Issue 17 of Stencil Mag
Features interviews from the following: Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend, Chiodos, Finch, Silverstein, The Bronx, The Blackout, The Bouncing Souls, Such Gold, The Joy Formidable, Anberlin, Broadway Calls, Brontide, Seahaven, Major League, I, Divide, Bleach Blood, Evarose, Spiral Studios, Jonathan Lindley, SnowSkull and MANY more!
Your Demise have announced their new EP will be called ‘Cold Chillin’ and is set to be released on February 7th, with the CD version being released through Impericon. Whilst an exclusive vinyl release will be through Pinky Swear Records, with 150 7“‘s being pressed on green with grey splatter and 350 on transparent red. York’s With One Last Breath have revealed details of their new EP - ‘Wake The Dead.’ The six-track EP is set to be released through Small Town Records on February 25th. Kerouac have announced a one-off show at The Joiners in Southampton and will take place on February 9th. London rock duo Anavae have joined LAB Records. They will be touring I Divide in April. Shadows Fall will return to the UK in April for a run of shows alongside Ill Nino. On top of their lengthy winter tour, Funeral For A Friend have announced a separate run of UK shows that will take place in March and April. Vinnie Caruana (I Am The Avalanche) has announced his début solo EP, ‘City By The Sea’ will be released in the UK through Xtra Mile Records on 4th February. Vinnie Caruana will return to the UK in April to play five shows including both dates of this years Hit The Deck Festival. Dead Swans have announced they will be playing their final ever show at The Garage in London on Saturday March 30th. Support comes fromLast Witness, Breaking Point, Landscapes, Gnarwolves, Departures, Honour Among Thieves, Strange Places and Mind X Control. The likes of Sleeping With Sirens, Memphis May Fire, Man Overboard, Andrew McMahon, Mallory Knox, MC Lars and The Summer Set have been added to the line-up for this year’s Slam Dunk Festival. Full list of band announced so far: All Time Low, Pierce The Veil, Streetlight Manifesto, Woe Is Me, The Early November, The Wonder Years, Fireworks, Four Year Strong, The Story So Far, Senses Fail, The Skints, Polar Bear Club, Memphis May Fire, Sleeping With Sirens, Man Overboard, Andrew McMahon, Mallory Knox, The Summer Set MC Lars and more to be announced. Several new additions to this year’s Download Festival has been announced, with the likes Jimmy Eat World, Enter Shikari, Young Guns, Converge and Cancer Bats being just some of the names added to three day festival. Other names announced include KoRn, The Hives, Parkway Drive, Motionless In White, Heaven’s Basement and Asking Alexandria. Bury Tomorrow and Bleed From Within have been announced as headliners on Redcore ‘In Your Face’ Stage at this years Redfest 2013 festival. Other bands set to appear over the weekend are Turbowolf, Hacktivist, Feed The Rhino, Heart in HandDemoraliser, The James Cleaver Quintet, Idiom, Gnarwolves, Palm Reader, Zico Chain, The Call Back Academy, Empress, Legend in Japan, Freeze the Atlantic, God Damn, Of Fire And Fate and A Room Swept White. Heavy Metal legends Black Sabbath have confirmed their new album will be called ‘13’ and is set to be released in June. The Smoking Hearts have announced their second album, ‘Victory!’ on March 25th through Bomber Music. On April 29th, Bring Me The Horizon will release ‘Sempiternal’ and begin a headline UK tour. The Front Bottoms have announced five UK shows which will take place in April. ‘Renacer,’ the new album from Senses Fail will be released in the UK on March 25th through Staple Records. Senses Fail will be touring the UK in May with support from Handguns. Details of the highly anticipated new album from Frank Turner has been announced. The album is titled ‘Tape Deck Heart’ and is set to be released on April 22nd through Xtra Mile Records. A UK tour will also take place in April. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus have announced a headline UK tour taking place in March and April. Support comes Tantrum To Blind and Rat Attack. The Story So Far have confirmed their second album, ‘What You Don’t See’ will be released in the UK on Monday 25th March via Pure Noise Records. Following their successful UK tour late last year, Enter Shikari have announced an intimate UK tour beginning in April. Support comes from Hacktivist. Trapped Under Ice have announced a UK tour alongside Backtrack, Broken Teeth and Climates. The tour begins in late April. Canterbury will be hitting the road in April for a run of UK shows. The Ocean Between Us' début album ‘Savoir Faire’ will be released on March 25th through A Wolf At Your Door Records. Bullet For My Valentine's new album, ‘Temper Temper’ is set to be released on February 11th. Interview with Jamie So for those that somehow don't know, or aren't fully aware, can you tell us a bit about why The King Blues called it a day? The King Blues was a band that I was a part of for about nine years. We did some really cool stuff together and shared a lot of ups and a lot of downs. Sadly we came to an end around April 2012. There were a varying degree of issues as to why we ended, some personal, some not. Everyone involved has moved on now and I’m fairly certain that they are happy in their lives – I know that I’m much happier now! Can you tell us about the formation of Bleach Blood? Bleach Blood started as a project in my bedroom, I’d written a bunch of songs after leaving The King Blues but it took a while for anything good to fall out of my head! I ended up going to the studio with Chris McCormack and recording with him… I owe Chris a lot actually; he was there for me in a big way. Nothing really took shape though until I moved to the warehouse district in Manor House, London. It was where TKB used to rehearse during the Under the Fog/Save the World/Get the Girl era, so it felt a lot like coming home. While I was there I met Paul Mullen - I already knew Paul from his previous bands - and we started working together. It was Paul that introduced me to Frank and Charlie and then everything just clicked into place. I am very lucky to have such a talented and hardworking band behind me. How has Paul fit into the line up so far? Like, is he just a touring member, or has he had some influence on your material so far? Paul, Frank and Charlie have all been amazing. I pretty much did everything on The Young Heartbreakers Club EP before the band came together, but as we were learning the songs together it became quite apparent that everyone could offer something to the songs. When we came to finish the EP off, Paul and I went to Sam Eyes’ studio and spent three days there together. Paul is a great songwriter, melody writer and guitarist; his input on my material has been totally amazing and very important, and I know both Charlie and Frank will also have a great importance when it comes to making the full length album. How did you get to the band name Bleach Blood, and what does it mean to you? I’m not sure - probably from watching too much CSI or something! I knew that I had to start a new project aside from the bands I was working on at the time because I kept writing songs that didn’t fit in with anything else I was doing. Bleach Blood means an awful lot to me – there was a period this year where I felt as if I had lost everything and I really ended up in quite a bad way; Bleach Blood to me was my personal way out of that situation. How would you define your sound as a band, and how did you think it compares to what you've done in your musical career prior to this? We’re kinda like a pre-edm-post-punk-indie-pop-dance band. Actually, a friend of mine said we sounded like The Buzzcocks playing LCD-Soundsystem songs. I love both those bands, so that was absolutely fine by me. I don't think it sounds much like anything I’ve previously done; I’m pushing myself to create something new. Although I have been told there are shades of TKB’s pop side in it, as opposed to the more ska/reggae influence. How happy were you with the response to your first show as Bleach Blood? The first show was amazing, simply amazing. I couldn’t have been happier. Everybody that showed up seemed to enjoy themselves, in fact the response has been much bigger than I ever thought it would have been. I was quite nervous of fronting a band in the run up to the show, but the rest of the band showed me a lot of love and belief and to put it bluntly, we smashed it… if I do say so myself. What are the main themes and influences that run through your debut EP? Heartbreak, paranoia, ex-girlfriends, partying, paranoia, ex-girlfriends, drugs, partying, heartbreak, recovery. In that order. Can you tell us about the recording process for this EP? The majority of the EP was produced by Sam Eyes who I had worked with on some TKB stuff in the past. He took my demos as a blueprint and we built most of the songs up from there. Paul and I went down to his studio located in the middle of nowhere and did it all in three days. I found the whole programming side of things pretty interesting, it’s not something I had personally been that hands-on with in the past, but for the EP I found myself writing drum beats and bass parts, then adding all the organic parts afterwards. On the song Let Your Heart Sing I worked mostly with Chris McCormack in various studios in London. At that point in time I didn’t have any money, so it was really a case of stealing time when I could to make it happen. What was it like for you to work with a whole new set of musicians on a brand new EP? Amazingly refreshing actually. I didn't like that I had to tick certain boxes or answer to anyone but myself but and as I’ve said before since Paul, Frank and Charlie came onboard, their input and support has been amazing. This whole band feels like a breath of fresh air. Also, what's it been like for you to start this new band, like maybe it's been exciting for you to take a new direction in music? Or maybe it means something else to you? It was quite a daunting and a scary prospect to begin with; I wasn’t sure that anyone would like it or really want to listen to it unless it was a style that was clearly influenced by my old band. But, as time went on and everything started falling into place, I became increasingly happy with Bleach Blood and I feel a genuine excitement for music, and making music again. Bleach Blood means the world to me. What's it been like to work with Transmission Recordings since the formation of Bleach Blood? I love working with Transmission Recordings. They’ve let me be as artistically free as I’ve wanted to be. Transmission doesn’t feel like a label to me, they feel like a family. If at some point we part ways for whatever reason, then I wouldn’t have a single regret about working with them. If more labels worked as hard as Transmission do then this whole industry would be in a much better position. Interview with Imogen Can you tell us about the formation of Evarose? We’ve all been in different bands over the years but Robyn and I met through a mutual friend when I was looking for a drummer and have been in bands ever since. Robyn knew Dannika from secondary school, and Connie and I met at sixth form. How did you get to the name Evarose, and what do you want it to mean to your fans? To be honest, we couldn’t come up with anything we all agreed with, but we all agreed that we wanted it to be something that didn’t really mean anything so that it could eventually just be a word people associate with us as a band. Evarose was suggested and it was the only one we didn’t all completely hate! What bands have influenced you guys since your formation and why? We all have our individual influences, but bands we tend to all look up to are bands like Rueben and Incubus. As an all girl band, has this made it any harder to get exposure? I think it’s a double edged sword really, sometimes it’s been helpful because it’s something that makes us instantly stand out, whether we want to or not. But on the flip side, people often make certain assumptions about us before seeing/hearing/meeting us. From our point of view, we don’t tend to think about it. How did you end up signing to Zestone Records, and what's it been like to be on their label so far? They showed an interest in us and we were, of course, really keen to try and build a fan base in Japan. So far it’s been good, two of our songs went out as a split release at the end of November and so far the response has been great. So how did your recent tour go with Straight Lines, and what are your personal highlights from this tour? We loved touring with the guys in Straight Lines, they’re such a good band and we had some pretty hilarious nights out in the most random of places. It’s a good job we got on so well, as we had a long time to spend with them! I think the highlights of that tour were probably our night out on a Tuesday when no where else was open but this little diner. We all ended up taking over the ‘dance floor’ with mass air-guitaring. Also, just traveling to all the different shows, getting to see people who have come out to see us across the country is always pretty cool. Also, you are just finishing a tour with Blitz Kids, how has that been for you guys, and what do you think you learnt the most from this tour? It’s been a fun tour! I love getting to tour with different bands, all the bands we’ve toured with so far are so different as people and musicians. It’s always good to see how different bands work in a live situation. I think we always learn a lot from the bands we tour with. What we have learnt from touring more and more, is that whether there are four people or four hundred people at a show, you need to play to make those people feel like their money was well spent. What are the themes and influences that run through your latest EP 'Elements'? For me, ‘Elements’ kind of reflects a place that we were in as a band at the time and still are now. There is a lot of uncertainty as it’s still only our second E.P and also a lot of hope about what’s to come. Also, being stubborn in what you want to do in life. How did you go about picking 'There's No Such Thing As Something For Nothing' as a single to release from 'Elements' and how happy have you been with the response to the single so far? I think we all knew when we wrote that song that it just felt like a single. The response has been great so far and we are really grateful to anyone who has downloaded it. How did you end up doing a split EP with My Last Diary and what was it like to see this being sold so far away from home in Tower Records, Shibuya? Releasing the split was cool, and I think it is a smart thing to do when you’re trying to get your name out there in a place where no one knows you. It is mad when I see photos posted of it sitting in a shop somewhere in Japan. How excited are you to be a part of the awesome Hit The Deck festival, and what can fans expect from your performance at the festival? We are so happy to be playing Hit The Deck again. It feels pretty cool to be invited back as we were the first band to play at the first ever one! I think people can expect to hear a lot of our new tracks from Elements as well as hearing a few oldies for good measure. What do you want 2013 to do for Evarose? I think we just want to write, write, write and tour, tour, tour to get our name out there. We’d love to go to Japan to but it’s early days. Interview with Shane So for those that don't know, can you explain why Silverstein & Neil Boshart parted ways? We decided it was time for him to move on from the band. I think he was really burnt out on the touring and the travelling and the grind that the other four of us had grown to actually really love, and it was getting increasingly hard for him to deal with it. It definitely was showing every day. We wish him well with his future, his marriage and everything else. How did Paul Marc Rousseau end up in the line up, and what's it been like to have him in the band so far? Paul Marc has been our best friend for years now. He originally came out on tour with us teching for us, doing merch, whatever he could do, and very quickly just from hanging out with him and seeing him pick up a guitar I knew he was an amazing musician. He had played in I Am Committing A Sin which was an absolutely incredible cutting edge and sadly short lived band. From there once we knew it was time for Neil to go, he was an obvious choice. 'Short Songs' is obviously something slightly different to what you guys do on a record, so can you tell us a bit about how the concept/idea for this record came about? Well in North America we have Record Store Day, which is one day a year where a lot of bands make limited releases for indie stores to sell. We wanted to do a 7" with our song The Artist on one side, and some cover songs on the other. We wanted to do three songs, but since you can only fit about four minutes of music on one side, we decided to cover three short songs. We had such a blast with those, playing them live and everything so then I had this crazy idea to maybe try and write some of our own. We definitely aren't the kind of band known for it so it was very outside the box for us. The record came out great, and everyone was really stoked on it, especially our older fans who grew up listening to punk rock and hardcore where almost every record had at least one song at 1:30 or less. The record has been out since February (2012), so how happy have you been with the response to this record, as well as what's it done for the representation of Silverstein? The response has been amazing. I think in terms of representing us, I guess a lot of people were surprised we knew these bands we covered, and that we liked them or were influenced by them. It's funny because other people are like "you're not a hardcore band", which is obvious, but that doesn't mean I didn't grow up going to hardcore shows every weekend and that I don't know this style of music. We started Silverstein to do something different at the time, something outside Punk and hardcore, but those bands are our roots. We've read that you feel your older record label wouldn't "get it" if you tried to release 'Short Songs' through them, so with that in mind can you tell us about what it's like to be on Hopeless Records, and how do you think they have helped you as a band over the last couple of years? Yeah, Victory probably wouldn't have gone for this idea. They weren't into our idea of doing an EP like we did before Rescue either. We always wanted to do 7" releases, but that's OK as I do get what Victory was trying to do, and we released four records that I'm really proud of through them. With Hopeless, they are always down for our crazy ideas, even if it means them losing money because we want to do some crazy booklet or vinyl colour or something. And it's good to feel like they're an extension of your band like that. They get just as excited about the release as we do. We've heard that your newest record 'This is How the Wind Shifts' is a concept record, so can you tell us a bit more about the themes & influences that run through this release? Well we had a lot of success and fun with A Shipwreck in the Sand a few years back, and I wanted another challenge similar to that. I wanted to do a record that had a concept but wasn't necessarily linear. So I started toying around with the idea of having parallel tracks, with the first track on side one and the first track on side two having a common theme or tie. A lot of what this is is a story where one track is what happened, and the other track is the "what if" a single event was different. It's something everyone thinks about. It is something I think about myself, what if I never started this band, etc. There's musical themes that call back, obviously lyrical themes and stories. If you look at the song titles you can see how they read through forming one sentence or an idea. There's also some secret stuff too, but I want people to discover that on their own, As 'A Shipwreck in the Sand' is also a concept record, how would you say these two records compare? Shipwreck is completely linear. The story starts with one thing, and we go through the events to the end. Besides a couple of flashbacks, that's it. This record is actually six stories, with track 1-8, 2-9, 3-10 etc, each being the stories. We have a 7" boxset with those songs on each record so it's almost like those two songs are a mini EP. How would you say you have progressed musically as a band since the release of 'Rescue' ? I think with Short Songs being so restricted time wise, and Rescue being very straight ahead, this record allowed us some freedom to try some different stuff. It's a bit more experimental, with some different tones, and a few chords here and there that you really wouldn't expect. How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Funeral For A Friend in Germany, and what is it you enjoy so much about touring there? Germans are just such die hard fans of rock music. I love it there because they aren't so finicky about what's the latest cool thing, or if one band they like is in the right scene or whatever. They just like what they like and rock the fuck out. So we are SOOO excited, and we finally get to do a proper tour with Funeral too. We always have great hang outs at festivals and stuff, but to do a tour like this will be awesome! Interview with Greg, Bryan & Pete Y Your new album 'Comet' came out in June, so how happy have you been with the response to the record so far, and what do you feel it has done for the representation of The Bouncing Souls? Greg: The response has been great! We were all very happy with the energy we captured on the record. There is something undeniable about it so it was great to see people responding to that aspect of it. Overall itâ€™s a great representation of the Bouncing Souls at this moment. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run through your latest record 'Comet' ? Greg: We addressed some classic BS themes like expressing some of our personal relationship experiences, our love of camaraderie and random fun, but we were also inspired by the events of the Arab spring in the song "Baptized" just because it was amazing to witness people putting their lives on the line for what they believe in. The title song of the record Comet raises the idea that our planet could get hit by a Comet at any moment...To me the song is a reminder of how short and precious life is so we should live, and be who we really want to be right now! How did you guys end up collaborating with Rise Records on the release of 'Comet' and what have they been like to work with so far? Greg: Our good friends in Hot Water Music helped to introduce us to the guys at Rise and our relationship has been going great since our first conversation. The team at Rise have been fans of the BS for years and were really excited to release our new record. Their genuine heartfelt support over the past year has been so refreshing and enjoyable, especially with the state of the music business today. Thank you Rise! How did you guys end up working with Bill Stevenson on 'Comet' and what was he like to work with in the studio? Bryan: We've been friends with Bill since the Souls toured the states with the Descendents back in '96. I have no good explanation as to why it took so long to finally work with him, but better late than never as they say. Bill is a genius and it was constantly fun and inspiring to work with him. Was there ever any talk about putting out 'Comet' with the same structure as 'Ghosts on the Boardwalk' or did you just want it to be a ten song record straight from the start? Bryan: We wanted to put out a good old fashioned simple album this time! What songs have you been enjoying performing live the most of the new record at the moment, and why? Bryan: I really like playing the song Comet because I like the groove, and it's fun when the bridge kicks in. But Infidel rocks hard and fast which is always tons of fun to play. With twenty years now completed as The Bouncing Souls, how would you say your writing process as a band has changed/progressed over the years? Bryan: It's just evolved over the course of its long journey through experiences. The lyrics are a reflexion of that in many cases. Then again, we still get a kick out of writing the world's simplest one-thought songs for a goof now and then as well. You guys have kept a pretty stable line up since your formation, so with this in mind, how do you guys go about keeping the connection within the band constantly healthy? Pete: We've all been friends for a really long time. We're like brothers. We love each other, but we are also very different people who fight and make up as we go. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect from the shows? Pete: We're really excited. We've always loved the UK and the UK crowds. People seem to get the Souls over there. The shows are going to be sick. So expect to have lots of fun as the energy will be crankin! You guys are also heading to Australia to perform with The Descendents, so how excited are you for these shows, and what do you guys like so much about performing in Australia? Pete: We are just psyched to play with our life long heroes. I've loved that band since I was like 13 and I will love them until I die. What else can we expect to see from The Bouncing Souls in 2013? Pete: We're just going to take it as it goes right now. We have some touring in the US after the UK shows and then we're coming back to Europe for the summer festivals. See everyone in March! Interview with Ty How did you go about picking 'Lucky Lighter' as the first song to release of your new album 'Comfort/Distraction' ? When we first finished the record and showed it to our friends, that song got a really good response. It's a little slower than what people expect from us, and it's a little depressing, but people seem to like it. It's one of my favorite songs on the record. It's honest. What are the themes and influences that run through 'Comfort/Distraction' ? It's a little apocalyptic. Sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. Sometimes personally. But there are also stories about real love and hints and reminders of things worth living for. Open Letter is about the whole process of taking comfort in entertainment. The line, "a comfort, a distraction, a fuck is all I have to give" is just me saying that I'm honored and humbled that a few people even give a shit about some of these songs. Thank you for letting me be your distraction from reality even if itâ€™s only for two or three minutes. You've stated that "This is actually the first Broadway Calls record that we've made as a band" so can you explain to us a bit about how the recording/writing process has differed on this album in comparison to your releases prior to this? The way this band has worked since the beginning is that I would write most of a song in my room and bring it to Josh and we'd make a song out of it. Or Josh would have a guitar riff and we'd get together and try to make a song out of it. Then after we had two or three songs, we'd invite Matt to practice and he'd learn his notes and vocal parts. We worked well like this, but it was always a challenge and I think some real resentment grew. Josh and I would do all the songwriting and business stuff, and Matt would sell shirts. It just wasn't working. Personal shit was getting weird, and after spring of 2010 Josh mentioned that he didn't want to make another record with Matt. I understood, but was a little hesitant because I think naturally I was just scared of change, and I'm lazy. I didn't want to deal with a line-up change. It's hard work to kind of start over like that. But I knew that if we didn't, there wouldn't be a third Broadway Calls record. Adam is an old friend of ours and he was the first person we asked to start this band with in late 2005, but he couldn't at the time. He was in Countdown To Life with Josh and I, and is one of my favorite bassists ever, and luckily he can sing really well. He hits the notes that I write and can't hit, and he's very creative. When we started writing this record together, every practice was the three of us. It felt great and we're lucky to have him to play with. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process behind 'Comfort/Distraction' ? We were lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in The Blasting Room with Bill Stevenson again. When we show up there with a ton of new songs, we usually have a pretty good idea of what will go on the record and what won't. We decided we had time to record twelve songs and our intention was to have at least one b side for something. Bill helps us make decisions that maybe we're oblivious to or too stubborn to make on our own. Sometimes I need help opening my eyes to what could make a song better. It's amazing to work with, and trust someone like that. So we all hang out and play these songs over and over with Bill for the first three days of pre-production. We rip the songs apart and put them back together again. The rest of the time spent there is all tracking and mixing what we all agree are the best versions of the songs. One week before you guys entered the studio you found out that you had no label, so what was this stressful time like for you guys, and what do you think you learnt the most from this experience? It was a nightmare and a huge relief at the same time. We didn't have the best relationship with SideOneDummy. There was very little communication, and the information we were receiving was apparently not accurate, it was very strange. So after a few hours of anger and wondering how the hell we were going to pay for this record, we found out that we have people in our lives that are still extremely supportive of what we do. Our families and friends came to the rescue, told us not to stop, and within a few hours we knew we were still making a record. We accepted that we'd be thousands of dollars in debt, and were even more excited to have a fresh start than we were before. How did you guys end up on 'No Sleep Records' ? We went straight from the studio, to Japan with The Descendents. When we got home, we were excited that we had this new record, but didn't really know who to send it to. No Sleep had popped up on our radar as this younger label that really supported its bands. They make a real effort to make their audience feel like a part of things, and we related to that. They liked the record, and honestly it's been extremely easy to work with them ever since. What do you like the most about working with Bill Stevenson? He is family. The guy lived through and is a part of real rock n' roll history. His stories and experiences are inspiring beyond most anything or anyone I know. For some reason we clicked when we went there in 2009, and I really didn't want to make this record without him. We're very lucky to be on the same team as that guy. If you had to choose, what song would you say means the most to you of 'Comfort/Distraction' at the moment, and why? I really love Open Letter because it's a little different than most of our stuff. I'm happy with the lyrics, and the riff that Josh wrote for that song is really fun to play. Surrounded by Ghosts is one of my favorite Broadway Calls songs ever, and I think it's because at practice the song came together very easily. It was natural, and it's exactly how I have always imagined this band sounding. If someone asks what we sound like, I can now just show them that song. It's been three years now since the release of your last full length album 'Good Views, Bad News' so how would you say you have progressed musically since this release? We're a little darker, and a little poppier at the same time. It depends on the song really. Comfort/Distraction has more variety than Good Views, Bad News, and that was definitley a goal that we had in mind while writing. I'm happier with my lyrics too. I guess they're just a little less cringeworthy than some of my past songs. What do you guys want 'Comfort/Distraction' to do for the representation of Broadway Calls? I hope it makes people want to come to the shows and sing along. That's really the only reason to make records. Interview with Matthew What are the main themes and influences that run through your latest record? The main theme of Start The Party is just about enjoying yourself and having fun and making the most of what people have got. Early on in the writing process we decided we wanted to make a record that would be upbeat and fun and offer people an escapism from their problems. It was also a reaction to loads of other bands we thought were just focusing on negativity and misery and it was something we were fed up of and wanted to counter. It seems that the video for 'Start The Party' sums up one of the major themes on your new album, so can you tell us about how the video came together, and a bit about what you wanted it to mean to your fans? The video idea came about just as itâ€™s shown in the video really, we were sat in the cold garage and thought it'd be an awesome idea to go away somewhere warm for a change to shoot the video. The one thing we wanted to achieve with the video was that whether you were a fan of the band or not that you would enjoy watching it and get a sense of the fun behind the song. How did you end up working with Jason Perry (A) and what's it been like to work with him in the studio? We were looking for producers when recording The Best In Town and his name popped up, so we met with him and just loved his energy and ideas, so it all went from there. Within a few days he'd come down to Cardiff and we'd started pre-production. He's awesome to be in the studio with, he makes the whole process easy and fun to do. He makes the whole process of recording and making an album less daunting. If you had to choose, which song of your new record 'Start The Party' means the most to you, and why? I love the song Radio just as I think it's a huge rock song that's got an almost cock rock feel about it which is quite different for us. It was also one of those songs that took twenty minutes to write and it just came together really easily. What would you say was the most challenging process behind putting together the record 'Start The Party' and why? It wasn't a challenging process at all really. The songs came about quite easily and we also had the longest period of time we've ever had to write an album, so we never felt rushed or pressured. The recording process was the same, as we had the longest time we've spent in a studio and Jason made the process really easy and fun! How would you say you have progressed as a band musically since the release of 'Hope'? We're much better songwriters I'd say. The more the band writes songs, the better at it we become and the easier it becomes too. That's the main thing I've noticed, as we seem to be able to bash out a song much more easily and quicker than before, and where before we may get stuck with a song and struggle to develop and finish it off, we have found that we really don't face that so much these days. Also, looking back now, how happy have you been with the response to your record 'Hope', and what do you feel it has done for the representation of The Blackout? We're stoked that people liked Hope. When we write albums we never take into consideration whether people like the songs during the writing process. We just write songs we love that we will also love playing live, so if other people love those songs too then that's a massive bonus for us. We've actually seen you guys work your way up the alternative music scene over the years, so with this in mind, can you tell us how you feel the music scene has changed or developed since you first started out? I'm quite out of touch with the local scene compared to when we used to play local shows and be more of a part of it, but I do see a lot of bitching about bands and promoters on Facebook which is never a good thing, and it was never something we saw much of back in the day. There are still loads of good upcoming bands though from South Wales which is amazing. You guys have just been announced as the headliners for Radstock Festival, so how excited are you for this slot, and what should attending fans expect from the performance? We're excited for Radstock, it's always a massive honour to be asked to play festivals and especially headline them. I'd imagine it'll be our typical show, fun, high energy and we'll also be playing a bunch of new songs. What else can we expect to see from The Blackout in 2013? We just want to keep busy in 2013 and play as many shows and festivals as we can. It also looks like we're going to go back to America this year which we're really excited about! “New and upcoming London based pop-rock band. For fans of You Me At Six, Mayday Parade and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus” Facebook.com/HoldMyOwnBand Twitter.com/HoldMyOwnBand You can keep up to date with us right here: www.Facebook.com/semperfiglasgow Interview with William Can you tell us about the formation of Brontide? Tim and myself have been friends since play school and have played in bands one way or another since we were seven. A few years ago, we got together and started playing with Tim's new loop pedal and tried to make some heavy songs. We soon realised we needed a bass player and we got together with my friend Nathan. His playing changed how we both thought the sound was going to be, but for the better. That became "Brontide". How did you guys get to the band name Brontide, and what does it mean to you? When we first started, we were going to be a lot heavier then we ended up being. "Brontide" means "The low rumble of distant thunder" and it's what we initially wanted to sound like. We ended up turning into "a light shower" though. You guys are currently working on your follow up to 'Sans Souci' so how is it going so far, and can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from the record? It's very exciting for us! Our first album was just a collection of eight songs that we had written over the space of two years where as with this one, we have been able to write it as a full record. We have a lot more time for melody then we did on the first record. We are very conscious about that and making sure the songs are full of hooks, whether it be a guitar loop, a bass line or a sample that we like. How would you say you have progressed as a band since the release of 'Sans Souci' ? As song writers, I feel we are better, and as musicians we have improved. There is a part in a new song where Tim is looping guitar, playing guitar and playing keyboards with his feet at the same time. We would have laughed at that when writing Sans Souci. I guess the most obvious progression is our open mindedness to experimenting. I touched on it above but we are using a lot of electronics and samples now. There are vocal parts from German lullabies, gregorian chants, UK Garage songs etc as well as a heap of interesting instrumentation from different genres, but all done in a very tasteful, "Brontide" way. Can you tell us about your recording process so far then? We are still at the writing stage so far. We have about five songs finished and three written that need finishing. It is flowing wonderfully and we can't wait to see peoples response as we feel we have already trumped Sans Souci. Last year you got to perform with Thrice on their Farewell tour in London, so as you guys are influenced by this band how was this experience for you, and what are your favourite memories from this epic night? The Thrice show was wonderful. They were a big influence on us when we were growing up, especially Riley's drumming for me. It was an honour to be personally invited to play. We had a really great show and we went down very well. Also, back in July you guys hit America for a handful of dates, so how was this for you, and what do you think you learnt the most from these shows? We just got PR and an agent out there and we decided we would go out and just have a go. We only played three shows to see how we would go down and the response was better then we expected. Quite surreal to see people recognise our songs on the other side of the world! I think we realised that touring out there isn't out of the question at all and that with enough time, we could play some exciting shows. As an instrumental band, can you tell us how a song comes together for you guys? Usually Tim our guitarist emails us a song or an idea and we all work out what we want to play around it. Then we meet up in a rehearsal room somewhere and play it out. We've had a lot more time on this record to actually get together and write, which we have all enjoyed. Songs are very much just a heap of ideas and then we have to just work out how one section will go into another. The average pop song has an ABABCB structure, where as we never repeat sections. It's very much ABCDEFG. Also, as an instrumental band, how do you guys go about making that connection with your fans when you perform your music live? We are show offs. Tim and Nathan stare at people and do loads of riffs one handed, and I hit the drums harder then I need to to give something else to look at. We understand that visually, we have to be impressive as we need to pull people in without words. We do spend a lot of time putting together our live show. Every note, interlude, fill is in place before we go on stage. We look at the set as a song. It has movements and should flow in the way a song should. We hope all these little things come across when people watch us. You guys have come a long way in such a short time, but what do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as Brontide, and why? America was obviously a highlight. We've always had a rule that we don't do things unless we need to, and we were asked to go out to USA and didn't just go for the sake of it. Festival season was a real highlight too. We had four or five weekends in a row where we played to 600+ people who knew our material. For a band with no management, UK agent or funding, it was fantastic and a real "keep going" moment. What do you want 2013 to do for Brontide? Release a wonderful album and play some big headline shows. Interview with Kyle A couple of months back you got straight of a plane in the UK and performed at Hevy Fest on the same day, which of course went into a UK tour, so how was this whole experience for you? Meeting jet lag was fun. It's amazing what time zones can do to your internal clock. We had a good time over there but our heads were a little out of wack. How would you say audiences in the UK compare to the audiences in the USA? They're fairly similar. This was our first time to your country so it could be compared to the first time we play anywhere else. It's not incredibly easy to judge how new ears hear you, but I feel everyone appreciated it for the most part. How is your tour going with New Found Glory, and do you have any particular highlights so far that you would like to share with us? It is going well. There's a very good energy floating around the camp so we can't complain. Pomona, CA was a highlight I would say. California takes good care of us. It's been a year since the release of 'Winter Forever' so for you looking back now, how happy you been with the response to this record, and what do you feel it has done for the representation of Seahaven? We feel pretty good with the response we've gotten. However, I feel it has more density than people have had time to discover yet, so hopefully people will continue to figure it out. What's it like to be on 'Run For Cover Records' and what do you think they have done for the 'status' of Seahaven? Run for Cover is cool, and I feel they are doing well because this question tends to keep popping up. I think they are a very important part of this new generation of music and we are grateful to be a part of it. As a band, what do you feel has been your biggest achievement in 2012, and why? Well we've done a lot that I am proud of. However appropriately I feel going to another country to sing these songs is a huge achievement. So I'm very grateful that we have had the opportunity to visit your country. We must ask, what's the Californian music scene like to be a part of, and what upcoming bands should we check out from that area? We definitely have a lot of great friendships along the coast that we are thankful for. There's a lot of Hardcore in SoCal and a big Pop Punk thing going on up north that I'm sure you all know about. California has a very strong musical camaraderie that is great to be a part of. Listen to Poets of Abstract Philosophy and Troubled Coast. What else does 2013 hold for Seahaven? We'll probably leave our loved ones behind to play our music for people. ยกPura Vida! We Live To Tell are a Essex Metalcore band that started in November 2011. We are a band that are always developing and improveing our game every day. At first the band were a six piece but after several disputes, the band were recdeced to a remaining four piece continued by themselfs too build up the setlist and are currently able to play shows up and down the UK. We now have a solid friendship between the four of us and with our current demo 'Watch Your Back' currently on facebook. we are now working on our EP titled 'Bury the Deadman for a mid-summer release with a 5 track playlist. Dates are to be to be announced, so heads up and listen out for our unique sound to the Metalcore Genre, hitting you in 2013! Contact: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WeLiveToTell Twitter: https://twitter.com/WELIVETOTELLUK Email: Welivetotellofficial@gmail.com Interview with Bradley For those that don't know, can you explain why 'Brandon Bolmer' and 'Tanner Wayne' decided to part ways with Chiodos? At the end of the 2011 summer we as a unit had decided to stop touring. Jason wanted to start going to school full time and the ideal tour opportunities were not arising. As months went by, the band didn't feel it necessary to make an official statement just yet, but Tanner and Brandon felt entitled to make one for themselves, removing them completely from our situation. I'm sure they were impatient and just wanted some sort of public closure. How did 'Craig Owens' & 'Derrick Frost' end up back in the band, and what's it been like to rehearse/tour with these guys once more? I think it was December, Craig had reached out to the band to see if there was any interest in getting the old line up back together at all. The idea of some reunion shows seemed fun so we reached out to Frost as well to see if he was interested. I believe his response was "Hell yeah I am." Once we got back together in a room for the first time again, it felt so right that we continued to book more shows and have since decided to write an album together. You guys recently performed on the 'Collide With The Sky' tour for a handful of dates, so how was this experience for you guys, and do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you'd like to share with us? It was cool. Itâ€™s always a pleasure to see the Pierce the Veil guys, and I believe we share a lot of the same fans, so the fact that we announced the shows last minute was a good treat to those already attending. We've read that you guys are working on a new record, so can you tell us about how it's coming along, and what your fans can expect from it? Yes we have started the early stages of a record, weâ€™ve started to write some foundations to songs on the acoustic, but we are still yet to jam as a full band. Hopefully that will happen in the next coming weeks. We don't even know what to expect ourselves just yet. It's like getting in a bedroom to have sex with an ex girlfriend again, itâ€™s going to be awkward at first but once you get going the fireworks are brought back to life. How would you say your material you are writing now compares to what you have done prior to this as a band? We haven't really gotten that deep into it yet, but I'm sure a lot of our old characteristics will still be prevalent, and now we all also have a lot more experience as musicians. With the line-up change, and the huge amount of press behind you right now, have you guys felt any pressure so far in the recording process behind your next release, or has it actually been much more relaxed than we might think? Way more relaxed. It feels like the ball is finally in our court with this one. No deadlines, no career ending expectations, we're just writing this one for ourselves and finishing a story that never got a proper ending. How would you say you have progressed musically as a band since the formation of Chiodos? Well we've been a band for eleven years now, so I would hope that we have progressed quite a bit. Each record we try to challenge ourselves as musicians more and more and approach the process with even more of an open mind. I'm sure as a listener you can hear the growth, and we have by no means hit a ceiling. An endless list of fans, musicians and of course family members have been devastated by the loss of Mitch Lucker recently, so as you guys were a part of the 'Califoria Metalfest' which is in dedication to him, can you tell us about how much you are going to miss Mitch, and maybe a bit about what he meant to you as a musician? I didn't know the guy personally, but my thoughts and regards go out to his fans, friends and family. That's a rough situation for all and to see the impact he has had on the music scene in general let's you know how good of a person he must've been. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We are extremely excited to be coming over to the UK in February. We even went out of our way to make sure this tour happened as impractical as it was for us. It's been a while, and I'm sure everyone over there is excited to rock out with the original line-up. As a band that have toured the UK before, what do you love so much about performing here, and are there any particular memories from playing here that you'd like to share with us? The reception in the UK is always very open minded. It's just a bunch of people that understand it who are trying to have a good time at a rock concert. My favorite memory was playing at Brixton Academy with Atreyu and I can't wait to get back over there to play there again. What do you want 2013 to do for Chiodos? As soon as our new album comes out next year, the sky is not even the limit. We are at a better spot than we have ever been before. Interview with Randy “It’s crazy to think that it’s been ten years since Finch exploded onto the scene with ‘What It Is To Burn’. Now, they are back to celebrate this epic release with a handful of shows, so let’s find out what the band have been up to in the last couple of years as well as what this upcoming tour means to them!” At the time, you guys were working on a third album, so if you don't mind, can you tell us how far you got with this record, and maybe a bit about why the writing/recording process just didn't workout after for this release? We got about as far as the final two songs which we recorded with Steve Evetts and we released them the day we announced that we were done (again...ugh). We called it Epilogue, http://finchmusic.bandcamp.com/album/epilogue "finch are fucking dead". Personally the only song i'm happy with on that recording is Hail to the Fire. World of Violence is still not up to the standard of the mega Finch songs I had in mind but it seemed catchy and the rest of the guys liked it. There were many, many other songs that no ones ever heard. Lot's of instrumentals that we were waiting on Nate to lay the vocals down on, but that never happened. I think we tried to keep the essence of what made that real Finch sound, but at the same time we started trying to do things outside of the box. So to really put into context of what made the original Finch sound all the way through our 2nd record and the EPâ€™s was that we all kind of listened to different music than each other and that's what sparked it all off. We lived in a small town and had no real older brothers to show us what was cool and what wasn't. We didn't know anything about hardcore etc. I think our middle ground was that we all liked Hum, Deftones, Weezer, Dinosaur Jr., and Far. Otherwise we were on totally separate pages but it blended well when we got together because we just knew how to write songs. We are a polarizing band, but in the beginning I suppose it was the right place at the right time and by some miracle it just worked. We respected that everyone has a voice mentality but I think as we went on certain egos got a little bit out of control and by not remembering that this is how it's always been, there was a loss of respect and a clash and by the time we tried to record Finch 3 we were searching for no less than absolute perfection. What made you guys want to get back together to celebrate the tenth anniversary of 'WIITB' ? Honestly I never thought it would happen but Andy Harris (one of our former favorite managers) sort of put it all together two weeks in advance and had our old WIITB team all in place. He started calling us one by one and it worked out. We all love Andy and we just said we'd do it as long as the dude who played bass on the first and second records was not playing with us on stage and that it had to sound perfect. We were like yeah, one show sounds fine but it blew out so we started adding more and they just kept blowing out so we worked out how we could do this with family, school, work, etc. in mind and just went for it. It's going to be the best Finch show's you'll ever see. Alex Pappas hasn't been a part of the band since 2004, so what made him want to get involved once more with the line up, and what's it been like to have him back in the band? Alex Pappas is the same sweet dude we all loved. It is a pleasure to play with him again and he is a good friend. It was not a unanimous decision to fire him during the making of SHTS but, we run as a democracy and I ended up having to tell him the news. I'm sure he hated my guts forever. I used to have nightmares about it constantly but one day I called him up and talked to him. He's just sweet and passionate about what he does. Practices seem super solid and we all groove. Pappas is a founding member of Finch, this is his life as well so doing these WIITB shows without him would feel wrong. As a band what's it been like rehearsing together again in preparation for some live shows after all of these years? Well, we have our masters so we can go back and fine tune everything that we may have been playing wrong and fix them, it makes it so much easier to practice as well. If someone can't make it to practice we can just pump them into the PA. Sounds sort of lame saying that but we still must practice as we want the shows to be perfect. We are absolute perfectionists when we feel like being so, and we're in that zone right now. We're still working out the kinks but it will be seamless. Since you announced these re-union shows, how happy have you been with the response from your fan base, and how rewarding have you found this whole experience so far? It has given me a whole new lease on life and it couldn't of come at a better time and our fans are undoubtably the most forgiving and loyal people I've ever encountered in my life. We owe everything to them, and we correspond personally with our fans to answer each and every message that they send our way. Fans have been complaining that you haven't hit a town close to them, which of course happens on every tour! But as this is such an iconic/unique tour, what's it been like addressing this situation, as I'm assuming you want to please as many people as possible, but obviously at the same time that is going to be tough for you as a band to do!? We honestly do feel awful about not being able to play everyones town and I've made some attempts on our Facebook page to help people understand where we are coming from. We have families, school, and jobs that we need to get back to, so for us to even have been able to pull off the dates that we've announced so far is pretty amazing for us. That being said, I understand where people are coming from. Before I go any further, I actually take the angry comments I see from our fans as an extreme complement. To voice their opinions and have us do our best to justify what it is and hopefully put a bandaid on the wound is huge. We're all so connected now and chances are we live our lives just like everyone else does. It just shows us how passionate they are to our band, it's a strange compliment almost. We will do our best to make it up to them, I can't promise that, but we will try our hardest. Letting down our fans is one of the worst feelings in the world and it really does break my heart. With out them, we are just guys that play music and they've allowed us to give it another go ten years later. I've given out my personal facebook address @dandyrvndy so people are more than welcome to address it with me. I spend at least three hours a day answering everyones messages and it's all my pleasure to talk to the people who made my dreams come true. 'What It Is To Burn' was (it still is) a huge success for you guys, but for you looking back now, how do you feel about this record, and everything it has helped you achieve since its release? It was a new birth and a capsule for me to be me. It's my soul, first words, and identity. It was crucial to creating the person I am today. I am extremely happy with the success of this record and Iâ€™m also very proud of it. I will always be proud of us as a band for that creation and forever grateful to everyone involved who also believed in us to make it happen. There aren't enough words in the spoken language to express my gratitude, so I try through Finch shows and anything else we do to express that. I read somewhere that, when an artist loses his or her expressive medium, they immediately lose their identity. So I feel that rings true with me. After Finch broke up, I went through a hardcore identity crisis that lasted up until a few months ago, which is when I got Finch back. When the rug got swept from under our feet, it put us all through an insane loop. Everything we had been working for was gone forever (in my mind, but I have since learned to use spoken language a little more carefully. Ever and Never are very powerful words. You NEVER know what could happen EVER). It was extremely depressing to say the least and I felt like a ghost screaming for help in the middle of the desert. Your voice becomes a whisper and even when there is someone there to help you, they can see you but can't understand what you're saying. What are you trying to say? Why do you need to say anything? If I think about it too much I probably could get into another existential crisis that will lead to an anxiety attack. So we'll stop this ramble where the question started... Through the ups and downs, we in Finch are some of the luckiest people on earth to have come together to just make this record. I love it and will always love it. How excited are you for your upcoming shows, and what can attending fans expect? There are no words to express my excitement for the shows. The shows are going to be at the highest standard of any Finch show ever before. We are going to lose our fucking minds on stage and we hope that every one in attendance isn't afraid to as well. Every time we hit the stage, we're all going to be connected. It's going to sound amazing and we're experimenting with a lot of interesting production to help express the dynamics of the record. We are playing WIITB front to back with some surprises at the end so If you are a hardcore early Finch fan then you will not be disappointed. If you are, I will personally refund your money and apologize. If you could go back and do it all again now, is there anything that you would change in your bands career? Yeah, I would only change what I thought I could. Maybe get rid of a virus that ended up destroying the band inside out the first time. That would have solved many, many problems that were to come which in the end made us all look like total careless assholes. We're not that, we're nice normal people and I'd like people to feel that connection with us. If the music is in your heart then we have something in common. We're all that much closer. Alternatively, looking back on your career, what would you say has been one of your biggest achievements as a band, and why? We have so many big achievements and I think every little goal we set out for ourselves and accomplished is on par with every other achievement. They all took the same amount of heart, hard work and drive and creativity. I have a memory like an elephant but I'd say our biggest and most awestruck we'd ever been was playing to 80k people at Reading and Leeds with everyone singing every word. I've never been so high in my life (for the record, I was not on drugs), it was astounding. How would you say the alternative music scene compares now to when you guys first started out as 'Finch' ? Well, alternative music has a different musical connotation to me than the label alternative that was so popular to throw around in the 90's. There are so many good bands doing alternative things nowadays that I would consider it an alternative to mainstream. The biggest alternative band in the world is Radiohead because theyâ€™re always evolving and taking chances, so to me doing something surprising and taking risks is alternative. I'm pretty sure that we thought we were doing something new and alternative when we wrote all of our records, we always considered ourselves an alt band, especially with Say Hello to Sunshine. I'd have to say getting SHTS out there was one of the biggest challenges of our career because we were still trying to keep a democratic way where everyone had a say, however at that point I think people were giving up on us but we just forged on. It's a miracle that that record got released, and it was an accomplishment. People wanted us to write WIITB part two but we physically couldnâ€™t do it. We were evolving at a high pace and we had to be honest with ourselves, so we wrote that record just like the first one by making up our own sounds and vibes. It seemed to click with some people, whilst others loathe the record. We were just being Finch at that time and place. A BIG IF we ever make a 3rd album (probably won't) It will be the best we can make it but I promise it will sound nothing like sunshine or burn, as we are just evolving and being honest. So what does the future hold for 'Finch' then? As in, are these going to be the final shows for the band, or can we expect something more? We have no plans on closing the doors on Finch this time around. It will always be there for us and everyone else, just sort of in a box. We have big plans for the end of this tour that I don't want to spoil yet. We are working on a documentary with amazing people who are helping us document the story of a band like us. It's less centered around the band and itâ€™s mostly about the personalities. It will be very honest and real but It will look beautiful. In closing. I'd like to thank everyone who made it this far. Please come and see us at one of our upcoming shows, and if you want to correspond, it's fairly easy: Facebook.com/officialofficalfinch (find out when and where we'll be in your town or close to it and try and make a trip for this special occasion) twitter.com/officialfinch th Ma i w w e i Interv tt You are just about to release your first record as 'The Bronx' in five years, so can you tell us what it's been like to have your Mariachi style records now released, and how happy have you been with the response to these two records so far? Itâ€™s crazy. We made the mariachi records for the love of music and to expand our brains. We never expected it to go anywhere and I still cant believe I'm in a mariachi band. When you put together these two records you also worked on a side project entitled 'Armistice' so can you tell us a bit about how this group came together, and what this whole experience was like for you guys? Armistice was a fun project. our friend Jay from Bedouin Soundclash needed some El Bronx flavor for a record he was making. So we were happy to lend a hand! When you first toured under the name 'Mariachi El Bronx' what was it like for you guys to adjust to this way of performing live? It did take a while to learn to relax because compared with the confrontation of The Bronx, El Bronx is a mellow trip. Also, you guys recorded new material for both 'Mariachi El Bronx' and 'The Bronx' at the same time, so what was it like to occasionally switch between these two different styles of music whilst recording in the studio? Both bands feed creatively from each other. When we hit a wall with El Bronx, we write for The Bronx and vice versa. Life is more than one emotion, feeling or thought. So sometimes you need more than one creative outlet to properly express a 360 degree vision. So, what are the main themes and influences that run through your latest record The Bronx (IV)? Bronx IV is more of a simplified sound, and nothing pointless or meaningless made the cut. It’s salty and it’s cooked as a medium rare. Lyrically it’s like staring at yourself in still water....the reality of duality! You worked with Beau Burchell on the recording process for this record, so as you have not worked with him on a 'The Bronx' record since 2003, what made you guys want to work with him again, and what would you say he brings to the recording process? Besides being extremely talented in the studio, Beau knows our band really well. Recording with beau kept the vibe real loose and free. It was like we were back in his garage. So far you have released 'Ribcage' and 'Youth Wasted' from your new record, so what made you want to release these songs first, and how happy have you been with the reception to these tracks so far? Those songs just felt like good ones to put out because they're different. The response has been awesome I guess, but I try not to pay attention to closely to that stuff... as it can fuck you up. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I always love playing in the UK. It’s a place that understands what The Bronx is all about. The shows are always insane and this time around we are going to raise the bar. Some bands see a tenth anniversary as a new beginning, or an end of an era, so with this in mind, how do you guys see it? Well, I see it as both, but most importantly, it’s inspiring and energizing. I really feel like we are only just getting started. What else does 2013 hold for 'The Bronx'? Lots of touring, lots of writing, and lots of recording. onwards and upwards! Interview with Stephen How did your recent tour go with The Smashing Pumpkins, and are there any particular highlights from the tour that you can share with us? The entire tour was a highlight, to share the stage every night with a living rock legend was amazing. Every night you could hear every song that you loved growing up, I was more of fan than anything else on that tour. Night after night you would catch several of us just sitting in the stands watching another incredible performance, whilst also singing along. So, how happy have you been so far with the response from your fan base to your newest record 'Vital'? It has been overwhelming, all the comments from our fans have really been incredible. Most of them have been saying that it is our best record. Before the record came out a lot of the critics were saying the same thing, but honestly we as a band don't care what the critics think, itâ€™s all about the fans. I am really proud of this record and think that if this album continues to live in the heads of our fans for years to come than we have done our job. How has the 'Vital' tour been going so far with Morning Parade, and also what songs are you enjoying performing the most of the new record the most at the moment? The tour with Morning Parade was amazing, we really appreciate those guys, they were great musicians & now they are also great friends. That is one of the things we are looking forward to the most about going to the UK, because those guys know how to throw down. The song that I love playing is called self-starter, live it just flows and it seems to be the crowds favorite off the record. We've read that 'Vital' contains new influences for you guys, so can you tell us a bit about what those are, and maybe what other themes we can expect to hear on the record? There are a few things that we have done differently on this record such as having trumpets, a female vocalist, whilst also being heavy on the keyboards and percussion. Our themes are all over the place; from war to love, and from death to the afterlife. It is more a collection of the conscious thoughts that roll through my head on what feels like a daily basis. How did you guys end up working with Aaron Sprinkle again on this record, and what is it you like so much about working with him? It just felt right, the band and Aaron needed some time apart to find ourselves, gather our own thoughts and develop into better musicians and songwriters. It could not have happened at a better time either, he was just moving to Nashville and it was our last chance to work in the compound in Seattle which is the studio where it all began. Julia Marie & Christie DuPree both feature as special guests on 'Vital' so can you tell us about how these collaborations came about, and how fun these experiences were for you as a band? Well Julia is my wife, so I basically rolled over and asked her, after much financial negotiating we locked her down for the song, not really! The process was a lot of fun, the whole process seemed very laid back and felt like home, so it only seemed logical that Julia sang on the record. Christie DuPree has an insanely great voice that I felt was perfect for 'God, drugs, & sex' as she has that ruggedly soothing voice that totally matched mine. We've read that the track 'Someone, Anyone' was influenced by the protests in Egypt, so can you tell us a bit more about this? In a world where war seems an inevitable news story daily it was awe inspiring to watch as a region known for its barbaric taste for violence suddenly turned around and changed their society through non-violence in the vain of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King jr., or Mahatma Ghandi. I know that war and violence will continue as long as I live, but one less life lost is a luxury in this world. To write a war protest song seemed like something that was long overdue for me, it is as close to Marvin Gays song 'Whats going on?' as we will ever get. We've read that you feel 'Vital' is your 'most aggressive' record to date, so was this the kind of record you wanted to make when you went into the studio, or did this approach end up just happening naturally as a band? I feel like this is where we wanted to be, our favorite part of any show is when everyone in the crowd is dancing into a frenzy and everyone in the place is sweating profusely, and we’re all loosing our voices in unison. This album was written for the live show. The energy is something we wanted and it’s also something that we planned on from the inception of the idea to record. Can you tell us about the formation of Anchor & Braille, and also, how do you go about fitting side projects like this into Anberlin's busy schedule? A&B is my alter ego. It’s the antithesis of energy and aggression that Anberlin brings to the table. I formed it out of songs that I knew would never go on Anberlin records because they either didn't fit the format or the lyrics were a little more intrusive than the Anberlin fans have come to expect. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with The Xcerts, and what can attending fans expect? It’s going to be great, I really can't wait. I still remember our free show in London, there was such a great vibe in that place. I just can't wait to get there again and wander the streets and play in some of the greatest cities in the world... I'm ready now! Interview with Ritzy So how did your recent tour go with Muse, and do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you could share with us? Much enjoyed thank you. It was great being back in the UK and Europe and we had a really varied few weeks; playing arenas one night and at the same time playing some of the smallest shows we'd done for a long time. The highlight of that run was being back in our dual "hometowns" of London & Bangor in North Wales. Great shows and it was fun to preview tracks from our new album. You were also a part of the 'X-Fest' which included some huge bands like Linkin Park & Incubus, so how was this whole experience for you? Great crowds, happily chaotic. If I remember rightly we got hailed on for the first time. Festivals always encourage that sense of danger, and you're never quite sure what's going to happen. What's it been like to perform the new songs live, and how have the audiences reacted to the new material so far? It's been great and creatively it's exciting, deconstructing and reconstructing - finding the live character of the new songs. There's some great live moments a-brewing. How did you get to the album title 'Wolf's Law' and what does it mean to you? It comes from a scientific theory about bone, and its ability to change and cope with stress and breakage. It's a strong motif that runs through the album - the process of healing and rebuilding relationships. Can you tell us a bit about the themes and influences that run through your latest record 'Wolf's Law' ? There's a breadth of inspiration, every song has its own vibe and background. We were reading a lot of Native American stories and mythology at the time. It strikes a chord with our Welsh imaginations; growing up in the countryside and reading fantastical books like The Mabinogion. There are a lot of references to nature and to reconnecting with the world around you. There's a track dedicated to my grandfather, The Turnaround, who died whilst we were recording the album. There's a grief that pervades the record, but thereâ€™s also a hungry look to the future, that life is short and that the moment is now. How do you feel you have progressed musically since 'The Big Roar' ? The intent and the passion is the same, but the palette has grown. The new album has a breadth of instrumentation and a lot of dynamic range. It's definitely different, but we've always felt creatively brave and keen to turn our hand to different things, so in that sense it feels like a very natural follow up. You guys started recording 'Wolf's Law' in Wales and then shifted to Portland, can you tell us why this happened, and how this change of location had an effect on the album? It was logistical in terms of our touring schedule, and in many ways it was a happy accident, but we were smitten by the location in Maine. The surroundings undoubtedly brought a new energy and focus to the writing. It was wintry, isolated and beautiful, a perfect place to reflect and consolidate on all the tracks we'd been writing on the road over the past twelve months. You guys are going to print the record on recycled paper which is a really cool idea. So can you tell us about how ideas like this come around in the band, and also maybe a bit about why other bands should be trying to do something like this? It would feel hypocritical and lazy to not try and do something, however small, thatâ€™s thinking of the bigger picture. We wrote a song about Wangari Maathai who was a very brave Kenyan feminist and environmentalist. In our boxsets there's a "plant a tree certificate", inspired by her and the work she did. It's fair to say that 'The Big Roar' got you guys known all around the world, but for you looking back now, what do you feel this record has done for the representation of The Joy Formidable? We are very connected to that record, personally, creatively. It represents us in the past, present and future. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? We are so excited. Matt Thomas has been building something quite unique for it. We are ALL in for a treat. What else does 2013 hold for The Joy Formidable? (We've read that you might be starting work on a Welsh EP soon?) Yes, we're working on that now. There's some exciting collaborations in the pipeline and a lot of touring planned. We can't wait to see you all again! If sweet melodies and interesting harmonies are your thing then tune in to Radio Caroline. Car (guitar & lead vocals), Eamonn (drums & percussion) & Colm (bass & keys) will keep you guessing with some of the best songs to be produced from an irish band to date. The band started out little over two years ago and since then, Radio Caroline have released their debut E.P. and performed for numerous charities. More recently they have released Dancing Frosty, their new Christmas single in aid of Saint Vincent de Paul. The song can be bought at: http://radiocarolinelive.bandcamp.com for only 2Euro And you can also download our E.P. for free. Interview with Rob Heaven's Basement has been around since 2008, however with Aaron Buchanan taking over lead vocals in 2011 - do you feel as though the band is still a fledgling outfit? With Aaron, we're just shy of two years old now. I think it feels pretty new for all of us, because we announced him as the new singer in February 2011, did a headline tour in May and from that headline tour we ended up getting offered our record deal from that. We did it and then we spent a lot of time meeting with label and putting the wheels in motion for our debut album, so until a couple of months ago we'd only done one proper tour with Aaron. Then we went around the UK and Europe with Halestorm and Seether at the end of last year, between September and December, and they were our first proper UK and European tours with him. So, I think it feels very much like a new band because we're still evolving as a live band with him on the road and also because we've just done an album, a lot of the songs are new to us as well, so it feels like a fresh start and a new challenge in a way. Rob, you've been in the band since 2009 and you've already experienced a huge amount with Heaven's Basement - how excited are you to finally release your first fulllength album, Filthy Empire? It's such a good feeling. I think what the important thing was that we all knew we didn't want to rush putting out a debut album. We always say, you don't get a second chance to do that. We grew up listening to great debut albums like Appetite for Destruction, Rages' debut album and the debut album from Oasis. Even if you don't meet it, the bar was always to try and put out an album as good as them. We just put in as much work as we could together, and we were all present for every part of it, whether it was laying down the lead vocals or putting tambourine on some songs, we all had such a clear idea in our heads of how we wanted it to sound - it was like our little baby. By the time we finished it, we were in America, we'd spent countless hours in the studio and when we realised it was done we went straight to Vegas and had a pretty heavy night. It was the culmination of a couple of years work and it was good to actually get it finished, and we realised that we could spend the next couple of years on the road getting the music out there to everyone. What was the writing process like for the new record? Did you all work together as a band? Yeah, that's the best thing about this band, we don't really have a fixed formula or a golden rule about writing. Normally, you bring in a song or a riff and everyone mashes it up and then we beat it into submission of what it should sound like. Working with the producer John Feldmann was excellent for us, because he comes from a pretty different angle. He's the lead singer of Goldfinger and he works with a lot of pop-punk and American bands, and we grew up listening to the great British bands of the 60s and 70s. It was fun because we came from different angles, and I always say we took him out of his comfort zone and he took us out of ours, we met somewhere in the middle and in some sort of great medium we ended up writing some pretty cool songs. How was it working with Feldmann in Los Angeles - did the setting have any influence on you? Not particularly - we went over there and met John while we were there meeting producers. I remember going out there, thinking we were going to be out there for a week just meeting people and then we met him and wrote a song called 'Nothing Left to Lose' on the first day of working with him, then we got the green-light to do an album with him and we ended up extending our stay. We had Download Festival coming up, so we only had eight days to record it all, so we ended up doing it in split-shifts. Aaron and Chris would work with John during the day doing vocals and drums and at night myself and Sid would work with Brandon the engineer, laying down bass and guitars. It was weird being over there in a way, because we didn't have our gear and we didn't expect to do it that quickly, or at that time, but there was a certain magic to the studio and there was a good vibe so we decided to pull the trigger. Sid and I ended up hiring a load of really cool gear that we wouldn't have been able to get over in England, with vintage amps and vintage guitars. We had a really clear idea in our heads how we wanted the album to sound, so it was cool tweaking/getting the tones and staying up to four or five in the morning to lay down our parts. Could you tell us thematically what Filthy Empire is about? We tried to cover a lot of different areas. There's kind of a mini-theme throughout a couple of the songs which is born out of frustration - just getting out there and taking a chance and trying to do something, instead of sitting down and staying in your home-town and moaning about not being able to do something but not having the balls to get out there and actually try and see what happens. That feels pretty relevant for a debut album, it's about getting us out there and taking a chance and just seeing what happens. If nothing ever comes of it, we know we tried and we put our hearts and souls into making a debut album that we're all really happy with, so I think we're at peace with that now. That theme kind of matches the energy of the music as well. 'Nothing Left To Lose' is the latest single from the new album - the video is great - is there a political message somewhere in there? No, it was just a bit of fun. It was new to us, and it was our second ever video - you get these treatments, and that was meant for 'Fire, Fire', it was a different concept to fire, instead of things being blown up it was a shooting line. You get these hilarious treatments, that you read and they say stuff like "the band are rocking out as hard as they can, there are cars going off cliffs and they're speeding along drinking Jack Daniels" and then we got this pretty cool one, which was "I want to blind-fold the band and have these guys that are about to shoot them" and we thought that sounds pretty fun. We went out in the desert in Los Angeles and it was fuckin' boiling, it was bleak, but it was a really fun day actually. The guy who directed that has actually directed one of our newer videos which will be coming out later this year - we met him, he's such a cool guy and he flew out to London at the end of last year to do a video with us again. You have a very old-school hard-rock sound - where would you place Heaven's Basement in terms of genre or do you try and avoid genres? I think you kinda' hit the nail on the head. What we like to say is, we're a fresh take on old-school Rock n' Roll. So, we grew up listening to the old-school bands, but we never wanted to imitate one specific band or sound like a retro or throw-back band. I think the best way to describe it is, if Guns n' Roses came out today they wouldn't sound like they did twenty years ago. It's capturing the swagger, the danger and the energy of that music and replicating it, as opposed to maybe just trying to write songs exactly the same as those bands. As a band you've received plaudits for your live performances - how important are live shows to you? That's pretty much everything for us. Ever since the band started in 2008, and even before my time, it was all about getting out there on the road and playing anywhere. Playing a pub to twenty people and then going back and playing to sixty people and building it like that. All the bands we grew up listening to prided themselves on putting on a great live show and I think that's where all of us feel most comfortable, we live for playing live. Especially this year, now the album is coming out, we've been on tour since January 2nd, we flew on New Year's Day, and the idea is to play as many shows as possible whilst just getting the music out there. That's where we really enjoy being and it's going to be so much fun putting in loads of the new songs from the album and getting them out there for people to hear whilst also putting on the most energetic show we can. I think one of the great things about our shows is that it's not always really slick and you never know exactly what's going to happen - it's not the same thing every night and there's always an element of danger in the sense that you never know what could happen at any point. You've got a UK tour coming up in February, after the release of the record - what do you have in store for the fans? We haven't done a headline tour in a long time and we're going to play a lot of stuff from the new album and try and put on the best show we can, and mainly weâ€™d like to have a bit of a laugh with everyone. A lot of the people that know this band and are a fan of this band have obviously gone through numerous Spinal Tapesque line-up changes, and it will be fun to be with them and say we've done a debut album and the only way is up. We're excited to just finally get it out there. Can you tell us a bit about the album name, Filthy Empire, where did it come from? With a debut album name, you don't get a second chance to make a great first impression and we wanted something that sounded pretty provocative straight away. I remember we had a couple of names and it was an amalgamation of an idea that Sid had and an idea that Aaron had and I said why not just put together 'Filthy Empire'. I think the best thing about it is that we all thought about different things - it's such a provocative title that it spurs the imagination to think about anything. It could be the music industry, it could be a political stance on things, it could describe Heaven's Basement itself, and it could even describe the porn industry if that floats your boat! When people ask me that, it's interesting to see where their mind runs with it. There are a lot of people who think it's pretty relevant in this day and age, with what's going on economically, but we're not U2 or anything, we're just a rock band that likes having a couple of vodka redbulls! Interview with Dave You recently completed the 'The hometown bro-down tour' how was this tour for you, and are there any particular highlights that you can share with us? This was an awesome tour, it was short but sweet. Normally when we tour we go out with just one other band, but this time all four bands were doing the whole thing, so it’s great when there’s a massive mobile party going up and down the country! One of the highlights has to be when the whole gang were in this club in Derby doing the gangnam dance! You guys were the winners of the Red Bull Bedroom Jam in 2012, so how would you say this achievement has helped your band, and how was this whole experience for you? The whole Red Bull Bedroom Jam experience has been incredible, playing all those festivals, all the recording, it’s just been awesome. It’s helped us in many ways, and being able to rub shoulders with the big boys in the industry has taught us a lot. It’s also opened our eyes as to how big the ladder is to climb and that the band is only just beginning in some ways. What was it like to win the 'best rock band in the South West' award from the 'South West Music Awards'? That was great, we had never thought we would win that, but we did! We all got to dress up smart and have a good night, it was fun. Also, do these awards put any pressure on you when you are writing your new music? Or do they alternatively make the whole process slightly easier as you now know what your band are capable of achieving? It is a pressure that I think we’ve all noticed, not from anyone in particular, but we’ve watched the Red Bull Bedroom Jam winners in previous years so we are aware of how many eyes are on us at the moment. I think the main part we are aware of is that this year is our chance, so if we don’t produce, then it’s probably the end for us. Our debut album is coming. How is your debut album coming along, and what can fans expect from this record? The Album is coming along really well. Musically I’d say it’s a more refined sound in terms of maturity. It’s just as ballsy and pumping as ever, but with a few more cut down bits with some epic vocals. Lyrically, I’m afraid I have no idea what you can expect just yet. What's the recording process been like so far for this record? We’ve recorded about half the album so far, which was done at the Red Bull Studios in London. It’s easily the biggest and best place we’ve ever been to! It’s being produced by John Mitchell and Ben Humphries (the guys that run Outhouse Studios) and we’re going back to them to finish off the rest of the album. We really get on with those guys, so it made sense to go and finish it with them! You guys hit Download Festival last year, so how was this whole experience for you, and what do you think you learnt the most from this performance? Download Festival was easily the best gig I’ve personally ever played in my life, I’ve never seen so many people in front of us! That one performance felt like a step up in our careers and I know it’s given us the motivation we need to keep going! What festivals would you like to hit next year the most and why? Sonisphere, Reading and Leeds, Boardmasters come to mind. But playing at any festival is awesome and we’ll play as many as we can! Hopefully in 2013 we can hit some festivals overseas too. Since your formation, what bands or musicians have influenced you over the years, and why? Going right back to 2008 I’d say Thrice, Fightstar, Finch, Limp Bizkit, Funeral For A Friend, Linkin Park, As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage. We also listen to completely different music, and I think with us we don’t try to sound like anything in particular but we all have personal influences on our own instruments which we bring to the table. How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Funeral For A Friend, and what should attending fans expect? They’ve been a big influence on us for years, and personally they’ve been a favourite band of mine for many years! So yeah, we’re pretty pumped. Fans can expect our wildest show yet, and it’ll be a completely new set with lots of new shiny things! What do you want 2013 to do for I Divide? We hope to release our album this year, as well as joining the European touring circuit. We want to play as many festivals as possible and in short we just want to get out there and spread the word as much as possible! Interview with Brian Can you tell us a bit about the formation of Major League? Originally I had started the band as a Comeback Kid esq band. When I had decided I wanted to buy a van and trailer and tour full time the rest of the members had dropped due to previous commitments (school, work, etc.). From there our guitarist Matt and I began writing and filling in the missing pieces, and we got Nick in January of 2009. Last year Luke joined the band replacing our original drummer followed by Kyle who replaced our original bassist. How did you get to the name Major League, and what does it mean for you as a band? I wish there was a sweet backstory to it but it honestly just started out as a filler name until I could think of something better...but it wound up sticking and it also felt right to us. How is your current tour going with Turnover & Maker, and can you share with us any particular highlights from the tour so far? The tour is amazing. Each band brings a different aspect to the show which is pretty rad because you're not hearing the same songs redone set after set. The Long Island, NY show was pretty incredible, and every band was really taken back by the overwhelming response. What are the main themes and influences that run through your latest record 'Hard Feelings' ? Going into this record, Matt and i had written about 18 songs collectively, then we went on a two and a half month tour which we followed by going directly into the studio. I think once we got into the studio and heard everything back it became apparent to both of us that things needed to change. We wound up completely scrapping what we had and wrote an entire new record in the studio. It was also a lot different from our previous effort because it wasn't just Matt and I writing and everyone else filling in with their parts. Everyone had a huge part in the record coming together. As far as influences, we went into this listening to everything that got us into music in the first place. It was everything from the typical Blink 182 / NFG sound to Frank Sinatra and Meatloaf! What song means the most to you at the moment from 'Hard Feelings' and why? Personally 'HomeWrecker' has the most personal meaning to me. When I was six years old this guy had become insanely obsessed with my Mum and had done a lot of terrible shit to my Dad. Both of my parents were working radically different jobs at the time and were trying to make ends meet and the stress had become so overwhelming that my parents eventually split and then divorced. There was a lot more than that that happened that I'll choose to leave out here. Eventually I came to find out last year that that same guy now has a family of his own and has turned his life around etc. which for me was the last thing i wanted to hear. But after a lot of years of feeling that pent up aggression and hate for him I realized that it was making me no better of a man than he, and the best way for me to move on was to write about it. Nick really took all of my heartache and angst and portrayed it perfectly. The artwork for this record is really cool, can you tell us about how it all came together, and what it means to you? Native Americans used to use the arrows crossed to represent the joining of two tribes. Whenever one tribe betrayed the other, the arrow was broken. We had given the idea to our graphic designer who had really made it his own. We were blown away by the outcome. How did you end up on No Sleep Records, and what's it been like to work with them so far? We had originally planned on putting the record out ourselves but our agent Gary had pushed us to shop it around, which wound up working out for the better of course! No Sleep is honestly the best thing that has happened to us to date. There were other label interests but Chris and the No Sleep team didn't talk to us or treat us like it was a business. They've truly made us feel like family. It's fair to say that there are a lot of Pop Punk bands out there at the moment, so what would you say separates you from everyone else? I don't think thereâ€™s really any such thing as originality anymore. I think the best mentality to have anymore is, don't expect to be groundbreaking, just make good music and put as much of yourself into it as possible. Thatâ€™s what will make it unique. How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Funeral For A Friend, and what should attending fans expect? Fans should expect us to cry! It was truly an amazing offer to get and we've wanted to hit the UK for a while now but just wanted to wait for the right time, so it truly worked out in our favor! What do you want 'Hard Feelings' to do for the representation of Major League? We just want it to make people feel everything we felt in the record, we hope that doubles over into our fans and their interpretation, even if it holds a separate meaning for them. What does 2013 hold for Major League? Amazing things. Just knowing our next six months or so has truly humbled us all and made it very clear that hard work DOES pay off. We're so blessed and grateful for the opportunities coming our way. Interview with Skylar It's fair to say that 'Misadventures' has gone down great with both your fans and your critics, so for you looking back now, how happy are you with what this record has done for you as a band, and also with how well it has been received? I'm probably the worst person to ask because I'm a super harsh critic of myself, and I know everyone in SG is super proud of this record. That being said, Bentley absolutely killed his drum parts and I dig the hell out of all the guitar parts Nate and Ben wrote. As far as that stuff goes, it's hard to even pick a favorite song. I'm stoked on the few guitar bits I added as well. As far as the lyrics, I'm on and off about how I feel about them. I dig most of the vocal melodies, pretty consistently stoked with how "Locked Out" turned out, but I think I could definitely do better next time. I just realized I'm not addressing the specific question, though. As far as what it's done for us as a band, I'd like to think it's separated us a bit from the whole pop-punk thing, honestly. I don't think a lot of people feel that way though. Two Year Plan, for example is pretty hooky, so I guess that makes sense. The record seems like it's been received well. When I hear good feedback about it, it generally comes from people appreciating the technical progression/maturation of the bands sound as a whole, so that's cool. The negative feedback I hear is generally something along the lines of, "it all blends together," and usually it seems like those people are listening primarily to pop-punk bands with accessible song structures. I'm not personally into that stuff, so I don't care about that feedback. I have read some negative criticism I agree with though. On this record you worked with Steve Evetts, so what was this experience like, and what do you think you learnt the most from recording with him? We all learned a lot from Steve; I won't speak for everyone on what they specifically took away. For me, it was my first time recording guitar in that kind of setting, and my second or third time ever even being in that setting. I could go on forever about what I learned, so I'll focus on what I think is the most important and the most applicable to any kind of work I'll do in life, creative or otherwise. I tend