DATE OF INTERVIEW:
12th November 2009
METAL DISCOVERY: How was the Sonisphere festival experience for you this Summer because I gather you were added to the bill quite late in the day, and you were ‘surprise special guests’ or something like that?
TIM KING: I’ve gotta say, that was awesome. Our booking agent surprised us with it and basically said, “you know what, Sonisphere want to make you a special, last minute guest for the festival” and we were like “sure, let’s do it”. To be the first band on the main stage surrounded by so many other great bands, it was just amazing. It was a chance for us to go and talk about the new record; it was a chance to play some new songs for people that hadn’t seen us for a couple of years. The crowd reaction was amazing; the time we had there was amazing, and it was definitely a great welcoming home to the UK for us.
(Tim King on Soil's previous guise as Oppressor)
"It’s fun just to play some death metal for old time’s sake but the chances of a reunion or us ever playing it again are pretty slim, but you never know, it’s music, and that’s the great thing about it - you never can tell what’s gonna happen. I never thought Alice In Chains would get back together!"
Soil - uncredited promo shot, 2009
Photograph supplied by, and used with permission from, Mike Exley at M.E.P.R.
Interview by Mark Holmes
Official SOiL Website:
Official SOiL MySpace:
El Chupacabra! (1998)
Throttle Junkies (1999)
Albums & EPs
Thanks to Mike Exley at M.E.P.R. for offering and arranging the interview.
True Self (2006)
Picture Perfect (2009)
MD: Yeah, definitely. Did you get to check out many of the other bands there?
TK: Oh, for sure, we got to check out Anthrax, Metallica, and my favourite band probably of the whole weekend was Alice In Chains. They just blew my mind.
MD: Yeah, yeah, good to see them back on the go. You mentioned your band logo before which has kind of gone through a few subtle changes with each album - is it your aim to continue reinventing the logo to keep it fresh maybe?
TK: Yeah, we put out three albums with the full-on original lineup, then our singer Ryan left for personal and family reasons, so we were forced to either break the band up or get a new singer, and that’s when Wayne Static from Static-X gave us a call and said “I have the perfect guy for you”, and we brought AJ into the band, and did the ‘True Self’ record and, when we were in the process of getting ready to do this new record, we had to let one of our guitar players go just because of the fact he wasn’t on the same page as we were and he wasn’t seeing things the way we were, and he’d kind of run his course in the band. You know, for us, it hasn’t really been much of a change because we’ve always envisioned this band as a four piece rock band, and AJ also plays guitar so he’s picked up some guitar duties live and, in many ways, it allowed me and our other guitar player, Adam, to really get creative on this record; really come into our own and not have to have a rhythm guitar part put in there that we both had to adhere to. I was able to do a lot more different things on bass, and Adam was able to go off on the guitar and do things that he previously was restricted by. It opened us up to a whole new world of writing and performing. It was definitely something cool. I’m not saying that the old formula was bad or didn’t work because it worked great; it got us very popular. Like with everything, it was just time for a change and that’s what it was about, and we were just ready to do that.
MD: You used to play in Oppressor throughout the nineties, pre-Soil, and I checked out…there’s a fan-made MySpace page, and I found out it was more like technical death metal, and it’s pretty good stuff. The recordings are quite primitive that were on there but I don’t know if that’s just…
TK: We never quite had much of a budget to work with when we did the recordings! [laughs]
MD: Right! The song writing’s really good actually. Do you miss being in a band playing that kind of style, and is that something you‘d ever want to resurrect at some point in the future?
TK: Well, it’s funny you bring it up because me, Tom and Adam had Oppressor going before we formed Soil, and we actually formed Soil as a fun side project that just kind of took on a life of its own. We did the death metal thing for almost eight years and toured with Cannibal Corpse, and Cradle of Filth, and put out three studio albums and a live record. Just recently, an anthology was released which has remastered tracks by James Murphy - the guitar player from Death…
MD: …and Obituary…
TK: …yeah, and Obituary…and he remastered a bunch of our old tracks, and we put together an anthology which covers the spread of our entire career with the live DVD and a picture gallery, so it came out…I think it’s coming out through Metal Mind in Europe, and we put it out through another label in the States called MVD. We’re pretty excited to have that come out after so many years. It’s definitely something that is our past and maybe we’ll get together one day and play some shows for fun. It’s something that we’re proud of and it was an awesome time but you just kind of grew out of it over the years.
MD: I’ll have to check out that new anthology, it sounds interesting. Seeing as Soil are effectively three quarters of Oppressor, do you ever jam the old Oppressor material for old time’s sake, or is that definitely a thing of the past?
TK: I don’t think we really remember any of it! [laughs] Once in a while, we’ll jam out on some Morbid Angel riffs or play some death metal stuff to have some fun with. It’s fun just to play some death metal for old time’s sake but the chances of a reunion or us ever playing it again are pretty slim, but you never know, it’s music, and that’s the great thing about it - you never can tell what’s gonna happen. I never thought Alice In Chains would get back together!
MD: Exactly. Obviously you used to play technical death, but would you say your influences from the metal scene have changed from the early days of Oppressor because you were contemporaries with the likes of Atheist, Cynic, Pestilence and Death and then obviously Soil was a more late nineties thing?
TK: Basically, when we formed Soil, we formed it to get more back to our roots than with Oppressor because we all grew up on Ozzy, and Metallica, and Mötley Crüe , and bands of that nature….and Aerosmith…and we got into death metal because we were angry kids and it was just extreme! We got into Slayer, and Napalm Death, and Obituary, and Cannibal Corpse, and Morbid Angel, and the list goes on and on. The reason we formed Soil was because we were getting a little grown out of the death metal scene because everything started sounding the same. We kind of decided to go back to where it all began with our early influences, so Soil’s always been what we’ve been into. We still love death metal and crank on Morbid Angel's ‘Covenant’ to relive the past and do some head banging and stuff! [laughs]
MD: Finally, you have some Australian dates scheduled for December, but what’s next for Soil after those?
TK: After Australia we’re working on more tours right now. We’re looking to hit the States January and February, and hopefully come back over the pond to the UK and Europe around March maybe. Then we’ll come back for the festivals. So we’re planning on coming back here quite a lot with this record, and with the merger of us and AFM we definitely have the means to come over a lot more because they’re a record label who are really putting in a lot of effort and time into it, so we’ll definitely be back a lot. So if you missed us this time, we’ll be back at least a couple more times next year.
MD: That’ll be great. Any talk of any festivals over here next Summer?
TK: Our agent’s putting them together right now. We haven’t confirmed any yet. There are a bunch of offers out and we’re seeing which ones are right for our schedule. Hopefully there’ll be an announcement very soon.
MD: Hopefully catch you live next year sometime then…
TK: Yeah, we’d love to see you and hang out.
MD: …seeing as I missed the whole of this tour!
MD: Is it two weeks you’ve been over here for now?
MD: Three? Ah, I've had no excuse then! One of my contributors did go to review and shoot one of your gigs though, so at least you’ve been represented on Metal Discovery even if I didn’t see you myself!
TK: Awesome, great.
MD: Well, thank you very much for your time.
TK: Thank you, and hopefully we’ll catch you next time we’re over here and we’ll have a few drinks together.
MD: Definitely, and good luck for the show in Margate tonight and the rest of the tour in Europe.
TK: Thanks, we appreciate it, and we’ll catch you next time.