Gurt: Band Of The Day

By on 6 August 2014

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If you have any interest in the UK’s sludge/doom scene, then we imagine this introduction will be entirely unnecessary, but for those of you who haven’t been paying attention, meet Gurt. Hailing from merry old London town, this quartet specialise in thick, groovy slabs of sludge and, through a series of small releases and skull crushingly heavy live performances, have quickly become a very respected entity in the UK underground. Don’t let the term “sludge” fool you into expecting the kind of oppressive dirges you’ll want to sit at home listening to, baked out of your mind and wondering where it all went wrong though – this is the kind of boisterous, riff based, lads-are-out sludge that makes you want to head to the nearest dive bar, down as many pints as physically possible and headbang like a woodpecker on speed.

After releasing a handful of EPs, Gurt really made a name for themselves in 2012 when they put out a split with, and managed to out-riff, Brighton’s (now sadly defunct) Dopefight. The split has already taken on something of a classic status, with unabashedly catchy banger ‘Soapfest’ seeping into the UK underground’s subconscious like a modern day folk song; seriously, I saw them play at an all-dayer in Sheffield and I swear every other band that day soundchecked with that riff. Needless to say, when Gurt themselves finally took the stage and played it, the whole place went absolutely mental.

A couple of EPs and a split with Limb later, and Gurt have finally released their debut album, the dementedly groovy ‘Horrendosaurus’, which is sure to please both the die-hards and recently converted alike. Their upwards trajectory shows no signs of slowing either, and the band will be playing their biggest show yet this Friday at Bloodstock Festival, as they open up the Sophie Lancaster Stage at 11AM. We imagine they’ll provide the perfect wake up call, so get down early and come check them out!

WHO ARE THEY: Gurt
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: London
FOR FANS OF: Iron Monkey, Weedeater, Slabdragger
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Horrendosaurus’ (2014, When Planets Collide)
WEBSITE: Facebook, Twitter & Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how you all met and formed Gurt?
Gareth (Kelly, vocals): “Me (Gareth) and Simo originally started the band with our friends John and Jamie who are now living abroad, we all knew each other from other bands and uni etc and wanted to make nasty shouty sounds. Rich and Spicy joined in 2012 and we all knew each other from work and other bands too. It’s a long boring story but happy to say that Jamie (original guitarist) still has a say in the band and we were even lucky enough to do a show with him in Paris last year which meant we have the full power of dual axes!!!”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Gareth: “We specifically formed late 2009/ early 2010 to make a band that sounded as vile as Iron Monkey, our first song learned was ‘666 Pack’ – little did we know that a “scene” was starting around the same time…”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
Gareth: “HA HA, Our influences are all over the place but anything from Led Zeppelin to Limp Bizkit. Weedeater to Primus. Cats, Coffee and Dinosaurs also play a major role!”

How does your writing process normally work out? Will you meet up with song ideas pretty much fully formed beforehand, or do you tend to jam stuff out a bit more?
Gareth: “Always Jamming! We get into a room with a riff or 2 and play around with it until it’s a song. It’s a process we are all involved in, everyone has their part to play and not much is pre-planned. It’s all very fun and not forced.”

What can you tell us about your debut full-length, Horrendosaurus?
Gareth: “ITS AMAZING AND YOU SHOULD ALL BUY IT… And its got a Dinosaur on the front!”

You’ve put out several EPs in the past four years before getting round to the album – was it a conscious decision to put out a number of smaller releases before gearing up to the full record, or did it just kind of happen by accident?
Gareth: “It’s the same that happens with all bands I guess, MONEY is the big factor. Being 100% DIY is possible for bands now but the money is not there straight away so you need to build up momentum so we released EPs as its what we could afford. Now we are more established as a band there is more money to play with (not very much at all still though!) So it was possible for us to release a full length off our own backs.”

For the uninitiated, how would you describe your live show?
Gareth: “Massive sound, Cat T-Shirts, Heavy Stomping, Big Riffs, Camp Dancing from me and embarrassing stage banter!”

Are you looking forward to playing Bloodstock this Friday? Have you got any surprises planned for your set?
Gareth: “We are so excited about the show, the stage is bigger than a lot of venues we have played at and as long as people turn up, it is likely to be the biggest show we have ever played… and yes, we do have several surprises in store one being a guest appearance which shall all be revealed on the day!”

You’re no strangers to covers, with AC/DC, Machine Head and even Talking Heads all receiving the Gurt treatment at some point or another. How do you all decide which songs you’d like to cover? Have you got any particularly outlandish or unexpected ones in the pipeline?
Gareth: “We obviously want to cover the bands that have influenced us in some way but we always try to go for the obscure ones, there are quite a few in the pipeline at the moment but we have trouble agreeing on which one to do…. Currently we are trying to decide between White Zombie, Deep Purple and Queen!”

The UK sludge/doom/stoner scene seems to be in rude health at the moment – are there any shout outs you want to give to bands we may have missed?
Gareth: “The one thing I will congratulate Terrorizer for is being so much on the side of our scene at the moment and for helping us get our names out there, but you have your fingers so firmly on the pulse you know almost all of our peers… but The Bendal Interlude are a band that should be noted, we have been friends for a while and things have been a bit quiet as 2 members are in SSS so I guess they have been busy. They are recording an album about now and are an awesome Liverpudlian band all should check out!”

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?
Gareth: “The best moment(s) was our recent 20 date European tour with Dopethrone, we have never done anything so big before and have made lifelong friends with those guys so its really going to take some topping! The worst thing is probably having lost our original guitarist to the other side of the world as we would be a lot more awesome if we had him with us all the time. Both Jamie and Rich play alongside each other very naturally and 2 guitars in Gurt is a magical thing!”

What does the future have in store for Gurt?
Gareth: “LOTS!!! Bloodstock, Supporting Red fang in a 100 capacity venue in August, Hammerfest 2015, A FULL UK tour in early 2015 (to be announced soon) and hopefully another EP out in time to support that tour…. We have a lot of ideas and lots of momentum so watch this space!!”

About Kez Whelan

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