Miss Lava interview
Lisbon, Portugal’s Miss Lava returned this winter with its sophomore album, “Red Supergiant“. The album finds the quartet continuing to build on and define its heavy stoner metal signature. The band, which features vocalist Johnny Lee, guitarist K. Raffah, bassist Samuel Ribero and drummer J. Garcia, released its debut, “Blues For The Dangerous Miles” in 2009.
This week Metalholic had an opportunity to catch up with guitarist K. Raffah to talk about “Red Supergiant“, working with legendary album producer Matt Hyde (Slayer, Children of Bodom, Hatebreed), and the band’s upcoming plans for 2013.
Check out the interview below!
Obviously there is a lot of stoner rock influence in your music, although you do have a rather unique sound. Name a couple of bands that have the most influence on your music and how this has helped you in your success.
“I guess that when we first met bands like Monster Magnet, Queens and Corrosion of Conformity (Pepper singing era) were the main point of convergence between all of us. That kind of stoner with a clean FM sound maybe. And after that Kyuss of course, and Entombed. All of us had a very heavy past. I guess the fact that we had this convergence point made it clear where we are going as a band. And happily everything we do has been a natural step in that direction.”
Sometimes bands that have had success with their last album experience a letdown on their next album as success gets taken for granted and they attempt to ride that success through the next album. After the success of your debut album “Blues for the Dangerous Miles“, how did you prepare for “Red Supergiant” to ensure that there was no such letdown?
“We just did things as we always did. Kept writing stuff and pre-produced everything. I think this time we were more focused in the studio (during pre-production and during the album sessions). We definetely pushed it harder on ourselves and i think it shows. To give you an example, Johnny recorded the album 2 times because he wasn’t happy with it. To me, the hardest part of making a second album is the time for writing, as you’re on the road promoting your first effort.”
Producer Matt Hyde is a mastering genius and practically a legend. How was it to work with him?
“It was great and we learned a lot. He’s a great guy and he was really into the band. And we love the sound he put on the record: gnarly but clean. However, working with such a huge distance can be complicated. For instance, you wanna change something and you’re right next to the guy, you get the result you’re looking for in 5 minutes. Through e-mail, its like 4 days of e-mails back and forth… you get the picture. And then you have an unknown band that is pretty sure on the direction it wants to take, and a Grammy award winner on the other side… when the two parts thought differently about a subject it was… how should I put it… fought over.
“Oh yeah… Imagine a cat running around the studio. Now imagine the cat playing with the cable that connects the disk to the computer…. Yeah… we almost lost everything in this album, but we managed to recover the files with pirate software! Then when Samuel was recording the bass, he slipped on some stairs and bam! Broke his arm… This led to a huge delay, and we got to L.A. to meet Matt with only half of the album done… And his agenda was totally full after that, with the Deftones and other bands… Another one: when we flew to L.A., we took different flights. Me and Garcia went through Madrid, and Johnny and Samuel went through New York. But their flight got cancelled because of the hurricane… This was really a supergiant to complete!”
The riffs are amazing on this album. Describe your writing process for “Red Supergiant”.
“Thanks! We don’t have many rules. We jam or someone comes in the rehearsal room with something. Just feeling free to see what comes up. Then, we all work on it so each song can have a direct contribution of the four of us. But normally we start with the instrumental part of the song. Johnny likes to dive into the vibe before he writes.”
“It has been great. We’re getting some mails, requests for signed stuff and the shows, people really sing the songs, buy the merch and the record. So it’s going pretty pretty good I’d say.”
Tell me about the first single- “Ride.”
“It’s just one of those things. We were looking for a new rehearsal room and a friend of ours (BIBI from Men Eater and Riding Panico) has this studio with a lot of differentand vintage gear. We started jamming and like 90% of Ride came out on the first 10 minutes of reheasal. Just fooling around with amps and pedals and shit. The lyrics talk about an introspective voyage, that search you sometimes have to do to get things sorted out with yourself and the world. We decide to make it the single because it somehow sums up what goes on the album music wise. Heavy heavy chorus and a wider landscape on the verses.”
I know you toured with Truckfighters in 2012 and have some shows lined up in Europe. Any thoughts/plans for a larger tour that might take you into the U.S?
“We did a launch tour with the Truckfighters in October 2012. 4 shows. It was amazing. We are fans of them, so to see them live every night was so cool. And they put on a hell of a show. As for the US, let’s see. We played the Whisky a Go Go back in 2011, but it was like a one shot kind of thing. We’ve talking to some partners and if we can develop a relationship with a label or agency things start to take another shape. We loved it out there and definitely want to come back and rock the fuck out.”
“We’re working on European dates on different countries and we have a few Portuguese festivals lined up. Right now we’re finishing the video for our next single ‘Yesterday’s Gone’. It was shot at the Truckfighters dates by our good friend Mike Ghost (We Are the Damned and Men Eater). Our family is growing, as Garcia and Samuel are gonna be dads this year. So, it will be playing live and loud, writing some new stuff and not getting much sleep! Ha!”
Upcoming Miss Lava shows include the Stonefest Music Festival on July 5 in Spain and Super Bock Super Rock on July 20 in Portugal. You can download the first single release “Ride” from the band’s website http://www.misslava.com/.