Allfather are a sludge-filled doom band that just the right amount of hardcore influences on their releases. Based in the United Kingdom, Allfather is a beast of social media. Frontman, Tom, spends hours interacting with fans, responding to questions and generally being a cog in the wheel of positivity in the global metal scene. Thus, since Tom has been such a wonderful part of Twitter and, in an uncommon twist, his band actually backs it up with great music, we decided to take some time to profile Tom so you could get to know him as a person. Tom took it upon himself, in his kind and wonderful way, to include the entire band and get some pretty hilarious and great answers. Also, if you haven’t heard Allfather yet, we embedded a few of their releases throughout so you could wet your appetite. You can even check out a video here.
How did you first get into playing in music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
Success wise, when Andrew (bass) and I started this a couple of years back it was suppose to be just for a bit of fun for two blokes getting closer to 40 and wanting one last go at writing some songs and playing a few gigs and not being shit. So far we have release an EP and a single and play a good few gigs and have recorded a new (mini) album that will hopefully be out next year so we are way beyond where we thought we’d be.
Next goals are hopefully getting a label interested in the album and, failing that, a self release, more gigs with more bands including putting some shows on ourselves and writing some more new songs.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get AllFather onto a show with a band you love or into a magazine, blog or the like? If you feel you have never debased yourself than any embarrassing story that will certainly captivate our readers will do.
Not sure we have debased ourselves and maybe that is where we are going wrong. I did play an entire show with my flies undone but luckily I had a pretty long shirt on. God, not sure we have done much embarrassing which makes us sound dead boring.
A few months back you were looking around for a megaphone or some sort of microphone, mixer, pedal or preamp that would allow you to obtain vocal distortion at live shows. How did that go and what was the result of your presumably fruitful search?
Totally unfruitful! There are a couple of bits of new songs where we thought it might be cool to have some distorted bits. We are waiting for the mixes to come back in to see what they may sound like. If we go with it then we will want to produce it live on stage so will start looking again. In fact there is a spare guitar pedal kicking about so might try and stick that through the PA at next practice and see what happens.
I’ve only been doing vocals properly for a couple of years so learning new stuff all the time. Low stuff is getting low, screams are getting better as well, now working on some slightly cleaner sounds vocally, not clean vocals but something less shouty. Will see how it goes.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
Seems obvious to say but I think we all do this cause of a passion for actual music. We all have full time jobs and other commitments but something makes us want to get together and spend money we don’t have, spend time away from love ones to play to rooms mostly full of people that, at best, nod along approvingly to our songs. We spend time recording our music, arguing about arrangements and mixes, put it out there and only get a handful of responses to it. Now again though we get a reaction that makes it all worth it. Whether is is the smile on someones face when we lock onto a groove and you can see they are loving it or when someone we respect says something positive about one of songs, it’s brilliant.
In terms of issues, Andrew and I mostly write the lyrics. He is a true wordsmith and I just come up with cool metally things to sing. I think we are both passionate about social justice, in different ways sometimes (“No Andrew…Anarchy can never work!” “But what else is there….” etc etc) but we’re mostly on the same wave length. We come from a town and area where the right wing dominates and we even had the pleasure of a bunch of knuckle head fascists try to march up our local high street during last years elections. It certainly provides us with fuel for lyrics (see our new song Mouth of the Beast when if finally comes out).
I think, as lover of metal, we also can’t help bellowing about the apocalypse and the end of the world and how man dreads it yet does nothing about it. Now and again we try and slip a bit of positivity and hope in here and there.
When all this fails shouting shit that sounds cool also works well.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? What’s the first instrument you picked up?
Me (Tom vocals): A mix of buying Alice Cooper’s – Poison on 7″, hearing Green Jellys – 3 Little Pigs and a mate at school giving me a Guns N Roses tape and then Metallica Black album on tape but songs from other albums to feel in the gaps. Like MOP, Seek and Destroy, Battery. As a vocalist I can’t play a single bloody instrument, I even struggle with a tambourine.
Joe (rhythm guitar): Transformers the movies original 80 soundtrack got me in to rock! Then iron maiden came soon after.
Al (lead guitar): Got a keyboard around 6 or 7 didn’t get a guitar till 13 despite turning the keyboard on its side trying to fucking play the solo from Beat It.
My parents listened to a lot of Queen and Led Zep and Pink Floyd but metal happened for me in August 1991. A guy who was decorating my parents bathroom had a ghetto-blaster with this fucking insane heavy fucking awesome music pumping out of it.
I was hooked instantly. Like, besotted. I thought this is it, this isn’t a pop song with a rocky chorus or guitar solo this is really fucking heavy. That album was Metallica Metallica. That very same guy took me to my first metal show at the NEC see Metallica on fireworks night 1992. I saw them again at Milton Keynes in 1993 and soon after finally got a fucking electric guitar! It was months later that I finally got an amp. By that time I’d bought a fake Ride The Lightning tab book and had learnt, very badly, all the tracks. My first amp had no distortion and I had to turn it right up to get some crunch. I was devastated my guitar didn’t sound like Metallica. I’m STILL devastated my guitar doesn’t sound like Metallica hahahaha!! I’m also devastated they’ve turned into a joke but we have history so they’ll always mean the world to me.
