Ash Dex Carina Lawrence Aymer Nelson Zach Redrup Richard Ounsworth Andy Leddington George Dimmock Sean Reid Kirsty Dex James Price Dominic Meason
I can't believe it; Funeral For A Friend and Maybeshewill have called it a day. Both bands have been a huge influence, and I will not be forgetting the positive influence that they had, and will of course leave on the alternative rock world. So if you can, I strongly recommend you try and catch the bands live for one last celebration at their last announced tour dates.
They've made an incredible impact with their interesting take on progressive rock since their formation, and by doing so they've gained Sloan Carroll Rainwater themselves a loyal fan base who are always excited to see what they will accomplish next, yes I'm talking about Coheed & Cambria who are the main Christian Gracz feature in this issue! They are about to put out their first non-concept Bright Music Photography record 'The Color Before The Sun' and their frontman Claudio is here to DeanXphotography (rock-pix.com) discuss everything you need to know about this brilliant new release.
Creation Press & Ali Horton Marcela Tapia Photography BĂŠnĂŠdicte Duval Allie Martin Photography Collin Mitchell\\PORTLANDAS Jason Atherton BW Bridger AMH Photography Lauren Robey Briann Coe Photography Matt Henry Photography Maria Sawicka Rich Broome Photography
We get up to date with new releases from Mayday Parade, Parkway Drive, Motion City Soundtrack, Skindred, Shinedown, Defeater, Buckcherry, For Today and MANY more! Whilst as usual, getting you prepared for some of the biggest and best tours that will be coming your way shortly! For those heading to the Warped Tour UK edition, then do not miss out on our preview of the event as the Stencil Mag team tell you what acts they think you should see! In our talent features section we catch up with artists Stephanie Hanns & Joe Benitez, composers David Houson & Sascha Dikiciyan and even Robert Emms who tells us what it was like to work alongside Steven Spielberg! Our reviews section features: Bring Me The Horizon, Iron Maiden, Disturbed, The Wonder Years, Frank Turner, Neck Deep, and MANY more! To add to all of that, we have our first '10 year anniversary review' which as the title suggest sees us look back on iconic records from a decade ago...There is a lot to check out, and that's why we give you two months to read it all! So I hope that you'll all enjoy it, and and I'll see you in November for issue 34! I'd just like to add that yes, that is myself and my wife Kirsty Dex in the picture above! We recently got married, and it was the best day of my life! X
Fresh off releasing the very impressive ‘That’s the Spirit’, Bring Me The Horizon have announced more dates to their forthcoming UK tour. October 31 O2 Guildhall, Southampton November 24 Academy, Glasgow 25 Corn Exchange, Edinburgh 26 Dome, Doncaster 27 Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff 28 Alexandra Palace, London (sold out) 29 Academy, Birmingham (matinee show) 29 Academy, Birmingham 30 Academy, Bristol December 1 Hippodrome, Kingston After 15 years Funeral For A Friend are calling it a day and will embark on a final UK tour in April. The tour will see them play their favourite cities twice over two nights and will see them perform ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’ and 'Hours’ in full. April Tues 5th Y Plas, Cardiff Weds 6th Y Plas, Cardiff Fri 8th The Ritz, Manchester Sat 9th The Ritz, Manchester Sun 10th Garage, Glasgow Mon 11th Garage, Glasgow Weds 13th Institute, Birmingham Thurs 14th Institute, Birmingham Fri 15th O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London Sat 16th O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London French hardcore/punk trio Birds In Row have revealed details of their next release. On October 30th they will release a seven-track release called ‘Personal War’ via Deathwish Inc.
Besides the occasional summer festival headline slot, we’ve not seen much action from the Deaf Havana boys in recent months. The Norfolk sextet have spent the majority of 2015 writing the follow up to 2013’s ‘Old Souls’. However in November they will head out on a short run of intimate shows to preview new material. November 19 The Wardrobe, Leeds 20 La Belle Angele, Edinburgh 21 Buskers, Dundee 22 O2 Academy 2, Liverpool 23 Islington Assembly Hall, London Leicester instrumentalists Maybeshewill have announced they will be calling it quits after a final London show in April. The show will take place at Koko in London on Friday April 15th with further tour dates to be announced soon. Fresh from their final tour and having gone on hiatus, Random Hand are preparing to release their final album - ‘Hit Reset’. Set for release on October 2nd through Bomber Music, the album has been funded by PledgeMusic. With a combination of abrasive and suitable melodic elements, South Coast sextet Saint[the]Sinner have revealed they will release a new EP called ‘Masquerades’ on Halloween (October 31st).
Press To Meco have announced they will be releasing their debut album, ‘Good Intent’, on October 16th through Best Before Records. Rising Nuneaton alt rockers Speaking In Shadows will make their return on October 19th with the release of a new EP entitled ‘The Anchor’. Bristol Nu-metal/Post-Hardcore band Beyond Recall have revealed they will be going out on a UK headline tour in November. Kill The Silence and Anchors Lake will be joining them as support. November 04 Boileroom, Guildford 05 Eiger, Leeds 06 Sumo, Leicester 07 The Frog & Fiddle, Cheltenham 08 Exile, Plymouth Brighton trio Tigercub have joined Venn Records. Their debut release for the label will be an EP called ‘Repressed Semantics’. It’s set to be released in late November on vinyl with an exclusive zine. Suffolk singer songwriter Sam Russo has announced his second album, ‘Greyhound Dreams’ will be released on 9th October via Specialist Subject Records and Red Scare Industries. Lancashire metallers Today, They Are Older have revealed they will release a self-titled EP on Friday 27th November. Ever wondered what happened to Chelmsford pop-rockers The Hype Theory? Well they have remerged under a new name - Tigress. The quintet have inked a deal with LAB Records and will release an EP called ‘Human’ on November 13th.
People On Vacation vocalist Ryan Hamilton has announced he will be returning to the UK once again in March 2016. Danny Gruff will be joining his as support. March 3 Sneaky Peteâ€™s, Edinburgh 4 Think Tank, Newcastle 5 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds 6 Sound Control, Manchester 7 Bodega, Nottingham 8 Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham 9 Thekla, Bristol 10 The Cellar, Oxford 11 The Barfly, London As part of their visit to the UK for the Vans Warped Tour UK event in London on Sunday Octobr 18th, Forever Came Calling have announced a run of headline shows alongside Boston Manor. The Kenneths will be opening. October 14 Sound Control, Manchester 15 Think Tank, Newcastle 16 Garage Attic, Glasgow 18 Alexandra Palace, London (Vans Warped Tour UK)* 19 O2 Academy 3, Birmingham 20 Key Club, Leeds *no Boston Manor Twin Atlantic will play a one-off show at The Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on October 24th. The show will be part of Dr. Martensâ€™ Stand For Something Tour. Support comes from Southampton punks Creeper. November 09 Asylum, Birmingham 10 The Globe, Cardiff 11 The Fleece, Bristol 12 Waterfront, Norwich 13 MINE - Leeds University, Leeds 15 King Tuts, Glasgow 16 Academy 2, Newcastle 17 Sound Control, Manchester 18 Rescue Rooms, Nottingham 20 Islington Academy, London French quintet Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! have revealed they will be back in the UK in December for a headline tour. December 2nd Underworld, London 3rd The Temple, Birmingham 4th The Bodega, Nottingham 5th The Key Club, Leeds 6th Think Tank, Newcastle 7th The Cathouse, Glasgow 8th Sound Control, Manchester 9th The Globe, Cardiff
Having previously announced a run of UK shows with Citizen, Virginia Beachâ€™s Turnover have announced a run of headline shows that will take place in mid-January. Support comes from Teen Brains and Claws. January (w/ Teen Brains and Claws) 14 Clwb 14, Cardiff 15The Exchange, Bristol 16 Bodega, Nottingham 17 The Cellar, Birmingham 18 The Owl Sanctuary, Norwich 19 Joiners, Southampton January (w/ Citizen) Thu 28 Brudenell Social Club, Leeds Fri 29 Classic Grand, Glasgow Sat 30 The Dome Tufnell Park, London Connecticut-based band The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die have announced they will be returning to the UK in February for a co-headline tour with mewithoutYou. February Tue 09 Haunt, Brighton Wed 10 Tufnell Park Dome, London Thu 11 Fleece, Bristol Fri 12 Institute Temple, Birmingham Sat 13 Sound Control, Manchester Sun 14 O2 ABC2, Glasgow Following on from the release of their self-titled album this past summer, We Came As Romans have announced they will be returning to the UK in December. Their visit will include two headline shows in Birmingham and Leeds followed by four shows supporting Japanese trio One Ok Rock. December Thurs 3rd Academy 3, Birmingham Fri 4th The Key Club, Leeds Sun 6th Academy, Dublin, IRE* Mon 7th Academy 2, Manchester* Tues 8th Garage, Glasgow* Thur 10th Shepherdâ€™s Bush Empire, London* *supporting One Ok Rock
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 email@example.com
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 done a gang of headlining tours and we did a tour with Calabrese and The Ataris a few months back. New York, Chicago and LA are always insane. We played El Paso and made 7 dollars! I stayed in a motel in San Antonio that was infested with cockroaches and someone had rubbed human feces on the wall. That hotel was $90.00 a night. If I never had to eat at Subway again, I would be happy!
So, how did you end up signing to 'Earache Records', and what have they been like to work with so far? Earache heard us on Spotify. So at least something good came out of a streaming service! Earache stands behind what Biters are doing and I couldn't ask for more than that.
What else can you tell us about the recording process for 'Electric Blood'? It was done with a great friend and mentor of mine named Dan Dixon. He's got a great ear and is an awesome producer that just hasn't become famous yet!
“Right now, BITERS are tearing up venues across the UK to promote their debut album ‘Electric Blood’ which in short, perfectly displays their unique approach to rock ‘n’ roll!”
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Electric Blood'? All the songs are from either experiences I've had, have seen or things I think about. A wide range of topics from spiritual growth, drug addiction, and the bottomless pit of commercialized pop culture will all be found on the record. I refer to the term 'rock n roll' a lot on the record. Rock n roll is more than music to me. It's an institution, a way of life, a way of thinking and complete freedom.
As this is your debut album, then what goals and targets did you set for yourself when heading into the studio? I just did what I always do. Write the type of songs I feel like writing and use whatever type of tools that are available to me to make the best record I can. I try not to worry about what's going on in hipster culture or current trends, I just make the music I want to make.
â€œAll thes day living w
Can you tell us about the narrative behind the track 'Restless Hearts'? Sometimes you have to lay down all the worries, problems and stress that our schizophrenic society creates for us. All these problems created by modern day living are something the human spirit wasn't meant to deal with. Personally I don't think I'm on this planet to work some menial job and not enjoy life. 'Restless Hearts' is about letting go of all those modern day problems, even if it's just for a night. Whether it's just partying or changing your state of mind into a more positive viewpoint. Everyone needs to step back and be grateful for our human experience. It's ok to give a big 'fuck you!' to the man every once in a while .
What bands/artists have influenced you the most since starting 'BITERS' and why? David Bowie, Tom Petty, Phil Lynott, John Lennon and Joe Strummer, because they were all such great song writers.
se problems created by modern g are something the human spirit wasn't meant to deal withâ€?
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? I'm always excited to play the UK and always excited to play shows in general. Fans can expect a lot of sweat. We are a very sweaty live band and I like to mess with the audience real bad.
What else can we expect to see from BITERS in 2015? Touring, touring and more touring!
Interview with Masato
“With their outstanding new album ‘VENA’ being produced by Brandon Paddock (Papa Roach, The Used) as well as their current tour with Bullet For My Valentine, which is seeing them put on an incredible performance across Europe, then what better time to become acquainted with the unstoppable coldrain!”
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 out in Australia at Soudwave festival and joined Papa Roach for their UK tour! Summer was a lot of Japanese outdoor festivals and we just finished a headline show in Tokyo with 3000 of our amazing fans! They've all been amazing but playing with P roach was definitely a dream come true and a highlight so far!
How did you get to the album title 'VENA' and what does it mean to you? When we started writing all we talked about was our roots. What kind of records and songs we loved to listen to when we were growing up. I realized roots and veins are so similar and since veins are what send blood to the heart, then VENA just sounded right.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'VENA'? Every song has its own I guess. VENA and WRONG are about The struggle of expecting so much more of yourself and still feeling weak. Devine is about technology and becoming immortal. Gone is about relationships. Story is about what you have been through and where you stand. That's half of the record with all separate themes. Basically it's about life!
What was the hardest part about putting together 'VENA' for you, and why? When we first started I was not ready lyrically. I had no idea what these songs were going to be about...but all I needed was time and I actually wrote about that struggle of wanting to write but not finding the right words.
How did you end up working with Brandon Paddock, and what was he like to work with? We came across his name on some records we liked and heard he was starting to do his own thing. He is the same age as me and we wanted a producer that had a lot of energy. Brandon was awesome in all sorts of ways and I feel he grew with us throughout this record as well. From start to finish we couldn't have done it without him and hope to see a lot more bands working with him in the future.
What can you tell us about the narrative behind the song 'Gone', and can you tell us a bit about how the video for the track came together? The video shows two people that have obviously gone from happy to miserable. The video was intended to mean that a relationship has two sides to its story, and two memories but one side usually decides the answer if it is working or not. The video shows her disappear but you are left to wonder was it she who left or he. Who decided to end the relationship.
Looking back on 'The Revelation' how happy are you with this record still? I think it put us on the map and we are very proud of what we accomplished on it. Songs like The Revelation and The War Is On will always have a special place in our setlist.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Bullet For My Valentine, and what can attending fans expect? It is awesome to be back with them on the road. The first time had a big impact on our band and I can't wait to show them and their fans how far coldrain has come in this short time. We love them and canâ€™t wait to watch them kill it every night!!
What else can we expect to see from coldrain as we head towards 2016? Supporting these awesome bands is definitely cool but at the same time we would love to do our own headlines too. Hopefully we will get to do that and show our fans what we're all about!
Interview with Mattie
“For Today do not mess around, in the last decade they have put out six studio albums, and two EPs whilst still maintaining an incredible listen for their fans on each release. Their most recent output ‘WAKE’ is darker and more aggressive overall that also sees the band reconnecting with what made them want to start playing heavy music! So what are you waiting for, get involved!” For those who don’t know, how come Samuel Penner parted ways with the band? While a lot of the story is pretty personal, and shouldn’t be shared publically, what it boils down to is: We love Sam, and we could tell that his heart just wasn’t in the band any longer; so we sent him home so he could focus on the things that really mattered to him.
How did Jim Hughes end up joining the band for touring, and what has he been like to work with so far? Jim has been a friend of ours for a long time. He’s actually a really awesome artist and has designed a lot of For Today’s shirts over the years. He’s an awesome guitarist and a great guy, so when we needed a fill-in guitar player, Jim was an easy choice.
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 did a tour with Motionless in White in the Spring, and we’ve been doing festivals all over the USA all summer. I think one of my favorite (or, maybe LEAST favorite moments) from tour this year was, on the Motionless in White tour, one day, I was flying to the show and my flight was delayed. So, I landed at the airport (about 30 minutes from the venue) about 20 minutes before we were supposed to go on stage! I told the cab driver I’d give him $40 extra if he got me there on time, and he drove like a crazy person (he got over 100 miles/hour at one point), and I walked into the building just as our intro music was starting. I made it with about 10 seconds to spare. The rest of the band didn’t think it was funny…
How did you end up signing to Nuclear Blast records, and what have they been like to work with so far? They asked us if we’d like to sign to their label and we said ‘yes.” Haha. Actually, our manager went out to meet with Markus Steiger (the owner of NB), about something totally unrelated to For Today, and, when Markus discovered that he managed us, he began to sing one of our songs in the middle of the office, and said that he is a huge fan of the band. He then heard our new album and made an offer for us to release it through Nuclear Blast, and, of course, we took it! Haha
How did you get to the album title “Wake” and what does it mean to you? To be honest, we love that the word “Wake” can mean several different things. We liked the ambiguity of it, and the fact that different people can interpret it differently. So, while I know what I believe it means, it may be totally different to someone else…
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout ‘Wake’? The album isn’t really a concept album, but one of the themes that I think much of the album speaks to is hurt. We wrote this album for people who are fighting battles in their life; against things like depression, suicide, addiction, abandonment, etc. We wanted to give them songs to express the hurt they’re feeling, in hopes that, realizing that they’re NOT alone in their struggle might give them the strength to keep fighting!
What was the hardest part about putting together ‘Wake’ for you, and why? This was, emotionally, one of the most difficult times in my life. I had to mentally revisit some incredibly hard times in my life - times during which I was fantasizing about suicide, I was struggling with addiction, and hating myself and everyone around me. It was a heavy burden to bear, but I needed to write these songs authentically, because there are many people who need to know they’re not the only ones facing those things. So, really, the entire lyrical process was very heavy and vey difficult.
What was it like to put the video together for ‘Broken Lens’, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? Shooting music videos is always a very tedious process. You listen to the same song 3749074819237 times and rock out every time like it’s the first time you ever heard it. Haha. It’s mind numbing. But, as far as the lyrical narrative is concerned: That song is a commentary on the struggle we face to see the world rightly, if we’re looking through a “broken lens,” or, to say it another way, if our worldview is skewed by some faulty belief or some mental or emotional brokenness. It’s hard to see a beautiful world if you look at it with an ugly heart.
How did the artwork for ‘Wake’ come together, and what does it mean to you? We actually worked with like 3 - 4 different artists on the artwork, and just really didn’t like what anyone was coming up with. In the end, Jim Hughes (the same Jim Hughes who is playing guitar in the band right now) wound up being the guy to put together something we all loved. He’s a genius.
How would you say this album compares overall to what you did on ‘Fight the Silence’? I think it’s better in every way. On Fight the Silence, I think we wrote songs that catered to what people have come to expect from For Today. On ‘Wake’ we very intentionally set ourselves to write outside the box—to ignore what people expect from us, and to write an authentic representation of what’s really inside us, and what we’re really passionate about.
You guys can put out records pretty fast! Why do you think this is, and what is it actually like to put a record together over a shorter time compared to a lot of bands? I think we just have a short attention span. We get bored playing songs after a few months, and just start writing new ones to play. ‘Wake’ isn’t even out yet, and we’re already tired of hearing some of these songs!
floorboards new EP, Hollowhead out now!
Our second EP entitled ''Hollowhead'' was released on 31st July 2015, it features 3 tracks (Mary, Tight Breath, Whiskey) and is available online on bandcamp for paywhat-you-want download (including free) bandcamp url: www.floorboardsmusicuk.bandcamp.com facebook url: www.facebook.com/floorboardsmusic twitter: @floorboardspunx instagram: @floorboardspunx
Interview with Derek
“Defeater are one of the finest concept bands out there. They’ve successfully promoted the narrative of a family based in the post-world war II era, and on their latest release ‘Abandoned’ they continue to show an impressive progression with this interesting idea. We strongly recommend that you pick up their latest release, and head to one of their UK dates when they tour here 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? Defeater has been on the road consistently since March of this year. For our first tour back after my surgery, we went out on a great headlining tour with Counterparts / Better off / Capsize in the U.S. in the spring. We hadn't been on the road in over a year and it felt great to be back out doing what we love. We also got to be a part of Bane's final Australian tour, which was a huge honor all around. Having grown up in New England, we've all been going to their shows since the 90's and almost twenty years on, they are still one of our favorite bands.
So, how did you get to the album title 'Abandoned' and what does it mean to you? The title is pulled directly from the lyrical content of the record and reflects the focus of the story surrounding its protagonist.
Can you tell us about the religious theme that can be found on 'Abandoned'? The stories in my lyrics are fiction, but there are bits of truth throughout. The focus on the priest and his lack of faith on this record is meant to expand the story and show how powerful faith and doubt can be in people's lives.
What's it been like for you after your surgery, in regards to writing, and putting together an album? Has it helped you maybe just have a clear mind overall when putting the lyrics together etc? The surgery has helped my life overall by 100%. Getting back to touring and writing has been very positive for me personally and I am so grateful for everyone that helped get me back on my feet.
What else can you tell us about the recording process for this release? We recorded this record with Jay again, as we have with every album. It helps having an in-house engineer so we can write & revise as much as we need to without the normal confines of a recording budget / schedule.
How did the album artwork for 'Abandoned' come together, and what does it mean to you? As with all the artwork, myself, my wife Alyssa and our photographer Michael Winters assemble and create the artwork based off the characters in the story. My art direction is really brought to life by the talent of Alyssa and Michael, the three of us are a great team and are all really proud of this record's art.
Can you elaborate on how 'Abandoned' links theme wise to 'Letters Home'? There are a few parallels between the two that I will leave for interpretation. The more I explain the story, the more the mystery dissolves. There are links between the two, but I think it is more important for the listener to find them rather than me giving it away.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? As always, I am really excited to play in the UK. I love shows there and have a lot of great friends I have made from touring there over the years.
Can you give us a couple of personal highlights from performing in the UK over the years? We have played so many amazing shows in the UK over the last seven years there are too many to pick from. We did a tour with Dead Swans and More Than Life in 2010 and the UK shows on that were incredible.
Brock Landers, a band from South Jersey had its humble beginnings in the year 2007 when the guitarist Andrew Weber and the drummer Chris Sonich got together to write some songs. While these songs were not Brock songs, the foundation for Brock was laid that day. A couple years later Chris and Andrew would resume playing once again now with Larry Campbell at bass and Andy Kavanagh at vocals and saxophone and anything else he can get his hands on! With practice, practice and more practice Brock Landers first show was on April 5th 2014 and the debut album "Introducing Brock Landers" released a couple months later on September 3rd, 2014. The band continues to drive to make music that is different and energizing and is always looking forward to bringing the Brock near you! CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Interview with Kevin
“When we first heard Knuckle Puck we knew that great times would lie ahea awesome take on the pop punk genre. To be big headed, we weren’t wrong, a the band have toured constantly with acts such as Neck Deep, Transit, and as they’ve even just put out their debut album ‘Copacetic’, which is an absolute m How did The Warped Tour go, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Warped went phenomenally. Just learning how to tour in that environment everyday was a personal highlight, mainly because I grew up attending the festival every summer, so it was really cool to see how it operated on a daily basis.
How did you get to the album title 'Copacetic', and what does it mean to you? Nick was actually the one who came up with it, and that term just generally describes how we've all been feeling about life lately, especially when we were going into the studio to record. We still have our own gripes and minimal complaints about life, but in the grand scheme of things, we're all very happy with our lives right now.
What made you want to release 'Disdain' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? We all felt like Disdain was one of the songs off the album that packed the most punch, but still maintained some uniqueness to it. The song is about the disdain one can feel about the distance between two people, but those negative connotations aren't meant for the person that is far away.
What was the video for ‘True Contrite’ like to film, and can you also tell us about the narrative behind this track? That was a very fun, but exhausting video to do. We basically had to do almost two separate music videos, so it took twice as long, but the end result was very cool. This song is basically about a relationship between two people that sours over time and the recognition of contrite that is necessary.
Can you elaborate on the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Copacetic'? An important theme was that we did not want to give off the impression that we are all still in some dark place lyrically speaking. The album still tackles some negative emotions and obstacles, but something we tried to convey was that life has been pretty okay for all of us lately and we're just overly satisfied with watching our dreams come true right in front of us.
ad with their as since then s well as this must listen!â€? How did you end up working with Seth Henderson, and what was he like to work with? We've been recording with Seth since our first EP, so we've known him for a while. Over the years, he's just become a very good friend of ours and we've become very comfortable with him. Recording with him is very relaxed for us, since he's such a good friend of ours. It's been really cool to see him perfect his craft even more over the years and to experience that first-hand as well.
As this way your debut album, then what goals/targets did you set out for yourselves whilst putting together this release? We did not want to be held back by any genre expectations or restrictions or anything like that. We basically wanted to feel as free as possible when writing and recording "Copacetic". This freedom became very important to us because we looked at a debut full-length as a definitive statement for our band.
How would you say the sound of Knuckle Puck has progressed/changed since you first started out? Our music was much more straightforward when we first started as a band. I like to think that we are currently a better representation of the band we've always been, while still still trying to explore sonically as much as we can.
Can you tell us how the front cover for 'Copacetic' by Ben Sears came together, as well as what it means to you? We had the idea of all of us individually picking one item that has some type of sentimental value to us and placing those items on the cover. I can't speak for everyone else's items, but I picked the reading glasses because they always remind me of my parents. My dad taught me how to play guitar and my mom's always supported my endeavors in life, so that is why I picked the glasses.
What else can we expect to see from Knuckle Puck in 2015? We're touring the UK and some of Europe in October with State Champs and Roam and then we come home and almost immediately start our first headline tour ever with Seaway, Sorority Noise and Head North.
Interview with Amos
“At the forefront of progressive metal you can always count on TesseracT to put out a release that will blow your mind from the moment you hit play, and they’ve accomplished this craft once more with their latest output ‘Polaris’! Also, please don’t miss out as the band will be starting 2016 with one of their biggest UK headline tours to date, to display their hard hitting live performance to fans across the country!” For those that don't know, how come TesseracT parted ways with Ashe O'Hara? Sadly, we came to a point of no return with Ashe towards the end of one of the Altered State tours. It’s OK. There really is no way of knowing how the future will pan out, and we are very happy with the tours we performed with Ashe, and the music we created together. But, Ashe needed to go somewhere else with his music, and be a different type of performer to the one that we needed in TesseracT. So, rather than let things fester, and a situation arise where the band splits, we decided to go our separate ways.
