Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fog of War Interview

Hello all... I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Fog of War frontman Josh "Mosh" Branum. In the interview he talks about the new album, experimenting with a 3rd lead guitarist, influences and everything else Fog of War. I hope you all enjoy, and be sure to like Fog of War on Facebook to stay updated with their progress. 

SFM - Let's just start with the basics for the readers who may not know you. How would you describe your sound? Where are you from? How many releases do you have out?

Josh - To me, Fog of War has always seemed to bridge the gap between some of the more technical aspects of thrash with the energy and attitude of crossover and hardcore punk, with more bits of technicality and melody gained with each new song. The entire band is from Benicia, California, a little slice of nowhere sandwiched between larger cities in the greater SF Bay Area. We currently have 3 official releases (demo, full length, EP) and one unofficial demo from '05 that was passed around on blank CD-Rs in town. Our self titled full length was recently re-released with bonus tracks, new artwork, new photos and a lyric sheet on Stormspell Records.

SFM - Well that's quite a bit that you guys have accomplished in such a short time. Now as far as I know you have a new album that you're working on. How has that been coming along? Have you guys changed/enhanced your sound at all since your previous full-length?

Josh - The new album has been coming along great! We've recently hit a hot streak in terms of writing! Our writing approach is very methodical, and being a bunch of perfectionists, tends to take forever, but lately it's been moving along pretty quickly! Our sound has definitely morphed quite a bit since the last release, we've shed most of the punkier aspects of our music and moved towards a much more refined power/thrash sound. We're not exactly writing about wizards and dragons (yet, haha), but the often-traveled lyrical themes such as partying, thrashing, and poser bashing are long, long gone. The tracks on this new record aren't just songs, they all tell stories or are written to provoke thought.

SFM - It's great to hear that you're on the right path with the new record as well as finding your own genuine sound. You also have added a third guitarist to the group making you one of the only (in not the only) newer thrash band with 3. Has this given you more room for experimentation in lead playing or riff writing?

Josh - We're having way, way too much fun with the 3rd guitar. When we decided to try it, I knew it was either going to work out amazingly, or be a total train wreck, luckily for us, it ended up being the smartest move we've ever made. Since the other two guitarists are both veteran members of the band who played with us at different times, the bond the band's always had just became stronger. We have so much room to add massive amounts of ambiance and melody to our songs, that they all sound very "big" and full, and we're also able to achieve CD quality live performances now, with the ability to back up harmonies with a rhythm guitar or add little bits that weren't possible with just two guitars. It's also led to more experimentation in the harmony department, we can now attain some of the most powerful sounding harmonies I've ever heard.

SFM - I am definitely looking forward to hearing how the new material will be coming along. Speaking of your material, who would you say are your biggest influences when it comes to writing for Fog of War?

Josh - We're heavily influenced by all the thrash greats, Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Artillery, Holy Terror, Evildead, Intruder etc, as well as a ton of heavy and power metal acts like Blind Guardian, Helloween, Raven, Iron Maiden, Saxon, all the classics! Some of the guys really draw influence from progressive bands like Rush and Three as well, the mixture of influences keeps things really interesting. I'd even say blues and jazz to some extent as well, we jam a lot of bluesy stuff when we're goofing around at practice. We're also going to be taking a stab at writing a little jazz piece for the new record as well, we don't really like being boxed in to one specific genre. That's when things get boring.

SFM - Do you have any plans to tour at all once the new record is released?

Josh - We hope to do a west coast tour to support the record to start with, after that, who knows? We'd love to make it over to the east coast though, we've had a ton of support from the thrashers there!

SFM - Well I'd love to see you guys here down in LA. Are you a fan of any of the newer thrash bands around? If so, who would be some of your favorites?

Josh - Definitely Hatchet, Razormaze, Hexen, Funerot, Exmortus, Witchaven, Deathstryke and Vektor, just to name a few. There's a ton of talent going around these days, and most bands really take pride in being excellent musicians, which is awesome. It's really cool to watch a band progress with each new release. A lot of it definitely has its own sound too, not too many new groups just blatantly worship the old-school bands as much as you might expect, save for a few that do it intentionally.

SFM - Speaking of the newer bands, is there any kind of metal scene in Benicia or do you have to travel to the Bay Area for gigs?

Josh - None whatsoever! Back in our early days we would do house shows or play coffee shops, we even played in a National Guard armory once, that was pretty cool, but most of the shows in Benicia usually ended with cops showing up and threatening to arrest us for inciting a riot, apparently most cops have never seen a circle pit haha! So we pretty much understood we needed to get out there, and fast. We usually find ourselves in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, and lots more. Being a band with members that have full time jobs has its advantages and disadvantages, we're not dumpster diving behind Guitar Center for strings, which is great, but it's hard for us to get out of the bay area sometimes, which sucks. Responsibility and a career in music make for strange bedfellows haha!

SFM - Hopefully you'll find the time to make it down to Los Angeles and keep up the great work that you have all accomplished thus far. What would you say is your proudest moment or biggest achievement while playing with Fog of War?

Josh - Most definitely the first time we noticed people in the audience singing along, and this was back when we only had a demo out, so we were pretty shocked that anyone would take the time to get to know the songs that well, definitely an awesome feeling. Also putting out our first album independently was pretty rad too, to see years of hard work finally culminate, and even more, to see that people really liked it! The reviews and feedback we've gotten have all been great, and we are truly honored.

SFM - I'd like to thank you for your time and letting me interview you. Do you have any words for your fans?

Josh - Without you guys, there's nothing!!! Keep doing what you're doing, and never lose faith in metal! Thanks for all your support, and we guarantee our new album will exceed all expectation! Prepare for an album for the ages!!!

Be sure to check out Fog of War on Facebook and like their page!

No comments:

Post a Comment