Moss interview

«"Horrble Night" defines the direction that we will be in for the rest of our time together as a band»

15/03/2013 @ 12:45
Great Britain is the great doom-mother and Moss are one of her children that makes her proud with every record they release. Five years since the crushing "Sub Templum", Moss return with a new horrible and devastating record where heaviness and gloom are overarching despite the fact that now are moving into more traditional channels. On the occasion of this crucial change of sound direction and even more the fact that Moss are back after so much time, we found a little time to talk with them. Without holdin back anything, Moss's frontman, Olly Pearson, answered to our questions, with most of them circling around their new album, "Horrible Night".

Hi Olly. Since this is your first interview for, could you spare a brief bio for the band?
We started in late 2000, initially just wanting to be slower and heavier than the stuff we were listening to at the time. Over the years we became known for this extremely heavy doom/sludge style, and with our third album "Horrible Night" we've taken more of a side step towards something more traditional. Or timeless.

Moss"Horrible Night" is your third full length record and you have just recently finished mastering it. How do you feel about it now that is finished? Are you happy with the outcome?
This is the album that I feel we always wanted to make, we're really happy with the outcome. It was kind of a dip into the unknown for a while, not to say that we didn't have any direction for it, but it was still untested waters for us, particularly with the vocals. This is the album that I am most proud of.

It's been five years since your latest record. What took you so long to record new material? Were there any setbacks that kept stalling you?
This album did take nearly three years to write.... "Horrible Nights" was written in 2010 for our tour with Electric Wizard, and pretty much set out the direction for the record. The other songs slowly followed. Our previous records would be written, recorded and mixed all within two weeks in a very punk way, but with this album we really took our time. Three years to write, six months to record, and I think it’s all the more better for it.

Moss - Horrible NightThe first thing that someone will come across listening to "Horrible Night" is the distinctive change of your sound. There are no more sludge or drone or funeral elements, just plain and simple DOOM. Why did you proceed on such a big change? Is this the new face of progress for Moss or is it just a one-off kind of experiment?
I would say it has been more of a gradual change. If you take a track of ours like "Tombs Of The Blind Drugged" you can tell it's going more in that direction... I feel this is the direction that we will be in for the rest of our time together as a band. When we formed we were very much into bands like Grief, Thergothon, Eyehategod, Saint Vitus. Over the years the more extreme stuff faded for us and bands like Vitus coming more to the fore in our tastes and listening habits. It made sense to us to make an album that was more in line with our tastes than what people should think of or expect from a Moss record. I listen to a lot of 60s and 70s stuff, and while you can't really immediately tell, that has been a big influence. That stuff was an influence on Vitus too ...they were the immediate result of kids who spent the 70s listening to Sabbath and taking acid...This album is our angle on that vibe!

MossDo you think that there is a chance to lose some of your fans because of that change?
I like to think that people who are into the more extreme side of doom also like stuff like Black Sabbath, so I don't know... But I am sure there are some who will hate the direction we've taken. On the other hand there's the chance that we could gain some fans, the more people who want to hear what we're doing the better of course.

Another thing that is intriguing in the new record is your vocals. For the first time I think in your career, you used clean vocals which they kind of remind me of Ozzy. Was that deliberate or did they come out like this naturally?
I've always been a singer, there were bands I was in at school where I used clean vocals and I've done other things here and there away from Moss. The Ozzy thing is kind of subconsciously deliberate I guess! I've been a big Ozzy fan since a very young age; to me he is the best frontman ever. Very punk in the way that he can't really sing that well and he knows that, but you wouldn't want to hear it any other way. Listen to Dio do the old Sabbath stuff, it isn't anywhere near as effective. I don't consider myself that great a singer either, and while I'm still putting my own mark on my vocals I totally can't deny that they're Ozzy influenced.

MossThe artwork of your new record is great. Who is responsible and how does it connect with the content of the album?
It was created by Reuben Sawyer aka Rainbath Visual, and it does connect to the album. I sent him an early mix of the record and told him what the songs were about. 'Just draw what you hear' and this is the result. He's a very talented young man.

What are the lyrics about? Are they a part of a horrible and scary concept? From where do you gather inspiration?
There is an overarching theme of nightmares and fear of the unknown, from cosmic horror to personal experience. The lyrics to this album are actually involved more in my personal life than before. There were some very extreme drug experiences that I had late last summer that influenced some of the lyrics of the record, "Dark Lady" and "The Bleeding Years" in particular.

MossThis is the second record, after "Sub Templum", which is released from Rise Above. How is it to work with such an acknowledged label?
It's actually our third on Rise Above if you include the "Tombs Of The Blind Drugged" EP. Being on a label like Rise Above has raised our profile considerably, there's a family vibe and a legacy there which is pretty awesome. As a teenager being into doom metal albums like "The Road Less Travelled" and "Come My Fanatics" really had a big impact on me, all this coming from the same label always made you keep an eye on what they were doing. I couldn't imagine being on any other label really.

What does doom means to you? What kind of sentiments do you try to pass to the audience with your music?
Doom to me is horror music, that's how Sabbath intended it. To put the vibes and atmospheres of a horror film into musical form, to try to scare your audience with the creepiest shit you can come up with. Doom is a warning; don't mess with the powers of darkness. That fear impact has faded of course, but the foundations are there forever.

You used to play a hammond organ in some of your previous works. Do you use it as well in "Horrible Night"?
No... I had intended to record organ tracks, but after living with the songs for a while they really didn't require it. There is still one strange experimental moment on the album though, we had stuff in mind like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop for that..

MossFor most of your career you play without a bass. Why is that? Don’t you think that a bass would help you “fill” the sound of your music and add even more heaviness?
When we formed we originally had a bass player but when he came to rehearsal one day and had forgotten his bass we'd never looked back. I think there is enough bass in our sound to fill it out, Dom uses a lot of volume and low end in the studio and live for us not to miss the presence of a bassist too much.

You just recently announced a European tour. Is there any chance to be added more tour dates? Are there any talks to come to Greece?
I would love to come to Greece at some point, but unfortunately we won't make it on this tour. This is just a few select dates for us to coincide with the Roadburn festival and to present tracks from our new album. We'll focus mainly on new material live, maybe one or two old tracks.

Which were your personal favorite records for 2012?
It's not released yet, but I really like Purson's debut that was recorded last year. I can't think of much else really. I don't pay much attention to a lot of stuff made in the last 35 years!