Ever drawn to the underground punk scene, it was only a matter of time before these guys caught my eye. Here at Moshville Times we love to champion the unsigned, up and coming bands just as much, if not more, than the big guns. So without further ado and amidst recording their debut album, let me introduce you to hard rock punk band Elbowdrop. Their full line-up consists of Tom Lake: vocals, Ash Darko: guitar, Adaim Beirne: guitar, Nottingham Ché: bass and Ben Frankish: drums. Tom, Ash and Ché were kind enough to take some time out to answer our questions….
Tom: The band is from Macclesfield. The people in it have been collected from various outlets.
Ché: And Lima
Ash: We allow immigrants, cos they’re actually people, fucking bullshit going on right now. Fuck Trump.
How did you meet?
Tom: A mutual friend introduced me to Darko [Ash, guitarist] about five years ago, on the notion that “You’ll both probably get along”. We were both involved with our own solo music projects but used to get talking about the bigger picture after drinking loads of beer. Six months later I met Adam and Ché through work and we soon realised we only needed a drummer. After a few weeks of jam sessions in Ché’s spare room, we got Jim; our first drummer. He parted ways a little over a year ago and we’ve had Ben since then.
Ash: I first saw Ben play in his band, at the time “Mars Black”, and they kicked some serious ass at a label launch I was promoting. I always wanted him but he took a few years to come round to the idea haha…
How long have you been playing in a band?
Tom: Three and a half years.
Ash: Precise. Ish.
Before you get sick of being asked…where does the band name come from?
Tom: It was a horrifying process. It wasn’t very grown up.
Ash: Haha! Yeah, we had a ton of names going through our group chat when we were thinking of one, loads of shit ones and we always ended up taking the piss…
Tom: So, between things like “Ass-muncher” and “Ultimate Super Band Gods” and the like…
Ash: I just came out with Elbowdrop, being a fan of wrestling and not thinking any more of it, but there was something about it. Immediately it was then agreed and now I couldn’t think of being called anything else. I think it’s perfect for our sound and who we are. Always one word.
Tom: It was the best of a bad bunch.
Ash: Shut up.
What are your influences?
Tom: Personally; Neil Fallon, Josh Homme, Falco from Mclusky/Future of the Left, Jimbo Wahoo… collectively I think we all draw inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age.
Ash: I was massively into grunge, then heavy stuff, then Kyuss blew my mind and the desert rock scene, then came Queens of the Stone Age and they broke my heart. Every Time I Die, Palm Reader, etc. at the moment and Future of the Left, but then also flip the coin into synth-wave and electronica stuff.
Ché: My personal influences; Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, QOTSA.
Describe your music, what makes you unique?
Tom: Heavy, low-tuned guitars and shouty vocals. We’ve never been nailed down to one genre; I think that makes us unique. It was never a conscious decision; we’re just five guys with different tastes and backgrounds in music. Variety is the spice of life.
Ash: It’s an annoying question because as a band we have struggled to define our music specifically but also we don’t give a shit. We have been generally described between obnoxious low-tuned punk, to heavy stomping metal and heavy rock. I hate answering this one. I don’t really care but I’d rather hear what others think we sound like, that’s more important to me. A lot of people think we’re probably throaty, heavy scream metal… but we’re so not. I think we have a uniqueness that while we are sounding heavy, as in low-tuned, we’re not here to scare you; we’d rather you dance and jump around. The groove is in the lowness, we do have some catchy hip shaking numbers. We definitely come out to hit you hard.
Ché: Like having a cast iron bin lid in the shape of an anvil, wrapped in velvet, smashed into your face and chest at mach eleven. We are unique because we have Darko.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Ash: That’s Lake’s forte.
Tom: Mostly complaints, I complain a lot. And serial killers, there’s a couple about them. My Dad comes out with some great phrases that end up in songs. He probably doesn’t even realise! Cheers, Dad.
