In the Meet The Band spotlight this week are the UK post/sludge metal group Gozer. Their debut album is An Endless Static. Guitarist/vocalist Craig Paul and drummer/vocalist T.J. Fairfax introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Gozer.
T.J. Fairfax: We’ve not been Gozer for too long, really. We used to be a 4 piece going by Archelon. There’d been some tension with our second guitarist for a little while, and during 2020 it came to a head. So when they unceremoniously left, we felt it was the right time to start fresh. Me, Craig and Kez were all on the same page and we started writing some of the best music we’d written and having fun writing again. It’s been great and so refreshing.
Describe the songwriting process for An Endless Static.
Craig Paul: We like to let things grow organically in a fashion. We will often have lots of unfinished ideas that form pieces of a puzzle, and as we jam and try out new ideas we will fit those pieces together until we have a final product we feel is done. That accounts for most. Some tracks will come together in one session, others will take more time, but the album slowly formed in this way.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
Craig: It’s so long ago we recorded it, the only thing I strongly remember is the feeling it gave me to be involved and learn from the process. TJ spearheaded the recording, which gave us all a massive opportunity to learn, and to have all that learning come together into a tangible final product was extremely satisfying.
Did the pandemic affect the process?
T.J.: It just slowed it down a little because of the lockdown, but with the exception of Tom’s (Hyom) and Simon’s (Torpor) parts I recorded the album in our band’s practice space which we’d planned on doing anyway.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
Craig: I’m not sure I can put in to words the correct description, but in the past we have been described as dense, claustrophobic, slow burning and atmospheric.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
T.J.: Mental health and our day to day battles with it was a main theme for a lot of this album. It was a great opportunity to work through some things and let go of others.
How did you come to sign with Trepnation Recordings?
Craig: Dan is a good friend of mine. He put out a couple of my solo EP’s for Bogwych, and when it came down to the crunch he was offering the best deal. Plus, as far as independents go in the UK, he’s smashing it, so I think we’re at home with Trepanation for our first full length.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
T.J.: For people to listen to it and get something positive from it.
What has been your most memorable Gozer live show?
Craig: For me it was probably 229 Venue in London on our tour with Ba’al. Our smoke machine set off the fire alarms and ruined a Steely Dan tribute set in the main room. We now have a reputation, apparently.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
Craig: We are currently talking to several different people about potential tours. The only announced gig we’ve booked at the time of writing this is Riffolution Festival. Other than that we’re currently attempting to get on a support slot for a tour with a substantial band, alongside hitting up the festivals.
How did you get started in music?
T.J.: In school when I was about 13/14 We all had to play a basic beat on drums in a music lesson. I wasn’t too bad at playing it and my love for playing music grew from there.
Craig: My first musical experience I wanted to learn to play drums but I wasn’t allowed a drum kit. I first picked up a guitar when my mum’s friend gave me one because he found out I love Nirvana, just to see how I got on with it and I took to it quite quickly.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
T.J.: Mastodon, Melvins, Mclusky, all the “M” bands I guess/
Craig: I was big on grunge at first, so Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, etc. But as I got older I started discovering heavier music which eventually lead to me being introduced to Mastodon by TJ, and from there Neurosis, Isis and so on.
What was your first band, and what type of music did they play?
T.J.: Probably my school band. If we did have a name I’ve no idea what we were called, but we mainly did some mangled Nirvana, Green Day and Blur covers.
Craig: My first ever band were called Firechild and we couldn’t decide what we wanted to be. I (on bass at the time) wanted to play punk and metal, the drummer wanted to play indie and the other guitarist wanted to play ’70s prog. Needless to say, it didn’t work out.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
T.J.: It was Mastodon and Dozer on Valentines Day in 2004, and I think Burst were supporting. It was amazing.
Craig: I cannot remember, but I think it was Lamb Of God at Corporation, or maybe it was a festival.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
T.J.: I tattoo for a living so that’s a huge part of my life. I’m also Simpsons fanatic, but only the early seasons.
Craig: Hard to say because my job and most hobbies are audio based, but I very much enjoy outdoor activities like camping and hiking. I’m a sci-fi and fantasy fan and enjoy a good rollercoaster.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Yeah, check out Trepanation Recordings. They’ve got a great catalogue of music.
(interview published June 18, 2022)
Watch Gozer – “Fading Light” Video