The Swellers will be releasing their new EP ‘Running Out of Places To Go’ in the UK through Xtra Mile on October 22nd.
Depth have announced they will release a new EP entitled ‘Waiting For The Waves’ on October 29th. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead have announced their new album, ‘Lost Songs’ will be released in the UK on October 22nd through Superball Music/EMI. They will aslo be touring the UK in October. The new Sonic Boom Six self-titled album will be released on October 15th through Xtra Mile.
The Devil Wears Prada will release their live CD/DVD ‘Dead & Alive’ in the UK on October 15th. The release date for Lower Than Atlantis’ new album, ‘Changing Tune’ has been pushed back to October 1st.
Rolo Tomassi have announced they will release their third album, ‘Astraea’ on November 5th through their own label, Destination Moon Records.
Who’s Driving? Bear’s Driving! have announced a new EP titled ‘The Company I Was Looking For.’ A release date along with pre-order details are set to be announced soon.
Basement’s final album ‘Colourmeinkindness’ is set to be released through Run For Cover Records on October 22nd.
We Are The Physics have announced a UK tour that will coincide with the release of their new album ‘Your Friend, The Atom’ on October 22nd via This Is Fake DIY Records.
Jack Delany (ex-The Eyes Of A Traitor) is the new vocalist for Empires Fade. Violet have announced that vocalist Jonny Nelson has left the band. The band already have an unnamed replacement and have began recording new material.
Decade have announced plans to record their debut full-length later this year with producer Romesh Dodangoda at Longwave Studios. However the band are asking for help with funding the recording, as they intend to finance the record by themselves. Further info can be found at www.decadeofficial.co.uk.
Walnut Tree Records have announced a one-off free farewell show tha will take place at London’s Old Blue Last on October 10th. The line-up for the show currently consists of Rob Lynch, Ghost Saddles and Portman who will be reuniting for the show. One more act is yet to be announced.
Living With Lions will be heading to the UK in October for a headline tour. Support comes from Marathonmann.
Coheed and Camrbia have announced a headline UK tour in December. Support comes from Fighting With Wire. Bay Area, California’s Punch have announced a run of UK shows alongside Negative Approach in October.
Stone Sour will be returning to the UK in December for a headline tour. You Me At Six have announced they will play a one-off show at London’s Wembley Arena on December 8th. The show will be filmed for a future live DVD release.
Enter Shikari have announced a UK ‘Christmas’ tour with support from Cancer Bats and Engine-Earz Experiment.
Converge have announced a November UK tour featuring support from Touché Amoré, A Storm Of Light, and The Secret.
Dave Hause has been added as support for the upcoming UK headline tour from The Gaslight Anthem. Blood Red Shoes will also be supporting.
Canterbury will be supporting Deaf Havana on their UK tour in November before starting a headline tour later that month.
Alexisonfire will play two farewell shows at London’s Brixton Academy on December 2nd and 3rd. Skindred have announced an intimate UK tour that will take place in December. Anberlin will be touring the UK from the start of October.
ith Lee w w ie v r e t In
So Wade MacNeil has been with you guys for almost a year now, how has the response been from Gallows fans? I would say after the initial confusion, intrigue and backlash from certain fans, the response has been very positive indeed. Anyone who's seen us live with Wade will be able to tell you that Gallows is a stronger beast than ever and he brings it hard every night as well as adding elements we never had before in the band such as discipline and the passion to want to perform 100% every night.
Former singer, Frank Carter had different ideas for the future sound of the band from the rest of you..how did your opinions differ in terms of musical direction? The band had the idea of wanting to make another record that sounded like Gallows. As far as I was concerned, we'd experimented on Grey Britain as far as that was a concept album with orchestras, big production/budget etc... and I think we needed to go back to our roots with album three. We wanted to make a balls out, raucous album that incorporated all the elements of why people loved the band in the first place along with the more experimental ideas we had with Grey Britain. Frank was definitely looking to take the band in a more commercial route and we couldn't agree with which sound we wanted in the end. You only have to listen to Frank's new project to see the route that Gallows may have taken if the split hadn't occurred.
How would you say your sound has changed since Wade joined? And would you say as a band this has naturally inspired you more and allowed you to explore with your sound from a new perspective? From the 'Death Is Birth' EP you could tell that the band were particularly venomous when Wade joined. None of us really knew what we were doing and we wrote/recorded those four songs in a really short space of time. It was a good release of anger but not a particularly good indication of where the band would head in the future. With this new record, it's the most inspired and confident the band has ever been whilst writing and recording. We've created an album that people will be able to identify as a Gallows record first and foremost whilst still maintaining the aggression from the EP. The aggression has just been channelled a lot better and we had more scope to write bigger, anthemic songs. I'm not afraid to say that every track on this album is a pure banger!
So this year you signed with PIAS recordings and set up your own label VENN, how did you end up signing with them how are the label treating you so far? It's been great so far. Everyone at PIAS has treated us very well and we knew they'd been looking to get involved with working with the band for quite a while. Having the chance to start our own label was just the cherry on top of the cake when signing. We're looking to take Venn in different directions and release music other than our own which is a very exciting feeling.
What can fans expect from your latest self-titled record? They should expect some absolutely massive songs that incorporate all the elements from each release so far and improve on them. The fans who have stuck by the band are going to love it while I feel fairly confident that even the skeptical fans will have to admit that Gallows have come out stronger than ever with this new record. Each riff, lyric, drum beat or bass line has a purpose and there was no fucking around. We wanted to make sure this was the strongest release the band's ever put out.
What was the songwriting and recording process like for the new album? Songwriting started at the beginning of the year with Laurent sending over a few ideas he had while myself and our bass player Stuart would get together in California where we were living to record some ideas too. By the time we came to record in Watford with our good friends Steve and Mitch (of Spycatcher) we had a great breadth of material to choose from and it was more a case of picking the best parts from what we had. We still only had maybe ten days to actually get the album together and we worked our nuts off the whole time. it was definitely the hardest we'd worked ourselves in the studio but also the most rewarding experience we've had. Working with Steve and Mitch was great, recording the tracks was a good feeling rather than a stress like it has been in the past.
What is the main inspiration for the new material, are there any particular lyrical themes that occur? I wouldn't say there are any particular themes as such but Wade has brought some optimism with his lyrics that there definitely wasn't with Grey Britain. That album was more or less a damning depiction of broken Britain which didn't offer up any solutions. Wade's lyrics deal with important issues (such as the riots in Toronto which "Last June" was about) but there is always a chink of light there amongst the darkness!
You have released "Last June" from your fourthcoming album, how has the song been received by fans? It was received very well actually, probably surprising even us a little bit! The fans can't deny that it's a heavy Gallows sounding song and it's also a good representation of the new album as a whole. It was a natural choice for us to be the first song that people heard from the record.
What is the meaning behind "Last June"? It was written in response by Wade to the riots which occurred at the G20 Summit meeting in Toronto. The "ACAB" line speaks for itself but you'd have to ask Wade himself on how personal the song is for him.
You are embarking on a UK/Europe tour starting in September, as a band with a strong reputation on the live scene, what can fans expect, especially fans who haven't yet witnessed any of your shows? We'll just be up there killing ourselves like we do every night. The enthusiasm to play live is higher than it's ever been and with a new record under our belt, we will be more pumped than ever on stage. We'll be looking to play as many new songs as possible while still keeping the "classics" in the set. We owe that to the old fans who have stuck by the band through thick and thin. It's a really exciting time and with most of the shows being in small venues, it's likely to go off!
Other than the anticipated release of the new album, what else does 2012 hold in store for Gallows? We'll be heading out on a full Euro/UK tour in September and October with our friends in Feed The Rhino and Brotherhood Of The Lake. After that, we'll be heading out to the US and Canada for another headline run which will be very exciting as we've never played much before in Canada (ironically!) So basically, lots of touring and making sure everyone hears this new record is our top priority.
Interview with Jenna McDougall
Can you tell us how Tonight Alive formed? From about 2005 Jake and Cam had been playing in a band together with our original drummer and a male singer/guiatrist. Whakaio joined the band as a keyboardist in 2007 and after complications with previous singers Cameron approached me about singing in the band in early 2008. At that point I had known Cameron for two years and we were recording acoustic tracks together, and then we decided to throw in one of the bands songs. It turned out to be my admission into the band.
Your debut album â€˜What Are You So Scared Of?â€™ was released in 2011 and was recorded with Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World) how did it feel to record with such a prestigious producer? Initially we didn't know what to expect and with all the hype surrounding his name and previous work we were a little intimidated going into the process but we soon made good friends with Mark and settled into the way he worked. He's a mellow guy but he knows what he wants and through all his experience he knows how to get it right. He got the best work out of us and gave us an album we were really proud of!
Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 features on the track "Thank You & Goodnight", how did this come about? Mark Trombino produced Blink 182's Dude Ranch in 1997 and kept a relationship with Hoppus over the years. When we were struggling to agree on a guest vocalist for the album Trombino contacted Hoppus and surprised us with news of him being keen to feature on a song!
Female-fronted rock bands are in the minority, does this make a noticeable difference to Tonight Alive as a band? We don't treat ourselves differently to any other band. I feel like we have all the same struggles and hardships; nothing about being female fronted has made Tonight Alive's career easier or harder.
How does the Australian pop-punk scene different from those you’ve encountered elsewhere? The Australian scene is quite competitive. Early on in a bands life it's fun supporting five other bands in a youth centre, or town hall kind of floor shows, but once you start to break out of that I think other artists and general onlookers in the music scene are skeptical towards others progress. I've found the pop punk scene in America to be so open minded and supportive. Nothing about it appears to be competitive or exclusive and that makes it really welcoming for a growing band like Tonight Alive.
Pop-punk has become a derogatory term to some when placing bands in genres. What do you think of pop-punk as a genre? I've never found it derogatory or been offended by the term. Pop punk is just an umbrella that groups modern bands that love and who are somewhat influenced by the last generation of punk music. For instance, we grew up listening to bands like Rufio, Blink 182 and New Found Glory who were influenced by an earlier generation of bands such as Bad Religion, NOFX and Green Day. It’s rare not to be classified in a cross genre group but if you want to get technical about our sound I'd call it melodic pop rock.
You’ll be touring the UK for the second time in October – do UK crowds offer anything different to those in Australia or the US? I think the UK also offers a refreshing culture to Tonight Alive. We had a great time playing to UK crowds and it will be really exciting to see what it's like when the shows are ours!
You made your Warped Tour debut this summer, how was it to be included on such an incredible tour? Mindblowing! Everyday is a good day and we feel really, really honoured to be a part of the tour! It was always something we aspired to do someday.
Are there any plans to start recording a sophomore record? Absolutely! We're looking at recording the next record over Christmas time. We've been writing for it since this time last year.
Tonight Alive has achieved so much in a relatively small amount of time, what are you aims for the future? Thankyou, there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make it happen! The rest of this year is full of international touring and we intend on next year being the same.
Interview with Drew
Can you tell us how Light You Up came to formation? Well four of us have played music together for years, and over the last year we have been trying different things, we ended up drafting in Tom Napier, our new singer, who is the best dude, and he has the pipes of an angel. It just seemed to click and I think it is the first time we have all been completely on the same page in this band, with the same confidence and passion for what we do.
How did you get to the name Light You Up and what do you want it to mean to your fan base? Well it has two main meanings. First and foremost, music is meant to encourage the listener to feel something, and I guess we'd love to do that for other people. So 'Light You Up' is our term for that.
What are the main themes and influences behind your upcoming EP Broken Jaw? The main themes and influences towards the EP vary from life in a band, and struggles of youth etc, as well as kind of coming to terms with growing up. The EP is only four tracks long, so we only touch on these subjects, but they are all important parts of our lives. We have learned that this industry is pretty messed up, and nothing is what it seems and the EP definitely tackles that.
How did you get to the title Broken Jaw? At sixteen years of age, we signed to a specific record label, who had had some success with various bands, and they promised us the world but they never delivered, and it sucked at the time, but it has hardened us to this industry which I think is a good thing, I also think it really captures where we are with our views on music, and the song 'Broken Jaw' is directly about that subject.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for this EP? We recorded the EP with Romesh Dodengoda at Longwave Studios in Cardiff, it was a really chilled but focused atmosphere, and Romesh really got behind the songs and pushed us to get the best out of them. We had a great time, and we are absolutely stoked on the results. Hopefully the EP will surprise a few people.
The artwork for the EP is really unique, can you tell us who came up with the idea, and how it all came together? I can't remember who came up with the idea, but Rob our other guitarist put it together, and we all love it. The artwork kind of depicts the idea of looking more into a picture to see what is really there.
What bands have influenced you guys since day one as a band and why? We all love different bands, but for me I would have to say bands like The Movielife, Acceptance, Jimmy Eat World, and Bayside, then older stuff like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Stevie Wonder.
Your video for 'Without You Here' has achieved a huge 100,000 hits, so with this in mind, how has it been to have this kind of support behind your band? I think we were all really surprised that it spread the way it did. It has definitely made a lot of people look at our band differently seeing the response we've been getting. It is humbling, and it gives us more confidence and drive to get our music to more people, because the response we've had so far is great.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour with A Loss For Words, Decade & Save Your Breath and what should attending fans expect? A Loss For Words are some of our best friends in the world and we always love touring with them. Members of our band have toured/played in/with A Loss For Words on about seven tours now so they are like our brothers. Save Your Breath and Decade are also great friends of ours so we expect to have great shows whilst hanging out with friends.
What else does 2012 hold for you guys? We will be releasing a music video for the first single from the EP, which will be called 'Foxfire', and then we will be announcing some super exciting news regarding singing to a new record label. We can't wait to reveal all!
Interview with Nicolas
Mutiny On The Bounty
Can you tell us about the formation of Mutiny On The Bounty?
Mutiny On The Bounty was created in April 2004 by Sacha the drummer and singer and myself. We started out as a two piece jam band that were really more into experimental music. At least we like to think we were one as back in the time we weren't really good musicians and still were switching positions on drums and guitars. A few weeks later, we began searching for a complete band including another guitar player and a bass player. Shortly after, we asked some friends of ours to join, Luciano on guitar who was playing in a tech/death-metal band and David as a bassist.
After a couple of years and the release of a split cd, David left to focus on his other band and we finally released our first album in 2009 called "Danger Mouth". A few line-up changes later, Cedric joined on bass in 2010 and Clement as a guitarist at the end of the same year to finally form our strongest line-up to date. After a few months rehearsing, we decided to get back in the studio for a second album and here we are with "Trials" a couple of months later.
How did you get to the band name Mutiny On The Bounty and what does it mean to you? The "Mutiny on the Bounty" was amutiny aboard the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty on 28 April1789. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian against commanding officer Lieutenant William Bligh. According to most accounts, the sailors were attracted to the idyllic life on the Pacific island of Tahiti and were further motivated by harsh treatment from their captain. That's what Wikipedia says... It's also the name of a novel and two hollywood movies. The name in itself for us is more a personal joke that we had together when we first started the band about a friend who looked like some kind of a survivor on a desert island who we used to call Mutiny On The Bounty. But what we actually liked about the name was the epic sound it has. When you hear it, you imagine yourself into adventures with twists and turns all around. Something a bit unpredictable and that's what we want to achieve with our music. We love to lead the listener into one direction and mislead them into another one without them noticing it. And quite frankly, the line-up changes and stories we had in the band so far look as nearly epic as the story of the Bounty itself.
For readers that maybe unfamiliar with your sound, can you tell us about your musical influences as a band, and what you sound like? I think we're pretty much the worst people to describe our music. Whenever some people ask us what we're doing, we like to call it rock. But for sure, we're not doing classic rock, it's more a mix of experimental, mathrock, indie, post-hardcore and maybe prog or post-rock. Our influences are very diverse and to be honest, there are only a few bands on which we all agree to be influences. So basically it goes from technical stuff like Adebisi Shank, Tera Melos or This Town Needs Guns to old-school indie rock such as Pavement or Dinosaur Jr to 80's music from Michael Jackson to The Cure to more electronic acts such as Modselektor or PVT. Anything that sounds interresting to our ears can become an influence. But I guess that we could define ourselves as trick-dynamic rock.
Can you tell us how you ended up on Best Before Records, and how this process has been for you guys so far as a band? Best Before has always been a label we had in mind in the UK. We released "Danger Mouth" with Big Scary Monsters in 2009 but it was kind of troubled times for the band as we went through many line-up changes back then, so it was difficult to tour and therefore sell any cd's. So we had to start fresh with a new label. We've done a couple of send-outs and Best Before replied instantly to say they knew us and that they were interested. It was such an honour as they have bands we love and respect like 22 or Dananananaykroyd. The process was in fact really easy to work with, because as soon as we signed the contract we met Anthony in Brighton during the Great Escape and everything became natural, we already talked about plans and a way to work together. It's important for us to feel a connection with the people we're working with as our music is 90% of our life so it's like giving away your babies to a boarding school, you have to be assured that they will be well treated.
What can you tell us about your latest record 'Trials' ? "Trials" is definitely a much darker animal than what "Danger Mouth" is. The songs in general have this darker tone and weirder atmospheres due to the fact that we used a lot of effects to create spacey atmospheres. When we wrote album this was also a darker time than a couple of years before. We had so many problems with the band, as the line-up was changing all the time because the people involved didn't want to fully commit to the band but rather spend time with their girlfriends or having a decent job. The themes on the album are nevertheless pretty close to the ones evoked on "Danger Mouth" it's mostly based on communication in general. Communication in general between people, in relationships or as friends like in "Candies" or in a wider sense as the control from the media in "Fiction". It's definitely about the personal struggles you have to face in your everyday life, because everyday is a battle you try to conquer. On the other hand, we do not feel like a political band, not at all, even if two instrumental songs are called after "North Korea" and "Myanmar". We're more of a band that stands for the "music speaks louder than words" and we feel that even songs without lyrics are strong enough to stand by themselves. The lyrics are just there to create more structure and let our feelings out.
How did you end up working with Matt Bayles on this record, and what was this like for you as a band? It was actually a very easy and natural process. Back in 2010, we began to think about new recordings. As we self-produced everything so far, we thought it would be a great idea to work with a reknowned producer in order to perfect our music and to organize our ideas. I came up with a list of half a dozen producers and Matt Bayles was the first one on the list. I just sent him an e-mail and maybe six hours later he replied to us letting us know that he'd be happy to work with us. We then met him at the SXSW festival while we were playing there and perfected all the little details left for the recording. We sent a couple of demos and three months later, we were in Seattle recording with him.
I must admit that it was pretty impressing at first to work with someone you admire, who has produced albums you adore and worship telling you that your music is great. So at first; we were pretty intimidated and he noticed that pretty quickly, so he talked with us and let us know that we weren't here for nothing and that he doesn't spend time with bands he doesn't believe in, so it was pretty clear that the next step would be to work hard to prove to him that he was right. Finally, the recording process was pretty smooth - of course some days were harsher than others, but we knew that we weren't there for a holiday. What Matt added to this album was a new approach to music and arrangements as well as a confidence we didn't have before entering in the studio, he pushed us to the limits to get what he wanted to hear, and we're grateful he did.
How would you say this record compares to your earlier material? "Trials" is probably the darkest album we ever came up with. Songs like "North Korea", "Artifacts" or even "Myanmar" are really heavy and dark mood songs. The new album is also more diverse and probably easier to understand. Back in time we wanted to play everything, so this time around we felt like the music had to breathe a bit more. It seems so clichĂŠ to say that but it's definitely more mature. It's not mature in the sense that we're just wiser and know exactly how to craft a song, but it's more mature in the way that we noticed some mistakes we made on the previous ones and tried to avoid these traps for the new songs.
You've toured/played with bands such as Biffy Clyro & Coheed & Cambria since your formation, so how has this been for you, and what do you think you have learnt the most from these shows? It's true that playing with bands you admire is always something special. You don't want to disappoint, you want to show this band that you're here for a reason. I must admit that for myself I try to think of every show in the same way, even if we're playing a 30 capacity pub or a 3000 capacity show with Biffy Clyro. Playing well is one thing, but being able to entertain in front of a huge crowd like Biffy Clyro have is definitely something else : itâ€™s nearly another job to learn. They kept their feet on the ground and were very humble and that's definitely something to keep in mind when you're playing music!
What else does 2012 hold for Mutiny On The Bounty? 2012 has still so much to offer for us as "Trials" will be released in the UK pretty soon and we'll get to tour over there for ten days for our first tour in two years in the UK. Then we'll have some more shows in Germany before having our album released in France. So basically, 2012 and 2013 will be a lot of shows, tours, meeting with fans, working on new stuff to prepare a new album and most of all a lot of fun!
Interview with Ryan Key
“Sure it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long ago since Yellowcard released ‘WYTTSY’ but that really doesn’t matter, because their new record ‘Southern Air’ is great, and it shows that the band are just as strong and positive as they were when they first started out, so if you have not picked up the new record just yet, then you might want to purchase it, right now!” Can you tell us where the title ‘Southern Air’ originated from? In 2008 we decided to take some time off from the band. I moved back east from Los Angeles to a small town called Athens, GA. I had the chance to spend a lot of time with my family and reconnect with the place where I grew up. The idea of 'Southern Air' just sort of encompasses that whole experience for me.
