Ash Dex Carina Lawrence Aymer Nelson Zach Redrup Richard Ounsworth Andy Leddington George Dimmock Sean Reid Kirsty Cheney James Price James Payne Felix Russell-saw Chris Smith Risingphenixent.com Andrew Wendowski Robert Sutton Kelly Hamilton Katja Borns Demon Race Productions Edwinfoto.com 27k Photography Cal McNeill Pavillon 666 Mark Stern Stagedive Photography Dani Silvia Ana Mendes Fia Torstensson Dominick Nicholas Valdivia Luke Fletcher
“It's hard to believe, but yes we have now hit issue 30 of Stencil Mag! From the first issue way back in 2010 we have spent our time supporting the best alternative talent out there. We've seen plenty of bands rise through the ranks to become some of the most influential acts right now... Marmozets, Neck Deep, Mallory Knox, The Wonder Years, being just some of these. We thrive on finding the most rewarding alternative talent out there, and in this issue we continue to do just that! There’s a massive dynamic of bands to check out, from ska all the way through to classic rock, there really is something for everyone! Our main exclusive article comes from Atreyu who tell us what it has been like for them to come back after a hiatus, as well as how their upcoming new album is coming along! We have a feature interview from Finishing Move who have spent their career working on epic soundtracks for games such as Halo & Massive Chalice. Once more we catch up with some of the best independent companies out there, including Dovetail Strings, SMT Clothing, FITA Records, who all discuss what their job role is like for them on a daily basis. In this issue you can expect to see our biggest competition to date, as a celebration of reaching 30 issues, we've put together 30 prizes for one lucky person to win, so do not miss out on that! As always, thank you for your support, and we hope that you'll enjoy the latest issue!”
The third round of bands for this years Slam Dunk Festival have been revealed and it’s very impressive. The announcement sees Architects, Finch, We Are The Ocean, Cartel, Set It Off, Moose
Blood, Roam, Stick To Your Guns, Deez Nuts, Being As An Ocean, This Wild Life, As It Is, Seaway, Fort Hope, Rob Lynch, Baby Godzilla, Shvpes, Only Rivals, Dead Harts, Wind In Sails, Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties and Survey Says. Alexisonfire have announced they will be reforming for a series of shows this summer. As part of the announcement, the Canadian post-hardcore band have been announced for this year’s Reading and Leeds Festival.
Hit The Deck continues to grow and has added The Xcerts, MC Lars, Brawlers, Black Peaks, Tellison, Bad Sign, Oceans Ate Alaska, Oathbreaker, Hacktivist, Hundredth and Calabrese. The final bands for Leeds’ Outbreak Fest have been announced and it sees Milk Teeth, Drug
Church, Survival, and Broken Teeth joining the bill. Outbreak Fest will take place at Canal Mills in Leeds on Sunday May 3rd. Punk legends Bad Religion have announced a run of UK headline dates that will take place in August. Support comes from Snuff. August 03 Ritz, Manchester 04 O2 Academy, Leeds 05 Istitute, Birmingham 07 O2 Academy, Bristol 08 Forum, London
Lonely The Brave will release 'The Day’s War – Victory Edition' on June 1st. UK prog metallers TesseracT have revealed details of their very first live CD/DVD. 'Odyssey/Scala' will be released on May 18th via Century Media.
Ghostfest 2015 will take place at Leeds University Union on September 5th and at Bristol’s Motion venue on September 6th. The first headliner will be announced at 9am on April 3rd.
Milk Teeth, The Homeless Gospel Choir and Axis Of are set to support Frnkiero And the Cellabration next month. April 16th Academy 3, Manchester (sold out) 17th The Key Club, Leeds (sold out) 19th King Tuts, Glasgow (sold out) 20th O2 Academy 2, Newcastle (sold out) 22nd The Globe, Cardiff (sold out) 23rd The Haunt, Brighton 24th O2 Academy, Oxford (sold out) 28th The Underworld, London (sold out) 29th Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth May 10th The Underworld, London
Decade have announced a short run of intimate UK shows around their appearance at next month’s Hit The Deck Festival. Liverpool quartet Scouts will be joining them on four of the five dates. April 23 Bucks Student Union, High Wycombe 25 Hit The Deck Festival, Bristol 26 Hit The Deck Festival, Nottingham 27 The Victoria, Swindon (w/Scouts) 28 Live Rooms, Chester (w/Scouts) 29 The Cookie, Leicester (w/Scouts) 30 Tiki Bar, Plymouth (w/Scouts) Coventry post-hardcore crew Conduit have revealed full details of their debut album. 'Life On Repeat' will be released on June 1st. Reformed Leeds punk quartet Yorkshire Rats have revealed details of their new album. The record is titled 'Sea of Souls' and will be released this March 24th on Indelirium Records.
All Time Low have announced a one-off UK show at Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange on August 25th. The show will serve as a warm-up for their appearance at the Reading and Leeds Festival and will include support from Neck Deep. Having recently completed a UK tour alongside Yellowcard, Less Than Jake will be returning to the UK for a special one-off show alongside Anti-Flag. The show will take place at London’s Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 on August 8th.
"Schizoid Pop" duo Twenty One Pilots will mark the release of their new album, 'Blurryface' with a short run of UK shows in May. May Mon 11 ABC2, Glasgow Tue 12 Deaf Institute, Manchester Wed 13 Hare and Hounds, Birmingham Thu 14 Electrowerkz, London St. Albans pop punks Trash Boat have signed a worldwide deal with Hopeless Records. They will release their second EP, 'Brainwork' on May 18th. Emerging Nottingham pop punk band, Layby, have revealed Miles Kent as their new vocalist. Their second EP, 'Life's Great Illusions' will be released on April 20th. So Cal punk legends The Offspring have announced they will be returning to the UK in August for two headline shows. August 25 Apollo, Manchester 26 Brixton Academy, London
Lagwagon have been added to NOFX and Alkaline Trio's co-headline tour. June 27 O2 Academy, Birmingham 28 O2 Academy, Brimingham* 29 Rock City, Nottingham* 30 O2 Academy, Newcastle July 2 O2 Academy, Leeds* 3 O2 Academy, Leeds 4 O2 Academy Brixton, London 5 O2 Academy Brixton, London* *New dates Yorkshire rockers Of Allies have annoucned they will release the followup to last years 'Tempers' EP with the release of a new EP called 'Fragments' on May 11th. Berkshire quartet, Attention Thieves have announced their debut album, 'Year of the Jackal', will be released on the 18th of May.
Southern California melodic hardcore band Capsize have announced a UK headline tour that will feature support from ’68 and South Wales alternative rockers Casey. May 17 Boston Music Room, London 18 Corporation, Sheffield 18 Audio, Glasgow 20 Buskers, Dundee 21 The Oobleck, Birmingham 22 The Junction, Plymouth 23 The Scene, Swansea Influential emo band The Get Up Kids have revealed a run of 4 UK headline shows as part of their 20th anniversary. The tour will take round their appearance at Hevy Fest on August 15th. August 13 The Deaf Institute, Manchester 14 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 16 The Key Club, Leeds 17 Studio 24, Edinburgh UK rockers Dinosaur Pile-Up are back and are set to release their third album, 'Eleven Eleven', later this year.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have revealed details of their new album. ”Get Lost, Find Yourself’ and it is set for release on May 18th through Fearless Records. London metallers Shields have announced they will follow of their new 'Guilt' EP with a co-headline tour alongside Carcer City. April 30 Edinburgh, Studio 24 May 01 Buskers, Dundee 02 The Doghouse, Warrington 03 Alma Inn, Bolton 05 Corporation, Sheffield 06 O’ Rileys, Hull 07 Oobleck, Birmingham 08 The Square, Harlow 09 The Radius, Peterborough 10 Tiki Beach, Bridgewater
Philadelphia’s Restorations will be returning to the UK this summer for a headline tour in support of 2014’s 'LP3' record. Support comes from Crazy Arm and Sam Russo. July 8 Sticky Mikes Frog Bar, Brighton 9 Joiners, Southampton 10 The Exchange, Bristol 11 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 12 Sound Control, Manchester 14 Audio, Glasgow 15 The Key Club, Leeds 16 The Venue, Derby 17 Owl Sanctuary, Norwich 18 The Lextington, London 19 The Fighting Cocks, Kingston
Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue will be heading to the UK in May for a run of 5 shows in support of his new album - 'Carry The Fire'. May 02 RNCM Theatre, Manchester 03 Glee Club, Cardiff 05 Oran Mor, Glasgow 06 Glee Club, Birmingham 07 Union Chapel, London Portsmouth hardcore band Prolong The Agony have announced they will follow up the release of their 'All We Are' EP on April 20th, with a run of UK headline dates in June. Support comes from Jonestown. June 1 Maiden Head, Canterbury 3 Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Glasgow 4 Green Rooms, Perth 5 Black Dog, Crawley 6 The Gryphon, Bristol 7 The Intake, Mansfield Emerging UK metalcore band Counting Days have announced they have signed to the Mascot Label Group. They are set to record new material with producer Fredrik Nordstrom (At the Gates, Bring Me The Horizon, In Flames, Arch Enemy, Opeth, Architects) this summer. The band consists of former members of TRC, Heights and Last Witness. Leeds quartet Calls Landing have revealed details of their debut full-length. The 11 track release is titled 'Heirlooms' and will be released on May 11th.
Record Store Day 2015 will take place on Saturday April 18th. Here is a short list of some of the more notable releases confirmed: Foo Fighter Songs From The Laundry Room (demo / covers) 10” Brand New - Deja Entendu Pulled Apart By Horses - One Night In Heaven 12” Biffy Clyro - Puzzle 2xLP Mastodon - Atlanta 12” Picture Disc While She Sleeps - Four Walls (new tracks) 7” Frnkiero And The Cellabration - Live at BBC Maida Vale Coloured Vinyl 12” Atreyu - So Others May Live 7” Death Cab for Cutie/Freedy Johnston - Bad Reputation 7” Electric Wizard - Time to Die 2xLP Lonely The Brave - Call Of Horses / Trick Of The Light (Redux Version) Kagoule - The Bastard 7” OFF! - Live from The BBC 10” Placebo - Placebo Real Friends - More Acoustic Songs EP 12” Rise Against - The Eco-Terrorist In Me/Will Potter (FYI, this is spoken word by the artist Will Potter) We Will Never Forget 7” SikTh - The Trees Are Dead And Dried Up Wait For Something Wild 2xLP Slayer - When The Stillness Comes/Black Magic (Live At Wacken 2014) 7” The Subways - Taking All The Blame 7” The Used - Shallow Believer Turbowolf - Solid Gold 10” Vanilla Pod - Seeing Out The Sunrise
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Interview with Kris
"With their refreshing approach to alternative punk rock, More Than Conquerors are here to tell us everything you need to know about their latest single "Red", as well as what we can expect to see from them overall in 2015!" Can you tell us a bit about the formation of 'More Than Conquerors'? We are a group of four. We come from Northern Ireland. We’ve been together for six years. We all love Guinness.
How did you get to the band name 'More Than Conquerors', and what does it mean to you guys? It’s from the bible. We all grew up in the church and, like most people, faith played a big part in our lives. Whether for good or for bad. The name makes sense to us, out of the struggle there’s hope.
How did the idea come together to set up your own record label 'Oil Tape Records', and what has this been like to run alongside your band? It was something we had talked about for a long time and when the opportunity came along, we jumped at the chance. It’s tough but we’re used to it. We’ve always been a DIY band, the label just added to our list of things to do.
What can you tell us about the narrative behind your brand new single 'Red'? It’s a really personal song for me. It was written before and after a death so there's a lot of hard times and emotion behind it. That’s all people need to know.
Is this single any indication of the style of music we can expect to see on your next full release? Absolutely. We are holding ‘Red’ as a point in the middle, everything else is being built up around it. We want dirty and groovy, that’s the plan.
“We went through a lot together, as friends and as brothers” Also, has work started on a sophomore record just yet, and if so, can you tell us a bit about what we can expect from it? It has. We can’t indulge too much just yet as we’re working behind the scenes on a couple of things. I can say it’s going to be loud and you will be able to dance to it.
Looking back on 'Everything I’ve Learnt', how happy are you guys with this record and what do you think it has done for the band overall? It was a record we needed to make. You always hear of musicians saying that and it sounds cliche but it’s true. We went through a lot together, as friends and as brothers. The record summed up three years of hard work. It still means the world to us now.
Touring wise, can you give us a couple of acts that you've really enjoyed sharing the stage with over the years, and why? The 1975, we played with them before they blew up. They are great guys and they were even better friends to us. It’s been incredible watching their rise. And Dinosaur Pile-Up. Those guys are just bad-ass.
Also, what bands have really influenced you since your formation and why? Mewithoutyou, Sixstarhotel, Panama Kings, Reuben and Brand New. The bands that have influenced us the most are the ones that made music because they had no other choice.
What else can we expect to see from you in 2015? We’ll be releasing another single soon, and an album won’t be long after!
Interview with Joe, Tom and Cal
“After becoming frustrated with the heavy amount of scripted reality TV shows, as well as the daily news not always reporting what the world should really be seeing, Graveyard Johnnys decided to use these brainwashing themes as the backbone to their exceptional sophomore album ‘Dead Transmission’!” So how did you get to the album title 'Dead Transmission', and what does it mean to you? Joe: The song "Dead Transmission" started off as just a simple chord pattern and a drumbeat, we played around with it for ages but I was stuck for any sort of theme lyrically, at the time nothing was annoying us enough to get inspired. I found myself watching a lot of telly in the evenings because we had a bit of time off from gigging and one day it really hit me exactly how fake it all is. So much absolute rubbish churning out 24/7, whether it's the news they choose to broadcast or some scripted "reality" show, it just became clear to me how artificial and tedious it all is. It is depressing that so many people are absolutely sucked in by everything that is broadcast in the mainstream media. So with that rage, I wrote all the lyrics in five minutes one morning while having a bath. The title and theme seemed strong to provoke some artwork so we just went with it.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Dead Transmission'? Cal : All three of us have pretty contrasting musical likes and interests to each other which at times can be a struggle in the writing process. It can take a while for us all to find a common ground but when we hit that sweet spot it just all seems to fit together perfectly in our own unique way.
Joe : All the songs were written at very different times over the past two years, those two years being probably the most turbulent of our lives to date. There are moments that are inspired by extreme anger and then some songs came out of just being content and happy. There are also some things we just needed to get off our chests. It is definitely an honest album and a true joint effort from all three of us, musically and emotionally. We all put everything we've got into making it and regardless of how it goes down - we are extremely proud of how it has turned out.
Looking at your new record, then how would you say the sound of Graveyard Johnnys, has grown/progressed since your debut album 'Songs From Better Days'? Tom: We recorded the album over a period of twelve months, the songs and our writing style evolved over that time which gives each track it's own individual presence - there are a lot of different moods depending on what time of year it was or what was going on in our lives at the time. We always write songs organically rather than sticking to a certain format - hopefully people will hear the underlying influences and the things that have captured our lives over the past few years.
What can you tell us about the recording process for 'Dead Transmission' ? Joe: We went back in with Jeff Rose (Skindred/DubWar) to record the album, that was a no-brainer. We loved working with him on Songs From Better Days, he seems to know how to get the best out of us and push us in the right directions. We did a load of separate weekend sessions with him rather than block-booking one big, mammoth album session - it was just the best way to fit it around our lives and it gave us time to concentrate on writing new stuff in between the gigs.
What was the hardest part about putting together this record for you guys, and why? Cal: Trying to find time to get in a room and actually try some new things together between gigging.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is definitely an honest album and a true joint effort from all three of usâ&#x20AC;? How excited are you to have this release go out on vinyl, and what can fans expect from this? Joe: It's something we have always wanted to do, we have had various splits and limited edition singles out on vinyl in the past but never our own, full length. It is just so much more special than just a CD and I am really glad that records are back. The vinyl these days is amazing quality too and Bomber have done a brilliant job of the package. It also comes with a free download version, you don't even need a record player! Just stick it on your wall and download it to your Walkman thing. Can't wait!
Can you tell us how the artwork for Dead Transmission came together, as well as maybe what it means to you? Joe: We were trying to find inspiration with artwork for a while and started to look at old propaganda posters and footage from the war, it seemed fitting with the theme of everyone being brainwashed by the media. We eventually got a concept together between the three of us and got Dan Bowden involved to bring it to life. We really liked the artwork he did for Rocket From The Crypt and that pretty much got him the job.
Touring wise, what can we expect to see from Graveyard Johnnys in 2015, and are there any particular places that you want to perform that maybe you've never been to before? Tom: Hitting the road is our main passion, we love the adventure of going to new places and the people we meet along the way. The set is pretty different, we're playing a heavy amount of new tunes which are already going down really well at the gigs.
Joe: We really want to get out to Japan at one point, there has been talk of it happening. We'll see.
Interview with Blaise & Ome
"They are influenced by bands such as Thrice, Brand New, Deftones, and they have even worked with the highly respectable Mike Sapone. So read on as Ionia give us the details on their latest release 'Postcards From The Edge: Chapter 1. Delta 32'!" How did you get to the band name Ionia, and what does it mean to you? BB: We got it from Carl Saigon. A book called The Cosmos. An idea about freedom, to us, it means, no single concentration of power. We do what we do for music.
OW: We wanted something that was different and would mean something for us. Blaise came up with that and we dug the idea.
So how did you get to the EP title 'Postcards From The Edge: Chapter 1. Delta 32' and what does it mean to you? Also, is this going to be a part of a bunch of releases under the same theme? BB: We think of this music as us, as a band, trying to connect to people who find value in what we do. We are sending them postcards from the edge of change.
OW: We look at music as a means to communicate with like minded people. We looked at this EP and the series we were working on as postcards, letters to the ones out there who could relate. Really, I think all art is ground in finding a way to communicate with others.
Can you elaborate on some of the main themes and influences that run throughout this EP? BB: Freedom, love, loss, walking into ones own fear and coming out the other side. Discovering your own truth and what really works for you.
OW: I think it’s above all about being yourself and making peace with whatever that might be. It’s about fighting for what you believe in and standing up for your ideals, and inspiring others to do the same.
How did you end up working with Mike Sapone again, and what was he like to work with? BB: He is an amazing guy, a good friend, and he makes it easy to be yourself. OW: He is awesome. Somehow Blaise got in touch with him and we have become family since. Did any of the bands that he had worked with before contribute to the decision to work with him? BB: We love a lot of the bands he has worked with, so in the sense that we thought it was great to be in such inspiring company.
OW: Not directly. But we are big fans of all those bands.
“We all want to be different and we all want to be the same, it’s the back and fourth in us all” What was the hardest part about putting together this release for you guys, and why? BB: Artwork. OW: I think song selection was tough. We had so much to choose from. Also artwork. How would you say this release compares to anything you've done before? BB: We have done very little before. There is much to do. OW: I think this is really our first step as a full band. What made you want to release 'I Hate Long Pretentious Titles And I'm A Hypocrite' first, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the track? BB: It just seemed like the one that should introduce us as a band back to the world. It’s about the push and pull inside us all that makes us fight the things that make us human and fallible.
OW: Blaise wrote it. It’s about the idea that all of us are contradictions in one way or another. We all want to be indie and we all want to be huge, we all want to be different and we all want to be the same, it’s the back and fourth in us all.
Interview with Joe
“With an extremely successful return from their hiatus now achieved, and their new album “Imbue” announced for release in May, it’s clear to see that The Early November are on top form! To add to this the band are heading out on a full headline UK tour, which will see them stop by the brilliant Hit The Deck Festival!” What was it like to perform with Motion City Soundtrack just recently, and what songs are you really enjoying performing live at the moment? It’s always a pleasure to play with MCS. They were always a band we loved but never really got the chance to tour with back in the day. Only recently have we became friends with those guys. Currently, I’ve been enjoying playing Frayed In Doubt, Tell Me Why and Mountain Range In My Living Room.
You guys did a couple of anniversary shows for The Room's Too Cold, so have any discussions taken place for doing something similar with The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path? Possibly! We’ve discussed it. There’s an obvious challenge due to the sheer amount of music but I think it’s something we’ll put together.
Also, when you got to do the ten year anniversary shows for The Room's Too Cold, were there any songs that you hadn't played in a while that you really enjoyed revisiting? It was actually really great to finally play the last track (“Everything’s Too Cold…”). We had only ever played it once before back in 2004 and it went over like a lead balloon so it was great to play it and have it well received.
After taking In Currents out on the road, and touring as The Early November once more, then what do you think that coming back after this hiatus has done for you guys overall? It’s brought us closer as friends and as a band. There’s less pressure and commitments now since we still can’t quite be a full time band again. It’s nice to just be able to focus on the music and bring it out when it feels right.
Also, looking back on the release of In Currents, how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for the representation of The Early November? Absolutely. I honestly feel it was the record we would have made at that time even if we hadn’t taken six years between records. It was the right record for us as people, and as a band for that time.
So, what can we expect from your upcoming album Imbue? Overall, expect very much a indie rock record with some of Ace’s most direct & honest songwriting!
“It was the right record for us as people, and as a band for that time” How excited are you for your upcoming slot at Hit The Deck festival, and what can attending fans expect? Very excited! We’ve never played the festival but friends have told us it’s an amazing time. Fans can expect a set of new and old. I don’t know how long our set is yet but I assume it’s shorter than a regular headlining set so we’re going to be sure to pack in as many “hits” as possible.
You are also doing a full UK tour around this, so how excited are you for these headlining shows, and how will the sets differ to what you're doing at Hit The Deck? We have never properly headlined in the UK or Europe so we’re incredibly stoked. The sets will be longer for sure so aside from the “hits” we’ll also be testing out some brand new songs and some deeper album cuts.
If we are correct, the last time you were in the UK was for the Slam Dunk shows, so how were those shows for you guys, and what was it like to be back in the UK after such a long time? It was a lot of fun. A lot of friends were on that tour and we got to share a bus with our very good friends in The Wonder Years. I adore the UK so any chance I get to come over and talk to people about Peep Show, I take.
Interview with Ricky
“In 2012 members of Thin Lizzy decided against putting out new material under the same title, and from the outcome of this decision the Black Star Riders were born! Currently on the road promoting their outstanding new album “The Killer Instinct” we catch up with the band to discuss their journey so far!” I can see by yours and the bands social media sites that you've been pretty busy, before we talk the new album can you talk through some of the work that goes into promoting a new album? Yeah, totally, usually you just go round all the territories. Myself and Damon (Johnson, guitar) went round four or five European countries talking to journalists, radio and T.V there. We did the same thing in New York recently for the States and the same for here so it was pretty much constant.
And that's even before you play a lick on stage, is it a relief once all the promotion is done and you can get on with getting on stage and playing the new songs? It is a bit, we've been talking about the songs for four or five weeks and last Saturday was the first day we got into rehearsal and actually played them since we recorded them so it's funny to be talking about them for weeks while thinking “I can't even remember how to play the first song on the album!”. It definitely is nice to get in and start rehearsing them again.
All Hell Breaks Loose was recorded live, what was the process in recording the Killer Instinct? Well obviously we were working with a different producer in Nick Raskulinecz so that's completely different from the start, you've got a different guy, different ideas, different personality. We recorded down in Nashville, Tennessee and we took a bit longer, about a week extra this time. With Kevin Shirley it was basically that we all went into a room, Kevin put the mics up, we played live, he hit record and that was it with hardly any overdubs. This time there was a bit more time spent, we'd cut Jimmy playing drums with a live guitar track then built the track around the drums so there was more time spent doing over dubs and things like that but it was still very much a live feel. All the tracks went down live and everything else was put on there as live as possible.
The songs for the first album were written while you were still in Thin Lizzy, did writing this album as Black Star Riders change the approach at all in the writing phase? Absolutely, I think the pressure was off and we'd established the fact that we were Black Star Riders. We knew what was going to make a Black Star Riders album and that in itself was a game changer, with the band being established and being comfortable in your skin made a big difference in making this record, for me anyway.
What does the title of the album mean to you? I was kind of inspired by two things really. Watching some of the craziness that was going on last summer in Northern Ireland with all the flag protests and rioting, things too often seen and just the futility of that. Then I was reading this biography of Muhammed Ali, I found it really inspiring with how he'd overcome the adversity in his life and his whole attitude towards being reigning heavy weight champion of the world. It's quite a positive song really, if you're going to go out and make a change, then make sure it's a positive one, about believing in yourself and overcoming adversity.
I just had a quick listen to a couple of the new songs and Soldierstown really jumped with a kind of Emerald sound but the lyrics are intriguing, can you tell me about them? A good friend of mine from Belfast called Sam Robinson, we wrote together on that one. Coming from East Belfast, we're very inspired by a book called 'And the Mountains Echoed' which is set in Afghanistan. It took us to this broader scale worldwide idea of kids joining up to go and fight or being forcibly taken from their homes to fight in some terrorist organisation or guerillas, or even just the army. There'd be a knock at the door saying “give up your strongest child to come and fight” or the family gets it basically. There's a line in there that you've got to lose a finger to save a hand and it's just taking that to the sort of scale that these kids hearing you come out and fight for the cause and your family will benefit. I think that's happening all over the world right now, be it Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq with ISIS. It just seemed a very prevalent subject to write about.
Can you tell me about the other themes that are on the album? Every song is telling a different story, something I like to do with the songs is tell some kind of story that people can latch onto so each song has its own unique story. There's no real “I love you and let’s go party” and that kind of stuff, I think that's been done to death. So that's really where we're coming from.
After Joe Elliot pulled out of producing you went with Nick Raskulinecz, how was he to work with? He's phenomenal, fantastic and just a great guy. He gets very emotionally involved with a band, it's just full on. There's a fantastic vibe around the guy, a great studio with a great musical ear. He was wonderful, I can't say enough good things about him.
Thin Lizzy is of course always going to be a big part of the spirit of the band but did the change of name lift a certain amount of pressure going forward as a band? It did but the beauty of it is we still get to play as much or as little Thin Lizzy as we want to which is amazing and a great place to be in. We're always going to have that with Scott Gorham and obviously myself and Damon being in Thin Lizzy for a few years so it is a part of us and something we don't want to lose, but we certainly see the band as Black Star Riders. We still have the spirit of Thin Lizzy in the band and I think that's great.
You're not always playing guitar as the frontman in this band, how was it for you making that transition to being a frontman without a guitar? It was one of those things where you get told, “you're going to be the new frontman of Thin Lizzy and by the way you're not allowed to play guitar on every song”, so there is a double whammy right there! I've spent all my life, in every band I've been in, playing a lot of guitar, so you're thrust into this situation where you have two phenomenal guitar players who are just world class. There just isn't the room for third guitar on a lot of that stuff to go there and go “wait a minute, I haven't done this”, you know, without the prop. Yeah, it definitely took a bit of getting used to, suddenly you're on a stage, singing Thin Lizzy songs in front of 2,000 people a night without what you've been playing with your whole life. It was crazy but it's something I've actually really grown to love, and I really enjoy it now. I feel very comfortable about it but yeah, absolutely it took a while to get used to.
Recently you were announced for Donnington, how have your Monsters of Rock/Download experiences been over the years? It's been good and I've been really spoiled. I was thinking about it the other day and I think this'll be the sixth time I've played it in one form or another. I've played with The Almighty, Lizzy, BSR, twice solo and now going back with BSR, it's crazy. For me it's just a stand alone festival, I love it. You get to see loads of people you haven't seen in a while and it's just a great weekend.
The two pledge albums are out now, how was that whole experience for you? It was really enjoyable, I think the reaction was very positive from the people and they made it happen. I'd never have got that level of support from any record label and I was able to go make two albums to a very high standard in a studio without watching the clock, that was all made possible by the people that came to my shows and bought the records. I enjoyed working with the people on the record and asking for their input, what they had to say and cutting out the middleman, just dealing with them direct. I'd certainly do it again.
Ginger brought the Pledge route to the fore for some people, do you feel this is a path music is going to go down more and more in the future? I don't know, music changes so quickly on an almost monthly basis. Who'd have thought that vinyl would be making the comeback that it is? I think you've just got to try and keep up and stay with it. Obviously social media is so important now, such a big part of it and if you ignore any of that you'll lose out at your own peril. I don't know where it's going, I think the streaming is where people are getting the most access to their music but I like the fact that Black Star Riders sell a lot of vinyl, I think that's great.
I grew up listening to The Almighty, Wildhearts, Therapy so it was a bit of buzz seeing Andy and Ginger on the album, is there a camaraderie for you guys coming up around the same time? Absolutely, we're friends first and foremost. We're buddies and that was the beauty of the pledge getting friends and musicians that I admire. The likes of Andy, likes of Ginger, likes of Nathan from Snow Patrol that was a dream to have those guys contribute to the record it really was.
The Almighty reissues are also out so how does it feel to know there is still an interest and a passion for these albums 25 years on? It's phenomenal, I see the stuff going on, on Facebook and Twitter about it and the people are so keenly interested in what we did. I think it's a testimony to the music and the rest of the band, I'm thrilled by it.
What else is planned for BSR in 2015? Touring, we're going to tour this album really hard. We'll do the U.K, we'll do Europe, I think we'll probably head to the Far East, some U.S shows as well. The success of the album will depend on how long we can stay out on the road.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Every song is telling a different storyâ&#x20AC;?
