Ash Dex Dominic Meason
Limp Bizkit, Anthrax, Slayer, Alice In Chains, Mastodon, Airbourne, Ghost, Karnivool, Gojira, Carnifex, Silverstein and Dropkick Murphys are amongst the latest bands added to Sonisphere 2014. Joining them will be Chas & Dave, Devin Townsend Project, The Sisters Of Mercy, The Virginmarys and Voodoo Six.
Mallory Knox have entered Moles Studio in Bath to begin recording their second album with producer Gil Norton. The likes of Bad Religion, Bowling For Soup, Bury Tomorrow, Opeth, Black Label Society and Flogging Molly are amongst the latest bands to be announced for this years Download Festival. The full list of additions are: Anti-Mortem Bad Religion Black Label Society Bowling For Soup Bury Tomorrow Danger Danger Flogging Molly Huntress Opeth Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals Powerman 500 Skid Row Tesla The Bosshoss The Gravel Tones
Architects have announced their new album will be titled 'Lost Forever//Lost Together' and is set to be released through Epitaph Records on 11th March. The likes of Saves The Day, Memphis May Fire, The Summer Set and Gnarwolves will join headliners Brand New at this years Hit The Deck Festival after organisers announced the first set of bands to play the Bristol and Nottingham event. In addition Nai Harvest, Brutality Will Prevail, Hands Like Houses, The Word Alive, Ghouls, Rat Attack, More Than Life, Verses, Palm Reader, People On Vacation, Patent Pending and William Beckett have been announced.
Luke Leighfield has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund his new album. Leighfield is aiming to travel to Cleveland, Ohio in March to record with producer Jim Wirt (Jackâ€™s Mannequin, The Rocket Summer and Something Corporate).
Fearless Records have announced they will be releasing 'Punk Goes 90s: Vol. 2' this year. I Am The Avalanche will release 'Wolverines' through Rude Records on March 18th.
The Fall of Troy have reformed will be releasing a free album later this year. The latest crop of bands for Southamptonâ€™s Takedown Festival have been announced with the likes of Black Spiders, Turbowolf and Hacktivist amongst the nine bands added to the lineup. Joining them will be The Howling, Smoking Hearts, Zoax, Ashes To Angels, Ugly Love and 6 Minutes To Sunrise. South Coast Post-Hardcore band Acres have joined Small Town Records. Their new EP is expected to be released early this year.
Verses have announced a UK headline tour with support coming from Crooks. February 02 Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms 03 Exeter Cavern 04 Leicester Scholar Bar 05 York Fibbers 06 Stoke Sugarmill 07 Bridgend Hobos 08 Norwich Epic Studios 09 Guildford Boiler Rooms 11 Brighton Hope 12 St Albans Horn The first batch of bands for Surreyâ€™s annual Redfest has been announced with The Blackout headlining the Total Uprawr stage. Other bands announced for the stage include TRC, Heart of a Coward, Heights, The Dirty Youth, LostAlone, Polar, Baby Godzilla, Astroid Boys, The Catharsis, Slaves, The One Hundred, and Rat Attack. Joining them will be Skies in Motion, Fathoms, Collisions, When We Were Wolves, Aurora, Our Hollow Our Home, A Moment Lost and Set Your Sails. Hampshire metallers Bury Tomorrow have announced their third album will be titled 'Runes' and will be released through Nuclear Blast on 26th May with a UK tour coinciding with its release. May 21 Stoke Sugarmill 22 Edinburgh Studio 24 23 Liverpool Academy 2 28 Oxford Academy 2 29 Cardiff Solus 2 30 Plymouth White Rabbit 31 Kingston Peel South Wales Pop-Punkers Manhattan Coast have announced their new EP will be called 'This One's For You' on 17th February.
Owls (Tim Kinsella, Mike Kinsella, Victor Villarreal, and Sam Zurick) will release their first album in 13 years on March 25th. 'Two' will be released through Polyvinyl.
As Is It, Miss Vincent and Nightlife will be touring the UK in February February 16 Guildford @ The Boileroom (w/out As It Is) 17 Glasgow @ Ivory Blacks 18 Newcastle @ Think Tank? 19 Manchester @ FAC251 20 Birmingham @ The Rainbow 21 Southampton @ Unit 22 Brighton @ Audio
Fort Hope have signed to LAB Records and will release their debut mini-album 'Courage' in May. Landscapes have been added as openers for Architects UK tour this Spring alongside Stray From The Path and Northlane. March 07 Manchester Academy 2 08 Glasgow ABC 09 Sheffield Leadmill 11 Cardiff Solus 12 Birmingham Institute 13 Southampton Mo Club 14 London Koko
Major League has parted ways with vocalist Nick Trask. Guitarist Brian Joyce will be taking over vocal duties for the time being, as the band has already begun writing material for a brand new album.
Real Friends will be returning to the UK in May for a headline tour with support coming from Modern Baseball and You Blew It! May 07 Kingston Fighting Cocks 08 Kingston Fighting Cocks 09 London Old Blue Last 10 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach 11 Southampton Joiners 12 Liverpool Korova 13 Glasgow Audio 14 Manchester Star & Garter 15 Norwich Epic Studios 16 Leicester Soundhouse
Restorations will be heading to the UK in April for a headline tour with support from Australiaâ€™s The Smith Street Band and Austriaâ€™s Astpai. April 15 Bristol Exchange 16 London Windmill 17 Manchester Star & Garter 18 Glasgow Audio 19 Liverpool Korova Lounge 20 Newport Le Pub 21 Cambridge Portland Arms 22 Kingston Fighting Cocks 23 London Old Blue Last 24 Southampton Joiners 23 Islington @ Academy 2 The next round of bands for Groezrock 2014 have been announced with Saves The Day, Red City Radio, Terror, Ignite, The Toasters, The Casualties, Crazy Arm, Apologies I Have None, The Charm the Fury and Priceduifkes joining the lineup.
Natives will release their debut album, 'Indoor War', on March 17th on Transmission Recordings.
Citizen, Diamond Youth and Headroom have announced a UK tour together and will take place in July. July 16 Norwich Epic Studios 17 Kingston Fighting Cocks 18 London Borderline 19 Southampton Joiners 20 Plymouth Tiki Bar & Diner 21 Bristol The Exchange 22 Birmingam The Flapper 23 Derby Victoria Inn 24 Glasgow Audio 25 Manchester Star & Garter 26 Leeds Cockpit Australiaâ€™s Hands Like Houses have announced their first UK headline tour and will take place this Spring. April Tues 22nd London Barfly Wed 23rd Southampton Joiners Thurs 24th Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach Fri 25th Birmingham Asylum 2 Sat 26th Sheffield Corporation Mon 28th Glasgow Cathouse Tues 29th Manchester Sound Control Wed 30th Leeds Cockpit 3 May Fri 2nd Dublin Academy 2 Sat 3rd Belfast Oh Yeah Centre March 08 London o2 Brixton Academy (sold out) 09 Birmingham o2 Academy (sold out) 10 Newcastle o2 Academy 11 Glasgow o2 Academy (sold out) 13 Manchester Academy (sold out) 14 Manchester Academy 15 London o2 Brixton Academy 17 Dublin Olympia Theatre 18 Belfast Ulster Hall 19 Dublin Olympia Theatre 21 Glasgow o2 Academy
Searching Alaska have announced they are splitting up due to personal commitments. Twin Forks will be heading to the UK in March in support of their forthcoming self-titled debut which is set to be released on 25th February through Dine Alone Records. March 17 Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London 18 Deaf Institute, Manchester 19 King Tuts, Glasgow 20 Whelans, Dublin, Ireland 22 Louisiana, Bristol 23 The Green Door Store, Brighton
Elder Brother, the newly formed indie-rock project from Kevin Geyer (The Story So Far) and Dan Rose (Daybreaker) will release 'Heavy Head' via Pure Noise Records on March 10th.
Rotting Out will play two UK dates in May as part of their European tour. May 04 Sheffield Broomhall Centre 05 London Borderline
William Beckett and Paradise Fears have been announced as support for The Summer Set's April UK tour. April 12 Leeds - Cockpit 13 Sheffield - Corporation 15 Newcastle - Academy 2 16 Glasgow - King Tuts 17 Manchester - Academy 3 18 Birmingham - Academy 2 22 Portsmouth - Wedgewood Rooms 23 London - Islington Academy Andover-based post-rock quartet Yearbook have announced their upcoming â€˜Old Bonesâ€™ EP will be released on March 5th and will be touring with Swim Deep in February.
OFF! have set an April 7th release date for their new album 'Wasted Years' via Vice Records. Manchester Orchestra will release their new album, 'Cope' on April 1st and touring the UK as well. April 07 Bristol Fleece 08 Birmingham Glee Club 10 London Scala 11 Manchester Club Academy 12 Glasgow SWG3
Code Orange Kids and Twitching Tongues will be playing four UK dates in March as part of a European tour. March 23 London Camden Underworld 24 Leicester Cookie Jar 25 Glasgow Audio 26 Manchester Star and Garter The new album from Chuck Ragan, 'Till Midnight' will be released on March 25th via SideOneDummy Records.
Arcane Roots have announced a UK headline tour taking place in April. Support comes from Empress and Boy Jumps Ship. April 09 Manchester Roadhouse 10 London Garage 11 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms 12 Edinburgh Electric Circus 13 Newcastle Think Tank
Interview with Alex
Can you tell us about the formation of ROAM? Costello and I went to school together and had always played music together. Costello met Sam at college and knew Charlie from football and Matt was a friend of a friend for all of us. So we were always friends before the band!
How did you get to the band name ROAM, and what does it mean to you? Finding a band name is literally 1000x harder than writing a song and we just couldn't do it. We sat down on my trampoline and scrolled through an iPod until we found a song name we liked the sound of so it came from a TSSF song!
How did you end up on the awesome 'Pinky Swear Records' and what have they been like to work with so far? We started doing press with Inception Press and they really took us under their wing and helped us a lot. They put us in touch with Lee Burgess at PSR and he was really keen to work with us. From there we got it all done and it's come out really well, Lee & Connor have been great to work with!
So as an upcoming Melodic Pop Punk band then what sets you apart from the rest? I think we bring a more raw sound compared to some other bands about at the moment, the energy behind our live set is also something we are really proud of.
Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for 'Head Down'? We wrote the record over summer and released the video for our single Head Rush in July and that went down really well, we went back to the studio and got the rest of the record done in September. We worked with Ian Sadler at Emmeline studios and he was really great.
What was the hardest part behind putting together 'Head Down' for you guys, and why? I think the hardest part for us was probably cutting songs that weren't working, everyone has parts they like and don't like and to us it's really important everyone's happy with everything before we hit the studio.
You've stated that â€œThere's a lot of people willing to sit back and let everything happen for them (or not as the case may be), and then they complain about the situation they're in,â€? so with this in mind, can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout your music? Yeah, it's just that there are so many people who complain about the situation they're in but aren't willing to put the work in to get out of it, it's a big theme in our writing. It's something that this generation needs to address, everyone seems to think the world owes them something.
Who came up with the artwork for 'Head Down' and what does it mean to you? Jordan Pryke did the artwork for the EP, if we're honest there was no real relevance to us, we just thought it was really striking and cool!
As a pop punk band, then what's your opinion on this scene at the moment, and also, what other bands would you really like to tour with from this style of music, and why? I think it's really improving right now, smaller bands like Neck Deep & Knuckle Puck are putting out such solid releases and paving the way for new bands to grow. Especially in the UK I think the scene is really growing in a big way. I think we'd all love to tour with bands like Set Your Goals, Knuckle Puck & The Wonder Years to name a few.
What else can we expect from ROAM in 2014? We just want to get out and tour in 2014 and see new places and meet everyone!
Interview with Jono
What's it been like performing some of your new material live, and how happy have you been with the response to it so far? It's been a breath of fresh air. We hadn't played them together since we wrote them, so it was great fun to get jamming again. Usually we have to adapt songs for live, but with these they were already crafted with our live shows in mind.
Also, how did your recent tour go with Mallory Knox, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road with them? Just selling out shows; it's the best feeling in the world. We shared a bus with them and had one of the best months we've ever had. Great bunch of lads who deserve all the success they're getting.
How did you end up on Red Bull Records? We've worked closely with Red Bull for years. We recorded our first album in their studios, and when they heard the demos for this one, they wanted us to put pen to paper and sign. They're the best label out there as far as I'm concerned. It's not about signing a band to make a quick buck, because they don't need the money. They're the differential in an industry that is having to reinvent itself to sell records. For them, it's all about developing a band from grass roots, and watching it grow. It's refreshing. Everyone who works there is so enthusiastic about music and our band, so that feeling is contagious!
How did you get to the album title The Good Youth and what does it mean to you? It's about holding on to your youth and making the most of it. There are kids out there who are depressed, anxious, self-harming, and hating themselves. We're here to say, "Hey, stop it. You're young and full of potential, so get out there!" It's the record I wanted to hear when I was 15 in my bedroom thinking the world was against me. It's not. The only person against you is yourself, and as soon as you get out of that negative headspace, you can see that you've put a barrier between yourself and a world that is beautiful and full of opportunity.
With Billy and Ian not in Blitz Kids anymore, can you tell us what the writing and recording process was like for The Good Youth, and how you think it compares to what you've done before? I've always written all of the songs, so not much changed in that respect. I started writing less on my own, and started bouncing off the other guys more, which really helped, and I think this record is just a cocktail of everything about music that we all love.
How would you say you have progressed musically as a band since your formation? So much; I'm playing my guitar every day, whereas previously I'd perhaps not have done. We're all striving to become the best musicians we can possibly be, and I think it comes across in how much better the songs are now.
Who came up with the album artwork idea for The Good Youth and again, what does it mean to you? It was Joe. The concept is that you can be anything you want to be. If you put a unicorn skull over your face, then for that moment, you're a unicorn. The possibilities are endless. There are no barriers outside of your mind, so explore yourself and show the world who you want to be.
What do you want The Good Youth to do for the status and representation of Blitz Kids? I think it will represent us in a much more honest way. This is us now. As for status, I think it's a bad idea to expect things when you release an album. We've made that mistake before. I just want to carry on playing in this band, and keep creating music with my friends, and hopefully people won't get bored of us!
What else can we expect to see from Blitz Kids in 2014? Plenty of tours; we'll be on the road for the vast majority of the year, so get down to a show!
Interview with Ben & Lew
Can you tell us about the formation of Nai Harvest? Ben - We started the band a few years ago with two other friends as a mess about. After a few months our old drummer had to leave and Lew got in touch and said he wanted to join. Shortly after that, our bassist left and we tried a few people out for the third position but basically couldn’t be bothered to teach them the old songs, so we just managed as a two instead. We prefer it that way now.
How did you get to the band name Nai Harvest, and what does it mean to you? Ben - It's just some stupid reference to something I read once. The name doesn't mean anything, but this band means a hell of a lot to us, I just got Nai Harvest tattooed on my leg.
For those unfamiliar with Nai Harvest, and as you are a two piece, then can you tell them a bit about your sound? Ben - Well, we play indie rock infused emo/punk, usually really loud.
Also, as a two piece, then how does a song normally come together with you guys? B&L - We usually just come to practice with either a riff/beat we’ve been working on and just jam around that until something cool comes out! In the old days Ben would normally write the full structure and Lew would drum over it but we’ve got it down now… we’re both in agreement that the latest stuff we’ve been writing is the best yet, and hopefully there’s even better to come.
Can you tell us about what acts have influenced your style of music since starting out, and why? Ben - For me, at first it was bands like The Get Up Kids and Algernon Cadwallader, but now I don't really have any 'influences' on what we write, it's just Nai Harvest now. A lot has changed since day one. Lew – I’m very similar to be honest… basically I wanted to sound as twinkly as possible when I first joined. Sometimes I’ll be influenced by certain patterns or structures, but never really by bands anymore. I just play what comes out!
How did your recent tour go with Gnarwolves, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Ben - Gnarwolves tour was unreal, best tour we've done to date. Max (Gnarwolves) won a sort of ipad from a service station game on that tour, that was pretty funny, we all thought it was impossible. We also get to eat a lot of pizza, drink and generally piss around, so touring is one big highlight. Lew – I tend to get really homesick on tour but this last one made me feel at home; those guys are so great and everyday was a laugh. My personal highlight was the Toby Carvery by far!
So, can you tell us about the lyrical content that runs throughout 'Hold Open My Head'? Ben - It's mostly about having a lot of stuff to think about at the same time and giving more time to the unimportant stuff like touring, partying, drawing, skating etc, rather than the stuff that really matters; like my education, a real job and a meaningful relationship with a woman. It's basically a sorry note to my mum and dad for being a punk.
We've read that you have added a fuzz pedal and toned down the shouting on the ‘Hold Open My Head’' release. So how would you say this release compares overall to what you did on 'Whatever'? Ben - It's super different to Whatever, just the song structures are more thought out, the guitar tones are smoother and the riffs are less frantic too. We can definitely rock out more to this new record live and that's all I care about.
Looking back on 'Whatever' then how happy have you been with the response to this record, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Nai Harvest? Ben - Whatever made us realise we could at least try to be a 'real band'. It was an eye-opener for us that so many people got so into it. Lew – Yeh, I think the fact that people were into the record made us want to write even more accessible stuff (as Whatever was going to be our last release as a band). I guess it was a ‘go ahead’ for us to keep writing.
Can you tell us about how the album artwork came together for 'Hold Open My Head' and what does it mean to you? Ben - Our friend James Fisher did it for us; we're both illustrators and I really like his work. The reason we chose James is because his work has that chilled out (almost not bothered) vibe, which is what we felt the music sounded like. In terms of content, we just asked for flowers, and that’s what came out!
What else can we expect to see from Nai Harvest in 2014? Ben - Loads of shows as usual, some bigger tours and maybe something towards a second album.
Interview with Jason
Can you tell us about the formation of Iron Chic, as well as a bit about the bands sound? . Phil and I have been friends for years. After Latterman broke up he played drums briefly in my previous band Small Arms Dealer, and as that band was starting to fizzle out we talked about starting a new band with the intent to try and do it as a more full time thing. Phil assembled a crew of guys and we started writing some songs which would eventually become the demo. Personal and health issues led to Dumps and Rob taking over on bass and guitar respectively and that’s where we are at now. I’m kind of terrible at describing our sound but when pressed I might say that we sort of sound like if D4 and Superchunk had a hairy, weird looking, less talented baby but that may just be wishful thinking.
How did you end up signing to Bridge Nine Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? A friend of mine put me in touch with Seth at Bridge Nine. We spoke a bit and after a little back and forth it started to look like they were going to be a good fit. I can honestly say that they have been very easy to work with so far, I imagine it’s much more frustrating for them to have to deal with us.
Can you tell us about the recording process for your new record ‘The Constant One’? Phil Douglas recorded this record in his studio/bedroom/basement. The process was pretty much everyone playing the songs live while I smoked cigarettes and pressed the spacebar on the computer. Sometimes a spider would come down from the ceiling and listen for a little bit... After that we did all the vocals and some days our friends would come down and help with that for a few hours while Phil hit the spacebar. Then Phil would obsess over the mix for a few weeks before just giving up and the next thing you know there’s a finished record.
How happy have you been with the response to it so far? The response has been really great so far. It’s honestly been better than we could have hoped for.
The album features themes of communication, perseverance, and self-worth, so can you tell us about how your influences have grown as a band over the years, as well as what other themes we can expect to hear on 'The Constant One'? Our influences are always changing a bit, I guess, but there are certain sounds and ideas that will always shape what we do. It’s always a little bit hard for me to talk about things like themes in the lyrics because it’s honestly not something I really think about too much when writing, but for me this record is really just about personal relationships and how we all fit together in the grand scheme of things. I always try to write in a way that leaves room for people to take what they want from the lyrics and while these songs are extremely personal and important to me, once they are out there then they no longer just belong to us anymore, so I try to keep that in mind.
Can you tell us about how a song normally comes together for you guys? Usually Phil will come to practice with some kind of vague idea for a song guitar-wise. We’ll fart around with it for a while until it starts to make sense and when that happens I’ll start to work on the lyrics. Most of the time I’ll have a bunch of semi finished songs to work on so I’ll hang out with phil and bounce ideas around while he drinks beer and plays the songs on his computer.
The artwork for your new album is really cool, can you tell us about how it came together, as well as what it means to you? Thank you, I was pretty happy with how it all came out. As I’ve said I’m pretty bad at describing the creative process but I can tell you that the artwork was the product of a lot of procrastination, and a fair amount of staring at a blank computer screen for hours at a time! I’m not sure how to say what it means to me exactly because I don’t usually ascribe any particular emotion or intent to my artwork in general. I just kind of started drawing the first weird thing that popped into my head but when it was done I felt that something clicked and it just fit somehow.
You hit Europe earlier in the year, how was it heading over the pond and what was the highlight? This was our second trip and both times were amazing experiences. I got a little sick this last trip so it was a little rougher on me than the first but I still had a great time. With all the really great shows and bands and people it’s very hard to pick a highlight. We played a few bigger festivals, which is always a little weird to us but it was surreal in a good way to share the stage with bands like Flag and Propaghandi and one of my personal highlights was the person dressed like kick-ass stage diving at Groezrock!
You’ve had 5/6 releases in various formats, so how much different is recording now than it was at the start? We’ve recorded pretty much everything we’ve ever done in the same dingy basement that we practice in, so for the most part it hasn’t changed much at all. We will experiment a little bit on each recording as far as things like using different microphones or amp placement or whatever but most of the time the process is pretty much the same as it’s been from the beginning. We have considered recording somewhere different but the fact that we have the ability and the equipment to do it ourselves has kept us from trying that so far.
With a successful year of tours and a great album behind you, what is the aim for 2014? We’d like to try and get out on the road as much as possible and maybe start working on another full length at some point. We’ll be heading out in late february for a 7 week US tour and then another trip to Europe in May, so our plates are pretty full.
Interview with Will
Mothers Ruin dropped at the end of September, how pleased are you with the reaction to it so far? We are really happy with it. It has been a riot this year, people have started the pits before we've got on the stage.
How did your recent show at Warped Tour go, and what was this whole experience like for you guys? Warped was fun, playing The King is Dead in a palace was a career highlight... Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) is a wicked place to say you've played. We had over 1000 people to come and see us downstairs on the 'Kevin Says' stage and they went off... great people, great venue, great show...love to do it again..
Was the albums recording process approached any differently from â€˜Portraitsâ€™ given the experience you have racked up in the two years since then? 'Portraits' was a London town based recording where we camped in the studio, Mother's Ruin was a bit different in that we had a converted Methodist Chapel in Lincolnshire with a house so while in the gaze of the Lord we recorded 10 tracks over about 10 days. We hammered out and were completely cut off from civilisation. There was nothing civilised about the inside either...cabin fever, Oliver Reed would have been proud of some of the events that occured, let's leave it at that.
You worked with Dan Weller on the debut before and he has some big credits to his name, what did he offer in helping shape the album? I think when you click on a personal level with someone then you're on to something good. We've basically made these two records with a good mate. It's just relaxed but focused, we all know what we want and everyone is willing to chip in because no one's a jerk.
The lyrical content of the songs seem to have the state of the world today at their heart, did you go into it with the intention of making it relevant to England in 2013? Well, we mention England a lot but I think that's because it's what we know, where we’ve grown up etc...if we were from Wales we'd be singing about Wales. The songs reflect events/affairs/scandal that we see everyday. It's a "fun" subject to approach as everyday is a song isn't it?? For me Punk is about reaching into the problem and pulling out its guts and displaying them on a table so in years to come you can look back and see it. Embarrass the ones that caused the problem and make sure their legacy isn't forgotten.
The video for England Breathes is visually very striking and memorable, what is the story behind both the video and the song itself? England Breathes is about an island and the way that people come and go from its Cities and towns. It’s about how people come and go from its coast lines and country side, it's about immigration and the way people feel differently about it and about how racism still babbles below the surface in some guises. It's a positive song saying that old archaic attitudes do nothing for us...they slow everything down. Everywhere is a multi culture and it makes us more interesting and more curious about each other.
The punk influence on the Max Raptor sound is obvious but there seems to other less obvious influences there too, can you talk us through some of them? There's a definite Canadian/American thing going on in our guitar tones but not on a mass level. We've got similar bass tones to The Stranglers. We always sing British, we're not about singing with an epic American accent, that is a horrible thing to do. We're all about energy but want to add interest so each song is different.
How do you prepare to play a festival or supporting the likes of Skindred in comparison to your own crowd on headlining shows? Approach it how you would any other show. It's great to play with bands with bigger profiles, you have just got to get out there and do your thing!
2013 was quite a year for the band with some pretty relentless touring and big shows, what was the highlight gig for you and why? Highlight has to be Ynot Festival/2000 Trees festival 2013 or maybe even Warped. They were the shows that said to us, "we're doing something right"....some of the best crowds I've ever played to,well, the best infact...
With the show schedule starting to fill up already, what else is on the agenda for Max Raptor in 2014? Well, we’ve just completed a headline tour in the UK! We may have a single come out a bit further down the line and festivals start soooo early so we'll probably getting on those early doors...March/April time.
Interview with Keith
You’re currently touring in the US with letlive and Code Orange Kids, how is it going so far, and do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you'd like to share with us? The venues are tiny, our sets are fairly long, the air is thick and the crowd is nuts. so it’s going great. I'm doing it sober which means the highlights are me in bed before midnight and not waking up wishing I was dead.
After your tour dates in the US you are heading to Europe/UK in February to support A Day To Remember along with The Story So Far, so how excited are you for this, and what can attending fans expect from the show? On the imaginary scale you speak of then I’d say we're in the thrilled to exhilarated tier! We played a show with ADTR in Toronto over the summer and we all just started chatting because our "dressing rooms” were across from each others. We all got along exceptionally well but we didn't really talk business or anything, just got on a level. Not long after that we got offered a tour, which is great because we already know that behind the scenes, things will run smoothly. I don't really know what anyone should expect if they're watching us from a distance! Hopefully they'll see bodies flying off the stage in time to our rock riffs.
Also, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from touring the UK over the years? The shows in the UK tend to be some of the craziest in the world for us and I'm not just saying that because this is a UK publication. I've said it to anyone that asks. We played a place called Fighting Cocks last year and it was hotter than playing on the surface of the sun. I couldn't believe people were alive after it. Most bands will say that shows like that are terrible because they're uncomfortable and out of tune, but that’s what makes live music fun. We want that energy, and you guys have it in spades.
You guys always tour with diverse bands, or maybe bands that you wouldn't be 'expected' to tour with. So what bands are still out there that you'd really like to tour with? I can't speak for the rest of the guys but I’d love to tour with Brand New. They just played in my hometown and it was in the top three best shows I've ever seen come through Buffalo.
As you are just ending the Ex Lives tour cycle, how happy are you with this release, and what do you think it has done for you guys as a band? I couldn't be happier with Ex Lives as a whole. My one regret is that there are songs on it we never even played live. I think it let people know that even though we're getting older our music has no intention of slowing down or getting "commercial". We want to give it fast and hard and that’s what we'll do.
What have been your most favorite tracks to play live of Ex Lives, and why? Underwater Bimbos is always fun because it comes out of nowhere and I love the look on peoples faces when they realize what song it is. My favorite song NOT to play is Revival Mode. I don't know why we don't play it, but once we realized that we had never done it, then I think we decided we're not ever going to do it. Has a band ever done a video for a song they have not played live even once? We have.
What new bands have you been listening to, that you think have really made an impact/or that have maybe done something really unique recently? Well Code Orange Kids for sure. Their work ethic is unreal. they'll play a show and jump in the van to go play some guys basement by midnight, it’s great. I hope people check them out.
What can we expect to see from Every Time I Die in 2014? A new record. A bunch of live music. It’s going to be a good year.
Interview with Dan
Can you tell us about the formation of this project? I was tour managing Kevin's band and we would mess around with riffs on an acoustic guitar that wouldn't have really fit with either of our other projects. We ended up convincing Jake at Pure Noise to get us two weeks of studio time with Sam Pura, we came in with ideas and then worked out the songs with Charles and Matt from The American Scene.
How did your first show as Elder Brother go, and what was this whole experience like for you guys? The first shows were a lot of fun. Playing with our friends in Misser was cool and it was cool to have Kevin over to the east coast. We had a great turnout and response in both Hartford and Boston. Overall it was a very positive experience.
What made you want to release 'Throw Me To The Wolves' first from the record, and how happy have you been with the response to this track so far? It seemed like the best track to introduce the band with. There are a lot of different vibes on the record but we felt this would be the best one to show first. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive and we are extremely happy and thankful that so many people are checking it out and liking it.
With your main bands being located on opposite sides of the states, what has it been like to put this record together overall then? Well since Kevin and I see each other relatively often through touring then it wasnâ€™t that hard. iPhone demos these days sound awesome, so we could send each other high quality recordings of ideas whenever we weren't on the road together. We gave ourselves about a week with Matt and Charles to make all of our ideas into full songs which was a fun challenge in itself. We all had a great time doing it.
There's additional contributions from Matthew and Charles Vincent on this record, so how did these collaborations come about, and what were those guys like to work with on this record? Matt and Charles are some of our better friends, and Kevin and I have both toured with them numerous times. So when it came to a rhythm section to help put the record together we knew we wanted to play with them. They had a huge influence on how the songs came out, the songs would have come out entirely different if we had written them with someone else.
Can you tell us about the main themes & influences that run throughout 'Heavy Head'? We just wanted to try to make a vibe-y, organic, live sounding record and we wanted to try to write it in a short amount of time. Neither of us had done anything like that with either of our other bands so we set ourselves up with Sam Pura at the Panda Studios with that goal in mind.
Interview with Will
How did your last headlining UK tour go, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? The last headlining run we did was really fun. We played with seahaven and Save Your Breath (WALES) and we couldn't have asked for a better time. I think the craziest thing that happened was a roof/floor collapsed as we were playing in Southampton. That was pretty scary.
How happy have you been with the growth of your fan base in Europe so far, and also, where else would you really like to tour over here? We couldn't be happier, getting to play shows in other countries half way across the world. Finland would be cool.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with A Day To Remember, and what can attending fans expect? I'm stoked; it hasn't really hit me that we're going over again and in such big rooms. Fans can expect to hear our jams, nothing new, and nothing crazy.
As these are all pretty big venues on this tour, and as you guys normally have people stage diving at your shows, then do you ever worry about how your band will adapt to playing venues where the crowd are a lot further away? Somewhat, it's more on us to bring that energy we have from the small rooms and bring it to a big stage. Match that intensity. Basically, we'll go up there and play our best, every night. We're there to play music.
How would you say touring over here, compares to touring back home in the USA? It's totally different, you're in a different routine, you get treated better. People are a lot nicer in Europe than America and they respect you more.
So looking back on the release of 'What You Don't See' then how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of The Story So Far? I'm still incredibly happy with the record. It's where we're at musically really, as a band, it's a good representation of what each member excels at with their playing.
If you had to pick, which song from 'What You Don't See' are you enjoying performing live the most at the moment, and why? Bad Luck, it's tough to be solid at it, and itâ€™s a good song to keep us on our toes.
Kevin Geyer just announced Elder Brother, so with this in mind can you tell us if between you if you have any other side projects on the go at the moment? I've got some friends over at the Panda Studios and we're just playing heavy music. It's one of the best feelings to be able to branch out and play different music with different people. It's refreshing.
You guys have been an essential part of the pop punk scene over the last couple of years, so how would you say this 'scene' has grown or progressed since you first started out? There are a lot of pop punk bands now. I don't know if that's good or bad, maybe annoying, but oh well.
Also, can you give us a couple of bands to look out for that also come from California? Souvenirs, Rotting Out and Seahaven.
What else can we expect to see from The Story So Far in 2014 then? A little bit of touring and music. We're going to take some time off, we haven't had a moment at home since Summer 2012 so we're ready to relax for a while.
Interview with Tim
How did your recent tour go with Taking Back Sunday, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? It was amazing, we had a blast. The TBS dudes were so good to us - really made us feel at home. We played a bunch of wiffle ball together. They're NY Yankees fans, and we're Sox fans. We had NY vs BOSTON wiffle ball games whenever we could find a makeshift field. We'd show up late to soundcheck on the regular due to intense stick ball games! Also, Adam had to head home for a bit during the tour for personal reasons...and the TBS dudes asked Joe to sing "Number Five with a Bullet" with them for a few nights. It was amazing to see one of us sing for them.
Looking back on Young New England, how happy have you been with the response to this record so far, as well as what it has done for the 'status' and representation of Transit? Some people loved it... some people hated it. I kind of like that, though. We're still doing our thing and working hard on music we love to make and play.
You've also just released a new EP, Futures & Sutures, featuring tracks which have been stripped down. How did you come to the decision to put out something like this? We did something similar in the past on an EP called "Something Left Behind," and thoroughly enjoyed it - so we decided to revisit the idea. It's beautiful to be able to re-visit a song. It's like a second revision of a painting. You get to take the elements you like, and mix them in with new ideas you've grown into. You really saddle the song into the comfort zone you've developed around it. I like doing it - maybe we can keep doing it every so often.
What did you enjoy the most about putting the EP together? I loved adding all of the percussive and programming elements to some of the songs. It's up my alley and we never really get to go down that street. We got to get weird, while keeping it Transit esque. I liked that.
How did you get to the album title 'Futures & Sutures' and what does it mean to you guys? Joe came up with it. Seeing as we were revisiting already existing songs, the title pertains to a new Transit taste mixed with the songs that exist as the beams of our whole vessel.
Gary Cioffi's is a close family member, so how did you end up working with him on this release, and what was that process like for you guys? Gary may as well be the sixth member of Transit. We love working with him, it's always natural and smooth. He is the smartest, most passionate, and overall best producer I've ever met.
You've announced an acoustic tour, so what can your fans expect from that, and also as a band how excited are you to do something like this? We've always wanted to do something like this. We're bringing the whole band and really trying to turn the whole thing into a memorable experience. We want it to feel like you're sitting in a living room with us. Super chill, good vibes.
Can you tell us about the side projects that run through Transit, as well as what each of them have been up to over the last couple of months? Well, I have a side band called Misser. It's me and my wonderful friend Brad singing. Torre from Transit plays guitar with me. Our homie John plays bass. Our other good homie Mikey kills it behind the skins. Brad and Mikey live about 3,000 miles from the rest of us, so we make things happen when we can! It tends to be few and far between. We all met through playing in bands - Brand and Mikey used to play in This Time Next Year and Set Your Goals. John sings in a hardcore band called Code Of Kings. We've all got real different backgrounds, so we just go for this new thing with Misser. It's a lot more aggressive than Transit. It's fun to have another outlet for songwriting. Joe plays in a band called Long Lost with a bunch of guys from around here. They're a little more on the mellow side, it's really awesome music. Beautiful guitars and awesome drumming. Strong vocals. Misser and Long Lost did some shows together right after christmas, with Transit. It was a blast, hopefully we can do that more in the future!
What can we expect to see from Transit in 2014? Hard work, and music flow.
Interview with Matty
So, how happy have you been with the response to 'Before It Caves' so far? Yeah we have been super stoked on the response. This record has a different vibe then the previous ones.
What songs have you been enjoying performing live the most of 'Before It Caves' at the moment, and why? â€˜Conquest of Mistakesâ€™ for sure because it has the energy and the melody that just get me amped to play live!
So, how did you get to the album title 'Before It Caves' and what does it mean to you? We named it that because our band has been around for a long time and have seen the scene go through all its changes. Basically saying we need to build this community and keep it a fun positive thing before it caves.
Can you tell us about the main themes & influences that run throughout 'Before It Caves'? We never plan anything. We just hit the studio with our best friends and some beer and let the fun happen.
How would you say you have progressed musically since the release of 'No Sanctuary'? I'd say lyrically we always grow as time goes on. I love no sanctuary though!
Looking back on 'No Sanctuary' how happy are you with this record now, as well as what it has done for the 'status' and representation of A Loss For Words? I feel like no sanctuary certainly had a huge buzz for our band and got us a lot of cool tour opportunities including vans warped tour. People really got behind that release.
How did you end up collaborating with The Wonder Years, Polar Bear Club, and PVRIS on this album, and what did they bring to the recording process overall? Well last record we had no guest vocals at all so we decided to go get some great friends with different style voices and just have some fun. Who better to have then soupy who's been a solid friend for years. Jimmy pbc who I think is one of the greatest lyricist and front man of our generation. Lynn plays in an amazing band called PVRIS. She has played guitar for us before and is such a talented musician and song writer!
What else can you tell us about the recording process for this record? We went back to the studio where our band basically started! With our great friend and amazing producer Chris curran. We couldn't be happier with everything.
What was the hardest part behind putting together 'Before It Caves' for you, and why? Well we were one guitarist short on this record because our great friend and ex-guitar player Nevada got married and chose to focus on that. Which we understood and respected! So we all had to step it up a bit.
What was the 'The Kids Can't Lose' video like to shoot, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the video? Yeah the video is filmed in our home town where all the artwork for the record was taken by my sister Lindsey. The video is about two troubled teens who are going through a lot in their life's. they are both on the edge of suicide but through their love for each other they over come and make the right choice.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with The Wonder Years, and what can attending fans expect? Stoked to hit the road with our boys in The Wonder Years again these are some of our best friends. We love playing the UK because the people over there always show us such an amazing time!
Can you give us a couple of your personal highlights from touring the UK over the years? Just honestly meeting such amazing friends like Light You Up and Save Your Breath among the many other great UK bands we've shared the stage with! Seeing the different cities. We do this band for the experience. There is no money in this scene for a band at our level. Just living this life while we can. Couldn't be happier.
What else can we expect to see from A Loss For Words in 2014? Touring, music videos, and magic.
Interview with Anthony
How did you end up signing to Hopeless Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? When our last contract ended and we started to get ready to make this record, we started speaking to a lot of labels. We wanted to be on a label that would be like teammates more than anything. We felt right away that Hopeless would be a great fit for us. When we spoke to them in the beginning, it just felt like we were talking to friends and like minded people who had a common goal as us. So far, it has been great and exactly as we expected and hoped.
How did you get to the album title 'CULT' and what does it mean to you guys? "Bayside is a Cult" has always been a slogan for the band. Our fans have called themselves a cult for years. When we listened back on the record, it sounded to us like a great representation of everything Bayside has been since the beginning. There are characteristics of every Bayside record here. "CULT" felt like a good way to some up what we think is the quintessential Bayside album
You've stated that 'The year that we spent making this record was both the most difficult and most exciting time of my life' so can you tell us about the main themes & influences that run throughout 'CULT'? Musically we were inspired by a lot of the same stuff we always have. We try and blend punk, pop and metal and we've never been afraid to explore weird keys, time signatures and styles. We try and make technical and aggressive music that is also heavy on melody. Lyrically, the record focuses a lot on the questions I felt myself asking the past year. I have thought a lot about life and death and the meaning of it all. I have thought about what the generation and I are supposed to be accomplishing with our time here and what my legacy will be when I'm gone.
How did you end up working with Shep Goodman & Aaron Accetta, and what were like to work with on the recording process of 'CULT'? Shep had produced our Self Titled and Walking Wounded albums years ago. While we were writing this record, it had that classic Bayside feel to it and reminded us of those albums. It seemed like a no brainer to get back in the studio with Shep.
You also stated that 'All four of us lost a lot of sleep over every decision that we made on this record' so what else can you tell us about the writing & recording process for this record, and how would you say the process has compared to what you've done on records prior to this? We spent almost 3 years writing this record. Some of the songs on the album were written years ago while some of them were written the day they were recorded in the studio. We questioned every chord change, every guitar lead, every lyric, drum fill and melody over and over to make sure it was the absolute best idea. I would say that it is the most we have ever scrutinized any record we have ever done.
What would you say was the hardest part about putting together 'CULT' for you guys, and why? We have been a band for 14 years CULT is our 6th record. We figured out what Bayside was meant to sound like a long time ago and we always want to maintain all of the main characteristics that make up our sound while still improving on them. It forces us to constantly raise the bar for ourselves and push ourselves to make each song that much better. The lyrics need to be better, the melodies need to be better and all of the musicianship needs to be that much better because we are painting with a similar pallet. We need to up the anti.
How would you say the punk rock/alternative rock scene has changed since you guys first started out as Bayside? We feel like the scene changes drastically between every record that we make, let alone from when we first started the band. I'm glad to say that it seems like music is becoming a lot more important again and that is thanks to a lot of the younger bands teaching the younger fans the right lessons. When we started the band in 2000, it was sort of the pop punk golden age. We were experiencing all of the pop punk bands release genre defining albums and it was so inspiring to be a part of. Into the late 2000s, things started going too pop and too image based. It started looking bleak for a while. I think bands like Title Fight, Balance and Composure, The Menzingers etc.. really shot a much needed dose of excitement into the alternative scene again. Things feel fresher and more real than they have in years.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Alkaline Trio? We are very excited for that tour. We love touring in the UK and Europe any chance that we get and to go over and open for a band that are not only great friends but very like minded musically is the best case scenario for every band. We just toured together in the US last spring and most of the fans told us that those were their favorite shows ever. With us and Alkaline Trio being cut from a similar cloth, we get a lot of people that tell us that we are their two favorite bands and they get to see us on one show. The fans in the UK and Europe are in for a very special show.
You guys have toured here a lot over the years, so can you give us a couple of personal highlights from touring here? We did the Give it a Name festivals in Manchester and London a few years back and at the time, they were the biggest indoor shows that we had ever played and our first time playing in arenas. That was a really special moment for us. Also, I always think about a headline show that we did in a small room at Rock City in Nottingham very fondly. It was a lot smaller than a lot of bigger support shows and festivals that we've done in the UK, but I'll always remember the feeling of the crowd singing along really loud at that show. It was one of those sobering moments for me when I realized that something I wrote thousands of miles away years early was resonating with people in a country that I never thought I would get to as a kid. It was a very proud moment that I remember very vividly.
Interview with Arya
For those who don't know who Skindred are, can you give us a brief introduction to the band and who you are? Well Skindred have been around for about 12 years now. We're about to release our fifth record which is called "Kill The Power", and I play drums in the band. When the band started the singer, Benji was in a band called Dub War in the 90's and when Dub War disbanded he put together a new project. I joined the band 12 years ago, just after the release of the first record Babylon. But you've got four very different people in the band that listen to completely different stuff, but we all like heavy music, so thatâ€™s sort of the common thread. But because we all have such different tastes we can draw from all different types of genre's. We're not a crossover band, we're essentially a rock band that take ideals from different places.
Union Black was received with very good reviews and an all round great reception, so what was this like for you? I wasn't expecting anything. The first three records we did in the states because our label and managers are there. We had a certain amount of success there, but with Union Black we wanted to record it in Britain and do something British because we're proud of where we're from. Benji was touching on some serious stuff too, he was really digging in deep and that was quite potent to the rest of us. But when it came out we didnâ€™t know how it was going to do. Our records sort of became part of our tours, so it felt like we did albums to promote tours. But with Union Black we were just making an album. But yeah, it was nice.
What would you say sets Skindred apart from a lot of the heavy bands out there? I think sonically and musically we're pretty apart, no one sounds like us. We stand out on our own, we are by ourselves because we can do very different things. We don't discriminate against anyone and we invite anyone to come and listen to us. I think it's very good for people to find an entry point and to find a scene that they feel they belong in. It's like when you listen to something very different to what you normally do. It's like "I'm into this, but I shouldnt be".
The band has also recently played some major festivals such as Reading and Leeds this year, what was it like to play to such a huge crowd? It's just been the dream festival to play for us really. We've always said that we fit in this festival because you can go there and listen to so many different things. But the best thing about it for me was when we were playing I was watching people watching from quite far away, who were then actually coming into the crowd. People who hadn't even heard us before gave us a go and came back enjoying us.
Your fifth studio album Kill The Power is now out so what can fans old and new expect from Skindred this time round? You probably get this every person you ask, I mean it's the best album we've ever done. But we really had to challenge ourselves this time and because we do mix so many styles in you feel like you can't settle on a way a song should be. So we thought we'd just streamline it and keep these styles in but do it with sort of a heavy base to it. We even wrote a couple of songs with Kiss and Rainbow, so that's amazing.
Ninja was the first track to be put out from the new album, how did you all come to the decision that this was going to be the track you rolled out first? It's a bit of a red herring on the record, it reminds me of our old style of music, but lyrically it's just sort of a song that helped us reconnect with our fans. With Ninja we just really wanted to say that we're back and check out what bag of tricks we got with us!
Have you been playing any new tracks from the album whilst touring just yet? We've been playing Ninja and Kill The Power which have been going down great. But in our upcoming tour we're going to throw in about five or six tracks.
You've announced a pretty special show, which probably has one of the best tour names ever, will you be doing anything special for the Newport Helicop-Tour show? We've got a full bill for that, we picked them ourselves and it's going to be great! We just wanted to get together various welsh bands and just make a day of it. So it should be good.
The band is also playing Soundwave Festival in Australia, that's a pretty huge run of shows, do you have anything different planned for this run? Last time we went we went out with Hollywood Undead which was really cool. But I think this is going to be good for us. I think people will be coming to see us out of curiosity. But you never know what's going to happen, but festivals are where we do the most damage so it should be interesting!
So looking back, how was 2013 for Skindred? Yeah it's been good. It's been a bit of a transient year because we did the new album at the start, did a few shows, but it's been a little frustrating because we've been sitting on this record for a while. Reading and Leeds was probably the highlight. I'm just excited to move forward.
Apart from the new record then what else can we expect to see from Skindred in 2014? I think you're going to want to get rid of us! We want to play everywhere and tour hard. I think people are going to be surprised by the new record. So just keep an eye out for us and come to a show!
Interview with Aaron
So how excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Less Than Jake/Zebrahead? On a scale of one to ten I am at about a 987,674,333 of excitement right now!! I can't wait! 2 of my most favorite bands to tour with, it's going to be so much fun on and off stage. All three bands are so fun and entertaining to watch and dance to and sing along to. it's going to be a non-stop ska-punk party!
Yourselves and Less Than Jake have always maintained a high level of popularity in the UK, what would you credit behind people continuing to come out in such big numbers? I think constant touring has helped. We also both got some big breaks as far as being played on commercial radio and appearing in a couple of big movies so that helped get the word out about our bands to more people. I think the real reason is that we both just make awesome records and have great songs and put on a kick ass live show, when you put those together with a strong and supportive ska scene and fan base then you just can't go wrong!
The band is known for the high energy live shows, how do you keep up the same level of performance towards the end of a long tour as you do at the start? Well for us the tour never really ends, as soon as we get home from one tour we're back out on tour within a week or two so we have definitely built up our stamina as far as live performances go. We rock just as hard the first night of the tour as we do the 800th night of the tour! We have so much fun performing, it's what we live for and we just can't get enough so when we are up there on that stage we are having the time of our livesâ€Śevery time!
How do you see the Ska genre developing/changing in 2014? I feel that, at least in the underground scene, ska is more popular than ever right now. you may not see ska bands in the mainstream or hear them on the radio as much but we tour all around the world and see first hand that there are more ska bands, more ska shows and more ska fans than ever before all over the globe. It looks to us that the ska scene will continue to go on strong for a long time to come!
The band has had its fair share of line up changes over the years, so how do you go about finding the right person to fill the gap? Luckily for us, every time we've had someone leave the band for whatever reason, we've had someone we already knew who played the same instrument and was an awesome player and was more than willing to take the job. Luckily for us we've never had to do auditions or go seating for the right person because they were already there when we needed them.
Dan Regan left the band in October after 20 years to spend more time with a young family, being a band that is on the road as much as Reel Big Fish, how do you balance a family life with life on tour? It's not easy at all, we're on tour 9 months out of the year every year and have been constantly since our album "Turn the Radio Off" came out in 1996. The main reason for most of the people that left the band was because they just couldn't handle being on the road ALL the time away from friends and family. It is fun and an amazing job to play music and travel the world but being away from home most of the time is what finally gets to people.
The band left the major label route some years ago, what are pro’s and con’s involved with going it alone? Well there are a lot of good things about being independent, we decide what and when to record, what songs to write and release, what they sound like and so on. We don't have to worry about a label not liking our songs or not wanting to put out a record for us or having to ask permission to make a new record. Luckilly for us we have a good distribution deal with an indie label who pretty much just says "you guys record whatever you want and we'll get it out to stores and iTunes and all the places people get their music from these days.” What WAS cool about being on a major label was when they WERE interested in us and WANTED to push us, then we had a multi million dollar company promoting us and pushing our music to radio and getting it out to a wider audience. It is definitely not easy to get a major label behind you and interested in you.
Looking back on Candy Coated Fury how happy have you been with the response to this record, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Reel Big Fish? We're so proud of Candy Coated Fury, it's definitely our best record in a long time and has some of the best songs I've ever written on it. The fans really seemed to like it right away and were instantly singing along to the songs at our shows unlike previous albums where it took people a while to warm up to the new stuff if at all. Candy Coated Fury is definitely a Reel Big Fish album and has that classic sound that we're known for and pretty much shows the fans that we're keepin' it Reel.
How would you say the writing process has progressed for you as RBF over the years? It really hasn't changed much, I'm always coming up with song ideas, never complete songs at first so I have tons of little verses and choruses and horn lines floating around in my head and I just wait for that one moment when I go "Ah Ha!" and then I have enough for a whole song and then a whole album. I still have a lot of bits of songs that I've been working on for years. I had the Idea for the song "Don't Stop Skankin' " in 1994 but never was able to figure out how to make it a whole song until a couple of years ago. "Punisher" was a few different song ideas I finally put together for Candy Coated Fury that I had been working on since the early 2000s so really, whatever record of ours that comes out is just whatever batch of finished songs I have in my head at the time.
What song are you currently enjoying performing live the most of the Candy Coated Fury record, and why? I really like playing and singing "I Dare You To Break My Heart" and "I Know You Too Well To Like You Anymore" live, they are really fun to perform and I'm very proud of how they came out, those are some of my favorite songs I've ever written. Also, they are very danceable and people in the crowd have a great time skankin' and rocking' out during those songs.
Interview with Chris
You released your ninth studio album recently, 'See The Light' so how happy have you been with the response to the new record so far? The response overall has been great. Our fans really love it, and that’s the most important thing to us.
What is the meaning behind the title of the album and can you tell us about the main themes & influences that run throughout the album? The meaning for me is hope. Light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. The lyrics on this record are positive and optimistic. Despite being in rather dark times globally. We chose to write a positive record.
What was the writing and recording process like for the album, especially considering that this was your first album full of new material since 2008? Well, let’s not forget, we have been busy releasing 3 EP’s over the past few years as well as touring a bunch! We began writing for ‘See The Light’ late in 2012, and recorded the record in May of 2013. It was a group process from start to finish.
Your very own Roger Lima produced this record, as well as a couple of your records prior to this. So when did he become a bigger part of the producing process, and what's it like as a band to have so much control over this aspect of putting together a record? Roger has always been producing to some extent or another with Less Than Jake over the years, even if he wasn’t credited on the back of the record cover! Having the control is sometimes a blessing and then at other times it can be a curse. He’s not only the bass player and band member, but he is the producer. Luckily everything works out in the end because we all share a common vision.
Can you tell us about how the artwork for this record came together, as well as a bit about what it means to you? That would be a question for our drummer Vinnie! He works out the majority of the artistic concepts. The light coming from behind the door on the cover signifes to me a new beginning.
What made you want to officially be back with Fat Wreck Chords, and what's it been like to work with them on the release of 'See The Light'? We had a drinking contest with Fat Mike! If we won, we put the record out ouselves, obviously we lost!
How would you say you have grown musically as a band since the release of GNV FLA? Well, I am up two pants sizes, is that what you meant!? I think we have all individually grown as musicians and as a band, constant touring will do that to you.
As a band that have been together for 21 years! How do you think the music industry and genre has changed over this time? Not as much as people think. Obviously, the internet was a game changer. Beyond that, the sentiment of putting out records and touring has pretty much stayed the same.
Following on from this, how do you feel the dynamics of the band have changed since you first started out? We know what works and what doesn’t for us. Plain and simple. We all have our roles as individuals and as a team in this band. There’s a lot less drama these days!
How excited are you for upcoming UK tour with Reel Big Fish/Zebrahead, and what can attending fans expect? Beyond excited. Both of those bands are close friends of ours, so it’s going to be one big party! If this is called work, then sign me up!!
Your video for 'My Money Is On The Longshot' is really cool, so what was this video like to shoot, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the song? It’s too hard to explain beyond the fact that we got a bunch of our close friends to be in it. It came out awesome, and it’s one of our favorite videos that we have ever done!
What else can we expect to see from Less Than Jake in 2014? Lots of touring and then more touring! We are looking forward to our upcoming U.K. run!
Interview with Michael
How would you say your new self-titled record compares to what you did on 'Black Diamonds'? With the full length we had a little more time. We had a solid month to just write songs. These songs are very well written and we put a lot into them. As opposed to the EP where we wanted to get it out ASAP. We were still kind of inventing our sound in a sense.
Also, looking back on 'Black Diamonds' then how happy are you with this release, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Issues? I think it was something fresh and new. A lot of fans kind of thought they knew what we would sound like after Tyler and I left WIM but they seemed a little surprised when they heard the EP. It was pretty different than what people expected.
What made you want to work with 'Kris Crummett' again with your self-titled album, and how does he push you as musicians? For one, he's a such a calm/easy going guy. He has a great personality and is really easy to get along with but has no problem being honest and speaks his mind if something isn't sounding the best it can. We can respect that. Not to mention, he has such a crisp/clean sound with his recordings. They aren't over saturated and we love how natural everything is. All instruments were recorded by the band. We didn't take any short cuts.
So can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout your selftitled album? A lot of the new album has to do with loss in different ways. Wether it's a break up, death, divorce...etc. Not everything in life is always pretty. We wanted to still have a positive message but at the same time write about stuff that's real and hits home with fans.
With there being two vocalists, then can you tell us about how the writing process normally comes together as a band? Typically, Tyler and I come up with most of the lyrics. I'll pitch him an idea of what to write about and he will start writing down the lyrics. He's great at putting ideas on paper. Then once he has some stuff written I kinda help fill in the blanks.
With this being your debut LP, what were your aims and goals when entering the studio to put together this release? We really wanted to surprise people. We try and think of things other bands in this scene haven't done. We never want to put out the same record twice. If we have an idea that might be weird then we always are down to at least try it. If it doesn't sound good then we can just throw it out. We want to reach as many people as possible. I love how diverse we are and that we have the potential to reach such a wide variety of fans.
How did you end up working with Nylo on the track 'Tears On The Runway pt 2' and what was she like to work with? She's been a friend of Tylers for over a year now. They have worked together in the past on songs for his solo album. I met her when we spent some time in LA and she was super nice and laid back. Her voice is great and it really added a lot to the song. It's really cool because it's almost like a hardcore love ballad. Haha.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with 'Of Mice & Men' and what can attending fans expect? I am so excited to get back to the U.K. The last time we had a great response. It will also be the first time ISSUES will be playing Europe, so I'm excited for that as well. This tour is going to be huge, the line up is really solid so I think fans will really enjoy it.
Can you give us a couple of personal touring highlights since your formation, as well as why those moments mean so much to you guys? Well, I don't think any of us had toured in a bus prior to warped tour so that was a huge thing for us. It was such a blessing to be able to do that and continue to stay in a bus. Another thing is the tours we have gotten. In such a short amount of time we have gotten offers from amazing bands and ones we have always hoped to tour with. The crowds have been mind blowing at a lot of shows. It's awesome to see so many people singing your lyrics and going crazy to the music we created.
How do you feel the metalcore sound has progressed/changed since your formation, and what's it like to be a part of this 'scene'? Well, it seems that nu metal is making a come back. We tend to have some nu metal elements in our songs. We grew up on that stuff and it's cool to be able to put it in our music. Don't get me wrong, I love this scene. The fans are so loving and supportive. However, we are always trying to reach as many people as possible. We don't want to limit ourselves to one genre of music.
What else can we expect to see from Issues in 2014? Lots of tours, music videos, maybe some new Flippen Real World, all kinds of stuff. We actually are leaving to shoot our new music video this weekend. Really excited for that. We plan on staying on the road for the majority of the year so you'll be seeing a lot of us.
Interview with Joshua Moore
So how happy have you been so far with the response to your newest record 'Tracing Back Roots' and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of We Came As Romans? All of us in the band really love the new record, and are so stoked that our fans really love it too. It seems that people who never enjoyed us before, have really started to as well, and it's awesome to be able to create something you're so proud of, that others enjoy as well.
Also, for readers that may of not picked up 'Tracing Back Roots' just yet, then can you tell them a bit about the main themes and influences that run throughout the record, as well as what else they can expect from it? Musically, it has a bit of something for everyone. It has some of the heaviest songs that we have ever written, as well as some of the most melodic, all-singing, songs that we've ever written. I think it's balanced really well, and lyrically it really connects with our fans, and I think new listeners will be able to connect to the lyrics as well. The songs are mainly about just living life the best you can, the happiest you can, and trying to be an impact on the world.
The video for 'Fade Away' is really cool! Can you tell us about the narrative behind the video, as well as what it was like to film? Thanks! We actually had to wake up one morning at like 4am to film it on a beach, because of the sunrise. It was shot on an off day of Warped Tour too, so we were all especially exhausted but we've always been a band to do whatever it takes to deliver something to our fans we think they'll enjoy.
Also, we must ask, how did you guys originally end up working with the awesome John Feldmann, and what has he been like to work with? We originally went to John just to "test the waters" and ended up writing "Hope" together, which is probably our most popular song ever. John, himself, is so awesome and inspiring to us. He always keeps our mood high and our confidence in what we are doing is always backed by him as well.
How did you end up working with 'Aaron Gillespie' on the track 'I Survive' and what was he like to work with? It's always been a dream of ours, since To Plant A Seed. We thought we could finally make it a reality on this record, so we just asked him and he really dug the track and said he'd sing on it.
It's safe to say that you guys have had a huge response to this record, so how happy have you been with the growth of your fan base over the years? I'm really happy with everything the band has done over the years, and we owe that to our fans, so of course we're happy with the growth and just the presence of our fan base over the years. We couldn't have made it this far without them.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? As always, a really high energy and passionate show. We've never done a headlining UK tour like this before, so I'm really looking forward to it!
As a band that have toured the UK before, then can you give us a couple of personal highlights from being on the road here? It's always nice stopping in the UK when you're on a tour throughout Europe because it gives us a sense of comfort, it isn't a struggle to find anything and we never get lost there. hahaha. The language barrier is sometimes a bit much when it's a constant obstacle for weeks at a time (through Europe) so it's always really awesome to be able to communicate and feel a sense of home on the road.
You guys have an insane touring schedule already lined up for 2014, so with this in mind then what bands are you really excited to tour/perform with the most so far, and why? I think all the bands that we have tours scheduled with! We've already toured with almost all of them, so we're already friends, and there is nothing better than being able to hang out with your friends for a month and play great shows every night.
What else can we expect to see from We Came As Romans in 2014? More touring! We will be on the Rock Sound Impericon Exposure Tour in February/March, then we're doing a full US tour with Asking Alexandria and August Burns Red in March/April. We also have several European festivals lined up for the summer. Always on tour!
Interview with Ryan
So far, what can you tell us about your upcoming new album, which you have been working on over the last couple of months? The new album is finished up. We began work on it before the summer with pre-production, and then had two separate sessions in Seattle with Terry Date. We were a little more secretive with this one, and made sure to take our time and focus on the job at hand.
How did you end up working with Terry Date and what was he like to work with? Terry's name came up in April while we were on tour with Bullet For My Valentine. We were working on the plans for the record and were asked "if you could go for anyone to produce your record, who would it be?". I quickly said Terry not thinking it was really an option, and then a few weeks later we had it locked in.
How would you say you have progressed musically overall since you first started out as Miss May I? Every record is a representation of what's going on in everyone's lives when it was created. From changes in attitude, to life experiences, they are basically a snapshot of what's been going on since the previous album. With that we all improve our skill level, and our understanding of how our music translates to the live environment. I've always had a hard time explaining the tunes myself. I've always believed in just having a listen and making our own mind up.
What would you say has been the hardest part about putting together your new record so far, and why? We focused hard on writing a dynamic record with songs that differ from each other. We wanted a record that has songs for each kind of fan we've amassed. The first two records brought in a few different groups of fans, and then the drastic difference in the types of bands we had the chance to tour with grabbed even more of a variety on the At Heart cycle. That's exciting for us because we had the chance to get a lot of different tunes on the new record.
Also, looking back on your last record 'At Heart' then how do you feel about this record now, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Miss May I? It was a necessary transition for us. It was out first time ever recording without Joey Sturgis, and a big challenge. We entered the studio underprepared, and I think that hurt the record. We learned from the mistakes though, and still released a few songs that touched a lot of fans, "Hey Mister" especially. The best thing At heart did for us was finally allow us to stay true to our sound in regards to how it comes across live in comparison to the record.
What songs are you enjoying performing live the most of 'At Heart' at the moment, and why? Hey Mister, and Day by Day have been received really well by our fans, and theyâ€™ve been great addictions to the setlist since the release.
Tracks of yours have appeared on games such as Saints Row: The Third as well as film soundtracks such as Saw VI, so how rewarding is this for you as a band, and what film/game franchise would you really like to collaborate with in the future and why? I play a lot of race car games and want to work with Nascar in the future and would love to get a foot in the door, so how about being the opening track! That would rule.
You guys have stated that you are bringing the lion back for the front cover of the next Miss May I album, so can you tell us how this idea for the lion originally came about on your debut album, as well as what it means to you? The lion is a way for our fans to have that imagery that we all loved about our favorite bands in high school. We were all drawing out our favorite bands symbols on our desks, homework, and anything else we could find and wanted to give that same thing to our fans. The lion felt right. Who doesn't want to be king of the jungle?
How would you say the Metalcore scene has progressed/changed since you first started out? It's a very political, competitive place right now. Everyone is so similar, not only in sound but in size and everyone out there is fighting for scraps. Without money to go around it means the guys we are out there on the road with have a lot of heart, and are battling to stay there. It's a good feeling to meet a lot of the bands we do and has the immediate friendships because of the common issues we are all facing. It's almost like a whole genre of co-workers I guess.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Killswitch Engage/Trivium, and what can attending fans expect? We cannot wait! We've been going crazy as we've been off since the end of October. KSE took us out this last summer and it was one of the best runs of our career. I've been a massive Trivium fan for years and love the new album. I'll be side stage head banging for sure. Expect a new song in the setlist!
You've toured the UK before, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from touring over here? Our sold out headlining gig at Underworld in fall 2011, supporting Parkway Drive in front of sold out crowds everywhere, then hitting HUGE places with BFMV in the spring of 2013. We've always had a blast in the UK!
What else can we expect to see from Miss May I in 2014? TOUR TOUR TOUR! New songs, videos, albums, Merch, anything and everything we can do to make our fans happy. That's what we are here for and what we enjoy doing.
Interview with Taylor and Ben
So how would you say you have grown musically as a band since the release of 'Light Me Up'? We’ve been together over four years now, and touring the world has really helped define the band’s sound.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Going to Hell'? It’s up to the listener to decide those things. It means whatever it means to you and if you take our message away, that’s cool, but it’s really about how the listener relates it to their own life and experiences.
We've read that Hurricane Sandy destroyed your recording studio whilst putting together this record, so what was that whole experience like for you guys, and what else can you tell us about the recording process for 'Going To Hell'? We had a great system going at a great studio and losing most our gear took us back a few months, but we did get some new songs out of it, and everyone was safe. We focus on the positives.
Also, with the huge success of your first album, then did you feel any pressure whilst being in the studio? Success to me is being able to make music I can listen to a few years later and be somewhat happy with it. We certainly didnâ€™t write this record thinking of hits or record sales, it never even crossed our minds, we just make the music we want to make.
At the end of last year you stated that "Rock & roll needs to make a resurgence," so with this in mind, what else would you really like to happen with this style of music throughout 2014? Iâ€™d like a lot of things to change, so we just continue to focus on our art and putting out honest music that matters to us.
How did you end up signing to Cooking Vinyl records, and what have they been like to work with so far? The whole thing is just getting rolling, but they've been great so far, they have a good roster of artists and they actually care about good music, great label.
How happy have you been with the response to the new record so far then? It's been great, everyone seems to be getting it!
Can you tell us about the narrative behind the song 'Going To Hell' as well as what it was like to work with director Tim Mattia on the music video? It's really a sarcastic look at sins versus guilt, the father could be a priest, a dad or any authority figure. Tim is awesome, I've done quite a few things with him and he is really an artist who cares about nothing but the art, and if it isn't right, he won't do it.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Fall Out Boy, and what can attending fans expect? I'm psyched to crank loud amps on big stages, FOB clearly have a great audience and I think there will be a lot of crossover fans, and they should expect us to rock the shit out of it.
You've got to tour with Marilyn Manson, Guns N Roses, Evanescence in your time as The Pretty Reckless, so with this in mind, can you give us a couple of personal touring highlights since your formation, as well as why those moments mean so much to you? Touring in general is a highlight, most of the audiences have been just killer and we've been lucky to have such great fans, playing a big rock show at any time is a highlight in life...and what goes on on the road, stays on the road.
We've read that you have quit from acting to fully focus on music, however if you were to one day return to acting, then what style of film/TV would you really like to work on, and why? I'll let you know when I know, but music has really taken over my life, and I welcome it.
What else can we expect to see from The Pretty Reckless in 2014? The new record Going to Hell comes out in March, worldwide touring and who knows what else, the future is a mystery.
Interview with Tay
You have just released a new video for your latest song, 'The Best Thing' (That Never Happened) taken from your upcoming album, how was it to shoot the video, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the video? This was the most fun I’ve ever had shooting a video. The dry lake bed alone was incredible to see. The narrative was actually brought to us by the director, Mark. He said he had always wanted to do a video like this but was waiting for the right song. We read the treatment and agreed immediately.
So how did you get to the album title 'Weird Kids' and what does it mean to you? We thought this title up even before the songs were written. So about a year ago. We don’t see “Weird Kids” as any sort of gimmick. It is something we have noticed ourselves with the people we surround ourselves with.. Fans, friends, photographers, other musicians - we’re all a little strange but somewhere we all find comfort in that. It’s awesome.
Musically, how would you say you have grown as a band since the release of Best Intentions? I think we have grown a lot. I think that this new album was influenced musically by everything we’ve learned in the last two years. Touring with more and more bands and listening to more and more music. You start to catch on to certain things and get a hold of what parts you really love about it.
How did you end up working with the legendary John Feldmann and what was he like to work with? When we were on the search for a producer he was on our list. Simple as that. We never thought he’d be interested in us…but he was! From our first phone call with him he had a certain vision in mind for our band and his vision was right on point with how we were feeling about ourselves. So the shoe fit.
We've read that John Feldmann helped you go in a more personal direction when it came to writing lyrics, so can you tell us about some of the main themes and influences that we can expect to hear on this release? Yes, he really did. And I am forever grateful to have had that experience. You can expect to hear songs about breakups, missing someone, forgetting someone, my father, my older sister, and our band as well as who we are now.
Can you tell us how long it took to put together this record, and also, with the huge success of Best Intentions, then was there any added pressure whilst putting everything together? The only pressure there was writing this record is that we told ourselves that there will not be any pressure. We went in to this limitless. Anything that came to mind, we’d write. This way, the record actually came together really quickly. We were also so eager and excited to be back in the studio that we worked 16-18 hour days. Switching shifts basically. It was my favorite recording process to date!
Looking back on Best Intentions how happy are you with this record, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of We Are The In Crowd? I look back at Best Intentions and say “Wow, I’m so happy our fans allowed us to tour on this for TWO YEARS. But I want more."
We must ask, how did you guys end up covering 'Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades.' and what was this whole experience like for you? We literally sat in a studio that we were demoing at and said “we should put out some covers for our fans, so they don’t think we forgot about them.” and we chose one song that we liked and one song that was more mainstream and on the radio. I’ve always wondered what that song would sound like with male and female perspective. It was fun!
How excited are you for upcoming UK tour with Save Your Breath/Neck Deep, and what can attending fans expect? SO stoked! we are working up a pretty different set list this time around. Lots of new songs! that means we are playing these songs BEFORE the record comes out. Also expect loads of sing a longs and awkward inside jokes.
Your fan base is growing more & more everyday in the UK, so why do you think the band have such a great connection with the audiences over here, and can you give us a couple of touring highlights from performing in the UK? Ah, I hope so! I think we had good timing over there when we first started as a band. It almost felt like fans were looking for a band like us. Sometimes that’s just what happens, you get lucky. But we do work really hard to stay connected with fans on social media and at shows. It’s important.
What else is in store for We Are In The Crowd in 2014? Tour tour tour tour tour.
Interview with Valentino
What made you want to release 'You're Not Alone' first from your upcoming album 'Restoring Force' and how happy have you been with the response to this track so far? We chose "You're Not Alone" because we felt like it was a great track to show our fans right away that we're doing some things differently on this album. There's still that Of Mice headbang but there's more groove...it's more driving and focused. The lyrics are some of the strongest and most straight forward on the album as well. We're putting it all out there and we thought this would be the best song to get the fans talking and the response was overwhelmingly positive!
How did you get to the album title 'Restoring Force' and what does it mean to you? The actual definition of Restoring Force is the force that gives rise to equilibrium between a system of objects...which basically means it's the force that helps restore balance to something. Looking back on our album cycle for The Flood, the last thing we were was balanced! Between the whirlwind of touring right into recording an album, back touring, parting ways with a long time member of the band, continuing to tour and writing nonstop on the road, recording more, reissuing the album as a 4 piece and touring even more still...we had to really reflect on how we wanted to put all of that into an album of music because that's what is REAL to us. We needed to "give rise to equilibrium". That's what this album was to us, our Restoring Force! It was us finding our balance once again with a new member, Aaron Pauley, finding a balance between old and new sounds, and finding balance in ourselves enough to be able to deliver this message throughout the album.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout ‘Restoring
One of the main themes that runs throughout Restoring Force is that no matter what obstacles you may encounter, or feelings you may have, no matter how extreme, there always is a balance you must find within yourself in order to overcome those obstacles. You must find your Restoring Force and overcome those challenges making you unbalanced.
Austin has compared this album to the likes of Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, so with this in mind, can you tell us a bit about how you found your musical direction with this album, as well how it compares to your releases prior? We've always tried to somehow incorporate music that inspires us into our own music. But with this album in particular, we looked to some of our favorite artists growing up for guidance. A huge realization was that albums never used to have boundaries. These bands, Linkin Park, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit…they never allowed there to be boundaries for the music they made. If they did it heavy, it was HEAVY AS F**K! If they did it different than what might have been expected, they did it THEIR way. We felt like our band was in a position where we needed to make the album that we didn't realize we could make and try some new things and adopt some new principles. Our last albums stayed within the boundaries of our scene and genre and even though we love those songs, we just simply can't write the same songs over again! Whether people realize it or not we've been growing and evolving as musicians and people. That really shows on this album. We've honed in on the sound that we feel like perfectly captures the balance in Of Mice & Men.
How did you end up working with David Bendeth and how did he push you as a band? We crossed paths on tour and he approached us after a show and was really inspired by our performance and wanted to discuss our next album. Well, after a couple of meetings with him we realized that he shared the same ambition for this album that we did, little did we know his way of getting to the finished product would be much different than anything we've been used to in the past. David Bendeth really challenged us to step outside of our comfort zones and take chances with our ideas. He comes from a larger and much different world of music and his experience and understanding of music and songwriting was something that we really connected with. He got into our heads and made sure we used this album as a vessel to say what was most important and to have real meaning behind everything we wrote because if not…what's the point?! We had the most intense and in-depth writing/recording process we've ever engaged in as musicians. He really pushed us to our limits to create some of the most powerful songs Of Mice & Men has ever written and performed on an album. Everything from the kick drums on this part, to the way the lyrics hit right at home in that part, to the little effect right there...we broke each song down countless times in order to make sure what we were delivering was not only played with feeling and conviction, but also meant something more than just recording a riff or singing a lyric.
Did you have any aims and goals when heading into the studio to record ' Restoring Force' and also, with the continued success of your band, then do you guys ever feel any pressure when putting together an album? We didn't know WHAT to expect going into the studio and it wasn't until we were fully immersed in the album and our ideas and working with David that we truly realized our ultimate goals and what we hoped to achieve with this album. As far as pressure coming from an album, we definitely felt the heat in the studio!! There were deadlines and personal glass ceilings we all hit at one point or another that made us all feel like "daaaang this isn't going so good" but thankfully we had each other for support to push through it. We learned a lot about ourselves overcoming those challenges, that's what makes an album great…if it came easy with no pressure…wouldn't everybody do it?
The artwork for this album is very unique, can you tell us a bit about who came up with the idea, as well as what it means to you? Thank you, I actually came up with the concept! We had been discussing throughout the whole process that we wanted something iconic, similar to how we portray our ampersand, something that could be immediately associated to OM&M if you saw it anywhere. When we were bouncing around album titles and themes, what kept coming to mind was Equilibrium. Balance. How is balance maintained? What does balance look like? Well in a human, it's maintained in the Cochlea, which is your inner ear, which is also in the shape of a spiral, very similar to a shell. This is how the idea for the shell came about and in working with the idea more, this idea opened up some pretty awesome symbolisms for the band as well. Like being from Southern California, we all love the Cali beaches and all things oriented, we always miss it on tour, it's such a huge part of all of our lives, so it makes sense to take a little reminder of home with us everywhere we go!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We wish it was happening sooner! I can't BELIEVE how fast those shows sold out! If there are any tickets still available at the time this is published, then make SURE you pick them up! Fans can expect to hear new music and the intensity, honesty, and energy that OM&M are known for...we're bringing the HEAT! GET READY!
Also, how excited are you to be playing at the legendary Reading/Leeds festival? I don't think any of us realized that we would ever get the privilege to play such a historic and world renowned festival like Reading/Leeds. We've seen insane footage of how the UK gets down at the festival and we can't WAIT to show you guys how Of Mice & Men does it!
What else can we expect to see from Of Mice & Men in 2014? New album, new music videos, new merchandise, new tours, new new new!! Follow our journeys on twitter/instagram @OMandM and get the up to date information at OFMICEANDMENOFFICIAL.COM
Interview with Paolo
You released your new album, 'Vengeance Falls' in October, what has the response been like so far and how happy are you with the outcome? The initial response has been really killer so far! You can never guess how a record will be received when you are making it, you have to stay focused on the vision and goal of the project, but to have our core fans and even new ones really embracing it is an amazing feeling. The final outcome in terms of the way the album flows from start to finish and how it sounds sonically is 99.9% there, I would never say 100% because there is always room to improve.
What was it like to work with David Draiman and how did this come about? We have actually known David since early 2005 when he saw us opening for Danzig in Chicago, he really enjoyed our band. After we reconnected in Australia and then Mayhem in 2011, we gave him a copy of In Waves. When he saw us a few days later he told us how impressed he was with the growth in our sound and that he would love to work with us at some point, whether a song or an album. Fast forward to Trepass America the following summer and we meet with David again, he has us over to this house and we show him some demos we had been working on for about a year. When he started to give his input onto the music and the amount of excitement he had in the music, then we knew he was the right choice.
What do you think you learnt the most from working with David Draiman then? For example we heard that he helped Matt with his vocal range? From a song writing perspective he really helped open our eyes to taking the signature parts of our sounds and focus them into accenting parts and really bring the dynamics out in all aspects. With Matt, he pushed him in range - singing and even screaming. David has a great ear for melody, and anytime we can work with a talented musician or producer, it always helps you to open your mind to how you can approach writing in the future.
How would you compare the new album to your previous releases and what would you say are the main themes behind it? I believe this album was taking all of the key ingredients of those albums, but really focusing in on the melodic hooks vocally and musically, without sacrificing our more brutal side, and finding a balance between both. On In Waves we had songs like A Grey So Dark, which is very melodic, and a song like Chaos Reigns, which is all screaming. We wanted to bridge that gap and make the album feel very cohesive from start to finish. Lyrically, Matt dives into a lot of themes ranging from enacting vengeance and retribution, but I think my favorite themes are more about inner turmoil and struggle within ourselves. Strife and No Way to Heal are definitely good examples of those themes.
The album artwork for 'Vengeance Falls' is very striking, who designed it and what is it trying to portray? Glad you think so, thank you! Brent White was the artist and he has done many of our shirt designs prior to the album cover. We gave him some demos and lyrics months before we had to turn in a final product to the label and just let him work on a theme. We initially were going to call the album Wake, but changed our minds mid recording when the lyrics began to make sense with Vengeance Falls as the title. I am not sure how far he got with that, but when we gave him the new title he worked for almost two months before we saw the cover. I was blown away when I opened the first email with the picture, it was much grander of a scale then I imagined it would be. It felt like a very "metal" album cover but modern at the same time. We are all big sci-fi fans, so that was a nice surprise to see our logo transforming into some sort of mechanical beast.
Also, how did you get to the album title 'Vengeance Falls' and what does it mean to you? As I mentioned we changed the title mid recording. Although there are more themes then just vengeance on the album, Vengeance Falls just seemed to be the one that tied them all together. I think the title track is about never backing down against the odds or those that want to see you fail, and succeeding against those odds at all costs. I guess it resonates with me on a personal level being in a band, you have to be all in with a career like this one, there has to be passion for the music and the touring otherwise it will not last.
How would you say you as a band have progressed musically since forming and where do you find inspiration from? I believe that we have always viewed each album as clean slate to rebuild with past ideas and as well as new ones. The inspiration definitely comes from our love of playing metal music as well as our amazing fan base. They have given us such an incredible opportunity to make music, so we always do our best to keep the standard high for our live shows and our albums.
You've been touring in the US recently, how did it go, and can you give us a couple of your personal highlights from your time on the tour? The US tour was long (70 shows,) but we had a great time playing new songs and debuting our fourth album title track, Shogun, for the first time. The highlight for me was seeing how passionate our fan base has become in North America.
What are your favourite new songs to play live from your new album at the moment and why? Having only played Strife and Brave This Storm, those two win by default. Strife's intro is one of my favorite parts of the set. It doesn't get more metal than two guitars harmonizing a big riff like that one and hearing the crowd sing along to it. Brave This Storm has a massive groove in the verse and the intro sets off the biggest pits of the show some nights.
Your heading over to the UK in February with Killswitch Engage, so how excited are you for this, and what can attending fans expect? I think this has to be one of the best line ups we have been able to get together for the UK. As a fan and friend of the KSE guys, I can say they are one of the best bands to tour with and I'm glad we could do so in the UK. The focus on this tour is to debut new songs, debut old songs, and make sure we fill in the rest with the surefire songs that will set it off.
You are playing Download Festival this year and you've decided to play your 2005 set list from start to finish as well as playing the smaller Red Bull Stage for a 'one time only' set, which is very awesome, how come you wanted to do this and what can we expect from this? When we began planning our summer festivals and our Download appearance this year, we were presented with the option of trying something different, playing a set on the Red Bull stage. That alone would have been fun having seen the energy level of shows in the tent, but to play these songs start to finish in such an exclusive setting was one we could not pass up. This is like our way of returning to the roots of it all and just letting whatever happens happen. Part mayhem, part party, I hope!!
What can we expect to see from Trivium in 2014? A lot of touring and when the inspiration hits, more writing for future tunes I am sure. I can honestly say that 2014 is going to be one of the most exciting and interesting years for our band, we are very appreciative of where we have come from but also excited about what the future holds.
You recently performed a secret acoustic set at the Warped Tour in the UK, so what was that like for you guys, and what was it like to share some new material with your UK followers? Well we were originally scheduled to play the acoustic stage so it was no biggie, then the security for Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) refused to let us play such a small space for fear of the publics safety! They then tried to force us to play the main stage which we felt would kill the whole vibe that we wanted to create, which was intimate and special. So we met in the middle and played the side stage and capped off the room. So to answer your question we were pretty nervous, but it worked out!
Also, how did your recent 'House Party Tour' go, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the tour? We had been building up to do production like on that tour for years, so to actually be able to do it and pull it off was really special for us. We canâ€™t wait to show other parts of the world!
Interview with Jeremy The production that you had on stage looked really cool, so who came up with the idea, and what does the set up mean to you guys? Well I came up with it, and the idea was to show who we were and where we came from in a fun, funny way, and have some awesome surprises along the way... aka a helicopter blowing up a house with missiles. You say you saw that coming and I’ll call you a liar!
Which songs are you currently enjoying performing live the most of the new album, and why? We haven’t played all that many so far, but I really enjoy playing ‘City of Ocala’. That song is just special to me so playing it just hits the spot right now.
So as you ended up self-releasing your new album, then how happy have you been with the response and support to the release of Common Courtesy? The response we’ve gotten has been amazing. Honestly we assumed sales would be effected pretty heavily since it was self-released but that hasn’t been the case at all. We actually had one of the best beginnings to an album ever for this record. That’s all due to our amazing fan base. I don’t think a lot of bands could have pulled this off with no press or build up for the album, and have their fan base completely support what they put out. We were very lucky to have such passionate followers.
With the trouble that you had with your record label for this record, then how rewarding has it been for you guys to now get the record out there, and can you tell us a bit about the months leading up to the release of this record, and what that was like for you? It was honestly the best feeling I’ve had in my life the day we were told we could release the album. The months leading up to that moment were some of the most stressful times I’ve had as an adult. We had pretty much come to terms with the fact that our career and livelihood could be over, and we were ready to be told that. So you can imagine how it felt to hear the good news, it felt like david beat goliath.
What would you say was the hardest part about self-releasing an album, and what do you think you have learnt the most from this experience? I think A Day To Remember is a special case. We have a supportive fan base so it wasn’t hard for us to self release other than the legal problems we faced. We actually have a better & bigger team of people working with us around the world on each continent now whereas before we only had a few people in Chicago. The difference is shocking, what do labels actually do!? If a band our size can manage it, then an up and comer absolutely could, it’s just about finding that fan base, that’s the hard part.
Can you tell us a bit about the main themes and influences that run throughout Common Courtesy? All of our albums are just about life and what happened to us during that period it was written, this record is no different. The theme like always is get out there and give life hell, you’ll never do what you want with your life if you never try, so stop being so afraid of failure and do what you want.
Can you tell us about how the artwork came together for this record, as well as what it means to you guys? The idea for the art was the way the world is to your face and then behind your back. If you notice everythings super positive on the front and then on the other side it’s negative. It’s our subtle way of saying we should be better to one another. Thus common courtesy.
What was it like to work alongside Andrew Wade, Chad Gilbert & how would you say they pushed you as musicians? They’re part of the ADTR team, and we are all just growing as writers together I think. I trust these guys, and we always do really special stuff together. It takes hearing criticism from people you trust to really impact you in a way where you can make a positive change. That’s what we do for each other.
Also, you guys like to produce your records yourself, so what's that like for you, and does it ever make it hard to work on a record when you are producing it as well? F no! Nobody hears how ADTR should sound more than me. I’m our harshest critic, and biggest fan wrapped into one. I usually have a pretty clear vision, and everyone else influences it along the way to finishing it.
We've read that you had around 40 song ideas for this album, so what was it like to work with so much material, and what was it like for you guys to get the amount of tracks down to the amount you needed for the album? In short..hell, haha seriously though. this is why it actually took so long to finish our album and get it out. It was a pretty daunting task to get this record down to so few songs, but out of what we worked on these were everyones favorites.
Musically, how would you say you have progressed as a band since your formation? I can only speak for myself but I’m always just trying to be a better songwriter. I think I’ve been growing a lot in the last few years.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We love playing in the UK and if I’m not mistaken I heard the london show could be our biggest headlining show of our career. I’m ready! We are doing the full house party production at Ally Pally and then trying to fit as much of the show into the other venues as possible. The rooms limit us in some places but we are going to put on the best show we can per room!
What else can we expect to see from A Day To Remember in 2014? As much touring as we can muster! Who knows, we want to create some more content for the fans as well. So we will see what works out!
When did you first get into doing tattoos, and what was that whole process like for you? I didn't get my first tattoo till I was 19 but I was instantly hooked, had a lot of work done over the next few years and soaked up the tattoo world like a sponge, by the time I was 22 I had to learn how to do it. I had always been pretty good at art and had recently finished a few years in Art college so tattooing was just another medium to work in. I started tattooing at home which is the worst way to start but this was 14 years ago, things were different. The whole process was scary, I had no mentor so I had to learn everything myself. Nobody would give me any info so stuff like needle soldering and stencil making, stuff that went on behind closed doors I had to learn for myself by trial and error.
What influenced you when you first started doing tattoos then? There weren't Tattoo tv shows when I first started tattooing and portraits and realism were nowhere near as popular as they are now, movie tattoos were few and far between and most portraits were family members. I wouldn't of even thought to attempt a portrait when I first started tattooing. I used to draw a lot back then and I guess my biggest influence was graffiti I was around for the start of the new school thing and that was what I liked to do most, bold lines, bright colours really fitted the way I did my art.
What is the most rewarding part about being a tattoo artist, and why? Being a tattoo artist is rewarding in general. I pretty much get to hang out, watch movies all day and draw pictures on people. I don't even class it as a job, I generally get to do portraits of people from some of my favourite movies, hang out with fellow movie geeks and talk about the things i love with like minded people. What could be more fun.
Alternatively, what's the hardest part about being a tattoo artist, and why? Being a tattooist is pretty hard in general. I work long hours and on top of that can spend many hours each night preparing designs talking to clients as well as all the self promotion stuff on FB and instagram, add to that running a business and having employees to worry about and trying to squeeze family commitments and a social life in.
What tattoo designs have you really enjoyed working on recently, and why? I really enjoy working on anything movie related, especially comic book movies and Star Wars. I’m working on a few large star wars and avengers stuff at the moment and I'm loving it all. It would be hard to pick one design as my fave, I try and make each one different so it keeps things interesting and fresh.
So, how long does a design normally take, and can you tell us a bit about the process behind each sitting? Really does depend on the design and what the client wants, sometimes it can take 20 minutes, the reference is perfect it’s just a case of cropping it, printing it to size and making a stencil. Then there’s other times where it can take hours and hours, I don't really draw anything anymore because of the style of tattooing I specialise in so it’s all photoshop work. Sometimes getting the right reference is hard and I might have to put together bits from several images, head from one, hands from another the background, then get the lighting right. Been teaching myself photoshop a lot lately and it’s getting easier and quicker though.
What's it like to actually work with a client when trying to find out what they want, can it ever be a tricky process to get everything 100% right? It’s a lot easier nowadays, people tend to trust me and come to me because of the kind of work that I do so I am given a lot of free reign which is awesome, gone are the days of drawing up 4 different versions of a sleeve to find out what the client wants. I am very lucky to be in the kind of position where I can pick and choose what work I do.
Can you tell us about how Physical Graffiti came to formation, as well as what this has been like to run so far? Physical Graffiti was the brain child of Chris Hatton and I. It started with 3 of us but has grown to a huge 3 floor shop with 7 artists a piercer and laser removal. It was hard in the beginning, we had to put a lot of hours in, do a lot of promotion with shows and stuff but nowadays it just runs itself, we have an awesome team of artists and a great shop manager. Things couldn't be better at the moment.
As a tattoo artist, then what are your aims and goals for 2014? Pretty much just keep doing what I'm doing. I push myself a lot and always try to get better at what I do, the shop couldn't be going any better at the moment and I get to travel with my work more and more. There’s also a TV thing on the cards at the moment but I can't talk to much about that just yet.
Interview with Kurt Can you tell us about the formation of WCBH Clothing? It basically came from me disliking my uni degree. I wanted to spend some time doing something I enjoyed and I had always been in to clothing and design so I thought why not compare the two!
How did you get to the name WCBH Clothing, and what does it mean to you? Not to sound too geeky but it just comes from a love of comic books and superheroes. I’ve been an avid reader of them from a young age. It was also at a point when clothing companies had darker names so I wanted to go for something that was more upbeat and positive.
So, what's the most rewarding part about running your own clothing label, and why? It’s when you get to share times and experiences with certain people. They’ll talk to you about a time when they were wearing WCBH and something happened. It becomes a small community and that’s something I really enjoy. It’s also just when you see someone wearing the brand walking down the street or online, it’s awesome to see people enjoy something you put so much care and effort into.
Can you describe a typical day to us at WCBH Clothing? Our first thing is always emails, making sure that we’re on top of everything and then getting the orders out. We try our hardest to make sure orders placed are shipped out the same day, because there is nothing worse than waiting for what seems a lifetime for your order to turn up when you’re really excited for it!
There are a lot of clothing companies out there, so can you tell us a bit about what separates you from the rest? Like I had just mentioned it’s just trying to stay one step ahead of others and keep on top of what is being produced. Branding is such a huge point as well. Some companies out there are producing so many different style items it just looks a bit confusing, so we try our hardest to make sure it all fits within the brand we’ve created and that seems to be something that our customers enjoy.
Can you tell us about who comes up with the artwork for your products, as well as what style you try to go for when working on a design? To be honest it’s just what we like we do. Not to sound too pretentious or anything like that but we wouldn’t produce anything we wouldn’t wear ourselves. So it’s just throwing ideas around and seeing what sticks. Some concepts might sound really good and be something that is really wanted so we’ll go with that whereas other ideas there is just no way to get them to look like what we wanted or to fit with what the company looks like.
Also, how long does it normally take to bring an idea from just an idea on paper, to a design on a t-shirt, beanie, and is there anything else you can tell us about this process? It can literally be from a couple of days to a month or so. Some designs we’ve had we’ve actually worked with other designers on. If we think we can’t make it better than we can, we will search around for someone who can. Luckily we have worked with some amazing artists and designers who have managed to produce exactly what we had in our heads.
What companies/bands/films have influenced your work as WCBH Clothing since starting out, and why? This can come from anywhere. There are so many different ideas and influences that come into each design. For example one of our best sellers we’ve ever had is “The Warriors” T-shirt. It’s such an iconic film that so many people know and is also one of our favourite films. So we used the concept from that and created a spray painted T-shirt using the red spray that people seemed to really like.
For anyone looking to start their own clothing label, then what advice would you give to them? I think the most important thing is to know your brand and know what you want to produce. People will notice a strongly branded company over a company who produces a tonne of different styles and looks under one name. This way you also know your market and where you will want to go with your company.
What else can we expect to see from WCBH Clothing in 2014? We’re already working on a load of things which we’re really excited about. The thing we’re most excited on is we’re producing a lot more cut and sew items so there will be a lot more customisation on our products. We try to do this already by having as much as possible but this way we’re going to be able to produce proper cut and fitted items that we want!
Interview with John Can you tell us about how Disconnect Disconnect Records first got together? I’ve always been someone who’s gone out of my way to discover great new and underappreciated bands. After playing in a few bands, writing a small zine and just generally getting involved with occasional gig booking and music reviews, I thought the best way I could help new and upcoming bands was to start my own label.
How did you guys get to the name Disconnect Disconnect Records, and what does it mean to you? The name is from the song ‘Disconnect, Disconnect’ by the band Osker. They released a couple of albums on Epitaph in the early 2000’s and their second, and unfortunately final, album ‘Idle Will Kill’ is a pure punk rock classic. Whereas their first album ‘Treatment 5’ was fast snotty pop punk (and is also great), for the second album they totally evolved into a band not afraid to add in some new influences and from the start of the acoustic opener ‘Patience’ through to closer ‘Anchor’ the band display great passionate punk rock with heart on sleeve lyrics, great melodies, and a punk rock sound which has influenced many of the best bands of today’s punk scene. The album is one of my all-time favourites, so I thought it only right to use one of their song titles (minus the comma) as my label name.
What bands did you work with first, and at the time, what was this whole experience like for you guys? When I started the label I put together a compilation ‘Volume One’ for free download which had a bunch of my favourite unsigned and lesser known acts from around the world. I then worked with 2 of the bands from that compilation for my first two physical releases with the label – Sweden’s Rebuke and London’s Company L. Rebuke were a small Swedish skatepunk band at the time, who had shown great potential with a small EP they had done before their album and were looking for a label. As soon as I heard the great riffs on that album I knew I really wanted to work with them. Since we released ‘Wouldworks’ the band has toured Europe and the UK countless times, played festivals and also was our first vinyl release with the label, with their 7” ‘Artie Kaye’. It’s great to have seen and worked with them as they have grown into one of Europe’s top skate punk bands. Company L were formed by Mike Scott formerly of one of my favourite UK skate punk bands Phinius Gage. He’d been playing solo for a few years, but missed the band stuff, so put together this great, but unfortunately fairly short lived band. It was great to work with someone who knew a lot about the UK punk rock scene, as well as being a great band.
Looking back on 2013, then can you give us a couple of personal highlights from this year as a company, maybe a specific release that was really good to work on? We had 4 main releases last year, the first 2 as the UK label for a couple of my favourite bands of the last few years from the States, After The Fall and Banquets. Both are incredible albums by great bands, and very thoroughly recommended. After The Fall play hardcore and thrash infused skate punk, whilst Banquets play melodic punk rock which sits somewhere between The Gaslight Anthem and The Lawrence Arms. Each year I try to put out a new compilation, and last year was no different with the release of ‘Disconnected’ – an all exclusive, acoustic compilation from some of my favourite bands.
I think the personal highlight though for me with the label was the release of Home Advantage’s ‘Cadet’. I’d known a few of the guys for a while and been impressed by a few demos online and seeing them live around London / Kingston area. The band had been working hard for a good year before the release and had supported a bunch of top US pop punk and punk rock bands, and this experience really shines through in the EP, which for me is definitely one of, if not the best UK pop punk release of last year. The band play pop punk which owes as much to early 2000’s Drive Thru and Fat Wreck era pop punk and punk rock as it does to today’s bands, but doesn’t fall into the trap many new pop punk bands do of sounding a bit too similar to their influences or too like they’ve only listened to bands who have come out in the past few years. The guys have worked hard to hone their songs, live performance and build up their name, and hopefully we can continue this good work together in 2014.
What's the hardest part about running your own record label, and why? The hardest part is trying to convince people that if you like a band (or label!) that they need to support those bands, by going to gigs, buying merch and physical releases (and not illegally downloading), and spreading the word to friends. There’s only so much time in the day we can spend promoting bands, but I don’t have an unlimited budget for marketing, so word of mouth is really important.
Can you tell us about the process that runs up to the release of an album/EP? There's quite a lot that goes into a release. Firstly obviously is the music, with the band recording, then mixing and getting the release mastered. Usually I'd have a good idea of who I want to work with before they record (having heard previous releases / demos), so either they do this process knowing they will release with through DD, or will submit the release for us to check out. We'd then make an announcement via our website (www.disconnectdisconnect.co.uk) and social media sites, whilst also sending around a press release. This'll usually include some sort of music to listen to, whether a full song or a teaser of the release. Whilst this is going on, the manufacturing will be in process, which will be done at a professional pressing plant. There's usually a fairly long turnaround time on these (expect upto 4 weeks for CDs and 8 weeks for vinyl), so in the meantime we look at distribution opportunities (getting it into record stores / distros etc), whilst continuing promotion and advertising. We then hope to get the actual product back to us a month before release and out to any distros and stores which are stocking the release, as well as copies to bands. We then hope to promote as much as possible (without continually spamming!) alongside the band to build up to the release and ensure people have either pre-ordered or are ready to pick up the release when it's out.
Can you tell us what a normal day would involve for you at Disconnect Disconnect Records? A normal day for me with the label would usually involve getting up and checking the label email and then facebook, twitter and instagram. I'd then prioritise what needs to get done first (usually emails on new releases), and then check out any new bands we might have been sent and whether there's any news that needs to be shared via social media etc. Orders are also checked and taken to the post office if needed. I generally pop in and out of the emails and social media from about 7am to about 10/11pm, so i've always got my eye on things.
So, what do you look for when you are signing a band to Disconnect Disconnect Records? The first thing I look for is how great the songs are, and whether it's something I am genuinely really into. I wouldnt do a release with a band if I didnt love the band as it really wouldn’t be worth it. You can’t run a punk rock label if you don’t have the passion for the bands. I also look for bands who are hardworking and prepared to work together to help promote the band.
As an independent record label in the UK, then what is your view on the current rock climate, and how would you say it has progressed/changed since you first started out? I think the UK rock scene is really strong at the moment. There seems to be a lot of UK bands who are doing really well and playing bigger venues and festivals, which 4 or 5 years back when I started the label might have been dominated by American artists. I think people have really begun to understand that they need to support their local and homegrown bands and peers, and this also creates a really close knit scene between the bands. The growth of the internet and social networking has really helped bands keep in touch, copromote each other, and stay in contact with their fanbase, which can only be a good thing.
For anyone looking to start their own record label, then what advice would you give to them? The main piece of advice I would give is to do your research and don’t go into it with anything less than a whole load of enthusiasm for the music.
What else can we expect to see from Disconnect Disconnect Records in 2014? Our first release of the year is coming out in March and is the new album 'Religion and my Ex' by Rust Belt Lights. They're a great band and the album will appeal to fans of newer pop punk / punk rock bands such as The Story So Far and Such Gold as well as the classics like Lifetime and NOFX. I'm talking to a few great upcoming UK bands and will hopefully have some more news on other releases soon. Please keep an eye on our website www.disconnectdisconnect.co.uk and our Facebook and Twitter etc and we'll keep you updated!
When you are looking for a band to work with, then what do you normally look for? I'm usually looking for something that I see potential in musically, and a project that I feel I can bring something to the table with my production.
What's the hardest part about being a record producer/mixer, and why? It's a really fun job to do and the studio is always a great, enjoyable environment to be in. I guess when you have really big deadlines, things get a little stressful when you're trying to get a project back to the client in time while still putting 100% into the work. There's also a lot to do outside the studio which creates a lot of late nights.
So you recently got to work with Decade on their release 'Good Luck' so how did you end up working with them, and what was this experience like for you? Decade were absolutely fantastic to work with. I got sent some demos by their manager a while ago and as soon as I heard a minute of the first song, I was sold! I just had to make the record. We had some meetings and we were all on the same page in terms of how we wanted to approach the songs. When we got in the studio, it was really effortless and we had such a great time working on it. It's amazing to see how well everything is going for them off the back of the album, especially with the signing of their record deal and also the amazing feedback it's got from the fans, new and old.
Also, you are working on the new MONUMENTS record, so how is that going? It's sounding real good! I got a call to do some work on it and I had a really great time being involved. Incredibly talented bunch of people, I hope the album does well for them.
Can you tell us about what other acts you have worked with throughout 2013, and maybe what your highlights would be from this year as a producer? I had the pleasure of working with some incredible artists in 2013. One of my personal highlights was working on an album for a band who I really love called Verses. We went away to a studio in Oxford and spent a bunch of time really making the songs how we wanted them to be. It was nice to help the band try some new ideas with the music and adding things they hadn't previously tried. Being given the front cover of Resolution Magazine was a personal highlight for me. It was surreal to see myself in there and I was very honoured to be a part of it.
We've read that you are the first producer in the UK to use the SSL Sigma, so what's that been like for you to work with so far? Well, Solid State Logic are a company that I have always been the biggest fan of since I was a kid so to have them call me up and bring me their new product before anyone else was pretty amazing. They're really good to me and the Sigma is being used all the time in my studio. It sounds great when I'm mixing with it!
Can you tell us about the rest of the kit you use, and maybe a bit about how long it takes as a producer to find that perfect set up? Everything I record goes through a large format analog console whether it's the Audient at my studio, or an SSL. I like having everything all laid out in front of me when recording and plus it all sounds great hitting all the analog signal paths rather than just plugging straight into a computer. I have a bunch of outboard mic preamps and compressors that I love and everything goes through them almost always. Apart from all the boring stuff, I have a nice collection of guitar amps, guitars, drums and snare drums. This means I'm never limited by only what equipment the band has. I can swap things out quickly and try different sounds to get what is going to be the best for the song. It's taken me almost 10 years to find a setup that really works and gives me the sounds I want, and the search for the new perfect setup never ends!
When working with a band, then how does the recording process normally work? It varies. It depends on how much work we have to do and also the recording budget we have available to give us the studio time. I usually start by having everyone play together. I'm not a fan at all of making a drummer play to just a click or just one guitar. I want to hear everyone playing together, that's how the song was written, so that's usually the best way to lay the foundations of the track down. From there, I will then look at overdubbing the instruments on top and end up with the vocals. If I have a lot of vocals to do, then I may split the process a bit and do some guitars, then some vocals, then back to guitars etc, just to give the singer a rest.
Also, when working with a band, then how hard or easy is it for you as a producer to find the recording sound they really want to hear on record? Once I hear a track and spend some time with it, I start to build up a sound in my head. I might have ideas for various parts of the song so I tend to write them down as I'm listening to them. From there, its just the process of getting the sound in my head to come out of the speakers, which at times is hard, especially if I have a very specific guitar tone or vocal sound in mind.
You have worked with a lot of established and upcoming rock/alternative bands, so with this in mind, how do you think this 'scene' in the UK has changed or progressed since you first started out as a producer? I think there's some really great new bands out there and it's also good to see the established bands are still able to keep going and make records in what is a difficult industry to survive in. I'm not sure what has changed exactly, but I think there's definitely new ways now in which artists are getting their music out there for people to listen to.
For those looking to become a record producer/mixer, then what advice would you give to them? Work really hard and enjoy it! It's not an easy ride, especially in today's industry but music is such a great thing to be able to work with every day. I'm certainly very grateful for the opportunity.
What else can we expect to see from you in 2014? I have a lot of sessions and albums I'm really looking forward to making. There will be some releases of records I did in 2013 that will be coming out this year. I'm also launching something new this yearâ€ŚI think ! Too early to talk about it but I'm quite excited to see how it works out.
EP Review- Animus - Fall of the Elite Animus formed in 2010, hailing from Scotland they've done well for themselves in the little time they've been together. Supporting big names such as Bleed From Within and Heights have gained them a following, not to mention their unique sound. Drawing influence from some big name metal acts on the scene, Animus are set to release their debut EP, Fall of the Elite, this year and take the UK by storm with their unique sound. Opener "Damnation" greets us with all kinds of atmospheric terror. Air raid sirens litter the intro, stomping straight into a bouncy riff and some incredible growls from vocalist, Aaron Fawns. Sonically it's the record fits into the more djent side of metal, with the bouncy riffs and sort of slow progression, something which bands such as Periphery and After The Burial have pioneered over the years. The EP packs four tracks in total, and with the aggressive nature and technicality of track "Home(less)", Animus show us what they're all about by the third track. Continuing the djent sound they built upon on the first track but adding more technicality to the mix. Fall Of The Elite is a solid debut effort from these Scottish metallers. Drawing well from their influences and creating an EP full of aggression, technicality and some straight up crushing tracks. Expect to see these guys all over the UK this year when Fall Of The Elite hits stores in March. GD
Album Review - My Favourite Runner Up - Crossroads Pop-Punk is storming its way through the country this year. With Neck Deep and Roam already heralded for big things, it's bands like these which is paving the way for British pop-punk. My Favourite Runner Up are just one of those bands that share this sound and draw influence from classic punk acts such as New Found Glory and Jimmy Eat World. Now with the band getting ready to release their debut album, Crossroads, MFRU are set to make their mark this year. Opening tracks "Light A Fire", "Poison" and "Never Again" comprise a mix of what My Favourite Runner Up can do here, with the latter showing off that they can craft a brilliant heartfelt melody and the first being a straight pop-punk track that is sure fire to get everyone moving at their shows.
