Album of the Month

Old Night's sophomore album succeeds in delivering a layered and emotive experience that may only reveal itself to you after multiple listens.
(Read more)

Random band

Lying Figures, from Lorraine, France, were formed in 2008 by guitarists Mehdi and Matthieu. The band also includes experienced members of other bands: si...
(read more)

With band founder Kris Clayton being on the reviewing staff, it was hard for him to escape. So we held him down and forced him to tell us everything you need to know about the one and only Camel of Doom!

Interview with Camel of Doom.

The current band, L-R: Kris (Instruments/Vocals) and Simon (Bass).

(1) Hello Kris, and welcome to the Doom-Metal.com hot seat. Could we start with the traditional introduction to our readers - who are you, and where are you from?

Hello! My name is Kris Clayton, and I am one half of Camel of Doom, along with Simon Whittle. Iím on Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards and he is on Bass. We both live near Bradford, England - an area that is no stranger to Doom bands. The band was originally formed in Congleton, Cheshire when I was in secondary school, but has moved around a bit as I have Ė mainly within the county of West Yorkshire for the last 9 years.

(2) Camel Of Doom: it's an unusual name, though very handy for Google searches. Was there an inspiration behind it?

The Camel comes from a bit of a misconception I had. I was only a kid at the time, and the two big influences right at the very start were Kyuss and Black Sabbath. Iíd heard Kyuss described as Desert Rock, and I wanted to give off a desert image in the name. Being young and reasonable naive about the world, I didnít realise that Kyuss actually lived out in the desert near California and that the name referenced that Ė nothing whatsoever to do with the images of Arabia that the words Desert Rock evoked in my brain. So there it was, Desert Rock (Kyuss) + Doom (Black Sabbath) = Camel of Doom.

It is also not a coincidence that at the time, and still to this day, I was a big fan of the prog band Camel. I think some of the keyboards on the first album are definitely influenced by Camel amongst other things, and they were partly an inspiration for the name.

(3) You were only 13 when you initially formed the band as a solo affair. How did you get started, and, particularly, what steered you into the Stoner/Doom genre so early?

I actually first heard about Stoner Rock/Doom from the guys at Matamp in Huddersfield. My family is from Huddersfield, and my grandmother actually lives in the little village where the Matamp factory is. My dad is himself an amp builder/designer, and when I was at that age he was in the process of getting a custom amp built by Matamp. So we were going there every week for like a year, just every weekend spending a day at the factory. Iím sure it neednít have taken so long but it was like a social thing for my dad! Anyway, the guy who runs Matamp, Jeff, mentioned that they had recently started selling a lot of amps to the USA especially, to bands playing ďStoner RockĒ. He wasnít somebody to be up to date with modern music, so didnít really know anything about it. So we came home and looked online, which lead us to StonerRock.com, which I joined and stayed active on until it sadly closed down.

Me and my dad are pretty close, especially in musical taste, so we sort of discovered the genre together. We were big into Sabbath and Hawkwind, as well as all the classic rock and prog greats. The obvious influences in the genre from these classic bands was apparent so we loved it. So shortly after that I abandoned all the other crappy bands I was playing with at the time, and made Camel of Doom. Iíd been into home recording for a couple of years already by that point, but Camel of Doom was the first project where things turned out in a way I was happy with. It was the first thing I played to my dad and he gave me real praise instead of fake dad praise. So I just kind of stuck with it. Some of those early songs do stand up ok now Ė the 2011 E.P. we did contains re-recordings of 4 of them and they came out good I think. Still different from the stuff we do now of course.

StonerRock.com always reviewed our early records, and without any judgement just took them and enjoyed them for what they were. Iím really thankful to that site for the support and encouragement in the early days. They were one of a small number of sites (Doom-Metal.com included) who would cover anything as long as it is relevant. I think this was more common back then, it is a lot harder these days I think. Strange that it is harder to get coverage for the quality of music we are doing now, when a barely listenable amateur-quality demo from a 14 year old kid could get written about alongside all the well known bands in the scene only 13 years ago! I think most bands at that time were still getting to grips with the internet, so if you were on it, you stood out. Since everyone is online now it is a lot harder to stand out.

(4) What do you know now that you wish you'd known then...?