The Siren Brothers "THE SIREN BROTHERS is a Finnish rock trio from Helsinki Finland formed by twin brothers Mikael and Petteri Siren and drummer Sampsa, in 2012. I (Petteri) have been playing and making music with my brother since we were kids. Then we realized that we need a great drummer to fill up a hole in our music! So that was the time when Sampsa YlĂśnen joined our band" They have a head blowing sound and an amazing live performance. Their music is a combination of rock and melodic influences and they are not scared of trying to mix up different styles in their music.
They have done about hundred gigs in southern Finland and their music has been played several times on the national radio station YLEX. YLEX also elected them as the band of the month in 2014. The band are going to do their next single with a Finnish producer. WhoÂ´s been producing bands such, Him, Apocalyptica, Negative.
CONTACT: facebook.com/TheSirenBrothers soundcloud.com/sirenbrothers sirenbrothers.fi
Interview w First of all you have announced that the album is under way, how is it coming along? It's going pretty well, I think for all of us it has been one of the more enjoyable writing experiences that we've all done. It's just been a lot of fun, really collaborative, creative and we're all really enjoying it a lot.
You've released a few E.Ps, how different has the challenge of making an album been compared to E.Ps? What we've found to be the most challenging was making sure that everything is cohesive and making sure al the songs fit together on one record. It can't be all these separate songs, just throwing them together. They have to groove together and feel right as opposed to an E.P, as when we wrote for our previous E.Ps the thought never quite crossed our minds. We would write this song and then go straight onto the next, you don't even pay attention to how everything will fit so lately we've really been paying attention to that with â&#x20AC;&#x153;does this song make sense with all these other songs that are done right now?â&#x20AC;?. That's been the biggest challenge but at the same time it's pretty cool to give attention to stuff like that because we've never done it before.
The bands sound seems to span a few styles, is this something you work towards or a natural process? It's not that we're changing or anything as we're still the same band. In the past even with the E.Ps we've done, everything still came naturally. This is one of the more natural process's I guess, whatever happens, happens. If we write an album that is all fast then that's what happens, if we don't, we don't. I'd definitely say this writing experience has been more so of that than anything.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since taking the gamble to creat else in their local scene, Knuckle nothing but rewarding results. As t speed we find out what this experie personally, whilst also getting anticipated upcoming
with Kevin The album will be released through Rise Records, how did that relationship come around?
They actually approached us last year, none of us knew anyone from the label. From then on we just kind of worked things out, we didn't really expect them to actually ask us. I think we were all kind of a little shocked that they had any interest in our band because they were kind of a bigger label. We just started talking about what they would like to help us do, everything just felt really nice and really relaxed. They were like “whatever you guys want to do as a band, we will 100% support that”. I feel like a lot of people think labels change bands, and to some extent that is true, if you are a huge pop artist signed to Warner Brother or some crazy l big label. When we announced the Rise signing some people were like “oh no, they're going to change this band”, and I think because of the size of that label, people will often forget that Rise is still an independent label, and that it is not their business to change how a band sounds. They have absolutely no input in what a band writes or record or what their music sounds like and even now we still feel 110% comfortable with our decision. Time and time again we would choose Rise so we're really happy with that right now.
So the artistic freedom to just be Knuckle Puck must have been a big thing? Yeah, that is pretty much the essence of our band. We just want to be the band we've always been, in the past year some things have been changing with our band only for the better, and it's good to know that with the changes happening, none of it is affecting how our band operates or how our band is perceived by us. Nothing is different but everything is better.
e music different to everyone e Puck have ended up seeing heir fan base grows at a rapid ence has been like for the band the details on their highly g debut album!”
Can you tell us a bit about the bands early days and formation? Well we're from the South West suburbs of Chicago. I knew Joe (Taylor, vocals), we went to the same High School together. I'm a year older than him but I would see him at local shows, stuff like that and we had some mutual friends. I'd known Nick (Casasanto, guitar) since I was a kid, he's really good friends with my cousin so I'd see him at birthday parties etc. I actually went to high school with Nick for a year before I left that High School and transferred to the one that Joe went to so that's how I knew Joe. John (Siorek, drums) I just knew from going to local shows. Joe was like “I want to start a different band” because around our specific local scene there wasn't really a lot of bands playing the style that we currently play at the time. So we thought it would be cool to have a band from our specific local area that sounds like that. About three/four years ago we just pulled everyone together and started writing songs in Johns bedroom, it started like that and we just kept at it. Now we're here!
The tours have been getting bigger and longer, how was it adapting to life on tour at first? At the start I think it was all fun, it still is, when we go on tour it is still the most fun we've ever had but you realise that it is a lot of work at the same time. When we first started touring we didn't really realise that, we'd goof around but every tour we'd realise that we have to take care of this and take care of that. We'd keep learning with every tour and I feel like we get better at it but that has been a very minimal thing that should be expected of every band to put in all the work and I totally welcome that.
You were recently in the U.K for the first time with Neck Deep, how was it? Oh man, the tour itself was amazing. It was honestly, for me personally, probably my favourite tour that we've done because the line up was so amazing. The only band we didn't know previously was Trophy Eyes but they ended up being great guys to hang out with, we'd toured with Neck Deep and Seaway before so it was nice meeting up with old friends in another country to play some shows. All the shows were incredible too, it was just wild! There were some really big rooms we were playing in and we got some healthy reactions from the crowd when we played, it just felt insane to step back and think woah, we're in the United Kingdom right now and not at home, at all.
Looking at the packed calender you have for the U.S tour, the difference in travel time between venues must be a nice change? Yeah, we didn't do the driving ourselves, we had a good friend of ours called Paul do it for us because we couldn't drive over there. The average drive was about three hours to each venue, when you tour the U.S that is good and manageable but then a lot of the drives are eight hours overnight or drive nine hours today or we have an off day tomorrow to drive 20 hours. The driving is brutal, everything is really far but the U.K was nice, I loved that. You got to get a good night of sleep every night, didn't have to leave terribly early. I think the longest drive was Newcastle to Aberdeen which was six or seven hours and that wasn't even going fast. There are days where we have to do that in one day at home pretty consistently sometimes, so I thought it was great!
You will be back in the U.K for the Slam Dunk Festival which brings you alongside some pretty big names, how does it feel to see your name amongst some of them? It's pretty wild, I know it's not even the full line-up but we're looking at it going, there are some really cool bands playing this festival! The fact that we get to play the same festival as bands like Taking Back Sunday and Comeback Kid is just really cool. It's going to be a great time, when we were in the U.K everyone was saying “you guys are going to have the best time at Slam Dunk, it's one of the best experiences ever” so we're all really excited for it.
Has the experience whetted the appetite for more international travel? I would say so, we all have our own personal bucket lists where we all want to go, Japan, mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand, those places won't happen for a pretty long time unfortunately but touring internationally is just really cool. Everything is a lot smoother than I thought it would be but I love it and it’s one of the coolest experiences that we've ever gotten to do. I really hope we can go play in other countries.
Interview with Chris
“In their home country of Australia their latest album ‘Throw Me In The River’ breached the top 20 in the official albums chart, and to promote this release they have given themselves a hectic touring schedule to take their infectious rock style to as many people as possible! So don’t miss out as The Smith Street Band will prove with ease why they are more than worthy of this kind of success when they head to the UK very shortly!”
It's safe to say that 'Throw Me In The River' has launched the name of The Smith Street Band even further across the planet, but for you guys, how happy have you been with the response to the record so far, and what do you think it has done for the band? That's such a nice thing to say â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thanks! I think we all couldn't be happier with the response it's received. We're very proud of it and I guess that's the main thing, but it's a really humbling and a crazy feeling to have people we love and respect, as well as total strangers tell us that they've connected with the album. We've worked pretty hard as a band from the outset, so I don't want to credit where we are now just to the latest album, but people have really supported us on this one â&#x20AC;&#x201C; from friends, to people who come to shows, record label people, everyone. It's absolutely awesome and we're really thankful!
Your album hit the top 20 in your home country, so at the moment, what's it like for you guys to tour at home, and how happy have you been with the gradual rise of your fan base over the years there? We just finished up the longest and biggest Australian tour we've ever done, and I can honestly say it was one of the best times of my life! The support we received from people was absolutely astounding - whether it was in Sydney or Bunbury. We seem to be very lucky boys, in that we just keep releasing music and touring hard, but every time we go to a city or town, there's a few more people that turn up than the time before. I could seriously go on forever about how thankful we are that people in Australia give a shit about our band, it's given us so many opportunities and means we get to live a life of playing music - the support of people from our home literally made my dreams come true!
Can you tell us a bit about how the idea came together for the 'Get High, See No One' video, as well as what it was like to shoot? That clip was actually my concept, it came together very last minute and was slapped together! Wil's house in Footscray is a shared house wonderland, with heaps of VHS tapes, pool toys, pets, records and other interesting stuff. The loose idea was that Wil would walk around like a ghost while stuff was happening around the house. Callum Preston and I met (either one or two nights before filming) and fleshed the whole thing out, we ended up "directing" it together. At some point very late on we had the idea to dress Wil up in clown makeup, and with that extra element, everything seemed to fit in a bit better. Our friends and super talented video guys Andy Johnson and Tim O'Keefe helped us shoot it all in one day - which was an epic process, but totally great! A lot of friends came to hang out and help us out, we had an awesome time doing it. I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to directing a video, but I love giving those sort of new creative things a bash!
Can you tell us how 'Wipe That S**t Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face' came together, as well as a bit about the narrative behind the track? I couldn't say exactly when Wil wrote "Punchable Face", but we started playing it (at rehearsals) probably around early-mid 2014. It was one of the first songs written for the new album (even though it didn't end up on there). I think we could all feel when we played it that there was some real fire behind what Wil was singing. It's written from Wil's personal perspective on his feelings of disillusion and hopelessness about our government's inhumane immigration policies, but that's certainly an issue that the whole band feels pretty strongly about. The song was recorded in the same sessions as the rest of Throw Me in the River, but as it all came together, we felt more and more like it didn't fit lyrically/thematically with the rest of the songs. When someone had the idea to give Punchable its own release everyone was stoked. Then when our friend Tom got in touch and asked us to play his annual Australia Day refugee benefit show, things couldn't have synced up better, and that's when we decided we could raise/donate a lot of money for a great cause.
What songs are you really enjoying performing live from 'Throw Me In The River' at the moment, and why? I love playing "The Arrogance of the Drunk Pedestrian". The song really changes and evolves into something you wouldn't expect if you listened from the beginning for the first time, so I like that. It's also about the heaviest of any point in any of our songs, and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if you tried this before, but if you have long hair, chucking a bit of a headbang behind the drums while you hit stuff basically as hard as you can is very fun!!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Gnarwolves, and what can attending fans expect? Super excited! The Gnarwolves guys are touring Australia right now with our mates Luca Brasi, and I got to meet them for the first time in Melbourne just a couple of days ago. From what I can gather they seem like utter sweethearts and I think we're going to have an awesome time together! We'll pretty much play for as long as we can, as hard as we can and hopefully play songs that people know and/or want to hear?! Anyone who dares get close enough can expect to be drenched in Wil Wagner sweat! Haha.
The first time we saw you was on tour with The Menzingers in the UK, so how was that tour for you guys, and can you give us a couple of highlights from your time on the tour? I'll be honest and say that I got really sick on that tour and personally it was one of the hardest touring experiences I've had! That's never happened before, but it was really, really comforting to have a bunch of lovely people around to boost the spirits. The Menzingers and Holy Mess are some of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet! An obvious highlight was playing the sold out Electric Ballroom show in London. I'm genuinely still pretty blown away that I'm in London, let alone playing music to anyone, and even more so playing in front of 1000 people. What a crazy opportunity... Love you Menzos!
“People have really supported us on this one – from friends, to people who come to shows, record label people, everyone.” How would you say the sound of The Smith Street Band has changed/progressed since you guys first started out? Funny story - the first time I listened to the final mix of the new album, I dropped the songs into my iTunes, listened through, and the next album queued up directly after was our first album! The difference is pretty crazy, but I suppose it's gone a bit unnoticed (at least to us) because it's been quite a natural progression (hopefully for the better!). Wil doesn't write songs to sound any particular way, they just come out how they do, and the band builds on it and shapes it... So you can almost hear him grow up across the albums! We're all definitely a little bit less rubbish at playing our instruments!
What else can we expect to see from The Smith Street Band in 2015? We've got a bunch of plans! Hopefully we'll release some more music, maybe write and record some new songs. We are definitely planning on coming back to the UK to tour towards the end of the year. We might chillout and get some rest at some point! Lots of exciting stuff... I'm really pumped for the rest of 2015!
Interview with The Cat (Bruno Agra)
“Just recently Danny Worsnop shook the music world by announcing his departure from Asking Alexandria. His mind is now clearly 100% focused on ‘We Are Harlot’ who have just channeled their influential rock style into their debut self-titled album!” This originally started off as solo work for Danny. What point was it that you guys thought about making it a group project? Danny and I were working on these tunes for his solo album. It sounded different to the way Harlot sounds. We were testing the waters, so to speak, we were discovering each other musically. It's sort of like when you start dating someone, except that I would never date Danny, he's way too messy - ha ha ha - but you know what I mean! You start clicking on to some ideas and start weeding out things that don't work. It was good for me because it gave me time to understand his vocal range and his versatility. It wasn't a band at that point. We started calling ourselves Harlot after myself, Danny and Jeff got together. We had an undeniable force behind those three personalities together and that force was the name Harlot.
How did you get to the name We Are Harlot, and what does it mean to you? Harlot - the name - came out of nowhere really. We thought it was a really cool name. Besides that, the meaning is pretty interesting too - it's what you used to call the "woman of the night" or a "prostitute", but I read that in the 13th century, 'harlot' was actually used to classify males and it defined "vagabond, man of no fixed occupation, idle rogue…" That's what rockers are in their heart and soul. We are all like pikeys anyway!
Your members have all come from successful bands, so has that ever set a precedent in terms of how far the band can go? We all come from different backgrounds, we have all toured the world many times and played in pro bands. We also came from different parts of the world and somehow ended up together in Los Angeles, CA. Four dudes with the same exact goal. That's the undeniable force I was talking about earlier, how come a dude from England, another from Brazil, another from Detroit and another from Philly got together? I mean we didn't know each other before we crossed paths, but that's the beauty of it all. All we wanted to do is to put the most badass band together, and write the best rock 'n' roll album of this era. We set our bar really really high, we wrote over 80 songs for this album. When you put that much work and love into something anything can happen. The stratosphere is the limit.
A lot of bands have tried to capture the essence of the amazing bands from the 80s and failed. So how do you feel you differ from the other bands? I totally 100% disagree with that. Actually, our main influences are bands from the 70's - The Beatles, Stones, The Who, Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Kiss, early Van Halen…If you stop for a second and really listen to our songs, you will find more musical elements from the 70's than from any other era. Let's take 'Denial' as an example: that song starts with a total "Who" intro…two big chords, which by the way, that section is NEVER repeated throughout the whole song - that's as 70's as it gets! The drum pattern is a total "Can't Explain" ripoff, the main guitar riff sounds like 70s high-energy Aerosmith…I can go on forever about these songs. When Van Halen came out in the late 70s, for example, basically the whole radio was dominated by disco music, all that stuff, rock 'n' roll wasn't popular anymore, but they completely changed the musical landscape. Then rock 'n' roll in the 80s went high up in the charts again because of Van Halen. They created this monster and changed the course of things. We are here to do the same thing. I think maybe that's why people relate us to the 80's. We definitely want to put Rock 'n' Roll back in the spotlight.
You replaced Trivium at Rocklahoma, so how did it feel to replace a band with that magnitude of a following at this stage in your career, and what can you remember from this experience? I remember it vividly. We were wrapping up Rock On The Range (our first gig - which by the way we broke the all time record of a debut show's attendance - there were about 40,000 kids out there) when we get a call from our booking agent: "Hey guys! Trivium just canceled and Rocklahoma wants you guys to fill in." At that point our bus was broken, we were waiting on the company to send us a new one. Our crew had already left us (they went off on some coke/crack binge), we had no management. I mean, we were totally screwed and we didn't know if we were going to be able to make it. But as crazy as it sounds now, we just went ahead and said "YES! It's on! Let's do it!". And the rest is history. The show was UNBELIEVABLE! I remember the next day seeing a tweet from Dee Snider (I'm a big Twisted Sister fan), he said: "As I'm getting ready for my show I could hear this incredible band playing and I realized it was Danny Worsnop's new band, We Are Harlot." That was a big high for all of us. What a great gig!
“We definitely want to put Rock 'n' Roll back in the spotlight.” How did you end up working with Kato Khandwala on your debut self-titled album, and what was he like to work with? Kato's one of the best producers/engineers out there. Hands down. He knows his craft inside out and is very confident behind the mixing board. We had our artistic view locked and we knew exactly what we wanted, we just needed someone to help us get there sonically. When we were making our record it was more like we were on this rally in the desert going full speed and we needed a navigator crazy enough to jump onboard and help us make it out alive. Kato was our navigator. We worked great together and he loves rock 'n' roll. I'm really honoured that he was a part of it.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout the album? That's a BIG question. You can spot so many influences and styles mashed up together but the thing is - you can always hear this unity, this Harlot "layer" that runs throughout the whole record. Our songs tend to have slightly faster tempos than your average rock bands - I think we play rock n roll with a punk rock mindset! We've always had this "we don't give a f*" attitude. All we care about is our songs, more than anything in the world and we won't let anyone or anything jeopardize it. From day one we've had full control and 100% artistic freedom. We don't have co-writers, we write everything. You don't see that much these days. I'd say 90% of the songs in the charts right now have co-writers. All around, talking about all the genres and subgenres, including rock bands.
The fun thing about our album though is that you can go from "Flying Too Close To The Sun" which is a super heavy wild banger, to "The One" which is a fun 70's funky pop tune. That's what has always attracted me to all the great bands of all time. You listen to Queen's - A Day At The Races, The Who's - Who's Next, Zeppelin's - Houses Of The Holy…I can go on and on…None of those bands were limiting themselves on anything, they didn't care about what style, trend, instrumentation, or whatever they were going for. They just went for it. And at the end of the day, they always managed to have their footprint engraved on each track. Zeppelin's got a reggae song on Houses Of The Holy - D'yer Mak'er - come on!!! But it still sounds like Zeppelin. And I think that's what we have too, in all honesty. We can write a BeBop tune and it will sound like Harlot. I love that about us. You just got to be lucky enough to be in a band with such open minded guys, and that also have the talent to tackle anything that pops up.
What do you want this album to do for the representation of We Are Harlot? We've had so many ups and downs writing this record. You can hear all of that and more when you listen to each and every song. Our album portrays a band that wore their heart on their sleeves at all costs and believed wholeheartedly in what they were doing. We never gave in and never turned back. We gave it all and we paid a large price for it. We had literally no money, we were splitting sandwiches, hopping from house to house, to garages, to hotels...It was really tough, but one hell of a good time. If we could write - and we will one day - a biography, people would say half of the stories are lies and we made the whole thing up. It's a TRUE record in every sense of the word and if you love Rock 'n' Roll then this album is for you.
You guys have already scored a spot at Download Festival! So how excited are you for that, and what can attending fans expect from your slot? I know!!! It's HUGE!!! We are beyond excited for that. Download has always been one of the most respected festivals in the world and great bands have played on that stage, so yeah, we've got big shoes to fill in. I have goosebumps just writing about it. It's going to be an amazing moment in the bands history and we are going to give it our all. We are going to bring the wildest rock 'n' roll show that Download festival has ever seen! I want everyone to be drunk, high, naked, screaming…just go wild and have one hell of a party with us!!! We always have a blast with our fans and that's the magic of rock 'n' roll and big festivals - we bring so many people together!!! Who can say: "Yeah I just threw the wildest house party for 45,000 people!". That's how we are going to feel when we play Download.
What else can we expect to see from We Are Harlot in 2015? You can expect a lot of good music and fun times. At the end of the day, we are here to have fun and put a smile on the faces that come to see us every night. We are not here to champion some kind of genre or trend. We are four dudes that love playing rock 'n' roll and everyone's welcome to join the party. We will try to make all these tours happen so we can see all the fans that have been waiting for us for so damn long. It's all about the #HarlotArmy. We'll come hang with you maniacs pretty soon. Stay tuned and keep track of the wildness on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See you on the road!!!
“We've many downs this re
e had so ups and s writing ecordâ&#x20AC;?
TRIPWIRE, four tormented souls masked to hide their pain, united under the black banner of a mortal man, drag their audience to the darkest and most twisted corners of the human mind where only shadows linger. The hate, the pain, the anger and the vicious brutal passion erupts on stage with their explosive sound and unforgettable live performance. Each show is a window into the deepest chambers of TRIPWIRE’s black heart. Formed in the nights of 2014, TRIPWIRE has grown into one of the most promising new metal acts from the South. With the anticipated release of their debut EP ‘Dissentient (Part 1)’ the band will launch their assault on some of the country’s most prestigious venues in the months to come. From the acclaimed release of the video for ‘Decimation’, shows across the country and the sequel to the debut EP, ‘Dissentient (Part 2)’, 2015 promises to be an exciting year for TRIPWIRE and its ever growing fan base. Facebook.com/tripwiremetal / Soundcloud.com/tripwiremetal / Youtube.com/tripwiremetal Twitter.com/tripwiremetal / Reverbnation.com/tripwiremetal
Interview with Eicca
“When Apocalyptica first launched onto the metal world they instantly established themselves as one of the most unique acts out there with their fresh approach to the genre. On their upcoming album ‘Shadowmaker’ they continue to surpass our expectations on every level while also bringing in the very talented Franky Perez on vocal duties!”
So how did you get to the album title 'Shadowmaker' and what does it mean to you? In the beginning we used it as a title for one track only, but then we liked it so much that we decided that it was a good album title, too. We generally like the fact that the word has more than one meaning: It refers to a person with lots of negative energy and at a wider perspective it concerns the notion that we have these faceless, nameless people who control the world we live in and make a lot of bad decisions on our behalf.
How did you end up collaborating with Franky Perez, and what has he been like to work with so far? Once we were all up for the idea of having only one singer on the album who would also be touring with us our management started talking to various people (incl. other managers, producers etc.) and this is how we found Franky. So far we couldn’t be happier with this choice: Franky has been fantastic, he’s a great voice and he fits to us and our sound brilliantly!
How excited are you to be taking Franky out on tour with you guys, and what can fans expect from you on a live basis? It will be great for people to come and see these songs on tour being sung by him. Franky is a real entertainer with a stunning voice so I’m sure people will love our performance. We’re all just incredibly excited for people to hear this album!
“We’re all just incredibly excited for people to hear this album!” You guys normally have guest vocals, so how did the recording process compare to what you've done before knowing that Franky would sing on all of the tracks? Having guest vocalists come in and do things has always been a lot of fun but sometimes it also made us lose the focus a bit. Franky’s part in the whole recording process was more intense – he really was part of the creative process in many ways – for example he’d suggest to slighty amend vocal lines just because he felt that it would suit his voice better and we all loved his ideas and suggestions.
Lyric-wise, can you tell us a bit about the main themes and influences that run throughout the album? I wouldn’t say we had a general theme for the album – it’s a mixture between personal stories and sometimes also a rather philosphical “meta-perspective“.
You guys said that “Before this album we had been working for something like sixteen years without a break”, so how would you say this break has contributed towards shaping the overall output of 'Shadowmaker'? After all these years of almost continous work as a band we definitely needed to take some time off to rejuvenate the creativity within the band. Everyone went on to do some side-projects and once we got back together we all felt that the mood and passion in the band had never been higher. Working on “Shadowmaker“ has been a great pleasure and I think that is reflected in the quality of the finished product.”
“We couldn’t be m
How did you end up working with Nick Raskulinecz, and what was he like to work with? We were hoping to get Nick on board for this as we really liked what he did with other bands (Foo Fighters, Mastodon) and working with him was great: Nick really speaks the same musical language and sometimes felt like another band member.
Without discussing the lyrics, then how would you say 'Shadowmaker' compares musically to anything you've done before? In the past we’ve sometimes struggled to get everything sound exactly like we wanted. With this record our main goal was to create a sound that truly reflects our inner feelings and we knew that we could only succeed by working with the best people which was definitely the case, so we couldn’t be more happier with the result.
more happier with the resultâ&#x20AC;?
Also, with such an awesome line-up of musicians, can you tell us how a song normally comes together with Apocalyptica? This is different from song to song, really. Sometimes one of us comes up with something and the others would contribute to it in the studio. Sometimes we do co-writes and then only change minor things during the recording process. In general everyone has his own vision and taste and an Apocalyptica record is always a mixture of all these different influences.
We must ask, when you guys first started out, then how hard or easy was it to break into the rock world with your unique line-up and approach to metal? To be honest with you - the hardest part was the media reaction, really. We got great feedback from fans all over the world very quickly and all these other rock and metal bands really liked what we did. As for media it took quite a while to convince them that we were more than a novelty act, though.
MORE THAN MOST
More Than Most became a full band in May 2014 after having been in the making for about a year prior to that. Leandro Leonardi (Guitarist, from Brazil) started the band with Mok Saib (Bassist, from Algeria) after having met through previous projects. They retraced their experiences to find Daniel Allen (Guitarist, from London) and began writing some music. They made some solid ideas but needed the final touches from a vocalist and drummer. The search was intense as they filtered through many different singers until they finally found the right mix with Izzy Stylez (Vocals, From Leicester). They hit the studio and hired out a studio drummer to bash out their first 2 singles, “Remember Who You Are” and fan favorite, “You’re Not Alone.” Still trying out drummers, they continued to audition literally hundreds of very talented drummers before being contacted by Cole Solem (Drums, from America). Giving him a chance, Cole bought the first ticket to London to audition. As soon as he arrived in the practice room the band immediately felt complete.
They began practicing right away and booked studio time with Justin Hill of Sikth. Justin had recorded the first two singles and was prepared to finish the EP “Impossible Is Temporary” now that the band was complete. The EP was recently released in January and the band continues to support it having booked shows this year making stops at a Sold Out O2 Academy Islington, as well as, landing a spot on Takedown Festival. You can catch them April 10th at the Camden Rocks event at the Barfly! If there is any time to join the MTM community that has become so strong in the likes of Twitter especially, (@mtmukofficial) then now is the chance to experience the whole journey from the beginning. #MTMFamily.
CONTACT: MoreThanMostUK.com Facebook.com/morethanmostofficial
“If you’re a fan of Thrice then you’ll know that lyric-wise, Dustin Kensrue has penned some of the most thought provoking songs out there. So it’s a pleasure to be joined by the man himself who gets us up to date with his solo career, which has just seen him put together his brilliant upcoming new record ‘Carry the Fire’!”
Your first solo release was 'Please Come Home', so when did you originally decide that you wanted to put out a solo release, and what was that whole experience like for you at the time?
It was the natural by-product of building up musical ideas that didn’t seem to fit with what we were doing with Thrice. Even with the breadth of the Alchemy Index project, there were still a bunch of ideas that wouldn’t have fit. There were a few tunes I’d been playing around with for friends and at random shows for some time, and people were consistently pushing me to lay them down. The recording process was a bit crazy as we were tracking/writing Alchemy in the day and then recording Please Come Home at night.
'Carry The Fire' is the highly anticipated follow-up to 'Please Come Home', so when did you start working on this release, and what has it been like to put together? Many of the songs have been in various stages of development since Please Come Home was recording. I record every little idea that pops into my head into Evernote so that I don’t lose it. Most of the time it’s nothing great when I listen back. But the good ones start to stick with me pretty quickly. They’ll start bouncing around my head more and more as time goes by and will pick up new bits and pieces here or there. Some will have a whole verse worked out without the rest of a song. Some I’ve got the whole structure and melody but can’t figure out what it’s supposed to be about. The final writing process is trying to wrangle all these fragments into full songs that I’m fully satisfied with.
How hard or easy is it to engineer & produce your own work, and can you tell us a bit about this process on 'Carry The Fire'? It’s both very easy and very hard. It’s easy because you don’t have to compromise which makes things very streamlined. But it’s also hard because you aren’t collaborating or having the pushback that can sometimes lead to something better. My wife ended up being a really great help on this record, pushing back, pointing out what was good and what could be better. I don’t always listen, but I love good feedback because it pushes me to fix what I already in some sense felt wasn’t right. On the technical side, there was a learning curve to making a great sounding record on my own, especially getting the right mic setup etc. It was a bit brutal in the beginning and I ended up having to sing a few songs twice or more. Once I got it locked in though it went much smoother.
So what made you want to release 'Back To Back' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? It’s always hard to select what track to put out for people to hear first. Back to Back ended up rising to the top for that job as friends and people at the label listened to the record. The record is pretty varied in sound and vibe and Back to Back seems to live somewhere in the middle of all of it.