to get ahead of myself when approaching a project. For example, when we were doing pre-production, we were obviously focusing very heavily on the drums. I would interject from time to time bringing up vocal parts and other things that would have most effectively been worked out later. I did the same thing when I was tracking guitars. I would get too anxious about the final product being exactly as I saw it instead of focusing on the step-by-step process that was necessary to get there. That's a tendency of mine, and it's something I have to really train my mind to do. Steve helped me understand that about myself and consistently stopped me when I was getting ahead of myself. He would also say stuff like, "don't mess around too much with making sure you have the "perfect" equipment/tone/whatever, just take what you have and get to work." The second part of that sentence is a direct quote, the rest is paraphrasing. At this point, what song of 'Misadventures' would you say means the most to you, and why? It's hard to say. Probably Locked Out because those lyrics just kind of poured out of me one day when I was in a pretty introspective mood. They might seem contrived to some people, but I know that's the only way I would have written that song and I like it that way. â€˜You Are Your Greatest Threatâ€™ thematically, means a lot to me, but it could have been written WAY more eloquently. They're written very objectively, and that can really kill feeling and skew meaning sometimes. Especially in lyrics/poetry. So how did you guys end up signing with 'Razor & Tie Records' and how has your experience with them helped your band so far? We got the offer last minute when we were about to make a signing decision in the summer of 2012. That was right after I joined, so I was pretty much down for anything. That being said, the dudes there are totally available/totally down with anything we want to do, which is really cool and pretty unexpected for such a big label. I'm sure we make things difficult for them at times with our stubbornness and occasional laziness, so I appreciate their flexibility and respect for us and our band. I can't say for certain, but it seems like they've introduced us to a significant number of new fans without alienating old fans, which is great. Also, they facilitated us working with Steve, which was one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. We've read that youâ€™ve started to work on a new record for Symphony Orchestra, so can you tell us a bit about that, and also if the band have any other side projects that you can share with us? The Symphony Orchestra is my solo-stuff-turned-collaboration indie/folky project. I started the project with our bassist/foreign foods mentor, Steel Wolf Markson, in the summer of 2009. We made a record called "Not Anymore" which is available here: symphonyorchestra.bandcamp.com. It's really the first recorded material I've ever been proud of and a pretty spot-on representation of both of us as musicians and Steel Wolf as an engineer/producer up to that point in time. We plan on finishing a new record this coming spring, tentatively, and hope to find a label that would be interested in working with us on that. I've also been trying to schedule some touring for us in 2013, but that's proven to be difficult with Such Gold's schedule. Hopefully I can work something out. On a more immediate note, I am currently sitting with Ben (Kotin), Steel Wolf, and our homie Matt Battle editing drums for a new side project that the four of us are working on, tentatively named Taking Meds. Ben and I play guitar and sing, Steel Wolf plays bass and eats foreign foods, and Matt Battle plays drums and eats strictly spaghetti of various shapes with marinara. It's hard for me to describe the sound; it definitely has a very mathy and more melodic feel (than SG) to it. We're dropping our first three-song release soon and I'm beyond stoked for people to hear it. In reference to the last question, how do you guys go about working these side projects around Such Gold? When Ben gets bored of writing the kind of stuff that works for Such Gold, he writes weirder shit at home or on the road. For the aforementioned project, he basically wrote everything; this started happening after he got a drum set. We picked out the best three songs from the project; one already had lyrics and I wrote lyrics to the other two. After that, we basically just try to find time off and bust ass. Okay, so you guys are hitting Soundwave in 2013, how excited are you for this, and what do you enjoy the most about performing in Australia? I haven't been to Australia like these guys have, so I can't wait. I've heard only good things and plenty of them, so I already know it's going to be incredible. How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Funeral For A Friend in the UK, and what should attending fans expect? We're very excited, I have a feeling it's going to be a lot different than the other tours we've done in the UK. I don't know what fansâ€™ expectations are, but they should not expect us to be able to match our clothes or be handsome or smell good. Of course you guys have performed here before (we saw you with The Wonder Years, and it was ace) so what do you enjoy the most about touring in the UK, and do you have any memorable stories that stick out to you from performing shows here? My favorite part about that particular tour was going to Carlisle, it was beautiful up there and I met some especially hospitable people. I have so many memories of that tour; it was my first time in the UK and I was hanging out with Johnny Ryan every day so you can't really go wrong there. At one of the o2 clubs we played (I think it was Birmingham), they were having a big freshman event thing in the main room after the show, so beforehand we went in there to check it out. There was basically a sea of foam squares and bean bags and a huge ladder, so we were all doing backflips and shit into it. It was awesome. We also saw Mr. Big play on the main stage in another city we were in, and after the show I told them I preferred Duran Duran. Which was mean and kind of a lie. But it was funny. You guys have come so far in such a short time, but for you, and if you had to choose, what would you say has been the bands biggest achievement so far, and why? Probably just getting to where we are now, as corny as that may sound. The dynamic since I've been playing with these guys has never been as good as it is now. We're just tightening up, getting closer to each other, learning more about gear and desired sound, composition and engineering, etc. We've recently gotten to tour/are going to tour with a pretty eclectic group of bands, which is great and keeps you stoked on the road. What do you want 2013 to do for Such Gold? I just hope the feeling I just described in the last answer keeps growing and we keep learning about ourselves as musicians. I hope we get to put out a lot of music too, despite what is already proving to be the standard heavy touring schedule. Upon Thrones began in June 2012 with our first demo 'Exhausted Apologies'. Since then we have been writing what we feel are the most genuine songs we could ever of asked for. Our debut E.P. was released 16/12/12 and is FREE to download from the ‘Music, Videos and Gig Dates’ tab on our Facebook page. (www.facebook.com/UponThrones) Written, recorded and produced from our bedrooms on a budget of £0, this self-titled E.P is built from experiences we have had this past year. 'We Regret To Inform You', 'Exhausted Apologies', 'Witness Our Rebirth' and 'Apathy' will take listeners through events in which we lost loved ones, and pushed away those who loved us; fought to hold on to what was most valued whilst sacrificing what little we had. They speak about the strength of friendship, the comfort of strangers and the damages that can change a person you adore. We wanted to convey the truths of such realities in a way that could be related to, words that might even help audiences come to terms with their own grievances, and offer a positive perspective when life seems at its darkest. Despite each painful memory we have shared just as many beautiful and heart-warming moments, each cherished and remembered by us within these songs. We plan on releasing our Single ‘Hold On, Pain Ends’ alongside a Bside cover early 2013 as well as shooting our first music video. We also expect to launch our first line of merch with Red Fox Clothing, and fill up our summer with gigs across the UK. For booking enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Interview with Matthew You recently performed at the UK Warped Tour, so how was this for you guys, and how are your new tracks going down live? It was great, it's always been something I would have liked to have seen brought back to the UK so to be a part of it was awesome. It really was like being a part of the US Warped experience again. So much amazing chaos. Our set went really well, and we really had no expectations. We just wanted to play, have fun and not think about much and the crowd were really receptive to that. We played one new track from Conduit and it felt good. To be honest I didn't have much time to judge how the track went down but people seemed into it. For those that don't know can you explain why FFAF & Ryan Richards parted ways? Well, to cut a long story short it's all down to other commitments. Ryan has had a major family life going on for the past five years, and his kid has been growing up while he's been away and I guess it was just getting a bit too difficult for him to leave that part of his life for months on end. So he made a decision, one which we all supported, but we kind of wanted him to stay. He initially recorded the drums for Conduit but when it became pretty crystal clear to us that he wasn't going to continue with the band we made a choice to find a new drummer and eventually we re-recorded the drums to make it more cohesive for us going forward. How did Pat Lundy end up in the line-up, and what's it been like to have him involved in the writing and recording process? Well, we toured a bunch of times with Pat's old band Rise to Remain so we had a strong friendship and we knew he was a kick ass drummer capable of playing anything and everything we could throw his way. His attitude to music and being in a band is really pure, which after being in a working, touring band for ten years you can lose sight of, so he's really ignited that spark in myself and Kris again for sure. His playing style is the kind I love. I've always enjoyed playing with heavy hitters and Pat beats the crap out if his kit every night which really adds to the energy. What he's brought to Conduit has surpassed my expectations in every way, he's really taken these songs to another level. When we saw the new line-up at last year’s Slam Dunk Festival, we noticed that you & Kris were doing the majority of Ryan’s vocal parts, so what was it like to adjust to this new way of performing live? It's something we were aware of, Kris really stepped up to it. It's kind of weird hearing him scream now too, his voice reminds me a lot of Matthew Evans’ vocals from Between Order and Model so when we play live sometimes I feel like he's next to me on stage! I think the aggressive side of things has always been strange for me. When Matt Evans was in the band he would write his parts with Ryan, I gave him things to do which was okay I guess but it always lacked that genuine emotional input in the performance. With Kris we had conversations about the songs and where the emotion came from and he's really put himself into it. What do you feel 'Welcome Home Armageddon'/'See You All In Hell' has done for the representation of Funeral For A Friend, and how happy are you with the way those releases have been received by your fan base over the last two years? In many ways I feel those records have placed us back where we were when we started if you know what I mean? I feel they have more in common with the ideas we had about this band when we were making our first demo than anything we've done so being 'back on track' feels good, natural and real. Obviously we've done an amazing job at confusing our audience over the middle part of our ten years together, hell we were even confused ourselves so a lot of mistakes were put out there and we can't take them back. It is what it is and we have to deal with that. Now it feels like things are how we intended them to be and the people in the band right now all have the same musical goals and influences which we never fully had when we started. We definitely fit deeper into the post-hardcore genre now than anything else, and we're extremely happy about that. How did you get to the album title ‘Conduit’ and what does it mean to you? It's a hard thing to describe but over the years we've really come to understand that the music we've made really does become something more than our selfish efforts to please ourselves creatively, the songs mean something to the people who hear them and they apply them to points in their lives. It's an incredibly humbling thing to have a total stranger come up to you after a show and tell you their story, and how a certain song helped or saved them in tough times. So in a way we feel like a conduit for those things. What are the main themes and influences that run through 'Conduit'? There's not really a significant theme, a lot of the songs have individual meanings that exist in those three minutes or so, so it's more like a loosely based collection. I mean, there's anger, resentment, hope, love, understanding and even a biographical song about touring across mainland Europe in a shitty van, in the middle of a boiling hot summer with no air conditioning, but all in all these songs have their own individual stories. Musically the biggest push was to continue what we were doing from WHA and High Castles. It's definitely a record I would have liked us to have done after the first demo for sure. How did you end up working with SnowSkull (aka Matthew Evans) on the artwork to 'Conduit' and as he used to be in the band, how interesting was this process for you guys? Well, we've stayed friends with Matthew since he left so it was kind of fortuitous that I was checking his Snowskull page when we were discussing art for the record. We knew that we wanted something that captured the sound and energy of the record so when I mentioned it to Kris he totally agreed. Matthew is so creative and he has an incredible talent so to have him be so enthusiastic about being a part of this was incredible for us. It really pulled everything together. What was it like to work with Romesh Dodangoda once more, and what is it you love so much about working with him? It's like putting on your favourite pair of slippers! He's great, and he's come a long way with us. We really pushed him and he really pushed us, he was onboard with how we wanted to capture these songs and was as adamant as us that we didn't want to overdo the production. We wanted it raw and honest and he worked his ass off with us with many, many late nights making sure this record sounded just right. If you had to choose, which previous FFAF album/EP would you say 'Conduit' compares to the most, and why? If I had to choose I would put it somewhere between Between Order and Model and Four Ways to Scream Your Name. Simply because of the lack of expectations we had when we made those EP's, we didn't have any goals and we didn't want to impress anyone but ourselves. Conduit has a lot of those selfish qualities. You guys have spent the majority of 2012 recording 'Conduit', so how excited are you to have it ready to go? Well, we recorded it back in March/April so it's been done for a while. It's probably the longest we've waited on a record to tell you the truth but the response we've had from people who have heard it has been incredibly humbling. We're super buzzed about it and more importantly we can't wait to get out touring again. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? Well, we're bubbling over with excitement. We really are itching to go. We have some amazing bands coming out with us that we're thrilled to play with every night so the tour itself is going to be awesome. The shows are going to be tight and sweaty which is what we've wanted to do. I love being up close to people so for me this is going to be so much fun, it's going to be like a little stick of dynamite going off in a shoebox! As well as this, you guys are hitting the road with Silverstein in Germany this April. How do you feel about this and what do you enjoy the most about performing there? We can't wait! We've never toured Germany and mainland Europe as much as I wanted to over the years so to head back with Silverstein is going to be awesome as they're good guys who've been around for as long as we have, maybe even longer! I'm really psyched to be playing with The Tidal Sleep as well as I have so much love for that band. That tours just the tip of the iceberg for what we have in store for the mainland next year! Interview with Padge You guys chose to work with Don Gilmore again on this record, so with this in mind, what is it you guys like so much about working with him? He's a very easy guy to work with, and he's a very funny guy as well, so in that studio sitation it’s always nice to have someone with a sense of humour. He is just generally a nice guy..and he did a great job on our last record ‘Fever’, so it seemed like a no brainer! How would you say your sound as a band has progressed since the release of 'Fever' ? I think it’s progressed pretty well, I think this time round we decided to step outside our comfort zone, and try new things and new sounds. So I think it’s a great progression, and it’s a shame we didn't do it sooner. This album is definitely stepping into territory that we haven't sort of wanted to go to before or even tried before. So, what would you say are the main themes and influences that run through your latest album 'Temper Temper' ? There's a lot of anger in the lyrics, and I think this album is a lot angerier than our others. It sounds darker and there's quite a lot of new things on there that when any regular Bullet fan hears will go 'Oh that's different'. Recording wise, what would you say was the hardest part about putting this record together for you, and why? Well personally for me it was the challenge of playing lead, and trying to come up with something different again. I wanted to do something fresh, and something that I haven't really tried before. So that was the difficult part, but once I sort of found my way, and once I found the right path, then it was fine. Your latest video for 'Riot' is really cool, can you tell us a bit about how it came together, and what you wanted the video to mean to your fans? Well there was a little bit of confusion on the 'Temper Temper' video and because the band didn't make an appearance in the video it ended up being a very strange video that the internet didn't really receive that well. We definitely wanted to be in this one, so Matt came up with the concept of him being sort of the pipe piper of chaos who would basically go around like broken down streets and get anybody off the streets and lead them into a performance part (which was inside a building) and then that was where it all kicks off at the very end! So, what do you want 'Temper Temper' to do for the main representation of Bullet For My Valentine? I mean with any other record we wanted it to push us to that next sort of step, like to the next run or something you know. We started out with EP's so looking back on the success of the band, it’s great to see how we’ve grown and matured over the years. So anything in that sort of direction would make us all very happy indeed. You guys have a lot of side projects between you (Axewound/InkBred) so how hard is it to work these projects around your main career as Bullet For My Valentine? It doesn't bother me really, you know if the guys want to go off and do other projects and it’s a personal thing then that’s fine as long as we all agree that Bullet is sort of our baby and that it will always come first. But yeah good luck to everyone who's trying new things within the band..go for it!. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Halestorm, and what should attending fans expect? We're very excited, we've been in rehearsal over the last few days and everything is going swell for now. It’s really just learning the new stuff, the new set, and it’s going really well so we just can't wait. Obviously we've had a year off as well from touring so we're all very eager to get back on the road and to start playing again. Especially with the new material, it’s going to be more fun to play than all the tracks we have been playing for years. So yeah it's going to be great! I mean the fans can expect just a good a show as any other in the past, so it’s all good. You guys are also headlining the second stage at this years Download Festival..how excited are you for this, and what is it you love the most about performing at Download? It’s a UK show so it’s a bit of a home festival show for us which is always good. It’s a bit of a tradition and we've been a part of Download for many years now, I think we’ve performed there four or five times, so it’s always nice to come back. If we're doing a festival tour in the summer we might be up in Europe and then we come back to Download and it’s great to see our families as well as everyone else out there. Even if the weather is crap, it still normally makes for a good day or a good weekend. You guys have been involved with the metal scene since 1998..how would you say the metal scene has changed in the UK since then? I guess it’s even more saturated then it was back then. Obviously with the internet you have a lot of ‘haters’ so it just makes for crazy times, but you know you've got to step back from it all and try and stay positive. What else can we expect to see from Bullet For My Valentine in 2013? Big shows, twice as much fire as before..I think we're going to have two dragons on the next tour instead of one, yeah loads of things, our own jumbo jet, the lot! We're going to bring it as always, and we're as hungry as we ever were and if there's a budget there to tour these sort of big production shows then we most certainly will be doing that. We really pride ourselves in big headline tours and we really want to put on a show for the fans! Interview with Freddie, Rob and Sam Let's start at the beginning: When did you decide that setting up a recording studio, and making a living from it, is something that you wanted to do with your life? Freddie: I've had a passion for recording and production since my early teens. Back when I was still living with my mum I began setting up a small home studio and started recording my mate's bands. I had limited knowledge and equipment, but it was enough to hook me! Since then there's been a lot of hard graft both in terms of personal progression and the creation of the studio to get Spiral to where it is now, but it's been worth it! Ok so bring us up to date with the current day Spiral Studios? Sam: In 2012 Rob and I started working for the studio. We gave Spiral a massive overhaul â€“ we completely refurbished the studio, updated the equipment, and re-branded the name/ online presence etc. Since then we've seen a huge increase in interest from bands and producers, and it's only getting busier as we begin to get the name out there! How did you get to the name 'Spiral Studios' and what does it mean to you? F: I was looking for a neutral name that wouldn't alienate any type of artist/genre. I looked through some lyrics and Spiral's alliteration and positive ambiguity stood out, so I went with it! What was the hardest challenge for you to overcome whilst setting up 'Spiral Studios'? F: It's an obvious one really but the financial side of things! Building a professional recording studio and acquiring all the equipment needed doesn't come cheap. You guys have already had Trails and Darko use the studio, so with this in mind, what was it like to have them there, and what do you like so much about these bands? S: We are actually in these bands, so I'd say it's great to have them about! Seriously though itâ€™s cool to experience the studio from both sides of the pond, being in the band in the studio and also being the manager, this way you have a better understanding of what either party wants from the experience. You also work in conjunction with Chris Coulter (Homeless Music), how does this relationship work? S: Chris is an excellent freelance Engineer/Producer, and a good friend of ours. We dry hire the studio to him and he