Impending Doom: An Interview With Moss

Moss 3 COVER
Posted 19 August 2012   Interviews, UK doom

Hailing from the misty moors of Hampshire, Great Britain, the cthonic doomweavers known to lesser mortals as MOSS have slowly extended their shadowy grasp over humanity.  Honing their skills in the black arts of sub-sonic doom to a bone-crushing din, the trio have nearly completed their next aural abomination under the omniscient gaze of Lee Dorian for his esteemed Rise Above imprint.

Soon, the tremors will rise, the pace will quicken and minds will crack asunder as the trio are nearly ready to release the unnamed horror of their next LP upon an unsuspecting world.  The Bone Reader spoke with vocalist Olly Pearson about the doom which will soon unfold.

+++++++++++++

TBR:  It’s been a couple of years since your last “proper” release.  The Eternal Return EP came out in 2010 along with Never Say Live.  What have you guys been up to apart from Roadburn … Satanic orgies?  Bathing in virgin goat’s blood?   Don’t hold back the gory details!

Olly:  I can’t give you any hot stories I’m afraid, it’s all been pretty mundane run of the mill band activity: writing new material, touring, playing one off shows, rehearsing, making demos…  We’ve kept busy with the limited time we have to do this band. Aside from that just having a regular life away from music.  None of us live in the same town where Moss is based anymore. So when we do get together it is pretty much work, not like in the old days where it was a bit less serious.

TBR:  You guys have seldom been lured into the sunlight to perform outside the but in 2010, Moss performed at the prestigious Roadburn festival.  Tell us a bit about the gig.  What sorts of memories did you take away with you from your time over there?

Olly:  Roadburn was a cool gig, celebrating our 10th anniversary as a band and getting to play at that festival was just great. Good bands and good friends from all over the world coming together. Almost everyone in our audience was blazing so it set the perfect atmosphere for us. A stoned crowd will get into our set more than any other crowd would. For me that gig felt like the end of the first phase of the band – 10 years of playing together and it was time to evolve things a bit.

Photo by Anna Piranha

Photo by Anna Piranha

TBR:  What is it about performing live that makes it such a rare occurrence with you guys?

Olly:  A few factors come into it – we don’t live near each other, so it makes even rehearsing not a very regular occurrence, but then even if we did we still wouldn’t play live often as it’s a descision we made early on. We’d rather keep our shows to more of an event and keep a certain mystique. It’s not like we’re gonna come onstage in robes, but just by not playing live often that when we do have a show, we’re always guaranteed to have a good crowd and a bit of a buzz about it. So a little bit of hype can also come into that answer I guess! This isn’t the kind of music you could really tour for a lengthy amount of time anyway.

TBR:  Tell us a bit about the new album.  You’re headed in to start recording soon…  Have you chosen a producer yet or will you guys be taking on the task yourselves?  Where are you guys recording it?

Olly:  We’ve recorded most of it already, at Earth Terminal Studios, which is a great vintage studio in a little old village in the south.  It’s a converted mill about 400 years old, surrounded by nothing but fields for miles. We recorded onto tape for this, which we haven’t used since our first LP. It makes such a huge difference. Jamie Elton recorded this with us and did a fantastic job. You will definitley be hearing more from him in the future, one to look out for.

TBR:  Although your sound is pretty straight-ahead, in some respects, I’d be really interested to hear what you guys came up with were there more time and kit left hanging about in the studio.  Do you have much time set aside to fool around this time or will it be a quick “hit and run”?

Olly:  There’s always time to do other stuff…  You’ll just have to wait a while longer to see what we’ve come up with!

TBR:  Are the songs pretty well finished at this point or are you still tinkering and leaving room for improvisation?

Olly:Everything is set, we never improvise with this band. It’s all laid out on the table, and apart from a bit of rearranging here and there the songs are largely the same as they were when originally written.

Photo by Anna Piranha

Dominic Finbow – Photo by Anna Piranha

TBR:  With regards to the general direction new material, how would you say your sound has changed or developed since the last time you recorded?  Or are you guys choosing to focus your energy on the “essence” of the band’s sound and go deeper with it?

Olly:  More songs, more riffs, more immediate, heavier, slower, faster, melodic, disonnance, depth and weight.  A lot of fucking weight. It’s the fattest sounding record we’ve done, there’s a lot of guitar on there. I don’t want to give a lot away, but don’t expect it to be too much like the older stuff. But definitley do expect doom metal.

TBR:  Has there been anything in particular that you guys have drawn on for inspiration when creating the new album?

