Interview With Slaves To Gravity - 28th April 2010
Photo Of Slaves To GravityJessica caught up with Slaves To gravity back stage in Cardiff before their slot supporting The Black Spiders to talk about the band's recent line up changes, progress of the new album and much more.

Hello Tommy! How are you? How is the tour going so far?
It’s going pretty good, yeah, I think this is the 8th show tonight and it’s been great. It was a little bit quiet last night but all the other shows have been pretty well attended. The new stuff has been going down really well, getting a good response; the Black Spiders’ guys are really cool, you know, it’s cool to listen to a decent band every night. Lots of tours, some tours with bands where you hear when they start up every night your like ‘Oh God make it stop’ but they (Black Spiders) are really cool so it’s been a blast so far

That can’t be fun when you hear someone average kick in every night and you start thinking ‘oh, how long’s their set?’
Yeah it really wears on you after a couple of weeks on the road and you’re hearing that every night but these guys (Black Spiders) are really good.

Over the past few years Slaves To Gravity have undergone some line up changes. What caused these changes and how have they affected the band?
It’s kind of been in the last 7 or 8 months really, it’s been really weird. I mean our original drummer, Jason, left well he kinda told us he was leaving the band just before we went in to record our new album because his Dad had had a stroke and you know he’s got a very close Greek family so he left to really spend more time with his Dad and do that whole thing which you can’t do anything but support that decision. I’ve known Jay for years and years and years so we kind of reluctantly accepted his resignation and we auditioned like 30 drummers and both Jase, who currently plays drums, and Gemma who was in the band for five minutes auditioned and we opted to give Gem the job against our better judgement probably and she just didn’t really work out. She had a really good audition but putting all that kind of stuff into playing in terms of getting out on the road and stuff she just didn’t really have the attitude or the stamina or any of the other things, the backbone I suppose, that you need to make something like this work. We put 7, 8 years of our lives into the band and it’s kind of the centre of our world and she treated it like it was a bit of a vacation. We tried to talk to her about it and she quit so we were like ‘OK’ so we called Jase back up, went crawling back and were like ‘We’re really sorry will you please reconsider’ and thankfully he did and we’re all the better for it now.

Would you say you guys have always been a very close knit group?
Yeah, in the past to the point where we were insular in a negative way, I think we had our heads up our asses for a little while. I think as a reaction really to having to let people into the inner circle or whatever we would turn out the arse holes who try and fuck us around and whatever so we just became really close in that sense. You’ve got to open up eventually otherwise, you know, it’s hard to make friends
Just alone. You and you’re clique.
Exactly and that’s really where we ended up. Now we’re in a place where we’ve got our wits about us, we’re kind of aware of who’s around us and actually we’re not so stand offish anymore.

I think that’s true of a lot of circles though. In anything you do you have to learn your own ground. Everyone gets above their stations now and then.
Yeah I think you’re right, definitely, but I’m glad we were able to do that. It took for a couple of people to say to us when Jay had left maybe that we should use this as an opportunity to reassess the way we think and operate a little bit. It was good advice.

You’ve been on the road in the UK for about a week now. What do you look forward to the most about touring and how do you prepare for your shows?
Normally we would rehearse for like a week solid before we get out on the road and get the set list all ironed out blah blah blah so we kind of show up good to go but Jase has got a busy teaching schedule, he teaches drums as well and he doesn’t live in London with the rest of us, so we just didn’t get the opportunity to rehearse. The first gig was our first rehearsal, we got chucked in at the deep end really and we very quickly figured out what was working and what wasn’t working in the set, like took a couple of songs out cos we’re only playing for half an hour so we have to pack a lot, as much as we can, into that and we were trying to do all kinds of dynamic changes and fit all these different sides of the band into a half hour set so we just gave up and said we’re just gonna do a half hour of in your face, get out kinda vibe. So that’s what we ended up doing for all these shows, I think we’ve finally got the set to the point, we’ve changed it AGAIN slightly for tonight but it’s pretty much there now in terms of holding people’ attention and being cool. In terms of preparing for the shows it’s just trying not to get drunk every night and trying to get rest, trying to drink plenty of water, trying to do vocal warm ups and stuff like that, balancing it all out. We’ve got this endorsement with Jagermeister as well which is proving to be a bit of a sabotage because it is there constantly and just have to drink it. It’s a bit relentless.

That’s a pretty good topic as you’ve been teamed up with Jagermeister for some time now. How would you say they help you and other bands within the music industry?
They’ve been amazing actually. I mean if you sort of allow them to put their logo or their name on stuff they pretty much paid for it. We designed some new t shirts and we put like a tiny little Jagermeister logo on the back of the neck and they said ‘Well we’ll pay for it’ so anything we sell is 100% profit. They pay for all the tour adverts, like in press and stuff like for instance if their name is on it they’ll pay for it. Which is just amazing cos that is expensive to produce good merch and get tour adverts, they even paid for some of our backline that we’re using on the condition it has their name on it. Initially you kind of think ‘Wow, we’re really whoring ourselves out to Jagermeister’ but at the same time it’s like when you’re in a position where you haven’t got tons of money and you wanna do as much as you can and get your name out to as many people as you can then it’s a brilliant thing and they’ve really supported us, they’re great people to work with. And they give you free Jagermeister as well.
You just need to team up with Red Bull now then you’d be sorted.
Oh my god! That’s it. We’d never sleep!

So do you find yourselves having a lot of Jager parties while on tour?
We end up doing it at the merch desk but we have to do it under the radar cos a lot of these gigs are like 14+ so you know we’re not really in a position for IDing people but it’s kind of subtly doing it under the table so to speak.

With bands appearing on the scene all the time, and lots of bands from the 80’s doing revivals, what makes Slaves To Gravity different and what sets you apart from the rest?
I think we’ve probably established our own sound a lot more with the newer stuff we’ve written for the new album, it’s much more erm you alright dude (to band mate Toshi) it took us a while to figure it out I mean I think the first album we probably leaned on our influences a little bit too heavily and we’re ay a point now where we’ve become more like we sound like the gap in our record collection as opposed to the sum total of them. Quite how that works is, I find it hard to describe it but we’ve still got the influences that we’ve always had, we listened to predominantly 90’s American grunge alternative rock music that’s just the bedrock of our influences but I think the new stuff, working with a producer who really encouraged us to push the limits of our creativity and not settle on something because it was comfortable. There’s always that thing where if it sounds great, it’s really hard to describe.
Its ok, no rush.
I’m just trying to think of a slightly more convenient way to describe it. I dunno. I mean….who knows. I’m too tired today!
I guess if something feels super comfortable straight away then maybe you should take more risks because great things can happen from that.
Yeah absolutely. I mean he just pushed us way further than we would’ve got on our own and he was able to act as an audience member as well which the first album we produced it all ourselves we didn’t have that, and it literally took us 3 times longer to make that 1st album with Bob Marlett who produced this he didn’t get too involved in writing the songs, the songs we created ourselves, he was just really good at being able to go ‘don’t over think that…that’s great or what about this?’ Just very subtly kind of orchestrating things which I think has helped us establish a sound which is more our own.

Last year you released an EP, ‘Doll Size’. With the impending release of your forthcoming album, what can your fans and newcomers to STG expect?
It’s a really dynamic record. I mean we just sat around trying to pick the first single from that which is going to be coming out in June and it was really hard because we wanted something which, we were originally looking for something that was going to sum up the album as a whole in one song and it was really impossible to find it cos from one song to the next it’s a really varied mix, it kind of takes you on a bit of a journey, which a lot of albums from bands we really like don’t seem to do that anymore it’s kind of like they’ve got that sound and that’s it for 12 songs, so we’ve tried to make something that has lots of dynamics and lots of different colours and textures and we tried to write the best songs we could and really pushed ourselves not to settle for anything that seemed generic or too easy you know umm but I suppose it’s just a better record from a better band than where we were 2 years ago and for now it’s a dynamic, exciting modern rock album.

Brilliant. What makes you Slaves To Gravity? Are you all opposed to the laws of physics?
(Laughs) Well when the band formed we formed from the ashes of a couple of different bands in London that had split up for various reasons but I think when we got together we all felt pretty kind of downtrodden, beat up and fucked off with things and very much at the mercy of the forces around us so to speak. And that’s pretty much where the name came from. I was in Amsterdam when I came up with it maybe the reason behind it.

Hmmm, yeah. Maybe it could. So now for a random question that we ask every band, if you were an animal would you be a zebra or a giraffe? And why?
I’d probably have to go for giraffe cos I always get told I look like one. I have a very long neck so yeah, I would probably feel most comfortable in a giraffe’s skin.
Well you already have the long neck for it.
That’s the one.

Thank you very much for sitting down with me this evening. Do you have any messages for your fans who will be reading this?
Just to say the new singles out June 21st, it’s called Good Advice it’s going to be a download only single so you’ll be able to get it from iTunes or whatever your download server thing of choice. And we’re gonna be putting loads of snippets of the new album up on Myspace and Facebook so just keep in touch.

Thanks Tommy!

Interview By Jessica Acreman
 Band Members

Tommy Gleeson (Lead Vocals, Guitars)
Toshi Ogawa (Bass, Backing Vocals)
Jason Thomopoulos (Drums, Percussion)
Mark Verney (Lead Guitars, Backing Vocals)
 Latest Releases
Slaves To Gravity - Scatter The Crow
Release Date - 31st March 2007
1. Heaven Is A Lie
2. She Says
3. Big Red
4. Meantime
5. Too Late
6. Doll Size
7. LG Halo
8. My Poor Hand
9. Gutterfly
10. Mr Regulator
11. Burning Robe
12. Pluto
13. Rosa And The Ocean Blue
 Band Related Links
Slaves To Gravity Myspace