Interview: Twelve Boar
The plan was to write a straight up rock ‘n’ roll album that would really resonate with fans and other bands in the UK stoner/doom/rock scenes. There is always room for hyperbole and metaphor, but this time we wanted to talk about things that we, as a band, really experience. You can keep shovelling shit onto the already over saturated pile of songs about weed, whiskey, witches and the desert, but we wanted to talk about what's real to us.
Formed in 2010, party metal ‘n’ rollers Twelve Boar have now released three albums with the mythology induced second Beyond the Valley of the Triclops demonstrating their ability to take surprising left turns. For their latest album, No Forgiveness, sees them back to reality, showcasing what life is like for many rock/metal bands in these modern times. But, it is delivered with all the spirit, humour, energy, and high riffage of previous material while continuing to take in key influences ZZ Top, Motörhead, and Clutch. And they still maintain their capability for pushing their sound into outrageous, grin inducing terrain, check out ‘Elders from the Deep’, and ‘Hellspeed Truckin’ from said new album for some rollicking rocking. We, at Echoes and Dust, threw some questions at Adam, Dave, and Tommy and they rather kindly obliged to explain further life in a band in the 21st Century, thoughts on whether there is a future for rock music, top tips for quenching thirsts, and more.
E&D: First, what instigated the idea of slightly modifying the band’s name from XII Boar to Twelve Boar?
Adam: Our hand was forced by the idiot public, we thought roman numerals were not too difficult, but no.
Dave: People just couldn’t seem to grasp it. It got to the point where major festivals were spelling our name as 11X Boar, so there was really, only one option left…!
E&D: The new album No Forgiveness does seem to have a theme of bringing attention to the trials and tribulations of being in rock band in the 21st Century e.g. lots of work, no financial reward. Was that the plan from the beginning?
Tommy: The plan was to write a straight up rock ‘n’ roll album that would really resonate with fans and other bands in the UK stoner/doom/rock scenes. There is always room for hyperbole and metaphor, but this time we wanted to talk about things that we, as a band, really experience. You can keep shovelling shit onto the already over saturated pile of songs about weed, whiskey, witches and the desert, but we wanted to talk about what’s real to us.
The reaction from fans and reviews has been well received. People like hearing “Bloodstock”, “Desertfest” and other relatable subject matters; they’ve been there and have their own point of reference.
I think it’s something worth noting that if you were in a successful rock band at, say, the age of 30 in the 1970’s and did as many shows as we did, you could pay your bills. 40 years on and most bands have to play shows out of pocket and most can’t even afford to record an album. I think that’s something worth commenting on, so when the cockroach-people of the future dig up our CD’s from the rubble, they will know we rocked… and that we were fucking broke!
E&D: Has the mythology of previous album Beyond the Valley of the Triclops been ditched permanently?
Tommy: Hopefully, hahaha.
E&D: What did Conan bass player and producer Chris Fielding bring to the table?
Dave: We worked with Chris on our last album so we already knew he was the right man for the job. Chris has got such a professional ear and talent for making things sounds massive and on the money, but he’s also one of the most down to earth and relaxed guys you’ll ever meet. He’s great at getting everything precise and in tune! He also gets our sense of humour too so he definitely helped push the levels of ridiculousness on this album. That man sure loves a good goblin voice.
E&D: Can you tell us more album the album’s eye-catching, and primed and ready for T-shirt merch, design?
Tommy: When we were mulling over what kind of artwork we wanted for the cover, we were trawling through Instagram and found this killer artist Rahadil Hermana aka ‘Bodilpunk’. He does these really bold and lairy, animal centric logos, akin to American football mascots. We loved it. We told him we need a dope looking, metal as fuck boar and a design that would fit nicely on a Gildan soft T-shirt. Job done.
Good merch is the lifeblood of all bands, signed or unsigned. However, if you’re a small band, who can’t afford to have 20 shirt designs, then having one killer design is really, important. Plus, who doesn’t like a good T-shirt? I mean, it’s hard enough getting people in the UK to actually buy a fucking tee at a show in the first place, so making sure what we do have is ‘eye-catching’, is a necessity.
E&D: Can you inform us of any funny tales of what life is like for being a member of Twelve Boar?
Adam: First time we played Bloodstock Festival we were pulling into the load-in area and out of nowhere Geoff from Diesel King was running headfirst towards the us. Only he was butt fucking naked and he was dripping with sweat! He ran right up to the window and dived headfirst trough the passenger side and landed on me and Dave. It was fucking grim.
E&D: What are the band’s favourite choices of alcoholic beverages?
Adam: You can’t beat a nice beer; we have been smashing some crafty stuff recently try the Elvis Juice by Brew Dog, that’s banging. Also try the Ninkasi by the Wild Beer Co. it’s awesome! A real big flavour, at 9% though it will put you on your arse pretty quick!
E&D: And can we expect you to get out to support the album as much as you possibly can?
Dave: Of course, otherwise what’s the point?!
E&D: And lastly, a current topical question to ponder. You may not see yourselves as the next Beatles but you do indeed make a comment on a lack of album sales because of streaming on opening track ‘Steppin’ Out’, so what are your thoughts on Gene Simmons assertion that streaming is killing the next big musical thing?
Adam: I don’t think streaming is killing the music business, I think the music business took forever to come up with a solution to downloading. It was like all this was happening and they just buried their heads in the sand. I was ripping shit on Kazaar and Napster when I was in senior school in 2003! Now with YouTube and Spotify and that stuff you don’t even need to steal music anymore I guess. I dunno, I still buy CDs so you’re not talking to the right dude ha! Fuck me, I never owned a MP3 player I always thought the quality was awful, I was walking around University with a book of CDs and a Discman.
The real problem is no one really gives a fuck about music especially rock and metal, it’s almost become its own thing like blues or jazz, rock had its day in the mainstream and now it has its own lane, never shrinking or growing.
I think it’s easy for rock and roll guys to be cynical, but look at pop music on YouTube billions and trillions of plays. It shows you how niche and underground this style of music is. I also think it’s becoming an older person’s genre. Look at any group of kids; where are the metalheads, the goths and the punks? Everybody now looks like they rolled out of Urban Outfitters there are no more freaks and geeks as it was.
So yeah rock is dead and maybe streaming is killing the next big thing. But with rock being firmly based in the past and nostalgia, would people really want the next Beatles / Sabbath / Zeppelin / Metallica?
Dave: Ironically, this time around we’ve actually embraced streaming and giving the album away for free. Obviously we still cater for the physical market but we just want as many people as possible to hear our music now. We released ‘No Forgiveness’ as a pay-what-you-want digital download on Bandcamp and got it rotating on all the big streaming music platforms, it’s worked out really well! We’ve had more listens than ever before and if people like what they hear then they are more than willing to donate a few quid or buy a CD or T-shirt.
So, with Desertfest and Bloodstock appearances already on their c.v. check their Facebook page for upcoming gigs and hopefully more festival additions, and get behind these good time, riffy rocking, witty bantering, practical, metallers to help prove rock isn’t dead because Twelve Boar are indeed doing their bit by er, rocking. And we at Echoes and Dust, salute them.