Electric Wizard: “This is a Satanic party album!”
They helped define doom metal as we know it, so why have Electric Wizard ditched the stoner vibes and tried to tear up their own rulebook for Wizard Bloody Wizard?
“I like isolation. I’m not a big fan of the modern world…”
Electric Wizard have moved house, seemingly to get as far away from the rest of us as possible. Since the release of the band’s eighth album, 2014’s Time To Die, singer/guitarist Jus Oborn and co-guitarist (and Jus’s wife) Liz Buckingham have relocated to Devon and are now living in a remote farmhouse somewhere near Exmoor. As they prepare to release their ninth album, Wizard Bloody Wizard, Jus explains to Hammer how Electric Wizard are steadily achieving their dreams of shunning humanity altogether.
“We ended up getting evicted from where we were living after having an argument with the neighbours… as usual, ha ha ha!” he chuckles wearily. “Where we are now, it’s a long white farmhouse on the edge of a valley. It’s exposed and pretty bleak, and green all around… there’s a farmhouse on the other side of the valley, but that’s about it. It’s quite inspiring to not be inspired by anything other than the music and our surroundings. We’re quite private people and we’re not into social interaction, so it’s definitely a lifestyle choice. I don’t know if it affects the band that much. It might be more useful if we didn’t live in the middle of fucking nowhere! I’d like to live further and further away from civilisation, but it can be a bit of a pain in the arse sometimes.”
In truth, part of Electric Wizard’s enduring and increasing appeal has been their dogged adherence to their own unique musical world. Ever since the release of 1997’s seminal Come My Fanatics… album they have been widely regarded as the most important and iconic doom metal band of the modern age, but Jus has never masked his disdain for a sizeable majority of everything else that’s going on in heavy music and, more pertinently, the world in general. As a result, the band’s new headquarters make perfect sense: in the wilds of Devon, no one can hear you rehearse at excruciating volume.
“Yeah, now we can make noise 24/7, so that was a positive change,” Jus concurs. “Then I had the idea that I could maybe start thinking about building a studio. I’ve wanted to do that for a long time but we’ve never had anywhere to do it. So this place has a jam room and we just set up the recording equipment in there. Part of the house is Victorian and it was giving me that feeling of Led Zeppelin recording at [legendary Hampshire studio] Headley Grange. I thought it might have a good atmosphere and it’s turned out all right, I think. We had a few little teething problems with some shitty old analogue crap that I bought off eBay, so it took a whole year of pissing around and things going wrong before we got the album finished. But anything’s a learning curve and hopefully, fingers crossed, things should run smoothly from now on.”