Down the Hill 2021: Monomyth, Psychonaut, Grotto and More Playing

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 2nd, 2021 by JJ Koczan

An outdoor all-dayer fest in Belgium? Boy that takes me back. Remember when stuff like that used to happen on the planet where we lived, and you almost kind of took it for granted because, hell, it was Europe, and surely the next weekend there would also be a killer festival happening somewhere, pretty much year-round, in and out of “festival season,” which was well on its way to becoming a four-season phenomenon.

What’s that you say? This isn’t an announcement from two years ago, but something actually happening in the future? The near future? And it might actually be happening? And Monomyth are playing? Well hell’s bells, I’m not even sure how to feel about that. Good, I guess.

Wonder who the mystery act is here. They’re Dutch. Splinter maybe? Temple Fang? Someone who can’t say their name for fear of being stopped at the border, maybe — mind you I have no idea if such travel restrictions are in place. Would be nice to see the guys from Supersonic Blues getting out. I have no idea, but it’s fun to guess. Name a Dutch band. Maybe it’s them.

Down the Hill‘s announcement is so long it’s like it’s trying to make up for lost time. Have at it:

down the hill 2021 poster

Hi Psych, fuzz and riff lovers! Are you ready?

We are! But first…

For the moment there are still no clear government regulations about festivals our size for the end of August.

We believe Down The Hill can only take place when there are no bubbles, no 1,5m regulations, a big fireplace to hang in the evening or night, big hugs now and then, well you get the idea. So, let’s wait and see. Things will get clear soon!

But for now we organize the festival as it would be a normal year!

If it seems to become not possible this way in the coming months, we will postpone it again till next year. All tickets will be fully refunded in this case, so don’t hesitate to get your ticket(s)! We believe in it!
And now… something you’re all been waiting for…

Here it is, Down The Hill 2021 Line-up!

We open the day with the Bad Slaves, this 4 piece rock band from Bekkevoort inspired by the great rockbands from the 60’s and 70’s. Never the less, they remain children of their time. They have a passion for tube amps, wide open drums and passionate vocals. Their songs blend heavy riffs with gentle and sometimes psychedelic wandering. It ain’t stoner, heavy blues, loudrock, garage or hardrock, it’s a bit of all of that.

Next in line is Grotto, they are a young three-piece instrumental band from Belgium whose music draws from all corners of the rock universe, weaving a fabric of sound both familiar and otherworldly. Founded by friends Marvin Dinneweth, Jeroen Moerman and Arno Tucker Cottyn in the 2010s, the group released two LPs in quick succession before landing at Stickman for their upcoming third record.

The building blocks of Grotto’s sound could be described as riffs, as they are heavy, groovy and dense; yet the band relies on open chords, spacious sounds and jangly tones that give their music a unique voice in the heavy rock world. Working in long song formats usually exceeding 10 minutes, their songs bloom and evolve in non-traditional form, leaning more towards progressive and post rock than stoner and doom.

Grotto joined Stickman in 2019 with their third LP Lantern of Gius, an ambitious 2-track album that propelled them to new standing in the heavy psychedelic music scene.

Then it’s time for a surprise act, for now, all we can tell you is: They are from the Netherlands.

Next on stage: HEISA, rarely has a band had a more fitting name, three grounded blokes from Limburg with musical gold in their hands.

Possessed yet measured. Uneasy yet mesmerising. Disorienting yet catchy. HEISA is all of these things and preferably at the same time. In the best tradition of unconventional bands ranging from Tool across Battles to Warpaint, Jacques Nomdefamille (also Peuk), Koen Castermans and Jonathan Frederix have forged ten songs that run the gamut from surprise and enchantment to castigation.

On their maiden full-length ‘joni’, HEISA plays around with rhythms, atmospheres and keyboards while choosing their moments to break the painstakingly constructed tension with punishing guitars and waves of distortion. The vocals do not monopolise the listener’s attention but instead complement the other instruments. The result is an entirely unique sound.

On the road HEISA leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Their live shows are exciting, surprising, slightly theatrical and explore the boundaries of the humanly bearable. Those who have had the privilege of seeing HEISA live become a fan once the experience has had the chance to sink in.

‘Let Go’, the first single off ‘joni’, met with rave reviews and was picked up by radio station Studio Brussel/Eigen Kweek and by indie station Pinguin Radio (NL).

