I'm very happy to introduce He Whose Ox is Gored, a band that plays amazing heavy music defined "Doomgaze". Start listening to the Nightshade EP with its a mix of sludge, doom, post-hardcore, post-metal and post-rock that will easily blow your mind. We had the opportunity to talk to Brian Mclelland about their music and their project. He also talked about the band's tour dates and, if these guys from Seattle ever come through your town, get ready, be aware and join in: you will be blown away by the powers of this band. Or face the consequences of being left not knowing what hit you...
(((o))): Hi guys, many thanks for taking time out to speak with us. So, first and foremost, who are He Whose Ox Is Gored and what are your musical backgrounds?
BM: OX is Lisa Mungo (synth, vocals), Brian McClelland (guitar, vocals), Mike Sparks (bass), and John O'Connell (drums).
(((o))): Where are you at the moment?
BM: In a warehouse, in the bowels of Amazon territory, a district known as Crane Forest. New Seattle.
(((o))): How did the band come together?
BM: Lisa and I started the band about five years ago and went through numerous lineups before joining with Mike and John. John had played with us on a few previous releases, (OPAMPS II & the split with InAeona) and he and Mike had been in a band called By Sunlight for years together. When it came time to work on our new material, we decided we needed to step it up, and they joined officially.
(((o))): Did your local scene impact you as a band?
BM: Definitely. Seattle has an awesome scene, that's why we all came here. There are so many bands that are working their asses off right now. Bands like Haunted Horses, Theories, Serial Hawk, Noise-a-tron, Sandrider, Ancient Warlocks, Constant Lovers are all coming out with great records and putting on killer shows in town and on tour.
(((o))): So, what are some of your musical (and other) influences?
BM: We're into tons of stuff. As a band, it's easy to look at a list of bands that have a few songs that you like, but it's different to say what actually influences you when it comes time to make something. We're into soundtracks quite a bit. Right now, I'm very into ambient loops. Textures that repeat and clean the slate, you know? We're so conditioned with social media to be inundated with content so frequently that we forget what silence is like. There's a machine at my job that makes a quiet hum when no one's around. I enjoy that very much.
(((o))): It sounds interesting! How did you come up with your band name? I'm very curious about that.
BM: The Wolfduggler brought us to it. He came to show us the way.
(((o))): Nightshade EP is the first thing I heard from you and after discovering that EP I spent a whole weekend diving into your music: Cairo, OP AMPS II: Into the Ethers…in practice I explored everything is on your bandcamp page. What I really appreciate is the fact that you always push the envelope creating a sound that crosses every boundary from sludge to post-rock to progressive rock. How would you describe your music? What image do you think your music conveys?
BM: Thanks, man. We appreciate that. Most of the time, people hear the name and think we're a metal band. It's definitely loud as shit, but we usually say it's heavy. One of our friends coined the term "Doomgaze" a while back. I like that one. As far as the image the music conveys, I guess that would depend who's listening. I used to see alot of dark greys and black, but that's just what you get from looking at our setup sometimes. I think the new record has a lot more color and texture to it than anything we've done previously.
(((o))): I read that you are going to release some brand new tracks under the title Rumours through the label Bleeding Light Records later this year. How did you land on to Bleeding Light?
BM: That's right. We actually met Paul from Bleeding Light over Twitter last year. Which seems funny to me, but that's what social media does, it just connects people. We were finishing up our record when he reached out to us. There was the full length that we were working on, but there was another batch of songs that we wanted to release as well. He ended up picking us up to put those songs out for the Rumours 7". Then we went to the beach and ate tacos and got matching tattoos.
(((o))): If I’m not wrong, Rumours is going to be released in a 7" vinyl format. The focus of the music industry for a long time has always been on digital but the last sales figures show really encouraging trends for vinyl. What do you think about that? Which is your favorite format?
BM: Yeah, it's great. I love vinyl. If you follow our instagram (hewhoseoxisgored), a bunch of it is us nerding out on records, haha. I'm so glad to be done with CDs. Digital is great, but it can be so tiring sifting through mountains of records that bands are recording in their bedrooms to be released into infinity. Vinyl is a great way to connect back to the actual art. You have to sit down, pay attention, and drop the needle. It's a welcomed reminder of why we all do this.
(((o))): What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing new bands starting out in the music industry today?
BM: Just being a band. That shit is hard enough. In a lot of ways, bands have it easier than they ever have before. We can go online and book a show in a city we've never been to with bands that we've never met, and go there, and it could be great. But, in order to do that, we have to have jobs that pay our bills and let us take time off when we want to tour. We have to have a vehicle that runs well enough to not throw us into bankruptcy in case of a failure, and we have to have friends that trust us enough to do all of that. That's all a process. I've spent fifteen years learning how to do those things right, and I'm still learning.
(((o))): You are touring on August to promote the Nightshade EP. What can people expect to see at your live performance?
BM: Yeah, we're touring on a couple things. We released the Nightshade EP on vinyl recently through Caffe Vita, and a tape comp of the OPAMPS II/Nightshade EPs hit Europe through our friends at Breathe Plastic. The Rumors 7" will be coming out in the fall on Bleeding Light Records, and we're still sitting on our full-length. We're trying to play something from every release on this tour, which is something we haven't done in a while. Some stuff we do differently in the studio, but live is all about blasting.
(((o))): The Camel, The Lion, The Child is your forthcoming full length album. I heard two tracks from it and they are really powerful – 'Oathbreaker' conquered me immediately. Tell us a little bit about it. Is there a concept behind the album?
BM: Thanks, man. The album is about self-actualization. It's been a process for us to get to this point as a band. It would be easy to write a few riffs, and put out something stoney, but we wanted to try things we've never done before. Each track has it's own meaning, but they all tie into a bigger theme about becoming something else.
(((o))): Will it be released on vinyl too? (I’m addicted to music on vinyl..I think it’s pretty clear now).
BM: I hope so, haha. We're still working on finding a home for it. I'm still finishing some of the artwork for it, and I can't wait to see that album on wax.
(((o))): Thank you guys for taking the time to talk to us. Is there anything you'd like to add?
BM: Thank you for having us. Come say hi at a show, we'll be slumped over unconscious at the merch booth.
August Tour Dates:
8/5 Portland, OR @ East End w/ Muscle & Marrow and Chasma
8/6 San Francisco, CA @ SUBMission w/ Glaciers and Roland
8/7 Oakland, CA @ Eli's w/ Hellbeard, Glaciers, and Druid
8/8 Los Angeles, CA @ Complex w/ Lightsystem, Glaare, and The Black Mare
8/9 San Diego, CA @ Tower Bar w/ Deep Sea Thunder Beast and Bhorelord
8/10 Tuscon, AZ @ The District w/ Ocean Void
8/12 Albuquerque, NM @ Sister Bar w/ Bath House and Icelous
8/13 Denver, CO @ Bar Bar w/ Abrams
8/14 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Shred Shed w/ Stoic
8/15 Boise, ID @ The Shredder w/ Obstructed by the Sun and Swamp Shrine
8/16 Missoula, MT @ (Confirming Venue)
8/17 Spokane, WA @ Mootsie's w/ Losing Skin and Rot Monger