Sunday 19 September 2021

Riffs Of Your Life: An Interview With Marty Harvey From SLOMATICS

Doom/Sludge/Spaced Out Riffsters SLOMATICS have been doing their thing since 2004. I'm a huge fan or obsessive stalker of the band and featured them many times on the blog over the years.

SLOMATICS have just released a split record with Aussie Sludge Metallers YANAMAMO. I wanted to try something different with the interviews I normally do. I asked my good friend Marty Harvey (Drummer/Vocalist) from SLOMATICS if he would be up for the challenge of going down memory lane and discuss all of the bands that he's been involved with.

Marty kindly agreed and we had an awesome chat where we discussed just that and a few other topics.

So Sit Back and enjoy the RIFFS OF YOUR LIFE with Marty Harvey.

Hi Marty. Thanks for doing this interview. And perhaps the 1st type of interview I’ve done this way. Going through your musical history upto the present day.


Marty. Thanks for having me Steve and letting me go back down memory lane for this one.


No worries. Always happy to make dreams come true. So how old were you when you joined a band and when you played gigs.


Marty: The band was called Mike Robinsons 1/2 bottle of cider from 1987 to 1988.

I was 15 yrs old. Played a few gigs at peoples houses and 1st proper gig 30th August 1988 in Errigle Inn, Belfast 


Wait a minute. You were 15 when you played your first gig in a pub. WOW. The 80s were a crazy time.


Marty: You didn’t know half of it. We all have to start out somewhere. Well Mr Boc, abbreviated name of band above lasted till 1988 when I turned 16 yrs old 


Next came - The Godcops. (1988-1989) -  Punk band formed at school. Trio of like minded people. Began gigging properly at The Warzone, Belfast Music Collective. Backed up Carcass/Bolt Thrower and other touring punk/hardcore bands 


WOW. Supporting a band like Carcass and Bolt Thrower at such a young age. Must have blown your mind. 


Marty: It sure was. Bands I dig at the time were Faster Pussycat, Dogs D'Amour. Sleaze Rock stuff along with the big Thrash bands at the time. So Carcass and Bolt Thrower were an experience and education for me at a young age. 


Next came Dead by Xmas (1988-1989) when I was 16/17 yrs old. 60s inspired light rock/few covers, then changed name to: Wino Suicide (1989-1990) then changed name to: Sweet Mary Jane(1990-1991). 18/19 yrs old. We recorded a 3 track cassette.


That must have been cool being on your 1st physical release.


Marty: It was cool and exciting. Having music you played and performed on a physical product. Next biggest challenge of my musical journey was moving to London to play with bands and continue with my studies. Very exciting and bleak times playing with a wide different variety of bands across different takes of music.


Cake (Squat hippy punk band) 1991 19 yrs old. A few crusty gigs. 


Uglystick (1992) 20 yrs old. Recorded a 3 track cassette. 


Donkey Bazzer and The Woof Bark Pigeon Thrashers (1994). Student charity gig band. 2 gigs done, 1 at the historic Cart and Horses, Where Maiden played!!


There’s your “Blue Plaque” moment right there. Iron Maiden and Marty From Slomatics played here.


Marty: If only that were true Steve. Definitely for Iron Maiden but ME. No chance. 

Next up is where the foundations of Slomatics were beginning to form. 


Marty: Very true Steve with Cosmonaut (1999). Me, Dave, Joe (ex Slomatics drummer) recorded a 3 track CD. Gigs in Ireland/UK


The Naut became a 5 piece by adding Chris and Baggy (From War Iron) 


The Favourites. Same time as The Naut. Me, Dave, Chris, Gary from The Kabinboy and Steve. 


War Iron, when The Naut split, me and Baggy formed the band. Core members of Me, Baggy, Goatlord on bass. Rotating 4th member on 2nd bass (3 came and went) Ross then stayed. Started on bass then onto guitar. Released 2 albums, 2 EPs. I left after playing some great shows after maybe 10 yrs. EyeHateGod was a highlight then the final show was with Napalm Death. 


WOW. A great way to end your journey with War Iron.


Marty: That it was. Next came up was Beef Central, same time as me being in War Iron and Slomatics. Me, Ian and ex Slomatics Joe. A demo 6 track CD and a few gigs. 


Bucolic Spectre, same time as War Iron, Slomatics, Beef Central. 2 piece improvisational noise/trippy vibe with Ian. 


Four bands at the same time. Impressive stuff there. Perhaps your busiest time.


Marty: That it was. Now we’re upto Slomatics, from 2011 I think? Rest is history and the present. Initially standing in for a few months. After a few months I’d played 2 shows and was recording A Hocht.


