Interviews: IRONRAT

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Doom Metal band IRONRAT from the UK. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, did you plan it or come out just like that?

Martin: “Chris (original drummer then ex-vocalist) came up with the name, I think it means a knackered-looking cool car 😂 we just went ‘yeah we’ll go with that!’

Stuart: “It just seems to describe us perfectly, does exactly what it says on the tin.”

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Wayne: “It's just organic with us I guess. We already gravitated towards this style in the music we listen to, so the music we play just falls naturally into this territory.”

Gordon: “although we also like to span genres.”

Stuart: “We never set out to be a 'stoner doom' band, we just got together and with our shared love of big riffs over a groove that's where it organically gravitated to and it's a territory we're really comfortable being in. That said we have a wide range of styles in our influences so there's always a flavour of something else going on there, like Martin's bluesy solos or melodic passages that could have been written by Peter Green era Fleetwood Mac.”

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Wayne: “We all knew each other in one form or another, either as musicians from the local scene or as friends drawn together through the love of music. Martin and Wayne have been friends since they were teenagers (over 30 years!), Stuart and Martin used to play in the band Silverburn together, and we forced Gordon to join us, as punishment for being from Lancashire

Stuart: “Martin and Wayne have been friends since they were teenagers (over 30 years!), and their first band supported Downset way back in the day."

4. Each band member's favourite band?

Gordon: “I don’t really have one but for the sake of argument I’d say Alice In Chains”

Stuart: “It'd be hard for us each to narrow it down to just one band, we've all got a lot of favourites, and in them, you'll get a lot of crossover, bands which you wouldn't be surprised we all love. CoC, Red Fang, Trouble, Down & Alice in Chains to name a few. But where it gets more interesting is that when we find a band we all love we'll also dig into what they were listening to and inspired by. So, some of our guitar harmonies were directly influenced by the Allman Brothers, the rhythm work occasionally references old school hardcore and the bass runs are often more melodically inspired by the Who.”

Wayne: “I don't really have a specific favourite band, as I love so many, it's too hard to choose. At the moment, I'm listening to a lot of Quicksand, Portishead and Barbarian Hermit.”

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Gordon: “My drumming is purely inspired by the riffs the rest of the band write.” 

Stuart: “Where to start! Wayne and Martin are frankly prolific riff writers and it’s often harder to group their riffs together based on theme or movement to build a song than just jam ideas out based on what sticks. Not that Gordon or I haven’t contributed, just that these guys flow ideas. Inspiration can hit from many different places though. For example, ‘Obscene’ touches on meeting a perfectly charming racist, Blind about the very real possibility of dying at work. Liar, about feeling being yourself isn’t enough and that you have to lie about inconsequential stuff to make you sound more interesting when frankly your friends know and love you enough to know when you are lying and would prefer you just didn’t.” Wayne "Inspiration to write comes from a need to create for me. There are just moments when everything falls into place, and the dots all start connecting. That's when the inspiration hits top gear."

6. Where was your last gig?

Wayne: Our last gig (at the time of this interview) was supporting the legendary Nebula. Such an awesome band, and a really nice bunch of guys. That was a great show.

Stuart: And before that was Saltaire Festival with Pyschlona playing to a fantastic local crowd.”

7. Where would you like to act?

Gordon: Across Europe for a start.

Wayne: We'll happily play pretty much anywhere, but there are some fantastic festivals out there - Bear Stone, Arc Tangent and Freak Valley immediately spring to mind, and of course, Bloodstock holds a special place in our hearts.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Gordon: For me, I’d say supporting Red Fang.

Stuart: “I'm still kinda gutted we just missed out on Bloodstock 2016 with CoC, Paradise Lost, Misery Loves Co, Vallenfyre and Twisted Sister. But going forward, I'd just love to go rip through Scandinavia and Europe on tour with Kal-El, absolutely love those guys (and ex-gal – big love to you Liz!) and it's like family when we get together.” Wayne “Pretty much any band that we like listening to. Nothing better than playing on a lineup full of bands you love.

9. Whom not? 

Stuart: We're open to playing with anyone. Back when we first started out playing in bands promoters would often just run 'band nights' not 'metal nights' so we'd end up playing with folk bands, indie bands, acoustic pop, rap, you name it, and it was fantastic. Actually, we played with 'Flesh Tetris' not that long ago and they are such a different style to us, but it still worked. They were ace people too. So yeah, we'll play with anyone, unless they're a complete arsehole, that is.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Gordon: I haven’t but I would say just totally immerse yourself in what you and the other band members are doing, and it should be easier.

Stuart: We've all been playing long enough that stage fright is a distant memory. I know that moving to singing and playing at the same time has been a new challenge for Martin and me too, now I’m doing backing vocals, but again you just get on with it. You've always got to do your first one before you can do your best one. One thing that we still get though is 'red light fever' in the studio, when a momentary panic just knocks you off your game. This is where working with someone like Chris Fielding is a big plus as he'll just calmly encourage 'just one more time' and he'll coax the best out of you.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Gordon: (Rush) Led Zeppelin and the massive sizes and type of gear that John Bonham played to achieve the end result and the drive that pushed the band. Also Led Zeppelin were one of the bands who inspired and continue to inspire generations of musicians.

Stuart: Each member brings their own set of influences and it ranges from the Small Faces, through to the Mammas and the Papas. Even then it’s really heartening to know that it’s going to be hard for outsiders to spot what we used to call the ‘smashing pumpkins riff’ from something that might have been more Boss Keloid or Yob influenced.” Wayne "Metallica was always a huge inspiration to me, along with local thrash heroes Slammer. Later, bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Helmet, Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden started to form the musician I would eventually become."

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Stuart: If I recall correctly a Norwegian lass asked Martin to sign her cleavage? And wasn’t that the same night Wayne got propositioned by a woman saying, ‘I have skills’ and all he could say was “are you Liam Neeson off of Taken?"

Gordon: To have my shirt. I said if she came to the next gig she could have it. She did and I said goodbye to the coolest shirt I’ve ever had.

Wayne: She didn’t want your shirt. That was lady code for ‘do a sex on me’.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Stuart: We are constantly humbled by our fans and seeing the same faces regularly up at the front, despite travelling who knows how far, frankly they are more like part of this messy great big Ironrat family than just fans.”

Gordon: We love every one of them.

14. What do you think of our site?

Wayne: It's a cool site. Some really interesting deeper insights into the bands, with features about the album artwork, as well as the interviews and reviews.

15. Something to add?

Stuart: Maybe “Buy our album, it’s reet good!” “Listen to Porcupine Tree!” “Spotify – Pay your Artists!” & “Exposure doesn’t even pay for guitar strings!” Wayne "Just a thank you for the feature and the interesting questions we've been asked. These really made us think!

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