Matt, Andre

  • Abominable Iron Sloth
  • 2006-10-14

I caught up with Matt (bass / vocals) and Andre (drums) of Abominable Iron Sloth, to discuss music, life, and avoiding being harassed by strange men in Camden pubs.

I came to the interview armed with one piece of knowledge, which was that the band were formed of four former members of Will Haven, plus Justin on guitar and vocals. The first thing I learned after starting the interview was that I was wrong. The good news for Haven fans is that after a long break they’re reforming, and producing new material in America. However, this meant that they weren’t available for the Sloth’s European tour. Justin hooked up with kindred spirits Matt, and Andre formerly of Las Vegas’s Jesus Fuck the Sun. They start off slightly touchy about this subject – it seems that fans have been coming to gigs, and being disappointed when they hear that the line up has changed. Happily, none of them seem to have been leaving the gigs feeling that way. They were approached by one young man after a gig at Southampton’s Joiner’s Arms, saying “Please can you shake my friend’s hand? He did this…” pointing to a mass of bandages wrapped round his wounded comrade’s head, which had been split wide open in the mosh pit. He was suitably rewarded with a hug and a pint.

Naturally, going from three guitars to one has changed their sound, and the arrangements won’t have all of the nuances that appear on some of the album tracks. But they make up for it with good old-fashioned heaviness, with more driving guitars, and a stripped down, sludgier sound. And building on their successful re-working of Sloth’s old material, it seems they haven’t wasted any time in making some more of their own. I’m promised a new, eight minute song tonight that they’ve written while on the road. Better still, they don’t know whether it’ll last 6 minutes or 12 until they play it; a sure sign of an assured and creative writing partnership, that is already so tightly gelled that they can tweak new material as they go. Better still, they’re enjoying their new-found dynamism so much that they’re looking forward to recording some new material when they’ve finished the tour.

(It was at this point that a fairly smartly dressed, 50-ish man came up to me, and leaned over, as if to ask for lighter. Then he came really close, and whispered in my ear “King Edward will never forgive you”. Then he wandered off. This was Matt and Andre’s first day in London, and they didn’t seem too sure what to make of it all. They certainly seemed glad to be playing in Sheffield the following day, though…) Aside from that, they’d been loving Camden, and were enjoying escaping their native Las Vegas.

I felt I had to ask about the band name — at first glance it’s a typical metal moniker, but check out the animated story on their website, www.ironsloth.com, and you’ll see what I mean. To cut a long story short, a pre-historic sloth is frozen in the ice age, and later dug up by an ancient tribe. They idolise the sloth, and build it the best suit of armour in the world, in the hope it will one day day wake up. It does; cue the death of large numbers of villagers. The answer to my question is simple: Justin, while meandering in Tar Lakes one day, was possessed by a sloth. His friend Matt Lumen provided the artwork (which also appears on their album sleeve), and a legend was born.

Next stop for the boys from the Sloth is supporting their long-time idols Napalm Death. Matt grew up with a mate of ND guitarist Mitch Harris, so he met them whenever they visited the US; they were also one of the first bands they ever got into. Apparently it took several days, and some printed flyers, to convince Andre that it wasn’t a wind-up. Good luck to the lads with the rest of their tour.

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