I remember an old TV series called WIDOWS from back in the days. Not that it has anything to do with this band other than it triggered some nice memories. But it did put the positivity in my mind. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
What do you want people to get from your music?
Adam Jolliffe (Vocals) – I want people to feel moved by the intensity and power of the four of us, want people to dance to the grooves and bang their head to the massive riffs, drink and share in the celebration of the riffs and the love of fuzzy tones. Lyrically I want people to take what they want from the songs, I leave it up to their interpretation, because that’s where I think music comes to life and becomes personal, when you feel like you can relate.
Was the name hard to pick, and did the name fit the music?
AJ – I wanted the band to use just one word, some of the greatest bands of all time have used that simplicity well, and I think it gives the name a weight and helps it become timeless and universal. The idea of Widows came to me from a reflection of our personal loss of family and friends through our lives, I thought Widows and a widow, is a reflection of that in the light of doom and heavy metal. A symbolic manifestation of human loss if you will.
What bands inspire and what inspires now?
AJ – When we started out James (Kidd, Guitars) and I had been listening to Kyuss since we were teenagers, so their back catalogue has always been an influence on us, but even more so when it came to writing Widows’ first EP and album. We borrowed and experimented heavily with the desert rock sound, and if you’re talking about that sphere of music it’s hard not to mention the likes of Atomic Bitch Wax, Unida, Yawning Man, Fu Manchu, Queens of the Stone Age etc, who all played a big part in the creation of that sound. We were also listening to a hell of a lot of Goatsnake and we have a ton of respect for their heavy, greasy grooves, and awesome vocals.
Baroness popped up when we were starting out too, we saw them twice in Nottingham supporting other bands, Torche (another band that greatly inspired us to take the riff to heavier places than before) being one of them. They blew us away with their intricate blues inspired riffs, harmonies and massive vocals, we knew then that was something we could incorporate to break up heavy riffs and bring a fresh take on heavy blues rock. Most of all and still to this day, Clutch is one of the main bands that gets all of our cylinders firing, an all-round incredible band. From the power and diction of Neil’s voice to the sweet sexy drum rhythms of Jean-Paul to the Tim’s incredible and powerful bluesy riffs, a band that have been making music for a long time who always deliver live.
Recently and in our early days I’ve been inspired and in love with Hardcore and the sweet spot between metal and punk, and the different ways it can be interpreted and experimented with. It has an undeniable sense of power, aggression and visceral attack that gets your attention, it’s an excellent vessel for the injustice found in society and religion. For me Cursed are the band that embodies that brilliantly, their nihilistic and anti-organised religious connotations, really struck a chord with me, and their use of a doom and fuzzed out tone with fast hardcore riffs and beats is a mighty abrasive mixture that had a massive influence on our new songs Caffeine and Hatred, and Heresy and Venom.
Of course, we can’t touch on inspirations without mentioning Nottingham legends Iron Monkey. They also find that sweet spot between being heavy and still having a groove, with a bit more bollocks and bounce than any other. Johnny’s extreme and nasty vocal will always be a big inspiration on me and to most sludge and doom metal bands. In my opinion, what he and Mikey from EYEHATEGOD laid down led the way for a great deal of metal vocalists.
Did you know what music you would play and what came first name or music?
AJ – We began musically with a drive to experiment with bluesy rock and more classic rock, from years of being in metal bands we wanted to do something different, inspired by clutch, credence clear water revival, Allman Brothers and Witchcraft. it started with James showing me what would go on to be ‘Whores of Babylon’, we worked on that and then just kept the balling rolling, bringing in more bluesy riff ideas and a sense of direction and the bigger picture began to form.
It’s taken years to find a sweet spot between our collective influences and to combine them in a sound that we are all happy with. After the first few songs were written we searched for the rest of the band, when we found Ze Big the drummer and began to jam out the songs together, the idea of the name Widows came to me after many hours of thinking and deliberating. I wanted the band name to be reflective of the sound with a deeper meaning. So, sound first, then name, is the long story short.
Do you think digital and streaming is killing the album, and can we release single only?
AJ – Yes, I do think that digital music is impacting on the perception of the value of music. Streaming music is having a massive impact on revenue and royalties for the artist, something needs to change with the likes of certain streaming sites and their whacky payment structures. I feel it can have the effect devaluing the art we make. I get the model of streaming music, with the wider use of smart phones it’s easier for the storage strapped consumer to use the streaming format, I just wish the platform valued musicians more highly.
I don’t really see a decline in sales of albums in the rock, metal, and punk world, all bands release digitally now, most bands I listen to and respect only write and release albums and EP’s, and then go on to promote separate songs on the record. What major and popular chart music and popular society does, doesn’t really impact on musicians and artists that are driven by self expression and some form of originality, there will always be great albums while human consciousness exists.
How does the artwork factor in and how do you attract attention?
AJ – We all love a killer album cover and sometimes picture our favourite albums from what’s on the cover, from a shocking image to something that reflects the sound to something that’s just weird. There is a lot of places you can go with a cover, from hand drawn art to simple photography. The artwork’s direction can be a hard decision to make. Personally I like elaborate hand drawn art driven by the artist and band to transport you somewhere and to emote a tone for the record, but still at the same time be fun and playful. The likes of Yes, Tool, Mastodon, Baroness and Converge had a massive impact on my interest in style and delivery, that drove us to work with artists like Michael Cowell for Death Valley Duchess, and Jim Bob Isaac for Oh Deer God. The artwork for me had to be grounded in the title and help symbolise the tone of the music.
Has social media changed how to promote or just carry on the same?
AJ – Since the invention of social media, it has changed the game and given smaller musicians an easy platform to be seen and heard on without the need of big labels. It has its pros and cons for sure, but has led to some great musicians being able to tour and reach people they couldn’t before, you just have to go with the flow and adapt to the best way to get your name and music out there. I was an early adopter of social media and just see it as the norm now, although it has grown to a level now where a busy musician can need the help of a PR company to manage the many different platforms that are out there. Embrace it, the world is interconnected and so much smaller now due to the Internet, musicians should be using it as another weapon in their arsenal. With all that said, a killer poster or flyer still can get the job done and is a valued part of the process.
Are you part of a scene or something grander?
AJ – We have influences and a style that is having a resurgence and has been building for a while now. We are lucky to be linked with promoters and bands from all round the world, it gives you a sense of solidarity and family that helps us all get through and make some sense of this crazy world we all live in. I find great inspiration in talented musicians from many genres so I think it’s best to be as open minded as possible. Good music transcends genre or scene and becomes timeless, much like great films or art.
Are you a touring band and is it important?
AJ – Yes, I think touring is the best way to get your music out there definitely if your music has a lot of energy and intensity like us. When theses riffs and vocals get in your face it’s hard to deny our energy. With our problem of not being able to nail down a bassist for a long amount of time it has been difficult to tour as much as we would have liked to, we have done some touring around England and Europe, and have built a name for ourselves, but there is always more places to play and see. America, Canada, Australia, Japan and more of Scandinavia are high on our list, we just need help getting there. So hey buy our records and we can come bring our racket to your front door.
What does the future bring?
AJ – The immediate future is the release of Oh Deer God and finally letting the world hear something we are very proud of. The production value is higher than any projects we’ve done in the past and we’ve really stepped up our game. Then the release of a video for Oh Deer God and the ‘making of’ video that we filmed at the studio. After that, many small tours to support Oh Deer God and then another video to keep the ball rolling. Interest from a label to fund another album and a music video with a big budget would be one of our ultimate goals. We’d also love to play some outdoor festivals this year too.