Sloth., the solo project of Blake Caverly, recently released his full length debut, Slow as Shit. Mostly instrumental, the album features equal parts doom, sludge, stoner and post rock which makes for quite an undertaking for an independent release. (Check out our review here.) As you will see Blake is all in when it comes to music whether it’s with Sloth. or other interests along with having a down to earth take on the current state of metal. Here’s what he had to say…
Blake, tell us about the impetus to start Sloth. and the thought process behind the band and album.
I just wanted to make some stonery music last summer and this is what it evolved into. The first track I made was “Waking Up” and I made it completely using my iPad for midi instruments. This was like my proof of concept. I then recorded the album properly, or as properly as I could on my own, using this track as the seed. This probably explains why “Waking Up” is the most simple track on the album.
One man projects seem like a lot of work for the individual involved. How does the recording process go for you? Is it something you do in your spare time or is it something that consumes you until it’s finished?
It was definitely a spare time kind of thing. And the writing process was also the recording process, so I’d be building songs from start to finish for weeks at a time.
Call of the Sloth took about a month and a half to record. What would happen is I’d reach the end of a segment and then wouldn’t be able to figure out where to take the song next, so I’d put the guitar away for a few days and come back to it when I felt I’d found some inspiration.
But then there’s “Awaken That Which Lies Amongst The Trees”, which I recorded completely in less than a week, so there is massive variation in how stressful the process is, it totally depends on the song and how creatively driven I’m feeling.
Slow As Shit opens lightly with the uplifting undertones of post rock then gets progressively heavier until the black metal passages in “Awaken That Which Lies Amongst the Trees”. It seems possible this pacing is part of a story or is this how you felt the pacing needed to be in the final product?
If all of the songs had lyrics I would have made an over-arcing story, but because they didn’t I just focused on making the music go on a journey. I studied narrative in university, so everything I make has to have some sort of story or journey. As for the path of this album, I didn’t know it was going to become black metal until about half-way through writing “Awaken That Which Lies Amongst the Trees”.
“Nothing but Leaves” has a guest vocal slot from Mikey Gascoyne of Valravn. Were you involved at some point in Valravn? If not how did the guest spot come to be?
He’s a good friend of mine, unfortunately we live quite far away, so we can’t collaborate as often as we should. We’re limited to just sending files over the internet and working on them independently. I was never in Valravn, it was just the band that Mikey was in, but I’ve since been told that they’re not really active at the moment.
Speaking of other projects, have you, in the past or are you currently working on anyting outside of Sloth.? Any thoughts on other projects in the future?
I recently did an original soundtrack for a friend’s short film. It was about a guy getting addicted to technology, so it was all 80s synths. It was very fun.
Mikey and I are planning some sort of black metal project for the future. The ball has just about started rolling on that one, so we’ll see how it goes.
There are several styles that come through on the album but it seems that doom and its branches have been a big influence on you as an artist but what are some of your other major musical influences?
I love that whole melodic side of black metal we’ve been getting recently. Winterfylleth, Wolves in the Throne Room. It’s always best when you throw the odd major chord in there, makes it sound like a metal film soundtrack.
Originally what sparked your interest in metal and furthermore what pushed you toward the instrumental side of it?
It was when I started playing guitar as a kid and was seeking more interesting ways of using the guitar. I came across Metallica and all the powerful palm muted open notes. That’s what did it for me.
As for the instrumental side of it, I think vocals can take over a track sometimes, and some people judge a band solely on the style of vocals, so I wanted to avoid that. I wanted it to be an album of music, not an album of songs. There’s that meditative quality instrumental music can have where it forces you to listen to everything rather than just the melody. That’s what I wanted to achieve.
Being that the album is self released are there any plans to work with a label in the future or are you happy to keep it on a more personal level?
There’re no plans at the moment. I’m happy to keep this personal for now while I learn and get better at composing songs.
Is there any possibility of seeing Sloth. in a live setting at some point?
Well I’ve had an offer, it’s just about finding the right people to do it with. I can’t just stand there on stage with a backing track, I need to find a band to do it with. So there is a definite possibility, whether it is a probability, I don’t know.
Metal and its culture has seemed to grow, particularly in recent years. From an artist’s standpoint, what is your opinion on the current state of metal in general?
With Bandcamp and Youtube, it’s very easy to reach a global audience. Only thing is, now you’re competing with a billion other bands. And everyone’s album is free so you can’t even compete on price, it’s purely about quality of music. It has raised the game in some ways, but has pretty much killed any average sounding bands. It remains to be seen what section my album will fall into.
Many thanks to Blake for his time.