How did Daniel Tompkins end up re-joining the band, and what's it been like to work with him once more? Because we had toured so much together before Dan left in 2011, and had spent a few years creating One, we developed a family like bond that has always and will always be there. I hope we have done the same with Abi, Ashe, and Elliot, too. So, we were always keeping in touch with Dan, just as friends. As it became apparent that things had run their course with Ashe, we entertained the idea of working with Dan again. I mean there are no fixed rules in this game, are there? And as Dan had spent the interceding three years working hard on developing his voice and career to such that he could commit full time to TesseracT, everyone involved felt it was worth trying again. So, we had about one or two rehearsals and played our first gig together again…Main stage Sonisphere festival opening for Iron Maiden! No pressure, haha! But, it was honestly like nothing had changed. I’m sure it helped that we played material from our first album, but everyone felt really relaxed about what should have been a mental day.
How did you get to the album title 'Polaris' and what does it mean to you? Polaris, is a simple analogy for the transient nature of truth. To elaborate, there is no such thing as a universal human truth. The ideas we held at the very foundation of understanding of our reality yesterday, have mostly in fact been proven to be wrong today. And as our understanding deepens, the knowledge we rest upon today, will tomorrow be proven to be wrong. Why Polaris? Well, polaris is the name of the ‘North Star’; a reference point used by western civilisation for centuries. A fixed point in a never changing sky. But, the truth is that every point of light we see in the nights sky is moving, as are we, and at a tremendous, almost incomprehensible pace. Just as our ancestors looked up and saw a different star in place of polaris, our descendants will do the same come a few thousand years’ time.
Can you tell us about the themes and influences that run throughout 'Polaris'? I feel this album is a reflection of the bands psyche. We have grown up through the period of ignorance towards the life we have chosen, and are now understanding the true cost of being a musician upon our own lives, and that of our family and close friends. It is in short, a beautiful, and yet equally terrible rollercoaster of a ride for all involved. A lot of themes are about isolation and separation. As with the album title, some of the themes are clearly about questioning the truth we are fed. Not in a paranoid, X-Files way, but simply in a smart and collected manner. Almost applying a scientific method to being. Musically, I think you can hear a clear influence from the musicans we have toured with over the last few years. The melodic awesomeness of Devin Townsend is there, the rhythmic insanity of Animals As Leaders is there (though, I must admit, we fall way short of their ability!).
Can you tell us about the recording process for this record? As with all TesseracT records to date, the bulk of the recording and production was done at Acle’s studio in Brighton, 4D Sounds. This affords us time. We’re pretty slow. If I’m honest, I would have liked another six weeks or so on the development of this album, but deadlines are what they are. Anyway, Acle is fantastic at spending hours and hours tweaking, I however ‘zero’ a mix if it’s not sounding great within twenty minutes. Both approaches work for different things. So, between Acle and myself we create that TesseracT sound. As I have recently moved to Asia, Polaris was mostly Acle, and I only took up the reigns on vocal post-production. We do have the dream to lock ourselves away in a studio on a beach somewhere wild for six months and produce the ultimate introspective, and soul searching album we can. But, I think we will need to sell quite a few more records before we can do that. Until then, we do the best we can!
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Polaris' and why? I think this album felt like a blank canvass. An odd thing for a band on their third album to say, maybe? But, we felt quite free to explore new boundaries with this album. I am now already thinking about album four, however…that may be hard. The response to Polaris has been quite tremendous. I’m feeling the pressure of anticipation already, haha. It’s like we should probably fuck the next album up, just so we can reach the public perspective of the last three albums again.
â€œThis album is a reflection of the bands p
How did the artwork for 'Polaris' come together, and what does it mean to you? I decided after signing off the artwork for Altered State that I wanted to really go for something unique, iconic, and vibrant with the next album. I came across the wonderful work of Simon Page and his tessellations and mind bending yet simple Cubis work. It just felt right. Surreptitious if you would. I spoke with him, and it turned out he was very flexible and open to altering some of his existing work to fit the TesseracT style a little, and we quickly came up with the cover for this album. You know at first, it left me a little cold. But, it has grown and grown on me, just like the previous artwork. So much so that I cannot imagine any other artwork fitting so succinctly. Personally, it represents a blooming of sorts. A little like when you are a child, your memories of early childhood are in black and white. This album represents an expanding sphere of understanding for the band as we spread throughout the possibilities of our music.
Looking back on 'Altered State' how happy are you with this album still, and what do you think it has done overall for TesseracT? Altered State is to me, a fantastic album. It was a risk to deviate from the supposed djent style, but one that was more comfortable to us in TesseracT than continuing down the path bands like Messhugah and Textures had laid before the tech metal scene. As with our work with Elliot Coleman, we discovered that we really got a lot of satisfaction from dynamics, and melody. I think if we survive another ten years, we will look back at Altered State as the turning point in our career, when we started being honest with our music.
How would you say the sound of TesseracT has grown/changed since you first started out? We are 5 very different people. When we started out we were trying to fit into the mould of contemporary tech metal, or djent. But these differing influences and strength of unity have enabled us to just experiment and explore all aspects of music. Hell, I reckon we could comfortably release an album that featured Meshuggah laden grooves, and pop drenched MJ style choruses. Maybe we have already? That’s the key. The TesseracT motto: “Fuck it; Do it!”
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour in February, and what can attending fans expect? There are some awesome venues on the UK tour. Ones that we were not too long ago supporting other bands in. So, it’s really exciting for us to not only be returning to these venues, but to be headlining these venues. It really helps you justify your choices to yourself when times are hard. You can look forward to these plans and it helps you keep perspective.
What else can we expect to see from TesseracT as we head towards 2016? We are already planning what we can do with album four. And how we can develop what we have on Polaris for other mediums. We’ve had serious meetings about films, concert movies, acoustic tours, once in a life time events. Graphic novels. All manner of crazy shit. Our management are starting to hate us, haha. The TesseracT hub is so much more than just music, it’s a wonderful, creative place. One that is often bat shit crazy with its ideas. But what is life for if not to try new things.
Interview with Josh
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout your selftitled album? I think in many ways this is the most positive BSF record yet. Instead of reactionary we are being proactive. Instead of against we are being pro - make the change you wish to see. This record represents renewal on many different levels for the band.
What made you want to release ‘Cutting Room Floor’ first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? Speaking frankly I think this is one of our best songs ever. It made a lot of sense to release it first as it is melodic yet a bit aggro. The theme deals with a close family member who is constantly struggling with destructive behavior and how difficult it is for the others in their life.
Can you tell us about the original formation of 'End Hits Records' as well as what it's like to put your own material out through your own record label? End Hits came about simply due to our desire to control all aspects of our band. We grew up in the North East of America and of course we are hugely influenced by the DC scene, musically and culturally. So when we were discussing putting out new music we felt it was time to put out our music. It is an incredible amount of work but very much worth it. You should see my office - strewn with record business detritus. My wife asks “Are you still working at the the record company business?” She also works very hard at End Hits.
Also, what's it like to self-produce your own music, and how has that process been whilst putting together your latest self-titled album? We have self produced since Misery so it really is all we know now. Honestly our mixer Lou Giordano brings a lot to the overall sound.
“After firmly establishing that they are BACK from their hiatus in full force with the successful release of ‘While a Nation Sleeps...’ BoySetsFire continue to do what they do best by giving us another epic dose of post-hardcore with their new self-titled album!” How would you say this album compares overall to what you did on 'While a Nation Sleeps...'? I would say it shows a different side of us. Albums are snap shots of people; they are not documentaries. One record doesn’t tell the entire story. That being said; to me it sounds a bit more mature. It is the 'white' sister record to the very dark and brooding 'while a nation sleeps'
This is your second album since you came back from your break, so looking back on the last couple of years, then what has it been like to create music and tour the world as BoySetsFire once more, and can you give us a couple of moments that have really stood out to you guys in this time? Family First - our first festival that we put on in Cologne recently with some help (Hi Oise!). It was really the crowning moment of Boysetsfire. Another moment would be to successfully release WANS - hey anyone can reunite but not many do more records. Or good ones anyway.
How excited are you for your upcoming European tour, and what can attending fans expect? So excited! Blood, sweat, tears and some laughter.
What else can we expect to see from BoySetsFire in 2015? Hopefully more shows, more records (I would love to do acoustic versions of our albums).
Interview with Brian
“The Black Dahlia Murder are one of the most popular melodic death metal bands in the world, they have gained chart topping entries by constantly putting out records that always push the boundaries of what they can attain in refreshing ways! So take a read, as the band get us updated with their astounding new output ‘Abysmal’!” Before beginning the recording process, how does this band go about writing a record? For us it kind of starts with the music, myself or the other guitar player, Ryan Knight, will just start jamming on a riff and seeing where it takes you, what's the natural progression or what seems a good place to go from the starting point. After a couple of movements and thinking about it in the full spectrum we ask, “how does this all go together in a cohesive manner?”. We start there, building the music then give it to Trevor and he writes lyrics to it, the stories and what not, then Max and Alan will jam on their takes of the stuff we wrote. That's pretty much how it happens for The Black Dahlia Murder.
Do things ever change once you enter the studio and begin recording songs? Every once in a while, we'll get to that point where we're in the studio hashing out a part and it's been done a certain way in demoing and the transcript that we've written down for everything, but when it comes to it when you're all together kind of working on the part, sometimes different stuff will just happen. Someone will have an idea and everyone will be like “yeah, that's the thing to do” and that's what you'll end up doing for a transition and more development of a part.
Being a guitarist as well as a vocalist do you tend to concentrate on completing one part before beginning on the other? As far as my vocals, usually in the recording part of it, I don't really do too much stuff, I do my back-ups in a live situation. Sometimes Trevor will be like, “hey, I've got a part for you, come over here” and I'll be like “oh sweet!”.
Mark Lewis who has worked with some of the extreme metal heavyweights again produced the record, what does he bring to the project? Mark mixed it and Ryan Williams did a bunch of the engineering and tracking of the stuff. We've worked with Mark before and it's always been a good experience, he's done the guitar lead production with Ryan for the past couple of albums and on the last album Ryan and Jason Suecof co-mixed. This time we thought it would be cool to see what Marks take on the music that we bring him is and have him mix it himself. Last time, he was co-mixing with Jason so for whatever reason, we decided to have him take the helm and see what he was going to do with it.
The title 'Vlad, Son of the Dragon' conjures up great visions, what is the story behind the song? It's about the actual, historical figure of Dracula, from what I understand and it was fun to do. Trevor would call me up after we send him music and he'll be like â€œhey I've got this subject for this songâ€? and when he said 'Vlad, Son of the Dragon' we got excited.
The artwork has that classic old style of metal cover, what is it depicting and who created it? It was Trevor's idea and he went to Daemor, who I believe is Russian and he makes awesome, just awesome, horrific imagery and this is hell! This is the abysmal hell man, I can imagine the supreme evil one, eating those souls and he did a kick ass job of it. We always thought that horror and metal walk hand in hand, it's always been really important to us to have imagery on our covers and artwork that really pulls you in.
Chart positions aren't the be all and end all especially for a metal band but it must have been satisfying seeing the last few albums break the top 200 and Everblack hitting 38? I think it is more of a statement about metal fans, they actually buy things and put value on these packages and artists look to put together. I think it's something really special and it's great to be part of it.
You head out on tour soon which pretty much takes you to the end of the year, how do you prepare for heading for such a solid batch of dates personally and as a band? Personally, I almost kind of ignore it, I'll go to the rehearsals that we'll have for a couple of days before we head out when the guys who don't live in Michigan come into town and we hash everything out for a couple of days. I'll pack but I'll kind of ignore it until the morning, I'll probably slam a bit of vodka before I head out to the airport or to the van.
What is a typical day on tour for the band? A typical day for the band is, you'll wake up probably around 08:30 to be in the vehicle to start moving and then everyone goes back to sleep, except for who ever is driving! That's mostly what happens until about noon then people wake up and are hungry, stop and hit up some establishment for food that is absolutely horrible for you but it's convenient. We'll get to a place between two and four and it's time to unload the trailer to get set up then an hour or two waiting around for the sound-check and then waiting for your set. Do the set, sweat a bunch, then get everything packed up and gathered together to move on to the next day.
Going in to next year, what are your plans for heading over to Europe and other places? That's exactly it, we've got our eye on the European continent for early 2016. We're just trying to get all the plans together and everything screwed away and we hope to announce everything very soon.
"Feast for Crows is a London based 3 piece which bases itself on an intense blend of melodic and frenzied riffage centered on groove and the genius of Metalcore. Started in December 2014 when the previous band Hollow Bastion had members leave, the two guitarists and drummer Lewis, Chay and Joe picked up the pieces and began brewing ideas writing their new single Eclipse on the first day back in the reins.
Recording the song and completing their energetic set they began their passion of playing live, playing such venues as Fiddlers Elbow in Camden and the Luna Lounge enjoying the energy and thrill of playing live. With the ball rolling they began work on their EP which has recently been completed at the top quality Soundlab Studios, perfecting their blend of heavy riffs and also more subtle sympathetic qualities they hope for a great reception on the release day of 3rd October."
Interview with Beau
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 just got done doing two and a half months on the road with the Vans Warped Tour. It was absolute madness. Every show was incredible. My highlight was being able to stage dive at the last show as we're not allowed to do so. But it was the last one and I couldn't go a whole tour without stage diving.
How did you get to the album title 'To Those Left Behind' and what does it mean to you? We went through a rigorous process of trying to find a title that suited our album. TTLB describes all the themes of the record perfectly.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'To Those Left Behind'? We wanted to tell a story from the perspective of a ghost trying to reconnect with its loved ones and trying to seek revenge on those that did them wrong. So it's a tale of love, loss, revenge and closure.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'To Those Left Behind' and why? Just trying to make the stories all cohesive. Also keeping some personal non-fiction in there so that the listeners can connect.
“Fresh from the mighty Warped Tour the guys in Blessthefall are here to discuss their intriguing new output ‘To Those Left Behind’! To give you a taste, it tells the story of a ghost who is trying to reconnect with its loved ones, whilst also seeking revenge on those that did them wrong!”
How did you end up working with Joey Sturgis, and what was he like to work with? We did our last album, Hollow Bodies with him and he is an amazing producer and mixer so it was obvious we would have to go back.
How did the artwork for 'To Those Left Behind' come together, and what does it mean to you? That was also a huge process. We take every thing we do very seriously and we want it to be perfect. The ghostly apparition in the background along with the mist and dense forest were a perfect combination and vibe that went along with our music.
How would you say this album compares overall to what you did on 'Hollow Bodies'? It's definitely a huge leap forward. We experimented a bit more on this record and you can really hear our influences.
Also, looking back on 'Hollow Bodies', how happy are you with this album still, and what do you think it has done for the status and representation of Blessthefall? We love Hollow Bodies. I think it put us back on the map and showed that we are still one of the top bands in our genre.
What else can we expect to see from Blessthefall as we head towards 2016? Lots and lots of touring. We hope we can make our way around the world yet again!
Interview with Matty
“These guys have spent the time since the release of ‘Unconditional’ touring like crazy to make sure as many people as possible know all about it. With the exceptional response and rise in their already dedicated fan base it’s safe to say that they achieved what they set out to do! So to celebrate this life altering release the band have unleashed the deluxe edition of ‘Unconditional’ which even displays what we can expect to see next from Memphis May Fire!” So how was Warped Tour, and can you give us a couple of personal highlights from your time on the road? Warped Tour was so good (our favorite summer yet!) The highlight is the abundance of fascinating people we have the pleasure of meeting & learning from.
What can you tell us about the narrative behind your latest music video (taken from the Deluxe Edition of Unconditional) 'Stay The Course', and also, what was it like to work with Caleb Mallery? 'Stay The Course' is about staying rooted in my faith when the world pulls me in every other direction. Staying true to what I believe in and doing my best to live it out on a daily basis. Caleb Mallery is an amazing director and truly cared about the video portraying the song correctly. He rules.
Also, what can you tell us about the track 'My Generation', and is the new material any indication as to where Memphis May Fire may decide to go next musically? 'My Generation' is meant to be somewhat of an anthem for the youth that feels unseen and unheard. As people we are always growing, learning, and maturing but every stage of life is important and I believe our growth is much healthier when emotions are acknowledged and not pushed aside or ignored. I believe the young adults in the scene just need someone to listen... The two new songs on the Unconditional Deluxe Edition are definitely a step in the direction of our next record.
How did these two new songs end up on the Deluxe Edition of Unconditional then? Were they created recently, or were they songs that didn't make it onto 'Unconditional' originally? They were actually songs that we had written to be on the next record. It was tough giving them up for the Deluxe Edition but we knew they would make it that much more special and we really wanted it to be an above average re-release.
You decided to do acoustic versions of Beneath the Skin & Need To Be, so what made you pick those two tracks, and what was it like re-create these songs in a different way? Most of our music doesn't translate well to acoustic so we had to pick songs that made sense to reimagine. Honestly that was some of the most fun I've ever had in the studio. I really enjoy exploring new avenues of what MMF is capable of.
What songs have you really been enjoying performing live from 'Unconditional' at the moment, and why? So much of what makes a song fun to perform live is how the crowd reacts. 'No Ordinary Love' and 'Beneath The Skin' are both received really well live. We also incorporated a little bit of 'Speechless' into our last American headliner set and it was a blast to play live.
Looking back on 'Unconditional', how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for your band overall? 'Unconditional' represents so many things for our band. My spiritual growth and decision to be more outwardly bold in my faith, as well as the maturity in our musicianship. It wasn't an easy record to write but I believe it came together exactly how it was supposed to and positively affected a lot of our listeners.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? We are SO excited for this run! It's been too long since we've been back and our fans over there deserve to see an updated set. This will be my favorite set list that we've played over there and hopefully theirs as well.
Can you give us a couple of personal highlights from performing in the UK over the years? Our last headline tour in the UK sold out and we all got plaques for it. What an amazing feeling to have so many successful shows in a foreign territory! Also, Underworld will always hold a special place in my heart because we played there the first time we came over and it was a sweaty, messy ton of fun.
What else can we expect to see from Memphis May Fire in 2015? The rest of 2015 is filled with overseas touring and the beginning stages of making a new record. Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with the progress!
Interview with Eric
“With over six million records sold, and arena tours now accomplished, it’s clear to see that Shinedown are a hard rock unit that can achieve whatever they wish. They push themselves with every release on both touring & writing/recording to make sure that their fans are always satisfied, and their latest release ‘Threat To Survival’ shows this incredible work ethic whilst promising a great future for this superb act!”
How did you get to the album title 'Threat To Survival' and what does it mean to you? That title ‘Threat To Survival’ came from Brent Smith, this whole record is probably the most thematic record we've done. I won't say it's a concept record, but it's probably the most tied together record we've ever done as far as having a theme that runs through it. The name 'Threat To Survival' sums it up pretty well, there are songs about life & death, there are songs about being young & old. It's a really good snapshot of where we are right now in our lives and in our careers, and a lot of the battles that we have fought in the time between the end of touring ‘Amaryllis’ and the beginning of working on 'Threat To Survival'. It wasn't a song track, there was a lot of thought that went into it, as far as what encapsulates this entire piece of work that we've put together, so yeah 'Threat To Survival' is definitely the right title for this record.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Threat To Survival'? If we had to put it into one explanation, it's a record about life and death, it's extremely autobiographical. What I love about Shinedown, whether it’s Brent writing on his own, or it's us writing together, everything comes from real experiences, there aren't any made up stories, and everything is something that we know, that we've lived, or that Brent knows and he has lived, so therefore I feel there's a lot of honesty that runs through our music. There's a song called ‘How Did You Love?’ on the record, it's basically about what you leave when you're gone, a lot of people go through life and they try to acquire as many 'things' as they can, as much material things as they can, and I don't think they think about their legacy too much. ‘How Did You Love?’ is basically saying, you can go through life and do all of these great things, and acquire all this stuff, but when you're gone this stuff doesn't matter, it's how did you love, that's what people will remember about you, did you leave something great in this world when you were gone, did you leave something lasting, I know that's a little deep, but that's just one idea for a track on the record. ‘Cut the Cord’ is about cutting anything that makes you weak, whether it's an addiction, or a fear, it's about cutting those things out of your life and making way for the great things you can do without those weights hanging on you. There's just that constant life and death theme throughout the record.
How did you end up producing on ‘Threat To Survival’ and what was this like for you? I didn't produce the whole record, I produced the whole of ‘Cut the Cord’ though, then I have co-producer and additional credits on around seven of the other tracks. I've been a producer/engineer for many years (selftaught), I didn't grow up learning in a commercial studio that way, I sort of picked it up myself, and taught myself how to do it. That's actually how I got the gig in Shinedown, almost 8-9 years ago I was producing/writing/engineering and Steve Robertson (Shinedown’s A&R) I knew him previously, and he'd always been a huge supporter of my producing career, he saw me at a BMI showcase in Atlanta, and asked me if I'd be interested in auditioning to play bass for Shinedown. I've always been a producer, it's always something I come back to so when I'm at home I'm always producing a band, or just working in the studio on something. Producing is natural for me, it's often weird to produce your own band as you're missing an outside opinion. I think, going back to ‘Cut the Cord’ it was probably the hardest thing I've ever produced in my life, as I was there for the inception of the song, produced the demo, mixed the demo (which sounded really good!), so to then go in and be objective on something this close to you, it was very trying at times. When I sent in the final version to everyone, I got this weird reaction of it's either the worst thing ever, or genius and badass because everyone was so used to hearing the stripped down demo version. I enjoy producing for the band, I've produced ‘Diamond Eyes’, I produced the song we had on the Avengers Soundtrack 'I'm Alive' I produced the song we had on the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack which is called ‘Her name is Alice’. I've done a lot of producing for Shinedown, but I much prefer to have an outside producer, at least working with us, Dave Bassett is sort of the fifth beatle to shinedown, he produced a lot of the tracks on the record, and it's really nice to have someone you can trust to reign you in, because as an artist you want to keep going, and going, and maybe you end up spending too much time on it. While I enjoy it, I don't know if I'd want to do a whole Shinedown record by myself!
How would you say 'Threat To Survival' compares to anything you've done before? Threat to Survival is totally different to anything we've ever done before, we had four different producers myself included. We would be in one studio working on guitar tracks for a song like 'Outcast' then that same day Barry would be in another studio tracking drums for the same track, so it was this constantly revolving door of creativity, which is fantastic. I think it's the most representative record of our band that we've ever done, because our band is influenced by a lot of different things. We don't just listen to rock music, we listen to R&B we listen to Hip Hop, a lot of metal, and I listen to a lot of alternative music. While it's a very cohesive record, there are elements of what we love throughout. Like I said subject matter wise, it's the most autobiographical record we'eve done, not that anything we've ever done before hasn't been the true Shinedown, this is definately more us probably, than anything we've ever done.
What was the hardest part about putting together this record for you guys, and why? The emotional side of putting this record together, since this record has been done, I think Brent has only listened to it once all the way through. He has a very emotional time listening to it. It's kind of a devastating record for him in a lot of ways, it's been a very interesting couple of years between the end of ‘Amaryllis’ and ‘Threat To Survival’. Being in Shinedown, I have a couple of analogies about it, we are these perfect robots when we are on tour, we are this well oiled machine, and we actually love each other very much, we still ride the same bus and we still have a great relationship, and that's how we can stay together, and tour as much as we do. However, when we go home, especially at the end of a record cycle, there's nothing on the other side, and you're supposed to just be resting. When we get home, we all have the tendancy to fall apart, as we don't know what to do with the time, we don't know what to do with stopping. You go from a different city and face every day, to completely stopped, it will really screw you up. This whole record is kind of about that stop, and what happens when you wake up and think, what am I supposed to do now. We are all very emotional creatures, and we all have our demons which tend to come out when we're not busy. It's the devil’s playground, I guess you could say. So yeah the hardest thing about this record was more the life process between this record and the last.
Looking back on 'Amaryllis' how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for Shinedown overall? I'm extremely happy with ‘Amaryllis’, I think with us the timing was bad on that record, the climate for music, especially in the states was very odd. Here we are putting out a song like ‘I'll Follow You’, we'll have one set of people telling us piano ballads are dead, or others saying we have too much guitar in it at the same time....then these are the same people that love piano ballads and a lot of guitar music now, so yeah the taste makers in music are very fickle. All we can do is be honest, and put out the music that we love, and just do what we do. People can smell bullshit a mile away, if you're not honest, then the fans can sense that. So yeah, ‘Amaryllis’ was a very honest record, and it's exactly where we were at the time, just like ‘Threat To Survival’ is now. We're never going to put out a record that we are not proud of. We put out music to help people, and give them an outlet, music is a sanctuary for people. We also put records out so we can take over the world, so yeah there's a little bit of selflessness there too! I think it's some of the coolest music we've ever done, it charted well, and we're just extremely happy with that record.
What was the 'Anything & Everything' tour like for you guys (an acoustic tour!)? Anything and Everything was really great, the end of a tour everybody is falling apart a little bit, you're coming to the end of a long journey. ‘The Sound of Madness’ tour was extremely long. Everybodies demons were out in full force, we were all drinking a lot, but as far as doing the tour, it was fantastic, it was fun to put together these alternative versions of the songs. Shinedown is of course a very musical band, and I think sometimes that gets lost with the spectacle of an arena show, with pyro etc it all gets buried. When you do an acoustic tour like that, you can shine more as a musician, it's more intimate and you can hear all of the harmonies that we are singing together, you can hear all of the bass runs, you can hear all of the piano notes, you can hear all of the notes Zach is playing on the guitar. It was a lot of fun. The intention was at the end of ‘Amaryllis’ to do the same tour, but we went out and did the Alter Bridge tour in the UK, and our bodies were just shutting down as it was the end of tour, Brents voice was just going away, it was a struggle every night, and we were all just hanging on by a thread. The intention was when we got home we were all going to go out and do this acoustic tour, and it just never happened. Is it something we'll do again in the future? Absolutely.
