Posted in Whathaveyou on November 8th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Released earlier this year on Napalm, Greenleaf‘s Rise Above the Meadow (review here) remains one of 2016’s highlights in heavy rock, flooding with memorable tracks, an energetic live feel and unabashed joy for kicking ass that few can match. They’ve been touring steady — and by that I mean hard — since before it came out, and after crisscrossing continental Europe alongside Fatso Jetson between September and October on a tour that included stops at Up in Smoke and Keep it Low, the Swedish four-piece have just announced a quick UK run for November into December that presumably will close out their year. Though one never knows. They might sneak in a few more shows before 2017 hits.
Last I heard, Greenleaf were still planning to arrive on US shores for the first time in 2017 as well. Having been fortunate enough to see them live before, I can safely attest that’s news for which you’re going to want to (continue to) keep watch.
Desertscene, which puts on Desertfest London and is promoting these UK dates, had this to say:
Desertscene are pleased to announce that Swedish hard rockers Greenleaf will be over for a tour of the UK in November and December.
Starting life as a side-project of Dozer’s Tommi Holappa and Bengt Bäcke – as well as Daniel Lidén of Demon Cleaner and Peder Bergstrand of Lowrider – Greenleaf have grown far beyond the side-project moniker into one of the leading lights of the European stoner rock scene.
Spanning almost two decades, the band has seen quite a revolving door of members, but for every lineup change Greenleaf has seen, they’ve added more to their sound; as their extensive back catalogue shows. From 2000’s self-titled EP, right through to this year’s pounding Rise Above the Meadow, Greenleaf’s hard rock/stoner hybrid has evolved and grown; and that sound is best experienced live. Their domination on the very first day of the debut incarnation of Desertfest London in 2012 was for many the first great memory taken from the annual juggernaut.
That was four and a half years ago. Since then, Greenleaf’s sound has grown and grown. Don’t miss your chance to take a hit of Greenleaf. Book your tickets today.
Greenleaf UK tour: 28th November – London 29th November – Oxford 1st December – Edinburgh 2nd December – Coventry 3rd December – Cardiff
There are various supports for these shows including Steak, Desert Storm, GRIFTER, for more information on supports & tickets please click the link below:
Posted in Whathaveyou on September 28th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
The final addition to the lineup for Up in Smoke 2016, which starts this Friday at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland? Camping space. Namely the floor of the venue, which will be cleaned after the last band finishes each night so that fest goers can grab their sleeping bags and bed down for the night, only to find breakfast waiting when they roll back to consciousness the next morning. I’ve never slept on a venue floor before. That would be a new one. But provided they get the beer/other fluids up, which I’ve no doubt they’ll be able to do because it’s Switzerland and things like that increase the likelihood that anyone gives a shit about what they’re doing, it seems like a cool way to achieve total immersion in a festival atmosphere. I’ve never gone camping either, though, so don’t necessarily take my word as an expert or anything.
With the festival’s most massive lineup yet, Up in Smoke 2016 kicks off this Friday. A new trailer for the fest with some 1000mods in it has been posted and you can find that under the camping info and complete billing below:
SOUND OF LIBERATION and Z7 KONZERTFABRIK PRATTELN proudly present the 4th edition of UP IN SMOKE INDOOR FESTIVAL on September 30th and October 1st 2016! Musical Highlights include Electric Wizard, Yob, Truckfighters, Pentagram and many many more.
Many of you asked for the chance to sleep over in the venue, like we offered in the last editions. Here´s the procedure:
After the last band is done playing, we will go on partying with Dj music for another hour. Then afterwards, we will ask everybody to step out of the main hall for a few minutes. The floor will be cleaned and covered with a sheet so that the place gets clean for all our “in site – campers”. If you want to sleep over in the venue, you should bring your sleeping bag and camping mat. Upon your arrival on the festival site you can store your belongings in the wardrobe and get it back for the night.
In the morning, we will offer you a nice breakfast with coffee/tea, bread and breadrolls, meat and cheese and sweet stuff to get you in shape for the next festival day! The price for sleep over and breakfast is 15.- CHF per person/night. There´s no option of separate bookings like ” only sleep over and no breakfast” or “only breakfast”.
