Thursday 14 April 2022

Interview With STEAK. Discussing New Album And Other Things

UK Stoner Rockers STEAK return with Acute Mania. Their first new album in over 5 years and still with Underground Indie Rock Powerhouse Ripple Music.

Their new album is already riding a wave of critical acclaim from fans and critics alike with it’s Samurai Themed Premise merged with Comic Book Mythology. All done in the best possible Stoner Rock/Metal taste.

So let’s get down to business with STEAK

Hi guys. How’s it going. Hope things are going well today. Congrats on your new album Acute Mania. What a great album that is.

Thanks so much, it really is appreciated.

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

We found Kyuss and it changed our lives! We formed in 2010 and wanted to emulate bands like them and the European bands also like Dozer and Truckfighters, and they inspired us to release our 1st E.P ‘Disastronaught' in 2012. We honestly didn’t expect much from it, we were just having fun but people really seemed to dig it, which was great. 

From there we headed out to Sweden to record 'Corned Beef Colossus' with Truckfighters and soon after we were signed to a big label in Napalm. Our priority was always to have fun and honestly how good the music turned out was secondary to doing stuff we enjoyed. We realized that writing an album that has feel and meaning is hard, you can write a bunch of songs and put them on a record but to really create an album with feeling takes more effort and consideration and that is where Acute Mania comes in.

You will be releasing your new album Acute Mania soon. What is the story with this album and what can people expect when they hear this release.

I guess you can call it our serious album. Previous releases have always had some great songs like ‘Overthrow’ and 'Liquid Gold’ but this really is an album that flows and works together, there’s no filler, we wanted to create a group of songs that draw emotion and think we have achieved that. It still sounds like Steak, fuzzy, heavy, riffy, but more melodic and layered, that makes the songs more interesting.

You’re releasing a Comic Book to coincide with this release and you’ve accompanied music from the new album to the wonderfully thrilling short film Mad Lord Samurai Of 1000 Deaths. We’ll start with the comic book. How did all that come about. How did you guys get involved with that and are you Comic Book fans in real life?

From our 1st release we built a story of band members as characters in a post apocalyptic comic, we had a comic artist create the album covers with a little story in the gatefold and it made them very striking. I always wanted to create a full comic book and for this release we did it, it has really come out amazing and looks fantastic.

Same question goes with the short film. How did you get involved with the film?

This started by having a few beers with the film director we use for our videos. He wanted to make a samurai music video and it was a great idea. He found a group of weekend samurai's, got some really good actors together (some are now doing hollywood films) so we decided to make it a short film as well as the music video. I then took that idea and theme the whole album around it. It was good to have a focus for the art, we had a lot of fun with the comic and used those images in our 1st single release ‘Papas Special Custard’, Sam the director made that and had it animated. It’s a great video.

Did the Director (Samuel Smith) know about your music or band before working together?

Yes he created our 1st video from Slab City for the track ‘ Rising'. He really is an amazing film maker so we are lucky he loves to do this stuff for us as we can’t pay him what it should cost. He just loves creative projects and when we get drunk together we come up with ridiculous ideas. A film, a comic and 2 music videos were definitely a challenge.

STEAK have always added a more fantasy “element” to their music but still sounded so grounded. Do you find this a struggle at times to come up with an original idea for each release you’ve done so far. Will you continue this method for future releases?

Like the Samurai idea, we take inspiration from something we see or hear, like ‘Corned Beef Colossus’, we saw the name in a magazine for a burger, we loved it and then created a corned beef monster that we used for the album cover comic art. Normally something will arrive to give us the inspiration that we can use.

Was recording Acute Mania a positive or negative experience compared against your previous releases.

It was harder for sure, the final version was our third attempt at it. Like I mentioned we wanted this to be the best we could do as musicians, to do that it needed time and it needed the right studio, we found that with JB Pilon at Buffalo Studio, he did a great job. We didn’t want filler so preferred to take our time and get the songs right and I’m so happy we did.

Did you record this album during COVID lockdown. If so, what were the biggest challenges you’ve faced when making this album?

Yes we did, we had a big (expensive) studio booked when the first lockdown happened, we had to cancel that obviously but they kept our cash, it was another issue we had to deal with through this process, there seemed to be lots of hurdles in getting this album finished. We had to find another studio and luckily it all worked out for the best with Buffalo.

Live gigs are making a return at last. Have you performed gigs of late. What was performing your first gig like after such a long time of things being closed down.

Our first and last gig after the work went mad with cover was Fuzz Fest in Stockholm with Truckfighters and Lowrider and others. It was great to be back playing in front of a crowd again, I felt a few nerves before as it had been so long, but the buzz you get from playing live is the pay off.

Do you have future touring plans for Acute Mania. What can people expect from STEAK this time round?

We have a few festivals booked, Desertfest London and Berlin and Black Deer Festival in Kent and then we hope to do some UK & European touring later in the year. With the backlog of cancelled tours I’m not sure what option will be available but will have to see. In terms of sound we have added another guitar and backing vocals in the form of Tom Cameron, he’s an old friend and a talented musician, we wanted to replicate the sound of the album so needed the extra layers. It’s important for us to push our live shows to the next level too.

Some folks don’t know that Desertfest London was originally setup by Reece back in 2009. I must ask you Reece. Are you still involved with Desertfest London or any of the global versions of the festival.

Yes it's still my baby and I am involved in all of the others including New York, we have more plans for the US too.

If so, is it hard to merge arranging these festivals with STEAK daily activities.

Desertfest has a great team of people and partners that do lots of the work so it’s ok, they are both a big passion of mine so I will always find the time for them both.

Are you surprised and proud at how Desertfest has expanded its audience onto a global stage.

Yes very proud, I could always see there was a need for Desertfest but what has been great is how it has helped bands grow and in turn these bands break and shine a light on these genres of music. It’s all part of a bigger picture that helps each other. It’s not just Desertfest, since we started there have been numerous festivals popping up catering for these bands and it’s amazing as it allows bands to be able to tour more and get information from people.

A question for you all. Do you have any other bands or musical projects outside of STEAK that you want folks to know about.

Our drummer Dean and Tom were both in a band Crystal Head that has since disbanded. Check 'em out, they were great.

Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any words of wisdom for your fans out there?

No problem. I would say to anyone that hasn’t been into our stuff so much before to give ‘Acute Mania’ a go as it’s something a bit different.

Words by Steve Howe & STEAK

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for arranging this interview and thanks to STEAK for taking the time out to talking to me.

Acute Mania is available to buy now CD/DD/Vinyl Packages via Ripple Music and STEAK


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