“There's a lot of honesty tha
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 did a 27 date theatre run in the states, we got to go back out and learn how to play live together as a band. It was very strange, getting on stage together as a band, the time we took between ‘Amaryllis’ and ‘Threat To Survival’ is the longest we've ever had off tour, so it felt very odd to get back out on stage. All of that being said, after the first couple of shows we came off stage, and looked at each other and it was like ‘man it feels like we never left’. Which was a great feeling because we knew we still had it, we are two or three years older, so you do wonder if you can still do this thing. We went home for a quick break, and recently we just got back from Japan. Going to the other side of the world, and hearing people sing your songs, you realise the reach that not just your music, but the reach that music has. Like I said earlier in the interview, what a safe place, and sanctuary music is for people, and to see these faces that I've never seen before, every single person knows something about our band, they're singing lyrics that we've written, they're banging their heads to music that we've written, it's just really, really special. So I’d have to say that first show in Tokyo was really special for me. We are so excited about getting back to Europe and playing there as well. Obviously we really love the US and when we played a show in Atlanta, the energy of the crowd that day, I felt like I'm back, I knew the band was back, but for me personally, that was the show that really jumped out to me. It really had the feeling that we had grabbed the ball by the horns again, and we're sort of becoming that machine that we'll inevitably become when we tour for a long time!
What else can we expect to see from Shinedown as we head towards 2016? Let's see, UK and Europe run January, February March, possibly Canada! Lots of touring as always, festivals! We'll probably do some big tours in the summertime. It's just going to be constant touring. We are going to get behind ‘Threat To Survival’ and tour excessively, and fall apart when we get done!
at runs through our music”
Interview with Keith
“If you don’t know who Buckcherry are, then you’ve probably been living in a cave! Since their formation they have spent their career sharing their infectious style of rock ‘n’ roll to the masses! Right now, they are promoting their suitably titled new album... ‘Rock N Roll’ which in short, captures that iconic feel, whilst leaving you wanting more when you reach the end of the record!” The new album is out now, what can you tell us about Rock n Roll? It's a rock ‘n’ roll record by a rock ‘n’ roll band! We made a couple of different kinds of records lately, we did an E.P that had a little bit of a theme to it, Confessions was a bit more of a story and we just wanted to make a rock ‘n’ roll record. It really is that simple, there's no pre-conceived notion. We didn't really have an idea going into the studio, so we decided to call it Rock ‘n’ Roll after the fact.
The album has been titled Rock ‘n’ Roll, it is a title that feels like you are making a statement as much as just being a title? Well this band has been around for 20 years, we've seen a lot of trends come and go and one thing that has been consistent is that we've always been a rock ‘n’ roll band. I guess it's a little bit of a statement but I think the music speaks for itself.
Buckcherry, as you say, have been around a long time now, has the way you go about making an album changed? We're still going for the best songs and the best performances, nothing really changes in that area. We work out our tunes before going in, wanting to capture something specific but at the end of the day, you've got to write great songs and get good performances. Thankfully the band is really hitting on all cylinders so we set up live and bang them out. It's a really good time.
'The Madness' and 'Bring it Back' are two songs with very different vibes, is this something that will be indicative of the album? I think when we set up to make a record, we don't want to make 10, 11, 12 of the same songs and there is a lot of influence going on with us but they all fall in the description/category of rock ‘n’ roll so you get some faster numbers, heavier, slow and more laid back stuff. I think it's a good mix of songs, it's not all the same song. Between 'The Madness' and 'Bring it Back' yeah, I still think it sounds like this band though.
The video for ‘The Madness’ was mostly live studio but featured the protest inter-cuts, what is the story behind the song and video? I don't think there's as much of a protest scene going on behind the madness as much as it's... I've heard Josh say on numerous occasions that the song is about the battle inside someones head between the good side and the bad, doing the right thing and the wrong thing, just that internal battle.
Do you tend to stick to the same guitars in the studio that you would on tour? I always have my favourites, I have the ones that have stood the test of time but I'm always looking to push it and experiment in the studio. On this record you can hear some B Bender Telecaster that we've never had before, different kinds of effects and stuff but at the end of the day it all comes back to a Les Paul or a Telecaster, a Marshall amplifier. It's simple and really just the best way to go.
As a guitarist, do you have any pre-production routine before recording? Well Stevie and I work together very closely from the start of the song, Josh and I will knock ideas back and forth once we have a skeleton framework for a song. We'll take it to the whole band, we'll start playing it and then it really takes on a life of its own so we're playing the song live and Stevie and I will be working stuff out or not working stuff out. We'll riff off each other but there's no really set ways to do it but it's always from a live approach.
Coming from the live approach, does that allow you to capture some spontaneity in the moment? Exactly, it captures a spontaneity and it comes across in the whole vibe of what this band is about, a live rock ‘n’ roll band. A lot of people make records and they record a bunch of stuff and they hand it off to a guy in the room with a computer and he takes it and makes it all perfect, that's not how we're doing it.
If you didn't go about it in this way, would it still be Buckcherry? It's hard to say, I'm sure it would still sound like me playing the guitar, Josh singing but I think there's a certain swagger and a certain living breathing quality to this music with the way we do it that makes it what it is.
Where does this album stand for you in the Buckcherry discography? If you ask me each time we make a record I'm going to tell you it's the best one we've ever made! I think it's a very accurate representation of where we're at, we're a rock ‘n’ roll band and we're very proud of that and I can't wait to play these songs live. As far as where it stands in the catalogue I think it's some of our best song writing and playing that we've ever done.
You're heading out on the road, which songs are you looking forward to getting to playing live? We've already been playing 'Bring it Back' and we've prepared a few songs off the new record, 'The Madness' and a hand full of others. We're all fans of music so when we go to a show to see our favourite bands, we don't want to hear every song off a new record so we will mix in a few songs off the new record and we will change the set-list every night to keep it interesting, but we'll play three or four song off this record on the tour.
Is it getting harder to choose the set and balance it all? Yes and that's why we mix it up, I want to play songs off the first, second, third records and songs we haven't played in a few years. I want to hear them, I think there's an element of our fans that want to hear that too. At the same time we also want to give people what they want when they pay their hard earned money to come see a show, we want the songs that the masses know.
The album is coming out on the the bands own F Bomb label, how much extra freedom has being able to do things independently allowed the band? It has given us the ultimate freedom and it's given us the ultimate responsibility for making sure that it's done correctly so it's really a double edged sword, it certainly adds to the more responsibility you have for all the business side of things. Marketing your record, making sure that people have it, radio promotion, advertising so it's been a really interesting, educational experience starting our own record label but we have a really good team of people around us, our managers, agents and people like that, that have been really instrumental in helping us achieve our goals with it.
Has it taught you new things that perhaps you may not have known when you were on a label? We were always attuned to the business to a degree but now we're making the decisions and coming up with the kind of plans for getting our record out there that we were never really involved with. It's challenging, but it is also very rewarding.
How much are you looking forward to getting back on the road again and promoting the albums release? We're a live band so we all can't wait to get back out there. We're starting out in the States then heading up into Canada, we're trying to get a plan together to get over to Europe, Japan and South America.
“It's a rock 'n' roll record by a rock 'n' roll band!”
Brooding orchestral arrangements meet singing leads and menacing riffs on the Ember's Fall debut album, “Cessation.” A burgeoning metalcore act hailing from central Pennsylvania, this group boasts touring veterans of the underground music scene. Vocalist Dennis Gee (ex-A Dawn Becoming, Disarming Adam) fronts the band, which includes Jarrett Beach (exScathe), Jairo Cerritos and Kevin Polites (both formerly of From The Depths). The songs on “Cessation” show impressive range, seemlessly alternating between throaty roars and melodic choruses, chugging riffs and harmonious solos. “Logan's Fire,” “A Ghost Immortal” and “Wrath,” a single, highlight the self-released effort — an album enhanced by superb production quality and artwork by Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D'Antonio.
Embersfall.com Facebook.com/EmbersFallBand Instagram.com/embersfallband Twitter.com/EmbersFallBand Soundcloud.com/embers-fall Bandpage.com/embersfall
Though only a year old and unsigned at this point, Ember's Fall is a group that's quickly building a strong reputation. And the release “Cessation” will only solidify this foundation. (Written by Bruce Siwy of @AmpedWeekly. Follow him on Twitter at @BruceJSiwy.)
Interview with Tyler
“If you listen to pop punk, then you’ll surely know who State Champs are! They erupted into the genre with their awesome debut album ‘The Finer Things’ which has already become a great backbone to their life as a band. So looking to continue in the right direction, they are back with their impressive new output ‘Around The World and Back’ which is the culmination of the last two years of their touring life!”
What was it like to perform with All Time Low and 5 Seconds of Summer over the last couple of months, and can you give us a couple of highlights from your time on the road? It was a dream come true. We all grew up listening to All Time Low so it was really cool to be able to tour with them and watch them every night. The 5 Seconds of Summer shows were even more insane because they were arena shows. It was our first time playing in any arenas and we loved it. Their fanbase was very receptive and welcoming. It was definitely a cross off on our bucket list as a band to tour with both of these bands.
How did you get to the album title 'Around The World and Back', and what does it mean to you? We got the album title from a lyric. In a very literal sense, this record is the culmination of the last two years of touring. We, for the first time, visited about 14 new countries and went to 4 new continents. It was quite the trip. This record is more or less about our lives over the last 2 years.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'Around The World and Back' for you guys, and why? In all honesty, the making of the record wasnt too challenging. I guess the hardest part would've been deciding what songs would make the record, as we went in with 15 songs but came out with 11.
What made you want to release 'Secrets' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? We thought that Secrets would be best to release first as it best represents the record. We wanted to release a single that reassured everyone that they were getting the SC they know and love. I can't say much about the narrative as I don't write the lyrics but it’s very obviously a grudge song.
What can you tell us about the recording process for 'Around The World and Back', and how would you say the process compared to what you've done before? ATWAB was done with Kyle Black in Los Angeles. The vibe was incredible, living in LA for 6 weeks making this record was awesome. Comparatively to what we've done before, this record was way less rushed. We had plenty of time to experiment with production elements and really explore all the possibilities with each song.
Can you give us a couple of personal highlights from performing in the UK over the years? Slam Dunk Festival 2014 was really, really cool for us. It was our first time there and everyone was so supportive and went all out during our sets. We love the energy the UK has, it’s awesome. Another highlight would be supporting New Found Glory at The Forum in London two days in a row. I think both shows were sold out and it was so cool.
How would you say the pop punk scene has changed or progressed since you guys first started out? The scene has changed a bit, yeah. It's still the same kind of vibe where everyone just wants to be friends and have fun but it’s just becoming more popular here in the states which is cool.
What else can we expect to see from State Champs in 2015? Our first UK headliner, the record will drop in October, and other tours. We want to go to a bunch of new places and make a bunch of new friends in 2016 and it’s looking good so far.
“Why hasn’t Skindred headlined Download Festival or Reading/Leeds Festival yet? We have no idea. If you’ve ever seen these guys live, then you will know that with their punchy riffs, and catchy lyrics then they are easily more than worthy of the slot. As the band continue to dominate the live music world, we catch up with Benji to discuss their highly anticipated record ‘Volume’, which with a title like that, suggests that it’s going to be just as in your face as we have grown to know, and love from this talented bunch!”
The new album is imminent, how has the project progressed this time out? It was good getting back into the studio to write the new album, as normal there was a lot of tears, a lot of kicking in the head and then the producer becomes the referee! We get what we want out of it though I think, I'm happy with about 80% of the record and I think the fans are going to dig it which is most important.
You've gone for the simple and to the point title of ‘Volume’ for it, how did you come to this title? Well I said the title in a song of ours called 'Volume' and the drummer said that would be a good name for the album and I said yeah! Simple name, it says what it does on the tin, we're loud and we want people to play it loud.
The track ‘Under Attack’ has just dropped, what made this track the one to come out? We wanted something which was heavy enough but bouncy enough. We also wanted a big chorus that people can sing along to, we felt that with 'Under Attack', as soon as you hear the riff you have nothing you can do except bang your head to it. It's also dancey enough for a rock club on a Saturday night so we thought it was the right song to release first.
Which songs to follow are you excited for the fans hearing? I'm really excited about a song called 'Sound the Siren', I love the way it has that dance hall thing that we do and then it becomes this Black Sabbath like chorus. It's amazing and the middle eight is just sick, I can't wait to play it live actually. It grabs you by the throat and squeezes hard!
Skindred live is something people don't tend to forget in a hurry, which songs do you feel are going to be real stand outs? One good thing about Skindred is we have some bangers that never let us down, no matter if you've never heard of us, when you see us live you're like â€œwo, they're strong songsâ€?. They are 'Kill the Power', 'Nobody' and 'Warning', other people may say other songs but I feel them three songs, when you put 'Under Attack' into the mix and 'Sound the Siren', you've got an awesome set bro. You've got a set that's going to make people move and that is what music is supposed to do, move you.
There is a documentary attached to the pledge campaign and the trailer is very catching, can you talk through a bit of what can be expected? It tells a really good tale of the band from the early days to where we are now, I'm talking about when I was a child on there. If you know me as a person or you know me as a frontman, it'll tell you the story of why I am what I am which is really good. The four albums we've released, you can see the studio footage on there, the fights, the cries and the laughs. It's a good thing if you're a Skindred fan or if you don't know, it would be good to watch.
Looking at the trailer, it shows some, shall we say creative friction, the fights, in the studio, how much does this add to the final product that the listener will hear? Of course, the way I look at is when you you write music, especially when you're writing with people, the fights, the tears and the cries are the price you pay for a song. When a woman has a baby, she goes through all that labour and screaming but she gets it in the end and some of the songs, especially with Skindred is similar to having a baby! You get all the pain and all the woe, but the joy cometh in the morning! When the song is finished, it's like, shit it was worth crying over. It's funny because nobody in Skindred gets their own way, when you have music that is compiled of so many different things, you don't get your own way, you get what you're given.
It seems to work well, do you think the band could work any other way? I think this is the way we are, it works for us. Doing Volume, the good thing was we spent a month in a rehearsal room writing so the songs were pretty much in the shape of performing which is always a good thing. I think then you get a feel for the real liveness of it.
“We're loud and we want people to play it loud.”
You were in Edinburgh recently playing at the Fringe, it is one of the worlds biggest festivals but you don't tend to hear much about bands playing the festival so how was it? It was great, we played on STV on the same day as well, we did a few songs for them and it was really good fun. It was only me and Mikey and we stripped the songs right back, I think we did 'Kill The Power' and 'Pressure'. People are often surprised at how the songs sound when we do them acoustic so that was fun.
You head out for a full UK tour in November, you're taking out a hell of a line up out with you aren't you? Yeah, we know what them guys are about, when you're out on the road you can't sit back on your laurels, you've got to work so that's how I feel about this tour. Every band is an amazing live act, we've got HED(pe), Crossfaith so people are getting their monies worth for sure and I'm going to get a run for my money too!
With HED (pe) you'll have come across before with Skindred or even Dub War? Yeah, I played with them in Dub War back in 1995 in Hollywood and I've been friends with them ever since then, a lot of history there.
There never seems to be a dull show when you guys are playing live but where do you especially like getting to? I really enjoy playing in Manchester, Manchester is a city that in the very early days of what this band was playing, accepted what we did and is very much like a homecoming gig. A lot of the people who used to pack out the venues are coming to the shows with their kids now so they're passing it on to another generation.
This is the sixth album for Skindred but you go further back with the likes of Dub War, how much has the industry changed for you over the years?
The whole downloading and internet thing has really changed the game, I think as a band, Skindred don't worry about downloading, it's all about the live action. About what we've been doing for the last 13 years and that is just growing and growing and growing. It's like when we played Download a few years back, a friend of mine went to watch the band that was on before us and he said the field, compared to when we played, it was empty. When we played, the field was jam packed and to me that shows a lot. People aren't foolish, people can see a live band and know their flaws and they won't see many at Skindred shows and thatâ€™s getting passed on and on.
The new album is on the way and the UK tour is selling fast, what are the plans to come with this album cycle? It'll be a couple of years of touring then it'll be time to go and write a new one. I know for a fact these songs are going to rock a lot of people over the next two years, we're going to have some fun, I look forward to playing some big festivals next Summer, fingers crossed getting good slots. In all honesty, what I want to see on posters, is Skindreds name in our own font. That'll mean we're working our way up the bill.
Beauty In The Darkness Formed in 2012 a Alternative/Metal band out of Las Vegas, Nevada consists of 4 members with a raunchy taste in music bringing out the best in every genre. With the release of their new EP "Lost for Words" stunted the beginning of a small local band from only being released in a short time span has already attracted a record label (From the Depths Entertainment) and various offers and new fans. Female fronted and melodically enthrusted the band has no boundaries and are not afraid to hit any high or sour note you could think of. Beauty in the Darkness is as described and are willing to bring out your inner beauty and your inner darkness into music you never thought existed!
â€œLost for Wordsâ€? is OUT NOW! Beautyinthedarkness.net Facebook.com/BITDLV
Interview with Levi
“After a turbulent couple of years which they describe as being ‘pinned against a wall’ the guys in Miss May I nearly decided to call it a day! Fortunately they managed to prevail through these harsh times to give us their most honest record to date ‘Deathless’!” How was the Warped Tour this year, and for us in the UK who don't get to see much of it, then can you tell us what it's like for a band to take on this iconic event throughout the summer? Warped Tour was great. It was our third year on the tour and it was still the hottest tour to date for MMI. The craziest thing about Warped is that the dates are not close together. Every night is at least a 5-10 hour drive. So it becomes sort of magical throughout the tour to see a entire festival pack up and set up every day with non-stop traveling. It is sort of a circus. The days are long and filled with non-stop music from all genres. The amount of companies on the tour is astonishing too! You can dicover so much about music and the community of music at the Vans Warped Tour.
So how did you get to the album title 'Deathless', and what does it mean to you? Well basically we almost called it quits over the last two years. They were very rough and pushed us to our limits. But with all the struggle it brought us closer together and we helped eachother get to the studio and hold on. We turned all that frustration into our new album and spilled it out into our songs. But by not calling it quits we deemed ourselves "Deathless" as a band.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Deathless'? A lot of the record is about getting screwed over and pinned against a wall. A lot of which we felt over the last couple of years. Some songs though like "Bastards Left Behind" and "Arise" are about my family and how I felt growing up. I really wanted no stone left unturned this time around.
What made you want to work with 'Joey Sturgis' again, and what is it you like so much about working with him? Well we just wanted to go to someone no one expected us to go to. We felt that we had a trend going on and we didn’t want to continue that. So we thought to ourselves. "What would surprise everyone yet make a sick record?". So we thought going back to Joey was the answer and I am so glad we did. He is like a childhood friend of ours basically. He recorded us in a garage when we were 15 and we have been friends ever since. So why not record a record with one of your childhood bestfriends!
How did the front cover for 'Deathless' come together, and can you tell us about what it means to you? The cover represents the bands last couple of years. We are symbolized as the skull that has been broken and almost shattered but continues to be contact and visible as a human even though it has seen its share of abuse.
'Rise of the Lion' only came out last year, so to put together 'Deathless' in that time is pretty impressive! Was this a natural process to only have about a year gap, or was it just something completely different? It was different for us to turn a record around so fast. We are used to 18 months in between albums but with Warped Tour coming and us having so much material and rage we thought we could bust one together real fast and debut it on the summers biggest tour and we hustled and made it happen thankfully.
Also, looking back on 'Rise of the Lion', how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for Miss May I? # I think ROTL has really opened up our music to a whole new fanbase. I am happy it has as well because now we had our core fans and our new fans attention when dropping our new record "Deathless" which I think is our most heart felt album to date.
How would you say 'Deathless' compares to anything you've done before? I think Deathless is our first record with so much anger and passion put into it. We have always been a positive band which we still are but sometimes you have to show the audience that it’s not always positive and that we all go through dark times.
What new songs are you enjoying performing the most right now, and why? I think the title track "Deathless" is my favorite song to perform at the moment just because it’s difficult and has an oldschool vibe to it which I always enjoy.
Can you give us a couple of personal highlights from touring the UK over the years? Everything about touring the UK is a highlight. I think our first headliner was my favorite. Almost all the shows sold out and the crowds were insane. On top of it being our first time really there to explore and see a whole new world. Also Nandos is gold to the MMI family.
What else can we expect to see from Miss May I in 2015? Tour Tour Tour! A lot of touring worldwide especially with the fire off the bat of Deathless. We should be everywhere this year and if not we will be there in 2016!
Truth is a five piece metalcore band from South Wales, UK. Their debut single 'Given Eyes' is out now on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music! Tumblr.com/blog/truthbanduk Instagram.com/truthbanduk Facebook.com/truthbanduk Twitter.com/truthbanduk
Interview with Chris
“With their perfect fusion of metal & hardcore, Like Moths To Flames have always been a huge influence on the alternative world. So what a pleasure it is to have the band here, as they get us up to date with their energetic new record ‘The Dying Things We Live For’!” How did you get to the album title 'The Dying Things We Live For', and what does it mean to you? It's actually content pulled from the album. I feel like when the listener has the album and lyrics in front of them everything will make sense. Everyday we are waking up to progress towards an inevitable end. This album is my way of embracing the things that I live for, that I fight for, that I struggle with.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'The Dying Things We Live For'? Most importantly we wanted to show growth in the band. It had been over two years since we released our last album and we wanted to make sure we kept progressing in the right direction. I think the album shows what we are capable of as musicians. From a content standpoint, the album covers a lot of personal topics. A lot of the things I've gone through over the last few years. It's important to find a way to connect with the people who listen to your music and I've always felt that writing from a real genuine place gives a better chance to do so.
What can you tell us about the recording process for this album? We had the pleasure of going back to Will Putney to record the album. He's done a great job on the last two albums so we didn't feel the need to change things up.
How would you say this album compares overall to what you did on 'An Eye For an Eye'? An Eye for An Eye is definitely the lightest of the three albums. We wanted to try some different things for that album and looking back there are some things that we would've done differently. I think the new album gave us a chance to really get back in the groove of things. A lot of bands are shifting to a very bubbly sound, which can be great and often times that works for them but for us I never really saw that coming. We like being a band that you can bang your head to and intend to keep it that way.
Also, looking back on 'An Eye For an Eye' how happy are you with this record still, and what do you think it has done for the 'status' and representation of Like Moths To Flames? We are happy with the album as it was a huge part of our lives but I think we've just all moved passed those songs. Not to say we weren't more excited about it a few years ago but now it's just a love hate type of thing. I think time has just made those songs feel a bit worn out.
How did the artwork for 'The Dying Things We Live For' come together, and what does it mean to you? My goal was to find something that fit the imagery of the band, that represented what we were about. I feel like this will be the album that really showcases what the band is capable of doing. This album is Like Moths To Flames.
For those that don't know, how did Zach Huston end up parting ways with Like Moths To Flames? Just one of those things. Touring isn't always the most glamorous lifestyle and that can definitely take a toll on people. Zach was a huge part of the bands career and we wish nothing but the best for him.
What was the hardest part about putting together 'The Dying Things We Live For', and why?
Time. I feel like time is always the hardest part when going in to do an album. You're limited from the start. You have a month to put years of your life into writing. Sometimes you just feel like there isn't enough time in a day.
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?
Summer was pretty busy for us. We finished the album earlier this Spring and since then have just been focused on touring. We had the chance to headline which was a great to start the Summer which led right into a North American tour with Northlane to promote their new album. We got to play and visit some cities that a lot of us had never even had a chance to see. When your music takes you to new places, its hard to complain.
What else can we expect to see from Like Moths To Flames as we head towards 2016? Hopefully a lot. We've been working on a lot of behind the scenes type of stuff and it'll be great to unveil it all when the time comes. The future holds some awesome things for the band.
Athena's Word is what was created after two guys met at a While She Sleeps concert. They spent weeks trying to find the right band members who also would become their best friends. With a little help from the internet they found each other and went to the studio to record the first songs. A few months later the wolf pack dropped their first video called 'Deserved Freedom' and soon the video 'Wolf Pack' followed. They just released their first EP 'Lasting Legacy' and now they are ready to show the world what they are all about.
'Lasting Legacy' is a 5-track EP with influences from While She Sleeps, Architects, Heights and Blood Youth. Even though the EP is just released, Athena's Word is very busy writing their debut album already. Athena's Word just started and these guys are playing many shows all over the country and they have even played on live national radio already. So keep them in mind, Athena's Word is really getting there!
CONTACT email@example.com facebook.com/athenaswordhc Insta/twit: @athenaswordhc Merch: athenasword.bigcartel.com
Interview with Justin
“Motion City Soundtrack have always been incredible to watch live, and listen to on record. They have repeatedly managed to do something new, whilst still leaving their well-known imprint on a release. After completing a rewarding anniversary tour for their incredible album ‘Commit This to Memory’, they are back with ‘Panic Stations’ which after we took a listen, will no doubt have their fans demanding an anniversary tour in the years to come!” How did your recent anniversary tour go for 'Commit This to Memory', and what was it like to re-visit this album in full? It went well. Knowing what you’re going to get ahead of time always helps. People who came out to the tour really dug that record, so it was pretty much a party every night. It wasn’t so much a re-visit as it was taking a closer look at the songs and what they meant to me 10 years ago and what they mean to me now. Some things have changed completely and others not at all. This album made up the bulk of our live show for many years. Really it was Resolution and Together We’ll Ring In The New Year that we hadn’t ever played a whole lot.
As we don't get to see much of the Warped Tour in the UK, then can you tell us what this event is like to be a part of, as well as how it has grown or changed over the years for you guys? Warped Tour is like Punk Rock Summer Camp. Having never gone to Summer Camp, I’m not sure I’m qualified to compare it as such. It is a very EASY tour to partake in. Lots of hang out time. Plenty of food. Short sets. I have rarely ever lost my voice doing Warped Tour. That part of it I dig. I like the crapshoot of never knowing when you’re going to play. It adds drama and mystery. Some people ONLY get to go to one concert a year and Warped Tour often ends up being that for them. So the excitement level of the people is always in the red. All in all, a good time.
What made you want to release ‘TKO’ first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? We tend to go with our gut on many decisions. Also, I have a terrible memory, so I’m not exactly certain. But this track seemed like the right song to throw at the people. As far as narrative goes, I like to think of it being about the inability to completely shake something from your past, whatever that may be. The listener can fill in the blanks.
So, how did you get to the album title ‘Panic Stations’, and what does it mean to you? On previous albums, whenever I would notice a theme emerge, I would immediately put a moratorium on certain words or phrases, and limit myself to 2 or 3. This time around I noticed a lot of water or nautical references and for some reason decided to run toward it. When searching for an album title that would tie the songs together, I came across Panic Stations. It worked so well on so many levels. I think it is always a good sign when several possible meanings converge at once within a simple phrase.
How would you say this album compares overall to ‘Go'? It is the polar opposite. Go was written and pieced together over several months while in the studio. Most of us weren’t even in the same room at the same time while we were writing and recording. Every detail of Panic Stations was meticulously planned out ahead of time and then recorded mostly live in less than two weeks. I’d say Go is more contemplative in nature and Panic Stations is more action oriented.
How did you end up recording this album live, and what was this process like for you guys overall? People had been suggesting to us over the years that we should make a record this way. It was scary until we realized that we were good enough to actually pull it off. I don’t think I ever want to record another way again. It was really fun to make this record. There was a certain energy with all of us in a room playing together that wasn’t there on previous records.
How did you end up working with ‘John Agnello’, and what was he like to work with? We grew up listening to John’s work. Most of our favorite bands’ records were his productions. I don’t remember how his name came our way, but as soon as it did we knew we wanted to talk to him. We talked with a lot of people, but he seemed like the right kind of madman for the job. The best way to describe him is that he works hard AND plays hard. Hands down one of my favorite humans of all time.
How did the artwork for ‘Panic Stations’ come together, and what does it mean to you? That’s all Brad Hale. He’s in a band called Now Now and they RULE. He did the artwork for GO and nailed it. We had a vague sort of idea for what we wanted for Panic Stations. I’m a huge fan of collage work in the style of ‘90s Pavement and Guided By Voices album covers. I think we started with the water theme and some samples of other work we liked and then went from there. Jesse was our liaison to Brad. I think the two of them worked it out. It is for sure my favorite album cover we’ve done.
The Young are a three piece band all aged 20 years old from Ilkeston, inbetween Nottingham and Derby, playing indie rock and powerful tunes. Their main influences are Arctic Monkeys, Royal Blood and Catfish and The Bottlemen. The Young all met at school and began the band there, so have been able to grow up musically with eachother to create a strong bond between the trio.
They have tried to add a second guitarist in the past but many people have reviewed they work much better as a trio. The brand new E.P is now available to buy on iTunes and can also be listened to on Soundcloud. The Young are currently focussed on playing gigs up and down the UK whilst constantly writing new material on the side.
Futures is an Alternative-Rock band from Montclair, New Jersey. Starting as a two piece about a year ago, founding members Robby and Cody began writing material before entering the studio to track the debut EP entitled "The Things We Leave Behind". Coming from another band local to the area, Jon joined the band shortly after the recording process. "The Things We Leave Behind" is the band's first official release, hosting five infectious songs full of catchy hooks, driving melodies and anthemic choruses. For Fans of: Taking Back Sunday, Transit, Blink-182, etc.
Interview with Alex
“Their debut EP ‘Tales Told by Dead Friends’ shifted over 50,000 copies without any label to back them...unsurprisingly since this point Mayday Parade have kept the momentum high with their releases whilst establishing themselves as one of the most important alternative rock bands yet. After recently working with the talented Mike Sapone (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday) they have clearly triumphed once more by harnessing their exclusive sound. So don’t miss out, as the band will be heading to the UK early next year!” How did you get to the album title 'Black Lines', and what does it mean to you? It seemed to convey an image that we all felt represented how the music sounds to us. It also has a lot of capabilities for imagery that we all liked the idea of.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'Black Lines'? We really wanted to do something a little different from our last couple of albums. We've always wanted to do something more rock based and a little heavier.
How would you say 'Black Lines' compares to what you did on 'Monsters in the Closet'? I think the sound is more raw, more natural and a bit heavier. I think Derek really did a phenomenal job with his dynamic range going from singing super softly to screaming in certain parts.
Looking back on 'Monsters in the Closet', how happy are you with this album still, and what do you think it has done for Mayday Parade? I think this album is a new step forward for the band. It's important for a band to evolve. I liked MITC but I think we needed a change and this album is definitely a change for us.
How did you end up working with Mike Sapone for 'Black Lines', and what was he like to work with? We talked to a couple of producers and he seemed to really get what we were going for. He also had worked with bands and on albums that we all really liked. He was great to work with. He definitely was a great resource and help for us to push our boundaries.
Can you tell us about the narrative behind your new single 'Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology!'? Derek wrote most of the lyrics for that one so I'm really just guessing here. I think they are pretty introspective.
â€œThis album is a new step forward for the bandâ€? How did you end up working with Dan Lambton on the track 'One Of Them Will Destroy The Other', and what was he like to work with? We are fans and friends of Real Friends and thought he would be a great fit for that song. His voice lends itself to that style. He's a great guy so it was awesome to have him and the rest of the guys come to the studio. We are about to tour with them and I'm very excited for it!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what can attending fans expect? I'm very excited for that tour! It will be great to be with The Maine again. I think they can expect an energetic show. We love touring the UK!
Also, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from touring in the UK over the years? I love to get up early and walk around the cities we play. I love touring over there. One of the best off days the band had was at a place called Cheddar Gorge. We hiked and had a generally great day.
What else can we expect to see from Mayday Parade in 2015? I think people can expect us to tour a lot. We all love to play this music so we will be doing a lot of that coming up haha.
Interview with Ben
“They have grown at a gradual rate over the years to now become one of the biggest metalcore bands out there. Their live shows are always memorable, and their records are always so dynamic that you’ll always find yourself coming back for more! The band have just released their stomping new output ‘IRE’ which will of course contribute to the continued rise of Parkway Drive!”
What was it like to be a part of the mighty Download Festival this year, and what did you enjoy the most about your performance? Download Fest is always a great time! This was actually our 3rd time playing it and it was definitely the wettest set we’ve ever played! True to the stereotype of English weather it was pissing down but it didn’t seem to bother the thousands of fans out there. The thing I enjoyed most was the fact I was relatively dry on stage and I wasn’t one of the people standing in the mud.
What made you want to release 'Vice Grip' first, and can you tell us about the narrative behind the track? We've always had a variety of different kind of songs on our albums - heavy, fast, slow, melodic etc but in the past we have always released what you’d call a “safe song” first. That is, a heavy song that is similar to our usual sound so fans don’t think we have “changed” too much or softened up. But for this album we decided to take a risk and release one of the more different / rockier songs on the album. The main reason was because we knew Vice Grip would make for a great music video, and because it is not so heavy the idea was that it would be played on different avenues that a super heavy song wouldn’t be featured on. But like all our other albums, IRE has a wide variety of different sounding songs on it.
The video is also really cool, so can you tell us how the idea for that came together, as well as what it was like to actually film? We knew as soon as we’d written the song that it really suited an epic video. It just has that sound that suits visuals and the fact that the lyrics are also meant to be motivating we wanted to have a video that was inspiring as well. We also tried to make a statement and have the video stand out amongst the sea of average music videos out there. It took a lot of dedication because learning to Skydive solo takes three weeks and there’s a lot of theory involved! Filming it was really cool, but also quite scary! There’s a whole behind the scenes video on youtube that gives a great insight to what went into making Vice Grip.
How did you get to the album title 'IRE', and what does it mean to you? Winston came up with the title “IRE” when he was trying to sum up his feelings for the current state of the earth and the destruction that humans are having on it. IRE literally means “anger” and it’s how we all feel about a lot of current issues that are going on.
Can you tell us about the main themes and influences that run throughout 'IRE’? We are not a young band anymore… We have been together for 12 years and IRE is our 5th record, so basically we wanted to expand a little and also more than anything we wanted to make this record as good as we possibly could. I know that’s usually a given, but this time we really paid attention to every little detail from the song writing to the production and everything in between. I guess musically the theme would be don’t be afraid to try anything and everything has to be done right. As far as influences we have always typically drawn influences from different genres of music rather than other metal bands, anything from Dire Straits to Phil Collins. But I was definitely listening to the new Slipknot album a lot during the writing process!
What can you tell us about the recording process for 'IRE' as well as how it compares to what Parkway Drive have done in the past? Well actually we aren’t giving that information away just yet. The reason is we want people to judge it by the sound and songs rather than getting any preconceived ideas and judging the album before they’ve heard it. But I will tell you that we were in the studio for more than double the length of time we have ever been in before… Over three months actually!
“We wanted to make this record as good as we possibly could”
The artwork for 'IRE' is hand built, so can you tell us how the idea for it originally came about, as well as maybe what it means to you guys? Like everything with this album we wanted to give it 100% and we wanted it to be different. So we thought making something physical rather than digital would have a unique and organic look that would stand out from the rest. Our friend Callum Preston who is an art genius constructed the cover art with recycled drift wood and tiles and then photographed it from above. The rest of the artwork is done in a similar fashion.
How excited are you for your UK tour in February, and what can attending fans expect from your show? The UK is still in our top three places to play in the world. As far as crowd energy and participation it’s hard to beat! We’ll be bringing the biggest and craziest production we have ever used, plus we’ll obviously have a whole bunch of new songs to play. We are also excited because of the fact we have never played Brixton and have wanted to for a long time!
Also, can you give us a couple of personal highlights from performing in the UK over the years? The UK was the first place we ever toured outside of Australia, back in 2006. So Iâ€™d have to say the highlights for me would be when we played London for the first time, without a record released or a label and even before the days of youtube, and there was 500 people at our show singing along and going crazy. From that day on London and the UK has felt like a second home for us.
What else can we expect to see from Parkway Drive in 2015? We will be basically non stop touring Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA and then Europe/UK in early 2016. But I think we still might have time to squeeze out another video so keep your eyes out!
Interview with Claudio
“When Coheed and Cambria first formed progressive rock wasn’t really in the limelight, but when they shared their refreshing take on it under the name of ‘The Second Stage Turbine Blade’, the alternative genre just didn’t know what had hit it. They continued to release themed records backed by the awesome narrative of ‘The Amory Wars’, and with each release just being so brilliant to listen to, the band earned themselves a huge & loyal fan base! After recently becoming a father, their front-man Claudio feels like he has entered a new phase in his life, which has in return created the foundation to their first non-themed album ‘The Color Before the Sun’!” ‘The Color Before The Sun’ is on the way, can you give an overview of what the album is about? ‘The Color Before The Sun’ is Coheed's first venture into a non-conceptual record, for me, as far as the title goes it is the emotions that I sort of went through before my son was born. So I guess this is a more poetic way of putting it in the title.
As you say, it is the first time the band have gone with a non-concept record, what made you decide that this was the time to go down this road? Well for me, I've made all these changes in my life, like a metamorphose into fatherhood, so it was like this new phase in my life and all these songs have something to do with it. It's pretty much a time capsule to that moment before and after having my son, Atlas. So I thought it was appropriate to have the songs speak for themselves as opposed to hiding them behind a concept, like I said, with it being a new phase in my personal life, why not make it a new phase for the band.
Did it change the approach to the album, by not being a concept album? The thing is, I didn't even know I was writing a record when I wrote it. There was no approach, my wife and I went on this journey that she likes to call our transient life where we knew we wanted to have children but we weren't sure where we were living in the world was the right place for us, so we decided to travel a little bit around the States and just see what place kind of fit. The one spot that we found ourselves in for the longest period of time was Brooklyn in a neighbourhood called Park Slope. When I was in Park Slope, I thought I was having a lapse of writers block because the situation I was in was unlike anything I was used to. I was coming from a country house, very secluded, I could work at all hours of the day. I tend to be my most creative in the morning, before the sun comes up, which is another reason I titled the record ‘The Color Before The Sun’. I was having a really hard time doing it, writing in an apartment I felt there was this exposure, I knew my neighbours could hear me so I think that leaked into the execution of some of the lyrics. When I was done writing this my material, at the time I didn't know I was done, I looked into what I had and there were these ten songs and I thought these ten songs really document this moment in time very well, but when I looked at them I thought these weren't a typical Coheed formula. It felt like a bit of a departure and I saw it more as a solo record and that is when I started going down the path of well, there is no concept here. The concept is my life and the experiences I'd had and that doesn't fall in the formula of Coheed and Cambria, so I had this little tug of war over whether this record was appropriate for the band. With Coheed, I always try to keep it limitless, in terms of some of the music we've explored, our creativity, some of the bands we've been out on tour with and at that moment I thought “why should the concept be any different”? Just because this isn't the typical formula, doesn't mean it's not right for the band so that was pretty much it. To answer the question, I didn't really know, there was no pre-conceived idea that it was not going to be a concept at the front of the record..
So it was more an accident? Pretty much yeah, like I said, these songs are so important to me at this new phase of my life, now I'm a father, I want these songs to stand on their own. Especially when my son grows up and listens to the records, I don't want to perplex him with the oddity of the concept I had! I love that, don't get me wrong, I love conceptual song writing, that's what I do but at this moment in time for me, my family and for who I am, I want this to stand on its own and really encapsulate a moment in time that was a bit of a struggle for me but at the same time, a very hopeful moment in my life. Would you say then that fatherhood has brought a new view into your song writing? Absolutely, in my song writing and in my personal life.
It completely changes your world... It does completely change your world, I had no idea how much. You anticipate this excitement but when it comes to you, all that anticipation? You could not plan for this, my wife and I did so much in terms of planning but, all that planning kind of goes out the window because emotions just come to the forefront of your consciousness. I'm out here in Chicago right now, about to play Riot Fest and all I can think about is what he's doing and how I want to be with him. I'm fortunate enough that my wife and son have actually come out on a bunch of shows. This particular show we decided not too, but next week they will so it's just changed everything. Everything I do now is for my family and it always was that way, but more now than ever, I want him to be excited, I want him to be happy, I want everything for him.
Time can zip by in a flash when looking after a child right? That's the part that kind of scares me and probably was the roots of the song 'Atlas'. My occupation means that in order to provide for him everything that I want to, I have to be away from him. Unless some stroke of luck and the band becomes a tremendous success and my family can live out on the road with me but I don't know if I can really perceive that happening. That's just the reality that I'm faced with right now and it's sad. Although, I say that but it's lucky I'm not living in the 80s or the 70s, you know I have face-time and things like that which is just a huge help in this life that we live.
Some songs make big impacts in some ways but a song such as 'Ghost' which is more laid back hits just as hard, how satisfying is it being able to go from the massive sound and strip it right back to basics? 'Ghost' is a great song for me because it is all about me anticipating my son. The songs before it, from 'Island' to 'Here to Mars', 'Island' is very much about my struggles of living in Brooklyn and I kind of went through this identity situation of who I was, I was living under the shadow of this thing I created and my self worth is very questionable outside of this monster I created and then when my wife told me we were pregnant, I decided to write and those emotions fell into 'Here to Mars' like wow, we are about to collaborate on a life together, this is amazing and I've never experienced this before. It was that sort of expression, but then when I look at 'Ghost', after that initial excitement of we're going to be parents, the question then is, well what kind of parents are we going to be and that's really what 'Ghost' is about. I think that's why I decided to keep it stripped down, it's a question that I'm posing to myself, a very much introspective song and it should feel very stripped down and very singular. For me it's like “am I going to echo the ghost of my parents”, not that my upbringing was bad in any way but I'm just saying, what am I going to bring to this arrangement is pretty much what it's about and I love it because we kind of end, if you're thinking about it in terms of the vinyl, it very much asks the question of side A and ‘Atlas’ answers it with side B. Then there is that inevitability of having to leave that person but always knowing they're the reason you're out here and they will always bring you back home.
Were there any songs that were perhaps more challenging to complete? Not really, I mean we did the record live and we were all pretty apprehensive about the idea. Given that there was going to be no concept I wanted the record to feel a little more exposed than some of the others in the past and that was the idea of doing it live so there was this apprehension. We hadn't done something like that except in the live shows we do really but once we got into it, we did 'Island' and we knew we could do this. If I had to pick one that was a little harder to execute I'd probably pick 'The Audience' because there is a lot of textures, a lot of movement, it's more in that progressive world of what Coheed does but for the most part it was pretty flawless. We recorded the entire record in two weeks and mixed it in two weeks which was really fast for us.
Coheed and Cambria have been a band for about 16 years now, do you ever sit back and reminisce about the bands achievements? Every once in a while you get to do that reflection thing and that usually comes when the band does like the anniversary shows or the Neverender concert series. You get to play the records and you think back at where you were at that time, certainly for me, where I was writing those lyrics and some of the things that inspired the ideas. We're very lucky, really we are, we've seen bands come and go since we were in the van, to the R.V to the bus and you know, we just keep enduring. We're just happy and really fortunate that we are a band, 16 years later and not having completely folded!
Is ‘The Amory Wars’ something you will come back to? I can see us going back to The Amory Wars, I love conceptual song writing, I just do. I think The Color Before The Sun has allowed us to understand that we can be a band without the concepts so for me I guess it's all about the element of surprise, you never know what you're going to get when the new record comes out. The next record could be conceptual, the next record could not. I'm not closing the door on The Amory Wars, there's still a lot of creation that needs to happen for that epic.
Looking forward, what does the future hold for the band? At the moment, we have a States run in October in a lot of secondary markets and into territory that we haven't hit for a while and to really just reintroduce the band to the consciousness of the people. At the turn of the year is when we're actually going to tour on ‘The Color Before The Sun’ properly, in January, there's tentative talk of a U.K and European run and then a March tour as well in the States so things are getting talked about, but nothing completely concrete just yet.
â€œI thought it was appropriate to have the songs speak for themselves as opposed to hiding them behind a conceptâ€?
â€œHe has worked with Jonathan Ross, and he has already been nominated for a BAFTA at an early stage in his career. So take a read as we catch up with David Housden who tells us how he become a composer, as well as what we can expect to see from him as we head towards 2016!â€?
When did you first get into composing? In terms of composing for media, relatively late in the day actually! It wasn't until my second year in university when I considered it as an option. However I've been writing music for myself and in bands since I was a child, so in a sense I've always been a composer.
What was your first major gig, and what was that experience like? My first major composing gig was also my first ever composing gig! Writing the music for a game called Thomas Was Alone. It was a great experience, I was so pleased to have an opportunity in the industry, I would wake up every day and work through every night just purely for the love of it. It was an exciting time for me, but it wasn't until well after release that it blew up, so I suppose it was only really in retrospect that it became more of a major gig for me. At the time I assumed it would do a few hundred units, tops.
What was it like to be nominated for a BAFTA, and can you tell us a bit about that experience? It was incredible. Genuinely one of the best moments of my life to date. I can't even begin to express how unexpected my entire career has been, to this point. I wasn't expecting to make any money from Thomas Was Alone, I just saw it as an opportunity to build a resume and make some contacts. I remember being overjoyed when it started selling well and receiving such critical acclaim, because it meant that whatever else happened, I got to carry on writing music for another year or two. Which was the dream. I never in a million years would have even considered the fact that I might be on BAFTA's radar. I was one year out of university when the game was released, literally a nobody in the industry. So to receive that type of recognition was just something else.
How did you end up working on ‘Monstermind’, and what was it like to create music for this game? Monstermind came about directly through my work for Mike on Thomas Was Alone. They were a month away from shipping and their existing audio didn't perform too well in QA testing, so they decided to go for a fresh approach. They needed a super fast turn over and were wondering who they knew that could produce quality music in the available time. Because I was loving life in the carefree non-pressure environment of working on Thomas Was Alone, I was frequently turning out 2 or 3 pieces a week for Mike, so he piped up and said “Oh I know a guy who writes great stuff and every time I check my mail, there's a new piece waiting for me; I'll bring him along!”. So there we go, two weeks and a minor caffeine induced health episode later, I'd finished the soundtrack and sound design for this entire game. It's not an experience I'd be in a hurry to repeat, but it was my first paycheque and the game went on to win a BAFTA, so it was a great project to be a part of.
You also got work on ‘Home’, can you tell us a bit about the brief behind this project, as well as what it was like to put music to? So I was contacted by the head of a studio called Ndreams who were developing Home for PSN. They wanted to collect a catalogue of music for the audience to play while they explored Home, and this would be categorised in different genres, from rock to chill-out and everything in between. So it was actually a very simple exercise, almost akin to writing library music, in that you're given a genre or a mood and asked to write a piece of music that captures that. It was a great brief to be honest, a really nice departure from the world of interactive audio and the inherent complications it brings. It was nice just to write some straight music!
How did you end up working on ‘Thomas Was Alone’, and can you tell us a bit about the narrative behind the game, as well as what it was like to work on? I was put in touch with Mike via a mutual friend I met during my time as a guitarist in the band I was in, whilst studying at uni. They worked together at Bossa Studios and Mike was making TWA in his spare time alongside the day job. It was just a hobby project for him and he didn't really have any money to invest but he needed some music and as I was fresh out of uni, I was looking for experience, so we both found each other at the right time! On the face of it, it's a story about some rogue AI within a system, who has been given personalities, however it's incredibly meta and really this is just a vehicle to tell a story about friendship and the trials and tribulations we all go through in our every day relationships. There are personality traits displayed by these 2D shapes which we can all relate to, or attribute to people we know in real life, and I think that's why it's resonated with so many people. It was an amazing project to be a part of due to the creative freedom it provided me with, however it was also incredibly challenging as my first foray into the world of interactive audio. We came up with quite a complex method of coding the music so that it was generative and reactive to the player’s experience and it was a really steep learning curve for me at such an early point in my career. Incredibly rewarding to look back on though.
Did you get to work with Jonathan Ross & Stephen Fry much? If so, can you elaborate on what this was like? Jonathan yes, Stephen no unfortunately. Jonathan was basically my main liaison throughout production and I'd have to go through him every time I created something. It was quite a surreal experience and again very challenging for me. Due to the profile of the person I was working for I felt a lot of pressure to perform to the highest standards I was capable of, but he's also a real perfectionist himself. If he didn't like something, he'd tell you as much and that would be it, you wouldn't get an awful lot of feedback, it would just be a case of going away and trying something new until he heard something that worked for him. It was quite refreshing in a sense to have such clear cut 'yes' or 'no' responses, but it was difficult at times to know specifically where to improve, or what to avoid for future submissions. We'd have long conversations about musical influences, and the guy's music tastes are as eclectic as they are niche. He was asking me to go and listen to stuff by bands who were too obscure to even find on YouTube. It was like, you're one of the biggest television personalities in the entire country, how do you even know about this stuff?! All in all, a really fun project to be a part of!
‘Volume’ reminds me of ‘Metal Gear Solid’! Can you tell us about this game, as well as how it compares to anything else you've worked on? Volume is really a different beast from anything I've worked on before. I'm typically in my element writing ambient, ethereal, post-rock type music interlaced with strings and piano etc, however this required me to expand upon that and get to grips with large, bombastic orchestral arrangements. Which is really the antithesis of where my comfort zone lay. It was another really steep learning curve, but definitely something I grew into and that I can be proud of now. The game itself is a stealth game retelling the Robin Hood legend in a dystopian near future. You play as Locksley and you discover a holographic volume containing Virtual Reality blueprints for strongholds and businesses of prominent figures in society who have hoarded wealth from the impoverished general public. You stream videos of yourself breaking into these locations, so that the public can then go and reclaim it for themselves. Danny Wallace provides the voice of the volume AI, who's sort of a military version of the Microsoft paperclip, and Andy Serkis plays the antagonist Gisbourne.
We’ve read that you are currently working on your first full length film, so how’s that going, and how different is this style of composing compared to what you do on games? Yes, well I've actually finished my first one, The Hit Squad, which is going to be released next year and I'm due to begin work on my second one in the near future! It's been great though, it's so refreshing to work on films after doing so much work in the games industry. I love knowing that the audience are going to hear the exact piece of music I wrote at the precise time I wanted it to be listened to. At the same time, film presents its own constraints such as having to work at a fixed tempo/metre to meet edit points. You also often have to take a back seat to dialogue heavy scenes, which prohibits you from being overly melodic in your writing (which is quite difficult for me!).
As a composer, what does a 'typical' day involve for you? I usually try to go to the gym when I wake up, unless I'm up against a really life consuming deadline. I'll then reply to my e-mails over breakfast while my set-up loads and get to work after that. I'll take a break to skype people I'm working with now and again, but otherwise I'll work until I stop feeling inspired and grab something to eat or go for a walk. I usually finish up around 8/9pm unless I'm really in the zone. Obviously when the pressure's on you just have to work through regardless, but otherwise I don't like to force the music. If it's not coming naturally I'll have no qualms with taking a break and seeing some friends or going out for dinner, to reset etc. The beauty of working from home!
