Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Interview with Tommy Gleeson, Slaves To Gravity

After releasing their debut album ‘Scatter The Crow’ last year, Slaves To Gravity are looking to follow it up with a new album on the way in the new year. The album comes out of turmoil with their drummer reacently leaving and the band holding auditions for a replacement. Still spirits remain positive, we talked to singer and guitarist Tommy Gleeson:

So what have you been up to recently?
Well, we’ve just finished recording a new album with producer Bob Marlette and mixing is due to start soon over in L.A. The record has turned out great and exceeded all our expectations. I think it’s a big step for us in the song writing department. We’ve also been auditioning drummers. Jason, our brother and drummer for the last 3 years (and 4 years before that in another band) has decided to leave to spend more time with his family after his dad suffered a bad stroke at the beginning of the summer. It’s been a rollercoaster year but we’re looking forward to getting the engines fired up again and hitting the road, which we’re doing in October/November with Aussie band The Butterfly Effect.

What’s the best thing about being a musician?
For me, it’s about being able to indulge my greatest passion. You get to meet some amazing people and you can communicate with them on a very visceral level through the music you make, which is not something that’s easy to express in most other lines of work. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do.

And what’s the worst?
It’s a toss up between the lousy hours and the shitty pay. It’s hard being away from home for months on end and there’s very rarely a pay-cheque at the end of the day once expenses have been accounted for. You really have to be in love with the process, because there’s a lot of the logistical side of it that really sucks. Also, as a third downside, you’re working in an industry that doesn’t exist without you, yet you are at the bottom of the food chain, which can be very frustrating.

Who are some of your inspirations?
I started tuning into stuff outside of my parents record collection around the time that grunge was blowing up. Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam etc. Guns n’ Roses where another big formative influence. I listen to a lot of different stuff now. Django Reinhardt, Steely Dan, Tom Waits, David Bowie, The Beatles, The Stones, Pantera loads of stuff old and new.

How have they influenced your music?
I think I’m primarily drawn to people who have interesting songs, a slightly twisted vibe, style and an element of mystery about them. I like textures and dynamics and odd combinations. I also like lyrics that stretch beyond rhyming ‘rock star’ with ‘guitar’. I think a lot of those 90’s bands had a real honesty about what they did that got hijacked by MTV and turned into something really ugly. It’s a shame because the lasting impression of that whole scene is of lumberjack shirts and the whole caricature of ‘grunge’ instead of the really great songs and ideas that came out of that time. Those bands also had an underlying darkness that ran through their music and their aesthetic, which rubbed off on me.

What is your favourite album to listen to at the minute?
I’m listening to the new Pearl Jam record actually. That, and Imelda May’s Love Tattoo which is great fun. She has a kick ass voice.

What have you always wanted to talk about in an interview?
Did you know that Printer manufacturers print invisible yellow dots on consumer's prints that check to see if a person is printing counterfeit money. If you call your printer manufacturer and ask them to "please stop spying on you", they will send secret services to your address to find out why you care about your privacy.

And what can people expect in the future?
The new album is out early next year and we’ll be touring a lot in support of it. Hopefully we’ll be able to release in the states as well which is something we haven’t done yet. The plan is to really kick things up a few gears in the next 12 months, expand our fanbase and keep on building the church, to quote Steve Vai.

Damon Fowler
Comfort in Sound

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