What can fans expect from your brand new record ‘Southern Air’ ? Fans can expect to hear one of the most inspired records we have ever written.
Previous Yellowcard albums often deal with love, relationships and emotion, can we expect similar themes on the new record? There isn't a whole lot dealing with those kinds of relationships. I think however there are songs that can be interpreted that way, even though the inspiration came from somewhere else. This record really deals a lot with letting go of the past and moving forward with my life.
You chose ‘Always Summer’ as the first single to showcase to fans from ‘Southern Air’, could you tell us the story behind the track? The song is about being grateful for those people in your life that have allowed you to fall and helped you get back up again. In my case, more than once. It is also, in keeping with the theme of Southern Air, inspired by the way my home and where I grew up has shaped me as an adult.
Only a short number of months passed between the release of ‘When You’re Through Thinking Say Yes’ and your announcement that you were recording ‘Southern Air’, what inspired the decision to get straight back into the studio? We wanted to be a part of the Vans Warped Tour this summer. That required us to finish a record before we left for the tour. Had we waited until after the summer we wouldn't have had a record out until 2013.
We've read that Alex Gaskarth, Patrick Stump, Cassadee Pop, Tay Jardine will all be doing guest vocals on Southern Air, so can you tell us a bit about how each guest got involved, and how fun this process was for you as a band? We have become friends with them all through touring last year and being label mates on Hopeless Records. We just thought it would be cool to bring some new friends in to be a part of the next chapter for Yellowcard.
For those that somehow missed this, can you explain why Sean O'Donnell left Yellowcard, and how Josh Portman got involved? Sean realized that being away from his fiancée and family for nine months a year might not be for him. We all completely understood and supported his decision to leave the band. Josh has been a close friend of ours for many years and was the only person we had in mind to join us.
How has Josh Portman been adapting to being in the band so far? It has been amazing so far. He is really stoked to be here and his positive energy is definitely contagious.
You were on the bill for Warped Tour this summer and from what we have seen it looks like you’ve been attracting some massive crowds. How did it feel to be part of such a special tour again? When we first started touring as a band, being on the Warped Tour was our biggest goal. We have now been a part of the tour five times in ten years. We feel so lucky, It's been an amazing summer.
Throughout the process of these last two records, what would you say you are most proud about achieving as a band, and why? It is hard to choose one thing. I guess I would say I am most proud of our determination. We have been and will continue to work as hard as we can to get Yellowcard back where we want it to be. Right now we are on track.
With so many great records already under your belt, what would you like ‘Southern Air’ to bring for Yellowcard? I just want it to continue to sustain a career for us. I want it to inspire both the band and our fans.
“Just recently these guys got to perform at the Olympics alongside their label mate Frank Turner, this was indeed a big moment for the band as well as the alternative music scene here in the UK, as it was just nice to see such a hard working band represent us. As well as this life changing performance the band have just unleashed their new album ‘Death’ and also have a tour lined up with Frank Turner...so dig in and discover the brilliant Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun” Your new album 'Death' was released in April, so far, how happy have you been with the feedback from the album? The feedback has been nothing short of incredible to us. We’ve been lucky enough to pick up some favourable reviews, but most importantly people are turning up to shows ready to sing as loud as they can and that’s the best feedback we can have I think.
What was it like to work with Peter Miles and how does he push you as musicians? Pete is a great producer, it’s so refreshing to work with someone who understands what you’re trying to achieve whilst also working very hard to get to that goal. We had a great time recording this album because it gave us a chance to record it all live as a band, which is something that we’re quite passionate about and Pete was very positive and accommodating.
What are the themes and influences that run through the album? The album is ultimately concerned with loss, but in more of a positive sense, to know what you have before it’s gone and to enjoy what you have are big themes. It’s quite politically geared too and contains a lot of references to people that are close to us.
Can you tell us a bit about your brand new single 'England's Dead' ? England’s Dead was the first song that I wrote that felt like we had discovered our ‘sound’ if you like. Blending those softer folk bits with something from our heavier music tastes felt incredibly normal but it was also a huge step forward at the same time. The song itself is directed at the small minded nature of some people in England and their frankly ridiculous opposition to a multicultural society.
what was it like to perform at the Olympics alongside Frank Turner? Performing with Frank at the Olympics was easily the most surreal thing that’s ever happened to us, it was a huge honour and a privilege to sing for Frank’s band and it will definitely not be forgotten. We’re still a little disappointed we didn’t get a gold medal, but still…
What's it like to be signed to Xtra Mile Recordings and how have they been treating you so far? Being a part of XM is such a pleasure. We’ve all been massive fans of the label and the bands they’ve supported over the years so to see our record alongside the likes of Reuben and Against Me! etc on their webstore is a great feeling. There’s a lovely family feel to XM that we’re proud to be a part of and the community of fans around the label are passionate and loyal so there’s not much more you could ask for really.
What was it like to reach number 7 in the Record Store Chart? Totally shocking at first, but certainly an affirming experience. It’s not only nice to shift enough records to gain that slot statistically but also to know that people are actively going out to the stores and buying the records and enjoying the artwork or reading the lyrics rather than just using Spotify or another streaming site at home.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK headline tour, and what should attending fans expect? It’s always great to get out and tour, we’re definitely a live band, we’d play every day for the next decade if we could and I think that comes across at our shows. The shows in September will be full of the new album tracks and a couple of oldies, a LOT of singing along, a bit of a mosh maybe too and we’ll join the crowd for one or two songs as well. So there will be loads going on. We’re also co-headlining for six shows with The People The Poet, they’re an amazing band that are making some great music so I think the tour will be a good treat for everyone.
You guys are also heading out on tour with Frank Turner, so how excited are you to be sharing the stage with him? We’ve been lucky enough to share a stage with Frank a few times now and it’s always been a pleasure. It’s still slightly surreal that someone who I’m a huge fan of is also a fan of our music, I don’t think that’ll ever change, but to have him invite us out for a tour this size is a dream for us. In fact, the dream a year ago was to play Academy sized shows at some point, and here we are on the cusp of realizing that dream, it’s a strange feeling.
What else does 2012 hold for Jim Lockey & the Solemn Sun? Well, apart from the September and November tours, we’re hoping to get to the States in October and a new single will follow in November also. We’ve begun writing again, well… it never stops really, so we’ll be holed up in our practice room at any spare moment we get over the next four months.
“Nine Black Alps are finally back and ready to rock the alternative music scene once more with their brand new album ‘Sirens’ and as well as this they will be heading out on their first UK tour in three years. This will be awesome!” Can you tell us a bit about what you guys have been up to since 'Locked Out From The Inside' was released as most of you have side projects right? Since then our previous bass player Martin left the band to form his own band Milkmaid, and we've got a new bass player called Karl who used to play in The Witches. I've released way too many solo albums on my own label Desert Mine Music, and David (our other guitar player) has also recorded a solo album which is out soonish and he's also playing live guitar with The Cribs. James our drummer is still rocking in his own sphere.
For those that may of missed this, can you tell us why Martin Cohen left the band in 2011? After the 'Locked Out From The Inside' tour, we took some time off as we were broke and in the mean time Martin formed his band and wanted to focus on that. There weren't any weird 'personal differences' just that he wanted to create the rock in his own image.
How did you end up picking Karl Astbury as the new bass player, and how has he been fitting in with the band so far? We've known Karl from around Manchester for a few years. David recorded his previous band The Witches, and so when Martin left we knew that Karl was a great bass player and a really nice guy, so we asked him to join. We've had a few practices with him and he's fitting in well, although he does have a habit of wearing vests which we're a bit unsure about but I think we can learn to live with it.
How did you end up signing with Brew Records, and how have they been treating you so far? We did a tour with Kong (a band on Brew Records) and got on with them really well and they told us about Brew Records. When we finished recording our new album, we were thinking about a label who might get what we were about and Brew came straight to mind as they focus on great, aggressive rock music. They've been very cool so far in helping us keep things going.
We've read that you self-produced your latest record 'Sirens' so can you explain why you decided to do this, and how this whole experience was for you as a band? We decided to self-produce because of a few reasons. One was that we didn't have any money to hire a producer or a studio. Another was that we didn't have a label or any management to tell us that self-producing was a bad idea. And also we've turned into proper recording nerds and have gathered way too much recording equipment so we thought we'd do it ourselves. When we started to record it wasn't really with any intention of releasing the tracks or touring, it was just to create a noise and to have an excuse to pretend that we are rock stars again.
Can you tell us about the themes and influences that run through your new record 'Sirens' ? It's hard to say, I wrote most of the songs when I was getting into a bunch of newer garage rockers like Wavves and Jay Reatard so I wanted to write a bunch of faster and more direct songs. They still ended up sounding like us though, I don't think we could really be anything else. And in terms of themes, I never really know what I'm singing about, the words just come up when I write the music and if they don't sound too crap I keep them.
How would you say 'Sirens' compares to all of your records prior to this? It's probably our rawest record. We wanted to keep all effects to a minimum so there's hardly any reverb or delay on the record. The fact that it wasn't recorded in a proper studio also gives it it's own sound too. Plus the fact that most of it is the first time that we played the songs together gives it a bit of freshness and it isn't too over-thought.
What do you want 'Sirens' to do for the representation of Nine Black Alps? Just to show that we still exist in our own universe and couldn't be fashionable or cool or credible if we tried!
Soon you will embark on your first UK tour as Nine Black Alps in almost three years, so how excited are you for this, and what should attending fans expect? Yeah we're all really looking forward to this. We don't have management any more and will be doing everything ourselves so it's going to be pretty intense but I'm really looking forward to making as much noise as possible. And fans should expect the same deal as before, no anthemics or theatrics or lame attempts to 'create a vibe', just a bunch of songs and feedback.
What else does 2012 hold for Nine Black Alps? We've got a single out soon and our new album 'Sirens' is out in the beginning of October. We're also doing a little run of live shows around then in Glasgow, York, Nottingham, Southampton, London, Brighton, Cardiff, Bristol and Manchester. Plus we might do a few shows before Christmas. Also I'm currently writing our fifth album and am nearly there with that. Hopefully we'll get it all recorded before the end of the year.
Interview with Jack
“This band have had a great year, they’ve hit the road with Futures and Don Broco as well as hitting a shed load of festivals. So what’s next from the band? Well just a tour with Mayday Parade and The Summer Set whilst also prepping a new release for the everyone to hear this Autumn! So read on to get yourself updated with the mighty Natives!” So far, how have fans been responding to the process of you guys changing from Not Advised to Natives? The overall response has been good. I think it's a little confusing for some people as none of the members have changed but it's a totally new band. Lots of people are a little disappointed at first to hear we don't play Not Advised songs, but 99% of people say that after watching us as Natives they prefer it to the old band.
As a band, what do you think you have learnt the most from this change over? I think the most important thing we've learned is to follow your gut and to do what pleases you as a band, not what you think others want you to do. We were unhappy for some time as Not Advised and wanted to start something new but we were a little hesitant as we didn't want to let people down. We realise now that it was 100% the right decision for us to start Natives, we're happier than ever.
You've hit a bunch of festivals this summer, so how has the response been, and was there a show that maybe stood out to you the most? The response has been far greater than we imagined. Obviously people have only heard two songs of ours at the moment and Natives is very new so we didn't really expect anyone to respond to us at all but people have been really getting into it which is great. We're amazed by how many people know the words to the single and are willing to jump about to other songs in the set which they've never heard before. I think Redfest was a highlight for us, it was great to get to play on a big outdoor stage and again the response from the crowd was much more than we'd anticipated.
How did your recent tour go with Futures and do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you can share with us? The tour was great, Futures are a great bunch of guys and are good fun to be on tour with as are Don Broco who were the other support. I think finally playing live was the highlight for us. We've spent over a year in studios and practice rooms writing and rehearsing and finally being able to play these songs to people was a great feeling. We're excited to hit the road again soon.
What's the response been like for your new single 'This Island' then, I mean we've read that the video has had a great response on YouTube, whilst climbing the iTunes rock chart!? Again we're really surprised by this. We're all really happy with how the video turned out but we didn't expect it to reach almost 40,000 views so quickly! Similarly this is our debut single and we didn't really expect many people to buy it so to see it in the rock chart is amazing. I think people are starting to realise that this is something new for us now. The first track we put up "Big Plans" sonically is the most similar to Not Advised out of all of our tracks so I think people didn't realise how much of a change this all was. Lots of people are calling This Island the soundtrack to their summer, which is great to hear!
Can you tell us about the narrative behind the song 'This Island' ? The song is about dealing with tough times and taking a positive from a negative, learning to make yourself happy. We intentionally didn't write the lyrics about a specific event/situation because we wanted people to be able to relate to them regardless of what they're going through, so in that sense the lyrics are open to interpretation.
Can you tell us a bit about the filming for the music video 'This Island' and how it all came together? We're all big fans of that nostalgic feeling you get from watching old Super 8mm footage from family holidays in the 1970's and so we thought with the song being called This Island it would be cool to shoot our own throwback holiday video. We shot the video in Murcia, Spain because the landscape is so varied so as well as getting some shots of us having fun at the beach we could also drive up into the mountains and explore. Massive credit should go to Duncan Howsley who directed the video as he managed to turn our vision into a reality.
What did you like the most about working alongside John Feldmann? John is someone who we'd always dreamed about working with after watching The Used DVD when we were younger so just the chance to work with a hero was amazing. The best thing about working with John is that he really understands what makes our band what it is and he really helps guide us to where we want to be and how we want to sound without ever taking over. We can't thank John enough for making time to help us out and for believing in us.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Mayday Parade, and the Summer Set, and what should attending fans expect? We loved being out on tour last month and are now hungry to get back out on the road! I think we learned lots from that first tour as Natives and hopefully the set will now be even better because of it. We understand how boring it can sometimes be watching a band play a set mostly full of songs you don't know so we've made it our mission to make sure everyone has a good time.
What else does 2012 hold for Natives, I mean will there be an EP or an album coming out maybe? Lots of touring we hope! We'll have another single/iTunes EP coming out in Autumn and then the album will follow after that. We can't wait to get it out!
Photo Credit: Richard Heaven @ Pornography For Cowards Zine
So in 2011 you released 'Covering Ground' at this point, how happy are you with the feedback for this record? I've been amazed at the reception of the record. Everyone at least that I've come in contact with or who've approached me about it has been nothing but positive. I must say that when writing songs the way that I need to and enjoy to, there's never much emphasis put on how people will perceive or accept the songs. First and foremost, it must feel good to me first and it must feel real. That said, using songwriting as more of a therapy than anything else, there's not as much worry about what people think but after a hard and fast schedule, it feels good at the end of the day or the year when people appreciate the work that my friends, my team and my family put in and the sacrifices we all make to make the music and the records what they are today.
What songs have you been enjoying playing the most of this record live, and why? "Wish on the Moon" is always a favorite of ours. "Meet You In The Middle" as well as "You Get What You Give" but it's always tough to name my own favorite songs since they're all written for a valid reason or purpose that helps me get through the day or share a story or a cause that I believe in. At least to me. But some of those that I've mentioned have opened up and flourished a bit more since we layed them down and since we've been burning through em live night after night not only have they flourished musically to me but they still & will carry a lot of weight and meaning to me being the road and of course love songs that they are. Not to mention the more or less "homeward bound" songs that they are as well. After all and in one way or the other we're all on our way home sooner or later.
Just recently we saw Frank Turner perform on the Olympics, as he is from a similar scene to you (as well as being a friend), how did you feel when you first heard the news? I was thrilled and stoked for his opportunity just as much as the rest of his recent successes. Since the first day that I was able to get to know Frank as a friend aside from a fellow musician, my admiration and respect has grown for him a great deal. Mainly because through it all, he's held on to the core values that he grew up with. People like Frank with that "take no prisoner" attitude are few and far between and my respect grows when they hold steady and stay the same people that are just as willing and EXCITED to play their buddy's or a stranger's back yard barbecue as they are to play for the masses. I heard he may be playing on the moon next year after the North and South pole!
What's it like to chop and change between performing live with Hot Water Music, and live as a solo musician, I mean before you get yourself on stage, do you have to get yourself into a different mind set maybe? Absolutely. The biggest difference nowadays is the physical challenge of it when it comes to HWM. Especially since I still can't help myself but to move around and give it all I've got as if I were 18 again. Unfortunately I always pay for it later and have yet to really learn that I could most likely stand still and carry on with the set. For some reason though I'm not able to go about it calmly. It feels like entering a match or getting ready to climb a wall that you know you could very easily fail miserably but still have a chance to get your fingers up to the edge and over. As far as my own work, it's much more relaxing and personally emotional. Mainly because it's a constant effort of connecting and expressing in my own way the entire time. As for HWM, thers a lot of that as well but having someone else like Wollard carrying a lot of that emotional weight takes a load off during a set. They're both liberating in their own ways and they are very different and taxing in their own ways as well, so the preparation does vary for sure.
You recently played the acoustic basement for a handful of dates at this years Warped Tour, how was this whole experience for you, and do you have some particular highlights that you could share with us? It was a fantastic run of ten days to say the least on the Acoustic Basement Stage. A new tent started by an independent musician by the name of Brian Marquis (http://brianmarquis.tumblr.com/) The shows were a blast and it was a joy to work with a lot of old friends from years back and meet a ton of new amazing and hardworking people. I haven't ran on a Warped Tour in eleven or so years I believe so to get back out and to see the tour not only larger and more diverse but to be setting an extremely positive example for the younger generation was nothing but an inspiration. The causes supported on this tour are too many to name and it was an honor to be apart of something so massive that does just as much good for the communities it visits. One of the highlights of the run had nothing to do with the music at all. Kevin Lyman has set up and organized what he calls "Service Days" on all of the days off on Warped. All of the bands as well as crew are invited to volunteer for a community service. Along the route, the tour stops somewhere and gives back. On our day off through Baltimore we stopped along the most disgusting and polluted river any of us had ever seen. We teamed up with Blue Water Baltimore for a morning river clean up. We had over 100 volunteers and picked up over 2,000 lbs of trash along the banks of the Gwynn Falls River.http://www.bluewaterbaltimore.org/blog/vans-warpedtour-in-baltimore-it-doesnt-take-a-rock-star/ A day like this can really put things in to perspective and make you realize that if a traveling band of worn out and haggard musicians, roadies, cooks and you name it could make a difference stopping on the side of the road for a few hours, just think what people who actually live in that community could do to help.
Since you started being a solo musician, what has been the most rewarding achievement for you, and why? I'd say the independence. As much as I love the guys in the band and the scenes and communities that have taken us in, when you're part of a group, your schedule is usually dictated by the whole of that group. That can always take a toll on anyone if you enjoy or cherish personal time or agendas. If things come up when things are already set in stone, things come and go.
Are you working on any new solo material just yet, if so how is it coming along and what can we expect in terms of the direction of the music? It seems I'm always writing in one form or the other. I need to write to carry on and stay steady in my own head and heart. It's just part of coping and moving forward to me. Lately, there's little time to compile and itâ€™s hard to keep with all the plates I've started spinning. As for the direction, that's always hard to say since I write mostly from the gut rather than the head. The tunes I generate and the ideas I lay down to follow up later usually come instinctually rather than planned out. If I'm in the middle of something and am suddenly moved by a feeling, phrase, sight or thought in any way, I need to drop everything and lay it down or document it in some way before it's lost. Sometimes it makes it into a number, sometimes it never will. Every now and again I make time to catch up and collect everything that's been going down. Sometimes it's then that a direction or light at the end of the tunnel manifests itself. But sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it at all. That's what I love the most about it.
How excited are you to be back on the UK Revival Tour this year, and what should attending fans expect? I'm absolutely thrilled to see the tour in it's 5th year and on it's way back overseas. The artists that are involved this year are just as incredible as they are diverse and eclectic. In fact I believe this will truly be the most eclectic Revival Tour events that's been out thus far. Having more players and different instruments will be something to really cherish for all of us playing and working on the tour as well as for all of those attending. Not to mention the fact that there's no telling who may join us along the way. This tour's always been packed with surprises to say the least. At this point, I'm just thrilled to begin to dive into all of the artists songs and start learning some of these beautiful tunes to join them on stage when the time comes. That's one of the most special elements about this tour. The Revival Tour is ever changing with no two shows or sets alike and an ever changing and revolving cast of players and songwriters that offer a completely unique evening and tour each and every time it sets out. I'm simply honored to be apart of it again this year and itâ€™s a piece of the puzzle of what I believe is one of the more unique and special tours running out there today.
Photo Credit: Richard Heaven @ Pornography For Cowards Zine
What were your highlights from last years UK Revival Tour? There were too many to even name! One was, a televised gig we performed in Cologne with Rockpalast. It helped quite a bit for people who'd never seen a Revival show before, to understand how it's presented and how it rolls on (http://www.wdr.de/tv/rockpalast/extra/konzerte/2011/1012_2/index.jsp) Another major highlight was the fact that it was the first Revival Tour over to the UK and Europe and we were all excited to show and share to the people the type of evening and performance that we've all been so excited about. It was a huge milestone for a lot of us that have put so much time and energy into something that we believe is worth sharing to the rest of the world. It was also a testament of the fact that we can do a lot more than we think if we stay strong and stout in our direction and believe whole heartedly in what we're doing. The fact that we all made it happen and so many folks enjoyed it as much as they did was a highlight in itself.
What else does 2012 hold for you? I'm spending a lot of time at home now with my family and recouping from constant running for a while. There's a beautiful new ten week old female pup at our feet right now that is our 3.5 yr old chocolate labrodores legitimate little sister. That's keeping us busy and changes the element in the household quite a bit. There a lot of love round here not to mention it's pretty lively! Aside from homelife, home repairs and keeping everything green and stable in the short time that I'm around here, we're releasing a book this fall called "The Road Most Traveled" that's compiled of different writings, stories and all sorts of road advice from both newcomers to the road as well as seasoned veterans. As far as touring goes, starting in September, HWM will be out with The Gaslight Anthem and Rise Against as well as supporting EXISTER on our own shows. From there we'll be heading over to Europe and the UK as you know on The Revival Tour with Jay Maliknowski, Emily Barker, Cory Branan, Rocky Votolato and special guests. Following that we'll be continuing The Revival Tour in December over to Australia and New Zealand with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Dave Hause and other guests to be announced. It's an exciting time right now. A heavy load but quite exciting! We'll see you down the road soon!
What's it like to perform on stage without your band mates in Bedouin Soundclash? I love playing with Sekou and Eon, they are without a doubt one of the best rhythm sections in the world in my opinion. Beyond that, they are wonderful people and when we are onstage and feeling together there is no where better to be.
Can you tell us about your last solo release 'Bright Lights & Bruises' ? That record was about loss, it was one of my more morose offerings! I made that record during a period of immense change for the band and for myself personally. It was somewhat of a cathartic diary of things. I spent my entire early 20's on the road, things got lost a bit along the way. Joe Strummer's "The road to rock n roll" perfectly sums up my feelings.
Your video for 'There's a light' is really cool, can you tell us where it was recorded and how it all came together? My best friend and I wanted to go somewhere really cold, somewhere that was locked in ice. We were watching a documentary on Iceland and we decided it would be amazing to go there and shoot. It is one of the most striking and beautiful places i've ever been, it looks like a lunar landscape at times. It feels like somewhere between earth and another place. I remember being up at 7 am on a glacier January 1st, and I felt like I was definitely on top of the world. It fit the song of being somewhere barren, cold to the bone, but finding hope.
Do you have any new material in the works? If so can you tell us a bit about how it's sounding in comparison to your earlier material? Right now I'm working on a mainly classical record with a trio of string musicians who are called The End Tree. I moved out to the pacific ocean and heard a demo of theirs and immediately was inspired to create. They are really talented people, itâ€™s refreshing to work with someone who thinks of Bela Bartok or Rachmaninoff as the biggest poster. We are all from the coast, and are taking a sort of "sailor" approach to the arrangements. They will be with me on the Revival Tour and we are going to be playing some of the material live before going into the studio. We are going to put something out early next year.
You also did an EP with Cœur de pirate and The Bronx under the name 'Armistice' so can you tell us how this came together, and how fun this process was for you? I met Bea around the time of the Olympics, and we started talking about making a record together. We wanted to make something that had a kind of classic desert love story feeling, like an updated country and western duo. She has such a beautiful voice, which sounded surprisingly good against my tendency to be really raspy. Anyways, I had toured with the Bronx before and I loved their mariachi project. We called them up and went down to an LA and recorded that in about three days. I'm really proud of that record, it definitely captures a moment in time.
What's been the hardest process for you to achieve as a solo musician and why? Figuring out where music and life separate, trying to not fall into the vortex of the work. I'm working on that one.
Can you tell us about the formation of Pirates Blend Records and how this idea came about in the first place? Eon and I along with our longtime friend and manager Dave Guenette wanted to create a home and platform for not only our projects but other people that we thought were fantastic artists. It’s a tough time right now for music, I think originally it was almost an art project for us. Dave runs the label with Sony Canada and he has been brilliant at putting out amazing records; from Saul Williams, Young Empires, Kreif (the dears), to Michael Rault and Nneka so he has done an amazing job. I see him as an amazing curator, which i think is where things are going.
“We were watching a documentary on Iceland and we decided it would be amazing to go there and shoot. It is one of the most striking and beautiful places i've ever been” How did your last european tour go (as Bedouin Soundclash) and do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you can share with us? We went to Jersey for the first time to play a festival, which was really interesting... The show at KOKO was pretty immense.
How excited are you for the Revival Tour here in the UK and what should attending fans expect? Well, I won't be doing any Bedouin songs, it will be mainly the classical compositions i've been working on. This is the first time I'm only going to be playing piano onstage as well. I love Chuck and his band, it’s going to be just a really great night of collaborations onstage. Although, there has been talk of doing a ten minute Bartok piece when we hit Hungary, which should be a bit mind-blowing.
What else does 2012 hold for you? I've moved into a new home in Vancouver, spending time with my family there and Oscar the dog, and making a really good Deadcoast record.
Interview with Todd Kowalski and Beave
For any readers who may not be familiar with Propagandhi and their epic 20+ year history, how would you best describe your sound? Todd: I guess I'd say that our sound is attempting to be fast and exciting while also adding as much texture and depth as we can while it all goes zipping by. We just try to play our best and make the best songs we can.
The new album ‘Failed States’ has just been released, so how have things evolved since the previous record, ‘Supporting Caste’? Todd: This time around we tried to keep things a little more free and lively. We gave ourselves a lot more room to be creative and invent while in the studio and we were more concerned with the energy and overall vibe than we were on Supporting Caste. Also I think the record comes off more exciting than Supporting Caste. We worked hard so I think we've improved a notch again, and I'm happy about that. I'm happy with how the record turned out, and I really believe that if people have an opportunity and work hard it will pay off and for this record it did, there's almost no way it can't.
Can you tell us exactly what is meant by the album title, and the themes behind the upcoming album? Todd: The title alludes to the things that make us human and will inevitably lead to failures great and small along the way. Huge nation states fail all the time and so do we as individuals. Some of the themes on the record are based around our own failures as people and as a society but also small successes, whether that's noticing small important moments that make us who we are or whether that's ripping through the streets on our bikes in an attempt to avoid wasting natural resources. We also touch on what seem to be the darkest aspects of humanity; witnessing violent incidents, isolation, Young women in our area being abused, trafficked, disappearing and being murdered. I've got a tune based around the punks in Aceh Indonesia who who were forced through a "spiritual cleansing" by religious authorities. That sort of thing can happen anywhere and it has for centuries.
What inspires you when it comes to writing music? Todd: We're inspired by our daily journey's and the things that are happening around us. For me there is no way to force an idea into a song, they tend to germinate for a long time and then get worked into the fabric of the song. Sometimes it seems to me that the lyrics and the music are one entity and the music is painting the landscape for the the idea. Sometimes it feels like there is no way for me to change the lyrics of the song to a new idea because the painting has already been laid out by the sounds. It's a long hard battle to make it work out but it's a process that is necessary for me, so some songs work out a lot easier than others.
Your band has always been considered a politically influenced band. Do you think that these kind of issues give music more of a meaning in comparison to other music which we are surrounded by? Todd: I think the problem with a lot of music is that people don't spend the time to wonder and think about the lyrics. It's not that political lyrics are more important it's just that the effort a person puts into something shows. If someone has nothing to say and is just throwing lyrics over a song as a last minute necessity it's going to feel flat. How are we supposed to feel something the writer never felt themselves as they wrote the song? All I want from music is an honest effort or a blast of heart or whatever. The actual lyrics don't have to take forever to write but the process of thinking should be always going. I think a lot of people short change themselves by avoiding or sidestepping a real effort. Lyrics become important when they need to. As you've probably seen in the news recently, the band Pussy Riot's lyric's and actions have had a big impact in Russia, their songs might seem easy and wild but there's a lot of thought put into the whole thing by the members of the group. This is why they have such an appeal.
What was it like growing up in Canada? What were you main musical influences? Beave: I lived in a very small town until I was eleven, then I moved to Winnipeg. That move was hard because everything that made me the raddest little dude in the small town made me a complete geek in the city. (Apparently mesh shirts cut at the bellybutton aren't appropriate urban attire?? That's bullshit.) It's been more than twenty years and I'm still adapting. My musical influences change from year to year, but there are two staples that endlessly inspire me in countless ways: Rush and NoMeansNo. It is purely coincidental that both of these bands are from Canada and that both are old.
You are of course touring Canada and the U.S. to support your new album. Are you excited to get back out on the road? Beave: Indeed I am excited. I think the four of us created a great record and I cannot wait to hit the stage and play these songs. It seems like we spent forever writing and recording them, so to finally play them live will be a nice payoff.
Propagandhi are no strangers to touring the U.K., can us Brits expect a tour anytime soon? Beave: Yes, we will definitely return to your beautiful isles, most likely in the first half of 2013.
What are the things that you miss whilst youâ€™re on tour? Beave: I miss my partner, I miss my friends and family, I miss good-night sleeps, I miss peace and quite, I miss being able to have a nap without the fear of someone farting wetly upon my face, I miss solitude, I miss Caress of Steel.
What else does the rest of the year hold for Propagandhi? Beave: Well, Failed States comes out on September 4th and soon after we will be hitting the road, starting in Eastern Canada then down to the States. In the meantime, we are working to put a set list together and rehearse all the songs.
Interview with Will
It's fair to say that the response these shows have had, has been outstanding, so how happy are you with the feedback from fans to these shows, and how has this experience been so far for you guys? The response has been amazing, when the shows were announced it really felt like something exciting was happening, and then when all the tickets sold so quickly it was incredible. Taking time out of our jobs to play to thousands of people is a pretty cool feeling. It definitely stokes up memories of all the best things about being in a band.
What's it been like to rehearse and practice again as a band in preparation for these shows, after four years? At this point, we haven't practiced, I've picked up a guitar once in the last couple of years - on the day Jim Marshall died. By the time this piece comes out I'm sure we'll sound fucking amazing, or at the very least I'm sure we will have practiced.
So looking back at your albums, all three show an impressive progression as a band, and all have their unique sound, so how would you say each album compares to each other now? I'm proud of all of our records, we did try and do something different with each one and I'm sure if we ever made a fourth record it would sound different from all our others too. It's pretty hard to be objective about them because, the experience of making them all has a massive influence on how I feel about them all. I love the Neon Handshake, everything was new and exciting for us, we recorded in L.A, it was a really positive time for us. Transmit/Disrupt is much harder for me to listen to. It was a really turbulent time for the band. We had left EMI overnight, we were on our own. All of this was our own doing, a series of band meetings that always ended with split decisions. We were arguing a lot and agreeing on very little. This shaped the sound of that record a lot, but I think after everything, it's a cool record. It's really dark, in places really jagged and stripped down, and in other places layers and layers of noise. Despite all the issues, when we were writing or recording we all pulled together to try and push the band in new musical directions. The third record was a pleasure to make. We wrote in a studio we had in west London, and then recorded it on our own in another place nearby. We gave ourselves loads of time to do it, and because we all sensed that would be the last album we wanted to make sure that it was a positive experience, and that we could look back on the record and the recording process with pride. We scrapped songs as we wrote so we only had an album worth of material to record. I love it. I think there's some really good songs on there, and maybe if it came out before Transmit Disrupt, we may not have scared so many people with the change in style. It's almost a middle ground of the first two records.
It's been close to ten years now since The Neon Handshake was released, so how proud are you to still have people show so much support for this record? Yeah we're proud, It's nice that a record that didn't sell zillions from a band that was never really huge means something to so many people. Thanks for remembering!
In a similar style to Hundred Reasons, your first album Neon Handshake propelled you guys straight out of the upcoming band scene and on to the covers of magazines, so after releasing this, did you ever feel any pressure on working on a follow up? We felt pressure, but only from within the band. We were our own harshest critics. Even if we'd written the white album we'd probably have sold it short. We wanted to make something different from the first record but better than the first record too. It was all unsaid but we set ourselves the rule of not doing the same thing twice.
Looking back at your career, what would you say was the biggest achievement for you guys as a band, and why? We had a monumental thirst the whole time. I'm proud that the barmaids at the Rainbow in L.A said that they had never seen a band drink as much, as quickly as when we would visit. One of our bus drivers also said that we drank as much as Motorhead without making as much of a mess, and that we smelled nicer.
How do you think the UK alternative music scene has changed or progressed since you guys first started out? I'm kind of out of the loop with the current UK scene, even though we really enjoyed writing and playing rock music, we didn't really listen to many of our contemporaries, and as time went on everything started to sound pretty similar. There were quite a lot of bands coming out who sounded like bad Mike Pattons playing over standard metal riffs, pro tools-ed to death. We felt out of sync with all those energy drink sponsored rock bands to be honest.
After these shows, what do you think the future may hold for Hell Is For Heroes? We have no plans beyond these shows. If people like the shows, and we enjoy playing them then who knows. It would be fun to try and write something together, but it would all depend on if we can all make the time to do it. We're ten years older now though so it might be shit anyways haha.
Interview with Anthony Green
Your fourth studio album, ‘Violent Waves’ was self-produced and self-funded – why did you decide to do this, and how was this experience for you as a band? Doing this album ourselves was an amazing experience. It forced us to learn how to compromise with each other in a way we hadn't done before, and I feel that it helped us shape a more experimental sound for this album. We decided to do this because we had already put out albums with labels and knew what it was like to have other people financially invovled with a release and we wanted to try and do something different and more freeing.
When you went in to record 'Violent Waves' what were your main goals as a band for this record? My main goal was to capture the raw feeling that these songs have when they are initially born, and try and reflect the meaning of the songs in the recorded performance.
What's it been like to actually prepare for the release of this record then? I mean we've read that you guys have even created a web delivery system that will send the record straight to your fans? We were very inspired by the way Louis CK released his live comedy album and borrowed the model for our release. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people not only to download the album but also to afford it.
What is the story behind the album title â€˜Violent Wavesâ€™? I was doing a creative exercise with fans on our facebook and writing a poem with people in the comments sections and it was a phrase that someone sent in. It stuck with me the whole time we were writing and recording as something that reflected a feeling that was already woven into everything that was being created. The idea, at least for me, of seeing the songs as existing in a wave was so attractive and I feel it leaves you with an imagery that is vast and open for interpretation
How did you end up working with Geoff Rickly on the track The Lottery, and how fun was it to work with him? He is a good friend of ours and has been for years. He was in Philly to play a solo show and came to hang out one day, and then I basically forced him to do it.
You've promoted ‘Suitcase’ as the first single from the new record – can you tell us a bit about this track? We wanted to release it and have people hear it first because I think it shows a different side of the band. It's a little bit more mellow and atmospheric and has a lot of depth and we normally don’t put the focus on these types of songs. I feel like the song is just as rocking as a song like ‘Get Out’ but just in a different way. "Suitcase" is also one of the first songs we wrote for the album.
The artwork for 'Violent Waves' is really great, can you tell us who came up with this idea, and how it all came together? The idea was born in the mind of our creative soulmate Esao Andrews, he has done all of our album art and he is a genius. We told him the title and sent him some lyrics and then he came up with the layout. He is amazing.
What's it been like to balance your solo work, as well as being a father with the bands touring and writing schedule? It's been a challenge, but so has every stage of evolution we have ever gone through since the beginning of our band. I am still learning how to manage my time between my family and being an artist. I write a lot of songs at the play ground.
With a full US tour already planned, when can we expect you to visit the UK? Hopefully very soon after the US tour... more news about that to come soon I hope.
With so much achieved already, what would you like ‘Violent Waves’ to bring for Circa Survive? All I ever hope is that we can continue to grow the fan base of the band in an organic way that allows us to stay connected with the audience and the creative spirit at the same time.
We Came As Romans Interview with Joshua
Looking back now, how happy have you guys been with the response to your latest album 'Understanding What We've Grown to Be' ? I am still incredibly happy with where Understanding What We've Grown To Be has taken us. There still isn't a thing that I'd change about it and I think it was a necessary step in the timeline of our band.
We've read that you guys have started working on some new material, can you tell us a bit about how this sounds, and what fans can expect from this? Yes we have, and it's been going great! We've definitely been experimenting with stepping outside of our comfort zone and trying new things, playing new styles and structures. It'll be something that all our existing fans will love, and hopefully we can gain some new fan attention too!
How was the 'Scream it like you mean it' tour for you guys, and do you have any particular highlights that you can share with us? It was a ton of fun! It was the first real tour we've got to do with Attack Attack! - who we've know since we were a local band. The hometown show on that tour was especially nuts though!
How excited are you for your upcoming Impericon UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I love playing the UK and I'm really glad we are coming back! We get to play the longest set we've ever played before, which is something our fans are sure to enjoy!
You guys have toured the UK before, so with that in mind, what are your particular highlights from touring here? It's always like a "home away from home" feel! It isn't like mainland Europe, where we can't understand anything and have trouble navigating around or doing things, it's definitely stress free.
How do you feel your band has progressed fan base wise over the last couple of years? We've been trying to build on an international level, and take the message and meaning of our band worldwide! I'm very excited about how it's gone so far, and Iam more than excited for the future of our band too!!
At The Skylines Interview with Chris
Can you tell us a bit about the themes and influences behind 'The Secrets To Life' ? The Secrets to Life is based around not one secret, but rather the secrets of our lives as individuals in which we hope others can connect with where we're coming from. We all go through things in life that make us who we are today, and what will continue to mature us as we grow. This album is a wishing well filled with stories, and dreams that we've all shared together, and separately. We wanted to write an album that wasn't so much of a concept, as an opening for those that are looking to connect with people just like them, through music. From beginning to end, The Secrets To Life takes you on a roller coaster of emotions based on true stories and events from our lives. We want the listener to walk away from this album having learned not only things about us, the musicians, but also you yourself, the listener. This is a bonding experience, and a spilling of ourselves through the art we love.
This album has been out a couple of months now, so with this in mind how happy have you been with the response from both fans and critics? Extremely pleased. We had been anticipating our first published release for a couple years now and we couldn't be happier. It shows when we play cities we had never been to before and we have crowds of kids who are singing along. That is what we aim to do!
For new fans of the band, what song would you recommend they chose to listen to first, and why? For new fans, I would recommend a first listen to 'Its Cherried'. Its a huge song for us and will definitely captivate a new listener for life. This was the first song we wrote with a chorus, and it's one of my favorite. Not just the melody, but the lyrics are a big part for the guys and I. I want listeners to sing along, get the melody stuck in their head, but to also reflect on the lyrics whenever their feeling down. You can overcome anything.
What do you want this new record to do for the representation of At The Skylines? This record expresses nothing less than who At The Skylines are, and what we stand for. I want someone who may be a fan, or even a new listener, to hear this album from the beginning to end and base their judgement on the music alone.
How excited are you for your upcoming Impericon UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I, along with the rest of the band, could not be more honored to have our first experience in the UK / Europe touring on the Impericon Never Say Die Tour. We know it’s an honorary position to be in, and we will not let you down. We plan on coming over with more than our all to make sure we are remembered, and please everyone in the crowd. we are looking to make new fans, and life long friends that continue to support us over seas as we continue to come back for more!
Obey The Brave Interview with Alex Erian
Okay guys, so for the readers who may not have heard of you yet, what three words would you use to describe your sound? Heavy, Melodic and Heartfelt.
Which bands would you say you are influenced by? We listen to everything from Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G. to Suffocation and Dying Fetus. We have all played in Death Metal influenced bands in the past, and when the time came to start Obey The Brave, we went down a different route and tried something a little different from what we used to play. I discovered Metal by listening to Pantera and Sepultura and then got involved in the Hardcore scene with bands like Madball and Bane, then I became addicted to Punk Rock thanks to NOFX and Pennywise. OTB pays homage to those roots.
You release your brand new album, Young Blood, on August 28th, how does it differ from your Debut E.P., Ups and downs? “Ups and Downs” was simply a little something to keep people waiting. The two songs on that EP were actually re-released on our debut album “Young Blood”. Musically, everything is pretty straight forward, raw and in your face. we’re halfway between Metal and Hardcore, mixing old school and new school influences. Lyrically we’re all about keeping a positive mindset no matter how big the obstacles may be. We keep it simple. We keep it real.
October sees Obey the Brave visit the UK for three dates as part of the Never Say Die tour. How excited are you for this, and what carnage can fans expect from your sets? I participated to the Never Say Die Tour twice back in the day with Despised Icon and am extremely excited to be doing it all over again with Obey The Brave. Expect lots of energy on stage and in the pit. Stevie and I will be celebrating our birthdays in the UK then as well so tiime to party it up!
The Browning Interview with Noah "Shark" Robertson
Can you tell us a bit about the formation of The Browning? The Browning started out as a solo project, formed by Jonny McBee. He was still in High School at the time and programmed the electronics on a laptop and recorded vocals over it. Eventually he recruited others to help him with the project, and at one time The Browning even had rap vocals, courtesy of Matt Keck. Eventually, years later he decided to turn The Browning into a full fledged band and then actual band members joined the picture and the sound and style of the band took shape.
Can you tell us what bands influenced you in the beginning and how you discovered your sound as The Browning? The major influences for The Browning's music is a lot of European Hardstyle and other various styles of Electronic Music like Techno and Dance... The metal side of The Browning is heavily influenced by Metal Bands like Hatebreed, Amon Amarth, As I Lay Dying, and many more... we are all also huge fans of Industrial Metal bands like Static X, Fear Factory, Mushroomhead, and a lot more too.
