Issue 22 of Stencil Mag
Features interviews from the following: Papa Roach, AFI, New Found Glory, Story of the Year, Mayday Parade, The Word Alive, Polar Bear Club, Stray From The Path, Protest The Hero, The Swellers, Neck Deep, Canterbury, A Wilhelm Scream, State Champs, Decade, Patent Pending, Close Your Eyes, Itch, Jamie Lenman, Red City Radio, Hacktivist, EMP!RE, American Fangs, Adam Brown (Ori from The Hobbit), Mike Thomas (directed the new Enter Shikari video for Rat Race), Pinky Swear Records,
Chris Morgan Andrew Dex All Time Low have announced a UK headline tour. March 08 London o2 Brixton Academy 09 Birmingham o2 Academy 10 Newcastle o2 Academy 11 Glasgow o2 Academy 13 Manchester Academy 14 Manchester Academy 15 London o2 Brixton Academy 21 Glasgow o2 Academy Nine Inch Nails have announced a UK arena tour taking place in May 2014. Support comes from Cold Cave. May 18th LG Arena, Birmingham 20th The Hydro, Glasgow 21st Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff 23rd The O2, London 24th Capital FM Arena, Nottingham 25th Phones 4U Arena, Manchester Funeral For A Friend have been announced as headliners for the second annual Radstock Festival and amongst the first names to be announced for the festival. Joining them will be Kids In Glass Houses, Yashin, Feed The Rhino, Fearless Vampire Killers, Heights, Me Vs Hero, Crooks, The Hype Theory, Hey Vanity, Cytota and Bentley Park. The first day will take place the O2 Academy in Liverpool on Saturday 29th March event with the second day at O2 Academy in Newcastle on Sunday 30th March. Scar The Martyr have announced a UK headline tour taking place in December. Fri 13th Wolverhampton Slade Rooms Sat 14th Manchester Club Academy Mon 15th Glasgow Cathouse Tue 17th Nottingham Rescue Rooms Bayside have joined Hopeless Records and will release their new album, 'Cult' on 17th February. Angels & Airwaves' 2012 Double EP, 'Stomping The Phantom Brake Pedal' will be released on December 17 as a single LP pressing via Shop Radio Cast. Mindless Self Indulgence will release a 12-track remix album 'F*** Machine' on January 14 via Metropolis Records. The Bled’s debut full-length release, 'Pass The Flask', will be issued on vinyl for the first time ever by Staple Records. States will be releasing 'Paradigm' on December 3rd. Fearless Records and Outerloop Management partnered together to form Outerloop Records. The label’s first signing is Ice Nine Kills. Following the recent release of their 'Daggers' LP, The Defiled have announced a UK headline tour taking place in February. Support comes from Butcher Babies and The Killing Lights. February Sat 08 Nottingham Rock City Sun 09 Newcastle Academy 2 Mon 10 Glasgow King Tut’s Tue 11 Manchester Academy 3 Wed 12 Norwich Waterfront Thu 13 Brighton The Haunt Fri 14 London Islington Academy Sat 15 Southampton Talking Heads Sun 16 Bristol Thekla Mon 17 Birmingham Asylum Tue 18 Leeds Cockpit The first set of bands for Groezrock 2014 has been announced with The Offspring and The Hives being confirmed as headliners. Joining them will be NOFX, Alkaline Trio, BoySetsFire, Screeching Weasel, Snuff, H2O, Modern Life Is War, The Menzingers, Doomriders, Norma Jean, La Dispute, Bodyjar, Funeral Dress and Astpai. Groezrock 2014 takes place on May 2nd and 3rd 2014. The organisers of the Sonisphere Festival have hinted the festival will be returning to the UK next summer to celebrate 40 years of rock at Knebworth Park. Natives have signed to Transmission Recordings / Notting Hill Music. The bands long awaited debut fulllength is set to be released in early 2014. They have also rescheduled their UK tour. March 19 Bristol, Louisiana 20 Sheffield, Corporation 21 Nottingham, Red Rooms 22 Birmingham, O2 Academy 3 24 Newcastle, O2 Academy 2 25 Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut 26 Manchester, Deaf Institute 27 Leeds, The Cockpit 2 April 03 London, Borderline Giants will be heading out on a UK tour in January with Black Shapes. January 22nd Barfly, London 23rd Joiners, Southampton 24th Soundhouse, Leicester 25th Corporation, Sheffield 26th Oâ€™Rileys, Hull The Get Up Kids' Matt Pryor will be heading to the UK for a solo headline tour. Support comes from Allison Weiss. February 14 Southampton Joiners 15 Kingston Fighting Cocks 16 Nottingham Bodega 17 Newcastle Cluny 18 Glasgow Cathouse 20 Manchester Sound Control 21 Bristol The Exchange 22 London The Borderline 23 Tunbridge Wells The Forum South Wales Hardcore band Continents will be heading out on tour next month with Fathoms. December 09 Swindon @ The Victoria 10 Dundee @ Beat Generator 11 Sheffield @ South Sea Live 12 Leicester @ Shed 13 Northampton @ Big Noise 14 Croydon @ Scream Lounge 15 Bristol @ The Gryphon Deaf Havana have announced a UK headline tour taking place in April 2014. April 01 Norwich UEA 03 Newcastle Academy 04 Leeds Academy 05 Manchester Academy 07 Glasgow ABC 10 London Clapham Grand (featuring The London Youth Gospel Choir & String Quartet) 13 Oxford Academy 14 Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall 15 Cardiff Great Hall 17 Brighton Concorde II My Chemical Romance will be releasing a Greatest Hits album in January, with Gerard Way designing the artwork. Weezer will begin recording their new album with producer Ric Ocasek in January. A Greatest Hits collection is also rumoured to be in the works. Alkaline Trio have announced a UK headline tour with support coming from Bayside. April 15th Oxford O2 Academy 16th Norwich Waterfront 17th Nottingham Rock City 19th Leeds Metropolitan University 20th Newcastle O2 Academy 21st Glasgow O2 ABC 22nd Manchester The Ritz 24th Birmingham The Institute 25th Bristol O2 Academy 26th London Forum 27th Portsmouth Pyramids You Me At Six have revealed details of their new album - 'Cavalier Youth'. The album will be released on 27th January. 1. Too Young To Feel This Old 2. Lived A Lie 3. Fresh Start Fever 4. Forgive and Forget 5. Room To Breathe 6. Win Some, Lose Some 7. Cold Night 8. Hope For The Best 9. Love Me Like You Used To 10. Be Who You Are 11. Carpe Diem 12. Wild Ones Australian metalcore outfit, I Killed The Prom Queen is back and have officially signed to Epitaph Records worldwide. The bands third album will be released in 2014. The new album from Buffalo, New York’s Rust Belt Lights, 'Religion & My Ex' will be released in the UK by Disconnect Disconnect Records. The label will be releasing a UK/Euro exclusive vinyl colour of the album, which’ll be limited to 100 copies. The Lawrence Arms have signed to Epitaph Records. † † † (Crosses) will release self-titled debut on 10th February through Sumerian Records. Conditions have decided to break up after eight years together. LIGHTS and blessthefall frontman Beau Bokan have announced they are expecting a baby. No Sleep Records have signed Daisyhead. DevilDriver have announced a UK headline tour with support coming from Sylosis and Bleed From Within. April Thu 3rd Cardiff Solus Fri 4th London Electric Ballroom Sat 5th Wolverhampton Wulfrun Sun 6th Glasgow Garage Tue 8th Dublin Academy Wed 9th Manchester Academy 2 Thu 10th Southampton Mo’ Club We Came As Romans have been announced as headliners for the 2014 Rock Sound Impericon Exposure Tour. Support will come from Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, The Color Morale and Palm Reader. February 25 Glasgow Classic Grand 26 Manchester Club Academy 27 Birmingham O2 Academy 2 28 Bristol Thekla March 01 Brighton Concorde 2 02 London O2 Academy Islington Following their appearance at this past weekends Vans Warped Tour UK, Memphis May Fire have announced they will be returning to these shores in April for a headline tour. April Thur 10th Birmingham O2 Academy Fri 11th Manchester Academy 3 Sat 12th Newcastle O2 Academy 2 Sun 13th Glasgow Cathouse Tues 15th Leeds Cockpit Wed 16th London Koko Thurs 17th Southampton Talking Heads Fri 18th Plymouth White Rabbit Mastodon will release 'Live At Brixton' on 10th December. Max Cavalera (Sepultura, Soulfly), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Troy Sanders (Mastodon) and David Elitch (The Mars Volta) have formed a new band called Killer Be Killed. VersaEmerge are now known as VERSA. Young The Giant have signed to Fueled By Ramen Records. The band will be releasing 'Mind Over Matter' on January 21st. Allison Weiss will be releasing an acoustic verison of her 'Say What You Mean' album called 'Sideway Session' on November 26th via No Sleep Records. Minor Crisis will release 'Temple' on 3rd December on Autumn + Colour Records. Essex rockers Villains have announced their debut self-titled album will be released in early 2014. The band includes members of the now defunct Never Means Maybe. 1. The Ways I Tell Them 2. Wicked Ways 3. The Fall 4. We Have Capture 5. Bleed 6. The Light Out Lives The Star 7. Come Out And Play 8. Visions 9. Sinners 10. The Hardest Part Bury Tomorrow, Stick To Your Guns and Demoraliser have been announced as the first bands for the first Impericon UK Festival. The festival takes place at The Ritz in Manchester on April 27th. Max Raptor and Fort hope have announced a UK tour together taking place in January. January 15 Norwich – Studio 16 Tunbridge Wells – Forum 17 Bedford – Esquires 18 Coventry – Kasbah 20 Nottingham – Bodega 21 Preston – 53 Degrees 22 York – Duchess 24 Manchester – Sound Control 25 Bristol – Louisiana 26 Bournemouth – Anvil 27 Southampton – Joiners 28 Oxford – O2 Academy 2 30 Sheffield – Leadmill 31 London – Barfly North-West sextet Dead Winter have announced their debut EP, 'Erasing Glaciers' will be released on 3rd February. 1. Bribe For The Ferryman 2. Snakebites & Streetfights 3. Every Silver Lining Has A Cloud 4. Erasing Glaciers 5. You’re Not The Only One 6. Survival The debut release from Hung Up, 'A Mind's Way Away' will be released on 10th December on Save Your Generation Records. On AlreadyHeard.com Over at Already Heard you will find music news daily, tons of album reviews, live photos, interviews tour blogs, exclusive streams, acoustic video sessions, features and much more. http://alreadyheard.com/ http://www.facebook.com/alreadyheard http://www.twitter.com/alreadyhearduk / @AlreadyHeardUK http://www.youtube.com/user/AlreadyHeardMusic firstname.lastname@example.org Interview with Gabriel Can you tell us about the formation of 'American Fangs'? It’s been a sort of, musical chairs in forming the band. I’ve known all of these guys for 10 years or so and until now, the line up hasn’t been official. Some of us have been in the crowd watching each other perform in other bands. Some of us have shared the same stage. Our bass player was found via myspace though. Also, how did you get to the band name 'American Fangs' and what does it mean to you? Originally I was shooting for the band name to be “FANGS” but it was spoken for. “American” seemed fitting but more importantly, we’re always trying to write and perform music that has a bite to it. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout the Pomona EP? Lyrically, each tune centers around a lack of money, of love for material possession, home, and inhibition. The music, in my opinion, glues those subjects together in a colorful and honest way that gives us a lot of pride and enjoyment when performing them for you. What was the hardest part behind putting together this EP for you guys, and why? Unfortunately, bands tend to go through the “hurry up and wait” process when dealing with who’s dictating the release of your music. We’re EXTREMELY happy to share these songs with any and everyone but when you’re working with folks outside of your band mates it can slow that process down. Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for the Pomona EP? The majority of the EP was done with our buddy Jerry Nettles, in his house, during a hurricane (I’m not lying) and the track “Pomona” was done with producer Mike Watts on Long Island, NY at Vudu Studios. Both sessions were absolutely fun and rewarding, in what we learned when recording it on your own and recording songs in a sick studio. There are pros and cons to the entire process and that’s typically a matter of how much time you’ve got to write and execute a track. So far, how happy have you been with the response to your debut EP? We’re BEYOND happy. We’ve received some excellent responses to the EP…and quite honestly…it’s endearing. All we wanted to do was release our jams and tour and be dirty. Shake hands with listeners and chug beer. It’s brought us to the UK's front porch. What songs have you been enjoying performing live the most of this release at the moment, and why? We enjoy all of the songs. Every single one of them. There’s a song called “Sorry” that made the EP in an acoustic form and for whatever reason, people wanted that version on the EP when there’s a louder, even more sincere version to be heard. We LOVE playing that song. That song plays a huge part in our story. Writing wise, can you tell us how a song normally comes together as American Fangs? We’re all writers. We’re also addicts of energy. We need the energy to be right when crafting a song. We need everyone to enjoy it, and understand what it personifies. Typically a song doesn’t make it out of the gauntlet of our studio unless we all feel it. How excited are you for your first visit to the UK with Papa Roach, and what can attending fans expect from the show? First of all, none of us have ever been to the UK before. Since it was announced that we’d have the opportunity to share the stage with those guys, we’ve each been shitting our pants, I’ll be drinking a beer with my guitarist and plop! I’ll ask him, what the fuck was that?! And he’ll shrug: “I’m just really excited about the UK!” Luckily for you all, we’re getting the shitting out of the way now. We’re in the best shape as a band ever. The energy is going to be through the roof because live shows are where we shine. Touring wise, what else have you guys been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We started off the year with the crazy outfit Hollywood Undead. They won all of our money playing dice, and then bought a load of alcohol with it. Wholesome trouble followed. We got rowdy with your boys in The Virgin Marys and hopefully we will get to see them when we’re in the UK. Danny Dolan promised us a football game! We did a month with the rowdiest bands on earth, Wilson and The Greenery and they truly reminded us of what it is to play hard and sing it like you wrote it. Sevendust took us under their wings for several weeks and gave us the brotherly love every band should give one another. It’s been a truly remarkable year for us along with the good and the bad, and we wouldn’t trade it for the world. What can we expect to see from American Fangs in 2014? We’re always on the road and hopefully overseas (wink wink) but if anything, you can always expect the unexpected! Can you tell us about the formation of EMP!RE? We all knew each other for a while, some better then others. In some cases we had mutual friends, or were best mates, but we decided enough was enough and we should get together and finally make some music. James and Dave had an idea of how that could work, then pulled everyone together into a room. We then had to hope we all clicked musically...we look at it like avengers assemble, apart from the super powers....and a really cool plane. How did you get to the name EMP!RE, and what does it mean to you as a band? A band name is a very strange thing. When you have this whole group of people put together you end up having to label or title it in someway, so itâ€™s a difficult thing to decide on. EMP!RE works for us though as we liked what it stands for, it gives us a sense of unity and you know, itâ€™s got an exclamation mark in it...we like punctuation! For those that are unfamiliar with you guys, how would you define your sound? We try not to pigeon hole our sound too much by defining exactly what it is as it has a bit of everything in it, whilst still sounding like the same band. We like to think we have elements of rock, soul and alternative styles, but keeping a strong sense of melody through all of it. We are a complete sucker for a catchy chorus! So how did you get to the album title 'Where the World Begins' and what does it mean to you? We called our very first EP â€œBirthâ€?, as we felt it was literally the birth of our music. We are all very passionate about the music we play, and to us this release really is where the world begins. The name pretty much made itself! Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for 'Where The World Begins'? We did most of the record in Spiral Studios, Guilford, with producer Chris Coulter, but with drums being recorded in Moles Studio in Bath. The session was around 2.5 weeks, but only seemed like a couple of days! Time flies when you are enjoying yourself, it certainly was a pleasure to be working with Chris. Some of the tracks were written quite some time ago, and some only weeks before the session. The tracks that worked best together, made the record! What are the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Where The World Begins'? As a band we have a huge amount of influences musically speaking, everything from Nirvana and Dillinger to Bob Marley and Sigor Ros, so it's always interesting to piece things together as a group. In terms of a theme running throughout? We just want to make music that excites and interests us, and that people can and want to sing along to help them connect with the songs. How and when did you create 'Lightside records' and what has this been like to run alongside the band? Lightside Records is unfortunately not yet as interesting as it may appear. Running a label is a romantic idea that would be great given the time and money, but at the moment we don't really have either so it's just an idea we came up with to help aid our first release. It hasn't taken any of our time up so far, but in the future it is something that at least some of us would like to do so watch this space on that front! Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We've had so much fun playing and touring this year! We've really been working hard to play in as many places as possible whilst being proactive in booking our own gigs. We've played everywhere from London, Bristol, Doncaster and Cardiff, tiny pubs in the Welsh Valleys, and support slots with some awesome bands. Personal highlights have to be our set at 2000 Trees festival in Cheltenham and our support slot with Arcane Roots in Bristol. Having said that our recent album launch shows were also awesome, we're so happy that so many people are coming out to support us. In the short space of time since your formation you guys have already achieved so much, however how do you feel about the growth of the band, and how exciting has this whole experience been for you? It really has been a fairly mad few months, really since the album was finished in May we've been flat out. We're really honoured to have this following slowly starting to build and to have some crowds starting to sing our songs back at us already is mind blowing! It has in many ways been the most exciting year of our lives so far, but having said that it is only a result of an awful lot of extremely hard work, blood sweat and tears, so it's incredible to be seeing such positive results already. What can we expect to see from EMP!RE in 2014? Hopefully a genuine progression live, we really have this huge appetite to get out and tour as much as humanly possible so we hope that's something we can achieve, both in the UK and Europe, and ultimately further afield as well. We'll see, but we're very much aware of the fact that to build a real following we have to get out and connect with people so that's what we're aiming to do. Contact: facebook.com/insearchofreason Interview with Alex So how did your recent tour go with Tonight Alive, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the tour? It was absolutely brilliant! Easily the most fun tour we've done so far. It's amazing to be able to play packed-out rooms across the country, and I don't think we'll ever get to a point where it feels real to us. So, after the Birmingham show I had a 20 minute conversation about dinosaurs with a fan. I thought this was funny so I tweeted about it. Then, after nearly every show we did thereafter I had fans coming and asking me about dinosaurs! Which was fine with me; I love dinosaursâ€Ś How did you get to the title 'Good Luck' for your upcoming new album, and what does it mean to you guys? The title is ironic, because we've had some pretty rotten luck over the past couple of years. It's mostly been breakdowns, equipment breaking, losing stuff (gear etc), missing out on opportunities and things like that. We thought we'd put a positive spin on our bad luck to see if we would start getting luckier in the future. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Good Luck'? Themes include bad luck (of course), breakups, depression, alienation, just things like that. I have trouble writing happy songs because I find song writing quite cathartic. I have a lot that I need to get off my chest and I prefer to do that through song writing. What made you want to release 'Callous' & 'Brainfreeze' from the album first, and how happy have you been with the response to these tracks so far? We released Brainfreeze first because we felt the overall feel of the song was a good bridge from the old sound to our new sound, as it's quite chunky and heavy. Then we chose 'Callous second because it was a complete curveball! We knew it was a different song to anything we'd put out before and I guess we were testing the water with it. That and we think it's a big song! I'm very happy with the response we've had thus far, and I hope the support will continue after the album release. As this is your debut album, then what were your main aims and goals when heading in to record the album? We wanted to make it a strong statement. We're not a throw-away pop punk band, and as much as people might argue that we used to be, we have come along way since then. We wanted to make it timeless, but with the same edge that we've always had. The riffs are more intense, the choruses are bigger and lyrically it's as honest as I could be. I think the album as a whole is different to what is currently on offer in our music scene, and we hope people 'get it'. How did you end up working with Romesh Dodangoda, and what was he like to work with? We sent him a couple of the demos from the album and he lost his shit! He messaged me on Twitter and was like 'BRAINFREEZE!!!!!!!' and that was all it said! We've always been great admirers of his work and so the decision to work with him was easy. I felt like we as a band had a mutual respect with Romesh that we didn't necessarily have with other producers we've worked in the past. Everything he did was done to service the songs and he's done an amazing job. Also we noticed that you were working on this record at the start of 2013, so how long has it taken to put together, and how happy are you that it is now ready for release this January? We spent three weeks in November 2012 recording the drums, bass, guitars and most of the vocals. We then went back for a week in January to finish it off. Since then we've spent time recording various bonus tracks ready for the deluxe version of the album, so it's been a long process! We're very happy that the release date has been secured; there is nothing worse than having new material ready to go and not being able to show anyone. How would you say you have grown overall as a band since the release of your EP? I'm still very proud of the EP and what it did for us as a band, but I think the album is a very clear progression from then. We went into the studio with more confidence in the songs, we knew exactly how we wanted it to sound and we went with it. The songs have a variety of influences, from pop punk, to grunge, post-hardcore, and early '00's british rock etc. We didn't want any genre restrictions, but at the same time we wanted to make the overall sound very obviously 'us'. I think we have definitely achieved that. How excited are you for upcoming UK tour with Mayday Parade, and what can attending fans expect? The reason we are so excited for this tour is because it starts 10 days after Good Luck is released! We've been playing the songs for ages now and finally people will know the songs we are playing. Sometimes it can be daunting opening to a room of 600 people that don't really know any of your material, but this time people will hopefully know the songs and a little more about what we do. What else can we expect to see from Decade in 2014? We're going to be touring as much as we can once the album is out. We'd love to do a headline tour later on in the year as well! We've already started writing the next album as well so I guess we'll be wrapping that up and making sure it's ready for recordingâ€Ś Interview with Luke For those that don't know can you explain why you parted ways with 'Scott Peters' as well as how 'Chris Velissarides' became a part of the line-up? Being in a band can put a lot of strain on different aspects of ones life. Scott felt that after the 5 years of being in Canterbury and working so hard to juggle the other parts of his life, it was time for him to call it a day. He is still certainly one of our best friends, and we're so grateful for the time he was part of the band. Chris we have known for years, we did our first tour with his old band, and he's a super talented awesome guy, so he sprung to mind almost immediately. What was it like to record this new record with Chris Velissarides then, and what did he bring to this whole process overall? It was obviously brand new territory for us and for him too, but being that he was already a good mate of ours before we started the recording process, then it felt completely natural making and recording music together. The majority of the album was in fact already written by the time he joined the ranks, so it was mainly a learning process for him, but he obviously brought all his own feel and ideas to the mixing pot which was awesome. How did you end up working alongside Hassle Records to get your new album promoted, and what have they been like to work with so far? We had been in conversations for a while with Hassle about this upcoming album. I think it just seemed like the next natural step for us. Being that we had released our first record for free, our second on our own label, we wanted a step up, but we wanted to remain largely independent for this next one, and hassle really have that kind of ethos which is great. So far it has been a positive experience, although it is sometimes difficult to let go of the reins we have been holding onto for so long! What made you want to set up a PlegdeMusic campaign, and how was this whole experience for you guys? Like I mentioned before, we have done a lot of work for this band ourselves, and seeing as we had a label in place for this next campaign, then we didn't want to let go or lose sight of the importance of our fan base. It's always been just us and them and no corporate or industry wedge in between, so running a pledge campaign to help fund and create the record really helped us hold on to that! So, how did you get to the album title 'Dark Days' and what does it mean to you? As an album, it's an uplifting and motivational piece of work, however, there are certainly some dark veins running through it. The three of us who write songs in the band have all grown up a lot since the last album, and there are real life topics in there, rather than stories, so there are darker parts too. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Dark Days'? It's largely about encouraging people (and ourselves) to keep their chins up and keep plugging away at whatever it may be that you desire in life. You might feel helpless at times, but there is always something that can be done to break down a wall, or to keep on going down the road when it feels like you can't see light at the end. What else can you tell us about the recording process for this record? We did it with our long term producer Pete Miles. We've been working with him since we were just lads fresh out of school, so it was great to be able to put together our third record with him. We have a great working relationship, and have become great friends over the years, so it was a pleasure to make this album. It was recorded down in his studio (middle farm studios) in Devon, right on the edge of Dartmoor. A beautiful part of the world. How would you say you have progressed overall as a band since the release of your last album 'Heavy In The Day'? We have all got a year and a bit older and wiser. We have all got better at song writing individually, and as a unit, which has just meant that we are growing stronger and stronger. Our individual styles all come out on this record, but it's the most 'Canterbury' sounding piece of work we have ever created. Touring wise, what have you been up to this year? We just got back from a month on the road throughout the UK and Europe and we've had an absolute blast. We were lucky enough to play in Italy for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and that is always exciting putting another pin in the map. The show blew us away too! We also finished off our UK headline run last month with a show at the Kingston Peel, which was one of those nights which sticks in your mind. The place was rammed with friends and family which is always brilliant, and the crowd went absolutely nuts! It was a sweatbox, just how we like it! What can we expect to see from Canterbury in 2014? The release of Dark Days is going to be very exciting for us at the beginning of the year, and then we are just going to see where it takes us to! Hopefully we will be touring as much as possible through the year, and we want to play as many festival slots as we can over the summer. We wouldn't mind seeing a few more countries too...a couple more pins in the map. You got to perform at the Warped Tour this summer, so how was this experience, and what do you think you learnt the most from this tour? It was truly amazing. I got to travel the whole country playing every day for months and the atmosphere was brilliant. It’s weird how many bands there are on the tour and how little egos there are too. The heat is intense, but I’d take it over muddy UK festivals in the rain any day. There really isn’t much to complain about. It’s a really well organized travelling circus. I did the entire tour in a wheel chair after breaking my leg the week before, which was really tough. I definitely left the tour a better rapper than when I joined. I got really involved with the Hip-Hop Stage as well as the Spotify Stage. I saw it as a massive learning experience in public. How would you say the audiences differ in the USA compared to here? I'd say they're mainly pretty similar, but I think Hip-Hop is such a massive part of US culture that they're really embracing of it in the same way Punk is embraced as a massive part of British culture. To me, they're the same thing; it's all angry street music. I think no matter where you go in the world, if I’m out there spitting the truth and throwing a party at the same time, there's always going to be people who want to hear me. People just want to go out and party and have fun and forget about the pressures and the boredom of the real world no matter where you are. How did you end up working with Adam Lazzara on the track 'Homeless Romantic' and what was that whole experience like for you? We were looking for someone to sing the hook and various names were thrown around. I am a bit cynical with a lot of bands nowadays. I just don't believe that they have anything to be mad about, but when I hear Adam sing, I can really hear the pain in his voice. So, we sent the track to him, not expecting to hear anything back, but a week later, he was flying to LA to record in the studio with me. It was a very humbling experience. He's a very nice, almost shy person, but when you put a mic in his hand, he becomes someone else. It was inspiring to watch. Can you tell us about the narrative behind the song 'Homeless Romantic'? It's a story about why a particular person ended up on the streets. I didn't want it to be all doom and gloom, but to have humanity and humour while still sending out a strong message. There's a tendency to think people have ended up on the streets through being bad with money or whatever, but everyone has their own story. I was thinking back to my time on the streets and what struck me most about it was the camaraderie between street people and how everyone had a mad story to tell of why they were there in the first place. What was it like to film the video for 'Homeless Romantic' and what did you want the video to mean to your fans? I wanted to show that connection, that unity among street people. I didn't want to just focus on the depressing side that people know of, but also I didnâ€™t want to glamourise it. Hannah Lux Davies directed it and she has an incredible vision. She does all the Lil Wayne stuff, so she's really pro. We spoke about it and I told her about my experiences and she came up with an incredible storyboard. How did you end up working with 'dan le sac Vs Scroobius Pip' on the track 'Stiff Upper Lip' and what was that experience like for you? I'd worked with them years back on a remix of a King Blues track called "What If Punk Never Happened" and we've been friends ever since. We'd spoken about doing stuff together again, but for whatever reason, clashing schedules and the like, it just never happened. Pip said he had this super political track and that it was the last political track he was ever going to do and he wanted me on it. So, he sent it to me while I was on Warped and I recorded it on my bus. I sent it back to him. Then, Dan did his magic. We've read that you are working on a new album? So with this in mind, what can fans expect from this, and how would you say it compares to what you have done prior? Everything I've done up to now has been a teaser for the album. The album's now finished and it'll be coming out in 2014. It's a very eclectic record. John Feldman and I wrote near 100 songs of which these are the best of the best cuts. There are some amazing guests on there too. I think everyone will be surprised. Also, what was the recording process like for this record? I recorded it in LA at John Feldman's studio. It's taken a couple of years to do, which is an honour and a luxury that most artists nowadays really don't have. John is a visionary and he pushes me to bring out my best work. We both like working very hard and we both come from a place of music and activism and being obsessed with lyrics. We donâ€™t let anything slide. We push each other to make the best songs possible. What can we expect to see from Itch in 2014? I'll be going at it properly in 2014. This year's been hard. I've been finding my feet and introducing people to my new stuff. Then, when I broke my leg at the start of the summer, it slowed me down a lot. So, I'm looking to go into 2014 hard with my mind focused and my physical health back at 100%. I'll be doing a lot of touring and finally releasing my album. Interview with Jimmy How did you guys end up switching to 'Rise Records' and what have they been like to work with so far? Rise has been great to work with, however the story isn't really exciting. Our contract was up at Bridge Nine and Rise came along with a great deal. We liked what they had been doing for bands like us so we thought it was a really good fit! How is your current tour going with Taking Back Sunday, and what's it been like to play some new songs live? The tour is great. The people who are into TBS kind of dig us. They fell in love with TBS because they were just a really passionate live band and we were in line with that as well. The new songs have been awesome. No one really knows them but we in the band are loving playing the new stuff live. How happy have you been with the response to your new material so far then? It's been good, some people seem really into it and some people not so much. That's as to be expected. I don't put too much stock in how people will feel before albums come out. We've always made slow burn albums and I'm sure this one won't be any different. How did you guys get to the album title 'Death Chorus' and what does it mean to you? It came about because I had been working on a song (that eventually got cut) with the word die or death in the chorus and it was like the third song at that point that had done that. I just said to myself "Damn, not another death chorus." It just stuck with me and sounded like a good album name. I think the song it most refers to on the album is "WLWYCD" (why live when you can die). In terms of the meaning, you can dredge it mainly from that song. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout your new album 'Death Chorus'? Not as well as a listener or music critic could. I'll say this though, a lot of songs we make have pretty pessimistic outlooks with just a line or two of hopefulness thrown in at the end of a phrase. Everything can mean two things and that's sort of how we're viewing "Death" on this record. How did you end up working with 'Will Yip' and what was he like to work with? I remember hearing the Gypsy record that Will did and just thinking "Who the fuck recorded this, it is exactly the sounding record that has been in my head for years." Luckily we are managed by the same dude so it was easy to coordinate. He's great to work with, he has an amazing ear and he's incredibly economical and precise. Always a good thing. You've stated that 'Creating Death Chorus was difficult' so with this in mind, what was the hardest part behind creating this record for you guys, and why? I don't know, making records is always difficult to an extent. I think the hardest thing this time around was knowing when to stop. Knowing when a song was done and when we could stop adding shit to it. Will helped a lot with that. If you had to pick, what track means the most to you on the new album, and why? Oh gosh, I don't know. Maybe "TWANG (from blister to burn)". It's just not like any other song we have and it came out really well! Also, looking back, how happy are you with 'Clash Battle Guilt Pride' as well as what it has done for the â€˜statusâ€™/representation of your band? I mean I haven't listened to the record in a while but I'm happy with it. I'm not sure what it has "done" for us. We've always been a band that people need to be sold on for some reason. Band people love us and love our records but people people are sort of like "I don't know about you guys but you're cool". Why that is, I have no idea. What can we expect to see from you guys in 2014? A lot of touring off "Death Chorus". That's gonna' be our year! Interview with Jojo How did you originally end up on 'Paper + Plastick' and what have they been like to work with so far? Long story short, we had a deal with another label, and for reasons that are too long of a story to get into, we were contractually released. At that point we had most of a record written, and no budget or label. We had a mutual friend with Vinnie from P+P in Stephen Egerton. Stephen had a conversation with him, and Vinnie was familiar with our 2009 self released "Woody Guthrie" EP. He was a fan of that material, so we talked and eventually ended up putting together a plan for a release that became "The Dangers of Standing Still." They have been nothing but incredibly supportive in every way. We have never come to the table with any request that hasn't been granted, and they have always followed through with everything that they said they would do for us. It's a great team over there. How is your current tour going with Big D and the Kids Table, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road so far? The tour has been great so far. I didn't know what to expect being the punk band on a ska tour. I can say that their fans have been exceptionally open to our band, and our fans have been coming out singing along to the new songs. Highlight so far was definitely Fest. Shit went off. What's it been like to play some new songs live then, and how happy have you been with the crowd response so far? It has been a very positive response. Everyone always loves the older jams, but kids have been singing along to the new ones every night. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Titles'? I can't say that there is a main theme or influence to the new record. I know we just sonically set out to make a more dynamic rock record within the parameters of our punk influence. I think we accomplished that, at least to expectations. As this is your second record, then what were your main aims and goals when heading into the studio to put together this record? We just wanted to make something bigger, more dynamic, and more interesting as a whole. Did you guys feel any pressure when heading in to the studio after the success of 'The Dangers of Standing Still'? The only pressure we had was meeting our own expectations. We wanted to make something we were proud of. I think we made something we are all stoked to call ours. Also, looking back on 'The Dangers of Standing Still' how happy are you with this record now, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' & representation of RCR? I don't think we really look back at previous work to qualify this record. Records have their own unique personalities, and should be able to stand alone as a single unit. As far as a representation, I think we stayed true enough to what people came to know of our band while keeping things interesting. I'll put it this way, if you were to personify the two records, while different in their own ways, "Dangers" and "Titles" would totally still hang out. The artwork for this record is really cool, can you tell us about how it came together, as well as what it means to you? We asked our friend Justin Santora if he wanted to design something for the new record. We gave him the name of the record, Titles, and he came back with a couple sketches. We thought that the billboard idea was very cool. Justin painted a killer piece of art. Jason Thompson designed the layout based around the cover art. Both dudes play in a band called The Sky We Scrape from Chicago. Go listen. What was the idea behind your video for 'Two Notes Shy of An Octave' and what was it like to shoot? It was Garrett's original concept. The idea of a totally lack-luster show, with dismal turnout and lack of interest, turned totally into a bonkers crime scene was hilarious. As a Punk rock band, then how do you feel this scene/style of music has progressed and changed since you guys first started out? The only thing I can say on that is I have been exposed to some of the most amazing bands as a result of being on tour over the last few years. If you can't find something in music that inspires you, you aren't even trying. What can we expect to see from Red City Radio in 2014? Cool tour. Europe/ UK. Rad video. Cool tour. Interview with Trev Touring wise, what have you guys been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We started the year off in Australia doing the Hits and Pits Festival with Good Riddance, Flatliners, Mad Caddies and a bunch of other cool bands which was awesome. Oz is always an amazing time for us. We did a West Coast and Midwest U.S. and Canadian tour with our buds the Flats (their new album kicks ass too!) and Such Gold, who rule. We also did a few "full album" shows for our second record, Ruiner, which was a trip. Had no idea how much those shows were gonna go off. Did Groezrock and a bunch of other rad European festivals. Saw Rocket from The crypt on one of those and that was sweet. We just got back from Fest in Florida, which was a week long for us this year. Those shows went berserk, so much fun. Really brought a smile to all our faces, and it was a proper way to release the new record for sure. I'm probably forgetting all kinds of stuff though... What have the band been up to since the release of the EP? A lot of touring. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to play a lot of places we haven't been before the past few years since putting out the EP, and it's hard to turn down offers to South America, Mexico, Costa Rica, places like that. And when we weren't on the road, we were back in the lab writing and working at our recording studio, and time can really fly by when you go down some of the rabbit holes we went down. Also, Nuno and his fiancĂŠ Elysa celebrated the birth of their first born son Brixton, which is wonderful. Nick's been building snare drums with his company Wail City. Mike's been working at the studio with me on projects and mixing stuff for bands as well. Brian's been tackling bass duties for Streetlight Manifesto on their final tour, killing it too. I got engaged. We're all in a great place, and that's important when you're about to head out on the road again to support a record and also write new material. Got to keep them juices flowing yo! How did you end up on 'No Idea Records' and what have they been like to work with so far? You know, the past several years we've been doing the Fest that No Idea does every Halloween weekend. And every year it seems to get wilder and wilder. I mean, thousands of people fly out to this thing and our shows and it's always a special show for bands that play it. Of course, No Idea has been a legendary label for decades, and they still thrive, they are still relevant, and keep their business growing. So we knew they were savvy people over there, although I had never met the owner at that point. Our manager Ray and myself contacted them inquiring about their interest in the band and they were really into it. I don't think they were too familiar with our band at first, or what we were about, I'm sure we turned some heads over there after our first fest appearance five years ago, and I think they knew we had a following, but we have always been a pretty under the radar band, which is how we like it, honestly. I spoke to Var over the phone several times, discovered we come from the same place, so to speak, ethos-wise and we slowly figured out the best time and way to release the album over about a two year period. Which was important, getting all the details from mastering to artwork, to mixes, everything the way it needed to be, since our first record in seven years had to be handled just right. They have been very spot on about getting things done proper over there, they get up mad early and get to work, which is really the type of people you want to align yourself with. How did you guys get to the album title 'Partycrasher' and what does it mean to you? The title was originally the name of a seven minute song that was meant to be on the album that we are just working on now in the studio. It's a stoner jam about crashing someone's party and bumming everyone out. I brought up the idea of calling the album Partycrasher to the guys with the thought that, "hey, we haven't had a new record in a lot of years, time has flown by. it's time to crash the party." I mean, a lot has changed in music, a lot has stayed the same in music. We are still us, we still approach our music the same way we always have, we still strive to be the band we dream to be, still hungry like that. I am fairly certain our style hasn't permeated the masses at all. haha. The title seemed fitting, I'm just happy it's not the name of a hardcore band already. You've stated that 'New England permeates this new album' so with this in mind, and as you also recorded the album there, then what kind of influence has your home area had on the new record? I think when you spend a great deal of time in a place, its imprint is left on you, whether you realize it or not. Friends, family, food, work, chilling, everything. New Bedford is the band's home base. Brian and Mike are from Toronto and Detroit, respectively, but they spent most of their time the past several years here in Massachusetts, either with my fiancĂŠ and I, or at the Reilly house, where we have our studio. (My parents are rockers, and the band's biggest supporters.) We would track our parts, go downstairs for coffee and shoot the shit with salt of the earth, no bullshit, New Englanders. I really think it has rubbed off on our sound, just as much as touring the world eight months out of the year has. I mean, we worked on this album off and on for almost three years! When you're writing, you are influenced by what you are going through, your surroundings. Also, when you're recording, same thing. Go grab a beer and burrito downtown at No Problemo, know what I'm saying? I don't think it's a coincidence that I've been getting feedback from people saying "this new one sounds like a Smackin' Isaiah song" (our old band from the late 90's), home is all I thought about back then, touring was so new and so infrequent to us. You're a product of your environment. Can you tell us about the other main themes and influences that run throughout 'Partycrasher'? I am sure Nuno and Mike could give you much better insight into their songs on the album, but on the ones I wrote, really I just try to focus on what I am dealing with or going through at the time and try to write about it in a way that won't be so overt and also not too vague. I have a problem with vagueness on a lot of our records. People don't know what the fuck I'm talking about half the time! And a lot of that was on purpose, honestly. I am not a center of attention kind of guy. I enjoy being in the background in my sandbox making my sandcastles ya know? It is also important to me, and I am sure Nuno and Mike would agree, to have the listener be able to interpret the lyrics in a way that they can relate to it themselves. I personally am not that concerned with what a song means to me, I already went through that. I am much more interested in our fans interpretation of the songs. That being said, I am always more than happy to discuss any lyrics with anybody that approaches me about it. When did you first decide that you were going to start recording your material yourselves, and what has that whole process been like for you guys so far? Probably around the time we recorded the EP ourselves. That was a turning point for us in that we were like "hey, maybe we could actually do this for ourselves one day." The process has been evolving, sometimes tedious, mostly fun. It occupies all my and Mike's time, that's for sure. We got the recording bug. How would you say you have grown as a band musically since the release of your last album 'Career Suicide'? Well, Mike joined the band several years ago, and that evolved our sound a lot with new blood, new energy. We have definitely garnered a reputation for ourselves as a very technical type band. Touring has really pushed us into our A game that way, so to speak. We still have that drive to get better and better at what we do. I think the trick is to not necessarily reign that in, but to pay special attention and care in making sure the heart shines through above all the tapping and drum fills, ya know? It's an exciting time to be in the band. What can we expect to see from A Wilhelm Scream in 2014? You can expect to see our friendly faces sweating like assholes on stage with big old smiles on our faces, real soon! Also expect some new releases coming out which I can't talk about yet but we are really excited about! Interview with Jonathan How did you guys end up on 'No Sleep Records'? We've been talking to Chris at No Sleep for a long time, mainly as friends. We were trying to have them handle the vinyl for one of our releases and logistics didn't end up working out. We've been huge fans and always wanted to work with them, so when we were finally in a position to jump back on a label, I called Chris and an hour later we had a contract. It's amazing. He's always on the ball, he's incredibly organized and surprises us daily with his professionalism. So looking back now, with your last EP 'Running Out Of Places To Go' being self released, what was that whole experience like for you guys, and also what do you think it has done for you guys as a band? It was a very strange experience. The business side of music was eating us alive and as far as our personal lives, we were going through a lot. It was a great therapeutic release in so many ways. Obviously a lot of hard work, but it showed us we can take care of things on our own. Now Nick and I manage our band and it's much easier than we thought. We love working with people, but we have the experience and DIY work ethic that helps things get done. What are the main themes and influences that run throughout 'The Light Under Closed Doors'? I think this is our most personal record. Lyrically it touches on two sides of a story. Nick is engaged and getting married, has a house while I'm fully experiencing the quarter life crisis and strange social situations I haven't dealt with in years. It's all about growing up, appreciating what you have and learning to let go when things get strange. So when & why did you decide to start producing your own music, and what has that been like to do so far? Honestly we've been producing our own music from the start. The only time someone dug into our songs was when we worked with Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore on Good For Me. Nick and I have a chemistry with songwriting and a mutual understanding when it comes to structures and overall vibes. We've never needed to "cowrite" with anyone, I personally think it's a silly concept. We're artists and we produce our own work. Also, it was recorded by Marc Hudson & Mark Michalik, so what was it like to work with them? We've been working with Mark Michalik since our first EP in 2005. He's great at getting vocal takes out of Nick and he is one of the nicest guys we know. Marc Hudson was the person who changed the whole vibe of the record with his signature style of recoding. We got great tones then after that it was very plug and play. What you played was the final result and we loved that. Marc has become a dear friend and we hang out a ton when I'm home. You've stated that you 'went back to basics' when recording this record, so what were your aims and goals for this record when you first started working on it? There was no overthinking on this record. If it felt right we ran with it. We wanted an urgent feeling to the music. We wanted you to feel like you're watching us play in a basement and you're hoping the cops don't show up. Conveniently, as I type this, we're heading out on a self-booked six week tour of shows just like that. How would you say you have grown overall as a band since the release of 'Good For Me'? As much as we love that record, the behind the scenes situations have created a lot of baggage with it. Rock radio in the U.S. is virtually dead to us! We've hardened up. We take our time with things, only work with close friends and we know we canâ€™t take any of this for granted. We're still a baby band in a lot of people's eyes and we aren't stopping until we show the world we have more to offer. Can you tell us about how the artwork for this record came together, as well as what it means to you? I was sitting in my room, listening to the new songs and staring at our older album artwork. I don't know if it was the obscene amount of coffee or some type of revelation, but I hit up my friend Ben Sears immediately with an idea. I wanted to make a statement that this was a turning point in our lives as individuals and as a band. The guy on our album cover is the adult version of the child who appeared on two of our other records and now two music videos. The bird he's releasing is from the Snowbird Songs label we started. We're giving up some independence but we know it's for good reason. We're letting go of baggage. I think a lot of people can relate to major changes like that in life. What else can we expect to see from The Swellers in 2014? The plan is to tour the world, promote the hell out of The Light Under Closed Doors and relearn what it's like to be a full-time band again. It feels like we've been home forever, but in the bigger scheme of things it's just a blink of an eye. We just want people to listen and experience this music and strange adventure with us. All we ask for in return is a chance. Interview with Lloyd Can you tell us about the formation of Neck Deep? Neck deep was a project that Ben and myself started about a year and a half ago, I was playing in a hardcore band and we used to record with Ben's older brother in his room. Whenever I was there Ben would talk about starting a pop punk project, so I wrote a demo and... we did! It just kind of grew from there. How did you guys get to the band name Neck Deep? We were throwing a few names around and Ben offered up neck deep pretty early. I was happy with it and it just kind of stuck. I can't even remember what the other options were haha. How did you guys end up on Hopeless Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? They've been great to work with so far! We'd started writing an album and looking at what options were available to us. It looked like we would self release it, and then we heard that hopeless wanted to talk to us. A few calls later and that was it. It was amazing really, hopeless was a label we'd always admired, to even have interest from them was mind blowing, to sign was just a dream come true. Your band has grown a huge fan base in a pretty short amount of time, so how exciting is that for you, and what do you think it is that people are really enjoying about your band? Yeah our fanbase has grown so much in a year or so, it's really been amazing. I'm not even sure exactly what it is that people seem to like so much, maybe it's just because we're a bunch of normal, pretty nerdy guys haha. We definitely don't take ourselves too seriously, and we're always really active on social media sites like twitter, and I think people like that about us As 'Wishful Thinking' is your debut album, then what were you main goals and targets when heading in to the studio to record it? I think we really just wanted to hone in on a particular part of our sound. When we'd been recording previous EP's, we kind of just hit record and started playing. I Think this record was a lot more focused for us, and we just wanted to come out with something we were proud of. I know we did that much. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect from this record? I don't know what to say without giving too much away, haha. I think we took the sound we already had, and mixed in some early 2000's 'golden age' pop punk kinda vibes. The stuff we sort of grew up listening to. We really wanted to churn out those big, catchy choruses. The artwork for Wishful Thinking is really cool, so can you tell us who came up with it, as well as what it means to you? Yeah Paul Jackson really nailed the artwork for us! I think it was ben's brother (Seb), that originally thought of the zoltar scene in the film 'big'. We just thought of that image and really digged the idea of using it in some way. We started going into detail with it, and Fil came up with 'wishful thinking'. I think for us it's all about staying positive, and really believing that anything is possible. So what do you want Wishful Thinking to do for the 'status' and representation of Neck Deep? Well we hope people can relate to it of course, and it'd be nice if people enjoyed listening to it haha. But I think really we're just hoping that it shows people we're a band capable of putting records out for years to come. We had such a good time writing and recording it, and we want to be able to do that for as long as possible. Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Well this year has only really been our first full year of touring, and it's been pretty quiet haha, compared to what we'll get up to next year at least. I think for me, the tour we did in February/march with attention thieves was probably a highlight. I think that was when we really started to understand our live show, and realised that we just wanted to make it as fun as possible, like kind of a big party haha. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We're really excited for that! It'll be our first headline tour so that fact alone makes it awesome. I'm excited to be able to play some of the songs off the new album, and I'm sure we'll be able to spring a few surprises too haha. You are also doing a USA tour very shortly, so how excited are you for this, and after you did a pair of impromptu shows in Florida, then what are you guys expecting from this tour? Yeah those shows in Florida were wild, we weren't expecting anything like that, so I think we don't know what to expect from this tour either haha. It's going to be awesome to be able to see so much of the country, and to play in some really cool places. I think the Chicago show has already been upgraded so we should be in for a fun time! What else can we expect to see from Neck Deep in 2014? I think we're going to be out on the road a lot once wishful thinking comes out, so keep your eyes peeled for more dates! Apart from that there'll be plenty of online shenanigans, and we're probably going to have to write another record at some point haha! Interview with Tyler How did you end up signing to Pure Noise Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? There was a long period of flirtation between us and Jake, and after we sent him our demo of the song "Critical," he sent us an offer. Working with PNR is amazing. It's like one big family and everyone takes care of their own. Touring wise, what have you guys been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? In June, we toured with Cartel and New Found Glory and in October we toured with Motion City Soundtrack and Bayside. These are all bands we grew up listening too and watching on our televisions so to now be friends with these artists and have a tour with them under our belts is an amazing feeling! How did you get to the album title 'The Finer Things' and what does it mean to you? It's a lyric from our song Hard to Please. To me it means the small things in life that make your life better but don't cost anything. How did you end up working with Steve Klein & Sam Pura and what were they like to work with? Our booking agent, Brad, hooked it up. He knew both parties and got them both interested in working with us and the rest is history. They were great to work with! They both have so much experience making records that our experience making our first LP was rather painless. We were in good hands! How would you say as a band you have progressed since your EP 'Overslept' was released? I've taken a different approach to song writing than the overslept EP! Also Derek's lyrical content has matured. As this was your debut album, then can you tell us a bit about your aims and goals as a band when entering the studio to put together this record? Our goal was to make a record that was dynamic. Where each song can stand on their own and each listen through doesn't feel like work. Also, how happy have you been with the response to the record so far? I've been very happy with the response! It's seriously so cool how many people have supported this release. The 'Hard To Please' video is cool! Can you tell us about how it came together, as well as what you want it to mean to your fan base? It came about as a late night idea in the van. "Why don't we shoot a video in a hockey rink?" What we want it to mean is "don't try to hard." If you notice, the players are trying to impress the girls but they run off with someone else anyway so the moral of the story is that try hards suck and are never successful. The pop punk genre is a striving at the moment, so with that in mind, what sets you guys apart from the rest, and what's your view on this scene at the moment? I'm not sure what sets us apart from the rest, I'll leave that for the fans to figure out! My view on the scene is excitement. I love watching bands in our genre push the limits! For example, The Wonder Years doing an arena tour with A Day To Remember is amazing for pop punk. What else can we expect to see from you in 2014? Lots of touring! Come hang! Interview with Jeremy You're currently headlining the 'Glamour Kills' tour, so how's that going, and what's it been like to play the new songs live so far? We are stoked to be working with glamour kills, and headlining this tour. All the bands are great, and the shows have been doing fantastic. The fans seem to sing the new songs just as loud as the old ones, so I would say they are doing very well. You have recently released your fourth album, "Monsters In The Closet", so what has the reaction been like to that so far? The reaction to the new cd has been positive for the most part. The only negative things I have read is that we didn't branch out enough and do different things. My response to that is, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Can you tell us a bit about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Monsters In The Closet'? Main themes for the most part revolve around relationships, whether friends or family, and choices and the outcomes they have. How did you get to the album title 'Monsters In The Closet' and what does it mean to you? Iâ€™m not sure how we came about the album title, but what I take away from it is that place where you hide your inner demons. Bad thoughts, vices, things of that nature. How did you end up working with Kenneth Mount and Zack Odem and what were they like to work with? We worked with Zac and Ken on our first full length "a lesson in romantics" and have been close with them ever since. We decided they know us better then anyone and know what we want out of our album. You have said that you feel this album is more exciting and evolutionary for you as a band, so how do you think it compares to your previous albums? I don't remember saying that, but it may have been someone else.. I will say that we definitely have toned it up music wise. We all worked really hard and I feel we each stepped up our games as far as musicianship. Following on from that how do you feel you have grown overall as a band since your first release? Well we grow as musicians and as people, but we really haven't changed our style of music. This is what we like to do, this style of music. It's what we are good at! So, what was the hardest part behind putting together this record for you as a band, and why? The hardest part behind any record for me personally is compromise. Everyone wants something different and you have to find that good in between point. Looking back on your self-titled album now, how happy are you with this release still, as well as what it has done for the status & representation of Mayday Parade? I definitely went back and listened to the self-titled to see how it compared to our new cd. It's hard releasing something new and hoping it's better then the previous record, we are our own worst critics. I think the new record is great though and will stand on its own. What can we expect to see from Mayday Parade in 2014? We plan on touring our asses off and pushing this new record. This is just the beginning of the cycle, so you can expect to see a lot more of us in the future. Interview with Joe So how did you guys get to the album title 'Brighter' and what does it mean to you? "Brighter" is the title of one of the songs on the album. That song represents everything that our band stands for. It's a part 3 in a 3 part series of songs, two of which came from our previous album "Second Family." The song embodies the optimistic spirit of Patent Pending. It's about understanding that the world is going to try and bring you down, but if you just look on the positive side of things you will realize that the future can look much "Brighter" than it used to be. Can you tell us about some of the styles that you've really enjoyed working on? As always, we never like to pigeon hole ourselves into just one sound or genre. You'll find influences from every corner of the musical world on this album. Everything from the radio friendly pop of "Bighter" to the heavily Mo-Town influenced "Let Go." It was so much fun to work on this album because it was Patent Pending in our purest form. We didn't abide by any rules or trends of the current pop-punk music scene, we just did what felt right for each song. I believe that it's better to write and release music from the heart than to sit down and say "it's time to force a pop-punk song." If I did that, I'd be lying every time I sang the song. It was all about letting the songs take natural turns. If It sounded better as a mo-town song, It became a mo-town song, if it wrote like a radio-pop song, it came out as a radio-pop song. I will admit that sometimes taking chances and doing what you want to do instead of what people expect of you can be scary, but in the end it's the about making the music that we want to make. If we did anything else, we'd be compromising our entire system of beliefs. Don't get me wrong, I love pop-punk music, it's one of my absolute favorite styles, but I also love Radio-Pop, Mo-Town, Harmony driven A-Capella, and Pirate sounding music. ALL OF THESE THINGS YOU WILL FIND ON OUR ALBUM! I believe that this desire to explore different sounds and be honest with ourselves as writers is what truly makes this a Patent Pending record to the core. What are the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Brighter'? The subject matter on "Brighter" ranges from the absolutely silly Nintendo themed song "Hey Mario" to the very serious and uplifting "Brighter." We sing about everything from being fed up with "All-Star Hipsters" to the true meaning behind why we make music in the first place in the opening track "There Was A Time." The overall theme of the album is LIFE IS TOO SHORT NOT TO BE YOURSELF AND DO WHAT YOU LOVE! Just be honest, have fun and fuck what other people think. That is a theme that you'll find runs true in all of our members everyday lives. What was the hardest part behind creating 'Brighter' for you guys, and why? This album was slated to take three weeks to record. When we started sifting through my initial demos we found things that we thought could be amazing, but knew that it wouldn't be possible to accomplish in three weeks. So we literally moved into the studio! We agreed, no compromising on the songs. No matter what, we were going to chase these ideas until we were satisfied with them. So after we made that decision, our "three week" schedule turned into 8 MONTHS!!!!! We were sleeping on the floor of the studio in an effort to get this thing done the right way. The hardest part was trying to please ourselves. I recorded the main vocals of some of these songs 5 TIMES! Our friends and family couldn't tell the difference between cuts! It wasn't until it sounded perfect to us that our friends and family could understand the difference. We had to justify our madscientist like behavior throughout recording with the final product. At one point we were so deep into making this album that our producer, Jordan, Rob and myself started to have nervous breakdowns! HA, it was madness! Looking back on it now, I wouldn't change a thing. Everything that we went through making that album was meant to be. We couldn't be happier with the final product. How did you end up working with Jaret Reddick for the track 'Classic Youâ€™? Jaret is actually our manager now. I grew up as a HUGE Bowling For Soup fan! We had a mutual friend named MC Lars. He hooked me up with Jaret to write some songs together back in 2008. Those songs never actually ended up coming out, but we became great friends and have been touring together ever since. Working with him is incredible because it's basically just friends hanging out, making music. I think he is one of the world's most underrated geniuses. Can you tell us a bit about how the artwork for this record came together? All of our album covers to this point have been cartoons drawn by our dear friend Brett Guida. We were working on a cartoon of a kid standing in front of a homemade rocket ship, but it just wasn't working, we couldn't capture the right feeling for it. After 15 variations, we decided to just try and recreate the cartoon in real life. We ended up using the artists son! It was classic last minute Patent Pending brainstorming! How have you progressed as a band since the release of 'Second Family'? Life happens. No matter how hard you may try to stop it or delay it, life will bring you to many different places. Fortunately, I believe that we are the luckiest people on the face of the planet because life has brought us as people and friends to the greatest days of our lives! We are literally living out everything that we've fought so hard for and dreamed about for the last 13 years on a daily basis. We're so grateful for everything that our friends and family have contributed to this band to get us where we are right now. As far as progressing as a band, we've finally learned to just let go of the bullshit. We finally came to grips with the fact that we are at our best when we are just being ourselves. We're happier than we have ever been as a band both musically and personally. How would you say the music world has progressed since you first started out? Music trends come and go. When we first started, the internet wasn't nearly as accessible or popular as it is now. When we first started, if we wanted people to come to our shows we would have to print up 1000's of flyers and go to the shops and schools trying to promote it. The internet has made it infinitely easier to get the word and the music out. As far as musical trends go, we've seen everything come and go in cycles. The most important lesson that we've learned over the past 12 years is not to worry about what the current trend in the scene is, don't worry about what your last song sounded like, just make honest music the way you want to make it. It's when you get caught up in the bullshit of catering to current trends that you get yourself into trouble. Can you tell us a bit about what you've been up to since Reuben split in 2008? Sure thing. I have a day job doing illustration and animation for a design agency that's owned by The Guardian in London, but I also work on various freelance projects for people like Bloomsbury and the Doctor Who Magazine. Plus I have been writing this huge record, training up my Heavy Mellow Band, and going to the seaside whenever possible! How excited are you to be back releasing music once more, and also how rewarding has it been for you to have such a great response to the news of your new release so far? Very excited, and itâ€™s very rewarding. I've kept it a secret for four years because I didn't want anyone to know until it was totally ready so it's a bit like hiding your mum's birthday present for four years. I knew from emails and when people meet me in the street and such that there would be at least some people excited about it, and that's a big part of the reason I decided to release it and not just keep it for myself. The reaction has proved my hunches right - I've been overwhelmed by the response So what made you want to release 'Fizzy Blood // Pretty Please' first, and how happy have you been with the response to this song so far? I wanted to release the two songs that contrasted the most with eachother, not necessarily the two songs that represented the two halves of the record best, in order to create a big impact and get people thinking. And again, from the reaction it caused, I think I got I just right. People didn't know if they were coming or going - but at the same time the reaction was very accepting and you didn't really have anyone who dug one but hated the other. I think most people liked both, which in my mind is huge triumph. We put out a vinyl single last week with the two tracks on it - how often do you get punk thrash and big band swing on one side of a 7"? I'm willing to bet this is the only one! How did you get to the album title 'Muscle Memory' and what does it mean to you? I'm so pleased you asked that question. The phrase came about when I was writing the record, I'd assembled my Heavy Mellow band to play through it with me because it's easier to get the ideas out if you have musicians right there and it's always fun to play music with your friends. We had a break of a few weeks but we came back and found we could play these complex songs straight away without even thinking too hard, even though they'd been difficult before. This, we decided, was muscle memory. The phrase stuck in my head and I thought it'd be a cool title but I think that about lots of stuff so I didn't linger on it too long. Then a little while later another chum was asking me which I preferred - heavy music or soft music, in terms of listening and creating. I thought hard about and eventually I told him that the heavy music is like what feeds your physical side, pleasures like eating and and jumping about, pleasures of the body - and that soft music is more like literature, fine art, opera and so forth, cerebral pleasures, pleasures of the mind. You need both. Then I thought of how you'd represent those two ideas, a heart for your body and a brain for your mind, and I realised that's muscle and memory. So it all came back to that phrase and became a perfect metaphor for the record. I'm chuffed it all fits together, it says exactly what I want. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Muscle Memory'? Well I suppose lyrically, the main thread that runs through most but not all the songs on both sides is a very low period I experienced around 2009-2011, which was when I was writing a lot of the music and a lot of the lyrics. I hesitate to use the word depression - not out of embarrassment, but because real depression is very serious and ruins people's lives and I wouldn't want to belittle it by saying that that's what happened to me, but it was very tough. I don't really hold back with my lyrics so some of them are very blunt on how it felt. Another theme is family - I sang songs with my brother and my wife on the album, which was very rewarding. I also played many instruments inherited from my great Uncle Arthur, who introduced me to music at a very young age. Also, my Dad died just after Reuben finished so I suppose that has had an influence on some of the material, on one song in particular very directly. Then there are a few songs with varied themes, distrust of social media, dissatisfaction with the 00s' artistic legacy, exhaustion with the political status quo etc. Not exhaustion with Status Quo though, they rock! How did this end up being a two disc release and also can you tell us about how these will compare to each other as we've read that there will be a more 'big band, jazz and folk' type sound on the second disc? I'm afraid the big band track is a one-off, although I would like to do more. There were too many styles to explore on that soft side - bluegrass, worksong, good old acoustic pop songs, it's all in there. The heavy side is very varied too, but with the metal genre, which as metalheads will know, is expansive. We've got some thrash, some doom, some sludgecore, groove metal, mathcore, and more. Ironically, one of the main reasons to make an album split in two was to even out the dynamic that those Reuben albums had, which went from soft to heavy in a blink - instead I've made two wildly varied discs! In a kind of a reference to the last question, can you tell us about what kind of new styles you discovered whilst putting together this record, as well as what that was like for you as a musician to work on? I discovered banjo music through Steve Martin, the comedian and actor, which is odd, but actually he plays a mean banjo and has released a few great banjo records (alongside his comedy records, which are amazing). I loved the sound and from there I found other present-day musicians playing the old American folk music of the early 20th century like C.W Stoneking and The Carolina Chocolate drops, but I really only dipped my toes into this huge genre. I'd inherited a banjulele from my great uncle so I was plinking around with that, plus a trumpet and a trombone so I could really think about having a brass section and I bought myself a six string banjo so I could get that lovely tone without having to learn the funny chords! I tried my best to play these instruments as best I could on the record but when it came to the big band track we had to call in the pros - my old music teacher and his dad played on it, and we called in a few favours. That was an enormous challenge, to have recorded a big band, one by one, in a small shed at the bottom of someone's garden. Nuts! Can you tell us about the recording process for this record? I made it with my good friend Sean Genockey, who produced the last Reuben record. We'd always said we were going to make a record together just for fun in the evenings and the weekends, more as an excuse to hang out than anything else, but I didn't have any material. Then by the time I did, it was thirty odd tracks and a swing band and an all-male voice choir, but we'd promised each other and we saw it through. It was difficult because Sean's in such demand as a producer he didn't have much free time so it ended up taking longer than we'd've liked but I still think eighteen months for such a huge record is good time. People spend years making those matchstick houses, don't they? How would you say putting together this record, has compared to what you used to do with Reuben? It was very similar, expect this time I got to play the bass as well as the guitars. I had initially hoped to play the drums myself, but the parts I ended up writing were beyond my ability so I asked my friend Daniel to do it. And to be fair, they were beyond his ability too, but he worked so hard that what we came out with was just incredible. I was also able to write much more personal material and perform it in the booth, because in Reuben everything I wrote would be perceived as having come from three people, whereas this time I was only representing myself, which was very freeing. You've decided to stay with Xtra Mile Recordings to put this record out, so with this in mind, what do you love so much about working with these guys, and what's it been like to work with them on 'Muscle Memory'? We're just old old friends - I was with them when they started the label and we were the first album released. I can be awkward to work with and they know all my little quirks, we already have that shorthand with eachother so it's very easy. They were extremely welcoming when I asked if they'd like to put it out and they've been working super hard on it ever since. Xtra Mile sees itself as a family more than a label and i'm proud to be a part of it. We know that you put together the artwork for this record, so can you tell us about how it all came together, as well as what it means to you? When I knew the record was going to be so big musically, I knew I had to reflect it with the artwork, and that I had to do it myself. I wanted it to be an equal challenge for my design and illustration skills. I was also aware that in this digital age, if you're asking someone to pay ten pounds and over for a record instead of just streaming it for free it's got be a beautiful physical product, and I think I've achieved that. I wanted it to feature a portrait of myself, not because I like looking at myself, but to convey the simplicity of the thing, that it's just me, a normal dude (this is also why I didn't go for a snazzy name instead of my own). I wanted to depict myself surrounded by all my favourite objects, things I own that mean a lot to me like the instruments I inherited or my father's pipe, and things I don't own but have always found beautiful to look at, like the Sutton Hoo helmet or the Lewis Isle chess men. I put them all on there, floating around me, with a few tentacles thrown in for good measure. I'm satisfied that whilst the music on the record is my greatest musical achievement so far, the artwork is my greatest illustrative achievement. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? Half excited, half terrified. One of the things that made Reuben impossible was that I could no longer play live, so we'll have to see how it goes. Again, this is something I'm doing mainly because I know so many people will enjoy it, and I like to go round the country and have a personal connection with folks. We did a couple of secret warm-up shows last month and then a showcase gig in London and they went well so it's all looking good. People can expect to get thoroughly battered about the ears by some serious metal and then soothed back down with some banjo stylings, then all whipped up again until they don't know what dimension they're in. I'm going to give it everything I've got. There is no doubt that you have been an important part of the alternative rock scene in the UK for over a decade now, so with this in mind, how would you say this 'scene' has grown or progressed since you first started out? That's very kind of you to say, although I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask about how the scene has progressed as I've been out of it for the last five years...I suppose I'll find out now we're back playing shows. One thing I do know is there are still loads of great bands out there despite everyone saying 'Oh, it's not like it was...' people have been saying this since the start of time. Literally, the Romans were saying it! Not about underground rock though...but seriously, I've only scratched the surface and already I've found bands like Kill Chaos, Empires, and Castrovalva who are all playing with us on the tour...then there's Exit International, Future Of The Left are still as vicious as ever, and that's just the british bands. If you go abroad you've got Shining, Karnivool and Darwin Deez who've all released amazing records this year, check 'em all out. What can we expect to see from you in 2014? I wouldn't be surprised If I end up playing a few festivals, so look out for that. My answer to this question is always 'we're playing it by ear', because we don't know what's coming next. Maybe some awesome band wants to take us on another tour, maybe I'll pick another single off the record, whatever's clever. I might take up hang-gliding, I might not release another record for another five years. I wish I could give you a more definite answer. Thanks for such nice questions. Interview with Tom You guys are currently on 'The Anonymous Tour' in America promoting your new album, how is it going so far and what has the reception been like from fans to the new material? It is going awesome. With a lot of close friends of ours in Backtrack & Gideon, and made really good friends with No Bragging Rights and Rescuer. Shows have been awesome, and playing new material has been so sick. The biggest song of our set is Badge & A Bullet, and that is a great feeling. Following on from this, how does it feel to have achieved such success with the new album? It is great. I am very proud of every aspect of this album, and to me personally it is the most complete album as far as music, lyrics, artwork. Lots of props to everybody who played a hand in making it happen. What is the meaning behind the title of the album, and what are the main themes that run throughout the album? The idea behind Anonymous is to do something because it will help humanity and not because it benefits yourself. Treating a person as a person. We wanted to spread awareness on this record about some things that we feel are important. We wrote some pretty crazy things lyrically on Anonymous, and I am proud of that. It wasn't until we finished recording that I realized "Oh shit everyone might hate the things we are saying" but we didnâ€™t care if it would hurt our reputation. If we didn't write about the things we wrote about, I have no idea if we would have even had lyrics....itâ€™s what had to be said. What's it like to work with Will Putney, and what else can you tell us about the recording process for 'Anonymous'? He is a 5th member with us in the studio. He is on our level of everything, from music to humor, and that is important. You don't want to spend weeks on end with somebody that you hate. You will produce nothing but shitty music if that is the case. He is the man. Can you describe how a song normally comes together in your band then? I write the music on my own. Usually finish a song, or get about 80% there, and bring it to the band at practice. Sometimes we tweak things, sometimes songs change completely, and sometimes they don't change at all. We all write lyrics. Even if I write a song lyrically myself, it is brought to the band and we work on it together. all 4 of us have at least 1 song on the album. Your new album, 'Anonymous' features some guest vocals from Jesse Barnett of Stick To Your Guns on the track 'Radio' and Jason Aalon Butler of Letlive on the song 'Scissor Hands' so can you tell us about how these collaborations came about, and also what was it like to work with these guys? Those are our boys, and they have been for a while. Two bands we collectively admire are Letlive and Stick To Your Guns. We played one of the last Underoath shows with Letlive in Massachusetts. After that show, there was a day off, so Jason came to the Machine shop, we tracked his part (he was bouncing and bumping into things, as if he was playing a live show) and then we all saw Django Unchained together. Jesse did the part on his own and killed it. We just did Canada with STYG and Jesse sang Radio with us live and it was so sick, he is the best frontman in hardcore. You've stated that 'We will never be a band that gives you the same record more than once' so with this in mind, how would you say you have progressed as a band since the release of 'Rising Sun'? Like I said before, I feel this album is more complete. I am proud of Rising Sun, I think it’s sick, but I wish we had another week to work on it. The deep tracks on that record are not as good as "landmines" "Tell them I'm Not Home" or "Anonymous" Your latest video for 'Badge & A Bullet' is powerful by being rebellious and showing police brutality, so what is the message behind this and what was it like to film the video? Well it is about exactly what you said...police brutality and power abuse. It’s been a problem in our lives and the lives of people all over the world. Doing this video was INSANE. Carlo, the director, was at our show in Berlin, and he came to buy a CD from me at the merch table. He said he wanted to do a video for us, and I took it lightly. He showed me some stuff he did, and it is videos from Terror, Comeback Kid and Stick To Your Guns, and I was stoked. in 5 days notice he got a venue, cop car, grenade, cop costumes, and guns. The whole 9, and it turned out so fucking sick, he killed it. So looking back on 2013, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from the year, as well as why those moments/achievements mean so much to you? Headlining shows and selling them out is really crazy. It’s something you always think about early in your career, and then it actually happening is really insane. Headlining Toronto, 400+ people there, it was bone chilling. Going to Australia is up there too, really insane. What can we expect to see from Stray From The Path in 2014? Touring more than any human should tour. Exciting and mentally exhausting already! Interview with Josh Can you tell us about the formation of Hacktivist? Hacktivist was started as Tim’s solo project. J was in his studio recording some solo grime shit and jumped on one of Tim’s tunes while he was there. Tim & I were in Heart Of A Coward together so he invited me down to throw some vocals on it then we put it online. We had a mad response from it so decided to make a full band out of it. The rest is history! You guys only formed in 2011, and you've already achieved so much, so how have these last two years been for you guys, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time as a band so far? The last couple of years have been insane! Everything’s moved a lot faster than any of us thought it would. We've had a lot of love and a lot of hate which is always a good sign! My personal highlights have been touring with Enter Shikari & playing Download, Reading & Leeds festivals. Also playing Rock Am Ring mainstage was a dream come true. Chillin’ backstage with Papa Roach & Stone Sour was next level. How and when did you start your own label 'Wake To Reality' and what's that been like to run alongside your band so far? Wake To Reality has only just been formed as a label. We wanted to release the EP ourselves. Shikari have their own label and we're under the same management so we created ours in the same way. So what made you want to reissue and remaster the EP+? We're currently writing our album so we thought we'd release something while we're writing to give the fans something. We recorded a live set in Coventry on the Shikari tour so thought we'd throw a live track on there. We've also got Elevate on the re-release plus a couple of remixes. Looking back on this release when it first came out, what was the hardest part about putting it together for you guys, and why? There was nothing hard about it. It all came together pretty easily... it just worked. It was a major experiment which luckily turned out alright. Can you tell us about your last single 'Elevate' as well as how happy you have been with the response to this track so far? Elevate is a fuck you song to governments who feed off war. It's a message for people to realise what's going on in the world and to rise up against it. We've been extremely happy with the response we've had to this song. More and more people are becoming part of this movement. How did you end up working with 'Shikari Sound System' to create a remix of the track 'Elevate', and what was that whole experience like for you guys? We toured with Enter Shikari earlier in the year. We're also under the same management. We've become close with those guys & Rou wanted to remix Elevate. We were overwhelmed with the result! How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We're really looking forward to our UK tour. It's our longest headline tour to date. Fans can expect to hear some new material and the usual carnage that goes on at a Hacktivist show. It's awesome that we've got The Algorithm on the road with ours. Those guys are killing it and are really going to add a lot to the shows. What can we expect from your debut album then? Expect more filth, more epicness, more groove & more lyrics to shout along to. This album is shaping up nicely, and I'm confident it won't disappoint our fans! What can we expect to see from you guys in 2014? In 2014 you can expect our debut album release. You can also expect to see us playing in as many countries as possible. We're gonna tear shit up even more than 2013. Be ready! Interview with Rody Your new fourth studio album 'Volition' was funded by fans through Indiegogo, what made you decide to do this and how pleased were you with the results of doing this, especially as you exceeded the fundraising amount needed? We decided to do this because we were broke, and for some odd reason the way our business was functioning it was keeping us broke. We needed to come up with a way to circumnavigate some of the issues that were fucking us over, and to afford our expensive habits! We were thrilled with the success of the campaign, it was wonderful to find out that our fans still care. The album title of 'Volition' has an interesting definition, can you tell us why you chose this name and what it means to you? The album title related to us taking our career in our own hands for the first time and controlling our future to some degree. What are the main themes and influences on this record, and how would you compare this album to your previous releases, especially considering the freedom and independency you had with this one? This album is faster than the rest of our catalogue. It's difficult to be objective here, I always think our most recent work is our best, but I've got a massive ego, so my opinion can not be trusted... You released the first single from the new album called, 'Clarity', so what can you tell us about that song, and what has the reception been like for this song so far? The reception was great, I was a little worried the day before we released it. I'm not sure why, it's just so simple and about science fiction, However people seem to be enjoying it quite a bit, so I'm relieved, and delighted. Back in June 2013 your original drummer, Moe Carlson left the band, how did you feel about this and do you think this changed the dynamics at all? Well, It was certainly a surprise, and not a pleasant one at that. Our new drummer Mike is fantastic and we're really pleased to have him as part of the band. We put a dread lock wig on him and called him Moe, because we fear change. So the dynamic is still the same... As a result of Moe leaving you got Chris Adler from Lamb of God to step in, how was it working and recording with him? Chris is great, he might be the most 'chill dude' I've ever met. He's cool calm and collected, and I believe his playing style reflects that. You just released a new song, 'Drumhead Trial' featuring Kayla Howran and Ron Jarzombek, so how did you end up collaborating with them, and what were they like to work with on this track? Lucas has always been a big fan of blotted science, and other Jarzombek projects, so while discussing this with Adler, Chris mentioned that he knew him fairly well, and the rest is history. Kayla is a very good friend of ours from Toronto, she's a bad ass country singer. She drinks whiskey and smokes cigarettes, and I bet she could fight you and win. What else can you tell us about the recording process for this record? It was recorded with Cameron McLellan at Revolution records in Toronto Ontario, it took about two months, and due to the sewage treatment plant down the street the entire process wreaked of human waste!! The artwork for the new album is somewhat unusual, who designed it and what is the idea behind the image? The art was done by Jeff Jordan, a very talented artist. Basically he asked me to describe some of the concepts on the record, and I explained Plato's Tripartite, which deals directly with rape culture, and the justice system failing women. He then began painting. I think he did a really beautiful job, however there are some interpretations of it that I am not fond of. The vultures represent the media, the rape is rape. Simple, not glorifying rape. There are still people in the world that don't believe rape culture is a real thing. That is horrible and disgusting, we hear it and see it every day of our lives and it's time we stop giving dick-heads like Daniel Tosh the time of day for their constant contributions to rape culture. You're heading to the UK for a tour which starts in February 2014, so how excited are you for this and what can attending fans expect? Really excited to come back to the UK. It's been a hot minute. I don't look forward to the plane ride, but I purchased a golden pair of pointy boots in Camden once, and I would like to find more. I wore them until they fell apart, and I need to find more! Interview with Brett How did your recent European tour go, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? It was wonderful! I loved all the sightseeing! The castles and cathedrals were great! We had a lot of fun at the shows as well! London was a lot of fun as well as the shows in Austria and Belgium were insane! So can you tell us about the line-up differences between 'Line in the Sand' and 'Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts' as well as how you think you have grown overall as musicians over the last two years? I think Line in the Sand is a much more diverse and well written album. The songs flowed out for us and there was a lot more agreement when writing these songs. Much less of a struggle and a lot more of a team spirit it seemed. I really think these songs are the best set of songs we have ever put together for an album. With new members in the band, then what was the writing & recording process like for 'Line in the Sand'? It was really great! I played at least every other day with Jordan for months just writing a bunch of songs. Then Andrew and Sam sent ideas over whenever they would write something as well. We had a total of 32 songs written when we came together a few weeks before we went into the studio to iron everything out. It was surprisingly smooth for how spread out we were. How did you get to the album title 'Line in the Sand' and what does it mean to you? It comes from a speech by Col. William Travis at the Alamo just before their defeat. It means standing up for what is right or what you believe in even if it is in the face of immeasurable odds. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Line in the Sand'? Freedom is a big one and just the different ways freedom can play out in our lives. Standing up for what you believe in is another. The irony of glory speaks about the arrogance of society and my way home is based upon The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. What was the hardest part behind putting together 'Line in the Sand' for you guys and why? I think it was just the logistics of everything because of us being so spread out. Sam still lives in England, Jordan and I live in Houston and Sonny and Andrew live in Abilene. How did you end up working with 'Zoli Teglas' & 'Tom Green' and what was it like to work with those guys on your tracks? I have been friends with Tommy for years. I love him dearly. He is such a joy to be around and just lights up any situation he is in with excitement and a genuine love for everyone around him. When I wrote the song “Sleeping Giant” he immediately came to mind, so I asked him to come do some vocals on it. Zoli was a lot more of a spur of the moment kind of thing. He was hanging out in the studio one day and later that night Sam, Sonny, and I were talking and we asked him to come do a part that we thought he would sound good on. I was very happy with the way it turned out! He is a very talented vocalist. The front cover of this album is great, can you tell us about how it came together, as well as what you'd like it to mean to your fans? I would really like it to mean whatever they need it to mean. We had been through a bit of a rough year and when we were nearing the end of recording we all had this feeling that these songs ended up being bigger than any of us individually. That is where the artwork came from for me. We feel we are on a long road and our task is nowhere near done with this band. The sky is just that feeling of this being something bigger than ourselves. And the line represents the line in the sand I spoke of earlier. What new song of 'Line in the Sand' would you say means the most to you, and why? That is tough. I would have a different answer every day of the week. “My Way Home” means a lot because of how much I love the book it is based upon. I really like “Glory” as well because of the story told. When I want something aggressive I really love “Burdened By Hope” and the stories we based it upon as well. That song is based in part on our struggles and then also the temptation of Jesus for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness in Matthew, Mark and Luke. As a melodic-hardcore band, how would you say this style of music has changed or progressed since you guys first started out? I just think our song writing has matured. We still have the same spirit as we always have and the same energy and passion. I think it is just a new interpretation. What can we expect to see from Close Your Eyes in 2014? A whole lot of touring and we will be writing for another new album as well! We want to come right back at it pretty quickly. Interview with Telle For your most recent tour, you got your fans to vote for what songs they wanted to hear the most live, so what was this experience like for you guys, and also what songs do you enjoy playing live the most at the moment and why? It was great to get feedback from our fans to help pick our set. We wanted this tour to be our best set to date so it made sense. I love pretty much all of our songs but as a singer and lyricist I get the most enjoyment out of the songs people sing the loudest. Usually that's our title track off the last record "Life Cycles"! After this tour in December you are touring the UK, so how excited are you for this, and also how does it differ for you playing in the UK compared to anywhere else in the world? We love touring in other countries and experiencing new cultures. The UK is easily one of our favorite places to play because not only can everyone understand us which helps give a better performance, but the fans are very appreciative of us traveling so far. When people can understand me the commanding aspect of my performance shines through and everyone gets into the show a bit more. Back in late 2012 you revealed that you were working on a new EP, so how is this coming along? And when do you expect to release this? That was actually a bit premature and we decided to do a full-length instead. Sometimes plans change and we're happy they did. You entered the studio in August this year with Cameron Mizell to begin work on your third studio album which is due to be released next year, how is the recording going and what has it been like working with Cameron? We're done with tracking and are just working on finding the perfect person to mix the record. We have always rushed every aspect of our albums due to our touring cycle but we took 4 months off to make sure we got the record we wanted. Now we get to take our time with mixing/mastering, artwork song titles album title and even music video ideas all with no deadline as of yet. The album we made is too important to us to just put it out. Thankfully our label management and booking agency all believe this is by far the best TWA record to date so everybody is on board to do what is needed. Although it's early days, how do you feel the new album will differ from your previous releases and are there any main influences driving it just yet? Our influence is always our love for creating music we are passionate about mixed with the reaction of our latest work by our longtime fans. We want to have a blend of progression and the best parts of TWA that people have come to love. I think we have all killer songs that each stand on their own. I literally have a new favorite song every time I listen to the songs. I hope people feel the same when they finally hear it. Can you tell us a bit about how the song writing/recording process normally works for The Word Alive? I wish it was 'normal' haha, it really depends on the song. Sometimes the guys get in a room and jam out a song. Other times Tony and Zack write one together. And then they also write alone and show us their ideas. Then we all do our thing and make it a TWA song. Your latest video for 'Life Cycles' has over 800,000 views, so how rewarding is that, and can you tell us about how the video came together? Frankie Nasso came up with the treatment for the video and really seemed passionate about directing the video. I had met him once or twice before and loved his energy. He took what I wrote and made it come to life. We included our fans and it truly was an amazing experience. Thanks to anyone out there who has watched it! Looking back on the release of 'Life Cycles' how happy are you with this record, and what do you feel it has done for the status/representation of 'The Word Alive'? I'm happy with a lot of things, but not happy about others. I think we made some amazing songs. But I wish we had developed them more and cut out the songs that are just 'ok'. We wanted to write so many songs and our judgement was clouded so we just put most of them on the record. I think it set us on a path to self-discovery though, and we learned a lot. It also gave us the song Life Cycles which is our biggest song to date, and is a great representation of our band. Also, looking back on 2013, can you give us a couple of highlights from the year, and maybe a bit about why that achievement means so much to you personally? We have done the biggest tours of our career the last 6-8 months or so and wrote an amazing record along the way. We toured some new places and just became a better and closer band. I got to tour with Killswitch Engage, the first band I ever moshed or crowd surfed to. It's unreal to see how far just some normal dudes from all over the country can come together to do something amazing. We are lucky! What can we expect to see from The Word Alive in 2014? A new record and us touring all over the world. We'd love to see you! Interview with Dan For those that don't know, can you explain why you guys decided to take a sort of break, as well as what you have been up to in this time? We just all agreed to slow things down for a little while and focus on other projects. By the time we released our fourth record "The Constant, we had been on the road pretty consistently for about 8 years. We just wanted to take a step back and get refocused on what direction to take the band. A couple of us have side projects, so in our down time we spent our time working on that stuff and just enjoyed being at home. You guys have just put out an acoustic version of 'Page Avenue' so we know it's been ten years since this album came out, but what made you want to release an acoustic style version of the album, and also what was it like to re-record these songs in an acoustic way? We wanted to do something special to celebrate the ten year anniversary, but we didn't want to release something unless it was artistically worth it. So we decided to completely break down the songs and start from scratch to create totally different versions. We focused on piano and strings for the foundation of a lot of the songs which creates such a cool and dramatic feeling that really brings out the emotion in the songs. It was really interesting to have to go back and record all of the vocals again. It brought back so many memories of what I was going through during the writing of the original record. It was a super awesome experience. What's it been like rehearsing these songs for your latest tour then? For example, has there been a particular song that you haven't played much that's been exciting to revisit?! There were definitely a few songs from Page Avenue that we hadn't played in 5 or 6 years. It was like they were brand new songs again when we went to rehearse them. Some of the songs and lyrics have taken on totally different meanings to me. I can still relate to everything I was going through at the time, but some of the lyrics make more sense to things that are happening now. So looking back now, what can you remember from the recording process of 'Page Avenue'? It was such an amazing process. We were five kids who moved from St. Louis to Southern California, worked our asses off, got a record deal and recorded an album with John Feldmann. It was such a surreal turn of events for us. All of our dreams were happening right in front of our eyes. We did the record in Feldmann's home studio. We would wake up everyday, drive about an hour up to his house, record for about 14 hours, drive an hour back home and then repeat it again in the morning. We did this for about 3 or 4 months until we finally finished the album that would completely change our lives. What would you say was the hardest part behind putting together this record for you guys, and why? It was a pretty easy process really. We were so young and full of energy that we didn't care how hard we had to work. We were determined to be the best band on the planet. Luckily John Feldmann was a lot smarter than us and actually knew how to make a great record. He took the reigns and made our good songs into great songs. How would you say you have grown as musicians since the release of this record, and also has the way you record as a band changed much since you put out this record? We have definitely all become better musicians over the years. As far as recording goes, everything changes from record to record. We don't have one set way to write or record. We are always trying new things and trying to learn how to become better songwriters. We aren't scared to try anything and I think that's why our music is so diverse. For you looking back now, what does the album 'Page Avenue' mean to you personally, and also, what do you feel it represents as a part of your career as the Story of the Year? Page Avenue means everything to me. It completely changed my life. It represents the birth of Story Of The Year. I wouldn't be the person I am today or have the career I have today without that record. I've been able to see the world and play music for a living for 10 years because of the success of that record. Pretty incredible. Are you guys currently working on any material just yet, and if so, how's it coming along, and what can your fans expect from it? We haven't started officially working on anything new yet. We've been talking a lot about the direction and sound we would like to go for on the next record. Our plan is to start working on new stuff very soon. What are your memories from touring the UK over the years, and also, do you think you will bring this tour to the UK at some point? We love the UK. So many great tours and memories over the years. We haven't been there since the Taste Of Chaos with Atreyu a few years ago. We shared a bus with our friends As I Lay Dying. Great times! We've been working on getting back and we would love to do the Anniversary tour there. Hopefully it happens soon. You guys have had the same line-up since you started out, which is always a great thing to see, so can you tell us a bit about what the secret is behind getting along with each other for so long? To be honest, I don't really know how we've made it through all these years without killing each other. We just got lucky and we all actually like each other. Obviously, sometimes we fight and argue but we just know how to respect one another and get over it. How would you say