Andrew (Bass): How did I get into metal? I nearly missed out on metal entirely, partly because of my dad’s complete intolerance of anything heavier than the Travelling Wilburys, partly through (largely self-inflicted) misfortune. A quick run down of near-misses with metal: 1. Refusing to listen to my school-friend Phil’s copy of Number of the Beast on a school trip in favour of listening to my U2 tape. 2. Losing the tape my cousin made me with the Black Album on one side and RATM’s debut on the other (I still have my cassette copy of Achtung Baby though). 3. As a 12 year old dismissing Nirvana as a ‘folk band’ because all I’d heard was 5 minutes of Unplugged. I was severely developmentally delayed with metal, up until 1999, when a friend made me a tape of Korn. I then got insanely into Korn, to the point of asking any time I heard heavy metal ‘Is this Korn?’ Most of those bands weren’t Korn (one of them was Deftones, who I liked immediately), but it was a start. An aside on starting out with nu-metal as my first metal: bands without rapping and turntables sounded like shit to me. That’s why I only got into Metallica last year. Thanks nu-metal. First instrument One of the few genuinely useful things my father did for me was getting me a steel-strung acoustic for Christmas in 1995, rather than the Reebok sweatshirt I’d asked for. Being able to play guitar and write music has gradually eased the pain of not being able to rep my fresh Reebok threads at school that year.
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
I put this to the band, asked for any stories about being literally sticky. After going through a number of stories relating to figuratively sticky situations including hidden drugs, medieval punishments and an accidental STD our axeman Al finally came up with this:
“I’ve been saturated head to toe in diesel and had to drive to a the nearest shop (which happened to be a JD Sports) dressed in a chemical suit looking like a member of the KLF.”
For anyone outside the UK reading this JD Sport is a discount sports wear shop where, coincidentally, our drummer Kieron buys most of his shorts (he has never been seen in long trousers). Two of us have kids so should have an abundance of sticky stories but can only recall the times we’ve been pissed, shitted and thrown up on by them. Bloody kids.
Joe, our new guitarist actually had a proper sticky story: “I once had to unload a lorry trailer full of ground up animal bones. They use it to make glue but they didn’t tell me as I was sweating it would start to glue the white coveralls I was wearing to my body.”
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Personally, I do get pissed off when I see on, Twitter music writers and websites listing things bands can do wrong when trying to get their stuff noticed. It can be all a bit smug. Sometimes it is really hard to know what individual sites and and writers want in terms of formats, links, photos, all sorts. I think we do our best but cut a break sometimes yeah? We just want people to hear our stuff.
Although if a band sends a automatic DM to you after following they can get to fuck right there!
Are you one of the rare musicians who can play music full-time due to independent wealth or do you have to supplement the art form that you love with a corporate gig? What’s your day job and how hard does it make touring? Since we are on the subject, and you guys are about to hit the road, do you have any hobbies or practices that keep you sane while traveling with the same people for such a long time?
We’ve all got full time jobs. So we have a Librarian, contact centre team leader, trainer for working big fucking Heavy Plant Equipment (the most metal of jobs), advice service operations manager for a charity (moonlights sometimes as a chef) and actually not sure what our new guitarist Joe does, will need to ask him…….it would seem he works in IT!
All that means we have to squeeze practices, writing and shows round all that. We still fairly new so not had a chance to tour yet but it is kind of tricky because of jobs and kids (for some of us). We’re hoping to sort out some long weekend tours next year after our new EP, mini-album type thing comes out (we’re struggling to work out what it is as currently 6 tracks long but 35mins so in between an EP and album).
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite non-metal albums/things to listen to?
So a bunch of us like Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds and Tom Waits, some of us don’t. Also enjoy a bit of hip-hop. B. Dolan, Doomtree, P.O.S., Run The Jewels. I really dig Murder By Death and I’m well into punk stuff like Red City Radio, Off With Their Heads, Iron Chic. Drummer our Kieron is digging Wardruna but also loves film scores.
So, that sounds all pretty cool yeah? Pretty respectable, then Al our Axeman said this:
“Straight up. Beyoncé’s first three albums. Katy Perry’s first album is totally rad. Girls Aloud is on my iTunes. I fucking love 80s Madonna. Oh, and the Genesis Invisible Touch album is something I could listen to every day for the rest of my life. I got it on tape when I was 6 and it’s just brill! Perhaps that’s more nostalgia than musical quality though.”
This then led to conversation about how good the Gaga and Beyonce – Telephone track is. Which it is….and En Vogue’s – Free Your Mind, although there was some disagreement about how good TLC – No Scrubs is.
Thanks to Tom for organizing and spending the time!