Get In The Void – A Interview With Iron Void’s Steve & Sealey   Leave a comment

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In order to play Traditional Doom Metal, there is several key ingredients that are needed and Iron Void has all of them so if you are looking to discover what real Trad-Doom sounds like, look no further than this band from the UK. Since starting out in 1998, Iron Void have built up a steady following and reputation in the UK and around the world in underground Doom Metal circles as one of the leading bands in the genre. They play with a real love and passion for Doom Metal and it comes out in their songs that are rich in a quality that only a Traditional Doom band can have. A lot has happened in the last year or so including the release of the excellent “Spell Of Ruin” EP and a new label “Doomanoid Records. In this interview with Steve (Guitar & Vocals) and Sealey (Bass & Vocals), we get a insight into both subjects as well as exciting plans for the future. Doom On.

1. Well it was a surprise to me our last interview was way back in 2008, it didn’t seem that long ago. A lot must have happened with Iron Void since then. Apart from the EP which i will get to shortly, what has been the highlights and low-lights for the band during that time?

Sealey: It doesn’t seem that long ago for me either! I would say the highlights would have to be the Doomsday All-Dayers which i created to celebrate my birthday. We had Pagan Altar headline the 1st one and The Prophecy headlined the last one in February this year. Awesome line ups for both gigs and plenty of beer was consumed by all in attendance! We’ve also played a lot of shows the length and breadth of the UK and met a lot of new friends and supporters along the way. The low lights would be Steve’s father passing away last year and my van breaking down recently, which meant we had to cancel our Birmingham gig with Grimpen Mire and Pombagira – it’s been off the road for 2 months and it’s still not fixed!

Steve : When I see 2008 written down, it does seem a while back. Sealey is quite right though – my Dad’s illness was very difficult. I probably won’t be the same again after that. The van seems to develop new problems every time it’s looked at. I still have the hope that it will start up again soon. So they were the low-lights. The highlight has been getting the first copies of the EP and the Doomsday all dayers – Especially the last one when Misty Morning came over from Italy and did two shows with us. Lord Vicar are lined up for the next one in September. I hope it being on a Sunday doesn’t harm the turn out too much. People should get the Monday off. It’s worth it!

2. Do you think the UK Doom Metal scene has changed in any way since our last interview, is it any better or worse?

Sealey: Well, we’ve lost a few quality bands such as Misericorde, Warning and Nord, which is a real shame, but our good friends, The Lamp of Thoth and Witchsorrow are still going strong and there are some fantastic new bands coming up such as Groan, who will be releasing their debut album later this year through Steve’s label, Doomanoid Records and Serpent Venom from London are also ace, so the British scene is still alive and well!

Steve : There seem to be more new bands than then. That might just be because we’ve been out gigging and started meeting them all. From what I’ve been told, we should really get over to Europe and play, particularly Germany. The Lamp of Thoth get over there as often as they can. I think we should try and do the same. But day to day gigs are hit and miss as far as the turnout goes. We went to see Cathedral in Manchester the other week and the venue was packed, so it may just be the smaller gigs that are suffering. People do tend to buy drink at home and spend less on gigs. The Snooty Fox has kept us going recently. We stopped playing the Leopard (where LIVE 2008 was recorded) as the turnout was getting poor (sometimes 3 or 4 people!). It could have lead us to think no one liked the band. But that’s obviously not true. There’s always been a different culture in South Yorkshire, and much less oriented towards metal and doom, as opposed to West Yorks who have produced some classic bands such as Solstice and TLOT (and now us I hope).

3. The “Spell Of Ruin” EP was a long time coming, what was the hardest part about getting the EP released?

Sealey: In a word, money! We’re not very well off, we kinda live from day to day and raising the funds to release and record the CD was definitely hard work. Steve had to finance pressing the CD’s himself cos me and Diz were in a bad financial situation. We do this shit cos we love it, we never make any money really and i know a load of other ace bands that are in the same situation, but fuck it, we’d go mad if we didn’t do this!