Lyrically the album is typical of that of a band which sounds like this, with stories of love and loss. But it makes for a great listen that is incredibly relatable to their audience. Sonically My Favourite Runner Up have thoughtfully crafted arrangements and twisting riffs which perfectly entwine with the catchy vocal lines, notable on tracks "Your Own Worst Enemy" and title track "No More Fight". Crossroads is an excellent debut album from these Welsh upstarts. Although it may be more of the same from the genre, it's a fun listen and it's packed with some great anthems that are sure to see their shows going off up and down the country. GD
Eye On Attraction - The Factory - Review Prog-rock is a funny genre. On one hand you've got the pioneers of the genre, Rush, who for years have been reinventing the way the genre is performed and on the other hand you've got the guys who think they can be the next big thing and end up creating something totally diabolical. I've never really been a big fan of the genre myself, but I can appreciate the work that goes into it and where the inspiration is drawn from. Eye On Attraction seem fairly new on the scene, formed in 2010,they're pulling out all the stops to get their music heard with their most recent offering, The Factory. It's an entertaining listen. Although it's full of much of the same, Eye On Attraction seem to pride themselves on the use of their instruments, lacing tracks such as "The Wake" and "The Most Dangerous Game" with some impressive technical riff work. At times some of the music does fall out of place a bit, with the same thing being repeated mostly throughout here it does tend to become tedious. Vocally, former vocalist Zack Graham shows an impressive performance, although sometimes falling off in certain places, but a sign that he is stretching his range a bit here. The latter half of the album is where it starts to get more impressive sonically. Pulling off riffage and giving off an atmosphere which would be more typically seen on a Coheed and Cambria record. Stepping away from the prog-rock and pushing it further into a more dark theme. The Factory is an interesting listen and is a more than commendable entry into the prog-rock genre. Eye On Attraction seem to know what they're doing here, with technicalities laden over each track and giving off a dark atmosphere, The Factory is sure to stir some fans of the genre. GD
Wicked Snakes - Lead Me To The Sun The bass groove that introduces this EP creates a sinister air, the melodies over the top create an eerie atmosphere before the riffs break through in a manner that would take down a wall. The breakdown introduces a classical feel; the guitars and bass combine with superb precision and give it an element I really didn’t expect when ‘A Ceremony’ kicked the EP in to high gear. It is more of a sludgey groove that ‘Death Note’ adds and immediately thoughts of a Pantera/Sabbath hybrid fill my head, it has the mammoth doomy riffs while the bass holds down the rhythm alongside the drums in a way that the legendary rhythm dealers of those two bands would be proud. The solo especially rips and that whole section is one that will be revisited on numerous occasions. There are so many different elements in this record, the title track shows the melodic side of Wicked Snakes while ‘Cause and Effect’ embodies a more stoner/psychedelic feel. Even with the differing styles there is never any loss of focus, there is always something going on in the background, whether it is the brutalising drums, the grooving bass and guitar riff partnership or the venomous vocals being spat out at every turn, this a debut release of staggering potential. The fact that this band was only formed in August of 2013 stuns me and ‘Lead Me to the Sun’ is only the beginning. Wicked Snake are one to lookout for in 2014, of that I am in no doubt. AN
Decade - Good Luck Decade have, over the last few years, laid down a solid foundation for themselves as the go-to underground pop-punk band of Great Britain. Hey, a niche is a niche. But with this, their first full album, the Bath quintet seem intent on elevating their status, something that (judging from their upcoming tour dates as support to Mayday Parade) seems to be well within their grasp. As such, this album displays a much more mature band than can be found on their debut EP, 2009's Lost at Sea. In opening track Good Luck especially, Decade have traded their once paint-by-numbers pop-punk sound, for a much more hard rock sensibility. Potentially one of the best things this band could have done, as this new sound is wholly individual, and much more gratifying to listen to than the plethora of pop-punk bands that litter these shores.
Thankfully, what Decade have decided to stick to is their unquestionable ear for catchy melodies. Evidently working with Spinefarm Records (an unusual pairing if I ever saw one) has not diminished their ability to write superb, memorable melodic hooks, and nowhere is this more demonstrated than on first single British Weather. This album may not see Decade becoming a household name all across the country. But it sure as hell is a good start. And if Decade can keep it up, that level of notoriety will be well within their grasp. AL
Alaska! Alaska! You know those times where you hear one word repeatedly and it starts to not sound like a word anymore? That's exactly how this album starts. Sure, it's quite funny that Alaska! Alaska! have taken the time to comb movies for examples of people saying "Alaska" but after the first ten seconds or so, the novelty wears a little thin. Gripe over, on with the review. What Alaska! Alaska! display is exactly what pop-punk originally was, and should really be today: big catchy choruses, big hooks, with gritty punk verses and riffs. Whilst Alaska! Alaska! may not do it in the most polished way ever done (obviously choosing to land pretty heavily on the punk side of things here) but no one could deny that they do it their way and by god there's no taking that away from them. The sad thing is, it's unclear at the moment whether there's a market for this kind of music on a grand scale. This kind of melodic punk is best suited to the really small, intimate venue shows, where you can smell the beer spilt by the exuberant moshing and there is far less than the required amount of fire exists. Which is a real shame, because Alaska! Alaska! are so infectious that it would be so life-affirming to see them make a true name (and occupation) for themselves in the music industry. AL
Canterbury - Dark Days British rock/indie four piece return with their third full length album.. Opening, 'Expensive Imitation' the peace is quickly broken as it quickly develops into a head banging damn catchy track! A truly good one to open on that grabs you immediately with its hard hitting rhythms,power and dynamic delivery, which sets the scene nicely for what lies ahead!..'All My Life' features splendid calming vocals from Luke Prebble in the verses and in the chorus it picks up power and has an anthemic feel, helped by one of the biggest most memorable chorus' on the album. Single, 'Satellite' is extremely catchy, and boasts a big and bold sound and again can see it being a great crowd pleaser! This is a must hear, and once you do you will find it at the forefront of your mind! 'Hold Your Own' starts with a great intro with piano and effective gang vocals, with are very well placed. This shows their slightly 'darker' more serious side, and builds up with explosive results! Again has a mainstream anthemic vibe but with a angsty back bone with its broody and slightly sinister tones. 'By The Trail' starts out acoustic for the most part with pitch perfect and vulnerable vocals. Throughout its very subtle but highly effective and moving with its soothing and emotive sound. 'Elephant' picks up the pace and packs a punch with great vocals and a strong very catchy chorus and melodic varied rhythms. Closing song, 'Going Nowhere' is full of passion and emotion,with Luke displaying some of his best stripped back vocals with lovely accompanying ambient instruments. This has a different more soft approach but shows they are diverse and can still inject tonnes of power in this more laid back track! This album has a largely upbeat and uplifting sound but with hints of ominous and foreboding tones, which they execute perfectly with the right balance! They possess a fresh and exciting sound, displaying heaps of energy, passion and power. They still seem to be somewhat underestimated all things considered, but following this release I think the sky is the limit for Canterbury! CL
A Raven Among Doves
Less Than Jake - See The Light This is a band that has always had a special place for me, they were one of the first bands I saw live away back when and Hello Rockview to this day is a regular spinner in my ears. It is five years since Less Than Jake last fired out a studio album (2012’s compilation not included) and with a UK tour quickly looming, they have stood the test of time not just in the ska/punk scene but rock n roll in general. The album starts with a bang, ‘Good Enough’ starts with those catchy groove rhythms that they have made their name. It is upbeat and powerful; the bass shreds throughout and blends well with the occasional trumpet blasts that ring out. While the upbeat vibes are prominent there are some bleaker moments, ‘Do the Math’ bounces through the tempo changes. Its verses have that happy-go-lucky feel before the chorus brings you down a notch. Chris DeMakes vocal takes you through the motions, emotion pours from it and it continues with the stand out ‘Bless the Cracks’. This is more of a pure rock n roll song, the horn section fill the background but the guitars take more of a lead grinding out a crushing driving rhythm while ‘John the Baptist Bones’ follows a similar vein. This is a very worthy addition to the Less Than Jake discography, holding on to the energy and groove of the past while managing to find new hooks to sound just as fresh today as the first time that Hello Rockview found its way in to my tape deck. AN
Oxygen Thief - Accidents Do Not Happen, They Are Caused This is the solo project of Bristol’s Barry Dolan, a singer songwriter who has grafted for every opportunity he has found which includes supports with Frank Turner, Johnny Foreigner, various festivals and regular national radio spots. There is still space for some tender moments, after the crushing and bruising opening of ‘There Can Only Be One’ the tempo is dropped slightly, it doesn’t last long though and it is soon back to the spine splitting riffs. There is so much that stands out on this album, ‘Modesty Is Dead’ would certainly not have sounded out of place in the 90’s grunge explosion but ‘Terry Nutkins Salute’ criss-crosses crunching riffs and off tune melodies, giving an eastern tinge before a hair raising ending leads straight in to some cut throat riffing with ‘Mestle and Porter’.
Dolan’s vocals have a clean sound but at the same time create an edge that cut a rough and menacing side in a street level manner while some thrash dripping riffs enable this to really kick some throats. This record is going to find its way into followers of numerous genres, from thrash, to hardcore, to punk and any person that likes meaningful heavy music and I do love an album that can transcend the boundaries and not be shoe horned into one place This is raw, this is heavy and this is going to cause carnage in more than a few pits. AN
Still In Search - It All Comes Down At Once German three piece Still in Search bring an album full of differing styles, to hear opener ‘Strato Cumulus’ would give the impression of being an indie style rock band with a bit of subtle aggression but as soon as the digitised synths of ‘Silence’ kick in, it is clear there is far more in this band to be discovered. It mixes European pop rock with a deeper, cutting edge, Clara Bauers vocals although thoughtful, moody and at times haunting, are intertwined with a seething aggression that makes for an interesting progression through this diverse and dynamic collection of songs.
The likes of ‘Tela’ and ‘Tired’ have a hard hitting backbone to them while the album splits in to more jazz and groove country with ‘A25’ and ‘Darkness’. The rest of the album goes far more experimental, infusing a much more synthesised and sample driven grind to the proceedings that really gives it that Euro rock signature.
This is an album that will hit the right notes to the right people but it feels unfocused, it feels like it should be epic but it just doesn’t hit home and feels far too Eurovision to strike a chord with more than the die hard followers of this genre of music. AN
Giving Into Ghosts - Chasing Waves
'Giving Into Ghosts' have talent, there is no doubt about that. The post-hardcore quartet have the ability to merge crushing breakdowns with catchy melodies, and, as is often the problem with upstarts, each member is clearly highly skilled in their respective instruments, but unfortunately that's not always enough. The problem is that they don't offer anything new, nothing is spectacular. It appears the only releases getting any attention these days are from the heavyweights of the genre and it is questionable whether 'Giving Into Ghosts' have the unique quality to bring listeners back. It takes a few listens to attempt to gain recognition of what the four piece are trying to do here, and that isn't time many fans of the genre will have given the current saturation of talent. It's not all doom and gloom however. There are highlights; the guitar solo in 'Rapture' could have been taken straight out of any of Trivium's greater moments, and it appears a wise choice for the lead single off of the EP. The lead vocal also remains strong throughout, with James Hardiman offering a distinct, powerful figure as frontman. A few mere tweaks to the quality of composition and 'Giving Into Ghosts' may really have something here. AB
Alexis Kings - 1972 'Alexis Kings' describe themselves as Indie Rock, but that appears a pigeon hole that doesn't do the two piece any justice. This two track EP offers an ethereal insight into the minds of this St Albans duo, and it stands incredible that a two piece could offer such different and insightful tracks. '1972' displays their ability to offer bass laden riffs that sound like they're plucked straight from mid-90's Kyuss, and throw on top crooning vocals to create a niche sound in today's market. 'Brothers' offers more straight up Indie Rock, and though the accusation could be made that they're recycling riffs overused by the likes of early Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, clever lyrical play delivered powerfully and fittingly by Brendan Aherne ensures, these are more than easy to overlook. The only problem with this EP is its length; two songs, no matter how good, do not define a band. It offers a strong starting point, and should become small successes if marketed correctly. 'Alexis Kings' just need to continue along the same lines, get back in the studio and if a full album of songs at this quality and recorded to the best possible production standards, they could be big - real big. AB
NOFX - Stoke Extinguisher NOFX release new EP featuring a clown on a unicyle..strange! Let's go along for the ride!.. Opening song and title EP track, 'Stoke Extinguisher' is the typical melodic punk which we know and love from the band, nothing terribly surprising but not necessarily a bad thing! Second song, 'The Shortest Pier' is a cover song originally by No Use for a Name front man, Tony Sly. This is a true and proud interpretation of the song, making for a good tribute indeed! The very short demo third track, 'I Believe In Goddess' starts with nice bass intro and builds up nicely before delving into a fast paced song featuring some interesting good lyrics. This is a hard hitting punk rock song, that is short but straight to the point! We are treated to a nice comical fun song in the form of the catchy, 'My Stepdad's a Cop and My Stepmom's a Domme'! 'Wore Out The Soles Of My Party Boots' has a nice opening, with solid rhythms, beats, and well placed gang vocals which help with emphasis and to top off, some super slick guitar licks! The know how to pack the best into a short track! Final track, 'New Year's Resolution' is a funny and pessimistic fuck you to the new year's resolution tradition! Done in great style with tonnes of melody. This EP is a fun and enjoyable one and gives a good taste of what the band offers and what they do best!After all this time on the scene they are still dominating and show no signs of 'extinguishing'! CL
Newbury - Growing Pains EP What do you do if you want to write music, but feel it's all been done before? Well, if you're Maine-based pop-punk trio Newbury, you do it better than other people. A sure-fire way to get noticed. There's nothing on this album you haven't heard before, especially if you're a Blink 182 fan. The melodies are somewhat predictable, the riffs effective if a little simple and the vocals saccharine-sweet to the highest degree. On tracks like Ethylene, where Newbury attempt to steer more to the punk end of their genre, the rhythms are as fast and punchy as you'd expect them to be, no more and no less. But, despite all I've just said about the genericness (is a word, honest) in this EP, it is by no means a bad listen. Sure, you may have heard countless other bands do very similar things, but one of the joys of this kind of pop-punk is that it doesn't matter that you've may have heard it before; when bands like Newbury put out music like this the only thing you can do is don your skinny-jeans and Vans and wait for the summer. AL
Neck Deep- Wishful Thinking The UK pop punk music scene has been upsettingly quiet in recent years, with the American bands taking the opportunity to dominate the genre, as they have done in the past two decades with the likes of Blink 182 and more recently, Man Overboard. However, times are changing, and it looks like the catalyst could be Neck Deep who have exploded onto the scene with their debut album, Wishful Thinking. The five-piece have been around for almost two years and could be considered newcomers to the music business, but listen to this record and you could be fooled into thinking that they are pop-punk veterans. The album consists of 12 potential classics, all of which linger around the three minute mark. 'Losing Teeth' opens the album in a fashion which will have you fist-pumping and reminiscing about those days spent as a teenager, worrying about the issues which now appear minor life-niggles. The album sticks to this care-free attitude to what people think not fitting in through the medium of fast-paced, bouncy tracks. However, one exception in this record is the track 'Candour' which may catch you off guards. Concluding this record is a much gentler track, almost there to give you a break from fancy guitar riffs and mini-break downs before you go back to the beginning to get another listen of this piece of sheer brilliance. These lads from Wrexham are attempting to reignite the pop punk scene in this country and Wishful Thinking looks set to do that, with the majority of their album-supporting tour being sold out. Listen to this album and you will realise why. AG
Blitz Kids- Good Youth The month of January is proving to be a fantastic time for British rock music, and the Blitz Kids latest album, Good Youth, is certainly no exception. 'All I Want Is Everything' is the opening track, and where the title of this record originated from. "We are the good youth" perhaps highlights some of the negative things which are being reported about this generation, and this track is a reassurance that things are not always that way. There are some dark moments within this album, and 'On My Own' is an example of this. Lead vocalist Joe James has previously admitted that he has experienced some tough times during his time in the band which nearly resulted in his departure. Fear not though, it's clear that things could not be better between this four-piece. Every aspect of this record has been carefully constructed to sound it does and to put out a message to its listeners, but in particular the lyrics. This album represents a lot of the tough times the band have had to deal with, including band-member departures, alcohol, and anxiety. However the under-lying message is that these issues which many can relate to, are not the be all and end all, they can be dealt with and it is possible to move on. Blitz Kids have produced a rock album which refuses to dance around serious issues through the use of clichĂŠs, and that is why this album is going to kick-start something special for these four lads. Listen to Good Youth, and support this fantastic British band. AG
Transit - Futures and Sutures Transit released Young New England at the beginning of 2013, and as a time filler the band have released a time-filler which features reworked tracks from last year's album and it's predecessor as well as one brand new song. Young New England perhaps didn't get as greater reception as Listen & Forgive which is understandable as it was a particularly tough album to follow. However, the re-worked tracks from their 2013 album really shine on this E.P. and they could fool you into thinking that this is what they were meant to sound like in the first place. This E.P. release ties in with the band's acoustic basement tour in the US, which makes up for the fact the majority of us will be forced to miss that tour due to being a few thousand miles away.
