Interview: Grimpen Mire, UK prime doom gristle.

Band Name: Grimpen Mire
From: Birmingham, England
Releases: Grimpen Mire EP (2008) + Death on the Moor EP (2009)

Could you please give us a bit of background history about Grimpen Mire?
We’ve all known each other for years, Paul and I played in a death metal band in the early 90’s called Dark Seid and Jim is Paul’s brother in law.

Paul and Jim had the simple idea of creating a doom band as a bit of a hobby, Jim plays in a grind band called After The Last Sky but has always loved playing slow. He was doing this years ago before it was in the spotlight like it is now. I was asked to play drums and as I’ve always had played guitar in bands previously I jumped at the chance, doom drumming is simple right? 😉

We started rehearsals towards the end of 2007 and ended up recording the first EP, to be honest we didn’t really have much of an idea how it would end up sounding. There are a couple of tracks on there that we’re going to resurrect live, namely “Blood Of My Gods” and “Rats In The Walls”. I think it was probably Luke from Re-Animator promotions and Rich Walker who first took notice of us as our first gig was in Brum supporting Grave Miasma and Scythian and Rich put us on at the 1 in 12 in Bradford playing with Pagan Altar amongst many others, that was our second gig as well!

How did you come to settle on the band name?
Paul had the name before we’d even played a note, I was told what we were going to be called from the very start. I thought, and still do, it’s a wicked name for a band, I’m genuinely surprised noboby has beaten us to it!

You have two people singing in the band, did this happen naturally or was it planned?
We planned on getting a singer, like a real singer that could sing. I guess if we had someone like Gaz from Serpent Venom we’d be a totally different band to the one we ended up sounding like! We looked for ages but ended up giving it up as a bad idea when Paul and Jim started screaming and yelling into the mic and it just kinda worked! Still makes me laugh in soundchecks when they are asked to do mic checks!!

Are there any bands that you particularly admire or have as a strong influence?
That’s a tough one as we all listen to different stuff and have been involved in metal for as long as I can remember. We get told we sound like loads of different bands yet like no-one at the same time, which is a compliment in itself as at least we have our own identity. If I could pin us down we sound like a bastard child of High On Fire and Ramesses I guess. But we didn’t set about trying to sound like anyone in particular.

Is louder always better for Grimpen Mire?
Not when we played London the last time no, the guitars were so loud on stage nobody could hear the vocals! But generally yes, this kind of music only really works at one volume!

You’ve just done a few dates with UK heavy weights Conan as headliners. How did it go?
It was amazing from start to finish, all bands involved (Conan, Undersmile and Serpent Venom) are all really good friends and I’m a big fan of all 3 bands. All bands were totally on form as well and getting to see them 3 nights on the trot (apart from Undersmile who’s car broke down on the way to the venue) was amazing. There was plenty of beer and hi-jinx involved as well. We’re looking to taking all four bands to Europe next year providing Conan haven’t gone on to complete global domination haha!!

What do you think of the UK underground movement at the moment?
I think it can be rewarding and disillusioning in equal measure. The doom/sludge crowd certainly are loyal though, there is getting to be a healthy enough turn out to gigs to make it worth everyone’s time putting them on. In terms of the quality of bands in this country it’s insane at the moment and one I’m very proud to be a part of. The likes of Slabdragger, Parole, Black Magician et al are superb bands, as well as the bands that have been around for a while. We’ve been blessed to play with most of the bands out there at some point. There are still a few I hope to play with, Ishmael being one. There are more bands that I like than I don’t put it like that!

What’s the recording process like for Grimpen Mire?
Simple really, we’ve used the same guy (Rob Stimpson) twice now and everything we’ve done we’ve recorded at the rehearsal studio. He’s a clever guy and tends to spend a lot of time mixing it after the event. We try and get it as live sounding as possible as that is where we’re at our best. We’re hoping to get to Foel for the next album if we can fund it as everything I’ve heard come out of there sounds superb!

What are your lyrical inspirations?
The Death On The Moor EP was heavily based around the Hound Of The Baskervilles, after that it’s just what comes out of Paul’s twisted imagination as he writes pretty much all the lyrics. I should pay more attention really but I never ask him about them.

Any plans for a full album after the current two EPs?
Yes, the new album is done, it’s called “A Plague Upon Your Houses” and we’re just waiting for the nod off Al from At War With False Noise who’s very kindly releasing it for us. No date yet but it should be very soon!

What does the future look like for Grimpen Mire?
At the moment I’d say promising, we’ve been asked to support Harvey Milk which we’re seriously fucking chuffed about and we’re currently writing for the second release as we speak, which is sounding brilliant. We take the whole thing a day at a time though, we all have jobs and real life stuff so it can make being in a band quite hard. Hopefully we’ll have recorded by the end of the year so the second album (providing we can find someone to release it) shouldn’t be much behind the first one when it comes out!

We just keep on plodding on with the whole thing though and as more people get to hear us it inpires us to keep writing and recording.

Answered by Ian Davis