DOWNLOAD SPECIAL: review, photos, interviews MORE FESTIVALS: Slam Dunk, Rocklahoma, Camden Rocks INTERVIEWS: Status Quo, Tarja, Vintage Trouble, Black Star Riders, Amon Amarth, Hacktivist, Huntress, Hardcore Superstar, The Crunch, Terrorvision, Wild Lies, Thunder, All Time Low, Goldblade, Korn, Itch, XP8, Hardline, Moonspell MOVIES: interviews with Jack Hill, Fabrizio Federico, Campbell X, Patricia Budd + Tilt’s reviews CLUBS: Ibiza - IMS and clubs opening parties reviewed - interview with DJ Alfredo LIVE: Rush, Muse, Danzig & Doyle
Defying genre, age barriers and weather forecast
throws a party for 90,000
Carry on Rocking
but don’t touch the tour bus
By Becki Kremer - Photos Cristina Massei
Where on earth can you find a variety of fancy dress, people happily throwing around bottles of piss, a four slice pizza that costs £7, and constant moshpits? Only at Download Festival of course! With my wellies at the ready and my sunscreen firmly left at home, I was fully expecting the sky to open and for it to turn into Downpour Festival, but it seemed the sun was out to play this year. If only temporarily. So with the amps turned up full, and after running into a guy dressed in a giant penis costume, both of the Super Mario brothers, a woman with a bionic leg and one of my ex boyfriends within the first ten minutes of being in the arena, I knew it was going to be an interesting weekend...
It’s quite a honour meeting Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt in London as they’re about to launch their first feature movie ‘Bula Quo’. On a sunny London morning we talk about gnocchi, freedom, family and life on the road...
The Rise and Fall of
This month saw the untimely passing of Mr Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and songwriter from US metal band Slayer. Regarded by many as being one of the finest musicians spawned from the world of extreme music, we thought we’d have at look at the scene that made him a household name all around the globe. The scene in question was - and still is - Thrash Metal. Exploding onto the music scene in the early eighties, thrash metal was seen as a refuse for the heavy metal music fan with a love of all things punk and all things fast. At the time, the heavier bands of day like Sabbath and Deep Purple had lost their appeal to a younger generation, this coupled with the rise of “so called” Glam Metal, left many bands and fans seeking something new, something exciting, something street; what they got was something that would change the course of extreme music forever. Mixing exemplary musicianship with a gutsy street level sound was the plan, and this plan was lead by the “so called big 4” from across the pond: Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and Anthrax embraced these ideals in various guises, and through a custom known as “Tape Trading” (the thing we used to do in the days before the internet), demos and live recordings were soon
spreading around the globe at break neck speed; other bands from Europe and beyond soon joined the fold and the rest as they say was history. Aside from the well above average musicianship, what really helped Thrash Metal was its identity, with musicians of the time abandoning the “them and us” attitude held by many bands back in the day, often wearing the same clothes and having the same values as the fans. This made Thrash a very important part of several music fans development, and a melting pot for Punk fans and traditional Metal fans to fuse together in a way not seen before. By the mid to late Eighties, Slayer had released “Reign in Blood” and Metallica had given us “Master of Puppets”, two albums that were, and still are, regarded as Classics of any generation. With an ever growing fan base and an ever increasing growth of independent labels and fanzines, thrash metal moved up a level that nobody expected. Gigs had moved from the sweaty clubs of their births and into the stadiums and arenas usually reserved to the musical elite. Demos and albums had been replaced with high budget MTV friendly videos, and that my friends, is where it all went wrong... As with Punk, and in fact any kind of street music, Thrash didn’t suit the big stage. It was
never intended to do so. Yes, Slayer and Metallica were still shifting enough units to makes it viable, but compared with the extravagant stage shows of the likes of Guns’n’ Roses and Motley Crue - thrash music lost its identity on the larger stage, with shows often consisting of nothing more than a group of headbangers rooted to the spot headbanging in unison. With the leaders of the genre, Metallica, adopting a more mainstream approach in the Nineties, and the emergence of Grunge music, the glory days were over, never to return. However, all is not doom and gloom. Even with the passing of Jeff, we are assured that Slayer will continue to churn out the kind of music that Thrash fans demand, and the current scene is littered with a new generation of talented bands doing the rounds and delivering the goods. Thrash ain’t dead, let’s just hope that it has learned from its mistakes. By John Morgan - Photo Cristina Massei
ENJOY SOME VIDEO TREATS THIS MONTH ON Sonic Shocks Ltd www.sonicshocks.com email@example.com Editor in Chief & Creative Director Cristina Massei firstname.lastname@example.org
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Tarja didn’t bring the sunny Argentinean weather to London with her in this promo visit, but her presence is enough to warm up a room. Becoming a mother seems to have added a special glow – and not a gram of baby fat, in case you’re wondering. ‘She’s 10 months old and she’s adorable, she’s been adapting to all the travelling very well’ she tells us with a big smile. ‘Being a mother and an artist is a difficult combination, but all my fears have vanished… thanks also to my wonderful husband. I’m a happy mother’. So, does this life changing experience have a link with ‘Colours in the Dark’, an album and a title that may come rather unexpected from this well known Lady in Black? ‘My life is full of colours at the moment’ – she admits enthusiastically – ‘There’s still that darkness in me, from where I was born, where I grew up, and I love some mystery in my music. And I’m wearing black! It’s a colour in which I feel comfortable. It’s got ALL the colours, it gives me energy, maybe it even helps me to disappear…’. If ‘Colours in the Dark’ is a daring title for Tarja, is the album itself a bold one? ‘I find different depth in my music now. I arrived to a beautiful place with my music and I feel I’ve learned enormously in the past years’. Talking about those who taught and influenced the Goddess of symphonic metal, we ask Tarja about her recent collaboration with Mike Oldfield, an unforgettable experience, and then we go back to the album, the colours, life and family… A deep, yet light hearted and uplifting chat like always, like her music, like this new brilliant record. Check out the rest of our interview with Tarja on video on our YouTube Channel and pre-order ‘Colours in the Dark’, out on earMUSIC on 30th August.
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From the Gibson Rooms to the Rolling Stones
80 shows in 100 days – it CAN happen We caught up recently with our all time favourites Vintage Trouble as they are back to the UK to support The Who and the Stones; yes, both of them, why not. Meet the band whose star has been rising at the speed of light over a couple of intense, unthinkable years, and learn their recipe for success: say YES to everything. They even said yes to singing a song for us, ‘Pelvis Pusher’, and we live in the hope someday to see Ty Taylor performing that with Mick Jagger. Why not. Say ‘YES’ Mick. When it comes to pelvises, doesn’t get much better than these two together... Watch the whole interview plus Vintage Trouble exclusive acoustic performance on our YouTubeChannel. Finally, if you still don’t have the Bomb Shelter Sessions your life is not worth living, so go get a copy now.
For a legend like Scott Gorham must be refreshing playing so early in the day; Thin Lizzy would have probably been higher in the bill. How does it feel ‘starting over’ with a new name, yet with most of the line up that has been keeping them alive in most recent years? This mix of old and new has definitely produced outstanding results when it comes to the new material, Black Star Riders ‘debut’ album ‘All Hell Break Loose’. The chemistry on stage is all there, with added enthusiasm and the peace of mind for Ricky Warwick of not trying to fill Phil Lynott’s shoes. We had a chat before the album release with Ricky discussing the expectations around this ‘new’ venture. After a warm welcome from critic and public and six electric performances, we meet Ricky again, this time with band mates Scott Gorham and Marco Mendoza, for a video update from Download 2013. Join us and BSR on our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLl5DOkqObU
But sadly, all the enthusiasm, fist pumping, and energy that Jacoby Shaddix could muster may have not been enough to cover up the fact that these guys may just be a little past their sell by date. Saying that, I did nearly throw up a little from excitement as they played Getting Away with Murder and the pits broke out. Only a little though.
Friday RISE TO REMAIN were the first band of the weekend (at least for me) and these boys weren’t wasting any time. Ripping through riff after riff they managed a pretty decent set for one of the first bands up and got the crowd going pretty bezerk at times. With a cool Killswitch-y vibe to their songs, they blasted through Heartless, Nothing Left and The Serpent before their gentle banter with the crowd slowly descended into clichés, such as demanding everyone to “headbang like you’ve never headbanged before”. Despite this, they put on a pretty endearing show, which had me captured till the end. Turning up the brutality meter a bit next were the ever captivating ARCHITECTS. Starting off with their almighty track Alpha Omega, they drew in a pretty big crowd with plenty of hardcore kids two-stepping their way toward the stage to get a piece of the action. Sam Carter belted out the lyrics in his usual ferocious style, which signalled in the circle pits and synchronised jumping. The impressive feat of getting most of the crowd on their knees and then up again during Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat was quite mind numbing, and the excitement didn’t end there as the boys finished up on Early Grave and These Colours Don’t Run. Sadly, not much of their old school songs were played but, regardless, these chaps always know how to put on a good show. I’ve always been a fan of PAPA ROACH, and hearing their set on the main stage did bring me back to my moshy teenage years where parachute pants and fishnet tops were all the rage, but I have to admit it was a little boring. Revving their starting engines with newest track Still Swingin’, they got a pumped-up reaction from the packed out audience, and managed to keep a bit of momentum going through tunes like ...To Be Loved, Scars and finally Last Resort.
KORN seem to be on the line-up for Download almost every single year, but as much as that must suck for people who aren’t fans, they kind of prove why they’re still a force to be reckoned with every time they take to the Donington stage. Starting to draw in the biggest crowd so far for the day, the sun peeked its head round the corner of a collection of clouds (about bloody time too) just as Jonathan and the boys prowled out into the open to the sound of rapturous cheers. Drop kicking the crowd in the face with Blind as an opener, the awesomely intense sound of thousands of sweaty metalheads shrieking along with every lyric hung in the slightly smoky air, as crowd surfing became a necessity and the Boob Cam went into over drive. Headbanging all the way to the back, every pair of eyes was on the Nu-Metal fivesome who continued to shred eardrums and pound double bass pedals with Falling Away From Me, Coming Undone and Here To Stay. With the sun truly out, Davis grooved around the stage, before heading off to inevitably grab his bagpipes and serenade us. Whether you like them or not, it’s hard to deny that Korn are still around for a reason and you’d be a fool to not realise that reason is they still know how to blow an audience away with one show. As a full-on ZICO CHAIN ambassador it’s needless to say that I was pretty stoked to hear they were on this year’s line-up. So imagine my annoyance when I trekked, for what felt like 5 years, all the way to the Redbull stage to find that the tent was so packed that I couldn’t even get inside. With guitars in full swing and Chris Glithero’s growly vocals at full blast, the boys were on no-holds barred mode. They jammed through the usual suspects such as Where Would You Rather Be and Pretty Pictures, and sprinkled in a hint of their newer tracks like Mercury Gift and New Romantic. Chris even managed a crowd surf at the end. They’ve come a long way since I first saw them live – here’s hoping next year they’re on the main stage. What the fuck happened to BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE? Second to last on the main stage, they came on to a generous roar from fans, started shredding through tunes and head banged so hard I was afraid they were going to headbutt their mics. Sadly, they soon fell spectacularly short of giving the audience a high dosage of heavy fucking metal. A bloated Matt Tuck seemed to be going through the motions, as stale versions of Four Words (To Choke Upon) and Your Betrayal drifted through the sound system. After a sloppy rendition of Scream Aim Fire, they made somewhat of an effort with the remainder of their set, but not enough to justify being on right before Slipknot. With their Welsh accents a distant memory, it appears these guys have really started to run out of steam and the crowd soon started to look highly underwhelmed. My favourite part of their set? When they finished playing. I’ve never been much of a GOGOL BORDELLO fan, but I have to say after seeing them tear through
Saturday ESCAPE THE FATE are a tricky one to put your finger on – some of their songs can come across predictable and vapid, and yet seeing them at Download this year slightly changed my mind. Putting up a pretty brutal front, they attracted quite a crowd who seemed damn well pleased to see them. They powered through tracks like You’re Insane and Ungrateful, and, despite lead singer Craig Mabbitt slightly struggling to keep up with his own lyrics during Issues, from the sound of their tight riffs it looked like nothing was going to hold them back. They won me over when two gigantic pits emptied out for the last two songs Fire It Up and This War Is Ours, and then lost me again when the lead singer openly started chugging from a bottle of JD after dedicating a song to Jack Daniels. Oh Craig... So close. Wandering over to the Pepsi Max stage I managed to catch NEKROGOBLIKON for the majority of their set. It was time for some good ol’ fashioned German Goblincore, and these are definitely the fellas to turn to when you’re in the mood for that. There was a cool dude prancing around the stage in a goblin suit (do you see the running theme here?) and getting the fans riled up, but I could barely see his ghoulish antics as they’d managed to pack out the entire tent. Headbanging along to a synthy sea of noise, the band cranked out overly successful mainstream commercial hits such as Bears, Prince of the Land of Stench and Goblins Ahoy! (didn’t see that one coming). Strangely heavy, yet comical, the band proved popular and ripples of clapping hands throughout the tent proved that even goblins know how to have a good time. WALKING PAPERS were up to bat next for the Pepsi Max stage, and injected the crowd with a helping of vivid rock. With a bluesy swagger to their music, a gravelly punch to the lead singer’s vocals and a rattling drumbeat, the tent was alive with energy and eagerness. A laid back feel soon washed over their songs, in a Kyuss-like groove, and it was nice to hear some standard rock ‘n’ roll from a standard supergroup – consisting of old-time grungey favourites. As captivating as the dynamics started out, by the fourth song it was too hard to overlook the fact that once you’ve heard a few of their riffs you’ve virtually heard them all, which is a shame coming from so many talented musicians. Many would have walked away from that set feeling satisfied. I just left feeling like I haven’t yet heard what these Seattle boys can really do. Anybody that knows me well knows that I adore ALICE IN CHAINS (preferably with Layne Staley, but I’ll get by) so you better believe I forced my way as close to the front as I possibly could to see a band that has written some of the best constructed grunge anthems ever. Filtering on stage, with Jerry Cantrell getting the biggest applause, they launched straight in with killer Them Bones, blasting the crowd with a rugged bassline and a sing-along chorus. It appeared that AIC were on point as the sun showed up to greet
them, and they even managed to get quite a few boobs on display. They dazzled with Dam That River, introduced one of their new ones with Stone, and left the crowd wanting more with Rooster. The onstage chemistry was flawless, the banter playful but direct, and they knew how to handle the sheer volume of the audience. My one disappointment was that they weren’t higher up on the line-up.
a live list of their fearless gypsy rock tunes I’ve been slightly converted. Full of zany lyrics, outlandish outfit choices and even a bit of accordion thrown in for good measure, it was difficult to not groove along with them and it soon became apparent that this was going to be the light hearted entertainment of the day. Most of the crowd were soon dancing about and lapping up their violin-wielding misshapen punk nonsense, with the eccentric Eugene Hutz buzzing about stage like a bearded mad man. The energetic Wonderlust King and Start Wearing Purple went down especially well, before the band ended on Think Locally, Fuck Globally. A nice little welcome break from the heaviest of heavy metal, in a raucous, daft and hilari-
ous onstage mess of antics that felt so strange, yet so right. Never before had I seen SLIPKNOT live, but was told beforehand by various sources that I was in for a treat. And they weren’t fucking lying. With Donington prepared to be conquered by some of the godfathers of modern metal, hundreds of people of all ages began swarming to the main stage, some with beer in hand, ready to get their mosh on. The opening chords started up and the anticipation was unbearable as all members sauntered on stage, and leapt straight in. Crashing about the stage, their show was a feast for the eyes – from Shawn’s drum riser to spontaneous commands to some of the members getting in amongst the crowd. It’s no wonder that Corey had to stop the show twice to get the barrier repaired, and managed to get almost every single person down on the floor and then up again during Spit It Out. The effortlessness with which they control and connect with the audience is staggering, and made crowd pleasers like Wait and Bleed, Before I Forget and Dead Memories ring out louder than the speakers when combined with all the extra singing voices. Classics and newer editions to their back catalogue blended together seamlessly, and a truly touching moment was shared by all in the form of a beautiful tribute to their fallen brother Paul Gray. Nearly two decades have swept past since the Iowans started out and yet they’ve still stayed strong, which is a true testament to their talent and their love for their fans. All that they’ve been through in their hefty career has made it possible for them to push through mediocrity, and play to 90,000 festival goers without missing a single note. So here’s to another two decades. Surprise of the day: Gogol Bordello Band of the day: Slipknot Disappointment of the day: Bullet For My Valentine I saw all of 2 minutes of JIMMY EAT WORLD’s set, before some lovely chap chucked an open bottle full of (suspicious) warm liquid over the crowd, some of which landed on me and a few other bystanders, so I was forced to go back to my tent to change clothes in the middle of My Best Theory. I cried a little on the inside. Oh Download, you loveable bastard. QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE are one of those bands that can easily translate to any crowd – be it hundreds of indie fans or hundreds of metal fans, and their Download appearance was no exception. They’re also one of those rare bands that have been together for ages, and yet still put every ounce of being they have into their set. The never-ageing Josh Homme sweetly dipped in and out of slight falsetto during First It Giveth, and treated everyone to a lovely guitar solo in the middle of their set. As expected, after announcing they were going to play some music for everyone to get laid to, the opening chords of No One Knows sent shockwaves of frenzy through the crowd and had everyone on their feet to chant along with the chorus. Ending on Go With The Flow and A Song for the Dead, they hit a sweet spot with the crowd and left on a positive note. Not every band can play so badass-ingly well that even the sun comes out to see it – but these guys can. As much as I’d like to pretend that nearly everyone rounding up to see ENTER SHIKARI wasn’t just there so they could hear Sorry You’re Not a Winner, it was painfully obvious that’s what they were waiting for. So when the song broke out it wasn’t surprising to see the amount of barbarically awesome pits that scattered everywhere. Saying that, the lads still managed to really get into their set and played some banging tracks like Juggernauts, Sssnakepit and Mothership. Even all the way at the back mini pits were being generated, and the four piece were just getting warmed up. Despite getting a little preachy toward the end of their set about how mind-bendingly revolutionising their music was, it was great to see a band that really cares about their message, and more importantly a band that doesn’t forget where they’ve come from. With a spitfire plane circling overhead and around the arena, it could only mean one thing – IRON MAIDEN were up next to headline the main stage. Get your pitchforks at the ready – I don’t like Iron Maiden, and I’m not sorry about it. Some people don’t like Marmite, I don’t like Eddie. Every time I’ve ever mentioned it to Maiden fans I’ve been met with bewildered stares and exaggerated gasps and crying babies and shit, yet I’ve never been able to fully explain what I don’t like about them. But as an overpoweringly crazy opening video package of falling icebergs and such came on the main screen and hundreds of giddy fans yelled for joy, it suddenly hit me what it is I don’t like about them. Allow me to explain, if you will... Iron Maiden is that popular girl at school that everyone loves but you have no idea why. You sort of respect her because she’s somehow made her way to the top of the food chain, but that doesn’t mean you have to like her. And you still can’t tell if
everyone who says they think she’s great really believes it or if they’re just saying it because everyone else does. Sometimes you can look past all the gimmicks and the fact that she’s larger than life, but at the end of the day she’s just too over the top and dramatic, and every time everyone goes on about how amazing she is all you want to do is punch yourself in the face. Analogies aside, the one thing that I do genuinely admire about Maiden is that they are ultimately British. For a band of their fame and status it could’ve been so easy for them to become all American-ised and start slurping lattes and talking like they’re Obama’s besties, but all these years later and they’re still proudly flying the flag. Literally. After walking away from Ol’ Brucie as he dashed backstage to grab a pilot’s cap before wailing out another song about flying on the backs of a mythical creature or sumthin (they have a lot of songs about flying) I made my way back to the Pepsi Max Stage to check out THE HIVES, and to my surprise I was not the only anti-Maiden punter who’d wandered off. The tent was heaving so much that I couldn’t even see the stage and had to resort to standing on my toes, just in time to see a guy who had climbed on to one of the sound system pillars being counted down by the band till he jumped off. Once crazy drunkard had leapt into the loving arms of a group of waiting security guards, the suit-clad five piece got the entire tent clapping along with their fidgety party rock. As he sashayed across the stage like Jagger, lead singer Pele Almqvist showed that he truly knows how to chat to a crowd and had the whole tent in bouts of laughter before diving back in with convulsing beats and monster tunes like Hate To Say I Told You So and Walk Idiot Walk. During their set, I also witnessed something that sums up what I absolutely love about Download Festival, and how amazing it is when metal and alternative fans from all over the world, of all ages come together in mutual appreciation for one weekend. During Tick Tick Boom, I noticed a slightly drunk bloke jumping around and flailing like a madman in time with the music, and as he swung one of his arms he nearly hit a small kid in the face who was behind him. The guy turned around and saw the kid laughing at him, so he started laughing too and just patted the kid on the back before the both carried on jumping around without a care in the world. Well played Download... Well played. Surprise of the day: The Hives Band of the day: Alice In Chains Disappointment of the day: Jimmy Eat World (no fault of theirs)
Sunday Up for the task of christening the Sunday stage, were the spectacular motherfucking CANCER BATS, who wasted no time in getting the crowd pumped by crashing in with Bricks And Mortar. It would appear that being on a bigger platform doesn’t even slow them down a little. Like a human whirlwind, lead singer Liam Cormier bounced around the stage like he was on Prozac and screamed into the mic so hard that anyone would’ve thought he hated it. I’d not seen such a demonstration of dauntless cohesion and vicious energy in a while, and as the ultimate tunes like Road Sick, Sorceress and RATS poured out it was difficult to not feel like you were witnessing something truly great. The crowd disappeared around me once spontaneous pits broke out and it was topped at the end of their set with the biggest moshpit I’d seen all weekend, as fans struggled to stay on their feet with the band. NO idea why they were so low down on the line-up and from the chants of “We want more!” around me, I wasn’t the only one thinking it.
a giant grin on his face the entire set, in complete juxtaposition to his routine of being an amazingly vibrant shrieking nightmare in the midst of songs. Although slightly out of breath at times, he still managed to get most people up on to their friends’ shoulders to create a “two-storey festival” during Home Is For The Heartless and enforced a giant circle pit in Swing. Being their usual maniacal selves, they put on a solid show with psycho breakdowns and double bass pedal madness, making the crowd ram themselves into the barrier as if they were trying to become one with it. And it may have just been the cold air in the arena, but the sheer volume of people going nuts over Carrion was so mind-melting that it gave me chills. STONE SOUR were on form on Sunday – not a line out of place, not a
If you’re ever trying to find me at a festival (dunno why you would) I’m the one in the crowd scribbling away in a notebook, and the depressing thing is that the first notes I wrote once LIMP BIZKIT started playing was “bloated rockstars”. With the sounds system blurting out poor noise, it was incredibly difficult to even hear them, but it was easy to see that they seemed to be trying to get the crowd riled. They managed at first, but then, crazily, played their most popular song, Rollin’, first, which gave everyone an excuse to scuttle off early to see Rammstein – which they mostly did. Fred Durst bopped about the stage, ordering the audience to follow along with him but it just came off more arrogant than entertaining. They had the crowd swaying and surging forward, but after the initial spark the magic was gone and everyone aside from the hardcore Bizkit fans casually started sauntering off. I’m afraid to say that Limp Bizkit will soon be a distant memory of a band that people used to like when they didn’t know any better – if that’s not already the case.
KROKODIL were having a bit of a session in the Pepsi Max Tent so I wandered over to see what the fuss was all about. I’m still not sure what the fuss was all about. Striding through their set, they put on a pretty decent effort but fell short with the lack of onstage chemistry and a lack of intriguing songs. There was rare interaction between the band and audience, and whenever there was an exchange it seemed slightly disjointed and, at times, awkward. The hench lead singer stalked the stage during the more boisterous tracks, but the rest of the band seemed a little too stationary for a metal festival. Ultimately they looked the part, and their heads were in the right place, but sometimes that’s just not enough. FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH may not be everyone’s favourite band, but after seeing their Download set I can safely say that they are a damn good, dedicated bunch of scary looking dudes. Sounding especially brutal, they prowled the stage like uncaged lions and split the crowd into sections whilst shredding eardrums with Hard To See, Burn It Down, and Under and Over It. It seemed like lead singer Ivan L. Moody (is his name, I shit you not) was on a mission to get as close to the crowd as possible without being fended off by unmoving security guards, and his entertaining manner had fans foaming at the mouth. Amidst the chaos and frenzy that their fans were radiating, Ivan spotted some defiant kids in the middle of a pit and demanded the security guards let them up on stage, which they obliged. He then introduced his “little brothers” to thousands of screaming metallers and asked them to “Make some noise for the next generation of heavy metal”, before head banging along with the kids to the tune of White Knuckles. FFDP may not musically be my cup of tea, but it’s moments like that that make me so proud to be a part of the alternative and metal world. Battling the main stage next were PARKWAY DRIVE, whose insane “warm up” songs involved a fan in a giant Kangaroo/Fox hybrid fancy dress costume up on stage, hopping along with Sparks and Old Ghost. Lead singer Winston McCall spoke in a light Australian accent through
They also used their performance to (not so casually) make a super spectacularly amazingly pretentious announcement which was that they were touring the UK soon and suggested that everyone should come see them. Good luck with that. They even got to drag some (supposedly) lucky kids on stage with them whose hysterical crying and daft emotions only attracted boos and laughter from the audience. After kicking the kids off, they traipsed through some more pop-turned-rock songs that no one paid much attention to, before falling spectacularly on their faces when barely anyone applauded them as they finished. I honestly gave up even directing my disapproval toward the stage and went to go get a Calzone instead. And d’you know what? In line for my pizza I saw a guy in shorts getting pissed on by his mate and THAT was more fucking entertaining than Leto and Co’s set.
note missed, and the beaming smile on Corey’s face at the sight of thousands of charged up fans could probably have been seen from space. Upon telling the crowd “I’d like to say it’s good to be back, but it’s actually great to be back” and then demanding that everyone got their fists in the air, they launched into a tirade of classics like Scars, Get Inside and a spellbinding solo performance of Bother, which had every voice in the arena coming out in full force. Corey Taylor is one of those rare breeds of singer who can go from mental screaming to hauntingly melodic in a heartbeat, and he doesn’t even flinch. After a giant sing-along to Through Glass and a spoton cover of Sabbath’s Children of The Grave, they ended on crowd pleaser 30/30-150 before their drummer Roy Mayorga played till it looked like his arms were going to fall off and Corey got in with the crowd. Perfect end to a top notch set. Ever wondered if GHOST go shopping down ASDA dressed like that? I truly hope so. With ridiculous outfits set across a smokey atmosphere and towering sceptres it was clear from the start that this band was going to memorable. Probably not for the reasons they hoped though. My theory is if you’re going to go for outlandish gimmicks, at least have decent riffs – but sadly these painted up chaps only had the former. I’m sure it’s part of their entire ethos as a band or whatever, but the whole standing around looking sombre thing just seems to be a bit stale instead of operatic. Their absurdly put on voices roused nothing but laughter from the crowd and the rest of their songs were met with no reaction, to the point where the guy sat next to me in a foldable chair literally fell asleep while watching them. Boring, bizarre and slightly pretentious, Ghost should really quit while they’re ahead or get better gimmicks. And take those stupid fucking hats off. Every year at Download there’s at least one band that plays that’s far more indie rock than metal, where everyone just thinks “Why are they even here?”, and this year it was GASLIGHT ANTHEM’s turn to fill that vacancy. Even they openly admitted on stage that they weren’t that metal, so kudos for honesty. Managing to get away with it due to their trendiness factor, they played through a mish-mash of feel good, chilled out rock, and somewhat managed to hold their own against the mostly non-responsive crowd. With a gentle onstage attitude and a few riffs that sounded a bit like The Killers, they tried conversing with the crowd but came across rather disconnected and amateurish. It was difficult for them to hide their discomfort of being in front of an arena that largely didn’t give a toss, but regardless of not being deemed metal enough they could’ve at least tried to win people over. It’s never a good sign when you look so uncomfortable that you come across like you don’t even really want to be there, but you should never admit defeat halfway through a set. I’ll be amazed if they’re back again anytime soon. Oh 30 SECONDS TO MARS – you so funny. Meticulously groomed Jared Leto and his calculated haircut led the charge of the second to last band, and tried his best to impress everyone else who wasn’t already a teeny bopper, and/or in love with them, and/or into bland music. Which was everyone behind the first 6 rows. Crooning toward the audience, Leto swung a giant British flag in his arms to the sounds of their mundane but melodramatic babble and had girls in Beatles-like hysteria.
