Neil Ainger talks to Desert Storm about Sentinels LP and tour plans
I first saw Desert Storm live in Trillians, Newcastle with Karma to Burn and Druganaut in 2012, and then again with a similar line-up at The Cluny in 2014. You’ve shared stages with countless other great names in metal now. Who’s been your favourite to play with so far?
Ryan – They were cool shows for sure, Karma To Burn are always fun. We’ve had cool shows with Orange Goblin, Honky, Corrosion of Conformity and Weedeater to name a few.
Your fifth album Sentinels is released on March 16th, your first release on APF records. Having been playing the hell out of it this past week I’d have to say this is your best, heaviest and most assured record to date. What can you tell us about the writing and record process and everything that went into making it?
Chris B – We set out with the intentions of creating a more consistent sounding, consolidated body of work. Lyrically the album touches upon more personal issues and subjects closer to us. Lyrics like this help people relate a bit more I think, as perhaps some of the issues they are dealing with too.
Ryan – Musically the album was written the same way we have always worked. Starting around a guitar riff myself of Chris has conjured up and if the rest of the band are enjoying it, we end up jamming it and adding more ideas until we have some kind of structure. Whilst the music is being rehearsed Matt will sit writing lyrics and contemplating vocal melodies….these will all be laid down last.
As for recording most of the record was recorded with Jamie Dodd (Orange Goblin) in Hackney London at Flesh and Bone Studios, except Journeys End! We wrote this after and really wanted it on the album, but recorded that in Oxfordshire at Wordworm studios (where Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath sometimes records) with Steve ‘Geezer’ Watkins.
Opening track Journey’s End and the accompanying video touch on addiction, mental health and suicide. Are these issues important to you as a band?
Chris B – I think mental health is an issue that we all resonate with as a band and something that needs to be recognised.
Ryan – It was a way of creating awareness, which is very important. Many people suffer from issues such as depression, anxiety, paranoia etc, including some of us personally. It’s important people can relate and seek help if required.
It’s no surprise that the new record sounds as brilliant as it does considering it was recorded and mixed by Jamie Dodd. Given his work with Orange Goblin, he must really understand what it is you’re aiming for?
Chris B – It was a really fun process working with Jamie Dodd, as he challenges to push ourselves of be more creative with our production, without being too intrusive.
Ryan – Yeah Jamie was great. It’s always nice when you work with an engineer that is also willing to suggest ideas to help bring some tracks to life.
The tour for the record has begun. You’re off around Europe and have more dates back in the UK in July and August. What can fans expect from the live shows?
Ryan – Yes, currently in Czech Republic whilst we do this interview! The tour has been great and the new material is going down very well! Selling a lot of the new record too! Everyone can expect very loud riffs and lots of the new tracks in the set, as well as old stuff!
Another big UK support tour announced very soon for June as well. Keep your eyes peeled!