the rock/alternative scene has changed since you guys first started out? It has definitely changed a lot, but every music scene is constantly evolving and changing. That's the beauty of music. Luckily, our music has enough elements from all different kinds of rock that we have managed to stay relevant to the scene 10 years later. Hopefully we can keep that going. What can we expect to see from Story of the Year in 2014? Our next move is to start working on new music. We don't want to rush anything so I'm not sure how long that will take, but we're ready to do this for another 10 years. Hopefully everyone will be there with us. Interview with Cyrus How is your current tour going so far with Alkaline Trio, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road so far? The current tour with Alkaline Trio and H2O is going great! We've been out now for about 2 weeks, and we're all having a great time. I love the fact that all three of our bands have known each other and have been friends for years -- we toured with Alkaline Trio almost 13 years ago, and also toured with H20 about 12 years ago, so it's amazing to be back out with friends of ours, and playing some massive shows along the way! We just played last night in Florida, and of course for us in NFG, being that Florida is our home state, it was insane...the crowd was awesome, sang along to every song, and we even included a few old "gems" for them! It's hard to believe that 'Kill It Live' is your first live album, so with this in mind, what made you want to put a live album out now, and what has this whole experience been like for you guys? We've been wanting to do a live record for a while now, but it just never seemed like the timing was right. However, last year we were at a point in our career where we had a few new songs written and wanted to release them but didn't really want to just put out a short 3-song EP, so we figured that we could record/release the live CD and add those 3 songs at the end for an added bonus. So we scheduled two shows in Southern California, got the live CD done, and then partnered up with a great label in Bridge Nine Records to release it a few weeks ago. Can you tell us about where the live shows for this record takes place, and also did it add any pressure to your live performance, knowing that these shows were going to be for a live record? We recorded two nights of shows at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California back in March. Of course there was pressure to make sure that these shows went well, and pressure to make sure the setlist was exactly what we felt that fans would want, but the good thing for us was that the venue was a place we had played plenty of times in the past and we knew going into the shows that they would be crazy and packed full of NFG fans, just like we would hope for shows that were going to be recorded and released to the public. Chad Gilbert got electrocuted on the first night, so what was this crazy experience like for you guys, and also what kind of pressure did it create for the second night, because we've read that you ended up taking a lot more material from that night? The whole Chad electrocution thing was insane, because at first none of us knew what happened...in fact, some of us thought he was joking because it was extremely hot in that club, and we thought he was "pretending" to fall down and pass out from the heat. But, after he had to leave the stage, and mind you, he was yelling at us the whole time to continue to play and not to stop the show just because he couldn't finish, we knew that something was wrong, and that unfortunately we wouldn't really be able to use the audio from that first night. Luckily we had already scheduled the second night, so we did have to use most of that show, although we were able to take the first few songs from the first night. Other than the two live shows you did for 'Kill It Live' what other shows have really stood out to you in 2013, and why? For me, I think my favorite shows of 2013 have to have been the Reading and Leeds festivals. Besides being massive shows, we got to share the stage with bands like Green Day and Deftones, and that's something that I'll definitely be able to tell people for a long time to come! Can you tell us about the three new songs that are on your album? We like it when people read the lyrics and make their own interpretations of the songs. Although many of our songs are based on specific situations and things that we go through in our lives, we like the listener to be able to take the lyrics and song and form their own opinions about what they mean to them. So how did these songs come together, and also what was the recording process like for these tracks? These songs started with musical ideas that Chad had towards the end of 2012/beginning of 2013, and he and I got together in January and recorded some rough demos. We then sent the demos over to the rest of the band and had Steve and Jordan start working on lyrics. We went into a studio a few days after the live CD shows and that's where we finalized everything: lyrics, song structure, and parts, and the recording process was actually pretty quick and smooth for us. The video for 'Connect The Dots' is really cool, can you tell us a bit about how it came together, as well as what it means to you guys? The video started as an idea Chad had...it's actually the first NFG video where we aren't playing instruments at all throughout the whole thing. The idea was to take American football, a sport that's very rough, but spin it around so that it's basically telling the story of a guy trying to get to and impress a girl. That's why there's no actual ball in the video, and the girl is in the end zone, representing "winning" the game. Of course, Jordan comes up just short at the end... The video was real fun to film, and we had a great time suiting up in all of the pads and stuff and "pretending" to know what we were doing! Plus, the fact that a lot of the video was filmed in slow motion I think helped to make it look even more epic than it actually was, because none of us are really that athletic. This year, you guys also put out an EP with six cover tracks by The Ramones, so how did this idea come about, and how happy have you been with the response to this EP so far? The Ramones EP started a few years ago when we were asked to perform a set of The Ramones covers for the Bamboozle festival here in the States, and to have Marky Ramone play drums for the set. After practicing the songs for that set, we realized that it was so fun to play those songs that we should just record them. It didn't take long at all to record the songs -- after all, they are pretty simple punk rock songs -- and we initially released only one song, "Blitzkrieg Bop," on the deluxe edition of Radiosurgery, but then decided that we should just finish the rest of the songs and put them on their own record. It was perfect timing as we were able to release the songs on Record Store Day here in the US and make it a special release for fans. The response has been great, and we've randomly included some of the Ramones songs in our live shows, even as recently as Halloween, where we dressed up as The Ramones and played four of those songs in addition to our normal set. As one of the key parts of the pop punk scene for over a decade now, what is your opinion on this style at the moment, and how much do you think it has grown or just changed since you guys first started out? Well, the scene has definitely changed throughout the years, but more than anything, I think it's just gotten even bigger and more wide-spread. It's not just pop-punk anymore, there's a lot of heavier bands with poppunk influence, a lot of pop artists that are coming from the pop-punk world, and other ways that the genre is expanding. I think it's cool that there are plenty of bands out there that will cite NFG as an influence, even if their music doesn't sound anything like us! We know Steve likes to produce, and that Chad has his side project 'What's Eating Gilbert' so individually, what else have you guys been up to this year? Well I've actually been helping Chad out with 'What's Eating Gilbert' by playing drums with him on tour. Jordan's been continuing to pursue his tattooing interests, and Ian is just being Ian...he's the king of "game used" sports memorabilia, and he's always looking for his next opportunity to collect rare items and add to his ever-growing collection! What can we expect to see from New Found Glory in 2014, I mean to start with the Parahoy! looks amazing! The Parahoy! cruise is going to be awesome...can't wait for that! We don't have anything concrete besides that as of yet for 2014, but I'm sure sometime in the year we'll be heading back into a studio to record another fulllength, and then there will definitely be plenty of touring for us as well, not just in the US but also abroad, like in the UK and more! Interview with Jade So how did you guys get to the album title 'Burials' and what does it mean to you? Davey and I were writing the record and it was sort of a dark process as all the music was coming out sort of darker, and just the overall vibe, so we knew we needed a title that matched the vibe and lyrically where Davey was coming from, as well as musically where I was coming from, so 'Burials' seemed really appropriate and it sort of came about from more of the lyrics and as sort of a general theme of all the songs. Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Burials' and maybe a bit about how it compares to 'Crash Love'? Well lyrically speaking some of the themes are based around chaos, disillusions and disillusionment, panic and sort of all these dark emotions that Davey was going through at the time. Musically, when we sat down together to write a song, it was where he was coming from, what he was going through, so I just wanted to write music that fit his emotional state. So my influences weren't from another band I was listening to, I wasn't listening to a certain thing, it was more of us kind of feeding of each other. As far as how it compares to 'Crash Love', that was years ago so just naturally we're in a different place as song writers, as people, we're into what we're going to write so I don't really think it has any relation to 'Crash Love' lyrically or musically, itâ€™s just a new document of where we are as a band. How did you end up working with Gil Norton, and what was he like to work with? We almost worked with him on 'Crash Love' and so we knew him and we had met him, and obviously his work speaks for itself. Especially with his big views and he does all kinds of eclectic stuff so when we talked to him prior to this record we knew that he was the guy, it was fantastic to work with him. He's really just pleasant and knowledgeable and easy to work with and just someone that you need, because if any band has a lot of band politics, then the producer has to be part producer part psychologist, part wrangler so you know, we don't have a lot of inner band issues, which is probably helpful for him, but he was just a good facilitator of where we needed to go with this record. You've stated that you 'haven’t really felt this creative and excited to write and make songs again in a long time' so with this in mind, what else can tell us about the recording and writing process for 'Burials' as well as how it compares overall to what you've done before as AFI? When we went to write this record we hadn't really had a plan to make a new record, so it wasn't like okay in October we are going to start making a new record, it was just kind of like Davey and I decided to get together and start working on some new songs, we weren't trying to write hits, we weren't trying to write something that would make anyone happy, it was just writing some music and just being creative. It hadn't really been since 'Sing For Sorrow' that I've felt that way, where there's no pressure on us and we weren't trying to accomplish any certain thing, we were just trying to write some music that spoke to us and that we liked so the writing process was good. The way it started out was kind of dark emotionally, but it was also very rewarding creatively and by the time we went into the studio, I had written out all the songs and the parts and so the studio was pretty easy, we would just record what I would have sort of done the blueprint for. What was the hardest part behind putting together 'Burials' for you guys, and why? None of it is really hard, and we realise that what we do is lucky. Recording a record to me is the least fun part because the writing is the part for me that is the most creative and most rewarding, like I said because we have figured it all out on drums and bass and by the time you go into the studio, it’s kind of like you know what you’re going to do, so that's more of the work part. I would say that that's the least fun part, that and mixing. The artwork for this record is really great, can you tell us about how it came together, and maybe what you'd like it to mean to your fans? Even before we came up with the title of 'Burials' we were actually talking about this eclipse idea and we talked about initially using it for the next Blaqk Audio record and then we came up with 'Burials' and started to think an eclipse would actually be appropriate for that. I found this eclipse image, like a general idea and we kind of reworked it so it looked like it does now. We wanted something simple and stark, not, like in the past where we have had some kind of like cartoonish album cover, or stuff that's more complicated, we just thought that a very striking/iconic and simple cover would be great for this album. What's it been like to play these new songs live then, and how happy have you been with the response so far? It's been great, we don't want to be that band that goes out there and plays the entire new record. We started off playing like two songs and now we're playing four songs off. Right from the beginning we started playing, 'I Hope You Suffer' because that was the first song everyone had heard, and the response to that song was just so great, live it’s a really heavy song, it’s just really big and I think people responded and then we played '17 Chimes' everyone sort of was beginning to learn that, and it’s fun because people are into the lyrics and they can have fun and sing along which is what we encourage! We know you have a new album out, but how come it's been a while since you guys put out an EP? I guess because it takes us so long between records that it’s hard enough for us to get a record out, and in a timely fashion much less to another release like an EP. I mean I like the idea of EPs, and if we were a little bit more on it as far as getting stuff done, then we could probably do EPs then. There's a lot of songs that I really love left over from 'Burials' like sessions that never got recorded that could be on a EP so you know that's always a possibility. What else have you guys been up to over the last couple of years then, I mean we know that Davey released a new book entitled 'Pop Kids' and that you also worked on a project called Blaqk Audio? Yeah we did, Davey and I did the second Blaqk Audio record, also he did broadway for a few weeks and he did a book and as far as me, I do music all the time, I do remixes, I do writing, I do scoring, so I'm just kind of always doing some musical thing. I mean between the end of the 'Crash Love' touring cycle and the beginning of writing 'Burials' we were just doing our own separate thing. You need like a break, because you spend a year creating and recording, and then you spend a year touring, so you need a little bit of a break in between. Also, it's been just over ten years since you released 'Sing The Sorrow', so with this in mind, what are your memories from putting together this record, and how happy are you with what it has done for the status and representation of AFI? That was pretty fun times, we had signed to a major label for the first time, and when we were on DreamWorks that was a whole new experience, we were going in with a legit producer for the first time and recording a record in LA which we had never done, so just all these things and all these firsts were happening for us. We had written that record before we ever signed, even though it was on a major label, none of the creation was influenced by that. It was a really great testament or a great snapshot of AFI in general, even from current day 2013 AFI to before 'Black Sails' and even to now..if I was to say do you want to hear a record that has a little bit of modern and old AFI, then that would be the one to listen to. Over the last couple of years there have been a lot of bands doing ten year anniversary tours etc, so what makes you guys want to avoid doing something like this? We've never wanted to be a legacy band, like a band that basically goes out and tours on their old material and basically states the fact that they’re not going to be a current band, and that their current music isn't going to be a thing. It’s about what they have already done..that's fine for bands to do that, and I have no problem with that in general, but for AFI we just don't want to do that, because creatively it’s the kiss of death when you accept the fact that you’re done creating new music that's going to be relevant at least to you and exciting. To me there's no point going on after that. What can we expect to see from AFI in 2014? Pretty much touring, we have got a lot of touring planned and we are trying to go all over the world to places we haven't been yet, we have only pretty much been in the US so far so I mean that's pretty much it and you know I want to do a lot more writing and also do a new Blaqk Audio record, so hopefully to get out next year and maybe even work on some new AFI. Interview with Jacoby First of all, congratulations on your new born 'Brixton Gabriel Shaddix', and also what has it been like for you recently to work your family life around your life on the road with Papa Roach? I mean I'm no stranger to it, I have an older son, who's 11 years old, so I have been doing this almost my whole career. As far as when I'm out touring and stuff, itâ€™s the sacrifice we make as musicians to chase this dream out here, and itâ€™s cool because then once the kids get older you can take them on the road with you. I took my older son Makaile on my european tour for six weeks, just me and him and that was a great experience for both of us, we had such an awesome time. I've toured europe so many times that, to be able to take him with me, and let him experience europe for the first time whilst also letting me experience him experiencing it..it was just awesome. Back in August there was another scare based on the health of your vocal chords, so can you update us on that? Is everything okay now? Yeah everything's cool, I started seeing a new vocal coach. I took a few weeks off and didn't talk again, I couldn't speak for like three weeks and my vocal chords got smaller so I started seeing a new vocal coach to give me a new technique, and to really help me work on my technique by showing me where to push it and when to not push it. Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Rock AM Ring in Germany was definitely a highlight for us in the last year, Download was another big highlight for us and just being able to get back on stage and sing again has been a big highlight for me. The Carnival Of Madness tour in the United States was a highlight, we’ve been a very busy band, so just getting out there and ripping it up and to also have the success of our singles from the radio in the United States has been a really big highlight. We had three top five singles on our record on the radio so far in the United States, so that's awesome. It's been a year this month since the release of 'The Connection' so looking back how happy have you been with the response to this record so far, as well as what it has done for the status and representation of Papa Roach? I think it’s a great representation of who we are, where we're at right now, creatively and musically. I love the record, I love playing the songs live and we play half the record live every night. It’s just one of those records where it just comes off great live and I think it’s definitely a blessing for us to be able to make music that still connects with people, relates with people, and I'm excited to see where we're going to go from where we're at now because 'The Connection' kind of brought back some of the old school flavours of Papa Roach, so it’s cool that we got those flavours back in our style now, so where will we take it next? You mentioned that you enjoy playing half of 'The Connection' album, so which songs of 'The Connection' are you enjoying performing live at the moment, and why? I would say 'Where Did The Angels Go', that song is just slamming as it’s got that double kick assault that get’s the mosh pit moving, and I love the lyrics for that song. I wrote it at a very desperate point in my life and to be able to sing it from where I am now in my life is so much better, it just feels good. Papa Roach has been going for twenty years, so how rewarding is that for you, and also, how do you think the rock music scene has changed or progressed since you first started out? I mean everything has changed in the music industry, and in the rock music industry. When we started the internet was not happening, we were selling cassettes so you know that's how far we go back, so before compact discs we went through the cassette era, and then compact disc era and then napster came in and changed the landscape of the business completely and the downloading happened and the crash of the music industry which has definitely changed a lot of things in the industry. You can talk to journalists, you can talk to people that used to work at the record store that used to be there like, those ex employees, as it’s impacted the music industry in more ways than just the bands you know, but yeah it’s forced us back to really do this for the love of the music...and you know we do. Also, how would you say Papa Roach has grown musically since you first started out? We went through many changes, with the nu metal era, and we had a massive hit with that didn't we, we then evolved into more like a post hardcore amalgamation of nu metal and then we got into rock 'n' roll and that was a big change for us on 'The Paramour Sessions' and 'Metamorphis?' as that was Papa Roach at our most rock 'n' roll. We developed into a really solid live band, and that's something that we pride ourselves in very much, and you know with 'The Connection' we wanted to go back and look at all the great things we have done in our careers and try to accomplish all the elements on the one record, that's 'The Connection'. How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour then, I mean, we've read that you guys will be releasing a DVD from your London performance as well? Yeah, we are not actually 100% sure about that right now, because we have been going back and forwards with the record label and the director trying to hammer out a good deal and sadly we don't know for sure. It might happen, and if not it will definitely happen in the future of Papa Roach because it’s just on my list that we got to record a live DVD at Brixton! Can you share with us a couple of personal highlights from touring in the UK as Papa Roach since your formation? Playing the mean fiddler...we played Mean Fiddler at the beginning of the Love Hate Tragedy Tour and that was the first place we were able to play in London anyways, so to be able to come back after we exploded into this multi million selling crazy worldwide superstar band to do that super small club was a good experience and it was just fun really. I would say Download 2005 was another big show for us because that was kind of like after nu metal had supposedly died and that was when the emo phase was the big craze in the UK and we were like well we’re still doing our own thing, and we're Papa Roach. Getting away with murder and our other material from that time really kind of catapulted us back into decent success in the UK which was awesome, and now it’s like we're back at Brixton Academy, fuck yeah! Have you guys started work on a new album just yet, and if so, what do you think fans can expect from it? We just kind of have riffs and just basic ideas floating around at the moment, so it’s too early to really say exactly what's going on with this record! Do you think you will be taking a different direction? If there’s one goal on this new record then it’s to have some more heavier riffs! What else can we expect to see from Papa Roach? We are about to come to the UK and just demolish that place, so be prepared for some dope ass rock 'n' roll shows! We are super excited to get back to our fans in the UK! Contact: facebook.com/insearchofreason Interview with Lee Can you tell us about the formation of 'Pinky Swear Records'? I was at Leeds Met Uni a few years ago doing Music Technology and wanted to do something additional to my course, something to make me stand out from the crowd. Myself and Conor Dawson were coursemates, both into similar music and both collected vinyl. We’d both pool in on orders from the States and stuff to split shipping, so we decided to combine the passion and start releasing music. How did you get to the company new 'Pinky Swear Records' and what does it mean to you? Our friend JD who’s based in Leeds and works for Slam Dunk used the name to put on his own small shows and do his monthly DJ night at the Cockpit, which played music we loved and had its own little following for the stuff he’d play. It was a nice alternative to hearing the same old rock club tunes you hear ALL THE TIME. So we decided to become the third leg of the Pinky Swear brand so to speak. Who was your first major client, and what was that whole experience like for you guys? I wouldn’t say it was major, but our first band was Lancashire/Manchester based hardcore band Bays. I went to school with a couple of them and hung out with the rest and they were starting to build a name in the UKHC scene and wanted to release a vinyl for the new EP so it just seemed a good collaborative idea at the time. By the time it came out, there was a real buzz about them and watching the preorders roll in on the first night, selling out of the most limited bundles and colours extremely quickly was so so gratifying. Their final 6 months of a band were crazy on that EP, before they split and 2 of the members went to form the band you’ll know called Survival who absolutely kill it. Can you tell us about the team members that run 'Pinky Swear Records' as well as what their role is in the company? It’s still me and Conor, believe it or not. Most people expect us to have a bigger staff but it just isn’t actually possible. Conor handles all the stock from his room and garage up in Leeds, because I moved a lot the past 2 years, and we both run it together talking ideas online every day. It’s pretty killer to say it’s 1 of many things we both do. So can you tell us what a 'normal' day would involve for you guys? We both actually have other full time jobs as well as running this. So beyond that, we’re just talking to our bands, working out release plans, sorting out new pressings / stock, packing orders, talking distro with our overseas clients and always looking for new bands and trying to expand. And basically wishing there was more time in a day to actually fit stuff in. What would you say is the hardest part about running your own independent record label, and why? Being self-funded. We started this out of our own pockets, and literally recycle one release’s profit into the next release. We don’t even earn any money out of doing this yet. If that day comes, happy days, but right now we’re focussing on ensuring our releases are as good as they can be, and would rather spend the extra money on making a vinyl pressing look great rather than cheapen it to ensure there was a greater profit margin. That, and finding the time to do everything. People can get impatient with us, but they do expect us to be more than a 2 man program. There's a lot of independent record labels out there, so with this in mind, what sets you apart from the rest? Our roster, that’s what separates all labels I guess. There’s a lot of great independent labels, but it all depends on who they work with that fundamentally sets them apart. Our roster is weird; I feel a lot of our artists are very different, yet still under the same