Pothamus will guide us into the evening with heavy walls of sound. They consists of three gentlemen from Mechelen who managed to impress with their energetic live performances over the years. In keeping with their big brother Amenra’s style, they opt for minimal interaction with the audience and let the music speak for itself. Let yourself be carried away in a dark universe of thin drones supported by Spartan drum rolls, ferocious bass sounds and repetitive guitar parts with conjuring, psalm-like vocals in the background. It sounds like a whole sandwich, but one that is smeared with the right ingredients for the added value seeker and lover of mood setting in music.

At the end of 2019, the gentlemen went to the Ardennes forests to work on the first full-fledged record called Raya. For fifty minutes we get monolithic walls of sound interspersed with the atmosphere of desolate landscapes and esoteric moods. In terms of production, the drum is at the forefront to hit the tribal tones on songs like Orath and Raya. They are the strongest and longest songs of the album, where ample time was taken to allow the aforementioned elements to interact with each other. In the mix, the ethereal vocals were just echoed in the background, which makes it seem that the band was singing psalms in a church. Concepts that are regularly performed live at Consouling Sounds and that often turn concerts into unique experiences. In addition to the drums, the bass guitar also gets its prominent place in the mix to emphasize the drum lines and the threatening atmospheres.

The song Viso scored a very nice 62nd place in Studio Brussel’s heaviest list. Ow, and Orath at number 462 and Raya at place 553! Not bad at ALL guys!

Let’s keep it in the neighbourhood with PSYCHONAUT! Also a psychedelic post-metal collective from Mechelen, Belgium. Their signature sound is heavily influenced by 70’s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, but also draws inspiration from more modern sources like Tool and Amenra.

Even though the band only consists of a traditional three-piece line-up, they are known to deliver a constantly compelling live show that grabs you by the throat from the first second to the last. Contrast and variation are the two main anchors on which they base their musical ideas.

Raw, convincing and designed to create a perpetually fascinating experience, often combining their wall of sound with intense visual landscapes and light shows by like-minded artists.

Since 2013, they have released 2 physical EP’s – ’24 Trips Around the Sun’ (2014) and ‘Ferocious Fellowman’ (2016) – which they have performed live throughout Belgium and The Netherlands. Desertfest, Rock Herk and Putrock are only a few of the stages they have conquered in the past.

Psychonaut has released their debut full album – ‘Unfold The God Man’ – on September 1st, 2018. Recorded by Chiaran Verheyden at the honourable Daft Studios in Malmedy, Unfold The God Man is an intricate concept album dealing with strong philosophical and existential themes, ultimately describing mankind’s re-ascension to a higher level of consciousness. The nearly 70-minute-long album contains material from over 3 years of incessant writing, arranging and recording. In 2019, the band has presented the album live on festivals such as Alcatraz Festival, Rock Herk, Roadkill Festival, Maanrock, Retie Rockt and many more.

‘Unfold The God Man’ has been re-released on Pelagic records to spread this awesome music over the entire world!

Also in 2020 these guys haven’t been sitting still, many live streams, an split EP with Säver on the Pelagic record label, The fall of the consciousness reached a great 26th spot on Studio Brussels, heaviest list.

We end the day with five flying Dutchmen who make the most thrilling instrumental soundscapes. Formed in The Hague in 2011, Monomyth (official) are not afraid to push the boundaries of space / stoner rock. After playing festivals like Roadburn and Desertfest, 2019 sees the band starting a new chapter with their fourth album. On Orbis Quadrantis the band delves into unexplored waters, yet their meticulous open-ended psychedelics remain in-between Ariel Pink and Pink Floyd.

“The road we take always remains undefined. We seek out adventures in new sounds and a new approach. In that respect, this album is very different from our previous work, as it’s much more complete sonically. Consider Orbis Quadrantis to be a shell: hold it up to your ear, and you’ll hear the rustling of the sea.” – Monomyth

Monomyth was founded by drummer Sander Evers and (now ex) bassist Selwyn Slop. In addition, the band consists of Peter van der Meer (keys, guitar), Tjerk Stoop (digital instruments, guitar), guitarist Boudewijn Bonebakker (Gorefest / Gingerpig) and bassist Jason van den Bergh who replaced Selwyn Slop in early 2020.

In September 2013 Monomyth released their untitled first album on Burning World Records. The band switched to Suburban Records where they completed their trilogy with the release of Further (2014) and Exo (2016). Monomyth has toured all over Europe, with festival appearances including Roadburn, Desertfest, Paaspop, Noorderslag and Reeperbahn. At 2016’s Imagine Filmfestival, the band performed a live rescoring during 2014’s 4K restored version of the silent movie and cult-classic Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari.
All this mixed together by three of the best DJ’s around,

COSMIC MASSEUR, you maybe know him from Roadburn or an afterparty at Desertfest?
7 INCHES OF RIFFS AKA MOOS also present at Roadburn, Desertfest, SXSW, Dunajam,…almost everywhere!
And SHAZZULAH, who doesn’t knows her, this is the moment! All three of them will blend these band together each in their unique ways and will take care of the afterparty!

