||ORCHESTRAL MANOUEVRES IN THE DARK STARRING ALICE IN CHAINS, MASTODON AND THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN
Sara Harding – TV Producer – Classic Rock Awards, Metal Hammer Golden Gods, Kerrang! TV, Scuzz and Headbangers Ball
On the hottest night of the year, loads of us journos made a very sweaty pilgrimage to trendy Shoreditch and the Sonos Studio to meet the legends behind stonking new supergroup, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra.
As we entered the air conditioned studio and revived ourselves with a much needed cool beer, my Alice In Chains mate, singer William DuVall, is happily wondering around chatting to us all obviously very excited about this supersonic project happily acronymned as GTO.
The band was formed by Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan a couple of years back as he wanted to create a new sonic baby made up from some of the most inspirational musicians he had had the pleasure of touring with. And what a line-up it is. The current GTO incarnation features Ben, Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Dethklok bassist Pete Griffin and The Mars Volta drummer Thomas Prigden. Original singers included Juliette Lewis but the band have now firmly settled with Alice In Chains vocalist DuVall. And what a powerhouse this band is.
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As we were treated to five tracks from the band's debut album 'Broken Lines', it was an aural journey almost as hot as my tube ride to this showcase. Each track is strong, brutal, skilled, gnarly, crafted and epic with a nod to prog, dance, jazz, Metal and rock – it's a brilliant showcase of the different genres, skills and playing styles that every member of GTO bring to the table. So much so, it was hard for us to stay in our seats, as this is one of those albums you need to stand up and conduct to, like you would a finely honed orchestra.
This band are about synergy, not being a supergroup, and when questioned about the "supergroup" label Ben jumps in to say they are not, they are just a group of touring musicians who got together and put together a baby band. And like any new group they worry whether they will pull the punters in to their gigs or that the album will do well even though singer Will is already playing to sold out arenas as Alice In Chains open up for Guns n' Roses.
DuVall states that the GTO album and subsequent gigs have to be of a very high standard. He stresses that this band is a whole different animal (giraffe!) to Alice In Chains and he's very proud that this is a project that will and can exist on it's own.
Back to the album and the band are proud that this is a set of songs you can dance and headbang to. Ben reveals they are all tracks with attitude and it had to be just right: "There are a lot of strong dudes in this band, but this album had to be right." Although some of the time the band happily recorded from 9.00pm till 9.00am in their onesies. That I would have loved to see!
The band put down the tracks with Will writing and adding vocals later. This was done by laying down all the songs as finished then shipping them off to Will who had the daunting process of finishing each of them off. DuVall said he spent a long time driving around listening to the tracks and coming up with the lyrics. As these tracks were already laid off, he didn't want to change the arrangement so adapted his vocals to fit these finalised recordings.
It wasn't a normal set-up but the singer was happy to give it a bash and the end result is an album the whole band agree was very gratifying. Especially finishing title track 'Broken Lines' which the band originally called 'Frankenstein' as it was such a monster of a song to get right. But get it right they certainly did.
So album finished, the band finally all got together a month ago to rehearse for their upcoming live debut and were especially nervous of their Reading Festival show that happened this Bank holiday weekend. "No pressure then," they say and all laugh. And as Will concludes: "The rehearsals were great, and with shows like this coming up you just have to step up, no excuses (no pun intended)."
Which had all of us AiC fans rolling around as this showcase came to a brilliant end.
And according to the feedback on Twitter, Reading went very well indeed. Look our a live review on MetalTalk when the band hit London.