What are the themes and influences behind your latest record 'Burn This World' ? One of our more prominent themes musically and lyrically in The Browning is the destruction and corruption of the planet. We talk a lot about humans tearing apart this world we live in and destroying the environment... We touch on other topics like Aliens, Zombies, and Vampires as well. We have a lot of positive lyrics and motivational themes spread throughout as well...
How excited are you for your upcoming Impericon UK tour, and why should people come and watch you at the tour? We are beyond excited to be a part of the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour! We can't wait to tour Europe and reach a wider audience overseas. The Never Say Die! Tour has always been a very relevant tour with an amazing line-up every year! We couldn't be happier to be touring with bands like We Came As Romans, Stick To Your Guns, and all the other great bands on this package! People should come see us perform live, because no matter what, we always put on the best show we can. We have a high energy stage show and we really enjoy what we do. We put our all into this and we put our hearts and souls into every performance that we give. You won't be dissapointed!
Bless The Fall Interview with Beau Bokan
Looking back now, how happy have you guys been with the response to your latest album 'Awakening' ? The response for Awakening was incredible. It opened new doors for us as a band and i feel we gained even more of a broad fan base.
Have you guys been working on any new material just yet? If so can you tell us how it is coming along? Oh hell yeah we have. Ever since Elliott learned how to program drums so we can record demos on the road we've been writing new jams. I feel as though we've reached a new level of awesome. Our upcoming album is already shaping up to surpass the previous three, so i'm excited.
So how has the Warped Tour been, and do you have any particular highlights from the tour? Warped Tour was probably the best time iâ€™ve ever had on tour in my entire career. The crowds were just massive and the fans were out of their minds. There were tons of highlights but one of the best was getting to play main stage for the first time in Chicago.
How excited are you for your upcoming Impericon UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? Super stoked!! We all love coming out to the UK and it aint just for the Nandos! Fans can expect us try to out do ourselves. So I might have to light something or someone on fire.
How do you feel your UK audience has grown over the last couple of years? It's grown incredibly! For instance the first time we went out there we headlined a 150 capacity room in London. The next time it was an 800 capacity room, sold out AND You Me At Six were playing a show just around the corner. So that's insane. We hope it can keep growing on this trajectory and that we can truly make it our second home.
Competition Time! Want to win a pair of tickets to a date of your choice at this years ‘Never Say Die’ tour? Well then, just answer the simple question below to be in with a chance! What is the latest ‘Obey The Brave’ album called? a) Young Guns b) Young Blood c) Young Adult Please send your answer, along with your address to: firstname.lastname@example.org **UK Entries only** **Competition closes on October 2nd**
Gareth VS THE SHARK
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Interview with Tom May
Earlier this year you released your third full-length ‘On The Impossible Past’. Now the dust has somewhat settled, how do you reflect that on the record? Thinking about recording the record and preparing for its release brings about fond memories. It feels like it was ages ago, and in reality it was only a few months. It’s both fascinating and exciting to think of where we are now.
There was a noticeable growth and maturity displayed on ‘On The Impossible Past’ which attracted great reviews and a number of new fans – how did this go down with your older fan base? It seems to have gone down great. A lot of the jaded "They were mine first! Fuck that new noise!" that seems to accompany a lot of punk bands becoming more popular has seem to have passed us up.
How would you say you have progressed as a band musically since the release of 'A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology' ? We have several years more of experience than when we recorded that record. Much more importantly we've gotten older and been through so much more. Music is an expression of something within. Well at least most of the time it is. Our lives have changed so much and our influences have broadened enough to where I would hope it shows.
You’re signed to Eptitaph with some big-name bands, do you feel at home on the label? Yes. I'd say I've probably spent more time day dreaming about it than how long we've actually been on the label. It’s unfortunate that they are located so far away. Every time we visit the west coast I feel we get closer and closer with the wonderful people there. The hangs are epic.
You’re touring the UK in September, how excited are you for this, and what should attending fans expect? We absolutely adore touring the UK. We've met such an incredible group of people there. The culture is absolutely fascinating to me as well. The humor and wit, the subtle differences in regional accents and behavior. It’s so much fun. I once read someone talk about how the people of the UK have been "Sitting around in pubs for hundreds of years, just talking." That makes so much sense to me. Great conversationalists.
You had your gear stolen in Manchester, how was this horrible experience for you? Having our van robbed in Manchester was fucking frustrating. We were on tour with The Bouncing Souls. They were an immense help. They were integral in helping us finish the tour, and in helping us keep our heads straight. We really owe them everything.
You’re a band that seems to be on tour all-year round, does this ever take its toll on you? At times it can be tiring. Any little trouble can start to get to you if you let it run around in your head and heart for long enough. That combined with such unpredictability can certainly take a toll. But then you remember you're on tour and that you would kill for that opportunity if you didn't have it. I love to play and I love to travel. I get to do both at the same time, all of the time.
The Menzingers are a hard-working, genuine punk-rock band. In an age where more music is displaying less substance, is it harder to thrive by staying to true to the music that you believe in? Well thank you. I wouldn't say that it’s harder to thrive by staying true, because if you weren't staying true I'd hardly call that thriving. I'm sure we could write songs in a more popular pigeon hole of alternative music that would bring us more success. It would be contrived and absurd though. It just isn't natural.
Where would you like to the Menzingers to be a year from now? That's a good question that I like to avoid, at least in my own head. Honestly, this has been such a wild ride that at this point I'd rather just kick it and see where it goes.
Interview with Adam Savage
So what can you tell us about your brand new album 'This Is The Six' and what should fans expect from it? Well, it's just pretty much the same vibe as The North Stands For Nothing like the last mini album, but it's more intense, and it's kind of a better album than the last, so we’re just really happy with it and hopefully the fans will like it as well.
How did you get to the title 'This Is The Six' and what do you want it to mean to your fans? Yeah well it’s kind of got two meanings, it's like six as in sleeps (as there are six letters in the word) so we kinda done it as a self titled kind of thing, but then the other version is like we’re the five and then the fans are the six, so it's kinda of like a big group thing, so you know it's kind of like a family kind of thing.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for this record? Like who it was done with and how long it took? It was Carl Brown that produced it and I did the drums at a place called The Chapel, it's just like a big church and I stayed there for two weeks and recorded my drums which I totally loved and then we did our guitars and everything else at Treehouse studios in Chesterfield. So it was a really good process and we feel really happy about it.
What was the hardest part behind creating this record for you as a band and why? Well I don't know, we're trying with this album to not leave it so last minute, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as we came up with some good songs. It would have been good to have a bit more time but to be honest I don't think we really had a bad time doing it, we didn't have any bad times, so we're kinda lucky.
How would you say this new record compares to your prior releases? It's just better produced so that's one thing, so it sounds better. It's just more heavy and we have got a lot more to say this time, so I think it's just a better version of the last album really.
What do you want 'This Is The Six' to do for the representation of While She Sleeps? It's just always been wanting to show who we really are. It's like we're not doing anything fake. We are just singing about what we’ve been through and what's happening. To keep the crowd listening and to get their opinion on what we do is pretty much it really.
From just attending live shows, we have seen your t-shirts almost everywhere! So can you tell us a bit about who came up with the While She Sleeps logo? We have never really had a logo, so we we're always trying to find one, and we all kinda like chipped in together and made it all together..so It's pretty cool what we have got now.
You got to perform at this years Download Festival, how was this experience for you as a band? Oh yeah, it went really well. It was one of the best shows we’ve ever had, there's alot of build up to festivals, it was a big thing as it was our first time playing Download. I think a lot of people came and it went really well so we had a good reaction, so yeah we're really happy at how it went.
Shame about the weather though.. Yeah, it was shit! Not like down here now where we currently have really nice weather. (At Relentless Energy Drink Boardmasters Festival, Newquay).
As well as this, you got to tour Australia! So can you tell us how this was for you, and if you have any particular highlights from this tour? We had the best time ever, it was like twelve days and it was really hot the first couple of days, it was like we were on holiday and we had a really cool apartment. The further we travelled south it got really cold and we had to wear coats and hoodies, it was like minus three at night, but we went to see kangaroos and everything so it was amazing.
Have there been any other particular highlights for you guys this year? There's been a lot of good things happening really. We won best British newcomer at Kerrang, so all the awards ceremonies were amazing, so that was probably a highlight.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour and what should fans expect? We're all so excited, it's the first time we've got a tour bus as well, so we're all excited to go on that, so it's good.
It's took you guys a couple of years of touring, but it seems like now your fan base is getting bigger and bigger by the day, so how does it feel to know that all that hard work has finally paid off? It's amazing, we can't thank anyone enough really, the support we’ve got has just been amazing and the reaction off everyone has been awesome. We're learning from everything, and I'm really happy with it at the moment.
So lastly what else does the future have in store for While She Sleeps? We're doing Soundwave in February, that's going to be amazing in Australia and then we’ve got Warped Tour. There's a couple of things we’ve got planned but we don't know if it's happening yet so it's a bit under wraps so, yeah we're doing Soundwave and Warped tour so that's going to be sick!
RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 24th FOLLOW US HERE: facebook.com/infamousnobody
Interview with Donagh O'Leary
“Donagh O’Leary is a legend, he was in the band Jesse James, and he also started up the fantastic Bomber Music, so let’s find out how he get involved with this part of the industry and what he loves so much about it!”
Can you tell us about the formation of Bomber Music? Well, it was originally started to handle the publishing for my songs and the songs of other band members and to make sure we were getting all we should, I ended up helping out a couple of friends too and that was the initial start up. I remember writing to the Music Publisher's Association and they sent me back a pamphlet "So, you're thinking of starting a music publishing company? Our Advice is - Don't" or something along those lines. Made me even more determined!
Who were the first band to sign to your label, and how was this whole process for you? I mean at this point did you realize that you could make a full on career out of doing this? The first band to properly sign were Vanilla Pod. It was a really big deal for me to have a band I respected actually sign a contract and trust me with their music and money. I don't think I had seriously thought of it as a future career yet, I still saw myself as a musician. Vanilla Pod are great guys and really epitomise a punk attitude. They in turn were very happy that they earned a few extra quid and they helped spread the word about Bomber. The second band was No Comply and I was really happy when a few years after they'd broken up Jon asked if I was interested in working with his new band, Crazy Arm.
What was it that attracted you to this part of the music industry so much? I'd been a PRS and MCPS member since I was 20 (a long time ago!) and I saw where a songwriter's income was really coming from. I noticed that 90% of musicians and writers I knew were not collecting their royalties, and often didn't know they were entitled to any. I got to wondering about music in TV shows, ads and films and who placed it there etc and I was lucky enough to get some very good advice. Publishing just seemed a smart way forward, and something that nobody was doing on a "DIY" level. It was easier to start up than a label as there were no manufacturing costs etc and I had very little money.
Can you give us a guide to a typical day of being a part of Bomber Music? Well, since we set up the label over 2 years ago, it's really added to the day! After responding to all the emails in the morning, we check the monitoring service for piracy of our albums, Double check on Youtube and issue take down notices if needed, pack and post the mail order Cds etc, and get the accounts up to date. When all that is done we can get talking to our sync guys about what's happening, what new TV shows , films etc are in production and what new briefs have come in and have a think about whether we have appropriate music to submit etc. Talk to PR guys to see what's going on with new releases etc. Bands aren't always great at communicating so we spend time on Facebook keeping up to date with what the bands we work with are up to. There's usually a few demos to listen to and there's always a constant stream of emails! The website needs updating, info gets tweeted etc. Sometimes we just sit in the garden and talk instead.
What happens in the couple of weeks that lead up to a release date? (promotion/advertising/distributing etc) We like to start all that 8 weeks before a release at least. Getting all the assets together can take time! The Artwork is ALWAYS late. Sales notes have to be written for the distributors in UK and Europe, we have to liaise with the PR people to make sure they have everything they need. Ads get designed. The recordings all get registered with PPL. Every week we will talk with everybody involved - the band's agent, the PR, Distributors etc to make sure everybody is on the same page and that we all have all the info we need. A good review from one source, or some radio play etc can prompt another reaction so it's all a big circulation of info and ideas. All the digital versions have to be uploaded for digital distro etc too. Eventually we get the first orders in and the Cds get shipped off to the distributors. Then it's largely a wait and see situation, you do what you can but ultimately it's just about trying to spread the word as much and as far and as effectively as possible and hope people love the albums as much as we do.
Can you tell us about some of the releases you have put out this year, and maybe if any stand out as a particular highlight for you/or as a company? This year we released albums by The Skints, The Roughneck Riot and Jaya The Cat and soon there will be a new EP from Sorry & The Sinatras (rip). All of these were interesting - The Skints are possibly the best known UK band we've released and the progression from their first album is huge. It's also the first time we did Vinyl. Jaya The Cat sell more albums though, being a more international act, and it's been interesting seeing orders come in from all over the place. The Roughneck Riot stands out just because the reaction from press etc has really been so good and we can see them growing a lot in the next year. Sorry & The Sinatras - well, they're the band closest to our hearts so releasing this EP is a real labour of love. Plus they have the best T-Shirts. Of course we love all the bands though, we simply wouldn't bother working with them if we didn't
As you were previously in the band Jesse James, can you tell us about how you see the ska scene in the UK now, compared to when you were in a band? Well, there were those brief few years when the UK ska scene was thriving and shows were packed with hundreds of kids. Then Emo happened and it all crashed overnight. Ska-punk is such a limiting genre, in the end most of the bands sound like bad versions of Less Than Jake. I think sometimes though, there's been a few bands who bring something new to the mix which maybe keeps the genre alive. Jesse James and Adequate 7 stood out in the scene as we didn't actually play Ska. Reggae and ska have shown their influence on some more mainstream acts but it just doesn't seem to cross over fully.
What has been the hardest challenge for your company to achieve since day one and why? Getting to the point where I could actually earn a living has been the big challenge; In order to do that I had to earn the trust of bands and to show that we can do this job well. Finding the right partners for PR and distribution, getting to know music supervisors and learning not to panic were some key points! It's a constant challenge to improve, to serve the bands better, to find new ways to help bands achieve what they want and to keep growing Bomber Music
Alternatively, what has been the most rewarding part of your career as Bomber Music so far and why? The friends I have made, and watching a band like The Skints literally grow up as people and as a band, but especially working with Nick, without whom all of this could implode!
For anyone out there who may be looking to set up their own label, what advice would you give them? Get the accounting right. Don't rip off your bands. If you must do it yourself, learn how to do it properly, when you release an album, you are dealing with people's hopes and dreams. Most importantly, get the accounting right.
What else does 2012 hold for Bomber Music? Right now we're looking for the next band to release, and to expand our distribution outside Europe .But also, we need a holiday! This has been a hectic year.
"William Eubank’s last major project was the film LOVE, he worked alongside Tom Delogne and Angels & Airwaves and directed this space adventure for the band. The film is great, and it sure shows that whatever this guy gets up to next, will indeed be awesome! So let’s find out all about the film LOVE and what else 2012 holds for him!"
Can you tell us how you first got involved with the filming world as a Cinematographer? I started working at Panavision, a camera rental house, in LA. I used that as a stepping stone to learn the gear and start shooting for other filmmakers.
When did you realize that this was something you really wanted to do with your life? Back in High school, I wanted to either fly jets or make movies, since my eye sight was terrible I knew I probably wouldn't fly … so film making it was! I started making films in my backyard. My first real project was shot on 16mm and I hand cut it on an old Steenbeck flatbed editor. It was called "The Visitor" … pretty funny little black and white film about a guy who sneaks into another mans apartment and lives under his sink.
What was it like to take the jump as a Cinematographer to a Director/writer on the film 'Love' ? I always was trying to direct, most of the projects I did on my own out of Panavision were projects I was directing. It was really just on the bigger stuff that I was playing the role of cinematographer. On Love specifically I had to balance wearing the hats since it was such a low budget project. I would try to get everything set and then finally turn to Gunner and then start directing.
How did you end up working with Tom Delonge/Angels & Airwaves on the film 'Love' ? They saw some of the little videos and commercials I was making on the weekends.
Angels & Airwaves actually funded this film, and they also did the soundtrack for the entire film, so with this in mind how was this experience for you, and how much did it help/effect the directing process for you? It was cool working with the guys, they are very open and I had about as much creative freedom as you can get. We also share a lot of the same big picture ideas, so it was easy for us to agree on themes and ideas. That said we also didn't really have a real production, so that was difficult at times. But overall I wouldn't change any of it if I went back.
What was the relationship like between you and the band/Tom, I mean, did they tell you exactly what they wanted for the whole film, or did they just give you the idea, and then let you run with it? They really just listened to ideas and thoughts I was coming up with and then would comment or put their "two cents in". I was very free to do what I wanted.
We've read that you built most of the set in your parents back garden, so can you tell us a bit more about the set design for this film, and how this whole experience was for you? It was definitely hard… but like Bill Murray says in What about Bob... "Baby Steps"… I just did it over a long period, one step at a time. Lots of junk and scrap pieces to keep the cost down, and then pretty much just stuck to pictures that I would study of the ISS.
What were your film influences when making the film 'Love' ? I mean, for us, at times we felt like there was a bit of a '2001: Space Odyssey' or even a 'Sunshine' type feel to the film, which was really cool! Its hated to makers what they call cerebral or thinking scifi without talking about those films. The theater of space really provides a stage that I think makes it very easy to look inwards at the individual or the human condition. There is so much unknown that it almost just highlights a humans place amongst it, if that makes any sense! Its cool people draw comparisons, but in the end I can only hope to one day play at the level of those filmmakers.
How did you go about deciding what actors to pick for this film, and how hard/easy was this process for you guys? I met gunner on a travel channel show, he had the right look and at the time it was supposed to just be music videos… his acting abilities weren't going to be that important… however when it turned into a more narrative project, he really brought it. Its hard to hold down a role all by yourself!
It was cool to see Gunner Wright do his first lead role in a project, so how exciting was it to work with him on this, and how excited was he to do it? He was pumped! I know he always wanted to play an astronaut. There were a lot of hard cold nights of filming, but he really stood up to the plate.
What was the hardest scene for you to do in this film, and why? Probably just the first few scenes where I was trying to figure out a look, there was a lot of dialing in the technical aspects of the station. Hopefully in the future on larger sets, Ill have more help in those areas!
So far, how happy have you been with the response for 'Love' from both fans and critics? Its been awesome. I wouldn't change any of it. I think with LOVE people either love it or hate it, but for my first feature Im proud its this way! I got to say things that I think under traditional filming circumstances would have been kept off screen or deemed to vague to get into.
Since you started out in the film world, what has been the most rewarding part for you to achieve, and why? I think being able to share my stories with others. Its an absurdly satisfying experienceâ€Ś building worlds in your head and then actually bringing them to life! Simple answer but its true!
What else does 2012 hold for you? I directed second unit this year on Broken City, which is a pretty big film that comes out next year. I did a lot of the beauty establishing shots and had a car chase scene with Mark Walberg. Im also in pre production on my next directing project which will either start end of this year or early next year.
CrashBurn Media Interview with Ryan Mackfall
“If you are a fan of watching live videos from the alternative music scene on the internet, then there is no doubt that you would of come across Crashburn Media at some point! So join us as we go behind the scenes and find out how it all comes together from their company director Ryan Mackfall!” Can you tell us a bit about the formation of CrashBurn Media? Crashburn Media was pretty much the starting point for me as a director. I left university and was looking to go straight into producing content, and I knew that the only way I was going to do that right off the bat, was by making my own opportunities. So the company started and went into work doing whatever we could. It was through chance meetings, and talking to other people I was around at the time, we gained such a professional set up at such an early stage. We were doing live recordings that hadn't really been offered to the smaller underground bands of the time. I'm sure some people might disagree with that, but for the size of our company and what we were offering, there really weren't any other competitors. It became apparent after a while that we were heading into the music industry, so at that point I decided that our next step as a company was to start shooting bands on the road in a documentary format. I'd studied it extensively at university as part of my film degree, and it was a section of the course I particularly loved. The whole Cinema vérité movement was new to me as a 20 year old who was looking to just get creative with cinematography and directing. People like D A Pennebaker who had worked with people like Bob Dylan were an utter inspiration to me. So it was a welcome and very natural feeling that the company was moving more and more towards music industry roots; we've always been open to any client or genre though. We're now approaching our 8th birthday and we've evolved naturally into the areas I'd planned to from day 1. I always knew that the music industry was a great place for a director to begin, and one of my influencers David Fincher had started in the same way. It's all been a big part of my master plan to become a feature films director.
What do you guys offer to customers, and why do you stand aside from any other company who is trying to do the same thing? Over the last 6 months I've been working on rebranding the company for a new site release which will see us focus primarily on some key areas. I can't give too much away right now because the site is due for a launch in October and it would be a buzz kill. We're just having a trim up really and I've had these ideas in the wings for like a couple of years. But largely what we offer is high end video solutions for clients who are looking to really make an investment in their own brand. I aim for all our projects where plausible to have film like feel. It's hard to say what things we offer apart from other companies without sounding arrogant. I really prefer to let the work do the talking because talk is cheap and we're currently surrounded by a lot of people making a lot of big promises but not really living up to those expectations. There are many people offering video and photography now all under one roof, and while I admire the ambition in that, I feel that it's not really in the best interests of our industry. Some of these people don't come from any sort of film background and are pitching for work at a professional level when they don't really have the output skills to live up to it. It's part of the DSLR culture which has been great for creative services, however in the same breath it's created a few problems in the fact that some standards have dropped. It's a great fear of mine that people will get so clouded by cheap solutions they'll miss the bigger picture with aiming for the best. I think our strengths as a company lie in the idea that each new project we take on has to be better than the last. We want our clients walking away from projects feeling like they have gained a major advantage over their competitors, whatever their target audience or output is.
What does a typical day involve for you, as a freelance director? Normally it begins with me getting up as early as I possibly can, which is often quiet hard because I normally end my day realistically around 11pm or midnight. A working day for me never really has set hours and that's something I'm actually trying to change. The 10-12 hour run has just become part of my life for the last 2 years since i've been full time and it's something that needs to be kept in check because you can burn out easy. That's the good and bad part of this job, you end up loving the things you do and don't mind pouring the time in. So once I'm up I check my emails, shower, eat some breakfast, get a cup of tea going and by the time this is all done it's normally around 10am. When you're not shooting you're normally editing in this game, and editing is an important part because you learn to 'shoot for the edit' which is a skill I urge every director to learn about. It means you're mindful of the entire production process at all times of the project you're working on. I live in Brighton at the moment so at lunchtime I'll sometimes hit up Marwood cafe , I recommend it to everyone. Getting away from the computer is good when you get the chance (something again I've learnt lately off a friend of mine). Then it's back to the edit. Being a director is a job that might have a lot of glamourous connotations with it, but when you're pushing for the upper levels the days can be very similar and drawn out. So on paper it seems fairly boring. The more interesting days are shoot days but they vary so much, to put that into a nutshell is pretty hard! It's a very spontaneous career path because some days you're writing ideas, some days you're editing, other days you're directing. Things come to pass quite quickly. For instance earlier this year I found out I was heading to Australia to work on a documentary project in the space of 24 hours, 72 hours later I was in Australia. It really is that crazy. It suits me fine though!
You've done a lot of projects over the summer, what are they and how have they been? This summer I've been shooting with Defeater, Pianos Become The Teeth, Sharks, The Blackout, Paper Tigers and I've also been working on a couple of programme pilots (one for the eyes of universal, the other which is currently going through approval stages with a brand). The jobs with bands have been a mix of documentary projects and music videos, no surprise there. It's been a busy one but I've loved every second of it. Travelling is a big part of documentary directing and it's enabling me to get my work to all corners of the world. That's something I've always wanted, especially considering the goals I have to direct feature films. A lot of my work is coming from America right now and I'm happy about that, it feels like a natural progression.
What has been the most exciting for you to cover and why? The stuff I'm shooting with defeater is for a forthcoming documentary. Both myself and the band are very much looking forward to the release and we've become great friends in the shooting process. When that happens it just makes my job easier and even more enjoyable. You always know when you're doing a good job on a project when the band accept you on a friendship level. Friendship is something I never expect from a client however it always seems to come, probably because my approach is to be as down to earth as possible. I'm respectful of the privacy of everyone I work with which I think attracts a lot of respect in return. One of the pilots I've been shooting too has been incredibly exciting but I'm not at liberty to discuss anything about it. People will just have to keep an eye on my blog!
Some of your videos have reached over a million hits on YouTube, how rewarding has this been for you, and why? More rewarding than you can ever imagine. It's mind blowing to think that something you've made has been watched over a million times. People sitting down and enjoying something that was just once an idea in your head. I don't think I ever dreamed that would be a reality with my videos as there's so many other factors you consider when you're making them. I remember being happy at 15,000 views on my crime in stereo video when that came out. It really has given me a new goal though, and thats to keep that number of views rising on my videos, especially now that youtube is the new television.
You recently directed a brand new video for the band 'Sharks' can you tell us how this process was? Also, didn't you head out on tour with them in America? It would be great if you could share this experience as well! Yea we shot the video for Luck in a workshop in Northampton. We worked through the night to shoot it. It was one of the hardest shoots in a while for me because I was so tired. Myself and Sam (drums) had been driving around all day previously picking up lights and other gear, so by the time we got set up and started shooting it was like 9pm. I think we wrapped at like 5am and then had to pack up and drive back to his house. I went to sleep for about an hour and then had to catch a train down to Cornwall to see family. I was pretty out of it but I get a kick out of that feeling of 'hard work'. I was on a natural high aided by caffeine the next day. The time in America was probably the hardest documentary shooting experience i've encountered. I spent 9 weeks in a van not really sleeping well and never putting my camera away. I've been putting together a documentary of it which is pretty much finished and should be out soon in some format. The release has taken so long because it was a bi-product of the original plan of shooting a music video (Sweet Harness), so there was no real budget for that part of the project. Never the less it was a chance for me to create something I can be proud of, and coincidently I feel it's some of my finest work to date. There are a lot of documentaries coming out at the moment for bands, but this one was shot and directed way before they surfaced, so it will be interesting to see what people think of it in relation to other releases. I approach my work in more of a classical style where possible because I like things to be epic. I want to give people some form of inspiration through the things that I do, because that's how you contribute to society in a positive way. It's just emulation of what I've got from my influencers. I'm hoping that releases like the sharks documentary will be noticed by other genres of client and will bring in bigger opportunities. There's a bit of a race in the UK at the moment between video people and i'm not really interested in being a part of it. I'm more concerned about honouring my own goals and heading towards the place I want to be. This comes through my work I think, and hopefully people will see this in the sharks film!
You also got to do a documentary for The Ghost of a Thousand to represent their last live shows, how was this for you guys? We shot with TGOAT for around 2 years. The documentary has kinda been on hold because they guys called it a day before I had a chance to do interviews, so we're figuring out whats best to release etc. I live with Jag and we've both been busy in our jobs working on other things so we've not really had a chance to sit down and discuss it. I've had hundreds of people asking me about it and when it's going to be released, and I've not really had a solid answer to give. The problem is that, the project has no budget. There is no money on the table and I have bills to pay (living in Brighton isn't cheap!), so while other projects paid projects are coming in, it's hard for me to edit. Something will 100% be coming though, it's just a matter of when. I'm trying to clear space this year to make a big dent in it, but I think a delayed release is better. Whatever we release will have more of an impact later on that right after the break up. I think people forget as well that these projects come from hard work and dedication quite often and not the wallet of a label. It will be worth the wait I promise TGOAT fans. Just be patient.
In 2012, what do you think you have learnt the most, from being a director with Crashburn Media? Don't listen to people who tell you that you can't do something.
What was it like to do the final video for the fantastic Crime In Stereo? Again, that video was a product of something unexpected. I was out with the guys shooting a documentary on them and the split came unexpectedly. I was sat at home when I heard the news and just dived into making that video. I think it took me 4 or 5 hours to put together. I put it online and the guys just freaked out over it and put it out even before I had a chance to take the password off the Vimeo link! Before I knew what was happening it had hit thousands of views and people all over the world were saying how inspired they were by it. I think that for me is the most rewarding factor of it all; showing people how hard these people worked and what an utter shame it was that it had to end. I had friends of friends buying the albums even though they weren't hardcore punk fans! I had people emailing me saying they had been crying watch it, so to know you're extracting emotions from people just shows that the hard work pays off. Again that was a project that just had no budget, therefore it was all soul.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job and why? Staying healthy and giving enough time to the areas of your life that matter. You end up working for so long on so much sometimes that you can get run down or sick. This is something I constantly discuss with people in this trade. The way to make a difference is to just keep pushing the best work you can out, and sometimes that means long days and nights. I'm learning to take time out though at the moment. Yes, learning, that's how bad it's become. I'm constantly checking emails, editing, planning, ringing around. I turn 29 this month and my agendas are to get more surfing in where possible. I can't do it in brighton so I go back to Cornwall every 4 or 5 weeks to get in the water and keep my hand in the sport. It's a massive part of my life and Cornwall will always be a part of me. Going back to see my family relaxes me and gives me clarity when I have to go back to the city. I've never been a city boy but I've had to learn to deal with it because it's something I need to do in my life right now. I want to be so good at my job that literally it doesn't matter where I live I have the big dogs head hunting me for jobs. Stepping away from my job allows me to cool off too. I am so passionate about everything I do I can get too passionate and care too much about some things which I shouldn't even worry about. I think this is why I'm trying to be disassociated with any 'work race' that has appeared in this industry where people are undercutting each other and trying to find out what the other is doing so they can plan their next step around going 'one up' on you. All of my energies over the next 10 years must now be focused inward to ensure that I develop my skills ten fold and bring new things to the plate. All I want from this job is to become one of the best. I don't care about fame, yet ironically I feel that is linked with becoming great at your job. If that's the case so be it, but I'll always keep my morals and aim to be a solid inspiration to those that might look up at me or across at me. It's very easy to reflect what you want on someone and take things at face value, but that is the honest truth. I'm just interested in being a master at my craft. With that, comes the lack of sleep, the run down feelings, the doubts and the low points. So those points are the most challenging areas. My views are simply, we must never lose hope, and we must strive for better things. That's all.
Since you started this company, what has been the most rewarding process for you to achieve and why? Just to actually own my own company and do what I always dreamed of. I know that through social media platforms these days everyone says 'I own my own company' or 'I'm a CEO', but those are actually true for me. We're a registered company, who has our own accountant, and we've been trading for just over 2 years now. As I proudly tell anyone, I've grown up in a business family and I have that in my blood so my aspirations for a very long time have to be my own boss and steer my own ship. That's the backbone of everything I do. There is no feeling like working in an entity that you created. It's been nurtured largely by many many days of hard work. We've gone everywhere in the UK and now the rest of the world is quickly following that. I'm extremely proud of the guys I work with, they are a special caliber of person and that's what makes them part of the team. Tom has pretty much been with me since the early days and I'm sure he would agree that we have seen a lot and had to deal with every type of problem. The fact we're still trading is the most rewarding thing. We're just ticking off our goals and the list keeps getting longer. I'm happy doing that. Evolution is the reward, and you never stop evolving as a person if you're truly living.
What can we expect to see from you guys as we head towards 2013? Hopefully bigger projects. That's the goal, plus better cinematography and directing. Also bigger concepts and whatever we can muster. I prefer to just let the work do the talking, but expansion is always my goal.
Interview with Tom Beck
“Just recently Walnut Tree Records decided to call it a day, so join us as we catch up with the company owner Tom Beck to find out how this happened, as well as discussing his time in this awesome job role!” You've decided to call it a day with Walnut Tree Records, can you tell us when and how this decision came about? It’s been at the back of my mind for well over four years now, which probably sounds quite dramatic when you think that the label is only five years old. The first year threw up some really difficult situations for me and whilst that made the label better prepared for the future, it certainly shaped my mind set and how hard I can be on myself. I’ve always felt the hard times more than I’ve enjoyed the successes though and I’ve constantly questioned my reasons for carrying on. The decision started to make more sense this year though, and has really taken hold since Easter. I just wanted to find the right time and the right way to end it. I think the key factor was a change in my career really. I used to work for a major label and I disagreed with almost everything that went on there, so I used Walnut Tree Records as a way to escape. Music shouldn’t always be about climbing ladders and making mad amounts of money, but that’s exactly what I was part of every day. You see people head in with good intentions and come out completely changed. The same happened to me. I went in wanting to do a good job and to make my mark, and came away fairly bitter and frustrated. Since January I’ve left full time employment in the music industry and work for a start up video solutions company and it’s a world away from where I was. I’ve got a better attitude to work and I feel like I’ve learnt more in six months than I did in five years at the major label. It’s allowed me to step back and look at what I achieved with Walnut Tree Records and where I wanted to take it from here…and realised that actually I had nothing left to prove to myself. I no longer feel like I need something to escape into. It’s given me a different perspective on running a label. I’d put up with all the little issues that you naturally get with independent music because it was the only way I was bettering myself during the day, sadly.
What releases stand the most out to you as particular highlights, and why? I honestly think that 90% of my releases really changed the outlook of the label at the time, so this is a hard question to answer. In terms of the biggest impact I'd have to go with Bayonets 'Wishes & Wishes' as this was the first release to really grab the imagination of the press and find me a wider audience. The band got great reviews across the board and Walnut Tree Records was suddenly a name people knew about, particularly in London. Don't get me wrong...I wasn't a huge name, it just made the following releases easier to announce and place in magazines. The biggest selling release on Walnut Tree was Tiger Please 'They Don't Change Under Moonlight'. This was exciting to be involved with - the band approached me when, to be fair, no one really knew them and by the time they moved on we'd seen them on posters in Kerrang, playing major festivals and supporting some huge artists. It was a great learning curve for both the band and the label and I'm really proud of what we all achieved.
How have the bands on your label been responding to this? I mean, it has to be a shame to leave them, as there is a lot of friendship there as well right? The bands have been great, it wasn't a surprise to any of them. I've never signed them to long term contracts and I'm always open with how I feel the label is going, so the actual impact on them is minimal. I've honoured all of my commitments to them as such. The ones that I've got the greater friendships with are still going to be about for me to talk to, hang out with, go to their shows. With artists such as Rob Lynch I was always his friend first and his label second. I hope that all artists associated with the label in the last few years go on to bigger and better things. I'll be the first person to pre-order their album, and the loudest person in the crowd at their shows.
Can you tell us a bit about the last release you have planned for Walnut Tree Records? As clichéd as it is my final release will be a ‘Greatest Hits’ and it will be titled 'Losing Sleep 2007-2012'. I wanted a way to tell the story of the label from start to finish and there’s no better way to do that. It will be free to download or stream and will cover all 27 of my releases, featuring a page in the booklet for each one where I talk about what went into the release and why I decided it was right for Walnut Tree Records. You’ll be able to read this booklet online whilst you stream the tracks, or download it as a .pdf with mp3s to enjoy offline. I've always used 'Losing Sleep' as one of my tag lines too. It's has a literal meaning, I've lost a lot of hours of sleep since I started the label!
Can you tell us about how the Walnut Tree Records final show came together, and how are you feeling about this day in general, as the sort of farewell day for your company? I haven't had much involvement really - Tom Aylott at Punktastic, Rob Lynch and Helen Varley at Fender has taken care of the organisation for me. In fact it was a surprise to me when it was first announced. I'm really appreciative of the efforts they've gone into so far and I'm looking forward to the night. It'll be emotional I'm sure but hopefully people come down and have a good time.
What's been the hardest part about all of this for you, and why? Mentally switching off probably. The label has been in my thoughts constantly for five years, during work, during holidays, whilst playing football etc. I’m not used to having a clear mind. I often catch myself thinking about cool ideas I could try out or wondering what my itunes sales are like and have to remind myself that I don’t need to do that now. I probably now need to find a way to channel my passion for music. I guess that’s explains the ‘losing sleep’ tag line fairly well doesn’t it?
We've read on your Facebook page that you 'don't feel that there really is a place for labels like mine any more' what do you mean by this? Is this maybe a case of it becoming harder and harder to create a label like yours, or does it mean something else? I just found that there are decreasing numbers of people who really get the vibe of proper independent labels. I like to be creative and hand make my own releases or bonus items and on the whole the music buying public aren’t interested in that. People would rather just quickly download a single or stream an album. I offer that too, but those weren’t the reasons I started a label. It’s also not just the ‘fans’ that perhaps don’t understand the DIY approach. Bands themselves still see signing to a label like Walnut Tree Records and think that they’re set up and don’t need to work for themselves. That’s so far from the case.
For anyone out there who would be looking to start their own record label, what advice would you give to them? I can’t stress enough how important I found it to follow my passions and not the fashions. Help bands and put out their music because you enjoy what they do and the way they do it. Jumping onto bandwagons will work at times but when you’re having a difficult day and you’ve got label work to come home to it is far easier to motivate yourself if it’s something you believe in. Even then it can be draining. It’s also worth taking your time and making sure that the label works around you, your finances and your time scales. It’s hard to push back on bands at times and I really wish I’d learnt to do that earlier. If something sounds like an expensive risk to you then don’t just close your eyes and hope it will be okay. Good luck too, you’ll need it at times.
So, what are you looking to do next? Will you still keep your career in the music world maybe? As we discussed earlier I’m no longer working full time in music, so my career will move in a different direction from here. I’m pleased about that too. I’ve still got my hand in Believe Revolt records though and we’ve just released the Cytota EP. It’s brilliant, hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot from them over the next few years. After this release I’ll be stepping back and working more as a consultant, the releases will still have my seal of approval and my financial involvement but without all the day to day work that’s needed. Gary Lancaster will handle this and he’s done a great job so far.
Mutiny On the Bounty – Trials Luxembourg’s Mutiny On the Bounty are definitely a band that strives to achieve their absolute best, no matter what. They’ve played numerous shows alongside acts such as Kings of Leon and Coheed and Cambria; in August 2011, they gained a new guitarist and new bassist; and since then, have worked to create a new album alongside producer Matt Bayles. And after having listened to second offering ‘Trials’, we’re damn sure that they’re on the verge of something beautiful. Tracks such as ‘North Korea’ exemplify their talents; combining their eclectic and wild riffs with synths, a deliciously dark intro to this album has been created and captures our attention easily enough. Mutiny On the Bounty then take us on a rollercoaster journey, throwing ballsy songs such as ‘Modern Day Robbery’ and ‘Candies’ at us. Their post-hardcore vocals simply blow us away, as they churn out their math-rock sound for our ears, using signature dissonant chords that clash together but somehow work incredibly well. They continue on strong with ‘Myanmar’, an explosive track filled to the brim with crackling, electric energy – a trend that’s evident with ‘Statues’. Packed with saucy guitar licks, distorted synths and angular riffs, Mutiny On the Bounty have created an album that’s really worked its way under our skin. They sign off with ‘Mapping The Universe’, creating a dark and haunting landscape as they cease their full-frontal assault on us. The result? Mutiny On the Bounty have great things awaiting them on the very near horizon. JT
Sirens & Shelter – The Midnight Arrangement Sirens & Shelter are an acoustic pop three-piece from Kent. Combining melodic vocals with gifted harmonies, this mini-album has made an impression on us. Tracks such as ‘Northern Lights’ show off the emotive song writing skills that this talented trio possess, and it also shows off just how musically gifted Sirens & Shelter are. With folk-inspired acoustic guitars, evident during songs ‘Artist In Civil War’ and ‘Two Left Feet’, this Kent three-piece show why they’ve recently played with Giants and gained a support slot with Dave McPherson. Melodic bass lines are present during clever track ‘Socially Awkward’, an honest song that most could relate to! Soaring vocals give way to sweeping choruses, making songs such as ‘Yours to Keep’ and ‘Failing Floor (The Midnight Arrangement)’ a collection of toe-tapping tracks. And as Sirens & Shelter wind down with closer ‘Over the Moon’, we’re sure that this incredibly talented trio will go on to make waves within the music scene if they keep up their heart-felt honesty. JT
The Dirty Heads - Cabin by the Sea If you’re looking for an album to vastly improve your mood during those dreary winter days we have ahead of us, Dirty Heads ‘Cabin by the Sea’ is the answer to all your worries. Full of a soothing combination of acoustic guitars, xylophones, bongo drums and pleasant vocals, Dirty Heads have delivered something which is impossible to place in to one genre. The album has a running reggae theme and can be compared to the works of the ska-punk band, Sublime, particularly evident in the track ‘Notice’. At the same time ‘Cabin by the Sea’ features some glimpses of hip-hop which can be heard during ‘Hipster’. This is the kind of album which would be perfect for those evenings sat around a bonfire on the beach, but with summer being over it is still a great album to chill out to in your room and watch the rain pour down. AG
Billy Talent - Dead Silence This is the fifth album from the Canadian melodic rock band who since forming in 1993 have reached great heights of success with their previous releases. Their known for creating massive tracks, so will 'Dead Silence' hit us hard?... Fist track, "Lonely Road to Absolution" opens with brilliant beautiful harmonies, and has a great atmosphere with almost a western movie vibe, the end result being a powerful opener.. Moving..or 'marching' on to "Viking Death March" which grabs you instantly and has a particularly good bass line, along with great lyrics, super catchy melodies and good vibes; really embodies the Viking Death March sound! The guitar solo is heavy and strong and the outro ends it perfectly. Has a very big and athemic sound! "Surprise, Surprise" has super slick grooves - I guarantee you won't be able to resist moving along and head banging to this 'suprisingly catchy' song! Excellent vocals from frontman, Benjamin Kowalewicz and again another brilliant end to the song - this band don't falter in any aspect of a song! Can see why picked as second single to release. "Running Across the Tracks" is fast paced and has a infectious chorus with great backing vocals, well written lyrics and class riffs. This could be one of the best tracks! "Love Was Still Around" features some awesome badass bass from, Jonathan Gallant and quite possibly one of best guitar solos on the album courtesy of Ian D'Sa. "Stand Up and Run" has exceptional vocals and has more of a chilled out vibe, offering a wind down after the fast paced urgency of previous songs. As well as bringing something different to their usual style, but nonetheless the outcome is still brilliant! "Crooked Minds" contains a brilliant scream and energy from Ben and some great heavy riffs and yet another hard hitting chorus - something you are truly spoilt for on this album! Along with everything else before and after!.."Man Alive!" opens with great fast stand out drums from Aaron Solowoniuk, alongside a very groovy riff, topped off with strong vocals filled with power and attitude, which is given more umph through echoes provided by the backing vocals- another favourite - although you will find many favourites! "Hanging By a Thread" has a nice smooth guitar intro and skillful guitar riffs throughout. The solo is also very powerful. This track is perhaps more reminiscent of their older material with all the typical Billy Talent trends! "Cure for the Enemy" has beautiful melodic guitar parts ,as well as heavier dark sinister sounds at times, which paired with a nice beautiful guitar gives a great mix of different riffs/vibes. The vocals are done to perfection, and could be some of the best and most striking. "Donâ€™t Count on the Wicked" has a great stand out riff and is inkeeping with the constant catchiness and coherency. "Show Me the Way" is more upbeat than most of the other songs, and shows a different direction for them, but overall is a good fun song..perhaps not the best track, but there are so many heavyweight contenders! The song certainly helps add to the great variety featured. "Swallowed Up By the Ocean" makes a nice progression throughout using the lyrics and instrumentation, making it an effective track. Which brings us to the end track "Dead Silence"..it seems unusual to have the title track last - perhaps its done for effect? As when you reach the end of the album you are in fact 'dead' silent through shock of its brilliance?!...And it doesn't disappoint, with its great lyrics and harmonies which seem to come effortlessly to them - this is a fitting end to the album! This album is a true pleasure to listen to from start to finish!..you just don't want it to end! "Dead silence has come to rescue me"..a great lyric to describe how all the Billy Talent fans feel who have been eagerly awaiting this new release! Not many albums will keep you guessing as to which song is your favourite, as when you delve futher into the album you discover that one of the earlier tracks which was infact your favourite has now been replaced, and so forth..so why not admit defeat and settle for the fact its fantastic in its entirety! The band should be very proud, particularly guitarist, Ian D'Sa who not only brings unforgettable riffs everytime to the table but also is responsible for the production of the album - kudos to you Ian and kudos to the 'talent'! CL
CIRCA SURVIVE - VIOLENT WAVES American Experimentalists return with their fourth album after receiving much critical acclaim for previous releases through labels, they decided to self produce and release 'Violent Waves' which may seem like an odd move, but what about this band meets the norm..... Opening song the interestingly titled "Birth Of The Economic Hit Man" is very long coming in at just over seven minutes long, however the length is justified as this is a cracking track to start with. It has a great strong chorus with wonderful wails from Anthony Green (the former singer of Saosin). This is a good introduction to band if not familiar with them, as displays their signature sounds of ethereal vocals, effects and instrumentation. "Sharp Practice" demonstrates a great range of vocals from Anthony particularly with more of an attitude/angst in his voice. Overall very dynamic and everchanging..predictable is something you could never say about the band! It contains unforgettable melodies which will weave into your mind. This is a one of many highlights of the album. "Suitcase" has interesting instrumentation, vocals and vibes. Its catchy and somewhat hypnotic and downbeat and although it sounds quite simplistic it is very effective and strong. This is one to 'carry' out and about with you on your iPod! Can see why they picked as a single, especially if your not already a fan of the band..definitely one to check out! "The Lottery" (feat. Geoff Rickly leadsinger of Thursday) has a spacey sound to it and again like "Sharp Practice" shows of Anthony's more edgy and vast vocal abilities. This is a good collaboration with Geoff Rickly of American band, Thursday with their contrasting voices. Add in chaotic/crazy instruments and effects and you have a 'winner'! "My Only Friend" is effective, strong and serene with slightly sombre tones and lyrics, that becomes more emotive and powerful towards end of song. "Phantasmagoria" is upbeat, catchy with great fun rhythms, making it quite mainstream sounding. Meaning of Phantasmagoria - a changing scene made up of many elements. - Seems like a fitting song to sum it up and is a good way of describing their overall sound. "Think of Me When They Sound" is a slower paced song with beautiful stripped back vocals and accompanying riff, making it subtle yet striking. They show they can equally execute complex and simplistic! The band always manage to fantastically accommodate to the needs of Anthony's unsual range and style - a perfect match, and the rather calming "Brother Song" is no exception. "Bird Sounds" is a very catchy stand out track with contrasting low pitches and upbeat sounds all mixed together. This is one of my favourite tracks, with its great effortless delivery of vocals and strong beats and rhythms. Last track, "I'll Find A Way" starts of downbeat with mellow superb vocals and melodies that progresses as you get further into the song and as always it has excellent complimentary instruments. Although the singing stops at around the five minute mark and the remaining few minutes seem a little unessential and underwhelming for the closer, but this can be forgiven when looking at the bigger picture. Anthony Green certainly has a very distinctive voice making them instantly stand out, but regardless of this they have their own unique sound which is hard to accomplish these days, especially paired with unusual lyrical themes that aren't typical. I find sometimes you listen to an album first off and you are left unsure or uncertain or your feelings towards it, then you give it another listen and keep listening again and again to only go and unfold its true brilliance..these turn out to be the best albums that you can truly appreciate and this is definitely one of them! All tracks flow seamessly together and crashing likes 'waves' and changing coherently like that of the current of the ocean. You could easily get lost in this album as its ethereal, ambient, calming, spacey and experimental - this band bring something different and aren't afraid to explore. Seems their decision to self release was a brilliant one as this addition to their collection will appease old fans and will earn them 'wave' upon 'wave' of new fans! CL
WHILE SHE SLEEPS - THIS IS THE SIX
This Sheffield Metalcore Quintet have been growing in both musicianship and followers since the release of the mini album, "The North Stands For Nothing" and considering they until now hadn't released a full length album the fact that they won the award for Best British Newcomers at the Kerrang Awards 2012 and have been nominated for other metal awards, makes it all the more impressive! So do the band prove their worthy of such an accolade with the much awaited release of their debut.. Opening track, "Dead Behind The Eyes" throttles full force, making a great start to the album, with strong vocals from Lawrence Taylor and powerful 'eye' opening lyrics! "False Freedom" opens with a great riff that drives the song throughout. It is very melodic, and well structured, with effective stripped down gang vocals near end of song that offers a nice breakdown before blasting back into a powerful ending. "Seven Hills" again sees the use of gang vocals which help emphasise and highlight the lyrics and also offers some more peaceful parts amongst the onslaught! There is no shortage of memorable riffs and lyrics as usual! "Our Courage, Our Cancer" opens with a beautiful piano intro adding more variety to their metalcore sound. The lyrics are very touching and well thought out, but as touching as the lyrics may be, the bands sound still never goes soft! Title track, "This Is The Six" blasts into chaotic pounding drums and thunderous riffs, not to mention impressive feral vocals from Lawrence, who has a great metal roar without losing his audibility! The chorus is brilliant, brimming with great strong lyrics and excellent riffs. Again the use of gang vocals is a welcome addition that is used well and helps add another level. 'This is' definately one of the best tracks with its anthemic status! "Believe" which most would have already come across before the release of their debut as it was released back in 2011 - this grabbed them alot of attention, with their rebellious metalcore sound and still matches up well against their new material, showing how their sound is much less the same but more fine tuned. "Until The Death" asserts that yet again they are continueing to be relentless without being repetitive or becoming unforgettable, something that can be hard to achieve, but they do it almost effortlessly! "Love At War" opens with piano accompanied by endearing gang vocals, showing that this is not going to be some 'love' ballad, as its not your typical love story in question. Its actually about respect for your elders. They speak their mind effectively through their instruments and lyrics with such precision, making this a very powerful song! "Reunite" closes the album with a rather beautiful and haunting piano intro with gang vocals which seems like a fitting end to the album. The catchy unforgettable chant along choruses, melodic piercing vocals, brilliant mature lyrics along with the excellenct production and songwriting abilities make this debut a masterpiece! The band clearly had more to say and prove this time and it showed. The albums title embraces the importance of their fans, and the fans will be very impressed indeed! The album is bursting with effort and energy and it shows just how much more potential the band have and that they are paving the way to becoming pioneers of british metalcore! CL
Gallows - Self Titled Gallows are back with a new self-titled album, shortly after receiving some criticism in recent times after replacing their former frontman Frank Carter with new frontman Wade MacNeil (ex-Alexisonfire). The album begins with the opening track ‘Victim Culture’ which begins with an eery intro in the form of a woman’s voice, before exploding into a gang vocal frenzy. It is the perfect beginning to a hardcore punk record containing an extremely catchy chorus, which is accompanied by scintillating riffs and heavy tones throughout to give a perfect platform for the rest of the album. The momentum continues to build through ‘Everybody Loves You’ and ‘Last June’ with gang vocals, riffs and bass lines reminiscent of older Gallows works. Wade’s vocals seem to blend perfectly to the fast nature of the songs. ‘Outsider Art’ and ‘Vapid Adolescent Blues’ are both energetic numbers,continuing the theme of mixing gang vocals and aggressive vocals with riotous riffs. The first half of the album contains many hooks which makes it extremely enjoyable to listen to as well as being able to appreciate the excellent instrumentation. There is no lack of energy, and momentum continues to the very end of the album thanks to the likes of ‘Depravers’ and ‘Cross of Lorraine’ which maintains the consistent sound and never ending energy that is present throughout the album. MacNeil’s vocals are a particular highlight of the album, complementing the powerful sound that Gallows produce instrumentally. MacNeil’s vocals tell me that he is back and is raring to kick start his future in Gallows, the vocals are a crucial element to Gallows new Hardcore Punk sound they have produced which is very reminiscent of hardcore punk heroes Comeback Kid. This album should lay the perfect platform for a very successful UK tour next month. Not everyone is going to be a fan of the album, some will have preference of Frank Carter whose vocals created the refreshing new british punk sound after the release of ‘Orchestra of Wolves’ back in 2006. Gallows fans should remain loyal to the band because there is no doubting the exciting impact of Wade’s vocal talent which has contribution of creating a very energetic, punchy and perfectly delivered self-titled album. It will i’m sure, benefit Gallows in the long term and secure their future as a successful band. JP
Detached - Finding Time Hybrid genres can define a band, and at times set them apart for the right or wrong reasons. Teaming punk with any other genre seems to work interestingly at the very least, so how about teaming it with ska as Detached have done? Unsurprisingly, some tracks lean more to each end of the spectrum. 'Drunken Dramatics & Cult Classics' indulges in a classic ska introduction, hinting at an outright brass assault, yet the punk fusion takes to the hilt and the track is transformed. Alternatively, 'Pretty Shitty City' possesses tight punk riffs with a brassy layer thrown in at appropriate interludes. The brooding bassline of 'Black Cat' leads into a brass explosion, taking the punk flavour across the genre border before returning for more aggressive vocals. In 38 minutes they avoid being repetitive, toying with variations and quirks within each sound to the point no track seems to fade into the background. What's most surprising is that it works. They seem to flit comfortably between dance-your-ass-off catchiness in their ska elements and the aggressive punk counterparts without any stumble. 'Finding Time' is spunky. It's bold, it's got some fight to it and it's hard to fault. The record is unlikely to win over those who aren't into this sound, but it is probable that it'll sit well with ska and punk fans alike. Ska punk seemed an odd combination, but the real surprise is that they've pulled it off so well. HM
We Are The Ocean - Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow We Are The Ocean are back with their third full-length release, throughout their career We Are The Ocean have changed their sound a number of times, beginning with post-hardcore sound, then changing to the southern rock sound they produced on their second full length ‘Go Now And Live’. ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ is a natural progression from the last album and it seems as if the band have finally developed a sound which they are happy with and will continue with in the future. The album begins with ‘Stanford Rivers’ which works as a short intro to the album. The Intro is slow and is cleverly used before the first single ‘Bleed’ which explodes the album into life. Heavy drum beats provide the platform for vocalist Liam Cromby to use his silky rock voice to create a powerful rock song with a highly addictive chorus. ‘Young Heart’ slows proceedings down, but is typical of the easy listening sound that WATO seem so skillful at creating. Liam’s voice is beautifully complemented by calming guitar tones. ‘Story of A Modern Child’ is another track on the album which relies on it’s chorus to make the song appealing to the ear. Similarly to the ‘Bleed’ the chorus seems to create a soulful number similar to the likes of The Gaslight Anthem who have become so successful with their soul punk sound. ‘Machine’ is a much more anthemic number, repeated drum beats and Cromby’s vocals creates a powerful track which flows perfectly into “The Road” which contains the most catchiest of choruses. Again Cromby’s vocals are key in the success of this song, the instrumentation syncing perfectly with the vocals to create such an emphatic and anthemic number. ‘Golden Gate’ is a much more slower and easy listening rock song, this track allows the listener to appreciate the clever use of instruments, thanks to experimental guitar tones which work well. ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ picks up the tempo further but has a much more softer chorus than previous tracks on the album. Again, the guitar and drum works are cleverly implemented to create another wonderful slice of soul punk. ‘Pass me by’ is a slower more folky track, new territory for We Are The Ocean. The band show great variety and depth of sound with this track. The album then comes to an end with ‘Chin Up, Son’ which features Liam Cromby’s vocals and an acoustic guitar. It’s a fitting conclusion to a very well constructed album, and provides a great showcase of Cromby’s vocal talent. The album is very much worth listening to if you’re a fan of straightforward easy listening alternative rock or soul punk. The band seemed to have finally found a sound to settle with, their previous album ‘Go Now And Live’ received positive reviews, and ‘Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow’ will work as another stepping stone for the future success of the band. JP
Bowling For Soup w/ The Dollyrots & Patent Pending - One Big Happy! With a UK tour, featuring all three bands, planned for October this year, pop-punk heavyweights Bowling For Soup have teamed up with their friends in The Dollyrots and Patent Pending for this release which consists of an original song from each band, a cover from each others back catalogue and a track penned and performed by Jaret Reddick from Bowling Four Soup and Kelly Ogden from The Dollyrots. As you’d expect from the mischievous Texans, this is a light-hearted affair designed to wet the appetites of those fans who will be catching the bands live next month, and also an introduction to the other two bands which UK fans may not be familiar with yet. The main highlight has to be the BFS original ‘Lets Go To The Pub’ which will no doubt cause rapturous sing-alongs when played live with lyrics about you guessed it…going to the pub and getting drunk. This certainly isn’t breaking any boundaries, but for existing fans this will be the perfect soundtrack to prepare yourself for the live shows and of course, relive it, long after you’ve left the pit. GM
The Dollyrots - The Dollyrots This is the fourth studio album from self-proclaimed California transplants Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas, aka The Dollyrots. The lifelong friends moved to LA together in 2012 and their blend of modern pop, 80’s new wave and three-chord punk has seen them play alongside Bowling For Soup and Paramore and also earn them a healthy following of their own. This album is unashamedly poppy, sing-along choruses and vocal hooks pepper this album from beginning to end and most of these songs have the ability to get stuck in your head without any intension of leaving. Apart from the simple chord progressions the punk edge to The Dollyrots sound is almost non-existent, and this is further watered down by the High School Musical-esque vocals and lyrics like ‘Shimmy fizzy jump, up and down, shimmy fizzy hop, all around’. Some of these songs certainly wouldn’t be out of place on the aforementioned movie series. That’s not to say that this is a bad record, it’s just not a rock record. The bands ability to write catchy songs is certainly not in doubt and this could be a good stepping stone for young fans to get into musicwith at least some rock influence. GM
Tu Amore - Your Love This is the debut release from Peterborough four-piece Tu Amore, the band chose an Italian name in order to escape any preconception anyone may have had about their music and create a blank canvas for unaccustomed listeners. Lead track I’m A Mess bursts open with a hard rock riff and a cry of ‘Abandon ship’ from lead singer Ben Mackereth, it drives on with great intensity to deliver a solid opener where the melodic post-hardcore influences of Thursday and Thrice come to the fore. Mackereth’s clean vocals are impressive and sound proudly British, something lost on many bands of the same ilk. The bands knack for shifting moods and dynamics is showcased throughout this EP as they seamlessly blend hard rock, melodic breakdowns, gang vocals, electronic drums, acoustic sections and palpably emotional lyrics into something fresh and completely their own. Memories of aforementioned influences fade away and you become aware that you are listening to a debut from a band who are already sure of their identity. Tu Amore are a melodic rock band, but one that could, and should, garner interest from a wider audience due to their sheer talent of writing great songs. Watch this space. GM
Title Fight - Floral Green Floral Green is a great step forward for Title Fight, There is a great summery vibe coming from thisrecord that is sure to put anyone in a good mood. Their very raw feel is emphasized greatly on the opening track “Numb but I Still Feel It”; it is an energetic build up into a floating drop of intertwining melodies that make your spine tingle. Floral Green takes some slow turns with songs like “Head In The Ceiling Fan” and “In-Between” which really make you sink and feel the emotion coming from the guitar’s that are so well written and played. You can feel through every note, that they have poured their heart and souls into this record. Good honest Hardcore, how it should be. This really is a great album, my favorite of the year by far. A lot of bands seem to slope downwards record by record but Title Fight have just got stronger and stronger, not at all being affected by the bands around them, sticking to their very pop-punky spin on hardcore which they are so, so good at. AJ
Our Last Night – Age of Ignorance New Hampshire five-piece Our Last Night have released their third studio album ‘Age of Ignorance’, delivering their brand of post-hardcore that would probably be better branded as “soft-core” for its pre-nine-o’clockwatershed feel. This is not to say that ‘Age of Ignorance’ is a poor record, but fans of their older material should expect less screaming and more emotion. The title track is the most impressive song on the record, with political commentary about the disillusion of the world today. This is hardly Barack Obama speaking, but the sentiment is delivered with considerable punch. Instrumentally, Our Last Night provide some impressive riffs and ripping solos, yet the old-school metal feel sometimes fails to blend with the tone of the track, particularly on ‘A Sun That Never Sets’. Brothers Trevor and Matt Wentworth work well as a vocal-duo, the former providing the clean and the latter the screams, best displayed on ‘Liberate Me’. This is one for the tweens and teens. The 12A lyrics and gimmicky use of electronica will struggle to appeal to older listeners, but ‘Age of Ignorance’ is still a great taster-course in the potential of post-hardcore for the younger fans out there. RM
Propagandhi - Failed States A Beautiful flurry of anger and passion and great technical skill highlighting the whole album through every song. Each song has its own unique feel, yet the the songs as a whole fit so well together to form the album that is “Failed States”. Compared to previous propagandhi releases, this album is a lot straight up, with intricate arpeggio’s that float into the crunching chords that Propagandhi are known for. The way Propagandhi use the melodic riffs infused with such powerful chords sequences is something that I believe only propagandhi pull off so well. The vocals on this album are one of the weak points of it, the powerful yet melodic voice of Hannah is what makes propagandhi what they are, but the vocals on this album are not as strong and prominent as previous tracks have been. Overall this is one of their best releases to date in my opinion, and hopefully a lot more to come from this Canadian 4 piece. Make sure you go to one of their tour dates; I promise you will not be disappointed! AJ
Darko – From Trust To Conformity From the get go this is a raucous combination of double time drumming, phenomenal riffing, aggressive and melodic vocals fans of A Wilhelm Scream will lap this up. They stick to their motto of ‘Keep it fast’ throughout the EP, because of the blistering pace the average song length is under 3 minutes, giving them enough time to smash you in the face with plenty of musical ideas and leave before you even realise what just happened. The crystal clear production of Chris Coulter lets every element of the music shine through. ‘Neo Was An Amateur’ stands out with the biggest chorus of the lot and as close to a pop song I can imagine these guys ever getting, its great! From Trust To Conformity is a short but sweet EP of technical punk songs for fans of urgency and great musicianship. JC
Jaya The Cat - The New International Sound of Hedonism Jaya The Cat waste no time with their latest offering 'The New International Sound of Hedonism'. Leading the listener into an electrotinged reggae offering a-la Bob Marley with a bee in his bonnet, it's evident that even this far into their careers there's no urge to settle for anything less than innovation. It takes until the lead single 'Here Come The Drums' for the pace to pick up, a rock sound seems more prevalent as the lurid bounce becomes unavoidable. Despite a mash of sounds and influences involved in this track alone, it layers neatly without becoming overbearing or forced; despite intricacy this simply sounds right. 'Bos En Lommerweg' is acoustic glory, anthemic in its simplicity, while 'Put A Boombox On My Grave' utilises Itch of The King Blues' vocal talents throughout. 'Two Passing Ships' opens like an electronic rumba. Even this fleeting nuance reaffirms the quality of their modernism - has anyone ever listened to something and considered it an electronic rumba? Maybe. Maybe not. But the point stands - this is a mesh of music that proves hard to ignore. This album is creative and it explores so many directions over the ska and reggae sound it's difficult to focus on just one. For those unfamiliar with this style of music, it could be a little harder to get into, but there's definitely something in there worth the effort. HM
Roughneck Riot - This Is Our Day The UK has been waiting patiently for musicians amid our ranks to step up to the heights of the western world's folk punk equivalencies, and finally it seems our shores hold a band who could rival that of the Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly. Warrington's own The Roughneck Riot encompass all about the genre that is loved, yet add their own twist on proceedings. From the dissatisfied lyrical content of 'Ignorance Is Easy' to the down and dirty guitars of 'Just Because', the band have covered the punk bases with an enjoyable ease and added electric folk atmosphere. You want to dance, you want to move and you want to keep listening. It doesn't take long to realise: man, this is great. Often similarities can be drawn, whether it be the vocal snarls being reminiscent of Murphys' own Al Barr or the rock element to 'No Sense of Human' feeling very Green Day inspired, yet that's a meagre complaint. There's so many dimensions to this record within the constraints of their genre that listeners will revel in its quirks and undeniable catchiness. Their sophomore offering has solidified their excellence in what they do. 'This Is Our Day' is invigorating, it's refreshing and it's simply exciting to listen to. HM
Such Gold - Misadventures Clocking in at just short of half an hour, Such Gold’s highly anticipated debut effort ‘Misadventures’ may be a short lived adventure, but it is an adventure none the less. As genres become more popular, they equally become more saturated and bland. More and more bands attempting to reproduce the genre’s highlights turn things into whitewash. However, much as their name suggests, Such Gold have produced some pop-punk gold here. Their style of pop-punk is short, fast, spikey and meaningful. From the opening track ‘Two Year Plan’ right through to album closer ‘You Are The Greatest Threat (The Doctor Will See You Now)’, the New York quartet keep things exciting and upbeat. Oone of the great things about this record, not at one moment doesn’t it try to include the ‘token ballad’, just visceral and raw pop-punk throughout. ‘Locked Out Of The Magic Theatre’ and its closing stripped back singing are a highlight, though it manages to maintain its bouncy energy. The short and snappy number ‘Storyteller’ is worthy of a mention too; the musical equivalent of an adrenaline shot right into the heart of pop-punk. Such Gold have made a worthy contender of a debut record here, easily pushing themselves up through the ranks alongside genre peers The Story So Far and close at the tail of big names like Four Year Strong. No misadventures here, just a pure unencumbered thrills filled adventure. ZR
Don Broco - Priorities This is the one we have all been waiting for. The Big Fat Smile E.P was a big fat success that left us wanting more and the Don Broco guys have delivered with their debut album, Priorities. The title track ‘Priorities’ sets the tone for the album with its catchy riff and lyrics which everyone can relate to, we all know someone who is under the thumb! There isn’t a song on the album which won’t have you singing along, in particular ‘In My World” which you can easily see being the band’s next single. The album ends in style with Broco’s most recent single release ‘Actors’ which has a much faster pace than the rest of the album but still fits perfectly. We advise that you pick up the deluxe edition for a couple of cheeky acoustic versions. It’s no surprise that this album managed to break the top 40 album charts at number 25 and perhaps without Olympic fever in full swing it could have found its way into the top 20. That being said, the Bedford lads have produced an album to be proud of, so if you are yet to do so, pick yourself up a copy and catch them on tour with Lower Than Atlantis next month for a guaranteed good time! AG
Yellowcard – Southern Air When Yellowcard took a hiatus in 2008, it appeared that few batted an eye-lid and by 2010 when they announced the release of ‘When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes’, it seemed as if they had missed their opportunity, forgotten by the old scene and unheard of by the new. However, it was ‘When You’re Through’ which perfectly blasted them back onto the map, attracting both the nostalgic and the curious. A year later, they’ve released ‘Southern Air’ and whilst it all may seem a little rushed, ‘Southern Air’ is Yellowcard at their best. This is nothing ground-breaking. Lyrics about love, heartbreak and summer, anthemic guitar riffs, the expected violin in almost every verse and chorus – this is everything a Yellowcard fan wants. Yet there is something more to this album than its predecessors. The guitars are heavier, the drums are louder and Ryan Key’s vocals are bigger. Not to mention the guest vocals from Tay Jardin (We Are the In Crowd) on ‘Here I Am Alive’ and All Tim Low’s Alex Gaskarth on‘Telescope’, two of the strongest tracks on the record. Yellowcard very much believe in the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage. However on ‘Southern Air’ they’ve really stepped it up, this is pop-punk at its best. Don’t expect a samba-jazz record and you won’t be disappointed. RM
IRIS – Out of Fiction (EP) It was only the other day that IRIS announced that they would be continuing as a two-piece instead of a four-piece, and would be embarking on a tour Promise Me Tomorrow. Said two-piece will be performing as an acoustic set during this upcoming tour. But before all this happened, we received their latest EP, ‘Out Of Fiction’ released via Engineer Records. Kicking off with title track ‘Out Of Fiction’, first impressions start off with thinking that IRIS will be another carbon copy of a pop-punk band. But as the track continues, what seemed to start off as bland pop evolves into something that, despite being a little too sweet at times, can have some bite. Fellow tracks such as ‘The Shade’ demonstrate great talent; lightning complex riffs are layered with clean-cut vocals, as well as gang chants thrown in to give their sing-along choruses more depth. Killer song ‘Lie For Me’ has the most bite to it – but it seems to be a slightly more messy track. Guttural screams are thrown in without much thought; a trait that’s not needed, when the EP was going so well without it. Closing off with an acoustic track of ‘Thicker Than Water’, IRIS ends their solid EP. All in all, it’s a stellar effort but the now two-piece are still growing as a band and, when they release their next effort, we’re sure it’ll be a real killer. JT
â€œSo here we are, back at the awesome Hevy Fest, this time we experience some minor changes compared to last year, first of all there is a roof over the main stage, just so the standard British weather cannot stop this festival from happening (it stayed sunny the whole weekend though), and also the main stage and the second stage are right next to each other, so you don't have to walk far to see the band that you want, which is of course fantastic.â€?
Friday Okay, so first up we catch the outstanding Sharks, as usual they put on a fantastic set, for me, it feels like these guys should be playing academy sized venues already, as their sound is so huge, so hopefully with performances like what they put on today, will bring in a shed load of fans, and finally take them to that level in 2013, these guys were certainly a standout for us at this years Hevy Fest. Lower Than Atlantis are currently exploding across the UK, and rightly so, they have toured their socks off and played a stack of UK festivals this year, and as well as this, they love it, you can tell when they are on stage that this is what they want to do for a long time, they are so happy to be there, and the interaction with the crowd stays 100% throughout the set, they bring in their usual medley of Foo Fighters tracks which goes down a treat, as well as mixing in their amazing back catalogue from 'World Record' and 'Far Q'. The last band we catch today is Deaf Havana, who just like Lower Than Atlantis have done so well on the alternative music scene here in the UK, and it is clearly visible, why? Well first of all they are headlining the main stage on a Friday night, and second, you can clearly hear a mass singalong from the crowd as they perform each track.
Saturday Kicking it off for us today is Feed The Rhino who pretty much wake anyone up that is remotely hungover from the last night, with their heavy and electric sound, so in our eyes, a perfect band to help get the day off to a blinding start, and also we failed to add in there that the band had a huge crowd, so clearly we need to watch out for this band as we think they are about to erupt from the underground alternative music scene in the UK! Seahaven take the main stage next who we've only heard great things about, so it was a pleasure to finally see them live. In short, these guys are great, tracks like 'Head In The Sand' go down a treat with some of the hardcore fans at the front, and I think they did a good job at getting the crowds attention, sure they didn't have crazy mosh pits from start to finish, but it felt like they connected well with the audience and gained themselves a lot of loyal fans that day. As Devil Sold His Soul come on we can see all of their hardcore fans collecting at the front of the audience to create the biggest mosh pit they can! Now, these guys have been performing live for years, so they know how to put on a live show without a doubt. They bring on some new tracks, whilst mixing them in with the classics, the only minor floor with this set was that the band did suffer some sound issues during their set, but performance wise, these guys are absolutely brilliant live. After Devil Sold His Soul we check out Balance & Composure who simply blow us away, if you like your Brand New mixed in with a bit of Title Fight then these guys are the ones for you. Tracks like 'Tore You Apart In My head' get the crowd going mental, and this combined with slower tracks like 'Stonehands' really do give a great balance to their live performance. Rolo Tomassi turn the noise up with their unique sound over on the 2nd stage straight after Balance & Composure, there really isn't a bad word you can say about these guys when they perform live. They go down great with the audience, and although they didn't get a mosh pit from the front to the back, it was clear to see that their hardcore fans were right at the front singing along to every word, so as the band are about to unleash a new album very shortly, and with live performances like this, then we can only really expect this band to go onward and upwards! Set Your Goals are no strangers to the alternative music scene here in the UK, and they have even done a handful of festivals over here, so basically, they know how to get the crowd going wild, which is clearly visible as they kick in to their first track. Tracks like 'Gaia Bleeds' and 'The Fallen' go down extremely well with the audience, and prove that these guys will always be a great live band with tracks like this in their set list. Topping their set with the anthem 'Mutiny' there was really nothing that we could fault about this set, it's always a pleasure to see these guys live, and as well as their classics, we also to get to hear some new tracks, which were outstanding live. So basically, this was a set that was epic, that also excited us for the future of the band at the same time, spot on. Glassjaw who have headlined Hevy Fest before are back this year to blow everyone away once more. The band get an outstanding response, and we see them perform hit after hit after hit. From 'tip your bartender' to 'ape dos mil' to 'Siberian Kiss' these guys basically didn't let the audience stop for air! it was just brutal and awesome at the same time, perfect. Finishing the day we have Andrew W.K. now we didn't really know what to expect as his sound is so different to everything else out there, but as soon as they hit the stage it was clear to see that this was going to be a mental show, he had a load of guitarists (more than Iron Maiden), a crazy backing singer girl, who was running around constantly and getting the crowd going wild, and of course Andrew W.K. who had so much energy that he could of easily performed for another six hours! These guys easily had the biggest crowd response of the festival in our eyes, as we saw huge circle pits, which went all the way from the main stage to the second stage, and with tracks like 'She Is Beautiful' 'We Want Fun' and 'Party Hard' it was clear to see that these guys were perfect for a Saturday night headliner.
SUNDAY So we get to the Red bull bedroom jam stage to check out our first band of the day Reachback who recently won a competition through Red Bull to perform at a stack of UK festivals, so basically, the pressure was on for these guys. We were pleased to see that the band put on a great show, and they really did do their best at getting some crowd interaction on the go. With tracks like 'No One Else' already in their set list, and if they keep putting on live shows like they did today, then I think it won't be long before they get upgraded to a bigger stage. &U&I who were also on the same stage really are another band that we think everyone should be watching out for, their set was electric, and they really did give it all they could give, so what else could you ask for? Hawk Eyes get a good bit of crowd interaction on the go for their set, and just like &U&I we see the band giving all the energy they have to the crowd, which is always awesome to see. Listener pack out the Red Bull stage and give an outstanding performance, now if you have not seen or heard these guys before then you will be surprised with their style of music, it's not so much verse chorus verse chorus etc...it's more of a poem sang slightly out of time alongside some music, sounds slightly...different right? Don't get me wrong though, these guys are great, they really gave a perfect balance to the festival whilst introducing a lot of people to a new style of music. Hundred Reasons take the main stage and instantly get the crowd jumping like it was 2002 straight away, the band play through their classic album 'Ideas Above Our Station' which is incredible to see. It was great to celebrate with the band some of the biggest tracks of their career like 'Falter' and 'Silver' and it really does make you miss the days when these guys were huge. The band get an awesome response from the crowd and as they end on the album closer 'Avalanche' you were left feeling/hoping that this band should come back in 2013 and just do another tour and album, because in short, they are an epic band. Lemuira manage to also bring in a big audience for their set, and again they are something new for a lot of people, we really enjoyed this band as just like many other bands that performed on this stage today, their sound was unique, and refreshing. The lead singers were clearly blown away by the response, and we even witnessed some crowd singalongs, brilliant! We manage to get right at the front for Vinnie Caruana (I Am The Avalanche/The Movielife) who is hear to share songs from his fantastic back catalog of music. Tunes like 'Sailor Tattoos' 'Hey' and 'Brooklyn Dodgers' go down really well and show why Vinnie has proved himself worthy of a headline slot on the Red Bull Stage, we get stories from him about Brand New and Madball, and we also witness the crowd singing along to every track, so for a Sunday evening, and as the festival draws close to an end, an acoustic set from Vinnie, was 100% ideal for us. It's not over just yet though, as tonight's headliners The Descendents take on the main stage, we managed to be all upper class and grab a spot on the side of the stage to see Hevy Fest from that perspective. There wasn't many mosh pits to be seen, or even many crowd surfers, it was more of the hardcore fans taking in as much of the moment as they could! These guys were brilliant for a headliner, why? Well, they were extremely tight and well rehearsed, and as well as this their set was nearly 30 tracks long! With tracks like 'I'm Not A Loser' and 'No All' mixed in to the set list, then there wasn't a bad thing you could say at all about their performance. So once again Hevy Fest put on an amazing selection of bands, brought the sunshine, and created a great festival atmosphere for everyone involved. We can't wait for Hevy Fest 2013. AD
"Merthyr Rock is easily one of the best upcoming festivals in Wales, why? Well they give you a whole bunch of talented Welsh bands whilst mixing in a shed load of awesome bands from around the UK....WHILST also giving you a decent ticket price, so read on as we review some of our band highlights from this years festival!"
You wouldn't think that The Undivided were just an upcoming band, as their performance is awesome, the band had a great turn out for their set, and with tunes like 'Open Your Eyes' already in their set list, it is safe to say that with some more performances like this, then the band should do well in the not so distant future. Futures take on the main stage next, and we get to see some new tunes live such as 'Start A Fire' and 'Islands In The Sea' which go down really well with their fan base who are singing loudly along to every word. Long time fans were treated to classics like 'Boy Who Cried Wolf' and 'Sal Paradise' which creates a nice balance to the set, and pretty much gives everyone what they want, perfect. This is our first time seeing The People and The Poet live...which is very frustrating as these guys simply mesmerized us from the start to finish. They have a sound that could easily echo through an arena, and each song sounds like an anthem. These guys did Merthyr Rock proud by showing off with ease just how good the upcoming welsh talent is at the moment. Saves The Day have influenced so many bands in their time, so we knew that we could only really expect an awesome set from these guys, and well, we were not wrong, the band give us a mixed bag of classic singalong Saves The Day tunes like 'Freakish' 'At Your Funeral' and 'In Reverie' whilst blending in some brand new tracks from their killer new album 'Daybreak'. The band show us with ease as to why they are such a respected bunch of musicians, and we for one, can't wait to see these guys when they come back to the UK again.
Saturday Multi talented singer Kristian Richards, who is also an up and coming tattooist, brings upbeat vibes to the stage with the rest of the band, Save Your Breath, Increasing the pace with their catchy pop punk tunes as the sun started to go down. Getting the crowd warmed up with tunes such as ‘Stay Young’ and ‘Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy’. With hardcore vocals, Pulled Apart by Horses, a band that had played Reading and Leads the week before, finished up this stage for the day by perfectly preparing the crowd for the headline act, Skindred, on the main stage. Sonic Boom Six step onto main stage, Laila K and Barney Boom, providing duel vocals brought a lively and energetic stage presence. The pair bounced and ran around the stage for the whole of the set showing off their ska punk style mixed with elements of rock, pop and hip hop. With lively rhythms and a heavy bass, Sonic Boom Six got the crowd moving. Rise to Remain now takes the stage, bringing heavy riffs and an excellent stage presence. In true metal style, Vocalist, Austin Dickinson used the speakers as a podium. The crowd started the first large scale circle pit of the day and this continued throughout the set. He also encouraged the audience to put their arms around each other, strangers or not and headbang along, and most of them did.
Lower Than Atlantis were less hardcore with more punk rock melodies but this didn’t stop the energy of the crowd who sang happy birthday to the singer Mike, who then made a comment about a guy in front of the stage having a snack - saying ‘This guys on Monster Munch so that’s what it takes in Merthyr Tydfil’. Playing short covers of Foo Fighters ‘Everlong’ and ‘Pretender’ which continued the huge sing-along, bringing the crowds energy higher, ready for the headline act. Time for the headline act, Skindred. Gracing the stage with a remix of the ‘Imperial March’ from Star Wars, Benji Webb grabs full attention of the crowd. Playing popular tracks such as ‘Babaylon’ and ‘Pressure’ from across their albums mixed with DJ interludes from the likes of Metallica to Beyonce, The crowd doesn’t fail to stop moving. Coming to the end of the set, Skindred dropped a remix of Slipknot’s ‘Duality’ not once, but twice. The crowd sings along to the lyrics before it drops into a heavy dubstep track. Closing the set with ‘Warning’, Benji demands the crowd to take off a piece of clothing to join in with the legendary ‘Newport Helicopter’ and not to start until he counts to four. The tent fills with shirts and Jagermiester bobble hats swirling around, giving an excellent end of day two of Merthyr Rock!
Sunday The James Cleaver Quintet have such a refreshing sound, which instantly catches our eye. We were aware that the band recently supported Limp Bizkit, and with the performance that they gave today, they can easily keep doing shows as big as that. It's the early afternoon and the Blowgoat lead singer is already bleeding whilst giving the audience an outstanding performance, he gets of the stage, and into the crowd, no messing about, which is what we like to see. The band don't stop moving at all throughout their entire set, and give every ounce they have, which easily wins them a stack of new fans, certainly a band to watch out for. Straight Lines get a huge response over on the main stage, and we even see a massive conga line running through the crowd whilst they play their killer tune 'Set Me On Fire and Feed Me To The Wolves'. New tracks 'Commitments' and 'Ring The Bells' are perfect additions to the already awesome Straight Lines set list and show how well the band have progressed as musicians over the last couple of years, awesome. Marmozets have had a crazy summer as they have pretty much hit every major festival out there, so at Merthyr it was clear to see that they had already penned the perfect festival set list as the band just didn't stop to breathe! Tracks like 'Onemanwolfpack' and 'Perfect Beverage' are just insane live, and show with ease just how talented this young group of musicians are. After dropping their new album 'Priorities' it is clear to see that Don Broco have become a lot bigger in the upcoming alternative music scene, why? Well the band easily have one of the biggest audience turn outs of the festival, and it's not even 4pm yet! The band kick straight in with their single 'Priorities' which instantly has the crowd jumping and the mosh pits open straight away. As the show continues we get treated to some epic tracks like 'Actors' and 'Beautiful Morning' which get an outstanding response from the crowd. So judging by how happy the band looked throughout their set it was clear to note that everyone over at the main stage, had a pretty awesome time thanks to the chaps in Don Broco. Next we manage to catch Future Of The Left who are again, another brilliant upcoming Welsh band, their sound is so different and set apart from everyone else at the festival, which of course isn't a bad thing as it creates a great balance to the festival. As usual the band give a brilliant performance and just like a lot of the bands playing today, they give a performance that is 110% throughout, songs like 'sheena is a t-shirt salesman' and 'Failed Olympic Bid' are just so fun to watch live! So if these guys are in your town on tour, and you want to see something different that will melt your face off, then make sure you don't miss out, as these guys are rad.
We were very interested to see how We Are The Ocean would pull of their live show without their old singer Dan, but when they hit the stage, all of our worries are thrown out the window, as the new set up is really, really good! tunes like 'Bleed' and 'The Road' fit into the We Are The Ocean set perfectly, and the band also mix in older songs like 'Waiting Room' which actually still work just fine with the bands new approach. The new Canterbury album' Heavy In The Day' is fantastic, so it was awesome to hear some of the new tracks like 'More Than Know' and 'Saviour' live. The two main singers in this band work so well together, and they pretty much never miss a note between them. Other epic Canterbury tracks like 'Gloria' and 'Peace & Quiet' get the crowd singing along just great. Just like Lower Than Atlantis & Don Broco Deaf Havana have been hitting as many festivals as they can this summer, and showing the UK that the alternative rock scene is very much alive. Songs like Little White Lies get the crowd singing along to every word, and depending where you were in the main stage, it at times became hard to hear the band, as everyone was just singing so loud, which is as always great to see. So in short, a perfect set that gets the crowd warmed up nicely for tonight's headliners. For anyone at the festival who was a fan of the UK rock music scene back in the early 00's then you will know that the band A were a key part of this scene (they were even on top of the pops!). Tunes like 'Starbucks' 'Nothing' 'I Love Lake Tahoe' & 'Rush Song' open up the mosh pits with ease, their lead singer Jason talks a bit throughout the set, and does a great job at getting an awesome connection between the band and the crowd. It was ace to see Daniel P. Carter (Radio 1 DJ) on the bass, and all in all it was just a really exciting set to see, fingers crossed these guys come back for some more shows soon! Topping the festival tonight we have Kids In Glass Houses who as always bring the crowd an awesome show. Their lead singer Aled does his best to make sure everyone goes as crazy as they possibly can for each track. They kick straight in with their old school anthem 'Give Me What I Want' which is always great to see live. As the set goes on we get a mix of all the classic Kids In Glass Houses singalong tracks like 'Undercover Lover' 'Young Blood (Let It Out)' and well we can go on for a while as these guys have a stack of great songs! It was awesome to see a band that have actually progressed gradually over the last couple of years headline this festival, it shows that the band have an amazing future in front of them, and it also shows that all of the support slots and tours they've done across the UK in their time have finally paid off, so yeah, a band that really deserved it, who also gave a brilliant headline act performance to end a fantastic festival!
