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Hailing from the south of Wales, Godsticks’ music has frequently been described as imaginative and original. On February 4th, their sophomore album, The Envisage Conundrum, will be released. I recently had the opportunity to speak to lead vocalist Darran Charles, who offered insight into the band’s creative process and discussed their upcoming tour.
On his influences:
“We all like a wide variety of music. Steve [Roberts, drummer and keys] is a fan of country and pop, while I really like Rufus Wainwright. We have a lot of different influences, and that does make us unique.”
On pursuing a career in music:
“My father, mostly. I grew up hearing music constantly. I loved Bon Jovi. It was mostly Richie Sambora who drove me to pick up the guitar.”
On having to make artistic compromises:
“I am a bit of a control freak, I suppose. There are arguments, because we all think we know what we want, but in the end… well, it’s basically whoever wins the argument!”
On perfectionism and spending a lot of time in the studio:
“The music is just so intricate that we need to spend a lot of time. There are only three of us, but sometimes we have up to six different instruments on a track. On the track “Submerged,” we had added drums and then realized that we didn’t like the way they sounded at all, so we booked more time and completely redid the drums.”
On developing a heavier sound:
“On [2010's] Spiral Vendetta we had Jason Marsh as our bass player, but he left us before the second album. For a while we had a session player, and then our current bass player Dan [Nelson] came into the fray right before this album. But yeah, we all enjoy heavier music; we all grew up listening to a lot of rock, like Deep Purple, and we found that heavy music was a lot more enjoyable to play live. This time we rehearsed songs in their entirety, not in bits and bobs, and the sound is more organic, and more settled.”
On plans for the future, post-tour:
“Misery, probably! It’s just really difficult to find live work, especially in the prog circuit around here, where all the bands have very loyal fans. That’s why we approached Mike Keneally and The Aristocrats, because we thought their fans might really like our music too. It’s worth the effort. After this tour we’ll most likely play some small gigs, look to do something with other bands, get on a larger tour—but as a supporting act. We really want to get over to America. That’s my personal ambition. Unfortunately it’s very expensive to tour in America, even for American bands. So we’re going to try to put whatever money we make from this album towards a tour in America.”
Check out Godsticks via their website.