INTERVIEW: NOISEPICKER TALK ABOUT THEIR DEBUT, ‘PEACE OFF’
When Mr Harry Armstrong puts a new band together, we take notice. From his early days in the legendary Decomposed and Lord Of Putrefaction, to recent adventures in the groundbreaking End Of Level Boss or The Earls Of Mars, Harry always seems to be a few steps ahead than the rest of the pack. That notion holds true once more with Noisepicker, a new duo where he teams up with young drummer Kieran Murphy who’s releasing Peace Off their debut. ZT’s José Carlos Santos asks, why yet another band, sir?
“Basically I was tired of people saying they couldn’t do things, so the logical solution was to minimise the amount of people who could stand me up!” the guitarist and singer says with a laugh. “If he fails on me, then it’s only one person to replace.” The relationship between band members in a duo is a bit more crucial than in other bands, for obvious reasons, so it’s worth it to know how these two got together. “He was working with my girlfriend in the pub literally next door to where I live at the moment,” Harry recalls. “He was washing dishes, he’s only a kid you know – he was 16 when I met him, he’s just turned 21 now. I’m closer to his parents’ age than his! So yeah, he was working there, I’d see him wearing Orange Goblin t-shirts and stuff like that, he seemed to have a good taste in music. Then I saw him play a few jazz covers in the bar one night and just got talking to him and we kind of became friends. He was the first person I thought of when I wanted to do this, I just loved his style.”
The easy way to describe Noisepicker would be to call it a cross between End Of Level Boss, their Voivodian dissonant riffs and all, and The Earls Of Mars, that creepy Tom Waits-y alien lounge blues smoky feeling. With noise rock edges. “It’s basically an extension of what I was doing in The Earls Of Mars when I was playing the piano a lot,” is how Harry describes the initial writing he did for Noisepicker. “I was writing and demoing stuff on piano and I didn’t really know what I was going to do with it, just thought I’d write some songs and then figure out who’d be in the band just to be able to play them live. I was working on one song at one point and I felt it just wasn’t heavy enough, so I switched the piano for guitars, laid a load of distortion on it, and remembered that I love it loud and heavy! So I went back, rewrote everything on guitar, and handed three or four tracks to Kieran, showed him a video of Dÿse playing, and told him ‘do it like these guys.’ It’s a lot to live up to, I know, if I was anywhere as good as those guys it’d be nice!”
“Do we want world peace and shit music, or do we want war and great music?”
As much as we love Dÿse ourselves, Peace Off does rise up to a similar echelon of awesomeness. It inspires that same feeling of listening to eight or nine people making a racket, not just two. “The idea of this band is to create a thick wall of sound, a good groove, and a despair and misery mood on top of it, and we can do that with the two of us,” Harry says with a grin. “I deliberately wanted to do a record that goes back to the doomy and death metal past that I had, but I didn’t want to do those vocals on it. I thought it’d be great to do a doomy metal record but with straight vocals, bluesy vocals, bringing out the influences of where that music really came from. Obviously, with that in mind, I wanted lyrics that were darker than what I usually do, and since the state of the world right now is not a fucking pretty place… I don’t know what can be done about it, I can either go out on the streets and protest and get ignored, or make a record about it and get ignored. So there is a lot of stuff about how the human race is not only failing, but deliberately fucking itself, the lyrics are generally about that but from several different angles.” He concludes with a cheeky question that you can go and mull over now: “Do we want world peace and shit music, or do we want war and great music?”