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Hello, and welcome to issue 32 of Stencil Mag! We are here to get you up to date with new releases and upcoming tours from the most talented bands on the planet! If you don't know where to start, then head on over to the highlights section on the right and get stuck in! Our main article comes from We Came As Romans who tell us everything you need to know about their latest self-titled album. They've spent their career putting out dynamic records that are just fantastic to listen to, and with their latest output they've clearly achieved this approach once more! Itâ€™s the 30th anniversary of Back To The Future, so what better time to chat to Jeffrey Weissman in our talent features section as he tells us what it was like to be George McFly in this iconic trilogy of films. We speak to the writer Darren Shan who explains what it takes to make it as a writer in this day and age, as well as how he went about turning one of his novels into a motion picture. To add to all of this we catch up with the script writer Mark Stay who talks about how he came up with the idea for Robot Overlords, which turned into a Sci-Fi adventure film featuring Gillian Anderson & Ben Kingsley! Although the summer is nearly over, there are still a couple of major festivals to go, including Hevy Fest and Reading/Leeds Festival! To get you ready for these brilliant events we have asked our writers to put together a list of bands that they think you should check out, so get involved, and don't miss out! Enjoy!
Gnarwolves will end 2015 with a headline tour which will feature support from Spraynard and Such Gold. December 09 Rainbow Warehouse, Birmingham 10 Sound Control, Manchester 11 Key Club, Leeds 12 Audio, Glasgow 13 Local Authority, Sheffield 14 District, Liverpool 15 Bodega, Nottingham 16 Exchange, Bristol 17 Sound Circus, Bournemouth 18 Underworld, London
The Xcerts and Set It Off have been announced as support for Mallory Knoxâ€™s Autumn UK tour. September 28 ABC, Glasgow 29 Ritz, Manchester 30 Junction, Cambridge October 02 Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton 03 Empire, Middlesborough 04 Y Plas, Cardiff 06 Lemon Grove, Exeter 07 Rock City, Nottingham 08 UEA, Norwich 09 Roundhouse, London
Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins has announced a short run of UK shows as part of a European tour. September 02 Glee Club, Birmingham 03 Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow 04 Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester 05 Union Chapel, London
With their new album, ‘Automatic’, set to be released on Friday August 7th, Don Broco have announced a run of UK shows in support of its release. August 6 Esquires, Bedford 7 Bar & Kitchen, Hoxton 9 Arts Centre, Colchester 10 Sugarmill, Stoke-On-Trent 11 Duchess, York 12 Temple, Birmingham 14 King Tuts, Glasgow 28 Reading Festival 29 Leeds Festival After eight years together, Blitz Kids have announced they are splitting up. They will play two farewell shows in October. October 9th Fri Academy 3, Manchester 10th Sat The Dome Tufnell Park, London
Arcane Roots have announced they have parted ways with drummer Daryl Atkins. Moose Blood will be heading out on a late summer UK tour with Creeper. August 27 Forum, Tunbridge Wells 28 Leeds Festival (no Creeper) 30 Reading Festival (no Creeper) September 01 Live Rooms, Chester 02 Owl Sanctuary, Norwich 04 Sound Circus, Bournemouth 05 Underground, Plymouth 06 The Scene, Swansea 07 Kasbah, Coventry 08 The Brickyard, Carlisle Brighton metalcore group Architects have been confirmed as support for Deftones’ one-off UK show at London’s SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday November 21st. Southampton goth-punks Creeper have announced their new EP will be called ‘The Callous Heart’ and will be released on September 18th. It will be their first release on Roadrunner Records. Japanese rockers Crossfaith have revealed details of their second full-length album. ‘Xeno’ will be released via UNFD on September 18th.
Spanish instrumentalists Toundra have announced they will be returning to the UK for a one-off show in November. The show will take place at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London on November 9th, and will be part of a wider European tour. Sheffield skate pop-punks Fierce Morgan and Lincolnshire pop-punk band For All The Wrong Reasons have announced they will be heading out a on co-headline tour in August. August 3rd Sticky Mike’s Frogbar, Brighton 4th The Stag and Hounds, Bristol 5th Fuel Bar, Cardiff 6th TBC 7th Santiagos, Leeds 8th South Sea Live, Sheffield 9th TBC Sydney, Australia metalcore band Buried In Verona have revealed they will be returning on August 7th with the release of ‘Vultures Above, Lions Below’. Oxfordshire based quintet Vera Grace will release a new EP called ‘Novella’ on August 17th.
No Devotion's debut LP will be titled ‘Permanence’ and will be released through vocalist Geoff Rickley’s Collect Records on September 25th.
The Gaslight Anthem and Against Me! will be heading to the UK for the Reading and Leeds Festival. However on Saturday August 29th, they will be teaming up for a one-off show at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. Having previously been confirmed to support The Offspring in late August, The Menzingers have announced a headline show at Cardiff’s Clwb Ifor Bach on August 27th. Support comes from Great Cynics and The Cut Ups. August 25 Apollo, Manchester (with The Offspring) 26 O2 Academy Brixton, London (with The Offspring) 27 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (headline show) London quartet Tellison have set a release date of September 18th for their third album - ‘Hope Fading Nightly’. The album will be released through Alcopop! Records and will coincide with a UK headline tour. September 19th The Joiners, Southampton 20th The Hope, Brighton 21st Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff 22nd Fruit, Hull 23rd Bumper, Liverpool 24th The Firebug, Leicester 25th The Anvil, Bournemouth 26th The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich 27th The Lexington, London
Roam have announced they will be playing two headline shows in Sheffield and Derby around their appearance at Make A Scene Fest in Middlesborough. They will be joined by Boston Manor and These Minds. August 14th Student Union, Sheffield 15th Make A Scene Fest, Middlesborough 16th Vic Inn, Derby Having been ordered to change their name by a Japanese cinema giant, Nottingham noise specialists Baby Godzilla have become HECK. However the change isn’t going to effect the bands future plans and they will still be releasing their debut album this Autumn.
Lonely the Brave and Frnkiero andthe Cellabration will be releasing a split 7" next month to mark their appearances at the Reading and Leeds Festival. The vinyl will be strictly limited to 500 copies and will only be available through Hassle Records. Oxfordshire based post-hardcore quintet I Cried Wolf have revealed details of their debut EP. ‘Hollow Heart’ will be released through Crooked Noise Records on September 11th. Sydney’s Royal Headache have revealed details of their second album - ‘High’. The collection of scrappy punk songs will be released on August 21st on What’s Your Rupture? The self-titled debut album from Southend quintet Nothing But Thieves will be released on October 16th via RCA Victor.
On AlreadyHeard.com Over at Already Heard you will find music news daily, tons of album reviews, live photos, interviews, tour blogs, exclusive streams, acoustic video sessions, features and much more. alreadyheard.com/ facebook.com/alreadyheard twitter.com/alreadyhearduk @AlreadyHeardUK youtube.com/user/AlreadyHeardMusic firstname.lastname@example.org
Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? This year we've been on tour with our dream bands, Joyce Manor and Cheap Girls at the end of last year, then Smith Street Band in Australia and The Sidekicks in the UK. We've just finished a European tour with Sundials too. It's been pretty stupidly great!
What was it like to be a part of the Live at The Lab sessions recently, and what have Soundlab Studios been like to work with over the years? It was pretty normal to set up in a room there like we're used to doing. We had our first practice there and haven't really been to many other practice spaces since we started. We're super comfortable there.
What can you tell us about your most recent release 'I Feel Weird'? We wanted to make a short and fast poppy record, with a few more riffs and a bit more of a rough sound. I think we made the record we wanted to make and the songs are all really fun to play.
What songs are you really enjoying performing from this record at the moment, and why? ‘I Went Swimming’ and ‘North Street’ are really fun. I think Bob (Barrett, drums) nails it on those.
"After starting out as a solo project Giles decided that his songs would be better with a full band behind him, and with the addition of Iona & Bob the rest is history. They've gone on to tour the world with bands like Gnarwolves, The Smith Street Band, Broadway Calls, and as well as this, they have just unleashed their incredible new album 'I Feel Weird'!"
Interview with Giles
Also, how did you get to the album title 'I Feel Weird' and what does it mean to you? I think it sums up the theme of the record pretty well. It was a phrase I kept on hearing and using myself. I've been saying on stage on this tour that it's about listening to Incubus.
How would you say the sound of Great Cynics has changed/progressed since you first started out? I think it's got more dynamic over time, which is something we kind of realised writing these songs and thinking about how we wanted to record them and how we wanted them to sound.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with Tigers Jaw, and what can attending fans expect? I've been a huge Tigers Jaw fan since I heard the first record. It was around the same time we started and I ripped off quite a lot from that record. I hope they don't mind too much.
What else can we expect to see from Great Cynics in 2015? We've just done a bunch of UK shows and European shows after we released I Feel Weird, so I think we're going to go to America later in the year and maybe do some other cool shows and maaaaybe do a fun release.
"If you look back on the career of Frank Carter you'll see that he has always done what he felt was right for him as a musician at the time. By doing this, he has given himself a rewarding career which has taken him all over the world in various band projects. After caving into the itch of not writing music for a while he is back and touring like crazy to promote his hard hitting new unit 'Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes'!” It isn't that long ago that it seemed as though you were saying goodbye with the end of Pure Love but seemingly out of nowhere you're back. How does it feel? It feels really, really good. I feel really lucky actually, like you said, it wasn't that long ago that I felt like I was bowing out of music for what felt like would be a long time. Even in November, last year, I had no plans to do music again but I just knew that I was unhappy. Eventually I spoke to my wife about it and she said “you know what you're missing? You need a band, to be in a band” and that was it. As soon as she said it to me, it was obvious that was what I was missing from my life. So I called my friend Dean (Richardson), we'd written songs together for a long time but it had never really came together so I said to him, “look I think I need to play music, I miss it”. He just said cool, sent me some songs and that was really it. That was the beginning. February of this year was when we first met up to start writing songs and less than seven months later, the album was finished, it’s exciting!
Before we talk more about The Rattlesnakes, can you tell us about the last days of Pure Love? It was really a case of circumstance, at the time that I started Pure Love, I was living in Brooklyn for a couple of years and it got to a point where I wanted to come home. I wanted to move back to the U.K and have a child, buy a house and stuff but I couldn't do any of that while I was renting in New York so we moved home. Before that point, the thing about Pure Love is it got dealt quite a bad hand from the very beginning. The people that championed us at the label had been fired before we even finished recording the album. It blew up from that and you start questioning why you're still doing it. I think it just wore Jim (Carroll) and I down a bit too much, it got to the point where it was like, this has been fun but neither of us really have the energy to keep this going right now.
The Rattlesnakes is firmly up and running now, you mentioned Dean but can you talk through the other guys involved and how you got together? Well Dean is sort of the kingpin, sort of the most important player because as I said before, we've been writing together for a long time. We've always loved the music that we've made but it never felt like the right time and so with this, it came together so quickly that we decided okay, this is going to happen, we need to find some players. Tom Mitchener who is playing bass, I've actually worked with him before, he played second guitar and keys in Pure Love. He is just an incredible player, a really good musician, he plays everything and just happens to be one of my favourite producers. He just has a good understanding of sound so he produced the album and played bass on it. Then on drums, I wanted someone that loves punk music, that had the ability to play with some sort of flair, so Memby was the obvious choice, he just seemed the best bet. I loved what he did in Ghost Of A Thousand, we've been friends for a long time, and we always wanted to work together and he actually helped us out on the last Pure Love tour. Playing with him was just really fun, that was one of the biggest disappointments when Pure Love finished was that we weren't going to get to play together so he was the first person I turned to.
The Rotten E.P quickly followed Fangs, you've released a lot of albums, E.Ps, singles etc but were there any nerves ahead of the release for this one? You know what? I wasn't, I really wasn't because we made this in our garage, in two months and it was the music that we wanted to make. I was really nervous when I made the jump to Pure Love but going back to hardcore punk rock, that's what I grew up on so I have this sort of hidden confidence there. I felt quite assured in myself but also, I love the songs. It's come together so quickly, everyone that we've played them to loved them so I sort of thought, there's not enough time to be nervous. When you're writing a song one week, recording it the next week and actually putting it out in three weeks, it's too fast! Suddenly, you put that song out to the world and see what they think, it was too quick to be nervous.
You've done the cover artwork for Blossoms yourself, can you tell us a bit about what it represents? I've been working on this new style of painting for a little while, which doesn't have a huge amount of thought process before it, it's just a sort of trail of consciousness. With the album, I've had a few paintings that I wanted to use for artwork before, we started and it kind of become, right you're going to have to paint the album artwork now. I always liked the idea of putting equipment on an album cover because it's always photos of the band or some artwork and the equipment is always crowded out by people and it's integral. It's integral to everything. When I had the idea, I didn't want to just paint the back-line because that would just look boring, so then I thought well, why don't I set it on fire because that is about as cathartic and volatile as you can get! Short of it exploding anyway, I didn't want to work that one out and paint it. That was it really, I think it was the perfect visual representation of the band. It's quite serious but there's also a little bit of humour there. It's incendiary, I think it works and represents the band really well.
“I felt quite assured in myself”
The first tour has just wrapped up, how did it go and can you give us a couple of highlights? The highlight was playing the first show of the tour, we'd played one show at Sang Bleu, which is the tattoo shop I work at. We played the show there and it was great but it was hard work, that was the moment that I realised that, I need to get in shape! It was a lot harder then I remember it being. I've really pushed myself lyrically and I think it is my best work, I've tried to put a lot into the songs, literally and metaphorically. It is a lot of work, so after that first show I decided to get a trainer and I was down in the field by my house every morning at 7am, trying to eat better to get in shape to build the stamina up. That first show in Kingston at the Fighting Cocks, it is a tiny little sweat box that separates the men from the boys and it just.... I don't know, it was like vindication almost. I got on the stage, picked the microphone up and the whole room exploded and they didn't even know what they were listening to! It just felt amazing and also, I felt really on top of my game compared to the show a couple of weeks before, I played the whole show, gave everything I had and yeah, I was exhausted at the end but I felt like I could play one more song. I wasn't dying after the second song so it was really nice. Then there was multiple, amazing moments. We played Glasgow, I've hardly ever played Glasgow, maybe three or four times but we played Ivory Blacks and they just went off! The whole time I was stood on the stage in the middle of the set trying to remind myself that we only have three songs, people only know three songs! The whole tour was just really special, we played Manchester and it was, probably my favourite gig I've ever played, we played at the Star and Garter, this long room, with a perfect stage, benches around the side so people can see and I found myself climbing into a window frame to jump out of it! There was a connection between the music and the people, they were excited about the next song. They wanted to know and feel like, “I'm hearing this before anyone else”. That was what the tour was about, about putting ourselves out there and breaking ourselves every night playing these songs for people. The songs are really important to me as well, I'm writing about things that really matter to me, last year, 2014, was really rough. It had some amazing moments and it had some terrifying lows so the whole album is honest, just honesty. To get them out to a crowd that hasn't heard the songs before and get that reaction was amazing. I don't know man, you've kind of got to be me to really, truly appreciate it. I just felt really blessed at that point, I felt really lucky. I'm not sure what I've done to deserve that but it felt really good regardless!
You will be returning to Reading and Leeds in August, how excited are you to be getting back there again? I am ridiculously excited. It's the thing, this year I am most looking forward to apart from my daughters first birthday. This will be my seventh year at these festivals, this is the first time that my daughter's going to be there with me. It feels very much like a comeback. Gallows was a time where I was unhappy, I wasn't happy with the music they were making, I wanted to do something different. Then Pure Love was maybe, almost that kind of overreaction against that, I wanted it to be completely different and make people realise that there is more to me than this. I see Rattlesnakes as the perfect blend of the two, you've got the aggression and the violence of my early band and then you've got the fact that I sing like the last band so I just feel like more strings to what is fast becoming an ever extending bow. To get there (Reading/Leeds) and have my little girl at the side of the stage, with ear defenders on, is going to be really exciting. She's probably going to be crying the whole time and stress me out but I'm really looking forward to just getting in that tent and hopefully a bunch of people that get the album will come down and we can all sing some songs together. It'll be the first show that people will properly have the chance to digest the songs, that's what is really exciting. The songs went down so well on the tour and no one had heard them! They did exactly what I wanted them to do, come, see us and by the second chorus they loved it so yeah, it's really exciting.
We're half way through 2015 and you've done so much already, what can we expect from the band for the rest of the year and into the next? Second album, well not this year! We've started writing it already though, we're really trying not to mess about. Everything is so instant nowadays, we finished the album and Dean says I've got some riffs to send you and I'm like, perfect, do it! So we've started already and will be aiming for that to come out next year for sure. Iâ€™m really looking forward to getting out and playing a bit, we're going to play a couple of festivals in Europe in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and we have another tour planned for the Autumn in the U.K which I'm really, really looking forward to. That feels like the true beginning of this band, where everybody has an albums worth of songs, I feel like we won't be trying to prove our worth. People will hear the album and if they like it, they'll come and when they come they will find the most fun, violent delivery of those songs that is possible.
â€œI feel really luckyâ€?
Remembrance is a melodic hardcore band hailing from the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Playing with acts such as H20, Cruel Hand, and other well known bands Remembrance started to gain a lot of local attention. It wasn't until the recent release of their EP "Dirty Hands" that they started gaining attention from all over the world. "Dirty Hands" is a fast, aggressive but yet emotional outlet for the band that is sure to catch the attention of people who are fans of multiple genres. Recording with Jamie King (Between The Buried and Me) really helped things come to life. From fast paced melodic riffs to slow emotional aspects. Everyone is sure to be a fan. Check it out for yourself. Remembrancecarolina.bandcamp.com
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"Watch out, there‘s something really big headed your way!" Oh, how many times have you heard that, read it or had that line thrown your way? Well, in this case the followers of the Crossover and Rap Metal division can definitely feel welcome, to listen in to this, uh, so totally kick-ass music by singer Marcus 'Jimmy' Nelson & Co! Because when these Bavarian genre enthusiasts threw together their music style in October 2013 that was as colorful as well as determined, everything was immediately pointing towards quality. And so NEW TENANTS could be put in a straight forward and independent class of their own. In record-breaking time the four members raised their exceptional Crossover Rapcore output to new heights, which in fact, can be heard very well in their debut album "Unity By Collision" which was released in May 2015. The whole thing is made up of punchy Rock and whipping Metal elements, while working up a relentless sweat. What? Not enough? Alright, old school Hip-Hop is also present with NEW TENANTS! Due to the considerably professional production the impressive differentiated display of drumming it just fits perfectly any time. Accents are definitely set to really leave an impression.
Apart from enthralling catchy beats and massive stomping riffs, of this 4-pack from Buchloe, especially the vocalist has a lot to offer. His american roots ensure him a superior linguistic performance. Jimmy, definitely born to be a front man, celebrates his kickstarting ejections in slick exquisite special class of its own. And he does this, in a way rarely heard or seen in bands of this style from Germany. Fact is: he's not just been in the game since yesterday. He‘s been shouting his lines for more than a decade now which made him even better. His vocal captivating soulfulness and fervency comes from a troublesome life, which has made this guy into a true fighter. And you can hear that in every word Jimmy phrases. It just gets deep under your skin. And goes to your heart from there! Already at the beginning of 2014 the wild live set of these productive talented boys were standing on sturdy legs. And immediately NEW TENANTS went on to playing their first gigs, in which they successfully even shared the stage with the famous band Dog Eat Dog (USA). It‘s clear that something massive like this pushes a band even more. And so, after several preliminary rounds, NEW TENANTS won the final of the "Rising Heroes Band Contest" in January 2015 in Munich and thereby leaving behind at least 40 (!) other competing bands. Get your hands on NEW TENANTS and "Unity By Collision"! Available on: Spotify, iTunes, GooglePlayStore, Deezer, Napster, Tidal
Interview with Jake
"Since forming in 2009 the talented bunch that is Citizen has spent their time crafting a fully charged alternative/post hard-core sound which is capable of grabbing the attention of the listener instantly. It's a pleasure to be joined by the band as they discuss their dynamic new album 'Everybody Is Going to Heaven', which we may add was produced by the awesome Will Yip!"
Touring wise, what have Citizen been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Because we spent the whole month of January recording, we didn't do any touring until we hit Australia in the spring. That was one of the best experiences I've had to date. Such a beautiful country. As I type this, we are on show five of the Van's Warped tour. Food has been good. Sets are tight. Can't complain.
How did you get to the album title 'Everybody Is Going To Heaven', and what does it mean to you? The title is used to describe the sonic movement of the record. Emotions run high, get very somber, and then explode into light. But I think it's really important that people try to find their own meaning to our title. It's designed to be that way.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Everybody Is Going To Heaven'? Introspection, loss, love, death. All themes that sort of helped shape the dark tones of the record.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Everybody Is Going To Heaven' for you guys, and why? We can spend a year writing songs only to throw them out just before entering the studio. It wasn't until about the last two months that the songs for the record really started to come together. Although it can get you extremely anxious, we seem to work a little better under pressure.
How did the front cover for 'Everybody Is Going To Heaven' come together, and what does it mean to you? Thatâ€™s also something that didn't exist until maybe the last possible moment. We wanted the record cover to have something oddly uncomfortable about it. That's why we chose staring eyes and a "tan" color. People are familiar enough with a set of eyes, but the cover can be a bit unsettling for some, much like the direction we took.
How did you end up working with the awesome Will Yip again, and what is he like to work with? We have had an established relationship with Will Yip for years. As a professional and a friend, there is no one greater. He demands the best out of you until you are physically exhausted. But his positive energy really acts as a counterbalance. He'll always be the sixth member.
How would you say 'Everybody Is Going To Heaven' compares overall to 'Youth'? Blows it out of the water. Emotionally, sonically, musically, lyrically. "Youth" was written when the majority of the band was in high school - it's a part of them, but they are different people. How can they not be?
Also, looking back on 'Youth', how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for Citizen? Some members look back on it more fondly than others. It's done so much for Citizen - No one is denying that. But for now, we continue to look forward.
What else can we expect to see from Citizen in 2015? Putting all our energy into supporting "Everybody is Going to Heaven".
Old Souls is a new music project based out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada started by Ryan Carr and Matt Sears, who decided to get together to explore and share ideas. Ryan and Matt met in 2010 when their individual bands were playing the same show, and have remained friends while they both studied music at college. The two decided to take their Old Souls creations out of hiding, releasing the “Uncaged” demo in May 2015. The demo consisted of three songs, with Matt responsible for writing and recording the instrumentals, Ryan writing lyrics and performing vocals, and college friend, Jason Deley, doing the mixing and mastering. The demo was posted to the Old Souls website, where it received a very positive response. A few days after release, it caught the attention of Dreambound Promotions. Dreambound featured the song “Frozen” on their website and posted the recording to YouTube, where it has received over 3000 hits so far. While Matt is touring with the band Sparrows which has been signed to New Damage Records, Ryan continues to focus his efforts on Old Souls with Jason and the talent and enthusiasm of two other close friends. Both guitarists, Hamid Ba is a classmate from the music program, and Corey Styles is a bandmate from two earlier bands. They are working on a single and a full length album to be released by the end of 2015, followed by an additional two singles to be released in early 2016. The band’s first full length album, titled “The Lost Years”, is a story about introspection and personal growth. These are the messages that Old Souls are trying to promote, as well as empathy, kindness and appreciation. Old Souls is designed to be a fluid and open project that gives all participants a creative outlet and chance to grow artistically. The members will continue to collaborate with other artists, including Matt, Jason and another good friend, Jeff Wolfe of “Wakefield”. Ryan, Jason, Hamid and Corey are looking forward to working together and seeing where their music and the Old Souls project takes them.
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"All In" is a melodic hardcore group from Poplarville, Mississippi. Just recently finishing the mixing and mastering of their first EP "Lost," they are currently looking to take their career to the next step and are actively seeking out different labels and managements to help/instruct them along the way. While the help of a label for their end goal is extremely important, they are not afraid of the DIY industry. Whether that be booking, promoting, artwork, merchandise or whatever else, they always face each struggle as a challenge to take a step forward and progress towards their goal. Priorly members of "Atlas Shrugged", "All In" formed soon after that project disbanded. While half of Atlas had different plans for their musical motives, the others shared the same idea; to make music that could appeal to nearly any crowd so that the message behind the band could be spread. "All In" is a quite literal description for what the band represents: that no one gets left behind to face their struggles alone. Whether it be internal or external, together as one the means to push forth can be achieved. Twitter: @allinms Instagram: @allinbandpress Facebook:Facebook.com/weareallinMS
"Check out their released single "Capsized" via YouTube!"
"If you're a fan of melodic hardcore then you're in the right place! Their brilliant new album 'Tragedy Will Find Us' features raw and honest themes that will have you wanting more, and in short we strongly recommend that you do not miss out on this release!"
How did Kelly Bilan end up joining the band, and what has he been like to work with so far? Kelly joined a few years back when our original drummer Ryan left. We met Kelly while he was playing in a band from Ontario called I Am Committing A Sin. He's great.
Also, how come Eric Bazinet & Alex Re decided to part ways with Counterparts, and what has it been like to work without them so far? Trying to tour full time isn't for everyone. It's straining on not only the people but also the growth of the band. We miss those guys but for the most part, we are currently in a better position with the current lineup.
How did you get to the album title 'Tragedy Will Find Us', and what does it mean to you? The album title basically means that for every single person, there will always be negative things that happen to us that will be beyond our control. It's what makes us grow as people. It's what makes us who we are.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Tragedy Will Find Us' for you guys, and why? TWFU is a record about a dark period in my life where I lost a lot of friends/someone I loved, and the negative repercussions of that incident.
How did you end up working with 'Will Putney', and what is he like to work with? Originally, Stray From The Path and Structures suggested him to us from their past experiences. We decided to give it a shot with hell/home and haven't looked back since.
Interview with Brendan
How would you say this album compares overall to what you did on 'The Difference Between Hell and Home'? I think it's honestly a continuation of that record. It picks up where that left off. The music obviously has its differences and there is growth to the band in my opinion, but I feel like we understand our sound and what works best for us.
How did the artwork for 'Tragedy Will Find Us' come together? We've been a huge fan of Nick Steinhardt's work for a while, so we had a mutual friend introduce us and after a few emails, we had the cover.
Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We're basically touring non stop. Or when we do stop itâ€™s for a few weeks at a time. I love it. As far as personal highlights go, being able to hang with Stray in Europe for a few weeks was probably the most fun we've had on tour in a bit.
What else can we expect to see from Counterparts in 2015? A lot of touring, a record release, I might buy a new pair of shoes, etc. the usual.
Interview with Jason (J-bone, Gordy) Spencer
“After a huge response to their debut release the Detroit rockers more commonly known as ‘Wilson’ have returned with a destructive new album entitled 'Right To Rise'! This will of course see the name of the band continue to "rise" throughout the rock world!” How did you end up signing to Razor & Tie, and what have they been like to work with so far? We were in the midst of recording 'Right To Rise' when the decision became final. There is a pretty fun video of us signing the official contract online! R&T is a great group of people, who both work hard and are not afraid of getting their hands dirty, which is a trait we both recognize and utilize daily. We've seen their impact in the rock n’ roll community, so it seemed like a perfect fit. So far, so good!
