Monday, May 5, 2014

Giza Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new ep?
Steve: We've been writing material for a third release later this year. It's a heavier monster that we're going to release on the world....ha. 
Justin: We've pretty much started writing our next record, and have been gearing up to start playing live.  This is exciting for me, personally, because I haven't played live with these guys since I became a part of the band back in August.
Rich: Beyond writing for the record we just released and the next one, a lot of swapping guitar amps and pedals to get the right level of dirt, saturation, and clarity.   

2. Recently you have released a new ep, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from the full length you had released in 2012?
Justin: When I joined the band, Rich and Steve had a handful of ideas that they had been working on.  So, we basically sifted through them and figured out what we enjoyed the most.  For the first few months that I was in the band, I tried to let those previous ideas shine through as much as possible.  I'm not the type of person to jump into a situation and tell people how to do things.  I wanted to provide as much creative input as possible without sacrificing the original intent of those ideas.  I feel that the new record is, well... just way more doomy.  One thing I love about playing this kind of music is the fact that leaving more space can make it obscenely powerful.  It's fun to play around with that during different parts.  I also think that the new record is, for a lack of a better way to put it, much more metal.
Steve: Well, other than Justin being in the band, it’s just different material....more seasoned and with better flow throughout.  It was sort of our goal to make a really good album instead of just a bunch of songs thrown together.  We wanted this album to be a bit more sweeping in scope and yet still retain what it is we do.
Rich:  “I am the Ocean, I am the Sea” has a mix of older and newer songs. We actually started writing “Drawing Tar” and “Interplanetary Cyclone” almost immediately after we finished “Future Ruins” – so some of these musical ideas go back to the middle of 2012. It was great to finish those concepts and move on musically to some new territory, which we think shines through in our newer material with Justin.  I think we are all more excited to keep writing as we’ve really only been working with Justin since August 2013.  And having him in the band is fucking rad.

3. The band has only been around for 2 years and so far has put out 2 releases; do you feel that you put a lot of effort into your music?
Rich: There are times when we’ve practiced 4 days a week and it seems like it’s all we think about, and there’s times where we haven’t practiced for a month straight.  I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do but at the same time feel like we didn’t get a lot of our original goals accomplished because we either lost focus or our personal lives took over.   
Steve: We put in an immense amount of effort over time. We practice a few days a week and for a decent amount of time but it's a bit more than what it seems because we work on stuff on our own.
Justin: Indeed.  Although, at the same time, we don't seem to force things to happen. Momentum comes and goes.  But when it's around, we definitely make the most of it.  The ideas that come from this process seem more genuine to me.

4. What are some of the concepts and images the band brings out with the music?
Justin: As far as imagery goes, we rely heavily on the talents of other artists to aid us in getting our point across.  We play what we like, and luckily, Shepard has been incredibly on point in terms of creating imagery that coincides with our goal.  Which is to be absolutely crushing.
Rich: A specific concept or image is tough; we’re instrumental. It’s not like our songs are about a “thing” like heart break or war for example.   
Steve: None of us are really artists as in drawing/painting/sculpting/photography sort of way, so we rely on others like Shepard Hall to help us with art concepts.  We really have some basic idea at times and we allow him the freedom to flesh out ideas to fit what we do best.

5. Currently the music is all instrumental, are you planning on using vocals in the future or do you chose to remain instrumental?
Steve: Yes, our unfinished third album we're writing now should have some vocals on it.  We might even do some vocal collaboration too, but nothing is set in stone and it won't happen unless it's amazing.  We're very democratic as a band.  We don't do shit without all agreeing that it's perfect.  There's no room for anything half-assed.
Justin: We've had several conversations about including vocals in one way or another.  The consensus is that there will more than likely be vocals incorporated into our next record.  The approach to that idea is still being refined.
Rich:   I am super down for more layers, whether vocally or even more psychedelic.  On our new record we have two songs where we set up some looping stuff which made things extra heady, a lot more doubled guitar stuff, extended drums passages, and strange feedback noises.  That was really fun.  Expect more layers of Giza on the next record.

6. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Giza'?
Steve: It was the name we all liked as well as a name that seemed to call up some interesting images of ancient times and long ago civilizations.
Rich:  We felt the name matched the aesthetic of the earliest material Steve and I were working on.  What’s heavier than a levitating pyramid, or floating crumbling mountain?  

7. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Steve: Well, that's a tough one. Not sure how to define our best show.  We're massive sounding live.  Huge amps and walls of sonic debris.
Rich: We normally bring enough equipment that it takes longer to load in and load out than play the show.  Sound guys hate us.

8. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Steve: We're planning on playing a bunch of shows in the summer.  We'd really be into going overseas.
Justin: We've been booking shows for this summer.  Although, there are no plans to tour at the moment.

9. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Rich: Absolutely.  Contact us! We want to see our music on vinyl!
Steve: We had some interest but that seems to have fallen through, but we're certainly looking for someone to assist.

10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of doom and sludge metal?
Steve: Surprisingly, it's been overwhelmingly positive.  We've rec'd nothing but positive response minus our local paper's write-up about us last year.  Ha, fuck em.
Justin: From what I've heard, it's been incredibly positive.
Rich:  Fans of doom and sludge seem to like, which is all that matters to us.  We are not trying to be the next U2 or convince anyone they should be listening to this sort of thing, and at the same time we’ve seen a ton of traffic on our Facebook page and bandcamp site from people who’ve heard about it through blogs or general internet stuff.  And it’s considerably more than when we released “Future Ruins”.  Most of our mail-order merch goes overseas.  It’s cool that more people are checking out Giza and downloading our stuff and hopefully we get to take this band on the road someday and play live for the people who like us in Europe, Australia, and Asia.        

11. When can we expect a full length album and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Steve: You can expect another release by the end of 2014.  We plan on going back into the studio in the summer for a release later in the year.  It'll be heavier yet more psychedelic and more emotive in spots.
Justin: Musically, I see us adding more color and depth to our music.  We'll obviously stay pretty damn heavy, but I see some more psychedelic stuff finding its way in.  Now that I've been in the band for more than half a year, making the ideas that the three of us talk about come to life is much easier.  I'm very, very exciting to start introducing these new and different concepts.
Rich: We’re really excited to get weird with it.  More mathy drone, slow death metal, stoner rock, psychedelic freak bummer jams with more layers and both longer and shorter songs.

12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on  your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Steve: That's a seriously long list for me:  Sabbath of course, Sleep, The Mermen, Shiner, The Archers of Loaf, YOB, John Coltrane, Merle list could go on for fucking days.  I've been listening to all sorts of stuff, mostly metal, but some ambient style as well.
Justin: Some specific bands/artists that have had an immense influence on my contribution to Giza would have to be, Bongripper, Conan, Yob, Isis, Suma, Dave Weckl, Chick Corea... it's hard to list them all.  I'm currently listening to a lot of Bongripper, Shitstorm, 90's era Hip Hop, and old material by Astrud Gilberto and other Latin Jazz stuff.
Rich: Dead Meadow, Mars Volta, Junius, Failure, Black Mountain, Sabbath, Shiner, Hum, DJ Frane, Black Angels, Neil Young (always), Electric Wizard, Nirvana, Old Mastodon, Converge, Sleep/OM, etc.  And stuff like Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, or Arlo Guthrie.

13. What are some of your non musical interests?
Steve: I'm a huge dog person.  I have two mastiffs that take up quite a bit of my time.  I'm also a huge basketball and history geek. 
Justin: I love watching Football and Hockey.  I'm a huge Seattle Seahawks and LA Kings fan. Other than that, I spend a large amount of my time cooking and spending time outside.
Rich: Hiking, camping, cooking, food, classical guitar, travel, reading, riding bike, running, history, art.

14. Before we wrap up this interview do you have any final words or thoughts?
Rich: Thanks to everyone who’s checked out a Giza track so far – and thanks for reading!

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