As we enter the month of August, all roads lead to Bloodstock. Paul Castles has caught up with some of the bands set to grace the Catton Park stages this year, kicking off with Spiritworld’s Stu Folsom, whose band’s all set for a Saturday stint on the Ronnie James Dio Stage. If you’ve yet to encounter the Vegas boys, you can check them out with a video from their brilliant Pagan Rhythms debut album at the end of this interview.
ZT: You must be looking forward to appearing at Bloodstock for the first time?
Stu: Absolutely! I have been debating buying a ticket and just coming over to hang out and watch Bloodstock for years; I am thrilled to finally check it off the list. I have just had friends who have played tell me it is really well run and a blast.
ZT: Pagan Rhythms is a monster album; how pleased were you with the way people latched onto it?
Stu: It has been one of the most rewarding experiences to see. When I wrote it in my bedroom I hoped that it would find people and they would dig it as much as me and my friends but you never know what will hit people, so it still amazes me.
ZT: How did that Death Western concept develop?
Stu: I think I am just a psychopath. I could have just had a cool band that ripped and used the lyrics to be more of a space to vent the shit in my head, but noooooooo…. I needed to create this huge concept that encompasses a bunch of different artistic mediums and see if I could make it all work somehow. Ha!
ZT: It must have been gratifying when you heard the likes of Max Cavalera singing your praises?
Stu: Yeah! Arise and Chaos AD were like nuclear bombs going off in my head when I was little. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I prescribe to the “don’t-find-your-music-heroes-and-punish-them rule” because you run the risk of ruining the albums you love. To have people that I really admire and respect be cool about my band is really flattering and badass.
ZT: If someone wanted to get the feel for the band by watching a Western movie on TV, is there one you could recommend?
Stu: Watch ‘Bone Tomahawk’ and ‘I Saw the Devil’ then listen to Slayer’s Reign in Blood and Ringworm’s Birth is Pain.
ZT: You’ve a couple of other UK shows just before Bloodstock, including the very first Pulse Of The Maggots fest in Birmingham, how are you feeling about that one?
Stu: Can’t wait!!!! Super excited to finally get to the UK just to wander around a bit. Really pumped to get to see Sylosis live as well. Festivals are great but nothing is better than a good sounding room full of metalheads. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pulse is my favorite show of the trip.
ZT: Will you be wearing your trademark cowboy hats on stage in the UK?
Stu: Not sure yet. It is a pain in the ass trying to figure out how to pack all that stuff. In the USA I have a 15 seater van and a trailer so we can take whatever we want on tour, ya know. We have a few things planned, we will have to see if our bags make it over…
ZT: You must have some great memories from your US shows earlier in the year with Obituary and Municipal Waste? How much fun were they?
Stu: It was insanity! Being asked to play a lineup like that by Decibel for our first tour was just madness! Obituary has been a huge influence for me and seeing the way they carry themselves on tour really says a lot about how to run your band, if you want to last and be respected. Every night when they get done playing, John & co. is up there on stage helping the crew break down the drum riser and getting the work done. I approach art the same way, just like working construction, so even though I didn’t say anything to anyone about it, I was really inspired by that working class approach.
ZT: Have you started on any new material yet or are you still just enjoying playing Pagan Rhythms?
Stu: Yeah, our new album is done and will start rolling out very soon. I am in the process of picking out which cowpunk songs will be on a new EP right now that I am going to record when we get home from the Creeping Death tour in the USA. I want to put out as much music as possible. I am sitting on a tonne of stuff that I would like to get out in the world so I can start writing some new songs. Playing live is cool and such an added bonus to this project, but the main driver for me artistically is to make records. I love it so much!
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