Once again your album is fucking awesome.
Thank you sir! We think it's some of the best stuff we've written and we are really excited for it to be coming out on Relapse.
The same goes for the album art, I love John Dyer Baizley's work! You guys, Kylesa, Torche and Baroness are bands that are all linked to each other musically in one way or another of course have the artwork done by the same person. It kind of makes it stereotypical, yet it is still amazing and I could not think of anything that would fit better with the music! How do you feel about this?
I don't think its so stereotypical. John isn't the only artist who has done multiple covers for different bands. John is an amazing artist and its great that so many good bands get to work with him. He makes each of different covers that are fitting to each bands records. We have also developed a character, Agatha, with John. She is the female figure that appears in most of our artwork, so it is necessary to work with John for things like cover art.
Could you tell the people not familiar with Black Tusk something about the history of the band?
Black Tusk formed in the winter of '05 with the dissolution of our former bands. Athon and I were in a crusty type punk band and James was in a street punk band. Athon and I's band had broken up a few weeks before James' did. As soon as we heard (it was that same night) we went down the street to James' house, we all lived in the same neighbourhood, and asked him if he wanted to play with us. The next few days we started jamming, and within a few months we had a set, recorded an EP at the Jam Room and started touring, and we've never looked back.
Do you think that you guys have evolved since the birth of the band, may it be the song writing or anything else, musically speaking? And how does this show?
I think so. Every band evolves as time goes on. Sounds change, playing improves, song writing techniques change. If you listen to our albums, you can see a progression from record to record. You can see in our earlier stuff a more punk influence and song structure, and as each record came out, you can see us moving away from that to more rocking riffs and solidified songs. The music is a being of its own and it constantly changing and evolving. It has a breath and heartbeat of its own.
What bands would you name as the main influences of Black Tusk and please, define the term swamp metal?
Our sound is kind of unique, its hard to categorize in any conventional form. We couldn't give you a list of bands that influence us because that's not really how it works for us. We aren't trying to emulate any one bands style or any one genres sound. It is heavy, its sludge, its doom, there is some punk rock hiding in there. We all came from pretty punk backgrounds. When we were younger James was in a street punk band and Athon and I were in a crust punk band. But at the same time we were all listening to classic rock, metal, country and hip-hop. So now as we get older and evolve as a band, all those aspects are showing up in our music. With 'Swamp Metal' We aren't trying to start a new music genre, it just fits us better than all the other "labels" that bands seem to have to have these days. We were just asked one day to describe our music, and that's what we came up with on the spot. It's a reference to the climate of savannah in relation to the music that we create. We listen to a wide variety of music and draw influence from that, not just one particular band or style.
Non-music wise, what would you consider to be the biggest inspiration for Black Tusk?
Again, another hard question to narrow down to a short list of things, but I just have to say our individual life experiences would be our biggest influences. We all experience the same things and different things and then bring it all to table when its time for us to create music.
What is it actually with Savannah and sludgy music? Baroness and Kylesa hail from the same city. Are you guys closely related or what's the deal?
Well we jokingly say that there is something in the water... maybe there is. It's just something that has always been here. When we were in high school playing in punk bands, we would sneak into Damad shows at the bars. We have been surrounded by it our whole musical lives. Even back then, the "punk" bands we were in weren't your typical run of the mill bands. Savannah has always been kind of unique, I mean, we don't even have a record store, we play the music we feel. All of us are friends and we hang out whenever the three bands are in town. You know, we trade tour stories and ideas and just kick it. We are like a family.
Whatever happened to Unpersons by the way?
They kinda drifted apart to do different things. Sanders is in California in school, Judson is Sweden or Norway, Carl is drumming for Kylesa and Matt is a teacher in Savannah. I did hear a rumour that they were planning to get back together to do some stuff. So we'll have to see what they do. They are a great band, I was actually one of the founding members.
Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that you guys, Baroness, Torche, Kylesa, Black Cobra and Mastodon should tour together and come to my hometown, Eindhoven! Haha, nah, seriously. Are you guys planning to head over to The Netherlands any time soon?
That would be an amazing tour! All those guys are our buddies and are amazing to play shows and tour with. But yes, we are trying to get some European dates together for the end of this year or the beginning of next year. We would love to go, everyone that we know who has toured over there have said that it was amazing and its all they want to do now!