Sacred Mother Tongue Interview
10th September 2012
@ O2 Islington Academy II
Review by Ashlinn Nash
Photography by Andre Purvis
Sacred mother tongue have been a driving force in the metal scene since first inception in 2004, after a creative change of hands the band solidified a line-up in 2008 consisting of:
Darrin South (vocals),
Andy James (Guitar),
Josh Gurner (Bass) and
Lee Newell (Drums).
The new line-up went on to create; Revenge Is Personal (2007) – EP, The Ruin of Man (2009)A Light Shines (2012) – EP and the upcoming album Out of the Darkness (2013). I caught up with Darrin and Andy to discuss the newly released EP as well as the new eagerly anticipated album.
The new EP “A light shines” has been released, how did that come about?
Darrin: We had quite a gap in between doing the first album and getting the second album out, and the gap was getting longer and longer. Sort of dragging on with financial issues and studio time, and stuff like that so we decided to do it as a stop gap. To let people know we’re still going and this is what we’re doing.
What can the fans expect from the new album?
Darrin: Loads of riffs!!
Andy: Nice solos, probably a bit more thought out maybe? Just the natural progression really, everything you’d hope to expect from an album.
Darrin: I think they’re going to find it’s almost heavier and softer at the same time, you know it’s certainly more rounded, it’s more matured. The sound that we’ve got now, with song writing capabilities, are far better than when we started. We gel better as musicians now you know, we get each other, and we understand what each other want, strengths and weaknesses. So as a result you’re still going to get a really heavy metal album but it’s going to be straight down the line. It’s going to be “Balls Deep metal”
With the naming of the albums, are they meant to be in pairs with the EP following similar suit in regards to the name of album?
Darrin: With “A light shines” and “out of the darkness” has always intended to be that way. Originally it was going to be two EP’s. Release it as two halves and because like I said we had this issue with the finances and stuff like that and just getting studio time, we thought we’d put an EP out, and then we’ll release the other half of the album as an EP as well.
So the plan was to have “A light shines” and “out of the darkness” with the full album after which was going to be whole thing plus a few bonus tracks, with the title “A light shines through the darkness” or whatever.
We scraped that and thought one EP is enough and then come straight out with the album, so instead of putting half the album on a EP we just wrote a few songs.
Three tracks and the obviously the live track too which is a bonus track.
Andy you have released many tutorials and Albums, what made you decided to do this?
Andy: I was doing that before I was in the band, so I guess I just carried on with it really, it’s a good outlet for some of my other styles really. Because I don’t get to do much of in this band because they don’t like it.
Darrin: When Andy joined the band he was already a critically acclaimed solo guitarist, he’d had albums out of his own and all instrumental.
Andy: A couple of bedroom albums, recorded because I had no money, and then I kinda waited a little longer until I could get into a studio and record another one. That was the last one released last year; I mean I’ve been doing that before cause the guitar players I’ve been into I’ve found do that as well being in a band. It’s defiantly quite nice doing the band and doing solo stuff as well, cause you get to explore emotions and scenarios I suppose.
What’s the journey been like from the original recordings right up to now?
Darrin: It’s been long (laughs), it’s been emotional; it’s been exciting obviously I mean we’ve grown a little each time we’ve done something as the years have gone by. It’s been a long time in the making, and it does feel like we’ve been doing this for a long time, you know we’re not Anvil (laughs)
Andy: Give it a couple more years!
Darrin: But yeah sometimes it does feel like, the first things that we did, were done such a long, long time ago that I mean I barely remember being in the studio and recording the first tracks that we did. I mean we did two EP’s before Andy joined the band and we did countless, countless pub gigs of just cover sets, as I say before he joined the band. Wasn’t until really when Andy joined that the line-up was kinda complete, we found the direction we were going in and sort of built into place; 2008 that’s kinda when it started happening.
Andy: I think so two “thousand eight hundred” was 2008, we did that and “suffering” and that was the first proper thing we’d done. So we carried on and did the album in 2010. Then we did this [“a light shines”], so I mean each release is kinda a bit different really.
You guys are from the UK where are your favourite places to play?
Andy: The studio
Darrin: Up north is usually a laugh, if you go somewhere like Sheffield or Bradford they’ve been good to us. Bradford’s always good fun actually, and Leeds that sort of area they seem to really dig us.
Andy: Scarborough that was a good one.
Darrin: It’s always fun to go up north, they seem to respond a bit differently really, compared to the fans down here, or the punter down here shall we call it.
Andy: Brighton is usually shit, don’t know why.
Darrin: Yeah I don’t know why, but then again the same goes with London I mean sometimes we’ll play and they’ll be no one there, just depends on the week and then other times we’ve played and it’s been absolutely packed. I mean look at the gig in Kilburn, at “The good ship” that was one of the best gigs we’ve ever done. Got there the place was small it wasn’t set up, we weren’t expecting it to be good at all, then it was storming!
You know it was all kicking off so you know it varies on time of the month, if anyone’s got any money and such. Where we are within the tour as well I mean places like Derby have never been good to us, Stoke isn’t very good for us, Nottingham can be good but Leeds and that are great.