Also, how did you get to the album title 'Carry The Fire' and what does it mean to you? The title is inspired by an idea from two Cormac McCarthy books, No Country For Old Men and The Road. The idea is introduced at the very end of No Country and then becomes a central theme in The Road. It’s something that resonates with me in my writing as I deal with issues of love, beauty, truth, goodness, etc. What does it mean to carry the fire? What does it mean to believe that these things are real and worth upholding.’ The record deals with these kinds of questions, but from a variety of angles and perspectives. A lens that happened to be used often was that of love. 4 of the 10 tracks explore the meaning of real love, as opposed to what we often grace with that title. Images of light and darkness are found throughout the record, used to represent both good and evil as well as understanding and confusion. Water representative of both blessing and judgement. Wolves appear more than once. These images are as old as time, and there is a reason for that. Across time and culture we all share in the experience of being human. And all the technology and sophistication in the world won’t change the images and symbols that resonate deeply in all of us.
What was the hardest part about putting together this release for you, and why? Probably deciding to lay the pen down in a sense. To let a song be finished. There is always something else you could do. A different word here, a different chord there. A different song entirely. To commit the songs to stone is a hard thing to do for me, but you have to let it go at a certain point.
Can you tell us about how the front cover of the record came together, as well as what it means to you? The cover was sort of a celebration between Jordan (art director) Myriam (photographer) and I. Jordan suggested the mirror, I suggested the location and how to set the mirror with the rock face behind, and Myriam is just a stellar photographer. The fractured mirror suggests marring, imperfection, brokeness. These things I think resonate with much of the record and not incidentally, with our lives.
“Across time and culture we all share in the experience of being human. And all the technology and sophistication in the world won’t change the images and symbols that resonate deeply in all of us.” How would you say this record compares overall to anything you've done before (solo wise)? It’s a lot less stripped down than Please Come Home. PCH was really built off of the acoustic guitar and then a couple of things were added to support that. This record was definitely not done that way. The songs were just built sonically in ways that seemed to compliment the song itself and not just a certain acoustic interpretation of it. It broadly is an Americana record, but is very diverse sonically.
You are about to head out on the road with Andy Hull, so can you tell us a bit about what people can expect from you on a live basis, as well as the line-up you are going to have with you? It’s going to be a great show. I love Andy as a human and as a performer. I think both of us know how to bring an emotive and intimate quality to a stripped down performance. I’m sure we will play a few tunes together too which is always fun, for the performers and the audience I think.
Interview with Cormac
“It’s always good to hear modern bands representing the old school rock style of music, and with The Answer they have constructed their own impressive take on this iconic genre. So have a read as the band tell us about their awesome new record ‘Raise A Little Hell’!” What made you want to re-sign with Napalm Records, and what has it been like to work with them once more? Napalm have given us a lot of support since signing with them almost two years ago. This record is the second of four records we’ll be putting out with those guys. That kind of commitment is rare in the modern music business. It also grants us a platform of stability that allows us to forget about the business for a while and concentrate on making great music.
How did you get to the album title 'Raise A Little Hell' and what does it mean to you? The song came first. It wasn’t until we had finished the record and realized we had essentially made a good time rock n roll record that we decided “Raise A Little Hell” reflects the sentiment of this piece of work perfectly. We just had so much fun writing and recording this time round and I think the title gives you an insight as to where our heads were at throughout the process.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Raise A Little Hell'? I would say the main theme is celebration, a band just enjoying the music. There’s a little angst in there too and a degree of heartache but even those songs are joyous musically. All the lyrics come from the heart and are based on real life experience. I’d like to think that there’s a few people out there that can hear some slightly obscured messages to them personally but I’d also like to believe the songs reach out to our fans on a more universal level. Musically you can hear where it’s coming from regarding the bands that have helped to shape us but we put our own stamp on things. That’s very important to us.
What was the hardest part about putting together this release for you guys, and why? The hardest part for me is finishing those first couple of songs. Once we have a couple in the can the floodgates open and there’s no stopping us. But in those early stages you’re filled with doubt about whether you can do it all over again from scratch. Thankfully it didn’t take us too long to conquer those demons this time round.
How did you end up working with Guillermo Will Maya, and what was he like to work with? We’ve actually worked with Will more than any other producer or engineer. He was the in house engineer at Albert Productions; our first record label. He engineered on our first two records and produced numerous Bsides and lots of bonus material since then. He approached us this time round and said guys I want to make this record. We thought this was a great idea and off we went. He’s a hard working son of a bitch…he would stay up most of the night after we had finished recording so he could edit together what we had done. He also knew how to get the best out of us as song writers and musicians as he had worked with us so often in the past. He knows what makes us tick.
What else can you tell us about the recording process? We went to Will’s own residential studio in a small mountain town north of Madrid. The building used to be his great grandmother’s home and hasn’t really changed much in the last 150 years so it was pretty vibey. The process took a month and in that time the town held its annual fiesta complete with bull running and lots of beer drinking. It was a unique experience. I think all the partying that was going on around us helped to ignite this record.
How would you say this release compares to anything you've done before? I would say this record is the one we’ve been working towards for a few years now. We constantly attempt to freshen up our sound and maintain the excitement and passion. That’s why we work with a different producer every record. That’s similarly why you could never accuse The Answer of making the same record twice. This album takes the best of what we have learnt over the course of our four previous records and moulds it together with a few new tricks to create a well balanced statement of where this band is at.
Looking back on 'New Horizon' then how happy are you guys with this record still, and what do you think it has done for The Answer? I see New Horizon as phase one of the next stage of our careers. That was a different record for us in terms of style and approach. We asked ourselves some tough questions. It also kick started a new momentum for us on the live scene. “Raise A Little Hell” is most definitely the next step.
The artwork for 'Raise A Little Hell' is really cool. Can you tell us a bit about how it came together, as well as what it means to you guys? The artist Sebastian Jerke developed the concept based on our desire to present a cover that represented the colour and good time vibes that permeate through the record. When he originally suggested the idea of cartoon alter egos we thought he had been smoking a little too much of the good stuff. But we let him roll with it and he really came up with the goods.
How would you say the rock scene has changed/progressed in the UK since you guys first started out? I actually think rock is in a better place than it was ten years ago. Bands like Royal Blood are giving the genre a new found integrity and more young people are realizing just how much fun it is to crank some hard assed rock n roll up and have a good time. This is a very good and encouraging thing. Long live the renegades.
Facebook: facebook.com/JustWaitingNJ Twitter: twitter.com/JustWaitingNJ Bandcamp: justwaiting.bandcamp.com Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/justwaiting YouTube: youtube.com/JustWaitingNJ
Interview with Dryden
“After the career changing rele career touring like crazy to s around the corner we catch together their eage Going back to the reunion, when were the seeds of the return planted? I don't remember really, we kind of dabbled with the idea back and forth for like forever. We've all been pretty much blood brothers for so long and gotten into so many trivial little fights or whatever it was, I don't remember half the things that caused us to not speak, then speak, not speak and speak again. It's all kind of nonsensical, some of the best bands in the world have gone through the same kind of motions. We toyed with the idea, we played a show at the Knebworth Sonispehere with Metallica. It's a few years back now but we wanted to see if anyone even cared that we came back to do something like this, the crowd really enjoyed it so that was the first seed I think that got planted and made us think maybe we should write a record and do more shows. See if there is more curiosity for the fans.
Always and Forever is now out, what can you tell us about the album? Well, we tried hard, all I can say is that. There's songs on there that I really, really love and some that I really , really like. We did a lot of co-writes for this record which I've never really done in the past. I've done co-writes on my own with other producers and stuff but for Ant Farm it was usually just the four guys. Even with the producer in the room, we'd tend to make it be known that we didn't want the input until maybe after the song was written, we didn't like too many fingers in there. We did a record called Truant with Robert and Dean Deleo from Stone Temple Pilots, we really appreciated those guys as musicians so that was a different story where we weren't so bummed to have them come and chime in during that record. I'd say half the new record is just the four guys, just Ant Farm songs then I'd say half the record is us doing co-writes with different producers and various guys that come into our studio, or we'd go to their studio and hammer a song out, so it's going to have a different feel for sure.
What has allowing others to contribute brought to the album? There's a certain poppiness to it, we always were, in a sense, a pop band I think. We grew up loving heavy metal and by no means were we ever a “metal band” but I think in the early days, ANThology does have some morphed, hybrid metal feel to it. That's still there in this record but some of the guys on the co-writes come from the urban world like hip hop and stuff. We didn’t want to go flat out and do something like that but we weren't opposed to it, music’s music you know. I don't hold to Ant Farm being some brand that can't be touched, the older I get the more willing I am to play ball with anyone I respect, and most of the guys who came in the room were great musicians. I knew that I always had my voice and my lyrics behind a lot of this stuff so I wasn't scared to open it up like that.
ease of ‘Anthology’ in 2001, Alien Ant Farm have spent their show us their addictive alternative sound. With a UK tour up with the band to discuss what it has been like to put erly awaited new album ‘Always and Forever’!”
The title as we've said is Always and Forever, what does the title mean to the band? I guess the idea is going back to your first question of what planted the first seed to us getting back to doing this. I think in one form or another we will always be connected to each other, it kind of came from that and the fact of the matter is the silly thing, well not silly thing is the acronym of Always And Forever is AAF. We thought that was a cool little thing, maybe not everyone will know the AAF is the acronym because we don't make it obvious on the record cover but it's a cool thought!
You have done tours since but it was quite a few years since the last album, how was it getting back in a room and recording together again? It was a lot of fun and I don't know.... it's like playing Baseball or Football with your family. There's a lot of fun and there's always going to be some messed up stuff when you remember why you don't like this guy for a certain reason, these little circumstances always pop their heads out and that's what life is. It was fun to get in a room and fight with these dudes and give each other hugs then not speak for a day etc. You mix a little alcohol in anyone’s day and bad stuff is bound to go down!
The track 'Homage' jumped out at me for the lyrical content, can you give us some insight into the song? It's a, I wouldn't say typical but the chord progression that was coming out that day (in studio) is the one you hear on the record and I just kept hearing it all day long. It had this anthemic feel, there was nothing technical about this stuff. Almost like an AC/DC track, it doesn't sound like AC/DC but it gives that same kind of feel and I thought “well, let’s call out some anthemic bands”. After writing these sappy love songs for so long, I thought why not give some credit to people who affected me in some great ways not just bad ways. It always came back to the Stevie Wonders, the Ottis Readings, the Beastie Boys, Prince, ELO, Supertramp, The Police and all these bands. By the time we were done I was thinking is it too corny? I was just lacing it with band after band, it felt cool though and didn't feel cheesy. The song is packed with about 200 puns but it didn't feel comedic to me, I was laughing the whole time jotting those lyrics down but once they were sung it seemed really genuine.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;I'm not a nervous guy, but I'm an anxious guyâ&#x20AC;?
Like many bands at the moment you went down the Pledge Music route, how was that experience? It was really cool. I'm just a little disheartened and sad that it's taken so long to come out. A lot of these kids or whoever it was that pledged have been waiting a while and that's by the fault of the deal we signed and how things unfolded for us. I would love to do it again but I'm a little concerned about how many fans would want to invest again knowing that this process took as long as it did. As far as using Pledge or Kickstarter for that matter, is really great and it's a new way of doing things. The music business has turned into the wild west all over, nobody knows any kind of formula, nobody knows what is going on and it's kind of nice to see that. It still sucks that albums have become just a commercial basically for your band to be out on tour, noone is selling heaps of records. As long as I can eat and sleep via my music then I'm a happy and a very lucky person. I have friends around everywhere and at least acquaintances everywhere that are far better musicians than me who have never had the same opportunities as me. So it's a good thing.
I've spoken to a few musicians lately that have used pledge so I 'll ask you the same question, can you see the Kickstarter/Pledge idea becoming the dominant way of making music in the years to come? It should. There aren't many labels anymore, I think there will be some form of it. The labels I think should maybe in unison with their band do it in that format. You're still going to need distribution and need the things that facilitate a few more key parts of the whole puzzle but I think for sure that it will be dominant. I can't imagine what other circumstance is going to come around that will trump that one.
With the the album now released you're hitting the road pretty hard in the coming months. At the end of the year what do you hope to be looking back on? I don't know man, looking out for my own well being in a selfish way. I have a daughter and a son now. I know that has nothing to do with music but I want to see them progress in a normal way, hopefully I don't mess them up too much! We're going to hit a lot of shows and I always aim for a successful live show. I still get extreme anxiety over things going well and I want people to enjoy this band, I'm not a nervous guy, but I'm an anxious guy. Never nervous to play shows but always that feeling of anxiety for things to go well and all I can ask is for us to be open and accepting. It's funny when you get out there, especially when you travel overseas, opportunities seem to fall into your lap if you're doing the right thing so to look back on 2015 I don't have any specific goals other than to keep myself open and out there for those opportunities to fall into my lap.
I was actually surprised to realise the band first formed in 1995 so it's 20 years for you guys now, how would you describe your life and times with Alien Ant Farm? It's so weird because I feel like I'm 20 years old so to be a part of something that musically is 20 years old feels very foreign and very odd. I see a few little grey hairs poking out and I think everyone of those grey hairs was caused by Alien Ant Farm. It's just been cool man, as I said, I have a lot of friends who are great, great musicians that have never seen the world like we've seen the world. I'm not saying that in any kind of bragging way, we've done so much cool stuff. I almost lost my life on tour in a bus crash and I'm grateful for even that experience, I spent the better part of some months recovering in London with the halo brace. All these weird things, good, good times and tragic times with this band so it's been my entire life. To think that it's only been a part of it, it's been half of it. I'm 38 and I've been in a 20 year old band so it is all I really know. I shouldn't really say that because we had time away from each other but in that time in the musical projects I did I would get â&#x20AC;&#x153;oh you're the singer of that Alien Ant Farm bandâ&#x20AC;?, it was all that was being talked about. I'm just very grateful to have gotten our little slice of the rock n roll pie. I know we're probably just a pimple on the ass of rock n roll but it's a pretty pimple and I'm proud of it.
Interview with Joseph
“When it comes to alternative rock, it’s safe to say that ‘Chroma’ is one of the records that contributed to shaping this style over the last ten years. Cartel are here to reflect on this influential record, as well as what it has been like to re-visit the album for their current anniversary tour!” So what made you guys want to do a ten year anniversary tour for your release 'Chroma'? An albums Ten Year Anniversary is a milestone and deserves a proper celebration. We knew this tour was inevitable since 2005.
What can you remember from the recording process of 'Chroma'? I remember visiting the studio and seeing the huge mixing board and live room. There were gold plaques on the wall of all the artists that have recorded there. I imagine it’s the way people used to feel about New York City, seeing your name in lights on a Broadway marque. Everything was getting serious for Cartel and you can really hear that tone on the album. We weren’t just having fun anymore, we were determined to get our name in the lights.
As this was your debut album, then what targets and goals did you set for yourself when heading into the studio? There were no real targets or goals for the album. We just knew we had so many days to record so many songs. We were kids at the time and didn’t know much about the recording process. We had been practicing and recording demos in my parent’s basement so most of the songs were already finished before day one. The hard part was staying on track.
What would you say was the hardest part about putting together this album for you guys, and why? I don’t really remember any difficulties in the studio. We all work together so well and already knew how to play the songs. The hardest part was the small things that only the trained ear of a producer would notice. I didn’t know anything about “rushing the beat” or “playing in the pocket”. I just played guitar the way I knew how and I guess you could say it was difficult to adapt. I learned a lot about recording in those few weeks that I still think about today.
Looking back over the last yen years, then what would you say 'Chroma' has done for Cartel overall? Chroma meant a lot to a lot of people. To us, it was just a record of the only songs we had at the time. But once the album’s pressed, it’s no longer yours. And just like any form of art, people take what they want from it and tell you what they think. Chroma attached itself to people in a way that we weren’t prepared for. The reaction of Chroma gave the attention of multiple Major Labels and bigger touring opportunities. I remember thinking we went from 0 to 100 pretty fast.
What's it been like to rehearse this album straight through, and are there any songs that you are really excited about re-visiting? Well, we haven’t started practicing yet… maybe we should. Most of these songs we’ve been playing for a while and it’s just muscle memory at this point. But some songs we haven’t played together in 6 or 7 years. I’m excited about playing Settle Down. I think it might be our fastest song ever.
If you could see any band perform any album anniversary tour, who would you like to see? Jimmy Eat World - Clarity. I know it already happened, but I missed it. That record changed how I thought about the genre.
Looking back on the release of 'Collider', how happy are you guys with this record still, and what do you think it has done for Cartel? I think Collider is our best work ever. It was the first record we did without any outside influences from managers or labels or producers. I think Collider was proof that we knew what we were doing and didn’t need anyone telling us what to do. Again, I think that vibe can be felt on the record. There’s an energy on there that I don’t think we’ve had in a while. The writing, recording, and pressing of Collider was a personal passion project for me and an extremely liberating experience.
How would you say the Pop/rock 'scene' has changed/progressed since you first started out? I’m not really sure how to answer that. The “scene” is a strange concept to me. When I was a teenager, the scene was everything and everything I wore and listened to was of that scene. But as I got older, my worldview grew larger, and that scene began to seem very specific and small. There will always be people who like whatever music and the fashion that goes along with those musicians. I think if anything has changed, it’s me.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK shows, and what can attending fans expect? We always love coming to the UK. Warm beer isn’t all that bad and I don’t mind getting an eye roll when asking for ice water. This will be a tour that I will remember for the rest of my life. I hope attending fans can share in that moment with me.
What else does 2015 hold for Cartel? Right now, we’re only focused on the Chroma Tour and have no plans to write new songs or go on any other tours after this. But things always change…
Interview with Laurent
“Gallows have never been one to listen to what record labels or their current management want them to do when it comes to putting a record together, and from this they've always been able to give us music that just gets straight to the point. With their new album ‘Desolation Sounds’ the band have achieved this raw style once more, and after just one listen through you’ll agree that Gallows have given us one of their strongest albums to date!” How did the idea for Venn Records originally come about, and what's it been like to release your own material through your own label? It’s something we tried doing back in 2007. When we signed to Warner Bros we set up Black Envelope Records and it was our desire to release new music by bands we liked. It lasted one release. Once we left the major label world it gave us an opportunity to give running a label another go. Since the first release on Venn (the Gallows self-titled) we’ve put out records by Marmozets, Moose Blood, Baby Godzilla, Milk Teeth and plenty more amazing new bands. It’s been a lot of hard work but at the same time heaps of fun.
So, how did you get to the album title 'Desolation Sounds', and what does it mean to you? Wade came up with the title. Desolation Sound is actually an area of British Columbia, Canada known for its fjords, mountains and wildlife. He saw the name and thought the combination of the two words worked perfectly. I love the title for the same reason. The words just roll off the tongue beautifully.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Desolation Sounds'? It’s an extremely introspective record, more than anything Gallows have done before. I like the idea of the band returning to four people, much like how it was when we recorded Orchestra Of Wolves. Back then the band was pure and untouched by the outside world of press, radio, social networks and all that other stuff that gets in the way of making music. It’s been a similar experience making this album. The themes and influences stem from books about Thelema, TV shows about serial killers and late nights listening to Lana Del Rey. Everything influenced us and nothing at the same time.
How did you end up working with Steve Sears, and what was he like to work with? I’ve known Steve for well over 15 years now and he worked on the last record with us. We just knew he’d get what we want and it would be more comfortable than working with a big name producer who’s more than likely out of touch with music. As always Steve did a fantastic job!
You said that this is “the record I’ve dreamt about making.” so with that in mind, how would you say this release compares to anything Gallows have done before? That’s such a cliche but I said it so it’s true. The songs on ‘Desolation Sounds’ reflect the members as individuals. While there are some extremely aggressive moments on the album there are also some beautifully dark parts too. I hate the fact people try and pigeonhole bands. Gallows will never be what people want us to be. I would have zero pleasure making the same record over and over again. When we signed to a major label everyone wanted us to be the next Sex Pistols and we did the opposite. The music on Desolation Sounds encompasses everything I love about guitar music. It’s slow and moody at times but also fast and angry at other points. Until now Gallows’ records have been all about the rage but this album is the sound of Gallows how I see it now. It’s an honest record and there is no influence from the outside opinion.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Desolation Sounds' for you guys, and why? The hardest part will always be the distance. With everyone living so far away I’m recording demos at home and emailing them out to the rest of the guys. Then we get in the studio and have about two weeks to turn the demos into full songs and record them. At times it can be stressful but when you’re onto something good it’s smooth running.
On your 7" single release of 'Bonfire Season' there's a track that features Marcia Richards (The Skints). So how did this collaboration come about, and what was she like to work with? I’ve always been a huge fan of The Skints and so have the rest of the boys in Gallows. They’re lovely people and extremely talented. When I had the crazy idea of doing a Major Lazer cover I knew straight away Marcia would do an amazing job on the vocals and that she did. Their new album is out soon and I’ve heard it. It’s great!
What made you want to release ‘Bonfire Season' as a single, and how happy have you been with the response to it so far? It has a real goth post-punk vibe. I love the track, it’s dark and extremely creepy. Releasing it was our way of letting people know we’re once again doing what we want. We know how to write big songs with catchy riffs without sounding like kiddy pop punk nonsense. Listen to ‘Bonfire Season’ and tell me it’s not moody as hell. Gallows stand out because we’re not afraid to be different and we do what we want to do.
The album artwork looks very unique. Can you tell us about how it came together, as well as maybe what it means to you? When Wade first joined the band we were both listening to a lot of neo-folk bands and experimental industrial records. That kind of stuff always had an aesthetic so I decided it was time Gallows created its own. The theme through all our record imagery is anonymity. If noone knows who you are then you can get away with so much more. The black and white of the covers represents the stark reality we each create for ourselves. For ‘Desolation Sounds’ I asked my girlfriend Helena to be the model. She sang on ‘Chains’ and it made sense to have her be on the cover. We went to Abney Park in Stoke Newington and shot the photos there. It’s a beautiful cemetery with a eerie looking derelict church in the centre. The photos were shot on film and one of the images had Helena’s face appear twice. Straight away I knew that had to be the cover. It’s extremely haunting but undoubtedly beautiful. It therefore suits the record perfectly. I love it!
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Slam Dunk Festival, and what can attending fans expect? I’m looking forward to playing some new songs and catching up with old friends. Fans can expect Gallows and an honest performance.
Interview with Aaron
“If you've seen Reel Big Fish live then you’ll know that they are one of the best ska acts in the world right now! So it’s a privilege to be joined by the band who tell us what we can expect from their upcoming slot at Slam Dunk Festival whilst looking back on their most recent album ‘Candy Coated Fury’!” How is your current tour going with Less Than Jake, and can you give us a couple of highlights from your time on the road so far? Every tour with Less Than Jake is the best tour ever! We have so much fun playing and hanging out with those guys. The crowds are always extra excited and rowdy when our two bands play together. Several times, Chris came out and sang beer with us and it was awesome having him join us on stage for a song! One night LTJ pulled all the oldest, bald, white bearded old grandpa looking guys they could find out of the crowd and made them have a dance off on stage, that was pretty hilarious. They were all good dancers too!
You guys have spent so much time touring, but at this point, are there any places that you still want to go, where Reel Big Fish haven't been yet? We have been lucky enough to go to a lot of amazing places around the globe but we definitely haven't even been to half the countries there are in the world. We've only been on three different contents! There are definitely many, many places we would love to go and explore and play music for people.
So for those that don't know, how did Ed Larsen end up becoming a part of Reel Big Fish, and what has he been like to work with so far? Our drummer Ryland Steen took an indefinite hiatus from our band to go play with the band AMERICA, one of his most favorite classic rock bands from the 70's. It was a pretty awesome opportunity for him and we are definitely all behind his decision to go play with them! Ed Larsen from Suburban Legends has been playing with us since Ryland left.
So at the end of last year you released your first holiday output entitled 'Happy Skalidays', so can you tell us about how this idea came together, as well as the tracks that feature on the release? I had always wanted to do a holiday album but it had just been put off and procrastinated and delayed for whatever reasons for years and years and we finally got round to making it! Our original plan was to do a double album with maybe 50 songs on it, both old classics and new originals so we started working on songs at sound check during our June 2014 tour and we got 5 or 6 together and that's when Ryland got the call to go play with America so we just recorded the songs we had worked out in the short time that Ryland was available and ended up with what became the "Happy Skalidays" EP.
Has work started on a follow up to 'Candy Coated Fury' just yet? If so, can you tell us about how it's coming along, as well as what we can expect? We're working on an all instrumental, traditional ska album that will be called "Don't Stop Skankin" and we're putting together a live DVD of us performing our "Skacoustic" numbers that will be out sometime soon.
Looking back on the release of 'Candy Coated Fury', how happy are you with this record, and what do you think it has done for Reel Big Fish? I don't know if CCF has "done" anything for us or helped our career or popularity go one way or the other. As far as I can tell, our fans really like and appreciate the album and of course we are very proud of it because it came out sounding so good and the songs are just awesome. It's definitely one of MY favorite RBF albums and I think it proved that I can still write Reely good Reel Big Fish songs.
What songs are you really enjoying playing live from 'Candy Coated Fury' at the moment, and why? All the songs are fun to play, some of them are a lot longer than the older songs so we have to do shorter versions of them to make them fit in the set. The more albums a band puts out, the harder it is to make the setlist you know because you want to represent each album and you want to play all the old favorites that everybody loves and you have to keep the set length from getting out of hand because I think most people, no matter how much they like our band, want to watch us play for four hours you know. Right now in the set we've been doing, "Everyone Else is an Asshole", "I Dare You To Break My Heart", "Don't Stop Skankin", "Your Girlfriend Sucks" and "Hiding in My Headphones".
It's been ten years since the release of 'We're Not Happy 'til You're Not Happy', so what can you remember from putting together this record, and how do you think the sound of Reel Big Fish has grown/progressed since this release came out? All I know is that I was in a very angry, depressed, dark place when I wrote those songs, I wasn't getting along with some of the band members at the time and I was just hating life on the road. We had a few line up changes during the pre-production of the album and that made it all harder too. Also we were having trouble with our record label and just not agreeing on anything with them and that made things difficult and stressful too. The engineer we hired to record the album was kind of having a nervous breakdown at the time and really just dropped the ball as far as the recording quality and the sound of the record which is why it just sounds so weird. I did have some crazy ideas about what I wanted it to sound like and some experimental stuff I wanted to try but nothing really came out the way I hoped it would. Some say the album sounds interesting and it is "uniquely raw" but that was just a complete accident and was no way the original intention. Maybe all the bad vibes and negative energy in the songs and the lyrics and the band members at the time made it sound the way it does. it's the sound of a band completely falling apart in every way. So maybe it's a unique work of art and a messed up masterpiece…or maybe it's just a terrible album. Everyone sees it differently and takes what they want from it. I think since then I have gotten a lot better at song writing and producing and just getting back to what Reel Big Fish is and what the band does best.
In a kind of reference to the last question, what do you think about bands that do anniversary tours for their albums, and do you think Reel Big Fish would ever do something like this? I think it's cool when bands do tours where they perform one of their classic albums in its entirety. That can be a lot of fun. Especially when a band has a lot of albums and their setlist has become a mix of years and years of album's songs. The more albums a band makes the less songs they have time to play from each of the albums. Sometimes it's just a treat for fans to hear that old first hit album or whatever beloved classic album and pretend they're back in the "good old days".
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our fans really like and appreciate the album and of course we are very proud of itâ&#x20AC;?
I definitely wouldn't be opposed to doing a tour like that. If people really wanted it. We've done a few shows where we played "Turn The Radio Off" in its entirety and it was a lot of fun but at the same time, people seem to lose interest in the show after they hear the big hits and favorites from the album. Once you get to the deep cuts, most people start to get really bored. At least that's what I've noticed from my experience. That's why our set is usually all the favourites and hits from all our albums and people don't seem to be complaining!
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Slam Dunk Festival, and what can attending fans expect? We are VERY excited for Slam Dunk, every time we have played this festival it has been amazing! I'm sure our set will be shorter than a normal club gig so the fans will get only the very best of RBF, only the best songs and just concentrated RBF awesomeness!
What else can we expect to see from Reel Big Fish in 2015? We have been talking about putting out a lot more vinyl, old stuff and new stuff, full albums and 7" too so get ready for that. And we'll be touring the world of course, trying to bring ska music to everybody, everywhere!!
Interview with John
"Although they haven't put an album out since 2008 the guys in Goldfinger are still touring occasionally to prove that they still have more than what it takes to be one of the coolest ska punk bands out there. They will be heading to the UK for a full tour this May, which will also see them bring their intense live performance back to the mighty Slam Dunk Festival!"
What made you guys want to release your self-titled album on vinyl for the first time? We've wanted to put this out on vinyl for quite some time. A long time fan that runs srcvinyl got in contact with us and we are stoked that we were able to make it happen. You can get it via this site: http://www.shopradiocast.com/. “Hang-Ups” is next!
How is your new material coming along, and what can we expect?
We’ve only written one song in the last three years called “Am I Deaf”. I have a couple new song ideas in my a mind involving some horns. Some ska. Some “pick it up, pick it up, pick it up,” but I’m not too sure when we’re d expecting to release them.
You've been working on a next release for a while now, so with that in mind what's been the hardest part about getting a new output put together for you guys, and why?
Between careers and families, it’s hard to balance when we can put out new stuff. I love playing live and being Y on stage with Goldfinger and I’m looking forward to recording and releasing new music, unfortunately, I just can’t say exactly when that will be, but there will be more Goldfinger music!
How would you say your current material compares to anything you've done before? I think the new stuff that we’re planning to record and release will be more Ska than you’ve heard from us before.
Can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind your last single 'Am I Deaf'?
“Am I Deaf” was my response after listening to so much synthesized pop music that had no live instruments on the tracks. I found myself growing more and more frustrated with the music and I think “Am I Deaf” was the f result of that frustration.
“There will be more Goldfinger music!”
Producing wise, what have you been up to lately?
Sleeping With Sirens just dropped their latest record “Madness”. I’m very excited about that. All Time Low’s new record, “Future Hearts” comes out shortly, pumped! I’ve also been working with an EDM group, Krewella, who are very sweet! I’ve been pushing my envelope extensively as a producer the last couple years. Everything I’m doing is getting better. The second album for 5 Seconds of Summer is coming along quite nicely.
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Slam Dunk Festival?
I cannot wait to play Slam Dunk Fest! We haven’t played a show in almost a year. It’s going to be awesome.
You also have a UK tour booked around your shows at the event, so how excited are you guys for those, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from playing in the UK over the years?
The UK is always the best place. I grew up on all British music. I watched Quadrophenia, the movie, probably everyday of my sophomore year in high school. I love music, I love the weather, I love the gear, I love the people. I love England! Music is my life and it seems like as a culture, The UK takes their music more seriously than a lot of other places in the world. I can’t express how excited I am to go back and play these shows.
How would you say the ska/punk scene has chance since you started out?
I think the essence of ska punk, which started for me with “Operation Ivy” has stayed pretty close to the roots of fun, party, dance music with an edge and with a message. I think it’s stayed relatively the same.
Kanteen are a 3 piece rock combo from Manchester, UK, formed in 2014. Essentially a garage/grunge band, Kanteen also have a leaning towards alternative, more progressive arrangements and experimental noise. With a collosal live sound, Kanteen are melodic and engaging as well as powerful and dynamic. Their self titled EP was recorded with sugar house UK and has received great feedback since its release in January 2015. Kanteen will be playing venues accross the UK and Ireland during 2015 and are looking forward to recording their album in Summer 2015. Kanteen are a powerhouse band whose live performances are delivered with ferocity and feeling. Debut EP now available on iTunes
Interview with Jack
“When they first unleashed ‘Ark’ & ‘Do It Together’ from their upcoming album ‘Ark’ we were simply blown away by the fact that, in a good way you can always expect the unexpected from We Are The Ocean! As well as preparing to release their dynamic new album, they are getting ready for a full UK tour, which will see them bring their mesmerizing performance to their dedicated fan base!” When the first single Ark was released from your upcoming album, it was clear to see that We Are The Ocean had grown once more. But for you guys, how would you say the sound of your band has changed/progressed since the release of Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow? The track ‘Ark’ was a product of pushing the envelope. It wasn’t a conscious decision for it to come out as progressive as it did, we started with the bare bones with it on guitar and just followed the natural course that the song was taking, instead of trying to fit it into a box. All the while we had the mind that it might end up too outlandish and not fit anywhere, and it was never originally ended to be released, but we were so pleased with the final result we just had to get it out there.
With Ark sounding as huge as it is, can you tell us about the recording process behind the track? We’ve always strived to make our music sound as honest as possible, trying to get as much down in one take, with no auto tune or fancy technology tricks. On Ark we took that a step further, and recorded every track live – all together instrumentally, with no click track and no edits, and then a live one take vocal recording. By doing so, it was very important to spend a lot of time on the tones and sounds of everything before recording, as we wouldn’t be able to fiddle with them after.
Your latest single Do It Together also sounds massive! Can you also tell us about how this track came together, as well as the narrative behind it? This track had been hanging around instrumentally for a while. We’d aimed to write a powerful, straight-up rock song, more straight down the line than the track ‘Ark’. Lyrically, we toyed with a few ideas over the months preceding the studio, then while we were in the studio we spent one night watching Natural Born Killers, and decided to base the lyrics loosely on the themes within – the idea of finding someone to bring a raw side of you out, someone to fight personal demons with.
What has it been like to perform your new material live so far, and how happy have you been with the response? So far it’s mainly been ‘Ark’ and ‘Do It Together’ that we’ve been playing at shows. Through recording the songs live, we are fully confident that we can perform the tracks live and get them sounding as huge as they do on recording. They’ve both been going down great: both are such energetic tracks, that if the crowd doesn’t know the song they can still get involved with it.
How did you get to the album title Ark, and what does it mean to you? In terms of the writing and recording process of the album, the song ‘Ark’ was a pivotal moment and it seemed rather fitting to harness this moment to encompass the idea of the whole album. The notion of an ark being a vessel also seemed quite fitting a title for the album, as though the album is a vessel holding a collection of varied songs.
What was the hardest part about putting together this album for you guys, and why? While we wanted to follow the natural course of every song, and not put any limitations on what we were writing, we had to be sure that it wasn’t too mixed a bag of songs, so we needed to ensure there was a thread through the album linking all the songs.
How did the artwork come together for Ark, and what do you want it to mean to your fans? As we’d stretched ourselves musically, we wanted the artwork to reflect that, rather than sit in line with our previous albums and our contemporaries. We approached artist Dimitri Drjuchin – who we’d discovered from his outstanding work on Father John Misty’s ‘Fear Fun’ –and rather than send him a tunneled vision of what we wanted, we just sent him the songs and let him have free reign to design whatever the music inspired him to.
“In terms of the writing and recording process of the album, the song ‘Ark’ was a pivotal moment” Looking back on Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow, how happy are you guys with this record still, and what do you think it has done for We Are The Ocean? We are exceedingly happy with MTMT. This album diversified our fan base more than any previous, and we love having people of all ages getting into our music. There’s also a bunch of songs on the album that never got released as singles that we’re still over the moon with.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Lower Than Atlantis, and what can attending fans expect? This tour is coming round shortly before the release of ‘Ark’, so people can expect a first glimpse into some more of our new material before its release, as well as a load of our older tracks. The tour is almost entirely sold out now, and we’re excited to play to old fans again, and to see some new faces.
What else can we expect to see from We Are The Ocean in 2015? Despite finishing the album last summer, we just returned to the studio to record a bunch of bonus content, so there’ll be no shortage of We Are The Ocean material in 2015. We’re also looking to fully immerse ourselves in shows after a quiet 2014, so we will be touring non-stop.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;After ris the ban rock ac five a Interview with Joey
I was very taken by the title, War of Kings and the artwork, what is the story behind them both? The lyric came from an old Swedish book, like a saga really. It was loosely based on some early battles in Viking history between Swedish, Danish and Norwegian and I sort of re-read it because I felt as though that song had those kind of melodies when I was singing on it. It was a riff from John LevĂŠn that I started working on and everyone else worked on it, it had that vibe. That lyric is the only one we've done like that, going back in time and loosely base it on some events. We gave the title to an English artist called Paul Tippett whose work we like and we told him to do something more contemporary, something that would work today. No swords, fire or ships or anything on the cover so he came up with the cover and we're really pleased with it.
What can Europe fans, old and new, expect to hear on the new album? Well there is a slight return to big chorus's, majestic feel and drama. At the same time we're taking a step forward again with having it raw and recorded live but this time we've added some keyboards like the melotrom Hammond organ to create an atmosphere and a vibe. Dave Cobb was amazing to help us with that and I think it's the most atmospheric, vibey album we've made actually. It's really cool sounding.
ing to fame in the 80’s with their incredible third album 'The Final Countdown' nd went on to sell over 20 million records while becoming one of the biggest ts in the world. Since coming back from a hiatus in 2003 they have released albums, including their fantastic new release ‘War of Kings’ which have all contributed to the continued success of the unstoppable ‘Europe’!”
Dave Cobb, who until Rival Sons was more known for producing country music, was behind the desk, what did he bring? Yeah, he's a bit rooted in alternative, country, he's won a lot of Grammys but he started working with Rival Sons, maybe seven or eight years ago. Then he did California Breed with Glenn Hughes and Jason Bonham and when we heard the new Rival Sons album we said “okay this guy knows what he's doing”. He knows how to record drums properly with three mics and using the room, we've got a bit nerdy and good with sounds so we want to work with the best. Dave Cobb and Kevin Shirley are maybe the two that can handle a live situation and a band to make a great record. Last year, I think we were in the U.K listening backstage and we said to our management “just call Dave Cobb now, we've heard the Rival Sons album and he's still amazing”. He used to listen to Europe and used to play drums to Europe so he said “yes, I'd love to produce those guys” and that's how it went.
You have said “this is the album you'd always wanted to make”, what makes it so special for you? I think it's the way we created an atmosphere and a sound using the melotrom, the guitars, the bass, recording the drums with more or less three room mics and creating that vibe. That is what we always searched for and we feel we've reached it, bringing the keyboards back but cool retro keyboards and sounds. It's just a vibey record. The big records we used to listen to as kids, you could listen to it from the first song to the last like a journey, and that's what we feel we have achieved on War of Kings.
Can you give us a couple of examples of new songs that stand out for you? Obviously there is the title track that I talked a little about, it started with John and the rest of us chipped in but Dave Cobb was also part of co-writing so that took it to another level when we went into the studio. It's the first time we'd done a riff like that and looked at each other thinking this is amazing, this is a new thing to do, very heavy and dark and we felt comfortable opening the album with something that sounded a bit edgy. Another track I really love is 'Praise You' which is also like a musical journey and lyric wise itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very emotional. The guitar solo is absolutely amazing. There's some dynamic in that song, turning down the distortion in some parts, really mellow. He's done that a few times on this album, the guitar work is stunning. So yeah, those two, at the moment!
Are there songs you also think will stand out live on the forthcoming tour? There's going to be a few that are going to lend themselves, 'Hole in my Pocket' is a faster track with a bit of anger, that's going to be amazing live. So 'War of Kings', 'Hole in my Pocket', 'Praise You' maybe. There is an interesting song called 'The Second Day' which has a mysterious, majestic feel.
As a vocalist, do you have any routines or patterns you normally follow before laying down a track? Not really, I wake up and see what shape my voice is in and then I pick a song that suits. If I'm fresh I will do a belter and just go for it. If I feel a bit rough, I'll maybe do a bit of a slower song and take it easy. Other than that I don't really have a routine because in the studio there is so much energy that goes into the creative part, arranging, making quick decisions about sounds, melodies, overdubs. The live take, takes a lot of energy but actually that's the thing, I don't think too much when I sing. The first real playback party for me was when the mixes were down and I heared my voice back. I was so lucky this time, I was using my touring voice, I was pushing it and really enjoying it. We had a great, vintage microphone as well.
With all the experience you have of making albums, how would you compare the process for you of making an album today to say when you made The Final Countdown? There is sort of a return now, when we did the last album, Bag Of Bones, we started recording live again. Partly because we were in the hands of a fantastic engineer/producer in Kevin Shirley so we opened that Pandora's Box again and we can't go back now. I'd say compared with The Final Countdown, which was bang in that era where you could do drums first, bass, put rhythm guitar and vocals, the drummer and the bass player were home after the first week. That was the pattern in 80's, beginning of 90's records, we can never go back to that. The last two records are really cut live, we keep most of it and if there's a mistake we'll fix it afterwards and do some overdubs maybe. It's two weeks of live takes, pick them and work on them so yeah, that's a big difference. It's probably because we're experienced enough, we can handle it and the producers can handle that situation too.
Looking at the bands line up, since the reunion you have all bar one member of the band that initially split in 92. How important has that solid line up been to Europe's growth in the years since the reunion? It is very important. We learned from our American manager, way back, he was managing Journey, Mr Big and some other big bands, he told us when we were very young that every band member in the line up was very important. That fans will gravitate to the bass player, or the drummer or the singer whoever, people have a taste so we've always felt like that is important. What's also important is that we all met as teenagers and have a lot of memories in common, we can talk after a show about really old memories from being 14, 15, 16. It's special to have a job with people we know, we've all had periods where we've had to play with other musicians and it's not the same, it's never the same. You feel really secure on stage, you know who is there and you feel comfortable.
Europe have been around for over 30 years, do you notice a big cross section of ages attending the shows? There is, it started happening on the third album of the comeback because I think people were realising we were here to stay and also the album was slightly broader. All of a sudden we had a younger crowd at the front then further back was the faces we remember from way back. It has changed, with Bag Of Bones, we started tapping into the rock blues community a little bit and it was amazing, a lot of people have come together for the Europe shows but we are always amazed after a show going backstage and seeing a lot of young people out there. Some are rediscovering the old Europe and some are from the new five albums we've done.
The Final Countdown will also turn 30 next year, this has been one of the most iconic and enduring songs any band could ever have, everyone knows it! Has the song been a complete blessing for the band or is there another side to it? We talked about it the other day, we have a different relationship with it, it's an album and a live show song for us. It was over six and a half minutes long originally so it was never meant to be a hit song or anything like that, we love playing it, we really do and people come together, it's a great live track. It was written as the show opener but it started to become so popular that people were saying you have to put it at the end of the show so there was a bit of an argument there for a while. I wanted to open with it, we've had really good opening tracks lately so now we have new opening tracks but yeah that's how it was written. I still see it as a live show song and we really enjoy playing it still. It's also got one of the best guitar solos ever for me. It's amazing because the solo is sort of separate, it's a song in itself. It goes into two different keys and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very melodic, kind of cool!
After all these years with Europe, what are your personal ambitions for the future? We're on a good roll now with the last of the trilogy, Last Look at Eden, Bag of Bones and now War of Kings so we're in a very creative period and we're enjoying this. We're going to keep going, start thinking about the next album soon but before that, we're going to tour lots on this and obviously next year we might do something special for The Final Countdown, somewhere or somehow. Apart from that it would be cool to do a documentary, a proper one, one day. We turn them down all the time, we don't feel we're there yet. We have started gathering material for a documentary or a film so that will be a fun thing to do one day. After that, just keep pushing. We have a message to say that we have our new period of the band, it will be longer and it will be better and we're a reincarnated band. It takes time to convince everybody, some people listen to the old stuff, some listen to the new stuff, but eventually people come aboard, so it's going to be even more fun!
â&#x20AC;&#x153;It's just a vibey recordâ&#x20AC;?
NATIONLESS ... Is an emergent Rock four piece band formed by the lead singer Enzo D'Andrea and the lead guitarist Jesus Lerma in Spain 2012. Now based in London and integrated by the above, Pablo Veliz (Drummer) and David Vazquez (Bassist).
They have been playing on emblematic stages like the 229, The Water Rats, Nambucca, The O2 Academy and ROXX to name a few and they find themselves in the process of recording their first live album in Cardiff, which promises to be completed by the end of March.
The NATIONLESS trademark sound was created by blending 1970's Hard Rock with Grunge, Funk, Modern Rock, Jazz and Blues, in order to create a monster named by themselves as NEW ROCK.
NATIONLESS is a band that you really want to see live, the combination of their virtuoso style playing of the instruments and Enzo's powerful voice fills up the atmosphere with a strong and energetic vibe, which is not to be missed.
After presenting their music in many different stages around Spain and Italy, they decided to move into the UK seeking for an audience in the most competitive Rock scene.
CONTACT: Facebook.com/nationlessband Reverbnation.com/nationless
Interview with Sam
“From the beginning they have spent their time building a committed following with their outstanding take on alternative rock, and by doing so their latest album ‘Great Divide’ has gone on to reward the band in many ways, including a number 6 spot in the UK albums chart! We reflect on this life changing chapter for Twin Atlantic whilst also finding out what we can expect from their upcoming UK tour!” How did your last tour go in North America and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time out there? We were there in December, they do big end of year, Christmas radio bashes over there and we got asked to go do a few of them. It was pretty cool, I guess one of the highlights was probably American beer if I'm being honest! That's one of the things we look forward to most about going over there, the micro brewery beers you get but apart from that, I should say the cities we'd not been to and stuff!
A lot of British bands struggle to 'break' America, how has it been for you and how happy have you been with the growing number of new fans you've gained there recently? It's definitely encouraging, we go and the only bad thing is not getting to go enough because it is such a big place. You could finish one tour then have to go to the other coast and keep going, also because you are a band from here you have to come back to do things here. It's like a crazy, long game of chess that you're never going to win. They have definitely become more accepting of the British music culture in the last five or so years so it's encouraging.
How hard is it to get to connect and get everywhere that you need to there? It's funny, the bands over there that have got to the level that they can have a career or whatever is always like an explosion. It's different to what happens here, with American culture it expands a lot faster and all you need is one song to connect with one radio station, and then before you know it the whole country is all over the act. I guess knowing that means we know all we can do is get our heads down and do what we've done anywhere else which is tour with as many bands as we can and keep making good music that gets played on the radio. Do our own thing and not get too distracted. If there's anything we've learned with being in America it’s that you cannot predict it or call it so it’s important to have a steady game plan.
You're just back from Australia as well, how did it go? Amazing, probably one of the most positive experiences we've had as a band from going to play somewhere for the first time. Sometimes we get a bit disheartened because you go somewhere and you're really excited then you get back to earth quickly because you end up playing to like ten people. We were playing to 500 to a thousand people at the festival even though we were only the second band on the main stage, we'd been first on at major festivals before especially in Europe. It looks and sounds really good but in reality you're only playing to 300 people so to get such a good crowd, we did a few shows with Fall Out Boy as well. One of them may have been the best we've ever played as a band by absolute fluke! We're already planning to go back later this year.
With 'Great Divide' hitting number 6 in the UK charts, how rewarding was that for you professionally and personally as musicians? The two kind of roll into one, I guess any kind of benefit professionally is going to go into our personal because everything becomes so intertwined with being in a band. I guess professionally it gave us a legacy to live up to, something official like that we can always look back on and it can't be taken away from us that we achieved that. It definitely made the seven years that we've been working towards being taken as a real band that aren't going to go away, it gave that a stamp of approval I suppose. Personally not much has really changed apart from maybe our families take it a bit more seriously when you can say something legit like that.
What songs are you really enjoying performing live of 'Great Divide' at the moment, and why? There's a few we haven't actually played in a while because we've been going to a lot of new places where you don't get as long to play but the ones I'm probably enjoying the most are the ones that are a little bit different to what we've released before. I guess that's a freshness thing for me, we have a song called 'Rest In Pieces' and that is more about the actual song, the journey that the song takes without having to dress it up going crazy on stage or having the distortion ten times heavier live or anything like that. It's just about the song and I guess that was the whole point on this album, to let the song writing speak for itself a little bit more. There's another song called 'Oceans' that is a little bit similar, I may have picked the softer side of our band there but there's a song called â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Hold Onâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; which for me is kind of like a vocal challenge so anytime that's in the setlist I look forward to seeing if I've still got it... Or not...
Talking of 'Oceans', can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the song? The song itself was inspired from quite a sad situation that, I guess an extended family member of mine had gone through. When things happen to me for the first time that I've never experienced before, the almost tidal wave of emotion when things like that come up in your family life or someone passing away thinking about their back story and what it must be like to be them. I always like to imagine myself in their situation, in the period of being in the band the way I've sort of dealt with things or channelled emotions is through song writing so I've naturally captured what that felt like when you come into a song. To hear, it is quite a raw emotional song, it's just about someone who dedicated their life to someone else and ended up sacrificing things that they wanted but it didn't matter because they had that person. It's a classic romantic song but inspired by real events.
With a song like that with a very personal touch, does that change the approach when putting down a vocal? Yeah I probably do. I felt with a song that meant more to me meant I was probably a bit more precious with it, even the way my voice sounds on that song sounds different to how I've sang ever in my life, never mind the band. I guess that shows you the power of music, it's the only time when I've been writing I've got emotional in the middle of coming up with the words. All of that affected a change in me so when I went to sing it just came out in this whole different voice which is amazing to me that music can still have that impact on someone like myself who lives and breathes it everyday and thinks of song writing every minute of the day. So yeah, it definitely was a different experience.
You worked with directors Ian Greenhill and Jordan Laird for the music video, what were they like to work with? Very fun, and it's a bit of oxymoron situation because it is such a sad video with serious subject matter but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s one of the best times I've had making a video. Probably because they are similar ages with me and from the same part of the world, I think they write comedy sketches and stuff like that. Making the video with them was just a total laugh, not to ruin the magic of the video for anyone but we were kind of laughing and joking the whole time we were filming. Anytime we had to be serious we just dialled it in and were professional but right after a take we'd be joking about something or falling off that little boat we were in!
You also worked with Mike Valentine at the legendary Pinewood Studios, how did that collaboration come about and can you tell us a bit about this experience? I can only credit Ian and Jordan for that. Originally I met them in Glasgow for a couple of drinks to break the ice before filming the video, this is literally five days before we were filming. There was no underwater scene, I wasn't going to be in the water at all and they managed to get Pinewood to film all the objects going underwater and I thought if we're in there and we have that tank should we not get in there and use the shots. We pretty much re-wrote the entire script based on that in one night and a few days later I was in the pool with Mike filming. It made it a bit surreal because we hadn't planned for it, to work with that calibre, I think if I'd known about it a month in advance I'd have been so nervous, probably made loads of mistakes and generally messed the whole thing up. But because it was off the cuff, it all came together quite smoothly which was lucky!
â&#x20AC;&#x153;We're always thinking of putting on the best show that venue has ever seenâ&#x20AC;?
You are heading out on your biggest UK headline tour to date, what can the fans expect? I'd like to think we've always tried to put on a bigger show than the spec of the venue, it's hopefully becoming a bit of a signature thing for our band. We're always thinking of putting on the best show that venue has ever seen and I guess this tour will be no different. We're always about progress and becoming a better band live, I do sound like a stuck record when I answer this but it will be the best shows we've ever done just because of that basic fact. It will hopefully be the best shows that anyone in those venues has ever seen as well, so no pressure!
Looking back over the early touring life of Twin Atlantic was there ever a gig or particular moment where you knew from then that you could really do this band for a living? There's been so many! Little subtle things really, like when you're on-stage and you're adrenaline is so heightened but you still notice little things. In London, the first time someone knows all the words, it gives you a little inch of hope. The one show that probably gave us the drive and self belief, that tipped us over the edge to really go for it was the first time we headlined King Tuts in January 2008, the crowd were louder than I was singing. I think a lot of bands have said that about the first time that happened, that is is a bit of a reality check and that you realise that you may be doing something, not special, that makes it sound a bit up its own arse, but that there's maybe more to it when you start to believe your own dream.
Emma Lawton PhotographY
North East UK rock band. Facebook: Offpeak Instagram: Offpeakofficial Twitter: @offpeakofficial iTunes: OFFPEAK - Dreaming of Tomorrow ( The E.P )
Interview with Doug
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Since the release of their-self titled album in 2001 they have sold over 10 million records worldwide whilst becoming one of the most important hard rock bands of the last decade. Now, they are heading to the UK for the first time in a long time with their good friends in Alien Ant Farm and P.O.D. to give us one of the strongest tour line ups of 2015!â&#x20AC;?
We're well into 2015 now, what has the band been up to so far this year? I would say we're just writing and writing and writing. We're meeting with different producers to see who we want to use to record these songs, that's a really short answer but kind of what we've been doing.
How far along are you in the process? As far as the recording aspect we're not far at all but as far as the writing aspect, I was telling this to the other guys, I don't think we've ever had so many song ideas. Whether they are fully complete or three quarters of the way complete with the music and all the vocal ideas, I don't think we've had this many before going in for recording ever! So I guess that's a good sign.
You head to the U.K in May with Alien Ant Farm and POD, for fans of a certain age that is a bit of dream line up isn't it? Ha! It makes me feel old when people put it that way but yeah, then again I'm not a spring chicken anymore!
Does coming up around the same time create a sense of camaraderie between the three sets of people on the tour? Well even apart from if we had our most popular days around the same time, we've known each other for a long time. The AAF guys are from Southern California, Los Angeles where we're from, we've been playing shows with them and seeing them play since the late 90’s before either of us had record deals. So our relationship goes way back to just handing out fliers on Sunset Boulevard, that in itself is a cool thing to be able to do this with them because we've been playing tours with them on and off for years. We actually did a tour with them, I want to say two summers ago but yeah, we've known them a long time. The POD guys, we met on a tour with Linkin Park in 2003, that was great and we hit it off. Again we've played shows with them off and on over the years. We've used the same producer on a few of our records and there is a lot of connections there, they were always really nice guys. When the idea came up to play these shows with those two bands we jumped at it and thought it would be great.
Something that you are doing for the tour is the 'ultimate set-list', how did you come up with the idea? At the end of last year we did a tour through Japan and South East Asia which, unlike the U.K, we have been going to quite frequently for the last 15 years. Usually when we go there we have a new “something” to push for lack of a better term, new music of some sort. This time around we reached out to our booking agent and said we want to go play some shows there, we have a great following there. It's a lot of fun but we weren't going to be pushing anything so we thought if we're not playing new music for you guys, what songs do you want to hear? We sent out kind of the same thing, the Ultimate Set-list and got lots of responses then put together a set based on what everyone was asking for. Honestly most of it was pretty standard but some of it was a little surprising, we chose two or three sets, signed the set-lists, gave them to the people that came up with them and we thought it was the same situation here. Perhaps even more so because we haven't been in the U.K for a decade, we do have a lot of new music but I don't think any of it will be ready when we're over to play so we're there to play whatever the fans want to hear. What better way to do it than by asking them, what do you guys want to hear?
How excited are you to get back to the UK after such a long time? It is exciting, it's surprising I think. I don't think any of us know exactly what to expect. The idea of us going back to the U.K has been kicked about for years, literally. I think the last time we were there was 2005 or maybe 2006 and like clockwork it's come up every year or two like we've got to go back there but for some reason, it never came to fruition. This time when it came up it was almost like “here we go again”, our booking agents going to talk about it but nothing is going to happen. When it did we were all a little surprised, a little sceptical because it has been so long but optimistic because of the package that we're going back with. It wasn't like “hey, remember Hoobastank?” It was more of a nostalgic thing with these bands that had a lot of success around the same time and it seems like it's been received well. It's refreshing and exciting.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;We're not a gimmicky bandâ&#x20AC;?
A lot of the dates have sold out already, that must be very encouraging with a couple of months still to go? It is, when we announced the tour, I was getting sent links from fans and management to people talking about it online. It's been a while since we had chatter like that and it was exciting. It felt like it was 2003 again!
What can you remember about Hoobastank's first trip to the U.K? First trip, I could be wrong but I think we've been there on three proper tours and I can't remember which one is which to be honest. I do remember the shows being a lot of fun, a lot of energy and a lot of passion, more so then we were experiencing in the States. It's a different audience, it was eye opening at the time and totally new to us, I do remember that.
There will be a lot of fans who haven't seen Hoobastank before, what can they expect? I think before the days of YouTube my answer would have more meaning. These days there are more bands that I haven't seen than I have seen and if I wanted to see them I'd just pull up my computer and watch shows. We play music, and we enjoy playing music for those people who also enjoy the music. I think that in itself is exciting and fun, we don't do explosions or gimmicks.
Letting the music do the talking? Yeah, we're not a gimmicky band and I feel at times today you have to set your hair on fire to get noticed. We just kind of do our thing, I like to shrink the size of the room whatever size it is. Some of these rooms are pretty small anyway but whether it is an arena or a cafĂŠ, I like people to leave feeling that I was conversing directly with them, and that everyone was there to have a good time in a small room. I guess that's what I want people to take from it, that it was an intimate experience, that it was about the music and not about flashing lights and peoples hair on fire!
It's been over two years since Fight or Flight was released, how do you feel looking back on that album today? There's different ways to look at it, if you want to look at it from a business aspect or a purely musical aspect, there's pros and cons to it all. Musically there's things that I really, really love about that record but there are things that I... I don't cringe but there are always songs on albums that I think “why did we do this or that?” and “why did we release this song and not this B-Side? This B-Side is way better”. There are things like that on every single album we've done. So there's that on Fight or Flight but there are songs that I really enjoy, I hardly ever, ever listen to our own recorded music. I just don't. Once it's done, it's done but there are a few songs on there that I really enjoy listening to once in a while. I'm proud of it, like anything else you look back and you want to make little changes and you can't. As far as the business aspect of it, with everything, even our greatest success's you look back and think we should have done this or that with hindsight but it is what it is. I don't dwell on the past.
Hoobastank have been a band for over 20 years now, what are your hopes and ambitions for the future of the band? It's weird to be asked that for a band that's been around for over 20 years, like what's the future, you're already in the future of the band! Looking back on it I think of things and it's like that wasn't even me, it feels like a lifetime ago. I don't really know but I've never really known what the future held for the band. I remember when our attorney, back in 2001, was going over our record deal and publishing stuff going “well in 15 years you guys will get your rights back and this and that”, I remember thinking “15 years are you kidding me? I'll be 40 years old, there's no way I'll be doing this for that long”. Now here at 40 now, I feel the same as I did back then but I have no clue. I tell my wife I have no idea how much longer I'll do this but we keep doing it. I'm enjoying it, I really love writing music, whether it gets released or not it's very therapeutic for me. I think a lot of it is dictated to by the demand for it, I'm going to keep writing but if there's a lot of demand and people still want us to play then we'll do it for as long as people want.
