Drunk Gods

Drunk Gods are a 3 piece from Lanarkshire, Scotland. Having previously played together as Gobstopper, Ewan released the debut “Drunk Gods” album in 2014 and got the members of Gobstopper back together to play the songs live.

I recently caught up with Drunk Gods main man Ewan McGhee to talk about what motivated him to make and release Drunk Gods. I also wanted to find out what is next for Drunk Gods.

Drunk Gods Album

The first track on the album is “What’s Ma Motivation?”, so what is your motivation?

‘What’s Ma Motivation?’ Well, at the time when I was writing and recording the album, there was very little music around that I found exciting and provocative. Little that wouldn’t sit obediently on the state radio playlist of any repressive regime or military dictatorship. Hardly anything had any spunk or spine, it all seemed to have been dreamt up by disembodied brains floating limply in fish tanks. It kind of made me want to start a fire, ye know.

And I love great lyrics, I’m very much a words man, so I wanted that aspect of the album to be compelling and provocative, too, ye know? That’s why they’re about sex, and death, and growing old, and infidelity and soul-less wage slavery, and suicide and greed and the like.

I grew up in the shadow of my local slaughterhouse, and I sometimes wonder if that gave me a darker outlook on life. Our dog that we had when I was younger used to disappear for hours and then he’d appear back, wi a cow’s ear, or sheep’s leg or something. He’d obviously been up the slaughterhouse scavenging. And then I used to walk past the slaughterhouse every day, and there would be animal shite all over the road at the entrance. I used to wonder if that was because they could smell or sense where the lorries had brought them, and they were terrified.

Aye, so I wanted the music to have that visceral quality to it, too, I wanted it to have guts and energy and aggression. To kind of buck and kick, like a trapped animal, because I think, ultimately, that’s what we are, trapped animals. TV and all sorts of distractions might be there for us to try to hide it from ourselves, but we’re all heading for the slaughterhouse, too, sort of, and kind of flailing around trying to work out what to do with the time that we’ve got.

That all sounds pretty desperate and it is, but the music elevates it above that, I think. It’s discordant but also melodic and not difficult to listen to it, I don’t think. I suppose, it’s life-affirming, in a way, trying to create some fire in the dark, or rage against the dying of the light, whilst not deluding yourself. But, aye, a real beauty can come from very dark places, like with Joy Division, for example, and I’m very drawn to that. But there’s some humour in there, too, laughter in the darkness and all that stuff.

Tell us about your experience of recording the album, it was very much a one man production.

Writing and recording the album took me maybe 3 or 4 years – I’ve got a wee home studio, which is perfect for that, it’s really liberating. You can just bang ideas down and then they start to grow arms and legs. They write themselves really, I find, you’ve just got to let the ideas ferment in your brain overtime, and then it all comes together. But it took so long, because I was working full-time, as well.

You are credited with everything on your CD so you’re obviously a talented man. You do have a “live” band thought – tell me about them.

When the album was done, I just loved it so much that I knew I had to play it live. So Keith (Darling, drums) and Fags (Gary Collins, bass) signed up to help me out with that.

We’ve been pals for a long time. We played together as a 3-piece called Gobstopper in the early to mid nineties. We did 3 or 4 demos and played various places in and around Glasgow, King Tut’s, in particular. So, Keith and Fags were the obvious choices for the rhythm section when it came to Drunk Gods.

Whats next?

You’ve got a gig coming up on October 21st in The Lantern Bar, Wishaw with Savage Cut & El Cogez, Any other live dates imminent?

We don’t have any other gigs lined up at the moment, apart from the Wishaw one. It’s not easy getting decent gigs. Having said that, Keith’s just bought a new drum kit, so we’ll have to get some more lined up!

Your debut album was 2014, any plans for a follow-up?

As to another album, I don’t know if the album format is relevant any more and they are a lot of work. We’ll probably just stick to doing batches of two songs at a time from now on, maybe a couple every 6 months.

We’re in the studio next month, September, finishing off two songs – Found The Lord And Lost Ma Soul, and Pet Hate – for a double-sided ‘single’ if that has any relevance at all in today’s download world, but it will be available as a CD, too.

