Friday 1 December 2023

An Interview With Alexei Korolev From Doom/Sludge/Fuzz/Stoner Metallers THE COMPANY CORVETTE

Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metallers The Company Corvette has just released their superb new album Little Blue Guy which is full of seedy FUZZED UP and DOWN TUNED grooves from start to finish.

This is the first album from the guys in over seven and a half years with Little Blue Guy being their most brilliantly entertaining album to date. If you dig bands such as The Melvins, BORIS, Black Sabbath and even some cool bands from the legendary Grunge scene.

I caught up with Alexei Korolev (Guitars) from The Company Corvette to discuss the history of the band and the making of the new album.

Hi guys. Thanks for doing the interview. How are things with you all today.

Not bad, I am at the end of my COVID, feeling better and almost ready to make a run to the practice space and do some heavy chugging. Thanks for taking your time to do this!!

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

We have known each other from living in the same neighborhood, so when we lost our jobs, the opportunity came to jam and we immediately started writing songs. The name came first and i couldn’t not join a band with such a ridiculous name. We have gotten a lot better as players over time and are able to do more of the things that we want to hear.

How would you describe your overall sound over the past 15 years that the band have been together.

In the beginning, we had a lot more of a psychedelic punk kind of a sound. That’s just how we played without trying very hard. You can still hear the doom and the metal in our songs, but we had a pretty sloppy approach and had crappy gear and didn’t really care that much (we still retain some of those elements on some of the songs!). Over time, we picked up some better guitars and amps and dialed in our sound a little bit to where we could sound the way we wanted to hear it. And of course Ross’ vocals have improved immensely since the first two albums and now fit the music so much better. We changed drummers twice which was always an upgrade as well.

We're here to talk about your new album Little Blue Guy. What can people expect from the album,

It flows from the really heavy and doomy songs to more of a stoner and psychedelic direction towards the end. We thought that would make it for a better listen as a whole. We even slightly changed the track order for vinyl vs digital release to accommodate that flow. It has about everything that we like - from super slow doom metal to silly rock’n’roll.

The album impressed me greatly with it's low & slow approach with a gloomy sense of down-tuned FUZZ Rock amongst the Doom/Stoner Metal aspects of the whole album. Quite a different creative feel and sound compared to your previous albums. Did you want to release something more gloomier and heavier for this release.

Yea, thanks! Not sure how intentional that was. Think it’s just us progressing to where we want to be, musically. I always like to have a slow song or 2. I had those really cool slow and heavy riffs and we had the time to really focus on them. We played a lot of shows while still working on the songs, and we also spent a lot of time in our practice space jamming. We just really wanted to make the heavy stuff as heavy as possible, and silly stuff as fun as it should be, because we knew we could. It all came together nicely.

Where did the name Little Blue Guy for the album come from

Ohhh…. seeing things under the influence of certain mushrooms…. being trapped in a small crappy apartment in the city… sometimes you get strange visions.

Was this an easy or hard album to record for.

This one was pretty easy. We loved the studio and the people working there from doing our last album. We had our songs down (except for the last one.) Hearing things sounding so crisp and heavy and feeling good about the material and our playing and getting the help we needed from Matt Weber (our engineer) made it a really exciting and stress free experience. Definitely the most satisfying and enjoyable recording process we’ve ever had as a band.

Did your daily struggles, challenges and uplifting moments in life shape up the creative outline for the album.

Maybe subconsciously… we don’t know. I guess if someone had a shitty day, they might start a practice with a more aggressive riff, I suppose. But really, we just play the music we love. Once we get in our practice space, nothing really matters. There’s no windows, no clock, no other people - just us, our gear, our music and a cooler full of beer. We just jam and have a great time. It all comes from our influences, really. We don’t play doom metal because we are sad, though it would be weird to play our ‘funny’ riffs if we weren’t enjoying ourselves.

What is the creative process or setup within the band? Do you write the music together or do certain people within the band do that.

Always starts with a riff or two and build it from there. I'm a bit more obsessive and will sometimes bring almost finished songs, while Ross leaves things a bit more open ended and I can infuse some of my ideas to finish them off. Ultimately, we jam and jam and iron out the kinks, maybe alter the structure a bit until everyone is on the same page. And then come the lyrics. That is all Ross and is a bit of a mystery. He would sing those songs for months, and then in the studio would be frantically scribbling things right before going to the vocal booth. Nobody knows. We are definitely a RIFF band. Words are just icing on the cake.

Drummer Zach Price has joined the ranks since your last album. How did you meet and recruit Zach. What does Zach bring to the overall sound of The Company Corvette.

We have played with Zach’s other bands and been friends with some of his old bandmates. Always loved his drumming. We heard that he quit his band and, when our drummer left, we asked him. We actually waited a while so that nobody gets mad at us for “stealing their drummer”, which they still did. But it worked out excellently, I wish that happened sooner. He gets it. He is a superb listener and is willing to work on riffs with us and make songs the best they can be, and we can always agree on a choice of beer.

You're from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. What is the local live scene there. Do you have a live scene to perform gigs on a regular basis or do you have to travel further afield. (Though I'm a huge fan of fellow Philadelphia Stoner Rockers ALMOST HONEST).

Well, we have slowed down a bit since Ross moved to a different town. But yea we regularly played local shows with our friends’ bands, opened for lots of great touring bands coming through Philly for a long long time, as well as making a few trips outside of the city and state. Stinking Lizaveta is our favorite local band, or anywhere, really. They got to be really good friends of ours and we played a lot of shows opening for them. 

Our very first show was with Serpent Throne and Jail, then also brand new bands playing their first shows. Serpent Throne have done pretty well for themselves in the years to come. But that was ages ago. Ruby The Hatchet is another local band we played with that made a name for themselves worldwide. The scene comes in waves, bands come and go and newer bands show up. Then there were bands like Skeleton Hands, and Black Urn a few years back, who were the younger kids coming to our shows at one point. They are gone now. Don’t think we know Almost Honest. Great name. I think they are from a bit outside of Philly, a little out there in Pennsylvania - it’s a huge state so that makes sense. The older we get the harder it gets to keep up with the newer bands.

What future gigs have you coming up and will you be promoting the album more next year.

Yes, we plan to do a record release show in town this winter, and hoping to make a trip to Pittsburgh, where we have a lot of friends. It is hard to find time with Ross living farther away now, but we all would love to play more.

The artwork for the new album is sublime which isn't surprising since the artwork is by the legendary Drew Elliott (Midnight, Amorphis, Blood Feast, Necrophagia, etc). How much involvement did you have with the final design and how did you manage to work with Drew in the first place.

Drew is a close and dear old friend of ours. He lives in town, we hang out, he is the best dude. We told him about our experience and the idea that came from it. He did our last cover as well but we wanted to have more of his signature style on this new painting. He draws these frightening characters and figures, and so he gave us this little blue guy in a gross little apartment, which we thought was perfect.

Your new album is being released by Strange Mono Records. How did you hook up with that label and what formats is the album being released upon.

Again, we have been friends with Dan for a long time. We were sitting on our finished album not knowing what to do with it until he got his label going and decided to help us get it out. We are very thankful because it is impossible to get any labels’ attentions and we never had anyone help us like that before. It’s fun working with friends! It is coming out on vinyl LP, cassette tapes, and of course digital download.

What bands or artists influenced you to pick up an instrument and to become a musician.

Oddly, a lot of old thrash metal, early death metal and doom. Kreator, Carcass, Cathedral, that sort of thing… old Sepultura, Entombed, Obituary. That’s the stuff we grew up with. Ross has a lot of punk influences as well, Butthole Surfers is a big one, Fang, Germs. Stuff that sounds like everything is about to fall apart. We share a lot of love for bands like Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Melvins, Monster Magnet etc, whom I may have discovered after I first picked up a guitar, but who’ve been strong influences in shaping my playing.

Do you have any side projects that folks can check out.

I have a metal project with Zach called Decorporealized, and also play drums in a punk band called Be Nothing (Strange Mono). Ross is in a newer band called Cat Eye, and he was in Beer Breakfast Dungeness Crab, and also in Big Burly, both have releases on Strange Mono. When The Corvette isn’t doing stuff, we are still rockin’.

Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom for your fans currently out there.

Stay warm! No… We aren’t done yet! We keep doing it, however slowly. There are more riffs and songs to mess around with out there. There will be time, we’ll find em. And also - stay warm, stay hydrated! Thanks!

Words by Steve Howe and Alexei Korolev

Thanks to Dan at Discipline PR for arranging this interview and thanks to Alexei for taking the time out to do the interview.

Little Blue Guy will be available to buy on Cassette/DD/Vinyl via Strange Mono Records from December 01st 2023.


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