Up in Smoke 2016 Final Line Up Electric Wizard Pentagram Truckfighters YOB Elder Greenleaf Monkey 3 Cough Black Cobra 1000mods Yawning Man Fatso Jetson Dyse Wucan Desert Mountain Tribe Giobia High Fighter Mother’s Cake Ephedra
Also not to forget: No overlapping set times, sleep over/breakfast possibiity in the venue + some more specials to be announced soon to sweeten you the “TWO NOT TO BE MISSED DAYS OF VOLUME WORSHIP” !!! Grab your ticket (2-day passes) right now on our website, on www.z-7.ch and on our Facebook (tab ‘Buy Tickets’). If you prefer to buy an original, real hard-ticket, our partner Woolheads is selling them!
Posted in Whathaveyou on July 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Set for Aug. 13 and 14 in Geel, Belgium, Yellowstock X is sort of where the summer festival season meets the fall festival season in Europe, thus reinforcing the notion that there is at this point no such thing as a festival season at all, and awesome shows are just a year-round occurrence. Either way, the lineup for the 10th edition of the fest is a striking international assemblage, from Kadavar confirmed to headline to the psych jams of Hills, The Midnight Ghost Train‘s bluster-blues, Zone Six‘s space rock triumphs, Greenleaf‘s hard-driving choruses and on and on.
With bands from Russia to the US, as well as Belgian acts like Flying Horseman, the why-would-you-call-your-band-this Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat, Tangled Horns and The Glücks, it looks like a well-curated mix of groups and should make for a great precursor to the busy autumn ahead.
Complete lineup and headliner announcement follow, courtesy of the fest:
The Line-up is complete!!! We are siked to have the almighty KADAVAR to headline Sunday August 14th at Yellowstock Festival 10th Anniversary Edition!!! These retro rockers combine the finest 70’s Rock with enough Psychedelic & Stoner grooves to let y’all band or move!! IF you don’t know’m yet make sure to check’m out!!
Spread the words boys & girls; mothers & fathers; Psychedelic MoFo’s and all the rest!! See you at Yellowstock 2016!!!
ALL BANDS CONFIRMED KADAVAR (Ger) MICHAEL ROTHER plays NEU!, Harmonia and selected solo works (Ger) HILLS (Se) GREENLEAF (Se) THE OSCILLATION (Uk) THE MACHINE (Nl) K-X-P (Fin) SIENA ROOT (Se) ZONE SIX (Ger) THE FLYING EYES (Usa) FLYING HORSEMAN (B) PAUW (Nl) THE MIDNIGHT GHOST TRAIN (Usa) TERMINAL CHEESECAKE (Uk) BIRTH OF JOY (Nl) KISS THE ANUS OF A BLACK CAT (B) LAY LLAMAS (It) THE GRAND ASTORIA (Rus) BLOWN OUT (Uk) THE GLÜCKS (B) MANTRA MACHINE (Nl) TANGLED HORNS (B)
Posted in Features on July 5th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Six months in, 2016 has been interesting to say the least. Every year provides its share of highlights — we’re fortunate enough to live in a crowded age when it comes to people doing quality work — but there have been a few unexpected offerings that have grabbed attention and held it well, and as we progress into the second half of the year, it seems entirely likely the pattern will continue.
All the better. As styles and scenes continue to develop, from Swedish boogie to West Coast psych to the party vibes out of the Pacific Northwest, bands are growing and changing. Everything is in motion, personalities are taking shape, and crucially, the new generation of groups is finding its footing building on the traditions of the past. Some of it is definitely formative, but individualism is rarely immediate, and I think we are at an interesting point as a crop of acts is figuring out where they want to be in terms of sound and what are their aspirations musically and practically. The question of the day might be, “How far can we push this?”
And of questions, that’s a good one to be working from. I’ve been asking it myself, but as the social media landscape continues to grow and integrate into the lives of a listenership that’s become accustomed to that kind of immediate access as well as the convenience of streaming outlets like Bandcamp, Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud, the answer seems to be that the expansion will keep up, at least for a while yet. Frankly, it’s already gone on longer than I would’ve expected for how fickle trends are and the short attention span of the general public, but ‘heavy,’ as a worldwide concept, has continued to flourish.
Part of that stems from the excellent and progressive work being done by current bands — part of it is marketing — and at least for my own taste, those acts pushing the lines of genre seem to be doing so with a brazen confidence that they’ll be able to bring their audience along with them. So far in 2016, that’s pretty much how it’s worked out.
