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Slugdge - Interview

Interview with: Matt Moss
Conducted by: Will Ring

After the massive success of their new album, 2018’s Esoteric Malacology, the Lancashire, UK, based blackened death/progressive metal band Slugdge have become a bit of an anomaly in the metal world. This mostly unknown band managed to shoot to the top of many ‘Best Of 2018’ list with a bizarre slug themed tech-death record and a mythical mollusk deity as the bands motivation? It’s as close to Spinal Tap as you could get in 2018 without being associated with Threaten. In an attempt to make sense of this, I talked to Matt Moss about the bands history, influences and, most importantly, the all powerful being known as Mollusca. Have fun with this one. Because we sure did. Hail Mollusca!

Will: I’ve heard a lot of arguing online about how the bands name should be pronounced and no one seems to be making any headway. Can you put this to rest once and for all?
: Yeah like this,... it definitely doesn't sound like luggage.

Will: I suppose the number one thing that confuses people about the band is this idea of having a slug theme. I know it started as sort of a joke about sludge metal bands, but you guys just kept with it. Can you shed some light on this?
Matt: Yeah, the whole thing started as a joke but by the time we realised we were doing quite well, we were already in far too deep; It then became amusing to just keep pushing it. The music we made was very cathartic to us, like our play time, so we never did get too wrapped up in anything serious, but inevitably serious topics leak into it despite the ridiculous subject matter. I struggle to take anything seriously personally. The universe is ridiculous and absurd and so are we.

Will: Tell us a little about Mollusca. What is the gospel according to Mollusca?
Matt: Mollusca's the god of consciousness, dreams and madness. It lives in a realm of psionic energy known as the the Gardens of Slish, which can only be accessed by mortal minds through hearing the music of Mollusca. It affects the physical plane only through the influence of living creatures; the foremost of whom are the Molluscs, his primordial kin. The multiverse exists as a food source for Mollusca, but a universe isn't consumed until it's reached maturity and all life in any given one ends. New ones are grown all the time in Mollusca's great crop. This cycle goes on and on until there's no energy left, at which point Mollusca lays a single egg, which brings about the metaphysical annihilation of reality, wiping everything out including all past events. The only thing that survives is the contents of the egg, and the contents of the egg are Mollusca, and the cycle continues. Mollusca only desires that we do everything in our power to spread life throughout the cosmos, and to learn the music of Mollusca. Mollusca is a life purist and hates dead things and anything in the realm of Bothris, the death god who is Molluscas vague sense of unease. Mollusca also isn't fond of spiders. I hope this helps.

Will: So Mollusca is sort of a more positive Lovecraftian elder-god.
Matt: I guess so! There are parallels there with a god such as Azathoth, especially concerning the idea that reality is a dream, only Mollusca isn't blind or an idiot. Mollusca's also too powerful and unstable physically to exist anywhere, and so ceased to physically exist just before physical existence began.

Will: So I have to ask the question that’s plagued most great religions through history. What existed before Mollusca and how did Mollusca first come to be?
Matt: It didn't, it's slugs all the way down! Since Mollusca deletes all events with every cycle it'd be impossible to know if there was ever a beginning. It can also retcon it's own creation myth on a whim.

Will: Let’s get back to our realm so we don’t go mad from staring into a world we can’t fully understand. How did you first get involved with music?
Matt: Yes that would be wise. I started playing guitar when I was about seven, but I was really bad and put it on the backburner for years. My parents had me listening to Queen, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and the like, but it was my brother and his friend who got me into Metallica around this time. Instrument wise I wasn't doing much, I learned to play keyboard mostly to play the theme tunes from my favourite video games. The first time I heard extreme metal was actually the Mortal Kombat soundtrack in 1994, there was a song by Napalm Death on it and the first time I heard that I thought it was ridiculous. They later became my favourite band. I learned to play guitar again in my late teens in order to join a metal band and stuck to guitar for years, occasionally singing. It wasn't until Slugdge were my hand was forced and I started doing vocals.

Will: Who are some of your biggest musical influences and why?
Matt: Akercocke would be the biggest influence on Slugdge probably. They are one of few bands that were very progressive but sounded nothing like any other progressive band, in the early days being relentlessly dark throughout most of their albums. Carcass were another.  They're pretty local to us (Jeff bought me drinks on my birthday in December when I met him in the pub). I just loved Necroticism and Heartwork, two of my favourite albums and are extremely catchy despite still being hard hitting death metal. I'm obliged to say The Black Dahlia Murder, because our drummer is also their drummer. They really reinvigorated melodeath for me and Kev specifically, brought that sound of At The Gates back in a way that wasn't metalcore. Anaal Nathrakh are another huge influence, again, extremely brutal but with those occasional flashes of melody which we've taken and just made part of our sound. I love the contrast between melody and dissonance. Speaking of dissonance Gorguts have been a big influence on the more demented parts of our sound too. Another of my favourite bands is The Crown, and they have titles like "Total Satan", "1999 Revolution 666" and "Blitzkrieg Witchcraft", which are all badass, but absurd. I just take a leaf out of their book.

Will: Slugdge went from an underground act to one of the biggest metal bands of 2018. Did you ever imagine this would blow up the way it has?
Matt: No I didn't. It's quite a surprise considering we're a band with a stupid name, a naff logo I made in paint, home recorded and the most mundane subject matter. We always make an effort with our music though, and I suppose that's all that's ever mattered to us. We're also really happy to see that it's inspired others to do the same for the love of their craft. If we can do it anyone can, and the only advice I would give people is just to make their music a reflection of their personalities. Slugdge is certainly an accurate reflection of our personalities if nothing else.

Will: Of all the insane song title puns the band has, which is your favorite?
Matt: "Sound Of Mucus", but that's probably because that song has particular significance to me. Off the new one I like "Transilvanian Fungus", mostly because I see people online correcting my spelling of Transylvanian and not understanding why it's called what it's called. The puns are essentially just the working titles of the songs, we could name them something proper but why bother really?

Slugdge links: Facebook, Bandcamp