Whenever you’re trying for a sludgy stoner metal sound, there’s always the danger that if you try too hard, you might end up with a damp squib fed through impossibly fuzzy distortion. Only a handful of albums in this genre become memorable when done the right way, and Red Fang’s latest release ‘Whales And Leeches’ just seems to be one of them. Perhaps taking a cue from when Mastodon made stoner and sludge metal awesome last year with ‘The Hunter’, this album freewheels through rocking grooves and rhythms, while still making room for slower and more serious tempos in later songs. With this entire fracas fed through a pummeling riff-centric stoner rock sound, Red Fang show the rowdy, brawl-inducing side of their genre. At a time when stoner and sludge metal are shooting for the stars with heavy hitters like Mastodon and Baroness, Red Fang is one down-and-dirty band who’ll still keep things on the wild side with works like ‘Whales And Leeches’.
Metal Wani’s Editor In Chief Owais ‘Vitek’ Nabi recently had a chat with Red Fang’s Bryan Giles. Here’s the complete Interview:
Greetings from India, Mr. Bryan Giles. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. How are you doing? For those of our readers and staff who haven’t had the displeasure of being introduced to Red Fang, give us a description of what you crazy beer drinkers sound like, so that we all get the idea?
Bryan: I’m doing well, thanks! If you’ve been lucky enough to have avoided us thus far and are now forced to experience Red Fang, plan on hearing distorted guitars, good drum beats, and songs that have verses and choruses.
With your latest album “Whales & Leeches”, you guys did couple of things that weren’t done before. While most of your fans, both new and old ones appreciated the album, there was a small section which didn’t like it. I feel in the end what matters is whether the band is happy with the record or not. Do you agree?
Bryan: Absolutely, I’m very happy with our new record. We’re the ones who have to play the songs over and over, so it is vital that they are good to us. We’re not in the business of catering to other people’s taste. That would be a pointless bummer.
With every album, I feel the band is growing tremendously mainly due to the bond you guys have since I find very helpful the fact that you haven’t changed members so far. So Is Red Fang a band where friendship has a significant role besides being professionals towards your music?
Bryan: We’ve all been friends long before we started the band. We spend so much time together that it’s probably the single most important element of our continued existence.
Another important factor which makes your records exceptional is that you all use your voices and you make the result impeccable. Which were the influences of the band before you create it in terms of playing and in terms of singing?
Bryan: I’m not sure impeccable is the word I’d use to describe us, we’re at least 12% peccable, but we try. Aaron and I were new to singing when we started this band and to some degree considered it a job that someone had to do. I have come to enjoy singing. My influences are widely varied, but Buzz Osbourne (Melvins) and Kevin Whitley (Cherubs) are really important to me. Punk rock like Black Flag and Drunks with Guns helped me have the confidence to write music because they taught me that you didn’t need to be a technical wizard to express yourself very powerfully.
Where do you find the inspiration to write new material, and are there any particular topics or areas of discussion you try to bring out with your music and lyrics? Tell us a bit about what the writing process like… Is there a primary songwriter, or do you guys kind of jam it out in the studio during rehearsals?
Bryan: We all put our 2 cents into the songwriting. I take inspiration from Sci-Fi books and movies, but mostly just attempt to express my angst and negativity through music to get it out of my system.
According to me, Red Fang loves to experiment with lot of stuff. I find your music quite into the stoner vein, sludgier, kind of rock’n’roll and groovy. Do you agree? If no, then what exactly does Red Fang play? 😉
Bryan: That sounds about right. We don’t censor ourselves as far as musical styles. If we like it, it’s a song.
After releasing an album, you surely come across various situations where people express their opinions on the album. Do you really care about what others think about your music? I mean do you even change or think of changing something because someone outside the band told you so?
Bryan: Absolutely not. We try to create our live set with consideration for the audience. If a song seems to make the crowd flat footed consistently we’ll drop it from the show unless we really want to play it, in which case, screw it.
Red Fang is primarily a live band and is more concerned with the live experience than with recordings. I really believe that you give much more in the gigs than what we listen to the albums. Is this the reason why you guys take a long time releasing albums due to the fact that songs are written with a mind to how they will come across live??
Bryan: I really get into the recording process. Chris Funk (our producer) is really into layering different instruments and noise to make the songs a deeper listen. Live, it’s just the guts of the recorded material, so I think it’s more of a visceral experience, mistakes and all.
The American scene is on the rise from the last few years, there are tonnes of many bands playing a more ’70s approach. What’s your opinion on that? Are there any bands you like a lot from your country or abroad?
In your videos, there are loads of beers. I know everyone asked you about it, but: is really beer a huge part of your lives? If yes, then why don’t you guys come up with a television show or at least like an internet web series on how beer is responsible for making killer music? lol
Bryan: Beer is just a thing to put in your guts. I’d gladly make a TV show; you know a guy?
What are the upcoming plans? You have another album left to do with Relapse so looks like we may have to wait for another few years for it to release.
Bryan: We plan on writing a new album in 2015, but only if we have songs that we’re proud of. Working under deadlines is not fun, and since we’re our own bosses, we won’t do it.
What are the prospects of a band coming to a country like India? Are you aware that you have a huge fan following here since the kind of music you play is pretty much famous here?
Bryan: It would be so incredible to be invited to play India! Seriously, you know a guy?
Thanks again for sparing sometime with us. We wish you all the best and looking forward to catch you on road.
Bryan: Thank you! See you out on the dusty trail.