At the end of the year I’ll be doing a Top 30 list, and I expect many of these records will feature there as well, so I’ll try to keep this relatively brief in light of that, but here’s where my head has been at:
The Top 15 Albums of 2016 so Far
1. Mars Red Sky, Apex III: Praise for the Burning Soul
2. Greenleaf, Rise Above the Meadow
3. Gozu, Revival
4. Elephant Tree, Elephant Tree
5. The Golden Grass, Coming Back Again
6. Zun, Burial Sunrise
7. Young Hunter, Young Hunter
8. Comet Control, Center of the Maze
9. Wo Fat, Midnight Cometh
10. Conan, Revengeance
11. Causa Sui, Return to Sky
12. Black Rainbows, Stellar Prophecy
13. Goatess, Purgatory Under New Management
14. Blaak Heat, Shifting Mirrors
15. Lord, Awake
Honorable mention (in no order): Curse the Son, Holy Grove, Mondo Drag, Joy, Black Black Black, Spidergawd, Beastmaker, High Fighter, La Chinga, Church of Misery, Droids Attack, Cough, Beastwars, New Keepers of the Water Towers, Conclave, Valley of the Sun, Throttlerod, It’s Not Night: It’s Space, Ancient Warlocks, Bright Curse, Naxatras, Kaleidobolt, Atomikylä, Black Lung, Lord Vicar, Pooty Owldom, Vokonis, Electric Citizen, Stone Machine Electric, Graves at Sea, and Merchant.
Some quick notes on the list. First, it’s pretty fluid. On any given day, records from the honorable mentions list could be in there with the numbered stuff, and between the two, I find it striking and encouraging how many of these releases are full-length debuts. Just two in the top 10 with Elephant Tree and Zun — another will be added when King Buffalo‘s album is out in August; we’ll get there — but more in the honorable mentions between Holy Grove, High Fighter, Vokonis, Merchant, Graves at Sea and Bright Curse.
To go with that, there are some standbys. I’ve made no secret of my enduring affection for what France’s Mars Red Sky are bringing to the sphere of heavy psychedelia, so to have their Apex III: Praise for the Burning Soul as my album of 2016 so far doesn’t seem out of line. It’s why I booked them to headline the All-Dayer in August (tickets here), and I don’t see that appreciation diminishing anytime soon. The path they’re on seems to me to be one of the most crucial going worldwide, and in a group like Elephant Tree, we can already see the influence they’re having.
No surprise that Gozu would end up near the top — their 2013 album, The Fury of a Patient Man, featured highly on that year’s list as well — and Revival is an even more dynamic outing. It’s pretty much even with Greenleaf in my mind at this point, but I gave the Swedes the edge for the bold forward stride that Rise Above the Meadow represents in its sound and scope. Both of those records will be top-tenners at the end of the year as well, if not top five.
Speaking of bold strides, The Golden Grass‘ more progressive take on Coming Back Again and their melodic charm continue to resonate, and between the expansive desert soundscaping of Zun‘s Burial Sunrise bringing together Gary Arce (Yawning Man), Sera Timms (Ides of Gemini) and John Garcia (ex-Kyuss, etc.), and the brooding darker heavy rock of Young Hunter‘s self-titled, it’s been a half-year covering a wide sonic range for sure. Comet Control‘s second album is still pretty fresh in my mind, having just reviewed it last week, but its quality is damn near undeniable and I can’t stop listening to it, so it goes in the top 10.
And rounding out to first 10 are two more mainstays in Wo Fat and Conan, who’ve had releases featured in lists around these parts for a while now but who still offer thrills in their newest collections, Wo Fat‘s Midnight Cometh bringing their jazz-jam-fuzz to new levels of exploration and Conan‘s Revengeance building on the aural crush of their prior work and finding founder Jon Davis with a hand-sculpted rhythm section (including producer Chris Fielding) very much suited to the band’s purposes. Their shifting instrumental dynamic made Revengeance almost like a second debut, but it was an album that couldn’t have been born except out of their experience and knowing what works in their aesthetic. Davis once told me he would never try to fix what wasn’t broken in Conan. As he’s lived up to that, they’ve become one of the most recognizable heavy bands in the world.
In the 11-15 range, a pretty broad cross-section between the flowing instrumental experiments of Causa Sui, the motor-ready space-psych of Black Rainbows — whose accomplishments seem to almost be coming too fast for the audience to catch up — the traditional-minded stoner-doom of Goatess, Blaak Heat‘s frenetic desert prog and reign-in-chaos sludge of Lord‘s Awake, but sonic diversity is a strength in the current and the upcoming generations of bands, and though some remain underappreciated as yet — Black Rainbows, Blaak Heat, Lord particularly so — it’s tough to ignore the sonic expansion underway in the US, Europe and beyond.
I’m not going to do a separate list for EPs, demos and splits before December, but thought there were more than a few non-full-length releases that warranted attention. From my notes: Mars Red Sky‘s EP, Dos Malés, Bison Machine/SLO/Wild Savages split, The Skull EP, Iron Jawed Guru, LSD and the Search for God, Cultist, River Cult, Karma to Burn, Wren‘s Host EP, Gorilla vs. Grifter, Goya, Brume‘s Donkey, Shallows‘ The Moon Rises, Sun Voyager/The Mad Doctors split, Earthless/Harsh Toke split, and the Ragged Barracudas/Pushy split. And many others, no doubt.
Still to Come
I alluded earlier to the King Buffalo album, Orion, which has significant top 10 potential for December. It’s officially out in August, or it would’ve been counted here. Some of these I’ve heard and some I haven’t, but also be on the lookout for: Foghound (out this week), Neurosis (album of the year potential), Worshipper, Monolord‘s new EP, Wight, Slomatics, The Wounded Kings, Electric Wizard, Geezer, Devil to Pay, Blues Pills, Baby Woodrose, Backwoods Payback, Beelzefuzz, Them Bulls, Cloud Catcher, Captain Crimson, and of course, Mos Generator.
If I’ve forgotten anyone in any part of this list, I hope you’ll let me know in the comments. Otherwise, thanks for reading and here’s to a great rest of 2016!
Posted in Whathaveyou on June 10th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Good show. I can’t think of any other way to say it. Pitting Swedish heavy rockers Greenleaf — who premiered their new video here earlier this week — and desert legends Fatso Jetson against each other for a European stint? Yeah, that’s a good show. Greenleaf of course are out supporting 2016’s excellent Rise Above the Meadow (review here), while Fatso Jetson‘s latest outing was a 2015 split with Farflung (review here) on Heavy Psych Sounds.
Both groups were previously announced for the Up in Smoke 2016 and Keep it Low 2016 festivals — both of which are put together by Sound of Liberation — so that they’d head in similar directions makes sense, but still, for anyone who happens to be in their path on a given night, this is an awesome two-band bill that one imagines will be joined nightly by choice locals wherever it goes. Run starts Sept. 23 and ends at Keep it Low on Oct. 22. Badass.
Greenleaf also have other select live dates coming up in the next couple months. You’ll find those listed with the shows for this tour below, as culled from the social medias:
Sound of Liberation UG presents Greenleaf – Rise Above The Meadow Tour 2016 (*/support by FATSO JETSON) 25.06. Finowfurt / Roadrunner’s Paradise & Race 61 Fest (Ger) 22.07. Trömso / Bukta Festival (Nor) 29.07. Aschaffenburg / Mühlbergfest (Ger) 30.07. Breitenbach / Burg Herzberg (Ger) 05.08. Beelen / Krach am Bach (Ger) 12.08. Turku / Kiarama (Fin) 14.08. Geel / Yellowstock (Bel) 21.09. Kiel / Schaubude (Ger) 22.09. Kassel / Schlachthof (Ger) 23.09. Aschaffenburg / Colosaal (Ger)* 24.09. Regensburg / Alte Mälzerei (Ger)* 26.09. Berlin / Cassiopeia (Ger)* 27.09. Copenhagen / Loppen (Den)* 28.09. Hamburg / Headcrash (Ger)* 29.09. Hannover / Chez Heinz (Ger)* 30.09. Jena / KUBA (Ger)* 01.10. Pratteln / Up in Smoke(Ch)* 02.10. Lausanne / Le Romandie (Ch)* 04.10. Paris/ Le Backstage (Fra)* 05.10. Bordeaux / Void (Fra)* 06.10. Nantes / Ferrailleur (Fra)* 07.10. Utrecht / DBs (NL)* 08.10. Vorselaar / Jeugdhuis (Bel)* 10.10. Leipzig / Werk 2 (Ger)* 11.10. Dresden / Scheune (Ger)* 12.10. Poznan / Bazyla (Pol)* 13.10. Katowicze / Kobra (Pol)* 14.10. Gdansk / Ucho (Pol)* 15.10. Vilinius / Kablys (Lt)* 16.10. Warsaw / Hydrozagadka (Pol)* 18.10. Zagreb / Klub Attack (Cro)* 19.10. Trieste / Tetris (Ita)* 20.10. Salzburg / Rockhouse (Aut)* 21.10. Vienna / Fuzzfest (Aut)* 22.10. Munich / Keep it Low (Ger)*
One would hardly call the ascent of Swedish heavy rockers Greenleaf sudden, considering their self-titled debut EP was released in 2000, but there was a clear point at which the band decided they would become a full-time act. It was sometime after 2012’s Nest of Vipers (review here). That album was the band’s third for Small Stone after 2007’s landmark Agents of Ahriman (review here) and 2003’s Secret Alphabets, and while for years Greenleaf had existed as a side-project for Dozer guitarist Tommi Holappa and a number of other compatriots — among them early Dozer producer Bengt Bäcke and Truckfighters vocalist Oskar Cedermalm — the band very clearly decided it was time to hit the road, and to hit it hard.
