"People will have heard a few descriptions over the years... the best one we all remember though was that the music sounds a bit like “Honeycomb in a cement mixer”.
Ireland has a very good metal scene with most well known bands being the likes of Cruachan, Mael Mordha and Thin Lizzy (OK they're Hard Rock / Heavy Metal). But what about the waves succeeding them? Well you have bands like Dead Label and then there's the 16 year-old Lazarus known as Two Tales Of Woe, who this year released their single 'Order Of Lies' which dated originally back in 2011. This proved to be a nostalgia trip for the Dubliners (the city dwellers and not the band), given this news GMA decided to interrogate the group (no guinness involved, nor was Catholicism brought up; even if said drink is a form of holy water). They discussed Brexit, their new single, what there is to do in the city of Dublin and what their own genre label 'Sloom' means.
For those who have not heard of Two Tales Of Woe, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"Truthfully – Two Tales Of Woe has been 16 years of blood, sweat and tears. 16 years of our lives, that helped shape every person who has ever been in this band - past and present. The proof is in the puddin’ so its better to just get stuck into “A Conversation With Death” and work from there – you will feel what we feel in the music that we have created.
The name Two Tales Of Woe was originally intended to be a project that would be two releases – two tales.
The past few months has brought a whole new meaning to the name and it shall go on to completely redefine everything we have ever done. The last 16 years led us all through the first tale personally and we know in our hears that it has been a positive tale that our fans and listeners have enjoyed. Through all that’s been loved and lost – a new Woe has been born and it is, so far, an endless tale and the best is yet to come."
You recently released the track 'Order Of Lies' (unreleased in 2011), surely this was a nostalgia trip? How did this come about?
"Yes indeed, a nostalgia trip like no other! Ha ha! That track was written and recorded during a time that became a big turning point for the band and it was a major milestone that marked quite a significant change in the bands line up – don’t blame the f**kin’ song though, alright?! Ha ha. It was one of the last songs written as part of the original era and line up of the band, prior to Ross’s departure. Its the song both our guitarist Dan and former drummer Kelvin Doran auditioned with and its always been a song that has held importance to us all and was the beginning of our Oak of Memory era – the unreleased album which, to this day is still lying in wait for the world, especially our brother and former bassist Dave Buttner – we owe it to ourselves to get it out there because it really is something else!
Through our Woes – pun intended – we’ve all had our differences as friends and brothers, something that really did take its toll on each and every one of us, but the past is the past and our love for one another and the music we’ve all been a part of for so many years has been resurrected into something that the fans and friends of Woe, really will not be expecting at all. The reunion of friendship and brotherhood with our long time guitarist and Co-Woe creator; Lar Bowler is the reason for the decision to release the song now as it has marked something significant to all of us but especially Carl and Lar, so it means a lot to be able to share that with everyone.
Lar is still working on his own music, which we can not f**king wait to hear in the future. And any other Woes we’ve not yet unleashed – will be freed within the foreseeable future."
You released your EP 'BloodWood' last year, what was the reception like? Did you have people from outside in Ireland buy a copy?
"The reception we received from 'BloodWood' was incredibly positive as far as we are concerned – anyone we’ve shared it with over the last year has had nothing but kind words to say about it so we’re very humbled by that. It was a long time coming as we had really felt we were at a dead end for a while but we never gave up and with the return of Chris De Brabandere on bass, Ross Duffy alongside Dan Walsh on guitar and the return of the badass that is Johnny f**king Kerr on drums, it really turned into something that gave new life to the band.
We’ve met many people from all over the world over the years, who have become friends and fans of the band and we continue to make more and more connections as time goes by so we know they’re listening, no matter where they are!"
How would you describe your sound without the use of genre tagging, given you play Sludge / Doom (or as you call it, Sloom)?
"Haha, Sloom. That was just being too lazy to say Sludge and Doom hahaha. Many people will have heard a few descriptions over the years: Heavy and Slow, the way of the Woe, was the original sound but, throw in some real f**kin’ Thin Lizzy-esque guitar harmonies and solos and some real groove and just a little bit of aggression and tonnes of power. The best one we all remember though was that the music sounds a bit like “Honeycomb in a cement mixer”. Haha
It doesn’t matter what we think though – find out for yourself. ;-) "
Tell us more about the Irish Metal scene, when did metal arrive in Ireland? What challenges do bands face?
