Interview El Jefe.
High On Fire – that unstoppable doom metal behemoth, with its massive riffs and spectacular volume levels are preparing their latest assault on Australian heavy music fans on the back of their latest LP, Luminiferous. The high-octane guitar fireworks and trademark bludgeoning rhythm section will hit our stages in February. I recently had the good fortune to catch up with drummer (read wrecking machine!) Des Kensel for a quick Q&A.
El Jefe: Hey Des, how’s it going and thanks for your time today. I’m a long time fan of HOF, but am always amazed by the endless supply of the brutal riffs that make up the tunes. What would you attribute this to?
Des: Yeah they just keep coming. Usually, Matt has the initial riffs or ideas, and there will sometimes be things left over which we keep in the vault for the next time we write or record.
El Jefe: How does the writing and recording process generally work for the band? And also, what are the challenges when recording?
Des: We’ll mostly have the songs complete, although may make some small changes here and there while recording. This can sometimes be a bit nerve-wracking, but generally I enjoy the process. We’ve always done our homework so know what we’ll be doing in the studio. Mentally, it can be harder than playing live, having to play the same song for long periods and so forth.
El Jefe: HOF still tour extensively every year and don’t appear to be slowing down.
Des: Playing live and touring is essential. We have to tour no matter what, and playing live is the whole point of being in a band. The live energy is so different to recording as well. It doesn’t matter if you’re hungover or what, you have to get up and do it.
El Jefe: After 18 years in the band, what do you consider the most memorable show the band has done?
Des: No sure about the most memorable, but we recently played Paris, just 4 days after the EODM shooting. The whole city had been in lockdown and our show was only the second one in Paris since the shooting. Some of the staff in the venue had had friends working where the attack was, and everywhere we went the vibe was very eerie with a really strong sense of community. It was really special to be there in the wake of this.
El Jefe: As I said before, I’m a longtime fan, and as a fan have a favourite LP by the band. What do you consider to be your fave?
Des: Usually, the most recent, as it will be the freshest. Although a couple of years back, we were invited to play The Art Of Self Defense (My fave; I wish I could’ve been there to see this. But this fan filmed footage will have to suffice! CLICK HERE! – El Jefe) in its entirety at Roadburn. That was interesting, as we hadn’t played most of those songs in years, and songs like Master Of Fists (a ten minute monster and the best song on the LP IMO) wasn’t easy.
El Jefe: So what’s next for HOF?
Des: Well, there’s a couple of tours booked, and then we’ll start working on a new album.
El Jefe: Ok, I’m out of time so have to wrap things up now. Thanks for your time Des.
Des: No worries at all.
High On Fire Australian / New Zealand tour dates:
Perth – Rosemount Hotel – Wednesday, February 17
with Leeches and Skullcave.
Adelaide – Fowler’s – Thursday, February 18
with Crypt and Hydromedusa.
Melbourne – Max Watt’s – Friday, February 19
with Batpiss, YLVA and Big Bread.
Sydney – Manning Bar – Saturday, February 20
with I Exist and Lo!
Brisbane – Crowbar – Sunday, February 21
with Kyzer Soze and Smoke.
Auckland – Kings Arms – Tuesday, February 23
(Presented with Under the Radar).
with Reaving and Mothra.
Tickets from lifeisnoise.com, oztix, the venues and undertheradar.co.nz for Auckland.
High On Fire: Site // Facebook // Twitter // Spotify // Last.fm // iTunes.