Crowds flocked like storm clouds toward the main stage for the final instalment of the weekend: the almighty RAMMSTEIN. Off to a little bit of a late start, the fireworks that exploded across the sky in time with the first notes of Ich Tu Dir Weh woke people up a bit, and from there the show just got better and better. And better. The curtain dropped, lead singer Till Lindermann descended on a metal platform in a fluffy pink coat, smoke billowed and keyboardist Flake Lorenz took his place in a gimp suit on a treadmill. As you do. The bulky German heavyweights wasted no time in tearing the crowd a new one, and decided to show Download exactly what metal is. I’d heard rumours about Rammstein’s stage shows, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what they had in store – there were microphones on fire, face masks that shot fire, a fire gun, and even a dude running around ON FIRE. There was probably enough fire to melt one of the polar ice caps. One of the best, and scariest, things about this band as that they’re so unpredictable and at the turn of every new song you never know what they were going to do next, and the excitement of that rippled through the crowd like an electric current. Constant flexing of their pyrotechnic skills amongst tunes that sounded heavier than ever, they had everyone singing along to Du Hast, did a creepy, bloodied chef routine with Mein Teil, and blew the roof off with Sonne. The final song of the encore, Pussy, even included a giant, phallic foam cannon that sprayed the audience before white confetti was blasted into the sky like snow. They put on one hell of a phenomenal show, and it put them in a completely different ball game to everyone else that played all Sunday. They are, quite simply, peerless.
meanwhile, backstage with Matt Dawson... David Roads How does it feel to be at Download? Always good to play Download or Monsters of Rock as we still like to call it! [chuckles] Of course with your live shows one of your members has a habit to climb the scaffolding… Ah Joel! He loves to climb during the show. It’s a dangerous thing and as great as it is we try not to encourage it because it’s bloody dangerous. He’ll probably try anyway! He’s been doing it at all the other festivals, it just depends on the stage setup. If it’s too precarious he’ll go into the crowd and do something else crazy. We don’t know what he does, he disobeys! [laughs] You recently released Black Dog Barking – now you mentioned you believe you rushed the second album… Well you come off the road from your first one then you’ve got to get into the studio to follow it up but we’re still happy with the result, with the 3rd album we had more time. We did the extensive tour then we went home to Melbourne and worked on it for a year and a half to get it done right. Favourite song to play off Black Dog Barking?
They’re all fun to play really. We’ve played a handful but we’ll probably do more on the headline tour. Live It Up is fun, and so is Black Dog’s. You guys have just announced the headline tour for later in 2013 and you’ve got Orange Goblin supporting as well! They were a recommendation from Mark our tour manager, something different so I think it’ll be a good mix! Live It Up was recently used by WWE for their Extreme Rules show and it’s not the first time you guys have been involved with them either.. We gave them Stand Up For Rock And Roll as well. We’ve got lots of US fans and a new audience to get into. Live It Up goes well with sports and Australian Rules Football have been using it back home as well which is good. You did the theme for Mr Kennedy as well a few years back so if there were one other you could do a theme for which one would it be? Joel and Ryan watch it more than I do but I’ll say Hulk Hogan! Favourite Festival drink? Beer, a big drinking vessel to contain it as well. Any beer. You tried the Trooper beer? Not yet but a lot of bands do that now; Motorhead have their own wine as well. Would Airbourne consider it? Maybe not just yet but we’re a drinking band, beer wine or whiskey would be good.
Die You’re set was a little early this year, and rainy, how do you think it went? The crowd was amazing. We were thankful that people watched us even in the rain! I guess you’ve got plenty of time to catch the rest of the bands… We want to see as many as possible but we are hoping to meet up with Korn. Is the recent EP ‘the Unravelling’ an indication of what we can expect in the future? At this point we’re not sure what the next album is going to be like. It’s way off in the future. What are future plans in regards to touring the UK? At this point there are no concrete plans but the UK has always been one of our favourites and we hope to come back soon. Do you have a favourite festival drink? Beer!
How does it feel to be playing Download? It’s amazing. I’ve never been to a festival of this size; the biggest I’ve been to is Hevy fest so it’s quite overwhelming! Now with The Algorithm recently toured with TesseracT, how did it go? It was amazing because they’re old friends. I’ve known Acle for a long time and the rest through Monuments. It was also the first big tour for the live Algorithm band – are there plans for more? Yep! We’ve got a bunch coming up, including Tech Fest, and more that we’ll be announcing in Barcelona, Euroblast, Russia… we’ll just see how far it goes. What do you think about the fact we have a Tech Metal festival in the UK and Europe? It’s great! A lot of the influence for Tech-Fest came from Euroblast that John (Algorithm’s manager) has a hand in. Everyone’s flying with djent and tech metal at the moment. Any bands from the genre you feel people should be checking out?
Everyone should check out No Consequence because their new album is incredible, others include Circles, the whole Basick roster in general. You’ve had some changes in the Monuments line up and you’ve said you’ll announce the new singer at Ghostfest… We wanted to take it live and be able to present him fully. There are always preconceptions but it’s a really exciting time for us. Is the new singer someone we’ll recognise? Yep, he’s a big player, he’s not from England but everyone will know him and be amazed that we came together. It feels like the next logical step. Which band would you like to collaborate with either as Monuments or Algorithm? I’d love to do stuff with Karnivool; that would change my life! Finally what’s your favourite festival drink? Double spiced rum and coke Kraken!
Brandon You guys were quite a late addition to the festival, how did it feel to get that call? It was surreal, we had no idea that this would even happen so we were more than excited to come and do it. Furiousity has just been released and it hits you like a freight train... I’m glad to hear that. That’s the idea of the band: if we’re gonna hit you then we’ll do it like a freight train. I hear you guys went to catch Uriah Heep as well… Absolutely. They were the best thing I’ve seen all day besides that awesome crowd in front of us. Maybe a Monster Truck/Uriah Heep tour in the future? Maybe, after seeing that set! We got to open for Deep Purple for a few shows in Canada last year and playing with them was really cool. We also did a tour with Slash too. The crowd that comes to those kind of classic rock
TJ and Monte How does it feel to be at Download? TJ : Great to be here. Monte: Great to play. What makes a festival for you? Monte: The kids going crazy and the release of it all. TJ: All the kids going crazy is what we’re here for and to have as much fun as we can. Monte: We’re one giant family all here for the same reasons. What would you say has been your favourite festival crowd in your career? TJ: When we played here two years ago on the main stage, biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. Which bands are you looking forward to seeing? TJ: Iron Maiden! Monte: Maiden and Queens Of The Stone Age You recently released a video for Ungrateful that caused buzz due to its subject matter, what led to the
bands are really great. At the same time there are so many young bands… we’ll tour with anybody! Which other bands are you hoping to catch? Hopefully The Sword, Queens of the Stone Age, Graveyard and anyone else we can fit in. And what drink is your hand during those bands? Depends on the weather! On a rainy day it’s a beer but at the really hot festivals you want a nice cold rum drink. What albums have caught your attention recently? The new Queens of the Stone Age (Like Clockwork) has been playing in the van a lot. We’re stuck with what’s on the iPod so I’m constantly playing Led Zeppelin III! What are the future plans for touring the UK? We’re not quite sure yet but there’s a couple of options for the autumn. We want to make something that people really love so we can see them all at the shows. To all the new fans; thanks for watching us today. We had no idea there’d be 5,000 people clapping and yelling for us!
How does it feel to be at Download? Jimmy: Big thrill for us! You guys have had a pretty good year so far with the Shepherd’s Bush Empire gigs and such so far. What are the plans for the rest of the year? Jimmy: We’ve just been in Wales recording an album for the last 2 weeks and that’s in the mixing stages for a release in August. Then we’re going over to Germany to do a little mini tour. Mikey: We love Germany! Plenty of sausages and booze. Belgium’s similar! Mikey; They’ve got chocolate too, it’s great! Any label for this album or totally independent? Mikey: At this moment we are proudly independent, we’ve been pledging for the album and it’s at 111% at this moment. How do you feel about things like Pledge Music? It’s worked well for people like yourselves and Ginger Wildheart. Mikey: We like doing what we do and having the freedom to choose what we do, the fact that we can without people getting involved and release our music when we want to is a big plus! Jimmy: The whole thing about Pledge has caused different views and opinions but we didn’t know what it was all about before we pledged for the album and it’s so simple and good for the industry. For a band to be able to sell, fund and release an album on their own terms and have their fans be so involved the whole way along is a beautiful thing. You can do an album and all that is fans pre-ordering it. It’s such a simple concept that’s really amazing. I only see good things. Future of the Left recently announced a Pledge deal too! Jimmy: We got the same producer as them; they were in the studio straight after us with Charlie Francis. Who would you like to tour with? Jimmy: We recently toured with Rival Sons so it’d be good to tour with them again. Mikey: We just want to go everywhere, New York, California and France. We have a lot of people wanting us to go there. Jimmy: We’ll be playing Australia in February but before that we’ll do a string of dates in the UK and Europe then plan to try and get on South by Southwest. Favourite festival drink? Mikey: Negroni cocktails! Jimmy: Corona for a barbeque. Mikey: Jay from Rival Sons gave me some 30 year old port; it’s nice to drink something older than you are! [laughs] Especially out of a paper cup [laughter from all three]
decision to highlight the topic of abuse in the video? TJ: It’s obviously a huge issue with fucking internet bullying and we see it more especially about our old singer [Falling in Reverse’s Ronnie Radke]. We go onto YouTube and it’s just people bashing each other, it’s so fucking stupid. We’re all human beings and we all like music so why can’t we just get along? We saw this and we’re like let’s make a video on that and at least try to stop the hate. Monte: It’s getting a little out of hand and crazy when kids are killing themselves so we want to tell as many kids as we can not to go down that path. We have pictures of people that have taken their own lives and it’s just so fucking sad to see them and if you look at the comments there are still people that are like ‘the kid deserved it’ and we’re like what the fuck?! We’re trying our best to put the message out there and hope it makes an impact. Future plans for tours in the UK? TJ: Warped tour in London. I haven’t been to the one in the States for years Monte: Won’t it be cold in November, it’s outside right? Nope – all indoors! Favourite festival drink? TJ: Vodka tonic. Monte: Jagermeister and a lemon!
How was playing Download? Joel: In-fucking-credible. Planning on catching anyone in particular later on? Joel: Maiden, Parkway Drive, A Day to Remember but it’s all about Rammstein! Sam: Can’t wait to see them! You’re on Ghost Music – how is it on there? Sam : It’s a small label but that works in our favour.
Tom: We were the first band signed to the label and we work quite close with them so it’s all good! How was the tour with Heart of a Coward and Bleed From Within? Joel: That was really cool; it was good to have bands we got on with. Tom: The shows were amazing as well. Sam: I think we made a few new fans and friends on that tour because we had kids coming out to see us every night along with people that didn’t know who we were. Joel: That’s what you tour for. You guys have a new album out at some point…
Carl and Noddy How does it feel to be at Download? Carl: Quite surreal! Noddy: I don’t think it’ll hit us until we get home; there are so many people here that are huge influences on us. Do you think you’ll catch them all? Carl: Well one of the key ones we wanted to see was Slipknot who were unreal. Noddy: Coal Chamber, going back to the roots. Karnivool we’re missing but we’ll catch them in November. You guys announced you’ve signed with Century Media, how does it feel to be on the same label as bands such as TesseracT? Carl: Overwhelming, we’ve seen Century as one of the key metal labels.
Joel: Currently we’re just writing and recording and seeing what works. What can we expect from this record? Joel: it’s going to blow the last record out of the water! Sam: Since the last album we’ve learned a lot so expect a lot of progression. Future plans for tours? Sam: In terms of headline tours we’ll wait for the album but we’re doing a short run in August with Martyr Defiled . Tom: European festivals and Ghostfest will occupy us until we proper sit down and write more. Favourite drink at a festival? Joel: Water. Tom: Water. Sam: Before a show – Water, after : Beer. Tom: I’ll take mine back – Tea. [all laugh]
Noddy: Can’t wait to put out the new album and see what happens. What can we expect from the new album? Carl: With the first album it was written over such a long period of time that it was a mish-mash of things we were trying to do whereas this album was written in the space of 6 months so it’s more cohesive and stripped down. Do we have a release date yet? Carl: Not yet, but we’re aiming for October/November. But there are some tour dates already set? Carl: We have shows with Between the Buried and Me in Russia then, hopefully, more UK dates later in the year. How does it feel to be touring Russia? Noddy: Until we land I’m not going to believe it! Carl: We also have Thy Art Is Murder joining us and they’re a great band so we’re really looking forward to it. Who would you want to tour with the most? Noddy: Slipknot. Favourite festival drink? Carl: Double Jack and Coke.
Keep reading for interviews with Hacktivist, Tony Wright (Terrorvision), Huntress, Black Star Riders, Hardcore Superstar, Wild Lies and more to come on www.sonicshocks.com
ROCKIN’ ALL OVER THE WORLD IN STYLE By Cristina Massei Francis Rossi and his Italian tastebuds – like most of those I met this morning – can’t get over yesterday’s episode of Masterchef . For some reason, my nationality leads people to think I have the recipe for the perfect gnocchi: the truth is I wouldn’t know where to start, but as lunch time approaches I could definitely eat a large plate of them. To avoid weird noises from my tummy, I try to change the topic. So let’s talk about the movie… Francis: You don’t want to talk about the gnocchi then? [laughs] Not unless there are some coming. F: I have to tell my wife about some of the stuff this woman cooks, she was just phenomenal. It was the way it (the gnocchi) and pappardelle was thrown together with sauces – you know when you used to see Nana do it and you’d think ‘piece of piss!’. I remember my mother used to make me roll the gnocchi down the fork to get the richness in it. And this other guy was making ravioli that was so flat and heavy but maybe I was hungry last night! Anyway about the movie… Yes. (By now, I’m dreaming of my dad’s infamous pesto gnocchi…) F: Have you seen it? Yep, and I enjoyed it! F: Really? You’ve made my bloody day! I saw the reaction about the single and the movie trailer on your Facebook, looked like fans didn’t expect you to do this…
F: Throughout our career we got into various projects: albums, records and whatever they are. You never know whether it’s going to be a good move or the biggest mistake you ever made and it’s always like that, whether it’s an album project or when we did Coronation Street, but this is where the professional side of you comes out, you’re protecting this - he [Rick] calls it the Mothership Status Quo – ‘would it be good for Quo if we do Coronation Street’… They reacted before even watching the movie really [Rick then joins in] R: Some fans seem to have the strange macho rock mind set where we mustn’t do this. With the length and achievements of your career, you guys should be free at this point to try something different if you want to. R: I think with the movie it’s like everything else, some people are going to like it, some aren’t. It’s as simple as that. With what we do in Quo some people like it and some don’t. Like Bula Quo, a lot of the fans are up in arms apparently; they can’t stand it but you either still love us – and I don’t think you fall out of love with somebody – or, they’ve been with us all these years and then suddenly… Let them see the movie and hear the soundtrack album, where a few of the songs are really good and a few are alright, but you attach those tracks to the movie and the whole thing works. For me it’s not an album but a SOUNDTRACK, it’s not a Quo album per se. I really like 4/5 of the tracks but somehow I’m not seeing this as a Quo album, it’s a soundtrack for the movie Bula Quo and for me the
whole thing adds up as I hope it will for the fans. The album’s one half and the movie’s the other half of it. Put them together and you get the full package. F: Whenever we do something different there’s always some sort of problem and yet when we’ve stayed in the parameters we’re criticised. Really we should be blinkered and not listen to the pluses and minuses. I think there’ll be a lot of people that’ll say ‘this track doesn’t quite go with that track’ or ‘that’s not really Quo’ but as Rick said, it is part of the album and why shouldn’t it be something that stretches us? R: When you get to this stage in your career that we are now you have to do things that you want to do, not because someone else is saying do it, not because it’s needed, if you don’t want to do it don’t do it, and we really wanted to do this movie! It’s a wonderful thing, someone’s on the phone asking you to make a movie in Fiji? Yeah! How fantastic, if we didn’t want to do it we wouldn’t have done it. You can’t always worry about what the fans will think. Someone want us to be movie stars? Well thank you very much, we’ll have some of that at this twilight stage of our career if you like, are you joking? We’ve never had so much fun in our lives! I think part of the problem here is the internet, in a sense that there are too many people allowed to say what they think and they’ve got nothing to do all day so they have to say something. F: That’s the danger, when you get in there and start looking and reading. I remember looking at our site 12-15 years ago and someone has asked who the bigger schmuck is: me or someone else? I thought I don’t need to read this, so I’ve not been there since and staying blinkered means we don’t have to worry about the ‘should we do that? Oh shit I don’t know what to do!’ R: Apparently the release of Bula Quo (the single) for radio only has enraged a lot of the fans and they’ve got really uptight and nasty about it, to the point where we’ve closed the site down because they were being so obtrusive on there about this movie in our careers. It’s closed down, end of. It no longer exists. They almost think they own you. Some people on your Facebook page seem to think you did it just for the money. F: We’ll be lucky if it breaks even. Haters have always been around, just now they’re out there with the internet. R: Don’t you think the anonymous people get more venomous with it? It’s anonymous all the time so you can get really vicious with it. It’s nice to get paid but the amount you earn is irrelevant. To do this movie we were paid well but even if we weren’t getting paid and they ask we’d be like ‘yeah’. We’re not driven by the money. I stand by what I said earlier: if we want to do it we’ll do it, whether the fans like it or not. There’s a massive campaign going on in Australia with a chain, that’s their equivalent of Tesco, that asked us to do a recording of Down Down and change the words. Our career has flagged there over the years and all of a sudden this huge supermarket comes on and asks us for the ad. There’s been no other ad talked about in the same way in Australia, it’s amusing and everybody loves it. Once again fans are saying ‘what are they doing?’ but we enjoy doing it. It’s the profile as well, we go out there, bang out, Australian tour; it’s a career move but again if we hadn’t wanted to do it because we thought we’d be made to look stupid, we wouldn’t have done it. F: It’s a laugh, it’s a good crack and we can get away with things like that, and then go out there and meet rock fans. All these things add to the spice of what you do, we’re not bound to be going around the world and play, we can do other things if we want to. We can afford to pick and choose these days. I enjoyed the movie in a Police Squad/Naked Gun way… R: That’s flattering indeed!
What’s the part you found the most fun? You even went underwater… R: We had to go into a pool and train for a day, like when you go scuba diving. I think I was worried we were a bit deep. F: About 60 feet down. So I was a bit worried and, let me tell you, when that shark came along... luckily they were ones that don’t bite, in all seriousness that was fun! R: It was a challenge to do. F: The next challenge is to make one in India. R: Yours truly is going to dress up as an Indian princess! [All laugh] Is Craig Fairbrass’ character based on your actual manager? F: Our manager’s not that tough, slim or fit. He’s more a PR type. The idea of strange long hair roadie-like managers is a rock cliché; Craig played the archetypal manager people expect from us. Back in the days of partying do you think you were hard to manage? R: I think we were probably very easy to manage because in those dark days, if you like, of partying and drug taking, I didn’t give a stuff what was going on because I was too busy partying. We were just told to go somewhere then OK, whatever, I just didn’t care about anything but myself. As long as I was enjoying myself on and off the road I was fine. I’ve never asked any questions like how much we’re earning, what are we getting for this, are we going to Australia, how much are we getting to go to Australia, I’m not going to Australia unless they pay us this much... I didn’t ask those questions, I’d just go and do it and didn’t question anything. A manager’s dream – they could do what they liked with the money and we didn’t question it, we weren’t bothered. In the movie, after the show you go looking for a party; what does really happen these days when you come off stage? F: We go straight to the back of the stage and to our tour bus. R: It’s very rare we stay in a hotel but we’re very content to stay on the bus. For some reason when we were younger it was car, van, bus, limos, jets then the best hotels in the world but you think ‘I don’t want that’. I get to the back of the bus, see him [nods to Francis] in the front and we know all is well then we wake up near the venue the following morning. F: We’ll move forward 45 feet on the bus, say ‘Hi’ then go back to what we were doing. R: We call it The Bubble. Nobody is allowed on our bus. We come out of the gig with the lights and thousands of people and get on that bus: you don’t know how wonderful we find it. The thought of going back to a hotel and walking across that reception with the ‘oh God where’s my key?’ and into a room that you don’t know in a bed that someone else has slept in. No matter how good the hotel is it’s still had somebody else in it last night and our bus isn’t like that; we have our own mattresses tailored to how we like them and I bring stuff from home and put it on the bus. The only difference is it’s smaller and it moves. F: We were thinking of doing another movie in Austria so we could take the bus; if we have that with us everything’s fine, it’s like a security blanket. It must be awesome! R: Nobody can get on there and get to you if you want peace. F: We can do that from each other if necessary. R: Years ago we’d go back to the hotel, go to the bar and the next day wake up feeling a bit rough, get in the car and travel. We can’t believe that we used to do that, travelling in the day?! Travel overnight, no traffic jams, wake up at the gig. It’s beautiful, particularly on the German Autobahns, I’m up front as you hear a V10 Mercedes humming in the background. You get home and think “God, this is so still!” I understand. It’s the feeling of taking home with
you. F: As soon as you’re off the stage you’re home whereas the strange car and hotel room can make you feel isolated. If you’re parked up at the back of the venue you can just go down the stairs of the bus and read. You can’t do that in a hotel. R: Carry On Rocking. Us and our bus! F: The space is smaller than the bathroom at home and yet I’m content to live in that space! I get the feeling, maybe it’s an age thing but I find it pleasant. People think it’s boring but people are content with different things. R: You come back into the real world, outside the bus, and you’re sound checking and talking to people in the dressing room then you’re doing the gig with, pacing around getting ready to rock then you get dressed and out for the show, the lights go down, the lighting rig goes up and you go out to thousands of people, that’s your day. By the end of it when you’ve had 2 hours of running around the stage the bus is beautiful. All the noise is behind you, glass of wine and the telly on; that’s the only time we get to ourselves with nobody around and it’s lovely. The only thing you don’t have with you is family… R+F: It’s not the place for family. F: I promised my children that I’d take them on the bus and I did it this year. We did Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin and somewhere then back home. R: I wouldn’t know anybody else except my partner who’d come home, take all his stuff off the bus, repack his case and go on holiday on the bus! We have a lot to do; interviews, rehearsing and sound checking so it’s really not the place for the family. We’re used to it and when you take people that aren’t - and there are people who aren’t, believe me… The kids are at school and my wife’s got stuff to do at home and looks after our lives when we’re away, the roles are quite clear; it can get difficult with the kids, they were crying their eyes out when I had to leave and it is getting difficult to leave them but they accept it, I’ll speak to them on Skype and they know Daddy’s away earning their crust and I’ve gotten into a bad habit of bringing them gifts back. I can’t help it! They now expect something when I get back and even though I don’t necessarily agree with it I will take them something home. And as hard as it can be to go away, when you get home seeing them run up that drive, bouncing up and clinging to you there’s nothing like it! Speaking of on the road, are you planning to take the reunion tour worldwide at some point? R: I don’t think it’ll be a world tour per se, we’ll probably do something at some time but we’ve got our hands full with the current Quo – if I can call it that. There’s lot happening this year with the British and European tours etc. No gaps that need filling; the gaps are downtime with the families. You do have one gap though – on drums… R: That’s been taken care of; it’s a guy called Leon Cave and he’s worked with Francis before on his solo tour and he can do backup vocals. What kind of set list can we expect on the Bula Quo tour? F: We were discussing that recently and that there’s so much pressure; we’ll probably do ‘Go Go Go’ and ‘ Looking Out For Caroline’ from the movie soundtrack as there are less tracks suitable for stage in there, and then try the set as best as we can. R: We’re like the government – we can’t please everybody. No one really can… F: I think The Beatles did! Not really – my boyfriend doesn’t like them! R: What’s wrong with him?? [All laugh] But once again, we’ll put together what we think is the right set, one that we enjoy. Thanks for your time and good luck with the movie! So, here’s what rock legends do when the sex drugs and RnR days are over: enjoy gnocchi and a glass of wine, spoil their kids for the rush of that ‘welcome back’ hug, have fun in Fiji swimming with sharks and keep rocking all over the world… on a homely tour bus. Whether you like it or not. Bula Quo is out on 5th of July showing in over 200 cinemas in the UK. Find yours here: http://bulaquo. com/cinemas#region-menu Tickets for the Bula Quo tour in December 2013 are available here: http://www.statusquo.co.uk/bulaquo/tour.html#bula
the beginning of change - a new age of tech Matt Dawson has an impromptu chat with Rich and Jay backstage at Download Festival How does it feel to be at Download? Rich: It’s massive; we’re really excited about it. It’s a huge UK festival to be playing with an amazing line up. Jay: Really stoked to be here. Which bands are you looking forward to? Jay: Stone Sour. Rich: Rammstein and pretty much whoever we can. You guys toured with Enter Shikari, how was it? Rich: Excellent, we caught their set yesterday and it was good to see them killing it. It was great to know them and enjoy the experience. You guys are known for mixing things up and standing out from the crowd. How do you feel about that? Jay: It’s good. I’ve always wanted to be different and stand out rather than being in the same normal band. You released Elevate in anticipation for the next album but what else can we expect? Jay: We’re working on an album in between gigs but there’s no date
of release yet. Rich: We’re trying to do it by end of this year but more than likely it will be the beginning of 2014. Will you be self-releasing the album, or are you looking for a label? Rich: We’re not against the idea but we’re taking it as it comes. Jay: We’ve had a few offers but we’re just having fun. Can we expect any more remixes similar to the one on the Unlike Us single? Rich: There is an idea about that so there could be some interesting spins on stuff. You’ve got a headline tour coming up… Jay: Yeah man, it’s going to be crazy. Rich: There may be a couple of extra shows as well but it’s still in the works. Same with supports. Favourite drink at a festival? Jay: Jagerbombs. Rich: Snakebite, a good one to have! Or Whiskey as things get messy!