Interview with Loz
“Although their frontman Loz has suffered some major throat problems, it has not stopped the band from overcoming this harsh obstacle to put together their incredible new album ‘Brainwashed’! With a full tour with Cancer Bats on the horizon we find out what this roller coaster of a career has been like for them so far!” After the events of the past year it must be a relief to have the new album out there? Yeah definitely, it's been a bit of a difficult one and a bit of a learning curve for us all as a band really. Having had two surgeries which were kind of my own fault for being complacent so it is nice to have the album out while hearing what everyone thinks of it. We've had a lot of the material written for quite a while so yeah, it's nice to finally have it out.
For anyone who might not be familiar, what were the circumstances of your throat surgery? Basically I tore my larynx from screaming too hard. I think it comes down to years of no vocal training and playing these dirty little venues since I was 16, screaming my head off. Learning a bad technique really and I feel I now have a bit more knowledge around me and we're all a bit stronger for coming out the other end. Like I said it's great to have the album out, as we can start feeling like a band again.
Was there any moments through it that you thought you may not get back to the standard of before? Definitely, before going in for surgery it was a worry of not sounding like me again. Me but sounding a bit hoarse and bashed about. The strangest thing about it was that I felt fine but I've had to book myself in for surgery, usually when I go to hospital it's for a reason, like I've broken my leg. I felt great but still had to go and have surgery. It's been a wake up call for me really.
How much has it changed the way you will deliver a vocal performance? I don't think it'll change my vocal style that much at all really, I've been working with people that have shown me techniques but at the end of the day I don't really sound like anyone else. I just sound like me but loud! I guess the only way to do that is to home in and kind of look after my instrument, when you have that stripped away from you it's the confidence level that goes more. It's just learning and turning a negative into a positive.
You returned in what can be described as a pretty triumphant fashion at Download last year, how much did that set mean to the band? To be honest my throat was still in a bit of bad way at Download but the reason I got through it was by having more knowledge about what I’m doing. The fact that we went out and played that show with the problems I had really spurred us on for what was to come, it got us through the next few stages and through a long recording period. So yeah it was a huge deal to go out there and deliver what a lot of people say was a great show.
As we said, Brainwashed is now out, so what was the process behind creating the album? The process was insane! With my throat problem it was in the writing stage for almost two years so it's hard sitting with riffs and lyrics that you like to not over think it and pull parts away or over analyse what you're doing. I guess the hardest part going forward was not to do that and start changing them all, I think it's testament to us that the songs on there are the ones we really liked from the pre-production stuff. All the stuff that stood the test of the last two years.
“It's nice to feel like we're a band again” If the events of the past year had not occurred, do you think you would have made the same album? There would be things different and things that would be the same, again it was hard not to over analyse when you had to sit with it for so long. I think it helped our writing process to have the time, all our albums have been a bit like that. I think I've been ill for two of them and lost my passport on one, there's always something that crops up but we're not the sort of band that wants to rush through life and be the biggest band in the world. We're just trying to enjoy our time and where we are.
Can you talk us through the albums title? It became apparent to us while we had time off from a heavy touring schedule to everyday life and having time with the family and stuff that you can't really avoid being brainwashed, ever. It's a bit of a topic on the album how no matter who you are, you can't escape it unless you're living in the woods and completely self sufficient. Whether it's walking down the street and seeing an advert or watching the telly or listening to the radio, there is brainwashing everywhere. That was the motivation of where Brainwashed came from.
With 12 songs on the record, then what was it like to decide which songs to share with the world first, before its initial release? It was difficult! We tried to release heavy ones and light ones so people got a taste of what's on the album. There is some lighter, more anthemic stuff but there is also really heavy stuff, so we just sat down and talked about what is whose favourite and why they should be put forward. Then we moved on by saying “right, we want these to be the singles”, our label and management are quite easy going and allowed us to put out whatever we saw fit.
Which songs are you looking forward to playing live the most on the tour? Personally, 'Trophies of Violence'. I like how heavy and hard hitting it is, some of the other lads will say different or maybe that but because we've had so much time out we're excited just to be playing at all. It'll be nice to get back out there on a stage on the Cancer Bats tour in the U.K and Europe, it's nice to feel like we're a band again, making progress and moving forward as musicians.
You again worked with Carl Bown, how much did working with him previously help with the new album? We went with Carl and Colin Richardson, they work closely together. Carl sort of works with a lot of bands that Colin has worked with in the past so there was a nice feel there. Carl is just a great guy, he fits in really well with the rest of us. We're all a bit crazy and so is Carl! He's not too much or too little of anything, it's hard to explain. We sort of merge together well to create things, he's the kind of guy that if we ask him his opinion he'll give it to us and not sugar coat it but also the kind of guy who'll let us get on and do it our way. He's really balanced and a really talented guy, one of the main reasons we like him is although the sound on the new album sounds, almost kind of polished, it still holds a really raw edge. For me, as a singer, I don't have a clue how you'd get that sort of sound of a natural instrument. Especially the drum tones on the album, they're amazing.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;It's going to be nice to make up for lost timeâ&#x20AC;?
The artwork is simple but it really jumped out and caught my eye, can you tell me about it? For us as a band, the emblem is the first thing you kind of see and that is what represents us so we don't want to lose that off the cover. We literally created that cover, a lot of people do it digitally or get someone to work on their covers but we like to do things quite DIY and in house ourselves so we had a lot of ideas floating about. We basically made that cover with a massive square painted up and stuck the flag over it. It's an idea that we thought of, we all liked it so we just sort of ran with it. I think with having a lot of time out then making it red was an easy option for us. We're back, we feel good and we're a unit feeling strong so letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go for it.
You'll be co-headlining with Cancer Bats on the forth coming tour, there's going to be some crazy shows on this run isn't there? Oh absolutely right and we're really looking forward to it, to have so much time out and to come back on to a tour like that. We know the Cancer Bats guys pretty well and they're really nice guys who also have a new album out, so it works hand in hand for us. We were recording at the same time so it's sort of accidentally fallen into place. There's going to be some awesome times and some crazy shows no doubt.
After all the time you missed is there a sense of making up for lost time with this tour and album? Definitely yeah, for me and the rest of the guys as well. For them there's been a lot of having to be patient and frustration obviously. It's going to be nice to make up for lost time and get out.
Interview with Tom
"If you haven't heard of the track 'Hey There Delilah' then you've probably been living in a cave for the best part of a decade. However their talent does not stop there as anthems such as 'Rhythm of Love' and '1234' have contributed to cementing Plain White Tâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as one of the most influential pop rock bands out there. They have just pushed the envelope of what they can accomplish even further as an act with their fantastic new record 'American Nights', and we are here to find out all about it!" Your new album has just been released, what can you tell us about it? It's called American Nights. Our last album was called Wonders of the Younger which was a very high concept album, we wanted to make this kind of dream like, roller coaster ride of an album that was about being nostalgic and as you grow older, trying to hold on to some of those things that you love, that wonder you had when you were a kid. We got a lot out of that album, it's one of my favourite albums we've ever done. With this album, we'd all been through a bunch of stuff in the last couple of years, I just got out of a five year relationship and was recently single and had to kind of re-connect with a lot of my friends and get back out on the dating scene, things like that. So this album is a bit more diaryesque, a bit more where the band is right now. It's a lot more honest, a lot more conversational and putting our literal story out there with the catchy melodies & lyrics, I think people are going to really be able to connect to that because they're about going out and doing your thing.
'Pause' is the first track to be released, why was this track chosen? It sounded like a hit! No, we wrote that song over the Summer, immediately we dug it so much and this is very rare. Usually when I write a song, I'll send it round to the band and there'll be a lukewarm reaction or once in a while they'll be like “woah this is awesome dude” then we'll develop that one eventually. This one 'Pause' though, as soon as I wrote it the band loved it so much that we wanted to start playing it live but we were on tour all Summer so at sound-check we'd start playing around with it, putting it together and literally a week after it was written, we were playing it live at the shows. The fans were super excited about it so we started playing it immediately, which is very rare. Secondly, we'd play it every night on tour and every night people would come up to us and say “Is that a new song? If so, it’s going to be a hit”, people were reacting to it that quick from just hearing it once live. In picking it for a single, sometimes it's hard because you like all the songs, you think they're all great so it was nice that with that one we got a little bit tested by playing it and having a genuine reaction from the fans. You've got to pick something, this one, people seem to dig so we rolled with it and we love the song. It goes very much with the concept I was talking about behind the album. 'Pause' is about taking that time to re-connect with friends, we're on the go so much, on tour so much, it's like realising wait a minute, life is good, this moment is amazing and I'm going to call my mum right now! It's relatable for us, going through the motions and just getting lost in the days.
“I'm the one that really tries to make it work, I'm a romantic man” The American Nights track is my favourite from the album, catchy and seeming to have a story to tell, what is the story for this song? Yes! With the whole album and its concept, not that it's a concept album, the whole idea of where we are right now in life, that's what this album is going to be. It all came from after I wrote that song 'American Nights' , that song is just literally about me going out with my friends, trying to make the most of the night. I've always been a believer in, anything can happen tonight. You go out and you never know if you'll meet the love of your life, never knowing if you're going to have some deep conversation with your friend and completely change the way you think about something, anything can happen. That song is definitely my version of that, my belief in that. That kind of got the whole band excited so we started honing the songs around being honest about where we are in life right now and that's how the rest of the album was written.
Are there any other stories you are telling on the album? 'Stay' and 'You Belong' are two songs I really love. I've always been a fan of a bit more, I don't want to say dark but those songs are written in a minor key. When I hear a good song in a minor key there's just a bit more of emotion behind those songs. As I said, I was just recently single so 'You Belong', was a song that when I get down in the dumps and think “am I ever going to find somebody” then you have that moment where you see some body at the airport or out at night with your buddies and without even talking to her or saying a word, there's just a connection. It's not even like “oh she's hot” or something like that, just there's something about this girl that I'm drawn to. That's that unexplainable spark, whatever you call it, thats what 'You Belong' is about, once in a while you have these feelings and you feel like you've known this person, you have to talk to this person or else you could lose the love of your life as she walks out of the bar and you don't even talk to her. Which I usually don't ever do by the way, that's why I've got to write the songs about it! Then 'Stay' is a song about the end of my last relationship, just in general, when things are rough, I'm never the one to let go of her. I'm the one that really tries to make it work, I'm a romantic man. When you've got something, even if it's not good all the time, trying to give it your best shot so 'Stay' is a bit of a pleading song. They're both the way I look at things, for better or for worse.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Without a label, we can liter It is the first Independent album for you since 2001, how much extra freedom does this give you? It's unbelievable, we had a conversation the other day and we were saying we should do a video for this song or this song, not that we couldn't do that before but with a label it's just that they have their marketing strategies or whatever you want to call it so it was a bit stifling. If we wanted to do something, there was always someone telling us why we shouldn't or why it wasn't a good idea with this campaign or that plan and things like that. So it was a bummer that a lot of our good ideas were stifled and we couldn't think outside the box to try to do cool stuff. I think right now, without a label, we can literally do whatever we want and again, I hope that's a good thing. When we were talking the other day about doing this video or were we going to do something like that, right now we can try to make stuff like that happen so it's cool to be able to do whatever we want, it's good to have an overall plan of course but the idea of having that freedom where if I get a cool idea? I'm going to run it by the guys and if they like it, we're going to do it, it's that simple. I think that's how it should be, that's how we started when we were a band back in the day, every idea came from us and that's how we built up our fanbase and connected with a bunch of fans before we were on the radio. It's exciting to get back to that place and really have to use our heads and think and be creative about ways to impact people. In the end, I think that's what is going to matter the most.
rally do whatever we want” You head out for some dates at home for the release, will you be playing much from the new album? We're pretty comfortable and tight with about eight or nine of the songs, not that we're necessarily going to play all that! When you go and see a band you want to see a few songs you know and a few new songs so I think we'll probably try to play five or six new songs then a good selection off every album we've done.
What other plans are in the works for Plain White T's after the album comes out in terms of touring and possible U.K and European dates? You know what? One of our main goals with this album is to get back out there because we had a really strong following out there and again, because of the label stuff and “big picture” marketing stuff, we were never able to get back the way we wanted to. We've been back and done some festivals which were really great but never on that fan to band level that we'd built up out there on our own. One of our main goals is to get back and redevelop that fan-base. There's nothing planned as of right now but that's a huge priority for us and beside that, we're going to do a bunch of video stuff, try to make videos for a few different songs and try to keep the online content up so fans from everywhere around the world, even if we can't get out there soon, they have something to see and connect with.
We are Velafire: a band based out of Spokane, WA with musical influences of Post-Hardcore and Alternative Rock. Music is who we are, it's our way of life, it's a part of our blood. We work hard in everything we produce and do, inside and outside the band. We are committed to bringing only our best material to our audiences; anything less is unacceptable. We love to chat with new people, perform on stage, and get to know everyone. We are inspired by many different bands and styles of music. That being said, don't be shy to get to know us and check us out! Thanks for the time and support.
Interview with Brendan
“It’s been ten years since Circa Survive gave us the first glimpse of what they were capable of with their EP ‘The Inuit Sessions’. The band went on to release four more albums which each contributed to establishing them as one of the most dynamic acts in the world. With the release of their fifth, and most recent album ‘Descensus’ they have easily exceeded this reputation again, so don’t miss out when they promote this epic output with a full UK tour in May!” How did you end up signing to Sumerian Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? Our drummer, Steve was in a band with Ash from Sumerian a long time ago and they've remained friends. Ash was very interested in working with us and it seemed like a good fit for both parties. We felt like they could get our music to new ears and it's been smooth sailing so far.
So how did you get to the album title 'Descensus' and what does it mean to you? The time between Violent Waves and Descensus was one of the most tumultuous in the story of the band. Each member was dealing with something heavy in their personal world and we had sort of slowed down a bit so people could focus on what they needed to. There was divorce, rehab, addiction, depression and at the end of it a reconvening to see if we were still on that right path. There is a theme running through the lyrics on Descensus that deals with the rise and fall of life and love and of how all things cycle which can be related to what Circa was dealing with at the time; the cycle of hope and hopelessness etc... We were discussing titles with our management and they brought the title of the last song to the table which seemed to be very fitting. There's a bit more that goes with it but I don't ever like telling all the secrets.
We've read that in the recording process for 'Descensus' "Every song just got crazy attention put on it", so can you tell us about how the recording process went, as well as how it compares to what you've done before as Circa Survive? In the past I'd say 90 percent of all music and a majority of the vocals were written by the time we hit the studio. This time we had some musical ideas and rough vocals for one or maybe two songs. The band wrote four songs from scratch in the studio. We would be jamming and putting new pieces together while Anthony and producer Will Yip spent time structuring some of the music we had brought in a separate room. Anthony was writing vocals on the spot. It felt like an extremely productive workflow and it was very inspiring to know that Anthony was nailing a new song every day.
You've also stated that "It’s definitely the most aggressive Circa record we’ve ever made", so when heading into the studio, was that intentional, or just the way the record ended up naturally becoming? I think it is natural and also ties back into the concept of life being a cycle. We were all in heavy bands before Circa. I can't speak for everyone but I know Colin and I left that scene feeling very burnt out on the style and energy. It seemed a wall had been hit in the scene and to be honest I think we'd gotten most of our anger out through that music. We needed a change. We started circa feeling like there weren't any barriers as far as writing but I think deep down we were just not in that place for a long while. As I said there was a lot of turmoil before this record and some of it came out in the writing. I also feel like we accepted everyone's creativity on a level we hadn't in a long time and just went with what we were feeling.
How did you end up working with Will Yip, and what was he like to work with? I'm not sure actually. I think Colin suggested it. Will was working with our friend Vince Ratti at the time who we'd all worked with before. They were working close by and Will was very enthusiastic about working with us so we did Violent Waves there. We enjoyed it so much we decided to do Descensus as well and invite him into more of a producer role on the album.
“The time between Violent Waves and Descensus was one of the most tumultuous in the story of the band” If you had to pick, then what song was the most rewarding to put together on this record, and why? I can never really answer questions like that. There are usually a few very important moments on a record. This time "only the sun" felt important to me on a personal level because I was able to finally figure out how to use drums on a recording program and get most of the music together before showing it to the band. I put a lot of energy into that one from the bass to the beat to the guitar parts and then showing it to Colin and having him be so stoked about it, which was very rewarding for me. But as a whole I think the last song on the record is one of the coolest things we've done. It's powerful, emotional and it really came together with all of us giving input and writing as a group. Those are always my favorite Circa songs.
Your album artwork has always been stunning to say the least, so how did you originally end up working with Esao Andrews, and when collaborating with him, how does an idea for an album cover normally come together? I was introduced to Esaos work by a friend just before Circa was formed and then hunted him down and asked him if he'd be a part of it. Him saying yes is one of the best things that's ever happened to the band and I'd say it's been very beneficial for him as well. Usually we give him some lyrics or a little music to listen to and say "go for it" then give minimal input along the way. This time I just gave a bunch of words about what we'd been dealing with: divorce, drugs, depression, etc... And he said "I see a snake". I just said paint a snake then because I know whatever he is truly inspired to do will ensure the best outcome.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;I feel really free right now and I'm not af to bring anything to the table musicall
It's been ten years since 'The Inuit Sessions' was released, so for you guys looking back now, then how would you say the sound of Circa Survive has grown/progressed since that point? It's been an interesting progression. There's been a lot of pressure and expectations and critique along the way. Even if you're like us and you tend to say "fuck it" out loud, those things start to find their way into you. I think the past two albums, and especially descensus, have really been about us shedding all of that skin. Letting go of the major label shenanigans, the radio games, expectations for sales. Things that helped our career but are better suited to be part of our past. I feel really free right now and I'm not afraid to bring anything to the table musically or otherwise for the band. That's a great breeding ground for creativity.
What made you want to reissue 'Violent Waves', and for you looking back on this album now, then how happy are you with it still, and what do you think it has done for Circa Survive? Violent Waves was never properly distributed. We sold it digitally and through our website to some indie stores. We were looking at doing this anyway and Sumerian wanted to do it so it was perfect. Violent waves is a strange beast. It has some of my favorite music we've ever written as well as some of Anthony's most powerful lyrical moments. It may be the most raw Circa record in that there really wasn't production input from anyone. Those were just the songs we wrote at the time and we recorded them. It's very important to me because of that. At the same time I'm still not sure how some of it fits together as an album and that does bother me.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? I'm very excited except for airplanes. Once I am completely sober and have regained consciousness from the flight Xanax I'll be happy to be back there. Being there with RX Bandits will be amazing and I think people can expect a hell of a show. We will be playing stuff from all of our albums and switching up the set list so if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a fan then try to make it to a few shows.
You guys have toured the UK a lot over the years, so can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road here? Well there was that time Anthony got locked in a bar bathroom after they closed and almost got arrested but uh. I can't really talk about that!
What else can we expect to see from Circa Survive in 2015? We have a few U.S Tours, Coachella, South America. Maybe a secret release. I don't know. All kinds of secret stuff. Just keep your eyes peeled!
Interview with Dan
"After touring non-stop since their formation they decided to take a break in 2011 to re-group and make sure that they were all still heading in the right direction. Last year, they made the epic announcement that they were back to continue their legacy as one of the most iconic metalcore bands in existence. They sold out their announced shows in a matter of minutes, which instantly confirmed that they were still just as relevant as they always had been! Right now, we are very excited to be joined by their guitarist Dan Jacobs who is currently in the studio working on a brand new Atreyu album!" So for those that don't know, can you tell us why Atreyu originally decided to take a break? In the band we were touring pretty much straight, and we must have been in the studio or just back on the road for a good eight, almost nine years. We did this coming straight out of high school, and I think we spent a little too much time in never never land, and we just kind of wanted to get grounded for a little bit and see what we were made of as well as stuff outside of the band. Just kind of take a deep breath and really come back and feel fresh and not so burnt out, so we’re here now and our minds are clear, everyone’s feeling good.
Can you tell us a bit about what you got up to, while you were on this break? For me personally, I have a merchandising company called Rock World Merchandise, as well as a clothing line called Rokk, so I have been working on that and building that up as much as possible for the past four years. It’s keeping me pretty busy, as well as this I played in a band called ‘Angels Fall’, and did a tour with them, which was great, they are a really amazing band. Our singer Alex has his own gym called Hellenic CrossFit, he’s been running and operating that for a while. Our guitar player, Travis was playing in a band called ‘Trapt’, and our drummer Brandon is doing a band called ‘Hell or Highwater’, he’s been putting a lot of time and energy into that. Mark does a lot of graphic design/videography and that kind of creative stuff. So we’ve been keeping pretty busy doing all the things that we didn’t have time for before... We took some time and and established ourselves outside the band, and now we’ve come back much stronger in multiple ways.
So when did you decide that Atreyu should come back to the world, and what was this whole process like for you guys? It was probably almost nine months ago now, I think everyone was just kind of itching for it, and it’s a door I have been knocking on for a few years now, trying to get the guys back together. I think It was just a matter of the right time, everyone was just feeling not as burnt out. I think we are all mentally where we need to be now. We basically had a meeting at a restaurant and slowly talked it all over. We have been running with everyone’s excitement and it’s just been growing so much, the response from our fans and the shows we have done so far have been way better than our expectations, we are so stoked for this.
Speaking of shows, on September 11th 2014, you played your first show back at Chain Reaction. So, after all these years, how rewarding was it for you guys? It was incredible, it’s amazing how much it’s almost like riding a bike, we just got in there, and it just felt so natural even though it’s been so many years. At the same time it was kind of the catalyst of it all, the show sold out in less than thirty seconds, we have never done anything like that before in our careers so our minds were blown. It was like “Oh my gosh, it’s going to be insane”. You know fifteen years into our career and then something like this happens, there are just no words to describe it and how awesome it is. That was where our roots were, we grew up going and watching shows there and being inspired, as well as playing some of our first shows as Atreyu. We were in a band called ‘Retribution’ before Atreyu, it included myself, Brandon and Alex so by playing there it was kind of like going back to a high school reunion. It was really cool!
Out of your new material, what made you want to share 'So Others May Live' first with the world, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the track? It’s a combination of things, the main one is just our own excitement to get something out and hear some new music, and then just to give our fans something to listen to. They haven’t heard anything in a while and the excitement from our fans was just as much as ourselves. The song is kind of a nod to our troops who are keeping us free and able, to do our thing by playing music for a living.
How did you end up signing to Spinefarm/Search & Destroy, and what have they been like to work with so far? It’s been awesome, our manager is the Head of Raw Power as well as Search and Destroy and Spinefarm. He also used to work over at Roadrunner Records, like the head of Roadrunner, Roadrunner International, so they were a really solid team as well. There’s just a lot more invested interest because of all these combinations of things. It’s just a really powerful force so it feels good, everything about it just feels right.
In regards to your upcoming new album, Alex has said that "My brothers and I have made our best record yet", so with that in mind, then what do you think we can expect from the record overall, in comparison to what you've done before as Atreyu? Well I mean every record we have recorded at different locations and just finding that is helping the grass on the green on the other side everytime. We have come to find that all these things are just lessons in teaching us how to be the best band that we can be and now working with our friends is the perfect combination. We can really be ourselves and take all the things we have learned about recording in the past, and apply that to our new album, writing process and creative process. We found what we are all good at instead of trying to be something we’re not; we tried everything from, ‘Lead Sails..’ and ‘Congregation Of The Damned’, to being more melodic to going back to our roots a little bit more when we were a lot more aggressive and coming full circle. We kind of all sound where we are at our strongest points, we’re just focusing on that for the record. I mean to describe it; it’s going to be kind of like, ‘The Curse’, just with the production quality and the grandeur of ‘Lead Sails Paper Anchor’.
Lyric-wise, what themes and influences can we expect to hear throughout the album? It’s more mature lyrically, I mean with a lot of the lyrics in the past we were a lot younger and you know when you’re younger it’s different than when you are in your twenties or teens compared to when you’re in your thirties. The messages and lyrics are just more revealing on a personal level, just more adult content, like Alex has just had his first child, and there are definitely lyrics that are influenced by that and how powerful that whole experience was for him, from all different angles.
Recently Alex hinted at some guest vocalists, can you tell us anything about that? I don’t want to give anything away, but we just kind of wanted to go back to our roots and try to work with someone who inspired us, especially not just now but someone who inspired us since we were younger. It’s just awesome, we are really, really excited, and we never thought in a million years that we would work with this person, so it’s going to shock a lot of people, it’s really cool!
As the guitarist, can you tell us about the equipment you've been using on this album or maybe just any new equipment that you've really enjoyed working with throughout this process? Yeah I mean guitar wise I use my ESP, I had an ESP custom made like twelve years ago now, it’s a DJ600 and it’s a white ESP Guitar and has blood all over it, and EMG pickups. As well as this I have this other guitar, it was the first guitar they ever gave me back in 2002, it’s also got green gaff tape over it, I’m not really a big fan of the colour gun metal silver, I’m a bit more wild in my thinking and style, so bright green tape is the necessary move to make it how I wanted it to look, especially before they allowed me to have a custom, so I just customised it myself. For amps I have been using EVH 5153. A lot of artists in metal bands that we are friends with these days that have been around for a while now and being respected guitar players were using the amps and sounded incredible. I thought I needed to get me some of that tone so we used a bit of that on the record...mixed ESP sounds heavy as hell.
We've read that the band are trying to "go back to a fast and heavy" approach, so as the lead guitarist, then can you tell us about what you've been up to on this record, as well as how it compares to what you've done before on an Atreyu release? Vocally especially for Alex, he’s gone back to just screaming his head off, and just going back to being brutal which is something we have missed as a band collectively. It’s where he is his most comfortable and confident, and as well as Brandon, he has always been an incredible vocalist but taking his time with his other band, ‘Hell or Highwater’, they are a totally different type of band to Atreyu, so it really kind of expanded his vocal variety, he’s an even better vocalist and songwriter, he’s bringing all that to the table as well. It’s the same with me, as playing with, ‘Angels Fall’ we were just doing something kind of more rock country, and looking back at guitarists that influence me, like a guitar player called Brad Gillis, or Van Halen, Brian May from Queen, we were really sort of trying to take all that and really ramp everything up to try and make the best version of ourselves possible.
What has it been like, to be in the studio after all these years to record together once again as Atreyu? It’s awesome, it’s never felt so easy before, we have been doing this for years now and at first we were kind of nervous about what we were going to be like when we first got back together. We all got in the same room and the chemistry was just incredible, it’s very special and rare to have that and it just came so easily, the songs came out really quickly. Some of our best songs come off that and it’s kind of how we used to write back when we were younger, before we let all the record labels and industry stuff and people’s opinions get in our head and affect us in the way you think, but now it’s just going back to what we love and it’s amazing how much we have learned over the years. So being able to apply all that to this record is just making it the biggest and best thing that we have ever done.
It sounds like it was a smooth process, but what were some of the hardest parts of the album to put together for you guys, and why? Honestly, there hasn’t been anything difficult...it’s strange, the weight from the others was just so easy and effortless, we just know what we are doing and we are more confident than we have ever been in our abilities and our songwriting. We just know as long as we are passionate about this and we love it, then we are doing it for us and nobody else. We just put everything we have got into it and we know it’s going to be the best thing ever and people will love it as well, while also feeling the same way as we do.
So you’re in the studio now, where did you decide to record the album, and who is it being recorded with? We did our drums at Sunset sounds which is a really old famous studio in Hollywood, a lot of amazing bands have gone through there with Led Zeppelin being just one example. We did our drums there, tracked vocals, guitars and basically just everything.
Your show in London has already sold out, so how excited are you for that, and what can attending fans expect? We are extremely excited, it’s like the same thing I was saying earlier about Chain Reaction, I mean we had never sold out a show like that before in our lives, so to have it happen again on the other side of the world is insane, it was even further in advance. The British crowd and European crowd are always so energetic and so passionate about music, they love it so much and it gets us pumped up to go over there. We just want to go over there and kick some ass, and not only to just go over there and do our thing but kind of remind people we are one of the originating bands of the sound that we are doing and we do it well. A lot of people never got to see us play before as we have been gone for a while, they got into this style of music before they had a chance to see us and grew up more so listening to bands like Asking Alexandra, Falling In Reverse and Bring Me The Horizon etc. So yeah, it will be a great experience for us and for anyone who hasn’t seen us before.
Will you be playing a lot of new material at the shows? We might do a song, just to kind of throw it in there and do something fresh but we really want to save the rest for when it’s approaching the time of the release of the new album!!
Interview with Lee & Brian
“For those that have spent a chunk of their life playing the Halo franchise then we have a treat for you, as we are pleased to be joined by Finishing Move who tell us the story of how they progressed through the music industry to eventually work on the re-vised soundtrack for the Halo anniversary games!”
When did you realize that composing was something you really wanted to do with your life? White: I think many of our peers set out to be composers from the get go, however we took a slightly different path to get there. We both come from an artist and record making background, either working on our own music or producing for other artists. But as most people in the industry will tell you, maintaining a steady income from releasing your own work or just working on speculative label projects isn’t always the most stable endeavor, so we were always exploring other media for our music. That exploration process led us through pretty much every nook and cranny of the industry, from composing jingles for commercials to music licensing in film and television and eventually into composing for games. Trifon: As White described, our path to composing was not a straight line. For example, I initially thought I was going to be a session guitarist, but considering that there is almost no work for session guitarists these days, I’m really glad that didn’t work out!
