Fast rising British metal flag bearers Sacred Mother Tongue were picked to open up for Halestorm on their recent UK tour, allowing the boys to get the country ready for new album “Out of the Darkness”. We’ve heard it, we love it and we collared the band to talk about it along with playing Download and their love of the word “cunt” backstage in Bournemouth shortly after narrowly avoiding an actual hail storm…
How’s the tour been going so far?
Darrin South (vocals): It’s been killer yeah, every date’s been good.
You played Hammerfest along the way how was that?
DS: Yeah, it was good – Halestorm have been opening up for Bullet for my Valentine, which was handy as it gave us some time to play Hammerfest.
Andy James (guitar): Yeah, it was a good crowd.
Have you played Hammerfest before?
DS: Yeah, we played 3 years ago but it’s a bit hazy– Hammered-Fest!
Have you been playing much new material?
DS: Yeah, that’s pretty much all we’re doing
How’s it going down?
DS: Really well. We’ve only got a short support slot, we’ve kinda ditched all the older stuff and just focused on the new material. Some of the songs people have heard anyway, like Seven as there is a new video for that.
How do you go about picking your set list? Is it easier to pick a short set list?
DS: It’s easier to play a longer set coz you can just put all your songs in – “Right lads we’ll do them ones!” We just get a shortlist together of the songs we want to do up against the ones that go down well and work out what we can play when we’re pissed.
We generally have a couple that are always in the set – we’ve been opening with Demons for a while now because there’s an intro that leads in to it and we’ve been finishing with Evolve_Become for ages now, which seems to be a big hardhitter to end on and then everything in between we just change up. We did two new songs at Hammerfest too and one of them went down better than any of the others!
Do you approach a 25 minute support set differently to a 25 minutes festival set?
DS: No, we play the same show wherever we go. If you play in front of 6 people you’ve still got to put on a show and show them what you’re about.
AJ: You’ve got to let them have it. People are going to go away with an opinion whether the room’s filled or not. Hopefully, they go away thinking “that was a really good band”, then that spreads and more people come to see your shows.
We’ve mentioned festivals – you’re on the main stage at Download this year!
DS: Yes, we are.
AJ: Why did you laugh saying that?
I’m just excited for you! Are you guys excited about it?
DS: Definitely. We’ve been lucky enough to do the 2nd stage twice now and each time we’ve been over the moon. This time we were offered main stage and thought “Fucking right, we’ll have some of that!”
Where would you rather be? 11AM on the main stage or 2PM on the 2nd stage?
DS: Main stage definitely. It puts the band in a whole different category, it makes people view the band differently, it makes you a headline band even though you’re opening. It’s a bigger room for us to play in! It also shows what faith the promoters have in us so it’s really cool. I’d rather that than 8pm on the 2nd stage.
The new album is about to drop – what can we expect?
DS: A new album.
What’s the message?
DS: Go and buy it you cunts! (laughs) It’s 10 songs we’ve nurtured over time, that came together very quickly during the writing process but it was a long time ago that we’ve very casually built upon and the result is pretty mature. The production on it is massive, so you’re going to hear a really polished album. As far as the band goes, I think everyone’s been on form, the writing has been better than it ever was and we’re all really proud of it.
It sounds like it was easier to write than “The Ruin Of Man”?
AJ: It was a more cohesive effort. The old album was an amalgamation of early Sacred Mother Tongue and then when I joined the band, my inputs. This one we’ve had more time to grow as a band and as friends and I think the music reflects that. So I think it was more comfortable because we weren’t trying to be anything, the songs just came out naturally.
DS: Yeah, last time, although we didn’t rush the album, we didn’t really allow enough time for Andy to settle in the band.
Are there any big themes running through this album?
DS: It’s kind of the same thing I always have in my writing… (At this point a bolt of lightning shoots from the sky bringing with it a noise normally synonymous to The Incredible Hulk in a bad mood. Cue a lot of grown men swearing)
DS: (getting back to the question) The running theme through this album and the EP – “The Light Shines” and now we have “Out of the Darkness” with the album – the concept kind of began with me getting out of this pit of despair I’d got myself in, not really knowing what I was doing with my life or what was important to me. Once I came out of the other side of it I started to write songs again and on the EP I wanted to put across the message of the lighter side of things rather than it being all woeful and down. I don’t think you could say it’s really dark lyrically, although it’s based on dark events, it’s kind of the other side. Since that experience I’m a strong believer that it has to get really bad or you won’t get out of it. It’s no good being a bit pissed off because you’ll just stay a bit pissed off. The album then is more of the same thing but a bit more of a political edge, a sort of “V For Vendetta” view of the world I suppose, which kind of ties in with the same thing – I’m not trying to be negative, I’m trying to say “look what we could be, let’s try and make it better”.
The British music scene is really good at the moment – like the newest wave of British heavy metal.
DS: It’s about time man.
Do you agree or do you think it’s always been there and no one has noticed?
DS: I don’t think it has always been there. I think there’s been good bands, don’t get me wrong, but I think there’s been so much shit that’s getting recognition in this country that it makes the good bands get laid to waste. There’s too many plimsoll wearing bands that are out to get pissed and shag birds and they’re not interested in making good music and I think because there’s been such a flood of those sorts of bands over the last 10 years, the good ones haven’t been seen to be cool and been held at the back and then just split up because they haven’t got anywhere.
(TINAS’ Simon from the corner) The magazines don’t help either…
DS: This is what I’m saying – there’s so many shit bands that the publicists are jumping on those coz that’s what’s out there!
AJ: I sometimes wonder what comes first – is it the press about these bands or is it the general buzz that the press pick up on and then advertise it more? I must admit I don’t really pay attention to the music “scene” at all, I like what I like through my own discoveries. It seems as though the younger generation think their mates will take the piss out of them if they don’t listen to the right band.
DS: It does seem like, of late, the more integral bands – such as Heaven’s Basement – have stuck their ground and started to get some recognition (and obviously, I hope we fit into that category). They were doing the same toilet tours that we were doing 5 or 6 years ago and no one gave a shit about them. They’ve never changed their style, they just stuck to what they did and most like that have given up… we’re obviously gluttons for punishment and Heaven’s Basement must have a similar mindset!
What sort of reception do you get outside of the UK?
DS: We’re kind of lucky – because of Andy’s solo career he picks up a lot of guitar fans all over the place and there’s a certain percentage of those who get into the band from that, so we kind of guarantee there’s a bunch of people who are into us no matter where we are. China was an awesome reception though, they were mad for it and all over Andy like he was King Dick. Europe was OK, but perhaps a bit early for us, no one really knew who we were but we’re gonna go back and we’re looking to go to the States later in the year as we just signed a licensing deal for the new record, so that will be released a couple of weeks after the UK. If they market it properly and we get some airplay we could do a good tour.
(Simon) Are you ready for America?
AJ: Are they ready for us?
DS: Are they ready for us shitting and farting everywhere and calling them all cunts? (laughs) It’s all we ever say..
Pledgemusic. What the fuck happened?
AJ: Asked for too much money.
DS: Yeah, Pledge had this idea that we should have a set figure that was our target and it was way too high. Then they started bitching at us about doing more, but with little time to act, then before we knew it they’d halved the target but by this time there was only a couple of weeks left. If it had been at that target from the beginning then maybe it would have been OK.
AJ: I don’t know how I feel about the whole Pledge thing, basically it’s sort of social media begging and I’m not really comfortable with the concept.
DS: It’s good in a way, you can give something back to people who are fans of the band, but at the same time I think you have to have a certain kind of profile as a band to do it.
Ok last question – You’ve done a storming set at Hammerfest, A support slot with Halestorm in big venues, a small venue tour with Ill Niño, main stage slot at Download, new album… there can’t be much left for Sacred Mother Tongue to do in 2013?
DS: Breaking America… Andy’s been nominated for a Metal Hammer Golden God Award… So get your votes in you cunts!
AJ: It’s for the Dimebag Darrell Shredder Award. It’s an honour to be nominated so we’ll go along, get pissed and if my name’s called it’s a bonus!
DS: You can make a twat of yourself giving a speech on stage when you’re wrecked!
AJ: Thanks to Jager…
DS: …for getting me wrecked!