An interview with TERRY CHIMES By Cristina Massei What happens when bits of Clash, Cockney Rejects, Diamond Dogs, Sham 69, Lords of the New Church, Cherry Bomb and God knows what else get together? Let’s find out from the legendary Clash’ drummer – and chiropractor – Terry Chimes… You’ve been out of the music business for a while so how did they convince you to get back in a band? Well it kind of happened by itself really. We went to a gig booked in Sweden to launch Sulo’s book ‘Keep Yourself Alive’ on 70s and 80s rock musicians and I thought I’d go along for a laugh; we all played 2 songs each so you can’t really call that a gig but it was fun and we got on very well, and it suddenly occurred to us we had a band there. So we decided to start recording and it turned out really good. It’s kind of grown by itself much like the weeds in a garden grow. So now that you’re back have you been missing it? I realise now I’m back that I do miss it and I didn’t think I would because I was busy doing other things, but now I’m back I’m enjoying it. How did you find the punk scene when you came back? Well I don’t know about the scene, I was never into it! I was just into being on stage and playing music. I love having an audience and I’ve never been very aware about what other people are doing, I just do what I’m doing and enjoy it. For those who don’t know about The Crunch and how they came together would you mind introducing your bandmates for us? Sulo [Diamond Dogs], who’s a Swedish songwriter and singer, who wrote the book which helped us all get together. Then there’s Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) who I’ve worked with before with Cherry Bomb and he’s also in Lords of the New Church, then there’s Mick Geggus who has been with Cockney Rejects for the last 100 years and there’s me! So it’s quite a supergroup then. And then there’s me! [laughs] I started with The Clash back in ‘76, spent a year with them then went off and joined other bands including Black Sabbath, Johnny Thunders, Hanoi Rocks and Billy Idol then came back to The Clash for a bit longer. Being a supergroup the obvious question is: Is this a one-off or are there plans for you guys to stay together for a bit longer? Well I think when you’re 19 you don’t plan more than 5 minutes ahead but now we’re a lot older an know more of what the business is like we’ve realised we have something special here and we love doing it so I don’t think we’ll be stopping anytime soon – unless we die of course! You played your UK debut gig at the Garage. How do you think it went? We enjoyed ourselves, it was a bit loud and blew a few people’s ears out but it was fun. It was nice to get the first one out of the way then you can settle down and get better. It was a world first really, first time we’ve played together. In Sweden I did a solo and Sulo did a song with Dave which was strange but great. If you’re writing a book about music it’s great to launch it with a concert I suppose, but it wasn’t really a concert by a band, it was loads of different people jumping up on stage. The gig in London was our first time playing together. Did you find the chemistry on stage together? Oh yeah. We found it in the recording studio. We recorded 14 songs together and we have the same taste and appreciation so it worked very nicely. On the stage it just transferred nicely. There’s a single that has just came out called ‘Down by the Border’ By John ‘Hank’ Layland and Matt Higgs Photo Matt Higgs Catching up with Pop Punkers and Slam Dunk headliners All Time Low, Sonic Shocks find’s out about life on the road for the young band and just how much they enjoy group masturbation. So you guys have been headlining Slam Dunk for the last two days, how’s it been so far? Alex - So much fun yeah, we’re having an awesome time! A lot of our friends are here y’know so it’s cool to see all of them... Jack - Yeah, it’s like the Warped Tour but over here, it’s been sick! With so many friends here is there anyone you’ve enjoyed checking out before your set? A - Yeah of course, Tonight Alive, Wonder Years, Allister are going to be really cool today I’m looking forward to them... J - Fireworks! We’re kinda being forced to listen to The Summer Set right now too (the band have just started playing the Kerrang stage beneath the press area) but we’re good friends with them so it’s all cool. Today’s going to be your last show before you go out on tour with Green
where can we listen to it and where can we find all the latest about The Crunch? The single online and in record stores, on vinyl and CD. The Crunch page on facebook (www.facebook.com/TheCrunchCommunity) is the easiest place to keep tabs on the band. You said you’ve got 14 songs recorded as well… We’ve just got to mix it; I’ve given £5 to put the drums louder than anyone else so we’ll see how that works out! [laughs] It’ll be out in October and we’ll definitely do more shows around then and a few others between now and then. Is the album going to follow the melodic style of the single? Yeah, I think they’re melodic and hard hitting, I think there’s one or two slow ones but they’re kind of driving rock. Do you have any summer festivals locked? I think what’s happened is that because we’ve just formed we’re a bit late to be playing the festivals because they get booked up. Probably next year we’ll do loads of that stuff but this one we’ll be jumping here and there with odd gigs. We’re very spontaneous though; we might be playing in your city tomorrow you never know! After all this time how do you feel the industry’s changed? The industry’s probably turned completely upside down because we used to make money selling records, now they’re making money selling merchandise and playing live but I think the music itself is no different. I’m playing the same kind of music and enjoying it just as much and the fans that come and see it are the same people that like the same stuff so the essence of it’s not changed at all. It’s the business that is all different. I think in any kind of business things change to adapt and move on, as long as you play good music and people enjoy it that’s all that matters. And we all love playing live; we record music because you have to do that but the real pleasure is playing live and seeing the audience. Out of all the bands you’ve played with, which one do you remember as being the most fun? That’s a tricky one, it’s like asking which of my ex-girlfriends was the most fun, you don’t want to offend anybody! The Clash were interesting as things happened around them but they were kind of miserable and Black Sabbath by the time I got to them they’d done all their crazy drinking and drug taking so they were coming in on time, playing in tune and sober which was quite good. Hanoi Rocks were a bit mad so that was crazy. Billy Idol was a nice guy and I enjoyed being around him. All different really, it’s like trying to pick your favourite film when there’s a lot of good ones. One thing all those bands had in common though was a very good looking drummer! [laughs] What do you consider your biggest achievement? I think that I’ve gone around the world to play in front of large numbers of people. Whenever you go anywhere people say ‘I saw you back in 78’ so I think reaching so many people is my proud achievement. You then decided to become a chiropractor, how did that happen? It was always a passion of mine as a kid. I was always into medicine and I wanted to be a vet, then I realised the patients bite you, but I was always interested in helping people and by the time I’d done 15 years in music I was a no drinking, no smoking, no drug taking vegetarian so I started doing acupuncture and natural medicine which
Day, what’s it like touring with one of your big influences? A - AMAZING! J - Yeah man, I love Greenday dude... A - Yeah we look up to those guys so much, we’re so stoked to play but really I just wanna sit back and watch. Did you ever think when you first started out that this is where you’d end up? J - Oh yeah totally, right from the start *laughs* no, we didn’t expect anything of this at all! A - Yeah I mean you hope but we couldn’t have known what was going to happen along the way... If we had it would have been really f*****g weird! You were really young when you first started out too, do you feel like you’ve grown up on the road? A - Yeah defin i t e l y, very much so. I mean we
was great. I ‘m a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde – I love playing rock and I love getting people well and I just realised now I can do both and – even though people may find it unusual – there’s no reason why I shouldn’t. Has it been difficult at points being a non-drinker/smoker in that kind of music world? Nah, it’s been OK because you get used to it. When you’re touring and you get drunk every night, smoking or taking hard drugs every day’s an ordeal to try to survive. If you don’t do that stuff you enjoy everything better I think. It’s amazing what the human body can do though. Johnny Thunders for example, it’s amazing he stayed alive for as long as he did. The human body is so resilient but eventually it has to catch up with you. Of course people I’ve worked with are dead now so that’s a sobering thought and I don’t have any plans to die anytime soon so I stay healthy to do more. What would you like to achieve with The Crunch? I’m excited by Sulo’s songs and he writes them at the speed that most people breathe so I’m looking forward to getting those songs written, recorded and out there so people can share them. When I did anything with my previous bands I never saw that far ahead but now I’ve been around the block so many times I can see where The Crunch are going to be: we’ll be a big band; in this business people have huge egos but the four of us have binned all that so we’ll be getting on with it and working well together. I think it’ll be a long lasting project. That’s good to hear! Yeah, there’ll be more albums yet don’t worry. No triple albums though! I was wondering how it would work with Cockneys Rejects still playing as well… What we’ve done is have the same agent to book us for all the bands we’re involved in so that way they won’t double book us, because these days it’s not like when you got into a bus and drive across America for three months. You can just go into a venue, do a big gig, you record it and put it out on Youtube; it’s much more efficient with the new technology so we don’t have to be 300 days a year on the road. Sounds good! I’m looking forward to the album and seeing you live!
started out when we were fourteen ten years ago so it’s been a really long road. Has it made relationships in the band tougher growing up like that? It can be hard on a lot of artists... A - Quite the opposite really. J - Yeah we all came up together, we’re like family y’know we care about each other. It helps a lot, it really keeps us together for sure. Do you guys have anything special planned for the stadium audiences? Dry ice, maybe a miniature stonehenge? A - We’ve just not gotta f**k up! I think that’s the biggest thing *laughs* J - We’re just gonna use the occasion to focus on us you know, put on the best show we can... Also, midgets on trampolines, they’re right up there! When this tour ends you guys’ll have been out on the road pretty much a year since your album dropped, any plans to take a break any time soon? A - No! None stop, we’re going to Australia, Asia; we’ve got some stuff over in South America then another U.S tour...That’ll be our second world tour this year... So how many gigs would you say you guys play in a year? A - Around two hundred, two fifty we’re total road whores man, you gotta do it! With that kind of schedule are you still having fun every night or does it start to feel a bit more like work? J - Not at all man, we’re so lucky that we get to travel and do what we do. See the world, play music... What’s that like, being able to go worldwide and having people knowing your songs, singing the words back to you? A - It’s really gratifying you know, I mean we put alot into it, we work hard so it’s nice to have that pay off and know people wanna share it with us. So once the tours are out of the way are you guys planning another album any time soon? A - I really don’t think we’re planning on stopping, we’re so wrapped up in the new record that it’s a bit early for us to plan another one but we have no plans of slowing down. We’re just going to get through the touring and get through the year... Are you preferring playing the new tracks over the older ones now then? A - I love playing the news songs yeah. It’s one of those things I think it’s equally rewarding to play an old song that the
crowd loves as it is a new song. J - The way the crowd pops here for the new record is actually the best out of any album we’ve done so far I think, they all really seem to know the words so... Yeah that was a pretty big album for you guys over here, finally breaking into the top ten... A - Yeah, in fact I don’t know what number it was but it’s pretty cool to chart in the U.K, it took us a while but we got there in the end. Having been on the road non-stop with this album what are you going to do when you finally get off the tour bus for a day? A - MASTURBATE! J - Yeah, a lot of masturbation’s going to happen... As a group or individually? A - Oh as group, we build up and we’ve gotta release! J - Yeah that’s how you get real close! I’m guessing that’s not a great mix with the family though, group masturbation? A - Yeah, we tried it with them they don’t like it! Better change the subject! We’ve already mentioned new material, do you guys write a lot when you’re out on the road or do you save it for the studio? A - We party on the road so we have things to write in the studio *laughs*, it’s all about creating the memories you write about. So you don’t sit down with a laptop and write between shows like some other bands? A - No it’s too distracting out here. When we’re on tour we want to be on tour, be in the moment, we live in it. We actually have to lock ourselves away to get the time. I guess you’ll burn yourself out that way can’t you? I mean if you’re working that hard and getting no downtime... A- Yeah, exactly. One last thing, you (A) recorded an acoustic version of Backseat Serenade that’s been pretty popular on YouTube, any chance we’re going to see an acoustic record any time soon? A - Yeah it’s really cool, I think at some point we’d love to do something like that, maybe a mix of older stuff and newer stuff... Maybe a double album a little like the Foo’s did a few years ago? A - Yeah that’d be rad... J - I’m in! A - We’re good to go, let’s do it... J - You heard it here first, one acoustic album on the way! The band’s latest album Don’t Panic is out now.
Matt Dawson catches up with Huntress’ Jill Janus in a strangely sunny Donington after the band’s performance at Download Festival… How does it feel to play Download? It took my breath away! When we stepped onto that stage and saw all the metal heads that were ready to party it blew our minds. We had such a great response and I really feel it’s a great start for us; we’ve never played here before and I see great things coming! So next goal is second or main stage? Isn’t it always! You always want more and the hard work never ends. We’ll never stop paying our dues. We have a lot of humility and a good sense of humour about it all. We know it’s going to be a long haul. What do you feel about other bands such as In This Moment making waves at the moment? I met Maria [Brink] and she’s a sweetheart. I don’t feel any competition with any other band because there’s so many and we’re such a unique band anyhow. I only want to help and support this new movement that I feel is occurring. I feel like it’s a profound shift spiritually and also musically and I really think that true heavy metal is starting to thrive
Interview by Cristina Massei After being reminded what punk stands for by Goldblade’s latest album, we had a chat with John Robb about the record, Louder Than War, The Membranes and all the busy musician/journalist/etc is up to these days... Hi John, congratulations first of all for the new Goldblade album ‘The Terror of Modern Life’ that has now been out for over a month. What was the feedback from your fan base so far? The feedback has been great so far; we have had the best reviews for any album we have ever put out, maybe because we have put a record out that actually sounds like Goldblade. It’s not a compromised album, we made it raw and heavier and more exciting, the band are great players so we could record the album live and it would really work. It’s about the energy and the ideas and we had lots of ideas! We also made the bass sound right - we cranked it up, we were not being polite. The world is in a weird state right now, weirder and darker and more dangerous than ever and we reflected that with the music, we didn’t want to make one of those polite modern punk records with their perfect harmonies and nice sounds that beg the radio to play them. Another factor was reforming my old band The Membranes which reminded me of the power of the bass and that got mixed into the DNA of the album. The reaction from people buying the album has been that they think it’s our best release yet and they really like the sound of the album… What’s the song that came to life more spontaneously and the one that took more effort to create? ‘Someone stole my brain’ was spontaneous. We had a few rehearsals where I played bass, Pete guitar and
again in a big way. What would you say are your favourite bands at the moment? I’m a sucker for old metal; King Diamond, Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate. A lot of my vocal influence is drawn from Freddie Mercury of Queen, and people like Danzig. These are the bands that I grew up with. The bands that I love and who inspired me and continue to do so. Many people ask if I know a lot about modern metal and I’ll be honest: no and I don’t really care to. I’m happy to be here but we do what we love. Speaking of legends in metal you co-written a song with Lemmy… He’s a good friend of mine and I met him in 2009 when I was in a band called Chelsea Girls – an all-female cover band with members of Hole, The Donnas and Nashville Pussy so it was a real fun moment. We stay in touch and we meet up for drinks in the Rainbow and I asked him if he would write a song for the next Huntress album, he said sure and a couple of weeks later he hands me two pieces of notebook paper with the lyrics to I Wanna Fuck You To Death – the most romantic thing a boy’s ever done for me! Was he playing the trivia machine at the time? In-between that and doing shots! Which other musicians would you like to work with? I’d love to work with Rob Halford of course. I was blessed to meet him at the Revolver Golden Gods and it was the best night of my life! I’m looking forward to meeting Doro Pesch (Jill gave Doro an award at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods post-Download); I plan on asking her for advice. Future touring plans? Tour as much as we can – whether it’s a hole in the wall or an arena. We get such an reaction from everyone we meet and you feel a unity. We’re honoured to be a part of Download and we’re very grateful. At this time we’re working on UK plans but we’ll be touring on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem tour in America all summer with Five Finger Death March, Rob Zombie and then in the autumn we have some surprises in the works! Favourite festival drink? Water! Without it I am nothing, free water is the most valuable! STAY METAL!
‘Starbound Beast’ is out now on Napalm Records Find out info and tour dates on www.huntresskills.com
Rob drums and we make an effective jamming unit and the song came out of thin air. I just got that bass porridge groove going and Rob kicked in with the drums and Pete defined it with those great guitar line, the vocals came fast as well and the lyrics were sort of already floating around in my head; I love those kind of songs, purely natural and fast. The ones that take longer are songs like ‘We’re All in It Together’ which arrive fully written and take a bit of time for everyone to fit into and find their space. I love the different influences throughout the record, it truly goes beyond all labels highlighting your spirit of independence. Was that what you were going for? We knew we were going to make a dark album, there is a darkness around and that had to be in the music; not that the album is depressing, it’s also the sound of the fightback - it’s the soundtrack to Turkey or Brazil - or that brief sense of defiance in the face of the machine before it all goes wrong; it’s the sound of the world getting poisoned, it’s the sound of everyone waking up to the big mess and trying to decide what to do. All that stuff that everyone has been going on about for years turned out to be true didn’t it? The food is poison, the people in real control are quite nasty and we have been sleepwalking into this mess. The album is the soundtrack to this and is the adrenaline and energy rush of taking back control of your own life. We also wanted to vary the styles of the album, in a sense it’s all the different types of punk music we love, all the different ways of doing it but also very much our own sound, our own way of making music - we don’t follow the herd.. Do you feel that independence is lacking in today’s punk scene – and indeed in the music business in general? It still exists, in some ways maybe even more because no one is going to help you know, the music industry has collapsed and yet more people than ever want to play music - how they survive is a big question! I hope it doesn’t end being a rich kids’ hobby and that it’s open to everyone, but with all the pirating it’s going to be really tough for many people. Punk music has become a genre with its own rules and its own way of making music, it’s run by a handful of people who
Photo Ben Gibbs/Napalm Records
decide who gets what, that’s the way with all music and it cannot be any different; it’s become a set of expensive clothes and tattoos, nothing wrong with that - the look is great - but it needs to be diverse and open and have no rules to be truly punk – after all punk is an attitude and not a style! What is punk for you? It’s about independence and DIY and also doing it together, it can be any style of music because it’s really an attitude, it doesn’t have to be really well played because the spirit counts; it’s also a folk music, a people’s music that can be made by anyone at any time and it’s worldwide and exists without anybody’s permission. Also punk means something totally different to each person involved in it which is great as well, that surely is perfect. Talking again about independence, I’ve been following the progress of your website ‘Louder Than War’ with great interest. Is it difficult to keep something like that going without the financial support that comes from advertising and – as often happens – editorial compromises? We do it all for nothing, that’ show stupid we are! Yes there are ads on the site and they help to pay for all the tech stuff, but I just ignore them, they certainly don’t tell us what to write about. If we didn’t have the ads we would have to pay to run the site as well which would be a nightmare since we are all skint. There have been ads involved in music media since I started on it, the music press was all paid for by ads, the BBC is paid for by public subscription, people get arts council grants or government money to keep going - it’s all the same thing really, as the Pop Group once sang ‘we are all prostitutes…’ How do you pick your contributors? Most people find us and send us stuff, of course we don’t use it all but we like the variation between really good writers and stuff written by fans. I love that first hand first feeling of someone who is actually there right in the pit combined with the analysis of the writer. We like young writers as well and try to encourage them and bring them on, we have found some really great people out there and we enjoy the fact that music discourse nowadays has been taken out of the ivory towers and is open to everyone - that’s the power of the internet… More and more indie publications are turning to digital these days. Is there any way to keep a print run without financial backing? There are several print magazines still in existence, their circulations are low but that should not stop anyone doing it; I love suing the net but it’s not the answer to all of our problems, after all we have to use corporate companies to access it or use their computers - we are trapped! We may be launching a print version of Louder Than War in the new year, I’m just in talks about it right now… Rebellion Festival is approaching – which bands are you most looking forward to see? There is so much to see, that’s the power of the festival! I will be running round watching so many bands - there has to be 150 plus bands on; it’s also an amazing social,
people should come and just hang out, it’s really friendly…. Are we going to hear plenty of the new album from Goldblade? Yes, we already play more than half the set with the album - more tracks to be added soon! Can we expect any more touring aside from Rebellion? We will be touring in the autumn, already lining up the dates and there are several more festivals in the summer - the only problem is trying to fit all of this in! There’s a very special event from The Membranes in Manchester on July 20th, ‘The Universe Explained with The Membranes, scientists and artists’. Can you explain to our readers what it is all about and is there any chance of a re-play down South? We want a gig that is not only mind blowing musically, mind blowing artistically but also mind blowing in information and you can’t get any more mind blowing than the universe. We will explain how it started how it ends and all the weird stuff in between from wormholes to dark matter to how time bends with top scientists, art instillations and science experiments and then the Membranes will play a mind blowing set along to a specifically made film about the universe.. The idea for the event came from when I met Joe Incandela, who is the head of the CERN project and the Higgs Boson particle project. It was a TEDX talking event and we were both speaking there. He was into punk rock and rock’n’roll and I’m into the universe so we swopped notes. The idea is for a multi media event where we will explain the universe with music, art, film and in conversation interviews on stage with Joe and also with Adrian Cox. It’s a total pop culture experience. The night will end with the Membranes playing the soundtrack along to specially made film about the universe and there will be art installations and art projects built in as well... The idea is to make something that is a total tripped out evening but also really interesting and will blow your mind in every way possible. It’s rock n roll. Or post punk from deep space. More details on the facebook page for the event…http://www.facebook. com/events/373800486053720/ There are plans to take it to other places if all goes well in July! You’re a very busy man, is there anything else going on that I’m missing out? We are putting on a literary festival in Manchester in November called Louder Than Words and I’m also curating an arts week in Harrogate next summer - just putting the bill together now… Also about to launch a punk radio show and got some book and TV ideas I’m working on. Tell me, where does the energy and enthusiasm keep coming from? As Iggy once sang…’lust for life…’ How do you feel this 2013 has treated you so far and how would you like it to end? For me so far so good - at the same time feeling slightly edgy about the way things are on the planet, it can feel pretty apocalyptic out there… Join Goldblade on Facebook http://www.facebook. com/goldbladeband and go to http://www.goldblade. com and louderthanwar.com for more info… or a just a good read!
Interview by Ashley Naismith On a sunny March afternoon, Sonic Shocks sat down with Olavi Mikkonen, guitarist for Viking Melodeath powerhouse Amon Amarth, to talk all things ‘Deceiver of the Gods’. With a tour on the horizon and a song featuring Messiah of Candlemass, the Loki album is gonna be good and the Amarth guys can’t wait to bring it live. Hey man, thanks for doing the interview! How are you doing? Good, really good! First off, you’ve just left the studio having recorded your latest album ‘Deceiver of the Gods’. How do you and the band feel about how the record turned out? I think we all are overwhelmed with Anders’ production and we are super epic about how well it’s gone. Because we’d written them before going in, we already knew the songs and we were really excited and happy about them. I think everything turned out great. Obviously it’s up to the fans which songs they like best, but you’ve got some pretty popular songs in your back catalogue (think ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’, ‘Guardians of Asgard’ and ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’). Do you think that any tracks on ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ can compete with them as crowd favourites? For sure! I think at least… yeah, I think the majority
of the songs are going to be killer live songs and will stay in the set for a long time. Speaking of the title track ‘Deceiver of the Gods, it starts out really atmospheric and it builds up into the time-tested Amon Amarth sound that everyone’s looking for. Would you open your live sets with this song? Yeah! I usually think that an opening song for an album should be similar to an opening song for a live concert; that’s the way I see it. And I think that so far every opening song we’ve had on an album has also been the opening song on the tour. I think Deceiver is going to be killer! How does the Amon Amarth writing process go? Is it just Johan, or do you all play a part? Both of us [Johan and Olavi] make our ideas ourselves. Then, when it’s time to start writing the album, we get everyone together in the rehearsal space and show the stuff we have. Usually we have complete ideas, but we kind of break them down and then the band builds up the idea again. It’s a band effort, but usually it’s either me or Johan who are writing the songs. But we always build it up together as a band. The title of the album, ‘Deceiver of the Gods’, seems at least to me like a reference to the trickster God, Loki. Yeah. You’ve done albums before referencing Thor and Odin, so is this in the same vein? Yeah, kinda. This is the Loki album. There are four
By Cayleigh Shepherd Shortly after their killer set at Download Festival, the newbies of The Wild Lies join Sonic Shocks to talk about their performance, how they became part of the group, and how playing is not necessarily the most important part of appearing at a rock festival… How was it for you playing at Download? Zak: It was awesome. We’ve never done a show like that before, it was different to what I expected but the audience fucking loved it. We had a great response, everyone said we sounded great and the tent was packed. It was an early set, but I was really surprised: the place was rammed. We had a couple of familiar faces out there, but lots of new ones too. As we looked out into the crowd we saw people singing along. We have no idea how they know the words but it was a beautiful sight to see. Last time I saw The Wild Lies, you were opening up for Jettblack at their Christmas hometown show. Do you prefer the bigger gigs to the smaller shows? Andre: To be honest it’s hard to tell at the moment. We’ve played a couple of big gigs now but the intimate shows are also great. As long as there are people there to play to then we’re doing the thing we love. When it comes to looking up at an audience of a few hundred people it’s definitely a big buzz. Today they really got into it by the end, which was great for us. Z: We were standing in the crowd yesterday just standing there gormless, but the audience for our set really gave us something back. The sound system today was huge, so you know we were gonna rock. We definitely prefer the better sound systems!! Are you sticking around for the rest of the weekend or heading home? A: Oh hell no! We’ve got VIP passes for Maiden so we’re sticking around til Monday and hitting the bar- that’s what it’s all about: free drinks and food! We’ve been eating cheeseburgers all week so it’s about time we had some decent food. Z: There’s still forty-odd Strongbows to get through still. It’s
songs that are totally about Loki, but yeah. It’s the Loki album. Is it like a concept album? Is there an overall narrative? Nah, I think Loki is the one we have most songs about. And always when you make an album, you have to think what is going to be the album cover. We had already decided “let’s go for Loki” so we could start working on the artwork. Speaking of the artwork, I haven’t seen it [at the time of interview]. Can you explain it? It’s going to be massive! Massive? Yeah, it’s a little different coloured themes to the last one [‘Surtur Rising’] as that was very fiery. So it’s a little different from that, it’s beautiful, it’s the same guy who did ‘Surtur’ and ‘Twilight’. Yeah. It’s going to be massive. Out of interest, have you read the Poetic Edda and Prose Edda? Yeah! How much do you base your songwriting off Snorri’s narratives? I would say in the past, quite a lot. But I think recently, since Johan is writing all the lyrics, he found other sources as well to get inspiration from. But yeah, Edda is a great inspiration. I was very excited to see on your Facebook page that you were in the Studio with Messiah Marcolin from Candlemass. What was it like working with him? It was amazing! He’s a fantastic singer and a great guy, he has a really nice personality. So yeah, we had an amazing week in Derby when we recorded it and yeah, it was like five fanboys watching him sing. So good times! Did he do all the vocals on one song? Or did he contribute to more? Just one song. The beginning of the song ‘Blood Eagle’ starts out with some sword fighting and death. With most bands I’d just assume it was stock, but with you guys I imagine you getting drunk in the studio and having a sword fight. Please tell me that’s what happened! *Laughs* No, actually we went into the forest and we just took this guy and beat the fuck out of him. But I don’t think they have… since the murder is still under investigation, I don’t think we should talk… Of course. Considering you’ve got relatively huge, if you could pick of the big bands of folk/Viking metal to work with and to bring on tour with you, who would it be? Ooh, to bring on tour….. *long, thoughtful pause* The Týr guys. Fun guys and a great band. With a new album traditionally comes a new tour. Do you have any plans to bring this album to the UK? Yeah, of course! We’re doing Download festival, on the Sunday. Later on we’ll definitely hit the UK massively! Why Download? Amon Amarth just feels like more of a Bloodstock band. Yeah, but I think we played Download four or five
such a hard life… How’s life been for you since the release of your EP in January? Z: Great. We got four ‘K’s in Kerrang!, great reviews in the US, the UK and around Europe. This was all before we joined the band, but it’s one of the reasons we joined: the EP represents what we’re all about. It’s hard rock: heavy riff-age and stadium rock vocals. Can’t go wrong with that combination! How did you guys become a part of the group? Did you audition or did you get the call? Z: We gigged with them previously, then Dylan contacted me and asked if I was interested as they lost their guitarist. I said ‘yes’, but I like working with two guitarists and the different dynamics that brings, and I love this guy (nods to Aw) to bits, so I just asked him “how about
we bring two people in?” A: Hopefully he likes my sound too… Z: Yeah, it’s alright man! Then with Tom, he already knew Dylan as they were in a band together before. Tom is just an insane drummer. To be able to play the stuff he does, it’s incredible. Tom: I’ve known Dylan for years. I was a big fan of the band anyway, so I was so stoked when they asked me to join them. I love the music, so to take over on the drums was just awesome. Do you think the change to the line-up is one of the reasons why you’ve been brought more to the attention of the rock and metal community? Z: I think so. Since the EP’s had a lot of exposure, but I think the band has a new lease of life. It seems more complete, so we’ve been really pushing ourselves and trying to get out there as much as possible. Tom: I think Matt and Dylan were looking for the right setup before taking it further. Now I think they’re happy with us, and we’re happy working with them. Z: Totally: they’re amazing musicians. Dylan really has an ear for music and Matt’s an amazing singer. It’s great to be working with them. Where can we see you next? A: We’re playing places like Camden Underworld and Nambucca in July, in addition to the possibility of a tour with a certain Finnish band, but we can’t really say anything yet. Are you going to concentrate on your live performances, or following the success of the EP with an album? Z: This summer we’re just touring, then after that’s all wrapped up we want to head back into the studio to record another EP or album. A: We’ve started writing for our debut album. We wanna put something out there that’s longer than your typical 5 song EP. Expect some good things from us before the year is out!
years ago and we played Bloodstock three years ago. I think next time it will be Bloodstock again. When Sabaton came last, they brought all of the pyro and the big stage and made a DVD of the London show. Would you consider doing the same? Sure, why not! I might be slightly biased, but I think the London crowd is the best crowd to make a DVD for. It is, it is. London is good! When you bring your live set, what kind of stuff can we expect? New stuff? Crowd favourites? Festivals are usually crowd favourites. There are so many people who have never heard of the band and you want to make sure they hear the songs that the crowd love so they might become fans. It’s going to be like a best-of. We’ll do some new songs too. If you had to pick just one Amon Amarth album to play start to finish at a gig, which would it be? The new one, of course. Of course, I should have seen that one coming. What’s your craziest thing you’ve done as a band? Like have you ever drunkenly bought a longship or something? *Laughs* Not a longship exactly. There’s tons of stuff that’s happened in the past. We’re not as wild as we used to be, but back in the day things got pretty messy! Is there anything you want to say to the fans in the UK? Yep, get prepared for the Amon Amarth attack!