Well firstly, it would have been nice to know that people could be so judgemental of a band just because of its name! Initially amongst the more chilled stoner community I never really got any feedback that it was a particularly amusing name, and at that age I never really thought about it. It has only really been in the last few years as we have become heavier and more involved in the Metal side of things that people have reacted badly. Itís a shame because weíve had the name for 13+ years now and have spent a lot of time building the small fanbase we have, but I sometimes wonder if we wouldnít have more success if we were called something a little bit more acceptable to the community Ė perhaps something with ĎGoatí in. So many Stoner Doom bands have daft names, but ours gets such a lot of comment. On the other hand, if somebody is close minded enough to ignore a band because of their name, then I donít really care if they listen to us anyway!

More generally, it would have been nice to have more knowledge on the recording side of things as those early records are pretty terrible! However, you have to start somewhere and I was learning all the time by making those recordings, and wouldnít have the knowledge I have now if I hadnít been doing that then.

The 04/05 band, L-R: Kris, Rosie Potts, Tom Sadler and Laura Whittingham.

(5) So, the early releases weren't very polished, but nonetheless had a surprising degree of both ballsiness and abstract nature to them. The next phase added a full line-up, with a spacier sound, even including sax. Was that an intentional evolution? And how did you go about putting the band together?

From the very beginning Camel of Doom was me in the studio, but I did in fact have a live drummer all along in the form of my best friend during high school, Tom Sadler. We used to play at least once a week, and for about 2 years had a constant carousel of our other friends coming and going. I only owned a single vocal mic so had no way of recording the drums in any way that didnít sound terrible, hence everything being just me in the studio. In fact, in the first few iterations of the Ďliveí band that was rehearsing, but not gigging, I was the bass player (!) with various guitarists coming through.

2 years into the band, we still hadnít played any shows, and as we had little focus most of our rehearsals just turned into extended jams. At some point in early 2004 I joined a local music forum (in Stoke-on-Trent) and posted some of the songs on there. Shortly afterwards I was contacted by somebody putting on a Battle of the Bands competition and asked if we would play! The show was about 2 weeks away, and the line-up was currently down to just me on guitar and Tom on drums. My little sisters best friend at the time was Laura Whittingham who was a bass player. Me and Tom had played with her in another band briefly and she was very good at picking material up quickly Ė a pretty essential skill for the situation we were in!

We only had a couple of our own songs that we were happy with playing live at the time, so we decided to do a couple of covers as well. I was at the time (and still to this day) completely obsessed with Hawkwind Ė in fact a lot of our jam sessions just ended being noodling over Hawkwind riffs for hours Ė so we augmented our set with covers of ĎMaster of the Universeí and ĎHigh Riseí (with me playing organ!). There was a close friend of ours from school, Rosie Potts, who played sax to Grade 8 standard. As this would add musical legitimacy to the band, we asked if she would do the show with us and improv over the Hawkwind covers. As you probably guessed she said yes!

The gig went great Ė out of 10 bands, we came third. The rest of the bands had all been together much longer than 2 weeks, so I was very encouraged. We met a lot of people at the show who were really into it, so we decided to carry on with the same lineup, and do a lot more shows.

Playing with a full lineup affected the writing a lot, but my tastes were changing also. I was discovering more bands I liked who were a bit heavier than the earlier influences Ė especially Yob, Ufomammut and Neurosis. Our signature song at the time, Earthhammer was basically a cross between Yob's Catharsis and the building songs off Pink Floyds Live at Pompeii Ė my favourite music film at the time. So I would say my tastes evolved naturally, but then I intentionally went for a sound that matched my tastes. It varied though Ė the other songs from that period had different mixes of things Ė Monolith was Sleep/Pink Floyd, King Dragon was Sleep/Electric Wizard and The Diviners Sage was Dead Meadow/Los Natas/Yob. I was still the sole writer, but I didnít really dictate what the others played exactly, just played them my riffs, and some tracks I wanted them to sound like and let them do whatever. Itís a lot different lately, but more of that when we get to it!

(6) There's a bit of a hiatus on Camel Of Doom releases after 2004's Demo, during which you joined Esoteric. How did that come about, and how would you describe your time with them? Did you learn much from the experience?

I was actually in another doom band, Imindain, in between. Our first gig was actually put on by Lee (Imindain)ís wife, and most of the band were present. I got on really well with these guys straight away Ė they were the first people I had ever really met in real life who liked the same stuff I did, and really from this point onward I stopped hanging around with anybody from school and was basically hanging with these guys all the time. I even got a job doing live sound at the venue our first gig was at, and really got involved in that place. Imindain's bass player at the time left to do a Chemistry PhD, and I joined.

