Mal’s self-titled debut album is released on Friday, via APF Records which can be ordered here

The album is a very different beast to other bands the members are involved with. As The Grand Mal focus on more Grunge, Hard Rock and Stoner Metal for a blistering and heavy sound of their own.

I caught up with Dave-O from The Grand Mal to discuss the formation of the band and the making of the album.

Hi Dave-O. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

No problem! All good thanks, just trying to keep busy, you know how it is.

For people not in the know, can you give a brief history of how the band came together.

After my old band Mother Corona broke up in late 2015 myself and Mother Corona guitarist Lee said we wanted to keep playing and we'd talked to Elliot and Ryan before about starting up another band on the, so we all got together and started The Grand Mal with me on vocals and bass, Lee and Ryan on guitars and Elliot on drums. But since then Lee unfortunately bowed out due to a busy schedule in his own personal life, so now it's myself on vocals, old Mother Corona bassist Rob on bass and of course, Elliot and Ryan.

Why did you decide to form The Grand Mal.

I think all of us just wanted to keep playing music and have some fun really, a bit like mates meeting up to have a jam and a laugh and a few beers.

All of you are known for your respective bands such as Desert Storm, My Diablo and Mother Corona. It’s good to hear that The Grand Mal new album sounds quite different to the other bands that everyone is associated with. Was that a hard thing to do when you were writing and recording the new album.

Not really, We just got into a room and wrote the songs. You know, Desert Storm is more ,etal influenced, Mother Corona was really jam-oriented and My Diablo had a strong punk influence so all that really comes out in what we write and record. It's a no brainier really, just get in there and do it.

Was making the album a hard or be easy experience.

The only thing that's hard about making and album is time and money but the recording process was pretty easy cause we went for a real stripped down raw sound which is the sound I like, It gives it more of a garage rock vibe like The Stooges & MC5.

What can people expect from this album.

Just raw, grooving heavy rock music! and a cool sense of melody.

What influenced you all when recording the new album.

Musically the influence of Sabbath and Zeppelin run strong with in us, there's no denying it. We grew up listening to those bands religiously, they're just a part of our DNA now. But other than that I just like to listen to anything these days. I ain't picky! I can't speak for the other members of the band but other than our main influences, it’s just the day to know? Life in general is probably the band’s biggest influence.

I love the different styles of Hard Rock, Psych and Stoner grooves you have this album. It has a classic Stoner Rock/Metal sound whilst offering something new as well. Was that the overall plan when you were making the album.

There was no overall plan we just wrote what we wanted to and what we felt like. But if we do decide to do more in the future I've already mentioned I'd like to branch out more and do some different things and just add them to what we're already doing. The stoner thing is cool and all that I loved listening to those bands, but there's more stuff to pull from musically, that's why whatever band I've been in I've always just called it a rock band and not stoner, grunge or whatever band, ‘cos you kinda box yourself in. You need to keep it fresh for yourself and the listener, it's like ordering a three course meal and having pizza every course, a lot of bands like that but I think we can do more styles for sure. We’re certainly good enough to do it... that's why I think I prefer Zeppelin to Sabbath cause they delved into a lot of different styles while maintaining their signature sound. Whether you like Zeppelin or not ain't the point, the point is that openness and willingness to try new things, ‘cos at the end of the day there are no rules when it comes to playing music. 

You’re signed to APF Records for this album release. Great label. How did you hook-up with Andrew at APF and did you have any other offers from different record labels.

Desert Storm released their last album with APF so when we went in to record the guys asked Fieldy if he'd be up for releasing it, and he said yes, which was cool. We didn't even think about another label to be honest, APF was the first to come to mind so we went with them.

Will you be touring this album heavily in the near future or when time allows.

I think we'll be doing some shows for sure. We’ve got a few coming up already towards the end of the year, but it's all about finding time to do it. The time and the money, but I'm sure we'll have some more dates soon enough. Just check our social media pages for updates on that front

David – I hope you don’t mind me saying but I think this is your best vocal performance yet. It sounds quite different to your other albums you’ve been involved with. What did you do differently for this album  compared to your other projects.

