Interview with: Kent Stump, guitarist/singer for Wo Fat
Hello from Spain guys, thanxs you for accept my invite, I'm proud of work with riffied swampfuzzed talented guys. Hope you enjoy this as much as me!
Thank you! We're glad to be interviewed by you.
Well how's going on guys? Enjoying summer I guess!!
A curiosity...as I see, you're from Dallas, Texas. And there's the topical that in Texas are people who wear cowboy hats and have shotguns, very Christian and conservative...what is true about this cliche?
I, myself, have a cowboy hat that I wear, but you don't see cowboy hats ,everywhere like you might expect if you've never been to Texas. And yes, lots of guns and lots of people that are really into hunting. The three of us in Wo Fat are not into guns and the whole hunting thing, though. In fact Tim, our bass player is a vegetarian.
First of all the question for this edition: If you had to cover a Maser Of Reality song, wich would you choose? Why?
At the risk of being too obvious, we would cover "Into the Void." It is maybe the most quintessential stoner rock song ever. It's got everything you want in it. It opens with that brutal, menacing riff, then goes into the heavy chugging verse, followed by that double time boogie vibe and some Iommi guitar greatness. There's heaviness and grooviness throughout. It's bluesy but also dark and doomy. And to top it off, the lyrics are all about sci fi apocolypse.
"Master of Reality" is such an epic album, but "Into the Void" has always been my favorite jam on that record. It's the stuff of Heavy Metal legend.
Since your first work, "The Gathering Dark", you have highlighted by and excelent
riff work, that detail that makes your music hypnotical and is the mark of
masters of the riff like Sleep, Church Of Misery or Eternal Elysium.
The simply fact of play a bass and a guitar solo at once, two music lines in one attempt of get in trance. It's fantastic, but it's not as simply as it seems, you need to have a great knowledge of the rythm and the tones, be one with the music, flow in the pentagram, like Butler and Iommi show us how to do. And you guys have managed to do it. Congratulations!
Flattery aside, the "The Gathering dark" and "La Noche del Chupacabras" are made in a more "horror" concept, I mean, the dark artwork, the winks to latin folklore (like "El Brujo" or the "Chupacabras") and even the music is darker. I think they are two diferent ways of convey a similar feeling. What were your intention with each album? Whath you try to convey with them?
"The Gathering Dark" was our first album and was maybe a little less focused because we were still finding our sound and coming together as a band. At the time, we didn't know if we'd get a chance to make a second album, so we tried to get as many of our ideas in there as we could fit. It's more all over the place lyrically as well. The horror concept sort came to the front as I was writing a lot of the songs on that album because it was a really good way to use analogy to get my ideas across in an interesting way without being too literal. In addition to the horror vibe, I also was trying to incorporate lyrical ideas from classic blues, which includes a lot of things that work really well with a horror concept. Things like hoodoo references, mojo hands, deals with the devil at the crossroads and cool spooky imagery like that. "Noche del Chupacabra", which is our third album is much more focused thematically and musically and is also the least political as far as the lyrics go. And while it is not necessarily a concept album, most of the lyrics are dealing with the idea of fear - fear of things seen and unseen, real and imagined. By the time we got to "Chupacabra," we had grown quite a bit as a band and I think that's evident in the playing and the songwriting as well as the flow of the album. We thought more about that by then, rather than it just being a collection of songs.
I've search about "Manchurian Syndrome" and I have found something about the 2nd WW.
Have this something to do with it? What's about this song?
It's about the truth being hidden from us by those in power and our ignorant complicity and even participation in immoral or evil acts.
We all know the hurricanes of the South-East coast in the USA. Did you get inspired in one of this to write "Decend into the Maelstrom"?Here in Dallas, where we live, we're not on the coast so we don't get the full on hurricanes, but we do get some big thunderstorms and tornadoes. This song does get some inspiration from some of these storms we get around here, but also is inspired by a couple of Lovecraft stories, like "Haunter of the Dark" and is basically just a horror story.
By the way, my favourite album is "Psychedelonaut", is a totaly diferent concept, more based in psychedelia and paranoia, I enjoy it much more, because, despite this "concept change", the feeling is still the same, even is more stoned feeling. It's more in the vein of bands like Sleep . Do you agree with me? What's your personal point of view about "Psychedelonaut" atributes?What makes it diferent from other Wo Fat albums?
