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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Interview with Midmourner



From Birmingham Alabama comes sludge/doom outfit Midmourner, a grime filled wrecking ball that has certainly made a very solid impression here at Hand of Doom Radio.  You can catch them on Facebook and hear the riffs over at their Bandcamp page .  Here is a recent interview with Shane George, the man responsible for the vocal howls and growls




First up, cheers for taking the time out to do this interview, and congratulations to the band in putting together such a kickass heavy EP in “Adorned in Fear and Error”.  You guys were recommended to me a few months back and I have to say that the EP has been on rotation on Hand of Doom Radio since, it’s the kind of sickening, face kicking heavy that firmly ticks the box here. 
Thanks for the kind words about our new EP. The entire band is proud of the songs that ended up on the release. We want to thank you for giving our music a chance to be heard by people outside the U.S. Hand of Doom Radio is well respected by heavy music fans here in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s our pleasure to be in this interview and it’s an honor to have our music in rotation on Hand of Doom. Glad to hear that Midmourner came highly recommended by someone you know…that means there are at least two awesome people that are fans of our music living in Australia! Ha! By the way, what the hell does “ticks the box” mean?


I actually heard about you guys from a friend of mine in Hamburg Germany, Tanja Grols- she's always recommending high quality riffage across Facebook.  I’ve heard mention of (but haven’t actually heard) prior bands that members of Midmourner have played in, such as Molehill and Residue and Michael Jackson Sleepover (wtf?!!). When and how did the band take shape? Take us through the different roads that have brought you all together in Midmourner. 
 Matt and I were in Molehill for several years before the band ended for the first time. Matt and Molehill guitarist, Drew, formed the band Residue. Residue put out a 7” split but never really got going due to substance abuse and other thorns in the side. Later on, Bobbie and I put together a grind/power violence band called Michael Jackson Sleepover. The line-up featured our friend Michael Files on guitar, Tony Featherwolf on drums, and ex-Molehill bassist, Sonny Harris. The band was a lot of fun, but drugs ended this band before we ever really reached our stride. A few years passed until Bobbie got the itch to play some ultra-heavy, ultra-sickening sludge noise. I was recruited to fill the position of vocalist. Although I was hesitant to jump into another band that was going to have to earn its stripes and start everything from the bottom, I decided to give it a go. Fate brought us to an Eyehategod show in July of 2014. By some strange cosmic magic, we ran into Matt and got caught up with recent events in each other’s lives. It didn’t take long for us to start a discussion about music. Bobbie and I decided to ask Matt about playing bass in Midmourner, even though the first bassist was standing right there with us. Matt accepted our offer, and two weeks later, we were jamming out on what would become the song “Exchanging Piss for Ruin”. The different roads that the five of us were on eventually came to the same destination despite the hills, roadblocks, and detours along the way. Thank God we were able to connect and become such good friends because, at the end of the day, you have to have a strong foundation to build a lasting project on. Personally, I love and respect every one of these guys. I’ve never been so content and so comfortable with a group of musicians in my life. Midmourner feels like family to me and I’m positive that the other guys feel the same. 


What’s behind the name of the band, any particular reference or meaning?  
Within a two year period, my younger brother, a close friend, and my mother died. All of the pain, regret, sadness, and guilt that accompanied the losses overtook me and occupied every thought and moment that I had. It’s hard to explain that sick feeling in my gut to other people that haven’t had to deal with such loss. The act of mourning is all encompassing, and that becomes your life. It felt like I was slowly drowning every passing day. To this day, I still find myself weighed down by the process but I’ve learned to let the hopelessness and pain be the fuel that drives this music. If I think about it now, I actually owe the inspiration of Midmourner to that painful era in my life.


And on the lyrics front – are they about showering with your bass player Chad Lowery and setting household items on fire by any chance? (Hah!)
As far as lyrics go…I must admit that as much fun as it is to shower up with Chad Lowery and watch our drummer’s wife set fire to couches and appliances, the song lyrics actually deal mostly with the human experience of everyday life. I have never been comfortable printing lyrics to songs in any band I’ve been in. I know people are curious about subject matter or whatever, but I just think that a song lives or dies on the quality of the music. I may change my mind later on, but for now…I’m sorry. 


