EMQ’s with SAIL
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Taunton, Somerset based Melodic Sludge/Prog Metal band, Sail. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Charlie Dowzell for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Charlie Dowzell, vocalist and guitarist in Sail. The history is a long and well-trodden path, but the four of us have been jamming together properly since 2014. Prior to that Tom, Tim and myself were in another band which morphed into Sail, but since Kynan joined us it really took off and became Sail as we know it. Our first gig with this line-up was in a brewery and it was so loud we shook all the bottles off the walls, and at that moment I knew it was meant to be.
How did you come up with your band name?
Strife. Strife, and throwing things at the wall and see what stuck. We sat down and had a looooot of coffees trying to figure out what would work best for us, and eventually the suggestion of ‘Sail’ came up and we all sorta went ‘…yeah, that’s it.’ And we saw that it was good.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We hail from the southwest of the UK, in a county known as Somerset, where folks like to drink fermented apples and tell people to get off their land. The metal scene is actually pretty good down here! We have Plymouth which has a couple of amazing venues with good followings; Exeter is home to the Cavern and the Uni’s Rocksoc there are absolute diamonds; Bridgwater is home to The Cobblestones (absolutely one of the UK’s greatest underground venues bar none!) and our spiritual home; Bristol is home to countless venues – Old England, Exchange, Fleece, to name a few – and the community there is vibrant and passionate. There’s a lot of distance between these places but feck aye they’re amazing hubs.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
We’re in the promotion cycle for our latest single ‘Mannequin’. It’s an older song of ours that we committed to record late in 2019; we’re working on a few other bits but we’ve a cool lockdown video to release for Mannequin alongside a longer, ‘Director’s Cut’ version and synth remix of the song courtesy of our very own Kynan Scott. The artwork is rad as hell, courtesy of Elle Romaine (Umbrelle), a good friend of ours and an extremely talented UK-based tattoo artist. Hit her up if you want skin etchings, y’all!
Who have been your greatest influences?
The band have a few more obvious influences – we play something that sounds like sludge metal, punk, grunge, and melodic rock had a very strange child. I call it Rock Music but use whatever term works for you. We love all sorts, from the more obvious choices like Baroness and Red Fang to folks like Com Truise, IDLES, Billie Eilish and Kate Bush, to name a few. As for me, I grew up on 70’s rock (thanks Dad), Deep Purple and Whitesnake did a lot for me with their unbelievable line-ups of extremely talented and tasteful guitarists. In my late teens I discovered Sleep and psychedelic music, which was a fun time and a big game-changer.
What first got you into music?
My parents were always listening to music, so I blame them. Mum would always have Queen’s Greatest Hits and Abba on common rotation, so they wormed their way into my head. That, and the Bee Gees, who are great. Like I say, Dad was a man of the 70’s rock so that took hold, too. As for getting into *playing* music, when I was 14 I came across a bunch of live videos of Dio and Whitesnake doing their thing, and this guy Doug Aldrich – looks the part, sounds the part, a killer guitarist – just owned the stage, and to this day I remember watching Whitesnake playing Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ and I remember going, ‘I need to pick up a guitar’. And the rest is history, or something like that.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I’m big into the blues, so there’s this guy ‘Kingfish’, he’s a younger guy and absolutely kills it. Would be amazing to jam with him, really dig into the feels. Kingfish, or Joe Bonamassa would be cool. Devin Townsend would be so so fun to jam with though, the ideas would be limitless!
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
So, I went to Hellfest in France when I was 19 and it was such a cool vibe. I’d love to play Hellfest, those massive European metal fests have the coolest crowds. We have Arctangent and Desertfest here in the UK, smaller fests but super super cool in their own fields and I’d have a beautiful time playing them. Big up!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Weirdest from a fan, not so sure. But once our drummer’s mum baked a ‘Sail’ pie, that was excellent. And tasty too, I’m told!
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Love to you all. Stay well, stay safe, buy our sh*t.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Can I put Gary Moore under the moniker of Rockstar (too damn right you can – Rick)? Famed for his bluesiness I know but he did play with Thin Lizzy, so I guess he still counts. Feelsy as all hell and genuinely one of the greatest guitarists there was.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The biggest plus is the creativity, far and away. Expressing yourself in ways that words don’t, or can’t. Writing music that reflects feelings and vibes and emotions in a way that transcends language and the human barrier is beautiful. And getting to do that with three other incredibly talented, like-minded friends is beautiful. The worst part, honestly? How expensive it is. Sure, you can get guitars and amps and FX reasonably cheap. But the touring, the promotion, the production – to do it right, you gotta be ready to part with moolah. It’s a graft, but it’s worth it.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
How apparently impossible it is to work your way up. Don’t get me wrong – it’s about the journey and the experiences along the way – but it strikes me that, as with so many other industries, it’s nigh unsustainable until you ‘make it big’ upon which there’s too much money. I dunno, it’s a skewed industry I suppose. I’d also change how so many grassroots venues are going from hand-to-mouth because of the financial imbalance across the industry. I guess that’s two things, but you get my drift.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Burn”, by Deep Purple. Ferocious, hooky, soulful, swaggery, full of balls. It’s a masterclass in heavy bluesy rock.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
There is no best – whatever medium works best for the listener. They are all good provided somebody’s consuming it and listening to the music!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
There have been a few standout ones, for sure. Some of our recent shows have been incredible. We played with OHHMS in Bristol a while back and had an absolute blast. We played the Godney Gathering, an open-air festival in Glastonbury, when the sun was setting which was so so cool. Every gig we’ve ever played in Southampton, Bridgwater and Exeter have been wonderful – the crowds and communities there are viciously passionate and absolutely make the gigs supremely special. In 2018 we played the finals heat of the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses to (I think?) about 200-250 folks; massive stage, massive room, massive crowd. Amazing times.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Likely talking at people about how Allosaurus is the best dinosaur or why Stalingrad was the turning point of the Second World War. I’d be working in a museum or as a history lecturer somewhere, I imagine. That, or I’d be a god-damn waster. Either or.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Can I say Jeff Goldblum five times over? How mad would that be? But yeah. Jeff Goldblum, Bill Bailey, Mary Anning, Doug Aldrich, and probably someone like Lewis Hamilton or Colin McRae.
What’s next for the band?
So, we’re sorting stuff for the Mannequin release now, but we’re mid-writing; we’ve been working on a second album for quite a while now. We’ve had a few off-periods, so it’s been in the works for a while, but we’ve locked in on a vibe and the music is super super cool. Really angry, real heavy, to-the-point. Can’t wait to see how the rest of it shapes up. We’re allegedly recording in September, but the world finds itself in a state of ‘every day as it comes’ with Covid and all that, so we’ll see. But either way, there’ll be an album in the not too distant future, and I very much hope some tours to follow!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
You can find us on all the good social media outlets; or ‘Sail Band’ on Facebook, ‘thebandsail’ on Bandcamp, Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on all the platforms for news regarding releases, shows, and whatnot. We also post a lot of fun dumb content; we played D&D on a livestream and I got to play a dickhead bard which was good fun.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Are they a terrestrial earth-form, or a cosmic horror entity? Edible or mind-altering state of being? Who knows. They’re certainly very tasty.
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