Tickets will be on sale on ONLY on our downthehill.be website. Tickets are provided by event-tickets.

An entrance ticket for Down The Hill 2021 will be €40 pre-sale. If there are still tickets left, €45 at the door.

If you would like to stay at our campingground, please select also a FREE camping ticket.

Tokens can be bought as well, soda or normal beer will be 2 Tokens, heavy beers or wine will be 4 tokens. Also food has to be bought with these tokens.

This year there is also a possibility to support future concerts and the ongoing of the festival by buying an EXTRA support ticket. You will receive our eternal gratitude and love! (However, This will not grant you access to the festival ground, don’t print this ticket at home, it’s useless, unless you like to put it on your wall)

See you all on August 28, 2021!

https://www.facebook.com/DownTheHillFestival/
http://www.downthehill.be/

Monomyth, Orbis Quadrantis (2019)

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Desertfest London 2022 Announces Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 30th, 2021 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2022 banner

It’s good to see you again, Desertfest London. The 2022 lineup of the esteemed British edition of Desertfest brings some returning presences who were to have been at the 2020 edition, then the 2021 — both of course gone the way of corona. But we see Electric WizardShellac and Witchcraft in headlining spots, while Corrosion of Conformity will bring their delayed 25th anniversary of Deliverance to Camden Town, and returning kingpins Orange Goblin will play, along with YOB, TruckfightersEarthlessMy Sleeping KarmaMos GeneratorConanThe Obsessed, the reunited JosiahLowrider come for a Refractions victory lap well earned, along with Elephant TreeElderSteakDeathwhite and a ton from the UK’s own ever-blossoming underground scene — Blind MonarchThe Brothers KegKing Witch, the more established Alunah and Trippy Wicked, and so on and so many.

Note Slomosa. Note Wolftooth. I would expect both to be touring Europe around this time. Green Lung too, for that matter.

There’s no way this isn’t going to be one to remember and it is my sincere hope to be there for it. Maybe I’ll see you there. Maybe we can hug.

Kudos and thanks to the Desertscene crew — Sarika, Jake and Reece — on and for a job well done.

Here’s looking forward:

desertfest london 2022

DESERTFEST LONDON ANNOUNCE FULL LINE-UP FOR 2022 ·

A DECADE IN THE DESERT
CELEBRATING TEN YEARS WITH THE BIGGEST & MOST DIVERSE LINEUP YET

EXCLUSIVE UK PERFORMANCES FROM
WITCHCRAFT
(FIRST UK SHOW IN OVER A DECADE)
and
SHELLAC

As the home for all the things truly heavy, leading independent UK festival Desertfest have announced their full line up for 2022, which will take place in Camden, London from Friday 29th April – Sunday 1st May.

Celebrating their tenth year, next year’s festival promises to be their biggest and most diverse yet. Covering six venues across the heart of Camden and now including a full line up at The Roundhouse on both Saturday 30thApril and Sunday 1st May.

Founding owner of Desertfest Reece Tee comments, “Desertfest is 10 years old! I’m so proud that our independent festival has stood the test of time. What we have created is special, a decade of great bands, great friends and amazing memories. This year’s line up is a true reflection of how diverse Desertfest has become and with such a loyal audience, Desertfest can champion the underground for decades more to come.”

Headlining the Friday will be Swedish heavy rock masters Witchcraft, with a UK exclusive performance and their first UK show in over a decade.
Saturday’s headliners are none other than Chicago’s Shellac, who in another UK exclusive will be bringing their experimental post-hardcore sound to the Roundhouse. Fronted by the iconic Steve Albini, Shellac are one of those bands we all need to experience live, at least once. Whilst closing the festival on Sunday will be UK doom legends Electric Wizard, whose heavy sound encompasses the spirit of Desertfest.

Other acts confirmed include the likes of Corrosion Of Conformity, Orange Goblin and Truckfighters who all played the festival in its debut year in 2012 and there are further UK exclusive performances from hardcore-punks Integrity and the Ukrainian psych space rock trio Somali Yacht Club.

The festival will also see desert legends Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri’s new band Stoner, who will be playing the Electric Ballroom and doomed heavy metallers Khemmis making their UK debut at The Underworld.

Please see below for the full Desertfest 2022 line up / stage splits.
Tickets are on sale now and are available at www.desertfest.co.uk

NEW TICKETS FOR 2022
Weekend Ticket (all venues) – £132 +fees
Friday Day Ticket (all venues) – £45 +fees
Saturday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Sunday Day Ticket (all venues) – £50 +fees
Saturday Roundhouse only – £35 +fees
Existing ticket holders from 2020’s postponed event have a number of options as the festival is now larger, with an added Roundhouse line-up on Saturday 30th April & Sunday 1st May.

EXISTING WEEKEND + DAY TICKET HOLDERS OPTIONS
Full refund
Weekend roll-over to 2022 without Roundhouse upgrade (access only to Electric Ballroom, Underworld, Black Heart & The Dev)
Weekend roll-over to 2022 with Roundhouse upgrade – £15 +fees
Day ticket holders can upgrade to a full weekend ticket – £92 + fees – or will be issued a refund. Upgrade options only available until May 7th ’21.
For any ticketing enquiries please contact sarika@desertscene.co.uk

Desertfest 2022’s artwork is hand drawn by legendary artist Arik Roper who has created illustrations for the likes of Sleep, Earth, Sunn O))), High on Fire, Kvelertak, Windhand and many more. As always, posters and other merch will be available to buy at the festival.

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertscene.co.uk/support
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/
https://twitter.com/DesertFest
https://www.desertfest.co.uk/

Electric Wizard, Live at Desertfest London 2016

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Desertfest London 2020 Second Lineup Announcement: Witchcraft Headlining; Conan, Naxatras, Sacri Monti & More Added

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 11th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest london 2020 header

Going head-to-head, toe-to-toe, back-to-back, belly-to-belly with Desertfest Berlin 2020’s second lineup announcement, that of Desertfest London 2020 brings a whopping 13 bands. Witchcraft join Corrosion of Conformity and Masters of Reality among the headliners, and Naxatras, Conan — playing Monnos in full, no less — Pissed Jeans, Raging Speedhorn, Sacri Monti, Huntsmen, MonarchSpirit AdriftFire Down BelowGrottoDesert Storm, and Morag Tong have signed on for the fray in what’s becoming a quickly-packed bill. Nothing to complain about there, I guess. As noted in the Berlin post, some of these groups are shared between the two fests, but there’s a lot here that’s set for London alone, and I suspect in terms of the UK acts like Raging SpeedhornDesert Storm and Morag Tong, it’s likely to stay that way. It’s been so fascinating to watch these festivals grow since their inception into incubators for UK/European heavy. Desertfest London has become an epicenter for one of the most packed scenes on the planet.

That’s a big deal. And you can hear in the work of bands coming out of the UK the effect it’s having aesthetically as well. It’s awesome. Keep up the good work.

From the social medias:

desertfest london 2020 poster

DESERTFEST LONDON ANNOUNCES WITCHCRAFT AS HEADLINER FOR 2020 EDITION PLUS 12 MORE ACTS ADDED!

Tickets: dice.fm/festival/desertfest20

Desertfest is honoured to be welcoming Swedish doom icons Witchcraft to London, for the first time in a decade, as 2020 headliners. Their exceptional blend of psychedelic-folk melodies and distinctly doom-laden riffs swiftly elevated Magnus’ musical coven to legendary status. The pace picks up with the bludgeoning sludge-punk sounds of Pissed Jeans, whose narrative continues to be as societally insightful as it is tongue-in-cheek. We welcome back the unholy trio Conan for a very special performance as they play ‘Monnos’ in full. Following last years unforeseen travel issues, we are thrilled to have Naxatras on the bill ready to bathe listeners in their psychedelic groove. British sludge pioneers Raging Speedhorn will provide a lesson in brutality for all who cross their path.

Celestial tones awaken as SACRI MONTI make their debut with a spectrum of far-out jams expertly pieced together for an otherworldly trip. Huntsmen will bring their diversely progressive concoction of doom metal and melancholic Americana storytelling for its first UK outing. Elsewhere we welcome experimental psych-rock champions Monarch -band, Arizona’s Spirit Adrift who effortlessly carry the torch for traditional doom with lashings of classic 80’s heavy metal. Belgium offers up an excellent fusion of fuzz from Fire Down Below, alongside space-psych drifters Grotto. Oxfordshire riff hounds Desert Storm will deliver a shock-wave of groovy stoner-metal and locals Morag Tong will showcase their dynamic take on psychedelic doom.

For more info and weekend tickets for Desertfest London 2020 hit up www.desertfest.co.uk

See you in May!

TICKETS: https://dice.fm/festival/desertfest20 (*YOU DO NOT NEED THE DICE APP TO PURCHASE)

Artwork by Piotr w. Osburne

https://www.facebook.com/events/464163361105416/
http://www.desertfest.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DesertfestLondon
https://www.instagram.com/desertfest_london/

Sacri Monti, “Waiting Room for the Magic Hour”

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Desertfest Belgium 2019 Highlights Belgian Acts; Fire Down Below, The Progerians, Vonnis & More Playing

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 15th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

desertfest belgium 2019 banner

Desertfest Belgium 2019, as noted just the other day, is getting pretty close to its final lineup, and as they do, they’re making sure they support the native Belgian scene with a number of acts being highlighted for the broader audience they’ll draw. Both Fire Down Below and The Progerians might be familiar to some who’ll hit up Antwerp this October, and 30,000 Monkies have been making the rounds of festivals, but VonnisGrotto and Crayon Sun are probably going to be new to most people who show up, and so all the better they’re getting a showcase at an event like Desertfest. Of course, the broader lineup isn’t short on big names, with Sleep and PelicanBongripper and Zeal & Ardor, etc., so there should be plenty of draw to get heads in front of the stage for these bands, and it’s among the most admirable things an international fest can do to shine a light on the local types. You know this already, but it’s worth saying.

The PR wire has it like this:

desertfest belgium 2019 belgians

BELGIAN BANDS AT DESERTFEST BELGIUM 2019!

Each year at DF Antwerp, we present you with a number of upcoming local acts that deserve to shine in front of our esteemed international crowd. Absolute bosses, each and every one of them!

Fire Down Below have been making waves in the worldwide stoner community from day one, drawing comparisons to anything from Kyuss to Red Fang to Soundgarden. Likewise, The Progerians from Brussels have built a steady reputation for their uncompromising yet fiercely exciting mix of punk anthems and sludge stomp.

Some leftfield choices that are bound to raise heads: VONNIS – sheer brutality poured into a Molotov cocktail of hardcore, grind and noise. On the flipside we have Crayon Sun, the new project of Aldo Struyf (Millionnaire, Mark Lanegan Band) and the Antwerp blues singer Big Dave.

We already announced the merry noise pranksters of 30,000 Monkies earlier this year, and we close off this chauvinist list with a fine slab of supreme instrumental spacerock, courtesy of Grotto.

Go forth and check out these great bands!

http://www.desertfest.be/tickets
https://www.facebook.com/desertfestbelgium/
https://www.facebook.com/events/2260579413999993/

Vonnis, Bikini Season (2019)

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Grotto Sign to Stickman Records; New Album Finished

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2019 by JJ Koczan

According to Grotto‘s Thee Facebooks page, the new album that Stickman Records hints toward in its announcement of having signed the band is done and awaiting release. They said, “We are happy to let you guys know we have a full LP finished and waiting to be released! More info/dates soon…” Well, that’s neat. And if you’re going to put an album out, putting it out on Stickman is all the better.

Particularly for a band like Grotto, whose sound fits easily as labelmate/kin to the likes of Weedpecker and latter-day Elder for its heavy and progressive style and attention to melody. There isn’t a release date for their new album yet, or I’d probably have led with that, but Grotto‘s second full-length, Circle of Magi, was issued in late 2017 and is comprised of three 11-minute-long tracks, so there’s certainly plenty to dive into until the new one shows up. If you haven’t heard that, it charts a winding course into and out of psychedelic territory but is marked by the smoothness of its shifts between nodding groove and more atmospheric meanderings. Each song has a spacious feel that lets the listener live in it for a while before passing the baton to the next part or the next piece. It’s enough to pique my interest about their new one, easy.

Stream it at the bottom of this post. Here’s word of the signing from Stickman:

grotto

Stickman Records new signing: Grotto

We are pleased to announce our latest signing: GROTTO!

This young Belgian three-piece instrumental band has been on our radar for a while now, having two killer albums already under their belt. Their mix of psychedelic rock, stoner riffs and a great sense for melody alongside progressive song structures makes them a natural fit in our roster and we’re happy to welcome them to the fold.

We’ll be revealing some details about their new album soon, so stay tuned!

Grotto is:
Marvin Dinneweth – Guitar
Jeroen Moerman – Bass
Arno Tucker Cottyn – Drums

https://www.facebook.com/GrottoRiffs
https://grottoriffs.bandcamp.com/
https://www.stickman-records.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Stickman-Records-1522369868033940

Grotto, Circle of Magi (2017)

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