Musicscan: You had some line-up changes in the past. What are the reasons and how does the current line-up look like?
Stampin´ Ground: Most recently, we've had the 2 biggest changes. Firstly, in June 2002, we had to let original drummer Ade Stokes go. He just wasn't 100% anymore, and everything suffered. In the end, we just couldn't carry it anymore, so we pulled the trigger. Neil Hutton, who was in Benediction, replaced him. Our latest change was the stepping down of Ian Glasper. Ian wanted to commit more to family life, running his record label and journalism, which we've known about for ages. A guy called named Ben Frost, who's a great all rounder and very cool, has replaced him. He kills it on stage too.
Musicscan: Is there a deeper meaning behind the new album title or what is the story behind this title?
Stampin´ Ground: We felt that in recent years, a new sense of madness is gripping the world. It really is as if a new darkness is upon us. I'm not talking just about terrorism, but the evils of mankind and how things don't seem to be dealt with that need urgent attention. Law and order is still very tame and when I watch the news it depresses me beyond belief. We wanted the art to reflect how mankind is a destructor in many ways.
Throughout the booklet, artwork reflects the passing of time, starting with colours that convey light and peace. With the inception of a city, the harsh, cold blues take over the once bright, innocent environment. As the city crumbles, oranges and reds are used to show fire and darkness. It speaks as if to say that everything was fine until humanity took over, then destruction followed soon thereafter, resulting in the front cover.
Musicscan: How long did you work on "A New Darkness Upon Us"?
Stampin´ Ground: Over a year. We changed drummers after wasting 4 months with someone who wasn't really 100% and then we had to integrate the new guy. It was a long time after that we were ready to record, but we had to wait for Andy Sneap to become available, and so we fine-tuned everything to make it sound killer in the meantime. We spent 5 weeks recording it.
Musicscan: In my opinion with your last effort "Carved From Empty Words" you rose to the premier league and with your new album you made the next step into the champions league. Would you agree or how do you see that?
Stampin´ Ground: That was certainly the idea, hopefully this time the album will break the band worldwide and we can get to play everywhere we should be playing. The whole idea was to make everything better, make a world-class album and give to the fans of hardcore and metal an album that really knocks down doors and ignores the current trends.
Musicscan: I think your new stuff is more brutal and more to the point and I think the whole album is darker than your previous effort? Where do you see the differences?
Stampin´ Ground: I'd agree to that. We wanted more aggressive riffs, and yeah, more to the point. I think the songs are more rounded and complete on this album, we wanted better choruses, after all, that's what songs are. The playing is a lot better as are everyone's performances, and of course, we produced things better. Having a different drummer gives us a slightly different groove also. We had a theme in our heads with this one, so we knew exactly where we were going with it.
Musicscan: What are your lyrics dealing with?
Stampin´ Ground: Pretty much life in general, how things are obviously getting worse in the world, and how when we watch the news, you are left with a fairly numb feeling how everything is in chaos. I don't things have been much better in the past, nor in the future; it's as if things are getting darker, and that's where the album title comes in.
Musicscan: It took a while since your last album. What are the reasons for that long time between the two releases?
Stampin´ Ground: Well, we did 3 albums in 3 years, so we had been very busy until the time we finished playing for 'Carved...'. We took a break and re-evaluated what direction we wanted. Along the way, we developed problems with our drummer, so we let him go and replaced him, which took time. Then we had to wait for Andy Sneap to become available to produce the album, and we had some things to fix at the record label too.
Musicscan: Are you totally satisfied with the result of " A New Darkness Upon Us" or is there still something you could have done better?
Stampin´ Ground: Yeah, everyone is 100%.
We are totally satisfied with it; it's better than we ever expected. Of course, we already know what we are going to do next, and it won't be a long break between albums a before. We know what we are going to do different, but we will learn from playing all the songs live which parts work the best and use those thoughts for the new songs. We'd definitely like to work with Andy Sneap again as he is the master of making killer sounding albums.
Musicscan: You played in the US before. Where are the differences between the European and the American crowd?
Stampin´ Ground: American kids are more open-minded and have managed to integrate extreme metal and hardcore bands into the same scene. Its really cool because the shows are better, more varied, and people are into the music for the right reasons. Its always more intense and chaotic too. Europeans are more into putting bands into little boxes and labelling them. Also, the European market is harder to crack, especially for us, as we aren't American, and will always compete with American bands. In the U.S, we don't have that problem as they are up for seeing different bands.
Musicscan: I think you're really proud of playing the Download Festival (ex- Monsters Of Rock) in Donnington this year, right?
Stampin´ Ground: Pay back doesn't come very often, and a show as prestigious and as massive as this was quite a pay off. We had the most amazing time and made a lot of new friends that day.
Musicscan: Which album is better the new MAIDEN or the METALLICA release?
Stampin´ Ground: The new Metallica release is one of the worst metal records I've ever heard.
On the other hand, the Maiden is one of the best I've ever heard, and also one of the best Maiden albums. I really love it, and I'm so glad they are back on track. Up the irons!
Musicscan: With "Pain Is Weakness (Leaving The Body)" you have an older song on your album. Why do you choose that song and re-record it again?
Stampin´ Ground: We felt that it was lost of the older mini Cd it appeared on, and when we play it live, it hammers the audience and is a really furious high energy song. When Neil joined the band, he put his mark on it, and we wanted everyone to hear the new improved version. Most people in the U.S and in Europe would never have heard the old version anyway.
Musicscan: Are there any European tour dates so far?
Stampin´ Ground: Not yet, but we told our booking agent he must go to the ends of the earth to get us on tour....
Musicscan: Which are the upcoming hard UK bands in your opinion?
Stampin´ Ground: Knuckledust are by far one of the best U.K bands, their new album comes out on Nov 1st and it's awesome. Other bands like Madman is Absolute and Jor are pretty good too.
Musicscan: How would you describe the music of STAMPIN´ GROUND to somebody who never heard your stuff before?
Stampin´ Ground: Honest, direct, good metallic songs. I hate generalising, but we play 100% from the heart, and if you are into bands like Slayer, Pantera, Machine Head, Killswitch Engage and other quality bands, maybe we are for you. Try and find MP3's and check out our site www.stampin-ground.com. Come see us live - we will convert you!
Musicscan: As for the band what are your plans for the near future?
Stampin´ Ground: We have a U.K tour booked during December, and during Nov we are planning and filming the first video for a song off the album. We've been doing heavy press interviews etc for a few weeks now and this will keep going thoughout November.