So how did you get to the album title 'Right To Rise', and what does it mean to you? I think it all came to fruition during our time at the studio. Being from Michigan and recording in Atlanta really brought out our attitude and personality on this record. Shall we start with the fact that it was freezing in Detroit and warm in Atlanta?! You know, it’s not like we took hours and hours of digging to figure out what we represent in our music. We are not here to brag about where we come from, we just are who we are. ‘Right To Rise’ represents Detroit in the sense that we are the underdogs. We come from a long line of people who put on their slacks, roll up their sleeves and work harder than the day before. You move forward, no matter what.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Right To Rise'? Well, you can pretty much smell the exhaust of Detroit in this record. 'Windows Down!' is a song off the record that pretty much sums up a summer day in Detroit. Driving down I-94 (one of our notorious rush hour expressways), jamming some tunes of 101.1 WRIF, or 89x...really enjoying life, you know? Dusting off the dirt from your shirt, untying your work boots for the day and figuring out why the hell there is a traffic jam at 2 PM. Aside from the city itself, there are definitely some subconscious 90's vibes going on. That’s the stuff we grew up with, man. Turning on the radio and hearing The Gin Blossoms was something that happened. Of course, you can’t beat the old man’s 70’s rock! I can still picture my Dad playing a fake keyboard on the truck dashboard - priceless! In this band, you've got Meshuggah to Wu-Tang being spun. I can’t pinpoint anything, but there’s a lot of shit that went into this record and the songs you hear.
How did you end up working with 'Johnny Andrews', and what was he like to work with? Best way to describe it: “when worlds collide.” We had heard about Johnny in the rock world, as well as worked with him prior to the album, so it was an easy decision when the word came in that we were going to record a full length. Working with Johnny was a lot of fun and a great experience. He’s a good dude that takes a small comment about a guitar part into a world of conversation. Before you know it, 30 minutes has passed and you've managed to complete an entire verse out of feel. Feel was definitely one thing I wasn't 100% acquainted with in terms of recording. I’m a meticulous dude, I can’t deny that, and I totally blame my metal background for it. Even though it’s important to stay meticulous, it doesn't always create the feeling you want from a recording. That is something Johnny brought out of me. It’s definitely left an impression on me.
How would you say this release compares overall to what you did on 'Full Blast Fuckery'? We can start off by saying it is more organized. What I mean by that is ‘Right To Rise’ started out on a clean slate. After ‘Full Blast Fuckery’, we knew that there was going to be a next record, so the demoing, touring, attitudes and everything would come full circle to the release. There was more of a goal to meet and a road to follow. ‘Full Blast Fuckery’ was more or less a 'lose' record. We had initially started recording a few songs to release, which turned into an EP, which turned into a full length. The process also included member changes, a few different studios around the country, numerous weekend warrior and 2-week tours, etc. I guess you could say that was the beautiful thing about it, you know? It was a whirlwind of time and energy. I feel that was represented!
Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We've kept busy! We just got off the road with Nothing More, who are some amazing dudes both on and off the stage. Before that, we did all of Europe w/ Halestorm and Nothing More, a full U.S. tour with He Is Legend and Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster. Next up is a North American tour with our boys in Crobot and Mothership. It’s called the ‘Drunk As Shit’ tour. This will be one for the books! Highlights would definitely include playing the Salt Lick BBQ joint in Texas. God damn, that shit is good! Finding dollar store nut powder that comes in huge bottles (we love that stuff). Rocking a sold out show at London’s Roundhouse was also insane.
To a reader that might of not seen you live yet, then how would you describe your live show? It’s like the last Friday night on Earth. We are here to have a good time and so are you. That is definitely felt during our live show. We leave nothing behind when we step out on that stage. You will feel the heat from our sacks.
How did the album artwork for 'Right To Rise' come together, and what does it mean to you? The dog on the front cover was the leader of a pack of dogs coined the “Detroit Dingoes.” They lived in the city as strays and fought through some of the most brutal winters in history. Literally fighting to survive day-in, dayout. It sort of resembles our band and city...the underdog. Like I said, we come from a long line of folks who get up, work for the day and celebrate that life. It’s just the way it goes and that attitude is present all around Detroit.
What bands have influenced you the most since you started out as Wilson? This is such a hard question. I've become a big fan of Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains. He has such a sludgy, massive sound and his guitar parts are ripping.
Interview with Richard Danielson
"Right now is a VERY good time to be up to date with Vintage Trouble! Why? Well this alternative blues rock outfit are currently on the road with the mighty AC/DC (yep, you read that right!), and they are also about to unleash their electric new output '1 Hopeful Rd.'! So, what are you waiting for, get involved!" Recently you've played to a huge crowd at Glastonbury, to 50,000 at both Hampden Park and the Aviva in Dublin and youâ€™ve just done Wembley. Right now is a pretty good time for you guys isnâ€™t it? Ha, well that was a great week! It's cool to mix it up too, we went from Berlin recently, to Hyde Park to Glastonbury to Glasgow, we then played a T.V show in London before flying to Dublin and then came back the next day to play a little room in London that was to a hundred people. Between there we did a radio thing where we played an acoustic set, so every day is kind of a new thing, it's great to be on the big AC/DC stage but it's also cool that we're still doing what we do. Even when we've been doing some of these huge tours, we did 51 dates with The Who for example, on days off we're doing our headline tour in between so we're really doing two tours in one. We're working hard but it's fun.
When you're doing these huge shows then going to the smaller shows in a smaller room how is it to prepare going back and forth between the two? It's kind of strange, it all kind of comes from the same emphasise of energy so it's coming from the same place. I don't know if we do anything different like stretch harder when we're going out for the big show, we've still got to warm up our muscles and voices, we do the same if we're going out to a big stadium as we would playing in a little hundred seat room. We all have our different little worlds, I'm back in drum land and I've got to drive through every moment of every song no matter where we're at. Unless, of course, we're playing an acoustic thing but with Vintage Trouble, we're going to bring a certain type of energy, every single time, our amps might be a little louder in some cases but as far as the actual physical end of it, it's just another day at the office. We're just doing what naturally comes to us which is, go out, play our instruments, feel our music and try to effect our audience whether it's 100,000 people or 100 people. Obviously if it's 100,000 people, you might have to be a little grander in your gestures and speak to a little more of a wider crowd of course but that's not to say that we're pushing that much harder.
In amongst all of this you are preparing to release the new album, can you tell us a bit about it? One hopeful Road was produced by Don Was, it was our first studio album, we got signed to Blue Note Records which is a classical Jazz label although we're the first rock n roll band to be on it which is really cool. Dom Was is the president of Blue Note Records and he signed us, if you know anything about Dom Was, he is also an incredible musician but also a really well known producer. He's produced the Rolling Stones and so many other great people so he produced us which was great because he;s not only a great producer but a musician so he's coming from a lot of places. He had us do this record the same way as the Bomb Shelter Sessions which is live in the studio so he kept us really honest, four guys setting up in a circle, Ty in an isolation booth so we don't have too much bleed into his mic but otherwise it was recorded live at East West studios in Los Angeles and we're very excited about it. It's our sophomore record, a lot of times there's a pressure on your sophomore record to come up with some bigger, grander and all of a sudden a producer comes in and completely changes everything but that wasn't the case with us. If anything Dom came in and kept us honest by letting us do what we want to do which is record live of course, everything is recorded in live takes so if one person messes up, we've got to go back and do the whole take again. So he kept us really honest and we're excited by the record, we only had three months to prepare for our first record and we've had five years to prepare for this record which is funny, usually it's the other way around. You usually have your whole life to prepare for your first record and then you have a very short amount of time for your second so we've grown a lot since that first record but still stuck to who we are as a band which is a live rock n roll band, basically!
How intense is it recording in that atmosphere where, as you say, if one person messes up you have to start again? Well we try not to put too much pressure on ourselves like “we've got to get this right” or “you messed up”, we don't think like that really. We naturally go in and try to set ourselves up in a relaxed environment, turn the lights down and then when that red recording light goes on, it's kind of cool, you're put on a stage almost and stuff comes out of you that might not have come out of you. It is a little intense but that kind of makes it dangerous and within the danger of it, if you really lean into that danger, that's where the magic happens and you have to relax into it and give yourself into it. When you're in it, it feels great, we don't put a pressure on it although I'm sure individually and silently we feel that pressure, but that is what makes it exciting, that's what music and being a musician is all about so you have to step up to that pressure and that moment. You have your part to do and we didn't over prepare, I wish we had a bit more pre-production but this band has been on the road for so long that's why we didn't make this record for a long time. We've been touring for four years straight on that frst record so when we finally had a little time off to prepare for that second record it wasn't a long time, we had a couple of months and I think pre-production was about three weeks and then into the studio. Like I said we didn’t over prepare, but there was still a bit of, what is going to happen on this part? Are we going to double this chorus? You guys cut out that first verse? We were changing stuff on the fly so we weren't over rehearsed, we had just enough pre-production to figure out, structurally where we were and then we went out and did it. A few of the songs on the record, to be honest with you, were songs that we had already been playing live for quite a while and you'd think those are the songs you can just knock out real quick but that's not always the case. Sometimes you get hung up on that stuff because you played it so well for so long and you've recorded it in other situations and then it becomes beat the demo. It happened with one song, 'Strike Your Light'. It is the only song on the record that wasn't recorded in L.A with Dom Was and the reason for that is because we couldn't actually beat our earlier version of it that we had recorded about two years before where there was just a certain magic that day in the room, everything pocketed up nicely and it was a last minute decision. We were mixing, nearly into mastering and Nalle, our guitar player came in with the old version and said “guys, I think this version is better than the one we just recorded”. So, we went with the older version of it.
You are a band that is very relentless in your touring, when on the road do you get time to write on the road? We're always writing and I wish we were able to spend more time wood shedding ideas, sometimes you get a very short sound-check and sound-check is the only time the band can actually come together when everyone is on their actual instruments, not on an acoustic guitar back stage but on an amplified instrument with drums and a vocal live. Usually that time is spent just trying to get the tones right and then you've got to get off the stage so we don't get a lot of rehearsal time on the road. You would think that's all we'd be doing, unfortunately we don't but everyone is always coming up with ideas, we all have our little tape recorders or iPhones where we might be out at a party or hanging out and Ty will come up with a melody or a lyric or Nalle will be on the bus playing a guitar and listen to what we can do with it so we're doing little things like that. Then one day we hope to take those and wood shed them into actual ideas and now and then one of those ideas will flesh itself out into a song that we'll be chasing at every soundcheck. There's even been times where those sound-checks will equal a new song and we might even play that song on one of our headlines shows, we've done that many times. So to answer your question, a bit of both. We don't rehearse as much, I wish we could but for logistical reasons but stuff does come out when you're in a constant state of music with this band so songs do flesh themselves out on the road.
How is it overall to be playing with this group of talented musicians? It's a band of four alpha males, which is actually a really good thing. We take it very seriously, we call each other out on stuff and we hold each other accountable and we are honest so that's a really good thing because you have to bring your A game. You're engaged and there's no weak link so to speak and that makes, on an individual/personal level you want to be a better musician and a better band mate. We're all a little older so we've already been through the crazy band break ups, the attitudes and the egos, we've seen it, gone through it so we're probably bringing a lot of those experiences into this band and trying to avoid those things. We try to be good to each other, try to be good listeners, we try to embrace our differences, that little bit of friction that makes a band really interesting, all of the best bands in history have had a little bit of friction. We try to lean into that a little bit and allow each other to be individual and not steer anyone too hard into our own personal direction so it's kind of a smart band that way. Besides that, we all just feel really blessed to have found each other, there's a really good chemistry in this band. We work really well together even in the little friction. I feel like I've found my soul brothers. We all want the same thing, we all love music so much that we're willing to give every moment of every day to it, it's rare to be in a band and have guys with such dedication and such talent. I'm playing with really, really, talented guys and it makes me want to be the best that I can be.
You're out on the road with AC/DC for a while longer, what plans are there following the albums release? Well AC/DC have asked us to do the third leg of the tour with them so we're going to continue into North America with them and that will be during the time our record is released. We then have a headlining tour so that will be our first headlining tour with the new record. Since we've been in Europe now, we'll have played for three million people just with this AC/DC tour in the last few months, it's just such a huge tour so it would behove us to try and get back to Europe to try and keep that energy going but it's hard. We can only be in one place at one time and America wants us there, Germany because we did so well with AC/DC wants us there. France, we're really starting to pop there and had a great T.V performance and had some great press and then Spain is this incredible place with really fiery music lovers, we had great press and headlined festivals so we've something moving over there. The trick is to figure out where we need to be with our time, hopefully we've got some smart people working on that but the plan is to keep on touring, we're a live band. We're not afraid to work, we work as hard as any band out there, we play as many shows, we're in a constant state of touring so the plan is to just keep pushing it, one gig at a time, one troublemaker at a time and we want to go out and effect people with our music. Get out and do what we love to do so the plan is to continue on and do exactly what we've been doing for the last four years. We'll have a new record being pushed by Blue Note/Universal which is really exciting because there is a chance that the world can actually hear our music in a way that it hasn't before because we might be able to reach more people.
Interview with John
"If you haven't heard of the tracks 'Heaven Is a Halfpipe' or 'El Capitan' then we strongly advise you do that first before reading any further. We catch up with OPM to reminisce on their career changing record 'Menace To Sobriety' whilst also discussing what we can expect from their upcoming UK tour in promotion of their new EP 'The Minge Dynasty'!" So how did you get to the EP title 'The Minge Dynasty' and what does it mean to you? The Minge dynasty, also known as the Empire of the Great Minge, was the ruling Dynasty of Westeros for 276 years (1368–1644) following the collapse of the Juan Dynasty (Juan Castro the great, great uncle of Fidel). The Minge, described by some as "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history," it was the last dynasty ruled by women. There were no wars, only discussions about feelings. Everyone loved one another. Hating or hurting one another were the only crimes. It was a time without sexual repression, where people could openly discuss all parts of the human anatomy without censorship and shame. Images of nudity were more acceptable than those of violence. Although the primary capital of the seven Kingdoms fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by an army of insecure, less-endowed angry men who established the Shun Dynasty (also known as the Holy Than Thou Dynasty). They took control of the masses by making acts of sex a crime, punishable by social rejection. Therefore even basic reproduction created mass confusion and dis-function in the society. This Dynasty still rules 6 of the 7 kingdoms today.
How did you end up working with Marshall Goodman, and what was he like to work with? He’s amazing. It’s really hard to find people in the music world that have such a broad knowledge spanning across many genres and specifically the genres in which we draw our influence. It’s hard enough to create a song in one specific genre that already has charted territory. To try and pull off making songs in multiple genres is really difficult. Trying to blend those multiple genres into one song is crazy hard. To do it well is really, really hard. Having him on our team has really been an awesome experience and I think we have created some songs like that and they are doing really well.
It's been 7 years since you last put out an album, so do you think you'd like to do another full length at some point, or at this point will you guys be sticking to EPs? I think EP’s are the way to go. It’s actually back to a singles world with iTunes being the largest Distributor and people who buy music on there buy songs more so than albums. The whole concept of a full-lengths only makes sense when you are selling a physical product. Vinyl or CD’s where you would put as many songs as you can fit. Back in the day attention spans were longer so if a band went into the studio and recorded a full length for a year the fans would still be there when the record came out. Now you put out a record and before you can get the next one done fans have moved on to some exclusive genre that makes everything else un cool until they jump onto the next thing. If you are lucky you can wait a couple years for your genre to cycle back into relevance. OR, be like us and remain genre-less!
It's been 15 years since the release of 'Menace to Sobriety', so for you guys, looking back on the record now, what can you remember from that time, and what do you think it has done for the representation of OPM? Those were exciting times. The record industry and the world have changed so much in those years. I hope we’ve represented ourselves well. I was younger then obviously, so I thought I knew more than I actually know now. I’m sure I made loads of mistakes but I’ve learned from most of them and look forward to another 15.
You're also going to re-release the record, so how did this idea come about, and what can you tell us about this? We are still working on that so details are fuzzy. But yes it will be a re-master with bonus tracks and vinyl.
How would you say the sound of OPM has changed/progressed since you first started out? We have always wanted to make a song that represents everything we love in music and in life and to share that emotion. Capturing an emotion is the most difficult part of the artistic process. The more you work on your craft the easier it gets to focus on the key elements of the process. When we started we were able to hire people with loads of experience to create that environment. Then we had to go through years of trying to figure it out on our own. It’s finally come to a point where we really are able to do every aspect of the process easily and efficiently.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We are all really excited. It’s going to be a great time. For the fans singing Heaven is a Halfpipe, El Capitan and all our other amazing songs along with a room full of happy intoxicated friends and family will be a trot down memory lane of the last 15 summers. How could that not be awesome?
Also, what's it been like to tour in the UK over the years, and can you give us some highlights from your time on the road here? It’s always been great. I really just enjoy being a part of the lifestyle there. Hanging out in the pubs drinking pints, rolling your own cigarettes, having conversations about the differences between UK and US with the people there. Sharing the love of music with people is universal. It makes it easy to connect on the road. Seeing that culture fuels my curiosity of how it molded the music that comes from there. Like going to Liverpool to see where the Beatles came from or Manchester to where The Smiths came from. Trying to understand what went into the minds of Pink Floyd or Sabbath to create masterpieces. It’s like being a painter and going to the Louvre.
What else can we expect to see from OPM in 2015? After this tour we will be back in the studio. Gearing up for festivals in 2016.
Power, Ferocity, strength and beauty… These are some of the words that come to mind when you witness and hear this emerging powerhouse of music for the first time. Delivering a sound that shapes a mixture of Rock, Pop, Punk influences while supporting lead singer Lauren Harlow’s powerful and dynamic vocal prowess, you cannot help but make comparisons to Pat Benatar, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett and Pink. Relatively new to the musical world, Harlow has been tearing up each and every stage that presents itself to them as they throw down the flag that says there is a new player in the game. Formed in late 2013, every member of Harlow hails from the greater Detroit area and alongside Lauren, Joe Allen, Kevin Razlog and Kelly Weaver have spent years making a name for themselves in other groups in the local Detroit scene. As Harlow came together they knew that something special was going on and they wasted no time to get the momentum rolling. Acclaimed as a Super Group of local talent by some, these four have shrugged off this label and have spent most of 2014 not only representing Detroit but spreading out to the Midwest and venturing new areas in the east of the US to larger and larger crowds. With the recent release of a self-titled EP and the pending release of their first full length Album “Shattered” the band is gearing up for more shows across the US and showing everyone who and what they are made of. Harlow is the next Bombshell on modern music and strives to make music that will connect with all ages, creeds and provide people with music to be a fan of again.
Interview with Jed
“Currently working their way through an endless list of summer festivals, we chat to Sunset Sons to find out how this experience has been for them so far, as well as what else we can expect to see from them this year!” You recently completed a sold out UK tour, so how was that, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road here? Yeah, that tour started in March...which seems like yesterday some days, and sometimes ages ago as we’ve been so busy. It blew us away going to places we’ve never been before and there being rooms full of people. It was the first tour we'd done when we were playing proper venues with a lot of history attached to them. Everyone knows about King Tuts in Glasgow, the people up there were really cool and gave us a special bottle of whisky for selling it out. I think our tour manager drank it though. Bournemouth was amazing too. It was the second biggest venue on the tour and we were worried it was too big for us. Not so. I just remember every song being a singalong. The Scala gig in May was ace too. It felt like our first ‘proper’ London show. Afterwards, we were talking in the dressing room saying ‘that's it, we feel like we’ve arrived’.
What's it been like to perform at some of the UK festivals as well? You've got some more to go as well yet right? We’re playing about 20 festivals over the summer and we’re about halfway through. They just keep getting better and better. We started off at the Isle of Wight at the beginning of June and since then have played a load of different ones. From the big craziness of T in the Park to a little indie festival Barn on the Farm, they’ve all been fun in their own way. Glastonbury has been the highlight of our summer so far though. We played pretty early on the John Peel stage on the Saturday and couldn’t believe how many people came to see us. The tent was so packed by the time we finished, and to top it off Michael Eavis watched our set from the side of the stage. He had some really kind words after also. Doesn’t get much better for a new band than that!
Can you tell us about the narrative behind your single 'She Wants’? It was actually the second song we ever wrote together. The first one sounded like something from Top Gun, which wasn’t really what we were aiming for. It's a rock song about escapism. We’ve all been living the same lives for a little while now. We chose to find a place we liked to hang out with good people, good weather and great waves. We don’t mind telling people all about it. It's like an invitation.
Can you elaborate on some of the main themes and influences that run throughout your new EP 'The Fall Line' overall? The Fall Line EP is a lot more reflective than our previous releases. Maybe because we recorded it over the winter. 'Medicine' is a thank you really. For someone that is there for you in the dark times when you need a shoulder or just someone to talk to. Hopefully, everyone is lucky enough to have a Katie in their lives. 'Blondie' is quite vitriolic. 'Movie Scene' and 'Lies' are odes to the difficulties most people face in relationships. It's never plain sailing, is it?
How did you guys get to the EP title 'The Fall Line' and what does it mean to you? The title comes from spending time up in the mountains. It's all about gravity. The Fall Line is the point at which you aim yourself down the mountain and gravity takes over. It's when you really start to accelerate, it's scary but exciting. It just seemed to sum up how we were feeling about the band at the time. It's also the name of a friend's bar up in the Alps. We’ve had some fucking great nights in there.
“The Fall Line EP is a lot more reflective than our previous releases.” You guys have three EPs and no full lengths. So what is it you enjoy so much about releasing music this way, and do you think we can expect a full length record from you guys in the not so distant future? We’ve been working on the record out in Nashvile, recording with Jacquire King at Blackbird studios. It's been an unreal experience. Working in pretty much the best studio in the world with the best vintage instruments around and with a producer who knows how to get the best out of our songs. We came back from Nashville in March and have been touring constantly since. We’ve also been doing a load more writing. We’ve written some songs we feel need to be given the chance to make the album. So we’re going to do more recording in September and then choose the songs that work the best together. You only get one chance at a debut record. It has to be right. In the meantime, we’ve been releasing EPs as we go. It's no fun if people come to gigs and don’t know at least some of the tunes already.
You are touring with Imagine Dragons later on this year, are you excited to be hitting the road with them? That's going to be amazing. We’re playing about 30 arenas all across the UK and Europe! We’re very excited about the prospect. Plus, Pete can’t get used to playing small stages anymore. Not after the festival main stages!
What else can we expect to see from Sunset Sons in 2015? More festivals, a couple more releases, and a load more fun.
Interview with Christopher
“Just recently the band achieved their Hope tour which saw them perform stripped down versions of tracks from their fantastic record Cope. So join us, as we reflect on that, as well as what we can expect from the band when they take on Reading/Leeds festival very shortly!” Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road?
We’ve been able to tone down our touring a bit this year; Playing a few shows here and there, usually weekend dates with some time off during the week. Highlights have mainly just been being able to hang out with friends in different cities at different festivals. Oh, and Paul McCartney playing Blackbird on a riser covered in LED lights as he floated into the sky; That was a life-changing moment for sure.
We can't believe it's already been over a year since Cope came out! So for you guys looking back on that record, then how happy are you with it still, and what do you think it has done for the status and representation of Manchester Orchestra? We’re still very happy with COPE; It came at a fresh time in our band and we were really focused on making it sound exactly the way that we wanted it to. As far as status for our band, we’re just happy to be able to keep the slate clean for whatever we want to do next. COPE was an undeniable, structured, heavy record and now we feel like we can go in any direction we want.
What songs are you still really enjoying performing live from Cope, and why? COPE (the song) is just a banger of a song and Every Stone has become one of the songs I really look forward to playing when we put it in the set; The end always feels so glorious that it’s hard not to get swept up in it.
Also, what has it been like to tour songs from the alternative version to Cope entitled Hope, and what songs have been the most enjoyable to perform live from this unique idea? Our HOPE tour was very much what we’d wanted it to be: A unique and intimate experience for people who really enjoy what our band does. I feel like we were able to deliver that in some of the most unique venues we’d ever been in (a show in a cave and a cemetery included). It was a very vulnerable place to be playing that quiet of a show, but it kept us on our toes and it seems like people really enjoyed it. As far as favorite songs go, the whole set was a blast.
Have you started work on anything new just yet, and if so, what do you think fans can expect from it? We’ve all got so many different things going on right now we haven’t had much of a chance to get together and work on much as Manchester. We’ve gotten together a few times and a myriad of different things came out of it. We’ll keep you posted.
“We’ve grown a lot more confident in our songwriting as a unit” How would you say the sound of Manchester Orchestra has changed/progressed since you first started out? We’ve grown a lot more confident in our songwriting as a unit and we’ve been able to continue to grow in the studio now that we have a comfortable place at home to go to and work. Our sound just continues to reflect what we’ve learned in the past and what we enjoy tonally live.
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Reading/Leeds festival, and what can attending fans expect? We are very excited to be returning to Reading and Leeds this year; We always enjoy playing in the UK and love the different atmosphere that is a UK festival. As far as expectations go, we’re going to play some songs and then watch other bands play their songs!
Can you give us a couple of personal highlights from performing in the UK over the years? Playing every Barfly we could find, Tim throwing up at the end of his first show with us, getting held at gunpoint because the Queen was having a tea party up the street, walking to Abbey Road on our first UK trip and every Burger King I’ve ever eaten at every Petrol stop we’ve gone to (that’s right, I know you guys call it Petrol)
his Alkaline Trio bandmate Matt Skiba is busy working alongside Blink 182, then what better time to put out the second Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room record? A release that once again shows us just how ridiculously talented Dan is as a writer and overall musician!â€? So, how did you get to the album title 'Party Adjacent', and what does it mean to you? I guess it's sort of a reference to getting a bit older and deciding to relax a little bit. I still like to have fun, but I don't always have to be at the party... I'm fine with being party adjacent.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Party Adjacent'? There's a good amount of self reflection going on I suppose. Trying to be a better person, more thoughtful of others.
How would you say this release compares overall to what you did on 'Hurricane Season'? Well, it's obviously pretty different. Hurricane Season was recorded by me, at my house, and I had limited resources... Therefore I didn't really try to overdo anything, kept it pretty simple. On Party Adjacent I had a great band playing with me, and Jeff had some really great production ideas... So I feel like it really sounds more like a band.
What made you want to release 'Enemies' as the first single, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the track? Enemies was the last song I had written for the album, I was really excited about how it turned out so I guess that's why I wanted to release it first. The song is about accepting the fact that you have problems, and taking the proper steps to fixing them.
Also, how did the lyric videos come together for 'Enemies' & 'Lost', you created them yourself right? Just a bunch of footage I had from going to some cool and scenic places with my wife and daughter. I just didn't want to have a plain looking lyric video. The concept of the lyric video in general it's strange to me, but I think they both turned out pretty cool.
How did the front cover for 'Party Adjacent' come together, and what does it mean to you? In the studio that we were tracking in, it was very cold. So we had a propane space heater in the vocal booth so I wasn't freezing while I was singing. In between takes I started taking pictures of it just for documentation but I like the way they turned out and thought it would be a cool cover.
â€œI still like to have fun, but I don't always have to be at the party... I'm fine with being party adjacentâ€? How does writing and recording with the Emergency Room compare to what you'd normally do with Alkaline Trio? It's less collaborative, with the emergency room, I do all the writing... So it takes a little longer to get things done.