Steve : We recorded it in January and it wasn’t released ’til April. It was mainly the money that delayed us. We were going to pay an equal share but we didn’t all have the money. Luckily I’d saved enough for the first 100. I’ve made it back already from sales online and a few at gigs so it was worth the risk. There’s still some left I’ll be repressing more soon. In the end it worked out because it gave us more time to fine tune the cover design and get it looking as we wanted it. It was going to be released as a demo but in the end we went for the label so it would get more reviews and a better packaging for fans.

4. Now when you sit back to listen to it, would you like to change anything about it or are you pretty happy about the way it turned out?

Sealey: I’m very happy with the way the EP sounds, we mastered it quite loud, so it blasts out of the speakers, that was intentional, but a few people have complained that the vocals sound a bit distant and you can’t hear the snare very well, but overall, I’m very pleased with it and feel a great sense of pride to finally release it cos it’s been 10 years coming since the original Iron Void lineup planned to release it as a demo recording. However, if we can improve on what we’ve done already I’m sure our future recordings will be even better.

Steve : The loud master came about because we were worried about getting a low-volume sound, kind of a demo sound. Steve offered to master it for us for no extra cost, so we went with it. Sound-wise I think it sounds like a real record, which is a big step up from 2008’s makeshift live demo. Dare I say it’s too loud? Depends how loud you turn it up! The snare is audible, depends on how you’ve EQ’d the stereo.

5. Would it be fair to say, the tracks on the EP are all pretty old songs and would you say they were the obvious picks for the EP?

Sealey: ‘Spell of Ruin’ was written 10 years ago and the lyrics were written by our original vocalist, Paul Whale, who is now in an acoustic folk band, Beneath The Oak with ex- Cathedral guitarist, Adam Lehan. The other 3 songs have been written in the last 3 years and we just picked the songs that we thought would go well together as an EP in terms of mood and style. We have plenty of other songs which have yet to have been recorded properly.

Steve : I remember Spell of Ruin from the original Iron Void lineup. I could still remember it in 2007 when Sealey started teaching it to me. I thought it would be worth using if I could still remember it after all that time. We chose Conflict Inside and Demon Drink because we knew what we wanted them to sound like with a full production. They came out exactly as we imagined, every part we wrote has made it on there, along with some extra guitar ideas from Simon.

6. How is all your equipment standing up to all the gigs you have been doing, have you had many blown amps or large repair bills?

Sealey: Our amps and guitars are fine really, i hardly ever use my own bass amps at gigs cos there’s always one already there, the thing that’s cost us is my van and Steve’s car, so if anyone out there fancies being our driver/roadie, then please do not hesitate to get in touch! (Laughs).

Steve : My guitar is being held together with gaffer tape but it plays 100%. I only got my Laney stack last summer, so it’s still like new. I do have an old 1964 Carlsbro head that needs some looking after. I need it changing down to 4ohms to work with my new cab – til then I can’t test it really. My spare guitar cab was ruined by some unknown band at a rehearsal room in Doncaster and needs repairs. We’ve been lucky from gigs though. Only item I’ve replaced is my Cry baby wah, which I dropped at a gig in Bolton! It was cheaper to get a new one. I might get a spare soon as it is part of my sound and I don’t want to go without it for ages as I had to when I broke the other one. Diz’s gear is lasting well too, but stuff will wear out.

7. Since our last interview, what has been the best or most memorable shows you have done?

Sealey: The Doomsday shows were awesome, but i also really enjoyed playing with Iron Hearse and Leather Nun America in London recently and the Re-Animator show in Wolverhampton last year was great too, they were amongst my faves, as well as every time we play at our local, The Snooty Fox, great atmosphere, great people and cheap beer!

Steve : Wolverhampton was great. A long day though. It was the first time I’ve seen Dark Forest and they blew the crowd away. As I mentioned earlier, the last Doomsday gig with Misty Morning was another highlight and the Leather Nun gig too of course. I think the best shows are still to come.