Thanks!!! Well first of all I'm just singing in this band, in all the other bands I've been in I've always played the drums and sang, and my focus always swayed more towards the instrument instead of the vocals. The vocals were always an afterthought. And secondly I thought it would be a challenge just to focus on the vocals instead of being preoccupied with other things. And it was a challenge. The thing is I only became a singer in the first place by default cause no one else wanted to sing and most of the time I wrote lyrics. I don't really consider myself a singer’s singer so I was a bit self-conscious when we were recording. But it is what it is. 

I pushed myself a lot vocally when we recorded and I'm not to kind to my voice cause I do all the things you’re not supposed to do. I smoke cigarettes, drink booze, eat shitty food, but what I lacked in finesse I made up for in performance and attitude. At least that's what I like to tell myself anyway haha. I've always loved singers that are melodic but sing with attitude, guys like Iggy Pop and Johnny Rotten. Even early Alice Cooper is cool. I'm not a screamer or growler and there's plenty of guys doing that kind of singing in heavy bands at the moment. So it might be a cool thing to offer something different to people on that front.

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

It's all band, collectively. If someone has a riff or a beat we just expand on it and let it goes wherever it goes.

What comes first. Music or Lyrics.

Mainly music but Elliot wrote lyrics for two songs on the album and Ryan did lyrics for one. They gave me the lyrics, then we wrote the songs, then I came up with a melody and incorporated their lyrics into it. That's a really cool way of doing it in fact and I definitely want to do more of that if we decide to do more stuff in the future. I don't mind other people writing lyrics, some singers don't like that but when you’re in a band it's a group thing, so everyone has a story to tell.

Is The Grand Mal going to be a long-term project or just a one-time thing. As I know you’re all super busy with your other bands and projects.

For now, we're doing it as it comes. Who knows what the future holds but it would be cool to do more things at some point? But we also we have busy lives with day jobs, family, friends and other bands. So, for now we're just going with the flow 

Have you performed these tracks live yet. If so, what have been the audiences reaction to the songs on the album.

We've only really done a handful of shows so we’re not sure how people are connecting to them yet. The gigs we have done have been mainly with brutal metal bands so I'm not sure how well our music goes over with that mob, but not everyone’s gonna dig it and we need to play more gigs before we know how well they are going over.

How would you describe the THE GRAND MAL live experience.

Loud, swinging, heavy rock ‘n’ roll. You can dance to our stuff as well as head bang so there's something for everyone. A lot of heavy bands seem to attract a lot of hairy men to their shows, so it becomes a bit of a boys club. It's nice to see boys and girls get into our music, we've mainly had girls come up to us after our show saying how much they loved it and I think that's really fucking cool. Our music's for everyone.

So can you tell folks if you have any other exciting projects coming up. Or new material from Desert Storm or My Diablo that you can share with us.

I know Desert Storm are recording a new album as we speak so watch out for that. My Diablo are on a long hiatus, but I'm sure we'll do some stuff again on the distant future. I actually play drums in a covers band which is really fucking fun man, it's been a cleansing for me, it's made me realize why I loved music in the first place and that was to have a good time. The band is called Dirty Buizzness and it's mainly 70s hard rock covers from AC/DC to Thin Lizzy to Free and Cheap Trick. The good thing about it is you play different styles and you learn from it and incorporate it back into your own music. I ain't one of these cunts who scoffs at playing in a covers band ‘cos they think their shit don't stink and take themselves way to fucking seriously. It is what it is and that's good fun. And so is The Grand Mal, with the way the world is now we all need to let loose and have a good time, cause the world ain't easy. It never has been.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go do you have any words of wisdom to say to your fans?

Our album will be out October 18th via APF Records so looks out for that. We have some cool shows coming up and hopefully more to come just keep an eye out on our social media pages for more details. Let's have a good time! We all deserve it!

Words by Steve Howe and Dave-O

Thanks to Richard at Sheltered Life PR for arranging the interview and for Dave-O to talking to us. The Grand Mal debut album will be available to buy on CD/Cassette Tape/Download from APF Records now.


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