Tuesday 22 December 2020

An Interview With GREEN DRUID

Doom/Sludge Metallers Green Druid have just released their new album At The Maw Of Ruin and this album instantly claimed my Favourite Album Of The Year of 2020. It's a dark and sprawling epic album that sees Green Druid venture into the mote extreme and darker sounds of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal.

This is quite a different record to their acclaimed 2018 debut album - Ashen Blood. You can tell the band took their time with this album and one that offers a more emotional experience.

I caught up with the band where we discussed the making of the record and what the future holds once COVID-19 settles down around the world.

So lets get more acquainted with GREEN DRUID.

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

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! We're all feeling pretty excited about the release of the album.

For people not in the know, can you give a brief history of how the band came together and where it is today.

The band started in late 2014 when Chris and I were living together. We would get stoned, listen to Sleep or Electric Wizard records and marvel at the massive riffs. This inevitably led to us wanting to start a doom band. These days the band is a much more serious endeavor for us all and occupies more of our lives.

Why did you choose the name Green Druid.

A few reasons. Mostly it's a shameless homage to Sleep and we smoke weed and weed is green. Get it? Hardy har har. That said, there is a side that stems from an appreciation for all things natural--hence some of themes present on the album. It also happens to be a common character class for D&D.

The band have gone slightly heavier and more doomier on your new album At The Maw Of Ruin especially compared to your debut. Was that the original idea and intent for this record.

The result we ended up with on this record comes from both intentionally trying to create something more extreme and listening to heavier music day to day, which would manifest unconsciously in our writing. We still wanted to maintain the "core" of our style, which I'd say centers around melding headbanging riffs with psychedelia.

What is the new album about? It’s quite dark and complex in places, and that’s down to the Lovecraft influences held on the record.

You'd likely get a slightly different answer for this from each member of the band, but to me the album is about confronting and deconstructing your own ego. The Lovecraftian influence shows itself in our approach to imagery. Many of these themes are explored through fantastical or horror imagery.

Was this a hard album to write and record for compared to your previous releases.

YES. This is by far the most collaborative album we've written to date. It was a very steep and long learning curve for us when it came to collaborating efficiently. If I recall correctly we began the writing process in late 2018.

Has it surprised you the amount of praise your music has received from the Doom/Stoner Rock community, or do you not take much notice of things like that.

None of us intended or anticipated this level of support, so It continues to be surprising for us. We're very grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive scene both locally and nationally!

What influenced or inspired you when making this album.

Personally, I was listening to entirely too much Converge while writing the album. I love the way they incorporate a variety of styles while still retaining their unique voice. Non musically we all love horror movies, and video games. Movies like Midsommar and the Souls-Borne games series will always inform our thought process while writing.

What comes first for you when recording new music, Lyrics or Music.

Music. Chris likes to have the song structure more or less laid out before he begins writing lyrics.

You’ve signed to Earache Records for this album. How did you hook-up with Earache Records.

They approached us actually! I believe Al from Earache US stumbled on our first record through BandCamp, and dug what he heard, so he reached out to us. That actually released 'Ashen Blood' as well. We count ourselves very lucky to be plucked from relative obscurity by a label like them.

Did you have any other labels interested in releasing the album.

We were approached by a few very small labels before Earache, but nothing that had us eager to sign a contract.

The album cover for the new album is excellent. Who designed the cover and how much input did you have into the overall design of the cover.

Paolo Girardi is the name of the artist. He does incredible work! We outlined the basic concept for him--decaying corpse on a throne in an apocalyptic wasteland--and he ran with it.

You guys are from Denver, Colorado, which has a kick-ass Metal scene with bands such as KHEMMIS, In The Company of Serpents and Primitive Man. Before COVID-19 hit, what was the local scene like for you guys? Was it easy to get gigs on a regular basis.

Denver is undeniably an incredible and supportive scene. We've said it before, and we'll continue to say it; we owe so much to the bands that came before us. Without being able watch all the bands you mentioned perform on a regular basis we would never have made it this far. 

We certainly were used to gigging pretty regularly with both local and national artists (we had awesome shows lined up opening for EYEHATEGOD in April and The Obsessed in May, cancelled of course), and we have been lucky enough to curate a few of our own headlining shows with visual artists and bands we really enjoy, so it has been a big shift, but we are ready to get back on stage.

Can you advise any other great bands to check out from your home-town that our readers may not be aware of.

Oh man. There are so many. For doom/heavy stuff check out Matriarch, Oryx, Ghosts of Glaciers, Palehorse Palerider, and Casket Huffer. I could go on. There is also a great scene for experimental music with bands like Church Fire, Doors that Don't, Many Blessings (Ethan from Primitive Man's noise project), Dandu, and many, many more. I'm going to stop myself before I write a novel.

COVID-19 has pretty much put a stop to all life as we know it for the time being. How big of an impact has it affected Green Druid.. And how are you surviving in this stressful time.

Unsurprisingly it can be pretty tough. Shows are non-existent so that's one income stream for the band that's been completely eliminated. We've got a few things in the works to promote the album though.

We're doing a livecast documentary for the album Jan. 15th. It's a hybrid of documentary footage of us discussing the album and a live streamed performance of the whole album. You can attend from anywhere in the world, so make sure to check it out!!

After everything is back to some sort of normality, what does the future hold for Green Druid. Will you be touring the record in the US or possibly Europe in the future. 

Touring will be our number one priority for sure. We took a break while writing the album, so we're all eager to hit the pavement again!

As you guys know your new album is my favourite record of the year. With that in mind, What have been your favourite records that you’ve heard this year, regardless of genre.

That is very humbling and gratifying, we truly appreciate that the music is connecting with people, and that you enjoy it. This year has certainly seen plenty of fantastic music, but here are some that jump to mind...

Some local faves: In the Company of Serpents, Velnias, Matriarch, & Tricoma.

Some non-metal favorites have been Tobacco, Mr. Bungle, Mrs. Piss, Run the Jewels, Thundercat, Clipping., Shabaka and the Ancestors. 

We all listen to so much different stuff, we could go on for days.

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

We appreciate the fans and the metal community so much, both local and abroad. I would just say... keep supporting the bands you love as directly as you can, times are crazy for small artists/musicians/creatives, but hopefully we'll all be able to head bang and smoke together again soon.

Words by Steve Howe and Green Druid

Thanks to Incendia Music PR for arranging this interview.. At The Maw Of Ruin is available to buy now on CD/DD via Earache Records.


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