Immediately after winning Video of the Year at the Gold Coast Music Awards, Gold Coast five-piece sludge metal merchants The Black Swamp were forced to make a lineup change. For some acts, this would have been a traumatic period of change. But The Black Swamp seems to have taken it in their stride. They’ve landed none other than Luke Hosking (Azreal) in the hotseat as their new frontman, have announced a new EP ‘Witches’ ready to roll in the new year, plus a tour soon to be announced. Luke filled us in on the Swamp’s comings and goings.
You’re the newly elected frontman for The Black Swamp – sharing vocalist duties between these guys and Azreal. How did this new gig come about?
Well since the first time I saw the band I’ve been a fan. Over the years we have played and toured together a heap which naturally built a good rapport between myself and the band. When they found themselves without a vocalist they asked me to fill in for a couple of shows, which turned into a couple more. Those first few shows and practices were really natural which I think may have been the catalyst to the band asking me to stay on. They also had a bunch of shows booked, a tonne of drive to keep doing what they do and riffs just overflowing. How the hell do you say no to a band like The Black Swamp? I wasn’t gonna say I’m too busy blah blah blah. Fuck that. It felt good. I’m in.
You’ve just announced a new EP ‘Witches’, recorded with Ryan Miller (Black Rheno) at Housefox Studios in Manly and mastered by Paul Blakey. Must be awesome to have such a skilled team working with you. Tell me about recording?
The process of recording ‘Witches’ was fantastic. We spent a glorious weekend in Sydney’s northern beaches with the Black Rheno crew and Housefox Studios is beautifully hand crafted by the man Ryan himself who was an absolute pleasure to work with. Not only was he very organised and professional but he is a dude on the same wavelength as the band which is why I think we got such a huge sound out of this EP, not to mention Paul’s epic master. The tracking itself was the whole band (excluding me) jamming out the tracks one take at a time as opposed to the usual layering of the different instruments. This, to me, embodies what The Swamp is… just raw great time sludgy goodness. Can’t beat that.
The EP won’t be released until February next year, why such a lengthy delay?
Well, these things take time. A lot of effort goes into writing, refining and recording these tracks so at least some time has to go into promoting the release, organising and releasing artwork and tour dates. If we dropped it as soon as we had it no-one would even know it was out. Once some hype generates around the release and tour, punters are more likely to get out to the shows which helps the band’s endeavours.
The Black Swamp won Video of the Year for ‘Common Crows’ at this year’s Gold Coast Music Awards, will you make much effort to follow that up with another visual offering?
Without a doubt. There will be single/video releases from this EP for listening and viewing pleasure. The Black Swamp is like a prehistoric woolly mammoth trudging through a muddy wasteland. If we stop, the pesky humans will spear and eat us. If we struggle on, we will eventually reach the relative safety and solitude of the mountain where great acts of heavy riff will be achieved.
Any shows on the horizon?
We have a massive line up for Miami Shark Bar on 8 December including the ever charismatic Hammers, Moustache on Fire and Fingered. We’re also playing the renowned Woolly Mammoth in Brisbane on the 2 December With Lagerstein, Vallhalore with “The Black Swamp Session Stout” on tap. Both these shows will be huge so do yourself a favour and get to one of these offerings for some guaranteed swampy good times.
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8 December at Miami Shark Bar, The Black Swamp + Hammers + Moustache on Fire + Fingered
2 December at Woolly Mammoth, Lagerstein + The Black Swamp + Vallhalore