HRH Mag’s Jezebel Steele caught up with John James, Master Charger’s guitarist and frontman via a very socially distanced chat to find out a little bit more about their new album “Origin of the Lugubrious”.

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  • You’ve recently signed to the Stoned Rocka label, did that have any influence on the new album or was the album pretty much done by that point?
    • The album had been recorded and mixed in September of last year and mastered in November. Everything was pretty much ready to go. We shopped the album to various labels and had quite a lot on interest and we finally inked a deal with Stoned Rocka Recordings.
  • How have you managed to keep on top of rehearsals during the past few months?
    • Obviously due to the Covid pandemic situation, rehearsals have been difficult. On top of that, I live 57 miles away from the rest of the band now but still travel. This hasn’t made rehearsals anymore difficult. We all have other responsibilities but we still managed to get in regular sessions before the pandemic and we have just started to rehearse again now.
  • Post lockdown, if you could play any venue to a full house, where would you want to be?
    • That one is a very difficult one, I think either the main room of Birmingham’s old NEC, or main room of Nottingham’s Rock City or the House of Blues over in the States. So, there are a few options for ya! Hahaha!!
  • I believe you’ve really broken the bank with video budgets this time around, can you tell me more?
    • We used Jay Hillyer for the videos for One for Sorrow and Embers of the Sun. His fame is for working with bands such as The Black Star Riders and the Wayward Sons. He doesn’t come cheap! Haha!
  • This is where I fire my researcher! I was led to believe your last video was done on next to no budget at all!
    • Oh that one, yeah that is true also. It was for Earthbound Hellbound.  We’d spent all of our money pretty much on the previous videos that we made the last one for a tenner!
  • We’ll see you early next year at the very first HRH Psych in Liverpool on the Heavy Psych/Stoner stage… are you as excited as we are for that one?
    • Yeah, we are stoked to be playing this one! We can’t wait. So many great bands and friends of ours on this event, so I guess we’ll see you there!!
  • As a band, you have a reputation for being powerfully heavy live, how do you approach a setlist – do you continually write and jam out sessions or can you tell when a song is done?
  • It’s great that we have a reputation for being a powerful heavy band live, especially since there is only just the three of us. As for approaching the set, we just think about the kind of bands we may be sharing a stage with or the type of festival we maybe playing on and we tailor our set to that really. So it all depends on whether we are looking for something more metal, or doom or even something with a slight psychedelic flavour. A lot of the time, we just pull stuff from all of our releases and see how they fit. We are a band that constantly has riffs written for future releases and we tend to jam them out from time to time and get parts tighter. The arrangements kinda fall into place piece by piece after that. You can tell that a song is done once everyone is happy with their parts prior to recording. Although, you always improve on them after recording when playing them constantly live. The songs always end up evolving more each time.
  • Q) What new bands are out there right now that you think we should check out? There is Psychlona, Red Spektor, Flex Bison, King Corpse, Ten Days Later, Mage, Prophets of Saturn and of course, not really a new band to me but maybe to some and that is The Kings of Frog Island. So, there’s just a few right there!
  • It must be cool to get signed to a label, how did that come about and what future plans do you have? Yeah, it’s pretty cool. A great achievement for the band. The deal came about whilst we were shopping for a label. We had some interest from a couple but nothing solid. John Ellis had seen us live a few times and seemed eager. I gave the album to him and he loved it, as they say, the rest is history!