Can you tell us about the line-up you will be bringing out on the road for your upcoming tour, as well as maybe how the current line-up came to formation? Last year when I pretty much wrapped up writing I started freaking out because I didn't know where and with who I was going to record, I just knew I didn't want to do it by myself again. So I called Mike Park and he gave me the idea of coming out to San Jose California. He said he would find me a studio and put me in touch with Jeff, Mike, and Kevin and we got along really well right from the start and I'm thrilled that we're going to be on tour together this summer.
What else can we expect to see from Dan Andriano In the Emergency Room in 2015? Hopefully some good tours in the states as well as the UK and Europe
Clashing Clouds is a Brazilian Indie Rock band From Rio de Janeiro. The band was formed by Fabio Sousa (Vocals), Luis Felipe Le達o (Guitar), Bruno Menescal (Guitar), Gabriel Mendes (Bass) and Makio Idogawa during the summer of 2011 and quickly earned the attention of both critics and fans. Well known by their "intense" performance on stage and the dark lyrics, they have created a puzzle within the tracks of their first studio album "Pig", emerging as one of the most innovative bands in the Brazilian rock scene. Last year Clashing Clouds opened Biffy Clyros's gig in S達o Paulo and since then they are getting ready for a european tour.
Fabio Sousa - "We write about the world around us, and we use fiction, to gently describe one side of life that other people would bypass due to its heavy and sad non-commercial tone" #ACenaVive soundcloud.com/clashingclouds facebook.com/ClashingClouds youtube.com/user/ClashingClouds twitter.com/ClashingClouds_ instagram.com/clashingclouds
Interview with Karl
“Nile has returned with a fresh dose of death metal mayhem under the name of 'What Should Not Be Unearthed'! Also, do not miss out on their upcoming UK tour, as the band has promised ‘an unforgettable evening of metal!’" How did you get to the album title 'What Should Not Be Unearthed' and what does it mean to you?
The album title comes from the title track “What Should not be Unearthed”. Its meaning is derived from that phrase appearing in another track on the album – Rape of the Black Earth. There is a lyric that refers to looters and thieves “Unearthing what should not be Unearthed” in other words – digging up graves and tombs that would be best left undisturbed; its contents unviolated and the bones of the Ancient Dead left to rest in peace. The meaning of the song itself asks the question – what if these naïve assholes dug up something so terrible – so evil - and so earthshattering in its implications to the origins of mankind, that it drove human civilization to chaos and madness?
How would you say this album compares to anything you've done before? With this album the focus is not necessarily on achieving hyper light speed tempos, or being obsessed with technical musicianship, or achieving a super surgical clean sound. Yes, it’s still blazing fast technical death metal; but the songs are instead written to center on being memorable and catchy and listenable. We went the painful extra steps to make sure everything in the songs were harnessed to achieving a higher purpose; making metal songs that have the metal spirit.
What was the most challenging part about putting together 'What Should Not Be Unearthed' for you, and why? Well, the phrase “painful extra steps to make sure everything in the songs were harnessed” is easier SAID than DONE. As a band, It’s very easy to get attached to some awesome guitar riff or crazy drum part or fave vocal line, and often it’s very painful and frustrating to realize – that awesome, impossible-to-play insane guitar part doesn’t actually do anything positive for the song – and has got to go. It’s like the terrible sad pain of having a favorite pet “put to sleep” because it has rabies. Bandmates – myself included - will often fight tooth and nail to not have their pet licks euthanized = removed from the song. But – if one wants to actually achieve the goal of having songs that are tech death AND catchy and memorable – some amount of cruel and ruthless self editing is going to have to take place.
How did the album artwork for 'What Should Not Be Unearthed' come together, and what does it mean to you? I sent Xaay the artist – a copy of the song lyrics, and a few paragraphs explaining the deeper meaning of the song. And then we let him loose to do whatever he wanted. All the ideas you see in the cover and booklet are his. When I look at his work for Unearthed, it reminds me of an ancient Pyramid shaped object covered in symbols and glyphs, that has been half dug up, surrounded by horrible crawling insects – that really would be best NOT to finish digging up and opening; kind of like the terrible puzzle cube in the Hellraiser movies. Because if you do mess around and open it – something awful is going to happen.
What is it like to produce your own work in the studio? Can this ever be a hard process, or is it actually more easy than people might think? Yes and no. There are of course pros and cons to every working situation. Working in your own studio means you have all the time to track everything as many times as it takes until you are happy; but that’s a double edged sword because most humans are very poor judges of their own happiness. It’s easily possible to obsess over perfection, and before ya know it – you can be working insane long hours, but actually achieve very little useable results. Recording an album on your own is probably NOT for those lacking in self discipline. There is also – an aspect of – self delusion and over confidence that can and does occur. I remember the first record we did with Grammy Award winning producer Neil Kernon, and me naively telling him “Well on the first 3 Nile records, we did it such-and-such way.” To which Neil cheekily responded - “Well, on that other album I made……..etc etc ” and his point was immediately clear, because of course Neil has made over 500 records – and clearly knows WAY more about making albums than we were even capable of conceiving. So – for “Unearthed” – YES it was I and Dallas producing the record this time at my studio, with Neil doing the mixing later on at his place in Chicago...But Dallas and I were smart enough to liberally pick up the phone and talk to Neil and get his input as often as possible while tracking.
How would you say the sound of Nile has grown/progressed since you first started out?
Well, hopefully, being in Nile for 20 plus years has taught us a few things about Metal, making music, and life s in general. I hope so anyway. In terms of the actual sound of Nile? The basic parameters of our sound are still very recognizable, but 20 years of doing it means we have a much more thorough command of our instruments and a broader perspective on what we are actually doing. I would also observe that at this point, – we feel like we have proven to ourselves - and anyone else that has actually been paying attention that we can certainly play our instruments; thus the new record is remarkably free of technique for mere technique sake. At this point, we are making music for our fans, and for the sake of having some kick ass metal songs to bring to our audiences live.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? Fans can assuredly expect an Unforgettable Evening of Metal with Nile and Suffocation. Metal will take place!
Interview with Max
“Ten albums in and they are still going strong! Their monstrous new release ‘Archangel’ features an epic array of interesting themes whilst displaying some of the bands best work to date!”
'Archangel' is the tenth studio album for Soulfly, how does it feel reaching the milestone of a tenth album? It's really cool man, I never expected to make so many records so it's really special too. Releasing our tenth album, we kind of treated it as a special record. We knew we weren't just making another album, it was our tenth album so I went in the studio with a bit of a thing in my head like, let’s try to make this one a bit different, a bit exotic, something that really stands out from the others. It feels amazing to release ten records with the same band, I've never done that before with any other band so it's quite a trip.
How would you say your sound has progressed/changed since you first started Soulfly? It was 1998 when that the first album came out, it's been a great journey. I think all the records are different, I'm proud of all of them and I wouldn't change any of them. If there was one thing I would change it is just the name of the third record, I just named it Soulfly 3. It was a bit lazy, the album was supposed to be called 'Downstroy'. I was on this Led Zeppelin trip, Led Zeppelin called their album 3 so I called my album 3. I have to say I was a bit lazy about it but it will always be Downstroy to me.
You've always had some great guests appearing on your records, who do you have joining you for this one? This one is quite different, it's new with a new generation such as Todd Jones from Nails. A band I really like, probably the heaviest band out there right now, they are so heavy it's ridiculous, incredible. I wrote the song 'Sodomites' and needed a second voice on it because it has this sort of biblical feeling to it. I needed someone to do the intro, a sort of talking voice that sounded like a piece of the God. Todd was perfect because he has this brutal voice. He was ideal for 'Sodomites' and I'm a big fan of Nails so it was really cool. Then I got Matt (Young) from King Parrot which is a crazy Australian band that is just getting popular right now, we went to see them in Phoenix and they blew me away. There was so much energy coming out of the stage and it was really cool. They are one of the bands that has that energy thing down, after their show I invited him to sing on the record. I did a song called 'Live Life Hard' which is about the lifestyle that we live. This metal lifestyle which is hard and heavy and a brutal life, Matt's got this really crazy, really high pitched vocal that he has on King Parrot. It was really good, I especially like the chorus, the chorus says “go hard or go home, go hard or fuck off”. Both of us singing that together was really killer.
“All the records are different, I'm proud of all of them and I wouldn't change any of them” King Parrot are a band Phil Anselmo has been championing? Yeah, he helps them a lot and they are signed to his label. We played Soundwave in Australia, he was in contact with my son Igor through the internet, he knew that we were going to be there so he showed up with a bunch of t shirts and we hit it off really good with them. So those are the two official guest appearances but there is one song on the end of the record called 'Mother of Dragons' and all my kids appear on the song, Richie (Incite) Igor (Lody Kong) and Anahid, a girl from Iran also sings on it. It's a really cool song, it's about their mother, my wife and it's really a brutal song but with cool lyrics. People call her the mother of dragons all the time because of the metal heads that we have so I decided to make a song about it. It's the track that ends the record, and it’s just really cool!
Matt Hyde produced the record, how did you come to him and what was he like to work with? He was amazing, and I owe that to my son, Richie because he did an Incite record with Matt that came out really good and I loved the production. I asked Richie how it was working with Matt and he said it was really killer, he really pushed him. I wanted a producer to do that for me, have someone to really push me and take stuff out of me that normally doesn't come out. Matt was that. Right from the beginning Matt was really excited because I told him what I wanted to do with the record, it's going to be called Archangel and it's going to be really mystic, biblical and Matt loves that stuff so he said “I love that, we're going to have fun on this record!” We did a bunch of really cool stuff, especially my vocals (in ways) that I've never done before like chantings, melodic chantings so you can hear that in songs like 'Sodomites', 'Bethlehem's Blood', the title song and 'Titans'. There's a lot of chantings that I did so together, he'd have a keyboard and play the note, then I'd try to match the note with my voice. I've never done that before, it was a trip. My voice isn't really a melodic one, as you know, so I had to push it and try hard. Some of the songs we'd work on all day man, Matt would say “it's not quite there yet Max, you'll have to come back and sing it again. Ah not quite in tune yet, you'll have to do it again.” It drove me crazy a little bit, I was ready to say fuck it! Take the fucking chants out we don't need it! It was sounding cool so I decided to go all the way to the end, as torturous as it was!
“What are you going to do when you've made your best album and you have nothing else left to do?” What are the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Archangel'? The first song isn't much to do with the concept of the record, I wanted to do that to do something different. It's the first song to open the record, I decided to do a sort of metal anthem and it's called 'We Sold Our Souls For Metal'. It is a two minute, full on thrash song, as fast as you can be. I told Zyon to play as fast as he could and we just made the riff really crazy, Marc (Rizzo) is doing some really crazy stuff and the lyrics are about the love and passion of metal that we have. That we hate society and fuck the world and we live life by our own rules. We sold our souls to metal! It came out really good, if you listen to the chorus, it sounds like punk so it is a metal song with a punk chorus, they work well together. I remember when people heard it, I played it for Gloria (wife and manager) and Monty they were like “it's an anthem, you wrote a metal anthem for the fans!” and I was really happy with that. After that the album gets into the biblical vibe, 'Archangel' starts, it's about the war in heaven and it's about the Archangel Michael who fights the devil, it's really heavy stuff. 'Sodomites' is about the destruction of Sodom, another biblical theme. Then I got into Babylonian themes with 'Shamash' and 'Ishtar Rising', Ishtar was a goddess of Babylon. I've always been intrigued by the old world and the Babylonian world, Arcadian world and things like that. There is 'Bethlehem's Blood' which is about the killing of the infants in Bethlehem when Jesus was born, that's how hardcore that is because some of that bible stuff is very hardcore man so I wanted to put that with our songs. Some people think of the bible as just this great book but the stories have some really heavy stuff on it to teach people lessons. The bible created all these crazy stories and a lot of them are really good to turn into songs. I did another song called 'Titans' which is really not about the bible, it's about mythology, Greek titans. I say the name of them in the songs chorus like Cronus, Crius, Coeus and Hyperion, Promethius, Lapetus, all of the Greek Titans so that came out really cool too. All of them have some mystic, exotic kind of stuff. The only other songs that didn't have much to do with that was 'Mother of Dragons', even though she (Gloria) was called that before Game of Thrones, you can kind of connect the two, a cool song about their mother. 'Deceiver' too, it's about shitty people that will deceive you and fuck you over, I have a lot of them around today, still! I had to make another song for them so it's kind of like the propaganda set of songs never end!
Can you tell us a bit about how the stunning cover art for 'Archangel'? That was a stroke of luck to get that guy man! The original idea was to use an old image of Saint Michael, an old Russian icon, that was my first, we'll use an old Russian icon, it'll look cool but then Nuclear Blast Records said they had this guy Eliran Kantor who has done some interesting album covers for them. He's done Testament, Sodom and some others, so I looked at his stuff and it looked really cool and classic, I said let me talk to him and see what we come up with. I got to talk to Eliran and explain to him what I was doing, I asked him if it would be possible to blend the old world with Saint Michael and somehow connect it to the Soulfly world that we're living in right now. I said if you could, that would be amazing and I left it at that. He came up with the concept of the wings that look like the Soulfly wings and the weapon that Saint Michael is using to kill the devil is shaped in to the Soulfly symbol. That just blew me away! I love the colours and people are losing their shit over the cover on the internet, they really love the cover a lot. I don't think I've had that kind of feedback on a cover, I think this is the most celebrated and talked about cover I've ever had of the Soulfly covers. So it was, it was a stroke of luck to find Eliran, he did great and was really cool to work with.
When we spoke during the press for the last Cavalera Conspiracy album, you mentioned how you felt you haven't yet made your masterpiece, do you feel this album is bringing you closer to that? I think it's getting warm! I guess they say it's not really up to you and it's up to the fans. They are the ones that will judge that or make it into the masterpiece, it isn't the artist. The artist can say, “this is my masterpiece” and go against the fans and the fans have a totally different album that they like compared to what the artist likes. Sometimes I think when they connect, when the fans decide and you decide that was your best record. The scary part of it though is what are you going to do when you've made your best album and you have nothing else left to do? Retire and go fishing in Florida or something? So I hope it's not my masterpiece yet but I think it's pretty close, I'm very excited for Archangel. There's a kind of feeling I have from this album that I haven't felt for a long time and the reviews are coming in and they are really cool. Even people who didn't like Soulfly like this album, that kind of stuff is happening with this record so I'm excited. There was a lot of hard work making this album, getting the right people involved like Matt Hyde and Zyon worked his ass off, Marc did a great job on the guitar like always and Tony (Campos) did an awesome job on the bass. Even Matt was like, it was so good to work with a band that knows what they are doing, he told us in the studio one day. We came in pretty prepared, most of the songs were written and we just kind of bashed through it and he was like “this sounds killer already, we don't have to change much”. It was really good strong material to work with so yeah, I have a good feeling for the record, a good vibe. I think it's definitely an interesting tenth album for sure!
Interview with Josh
What made you want to release 'Obelisk' first, and how happy have you been with the response to the track? We felt that Obelisk had the right ingredients as an introductory track to the record. It was very hard to choose a song as the record is so diverse, I wouldn’t really say that any one track would capture the entire piece. We are very happy with the response and it’s been going down great live.
How did you get to the album title 'Node' and what does it mean to you? Node was actually a working title for the track “Node”, we ended up keeping it for that track. We felt it was an interesting and understated title for the record, and its definitions have a lot of parallels with what this record means to us and what the lyrics are about. A node is a junction of paths.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Node’? I feel if you’re going to talk about “influences” you need to realize that this record, and much more so than our other records is a product of all music that’s personally resonated with us over time. Musically, Node definitely has flavors of a lot of 90’s and early 2000’s bands such as Linkin park and Incubus because these are bands we grew up on. Thematically you could look to Pink Floyd and Tool but I’d say that the lyrics are more of a commentary of my world view.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Node' for you guys, and why? I think every step of the record posed a challenge to every one of us in a different way. The thing we deliberated on the longest was probably the title of the record. We went back and forth on so many different options but eventually settled for Node.
“With a whole load of touring achieved since the announcement of their new frontman 'Marcus Bridge' back in October of 2014 then it's safe to say that this new incarnation of the band has been accepted with open arms. As well as this, the band has just released their electric new record 'Node' which sees them starting their next chapter in style!"
What was it like to write and record with Marcus Bridge for the first time, and how would you say this process compares to anything Northlane have done before? It was of course a different process. We found the best way we worked was for me to write lyrics with him present and then he’d help me phrase and place how this would all fit into the song. Marcus took care of the majority of the vocal melodies and harmonies. He’s an absolute pro in the studio so he was a joy to work with. It was a challenge adjusting to the new dynamic but once we’d found our groove, everything was pretty seamless.
Can you tell us about where the album was recorded, as well as who you decided to have as a producer? The album was recorded in New Jersey, with Will Putney. He produced, mixed and mastered our last record too, and he mixed and mastered our first record. We went back to him because he really understands our band. He definitely helped us retain what we needed to from our past whilst still moving forward.
How did the album artwork come together for 'Node' and what does it mean to you? We actually tried a few different designers until we found someone who nailed the concept. Asking for meaning in it is a bit much, sometimes you just need to enjoy art for what it is!
What do you want this album to do for the 'status' and representation of Northlane? I’d love to see us touring with more varied bands than we’ve previously done. Whatever else the release of this record brings, who knows!
How would you say the sound of Northlane has grown since you first started out? We evolve our sound with every record, we’ve never been a band to stay in the same place for too long. Our first EP –“Hollow Existance” was well rooted in metalcore. Over time I guess you could say our sound has become more atmospheric and progressive. We find ourselves conforming to genre norms less and less with each release.
Althaea is a heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia, U.S. forming in the fall of 2013, currently consisting of Jacob Pitts on vocals, Chris Davis on lead guitar, Peter Friesen on rhythm guitar, Nick Dismore on drums, and Justin Banks on bass. The forming members of Althaea met in their high school years through the common influences of bands like Tool, Slipknot, Whitechapel, After the Burial, Thy Art Is Murder, The Devil Wears Prada, and many more, cultivating to an aggressive and calculated attack of powerful vocals and a technical guitar duo. As Althaea began performing shows locally in Virginia through the summer of 2014, its lineup began to fluctuate and took a sizable overhaul through the fall of 2014. After reforming through an array of new and old faces, Althaea reentered Virginia's metal scene with their self-titled EP released through BandCamp in the early months of 2015. Currently, Althaea remains a loyal, professional, and powerful force in Richmond's metal scene, who are looking forward to the August 31st release of their sophomore EP, "Psychosin". Listeners can find their self-titled EP, singles, and upcoming releases on their own BandCamp free of charge, as well as finding various updates through their social media presence.
â€œBet throug differen whils
Touring wise, what have you been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We started the year in the studio and then went to Mexico in February. It was our first time there in seven years and it was an incredible experience. We have extremely passionate fans down there! We're on tour now that the album is out and we'll be going hard for the next two years or so, I'm super excited to be pushing this album and the tour we're on now has been one of our most successful headliners ever.
Can you tell us about the initial concept idea behind 'Coma Ecliptic'? It's about a man in a self induced coma traversing through past life manifestations in his mind. It's about him questioning his reality, kind of what it all means, and it ends with him being sad and alone.
So how did the concept idea for 'Coma Ecliptic' originally come about, and what has it been like to channel an idea like this into an album? It was an idea our singer Tommy had. It worked really well with how the music was going at the time, the idea of him going to all these different worlds and stuff was a great setting for it. All the character voices he does, it really brought the theatrical element of the record to life.
What can you tell us about the narrative behind your latest single 'Famine Wolf'? That song is about the character going to a cannabalistic world. Pretty freaky stuff! You'd have to talk to our singer to get the deeper meaning of the song, but it works well with the music.
Interview with Dan
tween The Buried & Me have always had exciting narratives running gh their albums, and with their latest output â€˜Coma Eclipticâ€™ this is no nt! So take a read, as Dan goes into detail on this awesome new output, t discussing what else we can expect to see from the band in 2015!â€?
What was the most challenging part about putting 'Coma Ecliptic' together, and why? There really wasn't anything challenging about it. It was the most natural thing we could have written at the time and we just knocked it out. It was the easiest writing and recording experience we've had!
How did you end up working with Jamie King, and what was he like to work with? We've worked with him for the last 15 years on almost every single album, so it was natural that we'd go back with him. We just get along so well with him and work easily together. We ended up mixing it with Jens Bogren which was incredible, such a great combo with him and Jamie.
How would you say the sound of Between The Buried & Me has changed since you first started out? We've always done what's most natural for us at the time, so it's been a natural progression for us. Right now more of the progressive rock element is able to shine through, and it's something that's been there for years, just at the forefront now.
How did the front cover for 'Coma Ecliptic' come together, and what do you want it to mean to your fans? We wanted to do something in the style of the late great Storm Thorgerson, that idea of making real settings for very surreal looking events. We didn't want it to look like it was all put together in Photoshop and super digital, we wanted it to have the same warm natural feeling the music does. We put together a great team with the art director and photographer and they made it happen. A lot of it was shot in the deserts of California.
What else can we expect to see from Between The Buried & Me in 2015? We'll be in Europe in September/October with the brilliant UK group Haken, and then we're coming back to America at the end of the year for a tour that we haven't announced yet. And then 2016 will just be wild! Can't wait.
Interview with Frankie
“With over a million album sales achieved in the UK alone The Darkness have earned themselves a place as one of the most exciting hard rock bands of the last decade! With the addition of ‘Rufus Tiger Taylor’ on drums (yes, he is related to the drummer of Queen, Roger Taylor...!) the band are back with their new album ‘Last of our Kind’ which in our eyes, could easily go on to become one of their best albums yet!” Touring wise, what have The Darkness been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? We did a warm up tour of small venues in Ireland, to test out new material and bed in our new drummer Emily Dolan Davies. We then parted ways with lovely Emily for personal reasons and had the good fortune to come across a young man by the name of Rufus Taylor. He reminded us of someone. We reminded him of someone(s). The rest is history. Personal highlights? Out of breath, smiling Irish folk chasing after us on the streets, with carefree abandon. Why are the Irish so unselfconscious? It's a delightful trait. I wish I had it.
How did 'Rufus Tiger Taylor' end up joining The Darkness, and what has he been like to work with so far? He's a funny guy! After that everything is easy. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of application and concentration involved.
How did you get to the album title 'Last of Our Kind' and what does it mean to you? Bunker mentality I guess. It's a self enclosed world which not many people understand. The Darkness Army try to understand, you can find them on Facebook. It's also something one could, and perhaps should, aspire to. To be the last of their kind, to make a mark, to kick against the pricks. To challenge yourself to be unforgettable.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Last of Our Kind'? The album deals with defiance - personal, collective and historical. The personal defiance is pretty self explanatory and deals with emotional fall out in songs such as Wheels Of The Machine, Sarah O'Sarah and Conquerors. Not to mention the defiance needed when confronting mortality in 'Mighty Wings'. Then we have the historical forays in 'Barbarians' (Vikings) and 'Roaring Waters' (Moorish Invaders). Reenacting and imagining what it was like to be confronted by these terrifying mauraders. The title track and next single 'Last of Our Kind' deals with our collective defiance against the sorry state of rock music today.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Last of Our Kind', and why? It was all hard, but then again a hardness to be relished. All art is a gift to the gods.
Your very own 'Dan Hawkins' produced this record, which is something you also did on 'Hot Cakes'. So how did this idea originally come about, and what's it like to actually have the band put together the release instead of someone else? The feeling of helplessness when your ideas are in someone else's hands is not a pleasant one. There's no one outside the band who we trust enough to realise our visions. Dan is a remarkable musician with the ability to oversee and concentrate to an intense degree that would make my head explode like an over ripe tomato.
â€œChallenge yourself to be unforgettable.â€? Also, in a kind of reference to the last question. How would you say 'Last of Our Kind' compares overall to what you did on 'Hot Cakes'? It is warmer and fuller sounding. Hot Cakes is shiny and fizzy sounding. The songs asked for that I guess. This album is harder, warmer, fuller, fatter and engorged with the blood of three hungry men. And a woman.
How did the music video for 'Open Fire' come together, and also, can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? Simon Emmett and his team are making a documentary on us. It's going to be ridiculously revealing. They spent time with us on Europe's most westerly harbour Kerry's Valentia island. It was very windy that day! The narrative behind that track is Justin deconstructing 'goth' culture - 'why embrace the darkness, because it's always there'. Wearing black and hiding yourself away is actually quite cozy and safety first, it's not rebelious or edgy. That's why I say 'Comfort goth'. Goths are very often nice and sensitive people but they're essentially hiding. It takes more guts to shoot for love on the proverbial sheepskin rug. To potentailly make a dick of yourself. That's my interpretation by the way!
How did the album cover for 'Last of Our Kind' come together, and what does it mean to you? Nick Roche is a very talented Irish animator, he realised the album cover and the Barbarians video with help from Phillis Darkling our 'Robo Guru'. I guess the album cover means that we are a baby in a spaceship flying away from a pink cosmic orgasm.
The Joint has carried a solid “Vintage Modern” sound since 2010 when the final line-up of the band came to be. Jon Tyler Smith, Aaron Tymec, Warren Gies, and Tyler Hodgkinson have a strong, raw, electric sound which prevails in their live shows nightly. Hard at work in studios and on the road, the group strives to complete diverse, honest records that stay true to their sound. With their new album “BitterSweet”, the band will be hitting stages around Canada and the U.S. Their first show together and milestone as a band was in Oshawa's annual "Bandwarz" competition 2010, where they won the studio time used to record their first EP entitled “Just A Taste" (released January 21 2011). The next would be their 1st place win in the Triumph Musician Search Contest 2011 with their song/music video for “The Preacher” after competing with numerous bands in the Durham Region. These experiences together would eventually lead them to begin recording their first full length album in the summer of 2011. It was many of the bands early songs that came to make up the album, appropriately titled “Young Essence” which was released in the fall of 2012. “Young Essence” was recorded at Chalet Studios in Claremont, ON with engineer Theo Posthumus and took one year to complete. The band has since released 4 singles from the album in the form of music videos including the title track, and “Livin’ With You”, for which they won Music Video of the Year at the Broken Arts Music Awards in 2014.
The Joint’s latest release “BitterSweet” is an album with a bit more of a polished edge in comparison to the band's debut. While it still retains The Joint’s basic rock n’ roll sound, it is definitely an expansion in terms of songwriting and instrumentation that goes beyond a traditional 4 piece rock band set up. On June 3 2014 the band used an appearance on “Rogers Daytime” TV to announce the upcoming release of “BitterSweet” on June 17 2014. The album was recorded at Coalition Studios in Toronto, ON with engineer David Henriques. The Joint began work on the album in the Fall of 2013 and emerged Spring 2014 with 10 original songs that reflect what the band had been writing over the past couple of years. During October and November of 2014, The Joint completed their first North American tour. The “All Dolled Up” Tour 2014 saw them across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver, before heading down the west coast of the U.S. to California and back over the course of a month in support of “BitterSweet”. With a very positive reaction on the road, The Joint plan to head back out during 2015 to continue to support the album.