provides his own HD Pro-Tools recording rig for his sessions. At Spiral he's worked with Arcane Root, Jumping Ships, Trails and Darko amongst many more, and he has recently worked on a new single for the pop group Saxxons. Who else have you enjoyed working with so far in the studio, and why? S: It's always enjoyable working with new bands, gaining experience and generally being a part of a thriving music scene. In the last six months we've had the pleasure of working with Arcane Roots, Jumping Ships, Trails, Darko, Swim Good, Saxxons, Radio Alcatraz, Drones, Fly This For Me, Out Like Wolves, Sumer, Bulletproof Bomb, SR Radio, Gods and Monsters and more, and they've all been great! You offer the services of recording studio and rehearsal space, is that correct? S: Yeah while most recording studios don't offer a rehearsal space, and most rehearsal studios are dilapidated, unloved carpet tiled rooms, our live room is available to hire as a first class rehearsal space at an affordable rate. With professional acoustic treatment and top quality equipment, itâ€™s the perfect place to rehearse, write, develop new ideas, and play live music! Other than rehearsals and recordings, what else do you guys cover? S: We hire out the studio to external producers/engineers etc, and also provide mixing/mastering services. On top of this Rob and I offer music lessons (drums and guitar), and we offer stringed instrument repairs/services and set-ups through our good friend and guitar lord Chris Brown. Why should bands come and use 'Spiral Studios' ? S: Spiral Studios has been designed, built and furnished to provide the best possible studio space for all types of audio recording. We offer a comfortable and relaxed environment and we're extremely competitive and flexible with our rates. You can record with Chris Coulter or with the in-house team depending on your budget, and you can rehearse in the same studio you're going to record in. We aim to be flexible to suit the needs of all bands, artists and producers. What are your thoughts on the current alternative music scene in Guildford, Surrey and what bands should our readers be checking out from that area? S: It's a great time to be a recording/rehearsal studio, as there's a thriving local scene and an abundance of bands out there looking to get themselves heard. We're here to fulfil their studio needs! What does 2013 hold for you guys? S: 2012 saw us refurb and re-establish our name. 2013 should see us build on that by continuing to work with new bands, running some exciting events, whilst also expanding our business. We are Time is up, a youthful post-hardcore/metal core band from Derbyshire! We were formed in 2011 and since then have dedicated all our free time to gigs, song writing and practices. The band is made up of 5 lads: Jack (vocals and lead guitar), Arran (Drums and Lyricist), Evan (Vocals), Tom (Bass) and Josh (Guitar). We have played at a wide range of venues from kooky independent festivals such as Ashley Hay, to larger venues such as Belper Food Festival and Derby Assembly rooms. We feel that 2013 is the year to take our music career to the next level and push further than performing at local gigs. We wish to find a sponsor and travel further afield for our performances to help spread our music across the country! We are all dedicated musicians hoping to develop our passion into full time careers in the industry after college. Our fans and followers have often described us as full of surprises with our little box of tricks which always causes a crazy hyped up atmosphere. We have recently released our EP “Deep Below” which was recorded with Mark Harworth and was launched through the help of Deafbox Promotions. We pride ourselves on performing, writing and creating all our own material with lyrics relevant to our own interests and lives, mainly written by Arran yet with input from the whole band. Working and performing with your friends makes the chemistry on stage work so much better as we feel at home gigging together and sometimes forget that we aren’t jamming at Soundhub studios! Time Is Up achieved second place at Ripley’s Battle of the Bands in 2011 due to our unique vibe and extremely hyped and lively performance! Our main inspiration is A Day To Remember and Sum41, as well as picking up tips from locally famous bands such as Violet and The James Warner Prophecies who mentored us for a short period of time. We are young, lively, and passionate about music and hope to fulfil our dreams and aspirations one day! Please check us out at: www.facebook.com/TimeIsUpMusic www.twitter.com/timeisupmusic http://timeisupmusic.weebly.com To keep updated on our upcoming gigs and events! Our new EP â€˜New Youâ€™ is out NOW! Available via our bandcamp link below Bandcamp : www.monstersonmovieposters1.bandcamp.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/monstersonmovieposters When did you decide that graphic design is something that you really wanted to do with your life? At first I hated it, graphic design is still about helping people sell. I'm trying to learn to do it differently which is why I'm working so hard to escape the design industry and the world of commercial design. It really clicked when I started working with Crim Collective at Uni. It was nice to be surrounded by a bunch of guys that weren't just about designing leaflets and printing adverts. Graphic designers talk a lot about problem solving but really I think graphic design is about problem management. If I'm doing graphics for the rest of my life, I'm not going to waste my time advertising jewellery or spot cream, I'm going to go after the big stuff like culture death, consumerism and capitalism. I want to figure out and communicate solutions to real problems. I know I'm crazy ambitious. What would you say you have learnt the most from 2012? Don't do anything that people tell you you "should" do. If I'd listened to everyone telling me what I "should" do, I'd have a job, or a car or some other safe grown up stuff. As a graphic designer or even just as a guy, I find that as soon as things get safe or comfortable, then they get boring. So don't ever get boring, if youâ€™re heading towards boring then start a band/make a film, or just do something that youâ€™re terrified of. Other than your latest Enter Shikari project, what was your most rewarding or biggest project for you to achieve as a graphic designer in 2012, and why? I made a record for an independant label. I know I'm meant to be a graphic designer but I'm more interested in what a graphic designer can do with a drum-kit, or ableton. What happens when you see music as grid systems, instead of notes, that kind of thing. I play guitar in the dumbest way but I never did grade eight or whatever, so it's going to sound different. I'm going to put it out for free very soon, it's half a bit of fun, and half deadly serious, so the tracks sound daft but the samples, ideas, and even the song titles are all from super influential fight the power essays and speech's. I would drop everything to be in a good band, but can't find other people that are up for it! I want to sound like Genghis Tron or like Lightning Bolt or something but then with a killer video set up for live gigs! Maybe in five years time or something! What other artists have influenced you along the way in your work, and why? I think my biggest influence was working with Yellow Bird Project, I think Casey and Matt are artists for developing something so beautiful. I worked for them for two years and I still help out when I can. It taught me a lot about believing in what youâ€™re making, and not just working for a wage. Other than that though, I try and keep my head down, I have pretty limited respect for the Design world, like I said it seems to me that design is really a bunch of Londoners and New Yorkers encouraging capitalism, and not really fixing much. Musicly.... At the Drive-in, Refused, Raised Fist, Breach, Death Grips, Squarepusher, Fuck Button etc have all been an influence for me. How did you end up working with Enter Shikari on their latest video for 'hello tyrannosaurus meet tyrannicide' ? A couple of years ago I think I had a small mid-life crisis. I kinda flipped out and just made this crazy animation for Lightning Bolt, I had no money and my landlord hated me for the mess, but it ended up being the best thing I'd ever made, so from then on it's been a bit of a vendetta to keep pushing it and here I am. I'd just finished an animation for 'Rolo Tomassi' and I was still feeling self-destructive, so I shot a quick email over to the ES crew and they were up for it. I basically worked for six months and earnt ÂŁ0 but at the same time I learnt loads. The ES video was the first ever 100% digital animation I've ever made, and probably the riskiest, but I did it, just. I've given up quite a lot of stuff to be able to make these videos but I think it's been worth it? What was the hardest part about creating the video for 'hello tyrannosaurus meet tyrannicide' for you, and why? Just before I bagged the ES video I'd run out of money, and moved back into my mum and dads place. While making the ES animation there was a bit of a disagreement and it was pretty obvious that it wasn't working, so I phoned some mates near my old Uni and found a place to stay so I could finish the animation. I've effectively been squatting for the past two months in a house with four girls that charge me next to nothing for rent. The only downside is I have to hide from the landlord every time he shows new tennents around for next year. But it's fun, and it's kind of exciting really. So long as I don't get caught, and if I do I'l just go couch surfing for a bit. Can you tell us a bit about how long it takes for you to put together a project like the video for 'hello tyrannosaurus meet tyrannicide' ? Usually I set aside two-three months for each project, and they tend to follow the same pattern. It starts off with me being really happy because I've got something to work on, and then the doubt and the worry start to kick in. I spend maybe a week worrying, drinking, drinking and worrying, then I pick a direction and work flat out untill the deadline. I tend to work from lunch time untill bed time and I don't do days off - unless I'm severely drunk or severely hung-over. I don't think I've ever said "I'm happy with it, it's finished" because something else always governs when it's done, whether it's a deadline or money or something. I really try and pick something thats so crazy it's never been done before, so the ES video I bitmapped 7000 images... not many people would be stupid enough to want to do that. What's it like to actually work with a client then, for example, do they normally give you a huge idea of what they want you to do, or is it normally just a basic idea that you take on and expand as you get more involved with the concept? It depends, some clients/bands have more input than others and I'm cool with either way. Enter Shikari's a good example, they literally left me to do what I wanted. My stuff always ends up being themed around subversion, revolution, survival sickness and all that kind of fight the power stuff - I try to approach bands that I think are into the same stuff as me and so far it's worked out o.k. What can we expect to see from Jonathan Lindley (graphic design/animation) in 2013? Well I'l be helping launch this sneaky little record label, as well as launching a brand new Crim Collective site. Iâ€™ve got a couple of potential videos coming up, one with probably my favourite irish math rock band and one later in the year with a seriously exciting folk rock band! Nothings definite, and I could be on the streets before any of that happens though, who knows! When did you decide that painting/art was something that you really wanted to do with your life? Iâ€™ve always been interested in art from a young age. I met Kris Roberts at Art college & we both went on to cofound Funeral For A Friend. After leaving the band I toured with and performed with From This Moment On & Dignity Dies First. I then returned to my first love of painting. What artists have influenced you since you first started out, and why? The three main artsits that have influenced me are 'Picasso', 'Basquiat' & 'Jesse Reno' for many reasonscolour, composition, ethics etc. Basquiat would take an inanimate object such as a chair or a door and breathe life into it with colour & poetry which are two things that are very important in my work. Both Picasso & Basquiat are now dead so i now get my progressive inspiration from Jesse Reno. How did you get to the title SnowSkull for your work, and what does it mean to you? I chose the name 'SnowSkull' from a Gregory Corso poem. I feel the contrast between the purity of the snow and the morbidness of the skull combined shows the light and the darkness of my work. Itâ€™s interesting that peoples aspects of the skull are usually negative and related to death. I feel that we carry our skulls in a more positive light in everyday life as protection for our brains- where our imagination and creativity comes from. We know you used to actually be in Funeral For A Friend, so how did you end up working with the band again on their artwork after all these years, and what was this whole experience like for you? I've kept in contact with these guys, especially Kris - who has remained a close friend and together we hope to collaborate sometime this year on a new project which will be a combination of poetry & art. Although we have taken different paths, the mutual admiration for each others work has brought us back together. So what were the main steps in designing the artwork for Conduit? When first approached by the band i believed that a new commissioned piece was required. But when Kris showed Matt & the guys a painting i had recently completed (Branches of thought like bones) he felt that it was the perfect fit for the album. You recently designed the artwork for the upcoming album 'Culture & Deliquesce' by Bodhi so what was it like to work with these guys on this project, and do you have any particular highlights from the process that you could share with us? Through mutual respect and knowing 'Luke' since we were in Dignity Dies First together, we have joined forces for previous, present and future artwork. It’s always good to work with friends and through designing this piece for 'Bodhi' and other ventures I have developed a very good relationship with 'Gallery 66' - who have been a great help in the showcasing of my work. You are also working on a video for these guys, so what can we expect to see from that, and how would you say the video relates to your artwork? 'Next Door Films' - an award winning Cardiff based duo (Seb Feehan & Josh Bamford) and I have worked on this video together. Expect light projections, bright colours & dance interpretations. I think that any aspect of my work has an element of 'SnowSkull' in it, whether it be painting, sculpture, video or photography. It’s all about learning through trial and error. A group of musicians, artists, film makers etc whom I'm associated with 'Chrome Kids' & 'Sleep/Walk' all wish to grow together. When you are working with a band/act, do they normally give you most of the ideas as to what they want you to go for, or is it normally just you getting on and giving your own personal approach to what you think the band might like? We thrash out ideas and concepts through meetings and e-mails so that there is a mutual understanding of what is required by both parties and then through trust I am given free reign to express myself. We've read that you will be collaborating with Jack Hardwicke soon, so with this in mind, how excited are you about this, and what can we expect to see from you guys? I’m very excited to work with The Eidophusikon. I met Jack online, through a friend, and we have both admired each others output. I can't wait for people to view what we have in store, so watch this space ...... What else can we expect to see from SnowSkull in 2013? As well as the impending artwork for both FFAF & Bodhi, I am also working on other pieces for the UK House producer Hackman. There will be the launch of my new website 'snowskull-art.com' (an interactive painting}, my first solo exhibition, more from Sleep/Walk & Chrome Kids, collaborations with the Eidophusikon, more work with the Next door films boys, Jauge, Bodhi, Blured, ALF photography, Adora from Bristol, my project with Kris. Also keep an eye out for a project I’ll be working on which is based in London called The 52 Statutes of Art' which is a year long multi collaboration project which will see artists being pushed out of their comfort zones to produce fresh and clever work in relation to their own work. There will hopefully be a continued partnership with Gallery 66 which should lead to more exciting future projects as I progress through hard work and determination. The Blackout - Start The Party When your third album marks a growth and maturity for the band, album number four has a few options. Where The Blackout could have gone down an experimental route, or gone electro like so many others, they instead opted for 'Start The Party' to be a down and dirty rock 'n' roll onslaught that does exactly what it says on the tin. Following the general party cheers and smashing that opens the record, a one of the main themes rears its head immediately: this feels more rock 'n' roll than any of their previous work in the guitar, with an undeniable groove and grind. 'Radio' is a banger, teaming the bold guitar work and sleek licks with a cleaner cut vocal from the guys. Each track packs some punch; 'Keep Singing' is the first to open without a rocky attack, though the comparative restraint of the track makes it a stand out. From here on in the album seems less grinding and more bouncy, with 'Running Scared' being one of the catchiest there is on offer. 'You' is the album's slow acoustic number that, in the midst of party tracks, can jolt the listener - nice, yet not necessarily fluid. The record closes with a throwback - 'Throw It All Away' feels an amalgamation of their biggest hits, fused into one cohesive hit. "We're still the best in town," they claim. Well, this album would certainly suggest so. HM Bleach Blood - The Young Heartbreakers Club A band's debut is a chance to show the world what they're capable of, more often than not cramming a lot into a few minutes. Bleach Blood do just this in the meagre 13 minutes of 'The Young Heartbreakers EP', finding various blends of cultures from emphatic 70s synths to the aggressive punk attitude. 'Let Your Heart Sing' has a rocky finesse before launching into the verse's synthy backing. The chorus is easy to get your head around - repetitive in its lyrics but catchy nonetheless; feeling more a solid start to build from than a track to steal the EP. Successor 'Bleached Blood' is dark and unsettling, a completely new band to the addictive and catchy offering just witnessed. Their dark tale jolts the listener, though their culture clash is still evident, with synth undertones adding a sharp oddity. 'The Young Heartbreakers Club' feels almost candy-floss sweet. Is this the same band who seemed almost murderous a moment ago? Catchy and heartfelt following a break-up, the chorus explodes into life to steal the offering. Closer 'I Was Born In A Rave' flits from fusing punk to utilising throwbacks to trance in their breakdowns, closing things with another display of their two biggest influences. It's a lot to take in 13 minutes, but this screams diversity. Their sound may be far from cohesive right now, but this EP shows promise of a band who have many sides to show. HM Major League - Hard Feelings Pop-punk quintet Major League is renowned for assaulting people's eardrums with their catchy hooks and bouncy choruses. They released their latest album 'Hard Feelings' on 13 November 2012, via No Sleep Records. Introduction 'Hard Feelings' gives way to single 'Walk Away'. Their saucy guitar licks and melodic vocals create a mammoth opening track, and a kicking start to the album. 'Arrows Crossed' and 'Nightmare' crush adrenaline and emotion together, creating tracks chock full of raw energy and shredding riffs. With pulsating drumming, 'Because Heaven Knows' is an instant sing-along, containing melodic verses and a roaring chorus that'll get people fist-pumping because of its incredibly infectious energy. Closing off with 'Final Thoughts', Major League uses this last chance to give everything they've got: tight, rhythmic drum work and bone-crunching riffs combine with raw vocals to give this album a fitting send-off. 'Hard Feelings' is every pop-punk fan's must-have album. Don't have it? Buy it now, so you can understand what all the fuss is about. JT Flood of Red – They Must Be Building Something Scottish quintet Flood of Red has been making music for the past seven years, releasing their debut album ‘Leaving Everything Behind’ in 2009. However, the end of 2012 saw this talented bunch of lads release their latest EP ‘The Must Be Building Something’ – a short but sweet collection of their work. Opening track ‘The Treasury (I Have Lost)’ features smooth, liquid vocals that drip with heartfelt emotion, whilst being wrapped tightly around mighty riffs that can crush you in an instant. ‘No Lover of Mine’ roars to life, with catchy hooks that grip onto you with tight claws and tight, rhythmic drum work. Penultimate track ‘The Weight of Water’ slows the tempo down, with slower and quieter riffs being complimented by strong vocals before exploding into something more. Raw energy courses through the veins of this killer tune before crashing into title track ‘They Must Be Building Something’. Flood of Red finish their short EP with a cracking closing track, as mighty riffs and energetic drumming come together with mature vocals to sign off. If you haven’t already, purchase this killer EP. It’s a brilliant piece of work that leaves you wanting more. JT Wounds - Die Young Everything was going so well for Wounds in 2010, with a promising EP under their belts and relentless touring they looked set for big things. But when guitarist James Coogan fell from a fourth floor balcony and nearly died things looked bleak. The wounds he was left with adorn the shocking album cover and inspired several tracks on this debut album, Die Young. High energy punk is the order of the day here, driven by choppy riffs and fast beats. Opening track ‘Killing Spree’ sees frontman Aidan Coogan at his angriest as he screams “We don’t care”, it’s a beast of a track and sums up what’s to come. The rest of the album is a blast with nary a ballad in sight, this a relentless attack on the ears in the best way possible. Die Young is a ball buster of an album with its coarse instrumentation and bleak lyrics, factor in some killer choruses like those on ‘The Pile’ and recent single ‘No Future’ and it’s the full package. Album closer ‘Dead Road’ deals with the death of the Coogan brother’s father and is the most emotional track on the album. This is the sound of a band that’s angry at the world, a superb effort that should see them pick up any momentum they’ve lost. A snarling fuck you to the world, Die Young is a sterling debut from a promising band, let’s just hope they live long enough to release another one. MG Dropkick Murphys – Signed and Sealed in Blood Whilst being a band that many people will have heard of in passing, Dropkick Murphys are probably not a group that many people will be overly familiar with, despite having graced our ears with their antics for around a decade and a half. There are not many bands who have managed to retain such a unique sound (yeah they do punk music with folk instruments, what of it?) over such a long time, but let’s all just take a moment to be grateful that Dropkick Murphys have done so. Quite simply, if you like having a party, you’ll love this album. Right from intro song The Boys are Back you know that this album is going to be a non-stop riot of gangvocal laden, folksy, bouncy, shouty punk music. For the most part the songs are unrelentingly fast, but songs like Rose Tattoo would fit in just as well being sung by a lot of very drunk men in a dark pub as they would by fans at a gig. If you like Dropkick Murphys then you’ll love this (and well done you). If you’re not familiar with them then this may well be the effervescent, folksy mashup that will get you stomping your feet and shouting along in your best just-about-not-racist Irish accent; they might be from America but there’s more Irish charm in this album than in Billy Connolly’s beard. Someone get me a lute and a pint, this deserves celebrating. AL Rescuer – With Time Comes the Comfort Quite simply put, if you like any kind of melodic hardcore you will love this album. Some people who are avid hardcore fanatics sometimes look down on bands like Defeater or Being As An Ocean for not being heavy enough – this is of course wrong and ridiculous. Still, even these poor, lost individuals would have a hard time arguing the case that Rescuer aren’t heavy. Each song is a hard (if short), sharp, punch of punkladen hardcore. Right from the furious intro to Breathe this album does not let up once. Admittedly, if you were looking with Sherlock Holmes-esque depth to find something to criticise it would be that the instrumental lines do sound a little clichéd at times, as can the lyrics. In response to that, I would argue that this album never once tries to be intellectual (that sounded quite harsh didn’t it?). It’s not trying to be math-metal that explores the depths of human emotions in 12-minute-long tirades of musical gibberish. That was a better way to write it. It’s just an honest, heavy, melodic hardcore album. If you are a fan of more simplistic, honest, fast, punky music with good riffs, played at breakneck speed and with screams that sound like a crow that has spent the last few years of its life listening to The Ghost Inside and Terror inside an iron box, then this is probably a good choice. AL Anavae – Storm Chaser (EP) Lab Records latest release is London based Anavae’s ‘Storm Chaser’. To my memory, Lab Records have released quite a few female fronted records over the years and this single does show that the band has a lot of potential, but they will not escape the inevitable Paramore comparisons. The similarities are immediately noticeable. Paramore likeness disclosure complete. ‘Storm Chaser’ is a big fat slab of pop rock goodness full to the brim with strong guitar lines, thumping drums and vocals that are great in warmth and power. Atmospheric synths & samples fill the space and give Anavae a dark, gritty edge, showing the bands willingness to experiment a little. ‘Ghosts In The Machine’ projects a slightly heavier sound whilst ‘This Light’ highlights a stripped back dynamic. This track compliments the other two tracks perfectly with tight, crisp harmonies and dual vocals. However, I feel that this release should have stopped there. The other two tracks included (a dubstep remix and an acoustic version of the title track) fail to add anything exciting, and feel as if they were used to pad it out. ‘Storm Chaser’ is a well produced, impressive effort that could stand up alongside their American counterparts and hints at what Anavae are capable of. JL Broadway Calls - Comfort/Distraction With three and half years since their last release, punk-rocker's Broadway Calls have finally completed their third record. Comfort/Distraction is consistently strong and might just provide that all-important break-through for a band which has struggled to build more than a small, dedicated fan-base over eight long years of hard work. 