At first I did Camel of Doom and Imindain concurrently, but ended up putting the former on hold as all four members were really busy finishing school and didnít have much time to commit. Imindain were getting much better gigs with bands such as Pantheist, Indesinence and Esoteric, which was really the core of the UK extreme doom scene at the time, so I wanted to focus on this more. In hindsight I do regret stopping Camel of Doom as we had good momentum at the time, and we have never really recovered. Additionally, Imindain were not really psychedelic enough for my tastes. Well, I was 16, I blame hormones, or something.

When Imindain came to do our debut album, we got Greg Chandler (Esoteric) to mix it at Priory Studios, which was the first time I really got to talk to him properly. However, just as we were mixing the album, I moved back to West Yorkshire to go to university, and left the band as I didnít fancy the travelling.

Despite doing a Music Technology degree, I was far too busy getting drunk and chasing girls (unsuccessfully!) to make any new music for about a year. One day, however, I was browsing the forums of a fantastic website named Doom-Metal.com (have you heard of it?), when I came across an advert saying that Esoteric were in need of a guitar player. I was obsessed with Esoteric at this time, it was about all I was listening to (I even had a dream I was in the band, can you believe), so of course I applied. My guitar skills probably werenít quite up to standard, but I think my enthusiasm won them over so they said theyíd give me a chance to play a couple of gigs and see how it went. After these gigs though, Steve Peters who I was replacing actually came back for a few weeks, so I was out again! However, after this didnít work out and they still had gig commitments, I joined full time.

It was a good time for the most part. I got to do a lot of travelling, met some great people and had a lot of fun. We played some really good shows, and I had the chance to go on stage immediately after Carcass and play to 12000 people at Brutal Assault 13 Ė something I will never forget! As I started playing in bands at about 12, I hadnít experienced stage fright for years, but that was an exception. Iím still great friends with everybody in the band to this day Ė especially Greg who was my best man when I got married last year!

The only problem was, as it turned out, I was correct when I left Imindain because of the travelling, and it was an hour further to Birmingham where Esoteric are based. I had bad depression at the time, and was spending hours every week travelling back and forth, spending all my spare cash (which was not much as I was still a student at the time!) on petrol, hardly sleeping etc. Really it all just exacerbated my depression and I was starting to do really badly at university as well. These signs were manifesting themselves when I was with the band too, as I was often very emotional, especially when on tour which I found hard to deal with. In the end, it was clear to us all that I couldnít continue with the band Ė so I didnít!

Iíve since sorted all my depression issues out thankfully, and have toured a small amount with Esoteric again filling in for absent members. I could never put up with the long distance again, but if they ever need me to come back as a session player again, Iím totally up for it: aside from my personal downward spiral, some of my fondest memories are of the time I spent in the band.

(7) Following that, you spent a few years working solo again, culminating in the 2012 release of Psychodramas. What do you consider to be the good and bad elements of working solo versus being part of a band?

Doing the Diviners Sage record in 2008 was an interesting Ďsoloí experience, the drums, bass and sax had been tracked back in 2005 by the full band before we stopped. Iíd not done my guitar and vocal parts so they were done fresh in 2008, then the whole thing was mixed and mastered by myself as well. Sadly we only tracked the sax for one track, ĎMonolithí, even though the other two songs had sax parts live. When I remixed and re-released the song ĎEarthHammerí in 2012, I actually transcribed and programmed the sax parts from the demo and included them in the song, as well as re-recording the guitars, and vastly improving the sounds of the bass, drums and vocals. Iíve considered giving the rest of the album this treatment but have not done so yet.

I love this record though, despite being quite rough round the edges, and I think a lot of that has to do with it being a full band effort. It sounds more natural than Psychodramas did. The songs all have little bits that just came about from us jamming on the songs as part of developing them. The EP I did in 2011, ĎThe Night After Timeí is a good counter example Ė it sounds very sterile and one-man-bandy in comparison. Psychodramas had a lot more thought and effort go into it, but it is still evidently the work of one man Ė at least it seems that way to me.

