Pet The Preacher Interview
Pet The Preacher are a band more people need to hear. They haven't really seemed to have emerged from the ever growing and admittedly burgeoning pool of underground bands, but their sound, once you hone in on it, is one that definitely does stand out. Their blues heavy brand of doom rock - think Corrosion of Conformity jamming with Mountain, with the bite and menace of Sabbath, the stonerism of Kyuss and the raw, unkempt sonics of 70s garage rock a-la The Groundhogs and Grand Funk -tosses a plethora of sounds into the melting pot. The resulting sound that trickles out sounds so natural you can't help but be swept away with it. Manchester Rocks sat down with guitarist/vocalist Christian Hede Madsen to discuss what makes the band tick.
"To put it very simple: Pet The Preacher is a trio from Copenhagen that plays heavy rock without all the bullshit. A spiritual and groove-oriented take on the genre," expressed Madsen. A band who have released two albums and two EPs between 2011-14, they are speedy and efficienct with their songwriting, so how do they keep up that momentum?
"We have not really thought about it," is his simple response. "It felt like a work flow and also there is a period in the beginning of a band where you need to experiment to find 'your sound,' the magic thing within the constellation of musicians and human beings. It has been a pleasure working on each of those records. Jacob Bredahl (producer) has been a big help in developing our sound and making sure we were always progressing. That has been a key factor for us in general: progression and evolution in what we do. All our friends who play in bands and who we share the stage with have been hugely influential too.
"The song writing is different every time. We can all bring in ideas or full songs. But I always write the lyrics. I know my own range as a vocalist and what kind of lyrics I like to present, so it just happened that way. But we are all equal in the musical and creative process. We have this huge treasure of great metal and rock n' roll. You would be stupid not to let yourself be inspired by that. Influences are as wide as they come. Personally I listen to everything from Black Metal over drone music, noise rock, sugar pop, electro, country, bluegrass and classic rock n' roll. I love all music that dares to have it´s own identity and stick by it. I think Torben (bass) and Christian (drums) feel the same way. We just love music.
You've previously stated your love for COC’s America's Volume Dealer album, which is a hugely underrated album. What is it you like about that album so much and would you say that it has had an impact/influence on your own sound?
Says Christian: "I only discovered it during the recording of The Cave And The Sunlight. Jacob Bredahl told us that we had some of the same vibes in our music as that record has. I listened to it and fell in love. Great melodies, aggressive guitars and very out of sync with what was going on at the time in music. I love it. It is a classic album in my book. They seem to have a lot of fun on that record. But no, it has not had an impact on our sound as we only discovered it late in the studio process.
"As I said before: We love all good music. If you live by that rule, you can draw as much inspiration from an african folk-lore tale as from a Katy Perry song or Houses Of The Holy.
"Slide guitar playing is a big part of who I am and what I love about the guitar. It is a quirky sound, but also very deep. It can sound like whales singing or a drunk bird. It is a very personal way of playing guitar. I usually play it in standard or drop tuning which can be pretty difficult. Also the amount of gain in PTP makes it even more challenging. But when I am at home writing songs for Bellhound Choir or jamming with others, I always turn to the slide. I am not aware of others who use a slide in more metal influenced setting at the moment, but I am sure there is a lot out there. I started playing slide when I was 18 years old and started out with Blind Willie Johnson and Son House. And then I took it from there.
Latest album The Cave and the Sunlight is one the band strived to make work both as individual songs and flow better as a complete entity, so how did they approach the songs in that sense?
"We were generally a lot more concerned with the length of the songs. If they are long it is because they had to be. Also we were thinking a lot about dynamics and the time. I think that albums works very well as a whole and is very varied. I am proud of that album.
Comparatively, The Banjo, their début album was a concept album which is a very ambitious project for a young band to take on, but as Christian says: "If you are not pushing yourself then stop." So, in that respect, what’s the next stepping stone have in store for Pet The Preacher?
"Actually we are taking a long break right now. We are all doing other creative projects and bands. We decided to do that, because it is a healthy thing to do once in a while. When we return, we want to make a record that blows everyone away. To get ready for that, we need some time to grow as musicians and people before we meet in PTP again. It is an artistic decision and it will make us stronger."
Words: Phil Weller