By Denise Britt I was a bit nervous face to face with Fieldy, at this year’s Rocklahoma Festival. Still I managed to choke out a few questions!... Y’all played Rock On The Range last weekend. How was that? It was one of our first shows with HEAD back and it was insane. 35,000 people, sold out. Lots of energy up there. How long has it been since you guys have played together? It’s been 8 years. You are both a part of The Whosoevers now right? Who what? (laughter) Yeah, we represent The Whosoevers. Will Korn have a new album out soon with HEAD playing on it? Yeah, yeah, we did one show with HEAD and it just kind of unfolded and we ended up doing the whole new Korn record with HEAD. What do you do when you are not touring? I am at home with my wife and kids. I have 5 kids. Do they ever get to go on the road with you? I’ve brought my older daughters out with me a couple of times here and there. It’s hard because they are in school. They love it. I had my son with me one time, he was 5 and we were going to a meet and greet and he just stepped up and got a sharpie, he didn’t even know how to write yet, he was just signing x’s on peoples papers. Awww, that is so cute! I look forward to seeing you guys play tonight. Thank you very much, we’ll be rocking the house! Ryan Ries (Whosoevers) joins us on the bus joking around about Fieldy’s hair and telling stories about Wal Mart and baseball caps... Lovely to meet such nice guys in this business, and see how time has been kind to them.
Matt Dawson puts the world to rights with Kobi Farhi… or at least they try to! You recently released ‘Our Own Messiah’ as the first single from ‘All Is One’. What led to that decision? We found ‘Our Own Messiah’ to be the track most similar to our previous material , so it was mainly to calm the hardcore fans for a start; some of the other songs might have been shocking [laughs] so we thought that was a great starter and we could go from there. We’re releasing two more in the future, ‘Let The Truce Be Known’ and right after that a studio clip of ‘Brother’ including footage of us recording the song -so people will get to see the emotion we had while doing it - and a video clip for ‘All Is One’. This new album is very enlightening; one song that did stand out was ‘Brother’, what was the inspiration behind it? The Jews and the Arabs both consider themselves to be descendants of Abraham, only Jews consider themselves to be sons of Isaac while Arabs consider themselves the sons of Ishmael; so, based on that historic fact, the inevitable is that Jews and Arabs are historically brothers despite all the conflicts and differences. We really feel our enemy represents what we don’t stand for and that he is everything we’re not; the fact is we’re brothers and I really think the source of the conflict between Israelis’ and Arabs is lying there with the two brothers. I can give you an example: in the Bible there’s the story of Abraham taking Isaac to the mountain to sacrifice him to God; the same story is in Islam but it says in the Islamic religion that Abraham takes his son Ishmael to the mountain to sacrifice HIM to God. You can see how – in terms of a conflict - things can get twisted into everyone’s side. I’m not saying which side is right, just how each one is taking the story and twisting it for their own benefit, so the song says “The lord blessed us both, but we still fight and claim - That kid on the mountain, - what was his name?”. I wrote this song because I have decided to be the grown up brother who, despite not knowing who is guilty, is saying ‘forgive me brother’ and that I’m sorry and I love him. That’s why we wrote that ballad and that’s why I think it’s a beautiful emotional song, because it’s very sincere and connecting with the place. I love Arabs literally as my brothers despite all the bloodshed between us. I hope it will touch people. That’s the thing I’ve always found fascinating about religion: the different interpretations such as Abraham and Isaac. They say that history is written by the winners and they always the way they want; during the whole career of Orphaned Land I gave a lot of respect to religion and I used it as a motive to the concept. But to be honest , after 22 years I’m really feeling that religion is some kind of a huge bankruptcy and the ridiculous thing that I’ve discovered during the years is the huge movement we are having as an Israeli band. We’re huge with Arab fans and that’s just crazy because you’ll never see a fan of Chelsea wearing the scarf of Manchester United or Arsenal, and how can it be that Arabs are following an Israeli band? That brings me to the conclusion that we all do want peace. No one wants to raise their children to send them to the war, but the majority of people are always acting like sheep, brainwashed by religious leaders, politicians and the media; we just fall into that trap again and again. Yet with Orphaned Land I’ve succeeded to achieve much more than politicians, rabbis or imams. On the one hand it’s amazing that a metal band has achieved so much, on the other hand it’s ridiculous that we’re the only ones achieving that. You bring it up during the beginning of ‘Fail’ about the media. Definitely an angry manifest! I’ve noticed you’ve decided not to use the growling style of vocal as much on this album… I think it’s mainly an artistic decision as the album is more upfront in many ways. Clean vocals is something that fits more with the upfront kind of songs on the record. I would say the only kind of angry song is ‘Fail’, but the majority are tragic so the emotional kind of singing fits much more in place to reflect the feelings of the songs. That doesn’t mean I won’t use growling in the future, it just felt right and it was an opportunity to express my clean vocals in a way that I never have in the past; I felt I was taking it to a higher level and I hope you or the fans will appreciate it. I agree with you that most of the stories are tragic – ‘Let The Truce Be Known to me’ is the most emotional song on the record. Yes, I was literally recording the ending with tears in my eyes because every song that I record I live it inside of my head. I took an inspiration from the Christmas truce in World War I; I heard about it and it was just blowing my mind knowing that British and German soldiers, at the moment of Christmas, started to sing with each other and dance in the middle of No Man’s Land, then continued to bomb each other the next day. I thought about it for weeks at how amazing and how tragic it was at the same time. I immediately created the story between the Israeli and Arab soldiers – who in my eyes are those brothers – Isaac and Ishmael. It’s just a thousand years later and they still fight each other. I built a complete story inspired by the Christmas truce:
By John ‘Hank’ Layland and Matt Higgs
and I wanted people to know that this isn’t going to be King Blues part two from the start. I wanted to make that clear and go “I’m just going to put these out and if you like it that’s cool come vibe with us and if you don’t that’s cool, I get it, it’s all good.” So that was the idea, just to put out a taster of the new sound of direction that we’re going. So the plan was to split it up as opposed to saying here’s a new record and then having people
not know how to respond to it? No longer with The King Blues, Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox is set- Exactly yeah and it was kind of a nod to the hip hop ting the record straight with his debut solo mix tapes mixtape culture as well and that scene and King Blues crossed a lot of genres as well and I think this is a similar Manifesto parts one and two. thing as well where we’re crossing a lot of kinda different So, new solo project now. What made you decide to scenes and boundaries Some of the tracks like “London’s Burning” seem go it alone instead of forming a new band? I did the King Blues for like nine years and I was re- quite angry, what’s driving you on that? ally proud of everything that we did, everything we I guess when I write and I write every day you know, I achieved. But I think after nine years you just wanna need to write just to get shit outta my head and politics do something new and John Feldmann who’s a record is something that has always been a passion of mine, producer, he saw a video of me just doing a poem in something I’ve always been interested in. I see injusa record shop and he was like dude you should just tice and I don’t like it and I feel I need to fight against come over and we’ll do some stuff together. We didn’t it and use and say what I can. “London Is Burning” isn’t have a label or anything like that we were paying for it necessarily about London it’s about every city in the out of our own pockets. I just stayed round his house world that I travel to, where I see people that don’t have for like three months you know, in the studio, hugging money or are being treated real bad who have no voice the keyboard. We just wrote three or four songs a day, and no representation and that’s what that tunes about. we went hard and just kept writing and writing and it pretty soon became a case of, this is my main passion In “Diplomats” some of the lyrics are “I’m a now. This is really how I feel I can express myself and whole person, a whole human being. A walkgo deeper into different subjects and really grow as a ing contradiction all seeing. Because reality ain’t writer and I learned a lot. So, I guess I’d done the band so convenient.” Did you feel that you were exthing for so long I wanted to do something where it pected to act a certain way in The King Blues and do you think that you can be yourself now? was just me and face that fear and go out and do it. What have been your main influences, because obviously it’s a new sound so what’s pushed you in this Yes, massively because I think there’s an expectation, especially if you do something political. There’s an exdirection musically? Musically, I mean that’s the thing. Me and Feldy, there pectation of you to be a certain type of person, a certain was only us two in the room and we both come from type of thing. I think that some people thought, and no a similar place. We were both punk rock kids and we offence to these people, their lives are their lives but peowere both activists but we love hip hop, we love reggae, ple thought I should be a dreadlock hippy eating vegan we love music. I think the idea with King Blues was soup every day, you know what I mean? When really, always to kinda mix punk rock and hip hop and we I’m not and I’m just here to be me. When King Blues always felt that we were more Beastie Boys than Minor started I was a real young man, I didn’t really underThreat in a way if you know what I mean? This time stand what was going on. I was going through a lot. My we’re coming at it from a hip hop angle and just in- whole life changed through that band and I grew with cluding the things that I believe make punk rock great, it and I learned a lot. Now this time I feel exactly like the excitement, the anger, the not being afraid to talk you’ve just said, liberated really. Some people are going about anything and just giving it that kind of energy. “But you’ve changed dude, you’ve changed!” and I’m like But really there’s just no rules to what I’m doing now it’s been ten years, I hope that I’ve changed and grown! which I really like, creatively we can just do anything My lifes about moving forward all the time and that’s what I wanna do, to be honest with you I’m a different which is cool. So, two E.P’s out now, you’ve put them up for free person now and I still believe in the same things in the through Red Bull records. Was there a particular core of my soul but I am definitely a walking contradicreason you wanted to release them for free? Was it tion, definitely. Your music’s always been heartfelt but do you feel like about getting the material out quickly? Well that’s it, we were writing so many tunes that by this is a more honest record? the end of the album we had like ninety songs writ- It’s more personal, for sure. Definitely more personal ten and recorded. So we’ve got all these tunes left over and I think the idea of what I wanted to do was take every subject and just go deeper than any other artist
lyrically into that subject. That was my aim and my effort each time, each day. When we were in the studio we were writing pages and pages of lyrics and every four pages maybe a line would get used or we’d split up two lines and make it one, it was an interesting process. Given that it is such a heartfelt record, if there was one message that you wanted listeners to take away from it what would be the most important one? That’s really hard that question and it’s a really good question but I think it’s exactly the same as the King Blues. What we came down to was: soul, love, hope, peace and it’s exactly the same with this, my philosophy on that hasn’t changed. I still believe in peace, love, hope, soul and that at the core human beings are wonderful and that we should live as one and overall my message is just love, really. What do you think of the response your solo material is getting? It’s amazing for me because I don’t know what it’s going to be like. This is like the fourth gig I’ve played in the UK or something so anywhere else that I play, in Europe or whatever. Nobody there knows who I am so it’s cool, there’s no pressure, there’s no expectations, no.... What’s the word? Preconceptions about what you’re supposed to be? Precisely and then afterwards at the gig I’d got people coming up to me like “Yo, I like King Blues and I’m really digging your stuff ” and some people were like “I’ve never heard of you before” and they were really liking it too. For me that’s really cool. Sometimes you get those gigs, and I think it started to happen towards the end of the King Blues; when you walk on stage and it’s amazing from the get go, amazing right from the start, people going crazy and it’s a really easy gig. But I think the ones where you have to get up and people don’t know about you, aren’t sure about you and when by the end they’re liking it it’s so much more satisfying. It’s harder but it’s just so much more satisfying. Those are the gigs that you feel proud of yourself after. Tonight wolverhampton was so much fun, the thing with Slam Dunk is it’s the one weekend where all the kids who get picked on at school for having green hair and the people that go to work and they’re like “I’m not gonna talk to that guy on the photocopier because he’s got tattoo’s or whatever”. All the weirdos get to come together for one weekend and be like this is our weekend this is our party... Like one big family? That’s the vibe that I get y’know, everywhere. All the dates on Slam Dunk’s been the same thing, that kind of family vibe because we all get each other because we’re all weirdos you know what I mean? So I’ve loved it, I’ve loved Slam Dunk and I’ve loved that we got to come to Wolverhampton, it’s been amazing, a real town. You’ve got Warped coming up which is a whole different kettle of fish, what are you expecting I mean I’ve heard the horror stories! I’ve heard it’s tough, it’s hot... I’m used to rainy weather, I can handle that but when it comes to like crazy heat I don’t know what I’m gonna do but I’m so excited to get out and play on Warped. That’s one of those things where I went to the first ever time they came to the uk at Reading and I was watching all those I loved. So to be on it is kinda crazy because Warped tour really started out as punk rock thing and I’m a punk rock kid so it’s like a true dream, to be on it’s amazing. There’s going to be a lot of people to win over as well, maybe you go over to America and people haven’t even heard your past material so that’s a whole new crowd... Totally, I could go to america tomorrow and play a gig and zero people would turn up so it’s going to be hard and I like being the underdog. I like having something to fight against, that’s when I do my best so it’s going to be fun. You’ve spent a little bit of time there recently do you think that’s influencing you and the direction you’re going in? I learned so much from being there because I was just
at the studio with Feldy for half a year out of the last two years. All these bands are coming in and recording there and he’s writing with people and I’m seeing heavy metal bands, pop bands, all kinds of different things and I’m just sitting back watching, observing, learning taking it in and I think I’ve come back a better songwriter, I really do I think I’ve improved. I see songwriting and lyricism as being more like an athlete now. I don’t believe in inspiration, I think it’s bullshit waiting for inspiration to hit. I think you’ve gotta be hitting the gym like an athlete does, you’ve gotta get up, you’ve got to be disciplined and you’ve gotta hit the gym and the harder you do it the better you get and I think it’s the same with writing. You’ve just got to be disciplined and keep writing and writing and writing and that’s what I learned out there, was how disciplined they are. They work really hard and I was humbled and inspired by that and I learned a lot. You’ve got Adam from Taking Back Sunday featuring on the U.S single, how did that come about? Yeah, that was a weird one. We originally wrote the song with Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy and then I think a month later they were getting back together and their management said “Right, we’ve got to hold off on the tune for a while”... Will that version ever see the light of day or is it the same track? Well he sung it originally and their management said we can’t use the track which I totally understood. Obviously it was a massive mistake for them being number one in seventeen countries *laughs* I’m sure they’re kicking themselves. We sat down after, me, Patrick and Feldy and we’re trying to think who’s the guy that can really sing this song? Somebody pulled up a video of Taking Back Sunday and instantly all three of us were like “Yes this is the voice, this the guy. Because he’s so real.” So we sent it to him, thinking we’re never going to hear back from him and he dug it so we jammed it in the studio. He’s just one of these guys who’s so quiet, so chilled you know? And then he gets on stage and he’s the guy climbing to the back of the rafters but really he’s just a really humble nice dude. You mentioned on Facebook that the UK single will be featuring a guest vocalist as well? I’ve got a single coming up in the UK that’s called Best Shot yeah but I’m actually singing the chorus on that now so... We’ll see how that one goes down *laughs* How’s Red Bull Records been as a home? It’s been great because this is my fourth record label now, I’ve been through different labels I’ve never given up, I’ve never given up hope I’ve always been a fighter I’ve always found a way to make it work. When I was in LA we had a lot of labels who were approaching us, there was a lot of labels we were talking to and those guys are a very artist friendly label in that they let you do kinda what you want. If you come to them with an idea and say this is my vision, this is what I wanna make happen they’re there to work with you so it’s been really good actually. It’s sometimes weird with record companies and people you work with in general because you hang out with them for a little bit, you get to know them over a couple of meetings and then it’s kind of like an arranged marriage and you’re there, but they didn’t. All the people over there are so nice and so cool and I think that they really believe in what I’m doing so it’s awesome being there so far it’s been great. You don’t know what kind of opportunities they’re going to offer you next I suppose either, like the Twin Atlantic track they used to advertise the Stratos space jump a while ago because it’s all Red Bull branded they just carried it across. What are you going to be soundtracking next? Who knows, who knows! You can download Itch’s solo debut Mixtapes now at : http://itchsmixes.com/
hiding from each other, one hears the flute and begins to sing… I used music as I believe that it is the most common thing you’ll find between two enemies, a universal language. If you want to get a dialogue going you could easily find a song that both of them like. The line ‘When music drowns the toy gun fire’ it’s reminiscent of the original Christmas truce when it started: the British heard the Germans singing so they joined in as well. I honestly embrace music as my only religion these days as it can inspire miracles, whether it’s at the truce or if it’s us being admired by Arabs in the Middle East today. It’s a very tragic ending as the troops split up and go back to their bases then the next day they just kill each other; despite the human spirit and music, the turmoil of life is still so huge that once again we’ve lost. I agree that music can be a religion, I also think that it’s also the people you become close to in life give you faith and hope. Of course, they are the ark of Noah. We always have an allegory – life is like a flood and they are your Ark of Noah in this world. Now the cover image – what led to its creation? It’s a complete utopia, very epic with all the symbols as one sign. It’s a dream that I try to create and sometimes succeed with the band. Despite this – people might think we’re some kind of missionaries which is not true – we’re not a white metal band or preaching to people ‘go to church’ or anything like that. This is just a dream that we’re having and something I’d expect religions – the so called ambassadors of God, light and morality – to look like. But it doesn’t happen so, despite the cover and title, the album talks about how we fail to see it, including the final line “We fail to see that all is one”. Where was the choir found? Israel. We recorded in 3 countries but it was easier to find one there. How did if feel working with Jens Borgen? It was great, he’s one of the most wanted producers today, he worked with everyone including Opeth. It was really great and fascinating for him, he admitted it was one of the greatest he had ever mixed. I’m very happy to work with people that appreciate our music whether it be Jens or Steven Wilson - who worked with us on our previous record ‘ORWARRIOR’ - it’s great to know people find your music unique, especially those you admire. I take it you’ve heard Steven’s latest album then.. We follow all of his work – he’s God in the shape of a nerd in glasses [laughs] Would you work with him again? He’s becoming busier but I would easily work with him. I don’t know if that will ever happen because of time , but I’m more than happy to. He was also a guest on the DVD that we filmed in Tel Aviv, singing our song on stage all by himself… That was a moment to remember.
Guess who Matt Dawson met backstage at Download: it’s Mr Tony Wright from Terrorvision, here to entertain the punters with a set as Acoustic TV! How does it feel to be playing Download? Great although we’re both drenched! You’re here doing an acoustic set as well under the name Acoustic TV – a nice play on American TV! Yep, and when I was growing up I think there was a programme called Acoustic TV so when the schedules weren’t right to do Terrorvision I decided that it can’t stop me going out doing what I love.
What can we expect on the DVD? We did a making of documentary and that will bring you with us into the studio when we record; interviews, studio clips, you can really feel the adventure of recording the album and video art while living in Israel and Sweden. You announced that you’ll be in the UK and Ireland in November, how does it feel to be doing a full headline tour? It’s always great to play in London, but the greatest thing is we have succeeded to book shows in other places, so I’m very happy and thrilled to play again in the UK. Which producers would you love to work with? I would die to have Leonard Cohen reading my lyrics on a song! He’s one of my favourites due to his great poetry, anybody we have wanted to work with we have, except him! I hear fans tried to petition for Orphaned Land for a Nobel Peace Prize… It’s kind of embarrassing on one hand; on the other hand, it’s very flattering that they appreciate what we do so much. I’m thankful to see they love us but to be honest I’ll be skipping all the awards just so I don’t have to write songs like ‘Children’ for example. I prefer to write songs for parties knowing that I can live in a good place to bring children into this world. It’s a utopia because the education system is fucked up, the first toys many kids get are guns - whether they’re water or computer games – but we don’t notice that, it seems natural to us. Call Of Duty games are some of the best selling ones… No wonder we’re killing each other as we get older, because we’re educated to do that from a young age instead of being taught the value of life or things that will make the world a better place. If you tell me now you could give me the Nobel Peace prize or we could change the system I’d go for the latter without thinking twice. Have you ever worried that people may misinterpret the lyrics? Of course! Many times they think we’re support religion due to the motifs; I don’t want to be considered as one while they take money and do nothing according to my point of view. Look at the publicity groups like Westboro have been getting… I want people to be more educated and for them to know that they can judge for themselves on many things, not just human life; but if here people can realize that Big Brother is bullshit and not watch it on TV, in Israel HALF of the country watches it, it’s like my nightmare! All reality TV is very big there, it’s really an insult to my intelligence, I hate it when people are following like sheep. The problem is that many have become accustomed to a celebrity culture… You ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up – the main answer today is I want to be famous. Fame became a big dream – put me on the lamest TV as long as I’ll be famous.
You’re also doing an acoustic tour with Ricky Warwick soon… I just watched Ricky now with Black Star Riders and he was brilliant! It’ll be a good experience because Acoustic TV isn’t just Terrorvision songs with an acoustic guitar, I like making songs. Songs and notes are like colours and paint so it’s the same picture but different colours and slanted a couple of the lines a bit! I know we’re on the same time as Motorhead and what we’re doing with the songs is so far from what Motorhead is but I think it’s just as metal because we’re gonna do it and it’s what we feel. With the Terrorvision songs is it going to be some of the hits and some of the B-sides? It’ll be the stuff that works well. Some of the hits I’m struggling to work into a way that isn’t just strumming them and singing; if we’re going to do that then I’d like it to be with people doing guitar and drums as well. Are there any plans for the future or is it a case of taking your time? Terrorvision can’t be rushed. I can’t be rushed. I’ve always written songs but when I have to write a song under pressure that’s when you ask the question. Maybe in a couple of years I may not want to write songs anymore then I’ll stop and watch other people play them. What’s the plan then for when the music stops? I do a lot of art. I have a studio where I do wood cut prints, anything that’s not landfill, and anything my great-great kids can look back on! Favourite festival drink? That blue stuff they leave outside the portaloos, it’s wicked – like WKD but with a bigger kick [both laugh!]
not ending anytime soon. Most people still picture Italy as the land of good weather and great food, while in fact it’s a place where people live on wages of 800 euros, or less, per month, while rents are at an all-time high and there’s just no employment, especially for the younger generations. The UK is far from being the “perfect world”, but here one can still live and work with dignity: something that has been totally forsaken in the “Belpaese”. The new album, Adrenochrome, is based around a cyberpunk story you wrote, could you tell us a bit more about that and why you chose to use it as a theme for the album? MARKO: When I wrote the novel back in 1996, all the future I envisaged for it was for it to find a “home” on the web, to become one of the many figments of human creativity inhabiting this sort of impalpable reality that we created around us. “Information Wants To Be Free” and all that. It was when we started demoing for the follow up to “X: A Decade of Decadence” that I realised that we could use the novel as a creative springboard to build a new album. Several elements seemed to click: the story taking place in London where we both live now; an occupied financial district in the Docklands looking like a very plausible concept now after the Occupy movement; the 11 chapters lending themselves very well to be turned into 11 songs; etc. That said, it has been a real challenge for me to write lyrics this time. Before this album I have always been very free in my songwriting, to a certain extent I have a sort of “stream of consciousness” approach to lyrics. This time around instead, the content was fixed, the story was there for me to narrate and finding the right balance between the prose and something that could be sung along wasn’t always straightforward. The title of the album refers to a brain chemical which supposedly has effects similar to mescaline and is referenced in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “A Clockwork Orange”, among other counter-culture writings. Did these works have an influence on the story/album? MARCO: not directly, but pretty much everything counterculture has a huge influence on my life and my works. It’s the path I’ve taken many years ago and on which I’m still firmly on, since I completely believe that society, especially as we know it in the Western world, is a complete error. Bear in mind, I’m not a hippie: far from it. I love my cities, and I love my iPhone and my Apple products. I’m not a “no logo” activist, even if I realise that, without doubts, we have been taking it too far. But I surely stand for a re-discovery of our spiritual roots, and that is achieved by dismissing social and cultural boundaries, or at least starting to question them without taking them for granted, as the Ten Commandments of Biblical memory. Even when, by doing this, you get dragged into the hole and forced to explore your less-than-beautiful sides, which is what happens in two masterpieces you mentioned: it’s what Jung called “facing the Shadow”, and it’s a very important process… but, of course, most people are led to believe that such things are better repressed, than understood. Wonder why we live in a psychotic, murderous society... Although a strong influence on industrial music, cyberpunk is a literary genre with its roots firmly in the 1980s. Do you think David Lees had the chance to talk to Marko and Marco from XP8 about its still relevant today? their new concept album, their influences, crowd funding and the future MARCO: I think it’s even more relevant today, than it was in the 80s. The of the music industry. cyberpunk authors somewhat were able to tap into some sort of stream from the future and pretty much foresee what the world would have You’ve recently relocated from Rome to London, how are you finding been, in time. Surely we still don’t have cyber implants, but I dare you life in the UK? to deny the fact that multinational corporations rule the world already: MARCO: it’s been like being reborn. What most people do not under- have you recently heard about all the mess Monsanto is causing? That’s as stand abroad, since the media worldwide do not properly showcase it in cyberpunk as you can get… at least until we DO get cyber implants (and their news, is now bad the quality of life degraded in Italy over the past Google Glasses are just round the corner!) 10 years. A cancer that eroded everything, slowly but surely, enacted by MARKO: well, cyberpunk literature has indeed fulfilled its parabolic tramindlessly cunning politicians (of which the notorious Berlusconi is only jectory and it’s now firmly ingrained in our present world imagery and one of the many) that cared only about their own purses and nothing else. terminology, so it’s not “cutting edge” or “subversive” as it surely was back Now we are left in a country that, on top of being very young (we have in the 80s. But many of its themes are still to be fully explored and recogbeen unified only 150 years ago and so still in its early steps), has been left nised: the battle between individuality and the homogenisation of faceless a social and cultural wasteland and in a true economic recession that it’s corporations; the dissolution of the Nation States concept as a unifying
AN EVENING OF BURLESQUE The Orchard Theatre, Dartford 18th July from 7.30pm
By Sophia Disgrace Burlesque! Welcome to your one stop drop for all the news on the best burlesque nights, in the capital and beyond! My name is Sophia Disgrace and I’ve performed at numerous events in the U.K and abroad, from festivals to the most exclusive clubs. I tend perform in a neo burlesque style and o en incorparate other elements, such as fire play, into my routines. Burlesque - or ‘the art of tease’ as it’s also known, first rose to prominence in the 1950’s; in recent years it’s enjoyed something of a revival, with stars such as Dita Von Teese helping to popularise the scene once again. London as ever is at the fore front of this movement, which is both alluring and inspiring for men and women alike. Here are my pick of all things burlesque this month...