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Interview with Buddy
“Recently their frontman Buddy shared some truths that he has been battling with over the years with his fans, including his struggles with anxiety, depression, and grief as well as the fact that he didn’t identity as straight or gay or bi. These subjects are just some of the themes that thread their way through the new Senses Fail record ‘Pull The Thorns From Your Heart’ and with that backbone then you can expect to hear their most meaningful and to the point output yet!” How did you end up signing to Pure Noise Records, and what have they been like to work with so far? I met Jake through working in the music industry about 4 years ago while I was at Mightier Than Sword. We have a similar work ethic and approach to the business so we stayed friends and always kept in touch. When SF was looking for a label I thought it would be great to work with Jake. Over the last couple years he had been really building his label and I wanted to align the band with someone who was working hard and was putting out good current music. We love it there. I think it has really helped reintroduce the band to people.
How did you get to the album title 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart' and what does it mean to you? It is from a poem by Rumi, who was a 13th century Suffi poet. To me it is the process of purification, of letting go of many old habits and weight. In order to grow there must be some sort of change, and change is in many cases uncomfortable. To pull thorns from you, requires a bit of effort and a bit of pain, but in the end there is healing. That is basically the basis of this record.
We've read that 'This record is the complete documentation of my transformative spiritual experience from the darkness to the light', so with that, can you elaborate on some of the main themes and influences that run throughout the record? There are many different things at work on this record, so I will pick just one to elaborate on it. I would say one of the main themes of the record is radical acceptance. That is acceptance of your current present situation and acceptance of yourself. It is a really radical idea to turn towards yourself with love in all situations. When you start to make the effort to do so you really see just how hard it is and you also see just how hard you are on yourself. The way in which we relate to others is directly related to the way in which we relate to ourselves, so naturally our starting point for forming better relationships should start right within ourselves. I spent the last couple of decades of my life really being at awe with who I was and this record is the acceptance of who I am and I would like to share this insight with others.
'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart' is broken up into 4 non sequential acts that are named after Buddhist concepts, so can you tell us about how this idea came about, as well as what it means to you personally? Yes. It wasn't planned from the beginning but came somewhere when I was putting together the track listing. I started organizing things in the way I thought they should go and started to realize there were songs that were grouped together with similar concepts. I got the idea from my fiancé that I should maybe group them beneath Buddhist concepts because a lot of the record stems about of Buddhist psychology and philosophy. The way in which the songs are grouped is meant to represent a musical movement as well, a building, a climax and then a resolution. All of this while following along with the lyrical concepts in the same way. Personally, Buddhism and mediation practice changed and saved my life.
What made you want to release 'The Importance of the Moment of Death' first, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the track? WE felt it was a good mix between the heavy and the catchy because it still had a pretty strong chorus/sing along part. We wanted to let people know the record would be heavy but still have some melody. Lyrically the song is about no longer being afraid to die because having come out as queer I could fully live my life without regret and without holding back. Basically what I speak about is the freedom in acceptance can bring about a freedom to live. To be able to die, is to be able to fully live.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart' for you, and why? I think the hardest part is worrying about wether or not people will accept it. Everything about the writing and recording was so easy and pleasant, it was the most fun and simple record to make. Everything was open, honest and truthful and it was a really fun process. The hardest thing has been trying not to get caught up in wondering what people will think because it is so different.
“To pull thorns from you, requires a bit of effort and a bit of pain, but in the end there is healing. That is basically the basis of this record” What can you tell us about the recording process for 'Pull The Thorns From Your Heart'? The drums were recorded at Scott Weiland from STP's studio and the rest were done at Shaun Lopez's studio. The record was engineered and produced by Shaun Lopez and mixed by Eric Stenman.
How would you say this release compares to anything Senses Fail have done before? I don't think I can, I think it is so different than anything else we have done. It wouldn't be fair to say it is better or worse than any other record because it is its own thing, it is a moment in time captured in music.
How would you say the sound of Senses Fail has progressed since you first started out? It has become more honest and free. People can personally choose wether the records are better or worse but you can't say that we haven't taken risks, been honest and had integrity.
What else can we expect to see from Senses Fail in 2015? Tour, Tour, Tour.
Interview with Taylor
"After we witnessed their explosive set at Download Festival recently then it was clear to see that their debut album 'Disgusting' has gone down extremely well with alternative rock fans. We chat to Taylor to find out what the success of this release has been like to experience for the band, as well as getting the details on the next chapter of Beartooth!"
How is Warped Tour going so far, and can you give us a couple of highlights from the road? This is one of the best Warped tours I've had the pleasure of being involved in.
Also, how was Download Festival (we saw someone stage dive a huge distance mid set!), and what was the whole experience like for your band? Download was very surreal, we never thought we'd do anything like that so it was crazy for all of us. We just went out and did our thing though, and luckily people were into it.
Touring wise, what else have you guys been up to this year? We did the 10th anniversary of Discovering the Waterfront US tour with Silverstein, we went to Australia for the first time thanks to In Hearts Wake, and now we're out here on Warped!
It's crazy to think that it's already been a year since 'Disgusting' came out, so for you guys, how happy have you been with the feedback to the record so far, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Beartooth? We're just glad people connect with our record. Other than that, we don't really care about status or how people view us. We're just going to do what we do.
What songs are you really enjoying performing live of 'Disgusting' at the moment, and why? I love playing The Lines, it just grooves and is a really fun riff. Dead is also a winner live, always good for whipping the crowd into a frenzy.
Can you tell us how the video for 'In Between' came together, as well as a bit about the narrative behind the single? Drew Russ came up with the treatment, and we loved the idea. That was pretty much the extent of it.
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Reading/Leeds festival, and what can attending fans expect? I'm really stoked, partly because it's a legendary festival and I'm excited to be a part of it. I'm also really excited to see Metallica.
You guys only formed in 2012, and you've gained a huge fan base already! So for you guys personally, how do you go about getting this kind of response, and what do you think it is that fans relate to so much with Beartooth? We're super thankful for everyone that's into us. Hopefully, they just appreciate the fact that we're open and honest about ourselves and our band.
What else can we expect to see from Beartooth in 2015? Not much, after Warped we're going to start recording our next album!
"If you've seen Frank Turner live then you'll already know that he is one of the best performers the UK currently has to offer. With his upcoming record 'Positive Songs For Positive People' he has recorded live as much as possible to harness that experience onto an output to give the listener the most accurate representation of him to date!" How did your recent performances go at Glastonbury Festival, and what's it like to be part of such an iconic event? I had three shows - one solo, one with the Sleeping Souls and one with Billy Bragg - so it kind of covered all my bases. They all went super well, I think, though you should ask the crowd really. I like being at Glasto, it is iconic.
So how did you get to the album title 'Positive Songs for Negative People' and what does it mean to you? It came from a late night drunken conversation with an old friend about what it is I do, or am trying to do. It just seemed like an apt summation of my art.
You've said that 'Positive Songs for Negative People' is â€œmy definitive statement, a summation of the first five records,â€? so with that, then can you tell us about what we can expect from this record overall? I think it's the best thing I've done - everyone says that, of course, but I really do believe it. It's more aggressive, more of a punk record, than some of my previous efforts. More raw.
Can you elaborate on some of the main themes and influences that we can expect to hear from 'Positive Songs for Negative People'? I guess it's a record about pulling yourself back up again after a fall; it's a natural sequel to the previous album, which was a breakup record of sorts. It's more, well, positive.
You've recorded a lot of the record live, so can you tell us about the recording process for this release, as well as how it compares to anything you've done before? I wanted to make this record like a debut album, rough and ready, largely played live. I wanted to capture the feel of my live show with the Sleeping Souls. We rehearsed the shit out of it for a couple of years before hitting the studio, so we were able to cut the whole thing in nine days, which I'm really proud of. I think it's a better representation of who I am and what I do than some of my earlier records.
How did you end up working with Butch Walker, and what was he like to work with? I didn't actually know he was a producer, I'm a fan of his solo work. When I found out he made records as well, I got in touch through a mutual friend and we got on like a house on fire. He totally understood what I was trying to do with this album, and really brought it to life.
What made you want to release 'The Next Storm' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? The label chose it as a single, which is fine with me, I'm rubbish at that choice. But it does seem like an apt summation of the themes of the record - survival, optimism in the ruins and so on. I suppose it's kind of a song about surviving a tornado.
How did the artwork for 'Positive Songs for Negative People' come together, and what does it mean to you? I wanted to do something different from previous records - all of which have had a handworn, antique feel to them. I wanted it to be modernist, like the Stiff Records albums from the early 80s. I worked with Matt de Jong and he was great, he nailed it straight away.
How excited are you for your solo set at Reading/Leeds festival, and what can attending fans expect? It's a solo show, so it'll be more fun, more rambling. I'm excited to play - Reading in particular feels like home to me.
What else can we expect to see from Frank Turner in 2015? An awful lot of touring for the new record, and the same for 2016. I'm booked out.
Interview with Rob
"After the exceptional response to their debut album 'Priorities' the guys in Don Broco have been hard at work on a follow-up that will surpass this. With Jason Perry as a producer (a Grammy winning producer to be precise!) the band have achieved what they set out to do in the name of â€˜Automaticâ€™ which is an exciting listen that shows the band reaching out to new ground in a refreshing way! Also don't miss out on their upcoming performance at Reading/Leeds festival, as they always put on a highly memorable show!" How did you get to the album title 'Automatic' and what does it mean to you? One of the last songs we wrote for the album we decided to call Automatic and pretty much instantly turned to each other and agreed it should be the name of the album. The song is about taking a chance on something you care about, and it was only after we had written it that we realised it addressed a lot of the themes within the album.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Automatic' for you, and why? Probably knowing when to say when enough was enough. We wrote over 20 songs for the album and had hundreds of ideas and half songs that we would have kept writing if we hadn't forced ourselves to stop and actually record it. Then choosing which songs to include on the album, and which to let go was super tough because we loved them all!
How would you say the sound of Don Broco has progressed since you first started out? I think we've become more and more aware as the years go by of what makes us sound different and unique. Writing this record we focused on what we believe makes us stand out amongst the millions of other rock bands around, and brought those influences to the forefront. There's a lot more electronics and keys on this record and we definitely enjoyed experimenting with the layers and sounds they brought to the table.
Can you tell us about how the music video for 'Superlove' came together, as well as a bit about the narrative behind the track? We knew we wanted to do something we hadn't done before with the video, and it's a fun song so we wanted the video to reflect that. The lyrics are about excess and getting into something a bit too deep, taking something too far when you know it's bad for you. We were talking to Marcus about it (who directed our video for Automatic) and he had this idea for a mad dinner party with a weird and wonderful cast, filming as much as we could in one long take. We loved the concept and think it's safe to say it was the most fun we've ever had on set.
How did you end up working with Jason Perry, and what was he like to work with? We didn't even know Jason had been sent the demos, and received an email out the blue from him that absolutely knocked us for six. Without ever speaking to us he completely got what we were going for, was referencing bands and sounds we'd been talking about ourselves, and had a ton of ideas we dug in regards to taking the songs further. I think we already knew after that he was who we wanted to produce the album then after meeting him and getting on so well it was a done deal. In the studio, Jason was a really positive vibe. We'd lived with some of the songs for a quite a while and they'd been through so many various incarnations it was easy to get caught up in the minute detail. Jason helped us take a step back and look at the bigger picture, while also being super chilled and making the entire process very easy going.
How would you say the songwriting on this record compares to anything you've done before? This album is all about melody. We were pretty tough on ourselves from the get go, we all had to love every verse, every chorus, every aspect of the song for it to make the album. Traditionally we love a good pop song structure and a lot of the time that just works, but this album we played around with chucking sections about where you wouldn't always expect them. I think on a first listen that might take a few listeners by surprise but everything flows really nicely into each other, we wanted to make a smooth sounding record with nothing jumping out as too angular or abrasive.
How excited are you for your upcoming intimate UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We haven't done a small tour like this for a couple of years, so it was something we'd been talking about for a while. These are the places we cut our teeth playing and despite the prestige and sense of achievement that comes with doing big venues, nothing quite compares atmosphere wise to a sweaty club show. It will be the first chance we'll get to debut a lot of new songs on the album so we're very excited to give them their first outing.
Also, how excited are you for your upcoming performance at Reading/Leeds festival, and what's it been like to perform there over the years? We're massively looking forward to Reading and Leeds, it's our favourite festival of the summer and this will be our fifth time back so we are very excited. We're doing the Radio 1/NME tent again this year which for me is definitely the best stage. Despite its size the vibe in there is incredible, the sound is always better in a tent than the main stage too. The show we did last year in there plus our first R&L doing the BBC Introducing stage are some of my favourite sets we've ever played. These will also be the first shows we do once the album is properly out so it will be great with people knowing them.
What else can we expect to see from Don Broco in 2015? We're going to be playing our biggest headline show to date at Brixton Academy in December. It's a venue we've seen many of our idols play and never played it before as a support so to get to do it on our own steam will be pretty special for us. Hopefully weâ€™ll catch you there!
Wild Sons sparked when 4 close friends with similar goals and interests began creating music as a single unit. After experimenting with diverse musical backgrounds, the band has generated a fun, fresh indie pop rock sound that describes their friendships and life experiences and plays on living fearless and young. This indie pop rock quartet has taken the summer by storm with the release of multiple radio-ready singles and by performing at the Pomona, CA stop on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. The tracks and videos for our newly released singles “Supernova” and “Imaginary Lover” are all about our Fearless and Young movement.
These songs were meant to be an introduction of who we are as a band and a representation of what’s to come from us. We’ve worked hard to establish an exclusive sound and to not only generate music for our fans, but also to create something bigger that people can identify with and become a part of. In August, we will be releasing one more summer anthem before we get back to writing new music for our future EP release. Contact: email@example.com reverbnation.com/WeAreWildSons
Interview with Simon and Gus
“Their sophomore record ‘Bones’ saw the name Young Guns catapult across the planet even further, so after spending a long time on the road promoting this career changing album the band finally found time to work on their exceptional new album ‘Ones and Zeros’! This sees the band continue to create arena sized rock songs that will contribute to their continued success in the rock scene!” Touring wise, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from the road this year so far? The first highlight was going to New Orleans for the first time in our last US tour with Breaking Benjamin. We're fortunate enough to travel to new places around the world through touring, and seeing the delights of New Orleans was a personal highlight for me. We tried some local gumbo, went to the famous Bourbon street which was as impressive as we first imagined, and got to experience something really cool. It's those moments you really appreciate what you do as a job. My second highlight is our recent London headline at the Scala. It's been 3 years since we last played a headline date in our home city and this was a reminder of how exciting it is coming back with a bunch of new songs for our fans to hear. London shows are always fun but with the recent absence from the UK, it felt even more special. (Simon)
How did you get to the album title 'Ones and Zeros' and what does it mean to you? Originally it was a choice between two song titles. Either 'memento mori' or 'ones and zeros'. Memento mori is Latin and roughly means 'remember that you will die'. Although I interpret that as a positive reminder to exist in the moment I thought it could be seen as a bit morbid. The whole album is more or less about us as human beings and how we connect/disconnect, the relationships we form with each other and the way we communicate. Ones and zeros as a song was about that and so using it as the title felt relevant. Also I like the form of it, the opposites of 1 and 0, and I felt it was a little enigmatic and interesting as a title. (Gus)
What made you want to release 'I Want Out' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? We were proud of the song, it was the first song we wrote for the album, and we felt that it was a good bridging song from the last album to the new. Still very much us but a little more streamlined whilst incorporating newer elements we'd been playing with. (Gus)
Can you elaborate on the rest of the themes and influences that run throughout 'Ones and Zeros'? There isn't one overall theme in that it's not a concept album. However it's definitely a reflection of where we were as a band at The time we wrote it, and where I was as a person. The songs reflect our desire to be a newer more articulate better version of ourselves and to approach things we would have done before in a different more interesting way musically. As I said before if there is one theme it's about people and the relationships we forge and the ways in which we communicate and connect, or disconnect. (Gus)
How did you end up working with Steve Osborne, and what was he like to work with? Steve Osbourne was one of the names that was brought to our attention from our label. We were immediately interested in what he had to offer as he has produced some of our favourite album such as 'Vheissu' by Thrice - one of our favourite records from this band. He came over to the house and after exchanging ideas about the record and his thoughts on direction, we felt he was the man for the job. Working with him was both inspiring and educational. The bond was right and he got the best out of us, even in moments of difficulty. It was a strong team and it resulted in an album that we are collectively very happy with. (Simon)
How would you say this album compares overall to 'Bones'? This album is certainly a departure from 'Bones' but our core elements are still in place. We have always prided ourselves on making anthemic melodic rock songs, and this time round it's no different. Yes, we feel that our song writing has developed and evolved but it's still Young Guns, it still sounds like us. There's certainly been more focus on the rhythm aspect and we spent a lot of time making sure the foundations of each song were solid and purposeful to each song. This was a theme throughout the album - scaling back a little bit and making sure each instrument or melody had a purpose within each song. (Simon)
Also, looking back on 'Bones', how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for Young Guns? Bones has done a lot for us. It solidified an already growing fan base in the UK and Europe but also took us to new places like Australia and Asia, which was a huge dream for us. It also got us our American deal with Windup records, which certainly shaped the journey for the three years that followed. This led to our first number 1 record for our song 'Bones' in the U.S. which was a massive achievement for us. As a record itself, we couldn't be prouder of what we achieved from it and as with all our records to date they symbolise a time and place for our band. (Simon)
The artwork for 'Ones and Zeros' is really cool, can you tell us a bit about how it came together, as well as what it means to you? We had a bunch of ideas that we brought to our attention in the initial stages, some really cool and some that didn't work for us. On the whole we didn't feel like we had found 'the one' and we didn't want to settle, so we took the matter into our own hands. It wasn't until our guitarist Fraser found an image online of this photo that would become the artwork for Ones and Zeros that we stopped looking and knew that we had found something that fitted the concept of the album. We wanted something bold and striking and not too complicated. The feeling of isolation that the image evokes really sets the tone and feel of the album. Simply, we loved the artwork, the colours and cleanliness of the image. (Simon)
How would you say the alternative rock scene has grown/progressed in the UK since you guys first started out? I genuinely feel that the alternative scene in the UK is stronger than ever. With the ever growing support of mainstream media and radio stations such as R1 taking these acts to the mainstream is only raising awareness to the masses. Just as important are all these new bands emerging from locals scenes that are now getting attention, through the internet and word of mouth. We feel proud and lucky to be part of it. (Simon)
Harbour Sharks is a three-piece rock band from Surrey, who has created a unique sound incorporating big guitar riffs, groove-laden drum beats and melodic vocals. Formed in 2015, they have just released their debut single Alive to Survive which was immediately well received by the public. 2015 will see Harbour Sharks tearing up the stage with their energetic live show at venues across the UK â€“ keep your eyes peeled... 'Alive To Survive' the debut single available on ITunes & Spotify now. For news and gig dates visit: facebook.com/harboursharksmusic
Interview with Cyrus
"Since returning to the world as a four piece to promote their brilliant album 'Resurrection' the guys in New Found Glory have gone on to prove with ease that they still have more than what it takes. We catch up with Cyrus to discuss what this pivotal time has been like, whilst also finding out what we can expect from these pop punk legends as they take on the mighty Reading/Leeds festival very shortly!"
Looking back on Resurrection, how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done overall for New Found Glory? I can speak for everyone when I say that I am extremely proud of Resurrection. I think that in the overall history of NFG this album will stand out because it was completed at such a pivotal point in our band, a time when many thought that we would be ending our career instead of pushing onward and facing some extreme circumstances with losing a member yet being able to write songs that not only sound like classic NFG, but that are very true to what all of us as a band were experiencing at the time.
What songs are you really enjoying performing live from the record at the moment, and why? I love playing “Selfless”, as I’ve always enjoyed the rhythm/riff of that song, and I love how there’s a fast bridge that kind of comes out of nowhere…it really showcases a lot of the things that NFG songs have become known for. I also like playing “Ready and Willing”, as the lyrics to that song can be looked at as a parallel to what we in NFG have gone through.
Touring wise, what have New Found Glory been up to this year, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road so far? We just got back from Alaska, taking part in the “Road to Warped Tour”. It was our first time in Alaska, and after 18 years in this band I am proud to say that we have now played a concert in every single state in the US! We also went on a US tour back in March, playing some cities that we normally don’t get to travel to, so it was great to play in front of audiences that don’t often get to see us. In addition, back in February NFG went to SE Asia and Australia, and I know that tour was great. Unfortunately I couldn’t take part in that tour as I stayed home to be with my wife as she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, but it was awesome to know that even without me NFG was able to travel back to that part of the world and play for all of our amazing fans out there!
“In the overall history of NFG this album will stand out because it was completed at such a pivotal point” How did the video idea come together for 'One More Round', and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? “One More Round” is a video that we would have never been able to make 10 years ago. Back in that time record labels were at times very scared to push the envelope at all, especially when it comes to showing blood (fake or not), so being that it’s 2015 we decided why not take the idea that we can get beat up yet still continue to perform and really show it…like really show the “beat up” part. We wanted to accentuate all of the fake blood by wearing all white and filming in front of a white background, and just basically tried to show more blood than you could ever imagine throughout the song. Obviously it was extremely fun to film the video, although the clean up wasn’t as enjoyable!
As a drummer, can you tell us about the equipment you currently use, as well as maybe how long it actually takes to find that perfect set up? I am proud to say that I use and endorse the following products: SJC Custom Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, DW Pedals & Hardware, Remo Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, Puresound Percussion Snare Wires, and Drumtacs Dampeners. I’ve been constantly tweaking my setup over the past 20 or so years, and although I do make changes here and there, I have pretty much settled on a “standard” setup for me. I have put in a lot of effort to not only find the right products and companies that suit me best, but more importantly to strike up personal relationships with each of these companies, as I understand just how important it is as a professional musician to have the products you use every night supported by the companies that actually make them.
“I also like playing “Ready and Wil be looked at as a parallel to wha
How excited are you for your upcoming performance at Reading/Leeds festival, and what memories do you have from playing there over the years? I can’t tell you how excited I am to be part of Reading and Leeds again this year — somehow those festivals always end up to be some of the biggest and most memorable shows of the year for us, and I can still go back to memories of past festivals that I will never forget, like the first time we played Reading and Leeds in one of the tents, and how crazy the crowd was, then the first time we performed on the mainstage at the festivals a few years later. I also remember playing the Lockup Stage one year and having Chad (our guitarist) literally tattoo Frank from the Gallows on stage during the show! And, a few years back I was fortunate enough to not only play on the mainstage to one of the biggest crowds NFG has ever played in front of, but also later that night to be able to watch Green Day perform Dookie from start to finish, which was one of the albums that inspired me to be in a band myself!
Also, what do you enjoy the most about touring in the UK, and can you tell us how it compares to touring anywhere else? It’s going to sound cliché, but I think the fans in the UK are awesome, better than almost any other fans out there. There’s just an energy in the crowds that other countries can’t compare with. Also, Reading and Leeds are probably my favorite festivals to play, they’re always so massive! Plus, our band has no shame in admitting that we love Nando’s, and we can’t get enough of it when we go to the UK.
ling”, as the lyrics to that song can at we in NFG have gone through”
How would you say Pop Punk has progressed/changed since you first started out? Pop-punk has changed a lot since we first started, although I feel like it’s constantly changing. We weren’t the first pop-punk band; we were a band that put our own spin on music that we loved at the time, and I think that’s continuing to happen nowadays. So, you’re seeing all of these offshoots of pop-punk sprout up, although most of them all start from the same place. Whether it’s heavier or more indie sounding, we all are united in how we respect our music, our fans, and the spirit of what we are doing, which is playing music that we love for fans that love to hear it!
What else can we expect to see from New Found Glory in 2015? After Reading and Leeds we will be heading out on the road in the US with our friends in Yellowcard, a band that we’ve played with many times and in many countries, yet never actually toured with. We’re really excited to unite our fans and just have a great time with those dudes. Although we don’t have plans to bring that tour anywhere else, you never know what could happen, and maybe a similar tour might come to the UK in the near future! Beyond that, it’ll be more of the same from NFG…that is, more shows and more new music, and bringing all of that around the world for as long as we can!
Interview with Ma
How did Jamie Mathias end up joining the band, and what has he been like to work with so far? He sent in an audition tape after hearing we were looking for someone and it was great. We invited him to do a live audition with us with a couple of other guys but he was by far the best person for the job. He's awesome to work with, very easy going and very talented so it's great he's on board.
How did you get to the album title 'Venom', and what does it mean to you? We just named it after a track and wanted to incorporate a V and snakes in the artwork so it just made sense to go with that.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Venom'? There are no main themes really, however we did want to make a darker more aggressive record than we did last time around. The only influence was taken from ourselves really. Taking what we do best and pushing it a lot harder.
How did you end up working with Colin Richardson, Carl Bown and what were they like to work with? We decided after a lot of meetings with many producers that we wanted to keep things simple and British so it was a no brainer. They are awesome to work with, very easy going and positive and they let the band be the band.
"With over five million albums sold world-wide Bullet For My Valentine have simply proved that they are one of the most important metal bands of the last decade. Their new record 'Venom' is an incredible listen from the first to last track, and we have no doubt that it will go on to become just as iconic as their past outputs have now become!"
How did you go about deciding that 'No Way Out' would be the first single to release of 'Venom', and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? For me it just was a great all round track which sums up the vibe and sound of the band in 2015. It's super heavy and sets things up for the rest of the record. The narrative is about feeling trapped and frustrated with life and not knowing how to deal with it. Dealing with darker issues on this record was super important.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Venom' for you and why? Just the whole writing process. It takes a long time to write a record compared to actually recording it so taking the time to live with the songs and re-writing where necessary can also take a bit of time.
How did the artwork for 'Venom' come together, and what does it mean to you? We told the artist what we wanted and they delivered. We wanted something very simple, classic but striking, and we love it.
How would you say the metal scene has changed/progressed since you first started out? We've always just kept our heads down and focused on us. The industry has changed a lot more than the scene.
What else can we expect to see from Bullet for My Valentine in 2015? Just tons of touring and promoting of the record. It's going to be a busy couple of years but we can't wait to get it going.
Interview with Dave
"Over the last ten years We Came As Romans have become one of the most influential alternative rock bands out there. Each release sees the band progress in new and exciting ways and by doing so they have gained themselves a loyal fan base that are always ecstatic to see what the band will accomplish next. We chat with Dave to find out how the band has progressed over the years for him personally, as well as discussing in depth what we can expect from their eagerly awaited new self-titled album!" You're in the midst of a pretty extensive tour, how has it been going? It's been great, great shows every day, every one's really amped up every time we take the stage. The best thing is, they've been really latching onto the new songs, they've had a great reaction, people are starting to learn the words and it's awesome. It's great to see the new music get accepted like that.
The Warped tour has become a really big deal to be a part of, what is life like on a concert tour compared to perhaps a two or three band tour? This tour is pretty fun because there is, probably, hundreds of bands on it. Bands of all different genres that you perhaps wouldn't get to tour with and friendships you wouldn't make either so it's really exciting. Every night you can always find something to do, and it's a really entertaining tour. There's never a dull moment.
You have signings every day, how is it being able to do that and get up close with the fans? The signings are one of my favourite things about this tour, it's very rare that you get to meet as many fans as we do on this tour. I'm probably meeting, 600? 700? of our fans every single day. I'm signing with the band for about an hour which is probably 300 people then we go to our table again after we play, hang out and probably meet another couple of hundred again, it's awesome. I've heard a lot of cool stories about how our music is helping peoples lives or how it got them through difficult times, and stuff like that is what keeps you going as a musician.
