Following the successful release of their self titled album which dropped in the summer 2015, our writer Gavin Brown has been a dedicated fan of the band; reviewing that phenomenal release and watching the progression of the act, the gaining of new musicians and the stronger direction Holy Serpent have taken. With a new album out now via RidingEasyRecords’ the label have described Temples as the following:
“In the short time since their self-titled RidingEasy debut in mid-2015, Melbourne, Australia’s Holy Serpent have gained a lot of attention for their rather punk version of heavy psych and metal. Fittingly, there’s a strong vibe of early Soundgarden, Saint Vitus and Kyuss to Temples in that it’s undeniably heavy, but also clever in its experimentation with subtle tempo shifts, multiple vocal effects and other production techniques. But it’s still more Sabotage than Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”.
Gavin spent some time with the Australian Riff Warriors to find out more about what we can look forward to from the new release, their workmanship and their influences.
Could you give us a bit of a history of Holy Serpent?
Scott and Nick met in 2014 and began writing music for Holy Serpent. After releasing a 5 track demo on bandcamp with a make-shift band they were picked up by Riding Easy Records. The songs were mixed and mastered and released in May 2015. Since then we’ve gone on to cement our line-up in bass player Dave Bartlett and drummer Lance Leembruggen.
How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard you before?
Its heavy & slow, if your not already you might wanna get high.
Your new album Temples is out soon. What can you tell us about it?
Its a product of the last 12-18 months of being a band who has their first record out, who is playing shows, touring, getting better in every way, making new friends, seeing amazing bands, playing with them, getting inspired by them. Basically it’s a testament to our hard work over that period and us wanting to step up our sound a little in the hope that we could give the small fanbase we have gained something that shows that we have put in the work and to stay with us! Haha.
We produced it I guess, we made a demo of the album at our rehearsal space first, we made a few changes to the songs after that bit not many..Scott took care of engineering those demos. They were rough but it let us sit on the songs for a couple of weeks to see what needed tweaking.
How did the recording of the album go?
Quickly, it was recorded at Goatsound by Jason Fuller over a weekend in April, The 5 tracks done live on the first day. Having knocked out the demos late last year we had time to get to know the songs.
How is the new lineup of the band working out?
We have tightened up our sound a lot thanks to our new drummer Lance Leembruggen.
That and rehearsing heaps it feels as though theres a refreshing new energy in the jam room.
How does the album differ from your self titled debut album?
Our debut album was our first ever recording session, Originally intended to be demos. They were the first 5 songs we had written as a band and had no idea they would get mixed and mastered and released on record. This time round we knew we had an audience who would be listening so tried harder with songwriting/arrangement.
The massive riffs that were prevalent on your debut are just as big in Temples. Do you build your songs round these riffs at all?
Mostly yeah, Nick writes the riffs, usually with some kind of structure in mind. He’ll go through it with Scott and they’ll figure out a few vocal and guitar melodies, then dave will lay down some bass. We’ll get in the jam room and bash it out untill its ready.
The songs are all epic in nature too, especially the albums closing track Sativan Harvest. Do you endure to make all your songs sound like tripped out journeys?
Definitely. Each song is a story with a beginning, middle and end. Whether it be a tale of witchcraft, the conjuring of an all-powerful curse or of pot-growing aliens in ancient Egypt each song becomes its own ‘temple’, which is where the album gets it name from.
My favourite song on the new album has to be Bury Me Standing. The riffs on that one are insane! Do you have a favourite song on the album yet?
Toward the Sands is fun to play..not sure about a favourite , we haven’t tired of them yet so thats good.
What subject matters do the songs on the album deal with?
Martyrdom. Higher powers from other worlds. War, human behaviour. Alien behaviour etc etc.
What has the reaction to the new album been like so far?
So far so good. The friends we have played it to have liked it! We are all very interested to hear what everyone else thinks of it.
The bands sound has a hefty psychedelic influence to it. What was it about psychedelia that drew you to it?
We are all from different backgrounds & all grew up in different towns, we all love getting high & playing heavy music.
Safe to say the drugs & the good times that did it.
You also have a heavy sound but it is always upbeat and trippy, was this something you wanted to explore?
Its just something thats always been part of our sound, heavy isn’t always about the low & slow for us. we like to mix it ip a bit, you wanna still have the energy you know..if its too slow all the time we get a bit bored. We wanna rock out a bit, not just stand still all the time haha.
Who are some of Holy Serpents influences?
Weed, Acid & Witchcraft. The beatles and black sabbath.
What are some of the best psychedelic albums you could recommend to us?
King gizzard and the lizzard wizzard – Nonagon Infinity has been playing a bit latley. That’s good stuff from an aussie band. Also Goat are great. Piper at the gates of dawn, Pink Floyd
Satori, Flower Travellin Band
Roky Erickson & The Aliens
Are you fans of stoner rock as well as psychedelia?
Stoner rock is great, we love many stoner rockers, all kinds heavy & other styles of music too.
You could say our tastes run pretty wide, we all come from different places.
What are some of the stoner bands and albums that you are into?
the best stoner album is Smoking
Songs by Exit 13
As the original masters of the riff. What would you say is the best Black Sabbath album in your opinion?
The first six Black Sabbath albums are the best in our opinion.
Will you be touring in support of the album?
There will be a small tour of the east coast & south of Australia starting in a few weeks.
We are always planning another tour & hope to take it overseas next year
What’s a Holy Serpent live show like?
Its always loud as you would expect, we love playing & will always turn it up for a live show. The self titled songs we tend to play a lot slower than recorded live & Where possible we throw in some projections
Who would Holy Serpent love to tour with?
Electric Wizard would be nice.
Will you be bringing your psychedelic grooves over to the UK? We would love to see you live over here!
Hells Yes, just takes a little longer i guess when you live on a big island no where near anywhere !
We would love to get over there sooner than later, your festivals are off there tits compared to what we have going down here.
What is the heavy and psychedelic music climate like in your hometown of Melbourne and Australia in general like at the moment?
Its good….. its nothing like you have over there but as far as Australia goes i would say it is bigger than it has been in the heavy & psyc dept, Melbourne has always been good for live music
Could you recommend any new bands to us?
Hobo Magic, Watchtower, Horsehunter & YLVA
Who is your favourite artist to come out of Australia?