Thrash Hits

January 7th, 2015

Future Hits 187: Prosperina

Future Hits 187: Prosperina

From: Swansea (and London), UK
Lazy equation: Mastodon having a wig-off jam with Tool.
URLs: Website // Facebook // Twitter

We like bands that have big fuck-off riffs, and we also like sound like they might have hung out with Soundgarden over brunch and swapped a few ideas back and forth. Prosperina tick boths those boxes, so we got guitarist/vocalist Gethin Woolcock to answer our Future Hits questions. Also their guitarist Chris bought us a beer once. Fair’s fair.

Describe your sound in 3 words
Epic. Heavy. Honest.

How did you meet?
Yo [aka Yotin Walsh, drums] and I met in music college in 1999. He was a little scoundrel with a funny haircut but he could really play the drums. He learned about 10 songs front-to-back in 2 days so he could dep for a band I was in. I then discovered that he loved Soundgarden as much as me. We later moved to Wales to form a band and that was that. Chris [Dean, guitar] was doing Prosperina’s PR and we hit it off when we discovered that we pretty much have the same record collection. He was obviously a frustrated rock star! When we decided to take another guitarist on we thought it would be only right to ask him if he would be interested cos he really gets the sound of the band. Liam [Scanell] is our new bass player and I met him about seven years ago when I was producing his band. “Here’s a solid bass guy” I thought to myself. Seven years later we’re in the same band!

What made you want to start a band?
Kurt Cobain, The Who, our mates, Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, Sabbath, coming from shit towns with nothing else to do and the dream of travelling the world playing to millions of people at awesome venues. So far we’ve managed to charge around the UK a few times in a Transporter van but that’s all good because I’m almost certain the Rio de Janeiro stadium gig is in the post…

Where did the name come from?
The name comes from a chapter on gods and goddesses in a little pocket compendium I had. I was scrolling through it one day trying to find a suitably epic name and it was full of all these macho gods like Thor and Zeus – the sort of names homo-erotic metal bands from the 80s might have had. We were all just laughing at them all and then I saw the name Prosperina: goddess of the underworld. At the time I was quite into prog so I thought maybe we should just use the whole thing. I clearly hadn’t considered the fact that it takes about a week to type it on a keyboard. There are probably a few people alive out there who will remember us with the extended director’s cut band name.

Where did you grow up? How do you think it’s affected your music?
I grew up in Port Talbot in South Wales. If anyone has been past it on the motorway they will know it’s essentially a giant rusting hulk of a steel plant pinned against mountains by the sea. It can be pretty depressing on times but it is full of really unique characters that give it a life of its own. It’s definitely affected the music of Prosperina in a positive way though. Yo comes from near Reading originally but he’s fully adopted his Welshness after living in Swansea for over 10 years. I’ve been to Reading so I’m sure he feels the same pain as I do.

What are your non-musical influences?
Surprisingly, most of my influences are from outside of music. Guitars, Bass and Drums are just a medium to get a message across for me. I get very inspired by art, literature and politics – I also find if I go somewhere new and inspiring that’s pretty much food for a new album right there! I’ve recently started working with sound in a completely different way too – I got very inspired by John Cage, Morton Feldman, LaMonte Young and some later minimalists whilst studying for an MA. They were right out there – you can pretty much take everything you know about music and throw it out of the window after learning about those cats!

Yo is really into art too. He’s a talented man – he knows how to play piano, bass & drums to high standards and he can draw too. He’s interested in the world – a man of the people shall we say! In his own words he is “an international mongrel” with his feet on the ground and head in the sky. Scannel loves travelling and Chris is pretty into art – his Dad is an artist as it goes.

Prosperina Harness-Minus album cover artwork packshot Thrash Hits

So far, what has been the best thing about being in a band?
Just the whole experience of being in a band is brilliant. Some people I know think the lengths we go to are crazy in order to keep making music and playing shows. To us the pure joy of playing music and meeting new people is where it’s at. I mean why the hell wouldn’t you want to do it at whatever level you can? Even if you just play to a few mates down the local pub it’s still way more fun and constructive than not doing it at all. I’m sure I speak for nearly all creative folk when I say that without our creative vices our lives would be a lot more hollow.

With which band would your dream support slot be?
It would be amazing to get a tour support for Soundgarden. Also Tool. How about opening for Soundgarden and Tool on a world tour? I would die fulfilled if that ever happened.

What bands do you consider as part of your scene or as your peers?
Well as part of our local scene in Swansea we currently have Hark, Sigiriya, Suns of Thunder, Estuary Blacks, Godbomber and Attercopus, whilst further afield in Cardiff we have Thorun and Hogslayer. Outside of Wales we have played a lot of shows with our good mates in Desert Storm, Deaf Horse & Trippy Wicked. Then there’s Gurt, Sedulus, Diesel King…I could go on.

What’s the best – or the funniest – show you’ve played?
Best was probably when we played Bloodstock. There were about 50 people in the new bands tent when we started and it was almost full by the time we finished. That was a great day. As for the funniest: We played a show in Llanidloes in North Wales once. It was awesome – I mean it’s in the middle of nowhere and it was at the back of a pub in a big marquee. We didn’t know what to expect and if I remember correctly it was day two of a three-day festival. When we got there everybody had been drinking, etc, for two days solid and it was getting crazy. There was a rave going off with lasers and stuff while we were sound checking and I was just facing my stack dialling in a sound thinking ‘holy shit these ravers are gonna hate us’. To my surprise, when I turned around they were all giving it devil horns at the front of the stage whilst all this rave stuff was going off. They stopped the rave, we played and it went mental in the tent. I had to stop the PA stack from falling over halfway through ‘Trees Have Eyes’. It was getting out of hand! That was a great experience. We since became good friends with those crazy guys.

What have you got planned for the future?
A few more videos and some touring and festivals. We plan to write another record next year too. There’s every chance of something left-field coming along in the future as I recently got inspired by some pretty out-there stuff.

What other band should everyone find out about?
From the underground? That’s a tough question. I’d say check out all of the bands listed in the question about our peers earlier on. I think people should check out Hogslayer though. They blew me away recently.

Tell us a joke.
Have you heard about the secret society that controls the world’s cheese markets?

They’re called the Halluomi-natti.


Prosperina’s second album, Harness-Minus, is out now. You can find out more about any upcoming gigs via their website.