Interview-Robert Cowlin (Terminal Gods)
One of the upcoming bands in the gothic/dark wave scene in the UK, that have been touring non stop for 4 years now trying to establish their name is Terminal Gods.
They released their first single "Electric Eyes" in 2012, a small classic gothic rock gem. Since then they have been actively releasing 3 more singles, and 1 EP the latest of which is "Road of the Law" released last month. With the opportunity of this release we tracked them down for an interview.
- Hi guys. Thank you very much for this interview. First of all I have to say I really like the name of your group. Any story on how you come up to that?
We took the name from an Aubrey Beardsley work, Venus between Terminal Gods. At the time, we couldn't think of any local contemporaries that had Gods in their name, so we went with it.
- Let's start with some introductions of the members of the group.
Robert Cowlin - vocals
Robert Maisey - lead guitar and drum programming
Josh Cooper - rhythm guitar
Jonathan Campbell - bass guitar and synthesiser
- How long have you been together?
- How would you describe your music and which would you say your key influences are? Also it seems clear to me that you have developed your sound the past years. What contributed to that?
Thankfully, all four of us have a diverse set of personal influences and these come together when we write songs. Obviously, by using a drum machine, we possess a sonic similarity with the Leeds drum machine rock bands of the eighties, but we also look to classic rock, blues, and garage for inspiration, as well as new wave and techno. I think all bands that consist of music enthusiasts will naturally develop their sound, given time. We learnt to play our instruments better, we found the time to incorporate additional instruments, and the things that interest me from a literary and lyrical standpoint have developed too. It would be terribly boring to do the same thing over and over again, but plenty of bands do and they do it well. That doesn't interest us so much. I think our forthcoming album will display a significant evolution that our fans will enjoy.
- The vibe I get from your music & your videos is that you must a very energetic band on stage. How does it feel being on stage and what kind of reaction do you get from the crowd?
We've always strived to be a live band and we try to make as much of a show out of our gigs as possible. Every gig is important and we try to make them unique by mixing up our set list, or joining up with club nights. The best reactions are always abroad. We did a show in Geneva once, the crowd were out of their minds - and we were the support band!
- As I've seen in your site you have been touring all over UK for about 4 years. Any plans for international tours?
We've done some small European tours over the years, we're currently planning another one for April 2016.
- Any comments on the gothic darkwave scene in the UK? Any favorites newcomers?
I run a night club called A New Dusk which showcases contemporary post-punk, minimal, and cold wave bands. A lot of this music is coming out of Europe and America, whereas I think the UK bands are still steeped in some very old traditions. I really like Soft Riot, but I'm not sure how new or dark wave they are. Keluar, Lebanon Hanover, and Tropic of Cancer are all spectacular - none of them are from the UK, alas.
You have released so far 4 singles and 1 EP. Are you planning to merge them on 1 LP, since your older singles are sold out?
Our fifth anniversary is next year. Hold on to your wallets.
- What are you plans for the future? Are you writing new stuff, when can we expect it? Is there going to be a change in your sound?
Our debut album is currently being mixed, due to be released early next year. We've already started putting ideas together for a follow up, which will be more synth oriented. I don't think the sound will change dramatically, we'll just be expressing ourselves through different instruments. We've taken this opportunity of writing an album to evaluate our approach to studio recordings. In the past, we've had quite a lot of input at the recording stage, but not much in the mixing and mastering. This time we are fully involved with each step, the result is a very dynamic and natural sounding recording, which shuns a lot of modern studio techniques, such as brickwall compression, and embraces as much older outboard kit as we can get our hands on. The result is a very authentic sound which I think our fans will appreciate.
- How easy has it been getting your music known to a broader audience these days?
We've had a fair bit of luck, but I don't think it's been too hard. In our early days we took every gig we could get, sometimes gigging every week! I think those formative months were very important, all the gigs plus a cheap and well received demo ensured our music was heard by a lot of people. Our first 45, Electric Eyes, was a hit in Europe so we were able to build a fanbase their quite quickly. I think the important thing is to gig as often as possible (with the right promoters and bands) and have a product. People want a cheap souvenir from a band they liked, not a download. CD and cassette is a really easy way to do this, then move on to vinyl when your fans want it.
- I'm guessing that the label you are releasing Heavy Leather is your own, since it releases your stuff. Is that true and are planning to expand this to release other artists?
That's the best kept secret in rock. Heavy Leather does a lot of work with local garage rock bands, putting on gigs and promoting releases. Regarding releasing other artists, there are no plans at present. A compilation would be fun though.
- What exactly is going on with your drummer on the King Hell video??? Was the stage to small to add a full drum kit???
That's Jake Griffiths, of Shart Attack Illustrations. He agreed to play the drums live in the video (the studio recording features drum machine and live percussion), unfortunately it doesn't come across very well in the video but it was surreal having a live drummer on stage.
- Have there any strange or funny incidents while touring you would like to share with us.
Funny touring incidents tend to avoid me. Though, there was that time we played Cesena and the venue was very "local". No PA or stage in sight. Thankfully the band we were touring with provided the amplification and we played to a room of locals who had no idea who or what we were. We played for about fifteen minutes when a huge cauldron of pasta emerged from the kitchen and everyone tucked in. You had to be there.
- Do you have anything you want to add for our viewers?
Our new single, Road of the Law, is out now on 7" and lossless download (don't bother with the mp3). Keep an eye on our Facebook page for some exciting Christmas news, and we'll be back on the road next year.
- Thank you very much. Looking forward for your upcoming releases.