ZhOra – Monsters Of Rot preview interview

PlanetMosh is proud to be sponsoring the main stage at the fourth incarnation of Monsters Of Rot, which takes place in Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, this coming 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  ZhOra to go under the PM spotlight…

ZhOraHow would you describe your style of music?

I still find it quite difficult to describe our style. We’ve been called progressive and I suppose that’s what we are but to me, we’re just writing the music that we want to hear.

Who is in the band and how did you come together?

Well, myself and Tom (our drummer) have known each other since we were little shits of about four or five-years old and have been playing music and talking shit for a very long time.  Myself and Colin (guitar/vocals) got talking at Lamb of God in 2009, but I had seen him playing with Thoughts of Ruin, a band I used to go see in our home town.  Colin started asking me to go jamming around September 2011.  To me, the obvious choice for a drummer was Tom (he has a pretty big shed for it).  Richie (bass) tumbled into my life in November 2011, completing the zhOra family.

Do you have any material available?

We’ve quite a few jigs and reels recorded for posterity.  Up Tipp.  Our debut EP was recorded in Nebula Studios by our very good chum and partner in crime Ben “400 bands” Wanders in late 2011 and released January 2012.  It got good reviews out the gate, so that confirmed that something was being done right.

‘Almaz’, our first full length, took us down to Data Studios in Kerry. Recorded by Tadhg Healy.  I’d recommend that place to everyone and especially Tadhg.  He really gave us all of his time and was the consummate pro.  He’ll also sup a few whiskeys and smoke them joints when the time comes.  That time comes a lot.

ZhOraEverything is available on our Bandcamp to stream and buy digitally.  We sell all our physical copies at shows usually:  I think they sell better in a situation like that where you can get it into the greasy mitt with no delay.

Do you have any new material available?

We’re writing for album no. 2 at the moment and everything is going great.  It’s a lot more thought out and I think it will surprise a lot of people.  Other than tha,t I’m not going to say too much about it with fear of castration from the lads.  Our plan is to release it early 2015.

Have you played with any of the other bands on the M.O.R. bill before?

Yeah, we’ve played with a handful of bands on the bill so we’re looking forward to meeting some friendly faces along with some new ones.  We’ve played with the lads in Dead Aeon, Overoth, Weed Priest and Aeternum Vale before – so together we will all play a game called “Drink the Beer.”  It’s pretty self explanatory.

What other bands are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m looking forward to seeing Coldwar, Fuckhammer and Zombified, but to be honest, my plan is to see as many bands as possible (and hopefully remember seeing them).

What is your assessment of the current state of the Irish metal scene?

In my opinion, there are plenty of great metal acts around at the moment with more and more coming into existence at a regular pace, which is great for the scene.  The only thing is the lack of venues spread across the country which ends up with the same bands playing to the same crowds.  This can get frustrating but things like this fluctuate so hopefully things are on the up!

Is there enough support for the metal scene in the Irish media? Or is that important?

Definitely not.  But maybe that’s not a bad thing at the moment. I don’t think the Irish metal scene would be given a fair chance in a time when the majority of people are interested in “celebrity gossip” and all the bi-products of insincere, money-making music.  These kinds of people can flip off, pardon my French.

Monsters Of Rot PosterIs social media more important than traditional channels (i.e. newspapers/radios) in communicating with your fans and attracting new ones?

Without a doubt. I haven’t seen one of those newsboy lads on the side of the street roaring out the headlines since before the emergency.  Social media makes contact with fans almost instantaneous, whether it be with a new release, reviews or just shite talk.  Sure you’d be mad not to have a band page on the Facebook.

Outside of M.O.R., what other Irish bands would you recommend PM readers check out?

Ilenkus (unreal), Shardborne (unreal), Aggro-Culture (unreal)… I could go on for a while.

Apart from your instruments, what is the one essential item you always carry when playing gigs?

A big bag of Clonmel’s finest green.

Finally, M.O.R. is a week after Bloodstock; do you think a festival like B.O.A. would work on the island of Ireland?

I really don’t think a festival that size would work on an island with such a small percentage of the population showing an interest in metal. We should worry about filling gigs before filling big festivals.



About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff