Wild, fuzzy, out of control, and that’s just their hair! Could Sludgefeast be the UK’s answer to At the Drive In? Uh no, but they will kick your ass with grungy, fuzzed out garage rock. Read on and discover life with the kings of the arcade.                                                                                                                                  

Interview by Ian Pickens.

Gravy: OK, fill us in on who hits things, who strums things and who shouts stuff.

James: So it's me James, I play the guitar and shout at people, Coirin plays bass and sings sweetly, and James II has just joined us on drums, he's pretty cool and young enough to take the piss out of all the music we like, however when we go on tour I will be forcing him to endure long sessions of Alice Cooper and such...

 Gravy: Why Sludgefeast?

James: Why not, I mean really its a pretty crap name, but then that's half the point we always try to be not what people expect. We used to try and be as crap as possible on purpose, there was a real excitement to those shows, you knew people weren't going to have a good time, but they were entertained by the spectacle of us making idiots of ourselves on stage, now we just insult people a lot more, usually each other, that's got nothing to do with our name has it? Yes our name, it isn't very good...but it describes the music I guess, I mean you aren't going to expect us to sound like Guns n Roses are you?

 Gravy:  What is the reason d’existence of Sludgefeast?

James: To actually sell enough records so that I can feel good about myself, and tell Justin Hawkins that his band aren’t the biggest on the label....actually no, really we have no goals. I can’t even imagine making another record after this one at this point, but I am sure I will.

Gravy:  In my review of ‘King of the Arcade’ I described you as “Part Mudhoney, part Fu Manchu, part Garage Rock, shades of ‘80s USHC” – was this a fair summation of your sound? 

James: Yeah that's cool, I don't really know what we sound like, we just play rock music, hell I like Mudhoney and Fu-Manchu, so that's cool.


Gravy:  What influences you apart from music?

James: Nothing really, I just pick up my guitar and write some riffs stick em together. I wouldn't say anything really influences me. I am not one of those people who labour over a song or have to be in a particular frame of mind. I just write songs its something that seems to come easily to me, I guess practice helps, but really its dumb rock, if I can imagine myself 15 years ago head banging to it, then it’s a good riff.

Gravy:  Your love of arcade games permeates the music to quite a high degree, are you going to continue fusing the two things together? Where can you take this concept in the future?

James: I dunno I can’t do too much more with it, we sing about it and stuff but if we go any further its just going to become a gimmick, and not everyone like video games anyway, so that's why our lyrics are sometimes a little obscure, so if you are a hardcore halo fan you'll know that "sidewinder" is about the game, however if you don't you'll just listen to it for what it is, a pointless meaningless rock song.

Gravy:  If it came down to playing arcade games or playing music, which would you choose?

James: Playing music, and buying a fast car and a paintball arena.

Gravy:  Who designed and wrote the Feast Invaders game on the Noise Action Noise CD?

James: Seeing as we sing about video games, I though I should maybe learn more about them in the how they work way, so what better way than to write one, hence feast invaders was conceived and made. I made a couple more games but nothing on the scale of feast invaders. I would like to try and make another game sometime for inclusion on a future album, but the next one has a free dvd...so that's taking all my time leaving none for game coding...which I am a bit crap at anyway.

 Gravy:  Do any of the Feast work in software or games development?

James: Maybe...well yes. I work on and off at a game developers (primarily because I learnt how to code for feast invaders!) however I don't code I do music, design, level editing etc. There's a song on our new record that is an apology to the original designer of PacMan, as we recently did a horrible title using good old classic PacMan. Every day when I turned on my PC I felt like I was fucking the poor old yellow guy in his ass.

 Gravy:  XBox or PS2?

James: XBox, trying to break my halo 2 addiction, only to find it replaced with a ghost recon 2 addiction, but what about gamecube? I have all three of them I just play my XBox most, I think that's because its strengths are FPS games and racing titles. However the ps2 is awesome for crazy innovative beat based games like gitarooman which I love, and rez, although I wish I didn't have to put up with the techno music whilst playing it, plus if I couldn't play light gun games like time crisis ever again I think I'd have to buy a real gun and start fucking people up for real (maybe)...and the gamecube is king for the platformers and general nintendoness... 

Gravy:   Quote from the Independent newspaper - “Sludgefeast simply refuse to pander to such essentially tedious concepts as taste, intelligence and competence" Bit harsh surely? How do you react to that kind of press?

James: It’s fine; at least they are saying something about us, hell it makes us sound really X-treme doesn’t it....yes I shoot crack in to my eyeballs.

