Jesse, His Masters Voice - The Devil's Blues on Skulls of Wrath

Welcome to the Skulls of Wrath Podcast show.

As a part of the first show as "Skulls of Wrath", I present my chat with vocalist, Jesse, from His Masters Voice- The Devils Blues an Auckland (New Zealand) based Bluesy Hard rock band.

Original show link:

I've found myself becoming quite a fan of the band's most recent E.P, "Woman".

Please see below for a painstakingly transcribed text of the interview. My joints now hurt...

Today we feature, for E.P of the week/ Music release of the week,  we feature Auckland band His Masters Voice- The Devils Blues. These guys have been around for a few years now, this E.P is the band 3rd release. Infact I understand the 1st two releases are released on vinyl, via European outfit, cosmic artifactz or some such thing. As well as a few north island tours the band has on the cards coming up.Anyway, the reason why I’ve chosen this as E.P of the week, and was meant to have released this before now, but I decided to throw a spanner in the works and change the name… is that I'm a big fan of it and I think more people should check it out. The E.P was released in the beginning of October 2017, and as I mentioned, it marks the bands 3rd release. With ‘Woman’, the band channels a bluesy- hard rock riffing sound that I find akin to bands like Sweden’s Graveyard, but sounding transplanted from some unknown era and county from a post-BB King United States. 

Jesse, vocalist from His Masters Voice, what’dya think of that?
J: I think you hit the nail on the head there.

So.W: How's it going with the band- this is the bands third release...
J: Third release, yep. Third E.P. Four songs, it took a little while to come out but it's out now, and out physically very shortly. We're excited for it, and the E.P release as well.

SoW: Are you finding wide spread support, especially considering half the bands previous band (Cripple Mr Onion), for your new work/ new sound?
J: Yeah, there's heaps of support. A lot of the support is coming from overseas as well, with random people putting our stuff up on youtube, getting countless likes and listens. Nah, Yeah, Supports been great so far. Got a good little team behind us.

SoW: Speaking international- you got plans of heading overseas?
J: Uh, I don't know- if I won lotto... I'll just take myself, the band can sort themselves out. Nah, I suppose, if we were to go overseas the first port of call would be Melbourne . Seems to be a big hub.

SoW: Apart from being on 95bFM an being into Motorhead, but with the guys from Cripple Mr Onion, certainly in the realms of rock music you couldn't get more polar opposite sounds..
J: Yeah, it's quite true. I think, just- it's cliche but all the stars aligned. I was working with the drummers missus at the time, we ended up hooking up that way. I met Az, and Az is a Zakk Wylde freak, and I don't mind a bit of Zakk Wylde. We met Brandan, our bass player on the day of our first rehearsal- so we didn't know Brendan prior to the music i think Rene did... Yeah, we just met up and became buddies and started making some ruckus music together. It all happened pretty easy, actually.

S.o.W: The aesthetics of the band (referring to gig photos)
J: What? You got two dreadlocked people, a hippie- me- and then you got Brendan our bass player with his luscious locks.

S.o.W: Yeah, can you imagine I brought someone to one of your shows, and I'm like, you're gonna love it, then Rene and Az walks on, heavily tattoo'd and dreadlocks literally down to their arses. There comes Brendan, a more normal musician looking person, then you rock on stage with a poncho.
J:Yeah, at the weekend, at the first Devilskin support in Hamilton, tis guys says to me "I saw you come on stage and I thought, christ what's this hippy doing here- are you a hippy?" and I said, "You're damn right I am." he says "Good, you own it then." It's not a whole lot of stage antics, like we don't get dressed up or anything like that. I like to have something on that makes me look a bit stupid.

S.o.W: I guess this type of music doesn't really call for the fireworks and Kiss makeup, really, does it?
J: No, we're not there yet. We've done one Halloween show before, where we all dressed up like idiots. Nah- nothing too flashy on stage, just the music and a bit of hair flying around.

S.o.W: Listening to some of your previous work, you hear Black Sabbath in there, with this one it seems more focused i guess.
J: Yeah, more focused. Probably less stressed when it came to recording as well. The other two previous E.P's we smashed out in a day or two, with very little time. This one it's taken the best part of a year from planning to releasing. So, yeah a bit more thought, I suppose we're weren't as green on the first two- but you're always a little bit..

S.o.W: It sounded like you had a clearer vision of what you wanted it to sound like, what you wanted your sound to be.
J: Yeah, it came pretty naturally. I mean the first on "Possession", the second one "Save My Soul" and now this one "Woman", they lean towards some sort of thought. This one's [Woman] is probably a bit more swaggery, about all the naughty excesses and the heart break at the end of it.

S.o.W: Auto-biographical at all?
J: ooooh, little bit.

S.o.W: I was reading somewhere that the last, self title track [Woman] is less road tested than the rest.
J: Yeah, it's quite a hard song to perform, not because of what I'm singing about, it's just a tough song Some nights I'd be confident with doing it, but most of the time I'm not, so I'd rather keep it in the wings and perform it and give it 110%. I don't really consider myself a singer, just a sort of yeller, in tune, sometimes.

S.o.W: Kind of along those lines, it's easy in hard rock, metal for the yellers and screamers to get away with things, in a certain respect, and with your work on this one, there's a certain lack of the 'kiwi cringe', hard to pin point.
J: Yep, I know what you mean. It's hard to describe but I know what you mean.

S.o.W: With the more challenging track like 'Woman' I would've expected a fair amount of cringe coming out of it, but did you keep that in mind with reducing kiwi accent and the added bluesy flares of the organs...
J: The organs were something that sort of  put in later. Paul, the guy who produced the album, he suggested them and we said run with them. Everything seems to be happening quite naturally with the music so what ever the end result is just luck that it doesn't have a cringey aspect to it.

S.o.W: I can't seem to escape the riff driven bluesy rock sounds on the podcast....
J: I always go back to my original heroes, Motorhead, 'Sabbath, B.B King.

S.o.W: speaking of Black Sabbath- did you see their doco The End of the End"?
J: I did see.. I saw them three times on their last tour, that was awesome.

S.o.W: Well that trumps me, I missed out on seeing them live, I just saw the doco, I got nothing else. I've seen Black Sabbath with Dio- and if I'm being honest he was my favourite Black Sabbath singer
J: That's alright.

S.o.W: I've seen Ozzy Osbourne perform with his own band overseas, so I know what natural born performer he is.
J: Actually, this last show we played, in support of Devilskin, scared the shit out of me. I'd never played to that many people., Altitude, the place, was packed. I was nervous as all hell, didn't know what to do, so I just looked at my feet and closed my eyes, tap, there's no place like home.

S.o.W: So you've just done Kings Arms size gigs till now then?
J: Yeah, Kings Arms has been home for us; Whammy Bar- obviously that's becoming a second home for us now with the Kings Arms[being sold]. We've played quite a bit in Hamilton, a place called The Nivara Lounge- the guys there are as hospitable as all hell. Apart from that we've probably played Napier the most. Played Christchurch a couple of times. Yeah, Wellington, it's ll good fun.

S.o.W: Any plans to play bigger/ larger tours?
J: We'd love to if we get invited. We'd love to play at Spark Arena, we're playing at the Powerstation next week, which is a huge thing for me, so much so that I'm bringing me ol' Mum around so she can see her son making a fool of himself on stage. So we're at the Powerstation next week, which is very cool- how many of my heroes I've seen on stage there, amazing. Apparently, they have showers back stage which means I'll be able to have a shower. My pre-show ritual is a nervous watery shit and a shower. It's always the same, never different- doesn't matter where I am, whether I have to put my head in a sink i just got to do it.

S.o.W: also, Merch?
J: Got some lovely new merch coming along, three different colours, a different backdrop, and of course the C.D. We also have vinyl coming out as well- shall be amazing.

S.o.W: with the rather risque artwork [of E.P Woman] a slab of vinyl would look quite interesting.
J: Oh, actually it's sort of like our debut album- it's a blend of the first two E.P's so that'll be hot. I remember saying to the boys that 'Damn we should've put this out as an album", "That's what we're doing, Jesse." right.

S.o.W: how'd you land on "His Masters Voice" for a band name?
J: It's a things that's been floating around for a while, obviously with the label and the painting the label took it from. It was a painting of the little doggie, and pretty much we hope we don't get '"cease and desist" That's what the tag line 'The Devils Blues' is about, to break that mold so it's not completely all.


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