Posted on by Oran

The meteoric rise of London’s Green Lung has been gradually building momentum since the band released their stunning 2018 ‘Free The Witch’ EP, to present days latest opus, ‘This Heathen Land’, proving that in within all the madness of the music industry, there are beacons of hope for emerging artists to be allowed to grow and evolve…

None such more than Green Lung, who are celebrating their first jaunt across the Emerald Isle gathering a new legion of fans thanks to their critically acclaimed live shows.

Upon their highly anticipated debut in the Irish capital on a bright and sunny May afternoon, guitarist Scott Black sat down with Overdrive to talk about said album, their steady rise to where they are now, and plans for the months ahead…

With the hustle and bustle of pre-gig activities, the Green Lung guitarist and I retreat to (what we thought would be) a quite space for a catch up ahead of their sold out headline show in Dublin’s Grand Social venue.

It seems that from the outside, the bands success has multiplied with each studio release and now, with the international strong presence of Nuclear Blast behind them, the future looks very bright indeed for the London five-piece.

Photo – Abigaël Paquet, exclusively for www.overdrive.ie © 2024

As we settle down, I ask Scott about the success of, ‘This Heathen Land‘, and if he, or the rest of the band, had any kind of anticipation as to just how well the album would be received…

Leaning forward in his chair, he comments, “It’s been very interesting from inside the band because we never really get to see the growth until we get out on tour, but there are certain things like getting the Number one Rock album, and also the Kerrang! cover.

These are things I could only have imagined when I was fifteen years old and just thinking; “Imagine being on the cover of that magazine?”. The reality is that it’s a great achievement but it’s just a small piece of what we’re trying to do and with that being said, we just keep on trucking because the actual tangible reality of life stays exactly the same”, he says with a gentle smile.

I believe they call it ‘hedonic adaption’, where the likes of say, Stevie Wonder just wakes up and goes about his day, even though there are amazing things that are happening around him. It just becomes part of the day-to-day of life for people like that, and I’ve only just experienced a tiny example of this, and even though I’m so grateful, when I was fifteen, I thought it would feel so much more different“, he concludes.

Conversation moves to the current tour that has seen the band take in dates across the UK mainland EU, and now Ireland, with particular focus on the setlist and how they have been adjusting it and incorporating new tracks from, ‘This Heathen Land‘, over the weeks and months since it’s release back in November 2023.

We are playing almost all of the album on the whole tour. The only track that we didn’t include for a long period of time was ‘Ancient Lands’ which are currently playing live. So, yeah, we’re playing all of the new album and some of our favourite tracks from previous albums“, he states.

To be able to go out and celebrate the new album is just such a fantastic feeling. I know that other bands tend to only play a few new songs when they release a new album, but this is something that we really wanted to do. The reaction has been incredible so far. I’m almost taken aback at times when we visit new places, like Ireland for example, and we are performing to full rooms and people know the words to all the songs. It’s fantastic!” he says excitedly.

Photo – Abigaël Paquet, exclusively for www.overdrive.ie © 2024

With the bands previous album falling under the remit first with Kozmic Artifatcz for 2019’s ‘Woodland Rites‘ then to Svart Records (re-issue of ‘Free The Witch‘ & ‘Woodland Rites‘), for 2021’s ‘Black Harvest‘, the decision to take an offer from Nuclear Blast saw the latest album as the first with the legendary label. As we discuss the move to NB, Scott tells me about the impact of the labels presence and how it’s benefited the band with potential for breaking the American market….

Being on Nuclear Blast is huge for us“, he says, “...considering we all have full-time jobs, it can get difficult that with all the minutia that is involved when releasing an album independently. So, having a big label such as Nuclear Blast has definitely made a big difference to us, as it’s not so much about “budget”, but more about manpower, which means that we can concentrate on the important things that really matter” he explains.

Another huge thing for us, especially since we came from a DIY scene, is sometimes it can be difficult to throw off the idea of us being a, “pub band”, or a London Doom band from the toilet circuit, and that’s something that stayed with us for a long time. We finally got to the point where the band had grown much more than that, and I do think now that we are regarded as a UK Metal band, rather than a local band, stuck in one particular scene”.

With talk of the American market, there it seems that Green Lung’s arrival stateside is imminent at this stage, and judging by the growing interest in the band, both here and overseas, I have no doubt that they are going to make a serious dent in the North American heavy music community, but are they prepared to endure (what will no doubt be) a painfully cramped, and laborious jaunt across America’s toilet circuit to being with?

Nodding his head in agreement and laughing, he responds,”I don’t know if we’ll be over there for long periods, ie, six months at a time, but the plans are definitely in play at the moment with regards to administrative things like visa’s etc”, he says. “We have never played a show in America and we’re all very much aware of the work that needs to be put into such a vast country, but I think the best way to approach this is with one step at a time, or in this case, one gig at a time. We are definitely over there in September for Desert Fest New York, and we’re just waiting for all the pieces to fall into place for a full-blown North American tour“.

Pic – Exposing Shadows Photography for www.overdrive.ie © 2024 All Rights Reserved.

For those that caught Green Lung at Bloodstock Festival back when the UK was slowly and very precariously emerging from the lockdown period in 2021, you will know that they were one of the most talked-about bands on the bill from that year. So much so, that they have been invited back for their debut on the Ronnie James Dio stage, and as Scott tells me, they are beyond excited to get back to Catton Park…

That was one of the biggest shows that we had played at that point in our career. It was such an incredible experience and we can not wait to get back there again this August. In fact, I believe that this will be the biggest outdoor show we’ll have ever played. It’s gonna be a fantastic experience and to be on the same day as Opeth and Clutch, that’s just a dream”.

As the bands stage time approaches, conversation drifts to Green Lung’s plans upon their return from American in Autumn and into 2025…

2025 is hopefully going to be a big year for Green Lung“, he says smiling. “There are lots and lots of plans in the mix right now. This year has definitely been one of our busiest with regards to touring, but we are also very conscious to not overplay and also, it must be known that we all have wives and lives and we need to have that balance. But I can say that we are beginning to think about album number four, and next year will most likely see us diving right into that process”, he teases.

With the mention of a new album, I had to ask if there was any material currently in progress and if so, could he provide updates on any possible new ideas…

Everything is very much in it’s infancy” he explains. “We’re certainly thinking about what direction we may be going in. For example; ‘Woodland Rites’ was coming from the theory of, “what would it sound like if Brian May was in Black Sabbath?“, ‘Black Harvest’ was very much inspired by Deep Purple, and ‘This Heathen Land’ was very much us going deep on a Martin Birch-inspired journey. We have become as maximalist and as polished as we want to with ‘This Heathen Land’, so I think it would be really interesting to do something in the other direction, and by that I mean a lot more aggressive and stripped back”, he says intently.

Something that I really enjoy about Green Lung is melding classic songwriting sensibilities and I believe that you can get more leeway by going with a more aggressive sound. Almost going the very opposite of sugar-coating things, and really ramp-up the fuzz, and still make it hit hard! I think playing with that concept and trying to make the heaviest proto-metal album that we can, will take us to new territories”, he confirms.

Photo – Abigaël Paquet, exclusively for www.overdrive.ie © 2024

With the bands lyrical context firmly rooted in British folklore, I push to find out if that will be a mainstay for Green Lung, or does he see them make a departure into a wider realm of concepts going forward…

Taking a moment to respond, he leans forward saying, “I think “Britannia” will always be present within the concepts that we create for our music. Will we include a wider scope for lyrics etc going forward? I don’t think Tom is particularly keen on writing about things outside of the UK. I think there’s an element of authenticity, and in some ways, it’s a love letter to spooky Britannia“.

Green Lung’s latest album ‘This Heathen Land‘ is out now via Nuclear Blast Records. Click here to purchase a copy and to find out more about the band.

Oran O’Beirne

www.overdrive.ie 2024