This required some shakeups. Cedermalm out as singer, Greenleaf brought in vocalist Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson for 2014’s Trails and Passes (review here), which offered an approach far more stripped down than its predecessor but was a crucial reset for the band in light of 2016’s Rise Above the Meadow (review here). Their first for Napalm Records and recorded by one-time drummer Karl Daniel Lidén with Dozer‘s Johan Rockner on bass — Hans Fröhlich now has the role — their sixth album overall reinvents the band’s context, building on what Greenleaf was before to shape what they’ll become going forward. What’s without a doubt one of the finest heavy rock outings of the year, it’s marked by a standout performance from Jonsson as frontman and by the consistency of Holappa‘s songwriting, which has always served as the uniting factor in Greenleaf‘s work.
When I spoke to Holappa about the band, they were just off the “Up in Smoke” tour with My Sleeping Karma and Australia’s Mammoth Mammoth (both labelmates), and the guitarist talked about the lineup shifts in the group, the prospect of their making a long-awaited US debut live early next year, his view of the relationship between Dozer and Greenleaf at this point, establishing Greenleaf‘s dynamic and beginning the process of moving forward from Rise Above the Meadow.
It’s all the more fitting that the band should focus on their live presentation in their new video for “Tyrant’s Tongue,” for which I’m happy today to host the premiere, as they’ve become so much a live act and that’s a decent portion of where my conversation with Holappa was geared. About the clip, the band said, “This is a display of what we usually do on tours. Just in case you where all wondering. Hope you can dig it!”
Please find the video below, followed by the complete, 2,600-word Q&A of the interview, and enjoy:
Greenleaf, “Tyrant’s Tongue” official video
Greenleaf Interview with Tommi Holappa:
How was the “Up in Smoke” tour?
The “Up in Smoke” tour was really, really good. Especially, yeah. Two cool bands, My Sleeping Karma and Mammoth Mammoth, us. It was three different kinds of bands, but it all fit really well together. I think we had seven out of 11 shows sold out.
After Greenleaf wasn’t ever a full-time touring band for so long, it’s great that now you’re getting out and doing that. Have you gotten any gauge as to the response to the material?
I think the response has been good overall. I don’t know how many reviews we’ve got so far but it’s been a whole bunch, most have been really good.
How has the process been for you, of taking the band out on the road? You had to rework the lineup, can you talk about putting Greenleaf together to the point where you can go on tour?
You know how it is, we’ve been changing members (laughs) I don’t know. Especially after Bengt left and when Johan joined the band, it was like, “okay, this is the lineup.” I told him that we would tour a lot, we would have a lot to do next year when the album comes out, he said “no problem, I will work it out.” He’s studying, has two kids and he has a job also. But he said he would work it out, so I said, “okay you’re in.” He was in the band for like six months and then it was more like, “can Bengt do this show? That show? I can’t really do this show,” and so on, so we had to sit down and talk with him and say this really didn’t work for us because we need to/want to play a lot. So that’s when we, yeah, we contacted Hans from Grandloom because we’ve known him for a few years. He’s a great guy and an amazing bass player. When we asked he said yes right away. At the moment, I think this is, I will not say this is the lineup that will last for a few years but I hope so (laughs). It feels really good at the moment and Hans is totally into it. He really wants to tour as much as possible, write albums and songs. He’s totally dedicated to Greenleaf now. That’s what we need, we need four guys that are dedicated to do this, this Greenleaf thing.
