Hey, we’re a black metal influenced doom band from Durham in the North East of England. We look to make music with big riffs while telling a story, creating an atmosphere within the music that complements the story telling element.
2. You have an ep coming out in December, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you went for on this recording?
I’ve seen someone recently describe it’s as ‘the venom of black metal blended with the warm amplifier riff worship of doom.’ Which I feel pretty much nails what we initially set out to do. Classic doom riffs, drowning in fuzz and throwing in the seething bleakness of black metal.
3. The lyrics have a concept involving the Toad King, can you tell us a little bit more about the songwriting?
The concept centres on the story of the Toad King, the discontented ruler of the goblins and their forest home. I’ve always been a big fan of storytelling in music and we’ve had so much fun working on the concept. Also, for whatever reason, I find it much easier to write lyrics that may have emotions personal to me thrown in, but they are hidden amongst the storytelling. As we have fleshed out the concept, it’s aided us writing the music. Kind of like ‘what would you expect a song to sound like that is about a big pissed off toad, sitting in a smoke filled forest.’
4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Goblinsmoker'?
The name itself really came from the concept. I had basics of the concept and the first song wrote a while before the name was settled on. The name just felt like a natural choice. The Toad King, cast out by his own kind, has found himself on the goblin throne in the forest. The goblins are in awe of him and willingly sacrifice themselves to be smoked by their king. This goblin smoke helping the king escape his resentment. The Toad King is the goblinsmoker.
5. Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the ep cover?
The guy who did the art has done such a good job of capturing what we were after. He’s nailed it. It was important the art set the tone for the concept as it’s the first thing people are likely to see, before they’ve heard the music. As this record is the start of the story and the introduction to the Toad King, we wanted the main guy front and centre smoking those goblin subjects. We’ll be developing the art with the story.
6. Originally the band was a solo project what was the decision behind expanding into a duo?
After a number of years playing in a band that broke down I (Adam – vocals, guitars, bass) decided to set myself a goal of writing a record alone. I can be a bit of a lone wolf and find it easier working alone than with other people, so it felt like a natural thing to do. I can’t play drums for shit and initially was going to pay for a session drum to drum on the tracks. After talking about the concept with Calum (drums) who I’ve known for years, he was really into it. He also happened to play drums and is the nicest, most chilled out guy so it felt totally right to bring him on board.
7. The ep is going to be released through 'Sludgelord Records', how did you get in contact with this label?
Sludgelord Records actually were the only label I contacted about doing the record. I contacted them quite early on with the concept and asked if they’d be up for hearing the music once it’s done. I’d known of Sludgelord for a long time through their steady supply of good music through the blog. Knowing they had a label, it was something I really wanted to release on. Luckily, months later I sent over the finished tracks and they agreed to release it. I was naturally really pleased and proud they’d taken it on, felt like the ideal home for the record.
8. On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black, sludge and doom metal?
The response has been insane. Like, way over and above what we expected. Sludgelord Records sold out of their allocation of tapes in 24 hours off the back of a 20 second clip of music. A week and a half later we have sold out of all our tapes after one track being released. When I first start writing this, sat in my living room, I never expected it’d get such a reaction. And to think, we were only initially going to do a run of half the amount of tapes we have sold, and were concerned we’d struggle to sell them.
9. When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We are aiming to do what we have been jokingly calling ‘The Toad Tape Trilogy’. Basically telling the story of the Toad King over three tape releases. We have this first release that kind of introduces the setting with the first song and the final track, ‘Time to Ride’, having the King learn of an upcoming war and his need to ride into battle. This will be where the second release picks up. We want to do three different colour tapes across the three parts of the story, having the artwork develop and the main colours of the art match the tapes. As you’d be able to see the main colour theme of this one being green. Once the three are done, we’d like to release them all as set, either in a presentation box together, or possibly even on vinyl if we are in a position to do so.
We also have our first shows slotted in for next year, so we are currently on bringing a bassist into the fold, so we can replicate the records sound live.
10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
As we’ve previously mentioned, doom and black metal has been a big influence on our sound and what we are trying to do. Not that our musical interests are limited to that. I (Adam) am a big fan of Rush and feel some of their harder riffs are a big influence, along with their story telling. In terms of records that have come out this year, there have been some great albums, probably my personal favourite being Transcanadian Anger by Dopethrone.
11. What are some of your non musical interests?
We are both really into good beer from micro breweries. We are in a pretty good spot for it up here, with breweries like Wylam, so we have invested plenty of time indulging the love good ale while developing the concept. I guess the dream is to get into a position where we have someone brew us a Goblinsmoker ale.
12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Toad King, worship him.