Close Up: Interview with Slaves To Gravity

Posted on 5 May 2010
By Will Weir
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One of the UK’s most exciting bands right now, a new album imminent and currently on tour with Black Spiders, Slaves To Gravity are tipped to be one of the bands to watch for 2010/11.

With current line-up Tommy Gleeson (Vocals/Guitar), Toshi Ogawa(Bass), Mark Verney (Lead Guitar) and Jason Bowld (Drums), Purple Revolver caught up with the band in York’s Duchess venue for a few choice words about the new album, the music industry and superpowers.

Stood atop the stairwell leading up to the street from the venue, the walls are like an untamed, steroid fuelled version of that sharp artex that the previous generation maintain to punish the wall slouching youth of today . . .

P.REV: The new album Underwaterouterspace– what can we expect?

GLEESON: Well it’s done… we finished it in September of last year . . . er, we recorded it in a place called Monnow Valley studios down in Wales.

You know we’ve kinda been of the scene a little bit since the first record, we lost a little bit of momentum being as we were like self financed, we kinda got to the point where we just ran out of cash.

We couldn’t tour, we couldn’t get any releases single wise together for the first record – so we lost a bit of momentum, but rather than just release a new album into nothing, we decided we wanted to really build into the release so by the time the new record came out, people would buy it and actually know that we existed.

So yeah it’s, it was really, I think its quite a step forward for us musically, I think you know the songs are better, we’ve had the opportunity of working with a really good producer who was, who really pushed us to be, you know, the best that we could be and to take you know, more risks, I think, than probably we’d have had the balls to take, without having someone, you know, externally pushing us.

P.REV: Nowadays with everything being so fleeting on the internet, with thousands upon thousands of bands throwing garbage onto the web, would you say it’s more important to make it perfect, to really put that extra time into a record?

GLEESON: Yeah I guess so man. We definitely wanted it to be the best it could be and the result’s great. We’re really really, really proud of it and we’ve got the first single coming out on June 21st, called Good Advice, it’s going to be a digital download, a download only release and then there’ll be another single sometime in September I think – August – August /September – Then the album around October time. That’s kinda how we’ve got it on paper, but these things can always …

P.REV: Like ideas on the back of beer mats?

GLEESON: Yeah totally. But that’s kind of where we’re at with that.

P.REV: Would you say you prefer the studio or touring environment of is it bits from both worlds?

VERNEY: Both worlds I’d say, you know. I love being in the studio, it’s realy cool to hear like songs and stuff you’ve been working on for god knows how long come together and stuff, but you know, obviously you know there’s nothing that can beat going out and playing the songs live to people, getting an instant reaction…
GLEESON: …The old adage ,it’s like the difference between jerking off and actually f***ing someone, you can jerk off all day in the studio but it’s great to get out and f**k everyone ha ha ha

P.REV: On your facebook it states that the new album will blow your balls off, would you say that claim has validity?
GLEESON: I’d like to think so
BOWLD: I think so. I think ‘cause I’m relatively new, I guess these guys have been submersed in the album for the past year, to me as a sort of semi-outsider I think the band’s developed their own sound more, it’s dark it’s definitely dark and stylish . . . it will blow your balls off.

P.REV: For anyone who’s not heard Slaves To Gravity, could you describe the sound in a sentence?

-Silence mixed with various forms of erm –

GLEESON: It’s difficult . . . It’s very dynamic, erm, its emotive without it being cheesy if that makes sense.

BOWLD: It’s got a lot of depth. You get a lot of bands that put albums out with ten songs that sound the same, but this kind of goes off, tails off in different directions. Not straying too far from the common thread, but it keeps interest.

Because people download individual tracks nowadays, the album, the concept of the album’s been lost a bit. I think that people can enjoy it as an album as well, listening too it from start to finish and not get bored.

…For a moment everyone looks blankly in awe at the stickman…

P.REV: That was very proficient – I’m impressed – you’ve rehearsed ha ha ha

GLEESON: Ha ha ha you’ve been thinking about that all day haven’t you.

P.REV: The video on your myspace – is that a good indication of what the album’s going to be about as it seems to have a lot of variety?

GLEESON: Yeah, well at the time, we hadn’t met Jason, we wanted to get something online to show roughly what we’d been up to. A good friend of ours who used to be in a band with Mark and who now does video editing put that together for us, just to have a way of showcasing some of the new songs and create something that was visually fun to watch and what-have-you, so yeah I think each of those little vignettes is quite different and that’s a visual representation of where we’re at with the songs o the album as well.

P.REV: Is the visual side of things something you all enjoy as well?

VERNEY: I think yeah being big fans of you know, cool videos from back in the day, bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and stuff, that’s just one I can think of off the top of my head, who did like really good, great videos I mean you don’t quite see that quite as much these days.
GLEESON: No (in agreement), bands like that, I mean they had a really strong aesthetic, but it was sort of undefined as well, which I think made it more interesting… whereas so many bands nowadays, what you see, you just get it all on a plate for you and it’s right there kind of, there’s no more substance to it.

P.REV: So they already give you the end of the story right there?

GLEESON: Once you fall into that it’s very hard to do much else you know? So I think we’d like to give people something that’s really interesting and fun to look at with the way we present ourselves, but you know, not give them the whole story.

P.REV: So don’t make it too obvious?

GLEESON: Yeah, you need to be a little more oblique and random with what you’re doing . . . and you don’t have to think too hard about shit making sense then either – just go well this is arty.

P.REV: On a complete tangent, if you all had a superpower what would that be?

In extraordinarily quick time BOWLD responds with :

P.REV: (staggers back at sped of response)
That was very quick.
(Rest of Band) Ha ha ha

BOWLD: I can’t stop thinking about it, I just want to be invisible . . . so I can . . . touch people. . .
S.T.G: erupt into laughter.

P.REV: That was one of those thoughts that wasn’t supposed to come out loud wasn’t it.

GLEESON: (sighs) Oh my God
VERNEY: X-Ray Vision
BOWLD: ( In Yoda type voice) So you can see people.

P.REV: I’m getting the feeling both of you are on the same kind of wavelength there I think.

GLEESON: I’d be really boring and just go for the ability to fly

P.REV: It’d be dead useful I’d think.

GLEESON: It would just be cool

P.REV: Especially with our transportation systems, even with this new train they’re bringing in.

GLEESON: Yeah man.
BOWLD: Stratos!
OGAWA: Is Teleportation a super power?
GLEESON: I guess so.
BOWLD: I quite like that one, yeah, get away from 14 hours of torture on a plane.
OGAWA: (Demonstrates the usefulness of teleportation)
zzzjjuummpp – Hi Mom … By Mom zzzjjuummpp


There are still a few dates left to see Slaves To Gravity. So do it!

May 2nd @ Bullingdon ,Oxford.
May 4th @ Camden Underworld
May 5th @ Engine Rooms, Brighton
May 6th @ Cavern, Exeter
May 7th @ Hamptons, Southampton
May 8th @ Forum, Tunbridge Wells

For more info: