Gama Bomb Interview
Philly Byrne – Vocals
Joe McGuigan – Bass And Vocals
Domo Dixon – Lead Guitar
Paul Caffrey – Drums
John Roche – Guitar
Interview by Anna Dumpe
Photography by Ruth Medjber Photography
Hey, thanks for joining us today!
As this is an email interview, can you please state your name & position in the band?
Philly Byrne, singer…..
You recently released your fourth album, ‘The Terror Tapes’ via AFM records, so please tell us about the album itself and how long did you work on this album? Where did you record it and how it different from your previous releases?
“’The Terror Tapes’ is different from our other albums because, honestly, it’s a better album. It’s strong, full of character and eccentricity but balanced against cool riffs and seriously hard-hitting music. Of course, that’s just our opinion, but it’s a really rare and special privilege to be able to stand up in front of your latest album and say you like it most.
It took a long time and a lot of agony to make it, so we knew it had to be worthwhile – and it was. Honestly it’s my favourite.”
Tell us how you came to release via AFM records?
“The truth is rather boring and involves things like contracts and managers and heads of agreement, so let’s make up a better story…..”
“Alice Cooper came to stay at my house and I talked him into smoking a joint made from Irish hash, laced with Buckfast tonic wine, more or less just for the buzz. He went off the head, started pretending he was a chicken and shouting republican slogans, which caused a terrible row in my front garden with my neighbours who are very moderate vegans. The upshot was that he had to do two week’s community service and get us a record deal, and he owed AFM a favour from one time when he accidentally dressed up as a prominent and controversial figure from World War Two at their Christmas party, so he sent us their way.
The rest is history….”
The ‘Terror Tapes’cover is illustrated by a world class movie poster artist Graham Humphreys, who has designed artwork for such classics, like A Nightmare on Elm Street, El Topo, Evil Dead and many more.How did you come across working with him and how important is the artwork is for Gama Bomb?
“We looked Graham up, that simple. We found out who he was, because we already knew his work of course, and then we looked him up….. As long as you’re cheeky and willing to actually spend a realistic amount of money, you can work with amazing people like Graham.”
“Art and image is really important to us, almost as important as the music.
Most metal art today is nonsense; lazy, derivative, muddled, stilted horse crap that encourages fans and bands to settle for less, we think carefully about every facet of design and art, and it shows.
When you care enough, you can have cool and consistent art. Bands in most other genres do it, but in metal most people are happy to stick a pointy logo, a pentagram and a skull on there and that’ll do.”
The first single off ‘The Terror Tapes’ was called “Terrorscope”, we noticed some pictures posted online of the band’s drastic and rather unusual image changes during the video shoot. What sort of crazy footage can we expect to see in the next video?
“The new one is out now; “Shitting Yourself To Live”. Check that out on our Facebook page!”
You streamed the ‘Terrorscope’ single as a completely free download.
What, in your opinion, is the positive side of giving away music for free and would you recommend other bands to consider doing the same?
“Free music, free content in general, is a fact of life now, whether business likes it or not. It’s becoming the biggest way of consuming and isn’t going to change. Whether it’s streamed, torrented, whatever, unpaid is the future….
We give it away for free because we’ve got our eyes open. Give it for free or have it taken for free, either way it’s going out there.
Our fans see that we understand them, and they reciprocate by buying merch, coming to shows, telling their mates about us.”
What is your opinion about the current rock/metal music market then, and how has it changed since the day Gama Bomb was founded back in 2002?
“Honestly I don’t keep an eye on this kind of thing.
Gama Bomb always was and will be separate from considerations like popular taste, trends, what’s selling right now. All I know is, the few modern metal or rock bands I listen to, I love, and the rest I don’t even bother with…it’s off my radar.
When you’re in a band, that’s the best way to be, not competing, just doing your own thing. The market; that’s a concern for the poor fuckers trying to scrape a living off metal. We’re just here to make cool music and have a few tins.”
And last, but not least… Tell us, what is the coolest thing about being in a thrash metal band?
“It’s a double-header: travelling and meeting people. You see things and meet people you’d never get to in a normal life. You get to have adventures, not just holidays.
You make new friends and meet really interesting people, which makes you interesting in turn. It’s enriching, but its bloody hard work.”
Unless, you have anything else to add?
“Many thanks for your time!