After Nest of Vipers, when you brought Arvid in, was that something you did building towards getting the band to be more full-time?
Yeah, me and Bengt have talked about that. We did one tour with Oskar. It was sometime after we release Nest of Vipers. We did one tour with him and we felt like, yeah, this is fun we should do more touring with Bengt! Sebastian had just joined as well for that tour. So we said yeah, let’s tour more. We knew that OsKar is yeah – Truckfighters all the time pretty much. So just before Arvid joined the band we asked if he’s ready to tour, and he said yeah, sure. As long as — he was still in his other band at the time. The Humphrey Bogarts, the more pop-rock band he had. But he said he can be in two bands. I don’t know if they really toured but they did a bunch of shows in Sweden. He said we can organize that we tour and then they do their shows when we don’t tour, you know what I mean. Then we said that yeah, you can join the band if you want, and if you can tour, we will do it.
The thing that struck me most when listening to Rise Above the Meadow was how much it really built off of Trails and Passes.
I think that kind of happened naturally for us, because Trails and Passes was the first album with Arvid and Sebastian on drums. That was when we started to get to know each other pretty much. We wrote a bunch of songs and now this feels good, we were really satisfied with Trails and Passes and then we started writing songs for Rise Above the Meadow — we’ve been together for a year at least, almost. So we knew each other and Arvid brought in more of his influences. I guess it’s just natural growth for the band.
Do you feel playing more shows has been a part of that too? Solidifying that chemistry with basically a new lineup?
Yeah. I think that’s — playing a lot of shows, of course we get to know each other or musically getting tighter, working out better. Playing shows and songwriting, yeah, I don’t know (laughs).
How was the time in the studio for Rise Above the Meadow compared to Trails and Passes? Bengt wasn’t on the album or he was?
Was it weird to be in the studio without him?
Not really because I’ve been in the studio with Johan so many times. (laughs) But in a bit, it was because when Johan joined the band, we had already written pretty much half of the songs with Bengt in the band, he joined the band — in the studio — yeah, we didn’t have as much time to rehearse as we wanted to, so some songs he knew and some songs he had to improvise a little bit on in the studio, so it took a little bit longer time that we were used to. Bengt usually knew exactly what to play when he got into the studio. Bengt is a machine. He knows that — I don’t know if I can say this but he knows that you’re supposed to rehearse and be prepared when you go to the studio (laughs). But I know [Johan] was busy with studying and kids and all that. It all worked out fine in the end. Maybe took a few hours more than we were — because we were on a tight schedule. We had four days in the studio and I’m the last one — we recorded everything live, drums, bass and guitar and then when that was done, we go back and fix the bass if there are any mistakes, we’ll redo the bass if there’s any mistakes. Then after the bass, it’s the guitarist. So the longer the fixing the bass takes, the less time I get (laughs). So usually I have the last hours and last half a day in the studio to stress out the solos and everything.
So a little pressure.
A little bit, hopefully next time we can afford to have one more day in the studio (laughs).
You can’t argue with the results.
I’m really satisfied. The experience for this record, it was all a good vibe in the studio. We all had fun and you can hear it on the record, I think.
I like Trails and Passes, and I’m a fan of your songwriting. I feel like Rise Above the Meadow has more energy to it, which I was attributing to the band being more of a live presence. It’s interesting to hear you say that you recorded mostly the basic tracks live, it really comes across.
We did that with Trails and Passes also, recording it live, but it might be like you said — if we played more live, there you have it. Maybe that’s the way the real live song comes from this time. I haven’t really thought about it, but it could be.
The title, Rise Above the Meadow I know is from “A Million Fireflies,” was there something more particular that made you guys take it as the title?
Arvid wrote the lyrics for “A Million Fireflies,” he sent them to me and I saw the line “rise above the meadow” and thought that’s a good album title. I wrote him and asked what he thought and he liked it too. That’s why we chose it. It felt right at the moment as the album title.
Was there any significance to it? Something that made it stand out?
We were talking about still continuing in the same, like the trails and passes — it’s about forests and there’s a mountain on the cover. We still wanted to have the same theme, so when we decided the album would be called Rise Above the Meadow we thought about, yeah, we should definitely have a bear on the cover. It didn’t start with a bear but some animal on the cover because, yeah, we’ve walked into the woods and now we want an animal and then we decided on a bear. After we decided that Sebastian Jerke was doing the cover art, we told him our idea and gave him the album title and song titles, lyrics and of course we don’t have any imaginations and we said yeah, meadow and a bear and he was like. That’s a good idea, give me a couple of days, is it okay if I put a little more of my own ideas in there and be a little more psychedelic? Yeah sure. Do whatever you want. Then he gave us a rough sketch of the cover and I was blown away by it. For me, the album cover is really — I don’t know, have you seen the vinyl?
