Interview: Upbringing: God Damn

Thom Edward and Ash Weaver tell DIY about their bad habits and early musical obsessions.

Today (11th May) sees the release of thrashing duo God Damn’s deadly ‘Vultures’ debut. The Class of 2015 alumni’s first work sounds like it’s absorbed every musical headrush from the past couple of decades, before channelling influence into a grizzlier force. Grunge, metal, all-out hardcore - you name it. Everything has a go in ‘Vultures’, which is essentially the musical equivalent of a cage wrestling arena, where disparate noises have it out in front of a bloodthirsty crowd.

This ferocity had to stem from somewhere. So we decided to quiz Thom Edward (guitars / vocals) and Ash Weaver (drums) about their musical Upbringing. DIY spoke to the duo to find out more about the music they grew up on, the songs they’re obsessed with, and the pivotal moments that nudged them towards where they are today.

What was the first gig you ever went to?

Thom: I used to go to watch a lot of unsigned bands at the Little Civic in Wolverhampton (RIP) when I first started going to gigs because it was cheap, and I can’t remember any of their names now. However the first notable band I ever saw live was The Futureheads who I still love to this day - great band.

Ash: I remember seeing Franz Ferdinand at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton. They were supported by The Kills, who at the time were the first two-piece I had ever seen live, dead cool band.

Was there a good supply of venues to go to in your hometown?

T: Wolverhampton is a bit of a funny one really because the council run and own the main venues, what was the Little Civic has been replaced by the Slade rooms which is great but a little bit of punk rock died when that place shut. Many of the smaller independent venues closed down over the years, so the music scene has shifted almost entirely to Birmingham, which has so many great venues and is a fantastic place to see bands every night of the week.

A: What he said. Although it would be great to see more venues start appearing again in Wolverhampton. Being my hometown, it’s something quite close to my heart.

Can you remember the first song you ever developed an obsession over?

T: I can remember learning all the words to a Five Guys Named Mo song that my parents had, my mum said that ‘Parklife’ by Blur was my favourite song as a child.

A: It’s funny you should mention Blur as some of my earliest musical memories were from the Brit Pop era. I remember ‘Country House’ being on the music channels all the time. I don’t remember being obsessed by a specific song as a little kid, but probably a Michael Jackson song or something.

What was the first song you purchased with your own money, and why did you choose it at the time?

T: With my own money, I got the 57p green bus into Cannock town, entered a Woolworths and purchased a Lil Bow Wow single and ‘Crawling’ by Linkin Park. There we go, I said it. I was a confused pre-teen.

Ash: The Marshall Mathers LP. I had to send my grandad in to get it for me as I was too young due to the explicit content warning. I often think how funny it must have been seeing a 70 odd year old bloke at the time buying an Eminem record.

What’s the story behind you getting your first instruments?

T: My father was a George Formby impersonator once upon a time and I can remember being no older than about seven, going to this old dude’s house which was wall to wall ukuleles and my dad buying me and my brother one to learn on. I think I learnt “when the saints go marching in” and then didn’t pick up a stringed instrument again till I was 13. I was told that my dad’s girlfriend at the time smashed it to little pieces in a fit of rage and jealously.

Ash: I first started playing drums when I was 8 years old in school assemblies. I carried on playing drums when I went to secondary school and got some lessons. I then started playing in my first band when I was about 14, that was when I got my first kit.

What’s your worst musical habit?

T: Being too loud and me not thinking it’s anywhere near loud enough for my taste.

Ash: Always trying to be a perfectionist. It drives me mad, and probably everyone around me too. Oh, and moaning at Thom for being too loud.

What kind of inspirations outside of music have an impact on your songwriting?

T: I think where we rehearse is very dystopian and post industrial, people talk about that being an influence.

Ash: I tend to be more creative when we haven’t been touring for a while. Playing the set night-in, night-out ideas can be limited at times and you just become good at that particular thing. I love touring, so I’m ok with that.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given as a band?

T: Be friendly, make friends, go to gigs.

Ash: I think it would be just to stay humble. It’s something I always try to do in general, anyway.

If you could be any band from the past two decades, who would you be and why?

T: Radiohead - they just do what the hell they want and have made some pretty life-changing records.

Ash: I would say Slipknot. I’d like to experience what it’s like going on stage in those masks, and scaring the shit out of people.

God Damn’s ‘Vultures’ is out now on One Little Indian.


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