What's been the hardest project for you to work on, and why? Probably Volume because the music required me to step so far outside of the kind of stuff I feel comfortable writing. I essentially had to learn an entirely new style of composition and production. There was also a lot of self-imposed pressure to outperform my earlier efforts, due to the success of the previous game, which made it less of an organic/fun project for me but ultimately drove me to reach new heights.
Alternatively, what's been the most rewarding project for you to work on, and why? I'd have to say Thomas Was Alone due to the complexity of the audio system. You can play that game 100 times and you'll hear a different arrangement of music every time you play it. I think that's pretty special.
What advice would you give to a composer who is just starting out? Work on student projects and low level indie games/films to begin with. There are thousands of short films, mobile apps/games being developed all the time which need music. At the same time, hone your craft before you start getting too carried away with finding work. If your music’s not at a level where it can compete with what’s already readily available in the market, then your time would be better spent improving there. Once your chops are up to scratch, it’s just a case of finding projects and building working relationships with people. Get a full time job so you have income and compose in your free time around that. When you start making money from it, think about cutting your day job hours down until you get to a point where you're able to write music full time!
What else can we expect to see from David Housden as we head towards 2016? Well I'm very pleased to be working on my first AA IP and this is due for release next year. I also have The Hit Squad releasing next year along with another film I've been working on. In addition to this, I've been working on a game called SuperStick which is out on Xbox One and PS4 next year and I'm due to begin work on another new game next month. Lastly I'm meeting Mike next week to discuss our next collaboration together, so there's going to be quite a lot happening in 2016 so far!
“Everyone has an iconic game soundtrack that defined their youth, and the music for Quake II and III is surely high on that list. So take a read, as we get up to date with Sascha Dikiciyan who tells us about his career as a composer as well as his debut album ‘Doomsday’!” When did you first realize that composing was what you wanted to do with your life? Well I always knew I wanted to do something within the arts. But it wasn’t really until I got into scoring for video games that I thought I could make a living being a composer. I don't really think you can plan a career like this. I mean when I was young, growing up in a very classical orientated house I did the same thing other kids did, piano lessons (which I hated) early on only to blackmail my parents into letting me learn the drums or I would quit piano. :) Still, considering a career in music always felt a bit crazy. After my studies were over, I wasn’t really sure what to do next. I somehow stumbled into game music and though it may look obvious now, it wasn’t at the time. Even after the first few gigs, the industry was still so new. It had a handful of people doing music for games at the time. Every time someone would ask me and I’d tell them “oh yeah I compose for games” people either laughed it off or thought I did some sort of early Mario-type like sounds. But here we are, almost 17 years later and the industry is now massive. Who would have thought.
Who was your first major client, and what was that like for you at the time? My first client was actually id Software who were making Quake II at the time. That was around 1997 and the industry was still very young; the PC scene in particular had a very underground feel to it. Even during the early E3 shows, you couldn’t find a dude in a suit if you tried. It just wasn’t very corporate back then. It was an exciting time, especially when Quake first came out because it revolutionized the way we play online. Suddenly there was this dedicated online community and I played for hours. I even had a so-called Quake clan for a while.
How did you end up working on Quake II and III and what was it like to be part of such an iconic franchise? Ok. Let’s go back to 1997. One night, I was hanging out on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) in the id Software channel and one of the guys from id dropped in. I immediately messaged him asking if they had a composer for Quake II yet. To my surprise they didn’t so I asked to demo for it and sent them a CD of some ideas as fast as I possibly could. A few weeks later I got a call that we got the job. True story! It was a crazy feeling. A mix of panic and excitement because you know, Trent Reznor had scored the original Quake, so I was a bit terrified to be honest. After Quake II, we had a call back for Quake III Arena which was great because it also had Front line Assembly on it whom I am a big fan of as well. Working on Quake has been somewhat strange. At the time, nothing could possibly live up to what Trent R. did. And while I do admit that our original Quake II demo was more like something out of the Terminator 2 movie with almost no guitars, we put all of our heart and soul into the Quake II soundtrack and we barely made money off it. Over time, gamers started to appreciate the score more and more and today it has reached somewhat of a cult status I would say. There are tons of people recording themselves playing the guitar riffs via YouTube. And everyone has a Quake 2 or 3 story. You know “oh man I was in high school and it rocked so hard”. People still ask me if Sonic Mayhem is a band. It never was. I worked with a few different people (David Alexander worked with me on the Quake games) during the last 17 years but Sonic Mayhem is and was really just myself most of the time.
You got to work on ‘Tron Evolution’, so what was it like to work on this game, and how did you go about making the music have your own personal approach on it, while keeping it true to its electronic and retrosound? Tron Evolution was a special kind of gig. The hype for the new Tron movie was massive at the time and of course I am a huge Tron fan. The original Tron that is. Wendy Carlos’ score just made Tron so special and I did manage to sneak a few references to her work into Evolution. Tron was one of those few games where the Audio Director let me just do my thing and we wanted to push the sound design in the music much more than the movie’s score did. Since I am extremely sound design orientated with all my music (it’s actually called musical sound design) it was a lot of fun mangling and creating new sounds. I wasn’t really too concerned about the retro aspect because while we did stay true to its origin we did so with a modern approach. Unfortunately, due to industry politics, the soundtrack was never officially released (However, you can download the score on my Soundcloud account www.soundcloud.com/sonicmayhem).
When working on a game, can you tell us the main processes that you have to go through as a composer? Usually the first thing I do on a major gig is fly out to meet the developers. It’s always a much better work experience in my opinion after you had the chance to shake hands and grab at least a dinner. It might not happen on every gig but I try. First I will get a detailed document of how many cues are needed exactly and how long they need to be. Then there is artwork and cinematics that usually come in a QuickTime format. In a few instances like with The Long Dark (Hinterland Games) I get to play the game while composing. Unfortunately that’s not a common situation. You have milestones. And off to work you go. As you start writing you will get feedback from the audio director and the team. Of course if the score is to be recorded with a full live orchestra it's a totally different ball game. The score will need to get orchestrated, copied and prepared. I’ve been to Skywalker Ranch a few times recording scores like Prototype and Space Marine. It’s an insane amount of work and since you only have 1-2 days to record, you really have to have everything ready to go. Closer to the end of the development process we usually have an intense work period commonly referred to as ‘crunch mode’. Mixing music, getting ready to ship it so they can start including the music in the actual game. It’s a challenging process. You work long hours and projects always change. And finally, there is the editing of the soundtrack that will go on iTunes. Almost every time we have to tweak or rearrange tracks to make them work for a soundtrack release. So really it’s double the amount of work but it’s more of an enjoyable process because you are already done and getting ready to show the world what you have worked on for the past months.
What does a typical day normally involve for you? I have a somewhat strange work schedule. I usually work in blocks of 3-4 hours. So I will work from 9-12, take a break, get lunch or run errands. Then I will work again usually from 4-5pm-8pm. Then dinner. And I will do it again from 10pm til sometimes 3am. Night times are usually the most creative. This may seem like not a lot of hours but it's really a myth that you have to work 14+ hours a day to do good work. Not really. I can get more done in a good focused 3-hour session than noodling around for 6.
What was it like to create music for a post apocalyptic world in ‘Dead Rising 3’? Dead Rising was a fun gig. Mainly because I got to play around with some Carpenter-esque sounds and arrangements. I think the soundtrack ended up being something like almost 6 hours long. I had a blast and Capcom’s audio director and composer Oleksa Lozowchuk is one of the smartest, talented people I’ve ever worked with. He made us all work hard because his own material is very strong and the dude just knows quality.
You also got to work on the ‘Borderlands’ games, so what was that like, and how did they compare to anything you'd done before? Borderlands, especially the first one, was just so awesome to work on. I think this was the first time I shared scoring duties with a few other composers. So that was already different. Each of us got a different area to score which I think was smart because it meant for plenty of variety. Just like the levels in Borderlands itself. We didn’t really know what the other guys were writing so everyone was doing their own thing. At the time one of the main instruments used on the score was a GuitarViol which is basically a guitar formatted bowed string instrument. It sounded great when put through a few guitar pedals. A really gnarly yet cinematic sound. So we went out and had someone play a ton of riffs and melodies for a few hours that we could use in the score. Overall Borderlands was a great experience and I also wrote some material for the sequel as well.
What can you tell us about your debut album 'Doomsday'? Doomsday was something that has been in my life now on and off for the past 3 years. It really started out as just wanting to make a cool video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9qySHLWjTY) to accompany this track I had originally written as a pitch for a video game. But after I finished Mass Effect 3 and Borderlands 2 in 2012, I realized I was a bit burned out and I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do musically with my own record. I had all these ideas but I just didn’t feel it. So I just stopped everything for a while; trying to find out why writing music suddenly stopped being fun. It was a somewhat emotional time and when all you know how to do is write music, it's very hard to go through your day without feeling somewhat disillusioned. I had to pick myself up and say ok I can do this. Let’s get to work. And so I did. The first thing I remember saying to myself is that I wanted to do exactly the opposite of what people might expect of me. I did not want Doomsday to sound like just another game score or some random disposable EDM track. I wanted it to be a journey through all the genres and sounds that I love myself. Basically I threw all the rules out and went back to the basics. That also meant using less plugins and using more hardware. I think it was the turning point for me when I realized computers can be too predictable. So while I already had a large arsenal of analog synths, I went out and purchased some more vintage gear, like an Ensoniq sampler from the early ‘90s and a ton of guitar pedals. After using nothing more than hardware and spending hours experimenting suddenly the fun started to return. Subsequently the Doomsday album as you hear it today really only began taking shape in early 2014.
How did you end up working with Power Glove & Malukah, and what were they like to work with? After working on Mass Effect 3 in 2012, someone tweeted me a YouTube link. It was Malukah’s tribute song “Reignite” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re32xnyYP3A). Basically she took a few of the themes that myself and the other composers had written for Mass Effect 3 and composed this incredible song with lyrics and all. It totally blew me away. I think I watched it like 10-12 times back-to-back. It was something in her voice that made me immediately email her because I knew she would be great on a more darker, electronic track. She wasn’t sure at first but after a while her confidence in me grew and she totally nailed it. Aside from working on the track together, we’ve become friends as well! Bleed Forever seems to be a fan favorite now. The Power Glove guys had scored the Far Cry 3 standalone DLC called Blood Dragon and their retro sound was so brilliant that I immediately went to Dean Evans, the mastermind behind Blood Dragon, and asked him for their contact info. They were just as excited about a possible collab and we all worked hard in 2014 to make it a reality. These guys are so talented and will go places for sure. Check out their just released EP2 (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ep-ii/id990227694). It was just a great experience and both tracks came out exactly how I wanted them to.
What's been the hardest project for you to work on, and why? The Doomsday record was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I learned that your own expectations can sometimes work against you. And working on something like this all by yourself is very difficult because at some point you will just lose objectivity and keep asking yourself, well is this really good or just shit? It’s much easier when you work as a team or a collective. On most game gigs I’ve always worked with someone together. So I had to lock myself in and dig really deep until I had something that really made me feel something. And when you feel it, you know only then it’s right.
What else can we expect to see from Sascha Dikiciyan in 2015? I'm currently looking into putting a live show together. I’m working on a few more songs, ideas for visuals and stuff. But it’s going to take me a while to pull it off. People expect to be blown away so I will have to at least try! I’m also looking at one possible TV project I can't talk about yet. There will be a remix album of Doomsday which will feature several of my personal favorite artists. There is also a possible new game gig on the horizon but I can't say much about it right now. So we’ll see!
Taking cues from Breaking Benjamin, Flyleaf, Sevendust, and more, Sleep Juliet are led by the powerhouse Kendall Kinchen on vocals. This fall, catch Juliet on tour to promote their new single, “Unbreakable”, all across Texas and Louisiana! “This has been an incredible year for Sleep Juliet. We’ve started recording new material with our new lineup and we’re getting ready to release our new single, “Unbreakable”. It’s a song about the hardships everyone faces: rejection, heartache, loss--it’s all there. The new song is OUT NOW along with the accompanying video on social media. It’s a very exciting time for us. Juliet has been relatively silent these past few months while we spent time in the studio and rehearsing for the live show. Our new lineup is rock solid. (New singer) Kendall’s voice is like a juggernaut--she fits right in with the band. It’s really hard to keep quiet about it but we wanted to make sure the show was just right before we took it to the stage. We’re ready. Let’s do it.” Sleepjuliet.com / Facebook.com/sleepjuliet / Reverbnation.com/sleepjuliet / Instagram.com (@sleepjuliet)
Francis are a trio band based in Bradford, UK. They met at Bradford college while taking a music course. They started hanging out and got closer at miss France's English class, They became fans of each other's musical talents and they decided to jam and see if there was a spark there, Not only was there a spark, there was magic, and they decided to share it with the world. They named their band in honor of their English teacher
"We love music, we love people, and we'll try our best to inspire the world with our art and be your greatest Escape" Facebook.com/thefrancisband Twitter:@bandfrancis Instagram: @francis.band
“She has worked on iconic art for Tomb Raider, Guardians of the Galaxy, The New Avengers, 1602: Witch Hunter Angela, and MANY more! Her style is instantly recognizable, and with this impressive career already achieved then the future is looking very bright indeed! Also, don’t miss out, as the brilliant Stephanie Hanns will be heading to Film & Comic Con shortly!” When did you first realize that art was what you wanted to do with your life? I never really thought about it. Art has always been a very important part of my life. I chose my options accordingly because it made sense. There was actually a moment where I thought I wasn't cut for being an artist. I droped the whole case and went to study photography so you might say that after two years of longing I actually really decided to go back to pictural arts and this time, it was a real decision, not just going with the flow. The thing I really decided was to go toward pop culture. I want to be able to talk to anyone, and so illustration made the most sense for me. That I decided in Art school.
Who was your first major client, and what was that like for you at the time? In 2003 I met my first publisher (Emmanuel Proust) at the children bookfair of Montreuil which is the most important children book convention in France. At that moment, contacting publishers through emails was still rather new and not very well seen by editors. You had to actually meet publishers and show them an actual portfolio in a neat folder. Things changed right? Anyway, at that moment I was still very unsure about what I could or wanted to do. I wasn't really fixed on comic books, I was just looking for my first gig. Emmanuel was starting a new comic book company, we talked, I sent him a few stories and had my first comic book two years later. In France, an artist usually takes a year for a comic book (bd) and I was a year late. This was the year where I learnt that procrastination and self loathing were the artists worst enemies and lifelong travelmates. After that I had learnt also how to deal with it. I am never late anymore.
How did you first end up working with Hachette and what were they like to work with? When my first comic book was published, an art director from hachette noticed the cover and contacted me to work with her on several covers. It was very rewarding to be the image of a story. I usually say the first gesture toward a reader. It was also very demanding. At that moment, I was still working mostly traditionnaly and was also rather inexperimented. I had a lot of retakes, like really a lot, and that's where I decided to switch to digital painting.
In 2010 you went on to work with Marvel, so how did that happen, and what have they been like to work with? I had been mostly a cover artist for young adult litterature for a few years and had the opportunity to have my portfolio handed to the marvel international talent scout in 2008. My work was still a bit green but interesting enough to stay on Marvel's files. They gave me a chance to prove myself with an eight day deadline for the cover of Firestar and it worked. We have had a steady relationship since then. They have always been very encouraging in all my experiments. I am still a growing artist, I want to test myself and to learn. They understand that. Also working with marvel is usually more self challenging. Deadlines are crazy tight and you are mostly your own master. A picture is done when you say it is. they have to be able to trust you with quality and time.
What was it like to work on the ‘New Avengers’, and can you tell us a bit about your time with this project? It was my first interior work for Marvel. New Avengers Origins : Ant Man and Wasp. The only thing that comes to my mind is that I didn't really know Hank Pym at that moment and drew 10 pages of him with black hair. I had to create a new folder that I called Suicide Blond when I realised that I had to paint over all these pictures of him.
You also got to work on ‘Angela: Asgard's Assassin’, so what was that like, and what do you enjoy the most about the narrative behind this character? I know the character from her spawn days and was very excited to be able to work in the same time on a character created by Neil Gaiman and written by my favorite comrad in arms, Kieron Gillen. I wasn't familiar with Marguerite Bennet's work back then but we went along quite well. I was very happy to be able to give Angela strong flesh and bones, especially since she didn't come with much more than that at the beginning. She's a warrior, and I wanted to make her regal, deadly. At first I was doing the backstories and used the fact that it was only five pages each month to experiment. I went back to traditionnal lineart and digital coloring. I wanted to find an oldschool style to bring the mythologic vibe to the pages. but, in the end, it was taking me so much time that I went back to digital.
Recently, you've been drawing both the cover and lead story for ‘1602: Witch Hunter Angela’, so what has that been like, and what do you enjoy the most about working on this title? 1602 was a real rollercoaster. It was my first time doing so many pages monthly and I still had some cover work here and there to finish so let's just say I am now tired but happy. I think what I enjoyed the most, was designing the alternate versions of Angela, Sera, Gardians of Galaxy, Enchantress and Rogue. I really wanted to give them a rough side. I call angela's armor the "1602 Heavy ". It was so thrilling to see that the readers immediatly clicked with it. I see some of my followers working on cosplays of it and I cannot wait to see it IRL. I also liked doing the cover art in a pretty much 16's/17's century style. I am some kind of art geek and I always love to have some art history references on covers when I can, so that was really a treat for me. And of course, I cannot talk about 1602 without talking about Marguerite Bennet who did a very clever writing with all the teasing you can get shaekspearian style.
We've read that you really enjoy doing cover work, so can you tell us a bit about why that is? Cover art is always a challenge. You are to be the first contact between a reader and a writer. You have to call the right kind of public (age and interest wise) and while showing the soul of a story, not spoil it. I love that since you only have one image, you have to be good in everything. A cover is not a simple drawing. the composition is essential as much as style, colors and the capacity imply a story with just one artwork. Also, professionnaly, cover art suits my need of versatility. I can work on Jem and the Holograms one day and Star Wars the other day. But what made me come to cover art is that it really made me feel like a professionnal. When you're doing a comic book, in France, as mentionned earlier, it takes usually a year for one book. during that year you're dependant on your editor for almost everything. Money of course, but more importantly, he's the only one who sees your work and gives an opinion. I didn't like that and working fast on different projects for different publishers helped me feel confident about my skills and made me want to be better.
How long does a cover normally take you to put together, and can you tell us about some of the steps that go behind this process? There's no such thing as a regular length of time for a cover. There are deadlines and the capacities to reach them. Usually for Marvel I get a week. More if it's for special events planned well ahead. Sometimes I get only two days when it's a rush for a reason or another. It's the same with Boom Studios. For Dark Horse I always had a lot of time. For Young Adult litterature, I usually have two months. Usually it's because of all the people implied in the creation process which makes a lot of back and forth. It's not a problem, you just have to know it. . Usually for a cover of a comic book I have three options. The usual one these days, when I work on a series is to get a brief and submit between one and five roughs that talk about the book. The second option is usually used for variant covers: You do an iconic picture that can stand alone. Think poster. The 3rd option is when the editor already has an idea like for exemple the tribute paintings or the anti bullying specials. Anyway, you submit between one and five roughs, get the approval the evening or the day after and go for finals. Marvel gives me free reign usually and never asks for a lot of retakes. These days, since I am back to traditionnal, I do the sketch on my computer ( I have a cintiq ), print it in light grey on 300g watercolor paper (lanaquarelle satin) and paint directy over it with a mix of watercolor inks (colorex) and acrylics. I scan the result and do the last retakes and adjustments in photoshop .
Also, how hard or easy is it to take an iconic character, and just give it your own unique approach, so that people know it's your style when they see it? I never really think about that. I just do whatever works. The most important is the character, not me. If I am hired it's because editors know mostly what to expect from me. I therefore never have to think about it.
What's been the hardest project for you to work on, and why? They all are challenging, I mean when you go to sleep each night at 5am because the dealine is coming too fast and you haven't seen your friends in like a milion years, sure, it IS hard, but it's part of the job and it takes passion and dedication. the only one that's almost been too much was the first comic I did in 2004 because I was so unsure of myself that I almost blew it but otherwise I only take projects that excite me and it's always enough for me to forget about the rest.
Alternatively, what's been the most rewarding project for you to work on, and why? The next! Always! I have to admit Journey into Mystery was really something. The fans were so dedicated, they made it worth it, so much. When the last issue was published (I did cover and interiors for this one) I saw all my followers on tumblr changing their avatars for pannels of the book. It was really overwhelming.
How excited are you for your upcoming appearance at the Belfest Film and Comic Con, and what can attending fans expect? I am super excited. I have never been in Belfast and barely ever been in the UK at all. I basically know nothing about the con so I'll just go with the flow. I'm sure it will be great. I'll come with prints and artbooks and of course my french humor, please don't hold it against me!
For those reading this, that might want to become an artist themselves, then what advice would you give to them? Build a strong portfolio with an identity. You will be hired on two things and two things only: the affinities toward a universe or another that shows your artworks, and what makes you unique. Beginners tend to think they should draw in a specific way or another depending on which art job they want to do but that's wrong. You will always be hired for what makes you unique, not what makes you blend. You really have to listen to advices if they're politely said and constructed. Especially if it comes from an editor. Someone takes time to offer you advice, it's always a good idea to listen. Don't dismiss the advices from non professionnals either. Always challenge yourself, be good at what you do and share your work. Never miss a deadline and be easy to work with. That's it. anything else is litterature.
These Colours Don’t Run are a 5-piece Canadian metalcore band hailing from the metal capital of Canada – Edmonton, Alberta. They’ve shared the stage with heavy hitters such as Unearth, Comeback Kid, Revocation, Devildriver among many others and have recently dropped their second EP “Northside Dreams,” mixed at Resonate Studios and mastered by The Basement Record NC’s Jamie King (BTBAM, Human Abstract, etc.). Check out their newest music video for the title track “Northside Dreams” on their YouTube channel and find upcoming shows and booking info on their Facebook page. Download the new EP on Bandcamp today!
Facebook.com/tcdrband Youtube.com/tcdrband @TCDRband Thesecoloursdontrun.bandcamp.com
“His illustration work can be found on influential comics such as The Darkness, Lady Machanika and MANY more! So get involved as Joe Benitaz tells us what it’s like to be an artist in this day and age, as well as what we can expect to see from him as he takes on Film and Comic Con this year!” When did you first realize that art was what you wanted to do with your life? Art was something I always did. I didn't have a choice, there was nothing else I was good at. I've been lucky I was able to make a living doing it.
Who was your first major client, and what was that whole experience like for you? I would say Top Cow, I was hired by them and that pretty much changed my life!
How did the idea for ‘Weapon Zero’ originally come about, and what was it like to work on? The idea I believe was originally by Marc Silvestri and David Wohl, they had the idea of New Mutants in space. It was the first book that I had a big hand in the design elements so it was a lot of fun, I become very fond of the characters. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted visually with the characters so it was a great experience.
When a project is your actual own idea, then how much pressure does it add when you are trying to put together a comic? The pressure isn't there initially because when it's my own idea I'm just thinking of cool things to do. The pressure comes after when you're trying to make the story work and make sense.
How did you end up working with Devil’s Reign, and what were they like to work with? Top Cow made a deal with Marvel to do a crossover and I happened to be one of the guys working at the studio then and they asked which characters we'd like to work on and that was pretty much it. They were a lot of fun because I got to do my take on Wolverine, who was one of my favorite characters. It was cool.
How do you go about making characters such as ‘Wolverine’ and the ‘Silver Surfer’ your own, whilst also making sure they stay true to how their character usually looks? I don't know, I didn't really overthink it too much. I just drew them naturally but in my style.
You went on to illustrate 18 issues of ‘The Darkness’, so how did that come about, and what was that project like to work on? I was working on Weapon Zero, when that series was over, I had the option to take over Witchblade after Mike was leaving, Darkness after Marc, or doing a creator-owned. I wasn't confident enough at that time to do a creator owned, and Witchblade was too associated with Mike, I felt anyone taking over would pale in comparison. With Darkness I felt there was more to play around with and it fit my aesthetic more. I like the darker storylines and thought it was a better fit for me.
Also, what was it like to work with so many iconic characters in the ‘Overkill: Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator’ crossover? I've always been a big fan of Aliens and Predator so it was a pleasure to do my take on those characters.
You co-wrote and drew six issues of ‘Wraithborn’ for WildStorm, which at the time was acquired by DC. So can you tell us a bit about this project, as well as what it's like to work with DC? At the time I knew a lot of the guys at Wildstorm so I had a good working relationship with them and they gave me the freedom to do what I wanted creatively. Wraithborn was about a teenager who inadvertently gets a power that was meant for someone else, and an individual who had the training that was supposed to get the power but didn't. Basically, I wanted to do something like a female Peter Parker story but incorporating some of the darker supernatural elements that I liked.
In recent years, it looks like you have been in high demand as a cover artist, so can you tell us what you enjoy the most about putting the cover together? Putting my spin on the characters that I'm commissioned to draw.
Since 2010 you've been working on ‘Lady Mechanika’, so what has that been like, and can you tell us about the narrative behind this comic? Lady Mechanika is about a woman in Victorian England with mechanical limbs who has no memory of how she got them and is on a search for answers. It's a steampunk book that takes place in the Victorian Era with its elegance and class but also with fantastical sci-fi and supernatural elements.
What's the hardest part about being an artist? Actually starting to work, getting the inspiration and creative flow going.
Alternatively, what's the most rewarding part about being an artist? Getting to bring what's in my head to life. Creating something that no one's ever seen before, or showing it in a different way.
How excited are you for your upcoming appearances at Film and Comic Con, and what can attending fans expect? Very excited, I've never been to the UK so this will be my first time there! I'm very excited to visit and see the sights if I get the chance and meet the UK fans. Attending fans can bring their books to get signed, and I'll be doing sketches/commissions and should have a few books for sale.
What else can we expect to see from Joe Benitez as we head towards 2016? More Lady Mechanika and maybe some new characters too!
Ark are a young three piece alternative rock band from Lancaster in the North West of England. They formed after a garage jam in late 2011 and have been regularly working on writing and developing their material since then. They experiment with wacky effects and time signatures to create music that varies from ambient post-rock to borderline metal and dabbles at everything in between. Throughout the second half of 2013 they recorded and released their debut self-titled EP. (available from http://arktheband.bandcamp.com/album/ark) A collection of five original songs varying from the indie up-beat style of 'Concrete Opera' to the heavy drop B riffs of 'Enceladus', this EP was created as a simple "Who we are and what we do." statement. It showed their versatility and song writing skills and helped secure a strong place in the local music scene. In 2014, off the back of their successful EP, Ark arranged a show in the Golden State of California. They flew out to San Francisco and played at the West End Celebration in Sand City at the end of August. From this trip they acquired touring skills and made many useful contacts, which they hope to put to good use again very soon. After recovering from jet lag, Ark began work on their second set of recordings, the 'Synchronised' single. (available from http://arktheband.bandcamp.com/album/synchronised) This was released in March 2015, and shortly afterwards was noticed by Radio Lancashire's BBC Introducing team. In April, Ark gave a live interview with Sean McGinty, followed by the recording of a set from the Ferret in Preston which was broadcast a few weeks later. To keep up to date with Ark you can like them on facebook (http://www.facebook.com/arktheband) follow them on twitter (@ark_band) or subscribe to their mailing list (http://eepurl.com/barn69). Contact them via facebook, twitter or their website (http://www.ark-music.co.uk) to leave feedback, comments or book.
“If you’ve seen War Horse, Atlantis or even Kick-Ass 2, then you’ll already know who Robert Emms is! He has worked tirelessly since starting out to become the successful actor that he now is, and it’s a privilege to have him talk to us today as we discuss his excellent career in depth!” If we can go right back to the start for you, when did you first begin acting? I started acting as a hobby when I was 11 or 12, I joined a local drama group and I sort of spent my teenage years doing lots of plays and drama groups, going up to Edinburgh and that sort of stuff. Eventually I decided that I wanted to do it as a career so I went to college and that was my main focus. I suppose I was quite young but it was on an amateur level, it was good.
At what point in your amateur days did you decide this is what you wanted to as a career? I went to a college called The BRIT School which is in Selhurst near Croydon, I originally applied there at GCSE level to go and do music because I play the piano and have played piano since I was six, it was something I thought of as pursuing for a career. At the last minute I suddenly thought to myself about how I actually love working in groups of people in a sort of play or film or T.V and that’s all part of it. You're part of a big team, an ensemble and I love the social and community aspect of that so I changed at the last minute and decided I'd wait until Sixth Form and go to BRIT School and apply. That was what I said when I was 15, that I wanted to do this as a job.
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art was next, when you look at some of the previous students there did you ever have to do a double take when you arrived there? Yeah, there's been some amazing actors who have been there, some actors that I love, some of my favourite actors and also some people that you look and go “oh I didn't know that they went here” and are surprised. You have to step up to the mark in a kind of way, you have to think “well now I'm serious about this” being in the same kind of pool as these people. If I'm honest, going to BRIT School really prepared me for that because it is just an amazing school and experience that prepares you for big stuff really, they don't shy about so I didn't feel intimidated, I just felt excited to be in a place where the calibre of training was high.
As with any form of entertainment, it is hard to break through and cut throat even, what did you do to make yourself stand out? I suppose the thing is with acting is that it is so much based upon what you look like and sometimes it's really not based on talent. People don't set out with what is going to make me stand out, well maybe some people do, I just think the main thing is obviously go out and work really hard but also to be really proactive. I think one thing I personally have done is be very proactive early on and I wrote lots of letters to people I wanted to work with, if I saw a production I really liked I'd look up who did it, got in touch with them and send them my C.V which obviously thousands of actors do anyway but that was just what I wanted to do. I made lists of people I wanted to work with, if I heard someone recommend a film to watch, I'd watch the film. It's being in a proactive position and realising that IT doesn't come to you, you have to fight for IT. Some people do it and it happens and some people do and it doesn't happen, it's a bitch of an industry if I'm honest! I work because, mostly because I have a good look, I have an interesting face that makes people go “oh we can cast him as that or that” and someone, somewhere has actually recognised that so that is part of my reason. There are other people who work because for the same reason and because they are talented and there are people who have all that might not have had the luck. It is just a mixture of so many things and I wish I kinda knew how to do it but it just seems to happen. One thing I'd recommend to people is being proactive, I think that's the key and talking to people and being open, knowing who you want to work with, know what you like, develop your techniques, I think that is the main thing.
Wanting to do it as a career and actually making it are two very different things, when did you realise that it was actually happening for you? I suppose for me, in terms of a jobbing level as an actor, I did a thing called The Street by Jimmy McGovern, that was my first T.V job and after that I felt like okay I'm jobbing, going from job to job. Then in terms of level of recognition or stuff that was on a different kind of level was when I did the War Horse play and then meeting Spielberg and him offering me a job in the film. So that whole experience with War Horse really, I suppose I felt to myself that this is kind of happening, I'm jobbing but now I feel I have a little bit of weight behind me now, I'm in a big budget film, I'm going to the première in New York, it's all very lovely and Steven Spielberg has offered me this part without even auditioning me. He saw me in the play in London and met me after and gave me the part straight after. That was the moment I thought, okay, this may get a bit easier now.
You made your start in theatre and were soon into television and films, how much do you need to adapt as an actor when making the switch between each one? Personally I think it takes a bit of adapting technically but in terms of the actual art of acting, you do exactly the same things you do on stage, you're being as truthful, real and natural as possible but I think going from theatre to T.V, something I learned was being aware of my surroundings and the space I was in. So obviously you might be in an office space so you won't use the same level of vocal that you would use on stage, you're going to be a bit more real in terms of volume. In terms of actual performance I think you're still looking for the same kind of truth.
You mentioned ‘War Horse’ and it changed things for you in a lot of ways, how was it to work with Steven Spielberg especially when he cast you without auditioning you? It was lovely, I think that put me at ease in a way. I did feel very nervous working with him but he's a really lovely person, very generous and you feel like you are very well looked after by him and I think because he'd given me that part, without really seeing me in an audition situation, I felt a lot more at ease because he'd seen my work and appreciated it. I don't feel like I had to beg for the part, I felt like I'd earned it if you like, not in an arrogant way.
No, I suppose playing the part for two years is a pretty big audition anyway? Yeah exactly, I felt at ease because he offered me that part. That whole experience I was surrounded by some really great actors so it was a great opportunity to watch and learn from them and also it was just a good laugh!
With a period piece, particularly one set during a war, how do you prepare ahead of a role like that? Well I'd already done a lot of research into the First World War while doing the play so I just continued on that research, I had a different character so I extended that into the research but I suppose you're just looking to understand the surroundings they were in before the war, during and after the war and what kind of person goes into it and what kind of person comes out of it. Looking at the social things going on in the time and I thought I'd gathered a really good collection of photographs that really helped me with that. It is an interesting thing, I didn't do history at school so it's great to do period stuff where you get to research a period of history where you might not have done before.
In 2013 you took part in the second ‘Kick-Ass’ film, how did that role come around? I just auditioned for that, I met the director, he was in London and he was casting the supporting superheroes. I actually had flu at the time and really wasn't sure if I could go to the meeting but I got a taxi there and it was worth it, it was good fun on that job.
It must have been a very different thing to do a super-hero, well a darker kind of superhero project? Yeah, it's very much tongue in cheek really isn't it. It was a good laugh because it was so ridiculous and so silly so it was a different style and it was also the first time I'd worked in an American accent which was a good experience. It was good, after seeing the first film you get a good idea of the tone that they are going to go for in the second film so we could all adopt that kind of tone and I think it paid off.
‘Atlantis’ was another big production for you, a very physical one at times, how was it to prepare for and work on? That was a great job to do, partly because playing one of the three hero characters gives you the opportunity to be very physical and you're also doing a lot of scenes so you really get a good character arc. We had a lot of fight and stunt rehearsals for that and obviously the three of us had a really good laugh so it was quite easy to prepare for that. The on screen and physical real life characters between the three of us was very similar to real life so we could sort of bring that to it.
What projects do you have in the pipeline that you can tell us about? I'm currently filming a thing called The Living and the Dead which is a B.B.C series with Colin Morgan and Charlotte Spencer. It is a six part Victorian ghost story and I've got another series coming out which will be announced at one point, currently I'm not saying anything. I'm not certain but I'm pretty sure that around the end of this year there’ll be a show called Capital, which is a three part drama written by Peter Bowker based on a book called Capital by Peter Lanchester. It was a best selling novel a few years ago so this is the three part adaptation of it with myself, Gemma Jones, Toby Jones, Lesley Sharp, Adil Aktar and many others, it has a massive cast. It should be good!
How do you feel looking back on your career so far, do you feel you're at where you'd like to have been when you first started out? Yeah I am, I'm pleased, obviously I want to do more and more and more. I love doing T.V and film, I really, really love it and I don't ever want to stop, that's a real passion of mine. For me, I always look back and think I'd like to have done more theatre within that mix as well but that's something that every actor feels. People who do this sometimes want to do T.V and it's always the grass is always greener but definitely in the future at some point I'd like to focus on doing a bit more theatre.
The Wonder Years – No Closer to Heaven The Wonder Years returned with their new record ‘No Closer to Heaven’, another instalment to an already stacked discography following previous albums such as ‘The Greatest Generation’ and ‘Suburbia: I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing’. The band have an extremely high work ethic that has made them become a household name in the pop punk scene, they’ve also been responsible for influencing numerous upcoming bands who hope to achieve the same success. The album begins with a designed introduction song ‘Brothers &’ which has some beautiful guitar effects creating a gripping sound, the song leads into ‘Cardinals’ which was the first single released from the record, the song contains one of the best choruses on the album and some inspiring vocals from singer Dan Campbell, it’s a powerhouse of a track to bring the album straight into life, the choir like singing of the lyrics “we're no saviours, If we can't save our brothers” works nicely and the lyrics represent a very heartfelt message. The next song indicates a possible influence for the band – ‘A song for Patsy Cline’ this song isn’t the most typical Wonder Years song which shows they’re not afraid to experiment with different styles, the conclusion of the song repeats the enjoyable chorus and repeated shouts of “whoa, woah” which promises to spark your emotions. The pace quickens with the slick ‘I Don’t Like Who I Was Then’ drawing on similar sounding tracks from previous works, the hook of “if I could manage not to fuck this up” again is so inviting to sing along to, there are times where Dan Campbell’s vocals are aggressive and emotive as I’ve ever heard them again reflecting the personal messages lying in the lyrics. Possibly my favourite track on the record ‘Cigarettes and Saints’ has a beautiful introduction instrumentally with softly spoken vocals that translate into an extremely powerful and dramatic outburst that is so effective in drawing you into the lyrics and message as a listener. The tireless attitude continues in ‘The Bluest Things on Earth’ yet another strong memorable chorus which will sound incredible on the live stage, the reoccurring difference from the previous works seems to be the extra effort on the vocals and the sophisticated but not overworked instrumentation. ‘A Song for Ernest Hemingway’ reminds me a lot of the album ‘Suburbia’ with the additional backing vocals that remind me of the likes of Spraynard with a more traditional pop punk style, some listeners may become tired of the passionate main vocals but I believe it’s something that has only been used in a couple of the bands tracks in the past. ‘Thanks for The Ride’ is your classic pop punk anthem (think of Teenage Parents from The Greatest Generation) with its infectious chorus making it one of the most enjoyable and entertaining songs on the record. The band continues to experiment with the additional vocals of Letlive’s vocalist Jason Butler in ‘Stained Glass Ceilings’; the first half of the track reminds me a lot of emo revival band The Hotelier, Jason Butler’s frenetic vocals work wonderfully with the other instruments, a brief but clear addition to the album. The next track ‘I Wanted So Badly to Be Brave’ will remind you of the album ‘The Upsides’ in style with the fast paced drum beats and the distant unorthodox guitar riffs, the choruses continue to define the catchy nature of the band’s music with another good example in this track. The next track ‘You in January’ is another nice alternative change of pace with the soft addition of the keyboard, it still has its powerful moments when the tempo lifts to avoid a slow and dreary sound. The penultimate track ‘Palm Reader’ begins with a riff very reminiscent of Michigan’s Fireworks; the guitar skills shown in this track are different to the rest of the album and work wonderfully in between Dan Campbell’s industrious vocal performance continuing to represent the emotions and feelings of the entire band. The energy finally saps in the final track ‘No Closer to Heaven’ with its more subdued style both vocally and instrumentally, it’s a clever closing to an entertaining album suggesting every thought and emotion had been touched on in the making of the record, this is a record full of anthems and takes you on a very interesting journey with its religious themes and very personal messages, another wonderful addition to their catalog for this inspired and diligent band. JP
Iron Chic – Ys Iron Chic are back two years after releasing their second LP ‘The Constant One’ with a new three track EP entitled ‘Ys’ on Poison City Records. The first track ‘Ys’ is your table Iron Chic track with a funky riff and easy gang vocals drawing influence from the likes of Latterman and The Bouncing Souls, with catchy and flowing lyrics creating an easy listening pop punk anthem. The second track ‘The Dreaming and the Walking World’ begins with some kind of distorted radio broadcast followed by a deep bass line and distant vocals, again the simple guitar riff and controlled gang vocals form a perfectly fine punk song that’s not going to blow you away, just nice to listen to. What is good is the brief moments of guitar distortion, to close the short EP the band end with a cover of Dead Kennedy’s ‘Dog Bite’ – a very short and snappy track with Iron Chic’s preference of a distorted and difficult vocal style, the guitars in the background keep a consistent pace creating a garagey sound, an enjoyable attempt. This EP may not make you want to go back and listen to their previous works; it does provide a little taste of what could come from the band in the future however. JP
POD - The Awakening The follow up to 2012's Murdered Love finds P.O.D taking a new path in taking on, for the first time in their career, a concept album. The slow grizzly build up filled with new clips from past and present makes for an interesting start, providing a clear narrative that sets the album up, it may drag on a little but 'Am I Awake' does its job with its tempo and rhythm changes. It goes down hill with 'This Goes Out to You', a straight forward riff and predictable vocal patterns, as well as baffling delivery changes and chorus, the good work started by the opener is instantly undone with what can only be described as a bad song. The spoken word narrative, it turns out, wasn't a one-off to open the album and is a recurring theme throughout which at times works well but at times gets over used, but the loss of momentum in the previous song is largely corrected with 'Rise of NWO'. It suffers a little from having too much going on and loses a little focus but it is still a good lead into 'Criminal Conversations' which makes good use of dynamics giving a sense of hope while maintaining a sense of foreboding.
“It is the difference between what is a good album and a great album” One of the better songs finds a lot of beefy riffage among the menacing vocals and some uncomfortable backing and guitar tones, 'Somebody's Trying To Kill Me' continues the menacing theme begun in the previous song. It is an enthralling song full of harsh overtones and creates a great narrative alongside the more melody focused 'Get Down'. For me P.O.D have always been a hit or miss band over the years and this album is no different, for every 'Get Down', there is a 'This Goes Out to You'. It creates a bit of frustration because it is the difference between what is a good album and a great album. AN
Bon Jovi - Burning Bridges For me, the opening of an album needs to grab you and Bon Jovi have had plenty of grabbing openings. From the grinding organ that opens the classic Slippery When Wet to the air pounding drumming on New Jersey, they have always known how to make an opening, until now it seems. 'Teardrop to the Sea' ambles along slowly and despite the signature emotion in the voice of Jon Bon Jovi, it is uninspired and really just sums up the album as a whole as album life without Richie Sambora begins. The album is what it is, a contractual obligation as another relationship, this time with long time label Mercury comes to a close in not so amicable fashion and something to tour behind until the â€œrealâ€? new album I suppose you'd call it emerges next year. When the main man admits it to be a filler album and has essentially disowned it before its release, it is hard for the listener to feel anything for an album of paint by numbers pop rock tracks. It is no surprise that the albums best track, 'Saturday Nights Gave Me Sunday Morning' features a writing credit for Richie Sambora, it is easily the stand out track and the only one fit to be judged along some of the bands classics. The question is if it was on any of the post Keep the Faith albums, when the bands style began to evolve, would it still be a stand out? Perhaps, perhaps not but it is still the shining light on an album of cast-offs that everybody, including I'm sure Jon Bon Jovi, will want to forget. Here's hoping the next album will give us something to shout about because this one has largely been a waste of 40 minutes of my morning. AN
Biters - Electric Blood Straight out of the school of hard rocking, Biters are out of the blocks with a formula that isn't anything we've not heard before but it is certainly a while since it has been heard being done as well as these guys. With a modern twist and their own unique stamp lumped on, following on from a slew of E.Ps since their 2010 self titled release, they have a debut album that is highly impressive and seriously enjoyable. It is an unmistakably AC/DC type groove on 'Restless Hearts' that moves in to Cheap Trick territory on the pre and chorus sections, it is as infectious as it is catchy and a very strong opening track and that energy is continued into '1975' as the feeling of rock n roll is transported back in time with a swagger and energy that is pouring out of the album. From the more sludgy groove of 'Heart Fulla Rock n Roll' with its reminiscing lyrics comes the more ballad like 'Dreams Don't Die' which provides a nice change to a more radio friendly sound I suppose you'd call it. There is something very Guns n Roses about Biters, from the melodies to the Slash like solos and taking what is at times a heavy sound but making it easy for any one to access it, fans of the heavier side of rock are going to dismiss it but others, fans of heavier music or not, are going to grab it and love it. These Atlanta natives could well have some big days ahead of them and make their forthcoming U.K tour an essential watch. AN
Disturbed – Immortalized They are finally back after a long five year break in which fans feared for their future, but now they unleash their sixth album, ‘Immortalized’ with a revitalised energy! And with it they achieve what many metal bands dream for, with their new album landing them five straight number one album debuts on the Billboard 200 Chart, matching Metallica’s run also!.. The intro, ‘The Eye Of The Storm’ is a fitting epic prologue to mark their return, which sounds very different from what we expect from Disturbed, being very atmospheric and slightly eerie, before we dive into the title track, which hits hard with crushing riffs and short fast bursts of vocals from Draiman, which continues throughout. The rhythm is brilliant and extremely melodic with a highly memorable chorus, making for a great anthem and well written lyrics, as one would expect for them! The first and only single so far, ‘The Vengeful One’ sounds typically Disturbed in the greatest sense! It grabs you instantly, and could easily become a classic amongst their previous releases! With ambient bouncy riffs and licks, dark varied vocals, tempo changes and flawless transitions, this is an absolute must hear! ‘Open Your Eyes’ features a stand out impressive chant chorus, which will go down a storm at live shows! ‘The Light’ opens on a very airy and calm note for a change! Focusing on their ‘softer side’ with Draiman showing off his cleaner vocals more-so, in this slower paced track, but it is equally strong, having a big sound that you would expect from a power house rock ballad! This is very optimistic, enlightening, and relatable – it portrays this message well through the sound of the instruments and vocals. ‘What Are You Waiting For’ again takes us back to the epitome of what Disturbed does best! This is by far the most infectious chorus yet, although there is plenty to choose from! Effective chants and far reaching sounds, paired with David’s soaring and characteristic vocals, make this another favourite, especially with its sense of insane urgency!
“‘Immortalized’ shows the band are fully alive and bursting with new ideas” ‘You’re Mine’ breaks things up again and offers something a bit lighter and different, embracing the new experimental adventurous side with glimpses of their roots, especially with groovy bouncy riffs and rhythms. ‘Save Our Last Goodbye’ is intense and very moving - Draiman puts everything into this personal heart wrenching track, with the use of phone messages to add to the emphasis and power to tell the story – towards the end we hear one of Draiman’s most emotive and best vocal performances yet. To ‘lighten’ things up once again, ‘Fire It Up’ does this job perfectly with a rather obvious homage to smoking weed, which David revealed he likes to smoke when writing songs... The next is the most unpredictable, as the band treat us to cover of the ‘60s Simon & Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence.” This is superb, keeping it soft like the original, rather than trying to heavy it up! It is beautiful and really shows of Draiman’s impressive flawless vocal delivery, with just his voice and moving piano and orchestration to accompany. Although very unexpected, I welcomed it and it actually works wonderfully alongside their own tracks. ‘Immortalized’ shows the band are fully alive and bursting with new ideas, whilst doing what they do best, to make the ultimate Disturbed collection! This is a stunning release, in which every track is solid and strong, for different reasons, ranging from dark fast melodic metal, to chilled out ballads, this has something for everyone, and more importantly demonstrates that the band after all this time have plenty to offer, and continue to show their well-crafted characteristic sound and musicianship, which is well needed in the metal scene. It’s a relief to have them back! CL
A World Extinct is a metalcore band from Southern California. They have taken influence from many bands both inside and out of their genre. They employ the use of melodic and heavy guitars accomppied by a symphony of strings and piano. Their rhythem section is made up of a thumping bass and aggressive drums. The songs are topped off with the use of heavy, unclean vocals that hammer the message home. They recently released their debut EP entitled â€œOut of the Ashesâ€?. The EP is available for free download on their bandcamp page! Facebook.com/aworldextinct / Aworldextinct.bandcamp.com
The Rumours are a female fronted rock band based out of Waterloo, Iowa. Lead singer, Carli Foxx, started the band in 2014 with previous members. This hell raising, talented, NEW lineup of 2015 has only been together since April. The Rumours inspiration comes straight from hard loud, and in your face rock n roll. Bands to compare to The Rumours would be, The Runaways, The Donnas and Betty Blowtorch. There's also a bit of Ramones' type punk sound as well as a dash of KISS rock n roll. During the first month of their "reform" in 2015, The Rumours jumped on a show in "Revolver Magazine's Hardest Chicks in Hard Rock tour ft. FLYLEAF" in Des Moines, IA.
They've also played with headlining bands such as, Dope, Saving Abel, Tantric, Adelitas Way, world-touring act - HAIRBALL, and most recently, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. This band is all about keeping rock n roll alive. Their inyour-face attitude as well as their kickass performance will have you believing nothing but that! Don't miss your chance to see
The Rumours. Real. Raw. Classic. Rock. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org @therumoursmusic(Twitter)
bruja14.bandcamp.com South Yorkshire wobbly grunge trio, had an impressive year with slots at LIB, and supported the likes of Allusondrugs, Fizzy Blood and Bi:Lingual. Sweet melodies, thunderous beats and spacious freak outs, these energetic Northern monkeys have put together an impressive set of sludge pop. Big things coming! Our self titled debut EP is out NOW!
Miss May I - Deathless Melodic metalcore act, Miss May I return with their no nonsense fifth album!... The album opens on the single, ‘I.H.E’ which you will soon realise stands for, “I Hate Everything/Everyone!” - it is a great metalcore anthem for when you are annoyed with the world, which I’m sure we can all relate to! The strong melodic clean sections paired with the mighty aggression, makes for a good bold start to the release! Title track, ‘Deathless’ is the most distinctive and stand out track, making a wise choice for the title one! Featuring a mix of strong impressive guttural screams and contrasting soaring clean vocals, which they balance equally well. ‘Bastards Left Behind’ opens on strong chants for emphasis which continue and help for high impact and melody. The chorus is particularly memorable, and the whole track has a lot of variation, keeping you on your toes, and providing many head banging moments and great slick guitar work! ‘Arise’, although heavy as you expect, it has an air of hope, positivity and determination, which they convey well through the vocal deliveries, breakdowns and variations. This could well be their best and most memorable work yet, and is likely to appease the metalcore fans and perhaps further afield also, especially through their effective melodic cleans. Although a fairly short album, it doesn’t waste time and mess about, and is very enjoyable for what it is. CL
Soilwork - The Ride Majestic This is one melodic death metal band that have an impressive back catalogue, with “The Ride Majestic” marking their tenth album! Let’s hope they haven’t run out of steam, and take us on a ‘ride’ we won’t forget!.. It starts with the title track and single, which sounds glorious and rich, through the musical texture, structure, and tempo changes, making a very hard hitting and encouraging start! ‘Alight In The Aftermath’ carries on the urgent vibes and consistency, and features some stand out memorable vocals that show off their diverse range and of course, plenty of fancy complex guitar work and instruments throughout! ‘Death In General’ takes us in a slightly different direction, being a bit slower paced, but with catchy eerie groovy riffs and stripped back vocals in the verses, in this almost ballad. Well a ballad with a bite, and still tonnes of heavy riffage and strong screams for impact and emphasis, which are highly emotive. ‘The Phantom’ stands out for its tremendous harmonic fast paced guitar, which is ambient and has far reaching sounds. Pascal Poulsen from the band Odium features also, and adds some extra dynamics and strength to this beast! The final song, “Father And Son, Watching The World Go Down” opens on a mixed melodic instrumental intro, with clean soft vocals following, and we are greeted by another strong guest vocalist, Nathan Biggs of Sonic Syndicate. The chorus is particularly powerful, but the whole song is hefty and packs a punch, like the rest of the songs so far, ending on an epic resonating doomy note! This is an especially catchy melodic death metal album, perhaps making it the perfect gateway for new fans, whilst pleasing existing fans. I think the band are enjoying exploring the more melodic almost hint of metalcore side of things to make their magnificent death metal even more inviting! CL
Devil Wears Prada – Space EP Opening song, “Planet A” is very atmospheric with its space talk lift off intro, adding a sense of suspense. The use of positive instruments, resonance and well placed screams, makes this a good scene setting start... “Alien” sounds alarming and urgent, with the help of some well-placed effects also, which makes the overall song sound insane, especially with fast paced screams and instruments that still remain melodic to create the desired effect. “Moongod” opens on a slightly gloomy note which builds tension. There are some stand out memorable vocal harmonies from Mike and Jeremy, which has a good balance of clean and fierce vocals, making it a must hear! “Celestial Mechanics” does more mood and context setting for the EP theme, which fits in well and ties it all together more, in what has been a very consistent and coherent release so far! “Supernova” again sees strong dual vocals, and contains extremely groovy hard riffs, intricate guitar work and instrumental elements, creating a highly striking song! The final song, “Asteroid” makes a large ‘impact’ as you would expect! It’s dramatic musically and lyrically and quite frantic at times, but becomes more peaceful, with a slower section that progresses with emotive anger and intensity, which is vocally delivered to be very effective for emphasis. This is very pessimistic as it forces you to face the possibility of earth being no more! So it ends on a bit of a bomb shell! I think the band set out what they hoped to achieve with the focus theme inspiring well-structured and coherent offerings that are full of atmosphere and intensity, with the end result being a successful mission! CL
Tesseract - Polaris Britain has always been incredible for metal bands, we’ve had the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and the mighty Iron Maiden. It is no surprise then to see that even the likes of progressive metal thrive in this environment. As a genre metal lost its one track persona many years ago and in time it’s evolved a number of crosses, however Tesseract’s interpretation is more different to anything I’ve personally ever heard. Tesseract seem hell bent on crossing the boundaries of music and doing a ‘Radiohead’, this whole album is intermittent from one song to the next, at times it can feel like a chilled melodic beautiful piece of music that will never end, next you’ve got a bass line Metallica would throw out. Other times you’ve got a guitar riff that would be more associated with Rage Against the Machine. A lot of bands say they take chances with music but I doubt it’s anything like the effort Tesseract go to. I found this album to be a breath of fresh air from other repetitive music that seems to be collecting across the globe. It’s nice to listen to an album that truly is diverse in its music and to have a band that want to cross over the lines between genres and expand their horizons. Torniquet begins with soft singing accompanied by a plucking guitar that is just incredible, however you can feel the song building and building and eventually it becomes a total masterpiece of music. In comparison with Utopia which is probably one of the heavier songs the previous music seems lost, however because Tesseract take these chances and risks all tracks feel right at home. Tesseract are on the forefront of British metal, with this new album it could easily be sink or swim, however I don’t think the tide is coming in for them just yet. RO
Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spirit The band return with their fifth album, “That’s The Spirit” and follow up to, “Sempiternal”, which sees the biggest evolution and shift in sound we have ever witnessed from them so far! They have come a long way in the last ten years, and well to be honest they sound like a completely different band following their new release… Opening, “Doomed” is intense and atmospheric, building in strength through effective use of electronic sounds and varied flawless impressive vocals from Oli; it immediately identifies their change in sound... “Happy Song” is a definite highlight, and ironically should keep everyone ‘happy’, as although extremely catchy and anthemic, it progresses, and features some kick ass screams from Oli, which keeps it well balanced with a heavy edge, with some brilliant prominent backing chants throughout giving it that huge sound and united ‘spirit’! “Throne” is indeed a worthy triumphant track! Heavily aided by electronic almost dance like vibes, but with a dark influence. This is well structured for power and balance, with the right pauses, breaks and build ups. Again they deliver a massive hit, and this like “Happy Song” acts as a nice transition between their nod to their heavier roots and their new alternative pop inspired mix... “True Friends” is very honest, passionate and powerful, lyrically and musically, with strong chants for impact, something that is being used throughout. The varied clean and fierce vocals from Oli and exceptionally melodic chorus especially, make this another stand out one! “Follow You” sees their true shift in direction at play heavily, being the most stripped back slower paced ‘pop’ soaked song featured so far, but it is pulled off well, with an airy peaceful approach that is easy on the ears. “What You Need” is super catchy with an indie alt feel, with great rhythms, tempos and melodies, to add moreso to the depth of the album and genres explored thus far. That along with energetic dynamic vibrant vocals, makes this one of the most diverse songs on the album. “Avalanche” will ‘hit’ you hard, in this emotive track, with well written lyrics which there is no shortage off, featuring a towering soaring chorus, accompanied by a perfect backdrop of instruments and elements to match the vocals. “Drown” is a rather beautiful heartfelt rock ballad, which I can’t believe I’m using to describe BMTH..but for what it’s worth, they pull it off well! Powerful chant vocals are again present here. They show another side, which is also very personal and emotive, showing them at their most vulnerable. So we reach the ending..”Oh No”, which although has bleak lyrics, it features a positive chilled out feel, and a very bouncy sugar coated sound, especially evident in the chorus. Again we see the contrasting softer sound compared to the negative lyrics ,which is at the very core of what runs through this album, in an attempt to make ‘light’ of darker moods and times, and that it certainly does! That is essentially the best way to describe the whole release, reflecting the light in the darkness! There’s no denying whether you like it or not, that these songs are damn infectiously catchy and will stick with you, as that’s what they are aiming for! They have basically said themselves, they would rather be the heaviest thing in the pop spectre, rather than the softest in rock/metal, and that is what we are hearing! Existing fans may find their extreme direction in sound too ‘soft’ and too much to take in, but that being said even if they lose some fans, let’s face it they are going to gain a tonne more! They have evolved so much, especially in recent years, and I’m still a big fan, and although they have been adding more mainstream elements as they go, this may be a step too far. I personally loved the sound they created in “Sempiternal”, where they honed in on a masterful sound, and marvellously blended electronic music with metal, with the electronic sounds actually adding something without compensating on the actual music/instruments, unlike some uses of it! This steer away from their more metal roots may pave the way for them reaching dizzying heights of commercial success more so, but they deserve it. All that being said, it is quite refreshing to see a heavy band make something positive, and use their dark past to inspire something so likeable, and what’s better is that they do it with style. Let’s see what the future ‘brings’ for them! CL
Don Broco - Automatic Back in 2013 when the hugely successful Priorities was released it was pretty much set in stone that Don Broco were set for world domination. On the back of this they toured extensively and made sure they got all they could out of it. It’s always hard to follow up to an amazing debut album and it appears lightning really can strike twice. It’s safe to say that the Don Broco boys are the ‘trendy’ kids in rock, sporting the cool polo shirt look at every show they play. Not to mention they’re the only band that get push ups from crowd members without even asking. That’s pretty cool, and this definitely stretches to their albums. Accompanied by what can only be described as funky and sexy bass lines Don Broco have done what comes naturally to them and stretched the boundary of music, creating something that’s not quite pop or rock but almost a jazzy go between. The broad vocals from lead singer Rob have dramatically improved with time and offer a bigger range than anything they’ve done before. The rhythms are addictive and catchy, whether it be the smooth bass in Keep on Pushing or the sing along oohs in Automatic this album is easy to listen to and enjoyable. There are times on the album where they seem to stretch back to their roots in Fire and Let You Get Away which has the hint of the punk rock they used to be known for. However in time people change and it’s only helped Don Broco on their way through the years. All of the songs on the album seem to have a radio friendly vibe to them and certainly have the personality that will shine at shows and festivals alike. Although this is a different Don Broco than what we’ve had in the past this will most likely be another chapter in the story of their uprising. Automatic has proved these guys aren’t just a one hit wonder and they have a lot more to show us yet. RO
Defeater - Abandoned As I listen to Spared in Hell halfway through Defeater’s latest album Abandoned I find myself at a loss for words, usually something will jump out at me that I can focus on. However Defeater’s style is sporadic and varied so it’s hard to pick a point with them and that’s when I realised I was listening to a masterpiece. This band take chances, they don’t wish to be like the rest of the hardcore bands out there. The instrument work is creative, the lyrics are telling a story and the vocals are emotional. This is what Defeater do and they do it amazingly well. Defeater are a concept band, they will only create songs revolving around a New Jersey family in a post World War 2 era, the family all fall apart and this band are there every step of the way to narrate the tragedy. Abandoned is no exception to this dynamic and just like their other efforts it gives the listener more of an insight into this family that have been completely created and bought to life (and death) by this band. The arc of the story focuses on a priest and his struggles with temptation. He believes God has abandoned him (Spared In Hell) and his addiction with a drug and a woman (Divination) will ruin him. However it all comes to a conclusion at the end and once again we get an insight into the twisted life (and death) of ‘the’ family. This is truly something for the big fans of Defeater. One interesting thing about this album is that for the first time Defeater have put a track on an album that’s neither hardcore or acoustic. Instead it’s just a melodic soft rock anthem that no doubt has been designed for the bigger audiences they’re bound to be playing to sooner rather than later. Defeater’s album Abandoned allows the listener once again to step inside this world that has been created and delve further into the story that’s been designed specifically for this band. While Defeater may not be to everyone’s tastes I can personally guarantee you’ll never listen to anything like this. RO
Growing up in northern New Jersey, Jozcel, Jonzi, & Jon all began studying music at an early age. After years of playing in various projects with each other, then a few more years in a handful of other bands, the trio finally rejoined forces and decided to settle down. In the winter of 2014, The Bunks came to life. By this time, they had almost a decade of experience playing with each other, which made the creative process significantly easier. The Bunks crafted their own sound by drawing inspiration from the raw, blues roots of Led Zeppelin while maintaining modern sensibility from the music of today. Broken, distorted guitar tones reminiscent of Jack White mixed with heavy drums inspired by John Bonham combine to create the sound of The Bunks. Tasteful riffs cover their spacious songwriting that can only be crafted from the simplicity of a three-piece rock n' roll band. Listen to their latest single "KING" available on iTunes, Spotify, and Bandcamp
Colours of Monochrome
Youtube.com/Coloursofmonochrome / Tumblr.com/blog/coloursofmonochrome-band
Let’s back up a bit and start with where it all began, as a solo project by their now drummer, Thorsten Salzer. After leaving his old band he decided to start from scratch, solo this time, as personal differences led to the separation of his first band. After three years of playing his own instruments, mixing and writing his own songs he came to the conclusion:“That’s just not it” Alone, as a one man band, doing all the work, fitting all the pieces of a track together just isn’t the same creatively, as it is with others in collaboration.
Comono/Colours of Monochrome as a duo, had registered for a band contest some months prior to meeting Manuel, and only 6 days before the first round Manuel become the third member of the band. So within three nearly sleepless days, the first three songs were written, fuelled by pure motivation, and coffee, lots and lots of coffee. All three songs can be found on their soon to be released eponymous album “Colours of Monochrome”
The Album also features their newest addition, Lion (Not the Animal, that’s his name, pronounced “Leon” in german) playing second guitar. He played as an opening act to a Colour of Monochrome gig, being a friend of Felix’s he It was then; through common acquaintances was promptly invited to a band rehearsal, and is that Thorsten met Felix, the current Singer being integrated as you are reading this...“The and Guitarist formed as an acoustic duo, second guitar adds much to the tracks as a and gathered a small but passionate whole. It makes everything sound much fuller and following of fans. Three failed offers for is also a more traditional band setup. a musical production later they concluded to set foot on new grounds. To form a whole Since the rock music scene has disappeared over band. the years in Carinthia it is time for a revival. That’s why I have decided to create a label, a At the same time Manuel, their current bass workshop for people like us, artists working player, had a similar two man setup, two with artist to create and collaborate. guitars with two voices, called “the We call ourselves Hellefant and offer recording, Skyentist” playing in a well known local merchandise and take care of local bar. He came to the band rehearsal and representation. Under this label Colours of after the first jam session it was settled. Monochrome will set sail for their album “The sound was off the hook”. release”
cd reviews Frank Turner - Positive Songs for Negative People Positive Songs for Negative People sounds exactly like the Frank Turner mission objective. He manages to sing pretty depressing songs (Peggy Sang the Blues and God Save the Queen) but present them in an upbeat punk acoustic tempo that would turn anyone’s frown upside down. This album is no exception to his back catalogue of fantastic anthems, from the very opening of The Angel Islington the man’s voice is smooth and easy to listen to. Carrying onto Get Better a fun song accompanied by a hard drum beat that includes a little screaming, most likely influenced by Frank’s side project Mongol Horde. Part of me thought with the release of his book Road Beneath My Feet that Frank Turner may have lost the edge that seperated him from the rest of the generic artists on the scene. From his humble beginnings in pubs and clubs to playing Wembley Stadium it seems as if this has only stregnthened his story telling and ability to create amazing music. The genius of Frank Turner is that he can have beautiful acoustic pieces of music like The Opening Act of Spring and then one song later have an amazing sing along rock song that any rock band would be jealous of like Glorious You. The Next Storm has all the makings of a brilliant summer anthem and Mittens is a slowed down love ballad for all the romantics that most likely listen to a bit of Frank Turner. Out of Breath is a dank rough rock song accompanied by a brilliant piano tune and fast paced guitars that sound like it belongs at a barn dance. Turner’s vocals are incredible and this is definitely a stand out on this brilliant album. Ultimately this album is straight up Frank, it’s a sing along from start to finish, the songs are catchy, easy to pick up and it’s another storming album from the king of acoustic punk. RO
Neck Deep - Life’s Not Out To Get You Out of all the genres it’s safe to say that pop punk is the annoying little brother of rock and metal, it’s always there poking you, begging to be noticed, the most likely to pull pranks but more than anything you will always succumb and play with them. Neck Deep’s new album is no exception. As soon as this album starts it’s in your face screaming teenage angst and not asking you to pay attention but demanding. With its fast paced drumming and quite frankly fun electric guitars, this album is a banger from start to finish. One anthem that particularly stands out is Gold Steps, it has all the things that make a great pop punk song. A message of hope with the lyrics ‘life’s not out to get you’ and a slowed down bridge to really exagerate the point they are trying to make. Ultimately it’s a catchy song and definitely one of the best on the album. It’s not too hard to believe that Life’s Not Out To Get You could be the All Killer No Filler of the youth today, the catchy electric guitars and the hint of teenage rebellion certainly gives it at least a head start. This is not music designed for metal heads or screamo fans, this is music for the almost lost genre of pop punk. Just fun music you can enjoy with your friends and have a dance around to. Can’t Kick Up The Roots is a solid pop punk song that would have any fan jumping up and down, this is the one that will be stuck on repeat for days on end. It even has a hand clapping anthem in the middle to get this song geared up for shows. Neck Deep found a limp and lifeless British pop punk and with all their might have breathed life into it again. This is a band who have put their all into what they do and it’s gotten them where they are today. The future is bright for these guys. RO
Shinedown - Threat To Survival When you think of bands that were big in the early naughties it’s hard to think who still reign high ten years on. However Florida born Shinedown have never stopped doing what they do best and that is making incredible rock music for the world to hear. Yes the foursome are back to showcase their brand new album, having been absent since the hugely successfuly Amarylis, excluding a handful of cover tracks they did at fans requests. This new album is a shining example of why the rock world is not yet dead. Threat To Survival starts off incredibly with the brilliantly catchy Asking For it. In the space of just three minutes it totally encapsulates what Shinedown are all about, rock music plain and simple. With a very Soundgarden-esque sound the foundation is laid for the rest of the album after the first storming song. In true rock and roll style this is a promise that is most definitely kept. Ultimately it’s hard to select a favourite song from this album, it’s a true rock album. It’s easy to see why Cut the Cord is the first single off this album, the opening chorus of chanting is enough to reel anyone in. From start to finish it’s obvious this song will bring in a new generation of Shinedown fans and once they love this they’re likely to fall in love with the other heavier tracks such as Dangerous and Thick as Thieves. The last track Misfits is a slow ballad and it really shows how diverse lead singer Brent Smith’s voice can be and how far his range can actually go. This is a great end to a fantastic album and more than that it’s a song for music lovers to appreciate. Shinedown have been successfully making music for nearly 15 years and it seems that whatever they put their hand to it will always come out amazing. Threat To Survival isn’t just their fourth album, it’s a message to say we’re still here and we’re still fighting for rock and roll. RO
Motion City Soundtrack - Panic Stations If your collection of music has been missing some funky synth beats and happy uplifting songs about depressing situations then here’s the cure. Motion City Soundtrack have released their 6th album Panic Stations and just like before they’ve totally nailed it. A lot of people probably gave up hope that these American rockers would come back at all, what with the departure of their drummer and founding member Tony Thaxton, it was looking rough for MCS for a while. With no tour since 2013 days were looking dark, thankfully Panic Stations is all any fan could want and more. The introduction of Anything At All feels like a hug from a friend that’s been gone for longer than you’ve wanted. The familiar guitar melodies and poppy synths make you feel right at home. Moulding into the single TKO the feeling is fully confirmed that yes they are back and better than ever. In some ways Motion City Soundtrack have gone the same way as a lot of bands, they’ve reached the stage in their career for maturity. It’s noticeable in songs like Lose Control, Heavy Boots the tempo drops rapidly and there are more anthems than poppy rock songs. Thankfully this is a small part of the album, the final songs sound like classic Motion City Soundtrack and definitely feel like a flashback to how they were in the My Dinosaur Life days. While I’m sure they’ve changed as the years have gone on Broken Arrow, Gravity and The Samurai Code give that glimpse of nostalgia for the older fans. The album ends with the beautiful Days Will Run Away, a stripped down acoustic piece featuring only a lone guitar and Justin Pierre’s addictive and soothing voice, until the climax when the rest of the band join and it becomes a typical MCS song. Motion City Soundtrack have been around since the late 90s and have only improved with time, their paradigm of upbeat poppy keyboard melodies accompanied with fun dancing guitar rhythms have slowly bought them to the top and it’s a long time until they come down. RO
Ieuan Williams Sway Being an avid reviewer has its perks, discovering relatively uncovered artists and bands can be a beautiful moment, after all music truly is the one thing that can connect us with other people so quickly. Ieuan Williams a young acoustic artist from South Wales aims to convey exactly this with his intelligent songwriting and fingerpicked melodies. His latest EP, Sway, confidently achieves what Williams has set out to do and it does it in the most beautiful manner. Melancholy perfectly describes the feel of Sway with perfectly placed and composed string and folk sections. “We Can Never Be Free” offers a more upbeat affair, although elements of folk are slightly left in the background a more softer Frank Turner influence opens up in this track. Lyrically Sway conveys the emotions and happenings of Williams’ life, in the artists’ Biography it states that his “Intelligent music is the sound of a generation”, while that is a bold claim to make, Ieuan writes about the daytoday struggles of life something which we can all relate to, while there is no brashness to it, there is a sense that this is an ordinary bloke with a penchant for soft arrangements and while I’m not clued up on many folk artists on the circuit as of late, Ieuan Williams is definitely one that deserves all the attention he can get. Sway is available on a paywhatyoulike basis through his Bandcamp. GD
Iron Maiden Book of Souls Iron Maiden are arguably the curators of British metal, with millions of records sold throughout their career and with their most recent albums exploring different avenues of this influential bands sound. At 92 minutes length, the new Iron Maiden record titled Book of Souls is their longest effort yet and their first doublealbum to date. With more of a nod towards progrock this time round, Bruce Dickinson and co haven’t shied away from yet again exploring different formats in their sound. Each track sits at at least five minutes long and with the longest being 18 minutes, Book of Souls solidifies that Iron Maiden are still as inspired and invigorated as they we’re back in their inception in 1975.
“It’s a record that shows that Maiden aren’t done yet, in fact the inevitable is still so far, far away” Tracks such as “The Great Unknown” and “The Red and Black” showcase riproaring solos and prog influenced rhythms, along with Dickinson's theatrical vocals, their first double-album isn’t afraid to test their already huge audience. The romantic thing that lays over the record is the fact that it sounds like it was recorded at one of their shows. It’s a record that shows that Maiden aren’t done yet, in fact the inevitable is still so far, far away for them. GD
Motorhead Bad Magic Motorheads recent history is a muddy one, with their return set to be one of glory, from frontman Lemmy’s recent health issues is now a return addled by cancelled shows and abrupt livesets. Although it's to no fault of their own, Motorhead aren’t pulling a Guns N Roses on everyone, yet with their 2015 return, Bad Magic, carries the fatigue and worn down Lemmy Kilmister that has been in the spotlight over the past 23 years. Opening tracks “Victory or Die” and “Thunder & Lightning” aren’t hits, they’re your standard Motorhead affair. Obviously not holding up against the much loved “Ace of Spades” the first few tracks on Bad Magic are what you’d expect from Lemmy and Co, lean, mean and full of aggression. But forgetting this there are some moments that shine on Bad Magic such as the oddly choiced cover of “Sympathy For The Devil” and the all out assault on “Shoot Out All Your Lights”. Lemmy is a legend amongst our beloved genre, most metal fans share a great love and affection for Motorhead. However, Bad Magic may not 100% be worth revisiting again and again. GD
Parkway Drive - IRE The kings of Australian metal have been one of the most consistent bands around over the past few years, every album has managed to top the last and they continue to up the quality each time. It isn't easy to do, the previous two albums cemented their reputation and picked up plenty of plaudits along the way. 'Destroyer' opens with a typically melodic flow along with leg breaking ferocity and 'Dying to Believe' continues the fifth album (in 12 years, an impressive stat in itself) on without missing a beat. A song such as 'Vice Grip' is interesting, it has all the aggression and ferocious vocals but if it was cleared of distortion and that style of vocal, it would potentially be a radio friendly moment for Parkway Drive. It is very well done! The quality dips a bit on 'Crushed' which is a bit too obvious. While 'Writings on the Wall' picks up around the midway point, it falls back into the mould of the songs main passage and just doesn't have the spark to lift it.. ‘The Sound of Violence' has my interest picked up fully again as they tear back into what they do best, melody, crushing riffs and the ferocious vocal in the chorus! The closer manages to accomplish what was set out in 'Writings on the Wall' to a certain extent, 'A Deathless Song' incorporates a mould of acoustic guitars in to the solos and riffs that have become a signature sound of Parkway Drive. It also has that kind of potentially radio friendly tinge to it that was there on 'Vice Grip'. It is a satisfying close to the album after a crushing start and the hit or miss middle. For the first time, Parkway Drive haven’t topped the previous album but hey, it had to happen sometime, not many bands have had the run they have had and this album is still more than worth the time to explore! If a new band released this album, the words would probably have been different, as this is by no means it a bad album! AN
Avenford - Mortal Price Bursting out from an intro of soft, tender strings comes some good old fashioned power metal, exploding with energy and fire. 'Guiding Light' is powerful and sets out Avenford's stall in no uncertain terms with big melodic riffs, catchy harmonies with the high octane wails that come from this style. The classical influence is obvious with guitars firing out what would sound right in an orchestra, it all comes together very tight and epic. I have a big soft spot for metal like this, catchy riffs, the Murray/Smith type guitar partnerships and the over the top qualities that it brings with it. That said, if it is done badly, it can be pretty brutal to listen to and there are a lot of them out there, luckily, Avenford do not fall into that category. These are intricate songs, full of different chapters and sections. They navigate each one with precision, knowing when to hold back and when to let fly and go mental. The vocals manage this well, Arpie Gamson knows when to keep it simple. A vocalist who doesn't know when to hold back is a frustrating thing and has found me switching off on more than one occasion regardless of how good the music is!
â€œThese are intricate songs, full of different chapters and sections. They navigate each one with precision, knowing when to hold back and when to let flyâ€? The title track is, at eight minutes, the longest song on show and does well to keep its momentum strong. There are moments where you feel that a section is about to start to drag but just before it does, the next section will kick in and freshen it up. The closing guitar work is also of stand out quality, as it is throughout the album The album is brimming with outstanding musicianship and Avenford have made the best Power metal album I've heard for a while, brimming with all the qualities that make this style so good, it is well worth a blast! AN
The Frayed laces - Imperfect The frayed laces have the essence of all the rebellious punk woman fronted bands of the 90s, the rock and roll voice goes together well to the funky bass lines and combined with the electric hooks they are a perfect recipe. Twigs is a adrenaline fuel driven anthem that demonstrates who this band are and what they are about. The essence of the song is definitely for old school punk fans. Summit is an instant change of tempo and shows that this band are not all about making a lot of noise. This stripped down piece is a beautiful melody and the vocals from Emma Harley are both harmonious, powerful and display how talented the lead singer really is. A catchy bass line is the intro to the next song Imperfect, it almost has a Disney hook to it, the like of which you may find on Nightmare Before Christmas. This sticks all the way through and makes for quite a catchy track with a less punk but more rock feel.
â€œThe lyrics are brilliantly moulded to make you feel part of the music and the execution is perfect.â€? Of all the songs on this EP it has to be Monsters that is the stand out track. From the very beginning the guitar melody is infectious, the lyrics are brilliantly moulded to make you feel part of the music and the execution is perfect. The bridge in the middle features an additional vocalist with a point of a screaming roar bringing a whole other essence to the song. We finish with As You Find Me, like Summit this is a slower track from the album and sadly it seems to be the final hurdle too far. The vocals seem to drop from what they were and become distorted and unrecognisable as the high notes are attempted to be reached. This is a fun EP to listen to, even with the slight drop in quality at the end. RO
Atreyu – Long Live Atreyu return with their sixth album, which is their first release in six years to show that the band ‘live’ on… Opening song and title track, “Long Live” reasserts their return strongly, and they put up a fight to prove they mean business and are here to stay! Brandon’s clean sections hit hard, and as always work perfectly with Alex’s screams, making for a grand and very memorable start, with great rhythms and melodic ambient guitars also. This will fast become a fan favourite!! Manic urgency is created through insane guitar work, fast drums, and demanding screams from Alex, with standout melodic clean sections, helped by Brandon’s distinctive vocals in, “Live To Labor”, which keeps the momentum in full swing! “I Will Kill/Lie/Die” (For You) is emotive and passionate, especially through the use of varied vocals, and tempo changes to help convey the message of the song. It progresses wonderfully throughout, and has a massive presence which is far reaching, with layered vocals and well-structured instrumentation. “Do You Know Who You Are?” opens on a dramatic manner with loud clapping! It possesses a brilliant melody and tempo, that slows things down a bit, which actually shows of their abilities, and musicianship further, where they exhibit superb harmonies, that are extremely catchy, and simply oozes with style and skill! As a unit they stand out here, particularly with strong varied vocals, united claps and guitar licks from Dan, all making for a great crowd participation live song! Following on perfectly, we have a beautiful acoustic driven instrumental in the form of, “Revival” which is sombre, yet hopeful with tonnes of atmosphere. This acts as a nice break from brutality, and again demonstrates their diversity and more mature side, as well as adding even more depth to an already well rounded offering! “Heartbeats and Flatlines” quickly breaks the tranquillity, with blistering shredding guitars, before deep dark screams accompany which is consistent throughout. Which only goes on to become more epic sounding; something which they seem to pull off easily! This is a strong flawless track that will get your ‘heart’ racing and your head banging! The brilliantly named, “Brass Balls” has a great fun feel, with optimistic sounding instruments and vocals, with united gang vocals to add to this vibe. Again this highlights the band exploring a different path, whilst keeping it in tone with their sound. This is a welcome change of mood, which they revel in! “Moments Before Dawn” changes the mood yet again, with an eerie intro and dark spoken vocals, which works well with the song and helps for tension. It has a massive presence which is helped by powerful backing vocals and soaring guitars. To close things we have the anthemic, “So Others May Live” which most would have already heard prior to release, but this is one that can mercilessly be played on repeat, and still hit you as hard as it did upon first listen! It truly ends their triumphant and anticipated return on an ultimate high, with such a striking far reaching song! Luckily Atreyu ‘live’ up to their statement behind the title of the album, with an unforgettable collection of songs to mark their much needed return! They will certainly be remembered for this album, which is a strong contender for one of the best metal albums of the year! With them bringing back what they did best with, with their signature style of chants, memorable anthemic choruses, sick guitars and high class melodies! They have honed in on their strengths more so, to produce a flawless epic offering! There is not a dull moment in sight and from beginning to end we are treated to graceful and massive metal mastery! CL
Keyofuniverse.bandcamp.com/album/luna / Facebook.com/keyofuniverseofficial / Twitter.com/KeyOfUniverse1 "Key of Universe" is a three-piece Alternative Metal band that formed in January 2014, in Alessandria (Italy). Music by "Key of Universe" has been influenced by Alt.Metal artists such as Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, A Perfect Circle, Deftones and other similar bands. They started writing their first songs and, in April 2014, they went to "V3 Recording" studio to record their first single "My head's still free". In May 2014 they released their first single, and in November they published their first official videoclip of the song "Jupiter". Their third single "Control" was released in January 2015. In September 2015 Key Of Universe came out with a brand new EP called "Luna" including some new versions of their previous singles and three new songs: "Retaliation"; "Quasar" and "1671". All their tracks are available on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes and many other stores!
The Ashley Bean Band is a rock band hailing from Peoria Illinois. Over the years, The Ashley Bean Band has had influences that have molded their career into what it is today. Cathy Reynolds, four time CIA Gospel Artist of the Year, Mike Isenberg of the International acclaimed family band, The Jets, back-up musician, Rusty Hall, and John Coulter, Marshall Tuckerâ€™s sound engineer, Journey, and Diana Meltzer founder of Seether, Evanescence, and Creed, have help direct this young energized rock band.
The Bands music has been compared to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Evanescence as well as Alice In Chains and Nirvana, what a combo of musical innovators without compromise to follow trends but rather create them. The Band would say it is Classical meets Rock. All of the lyrics and music are Ashley's original creativity a style of her own. All of the music is heartfelt and unique. But I would say, her voice style and genre is distinct, raw and gives her music and incredible commercial but almost underground sound at the same timeless, not pretty and pink, but black on black.
Coheed and Cambria - The Color Before The Sun When you think of a concept album, you may think of Queensrÿche with Operation: Mindcrime, Iron Maiden with Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Mastodon's Leviathan or the numerous ones that have emerged over the years. Mostly they are one off’s but with Coheed and Cambria, up until this point have made a career of them. Over the years, The Amory Wars have become a compelling story, over the course of many albums, comic books and other mediums, the story has been a massive part of Coheed and Cambria. Until now, for the first time, there is no concept and they make their first album that is in a sense, blind. 'Island' is an epic opening, full of charm and poise that owes a debt to the legendary RUSH but with a healthy stamp of originality which makes that debt a small one on a track that oozes confidence and the feeling of being totally at ease straight away with the new non-concept direction being taken. From the upbeat of the opener, the tone takes a harder edge with the riffs of ‘Eraser’ firing off a more raw quality with the bass driving the song along before falling away into the soft, delayed guitars of 'Colors' which finds Claudio Sanchez giving some of the best vocal work in, well, ever. The guitar work and the over hanging licks along with his voice create a harmonious affair brimming with atmosphere and feeling, the lyrical content is heart felt and really takes the lead on this song. 'Here to Mars' again rises the volume back up, featuring some sterling bass work from Zach Cooper which is allowed to chart the path of the song through mammoth chorus's and a big ending that leads into the beautifully simple, stripped back and at times haunting, 'Ghost'. With a simple plucked melody and Simon & Garfunkal like vocal harmonies, it is wonderful to hear the seamless shift between the massive sound down to something so unassuming that allows a guitar and a voice to carry everything. It is as epic as any song with walls of guitars, I often crap on about dynamics, something I make no apology for because I feel they are so important but Coheed and Cambria have it down to an art here. The journey between 'Here to Mars' to 'Ghost' and latterly the feeling of emerging into 'Atlas' is fantastic story telling in the art of making an album. Towards the end, the tones take a decidedly darker tone, 'The Audience' is a more raspy bordering on sludge grooves song and Sanchez channels the softer, tender tones found earlier into aggression and almost spitting the words out. 'Peace to the Mountain' is a very descriptive title to end the album, it lowers the tempo and again plays on vocal melody bringing a thoughtful, hopeful ending with the strings and even horns taking over from the vocals as they begin to ebb away. Coheed and Cambria's first foray into non-concept territory may have been thought of as a gamble by some, perhaps even for the band themselves but it is a gamble that pays off in spades. The Color Before the Sun is the sound of a band that has taken a bold step and found themselves reborn and able to be a band that doesn't have to rely on concepts, they could return to that if they chose to, but can be very confident about the future if they chose not to. AN
Firekind - What I Found Is Already Lost It has to be said that at this moment, Australia is churning out some great bands spread across many of the different genres of rock and metal, the likes of Parkway Drive and The Smith Street Band are tearing it up while the likes of Mammoth Mammoth are making waves of their own. A new name will be joining the list in the form of Firekind who release their debut album, an album pouring with emotion and melody as well as being able to take the heavier turns, showing the power and energy needed to garner a potentially huge fanbase. There are various styles incorporated with 'Adrenalin' bordering on thrash before taking a more straight rock tempo and as 'Rise Again' builds with its off beat time it is clear that this is a prog heavy rock band. Never taking one path for long and able to negotiate their way through the intricate sections with confidence, poise and even a bit of a swagger in their step. For a three piece, the sound they are firing out is outstanding, if listening blind and knowing nothing about them, you would think there are at least two guitars alongside the bass and vocals, on record of course anything is possible but the fact they are able to back this up live is tremendous. It is stripped back a little through large parts of 'Coming Out Alive', as the vocals take centre stage until some hook you right in licks begin to be delivered at the half way point, the organ that drones in the background adds a big atmospheric quality to a really stand out song. The title track that closes the album out begins with a sinister tone, the vocals drop to match it and as the tempo begins to grow so does the vocal as the sound crescendos, it is very accomplished and bookends a stunning album full of mature, quality song writing. This is three men who have the ability to make these songs soar and it is testament to their individual and collective capabilities that they are able to make it happen. AN
LIVE REVIEW The Menzingers - Cardiff Clwb iFor Bach - August 27th In a recent issue of Stencil Mag we caught up with Great Cynics to discuss their new album 'I Feel Weird' which for us is an absolute must hear. It was great to see some of the new songs like 'Waster' performed alongside brilliant set regulars such as 'In My Head' and 'Waster'. To conclude, I have no doubt that this indie/punk rock outfit are certainly one to keep an eye on if they can keep on putting out releases like they have been already.
â€œThe Menzingers know exactly how to handle the crowd.â€? 'Rented World' was for me, the best record of 2014, its dynamic and raw balance has made the record so memorable, and basically I'll be recommending it for the rest of my days. Once you see the response to songs from their latest release such as 'I Don't Wanna Be An Asshole Anymore' & the intense sounding 'Rodent' with the crowd shouting along to every line then it's clear to see that the album has become a success. If you've got a pint it's going to get knocked over, if you're standing still then you probably can't see the band well enough, that's the type of atmosphere you get at a packed out intimate venue, and with their in your face style The Menzingers know exactly how to handle the crowd. They mix in songs from 'On the Impossible Past' (just as good as Rented World!) like the adrenaline filled 'Good Things' which has everyone in the room jumping, as well as 'Gates' & 'Casey' which are just a pleasure to witness live. Overall an incredible night, watching an incredible band, who I already can't wait to see again live. AD
A few months ago I felt old. Not because I was doing the 9-5 journey to work everyday or the fact that I can’t handle my drink that well anymore, but because Fall Out Boy’s album From Under the Cork Tree was ten years old. However, that is nothing compared to how I felt this very morning when I rose to find that A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out was as well a decade old. I find listening to it now the same as I did back then. Indescribable. 2005 was just an amazing time for music. We had the likes of the aformentioned Fall Out Boy, and Fueled By Ramen and Decaydance were the hot record labels taking any alternative outfits they could find. However I was at a loss as to finding a band that truly spoke to me, then Panic! At The Disco came along.
From the moment I heard the opening of The Only Difference Between Matrydome and Suicide is Press Coverage (long song titles were all the rage), I knew this band were special. The completely different vocal talents of lead singer Brendan Urie along with the quite frankly brilliant lyrics by guitarist Ryan Ross were a dream combination. At a time when everything was about who could scream the best and what bands were creating the best mosh pits (kind of like now) it was nice to have Panic!. The album featured a foray of instruments including keyboard, trumpets and some nice wood work too. This felt like real music in an ocean of pop punk and metal. The album itself had a very nifty formula to it, the first half was sprinkled with techno driven beats and incredible guitar work making fantastic rhythms, such as Camisado and Nails for Breakfast and Tacks for Snacks. While the second part holds a vintage burlesque feel, to make you feel like you’re in an old western. There’s always one song that sticks with you for life, no matter how much older you get, no matter how much you change. Mine is Time to Dance - the first time I heard that initial keyboard opening I was hooked. I religiously listened to it and began to decipher the lyrics and this made me love it even more. I still listen to this incredible track at least once a week and the main reason is because it’s just fun. It’s an insanely catchy track that even now would thrive musically. From the moment it starts to the moment it ends it is a fun dancey joy ride. The album is split after the teen angst fuelled Lying Is The Worst Thing You Can Do Without Taking Your Clothes Off (long song titles, still cool). This could speak to anyone who had been cheated on or had cheated on someone and still can. The lyrics aren’t deep or meaningful it’s just ‘you’re sleeping with that guy, you’re an awful person’ they’re not profound and they work on the only level they need to. After this is when the talent of this band becomes clear, when they manage to create the vintage feel to the rest of their music. This is where ‘But It’s Better If You Do’ and the ridiculously popular ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ comes in. However the true diamonds are after this in the form of ‘There’s A Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven’t Thought Of It Yet’ and ‘Build God Then We’ll Talk’. Though Panic! have gone through some changes; losing band members, an exclamation mark and finding it again, the one remaining member Brendan has taken the band back and has nurtured it to good health. The past few albums have been amazing and I can’t wait for what they do next. Happy tenth birthday A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, this is a personal message to say thank you for leading me into a new generation of music and not being afraid to step outside the boundaries of what was the norm back then. RO
"6 WEEKS" formerly known as 6 Weeks Sober is a hard-hitting rock band from Oakland, CA. Formed in April 2012 with Vocalist Eric Crossley, Drummer TRoy, Guitarist Roman, and Bassist Neeks, they have set out to create their vision of the ultimate rock band. With the recent addition of 2nd guitarist, Spyder, they have completed the lineup as the hard rock band "6 WEEKS". They have just released their 2nd single, "GET IT RIGHT". This single was just recorded in Summer 2015 after returning from a small promotional tour in the Midwest. They have performed on stage with National Acts such as Finger Eleven, The Dreaming, Bobaflex, Puddle of Mudd, Tesla and Trapt.. These members have also shared the stage with Papa Roach, Pop Evil, Buckcherry, Crossfade, Non-Point, LA Guns, Revelation Theory, Veer Union and a countless number of other great acts.
After their first single "NOT INTO YOU" was released from their debut album "Stranded" (currently only available at shows), the band is quickly gaining radio attention not only locally, but around the country. â€œStranded" was recorded with Producer/Engineer Chuck Alkazian who has worked with Soundgarden, Cage The Elephant, Pop Evil, Christina Aguilera, Eminem, Elton John, and many, many more artists. You can currently find the band's first single "NOT INTO YOU" on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Rhasphody, and other popular online music sites.
There is no doubt that this 5 piece has created a sound that is sure to appeal to rock listeners of all genres and ages. Their high level of creativity, experience, and strong grasp of music allows them to compose a limitless range of songs - from the most radio-friendly to the most underground & hardcore arrangements. With a new lineup in place, brand new dot.com on the horizon and a record to follow 6 Weeks has emerged upon the scene and is here to put the Bay Area Rock back on the map. Stand Up #6WeeksNation !!!!
Red Sun Revolutions
Red Sun Revolutions is a Dallas based alternative rock band with roots in Post-Industrial and Trip Hop music. The band consist of multi-instrumentalist Joe Guzman, Kenneth Eberly and Mike O'Brien. Their new album, "Moniker" is now available. Tracks are already available for streaming and download on their website: www.redsunrevolutions.com "Moniker is derived from the ancient Shelta language meaning "name taken under oath" as the term was used to refer to holy men who took names under a new vow. In a sense, this is a rebirth for all of us. In this album I address the human psyche, I question fatalistic belief systems, I speak of the human soul and what lies beyond our veil of carnal illusions. We've taken this album from ten year old lyrics floating in my head, to click tracks, to extensive reworking and finally to the studio. We hope that you enjoy the singles provided. They are just a taste of what we're harboring behind our laboratory doors." - Joe Guzman (lead singer / bassist for Red Sun Revolutions)
Frayed and the Fallen play a style of metal influenced by Lamb of God, Parkway Drive and Metallica. Forged in 2011, FATF have come to attack some local venues and spread the new wave of Australian metal across the east coast.
Frayed and the Fallen are renowned for love of live performance and putting on a high intensity show every time. Blistering lead work, bitter sweet melodies and outside of the box skins will leave you wanting more....
Frayedandthefallen.bandcamp.com/releases Facebook.com/frayedandthefallen Frayedandthefallen.bigcartel.com/ Youtu.be/mDhWTB8uqHQ
Man Overboard New Jersey pop punk favourites Man Overboard will be at the Alexandra Palace with their incredibly fun stage presence and a huge catalog of catchy anthems perfect for a raucous London crowd. The band are influenced by the likes of New Found Glory and Midtown with their love and hate themed songs that are addictive and so easy to sing along to. Now veterans in the pop punk scene with four full length albums including the very popular ‘Heart Attack’ released back in 2013 which made the top 50 in the Billboard Top 200. The band will likely be performing tracks from their recently released album ‘Heavy Love’ and will surely include an exciting mix of old classics like ‘Dead End Dreams’ and ‘Montrose’ providing something for both new and old fans.
Roam It’s been a hell of a journey for Eastbourne’s Roam so far in their musical career, starting off playing some catchy pop punks to signing with Hopeless Records; expect an energetic set very reminiscent of pop punk giants like The Story So Far and Neck Deep. The band is more motivated as ever after releasing their EP Viewpoint in January and they are currently on tour with State Champs, they will be wanting to end their UK tour in style at the Alexandra Palace before heading off to tour the United States in November, the band are known for delivering passion packed performances and on a big stage in London the band should be on even bigger form with an added confidence.
Reel Big Fish A venue like the Alexandra Palace will be nothing new for veteran ska punk’s Reel Big Fish; the band will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2016 which is quite the achievement in the world of punk music. Known for their extravagant and memorable live performances with their combination of guitars, trombone, saxophone and trumpets, the band has achieved huge success in their career, most notably with their album ‘Turn the Radio Off’. The band is fronted by Aaron Barnett whose been part of the band since the very start and will have unrivalled experience in entertaining an expectant crowd in London. The band will be a must see especially for ska punk fans but will also bring something refreshing and different for the younger fans in the venue.
Anti-Flag Anytime Anti Flag grace the shores of the UK their shows are always insane and full of stories to be told. It is generally a tradition of the Pennsylvania foursome that the drummer will come out into the crowd with his kit and carry on playing in a dramatic flair. Their anti establishment views and political activism has earned them a brilliant reputation. With this they’ve produced some of the best punk rock songs in the past fifteen years. Expect insane anthems such as The Press Corpse and Broken Bones.
August Burns Red This American metalcore act are not to be missed live – with their demanding high energy, thrilling performances, and not to mention their seriously melodic intense sound – now is a great time to catch them, as they explore new territory musically/lyrically, and triumphantly so with their new album, “Found In Far Away Places”, which is going down a storm! They are sure to perform some of these new beauties along with their fan favourites. Maybe you will even be lucky enough to hear some of their ingenious metal covers such as the Miley Cyrus song, “Wrecking Ball” or the classic, Britney, “Baby One More Time”! Let’s hope so!!
The Word Alive Having played the entire US Warped tour last year, they fortunately for us, decide to jump on board with the UK version, and this Metalcore band from Arizona certainly know how to create a massive sound! This is especially highlighted in their latest album, “Real” which is also their most personal album to date. It received huge support from the fans, so it will be an insane show for sure, with the crowds going wild for them! Their live reputation is widely recognised and sought after, with them supporting the likes of Parkway Drive in October! They are in demand, so make sure you give them your attention!
Trophy Eyes The Australian Punk Rock band from Newcastle may have only released one album, “Mend, Move On” in 2014, so are still newcomers really, but they are definitely doing well for themselves. Having signed with Hopeless Records and toured with Neck Deep, Knuckle Puck, and Seaway earlier this year, and of course having now bagged themselves a spot on the Vans UK Warped Tour lined up. I think it’s safe to say they are ones to keep an ‘eye’ on!! I can ‘see’ them going on to achieve great things!
Memphis May Fire In recent years the genre of metalcore has exploded and along with it some incredible bands have been born. One of which is the Dallas based Memphis May Fire. After a lot of member changes they have finally managed to find their sound and their way in the music world. They are beloved all over the world and have produced amazing albums as well as catchy singles. It’s likely after this tour they’ll be taking a break to work on new music, so catch them while you can.
Chunk! No Captain Chunk I’m always blown away by this Goonies named band, not only do they make incredible pop punk fused with metalcore but they produce songs in the English language even though they’re French. This won’t be the first time the Paris based group have come to our shores to be a highlight on a live basis, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Good old Frank is now back doing what we knew him best for: being a snarly punk bastard and showing everyone in the vicinity just what it means to be angry. Frank has always been known for ripping everyone a new one at a show, and Warped Tour is not going to know what hit it.
Rob Lynch Acoustic solo artist and all-round Nice Bloke Rob Lynch falls into the category of one of those acts you can either dance like a lunatic to, or just chill out and enjoy some nice music. Either way, we love him and we're sure you will too.
Asking Alexandria Festival season is far from over and Asking Alexandria are far from done, documenting their entire Summer on the US run of Warped and documenting it through their social media sites, it looked like Asking Alexandria were having a belter of a summer. With new singer Denis reigniting a new fire in the group, each show looked to be packed with fans wanting to get their fix of the new AA. Asking Alexandria are again set to make an impact on Europe as they get set to embark on a tour with Memphis May Fire, August Burns Red and In Hearts Wake, including a stop at the long awaited Vans Warped Tour UK in London. Playing an eclectic mix of material old and new at a festival which they’ve arguably dominated, if you haven’t managed to catch these guys, now is the time.
Moose Blood “I’ll Keep You In Mind, From Time to Time” in a few words is a sublime record. Capturing the essence of the elements that embody emo and poppunk. Again a band that have been relishing in the US Warped Tour circuit. Their ever growing dedicated fanbase rapidly expanding day by day as they took their homegrown version of the genre across the states. For fans of La Dispute, The Story So Far. Expect melancholic vibes and a lot of sadness.
The One Hundred Numetal crew The One Hundred have been stepping up their touring schedule with sets at lowkey festivals and experiencing their biggest crowd to date at Reading & Leeds Festivals. Ending festival season with the UK’s own Vans Warped Tour should prove to be a high note for these guys. With the incredibly heavy EP Subculture dominating these guys live shows expect a lot of bouncing and a lot of chaos.
TOUR DATES! 15th 16th 17th 21st 28th 15th
Oct Oct Oct Nov Nov Dec
The Crescent, Salford Polish Club, Barnsley Packhorse, Leeds Bridge Hotel, Newcastle Bannermans, Edinburgh Trillians, Newcastle
Formed in March 2015, Eujenics are an alternative rock band from Sunderland, UK. They made their gig debut at O2 Academy, Newcastle in August to a rapturous applause. Debut single Meniscus has recieved rave reviews and was played on BBC radio Newcastle on the Nick Roberts show. It is now available as a free download from their soundcloud page. They are in the studio next month to finish off work for their debut EP which will be out in Feb 2016 to coincide with a full UK tour. Also next month see's them hit the road for the first time on a mini UK tour.
"Eujenics are a ferocious 5 peice Alternative Rock band from Sunderland. A wall of noise and melody that will leave you on the brink of an abyss and whimpering for breath. A full scale assault of riffs, moods, hooks and aggression." Death To Living Fanzine facebook.com/Eujenics
FILM REVIEW BY JAMES PRICE
Don't be fooled, this isn't just a 1960's gangster movie, full of violence and cockney slang. This adaptation of the famous Kray Twins rise to crime lord status is much more than that, itâ€™s deeper, darker and also much funnier than any take before it. Although it feels like an American gangster movie, Legend is a biopic on an exuberant scale. Undeterred by the fist fights and dodgy dealings, it's a very clean film, a pleasure to watch. The 60's look cool, old Ford's shining in the streets and music stars starring in the clubs. The soundtrack isn't one to be missed either, rivalling the coolness of Guardians Of The Galaxy, only with more Burt Bacharach. Helgeland skips the boxing years of the Kray twins youth, and instead moves straight to the jumping 1960's. With Reggie already a self-proclaimed prince of the East End and Ronnie controversially being released from a mental institute. As well as being the movies narrator, Frances Shea (Emily Browning, Sucker Punch) also becomes Reggie's love interest, and gives a backlight into Reggie and Ronnie's relationship as the film progresses. Although a key figure, and ultimately a catalyst in the Kray's crime-fuelled experiment, Browning's Frances is overshadowed by what can only be known as yet another stupendously delivered fantastic performance by Hardy.
His Reggie is an arrogant yet charming "businessman", madly in love with Frances and madly in love being (but never admitting to being) a gangster. His Ronnie is a paranoid schizophrenic, a violence-fuelled family man who's love for his Mother's tea is overpowered only by his love of young men. Ronnie is a theatrical character, brought back down to earth by either Reggie's way with words, or Reggie's right fist. At times it's hard to take this movie seriously. Scenes of graphic violence are sandwiched between Ronnie in a near Little Britain-esque comedy sketch and Reggie in an endearing love scene (be it in prison or not). That being said, itâ€™s entertaining, from start to finish, and climaxes with a conclusion that can only be taken seriously. In the final third of the movie Browning comes to life. Frances becomes a stronger woman and with it Browning becomes a stronger actress. Although Hardy's delivery is nigh-on impossible to criticise, she stakes a fantastic claim for herself in a supporting role. Hangeland has landed on his feet with Legend, producing a fine script with a fine host of actors to see it through, two of which, are Tom Hardy. Humour weaves itself around the script from top to bottom, smoothing a softer edge on an otherwise tragic love story. Hardy amalgamates into two actors in a effortlessly seamless double-headed production, and undoubtably steals the show.
"Southern Brotherhood have a great live-instudio record out, "1000 Times" - 56 mins of music recorded the old fashioned way! The band are very active on the live circuit along the South Coast. Go out to one of their shows and appreciate their live musicianship, enjoy the ever changing set lists and walk away with a copy of their latest release!"
Head High is an alternative rock / grunge band from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We formed in early/mid 2015 and shortly released our first Demo "acting on impulse' weeks later. Head High will be touring the eastern United States this fall and winter. Facebook.com/headhighsc Headhighband.bandcamp.com Headhighband@gmail.com
Features interviews from the following: Coheed and Cambria, Mayday Parade, Parkway Drive, Motion City Soundtrack, Like Moths to Flames,...
Published on Sep 30, 2015
Features interviews from the following: Coheed and Cambria, Mayday Parade, Parkway Drive, Motion City Soundtrack, Like Moths to Flames,...