The new record was fully written except for one song by the time Simon joined. However, whilst the original demos are recognisable compared to the album, they are worlds apart. So much came out of the year we spent playing those songs every week in rehearsal. They properly developed and sound much more alive as a result. Additionally, we developed a song based on several riffs of Simonís Ė very exciting to have a song written by somebody other than myself. It still sounds like Camel of Doom after we finished with it! Simon contributed a good amount lyrically, writing a complete set of lyrics for one song, and writing 50/50 with me on a couple. It certainly feels to me, and hopefully will be apparent to listeners, that this is much more a group effort.

I think some would say that working solo gives 100% control, and whilst this is true, I prefer working with somebody else. In fairness, Simon appreciates that this has been my thing for 13+ years and lets me lead the way on most things!

The other great aspect is that my enthusiasm is much, much higher when working with somebody else. We have weekly rehearsal that we hardly ever miss, and being in this routine means we get a lot more done than I would otherwise. It may seem like I take ages with things, and I do, but this is because Iím very busy these days, whereas in the past I had tons of free time. If I didnít have Simon and the practises nothing would ever get done!

So all in all, to answer the actual question, at least in a simplified form, everything about working in a band is good and everything about being solo is bad.

(8) Psychodramas was the release which first drew my attention to the band. (Site review here...). I was pleased to see it get a proper on-label LP release last year - how did that finally come about? Would you consider it a landmark moment in terms of success, exposure or personal achievement?

I was contacted by the guys from Voice of Azram in December 2012, right after we released the record digitally. Iím not sure how they heard about us, if I am honest! At the time they hadnít put out anything, but had also signed contracts to release records by a couple of other bands, so it took a little while to get to us - 2 years in fact. It turned out very well actually, it sounds fantastic (it was remastered for vinyl by Greg Chandler and he did a great job). I was a little disgruntled to not be involved in any way in the creation of the artwork or logo, or really any decisions about the record Ė but they did a good job, so no complaints in the end. We had to lose 10 minutes of running time to fit on a record too which was a shame. It does however highlight that the album could have been leaner, as it still works just fine in the shorter format! All LPís come with a download for the full album, with bonus tracks, so it isnít a problem.

Sadly, it didnít do as well as I would have liked in terms of success or exposure. It did a little better than previous releases, but I do consider it to be a lot better. Of course, the quality of something is never a guarantee of its appeal! Iím not really one to blow my own trumpet, so have trouble promoting a record myself, and Voice of Azram is still a very small operation so donít have a massive marketing budget either... Iím stuck in a catch 22 Ė no one has heard us because we donít have good label backing, and we donít have good label backing because no one has heard us!

As a personal achievement, it was the first record that really lived up to my expectations. One of my big musical goals was to release a record on vinyl, which I first achieved as a member of Imindain, but it was nice to release something that was 100% my own creation. I listen to it often and Iím still very proud of it, especially the first proper song, ĎThe Anger of Anguishí, which is in my opinion one of my strongest pieces. I do feel it drags in a few places, but Iíve hopefully rectified that with the new stuff.

(9) What would you consider the other major highlights of the Camel Of Doom history and discography to date?

ĎThe Diviners Sageí is the oldest record I still listen to. It is a great document of the live band of 2004-2005. It is a bit raw and rough round the edges, but so was the band at that time!

Also, the demo recorded by the same lineup in 2004 was a key record for us. We were sending that to a lot of people at the time and I think it is probably our most widely known release Ė at least until Psychodramas. Thatís the record that got a lot of people into the band, so it is important. Good guitar tone too, shame the rest sounds like it was recorded by a clueless teenager in his bedroom with 3 mics (it was).

Finally, ĎThe Night After Timeí was a key moment, as it was a re-recording (at Priory Studios again) of the four best songs from the first album. Recorded properly, these songs sound great. It was the first Camel of Doom record I worked on with Greg, and it really kick-started the resurgence of the band. I think it really marked the end of the first chapter of the band, and the start of the second. We are quite unlikely to ever play anything before Psychodramas live, and that record let me have closure on the really early stuff. Likewise, I put out a digital only EP featuring the definitive version of EarthHammer (our most well-known song) along with all other versions Ė closing off that period of the bands history also.

(10) It's perhaps an appropriate point to ask the traditional question: what do you consider to be the essential qualities of Doom, as a genre? Do you consciously strive for any of them in your music?

If itís slow and heavy, itís Doom. Iíve never seen it as anything else. I like stuff in pretty much all its subgenres, so long as itís good! Everything I write comes out slow and heavy Ė even if I am trying to write something for a different project, it always just ends up sounding like Camel of Doom. I think because the band has been just me for 80%+ of the time it has existed, this is inevitable. So, itís not conscious, but it is all I can do! Iíve been in three bands of note, and they have all been Doom Ė itís just who I am I guess.

(11) Recording and mixing work for your third full-length, 'Terrestrial', has now been completed. I may be biased, but I've greatly enjoyed hearing the pre-release, which continues many of the stylistic elements from 'Psychodramas'. What would you say are the similarities and differences between the two, both musically, and in the process of creating it?

Firstly, I should mention that it is actually the fourth full length, after ĎThe Desert At Nightí, ĎThe Diviners Sageí and ĎPsychodramasí. I think it is usually ĎThe Diviners Sageí that getís omitted, as our page on metal archives claims it is a demo. Donít believe everything you read :-) - if it was a demo, I might have sent it to people. It was just released as an online only free album. Perhaps it is the length also that causes people to discount it, but at 38 minutes, it is a good bit longer than ĎReign In Bloodí. But it is certainly more the finished article than the first album, and has always been considered a full length by the band.

Musically, the new album is an evolution. The songs are better constructed. It is also a lot heavier as weíve tuned down real low this time. It is also striving to be more psychedelic, although this manifests itself a lot more on the second part of the album, some of which is pretty mind melting.

The creation process was quite similar in places and different in others. The writing of both albums happened very quickly, in a few weeks or so. I started writing the new stuff after I had been experimenting with the heavy down tuning. Whenever I change the tuning of my guitar, I suddenly find it a lot easier to come up with fresh ideas. All the albums to date were recorded in different tunings Ė Desert is in standard drop D, Diviners Sage is in drop B, Psychodramas in what I call Neurosis tuning, which is standard tuning with the low E down to an A, so you have an octave on the bottom two strings. Terrestrial is in F# standard, down with the djent boys!

Things would probably have continued along the same lines as Psychodramas, were it not for the fact that after I had written the 4 main songs, the band expanded to two members when we added Simon on bass. We then spent a whole year rehearsing and refining the songs as well as adding a new one of Simonís composition. We then started tracking the album in March 2014. I donít have much free time these days, and we wanted the album to sound really tight, so a lot of time passed before all the tracking/editing was done, which was in about October.

With both albums, I recorded all the guitars at home, but then re-amped them in the studio. On Psychodramas however, the bass was actually all samples Ė although we did re-amp these through an Ampeg stack in the studio, so they sounded like the real thing. Having a real bass player this time meant that of course it was the real thing. Additionally, we had programmed drums on Psychodramas, whearas this time, we decided to hire a session drummer, which we did in the form of Thomas Vallely (Lychgate, Omega Centuri). This worked out extremely well for us, because he is an absolutely fantastic player. He was working off guidelines I had given him, but he really added a lot to the final result. He also had a great sounding drum kit, which is an important thing a lot of people miss! If you want a great drum sound, it really helps to start with a great drum kit. Obvious when you think about it...

Both albums were completed at Priory Recording Studios, but Terrestrial took a lot longer. For Psychodramas, we did all the re-amping and vocal recording in a weekend, then mixed and mastered in only 5 days. We had booked 6, but didnít need the last one! Tracking for Terrestrial started on January 2nd 2015 and took us 6 days (which was planned) as there were a lot more parts to get down, plus the drums as well. We then had scheduled 6 days for missing an mastering Ė the album isnít any longer than Psychodramas really so I thought we would have plenty of time. The new one is just so much more complicated though Ė it took us two days per song to mix instead of one. So we ran over and didnít get done, and we werenít able to get back in the studio till April, where we spent a final 4 days mixing, and a day mastering. The extra time was all worth it, it sounds a lot better than the last album.

Session drummer Thomas in the studio.

(12) Any idea, as yet, when it might see release, and in what format?

None at all sadly. Iím thousands of pounds into this album already, so itís unlikely we would do any kind of large run ourselves. We are hoping we can find somebody who will work with us to release it. We have good digital distribution and are on all major outlets for that, so we will be able to do that again, as well as a limited run of duplicated CDís like the last one. I want to get a decent artist involved as well. Hopefully with any luck somebody will take interest and we can get it out on CD and Vinyl.

(13) You've had full-time and session bandmembers working on it. What are the prospects of putting together some live shows? Is that something you'd like to do?

