CONTENTS MAY 2017
Editor: Stephen Ackroyd (firstname.lastname@example.org) Deputy Editor: Victoria Sinden (email@example.com) Assistant Editor: Ali Shutler (firstname.lastname@example.org) Contributors: Christopher Jones, Corinne Cumming, Danny Randon, Jake Richardson, Jasleen Dhindsa, Jessica Goodman, Phil Smithies, Sam Taylor, Sammy Maine, Sarah Louise Bennett, Steven Loftin All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of The Bunker Publishing Ltd. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of Upset or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally. P U B L I S H E D F RO M
THE BUNKER W E LCO M E TOT H E B U N K E R.CO M
IN THIS ISSUE... RIOT!
4 WHILE SHE S L E E PS 8 2000T RE ES 9 SLAM DUNK 10 N O RT H L A N E 12 G N A RWO LV ES 14 RO C K DJ : LOS CA M P ES I N OS ! VS M U N C I E G I RLS 16 C H A RLY B L I SS 18 TO N I G H T A L I V E
ABOUT TO BREAK
20 B LO O D YO U T H
22 C O U R AG E M Y LOV E
24 L I N K I N PA RK 32 H O 99 O 9 36 N E W FO U N D G LO RY
40 AT T H E D RI V E I N 41 W E I RDS 42 F L AT L I N E RS 44 C RE E P E R 45 A L L T I M E LOW
When a band gets to a certain size, they can stop trying to change things up. After all, they know full well whatever they do will shift the required units. They’re sure to be able to play massive shows all around the world. Why on earth would they ever risk that? Ask Linkin Park. That’s why they’re on this month’s cover, after all. When they dropped ‘Heavy’ last month, everything went off. While they’ve always been comfortable in the mainstream, this was y’know - pop. Actual pop. And it’s not a one off either. They’ve been playing with new toys with their forthcoming album, and the results could change everything. You might notice we’ve had a bit of a refresh too. Nearly two years in we’re always evolving. Expect more ‘soon’.
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
FED UP WITH THE MAJOR LABEL MACHINE, WHILE SHE SLEEPS DECIDED TO DO THINGS THEIR OWN WAY ON NEW ALBUM, ‘YOU ARE WE’. CO-VOCALISTS LOZ TAYLOR AND MAT WELSH DISCUSS THE UNITY THAT CAME FROM STEPPING OUT INTO THE UNKNOWN. WORDS: JAKE RICHARDSON.
t seemed like the right time to go independent.” While She Sleeps’ frontman, Loz Taylor, is reflecting on the Sheffield metalcore band’s decision to leave major label Sony following the conclusion of their last album, 2015’s ‘Brainwashed’. “We’d had a few hiccups with the label,” the vocalist explains. “We’d question why something had leaked at 4am with no hype and no push behind it. We had that realisation that we were a small fish in a big pond, and we had to put up with silly things that we didn’t need to.” It sounds like a scenario we’ve heard many times before: rock band does well, signs to major label; major label fucks rock band around, rock band tell
major label to fuck off. But Mat Welsh (guitar/vocals), despite not speaking in glowing terms of their experience, suggests that the decision to leave was amicable, and that band and label parted on good terms. “We weren’t angry at each other, we both just decided to stop,” he says. “We’d realised over the last two years that the beliefs of the band weren’t conducive to us enjoying our time with Sony. They were alright, but to us, this music and this band is the be all and end all of our lives.” The realisation that those around them didn’t share the same belief in the band that the members themselves did, led to the Yorkshire quintet taking the bold decision to release their new album, ‘You Are We’, independently. “We had a conversation
together where we talked about how if we didn’t go independent now, we’d end up doing another three records with someone and bitch for three more years about how we don’t like it,” Mat recalls. “So we decided to make a change, no matter how scary that might be. We just threw ourselves in the deep end with it.” “I didn’t want people to think that getting a label is the be all and end all of your musical career,” he states. “We thought that before we got one, and then we got one and realised that it wasn’t right for us. It might be alright for some people, but for us, it’s definitely not. The music industry is changing, the way people get music is changing, and I like to think that by us doing this, we’re encouraging other musicians and creatives to realise that 5
you can do it yourselves if you treat your fans honestly because they’ll stand behind you.”
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
However, not content with simply funding the album in a DIY manner, the band looked to physically create a brand new space where they could make ‘You Are We’ happen. “We spent the ‘Brainwashed’ cycle in a small practice room, and it was cool, but it wasn’t big enough to create anything special,” Loz states. “It didn’t let us express ourselves very much, and we realised very quickly that we needed a creative space to be the band that we want to be. We needed that artistic hub, so we thought, ‘Why not build a While She Sleeps headquarters that’s got everything we need?!’”
