Summon: How did the band get started?
James: We started when our (Adam and James) bands died off and we started drifting towards writing more heavy/stoner rock oriented stuff in our own time. Across the course of a summer we had demoed 4 tracks on James’ home recording setup and started using it to entice bassists and drummers. We weren’t sure of the exact direction we wanted to go in at that time; all we knew was that we wanted it to be loud….loud to the point that when we switched our amps on and hit that first chord, everyone in the room would jump and go “Holy shit!” Volume wasn’t the only requirement though, it had to sound good! So to that end, we made top quality equipment a priority and we totally revamped our equipment; the instruments we were playing, plus the amps and speaker stacks, right down to the pedals and even the cables we were using. After a lot of research we finally got an awesome setup together to create some monstrous noise with a full band line-up at the start of 2009…..several scared audiences and noise complaints later and here we are talking to you in 2012.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
James: Loud, heavy, fast, bluesy rock n roll! Some would call it Stoner Rock; some would call it Hard Rock. It’s just rock music as far as we’re concerned really, the sub-genre doesn’t bother us massively…..after all, pigeon holes are for pigeons, not bands.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
James: The fan response has been great so far. We’ve had fans from all over the world liking us on Facebook and buying merch from our Big Cartel and Bandcamp pages; places as far flung as Kenya, Israel, and New Zealand, definitely proof that the Internet is an amazing marketing tool for underground musicians to promote themselves to a wider audience. The two best aspects of the fan response have definitely been the reaction to the video for Green Tsunami with several thousand hits within the first few days, but of course our favorite has been the reactions we get from people at shows. A lot of crowds we’ve encountered have been a bit too cool for school, but we’ve had some mental shows in London in the last couple of years. We love it when we meet new people at shows who have specifically come out to see us, given that we’re definitely not a local band, or when we meet folks who catch us for the first time and make the effort to seek us out to buy a shirt or a CD and say they enjoyed the show. That shit means a lot as they could have just as easily have gone somewhere else that night.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
James: We (James and Adam) came up with the name after growing up in the same village together where there were a lot of deaths through serious illnesses, leaving many of the mothers of our closest friends widowed. It’s definitely not a name with happy origins but we wanted something that was a reference to our past, where our roots lie.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
James Kidd (guitars)
Adam Jolliffe (vocals)
Steve Mellor (drums)
Richard “Chis/The Crease” Chisholm (bass)
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
James: It’s a bit of a co-effort on all parts really, but generally I (James) will write the riffs and then me and Adam structure them together. Once we’ve got a full structure for the song I’ll demo it at home with some bass and some programmed drums and pass it to Steve and Chis to have a listen to before jamming it together at practice. Adam mainly writes the lyrics and I’ll sometimes give him a hand with arrangement/structure but I’m not a word-smith so I usually stay away from writing lyrics, because, y’know….I speak with my hands hahaha.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
James: All manner of places really, everything from books we read, to stuff in the news, TV shows we watch, and of course the old ‘failed relationship’ chestnut; there’s even some stuff about horoscopes and Reaganite military secrets in there. It’s a treasure trove.
Adam: I try to cover the whole scope of human emotion; from fears to emotional strife, excess, and love. The lyrics come from life lessons learned, observed, and seen from an objective viewpoint.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
James: They’ve got some cool stories and some interesting angles on certain aspects of life, and there’s definitely some great imagery that has appeared as a result of not just the occult/Satanism but from people influenced by it who were themselves involved in music or film. I read some of the Satanic Bible in college and there were some well-argued points, but it largely seems to be an organized religion like any other but with a different name, and for my part it’s not something argued well enough for me to devote my life to. Religions are fine so long as you treat them like you would your own penis; don’t get it out in public, and for fucks’ sake, keep it away from the kids. Besides, we already have a religion; music.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
James: Our debut release was the E.P. ‘Raise the Monolith’ in 2010. This was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Stuck on a Name Studio in Nottingham. Our first full length CD ‘Death Valley Duchess’ was released earlier this year in April 2012. It was recorded at Moot Group Studio with Johnny Carter (ex Pitchshifter) and Paul Yeadon (ex Bivouac). Both albums were released through Bad News Records. We’re hoping to have our third release out some time in 2013 including a limited run of vinyl.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
James: The songs have all been inspired by numerous experiences throughout our lives, there’s songs about lessons learned from relationships that have gone wrong in the past, as well as general debauchery….all stalwarts of rock n roll subject matter, but we’ve definitely got a couple of tracks we think have got some unusual angles. Goat Lab is about the whole remote viewing/psychic super soldiers and the 3rd Earth Battalion affair during the post-Vietnam/Reaganite era covered in the book ‘The Men Who Stare at Goats’, they had some seriously insane theories thought up by a number of officers to help them upgrade the Army but save money at the same time. Read the book, it explains the whole thing way better than we could. Green Tsunami is a song about weed -no surprise coming from a stoner band – but this one’s about the start of the use of hydroponics in weed growing in the 60s, and how this led to a huge rush of high quality weed in the following years – known as the Green Tsunami. The lyrics are mainly about how unexpected results from all the mental cross breeds that are now available are now having some serious effects on certain people, and yet we still trust in the knowledge of growers who create these new stronger breeds but we don’t actually know what they’re doing to us. A cautionary tale about weed, if you will.