The harmonies in this record are sounding better than they ever have, but what may take you by surprise is that the brand new song which features at the end of Futures and Sutures is in fact an instrumental piece. A very alternative approach to releasing new material, and it may leave some fans feeling a little disheartened. Don't get too down though, this goes to show that the band are planning to release some more pleasant music for our ears, and who knows, maybe even a UK tour? AG
Bruce Springsteen - High Hopes The Boss is back with a bang in 2014 and High Hopes marks the eighteenth studio album by Bruce Springsteen, the all American music man. It's already doing well, having reached number 1 on the US billboard chart, making this his eleventh. The album starts with the title track - 'High Hopes' - and let's just say it gives usâ€Ś high hopes. It's got fast and upbeat drums complete with shakers to start off, including a catchy chorus riff in a jazzy blues style. The new rock and swing music of the 21st century, something different, edgy and well, cool. 'High Hopes' leads nicely on to 'Harry's place' a bit of a change of style, but continuing with the blues theme moving onto a bit of saxophone, talking about drugs and hipsters. The Boss is definitely still in touch with the times. We then hear 'American Skin' and we're transported back to classic Springsteen. It's a bit power ballad, a bit country, a lot of boss. It basically does what it says on the tin. As you move through the album you come across the track 'This is Your Sword' which features an opening riff with something that resembles a mixture between a flute and bagpipes, can't quite put my finger on it. Whatever it is it sounds extremely Scottish, a bit different to what we had been listening to but pretty good nonetheless. Track number ten is 'The Ghost of Tom Joad.' One of the most rock and roll tracks on the album, the use of strings and piano creates an eerie backdrop to a ghost story song. Gripping and touching, lyrics such as like 'You've got a hole in your belly and a gun in your hand' something you'd imagine sitting around a campfire to. The last track 'Dream Baby Dream' moves back to the classic American rock and roll style we were so used to with Springsteen before. It's got chorus-like backing vocals, a string set and some acoustic sounding guitar to convince all you young'uns that if you dream you can succeed. We had high hopes but it seemed to decrease as the album played on. Still, itâ€™s number eighteen in a rather large repertoire so there's really no doubt as to why they call him the boss. EG
The Lawrence Arms - Metropole American Punk Rock three piece return with their sixth studio album to be released on 28th January along with an EP named, 'News From Yalta 7' on the same day! They seem to suddenly have a lot to express!.. First song, 'Chilean District' opens on a nice drum intro and follows with fast paced and catchy rhythms and effective vocals from Brendan and Chris, although their vocals are very different, they seem to work so well together. This may be short but it does the job!..Single, 'You Are Here' is melodic, and although rather simple is effective, especially with its air of melancholy and loneliness...to lighten things up again, 'Seventeeners (17th & 37th) has a fun raw pop punk vibe, looking back at past and present in true style, along with a music video that portrays this also! 'Beautiful Things' contains some great melodic and memorable guitar work, and packs more power than previous songs. The lyrics are well written and again they are reflecting back on the past. Title track, 'Metropole' is more downbeat and stripped back, starting out with acoustic guitar to accompany soft vocals filled with hopelessness. The instruments kick in a bit more as it goes on, but still maintaining the sombre vocal delivery and negative lyrics. The best title for a song on this album goes to..'Drunk Tweets' - this quick in your face rebellious punk track is filled with lots of swearing and randomness! (as you might expect!), and is the most fun injected carefree offering so far, making it a highlight! "The YMCA Down The Street From The Clinic" demonstrates more cleverly written lyrics, and takes us on the path of reality with its negativity and realism, especially through the well structured stripped down verses. But it also has some more upbeat melodic riffs and instruments to pick it up, to keep things well balanced! The comical and honestly titled, 'Paradise Shitty' has some powerful instruments that again add to the optimistic side of things, to keep the score even. This also offers one of the most varied and diverse tracks. Final song, 'October Blood' seems to nod more at their previous albums and sound and is a good choice to end on, on this roller coaster ride that they have taken us on! Instead of growing up and reverting back to being young through their songs like a lot of punk bands do, The Lawrence Arms have let the music grow up too, and have done it well to maintain a great largely mature punk sound! They have found a great balance between reality and fun. This is worth a listen for sure and offers something bit different to your typical punk, especially with the nice addition of sound bites recorded on a Iphone in Italy! CL
ROAM - Head Down It's shaping up to be a good year for pop-punk, with releases and tours from bands such as Neck Deep and State Champs it looks as if the genre is going to take the industry by storm this year. Riding on this storm is British pop-punkers, ROAM. Hailing from Brighton, ROAM have kicked off the year with a bang, supporting Neck Deep on their headline tour and releasing their new mini-album, Head Down, just before 2014 started. Opener "You Never Said" shows what ROAM are all about, aggressive melodies, heartfelt lyrics and rhythms that are bound to get a crowd off their feet and singing along. Alex Costello's vocals shine on this track and have a uniqueness in their own compared to others on the scene right now. Lyrically the EP is brilliant, there's no bitchy tracks about break up's, it's just an honest EP about growing up and the concerns of growing up, particularly noticeable on the track "Head Rush". It's a short but sweet five-track EP, filled with honesty, catchy hooks and similar rhythms, much akin to The Story So Far or even their British counterparts, Neck Deep. It's an enjoyable listen nonetheless and I can find myself relating to it, but that's all pop-punk is right? Honesty, fun and being able to relate to the statements that the bands make. GD
Of Mice & Men - Restoring Force American metalcore act release third album stating its the most ambitious and in depth album yet!.. Opening song 'Public Service Announcement' is fast and fierce whilst still being catchy, and well structured almost with a nu-metal kind of format. It keeps your interest and makes you want to see what else is to offer!.. 'Bones Exposed' is one of best tracks featured due to its dynamic and powerful sound with more of a heavy rock influence and hardcore elements and bodes well with previous tracks, tying everything in nicely and neatly! As well as showing a nice contrast of clean and screamed vocals from Austin and Aaron.. First single, 'You're Not Alone' which marked the first release with new bassist and clean vocalist, Aaron (formerly of band Jamie's Elsewhere) boasts a big chorus with chants, and can imagine being a big mosh track with its mix of melodic rock and more vehement moments! A very good balance, which represents this album and their new direction perfectly! 'Would You Still Be There' is infectiously catchy with tonnes of melody and will get you moving! This has quite a radio friendly rock vibe which will go down a treat live also! This is a highlight and will not be forgotten anytime soon! 'Glass Hearts' ramps up the belligerent side of things again with hardcore screams and solid heavy riffage with powerful cleans parts also which flow effortlessly together. Closing song, 'Space Enough To Grow' is on the softer side with clean delicate vocals and ambient sounds, offering something different, which is simple but effective and shows some brilliant vocal skills, making for a peaceful and quite beautiful ending..not the ending you might expect but nonetheless a good one! In my opinion this is a brilliant new direction for them with a heavy rock and nu-metal influence infused with their metalcore roots sprinkled with their impressive sonic elements giving them a powerful and quite unique sound! Some old fans may find this harder to digest, but I think its a brave move that pays off greatly! The addition of clean vocalist Aaron and Austin's fierce vocals makes for a great contrast, along with strong structures and melodies; they have produced some huge anthemic and infectious tracks which are bound to earn them more airplay, as well as more fans! CL
Skindred - Kill The Power Skindred hurtled into success in 2011 with the release of their critically acclaimed album, Union Black. Featuring an emphasis on dub-step, hip-hop and r 'n'b elements, Union Black took Skindred to the top and saw them almost everywhere. Fast forward a few years and now Skindred are getting ready for a heavy year. Kill The Power is their latest release and it does not disappoint in the slightest. Opening with the title track, huge riffs dominate the opening, laced with a hiphop rhythm vocalist Benji Webbes' unique vocals fill the track with an incredible atmosphere. Making for an opener that packs a hell of a punch. Quite clearly within the first few tracks Skindred have a lot of musical influences. Tracks such as "Ruling Force" and "Playing With The Devil" show they're not scared to experiment even further with the dubstep genre. To no surprise, it works, brilliantly. The latter half of the record shows that Skindred can craft some bittersweet melodies too, seeing track "We Live" become an anthem for the record. Sonically the record is dominated by crushing riffwork, and towards the end of the album it's more prominent than ever on tracks "Proceed With Caution" and "Saturday". Kill The Power is an incredible return from the popular ragga-metallers, showing that they know how to bend the genre in whichever way they want to and craft something both with atmosphere and ferocity. Expect to see Skindred everywhere this year. GD
Lamb of God - 02 Academy Glasgow - Jan 16th The crowd are continuing to filter in as Huntress take the stage and in their all too brief set, show exactly why they have been added to the Download Festival bill for the second year running before Decapitated turn things heavier and bring the first of many pits to bounce the Academy floor tonight. Both are well received but tonight is all about one band, the triumphant return to Glasgow of Lamb of God and the buzz in the air of the sell-out crowd reaches a crescendo before the lights dim, the intro music plays and the anticipation ends in a wall of movement as bodies and sweat fly to the opening strains of ‘Desolation’. It has been a while since I have seen a crowd as up for this and even bassist John Campbell could be seen mouthing the word “wow” during ‘Ghost Walking’. Randy Blythe roams the stage like a man possessed, menace and aggression following his every step, the heat is obviously noticeable on the stage as at least twice he can be seen soaking his face with water and the set isn’t even 15 minutes old yet. After the crushing ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Set to Fail’, the band take a moment as Blythe announces to the crowd that he nearly cancelled this show, to a chorus of boos before explaining the hardship it was pulling himself away from the beauty of the highlands and drinking water through rocks. In stark contrast to the carnage being unleashed before his eyes! It is back to Ashes of the Wake with ‘Now You’ve Got Something to Die For’ and ‘Omerta’ with ‘The Undertow’ sandwiched in between, bringing an almost universal bouncing of the floor that would in any ‘upstairs’ venue would give cause for concern although one of the biggest cheers is reserved for ‘Ruin’.There is a genuine feel of this being a band making up for lost time after the frustration and events of the past couple of years, they don’t seem to tire and they are in no mood to let up. It was obviously too much for some as a young fan is carried out and one even trudged out with a shoe having been lost in the pit. The swirling circle pits hit their peak during ‘Redneck’ which has the entire audience screaming along before ‘Black Label’ , featuring an epic wall of death, brings down Lamb of Gods return to Glasgow in a jaw dropping way that has shaken the very foundations of the Glasgow Academy. AN
Neck Deep - The Exchange Bristol - Jan 23rd Tonight we are at a sold out Exchange in the heart of Bristol. The first band we witness is Montrose, who come from the awesome city of Bath. Now, although these guys are local, you still wouldn't of expected them to get the kind of response they got, because as soon as they hit the stage, they had a huge mosh pit open up, and then there were people singing along with every single word. Visually the band looked like they were having the time of their life, and throughout the set they did their best to keep the crowd constantly moving, whilst also entertained. Next up we have ROAM (for all The Story So Far fans out there, then you should be able to figure out where that name comes from!), who once again get the mosh pits and crowd surfing on the go straight away. We are treated to songs of their latest release 'Head Down' which all go down really well. All in all they give us a perfect dose of melodic pop punk, and we are sure that if the band have been playing as good as they are playing now throughout the whole tour with their buddies in Neck Deep, then they have surely won themselves a whole load of new fans. To finish the night, we have Neck Deep who dominate the stage as soon as they take to it. We instantly see all of their fans at the back who have obviously been saving their energy, head much further towards the front of the stage. From the first track we have stage diving taking place, and well, if you've been to see The Wonder Years or The Story So Far recently, then this is a very similar experience to that (which is awesome!). The band share with us a majority of songs of their debut album release, as well as also diving into material taken from their EPs prior to this. There wasn't a track that didn't get a frantic response from the crowd, but if I had to pick then some of my highlights from the night would include 'Losing Teeth' & 'A Part of Me' which are certainly tracks that will stay in their set list for a long time to come. Pop punk gigs are always fun, but to see a line-up that consisted of 100% UK pop punk bands getting a sold out response is of course something special. Also, with Neck Deep heading out on a US tour already, then it looks like the future of this genre in this country is looking extremely exciting! AD
Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn have not co-starred in a film since 2005's Wedding Crashers but now the pair have been reunited as they look to make a name for themselves in the world of technology. The film begins with Wilson and Vaughn being informed that the business they work for has gone bust, meaning that they are now out of work. Vaughn puts his thinking cap on and puts the pair forward for an internship at the rather large internet corporation, Google. Needless to say after bending a few truths, both the characters find their way into the internship, with the opportunity to earn full time employment after the pay-free period is over. It has to be said that this film just fails to compare with Wedding Crasher, which can be forgiven considering how side-splittingly hilarious that film is. Despite this, it is great to see this pair of actors back together on our screens. The connection between them both is something which is hard to come by in today's world. Essentially what this film is, is an extended advertisement for the internet giants, Google. But it does make for enjoyable watching in the sense that it provides a few chuckles, and also Will Ferrell makes a cameo appearance. Certainly worth a watch.
Unfortunately, sports documentaries could be perhaps considered as a film genre which is starting to go out of fashion. Class of 92' is hopefully something which is going to turn this round. Starring David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, and Gary & Phil Neville the film looks back the noughties, when these six local lads were growing up playing for Manchester United. Class of '92 documents the story of each of these players during that decade, focussing on both high and low points at that time. Of course in the end it was this team which became the first English club to win the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in one season, but behind that is the sense of friendship and teamwork which this group of men showed to become part of history. This film is not for everyone, but don't for a second think that because you are not an avid football, or sports fan, that you won't enjoy this movie. It's about six people, overcoming everything in their way to break boundaries, and it highlights the strength that friendship and loyalty can have.
In the ultra competitive world of videogames, few franchises have stayed at the top for as long as Call Of Duty. However staying at the top does not necessarily push developers to improve their product, arguably the franchise has changed little since the polished MW2 graced every eligible console across the gaming world. It wasn't until Battlefield started to show itself as a true competitor to the fps crown, that COD started to up its game. Just like the best thing to ever happen to FIFA was Pro Evo, so is Battlefield to COD, and with BF4 attracting a lot of attention, it would appear Ghosts has had to up its game. If all that wasn't enough, it marks the launch of a new generation. This is next gen COD! It is clear from the outset that we are in the bosom of familiar territory, the gripping, at times, clichĂŠ world of COD is all about the big spectacle coupled with quiet manly chats that some how make the following mission 'mean something'. So despite being familiar, Ghosts is set in its own world, independent of any of COD's other franchises, giving them free reign to create some political unrest. So what's the (spoiler free) story!? An oil rich South America unifies into a federation of nations that inevitably descends into combat with the US (to make a game), sounds pretty far fetched, but after a short but epic prologue mission in space! We pick up the story 10 years later of a losing United States desperate to make an impact of their new foe. What do we do? A complex ground occupation, a nuke, lots of political bargaining? No. What we need is a small group of men known as Ghosts and a dog named Riley to take it to those oil rich South Americans! Yes, that's right, the story focuses around the relationship between 2 brothers, their father and their fury friend (a dog). Wait, wait, 'focuses'; what I was focusing on was the explosions, bombs and wave after wave of people etcâ€Ś
Needless the say the story plods along in a vaguely predictable fashion, however Ghosts does offer hugely varied missions, both geographically and in combat approach: space battles, tanks, helicopters, repelling down buildings and yes even punching a shark and playing as a dog. For the most part this breaks up the 'grind' of run and gun that has been a weak point in previous games. That's enough about why, more about the how! Like I said, Ghosts offers hugely varied combat approaches which will certainly serve as the most memorable moments from the campaign. However, let's not forget, an incredible percentage of the 10-hour campaign is made up of shooting people and running about. This has been and always will be what COD is best at, Ghosts is no different. Gameplay is familiar, highly polished, responsive, engaging and incredibly immersive. Weapons are of course stunning and well textured, you feel every shot and every weapon feels different to the last. Not to be out done, environments are painstakingly detailed and feel organic in their textures and movement, especially evident in the opening level where we run through a suburban sprawl that is falling, breaking, burning all around us, and yet we are seamlessly interacting with a shifting environment (amazing). The games presentation overall impressive, especially in low light levels, the next generation graphics are leaps and bounds ahead of the 360, capturing minute lighting changes and texturing even in the gloom. Great sound effects add to the immersiveness of battle and strong voice acting performances give characters a believability not seen in previous COD's. The game does have some cheesy lines, but these are nothing we haven't come to expect. So as with every COD review, we reach the inevitable part that everyone is most interested in. 'Is the multiplayer good?', or more specifically 'better than the last one?'. Well 'better' is subjective, what it certainly is, is more detailed. The first and most striking addition is the Create a Solider option, the level of customisation available is astounding, from your characters' appearance (loads of options), to new loadout options, where similarly to BLOPS2 you can forego equipment in favour of more perks. This is not something I want to dissect as there are a total of 35 perks and an awful lot of weapons. All I will say is that the new options a) allow you to create an original looking avatar which reflects you as an individual and similarly create a character loadout which is tailor-made for your style.
Balance is important in COD, without it, most players will use the same loadout and weapon (boring). Thankfully, Ghosts has tackled this by making lots of play styles viable and 'nurfing' the things people used to complain about. Light machine guns for example have had their damage reduced, discouraging prey and spray. It doesn't stop thereâ€Ś the aim assist of sniper rifles has been made less forgiving, seeing the once regular 'quick scoping' possibly a thing of the past, except for the skilled few. However, larger weapons now affect movement less, so it's not all bad. Overall, weapons have been balanced to allow players to explore what they like and not be pressured into having to play a certain way to be competitive. Many players have reported lag, but I must say it felt pretty smooth. I think it is fair to say COD players love complaining. Once you have that perfect build it's time to get into the madness of COD online. Ghosts has 12 levels (standard more to come with DLC) from the vast medieval Scottish castle of Stonehaven to the tight and frantic Freight, there is something for every style, however I will say that Ghosts seems to lean towards the mid to long range player, I rarely found a level rife with close quarters skirmishes. Now, I know what your thinking: 'It's COD! The fast paced, frantic, every-man-for-himself style?' Well no, this time around Ghosts has opted to encourage players to work as a team, with the more open levels demanding a more thoughtful play style. Without due care, you can find yourself wondering aimlessly around looking for an enemy, spawning too far or too close to enemies and being a total noob. Another issue has always been the predictable flow a match can get into, well Ghosts also tackled this in a rather inventive way. All new dynamic/interactive elements to maps, from missile strikes that change entire levels to player controlled gates that control the flow of battle. These elements break the flow and when used to full effect can turn the tide of a match.
I would love to keep singing the praises of Ghosts but there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed. Ghosts has a 12 player per map max. I cannot help but feel that this is a step backwards from the epic Ground Wars that became a staple of my COD game choice. You would expect this reduction in match size to usher in some mind blowing game types to make up for it; well no. We see a total of 5 new game types to make a total of 13 (many are similar). Our new personal favourite, Grind, requires players to collect dog tags and deposit them in banks on the map, leading to some great ambush opportunities. From what we have seen so far, most players are preferring the classics; Domination and Team Deathmatch. Other modes include Extinction, a clear substitute for the ever-popular BLOPS Zombies. This time we along with friends tackle Aliens in a mini campaign based in a large multi staged area, not too dissimilar from Left for Dead. This mode is enjoyable and challenging at times and it certainly adds to the value for money. However, I feel many players will likely not return to this mode after completion. Squads is a great mode single or co-op to prepare you for the hectic and, at times daunting world of online play. Squads allows you to play multiplayer online style matches such as Wargame, where you and 5 bots compete against six bots in varying game types, using the same perks and loadouts available in online mode. Or Safeguard that acts as the classic survival mode seen in many other fps'. I would have to say the bots in Ghosts are incredibly impressive and at times you would be hard pressed to believe they were not real players, fantastic preparation before taking that leap into Live.
Sum-up Best instalment for a long time. Ghosts has come up with inventive ways of dealing with the things that made their games predictable. However, some irritating absences, namely reduction in player-count and the lack of the next gen jaw on the floor wow factor that ÂŁ60 price tag demands. It's certainly a must for the COD fan, but for people looking for a true next gen FPS I would wait to part with your hard earned money.