PlanetMosh is proud to be sponsoring the main stage at the fourth incarnation of Monsters Of Rot, which takes place in Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, on Saturday August 16.
The festival brings together some of the best extreme metal bands on the island of Ireland. As part of our build up to the event, we will be interviewing all of the main stage acts: today it is the turn of Pursuit Of Ruin drummer Nigel Colhoun to go under the spotlight…
How would you describe your style of music?
We have been previously described as metalcore because of some of the Killswitch Engage-esque riffs, but we like to think there’s a dash of old school metal in there too. We also incorporate some bluesy groove into our music and like to think that there’s a bit of everything in there; but we’ve no idea what genre we actually fall under since the market has become so saturated over the years.
Who all is in the band and how did you come together?
Apart from me on the drums, we have Shaun McGonagle on lead guitar, Aaron Crawford on rhythm guitar, Paddy Armstrong on bass and Joey Jeckey is our vocalist. After college, I spent years failing to find any like minded musicians until I met Shaun, who I knew of from being in a local band years ago, and he was now conveniently a free agent so we decided to start our own band. We began by just jamming covers while I went on a search for a rhythm guitarist. I had just moved back into Derry, where I had gone to college, and my flatmate at the time, Aaron, who was playing in a local band offered his services. Since we had previously played in a band during our music course in college we already had that like minded approach to music, so it was a no brainer to take him onboard. So Shaun, Aaron and I got to work on writing original material and what was coming together was pretty solid. After hearing we had trouble finding a suitable bass player, Paddy, who was also in the same local band as Aaron and who also played in my college band, offered his services. So that was again a no brainer. Everything fell into place quite nicely and we continued to write original material.
We couldn’t find any good vocalists so we just decided to happily continue as an instrumental band and after a while started playing local shows to which we got great feedback. We were operating under the name of Balls Deep for a laugh and it ended up sticking – which we hadn’t intended at all, but just went with it. A few years went by and after a gig in Letterkenny, Donegal an old friend of mine from school, who I hadn’t seen in years, Joey Jeckey, showed up and told me he wanted to be our vocalist. I had no idea he was a metal vocalist but his confidence in his ability and the fact that he was an old friend convinced me give him an audition. He absolutely blew us away and instantly changed our mind on staying instrumental. Employing a vocalist wasn’t something all of our fans were into, since we know that a lot of people like metal music but not the screaming and growling that can come with the vocal side of things – but all our songs were structured to suit vocals, so I think it was always going to be the next step. A few years ago we made the intelligent decision to change our name which was a painstaking process but worth it in the end.
Do you have any material available?
Even though we have been writing songs for years, and have about 15 in total, we only recorded our first EP, ‘Self Destruction Imminent’, late last year with our friend Jonny Munro from Belfast band, Gacys Threads, in his Bearcat studio in Belfast. We have a few hard copies left, which we will have at Monsters Of Rot IV, and it’s also available on Bandcamp.
Do you have any new material coming out in the near future?
I am travelling to South Africa for 3 months in September, but I recorded a drum track from one of our latest songs for our bass player Paddy’s music production course a few months ago. So I’ve told the lads to book some studio time and get it recorded and released while I’m away. We also plan to record a new EP in the New Year.
Have you played with any of the other bands on the MOR bill before?
We haven’t and are very excited to be playing with bands that have played the likes of Wacken and other big gigs and festivals.
What other bands on the MOR bill are you looking forward to seeing?
All of them!
What is your assessment of the current state of the Irish metal scene? Is it in a good state of health? Are there too many bands and not enough venues/promoters, or is there a good balance between the two?
We are based in the northwest and the scene here has been dying slowly over the years. There’s no money to be made if you’re not a commercial or cover band. There are a limited amount of venues that will put on metal gigs and the ones that do don’t pay well enough. Bands split door money after the engineer is paid, and if the turnout isn’t great then neither are the fruits of your labour. We once made enough money to all buy ourselves hot dogs at the end of the night! This is just the northwest and since we’ve only played outside of it twice (once being a battle of the bands that wasn’t going to pay anyway) we cannot speak for the rest of Ireland just yet…
Is there enough support for the metal scene in the Irish media? Or is that important?
No, I don’t believe so and I don’t believe there ever will be.
Is social media more important than traditional channels (ie newspapers/radio) in communicating with your fans and attracting new ones?
In this day and age it most certainly is.
Outside of the bands at MOR, what other Irish bands would you recommend PM readers check out?
Astralnaut, By Conquest Or Consent, By Any Means, Cursed Sun, Murdock, Gacys Threads and Hero In Error. That’s all that comes to mind right now but there’s loads more.
Apart from your instruments (obviously), what is the one essential item you always carry when playing a gig or festival?
A towel, a spare t-shirt and deodorant!
Finally, MOR is a week after Bloodstock: do you think a festival like BOA would work on the island of Ireland?
Absolutely! This country has always had a hunger for big metal shows. I was at Ozzfest in 2002 at Punchestown Racecourse in County Kildare and it was amazing. There’s no reason a big festival can’t be held here again. Not sure if Punchestown would still hold a festival, but it’s the perfect place for it in my opinion.
You can find out more about Pursuit Of Ruin at https://www.facebook.com/PursuitOfRuin, and listen to tracks at https://soundcloud.com/pursuitofruin
Your can buy Pursuit Of Ruin’s debut EP, ‘Self-Destruction Imminent’, from http://pursuitofruin.bandcamp.com/album/self-destruction-imminent
For more information on Monsters Of Rot, visit www.monstersofrot.com.
Tomorrow, we continue our series of previews with an interview with Kev and John from Setting Off Sirens.