Ché: Sex between aliens, driving under the influence, murderous intent and Ash’s problems.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Tom: It kind of has it all I guess. A mixture of energy and compassion, death metal and pop ballads. We’ve played quite a few. As many as we can fit around five people’s work and family lives. I only know of one venue that has paid us well enough to have at least covered travelling costs so it can be difficult to get about.
Ash: We’ve played, I dunno, twenty shows over three and a half years. It’s less then we’d like, but it is what it is. Well, our live show is generally no fucks given, we wanna hit you hard for thirty minutes or an hour and leave you wanting more. We always wanna get it right and play big, and have fun and not give a shit. Fine balance. Always getting better. Me and Tom in particular just smash it on stage.
Ché: Four bearded trailer park truckers and a wetback walk into a bar, pick up instruments, lay sonic waste, drink some beer than leave. We have played more live shows than you have fingers and thumbs.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Tom: Darko bled all over his guitar mid-set at Soup Kitchen in Manchester. I mopped it up with the setlist, which is currently at home in my bedside drawer. Ché pulled down a load of strip lighting once, there’s a video somewhere; it’s hilarious.
First gig we ever played, a girl came up to us after the show and asked for some stickers we were handing out, saying she would go home and take photos of herself wearing them over her boobs and send them to us. She kept her word, sent the pics and ended up being the cover art for our second E.P. Is that wild?
Ash: Yeah, I smashed my hand on my guitar. I think we were only two songs in; blood just poured everywhere…I just heard a huge smash and Ché just carried on as if it was normal, it was hilarious. Usually at the end of the set I make a shit ton of noise then just hand my guitar to whoever I see first in the crowd, I think only one has actually attempted to play it which his hilarious cos all my pedals are on making a truckload of noise haha.
Ché: Seen; a guy jump off the balcony and smashed into the front PA stack at a Rage Against the Machine gig at The Ritz in 1993
Done; I broke a strip light at The Roadhouse.
What kit do you use/ play etc?
Tom: A mic.
Ash: I play an ESP and Adam has a custom built Hamer at the moment, I also have a 70’s Columbus Les Paul Lawsuit. Adam plays Orange amps and I recently found the perfect amp for me, it’s a handmade Hovercraft; they (one man in America somewhere) recycle all the best bits from old Orange/Matamps and Hiwatts and rebrand it as Hovercraft. It’s a serious hi-gain machine. I’m so in love. Ben plays Gretsch drums with cymbals by Sexy (Zildjian A Customs).
Ché: I use Ash’s Ampeg rig with an Ibanez Budget Bass or a Thunderbird.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
Tom: We have almost finished recording our debut album so we’ll be taking that out for a spin later in the year. No doubt we’ll have a big release party. You’re all invited.
Ash: Balls deep in the studio right now. So we’re hoping to get the promo and videos coming out before we release and then go on to gig the fucker.
Ché: Await the Darko Antichrist. Maybe play a gig or two.
If you were second on a three band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Tom: Clutch to headline – goes without saying. Might be a bit awkward though as I have a tattoo of Neil’s face on my arm. The Ed Miller Band to open.
Ash: I personally would love to support Every Time I Die. I’ve seen ’em a few times and they really are a band at the top of their game. Their live shows are insane, they have people flying off the stage, band members and the crowd. At the end they get the whole crowd or whoever fits on stage to join them. Their riffs are off the wall amazing also. Either them or Future of the Left, another band whose riffs and drums are just brilliant. Falco is such a good frontman, a lyrical genius and perfect antidote to the crowd heckler. He’ll put you down with such charm and wit you’ll think he’s complimenting you. To open for us I’d either go Pophysteria Victim as we love playing with those guys, they’ve got such a cool sound and vibe, or I’d drag Carlis Star back from oblivion.
Ché: Perfect triad would be to support QOTSA with Grohl on drums and have Future of the Left open. But to be fair, I’d rather be at the bottom of the bill for both so I can get shedded at the bar for the rest of the night.