Billed as 'Britain’s biggest burlesque spectacular - direct from the West End!': well, with a tagline like that, what more can I say?! Boasting an all new cast with a mix of traditional burlesque and cutting edge cabaret, ‘An Evening...’ is a choreographed romp through titillation, canny performance and tease. The Orchard Theatre itself is the perfect venue to showcase such a lavish affair, with a generous seating capacity and elegant surroundings. Pre-Show dining is also available for those of you who want to make the evening last just that little bit longer. Want to know more? Well you are just going to have to purchase a ticket, my lips are sealed! See you there…
Issue 15/2013 force governing societies; the ever moving and blurred boundary between our “true self ” and the avatar we project of ourselves in the digital world. These are themes that still are worth exploring, just in different new styles maybe. What are your cyberpunk genre influences? MARCO: the obvious genre’s fathers such as William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson, but I’d also add Robert Anton Wilson with his “Illuminatus!” trilogy and “The Schrödinger’s Cat”: while not being properly cyberpunk, they still touch the themes of neo-spiritualism and transhumanism that are very dear to me. And then of course Philip K. Dick, that with novels such as “Ubuk” and “VALIS” and stories like “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sleep” - made famous on the big screen with the title “Blade Runner” - is the one bridging the gap between the two groups mentioned before. And I guess this list wouldn’t be complete without the japanese anime “Akira” and “Ghost In The Shell”. You have some beautiful sci-fi artwork for the digipack from Kallisti Design, how did that collaboration come about? MARCO: we have been working with Vlad McNeally for over two years now, since we released our tenth anniversary’s EP “X: A Decade Of Decadence”. Simply put, not only he’s a great artist, but he’s also an absolutely reliable working partner - and trust me, this is something really hard to come by, especially in our scene. So keeping on working with him was simply the right choice, and once again he managed to deliver the kind of ideas we have with little or no input from us, apart from the first briefing. Also, it helps that a couple of years spent drinking at various festivals cemented our relationship even further! Adrenochrome marks the first time you’ve used crowdfunding to produce an album. Why did you choose to fund it that way rather than through a more traditional route? MARCO: to be completely honest with you, we were very wary of the crowd funding approach. While it seems like a great idea on paper, it relies on the fact that you need to have a “sure” crowd to sell your project to, which is why we see a lot of failed fundraisers these days, as newcomers just jump into the fray hoping someone will answer the call… and there’s no one to even hear it. This, and the fact we are already reaching a point where there’s simply an over-influx of projects and that only adds to the background noise - yet again, I’m afraid this will always be the by-product of our current, web 2.0 society.The reason why we didn’t go through a more traditional route is quite simple: after being signed to various labels for 10 years, we just don’t trust them to do a proper job anymore. Constant delays, sloppy promotions, shady royalty payments and sheer inability to run their own business… you name it. Thankfully over the years I learned the ropes here and there, and so there we go. At least, this way, I know we care about our music and our releases. You raised your goal in under 24 hours, how did that feel? MARCO: that was very, very impressive. Granted, we didn’t ask for tens of thousands, like so many others ��������������������������������������� tho and which leads to inevitable failure. And our goal was simple, we «only» needed the amount to print the album in the nice digipack we originally planned for it. All the other costs were already taken care for. Yet, it was an astounding result, and one that showed us - especially me, the «pessimist/realist» of the gang how much our fans cared for XP8. We even made it to Indiegogo›s main page, since we broke some sort of record. I guess I sometimes didn’t fully acknowledge this, due to the fact that XP8 is the odd band that it seems no one ever remembers when asked about their favourite music on forums or Facebook: but once again, this proves how people on the forums only belong to the “vocal minority” and they hardly are representative of any real trend... Has crowd funding changed the production of the album at all? Does it make a difference knowing that the support for the album is there from the start, rather than working away in isolation and hoping there’s an interest when its finally released? MARKO: As you might have started to guess by now, XP8 never follows the beaten path; for better or for worse we seem unable to do things in the regimented and established way. In this case this meant that we crowd-funded the album AFTER having produced it, because we realised that we needed outside help to give the album the release we felt it deserved (money that is). So the support for the album was not there from the start as you put it, we had the pretty much everything (both musically and graphically) in the final stages when we decided to launch the campaign. Since we dramatically
BLUES AND BURLESQUE
At The Blind Poet, The Edinburgh Fringe 3rd -24th August from 1.30pm This quirky and ker-azy show is back by popular demand, after a stomping debut at The Fringe last year. The blues are provided by ex Dexy’s jazz muso Pete Saunders and 'Hostess with the Hostess' Vicious Delicious will be controlling the mic. Burlesque wise look out for Bouncy Hunter, Lady Beau Peep (awesome names ladies!) and a host of other very special guests. A lorrra laughs are guaranteed - burly and blues - the perfect combo! This show is live, sexy, ddd-dangerous… and FREE!!!
Tickets from £22.50, please call 01322 220000 for more info
This month’s velvet curtain reveals...
LIFE DRAWING WITH A DEVIANT TWIST!
Phoenix AZ,U.S.A 16th August
Okay, so this one is a bit of a wild card, but come on - I couldn’t resist: a Burlesque event paying tribute to the one and only Elvis Presley is all good in my book! Burlesque artiste Kitty Victorian is a woman with an unlikely mission: to bring her tribute to The King to the whole of the United States. It will be in her words 'All Elvis, all night long!'. Please refer to http://elvesqueburlesque.com for further updates.
BURLESQUE SPOTLIGHT! At The Cambria, Camberwell, London Every Thursday from 7.30pm
Dig out your charcoal and settle down for a spot of life drawing with burlesque and performance as added extras! Art has never been so delectable - come along to this recurring event and enjoy putting pen to paper, whatever your skill set! This is sure to knock the proverbial spots off of art classes at school…
Issue 15/2013 overshot the goal though, we had to start thinking of way to honour the inspiring and downright humbling support that people have shown to XP8 and that took the shape of a 7” vinyl single that we’ll release later in the year; this is something we’ve never done before and we’re really looking forward to explore this new media (new for us, obviously), hoping that people who funded the vinyl will give us pointers as to what kind of material they want on it. How does Adrenochrome compare to previous XP8 albums? Is there any evolution in your sound? MARKO: someone asked me this very question in Leipzig a few days ago and it made me realise that I still have no idea of what the XP8 sound actually is… When writing songs, we never set out for a particular “sound”, we kind of let the song take us to where it needs to go. But with hindsight I realise our songs do have common sonic traits, although very difficult to pinpoint. All this to say that we stayed true to our method and let the songs lead us sonically, without too much over-thinking. Indeed we see an evolution in our production, we truly believe Adrenochrome to be the best music we have ever had out there: the dance stuff is groovier, the melodies are sweeter, the clean vocals are more upfront, the distortion is grittier, the pop bits are poppier… this album is like XP8 to the Nth degree!! You recently announced it would be necessary to cut back on touring this year due to Marko’s job commitments. What appearances will you be making, and is it harder to maintain a musical career today than when you started out ten years ago? MARKO: to put it simply we can’t rely on music to pay for our bills. We need to compromise with the real world and we must have day jobs, which come with obvious restrictions to what we can and can’t do: touring for no more than a few days in a row being one of the things we can’t. Having a musical career has always been tough, the level of commitment and the sacrifices you have to make now are kind of the same, and ten years ago the industry had already started its steady decline, so no, I don’t think it’s much different today. But we are much different from the guys we were 10 years ago. So much different… MARCO: in regards to the shows we’ll still be playing, it’s good to mention Terminus Festival in Canada on the 29th of June and Summer Darkness in the Netherlands on the 27th of July. And a new mini-tour is planned for November/December here in the UK, but at the moment is still in the very early phases of planning and in fact might as well be post-pined to 2014. Come next year, we are obviously booked - along pretty much every other band in the scene - to Alt-Fest, and event that looks like it’s going to fight to take the spot of “king of the festival scene” to the mighty Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig. Without being able to tour extensively to promote yourselves, what other plans do you have to keep XP8’s momentum going? MARKO: we will continue to keep the flame burning by appearing live in different festivals and one-off concerts and DJ gigs, as well as trying to expand our on-line visibility. And then there is the clubbing side of things, the true driving force behind this multinational Industrial/ whatever-scene in my opinion, that we seriously need to cater for with better club mixes and remixes. With the changes brought about to the music industry through the internet, piracy etc. is it simply time to cast off existing business models and find new ways to promote and sell music? MARCO: Yes. Plain and simply “yes”. Of course no one has the definitive solution yet, but it’s pretty obvious that the old models are old, dated and totally useless nowadays. What state do you think the industrial/EBM scene is in right now, and where do you see it going from here? MARKO: to be honest is quite difficult to asses the health of a scene because it’s difficult to chose and agree on the parameters by which to judge it. Are releases in the scene selling lots? No way! Even big scene names have to accept that numbers are not and will never be again what they were 20 years ago. Are live events well attended? some are, some don’t. Audiences are fickle by nature and it can be very frustrating for promoters to find the right offers, but there are still gig that people are willing to pay and travel for. Is there great new music out there identifiable with the scene? I think so, and even if not all the artists producing it are wearing New Rocks or sporting mohawks, I still believe it’s Industrial music. Aggressive electronic music that is able to criticise society and express something other than pure dance.
THE HAIRSPRAY CORNER
by Claudio Pucci
If you’re an avid follower of our Hairspray Corner, you will remember brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli. Back in our beloved Sunset Strip circa 1987, they found a fan in Bret Michaels who got them in touch with his PR. They formed Brunette and made quite an impression on the scene, but was only later in 1992 – and with the addition of Journey’s Neal Schon - that they finally recorded their first effort ‘Double Eclipse’ as Hardline. Currently signed to Frontiers Records, Hardline are busy hitting the Festival circuit to promote 2012 release ‘Danger Zone’. Claudio meets Johnny to find out more and remember the old times….
Hi Johnny, great meeting you. You played with some amazing bands throughout your career, any show you remember in particular? Hi! Well… I’ve played with many many great bands. One of the most memorable were Van Halen - my very first show as an international signed artist and first show as well as a signed act at Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, 55,000 people…. that was an amazing first Hardline show! How is your brother Joey doing these days and how did you get on in the band? My brother is my life. Always great to have him with me and he’s doing great! He has put his guitar down to continue to cultivate a business we started in 1995 and still have today and growing… I’ll try to get him back on the stage in 2014. For now, he has to work!!!! hahahahaaaaaaaa -Kidding Back in the Brunette days you were managed by Debra Rosner… Yes, Deb had Poison, Slaughter and many more. I miss her and haven’t spoken with her in many many years, she was the best PR gal out there at the time…
maybe still is, I don’t know. Many Brunette songs ended up on the first Hardline album ‘Double Eclipse’, was this your choice? ‘Hot Cherie’ is brilliant! Collectively we decided which songs worked for the album, a hard choice for sure as we had so many! For ‘Double Eclipse’ you worked with two great musicians like Neal Schon and Dean Castronovo, what can you tell us about that experience? It was great to work with such seasoned and talented musicians, I learned a LOT from these guys, they still amaze me to this day. I miss them. Next came “II”, what can you tell me about this record? II was an experiment, something a bit different and new for Hardline. Of course everyone always compares it to the first album. I love II. And III! And …… haaaaa You also collaborated with Axel Rudi Pell. How was that for you? Great, been singing in ARP for 15 years, gold records, sold out show awards etc…. A lot of fun and great people. Can you describe Hardline’s latest work for our readers? It’s called “Danger Zone” and it’s closer to ‘Double Eclipse’ as an album, melody galore back with powerful riffs…. LOVE this record. Do you think Frontiers Records is helping improve the metal scene particularly in Italy? I think a lot of bands should kiss Frontiers’ asses and thank them for keeping AOR music alive as much as possible. A lot of these 80’s guys would be working at Mc Donald’s if not for them! haaa Any new project in the pipeline we should know about? No no no….I have enough on my plate! A last message for your fans? I love you guys… I read as many comments as I can online, youtube etc… THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Where can we find your album? All record stores and online retailers or through our website www.HardlineRocks.com
Review and photo by Cayleigh Shepherd A lucky lucky Cayleigh meets Jocke Berg in Castle Donington after an incendiary set from Hardcore Superstar... How’s your day been so far? Jocke: It’s been good. We played early today, one o’clock. Despite the rain we were really happy to see that there were loads of people. What more can you ask for? I remember the last time I spoke to you; we were talking about Iron Maiden’s Live After Death. It’s certainly no Long Beach, but you’re here playing the same day Maiden are headlining. How stoked are you? Jocke: I’ve seen Maiden 20 times now, and I’m always like “wow”. It’s going to be awesome seeing them today. You haven’t done too bad recently. You’ve got Maiden today, you just played with KISS. 2013 isn’t looking to shabby for you… Jocke: We’re pretty satisfied! You released C’Mon Take On Me earlier this year. How has the reception been? Jocke: It’s been mixed. At first we got some bad reviews, and we were like “what?” I mean we loved the album because we were so satisfied with it, but after a while the good reviews started pouring in. Overall it’s been really good. What were the bad reviews focusing on? Jocke: They kept saying “oh, we’ve heard this before” and we were like “what the fuck? Of course you’ve heard this before: it’s the same band!” They thought we were repeating ourselves… Personally I thought it was a great follow up to Split Your Lip. Did you always know you were heading this way with the next album? Jocke: All we knew is that we didn’t want it to sound like Split Your Lip. When I was talking about the bad reviews a minute ago [for C’Mon Take On Me], they said “they’re repeating themselves” but we’re like “but this album sounds nothing like the last one”. There was only like 3 bad reviews out of 500, but we always read the bad reviews. The new album has a whole load of grunge influences. We grew up on Grunge: It’s rock and roll to us. So we tried to get a little bit of that in there, and I think that’s why it’s different to our previous work. I cant think of the right word to use, but the new album does sound a bit more, mature? than everything else you’ve released… Jocke: Don’t say “mature”! [laughing] SS: You know what I mean! Jocke: Yeah I know what you’re trying to say. I can’t think of the word either. But I’m still fifteen in my head, so even if the album feels more “mature” I certainly don’t feel that way! Are there any plans for you guys to head Stateside? I know there are a lot of people out there who wanna see you play… Jocke: I get emails from fans in the States, guys and girls picking on me on Instagram, saying “why the fuck don’t you come to the States?” We wanna play in California, do twenty or so shows around that area, but it’s only something we’ve talked about. We’ve only been to America once, back in 2004, and we played the Troubadour in LA, one show in Texas and in New York. We were actually one of the last bands to play CBGBs, which is really cool. Your European co-headline tour with Buckcherry has just been announced… Jocke: We’ve also got this cool support band coming with us called The Last Vegas from Chicago. It’s going to be a really cool tour, we’re really excited about it! Any last messages to your UK fans? Jocke: I love you, and I’m NOT mature!
What We Do Best Interview by Cayleigh Shepherd Photo Marty Moffatt This year’s Download Festival saw the return of Thunder to sunny Donington after a triumphant tour with Journey and Whitesnake. Cayleigh takes the opportunity to catch up with Danny and Ben before their set. Welcome back to Donington, how does it feel to be back here? Ben: It’s been four years I think, so yeah, great. Are you doing a typical festival set today or something a little different? Ben: We thought we’d start with a little reggae, maybe some country and western, some jazz-fusion… No, we’ll be doing exactly the same. We’ll do what Thunder does best, whatever that is. Danny: We only do that best because it’s the only thing we can do! How was the recent tour with Journey and Whitesnake? Ben: It was a pleasure. Danny: They were very nice, vey kind, very gracious. No misery backstage at all. No one-upmanship. They were just lovely lovely guys. What’s your view on the comments people were making after seeing the shows saying that Thunder should not have been opening the show? Danny: Well you may say that, but we couldn’t possibly comment! Ben: We gave everyone a good kicking on stage and we thoroughly enjoyed it! One thing I’ve always loved about you is your relationship with the fans. You can be on stage playing to a crowd of thousands and yet talk to them like you’re playing in the back room of a pub… Ben: It’s cause we spend a lot of time in pubs! Danny: Yup. We’re just a pub band regardless of where we play. Ben: A big gig and a little gig have always been the same for us really. I suppose you could say it suits our style and way we perform. Danny: Both types are great for different reasons. You play something like Download and the scale of it is amazing, but when you play a small club, everyone’s in your face and
knows what’s going on. It’s equally brilliant. I think if you’re lucky enough to go play a show anywhere and people show up then you’re in good shape! You played here back in 1990 at what was then the Monsters of Rock with Whitesnake. Any fond memories of the event? Ben: We drove here really fast! Danny: I think it was the first show we’d done on that scale. At that point, we didn’t know how popular we’d become. We’d only played a load of little gigs really, so when we were on stage and the audience all stood up we were like “Jesus!” It was a fairly pivotal moment in our career, so yeah, very fond memories. What do you think of festivals nowadays with multiple days and stages compared to the one day events like Monsters of Rock? Danny: It’s the modern world, isn’t it? There’s a choice for everyone these days, and this festival reflects that. Ben: Anything that gathers huge numbers of people together to watch a load of bands play their music live can only be a good thing. So if this is the modern way and this is successful, then bring it on! Aside from the annual Christmas shows, can we expect anything else from you for the rest of the year? Ben: We’re not really looking too far forwards right now and we’re certainly not getting an immediate reaction to what we did with Journey and Whitesnake. It’s business as usual for us, which is minimal until such times when we decide we wanna do more. Danny: We’re always writing, but we’re not always recording. We’ll see how it goes. It’s been a very enjoyable few weeks doing the Whitesnake tour and other festivals, so who knows… Ben: We’ve still got a few festivals to go, so once that’s all done, we’ll have a sit down and discuss how we feel. We’re doing Graspop on July 14, Bang Your Head on the 13th, a club show in Holland on the way home, and Wacken on August 1, and that’s it for festivals. We may do some shows further afield later on in the year. As we go on print, Thunder announce a second Christmas show in Wolverhampton after the first sold out in a few hours. Get your tickets now... It’s not Christmas without Thunder!
By Ashley Naismith Moonspell drummer Miguel Gaspur sits down with Sonic Shocks just before heading onstage at London’s Underworld to talk about the tour, the support and tape-trading with Burzum. First up, how are you all doing? How are the band feeling before going onstage tonight? We’re feeling good! It’s really exciting to be back in London, especially Camden, it brings back a lot of good memories. Maybe some people don’t know this, but the first ever shows we did outside of Portugal – they were arranged by Mike from Devil’s Church – were in London and at the Bradford Rio. We lived in his house in Camden for at least ten days, so you can imagine… First time out of Portugal, we went EVERYWHERE! We met everybody we could, we knew every bar, every shop. Bought all kind of shirts and metal stuff, and so Camden is a big influence. I think it’s like the vibe, it’s a kind of nostalgic feeling. We played here [The Underworld] before, back in ’98. It’s a little different. I don’t remember any backstage shit! But that was a long time ago. Also, this is the venue where they dropped my bass drum and broke it. No way! Yeah! And I spent the whole day looking for some new stuff to replace it. Tonight’s going to be awesome! I’ve heard it’s sold out, so it’s going to be packed. It’s going to be really warm. I’ve got a flight tonight too… Haha, sucks to be the guy sitting next to you. When was the last time you were in London? Was that 2009? With Cradle and Gorgoroth and Septic Flesh. Awesome. A little before my time. *laughs* You’ve played in some amazing venues in London, including the sorely missed Astoria. Why The Underworld this time? You can pack out much bigger places. This is the festival season, people aren’t going to so many gigs, so we just wanted to do a nice, humble, European tour. We told our agency to book as many shows as they could and The Underworld came up. We knew immediately that it’s not anything like the same conditions that we have in France or in other countries, but at the same time we just toured in the States and there are a lot of clubs out there with worse conditions. So we’re used to that. As long as people come along and enjoy themselves! Of course… if it’s going to be packed, you can’t see what’s at the front. But I’ve actually learned that a lot of people enjoy that. As I’m sure you remember, The Underworld is crowdsurfing heaven. But since the Randy Blythe thing, for some gigs they’ve had two very large gentleman on stage making sure it doesn’t happen. [As it happens, they were thankfully absent tonight] Really? Yeah, and a lot of bands get really pissed off about this; the diving is a part of their show! Do you like it when the crowd gets on stage with you? On a stage like this… especially for us… I guess we should play Hardcore. We’ve done a lot of tours with bands like that, and that’s a big part of the show. But with Moonspell, we went through a phase like that. We’d play venues like this all the time, everybody on stage, diving and surfing. But as long as they’re respectful, it’s great. They get up and then they go… not pressing our guitar players’ pedals and disconnecting shit *laughs* or falling on top of my drums while I play! That actually happened, it’s all happened. It’s like… I like to see kids having fun, it’s part of the history. But it varies from club to club, you don’t want to see kids get hurt. You always have to think of that. Do you choose your support bands? Actually yeah. Sometimes we don’t, but this time we had the opportunity to listen to some bands and we thought that Insomnium would be the best support. We get along really well with the Finnish bands – recently we did a tour with Pain and had a few Finnish bands along with us. We’re really good friends with Amorphis, and we’ve been following their scene forever. We really like having the Finns along, we love the style of music and they’re really easy to get along with on the bus and backstage. They’re really respectful, and that’s really cool. What do you think Insomnium are going to bring to this show? They remind me a lot of death metal like Grave, Unleashed along with the melodic side. It’s a bit like Children of Bodom, Amorphis… That’s why we get along with Finnish bands. It’s heavy, but they’re really weary of the emotional side and about the melodies. They’re very good musicals and songwriters and they’re very dark. It reminds us a bit of us. Portugal isn’t just sun and cocktails *laughs* The Portuguese are very depressive people sometimes. The last time I saw Insomnium, I personally think that they upstaged Paradise Lost. That doesn’t surprise me. Do you think they could do that here? Well we’re not afraid of it, we’ve done it to so many other bands. But we bring so much history that it’s kind of hard to do that though. When you’re about to walk out on stage, are you still nervous? Do you still feel you have something to prove? Yeah, basically every day. We’re pretty calm, we’ve done it our whole lives. I was 16 when we started, and I’m 37 now, I don’t know anything else. But that doesn’t mean that we’re arrogant; everybody gets a bit anxious when we’re going on stage. We’re just worried that something will go wrong. Every day, we try and get things better with our techs. Sometimes it gets ridiculous actually. But when we’re playing, it’s all about the music and the audience. I think that’s what makes us one of the better bands live, when we can we’ll bring other kinds of spectacle live: exotic dancers, female vocals. We’ve had scenery, projections, although there’s none of that today. But that’s a good thing, tonight is under-
ground and that’s not a problem for us. It’s a lot easier to play as we’re so close to the audience instead of a big festival where there’s 80000 people. You’ve gone through a lot of genres in your career: you started off more black metal, then moved through more melodic, gothic phases. Yeah, black metal was one of our biggest influences. But we put our own style on top of it. What kind of stuff are you going to play tonight? Mostly new stuff? I think a little bit of everything. We’re starting off with the new album [‘Alpha Noir / Omega White‘], we’ve been playing it a lot. The songs are sounding really good and we’re mixing them up with all the other albums that we’ve made. I don’t think we’ll be playing songs from every album, but it’ll be close. There’ll be classics from ‘Irreligious’ for sure! You say black metal was one of your biggest influences, but how would you say the first wave influenced you? You know, the Church burnings, Varg, Euronymous, Bathory. We were part of the scene at the time, the underground, the tape trading. We tape traded with Burzum. We have a lot of influences and history when it comes to black metal. The whole church burning thing, to us, became a bit ridiculous. So you weren’t tempted? Well... we had our own rituals. We all cut ourselves and did all the clichés. It was fun! But those churches were part of Norwegian history, not so much religious buildings. But I think it was a bit childish, and he [Varg] can see that now. But when you’re young, you do stupid shit. If you see how black metal is these days, it really made no sense anyway. After touring with Gorgoroth and a bunch of other bands, things have changed man! You’re touring your latest album, but is there anything new in the works? We haven’t had much time, we’ve been very busy. But our vocalist has an idea, based on a song he wrote in Portuguese called ‘Em nome do medo’ [In the name of Fear], which is on the new album. It worked really well, everybody really gets into it, which really surprised us. So we were thinking about doing an EP that’s all in Portuguese, which is something we’ve never done. A lot of bands have tried this, like in Norwegian, and it comes out pretty good. If you think of Rammstein, they’ve always sung in German. It’s definitely something that we’ve just found. [A door swings open] What the fuck… Is there a ghost in here or something? If you look in here, it’s like Jack the Ripper is lurking. [He opens the door onto what looks like a dank Victorian sewer] *laughs* It’s a fucking dungeon! We’re in London, man! And on that bombshell, is there anything you want to say to your fans in England? I appreciate the support! There’s lots of history here for us, it’s going to be great and have the best show you can! We’ll be back, sooner rather than later.
WATCHED FOR YOU by Matthew Tilt Home (Yurt)
Director: Muzaffer Ozdemir Cast: Kanbolat Gorkem Arslan, Muhammet Uzuner, Muzaffer Ozdemir Verve Pictures (24th June) Yurt (Home) is clearly a passion project of Muzaffer Özdemir, a passion clearly influenced by his time acting under Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Uzak, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia). This debut effort almost buckles under the weight of gorgeous long shots, due to the fact that Özdemir fails to add the same level of meaning to his film. Focusing on Dogan, an architect suffering from depression, who heads back to his home town and becomes more disillusioned by the changes he witnesses. His interactions with family he has not seen for over a decade and the locals he encounters are drawn out as the film struggles to reach its rather inert climax. Özdemir tries to cram in an environmental message; Dogan takes pictures to document the changes brought on by hydroelectric schemes across the area but this never seems like anything more than a reason to further his alienation. Stumbling through the slight story the cast do their best, putting in performances that offer enough lift to certain scenes to stop Home becoming an outright failure; Kanbolat Görkem Arslan is broodingly affective as Dogan. By the final scene there’s a palpable feeling of relief. Despite the beautiful long shots and good performances, Home lacks the substance needed to live up to its directors expectations, and this is all the more noticeable thanks to a clear influence from the Turkish master Ceylan.
Director: Scott Graham Cast: Chloe Pirrie, Iain De Caestecker, Joseph Mawle, Morven Christie, Tam Dean Burn Verve Pictures (15th July) There’s little to be happy about in Scott Graham’s debut feature, following a father and daughter as they muddle through in a petrol station in the Scottish Highlands. Their relationship is damaged; at times distant and cold and then uncomfortably close, both looking for comfort in the wake of a mother who left years before. Central to this is the stunning performance from newcomer Chloe Pirrie. Playing the titular character in a painfully low-key way the film hinges on her as there’s barely a scene without her in it. Her days are spent tending the petrol station, dealing with customers, who are few and far between. The needs of some of these customers disturbingly verge on desire for the teen, all these characters infected by loneliness. The cinematography by Yoliswa Gärtig only adds to that isolation, exposing the vastness of the highlands before pushing into the cramped spaces the characters live in. Joseph Mawle reacts well to his young co-star; the character of the father is underwritten in comparison, but Mawle plays it with a deep rooted vulnerability, struggling to accept his daughter’s growing awareness of herself and fighting his own urges between disturbingly real epileptic fits. Graham’s script occasionally runs out of steam, most notably towards the end where it twinges of melodrama, but it shines during the murky depths of Shell’s feelings for her father. An incestuous relationship is never made explicit, more a desire for Shell to feel needed by the people around her. The final scene is poignant, full of fear and opportunity for the young protagonist, much like the director himself who, with his steady, purposeful style, has created a debut that is sure to get him noticed.
Director: Jack Hill Cast: Pam Grier, Antonio Fargas, Peter Brown Arrow Video (Out Now on Blu Ray and Steelbook) Foxy Brown is by no means a perfect film; there are places where it hasn’t aged gracefully, the fight scenes are clunky and some of the dialogue evokes sniggers but it is hard to overstate the cultural significance of this film. Few Blaxploitation films had given the audience a strong female character; in fact no matter how many steps Blaxploitation had taken forward when it came to pulling black actors away from offensive, menial roles the film world was stationary when it came to black actresses. Pam Grier’s performance pulls this whole film together; surrounded by a host of entertaining, but OTT, supporting characters she stands tall as the woman on a mission, expanding on the role she played in Coffy Foxy Brown is stronger, meaner and against more opposition than she could dream. There’s a grittiness to the film as it apes various genre conventions; Hill’s work under Corman coming full circle as he capitalizes on the burgeoning trends of heroin addiction and rape/revenge that mainstream thrillers had been using, but it’s all combined with enough imagination to stop it ever feeling like a rip off, instead, forty years later, it feels as fresh and revolutionary as it did back then. In the extras section exploitation fans will want to check out the interview with Sid Haig, a personal and detailed look back over his career with Hill. His descriptions of the man, and with working with Pam Grier, are humble but filled with excitement and he paints the picture of a true artist. Foxy Brown is a brilliant addition to Arrow’s catalogue and their recent Jack Hill double (including the bonkers Spiderbaby http://moviestv.sonicshocks.com/SPIDERBABY.php) shows off the very best of independent distribution.
Massage Parlor Murders
Dir: Chester Fox, Alex Stevens Starring: George Spencer, John Moser, George Dzundza, Sandra Peabody Vinegar Syndrome (Out now) Film buffs may know Massage Parlor Murders (or Massage Parlor Hookers, a title it neither justifies or deserves) for the debut of George Dzundza, who would go on to play John in The Deer Hunter, but most, possibly due to its reputation as a softcore flick, will have never witnessed this rather gritty thriller. Directors Chester Fox and Alex Stevens do their best to recreate that Dirty Harry feeling as two damaged cops (George Spencer, John Moser) track down a brutal murderer. The killings are suitably brutal and, with the killer off camera for the most part, there’s an uneasy, voyeuristic feel to the whole thing. As the kills become more gruesome, including a particular nasty one involving acid, the rest of the film becomes more surreal; from the sex pool party which breaks into the least exciting car chase you’ll ever see to the unsurprising conclusion that the killer is using religion to justify his actions and the final, bizarre confrontation, Massage Parlor Murders may be genre fodder but it often floats just outside the box. Vinegar Syndrome have done a wonderful job of bringing this film to light. The transfer maintains that wonderful crackle of film, but looks stunning overall, and the re-release version cuts several unnecessary moments (though the original is offered up here as well). Add to this the detailed linear notes which pinpoint this films place in the overcrowded thriller genre and you have a package well worth investing in.
ART AND RULES IN THE GOSSIP WHORES GENERATION Director Fabrizio
Caught before his Q&A at Walsall Arts Festival, Fabrizio Federico talks to Matthew Tilt about Black Biscuit, the Pink8 movement and why we need to break our moral chains. What motivated you to start the Pink8 Manifesto? Was it a particular film or director, or was it the way the film industry was at the time? Did it stem from a positive or negative experience of cinema? I was bored with the exclusivity of the cinema industry and I wanted to kick it square in the balls. A lot of people who helped me with Black Biscuit were broke, in debt, disillusioned students who felt their lecturers were liars and failures. I learnt how to make films by watching DVD commentaries such as Gus Van Sant’s ‘Mala Noche’ which was very inspirational. The Pink8 manifesto was a chance to taste creative freedom and to take the pressure and myth off of making a feature film. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t perfect just as long as you have an experience. It’s very liberating and fun to kill rules and to cause an uproar with the older generation. There are no rules in art; people forget that. Pink8 feels, in many ways, to be an extension of the Dogme95 Manifesto (von Trier even pops up as one of your influences). It relies on humanism, and realism, even in the face of narrative. Would you say this was fair? Definitely, Dogme 95 is very brave, it is true cinema. I still haven’t been able to see ‘Fuckland’ but I wanted to take it a step further and give it a punk attitude and to show the ecstasy of real life. Its elegance and brutality mixed together. Filming real life is more difficult because all sorts of problems come out of it, but life doesn’t have a narrative so why should a film? Whenever something new comes along it gets burned and censored by critics or the establishment, the same thing happened to the Punk movement and the Dogme95 manifesto. I guess they don’t understand wild beauty. How did you cast Black Biscuit? Did you look for particular things? I’m not very organized. I just found people as I went along, but I was looking for street superstars and people that mainstream society deemed as being outcasts. Everyone has a poison, there was a lot of LSD around at the time, so the film took on a warped feel which I couldn’t and didn’t want to control. I wanted people to be loose and real so I let them do whatever it was that made them relaxed. I’m pretty sure Robert Mitchum was drunk on every one of his films, but he’s a great actor because he’s so relaxed, it was like he wasn’t acting anymore, and that was the main thing I was after. I let everyone improvise, there was no script, just a spirit that I was after. The manifesto states that you cannot do any preparation for the film; how far into filming Black Biscuit were you before you starting getting an idea of the final project? The film would change from day to day; I wanted it to be like Vietnam. I knew the vibe I was after so that led me from character
Federico talks to Matthew Tilt
to character. If you listen to Charlie Parker he doesn’t know where he›s going, he just goes. If you plan too much it kills the spontaneity. Black Biscuit has so many layers; it can mean something so different to everyone. It›s a riddle that can’t be cracked, just like the meaning of life, what are you going to do with your life? Everyone has such a different reality from one another these days, because of the internet and the huge amount of information at our fingertips. That’s why there aren’t any more concrete movements; we›re like comets drifting in zigzag orbits. Find a will to power and get moving. I don’t know where I’m going either but at least I’m on a road. Did you get a job that challenged your ethics to fund the job? Yes I wanted to tackle nudity so I decided to get a job as a life model. The film cost about £500 and the money I made from life modelling went towards feeding the cast members and covering travel expenses. Nudity breaks down barriers and brings us closer together. I find it funny that it’s still considered a taboo. I’m surprised aliens haven’t taken over the world yet, we’re such a stupid, petty planet. We’re such fools. We’ll never advance emotionally or spiritually with such trivial morals. I like to challenge myself and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even feel embarrassment anymore; you can’t be too self-concision if you want to share your work, so the best thing to do is to become bulletproof to criticism, and nudity is such a short cut to becoming stronger, try it. Was it difficult to create a trailer that appropriately represented the film? Sort of, I’d never made a trailer before so I was just running in the dark. I wanted to convey its trip. It works for me. I don’t care if the movie doesn’t make any money but when you have people such as Ai Weiwei, Jack Nicholson, Jafar Panahi, Daniel Johnston, John Waters, Bruce La Bruce and Gus Van Sant giving you encouragement that’s so much more than money. Were you surprised when someone (Andrew Mackenzie) took on the Pink8 Manifesto so soon after its inception? Did it surprise you when companies like the BBC stood up and took notice? It’s great I hope it gives people strength; there have been many new directors in Asia, South Africa and America who are taking cues from the manifesto for the right reasons, good luck to them. I think Andrew’s Dimention Zero is the first Pink8 offspring; we’re going to do a double bill show up in Scotland on Sept. 4th. But I was surprised that the BBC wanted to talk to me, maybe they’re as sick as I am about censorship. I hope the film industry starts to crumble little by little just like the music industry. You’re currently working on a new project. What is this about? It’s called ‘Pregnant’ and it’s about how technology has become the addiction of the 21st century. No one is immune to it unless you live isolated in the desert or in a monastery. A lot of people are throwing away hours and years of their life being stuck in front of the computer or glued to their phones or TV’s. It’s out of control. Facebook and Twitter have turned us into gossip whores and ‘Like’ junkies. I hope we find a purer way and get free soon.
Patricia Budd and the opposite of normal
Matthew Tilt caught up with Patricia Marie Budd, author of the upcoming novel Hadrian’s Lover, to chat about how close her fiction is to our reality. Please feel free if you want to explain what the novel is about for our readers? Hadrian’s Lover is a novel that has been set in the future but it’s not as much about technical wonder as it is about how humanity has gotten to the point where it has to do something about the human population. We are actually there now with over 7 billion people. In my research I found out that the planet cannot sustain more than 10 billion and I thought ‘What’s going to happen when we do top the 10 billion mark?’ So I looked at creating a society that would focus on population control. These ideas actually came after I had a nightmare that I was living in a world where heterosexuality was illegal and I was hiding my sexuality; when I woke up I felt relieved that everything was normal
then I thought ‘Well, normal for me but not for my students’ and over 20 years of teaching a lot of students have come out to me and I realised that what I experienced in my nightmare is a life for others so in Hadrian’s Lover heterosexuality is illegal. It has been deemed the best way to control the human population, all pregnancies are accomplished through IVF and it is a staunchly controlled Government environment. I wanted, through Hadrian’s Lover, to create a vicarious experience – what is it like to have to pretend to live in an environment in which your sexuality is deemed abhorrent so - Todd Middleton; 16 year old boy, straight and struggling to survive in a society that despises him. It’s an amazing idea, I was looking back on your past work and in A New Dawn Rising you put a white man into slavery and you do a similar switch in which a definitely well to do population are put in a situation which they can’t imagine. Yes. After I had written most of Hadrian’s Lover I actually thought about how I had taken such a dramatic change from my previous novels and then, when I think about A New Dawn Rising with a white man born into slavery; in a way it’s a role reversal. That’s why I wrote A New Dawn Rising as I thought ‘What would it have been like if I was born a slave? At the same time is it difficult not to draw the wrong reaction from your reader – I assume in certain sections of Hadrian’s Lover people feel sorry for the straight population, was it not – especially with the knee jerk reactions toward gay marriage – difficult to word things in a way that placed it in one direction? Interesting… I never thought in terms of that respect, what I thought about was what has happened to my students and what happens in the media so I put my character in similar situations. I know that there are extreme haters who are going to read into it what they want and it doesn’t matter what I say or write but when I wrote this it was to have individuals understand that position. Heterosexuals cannot truly understand this, even having written the book I can’t truly understand. I know that in countless states in the US it is legal to fire someone for being gay/trans and not even 20 years ago in Alberta a teacher was fired because he was gay. These are things that heterosexuals will never have to worry about and it’s not pleasant. Are you worried that due to the focus on homosexuality in the novel that some people you’re put-
Black Biscuit is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=ImoHm4gS4RU
ting the arguments to will never read the novel anyway? Probably. There will be people that won’t read the novel. I even open it with a warning to my readers because I want them to know what this is all about – it starts with ‘This is a novel about sexual awakenings and sexual discrimination. You will be reading sexually explicit material – two 13 year old boys experiment, a 15 year old boy is caught masturbating, there’s a 17 year old boy and girl that have sex and a married male couple on more than one occasion. Now I don’t deem this as graphic but there are people who will deem it graphic because of the homosexual content. It always surprises me the amount of hypocrisy on people – no matter how jaded you become there are things that sink lower – not just Hollywood but also the average person on the street. That’s very true, I find it fascinating that we have films like American Pie and in this movie these under 18 year olds are doing some fairly graphic forms of masturbation, oral sex and even the young man and the older woman – which I find amusing in a sense – so you’ve got the paedophile relationship. This is deemed acceptable by our society. Teen sexuality exists and we can’t deny it. I don’t think my book promotes it but it recognises it exists and it is during the teen sexual awakening years that this discrimination is the most damaging. Why are more teenagers that commit suicide LGBT? Because we discriminate against them for who they are; we oppose their sexual expression and there’s nothing wrong with theirs anymore than mine or anyone else’s. The novel itself is coming out at a strange time for LGBT rights – we mentioned the debate of gay marriage and there’s still discrimination such as Travis Mathews having his film banned in Australia due to it showing explicit gay sex whereas directors like Michael Winterbottom can get away with explicit straight sex. These kinds of discrimination are only the beginning of the depth of hatred that exists on this planet. There was a bill that has passed two levels and will be going to its 3rd reading in Russia which will ban pro-gay propaganda; meaning they cannot march in the gay pride parade, they cannot speak to children about being gay. LGBT kids are growing up ignorant in Russia and the saddest part is this is only spewing more hate. Since putting up my FB page I have been inundated with things that, at the time of writing the book, were so much worse than I could have imagined: an eighteen year old boy was buried to his chest and stoned to death, a man was brutally raped in Russia, a man in New York was shot and a man was beaten up in France for holding his boyfriend’s hand. I’ve not even started to scratch the surface. I thought I was extreme with what I put my character through and I realised that’s not extreme – that’s the scary part!
It is shocking what goes on – the point I was trying to make was that it’s a strange kind of climate where in a lot of western cultures they’re debating bills but at the ground level there’s a tide with LGBT rights. I really think the best thing for the LGBT community is the positive stance Obama has taken where he is pushing hard to bring forth equal rights and I hope in Canada Justin Trudeau gets elected due to his public support. I don’t know what the stance is in the UK but I know it’s frightening in others such as Russia, Uganda and Nigeria. There’s a site called Erasing 76 Crimes (http://76crimes.com/) which is a community that’s trying to get word out of crimes against humanity; specifically LGBT individuals. I hope that when people will recognise that this fiction is real in many ways. It’s a global issue; we as a human rack have little to no understanding and although there have been some great strides if you were to graph the planet the strides would not outweigh it all. You mentioned the Facebook page for Hadrian’s lover. Have you received any backlash? I’ve been told a few times I’m a faggot, that I should fuck off and that I’m a sick pervert who should be castrated. That’s because people don’t realise I’m using images from the book. The other thing about my page is that since it has been up it’s taken a life of its own – people have been messaging me about stories. A young man from an Arab country who was completely alone, it’s illegal to be gay and he could be imprisoned for 10 years. I wondered how I could help him so I contacted Escaping 76 crimes who gave me pages of Arab gay communities to send to him. I felt like ‘Wow, if nothing else comes of this – this page has been worth all the effort’. That’s just one example; I have worked so much and learnt an incredible amount from running that page. You mentioned your research on population – did that come before the catalyst nightmare? Do you research then find ideas? The nightmare was the catalyst. I find that the idea comes first and with Hadrian’s Lover when I was thinking about the LGBT community and climate change. The serious research happens after I start. I looked into climate change into Northern Manitoba – not just because I’m Canadian but because it is happening; in Fort McMurray that the grass lands are moving north and in the next 50-100 years we will see it move and encroach the tundra. In Hadrian’s Lover there are no polar bears left because there’s no tundra as the Borealis is up there. I put a bibliography at the end due to all the extensive research but worth reading. It sounds like you had a lot of scares in the writing process! Yeah! It’s been a great experience; an awakening for me in many ways! In some ways do you think being straight adds weight to the arguments you put forth in the novel rather than some seeing it as LGBT propaganda?
Matthew Tilt presents
CULT FEAST in collaboration with
There’s a distinct theme with tonight’s Certificate X screening and it involves Doug McClure assaulting primitive humans in Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptions; before the audience are pushed into an unexpected bout of octopi phobia with Geneviève Hamon and Jean Painlevé’s The Love Life of an Octopus. This short documentary is detailed and its subjects are strangely majestic under the water, violent lovemaking aside, but are rather disturbing as they sliver across the rocks. The feature is a strange one; directed by Barbara Peeters but inference from schlock master Roger Corman means there’s an uneven mix of environmental messages, racial tension and slasher levels of sex and violence which Corman slipped into scenes he felt were too serious during the editing process. Doug McClure plays Jim Hill, the everyman who turns out to be the only one who can help the attractive biologist protect the fishing port Noyo from a group of highly evolved fish men set on destroying the men and taking the women. In the update of those 50’s horror mantles an uncomfortable amount of rape is pushed onto the audience, interrupting the best parts of the film as the Humanoids
remain unseen, stalking the residents and producing some half decent jumps. Peeter’s direction is confident, though it’s hard to deny that without the added input it wpould have been wasted on a much less entertaining picture. Despite the questionable rape sequences, which feel unnecessary, this is a decent effort at updating the monster flick. Much like Chuck Russell’s version of The Blob it sexes up an old concept and builds to one of the more chaotic crowd scenes, as the Humanoids attack the town fair, and a squirm inducing climax that pipped The Fly to the punch by six years.
An interview with CAMPBELL X
Ahead of the release of her debut feature film, Stud Life, Campbell X spoke to Matthew Tilt about the differences between studs on film and studs in real life, how Spike Lee influenced her and juxtaposing mainstream conventions with underground stories. I think this was something that had to be written by someone that was straight. I suppose someone that’s gay would have a better understanding because that’s their lives but I hope the fact I’m straight makes it clear that I am an ally and that we have to treat our LGBT brothers and sisters like human beings. Did you have any input from your friends in the LGBT community? I have a friend named James Duncan who lives in Calgary and is openly gay. He was one of three individuals who read every stage of the novel. I had asked him if he minded being a part of my editing team because the last thing I wanted it to be was a slap in the face to the gay community. I wanted this to be an expression of love and understanding as well as a show of empathy. One of my fears was because I had switched the roles some of the bad guys would be gay. A friend pointed out to me that the gay community is one of the most open minded out there because they’re suffering and people that are bullied will recognise what harm it does, the people doing the bullying don’t understand. Hadrian’s Lover will be released later this year.
Before Stud Life you’d worked in short films for over a decade, documenting everything from adult stars to homosexuality in the Caribbean, how did the opportunity to make this feature come about? I wrote Stud Life and submitted it for grants. It got rejected. But as any creative should know, “no” is not an option when you are passionate about a project. So I decided to raise finances on IndieGoGo and from private investors who believed in me. Stud Life started off really small but has now been shown in over 20 film festivals in Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. How long had you worked on the project? Stud Life from writing to completion took 2 years. When casting Stud Life you wrote that you had difficulties finding someone to play JJ, and that you felt that black actresses were not willing to play a genderqueer role. Why do you think this is? I don’t think it is just black actresses who are not willing to play a genderqueer role. In fact more Black actresses would probably jump at the opportunity as there are so few roles written for them! Gender presentation and the playing of genderqueer women is a complex issue in the film industry. Most actresses present as normatively feminine. It is because most roles are written for women assume they will have a normative feminine appearance. Let’s say an actress presents herself as butch in her everyday life ( a rare thing already), if she came to an audition as her “butch” self, the directors and casting directors would find it hard to “believe” her
in that role. It is equivalent to the issue of out lesbian actresses and the fear that they will not be credible as heterosexual romantic leads for a young male heterosexual audience (the target market for movies). In addition the world of movies and TV is brutally policing women in terms of what is considered “attractive” which is almost always exclusively normatively feminine. So an actress who is willing to really step out of her comfort zone to play a masculine woman, and play that role extremely well, comes with that baggage and the additional knowledge that people, due to homophobic reasons, will begin to question her own sexual orientation if she plays it convincingly. I can think of four actresses off the top of my head who have pulled this off - Hilary Swank, Chloe Sevigny, Yolanda Ross and Queen Latifah. Of all the actresses who auditioned, T’Nia Miller blew me out of the water yet she is very feminine - high heels and floaty dresses in her everyday life. It is to her credit that she took the risk to give a performance that is one of the best out there in any movie. Knowing what you wanted from the character were you not tempted to take the role yourself? I am not an actress and even if there was a biopic of my life (perish the thought) I would be rubbish acting as myself! I work with actors and actresses to make my words come to life in ways I might not have imagined Stud Life contains many genre conventions about friendship and relationships; was this purposeful juxtaposition with the underground culture to help the audience relate? I make films so that people can see them and enjoy them. Stud Life makes people laugh and there is romance so it has been labeled a rom-com. I think as a filmmaker it is important to entertain people. That’s what they pay good money for. I enable people to be immersed in a culture and life that they may know nothing about and they enjoy the movie because there are familiar symbols and signs that they can use to negotiate alien territory. In that way I have allowed Stud Life to have universal appeal. Alongside the primary relationships you incorporate various social issues including gang violence. Was JJ’s fight scene supposed to push both her masculinity and then, in retrospect, her femininity? JJ’s queer bashing happened because she is not feminine. So even though she was walking alone, not hand in hand with another woman, she was marked as “queer” because her appearance is masculine. The queerbashing that happened in Stud Life, like the many homophobic attacks on women who do not conform to gender norms, are performed to “put them in their place”. This kind of attack is a warning and threat which is meant to scare masculine lesbians in particular and all lesbians in general to “behave like women” i.e appear “desirable” and make yourself only sexually available to men or on their terms. You use many different techniques throughout the film; mostly notably breaking the forth wall with JJ’s video blogs. What was the inspiration behind having the character do this? The inspiration comes from YouTube where many stud lesbians have video blogs and speak about their experiences online. They know they do not have many platforms to do this, so they take the power and speak directly to their audiences on the internet. They are also unknowingly creating an archive for the future of queer women of color in the 21st century. You’ve mentioned She’s Gotta Have It as a major influence on the film. What is it about Spike Lee’s directorial style that you admire? One of Spike Lee’s techniques in his earlier films was have characters speak to camera. I think it is more a documentary technique intruding into fictional filmmaking. I loved it and just updated it for the 21st Century with YouTube. With Stud Life you’ve joined a very small group of directors – black females with a wider distribution deal – why do you think this group is so small? For any person to make a film is an incredibly tough and risky business. In the UK we make so few films and even less are made by People of Color. And of those many of the People of Color filmmakers in the UK are actually women. So if you look at it that way it is not that small percentage wise. However to get a distribution deal one has to prove there is an audience for the film. I worked very hard on social media to let people be aware of Stud Life and have built a community around it. The festival screenings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London etc. were sold out. I think this convinced the distributors that there was an audience for the film as it appeared to have an international following and people were showing up. Some people even come twice to see the movie and bring their friends too. I am hoping that this support from film festivals which is a self-selecting audience translates into VOD and DVD sales. Do you have any projects coming up? I am working on a next movie which is a road trip that goes horribly wrong watch this space.... You can find out more about Campbell X and BlackmanVision Film Production here: http://www.blackmanvision.com/campbell/
An interview with director Jack Hill by Matthew Tilt After the re-release of Spiderbaby and Foxy Brown from Arrow, Tilt took it upon himself to catch up with the man responsible for these genre classics. 31 years since his last film Jack Hill talks exploitation, modern cinema and Sig Haig. Arrow have released both Foxy Brown and Spiderbaby in quick succession; is it strange to think that both these films are still gaining audiences 40/50 years after you made them? Yes, frankly gratifying in view of so many films by guys that I was jealous of back then that have been forgotten. (Just kidding; maybe) Nobody ever heard of the idea of a “cult film” back then. You have to understand that home video was only a distant dream that a lot of people scoffed at in those days. Which is why a lot of good films weren’t even copyrighted, to the dismay of their creators in later years. Foxy Brown, and before it Coffy, is one of the films associated with the rise of Blaxploitation. When you made these films had you planned to make something that would become so controversial? Did you have any ideas about the effects it would have on the film industry? I was just doing a job that I was hired to do, and trying to do the best I could under the limitations imposed by the genre. The difference was that the elements I thought would make the film successful were not the same as the elements that the production company (AIP) thought were necessary. Like some measure of humanity and emotional conflict, for example, and dramatic action instead of just a lot of people running around. It was always a compromise: giving them enough of what they wanted in return for them letting me do what I wanted. You’d envisioned Foxy Brown as a sequel to Coffy, why did this change and do you think the film is better as a separate entity? The sales dept. of the studio decreed that they didn’t want any more sequels because sequels weren’t doing well at the box-office. The title was changed at the last moment just before shooting started, and I had to make a few changes to the script as well. Both I and Larry Gordon, who was head of production, felt that we could have had a franchise with Coffy, but the sales dept. ruled all. I must say though, in hindsight, that the selection of the name Foxy Brown was a stroke of genius on somebody’s part, tacky as I thought it was at the time. I always thought Coffy was far the better film, but Foxy Brown has become the more popular cult favorite over time. Who knows anything? The studio objected to you casting Pam Grier as Foxy. Why was this and how did you get around this? They didn’t object to Pam doing the picture, they just weren’t sure who would be the best choice. I told them that nobody else could play the role, and that I had written it especially for Pam. She had given me some great ideas that I had used in the script, by the way. Like the razor blade in the afro. In Spiderbaby you cast Mantan Moreland in one of his final roles in which he continued his brand of comedy which, at the time, was rather reviled. Why did you cast him?
I wanted to play against the stereotype for shock value. Mantan had been so identified as a comic character that murdering him right off would let the audience know in no uncertain terms what kind of movie they were in for. Audiences today may not have that identification, but it still works somewhat because he plays the typical “scared” role so well. You also managed to get Lon Chaney Jr. What was it like working with him? Wonderful. He was so happy to have a chance to play comedy, and he loved the entire ensemble, especially the girls. I think Spiderbaby is incredible because it maintains this creepy atmosphere without any blood or any jumps. It’s all pulled from these performances; was it difficult to explain what you wanted from the cast? I didn’t explain anything. Just got the right players, miraculously, as it seems today, and let them run with it. You worked with Sid Haig from your short The Host, all the way through your career. What was it that made you two so compatible? Oh, I just liked the guy, and loved to give him new characters to play to see how far he could stretch. Turned out there was no limit. He in turn liked getting the opportunity to play against stereotype. The Host is included on the Spiderbaby Blu-ray. It’s based on John Frazer’s The Golden Bough and noted as an influence on the ending of Apocalypse Now. What was it about that story that influenced you and why do you think it still resonates today? I had been reading Sir James George Frazer’s Golden Bough at the time, and it just struck me that there was a story there. I mean, I guess that’s the sort of source that ideas come from. Does it resonate today? Couldn’t say. Biblical apologists have tried to debunk Frazer’s theories, but they seem to have regained a measure of respect in recent years. But either way, they make for a good yarn. Many actors and directors will say that you were underappreciated during your career. Do you believe that? Not so much underappreciated, more just stereotyped, unfortunately. Or maybe fortunately as it’s turned out. But that’s another subject. I believed at the time that if I made a couple of movies that hit No. 1 on the boxoffice charts, producers would be interested. Turned out that it was good reviews that turned the tide. I was not considered a “stylish director,” in Pauline Kael’s phrase. Quentin Tarantino is often credited with helping bring attention back to your career; what do you think of Tarantino’s work? Quentin is a genius. He repeats himself but never repeats himself, if that makes sense. Looking back at them do you still enjoy the films you made? Difficult question. What I enjoy, on the rare occasions when I’m forced to watch a screening, I greatly enjoy the audience reactions, which are quite different in may cases than when the films were first released. A critic who reviewed Coffy in a drive-in theatre wrote that the audience blew their car horns repeatedly in key scenes. Oh, those days…
Do you regret leaving the industry, and could you ever be convinced to direct again or has the industry changed too much? At the time, I regretted that I didn’t have the talent to hustle work, like certain friends of mine, and I didn’t want to make the kind of films that I had been making any more. Because of a great turn in my life at that time, I have no regrets at all now. I’d like to do a romantic comedy, for example, but a “Jack Hill romantic comedy” is almost an oxymoron, I suppose. I have a couple of fine scripts that I’d like to see get made, though, whether by me or somebody else. Just works of love. If you did direct a film now would you keep things old school or would take advantage of the special effects available now? My talent, such as it is, lends itself primarily to character development drama as opposed to plot and action genres. If I were to shoot a film today, though, I would certainly take advantage of the digital medium and the freedom it allows. If you could have directed any film what film would you have directed and why? Easy question: Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I think I could have made some sense of the story, not that that would have mattered. Might even have ruined it. Thank you for talking to me and Sonic Shocks. No problema.
THE godFATHER OF THE BALEARIC BEAT When you get to the “Magic Island” of Ibiza, you immediately start hearing the buzz of who’s on the Island among the DJs. Then from the DJs themselves you start hearing the buzz of whom the DJs admire and who’s the trendsetters, etc. The name “Alfredo” comes up pretty quickly. But who is he? Household names such as Paul Woolford says that Alfredo created the “Balearic Beats”, the forerunner of today’s Tech House Mania across the world. Only he didn’t have the right passport to spread it across Europe at the time. We found the Legend well and alive, warming up to his brilliant set at the “We Love” opening. So tell me, during my research I found you left Argentina at the time you were a professional journalist at 23 years old, is that right? I left Argentina in 1976 when the militants made their coup d’état. They threw out the Democratic government starting a process that finished with 30.000 people disappearing. And you couldn’t write anymore? Were you stopped doing it? At the time I had been organising rock’n’roll concerts. They tried to stop any kind of artistic things coming from the youngsters and anything alternative. But could you still write about entertainment or political matters? I wrote about entertainment. Even that was hard, everything was hard. It was like a fascist revolution. I left because I couldn’t stay there, they were following me, they even put me in jail for a few days so with my ex-wife we decided to leave the country. That might have saved your life too? Yes, probably. So what happened next? I moved to Spain because of the language; at the time I couldn’t speak anymore than Spanish. With my ex-wife being Swiss, we moved a bit around Switzerland, France, but it was a bit cold. Then somebody told us about Ibiza, so we took a boat from Barcelona and when we arrived we decided to stay here in the end. That was in 1976? That’s right. It was fantastic. It was a feeling of freedom and friendship and love. I had a lot of friends from Argentina that came to Ibiza before me, helping us out. I went to live in a house in the countryside with no electricity or hot water but it was still nice. My son was born here in ‘77 and now I have a 6 year old daughter as well. I hear your son has worked at Space aged 14? Yes, we started our collaboration with Manumission. It was fantastic. Were you impressed by him? I was so impressed by him, his strength to confront the public and his own view of music. Did you encourage him to go into music? Yes, but I didn’t need to encourage him so much, he was already very interested by himself. His choices were personal. Now, let me go a little back here. When you
reached Ibiza in ‘76, what was the music like? The first years I didn’t get in touch with the music so much, apart from going to the concerts like Bob Marley or Santana in Barcelona or going to Amnesia for the live music. I never went much to discotheque till ‘81. Would you say your influences were more American or European? I think the fact that I became so famous was because I mixed black and white music. And I never cared from where they came from. I was mixing European music with American and English, with everything really. At that time - early 80s - a lot of stuff was happening in England but also in America, then House came… Yes, but I started before that, before House. I started with black and white music, funky, reggae, soul, Italian, French, Spanish and in ‘85 a lot of music from the new beat in Belgium or North of Germany. Then I went to work in Madrid, I got in touch with somebody who got House music from Chicago, I was impressed and started to play House music in Madrid then in Ibiza in 1985. It was totally different but I mixed it with what I was already doing. So you quickly adapted to that. Yeah, for example mixing Eurythmics or Clash or Talking Heads or Duran Duran or Depeche Mode, all that music that got a beat that can match with House music. So then you went to Amnesia? Would you say Amnesia grew with you? No, Amnesia was already a club when I came. They had live acts like Specials, Madness or Joe Jackson, a kind of new wave club. But the French owners sold the club to Spanish people who got me to play in ‘84. At first we didn’t get much, we started to play after hours when the club was closed, waiting to get paid. It was an open air venue at the time so music could be heard by people passing by coming from other clubs and after 2 or 3 weeks we got a full house. Then I travelled around, got residencies in Barcelona then Madrid, Italy and played quite a lot in Germany. With all those trips I collected a lot of music. I finally managed to play in England in ‘89 for one week, it was a fantastic time, I realised that the music I had been playing was all over London, it was spreading so much. Then in 1990 I moved to Pacha for a 3 years collaboration, got my Spanish passport and from there I started to go all over the places I couldn’t do before with my Argentinean passport. I also heard you were the first one to be brought over to Asia… Not exactly, just after the people who made a club called Zouk. They contacted me when I was playing in Pacha in 1990. They offered me to open the discotheque and get a residency there. I went to Asia, played for Zouk for 3 months and from there I went on to play in Thailand and Japan. But you always come back to Ibiza. Yes, I spent long stretches in Asia. The owner
wanted me to stay there but I told him that if I don’t come back to Ibiza, I cannot ‘feed’ myself artistically; this is what I needed for inspiration. What about production? You are more a guy that produces compilations, but how about you and your son? Any plans? We want to start producing tracks but he is in a lot of different works, he had a label but he sold his part. He wants to do his own music and collaborate with me. We did a compilation last year for Ibiza Spotlight magazine. I did quite a few compilations myself for Space, We Love and other records labels. But now we’d like to go into production. I never did before as I was travelling a lot and I had the idea that the music should be done by musicians. I never felt capable; maybe it was a mistake from me. For me, a DJ collects and mixes music from other ones. But now it is fundamental to produce to get into the circuit of well known DJs. The ‘Balearic Beats’ is strongly connected to your name, how so? Well, it was the way people marketed something I had been doing, mixing music from every style. And with that name they could go and make a business out of it. I am grateful to them because in a way they helped me to be known. Do you think that dance music can survive? I think all trends and styles go up and down but dance music will exist forever because it is a ceremony for people to dance and discharge their energy. Everybody dance. But there has been a big change happening here: at the beginning Ibiza used to spread the music from the island, now people come with their music to Ibiza. When we started we didn’t have internet, the music made in here was like in a cocoon so we never followed a trend. Now we follow trends. That’s the way it is. So what are your immediate plans with your son? We play 4 dates for ‘We Love’ and we are also looking for other dates in Ibiza. We got proposals to play in bar Panorama in Berlin for October. We have managers in Germany and Japan that are looking out for us and an agent in London that
gives us some works. With all your experience, have you ever thought of managing other DJs? No, I don’t have the qualities for managing other DJs. I am more an artist. Is there a continent you’d like to work more in? I would like to work more in Asia and try America. I have never been apart from a residency in South Beach Miami. Somewhere like Vegas? I would like to do New York. Vegas is more like what is happening in here, a lot of hype. Anything else you’d like to add? Yes, it was a big help for me having by my side Leo Mas, the Italian musician and DJ with who I bought most of my collection from, also Ricky Lyte - who I worked with in 1989 - helped me a lot. And I can`t forget Jean Claude Mauri, a French Dj that used to be resident at Mirano in Brussels, that inspired me a great deal. Finally, if you want to discover more about what my son and I collaborate on, go check out our website: www.heritagedjs.com.
