Forged In Black | The Lockdown Interview:
Answers: Andy Songhurst – guitar
So, how is ‘lockdown’ treating you? Are you still working? What’s your daily routine look like at the moment?
Safe to say I am not a fan of lockdown life but all you can do is try to make the most of it, right? I’m a tattoo apprentice by day and had just started tattooing people regularly and making some beer money from it when it all kicked off, so that was a kick in the nuts! Tattooing is completely off the cards for now but I’m still making some money drawing commissions. I’m also working on some music and art for the band and getting in some exercise and guitar practice, so we’re looking at coming out of this on top form!
Are you able to keep up with individual practicing? What is your practice routine? Any tips for fellow isolated musicians?
Generally, I think there is more time to practice, but of course it’s easier to fall into apathy with the isolation and uncertainty of the situation. I’ve found the trick is to focus on how much you appreciate the things that are currently on hold. Playing, writing and listening to music can be so cathartic and such an escape, so I think it’s more important now than ever. I find writing and learning something new can help me take my mind away from things. I’ll rehearse whilst watching YouTube videos to get the muscle memory down on more technical passages.
Has the band been forced to make any cancellations or changes to release schedules?
We’ve just released a new music video for the track ‘Palm of Silver’ from our album Descent of the Serpent. It’s one of our darkest, fastest, creepiest songs and the video does it justice! I think while everyone is stuck at home some new content is very welcome. We haven’t had to cancel too many gigs as we have been more focused on song writing recently but obviously we are concerned about how this may all affect the festivals and other potential events…
With gigs becoming a distant memory at the moment, what’s the best you can ever remember playing – and witnessing?
That’s a very tough question! One that’ll forever stand out was playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2012. Up until that point, it was our biggest performance. We had won the “Metal to the Masses’ competition and it had such a memorable build up for us. I remember chugging energy drinks and having a laugh with prominent Bloodstock organiser and stage manager, Simon Hall just before set time. The adrenaline rush and crowd and what it did to our performance was just insane!
I think both times I’ve seen Iron Maiden will be up there as an audience member (unfortunately not played with them, yet). The stage show, the energy, theatrics and anthemic songs just make them impossible to beat!
What’s the latest news from the band? Anything that people should be checking out at the moment?
As previously mentioned, our latest album Descent of the Serpent has just had its 3rd music video for the song ‘Palm of Silver’ released, which has all manner of dark, creepy and dramatic imagery to go with the fortune teller song concept. We also have a theatrical video for the song ‘Seek No Evil’, which is similarly dark and dramatic and a lyric video for the song ‘Shadowcasters’. You can check out the album and a variety of other goodies at forgedinblack.com
Have you been able to use this time to work on new material?
We are currently discussing ideas for videos, art and music to release during this lockdown period but in bigger picture news, we have been writing for a future release for months. The lockdown has kept us writing individually and the time will soon come to pool the ideas together!
What have you been reading and watching to keep yourselves sane?
I just so happen to be reading a medical thriller right now, completely coincidently, as an escape – believe it or not! I’ve been consuming a lot of youtube podcasts, especially Joe Rogan and Joey Diaz’s podcasts. I find there’s a mix of crazy anecdotes to help me reminisce about more exciting times, as well as actual intellectual conversations.
What are you listening to at the moment? Your Top isolation albums?
1. Soulfly – Conquer
2. Black Sabbath – 13
3. Metallica – Garage Days
4. Sepultura – Arise
5. Motörhead- Overkill
A good range of fast paced bangers to counteract the potential lethargy of the lockdown.
And what are your Top 10 albums of all time? The greats that have shaped you and never get old…
1. Metallica – Master Of Puppets
2. Pantera – Cowboys From Hell
3. Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time
4. Soulfly – Conquer
5. Megadeth – Rust In Peace
6. Judas Priest – Jugulator
7. Rainbow – Rainbow Rising
8. Black Sabbath – Master Of Reality
9. Guns N Roses – Appetite For Destruction
10. Ozzy Osbourne – No More Tears
These have all shaped me as a musician and subsequently the band’s sound.
What’s the first thing you’ll be doing when lockdown ends?
It’s got to be a pissup right!? When it’s deemed responsible that is!
What plans do you have for the band when you’re free to get working again?
I think we’re all going to be itching to get out and play again, and write together in the same bloody room! And then eventually we’d like to end up back in the studio.
A message for your fans, followers and friends at this difficult time…
Knowing the isolation and uncertainty is temporary is everything. While we may all be physically alone, the solidarity of this shared experience will make our relationships even stronger. One day it’ll all be a memory and we’ll be able to appreciate the things we’re missing in a new light. And until then, you can get (re)acquainted with our back catalogue of tunes 😉