Bong, interview 2008

October 9, 2018 § Leave a comment

After watching Bong live at the weekend, it struck me to dig out this old interview I did with Dave Terry for Zero Tolerance many years ago. Bong’s album ‘Beyond Ancient Space’ is embedded below as an accompaniment.


On the edge of a white-sand desert, in a city made of onyx, black-eyed priests sit in their temples and whisper fearfully of a time when men will come from the burning wastes with unearthly songs on their lips and wild looks in their eyes. That time is now. The time of Bong!

Taking musical cues from the mantric doom of Jerusalem era Sleep and lyrical inspiration from the cosmic worlds of Jules Verne and Lord Dunsany, Bong have travelled from the far North to sing of eerie worlds where strange perfumes hang in the air. “Aah…the waft of Stygian black lotus on the breeze,” sighs Dave Terry, Bong’s bassist and vocalist. “We are far from those lands now but wish to take our audiences back there once more, if only for a fleeting glimpse.” Yet those initiates willing to listen will find more than just a fleeting glimpse. The title-track of ‘Bethmoora’, Bong’s online EP, is twenty minutes of skirling, droning doom whilst live performances are notorious for stretching out beyond the allotted time – a recent gig in Leeds featured three tracks over two hours – and becoming strange rituals where elongated riffs are supplemented by the band’s use of that much-overlooked of metal instruments, the sitar. “The feel of our music lends itself well to the sitar,” explains Dave, “but it was not something we sought, rather stumbled upon on our travels.” Strange as the presence of a sitar may sound, it works perfectly and sits as another esoteric element within Bong’s influences of drone, doom and off-kilter krautrock.

For such an organic outfit, it’s surprising that all of Bong’s music to date has been released freely onto the internet but there is a method behind this approach. “I have always supported freedom of media, and will continue to do so,” asserts Dave. “I encourage people to copy and distribute as they wish.” This approach is a refreshing change from the often business-focussed concerns about digital distribution and the so-called death of the music industry but it’s tempered by a worldly appreciation for physical artefacts. “We have a 12” release of ‘Wizards of Krull’ on Heidenwut Productions in the near future, and,” he adds, temptingly, “several other tracks ready to release. We hope to see you on our travels for we have many more tales to tell.”

Watch and wait, brethren, for you will know their coming by the aspects of their name: the heady smoke that clouds the brain and the long, low tolling of the ritual bell.



A Visit to the Sime Gallery, Worplesdon

June 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

I’ve been a fan of Sidney Sime’s art for a long time, since having first seen his fantastical illustrations for Lord Dunsany’s ‘The Gods of Pegāna‘, but it wasn’t until I started research for my essay on three of Sime’s paintings, an article which was eventually published in Dead Reckonings 22, that I realised how hard it was to find any information on him beyond the scant biographical details on his Wikipedia page and the single easily-acquirable book about his life, Simon Heneage and Henry Ford’s ‘Sidney Sime, Master of the Mysterious‘.

What I did find, however, is that a small band of devotees keep Sime’s memory alive at the Sidney Sime Gallery in Worplesdon, Surrey. Worplesdon has a great connection to Sime – he lived there after buying the still-extant Crown Cottage in 1904 and, after his death in 1941, his remains were interred in the graveyard of Worplesdon’s St Mary’s church – so it is a more than fitting place for his memory to linger.

Still, Surrey is a long way from my own home in Edinburgh…

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