Interview with Rory Friers
"They've toured with Them Crooked Vultures and they have just finished touring America, get ready as "And So I Watch You From Afar" are coming to a town near you!"
Band Members ? Rory Friers,Tony Wright,Johnny Adger and Chris Wee.guitar,guitar,bass an drums
Can you describe to readers who may be unfamiliar with your sound just exactly what you sound like ? It's loud and noisy and we have no singer.we try and fit alot into every tune and its pretty fast paced.I guess it's music we wrote to be heard and seen live first and foremost, that's where we feel most at home cause we still feel like we're in the punk bands we've been in all our lives but I guess the music has progressed into something different now.
As a instrumental band, how do you go about writing a song ? I'll usually come into the guys with a riff, an arrangement or an idea and it kinda takes off from there,sometimes they grow legs real quick and it's a really fast process or sometimes we'll slog over parts and changes for weeks.everyone has their own character they lay into the mix so its always interesting to see where the boys take the track. it's a pretty ruthless process,we recently binned all 25tracks we'd written for our next release 6weeks before recording and wrote 10 new ones instead cause we'd all got a bit bored of them,but we've always been a bit Stalinistic like that,it's a really satisfying way to do things when it works.
You guys toured with one of the biggest bands in the world 'Them Crooked Vultures' how was this whole experience ? and how did this offer come about ?
How excited are you for your UK tour dates ?
Really excited,we haven't been out on a headliner in uk since feb,so it's gonna be fun to get back to where we Their agent knew us guys and had seen us play a few started this touring malarky a few years back in a times so after a chat with our manager he stuck us mitsubishi charisma with a roof rack,after being out under their noses and they were into us and asked us to in come along.we'd just got back from 10weeks in Europe Europe and US all year.we've a lot of friends in the for literally a day and we start getting all these calls from uk so it's always a treat to see em all again. our tour manager,our booking agent and our manger and finally our drummer Chris pick up to one of them and he was like "pack your bags boys we're headin out to play with dave grohl, Josh homme and John Paul What can you tell us about the album 'And jones!",4 days later after a 48hr straight drive we were So I Watch You From Afar' ? there.predictably it was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives,playing to 7000 people a night,being treated like royalty and of course getting to It was our first full length,we were and still are so hang out with the guys every night was just proud of it,it definitely sums up the band at that ridiculous.those 3 guys have played in bands which time,it shaped ours, and most of our friends lives,I remember reminds me of some of the most incredible points in sharing tour stories with John Paul jones back and forth the bands history.it was all the best tunes we'd for hours one night then having that sudden realisation written up that I'm talking to the bassist from led zeppelin?it was until that point all crammed on one cd and it worked.I pretty mental. listened to it for the first time in so long on this tour whilst we were driving through the rocky mountains,it was What should fans expect heading out to one a cool moment
of your UK dates ? We're gonna be headin out with a ltd Ed tour single,so there will be some new music to get your hands on ahead of album 2.apart from that same as usual,noisey Irish fellas and sweat.
â€?I remember sharing tour
stories with John Paul jon es back and forth for hours o ne Finally, after the UK tour what's next for 'And night then having that So I Watch You From Afar' ? sudden realisation that I'm Well i can now tell everyone that we've just finished talking to the bassist from recording an album,no release date yet,most likely early 11,and we're very excited about it.we're gonna be doing led zeppelin?it was pretty some interesting shows over Xmas so keep an ear out and it's looking like 2011 will be the most touring we've ever done,which after doing 180 shows last year and its mentalâ€? looking like even more this year is worrying as I'm not sure where we'll fit them all in?either way we'll be busy boys and we're gonna get to see some more of the world together, meet people and play music so we're happy.
Interview with Jono Yates “They’ve done T In The Park, and they’ve done Sonisphere, now they are heading out on their first ever headline tour, head out to a show and support a great upcoming band!”
How did Blitz Kids get together ? Billy met Hawx at a bus stop, then auditioned Joe in Spar car park. They then met Jono and Nic in a pub and Hawx convinced them to join. It took a lot of booze, but he succeeded. Predictably, we were all in various bands before but eventually migrated together to form the current line up.
What can you tell us about your latest EP 'Scavengers' ? As it happens, it was never actually intended to be released. We were just writing songs and demoing them for a fair while, and then realised that we'd spent all our money on these demos that we couldn't afford an album, so we had to release it to get a bit of money in the pot and some momentum going. It's been a bit of an uphill struggle to this point.
How excited are you for your UK shows in November/December ? More excited than ever before. We've never headlined our own tour before so it's a new experience. Hopefully we won't just be playing to the sound guy and the other bands who stick around after their sets. Come one and all!
Also for fans attending, what can they expect ? We've just been busy writing and recording the debut album which we're really proud of, so we're excited to get out there and show off all the hard work. They'll all be great shows, we've a lot of friends playing on each of the dates so whichever you come to, you're in for a treat.
â€œSonisphere was the greatest and worst experience of my lifeâ€? Band Members
Joe James (vocals), Eddie Hawx (drums), Nic Montgomery (bass), Jono Yates (guitar), Billy Evanson (guitar).
How was playing T In The Park ? It was awesome but we made the grave error of going down on the Thursday and camping all weekend, so by the time we played on Sunday, we were totally fried. Watching Eminem and Jay-Z was cool though. I'd never pay the extortionate fees to see them at their own shows, so being given the opportunity to see them for free was a dream come true.
As well as this you played Sonisphere, how was this experience ? Sonisphere was the greatest and worst experience of my life. We got our van towed by a police officer that clearly thought of himself as Knebworths own Bruce Wayne. We eventually got the van back after I found out it had been wrongfully seized. The set was great and it was incredible to fill the tent when so many other bigger bands were playing at the same time! All in all, it was a confusing day.
What's next for Blitz kids ? Well, we've recorded the new record, so keep an eye out for that. We'll have a new release available really soon (there may even be an exclusive release available on the November tour - so you'll have to head down to a show to check it out). Other than that, I know we'll be on the road for the majority of 2011. We've never done things the conventional way, so I guess you'll just have to keep checking back.
Matt Wilson - Vox "Matt Wilson explains the life of Set Your Goals, read on if you love good music, and flipping cars?â€? Jordan Brown - Vox
How did Set Your Goals come together ?
Audelio Flores Jr. AKA "Junior" - Guitar Mike Ambrose - Drums Dan "Hardluck" Coddaire - Guitar Joe Saucedo - Bass
Jordan and I used to hang out and he'd send me these tracks of him messing around on guitar and I thought they were pretty catchy. I wanted to start a pop punk band with a hardcore attitude and Jordan listened to more pop punk than anyone I knew so naturally I asked him. He was playing in a hardcore band called "Time For Living" at the time w/Dan and Mikey so things just sort of catapulted from there. We recorded a demo not really thinking anything of it, just sorta messing around and booked some local hardcore shows w/our friends and all of a sudden there was this internet hype around the demo and kids wanted us to come play their city and so we pressed the demo onto CDs on a friend's label and booked some tours and one of our first tours was where we met Junior. He was filling in for LA metalcore band Make Move at the time. We also met Joe when we toured w/his old band, Set It Straight. A few lineup changes later, they're both in the band.
You guys have played the UK a load of times, what is it you love so much about playing here ? The UK is our favorite place to play over on that continent. I think we like it better than mainland Europe because it's more relatable to us. Some of the stuff is the same, everyone speaks English, and we have the best following there!
As a band that have toured all over the world, with some amazing bands, can you give us one of your crazy stories from the road ? On one of our earlier tours across the West coast of North America, we were afforded the opportunity to tour with one of our all time favorite bands, Turmoil. They'd recently reunited and only did a couple tours before retreating into obscurity for yet another undefined amount of time. Not only do they play incredible music, but it was our pleasure to discover that they were also awesome guys. Also, strangely enough, everyone in the band is named John/Jon except for one guy named Jeff! To our delight these guys were party animals and one night on the tour a couple of our dudes (I won't list any names here) got drunk and went out with the Johns (and Jeff) and flipped over a parked car in the middle of the street! I think we were in Idaho or something. That was a first for our crew...but definitely not a last!
You played the whole of the Warped Tour this year, how was that ? Brutally hot, long, and dirty. But it's always a blast. I think if we do it next year we probably aren't gonna wanna do the entire tour. Twice is enough for us.
What can you tell us about your latest album 'This Will Be the Death of Us ' ? It rips. We're more proud of it than anything else we've accomplished in our career. We feel we really stepped it up.
You worked with producer Mike Green (The Matches, Paramore) on this album, how was that ? Mike rules. He is such a smart dude and very calm and has a way with pop hooks that is on par with the best of 'em. He's also a good therapist when your band feels like it's falling apart in the studio before your eyes and I don't think we could've gotten the record done without him.
You guys have a bunch of vocal guests on your latest album, Hayley Williams and Vinnie Caruana are just two of them, how did this idea come about and how do you go about choosing a guest you want on a certain track ? We have 4. Well, 5 if you count the B-Side we did for the Japanese Import version...we got a little carried away hahaha! We knew we wanted Jon Gula (ex-Turmoil vocalist) to scream on "Gaia Bleeds" so we hit him up and he was all for it. We knew we wanted a different voice for the title track and we felt Vinnie would be perfect for the part so we called him up and he was stoked to be a part of it as well. As for Chad and Hayley, Mike's studio is about a block away from Chad's house in LA so they'd both come and hang out in the studio while we were recording and so that just sort of came about naturally. The next tour we did with NFG, we had Jordan lay down some vox for "The Lost Boys" in the back lounge of their bus with Cyrus' equipment. We think it turned out pretty well!
