Sacred Mother Tongue: Interview With Darrin South & Lee Newell From Download Festival 2013

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Sacred Mother Tongue Band Photo

Rising stars of the UK metal scene over the last twelve – eighteen months, Sacred Mother Tongue further cemented their growing reputation with the release of the fantastic Out Of The Darkness album and by kicking off the main stage on the final day of Download 2013. Rocksins was lucky enough to catch up with their singer Darrin South and drummer Lee Newell a couple of hours after the band came off stage.

Rocksins: OK, we’ll get the really obvious, stupid question out of the way first. How much did you enjoy earlier and how did it go?

Darrin: It was amazing. An awesome experience, well enjoyed by all.
Lee: For eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning when everyone’s been here for a few days, hangovers are fully bedded in, to get such a good crowd up that early is pretty good.

Rocksins: Your album (Out Of The Darkness) has been out for a few weeks now. Has the reaction to the album been what you would have hoped for, or better than you would’ve hoped for?

Darrin: It’s been really really good.
Lee: All the reviews have been really good.
Darrin: We’ve only had a couple of stinkers who didn’t like it, the press have been really supportive of it and the fans seem to be well into it. As much we’ve maybe changed our style a little bit, they still seem to be digging it, and we’re gathering new fans all the time, which is a good thing. It’s been released in the States now as well.
Rocksins: That’s good news, important for you guys in the longer term.
Darrin: Yeah, and it’s going down quite well from what we’ve heard.

Rocksins: I understand that after Download you’re playing a couple of shows with HellYeah and POD?

Darrin: We start the tour tomorrow night in the Electric Ballroom (in London) but I don’t think POD are on that.
Lee: Then I think Tuesday it’s only POD…
Darrin: Ah right. Well we start the European leg of HellYeah’s tour and it’s a bit of a mix up with them and POD, not all the bands are doing all the dates.
Rocksins: You’re doing the whole tour regardless of who it’s with?
Lee: Yeah we’re doing the whole thing.
Rocksins: Are there some more festivals in there or is it just a club tour?
Lee: They’re all club shows, I think HellYeah are probably doing a festival or two.

Rocksins: Is this the end of your festival run or do you have any more lined up?

Darrin: We’ve got a couple of things lined up that we’re not allowed to announce right now.
Rocksins: Fair enough, we’ve heard that a few times this weekend!
Darrin: It will be announced very soon, a couple of festival things that we’re ready for. Then obviously we’ve got this tour and then there’s another tour in the works. We’re hoping to get over to the States in September / October so watch this space to see if we can get out there and do some stuff.

Rocksins: Breaking America is quite a difficult thing to do and it can involve spending a lot of time out there. Would you want to try and get yourselves on Mayhem or Uproar, one of the US touring festivals?

Lee: Yeah, any exposure we get in the States is going to be good for us because the Americans do seem to like our sound.
Darrin: We have inadvertenly ended up with a bit of an Americanised sound so it’s a prime market for us out there so whatever we need to do. We’re not going to totally whore ourselves out and be a totally American known band but if we can gather some following in America then great. It’s definitely somewhere we’d like to spend a bit of time.

Rocksins: Obviously as we’ve said the album has just come out and you spent a lot of time on it. Do you see yourselves touring behind it for the next eighteen months, two years before starting the next one?

Darrin: We’re probably going to see the year out with a load of touring. A load of support tours and some festival stuff. Then maybe next year we’ll do a headline tour and see how it’s gone.
Lee: Next year we’re going to get back on it. Andy’s already started writing some stuff, putting some riffs down for when we start putting things together.
Darrin: By the time January comes around I think we’ll be straight on it.
Rocksins: I think the man (Andy James) has got more riffs in him than most people so I’m not surprised.
Darrin: He’s a machine. He’s one of these guys who gets it in his head what he wants to play and then in his words he’ll come up with an awesome riff, and say “oh I’ve got this awesome riff” and then he crafts a load of other awesome riffs around it until you end up with a song and then he’ll be like “oh what do you think of that”. Nine times out of ten it’s killer just as it is, but then we’ll put our bits in and change the drums and I do the vocals after and then it’s a song.
Lee: But he keeps churning them out, which is good, and they all sound like him. They all sound like Andy.
Rocksins: That’s good because he’s very much part of your signature sound and people can pick that out.
Darrin: Yeah, definitely. He’s a beast of a guitar player.