Summon: Do you have any side projects
James: Nope, no side projects. Chis plays bass in another band (Rose Cottage) but that was going on well before he joined us so I guess you couldn’t really consider it a side project. We jam here and there with other folks but nothing committed as WIDOWS is a pretty full time gig.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
James: Kyuss, Clutch, Down, High on Fire, Mastodon, Baroness, Led Zep, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Deftones, Black Keys, and any and all old blues.
Summon: Which current bands?
James: I assume you mean which current bands are we listening to? If so, then Down, Baroness, Torche, Steak, Big Business, Baby Godzilla, Witchcraft, Graveyard, and Gentlemen’s Pistols.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
James: We’re all business when we get on stage, we don’t like to fuck about and take all day over it. Get on ‘Stomp it’ Leave. None of this ‘oooh let’s take 45 minutes to set up for a half hour set’ nonsense, I hate that. Adam’s definitely the most mental, climbing all over whatever’s in front of him and yelling in people’s faces, I’ve seen him on top of P.A. stacks plenty of times before. Steve is a blur of energy behind that kit though, I’ve never met a man who plays his drums so hard – it’s like he’s caught them fucking his Mrs. Me n Chis just concentrate on banging out the riffs and get some moves out when we can but by and large it’s about having fun when we’re doing it, otherwise what’s the point? You have to give the crowd a good show and if you’re enjoying doing it then it shows and the crowd feed off that. I love watching people in the crowd – total strangers –getting down to our tunes, and it’s a rush hearing a whole room full of people cheering for the songs we spent ages writing and perfecting.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
James: Not yet, we’ve had several opportunities but they’ve slipped by the wayside as they were either not right for us or they fell through at the last minute. However, we have just announced that we will be going to Finland for a 3 date tour with Finnish rockers Baton Rogue Morgue from the 8th to the 10th of November, playing in Tampere, Helsinki, and Loviisa. Full details will be coming soon on our various web pages.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
James: Well we’re only playing small venues at the moment (maybe 250 capacity max) but crowd size can still tend to vary vastly. Usually if it’s a well promoted show with some decent bands in a good sized town then we can expect a good turnout. We’ve been very lucky to get on some choice shows, organized and promoted by some very dedicated people and as a result we’ve played to several 100+ crowds in the last couple of years. That might not sound like a large number if you’re in a big band or used to going to large gigs, but the fact that 100 people stay in the room when we play our set is definitely a sign that we’re doing something right.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
James: We’re always pleasantly surprised by crowd response, I mean we always get a great reception at Nottingham shows as it’s our home town and a lot of our friends are in the crowd, but it’s great when you see people starting a pit right in front of you. We’ve had boobs flashed, underwear thrown on-stage, been wedgie’d whilst we’re playing and had booze poured down our throats mid solo, we even had some guy get half naked and start doing push ups, mid-set, at the front of the crowd once. It’s always great when we make a new fan out of someone who has come to see us for the first time, especially if that person is a promoter or a fellow musician who can help us with more shows 😉
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
James: I honestly don’t know enough about it to comment I’m afraid. From what little I do know, I understand that there are some incredibly talented musicians in the scene but I’m really not that up to date with the metal scene at all these days.
Summon: What do you think of the overseas scenes?
James: We’ve not had that much personal experience with the non UK scenes although we have a lot of friends in bands who have toured northern Europe together in the past and great things to say about the crowds, bands and promoters. There have been some fantastic stoner, doom, prog, etc, bands coming out of Europe in the last 10 years; Truckfighters, Burden, Solrize, Dozer, Witchcraft, and Graveyard to name a few. I have to say hats off though to Walter of Roadburn Festival in Holland. That guy has consistently put on some of the best festival bills I have seen in the last few years, so good to the point that I’ve not been able to get a ticket for a single one of them so far. Also, there is a festival called DunaJam which is held on an island somewhere in the Mediterranean (I’ve no idea where), and from what I understand, a bunch of different bands play on a different beach on the island every night. It sounds awesome and I’d love to play but it seems like a logistical nightmare getting out there. However, we are off to Finland for 3 dates in November so we will definitely have an idea about the Finnish scene in about a month’s time. Can’t wait!
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Adam: Decapitated is one of my all-time favorite death metal bands, and of course Cannibal Corpse is also one of the best extreme metal bands to come out of any scene. When it comes to UK bands I’d have to say Carcass.
James: Decapitated again for me when you’re talking about death metal. As far as black metal it’s definitely Emperor. I’m no death/black metal expert by any means, but the Prometheus album was ridiculously good.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
James: We already have 3 or 4 songs written, we’re just waiting for the opportunity to get them together as a band. Hopefully once the blur of Christmas and the New Year is out of the way we can concentrate on the writing process some more and start putting together tracks for the next release.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
James: As mentioned before, we’re off to Finland for 3 dates with Baton Rogue Morgue in November, and we’re in the process of lining up a very important benefit show in the run up to Christmas but we can’t reveal anything yet as the details are still under wraps. In the New Year we’re planning to head back to Europe to play with our buddies Burden, in Germany, and Rubicon, in Holland. We had planned to play with them this year but sadly life got in the way and the shows have had to be put back until everyone is free in 2013. The US has been taking an interest in WIDOWS with numerous CD and merch purchases coming from the States, and the underground press, radio, and cable TV shows requesting material for airplay and review. Look out for the Green Tsunami video getting airplay on select stations soon. We’d like to get out for a proper European tour sometime in 2013 so any Euro promoters reading this need to drop us a line, pronto!
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