Here we go again… Last year we covered every band on the Hobgoblin New Blood and Jagermeister stages in the run-up to Bloodstock 2015. This year, we’re going one better and aim to have interviews from all the bands on those two stages as well as all of those on the SOPHIE stage prior to the event kicking off on August 11th. That’s almost 100 interviews to get online for you lucky people over the course of the next couple of weeks. I bloody love this job, but you lot owe me a beer at Catton Hall, right?
Thanks to all the bands who’ve taken the time to respond so far!
Mage – SOPHIE stage, Saturday
Questions answered by vocalist Tom
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Leicestershire. Where kings go to die.
How did you meet?
That’s a more complicated question. The basic answer is, through friends and previous bands. Mage started as the next project by Ben and Andy after their previous band Outburst split. They subsequently recruited Mark and then myself. Then later in the year we decided we needed a second guitar and Mark brought Woody in.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
It started in early 2010. I joined in around May that year and Woody joined us in the October. We had our first gig in January 2011 I think.
Where does the name of the band come from?
It came from a conversation between Ben and Andy. I’m not sure how the word came up but apparently one of them coined the question ‘what the hell is a mage’? The talking point sold them on the idea and people have been mispronouncing it ever since.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
Eclectic. At our roots are the stoner influences like Sabbath, Kyuss, Down and Clutch but you can hear many different influences throughout our songs like Anthrax, Motorhead, High On Fire and Conan.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Playing the genre game is tricky. We start from a stoner/doom base but we’re not pure anything. We’ve used the term ‘stoner metal’ because we have elements of thrash in there. We’ve got elements of sludge, prog, psychedelic and classic rock, all sorts of stuff. Really we just write what feels good to us and let the music evolve naturally. I think that’s what makes us unique. We champion the cause of stoner and doom but we reach outside of those bounds to create the ‘Mage sound’.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
We’ve played well over 100 shows since 2011. We don’t really do anything fancy. We just like to get up there, play loud, enjoy ourselves and give a good performance. We like an audience with beers in their hands, cheers in their in their throats and a willingness to have their bones rattled.
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
Very recently. It sort of came out of the blue, so it was a nice surprise. It’s huge honour to be asked.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
I’ll just say this, Bloodstock would be a good place to debut new material…
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Personally I’d like to see Kill II This on the main stage but I think we’re all mostly looking forward to seeing so many friends play at the festival this year like The King is Blind, Krysthla, Vodun, Boss Keloid and Garganjua.
What are you working on at the moment?
Right now we’re running a Pledge Music campaign to help us make our third album. So apart from that, we’re knuckling down to writing between shows.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
We haven’t actually been on tour yet although we are exploring possibilities for next year. We played two gigs on the same day recently if that counts? The wildest thing that happened then was Mark’s bass cab going through the rear window of Andy’s car on the way to the first show.
However Woody has some good stories from touring with ENT. Nazis, Yakuza, Brazilian gangs and strip club breakfasts spring to mind.
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
Never go on tour with ENT.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
Man that’s hard! We are a small, unsigned band so most acts we’d be proud to support. Off the top of my head, I’ll go with: Goatsnake (headlining), Mage, Garganjua.
What stage / time are you playing at Bloodstock (if you have your slot yet!)
We’re playing the Sophie Lancaster stage on the Saturday. That’s as much as we know for sure right now.