My fave track on the EP is ‘A Salting of Circles’, probably in part due to the uplifting hope and inspiration within the opening clip with the little kid just reminding us all that we’re all going to die haha. Where is that clip from, and are there any particular tracks on the EP that are favourites of the band 
Thank you for seeing through the fa├žade of that song and discovering that it’s actually an ode to all things positive and wonderfully happy!!! Midmourner is our way to spread joy and sunshine around the world! It’s our mission to wipe away the tears of a sad human race! The clip is from the movie “What About Bob”. Luckily, Matt is always finding and recording cool and weird clips of dialogue from various movies and television shows. The band loves every song that we’ve written from day one. It’s rather hard to pick out one individual track and call it our favorite, but I think we all agree that “Torrentials” is probably the strongest and best structured song. “A Salting of Circles” is a favorite of mine because the subject matter is centered around a very painful incident that has haunted me for a long time. Maybe, someday, I will explain all this shit to everyone, but I doubt it.



What was your approach to the writing & recording process for ‘Adorned in Fear and Error’?
We approached the writing with one mindset…to create the heaviest, ugliest, most genuine expression of frustration and anger that we could and invite all those interested to join in the misery. We approached the recording process in the same way. We all knew that we had limited funds and limited time to put these songs together and get them recorded. However, we were determined to capture the feeling that we all got from creating these songs. We busted our asses to get the recording we wanted and after hearing the rough mixes, we knew that the hard work paid off. The entire process went so smooth that it felt like a dream. That was the easiest recording session I’ve ever been through and the end result was exactly what we wanted. Much thanks to engineer Matt Whitson.


Is the heavy music scene healthy in your part of the US? Are there any particular bands you’d like to point out that are worthy of checking out?
Historically, this part of the American South has a rich history of heavy bands (Eyehategod, Cavity, Kilara, Floor, etc.) as I’m sure everyone knows. At the present, there’s still a good amount of bands here that are continuing the Southern sludge/doom legacy, such as Koza, Hexxus, Crawl, Sons of Tonatiuh, Season of Arrows, Hog Mountin


Hell yes - some great bands there and a few for me to check out. I'm familiar with Season of Arrows, Sons of Tonatiuh and Crawl, sick bands. So what’s up next for Midmourner – when does your full EP officially launch, do you have any upcoming shows in the works, spill the beans!!
We have some big shows coming up later this summer that we’re excited about playing such as Tennessee Sludge Fest and a couple of more shows that are still in the works. Right now, we are shopping the EP around to see if we can find a cool label interested in doing a proper release. If we can’t find a label then we will continue to put it out ourselves. Midmourner is made of musicians spawned from the punk rock DIY subculture…We’re not afraid to self-release the EP if we have to, but we would rather have a label get involved. That way, the EP can get out to a larger number of listeners. A label helps a band’s music get the distribution that you can’t get with a total DIY effort. That’s a huge advantage that just can’t be argued about.



What’s currently cranking in the stereos and cars of the band members right now? Give us some riff recommendations from the Midmourner camp.
Wow…I’m gonna answer for the whole band and I hope they will approve of my guesswork! Here it goes…

Bobbie – Iron Witch, Melvins, Ringworm, Samhain, Dead Milkmen, Pig Destroyer

Shane – Avail, Interpol, Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Kilara

Chad – Black Flag, Eazy E, Despise You

Rick – Weedeater, Megadeth, Whitesnake, Grief

Matt – Floor, Cavity, Karp, Beatles, Cattlepress, Thug, Fleet Foxes, Pixies

As far as recommendations go, we collectively endorse these criminally underrated bands…Scrog, Kilara, Hog Mountin, Horsehunter, Wartrodden, Hexxus, Serial Hawk, Capsized, Brain Oil, Stoic, Marrow, Iron Witch, Red Necklace, Crawl, Glazed Baby, Blue Eyed Boy Mister Death, Catchfire, Leechmilk. Although some of these bands are no longer around, they still deserve the credit for putting out some great fucking music. Every band listed has the official Midmourner seal of approval!


Cheers again for the taking the time out to do the interview – any parting words for the readers/listeners out there?
Thanks again for letting me babble on about the band. The band appreciates Hand of Doom Radio for playing our music and for helping to build more listeners along the way. Hopefully, the radio show will live on and continue to promote underground heavy-as-fuck music for a long time!



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