One of the best surprises of 2015 was Limb‘s Terminal album, a fine mix of doom, sludge, stoner, and good old fashioned rock music. Getting the chance to speak to the London quartet, we talked about the album, working with Russ Russell, working with New Heavy Sounds, and future plans.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time out of your day to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Sam Cooper (Bass): Very well, thanks. Just coming down from the recent tour, and looking forward to the next. It took us a while to get Terminal on the road, but this year we’ll be taking it out twice—UK and then Europe.
Jack: Let’s go back from the beginning, how did Limb form?
Sam: The band began when our previous drummer, Jodie, and I started jamming together. Like a conga line, we then starting picking up others: Pat, then Rob, then Tom.
Tom Mowforth (Drums): The only reason I was brought into Limb was to lower the average age of the band. Rob’s twenty years older than me.
Sam: In the beginning, we’d had a break for a few years from playing in bands, so the early material and shows were very scrappy and sludgy. Everything was always on the cusp of falling apart – but enjoyably so. Through practice, through a clearer sense of what we like to play, and through prolonged exposure to ‘the scene’ (if such a thing exists) I hope we’ve come to develop a sound that is now identifiably our own.
Jack: Last year you toured with Black Moth, how did you find that?
Sam: Yeah great, they’re old friends. We tend to keep our tours short and sweet, which helps keep the energy and enthusiasm levels high.
Jack: Last year you also released Terminal which was one of my favourite releases of last year, are you happy with the response?
Sam: Absolutely. And thanks. Now we’re starting to take it out more, hopefully even more people will hear it.
Jack: Tom Mowforth (ex-Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats) worked on the album, what did he bring to the process?
Rob Hoey (Vocals): It’s hard to say, because it was such a collaborative record. We were all just getting on with it like a band that had just started out together. Overall, we went down a slightly different road, and I guess what Tom brings is a more driven drumming style.
Jack: You also worked with the legendary Russ Russell, what did he bring to the mix?
Rob: He’s a true gent. He treated us like old friends from the get-go. I don’t think I’ve ever met someone so dedicated to not only getting a good record together but also getting a good grasp of who the people are behind the record. He knew how to bring our personality to the record.
Tom: It is quite bizarre, one of the things that first attracted me to working with Russ was the fact that he was primarily known for a certain style of production but had also worked on some of my favourite non-heavy albums. Going into the studio we were a little worried that he expected something a little heavier from us (more like the first album). He didn’t really hear the songs before we started tracking, but first song in, he totally got it knew exactly what we were aiming for and surpassed our expectations for the final product. We signed off on the first mix!
Jack: Terminal was released on New Heavy Sounds which releases an exciting bunch of bands, what’s it like working with this label?
Rob: Yeah it’s really good. New Heavy Sounds are really good to us and the other bands on the label. They just ‘get it’ and are putting out good sounding and looking products without cutting corners.
Jack: Terminal is a record about the end times, what inspired this?
Sam: The album is vaguely about living in the end times, or at least living in a moment when it’s impossible to imagine what life on Earth might look like in say, 100 [years]. This is pretty familiar territory for a doom(ish) record. I mean, ever since Black Sabbath, bands like us have been imagining the end of the world. But now, as opposed to 1970, that feels much closer.
Jack: Even though it’s about the end times there are some positive tracks on the album, how important is it to balance the mix on an album?
Rob: I think that when you die you leave behind a pile of ash and some great stories that hopefully other people will tell until there’s no one remembers them.
Jack: My favourite track is the nine minute epic “Cocytus”. What’s it about?
Sam: I suppose it’s the climax of whatever narrative runs through the album. It’s the big culmination, with all these sounds and fragments of mythical verse flying around. But at the same time it has some meditative, more affirmative moments. I like that when you push heavy guitar music to its logical conclusion – repetitive riffs, feedback – it becomes quite ambient and calming.
Jack: I love the line “hope without fear, lead with your heart.” What does this line mean?
Sam: I’d say this is resilience in the face of what is otherwise an apocalyptic sort of song. But these things are all oblique. Aren’t all songs most enjoyable when we attach our own significance to specific lyrics?
Jack: Will your follow up be a sequel to Terminal, something different or don’t you know yet?
Sam: Don’t know yet!
Jack: What are your plans for 2016?
Sam: As well as the usual gigs here and there, we’re playing Great Escape Festival in Brighton, HRH Doom vs Stoner in Sheffield, and Into the Void in the Netherlands later this year. We’ll also be making our first visit to the mainland in October.
Jack: Finally, if you had to lose a limb, which would it be?
Sam: Probably Tom.