Rocksins: The video for A Light Will Shine was a great concept and one of the most fun videos I’ve seen so far this year. Did you have fun recording that and how did the concept come about?

Lee: Yeah we did but it was really hard work and tension ran high for a bit. It was pissing it down with rain, we were really cold and we were covered in mud. But, it was a great experience, and as soon as it was a wrap and we’d finished and we were in the car in the warm, we thought “that was actually pretty awesome”. But it wasn’t until that point we appreciated how fun it was.
Rocksins: Is that the most involved video shoot you’ve done so far?
Darrin: Yeah it was, and with us doing the narrative ourselves, trying to act and stuff it was new for us. We got to dress up in silly costumes and trench around in the mud for a bit, dig some holes, it was cool.

Rocksins: I know you’ll have other press to do today but will you be able to catch any other bands today?

Lee: Yeah, I think we’re going to try and catch Josh, our old bassist, with Hacktivist. I haven’t personally seen them yet.
Rocksins: Your new bassist hasn’t been with you for very long yet has he?
Darrin: First show today!
Rocksins: Oh wow that’s a baptism of fire.
Darrin: Yeah, main stage at Download first show. But he smashed it. He’s a cool guy and a killer player. No problems there. He had a bit of nerves but he overcame them.

One final question which we’re asking everyone across the weekend; Can you give us a funny or interesting story about yourselves or the others in the band from being on the road?

Lee: I was telling this story last night actually about Andy. Do you remember that gig we did in Scarborough with The Ghostbusters?
Darrin: The Ghostbusters! Couldn’t remember the name of them. We got to this venue in Scarborough..
Rocksins: Metal hotland of the UK.
Darrin: *laughs* Yeah exactly, we didn’t know what to expect. We were in the middle of the tour and the guy who owned the place came up and was like “yeah we’ve got a signature drink here” called Ghostbusters, which were these shot things with tequila and aftershock and all kinds of stuff in. Anyway, twenty or so of them later, we had a few but we were quite sensible, but still wrecked, I remember we came out of the place and Andy was getting accosted by all these people going “oh my god it’s Andy James”. I remember we got so fucked off with trying to get him out of the venue because he was SO wrecked that we ended up leaving him starshaped on the tarmac in the high street. We were kicking him going “are you coming back to the van?” and he was going “uhhhh, I’m alright, I’ll just stay here”. He was going to sleep there. Eventually about half an hour later he stumbled back to the van. Andy can get a bit messy on tour sometimes.
Lee: Yeah funnily enough I was talking about that one last night.
Rocksins: That’s brilliant.
Darrin: It was just the star shape. All of these people trying to take photos and get autographs off of him and he’s literally starshaped on the tarmac of the high street. There was no traffic cos it was a pedestrian high street but yeah, very funny.

Since this interview Sacred Mother Tongue have performed on the main stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival 2013, and announced a co-headline tour of the UK with Voodoo Six, the details of which are listed below. SMT’s new album Out Of The Darkness was released in April 2013 through Transcend Music and EMI. Any further updates from the Sacred Mother Tongue camp will be available here as they are announced. If you want to keep up-to-date with Sacred Mother Tongue on Twitter, you can follow the guys at @SacredMotherT.

Sacred Mother Tongue & Voodoo Six October 2013 UK Tour Dates:

24th – Birmingham – 02 Academy 3 (Voodoo Six Headline)
25th – Newcastle – Think Tank, Newcastle (SMT Headline)
26th – Glasgow – Audio (Voodoo Six Headline)
27th – Manchester – Sound Control (SMT Headline)
28th – London – 02 Academy Islington (Voodoo Six Headline)

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