Godsticks are releasing their new album ‘Inescapable’ on February 7th. Drummer Tom Price took some time out to chat with us.
1. Thank you for your time, you’re starting the year with a new album, Inescapable, can you tell us a bit about it please ?
We are very proud of ‘Inescapable’ – we’ve worked harder than ever before to make it the best it can possibly be. Firstly, it was a huge pleasure to be recording at the incredible Monnow Valley Studio once again, as well as having James Loughrey on board to produce once more. We had meticulously planned out everything we were going to do in demo form before going into the studio, and the overall philosophy was not to write complex music for the sake of complexity; when writing and recording our own parts we all did our best to simplify things wherever needed and make sure we were all ‘serving’ the song. With the lyrics and the theme of the album being much more emotional, carrying on what we started with ‘Emergence’ and ‘Faced With Rage’, we knew we needed to pour our own emotions into the performances to help create the kind of impact we wanted each song to have.
2. You’ve described the album as a concept album without being a concept album. Can you tell us a bit about the theme running through the album ?
Yes the album definitely doesn’t have a ‘concept’ in the traditional sense, where the songs interconnect and tell a wider story. We wanted a singular theme running through every song, not just to tie everything together lyrically but musically as well and hopefully make it a better listening experience. The theme is being introspective – looking inside yourself and not liking some of the things you find. Darran is writing a lot about inner demons and what they can do to our state of being, but ultimately I feel there’s a positive outlook to be taken from ‘Inescapable’ – despite what the title may suggest! If you don’t tackle these demons, then you can’t begin to develop and grow as a human being. The fact that this internal conflict has to be fought is the only true ‘Inescapable’ thing.
3. Lyrically, Darran has said he writes from a personal point of view, how does that help and how does it affect you if you aren’t in that personal place when writing ?
He will try to be ambiguous in his writing; sometimes not categorically stating that this is what he’s feeling personally, but firmly putting himself in the shoes of someone in a certain emotional situation. Regardless of whether that inspiration comes from his own self-reflection, or just a character in his head, I feel this way of writing helps each song extend its reach and hopefully resonate with people on a deeper level. Even though not everyone will be facing the exact same inner demons as Darran right now, we all have and will face these same kinds of struggles during our lifetime, so I still strongly feel the emotional connection when I listen to the music myself.
4. Given high profile deaths, do you think enough is done to help musicians cope with mental health issues ?
The deaths of great musicians such as Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington in recent times have been awful, and to answer your question, I think much more needs to be done to help musicians struggling with mental health issues. But it’s not just musicians that need that help, everybody does. I firmly believe that looking after our mental wellbeing must be considered as high a priority as any other kind of care, and if the support can be put in place on a wider scale we will see the benefit not just for people in our industry but for everyone. Until then, there are still things that we can all do to help ourselves and others around us like encouraging positivity and transparency; simply helping one another and opening up to what’s going on inside.
5. Going onto the new single, you worked with Daniel from Tesseract, what was that like and why do you think he worked well for that particular song ?
Given the way that we each work on our individual parts for the album (all the other guys have home studios to work from) I never got the chance to work with Daniel personally as he dealt directly with Darran. But I can definitely say Darran didn’t have a single bad thing to say about the experience. Daniel basically nailed his vocal part straight away and it slotted into the song seamlessly! With Darran’s voice being pretty unique in itself (I’m not just saying that!) I think it takes another unique voice to really create a great harmony, and Daniel’s voice is most definitely unique. Being on the same label as TesseracT we are quite friendly with some of the guys and always follow what they’re up to – it would be fantastic to work with them in a greater capacity sometime!
6, Who is on your bucket list of musicians to collaborate with ?
My list would probably be endless! Godsticks have collaborated on record with a few great names in the progressive rock/metal scene over the years; Daniel Tompkins, Bruce Soord and Bryan Beller to name a few. I would personally love to keep that trend going and collaborate with more names both from the traditional and modern progressive rock and metal camps. One of my current favourites is Public Service Broadcasting – a pop band with such an interesting MO that the prog fans have taken to them as well! I think that would be a very intriguing mix. We are also very lucky that our label Kscope has such a wide variety of artists making unique music; it would be amazing to work with any one of them too!
7. Now let’s talk about the video – “The Great British Bake Off” meets “Apocalypse Now”… tell us about that ?
That’s what it felt like to me! Once we had the idea in mind we were all very excited about it; something outside the box and completely different was definitely what we wanted to achieve. When we arrived on set and saw a large table full of cakes, sweets, chocolate, sugar, sprinkles, honey and all manners of confectionary, it did initially make me feel like Paul Hollywood at the judging table! But the magnitude of what we had all let ourselves in for did finally dawn on us when George and his crew prepared to basically chuck the whole lot over us. It really did feel like a warzone with all that confectionary flying around! Nevertheless we are still so happy with the final video and it was still great fun to make – maybe more so for the people making the mess than the people who had to endure it though!
8. Any plans to incorporate the concept of the video into your stage show ?
That would be a great idea, but I don’t think many venues would be happy with us basically starting a food fight during the gig! Hopefully that’s something we could try a little further down the line!
9. Now, just for a bit of fun, if you were stranded alone on Mars, what would you do to pass the time until you were rescued ?
Great question! I think I’d probably pretend I was Matt Damon from ‘The Martian’ – if there was a base or something up there I would just hunker down and do what I needed to survive; grow food, keep the systems working, contact Earth etc. But if I knew rescue was coming and the outlook wasn’t so grim, I’d probably just make the most of the alone time; laze around quite a lot but perhaps still try to find something creative to do along the way. I’m a big sci-fi fan so this would actually be a pretty cool fantasy for me; the only person on an entire planet. Talk about peace and quiet!
10. Thanks for your time, finally, the album is out in a couple of weeks, what are your plans for the rest of the year ?
Thank you! Once the album has been released on February 7th we are simply looking to get out there and gig as much as possible! We’re doing a small headline U.K tour in April – hitting Cardiff, London, Edinburgh and Manchester. We also have a few U.K and European festival slots in the summer including the Comendatio Festival in Portugal and Tech Fest in the U.K, with one or two still to be announced. Needless to say we are very excited to be playing live again and sharing music from the new album!