How did you come to the decision to go for a self-titled album this time? We threw around a lot of different album titles and nothing seemed to describe this record other than naming it after ourselves. We wrote it really honestly, we wrote lyrics from the heart, we wrote music unafraid of what people would say about it or how it would be judged. We came together on this more than anything we've ever done, creatively, our personalties, everything just came together and it seemed like this record really is us, so why not name it after us.
This is the bands fourth album, how much has your way of recording changed (or not changed) since To Plant A Seed? The way we write and record, it's almost like we're a completely different band. We used to write a lot of our songs on tablet and the way it would work is Josh (Moore, guitar) would programme up these songs and then Kyle (Pavone, vocals, keys) would write some vocals over it. We now have multiple songwriters in the band which is different to any record we've done. We write on a programme called Q Base where we record the song and send it out to each other and by the time we're done writing it, we have a recording of a song. The amount of time we spend on it, the thought process, everything is completely different and that's just the writing. When it comes down to the recording, the way we recorded each record has been more computerised and a little more fake than this one is. This one is very raw and real. David Bendeth didn't want to tune or time anything so when you sing it, you have to sing it perfect. I feel as soon as you have to start tuning and timing a vocal, you completely get rid of the emotion behind it. We wanted to record this one really raw so that was also something very different to us, previously, if you hit the note a little bit flat or out of time a little bit, It's okay we'll tune it up or move you back a little bit. This record, none of that would fly with David! So as a recording experience it was much more difficult.
Did that kind of pressure knowing you had to be spot on bring out extra from the performance? Yeah, having that pressure meant we had to become better players from the experience and it definitely translates live. We've been recording our set every day and I listen to it every night, I'm very confident in saying that my band has never been tighter, and we've never been playing these songs better than we are right now.
You were quoted as saying you whittled the album down to 10 songs from 40, how did you decide which songs did and did not make the cut? That was a really difficult process. There was a lot of arguing over it and it took a while to narrow it down. Some were easy to cut, we knew they weren't up to par with the rest of the songs but once we got it down to, I think, the last 16 songs, that's where things got really complicated. Of those 16 songs, every single one could maybe have been on the record when it came to the quality of the song but we had to pick songs that sat well with the rest of the record. Up until the last week, it was an 11 track record but that 11th track, it just didn't have a place and threw off the whole balance of the record. It seemed like every song had its partner song and this song was just kind of the oddball. So that track is actually available in a certain store in America but it was a difficult process. We were just concerned with picking the greatest songs, not good, the greatest songs that we wrote, We wanted a nice balance to the record and a variety of songs but they also had to fit together right. It was a lengthy process but in the end I'm confident that we picked the right ones.
Were there any songs that were no brainers and you knew they would make the album? Yeah, 'Pray For Me' came in all written and we didn't really change it much, it emerged pretty unscathed when you listen to the original compared to what we what we ended up with. We knew that one would be a hit right when we wrote it. We knew 'The World I Used To Know' was going to make it on the record but the question was, is this song going to be good enough to be a single? Because when that song came in, it was only a chorus, the verse wasn't good, the pre-chorus wasn't good, the programming was horrible, it was literally only a chorus. Once everything else fell into place, we knew we had a single. With â€˜Regenerate' we knew for sure that would make the record from the moment we wrote it.
As a vocalist how do you prepare yourself for recording an album? For the actual recording, I took a lot of lessons for this one. I knew it was going to be difficult and I needed to get my voice in the right place, I wanted to walk in knowing that I killed it, knowing that I couldn't have sang anything better. That's exactly what happened, I took lessons for months leading up to it. That's one way I prepared for it and I spent hours practising every day, I just wanted my voice to be better than it's ever been walking in.
â€œWe've never been play than we are Did taking lessons teach you new things that you perhaps didn't know before? It taught me so much, it improved my range and my tone. She had me doing all these different exercises that were supposed to show me how it should feel like singing and I realised that before, I wasn't singing completely properly. When we were done doing Tracing Back Roots, I was so proud of that record, I thought I'd really outdone myself, which at the time I did but now, looking back on it I'm like wow, I really have come a long way as a singer! I sound like a totally different guy, back then I was just yelling my head off trying to hit these notes, now I've learned it's a lot more about control. Volume control, tension in your throat, breathing in the right place and pushing air from the right places, it's something I always thought I understood but I didn't until she actually showed me how it is supposed to feel and it's completely changed my life as a singer.
What has it done for you live as a tour goes into its 3rd, 4th, 5th week etc.? My voice has always been pretty resilient, I've never had problems losing it and never been completely hoarse. One way that it has helped me is I can sing now at pretty much any hour of the day, regardless of if I've slept or not! It's made me be able to play longer sets, we've done an hour and 15 minute sets recently and there was no problem. It helps with my screaming voice too, I realise I don't need to be as loud, as tense so it really helped me with that too, I have so much more endurance than I've ever had before. It really helps me live.
ying these songs better e right nowâ€? It's the fourth record, how would you say you have evolved as musicians and as people? It's funny, priorities on the road. Josh and I were talking about this the other day. Back in 2010, we were all 21/22 basically college kids in a bus travelling around the world, things were much different. We were just getting drunk and partying, I donâ€™t think there's anything wrong with that, I think it was an important experience for us all to have and a natural one too for a 21/22 year old kid. The priorities are just different now, we all have pretty serious relationships, we come out here and it's still as much fun but we're much more focussed on the show and the work that goes with the band. We're all much more involved in the business side of it, much more hands on and we've all just really grown up. We've gone from being kids to fully grown adults and it's all happened on the road.
Looking at your tour dates, it looks like you guys are going to be very busy, but what else can we expect to see from We Came As Romans in the near future? We are going to be so incredibly busy for the rest of the year, we have a lot of plans for the fall right now. We have a few different options, we haven't really decided on the final answer yet and then, in the winter we're locking things down. We're going to be busy for the rest of the year and probably well into 2016 as well, touring as much as we can. We want to play this record for people, we're really proud of it and want to make sure everyone hears it.
â€œDarren Shan is one of the hardest working writers out there. His work on The Saga of Darren Shan is recongized all across the world, and with its incredible storyline it even went on to become a motion picture in the name of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant! So get stuck in, as we discuss what this exciting career has been like from the man himself!â€?
When did you first realize that writing was something you wanted to do with your life? When I was 5 or 6 years old. Honestly! I’ve always loved telling stories, and even at that young age I knew it was something I wanted to do. Of course, I also wanted to be an astronaut, a singer, and a footballer – plus, I was saving up to get bionic implants so that I could become the Six Million Dollar Man! But being a writer was what I wanted most... well, maybe second most, after the bionic implants...
How hard or easy it was it to originally break into this industry? As with most writers, especially those who don’t write to a set formula, I found it very difficult to establish myself. I actually started with books aimed at adults, and managed to get a couple of those published. Then Cirque Du Freak came along. It was a side project in the beginning – I wrote it for fun, with no idea that it would set me on a different road in life. The publishers in the UK had no idea either – my agent submitted Cirque Du Freak to twenty different publishers back in 1997, and every single one of them turned it down!
“Those apparent failures are every bit as important as the successes, as they’re the foundations that you build upon” What was your first major project, and what was that like for you at the time? Hmm... well, the first draft of a book that I ever finished was a book called Mute Pursuit, when I was 17 years old. Although that has never been published, and wasn’t particularly long (or particularly good), it was a major accomplishment for me. In fact, I’ve written first drafts of quite a few books that have yet to see print, and some of them never will. A writer’s career is like an iceberg, in that six-sevenths of it remain hidden beneath the waterline. There’s what the public sees – then there are all the missteps you had to make and bad stories you had to write in order to drag the quality of your work up to the standard that a paying audience demands. But those apparent failures are every bit as important as the successes, as they’re the foundations that you build upon. So, yeah, finishing my first book was a blast, and a real confidence boost.
When did you first come up with the initial idea for The Saga of Darren Shan, and what was it actually like to turn that idea into a novel? I had the idea one day when I was sitting in a car, babysitting a young cousin. He was asleep and I was bored. I hadn’t brought a book, but I spotted a copy of a Goosebumps book in the car. I flicked through it, noting that a) I would have loved this type of book if it had been around when I was a child, but b) it was very formulaic and predictable. I started to think about what would have been my ideal book as a 10, 11 or 12 year old, and I figured it would have been one that had all the easy accessibility of Goosebumps, but with the darkness and depth of Stephen King. Then I had an idea of a boy running into a vampire at a circus and reluctantly getting transformed into a creature of the night, and a few days later I started to write. As I said already, it was a sideproject back then. I’d work on my adult books in the day, then do a few pages of Cirque Du Freak at night. I hadn’t written for children before, and had no idea if I’d enjoy it or be any good at it.
Did you originally plan for it to be a 12 part series, or is this something that happened due to its massive success? Heh! “Massive success!” In the beginning we couldn’t give Cirque Du Freak away! A brave editor at HarperCollins finally took a gamble and signed me up, but then she went away to have twins, and never came back. Her successor, like all the other editors who had read it, was less than enamoured by what she’d been landed with, and they sat on the book for a couple of years before releasing it. During that time, I kept my head down and beavered away, and had written the first drafts of the next seven books in the series before the first one was released. I always do my writing up front, without taking advances. If I start a series, I finish it in its own natural time, giving it as much or as little length as it demands. Commercial success or failure never comes into the equation.
Also, when a book achieves success, then does this add any pressure on you as a writer to make sure you please your fans? Yes. I try to always blank the fans from my thoughts when I write, because if you set out trying to please, you’ll probably end up delivering something anodyne and forgetful. But the bigger you get, the more people you have to let down if you create a story that isn’t up to scratch – or even a story that’s simply just not something that fans want. I experiment a lot with my books, trying different things, taking stories off into unexpected areas. There’s always a danger of disappointing your fans when you do that, but at the same time, that’s the only way to create original, involving, challenging work.
You also created the The Demonata, which focuses on Demons as opposed to Vampires. So for you then how did that project compare to The Saga of Darren Shan, and what was it like to work on overall? I don’t have a favourite series, but The Demonata is the series I’m proudest of, because it was the most complex and difficult to pull together. While each book is an easy read, over the course of the ten books it features three different narrators, moves backwards and forwards in time, and covers everything from the Big Bang theory and the origins of life to what a world made out of guts might be like! It’s a crazily ambitious series that shouldn’t have worked, but somehow does, and even though The Saga remains my most popular and bestselling work, The Demonata tends to attract the more devoted love of the true Darren Shan connoisseurs.
What made you want to do a four part series on the character Larten Crepsley (a character from The Saga of Darren Shan), and what was this whole project like for you to work on? The Saga Of Darren Shan was a huge success in Japan, and my Japanese publishers asked me to do a series about Larten Crepsley. I refused, since I never do work to order, and always go with stories that demand to be told. But a few years later, after I’d finished The Saga, I found myself thinking about Mr Crepsley and wondering what his life was like before he met Darren. I wanted to know only for myself – I had no plans to write about him. But as I put more and more pieces together, I realised I was being drawn back into that world – his story HAD to be told. It was a joy to go back and write about vampires again, though it presented a challenge – whereas the first series was about a child, this series would mostly be about an adult, so how was I to write it in such a way that it would be accessible and enjoyable for my younger readers? I found a way in the end, by introducing some younger characters for him to interact with. It’s a strange, sombre series, covering two hundred years in the life of a very troubled vampire, featuring some of the darkest scenes I’ve ever written.
Your work got turned into the film 'Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant' so how did that idea originally come about, and what was that whole experience like for you? The movie was in the pipeline for a LONG time. Warner Brothers originally optioned it not long after Cirque Du Freak first came out. They never managed to get it going, so the rights reverted to me, and a few years later Universal came onboard and took it forward. I stayed out of the movie-making process. I like it when books are adapted into films or TV shows, as it takes your stories to a new audience, and brings new readers into your world. In short, it’s a great advertising tool. But Hollywood is an odd place, and they work by their own rules, and the word of a writer means nothing over there. Rather than waste a lot of time and energy trying to control a process that was beyond my control, I stayed focused on writing my books and hitting my deadlines. I do genuinely like the film, even though it’s incredibly different to the books – on its own terms it works quite well, and there’s no other movie quite like it. But I feel they made a mistake by changing so much, and substituting their own vampire lore for that which I had carefully developed over the course of twelve books – in the end I think the slapdash nature of the director’s vampire lore was what ultimately sunk the film. Hopefully the books will get a reboot at some point down the line, either for TV or on the big screen, and it would be nice if they’re a bit more faithful next time. They might make more money out of it too...
How did the initial idea come about for 'Zom-B'? It started ten years ago, after the 7/7 bombings in London. Although I live in Ireland, I also have a flat in London, and in those days it was in the East End, just off Brick Lane, very close to Aldgate, where one of the bombs was detonated. I noticed a real change in the atmosphere in the following months. People were angry and scared, and racist groups began to gather steam, feeding on that fear and stoking it up. The BNP made massive gains, and UKIP came along later, trying to paint a picture of a society where it’s “us” versus “them,” where we have to be wary of outsiders, where we have to use our strength to crush our enemies before they can strike at us again. I think that’s a very worrying path for us to be headed down as a society. The”war on terror” is actually a war on humanity as far as I’m concerned, and we risk losing so much if we allow our leaders to take us down those warped, twisted routes. I felt the need to write something pointing out the dangers of bigotry, hatred and fear, and how we will become monsters worse than those we face if we behave in a monstrous way, or stand by idly while monstrous changes take place around us. But I didn’t want to do it in a preachy, boring way, so I threw zombies into the mix, to spice up the story and tell a tale that both entertains and hopefully provides plenty of food for thought at the same time.
What can readers expect from the last two parts of the series? This has been a long but tight series, with less side-plots than we had in The Saga Of Darren Shan or The Demonata. Everything comes to a head in these two books, as the forces of apparent good and evil clash, with survival for humanity at stake. The problem is, the lines between the good and bad sides blur over the course of the series, making it hard not only to predict which will triumph, but also which you WANT to win out. There will be revelations and bloodshed, triumph and tears, and at the end of the day there will be... justice. Darren Shan style!
What else can we expect to see from Darren Shan in 2015? I’ve published two books already this year, Zom-B Bride, which was the tenth book in that series, and Sunburn, a book for adults that I released under the name of Darren Dash. Although I released adult books under the Darren Shan banner in the past, I never felt easy about writing for adults and children using the same name, so I’ve started to release all my adult books under the name of Darren Dash now. To find out more about those, click here: www.darrendashbooks.com The eleventh Zom-B book, Zom-B Fugitive, comes out in September, and I’ll be touring to promote the release of that. I’ll also be working on editing my next Darren Dash book, due for release next year, along with the next book that I hope to release as Darren Shan once the Zom-B series has finished.
“Script writing is no easy task. You have to give 100% to every idea, and still at the end of the day your project might not get picked up on by the film industry. Mark Stay has managed to prevail through this brutal process with his work on Robot Overlords, an epic Sci-Fi that features the likes of Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley!” When did you first get into film script writing? I’ve loved films ever since Star Wars exploded into my life when I was five, but I come from a working-class family with no connection to the entertainment industry whatsoever (apart from my uncle who sort-of knew the actor/stuntman Nosher Powell), so my childhood dream of making films was as likely to come true as me playing centre-forward for England in a World Cup Final. But I continued to dream… As much as I loved writing, I tried acting, foolishly thinking that because I was well-received in a few London Fringe productions that fame and fortune were just around the corner. It wasn’t to be, but my wife and I formed our own theatre company, and I eventually began writing my own plays. What soon became clear is that the plays I wrote, with their short, punchy scenes, weren’t really plays, but more like movies. I adapted one of my plays into a script, which got me an agent, who introduced me to a producer, who paired me with Robot Overlords Director Jon Wright, and we’ve been working together on various projects ever since.
What was your first major project, and what was that like for you to work on at the time? I was fired by the Duchess of Northumberland. My first agent got me a gig working on a novel set in the poison garden the Duchess has at Alnwick Castle. We bounced ideas back and forth, and it was all very exciting with talk of further books and films, but then the Twilight phenomenon came along and they decided they wanted a romance, rather than the adventure story I was writing. So I was dropped and they brought in an American romance writer. I think two books were published. It set a pattern that you soon become used to as a writer: an initial flurry of excitement, leading to wild, ambitious expectations, all sent crashing to Earth by the death grip of reality. I should add, the Duchess is a very lovely lady, with a great sense of story, and it was a pleasure to be given the boot by her.
So how did the idea for Robot Overlords originally come about, and can you tell us about the main narrative that runs throughout it? Jon had a dream where he and a boy were playing in the street and a robot threatened them with vaporisation unless they went back inside. From that he drew up a two-page pitch for a feature film idea, and sent it to me asking if I wanted to write it with him. Not being a complete idiot I said yes immediately. It was so incredibly exciting to see a really commercial pitch for a British film with a big audience in mind. Looking back at that pitch, it’s fascinating to see that so much of it is still in the finished film. The premise is that all of Earth is occupied by a force of robots from a distant world. Their purpose here is unknown, but they’ve promised to leave after seven years, in the meantime everyone is ordered to stay indoors, and we all have implants that alert the robots if we step outside. But our hero, a young boy called Sean Flynn, is convinced that his father is still alive. He and his friends stumble across a way to switch off their implants and set off to find his father, an RAF pilot who fought in the war against the robots and might be with the resistance. It’s a pacy adventure for children aged between 8-14, an audience not served well by the British film industry these days. Certainly I wrote it with my own children in mind, who hadn’t seen British kids having a big screen adventure since the Harry Potter films.
How did you go about getting the idea turned into a film, and what has this whole process been like for you to work on? We were very lucky in that Piers Tempest, the producer of Jon’s previous film GRABBERS, just so happened to be looking for a family science fiction movie at the time. One of the reasons it can take films so long to get off the ground is it’s incredibly difficult to pair-up the producer, with the knowhow and the ability to raise money, with the right idea. This was the equivalent of love at first sight on a first date. We were up and running in just a few weeks: Piers got development money from the BFI for us to write the script, and for concept artists to start working on the robots, and we were off. Soon we had London VFX house Nvizible involved, more producers became attached, then Pinewood Studios, Northern Ireland Film, and then we started getting actors like Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson attached (which, if I’m honest, is when the big money started coming in). I’ve had an incredible time working on this. And I know from previous experience, and from the experiences of my fellow writers, that it rarely comes together this quickly and this well. I’ve been spoiled for life, and it probably won’t ever be this straightforward ever again.
“I wrote it with my own children in mind, who hadn’t seen British kids having a big screen adventure since the Harry Potter films” The film has also spawned a TV spin-off, so how excited are you for that, and will you be working much on it, or moving onto the next project? I’m hugely excited. Jon and I started work on a sequel idea, but it never really gelled. We spent so long trying to avoid the pitfalls usually associated with sequels, that we ended up creating all sorts of new ones. So our producers started talking about a TV series, but Jon and I have zero experience in television and we knew we needed an experienced show runner. We’re very lucky to have the writer Chris Lunt, Bafta nominated for Prey, working on the TV series. He pitched his take on it to us a few weeks ago and it blew us away. I can’t say anything about it at the moment, other than it perfectly compliments the film and opens the door for all new adventures. It’s really exciting. Jon and I would definitely like to work on it. I’ve joked that we should be like George RR Martin on Game of Thrones and just write one episode per season where we kill off a beloved character then run, cackling with glee into the night… We haven’t mentioned this idea to Chris yet.
What has been the most challenging part about this project (Robot Overlords)? Distribution, without question. We had the most amazing test screenings with kids bursting into applause and cheering throughout, but reaching that audience is very expensive - easily a couple of million quid in the UK alone - and none of the major distributors wanted to take that risk on a new idea. So we’ve partnered with Signature, an excellent and relatively new distribution company, and we’re going big with the home entertainment release. It’s a shame we didn’t get it on hundreds of screens across the country, as the film looks and sounds incredible on the big screen, but that’s how the industry is these days. What they used to call “original” they now call “untested” and it terrifies the major distributors, which you can kind of understand when there’s so much money at stake, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of film in the UK.
Alternatively, what has been the most rewarding part about this project? Those test screenings, and the reception at the London Film Festival. Hundreds of children really digging the film and giving us their feedback afterwards. It was hugely rewarding. Writing the novelisation has also been a major highlight. Getting published has long been a dream and when the opportunity came along to write the film’s novelisation, I didn’t hesitate for a second. It was great fun getting into the minds of those characters in a way you can’t do on film. I’m now well into my next novel and would hope to be able to balance screenwriting with novel writing in the future.
For those looking to get into script writing for a living, then what advice would you give to them? “For a living?!” Ha! You’ll be lucky. I still have a day job, most writers have to, and my advice is to only continue if you really, really love it, because you’ll get so many knockbacks that only the most dogged writers endure. I’m compelled to write and I do it pretty much every day, and I’ve been at it for over twenty years. You have to learn to manage the (sometimes) dumb notes, the (often) wild expectations, the (mostly) crap money, and survive in an industry that attracts charlatans who will prey on the gullible, and there is rarely a more gullible creature than the newbie screenwriter who will indefinitely work for free in the vain hope of cinematic glory. I know. I was that soldier. You either develop a thick skin or fall by the wayside. The good news is the more you write, the better you get, and the non-charlatans in the industry begin to notice you and you start to get work.
As a script writer/novelist, then what does a typical day involve for you? I write on my commute into work. I’m lucky enough to get a seat on the train most days and can get plenty done in the half hour it takes me to get into Waterloo. Then I write in my lunch break and then on the commute home, and sometimes in the evenings (usually when a deadline looms). It means I don’t watch as much TV or read as many books as my friends and colleagues, but these are the things you need to sacrifice if you want to succeed. I usually get a good two hours work done a day with plenty of thinking time in between. Never underestimate the value of a good think. My family has learned to recognise that when I’m staring into space it’s because I’m formulating some new story idea or character arc and they know not to disturb.
What else can we expect to see from Mark Stay in 2015? I’ll continue to pimp the film and the book right through to October at various conventions and festivals. Jon and I have been working hard on a brand new project, very different to ROBOT OVERLORDS, and we hope to get it off the ground later this year. I also have about a dozen other projects and ideas all at different stages of development. It’s like spread-betting: you never know which one will will be a winner, you just keep rolling the dice.
“With his unique approach to composing his work has ended up featuring on trailers for films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, War of the Worlds, Transformers, Fantastic 4, and MANY more! As well as this, he has just put out his new album ‘Decade’ which features a ton of his hard work on one output!” When did you first get into composing? I was always into music. As a teenager it was guitars and playing in bands, then I started getting into EDM and producing. Then after that I started learning composing and orchestration in my early 20's, which was in the late 90's.
What was your first major project, and what was that like for you at the time? I would pick out two of them. One was a game called Otto Matic for the Mac (done by PangeaSoft) which was the first time I got hired to score and produce something that was published. That felt really great, because I was eager to test and show what I could do, the project was a lot of fun plus I was getting payed to compose for the first time, which gave me more courage to continue pursuing a career as a composer. The second "major" project would be my first trailer placement, I had a track in the trailer for War Of The Worlds and hearing my stuff in the cinema felt unreal. It also made me quit my day job as a game sound designer to start composing full time.
So you mainly do trailer work, why is that, and do you think you'd like to compose a whole score for a film at some point? Well, once I got my first trailer placements I just sort of continued doing that, I think I enjoy the challenge of the extremely short musical form on one hand and on the other I got really used to having the freedom to write whatever I want. It's a really great way to make my income and not feel musically bored or restrained. I would love to score a full movie, as long as I'm the right choice for the story. I would love to score the upcoming Neill Blomkamp's Alien sequel!! I'm a movie buff and honestly I try my best to make my trailer tracks feel like a little condensed movie score.
Can you tell us what a typical day as a composer involves for you? These days, I get up fairly early, make some coffee and watch new trailers that were released that day. After that I usually put some cool music on, and read something till I finish my coffee, then start composing, if it's a composing period (I kind of take one week breaks between albums just to clear my head). I stop working around 4pm and do other life-things, then usually around 8pm-9pm I throw in a couple more studio hours, and that's about it.
What was it like to work on the Pirates of the Caribbean trailers? I had some of my music in the trailer campaign for it, which is how trailer music works 9 out of 10 times. I compose and produce albums of music that is suited for motion picture advertising, when the album is done my trailer-music publisher will distribute it to music supervisors and trailer houses, after that it's kind of a sit and wait situation for me, because what I made might not end up being used in anything or it might be used in something cool like the Pirates campaign for example. That's why it is challenging, you are making music that will hopefully work for a Pirates campaign before you even saw any of it. It's a big guessing game, which makes it even more thrilling when you actually land a trailer.
What can you tell us about your latest release Decade? I have been working with Immediate Music for 10 years now, and it's been 10 years from my first trailer placement, so we thought it's a good year to release an album that would feature my more interesting work on Immediate Music. I wanted it to be a nice combo of tracks that I like and the public was asking me to release. I think we ended up with a nice flowing album that is very varied in vibe but still feels like an album and not just a bunch of tracks slapped together.
What's been the most rewarding project for you to work on, and why? The album I'm currently working on, because I'm always most excited about whatever I am doing at the moment. It's that eagerness to explore new melodies, sounds and musical places that is the most rewarding for me. I don't think I would be able to do what I do if it felt differently.
What would you say is the hardest genre to work on, and why? Music that is supposed to be comedic, I don't think I would ever be able (or want) to do that. Other then that yodeling seems like a very difficult genre.
You clearly like working on Sci-Fi projects, so for you, what do you find the most exciting about working on these outer world films? I love good Sci-Fi stories, and I love exploring the sonic universe of creating music, they go well together..
As a composer, is there ever any pressure on you to get music out in time? Yes, in different amounts. My trailer albums should be finished at certain periods of the year so that they are available to editors at the right time. When I do custom trailer stuff for particular campaigns you usually have 24h to deliver the track..
What else can we expect to see from Aleksandar Dimitrijevic in 2015? A couple of weeks ago I released a new industry release album on Immediate that went out to trailer houses, and I have also just started a new one. Iâ€™m not sure what to expect, hopefully my music in more cool trailers. I have some ideas about starting to release more non-trailer music in the future, and I want to finish a string quartet I'm working on too, but I think all that will be in 2016....and who knows, maybe I can score a cool sci-fi movie!
Regal is a piano-driven rock project from Chattanooga, Tennessee. "Regal EP" is out August 21st CONTACT: facebook.com/projectregal Twitter: @project_regal Bandcamp: regalmusic.bandcamp.com Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/regal1
â€œTo celebrate 30 years of Back To The Future we are joined by the legendary Jefferey Weissman who tells us what it was like to play the iconic George McFly in this highly influential trilogy of films! We find out what Jeffrey has been up to since he was a part of BTTF as well as what we can expect to see from him as the year continues!â€? So how did your recent experience at London Film & Comic Con go? The LFCC has had it on their minds to get the Back to the Future family together for five years. I originally appeared at Collectormania in Milton Keynes at an outdoor stadium during really cold weather, with James Tolkan (Principal Strickland), Claudia Wells (Jenifer Parker) and Marc McClure (Dave McFly), and then a few years later I was brought in for my first London Film and Comic Con with Ricky Dean Logan (Data), Lea Thompson (Lorainne Baines McFly) and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown). At both shows fans were incredibly warm and excited to meet us. I think the powers that be knew that the films needed a bigger presence at the show, and with this being the 30th anniversary of the BttF films franchise, then it was natural to bring more cast in. There were eleven of us, Michael J Fox, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd, Marc McClure, Claudia Wells, Frances Lee McCain, Ricky Dean Logan, James Tolkan, Harry Waters Jr., Donald Fullilove, and myself. As a surprise bonus, the original film's story board artist, Andrew Probert was also appearing on the comics floor as well. From the moment the show opened to even after the show closed we were feted and adored, showered with attention from guests that came from far away; Australia, Japan, Cypress, Italy, Germany, South America, Greece, Ireland, USA, France, Denmark, Africa, Switzerland, Austria and other points around the world!
What was it like to meet the cast again after all this time, and can you give us one or two highlights from the weekend? Our cast members are like family, so it is similar to a family reunion. The first one back in Hollywood in 2008 was a group of about 26 talents from the films, several of whom I found via facebook and introduced them to the producers. It wasn't the best for the lesser known celebrities. Christopher and Lea hadn't done fancons before, and they got most of the attention, queues that went on and on, and by the time they got through them and paid for the big names' signed photos, the guests were knackered and broke. It was also the first time many of us had seen Michael J Fox since shooting the films 20+ years before, and seeing our friend in person with the ravaging effects of PD, it was heart breaking. He is still the warm, funny, smart MjF, but the disease affects his body so that he often is forced into movements to relieve pain or is driven to erratic movements that he isn't in control of. At this LFCC he was in pretty good shape. You could see the effects of the disease causing twitches, spasms and the like, but the way he handled the press, the interviews and being pulled every which way for three long days was truly inspirational. I adore the talent in these films, and to see them all intimately back stage, at the hotel, and to catch up and get a hug, is heart warming, like getting to see a cousin you love and miss while away. I just wish we could've had co-stars Crispin, Tom, Charles, Darlene, Jason, JJ, Courtney and other support players attending.
So, when did you first realize that acting was what you wanted to do with your life? With the passing of the great Omar Sherif just a few weeks ago, I recall that I was very young when I decided I wanted to act. Mr Sherif used to play cards at my father's private club on the Sunset strip, and when I was about 6 years old, I watched my baby sitter, (who I was very fond of ) flip out when we got to met the great man, before attending the cinema where he was starring in Doctor Zhivago. When I saw her swoon seeing him again on the screen, I began considering acting. I began taking it seriously in my early teens and performed in community and school productions. In my early acting days on Hollywood films, it was as an extra (I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, FM, The Rose, etc), and though it was exciting to be on major motion picture sets, it is not very rewarding to not have lines or character development. So I went after legitimate training at the American Conservatory Theatre, and during that time in the early 1980's I earned the attention of director Marin Brest, who had been holding open calls for the lead in 'War Games', and he gave me a screen test (along with Eric Stoltz, Dana Carvey and others), none of us were cast, and a few weeks into shooting, even Martin was replaced by director John Badham. But I became the client of a great agent who had just opened her west coast office, and had heard that I was a talent with great potential.
What was your first major project, and what was that like for you at the time? I finally landed a co-star role in the wonderful Aussie director, George Miller's first Hollywood film, the fourth segment of 'Twilight Zone the Movie', the remake of 'Nightmare at 30,000 Feet' with John Lithgow and a fine ensemble cast.
So, how did you originally get involved with Back to the Future? After Twilight Zone Movie, I played support roles to Lious Malles's 'Crackers', Amy Heckerling's 'Johnny Dangerously', on television in Dallas, Max Headroom, and then guest spots on Scarecrow & Mrs King, and and a nice co-star role in Clint Eastwood's return to westerns, 'Pale Rider'. Shortly after the western came out my great agent closed shop, and I didn't get as many great opportunities. I did play on Diagnosis Murder, Saved By The Bell, For The Boys, etc, and I worked on many great films and TV shows via a 'loop group', but to mainly to pay the bills I fell into playing classic Hollywood characters full time at the Universal Studios Tour. In 1988 I was contacted to come in to meet with the Back to the Future team (then the project was called 'Paradox') to interview to be Crispin Glover's 'stand in/photo double. Eventually I was informed that Mr Glover was not reprising the role of George McFly, and that I would be taking it over. I couldn't fathom how they were going to make that work, but with prosthetic make ups and keeping the role as a support rather than a main focus, most audience didn't notice that it was not the same actor. The producers cut and mixed my performance with quick shots of George from the first film without his approval, and he sought renumeration by suing, ultimately settling out of court for over 750,000.usd, and the Screen Actors Guild created a rule that producers can't make an actor look like another actor without permission. The experience for me was mainly hard work. My make up (as George ages 17, 47 & 77 in parts 2 & 3) required my calls to be 4 hours before being called on set. So the shoot days were very long, often over 20 hours. And of course, being hung upside down in the 'ortho-lev' for the 2015 George was trying to say the least. There was also the make up for George age 17 which looked somewhat like Crispin, and that created some concern. The producers needed his look to make the story work, but they couldn't get him. On top of it, production wouldn't let me promote myself as a co-star in the films, so as to avoid drawing to much attention to this predicament. I did my job as a pro, and I did it well, so the story was serviced, and the films' success wasn't hindered by the noticeable appearance of a different face for George, thus making the 1955 shots unbelievable. Unfortunately I was caught in the middle of these situations, and I took the brunt of some bad practices on both sides of the controversy. I was used as a pawn in a game of Hollywood egos and manipulations, and it lead to some ugliness I'd rather not open up.
What was it like to work with Robert Zemeckis? I enjoyed the amazing art direction on the 2015 sets, the infinite detail to everything was spectacular, as were the fun costume designs. I loved the support of the make up crew, Marvin Westmore, Ken Myers, Mike Mills, Nancy Vhasta, Sonny Berman, all were hard working fun and funny people. Robert Zemeckis put a great cast and crew together and I relish the stories I'd hear from crew on other shoots like 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit', 'the Adventure of Baron Maunchasin', (these may have to go into another interview, because they are long yet really fun). I got accepted and friendly with Michael Fox, and instantly was taken with his professionalism on set. Watching and hearing his 'feel' his performance, knowing when it wasn't resonating truth, and insisting on doing it again to get it right was rewarding. Seeing how Bob Z handled very difficult FX problems and solve them with grace and simplicity. I liked hanging out with Billy Zane partying and listening to music. I liked watching Lea transform into her character in the make up chair next to me every morning. She is a darling princess, back then and to this day. I loved meeting and hanging with Flea. I recall being fascinated by the Vista Glide camera that was run by a program designed by Bill Tondreau, that made it possible for Michael and others to play multiple roles in the same shot and synchronize movements, actually splicing the frame while still in the camera. Fascinating stuff. I loved that the crew was always a few steps ahead of Bob Z and they were always very supportive of me. My handler from ILM (Dan?), was a gentleman that tried his best to make life bearable while being strung upside down for the better part of two weeks it took to get from outside the McFly 2015 home, through the house and into the kitchen. When I was rehearsing George & Lorraine's entrance to Marty & Jennifer Mcfly's home through the front door, my upside down head was about level with Marlene's (MjF in drag) butt. They had her dressed in stuffed orange colored hot pants that made her arse look like a pumpkin, so I came up with the line "How's Grand Dad's little pumpkin?". The one bad moment on set for me, was during the 'Pizza' scene. I had been put into a body cast that had a pole coming out of the back of it that ran through the set, with a crew member spinning it (and me) on cue when Lorainne asks George to spin his axis for dinner. (eventually this was cut, but exists in the bonus material), and I do a golf swing calling 'fore" along with the patented George McFly guttural laugh. While setting up for one take, I had not taken a deep enough breath, got cinched into the body cast, 'had the costume put on over t, and spun upside down...when I got in that position all my weight had pressed down on my chest and I couldn't get a breath, and it sparked a claustrophobia-like episode and I started flailing and tried to rip the costume off and get the fuck out of there. Bob Z had to call cut and they got me out, and I negotiated a few minutes to recover before I could be put back in with care for getting my breath right for future takes. But all in all during the shoot, it was really great. Tom Wilson is a gem of an actor, and a great person. And I knew the long nights shooting the 1955 fight and Under the Sea dance sequences would be challenging to get accurate, to support believability, and everyone worked very hard. A coincidence during shooting, Michael's, Tom's and my wives all had baby boys within two weeks of each other, adding a bit of stress and excitement during the shoot. Michael was also shooting the final season of Family Ties during the day, while we shot with him all night..I remember asking him when did he ever get time to sleep? He replied, basically in the limo rides between studios. I have a theory that this over-working caused the early onset of Mr Fox's Parkinson's.
Can you tell us about the films you've been working on over the last couple of years, as well as maybe a project that has really been rewarding to work on for you? I had been caught in the maelstrom of the fight between the producers and Crispin over their unauthorized use of his likeness, and when they learned that I had spoken with Cripsin, they needed to blame someone and I suspect I became a scapegoat, and I learned that I had been blacklisted. So it became rather difficult for me to bear that news. Meanwhile traffic in Los Angeles had gotten to an insane congestion level almost 24/7, and I decided to get out of Hollywood games and move to less stressful environments. I moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where I can be at the ocean, in the redwood trees or in the mountains within a short time. It meant that I did not keep a Hollywood agent (since it would be unfair to him or her to have me requested to audition often within hours or the same day, and 'not be able to attend since living 6 hours from LA). So I often play in local productions, and still from time to time play in Hollywood shot projects. Mostly though they are features, shorts, commercials and industrials that are independents on the lower budget end. I have appeared in many of my student's projects, and I get to mentor them on set when problems in production arise.
One of my favorite roles is as a obsessive-comulsive wine maker, that insists on doing every aspect of wine production himself in his one man operation, which causes alienation of his friends and family. The film is full of slighty tainted or 'off' characters and is told in the vein of the famous 'Christopher Guest' mocu-mentaries (Best in Show, Waiting For Guffman), and it is called 'Corked!', as in a bad bottle of wine. It has won audience favorite awards at film festivals in France, Italy and California. Last year in 'Savior of None' I played a depressed widower with epilepsy in a very dark tale of an adolescent girl caught and abused in the foster care system, by both her foster parents and the local thugs. It is a heavy handed low budget film that actually works, for after the lights came up at the premiere screening of it at the Hoboken Film Festival, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. In it, my character's best friend bartender is played by Vernon George Wells, who also worked with George Miller in the Mad Max movies. I just completed a 'proof of concept' pilot for a television series called 'The Traveler', in which I play a manipulative time traveler with nefarious plans to take over a country. There are a few studios looking at it for production consideration. Made by a fine team of hard working film makers. I am also developing several projects; a western script that was brought to me a few years back is a solid tale, and I love it, and am putting the pieces together to shoot it. It's title is 'Young Desperados'. I mentor and consult on scripts, one of which a young lady & I have done a half dozen re-writes and have got it into a good shooting condition. It is based on a fantasy camp for terminally ill patients and itâ€™s just a fantastic script. The roles fit for most of the Back to the Future cast alumni. I would love to see us all reunite for it, and the writer wants her salary to go to charity. A great story with big heart behind it. The most rewarding thing in recent years is the love and praise I receive from the fans from around the world. Most recently at the London Film & Comic Con, where Jason Joyner (who's been wanting to do it for five years) finally got 11 of us together, and a good part of the proceeds got to go to MjF's charity.
What else can we expect to see from Jeffrey Weissman in 2015? I am always needing to play my craft, whether live, on camera or teach. I have taught improv, Commedia dell'Arte, theater games, on camera acting technique, I created a wrting/directing/acting lab for writers to develop their materials. I put together table reads for screenwriters to hear what their scripts may need for improvement. Sonoma State University, Dominican College, San Francisco High School for the Arts, San Francisco School of Digital Film Making, and at dozens of festivals, expos and vocational schools and events. I've also coached on set, for both actors and directors. And I've developed and coached talent for solo shows, many famous ones have taken their shows on tour or have successful runs for years. I also produce and act at events, themed parties, historical re-enactments, I recently hired 44 musicians and actors to portray the 1865 end of the Civil War extravaganza. I play Mark Twain (in a dramatization of his trip to the Holy Land and Europe in 1867), and play the great humorist at events. I play Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel, Groucho Marx and Larry Fine at events, at theme parks, on TV and film. And last year I played 'Eyegore' in the musical adaptation of Mel Brooks' 'Young Frankenstein' and earned a critic's award nomination. I sang and danced in nine numbers, working my tail off and enjoying every minute of it. One of the biggest heart felt productions I am attempting this year is a Caribbean cruise on the Royal Caribbean's largest ship, the 'Oasis of the Sea' from November 7 - 14th from Ft Lauderdale, Florida which is a Back to the Future theme that is a fund raiser for Michael J Fox' Parkinson's Research outreach, Team Fox. I have seven of the cast and crew signed up to sail with us for a once in a life time opportunity for fans to have an intimate celebration of the films with never heard before stories and presentations, Q & As with the celebrities, Parkinson's workshop, DeLorean Owners meeting, thereâ€™s even a Star Trek celebration at sea event on the same boat included, while seeing Jamaica, Cozumel and a private island for an incredibly reasonable price. http://cruisetoendparkinsons.com/ or http://bttfcruise.com/
G.O.T.H (Glam on Thy Hell) was formed in 2005, in the sunny city of Lisbon, by Ivan Prim. He sought to create a sound using the influences from different genres such as Glam metal, Heavy Metal, 80’s Rock, and today’s Goth Rock. After some time had passed Ivan realized something was missing from the project that he had started. In 2006, after hearing Kate Prim sing while in passing, Ivan decided that a feminine voice was needed in this project. By adding Kate Prim they created a constant harmony that Ivan could have never achieved on his own. The album was recorded and produced by Ivan Prim in his own private studio. The album he created aims to connect with the audience and take them to another world, far from the reality that we all live in which the creation of a new order is the main theme. The songs are predominantly about the different elements of love that can cause joy, pain, suffering and sometimes even death. Though GOTH only consists of Ivan and Kate Prim the band has 6 members when performing. On June 3rd 2015 GOTH signed to Manifest Records
CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org Diamonds to Dust was formed in Poughkeepsie New York in 2012. They started with the idea that people with different experiences and stories could come together to make music. The original lineup consisted of Jenna Sedlak (Vocals), Matt Colgan (drums), Ryan Cuifo (Bass), Vincent Drummond (Guitar), Barry Elliott (Guitar, Backup Vocals). Together they wrote their first single Ashes to Ashes. The band then broke up shortly after, citing that their musical influences were too different and the members could not agree on a direction in which the band could move forward. In December of 2013 Barry Elliott decided to try Diamonds to Dust once again. This time he would use influences from metal, hard rock, and pop punk to create a solid foundation. By using bands such as A Day to Remember, Paramore, Breaking Benjamin, Four Years Strong, Skillet, Chunk No Captain Chunk, Killswitch Engage, and For Today he began hitting the studio to record Diamonds to Dust debut album. With the recruitment of Joe Ayala, Angelica Hogue, Mike Odell, Nico Petroccitto, Brandon Zablocki and Melvin Houge the lineup was completed. In the middle of 2014 Diamonds to Dust signed to Manifest Records along with Hopewell Junction based Metalcore band If I Were You. After signing to Manifest Records Diamonds to Dust were able to release their debut album on October 31, 2014 and then shortly after this they completed their first ever tour which began May 18th 2015. Though they don’t claim to be a Christian band, they share a lot of Christian elements. Barry Elliott states “I’m glad they accept that Melvin, Angelica and I are Christians and that we like to write Christian music, just like we accept their personal beliefs. It would not be right to call us a Christian band when only three members are Christian”. Diamonds to Dust have released three singles off of their debut album titled Ashes to Ashes, A Letter to Someone In need, and The Straight and Narrow. Diamonds to Dust has also been signed to Japan based label Go With Me Records and has had a successful release as well.
August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places Pennsylvania's August Burns Red could be considered “veterans” of the metalcore scene yet as LP #7 shows, they don't plan on slowing down anytime soon. 'Found In Far Away Places' sees the quintet take a direct drive to riff city byway of breakdown town. From start to finish, their style is formulaic yet with breakdowns and riffs as intense and ferocious, you can't complain. 'Martyr' and 'Majoring in the Minors' hint at a more intriguing and experimental side. Whilst an appearance from A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon on 'Ghosts' is a welcome addition. For the most part, ABR follow a winning blueprint that rarely strays from its roots. SR
Young Guns - Ones and Zeros Having become mainstays “radio-friendly” side of rock in recent years, 'Ones and Zeros' sees Young Guns incorporate electronic elements whilst offering a plethora of ready made singles; 'I Want Out', 'Infinity', 'Daylight' and 'Speaking In Tongues'. Without a doubt their combination of catchy, anthemic rock with energetic synths simply works. Whilst at times its over-produced ('Gravity') and lacklustre (the slow burning 'Die On Time'), Young Guns willingness to somewhat experiment pays off. 'Ones and Zeros' captures a band who know their audience but simultaneously show a willingness to evolve. Young Guns are comfortable in their skin yet continue to improve. SR
Muse – Drones With their recent output having received mixed results, it could be considered Muse have a point to prove on 'Drones'. With aim of proving their rock credentials, the trio produce a mixed bag of prog-infused numbers that lyrically dwells in government paranoia, political brainwashing and general Orwellian-like imagery. Musically lead single 'Psycho' has a monstrous riff that is stadium-made. 'Defector' stomps in a glam rock manner. 'Reapers' thrives on scaling guitars and flourishing drum work. Although a promising record, moments like 'Mercy', which comes off as your sub-standard Muse single, and 'The Globalist', an overbearing, theatrical number, makes 'Drones' inconsistent. As recently proved at Download, Muse shine on stage but this might not be the rock juggernaut many had hoped for. SR
Dark Sky Park - Russian Doll This four piece band from Sheffield have brought a Queens of the Stone Age sound to the table with their single Russian Doll. If the melody doesn’t get stuck in your head then the chorus certainly will. Lead singer Debbie Bilson provides vocals that harmonize perfectly with the ongoing melody that is being produced. They are however quite upstaged by the guitar solo halfway through from the guitarist, whose skills prove he should probably be in a heavier band than the one he is in! Russian Doll has a quality to it like most other rock songs and like most rock songs it will be stuck in your head for days and days. Once that fades however I think this will be a great song that can attract a big fan base for this band. RO
Big Kick - Self-Titled Mammoth, sludgy riffs are the order of the day from these Montreal natives and they will give your speakers one hell of a rattling with their Pantera/ Metallica like grooves. They are going about making a name in the good old fashioned method of getting out and making your music heard by playing every place that will have you and kicking the doors in when you get there. Kicking the doors in actually fits into the Big Kick sound quite nicely, 'No More Freedom' is a brawling opener that sets out what they are about, the sound is huge and the bass and drums just crash behind them. With 'Slugger' there is a mix of a Nu-Metal sound and even a more Kid Rock like vibe with a rapped section before heading into the outro, it may not be the most original but it is still very enjoyable. This is a band that come out swinging, the lyrics would not be out of place in an episode of Ultimate Fighter, of the six songs on show, 'Lessons in Oppression' is certainly the most dynamic and accomplished with its slower bridges and builds up to the riff hungry leads and spoken words. All in all if you want something to throw down to then you can't find much better to let loose to than this, it is nothing ground breaking but it is solid, blood and guts metal. AN
We Came As Romans - Self-titled We Came As Romans are currently tearing it up on the Warped Tour, playing to increasing crowds and gaining rave reviews for their performances and cementing them as one of the must see acts on the tour. With a touring festival the size of Warped Tour and its near limitless supply of great bands to see, it is testament to a band that have grown in stature and confidence. Not just confidence in their live performance but in their writing on an album that deserves the self titled treatment, this is easily their finest album to date with every member stepping up and taking control of their craft like at no other time in the bands history. The quality can be heard from top to bottom, 'Regenerate' opens with some big staccato sludgy riffs but quickly moves into a faster pace and cutting back to allow Dave Stephens move between clean and aggressive vocals to great effect. He has made great strides as a vocalist after taking the time with a vocal coach and it has made him more complete as a result, it is also an honest performance. No auto-tune or punching in notes that are off time or whatever, just an extremely honest performance and hearing it as it should be. 'Who Will Pray' changes from the all out attack of the opener and has a more atmospheric sound while 'Tear it Down' adds some synth and almost has a Nu-Metal feel with just shy of rapped vocals accompanying the groove laden riffs. A song such as 'Flatline' pushes the band further than ever with a string section that adds some nice depth sitting a bit beneath the band making it able to be heard but not over taking anything else, sometimes with things like this the mix can be so wrong but this is bang on. It is a quick 33 minutes that passes far quicker than expected to bring the curtain down on the finest album to date from the Detroit band, now comes a lot of touring and then, they have to try and top this! AN
Being As An Ocean - Self-titled Having only been founded in January 2012, it has been a pretty rapid rise for Being As An Ocean and having a year to album ratio such as theirs is something to be very proud of today. In deciding to take the self-title route on this third outing they are putting out a statement, the self-titled album is a big moment for a band and it has something that has to transfer the belief that a band obviously has in a record over to the listening fan. It is a sinister opening, quietly leading into a ferocious barrage of screamed vocals among a slightly more chilled out guitar that eventually ups the pace along with a soulful melodic middle eight and spoken word pulpit sermon. The Christian ethos is heavily weighted through out, I don't have time for things when they start to get preachy but this manages to balance it out, the opening line of 'Ain't Nobody Perfect' is one that I found interesting, “forgiveness is a sin that I set for myself”. The song seems to tell of a conflicted soul trying to offer forgiveness and the narrative is one that is interesting and compelling, continuing the story started in the opener 'Little Ritchie'. Fans will know this is the best yet from this band, everything is slipping into place as a tight cohesive unit and by the time The Warped Tour is done they will have an album worthy of their self titled treatment. AN
Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room - Party Adjacent With his Alkaline Trio companion, Matt Skiba off doing the Blink 182 gig Dan Adriano has not been idle and has delivered a highly personal album that finds him pouring every ounce of himself into it. The opener 'Pretty Teeth' opens in timid fashion, taking the time to develop the mood before crashing into a heavily distorted end that will blow the cobwebs out just as you begin to fall under the charms of the song. It is a more rocking mood that 'Wait' continues the album and it is a perfect follow up, not as heavy as the ending of the previous song but no less rocking. It also contains one of the best lyrics I've heard in a long time with, “I hope the devil's not waiting for me, I've got some shit to figure out before he and I speak”. A line that could be interpreted in so many different ways! Dan Adriano has always had his own unique style of story telling in song writing and it continues with moments of sheer passion and moments that are able to get the lip wobbling, 'Don't Have A Thing' and 'Plain Old Whiskey' are songs where the lone guitar approach shows you don't need big drums and distortion to make a great rock song with a three and a half minute showcase of the majesty that can be found in the most simple ways. He is still able to tear it up nicely, songs like 'Fire Pit' hitting hard and fast, smashing it up with big choruses that still ooze emotion and fire. Music needs guys like Dan Adriano, he shows it doesn't have to be piles of effects, multiple time changes and pro tools, it is guys like him who keep things real. AN
Kylver - The Mountain Ghost First off, when I first opened up this album and saw four tracks I thought it would be a short listening session for this one. After getting lost in the instrumental opening I realised 14 minutes in there had been no gaps, on closer inspection the first song was just ending and I saw that this wasn't going to be a normal four track EP. It was easy to get lost in 'The Mountain Has Ghosts', the organ sets a strangely mesmerising scene before the massive down tuned crashes of the guitars crash all around you. There is already something classic sounding about this song with its doom heavy tempo, slightly reminiscent of Ghost today. The atmosphere they are carving out with this song is immense, progressive and completely compelling as each section plays out in myriad of crushing drums, bass and haunting organs. The start of the next act, 'The Feast of the Mountian Ghost' starts in a similar way to the opener, slowly growing and setting the tone for the next ten minutes, it is nearly five minutes before the first distorted strike and then comes some immense riffing started by the bass and then cascading into a full on assault. Dynamically this Newcastle band have it nailed, teasing and teasing before the boom. With the shortest song on the record, 'Dance of the Mountain Ghost', a modest six minutes, it is more full on rock, not teasing and just straight to business. The closing 'Death of the Mountain Ghost' has a folky vibe that is amplified by the psychedelic, Hawkwind like swirls that sweep around like a thick mist before it clears into yet more of the riffs that are abundant beyond count, each with its own beating heart. I would love to write more about this record but it is hard with limited space so I'll try to keep the closing brief. The best way to describe the songs on offer here would be to compare it to a symphony, broken up into different acts telling its own story and the beauty of it being instrumental is that story can be whatever you want it to be, letting your imagination take the place of a vocalist. If you have any love for epic music then get on this record, this is the real deal and Kylver are masters of their craft who have produced a breath taking set of songs. AN
Hundredth - Free Currently smashing their way through the Warped Tour, Hundredth are in the perfect place to be releasing an album. Fans will have plenty of time to get used to these tunes as they take on Asia and South America with the Warped Tours conclusion allowing a truly world wide release party to swirl the pits and carnage that goes with it. The third full length album finds them carrying on with hard hitting, powerful hardcore brutality, 'Unravel' kicks Free into gear with a slower, sludgier groove before battering on into the far faster, more punk sound of 'Inside Out'. Chadwick Johnson's vocal are raw and violent throughout, in the slower more melodic sections you would be half expecting the clean vocals to be broken out. It doesn't happen though and it is refreshing to hear in this genre. There is no dropping into nice, listener friendly territory and they keep it hardcore at all times. Musically, this is a tight band, everything clicks from the grooving bass, the precise drumming to the blend of crushing guitars and the humming melodies are tightly knit, forming a head smashing formula. The melodies on 'See Beyond' are a case in point, they are higher in the mix here allowing to really grow the song and give the impression it is not as heavy as you think, it does however not lose any of the cutting edge that has come before. This isn't a re-inventing the wheel hardcore record but it is a dominating performance and does not disappoint. AN
WHAT LIES WITHIN
We are What Lies Within a heavy metal band situated in Norwich Norfolk. We comprise of Heather Reynolds on vocals, James Russen on lead guitar and backing vocals, James Conner on rhythm guitar, Jack Slater on bass and Callum Raeburn-Fellows on drums and backing vocals. We were formed late 2014/early 201 5 and are currently in the process of writing an EP which should hopefully be released by the end of this year/ early 2016. At the moment we are gigging in Norfolk England and more precisely around the Norwich and Great Yarmouth area, we have plenty of experience playing in front of large crowds having played Norwich metal to the masses and various other gigs. If you would like to hire us for events or contact us for support slots or headlining slots for your venues or if you just want to find a new and unique metal band to listen to and support you can find us on Facebook and give us a like and a message at www.facebook.com/whatlies or you can email us at email@example.com
THE KREGS The Kregs started in the summer of 2011 as a 3-piece band originally called "sock it to me" before changing their name to The Kregs & through many line up changes the band stuck with Nathan Nininger, Jonathan Lawley, David Lee, & Tim Scheraldi to record their first Single "Come on". A speedy punk filled charismatic tune filled with teenage angst The Kregs were on their way, original drummer Tim left for College & New Drummer Ian Moran was Brought in & Recorded The Kregs "Haunted" EP and soon recorded the Kregs first Album in 2015 which was produced by the legendary Producer Robert honablue. The Kregs Self-Entitled album will be out September 2015.
Carol line "Carol Line started in Portugal, in 2011, with Mafalda Skellington (vocals), João Pronto (drums), José Marques (guitar) and Tiago Mendes (bass). The band is now on a Portuguese Tour “Never Looking Back", promoting their second EP “Back”. According to the band, this EP is an introduction to what will be their first album, to be released next year. Besides the Portuguese Tour, the band is also planning to do some gigs in England. The Band classifies its second Ep, "Back", as a way of identifying and beeing close to each and everyone of its members. In this music there is a part of each one, with their own thoughts and feelings. The band is now out of the studio, and they are doing what they like the most, according to Mafalda Skellington: “The best part is starting now. When we get out of the studio and do some gigs out there. Then, we can feel, live, the kind of reactions our music makes in our fans. And that’s an amazing feeling!"
Ocean of Illusions - High Tides At last another band that understand the meaning of death metal! Ocean of Illusions manage to capture the essence perfectly with their amazing percussion work and incredible guitar riffs. Couple that with the quite frankly staggering vocals and you’ve got one hell of a band on your hand. It’s clear that this band are in no position to mess around, they want to show people what they can do and from the very start of Into The Abyss this is made very clear with the slow building intro before kicking into a heavy anthem that could be labelled a classic right off the bat. Reassembled Visions starts with a lovely piano piece before being completely outdone by pure death metal and just when you think it’s going to drop again into complete and utter chaos it stops. What comes next is Interlude a melodic piece including a harp and soft drums. This breaks the album up nicely, however it wouldn’t be a metal album without fusing the soft interlude and soon it’s completely overshadowed by dirty riffs and speedy drumming. The rest of the album encompasses this bands vision to do the best and be the best, the sounds that are produced will amaze and astound as they travel across the world. While Ocean of Illusions are a small band in New Jersey now, I personally don’t think it will be long before we hear a lot more from these metal pioneers. Their album High Tides is a rollercoaster ride of ridiculously complex melodies accompanied by vocals that need to be heard. Bring on the future. RO
Senses Fail Pull the Thorns From Your Heart Senses Fail have an odd demographic, on the one hand when a beat drops they could be misinterpreted for one of the heavier acts on the circuit and yet when they slow it down their sound could be contrasted to the likes of Radiohead. Their new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart carries on with this classic formula they have created. It’s made them go from humble beginnings playing clubs and churches to being known all over the world as a huge name in metalcore and alternative rock. There are a lot of bands who would only stretch to writing about ‘girls’ and ‘teenage angst’. The reason why Senses Fail do so well is because their music is energetic, well crafted and enjoyable. While most bands write lyrics these guys create poetry and place it together with music, it’s clear that each word has been considered carefully and is placed to provoke thought and insight in the minds of the listeners. That’s not to say that this album would not do well for the teenage angst crowd, there are some songs on the album that would attract that type of crowd, Wounds or Surrender are examples of the more dramatic pieces on the album. Compared to Take Refuge and Dying Words which are definitely for the more heavy hitting listeners to get involved in. The vocals displayed on all tracks are nothing short of impressive and the accompanying melodies are just icing on the already awesome cake. Senses Fail have been going since 2002 and since then they’ve only got bigger and better, with this new album they’ve definitely proved that they’ve still got a lot more to give. RO
Toshes - We Are Other People Psychedelic London based rockers Toshes are certainly making a name for themselves, playing here, there and everywhere. We Are the Other People could be the album that sees them go from 3,000 fans to a worldwide base of followers. Their sound fuses rock tracks with some cool indie beats and at some points even some metal is introduced to the fold. The ending result is something that sounds so nostalgic and futuristic all at the same time. It’s easy to find the similarities between Muse and Toshes, it appears they also like to push the boundary and see what they can do. Their extended solos are something to be admired and the infectious sounds they produce create a perfect combination. If you’re in a rut and don’t know what your next favourite album will be, I would highly recommend We Are the Other People. The variety it offers will appeal to a number of different people and crowds. If you’re after the faster side of rock and roll then maybe Helltrip or Numeric Seas is for you. However if you’re after that calm mellow sound that you can listen to while studying for an exam then maybe All I want or Slow Down is more your cup of tea. This album is completely different to a lot of stuff polluting the airwaves at the moment. It wouldn’t be too hard to envision Toshes going for world domination next and with work like this it wouldn’t be a difficult task.
RO Breaking Benjamin - Dark Before Dawn After a four-year hiatus Breaking Benjamin returned in 2014 jumping straight into production of their fifth studio album. Fast forward into 2015 and we have our hands on “Dark Before Dawn” and in true Breaking Benjamin fashion, “Dark Before Dawn” boasts twelve tracks of nu-metal which will take you back to the glory days of the 2000’s. With founding member Benjamin Burnley taking on all creative duties during the bands leave, “Dark Before Dawn” had mostly been created during this period of time before a new line-up was found. This shines through on the record with their new post-grunge licks punching through on tracks “Hollow” and “Failure”.
“Their fifth studio effort marks a solid return” Burnley’s vocals soar throughout the record with backing provided from new additions Keith Wallen and Aaron Bruch pushing the lead vocals to a new level. Although most of the record is littered with soft vocals this pushes the screaming and harsher efforts to a higher level evident on “Close to Heaven”. Dark Before Dawn showcases Breaking Benjamins return firmly in Burnley’s grasp. Still remaining the main creator for Breaking Benjamin this has laid the groundwork for the bands solid live return and in keeping with the sound that they have been known for. Dark Before Dawn can firmly fit into their back-catalogue, as their fifth studio effort marks a solid return for the hard-rock crew. GD
Wilson - Right To Rise There is no time wasted in getting the dirty grooves rolling with 'Right To Rise', the riffs swirl and cut though with ease alongside the Rob Zombie reminding vocals. 'Guilty You're Dead' takes on a more thrashy edge but manages to take on a more sleaze rock vibe as it continues making it hard to know where you'd place this album, it has hints of Guns n Roses, Metallica and Foo Fighters stadium like anthemic qualities. Where you would put them isn't important at all, what we have here is a great rock n roll band with a banger of a record. The horror rock vibe is very prevalent in 'Crave', the tone of the guitars has taken on a more sinister feel along with a Thunder Kiss '65 vibe that just slays from start to finish, while the sweeping wah bounces along with 'Windows Down' giving it a very blues heavy nod to the bands hometown of Michigan, Detroit and a delicious solo rounding it off. 'The Flood' is a personal highlight of the album for me, a gospel like singalong opens it, the riffs sit at the side of this, interjecting when necessary with an infectious bop while the vocal steals the show on a song that would have been ideal for an episode of True Blood! These guys are slamming it with an album that at first glance is a metal album but quickly becomes clear that it is an album of just straight up rock n roll that doesn't move in ways that you would expect. In sections it is by the numbers but in an instant they will stamp their own mark on it making it their own. It is something a little different to what you will hear out at this point and pretty damn good it is too. AN
Thy Art Is Murder - Holy War Australia's undisputed kings of deathcore storm back once again with an album that sees them move more into cutting edge death metal finding an album that is up there with the very best of the extreme genre that you will find in 2015. This is an album which doesn't fuck about, the opening of 'Absolute Genocide' feels uncomfortable to listen to. It has a very Eastern sound to it with the single pluck guitar providing as menacing as an introduction as the blasting drums, cut throat guitars and the devastating vocal being provided. 'Light Bearer' open with some quite insane drumming from Lee Stanton, the blasts being provided from him are outstanding as he mixes between the kicks and going just as fast on the snare before pulling back as needed. The song is a monster, CJ McMahon is already showing a performance that is second to none this year, his performance is outstanding. Commanding and showing complete dominance of the songs. The title track again has that uncomfortable to listen to quality about it, the lyrics hit hard and are a ferocious attack on organised religion. McMahon's vocal is top of his game here, delivering the performance with such venom, the guitars could bring down a building and the melodies have a haunting, demonic bite to them. From start to finish, this album hits hard, hits fast and is like a sledgehammer to the face, an astonishing master piece of the extreme metal genre and it will take something very special to take the top extreme metal record of the year from them. I don't see it happening. AN
InMe - Trilogy: Dawn It’s not even like Essex rockers Inme have been gone that long, their last effort being The Destinations EP in 2014. In an interesting move they’ve decided to release a trilogy of albums...that’s right a trilogy. Given that a lot of bands would release one album every two or three years I’d say InMe are giving more than they get. As soon as Creation: Amethyst starts it’s evident that they are still one of the best rock bands in the UK. This is only backed up by Beloved: Seraphia, Serpahia. The gruff British vocals that are sampled are brilliant and coupled with the instrumentals they just create amazing tracks. The titles read like passages from a long abandoned book and I’m sure they all hold their place in the clearly well thought out ‘Trilogy’. One element to note is that this is a band that have grown up. Once they may have been the forefront of British metal music, now it appears they have stripped themselves back and have adopted a softer style of music. The vocals are still the same, with less screaming and the music is less metal and more soft rock. This is by no means a negative on the album however, all bands go through a state of evolution and clearly it was InMe’s time. This can be noted on Loss: Children of Exile. The beat is catchy but it’s definitely slower than how they used to be. Even Amnesty: Bonsai Forest, which is undoubtedly one of the heaviest tracks on the album, feels less metal and more soft rock. This could possibly go down as one of Inme’s better efforts in their career. If this is the start of the Trilogy, then consider this A New Hope, I can’t wait for Return of the Jedi. RO
Facebook.com/Driven.Under.Official The band was founded in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in 2009. Back then, Mario Paun (bass), Bojan Vidak (guitar) and Dario Pontis (drums) started by mainly playing covers of songs by Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Iced Earth, etc. The 3 of them made quite a lot of noise but it still wasn’t loud enough for them. So another guitarist (Steven Hohl) and a singer (Nicholas Kunz) joined the group. The band has seen some changes in musicians in its ranks, which led to the band’s name and shaped today’s mix of styles. Influenced by giants, such as Slayer, Anthrax and Metallica, it is a mix of trash and heavy metal with a pinch of NWoBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal). Their first own songs like Destiny and Eagle Fly were written, and they are still played live today. Eventually, Patric Bouffé grabbed the microphone in 2010 and Fabian Koch the drumsticks in 2011. With this typical trash metal constellation, they recorded their first demo CD with songs like See you in hell, Redemption and Back to reality and changed to the fast track. Hard riffs, dynamic beats and song lyrics about the problems in our lives continue to thrill the crowd and encourage people to head bang and party. Concerts were rocked, performances have upgraded the stage show, new songs were written and the first EP Hands in Chains was published in the summer of 2014. This EP has delighted regional and international critics and was even mentioned in the German music magazine Metal Hammer in 2015 where it also received positive feedback. Therefore, it is no surprise that the band captured the attention of metal radio stations and other music magazines like The Pain Fucktory from Peru. The highlight so far was supporting the US doom metal band Pentagram. Today, Driven Under is comprised of Steven Hohl (guitar), Bojan Vidak (guitar), Fabian Koch (drums), Patric Bouffé (vocals) and Dani Gebert, who has been playing the bass since the end of 2014.
Citizen - Everybody Is Going To Heaven Citizen return two years on from their first full length album ‘Summer’ which peaked at #171 on the Billboard 200. ‘Everybody Is Going to Heaven’ is Citizen’s second LP released via Run For Cover records. Their first album received positive reviews for their aggressive vocals and powerfully produced instrumentals. The album begins with the dark ‘Cement’ which has a very grungy, gloomy style unlike the more serene sound on their first full length, the chorus is a bit simple but is saved by the tingling guitar feedback, it’s a predictable and simple first track. ‘Dive Into My Sun’ has a lovely guitar riff throughout, worthy of a film soundtrack. The vocals remind me very much of the serene, composed style from the last record, the lyrics have a poetic feel to them and seem very personal - “lie to me, damage me” are particularly powerful and compelling. ‘Numb Yourself’ is a highly emotive number and each verse paints a different picture again creating a story feel to the record. The title of ‘Heaviness’ would lead to believe the track would sound heavy, but it is more to reflect a heavy feeling. This track has a moving vocal backed up by a soft guitar tone, the style reminds me of American Football which would reflect the continuation of the emo revival. ‘My Favourite Color’ begins with a ear shattering intro which the likes of Title Fight would be pleased with, the guitar riffs are mysterious and sound excellent in sync with the post-hardcore vocal style I’ve not heard often from Citizen before, I can imagine this track creating a potent live performance completely captivating an audience. ‘Weave Me’ returns to a slower style with whispering vocals and a strong drum pattern, it’s a pretty drab beginning and it’s sadly a pretty poor track to follow up the very impressive ‘My Favourite Color’, thankfully ‘Stain’ is more uplifting and more interesting, with its Pianos Become The Teeth esque vocal and Self Defense Family esque background instrumentation, however the chorus is lacking some bite and disappoints in comparison to other sections of the track. ‘Ten’ again tries the same eerie feel the band is trying to achieve, the exclamation of the word ‘burn’ along with a powerful riff.
“Citizen have fully experimented with their different influences in this album” ‘Yellow Love’ revisits the emo revival style that has produced bands like Tigers Jaw and Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) – this track is particularly pleasing with its simple but beautifully soothing flow that works well as a bridge between the heavier tracks on the record. The record closes with ‘Ring of Chain’ which reflects back to their previous full length with a nicely controlled aggressive vocal style and excellent production work on the background instruments, although it’s not the bold number you would like to close the record, the verses are well written and the anthemic style reminds a little of Sunny Day Real Estate. Citizen have fully experimented with their different influences in this album, some may feel that the guitar feedback is used a little too much, and that Citizen should have focused on what made them unique in the first place. The versatility of softer songs and more robust tracks is a positive and makes me excited to see what the band can produce in the future. The band will look to gain more popularity over in the UK with three headline shows early in 2016. JP
Forrest - Soluna Forrest’s debut LP comes in the form of ‘Soluna’ being released by Close To Home Records. Forrest hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Basement and Moose Blood as the next successful emo/alternative influenced group in the UK. I had good expectations for this album following their promising EP ‘Before You Go’ released in 2012 which screamed potential and impressive maturity for a debut release. The album begins with ‘Ambition’ – a highly powerful and anthemic introduction with eerie distant vocals and a beautiful riff at the end, immediately you pick up a Sunny Day Real Estate vibe if you are familiar with the emo genre in the 1990’s. ‘Remember’ reminds me very much of their last EP with the very cathedral like atmospheric vocals and the simple instrumentation style trying not to overpower the vocals, even towards the conclusion of the track when the guitars volume is ramped up it does not cloud over the vocals, an impressive build on the first track. The beginning of ‘Close To Me’ reminds me a lot of Balance and Composure’s track ‘More to Me’ with soft guitar tones followed by a collision of loud drums and the delicate vocal style which remains impressively clear throughout the record, the powerful conclusion reminds me very much of Basement’s works. The consistent transition between aggressive and ghostly sounds is executed well in ‘Asylum’ with highly alluring guitar work; I do feel however that the lyrics drain the high energy this track is trying to create. ‘Sol’ acts as an intriguing interlude showcasing the creative minds of all band members and relaxes you as a listener, preparing you for the explosive ‘Luna’ which seems heavier than other tracks on the album, the lyrics appear more upbeat and it’s definitely my favourite on the record with the clever alteration in vocal style, and its incredibly mighty and bold chorus which is wonderful. ‘Standing Stone’ begins soothingly and again I have to note the impressive vocal progression that’s been made since the debut EP a few years back, the band clearly has a grip of combining the different instruments without any significant interference or too much overlapping which is a huge positive. This enchanting record concludes with ‘Meet You There’ which again screams Balance and Composure when I listen to it; again the right blend of vocals and guitars/drums is executed, allowing the lyrics to be projected clearly in the mystic style felt throughout the record. ‘Soluna’ is a captivating record with its spectral vocal style and beautifully produced guitar riffs, so many different musical influences can be felt and acknowledged igniting different thoughts when listening to the record. Forrest can be very proud after working hard to create a solid full length which will only be publicised more in the coming months in the alternative scene in the UK hopefully bringing them reward for their experimental ability that is conveyed through the energy in this record. JP
Vita and the Vicious - Bender (single review) The new single from London six piece, Vita and the Vicious finds the band combining humour with melody and fuzz to tell the tales of weekend debauchery, with its innocent enough beginnings right through to its inevitable and probably expected conclusions. Led by the fiery redhead Vita Ross, the vocals are descriptive with a natural sound, none of the messing about that is so prevalent in vocals these days and it is refreshing to hear a singer just allow the natural tones of her voice be just that. It adds to the raw feel of the song and for this kind of song it is exactly as it should be, the words are edgy and to the point, the raw fuzz backing and occasional slither of the synths blend well together. This isn't normally my bag to listen to but there is something infectious which finds me hitting the repeat button again and again. AN
Spraynard - Mable There were sad times when one of the most fun pop punk bands went on a hiatus back in 2012, after a couple of years they returned to the delight of many in 2014 and now they are back with their new LP ‘Mable’. ‘Applebee’s Bar’ announces Spraynard’s comeback with a bang, a memorable number with a simple riff and compliments to the producer for the clear vocals, the drums have a raw sound which adds authenticity to the track and reminds me of their first LP ‘Cut and Paste’. ‘Buried’ typifies Spraynard in two and a half minutes of wacky mixes of instrumentation and deep bass lines similar to the likes of Latterman, the ridiculously catchy chorus which is extremely well written and will definitely be a crowd pleaser in live shows. Those same bass lines appear again at the beginning of ‘Medicine’ beautifully in sync with the flowing upbeat drums and the crisp clear vocals all work well in tandem, the hook of “and you can be the pills that help me sleep, I’ll be the medicine that keeps you awake” is something similar to what you would hear in a Man Overboard track, it’s the definite highlight of the track. ‘Pond’ is a peculiar track and something different to what I’ve heard from the band previously, it touches your emotional side and has some particularly strong lyrics - “I hate my body, but I am fucking lazy, I sit here wanting change but just keep doing the same damn thing” and the main hook of “what’s the use of trying to survive, if we don’t feel alive” these set of lyrics seem brutally honest and add a clever surprise element that makes your mind wander. ‘Everywhere’ quickens the pace and is undeniably reminiscent of the their sophomore album ‘Funtitled’, the band always seems to write solid choruses that make you connect as a listener, although it’s only a short song the lyrics do seem a little repetitive in place but there is simplicity trying to be conveyed in this track. ‘Bench’ is another unusual track, the slow dragged out style reminds me of a song being slowed down from not being on the right RPM on a record player, Pat Graham’s vocals are bold and highly emotional no doubt reflecting something very personal in the subject of the song.
“I believe it’s a sure sign of progression in their music” ‘Listen to me’ is a very summery and energetic number, it has influences of both previous albums with the shouting of the phrase “You Said” on numerous parts throughout the song refer back to “Without You” from ‘Homies Where the Heart Is” if you’re familiar with Spraynard’s discography. I thought I was listening to Good Charlotte or Blink-182 when ‘Lost Boys’ began, a very quick number with some interesting experimental riffs in parts. The penultimate, and longest track of the LP ‘Out of Body’ begins with hollow vocals and then takes form in a slow, lethargic rhythm which may reflect the “but I am fucking lazy” statement made in ‘Pond’, the energy levels seem much lower in the vocals which may be trying to reflect the nearing conclusion of the record, I’m not sure if The Promise Ring sort of vibe works for an energetic artist like Spraynard. ‘Home’ concludes the album, another obscure track until the middle section, with ever present bass lines and what I think is an organ in the background? Once again emotional subjects are touched upon with lyrics like “we’re all so terrified of our own lives”, the band are focused on providing a voice for people in their society and perhaps their fans, another song that leaves questions to be answered in your mind. Spraynard have abandoned the ‘wiener poopie’ approach from their first years as a band, and now focus on emotional issues which the band may have been able to reflect upon during their two year hiatus, it’s a statement record with some gripping songs and the inevitable set of songs that make you want to scream the lyrics out. It’s a bold record which may produce mixed reactions; I believe it’s a sure sign of progression in their music. JP
Rich in the mids, huge guitar sounds from bloody awesome Amps, a bass which hurts in your stomach, an impulsive drummer and a frontman where boyfriends are better off staying home. This is Elvis Dies Tomorrow! The four guys from the most nothern part of germany are used to rough winds and try to walk the way of rock music even though they have to face a storm of other genres. They want to achieve one thing: Bringing back the sound of real guitars, real voices and real music to the people. Founded in February of 2014 and becoming the best band of schleswig- Holstein half a year later which led to them becoming part of the 14 best newcomer bands in Germay of 2014. While this band was fighting at the battle of the bands they released their debut cd “The World is Ahead“ which was recorded in the studio “Jakshell“. Every song is written on their own. In 2014 Elvis’ was able to play over 15 shows with bands like Papa Roach, Jennifer Rostock and Dog eat Dog. Having this in mind every gig brought a bigger fanbase as well as the first CD and there is no sign of a decrease. These guys are authentic and do what they wanna do: brilliant music! CONTACT:
Tenyson - Audiobug It’s time to face the truth, grunge rock is all but gone, in some ways Foo Fighters still hold the torch a bit albeit only through Dave Grohl’s Nirvana roots but aside from that it’s but a distant memory in the older generations lives. That’s why it’s quite refreshing and surprising that a band like Tenyson not only revive this lost genre but relight the love that I personally had for it once upon a time. The whole album has that ‘produced in a garage’ quality to it, most probably on purpose to give it that edge that a lot of music can miss today to make it sound genuine. This band are displaying real emotional music. While I’m sure that most bands would place their influences with the likes of what I’ve mentioned, these guys are the ones who take it further and try to recreate that sound. The lead vocals are clear, rough and go together well with the DIY sounding guitar and drums. From the start of Long Regrets which is carried by its catchy bass line through to Nunchuck which has a fast paced start the likes of which you’d have adored back in the 90s, crossed with the excellent vocals this four song EP is brilliant for anyone appreciative of the lost genre of grunge. RO
Mayburn - When Worlds Collide It’s evident from the opening interlude that Mayburn’s influences extend from classic rock and metal, but there are also dashes of later artists such as System of a Down and Killswitch Engage. The album itself is a roller coaster of raw rock and roll, each song is individual and each song has its own essence and dare I say personality. The vocals shown off in this ten song album are extremely impressive. The power that is displayed in the lead singers voice is incredible and provocative while at the same time not distracting from the music that is being played. The heavy riffs that accompany the tracks are seamless and add to the song with a touch of class. Over the years many artists have tried to encapsulate the sound that System of a Down created back in the 90s, however I think Mayburn may be the first to actually succeed. Their addictive bass lines set up each and every song perfectly and crossed with their bouncy riffs they manage to get that lightning in a bottle that a lot of artists have tried and failed to do.
“Over the years many artists have tried to encapsulate the sound that System of a Down created back in the 90s, however I think Mayburn may be the first to actually succeed” So how would I describe When Worlds Collide? In a ridiculous sense I would describe it as the planet of System of a Down where Toxicity albums hang in the trees and Serj Tankian’s face is the Sun crashing into the planet of Killswitch Engage in which Howard Jones looks over all creation while the chorus of Holy Diver is played for all to hear. The crash would be spectacular and out of everything would step Mayburn, a new breed ready to take on the fight to save rock and metal alike. RO
Diamonds To Dust – Faith Through Trials ‘Oh my god!’ were the words uttered from me as soon as the opening of this album started, the piano turned techno melody captured my attention quite similar to how a punch in the face would. Crossed with the brilliant guitar work and quite frankly amazing drumming this first song Ashes to Ashes only improves when it reaches the incredible drop near the end when it is accompanied by belting roars. Carrying onto the electrifying False Identity this song puts up the incredible almost operatic vocals and takes this band to a whole new level. They are standing up and showing they can stretch to all boundaries and they’re not afraid to step over the lines or break them while trying.
“There’s something about this band that oozes class” Diamonds to Dust have something a lot of bands fail to achieve these days, range. At some points they can drop a metal beat to rival the heaviest of bands in Hi My Name Is April and You’re a Fool and at other times can take on a pop punk guise in A Letter to Someone in Need that would have All Time Low quaking in their boots. If this album could be summed up in one word it would be ‘Epic’ or ‘Majestic’, there’s something about this band that oozes class, every song could be described as spine tingling and catchy. The screaming/roaring/melodic vocals accompanying the complex rhythms go together so well and ultimately create a sound that is both fun, good to listen to and also everlasting. I believe Diamonds to Dust can go far in what they do. Their blend of operatic, screamo, pop punk is something to be admired and will appeal to the widest of demographics. RO
An Elegy - Embrace The Rain Formed in 2014, this Coventry/Birmingham metalcore five piece bring thundering guitars sounds, mountainous drums and bordering on a more death/black metal vocal along with a standard clean vocal. This first release shows a band that are evidently very tight, the complicated structures are well executed and the simpler sections seem to have as much care taken as those high moments which shows a band taking the time get everything right and knowing how important the balance is. Those structures are impressive given the shorter length of some of the songs, they are cramming a lot in, sometimes too much when a longer song to expand them might have been a better option, but it isn't a big deal and the songs still work well. It is everything that makes metalcore enjoyable and these lads have talent, there is work to be done but this is a solid opening salvo. AN
Facebook.com/ThemEvilsBand / ThemEvils.com
Against Me! It would be a lie to say that Against Me! have had the easiest ride in the world, this punk rock outfit have have been through a lot, and back in 2012 the lead singer came out to the world and announced himself as a woman. Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace. Against Me! Have carried on and their sound is more powerful than ever! This band are ready to take on Reading and Leeds and win!
Pierce the Veil Pierce the Veil have been gone for far too long. They were supposed to have a new album out early in 2015 and that hasn’t happened, this can only mean one thing. They have something to prove. This is a band that have been all over the world and back again, released incredible albums and still are coming back for more. Guarantee that when the opening notes for King for a Day start the whole Reading and Leeds crowd will scream with excitement.
I’m sure at the moment Beartooth feel like they’re constantly in the UK, destroying stages at Slam Dunk and Download. Now they’ll be making their debut at Reading and Leeds. By now they’re no strangers to playing in tents, this performance from the metalcore act will not be one to miss. Their first album Disgusting is an absolute stunner and their live shows are brilliant. The favourites such as In Between and Bodybag will be sure to get the crowds jumping and the pits circling.
Twin Atlantic The Scottish powerhouse will be finishing their tour in support of their latest album Great Divide by sub-headlining the NME stage at Reading and Leeds festivals. A feat I’m sure they never believed they would reach. With absolute bangers such as Free and Oceans this is set to be an incredible set from a band who deserve this spot. This will be a show to check out without a doubt, as Twin Atlantic will want to go out on a very high note.
All Time Low All Time Low will be returning to British soil with their all nonsense pop punk attitude. These are four guys who started as a Blink 182 cover band and eventually managed to grow into their own and become one of the biggest pop punk bands in the world. They’re heading back to Reading and Leeds mainstage and it promises to be a great show. With Anthems such as Weightless and Lost in Stereo.
Bring Me The Horizon What is there to say about these guys that hasn’t already been said? They have spent their career becoming one of the biggest and most important metalcore acts in the world, and with each album they release, they always push the boundaries of what they can achieve as a band. They have also proved that they are masters of the live stage, and if the videos taken from their show filmed at Wembley Arena are anything to go by then they should pull out a miraculous set on the main stage of Reading & Leeds.
Panic! At The Disco As well as having written pretty much the best pop record ever created in A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out they also have a bunch of other amazing anthems to perform, and at this point they know how to play them well. Over time the band have simply created a dynamic and unique setlist that is always exciting to watch in a live atmosphere. So make sure you get involved! If all else fails you can just look at Brendon Urie. Now that is a handsome man.