Who was your first major client, and what was that like for you at the time? White: As Finishing Move, that would most certainly be Microsoft Studios. From a production standpoint, we had both worked on big projects as freelancers or as part of other teams in the past, so the biggest difference for us was more on the administrative side; scaling up our business chops to accommodate the extra paperwork and planning involved in managing larger projects as a company.
Can you tell us about the formation of 'Finishing Move', as well as how you got to the name? White: Trifon and I had been working together for years, either as a team under other composers or hiring each other directly to help out on freelance work. We knew from the get go we had a very complementary skillset. We knew we could work together professionally and we were already good friends, so it just made sense to team up and take on bigger projects as a proper company. Our company motto is â&#x20AC;&#x153;Level up your sound,â&#x20AC;? the idea was to create an identity that could grow larger than any one person, a brand that could scale and offer many more services than your typical freelance composer could. Trifon: The name Finishing Move is a partial reference to the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s fighting game Mortal Kombat. We wanted a name that was bold, but also expressed the idea that we can get the job done swiftly and effectively. The reality is that we had several potential names, but nothing had the same ring or flare as Finishing Move.
How did you end up working on Halo, and what has it been like to work on one of the biggest game franchises of all time? Trifon: Back in 2011, I worked on Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary along with Paul Lipson, Lennie Moore and Tom Salta. That project opened the door for us to work on Halo 2 Anniversary. It was incredible to have the opportunity to work on one of the biggest and most beloved video game franchises. It was also quite daunting at times because we knew that every detail would be scrutinized by the fans. That being said, the fan reaction to Halo 2 Anniversary and the redone soundtrack has been overwhelmingly positive!
How hard or easy is it to create music for the space like world that the chief inhabits? White: For Halo 2 Anniversary, we were adapting and re-recording the original iconic score from 10 years ago, which was composed by Marty O'Donnell and Michael Salvatori. So in that case, the framework for how the music would fill the world was already established and the challenges were more centered on how to update the sound of Halo 2 Anniversary for the current generation of console games, while simultaneously honoring the original score and its intentions. In the case of composing new music for the world of Halo, like the Halo Channel content for example, we worked closely with 343’s senior audio director Paul Lipson to inject some of our signature sounds into the Halo canon of music.
What was the hardest part about working on Halo for you guys, and why? White: Halo is such an established and beloved brand, right up there with franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, and the fans are really protective of their world. Finding a balance between pushing the sound forward and honoring what has already come before can be quite a challenge because anything you do is going to be measured against established, fan-favorite material.
Halo 2 got re-mastered with new graphics, so what was it like especially to work on that game, and how rewarding was the process for you guys? Trifon: Working on Halo 2 Anniversary was a very rewarding process and we had many amazing experiences. I think my favorite moment was working with Steve Vai and Misha Mansoor at Skywalker Ranch. Steve Vai is a true master of his instrument and a pleasure to work with. Misha and Vai - wow. Those dudes can play!
What can you tell us about your latest work on Massive Chalice, as well as what that has been like to work with for you guys? White: Massive Chalice is a turn-based, tactical strategy game from Double Fine Productions. The game takes place over many generations, more time than any one hero can fight over the course of a lifetime. A big part of the strategy is deciding how you continue your bloodline by breeding new generations of heroes, while fighting the ever encroaching cadence threatening to overtake the world. Even though Massive Chalice is a fantasy game, our goal was to create a sound that could span many generations of time and not sound like one specific time period. We decided from the beginning that we wanted to avoid all the typical fantasy music tropes and go for a much bolder, modern sound palette, so you’ll hear post-rock guitars, electric bass and big drums juxtaposed against more traditional instruments like viola, mandolin and charango. Trifon: We made a conscious effort to avoid the Lord of the Rings style of fantasy music. Massive Chalice doesn’t have any bards or elves and doesn’t have many of the typical fantasy stereotypes. As White mentioned, the game takes place over hundreds of years, so it wasn’t appropriate to limit the score to a very narrow musical era. We tried to create music that had a timeless quality and a strong emotional component. I think it’s a very distinctive fantasy score and we’re both very proud of it.
Can you run us through the process of how just one bit of music comes together for a game like Massive Chalice then? White: Since we had quite a bit of creative freedom from the game designers on Massive Chalice, we started the process by putting up different reference material against gameplay footage, just to see what kind of vibes would work. You’d be surprised at what does and doesn’t work when you put it up against picture, so it is important to go through an initial discovery process before doing a ton of production work. After that, I would start a framework using mostly virtual instruments and MIDI in Logic and toss that over to Trifon to start designing bespoke sounds and flesh everything out. At that point things might get a little too fleshed out, so Trifon usually kicks it back to me as rendered audio stems to set up the final arrangement and mix down in Pro Tools.
You've got to work on TV shows such as Scrubs & Top Gear, so with that in mind then how different is to create music for TV/films than it is for video games? White: With film or TV, you are generally scoring to a fixed linear scene that won’t change all that much once it’s gotten to the composer. Many times we are just licensing a finished piece of existing music to a show, so it’s all in the music editor’s hands. In the case of interactive media, you have to keep in mind the implementation of the music in the game at all times. For example, how the piece might loop during gameplay or how elements might come in and out based on certain player inputs, like your health status or if an enemy is close by. Trifon: With games, you have to think more about the layers and how to add and subtract intensity based on the context of what’s happening at that particular moment. White and I both write very layered music so it is actually a pretty natural workflow for us. In some ways you have a bit more freedom writing for games than TV/film because you aren’t locked to a specific cut of video. Things unfold differently each time which allows for less rigid music.
If you could simply pick, then what game franchise would you really love to work on next, and why? Trifon: Obviously we’d love to work on more Halo, but outside of that, I would love for us to work on the Far Cry franchise. I love the exotic environments of Far Cry 3 and 4. Also the games have really good music!
Forming in 2013 The Daily Chase found their feet by each bringing individual tastes in music to the Group. TDC bring their own style of metalcore to the stage, with bouncy riffs and hard hitting breakdowns. The South Australian band are currently recording their debut EP, which is expected to drop in the middle of 2015! Tour/show dates to be announced via their Facebook page. Contact: Facebook.com/thedailychase
Members - Rory Cuthell (Vocals) - Marc Patterson (Guitar Vocals) - Tyson Whillas (Guitar) - Ben Heidrich (Drums) - Nicholas Wilks (Bass Guitar)
Interview with Andy
“Dovetail Strings have devoted their time to support as many bands as they can with their exciting approach to crafting guitar strings. Their products have been known to last longer than some of the more well known companies out there, and by doing so they have gained themselves a loyal fan base that keep coming back for more. We have a chat with Andy who has just taken over Dovetail Strings to ensure that their respected reputation stays unchanged!”
Can you tell us about the formation of Dovetail Strings? Okay, so the deal is I’ve only been running the company for a short period so I can’t say much about the birth of Dovetail Strings. I can tell you that as a customer myself for the last couple of years I spoke to the owner Craig a number of times, suggesting product ideas and lending a perspective as an electric guitar enthusiast. With this in mind and Craig planning to leave the UK in early 2015, he offered me the position to continue operations and run the company in the same vain but also the opportunity to expand and offer new products and services as I see fit. It’s not the birth of the company but I see it as a new beginning!
How did you get to the name Dovetail Strings, and what does it mean to you? I’ve always liked the name but without coining it myself, I can’t comment on its creation. I did however get in touch with the creator and owner of Dovetail Strings; Craig Claassen, who had a pretty cool thought process in finding the name “I always liked what a dovetail joint stood for in guitar construction; quality, precision, much like what we hope our players find in dovetail strings.’
What projects have you been working on recently through Dovetail Strings, and has there been any particular highlights from 2015 just yet? At the moment I’m really just keeping everything running as it has been for the last six years so I can learn the ropes. It’s not been too tricky and I’m enjoying it all (I’m probably my best customer for strings!) but I have plenty of ideas to expand the range we offer and also update our online presence. I have a great guy in line to do all the graphic design work but you will have to stay updated with us to find out more info on that closer to summer!
Can you tell us about the design of your guitar strings, as well as what makes them different to any other product? We are certainly more cost effective than competitors! Personally, I burn through a pack of strings from other brands in a week or less but I find that I can leave a set of Dovetails on a guitar for 3-4 weeks at a time meaning I change strings less and when I do buy a pack for myself, I’m spending a lot less than if I was shopping anywhere else.
What do you want your strings to do overall for the musician that chooses you guys to work with? Really I want to offer the same value and quality that I received as a customer myself. Considering all the expense involved with being an independent musician, a regular cost of essential gear (strings, leads, picks etc.) shouldn’t be a struggle, as we need these tools to perform our craft. It was only with Dovetail that I felt I could afford to experiment with different gauge strings to find what I liked. Along with personally finding the strings stand up to my sweaty mitts with regular playing, I want customers to feel like they get more for their money and that they can easily approach me anytime for help and support. Taking note from a small British company I’m a big fan of (Chapman Guitars) I aim to have the same mentality and give the opportunity for anyone to give feedback/suggestions to ensure we have an ideal product that’s accessible to everyone.
What do you look for, when you are looking for a band to work with? Of course, the music conveying a sense of authenticity and hard work is always a priority when a new artist contacts me, however, their overall quality and online presence is important. My steps when reviewing an application is first putting on any music I can access while visiting a website and social media links, there I can check out the regularity with posts, interactions from fans and importantly; a healthy gig listing. I’ve had some artists so far approach me that I am really excited to work with but also some guys who contact me for an endorsement and when I respond to them with good news, I never hear back from them… strange! One thing to mention, I plan to revamp the endorsement program later in the year so what is currently in place will remain the same but with a more strict application process and also offering an even more accessible deal to artists just starting out!
What's the hardest part about running Dovetail Strings, and why? Right now, there’s nothing too difficult about running Dovetail thankfully! I get some orders where I just don’t have the items requested but customers have been really cool so far with any irregularities. At first I was quite anxious to see how it would work out running a small business, it’s not something I thought would fit with my personality but luckily, working my ass off at uni helped me develop good organisational skills and everything has started off well. One thing that’s a bit frustrating that I can’t deny doing myself in the past is when I’m contacted with an approach more transfixed on being endorsed but never having tried out the gear or even order anything once accepted onto the roster. This is the main reason why I started thinking early on about changing the endorsement approach to work more closely with artists and make sure there is a definitive criterion for people who want to join the family.
Alternatively, what's the easiest part about running Dovetail Strings, and why? The easiest or most enjoyable part is getting to listen to bands that I like and find new music. It’s cool having a dialogue open with people who are sharing the same passion not only with their particular music project but passionate about using Dovetail gear just as I was and still am! I feel like being in the same boat as the people who approach me for support gives an advantage for what I can bring to the table during the progression of the company over this next year.
What else can we expect to see from Dovetail Strings in 2015? I had tons of ideas before Craig officially handed anything over to me, one thing that I am really interested in introducing are coated strings for even longer life! I’ve also been asking valued customers as well as the fresh faces what they would like to see, who better to ask right? Involved in guitar daily and always looking for the latest gear and information definitely helps, for example I’m not an extended range player but I understand the market for 7 and 8 string guitar packs should be introduced by us. There is also a problem I noticed a while back when trimming down our wound strings to use with a Floyd rose guitar, it’s issues like this I’m determined to fix in the coming months. I also have some great ideas for new artwork which when is all finalised, I’ll be offering a popular request of merchandise (t-shirts, hoodies etc.) and hopefully branded straps, drumsticks, leads, whatever I can source! I feel very optimistic for the future of Dovetail Strings and confident this little guitar player (me) can do some great things with the company.
A melodic death metal band from Sweden, who are releasing their debut album "The Hollow Earth" this spring! /IncisedBand
WAXPANEL was created in July of 2008, and the line-up became complete in 2011. The band recorded their first EP in October 2011, at Dead Room Recording, in San Antonio TX. “Absolution,” the band’s second EP, was recorded at Wire Recording Studios in Austin, with Stuart Sullivan (Sublime, Meat Puppets, Jimmy Vaughn) and was released in May of 2013. WAXPANEL started working with Producer David Castell (Blue October, Toadies, Deep Blue Something), in December of that same year. The session was Engineered by Eric Holtz, at The Fathom Tree Recording Studio in Austin. The first single “Believe,” was released in June of 2014 and “Dying Inside,” the band’s second single, on February 11th 2015. The band is currently working on new material, for an EP release in late 2015. WAXPANEL is the story of four musicians, who share the same vision and a message of their Faith in Jesus Christ, their families, and their life stories. facebook.com/WAXPANEL
Interview with Jamie
“Although Jamie doesn’t do FITA Records for a living, it’s clear to see that his passion and determination for supporting alternative music on a daily basis is more than enough to fuel the drive that makes his company so well respected. So have a read as we find out what it’s like to run a record label alongside a full time job, while still producing excellent results!” Can you tell us about the formation of FITA records? I started the label in late 2008 as a way to be involved in the local hardcore scene; I was putting on shows at the time but wanted to do more. I couldn't (still can't haha) play any instruments or draw for zines so it was the most logical thing for me to get into. A bunch of friends had started a band so I released their demo and a compilation CD of a bunch of south east hardcore bands as the first two FITA releases. A lot of those early bands broke up and formed new ones so we got to work with the same crew of people and have a cool tight group of friends. Whenever they'd go to or play shows further afield, I'd get recommended bands (which is how we first started working with Departures).
How did you get to the name FITA records, and what does it mean to you? Haha, I hate the name now, hence changing to the acronym a few years ago. But it came from a line in a song by the Hope Conspiracy, who I do still really enjoy, but not keen on the name now 6/ 7 years later.
Can you tell us what a normal day would involve for you as a part of FITA Records? A normal day is mostly just replying to emails and packing orders. I don't do this full time, it's just for fun and always has been.
What releases are you currently working on? Currently working on The Winter Passing's upcoming album 'A Different Space Of Mind'. It's been in the works for so long, we actually asked them to do an album with us in January 2013. It was finished around winter last year but it's taken a while to get everything together. This is the only record we have at the pressing plant right now. Departures are currently writing for their next record and hopefully we have a hand in the release of that.
Also, in a reference to the last question, can you tell us a bit about the process that leads up to the release of a record? The release process pretty much consists of me sorting out the release details with the pressing plant and liaising with the band on schedules, and communicating with our PR dude Ashley at Shredful PR who handles the press for almost all our records. I've used the same pressing plant for the past five years or something and Ashley has been working with us for a couple so we have a good relationship with everyone which helps a lot. Everyone's pushing in the same direction. So we work out dates for streams, when test presses are due and can be confirmed and the main vinyl run can be expected. Things that sound kind of boring but I really enjoy the organisation aspect and watching it all unfold up to the release date and seeing peoples reactions to new songs.
Can you tell us how the company logo came together, as well as what it means to you? To be honest the logo was just something I needed to put on records and have people familiar with. It's pretty bold and simple, I like it.
What do you guys think about the massive 'revival' of vinyl over the last year or so, and what do you love the most about working with this format? I think the vinyl surge is great, I started collecting records when I was 14/15 years old and it's awesome to see people of that age now buying our releases! The more people buying records, the better for us.
â&#x20AC;&#x153;The easiest part is enjoying it. It's a labour of love.â&#x20AC;? What do you look for when you are looking for a band to work with? This one's kind of tough. It's basically just that if I enjoy a band, I'll try to work with them. There's no specific formula, we don't work off of demo submissions. Sometimes friends will recommend me a band, or I'll run something I've heard by them for a second opinion but that's about it. If I like your band, I'll drop you a line.
What's the easiest part about running a record company? I suppose the easiest part is enjoying it. It's a labour of love.
Alternatively, what's the hardest part about what you do? Hardest I suppose is the organisation. When you have a few records at the pressing plant, trying to keep on top of what is outstanding for which release, what's confirmed, when you have to pay for the order, when preorders go up, all that stuff. As I said previously, I do enjoy the organisation aspect but it can be pretty challenging to juggle all that plus a full time job.
What else can we expect to see from FITA records in 2015? We have The Winter Passing's LP coming out May 26th, and Departures are writing, but that's all in the pipeline. We'll probably do a third pressing of the Departures/Moose Blood split 7" at the end of the year.
Who is answering the questions?
Interview with Ben
“Over the years we have really enjoyed writing about clothing companies as it’s always exciting to see how they go about turning a small idea into a very rewarding livelihood. Their stylish designs have helped these guys achieve just that, and with a full set of new ideas planned for 2015 already, then what better time to get up to date with the awesome ‘Summit Clothing’!” Can you tell us about the formation of Summit clothing? Summit Clothing was created in 2013 with the idea of creating high quality essential pieces that are needed in everyone's everyday wardrobe
How did you get to the name 'Summit' and what does it mean to you? Summit was used as it represents the ''Top'' which is where we want to be as a company. To me Summit means clarity and height the top point. We try to provide the best quality items available at the best prices.
What designs are you currently working on, and what can you tell us about your latest releases? We are currently working on a new refined basics collection crafted from UK made materials and hand made here in England. I feel it is important to try and bring all possible production back to the UK as this way we can monitor items and check quality is up to our high standard.
What does a typical day involve for you as part of Summit Clothing? A typical day is me getting up and going into our office. When I arrive I will usually check over orders and print out all order forms and get people orders ready to send out. After this is done I will then usually sit down and check over new materials and at the moment choose and pick the correct materials to create the basic items out of. After this is done we will reply to emails and then ship out orders. Even after this and the day is done I am constantly jotting ideas down on my phone or working from home on new products and designs.
How did the logo design for Summit originally come about, and when you see it on your designs, what does it mean to you guys? The logo came as we wanted a block bold style logo which would stand out and be easy to see and read. I personally think our current logo does exactly what is needed.
How would you say your designs have changed/progressed since you first started out? Well...., I would say our designs now are a lot more defined and simplistic. We try to offer items that everyone needs in their wardrobe, Our designs now are mainly focused on materials and fit as these are key features of a garment.
What's the easiest part about running a clothing company? I wouldn't say anything is particularly easy, but one of the most enjoyable things is having a design you have created on paper and then getting it in your hands once it is actually created, that is a pretty cool feeling.
Alternatively, what's the hardest part about running a clothing company? The hardest thing is definitely creating an audience who will buy your products as you really have to offer something new and special these days to get business.
What else can we expect to see from SMT clothing in 2015? You can expect a lot from us this year. We are now manufacturing everything in England which means quality is incredibly good. We hope to have a full essential basics collection out by the end of the year which will have items everyone needs. We also hope to have new collections of items made from special textured materials too which are milled directly here in England. Lots of monochromatic items which all interlink together and can be worn at anytime of the year!
Soflo Music LEGACIES
Founded by guitarist Brian and drummer Gianni after the closing of their former band, Legacies was made to be a project to write enjoyable music. On the lengthy search for a vocalist, they not only found one, but two! John and Jordan joined quickly after their audition because of their great chemistry due to their history.
Left to right : Brian, Jordan, Gianni, Jon, Marlon
The band from Miami, Fl joined the local scene in late 2013 and released their first demo "This Is For Them" in early 2014 and soon after the Legacies EP was released. They're now in the studio with producer Joshua "Yoshii West" Rodriguez recording their next EP. Latest Single : Jekyll and Hyde
Left to right : Yoshii, Fabian, Brandon, Berman
Photo credit : Andrea Velazquez [IG:@__avphotography__]
As a flourish of music grew in the South Florida scene, a newly moved musician from Indiana arrived just in time. Late 2013, vocalist Brandon sought out to find solid musicians in Miami to join him on his musical venture. Guitarist Berman and Fabian joined him and started to play shows under the name Northern Line.
After a few months of ground breaking shows, the band released their debut EP "Reshape" which was self-produced. The EP proved to be ear shattering, crowd moving, and something to move ones head to with its angry screams, heavy guitars, and in your face drums. Seeing a future in this band, Yoshii continued to assist them until 2015 where he became an official member. Northern Line is now stronger than ever, currently they are recording new songs and theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also be heading out on their first tour this summer! Latest Single : Smokeseeker
Photo credit : Andrea Velazquez [IG:@__avphotography__]
Infektion was started in the summer of 2013 in the city of Charlotte North Carolina by 3 brothers Pedro, Chris and Alex Rios wanting to achieve a heavy sound. The three brothers rehearsed and prepared for many months until their debut show on April 10 2014.
After months of hard work in the studio Disgruntled Hispanics was completed and the first single of the EP premiered on November 21st. The song was Sinner and it premiered along with a video which you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3 9Yk_ILONg4
After that nothing has been the same, working hard and staying focused the three brothers kept moving forward and in the summer of 2014 Pedro, Chris and Alex entered the studio to work on their debut EP Disgruntled Hispanics.
On December 1 2014 disgruntled Hispanics was released! Pedro Chris and Alex plan on making more and more music and there is no sign of Infektion ever stopping! firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/infektionnc instagram @infektionnc
Dustin Kensrue - Carry The Fire Straight from the off it is clear this is a moody and grey album, 'Ruby' is carried by a staccato style piano beat and some emotion rich vocals that are well delivered, carrying the emotion through into the superb 'Back to Back'. The Americana tones continue the opening sound but kick up a gear flowing with a capturing energy that is as gripping as the words being sung as he pleads to be “the one crawling with you through these doors'. As the time signature changes the song progresses from out of the grey and into the light. The dirty tones of the opening riff of 'Gallows' shows the album isn't going to be a one sound affair, the more gravelly guitars is marked with a harder hitting vocal before the mood goes the opposite way once again. 'There's Something Dark' is a haunting three minutes, dark and brooding showcasing Kensrue's capacity for taking you on a journey through the darkest roads of a persons mind and emotions. It is rough, raw and the harmonica strikes the perfect balance to a simply outstanding song. There is something Springsteen like about these songs, the hard rocking songs are great rock songs but the melancholic ones are what give the album its atmosphere and there is that in abundance on this record. 'Of Crows and Crowns' is another stunning track, the piano work is simple yet mesmerising while 'Juggernaut' has a good country feel again switching dynamic to a superb effect. The tones and tempos coupled with the moods and stories on this album make this something special, Dustin Kensrue has got a potentially defining moment. AN
Europe - War of Kings There are plenty of bands who will go their separate ways only to reform for a tour here and there, maybe an album if pushed. For Europe, they have gone full hog with their reformation and are creating a second legacy with the new chapter in their history. The first legacy was of course crafted with gold, silver and platinum record sales but that is the past and Europe are planted very firmly in the present. The title track is a groove powered opening, bass driven and underpinned by a nice Hammond organ sound. Joey Tempest’s voice is sounding great from the off, after so many years many vocalists just don’t quite sound the same but Tempest has seemingly been very blessed in that department. Its groove again powering ‘Hole in my Pocket’ leading into a huge sounding pre-chorus before cruising on through a fast paced, always dripping with melody and adds what will undoubtedly go down as one of 2015’s best guitar solos. These songs really push the organic feel of recording an album live, the sound is so natural giving it such vibrancy while the organs add an extra vintage feel to go with the old style recording equipment used on this record. Norum and Mic Micaheli create some stand out stuff with the bluesy ballad ‘Angels (With Broken Hearts)’, Tempest’s vocals are on top form here too with pure emotion almost aching out and it again shows the depth that his voice is still able to throw out. This is the strongest album they have made since the comeback. Even with how strong the previous albums have been, this is a step up and will hold up against anything they have ever done. AN
Black Star Riders - The Killer Instinct The title track opens the album and has the feel of Bound for Glory with its classic dual guitar harmony opening, only with a more menacing lead over the upbeat sound of Bound for Glory. The pre-chorus and chorus lyrically are short, sharp almost jabbing vocally with each line punching the words out. The hard rocking ballad style of ‘Finest Hour’ feels like Black Star Riders are really pushing ahead with their own sound and coming into their own with this reminiscing tale of Ricky Warwick’s first girlfriend and their time together going to the Barrowlands. Then comes a song that will go down as a true BSR classic, with its Emerald like opening riff, ‘Soldierstown’ is instantly a hook, then comes some crunching riffs with Cranes bass again keeping it low end heavy. The words talk of losing a finger to save a hand and terrorists taking a strongest son to fight. ‘Blindsided’ slows things down with a country style acoustic guitar leading it through heavier moments but the stand out is the emotion and power in Warwick’s voice among the melodies and hooks. In contrast ‘Sex, Guns and Gasoline’ is a dirty sounding riff machine, rough while still staying melodic oozing attitude and snarl with ‘Turn in your Arms’ keeps up the heavier mood of the tail end of the album with an extra groovy swagger. Phil Lynott is an unenviable pair of shoes to try to fill but Ricky Warwick has gone about it in his own way and while noone could ever truly take that spot, he has done as well as anyone could possibly do. The spirit of Thin Lizzy oozes from this band but that skin has been shed and they are, unmistakeably, Black Star Riders. AN
The Answer - Raise A Little Hell ‘Long Live The Renegades’ is everything an album opener should be, the punchy bass line with a guitar following vocal line has this old school rock n roll vibe, simple yet gritty and compelling. Cormac Murphy’s vocal is hitting some big notes complimenting the catchy riffs and the big choruses but he can still drop as the mood dictates. The Answer are out of the blocks and running hard in the first two songs and carry it through with the blues infused ‘Aristocrat’ being able to dirty it up with galloping chugs before moving up the scales crafting melody and leaving the listener hanging with a mid section harmonica solo gliding with the guitar. ‘Strange Kinda’ Nothin’ once again shows a different side as the picks turn to strums transforming the song, this is a beautiful song, the wails of the guitar in the background give the feeling of despair. The slower beat of this song makes it memorable, you always get the feeling that they are going kick it up but it never comes and is allowed to simply be and then fade away. From the tender comes the balls to the wall rock n roll of ‘Whiplash’, a bruising four minute pile driver made all the heavier by the melodic builds and classic rock. The Answer have been compared to Thin Lizzy and AC/DC at times but I see this more being a middle America style music with Lynard Skynard pushing towards Kiss with soulful rock n roll burning through its heart. The title track closes out one of the best rock records you will hear this year, organic and natural feeling in this world of uber perfect (production wise) sounding music we live in today, it is warm and natural, always flowing. This deserves to be played at very, very great volume. AN
Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero Imagine taking Agnostic Front, Dead Kennedys and Black Sabbath, putting them in a blender with half a bottle of whiskey and a Canadian lumberjack’s spit, and then mainlining the result into your eyeball with a heroin needle, and you’re coming close to how this album sounds. Cancer Bats have been royally messing around with everything for a long time now, and judging from this album they don’t seem to be anywhere near calling it a day. Unfortunately, this album is not exactly perfect. One of the main issues is the production, particularly on the vocals. Liam Cormier’s vocals are nothing if not unique, and sadly on this album the production, particularly during his screaming, is a bit… odd. It sounds nowhere near the clean, crisp production of 2012’s Dead Set On Living, choosing instead to go for an almost 1970s-esque, washed out type of production, occasionally with what sounds like some strange reverb in the background. Which is a shame. However, this is forgivable, because of one huge thing – the riffs. This album continues Cancer Bats’ claim to be one of the best Canadian bands in terms of writing riffs that make you want to down some Jaegermeister and get in a colossal fight. Satellites, True Zero and Arsenic in the Year of the Snake have already had much of the internet losing their minds to the fantastic noise that Scott, Jaye and Mike have written, and it’s quite incredible to believe that these are not isolated incidents on this album. Tunes like Beelzebub, with its slower, sludgy pounding and Cursed With a Conscience are prime examples of songs that, whilst they may not necessarily be nothing new for Cancer Bats, are still head and shoulders above pretty much everything coming out of the music industry at the moment. It’s going to be very high up on so many people’s albums of the year, and the best part is, it’s not even Cancer Bats’ best album. AL
Piqued Jacks - Climb Like Ivy Piqued Jacks debut effort Climb Like Ivy is just another reason why indie music is so popular in the modern times. The soothing voice provided by lead singer EKing (they all have interesting names!) accompanied with the memorable tunes from the guitar, keyboard and drums creates a sound that is missing from the mainstream at the moment. The album kicks off with Reign of Clouds, a fast paced hard beating song which truly demonstrates the soul of this album in its first few chords. The song slowly builds and builds and ends in a magnificent fashion. It's clear to see why Romance Is Dead is the single of the album. A slow melodic engrossing song, with the vocals proving to be quite powerful when the song reaches its choruses. This certainly demonstrates this bands valiant efforts with their music. It's obvious to anyone that this is a band who don't take themselves too seriously. When your band logo is a stick man with a large erection it's clear that you have a band that just wants to have fun and this is exactly what Piqued Jacks want to do. It's clear from their music that they love it. I find that with most indie bands that a lot of their music sounds the same...I won't name names. However Piqued Jacks may have cracked the formula to not being like everyone else. From Home is Forever which sounds like an instrumental at the beginning demonstrating what this band are capable of musically it rises up until the vocals kick in and it's just a great all round song. When that is contrasted with the likes of Gift Handed Down Like Generations and Moooooody which are noticeably more upbeat and clearly have roots in rock it's evident that this band know how to draw in some attention. Piqued Jacks first effort is truly a remarkable one, holding essenses of good old fashioned rock and more up to date indie almost brit pop elements. These guys have a big future ahead. RO
We Are Harlot – We Are Harlot Rock supergroup, consisting of Danny Worsnop on vocals (Asking Alexandria), Jeff George (guitarist formely of Sebastian Bach), bassist, Brian Weaver (Silvertide) and drummer, Bruno Agra formerly of Revolution Renasisance release their anticipated self titled debut album.. Kicking things off with the staggering ‘Dancing On Nails’ which is extremely catchy with brilliant melodies and rhythms all delivered in a slick and smooth manner making a great rock anthem and immediately shows the band mean serious business!!.. ‘Dirty Little Thing’ has a different feel and pace whilst remaining coherent in an eager and exciting power driven number which is a highlight amongst many. ‘Someday’ changes things up by throwing in a slower more mellow side, but the result is equally impressive, effective and shows of their versatility. Bringing back the high energy, ‘Denial’ blasts off and represents their swagger perfectly, as well as boasting stylistic guitars and a sharp solo which reflects on the best of old rock ‘n’ roll and with some deep aggressive growls tossed in; this makes one hell of a track, no wonder WWE grabbed this track as their theme song to one of their most popular programs, as it certainly packs a punch! Switching back to a slower pace, ‘Easier To Leave’ offers a ballad type softer rock tune featuring masterful guitars from the ever talented Jeff George. ‘One More Night’ is their heaviest offering with hard hitting riffs, storming drums and with the attitude of a great classic rock anthem aided by Danny’s brilliant and varied vocals giving it a hard edge, again demonstrating their vast capabilities, and not to mention a killer shred solo from Jeff!
