A lot can happen in a decade, especially in the world of music. Bands come and go, but for the ones who stick around marking the milestone can be quite a big ordeal.
Even though they first established themselves in the UK music scene in 2003, it is Devil Sold His Soul’s debut album – which was released in 2007 – ‘A Fragile Hope’ that really put them on the map. With a number of line-up changes the ambient metallers have been a band which has been a constant in the scene since their inception, but it is their debut record which seems to have resonated most with their fans.
To celebrate ‘A Fragile Hope’’s 10th anniversary, the band will to playing a run of special shows where original vocalist Ed Gibbs will be joining current frontman Paul Green to play the record in its entirety. Already Heard caught up with the two singers to discuss revisiting the album and the band’s history.
“I remember buying ‘A Fragile Hope’ in the shops, and it was just a little bit different with the heaviness and ambience and that was one of the albums that really going me into heavier music which is odd to look back at,” says Green. “It is really surreal to now and bizarre doing a play through of an album which someone else wrote it was a bit strange. I feel like I’m doing Ed Gibbs karaoke.”
Gibbs, who stepped away from music four years ago, explained that he never expected to be playing this record again 10 years down the line. The original DSHS frontman admits that he was nervous to throw himself back in at the deep end, but is happy to be among good company. He said, “in terms of these songs, they are ingrained in my memory as we toured that album rigorously when it came out. But the hardest part for me was that I hadn’t sung in nearly four years, so I had to get practising again. It was comfortable going back in and hanging with the guys, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when we started doing the songs, I was kind of stood in the corner feeling like "oh shit” but once we started to get back into it, it was really fun.“
Gibbs goes on to say, "because it has been so long since we have played some of those songs, it was a completely different mindset going into these songs as we’ve all got a little bit older, and the subject matter in some of the songs is quite dark. So now we just want to go out there and have fun.”
When the band were toying with the idea of marking the milestone of their debut album, there was a number of ideas thrown around. One of which was that playing the record in full would be something exclusively held for festivals, but one thing was for certain, the band wanted to bring Gibbs back into the fold. Green explains, “I spoke to Ed about it nearly a year ago suggesting that we wanted to do something with ‘A Fragile Hope’. We had spoken about doing it at festivals for one year but that never quite panned out. One thing was for sure it was always going to be right to have Ed there, because I mean it is more Ed’s band than it is mine and the fans love him.”
Ed counters by saying, “there has been a number of people in the band over the years and it has just become our band rather than just one person.”
For Gibbs, the return to DSHS has been met with open arms by fans, but he said the idea of stepping back on stage is quite daunting and admits the decision to come back wasn’t so straight forward. “I did have to go away and think about it because it is daunting and scary, especially when you haven’t done it for so long,” added Gibbs. “Because you need to commit to being back in that world and what worried me was ‘what if it’s not good enough?’ I mean it is a quite a demanding band to sing in, which I think some people don’t realise that it’s tough.”
Even though the band are working as a cohesive unit now, when Gibbs left the band there was a bit of animosity from fans towards the arrival of Green, and it is a time in the band’s history which the current vocalist believes probably should have never happened.
“I got a text from Jozef (Norocky – bassist) while I was out for dinner being asked what I was doing band-wise, and I thought it was a new band. It’s strange because you look at where we are now, we are rarely touring and I look at the whole situation and think it shouldn’t have really happened and really I shouldn’t be here,” Paul explains. “I remember sending messages to the guys before the first initial practice I went to saying is this something you guys can’t resolve because it didn’t feel as straight forward as it should have been. It was really daunting stepping into Ed’s shoes I mean at my very first show I had people shouting at me ‘you’re an imposter.’”
Despite early reservations to the addition of Green to the band, fans soon came round, and now with Gibbs back on the scene, the guys in DSHS are in good spirits and are just looking to enjoy themselves and have fun during the 10th anniversary shows.
You can hear the full interview with Devil Sold His Soul over at Just An Insight.
Devil Sold His Soul will celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘A Fragile Hope’ with four UK shows next month:
14 O2 ABC 2, Glasgow
15 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
21 Thekla, Bristol
29 Boston Music Room, London
‘A Fragile Hope’ will be released on limited edition double wax vinyl as part of Record Store Day 2017 on Basick Records.
Words by Tim Birkbeck (@tim_birkbeck)