Rising UK Doom crew, Green Lung are, most definitely, one of those bands’. Having successfully managed to stir the Metal pot with some well-needed flavour, [thanks to their outstanding new album ‘Black Harvest’], enabling the bands’ name to grace the lips [and ears] of fans across the world, despite not being able to tour.
Speaking from his London home on a dreary grey day, vocalist/frontman Tom Templar is in a spritely mood, laughing and joking as he tries to keep up with the rampant growing success of Green Lung…
OD – The last time we spoke was at Bloodstock this past August, now in retrospect, how was that experience for you guys?
TEMPLAR – [Laughing] That gig was just incredible for us. When I think back now, it all seems a little weird. There was no way that we could have imagined that so many people would turn up to see us. Especially on a Sunday afternoon…at 5pm…after four solid days of drinking and Metal.
The week after that show, we could see a huge surge of interest on our socials. It was crazy. When we did a small run of shows the month later, loads of people were approaching us saying: “I saw you at Bloodstock“. So, without a doubt, that show moved the dial for us in some way. It’s really important for bands’ like us to get that opportunity. That’s why Bloodstock and other smaller festivals like Clang Fest are so important. It’s a lifeline for bands’ to get to perform to a wider audience.
OD – Let’s talk about the reaction to ‘Black Harvest‘. Have you been taken aback from the overall response?
TEMPLAR – To be honest, the last year has been kind of a head-fuck! We’ve been trying to manage as many things as we can, and that involved us sitting in front of a computers for long periods of time. We now have a good network of support behind us and we’re in the process of sorting out a publishing deal, which will make things a lot easier for us also.
The record was recorded late 2020, then we sorted the mix/mastering was in February [’21] and artwork was completed by April [’21]. We were just waiting to get it out. Thankfully, we did some fun stuff in the interim.
OD – Such as?
TEMPLAR – Well we filmed the video, livestreams, etc. and every now and again, we’d put out heads up and say: “Fuck, things are really beginning to happen for us“. It was a strange experience.
OD – Of all publications, The Guardian [British Newspaper] featured a sizeable spread of the band last year. That must have been a boost of confidence and a barometer of how fast the bands’ popularity was growing?
TEMPLAR – Yes, [Laughing]. That was very surreal indeed. And also Kerrang! covering us. It sort of seemed like it was all a bit of a dream as we hadn’t really had the chance to experience the traditional process of playing live, and seeing the audience reactions to justify the coverage we were gaining, but it was a wonderful feeling to see all this coverage from such established and respected organsiations.
Until we finally got out there on stage, it was hard to comprehend. We’ve gone from being a small local London scene band, to a National band. We still see ourselves as a local band just having fun in our rehearsal space.
OD – I understand Green Lung are embarking on some extensive live dates this year?
TEMPLAR – Yes, we are doing what looks like two years of touring, but in one year! We will be heading over to Ireland for our very first debut show at Clang Fest on March 26th in Dublin, which we can’t wait for! [Click promo video here]. Tickets here.
We’ve to Poland, Portugal, American, we’re doing Desertfest also…it’s gonna be a busy year. I think it’s kind of weird as we’re just not used to this kind of attention from lots of media and fans etc. We like the idea of remaining a cult-type band. Keeping some kind of mystery and staying very much in close contact with our fans.
This year for me, it gonna be a lot of fun, but I’m guessing that as a collective, it’s gonna have a big impact on the band. Like…I’m just thinking of the Festivals that we’re scheduled to play this year and right off the cuff, Desertfest is a totally different experience to say…Bloodstock and that’s what’s really cool as there’s a real mixed bag of fans at Bloodstock, but Desertfest is wall-to-wall Stoner fans who will be looking at us from the perspective of our influences.
I read a review of ‘Black Harvest‘ recently and they said we weren’t “doing anything new“, but all I can say is that we just incorporate the elements of what we love into our own music, and that’s just who we are. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s gonna be really interesting to see the different crowd reactions at these Festivals, as they can vary from being a mixed bag, to a being very specific when it comes to sub-genres.
OD – With all the critical acclaim raining down on the band right now, I’m sure there were a few moments when you had to take a step aside and consider leaving your current employment to concentrate going full time with band. Do you feel that Green Lung can sustain the income that you need, to live solely off your music?
TEMPLAR – We’ve had a few conversations about that and right now, this just feels like a little bit of extra money that we get paid for doing something we love. When we go on tour it’s like a holiday. I don’t treat it as work.
We were in our late ’20s when we started the band, so we were all in professional jobs for years. We’ve had conversations where we’ve discussed leaving our jobs, and doing this full time, but Matt [Wiseman, drums] has a child to take care of, and to be honest, none of us really hate our jobs, then you take into consideration the fallout from the pandemic and to be honest, we’re glad that we have stable jobs during this time.
I’m not sure if chucking in our jobs and going full time would be the best idea at this stage. We’re not trying to fit a marketing demographic, or fit into a perfect entity for record labels. We’re the Party-Doom guys that create, ‘Happy Doom‘, and we have a shit-load of fun doing it. [Laughing]
I feel like it’s just old-school fun and not a poe-faced vibe. I want to tap into that old fist-pumping, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden vibe is very much alive in the audience. It’s what Metal used to be like. We’re playing Roadburn in April and we want to bring the ‘party‘ to that gig! We want people to celebrate and enjoy themselves.
OD – I’m assuming you’ve been approached by some big entities in the Metal universe over the last 12 months, or so for touring opportunities, etc?
