Hey Arjun, good to speak to you… how’s things with Gorilla Riot today?
Hi John, all good with us mate. We’ve been hitting Christmas hard. Time to get back on the road. Raring to go!
I was really lucky and caught your late-night set at Hard Rock Hell XIII, how was that?
It was late, it was loose, but it was a lot of fun. I was sick as soon as I came off stage, that should tell you all you need to know about the state I was in at that point!
What can you tell us about the new record ‘Peach’?
It’s our 1st full-length LP and it’s about damn time! We really wanted to show our range of influences on this record and take people on a journey from start to finish, like the great albums of the ‘70s. There’s classic rock, grunge, stoner, blues, southern rock and metal all over this record, hopefully something for everyone, unless you like acid house. The way we’ve grown as a band over the last 3 years comes through in these songs, with peak tripod guitar interplay at least for us, but with each track, the song always came first. Then we’d work on how to elevate it to something more.
How do you start a project like that? What’s the process of writing before recording?
I’m constantly writing, so I have hundreds of songs still waiting to go. I’m not the kind of writer who thinks everything has to be new all of the time, I believe in most of the songs that I’ve got written, so this album is a mix of some songs that I’ve had for years and some that were brand new that I wrote during the rehearsal period. I always demo the tunes at home (shout out to my 25-year-old Yamaha keyboard for providing the drums), and then send them to the boys. They will learn them and then we’ll take them into the rehearsal room and play through them. Some stick, some don’t, but the ones that stick always evolve when the boys put in their input. It could be a structure change, or a new part, or just simply the feel of it.
I always like to ask a band how they know a song is finished, can you walk away with a definitive recorded version or as a band do you like a song to evolve, can you jam around it?
The songs that we’ve got recorded will always keep changing as we play them live. Most of the tunes we play from previous recordings are now different live, better I hope. I’m sure the same will happen to the songs on this record.
You recently announced a launch show for the album on the 8th February in Manchester, do you approach this type of show from a regular Gorilla Riot gig?
The approach on stage is always the same. Go and play as hard as you can and give the people a good time. The difference here is that I guess it’s going to be even more of a party. We’ve got ‘Daxx & Roxane’ and ‘Rita Faria & The Widows’ supporting (try fitting that shit on a poster), who are f***ing awesome and good friends of ours, and we’ve got people travelling from the length and breadth of the UK and Europe to come and have a knees-up. Should be a good laugh! Also, it’s the first time we’ll be playing most of these new songs, so it’ll be pretty special for us and hopefully for our fans.
It’s great to see you playing Hard Rock Hell and other festivals like Download and Ramblin’ Man, what shows do you have lined up for 2020, are there any dream venues or festivals the band would love to play someday?
We’re heading out on the road to support this record from February. There’s a bunch of dates booked in and we’ll be headlining Crazy Cowboy Festival 5 in Reading on March 28th. The promoter Alec is one of the most genuine legends in the rock scene today. We’re also headlining the Outlaw Rock ‘n’ Roll Festival and the outdoor stage at Breaking Bands Festival. We’ll be at Planet Rock’s Winter’s End, Love Rocks and Just Push Play festivals too, and we’re supporting Massive Wagons in Holmfirth. We’ll be heading out to tour Europe in October too. There’s plenty of shows to get your teeth into so don’t be shy, come and say hi!