We absolutely want to play live. I started looking for a live line-up as soon as Psychodramas was released, but I just donít know anybody around where I live so it has been difficult. Simon has been a member for almost 2 years, but we hadnít had any look when searching for a drummer, so when we came to do the album we got Tom in as I said.

We do have a jam session/audition lined up for a drummer now though! If this goes well, then live shows will be imminent! If not, Simon and I have been rehearsing for years now, and we have itchy feet and want to get out there, so we will be doing it anyway just with backing tracks. However, the guy we are trying is somebody I have known for years, so I have a good feeling about it.

We can, and will, perform live as a three piece, but would be on the lookout for a second guitarist, and a keyboard player Ė preferably a sax playing keyboard player! Or keyboard playing sax player. This would totally free us from backing tracks.

Hopefully some other bands will be happy to play with us and we can get out there this year. We feel that this will make a massive difference to the exposure we get, but want to get it right.

(14) Do you have any other plans regarding Camel Of Doom? Is there an overarching goal or direction in mind? Anything you'd like to hear people saying about the band in future?

Inspired by the great Captain Dave Brock of Hawkwind, I wish to still be making Camel of Doom records until I die! This will no doubt involve plenty of line-up changes and stylistic shifts, but I look forward to it :-).

In the immediate future, like I say, focus on playing live. Material wise we are kind of holding back on writing too much, we want to focus on live shows, and on getting people interested in the last record. My natural instinct would be to start writing immediately, as that is the fun part, but Iím aware of the essential business side of running a band, so thatís what we are going to do.

What we do have written (very little so far) is trying to be spacier and proggier, whilst retaining the downtuned heaviness.

Nearly all the feedback we get from people about the band is positive... to be honest, I am less interested in what people think, more that they give it the chance and actually listen to it. Iíd rather be hated than ignored. At the moment, it feels like the latter is overwhelmingly the case!

(15) You've been quite scrupulous - and generous - in making your entire back catalogue available for download, along with remixes and bonus tracks, most of it free. How do you feel, in general, about the way the internet has made that sort of distribution possible? Would you still, personally, rather have old-fashioned physical media in your hands?

It has lost its appeal slightly now that everybody does it. People seem to be more reluctant to go looking for new music because they have to wade through a mountain of shit to find anything good.

With the old stuff we always gave it away free because that is what it was costing us to make and distribute. Psychodramas cost nearly 2 grand to make, so I felt it was about right to charge for it! But I felt guilty and ensured that people who did pay for it got an hour of bonus material as well! This was only available through our Bandcamp page as this money goes direct to us and is the preferred way to sell stuff. We do bring in a little from our other digital sales, but Bandcamp is a lot more. If you buy physical items from Bandcamp you get a download with all the bonus stuff on anyway, so do it! (Psychodramas Vinyl Out Now!!!!).

The main reason we choose to distribute through iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Spotify, etc is because it puts us, digitally at least, on an equal level with any other band. It is quite easy to do, and free too (although the services take a royalty) so Iím surprised more bands of our level donít do it.

At home I listen to CDís and Vinyl mostly, but when travelling or at work, I listen to Spotify Ė it is very inconvenient for me if I am at work and want to listen to a band that isnít on there! Of course I want physical media too. Iím buying new CDís and records all the time. But I like the convenience too. At the end of the day, I donít really care as long as the music is good. Unless it is Prog Rock and then only Vinyl is real.

(16) What favourite musical hardware do you have and use? Is there anything you'd love to be able to add to that?

Iím currently using two guitars Ė for the Psychodramas era stuff, I play a Gibson Les Paul in Neurosis tuning (A-A-D-G-B-E), which even looks a bit like Scott Kellyís, and for the new stuff I play a 7 string that Simon built for himself, before realising he is a bass player and canít handle so many strings :-). Weíre tuned really low now, F#-B-E-A-C#-F#-B, so Iím using .080 as the bottom string. Itís also got a really long scale length Ė 30 inches, so it has that tightness despite the heaviness.

I actually donít have an amp at the moment, as since we are not playing live, I donít need one. Since we will be gigging soon, I need to sort one!