You guys were the backing band for Vinnie Caruana, when he did his Movielife set in Kingston, how did this idea come about ? and also what was this experience like ? Vinnie is an old friend and he was out in California working on a project w/some of the RX Bandits guys and he called us up and told us he was looking into doing some sets where he'd play Movielife songs and explained the situation and how it wasn't a proper "reunion" since it was just him but thought it'd be a cool opportunity and wanted us to be a part of it, so naturally we said yes! Those shows were so much fun.
How excited are you for your UK tour in December, and what can attending fans expect? Touring with the YMAS guys is always a blast. We love those dudes and we can't wait to hang out with them. Fans can expect a different kind of music and stage show than they'll see from any of the other bands on the package. We all come from a hardcore background and as a result we rely on crowd involvement and we feed off of our interactions with the audience...so come out, say hi and sing-along!
Simon Wright: bass Rob Jones: drums Paul Wolinski: programming, guitar Joe Shrewsbury: guitar
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What can you tell us about your latest album We Were Exploding Anyway?
Interview with Paul Wolinski
How did you get the name? In November 1899, the Russian battleship Apraksin ran aground on Hogland island (in the Gulf of Finland). The waters started to freeze and the crew were trapped there. A Russian called Alexander Stepanovich Popov - who Russians generally credit with being the true inventor of radio and even celebrate his 'Radio Day' every year on 7th May - had been making waves with his new invention 'the radio receiver'. The stranded crew of the Apraksin used his ideas to build a transmission station to broadcast signals to the Russian Naval base on Kotlin island (where Popov, coincidentally, was teaching). Once the station was operational, in the bitter cold of a Scandanavian winter, they broadcast their may day signals. For 65 days, all they received in response was static. On the 66th day, Popvov's severe Russian tongue pierced the airwaves, telling them that the icebreaker ship 'Yermak' was on its way to save them. We thought that was a cool story, so named our band after it.
It's something that took us a long time to make, but something we are very proud of. It didn't come easily, and until it was finished and mixed we were in no way sure that we'd pulled it off. But now we love it. It's noisy and urgent and happy and sad in all the right places for us. It doesn't feel like it came from a band who had been dulled with fourth-album-blues. It feels like a new beginning. And you can dance to it too, which has proved to be incredibly satisfying now that we are touring it.
Did you start out with an instrumental band idea, or did you once have vocals involved? When we first started it genuinely wasn't even a question we thought about. We all listened to so much music that didn't have vocals - guitar-based bands and electronica alike, that we simply started making music using the tools we had to hand, that we thought sounded good. Our voices didn't sound good, so we didn't use them. We have never had any hard and fast rules about not using vocals, it's just something that doesn't often come up. Most of the time, there doesn't seem to be space for them. If there is, we try and find someone who has a cool voice to do something.
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You supported one of the biggest and most respected bands in the world, The Cure, how was this experience? Amazing. How could it be anything other than amazing? They are fantastic guys and they really looked after us and made the tour work for us. We can't thank them enough. Even if we will forever be in their shadow from now until the end of time, and even though there will always be questions in interviews about The Cure, or about Robert Smith appearing on our last recordâ€Ś It's totally fine for us. They are a band from a time that doesn't really exist so much any more, except in super-produced pop music (and maybe Radiohead) where bands could be so well known they were like household names all over the worldâ€Ś I dunno. It was great. We learnt an awful lot off that tour.
What does the future hold for 65 Days Of Static? We have a new e.p coming out - the Heavy Sky E.P, 25th on Hassle Records. It's lots of tracks that we made during the Exploding sessions but didn't seem to fit on the record for one reason or another. We liked them a lot though and it's really exciting to be able to put out almost a whole other album's worth of material so soon after the record. It's sort of like a sister-disc to the record. We'll be touring in support of it in November, around Europe and UK.
Interview with Stephen Christian
â€œStencil Mag talks to Anberlin just before they hit the UK with Hawthorne Heightsâ€?
Band Members Stephen Christian, Nate Young, Deon Rexroat, Christian Mcalhany, Joey Milligan
How's this year been so far then ? exciting, nerve wrecking, and relaxing. we spent the majority of this year in the studio, now that the record has come out we have been working like crazy, new city different day. but i wouldn't have it any other way.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour? were ready for the UK, it seems we have never 'broken into' the kingdom, and i am really hoping that with this upcoming tour and last record that we start turning heads.
As well as this Hawthorne Heights have been announced as the support act, how did this idea come up ? and how stoked are you to be sharing the stage with them ? we have been good friends with them for a long time, we have toured with them several times in the states and it seemed fitting to take out the band that for years has been such a vital part in keeping anberlin alive.
What can you tell us about your latest album 'Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place' ? it is the best thing that i have ever been apart of, it is the album i have been wanting to write for years and years now and finally just put down. brendan obrien was a mammoth part of this record, he was crucial for bringing us and this record to a whole new level.
As well as this, in the states this album sold 31,000 units in its first week, how does it feel to have that many people buying your music ? i can't look at numbers to judge how well people like the music, with all the illegal downloading who knows how many people like/have the record. i judge it on how many people show up to the shows and sing along at the top of their lungs, and so far so good here in the states!
How much have you guys progressed as a band since the release of 'New Surrender' ? i think we have evolved in so many different ways, we are a more complete unit, we are rolling on all cylinders and we have never been more confident in the music we are producing.
What's it like being on Universal Republic ? euphoric, they are an amazing label with so many talented people working in so many different areas; they have given us so many opportunities that we never had before, from radio play to warp tour to brendan... we couldn't ask for much more.
Since you guys have started, what do you feel has been your biggest achievement ? getting in the van, leaving our jobs and colleges behind and hitting the road as a band; success is not about numbers or how much money you obtain it is for those who follow their passions in life relentlessly.
After you wrap up your UK tour what's next for Anberlin ? we play a few radio shows here in the US, then we head off to australia, new zealand, japan, china, and singapore. than we go on another US support tour in the spring, then head back to the UK next summer! (fingers crossed!)
â€œI can't look at numbers to judge how well people like the music, with all the illegal downloading who knows how many people like/have the recordâ€?
“Touring is a way of life for Frank Turner, he rarely takes a day of the road and if he does it’ll be to record a new song or album...read on to discover some amazing talent” When you first left Million Dead, how hard was it to start building up a new fan base as a solo musician ? Harder than I thought it was going to be, if I'm honest. MD were doing pretty well by time we broke up, and it was a bit of a blow going from playing to 500 people a night to paying to about 5. But I believe in hard graft, and a gazillion shows later, I've got a fanbase, and I think the attachment is greater because I worked it from the ground up. At least I hope so!
What can you tell readers about the album 'Poetry Of The Deed' ? Poetry was a full band record, more of a rock album than my previous solo efforts - I wanted to make something that was more down the road of the E Street Band, or The Hold Steady, than I had before. It was also the first record where the live band came into the studio with me. The writing and recording process was pretty intense, we didn't have much time, but I'm very proud of what we came out with, and it's been my most sucessful record to date, which is encouraging!
You played a couple of your biggest gigs in June supporting the massive Green Day, how was this whole experience ? It was nerve-wracking at times, surreal, and generally awesome. The Green Day guys were very cool, very welcoming. It was certainly a new experience playing in front of that many people, but I think we aquitted ourselves well and made a lot of new friends, so, mission accomplished.
Your constantly on the road, what do you love so much about touring ? It's a way of life that I'm very attached to now. I actually find it hard to stay in one place now. Life on the move is a life lived to the full, for me. I love being in new places, meeting new people, packing in experiences. Hemmingway is very important to me, as is Kerouac. Life is short.
in tay ove os dt em ar th it h e on llâ€? ind Lif fu y f w. he all no to t ctu ace ed â€œI a e pl e liv on a lif is
You headlined 2000 Tree Festival this year, how was it as you've played the festival before but not as a headline act ? It was great - the guys who run the festival are old friends now and I really respect what they're trying (and succeeding) to do with their festival. It kind of felt like a home-coming. I'll be back there again for sure.
What bands have influenced you to take a political approach on your music ? I grew up listening to stuff like RATM and particularly Propagandhi, which got me interested in political music, or at least an intelligent version of it. There's something in the simplicity of political folk (early Dylan and so on) that I enjoy as well. I have a slightly ambivalent relationship with the idea of politics in my music, though; there's very much an "acceptable" set of political opinions within the soft-left arts establishment (the music industry very much included), which I happen not to subscribe to. People often get excited at the idea of me being "political" and then get all pissed off when it's not their specific politics, which I think is quite duplicitous. Put it this way: I'm not a fucking Liberal Democrat.
What is it like being on Epitaph Records ? It's fantastic. Obviously there's the heritage and all that kind of thing, which is wonderful, but they're also a great label to work with on a day to day basis. I hope to keep working with them for a long time to come.
Your currently working on an EP to come out in late November, how's that coming along ?
My backing band consists of Nigel Powell (drums, percussion, vocals), Ben Lloyd (electric guitar, mandolin, harmonica), Matt Nasir (keys, vocals, percussion) and Tarrant Anderson (Bass). They're lovely people and great musicians.
We finished recording it earlier this week. 5 new songs. It's not mixed yet, but on first impressions I think it's going to sound excellent, and I'm really pleased with my songwriting recently, so I can only hope that the wider world will be into it!
Your wrapping up what has been an amazing year for you in December with your UK headline tour, how excited are you ? and what can attending fans expect from your show ? Yeah this year has been pretty crazy for me, huh. I'm grateful for the luck that comes my way. December should be a great big celebration, if everything goes to plan. I like my shows to feel like a party where everyone's invited, a singalong. We've got a few tricks up our sleeve for the set, but I won't give those away just yet!
"Four albums under th InMe are a band that h in the UK, join them th InMe album..."
Interview with Dave Mcperson Band Members
Dave McPherson - Vocals, guitar, programming. Greg McPherson - Bass, backing vocals, programming. Gazz Marlow - Guitar. Simon Taylor - Drums, percussion.
Since the early days of InMe, how have you progressed musically ? as we have seen a lot of musical growth in the last seven years from you guys , and it sounds amazing. I guess we're like explorers of music, we're always digging deeper. It's such a strong unadulterated passion of ours that we all have a unified ambition to constantly grow together & spawn new exciting ideas. We've tried many different styles with InMe & I think it's exponential in that attempting new ideas opens up even more doors of new territories to explore! I think we're a melodic rock band with pretty grand ideas whereas we used to be quite a simplistic grunge band.
How has it been playing as a four piece again ? It's great fun overall. For me personally, Gazz is a great friend & it takes the weight off of me as the only guitarist so I can do more with my voice instead of being limited by having to play really crazy riffs & singing over the top!
How fun has it been touring 'Herald Moth' ? It's been amazing in every way. We've really pushed ourselves technically & that complex musical edge is really satisfying to pull of live. It's been such a fulfilling campaign & the feedback regarding the album has been very life-affirming! It'll be very nice to enter a new world with the 5th album though. It'll be something unexpected.
You headlined the 'Bowtime Bar Stage' at Sonisphere this year, how was that ? One of the best shows of our lives. The tent was over capacity & I guess it clarified to us that we're still a relevant band to other people. Onwards & upwards!
heir belt, and a greatest hits on the way, helped kick start the underground scene his December as they play through every
What can you tell us about the single 'Single of the Weak' ? We just wanted to do a goofy song for a laugh. People have said it's a bit obnoxious but the message is supposed to be quite tongue in cheek! It's incredibly fun to play live.
What do you think of the current rock music scene in the UK ? I think it's very strong & thriving. To have bands like Muse & Biffy Clyro doing so well is really exciting for the UK rock scene. There are some great bands coming up like Fei Comodo, Don Broco & Brigade.
Your playing all four of your albums in their entirety in London, how did this idea come up ? It was talked about for quite a while & eventually we warmed to the idea as it's actually quite a daunting challenge. We have to reinterpret quite a lot of songs which is very exciting & it seems like a nostalgia trip for some people so I think the atmosphere is going to be something special.
What can you tell us about the single 'Bury Me Deep Beneath Your Skin' ? It's a really frantic, melodic beast stuffed full of passion! It was nice to work with Mike Curtis from CDS Studios as sonically everything sounds so huge & tight but vocally he manages to get a really honest, live performance out of me. I think it'll be an awesome track to destroy the dance floor to.
In November/December you guys will be playing a lot of songs that have not been played live in years, what's it like playing them again as a band ? Very interesting & surprisingly fun! I think we overplayed certain songs for years so we separated ourselves from that for a long time but now it feels quite refreshing to dig them out dust them off & reinterpret them. The shows are going to have a celebratory feel to them.
After the release of 'Pheonix: The Very Best Of InMe' what will be next ? We're trying to make the best album of our careers after this. We want to make an epic album full of hooks & dreamy euphoric sounds. It'll be big & all fat will be trimmed. I'm also releasing my debut solo album which is very exciting in a completely different way & we've also created a very interesting new album for a project entitled 'Centiment' which fuses tech-metal with dubstep. Lots of creative musical twiglets for us to chew on!
How did you guys get together ? We were all good friends before making this band and Three years ago I (Paul) decided to start the project to do a pop punk band influenced by metal and hardcore stuff so i asked my friends jonathan & bert to join me with two others good friends but these guys decided to part with the band very quickly so bert asked his brother eric to join us and i asked my friend matt to take the bass even if he had never played it before.That's how we started
How did you get the band name ? We took the name from our favourite & best movie ever "The Goonies". This sentence comes from the scene when chunk & sloth arrive on the boat to help their friends.
What can you tell us about your latest release ' Something For Nothing' ? Something For Nothing is our debut album and we're proud of it. There are 13 tracks (14 on the japan version) on it for 44 minutes of pleasure ahah We did everything by ourselves at home from recording to mastering and it took one year to get it finished. Our singer's on his way to become a good music producer so it was cool to do this all together at home even if it took longer than expected. We tried to add and mix a lot of things into this album so it wouldnâ€™t sound repetitive. you can find poppunk,metal/hardcore, acoustic,dance,indie...
Bert(voice),paul (guitar),eric (guitar (drums)
You guys are clearly influenced by bands like New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong, what is it you love so much about this type of music ? I don't feel like we are really influenced by the bands you mentioned, we like them but the thing we had in mind when we started was to bring something a little bit different from the basic poppunk and we all listen to different kinds of music so we tried to bring these things into our music but we never said "Ok man,let's start a band like four year strong or a day to remember". I always listened to pop punk from my 8 years old and then i grew up with metal and hardcore things so i wanted to mix those roots into this project to bring a more energic and angry pop punk than usually.It feels good to play something that is generally happy with a negative approach. All we want is to bring pop-punk & hardcore kids all together in the pit!
Coming from Paris, can you tell us what the music scene is like there ? Horrible ahah if you like Old school rock&roll,bad indie rock or shitty electro come to Paris! In france the worst movement is called "Baby rock",the plastiscines or BB brunes are the leaders...it sucks dude! Btw there's a small scene with some good bands like can't bear this party,Mary has gun or the earl grey but don't come to france for music,you should rather come to eat some frogs,sausages,snails and cheese (we've got the best on earth!).
After cancelling your last UK tour, when will you guys be back ? We'll be back in december for 6 shows from the 18th to the 23th with some good local bands like Ready set low or maycomb. all the dates are not already booked at that time but all the shows will be listed on our myspace page so stay Tuned,can't wait to be back!
Band Members Ashley Wilkie (Vocals) Ben Hordos (Bass) Warren Senior (Drums) Tom Millar (Guitar) Joe Hicks (Guitar)
How did Francesqa form ? 'Francesqa' came about after each of us kind of stopped playing music and doing the band thing for about six months. We actually formed whilst Ashley was living with Ben and they started playing around on some acoustic guitars. We recorded a few demos and ended up having a couple of full band sessions with a few different friends, which didn't really work out. It must of been about the third session which involved the current 'Francesqa' line up and it worked perfectly! We wrote A Little Closer, Move Your Hands and I Lost My Way over the next couple of weeks, recorded them and then released them!
What can you tell us about your EP 'We Lived' ? We Lived is 5 songs that are all about those little moments in life that can leave you feeling Elevated or empty. We started writing it in September last year and finished writing it whilst we were in the studio recording in December. It's our way of saying that nobody's problems are bigger than anyone elses but how you feel because of the choices you have made is what counts. If anyone can find a way of relating to these songs even if it isnt how that connection was intended then We Lived has served its purpose.
â€œIt was amazing to be picked to play the festival by such an established musician, especially as it was Tom DeLonge!â€?
You guys were picked by Tom DeLonge to play the Slam Dunk Festival, how did that feel ? It was amazing to be picked to play the festival by such an established musician, especially as it was Tom DeLonge! We really didn't expect to get the chance to play the festival, and to be picked by the frontman of Blink 182, a band who were a huge part of growing up and starting bands for all of us was amazing.
You released a split EP with the amazing 'Person L' recently how did this idea come up? The idea was brought forward to us around June by our management and Syclla Records and obviously as fans of 'Person L' we were really happy to have the opportunity to do a split release. In terms of the idea being thought up, I think that it was just a great time for both bands to be releasing something a little different and so the idea was brought forward!
What can fans expect who will be heading out to see you on your upcoming UK dates ? We love playing shows and touring so we think people can expect an energetic and exciting show, hopefully filled with songs everyone enjoys! For our two headline shows (16th November Camden Barfly & 17th November Birmingham O2 Academy 3) we are going to try and do something a little more special production wise as they are our two last headline shows of the year.
What does the future hold ? Well for the rest of the year we have a bunch of shows and a tour with Aiden booked in which should all be great. We have our two headline shows in November which we are really excited about, it'll be a great way for us to wrap up such an amazing year for us! We are also in talks about doing a full UK headline tour at the start of 2011 which is very exciting. Other than playing shows we will be writing for an album which we are aiming to release in the first half of 2011.
Interview with Gary Stringer Photography by Steve Gullick
“They’ve played with The Rolling Stones, They’ve had a number one album, and they are a great band, catch Reef as they head out on tour this winter!”
Band Members jack Bessant . dominic Greensmith . kenwyn House . gary Stringer
What's it like touring and playing together again, after all these years ? It's been brilliant. i think everyone is playing so well together, there's a really good energy about our performances. no one is taking it for granted . these shows in november & december could be our last headline shows for a while.
Your album 'Glow' went straight to number one, what's it like to have a number one album ? It's an amazing feeling......hard to put into words. at the time it happened for us , every release got higher and higher up the charts ...... incredible really.
With so much commercial success on that album, What was the pressure like when you were making the follow up 'Rides' ? I personally never felt any.
The last full album you released was 'Getaway' what can you tell readers about this album ? I had just had my first child and as a result felt a little behind the curve writing wise. i can remember finishing lyrics before singing a couple of tracks. we went to a studio out the way in Belgium with our good friend Al Clay . fry ups for breakfast , cooked at midday by the cleaning ladies. a swimming pool with a mosaic guitar . strong Belgian beer . i really like 'superhero' and 'levels' . the artwork is cool .
You got to play with one of the biggest bands in the music world 'The Rolling Stones' how was this experience ?
“every release got higher and higher up the charts ...... incredible really”
It was cool. mick Jagger phoned muff Winwood (the head of our then label S2) and asked personally for us to play. we were on stage for our sound check when keith Richards walked into the main hall - the throng of camera men, photographers , journo's and general hangers on was incredible. just right.
You played Glastonbury again this year, what was that like, and also how much has it changed (or stayed the same) since you were last there ? Glastonbury is the best festival in the world. i don't think that's changed . the hospitality field backstage has gotten bigger. it was an honour to be asked to play . the turn out was huge. the whole of the other stage field , full with people dancing in the sun . ace.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK shows ? I’m amped.
What does the future hold for Reef ? I think we'll do these headline shows and maybe a couple of festivals next summer, then go our separate ways again. probably.
â€œThey just released a new EP and on top of that they are in the studio recording a brand new album! a new chapter has clearly begun for Funeral For A Friendâ€? Interview with Matt Davies
of e n o e l g sin y r e v e e “It felt lik 0 people were d. i 0 r 0 , o 4 w e y s r o e th to ev g n o l a lf” e s y m singing r a ly he e r a b d l cou
Current band members? Gavin Burrough, Rich Boucher, Kris Coombs-Roberts, Matt Davies and Ryan Richards.
You’re in the studio right now, how’s that going? Really good, busy and productive. The process of putting your songs together is exciting and fun, it's nice to hear the finished thing after everyone has put their pieces on.
How did you come up with the idea to pledge yourselves via pledgemusic.com for the new EP the Young and Defenceless? basically the Pledge idea already existed and they approached us with the concept. It was something we felt positive about as we've always made sure that our fans get something unique and distinctive with everything we do. We've always taken the time to involve them in various bits and pieces but never in a way like this so it seemed both fun and innovative.
What can you tell us about the new EP which was recorded with the awesome Romesh Dodangoda? (Check Issue 2 for interview) The Young and Defenceless is a chance for people to see where we as a band are headed both musically and aesthetically. We've always thought that we write music that challenges peoples ideas of what the band is and this is no different. The EP shows off our angrier side.
How’s the writing process been with new members Gavin Burrough and Richard Boucher? It's been incredible and enormously productive. Everyone works well together and we all know what kind of personalities we have. We've found a way to write that prevents us from feeling hindered and held back. The doors are open and the stuff we've been writing is the best stuff we've done in years.
You played two shows in July where you played Casually Dressed And Deep In Conversation in its entirety as a send-off for Darran, how was this whole experience, as some of the songs you have not played live in years? It was fun, i think for us, playing live is where we excel. It's a lot of fun and going back and revisiting an entire album was cool and brought back a lot of memories.
You guys have chose to play some smaller venues in the last couple of years, why is this? Personally, for me i enjoy more intimate surroundings. It's so easy to get disconnected when you're on a stage that's the size of a football pitch! haha. We've always loved the interaction with our audience and I much prefer to be in peoples faces than so far away you need a magnifying glass to see us.
How much do you guys miss the legendary Newport TJâ€™s? We miss it a lot, not just as a place to play but as a place for like minded people who like the alternatives to mainstream music. I used to go there to see shows and meet up with friends it was a very sociable environment and it will be missed.
When you guys first started out, you did a tour with Iron Maiden, how was that, as you two bands are completely different? It was challenging and fun, i think at the time a lot of people saw us a 'mini-maiden' which i never quite understood. I think the guitar stuff we did probably brought that out. Touring with such a respected band really taught us a lot. We're quick on our feet now because of that tour! haha
Youâ€™ve toured, and played all over the world, can you share with us one of your fondest memories from the road? One of my fondest memories is when we played Singapore for the very first time, it's a show that will always stick in my head. Travelling half way around the world to play a place you've never been to before, not knowing what to expect. I remember we didn't know how many people would turn up, in the end i think there were about 4,000 people and when we stood on stage the atmosphere was electric. It felt like every single one of those 4,000 people were singing a long to every word. i could barely here myself. I had this stupid grin on my face for the entire set, i couldn't stop smiling. It was heart warming to have such a welcome.
Its been eight-nine years since you started out, what can we expect next from the mighty Funeral For A Friend? More music and more touring. We've got this motto that we're going to go on until the wheels fall off so right now they're still on, had a tire change and are stronger and better than ever. 2011 is the year of the FFAF!
“2011 is the of the year FFAF! ”
ine t n e l y Va M r Fo es Dio t e l l this Bu ie Jam f e o n p to ut n Ju e Ronn o o i t g k w n c "Ba ined th load, No e headi l b head at Down hey will tour..." t e stag ing year K arena U amaz assive m on a
You guys were on the Mayhem Festival this year, how was that ? Well, it lived up to its name! We were on early, so after we got off stage we would party on the bus, and some of the guys from Killswitch and Slayer would come join us when they finished their set. We definitely had the party bus on that tour!
As well as this what is it like taking your music so far away from home, and still getting an amazing reception wherever you go ? Again it’s just makes us real humble you know? We are from a small town in Wales, and playing to thousands of people as far as Tokyo, Sydney, Montreal, New York.. it’s pretty crazy when you think about it.
de i w d l r wo l 5 a p n o o t i t 1 a . “Crazy 4 huge intern abies!” b , album o far!) and 2 s tours (
How excited are you for your UK arena tour, and what can attending fans expect ? We’re going to be doing a full show, pyro, video screens etc. It’s going to be amazing. We can’t wait to kill it in front of our home crowd in Cardiff.
With all the great shows you guys have played, will we see another live DVD soon ? Definitely, but that’s down to the record label as they have to pay for everything!
After another amazing year, what is next for you guys ? We are gonna take a bit of time off to spend at home with our families over xmas. Then we hit Soundwave festival in Australia in Feb, with Maiden, Slayer and our friends Avenged Sevenfold. We love Australia
Interview with Nick Diener
ht g i a r t s g n i m o "New talent c e h T h c t a c , a c i out of Amer g n u o Y n i o j y e Swellers as th r e t a l r u o t K U r Guns on thei this year..." Band Members Nick Diener - Vocals and Guitar Jonathan Diener - Drums Ryan Collins - Guitar Anto Boros - Bass
What is it like being on 'Fueled by Ramen' ? They're a bunch of great people and they really know how to run a record label. We get lots of attention, are good friends with pretty much everyone there, and they always are into our ideas.
You guys toured the UK before with All Or Nothing how was that ? They are the best. Great band, great dudes. It's always nerve wracking getting in the van with strangers for a couple weeks, but it's easy to assume you're going to get along famously when it's people in the punk rock scene. They helped us and taught us a lot about the UK. Go see them play sometime!
You also played the world famous Warped Tour this Summer, how was that experience ? It was our first tour in a tourbus, which made us feel like rockstars, except for the fact that we worked our ASSES off all day long, every day. From 8am till 8pm, we were out in the hot sun, sweating, promoting, playing, loading, etc. You name it. Hard, hard work.
You have toured with some seriously amazing bands Less Than Jake and Paramore are just a couple, can you give us a crazy story from the road ? There isn't much that stands out. Most of the cool stuff is captured in our tour videos, which can be found on our website or youtube. The craziest thing to me is that we even get to DO this.
What can you tell us about your latest album 'Ups and Downsizing' ? It's our first album on FBR. We really like the songs. It's fun to play live. It's about real life. No BS.
How excited are you for your UK tour with 'Young Guns' ? We met those guys in Germany and had so much fun. We had no idea they even liked our band. But then they asked us to come tour with them, and we couldn't be more appreciative. It's a huge thing to bring a band to your country to play. I just hope we can return the favor someday.
For any 'Young Guns' fan that might be reading this, why should they head out early to come and watch you guys play ? If anyone is craving to see a bunch of american and canadian dudes sweat like crazy and pour everything they've got into a performance.. then they should see the swellers. we have some pretty nice songs, I think.
What's next for 'The Swellers' ? Home. Europe. US Festivals. UK. Holidays. That's 2010!
â€œIf anyone is craving to see a bunch of american and canadian dudes sweat like crazy and pour everything they've got into a performance..â€?
â€œlove pop punk and ska music?, then you will love these guys!â€? Band Members Robin (Lead Vocals, Guitar) Ryan (Lead Vocals, Trombone) Mark (Lead Guitar, Vocals) Drew (Bass, Vocals) Dave (Sax) Scott (Drums)
How did 'Kids Can't Fly' form ? We formed in 2006 after playing in a variety of small local bands and vaguely knowing each other through playing local shows. The line-up has changed a lot since we first formed, but those changes have resulted in us really finding our perfect sound. We started as something of a standard ska-punk band, but with the influences that our newer members have brought to the table, we've managed to create something we feel is unique and special
You guys are always out playing gigs, what is it you love so much about playing live ? Playing live is so much fun. You get to have a crazy dance party with your best friends and play really freakin' loud music at the same time. The feeling you get when the crowd join in with the dancing and jumping is undescribable. Plus it's an awesome workout and definitely beats going to the gym.
What can you tell us about the EP 'Strength In Numbers' ? Strength in numbers is our last release, it's a 3 track e.p. with a couple of bonus tracks. We had the idea of using photos of our fans as the artwork to thank them for the amazing support we get online. We had so many submissions that we couldn't fit them all on one edition, so when we sold out we ended up making 2 more different versions with different fan photos and extra tracks. People have reacted amazingly to the tracks on the e.p. and we can't wait to get our next release out before our next tour in December.
Where did the front cover idea come from ? I think Ryan came up with the idea, it wouldn't be awfully far fetched to say inspiration may have sprung up from the Sum 41 album cover for 'All Killer No Filler' a band we all love and a comparison that has definitely been cited once or twice. But the idea to get fans involved came from the awesome support we get from them all... so we wanted to give them something back.
â€œW to c e aske and heck d our bef requ out th fans we ore w est it. e vid onlin r e for e see e kne .. but eo the ing w it peo firs us o t tim n ple S cuz eâ€? z
What can you tell us about the single 'Everyone' ? It's a single, it's called 'Everyone' and it's written by us. In seriousness though, we hadn't released a proper single before it and it was our first experience with a music video, so it was a real eye opener. Frankie Torpey did a great job producing the track too!
