Interview with Osmium Guillotine

Hi! Tell me about your band and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?

James: Osmium Guillotine is my first band, which I formed within a month of buying a drum kit, so to say I’m proud of the fact the band is still going is an understatement! In the years since forming OG I’ve also joined other bands including punk rockers The Tickturds and doom band Myopic Empire, as well as filling in live for Kaine on a couple of occasions and recording drums and percussion on tracks for Aaliyah Wood and Ash Mandrake. It’s good to spread your wings, but Osmium Guillotine will always be my main love!

Dan: I am the new lead singer as of May 2018. Previously, I performed bass guitar for Kaine, Monument, Daemona and Gabriel. I am also the lead singer for Introspectrum, and have done lots of session work with bands across the globe, from London to Israel. I’m a busy man!

Pete: Well this is the first proper band I’ve been in and it’s lasted 8 years so far, so long may that continue. I’ve been playing guitar for about 18 years. I stared when I was 11 after hearing Dimebag Darrell ripping solos for Pantera, and thought that I need to get playing.

Josh: We are a Heavy Metal band from Essex that plays music inspired by bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Black Sabbath and Misfits. I’ve been playing Bass for around 7 or 8 years now, I’ve also dabbled around with Drums, guitar and Vocals (mainly guttural). I joined the band back in 2014 and it’s been my most successful band to date.

Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?

Pete: You’ll have to ask James that one, I joined a year later after the band had formed.

Josh: I joined the band in 2014 so I can’t really answer the first two questions. We play the genre that we do because it appeals to us, we all have various influences within the band and they all get used in our music which makes each song unique.

James: Osmium Guillotine formed out of a meeting in a pub between myself and original bassist Elijah as we discovered we had a shared love of Motorhead, we went on to create the band coming up with the name from ‘Osmium’ (the heaviest metal) and ‘Guillotine’ (a medieval execution device). The first line-up only lasted a year, pretty much playing covers and some very early material we’d started writing. Peter and Lance joined, both on lead guitar (and later Pete took over vocal duties) in 2010 and the three of us have remained consistent in the band’s line-up ever since.

What can you tell us about your latest record?

Pete: It’s got lots of riffs, lots of solos, and some catchy choruses for people to sing along to at gigs. I think this is this best work we’ve done so far.
Josh: It’s our second full length studio album, my first, since the debut album that was released in 2014. It’s full of awesome riffs, catchy choruses, tasty solos and I’m really excited to get it out to the public

Dan: The album was written and pretty much all recorded before I joined. I put my vocals down on the tracks in one challenging day in the studio. That gives me a little bit more of an ‘outsider’ perspective and I can say it is a proper heavy metal album with old school attitude and riffs.

What the kind of album feedbacks are you waiting for?

Josh: Hopefully positive, we worked really hard on the songs and are really proud of what we made.

Dan: Well I’d love everyone to say “it’s amazing, buy it now!” but in reality i’m happy if people enjoy it and give us their honest opinions rather than blowing smoke up our… behinds.

James: Obviously you can only hope for positive honest feedback, which from I’ve seen of the people who have bought and listened to the album so far, I’m glad to say has been very much positive which is great!

Are you gonna to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody option to tour around the globe? What do you think band have to do to get such opportunity?

Dan: It would be amazing but it is an almost impossible dream these days. What does a band need to do it? Money. Good music can only get you so far now. PR and marketing is more important than ever.

Josh: I’d love the chance to tour the world, it’s one of my life dreams as I love to travel. However, I think we have a long way to go before we’re even close to organising a world tour. I have no idea how you’d get an opportunity to go on a world tour but I can imagine it involves a lot of money, a lot of money we don’t have.

James: I don’t think we’re quite at world tour level just yet… We are planning a UK tour in the very near future, that is gonna cost a fair amount just in travel and accommodation alone but it’d be great to get out and play places we’ve never been to before. If anyone fancies funding us to tour the world, get in touch!

Pete: Hahahahahahaha. Got more chance of winning the lottery. If your pockets ain’t deep, you ain’t going on no world tours.

Do you believe in heavy music scene without money?

Josh: No, music is an art form no matter what genre, yeah it’s okay to do some gigs for free here and there and maybe give out a couple free tracks or whatever, but without money we can’t pay for recording sessions, new gear or for travel.

Dan: Metal has become more DIY than ever, which has its pros and cons. There’s a bigger market now thanks to the internet, but also more competition, and much more awful music for the reviewers and listeners to sift through. The best way forward is for bands to work together to build a community instead of only thinking selfishly.

Pete: This might not be a popular answer as we play regularly for free, but I do not believe in a scene without money. You wouldn’t ask an artist to give you a drawing or painting for free so why should gigs and music be free?

James: The topic of money is always a grey area. But it’s a simple case of supply and demand. Pubs and venues are closing down on a regular basis so many can’t afford to pay the bands to play unless they bring in a profit (Unfortunately bands playing original music don’t often pull as big a crowd as say, a tribute or covers band). So unless the band really makes an effort to promote themselves and the gigs they’re playing, and pull a decent amount of paying punters to the venue, then it’s debatable they “deserve” to be paid just for turning up. Personally I love playing music and would rather see the venues who support original metal stay open, but at the end of the day it all comes down to people getting out there and supporting those venues. There’s no point sitting at home and whinging about a venue closing down if you never got off your arse to support the place when it was open.

What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

Pete: I can’t remember if we have ever given any music away for free, I think we may have done on one or two single releases, but generally I don’t believe in giving our music away for free no.

Josh: I like the idea of online music sharing because it’s really the easiest way to get your music out there aside from gigging. Plus you’re able to reach audiences around the world. We normally never give our music out for free unless it’s maybe a cover, like our cover of Motörhead’s “Overkill”, or if the track’s gonna be used for a charity album or something.

Dan: I have no issues with streaming. Illegally downloading is all but pointless now when you can hear a track for free on Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, etc and the artist gets a cut. What needs to be addressed though is the payments made to the artists, which is the biggest issue facing streaming revenues today. When we can have huge YouTube stars but musicians face meagre revenues from a very similar system, then we have a problem.

James: Lars was right.

Who are your musical influences? Have you ever think your band could be so famous as your favorites?

Pete: My main influences are Alice in chains and Pantera. For me, Jerry Cantrells riffs just hit the spot and Dimebags solos are a thing of beauty. I very much doubt we will ever be as big as those two, but who knows. It’s good to have dreams.

Dan: I love a wide variety of music. As far as my influences as a singer go, they range from Geoff Tate and James LaBrie to David Bowie. I love theatrical performers who put their soul into their voice. I probably won’t be as famous as them but a man can dream…

Josh: I’ve got many influences such as Misfits, Iron Maiden, Slipknot, Metallica, Pantera, Amon Amarth plus loads more. I feel like we could possibly reach that level of fame but it’ll take a hell of a long time. It would be awesome though.

James: Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Megadeth, Metallica, all the big guns in heavy metal really, those are the ones who first influenced me into playing the kind of music we do. I don’t know if any band could ever get as big as they have, especially the way the music industry works these days. But that wont stop me from trying!

Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a Kind of important thing?

Dan: I have a bachelor’s degree in Popular Music, and I am just about to start a master’s in music technology (recording, production etc.), and for me it has helped me to become an immensely better musician, producer and composer than I was when I started it. However, I don’t think it’s for everyone, we all have to find our own path and what works for me won’t necessarily be the right way for someone else.

Josh: I studied music in college for two years which included learning theory however I don’t see it as a requirement or important, I originally started playing as a self taught bassist then picked things up here and there as the years went by.

Pete: I have no music education at all. I had a handful of guitar lessons when I started playing and quickly got fed up with them , because it wasn’t what I wanted to play. So I then went and Just taught myself, listening to tracks and then learning them. I think it depends on what you want to do to how important a music education is. For me, it’s not important, but for someone who is maybe going into session work or production, I think it’s a great tool to have

James: I taught myself drums by listening to music and watching bands, I’ve never taken any drum lessons and I’m sure plenty of people would criticise me for that. But so far I’ve done pretty fine without needing all that. This is a big generalisation, but one thing I have noticed about certain musicians who have been taught everything, is they lack any real ‘feel’ for the music and as a result aren’t too good when it comes to improvising or jamming, which for me is more important than knowing what time signature a song is in. Music is an emotion, not an equation.

How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

Josh: It can be difficult but it’s basically a case of what gets booked first, if there’s a date that we have a gig booked I make sure to keep it free from work or family plans etc, but if one of us has plans we basically just say we can’t do the gig. We also very rarely cancel gigs unless it’s for a very serious or important reason.

Dan: It can be tough to balance life, work, and music. You have to really want to make everything work, and sometimes it doesn’t. Carrying on through that, whatever you choose, is what makes you strong, I think.

Pete: With difficulty but it’s doable. The main one is work. I am single at the moment, so no worries there with that. And I have no children, so that’s not an issue for me at the moment.

James: I have to keep a constant eye on my calendar to make sure I don’t end up with things clashing, it can be a challenge but it’s never too much of an issue. Fortunately I work weekdays so that doesn’t affect anything and I’m lucky to have a supportive girlfriend who understands how important the band is to me, so we don’t end up arguing about that haha.

How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or you can assure there are no any mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

Josh: We try our best not to make mistakes during our performances but of course we are only human so sometimes mistakes are made, we normally just laugh them off or just brush it off and carry on in a professional manner. I can’t remember the last time I got nervous before a gig, I can’t speak for the other guys but personally I used to suffer from stage fright a lot when I was younger and didn’t have much gigging experience, whereas now it’s pretty much second nature.

Pete: I always have a few nerves before any performance but it seems to have calmed down over the past few years. Mistakes can happen and we all know that. We don’t crucify anyone if a mistakes made. We are all human, mistakes happen

Dan: Everyone makes mistakes. The best thing to do is to pretty much pretend it didn’t happen, don’t let it put you off your performance, and carry on!

James: I just give the audience a cheeky wink and carry on! Mistakes happen, nobody’s a robot, and chances are most of the audience didn’t notice anyway!

What’s next? Thank you!

Dan: Thanks for talking with us, we’re going to write music and play shows!

Pete: We will start working on the next album, and already have a few ideas to work with so hopefully won’t be too long to wait before we release another one. Thankyou !

James: Osmium Guillotine: Album 3 begins here!

Josh: New album and bigger and better gigs!