Ghold: Band Of The Day

By on 19 December 2013


If you have any interest in the murky world of sludge, it’s more than likely that you’ll have heard the name ‘Ghold’ crop up several times over the course of the last 12 months, and with good reason! 2013 has been a busy year for this supremely heavy duo, who have released a full-length and an EP, toured with Ufomammut, Conan and Bismuth, and accumulated a collection of riffs so weighty that Britain is in danger of dropping several miles below sea level if they continue on at this rate.

But Ghold are not your bog standard NOLA worshipping sludge troupe, however. There may only be two of them, but on their debut full-length alone (‘Judas Ghoat’) these guys demonstrate more engaging ideas than many bands do over the course of their entire careers. The pair’s open minded approach to song writing deftly incorporates a whole host of eclectic influences, and somehow manages to sound incredibly fresh and exhilarating even when they’re ploughing into some of the most ponderous dirges you’ll hear this side of Corrupted. When they pick up the pace, their raucous, weirdly timed assaults sound a little bit like Lightning Bolt – well, how we imagine Lightning Bolt would sound if you locked them in a cellar for several months with nothing but a bucket of bovril and a copy of Melvin’s ‘Bullhead’ for sustenance, that is.

We got in touch with this power duo to find out more about their crushing new EP ‘Galactic Hiss’, their writing process, and, erm, accidentally deleting the master files for an entire record…

WORDS: Kez Whelan

WHERE ARE THEY FROM: London, England
FOR FANS OF: Melvins, Conan, Lightning Bolt
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Galactic Hiss’ (Baitin’ The Trap Records)

Could you tell us briefly how you both met and formed Ghold?
“We met at art college where we shared a musical interests at the noisier, heavier end of the spectrum and our tastes naturally overlapped at bands like the Melvins. At that time we’d been making music under our own separate guises for quite a while and digged each others stuff so it seemed only natural to collaborate on something.”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Alez (Wilson): “We tried writing originally for a 4 piece band, two guitars, bass, drums, and we just thought it was too much and got caught up in our own clichés of that form, we just dropped it all back and kept what we felt were the best bits – I’m probably wrong haha. We both shared a passion for collecting and listening to a wide range of music – we agreed on the heavier side of that, and off-kilter mash of noise rock, sludge, psych, prog, doom and went from there, it really helps us both having open minds as to where we may end up sonically dragging with us influences from everywhere, we are certainly still very much evolving.”

Paul (Antony): “The only thing I personally was sure of was that I wanted us to play something heavy and dynamic as that’s what I naturally gravitate towards within guitar music, but we weren’t really set on any template for the sound or anything like that. We just try to make music of heavy weight that keeps us interested. Yeah the sound is definitely evolving I’d say, and we’re working on this continuously in various ways (in terms of instrumentation, technique, production process etc) so who knows what might come next!”

What kind of music are you both into? Who would you cite as influences?
Alex: “I would cite a lot of influences starting from the not so obvious; such as Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart, Parliament, Funkadelic, Captain Beyond, The Beatles to Slayer, Jim Jones and the Kool Aid Kids, Melvins, Primus, Cherubs (TX), Shellac, Drive like Jehu, Karp, Harvey Milk – lots of 60’s garage psyche, 70’s kraut and heavy psyche, 80’s progressive metal, funk, the list is ever on going…”

Paul: “As far as music goes there’s a shit-ton. A lot of the old stuff from Thorrs Hammer, Burning Witch, Confessor and Corrupted really gets my blood up. Darkthrone are a continuous inspiration. I grew up with bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Melvins, Aphex Twin, Converge, Lightning Bolt, Tortoise and Isis so I’m sure a lot of this has crept into the subconscious. Am also a big fan of electronic bass-weight music and dub (Digital Mystikz, Scorn, Shackleton, King Tubby etc). Recently really digging records by Dark Castle, Baby Killer, Raime, Wolf Eyes, Ulcerate and The Body. There’s some really exciting music out there.”

