We’re continuing our pre-show coverage of the Doomed & Stoned Festival with a look at Nashville’s Season of Arrows. Once again, I have to give D&S props for putting together an eclectic mix of acts that offer something to everyone along the doom/stoner spectrum. Season of Arrows bring darkly atmospheric, doom-laced sludge powered by the haunting vocals of Stormie Wakefield. Their latest album Give it to the Mountain was released earlier this year to critical acclamation and I’m guessing that they’ll be one of the standout acts at this year’s festival. Guitarist David Gates was nice enough to answer a few questions for us via email. Read on…
Indy Metal Vault. First off, congratulations on the new album. I absolutely love it and from what I’ve read, other people do too. It’s received quite a bit of critical praise. Were you surprised by the reception?
David Gates: Thank you so much; we really appreciate that! We have definitely seen an uptick in reviews and overall praises for this record. There is a notable difference from this album’s praise and our first album for sure. We just wanted to learn from what worked and what didn’t work as well in our shows and with our first record and work hard on creating something solid for this album. Sometimes, less is more and I think there are less conflicting parts to help let the music breathe when it needs to when you listen to this album. We have put our blood, sweat, and tears into this record and it’s always rewarding when you find out people really relate or enjoy listening to it.
IMV: What was the recording process like for Give It to the Mountain and how did it differ from your self-titled debut?
DG: First of all, we knew that we wanted to work with Mikey Allred again of Dark Art Audio. He just has that gift when it comes to painting the picture of what we think our album should sound like as far as the big picture goes. He has the recording skills and is also a really good dude to work with. We feel this album is a bit more darker sounding and has heavier emotional parts for us. We went into writing for this album with an open book. The first song that we wrote for it was “From the Wilderness We Return,” and that kind of just set the tone moving forward for us on this album.
IMV: The themes in this album seem darker than your previous one. Do you attribute this to the evolution of your sound or was it a conscience effort when writing music for the album?
DG: It really wasn’t planned; it just kind of happened. We are about to start writing for our third album very soon and we’re not really sure what that is going to sound like just yet. We have a 16 track set up where we practice and that is where we fine tune all the details of our songs to get them closer to a finished state before we step on stage or in the studio again. Typically, it will be comprised of how we feel and what we think sounds best when it’s all said and done. We do this because we have to; music is our ritualistic form of therapy.
IMV: When I first listened to Give It to the Mountain, “Farewell to the Horsemen” and “Bellow” seemed like bookends. The first one builds and the latter one winds down, but then you end with a bang with “From the Wilderness We Return.” How intentional was the track order when putting the album together?
DG: Yes, we did that by design. We thought that “Bellow” would be a nice breath of fresh air closer towards the end of the album. “Farewell to the Horseman” does a good job of showing the dynamics we can pull of as a band and has a little bit everything going on with it, so we wanted to feature it first.
IMV: I understand Nashville has developed a pretty nice underground metal scene. What’s it like, and do you feel like being in a big tourist town that revolves around music has helped or hindered the scene?
DG: Honestly, it’s always had a pretty thriving underground metal/punk scene here. I think since Nashville is now becoming more widely known, that’s why you are just hearing about it now. I think the country and pop country music scene here is what is mostly benefiting from Nashville’s recent popularity, not so much it’s underground metal scene.
IMV: What are some of the venues in Nashville that cater to metal crowds? What are some local acts that we may not have heard of that deserve some love?
DG: There are quite a few. The End is really cool, holds about 200+ or probably. I’ve seen so many amazing heavy and non heavy bands there. The East Room is a cool all ages venue, a bit smaller than the end is another one. The Cobra Nashville is pretty cool too, there are a few more places heavy bands can play here. Exit and Marathon Music Works are bigger venues to host bands like Meshuggah, Converge, Deftones, etc. There are several great local bands here like: Yautja, Greywoods, Battle Path, Howling Giant, Sheep Shifter and many more.
IMV: What’s next for Season of Arrows? Are there any plans for a US tour?
DG: I am not sure there will be any tours this year. We have played quite a lot of shows recently to support this album and we’re very excited to play this years’ Doomed & Stoned Festival! I think next for us is to hone our focus on writing for the next record. Even though Give it to the Mountain just came out, we have been done with this album for about a year and half or longer. 🙂 The last push for this album will be that we’re releasing it on vinyl in Sept. more than likely.
IMV: How did you get involved with this year’s festival and what band(s) are you most excited to share the stage with?
DG: Well, Doomed & Stoned website featured a track stream of one of our songs before this recent album came out. We totally back what they are doing and have similar tastes in doom, stoner, post metal, whatever you want to call it. They asked us and we happily said fuck yeah! There are some killer bands that we can’t wait to see like: Mothership, Year of the Cobra, Acid Witch, Wo Fat, and Vokonis to name a few.
IMV: Final thoughts?
DG: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with us today. Without the support of sites like yours, underground music would have a very hard time getting the word out. We also wanted to say that we are very proud to be working with Argonauta Records (Genova, Italy) and look forward to building that relationship together. Working with Curtis Dewar for PR has been really great too, he just gets it and works very hard to support the bands he works with. We are also stoked that you are into our new album and hope that you’ll be into our out new material we will work on here very soon for the next record. At the end of the day, we get tagged as a doom band, which is fine, but not necessarily intentional. To be honest, not all of us are into doom.
Thanks again, you can find out what we doing online easily: