DATE OF INTERVIEW:
13th August 2011
LUCA GDRAX; LEE4
Since Dripback recorded their debut EP, 'Inhaling the Ashes', at the tail-end of 2010, eighteen minutes of raw, intense metal extremity meandering through multifarious subgenres including passages of hardcore, death, thrash, grind, groove, black and doom, they have accomplished more than most new bands achieve during their first five years in existence. With the London-based metallers' lineup consisting of ex-Labrat and ex-Ted Maul members, it seems their emergence onto the scene would inevitably garner a degree of curiosity but surely they could not have predicted, in only a few months, a record deal, a tour supporting Soilent Green, and appearances at two prestigious festivals, namely Download and Bloodstock Open Air. And it was at Bloodstock where I arranged to meet up with the band a few hours after their appearance on the Sophie Lancaster stage in a packed tent. Guitarists Luca Gdrax and Lee4 provide Metal Discovery with a deeper insight into all things Dripback...
METAL DISCOVERY: I thought your set was fucking amazing earlier.
(Luca Gdrax on the significance behind Dripback's name and how it links to the music)
"It’s a disgusting sound but an uplifting sound at the same time."
Luca Gdrax and Lee4 in the press area at Bloodstock, UK, 13th August 2011
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2011 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
MD: Yeah, really intense and really tight.
LUCA: Thank you, man.
MD: How was it from your perspective?
LUCA: We had a wicked time. We were lucky enough to have the guy who produced our EP, Russ Russell, he was doing the sound…even though he turned up hungover to fuck ten minutes before we played! We were trying to ring him all morning and not getting through but then he just turned up and we were like, “yeahhhh”!
LEE4: It was perfect for us because he knows our sound, he recorded our record. He knows exactly what we’re about. It was perfect. Having your producer doing your sound is the best.
MD: You had a full tent as well; there was a big crowd there.
LEE4: Unbelievable, man.
LUCA: We put the work in though, man. We gave out something like…how many flyers did we have in that box?
LEE4: I don’t know.
LUCA: Thousands. All day yesterday we were just giving out flyers and chatting to people.
MD: The good old fashioned way then, pre-internet, when all people could do was flyer gigs.
LEE4: It pays off, man.
LUCA: If you give a flyer and don’t speak to someone, they aint gonna come…and I only give flyers to people in bands’ tops that are like our music. So I don’t bother with all the Blind Guardian and Hammerfall t-shirts!
LUCA: Stay well away, you know!
MD: They’d be shocked if they heard you!
LUCA: We had a few people tear up the flyers and go – “Dripback suck, I will not be attending”…“Alright, cheers mate, thanks for that”!
MD: Dripback started, I read, as a bunch of mates having a jam but just within a few months you’ve played Download and Bloodstock, had a tour with Soilent Green, and got a record deal where you’ve released an EP produced by Russ Russell…
LUCA: Yeah, and we’re doing a tour with Lock Up in December.
MD: Cool. So for all the struggling bands out there, what’s your secret? How have you done all this in such a short period of time?
LUCA: We’ve been fucking lucky, bro.
LEE4: We’ve been very lucky, man. A lot of this business is to do with who you know in a way.
LUCA: Because I’ve been with Ted Maul for so long we know so many people and they’re interested to hear what the new band is. So we kind of put the work in with our other bands. Adam was in Labrat who, back in 2004 or whatever, were all over the radio and all over the mags, so a lot of the same people who reviewed Labrat…they were interested that Labrat and Ted Maul had got together and River Freshney are an up and coming band.
LEE4: We’ve worked our arses off.
LUCA: This is a bit of payback for all the effort we put in with our other bands.
LEE4: Yeah, it’s our bit of payback but we’ve been really lucky this year. We recorded what was supposed to be a demo and Siege of Amida, they loved it, put it out as our EP, and we got the tour with Soilent Green. On the Soilent Green tour the scouts for Bloodstock and Download saw us and they were like, “we want you guys to play”. And here we are, man. This is our thirteenth show. It’s been an absolutely incredible year.
MD: Do you plan on topping all of that next year?
LUCA: Well, we hope so, man.
MD: You haven’t done Sonisphere so you can aim for Sonisphere next year.
LUCA: That’s the plan. If we’re still alive or whatever, we’ll do it! We’re recording with Russ at the beginning of January so we’re gonna get a full-length recording and hopefully get it out.
MD: Cool. How did you actually arrive at the name Dripback?
LUCA: Basically, Dripback is a disgusting feeling but it’s also a really exciting feeling. Anyone who’s sniffed a big line of gear and felt it dripping back, numbing their nose into their throat…
MD: You want your music to do that – disgust and excite?
LUCA: Hopefully. It’s a disgusting sound but an uplifting sound at the same time.
LEE4: We want you to feel high and disgusted when you hear us.
MD: Yeah, I know what you mean. I felt all of that earlier, actually.
MD: It was disgusting, intense and exhilarating.
LEE4: It felt a bit dirty, man. I must go and wash and scrub!
MD: Yeah, I thought, I’m liking this but feel a bit dirty for doing so!
LUCA: We’ll scrub you down with a broom under a hose pipe afterwards!
MD: You need a hose at the end for the audience, you know, like a clean version of Gwar! So have you accumulated much of a fanbase yet that you’re aware of?
LEE4: It seems like we have.
LUCA: Looking at the turnout today, if we didn’t have a fanbase before today then hopefully there’s a couple of hundred people that are into us now. And that’s really positive.
MD: What about Download, did you get much feedback from people there?
LUCA: Download was a similar turnout so we were really happy. We did the same at Download, though; we went round flyering, chatting to people, making new friends…which is something that young bands, well, we’re not young, but all new bands need to do. They can’t just get on a festival and then expect people to turn up.
MD: Yeah, it’s a MySpace/Facebook generation where a lot of bands do all their touting through social networking online, then happen to be booked for a festival and expect people to come to them but Bloodstock and other festivals aren’t Facebook, they’re the real world.
LUCA: That’s it and we have the opinion that people who are here, right now, they don’t know if you’re playing or not interested to hear you, they won’t come. We’re really, really happy that everybody who came, came, and we just want to say thank you to everyone.
MD: An amazing EP, I have to say. You recorded it in forty eight hours it said on the press sheet…
LUCA: Yeah, that’s right, yeah.
MD: With such a narrow time period, did you record all the songs live or track everything one instrument at a time?
LUCA: We did the drums, then the guitars, the bass…Adam did everything in one shot…
MD: So most stuff was done in one take?
LUCA: The guitars were bitty because we share it. Like, I’ll do a whole song, then Lee will do a whole song…so, rather than messing about, we just play what we wanna play. As long as it’s recorded, it’s cool. We can play it live, you know.
MD: It all turned out pretty fucking phenomenal, though, considering…like, how long did it actually take you?
LUCA: We were there for two days…we got through about forty fucking cases of lager! And we didn’t really sleep so I’m really impressed it ended up happening. I thought we were only gonna leave there with two songs. When we went there to record it, we thought we’d just go there to record the songs. We didn’t think, let’s record the songs, get signed and do the tour.
LEE4: It was our demo, you know, but it worked out being our EP.
MD: With Russ Russell in there you can’t go far wrong though, can you.
LEE4: We recorded it the two days before Christmas. Russ was fully booked and we just jumped in.
MD: A spare two days?
LEE4: Well, he spared it for us, man.
LUCA: The first song on the EP, the last riff, he plays it. He was like, “give me that guitar!”
MD: You’ve brought the “cunt” back into metal with ‘Hold Your Horses’ and a few bars in you’ve got, “come on you cunts”…
LUCA: That’s one of my mates from work saying that. All our samples are real. All of the people, live and on the recordings, are cockney gangsters.
LEE4: The only one that isn’t is the one in ‘Under the Floor’ which is an Austrian sample of Joseph Fritzl being sentenced in court. That’s the only one that’s not been done by our friends. We do all of our own stuff.
MD: So who are you addressing as cunts in that “come on you cunts” line?
LUCA: Just any cunts out there!
MD: Random cuntage then.
LUCA: Yeah, yeah.
MD: Can you name five other uses of the word “cunt” in metal?
LUCA: Metal cunts…heavy metal cunts…heavy metal cunts with swords…heavy metal cunts in spikes…and, er…
LEE4: Heavy metal cunts in leather.
LUCA: There you go.
MD: Anal cunt.
LUCA: Yeah, that could work, yeah. Do you know what was really funny, when I was thirteen, our drummer who was in the band with us, he inscribed on the science desk the lyrics to ‘Trick or Betrayed’ by Deicide. We went to a Catholic boys school and he inscribed – “Their faith ends in pain, rip up their bible before it’s too late”. And because I was the only blatant metaller there, I got blamed for it. I knew that my mum and dad wouldn’t give a shit but our drummer’s mum and dad would’ve gone mental so, when they blamed me, I took the wrap. My RE teacher saw Anal Cunt written on my pencil case and he goes – “Anal Cunt…it’s like using an anus as a cunt.” I was like…I was a little kid and had never even thought about it…I just thought it was two horrible words and then was like – “ugghh no, you’re making me think about gay shit”!
MD: At least he was analysing it a bit.
LUCA: It was just random. I was like, “why are you saying this? This is abuse you weird old bastard!”
LUCA: But he liked Metallica which was weird. Anyway, sorry…
MD: That’s fine.
LUCA: You’re actually getting a proper interview out of us. When there’s more of us, it’s not good.
MD: I’ve seen one with the five of you…it’s random.
LUCA: It’s horrible.
MD: No questions seem to get answered, just random babble!
LUCA: You’re lucky we haven’t found the Ronnie James Dio “crisp of destiny” at this festival! At the last festival, my girlfriend found a McCoy’s crisp that looked like that…[Luca makes the horn sign] So that really ruined all the interviews at Download.
LEE4: It ruined every single interview!
LUCA: They were like, “so what are your influences?” and we said, “the crisp of destiny”! Everyone was like, “oh god, fuck off with your crisp”!