Rob Duguay is a native of Shelton, CT who has been a music journalist based in Providence, RI since 2008. Along with writing for What's Up Rhode Island, Rob also writes for the Providence alternative arts & entertainment publication Motif Magazine, the New England culture publication Take Magazine, the Boston online culture magazine Vanyaland and the national music publication New Noise Magazine.

This coming weekend at Dusk in Providence, there’s going to be a ginormous festival showcasing some of the best metal and hard rock from around New England. It’s called Forge Fest and the first edition of it is happening on September 22 & 23 with Providence booking entity Brass n’ Ammo and teaming up with Boston booking organization Fat Togue to put it on. Day 1 will have acts like New Hell, Hey Zeus, Oxblood Forge, Upheaval and Rozamov taking the stage. Day 2 has the likes of Wreak, Sire, Red Mantis, The Humanoids, Gozu and Churchburn making serious noise. It’s a totally stacked lineup that’ll have people checking it out from beginning to end.

Headlining Day 1 is Worshipper from Boston, an act with a ‘70s era sound chocked full of serious riffs. They gained fame around their hometown from winning the 2016 Rock n’ Roll Rumble and their debut record Shadow Hymns that came out that same year is one of the best metal albums to come out of the region this decade. In anticipation of Forge Fest, I had a chat with John Brookhouse from the band about how everything fell into place during the beginning, getting signed to a kickass record label, who he is looking forward to checking out at the festival and when we can expect Worshipper’s sophomore release.

Rob Duguay: How did Worshipper initially get formed? I know guitarist Alejandro Necochea is also in the Boston rock act Township. Were the rest of you in other bands and you just decided to do a metal act? How did it all come together?

John Brookhouse: I had a metal band before this called Brule, which was like a thrashy kind of thing. We all kind of know each other from the Boston music scene. When my last band kind of imploded, Alex [Necochea] was curious about doing something heavier. We got together and did some riffs back and forth and then we filled it out with other people we knew. Bob [Maloney] messaged us because his band had imploded at the same time so he was like “Hey, I’m looking for a band to play bass in” so it kind of all worked out.

RD: It seems like it all came about at the right time.

JB: Yeah, we were all ready to do it.

RD: Shadow Hymns was one of my favorite albums to come out of New England last year and I know a lot of people share the same sentiment. What was the experience like for you guys making your debut album together? Where was it made? How long did it take to make the record?

JB: When we started out making it, we did two songs at first. We weren’t really sure if we were making an album or just putting out some singles. So we started plugging away at it with Benny Grotto at a place called Q Division Studios. Once we got going, we did another batch of songs there and then we did a few at the Converse Rubber Tracks studio. We did one song with Dave Minehan from The Neighborhoods at the latter place.

We had enough songs for an album so we remixed everything and then we put out four songs before the record. They’re all on the record and they’re all remixed and remastered. We’re currently making another album from the get go actually.

RD: Shortly after you guys won the Rock & Roll Rumble you got signed to Tee Pee Records. How did that come about? Did they contact you guys or was it from pitching your music around to different labels?

JB: We kind of pitched them through Alex’s work with them. Township has done a bunch of shows with Tee Pee and there was interest in putting Township on that label at one point. It didn’t pan out but they kept in touch so Alex was like “How about this band?” In September 2015, there was a Tee Pee showcase in New York City and we got the ball rolling there. It took a while for the paperwork to come around but it was in the works long before the Rumble.

RD: Oh cool.

JB: It was finally official with the announcement after the Rumble had happened.

RD: Well, congratulations on that.

JB: Thank you.

RD: With Forge Fest happening this weekend, which other bands are or you excited to see live?

JB: Gozu and The Humanoids on Day 2, we’re all friends with those guys. I also know a bunch of bands from Boston that are going to be there like Hey Zeus and Rozamov. When we went on tour we rented Rozamov’s van so we’re tight with those guys and they’re awesome to hang with. I’m excited to see a bunch of bands that I’m not really familiar with and I know it’s going to be good.

RD: What does the rest of the year hold for Worshipper? You alluded earlier to a new album being worked on so when can we expect it to be released?

JB: There’s really no timetable. We’re hoping to get something out next year. We took most of the summer off and now we’re getting back into writing mode. We’re going to try to get as much done as we can. When we start working on it we’re hopefully going to blast through it but we’re focusing on the writing right now. I say mid to late 2018, that’s my best bet.