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Welcome to the Witches Garden: An Interview with Uncle Acid and the deadbeats

acidgrave4Little is know about Uncle Acid and the deadbeats. As quiet as they may be they certainly make up for it onstage with their hard rocking psychedelic tunes that stay in your head for days. Black Sunday Magazine was lucky enough to coax the hermit out of his woodland retreat and talk to us about what it was like touring with the mighty Sabbath and what is to come in 2014.

Uncle Acid and the deadbeats, tell me more about how you guys came together?

It started in 2009 as a studio project with some friends and then just spiraled out of control! About 20 lineup changes later, here we are!

You have a very distinctive sound, most notably your use of harmonies. Tell me more about your influences and what brought you to this very distinctive sound?

Theres so many…Sabbath, The Kinks, The Stooges…I like anything with good melodies. One of the biggest influences that nobody ever picks up on is W.A.S.P.  I think that’s where I really got into the idea of mixing heaviness with two part harmonies. I always liked the idea of mixing dark with light. Obviously we don’t really sound like W.A.S.P. but I definitely hear Blackie’s melodic influence in my writing.

You recently did some dates with Black Sabbath, a pretty big gig for any band. How did that come about and how did you find it?

We just put our name forward along with half a dozen other bands. I didn’t think we had much of a chance, but if you don’t ask, you don’t get! Their office listened to the CDs that were given to them by our agent and they loved it!

The tour was great for us and we got a lot of new fans out of it. Most of the Sabbath fans had no idea who we were, which is understandable and of course, a small number didn’t really want us there; The sort of people who think all new music is shit and just want to see the same old ‘established’ support bands. I think that kind of mainstream attitude exists more so in the UK, whereas the Europeans tend to be more willing to discover and give new music a chance. Thats just a generalization of course, but anyway, we felt we had a lot to prove each night.

It’s not often a band like Sabbath would even consider bringing a young band on tour with them nowdays…but that’s how it used to be in the 70s and 80s; an established band would bring out a new band to show them how it’s done. So we felt like we were learning from the best. Of course the Sabbath guys were amazing with us and it was just a huge honour to tour with them.

Your imagery is a mix of very dark horror and psychedelia. What influences the look of your album covers and your merch?

For the covers I take inspiration from old horror posters, sleeve designs and book covers. For our merch, I design some of it but most is done by our slave Ygor and his team of artists. He prints everything for us and operates the website. We don’t have merch deals or anything, it’s all D.I.Y. which is how we’ve operated right from the start.

Talking about your creative process now. How do you go about putting together an album?

I’ll get an idea for an album theme and then I’ll just wait for the riffs to arrive. The themes are normally film inspired so for example Blood Lust was inspired by Hammer films and british horror from the 60s and 70s. I also took inspiration from reading up on local history like the witch trials and then I put it all together to make a story. Each song is like a different scene in a film. It all relates.

Mind Control was inspired more from American b movie trash and of course Charles Manson and Jim Jones. I went out of my way to make it a different vibe from the previous album which of course is not what a lot of people wanted. They wanted “Blood Lust part 2” and I gave them psycho-religious biker trash!

Uncle-AcidYou seem to have quite a mystique to the band, you don’t broadcast yourself out there like some bands but it really works for you. Is this intentional? Are you more about the music than giving someone a specific image of yourselves?

It is intentional. I have no desire to show off or to make the band or the music be about me or the other members. I always look at it from a film making point of view; nobody cares what the director looks like, its all about what they create…which is why I have such a hard time with the whole ‘band pictures’ thing. I don’t really see the relevance of what we look like to what music we make, but I understand the need for magazines and websites to have some kind of image for their publication. So its a compromise sometimes. We did our last photo shoot in a pub to make it a slightly less miserable experience for us!

What’s in store for you in 2014? Anything you would like to share with our readers?

Plenty of touring! We’re playing our biggest headline show yet at the KOKO in London which is very exciting. The most important thing for this year is to write and record the next album.

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