Sacred Mother Tongue’s Darrin South: The GunShy Email Interview

Darrin South

Last week, we brought you an exclusive stream of a Sacred Mother Tongue track, off the band’s new album, in stores today. To celebrate the album’s release, we sent the band’s Darrin South a few questions which he gladly answered for us in this latest GunShy interview.

What’s the scene like where you reside?
The scene here in Newcastle is quite dry to be totally honest. There are some good bands around but there’s a classic case of ‘guys in bands’ as opposed to ‘musicians.’ I’ve found this in various parts of the U.K., everyone wants to put a band together but none of them have the motivation to learn their instrument properly or take the band seriously enough to go anywhere. The only real talent I’ve seen up in this part of the country are the tribute bands. Those guys can play, and they’ve been around long enough to play on their strengths.

The U.K. scene in general is pretty good right now, there’s a lot more real rock and metal bands coming out. We’re getting more singers, more writers and just lately more and more bands that aren’t just adhering to the media led ‘cool’ scene. Its quite exiting!

Who were your chief influences?
Growing up I’ve always listened to the classics, the likes of Zepplin, Purple, Sabbath and Lizzy. My Dad is a huge fan of 70′s rock, he still plays now and has a power blues trio called ‘The Pat South Band.’ He loves it, so you can understand a strong musical push in my direction from a young age.

In more recent years as I’ve found my own inspiration, I’ve gathered quite a wide range of influences from Country music to extreme death metal. It’s difficult to know what I take from these artists, I think its all in there on a sub conscious level. I guess my favoured musical heroes are (in no particular order) Peter Dolving, Dave Mustaine, Tom DeLonge, Morrissey, Tim McGraw and Ville Valo.

Did you kind of realize while making this album you had something special on your hands?
Yeah, I think it hit us in the studio that something special was going down. We have tons of faith in our stuff but a lot of it is visionary guesswork until you start to actually lay it down in the studio. It’s the first chance you get to hear a rough version of the whole song, with all the harmonies, all the backing vocals, everything you were hearing in your head and were hoping was gonna work out. It all takes shape once the vocals are in, which is pretty much the last thing you record. That’s the point where you can physically hear whether you’ve written a song or not, and how good a song it really is. Until then you’re kinda riding blind, relying on your vision and a little faith.

Ghost: Worth the hype or overblown?
Worth the hype, but sadly not my thing. I think they’ve done a great thing for modern metal by bringing a bit of ‘Kiss’ style dramatics back into play. The costumes and that have been banished to the realms of black metal for far too long and I think it’s great that they’ve managed to bring it a bit more mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely more about the music and less about the gimmick; but why not a bit of theatre? So yeah, I’m all for it and I think they’re great players, it just lacks a bit in the area of songwriting for my liking. I think it’s important to remember the song is always king.

What’s your go-to record?
I have two actually; whenever I’m driving and I can’t decide what to listen to, if I’m in a foul mood and don’t know why, or if I’m in a good mood and need some rocking beats, if I’m tired and I need the stimulation; I’ll always opt for one of these two records. Countdown To Extinction by Megadeth is still my favourite MegaDave record ever and always has the desired effect for my mood, and the same with Dark Light by HIM. I have a huge list of favorite albums, none of which I could do without, but these two are definitely up near the top.

What do you guys have coming up tour-wise?
We’re off out with HellYeah in June! It’s looking like a tasty month for us as we play the main stage at the Donnington Park Download Festival, then we do a couple of UK shows before heading out into Europe with HellYeah and P.O.D. Playing alongside Vinnie Paul is gonna be cool, we’re all huge Pantera fans. Our drummer Lee has had Vinnie on the top of his list since he was a kid so I reckon he’s gonna freak. He’ll play it cool but I know he’ll be pissing his pants really.

We really want to get out to the states and play some shows, maybe later in the year. We’ll see how the response is to the album before we start pressuring our label for some tour support, but hopefully it will go ok and we’ll get the opportunity to tour North America before the year is out.

What are some bands you feel my site’s readers would benefit from knowing? Who would you suggest we listen to?
Check out Revoker; they’re a hard hitting balls out metal crew from South Wales. Great band and an awesome bunch of guys; they’re on tour with Drowning Pool right now then working on their 2nd album. You wanna check out Hacktivist if you haven’t already; they feature our very own Josh Gurner on bass. Kinda like a djent, hip-hop outfit… I don’t really like pigeonholeing the genres but thats how I’d best describe them.

Other underground bands I’m listening to are, Severenth; really brutal, and really tight, plus the screaming on that guy is insane. Devil Sold His Soul are a killer band, and you must look out for Tesseract; they are simply amazing, completely innovative, no one sounds like them.

Who is an author we should check out?
I don’t read much in the way of novels these days, I’ve just read Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biography if that counts. It’s awesome by the way, I’m a huge fan so slightly biased but it is full of eye openers. There’s a lot more to that guy than muscles and Terminating, I recommend it. I used to read a lot of books by Jack Higgins, he writes adventure spy novels. His best series was about an ex-IRA guy called Sean Dillon, who now does deniable ops for the british government. They’re hardcore but with a bit of James Bond ‘tongue in cheek’ added; they’re great fun.

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