ArcTanGent Spotlight: Boss Keloid Interview

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Greater Manchester progressive sludge metallers BOSS KELOID have just unleashed their third opus ‘Melted On The Inch’ and will be performing it at ArcTanGent Festival next week! We caught up with the band in person at Atom Smasher’s homebase Rebellion in Manchester to ask them all about it.

‘Melted On The Inch’ moves further away from the stoner/sludge sound and into much more progressive territory. Was this an intentional move or did it come about naturally in the writing process? 

Paul [Swarbrick, guitar]: Naturally it’s an organic process. There wasn’t a point where we said we need to move away from what we’ve done previously; it’s a case of just being ourselves and experimenting. Using all of our influences. It was a very challenging process. This is the point where we really challenged ourselves and each other. We didn’t want “Herb Your Enthusiasm 2”. We listen to all types of music; prog, jazz, blues, stoner…

Alex [Hurst, vocals and guitar]: REGGAE!!!

Paul: Having Alex on guitar as well was definitely a conscious decision. Getting this man [Matthew Milne, keyboards] on keys and synths, added beautiful new layers to really bolster what we’ve already got and create some interesting sounds. The dynamic has changed, the chemistry has evolved. There is a lot more light and shade with the album. It’s more of an emotional journey. There’s melancholic bits, heavy angry bits, uplifting driving bits. I think that came from us all.

Adding keyboardist Matthew Milne to the ranks has really expanded the dynamics of these songs. At what point in the lead up to this album did you decide to add the keys into the mix, and how did you find coming into the band?

Matthew: A lot of the writing was done before I joined them.

Alex: Ste [Arands, drums] was pecking our heads… “I’ve got a mate who plays keyboards!”

Matthew: It was very much a case of finding where I could accent what was already there. What things wanted backing up and adding texture underneath. Very careful to not over-saturate the whole thing with too much of a dramatic change of sound.

Alex: It was a conscious decision to keep the keys at a lower level [in the mix] to not overpower everything. To have it there and just tickle.

Paul: There are certain bits where it just works and really drives the song. I was surprised and really happy how it turned out.

Matthew: It was very daunting at first coming into a group who are already established and have a great chemistry.

Alex: I knew his dad better than I knew him!

Matthew: They were really encouraging. Any idea I ever gave, I was always encouraged to take to fruition and see how it went. Because of that open communication it made it very easy.

Paul: We’re starting to write the next album now! We have the bare bones of a song and it’s really interesting to see how the keys and synths evolve.

Tell us how the album title and in particular the strange song titles came about, and what do they mean?

Alex: CHEESE ON TOAST! There is no meaning to the track names, to the album name. These were names that just came up and we put to the tracks, but they don’t really mean anything. They’re anagrams of all the great Holy Roar bands over the years!

[Interviewer Frenchie stops to ponder for a few seconds before realising that Alex is just fucking with him]

Alex: We wanted to fix no meanings to the tracks so people could fix their own meanings. To have a track that’s named ‘Chronosiam’, people can fix their own meaning.

Paul: With this album we wanted to create an enigma and leave things up to the listener’s interpretation, same with the artwork.

With your previous album ‘Herb Your Enthusiasm’, you performed the songs live for around a year before the album was released, but this time the songs hadn’t been premiered live until after the album had been released. Was this a purposeful decision, or more down to circumstances?

Paul: Circumstances. We wanted to record a session live in the studio , but we’ve gone through member changes and broken hands!

Alex: Loss of hair! It’s all happening!

You’ve found a new home on the fantastic Holy Roar Records. How did this meeting come about?

Alex: Sent it them, they loved it, they said they wanted to release it, and we said WOO HOO HOO!!! And that was it! We had a couple of offers in the pan, but Holy Roar keep releasing ace shit. They’re muses! They’re music fans who run a label, we’re music fans who run a band, so it was perfect.

This is your first album to be released on vinyl, what do you all think of the format and its resurgence? 

Alex: I don’t actually have a vinyl player. People just love vinyl, it’s collectable, I totally understand it!

Paul: It’s cool! It sounds beautiful on a record player.

Matthew: There’s a lot of space for everything, and because there are so many things going on with this album, it makes the difference to have that extra space.

Alex: I was shocked at how good it sounds on vinyl. When I heard it I was like “FUCK ME!” Because I’d already heard it to death!

Are you excited to be playing this year’s ArcTanGent Festival, and how does it feel to be part of this amazing line-up?

Paul: It feels great to be playing ArcTanGent and will be our second year in a row. It’s really nice of them to have us on again. Once again the lineup is awesome and pretty eclectic. There are a lot of bands we are not familiar with, but looking forward to discovering lovely new sounds. We’re excited about catching all the Holy Roar lot, especially Body Hound, whose album ‘Rhombus Now’ is immense! Pelican, And So I Watch You From Afar and Part Chimp are also highlights for us.

 

Words: Chris “Frenchie” French
Photo Credit: Rich Smith – Digital Bath

‘Melted On The Inch’ is out now on Holy Roar Records.

Thank you to Boss Keloid and Rebellion Manchester for this interview!

ArcTanGent Festival takes place on August 16-18th.
There are still tickets available here: http://www.arctangent.co.uk/tickets/

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