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TarLung do their part in a doom metal scene which is getting more and more prolific and strong. This Austrian band has just released their self-titled debut album and after having reviewed it we are ready to have a chat with them to know them better.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine. How are you doing?
Five: Thank you for having us, we are doing great! At the moment we are hanging out after a nice rehearsal session, enjoying some beer, wine and a few cigarettes. Let's do this!
I've made it a habit to ask about the "basics" of the band I'm interviewing as a first thing, so I'll start: Who are the people behind TarLung? What has led to the foundation of the band? How did you choose your moniker? What are your main influences as musicians, and how did you get to the decision of playing this particular genre?
Five: TarLung is Rotten (guitars), Marian Waibl (drums), Philipp "Five" Seiler (guitars and vocals). We play doomed sludge metal.
Marian: While Rotten and Five have already been playing together for some time, the band finally came together in December 2013 through a common love for the riff, breaking down amps and phlegmatic heaviness bands like Church Of Misery, Electric Wizard and Black Sabbath as well as Crowbar, Melvins and EyeHateGod. There never was a decision how to approach our music, it just felt natural to tune low and play slow!
Clemens: The story behind the name was seeing an anti-smoking ad and we thought it was fitting our sound, slow and tarry. Fresh, hot and molten tar running down the street like the blood of our enemies [laughing and smoking heavily].
You were born in 2013, and you have released your debut album merely one year later: why the rush? Were you already aware you had some good songs in your hands?
Clemens: Basically a lot of the songs were already finished and done after we played together for a few months.
Marian: Clemens and Five already had a few parts of the songs before we even played together for the first time, but the songs finally took form with Marian behind the drums. There was no reason to not record an album we liked our sound, we liked our songs, so we thought, let's just go for it! We chose to record our first album in the same spirit raw, live and a maximum of two or three takes per track.
Five: It's also way easier to get gigs if you have something to show the promoters.
The music in your album is black, massive, heavy. What can you tell us about its conception and about the gear you used to produce it? Who is behind its lyrics, and what are your main topics and inspirations?
Marian: There was no real concept, restrictions or general idea on what we wanted to do. The songs somehow turned out to fit together quite well. We just tried to created something we'd also enjoy as fans of heavy music.
Clemens: The sound mainly consists of thick and brutal fuzz pedals (a Way Huge Swollen Pickle MK2 and a Blackout Effectors Blunderbuss, if you want to know) played through good sounding tube amps. That's what we use to get our guitar tone. Noisy cymbals are an important part of Marian's drum sound, otherwise it’s a pretty minimalistic drum setup. In the studio we added a bass track but live we only use two guitars. Clemens and Five split their signals and play simultaneously through a bass amp.
Five: Our lyrics are not written by any band member in particular. If someone comes up with some nice lyrics for a song, then we’ll go with that. Our inspirations are classic movies, books (for example we love H.P. Lovecraft stuff) and the fucked up condition of human society.
Is there a song that is particularly meaningful to you? If yes, why?
Clemens: If you mean a song from our album: "Black Forest" is a special song for me, because it's about getting through dark personal things. If you mean songs in general: Townes Van Zandt – "Nothing" or maybe Crowbar – "Planets Collide".
Five: I really enjoy playing "Apeplanet", it just encompasses how easily mankind can destroy itself, it’s pretty much a warning to all mankind. Very difficult, there are just too many great, meaningful songs: today I will choose Down – "Learn From My Mistake".
Marian: I would say "Mountain King", because I’m from mountains, not really a fun place to be! Bonnie Prince Billy – "I See A Darkness".
In recent years the Austrian scene has been cranking out a lot of solid bands (Parasol Caravan, Cachimbo De Paz, Lowbau, Torso, Been Obscene, Sahara Surfers, Throes etc.). What are your thoughts about your national scene, and are you in particularly good terms with any other band who's active in this context?
Marian: Yeah, recently it looks better and better, as there are a lot of bands creating some good sounding stuff.There are some promoters who really help the scene by organizing gigs, like Stonerhead Let Groove Your Brains 2 nights from Salzburg (who also plays in Sativa Root), Roadtrip To Outta Space, Soundwall Entertainment from Vienna and Church Of Goat from Innsbruck.
Five: There are also some Austrian festivals evolving that focus more on the stoner, doom and heavier sounding bands in general (for example Lake On Fire, Sauzipf, Stonerhead Let Groove Your Brains 2 nights and Sticks And Stones).
Clemens: We have a particularly good relationship with Throes, as Marian plays in another project with their bassist called Encompass The All. We also know Lukas Haidinger very well, who recorded our album he plays in lots of different bands, one for example is Underground Groove Front.
Are there any active bands in particular that you follow and appreciate?
Five: Well, there are a lot of bands we listen to and appreciate, as we are big music nerds.
Five, Marian and Clemens: To name just a few: EyeHateGod, Crowbar, Melvins, Ufomammut, YOB, Electric Wizard, Down, Weedeater, Bongripper, Red Fang, Church Of Misery, Boris, Mares Of Thrace, Dark Castle, Sleep, Mortals, Power Fortress, Suma, Vanessa Van Basten, Mastodon, Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats, Tom Waits, Kylesa, The Bad Light, Wo Fat, Bolt Thrower, Entombed, At The Gates, Death…
Marian: The list goes on and on!
Is there a band or an album that you couldn't live without?
Five: Basically everything from the bands named above is fucking excellent. But if we had to take one album with us on a lonely island (plus a nice sounding stereo and a generator, of course), or if it was the last album we could listen to in our lives, it would be: Death – "Human".
Marian: Sunn O))) – "White 2", or maybe The Doors – "Strange Days".
Clemens: Mastodon – "Leviathan", I love the variety and amazing musicianship of this great recording plus you can never go wrong with "Moby Dick" based lyrics.
If you were to release a vinyl split album, which band(s) would you choose to share it with?
Five: Well, there would be a lot of bands we would like to make a split with.
Marian: If we had to make a choice, we would probably go with a band like Conan, Ufomammut or Dopelord from Poland, but we are open to any band and genre, as long as the end product is something can be proud of.
Clemens: It would also be really cool to record something with a befriended band of ours, for example Throes , Sativa Root or Les Lekin.
Stoner, doom, sludge, psychedelia, space: what are your first thoughts when you hear these words?
Clemens: Whisky, weed and women, the three big W’s [laughing hard].
Marian: Satan [slowly strokes his glass of red wine, then takes a sip].
Five: I think of the scene in "2001 – Space Odyssey", where they stand in front of the monolith on the moon. However, the monolith is not a mysterious big stone, but a huge fucking amp plus speaker. Suddenly this huge amp starts to make a sound, and it gets louder and louder. It gets so loud that the human skull cannot stand it any more, so it bursts into a thousand pieces. The sound starts travelling through the whole universe, all life is being reset. After millennia of this shrieking, shrill, screaming noise, it suddenly changes. A huge fucking riff kicks in. All the time, it was just the beginning of an EyeHateGod song, just with a little bit of feedback in the beginning. Thus the universe is reborn, and everyone just listens to sludge and doom.
I'd like to analyse with you the "doom" universe as it changed through the decades. Starting from the eighties and up to a few years ago, I think we can agree that there used to be an elitism of sort inside the scene; it was a privilege for a band to be part of it, and even though a lot of important names have been active through the years, doom metal was far from being as popular as it is now. What, in your opinion, has given this genre a boost so powerful that over the last years it has become "trendy" (in using this word I'm not implying that this has been a negative change, since a lot of quality stuff keeps being produced everyday)?
Clemens: First of all, we think that we as a band are in no position to analyse the history of the doom scene, simply because we are all to young of age and we've only been part of it for a comparatively short period of time. No one of us can talk about how the doom-scene has developed from the eighties.
Five: However, as music fans we think that people may be a little bit fed up by these super-perfectionistic, very clean sounding recordings, as well as these somewhat worn-out ideas on what heavy music should sound like. But we see it as a good thing that the doom/sludge/stoner genre is no longer an elitist subgenre. It is important that music is available to everyone who likes it.
Clemens: We hope that this music shall bring forth many more bands in the future and keeps on developing and experimenting with new sounds we never heard before.
Marian: Of course there are tragic examples in music history where sincere underground fury was undermined and taken advantage of through commercial success, but maybe it is not too naive to hope that the integrity of doom and sludge will help, and the fact that it has been around for quite some time, with a strong connection to 60ies and 70ies rock music, and maybe reaching back even further, even the blues. We are optimistic, as far as doomsters can be!
Tell us something about your live concerts: what memories do you have of your first gig? And what about your latest one?
Five: Our first gig was playing with Stonebride in Salzburg, organized by Stonerhead. It was a really great experience! The sound was spot on, and everyone was really friendly, just perfect.
Marian: Our last gig was playing with Otium Adei from France and Throes at EKH, a traditional punk squat in Vienna. Really good, loud and ugly! Very unique atmosphere.
Do you have any gigs in program for the near future?
Clemens: We have a few upcoming gigs in Austria: 07/02/2015, in Graz at Wakuum with Horizonist and Bullet Ride. 26/02/2015, in Vienna at DasBACH with Throne (from Italy) and Saturnalia Temple.
Five: We hope to play in Italy sometime soon so that Marian can play in his home country.
Who are TarLung outside of their musical context? What do Marian, Philipp and Clemens do in their ordinary life? What do they do for a living and what are their hobbies and interests apart from music?
Clemens: I study, love to read all sorts of books and comics, I enjoy movies and I'm a fanatic sport fisher, that's why I spend a lot of time at fishing venues.
Marian: I'm a graphic designer and I work in advertising, but I like to do some free work for bands and friends to keep a balance. Also I like to swim and wrestle with wild swans, cultivate moss and eat good.
Five: I'm studying at university and I do a bit of freelance work on the side (informatics). Other than that, I enjoy a nice session of online gaming with my friends. I also like to just get together with some friends, playing old Austrian card games, whilst drinking 1.000.000 beers.
The interview ends here. It's been a pleasure to have you with us and we'd like to wish you good luck for your future. If you wish to greet or share any last thoughts with our readers, this is a good time to do so!
Clemens: Thanks again for talking to us!