Gang – Interview – 2016

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. Yep, it’s two men fighting to the death amongst the soil, one entirely naked, the other a hunter trying to track him. I’m afraid you’ve stumbled into the deranged and carnal world that the video for Gang’s new single ‘Animalia’ inhabits. Big, slow and as fuzzy as a woolly mammoth, Gang’s music brings together the density of doom and stoner metal with a melodic sweetness and flourishes of kaleidoscopic colour. It’s like if Electric Wizard had grown up on The Byrds as much as Black Sabbath, or if someone had put a bit of 60’s tie-dye colouring in their grey and ashy bong water.
 
Last week they celebrated their single release with a righteous show at the Green Door Store before setting off on their first tour around our green pastures. I communicated with guitarist Eric via invisible waves of electromagnetic radiation (the internet) to see if he might tell us some more stuff.
 
Who are you and what do you want from us?
I am Eric. I'm in a band with my buddy Joe and my brother Jimi. All we want is a nice, clean fight.
 
What’s your earliest musical memory?
Going to see Iron Maiden when I was 7 and Jimi was 9. We thought Eddie was real.
 
What was the record that made you realise you wanted to be in a band?
Probably Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water by Limp Bizkit. I got that when I was 7 and thought it was the raddest shit ever. Soon after that my dad showed me Nirvana and I told him it wasn't heavy enough for me.
 
Outside of music, what else inspires you?
Everything except love.
 
You’ve got a new AA-Side about to come out but each side feels very different tonally from the other. ‘Animalia’ is more typically heavy but ‘Breath Before Death’ feels much dreamier. Was creating that contrast and tension intentional?
Absolutely. It's a goal of ours to represent both sides of that spectrum.  Life can be beautiful and dreamy, Life can be very heavy.
 
How involved are you in the production aspect of things? I vaguely recall you saying you did ‘Animalia’ basically yourself. 
Yeah, I've recorded and mastered all of our stuff so far. We do it in our garage turned studio back in Kent (where we're originally from) with some nice old gear and a big old live room.
 
How do you get such a massive sound? What’s your setup?
I think we kind of just learned to play heavy. We've not drop-tuned yet (surprise, surprise), partly because we think it's more interesting to work out ways to make something sound big without just giving it more bottom end. The time will come though.
 
Breath Before Death’ is a bit of a departure for you sonically, what inspired that song?
Jimi wrote it after he put too many plants in his body and had a series of deathly panic attacks.
 
Your videos always have some pretty unique concepts. How involved are you in making them?
Our friend Chris Wade (Dogbrain videos) has made all of our videos thus far. We've always been very involved with the process in the past, who knows what the future may hold. Maybe we'll lose all creative control.
 
Has the music scene in Brighton or living here had any influence on your music? 
Not particularly. Joe and I moved down a year and a half ago because Jimi was studying here, and we wanted to try and do the band thing. At the point we moved we already had an idea of what we wanted to do, and it's just grown very organically since then. Brighton and its music scene are rad, but I think we'd be pretty much the same band if we were elsewhere. Brighton's a sweet platform for creative stuff though, which is why we like it here.
 
You’re heading off on tour this month, what can people expect if they venture out to see you?
Severe discomfort.
 
Who would be the headliners of your dream festival (dead or alive)? 
Probably the first caveman who played music because he was a true original.
 
Apart from Gang, who else should people be listening to at the moment?
Their parents, the government, corporations etc.
 
What other gang/criminal organisation would you like to belong to?
Avon's crew in The Wire.
 
Who do you wish you could collaborate with?
Keith and Orville.
 
What was the last gig you caught that really made an impression on you?
Kagoule at The Green Door Store's 5th Birthday party was super peng.
 
What else does 2016 hold in store for Gang?
Many beautiful things that only the slow unveiling nature of time will reveal.
 
Classic stoner metal album showdown: Electirc Wizard’s Dopethrone or Sleep’s Dopesmoker?
After much deliberation we can't decide. Instead I'm going to say Dry Hitter by the band Dopethrone, even though it's not quite as good as either of them (it's still sick).
 
And finally, what strain would you recommend for listening to Gang’s music?
Mutant Psychosis.
 
Website: gangband.co.uk