Matt Pike of High On Fire Finds Zen in the Face of the Apocalypse
This weekend, fans of grind, sludge, thrash and punk will flock to Pomona, for the annual showcase for heavy extreme music, the Scion Rock Fest. This year, the festival will contain four stages (two at the Glass House, two at the Fox Theater) and includes headliners Machine Head and High On Fire, as well as Crowbar, Red Fang, Blast, Exhumed, Big Business, and King Buzzo and over a dozen other heavy hitters.
Guitarist Matt Pike, from the bands High On Fire, and Sleep, recently took time with the Weekly over the phone to talk about bands he's stoked to see at Scion Fest this weekend, as well at other topics such as the art of meditation and staying sober, guitar playing for both High On Fire and Sleep, Sleep's performance at the Burgerama Music Festival in Santa Ana a few months ago. We also touched on other esoteric, mysterious and mind opening subjects like out-of-body experiences, the Apocalypse, UFOS, and the supposed secret societies out to control the world.
OC Weekly (Alex Distefano): As a guitarist, is it easy for you to transition, from playing slower with Sleep then faster with High on Fire?
Matt Pike: It's apples and oranges for sure, sometimes I have to take my head out of one band, and put it into another for a few days. Sleep was my musical training; I learned a lot of my style and the basics from playing with Sleep. But I was always into classical, bluegrass, jazz, and more. High On Fire has just been a progression for me musically; the riffs and skeleton of the music all comes form the foundation of my guitar playing. Also working with different members of each band, I have to alter my playing but still there are similarities people can hear.
Tell us what bands you're excited to check out on Saturday in Pomona at the Scion Festival.
There are a bunch of bands I am looking forward to checking out. Exhumed, Crowbar, Big Business, Midnight, Red Fang, and tons more. We know Machine Head from Oakland they practice very close to us. I am mostly looking forward to hanging with all my tour buddies and family it's going to be a very fun day with lots of cool bands playing.
Tell us what it was like for Sleep to play the Burgerama Music Festival a few months ago in Santa Ana, as the only heavy metal band?
I've played a lot of festivals all over like that but that show was a strange one. Some of those bands were bizarre. Some of them I don't even know if they were bands or not, I just saw kids up there making random sounds, which is cool I guess. But the best part was that even though we didn't fit in, our set was fun, people were super into it and there was a good energy in the room when we played. I had fun and we think the sound came out good for that show.