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Wretch Announce UK Tour With Iron Void
US doom trio Wretch (featuring ex-members of The Gates Of Slumber) have teamed up with the mighty Iron Void for a UK tour this April, and we can’t think of a better pairing, really. Terrorizer’s José Carlos Santos caught up with Wretch’s Karl Simon to find out more…
First of all, tell us a little more about the origins of Wretch, and the transition from The Gates Of Slumber to this band.
Karl Simon: “I was angry at the beginning of Wretch. I was angry at all the members of The Gates Of Slumber. We’d had a really strong run and things were poised to get better, but in spite of this we were squandering it all… acting like all we needed to do is show up and ‘be badass’. That attitude is fucking bullshit. The final blow was us not being able to support Church Of Misery on their last US run. When we got the offer I called a meeting and told the guys that we’d be practicing at a rehearsal spot here in town, on my dime, and what set we’d be playing. No fucking around: hammer it for two and a half hours and it’s done. They all agreed, and we went to practice and… no Jason [McCash, TGOS bassist]. He’d OD’d that day and quit the band via Facebook later. I broke my promise to him and called Reid [Raley] from Rwake a few days later to see if he’d fill in, but he couldn’t. And that same day Bob [Fouts, TGOS drummer] said he wouldn’t tour without Jason, and I was done. The Gates Of Slumber ended there and Wretch started. I called Chris [Gordon], who’d drummed on the second Gates demo and ‘Suffer No Guilt’. He’s an old friend, and he’s one of the best drummers I’ve ever played with. So we started from there. Two of us in the The Gates Of Slumber practice place hammering out ‘Drown’ and jamming on ‘Winter’, ‘Snowblind’, ‘Behind The Wall Of Sleep’, and ‘Electric Funeral’… just having fun and punishing a few demons with volume.”
Did you have any particular musical idea in mind for Wretch besides it being a sort of continuation of Gates? How does the writing in this band differ to how you’ve been writing songs throughout your career?
“Well, there were songs that had been written for the next Gates full-length that I had been working on for a long time. The idea was what it always had been: to write the best songs we knew how to do. With Wretch I wanted to open that up more to add in influences that Jason didn’t share and ways of writing he didn’t really want to mess with. I like to jam… he didn’t: he was a writer, I was so envious of his ability to write these epic songs. With Wretch, we just jammed the shit out, me and Chris at first and then when Bryce [Clarke, bass] came on board he added so much; changed the direction – Wretch is what I always wanted The Gates Of Slumber to be in that respect, it’s a unit and it has a sound.”
All of the songs on this record are about you and Jason, and your memories of him and what you guys went through together… do you think it will be hard for you to play these songs because of that?
“It has happened really, mostly when I’m away from Indianapolis, that’s when I can kind of let it go. We play here in town and I see friends and associations come to mind and it hurts, it’s small here, so small everyone knows everyone – bad things happening here ripple across the whole scene. One face gone is noticed, and Jason was my brother. As far as the songs becoming just songs, really since I got sick of singing about comic book stuff they aren’t just songs anymore, even the trivial things like a broken heart, are moments in my life; this batch just has a lot of emotional baggage attached to it. But every day things get easier. Moving ahead instead of grinding my gears has been the best medicine.”
Even without all the background, for the listener, the album is a harrowing listen, and a very touching one as well. How do you expect people to react to it?
“I think most people have had a positive reaction to it. It is dark, all of it, so you’re not going to walk away from it up or high on life, but maybe it’ll help the listener purge a bit of black bile? I hope it’s cathartic for folks. I’m sure there are going to be those who are going to shit all over it too, and that’s just life. I do this because I love it. If other people do too it’s great. If not, oh well.”
What are the plans, if any, for the future of Wretch? Is this a band that will continue on and make more records?
“I’d like to, but I’m only one part of the band, I don’t want this to be like The Gates Of Slumber was. If Wretch falls apart… well. I have riffs and riffs and riffs. I’m 41 now, the last eighteen years of doom metal and its related tendencies have been the sum of my life. No wife, no kids, no career. I’d love to make music with these guys for the rest of my time on earth, so if there is interest in us doing more from people and the dudes in the band I’m down to keep doing this until I can’t anymore. If not, I have said it before: I don’t need other people. If no one cares enough to try, or no one cares enough to go to the shows, I can sit alone in the bunker and hammer this shit out for me, like I did when no one remotely gave a fuck at all. Down there with the rats and worms… they stick with me until the end.”
Wretch and Iron Void will play the following UK dates:
Thursday 27th – The Black Heart, London (Event page)
Friday 28th – The Gryphon, Bristol (Event page)
Saturday 29th – The Lughole, Sheffield (Event page)
Sunday 30th – The Snooty Fox Club, Wakefield (Event page)