'Bring On the Storm' announces the record with intent - Ty Vaughn's vocals knockdown the door with his Less Than Jake Chris DeMakes-esque vocal style. 'Wildly Swinging' is NOFX meets Set Your Goals, where old and new world punk collide to create one of the strongest tracks on Comfort/Distraction. While Broadway Calls have certainly drifted closer toward the pop side of the punk spectrum, 'Minus One' and 'Surrounded By Ghosts' are both tracks with their feet firmly planted in the oldschool 90's skate punk era. For instrumental minimalism, Broadway Calls really get what they can out of a three-piece setup. On 'Life is Rhythm' the bass provides the chugging core, while the drums dance circles around the twisting and turning guitar line. The influence of Descendants drummer, turned producer Bill Stevenson is pretty evident throughout- the seasoned California punk mastermind drawing the best of both worlds from the trio. The record maintains subtle hints of the grunge-punk that spilt from the underground clubs of the Pacific Northwest decades ago, while fully opening the curtain to shine the Cali sun on every track. Comfort/Distraction is a catch-all record, offering the fast, fuck-everything attitude for veteran punks and the ironically upbeat natured pop-punk for the younger generations. Broadway Calls have really gone and done it this time. RM I Divide - EP After a great 2012 which saw them win the Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition, play Slam Dunk, Hevy and Download festivals and bag a support slot with Funeral For A Friend, for their tour which kicks-off later this month, Exeter’s I Divide certainly seem like ‘ones to watch’ in 2013. These four brand new tracks have been released to keep up the pace between full-lengths and maybe give fans an idea of what to expect on album number two. What becomes clear when listening to these four tracks is that I Divide have certainly got a knack for writing huge vocal hooks, most notable here is the chorus on Follow Me and what seems like a track tailor-made for the live arena, Let Go, which is bound to become a fan favourite and have them screaming, ‘Let’s let go tonight, it isn’t worth another fight’, back at the band until their lungs burst. Solid song structures, that don’t become repetitive, and great musicianship are in abundance too. This is top quality melodic rock music, that retains enough edge to keep harder rock fans on their toes and never delves into cheesy territory. GM Dropout-Dan - Forever Instead Dropout Dan has a tantalising sound of nostalgia and reminiscence. His singlehanded bash at writing fantastic acoustic-folk punk style sounds is a wonderful treat for the ears, all crafted in a do-it-yourself fashion at the outskirts of Cambridgeshire. His great musicianship shows through the maturity of the song writing – and the years of experience show through too. You really feel the heart and soul pour from every note in Forever, Instead. Oh, Little Red sets the tone for what’s installed for the rest of your journey in the next 16 minutes, leading into the blissful Puppy Fat. Puppy Fat has some really great melodies to hum and sing along to (as does the whole EP), and it’s bound to get your feet tapping with the consistent tempo. The good keeps going with the greatly composed and lyrically arranged The Sound of Faking. Like the Stars is the icing on the cake. I loved it. There is atmosphere in this track and a hell of a lot of it. It left me wanting to go back to the start and go on the journey all over again. Dropout Dan will go far – rising alongside some of my favourite acoustic musicians to date. DG Heaven's Basement - Filthy Empire British hard rock band finally release much anticipated debut album! Considering they haven't been around for that long they sure have had their share of success and have already played along side big names such as Papa Roach, Halestorm, Shinedown and Bon Jovi as well as many festival appearances, including Download Festival and Sonisphere! Is more success on the way for them?!... Opening track "Welcome Home" is fast paced, with strong melodies and vocals, and brilliant riffs and guitars! This will keep playing in your head with its infectious almost urgency that will get you head-banging Its very dynamic and slides into slow and fast paced rhythms effortlessly! This 'welcome' leaves you excited to hear the next 11 tracks!.. Single "Fire,Fire" makes you want immediately feel the need to nod your head along! Like a wave of fire, this song is fast, powerful, striking and you simply won't forget it!! This is hard rock as it should be with brilliant vocals, a classic yet modern sound and impressive intricate guitar solo and hooks - this has everything you want in a song! "I Am Electric" is featured in the new Need For Speed game, and I can see why as this is a smooth fast paced rock anthem! New single, "Nothing Left To Loose" has strong opening riffs, great shouted verses, and an effective use of dual vocals in parts, as well as diverse vocals from talented front-man Aaron Buchanan! I can see why they picked this as a single, as like many of their songs it has a new rock anthem feel to it! "The Long Goodbye" has an effective opening with use of downbeat dual vocals and the same great strong characteristics as seen on all previous tracks, staying consistent with a strong driving riff throughout. "The Price We Pay" is a beautiful emotive ballad and shows off Aaron's exceptional vocals even more With a brilliant build up of instruments coming in to accompany the stunning vocals, the composition is stunning! Closing song, "Executioner's Day" has brilliant catchy driving hooks, strong vocals and lyrics, and trademark slick guitar work from guitarist, Sid Glover. Despite the negative title of the ending title track, this closing track ends things on a high note, just like every other song! This debut is simply stunning and I think could quite easily rank them as one of the best British rock bands around right now! They are on 'fire' with their great musicianship, song writing abilities, and big infectious rock anthems. This is a great start of new music for 2013..with such a strong debut album, expect to see a lot of this band..especially as they were announced this month to play Download Festival..I think this year is their year! CL Bullet For My Valentine - Temper Temper These mighty welsh metallers return with their follow up to 2010's 'Fever' with album number four.. Opening track, "Breaking Point" 'breaks' into a mighty scream courtesy of Matt Tuck reminiscent of previous album "Fever" with it's catchy melodies and later erupts into a brilliant shredding solo with aggressive screaming accompanying - if this is them at their breaking point - I think It's something they should do more often if this is the result! Title track, "Temper Temper" is one of the best tracks of the album in my opinion..it's fast, aggressive and has a big anthemic metal sound and an arm pounding infectious chorus, something that the band are no strangers too! This title song packs the largest chorus featured on the album. The opening guitar to "Dead To The World" is slightly reminiscent of Metallica, which is always a good start! Matt displays more vocal versatility in this one accompanied with skillful smooth guitars in a fairly slow tempo especially during the verses. Towards the end we have a nice fast break down that speeds things up a bit from the fairly laid back pace..but the real bite comes in the form of the bad ass solo and harmonising (something we are treated to in this album!). New single "Riot" admittedly is quite different in ways to their previous material as is the the song "Temper Temper", and could be said to have very uncreative lyrics (especially the chorus), but sometimes in the genre of rock/metal you don't need fancy clever lyrics, this song is very basic almost, but at times it has almost an old thrash vibe. The chorus doesn't do wonders when you first hear it, and may be a let down for fans when usually braced for a mega hard hitting chorus, but listen to it a few times, and it may grow on you! The verses are strong however and again luckily as seen throughout the album, the solo leaves a huge impact. This might be different to what regular Bullet fans will expect,but bands have to change and progress their sound sometimes.. The reflective "Tears Don't Fall (Part 2)" certainly sounds similar to part 1 and like a follow up from the beginning with mainly clean melodic vocals rather than fierce ones largely. "Tears Don't Fall" was so good in my opinion they didn't really need a follow up, but that being said, overall it's a good song and it works, but unfortunately it 'falls' short compared to "Tears Don't Fall".. although the ending and solo is simply insane - you get a feeling this time round their more pissed! For me this new album has a definite emphasis on insane guitars and shredding from lead guitarist, Michael 'Padge' Padget and Matt Tuck, which is most welcomed! The band have gone for a slightly different direction, although comparisons could be made to their last album 'Fever', but I think unlike 'Fever' some of the songs don't hit you first time round, but that doesn't mean the songs aren't good! As a fan myself it didn't stun me the first listen if I'm honest (the solos sure did though!), but after a few more listens you begin to appreciate the new sound, like a fine wine! This is their progression, with the biggest noticeable differences being the guitar work, angerier straight forward lyrics and Matt's more versatile singing..especially his clean vocals, some may say he doesn't do as much screaming on this album, but he is trying new things out, which also is effective, just more subtle perhaps. Some Bullet fans will like this album, some won't (especially when comparing to their earlier releases such as "The Poison")..but music is subjective and things have to change every now and then..say what you will but there are definitely some brilliant qualities to the album which make for a great progression for the band! CL Combining awesomeness from Stourbridge, Rugeley and wherever Josh is from, Viva LA Revolution are here to be your new favourite pop punk band. We have mixed the usual upbeat jumpy parts with some slower clappy parts to create a unique style of pop punk! Not only are the lads of VLR devilishly handsome, each and every song is super catchy! So catchy, in fact, that by the end of a show, not only will you be rushing off to download pictures, so you can stare into their eyes all night, but you will also be downloading their music! Just so you can share their awesomeness with your buddies! VLR You can check out our music for free here: www.SOUNDCLOUD.com/vivalarevolutionfreemusic Hancox - Vegas Lights Hancox is the solo project created by Guana Batz frontman, Pip Hancox, hence the name! He decided to try something different from his psychobilly sound in Guana Batz, Pip being from England and his members being from the US makes for a good mix and together they wanted to revive the scene they felt needed the attention it deserves.. After a fun groovy atmospheric intro with strong beats we land on "London Streets" which frontman Pip reflects on his past, hailing from London. The song possesses great bass lines,fuzzy guitars and great lyrics, as well as characteristic vocals all with a dark and gritty attitude underlying the song. "Sally" burts into life straight away, with superb harmonies, hard hitting riffs, uplifting vocals and rhythms. This one will put a smile on your face! "Black Door City" is one of the fastest tempo tracks on the album, featuring a brilliant stand out bass, and fast vocal chants. The 'anarchy' increases more towards the end in the greatest sense..This song will be a definite fan favourite! The high energy "7th Daughter" is one of the highlights of album, with brilliant melodies and rhythms, along with fast great gang vocals, nice catchy riffs and superb slick guitarwork throughout. Very effective whispered vocals in the breakdown which quickly returns to the full throttle fast paced state as before! Title track, "Vegas Lights" opens on an nice mellow intro and Pip shows a slightly different side to his vocals accompanied by all the right chords, he shows more emotion and a touch of desperation, making a good vocal performance and offers a change in direction. Strangely the closing song comes in the form of a cover of Blondie's "Call Me" which considering is an iconic song, they do it well and fits the overall sound of the album..a bit of a risk taker, but one that paid off! This long awaited album doesn't disappoint in my eyes! Its varied influences will go down a treat and will make you relive and revive your love of the gritty rock 'n' roll genre! CL Fahran - Self Titled Fahran is a five piece young melodic hard rock band from Derbyshire. They have returned with a new name, new members and a new debut album... "Silver Scene" is catchy from the get go, with almost authoritive vocals from Nick Whitcroft that really stand out and make you listen, the great lyrics also aid this. There's plenty of hard hitting riffs and dual guitars, from guitarists Jake Graham and Chris Byrne and a superb solo showing of their skills moreso! A great start to the album...it's pure hard rock gold! "Cynics & Dreamers" opens on a good heavy riff and immediately has the head banging stamp of approval! Again effective guitars as well as great attitude packed vocals that compliment the instruments excellently. I certainly have no cynicism about this band, only positive thoughts! "Stay Alive" opens on a nice elaborate intro then blasts right into a strong riff, topped with brilliant vocals, particularly in the verses and an aggressive memorable chorus. The track like others show such professionalism and maturity in their sound! "Ashes" packs a powerful chorus and diverse vocals. This song perhaps marks their triumphant return after their line up change and new band name..as well they certainly have 'rised' above it and been re-born with a better sound than ever! All songs featured are of high quality and constantly consistent, making this one hell of a debut release! These young rockers show great musical talent and maturity in their sound, wise beyond their years! It is obvious from the offset that the band are back and on better form than ever; they have so much passion and talent, making this a brilliant debut that leaves you wanting more! Good things are going to come their way!..well their supporting Heaven's Basement in February so that's a good start! CL Funeral For A Friend Following the release of 2011’s ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’, Welsh outfit Funeral For A Friend proved that they are still to be considered as one of Britain’s most treasured modern rock bands. It’s true that the two albums preceeding this, ‘Tales Don’t Tell Themselves’ and ‘Memory And Humanity’, saw the band veer off the path slightly and, as such, resulted in them losing a considerable amount of faith in some their earlier established fanbase. Instead, these fans decided to let go and just remember FFAF’s days of yore. Thankfully, ‘Welcome Home Armageddon’ brought a lot of the doubters back on board. Now, just under two years following their last full-length, FFAF are back with ‘Conduit’, an album that much like its predecessor very much visits the band’s long established roots within the hardcore and harder punk genres. Though it was done far more gracefully with their previous record, there are times throughout ‘Conduit’ where it seems the band may be trying a little too hard to be the band that they once were. Still! don’t be turned away, ‘Conduit’ still carries plenty of great material and still stands heads and shoulders above any of the band’s material between 2005 and 2011. One of the biggest changes from any of their earlier work, which could highly be due to this being the first record without the screams of long serving sticksman Ryan Richards, is the adaptation and versatility in frontman Matt Davies’ vocals. As well as the well-known cleans and melodies, Matt has now adopted a gruff, dirty and gritty yell to bring a more punk and youthful style to the proceedings. ‘Death Comes To Us All’ sees Matt’s new vocal abilities at one of their strongest and this, combined with newly recruited ex-Rise To Remain drummer Pat Lundy certainly help us to see a more energetic FFAF in ‘Grey’ and album opener, ‘Spine’. However, a lot of the tracks throughout ‘Conduit’ don’t hold as much character as the vast majority of songs that composed their first two efforts, ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’ and ‘Hours’. The closest they do to return to these days is with ‘Nails’, a track that sees classic FFAF come back to light! Fans waiting for the band to return and recreate these eras of their career will be sorely disappointed for two reasons; the first being that this isn’t going to happen and the second being that, if I’m wrong and they do, it’s going to sound like a subpar recreation. ‘Conduit’ brings back the gritty youth of their early years, but I feel there’s still a bit of space left for the band to expand into different areas. ZR Bad Religion - True North After thirty three years of delivering solid punk rock albums it comes as more than a surprise that Bad Religion has hung up the guitars and broke out the dubstep beats. Alright that’s a lie. ‘True North’ is a by the numbers Bad Religion record and that fact their trademark style remains exciting rather than tired is a testament to their quality. ‘True North’ sees the band return to the stripped down, no nonsense approach that they demonstrated so well on their early classics ‘No Control’ and ‘Suffer’. There’s nothing fancy on display here, Bad Religion fire out fast, melodic, ballsy songs that you’ll be singing along to by the second chorus. The riffs are as strong as ever and Brett Gurewitz delivers some short but sweet solos to further whet the listener’s ears. A strong chorus has always been at the core of any decent Bad Religion song and you can be sure that there are plenty on offer here (Land of Endless Greed, Nothing To Dismay) that will have you singing along and fist pumping as hard as ever. The only problem with this album is there’s no time to take it all in. At just over half an hour in length the sixteen tracks on this album fly by, before you even have chance to take in the breathless “Land of Endless Greed” Greg Graffin is shouting “Fuck You!”