8. You are also putting together the Doomsday Fest bi-annually now. Can you tell the readers about the event?

Sealey: Yeah, I decided to put it on twice a year due to the amount of bands wanting to play and the next one, Doomsday III will be on Sunday 5th September at The Snooty Fox, Wakefield (watch it online, see http://www.snootyfoxlive.com for details), the lineup is as follows – Lord Vicar (Headliners), The Lamp of Thoth, Iron Void, Dark Forest, Serpent Venom, Asomvel, Dead Existence & End Times. This lineup is a bit more varied than previous ones with the inclusion of NWOBHM and Sludge bands as well as the usual assortment of trad -Doom bands. Tickets are £5 advance, or £8 on the door available from the venue or via Doomanoid Records & Distribution – Established 2009or by emailing doomanoidlabel@hotmail.co.uk.
I’m also planning Doomsday IV, which will take place at the same venue on Saturday 12th February 2011. The bands confirmed so far include Nomad Son (Malta), The Prophecy, Iron Void, Arkham Witch and Iron Hearse, with more tbc very soon!

Steve : I’ll have a merch table at the September one, with all the current CD’s and I should have the Iron Void patch done by then too. These must be the cheapest ticket prices you’ll find anywhere too.

9. I am also putting together a Doom Festival myself in Seattle in August and have been a bit stressed about the amount of work involved. Do these shows come together easily for you because i really admire now the people that organized these shows, its much harder than it looks.

Sealey: It’s a lot of hard work and financially taxing, but the end result is always worth it! I’m fortunate that i have a lot of contacts, but I’m always looking out for other Doom bands to play. The best thing about it is that i can promote bands that i like that most people haven’t heard of and also classic bands that rightfully deserve the opportunity to headline the event.

Steve : Sealey puts a lot of hours in emailing and phoning all the bands and organizing the set times etc. as well as everything else. I’ve taken some of the work and expense out of it for him by designing the posters. It’s all done by us which is how we manage to keep the price low.

10. Do you think the average Doom fan gives much thought to the work that goes into these shows? I get the feeling most just take it for granted.

Sealey: Probably not, i didn’t realize till i started promoting shows how much work is involved. I think more people should get involved in promoting shows though, it’s not that difficult and i work full time as well, so there’s no excuse why anybody else shouldn’t do it as well!

Steve : They don’t really see the behind the scenes work. It is harder than it looks.

11. Now that the EP is out there, what is the plans for a full length album? You must be dying to get one released.

Sealey: We certainly have enough material to release a full length album, it’s just raising the necessary funds to record and release it. It’ll be a year or two before it is done unless some label is willing to finance the recording in the meantime. We also have grand plans for a 2nd album, which will be a concept album based on the Arthurian legends.

Steve : Because we have enough songs already written, we should be able to write the 2nd one while getting the first ready. The concept album is quite ambitious. We’ve been talking of getting some guest musicians in and additional vocals on some parts too. We best get the first one done yet before getting too deep into it though.

12. Has the “Spell Of Ruin” EP had much in the way of reviews so far and what has the reaction been like so far to the EP?

Sealey: We’ve only had a couple of reviews so far, they have been generally very positive, but we have had some comments about the snare sound being weak and a dig at the lyrics being a bit juvenile! I don’t mind, I don’t write this shit for other people, i write it to keep myself sane!

Steve : I have to say it keeps me busty, don’t know about sane. The lyrics thing surprised me. I always thought we were one of the few bands with interesting lyrics. Some people are looking for a different thing though.

13. How would you recommend people go about buying the EP?

Sealey: You can buy it online at Doomanoid Records & Distribution – Established 2009 or by emailing doomanoidlabel@hotmail.co.uk.

Steve : Yep, go to the label website and there’s a PayPal button.

14. I was talking to a friend in the music business a couple of days ago and he suggested the US metal scene is in a state of free- fall. There is more bands than ever before but less venues and even less support for underground metal music. What is your opinion on the current state of the underground scene, not only from a music standpoint but also from a business point of view?

Sealey: It is tough out there at the moment, people have been suffering financially for a long time and most people are staying in and can’t be bothered or can’t afford to go out and watch live bands at present. It’s sad, but what can we do? People need Doom Metal more than ever in this day and age! We don’t make much money from playing shows, usually just enough to cover our fuel costs if anything! I have to say though, there are plenty of venues in the UK that support underground Metal, which is great!

Steve : We’re mainly a live band, so I can see where Sealey is coming from. On the label side of things, I’ve had a lot of orders from Europe and Scandinavia, mainly Germany, Sweden and Norway. I’ve even had a couple of orders from Australia. There are fans out there but they’re quite scattered with the exception of Europe.

15. Obviously you enjoy playing live so i was wondering will there ever be a point where playing in the same country or city would become a bit tedious for you? Also is there any plans for a widespread tour?

Sealey: We are just about to go on a short mini-tour with our good friends, Pilgrim Fathers & Between Two Thieves for a 4 date trek around the UK. We would love to play play some European shows though, so if any promoters out there wish to book us, please get in touch!

Steve : Europe is our next goal. We’ll be looking towards that now the EP is out.

16. So what is in the water or beer in the UK? I haven’t heard a bad band from the British Metal scene in years. Do you ever sit back and think how lucky you are to be surrounded by so many killer and influential bands?

Sealey: I feel very proud to have been born and raised in the same city that gave birth to Metal legends such as Black Sabbath & Judas Priest – Birmingham!

Steve : I do sometimes. The Doomsday bill is usually all British. The bands are of a very high standard usually. I’m sure there are some terrible ones but they probably don’t last long! I think it’s the combination of the weather, the economy and the society that cause this sort of will to make heavy metal. It started off as a way to release frustration and stress and I think it will always have that. Coming from the home of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Sabbath, even The Beatles (which led to Sabbath) must have an effect. There’s a lot of musical heritage here.

17. In our last interview, you said the band gets more support on the Internet than you do at home which doesn’t surprise me really. It seems harder than ever to get people away from their computers and actually get to a show. Do you share my view that computers and technology is destroying interaction between humans these days, most people would rather text-message someone than actually talk to them.

Sealey: I totally agree with you Ed, it’s such a sad state of affairs. I would much rather go out and have a blast with my friends than sitting at home on my laptop, any-day! Shame there’s so many many people who feel more comfortable sitting behind their computer screen, rather than interacting with people in the real world!

Steve : It has good and bad points. The ‘net helps us to keep in touch with people from all over the world without spending a fortune on phone calls or writing to people. This interview is online for one thing. If there was no internet, we’d have to spend money on a magazine advert and hope people ordered the EP. There would be no myspace page for people to listen to either which would lessen our chance of making new fans. The other side is it has the potential to make us into a stay at home society rather than face to face communication. I’ve had facebook messages from people who walk past me in real life. It can get a bit weird.

18. From that negative, rather depressing question to a more positive one. What is the rest of the year looking like for Iron Void?

Sealey: It’s looking pretty good, we’ve got more shows coming up and we should be re-entering the recording studio in the next few months to record a new and an old track for a vinyl split release if all goes well.

Steve : One of the two tracks will go on Planet Doom Volume Two which should be ready by the end of August. We’ll look for a label to release the other new track as a split vinyl if they can find the right band. I don’t have the money to make it myself this side of next year.

19. Do you think a band can do too many gigs and do you think over exposure from too many live shows kills a interest in the band?

Sealey: You may be right Ed, we’ve been getting on each others nerves a bit recently with the amount of shows we’ve been playing (laughs), but i live to play live, so I’m not gonna stop anytime soon! If people can make the effort to show up and support underground Metal, then that’s great, if they can’t then i don’t wanna know! I think people are spoiled for choice these days with gigs though, there’s a lot of shows these days and people can’t afford to go to every one like they used to.

Steve : We might ease off playing locally for a while and do a few out of town gigs while we finish off some new songs. We were talking of doing a stretch of gigs then taking a break (just doing the odd one) then doing another long stretch. We haven’t tried that method yet. It might help us avoid burning out and over exposing the band in the same places.

20. Ok, that is enough questions for now, damn 20 questions already! Any last words for the readers?

Sealey: Just wanna say thanks to you Ed for the interview, always a pleasure, and i hope you guys out there enjoy ‘Spell of Ruin’, Doom on!!! See ya on the Road to Ruin!!!

Steve : Thanks for the interview. I’ve promoted the label enough in this one I think. I hope you enjoy our music and we will be back with more very soon.

www.myspace.com/ironvoiddoom
Doomanoid Records & Distribution – Established 2009

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Posted May 24, 2010 by doommantia in Iron Void

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