For the second successive year, PlanetMosh is delighted to be the main media partner, and main stage sponsor, for Monsters Of Rot V, the annual celebration of the best in the extreme Irish metal scene. As part of our continuing build up to the August 1 event, we today turn the spotlight on Drogheda’s Okus, and chat to Greg about the band’s story to date.
We started by asking what inspired the rather unusual band name..
Okus is a word from the Yoruba language of west Africa. It means a non-trusting person , a carcass and an extremely bad smell .
Musicians and bands always suffer from pigeon-holing, particularly by the media: so, for those who haven’t heard Okus before, how would they describe their style of music?
A broad mix of crust, punk , sludge and grind .
What are your musical influences, both individually and collectively? And how are these reflected in the band’s sound?
Discharge , Early Sepultura and Amebix. Not that I think we actually sound like any of those bands LOL
You have a new album, ‘Scourge’, due out in the near future: can you tell us a little bit about that… where was it recorded?
It was recorded in Dead Dog Studios in Drogheda Co Louth by our guitar player, Johnny Kerr. It’s his studio and is located at the back of his house. We are extremely hands on and like to do things DIY when it comes to our recording etc.
How much does it differ from your debut, in terms of overall progression of your sound?
Its way better tbh. A lot more time was put into it. The first [self-titled] album was pretty much written by me and our drummer, Crispo, as a two piece. We had lots more time to write and record this LP, which shows in the final sound. The slow bits are way slower, the fast parts are way faster and the general sound is way nastier.
You’re from Drogheda, which, for our English readers, is just south of the Irish border. Ireland, and particularly the Republic, seems to have a very active extreme metal scene at the moment – especially compared to here in Belfast. What would you attribute this to? Do you think the economic climate, for example, inspires musicians to turn to the darker side of music and vent their anger at what is happening that way?
I’m not sure that’s the case tbh! [There are] lots of great bands up north like War Iron , Slomatics and Fukhammer, who our guitar player also plays in. The political situation has definitely had an effect I reckon, as lots of bands are using it to inspire them lyrically, etc… as well as having time to practice and record as there is fuck all else to do!
Does the fact that the Irish scene is so active at the moment make it easier or more difficult for bands to get gigs – and, more importantly perhaps, get fans to those gigs? Are there enough decent venues, or do bands end up playing the same places to the same faces over and over again (certainly that I personally feel that it is an issue we have here in Belfast)?
It’s easier in my opinion to get gigs – but, you are correct that you end up playing to the same faces on a regular basis due to the scene being very small. That’s we try and get off the island as much as we can. We have some gigs at the GGI festival in Groningen (Holland) in September that we are really looking forward to.
As I said at the start, the reason we are chatting is because of Monsters Of Rot: have you played with any of the other bands on the bill before?
I haven’t, but Johnny has been there with Fuckhammer. He spoke very highly of the festival.
And are there any bands you are particularly looking forward to seeing?
[I’m] looking forward to Abaddon Incarnate, as its Steve, the bass player’s, last gig, and they are a savage live band .
So, what’s next for Okus after MOR? Presumably more live shows to promote the album?
We are in the process of getting the record out, so we will see what happens. We have some gigs booked in Drogheda, Dublin and Galway
Finally, do you have any message for anyone who is thinking of heading to MOR and hasn’t quite made up their minds yet?
Support the scene and get out to as many gigs as you can featuring Irish bands from north and south. There are some seriously great bands around at the moment who don’t get recognised as much as they should. If people don’t go to the gigs and support the bands, it’s pretty pointless.
We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Monsters Of Rot takes place at the Halfway Inn in Letterbreen, County Fermanagh, on Saturday August 1. It should be another great day, and one which PM certainly is looking forward to… even if Belfast noise merchants Bad Boat have been forced to pull out :-(