New Zealand Alternative Rock band I AM GIANT may be based in the UK but they’re back home at the moment undertaking a comprehensive 14 date tour showcasing their debut album ‘The Horrifying Truth’! It’s the perfect time to catch up with drummer Shelton Woolright…
I AM GIANT is in the middle of an epic tour of New Zealand, which town has been the loudest so far?
I’d have to say our first show of the tour in Russell. We had noise control turn up at sound check. Also Rotorua threw down.. I guess it was because it was the first time we had played there.
You’ve been busy touring but also playing other dates like Big Day Out Auckland and even a show down in Hawera. What have been the highlights for you this summer?
Well sadly not the weather… I’d like to say BDO but it was actually sad to play the last ever Big Day Out in NZ. The Show we played at BW Campgrounds was epic definitely a highlight of being in NZ so far, Hopefully we’ll be invited back next year.
You guys have given up and coming bands an opportunity to win opening slots for you on this tour. That’s really cool, have you discovered some great bands you’d never heard of?
Yeah we wanted to give something back to our friends, fans and the industry that has been so supportive to us. There has been some really good bands that have played we wish them all the best and hope to see them on the circuit
What’s it been like touring with the CAIRO KNIFE FIGHT guys Nick and Aaron?
Those guys are awesome and two of the most talented kiwi muso’s around… and because theres only two of them we all fit in one Van. Poor guys having to put up with us but it feels like one big band.
I AM GIANT has the song ‘Let It Go’ and so does Aaron’s old band WETA. Has anyone brought up the irony before?
Your the first well done. We were actually listening to that track no so long ago while all in the van touring the UK. We are big WETA/Aaron fans!
You recently released ‘The Horrifying Truth’ album and the songs from your ‘City Limits / Neon Sunrise’ EP all feature on there. Did you re-record any of those or are they the original versions?
Largely we re-recorded them, to make them better as the other versions were really just pimped up demos. We wanted them to fit with the rest of the record. Some individual tracks, say Ed’s verse vocals in ‘City Limits’ we pulled in from the demo though because we liked them so much it was senseless re-doing them.
Which I AM GIANT song are you most proud of from the new album excluding any singles?
Really proud of them all but… I’d say maybe… today… being Tuesday… I’ll go with ‘Drag My Name Through The Mud’ cos it all came together in the Studio while working with our producer/engineer Forrester, and its a bit of a journey. Actually and also ‘The Haunting Of Elinor Shaw’ only because it was a interesting number to write a lot of fun and I guess because we don’t play it live it still sounds really fresh.
What song do you get the most out of when playing live?
‘City Limits’ purely because IAG was born from that track and it’s genuinely a crows fave. ‘After The War’ is pretty epic live also. It’s pretty funny watching the crowd try and mosh to a 7/8 time signature.
You’ve made a name for yourself playing at sporting events in Europe an you’re also ambassadors for Quiksilver. How’d I AM GIANT become associated with the sporting side of things and has it given your fan base a big boost?
We were introduced to Quik by a friend in the UK and the relationship snowballed to where it is today. Our music seems to be the perfect soundtrack to the Quik lifestyle. We are all fans of extreme sports and try hit the slopes as much as possible so to be associated we such a great company and invited to play all there events through Europe is fine with us and yea it definitely has boosted ou fan base as they have really put us out there in front of that community which we now feel very privileged to be part of.
How stoked were you to have Kelly Slater in the ‘Neon Sunrise’ video?
Man that’s crazy stuff! It’s still surreal we were lucky enough to meet him!
The industry has changed from when bands like STYLUS and BLINDSPOTT were in their prime. In comparison to those bands have you found it tougher or easier to get recognition with I AM GIANT?
I think it’s safe to say the band has benefited from out past success however it has definitely been a harder battle this time around. There haven’t been any short cuts but at the same we seem to be reaching a wider audience than our previous bands combined I think this is down to us not being part of a niche genera like nu metal or having any musical gimmicks.
NZRock: Relocating to the UK was a big move, are you glad that you did and what are the pros and cons of being based over there?
Oh for sure it’s the best career decision any of us have made. The UK is one of the biggest music industry’s in the world. If you get stuck in and can make a name for your self the results are of international consequence
NZRock: What happened to the band DEMPSEY? Do you consider it to be the first incarnation of I AM GIANT?
Dempsey was a project formed by Paul, Shelton & Marcus from Blindspott after the demise of BLINDSPOTT and STYLUS. The musical chemistry wasn’t really happening so it was abandoned shortly after our arrival in the UK. I Am Giant was born nearly a year later and has no musical connection.
NZRock: I read somewhere that you auditioned over 160 vocalists before you picked Ed Martin! How’d you discover him and what made him stand out from the pack?
Yes that’s 100% true Ed actually answered an online ad we put up for a singer.. Well if you can hear whats special about his voice on the album, we heard that within 30 seconds of him opening his mouth.
NZRock: What bands had he been in before joining I AM GIANT?
Ed had been in a band called VOLUME I’m not to sure if they ever released anything.
NZRock: After your New Zealand tour what does the rest of 2012 hold for I AM GIANT?
We have a really busy year ahead of us firstly we stop off in Singapore on the way back to the UK for a show. Once home we will be touring the UK and Europe which we are currently putting dates together for. I think we have already locked in A gig at the Camden Barfly in London on Friday the 13th in April.. There is a rumor we will be back in Australia, Asia and NZ July/August Then back up to Europe where we hope to start recording the second record in the South of France with Forrester again.. Busy times!
I AM GIANT – 2012 Summer Tour Dates:
1 March – New Plymouth – Basement
2 March – Palmerston North – Colleseum
3 March – Wellington San Francisco Bathhouse
7 March – Invercargill – Saints and Sinners
8 March – Dunedin – Refuel
9 March – Christchurch – The Bedford
10 March – Nelson – Riwaka Hotell
15 March – Whangerei – Ballroom
16 March – Auckland – The Kings Arms