Olly:  Nothing really apart from the stuff we’re always inspired by:  weed, the old bands we’re into, all the cult horror and sexy films, comics, weird tales, the occult…

TBR:  Moss is known for having a massive, massive sound.  Is there any particular kit (amps, guitars) that is essential to achieving it?  Anything new on the kit list since your last outing?

Olly:  We’ve got the same shitty kit that any band does I’d guess.  It’s just knowing what to do with it. Being the vocalist I don’t involve myself in that much.  I know Dom can deal with it and get the sound we need.

Photo by Anna Piranha

Chris Chantler – Photo by Anna Piranha

TBR:  Is there a working title for the release yet?  Can you share the names for a couple of the song titles?

Olly:  Not really.  Strictly under lock and key for the time being. Some people should know the (song) title “Horrible Nights” though as we’ve been playing that one live for the last two years.

TBR:  I’m assuming that you’ve already got a label lined up to release it.  Any sort of rough timeframe for the release?

Olly:  Yeah, it’ll be out on Rise Above. We’re thinking on the new year, but we still have a few more parts to record, then artwork to get sorted.  I want this record to have a cool package across both formats.

TBR:  Let’s switch gears a bit.  Hampshire (where Moss are from) and Newcastle are quite a ways apart, but I can’t help but imagine how fucking awesome it would be if Moss and Bong were to perform together.  Have you ever crossed paths with these guys?

Olly:  I’ve been aquainted a couple of the Bong blokes for a long time, and we played together at Roadburn a couple of years back.

TBR:  Through the years, you’ve consorted with some of the elder gods of doom, Jus Oborn (Electric Wizard) and Lee Dorian (Cathedral).  Notwithstanding any of your previous answers in this interview, have you had any recent dealings with either of these two devils?

Olly:Well, Lee runs our label and Jus is a good old mate so I’ll hear from him sometimes.

TBR:  Let’s have…  Your favourite album by Electric Wizard and Cathedral

Olly:“Come My Fanatics” by Electric Wizard and “The Ethereal Mirror” by Cathedral.

TBR:  …and a few of your favourite songs by either band

Olly:  “Wizard In Black”, “Torquemada 71″, “Burn Out”, “Barbarian”, “Cosmic Funeral”, “Night of the Seagulls”, “Grim Luxuria”

TBR:  Your “best kept secret” of British metal these days

Olly:  Asomvel.  Fucking hell WHAT A BAND!  See them live!  I think they’ve still to capture the live sound on record, but please see them live if you like Venom and Motorhead and real rock n roll.

TBR:  England is a storied, ancient place.  Soaked in blood throughout the course of history, it is certainly, among other things, a haunted place and a gateway to the mysteries of the unseen.  There are many popular “folk talkes” eg. the existence of  ”The Hellfire Club”… the rites carried out by Aleister Crowley in Jimmy Page’s old pad..  various beltane rites…  Can you share a tale of one of the lesser-known “occult” occurrences in the history of the UK?

Olly:  A place I went to not long ago:  Holy Trinity Church, a reputed satanic church – look it up.  Theres other people who can tell better stories about it than I could. Being there was a great experience though, the place suddenly covered with fog as we walked through the graveyard and you get the definite feeling of being watched the whole time you’re there. I can remember finding little notes of paper rolled up and inserted into the cracks of the building, which is a typical witches practice. And a huge chalk inverted pentagram drawn onto the walls inside. There’s supposedly catacombs beneath the church too.

Olly Pearson – Photo by Anna Piranha

TBR:  There may be those who would make the sort of generalization that doom has not changed or evolved much through the years.  Would you agree?  Does it even need to “evolve” in order to carry on?

Olly:  Doom metal – well, the essence of it – is as old as the beginnings of heavy metal itself, and some would argue that it IS heavy metal in it’s purest form. I don’t think it needs to evolve – rock n roll hasn’t gone beyond the basic drums/guitar/vocals set up for over 60 years. If there’s nothing wrong with the forumula, don’t fix it!

All attempts at “futurizing” rock music have fallen by the wayside, from electronic drums and keytars in the 80′s to bands using a turntablist in the 90′s – we always go back to the classic and reliable ways.

Of course it’s not that black and white, but I don’t think doom metal needs to evolve just as much as any other kind of music needs to. There’s nothing wrong with being stuck in 1972 musically if you’re writing good songs. That’s what it comes down to, there will always be an audience for good songs no matter when they were written.

Moss on the Book of Faces:  https://www.facebook.com/mossdoomcult
Moss on DeadSpace:  http://www.myspace.com/cthonicrites

Rise Above Records official www:  http://www.riseaboverecords.com

Thanks to the good folks at Earth Terminal Studios
Special thanks to Anna Piranha for the live photographs