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INTERVIEW: Camel Of Doom

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
We’re good! How are you? 🙂

Can you talk to us more about your single “Pyroclastic Flow”?
This is quite possibly the least subtle song I have ever written, being solely about standing too close to an erupting volcano and exploding. I’d love to say it is a metaphor for something but it really isn’t! Pyroclastic Flow is the rapidly expanding sphere of hot gas and dust that is expelled when a volcano first blows its top. Basically, if you are within 10 miles or so of one of those things when it goes off, you don’t have to worry about hot lava as you will be almost instantly vaporised.

To fit with this fairly heavy topic, the song itself is about the bluntest, most bludgeoning, unsubtle block of heavy on the record.

Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
When I was in Italy a couple of years ago for my honeymoon, we visited Pompeii, which got me reading all about volcanoes. When I read that an erupting volcano instantly evaporated the bodily fluids of all within its radius, I was instantly sold. A very romantic trip indeed.

Any plans to release a video for the single?
Not at the moment. If someone were to approach us with a decent angle, we’d be interested though. Personally, I don’t really watch any music videos myself, I like to close my eyes and make my own visuals when I listen to songs, so all my budget goes pretty much into recording the music and there isn’t anything left for video. I have made some visuals to be projected over our live shows, but I don’t currently own a projector so am at mercy of each venue!

The single comes off your new album Terrestrial – what’s the story behind the title?
Well, it is our fourth album, and I honestly just wrote down a list of everything I could think of that was in any way connected to the number four. One of these ideas was the four terrestrial planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. I love space imagery in all its forms, always been interested in space exploration, sci-fi, space rock etc, so this one really stuck for me. This also inspired the artwork as I asked the designer to do something incorporating these four planets. I’d made a rough mock-up but I did not show it to the artist, but they somehow drew exactly what was in my head.

How was the recording and writing process?
Fantastic. I’m a studio person myself – I much prefer being locked inside for days on end being super obsessive over little minor details. I write the music on my own in my own studio, and pretty much all the fancy sounds and effects are there from day one. The initial guitar parts I record are usually pretty sloppy as I’m just getting my ideas down on the fly, so I tend to properly learn and rehearse the songs for months and then re-record those parts properly.

After everything was tracked, we then went in the studio – Priory Recording Studios – with my good friend and ex bandmate Greg Chandler (Esoteric) who is a true studio wizard. In this case I had a session drummer, Thomas Vallely, come down for the first couple of days so we could record his parts. He was such a pro he did it in a day and half. He’d only had the songs for three weeks, and we recorded in the first week of January so he learnt all that over Christmas – really impressive. We then proceeded to re-amp all the guitars through proper guitar amplifiers so they sound awesome, and then spent about 10 days mixing the album. It was a lot more complex than the previous one which was done in a very similar fashion but only took 6 days in the studio for the whole thing.

How has the new lineup have affected the band’s original sound?
The majority of the album was written as it usually is – namely by myself alone – so the album could have sounded pretty much just like the last one, but then the band expanded slightly adding a bass player, and we ended up playing with the songs for about a year before we recorded them. The biggest difference is the bass playing really, it is a lot more technical than anything I would play myself, and he had quite a good cutting sound that is very present on the album. The drums are pretty much played as they were written, but the session drummer we used was a monster and made them sound so much better. Having the live drums made a big difference to the sound compared with the previous album which sounded a little bit dead in places. This record sounds much more organic.

Have your previous musical endeavours influenced the band?
Massively. If you listen to the earlier albums before I was a member of Esoteric and compare them to the ones since, there is no comparison really. Partly this is due to being older and more experienced as well, but I really honed my abilities at writing longer and more complicated songs, as well as my knowledge of effects and atmospheres a great deal during those years.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Two very different places. The music comes naturally, I just sit down in my studio, and stuff tends to happen. These days, rather than trying to ape a particular style or sound I generally have a good idea about the feeling I am going for, and just let it pour out of me until it hits that spot.

Lyrics are a different matter – I always find them quite difficult to put together, and they generally get done right at the last minute. On our previous album I had a bit of a concept which made things easier as I had a direction to go in, but in this case each song was just a musing on a topic I found interesting at the time.

Any plans to hit the road?
We’ve been playing shows here and there for the last year or show and will continue to do so as and when we get the opportunities. I am usually tied up with my job for a lot of the time so it is hard to go out on the road for long periods of time, so that isn’t something we’ve planned much so far.

What else is happening next in Camel of Doom’s world?
95% of the music for the next album is written already, so I’ll soon be starting the process of teaching the songs to Ben and anyone else who might happen to stumble into the band in the meantime. We will probably be rehearsing and refining the songs for a few months and then will be back into the studio again to crank out the next one!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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