What made you start playing doom metal ?
Kieran: It seems so long ago now…I don’t remember us specifically deciding that we were going to be a ‘doom’ band as such, although all our early songs were clearly closer to that early 90’s ‘Peaceville’ style than anything else. Before GD started my previous bands had been poor attempts at death metal, more focused on trying to be as heavy as possible without ever really getting anywhere. Towards the end of those early bands we had one song that was much slower than the others, and had a bit of melody involved and I think that was my “ lightbulb” moment. Around that time also we first heart the first Anathema & My Dying Bride releases which certainly had an impact too.
Gary: It was a chance meeting between Paul (vocals) and my brother that got me started with Graveyard Dirt and playing Doom Metal. Kieran got in touch shortly after and we arranged a rehearsal...they've been stuck with me ever since!
Tony: I only started playing doom when I answered an ad on metalireland.com in which a Donegal based band was looking for a bassist. I’m a guitarist but I own a bass, so I gave it a shot….
K: …..and he’s regretted it ever since, coz GD is like Hotel California, you can check out anytime you like but you can never leave! ☺
Is there a big doom metal scene in Ireland ?
K: Certainly not where we come from. Co. Donegal is Ireland’s most Northerly County and is a few hours away from any major cities. I don’t know of any other metal bands near us even. So although I’m aware of other Irish doom bands, and have occasional contact with some members of some of those bands I don’t feel a part of a ‘scene’. Never have in fact. Any ‘scene’ as such has always been centred in or around the Dublin area, which is where 99% of gigs happen. For the most part bands from that area get more attention and a bigger share of the minimal media coverage metal gets here. For us to do gigs in Dublin was usually an ordeal due to the distance and cost involved so we never really felt like we were a part of ‘the scene’. There are lots of Irish metal bands these days in all genres nowadays. I’m not very familiar with many of them. I don’t like saying this but if I’m honest there aren’t many Irish bands that interest me musically. Probably my favourite Irish band were Thy Sinister Bloom, like us they fly beneath the radar. We both only seem to crawl out from under our rocks when it suits us to do so.
What are some of your influences – eg: bands ,mentors etc.?
Kieran: I suppose very early Anathema influenced us a bit in our early days, they had that heavy yet melancholic thing going on back then and that appealed to me. I lost interest in them as time went on and their style changed…a lot. For me though, the bands that influenced me are all very unlike what we do in Graveyard Dirt. Black Sabbath, Venom, AC/DC,Entombed, Pink Floyd, Candlemass, King Diamond- all of these have at some point in time made a huge impact on my own taste in music. In fact if I had never heard Brian May, Gary Moore or Angus Young I might never have lifted a guitar in my life!!
Tony: Currently Nile, Devin Townsend, Clutch, HoneyHoney. A lot of 90’s roadrunner stuff like machine head, fear factory and Sepultura when I was younger.
Gary: I still listen to a lot of Death/Doom metal, its the one thing that has been a constant since my early teens. Devin Townsend, Nile, Meshuggah, Ayreon, currently get a lot of plays as well. In terms of drumming, I have to say Nicholas Barker would be my biggest influence.
How did you come up with your sound and why ?
T: I was in primary school when the GD sound was made! ☺
K: Our early sound I suppose was more by accident than by design. We used old Peavey Bandit 112 amps because that was what we could afford at the time. We used to try to sound like early Entombed I guess but without playing that style. It’s hard to pin down why a band sounds the way they do when another band could use the same gear yet sound totally different. I guess the songs themselves, the tuning used and the individual players style makes a difference. In the studio though it helps when the engineer understands what a band is trying to create and in that regard we’ve been fortunate so far.
What creative process goes into writing songs and making music for them ?
K: Usually it starts with a simple riff or melody and builds from there. We never have a song structure in mind when starting to attempt to write songs. That rarely ever gets anywhere, so I find it’s best to let it happen naturally, and usually I would get the bones of the song fairly quickly and then we’ll all try to put some skin on those bones! Then it’s a matter of learning it as a piece, living with it for a while to see if it has any staying power. If it does then great, if not then changes might need to be made.. which I usually try to avoid! ☺
Any plans for a new album and if so when is it going to be released hopefully soon ?
K: Well we are currently unsigned and labels aren’t exactly hammering on our door. So unless that changes (or I win the lottery ) an album is currently beyond our finances. We do have enough music in various stages of completion for at least 1 album so I although we aren’t the most active band in the world I continue to hope that we’ll get back to the studio in the foreseeable future. How or when exactly I couldn’t say right now. We have recently begun rehearsing some of those tracks so the ‘plan’ is to simply whip these tracks into shape and see what happens next.
Any plans in the future for touring in north America ,Canada /us or both ?
K: Again I’d have to say that’s currently beyond our means.
Any advice for new bands starting out in the music biz some dos and donts ?
T: Choose your bandmates very, very carefully.
K: Always listen to the bass player! Seriously though, my only advice would be to strike while the iron is hot and youth is on your side…because like Roger Waters wrote so perfectly on Dark side of the moon – “ ..you are young and life is long and there is time to kill the day…and then one day you find, 10 years have got behind you..no-one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”. Shit happens in life y’know and some day you just might not be able to do it and then you’ll regret not doing it when you had the chance. As a band we wasted at least 10 years after we split before reforming in 2006/07…and you can’t get those years back!