It’s amazing. There’s a 16-page booklet in it and everything, all the artwork he has done for it, every song has a different picture, it’s amazing. You should tell Mona from Napalm to send you one.
Will you be touring this summer?
Last summer we did so many shows. I think I had one weekend off in like, two or three months last summer. So this summer we will have four weeks off in the middle of the summer, just to keep our girlfriends happy (laughs).
What will you do with that time?
Vacation! I love fishing and I will actually try and fish something. Last year I only fished twice I think. Back to your question, we have some festivals in June and then in August also but in July, maybe one or two shows at the end of July.
I don’t know if you’ll be able to sit still that long.
We’ll see! But it’ll give me some time to write new Greenleaf songs.
Ah! There it is.
I can’t stop playing. We don’t have full songs but we have riffs for four to five new songs already. Keep working (laughs).
What’s the relationship in your mind between Dozer and Greenleaf? It’s almost like they’ve switched where Greenleaf is the centerpiece project.
That’s how it is now because with Dozer, I told the guys whenever you want to do something I am there. If you want to do a tour, we can do that, but Fredrik [Nordin, Dozer guitar/vocals] is not really into doing a tour. So it’s pretty much up to Fredrik what we would do with Dozer if he wants. When he’s up for doing a few shows he just tells us or if we get them like we did Up in Smoke, or if we get a good offer I ask Fredrik if he wants to do it, he says yes or no and that’s it. I know we did Desertfest in Belgium last year and Johan and Olle [Mårthans, Dozer drums], they were like we should write some new songs, we should really do something. I was like sure, we can do that. They talk to Fredrik after a few beers also, (laughs). Frederick was like yeah, we can try. Then we decided — Johan, me and Fredrik we live in Borlange all of us and Olle lives in Örebro so we told Olle just — and his parents still live here. So he’s here every once in awhile, contact us when you’re here and let’s rehearse and see what happens. But, nothing happened. (Laughs) He didn’t contact us, but we will see. We have been talking about maybe writing, we will not do a full album but maybe a few songs and just release it digitally or maybe do a 7″ or something. I think we need to do that, if we want to do more shows we can’t just keep on playing the same songs over and over again. We’ve done that now for three or four years, three or four shows a year. Time to give the fans something new. I think it will happen, but it will take some time. Maybe not this year, or next year.
But having built Greenleaf as the focus, do you feel like there are lessons you’ve learned on how to manage a band internally that from Dozer that you take to Greenleaf?
Of course I’ve learned a lot with Dozer. How to do things and how to work with other people (laughs). In the early days there weren’t discussions between band members — you do too much stuff! You decide all the time which riffs are good and which are bad. But with Dozer, those years were — it was the same feeling we have in Greenleaf. We do everything together. That’s how you keep everyone in the band happy, just writing songs together. I come up with the riffs, then we play it, jam it at the rehearsal room and if it feels good, it feels good. If one person is not happy with the song, than we will not finish the song. When everybody feels it’s good, that’s a new Greenleaf or a new Dozer song. Try to keep everybody happy and everybody involved, and then everybody will be.
Any chance of a US tour?
With Greenleaf, yes. In [early 2017].
I heard a rumor of Greenleaf and Clutch.
That’s probably rumors but I know that Clutch have invited us to come, if they are on tour when we go there, yeah they invited us to play with them but I don’t know if they’re touring because we got the dates. If Clutch isn’t on tour at the time, maybe we can do some shows with them. I know we’ll do both coasts and everything in between. More than that, I don’t know.
Glad you’re coming over.
Finally. People have been asking us for two years, maybe next year. But finally we have decided, let’s do it now. It’s about time.
Will you do more in Europe before that other than the festivals?
Yeah, we’ll do a headline tour in September / October — a four-week tour, a lot of shows. I think we have the four-week tour, then three weeks at home and then we do the US tour after that. I don’t expect to make a lot of money to do the US tour so we have to play Europe to be able to pay for the US tour.
Bring a lot of t-shirts to sell.
Yep. We need to bring a lot of merch to pay for the flights.
What is the timeline on writing?
Yeah, hopefully. Then, I know after the US tour, it’s not confirmed yet but we might go to Australia in February next year. But after that, we will take two months off and finish our new songs. I’m pretty sure there will be a new Greenleaf album next year, after the summer sometime. That’s just my guess, but after the summer next year.
Posted in Whathaveyou on May 6th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
By my count, Up in Smoke 2016 currently has 13 bands slated for its lineup. According to the ticket page, the end goal is a total of 20 — listed as Electric Wizard and 19 others, which is fair enough — so they’re well on their way to unveiling the complete bill, still more than four months off from the fest itself. I’ll admit to having missed an announcement (if you admit to having missed that I missed it) before this latest one, which brings Greenleaf, Wucan and Desert Mountain Tribe, but better late than never in including it here, especially since it adds Truckfighters, Elder, 1000mods, and Cough, as well as Swiss instrumentalists Ephedra, to the mix. That’s enough for a fest right there.
Of the latest bunch, Greenleaf easily steal the headline. The Swedish outfit will be out heralding their latest LP and Napalm Records debut, Rise Above the Meadow (review here), which continues to astonish. I’ll have an interview with guitarist Tommi Holappa up in the next couple weeks, so keep an eye out for that, but in the meantime, here’s the latest from Up in Smoke 2016:
We couldn’t post that before Desertfest as we planned, but those of you who were in Berlin last week-end got the news… for others, there you go! Swedish heavy-rockers Greenleaf, Germand kräuterrock quartet Wucan and English psych-noisenik three-piece Desert Mountain Tribe are confirmed for UP in SMOKE indoor festival in Z7 2016!
Alongside the previously announced bands, we are proud to add to this year’s line-up:
– Swedish high-voltage fuzz rockers Truckfighters, – Massachusetts’ ultimate progressive stoner rock trio Elder, – Virginia’s sludge/doom mongers COUGH, – Hellenic grooviest psychedelic outfit 1000mods, – and Switzerland’s instrumental heavy rockers Ephedra!
E-tickets can be purchased on www.upinsmoke.de, on www.z-7.ch and on our Facebook. If you prefer to buy a hard-ticket, our partner Woolheads is selling them!
20 Bands – 2 Stages 2 days of Volume Worship
No Overlapping Stage Times Indoor Camping possible
Posted in Whathaveyou on April 27th, 2016 by H.P. Taskmaster
Seems I missed a recent announcement from Keep it Low 2016 — aka Keep it Low Issue #4 — whereby the Munich-based autumnal gathering added Kind, 1000mods and Duel to its lineup. All three interesting picks. It’ll be Kind‘s first time abroad, and working with Duel means involvement from Heavy Psych Sounds, so it’s not such a surprise that in the latest round of additions, we also get Black Rainbows joining on. Elder take their place at/near the top of the bill as well, and probably the biggest question there is for Keep it Low 2016 at this point is whether or not the new Elder LP, which I hear is in the works, will be out by the time October gets here. I know I’m curious as hell to know what the trio have come up with this time around.
Also bringing their formidable presence to Keep it Low 2016 are Greenleaf, whose new album, Rise Above the Meadow, stands tall among the finest heavy rockers of the year so far, and the previously announced Monkey3, Colour Haze and Toner Low. It already looked like a good time. Now it looks like an even better one.
Keep It Low – Festival 2016 gets even better with the addition of:
– Massachusetts’ ultimate progressive stoner rock trio Elder (whose last album “Lore” is considered as one of the best releases of 2015),
– Sweden´s fantastic Heavy Rockers Greenleaf (who released their new album “Rise Above The Meadow” via Napalm Records in February),
– and Italian fuzz-fueled rockers BLACK RAINBOWS (who released a few weeks ago their fifth LP “Stellar Prophecy” via HeavyPsych Sounds)!
– the Hellenic grooviest psychedelic quartet 1000mods,
– the brand new Texas-based southern heavy rock outfit DUEL (featuring 2 ex Scorpion Child members)
– and Boston’s tripped out stoner doom supergroup KIND_band (featuring members of Elder, Black Pyramid, Sasquatch, Roadsaw and Rozamov).
Kind released their debut album “Rocket Science” last year via Ripple Music, Duel unleashed their first full length “Fears Of The Dead” in February via Heavy Psych Sounds, and 1000Mods are currently working on their third one, to be released next fall.