DANCING THE WINTER BLUES AWAY Ibiza kicks off the summer seasion in style with IMS and its world famous opening parties
By Nelly Loriaux and Atle Bakken - photos Nelly Loriaux
is an album you will still want to listen to again and again, bringing some solid old-school wisdom from the 70s into today’s industry. He went on stating that ‘Facebook is now passé as a promo tool’ and opined that ’Twitter is the new News service, even if artists like Deadmau5’s tweets are better than his music’. Commenting on piracy, his thinking gears towards the belief that it is not a problem anymore but the record industry needs to ‘realize its potential and develop legitimate and licensed peer-to-peer or similar distribution service to facilitate the next working business model for the music industry’. Jean Michel Jarre (64), still regarded as one of the earliest pioneer of synthesized music, brought his invaluable hindsight of the ‘dance’ music industry, pointing out that electronic music is much more than dance and ‘4-to-the-floor’. ‘I see it from a painter’s perspective but also from a classically trained artist’ - Jarre noted. ‘I also think it is great that electronic music has finally gotten the recognition it deserves’. After holding the record as the World’s biggest concert audience (3.5 million people in Moscow for ‘Oxygen’), he now says that he wants to do Dalt Vila next year. Commenting on his appearance at IMS, he stated ‘I continue to push the genre forward in many ways and I see my keynote interview as a way to continue to communicate my passions to a wider and younger audience, who appears to be today’s trailblazers for this genre, all united in one location’.
IMS - Beyond the Boom Boom After 25 years as being mainly Underground, Electronic Dance Music is not only booming: it‘s “Boom Booming“. This was the clear statement reinforced by Marc Geiger (William Morris Endeavor) at the 6th International Music Summit taking place in Ibiza. With a 36% growth in digital sales of Dance/Electronic tracks, EDM is now generating the highest revenue of any genre: $4.5 billion in the US alone with Las Vegas, the ‘alternative Ibiza’, bringing $600 million yearly. Accountants and lawyers are joining the band wagon, big cheques are being written and the ‘Underground’ has, maybe sadly for some, reached a mainstream status. The whole market and distribution system has drastically changed. Today, it’s the agents, managers, promoters and the stars themselves who are running the show. This year, IMS was not only about the huge successes but also the deeper knowledge from both the music makers and the business side; seeking ‘to answer the questions surrounding EDM’s international expansion and how the business is spilling out of the confines of the dance floor and into mainstream culture’, but also focusing on ‘where the industry goes in the future-after the gold rush’. Many of the guest speakers that attended the conference were probably collecting their bus pass by now, the ‘oldies’ that grew up with the business, but their input was priceless.
Pete Tong (52), who pioneered the promotion of this genre, was on hand monitoring many of the keynotes that took place over 3 days at Ibiza Gran Hotel. The worldwide number 1 success of Daft Punk’s ‘Random access Memories’ album and particularly the ‘Get Lucky’ track, flavor of all clubs for the 2013 season, certainly proved to all that Pete & co were ahead of their time. Last year, Giorgio Moroder (73) - pioneer of electronic music bumped into Nile Rodgers (60) - pioneer of dance music - at IMS, a chance meeting resulting in a collaboration which is now music history. Following on his success story, Rodgers was back not only for the mega hit storming the dance floor all over the island but also as the creator of the new IMS anthem track. First sold in the audience for £5000, Ben Turner retracted the bid, deciding to auction it off for charity instead. Guitar in hand, looking fit despite his latest health scare, his Keynote was full of stories and anecdotes from his formidable career working with legends like Diana Ross, Grace Jones and most recently Daft Punk. And with a cheeky grin he treated us to a live ‘performance’ to the soundtrack of none other than ‘Get Lucky’, later commenting about the album ‘All I can say is that shit sounds amazing’. Can’t wait to see him perform his ‘Disco’ magic at Ibiza Rocks in September.
‘Question Time’ brought some interesting heated debates and the chance for panelists and audience to look at some of the issues within the scene: VIPs vs. joe bloggs, social media wars, clubs overcrowding and of course Daft Punk. Danny Whittle didn’t mince his words on his stance regarding VIPs: ‘who f****ing cares if someone wants to sit at a table with a bottle of vodka. It’s more snobby of you to look down on them than the other way round’. Fair comment, there will always be the ‘Have’ and ‘Have Not’ clientele. Overcrowding is probably far more contentious for most clubbers and a topic they feel strongly about, backed up by the attendees in-house. Everyone seem to agree that although clubs have to ensure their night is a success and attract as many ’customers’ as possible, filling up a club to oblivion and spending the night with smelly armpits thrown in your face may not be the ideal way to give people a good time. Last keynote of this 3 days event was taken up by German DJ legend Sven Väth (49), recounting his early days hitch hiking around Europe before finally setting up camp in Ibiza, perfectly at ease on the white sofa. He sees his label Cocoon as an investment, a mean to ‘give a proper techno party to the island’. ‘After first becoming a pop star, I now focus on entertaining the crowd in the clubs and the music itself. A 2 hour set is a very short moment for me. But I must admit that after 25 years of up to 30 hours sets, my ears are damaged by tinnitus so I rest them 3 months a year in Thailand. And I let other DJ’s do the production work for my label.’ Looking towards the future, he intends to keep it going with his focus firmly set on Amnesia and the famous carry-ons. And if you thought this was all about a bunch of old men giving keynote interviews then think again. IMS encourages women to be more active in the business; Anja Schneider, Francesca Lombardo, Judy Weinstein (Def Mix), Kate Matheou (Kish Communications), Maria May (CAA) and Marisol Aguirre (Es Paradis) gave us their input on what it was like to be a woman in a male dominated environment. ‘You don’t go into it as a woman or a man, you go into it as a person. You stay passionate, follow your dreams and they will happen’ music veteran Judy Weinstein stated. Seems her prophetic wisdom hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, with more and more female DJ’s making it on the scene such as Maya Jane Coles not only appearing on many events on the circuit (W-Who’s in Town at Blue Marlin Marina, IMS Gran finale Festival at Dalt Vila, Ushuaia opening party…) but also gathering a strong fan base in the process. IMS wasn’t just about meetings and conferences though. For 2 nights, Dalt Vila was set up for the ‘Epic’ Gran Finale. After 3 days of panels, interviews and networking, we all joined the party at the UNESCO site under the Ibicenco stars, gazing over the whole of Ibiza town marina to the tunes of underground and mainstream artists: Da Banda, Tom Staar, Kaz James, Hot since 82, DJ Driis AKA Idris Elba, Pete Tong and Fatboy Slim on the first night followed by Le Carousel, Tensnake, Maya Jane Coles, Adam Zasada, Scuba, Solomun and Sven Vath on the second night. The IMS legends Dinner, taking place on May 23rd, also honored the long- standing career of DJ and producer Norman Cook AKA Fatboy Slim at an intimate party at prestigious Cipriani’s in association with Nokia Music. Norman later stated ‘It was a real honor to be the recipient of the IMS legends award for 2013. To follow in the footsteps of Carl Cox and Pete Tong is a big statement, two on my favorite contemporaries in the DJ world. Pete and IMS put on a very special evening for me. All a bit overwhelming’.
The Parties Following on the successful 6th IMS and its 2 nights of mega live performance at Dalt Vila, the island emerged out of its hibernation with each clubs opening up their doors one by one and dazzling us with their opulent, raucous and extravagant parties. The buzz is back on for the summer.
Veteran Show Biz attorney and blogger Bob Lefsetz (60) entertained us all, holding nothing back in typical fashion. His intake on Daft Punk album comeback concentrated on the fact that the most important part of it was that, although it has no hits per se, it
Pacha needs no introduction; it remains one of the most dominant clubbing brand in the world. Famous for its cherries logo, its brilliant rooftop terrace overlooking the LED screen on the side of the Pacha Hotel (or what I would also regard as smoker’s retreat) and a reputation for providing clubbing with style, this is the place where
many people want to be seen entering and hopefully being snatched up by the lens of the press. Its summer weekly schedule surprised everyone, a big shake up in its programming introducing 4 new parties and a host of new artists both from the underground and mainstream dance music world. Each opening parties attracted a flock of party goers all seeking a different thrill from the deepest house to the most energetic dance beats. Monday introduced Epica, a new night of electro with the likes of Chuckie, Dirty Dutch, Dimitri Vegas and more winning over new fans. Tuesday welcomed back unfairly underrated Flower Power transforming the club in an unique psychedelic hippy fiesta. Hosted by DJ Piti, we were all transported back in time into the hypnotic world of ‘Make love and not war’. Wednesday rolled out the new Wisdom Of The Gloves party. Guy Gerber describes his new residency as ‘His response to an industry that may start to take itself too seriously’ and brought along some deep techno beats and bass lines that got the crowd swinging. Promising a ‘Fantastically dark and deranged atmosphere’, he will be joined by guests including Cajmere, Dop, Benoit & Sergio, Matthew Jonson Craig Richards, Bill Patrick and more. French Superstar David Guetta was back for the Thursday slot with his F**k Me I’m Famous lavish party smashing the dance floor with his biggest hits. This must-do party will include guest stars in the shape of Nicky Romero, Zedd, Arty, Daddy’s Groove, Arno Cost to name but a few. Insane, another new night, took over on Friday and is set to become a favorite for underground lovers. Lethal trio Mark Farina, Dj Sneak and Derrick Carter brought an old skool vibes and kept the energy up sampling a varied mix of Eurythmics, Missy Elliot and George Michael until John Digweed took over the helm and geared the evening into a deeper progressive direction. Guests including Steve Lawler, Joris Voorn, Coyu, Umek and more are expected to follow. The iconic Pure Pacha moved to Saturday with crowd favourites of the like of Bob Sinclair, Martin Solveig, Armand Van Helden,Hardwell, Sebastian Drums, Hard Rock Sofa expected to grace the Pacha decks.
With the departure of Luciano’s Vagabundos, Sunday was taken over by Solomun+1, a concept which brings one guest DJ to play alongside the man himself. Confirmed +1 tuneful techno masters so far include Ame, Dennis Ferrer, Tensnake, Miss Kittin, Marek Hemman with more to follow.
Walking into Es Paradis always makes me feel that I’m stepping into my Heaven on earth: the Roman-style opulence, vines and flowers draping around the white columns, winding staircases, fish tanks behind the bars, such a beautiful surrounding that always takes my breath away. The opening party was, as usual, spectacular. The lush dance floor steadily filled up with party goers swaying to the classy house tunes of DJ’s Oliver and Eibhlin from Hed kandi and Dj’s Steeve Valverde and Roberto Riesgo from Ibichic. After its awesome 10th Birthday Anniversary parties last year, Hed Kandi returned with a magical fairytale theme ‘Once Upon A Time In Ibiza’. The legendary event has become an icon on the white isle, its parties revered for the glamorous and glitzy decadence, the outstanding live performances and the famous Hed Kandi upbeat feel-good house classics and disco infusion it is known for. Dancing away to anthems such ‘Born Slippy’ or ‘Devotion’, the crowd embraced the magical surroundings dazzled by the pyrotechnics, glittering disco balls and showers of confetti. Scantily-clad go-go dancers and spectacular trapeze artists skillfully swinging from a hoop added the extra va-va-voom required for the perfect hedonistic atmosphere. The highlight, as ever, was Lovely Laura, hanging from the ceiling on a gold ivy adorned chair, blowing the sweet notes of Layo & Bushwaka hit ‘Love Story’ on her saxophone and Dean Okram AKA The Drum Warrior letting loose on his drum pads and bongo
Page 20 drums throughout the night. The well known party brand stayed true to its spirit and provided an impressive opening party that started off the season in heavenly Hed Kandi style.
first official exclusive party in the Tower’s pool area, with a focus firmly set towards the beach. What better way to enjoy a spot of tech-house sipping a cocktail and gazing on palm trees with the clear turquoise sea for background. Giant futuristic Avatars and acrobat hanging from a hoop bedazzled the audience whilst Radio Slave put everyone in the party mood. A tightrope acrobat took everyone by surprise during Jean Claude Ades set; sliding down from one of the upper floor in slow motion, dancing and performing amazing figures against the sky, culminating with the release of 100’s of colored balls when reaching the ground. No good party should be without fireworks and Ushuaia delivered. Be Crazy was the first of many events that will take place over the summer with Defected, Reboot, Nervo and Sasha still to come. And if you need more convincing to check the place out, those events will be free, BUT beware, you will need to dress the part to pass the doors. Not too much to ask me think. Now what about the ants you may ask. They have been popping up all over Ibiza: On billboards, promo videos, crawling all over the walls; The ants colonies have invaded the island and have found a home at Ushuaia, turning the Playa d’en Bossa Hotspot into a cool underground anthill. Every Saturday the Ants will celebrate all things underground with Dj’s like Nick Fanciulli, Timo Maas, Andrea Oliva, Reboot, Deetron, Joris Voorn, Los suruba, Radio Slave and many more entertaining the colony from afternoon till midnight. Pledge your allegiance to the colony by wearing black and you will receive discounted entry throughout the summer.
Issue 15/2013 manages to create a deafening cheer from the ladettes at the front. After the howling and grungy set from Findlay, we step back in time with the retro sound of Nottingham troubadour Jake, armed for the most part of his set with his acoustic guitar. He takes us on a 60’s Psych-Folk journey reminiscent of Donovan, spinning his yarn with lyrics coming straight from his own background like in ‘Seen It All’, ‘Trouble Town’ or ‘Two Fingers’. Unsurprisingly last song ‘Lighting Bolt’ is what the crowd has been waiting for, an upbeat feet-stomping number built around a three chord shuffle and a bridge. And for all the sport fanatics out there, you might recognize it as the song featured prior to Usain Bolt’s Olympic 100m victory.
Es Paradis is certainly a rite of passage for holidaymakers visiting the island and if getting wet is something that tickle your fancy, look no further. With 2 different water parties happening every week, the 80’s & 90’s Special edition on Tuesdays and the classic Fiesta Del Aqua on Fridays (with current hits), it would be a shame to miss out on the legendary ‘Have to do at least once in your life’ night transforming the dance floor into a giant pool. So before heading back home take time to enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the most fun events on the island.
Space has always been regarded as the quintessential clubbing experience as far as opening fiesta goes and 2013 was no exception. With 6 different clubbing areas and an eclectic program including A-list DJ’s such as The Chemical Brothers, Nic Fanciulli, Pete Tong, Sasha and Felix Da Housecat to name just a few, it was once again a gargantuan music marathon that kept the clubbers entertained for a good 18h+. Now I will not pretend I was able to last that long, with a bad case of stomach bug I unfortunately arrived quite late but managed to catch the sets I had intended to see.
BLUE MARLIN IBIZA MARINA
Located just across Space, the new shining star of Platja d’en Bossa since 2011, opened up in style: amazing stage overlooking the whole length of the beach club, eye popping curvaceous dancers, amazing acrobats, huge ice cannons blasting at regular intervals and a VIP section placed right next to the top DJ’s. The spectacular open air venue had it all, even ants crawling everywhere (but later on that mysterious sighting). Referred as ‘An amusement park’ by director Yann Pissenem, the crowd came in drove and packed the venue, eagerly awaiting their favourite Dj’s to grace the stage. The line-up provided ample choice for everyone taste: Los Suruba, Uner, Andrea Oliva, Reboot, Joris Voorn, Maya Jane Coles, Loco Dice, Luciano and Sven Vath. Wedging myself against a palm tree, I enjoyed the ride, mesmerized in the late evening by the breathtaking laser display and giant fluorescent caterpillars floating over the crowd under the ethereal set from Luciano. The Ushuaia summer calendar promises to keep you entertained with a daily dose of the best money can buy parties: David Guetta’s F**K Me I’m Famous on Mondays, Luciano on Tuesdays, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell new party Departures on Wednesdays, Thursdays will be all about techno giant Loco Dice, Fridays will welcome Le Grand Bazaar parties with artists like Hot Natured, Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox already locked in to play leaving Sundays for none other than Aviccii, the man who brought us Street Dancer, Silhouettes and Levels. What about Saturdays? Just be a little more patient and all will be revealed.
It may not be a club but this place should definitely be on everyone to do list when in Ibiza. Situated at the heart of the Marina with Dalt Vila in the background, it is a cool and chilling place to relax and enjoy a rather delicious bite. Chosen for the launch party of W-Who’s in Town, I was glad I went ahead to discover this gem. Who’s in town is the latest concept coming out of the collaboration between W Hotels Worldwide, leading music management and brand services company Graphite. Throughout 2013, 10 high profile DJ’s (including Henry Krinkle and Hot since 82) will showcase their skills at a W Hotels in Europe (Paris and London are amongst the chosen cities), playing an intimate ‘warm-up’ set ahead of a club appearance in the same city on the same night. For more details of venues and dates, just check the website for an upcoming event that may be near you.
The ‘Flight Club’ ( the outdoor car park transformed into a huge open air area for opening/closing parties) seemed by far the biggest attraction, the crowd being entertained with cannons, gorgeous dancers and the huge sound of headliner Nic Fanciulli spinning the aptly named ‘Ibiza’ by wAFF. In the main room, The Chemical Brothers - always a crowd pleaser - kept the vibes going with a mix of pumping techno tunes cumulating into a frenzied storm of screams and hands in the air with their nineties hit ‘Hey Boys, Hey Girls’. By contrast Pete Tong, in the main Terrace, chose a deeper and more subdued set, welcoming its follower with a customary ‘ Good to see you’. It well may be that after nearly 10h of solid dancing, the clubbers welcomed this relaxed approach enabling them to catch a second wind for the rest of the night. El salon was, for me, the best surprise of the night. House South Brothers, AKA Pablo Kopanos and Manuel Moore not only packed the intimate room but also captivated their audience with their uplifting mix of pop/dance/tech-house (loved the Adele mix) complimented by the live electric guitar performance. Finishing off with ‘Could You Be Loved’, the crowd joined the chorus line and showed that they did, indeed, love them. I certainly wished I could have seen more, all I needed was a time loop that could have allowed me to come back at a different time and enjoy all I missed. Fast forward to Sunday. For many people around the world, it probably bring images of a peaceful day lazily lounging on the sofa. This could easily apply to Ibiza were it not for the legendary and most enduring party of the island ‘We Love’, a popular event showcasing a diverse selection of dance music from disco to techno to deep house. Spanning over 5 rooms, there was something for everyone from vintage disco sounds (for all those old enough to remember Cerrone ‘Supernature’) in El Salon courtesy of Daisy Heartbreaker passing through the eclectic mix of house, disco and pop from Ibiza legend Dj’s Alfredo on the Premier Etage to the deep house of Hot Since 82 and Henrik Schwarz in the terrace. Pouring through the Funktionone loudspeaker, techno grooves and feel good house beats from Paul Woodford and Midland’s set got the crowd in the mood in the Discoteca. With giant smiley faces hanging from the ceiling, the heady days of the rave culture could be felt, the packed venue welcoming the planes full of fresh revelers flying over with a giant ’we Love’ wave.
If this wasn’t already enough, the Ushuaia empire is growing even bigger with the new 8 storeys tower. With a rooftop dubbed as the Mile High Club, expect the unexpected. Touring the luxury hotel made me wish I was a millionaire, or at least had married one. The striking luxury terraced suites with Jacuzzi, the ability to customize the room with LED mood lighting and VIP services, were to die for until I saw the ‘Presidential Suite’, which reached the top scale on the WOW and jaw dropping factor. Aimed at customers who want ‘more exclusivity’, it is presented as a new ‘oasis of luxury’ combining innovative design concept technology with the best parties in town. In true Ibiza fashion, the new Tower opened up with Be Crazy, the
Without any pun intended, the evening certainly went at lightning speed, and I reluctantly leave, wishing for more. All is left to do is head on to continue the fun at the official Ibiza Rocks after party taking place at Es Paradis (free entry wristband given as you leave) and patiently wait for another rocking Wednesday.
Celebrating its 8th Birthday, Ibiza Rocks welcomed us all back for another 16 weeks of amazing live music al fresco. Year after year, it has proven that Ibiza is not just about Super clubs and superstar DJ’s, packing the venue on a weekly basis by presenting a bill of music icons and emerging talents. Since last year, it has had a bit of a revamp; The stage, now facing the pool, has opened up the ‘courtyard’ giving a lot more elbow room to rock the Casbah and, to some extent, a better view for everyone around the poolside. Kicking off the ‘Rocks’ summer bonanza are two young and freshfaced talents, both performing with a musical acumen that belie their tender age. Mancunian Findlay has already created a musical storm in her hometown, building her fan base the old-fashioned way: by getting out there and giving it all. She steps onstage, oozing confidence, prowling towards the microphone in her figure hugging leopard dress. The rather petite singer surprises us all with her feral and growling gritty tone unleashing onto her unsuspected audience a visceral onslaught of garage-tinged rock with ‘Fever’ and ‘Your Sister’. Picking up her guitar, she slows down the pace a notch with ‘ Stoned And Alone’ before returning to her ferocious self, delivering her feral blues soaked songs in her formidable raw, emotive voice and finishing us all off with the rip roaring rocky sound of ‘ Off And On’. Despite a more demure and classic attire, headliner Jake Bugg
Another worthy event taking place on a regular basic at the Blue Marlin is the Mediterraneo Monday Brunch & Music. Hosted by Carlos Santacruz and Aline Calabria, this is the place to kick-start your week and dance your Mondays blues away. You will need to book but what better way to enjoy brunch with resident Dj Mina on the deck. And the fun doesn’t stop with the music, the VIP area is literally on the deck… of a boat birthed right next to the restaurant/bar.
WHERE TO STAY
For those of us who like to be close to all the actions, but still like to fall asleep to the sound of nothing but ocean waves, Apartamentos Lido is a hidden pearl that has the perfect location without the Ibiza steep prices: open sea, view over Dalt Vila right next to the beachfront and at a stone throw away from your favourite venues.
+ Dizzee Rascal & The 1975
Emirates Stadium, London – 26th May 2013 By Ashley Naismith
27th May 2013 Wolverhampton Photos Matt Higgs Review John ‘Hank’ Layland
There’s something traditionally miserable about British bank holiday Mondays. Traffic jams, bad weather, failed barbeque attempts. Not to mention the three day hangover you take into work with you on Tuesday morning. There is an answer though, a glorious light on the horizon that promises to wash away the bank holiday blues - Slam Dunk. Slam Dunk Festival has evolved quite a lot over the past few years. It started out back in 2006 as a simple, day long celebration of all things pop punk held at the Millennium Square in Leeds but it’s grown into a behemoth of a event. With over fifty different bands, five stages and it’s new six day touring format it now gives fans all around the country a chance to see their favorite artists. All things considered, I think it’s safe to say that the UK has finally found its equivalent to the annual Vans Warped Tour that so rarely makes its way across the Atlantic and today it’s Wolverhampton’s turn to join the party... After just missing The Summer Set, Tonight Alive are the first band we manage to catch on the main stage. The Sydney based five piece have only got one full length release under their belts but when the diminutive Jenna McDougall leads them out there’s a huge crowd waiting for them. Opening tracks “Listening” and “Thank You & Goodnight” in particular sound more powerful live than they do on “What Are You Scared Of?”, thanks mostly to drummer Matt Best absolutely hammering his kit to death but having a few hundred people singing the chorus’s with you doesn’t hurt either and it’s great to see a band from so far away pull such a big crowd. The Story So Far don’t have quite such an easy time of it over at the Macbeth stage. Opener “Roam” doesn’t suffer too badly but the guitar levels keep shifting in the mix and it’s just distracting enough to take the edge off what should’ve been a memorable performance. It’s not a complete loss though, some way into “Swords and Pens” somebody wakes up behind the sound desk and things settle down. It’s just a shame that the audience don’t get to see them at full force until their allotted time is nearly over! Jonny “Itch” Fox is something of a wildcard in today’s lineup. His solo material is a mixture of hip hop and ska seasoned with a hint of dubstep, all laced with exactly the kind of punk attitude you’d expect from somebody better known as the frontman for The King Blues. He’s having a great time striking out on his own by the looks of it too, climbing the P.A system, joining the crowd in what can only be described as a dancehall circle pit for “London’s Burning” and even stopping the gig mid flow to deliver some politically charged poetry from a nearby window ledge. Whatever you might think of his solo work, or in fact the man himself his set’s undoubtedly one of the highlights of the day.
