Email interview by Sabrina Selkis
Just before heading to Japan for their second tour in January 2017, the Texas avant garde sludge band Heavy Baby Sea Slugs answered our questions, giving us a more in depth vision into their world.
Let’s start with a very general question, who are the Heavy Baby Sea Slugs? How did the band come together?
To a general question I will give a general answer: we came together through a fondness for sonic experimentalism. There were no goals in mind, nor any ego; we got to work exploring digital and analogue manipulation for traditional “rock” instrumentation (guitar, drums, bass, etc.). Extended technique and meditations on tone and texture.
I have to admit I am quite intrigued by your band name choice… how did you come up with it?
Euphony is a powerful tool for remembrance. Sometimes what sounds nice rolling off the tongue appears to have more meaning as well. The names ‘Heavy Baby’ and ‘Sea Slugs’ were thought up separately and in mashing them together opened up many avenues of labelling ourselves. People refer to us as either ‘Heavy Baby,’ the ‘Sea Slugs,’ or even just the ‘Slugs.’ I think the many varieties of the same name makes itself fun.
How do you distinguish yourself from other Noise bands out there? What distinguishes you?
How we distinguished ourselves from other “noise” acts was by casting our sonic net as wide as possible with our first few releases, trying to cover the entire spectrum of “heavy music” while retaining signature tone qualities. What distinguishes us is that while our tracks are certainly “noisy,” it is not exactly “noise” music.
From your 1st album “Evelyn McHale’s Psychedelic Freakout!” to your last release “The Minotaur / Trout Fishin’ Man”, how do you consider the evolution of your writing and your music?
We abandoned the digital apparatus as a tool for writing and now we focus on writing music as a group with roles to play, rather than creating a song via layers and manipulation. The forward momentum of moving from lo-fi recording to hi-fi has influenced the writing as well. We were never lo-fi purists although the textural qualities of low fidelity recording is a composition aesthetic that we definitely appreciate.
You have released tapes, CDs ,vinyl. What is the most popular support for your music? Do you have a favourite?
It’s hard to answer since we press limited numbers of every format … I am a physical medium enthusiast so my favourite will always be vinyl. Digital always gets the least priority.
Are you big consumers of other bands music? Who are amongst your most respected ones?
We are definitely big consumers, for me especially if they have physical releases. Terminator II and Orcanaut from Denton TX are good friends and heavy as hell. Bludded Head is also from Denton and a huge influence although they are no longer active as their founder passed away from cancer earlier this year (RIP Nevada Hill). Lechuguillas from Austin TX are fantastic, their album “Insurrection of an Erection” is amazingly noisy. Legion of Andromeda and An Atomic Whirl are both from Tokyo and are incredible artists with whom we’ve been honoured to share the stage with. Much respect.
How would you describe the sludge/drone metal scene in Texas? Is it well supported?
Texas is a huge state so there is room for everybody to get along. We usually don’t have to worry about people showing up.
On your website, I have read “Heavy Baby Sea Slugs are the prophets of death!”, can you elaborate on this, what do you mean by this?
That particular quote is part of a larger poem/liner notes for our conceptual epic drone album “1950DA.” The album was visualized as an ode to the real-life asteroid named 1950 DA which has one of the higher probabilities of collision with Earth sometime around 2800 A.D. The line you quote is a reference and visualization of HBSS as summoners of the asteroid’s impressive powers, thus the destruction of Earth as the album’s creation. The narrative is secondary to the music and exists mainly in our minds and those liner notes.
Now I would like to talk about the “Videodrome” movie and live performance behind the screen in Texas that happened a couple of months ago, what was this about? How did it go? Are there any more events like this planned?
The Texas Theatre in Dallas has events like that every month. It’s a very cool place to perform and has the best sound system in North Texas. We didn’t have anything to do with the planning and were invited by acquaintances to perform alongside friends. Nothing more planned so far although I am eager to perform there again next year.
There is a Japan/Taiwan Tour in January 2017 on the cards, can your fans expect any surprises? I bet you must be excited about this tour!
Definitely excited. It will be our second time touring Japan and as the adage goes, “the first time was the hardest.” One of our guitarists, Abbas, won’t be able to make the trip due to unforeseen circumstances, so with his blessing we have been teaching his replacement for the tour. This will be my third time to Japan, and second tour, so I’m most excited to reconnect with friends we bonded with on prior trips.
Where can we find more about you?
Lastly, anything else you would like to say?
Thank you for taking the time to reach out.