APF Records is delighted to welcome bloodthirsty stoner thrash trio POSSESSOR to the family. We will be releasing their new album during the Spring of 2019. High-octane. Super-fast. Horror-infused heavy metal dirt. From South London. Oh yes.
In advance of that, we caught up with vocalist / guitarist Graham Bywater to talk about all things Possessor.
APF: Welcome to the APF family. What attracted to you to the label, and which of your 16 label mates are you a fan of?
GB: Hi. Well firstly thanks for having us! It’s an honour to be a part of it. APF has always caught my attention when scrolling through social media as it seems from the very outset to be, as you say, like a little family. The enthusiasm and camaraderie surrounding APF comes across first and foremost and you can tell you have a great time with what you do! And obviously that’s the most important thing.
I’d have to say that Trevor’s Head and Under are probably my favourites so far on the label but the all-out filth award has to go to those bruisers in Tronald. You can almost taste that band when you hear them. Haha.
APF: For those new to Possessor, give us a potted history of the band….. and tell people where in your back catalogue they should visit first if they haven’t heard any of your material yet.
GB: Well. As with most bands I’d probably say check out latest album, “The Ripper”, but it’s predecessor “Dead By Dawn” is possibly my personal favourite as it actually feels like an old eighties horror flick on VHS. Something we strive to recreate in our sound. If “Dead by Dawn” is The Evil Dead then “The Ripper” is like Wolf Creek, American Mary or something bigger budget and glossier. By our standards anyhow. We see most things as links to cinema just as much as to music.
The band started in 2014 with the grubby “Electric Hell” album which, along with the following years “Stay Dead” EP, I played everything on. I wasn’t even considering it as a live band as I’ve always found the writing and recording side of things much less stressful but that quickly changed as the band spread its wings to a three piece and started gigging quite prolifically.
When “Dead by Dawn” came out in 2016 (on the then newly founded Graven Earth Records from Colorado), we were asked to head over to Portugal to play Sonic Blast festival with big names such as Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Truckfighters etc…(sadly Eyehategod cancelled at the very last minute). Anyhow…that was probably the first time I started taking it a little more seriously. Or less, depending on how much beer I’d had. That was a reasonably reckless party for two days and I don’t ever want to be stuck in an airport, hungover, alone and with all my gear for eleven hours in just a t shirt and jeans ever again.
APF: Critics call you “prolific”, as you’ve released a fair amount of material in a short time. Has there been a creative urge behind releasing five albums, EPs and singles over four years – or do you just have a short attention span?
GB: Well we haven’t really released that much. Three albums, an EP and an online single. All the other releases on our Bandcamp page are crummy live bootlegs. I do find it hard to not write music though. If I wasn’t making riffs of my own I’d just be playing Metallica or Kiss songs anyway so I may as well create. I guess life is moving fast so it’s wise to not waste time.
APF: Fitting Possessor into a genre is near on impossible – and this is a good thing (you’re sound is unique). Tell us about the music that has inspired the three of you, and which bits have ended up in your sonic melange.
GB: Categories can be a bit lazy. We just play what we like and I feel like that does us the world of good!
At the moment all I’m listening to is Swedish Death Metal stuff like Dismember, and Carbonized. Ellie loves Primus and Eyehategod, Bean is consistently crazy for Judas Priest and Dio…so why not combine the vibes.
I love the ethic of bands like Darkthrone. They totally do it for themselves and shun genre tags as they only seem to hold them back. I totally understand why though, when a popular style becomes more of a trend it benefits a band to jump on a bandwagon, otherwise you can get totally overlooked.
I like the more diverse gig bills though. I mean, who wants to go see four bands in a row that sound exactly the same? I want Possessor to stand out at a gig, even if we are total shit.
To me it doesn’t make any sense that bands these days are so eager to pigeonhole their music. If it’s good it’s good. Look at Nirvana, L7 and those nineties dudes. They aren’t any one single genre. Nirvana were punk, pop, metal, indie, new wave, experimental…and that is why they were so bloody successful!
But I guess when this band started I wanted to sound a bit like Kyuss playing Slayer. So there’s that.
APF: You’ve not played many gigs outside of London and the South East of England. Any reason behind that, and do you plan to play further afield? For those of us who haven’t seen you live yet, what can we expect from a Possessor show?
GB: We probably should look into more shows further afield. We’ve done a few but to be honest, we haven’t played live a great deal this last year. I would love to play more shows up North as it would be special playing to a totally different crowd and seeing how we go down. Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, all place we need to crush.
We don’t over rehearse our music. We keep things raw and at times things can be unpredictable. You’ll have to just come and see us to find out more.
APF: Your first release on APF Records is due out in 2019. Can you tell us anything about it yet? Who will be recording it?
GB: The upcoming album is a little different but very much a Possessor record. It’s gonna have less songs as the running time of some of the new tracks seems to have sky rocketed. There just may be a prog opus! Kinda like our version of the “Hemispheres” album by our hero’s Rush. Haha.
There’s also more of a vicious punk feel to some of the material. Discharge, Germs, Accused etc..four to the floor. Motörhead meets Gamma Ray. Unsane meets Church of Misery. Endless John Coltrane worship. It’s all going in the pot/pit.
Expect something unruly that’ll keep you up at night and a naturally gnarly progression.
We hope you like it.
APF: What’s the best gig you’ve ever played, and why?
GB: Actually the recent Birthdays show was a real blinder. There was a special energy in the air. I don’t think it was just me that felt that magic.
I also really enjoyed our live gig stream from The Crobar in London back in 2017. That was a blast! As was our show at the 12 Bar (RIP) and of course our infamous pool party show in Moledo. I don’t really remember many others at this moment.
APF: What do you want to achieve with Possessor which you haven’t already?
GB: We just want to spread the unholy gospel and make sure everyone has heard Possessor.
Whenever we sell merch overseas it baffles me that there are so many people around the world who seem to love what we do enough to stick our name on their chests. It’s great. And we really appreciate it.
I’d like us to be remembered in a similar way The Misfits or The Melvins are…weirdos who watched one too many horror films as teenagers.
Possessor’ new album will be out on APF Records next year. In the meantime you can listen to and buy their back catalogue at: