It’s that time of year where we set out to interview as many of the Sophie, New Blood, and Jager bands as we can in the lead-up to one of the most anticipated festivals of the year, Bloodstock. Answering our questions here are Elder Druid who play the New Blood Stage on Friday.
Belfast, Northern Ireland.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Just over 6 years now. We formed in early 2015, if my memory serves me.
Where does the name of the band come from?
I used to have a list of words I liked called the Lexicon. I spent a good few years compiling it all and when I decided to form a band, I decided to pick a couple of my favourite words. They ended up being “Elder” and “Druid”. It fitted the idea in my head for a stoner doom band so that’s been the name ever since. I wish the story was more interesting than that.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Occult-laced riff music. Probably nearer the sludge metal end of the spectrum. I think it’s unique because of our current line-up with two guitarists & two bassists. I suppose that’s fairly different and the wall of sound it creates is pretty damn heavy. Being a one-handed guitarist helps too.
What’s your live show like? Why are people going to watch you instead of another band?
Our frontman Gregg is a pretty captivating guy so he’s the focal point of the live show. The symmetrical line-up of guitars and bass on either side of the stage is interesting too. People may watch us because of the tempo, the intensity and the barrage of riffs across the set we’ve picked.
Have you been to Bloodstock before? What did you think?
Crazily, none of us have been to Bloodstock before so it’s a brand new experience for all of us.
Which M2tM region did you win, or did you come through other channels?
We won the Northern Ireland final.
Can you put into 10 words or fewer how it felt when you realised you were heading to Bloodstock?
Pretty fucking fantastic.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
Most of our songs are fairly long so we’re gonna have to be surgical to try and contain it to the 30 min slot we have. It’ll almost certainly be 5 songs. Classics from our last album, Golgotha, that have been tried and tested over many gigs. It’d be a shame not to play them on the big stage.
Which other bands do you most hope you’re not squished up next to so you can see them play?
All of us have different bands we want to see as we’re all into different sub-genres of metal. I can only speak for myself so personally, I’m excited to see Conjurer, Malevolence, Conan, Napalm Death, Orange Goblin, Therapy, Judas Priest and as many of the Irish contingent as possible.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’ve finished writing our next album, Carcosa, which is due out later this year on vinyl via Interstellar Smoke Records and on CD/tape via Galactic Smokehouse Records. We recorded, mixed and mastered our last album by ourselves and we’re doing the same thing this time around. It gives us a lot more time to get things right so hoping to finish up the recording process around September time.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
There’s been a few things. The two that come to mind would be our singer Gregg splitting my eyebrow open with a steel chair (“accidentally”) in the green room at the M2TM final back in 2017. Covered in blood at Bloodstock M2TM was ironic and painful. Even more painful that we didn’t win the fucking thing that year. The second thing would be playing a show in Coventry and a really wasted guy kept trying to grab Gregg at the front of the stage and between songs he would drunkenly start “ELDER DRUID” chants. Gregg threatened to kick him in the face and eventually he got thrown out. After we got off stage we realised the guy had paid for 10 pints behind the bar and the barman said they were for us so that worked out quite nicely.
What drink do you throw back to get yourself fired up before going on stage?
Buckfast, if it’s available. If not, pints of lager do me well.
Header image by Matthew Johnston