You toured with Zebrahead back in 2008, how was this whole experience ? It's a strange feeling. On one level, it just feels like another gig, but then when we start to think about the fact that Zebrahead have been one of our favourite bands for years, it really hits home how lucky we are to share the stage with them. The crowds were awesome, the venues were huge and we had so much fun!
You guys hit the number 1 requested spot on Scuzz, how was this experience ? It came as a huge surprise. We asked our fans online to check out the video and request it... but before we knew it people were seeing us on Scuzz for the first time and getting in touch through facebook and twitter. Our fans seem to really love us, and we love them too, so when we asked them to request the video they didn't let us down. It was so strange to see our little video project topping the chart above some huge bands, on a channel that we've watched ourselves for years!
What does the future hold for 'Kids Can't Fly' 9) A lot more time going from van to stage and back again... every night forever and ever if I had it my way! Right now we're recording a new double a-side single and it's sounding great, we're really excited! There's going to be a new video for one of the tracks really soon and another headline tour in December.
Interview with Matt Fle
Band members Shaun Hill (Vocals) Matt Fletcher ( Bass ) Rich Leese (Guitar) Jon Keeling (Guitar) Mitch Brown (Drums)
pcoming talent from the Birmingham areaâ€?
HIT OR MIS
“Rising from South Wales Hit Or M to show us why South Wales is suc place for music”
Band Members The band members are: Dane Lloyd - Vocals/Guitar xTommyx - Guitar/ Vocals B.A. - Bass Killian - Drums/Vocals
Interview with Tomos
Miss are here ch a great
How did 'Hit Or Miss' get together ? We were all in college together, the three of us on a Music Performance course and Killian was studying music technology. Had to put a band together for a course, and liked it so much that we kept it going since! Although, we take it a bit more seriously now, and hopefully... are a bit better too. 'Cause we sucked.
You are currently recording a EP, how is that coming along ? Yeah, we've started recording, well actualyl we've started recording the first track, but band members have gone away on holiday in the middle (not the best plan). So hopefully we'll be able to finish it at some point soon! But, we're pretty amped for this release.
Why should people come off facebook and out to a show ? Because we're hilarious. No, but hopefully we'll be able to impress you if you come to a show! We always change stuff about and add new things in, so it's always going to be different to what you hear on the actual tracks! But mainly because we're hilarious.
Your playing with Guns and Town this December, how excited are you for this? Yeah, pretty psyched for this show. We've played with both of these bands before, but it's in a sick christmas festival thing that Sam at Lepub is putting on. It's like a big list of awesome shows coming up in December. Plus, both bands are pretty tight so it should force us to step up our game and put on a rad show!
What's next for 'Hit Or Miss' ?
What's next for Hit or Miss? Hmm, there's quite a lot to be honest. Recording a new EP, there'll be a single off that and a music video. We have quite a few big shows coming up so check our myspace. Also we're planning to go on tour with Drafts in January. There's a whole bunch of other stuff too, I just can't think right now. But keep checking our facebook and myspace, because stuff's gonna be huge!
Interview with Neal Mitchell
Band Members: Neal Mitchell (vox, Bass), Kev Green (Guitar) and Simon Barford (Drums)
How did you guys form, and where did you get the name 'Templeton Pek' from ? Initially myself and kev were in a incarnation of the band for a few years, but only after when we met si working at a venue, did we really push to take the band further. The origins of the name are top secret, if you are a bona fide child of the 80’s you’ll know where it came from.
You guys have a new album coming out, how’s that coming together ? Literally as I type this we finished the mixing. It’s currently on its way to Toronto to be mastered then will be sent to the labels to start forming a release plan. It’s been a strange process; at the writing stage we went through 3 lockups during winter and at one point were totally homeless in a studio sense and ended up finishing writing in someone’s warehouse space in the dead of winter with no heaters and one light. It really tests your songs in those conditions i can tell you. And not only because we took on the responsibility of producing and recording it ourselves. It’s a really difficult task as you have to be not only creative but realistic as well as brutally honest with ourselves of what isn’t working. I honestly feel we’ve ended up with a great record that couldn’t really be more defining as a band. And it’s a pretty proud feeling knowing that we all created this album with no outside input at all. This the band.
“Some great bands come from Birmingh am, Templeton Pek are one of them!”
What can you tell us about the single 'Barriers' ? ‘Barriers’ was pretty much the first track we completed on this album and we were eager to get a song out to give people a taster of what’s coming. We didn’t want to sit on this material until album release. So we thought lets give it out for free to bridge the gap from now until release, and shot a budget video to accompany it. It’s likely we’ll have another single before or around the release too.
You played 'Artsfest' this year, how was that ? It was awesome. It’s always nice to play a large hometown show, especially on a big open stage like that. Last was great but this year it was amazing, the crowd were really up for it and I don’t think we could’ve gone down much better. Amazingly there’s still pictures, and videos popping up online from it. So here’s to next year.
You supported the massive Bad Religion, what was that like ? Really bizarre. We’d tried to get that support since we heard about it, but for whatever reasons it never came to fruition. Then on the day 2 hours before the show, we got a call asking if we’d like to play, which obviously was a no-brainer, a sold out 30th anniversary show with Bad Religion, problem was we were all in different parts of the city..... so it was a mad race to get to the venue in time for sound check, and before we knew it we were onstage then off it. It was a great show though one we’ll remember a long time.
What does the future hold for 'Templeton Pek' ? Well obviously the next album is in the can and ready to release so we’ll be starting the tour cycle for that in early 2011, we’d like to stretch out as far as we can and maybe get released in further territories and just get expanding and touring. UK and Europe tours are already scheduled for early 2011.
PAUL SMITH "Taking a couple of months off being the front man in Maximo Park to front his own solo project, Paul Smith is about to be let loose"
Please introduce yourself â€Ś I'm Paul Smith, singer and sometime front man of Maximo Park.
Youâ€™re so busy with Maximo Park, where did the idea for a solo album come from? I had lots of songs that didn't fit with the band, where I was playing the guitar. I recorded them at a friend's house over the last 5 years so there was quite a slow gestation process rather than a big decision to 'go solo'! He's a great drummer and he asked if he could play on the songs. We recorded each song in a day so they were very loose and spontaneous. Once I realised I had enough to put out an album I asked my friend David Brewis from Field Music to play the bass. There's a real unity to the sound of them, which meant it felt right to put it out under my own name.
How was it writing music without your usual Maximo Park members helping out? It was easy! Maximo Park is a real democracy, so with our songs, they never get released unless we all have an input and are happy with them. Although the results are really enjoyable, the process takes a long time, so to do it alone is much quicker. However, by yourself, it's harder to get confirmation that you're doing something right and that it's not just self-indulgent.
What can you tell us about your album Margins? It's an intimate collection of songs that range from just voice and guitar to full-on band material. It's not as frenetic as Maximo Park and sometimes my singing is much softer and more fragile. The songs are very personal, generally dealing with relationships and how people interact in domestic situations. I've used a wide range of atmospheric sounds on the record and there's a completely different feel to Maximo Park, but hopefully my voice provides some link and the songs are still melodic and direct.
And what can you tell us about the song North Atlantic Drift? It's an upbeat song about urging someone to break free from humdrum day-to-day living and experience the beauty of the Lakes whilst hoping it won't rain when you're there.
What can fans expect heading out to any one of your UK dates? I think it'll be intimate (there's that word again!) and emotional. The songs mean a lot to me and I'm extremely excited to play them to people. Plus, I'll be playing the guitar on stage whilst singing, so anything could happen!
Will it be weird playing tiny venues again? Not really because Maximo Park always play a few smaller shows around each album. We played in Carlisle recently before headlining a festival, for example, and I relish the opportunity of creating the kind of intensity that you only get in a small venue. I think the nature of the songs will suit a smaller place and in many ways, releasing this album is just like starting again. I'm looking forward to playing in cool venues like the Deaf Institute in Manchester or the Thekla in Bristol, which is on an actual boat.
Is there another solo record coming in the future, or was this just a one-off? I'm always writing songs when I get the spare time, so I would hope so. I really enjoy playing the guitar and having the opportunity to play music that's more left-field and less pop. It keeps my playing with Maximo Park exciting. There are so many things I want to do when I make music and I wouldn't want to limit myself to one type.
And finally, what is next for Paul Smith? Well, after my November/December tour I'll be back writing in our rehearsal space with Maximo Park in late December and I'm also making a record with my instrumental band, MeandthetwinS, so there's no rest for me.
Was Art something you always wanted to do ? or something you fell into ? Both I guess, I found from a very early age that art came easy to me. It always felt very natural and was a way for me to express my imagination. The better I got, the more obvious it became that I should make a career out of it. Growing up I never knew what direction to steer my career towards. I knew what kind of stuff I wanted do, but with no contacts or any helpful advice it was quite a frustrating path.
What was it like seeing your artwork on 'Kid Rock' and 'Bring Me The Horizon' T-shirts ? It feels great! especially when you spot someone wearing a design you have done. The great thing about doing work for popular clothing lines and bands is that your work ends up all over the net, merch catalogues, magazines etc. It really helps in getting your work exposure.
What was it like to win 'Emptees Tee of the day' 20 times? It feels great, It certainly helps you get noticed. Its also very nice that the client you have worked for sees that a lot of people like the design. it kind of makes you feel you have done them proud and that your doing something right.
What inspires you in your work ? Anything and everything. Throughout the day ideas flood in and out of my head, my brain is always thinking creatively. If I have a strong visual idea pop into my head I'll quickly do a one minute super rough doodle of it and file it away. Music inspires me, atmospheres, dreams, movies. When I was growing up I was obsessed with fantasy and Sci-fi, I connected to the endless creative element of it and found it the most obvious way to express myself artistically. When designing I usually approach a piece with a rough idea of what I want to do, as it flows so do all the ideas and it just develops from there.
