Coming at you from Luton and originally formed in 2018, Of Concrete Gods were kicked into action by their mutual desire to create real music that reflects their stoner roots. With a collective affection for hard rockers Alice in Chains and Stone Stour, metal icons such as Black Sabbath and Metallica, and stoner bands like Down and Elephant Tree, Of Concrete Gods embrace a philosophy of: “if it sounds good in the garage, we go for it”. Debut single, ‘Obsidian’, has just been released and here’s the lowdown on Of Concrete Gods from the band themselves.
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
Nik – The band started in 2018, but there have been musical links going back over a decade. Boulder & I have been in a couple of bands together before this one, and he and Paul have also been playing together in different projects for a long time. The three of us started jamming a couple of years ago, and when songs started to take shape we brought in Simon & Rich from other projects to fill out the sound. The final line up has been in place for about a year now.
Which band member has the nickname of BaldyVapes?! And is it literal, or is it similar to when someone 6ft tall has the nickname Tiny?
Rich – That’s me. It’s a throwback from when I used to do lots of Instagram vape promotion stuff for vape liquid companies. I’m bald and I vape so it’s pretty much as literal as it gets!
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
Nik – Our first gig together was last October, and it went down very well. We’d been in the garage writing tunes for what felt like forever, so getting to walk them out on stage finally was an awesome release of energy. We had a lot of fun, and I think surprised a few people who were expecting something different.
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
Nik – We have moments of sheer brutality in the set, but we’re also very much into making sure songs have melody and hooks. We get described as a stoner band, but we have a deep love of grunge and other forms of hard rock and metal. We also like to engage the audience and make sure everyone is involved, front to back.
Debut single ‘Obsidian’ has just been released, what are the themes behind the lyrics? And were there any nerves because it was your debut single?
Nik – Lyrically the song is about feeling like the “other”, an outsider. Struggling with human connection, breaking and shattering when things go wrong. Damaging those around you. Obsidian is a very brittle stone, with sharp jagged edges when it cracks. Life can feel like that sometimes. I don’t think we really had any nerves about releasing it. It feels like a song that shows a few different sides of us musically, and we’re excited to hear what people think.
What makes a song memorable?
Boulder – What makes a song memorable for me can be a few things, mainly a great guitar riff, a great vocal melody or catchy chorus
Paul – Difficult to say. Music is a magical thing, and knowing exactly why I like something would spoil the magic.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
Nik – Always be true to yourself. Bands that try to fit a scene or a style will miss the boat by the time they get their legs underneath them. Just make the kind of music you love, and eventually an audience will find you.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
Nik – We’ve already played with Gevaudan who I adore. I’d love a chance to play with Elephant Tree, Boss Keloid, or Undersmile, who are all making superb music right now.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
Nik – Elephant Tree are really on the cusp. Their latest album is a seismic shift in quality. From more local areas, I really think Dorylus and Everest Queen are going to make some waves in metal circles, and Drones are about due to break the punk scene apart.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
Boulder – Megadeth’s Holy Wars video that made me want to play the guitar.
Rich – I picked up Slave To The Grind by Skid Row because it had the “Parental Advisory: Explicit lyrics” sticker on it and when the heavy guitars in Monkey Business kicked in, it blew me away. I picked up my sister’s battered, old acoustic guitar and never looked back.
Paul – As a young boy, seeing footage of Hendrix was the ‘Big Bang’ for my musical life.
What particular issues today do you feel passionate about?
Nik – Black Lives Matters is obviously a huge movement as we speak, and deserves to continue its momentum until real change is affected. And honestly, the biggest issue in this country right now is the entrenchment of a Tory government hell bent on widening the gulf between the rich and poor, and between the right and the left, at the expense of everyone’s best interests.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
Boulder – Bay Area strikes back tour with Testament, Exodus and Death Angel.
Rich – Megadeth and FFDP just before the lockdown kicked in. It was an amazing gig with Megadeth on form and FFDP putting on a great show.
Paul – Samantha Fish at Islington Assembly Hall. It was so good I bought tickets for her UK tour next year.
The album that you have in your album collection/spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
Rich – Owl City’s Ocean Eyes and T’Pau’s The Promise. Very un-metal but they both remind me of times in my life in which those albums resonated as the soundtracks.
Paul – Does having Ella Fitzgerald and Iron Maiden in the same Spotify collection count?
When it comes to music, is there such a thing as a “guilty pleasure”? Or is it all subjective?
Nik – It implies that we should feel guilty about music, so we’re not fans of the phrase. Music is universal, and everyone can find a corner of the landscape that works for them.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
Rich – Sleeping, this year has been too stressful and difficult so I’ve decided to hibernate until 2021.
Nik – While he’s asleep, we’ll hopefully get more of the debut album in the can. And maybe even play a gig if the world reopens enough.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
Nik – We’re pretty active on Facebook and Instagram. People are more than welcome to come and talk to us on there, we’re a friendly bunch.