How does your writing process usually work out? Will you meet up with songs pretty much fully formed, or do you tend to jam stuff out to come up with new ideas?
Alex: “We both write on guitars together, bringing different ideas to the table, jam those out, then vocals come into play (or sometimes the other way around) – after we have our shell we’ll take it to the bass and drums and re-work them as we see fit.”

Paul: “Yeah everything always starts from one point, whether it’s a drum line, a single riff or a vocal line, and we bounce back and forth between all the instruments, recording, listening, tweaking all the time till we think the song doesn’t need anything more doing to it, and we think we can nail it with just bass and drums. Definitely like to have the odd freeform jam though for sure!”

Your latest EP ‘Galactic Hiss’ is sounding killer, could you tell us a little bit about recording this one?
Alex: “Thanks! After ‘Judas Ghoat’ we wanted to make a record that was relentless and sped up, I guess away from the slow burners, a conscious decision to play faster and more ‘upbeat’ for sure but it’s how we found ourselves curating our material for this record. We recorded it in 2 days at Bear Bites Horse Studios, London, with our pal Wayne (of Ladyscraper fame). Just made sure it was live all the way, no click tracks, no triggers, no nonsense, speeding up and slowing down naturally.”

Paul: “Yeah man it was two days of just trying to cane it as best as we could. It was awesome to work with Wayne, he’s a guy who knows his shit properly and the soundest guy to boot. Plus he loves BASS.”

Just like ‘Judas Ghoat’, it seems like there’s a good balance between the longform, sludgier stuff and the shorter, more straight ahead tunes. Is this a conscious decision, or does it just tend to happen naturally?
Alex: “It’s all natural (affected but natural) our inter-musical phases kick in at similar times, we keep our passions of long progressive songs as well as the straight up faster ones – it sits nicely with what we have produced so far we feel. Our demo was not over 10 minutes with three songs, ‘Judas Ghoat’ is a long four songs, ‘Galactic Hiss’ is somewhere inbetween.”

Paul: “We like playing at all speeds so it just depends on how we want to exploit the potential of the song. We are obsessed with groove at whatever speed.”

You guys are ridiculously tight when playing live. How would you describe the Ghold live show for those who have yet to witness it?
Alex: “Thanks, its something we try to keep up, we both share the idea that the tighter the better, plus there’s only two of us, if one of us messes up it’s easier seen. I guess that’s the other thing is that regardless of how a record sounds it’s always going to be better live with this kind of stuff (for now anyway, were only just starting to consider more recording techniques), we like to mix it up a lot, we change our setlist all the time and what ever you think we’re going to play, we probably wont.”

Paul: “A hard hitting, zero-bullshit weight-fest. With melodies!”

What’s been your best moment as a band? And on the flipside, what’s been the worst thing to happen to you in music?
Alex: “There’s been some great shows and tours we’ve been a part of this year, playing with Conan and Ufomammut of course are high up there. As for bad luck, I’ve had a lot of stuff break this year and there’s nothing worse than that happen whilst playing/recording but then it’s when lady luck likes to throw around her charms most.”

Paul: “Being able to go out on the road with our buddies Vodun and Bismuth has been a definite highlight. Getting the opportunity to play our music out in other places is amazing. Worst thing for me has probably been accidentally deleting the project files and mixdowns of an entire record from my laptop. I couldn’t even be upset about it, the reality of the situation was too dark hahaha!”

What’s next for Ghold?
“Well we look ahead to a prosperous new year haha! We’re working on a full-length record to come out at some point next summer, we shall be working with a cellist and touring with her for a few shows too. We’re going to be part of a compilation record as part of the This Is DIY family (Ladyscraper/Death Pedals/Yards/USA Nails) so look out for that. We’re working on lots of stuff so it should be a busy and productive year for us, look out for the material and come and see us play!”

About Kez Whelan

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