Gravy:  Your music is pretty relentless; most of the tracks come in at under two minutes and are so fuzzed out that it hurts; can you ever see yourselves deviating from this style?

James: I don't know, not really but then who knows I may decide that I don't like it in a few years. I have always written really short songs so I can’t see that changing and I really like raw production...so yeah its pretty unlikely. But hey when I get old I am sure I'll be releasing 2 minute super distorted country songs, and I'll do gigs on my porch with amps pulled up to all the windows in the house, and a shot gun leaning on my rockin' chair....because that's the only way to get old gracefully, country music, or easy listening, maybe a bit of both like Glen Campbell...yup that's what I'll do.

Gravy:  Noise Action Noise is a double album – bit ambitious?

James: Well maybe, but its not really a double, its just a single album with a really fucking raw version repeated on the second disc. Some people like it, some ask me why the hell I did it, I tell them to fuck off, I'll do what I damn well please, who the fuck are you my mum?....yeah...eat it...etc.

Gravy: Do you think that rock music is re-establishing itself as the most popular form of music around or is the ‘New Rock Revolution’ running out of steam?

 James: Well I thought people would be over it by now, so yeah its doing pretty well, as long as people stop peddling crap in to peoples hands (NME I am looking at you) it will carry on. It never really went anywhere its been around for ever, its just a bit more over ground now. Lets hope it stays there, although this 80's revival thing is picking up pace, I wish that would fuck off, its just so shit.

Gravy: Your friends with the Clams, who are gonna be on Fistful of Rock n Roll Vol. 13 right?

James: Yeah the Clams live round the corner, I drink booze with the singer once a month, usually about lunch time we start, we moan about the record industry for a while, then by the evening we are so drunk that we stop moaning and actually have a good time. 

Gravy:  Are Sludgefeast and the Clams spearheading a new renaissance in UK music or are you exceptions to the rule that the UK has stopped turning out decent music in the last 10 yrs.

James: I don't think we are spearheading anything, we just do our thing, we met each other in London and it turned out we lived right next to each other, I speak for myself but imagine the same is true of Richard Clam, neither of cares about anything much except the music we are making, anything else is pointless really...hell regional music is just a pile of shit. We have always been fucked over because we come from Bournemouth, so people are like, who the fuck ever came from there? It’s almost as though I should be saying, yeah well Coirin comes from Detroit, JamesII is from Liverpool, and I am from NYC. then I am sure we would be huge, regional rock's # 1 hipsters...

Gravy:  Is it difficult setting up gigs and tours in the UK?

James: Yes, these are the reasons... 1. Venues don't want to pay you, 2. No one wants to go out to shows, 3. The UK is miserable.

Gravy:  I understand that Geoff has packed in drumming, how will that affect the Feast live?

James: Well he had other stuff to do, it was pretty shitty at the time but James II is doing an awesome job, in fact at our first rehearsal he pointed out that we were playing one of our songs wrong, so yes he’s pretty good...so no effect really....sorry Geoff!

 Gravy:   If you could bring back one dead musician who would it be and why?

 James: John Peel, I know he wasn't a musician but he did play some instruments on some sessions or something as I seem to remember...as for why, well he used to play our records on the radio, and ever since I was 10 years old I wanted a Peel Session...I felt we were close but it never came off....plus its impossible not to like the man even if you haven't met him...so he was good at manipulating our emotions, he should have been an evil overlord.

Gravy: And if you could choose a band from any era, who would you want to do a split ep with?

James: Ramones? Early Ramones, you just can’t go wrong, its classic, it can not be faulted...we aren't anything like them it would just be a nice thing to have on the wall, but there are loads and loads of others...

Gravy:   Which song you would you love to have written and which song could you happily never hear again?

James: Song I'd love to have written, well back to Glen Campbell, ‘Wichita Lineman’, it’s just so awesome, it’s laid back and emotional whilst rocking like fuck...I doubt he wrote it though, he may have....Songs I'd happily never hear again, well there's a million of them, today I'll say the White Stripes doing their god awful rendition of ‘Jolene’, I fucking hate that. Obviously I could go though a whole host of pop and novelty records but that would be a bit pointless, so yes today it’s the White Stripes. By the way the Dolly Parton version is the best ever done, awesome? So it’s not the song, it’s just their lacklustre rendition.

Gravy: Future plans?

 James: Go back to lounge, turn on XBox, play ghost recon 2 online for the rest of the day/night. 

Gravy:  How can people get in touch?

James: www.sludgefeast.com

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Thanks to James for the interview.