It’s April 13th, an uncharacteristically cold night given how warm 2019 has been so far – the mythical beasts are out in force apparently. In the back of Southampton’s famed Middle Earth-themed The Hobbit pub, we’ve just seen Brighton sludgebois Troll Mother return for the second time in six months to deliver a truly blistering performance. From psychedelic garage-rock through Conjurer-esque blackened death and spoken-word sections from Hawkwind’s darkest timeline, this two-piece delivers heavy music in totalis – and topless. Drummer Doug barely stops moving throughout their 45-minute set, with guitarist Roman winding his way through grooves, blasts and tectonic walls of stereo noise (thanks to a nifty two-amp setup).
Without wishing to overstate, they’re one of the freshest, most exciting bands in metal right now due to their relentless combination of different heavy styles, their exceptional performing style and a healthy disregard for convention – even those of extreme metal styles which only fully coalesced in living memory. With our ears satisfactorily eviscerated, there was time for a quick chat about Britney Spears, spaceships and sharing tents…
So we’ve just seen Troll Mother for the second time and it was absolutely amazing.
Troll Boys: Thank you very much.
Highlights included an extended drum solo which was just wonderful to behold. Bordering on a belly-dance type affect.
Derg: Ah thank you! I try to make this kid belly dance but he just doesn’t do it.
Broman: I don’t got the belly for it.
So I just wanted to get to know you guys a little bit. So how did the band get together, how did you guys meet?
Broman: Which one – the romantic story or the actual band thing?
Derg: Let’s do the romantic story. The romantic’s good. We were talking about Descendents earlier, so we’ve got to be romantic.
Broman: So I was trying to sell a ticket to a festival online. And this guy goes “Alright I’ll buy it, hit me up on Facebook.” We got chatting and he said “I’ll come pick up the ticket tomorrow. Oh, by the way why are you not going to the festival?” and I say “I fell out with my friend so I’ve got no one to go with”. So he turns around and says “Mate just come with me, that’s a crap reason not to go to a festival”. At the time I was well shy and I’m not the kind of person to go like “yeah okay”, but I was like “yeah okay” and the rest is history *laughs*.
Derg: We shared a tent! More than once!
That’s so cute. So how did the band start?
Derg: It was near the end of the college term in 2012. It was around the time when doom had just started becoming more of a predominant thing. It was the first time I heard Conan’s… what’s their first album called? Some shit with the fuckin’ slow riffs.
Derg: Yeah that’s the one. Yeah I listened to that and I was like “shit man that’s fuckin’ crazy” because I was a big Celtic Frost fan. I fucking love that shit. That’s why I went to Bloodstock because Triptykon played that year.
Broman: Yeah, their first time in the UK as well.
Derg: Anyway mate, I’m fucking going off on one. So we started in 2012 in Chichester College and we thought we were originally a thrash band called Toxic Church Of Doom, which is hopefully going to make an appearance one day.
Broman: At some point yeah.
Derg: And then we could never find a bassist. It was just impossible. And people that we did have would never turn up because they’d just get too fucking baked.
We can absolutely confirm that.
Derg: So we said “fuck it all to shit. Let’s just do it. Just the two of us. We can make it if we try. Just the two of us, just you and I.”
Well as I was saying before, the interesting thing is that you guys have such a tight dynamic as a two-piece. One of the bands that comes to mind when I see you guys playing is Big Business, because you’ve got this drummer who just doesn’t stop fucking moving.
Broman: Yeah you’re telling me!
It’s just constant but it keeps this flow. This almost trance-like state for the duration of your performance, that’s also aided by the voice effects and that sort of thing. It’s just really interesting to see a two-piece that tackles so many facets of extreme metal, all at the same time. With that, I’d like to know what are the major influences behind the band.
Derg: Wheeyyyyy! That’s a lotta lotta drugs.
Broman: Sorry mum!