Iíve always been vastly into pedals and special effects in general, ever since I got my first guitar and terrible Zoom multi-fx and realised that making weird noises is much better than playing in a normal (boring) fashion. Iíve not got anywhere nearly as many as I would like though Ė mostly using Boss multi-fx (GT8 and GT10) for most things Ė although I am phasing it out with various new pedals being introduced. For my distortion I use an Empress Heavy, which sounds fantastic, especially with the 7 string. I also have a Custom Audio Electronics MC404 wah that I adore Ė it makes playing the guitar ten times more fun. Iíve got a couple of fuzzes that Iím not doing much with Ė yet Ė and finally a £20 Behringer vintage delay that sounds NASTY. Itís used quite a bit on the album for FX parts, despite having access to many better pedals at Priory Studios (which I also used).

Iíve got tons of stuff in the computer, and working on material and playing around with the production is my main interest in the band, so this gets used a lot! My DAW is currently Reaper, which has the absolute best features/price ratio of any software, and I love working with it.

On Psychodramas, all vocal effects were done with plug-ins inside the computer, but for the new record I got a TC Electronic Fireworx multi-FX. This is a £2k piece of kit, but you can pick them up for really cheap on eBay, on the rare occasion they come up. Iíve got enough to think about with my guitar effects, playing guitar and singing, so the computer is controlling the Fireworx via MIDI when we are rehearsing now. I want another one as it is fantastic, but runs low on CPU too easily!

(17) What's your main source of inspiration for songwriting? Has that, or your process for composing, changed much over the years?

Itís changed a lot over the years. At the start, I was basically just listening to songs, and recording what I thought they sounded like. I was generally so far off the mark it sounded like a new song! Then, as mentioned, things were generally the styles of 2 or 3 different bands melded together. Even by Psychodramas I was still mainly writing by aping a bands style Ė Iíd just got better at making it sound like its own thing.

The last album was different however. I hadnít been listening to a lot of Doom at all. The main inspiration was tuning my guitar way down. After I had done this, I was just coming up with all these riffs that just sounded really cool in that key. After a few songs had been done, the style then influenced the rest of the album a little bit. The only real direct influences were actually more about feel than anything. I think the feeling you get when you hear a certain piece is probably quite subjective, and I was taking the feelings I was getting and trying to write stuff that made me feel the same way. What I ended up with sounded nothing like what I was listening to, which was mostly not even metal at all.

The new album also has a song written by Simon on it. He basically had all these bass parts and I jiggled them around until they sounded like Camel of Doom. By the time he had joined the album was almost completely written so he didnít contribute much outside that, but Iím looking forward to working more collaboratively from now on. He doesnít come from a Metal or Doom background at all (he couldnít even name another Doom band) so I really value his unique input and think it will help push the music in new directions.

(18) I should mention that you joined us here on-site as a welcome and valued reviewer this year. How have you found that experience? Has it changed the way you think about music at all?

Itís rekindled my love of Doom a lot certainly. I was feeling very jaded by the whole scene and hadnít heard that much that I was enjoying for some time, as all the bands that people seem to talk about a lot just donít do it for me at all. Even bands like Ufomammut and Yob that I was majorly into at the start of their respective careers, I think have lost what made me interested in them in the first place. Being part of the site has introduced me to a lot of underground stuff that people arenít talking about, but that I find much more enjoyable.

I also have to admit that I was feeling very isolated in the scene, not really knowing anybody anymore, and I just wanted to get talking to people again. I think it is working so far.

(19) And outside of music, what else keeps you busy - interests, hobbies or work?

Outside of making music, I like collecting Vinyl and CDís Ė especially Prog Rock and Doom, and ESPECIALLY Hawkwind. As Iíve mentioned, I am an obsessive fan of Hawkwind, and they have hundreds of records. I must own them all.

Outside of music altogether, my work and my hobby are one and the same Ė computer programming. I work as a developer and I love it. It is more than just a job for me as it is a genuine passion. It pays very well and gives me the opportunity to fund Camel of Doom Ė however, it eats into my time a lot and I donít have as much time as I would like to dedicate to the band. Despite having a degree in Music Technology, I am glad that I kept music as a hobby as when it becomes a job some of the fun is lost I think.

(20) To close, I hope we've given you the chance to present a good picture of yourself, the band and its history, but if there is anything you'd like to add, the last words are yours.

Thanks to anyone who has heard our music and enjoyed it. Double thanks to those who supported us by paying for it! And thanks Mike for the interview! I enjoyed answering the questions Ė as you can probably tell from the length of some of the answers!

Weíll see you all at a gig real soon we hope :-). 

Visit the Camel of Doom website.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Camel of Doom bandpage.

Interviewed on 2015-06-08 by Mike Liassides.
Thermal Mass
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com