"Metal landed in Ireland about 800 years ago, maybe more. The Irish metal scene is one of the most thriving and f**king incredible metal scenes imaginable. The calibre of talent in this country is insane and its absolutely f**king mind boggling how unappreciated and unnoticed it has been. The Irish fans of metal are amazing, like any fan of metal! Any person to set foot on Irish soil and get to experience the bands that are on offer – will never, be disappointed. There are too many incredible bands to start naming just a few – as mentioned earlier – the proof is in the puddin’ so don’t take our word for it – see for yourself. If metal is your friend – you know where to find it."
Probably a topic that hasn't been brought up in ages, Brexit, as a band are you worried about it or not fussed?
"Many people have worried about that but its one “word” that gets on everyone’s f**king nerves to be honest ha ha. There's no force field at the border, last time we checked and any “border” that was ever recognised in Ireland was nothing more than an imaginary line – drawn on a map, and when you cross that line – the road markings change mysteriously from one colour to another and the road signs also transform into something, almost alien..
So, in a nutshell, no. No worries whatsoever.
“Its well for some”, some might say – but we were all born free so unless you intend to kick some unsuspecting soul, up the arse for no good reason – then no one should worry. Ireland is still one of the most old fashioned places in the world in terms of agriculture so we’ve plenty of land and plenty of food - if you’re willing to get up off your arse and make it happen. Just like anywhere else."
For metalheads visiting Dublin, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"All metalheads should be travelling to Ireland in general – there's metal everywhere here. In Dublin – Fibber Magees, Parnell Street – a legendary Rock and Metal venue that has a very long history in Dublin and there's many a tale to be told about it! Bruxelles on Harry Street – home to the infamous Phil Lynott statue that everyone comes to see. Sound Cellar for all your Metal needs.
Belfast brings you Voodoo and Katy Dalys/The Limelight. Sally Longs in Galway. There's many places to see whether its metal related or not and who knows what lies in the future of the metal scene and live music scene in general but we remain positive about the future and so should everyone!"
Do you have any thanks or greetings you wish to send to friends, family or fans?
"We would very much like to thank anyone who has ever been a part of the last 16 years of the bands existence. Friends, family, and fans – regardless of who you are or what part you played – you played your part in shaping what this band is today and who we are as people so we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Check us out on all the usual platforms – you know what they are – contact us, say hello, buy something, dont buy something, listen to the music, love the music – or don’t! Hahaha. You’ll be pleased you did though.
Also, Carl has a great podcast called KingWoe’s Court, in which he chats to our friends in metal, far and wide – mainly focussing on the talented bunch of lads and lassies in the Irish Metal scene but there’s a few surprises in store with that too, so listen in and find out for yourself!
And if you like something a bit different – Ross and Dan also played in CausticGod who released the album Sullen Sanctuary. Ross also plays in Strangle Wire – a Belfast based, beast of a Death Metal band, not to be underestimated. Johnny has Okus – something very filthy and nasty. And for the old school – Chris had Run With The Wolf – some of which is available along with other Two Tales of Woe releases.
And lastly, we’d like to thank Global Metal Apocalypse for taking the time to reach out and speak with us!"
It's always nice to see individuals or groups giving the their input towards a relief effort and Omotai are no exception. Having provided a track for the Hurricane Harvey Benefit Compilation, this Texas unit are committed to bringing charity to those affected by the hurricane in late August / early September.
GMA had to catch up with the guys to talk about this sensational venture, their origins and the extreme weather Texas has to deal with, that being tornadoes as well as hurricanes.
Vocalist / Guitarist Jamie Ross gave the honours.
"Just the sheer number of people that lost everything is hard to wrap one's head around [from Hurricane Harvey]"
Hi guys, firstly could you give us a brief history of how Omotai came about as a band? What does the name mean?
