Countdown to Damnation – Interview with Kurokuma


The countdown clock is ticking to Damnation 2023. We’re speaking to some of the bands heading to the BEC Arena in Manchester on 4 November, starting with Yorkshire heavy hitters Kurokuma. Emily Castles fires the questions.

How are you feeling ahead of your set at Damnation 2023?
It’s a strange time for us. Jake is at home in Bulgaria cos his wife is giving birth soon, so we have our friend, Bing stepping up on guitar duties. It’s not ideal but it’s the way it’s fallen. We’re practising intensely to get ready for Damnation and the other dates we have at the start of November. We have a load of new tunes in the setlist that we’re enjoying playing live. Ones that people don’t know yet cos they’re not out. Good things are happening. 

Had you been fans of the festival before?
Jake and I went to Damnation in 2013. I remember seeing Moss, Conan, Serpent Venom… It was quite an important day in terms of our involvement in music to be honest – it’s where we met our original bassist, Fridge. It was only a few weeks after that that we all started jamming and Kurokuma began, so it’s like we’ve come full circle in those ten years. 

Which bands are you most looking forward to seeing?
Electric Wizard. One of the only bands we’ve ever truly cared about sharing a line-up with. We used to sit around eating edibles and getting lost in their music before Kurokuma became a thing. 

How would you describe the band’s sound and influences?
People call us psychedelic sludge, which I can’t argue with, but there’s a lot more to it than that. In my mind it’s the marriage of doom and sludge with influences from around the world. Our last album was inspired by ancient Mexican history in its sound, aesthetic, lyrical content, everything. At the moment we’re on a Middle Eastern vibe. It’s meant to combine heavy, trippy, atmospheric and folk in a way that no-one else does. 

What can people expect from your set on the day?
We’re gonna play mostly songs from our unreleased album, along with a few older favourites. Plus a guest will be joining us on stage to do something we’ve never quite done before, if all goes to plan. 

Do you have any other gigs lined up this year?
Yeah. Because Bing has never played live with us before we wanted something in the diary before Damnation, so we’re playing with Moloch in Sheffield on the 2nd – two days before Damnation. It’ll be something of a warmup show for us and we’re calling it Make Sludge Grim Again The Gig. And then the week after Damnation we’re playing Byker Grave Festival in Newcastle which will be dope cos we love it up there. 

Are you currently working on anything in the studio?
We’re putting the final touches on the mix of our second album. I’m hoping it will be sent off for mastering soon and then we can look at working on a release. Should be out sometime next year. 

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