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A Magazine for Sheffield

For fans of music heavy, slow and low-tuned, it’s an exciting time to be in the north of England. Doom metal is not for the faint of heart, or lung, but it’s enjoying its bleary-eyed time in the sun in Sheffield and beyond. Now DEADidea, a small local production company, have documented it in the upcoming film, The Doom Doc, and we asked director-producer Connor Matheson about this trip into the depths.

What can we expect to see in the film and how did it come about?

The film is an immersive look into the extreme world of doom metal. It started when we went to film my friend Joe’s band, Kurokuma, at Sheffield DIY venue The Lughole. The gig was just so heavy, the sound was so loud and the DIY environment just added to the feeling that we were witnessing something special. We decided that night to make a film about our local doom scene and started following Joe’s promotion project, Holy Spider Promotions. From then on things just snowballed and we were getting interviews with the big bands in the scene beyond Sheffield.

Did you encounter any challenges during the making of the film?

We had a budget of less than £2,000, so we've come up against all kinds of challenges and hiccups, especially losing lots of footage due to a hard drive failure early on, but I'm a believer in limitation breeding creativity, so it's not been all bad. We ran a crowdfunding campaign that helped us raise cash.

The scope of the film includes bands from outside Sheffield and even some from outside the UK. How did that happen?

Originally we were planning on just making a short film about our local scene, but as word spread and we got deeper into the world of doom things just got bigger and bigger. Now we have interviews and performances from artists like Black Sabbath's Bill Ward, Crowbar's Kirk Windstein, Conan, Primitive Man, Slabdragger and a bunch of great underground bands. But from the offset we didn’t want the film to be just a ‘who’s who’ of doom, sludge and stoner. We wanted to follow real-life people and find a story worth telling, and it was really important to us that we included underground bands in the film who aren’t particularly well-known.

You've said that the film touches on non-musical subjects like drug use and mental health. How do they fit into the doom metal narrative?

All these themes naturally came up through chatting to promoters and bands. We talk about gentrification due to the trouble DIY venues are having staying open round here, mental health because it's often an influence on heavy metal, and drugs… Well, it is stoner music after all. Overall, we wanted to show how doom fits into wider society.

Tell us about your favourite moment during filming the documentary.

Filming the bands Lunar Maria and Kurokuma playing a basement at a house party. The night before I'd been helping put on a free party and I was really tired, but once we got there everyone was going mental and it was like a shot of adrenaline. It was pretty tricky to film, dodging people’s limbs and trying to deal with the dark lighting situation, but it was such good fun. Both bands aren’t as big as some of the other bands in the rest of the film, but for me this night really summed up what the music is all about and the DIY ethos that keeps it alive and thriving – people just making music for the love of it and nothing else.

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