"It all started back in 2010, when Sam Waters (vocals / guitars) enlisted the help of Melissa Lonchambon Ryan (vocals / bassist) and then-drummer Anthony Vallejo to record the debut EP, Peace Through Fear. That line-up remained unchanged through the next two releases, 2012's Terrestrial Grief (the debut full-length) and 2014's Fresh Hell--both released on local label The Treaty Oak Collective. I joined the line-up as a second guitarist in 2013, pretty soon following the recording of Fresh Hell, but prior to its release.
Anthony left soon after, his final show being at a 2014 SXSW appearance. Danny Mee took over drumming duties in time to complete some touring in support of Fresh Hell in 2014 and 2015. We've been hard at work ever since, writing and recording our latest double LP, A Ruined Oak, which is set to debut on October 6th on Tofu Carnage Records. A West Coast excursion is planned to promote the record. The name Omotai is the Japanese word for "heavy," which Sam felt was an apt designation given the artistic direction of the band. Credit for the idea goes to our friend Evan Jones, who taught English in Japan for a spell."
Would you say that the 2017 hurricane season has been one of the worst in recent years?
"Most definitely. Sam's family tragically lost their home in the Bellaire section of Houston, which was hit especially hard. The season would have been horrific enough if Harvey and its aftermath were the extent of it. But Irma came along and devastated much of the Eastern Caribbean and Florida, then Maria recently ravaged Puerto Rico (which is in the midst of a humanitarian crisis). Houston's had its share of weather-related disasters--especially in the last few years. But here we are a month out from the date that Harvey made landfall, and many areas are still impassable. Also, the waste from homes being gutted has built up into a logistical nightmare for removal companies that are still struggling to make inroads."
As you're from Texas, a state within tornado alley, have you ever seen a tornado? Has there been any notable ones hit Texas?
"We're a bit close to the Gulf of Mexico to be in the heart of tornado alley, but there were several in the area while Harvey was stalled over Houston. One hit the neighbourhood next to mine on that first Friday night--I could hear, but not see it. North Texas is the unlucky recipient of most of Texas' tornadoes."
Tell us about you getting involved in the Hurricane Harvey benefit compilation, where are the participating bands located? How can people donate?
"We were approached by Miss Champagne Records about contributing a track to the benefit record, Making Waves, the week following the Harvey disaster. It was the brainchild of the MCR staff and Mercy Harper from Football, etc. All of the bands are local to Houston, so the cause is obviously very meaningful to us all. We think it turned out wonderfully and we're honoured to be in the company of so many stellar Houston bands included on the compilation. All proceeds from the benefit comp go straight to Harvey relief, so it's a perfect way to donate AND listen to some rad music."
Did you sit out the hurricane or did you evacuate further inland? What were your thoughts at the time of Harvey's landfall?
"Danny was safely in Austin for the storm, but everyone else toughed it out here. When the storm finally hit, we knew that we were going to be in for an extended confinement at our homes (fully anticipated by the Houston masses, as evidenced by the the local grocery and liquor stores being completely fleeced), but no one anticipated how crippled the city would become. Just the sheer number of people that lost everything is hard to wrap one's head around. "
Would you agree that extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes are a staple part of Mid-West and Southern American life?
"For sure. And, to make matters worse, the events are becoming more frequent and increasingly destructive."
Given the damage caused by Harvey, I can't imagine there being much band activity this year - please correct me if I'm assuming wrong and inform what you will be getting up to?
"There are several benefit shows sprouting up in the area, so the music community has been surprisingly resilient. As for Omotai, we've been concentrating on getting A Ruined Oak released, and we'll be embarking on a Western U.S. tour starting this Friday, September 29th. All of the dates are posted to our social media for those that would like to come out and hang."
Finally are there any hellos, thank you's you wish to send out?
"Firstly, our thoughts are with the Waters clan and all of our other Houston friends and family that are dealing with the loss of so much property, and coping with the resulting emotional challenges. Special thanks to Sean Mehl and Tofu Carnage Records for helping us put out the LP. And, finally, thanks to all who have supported us over the years--it truly means a lot."