Roarrock caught up with Inferno for a quick chat before Hammerfest
Guys thanks for taking the time to chat to us here at Roarrock.
RR. So Hammerfest how does it feel to be playing alongside such legends as Anthrax?
It feels like things are really going in the right direction. We feel proud and humbled when we look at the calibre of the acts performing at Hammerfest. You see bands like Anthrax, Skindred and Paradise Lost, and one part of you thinks “Wow, these are massive bands we’re playing with!!!” and another part of you thinks ” Yeah, this is what we want to do, so let’s do it, and let’s do it well”. It’s easy to be intimidated, but we just have to concentrate on putting on a good show and making people remember who we are.
RR. Since 2003 how have things been progressing?
We’ve had our ups and downs, we were very young when we started, and in the past we’ve guilty of being naive about some things in the music industry. We’ve learned our lessons the hard way, but we’ve enjoyed every single minute so far. It’s hard to believe we’ve been together eight years, it’s gone by so quick. But in a way it feels like we’re just getting started. We see ourselves as an experienced band, but we still have a long, long way to go, and we’re still learning all the time.
RR. You have a wide array of influences tell us about them?
We adore nearly every type of music. From Blues to Metal, Rock n’ Roll to R&B, Folk to Electronic. Not just music either, we love books and movies, science and photography. It all inspires us in someway. Musically the bands that have influenced the way we sound are Queens Of The Stone Age, Mastodon, Clutch, Kyuss and Johnny Cash. We’ve got a kind of dark, groove orientated, heavy Rock n’ Roll thing going on, but the most essential thing for us is a hook. People sometimes forget that even the heaviest bands like Slayer and Pantera had great hooks you could sing along to, as well as amazing riffs. We try to get people singing along as much as possible.
RR. How is 2012 going for you?
A bit hectic to be honest. In our experience January is a pretty quiet month gig wise, so we mostly work on new material at the beginning of the year. We had loads of plans for February onwards but we’ve had to rethink a few things. Our guitarist Liam broke a finger on his fretting hand and had a child in the same week!!! We had to refurbish and soundproof our practice space, which took ages and disrupted a lot of practices. We’ve had house moves, job losses and illnesses and that’s just in February!!! Things are calming down again and we’ve got a bunch of gigs coming up that we’re really looking forward to. Hammerfest is definitely the cherry on top of the things we’ve got planned for the next few months.
RR. What can we expect from your set at Hammerfest?
There’s gonna be a lot of people there that haven’t seen us before, so we’ll probably introduce ourselves with a set full of our strongest, most powerful material. At the same time we’ll try to do something new for the people that have seen us before. Our aim is to entertain and excite people and make the crowd remember who we are. We’re on first on Friday and we have the task of setting the standard, so it’s gonna be a real challenge, but one we’re really looking forward to.
RR. Will you be treating us to any new stuff?
We don’t wanna give too much away just yet. We’ve got a bunch of songs we’re working on for the next album and it’s really exciting stuff, but the main priority is getting the set tight. We’d love to play some new stuff but you’ll just have to wait and see.
RR. Explain your ethos when it comes to writing and recording?
Keep it simple. The simplest ideas are usually the best. Most of the time we start with a good riff or chord progression, we jam it a bit and then do a rough recording of it. Then we’ll listen to it back and decide if it’s worth taking further. If it’s got promise we’ll keep working on it, trying out different ideas and seeing what works best. We try to keep thing uncluttered. You want to create something that is memorable and enjoyable. People aren’t gonna remember something if it’s got too many things going on. You also have to create something that makes for a pleasureable listening experience, not an endurance test. Simplicity is the key.
RR. To date what has been your career highlight?
It has to be playing abroad. There’s nothing better than making an album, travelling to another country with your best friends and experiencing different places, cultures, languages and playing to cool people who love Rock n’ Roll. We went to Russia when we were like 19 and it was a real eye opener, but we learned so much more than we did from just playing in the U.K. pervious to that tour. It brings you closer as a band when you’re speeding to a gig in a Lada, with no seatbelts, no speedometer, driven by a half drunk Russian who doesn’t speak English and you can’t move because of all the equipment on your lap. That’s a real slice of life!!! Ah, good times!!!
RR. As a band do you have any endorsements for gear?
No, not yet. We’d be happy for anyone to endorse us, but as of yet there are none.
RR. When you play live do you feed off the crowd or like so many bands just do your own thing?
We always say that watching a band is not a spectator sport. The crowd have to get involved too. Some bands play with their heads down and act as if the audience isn’t even there!!! And some bands go over the top with theatrics and gimmicks and it just becomes cheesy and uncomfortable to watch, like a pantomime!!! We’re not like that, but it helps us put on a more engaging show if the crowd are feeding off the band and vice versa. We tend to come on stage and from the word go we throw down the gauntlet to the crowd and see if they respond. It doesn’t always work though, some crowds are a tough nut to crack but we persevere until they start shaking their hips or banging their heads. There’s nothing worse than a zombie crowd who look like they’d rather be somewhere else.
RR. After Hammerfest what plans do you have for the rest of the year?
A mixture of many things. We’ll continue gigging until at least the end of the summer, trying to spread the gospel to whoever will look and listen to us. We’re shooting a video for our next single “The Hand Is Quicker Than The Eye” in a few weeks, we’re very excited about that. When we’re not gigging or shooting videos, we’ll be writing the next record. So far the new material has a very dark, rhythmic, retro feel to it, we’re loving it. We’re aiming to enter the studio sometime in late summer/early autumn months. We’re also always looking for new ways to communicate and interact with our fans, so expect something along them lines this year.
RR. How do you find the music industry and all of its strange ways, and can you tell us any strange things that have happened to you?
In our experience the music industry is a very fickle, dishonest and unforgiving place. It’s full of people just waiting for half a chance to rip you off, or lead you astray. We’ve learnt to keep our cards close to our chest and we don’t get involved with anything unless we’ve done our homework properly and are 100% sure about something. When people are offering you things or making you promises, you have to ask yourself “What’s in it for them”, and the answer’s usually money. We operate quite independently when it comes to most things like booking gigs, booking studio time, merchandising, touring, promotion, online networking, et cetera. We like to keep a close eye on everything that affects us as a band. Call it piece of mind if you will.
RR.Joe stated “It’s like being sweet and sour at the same time” explain if you can?
It’s a way of describing the music and the essence of Inferno. Musically the basic foundations of our songs are simple rhythms, structures, and melodies (sweet) which are delivered with overdriven down-tuned guitars and hard-hitting low tuned drums and big cymbals (sour). In a way there’s something for everyone or as Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age once said “Heavy enough for the boys, sweet enough for the girls” A lot of music today is either very macho or very feminine. Why not combine the two to create something everyone can dig?
RR.“Welcome To The Lion’s Den” talk us through how this was conceived?
Welcome To The Lion’s Den is our first album and is basically an observation and the documentation of the world we currently live in. Lyrically we felt like we had to address what was going on around us before we could talk about anything else. It covers everything from deception, alienation, escapism and regret. It sounds very depressing on the surface but there’s an underlying sense of hope and hunger for something better. The world today is a dark, dark place, but we believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
RR. Guys finally any words of wisdom for the Hammerfest crowd?
Look after each other and we’ll see you soon. 12 noon, third stage, Friday the 16th of March. Put it in your diaries and don’t be afraid to say hello.
Thanks for this and we will catch you in Sunny Wales