Less than a day before Clutch's sold-out gig, in Paris, at La Maroquinerie, RYL! got the chance to meet Tim Sult. Talking about the new album, Tim gaves us some hints about "Earth Rocker", check this out!
Hello Tim, happy New Year! How are you?
Tim Sult : Doing great.
Welcome back in Paris, we were waiting for you!
T : Yeah it feels like it’s been a while, but it never really hasn’t been that long. I don’t remember the name of the place we played last time but that was a very good show, where we were opening for Volbeat.
So your new record “Earth Rocker” will be out in March, how went all the writing process around it?
T : We’ve been writing for a good long time since “Strange Cousins From The West” came out in 2009. We had quite a few riffs to dig throw and put together that we dissembled over the years and once we got serious about the whole writing process, it really felt together pretty quick actually. We usually just get in a room together and start bashing out riffs and bashing out song ideas and try to see if Neil can put some works over the riffs.
It was said that the album is faster than the previous ones. How did it end up like that?
T : It definitely has more high energy kind of vibe, maybe our last few albums have. We’ve been saying a lot those days, in interviews that has to do with touring with Motorhead and Thin Lizzy, recently. I’m gonna choke it all up to that. (laugh)
Personally, we liked the album, awesome as always, what make your sound and vibe that special?
T : Thank you very much. I’m not a 100% sure of what makes it special but we kind of lift it up to other people to let them make us special in their brains. You know, I think the fact we’ve been constantly writing songs together for 20 years, has helped to make it special in something, to people’s eyes. The fact is that it’s the same four musicians trying to write decent songs and play shows.
In general, the guitar chords aren’t that hard to play, but the groove is always there, ALWAYS. What’s your secret?
T : We’re just trying to write good songs, we’re not really trying to… The playing is just about the songs and fitting around, the groove having a good groove and heavy riffs really. I don’t know what the secret really is; I guess the riffing style is based in blues riffing a little bit, definitely lot of pentatonic stuff, for sure, so I really don’t know what our secret really is. We just get in there and hope for the best.
What are your main influences as a musician?
T : When I was a kid, my main influences were Randy Rhoads, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore pretty much and some Brian May as well.
Did you take guitar lessons or just learn it on your own?
T : Yeah I took guitar lessons for a few years from the time I was 14 to 18.
How would you define your style of music since your beginning as a band? It’s your 10th album right now!
T : I would just define it as hard rock really. I know that hard rock really has a large definition to this point. Sometimes it’s easier to people to call it stoner rock but, you know what, most of people in America, regular ones, they never heard about stoner rock, they don’t know what it is. So we usually go with hard rock or heavy rock.
If you had to pick up 3 songs from the record, which one will they be and why?
T : I like the one called “The Face”, because it’s really heavy and super melodic, and had great lyrics on it; I like “Gone Cold” which is the acoustic one, because I definitely like the acoustic melo-vibe of that one, and I like the guitar solo too; and I would pick “Oh, Isabella”, strictly on my personal guitar performance.
What can the fans expect from “Earth Rocker”?
T : I think they’re gonna get straight up riffs-in-your-face! Lot of riffing going on… Straight up riffs-in-your-face! (laugh) It’s mine best way to describe the “Earth Rocker” experience.
By the way who did get the idea of the artwork? What does it represent?
T : I think originally it supposed to be… Actually it was based on Judas Priest’s “Screaming For Vengeance” album cover. I don’t know what it supposed to represent… I mean, the Earth Rocker itself. We let our art director bringing all that alive, doing a great job, combining stuff, both futuristic and an image from the past.
Apart from the record, you’re touring Europe and then North America, with Orange Goblin. What is your feeling about their music?
T : Oh, I love Orange Goblin. I love those guys. We know them for years and we’ve been trying to get them on tour with us for years, and it’s finally good to have them now with us! It’ll be a stoner rock extremavaganza.
Are there any other bands with whom you’d like to tour someday?
T : You know at this point we’ve been touring for so long; we’ve played with so many bands in so many festivals. I don’t really fantasize about touring with other bands at this point but, it would be definitely very very very cool to open for Black Sabbath I think. They actually are going on tour and I know we’re not opening for them (laugh), so that would be great! We got to open for Ozzy for one show, pretty great for us. Playing with ZZ Top might be fun too.
Apart from hard rock music, what do you listen to?
T : I personally listen, mostly, to rock music or stuff like The Allman Brothers. Anything from Propagandhi, Dinosaur Jr, the Swans, stuff like that I’ve been listening recently.
You’ll be at this year’s Hellfest, what memories did you keep from your previous shows there?
T : My favorite memory was being able to play with The Melvins for sure. I love that band for so many years, even probably before Clutch, so that’s my favorite Hellfest experience: playing with The Melvins.
What’s the funniest thing you ever saw during a show?
T : The funniest thing I’ve ever seen during a show? I wish I saw more funny things during shows. The funniest thing? No one ever asked me that one before. (laugh) Yeeeaah, there’ve definitely been some occasions of people having sex in the audience, that happen a couple times, which I definitely take over one a day of a “violent crowd”, yeah, I’ll go with that: intercourse happening during the show. People are lot crazier back in the 90’s.
Tomorrow’s gig is your return as a headliner in Paris, after opening for System Of A Down at Bercy and Volbeat, what can we expect for the show?
T : You can definitely expect for a full Clutch show, getting the Clutch experience. We’ll just get up right there and play lot of fast songs and get a lot of jam in it too. The good combination of jamming and faster types songs; that whole concept of what Clutch actually is and we’ll play a few new songs as well.
Finally, as a tradition, we are "RockYourLife!", what rocks your life?
T : What rocks my life? Well, being able to go home to my wife and kid, that rocks my life. Just the fact that Clutch can go out and play shows and doing what we’ve been doing for so long, that definitely rocks my life for sure! My own band rocks me I guess (laugh), which is a stupid thing to say. (laugh) Yeah, pretty much music and family at this point of my life; that’s what I’m rocked by!
Bonus : Do you still prefer A-Roni to Condolezza Rice?
T : Yeah, for sure. (laugh)
Photo credit : Yann Buisson
Website : pro-rock.com