TEMPLAR – [Laughing] Yes…yes we have. I can’t reveal who, but we were approached by a fucking huge band’s management for a US tour recently, and fuck knows if it happens, but just to be considered for things like that…it’s mind-blowing to me! But, if it did happen, then we’d really have to consider perhaps working something out with our current employers, because that would just be a life-changing thing to happen for us.
OD – Have you considered that this is a very real prospect that most-likely WILL happen?
TEMPLAR – [Takes a long breath] We’ve always operated outside of the music industry in a kind of small company type of approach. Even our deal with Svart Records is very loose. It’s very profit share, they are more like a business partner if anything else.
The way I see it is that you don’t really have to play by the rules that were set in place by the record labels decades ago. The world is a very different place now, and with the power of the internet we can actually accomplish a lot of what those labels are offering ourselves.
Just look at Electric Wizard. They never really play many gigs, but when they do, it feels really special. Back in the day when they [Electric Wizard] were a three-piece, they were never playing massive shows, but they managed to market themselves and stick to what THEY wanted to do.
OD – So, what do you want for Green Lung’s future?
TEMPLAR – We need to find out if we want to take that Electric Wizard [pic below] approach, or if we want to be that kind of band that is forever touring, to the point where it’s exhausting and it’s never really OUR show. Or, we could get to a point where we curate our own shows, and make it a very special personal experience. 2022 will be a defining one for us, and right now, I’m not entirely sure we know what we want. We’ll have to dip our toe in, and see how it feels.
For us, we’ve always liked the way CLUTCH to things. They have their own label [Weathermaker Music] and have a very distinctive sound but can play around with that style. From the outside, they [CLUTCH] seem to have complete creative control over everything they do, and it’s working for them. They get to come over to places like London, and sell-out Brixton Academy, which is awesome.
Then you have another great band like Uncle Acid… [pic below] who seem like they have a very strong tie with their label [Rise Above Records], and may or may not have 100% creative control over what they do.
I could be wrong, but the point is, we really want to keep as much decision making within the confines of the band going forward. We look up to them [Uncle Acid…] as they are touring the US/ Japan, and the are without a doubt, one of the biggest Psychedelic “Metal” bands in the UK right now.
When we started out the main goal was to have some fun, the it was like: “Okay, this is going down really well. Let’s try and put out a record on vinyl.” Then it’s just one thing after the other, like now, it’s can we really perform in America and get some big European Festivals? All of that has either come true so far, or has the potential to happen. That’s a lot of milestones in just four years!
OD – I know it’s only just been released but with the restrictions on touring, has there been any thoughts on new music since winding up the writing and recording of ‘Black Harvest‘?
TEMPLAR – We’re not gonna write the same record again, that’s for sure. And now that we’re demoing songs, I can tell you that there is a lot of evolution happening right now. I feel that with album number three, it’s kind of like we’ve proved ourselves, and proved what we are capable of achieving, so really, it’s like the training wheels have come off and we’re out on the open road.
With ‘Black Harvest‘ it was inevitable that people would compare to ‘Woodland Rites‘, so album number three…well our intention for the next album will be to have it stand on it’s own, if you know what I mean. I have so many ideas, lyrics and notes that date way back before Green Lung existed, and we’ve barley gotten into the depth of those ideas.
OD – When the decision was made to release ‘Free The Witch‘ EP on vinyl, did it whet your appetite for another E.P. later this year, or are you all determined that the next release will be a full-length album?
TEMPLAR – I can see us doing an acoustic E.P. or something like that. Some of our songs would translate really well arranged in that way. But I’m not really sure right now. ‘Free The Witch‘ was a great barometer for us to test the waters and get a record deal to put out the first album. But as far as definite plans go, there is nothing set in stone just yet.
OD – How do you feel about doing more live-streams going forward, and with regards the concept of performing for masses of people in this way, do you find that it’s a nerve wracking experience, as it’s not the traditional way to experience the music that Green Lung create?
TEMPLAR – We were all really happy with our last livestream. It was just the five of us in our practice room and we had an engineer that does more work with Jazz than Metal [laughing], but it was a great experience and we loved it.
With regards to the way the sound translates, if you have headphones on, then it’s like being in the room with us. I’d love to do a really special show and record it. Green Lung is very much a live band and I suppose the more live streams we do, the better we’ll get at doing it.
Of course, it’s never gonna be the same as witnessing it live in front of you, but what is lacking in that excitement of the energy of live shows, is very much present when it comes to the music. Scott, Joe and Matt… everyone’s so fucking tight live. For me, it’s just incredible as it’s like singing to karaoke [Laughing] and it’s just spot-on to the recording. We never used to do backing vocals, but now we’ve got all of that happening, and it just sounds so good.
OD – Of course, you will be performing in Ireland at Clang Fest in March 26th, which will be your debut Irish show. Do you feel that when playing in new territories, you push the shows that little bit extra, with regards to the setlist?
TEMPLAR – We usually discuss the setlist ahead of certain shows, but with something like Clang Fest, we will be smashing out the bangers from ‘Woodland Rites‘ and ‘Black Harvest‘. However, that being our first Irish show, we’re gonna go in strong with everything we’ve got. I’m pretty sure this will be the first time that Irish punters see us, if they’ve not already flown over the UK and caught us at one of our own shows, or at Bloodstock.
GREEN LUNG will be performing at CLANG FEST on Saturday, March 26th along side headliners, Candlemass, with Coroner, The Modern Age Slavery, Klogr, Words That Burn and The Risen Dread. Tickets are on sale now via this link, priced at €64.90.
‘Black Harvest‘ is out NOW. Pick up your copy from this link or ask your local record store to order for you.
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