Sealclubber: Band Of The Day

By on 30 September 2014

sealclubber

Sitting on the cusp of both post metal and sludge, Stourbridge’s Sealclubber are deliciously heavy, churning out thick, turbulent grooves with a smattering of early Mastodon riffs and liberal splashes of piss and vinegar. The band put out their debut EP ‘Sticky River’ via the ever-reliable Witch Hunter Records last year, but if you’ve caught them live since then, you’ll know their sound has continued to evolve in the intervening months – imagine if Cult Of Luna decided to drop all the high concept stuff and just blast through a load of utterly filthy punk songs, and you’ll have some idea of the kind of magnitude we’re dealing with here.

We caught up with guitarist/vocalist Simon Blewitt to find out more about the band, and discovered that they’re currently on the hunt for a new guitarist – shoot them a message at sealclubber.sludge@gmail.com if you think you’re up to it!

WHO ARE THEY: Sealclubber
WHERE ARE THEY FROM: Stourbridge
FOR FANS OF: Mastodon, Old Man Gloom, Opium Lord
LATEST RELEASE: ‘Sticky River’ (2013)
WEBSITE: Facebook, Bandcamp

Could you tell us briefly how you all met and formed Sealclubber?
Simon (Blewitt, guitar & vocals): “Me and Ste (bass) have been good mates for a few years and been in together in the past. After deciding to start something up from scratch, originally with the intensions of doing something a bit like really bad Kyuss rip off , we soon recruited Byron (guitar), who has unfortunately left us to move down south, who we’d both known for a few years and thought would be into doing something a little heavier than previous ventures. Si Ingram (drums) was the final member, who I knew of through local punk bands, and he fit in pretty much straight away.”

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?
Simon: “I think we were thinking more stoner / bluesy before we’d had a full band practice but with Si (drums) being from a punk background, the dirty stoner riffs soon became nasty crusty riffs with a sludgey undertone, stemming from my love of early Mastodon. I started to get inspired by the recent jam sessions and wrote riffs that would then form the basis of our sound.”

What kind of stuff are you and the rest of the band into? Who would you cite as influences?
Simon: “I think we all have different influences and have broad, eclectic tastes, which kind of works for us. However, I’m sure our love for Phil Collins doesn’t show in our music! The list of bands would be endless but the main focus for Sealclubber writing comes from a lot of early Georgia sludge from the likes of Mastodon, Kylesa & Baroness. We also all love Converge and anything Nate Newton has done, including Old Man Gloom and Doomriders. I also listen to Post Metal, in particular Isis & Cult of Luna. I’d go as far as saying there’s a hint of early grunge thrown in to the mix in certain places as well as Neurosis and Melvins. All in all, a lovely melting pot!”

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?
Simon: “I think I often come up with most of a song idea from my own riffs or Byron will play some riffs which I’ll then take away and compose something out of. It tends to work better for us rather than jamming out ideas in the practice room from scratch. We only seem to be able to jam reggae from scratch these days.”

You’re currently on the lookout for another guitarist – what criteria would the lucky six-stringer have to fulfil?
Simon: “Hopefully some one who has the same ballsy Les Paul / Peavey / Fuzz sound that Byron bought to the table, as well as having a guitar and strings that can cope with Drop F tuning. We’ve been writing a couple of new ones with the bottom string almost too low to tune on a standard guitar so they’d need to have a penchant for really nasty tone too! Other than that it would be good to have someone local and willing to put up with our sometimes degenerate sense of humour.”

What can you tell us about your debut EP ‘Sticky River’?
Simon: “That was literally 2 out of 4 songs that we’d written in the first couple of months after conception. Nathan, from Carnage Club Records / Opium Lord overheard us in our local practice room, Temple of Boom in Stourbridge and asked us if we wanted Carnage Club Records to release a two track cassette EP, as he really liked what he heard. At that point we didn’t really have any idea of direction so we thought that would be a good way to get our new music out there so we booked in as soon as to begin recording. After choosing just two out of the four songs, the other two we decided to drop, Carnage Club, also involving Bruce from Opium Lord, soon got Nottingham label Witch Hunter Records involved with a split release on the EP. For an unknown band who hadn’t played a gig to get that on their CV at such an early stage was pretty exciting for all of us. The only regret is not having more finished material at the time we were asked to release our debut.”

Are there any plans for a follow up any time soon? When can we expect a full-length from you guys?
Simon: “Yes we have plans to record our debut album, be it with a new guitarist or as a three piece, at Bear Bites Horse Studios in London starting in November. The next thing for us is to get demos out to potential Labels, as well as looking for a new guitarist of course!”

The UK sludge scene seems to be thriving at the moment. Why do you reckon this is, and are there are any bands we might have missed that you’d like to give a shout-out to?
Simon: “I’m not sure why but we’re sure glad it is! There is so much talent out there at the moment on the underground sludge / doom scene, that every show we have played has been a pleasure. Sharing stages with the likes of Palehorse, Sonance, Bast, Art Of Burning Water, Opium Lord, Grimpen Mire, Torpor, Mothertrucker, just to name a few has been pretty cool and we’re hoping it continues to flourish and produce bands we enjoy doing shows with and love listening to.”

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?
Simon: “I think playing our 2nd ever gig as a band at The Unicorn, Camden which Art of Burning Water headlined. As well as appearing in Terrorizer after playing When Planets Collide’s Winter Warmer Weekender in London earlier this year. I think as a band we were all pretty sad at Byron’s decision to leave and we’ll all miss him loads. That’s gotta be the worst in this band. Or maybe missing our debut gig supporting Opium Lord at their packed out EP launch because of simultaneously having the shits and throwing up… apart from that, a hotel we stopped in down London this year that had a bloody hand print on the bathroom door, flooded bathroom, yellow stained mattresses, live electrical cables and a hole in the window. That was a pretty grim.”

What does the future have in store for Sealclubber?
Simon: “Hopefully we’ll be up to full strength again as soon as so we can get our flow back. Things have been a little bit ‘stop-start’ over the past year or so, so we’re hoping a new member and a new album will make 2015 the year we make more of a mark across the UK and hopefully beyond!”

About Kez Whelan

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