As you know I’ve been a massive fan/stalker of Slomatics for the last decade or so but I didn’t know that all the guys knew each other for so long and have been involved in multiple projects. I should have really prepared better or completed more research for that.


Marty: We do have a rich history. I’ve known David (Slomatics Guitarist) for over 38 years and Chris for a long time as well. Chris joined The Naut and it came back from there. With War Iron and Slomatics practice rooms were close together. I got asked to cover Joe's position for a few weeks and 10 years later I'm still here. 


Did you ever think it would last this long? You being with Somatics.


Marty: No. I didn’t but I must be doing something right as I still hear across 11 years and multiple albums. When I was asked to do vocals I didn't really want to do the Phil Collins thing but it happened and I've sung ever since. People seem to like it.


I feel Canyons is your best vocal performance and my favourite Slomatics album. Did you do different things then for that record. 


Marty: Yes. I learnt new things for my vocals and I feel I have improved to the earlier albums. I'm still looking to always improve my musical skills and I'm looking to have professional vocal lessons. Just to learn new techniques and keep my voice in top shape. 


I improved and learned new things with my vocals especially compared to the other albums I did especially on A Hocht. 


How did you get into music


Marty: I started originally learning trumpet at school for a few months. 


You actually played the trumpet. We need to bring trumpet into Slomatics next release. Just kidding.


Marty. HA HA. I wasn't very good at that and then I was given the chance to play the drums. I found out I was very good. Took me a few weeks to find my way. I Learned the basics and started playing better after a few months. Learning different techniques and just getting better and even trying to get heavier in places. It’s all about practice and finding your own way. 


Favourite album you've listened to in lockdown.


Marty: Lowrider. Refractions. Awesome album. The different tones on the album especially on Ode To Gamameyde. 


Such a brilliant album. I listen to that album all the time. Such a great workout album. Anyway, Highs And Lows being with Slomatics.


Marty: Being with the band is the highest and just the best. Plus the bands we've played with, worked with and people we've met. 


You just did your first gig in a long time at Bradford, UK recently. How did that go.


Marty: It was grand. Great crowd and great bands were playing that night. Fantastic atmosphere.


Were you apprehensive about COVID-19 still being around and people being in close proximity to the whole band.


Marty: Sure it was daunting and I didn’t want people to get too close to me that night. We had a job to do that night but we’ve always been friendly and approachable with our fans before COVID-19 hit. It was a fine balancing act but we managed to pull off and we came back home Virus Free. I’m always looking forward to playing more gigs after such a long time of not playing, so we’ll see what comes up in the future.


You have a new split release with Yanomamo. What can people expect from that.


Marty: It's a track that was originally recorded by Joe. We've done a different version and I've sung that song back in the day. One my first guest performances with the band live on stage. 


We did a split release with Yanomamo because they bring something different and we wanted to release with different bands. And it's good they're from different parts of the world. 


We've sold out our batch of records in 4 days. We got some more from Yanomamo to sell.


Anymore future splits


Marty: Yeah. We have. But I can't say anymore. It's a secret for now but expect a 2022 release. But both bands are excited for this one. 


Plans for next album


Marty: We are planning to make one soon. We are at different stages. No vocals. As we record them last but hoping late 2022 or 2023 for release. All depends on when everything is back to normal. 


I can’t let you go without discussing Newcastle United. As we are both supporters of our favourite football team. Though I’m still confused how usually folks from Northern Ireland support Manchester United and you support our beloved TOON.


Marty: Well look at the past managers (and players with Kevin Keegan) in charge. I was a massive fan of Ossie Ardiles and Kevin Keegan growing up. So I instantly got drawn to Newcastle United. So here we are many years later.


We’ve got a fucking shit owner who doesn’t care and a manager nobody wants. Even our fans and team don’t want him. So what can we do. Last day of the transfer window and everyone is strengthening their team apart from us. One £20 million signing and that’s it.


Marty or Allan Saint-Maximin. Tough call for Newcastle United To Make.

You do not foresee another successful campaign for us.


Marty: If we don’t get relegated then it’s a successful campaign.


HA HA. Very true there mate. Well Marty I want to thank you for doing this interview. Been a blast and I’ve had such a great time doing this.


Marty: You’re more than welcome Steve. It’s been great for me too. Going over old memories and it’s always great talking about Newcastle United. Farewell and take care.

Words by Steve Howe and Marty Harvey

Thanks to Marty for doing this interview and for all of the promotion materials.

Yanomamo / Slomatics Split is available to buy now.


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