About Me

Interview with Garganjua

Garganjua are an English progressive sludge/doom trio, with still a short story in music.  Entering the scene with the 2014 EP Trip Wizard, their profoundly complex progressive-infused stoner blend is always present through their debut album in 2016, A Voyage in Solitude, followed by Through the Void in 2018 and now, they just released Toward the Sun.
Come get to know them better.

M.I. - Hi! First of all, thank you for your time. Second, congrats for the new great album!

Thank you very much!! Thanks for your time too!

M.I. - You are a relatively recent band - released an EP in 2014 and the first album in 2016 ... For those who don't know you, how do you characterize your group? For our audience in Portugal, how do you explain your sound?

I guess primarily, we are considered a doom band but the sound has continuously shifted over time. So now, we get categorized as lots of different things. Epic, melodic doom and post metal mainly, (laughts)

M.I. - How did the band get together? What did you do before forming Garganjua?

We've all played together in different bands but part of the same metal scene for the last 18 years. Gaz (bassist) was pursuing a different career path at the time so wasn't in a band for a while but then started to get back into it. So, him and I got together every week, when we could, to record riffs which eventually turned into our first release 'Trip Wizard'. Ben (drums) was also a vocalist in another band we were in, but is a really good drummer also so we enlisted him. After having fun with that first release, we decided we wanted to carry on but explore more in a musical sense and I knew we definitely needed a second guitarist for that. A good friend of ours, Gazz, was in another local band that had just split up - so it was perfect timing really - so we got him in for a jam and the rest is history.

M.I. - So, what’s Garganjua? How did you think of that name? It sounds like something big and terrifying like Gojira or Mastodon! Any influence there?...

We wanted something that sounded massive so yeah, we had bands like Mastodon in mind at the time haha. We just wanted a name that would go hand in hand with the music we wanted to create but most good band names were taken. We loved the word Gargantuan but there were a couple of bands called that already so we just changed a few letters really, hahaha.

M.I. - Your albums always have only a few songs – Toward the Sun is the biggest yet, with 7 songs - but they clock over 40 minutes. Some of your songs reach the 12-minute mark. Why did you decide to make such long songs instead of the “normal” 4 or 5 minutes ones?

There was no decision or plan to do songs like that at all, to be honest. It's just how things went for us. I'm a big fan of letting things happen organically and allowing songs room to breathe so they come to be this length quite naturally but we're always changing subtle things in our songs so, to us, they're never boring at all.

M.I. - Trip Wizard, A Voyage in Solitude, Through the Void and now, Toward the Sun... All refer to a journey. Are the albums somehow connected? Is there a concept behind them?

The Trip Wizard EP not so much but the 3 albums are all continuations of the same journey I would say. But for us, the music we create is kind of therapeutic. We've all been through ups and downs and we live those experiences through our music so the concept is based around a humans struggle to overcome and the choices you face when things stack against you. Sink or swim. Fight or flight. Climb the mountain, Toward The Sun.

M.I. - Your covers art are also conceptual...Who thinks of them?

We all get involved in that type of thing along the way but Gaz was a big drive behind that. Especially for the first album and he worked with an artist on the cover of A Voyage In Solitude.
With Through The Void, Gaz found this amazing artist from Ireland called Mairead McGuiness. I corresponded with her and worked on the art for Through The Void which was a really cool process and something I hadn't done before.
The latest album was totally DIY, we bounced a bunch of ideas around and knew the kind of thing we wanted and I decided to give it a go myself with the help of the lads and I think it turned out pretty well.

M.I. - About Toward the Sun... What is it about? What do you address lyrically?

So musically, this has a completely different and renewed energy to it and comes from a different place entirely to our previous albums so I thought it was important to match the lyrics with this. As humans, we go through many battles and one of the biggest battles is the one with our own minds. We spend so much time living in the past, longing for future goals and more often than not, we pay no attention to the present, then wonder why life goes by so quickly.
Toward The Sun focuses more on the strength that we all have inside us to overcome challenges that life throws at us and a big part of that is staying present and being aware of your mind leading you astray.

M.I. - The album starts with a monologue about the benefits of staying in the moment. It’s kinda surprising because doom doesn’t tend to stray into positive reflection…

This is true, we tend to use music as a way to harness our negative thought process into something else. That's why I say this band’s music has been like therapy to all of us at one time or another. For me, Toward The Sun is no different but I feel it’s important to remember the good and the strength in all of us and as mentioned, the music had a certain energy to it and it didn't feel poignant to write about negatives. It doesn't sound overly "doom" to us this time either so that added to the concept of this album.

M.I. - What influenced you all when recording the album?

Honestly between us all, we listen to just about all types of music that it's hard to say. Over the last couple of years, I feel I've probably listened to more music than ever and I think the variety has come through on this record. There's a bit of Doom, Black Metal, Post Rock, Metal and some chilled out elements too. We think it's important to keep all doors open musically. Music is about progression, we're not the same people we were 3 years ago so the music will also develop. We've had a lot of fun developing our sound and trying new things. First album was pretty straight forward instrumentation, album 2 had acoustics and violins involved. This new album has some of our most melodic work on it as well as samples and keyboards.

M.I. - What do you listen to nowadays? What are the best bands out there today?

That's a tough one. There is SO much good music out there. To name a few we love and listen to - Black Peaks, Every Time I Die, Conjurer, Dvne, The Moth Gatherer, Svalbard, Rolo Tomassi, Boss Keloid, Lightbearer, Cult Of Luna, Yob and Bossk. This list is endless to be honest, hahaha.

M.I. - Any plans for shows outside of the UK? Any chance to see you in Portugal?

We have 2 shows in Europe planned this year so far, Holland and Belgium on the 3rd and 4th of April. We'd like to do more but we'll have to see what is possible, feel free to let us know of any Portuguese promoters (laughts).

M.I. - Any last words for our readers?

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us/read this interview. Never stop listening to new music, inspiration is everywhere. 

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Ivan Santos