As the days grow shorter and year-end-list season approaches, we slumbering scribes are slowing down when it comes to writin' reviews. That said, we've still got some interviews left in the tank.
To that end, Texas' very own Holy Death Trio--a riff-centric outfit purporting to illustrate a certain "Jimi Hendrix played with Black Sabbath" quality--were courteous enough to brave our interrogation chamber. These guys put out a single entitled "Bad Vibrations" a few weeks back, and this Friday will see the release of "Black Wave," yet another bangin' track. If you're in the mood for a hard rockin' good time, look no further than Holy Death Trio. Without further ado:
SVR: Thanks for taking the time to chat! Firstly, how are you all doing in the midst of the current situation?
HDT: We’re making the best of it. All of us have been lucky enough to hold a job and because we’re not going out as much anymore, we can invest the “going out” funds back into the band .
SVR: As a direct followup: your bio mentions a commitment to a heathy and fit lifestyle so that you're able to give your all when you're on the road. Given that hitting the road is a scarcity these days, how goes the healthy habits and fitness? The gym closures in my neck of the woods have certainly knocked my regime down a few rungs.
HDT: At first it was rough to even stay motivated but once the gyms started to open back up we all started training again either at home or with 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Austin or F45.
SVR: "Bad Vibrations" feels distinct due to a bombastic high-energy approach, but still has that almighty Black Sabbath tinge. Are there any other specific artists that you draw influence from, both in relation to this track and your work at large?
HDT: We all have a lot of different influences from bands like Sabbath, Hendrix, Deep Purple, Motorhead, Uncle Acid, Great Electric Quest...there are so many great bands and artist to draw influence from. Not to mention all the local Austin, T.X. bands that really set the bar for live shows.
SVR: In contrast to the hard rockin' momentum on "Bad Vibrations," 2019's "Witchdoctor" features a significantly doomier tone, with harrowing vocals and a plodding tempo. As time goes on, are you finding yourselves moving away from the doomy elements, or will both sides of the stoner coin be featured in your forthcoming debut?
HDT: We like the doomier stuff a lot but we don’t want to be like every other stoner rock/doom band out there and just have the same sound. If we’re not innovating then we’re failing as a band. We also don’t want to limit ourselves to small underground club shows. We can see ourselves playing arenas with bands like Wolfmother or Gretta Van Fleet… and drawing from the last answer we have so many influences that its hard to "stick to a specific genre." You will hear both sides of the coin for sure. Along with a 3rd...or...even 4th side. Having a few songs in a few genres helps us get on different shows. It also allows us to have a wider fan base as well. Some people might gravitate more towards songs like bad vibes, while others might gravitate toward a heavy blues song so its nice to be able to mix it up a bit.
SVR: Does rock always start with the riff, or do you typically approach songwriting from a more fluid perspective?
HDT: Most of the time it starts with the riff but sometimes it starts with one lyric like “I’ve got nothing left to lose” and then writing the rest around that line.
SVR: Long-term influences and inspirations aside, what bands (or albums) have served as the soundtrack of 2020?
HDT: GREENLUNG's latest album is absolute gold, but Monolord, PRAYERS, Blues Pills and King Buffalo were played a lot during 2020.
SVR: Texas in general is a hotbed of heavy music, and Austin in particular seems to be boiling over with high-quality bands. Besides yourselves, obviously, what are some other bands in your area that we should check out?
HDT: Dayeater is amazing. Their guitar player has one hand and he rips! (Check him out here! - Ed.) Amplified Heat, Billy King and The Bad Bad Bad, Greenbeard, Rickshaw Billy's Burger Patrol, Naga Brujo, The Deadcoats. Also Jason Kane and The Jive is probably the best singer in Texas.
SVR: You've got a pretty nice series of merch designs, with a distinct focus on color that sets you apart from the standard white-logo-on-black-tee formula. There's also a focus on baseball tees, aka the superior torso apparel. In your eyes, how important is merch to a band's unique identity?
HDT: A band's brand should be #1. You can suck but still be successful with a good brand, but if you have both the talent and the brand then you are just set for success. Merchandise is also a great way to make $$$ to further invest in the band. I remember seeing bands like Black Magic Flower Power, Mothership, Great Electric Quest and their merch variety and art was awesome. Having a solid merch line is a solid business step for a band.
SVR: What can you tell us about the conceptual nature of your full length? Is there an overarching storyline, or is the "concept" ground more in a general vibe and listening experience?
HDT: The goal is for the overall experience of the album to take you on a heavy Rock-N-Roll ride though all the emotions. It has been produced in a way to make our sound punch you in the chest and give you goosebumps. It will all flow together and feel like a wild heavy psychedelic ride. Lemmy would be proud.
SVR: We'll leave the last word with you! Is there anything else you'd like to add?
HDT: Shout out to all our fans, friends, and family. Big thanks to Charles Godfrey of Scary American Studios
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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