DRUNK GODS

The album was released in 2014 but I have been a recent convert to the band having seen them live in Ivory Blacks last year.

How to describe the sound? Dark, post-punk, industrial, melodic, aggressive, intense…… there is a whole mix of styles that come together with Ewan’s vocals, sung in local accent, to bring a powerful sound – cacophonous at times, harmonious at others. Just listen, its bloody great!

The talent is obvious with Ewan playing all the instruments on the album and the production and sound is clear and sharp. Ewan is a self-confessed “lyric man” and the lyrics are personal & dark but humorous at the same time covering a wide range of (mostly) gloomy subjects. That doesn’t make for a gloomy album though. The tunes and melodies are uplifting and varied, making you want to listen for what is next.

With album opener What’s Ma Motivation? the protagonist lays himself bare with lyrics speaking initially of tangible things lost (I admit I smiled at “Gimme back ma ginger hair”) but ultimately of loss of identity and self.

Turn up the Laughter Track speaks to me personally and reminds me of one of the reasons I started this blog. Covering up anxieties/depression by laughing things off and being “happy” a la Tears of a Clown (“Turn up the laughter track, my anxiety attacks are back, we watch the colours fade, the beauty disappear”)

Anti-love song Fuck Buddy (The Heart is Just a Muscle) next with its driving guitars building into a cacophony of frustration with the refrain repeated over and over above the music.

Wage Slave is an ode to work destroying your very being – wasting your body and spirit.

People Make Ma Head Hurt has an almost Skids-esque feel to me, with the layered refrain demonstrating in sound exactly what the song is saying. Great almost cheery melodies hiding a sinister ending – “Leave me well alone, I’m a loner, that means a serial killer, I keep my victims in the cellar, cut you up, put you in the river”

Goth-like in its intro and bassy vocal and almost whispered vocals towards the end, Repossession is another cheery tale. This time of debt, fearing the postman and ultimately getting a gun and, well, I’ll let you make your own mind up.

Don’t get me wrong, I may be painting a bleak picture with the themes here, but there is humour to these songs and the tunes are not in the least bit bleak, often uplifting & layered. Take Consumption for example a humourous take on greed and consumerism but with a serious point.

The Surfer kicks of with surf/rockabilly guitars and goes on to become a track with a rhythm section Pixies would be proud of.

Penultimate track Kill Me starts off as a straightforward rock song, before it breaks down and builds up again several times building to a peak before fading out.

On final track Dirty Honey, Ewan comes over kind of Nick Cave/Martin Metcalfe-like in his vocal delivery. Some lyrics almost breathed rather than sung. The quiet moments are broken again by crashing guitars and drums. A great album closer.

Looking forward to hearing the new tracks.

Go and find out for yourselves now…..

Listen and Buy

Check out the Drunk Gods on Soundcloud.

Buy the album on iTunes or Amazon

 

Dead Hope – Songs from the Second Floor – Album and gig

DEAD HOPE
LIVE AT THE OLD HAIRDRESSERS

I ticked 2 new boxes last week.

I went to the Old Hairdressers for a gig for the first time (tick 1). That gig was by Dead Hope who were launching their debut album “Songs from the Second Floor” (tick 2).

I’d be promising Keith that I would go to see them every time they’ve played a gig. Unfortunately I had missed every one to date. Due to a prior engagement, I wasn’t sure if I’d make this one either. In the end, I got there in time to see the last few songs by support band, Curdle.

Curdle

As I arrived the band were just finishing “Love Butt”. A song about loving Dave Gahan but thinking he’s a bit of a dick. With Sid Vicious (the My Way scene from The Great Rock ‘n Roll Swindle) being projected behind the band, it was a good start to the evening’s entertainment.

I hadn’t heard Curdle but on the basis of the few songs I saw/heard, I’ve added them to my list of bands to investigate further. They are a 4 piece all female band, with a slightly goth look.

Their sound resembles the likes of Babes in Toyland, Hole and Pink Kross. Songs like “Give me Yr Phone Number” and “Your Body, My Head”, with its beautiful vocal melodies over fuzzy guitars and sparse drums followed. Their final song (with theremin for added eeriness) sealed the deal for me making a mental note to catch them live again.

For anyone who is at a loose end and looking for a gig to go to, they are playing the 13th Note on Saturday 19th. The gig also features with Strega Pez, Anna Secret Poet, Bratakus and MISC.MEAT.

There was no between band pint for me as I had the car. I took the opportunity just to enjoy some of the between band music including PiL and Fire Engines. A good soundtrack to enjoy before the headliners.

Dead Hope

As the band took to the stage Keith kept the Sid theme going with his Sid n Nancy t-shirt. Behind the band the movie “Gummo” was projected on the wall. A dystopian film following a group of nihilistic youths trying to fill their seemingly meaningless lives in a town devastated by a tornado. It made me reflect on where the link was with Dead Hope. (The band have used images from the movie on previous gig posters and videos). Perhaps the use of film is a reflection on the band’s name?

The band consists of Scott McCluskey on vocals and guitar, Andy Crone on bass and Keith Martin on drums/percussion. They are “influenced by Crass, Raymond Carver and Orson Welles”

For a 3 piece they create a great noise. Andy & Keith are a tight unit and play a powerful, melodic rhythm. This is overlaid by Scott with an array of aggressive, angular, distorted and fuzzy guitars, helped by a selection of fx pedals. His vocals are both at times melodic and aggressive sometimes within the same songs (Hate Both Sides). I knew a couple of the songs from tunes the band had released. Specifically Truth Be Told & Swordz, but the whole gig made me feel that I had known the band and songs forever. I found I was sucked in and lost in the music at times.

They have a timeless sound easily standing side by side with classic Sonic Youth  and The Fall. Albeit with a more tuneful singer! At times they  reminded me of gigs I went to in the 90’s by the likes of Glasgow band Urusei Yatsura and their ilk.

In all, a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. I left the sweatbox that The Old Hairdressers had become, with a copy of their album “Songs from the Second Floor” in my sticky mitt. As I walked to the car I hoped that I would have an opportunity to repeat the experience in the not too distant future.

Dead Hope
“Songs from the Second Floor” album

I jumped into the car after the gig and popped the album straight onto the CD player. Where I should add it has been a permanent fixture since.

Much like the bands varied musical, film and literary influences mentioned above, the album title also has a cultural reference. This time to Swedish movie of the same name. A surreal series of unrelated bleak tales which point to the often futility and at times horror of modern life. On a lighter note, it also references the bands rehearsal space which is on the second floor.

The album art features a stark black and white image from acclaimed photographer Ed Kashi. It depicts a crowd of youths jumping over a pile of burning junk on wasteground.

This is a band that has clearly thought about what it wants to say. Not only in terms of the music but in the imagery it uses to link to the music. “The devil is in the detail” (Pigs)

It is hard for me to pick out highlights. The album delivers from start to finish and has plenty of great tunes, hooks and lyrics throughout.

From the opener Pigs kicking off with its driving bass and featuring the first line  “Would it be alright, to burn you all alive”. All the way through to energetic closer Swordz I was drawn in. As that song closed, I pressed play again to start from the beginning.

The album never disappointed me. After Pigs comes Thieves and Vultures with its choppy guitar line and vocals delivered in almost staccato style. Truth Be Told, the most familiar track on the album for me, is a stand out. Not only on the album, but also stands head and shoulders above many other releases by established bands over the past few years. I particularly like the line “the pointless conversation became my inspiration for everything”. This speaks to me of not accepting the norm and doing something about it.

Freaks, where Scott spits out the lyrics with vitriol and I really believe him. Hate Both Sides which starts off melodic but the refrain is delivered with fury. By the time Name the Saints comes round, I’m disappointed that there are only 2 tracks left on the album.

Album closer Swordz includes the lines “So this is it, this is your final test” and “there’s no point to prove”.

In my humble opinion, Dead Hope have proved their point. They have passed the test with flying colours. “Hope” is certainly not “Dead” for this band. I hope to hear much more from them in the future.

That’s my opinion. Its time for you to make up your own mind. Have a listen to Truth Be Told and see what you think yourselves (link in the sidebar). I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Then buy the album!

It is now available to buy physically and digitally from Bandcamp.com . I’ve shared links to this and the band’s facebook page.