umbrella. Our roster shows off our taste as 2 people. We listen to different genres, so we didn’t want to just release hardcore, or just release pop punk. That’s why we can have a pop punk band, an emo band, an acoustic artist, and crossover hip-hop hardcore band, and anything between. If we like it, that’s all we care about, and people seem to trust us on what we release to try something new. Can you tell us a bit about the releases you have out at the moment? Indeed I can. We just dropped our 3rd physical release for Heavy Hands, a hardcore band based in Glasgow; and also the 3rd time we’ve collaborated with our friends Thanks For Nothing Records to release them. They have riffs and beatdowns and it’s just really fucking hard. The EP’s called Guttersnipe Justice, it’s limited to 250 copies on 7” over two colourways. We have the ROAM EP out, called Head Down. We heard about these guys when they supported Neck Deep in April this year, and kept tabs. They dropped the first track (Head Rush) off this EP in July and it was a stormer, so we were interested to hear how the rest of the EP was going. Once we heard it, we built a nice team around them and sorted the release. They’re touring with our previous pop punk buds Neck Deep in January for their album release tour, which will be a nice family affair, and we’re hoping to keep them busy throughout 2014. Basically, if you trusted us with Neck Deep when we took them on, you should trust us with this lot. We’ve also recently sent off the 12” for Astroid Boys – Bacon Dream. This lot are as diverse as they come, and that’s why we love it. I was at Ghostfest 2012 in Leeds, and Scott from Heavy Hands recommended we go see them. They were playing the smallest stage in the middle of the day and I had no idea what they were like at all. It kicked off, absolute insanity and I’d never seen anything in that style that was so fresh and exciting; you can mosh, but also groove to the bars and the beat. I wanted to work with them instantly but it took a while to sort it. This EP was meant to be out in July but got delayed for boring reasons, but I’m just happy we’re finally pressing it. You can already get it digitally as they just wanted it out there, but the vinyl is coming soon, just finalising the details on a sick preorder package. For any upcoming bands that may be reading this, what do you look for when you are signing a band, and what do they really need to have when working with you guys on a daily basis? We look for something fresh that we can create a buzz with. But we have to like it ourselves, obviously. And they just have to be keen and nice people, willing to put the effort in to ensure us that we aren’t funding a release that’s essentially going to be pointless. And they can’t expect us to be able to turn them into something ridiculous overnight, we aren’t made of money and can’t pump a shed load into advances and music videos. In an ideal world we would, and it’s a future goal to be able to have those budgets, but there’s got to be some give and take. Most bands in this scene totally understand that, which is awesome, and helps build a solid relationship when you’re both on the same page from the off. So looking back on 2013, can you give us a couple of personal highlights as 'Pinky Swear Records' as well as why those moments mean so much to you? 2013 has been mental, in a nutshell. We took on Neck Deep at the end of 2012 before they’d ever played their first show. We sold out of everything we pressed at sheer ease. I just watched that band grow and grow and it was nothing short of beautiful. They have seriously dedicated fans. It’s now 12 months later, they’re the first UK band to sign a worldwide deal with Hopeless Records, they have their debut album coming out in January (which is one of the best pop punk records I’ve ever listened to, by the way), they have a headline run in Australia this month with shows selling out in advance, they have a headline tour of America next Spring with dates already being upgraded after a week and a half of being onsale; and as I write this, I’m on the train to see them play the first date of their support tour with the Wonder Years in Leeds; along with them doing Warped Tour UK. It makes me very proud to have been a part of their growth. It was also an honour to release the last ever Your Demise music, and it was cool doing such a fun release for them with really limited edition variants, cause they’ve never really been able to do that. Regardless of all the shit kids chat on the internet, that band has done more for the UK hardcore scene than most other bands. They were the first hardcore band I ever saw back in 2007 (unless you count Send More Paramedics) and they’ve always been great at what they do, always supported the scene even if the scene hasn’t supported them, and given smaller bands a chance. It’ll be sad to see them split up, but those last shows will be the perfect send off. It’s also been sick seeing how Nai Harvest have grown. From when we released ‘Feeling Better’ in 2012, to then selling out 2 pressings of their debut album ‘Whatever’ in 2013, it’s been a pleasurable rise to be apart of, and well deserved. The UK has a great little underground emo scene going on, and it’s nice seeing Nai Harvest as a forerunner of that now. They have a lot planned for the next 12 months so don’t expect it to slow down. I think other highlights have been seeing some of the insane slots our bands have been playing. We had Astroid Boys and Brutality Will Prevail play Download, which ruled. Our BWP cassette released also coincided with their tour with Cancer Bats which was sick. We had YD take our 7” release across the globe. What can we expect to see from you guys in 2014? From what we’ve told you already, we actually have no other releases in the pipeline strangely enough; we’re dealing with what we’ve released and we’ll make sure they’re done properly. Things will come along, like we have a few ideas but haven’t approached anyone. Just plenty more vinyl and cassette releases, and hopefully it’ll be stuff you all like. Is the motion graphics scene still something your passionate about? Not so much these days. I kind of spent a while in the thick of it and haven’t really gone back to it for a reason. I still love playing and experimenting with ideas in my own time but not so much on a client level. The VFX side of things I’m a little more passionate about. I like that side of “problem solving” even though I think the saying “fix it in post” needs to find a new home of “fix it in camera”. I’d rather sit and do VFX work as it’s almost the icing on the cake really and in some ways I find it more personally rewarding than animation. With motion graphics it can be a super long process from start to finish and I’ve found my attention span getting excited about other things, so the ability to be creative for a short time and then move on to making something else appeals to me. I think that’s why features aren’t on my trajectory. I just like to be making things and then when I’m ready just moving onto something new and getting the excitement back. Who was your first major client, and what was that whole experience like for you? As a live action director it would be Canon when I did the EOS M launch video, but directing more motion based work it would be Microsoft with the Zune HD piece which is cut down from a larger project. The Canon video was a big learning experience as it was the first time I had a big crew and Richard Stewart as my DOP which was amazing but I kind of felt not worthy going in. He turned out to be a complete sweet heart however and was super supportive knowing it was my first decent sized gig as opposed to some of the horror stories I’ve heard about well experienced DOP’s looking down on less experienced directors. So how did you end up working with Enter Shikari for their latest video 'Rat Race' and what was that whole experience like for you? I guess as with most promos, I just threw together a treatment when the brief came in. The idea came really quickly. Generally if I’m not into the track after a couple of listens I won’t submit anything as I feel it’s wrong to force an idea that you’re not totally excited about. If an artist is putting a video out, then they’re super stoked and proud of what they’ve created and I think you have to have the same enthusiasm as a director to do it justice. It was a really stressful shoot in the end, through no ones fault we had a massive amount of kit failures and the guys at Kode really went all out to make sure we got there in the end. It had been a while since I had worked with my really close friend LOVE Vis-Art who was kind enough to DP the shoot so that brought another element of enjoyment to the project. You also worked with Fossil Collective for their music video 'Wolves' so what was that like, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the music video? Really cold! It snowed the night before the shoot so it really slowed us down and made things a little bit more difficult. However in some regards it was a blessing as I feel it gave another visual layer and a bit of a twist on the usual forest themed videos. I’m a fan of narratives that I guess allow the audience to work a little bit in terms of putting the pieces together. Wether that be messing with the timeline or hinting at certain ideas, I’m not really one who spoon feeds. I’d much rather try make people feel a certain way by interpreting visuals at this moment in time. Wolves for me was about looking at how ugliness can be found in something beautiful and how it can eat away at something where it’s hard to regain control. I think in that alone there is something we can all relate too wether it be a relationship or a moment in life where we hit a crossroads. So which do you prefer then, commercials or music videos? It’s a tricky one. I’m definitely more swayed towards commercials but much more from the point of view of brands selling an idea or a message over “buy this product” as I feel it allows you to explore and introduce more human elements. When clients are selling a product, it becomes the focus, as it should… but I’m more interested/inspired and respect brands who are wanting to say “this is what we stand for, and this is who we are”. I think audiences are sophisticated enough to know if you do a lot of hand waving and you dress an idea up too much to sell something that it’s probably not as cool or as honest as you’re trying to pass it off to be. It’s really hard however to put a lot of who you are into commercials. You have money to spend on production but you’re often really locked into the idea the client wants and they find it hard to deviate from. With music videos you often have very little to no money and a bunch of people working for free but the freedom to be as creative as possible, but without the funds to realise your ideas at the level you could with a commercial. Did you have much room for that with the Sennheiser spots? Yeah Sennheiser were really great actually. I mean that job was crazy and pretty last minute. SLA in China brought me on for that job and it was the most intense and stressful job but also the best time and most fun I’ve ever had. It was super low budget, shot on a DSLR with 3 lenses on a hacked together rig, a skateboard and a pair of rollerblades in 7 days between London, Hamburg, Shanghai and that’s including travel time and also missed flights. I was doing a lot of producing for London and Hamburg shoots which was tough with trying to get organised creatively with not living in either of those locations so we were recce-ing on the fly. Me and Love Vis-Art were by ourselves for 2/3’s of the job till we got to China so it it was tough. China however was insane. In London and Hamburg we couldn’t really shoot anywhere we wanted due to the cost of permits, however in Shanghai we just walked into a pretty posh hotel and said can we go up and shoot on the roof and they took us straight up, no questions asked. We shot in a bar that was a little bit too upper class for what we were after and super dark. One of the producers from SLA however made a quick call and within an hour 4 lighting guys showed up, running cables everywhere through this open bar with lasers, all the lighting we wanted and creating something a health and safety officer would have a field day with in the UK. I wish things were a little more like that in the UK. I think I’ve only put out my directors cut of what we shot in Shanghai but there will be a directors cut of all three locations as soon as I have some down time. What's it like to work with a client then, do they normally expect you to bring the whole idea, or is it more of a collaboration process? It really depends on the client. I think it’s always a collaboration because there is very few occasions that come to mind when someone will just give you total freedom to create something for them. Generally speaking if someone approaches you it’s because they know what they want and it’s your job to serve the brief. It can be difficult though when they’re not creatives, and although that is why they come to you, it can be a struggle to get something by them that’s a little different as it makes them cautious of how it may be received, and I think that’s a problem a lot of creative and directors have. We want to be modern day artists, creating the work we want too and somebody financing it. Even if the work is for somebody else, there has been times I’ve come up with an idea that I’m really proud of and had to remember when putting the treatment together that “yes this is great, but is the client going to buy into this? “ and that most jobs aren’t your self realisation project. Which is hard, especially when you just want to create really great work and elevate the project. How long can it take for you to edit a video, and can you tell us a bit more about this process? It really depends on the video and who is involved. I’m shooting something next week which is just a one shot and all the time that has gone into it will be preproduction. The edit itself will just be very minor with a grade. However other jobs like the Zune piece took several weeks as I did everything myself. 3D modelling, lighting, texturing, animating, compositing, the edit and the grade. I usually edit all my own stuff but for Rat Race, Nathan Killham did the initial edit and I top and tailed it with the into and end stuff and did the post and grade. Usually I’d say the edit takes as long as there is time available as you just keep working until the eleventh hour when it needs to be delivered and you have to call it quits. So what directors have influenced you over the years, and why? My biggest influences have definitely been Rob Chiu and Chris Hewitt. Coming through the design then motion graphics scenes also, those guys were always putting out work which you knew they’ve just got hold of a HDV camera and managed to make something truly great and foreword thinking with the resources they had available to them. It was always a great reminder that there isn’t many excuses you can make anymore. The technology we have available now means literally anyone can make work you couldn’t have dreamed of 15 years ago. Bruno Aveillan has been another of mine for a while now - just the way he looks at the world is always refreshing. As of the last year I’ve been really loving Aoife McArdle, She’s killing it every time at the moment and makes me want to quit. For anyone out there looking to do what you do as a living, what advice would you give to them? I’m still kind of starting out so I don’t really feel qualified to be able to give that much advice but what I would say is that for me, the one thing that has kept me being freelance when times have been hard is that constant thought of regret when I’m older of not knowing what could have been and being constantly frustrated to create things. I guess more importantly you just have to believe in what you’re doing and most importantly yourself otherwise how can you possibly expect anyone else too? I’ve found most people I know who are freelance wear a lot of hats too. I do a lot of the post production side of things, a lot of my friends who direct also shoot and others do corporate work in various formats. I suppose until you establish yourself well enough it’s good to think about other ways of making money with the skill set you have, the alter ego side of work that no one ever sees. What can we expect to see from you in 2014? A departure in style which is more cohesive and consistent. I’ll have been directing 2 years come January so I’ve had time to experiment with ideas and techniques a little. A small post production company as I still like to get my hands dirty. Calling London home. Can you tell us about how you first got involved in acting? Kind of the usual really, through school and then from there I went to drama groups and that kind of thing. Trying to get the cool kids to like me I guess, doing funny things and being the class clown. I just took the traditional school route and then went to university which, in hindsight was fantastic. It gave me the opportunity to kind of test myself and try new things. From there I guess that's where I discovered that I was good at being creative and creating my own work. It allowed me to develop my own theatre company from there and then The Hobbit after that! According to IMDb your first major acting experience was working on ChuckleVision, so what was that experience like for you, and what do you think you learnt from working on that show? Haha! Riveting reading that is! It's really quite odd, I'm primarily a theatre actor so i've had ten years of creating my own work and developing my own company, we're kind of like a double act really. We tour internationally that sort of thing, but I got a name for myself as sort of a downtrodden everyman from a few adverts. But from there I got ChuckleVision which was quite good fun actually. Working with such legends as the Chuckle brothers. But from that I jumped straight to The Hobbit. So I think I missed a few stepping stones along the way. How did you get signed on for the role of Ori in The Hobbit, and what was this whole experience like for you at the time? The casting directors did a lot of adverts, I guess I was just being used as the geeky guy and I kind of got a name with them. Martin was actually saying no because of clashes with Sherlock, so they literally phoned up every actor in London that was under five foot seven. So I just went along, it was a lot of fun and I wasn't a pratt which is kind of a good audition for me! I thought I wouldn't be Bilbo Baggins, but eight weeks later I got a call, Peter and the team fell in love with my audition and wanted to write a part into the film for me based on one of the dwarves in the hobbit. What was your first day on the set/location like, and what was it like to meet the cast as well? It was a really surreal experience and took a while to get used to. I kept thinking have they got the wrong person cause I was working with such legends! The first time I met Pete it was at his house at a BBQ, so it was a really odd experience. They're all such lovely people and it was just like one big family for two and a half years. My first day on set was great, Pete started me off very easily back of shot and the crew gave me a big round of applause, because they knew it was my first time. But after two and a half years it became very normal, which is sort of a very odd thing to say haha! What's it like to work alongside the mighty Peter Jackson then, and how does he push you as an actor? Certainly in ways I thought I'd never been pushed, physically as well. When we arrived we did a lengthy stint in a dwarf boot camp so to speak and that consisted of a lot of running, gym work, horse riding and dialect lessons. It was a real kind of boys camp, with all the amazing actors with all of us going through this. But he's a really lovely guy, although he's got this huge multimillion dollar budget behind him it does still feel like it's his kind of baby and you're doing a short film in his garage. He's got a very clear way of working. What is it actually like to work on these huge sets/locations, and what do you think you've learnt the most from doing this? Well the sets were just mind blowing. They were so real it was just like you were outside! Working on those were incredible, but it was sort of one extreme to the other. So one day I'd be working on these huge sets and then the next on a green screen. People were always sort of, are you finding this hard, but I've just done so much theatre where you don't have a budget, you're just making your way through the story without any props, so that aspect was quite easy for me. It was such a learning curve, I've learnt so much on this job. Can you tell us a bit about the make-up for this film then, for example, how long do you have to spend getting ready, and what's this process like for you? The process was hell (laughs), I'd wake up early and then be in the make-up chair for around an hour and a half. But actually on the grand scheme of things wasn't so bad as the other dwarves who spent bloody ages in there! I tell you what though, the best feeling in the world was taking it off at the end of the day. That never got boring! So, what can we expect to see from Ori in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug then? He's developed and he is not intimidated by the rest of the dwarves. He's still got that nervous energy and quality about him. But the journey they go on spans a year and a half so he's growing up a bit. How would you say the relationship has grown/progressed between the Dwarves in this film? In terms of the movie we experience so much, especially with the relationship between Ori and Dwalin who were very Anti-Ori at the start, they kind of gain that respect for each other. There's lovely moments in the film where a lot of the dwarves sort of look after the character and then there's times where I do the same. When filming The Hobbit trilogy, what was the hardest part for you to act on, and why? There were so many tough days, really long days. Some of the fighting sequences were very fun but after a whole day, it just goes on forever and you're just knackered after. But you have to be as fit as you can be for this because they want to get as many takes as possible. But when you're doing big fight scenes, they have to be perfect and you canâ€™t let the energy drop. Those days were pretty hard. But apart from that when we were all doing it together we could all have a moan at each other! Alternatively, what was the most exciting part for you to act on whilst working on these films, and why? I think just being in the bloody Hobbit! You know my first movie and I'm on the Hobbit! But whatever happens with these movies I'm going to be a part of this history which I don't take for granted at all. If you said I was going to be in a Tolkien trilogy, I'd have said "what? No!". I tell you what I've loved every moment of it. It was right up my alley! Recently you appeared at the Cardiff Comic Con, so what was that whole experience like for you, and do you have any particular highlights from that time that you'd like to share with us? Yeah I've done a few of them now, I recently did one up in Texas. They're crazy things but they are real good for fans. You get to see the fans and talk to them. They're very interested in every little detail and know it more than you do, so it's quite nice to have a dialogue with them, talk about the film and share secrets as it were. Acting wise this year you've also been a part of the short 'Minimus' so what was that like for you, and also, what can you tell us about this short? It was a really nice thing to do. It was a very small job, I read the script and really loved it. It's basically a take on Gladiator, where you have a character called Minimus who is sort of a weed and a bit of a nerd, which I seemed to fit very well Haha! You'll have to see it, they're taking it to festivals at the moment and it just won best comedy at the Chicago film festival. Incredibly different to work on so I had to be very quick. What can we expect to see from you in 2014 then? Well I'll be doing the premiers for the Hobbit. But then I'll be back on the road as an actor and see what happens. Continuing my comedy writing, getting that back up to scratch. Just a jobbing actor! Andy Leddington I should probably clarify this to begin with by saying that I don't actually think that this is the best album released this year. There have been hundreds of amazing releases in 2013, some of which are, technically, better than this. But the reason I have picked it as my album of the year is because of what this album means. People had started to lose faith will Killswitch Engage at the start of this year, and then along comes this album, and I don't think many people, if anyone were quite expecting this. Yeah, it might not be the absolutely best written album of this year, but let's not forget, it is pretty bloody amazing. With this album, the old team of Leach and Dutkiewicz prove that they deserve to be accredited with basically inventing metalcore in 2002. Now, 11 years and one hell of a journey on, they are still able to write music that shows all other bands who claim to be metalcore, how it's done. There are the obvious singles like The New Awakening and In Due Time, obviously, but one listen of the album the whole way through and you very rapidly begin to see that every single song is of exactly the same, near-untouchable calibre. I must also say, Jesse's voice on this album is one of the best things I have heard in a long time. He was always a good vocalist, not amazing, but good. Now, however, he is an absolutely fantastic one, and anyone who has seen them live since his return can attest to the fact that he can not only perform all of his old tracks with added brilliance, but can also hit all the notes of the songs written by Howard whilst still unmistakably sounding like himself. As an album in it's own right, this is an absolute belter. As a Killswitch Engage album, it's up there with Alive or Just Breathing, and who wouldn't have said that was one of the most prolific metal albums of all time? Carina Lawrence This has been a great year for music, so it was a tough job to pull out my favourite album of the year but, I went with a band that have had many trials and tribulations, which some may love, some may hate, but this album shows a reinvented more mature side to the band that is undeniably genius and executed superbly. I think they gained a lot more fans and of course appeased and surprised existing fans! Yes it is Bring Me The Horizon's 'Sempiternal'!...The hugely powerful and popular, 'Can You Feel My Heart' immediately highlights their new sound with strong electronic emphasis, as well as Sykes more varied and emotive vocals and not too mention the massive ambience and atmosphere making for high impact throughout the entire album! This can be heard especially on tracks such as 'Sleepwalking' with a mix of creepy and upbeat sounds, the right balance of singing and screaming and a stand out chorus, similarly, 'Shadow Moses' has a haunting sound and heavy hard hitting riffs, which demonstrates one of their best songs to date in my opinion. The album has plenty of heavier offerings also which go back to their older roots entwined with their more eclectic sound also, which can be heard particularly on, 'The House Of Wolves' and 'Antivist'. But some of the biggest highlights for me are the songs which start out fairly minimalistic that build up with complexity and depth as they unfold, showing stunning musicianship and arrangement, in terms of tempo, synths sounds, vocals to fit the instrumentation and atmosphere and all the while featuring passionate, emotive and honest vocals from Oli! This album really has something for everyone and should be heard by all! If you haven't somehow yet heard this, you are missing out on one of the most stand out defining albums of the year! Some bands can't quite find the ratio of electronic sounds within the metal/rock genre or don't know how to make it work, but this is using it to its finest degree! Heather McDaid Might be a little biased to pick a home grown band for album of the year, but CHVRCHES are one of the most exciting Scottish bands of the last year, personally at least. Their gargantuan rise since 2012 was aided greatly by the electro pop quirk of their debut The Bones of What You Believe, a sonic masterpiece that helped pack out two sold out home shows at Glasgow's ABC. Avoiding guitars for their hooks, the trio draw you in through their immaculate production and electronic nuances. Lauren Mayberry's cutesy vocals are definitive and enjoyable, but the music surrounding her complements rather than overshadows. We Sink twinkles into life, its buoyant electronics echoing, practically throbbing out of the speakers. The relatable edge to their lyricism is teamed with a fun tone. And more, it translates live. What finer quality is there in an album? The only dynamic change is that of the bass, which cranks up the intensity of the already enjoyable Science/Visions, and many others. In a world where electronics are slapped on every genre, every album or hit single, it feels absolutely refreshing to find a band doing it themselves with such a natural feel. Gun, for one, twinkles around Lauren's candyfloss-sweet vocals, and where these high pitched tones have been used at times to parallel an edgier sound - Daisy Chainsaw, Japanese Voyeurs - this musical surrounding feels nothing short of ideal for her. There are some more atmospheric moments, with Tether teetering on the gloomier line before journeying down an optimistic road, culminating in an upbeat electronic soiree. Under the Tide has a bit more grit to it, with Doherty picking up some vocal responsibility. Recover is another powerhouse, brimming with intensity long held notes overlay punctuated beats, punchy yet commanding, all the while encompassing that sweet and enjoyable presence. When it boils down to it, CHVRCHES are a simply enjoyable band, and that's what music should be about. There is meaning to be plucked from their lyrics, more often than not it's easy to relate to and understand, but what's more important is the overall package. Polished in its production and tight as a song writing unit, this album is simply a pleasure to listen to. More meaning may have been found on one album, another might have one of the greatest singles of the year, but The Bones of What You Believe is honestly just a pure joy to give a spin, and it only gets better after all these listens. Chris Morgan So it has come to that time of the year when we "the reporters" have to decide on our album of the year and write some spiel on why this album is our pick of the bunch. I am not going to lie to the readers out there and say I that I have listened to hundreds of albums throughout the year. On the other hand the ones that I have heard I've not sat down, put on some thousand pound headphones endorsed by a sell-out Pop-Artist to get a feel for "what this album is truly about", No. If it pleases the eardrums I may buy some more of their tracks, nothing more, and nothing less. There have been many contenders this year to claim the coveted mantle of "Chris Morgan's number one album of the year" but only one can be the winner and that is the 1975's self titled debut studio album. The Manchester indie/rock group have swelled in popularity in recent months and they are currently on the road doing their sell out tour across the UK. Having originally appeared on Huw Stephen's BBC introducing segment back in August 2012, supported Muse on their 2nd Law world tour in May 2013 then finally in September reached the no#1 slot in the UK album charts, not bad for a year's work really. This is one god dam sexy album. It has all the elements to please the punks to the townies, from the young to the old, it's best described as the universal crowd pleasing album of the year. Catchy melodies, sing along choruses, good riffs and fantastic lyrics what more can you ask for? Singer Matt Healy described it as a "soundtrack to our teenage years" and it truly is. If you're like me and stuck in your late twenties you start to listen to each lyric and reminisce about the times you spent chasing after that one that got away, there is also a lot said about sex and drugs too, I guess some people had more exciting lives than myself, oh bah humbug. The 1975's sound isn't something new or unique you can pick out elements and point to something from the past and say "that's what they're doing here". It's not replicating, its taking what's good from various sources and making it work. It's obvious to see from the hard graft these lads have put in that they're not out to be pop-stars but to be artists. Before their self titled album they released four different EPs, played shows in tiny bars and worked at getting a name for themselves and that's evident in this polished, finely tuned album - years of planning and hard work. James Payne If I thought 2011 and 2012 were tough decisions, this was even tougherâ€Ś so many good releases this year. My album of the year is one that has not been talked about much since it's release but should be considered at the top of punk lovers lists. So here goes, my album of year 2013 is awarded to 'The Light Under Closed Doors' by The Swellers [No Sleep Records] The album picks up where the EP 'Running Out of Places to Go' left off. I've selected this album because of it's simplicity and it's addictive nature. The album kicks off with 'Should' - a typical Swellers number this one with it's numerous hooks, slick guitars and simple vocals. 'Big Hearts' is very similar with it's infectious hooks and simple but brilliantly delivered vocals. The momentum continues with 'Got Social' - again the repeated verses makes it very memorable and so easy to listen to. Although the guitar riffs are fairly safe they compliment the strong, passionate vocals perfectly. 'High-Low' reminds me of some of the old slow, bassy songs produced by The Swellers, it brings versatility to an already stellar album. If you're head doesn't nod at the start of 'Great Lakes State' there is something wrong. Another of the many highlights on the album, sounds very much like a classic Bouncing Souls number. 'Becoming Self-Aware' is the best song vocally and is more like the previous album 'Good For Me'. 'Friends Again (We Can't Be)' reminds me of older Swellers. The guitars are much more experimented with in this track; again the vocals and on point and the production is faultless. 'Designated Driver' begins with pace and settles into the usual Swellers rhythm, this track has an excellent chorus again showcasing the catchy nature of the album. 'Favorite Tune' is another highlight, sounds very much like early Jimmy Eat World. Again the constant hooks used are just so addictive for the listener. So, The Swellers 'Call It A Night' on the album. The track starts soft but builds up into one of the more passionate songs on the album, the vocals are superb on this track. Overall, an excellent album and it had to be to claim my top spot for 2013. If you haven't listened to this album yet then you're missing out. One of the best pop punk albums you'll hear this decade. Ella Guthrie 2013 sees the return of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The Fourth studio album mixes the bands signature punk-rock feel with some electro synthesised vibes. It's a freaky cool album, at least that's what the cover art seems to imply. The first track is 'Sacrilege.' As all good openers should, it starts slow and soft, with some gentle high pitched vocals from Karen O, then it builds in true Yeah Yeah Yeahs fashion with "in our bed" repeated in a shouty fashion with heavy distortion placed over the top. The song then continues to build with its eerily funky beat bringing the song to its chorus. The choir in the background adds a nice touch too. The Title track 'Mosquito' takes the album to a whole new level. It starts with the sound of bongo drums, then it's back to classic Brooklyn-basement Rock n' Roll with some electric guitar and distorted vocals in true Karen O style. Another of my favourites on the album is 'Area 52,' siren sounds, steady heavy drums, outer space based lyrics, robotic sound effects, what more could you want from a track on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs new album? Although the vocals aren't given enough attention and the sounds effects can get a bit overwhelming, it's an incredibly fun song that I know I couldn't help but dance too if it came on at a party. In regards to the other tracks on the album, 'Buried Alive' is a lot heavier and rockier, another good track to air guitar with, it also features Dr. Octagon, a nice little rap surprise in the middle of the song I'm sure none of us were expecting. For something softer, listen to 'Subway' it's a lot closer to a ballad and its simplicity works in its favour. Though I could have gone for any of the great releases this year, AM, 180, Home or Like Clockwork, I thought I'd pay tribute to some Punkadelic Rock n' Roll veterans, Mosquito gets my vote for best album of the year. Zach Redrup Ever since the heart wrenching news of Reuben’s decision to part ways back in 2008, the band’s die-hard fanbase have been longing for their return, even if just for one final tour, release or show; mainly for closure. Come September 2013, the news of frontman Jamie Lenman returning to the scene was an unforeseen yet completely welcomed surprise, which was announced just as abruptly as the band’s end. What he delivered to us was a double album, ‘Muscle Memory’. Split into two halves of the singer/songwriter’s talents, the first part being incessantly heavy and the second bearing his more melodic tendancies, there is everything here that any existing Reuben fan could want and a whole lot more. Indeed, what we see here is Lenman flexing his songwriting muscle more than ever before. On disc one, the Poirot look-a-like dips into realms of screeching post-hardcore (No News Is Good News), death metal (Gary, Indiana), technical metal (One Of My Eyes Is A Clock), thrashing riffage (The Six Fingered Hand), downtuned sludge (Muscle) and Converge-like buzzsaw punk (Fizzy Blood). On the flipside, disc two is just as diverse but in a far more tender approach. What we can find here is high tempo country (If You Have To Ask You’ll Never Know), bouncy big band (Pretty Please), a hearty sea shanty (A Day In The Life), heartstring tugging pop-rock (I Ain’t Your Boy) and something akin to a 20s-era radio favourite (Shotgun House). As such, ‘Muscle Memory’ serves a purpose of being much more than a return of Reuben. This two-disc mammoth of a record holds at least one song throughout that everyone can enjoy, it sees Lenman being much more experimental with his songwriting plateau than ever before and, hopefully, is just the first step in seeing one of the greatest singer/songwriters Britain has seen for the past decade finally making a welldeserved name for himself. Truly a record worthy of the title: Album of 2013. ZACH Adam Gilbert Prior to this release I knew very little about Letlive, despite having seen them live twice. The hype behind Blackest Beautiful was absolutely huge, and fortunately enough for myself, I was asked to review it for this publication. On listening to it for the first time, I felt like I was in a trance, concentrating on every little segmentof the album. It's so complex, so carefully constructed, and yet still after listening to it numerous times, there are new notes and beats which I pick up. Unlike a lot of albums that are around at the moment, there isn't a weak song on this record. The amount of work that has been put into it pays off, and you can genuinely feel the frustrations that fuelled the band to produce this album. If I had to pick a favourite on this record it would have to be 'Dreamer's Disease'. The vocals on the track and the album in general are unbelievable. Jason Butler has the ability to release blood curdling screams whilst also producing clean vocals similar to the likes of Patrick Stump at times. This is my album of the year, but it could also be my album of the decade. Andrew Dex Their first album 'Under Soil and Dirt' was an absolutely brilliant album, so obviously before listening to 'What You Don't See' I was expecting to at least hear another great release from the Californian band, and basically they did not let me or any of their fans down. As soon as the first track 'Things I Can't Change' kicks in you are instantly hooked, the track has a great mixture of breakdowns, melodic guitar parts & raw vocals provided from their front man Parker Cannon, so all in all, a great way to start a record. Another great factor to point out before we continue is that this record was produced by Steve Klein (of New Found Glory) and when you listen to it straight through, then as a listener you'll be able to tell that he has done a fantastic job at bringing out the best the band has to offer! The album continues with 'Stifled', 'Small Talk' 'Playing the Victim' which are all perfectly crafted pop punk tracks that grab your attention with ease! They also do a great job at keeping the album momentum to a high, as this is a major flaw in a lot of records, where you'll find that the first couple of tracks are great, and then the rest of the album is terrible, this is just not the case with The Story So Far on this record, as it is 100% energy combined with brilliant lyrics throughout the album, awesome. 'Right Here' & 'Empty Space' are probably my two most favorite songs on this record, simply because they are just songs that are really unique in the pop punk genre, and they are both perfect examples when it comes to showing how well The Story So Far have done when it comes to having their own take on the pop punk style. My absolute highlight from the last part of the album has to be 'Bad Luck' which provides an epic pop punk break down to once more show us what these guys are capable of achieving in their writing and recording process! The great thing about this record is that when you listen to it you can simply imagine just how well the energy fulled tracks will work in a live performance setting, and as a band, to create this kind of setting on a recording, is a great achievement. The album really is outstanding to me as it shows with ease a band that is really pushing the boundaries of what they can accomplish, and that is always really cool to hear on a record. To conclude, I'd just like to add that in 2013 we've seen a lot of anniversary tours, and after listening to this album for a lot of the year, then it wouldn't surprise me if the band decided to celebrate this outstanding release in ten years time! Panic! At the Disco - Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! Many people will probably be aware of the previous indie-pop incarnation of Panic! At the Disco. After all, a Fever You Can't Sweat Out was an incredibly successful album, and catapulted them to a fairly high level of fame. Now they're back, eight years and three albums later, and so much has changed. Where Brendon Urie's unique vocals once covered catchy pop-rock riffs, occasionally interspersed with electronica, they (now heavily accentuated with electronic effects) now float over Bastille-esque beats and keyboard riffs. Bands often have a drastic sound-change as they progress, and it honestly seems it's more this than an attempt to become more commercially viable that has led to the choices Panic! At the Disco have made. It's still unmistakably Panic!, but there's something else in there now, or rather it's missing something. It's missing that thing that made them so instantly brilliant and unique. It really pains me to write this, but they now sound a bit like every other indie-pop band, just with Brendon Urie's once-unreciprocal voice now edited so heavily it sounds similar to everyone else. It's not a bad album. It's just not Panic! At the Disco levels of good. AL Echosmith - Talking Dreams Much shit has been lost over this first album from Echosmith, and at a first listen, it is a little difficult to see why. At first glance, the album seems to be a fairly bogstandard pop album with a few fairly rocky moments and some catchy melodies. But a further insight, and some more listens to this album, and what was at first a fairly bland if catchy album becomes an interesting case study in pop music. The blend of ambient electronica, the occasional rock-y twang guitar and the hauntingly beautiful vocal melodies of Syndney Sierota make this album useable as both an album to put on and have a great time to, or as an album to completely zone out and relax to, a dual trait which is very rare these days. Standout songs like Cool Kids and Bright are ones which incorporate both of these elements, although there are songs like slightly more rock-orientated opening track Come Together which are equally as good. AL Life’s Too Short For Us Holland might not be the first country you think of when you think of melodic anthem style pop-punk but in their midst they are hiding a potential gem in a genre that despite at one time being seriously over populated, hasn’t seen a huge amount of new talent emerging above the rest in recent years. The Blink 182 and A Day to Remember influence is clear right from the off, the songs are dripping in that pool party style. These are feel good songs with that extra punch to allow a live crowd to just go nuts; the chorus for ‘Where We’re From’ is catchy and will make for some big sing-alongs. The drums provide a powerful, precise backing and the crunchy bass stands out with out being overwhelming. ‘You’re Approval’ is one of those teenage angst songs, of breaking away and doing your own thing. It has some great palm muted melodies ringing through out with the bass cutting through in a booming and earth rumbling manner. Its pre-chorus allows the ear catching vocal harmonies to take over and stand out over the slowed down verse riffs before the bruising chorus blasts it back to top speed. The hardest hitting is saved for the end with ‘Not Playing’, this takes on a less happy-go-lucky feel, the tones are heavier and the vocals take on a new angrier intensity that shows deeper depths beyond pop-punk. AN Protest The Hero - Volition Canadian progressive metal band release fourth studio album 'Volition' which marks the band's first record not to be released through the Underground Operations and without any financial backing of a label, as instead it was funded by their fans via Indiegogo. And to add to the intrigue of the album it also features Chris Adler from Lamb Of God on drums following the departure of Moe Carlson. As always this new album features a hell of a lot of guest appearances! First song and first single, 'Clarity' jumps right into strong and complex riffs and powerful vocals from Rody along with top notch instrumentation from the rest of the band asserting that they are back and looking to impress immediately! Jadea Kelly also offers her first guest vocal appearance on the album, and she is no stranger to doing so for the band! 'Drumhead Trial' opens on a superb melodic technical intro and continues with fast tempo, great rhythms and beats. The musical creativity and technical abilities are kept up throughout with heavy riffage, intricate licks and fast and heavy as hell drumming provided by Chris Adler, which may have something to do with the title on the track! Nice guest vocals towards end of song from Kayla Howran which compliment track and Rody's vocals! 'Without Prejudice' like others hooks you quickly with awesome riffage, this particularly shows Rody has some pipes on him, and a truly great range with his vocal melodies! We also see guest vocals from Jadea again here. 'Without Teeth' features three guests appearances, from Jadea again on vocals, guest guitarist, Wyatt Schutt and even a violin from Raha Javanfar! Interesting, engaging and high energy one with great guest additions! 'A Life Embossed' is a nice heavy offering with some dark growled vocals and features guest vocals from AJ Kolar and Mark Iannelli and to accompany these fierce vocals with have some fantastic heavy drumming! 'Mist' has a bit of a different vibe to it and shows Rody's skills more so and diversity, really pushing the band to their limits and fitting the pace and dynamics of the complex instruments. It contains a brilliant dark fast paced instrument section as well as another appearance of beautiful violin parts from Raha that end the song in style. 'Underbite' breaks the tranquil of the end of the last song, with strong fast heavy vocals and a hint of punk elements can be detected here, making for a great fast fun song! We also see more guest vocals from Todd Kowalski. 'Animal Bones' is one of the few tracks not to feature any guests, but nonetheless we are treated to a wide variety of vocals, with the vocals and guitars particularly feeding off each other, making a strong impact. Last song, 'Skies' starts on a softer note with a total of 3 guest vocalists, Kevin Lewis, Josh Hainge and Marc Palin. It quickly changes from soft to brutal, with some demonic style vocals in parts and of course memorable guitar licks and masterful drums. A good varied and skilful song to end with and sums up all the highlights of the album. This album marks the sound of a band giving it 110% in effort, passion, skill and creativity! It was for the fans and funded by the fans and I think this helped the process and I think the fans will be extremely pleased with the outcome! Each member really adds to the huge sound and depth and of course with the addition of guest appearances most notable Chris Adler and Jadea Kelly the album is fresh, exciting and varied! CL Weesp This Minsk Techno-Metal band have certainly got a unique sound with their mixture of samples and electro being mixed together with crushing guitars, clean vocals and guttural screams. The title track opens the album with the main rhythm being provided by a synthesiser, growing to include some crushing guitars and the atmosphere provided by more synths as is the case on much of this EP. It is a disco flavour that greets you on ‘There’s Like No Tomorrow’, with the same vibes so prevalent from the opener but this one feels less diluted and far more straight forward. Until the final minute or so when it jumps between the sampled loops of a European nightclub and hard hitting, crushing riffs. The gradual, atmospheric build of ‘Livian’ makes it the stand out. The samples swirl around behind the guitars while the bass is all over the place, building new rhythms within the main rhythm. Speaking of which, the bass line delivered by Mi on ‘Sub’ is incredible, moving from shredding bass lines to outrageously quick slap and back to slow, deliberate bass lines at will. There is a huge Korn type outro to this song again showing the flipping of styles. The is plenty to like about Weesp but with so many different styles being crammed in to each song it ultimately makes it feel too busy and congested, not leaving much room for changes in dynamic. That said there are areas of the metal community that will lap this up. AN Kevin Devine - Bubblegum/Bulldozer Kevin Devine hasn't found himself short of material recently. Taking it upon himself to take on everything the self styled musician/manager/label head has been funding his musical endeavours through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, even going as far to do all the promotional work. As if being a touring musician wasn't busy enough. Bubblegum and Bulldozer are two different records, not just by name, but by musical nature. You're not getting the same thing here. Produced by Brand New's Jesse Lacey, Bubblegum is the more mature out of the two. It's a little bit of punk, it's a little bit of old school emo. Devine knows how to craft a good track and each one is slightly different. Tracks like "Fiscal Cliff" and "Private First Class" take a good chomp at being harder. Bubblegum is full of tracks like this, but it's a fun listen that will no doubt be fun live. Bulldozer however, gives in to the thrashy and punk-esque aspects of Bubblegum and offers up some lighter and more pop-rhythm driven tracks. In fact it gives off a bit of everything, you've got the sombre acoustic track "From Here", atmospheric alt rock on "Matter of Time" and even some straight up hard guitar rock on "She Can See Me". Bubblegum and Bulldozer and coherently different from each other. Each offering different things. If you're into more mainstream rock or just any rock music, pick up Bulldozer. If you're into something a bit heavier and more punky, pick up Bubblegum. Equally they both show off Devine's brilliant musicianship and offer good daytime listening. GD We Were Hunted - You Know Me Now It has been a whirlwind few months for this recently formed Glasgow four piece and having your debut show at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut is an impressive way to begin. This debut single followed hours after and has since gathered national radio coverage in Scotland. ‘You Know Me’ is a grower; the harmonic melodies form the back bone of this track while the staccato build ups in the breakdowns give it a reggae element before launching in to the crunching and catchy chorus’s. The bass takes on very much the role of a lead here booming some much needed bottom end to a treble heavy track. The vocals are strong, like the earlier guitars there is reggae style feel to them that is intriguing. It leaves you wondering what more is on offer from We Were Hunted as they attempt stand out in a competitive, thriving Glasgow scene. AN Divided By Friday - Modern Memoirs North Carolina-based trio Divided By Friday have returned with a new EP, Modern Memoirs. Released through Hopeless Records, Modern Memoirs is a record laced with powerful pop songs from start to finish. Something which the band have said they wanted to return to and rekindle their love for chart toppers. Musically the EP's output is light. Piano-littered opener "You Fooled Me" is a powerful track, but still undeniably soft. Musically light, this gives a lot of room for vocalist, Jose Villanueva to swoon around the track. "Free Tonight" is arguably the track which holds the most appeal on the record. Polished and brilliantly produced, strings and piano litter the track. With a huge chorus driven by synths, this crowd mover boasts confidence and most probably grant them a whole load of radio airtime. Followed by "Relapse" this track holds some of Villanueva's best vocals on the record. Bringing a massive chorus to the table, it's almost a piano-driven ballad of sorts. "Better Off" is probably one of the best tracks on this EP. The soul-pop driven track is littered with groove guitars and gives off an essence of their influences. Modern Memoirs is an ear-pleasing effort. Showing they have a hit at getting some chart shots, but also at times fitting in with the likes of Fall Out Boy and Boys Like Girls. Divided By Friday have shown here that they're striving to bring back contemporary pop music. GM Into it, Over it, - Intersection. Chicago based Into it, Over it, releases the LP 'Intersections,' produced by Brian Deck. The album definitely introduces a new creative direction for the band, apparently it was written without even the use of a guitar pick. 'New North-Side Air' starts as we mean to go on. It boasts a repetitive guitar riff, and some heart-felt lyrics placed well in time with the music, and of course some high pitched echoes introduced in the chorus, presumably to give it more depth. The next track is 'spinning thread' which seems to be a little leap away from the gentler feel of the opening track. Some punchier drums, some shoutier lyrics, all in the name of fun and music. It could be the next American indie track of the summer. 'Upstate Blues' is an attempt at amore balledic, soft love song, if you will, to what I can only assume is a location. Perhaps Upstate Although the album boasts a lot of potential, the sad reality is the quality of recorded vocals, and it's general pace. There tends to be something that hits you throughout all twelve track that whispers 'something's not quite right.' Maybe it's because it's just not that different from the rest of the bands that are coming out of the American indie scene at the moment.EG A Day To Remember - Common Courtesy The band return with their fifth album, which has caused some controversy, due to the band initially self releasing the album and then they were involved with a lawsuit with their label, Victory, and it was agreed the physical release would be the 25th November and include three bonus tracks. Opening track, 'City Of Ocala' is a highly catchy nostalgic song for the band looking back at their antics and their home town which they have learned to appreciate more, all in a fun fast upbeat manor with a nice range of vocals. Opening in a typical ADTR style, making for memorable start! 'Right Back At It Again' has a nice metalcore opening and we're glad their at it again - as this track proves that their at the top of their game and sounding great and doing what they do so well..sliding into metalcore and pop punk, and with a random comical ending to finish! 'Sometimes Your The Hammer, Sometimes You're The Nail' has a interesting start and is the heaviest song so far with dark growls, and effective use of repetition. It features a nice breakdown in middle of stripped back clean vocals making for another strong track! 'Dead & Buried' follows on nicely from the previous track with its heavier elements, keeping things consistent and coherent. Where as 'Best Of Me' sees a different style for them, as it sounds more like a edgy rock/indie song, which makes a nice and unexpected change! Again maintaining the change of sound, the next track, 'I'm Already Gone' is a lovely acoustic ballad, which is sad yet beautiful in its melancholic state. 'Violence' (Enough Is Enough) is a definite heavy highlight and a good one for the pits! It also stands out with its fierce vocals, pounding drums and chugging riffs! This song focuses on feeling like you're helpless, and you won't be able to help yourself from head banging to it! 'Life @ 11' is predominantly dipped in their pop punk riffs, whilst 'I Surrender' shows another side to the band, with another acoustic. The instruments pick up quickly and fit perfectly with Jeremy's vocals. This is very nicely produced and demonstrates their softer side again. 'Life Lessons Learned The Hard Way' is an awesome badass heavy offering! It has great fast fun riffage, impressive screams and gang vocals! Again as seen on some other songs there is the nice addition at the end, with random noises/sounds for more character! 'End Of Me' opens on beautiful slick acoustic guitar - then builds up with an atmosphere backdrop. This boasts a great sound and keeps things varied. It reminds me a little of Corey Taylor/Stone Sour (which is a wonderful compliment!). This is a big song without being typically them, so praise where due for taking a bit of a risk! 'The Document Speaks For Itself' is about the bands lawsuit with their label, Victory, and as you can imagine it makes for a strong, passionate, honest, and anger filled song! Final track (on standard album), 'I Remember', appropriately is about the bands memories, and is a nice one to end on reflecting back, and largely consists of the band talking at end about things that have happened. The three bonus tracks, 'Leave All The Lights On', 'Good Things' and 'Same Book But Never The Same Page' are all perfectly fine songs and make a nice addition. This album is their most energetic and dynamic, as well as most varied, ranging from sorrowful nostalgia to angry as hell moments, keeping you on you're toes! This is also by far their most personal album to date in terms of lyrics and memories, offering fans an insight and making you feel like you know them better by the end, which is a sweet touch and very 'courteous' of them. We also see the band at their heaviest and at their softest, all in all they have the whole package right, making for another solid album which is some of their best work to date! CL AFI - Burials Would you believe 'Burials' marks album number nine for the band?! They're back and in true style and with some new tricks up their sleeves!.. The ominously titled opening, 'The Sinking Night' is intensely atmospheric, hypnotic, and intrigueing and also packs a punch with some tough powerful vocals that will surprise you, with powerful echoes making for a massive impact, especially amidst the backdrop of broody instruments! First single, the angsty 'I Hope You Suffer' has some interesting melodies and keyboard parts, as well as great rhythms and beats. There is a nice contrast and range of vocals from Davey and also good contrast in tempo - the gaps between instruments make this most effective. 'A Deep Slow Panic' again displays some nice interesting melodies and rhythms. Second single, '17 Chimes' has an quite upbeat sound and is probably one of the most punk injected songs featured on album, good choice for second single! "The Conductor" changes things up with a completely different vibe, with high emphasis on ambience and backing vocals. "Heart Stops' again takes us back to their elements of punk, but other genres can be heard also, such as a hint of grunge! "Rewind" maintains their strong diverse rhythms/melodies and hits hard with a powerful chorus! "The Embrace" again shows a interesting moody kind of vibe with effects used constructively and well. "Wild" contrasts with the previous track, being that the tempo is much faster, and here we see more of their punk roots 'embraced' with their dark new sound! There's lots of different things and elements going on here, but most importantly it all works together! "Greater Than 84" opens on good strong guitar riff, with punk influenced guitars largely throughout,and is fast and quite upbeat sounding but with a slight dark vibe behind it, as displayed in other songs on the album. Last track, "The Face Beneath The Waves" delves into creepy vibes, and has a air of intrigue and mystery about it. It sounds like it could be a soundtrack for a horror film with its dark depth! This album will really draw you in with its gothic croons along with elements of punk rock and new wave kind of sound! This is the AFI sound you expect but this time round with more grandeur and depth especially through the ambient atmospheric sounds, which are reminiscent of dark 80s music at times with touches of modern day sounds entwined. The band have been around for a while now and this album demonstrates that they are still burning strong with creativity and have actually offered something different to the music scene right now, which is a very big accomplishment! CL New Found Glory- Kill it Live New Found Glory are pretty confident guys, given the choice to name their live release 'Kill It Live', but they have good reason to be. Recorded at two shows in California earlier this year, the band have opted to give everyone the gift of the New Found Glory live experience. It has to be said that Jordan Pundik's vocals sound pitch perfect throughout the album, almost too good in fact. Stick on the headphones and shut your eyes and it's like you're in the sweat-filled room yourself. The crowd-participation is fantastic throughout and you can imagine every awkward stage dive and fat guy crowd surfing whilst you have your own personal rock-out session. This is New Found Glory's first live album and it has potential to start a trend with other bands in the industry. They are essentially just a greatest hits album, just better. For anyone who has been to one of their shows before, this record is no act. The band been doing this for too many years to fake it, and they mean every single lyric, and every drumbeat as they treat the crowd to a set filled with hits, and close things with 'My Friends Over You.' But wait, the record doesn't stop there, they have recorded three tracks in the studio for your listening pleasure, just to get you in the mood for the album which is probably being recorded as you read this. Do these guys ever stop? Do we want them to? Definitely not! AG The Bouncing Souls/The Menzingers - Shocking Split EP The Menzingers and The Bouncing Souls are back with a new split release on Chunksaah records. The Bouncing Souls kick off the split with new song 'Blackout' - the track kicks off with repeated 'woah oh's and a very upbeat guitar riff, the fast pace of the song gives it such a classic feel, although the vocals are not as strong and likeable as they once were, the chorus is typically addictive and so reminiscent of older material. The bridge works well as a pause and allows the song to pick up pace again and have an upbeat ending. The second Bouncing Souls is a cover of The Menzingers 'Burn After Writing'. I am not a fan of opening which sounds very disjointed and the vocals make a dull beginning. Greg Attonito finds comfort with the chorus and ends the track strong but I feel the band fail to make the track their own. It's so nice to see The Menzingers back with new song 'The Shakes' and they do not disappoint, the track starts with typical gang vocals mixed with aggressive vocals and contagious hooks. 'I've Got The Shakes Baby' is repeated throughout to create the perfect classic pop punk track. The aggressive vocals and mellow instrumentation always combines well in Menzingers songs and again works well in this one. The final track on the split is the Menzingers cover of 'Kate is Great' originally by The Bouncing Souls. The Menzingers seem to attack the song straight from the start and vocally and instrumentally it sounds faultless, this song is utterly catchy and The Menzingers show their incredible ability as a band with a well delivered and almost identical cover of the original, I'm sure The Bouncing Souls would have enjoyed hearing one of their classics being covered so well. JP Stray from the Path - Anonymous Believe it or not, Anonymous is the seventh full length album from new york metal heads Stray from the Path. How have you not heard them before? Who knows? Heat raising, anger provoking, violently brilliant. Just a few words to describe the release. This can be said especially of the opening track 'False Flag.' With lyrics like 'Red, white and blue won't look out for you' and 'are you listening' it's very Rage against the Machine reminiscent except louder, heavier and well, angrier. 'Radio' (featuring Jesse Barnet) is another sure to get your blood pumping and your feet jumping as If you were a seven year old at your first school disco dizzy on lemonade. The drums are fast, the guitar even fast and vocals to match. I especially like the feedback effect at the beginning. It's funny how something used traditionally to help you sleep can mean something so different in the metal world. Even the opening lyric 'Start moving your feet' eliminates any hope of a generic poppy love song blaring through your speakers. The guitar riff is especially good in this one, and compliments the tone of the song perfectly. Unusual for most title tracks, 'Anonymous' comes last on the album. Though taking into consideration the bands name maybe it's not so strange after all. Leading us back into revolutionary language and rhythms, the quality does not drop, with tight riffs and drums beats there's not much more you can expect to hear from an ending track. Overall it is a well created, brilliantly composed and excellently produced album. All I can say is I hope you see you all in the impending revolution. EG Mayday Parade - Monsters in the Closet Mayday Parade are possibly the busiest and most hard-working band in their industry at the moment. The band never seems to cease touring or releasing material, and the time has come around for their fourth studio album, 'Monsters in the Closet' The record kicks off in style, with Derek Saunders' recognisable vocals getting things started in 'Ghosts.' 'Girls' is your typical love and heartbreak fuelled track, and is the kind of song which will be left stuck in your head for the remainder of the day after listening to it. The lyrics may not be the most complex, but they don't need to be. Simplicity at its best. '12 Through 15' is your classic pop-punk slow number, however it acts as somewhat of an anti-climax, and could be considered one of the weaker tracks. Everyone loves a gang sing-a-long, and 'The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Nonbeing' provides exactly that. The track comes across slightly festive, whether that is intended or not we are not sure, but non-the-less it's a solid number. 'Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About' sees even more gang vocals and a show of Saunders' vocal range. The thing about Mayday Parade is that they may not change too much from album to album, but they do a great job in producing albums which you can't help but love, and they have succeeded once again with 'Monsters in the Closet'. Great work, chaps! AG Red City Radio- Titles Red City radio are made within a delicious Hot Water Music and Anti-Flag sandwich, punk that lays waste to expansive virtuoso work in favor of great story telling. The great thing about RCR in particular is that everybody pitches in with vocals, creating a huge variety of harmonies with smooth around Garrett Dale's grizzly bear esque lead lines. What's made is a palpable, passionate recording with A Version Of Events and Purple Heart Paper Weight becoming 3 minute novellas. Titles is a pop punk album that isn't too sickly, if anything it's a meaty savoury dish like steak and chips. The chips still have the skins on though, cos they're not interested in making it fancy. Just something that's going to fill you up and keep you alive for a few hours longer. Two Notes Shy Of An Octave is going to be one of those tracks you play to your pals whilst they come over to your place to watch Breaking Bad reruns or shoot people together on Call Of Duty. Show Me On The Doll Where The Music Touched You is dynamic relief, starting calm and quiet before a crescendo into exuberance announcing to the world that he's a 'f**king juggernaut'. I'm inclined to believe him. This album is a primer for some of the most exciting gigs you'll attend. Get sweaty and listen to what they've got to say. It's much quicker than reading a book. SG Korn- Paradigm Shift Korn was part of many an anxiety riddled teenager's musical diet during the mid 90's to early 00's. They sold millions of compact discs, they spend millions on music videos. Then things got a little hazy, some people left so they dabbled in EDM to try and ride the new crest of popularity. But now there's a Paradigm Shift, reverting back to what they did best. This included getting reacquainted with Brian 'Head' Welch, who had left in 2005 to get clean off of the drugs via divinity. Old skool riffs from the Nu Metal band ensue, as the clear influence he has on the bands sound comes flooding back to the forefront. The album is basically Issues and Untouchables embroiled in a scuffle, with both record's strongest elements punching through periodically. Phat grooves from Head and Munky punctuated by the noise of bass strings violently bouncing off frets at the hands of Fieldy. Strong beats and fills from Ray Luzier and of course, pronoun laden 'I, me, I, me' lyrics from Jonathan Davis. Whilst the rest of us have left our angsty adolescence behind, it seems that this isn't a luxury afforded to Davis. But apart from the narcissistic self pitying, Paradigm Shift is a welcome return to form, whilst still showing progression with minor bleeding through from the previous work with Skrillex. Some people in their 30's may now feel they've outgrown Korn, but diligent fans will love this record, and it has potential to pick up a new generation of moody listeners. SG A Wilhelm Scream- Party Crasher Wow. More chord changes than the Conservative policy u-turns (that one's for the Question Time viewers), more energy than the Higgs Boson, more feel good feelings than getting three strikes in a row without the barriers up at Hollywood Bowl. The whole album aptly makes me conjure house parties full of people mostly in unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts and three quarter length shorts having a most excellent time. There's a pool in the back garden, a half pipe to the right of it with some guys tearing it up and some inebriated women in bikini's doing a kiss with each other, possibly for attention. And there are lots of those red cups lying around. Like, loads of them. It's Andrew W K meets Propagandi. Party Crasher has a technical proficiency refreshing for a hardcore punk band. Instead of just wailing up and down a pentatonic scale, they concentrate on making fascinating melodies that are much a joy to play as much as listen to. Vocally, Nuno Pereira brings tons to these songs, a grubby, gritty performance which one can only assume that he's been gargling asphalt instead of mouthwash. The rhythm section supplied by Nicholas Pasquale Angelini and Brian J. Robinson are faster than a greyhound race at warp speed. Which is something we've all got on our bucket list let's face it. So let's all listen to such classics as Hairy Scarecrow, Boat Builders and Born a Wise Man and crash a freakin' party! Even if it is 10 o'clock in the morning. SG I See Stars - New Demons In a 'hardcore' scene seemingly obsessed with style over substance, there is every chance I See Stars might shine a little brighter than their contemporaries simply because new album New Demons is the result of not trying too hard for the sake of it. From the pace-setting track Ten Thousand Feet, it's breakdown after breakdown with this album, whether they're based on massive, crushing guitar riffs or spacey synth lines. More importantly, they blend into one another without grating. Then come the soaring choruses - whether it's on Follow Your Leader or the album's title track, the group build catchy sing-a-longs over delay and reverbdrenched guitar lines and atmospheric synth pads. Perhaps the only thing I See Stars are guilty of here is crafting an unusual sound so well, that each track on New Demons runs into the next without an obvious difference. To their credit, the intensity is maintained throughout the album's twelve tracks, but aside from dance-infused Crystal Ball, there's no real break in tempo. Each song starts with the same synth build-up before a huge breakdown and there's no variation on the structure. New Demons is a perfectly enjoyable record, but I See Stars suffer from sticking to a familiar formula for twelve songs and by not getting out of the album's comfort zone risk that formula becoming more of a poison. That's not to say it's a bad album - fans of hardcore or the mid-2000s screamo movement will have found themselves a winner in New Demons. LR A Loss For Words - Before It Caves Earlier this year, New Found Glory hit the stage at Reading and Leeds Festivals with a backdrop proclaiming that "pop punk's not dead" - and with a quick listen of A Loss For Words' latest effort Before It Caves it's easy to assume the elderstatesmen of all things pop-punk had the Massachusetts four-piece in mind. While Before It Caves doesn't match the tempo of the ghosts of pop-punk past, it sits quite contently in the current generation alongside bands such as We Are The Ocean, although owing more to The Get Up Kids than Alexisonfire. There's no shortage of rousing choruses and the blend of twangy guitars and ear-friendly vocals, and while the sugar-sweetness of NFG's cult sing-a-longs are absent, A Loss For Words do a great job of creating a pop-rock album that fits in with the 2013 rock narrative. Each song does however blend into one another and after a while you begin to crave a rest from the distorted guitars, if only for a verse or two, and it all feels a little full on. Unfortunately a reprieve doesn't arrive until The Torch And The Name, by which point it's easy to have switched off and even then, the vocals are piercing and not melodic enough to be friendly on the ears. Sadly, Brace Yourself provides the very break you need with a classic pop-punk acoustic track, around six tracks too late. While a good solid album, Before It Caves sounds a little raw at times but creates a melancholic, thoroughly listenable experience that those looking for a harder-hitting All Time Low can call off the search. LR We can't lie, we are all filled to the brim with jealousy reading the reviews of America's Vans Warped Tour, and reading about the endless amount of awesome bands that are tearing up the stage across the nation. However this year we saw the return of the UK's own Vans Warped Tour for a second consecutive year at London's Alexandra Palace. On approaching the venue, it doesn't particularly look fit to host the best part of 100 bands over the course of a weekend, but once you get through those doors, the realisation kicks in. It may not be the US, but it's as close as you can get. Skate ramps, merch tents, and who could forget about the crazy selection of music on offer? To kick off the weekend is Attila, who have no problems in getting the party started. Their set is short and sweet but thankfully there is not long to wait until The Wonder Years take to the stage. Dan Campbell bounds around the stage for their fast-paced 10 song long set, stopping only to address the crowd, reminiscing about the tiny club shows the band have played over the years in the build up to this huge gig. They exit the stage leaving their fans beaming and full of energy for the next set. We Came on Romans next to the stage and the walls of death begin to form. A cover of The Wanted's 'I'm Glad You Came' separates the crowd somewhat, leaving a few confused whilst the rest just go with it. Over at the Kevin Says Stage We Are Fiction fill the room as they play through a selection of songs from their new album, One For Sorrow, which goes down a treat with all. Canterbury bring things to an end on the same stage, treating the audience to tracks from their previous releases, as well as their upcoming album next year. Just a few hours sleep and it's straight back to it on the Sunday. Kicking things off for the day were Decade, putting smiles on everyone's hungover faces, performing their most recent singles, Brainfreeze and Callous. Decade show resemblances to Funeral For A Friend, and they certainly show promise for the future. A beer and burger later and it's time to watch The Hype Theory do their thing on the Jagermeister stage. This band have been around for quite some time now, but they are just beginning to take this country's rock music scene by storm. A sprint over to the Monster East Stage to catch We Are The Ocean for what was one of the best sets of the weekend. The band have been a four-piece for over two years now and it seems they have settled into the swing of things. Vocalist Liam Cromby is as ready as ever and completely on form when it comes to his vocals, with 'Now & Then' being a particular highlight. Hactivist have spent a lot of time over the past two years with Enter Shikari, and it has paid off. They draw an absolute monstrous crowd to the Jagermeister stage and produce one of the craziest atmospheres of the weekend. Now for the worst kept secret of the weekend, A Day To Remember pop up on the same stage having just finished a signing on the other side of the building. The band seem genuinely shocked at the amount of people who have come to see them play a few acoustic songs, including 'All Signs Point to Lauderdale'. A great moment, but it's just a shame it couldn't last a bit longer. Yellowcard take to the stage for the second night in a row, with many fans also following them, and for good reason. They play through a set full of classics, finishing up with Ocean Avenue to the crowds pleasure. Time flies at this event and by 8:30pm it's already time for Rise Against, who headlined the previous night. The main stage area is absolutely packed to the rafters with both fans of Rise Against and also Enter Shikari who follow them. Tim Mcllrath and co play an absolutely epic set, including the ancient 'Give It All'. The lead singer has is one of the best vocalists in the game, but he is also known for his poignant speeches which he gives to the crowd throughout the set. They finish with 'Saviour' and then it's time for the finale. On time as always, Enter Shikari bounce onto the stage to the roars of the thousands of people occupying the room. Rou Reynolds gets up to his usual antics of sprinting across the stage kicking speakers, making for a fantastic spectacle. The lead vocalist even takes to the electric guitar for the bands latest single, Rat race. The St Albans four-piece never forget their old school fans and they include songs from both 'Take To The Skies' and 'Common Dreads'. They bring the weekend to a close with Zzzonked, and as a little parting gift, Reynolds smashes up his keyboard and throws the keys out into the crowd. A nice touch and a fantastic end to a great weekend. We'll see you there next year?! First of all, the Fleece is a brilliant venue in Bristol, and a perfect place for any upcoming bands to perform at. After the huge support they received for their first two albums then it was no surprise as to why The Story So Far had sold this venue out way in advance of the show. First up we have the legends that are Save Your Breath take to the stage, and with the recent release of their new album then we were simply extremely excited to see the band perform a mix of the classics along with a stack of new songs, and in short they did just that! We've been lucky enough to see this band a handful of times, and every time they have given everything they can to their performance, to make sure that it's the best it can possibly be, and tonight was no different. From older tracks such as 'Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy' & 'Stay Young' combined with some newer tracks such as 'Maps' & 'Lessons' showed us instantly that this band are more than worthy of being on any pop punk fans playlist, and then with a bunch of the crowd singing along to every track then it really does look like Save Your Breath will be going onwards and upwards in the rock music scene from this point in. To take the stage next we have Seahaven, and now the last time we saw these guys was at Hevy Fest in 2012, which was part of their first time in the UK as a band, so with this in mind we were interested to see how well their fan base had grown since then. As they started performing they asked for the lights to be dimmed which instantly added a change to the atmosphere, and the setting they had asked for did work with the style of music that they are known for playing. As the band get going it was great to see the crowd go crazy and sing along to pretty much every track, and it was clear to see that their fan base has obviously grown across the UK since their last time here. Highlights for us include 'It's Over' & 'Slow Down' as these tracks are simply mesmerizing, and as the set ended it simply left us wanting more tracks to be performed, which is always a good thing. As soon as the first note was played the stage was already full of crowd surfers, yes, The Story So Far have taken to the stage! Treating us to tracks like 'Right Here' 'Roam' & 'Daughters' straight away sent the crowd into a frenzy, and at some points you could barely hear the lead singer as the crowd were singing along so loud! As the set continues the band keeps the momentum going with 'High Regard' 'Empty Space' 'Bad Luck' which all go down really, really well! It was obvious that the band had done a great job at picking a balanced set which included a perfect pick of tracks from both of their albums, and overall the set list they had worked just great! The band did an outstanding job at keeping everyone moving throughout the set, and to add to this it also looked like they were enjoying every last second of their performance, which is always important. To end this review weâ€™d just like to say that if this band keep on performing like this then they will surely be in much bigger venues next time they come to the UK, and we for one, can't wait to see them again! AD Title: GTAV 360, PS3 Developer: Rockstar About: GTAV was no doubt a huge achievement for Rockstar, the biggest selling game of all timeâ€Ś however its scale, intricately designed story and incredibly versatile game engine, is overshadowed in places by sexism, racism, use of nudity and shock value. Not one for the faint hearted but look past the grotesqueness and the game is incredible. Title: Tomb Raider 360, PC, PS3 Developer: Crystal Dynamics Rated: 18 Score: 9/10 About: A blistering return to form for a computer game character that should have long had her day. With a flawless game engine, engaging story and surprisingly enjoyable combat, Tomb Raider brought Lara Croft back into our lives in a new, more realistic and, at times, vulnerable reincarnation of the icon. Title: COD Ghosts 360, XONE, PS3, PS4, PC, WiiU Developer: Activision Rated: 18 Score: 9/10 About: Since MW2 I have spent years saying 'not another one' however, there is finally a COD game that is inspiring me to play the most popular FPS ever; amazing multiplayer levels, less lag and amazing customisability, not to mention an engaging single player. COD Ghosts is, in my opinion, a return to form and this is written before the majority of players are using the new hardwareâ€Ś When the community is all in one place, there will be fireworks. Bring it on.