Derg: But we love a lot of great music and better music. So we’re gonna see Dido and we’ve seen Britney Spears. At the same time we’re going to Obscene Extreme to see the worst fucking bands on the planet. Like fucking what, we’ve seen Gutalax there, Cock And Ball Torture, Spasm. Like we love it, it’s just crazy! I like fun music. We love fun music! Y’know?
So it’s just all over the place then?
Derg: It’s just all over the place. Y’know we’ve got ADHD mate, my mind can’t concentrate on shit that’s why I’m talking a million miles an hour.
Broman: If we could rap, we would.
So when you write how does it come together? What’s the vision?
Derg: This guy’s the riff machine and I guess the vision is the story…
Broman: The story is the glue that holds things together.
For the audience at home, what’s the story?
Broman: Oh shit.
Derg: Alright rock paper scissors to see who wants to do that.
Broman: Nah. You do it. You do it.
Derg: Alright. So I’m only gonna explain the first track, because the second one is “motion in the ocean” at the moment. So the first one is about a young forest child. The last of the trolls, so to speak. The last pure-breed child born amongst the human and the troll race from the – *laughs* this sounds stupid – from the Troll Mother. So he’s like the Pedigree kid. So the humans are kinda overpopulating and cutting down the trees and invading the Troll territory. That’s where ‘Battle For Troll Mountain’ comes from. A big battle between the trolls and the humans. The mother sends out a distress call to the Troll Mothership in space that fires lasers down to earth to kill them.
Broman: Beep beep beep! What is it manned by though?
Derg: It’s manned by the one and only General MicroDickus, or is it Admiral? I can’t remember.
Broman: General. It’s General. I’m pretty sure.
Trolls boys: MICROdickus
We just needed to get that for posterity.
Derg: Micro. Dickus. Yeah, so all that comes down. The child sees the carnage of his fucking race. Everyone is being split apart and all of that glamorous stuff. So he legs it. He kind of goes and runs through all of the bracken and trees. He ends up in a pub. A tavern. He opens the door and what does he see?
Broman: …Yeah, to be continued.
Derg: Write that down.
So do you guys like environmental themes? Is it a nature versus humanity kind of story? Or is it more about bringing the fantastical into the normal. Are there themes? Or are we reading into it too hard?
Broman: It’s weird that you say that, because we wrote it and then afterwards we just thought we were writing some normal dumb-ass stuff. And afterwards we were looking back at it, and we realised there were actually loads of hidden meanings in it that I don’t think we intended to put in there. So yeah, you’re right. I think there’s lots of metaphors for the modern day and the ways that humans treat nature. The trolls are kind of like the good side of beings I guess, and the humans are like the parasites. They just ruin everything.
Would you say you’re reclaiming trolls as a positive force?
Broman: I don’t want to get in trouble for that… *laughs*
Not internet trolls, regular trolls.
Broman: Off the record, yeah. Someone probably said they claimed it like a decade before us, so I’m really sorry.
They’re taking trolls back!
Broman: I tell you what was an inspiration – Troll Hunter. When that came out in this country… that was it, that was it.
Derg: Broman shat the bed.
Broman: I lost it. That was… ah. That was the business.
No relation to Troll 2 though?
Broman: I never saw it, that’s the one with Jennifer Aniston in it right?
Troll 2 is like one of the worst fucking films ever made.
Broman: Brilliant. Sounds right up my street.
So you guys mentioned a second album, what stage are you at with that?
Derg: Uh-oh. WELL. Not very far. But very far at the same time. We’re gonna be super vague because I want to be really hardcore. I want to be trve. And I don’t want to reveal anything but it’s coming along really nicely. Totally different from what we’ve done before.
Broman: Oh yeah.
Derg: We actually have money this time. No we don’t! We’ve got a credit card this time. Just put it on the credit.
Broman: We’re going to record it nice yeah.
Troll Mother are playing at Abyssal Festival on July 27th in Southampton. Check it out here.
Words: David Burke