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Monday 22 July 2019

The Spotlight: BOA New Blood Interview With Widows (Paul H)

James Kidd is guitarist with Widows, the Nottinghamshire stoner/sludge masters who won their M2TM event. James took the time to update us on all things heavy about Widows, in an interview well worth reading.

Paul: Let’s start with a brief history of the band

James: We were formed in the mists of time, many moons ago; Myspace ruled the earth, Slayer had just started their farewell tour and straight haired emo kids roamed free. But in real terms, we came together in early 2008 after mine and Adam (Jolliffe, vox) old band fell apart, we were bored of playing straight up “metal” and looking to take a different direction. The first EP was demoed entirely in my bedroom over the course of the next three months with Adam’s help. We used that demo to lure in ZeBig to play drums for us and later Evan the Greek on bass. We’ve had numerous line-up changes since then but I’m very happy with what we’ve got now.

Paul: Who is the current line up?

James: James Kidd – Guitar, Adam Jolliffe – Vox, Phil Emblin – Bass, Adam Sharrocks - Drums

Paul: Describe the band’s sound and influences

James: I’d say we’re for fans of (in no particular order) Clutch, Down, EHG, Torche, and Mastodon. Each one of those bands has had an influence on our sound and playing styles over the years. I mean, I could sit here all day and list bands that have influenced us but…. I’m not going to put you through that. Sound wise, it’s loud, abrasive, and aggressive; big riffs don’t sound good quiet.

Paul: Prior to Bloodstock, what are some of the highlights for the band so far?

James: Playing the very first Desert Fest was an early win for us, touring Europe with Tombstones was great fun too. More recently, our launch shows for Oh Deer God were off the chain, but so far this year the highlight was winning M2TM Notts, of course!!

Paul: Let’s move on to Bloodstock and your road to the festival. Please tell us about your journey?

James: We’d actually started the journey a few years ago when we played the M2TM event up in Mansfield back in 2015, we got through to the final but due to a number of reasons we weren’t able to compete on the date so disappointingly had to give up our slot. Once we were back up and running with Adam Sharrocks behind the kit after ZeBig left to join Iron Monkey, we were all pretty hungry to get gigging and people had been bugging us for years about getting on the bill for BOA. We’d had no luck trying to get booked so far so we figured why not give M2TM a shot? It was great hearing our name announced as winners at the final as we were up against some good competition!

Paul: Tell us about the build up to your final and how you handled it?

James: We tried to keep the sets interesting by changing the tracks up for each show and we knew we had to bring out the big guns for the final so we spent a lot of time on making sure the set flowed right, and also on stage directions to ensure the songs transitioned well, rather than the old ‘dead-stop, “thank you! This one’s called….”’. I felt that made a real difference as it felt more like a show than just four dudes playing seven songs.

Paul: What about when you were announced as winners? What were the emotions like?

James: Initially I was just relieved that we’d placed, then about half a second later I was like “oh shit, we actually won!” Not gonna lie, I was nervous when they were announcing it ha-ha! The next half hour was a bit of a blur of photos, detail swapping, and interviews but was a fun wave to ride.

Paul: So, moving on to the festival itself, what can we expect from you?
James: We’ll be there with bells on! We’re excited for our first outdoor festival and will definitely be bringing all the riffs! All. The. Riffs!!

Paul: Which bands are you looking forward to seeing there?

James: Barbarian Hermit, Boss Keloid, Bong Cauldron (all the B’s), and obviously the Scorpions \m/ Might check out Soulfly as well, I was big into them as an angry 16-year-old greeb back in the day. It’ll be cool seeing Parkway Drive on that main stage too, mine and Adam (Jolliffe)’s old band played with them in Nottingham back in 2005 and I put them up for the night afterwards. It was obvious nearly 15 years ago those boys were going places so it’s kind of cool that our paths have both circled back to this point.

Paul: Have you been to Bloodstock before?

James: We have, yes….  (Concise I like it - Ed)

Paul: Describe the three best things about the festival.

James: I really like the size of the place. Big enough to be a proper festival, but small enough that you’re not trekking for miles to get between your tent and the stages. The vibe is great too, the staff were all lovely and there was no aggro or posturing nonsense going on either in the crowds or from the staff. Finally, the booze selection was pretty immense if I remember rightly. The VIP area had the most beers I’ve seen at a festival bar!

Paul: And finally, tell us a guilty pleasure about each member of the band!

James: That thing where you blow up an armband then lube up the inside with Vaseline….no? Not that kind of guilty pleasure? Ok then. Well, I can’t really speak for the rest of the lads but musically at least, I have a real penchant for really awful cocktail lounge jazz, stuff that’s so cheesy it drops off the bottom of the scale and comes back at the top as awesome. So bad it’s good! I’ve got two or three Mezzoforte records on LP, plus a bunch more other stuff on CD or mp3, it may well become a problem in the future haha

Many thanks to James for getting involved. I must admit I’m partial to the big stoner sound so am looking forward to some heavy riffs. Widows bring the noise on Saturday 10th August in the New Blood Stage. I’ll see you there!

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