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T. Roy Medlin Of Sourvein Talks About His "Black Fangs"

Sourvein is one of the roughest, doomiest, sludgiest metal bands out there. For decades the band has been trekking across the world bringing along its brand of slow, heavy music. On the eve of a new full-length release, the first in nine years, the band is touring to let everyone know that Sourvein is alive and revealing their "Black Fangs." I had a chance to talk with front man T. Roy Medlin about the new album, another one already on the way, and Sourvein's touring schedule.

Buick McKane: How are you doing today?

T. Roy Medlin: I’m doing pretty good. I just back from Europe, like, a week ago, so I’m just shaking off the jetlag.

Buick: How was that tour?

T. Roy: It was really good. Yeah, we did a lot of festivals and stuff. We did, like, three shows supporting Voivod, which was awesome; first time doing something like that. And Roadburn Festival was amazing.

Buick: Lots of people?

T. Roy: Yeah, yeah. From what I understand, it was 2000 or so, something like that. 1500. Yeah, it was a big stage, big room, lots of people. It was fun.

Buick: Awesome. I’m about to go to Maryland Death Fest, but I think the European festivals are probably much bigger.

T. Roy: Yeah, from what I understand, they are. I only went to MDF a couple of years ago, it wasn’t as big as some of the stuff I’ve seen in Europe. I would be going if it wasn’t so close to when I got back; it’s kind of hard to take off to Maryland.

Buick: Right. Well, your latest album “Black Fangs” is coming out in June, and it’s the first one Sourvein has released in about nine years. Are you really excited for its release?

T. Roy: Yeah, I’m really excited since it’s the first full-length in nine years. We did a bunch of…I did an album in three parts, like, a trilogy of the E.P. in between the years the last full-length came out and this one. Just kind of focused in on releasing shorter versions of stuff, just E.P.s and splits and seven-inches. I kind of like to live out a record before I do it, and give it some time to become something. So, it was just the time for it. And also, it kind of got pushed back for years and stuff because I had a death in the family and just personal issues, so it pushed back the progress on the record. So it would have been out in ’09 or something.

Buick: And you just started streaming the song “Night Eyes.” Have you heard any reviews from it yet?

T. Roy: I saw like one review or two. I try not to pay attention to that stuff really, though. I mean, it’s awesome and everything, as an artist I feel I made the best record I could and I’m happy with it. It’s everybody’s opinion, but I’ve seen a few things and they’ve been good.

Buick: That’s great. I’m sure people can’t wait to hear the whole thing.

T. Roy: Yeah, I can’t wait for people to hear the whole thing and everything because there’s a lot of emotion in it. It’s definitely real from the heart.

Buick: Have you been playing songs from the album on tour on the European tour or the last U.S. tour you did?

T. Roy: We have two songs “Fangs” and “Flux” that we all were playing, but we would break out one or the other pretty much each night. Just to kind of see what the crowd was doing to it. So we’d just throw it in there. Some nights we’d say this is a new song from a new record and some nights I wouldn’t, and just see what the crowd reaction was to it. The song that we mostly did was “Fangs” and everywhere we went, people really dug it, so that was a good feeling; to see the crowds get into this vibe, the way the song is supposed to be. That’s kind of what I saw, banging their heads and stuff like that. That’s kind of what I envisioned when writing the song. So we played them both in the U.S. and Europe.

Buick: What are your touring plans for after the album releases?

T. Roy: Yeah, I mean, we’re going to do the world tour thing, but we’re going to do it in parts so no one gets burned out and everybody can keep their day jobs. We’re not able to not work. We tried that before for years and ended being homeless. But we just do it in parts. We’re going out right after its released, probably, like, the 6th of July to the 25th would be the East Coast and Midwest. And we’re doing that with Earache Record’s Hour of 13. They just got a new singer that’s an old friend of mine, so that’s kind of working out. And their album just came out not too long ago. So they’ll be on the road with us plus a couple of other bands that we’re doing a few dates with here and there, all on the same tour, that I can’t really mention yet, like, apparently. But, yeah, we’re definitely going to be touring that in July and then September, we’ll do the rest of the Midwest and the West Coast, and in November we’ll go back overseas; probably to the U.K. and some of Europe, but in just two week spaces here and there. Instead of getting in a van for forty-five days, we’re going to try to space it out a little bit and keep the momentum going.

Buick: Right. That might be uncomfortable, too, to be in a van for forty five days.

T. Roy: Yeah, we used to do tours that we’re seventy, eighty shows in a row. I mean, like, three months on the road, by the second month kicks in, you kind of feel it. That’s when I was 21, you know, and I’m not 21 anymore. I been there and done that kind of thing. No one in their mid-thirties can really afford to do that if you’ve got any kind of stability. I know people in their twenties who can’t do it. It just something that we did; we came up from the crust scene and that’s just something that we did back in the day.

Buick: That’s how you got to make a name for yourself is just get out there.

T. Roy: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s how we did make a name for ourselves back in the day was definitely touring hard. And, you know, coming to the same city or same town two or three times in a month or two month span.

Buick: Are you working with any of your sidebands at the moment?

T. Roy: Not at the moment. Like, I’m doing “Black Fangs” on Candlelight Records and I’m basically focused on this. I’m working on a solo thing that’s going to be kind of different, I’ve done some guest things here and there, and I’m going to do some vocals with Ryan McKern. He sent me a disc and I’ve just now been able to sit down and listen to it. So I’ve got some things in the works, but nothing really solid right now. The Hail!Hornet record is done and it’ll be out in July. But that band don’t really play live, the guitar player don’t really go out and play live. We’ll see what happens with that, but we got an album. Other than that I’m just writing the new Sourvein stuff; getting my parts together. I write a lot of the riffs, so doing that and coming up with all the themes and stuff like that. And our next record is going to be kind of different, it’s going to be something we haven’t really done before. It’s going to be more of a theme-based record, like, the ocean and shit. I live on the ocean and it’s called “Aquatic Occult.” I actually started working on it before this record and the songs just kind of turned into “Black Fangs” wasn’t really what I was going for with “Aquatic Occult” so we just kind of went with that and put “Aquatic Occult” to be the next one. So yeah, I got some things I’m working on; got the new record and stuff is going to happen with other bands, but nothing right now.

Buick: When do you think that next one will be out?

T. Roy: I’m hoping it will be out next year. I don’t want to waste any time really, there’s not going to be a bunch of years in between on this one. I mean, it’s already in the works, I got three songs from myself, my guitarist King James, he’s got two or three too. So we usually mix it together and I choreograph it; just kind of band leader it. And we put it together. So we’ve already got basically four or five songs ready to demo. In the demoing stages anyway. So I would say in the next year. I’m trying to record it the end of this year or early January.

Buick: That’s really great that it’s coming that fast.

T. Roy: Yeah. You know, life through me a few curveballs, but I rolled with and was able to do the E.P.s and stuff, the trilogy of the E.P. because I thought it was a good idea and I thought it was a cool time to do that. But it didn’t come out and get the right press to promote it as such. It just went the way it went. Now it’s time. Nowadays I’m more focused and I’m writing more and more, so it’s coming faster.

Buick: Is there anything else you would like to say?

T. Roy: Yeah, big ups to you guys in New Orleans; love forever. And thanks for the interview. Check out “Black Fangs,” and Sourvein, and stay blazed.

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Emily is an avid supporter of the New Orleans scene, often filming shows and conducting interviews with local bands to help promote their music. She also runs her own site dedicated to the New Orleans scene, Crescent City Chaos.

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