Simple Plan With close to ten million fans on their Facebook page alone, then it’s safe to say that Simple Plan have become one of the biggest alternative pop rock bands in recent years. They haven’t performed in the UK much recently, so this is 100% a set that you should not miss, as on a live basis they always put on an incredible show. You can expect to hear classics such as "Welcome To My Life" "Perfect" and "I'm Just A Kid".
Ghost The loss of Mastodon is a big kick in the groin but the addition of one of the most unique and captivating bands in recent memory to The Pit headline spot is a very adequate replacement. Ghost came from seemingly out of nowhere with their debut, Opus Eponymous and from there have found Papa Emeritus, now in his third incarnation taking their music all over the world and making new fans from punter to some of musics biggest names. There isn't another band in rock like Ghost, on stage it is like a black mass with the smell of incense floating through the air and it can become quite surreal and intense as the black Papa leads his congregations. I'm not sure how attendees will take to them, but it will be something they won't forget in a hurry.
Modern Baseball Philly’s Modern Baseball take to the Lock Up Stage (Reading) and The Pit (Leeds) with their numerous memorable hooks and highly catchy numbers. Following in the footsteps of the likes of New Found Glory and The Wonder Years, the band released their second full length ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ which had a number of memorable tracks including ‘Your Graduation’ which should be one of the closing tracks of their set. With numerous pop punk bands on the bill at the festival, Modern Baseball should attract some fans and create a fun and emotional atmosphere with their touching lyrics. This will be a big step for a young band who are already two full length albums into their career, expect them to put on a bouncy and tireless set with a lot of crowd interaction and endless energy.
Refused Sweden’s Refused are one of the most influential hardcore punk bands after taking the world by storm with their incredible album ‘The Shape of Punk To Come’ which is widely thought of as one of the best punk albums of all time. Seventeen years on from that album’s release Refused recently released their new LP ‘Freedom’ which had all the characteristics that made their previous works successful. Refused bring a lot of energy to the live stage with their frantic and powerful anthems such as the loud and terrifying ‘New Noise’ which should translate into a frenetic and memorable live performance, Refused have been busy performing in 2015 with BBC Radio sessions and a recent headline slot at the famous Belgian punk festival Groezrock where friends of mine told me they were on scintillating form, if you are a fan of punk then they are a must see when they headline The Pit.
New Found Glory Pop Punk heroes New Found Glory are back at Reading and Leeds after many memorable performances there over the years, still going strong after releasing their 8th full length album ‘Resurrection’ last year they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Famous for their numerous anthems brought out in the early 2000’s around the time the likes of Blink-182 and The Starting Line were sharing similar success, the band have a crazy luxury of tracks to choose from to make an ideal set list. Reading and Leeds will undoubtedly feature a jam packed set list with the likes of ‘My Friends Over You’ and ‘All Downhill From Here’ sending the crowd into a constant frenzy. NFG are known for their energetic and extremely fun live performances which will translate well onto the stage in Reading and Leeds.
Alexisonfire People at Reading and Leeds this year are very lucky to be welcoming the return of Canadian post-hardcore outfit Alexisonfire, when the band announced their comeback from hiatus in March this year they announced a few special shows in Canada and of course Reading and Leeds. Alexisonfire’s music is a unique blend of soulful and abrasive vocals, heavy riffs and loud drums, the set looks to be very special with the likes of ‘Boiled Frogs’ and ‘Young Cardinals’ dead certain to be featured. There will be much anticipation as the band ignites the world stages once again; the band clearly loves performing in the UK after recording three live albums on a previous UK tour. Catch the band on the main stage on the Saturday at Reading and Sunday at Leeds; expect an inspired performance and raucous crowd.
The Gaslight Anthem New Jersey’s soulful punks The Gaslight Anthem are returning to the main stage at Reading and Leeds, with the Bruce Springsteen inspired vocals and flowing, beautifully crafted instrumentals. Now almost a year on from their successful record ‘Get Hurt’ which broke the Top 5 albums in the UK and US, the band will bring an easy and relaxed set to the main stage. The band perform well and have had a great reception at the festival before on the main stage, they will likely perform several tracks from the brilliant album ‘Handwritten’ a record that was called the hottest in the world by Radio 1’s Zane Lowe around the time of its release, if you feel you need a break from loud and frenetic sets on the same day then why not check out a relaxed heartland rock style set from The Gaslight Anthem on the main stage.
Coheed and Cambria The lords of the prog metal, concept album return with an album that takes a break from the seven album opus of The Armoury Wars to make things personal. It is a change of direction that makes it an essential album to hear, the first potential chance to hear new songs from the record come here. For fans wanting to hear the new direction and how it translates live, then it also makes it an essential set.
Thrice Dustin Kensrue, fresh from his outstanding solo album returns to a reinvigorated Thrice as they take a break from their U.S run to journey over the pond to take on Hevy Fest. It has been a whirlwind few months after that single image announced the bands return from a hiatus with extensive touring that finds them as strong as they ever were. With new teases and hints arriving on the bands Facebook page things seem to be ramping up, if you want to see Thrice in the U.K in 2015, then Hevy fest is your only chance.
Protest the Hero Protest the Hero wrap up their short European run with Hevy Fest, it has been a surprisingly long time since the release of Juno Award winning Voliton but the album is still fresh and sounding as good as it did providing top notch energy to keep crowds coming back for more. The live show energy matches it comfortably, crashing and thrashing from beginning to end laying waste to floors. The bands obvious excitement about the bill they are on at Hevy Fest should lead to something a little extra from them, they could steal the weekend.
Fightstar Fresh from headlining the third stage at the incredible Download Festival I’m sure this metalcore act are more than ready to headline Hevy Fest. Their live shows are something of amazement and during their absence it seems they have only got better. If you’re also in doubt about Charlie Simpson and how metal he is just go and watch and be blown away by the skills this man has both as a guitarist and singer.
The Dillinger Escape Plan Considering that Dillinger Escape Plan have been going since the 90s and they’re still playing and going strong, this must mean something. These guys shows are legendary for chaos and I’m sure Hevy Fest will be no different. Just recently they’ve been opening for Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, two of the biggest names to ever grace rock, this means they know what they’re doing and more than anything they know how to put on a show.
Forgery At Best Hailing from Dayton, OH, Forgery At Best is an alternative rock band with a unique pop rock twist. Drawing influences from Emarosa, Hands Like House, and local Ohio alternative rock band The Orphan, The Poet, Forgery At Best has been performing around Ohio for the past calendar year. With plans to finish recording an EP and tour, Forgery At Best is a band that is on the rise. The band recently released a music video for the newest song, â€œCatastropheâ€?, which can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play.
Metronova are an all-girl rock/pop-punk band from Perth, Western Australia! The band’s first release ‘Dead As Disco’ was released in June 2014 and they have been releasing music and playing live wherever they can! The girls released their second EP ‘Self Dependence’ in February 2015 and are hard at work writing their newest release, and are about to embark on an Australian tour! CONTACT: Facebook.com/metronovaband firstname.lastname@example.org for FREE downloads Metronovaband.bandcamp.com
Donington’s legendary festival got off to a rocky start this year when the previously announced Dog Tag system did not go to plan. This left people hungry, money-less and much more importantly, it left them sober. Thankfully this was sorted by the time the bands came out on Friday but something would need to be done to make everyone feel better. Enter All That Remains. When it came to the prestigious honour of opening Download Festival 2015, it fell to this band. Their career so far has gone from strength to strength and they deserved to have the slot. Heavy metal outfit All That Remains got Donington’s first circle pits going of the weekend and set an amazing prescidence for the further bands that would continue over the weekend. I can’t recall how many times I’ve heard ‘Royal Blood are so great because there’s only two members and all they have is a guitar and drums’ well step aside because God Damn offer the same package and they are amazing! ‘I can’t believe we’re playing Download, my Mum’s heard of this, that’s how big a deal this is’ lead singer Thom announces to the crowd before dropping into some hard rock that filled the tent in mere seconds. God Damn have also been announced to support Foo Fighters. Keep an eye out for these guys.
Krokodil played the Maverick stage back in 2013 to a small crowd and wasn’t offered a lot of audience participation, this year however the tent was going insane as this supergroup put up the best fight they could. An inflatable crocodile was being thrown around the front of the crowd as the audience lapped up Sun Riders and A Life Lived in Copper, but Painted in Gold was the hit of the set. Up next to inject some punk rock into a sunny Friday was none other than Gnarwolves, a band who have built up quite a reputation in the past few years. They arrive to a hungry audience and kick into their opening song Smoking Kills and are met with big cheers and applause. Gnarwolves don’t seem to believe they’ve attracted a crowd so big, taking brief moments to stand and survey the audience. They play a selection of hits and leave.
Defeater are a band like no other, collectively they have written a story about a family in a post war era and based all their songs on this family. It’s a unique original idea and it works brilliantly. Clearly their popularity has soared in recent years as the tent fills out to see a glimpse of a band that haven’t been to the UK in five years according to lead singer Derek Archambault. ‘We love playing here and this is fucking insane, thank you.’ The biggest crowd pleaser was Dear Father which was belted back word for word. Up next a band that have been storming...well everywhere, the aptly named Beartooth are taking refuge on the Maverick stage. Their debut album Disgusting has received many positive reviews and they are making their mark all over the place. Opening with Relapsing the metalcore group had this audience at their beck and call. Lead singer Caleb looked astounded at the packed tent before him and demanded the ‘the biggest circle pit this tent has ever seen.’ Their single In Between and anthem Body Bag got the biggest reactions. Back over to main stage to see a band who are no strangers to Download, the almighty Five Finger Death Punch who as always look ecstatic to be here. Turning it up a notch they start with Under and Over it to get this eager audience off their feet. Just before their amazing anthem Burn MF the lead singer points in the crowd and says ‘you three up on stage!’ he is then joined by three children who look dumbstruck by what is happening. He says ‘this is the future of metal!’ as the chorus of ‘burn mother fucker, burn mother fucker, burn’ is screamed at the top of everyone’s lungs these children begin headbanging and relaying the words they’re being taught. Truly they were the future of metal. Five Finger Death Punch thank everyone for coming to see them and mention they’re headlining a small place called ‘Wembley stadium’ and he wants us all there. Oh we will be.
So I’ve been hearing so much about The One Hundred as of late, I assumed they’d be another You Me at Six or Five Seconds of Summer. In truth this band are a lot closer to Prodigy or Enter Shikari and packed out Jake’s stage with minimal effort. The band take to the stage and demand everyone bounce as they start with Breed, instantly this band had me. They were energetic, the vocals were amazing to behold and the songs were catchy. The played all songs from their debut EP Subculture and even a new song Disengage which caught everyone’s attention. This band are going to be huge and seeing them in such a small place will soon be a novelty rather than reality. The Maverick stage was packed, ready to catch a glimpse of a band that as of late have been noticeably absent. The incredible Fightstar had returned to Donington and they were more than ready. Kicking off with Paint Your Target it was clear Charlie Simpson and co were having the time of their lives. ‘I’d like to introduce someone very special on stage’ Charlie said as his brother came out and donned a guitar in place of the lead singer. After this Charlie was like a man posessed, running around the stage screaming his lungs out for the incredible Deathcar. As someone who never caught onto the Fightstar trend I was shocked and impressed with the incredible range this guy has. Their set ended with Palahniuk’s Laughter. ‘We haven’t played Download for five years, but you guys have made us feel at home’ Charlie said as the band left the stage. When Slipknot were announced for Download 2015 it was met with mixed reactions of ‘amazing, brilliant’ and ‘again? Really, they only did it two years ago.’ For me after all the headliners Slipknot were probably the weakest. Yes they are incredible and classic and with the hits like ‘Spit It Out’ and Psychosocial’ it is obvious to see why they headline Download over and over. Seeing all of Download get down for the finale of Spit It Out without even being told was quite a spectacle. ‘That’s why I fucking love Download, you are my family’ a shocked Corey Taylor explained.
Saturday rolled around and it looked like everyone was an extra in a zombie film, not only that but the weather had gone from moderately alright to downright terrible. That wasn’t going to stop anyone though, on with the show. If I was given the choice of one band to open any festival forever I would choose Lounge Kittens. A three piece girlband who are armed only with harmonic tones and a keyboard. Together they combine popular rock songs with funky piano melodies and create a brilliant atmosphere. They even created a Download Festival song combining songs from bands across the whole weekend. Which as well as enjoyable turned into a ‘who sang that?’ guessing game.
Mallory Knox continue to prove why they are hot stuff as they take to the main stage. Lead singer Mikey comes out onto the walkway saying ‘fuck this, I want to be in the rain with you’ this one act of solidarity may have won over the crowd who were not there to see them. Their hits such as Death Rattle and Wake Up got the crowd moving and even songs from their latest album Asymmetry helped them out a lot. Ending their set with Lighthouse lead singer explains how grateful he is and all the other acts are for everyone who will see them. A true class act. I’m not a massive fan of the music Parkway Drive make but I think they’re incredible, their live performance is full of energy and they never fail to make an audience feel welcome. The Australian metallers had come with a message ‘we will be back.’ After being absent for three years they excitedly announce that their next album will be out in September. A massive reception was given for their cover of Bulls on Parade and Home is for the Heartless got as usual a massive cheer. See you soon guys!
Rise Against are definitely one of the best bands on the scene at the moment, they’ve been going for years and time after time they’ve delivered spectacular albums. The excitement is clear as the punk rockers take to the stage and belt out The Great Die Off. ‘This is perfect festival weather’ lead singer Tim says to a soaked and not very impressed crowd, ‘I’m from Chicago, bad weather doesn’t scare me’ he boasts as he runs across the walkway to greet the audience. The big hitters like Prayer of the Refugee and Like the Angel get a big reaction but the live show seemed to miss something.
Photo Credit: Richard Johnson
A Day To Remember
Photo Credit: Justine Trickett
Photo Credit: Scott Salt
Photo Credit: Justine Trickett
The audience can only be described as electric, the main stage is absolutely packed and why wouldn’t it. The career of A Day to Remember has been one to watch with intrigue and fascination. Their combination of metalcore and pop punk has earned them a spot as one of the best bands around at the moment. The Florida fivesome decided to bring the heavier songs from their brief history such as 2nd Sucks and Mr Highway’s Thinking About the End and also some of the lighter tracks in the form of All Signs Point to Lauderdale and Have Faith in Me. The penultimate part of their show included a rendition of Oasis’ Champagne Supernova and the anthem If It Means A Lot to You. ‘This is gonna be our last song’ Jeremy says and the reply from a hungry audience came back full force with ‘Ten more songs! Ten more songs!’. The singer laughs and says ‘maybe someday, we’ll comeback we’ll headline this shit, make it happen.’ Ending their incredible set with The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle they scurry offstage very thankful for their time at Download. Seeing as Faith No More headlined this amazing festival only a few short years ago you would think they’d be bitter about the sub spot they have. These guys could not have been happier to be gracing Donington’s famous stage. Donned all in white, their style of melodic rock captivates an audience of old fans and new. The lead singer is a man with a sense of humour, constantly having a joke with the crowd by telling someone in the front row to ‘cheer the fuck up’ and stealing a security personnel’s headset and calling in a terrorist attack. Their set was layered with the best of Faith No More such as Epic and We Care a Lot.
“With a set like that it’s not too insane to think that Muse will headline Download again” For the first time ever the incredible Muse were headlining Download, why had it taken them so long? In a short video before the show began lead singer Matt Bellamy explained that their latest album Drones was the heaviest they’d done in years and this was proven to be correct as they started with first single Psycho. In classic Muse style the lasers were out in full force and the guitar solos came thick and fast. The crowd erupted as the first keys for New Born were played, this was the moment when it was clear why this trio should have headlined Download years ago. With the launch of Drones a week earlier this was the prime time to display their new songs live including The Handler, Dead Inside, and Reapers all of which were received with cheers and jubilation. ‘This is a fuck you to the Leicestershire police who have been spying on you all weekend without your consent’ a usually unchatty Bellamy shouted through the mic during Uprising. The incredible set finished with Knights of Cydonia and the trio thanking everyone for having them. With a set like that it’s not too insane to think that Muse will headline Download again. If you’re into your classic rock then this Sunday might be the best day of your life, if you’ve never really had the appeal of the older scene then it may be a bit dull, however the acts that were on were incredible. 36 Crazyfists kicked off the day in incredible fashion. Their post metal elements bought in a crowd of the younger generation as the older generation stood back and waited for the legends to come on stage. Over on Jake’s stage a small band called Hyena were celebrating being on tour for just over a week with a space at Download. Something that all of them were over the moon about, their blend of metal and punk drew in a good crowd and has definitely set a bar for how far these guys can go. The week before Download two secret bands were announced, one of them being The Darkness playing in the middle in the Maverick tent. Given that back in their hayday they headlined Donnngton this probably wasn’t the best idea. The tent was packed out, the most I’d seen in it over the whole weekend. The floor shook with cheers as they took to the stage. Growing On Me got a huge reaction as the second song they played, however due to the capacity of the crowd I just couldn’t get near. There’s always a silver lining to a negative situation and that silver lining came in the form of Trash Boat. A young (really young) pop punk band who are making waves all over the shop. The lead singer is full of confidence as he jumps into the crowd and demands someone to take the mic off him. ‘I keep thinking I’m going to be sick but I’ve held it back so far’ he jokes to the crowd. This band are on their way up, having recently been signed to Hopeless Records they are ready to take on the world with amazing tracks like Perspective and Boneless.
The next act to grace main stage has been around for a number of years, however this set merely demonstrated why he will be around for many more years to come. The legend that is Billy Idol was at Download festival and he was bringing his all! I’m sure a lot of people just turned up to hear that one song that mammoths all others, Rebel Yell but the performance he put on was so entrancing that even if you didn’t know any other tracks it was a set to remember. The only way I can describe the cheer for Slash would be to compare it to six year olds at a One Direction show. The ex Guns N’ Roses front man came on stage and showed Donington his skills as a guitarist, he wondered around the stage as Miles Kennedy took his position as a brilliant front man. The hits came thick and fast in the forms of Anastasia and You Could Be Mine. Not one to be modest Slash would go offstage and return with a double guitar, the speed of his playing is something to be admired and shows why he’s still a legend in his own right. The set finished with a rendition of Paradise City with Miles Kennedy performing the vocals, his performance left everyone leaving the set saying ‘Axl who?’ ‘This isn’t a sad occasion, this is a celebration of Motley Crue’ lead singer Mick Mars said to a sympathetic audience announcing their departure and with good reason. After over thirty years the glam rockers were calling it a day, not before embarking on one massive world tour and Download was lucky enough to get one of their final UK shows. Just observing these old school rockers was a treat in itself. For the people like me who only knew one Motley Crue song, this still didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the spectacle they put on. In a one hour set they showed the world why they had been so successful and more importantly it was the best way to say goodbye. Girls, Girls, Girls most notably received the best reaction. Fireworks ended their set and then it was just a short while until the legendary Kiss. Following their departure something happened that I’ve never witnessed from a sub headlining band, they came back on for an encore and were greeted by an amazing reception. They decided to play Home Sweet Home and as they played I became emotional that this incredible act were finishing their career. As the final chord was struck fire erupted and fireworks illuminated the sky over the audience. Each band member took their turns to say goodbye and they left. This isn’t the last goodbye for Motley Crue though, having announced a run through the UK before leaving for good. Get your tickets everyone. Headlining the Zippo stage were my favourite band Enter Shikari, they’ve gone from small time shows to main stages at festivals and their albums have only got better with age. It was with great sadness that I would not see their headline set but the opportunity to see Kiss was one that could not be missed. ‘Download! You wanted the best, you got the best!’ a scream from over the mic echoed across the complex, as soon as this dynamic foursome started it was clear this would be a show to remember. Fire engulfed the front of the stage more often than not, lights shone brilliantly on the night sky and of course Gene Simmons and his tongue were a talking point. The set was loaded with dramatics and amazement. Gene Simmons spitting fire, fireworks out of guitars and a montage video of them growing up as a young band which was just amazing. ‘We’ve been coming here since 1981’ Paul Stanley says to an audience where 60% of which weren’t even born back then. He carries on by explaining how much he loves the UK. The whole set you can just tell that they’re having the time of their lives on stage, they’re a band that have fun with what they do. ‘Hey, I wanna come out there, but you gotta invite me, say my name and invite me’ Paul said, hearing eighty thousand people chant one name was one thing, seeing him throw his guitar behind his back and ziplining out to a platform in the middle of the crowd was something else entirely, he reached his spot and played Love Gun. The encore consisted of the classics I Was Made For Lovin’ You and of course Rock and Roll All Night. The show ended with a huge fireworks display that could be seen for miles around, fire erupting at the front of the stage and the ends of guitars. All four members said their pieces and left giving Download a fitting end that was well deserved. Download festival is over for another year, but after another great weekend then I already can’t wait to see what 2016 holds for this iconic event. RO
The events of Arkham City left me broken and disheartened, as a Batman fan I couldn’t believe that his greatest foe was dead. I remember when I completed it and watched as the caped crusader carried the Joker in his arms and placed him on a police car. It was an emotional end to a long feud. So how would Arkham Knight fare in comparison. Sadly it would seem that Arkham City remains the strongest contender in this saga. This review will hold some spoilers for Arkham Knight, please don’t read if you don’t want to know. The story begins with Scarecrow taking over Gotham City and telling Batman he has failed in his efforts. Obviously the Bat isn’t going to stand for this, he gets to work right away to right the wrongs. Instantly I was taken back to Arkham City, the one game where it felt like I was indeed ‘The Batman’. The way he glides across the city and uses his grapple hook to go anywhere and everywhere, this was it, this is what it feels like. Sadly this feeling was quickly stripped away from me as I was forced...yes forced to use the games newest facility the Batmobile. In theory it would have been brilliant to have this, it gives an extra feeling of being the Dark Knight but soon it becomes a case of ‘I can’t do this, better use the Batmobile’ again this is the game that forces you and not just me being lazy. It even becomes impossible to exit it at one point in a frustrating moment. The weapons the Batmobile offer are pretty cool, missile launcher, machine gun, virus to destroy drones and much more but it just becomes tedious using it all the time.
The main story is based around Scarecrow and his fear toxin and helping him is none other than The Arkham Knight, for me as soon as this metal Batman uttered his first sentence it was obvious who it was and the scenes that followed in the main story merely backed up this theory, I won’t give it away but it’s pretty obvious. I felt like I was foolish to believe the Joker was gone forever. Through certain events the clown prince of crime manages to become a hallucination in your head and this is probably the best element of Arkham Knight. He will appear at random moments completely unnecessarily and judge batman, just chat to him and even sing, one of the best moments was him singing ‘Your parents are dead and I’m laughing’. This was an original concept and even though he’s dead, he’s very much alive in Batman’s world. Of course other criminals are along for the ride such as Two Face, Riddler, Man Bat, Hush and Harley Quinn to name but just a few. These are dotted about Gotham and you have to find them, this is how you gain extra abilities and hope to beat the game. The side missions presented are fun, addictive and more importantly they make you want to keep going. Arkham Knight isn’t the best in the series, only for the constant force use of the Batmobile but it is a brilliant way to end the Arkham Saga. The graphics are stunning and the gameplay is amazing. Now I just have to convince myself that I’m not Batman...that will be difficult.
Earth's Tiniest Hero. He doesn't exactly size up to the usual host of blockbuster superhero's, but Marvel have indeed once again created yet another brilliant element to their evergrowing Avengers ensemble. For those who are unfamiliar with the story of Ant-Man, listen in, it's fairly simple. It's 1989, Hank Pym (Michael Douglas The Game, Wonder Boys) is a scientist who has invented the necessary means to control the "space between atoms", or in our terms, the ability to shrink stuff. Guess who wants this revolutionary technology? SHIELD. But Pym isn't selling, due to fears of the suit falling into the wrong hands, he creates his own company and hides the suit from the world. Jump to the present day and Pym's company has not only grown, but has been taken over by his once "loyal" assistant, Darren Cross (Corey Stall - House Of Cards). After years of being kept in the dark over Pym's previous technological advances, Cross is closing in on the final stages of replicating the science behind the once hidden Ant-Man suit. Pym is desperate, not wanting Cross to complete his advances in shrinking technology, and so reaches out to Scott Lang. A Robin Hood-esque cat burglar who once stole from a millionaire, only to return the money to the people who it was once belonged to. Played by the always amusing Paul Rudd (Role Models, Anchorman), Lang teams up with Pym to become the Ant-Man, and to stop Cross. Lang doesn't fit the bill of a superhero as we know it these days. But after doing jail time, struggling for work, losing his once true love and access to his daughter, he's relatable. Not in every aspect but at least enough for viewers to like him, to want him to succeed.
Sarah Finn has once again excelled herself in casting for this movie, and being part of Marvel's team since Phase 1, itâ€™s hardly surprising. Rudd is brilliant as always, and partnered alongside Michael Douglas, the two of them create a father-and-son like synergy that flows well with Edgar Wright's script. Rudd gives the humour, Douglas brings us back to earth, but lightly. Evangeline Lilly (The Hobbit Trilogy) plays as Hope Pym, Hank's daughter. She brings emotion to the table. Having lost her mother at a young age and having not seen much of her father since, she distances herself from him, blaming him for her difficult childhood yet works alongside him all the way, as she too understands the severity of what is at stake. Despite being three completely different personalities, the trio bounce of off each other throughout the movie to create an easy yet engaging story. Corey Stalls portrayal of Darren Cross is spot on. Ruthless yet somewhat misguided, his character is strong, but as with many superhero movies these days he doesn't quite get the screen time to give us a fuller understanding of his alter-ego's motives. Ant-Man is closer to Guardians of the Galaxy than it is to The Avengers. This is a good thing. Both are light-hearted and humorous, but have a deep story that leaves viewers feeling for its characters and wanting more. The Avengers can verge towards dark and serious at times which is perfect for those epic blockbuster moments, but not for an origin story like this one. Ant-Man works well as a standalone movie, as well as tying itself neatly into an ever-expanding Marvel Universe that ceases to amaze. It's relatable, it's full of action, and it's funny. Rudd is just as great as Stan Lee's obligatory cameo's.
BLASTPLAN is a pop punk trio comprising of Byron Wright vocals/guitar. Chris Harding Drums. Jez Evans Bass. With an arena show coming up and playing with Buzzcocks later this year, these lads certainly got a lot to shout about considering they have been together less than a year! The band is fronted by Byron Wright who's on and off stage antics don't leave much to the imagination. To date they have about 40 songs under their belt, with 9 currently released. With an absolute banger of an album soon to be unleashed, you can be sure these guys are one to watch! Although a Pop Punk band, party antics entail the sort of absolute chaos you,d expect on the shoot of a heavy metal p*rno. The bands main ethos is work hard, play harder and smash down any barriers that stand in the way of them getting what they want! They are looking forward to performing at Ilfracombe Punk Festival on the 27th of November! Alongside Buzzcocks, UK SUBS, Anti Nowhere league and more! CONTACT Facebook.com/Blastplan Soundcloud.com/blastplan
Published on Jul 30, 2015
Features interviews from the following: We Came As Romans, Bullet for My Valentine, New Found Glory, Young Guns, Don Broco, Frank Turner...