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Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard On Soundtracks, Tour With OHHMS And More
Wizards by name, wizards by nature – the hypnotic Wrexham doom quartet Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard have just announced a UK tour with fellow riffmongers OHHMS, after releasing their second album earlier this year. There must be magic in the Welsh mountains, for ‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’ comes just nine months after the band released their acclaimed debut ‘Noeth Ac Anoeth’ last December. Impressive, considering these sludgers have been gigging all over Europe at the same time. Terrorizer’s Serena Cherry caught up with guitarist Paul Michael Davies to get the low down on what has been a mammoth year for the band.
Hey quarter mammoth! How has 2016 been treating the band so far?
Paul Michael Davies (guitar): “Hey. Probably the best year to date in the Mammoth history thanks.”
For those who haven’t heard it, what can they expect from Y Proffwyd Dwyll?
Davies: “Big fuck-off riffs, cellos, space angle vocals, keyboards, stylophone, Moog synths from the Crab Nebula and even a guitar solo. Ha.”
You’re releasing this only nine months after your debut album – fast work for such a slow band! How was the writing / recording process for this one? Does it get easier to create together over time?
Davies: “I wrote the majority of ‘Nachthexen’ myself before we even planned to record it. When we were planning this album we knew we wanted to make it big and sound progressive and a definite evolution from ‘Nachthexen’. We wanted some ‘songs’ but also keep stuff nice and long. We knew that Wes (guitar) was going to have more of an input in the writing of the music; so him and the drummer locked themselves away in the practice room and came up with the song ‘Osirian’. We’re all very pleased with it and it’s an indication of how we are able to expand with us both writing. Jess (vocals) is great as me or Wes worked with her on the vocal melodies and we let her do her stuff. So in that sense it does seem to get easier over time.”
You recorded your debut album with Chris Fielding from Conan, did he record ‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’ as well?
Davies: “Yeah. Chris is a good mate of ours. He knows what we want and is very, very professional. Some reviewers said about the last album that ‘it’s going to be heavy because the guy from Conan produced it’ but it was us that actually wrote the songs in a smelly industrial unit in Wrexham using our own gear. It’s not like we turned up with fender strats and 10 watt combo amps sounding like the fucking Monkees and he pressed a ‘doom’ button on the Neve desk. Ha.”
What gear do you use to get that ridiculously dirty guitar sound?
Davies: “I use a Matamp G120 usually split using an ABY with another valve amp or a bass amp into 4×12 cabs. I use a Cthulhu Fuzz by Dunwich Amps, a switchless wah and a space echo delay. Wes is addicted to 5150s so he usually splits 2 of them with an ABY using their own gain and a MXR phaser with a digital reverb and a space echo into 4x12s. Jess uses a massive peavey stack thing and a pro co rat and bass big muff. And we tune to A and use rather girthy strings.”
What are your plans once the album is released?
Davies: “Our label are sorting a UK tour and we just signed with Dead Pig Entertainment in Europe so we should be doing a nice European tour in 2017 and a handful of cool festivals as well.”
Speaking of cool festivals, you lot have played at Devilstone, Doom Over London, Doomed Gathering this year…how did they go? What has been your favourite gigs you’ve played so far?
Davies: “We enjoyed all the above and no doubt each band member has got their own favourite. Carrat (drums MWWB) and Wes (Guitar MWWB) loved playing with Trouble and Crowbar in Paris. We also had a laugh partying with Kyle from Trouble as well! Doom Over London was great to see a load of similar bands together, but my personal favourite was Devilstone. The fact we got taken to Lithuania was so fucking cool in my opinion. I loved the country for one. The festival was massive and the organisers were really sound, even after the first night when we’d been drinking since 5 a.m and were slightly tipsy by the time we got to the festival! Jess just likes to party so she enjoys every gig. Ha.”
Lets talk about the inspirations behind the Mammoths. I read that you guys are fans of soundtracks. What are the soundtracks that inspire you the most?
Davies: “That’s a tough one. Sound tracks can be hit and miss. You can get killer ones and garbage ones. They kinda fall into three categories in our opinion. There are fucking killer ones with really great tracks that stand alone, then there are your ‘Shrek’ types with fucking Smash Mouth and Shakira, and then there’s the boring ones that are just people hitting a wood block and running their fingers down a de-tuned harp. We like the first category. We like 70’s/80’s stuff like ‘Suspira’ (Goblin), ‘The Keep’ (Tangerine Dream), ‘Assault On Precinct 13’ (Carpenter), and even modern stuff like ‘Ravenous’ (Albarn/Nyman) and ‘The Revenants’ (Mogwai).”
What’s story behind your awesome band name?
Davies: “We wanted something big to reflect what we are playing. Some people think it’s some kind of joke or piss take, but hopefully the music contradicts this. Up until now the people that buy the music love it and as do the people who come to see us live, so that’s all that matters. Sure, the name may not please some doom purists but that’s how the cookie crumbles. Me, Wes and Carrat were into doom before it was even ‘invented’ so it’s funny when people call us goths or say that we are taking the piss. There’s an on-going joke in our band that I saw Sleep play in a working man’s club in 1993 in Wrexham and I always mention it when I’m pissed. Oh well guys (Jess, Wes, Carrat reading this) looks like I’m mentioning it again! Hahaha, oh well, it’s rock ‘n’ roll innit!”
Finally, what is your favourite thing about playing crushingly heavy doom?
Davies: “The riffs and the grooves. We like to improvise and have fun playing. Doom is the perfect type of music to experiment with live stuff. I don’t think we could do this with technical death metal. I like fat drums, low bass and thick, thick guitars. I also like trippy space ships landing on stage with us. So doom seems to be the music for me!”
Anything else you want to mention?
Davies: “Yeah. We are so grateful to all the people that have supported us and bought our stuff in our relatively short career so far. The emails and support we get are great. It’s the fans of our music that helped spread the word. It’s hard to speak to everybody but we are appreciative. We got some loyal fans that travel and get hotels to all our gigs and we always try and have a laugh/ Jagerbomb with them all. Thanks to the fans!”
Words: Serena Cherry
Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and OHHMS play the following dates:
Thursday, 9th February Club Ifor Bach – Cardiff(MWWB Only)*
S>aturday 11th // COVENTRY The Phoenix
Sunday 12th // BASINGSTOKE The Sanctuary
Monday 13th // OXFORD The Cellar
Tuesday 14th // NEWCASTLE The Northumberland Arms (MWWB Only)*
Wednesday 15th // BRISTOL Stag & Hounds
Thursday 16th // BOURNEMOUTH The Anvil
Friday 17th // SWANSEA The Scene Club
Saturday 18th // BRIGHTON Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
‘Y Proffwyd Dwyll’ is out now on New Heavy Sounds
You can find Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard on Facebook