“‘I Tried’ acts as a strong powerful ballad which is bound to leave its mark on you after it finishes” Following on nicely, ‘Never Turn Black’, acts as a medium between their cleaner and dark roots to make a memorable song with strong riffs, effective gang vocals and well-structured instrumentation. ‘The One’ shows another side to this dimensional super group, demonstrating their groovy rock ‘n’ roll with a dash of jazz and blues blended in to keep you guessing! To end their debut, ‘I Tried’ acts as a strong powerful ballad which is bound to leave its mark on you after it finishes and ending on an elated high note (not just Jeff’s soaring riffs!) with Danny’s effortless charismatic vocals having the final word. On paper this band sounds like it should be fantastic. Luckily they live up to their expectations!! Danny’s smooth flawless rock ‘n’ roll vocals with the occasional growl thrown in, help create a more modern twist on classic rock and paired with guitar virtuoso, Jeff George who compliments Danny’s impressive vocal variety and backed by the rest of the talented crew they are a force to be reckoned with. This is serious music to appreciate which exhibits genuine passion and enthusiasm! Fans of the rock genres will devour this up, as it’s a stunning debut, and raises the bar high for what is to come next for this experienced quartet! CL
'Royal Renegades are a three piece collective who are close-knit and have a strong mutual creative thread binding its members together consisting of Xose Gael on lead vocals/guitar, Gary Mulligan on bass/backing vocals and Chris Lawson on drums. This Glasgow based band was formed in January 2014 and went to the studio in February to record its debut EP. It was recorded, mixed, produced and mastered by Xose Gael at Lofi Studios in Glasgow. They released the EP on June 2014 and have been promoting their music by playing in venues throughout Glasgow and Edinburgh. They are going into the studio next month to record some new material that they will be releasing just before this summer. They have been influenced by the Contact details: hard rock and grunge sound T: 07747755047 a strong emphasis maintaining E: email@example.com lyrically and vocally with a strong https://www.facebook.com/rrbandglasgow https://royalrenegades.bandcamp.com/album/royal-renegades projection in the voice where the instrumentation wraps around the vocals to give a meaningful story and a powerful edge to their songs.' CONTACT: 07747755047 firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/rrbandglasgow royalrenegades.bandcamp.com/albu m/royal-renegades
Pictures courtesy of Zuzka Photography
I PLEAD INSANITY
I Plead Insanity is a six piece progressive metal core outfit from Baltimore, Maryland USA. The band consists of guitarists TJ Rubino, Jimbo Skelton, Tyree Wright. Bassist Ben Moyer drummer Sean Levey and Vocalist Kylen Rankin. They got their start in 2012 under a different name and just recently in early 2014 changed their name and sound to what is now taking over their local Baltimore music scene. Their debut 8 track LP "Mark of the Dark One" is a heavy hitting melodic mix and is set to release in early summer of 2015. The first two singles from the record have been released on to youtube. The first single "Front Lines" is a medium paced heavy hitting song and has a vocal feature from Kyle Galligan of "Deaths Apothecary" a Maryland based death core band. The second single "Goddess of Wisdom" focuses more on the melodic side with heavy riffing and guitar harmonies. The entire album consists of gut wrenching breakdowns mixed with melodic choruses and guitar harmonies. Pulling influences from a diverse set of bands such as Carnifex, Fleshgod Apocalypse, After The Burial, Breakdown of Sanity and many more of the sort. The album is a unique mix of heavy, catchy and melodic. The live show is an energetic fast paced extravaganza with backing tracks added for that extra punch when the breakdowns hit and walls of death with Nerf Sword battles in the middle. Stay tuned to the Insanity for the rest of 2015. Expect big things and fun times to come. facebook.com/ipleadinsanityband / Instagram: @ipleadinsanityband / Twitter: @ipi_band
Mindead – Controlling The Tides Modern German metal act find unleash striking and innovative second album... Starting with scene setting, ‘Orbital’ which is very atmospheric aided with electric synth sounds with strong melodic and aggressive vocal ranges from Timo with the overall result being an excellent and dynamic modern metal track which divulges their core sound from the get go. The title track gets right to the point all the while having tonnes of power and melody with deep layers, complex riffs and vocal variety including anthemic clean vocals. The transition between the harder elements mixed with the cleaner parts is like that of changing ‘tides’! This shows off their musicianship and song writing capabilities brilliantly and for their efforts this track is highly memorable and representative of the entire album, as a title track should be. ‘Sentiment’ from the off is a more bleak and heavier offering! With deep growled vocals, fast paced guitar riffs and pounding drums all bouncing around in an eager and very head banging worthy fashion! ‘Sore’ reasserts their strong electronic industrial vibe with great results, and backed up with melodic ambient riffs and again with a mix of vocals keeping it dynamic and exciting... ‘Sleeping In Carbonate’ is a stand out track with a more aggressive edge with an air of insanity and terror about it, with striking hard hitting melodies and rhythms and well thought out vocals to match the emotion, mood and instrumentation! Their latest single, ‘Universe’ is a very mosh worthy one with a groovy strong back bone with solid rhythms, fast drums, soaring riffs and crushing demanding vocals, what more could you want?! First single, ‘Indifferent’ balances their hard as nails demeanour along with their innovative melodic tones wonderfully creating a must hear song which any metal head can appreciate, as with the rest of the album. Final song, ‘Hurt’ is atmospheric and tension building and even though the context is melancholic, it remains hopeful with catchy instrumentation paired with cleverly placed and thought out vocals which portray many emotions and attitudes. This highlights Timo’s fantastic match for this genre and his vocal range which certainly adds to their core sound they have worked hard to create. If you haven’t heard of this band you seriously need to listen to ‘Controlling The Tides’ which crashes and flows and amongst the fierce rampaging metal anthems there are some strong melodies and stand out vocals which propel it more so. They have created a wonderful modern metal sound which needs to be embraced and I think it will earn them many ‘waves’ of new fans! CL
Self Defense Family & Touche Amore - Self Love I got very excited when I heard that these two bands were collaborating for a split 7”. Self Defense Family are known for contributing to several splits a year and a collaboration with Touche Amore is an intriguing concept. The first of two tracks on the split - ‘Circa 95’ is an explosive track with a brilliant combination of highly aggressive vocals from Jeremy Bolm (Touche Amore) and the desperate and strained vocal style of Patrick Kindlon (Self Defense Family). The guitar tone is very simple and blends well with fast paced drums, the hook ‘Does It Matter?’ is catchy and the added dimension of guitar feedback creates a highly energetic and powerful number. ‘Low Beams’ is slightly more stripped back with its industrialised introduction and dreary ghostly vocals, the riff is very typical of Self Defense Family’s works. The introduction of Jeremy Bolm is again well timed and a brief instrumental section showcases some superb guitar work, the track ends with a series of exclaimed ‘This Is’ statements bounced back and for between the vocalists. Overall this is an extremely interesting and clever experiment between two creative bands, it may pave the way for other bands to try the collaborative method. It certainly sounds effective on this record. JP
Sleeping With Sirens – Madness The band continue their progression of their pop rock sound in their fourth album.. First song, ‘Kick Me’ hits you hard with its superb cacophony of interesting high pitched vocals paired with screamed aggressive bursts and highly melodic instruments giving an anthemic feel with gang vocals and high reaching sounds, all achieved in tremendous speeds giving it a manic urgent vibe all crammed in a short space of time, making it a killer way to ‘kick’ things off.. ‘Go Go Go’ is a high spirited tune with positive sounds and catchy groove ridden rhythms which will have you dancing along too it in no time, and makes a strong contrast to the opener but still fits in line with their distinct sound in this fun mainstream offering! ‘Save Me A Spark’ highlights Kellin’s slick clean appealing vocals making this a very easily accessible commercial number which is extremely catchy and also demonstrates Kellin’s well written lyrics, all delivered in a neat pleasant package! ‘The Strays’ is one of the most experimental and diverse, as well as the most pop infused fuzzy sounding songs, with Kellin showing off his array of vocals, paired with extremely catchy guitars and memorable whistling sections which are bound to keep bouncing along in your head! Interestingly the lyrics contradict the feel of the track, however if anything it gives it a harder and empowering impact. “Better Off Dead” goes back to a more fierce edge with a more sombre context and haunting sound, but still manages to remain hopeful sounding despite featuring more aggressive screamed vocals to help portray the lyrical content, making this is a very strong infectious addictive stand out song! Following on nicely, ‘We Like It Loud’ keeps with the harder side of things and nods at their post-hardcore influences again with a demanding anthemic angst feel and is definitely the heaviest offering which feels well placed as it keeps the album well balanced. Title song, ‘Madness’ features an acoustic ballad esque structure but boasting more power, and here we see some of the lower tones Kellin can deliver and through its an unusual striking sound with interesting melodies and rhythms, it keeps you on your toes by gradually introducing other sounds and momentum resulting in an ever powerful pop absorbed sound with a ‘mad’ and sombre touch.. And so we reach end song, ‘Don’t Say Anything’ which brings back the high energy and gives a high dose of infectious pop punk to leave you with their catchy hooks ringing out! This may be different to what you may expect but their decision to expand and delve further into the realms of pop rock whilst maintaining their post hardcore influences is exciting and will appeal to a wide audience. They deliver high energy in a bold style, and show they aren’t afraid to experiment and try something different, whilst injecting lots of fun and optimism in the mix, which can be easily overlooked in the rock and sub genres! It’s quite refreshing and Sleeping with Sirens seem to achieve this effortlessly, even in the harder aggressive moments due to Kellin’s beautiful unusual piercing vocals there is still a softer sugar coated element, which blended with the harder backdrop of instruments and variations works wonderfully to create dynamic, uplifting and extremely fun rock! I think there may be something wrong with you if you don’t find your spirits lifted and the urge to move when listening to this record – it is hard to dislike, as their daring moves and risks have paid off! CL
Rotting Out - Reckoning Rotting Out are back two years after releasing their second LP ‘The Wrong Way’ in 2013 (how time flies). Known for their incredibly emotional and passionate aggression in their songs, Reckoning promised to be nothing short of their previous releases. Beginning with ‘Born’ - which beings with an odd conversation followed up by a clean, fast bass line breaking into frenetic vocals ridiculously rapid drums, the drums pound after the superb line ‘What I pay for being born’. The track is your typical fast, wild beginning to any Rotting Out release. ‘Eyes Wide’ follows on in the same style of ‘Born’ after another strange sort of scratchy VHS sounding piece of dialogue, again the guitar work is flawless and creates a thundering pace combined with the unstoppable lyrics of Walter Delgado. ‘End of the Road’ is the best track on the EP and reminds me so much of tracks on their 2011 LP ‘Street Prowl’ - the eccentric instrumentation, the gang vocals and the slick bass line, the velocity of this track almost takes your breath away as a listener. The penultimate track is very brief with the continual expression of the words ‘I Don’t Care’ the song is meant to lead into the ironic ‘Live Fast Die Young’ the irony being the ‘Live Fast’ nature of the songs on this EP. It is a catchy and well executed modern cover of the Circle Jerks original. ‘Reckoning’ is a reminder that Rotting Out remain an important part of the US hardcore punk scene. I believe the EP delivers more than their sophomore record did, which is impressive considering it is just five songs in length. JP
Ionia – Postcards From The Edge Dynamic Rock act from New York unleash their new EP, hoping to take things to the next level following their debut album release, ‘Moral Hazard’...The interestingly ironically titled opening ‘I Hate Long Pretentious Titles and I’m A Hyprocrite’ starts of sounding purposefully dysfunctional, with great vocal tones from Blaise aiding the powerful and mainstream anthemic feel with striking melodic guitars and strong drum beats, the whole package is very appealing and will require multiple listens!! ‘Idea’ is a very beautiful atmospheric bare bones offering with meaningful more mature lyrics making a strong contrast to the opening song, this works very well and is produced wonderfully. ‘We Shall Overcome’ immediately grabs you with its strong to the point vocals and attitude and again shows their diversity, again with their atmospheric sounds coming through solidly and adding extra depth. This also possesses the biggest chorus seen so far, this is a definite highlight and is perhaps the right direction for the band to head in. ‘Spitting In The Eyes Of Defeat’ is a slower paced number with beautiful and moving moments aided by the sounds and instruments and soothing vocals with an aggressive angsty moody edge and memorable instruments. Closing song, ‘Bitter’ again displays pleasant vocals and hopeful clean instruments all in a neat and catchy melodic package with emotive moments, which are nicely emphasised with Blaise’s more husky powerful vocals.
Each track offers something different whilst remaining coherent, making this an enjoyable EP crammed with big rock hits which will appeal to the masses, and I for one am excited to see how the will band progress and what they do next, as they have a very promising mixed sound and display quite striking moments in this latest release which is bound to gain them many more fans..watch this space! CL
Palm Reader – Beside The Ones We Love Woking hardcore five piece return with their successor to their debut album, ‘Bad Weather’ and don’t be fooled and judge it by its cover, as you will be led astray by the image of pretty flowers...Opening track, ‘I Watched The Fire Chase My Tongue’ offers bleak insanity and chaos, all the while showing effective structures and instrumental and vocal placements with a sense of urgency and dissonance! Keeping things fluent, ‘Pedant’ feels discombobulated at times, but in a good mad sense and has memorable vocal sections, which feel more emotive and more melodic with ambient spaced out instruments which help provide more sustenance and depth. The latest track released from the album, ‘Sing Out, Survivor’ consists of fairly isolated guttural screams and brooding instruments largely, however towards the end gang vocals creep in and give it a anthemic and powerful vibe to see it out. This is one to listen to and can guarantee the crowds will ‘sing out’ the lyrics along with them! Tension building ‘Stacks’ packs a punch and has a brilliant grim melancholy yet catchy feel and paired with moments of insanity and irregular but effective rhythms, there really is ‘stacks’ of variety and traits to like about this one! ‘Travelled Paths’ I suppose would take the title of the ‘softer’ track, with the main focus on Josh McKeown’s strained emotive powerful vocals with only hopeful but dissonant chords to assist, the more stripped down move has a high impact and keeps the album dynamic and varied. ‘Stone’s Blood’ opens on a manic note before breaking out into strong chants and equally solid changeable dark instruments to accompany, it also brings some of the best rhythms seen so far and again features anthemic sections, making it more diverse. Bringing the album to a close, ‘Unabridged’ starts off minimalistic with vocals, simple drum beats and ambient melodic sounds but then progresses into an optimistic song with catchy instrumental sections and transitions which gives some great creativity musically and vocally with positive chants and displays more diversity in this track. This really closes in a triumphant and mighty way, embracing all the best elements and utilizing in the most effective way, to produce an epic meaningful emotive more positive song with dark edges, which embodies the album and ends it in the perfect fashion. This successor to their debut album, ‘Bad Weather’ is a brilliant natural progression for them as a band which they pull off effortlessly and each track displays great creativity and character, especially through their clever use of bleakness and dissonance, making this a must hear album for 2015 and reinforcing Palm Reader as a heavy contender for hardcore bands to keep an eye on and take the scene by storm! CL
I, The Lion - Run It’s always exciting when a young band releases a new EP. Often you find that doing an EP is the best way for a band to showcase their talent in the most condensed way, and don’t find any of the filler that sometimes goes into a fulllength. This is certainly the case with I, The Lion, and their new EP Run. Overall, this EP is solid. It isn’t anything monumentally groundbreaking in terms of musicality. Fairly standard guitar-driven hooks provide the backdrop to the vocals which, although not perhaps the best you’ve ever heard, are to be expected from this kind of hard rock/post-punk music. Saying that this is standard was maybe a tad unfair. Although it is in no way revolutionary, “standard” makes it sound a lot more boring than it actually is. Songs like opening track Hold Strong and Man Made of Mice are nothing if not infectiously catchy, something which this EP is very good at doing. There’s much of it through the entire thing, which comes through even when the mix isn’t exactly the best you’ve ever heard. Both a good place to jump forward into bigger and better things, and a lot of good fun in its own right! AL
Faith No More - Superhero (single) I think I may be one of the only rock fans who never went through a Faith No More phase in my evolution of music. However after listening to their recent single Superhero I may go back in time and check out a few classics. For a band that's been around for longer than thirty years it's quite impressive to still be making music, let alone it actually being good. Starting with an orchestral piano medley blended into repeat choruses of 'Go, go, go, go' it sounds something more like Billy Talent until the chorus. The song quickly gets into the nitty gritty however and before long it's a song to be loved after only one listen. After only listening to one song these guys strike me as a band who are all about experimentation. The guitar rhythm is catchy and easy to get along with, the drumming is intense and impressive and more than anything the vocals provided by Mike Patton are incredible. The short instrumental in the middle is also very well done and fits into the song perfectly, a lot of bands throw instrumentals in and don't really go with the beat but in here it's like a puzzle piece. After thirty or so years I'd half expect Faith No More to produce awful songs but I suppose it just goes to show that age can have a good effect on artists. RO
Dusty Road - Not Dead Just Yet (single) Heavy bands with girl lead singers seem to be making a radical comeback. Marmozets have taken the crown with that at the moment but it's not to bizzare to imagine that Dusty Road would be far behind them. With a sound like The Pretty Reckless mixed with No Doubt these rockers will definitely appeal to a wide demographic, especially if they carry on releasing catchy songs like this. The song is not incredible or ground breaking but it's enough to get this band noticed and into the big leagues. I see a positive future for this group. This song is upbeat, it will burrow into your brain and not let you rest until you've listened to the song again!
â&#x20AC;&#x153;With a sound like The Pretty Reckless mixed with No Doubt these rockers will definitely appeal to a wide demographicâ&#x20AC;? The instrument work is powerful and accompanied by the impressive singer it is not hard to believe that these guys and one girl will be big as they make their way to the top stepping on everyone as they go. All they need to do is get moving and start their journey. RO
The Devil In California - Longer Ride Down Opening with the foot stomping 'Black Hand' they are not looking to build slowly and are quick out of the blocks showing what is on offer with riff powered rock n roll that occasionally slips into different musical territories. Although this style is nothing new, they have provided a fresh breath into it and manage to stand out, they are almost a heavy rock country band but with the extra bit of venom and bourbon that is needed. While 'Black Hand' and 'Delta Sludge' set a fast heavy pace, it is pulled on 'Numb From The Fall' keeping it following the same flow throughout the album. I'd be curious to see these guys live, especially a song like 'Personal Voodoo' which has some ground shaking riffs along with some grinding bass lines marshalling up the backbone nicely with the drums. Anthony Malston's vocals have an imposing and authoritative quality to them, seeming to blend country, hard rock and he is able to make it stand well alongside the quality of musicianship on show especially on the title track. 'Gravel Road' has a distinctly blues vibe, again, it is catchy with such energy and a superb dual guitar team up that leads into a powerful, crunching end. If you are going to throw in a cover, then their version of Mountains 'Mississippi Queen' is the perfect fit and in it they find an ideal track to stamp their mark on. With catchy, groove fuelled riffs, this hard rocking five piece are blazing a trail of with their southern/classic hybrid on an album that is very satisfying on all rock n roll levels. AN
Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves Modest Mouse we’re formed in the early 90’s, with a slew of records released it wasn’t until 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News was released that they shot into the spotlight. With tracks such as “Float On” giving a flamboyant charm and almost cryptic lyricism at times. Fast forward on to 2015 and the band have come forth with yet another charming and odd record titled Strangers to Ourselves. By far this is definitely a Modest Mouse record, whether it be the brilliant percussion on “Ansel” or the drowsy opening ballad “Strangers”, to the pop-rock number of “The Best Room” inspired by a UFO sighting. Its these formative tracks that make the record though, with a lot of Strangers to Ourselves almost feels like a chore. Take the track “Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL.1996)” for example, you almost hear every studio session that has gone into some of these tracks and with that it almost feels a little messy and somewhat overthought, this could be the culmination of a nettle to even release this album over the past eight years. But with that said it is an enjoyable listen, it is a Modest Mouse album, but maybe just not the one everyone was hoping for. The musicianship still remains extraordinary here but at times it feels a little awkward and sometimes a drag to listen to. Never the less Strangers to Ourselves is pleasant as it is stiff, perhaps shoving them from inspired to just settled. GD
Alien Ant Farm - Always & Forever Longevity and maturity. They're the first two words that came to mind when listening to Always and Forever. Alien Ant Farm have always been one of those bands that make you just want to grab a drink and party. Songs like Movies and their cover of Smooth Criminal are timeless and will always draw a reaction from any crowd. While the songs on this album don't carry the same anthemic qualities, they're certainly not lacking in power or diversity. Songs like Yellow Pages and Let em Know are on totally different ends of the spectrum. Yellow Pages has a very fast tempo punk sound to it, while Let em Know has that modernised rock sound full of big production. One thing that glues all these tracks together is the unmistakable vocal of Dryden Mitchell, time and trials have only made this guy an even better vocalist. All in all, this record is yet another solid effort churned out by Alien Ant Farm and is enough to indicate that, despite being one of the longest running bands on the scene, they clearly don't plan on going anywhere just yet! CS
Make Do And Mend - Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Be Long The opening track, the album's namesake, kicks off with some dark guitar work that resembles the nu metal sounds of the early 00's before hitting you with a 36 Crazyfists style of metal. Having firmly caught my attention, I found the album to settle into a more Funeral For a Friend style of post hardcore/punk. Songs like Bluff and Each of Us scream influences of the Welsh rockers. If I were to have one criticism, I'd say the stripped back style of Sin Amor leaves the vocals a little high and dry. Whilst still containing all the emotion and passion of the rest of the album, it does highlight that this band is still growing. However, every band is growing right! So to conclude I was still left very impressed by the band! CS
Oceans Ate Alaska - Lost Isles The new album from Oceans Ate Alaska was definitely an enigma to me whilst I was writing this review. There's absolutely no doubting the musical talent of this outfit, some of the technicality on show in the drum and guitar work is a wonder to behold. The production on this album is right on point too, a big shout out to the producer on that one. Despite all these positives, I found myself completely unable to connect with this band. Apart from the track 'Vultures and Sharks', I found the album lacking in melody and structure. It was an absolute onslaught of breakdowns from the get go. If I were to offer my advice to this band, it would be to add more hooks and melodies to help break up the breakdowns, pun not intended. CS
Stick to Your Guns - Disobedient Where do I begin with the new Stick to Your Guns album? I can't believe this is already the band's 5th studio album, but I can definitely buy into it being the best. Tracks like ‘What Choice Did You Give Us’ absolutely slay you with powerful riffs and vocals full of angst, before kicking into a huge anthemic chorus. It's almost as if Killswitch Engage and A Day to Remember had a love child. Next up is 'Nobody', opening with a bad ass bass riff before exploding into another A Day to Remember style hardcore metal onslaught. ‘To Whom It May Concern’ sings of having 'nowhere else to go' and delivers its message with incredible power. The only question I have in response is 'why would you want to go anywhere else when you have this album and this band?' The opening section of 'Left you Behind' had me trying to decide whether I should just sit back and appreciate an incredible band, or jump around in celebration that, not only can this band deliver a brutal riff, but they can also deliver a stripped back shade of rock. All said and done, I'm totally impressed by this album. It has definitely earned a place in my CD collection. CS
Gallows - Desolation Sounds Desolation Sounds marks a shift in direction for Gallows from out and out hardcore punk to something more refined, something darker, subtle perhaps, maybe even more grown up. All the elements that have made them the celebrated band that they have become are all there but on Desolation Sounds, they are a band that have become very difficult to categorise. With opener 'Mystic Death' you wouldn't expect anything other than what we know and love about Gallows songs, ferocious and kicking you while you're down. This is a quite superb start that borders thrash in moments but with the title track, things soon change and something quite different is revealed in Gallows. It is mellower and darker, taking away the distortion and finding an edgier tone because of it that snakes its way throughout every aspect of the music. 'leviathan Rot' is a monster of a song, with Wade's vocal rasping and bellowing like a man possessed. The first songs revealed were 'Chains' and 'Bonfire Season', these songs took me a while to get to grips with and it was a while until I decided if I loved or hated them. They mark a big shift in sound, 'Chains' is atmospheric with a soothing female voice at the beginning before Wade cuts it off and takes over in his own dominating style. 'Bonfire Season' might be the most melodic thing the band have done, the bass is what gives this song the back bone and it holds things together superbly with the more polished sound of the guitar melodies. It took me time but I now love these songs!
“I love a band that takes things another way and doesn't rest on the tried and tested” The closer 'Swan Song' brings elements of everything that is to be heard on the album and there are many, It is a very fitting ending. I have a feeling that this is an album that long time fans of Gallows are either going to love or hate, personally, I love a band that takes things another way and doesn't rest on the tried and tested. That makes this album a triumph. AN
"King Hydra started in 2014. Formed by Vocalist, Chris Vanaman, and Vocalist, Brandon Dahme. It was a struggle forming a live band, because of the area we live in, Philadelphia, PA USA. We decided to form a studio band. Guitarist, Tim Beiber decided to aid us in making the music we make today. Coming within this year, will be our debut 4 song EP, "Perpetuate". Our sound consist of a technical metal blend of hard riffs, and beautiful harmonies. This unsigned, studio band, has the potential to make the music people will enjoy and, also, get into. We currently look for as much support as possible, as we attempt to make the album of our dreams. We are currently starting an album, that should be released within the year 2016." Facebook.com/kinghydraofficial / email@example.com / twitter.com/kinghydraband
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All To Ruin - Among Us It’s obvious that All to Ruin have many influences, from the heavy guitars from Slipknot fused with Bullet For My Valentine to the vocals sounding like a cross between Dexter Holland and Dave Grohl. This is nothing but rock music at its finest. From the first song Take The Reins I was impressed with All To Ruin. Fast paced guitar heard over impressive vocals accompanied by intense drumming. This is what a band should be. Together chemistry is produced. Something which artificially made bands lack extensively. The titular track next proves this with grace, a tornado driven ballad that does not stop from start to finish. A chorus that you can catch like a bad cold and not shake for days and more than anything it’s just a brilliant piece of music. Every song on this EP is solid, the guitar work is nothing short of incredible and will leave the listener wanting more and more. All to Ruin are one of those bands that manage to take rock music to the next level. The vocals are extremely diverse and now that they’re being played on well known radio stations, then I think they will certainly appeal to a wide demographic. RO
The Barnum Meserve - The Barnum Meserve When first listening to The Barnum Meserve it’s hard to believe that three people can create a sound as beautifully classic as this. Sure these days we’ve got Royal Blood showing us what two people can do and obviously Muse have always shown us what a threesome can do, but there’s something different about these guys. They’ve managed to take hints and tips from those artists that produce huge mind bending sounds such as Arcade Fire and Radiohead and intersperse them with what sound like musical numbers you’d heard in million dollar blockbuster films. Music like this needs to be heard. The Barnum Reserve have been working on their self-titled debut album for a long time and the result is a timeless hoard of classical numbers flavoured with the intense vocals from lead singer Leon Wiley.
