BD: Thank you for taking time out to speak to Bluesdoodles this evening. Fresh from playing HRH Crows in Sheffield over the weekend and in a middle of a tour.
BD: Let’s start off introducing your style of rock and the band to the readers of Bluesdoodles for those who have not caught up with your dirty blues-based rock?
GR: We’re Gorilla Riot, and we play rock ‘n’ roll that’s inspired from everything from B.B King to The Rolling Stones to ACDC.
BD: Your music crosses and melds genres blues, rock, grunge and country what were your influences growing up in Manchester?
GR: We all appreciate a wide range of music, but when it comes to influences you have to go back to the classics. Muddy Waters among other blues legends, American Southern Rock, Aerosmith, Guns ‘N’ Roses. Arjun’s favourite singers are Chris Cornell and Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes). I guess our sound developed a grunge element through that.
BD: What attracted you to the Southern Rock/Country sound?
GR: Melodies and vocal harmonies that ease a hangover.
BD: Do you think that many elements of the Blues have morphed into this melting pot of sound described loosely as Americana or Southern – Country Rock?
GR: I think it all stems from the blues. Everything rock and guitar based in popular music has its roots in a cotton field in America. It’s great that such a simple form of chanting has inspired so many different, complex genres of music.
BD: Is it the combination of three guitars and strong vocals from more than one voice that sets Gorilla Riot apart from rest of the pack of young emerging bands in the UK? Taking their influence from across the Atlantic?
GR: I think it certainly helps. Having 3 guitars opens up different possibilities for us when it comes to writing music. We’re not here trying to reinvent the wheel, but compared to a lot of current bands I guess we can create a slightly different experience for the listener. Plus we have a whole acoustic side to our music, with different songs but still with the Gorilla Riot vibe that sets us apart from other acts.
BD: Is the grungy element of your music from Grunge rock or from the sounds that emanate from Mississippi Hill Country raw free flowing blues-inspired music?
GR: Although we love pretty much all the Grunge bands, they haven’t been a direct influence on our music. However, I think you’re probably influenced by everything you like in some way. The only direct influence has been Chris Cornell vocally. Most of our other influences come from further back in the music timeline.
BD: Having just finished your set at the inaugural HRH Crows what was the vibe like playing at the first festival of this type?
GR: It was phenomenal. We were opening the main stage so we weren’t sure how it was going to go down or if anyone would show up. When we walked out to a packed arena that only got busier as the set went on, that was a pretty special feeling. The crowd was amazing, they sold us out of merchandise and the whole event was rocking.
BD: You have released two EP’s this year kick starting with Six Shots Down and in May American Honey Vol 1: This gives a flavour of your studio sound how does your live sound differ? Are there plans to go back into the studio for a full-length album?
GR: We don’t try to differ too much live compared to our studio sound. We figure people come to hear the songs that they like on record. The only thing is that when we play live there’s an energy that you can’t replicate in the studio. We bounce off the crowd and the atmosphere builds into a glorious ball of rock ‘n’ roll, some solos might get extended, and there will be sweat. We are currently recording our first full-length album. We’re looking to release it early next year. So far recordings going well, we’re excited for people to get their teeth stuck into a meatier release.
BD: What would be the show/festival that you would travel back in time to see and who would you take with you to enjoy the fun
GR: Woodstock with Patrick Stewart would be pretty cool…
Gorilla Riot are:
Arjun Bhishma (vocals/guitar)
Liam Henry (guitar/vocals)
James Degnen (bass)
Charly T. (guitar/vocals)
David Thomas (drums)