Interview: Dave Thompson of RAGING SPEEDHORN… Posted: 22/11/2016 by Philip Morrissey
On the 16th of September, Raging Speedhorn played a storming set in Cork’s Crane Lane, as part of their Irish tour. It was the first date of shows ahead of sets in Dublin and Belfast. It was the first time in nearly 10 years that they have played here and even longer since they had the original line-up.
Afterwards, I spoke with bassist Dave Thompson to get his thoughts. I first of all welcomed the band back after so long. ‘It’s been a long while yeah. Since around 2008 I think. But we love Ireland and everyone here. We get a lot of requests to come back here, so we felt that we had to come back. That’s why we came.’ The first show played in Cork was a memorable event in Nancy Spain’s around 2001. The band were quite new on the scene and hungry to prove themselves. The last visit to Cork saw an entirely different beast. Wracked by infighting and a lukewarm response to their latest material, they let themselves down and were upstaged by FIVE WILL DIE. You could sense that there was a desire to put that right in their performance.
‘We all had different things that we wanted to do. That’s why the time apart was needed. It was the right thing to do at the time’. Thompson set up metal band the death of us, along with Jamie Thompson and John Loughlin. Members played in bands from as far away as Sweden in the meantime. Eventually, Leeds based Damnation Festival came calling to see if they would play at their 2014 edition. Offers had been made by other promoters in the meantime but now the members felt it was time to come back together. No doubt there would have been a certain amount of trepidation and nerves prior to stepping back on stage for the first time again. ‘It was a major show for the band to play. It was overwhelming. Grown men in the audience were crying over it’.
The plan at this stage was to play material from their first two albums. The thought of creating new material or an album was not even considered. ‘That was not planned at all. When we came together to rehearse for the reunion shows, we came together and almost developed some new songs by accident. We did one single and it went from there. It was all done organically’. It is unmistakably a RAGING SPEEDHORN album. The pounding bass-lines, heavy and distorted riffs, along with themes of hedonism, are all characteristically of the band. There is, however, support for the underrated ‘Before the Sea Was Built’. ‘I think the songwriting was pretty strong on it. Perhaps the production could have been improved on it. It is an album that the band wanted to make at the time, despite what the opinions were of it. Sometimes you just have to follow your instincts’.
There is a lot of admiration for their main support BY ANY MEANS. The Belfast hardcore crew have been all around the UK in the past few months as their tour support. This was documented in their tour diary on MetalIreland. Thompson certainly enjoyed having them around. ‘Yeah, they are all great lads. Some of them would have played with us previously with other bands like ‘Dissent’. Ireland is experiencing a surge in bands with similar ideals. BY ANY MEANS are just one of them.
Opening bands, trying to upstage the headliners, reminds the band of their early days. When starting off, they would have been the young, hungry band trying to out perform the likes of Slipknot, KoRn and Slayer. ‘We just tried to play as well as we could. It did not make a difference whether we had 20 or 20,000 there watching us’. This desire to prove themselves may well have been from their tough upbringing in the Northampton town of Corby. Growing up, they discovered a love for hardcore music and formed friendships with those in a similar mindset. ‘You looked for something different to get out of there. We found a lot of music that people around us didn’t get’.
Thompson sees a bright future for both his band and the general extreme metal scene in the UK. When asked about what newer bands he mentions the Bristol based SVALBARD. The lack of playtime on radio and other media still remains an issue that affects such bands. ‘They just need an opportunity to prove themselves’. He believes that RAGING SPEEDHORN still have a lot to say for themselves yet. ‘We still get a massive kick out of playing live’. Himself, and the rest of the band, are certainly looking forward to their next opportunity to play here.