The Sluagh Interview
By Steven Smith
With the band containing progressive and death metal based structures, how do you find the best middle ground to make these influences comes together in unison?
The structure of a song is something that can be as elaborate or as restrictive as you see fit. The real question in my opinion is “flow and contrast” after that the only real issue is where the song will end and if you’ve gotten your point across. I find standard structures predictable, as would most musicians and there is nothing wrong with standard song structures but for the lads and myself, we like to catch the listener off-guard and be unpredictable.
The material under The Sluagh name can be both considered elegant and dangerous at the same time. What influences lead you down this path of creating your own music?
I think most metal guitarists of my generation wanted to pick up a guitar when the likes of Pantera and Slayer graced their ears for the first time and that introduction to music on a studious level is something that reflects your style regardless of how you mature as a musician. I grew up in a house where Thin Lizzy would be cranked one minute and Vivaldi the next so maybe my earlier introduction to music in general was a precursor to the music I write and want to listen to today…. but in saying that hearing Dimmu Borgir back in the day, particularly the likes of “Kings of carnival creation”, was an eye opener to how contrasting elements can come together and paint a massive picture sonically and it was around then I started piecing my own ideas together and finding my direction.
Many people do not know there is an Irish metal scene, do you think you will be one of the bands to help attract others to seek out bands from your part of the world?
There is a scene for sure but we’re overlooked, even for festivals and gigs. It may boil down to geographical location or to the fact that people don’t expect there to be a scene for the musical exports of the past, but we’re here and as competitive as any of our rivals. With the help of modern tech, the gap is closing and Irish metal is as accessible now as anywhere else in the world….. As for being a band that helps throw a spotlight on the Irish scene, if people are intrigued enough to take a closer look at the Irish metal scene because The Sluagh did a good job, I’d be happy to fly that flag but we work hard and write our music for us and not for any other reason, it’s really up to other bands to obsessively push their own projects and gain recognition on their own merit.
Would your living environment would be a huge factor when it comes to your creating process? What elements do you feel your homeland brings into the material?
In Ireland, you make your own fun or suffer a boredom-induced psychotic episode so in a country where it rains 85% of the time, being creative would be a better way of passing the time than being destructive ….or start a metal band and do both.
There is a lot of interest in the last decade in technical death metal and similar approaches in the metal community, where did your interest started with this genre?
Honestly, I have no idea. You’d be referring to a period in my life where I would of been neither sober or chemically balanced. Metal has become so fragmented now that I no longer pay attention to the genre count. I’ve always preferred instrumentally driven music to vocally driven so its just something I gravitate toward, Jeff Loomis, Necrophagist, more recently, The Black Dahlia Murder and Animals As Leaders to name a few. For me, there is just good and bad music.
When you were creating your music, what struggles as a more technical band did you face while putting all the parts of the songs together?
Keeping your patience is the trick to doing anything time consuming. Knowing when a piece of music is ready, sometimes knowing when a riff doesn’t need to be technical and that you should just leave it the fuck alone… I don’t set off with the idea that I’ve to reach benchmarks in specific genres, just do what needs to be done and listen to the piece you’re writing. As soon as you begin overplaying, you’ve lost the composure and if you underplay, you’re not giving the piece the support it needs. Getting the balance right can be tricky if you don’t allow yourself the time to objectively listen to your music.
What can we expect for the future for the band and for any future material?
In brief……music, gigs, music, music and art. and then some.
MHF Magazine/Steven Smith