Hands Like Houses don’t seem to care that the weather’s broken and the heavens have opened by the time they start playing over on the Monster stage. In fact it seems to spur them on a little. They prove to be devilishly heavy in a live setting, Jamal Sabets keyboard wizardry provides the perfect melodic backdrop for
the twin guitar assault laid over it and you don’t so much hear the kick drum during the breakdown of “This Ain’t No Place For Animals”, you feel it reverberate in your chest. After an afternoon spent on the lighter side of punk it’s not only an impressive show for the Aussies but a welcome change of pace and it shows because by the end of their set virtually everyone outside the Civic Hall is paying attention. Awesome stuff. To put it simply, anyone not outside the Vans tent in time to catch Polar Bear Club missed out on something pretty special. It’s the smallest stage of the weekend, it’s grey, getting dark and it’s still raining but vocalist Jimmy Stadt is grinning ear to ear even before the first raucous chords of “Living Saints” ring out. His attitude is positively infectious as well, drawing out everything the now slightly damp crowd have to give. They’re tight too, despite recent changes to the rhythm section and the offbeat nature of some of their
riffs they gather more and more momentum with every song before bringing things to a fitting conclusion with a storming rendition of “Most Miserable Life”. Having originally gone to see them knowing very little about them, their set definitely ended up being one of the best surprises of the day, if only more people had been lucky enough to see it! The Wonder Years have quite a lot to live up to after Polar Bear Club’s performance but thankfully they don’t disappoint. Delightfully upbeat and honed into an impressive live act by months spent on multiple Warped Tours it’s difficult to fault them as they rattle through “Passing Through A Screen Door” and “Local Man ruins Everything” with aplomb. All three guitarists are in perfect sync and the Macbeth stage even seems to have shaken off the Gremlins behind the sound desk that haunted The Story So Far earlier in the afternoon. Thank the gods of rock it did because it allows every bit of passion being poured out by the lads from Philadelphia to come through and they’ve got an awful lot give. Unfortunately it’s at this point in the evening that clashes start to really emerge in the lineup and we have to leave them still “Dismantling Summer” to brave the chilly evening air once more... Memphis May Fire are worth it though. After an eerie piano intro fades into the opening battle cry of “Without Walls” all hell is unleashed in a flurry of double bass and down tuned mayhem. What follows is a perfect example of Metalcore at its best. They aren’t just heavy by the standards of the day either. “Sinner” and “Legacy” in particular would make even the most seasoned headbanger sit up and pay attention. It’s a spectacle made all the more impressive as you watch Kellen McGregor shredding on lead guitar and still finding time to jump behind a keyboard or scream his lungs out into a microphone between trademark tasty licks. Thunderous as they sound though, clashes in the lineup mean there’s not quite enough time to see their set through to what would no doubt be an epic conclusion. There’s still a headline act to catch indoors and they’re not to be missed. You can tell party punk maestros All Time Low
are in the building. You could cut the estrogen levels in front of the Kerrang stage with a knife, if you could get near it that is. I’ve never seen quite so many people in the Wolverhampton Civic Hall for a gig before! They might not be the oldest kids on the block but after years touring together they know how to put on a show more than worthy of the headline slot. Alex and Jack work the front row into a frenzy through “Lost in Stereo” and the cheeky “Damned If I Do Ya, Damned If I Don’t” with personalized bra’s being thrown at them in approval by the dozen. In fact with the good times rolling and the crowd bouncing to the rafters it’s not until they’re a few songs in that it becomes obvious there’s a third guitarist in the mix. Hidden away behind the stacks, an unnamed hero on a fender strat is thickening every chord change to no applause. Usually I’m of the opinion that extra musicians behind the scenes is a bit of a cheat, after all, if you can’t play without them they should be a part of the band. It’s not that the guys wouldn’t sound this good without their unsung hero though, he just gives them the space to throw down their guitars when they want to and really indulge in the relationship they have with their fans without compromising the sound. When you look at it that way and you can see the crowd are having as much fun as they are, you can let it slide. We decide to leave them to it for a little while and take a chance on Pierce The Veil closing up the Monster tent outside. Rumors have been flying around all day about Letlive vocalist Jason Butler joining them for their set and as unpredictable as his performances can be that’s not an opportunity to be taken lightly. He’s even seen walking around the stage just as confetti cannons signal the beginning of “Hell Above”, lending the rumor mill yet more credibility. There isn’t a huge turnout with All Time Low still plying their trade elsewhere so Vic Fuentes and his Van Halen inspired Gibson Explorer don’t have the audience his pedal board tap dancing deserves. “A Match Into Water” coaxes a chant or two but it feels like a waiting game for a lot of the people out here. We can’t wait though, we’ve taken a big enough chance leaving the headliners for as long as we have. By the time we’re back with All Time Low the mic stands have turned into the bands own personal lingerie section and the lads are finishing things off with a frankly epic four song encore. A welcome cover of “American Idiot” even finds it’s way in amongst old favorites “Weightless” and “Dear Maria, Count Me in”, hinting at the stadium tour to come and leading to what’s probably the biggest sing a long moment of the weekend before it’s finally time to bid farewell to Slam Dunk until next year. It has to be said, clashes in the lineup aside, I can’t think of a better way to beat the bank holiday blues!
Bloody hell the Emirates Stadium is huge. Even with a good chunk being closed, near 40000 people have crammed themselves in to see the Devon megastars, Muse. This is the second night of ‘The 2nd Law’ in London and expectations are high; with a stage like this, how can tonight not be epic? The opening band, The 1975, are in a word lacklustre. They don’t have the sound or the charisma to be playing on such a huge stage to so many people. There’s nothing objectively wrong with them, but they’re just musically vapid, the kind of thing I’d expect to hear played as background music in a noisy gastropub. These guys need to work on their show and their music before attempting something of this magnitude again. The next act, however, is used to playing to the masses. Still fresh from his Olympic Opening Ceremony performance, East London rapper Dizzee Rascal takes the stage. Although he’s famed for the ‘Dirty Stinking Bass’, it’s turned up way too high and the vocals are almost indistinguishable. Saying that though, regardless of your opinion of the guy, he can get a crowd moving. Blasting through hits like ‘Dance wiv Me’ and ‘Bassline Junkie’, the crowd are jumping and dancing along. He didn’t get any of the moshpits he tried to incite, but did he really expect to? Dizzee’s a crowd pleaser, and that’s exactly what he does. The monumental stage has been lying relatively dormant until now, but in an explosion of fire it mutates up into a giant beating mechanical heart, crowned by six fire spewing chimneys. Everything about it screams of excess and you can’t help but wonder whether it’s compensating for something. But such suspicions are quickly waylaid as the Devon boys launch into their signature song, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’. The crowd are moshing and singing, awed by the exhibition of sweet production glut. This hits critical mass during ‘Animals’ where a fat-cat banker stereotype tears up and throws out fake money to the audience; more than one heart sank when they realise that the bills are fake. Muse keep mostly to their strengths, playing an almost all-hit set including ‘Knights of Cydonia’, ‘Undisclosed Desires’ and every bedroom bassist’s favourite, ‘Hysteria’. The band keep the mood light, any show that has a ballerina suspended from an inflatable incandescent bulb can’t be taking itself too seriously. Finishing with ‘Starlight’ and a recording of Richard Cheese’s ‘Chop Suey!’ cover, the night ends on an absolute high. It’s undeniable that Muse are a live powerhouse; they are known as one of the best live acts in the world and this reputation is thoroughly deserved. Just follow the crowd and go to a gig, it’s totally worth it.
The Garage, London 17th April 2013
By Ashley Naismith
600 fans, two support bands and unmeasurable antipation; this is Sonata Arctica’s biggest ever world tour and any venue would be proud to host them. London’s Relentless Garage is packed to capacity, and so it should be: This is the final day of the Stones Grow Her Name tour, and by all the power metal Gods, it shall be a memorable night. Neonfly have the honour of opening up first… and I don’t get to see them. But a friend in the crowd said they reminded him of Dragonforce crossed with Freedom Call (in the best possible way). They are a crowd hit, combining an abundance of energy with a carefully crafted live set; technical sound, honed showmanship and epic lighting come together to make a grandiose (when isn’t power metal?), and thoroughly enjoyable show. The last time I saw Pythia, they were opening for Serenity. They have improved. That’s not to say they weren’t good before, but they’re now a lot more comfortable on stage. While they used to hide behind a mask of British folklore, now they fully embody it. As they jump in with ‘Betray My Heart’ from sophomore album ‘The Serpent’s Curse’, the contingent of dedicated Pythia fans at the front join in, feeding off the band’s dynamism and throwing it back at them stronger than before. This is British powerfolk at its best, and although some prefer the Scandinavian variety, few were unhappy. Finally, the much anticipated headliners step forth. Although production value is not very high, the Finnish quintet quickly prove that their charisma and musical prowess outshine anything which could be achieved with fire or air. The band have a joy about them that’s infectious. Well, all but keytarist Henrik who spent the entire gig sporting the look of a commuter stuck on the last bit of a Sudoku: intense concentration tinged with ire. Maybe his smiles are earned. Diving straight in with ‘Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)’ from their latest masterwork, ‘Stones Grow Her Name’, frontman Tony Kakko demonstrates that he has a quality rarely found: he sounds the same live as he does in the studio, giving both the record and the performance integrity. As they work their way through a set showcasing the best of their past and present, neither band nor crowd show any intention of slowing down. ‘Alone In Heaven’, ‘I have a Right’ and Sonata classic ‘FullMoon’ incite a small, friendly pit, and as the main riff of ‘Cinderblox’ is blasted out, the crowd becomes a mass of hair (at least around the pit!) Sonata Arctica are truly a live force, still pioneering in the power metal scene. Whether you’re a fan of Sonata old or new, their live shows are an unmissable event.
By Denise Britt - Photos Gifted Haze and Krystal Britt This is my 3rd year covering Rocklahoma. I’ve always raved about the ROK experience and rated it my #1 festival in our magazine; well, this year may not be such a rave. It was a completely different vibe than the previous 2 years; the traffic on Friday was hellish for a start. I heard the line for cars to enter was over 3 miles long. It was just weird. Ratt was my first act to cover. I hauled ass over to the main stage to snap a few shots and see up close how these boys looked after all these years. Well toooooooo bad. My photo pass was not good enough for the main stage this year. No one told anybody this in advance. How the hell am I supposed to properly cover a band from half a mile away, much less take any decent photos?? Mind you, I have driven over 400 miles from Austin, Texas to cover this festival and my photographer had driven over 500 miles. So now I am left to my own devices on how to try and capture the moment from a big screen. Sorry, doesn’t work for me. Ratt sounded fantastic. Stage show? Who knows. Not me, I couldn’t see them, or anyone else that played the main stage for 3 days. Interviewed Korn but could not see them play or take pictures of them. Makes no sense. Bush was my favorite of the weekend but who knows what the stage show looked like, I watched them from a screen. No pictures. It makes no sense to me at all. I have a friend from a radio station in Texas that had a main stage pass....she doesn’t take pics for the station. I write for a printed magazine and I can’t take pics of the main stage? Ok, I suppose I ought to say something about the music. I will start with all the main stage acts I attended. RATT was phenomenal. I saw them in the 80s and they were just as good musically now as they were then. From what I could see on the
2 GENERATIONS OF
And then, there are some that are just timeless… We felt we needed two generations’ points of view on the Rush ‘Clockwork Angels’ Tour, so here they are. Enjoy!
Graham Higgs, age 50 - LG Arena Birmingham, 26th May It had been 28 years since I had last seen Rush live, funnily enough at this same venue. This time I was with my eldest son who was now 2 years older than I had been then! Planets were seemingly aligning again as an alarming thought filled my mind. Would my profound memories of Rush as a band be forever tarnished by what I was about to witness? It was time to find out. The familiar opening bars of ‘Subdivisions’ took me off my feet and landed me in a time of then and now, not for the only time during the evening did I feel myself overcome with emotions akin to meeting a long lost friend from the past you know you should never have lost touch with. The boys were on fire , storming renditions of ‘Big Money’, ‘Force Ten’ and ‘Grand Designs’ followed, musicianship perfect, and Geddy’s voice had never sounded better (not even 28 years ago!). One of my all time favourites ‘Middletown Dreams’ took the gig for me to greater heights, with ‘Territories’ and ‘Analog Kid’ making sure I wasn’t coming down in a hurry. Then came ‘The Pass’ with it’s haunting theme and emotive lyrics, said to hold a very special place for the band themselves and certainly for me an example of song writing at it’s finest level. It was now time to be introduced to less familiar sounds from their repertoire, crafted during my ‘Rushless’ years (of which I now feel there were far too many). ‘Where’s My Thing’ complete with bass and drum solos reminiscent of a percussive firework display led neatly into ‘Far Cry’ with pyrotechnics for real, ending the first half of the show in dramatic style, Geddy reassuring the crowd that they would return after a short break with even more sensory gems than before. The inane smile still sat firmly on my face when they returned, was it 30 or so minutes later? (Time Stand Still?) following an intriguing video storyline and the arrival on stage of the 7 strong ‘Clockwork Angels String Ensemble’ as backdrop to the band. ‘Clockwork Angels’ was now the theme, with nine tracks in total being aired for our delight. These included ‘The Carnies’ with it’s rasping guitar work, ‘Headlong Flight’ which also included one of Neil’s stock book proficient drum solos, and the album’s title track. Alex’s exquisite finger picking intro to the ‘Halo Effect’ was quite stunning but for me the highlight of this musical section had to be ‘The Garden’ from which elegance and beauty just dripped, what a song! ‘Dreamline’ released me from the spell, briefly taking us back to the early 90’s, before we were off again on a roller coaster towards the finale. Another well crafted drum solo, this time making full use of electronic hook ups , hurled us into a breathtaking version of ‘Red Sector A’ followed swiftly by the crowd pleasing ‘YYZ’. Keeping the atmosphere (hemisphere?) at fever pitch. The set was given closure without the assistance of the ‘Clockwork Angels String Ensemble’ who left to grateful applause, their musical support not necessary (despite the bands age!) in nailing ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ (to ‘the studio walls, concert halls) The band exited ‘stage left’ to the mass applause and respect of the audience for only a few minutes, before they were back to put the finishing touches to their masterpiece of an evening. For this they chose the unmistakable colours and textures of ‘Tom Sawyer’ and ‘2112’ , superb! It was now complete! I left feeling emotionally drained and satisfied, fully aware of having experienced one of the best concerts I had ever been fortunate to get to. My worries had been unfounded; they had delivered a gift worthy of their past (and mine too). Rush, hello old friend, I will keep in touch this time, but it’s goodbye for now.
Sonic Shocks big screen, there was a lot of energy from Stephen Pearcy. They played all the good ones from back in the day. Sorry I can’t elaborate more on the show... Sounded great. That’s about all I can say. Bush was amazing. I had forgotten how many great songs Bush has under their belts. Gavin was dynamic, he took off into the crowd at one point to the delight of the fans. I have never heard a band sound so true to record form in my life. This guy’s voice has not changed a bit, it’s just getting better if anything. Guns’n’Roses was the main act of the night. I waited in the record-setting Friday night crowd for 30 minutes for them before I left. I’ve never been to a show since I have started covering music that was late and I refuse to wait for someone notorious for being late. Did I miss out on a kick ass set? Who knows. I have heard both ways. Steel Panther – I am a little biased when it comes to Steel Panther. I think these foul mouthed clowns are genius. I adore these guys. I don’t even know how to describe a Steel Panther show for you. So much talent in all of them! Are they musicians or are they comedians? Both! All I can say is go see a SP show, you might come away with your mouth hanging open but you will be entertained. Hollywood Undead – Where have I been that I didn’t know about HU??? What a show (from what I could see on the damn big screen) Every member of Hollywood Undead plays a part in the vocals and providing the instruments at the same time. 2 Drum kits. Masks. Rap. Rock. I’m sold. I wish I could have taken pictures of these guys because you have to see them to get the full effect. One of my favorites of the festival. Cheap Trick – sounded like Cheap Trick. KORN – Another one that I would have loved to SEE on the stage. It is really hard to review a live show when you are watching from the screen. HEAD has rejoined his Korn family and this was one of the first few shows they have done since announcing the reunion. Musically everything was perfect. One thing about being out in the crowd is the en-
Issue 15/2013 ergy you feel from those surrounding you. It was electric. Hard Rock Stage I caught Escape The Fate. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves which makes it hard to not enjoy them as well. The crowd loved them. Device, David Draiman from Disturbed’s new band, did not disappoint. David came out looking as disturbed as ever and sounding amazing, that dude has a voice that never fails to amaze me. Sounds like a milder version of Disturbed and that is what the crowd wanted. Huge crowd, massive energy. Thousand Foot Krutch – Did you guys know they were a Christian band? A hard rocking one at that. The Sunday evening crowd were loving them and their great, positive energy, crowd surfing included. These Canadians know how to bring it. Motionless In White – Try to stand still while these guys are onstage: won’t work. Gothic Metal core/Horror Metal. Sounds a little intimidating doesn’t it? You can Google them and see where a lot of their lyrical thoughts stem from. You may find yourself in complete agreement. They even donated 25% of every sale at their merchandise table to the Moore, Oklahoma Tornado Victims Fund. Retrospect Records Stage Hessler – This female fronted glam band knew how to compete with the 2 big stages; they came out guns a blazin’. Seriously, the chick had guns. Watching bands like this makes you realize how hard these artists work for a chance to be heard. No one sets up their equipment for them on the Retro stage, these are up and coming bands just trying to make it. Hessler may just move on up to the Hard Rock Stage next year, keep your eye on this band from the Windy City. All in all this year’s Rocklahoma had some fantastic music. It was a record setting year as far as ticket sales go as well. Security as always were sweet as sugar and the grounds were clean and well kept the whole weekend. If you are going to go as a music lover this is a fantastic festival to attend; if you are going for press coverage, I suggest you make sure you know what your limits are before traveling across 2 states.
Ashley Naismith, age 20 - London O2 Arena, 24th May I got into Rush pretty late, all things considered. When I was born, the Canadian trio had already released 14 albums, and it was at least another five before I was able to appreciate them. Some fans consider themselves part of the 2112 era, others of the heavier era crowned by ‘Vapor Trails’. But I’m part of the ‘Snakes and Arrows’ era, and when chatting with people at the O2 Arena, this claim brought more than its fair share of disdain.th But regardless of era, nobody can dispute that their latest (and 20 ) masterwork ‘Clockwork Angels’ is going to make for a memorable tour. There is no support, they need no introduction. Near 20000 seats have been sold, the hungry fans wait to be taken on a journey by one of the most distinguished bands of the age. The stage is epic: half carnival, half steampunk dream (when I saw the convulsing brain in a vat, the philosopher in me swooned…) As they dive in with ‘Subdivisions’, any questions about whether the band are past it are forgotten. They may be getting old, and Neil Peart may have lost his hair, but they can still bring an arena to its feet. Rush have a ridiculous back catalogue, and they take full advantage of it, pumping out everything from ‘Grand Designs’ to ‘The Analogue Kid’ to the hit track ‘Far Cry’. The performance is flawless, made perfect by Neil Peart’s spinning drum kit and impeccable showmanship. He is hailed as one of the best drummers in the world, and it’s obvious from his solo in ‘Where’s My Thing?’ that this reputation is well earned. A quick intermission (only at a prog gig, right?) and the band come back accompanied by the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble. Adding symphonic flair to the technical pieces, props have to go to the headbanging cellist; bringing her was inspired. Highlights from the new album are definitely the title track, ‘Clockwork Angels’, ‘The Garden’ and one of the band’s favourites, ‘The Anarchist’. Frontman, singer and bassist Geddy Lee doesn’t miss a beat, strutting on stage, duelling with guitarist Alex Lifeson and rallying the rapidly flagging crowd into incessant fist pounding and singing. As the Strings depart, the trio pull out the big guns: ‘The Spirit of Radio’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’, finishing with three parts of the classic prog opera ‘2112’. It’s here that the saddening truth is revealed. These songs are old, they were written when Geddy could hit notes half an octave higher without even trying. He valiantly tries to reach them, but his voice falters and he resigns to a lower register. Ending with 2112’s ‘Grand Finale’, they fire tshirts into the crowd with air cannons as they say their final goodbyes, vowing to return. If one thing’s for certain, age is no barrier to continued greatness. This band are rocking as hard as ever and none can wait for their return. Even if you think prog rock is self-indulgent musical wankery (which it is!) Rush are still amazing. Just try and deny that.
The Roundhouse, London – 24th June 2013 By John Morgan - Photos John Marshall This year sees punk legend Glenn Danzig celebrate his 25th anniversary as a solo artist. Despite the fact that he will always be remembered as the voice behind Horror Punk band The Misfits, Danzig managed to negotiate a very successful career after the break up, resulting in the formation of Samhain, later to evolve to the band we see tonight, releasing some great material which has truly stood the test of time. To celebrate the silver milestone we are treated to something old and something older, with Glen playing a set of songs from the Danzig glory years mixed with a very special selection of Misfits classics. Special because they are classics? Partly, but the real treat for fans tonight is the re-emergence of original Misfits guitarist Doyle. This was a very special occasion for many and it didn’t disappoint; with Doyle in the fold, we are treated to Misfits gems like ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘Skulls’ with Danzig (the band) weighing in with classics cuts including ‘Twist of Cain’, ‘Dirty Black Summer’ and a jaw dropping version of ‘How the Gods Kill’. With the band on fine form and with Glen’s voice back to its very best, there were very few fans who would have felt short changed. This was the sort of gig you could happily go and see a couple of times a year without getting bored, and proof - if proof were needed - that Danzig are back, and that the devil really does have the best tunes . 9/10
breaking decisions. If you are a festival regular, however, the distance between venues in Camden is no longer the trek between stages at Download, and it’s mud-free. Best way to experience the event, therefore, is crawling from one bar to another – beer at hand – pinching a couple of songs here and there, like a £20 ‘all you can eat’ buffet full of new enticing flavours. Experience them all, as you soak in the street party atmosphere. I get it late after work, but at 6pm the night is still young and there’s plenty left to catch. I start with the Yoyos at the Barfly and - hungry and motivated - I go for a full course: I make it to the front and to the end of the show, leaving with pictures of a smiling unshaven Danny McCormack and memories of a band cut too short. Rarely any act these days unleash such intense emotions in me, but if there’s one out there is probably going to be jamming somewhere in N1 tonight. As I pass to the ‘pick & mix’ approach, doesn’t take long to give up on the idea of using my camera: with every venue packed, pushing to the front at each of them is rather rude and nearly impossible without loss of patience, hair and human lives, and I’m too short to shoot from the st Camden Town, London – 1 June 2013 back. I pack my Nikon after being completely By Cristina Massei lager-showered while trying immortalizing Camden Rocks – the guitar laden version of North London tradi- Charlie Simpson at the tional Camden Crawl – is back to market due to popular demand. Jazz Café; the venue is Question of the day, looking at the packed mouth watering schedule, so packed it’s one in/one is ‘where do I go next’, which implies multiple choices and heart-
Pura Vida Conspiracy
ATO Records/Casa Gogol Records – 22 July nd
By Cristina Massei After a stunning performance at Download, it’s clear to the UK audience that there’s more to Gogol Bordello than ‘Start Wearing Purple’: much awaited new album ‘Pura Vida Conspiracy’ is set to conquer further territory and quench music fans’ new found thirst for gipsy punk, something most of them didn’t know existed. So what is it? According to these 12 tracks, the music equivalent of every street party in the world thrown together in an unprecedented multicultural gathering, with a punk refusal for any rule, label and border. ‘Borders are scars on the face of the planet’, sings Eugene Hutz, as Gogol Bordello embarks in a colourful musical journey around the world. ‘Pura Vida’ is Spanish for ‘Pure Life’ – couldn’t have picked a more apt title – and it’s ‘infused with ideas rooted in Eastern philosophy’; yet that ‘Malandrino’ so Neapolitan you can smell the pizza, ‘We Rise Again’ sounds like a gipsy version of Tenacious D, ballad ‘I Just Realized’ has a pungent South American flavour and ‘John The Conqueror’ is an all-western rock-blues. No borders, no limits, no boundaries. Even the range of instruments used – including accordion and violin – is unconventional and unrestricted. ‘Pura Vida Conspiracy’ is Gogol Bordello’ sixth album, one that will make old fans happy and will give a new favourite to all those who only recently discovered these vibrant, gaudy New Yorkers. Their sound is a new breed, with its roots planted deep into so many traditions it will hardly run out of feeding ground. Soaked in the entire world’s culture, the future is promising for these guys’ music; cross the border and join the party, this bordello is open for business!
out, a necessary measure gradually spreading across them all. I do however manage to take a few shots of a favourite of mine, the mighty Vex – hell these guys keep growing! Watch out for them – at the Wheelbarrow. Next I head to the Purple Turtle for a fashionably late performance from Fearless Vampire Killers, who even manage to pull an Elton John with ‘I’m Still Standing’. I finally manage to catch a bit of Lostalone tearing apart The Good Mixer with their fast heavy riffs and a supercharged Steven Battelle; unfortunately the one in/one out rule strikes again and I’m left out for Therapy?... Oh well, I’ve seen them before. I hear, however, they were amazingly great as always and I’m deadly jealous of all those who made it. Bed time for me, as the rock’n’roll carnival continues in the streets of Camden Town. Were you there? Chance is, you’ve seen a completely different bill, but you lived exactly the same Festival. Because despite its incredible line up, Camden Rocks is not about the bands: it’s about the fans, the venues and the music that unites them. A big thanks to Chris McCormack, the artists, the venues and all who contributed to put this together for a mere £20 per punter, and to Camden for offering such a colourful, vibrant scenario. A marvellous day for North London and rock’n’roll.
THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE
Metal Blade - Out Now
Self released – Out Now
Topshelf Records – Out Now
Deceiver of the Gods
By Ashley Naismith
By Matt Dawson
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Amon Amarth. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve seen and their music is always great to listen to. But everybody says it of them, and it’s true: Amon Amarth only have one album, and they’ve released it nine times. They have a distinctive sound, it’s what the fans crave, and this is exactly what they deliver in ‘Deceiver of the Gods.’ What sets this album apart from previous releases though is the composition. This album is a cohesive unit, while other albums are just collections of songs; it just sounds natural in order and a bit disjointed when shuffled. Diving in with ‘Deceiver of the Gods’, the listener is greeted with an atmospheric riff, building up to the unbeatable twin guitar attack of Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Söderberg; they’ve been nominated for the Metal Hammer Golden Gods for a reason! As vocalist Johan Hegg lets loose the lyrics, it’s clear that this song will be a staple for many tours to come. It’s a classic Amon Amarth title track: it’s catchy-as-hell and the bridge just begs to be headbanged to. ‘Father of the Wolf ’ features an opening riff which will make bedroom guitarists swoon and a chorus which will no-doubt have crowds screaming along at shows. The guitar solo in ‘Coming of the Tide’ is glorious: Johan Söderberg and Olavi play off in a monumental duel to mirror the fights of myth. This is an Amon Amarth album through and through. If you, like me, love what the band does and just want more then this album is a necessary addition to the collection and will be on your commute playlist for weeks. If you’re looking for something new or experimental, you will walk away disappointed.
Some days you have to wonder why some bands go unnoticed by the general public – which is baffling in the world of bandcamp and social media. Case in point: Sleepers Awake, a Columbus, Ohio based progressive metal band that will be a dream for anyone that loves Tool, Mastodon and Between The Buried And Me (the intro to The Augur brings them to mind), but also bring their own twist to proceedings. Chris Thompson is not just another prog vocalist trying to ape Maynard, he showcases a range that makes you feel the emotion he brings. A beautiful mix of progressive with grooves you’d expect from a stoner band, which means them and Gypsyhawk would make a great tour package, at least in my eyes anyway. Tracks such as ‘Slave Within’, ‘Saint Condemned’ and ‘Burdened’ make it clear that Sleepers Awake are not a band you can sleep on [excuse the pun]. It’s a shame that at least for now they’re having to self release this album but hopefully someone will sign them up soon; they deserve it. If you care about progressive metal at all, please be willing to give them a chance at the very least.
Whenever, If Ever
By Matthew Tilt Emo, for some reason, lends itself to word count swallowing band names. The temptation to be a douche and impress you all with my knowledge of these long band names is there, but I’ll resist and simply say that there are a fair few that match, and even exceed, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die. Few bands are able to make albums as gorgeously earnest as Whenever, If Ever; combining emotive, regretful lyrics with music that builds, never far from soaring, and yet still manages to maintain that whimsical feeling that the title suggests. Opening track Blank #9 sets the scene, with gentle guitar lines and ample feedback building into Heartbeat in the Brain which opens with a pop punk-esque riff and opens the band wide open. Incorporating some electronics and the soft vocals of David Bello; the band show a wealth of ideas that never detract from the overall sound but enhance it. Chris Teti’s work on the trumpet adds yet more layers as we head deeper into the album; Fightboat sees the gang vocals take on a more hardcore feel, adding an edge to this catchy song while You Will Never Go to Space offers up a slow build, melodic and yet distant before the big finale. Whenever, If Ever shows a band, who have seen their fair share of hype, exceed all expectations with an album so mature, so deep that it still surprises you after several listens. The world is indeed a beautiful place, made better by the existence of bands of this calibre.