Who would you really love to work for? Lady Gaga, That would be amazing. I find her very intriguing.
What can you tell us about your work with 'Iron Fist' clothing. Iron Fist have been great to me. I suppose they were the turning point in me making merch designing a serious career move. I think I have done about 12 designs for them now. Great company and they always do a wonderful job with the printing. They sometimes supply me with a simple brief and just let me roll with it. I like their ethic and hope to do lots more for them.
How long does it actually take you to do a drawing ? This can vary considerably from design to design. I usually build on my ideas out of rough sketches. I have found however doing it this way has been adding loads of time in making each design. So lately I have been clearly planning the key elements, drawing then scanning them in. One the computer I can work on positioning etc. Once thats looking solid I tie it all together with various details. Zombie/monster themed stuff is usually a lot quicker to do as you don't have to be so precise as you need to be when drawing say a beautiful girl. I always aim to get a design completed within a week, I don't like to rush my art.
Did you go to an art university and study art, or did you study something altogether different? I did go to Art college in Wales and got my Degree in art. It was a very disappointing experience for me, I was left very uninspired and disillusioned. With art I have always done what feels natural to me. I like to find my own way of doing things, I wish I studied drama instead.
Are you satisfied with your work, or are you sometimes too critical of yourself? I would never submit a piece of work if I wasn't satisfied with it. I am obsessed with detail, especially when I paint. I am lucky that with Tee designing there is restrictions on colours and shading, otherwise I would spend ages on designs like I do on my paintings. I work until the design feels right to me. In Hindsight I look at designs and see things I would have done differently now, but as long as I'm satisfied at the time and the client loves it, then I'm a happy bunny.
What does the future hold for you ? I'm probably the happiest I have ever been since my childhood, so I want to build on what I am doing. I have been putting a lot of time and work into starting my own clothing line. Its all a bit hush hush at the moment. I have come up with some designs I'm really happy with and cannot wait to get the ball rolling. Its coming soon, I just want everything in place before I start hyping it! I will update my website with news about it as soon as I can. I'm also a keen musician and have been working on some great material with a few friends and really want to get that out there.
Who would win a fight between Judge Death and Chuck Norris ? (says Ash!) Ahh! Anyone who knows me is aware of my obsession with Judge Death. I'd love to witness a clashing of such Titans. I dare say Judge Death would win. Norris would valiantly pummel Death into his gaseous spirit form, however Death would enter The head of Norris, taking control of his body to wreak mass destruction on Earth. Sparing only me of course... If you would like to check out some of my work, you can visit my online portfolio below >>>
o c . l l e v o l r e h p o t chris
“Stencil Mag has a chat with “A Wolf At Your Door Records” Label Manager Ian Dickinson”
Introduce yourself My name is Ian Thomas Dickinson, I am the Label Manager of A Wolf At Your Door Records and I like to party! I also write for clinkmusicmagazine.com when I can. I currently reside in sunny Stafford, with my amazing girlfriend Judith, one anti-social cat and two misanthropic fish.
Can you give us a bit of history about 'A Wolf At Your Door Records' ? The label was started by the Managing Director, Kevin Horak in 2006. Kevin has loved hard rock music his entire life and he started the label to help out the bands in his local area. It was never started with the intention of being a mass money making venture but rather a platform for promoting great music and giving unknown bands a chance.
What is it like working with bands like 'Lower Than Atlantis' and 'Deaf Havana' ? It’s never boring! I am a massive fan of both the bands. I still get excited whenever I get to hear demos or see their videos for the first time. Those two bands are constantly on the road and are always coming up with new ideas for the future. Both bands are incredibly hardworking and dedicated beyond belief. It is quite inspiring actually.
How do you go about picking a band to sign to 'A Wolf At Your Door Records' ? Listening out for new bands is one of the best parts of the job and something that I have always done, I can’t think of any thing better than discovering ‘your new favourite band.’ There are so many ways to discover new music (which sometimes means you have to dig a little deeper and longer), but for me I normally go on personal recommendations, going to random gigs or a massive trawl through the internet just listening to bands I have never heard of before. The final part is requesting a demo or what ever is available, burning it and then whacking it on in my car. It really comes down to nothing more than what we at the label enjoy listening to. There are no ulterior motives or decisions based on ‘what’s cool at the moment.’ If it gets our heads nodding and we keep playing it, then that’s a band we want to work with. When I first got the POLAR. EP I played it about 11/12 times in a row. I just couldn’t get enough of it. When that happens you just want to be apart of it and you want everyone else to hear it!
You guys are an independent label, what advice can you give to someone that would love to start up their own record label ? Be prepared to loose money and sleep. This is my dream job, I really wouldn’t give it up for anything but if you want to start your own label get ready for a hell of a lot of hard work and no money! Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but it’s not like a normal 9-5pm job, I had one of those and I hated it. If you really feel passionate about what you do, you work non-stop and never really switch off. But the rewards are amazing & I can genuinely say that I leave the office with a big smile on my face everyday.
What does the future hold for 'A Wolf At Your Door Records' ? The label is in a strong position right now, we have some of the most exciting bands in the UK and we just want to keep building on this & continue to put out an array of great new bands. The new Deaf Havana single Smiles All Round is out digitally on November 1st which is a great display of the bands new sound & direction. Lower Than Atlantis are currently in the studio recording the follow up to Far Q. I have heard the demo & it is ludicrously good, that band is going to be huge. We also have a new signing; 5 piece hardcore mob POLAR. from Guilford. By far one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Their EP ‘This Polar Noise’ will be out at the beginning of 2011. They will be supporting Gallows before Christmas on some of their dates, so get down early and check them out! We will also be bringing more awesome bands to the label very soon…but that’s top secret for now.
Any last words ? Keep supporting the Independent labels, there are some amazing ones out there such as Holy Roar, Thirty Days of Night, Anchors Aweigh, Purgatory, Small Town and Tangled Talk. Thanks to everyone who has supported A Wolf At Your Door Records and our bands!
â€œWant to know what is it like to work for Rock Sound? photographer Mark Forrer lets us knowâ€?
MARK FORRER Introduce yourself ? Hey, im Mark Forrer, a 21 year old photographer and videographer from Manchester.
How did you get into photography, and what is it you love so much about it ? As everybody does, I started taking photos when I was a young teenager. I used to borrow my mums old point and shoot film camera and take it to gigs, get down the front early and snap away. It wasn't until I was in University that I decided to buy an SLR on a whim and started shooting local bands. I soon began to start shooting larger shows for an online magazine for free and it progressed form there. I cant explain why I love photography, its just something I enjoy doing and getting paid to do it just makes the experience even more fulfilling!
Who would you love to take photos of that you have not already, and why ? As far as bands go, id love to photograph Incubus. They're one of my favourite bands and one of the first 'rock' bands I got into.
You recently took pictures at the Architects tour, how was this experience ? Absolutely amazing. I love being on tour and visiting places I don't usually get to see and being able to do it for work was a lot of fun. I didn't know any of the bands on the tour before I joined it but everyone was so nice and friendly it made getting the photos I needed for my brief easy and enjoyable. Ive definitely come away with some new pals! The show at Koko in London was probably the highlight for everyone that tour. Its an amazing venue that id never had the pleasure of visiting before and Architects invited me on stage to take a photo of them with the 1400 strong crowd going crazy behind them. Its not very often you get to take photos like that! An amazing experience!
At the end of August you took pictures at the massive Leeds Festival, and how fun was this? and what bands were the most fun to work with? Leeds Festival is always a lot of fun! Ive been going there since I was a teenager so to be able to photograph there is definitely an honour, there are always so many amazing bands playing. You Me At Six are always a lot of fun to work with, ive known them for a good few years now and so I was allowed stage access to shoot them from side of stage. Its always nice to get a different angle and see things from the bands point of view!
You took pictures of Blink 182 recently, what was it like being that close to one of the biggest bands in the world? Haha. Well…honestly… i've never really been a massive Blink 182 fan, so for me it was just like shooting any other band! Definitely did a good job of bringing back my teenage years though!
Do you use a lot of enhancing work on your photos or are they all natural shots ? For my live photography most of it is natural, straight out of the camera. This is usually because of the large number of photos I take at a gig and the incredibly tight deadlines I have to meet, I just don't have the time to edit every single shot! As for portraits, ill generally sharpen them and bring out details a little. Get rid of any nasty blemishes, cables in shot and possibly correct the lighting a little. Im definitely not the best when it comes to using Photoshop
What is it like having your work published on the amazing Rock Sound website? Amazing! Ive always been a reader of the magazine and to get the opportunity to work for them both online and for the magazine has been a great great honour. Ive always looked at photography as a hobby and never intended to make a career from it, so if you'd of told me 2 years ago id be working for Rock Sound magazine I would of laughed in your face and choked on my curly surly.
What advice can you give to aspiring young photographers ? Ill probably be hated for this but don't do photography because you want be a photographer, do it because you love taking photos! Photography, especially now, is such an insanely competitive industry to get into and is definitely not worth putting all your eggs in one basket for! Persue your dreams, but consider it a hobby, otherwise you may find yourself disappointed and unemployed! Also, don't feel the need to study photography. Photography degrees (from what i've witnessed) are worthless. Everything you need to learn (and more) is available to you online. Id recommend doing a broad media degree, that way you have something to fall back on if photography doesn't work out!
What's next photography wise for Mark Forrer ? Erm, im filming a few music videos, which is a bit of a new venture for me so hopefully theyll go well! Everything I do is usually organised very last minute! So who knows what ill be doing in a few months time...probably at a gig somewhere!