Now just a note: "Enter the Riffian, bringer of freedom". That song is a fuckin' rock and roll HYMN!! A cry of fight for your principles, "Slingin' riffs of iron", I mean, oh my god this is epiq Stoner/Rock. JUST BRILLIANT!!
Now I think of...what the hell means the words "WO FAT", I can't find any sense to these words!!
I just thought it was a cool name that was somewhat obscure and was a reference to the 70's, and the music of the 70's is obviously a massive influence on us.
The artwork of the albums, who did it? And about the artworks, a few days ago I saw on your Facebook page the artwork of your
next album, "The Black Code", and a friend of mine coment that the picture is like a scene of the animation movie called "Heavy Metal". It's that true? What's the meaningof that front?
Funny you mentioned the Heavy Metal movie. One thing that Alexander and I talked about for the artwork for "The Black Code" was using the old Heavy Metal magazines as an inspiration for the art. The general concept of "The Black Code" is an idea I came up with in thinking about how connected we all are in the world today with smart phones and wifi, 4g/3g, the cloud, how we are constantly connected to various networks, how we're surrounded by invisible digital information floating around in various ways and how we live very virtually a lot of the time. The Black Code is basically a cryptic computer code that's been found on some alien relic that, once it's been uploaded in an attempt to decipher it, unleashes interdimensional digital horror throughout, traveling wirelessly to anywhere that's connected. The illustration on the front is the discovery of the Shard of Leng, which is the alien relic. The concept does definitely bear some resemblance to the Lok Nar in the Heavy Metal movie, which is a great movie, but with a different, modern twist.
The album is not really a chronological story. It's more just a few different tales or poems about this idea and about how we can easily be distracted or lulled into a trance by this technology and be completely unaware of the truth of what's happening around us. You know, we have more access to information than ever before, but we're seduced into playing Angry Birds or some other mindless app instead of being informed and educated. Once again, we're still just trying to put the listener in certain place, stimulate the imagination and conjure certain images - this time it's using more sci fi than swampy voodoo images.
only five songs? How many songs will the new album have?
The new album, "The Black Code", is also just 5 songs, for the same reason - so the it will fit on a single record. But we're pushing it to the limit of what we can fit on there, don't worry. Believe it or not, we got some criticisms of both "The Gathering Dark" and "Psychedelonaut" for being too long, so we did have that in the back of our minds as well.
Since "The Gatering Dark" have passed 5 years and 3 lp's, but no any Demo, EP, Split or Compilation...Why you decide to release only full-lenght? I always thinked the Split it's a awesome way of promotion, don´t you?
We haven't done one before just because the opportunity never presented itself. And our first 4 song demo ended up becoming part of "The Gathering Dark." The 4 songs that we did first and initially sold as a cdr EP were"Manchurian Syndrome", "From Beyond," "Company Man," and "Risin' River." Then we just put those songs on "The Gathering Dark" when we put it out. It's the exact same recordings/mixes.
You are in "Small Stone Recordings" Label, why did you choose this label? Watching theroster of bands of the label I can see many bands from USA who playsstoner/doom/sludge/psych, was it a plus to choose it as your label? it's that a help for you at the time of doing gigs or tours arround USA?
We are really happy to be a part of the Small Stone roster. There have been so many amazing and important records throughout the history of the stoner/doom/psych thing back to the mid 90's that have been on Small Stone and we're honored to become part of that tradition. I think this is another step up for us in our musical journey and we hope this will get our music out to more people that will dig it and expand our fanbase. We aren't able to do a lot of touring, but this definitely helps in what we can do. We are in the process of putting together a European tour for 2013.
In your web site we can see that almost all the vinyl editions are sold out. Did you spected that audience response? Will you re-edit them someday?
And now the last one: if only you could give one more concert in a lifetime, and you could choose any band you wanted to play with, which band would you choose? Why?
And that's all, really thanxs for your time, I hope you have passed a great time answering this. Please add anything you want to say and I didn't ask you.
ALL PHOTOS BY: Judy Stump Photography.