. It’s an album that takes multiple listens to fully appreciate, first time around it’s easy to miss the thrilling “Vanity” which at barely one minute long is over before you realise it’s begun. With ‘True North’ Bad Religion have delivered one of their most solid efforts to date, it’s a turbo charged album filled with instant anthems. Whether the band will stick around to release another remains to see but after hearing this it’s clear that fans will be begging the Californian legends for a follow up. As inspiring as anything they have done before. MG Blink-182 - Dogs Eating Dogs When Blink-182 announced that they had recorded an EP called Dogs Eating Dogs, only weeks before it was planned to be released, they left fans confused. Was this some sort of joke from the jesters of pop-punk? Was it going to be a Christmas EP? Why had Blink suddenly decided to release an EP after months of silence, having only released one EP before this in their three-decade spanning career? Truth be told, the lack of organisation and mystery surrounding the EP was probably a result of this being the first Blink release since departing from major label, Interscope. However, what it lacks in finesse, this EP makes up for in quality of music and is a welcome addition to the sterling back catalogue of Blink182. The opener, 'When I Was Young', sets the bar high for the rest of the EP. A resoundingly epic chorus demonstrates the magic of Blink-182 when Tom Delonge (Vocals/Guitar) and Mark Hoppus' (Vocals/Bass) vocals combine to create a perfect balance of pop-punk emotion and a catchy, explosive hook. The other highlight is 'Boxing Day'. The only Christmas song on the record, and with a tone in stark contrast to the comedic themed 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas' and 'Happy Holidays, You Bastard' of records old, 'Boxing Day' marks a refreshing experimentation with acoustic-folk. Hoppus' chorus vocals hum beautifully, meanwhile Travis Barker (Drums) proves his already unquestionable drumming ability with his stripped-down beat, melding perfectly with the acoustic guitar line. Unlike its predecessor, Neighborhoods, the recording process of which was disjointed and consisted mainly of sending demos across the web (with Mark, Tom and Travis in three different locations), Dogs Eating Dogs proves that it is essential that the members of this Southern California band be in the same place when laying down a record. Capturing the essence of Blink-182 far better than the reformation album, this EP will undoubtedly raise expectations for the next Blink full-length. RM Angels & Airwaves - Stomping The Phantom Break Pedal Being a fan of Angels & Airwaves isn't easy. Between Tom Delonge's grandiose promises for epic motion pictures and claims of life-changing bigger-than-God musicianship, investing in this band takes serious amounts of patience and tolerance for a project which seems to have become the playground for Tom Delonge's less commercially viable mental deterioration. The oddly titled Stomping The Phantom Break Pedal is a double-EP which has plenty of filler, but not much killer and may leave fans of We Don't Need To Whisper (2006) scratching their heads. The first half of the EP consists of three songs, the first being the eight-minute 'Reel 1 (Diary)', five minutes of which is conventional A & A synths which (incredibly) slowly build up to a beat. When Delonge's vocals finally kick in, the echoes surrounding his ambient vocal style are effective and touching, but it's nothing that he hasn't been done on every release thus far. This is the last time you'll hear Delonge on this half of the record, as the two tracks which follow, 'Reel 5 (New Blood)' and 'Reel 6', continue on in Matrix-fight-scene-electronica-score style. Meanwhile, 'Love Two: Re-Imagined', the second disc of the EP, is a collation of remixes from the previous Love albums. If you like paying for songs which you already own, but with an irritating techno-beat and robotic keys placed over the top, then you'll love the latter half of the EP. No Angels & Airwaves fan should expect to hear Blink-182 when listening to the experimental-electronica outfit's records. But that isn't the criticism here. Tom Delonge can be admired for pursuing a band which is running him at a severe financial loss, because he truly believes in A & A and uses it as an outlet for his more musically experimental side. However, if he continues to create self-indulgent backing tracks which could be put together on a Mac in a few hours, the future for A & A isn't looking too bright. RM The Joy Formidable - Wolf’s Law Welsh trio The Joy Formidable have a full, textured sound reminding me very much of The Smashing Pumpkins and bands alike. Their melodies and hooks really draw you into their music whilst completely satisfying your need for alt-rock pumped into your eardrums. Wolf’s Law is their most recent release, starting with a bit of strings for a build up in This Ladder Is Ours (who doesn’t love that?) flowing into some nice and gritty guitar strumming followed by glorious melodies and pophooks setting the tone. Consider it like an overture in ways. Cholla kicks in straight after guaranteed to completely satisfy your riffy needs. Enjoy great melodies through Tendons, Little Blimp, Bats and Silent Treatment. Maw Maw Song really stood out for me, it’s got a really heavy, driving riff that just really added another dimension to this album for me – it feels different in the best possible way. Forest Serenade and The Leopard and the Lung then take the album up to another level again – they’re a fantastic experience loud. Make sure you crank it up. Ritzy’s vocals don’t disappoint in the slightest in this wonderful audio experience and their sound is consistent and mature. Go and see The Joy Formidable, they already have a reputation and it’s going to get bigger. DG Touché Amoré / Pianos Become the Teeth split Touché Amoré and Pianos Become the Teeth are back with one track each on their new split release. Both bands have had success with their sophomore releases, Touché Amoré’s ‘Parting the Sea between the Brightness and me’ and Pianos Become The Teeth with ‘The Lack long after’. Both bands have a distinct raw emotion in their songs which makes them powerful to listen to, this raw emotion is heard in both tracks of this split. Touché Amoré are first up with their new track ‘Gravity, Metaphorically’ – the track with begins with a powerful intro with the sound of pounding drums and low bass line. Jeremy Bolm’s emotion drilled vocals blend beautifully with the instrumentation, to create a song so typical of Touché Amoré’s raw sound. The track has a slight interlude which teases the listener; the track is then built back up again to its powerful status with Jeremy’s vocals again dominating the sound. Fans of Touché Amoré will not be used to songs being as long as four minutes, but this track has just as much potency as the short punchy tracks that make up their two full length releases. This track is confirmation of their growth as a band, and works as another step to further success, fans are now anticipating a new full length hopefully in the near future. Pianos Become the Teeth ‘Hiding’ showcases a different side of their sound. ‘The Lack Long After’ was successful because of the piercing instrumentation and intense vocals. ‘Hiding’ retains the same emotion but has a much softer riff and the vocals are not as strong in comparison to the tracks on their sophomore release. The drum beats are most impressive in this song, blending with the occasional full release of emotional energy of Kyle Durfey’s lyrics, the front man is known for producing lyrics that are personal to him and his personal feelings and emotions are reflected through his fervid vocal performance. This track is very well written and put together very cleverly, the band seem to have a found a new sound which they are very comfortable with and should bring them more success with new releases in the future. JP City of Ashes - Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness Sussex based alt- rockers City of Ashes release their long- awaited debut EP this month, cementing their status as the ones to watch in 2013. After intense touring up and down the country refining their sound, ‘Then There Was A Hand In The Darkness’ is the newest offering from the foursome, Produced by Matt O’Grady, responsible for some the most recognisable hits from bands such as You Me At Six and Deaf Havana. With such an esteemed producer at the helm, it seems incontrovertible that City of Ashes could produce anything less than a brilliant first offering. And they do not disappoint. The five tracks that appear are mightily impressive, opening with ‘falling star’, followed by ‘Beggars & Thieves’, ‘The Highest Point Of Living’, ‘Hourglass’ and closing with ‘A Calm Like Lethargy’, the EP provides a fast paced, pumping rock soundtrack that is sure to appeal to a broad spectrum of rock music fans. Vocalist Orion Powell provides raw, clean vocals that can’t be faulted, which combine seamlessly with James MacDonald’s hooks, Dan Frederick’s pounding bass and Dan Russell’s continuously ferocious beat keeping. Overall, it’s a solid effort from the Brit boys, and definitely an EP to invest in. Top marks from me! CS Immension - Self-titled EP Having built up quite a following in their hometown of Doncaster, four piece metal band Immension look set to take the UK by storm with the release of their selftitled debut EP this month. Consisting of three tracks: ‘shadow of yourself’, ‘lost and forgotten’ and ‘in vain’, it comes after intense touring of the UK, spreading the word and perfecting their sound. Excellent work well done, I’d say. Describing their influences as Metallica, Arch Enemy and Iced earth, the quartet certainly know how to make a fine rock tune, with lead track ‘shadow of yourself’ opening the EP with an immensely catchy guitar riff before introducing the vocals of lead singer Jake Kearsley, whom will no doubt welcome the inevitable comparisons to Matt Heafy and Matt Tuck. Kearsley’s voice is thrillingly impressive, striking the right balance between melodic singing and clean screams. Similarly, guitarist Tim Dolan perfects the pounding intensity and fast paced shredding one would expect with such a band, almost textbook. Well-crafted metal that is sure to grab the attention of metal heads everywhere. Undoubtedly the similarities to metal heavyweights Trivium and Bullet for My Valentine will come, which I have no doubt the Sheffield metallers will embrace. In an atmosphere where this kind of music is deemed to have ‘died’ it is refreshingly good hear to hear an excellent metal band that do what they do well, flying the flag for the UK and poised to do big things in 2013! CS Lucy was a Decoy - Time/Surreal EP Rock foursome Lucy was a Decoy have just released their brilliant new EP. Consisting of two tracks, ‘Time’ and ‘Surreal’. Hailing from North Wales, the new songs provide a fantastic opening to what is sure to be an exciting 2013 for them. Blending the mellow tones of Jess Campbell, a guest on the record, Lucy Was a Decoy present an EP heavily influenced by bands such as Jimi Hendrix & The Rolling Stones. With a considerable amount of live shows already acheived the foursome show off their impressive sound on the EP and give us something really unique and refreshing to listen too. If this is just a taster of things to come, then we should be in for a treat when the band start working on their next release. Overall, an impressive EP that shows that not only are this band talented, but that they have the potential to compete with much bigger bands very soon! CS It’s somewhat of a cliché, but all good things must come to an end. Alexisonfire have blessed our ears and influenced bands around us for over ten years, but after a year of speculation the five-piece revealed that they would be saying farewell to their fans across the world. It’s completely understandable that a farewell show of any kind is going to be highly anticipated, but this was going to be something different. Playing the first of their two shows at London’s Brixton Academy the band hovered onto the stage to some pretty haunting music, before breaking into Crisis, followed by a setlist lasting over 90 minutes. In the build up to the gigs it was made obvious that the band were more than up for it, looking to give some closure to fans, but on the stage it couldn’t be clearer. We’ve all been made aware of the bands reasoning for parting ways due to other commitments, but seeing these five Canadian rockers bouncing along the stage giving all they got made it look like there is nothing they would rather be doing. Alexisonfire were never going to be able to play every single song in their catalogue, but they certainly gave it a go, much to the crowds’ pleasure. If you were lucky enough to go to both the farewell gigs, you would have noticed two things. As expected, the band opted to mix up their set lists slightly, keeping in the classics but bringing in some unexpected additions as well. The other noticeable difference was front man George Pettit’s change in stage presence. In the first show, there was no chance anything was going to wipe that smile off of his face as he stamped across the stage. For the final show however, Pettit seemed somewhat hit by the realisation that this was the last time his band would play in the UK. If there’s anyone in the world that didn’t want Alexisonfire to split, it was him. Finishing the night aptly with Happiness by the Kilowatt, the band shared a hug in front of a UK crowd for the final time. Alexisonfire is dead, but their music and the memories aren’t. AG Emursia Emursia are a 5 piece metal band from Birmingham. Been together since early 2012 and have gigged around Birmingham, looking for more gigging experience outside of Birmingham to spread the word!! Just recorded our 5track EP "beyond the fallen" , recorded at Flatout studios. Available for free on our facebook. Band members: Ross McDonagh-Vocals Rob Steele- Guitars/Vocals Shaun Davies- Guitars Jordan Leonard- Bass Lewis Leonard- Drums Upcoming shows. Thursday 7th @o2 Academy Birmingham 3 Sunday 24th @The Flapper Birmingham Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Emursia Email: email@example.com A bit of change in scenery for Tom Hardy as he goes from trying to destroy Gotham City, to causing havoc in a mixed martial art (MMA) ring. Warrior tells the story of two estranged brothers who take part in a MMA tournament with the chance of winning $5 million, but the pair also battle against the skeletons in their closet. Tommy Riordan (Hardy) visits his father (Nick Nolte), to find that his once alcoholic and abusive dad now claims to be a born again Christian. In denial, Riordan flees to the gym, where he makes a huge impression by knocking out the gyms best fighter, Mad-dog. On the other side of town, Riordan’s brother Brendan Conlon (Joel Edgerton) is at risk of losing his house and so in attempt to save his family the ex-UFC fighter hits the gym with aims of reaching the $5 million kitty. You can probably see where this one is heading, but it’s the sub-plots which really make this film. Despite the father’s genuine attempts to change, he is still an outcast when it comes to his sons, and the relationship between Hardy and Nolte can at times be a struggle to watch. There is also a spanner thrown into the works mid film which explains a lot for Riordan’s aggressive defence mechanisms. There are points where this movie may appear slow, but stick by it and you’ll get to appreciate director Gavin O’Connor’s work on this one. Even if sports dramas might not be your cup of tea, this film is worth a watch. One thing to clear up before diving head first in to this review- this isn’t Lord of the Rings, so there is absolutely no point attempting to compare the two separate franchises. For many of us, The Hobbit book was a big part of our childhoods, and it was left to our imaginations as to what Smaug the dragon looked like, and what it would have been like in Bilbo’s little hobbit hole once all his unexpected hair-clad dwarf visitors had arrived. The Hobbit- An Unexpected Journey gives us the answers we need. The film is visually fantastic, though it is advised that you refrain from watching it in 3D, as from personal experiences, those horrible plastic glasses you are made to wear only act as a distraction. There has clearly been an improvement made to the CGI since LTTR and for the most part it is spectacular. Martin Freeman as Bilbo works well and his comedic timing ties in brilliantly with the dwarves who accompany him on their epic journey. It’s great to see that director Peter Jackson has kept some familiar faces, with Sir Ian McKellen taking the part of lanky wizard Gandalf, Andy Serkis returning as Gollum, and Elijah Wood also shows his face in the opening scenes. Now to the slightly less positive points on this rather lengthy piece of cinema. There are several people questioning the need for three movies to cover just one book. Is it necessary? After watching the first instalment, the answer has to be no. It is clear from the outset that this is all being drawn out in the longest way possible, with sub-plots added in just to fill it out. On the whole it’s worth a watch. There is an element of humour which wasn’t particularly present in the book, but makes a good addition to the film, and this is particularly notable in the riddle scene between Bilbo and Smeagol. The real shame is that we are going to have to wait another year to get the next instalment, when we really don’t need to. That’s Hollywood though. This last year has given us some truly memorable experiences. Namely HALO 4 and Borderlands 2, and going into the new year we have so many great things on the horizon it's almost too muchâ€Ś Deadspace 3, Grand Theft Auto 5, Crysis 3, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite to name a few. If all that wasn't enough, new consoles loom ever closer and this years E3 will no doubt be one to remember. So in response to this up and coming blow to the wallet, what can we play in the mean time. What games can we grab off the shelf and get back into without busting the bank? In the past I have been a skeptic of DLC, always seeing it as a waste of money; 'why isn't the game released with all the content?' has always been my biggest accusation. However, some games are at the forefront of 'value for money DLC' and I would like to add - it is not Call of Duty. So I start this issue's altered affairs with my game of 2012 and possibly the most pleasant surprise in recent gaming historyâ€Ś I speak of course of Borderlands 2 reviewed back in October, I am now a season pass holder (2400ms points) and have been receiving all the subsequent DLC, so I am in a pretty good position to tell you what you've been missing - or not. This review will include all 3 current installments of DLC. As you will have read in the original review I was extremely happy with the original game and thus expectations are high that the DLC with give me the same original quality of play with some new flavour to keep me interested. So without further ado, let's get back to shoot'n & loot'n. Captain Scarlett and her Pirate's Booty Developer. 2K Platform(s). Xbox, PS3 & PC UK Release date: Out Now (Borderlands 2 required) The first instalment of DLC, as you may guess from the name, has a very 'piratey' theme. You begin your adventure in a town called Oasis with the grand inhabitants totalling one, a man named Shade who is 'YOUR NEW BFF' (Best Friend Forever), he is fantastically written and truly bonkers. Shade serves as the main side quest provider, sending you on all kinds of bizarre errands - no spoilers! The core story is a stereotypical treasure hunt, in which you must gather clues (usually items prised from the dead) to find the lost treasure of legendary pirate Captain Blade. Along the way you will find yourself in a rather risky allegiance to Captain Scarlett, a charismatic pirate who makes no attempt to convince you that she won't betray you in the near future. You will notice the lack of Handsome Jack, this notably (spoilers) might have something to do with him being dead and thus not participating in subsequent add ons. Narratively speaking, this is likely post-end game. Although it could stand alone from the main campaign as no mention of your previous acts are ever brought up. Pirate's Booty offers a rich backdrop to its narrative with great planes of desert, colourful caves and huge settlements infested with new enemies. I admit that many of them are re-skins, bandits made to look like pirates… There were however a few additions such as the Anchorman who utilises his anchors to pull you into melee range to deal massive damage. Combat is still fast and frantic and very addictive. The desert is full of worms!!!! And so a new vehicle is unlocked as a way of navigating the new expanse: the Sand Sciff, a sort of hovering ship allows you to move from a) to b) without it turning into the film Dune. 'What about LOOT?', I hear you cry. Well, as expected there are more weapons, however you'd be hard pressed to notice major changes, that is, if it wasn't for a new rarity of item 'magenta' that in some cases rivals the legendary items. The true loot pay off comes at the end of the game where fans will have a nerdgasm (no guarantee). Sum-up Pirate's Booty is great for casual and hardcore players, adding not only a wealth of side missions that prolong the solo experience. There are loads of new areas to explore, new challenges, an engaging but clichéd story and of course the Borderlands must - tear inducing raid bosses that will give hardcore players something to aim for. It's not quite as engaging as the core game but without Handsome Jack, who expected it to be? However, steam punk pirates - what's not to like…? Mister Torgue's Campaign of Carnage Developer. 2K Platform(s). Xbox, PS3 & PC UK Release date: Out Now (Borderlands 2 required) Campaign of Carnage is a beautifully simple concept: Mister Torgue is the founder and owner of the Torgue gun company, you know - that one where all the weapons are explosive…. As expected, Torgue is an archetypal, moronic, foul-mouthed, hyper violent, jock/pro wrestler who is hilariously written and thus you will quickly grow to love him - if not - his commentary may get annoying. Anyway, he has discovered a new region on Pandora and has named it… drum roll…. The Badass Crater of Baddassitude. In this new gloriously named place Torgue has discovered a new vault, so naturally decides to build a battle arena on it and set up a tournament, the winner of which will lay claim to the vault's contents by spilling the blood blah blah blah, if you win you get the loot (no spoilers). Except this picture of Piston, the number one Badass! The backdrop to Campaign of Carnage matches with the story really well, with Torgue branding everywhere it feels like Nascar meets Borderlands, the stadium, colourful race way and excessive branding are like nothing we have seen before. MOTORBIKES, MUSCLE CARS AND GUNS! The American dream… we also see varied terrain such as The Forge - a lava filled junk yard providing some welcome variety. With the exception of enemies on motorbikes I felt the roster of foes was far too familiar. As with Pirates Booty some re-skinning has certainly occurred but there were no surprises. Unlike Pirate's Booty there are no new vehicles however there is a vehicle based boss fight to make up for it. As we expect, there are a wealth of side missions, including arena battles (yay) which are repeatable (big yay) and a great way to earn lots of the new Torgue currency that can be used to buy legendary items. It would seem the side mission quality has been stepped up for this expansion with more interesting reasons behind them. For example, Mister Torgue sends you on a quest to kill game reviewers… can't think why I found that funny. For the hardcore among you there is yet more raid bosses to tackle. If all that wasn't enough we also see the return of some original campaign characters, notably Moxxi and Tiny Tina who add further humour and carnage to the already insane story. This campaign does mention that you killed Handsome Jack, reinforcing what I said in the previous DLC review, that expansions are narratively post-end game. I will refer to this as AJ (after Jack). Sum-up This expansion is all about the culture of combat, and the entire add on revolves around fighting, racing and explosions. To say the story is predictable and lacking any depth would be missing the point. It's called Campaign of Carnage, it's carnage! It doesn't need to make sense, what matters is it's really fresh and enjoyable and more importantly adds something to the game that was not previously available. Arena battles, new currency, more quests and some more hilarious Borderlands characters. A must! Sir Hammerlocks Big Game Hunt Developer. 2K Platform(s). Xbox, PS3 & PC UK Release date: Out Now (Borderlands 2 required) To explain the story after reading the title of this DLC almost seems insulting however I will do it for those people with short memories. If you played the original campaign you'll remember that Sir Hammerlock is a suave Englishman who would often send you on a lot of quests to kill creatures… well this add on will have you spend a lot of time with him, because we are going on 'a fun filled weekend of hunting and friendship'. The offer sounds too good to be true, killing monsters with one of Pandora's best characters… turns out it is. Along the way you will meet Professor Nakayama a mad scientist who is a little bit obsessed with the now departed Handsome Jack and he wants nothing more than to be your arch enemy and to exact revenge. Problem is - he sucks. Nevertheless, his plot is evil… so we must stop him. With the exception of the end boss battle (which is epic) and the end sequence (which is hilarious) I was rather under whelmed by the story as it takes a couple of hours at best to complete. So what else is there? Big Game Hunt will see you visit the new continent of Aegrus a rich marsh-filled mountainous place full of caves and not seen before art style. The new Fan Boat will aid you on your travels as much of it will be over shallow water. This vehicle bares similar resemblance to the Sand Sciff seen in previous DLC (this is not a bad thing). 2K have clearly listened to the communities about their continued use of re-skinned foes, thus we have a very original roster of new enemies. The primary human variant, the Savages, have in their ranks the most dangerous foe of all, (excluding bosses) the Witch Doctors, which not only wield powerful elemental damage but have the power to level up their allies, so kill them quick or risk being overwhelmed. As to be expected, Aegrus is also home to some weird and wonderful beasts which Hammerlock will often be asking you to kill. I feel 2K could have gone further with the hunting aspect and done away with an antagonist, as they did with the previous expansion where fighting was the focus. Hunting should be the focus of this, not chasing a slightly underwritten character. For the hardcore among you there are more Raid bosses and an extra one that will have you spending an awful lot of Eridium (at last something to spend it on). This Raid boss will drop Hammerlock themed loot, not to be missed by Borderlands pros. Sum-up Although shorter than expected, Big Game Hunt offers a welcome change of scenery and explores some stranger creature design. Taking on foes not previously seen was a real joy. Although lacking the depth and humour of previous expansions it is a great addition to the world of Pandora and yet again offers something new. Streetlight are a young, Scottish band who have just released their debut EP â€˜Leaps and Boundsâ€™. To find out more about the band, and to listen to two tracks for free, you can check them out on: www.facebook.com/ streetlightacoustic