“so if you would of told me 2 years ago id be working for Rock Sound magazine I would of laughed in your face and choked on my curly wurly”
AL OVERDRIVE k Sound c o R r e th o n a h it w es up “Stencil Mag catch if you love n o d a re ” e v ri rd e v photographer “Al O photography”
Introduce yourself Hi, I'm Al an editorial and commercial photographer who is best known for shooting music, tattoo and socalled 'edgy' subject matter. For the first twelve years of my life I was raised by wolves in Siberia until I was rescued by a passing documentary film crew. Part of this history may not be true.
How did you get into photography? I used to take pictures with a 35mm point-and-shoot camera form Argos, mostly of local punk shows, just for fun. I also used to drive a mate band around the country and started snapping again to make a record of the trip, they used the pictures on their debut album. After that I figured I had better learn how to use the camera properly..... This later came in useful as I spent 5 years working in forensics and photographed crime scenes, other investigations I was involved in and often used the photographs in court as part of my evidence. Wehn I wasn't in the lab I was shooting shows and documentary work. Then I made the leap to full-time.
What is it you love so much about photography? Tough question - either the moment you press the shutter and instinctively KNOW you got 'the shot', before you even review the images, or the challenge ; Unlike a lot of jobs you can't slack or rest on your laurels, you are expected to get results and be consistently good, that constant fear of failure is actually quite enjoyable.
When the grounds shacking and the volume is super loud, how hard is it to get a steady shot? Not as hard as you'd think, I hardly ever use flash at shows... if you understand the limits of your tools there is pretty much no excuse for getting unsharp shots... I've shot in the middle of violent pits such as Converge and black metal shows where I've had to literally fight to keep my position.
You got up close taking pictures for this years Sonisphere Festival, how was that ? It was pretty good thanks - long days but I got to see lots of bands I love such as March of the Raptors, Ghost of a Thousand and evne shoot the iconic Iggy and the Stooges
You covered both Leeds and Reading Festival last year, what was it like working at such a legendary Festival ?
I actually skipped Leeds/Reading this year as I was on a shoot elsewhere. I usually shoots Leeds festival if I can, as I take any chance I can to see my friends up in Leeds. It's also a lot more chilled out there, Reading is overrun with industry blaggers and wannabes who think being a photographer is all about getting to drunk to shoot the band.
What is it like being closer to the band, than anyone else in the audience? It's not as exciting as people think - like the myth of backstage being some sort of mecca. If you are shooting for your blog I'm sure its the most awesome fun ever. If you are doing it for a client, then its work like any othe job..... so you have to be focused (excuse the pun) as you are faced with the challenge of trying to get shots that are different to other peoples, while keeping in mind that the hundreds of people behind you have paid hard-earned cash to see the band, and not paid to see your camera obscuring the singers face. Kt's something that really bugs me when you see people doing that- it's unfair to the fans who have come to see the band. Photos really aren't THAT important. Saying all that, I love my job, but I often find its easier to get something special at the smaller shows, where security and PR's are less controlling of where you can shoot from.
You recently took pictures of Ozzy Osbourne, what was it like taking pictures of such an iconic person ? Pretty much the same as shooting anyone else, if anything a little easier... I've found that celebrities and professional models are often the easiest to shoot, they are understanding of the process and already have their 'look' down. I've been lucky enough to be sent to shoot so many icons this year it's unbelievable, In the last 3 months alone I've shot Ozzy, Iggy, Garcia of Kyuss and spent the day at Dial House with punk legends Crass. I generally find the more famous someone is the nicer they are to work with and the smaller the ego.
How fun is it to work for Rock Sound?
I hate it, everyone on the team is miserable, elitist, has a bad attitude, even worse breath and are always trying to force me to listen to Usher. Only kidding, the RS team are nice guys/gals and its always a pleasure to work with them in the studio, location or do a show. They also really take care of you at festivals, even though I spent all of Sonisphere working it was pretty much the most fun I've had at a festival. when you interview Mark just ask him about his ipad ;)
Photography wise, what does the future hold for you? Well, I've just come back from shooting in Texas and Toronto, which was fun. So hopefully more of that. I'm also starting to do more commercial work so I;m hoping to continue what I'm currently doing while shooting more advertising campaigns. I haven't decided which companies I want to work with yet. I'm also about to launch a new service for new bands doing a couple of heavily discounted promo sessions each month. The idea is to support new talent by giving them a helping hand in getting good shots that will get them noticed by the magazines and labels. I'm hoping this will work out as there are so many underrated bands out there at the moment !
AL OVERDRIVE King Blues
Converge AL OVERDRIVE
Developer. Treyarch, Activision Platform(s). Playstation 3, 360 UK Release date: out now RATED: 18 *artwork copyright Activision 2010
That time again Treyarch’s turn to create a COD game. We have come to expect a lot from the franchise, a few months previous we saw Medal of Honor make a run for the top spot. However they fell short of the mark and have left a lot of people eagerly awaiting Black Ops. ‘Epic single-player, acclaimed multiplayer and 4-player co-op zombies’ the back of the box promises a lot, and it’s the ‘Epic’ part I’m intrigued by. So we all know the multiplayer will be awesome, that much can be expected from COD. However to warrant the price tag the game must have a decent single player experience. So how does this latest instalment hold up.
We take the role of Cpt. Alex Mason an American solider who is of course harder than a coffin nail. Based in the cold war period we spend a lot of our time in Russia and a welcome trip to Vietnam ‘cue Rock music’. The set-up is simple Mason has been captured some how and you are being kept against your will by an unknown person, you are forced to play memories of your past missions. This is where the simplicity ends, missions are not in a linear time frame. However all come together to create a compelling yet somewhat complicated story based around numbers. Long cut-scenes drive forward the baffling narrative, be prepared to remember lots of people names, and find yourself asking ‘who’s he again?’ ‘he’ being the key word as there is only one female in the game and she is short lived.
Gameplay is amazing as you would expect, if its not broken don’t fix it. Notable features such as flying a helicopter, grand scale battles and my personal favourite slow motion breaching keep the game exciting and clever. My only issue was the amount of help given by AI team-mates this can at times make you feel like you are a spectator. However this could be seen as nit-picking as I am sure no solider would ever go to battle on his own. Sound and visuals are incredible, and work together to create a highly atmospheric environment. There seems to be a lot more detail in the level construction the addition of wildlife certainly gave the game a more organic feel. With COD you are really looking at two games, the single player and the multiplayer. Thankfully we have nothing to worry about as Black Ops delivers an awesome Online experience matching the likes of MW2. New maps and cold war appropriate weaponry are really the only changes. Some new killstreaks make an appearance the RC car bomb is definitely a funny addition and will have you dreading the sound of one incoming.
As I have said throughout this review, we have come to expect a lot from COD and yet again they deliver us a game relatively fault free, single player takes around 7 hours and multiplayer will keep you killing till the next instalment. I will finish by saying this ‘does there really need to be one a year?
So we are here again, another Halo game. Now I believe there are two thoughts people may have about this the ‘OMG its HALO!!!!’ and ‘really? Another one, I thought ODST would be the end’ and I’ll admit I belong to the second train of thought. However it wasn’t until I saw the adverts and played the Beta that I thought ‘hey they might be trying to do something different’. I cannot help but feel that this has to be something different, in order for this franchise to survive. I want to feel some of the magic I felt back in 2001 and the launch of Halo. Halo Reach is a prequel to the first Halo ‘EVERY LEGEND HAS A BEGINNING’ is written boldly on the back of the box, when I first heard this I thought ‘this is where we see where the Chief came from etc…’ this is not the case. The story then is about a group of Spartan soldiers ‘Noble Team’ and their heroic acts to defend the planet of ‘Reach’. You play the newest member of the team and are merely referred to as ‘6’. Throughout the 10 missions you will battle alongside the other Spartans, My favourite member of the team was Emile even if he did drive me off a cliff on a quad bike… top tip! Don’t let them drive! The story overall is nothing spectacular, but does bring a level of emotion not really present in previous titles. The prequel aspect is enjoyable and you will find yourself getting excited at the sight of familiar characters in a younger form. There is a reason I have brushed over the story, not just my aversion to spoilers but lets face it Halo has never really been about story its about ‘Combat Evolved’.
There are many new features in Reach that make this game the next step in FPSs, I’ll try and cover as many as possible. First off you will immediately see that you can customise your Spartan ‘6’ can be male or female, pick your colours and logo. You will also notice armour variations these can be unlocked with Credits acquired in all Halo modes. When you first step into Reach you will feel strange, I would best describe it as coming back from holiday to find someone as decorated your house. It is still familiar; you know where everything is but it’s fresher new and improved. This is due to the core mechanics, a variation on the ODST visor with a night vision system replacing the clunky light from the first 3 games, new weapons such as the M392 DMR designated marksman rifle and the T31 R- needle rifle add some amazing mid range efficiency. As well as the new weapons old favourites have been revamped or ‘devamped’ for this prequel. The shotgun for example looks awesome, but for me the weapon of choice has to be the return of the overpowered pistol. Fans of the first game know what I’m talking about. All weapon info can be accessed by hitting the ‘Back’ button. We have looked at what changes have been made to the Spartans but that’s really only a small percentage of what makes Reaches overhaul so special. The Covenant have become more deadly than ever not only due to new weapons but the way they move. The Elites in particular move with great speed twisting and rolling which not only makes them a challenge to shoot, but gives more organic feel adding yet further to the polished feel of Reach. If you are having trouble with those pesky elites be sure to use the new assassination ‘now that’s a knife’ just hit melee attack behind an unsuspecting enemy and watch as you knife them in the head. If that wasn’t enough upgrades such as ‘sprint’ and ‘armour lockdown’ add yet more advancements in combat. Vehicles are not without their updates with the addition of Space battles and helicopters the game is jam packed with features keeping the Halo experience fresh.
Developer. Bungie Platform(s). Xbox 360 UK Release date: out now RATED: 16
The sounds in Reach are as expected refined and polished and as always with Halo music plays a great part in the experience. The voice acting is moviesque and cut-scenes and short and snappy. The visuals are incredible and the Halo world has been injected with some much needed grit. It appears, as the audience has grown older the Halo franchise has too. The organic feel to the enemies is also reflected in the environments, quite simply there is life on the planet. The first level you will see large flightless birds again adding to the ‘realness’ and believability of the areas you are fighting in all come together to create a very atmospheric and involving experience. Bungie definitely understands what is important to their audience and have created an experience for fans. I won’t waste too much time here, it’s Halo, the online is of course refined FPS action. With all the additions talked about in the single player included: customisable Spartans, new weapons, new levels and the all new perks make for fast paced frantic competitive environment. With all this and the inclusion of multiple objective games its no wonder that Bungie has seen a huge rise in its online fanbase.
Halo Reach Brings back the magic I felt when I played the first game back in 2001, it’s taken the game to the next step, enemies feel more intelligent, environments seem believable and its all served up in the refined ‘combat evolved’ package. Well done to Bungie for re-vitalising a franchise I thought had had its day.
*artwork copyright bungie 2010
Developer. Lionhead Platform(s). Xbox 360 UK Release date: out now RATED: 16
As I unpack my Fable III special edition I cannot help but feel a certain unease, an assumption that a game will be substandard is never a good thing, but lets be honest its predecessor was far from the studios best work. I have learnt from experience not to listen to anything said about a Lionhead game until its ready for release. I managed to get a sneak peak at the EUROGAMER convention, which actually convinced me to give the franchise another go, although I did not play the finished article my first thoughts were ‘this game just feels better’ Since the launch of the first Fable game in (2004) Lionhead have been fighting to live up to their initial promises, I think they have done the right thing with the third instalment and been realistic in what they can achieve. Fable III has been very clear in its promotion that you will become the ruler of a kingdom, however the game does not end there. You then must run the kingdom set taxes, pass laws and make important decisions that will impact the world. Everything leading to this point is a ‘Revolution’ a word used FAR too much in the game. You take the role of a Prince or Princess, the offspring of the Hero in Fable II (although your previous saved game has no impact on Fable III). The set-up for this Revolution is simple but effective; your evil brother is ruling Albion with a reign of terror poverty, starvation and death are commonplace. So it is your job to save/change the kingdom, told you it was simple. However a nice twist fleshes out the story beautifully. The first thing you will notice if you played the previous game is that combat has been overhauled, more attacks, smoother animations and finally magic is a realistic way of dispatching your foes. As well as this more attention has been given to weapons, with them levelling with you and becoming more powerful by fulfilling certain tasks. Gold is a huge part of Fable III and its important you get a foothold on the economy early on, buy those houses and shops adjust prices and rent and watch your wealth grow. Trust me you’ll need it.
*image copyright lionheadstudios 2010
I absolutely love the sound and visuals of Fable games they have brought in some familiar music remind you of previous games as well as new sc and great new sound effects. Awesome voice ac from Britain’s best Stephen Fry (Qi host) John Cleese (the tall angry man from Faulty tow Jonathan Ross (that guy who can’t talk properly Visuals look similar to the first game but have certainly been polished, the game holds up nice and there are certainly some spectacular views.
Fable III has certainly made great efforts to impr its online facilities, players can come and go into each-others worlds with ease you can even hav children together. As well as this community facility Lionhead have clearly seen the potential revenue for DLC. How I don’t think this is a good thing at all! For examp you can dye your clothes many different colours you have to buy black and white dyes from Xbox Live… I mean seriously Lionhead! I see right through your plans and I don’t like it one bit!
With the exception of my DLC rant I have been positive and I wish I could sustain this throughou review, but unfortunately this game has a blindin annoying feature. ‘The moral choice’ has always been the core mechanic of the franchise and if y have to be 16 to play the game I think players a enough to make their own decision on what is ri and wrong. Why then is there a Halo round the ‘good’ choice (always A button) and flames arou the ‘evil’ (always X button) whoever decided this a good idea should be slapped its so dumb! And takes away the players own interpretation of righ and wrong… seriously Lionhead what were you thinking! To top this off I was evil all the way through… I just so happened to donate a lot of m personal wealth to the kingdom and bingo! Ever loves me. Even if I did kill people for no reason, tax, legalise child labour… not to mention no en theft, betrayal and generally being horrible.
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What could have been the game Fable fans deserve has turned out to be a money grabbing, Audience Insulting Game that doesnâ€™t even make sense. Rob Knapper
E V O L E W Y H W FILM: DIRECTOR N A L O N R E H P CHRISTO
Words by Jamie Murphy
“With the release of Inception on DVD just around the corner it is clear that director Christopher Nolan is a very talented man, so lets have a look at some of his previous films”
Memento (2000) Memento is Nolans big breakthrough movie as a director and was a adepted version of his younger brothers short story and was nominated for a Golden globe for best screenplay and was praised by critics for its unique style and the way the nonlinear narration is used. The film starts in reverse chronology (the plot is told in reverse) so the audience see's the outcome but doesn't know the plot and story leading up to the outcome. The film is about Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) who is looking for the man who raped and murdered his wife and also the cause for his disabillity of being unable to create new memories, so he lives by writing notes, taking pictures and even getting tattoo's to help him find his wifes murderer. The film is well put together because of the amnesia, reverse chronology and the narration, the audience won't know who's actually helping Leonard and who's actually using him.
Batman Begins (2005) Christopher Nolan's reboot of the caped crusader is set darker and more realistic than the previous batman films, Nolan wanted the audience to feel a connection for bruce wayne and batman and based the film bruce's fear of bats, his parents death and how he chooses to become the vigilante known as Batman. Nolan felt that previous batmans concerntrated on batman's villians and not the vigilante himself, so they decided to base the film on bruce before and the after becoming Batman. A lot of well known actors auditioned for the role of Batman but Nolan says Christian Bale has that light and dark side that Batman is and so Christian Bale became Bruce Wayne and Batman. The films cast consists of Micheal Caine as Bruce's loyal butler Alfred and Katie Holmes plays Bruce's love interest Rachel Dawes and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gray Oldman as Sgt James Gordon. The villians of the film are Scarecrow who is played by Cillian Murphy and Henri Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul who is played by Liam Neeson. The film was released in 2005 and won 3 saturn awards and also won the fan based Total Film award for best film.
The Prestige (2006) The prestige is a mystery thriller based on the book by Christopher Priest's book under the same name. The film was adapted from the novel to movie by Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, using the nonlinear narrative that Nolan has used in past projects it enhances the films mysterious storyline. The film stars Christian Bale as Alfred Borden and Hugh Jackmen as Robert Angier, both start out in the film as learning magicians, who are plants for the chinese water tourture cell, but when a mistake is made the two become bitter rivals leading them both down the path of revenge, love, obsession, sacrifice, deceit and secrecy as both try to out do each other and be known for being the best magician. Set in Victoria London and starring David Bowie as Nikola Tesla and Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and Andy Serkis, The Prestige is one of Nolan's best work and should be a must see for anyone who's a fan of any of his other films. The film won awards for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.
The Dark Knight (2008) The sequal to Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and brings the cape crusader against his most fearsome and deadly foe The Joker. The film is based around batman trying to take down the mob in Gotham city but later discovers theres a bigger threat who goes by the name of The Joker who wants Batman to break his one rule of killing someone (The Joker) and until he does he will kill and murder random people or untill he shows his real identity . When Nolan decided to cast The Joker as the main villian there was a wide range of actors showing interest, but Nolan had wanted to work with Heath Ledger in some of his past films, and so he cast Ledger as the Joker. While trying to get himself into the role of the Joker, Ledger was given a copy of the DC Comic Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth to revise his role as The Joker, he also citied influences from Clockwork Orange. The films cast has Christian Bale reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Micheal Caine as Alfred, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as Sgt James Gordon and also Cillian Murphy reprises his role as the Scarecrow for a minor role, and the new cast members include Heath Ledger as The Joker, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent and Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. The film was under media spotlight due to after the filming, Heath Ledger had died due to accidental prescripted drug overdose. The film has won awards for Best Supporting Actor for Heath Ledger and Best sound editing, Ledger also recieved nominations for over 20 awards for his role as the Joker.
Inception was written up by Nolan 9 years before it's release, as Nolan wanted to have more experiance directing large scale films he signed up to work on Batman Begins, The Prestige and The Dark Knight. After The Dark Knight Nolan polished up his script for Inception which was then bought by Warner Bro's to make the film. The film is about a Dream Extractor by the name of Dom Cobb who is the best in extracting people's ideas from entering there dreams. After failing to extract information from a man called Saito, who they find out was actually auditioning him to see if he is skilled enough to perform an Inception, which is where using the targets dream you implant an idea into there subconsious mind. The film was filmed in over six countries and the film was given $100 million for advertising due to Nolans success from The Dark Knight. The films cast consists of Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb the Extractor, Ken Watanabe as the Bussiness man and The Tourist, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur also The Pointman, Marion Cotillard as Mal Cobb, the dream projection of Cobbs wife and refered to as The Shade, Ellen Page as Ariadne and is The Architect, Tom Hardy as Eames who is refered to as The Forger, Dileep Rao as Yusuf and also known as The Chemist and Cillian Murphy who plays Robert Micheal Fischer who is the one they must plant the idea in and is also refered to as The Marked. Due to the film being a new release there has been no awards or nominations, but is rated as the 4th best film on the website IMDB and has been labeled as one of the best films ever made, and i'm pretty sure it will win plenty of awards.