The Howling Fog bring new influences to the shoegaze genre

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The Howling Fog bring new influences to the shoegaze genre

The Howling Fog
Words by Tammy Walters

Adelaide psych-shoegaze four-piece, The Howling Fog will be floating into Thornbury’s Cactus Room on Saturday December 7 for an electro David Lynch-inspired extravaganza.

The Howling Fog, consisting of Peter Blunden, Paul Thomas, Bennett Sandhu and Joel Derham, will premiere tracks off their upcoming EP, Drifting, to a backdrop of David Lynch cinematography, as run by Electric Light Brigade.

“We’ll be releasing Drifting [on] December 1 and then coming to Melbourne for that show. That will be the first show with our new record and vinyl so, essentially, it is our launch,” says guitarist Paul Thomas.

Drifting is the second EP for the boys, who have been playing together under the Howling Fog blanket since 2015. For this five track EP, they took a different approach to that of their debut and recruited some industry experts to help pull it all together.

“For this second EP, we spent a lot more time on the pre-production phase and a lot more time in the studio getting different sounds and doing different takes and getting different overdubs. The first EP was little time in the studio and a lot of time working amongst ourselves working on it, whereas this was a lot more time in the studio,” says bassist Bennett Sandhu.

“We got Michael Badger who is in a band called The Demon Parade to mix this one and he’s mixed a lot of reputable bands, like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard.”

Thomas interjects, “From a mixing perspective, we looked around at a lot of different mixers for someone to enhance our sound because we have a lot of reverb and delays in our music, so we were looking for someone who could mix all of those textures and make it work.

“It’s a bit of a slippery slope with that kind of stuff, so we looked far and wide and rested with him because obviously he has done great stuff with King Gizz and other guys in that genre of reverb and delay accolades.”

The masterful mixing of layers and delays is clearly defined upon first listen. The appropriately titled Drifting appears almost as its own character within the equation of the band. It reiterates The Howling Fog’s overall identity of melancholic perspectives and doom-driven atmospheres.

Of the EP’s title, frontman Pete Blunden explains, “The title Drifting is taken from the first track, ‘The Needle’s Falling’. It’s hard to name songs and it’s even harder to name a record, but it just came out of the lyrics and just seemed to fit the sound and tension of what we were doing, with the flowing and moving sound that you can’t really pin down to specific melodies or specific progressions. It’s all sort of texture and vibe, I suppose.”

That vibe comes from their deeply varied influences of Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo, The Birthday Party, Sonic Youth, Verve, Dive, Ride and, naturally, My Bloody Valentine – a meshing of worlds, sounds and stories.

“We started the band with [a] shoegaze idea, talking about MBV and bands like that. But seeing it was already being done and the shoegaze revival was already happening, we thought, ‘We don’t want to just do that’, so we started looking into other influences as well to bring to the shoegaze idea,” says Blunden.

“I think our sound is actually quite close to the sound on the early Verve records, based around loops, repetitive song structures that are really long and really all about the atmospheric, hypnotic sounds,” adds Sandhu.

“Our sounds are on the melancholy side and the darker side of things – it’s more about the doom and gloom of things and we use a lot of minors in our songs, so inherently it gives it that melancholic, doomy sound,” agrees Thomas.

Catch The Howling Fog at Cactus Room on Saturday December 7. Drifting drops on Sunday December 1, find it on Bandcamp.