“The album promises to be a brilliant adventure to be had by all.” I think a lot of bands would attempt to make this amazing sound that fuses movie scores and classic epic rock bands together and the majority of those bands would fail. From the opening of War Games breaking through with this unique sound, the album promises to be a brilliant adventure to be had by all. This promise is not broken whether it’s the deep musical sound in The Last Forever or the incredible finale at the end of Tides this is a collective piece of music that is both thought provoking and beautiful. Barnum Merserve isn’t just an album you listen to as you lazily scroll through facebook with boredom, this is an album that demands your attention and if you give it your fullest, you will be very fulfilled with what these guys can do. RO
Death Kindly Waits For Me - Wire//Iron//Blood Death Kindly Waits For Me sound like some children that have listened to Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday and Brand New too much. From the start of the first song Cutting Room Floor the vocals are not totally up to scratch and sound positively whiney, as if imitating Jesse Lacey. However when the screaming vocals come in that is when this band pick things up totally. Best Friends Just Don’t Do That carries on in the same way as its predecessor with the same high pitched vocals. It’s a shame the vocals aren’t great because this band could be really great, the rest of what they do is good. The lyrics are cool, the screaming is brilliant and the guitar work is impressive but the initial lead vocals sadly let this band down. However if you listen to early recordings of Taking Back Sunday they don’t sound ridiculously amazing, so maybe this is a young band finding their voice. In future they could be something great and I will probably eat my words, but for now I think they need work which is a shame. RO
Left For Red - All Things Known And Buried I saw an interesting picture the other day that helps me set up this article well. At the top of the picture it said ‘Real Metal’ followed by bands such as Pierce the Veil, Mayday Parade and Paramore. On the bottom it said ‘Old Dad Rock’ and this was accompanied by the likes of Metallica and Pantera. It’s a sad fact, these classic bands are of the past. If you ask a young’un what metal is now they would probably say You Me At Six and Black Veil Brides. However when there’s bands like Left For Red at the helm of real metal, it’s not likely these bands will ever die in anyone’s eyes. Once the intro of 48 seconds is over it’s time to get stuck into the real album, Master of the Game which definitely sports the homage of Metallica’s older material. Proving that this band aren’t just a one trick pony the next track Crooked Path sounds more like System of a Down which is a big positive in any metal fans book. In more recent years it feels like metal has really branched out of the West Midlands, it has been a hot bed for old bands and new and Left For Red are no different. This band are influenced by the great metal bands of before my time and are managing to keep their music alive. They do not succumb to the popular music of today and instead stick to their guns.
“British metal at its finest” The rest of the album flows extremely well, Ascension is probably the best track on the album, from start to finish it is just flawless and stands apart from the rest of the album…for me. If you enjoy your metal old school and still wish the mainstream radio were filled with good bands who inspire thought provoking music then this band are definitely for you. British metal at its finest. RO
While She Sleeps - Brainwashed While She Sleeps are back! Raise the flag! Oh, they already did on their album cover. Returning after a momentous few years since This Is The Six they’re back and better than ever with Brainwashed. The introduction of the album in the form of The Divide passes quickly and soon we’re listening to the familiar vocals that make While She Sleeps so popular with so many people. Powerful with no time to stop New World Torture certainly proves that WSS have been hard at work. What I like about this band is that they’re unlike a lot of bands out there at the moment, they know how to bring it hard. So hard you feel like destroying everything in your path but then bringing it down low to really appreciate the music these guys can produce. The guitar work in this album is nothing short of beautiful and amazing. Every chord sounds thought out and you can hear the work that has gone into it. On top of this the lyrics are incredible and will get caught in your head quite easily.
“This could be the album that takes them all the way to the top” The titular track is a stand out on the album. Definitely one for the inner mosh head. The chorus of ‘We’re being Brainwashed’ and the solo that follows it is incredible and without doubt a favourite part of the album. We Are Alive At Night is just an instrumental on the album and sounds like an old western. You can almost imagine the boys wondering through a deserted street about to have an old fashioned gun sling. This Is completely contrasted by Our Legacy that follows which is back to what the boys do best and SCREAM! The album from here seems to go again at the same pace, not that it’s boring, quite the contrary. Every song sounds different from Torment to No Sides, No Enemies. Until we reach Into The Woods which again sounds like it shouldn’t belong on this album. It’s impressive guitar work but ultimately sounds lost in a sea of metal music. However this is what makes While She Sleeps so good, they take these risks and chances and ultimately Into The Woods is fantastic. Without sounding to cliché While She Sleeps have done it again! Brainwashed captures the essence of metal that the world loves and they aren’t shy about doing what they want to do. This could be the album that takes them all the way to the top. RO
Mad Apple Circus Out of all the genres out there it isn’t ignorant to say that ska has definitely had a huge influence on the world. Artists like Zebrahead and Less Than Jake prove this. Mad Apple Circus want to bring this style back to the UK, and judging from their constant touring they’re doing a damn good job. Sounding like a lovechild of The Specials and Ordinary Boys, this nine piece fuse Ska and Reggae beats to create a great sound. The low tempo singing from the male lead accompanied by female vocals help express this band as truly unique. The band consist of nine members and in past instances bands with that many members have sounded lost and had an odd sound of confusion but all of MAC’s songs sound perfect. The brass instruments blended with the MC skills make this album simply gloriously incredible. The lyrics on each and every song are fantastic and it will make you want to dance regardless of the mood you’re in. The album is pretty fast paced from the opening trumpet entrenched The Seed all the way through to the catchy Animal. Intent on proving they’re not a one trick pony as it were, there is a great little acoustic piece with Not For Me where trumpets are replaced with the backing singers bapping along with the chorus. Amazing. What People Do pushes the female vocals to the front for a whole song and the ending result is a truly great song that just prove what this outfit are capable of. I love the secret behind ska music, you don’t need to know the songs, you don’t even need to know who the band are, you just need to listen and let your body do the rest. In seconds you’ll be grooving as if you have no control over your own physical form. This album is just great from start to finish and anyone who is a fan of the likes of Less than Jake should be on the Mad Apple Circus hype train. This album oozes classic ska. A whirlwind experience of brass instruments collectively fused with thought provoking lyrics and excellent vocals. Mad Apple Circus are certainly a band that need to be seen and heard. RO
stereoriotsmusic.bandcamp.com/ facebook.com/StereoRiots twitter.com/stereoriots instagram.com/stereoriots/ stereoriots.tumblr.com/ soundcloud.com/stereoriots StereoRiots is an alternative indie band based out of Washington DC. The band began taking shape when Wahid Hashime (guitar/vocals) met Jey Williams (bass/vocals) online. The two began writing songs together and eventually enlisted Moe Sesay (drums/vocals). After the trio began shaping their sound they recruited Erica Yu to play keyboard and synth. Within a few months of writing together, StereoRiots began tracking demos at Blue Room Productions in Bethesda, Maryland, US. Soon after their first set of demos were released the band started playing local shows in the Washington DC area, and caught the attention of Austin Bello (Forever the Sickest Kids). In early 2014 StereoRiots began work on their debut EP with Austin. In the spring of 2014 Erica Yu departed from the band to pursue a career in art. Wahid, Jey and Moe continued to write and record the EP with Austin as a trio. During the recording process StereoRiots continued to play shows in DC, Virginia and New York. In the late summer of 2014 the band wrapped up the recording for their debut EP. The trio continued writing and performing in various parts of the DC area. In the beginning of 2015 StereoRiots released their debut EP "Intervals" via USB wristband and digital download on Bandcamp. They also announced Jorge Ramirez (keys/synth) as a new member of the band. The quartet continues writing and performing. They are planning their first tour in 2015.
Motion venue in Bristol had a good vibe tonight (a converted skatepark by night) which also looks like the turtles hideout in the early 90s! First support band Blessthefall from Arizona got the already large crowd pumped up with their atmospheric choruses & metalcore beats!....Buffalo based kings Every Time I Die sent people going crazy! Resembling a roller disco of mosh pits and sing alongs! Frontman Keith Buckley & his band always put on a great performance & tonight was no exception, playing some new tracks & old favourites, 'The New Black' was a stand out.
Next up the now legendary Architects! I can't count how many times I've seen these guys from living in Brighton & all around the UK, but this really was one of their best shows, a band which has tirelessly progressed with every tour becoming now one of the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best Metal bands live. These guys care a lot about their music & fans and also good causes such as Sea shepherd UK. Songs played off their new album 'Lost Forever, Lost Together' cause chaos! Big tunes 'Naysayer' & 'Broken Cross' go down a storm with the crowd. With older fan favourites being played such as 'Early Grave' & 'Follow The Water' this couldn't of been a better show for their fans & for anyone who may not of seen them before! I can't wait to see what these guys have coming for us next! AD
A long time fan of Papa Roach would know that tours like this don't come very often from the band (a full headline tour of the UK). So before they have even hit the stage the excitement and atmosphere from the audience is already in the air. Taken from their brand new album F.E.A.R. they start with 'Face Everything And Rise' which encourages crowd movement straight away. After this the band start to dive into some of their greatest hits from their extensive back catalogue including 'Getting Away With Murder' & 'Where Did The Angels Go' which have the mosh pits in full motion. With it being 15 years since the release of their career defining album 'Infest' then we are of course treated to a handful of songs from the album such as 'Blood Brothers' & to the crowds pleasant surprise 'Snakes' which hasn't been performed live since 2001! To keep the crowd swaying the band mix in new tracks such as 'Warriors' and 'Broken As Me' which already sit extremely well within the Papa Roach set list. Before the encore the band hit us with the undeniably jumpy anthem that is 'Lifeline' as well as 'Still Swingin' which are both performed to the highest level. With the crowd clapping and chanting for more, the band swiftly bounce back into action and cruise straight into some of their most well known songs to date 'Last Resort' and 'Scars' which at this point it becomes slightly harder to hear the band with everyone singing so loud! To end the night the band perform 'To Be Loved' which with its energetic sound creates a great ending to tonights show, while leaving you wanting Papa Roach to come back the next day to play again! Overall the evening felt like it was a massive celebration, sure it was their guitarists birthday, but it was a night that reminded us why these guys have earned their place in the rock world, and it's also a statement because if they keep putting out new tracks like they have recently, then the future is looking very strong for the mighty Papa Roach! AD
Yellowcard - Bristol, 02 Academy - 15/3/15 It was an early start tonight in Bristol, but for the guys in Chunk! No,Captain Chunk! they still had a huge turnout for their performance. Known for their addictive combination of Pop Punk and Metal the band launch straight into 'Haters Gonna Hate' which is just brilliant to watch live. The band share their delicious cover of 'All Star' which gets a sing along right from the first lyric. The highlight of their set has to be 'Retreat' which confirms that the band will be headlining venues of this size themselves in the not so distant future. Jumping from one side of the stage to the other, along with the occasional thumbs up, then this can only mean that Less Than Jake have arrived to bring us their infectious ska/punk sound. They tear through classics such as 'The Ghosts of Me and You' 'The Science of Selling Yourself Short' 'Overrated (Everything Is)' which all get the crowd constantly moving throughout. We see toilet roll guns, a mascot running around like a headless chicken, a dude with an awesome beard invited up to dance and drink beers with the band which just add to the live atmosphere and show that crowd interaction is a must for LTJ. From their TV/EP they perform the 'Pac Man Cereal Jingle' which was just really fun to watch live, and will most likely have everyone looking to buy the cereal online after the show...They conclude with huge songs such as 'Plastic Cup Politics' & 'Gainesville Rock City' which of course both get an overwhelming response and create a great end to a fantastic set. Sean from Yellowcard gives us a chilled out start to their set by performing the song 'Convocation', which is an awesome slice of violin goodness for any listener. They continue with two new tracks 'Transmission Home' & 'Crash the Gates' which are both huge/arena sounding songs that show us just how far the sound of the band has progressed since their last output 'Southern Air'. They then start to sprinkle in some older tunes such as 'Lights and Sounds' & 'Only One' which both have the crowd respond with a mass sing along to every lyric. They give us more material from their latest album such as 'Lift a Sail' & 'Make Me So' which both confirm that the album has been extremely well received by their fan base. One of my highlights of the set has to be 'Awakening' as its hard hitting melody and in your face lyrics just harness your attention throughout. As the set concludes we are treated to a heavy amount of work from their Ocean Avenue album such as 'Believe' 'Way Away' and without fail the title track 'Ocean Avenue' which all add to an almost perfect set! (I could watch every Yellowcard track live!). AD
Enter Shikari -The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton - 18/2/15 'This is not entertainment, entertainment only goes in One Direction' this was greeted by cheers of a sweaty, exhausted crowd who had eaten out of the palms of St Alban's finest. Lead singer Roughton Reynolds was right though, they had given it their all and it was clear Enter Shikari loved it as well. Of course it wasn't just the rave metal group that had come along for the ride though, Shikari's entourage on this tour consisted of Allusondrugs and Feed the Rhino. Allusondrugs were first to grace the stage at the Civic hall in Wolverhampton and the name is definitely accurate for this outfit. It was unclear as to what their objective is in music. It did just look like they were all on some sort of hallucinogenic and decided to pick up some instruments. I'm sure people in the crowd who are familiar with this group enjoyed it but for me they didn't bring much to the table in any sense of the word. Feed the Rhino on the other hand completely did the opposite. The lead singer was engrossed with bringing the crowd in on the action. 'If you know the words sing along!' he shouted at a hoard of people as they held him up during one of their hits. Left for Ruins and New Wave definitely got the highest reaction. The atmosphere was electric as the lights faded and four figures took to the stage. Lead singer Rou looked calm and collected as he stood in place hands behind his back like some sort of Noel Gallagher impersonator singing the opening to The Appeal and the Mindsweep. One was not to worry for when the chorus of 'I am a mindsweeper' kicked in he was bouncing all over the stage in classic fashion. Even knocking over mic stands. While I'm sure most bands would wait for their roadies to pick them back up Rou just dived towards the ground for the nearest mic and screamed. As if the crowd wasn't already on their side singing along to every word the next song was the amazing hit Destabilise. Fading into Radiate, Rou is sporting a guitar, something he rarely does however he doesn't look lost or out of place. More like he's just recovered a missing limb. While Rou is the lead singer all of the attention is never focused on him, Chris the bassist, Rory guitarist and Rob on drums are each so bombastic with their movements it's hard to focus on just one. However when Rou runs on stage with a ladder and mounts it against one of the balconies that's kind of hard to ignore. There's some back and forth banter about why he has climbed the balcony and then he demands to hear 'War cry's' from everyone, a perfect way to kick into the first single from new album Mindsweep The Last Garrison. 'Do you mind if we play some new songs from the new album' Rob asks the audience to collective screams. This starts off the cluster of new songs from Never Let Go Of The Microscope all the way to Torn Apart concluding with the interlude with a trumpet solo. There is no instrument these guys can't master. The intense single Mothership is up next, a homeage to the first time they played the Civic on the Take to the Skies tour they said. Always one to create pure havoc. Of course that havoc reflects well in this audience and only a mad man would want to be in the middle of one of those pits and of course Chris Batten takes his bass and does just that for the insane Paddington Frisk. The encore came in the style of the quite frankly beautifully melodic Dear Future Historians in which Rou on his own took to a piano on stage. Cue the lighters. The rest of the band join and the sound produced is nothing short of incredible. The band seem distracted after this as to how a vase had got on stage, before the audience could clock what was happening the scream of 'Get me the manager' was heard introducing the insane single Slipshod and of course the vase gets smashed...whoopsy. Ending this insane, amazing and incredible show was the electrifying Sssnakepit the band thank everyone for coming out and run off stage after giving it their all. The crowd are sweaty, tired and satisfied. Always the same at the end of a Shikari gig. RO
Four Year Strong - Cardiff Uni - 24/3/15 The Pure Noise Records tour visited Cardiff with Four Year Strong the headlining act, support came from veteran pop punk band Hit The Lights, California’s Forever Came Calling and Birmingham’s (UK) Light You Up. The night kicked off with Light You Up who are an underrated pop punk band who just really enjoy playing and touring. They played a mix of new and old tracks and got a good reaction from the crowd with a small group of people singing along, vocalist Tom Napier did a great job of getting the crowd involved by coming into the crowd himself to bring a basement show like experience to the fans. Overall they did a pretty good job. I’d heard a few people talking about how they were looking forward to Forever Came Calling but the crowd reaction was pretty disappointing. The band managed to deliver an energetic performance; performing songs off their two full length albums, the set unfortunately seemed to drag probably because of the lack of interest from the crowd. It certainly won’t hurt their popularity touring with two pop punk bands with the experience that Hit The Lights and Four Year Strong have. I was slightly anxious with the Hit The Lights situation, their singer had pulled out of the show with a chest infection. The band relied upon the former singer of a band called Fastlane, considering the amount of time he had to prepare he did a sterling job. The set was very fast and there was little sign of any problems with adapting to the new singer, the set list featured many of their old hits like ‘Bodybag’ which drew a pretty good reaction from a so far subdued crowd. Massive credit has to go to Hit The Lights for continuing the tour and delivering a solid performance.
“It was definitely a performance of a band who believe they still remain one of the big players in the pop punk scene!” The crowd seemed to be saving all their energy for the main act Four Year Strong, the whole set was frenetic and the crowd was much better than the last time they played in the same venue. The reaction to the songs off the recent ‘Go Down In History’ EP must have been extremely encouraging, especially after their disappointing third full length album. Vocalists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day have a very serious and angry presence on stage which adds an element to the live experience, the crowd had great fun with continual circle pits and plenty of crowdsurfing. Four Year Strong also made older fans happy by performing tracks off their LP ‘Rise or Die Trying’, ‘Bada Bing! Wit’ a Pipe’ was particularly enjoyable. It was definitely a performance of a band who believe they still remain one of the big players in the pop punk scene. JP
Monster Magnet - Glasgow Garage - 14/2/15 It’s Valentines Day, a day of romance, roses, chocolates and evenings out for dinner but when Monster Magnet are in town what else could be a more perfect way to spend it? The place is starting to fill up nicely as Bombus take the stage, the Swedes are blistering as they riff and shred through an all too short half hour set. They are a perfect foil for a Monster Magnet crowd, with a blend of sludge, stoner and even pushing towards Poison Idea style punk. This is a band who need to be checked out, you won’t be disappointed. The Garage is a heaving mass by the time Dave Wyndorf and his men arrive on the stage and let loose with a cover of the Richard Calvert song, ‘The Right Stuff’. Wyndorf is prowling and already has the crowd in the palm of his hand by the time the double header of space marauding classics ‘Dopes to Infinity’ and ‘Look to the Orb for the Warning’ have faded. The place goes positively crazy at the opening blasts of ‘Twin Earth’ it’s sweaty, slippy and the Glasgow crowd are in the mood. ‘I Live Behind the Clouds’ brings us from the favourites of the past to the more modern crop of Monster Magnet, this is a song so well executed live, the lights and the echo Wyndorf’s stunning voice send chills down your spine. Then it is the epic ‘Last Patrol’, this is psychedelic rock n roll at its best. For over ten minutes the crowd are taken on a journey through thundering rhythms, dirty solos, slow gritty builds that are the stuff of genius. Last Patrol is well represented with ‘End of Time’ and ‘Stay Tuned’ closing out the opening portion of the show in epic fashion, before the encore brings one final track from the album with the re-imagining of Donovans ‘Three Kingfishers’. It is back in time again to the Powertrip album with ‘Tractor’ and a massive ‘Spacelord’ to conclude a five star show that shows that even 25 + years down the line Monster Magnets days are far from behind them. The New Jersey born space opera is alive and well. AN
'A dynamically atmospheric rock sound hailing out of Blackpool, England. These gifted rock musicians define their band's sound with roaring riffs and rhythms, stomping low-end booms, grooving stick actions and vocal tones that are brilliant with haunting charms' - Forkster Rocks
Check out our video for 'The Wounds We've Ignored' right here: youtu.be/MY3j2SPffjI
Echoes is a 5 piece American Melodic Hardcore band from San Diego, California. Drawing influence from bands such as Counterparts, More Than Life, Crooks and Hundredth, Echoes delivers an aggressively ambient punch to their listeners, yet preserves clarity to deliver their message. In early 2014, Echoes released their debut EP titled “Silver Linings and Dark Clouds”, which is available for free on their bandcamp. They are recording a new EP titled “Love Alone” right now, which is set to be released in April!
‘Good night. Good luck’ is a statement that has followed Dying Light all the way through its conception. It is less a statement and more a warning in the case of the actual game. When it starts you might think why the warning? The day is fine, the zombies are slow and easy to pick off and more than that it's a hell of a lot of fun. However when night rears its ugly head it's dinner time, and you are on the menu. Most would wager that zombie games are old hat and done to death, excuse the pun. However Dying Light is an exceptionally fun game and a grand slam for the genre. The story may be as cliché as a rom com however that doesn't take away from it. You are Kyle Crane and you're an undercover operative sent into the infected city of Harran. You quickly make allies with some of the survivors and others quickly begin to distrust you because how boring would it be if everyone loved you. I won't ruin the story but it's a bit like Avatar, only Avatar was terrible. You originally begin to work for the survivors at 'The Tower'. This is where the good guys live, but quickly you learn all is not so black and white. You have to work for the bad men too but isn't it nice seeing bad people be bad. I don't think a game is a game without seeing a hand get chopped off. Soon you're hustling people for money, taking out enemy infrastructures and stealing from defenceless people. All the while avoiding being eaten alive. The first time you get to go out and explore the immersive city is incredible, anywhere you go you're likely to bump into someone who needs help and of course because you're such a nice guy you help them out regardless. Even if you do resent it a little bit. Any house is virtually accessible and of course any house can contain a flesh eating corpse. The side missions on this game are in the bulk, I ignored the main story for a long time just to do random odds and ends for people and some of the characters you meet are absolutely amazing. Including a man who hasn't quite accepted his mother's death, a man in a gas mask who takes down hideout defences and a man who wishes to create an...apocalypse wall. Don't ask.
I touched upon the night a bit but I'm sure you like me will be thinking 'I can't wait to go out at night, sounds fun'. Fun it is but terrifying, I'm going to hold my hands up and say the first time one of the fast, terrifying zombies spotted me I screamed, they're speedy, elusive, hard to shake and worse than anything they're super hard to kill...unless you jump in water then they drown. Silly zombies. There are certain missions you need to do at night so people can't just avoid the darkness at their own leisure. The zombies aren't boring either, you can have running ones, exploding ones, ones that throw green balls of poisonous gas at you and of course child zombies...yes you read right. All I'm saying when you meet one of these is..run! What would a game like this be without online modes well this one has two online modes. In one you can just go into another person's game and help them out with various missions or just kicking the living daylights out of some zombies. The other is Be The Zombie Mode. This is just fun, you take on the role of a walking dead who has abilities like Venom from Spider-Man for some reason. Moving around the map is a heap of fun and fighting the human your against is even more so. However if you're the human and the zombie gets you prepare for a change of pants. The weapon choices allow you to be creative in your slaughter of zombies. Weapons are vast and wide but they can include a wrench, a hook knife, a police baton, a baseball bat, a cricket bat and even a sword...the sword is a secret though. Try and find it without the internet I dare you. But you can also upgrade these weapons to burn, freeze, electrocute or explode. The thought that has gone into this game is incredible and the end result is an all round fun experience. With the studio releasing more perks to this game over the next few months, I imagine this won't be a game I will be putting down in a hurry. The parkour is amazing, the city is astounding and the zombies are believable, scary and most importantly fun to kill. Good night and good luck.
Following Neil Blomkamp's 2009 debut film District 9, his 2013 feature Elysium contrasted in a way that was somewhat disappointing in the way in which it was produced. I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it, it's just that it felt more like a Hollywood blockbuster, as oppose to the raw and edgy adventure that was District 9. I'm happy to say though that Chappie brings the best of both worlds together beautifully. Set in near-future Johannesburg, where an iRobot-like system of AI law-enforcement patrols the streets. Crime is down to a record low and cop deaths have been reduced, yet robot-cop inventor Deon Wilson (Dev Patel - Slumdog Millionaire) sees more to his android army than just clean streets. Deon is working on something new, an artificial intelligence system that can not only think, but can feel emotion and create its own personality. The result of his prototype computer program and a set-to-be destroyed faulty police robot, is Chappie. With the body of a thick-skinned machine and the brain of a developing and highly impressionable small child, Chappie and creator Deon are hijacked and taken to the derelict underbelly of Johannesburg. Here they are confronted by criminals Ninja and Yolandi, a pair of gang runaways played by electroclash duo Die Antwoord. Sharlto Copley once more plays a major part in the South African directors creation, voicing Chappie in a charming and delightfully humane fashion. You'll leave the cinema wanting a Chappie, and wanting to cuddle it like a baby until he falls asleep and starts calling you Mommy! As Deon attempts to nuture Chappie's infant brain slowly, Ninja sees the opportunity to instead turn him into his car-jacking ninja-star throwing sidekick. Chappie learns quickly and soon becomes a foreboding figure in the underground crime scene. Thrown into the mix too is Deon's co-worker Vincent Moore. Played by a mullet-laden Hugh Jackman, Moore sees Deon's successful police units as the reason behind his own crime-fighting invention, "The Moose" failing to find a willing customer. The story moves inevitably towards a gunfight between Moore in his Moose and Chappie and co. The fight scene serves a purpose as a conclusion to the film in a CGI-heavy encounter, bringing a somewhat easy end to Jackman and the human factions involvement. Blomkamp's third directional outing is an enjoyable and infectious journey that leaves you wanting more Chappie. It asks big questions concerning what's right and what's wrong with overly-developing AI technology yet it doesn't necessarily answer these questions, rather it leaves it to us to ponder over it ourselves.
"Sleepless in December, Is a five piece post-hardcore band from Corpus Christi Texas. Launched in 2013 by Matt Ryan Immediately after leaving Design The Skyline. The band has gone through many line up changes but has finally obtained the correct members with the level of creativity and dedication needed to push the band to the next level. They are currently working on their debut ep "Infinite Dreams" which is set to be released early summer. CONTACT: facebook.com/SleeplessInDecember twitter.com/sidecember instagram.com/sleeplessindecember
Coming off the back of their seemingly everlasting success with Frozen, Disney Animated Studios have drawn directly from Marvel's chest of treasures to bring us 2014's highest grossing animated movie, Big Hero 6. Voiced by Scott Adsit (30 Rock, Robot Chicken) Baymax and co come together to create a visually dazzling and highly loveable superhero spectacle for the whole family. Set in the streets of a fictional amalgamation of America and Japan, San Fransokyo (it's as cool as it sounds), this lesser known Marvel story brings together 14-year-old scientific inventing prodigy Hiro Hamada, and his brother's own robot creation Baymax. Initially designed to care and aid for those in need, Baymax is slowly transformed by Hiro from an inflatable-latex version of Mrs Doubtfire, into a full body-armoured fighting machine. Comedy runs throughout with Baymax stealing the show, basic slapstick jokes are meticulously timed and innovately reimagined to make uproariously funny scenes from the simplest of concepts. Alongside coloufully epic visuals and technoloigcally advanced animation, Disney have created a movie with enough crossgenerational flavour to make this a contender for movie of the year.
Baymax is brilliant, his Siri-like response tone and adorably cute natured mannerisms make him a loveable and hilarious character. He is overly-attentive like a loving parent, but at the same time is completely oblivious of his surroundings like a small child. Baymax's character manages to dilute fast-paced action scenes with his gentle nature, scenes which would have otherwise been alarming for kids. Whilst investigating the death of Hiro's brother and Baymax's creator, Tadashi, the pair come across a Kabukimasked, black cloak wearing figure who has turned one of Hiro's scientific creations into his own personal weapon. But the duo aren't alone, teamed with Tadashi's college buddies and Hiro's keen eye for inventing brightly coloured and incredibly advanced superhero costumes, the six of them set out to avenge Tadashi's death and uncover the man behind the mask. The film's plot is basic, but has been fleshed out well with clever twists and turns and characters that are instantly loveable and gags that will be long remembered. The ever growing relationship between Baymax and Hiro though is the core of this high-flying adventure. The early stages bring together Hiro's teenage attitude and Baymax's child-like naivety, while the latter of the movie is both heartwarming and heroic. And of course, it wouldn't be a Marvel movie without an appearance from Stan Lee now would it?
Kill the gunman is a new Hard rock/Alt group from Chicago, Il made up by members Bobby Gershak and Jonathan Chalabis. It brings back the sound of what rock should be, music written from the heart! You have the emotion, power, and passion in Jonathans voice combined with the thunderous, creepy, bass lines, and in your face guitar by Bobby Gershak. As well as the tight and loud drumming of longtime friend of 9 years Quinn Pfaff; who was a guest for tracking the drums on the album. Their upcoming release "Friends In All Places." features guests such as "Nick Nativo," "Nick Pay," "Rob Lewis," "Anthony Lewis," "Anthony Rutten," "Kevin Moody," and "Quinn Pfaff".
Recorded at the Nook Studio (produced by Bobby Gershak and Nick Nativo) their release will be coming this Summer/Fall. Their influences include Alice In Chains, Sevendust, Foo Fighters and Godsmack! You can check out their latest single "Letting Go" right here: https://soundcloud.com/kill-the-gunmanband/letting-go-mp3
CONTACT: facebook.com/killthegunmanband reverbnation.com/killthegunman soundcloud.com/kill-the-gunman-band Killthegunmanband@gmail.com
HOURS OF DECAY
Of Decay is an They have shared the uprising powerhouse of stage with metal acts metal in Des Moines Iowa. such as Napalm Death, Consisting of veterans from Chimaira, Exhumed, Born different Iowa bands to Of Osiris and many more. form a new page in Thrash- the band is schedualed to Death metal. release thier first full length album â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cascades Formed in 2012, Hours Of Of Violenceâ&#x20AC;? on May 23rd Decay always aims to put 2015. on full energy mosh-hard shows. CONTACT: