Devil Sold His Soul : The Second Coming

Three years after "A Fragile Hope", english six-piece Devil Sold His Soul return with "Blessed & Cursed",their first release with Century Media .The Bearded Russian talked with keyboards/electronics meister Paul about Download Festival, the new album and changing labels.

Please introduce yourself and explain, to those who don't know, what DSHS is all about.

Paul - Hi, I'm Paul from "Devil Sold His Soul". We're a metal band based in the UK that writes, records and tours heavy, epic music. We like to write stuff that has melody, riffs, quiet and heavy parts all thrown into the mix.

Your new album " Blessed & Cursed" comes out in July. What can you tell us about it?

Paul - Hopefully we've managed to push on with the styles and ideas started in the last album "A Fragile Hope". A mix of light and dark, despair and hope expressed in a medium of sound.

How different are the new songs from your previous material?

Paul - We're hoping that they are quite different but without being totally detached. They feel like they've come from the same place, but hopefully there's a lot more in the mix with these songs and enough of the DSHS essence to keep our fans happy and also interested by some evolution. We also have Leks on drums now, so there should be a lot more depth to the drumming parts -- we lost our last drummer just before we started writing "A Fragile Hope".

"A Fragile Hope" was released 3 years ago. Since then you changed labels, from Eyesofsound / Black Willow to Century Media. How did that happen?

Paul - Eyesofsound did a great job for us and were stoked for us when we signed to CM (I've been friends with Ryan for years). We received quite a few offers, but Century Media seemed like the right place for us to go. Black Willow is the management company that we're signed to, so we're still working with them.

How do you think that this change will affect the band's future?

Paul - The theory is that we will now have enough muscle behind us to get to the next level, somewhere that just wasn't possible to get to without signing to a big label. It should be the catalyst for some exciting times for us.

In the past couple of years, the sludge/post-metal scene became a lot bigger, with bands like Isis and Neurosis getting more and more recognition and drawing attention to the genre as a whole. What do you think of this?

Paul - We hold both of those bands in very high esteem and the good they've done for the scene and heavy music in general is fantastic. At the end of the day they're both very talented bands and deserved the recognition; the attention to the genre was just a byproduct of their skill and hard work.

Your debut "A Fragile Hope" was often compared by reviewers to those bands. Do you think that it is fair to be compared to those (or any other ) bands?

Paul - It always funny for us reading or hearing people's attempts to try and pigeonhole us, as we're a crossover band and it's basically impossible to put us in one genre. Anytime that we're compared to a good band is taken as a huge compliment.

You will be headlining the RedBull stage at this year's edition of Download festival. How do you feel about it?

Paul - It's a massive honor to be asked to headline a stage at Download, as the festival in it's various guises is steeped in history and it's an achievement just to play the thing -- being asked to headline a stage is just nuts.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Paul - The new album "Blessed & Cursed" comes out on July 12th in the UK and will be released outside the UK at later dates. We'll be touring the album in the UK and mainland Europe and anywhere that we can get to to help promote it, which should include the USA, Russia, Japan, Australia and more.

You guys recently released a song from your upcoming album called "Callous Heart". How were the fans reactions to it?

Paul - The reaction to it has been really good -about 95% of people seem to be really happy with it.

What do you guys do, besides the band?

Paul - Work- between tours and around band commitments- plus try to live as normal lives as possible. We also try to be nice people and try to contribute to society, which tends to bring us back full-circle to the music.

Can you share with us some of the best and worst memories from touring?

Paul - Having the brakes on a hire van fail at 70mph on the motorway wasn't fun. Playing car park football with tour vans as goals is always fun. Seeing loads of cool places and meeting interesting people is amazing. BBQs are always good. Sleeping in some rubbish places isn't nice, but does make for good stories when it's over.

When can we expect to see you guys in Portugal?

Paul - If all goes to plan, we should be over to push "Blessed & Cursed".

What inspires you, when writing music?

Paul - Lots of bands old and new, and a desire to write heavy music that is exciting, interesting and innovative. Some good melody, bad-ass riff or killer hook is always cool if you can pull one out.


Gifts from Enola : atypical

They are about to release the follow up to the awesome "From Fathoms" - what better time for the Bearded Russian to ask them about the new album,Europe and the school bus that runs on vegetable oil ? Bassist/keyboardist Nate talked about the past,present and future of Gifts from Enola .

Your last album "From Fathoms" , released last year, was very well received by the press. Does that, and the reactions from the fans,pressure you guys in any way when touring or writing new songs?

Nate - Not really. I mean, we're incredibly grateful for the positive response, and its really encouraging, but we're pretty good about not letting it influence what we do musically. We just take it as encouragement to keep doing what we do. I'm sure that some people who liked From Fathoms and the earlier stuff won't like the new album, but thats natural. It happens to everyone, we aren't fighting it or taking it personally.

I read that you are already planning the release of another album. How is the process going so far?

Nate - We're actually completely done with the new record. We tracked the drums and bass at a pretty awesome studio in Atlanta back in January and did the guitars, keys, vocals, etc, back in VA over the next couple months. It was the quickest we'd ever recorded anything, but we're all really excited about how it turned out.

When are you planning to release it?

Nate - It's going to be released July 13th through The Mylene Sheath.

It says on your myspace page that the new record is being mixed by Moving Mountains' Greg Dunn. How is it to work with a producer/musician used to different genres?

Nate - Working with Greg was great. He definitely does things differently than we do, production-wise, but that's why we decided to work with him. This was the first time that I've not mixed everything myself, and it was really awesome to have a completely different perspective on things. I definitely wouldn't have been able to make this album sound the way that it does. We didn't want it to sound like anything we've done before, and Greg helped make that happen.

What are the main differences between the new material and "From Fathoms"?

Nate - The production is a big difference, its much more polished and clean sounding. This is the first time we've recorded most everything in a real studio. Besides that, I think the music is more high energy and concise- this album's a good 20 minutes shorter than From Fathoms. We wrote these songs in a live environment for the first time, instead of in the studio, so I think its much more true to how we actually sound. Its also the first album that our new drummer, Jud, has played on, and he brings a lot of his own style to the table. There are a lot of firsts for us on this one. It definitely feels like the first part of a new chapter for us, and I think it sounds like one too.

One reviewer said of FF : "

"Not the typical 'pretty' post-rock. It has distortion and it rules really hard."
What do you think of the current state of the post-rock scene?

Nate - Honestly, its not something that we pay a lot of attention to. We follow our friends bands, but besides that we really don't listen to 'post-rock.' There was a time when it was new and exciting to us, but that was a long time ago now. We're glad to have been a part of the 'scene' as its grown in the last couple years, and I think we lucked into it at a good time, but its not something we feel any loyalty to. There's not a lot of 'post-rock' influence on our upcoming album and there's probably only going to be less and less as we go along. We're just bored with it.

Your label, The Mylene Sheath, is home to some "big" post-rock/indie bands. How is it to be on the same label as Caspian and Junius? Do you think that the presence of well known bands can be helpful to the smaller ones?

Nate - We've looked up to those bands for a long time, so its great to have them as labelmates. We're really excited for how well they're doing and I think it definitely helps to be associated with them through The Mylene Sheath, every new step forward for any one of us helps everyone else grow as well.

Your sound, as I pointed out, is heavier than most post-rock bands. What are your influences?

Nate - This is always such a hard question to answer fully. I guess most of what we grew up on would be called 'post-hardcore,' bands like Deftones, Thrice, Glassjaw, At the Drive-in, and mewithoutYou. We also all listen to a lot of different things, though, so its hard to pin down our collective influences of late. I know Andrew loves Pinback and their various solo things, Owen, and bossanova, CJ's been listening to the first Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters records a lot, and I've been super into David Bazan/Pedro the Lion and Frodus lately. I remember one point where Jud was listening to nothing but James Brown. We all also get pretty into Botch and Converge, but also Michael Jackson and Wu-Tang. We're just music nerds with ADD, so we're all over the place.

You are planning to tour Europe later this year. Is it your first time in Europe?What are you expectations from that tour?

Nate - Yep, this will be our first time. We're not entirely sure what to expect, but I think it'll be good. We're really excited to play new places and see new things, and we hope that we can come back relatively soon and get into a cycle of touring there like do in the U.S now that we're all out of school and have time to.

- Do you plan on playing in Portugal anytime soon?

I hope so! We don't have any specific plans to right now, because this first European tour won't take us that far south, but hopefully when we come back we can book a more extensive tour that includes Portugal and Spain.

I read that you toured in a "school bus converted to run on waste vegetable oil". How was it? Can you tell us how that worked?

Nate - We still have it and are still touring in it. Last summer was the first time we took it out on the road and we had a lot of problems, but through them we learned everything about it. It works great now and I'm really excited to take it out again. We learned just about everything we know about veggie systems from Constants, another great Mylene Sheath band who has a converted bus as well, so we can't take credit for any of these ideas. Basically, we pump used cooking oil out of grease traps and pump it through filters to clean it before heating it up and sending it to the engine. There's a lot of information about it on the internet, and its really interesting. Its a great way to save money on tour and do something positive for the environment.


Hadoken : interview

Until now, we talked with established bands within the post-rock genre.Hadoken breaks that trend : they just released their second album "Luminary" and are still looking for their place.

What do you think of the current state of the instrumental/post-rock scene?

Eric : Well there's definitely a lack of a scene. Instrumental/post-rock music is very niche but with niches comes loyal fans who are truly about the creation of music rather than the factors that surround it. That's the best part, and is what makes Hadoken keep playing. I think it's hard for people to either have the patience or affinity towards instrumental or post-rock music because without a singer many people think that music isn't anything without one. So crossing that barrier and showing people that the music itself can have its own voice is really important. Some people will open up and some people will just ignore or block it out. Either way as long as somebody walks away with a new outlook on life and music, we as a band are happy and feel accomplished. I used to remember going to the town VFW to see pop punk shows back when I was in high school and those were some of the best times of my life. The music felt like it had such a strong community and people supported it. Ever since then, music scenes have seemed to be less frequent and rampant. Maybe I'm growing up, but it's hard for instrumental and post-rock to have a definite scene because it's almost entirely more diverse, making it more broader and vague than say a hardcore scene or indie rock scene.

Do you think that the Internet created virtual communities that "destroyed" the real ones,or do you believe that online forums are helping more than harming?

Eric : I think most online forums and communities are fantastic tools and I wouldn't know half the music I know now without the help of online forums and music websites throughout the internet. In a sense, these communities bring people together from places far away from their own home in topics and interests they share in common, so in that sense it is extremely useful and fun. I have actually met up with a few people on a couple of small forums I frequent to go to a show or two, so that's really cool. I feel like if anything is stopping a scene from maintaining is the idea that people will be people, which is unpredictable. We live in a society where there is so much to do sometimes that it is overwhelming and people like to stay in an do nothing a lot of the time.

What are the main ideas behind Hadoken's "Luminary"?

Eric :The album itself was mainly our true first effort as a band because before the current lineup of the band, there were other members and songs already written. Our previous album "The Ancient Machine" had a couple songs that were written by Will Theis, one of the original members and the rest were created after. We were new as a band with the current lineup so our styles and songwriting wasn't the most concrete. Luminary we feel is though and is a great example of who we are as a band now and what we were before. Every member in the band brings something new to the table and we kind of bring ideas from there in forming unique songs. If you want to know some more, Will Theis (one of the guitarists) did a short film project at school about the band that is on youtube.

You can watch it here (it's in three parts):

What are the band's plans for the near future?

Eric : Well we have a nice little East coast tour set up in July so that should be awesome. Other than that we have just started writing new material and we can't wait to release another album. It's all so early to say anything but we feel as though we keep getting more creative with our song writing. For us, as long as we're playing shows and making music we're happy.

What inspires you to write a song?

Eric : Well it's whatever we're feeling at one particular moment or time. Like I said earlier, usually one of us will come in with a theme or idea in which we all then try to build upon. From there as the song is being constructed, we also think about a central theme. But essentially the songs we write are somewhat random and a culmination of what we are thinking of the time.