Northampton’s always good being our home town and where we started the band, the thing with Northampton is its very relaxed for us, as a band, because we know it’s going to be packed.
We know that nine out of ten people there we’re going to know as well, so you’ve always got a really relaxed atmosphere due to this.
It makes you play to your strengths better, its more go with the flow they’re no pressure on it, if you know what I mean. Always ends up being a storming gig I mean you can’t play Northampton every week.
What’s been the best tour you’ve been on so far?
Andy: Most of the tours we go on are always a laugh; I mean even if we play somewhere shit
Darrin: I mean it depends on which reason really, I think if you’re looking for crowd response and experience we had on stage then China tops everything. It was amazing but, if you’re looking for an answer that says where did we have a nice laugh and a good time on the road then.
The European tour, when we went to Holland and Belgium, Germany and that, it was just killer. Because we all went in the same van, you know with all the gear loaded in the back, drove through the Channel. Covered about a million miles, in our beaten up old red van, it was Josh’s birthday while we were out there as well, we had some really good times!
It was just a great laugh really, crowd response was good but it wasn’t like China.
China was shock for us we weren’t expecting it to be any good at all, they loved it so can’t complain. They’re really big metal fans, they’re openly excepting as well, as long as you’ve got a guitar and a voice they are right there with you and they want you to play which is good.
Andy: The Chinese food’s better here though init.
Darrin: Yeah (laughs) it’s shocking in china
Andy: I was saying to them you should come to the UK and have a proper Chinese! It was all in these little bowls and that, I wanted a dinner where you put the rice on the plate and add to it. They didn’t do that, they have in bowls that you can pick which bit with.
Darrin: and this gooey steam, oil looking shit they put on it too with everything they eat its gross. Most of it is still alive; if it’s got eyes I ain’t interested.
Andy: Follow you round the room don’t they, go for a piss and they’re still looking at you (laughs)
On the new album what are the standout tracks so far?
Andy: All of them, they’re all good
Darrin: I must stand by that, without being too big headed it’s really difficult because we really believe in all of the songs. They’re all proud songs you know!
Andy: I mean all of them have a killer Riff that I love
Darrin: everyone has got a killer vocal hook that you know I’m really proud of, awesome solos too. It’s the same sacred formula that seems to work. I’m struggling to pick out a song which I like best.
Andy: it’s all subjective
Darrin: It is difficult
Andy: I mean some people will listen to it and say it’s really bad and others will say, oh yeah it’s really good. It’s hard to be objective about your own stuff to be honest. I think you know if you could listen to it and say that sounds good and I’m happy with the way that has turned out then I suppose that’s all you can do. Then if people like it then they’ll go out and buy it or download it for nothing. Then hopefully turn up to the shows (laughs)
Darrin: All of the songs we’ve put out so far have been well received all of them have been picked on the advice of the industry and other people because we didn’t know what was going to work and not work. So one after the other they’ve said use that song because, it’s great for this reason for whatever. We’ve had to do as we’ve been told, because it is difficult to pick your own music. Certainly with the first album, we had plenty of songs, that we knew weren’t as strong so the was a bit of a throwaway song, still proud of it mind so we’ll put it out.
With this album I don’t think any of it is like that, I think the whole thing is really strong, in my opinion.
When you began the writing process for the new EP did you go in a fresh with no ideas or did you go in with some and work on them?
Darrin: we wrote the whole album and the EP.
Andy: Just from the demos really. It’s like us to turn up to rehearsal and riff and then play it. With me personally if I come up with a guitar, I’ll make a complete song which is generally how works. I’ll just do it with drums, bass, record the whole thing as I hear it and then from there I’ll change bits and see what works and what doesn’t.
That’s kinda where it starts, I think seven of the tracks were written all in one go with the same sort of vibe and feel to them. A couple of the other ones have been chopped from maybe three demos to make one song, I think “evolve/become” is like three songs just jammed together I mean they all just sort of worked.
It’s a bit of a trial and error process probably less with this stuff really maybe more with the earlier stuff. Which I think when I joined the band it was a mixture of the old and new stuff so it was us trying to get a hold on what Sacred was about.
Trying to find that sound really, I think with the new stuff we’re getting closer to that, I mean we’ve got some more ideas to come defiantly to hone the sound of the band we’re defiantly on the right track.
What new songs from the EP have you been playing?
Darrin: All of them from the new EP and one other; the live one too.
There’s another one that’s not on the EP and a couple of the older favourites that’s as far as we’re going at the moment.
What have you guys got planned coming up?
Darrin: World domination (laughs)
Touring I think now the EP is out, with obviously this being the Launch show, we’ve got another video being shot which we’ll be putting out, with a bit of fan interaction with interviewing type stuff and get them involved in the video so they can be in it. Put that out and then we’re hopefully doing a UK tour, then next year we’re going to be solidly trying to get the album out. I mean, we’re back in the studio end of this month to work on it some more, we haven’t got loads to do on it but its enough you know we don’t want to rush it, steady along with that up until Christmas then straight back in new year and march through hopefully…from then on see what happens
Many thanks to band taking time out of their busy schedule,“A line shines EP” is available now.
The new album “out of the darkness” is scheduled for release in 2013.
Updates on the band can also be found on Facebook: