First up, what’s the weather like in New Zealand at the moment? You guys had a bit of an earthquake/tsunami incident a couple weeks back, how did you and your fellow Christchurch-ian’s hold up?
The weather is fine, thank you. Christchurch is the most southern large city in New Zealand and subsequently we managed to avoid the tsunami warning that the northern island was given. That said, we are no stranger to earth quakes and tsunami warnings.
Tell us how New Zealanders, particularly the music scene is holding up. The world has seen its share of adversity lately (there’s some virus floating around apparently – it’s been just over a year now) Are live shows coming back? Any talk of touring – maybe an East Coast of Australia “across the ditch” list of dates?
The music scene, and specifically the metal scene, in New Zealand is healthy and thriving. The Pandemic brought a stand still to live music last year, but due to New Zealand’s approach to lockdowns and border security, we currently have no community cases of Covid, and so live shows and festivals can continue without restriction. We feel very fortunate for this and are not taking it for granted, so we are in the process of piecing together our national tour. If the borders open to Australia and beyond, that will be our our focus for touring next year.
We’re a little over a week away from the release of your third album. How has the reception been from the press who got the early access? What’s stood out this time around?
The reception to the album has been overwhelmingly positive so far. Many 10 out of 10 and 5 out of 5 reviews. This time we have noticed a huge uptake in reviews and interviews and it has been great watching the views and streams climb after the reviews drop.
What’s Covid done to the process?
Covid has not really affected the process as we have no restrictions, aside from international touring. The album was recorded in November 2019 and so we didn’t experience any delays or setbacks at the time.
The troubles, if any, away from Covid?
Nothing hugely interesting to mention, however, I will say that the process of creating an album is not without stresses you might expect, like raising money to pay for mixing, mastering, art and design, and meeting deadlines.
Let’s talk about the features. I mean, Karl Sanders and Callum Gay. How does this translate to a bunch of lads from NZ breaking into the “international” market?
The Karl Sanders feature came to be out of Covid, really. We were slated to open for Nile on their New Zealand shows which were canned as Covid hit. Karl, having lost a major income from touring reached out to his fan base, asking if anyone would be interested in doing 15 minute chats on any subject for a small fee. I emailed Karl and asked him if he would be keen to work together on a track. Karl said he would need to hear the song first and we could talk more then. I sent Karl the track and to our surprise, he loved it. So much so, he wanted to work on it straight away. We have developed a good relationship with Karl throughout the process and I hope this translates into working together more in the future.
Callum Gay is the vocalist/guitarist for Spook the Horses. He is a friend and local legend in the New Zealand music scene for not just being a badass musician and vocalist, but he also ate a chicken marinated in Gatorade. Absolute king. We had to have him on our record.
The presser that came with the new album mentions adversity directly (pandemic, terrorism, natural disaster). Let’s talk about resiliency. What gives the guys from Blindfolded And Led To The Woods that push forwards, that need to keep going?
Simply, we love what we do. We are five good friends who have lived together, lost friends together, grown together. It makes sense that we can combine our experiences to create something that reflects us as people.
Disregarding the press, the new album would be released largely independently. Why steer away from the traditionalist “label” backing? What’s the benefit and do you feel anything is missing from the release process?
Firstly, we never really steered away from label backing. Good luck getting a label to even read an email, let alone sign a band from New Zealand when international touring is impossible. The benefits of remaining independent is that we are solely responsible for our business side of things. We keep our money from sales and can try to offset the cost of recording and producing a record. We also control what we release and when we release it.
That said, if Relapse, Prosthetic, or Willowtip or other labels want to talk.. our lines are open.
It was good to chat to the guys from Blindfolded And Led To The Woods, specifically the vocalist, Stace Fifield who doesn’t just manage the growls and the screams but can string a sentence together for this rusty old reviewer to transcribe into text for readers.
You can follow the guys on Facebook here
Download/Stream and Buy their album via Bandcamp
Or check out the Sputnikmusic Review for ‘Nightmare Withdrawals’ here