Evil Blizzard’s very impressive new album ”Everybody Come to Church’’ is a great companion piece to the band’s never to forget live experience. So we caught up with drummer Side to give us a lowdown on how this exceptional band came to be.
Can you tell me a bit about how the album ‘‘Everybody come to church’’ was recorded?
We recorded the album mostly live in one day. We set up, got a sound and then played. It was pretty much recorded in about 20 hours in total. We were lucky enough to be able to record this at Magnetic North Studio, Halifax. A fantastic state of the art studio with a great live room and view of the fields! Very much perfect for Evil Blizzard.
We had decided that on this album we would take a bit more time, as the first one was recorded in about 12 hours! With the band mainly being a live band it was important that we kept that feel through the songs but also to make them a bit more structured, something that Richard really helped with.
There are minimal overdubs on this record but we are very happy with the sounds that were created by using a vast array of pedals.
How did Richard McNamara of Brit pop band Embrace become producer of the album?
We had met Steve Firth from Embrace at the Rebellion in 2014 and after meeting him at a few gigs he suggested we record the new album with Rik. We met up with him and after a few meetings of minds we decided that he had enough ideas to really push the band forward. Even though many people think it is an odd collaboration Rik is really into his rock and before Embrace played in a heavier band. He was keen to keep the chaos of the live show but give us a tighter sound. Everyone who has listened to the album has said how huge it sounds, esp the drums. Not many people may be aware but before being the guitarist in Embrace he was a drummer. Hopefully we will record with him again and put out an EP in 2016.
How did the idea of having four bassists happen?
Originally the band was just myself (Side) on drums and vocals and Prowler on Bass. After playing a few gigs we were seen by Filthydirty who suggested we add another bass, or to be frank, himself. Over the coming months we added Kav, who had already been in a band called Brownring with myself and Prowler, and finally Stomper joined so he could play a support slot with The Fall.
I am not sure it was a master plan to be a 4 bass act but it is defiantly a plan to be an 8 bass band eventually.
You are an incredible theatrical live experience and incredibly tight as a unit. There is a real sense of knowing what you’re doing and what you want to achieve. It all seems well thought out and well planned. Is this the case or is there improvisation involved?
When we started playing live we just found that due to the outfits the band could take on a more alter ego sense of mischief. It’s much easier when you have a mask on to play up to the crowd. There is a lot of improvisation in the set and usually the songs develop on the night. Many people think of Evil Blizzard as some sort of comedy act, but really we are all classically trained musicians who were kicked out of various music schools. We don’t really plan anything, and have only ever rehearsed 4 times in as many years. It’s always better to live on the edge and the audience who come to the shows don’t expect anything less. In relation to knowing what we are doing, we know how to start the song but how to end it is something entirely different!
As part of your set you let members of the audience get involved and play the bass during a song. I know a mate of mine loves playing the bass with you guys. How did this get to be part of your set?
I know when we started playing gigs regularly during the song ‘Whalebomb’ it felt a natural process to get people involved. The song is only two notes so really it doesn’t matter what you play over it. Once one person in the crowd took the challenge more people followed and became nightly members of the band. At one gig we played in York and during the song we let people in the crowd play it nearly in its entirety and we sat and watched. There is something great in hearing your song played by other people and it’s as far away as you can get from most bands who are very stand offish from their fans. I think if Filthy could get away with it he would let someone do the whole gig for him and he could prop up the bar.
Which bands/artists would you say are major influences to your sound and costume designs?
For myself a big influence in the mask world would have to be Peter Gabriel but others have their own heroes. In terms of dressing up we would have to say Devo, Funkadelic, Flaming Lips and the Wombles. Sound wise we are a mix bunch from Punk to Prog, Rock to Funk and Disco to Ska. All in all a large melting pot blended to form us.
Who designed the masks?
Currently we have bought and customised them from various shops but maybe in the future we can get someone to design and give us all our own. It helps when we franchise the band in the future.
The video for the song ‘Sacrifice’ was made by French artist Anne Aylies. How did this materialise?
Our regular crowd favourite Blizzpig is actually romantically attached to Anne and to keep it in the Blizz family he asked her to come on board. She took up the challenge and with help from her French friends in the arts created a beautifully shot video. The lighting is great on the shoot and the whole story is interesting. I would recommend her to anyone who wants a great looking video and she can be contacted through the band.
“Everybody come to church” is out now on the Louder Than War record label and be sure to check out the Evil Blizzard website for forthcoming gigs at a town near you.