“Stonegaze” outfit True Widow released a very intriguing album in the form of Circumambulation. Ghost Cult caught up with drummer Slim to probe his mind on the new album, touring with Baroness, being signed to Relapse, and much more.
How did the tour with Baroness go?
It was great to see them back kicking ass! Our run with them was short but very sweet. They were filling places up every night and you could tell the fans had an extra appreciation for them after everything that’s happened. On our end…it was nice to knock the dust off the gear and find a groove with the new songs live.
Are you pleased with the results of the new album? How was the recording experience?
As far as I know everyone involved is pleased with the outcome. Being a fan first I’m really excited to get it out! There’s stuff that still hits close to our sound(s) but we took a little time for writing in the studio this go round, which was a first, and I like the results. It influenced structures than sounds, but still it was a nice way to change up the process a bit. All three records have been done with Matt Pence at his Argyle, TX studio, Echo Lab. It’s a place we love and all have the upmost respect for Matt in general. Specifically the way he interprets our sounds in the control room. He’s an auditory alchemist!
What’s the writing process like for three of you?
Either Dan/Nicole show up with some riffs and/or a partial song and we jam. It’s always been pretty effortless for the most part and usually when something doesn’t click early on it’s put out to pasture. The other half of the time songs come together from us getting together for a little “pre sesh” and some jam time. Those tend to be some of the heavier/groovier jams. We’ve never been big on practicing stuff. It sort of kills it once you’re on tour. No need to bleed every song dry, so when we find the time and together it’s more about new riffs, sounds, and what not.
How would you say it’s different from the previous efforts?
Setting aside time for some writing was probably the biggest difference. That’s not to say it drastically changed the outcome. Just that it was a first for us, and although some people may not hear it we like taking on new first in the studio. We might be doing these records in the same building with the same man behind the knobs, but each one has been an entirely unique experience.
Has the feedback from the fans/critics so far been positive?
I believe so. Personally I thought HW:R was an odd choice for the first “single” if you will, but people at the shows all seemed to really dig it. I don’t think it’s a bad song at all! It’s been a blast playing live so far. The reason I say that is due to the fact it’s one of the songs I mentioned earlier. It came later in the recording process and is one of the songs that really came together there.
Your previous albums, As High As the Highest Heavens and From the Center to the Circumference of the Earth, garnered a lot of attention, was there any pressure with the follow up?
Nope. Only on ourselves to come up with another batch of songs we would enjoy as much as the last. We’ve never felt pressure from outside sources. At least not as far as our music/vision goes.
Circumambulation is “the act of moving around a sacred object.” Is this sort of religious aura the feeling you’re trying to replicate on the album?
Album titles have always come very late in the process. It took us forever to come up with a title for our self-titled release. Somehow though, they always end up tying things together nicely. I won’t say we do concept records but our records do have concepts. Each one has played off its predecessor. They’ve evolved ideas and stories through sounds, words, images, emotions, but most importantly others imaginations. In that scene this one is no different. From a face value perspective we wanted something that would counter the last title well, so a single, semi complicated word made sense. I also believe it speaks to the actual actions on the vinyl and the ritualistic approaches we all take when using a record player. It should be an experience no matter how large or small.
You moved to Relapse for Circumambulation, happier there? Was there any previous trouble with Kemando (previous record label)?
We’re very happy with Relapse so far. A lot of employees there have been supportive for some years now, so it’s cool to be working with them this time around. Kemando worked out great for us. Same goes for End Sounds, but we haven’t put two records out on the same label yet, so moving on for this one didn’t seem strange at all.
How has the Texas landscape influenced your sound? What have your biggest musical influences been?
It’s very large, hot, and there have been tons of great bands that have helped pave the way for us to do this “off brand” type of thing we’ve got going. As a band our influences are all over the place! The unifying factor would probably be tones, recording values, maybe a good hook or two.
You call yourself a Stonegaze band, is that to distance yourself from any ‘doom metal’ labelling?
Ah yes, stonegaze. The first year or so there were a lot of terms being thrown around. Half of which came from us poking fun at ourselves. I’ll admit to the coin that has been minted as stonegaze and I’ll tell you some of my favorite sounds come from stoner rock and shoegaze albums, but the genre thing has always sort of been a joke to me, or seen as a ploy someone’s trying to cash in on by putting a new name on old shit. Originally I used the word stonegaze to describe a crowd response after one of our first shows. It was like they had all just spent 30 minutes staring at Medusa. Shortly after that I used it again to describe our sound and it stuck. There’s been a lot of hate from people who don’t approve of putting a label on your band. The truth is if you’re around long enough a label will be assigned regardless of if you want it, or if it’s even accurate in your eyes. I don’t do well in those situations so I took the upper hand. Who knows, if Dan had done those same interviews people might be talking about bootgaze right now.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Number one thing for me is get this new album out and into the people’s hands, ears, and heads. Hopefully their hearts will follow suit. After that we’ll be trying to get ourselves out there however possible. It’s too soon to say if we’ll be out on our own or supporting someone, but we’re looking into all options both in the states and overseas. If ever there was a time for us to present our music (old and new) to people live its now.