“Today we are at our first ever (of many, hopefully!) Stencil Fest, and it is safe to say that we are very happy with the line up, the venue, and the amount of people that have turned up to support these upcoming bands. The set up is that, we have a main stage inside for bands to be as loud as they want on, and then in between the bands setting up, we have an acoustic stage, so people can go outside for a quick smoke, or drink, and also enjoy an acoustic act.” Rock, Paper, Scissors take to the acoustic stage to start the festival, and of course as the first act on, the pressure is there to steer the event in the right direction from the get go. The band put on a great performance and even treat us to a cover of Jimmy Eats Worlds 'Hear You Me' which created a nice balance to their set, and perfectly showed off what they were capable of as a band. As soon as the first acoustic act finishes, we run straight over to the main stage to check out Atrevido who perform a full set of Grunge - Rock, we found that their sound was really unique, and that their confidence was 100% there, we get treated to tracks like 'The Madness Of Flying' which showcase the bands full potential with ease, so all in all, a great start for the main stage. Taran Harris (on acoustic guitar) takes his slot on the acoustic stage next with his brother Nick Harris (percussion) to provide the audience with some original material. The sound that Taran has harnessed is also very unique, and somewhat mesmerizing, and the way he mixes his music in so well with the light percussion is also good fun to watch live. Hark! A Shark! are now on the main stage to bring their pop punk goodness from the heart of Cardiff. tracks like 'Chew On This' simply knock us of our feet and show that this band can easily become much more than an upcoming act if they keep performances up like this. We must also make a note that the drummer was absolutely out of this world, and we even see audience members give him compliments after the set ends. Static Signals treat us to a full band set up next, and although the band did suffer from some minor sound problems (which seemed to work really well on the Muse cover!) the band still got through the slight setback to still give the audience an outstanding performance. Over on the main stage we witness Man Of The Hour who provide us with another dose of pop punk awesomeness, our particular highlight from them was 'A Modern Day Epic' which was of course..epic! It's clear to tell that they take their influence from bands like New Found Glory and Four Year Strong, but this is not a bad point to make, as they do a great job at taking that influence and mixing it in with their style of pop punk, which for us, worked really well! Taking over the acoustic stage next is Joe Lewis who does a fine job at providing the audience with some original acoustic tracks, he has a great communication with the crowd and you can tell that his confidence as a live performer is clearly there, as every now and then he will step away from the mic and come out into the crowd a bit, which really did create an awesome atmosphere at the event. Boy Set Sail give us their blend of punk/pop & rock and decide to even mix in their own cover of 'Call Me Maybe' which actually works really well, whilst sounding (with ease) much better than the original song. Tracks like 'Rewind' go down great, and we are sure that with strong tunes like this already in their set list, then these guys should go far indeed. Tobias Robertson, Newport’s own musical teddy bear, had the crowd enamoured with his soft, husky, acoustic styling’s at this summers ‘Stencil Fest’, entertaining the crowd with a set list that included self-penned heartfelt songs such as “Broken Stones”, as well as sing-a-long classics like ‘Smash Mouth’s “All Star”. If you haven’t yet seen Tobias live, then we advise you to check out his website; as you’ll find it hard to not get swept up in his infectious feel good sound. Outgunned show us a non stop set of metal which keeps the audience well and truly interested throughout. Tracks like 'Embers' are a standout for us, and it is also clear to note that every member in this band has a lot of talent, as they don't struggle at all to hit a single note whilst keeping up with the constant intensity of their own music.
Tom Browning takes us into the evening on the acoustic stage next, and with his mix of original tracks like 'Miles Go By' and covers like 'White Blank Page' by Mumford & Sons it was clear to see that no one was left unsatisfied by this set, his cover of Mumford even had a lot of people singing along, which created an exciting atmosphere to be in. Medik get a mosh pit on the go on the main stage and show that these guys could easily break out of the upcoming alternative music scene shortly if they keep pulling off shows like this. Songs like 'When Everything Else Is Gone, All That's Left Is Hope' are ace to watch live, and overall the band do a great job at keeping everyone entertained throughout their energetic set. Alex McConnachie shares some of his own material next, and again, we witness something that is totally different yet awesome at the same time, songs like 'It Aint Like It Is In Cartoons' show that Alex can easily pen a very memorable and catchy song. So basically a great set that only excites us for the future of this young and talented musician. Coming from the South West we get to capture Flights live next, now these guys have have been backed by some pretty big publications, and their videos have also been seen on various music channels, so expectations were certainly high for the set even before the guys had hit the stage. The band meet the hype with ease and give the audience an electric show, songs like 'The Pretence' & 'Eleven' are really exciting to watch. We felt that the band were a mix of 'Explosions In The Sky' and 'Thrice' which is a bit of an amazing mix really, awesome. If you like a bit of Jason Mraz combined with Jamie T, then you will love Alex Davies who is second to headline over on the acoustic stage. As the pressure and the crowd get bigger Alex puts on an amazing show that proves why he is worthy of that slot, highlights from the set would include 'Trouble Round Here' & 'Underachiever' which both have the crowd dancing along. Due to The Dead Wretched pulling out from the main stage (van issues) tonights acoustic headliners Tafijah Allstars decide to dominate the stage a bit earlier than expected, which the crowd really did enjoy, we saw people standing on chairs, lots of dancing and a lot of crowd interaction, excellent. The band has an amazing set of instruments, and one of the lead singers, even has a bongo attached to him, so this can only really mean that the band are here to have a good time. Covers like 'No Woman No Cry' get the crowd singing extremely loud, and some original material like 'Pennies' also keep the audience really interested. So to put it simply, the band provide an exhilarating performance that sees the acoustic stage end really, REALLY well. To wrap todays event up on the main stage we have the mighty ska titans in Detached. Now if you have seen these guys before, then you will know that they can indeed put on one hell of a live show, and tonight, they do just that, from the start to finish we see a mosh pit running for the entire show, and bodies are flying everywhere (even on to the stage) which is of course only a sign of a good show. Stand out songs for us include 'Don't Bite The Crust' & 'Teeth Rattling Bone Shaker' which create a skatastic environment that end the event perfectly.
Review by Adam Gilbert Wellies and raincoats packed. It’s the festival which has all attendants praying for at least a glimmer of sunshine and this year Reading Festival provided, along with a weekend of stellar music. Friday saw Kings Lynn four-piece, Deaf Havana take to the main stage in front of an impressively sized crowd. The band played eagerly through their six song set which consisted only of songs from the most recent album, Fools and Worthless Liars. Though this may have left a few old school fans somewhat disgruntled, the most part of the 26,000+ crowd could be seen dancing and singing along without a care in the world. Not a bad way to open the festival at all. Cancer Bats didn’t quite manage to maintain the same level of viewers, but they certainly boosted energy levels nearer the front of the stage. Perhaps a band which would suit the Lock up stage a bit more, they still impressed and certainly woke up those who were feeling slightly sluggish after a Thursday night full of beer. Coheed and Cambria followed up fantastically, and even though not much time was taken out to communicate with the crowd, the thousands watching were wowed as Claudio Sanchez ditched the use of his plectrum and played sections of songs using his tongue and teeth. Impressive to say the least! There were rumours throughout the day that a certain Paramore front woman may join the guys from You Me At Six on stage, similar to 2010, but those expecting were left somewhat disappointed. Frontman Josh Franceschi did however pull a stunt which involved thousands in the crowd removing their tops and whirling them in the air to the bands new single, Reckless. Those waiting to catch a glimpse of Hayley Williams did not have to wait too long, as Paramore took to the stage in support of The Cure. Things have obviously changed since the band last played Reading’s main stage, in terms of the line up, but that is all. The band played enthusiastically throughout the hour-set as though nothing had changed. Both guys and girls wailing along to Paramore’s catchy tunes without a care in the world. All hangovers were forgotten about on Saturday morning as rumours spread that a certain American punk rock band may be opening the NME stage. Of course it was true, Green Day stormed the stage at 11:00 as Billy Joel labelled the bands ‘surprise’ set the “best worst kept secret”. The tent filled within minutes and resulted in thousands of fans watching the set via the main stage big screens, but that didn’t stop them from moshing away and following every single one of Joel’s commands. It’s fair to say that in the past few years the secret bands have been somewhat stale and boring, but this was special, and the thousands of people watching the set realised that. The band were rumoured to be playing their 1994 album, ‘Dookie’ in it’s entirety but instead played a catalogue of songs both old and very new, including their recent single ‘Only Love’. How do you follow up a cheeky surprise set from Green Day? Well, you can’t really, but Frank Carter’s new band Pure Love definitely gave it a good shot. The former Gallows man showed off a singing voice which no one really expected, but his punk-like stage presence still shone through. Though the band are yet to release their album it didn’t stop a good time being had by all.
On a personal note, Twin Atlantic were one of the highlights of the weekend. The Scottish band played a fantastic set but the way they concluded it made it all the better. Of all the years I have been going to gigs I was yet to see someone smash their guitar at the end of a set, similar to the likes of Kurt Cobain at Reading 1992. This was my time. Lead singer and guitarist, Sam McTrusty lofted his guitar above his head at the end of the last song, ‘Free’, and let his guitar have it, and it was beautiful. The guys from Don Broco are going up and up at the moment and their set on the Festival Republic Stage displayed this perfectly. Coming off the back of their just-released album, ‘Priorities’, the band bounce around the stage loving every moment. Even Rob losing his ear plugs during a rather reckless wall of death doesn’t dampen the set and the band leave on a high note by playing the most recent single from the album, Actors.
Enter Shikari seem to be quite the Reading festival veterans these days. Not ones to miss and despite the grey clouds which were looming overhead, nobody in their right minds was going to miss this set. Ever since they broke the record for crowd surfers at during Juggernauts in 2009 the crowd know what to do as soon as they hear the intro, and this year was no different. Hundreds of bodies being hoisted towards the security guards at the front whilst chaos ensues in the large mosh pit formed right in the middle. Another job well done from the Shikari lads.
It’s easy to forget how many hits Feeder have released but the band soon gave the brimming Festival Republic stage a bit of a reminder, and when Buck Rodgers kicked in, that’s when the whole tent got moving. A brilliant set from a band who like to dip in and out of the limelight, but let’s hope they stick around for a lot longer.
“The guys from Don Broco are going up and up at the moment and their set on the Festival Republic Stage displayed this perfectly.” Sunday was all about Foo Fighters, but there was of course a whole day of music to go yet before the bands album tour ending performance. All Time Low started the build up off with a set which had everyone singing along. They may not be a band that everyone likes, but their stage banter is second to none, definite crowd pleasers. They finish the set by giving the crowd a choice, new single, or ‘Dear Maria Count Me In”. I don’t need to tell you which the crowd went for, but a very honest thing for a band to do, pleasing instead of promoting. That Welsh bunch Bullet For My Valentine seem to have been hiding away in recent months, but they didn’t struggle to make the Reading main stage their own. The dust rising from the mosh pit was like nothing I have ever witnessed at a festival, with people coming out with t-shirts looking like they had been dyed brown. Needless to say, a great set and let’s hope we will be seeing more of Bullet in the near future. Gallows picked the short straw in the sense that half an hour into their set on the Lock-up stage, Foo Fighters were beginning their set on the main stage. This didn’t mean a thing to Wade McNeil and company as they played a set to be proud of. Gallows are looking fresh and rejuvenated and whether that’s due to the recent change of front man or not, we’re not complaining. Make sure you catch them on tour this year! So it was time. The crowd was growing larger by the second and as soon as Dave Grohl and co donned the stage they were welcomed with and almighty roar. The Foo Fighter’s two hour long set was jam-packed with classics, but also featured some touching and unforgettable moments. None more so than the moment Grohl dedicated ‘These Days’ to his old band mate, Kurt Cobain. During the mammoth set Grohl also paused for a moment to allow the crowd to sing happy birthday to his mother. A moment I’m sure she will never forget. It seemed fitting that the band ended with Everlong, the crowd sang along to every lyric and waved goodbye to what is believed to be the band’s last performance for a while. A great way to end a weekend, let’s just hope that next year’s line up will be as awesome as this years was.
It’s felt like a lifetime since Quantum of Solace hit our screens, but fear not, the latest addition to the James Bond series is out in just over a month, and we hope you’re as excited as we are. Skyfall is due to hit our screens on October 26th with Daniel Craig stepping back into his tuxedo to play the part of 007 for the third time. The renowned Sam Mendes is taking the reins for this one as director and Judi Dench returns once again to play the part of M. It has to be said that the cast for this film is one of the finest a Bond film has seen. As well as Dench and Craig, Skyfall also features Oscar nominated Javier Bardem as the villain and Ralph Fiennes as the regulator of MI6. If you’re not excited yet, we advise you watch the trailer, the plot of this one seems to be like no other. Roger Moore recently labelled Daniel Craig as the best James Bond, this film will definitely put that claim to the test. Will Bond survive? Of course he will, it’s never in doubt, but we want to see how he does it! Who would have thought that the original Paranormal Activity would result in having not one, but three sequels? It has to be said that the premise of the first film was somewhat original, and didn’t disappoint on the jump-factor, but can it be said that to have three sequels is slightly excessive, bordering desperate? The film picks up five years after Paranormal Activity 2, which saw the possessed Katie snatch baby Hunter, who is now called Robbie. Needless to say, some inexplicable events take place which are all caught on a handheld camera for us all to enjoy whilst we tuck into our toffee popcorn. The fourth installation of the supernatural horror series is set to hit the big screens on October 17th, so those who enjoy leaving the cinema a paranoid mess, make sure you scribble that one down in your diary. Us wimps at Stencil Mag will instead be on the sofa, eating ice cream and crying our way through Love Actually.
In terms of comedian actors to feature in a film, you can get much better than the line up provided in “The Watch”, yet somehow it’s hard to find anything good to write about the this supernatural disaster. The main plot involves Ben Stiller who lives in Glenville, Ohio. Stiller is left somewhat disgusted when he finds out his friend has been murdered after hours at the Costco store which they both worked at. This provokes him into starting a neighbourhood watch along with Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade in order to find the person/creature responsible. Throughout the movie there seems to be no real connection between the four actors and no real stand out moments to have a chuckle about after either. The quartet obviously end up having a tiff which results in them parting ways though you can be sure that they are re-united. The one good thing that can be said is that the film does through in a slight surprise in terms of the story line, and there are some cameos of whom you may recognise. That being said, a very forgettable cinema experience with the potential of no sequels, hopefully.
This fact-based sports film definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, however it is a film which presents a series of morals which you can take away despite you potentially not being into baseball. Moneyball tells the story of Oakland Athletic baseball season and their 2002 season under Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt. In this story of the real underdog, Pitt hires a youthful Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) as his Assistant General Manager and the pair make an attempt to make up for the gigantic finance differences which lie between the Oakland As and the larger franchises such as the Boston Red Sox. After a slow start and the loss of several doubting staff the team begin to start picking up results and from then on it’s onwards and upwards. As mentioned before, this is a sports documentary but it also tells the story of a working father trying to balance his career with spending time with his daughter, made harder by the fact that he is forever travelling. Some superb acting from both Pitt and Hill contributes to a film which will give you a lot of lessons to take from it. A story for those who like to back the ‘little guy’.
Developer. Grasshopper Malfunction Platform(s). 360, PS3 UK Release date: Out Now RATED: 18 So first off let's get it out of the way - yes everything about this game seems ridiculous and fundamentally I fear – this will be most peoples’ reason for buying it. Like most horror films the people who watch them are not 18+ year olds – it is 15 year olds thinking they are playing something a little bit naughty… if my assumptions are correct I wonder whether these ‘children’ will notice most of the things I am about to go through in this review, or that none of it will matter because the ‘OMG dude this game is crazy’ will see them fly off the shelves regardless… From the get go the game is pretty ‘full on’. Brash, in-your-face rock music hits you combined with the comic book style menu sequence. Awash with colour, it’s clear from the outset that this game has spawned from the ‘pop culture’ of zombies, boobs and foul language. All we need now is a kick ass main character and a narrative as bonkers as the rest of the ingredients and bam - we got a game. We play Juliet Starling; a cheerleader with assets firmly displayed on her chest, she has a cute voice and is overtly sexual both vocally and in body language. Oh and yes she loves lollipops, wields a chainsaw and happens to be a zombie hunter… as always I will avoid spoilers but I will give a little in order for you to understand what this game is all about… so Juliet is part of a Zombie hunting family made up of her Father and 2 sisters, her mother stays at home and I would like to point out: is always in the kitchen. So we start our story on Juliet’s birthday, she is on her way to meet her boyfriend Nick, when all of sudden zombies appear! Instantly we see Juliet’s combat skills as she easily dispatches of a group of zombies, and from there we begin to make our way around the school to find her beloved Nick. However, through events outside of our control, Nick gets bitten and so to him from becoming a zombie Juliet cuts off his head, then through a ‘magical ceremony’ her boyfriend survives as a head. We then must seek out what has caused the Zombies to turn up, and how we can stop them. Which I would have to say is one of the worst pieces of zombie lore I have ever heard. There are 6 main stages to the game - each of them ending in a boss battle, all of which are well designed and nicely varied, although rather predictable and rarely challenging. It is definitely clear that Lollipop Chainsaw narratively always seeks the easy way out, such as ‘magical ceremony’. The game is ridiculous and the narrative seems to stumble drunkenly along. In a game with such an insane premise it is important (to me anyway) that the game does not just serve as a gimmick, the only way they could do this was to create an engaging combat experience - to break it down: X button does normal melee combat weak attacks that stun zombie, A & Y button is for chainsaw attacks , B button is for dodging. Sound familiar? Well it should it’s the same as pretty much all of the 3rd person Unreal Engine games. War for Cybertron, and Spare Marine to name two. All you need to complete the clone is L trigger to aim and R trigger to shoot… oh wait, a few chapters in, you will receive the Chainsaw Blaster which does that very thing… Combat is rather linear, repetitive and uninventive. However on the plus it’s not frustrating but is gory and altogether bonkers (make of that what you will).
So what do we get for all this killing? Like with many games we’ve seen in the past 10 years – we are not expected to just kill the zombies, we are expected to kill with style. Through killing zombies and smashing boxes etc… you will generate ‘medals’ which you can use to increase you zombie killing powers in order to collect yet more medals… to maximise this, you will need to hone your skills in Sparkle Hunting. A ‘Sparkle’ is acquired by killing at least 3 zombies at once, some combos are awesome at this, however if you want an easier option just fill the bar in the bottom left, click R trigger and you will be an unstoppable killing force and get that medal collection up fast for a short period. Spend your hard earned currency at the CHOP2SHOP. From health upgrades to new combos as the game progresses you can really start to feel your zombie killing skills developing. The standard gold medals are easily acquired but after playing you will notice you have some platinum medals (OMG) with these you can buy special music playlists and more outfits, from super skimpy bikinis to my personal favourite the fury bunny outfit that is definitely the least revealing but most amusing. Lollipop Chainsaw is incredibly linear. As with most of it’s contemporaries you will feel like you are playing on train tracks. It is also a game based around the accursed ‘Action Buttons’ the icons will appear on the screen constantly signalling you to press a sequence of buttons (YAWN) it’s just a lazy, lazy, lazy approach to gameplay and I hated every moment of it. The only upside to this linear design is that you are never unsure of what to do or where to go, so you finish this bore fest very quickly: 6-7 hours. I was going to avoid bringing this up but my annoyance with this game reached an all time high at the inclusion of unavoidable ‘Mini games’ in stage 4 which includes an elevator game (pictured below) that was so off-topic it broke me, it would be like playing Forza then having to complete a round of Tetris before going onto the next race. Simply put, I don’t play a 3rd person shooting game because I love puzzles…. Why not just include more stupid but fun additions such as the combine harvester game – running over zombies with farm equipment… is more the sort of mini game I expect and kept within the context of the ‘story’. Longevity and/or replayablity will never be synonymous with this game. Though throughout the stages you will realise that you are acquiring points a ‘high score’ at the end of each level you are given a grade (in keeping with the school theme) this will then decide whether you get any bonuses and achievements for completing the stage. This can then be carried through to ranking mode, show off how good you are at killing zombies compared to the rest of the world. These scores are affected by time, score, sparkle and medals collected, but in all honesty there would have to be something wrong with you if you were willing to play this game for any length of time and there’s no multiplayer whatsoever! So the game’s saving grace (that’s right, it’s not all bad) is the writing, fans of the undead will be in for a treat with great lines such as ‘running zombies? What kind of idiot would come up with that?’, and as all fans of the genre will know, zombies never used to run! It’s only in recent years with films such as 28 days later (I know they said it was ‘rage’ but whatever) and the more recent Dawn of the Dead films to which the film maker James Gunn had a hand in writing Lollipop Chainsaw. Questions around this game being misogynistic are justified, unfortunately it is a game of our times, where shocking people and pushing boundaries makes money.
Circa Survive, Gallows, Yellowcard, Tonight Alive, While She Sleeps, The Menzingers, Nine Black Alps, Hell Is For Heroes, Light You Up, Chuc...
Published on Sep 24, 2012
Circa Survive, Gallows, Yellowcard, Tonight Alive, While She Sleeps, The Menzingers, Nine Black Alps, Hell Is For Heroes, Light You Up, Chuc...