“We got this big space and just went to town on it!” Mat continues. “We learnt how to build walls, and it was nice that we didn’t just take this album we’d written into a random studio, but we built a studio to record it in. The whole record has a very can-do attitude, and building the studio before we made the record put us in a very good mindframe to create something special because we’d all created somewhere special to do it in. It set us up on this independent journey where we were completely in control of everything, and not confined to someone else’s rules.” The band’s proactive, creative mindset during the process of making ‘You Are We’ also extends to the album’s artwork, an imaginative concept which echoes the beliefs of the band and their music. “One of the things with the
title,” explains Mat, “and all the different languages it’s written in on the cover – traditional Chinese, Hindi, Spanish and English, the four most commonly spoken languages in the world – is that we were thinking about how we could make it so the album was as easy to understand for as many people as possible.” The album title is something that’s also reflected in the record’s lyrical content, and While She Sleeps aren’t ones for mincing their words when it comes to highlighting the social issues of the day. “We’ve always had a similar theme to our lyrics,” says Mat. “One of the things we’re quite conscious about is that we’ve been lucky enough to travel around the world. The record is our view on everything; we’re trying to say that if people can be unified, and if we can stop being closed-minded to race and people who live in other countries, the world would be in a far better position.” “I’m sick of hearing ‘I lost my bird’ in a song,” adds Loz. “For us, as lads in a band, we’re never saying that what we say is gospel, or we believe in our opinions one-hundred percent and nothing is going to change them, we just try and keep things realistic to the times. And we’ve got a platform to say a few things that hopefully people latch on to; to say something a bit more anarchic. We felt like we had a chance to say something more heartfelt and about the things we see in society.” “The Brexit vote happened in the middle of our recording and writing
process, and we all felt hugely affected by it. That we felt gutted at the result is an understatement! The fact that the youth of the country voted against Brexit, and that the older generation who are consuming an old-school type of media, and are getting brainwashed by it, actually decided our fate is terrifying. We’ve always felt strongly about that. So that happened, and then Trump got in power, so there’s a lot of things to be standing up and saying at the moment.” One song in particular that expresses the While She Sleeps view of the world is ‘Silence Speaks’, which features a guest appearance from Oli Sykes of Bring Me The Horizon. “That divide amongst people that’s happening across the world was something we tried to address with the lyrics,” Loz states. “We wanted to make people question their decisions a bit more, but also make people aware that if we want to, we can unify and work through these things. Lyrics like ‘Where is your heart?’ are asking people where their hearts lie in all this; are you speaking up about things that you believe to be wrong?” At its core, ‘You Are We’ is an album about unity, from the fans who funded the record, to the band who stuck together through troubled times, to the millions of people suffering across the world that Loz and Mat sing of. While She Sleeps are everyone. You are While She Sleeps. P While She Sleeps’ album ‘You Are We’ is out 21st April.
KILIMANJARO & FRIENDS BY ARRANGEMENT WITH WME PRESENT
ANDTHERATTLESNAKES.COM MYTICKET.CO.UK / SEETICKETS.COM
A SHORT Q&A WITH...
FRONTMAN JAMES VECK-GILODI TALKS PLAYING THIS YEAR’S 2000 TREES.
So, we hear you’re playing a special fan-voted set at 2000trees this year - whose idea was that? We are indeed, it should be great fun. We did one tour before where we asked fans what setlist they wanted us to play, and it worked really well! It was a combined effort of us five and our management; we thought it would be a bit more interesting than just playing the usual set.
2000 TREES GETS BIGGER E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
EXCLUSIVE ALERT: GET THE LOW-DOWN ON THE LATEST 2000TREES LINE UP CONFIRMATIONS.
ey Upset readers - we have an exclusive for you. Not just one exclusive, if you want to be super specific, but several of them: the latest batch of bands announced for 2000trees. Leading the way are Deaf Havana (did the picture and Q&A give it away?) with a special fan-voted set that will no doubt see them playing a bunch of faves alongside hopefully a few new ‘uns - but it’s up to you guys, so who knows. Next there’s Spring King - who released debut album ‘Tell Me If You Like To’ last summer Dave Hause & The Mermaid, Oathbreaker, Freeze the Atlantic, The Winter Passing, Employed to
Serve and Svalbard. Milk Teeth also join the bill fresh from finishing work on their second album, the follow up to ‘Vile Child’, and Lemuria will also stop by while touring the UK in celebration of ten years since debut record ‘Get Better’. They join a bill that already features Slaves, Gnarwolves, Lower Than Atlantis, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, The Wonder Years, Black Foxxes, Puppy, Slotface, Petrol Girls, Greywind, Get Inuit, Bellevue Days and Peaness to name a few. Phew. Check out the full day splits on the opposite page. 2000trees will take place from 6th-8th July at Upcote Farm, near Cheltenham. For more information, visit twothousandtreesfestival.co.uk.
How can we vote? Is it something we can do lots of times, or is it a one-shot kind of a deal? I believe it is going to be poll-based and hosted by the 2000trees Facebook page. People can vote for as many songs as they want from the following albums: ‘Fools & Worthless Liars’, ‘Old Souls’ and ‘All These Countless Nights’ (including B-sides), making up a set that is 60 minutes long. Once the songs have been chosen, we are then going to launch a second poll in which people can choose the order that the songs will be played in. Can we do write-ins for covers, make you play Panic! At The Disco or something? Unfortunately not, although I do believe that a cover of Counting Crows’ ‘Round Here’ is one of our B-sides, so you could vote for that one. To be honest, covers are super fun to play but seeing as we just released a brand new album we probably should be playing songs off of that. Which of your songs do you think will be most popular, do you each have favourites you’d like to appear? Obviously, as we just released a new record it would be extremely fun to play new songs, so I hope that a fair amount of new ones appear in the poll, but I am generally happy to play anything that the fans want to see. I think it makes it way more special for the fans as they are pretty much getting to see exactly what they want in the set. Are there any other bands playing that you’re hoping to catch? I cant wait to catch Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes as my good friend Tom is now the bassist. Dinosaur Pile-Up are our best buddies so we definitely wanna try and catch them, if not we will just hang out. Black Foxxes are a great band, so I’m pretty sure we will watch them. You’ve played 2000trees before haven’t you, what’s your favourite thing about the festival? We have indeed. Last time we played our drummer was having a baby so he couldn’t play; I’m excited for him to experience it. I think the setting of the festival is really beautiful too, in fact, it was pretty much my favourite UK festival that I have played before.
THE FULL LINE-UP SO FAR...
Mallory Knox / Pulled Apart By Horses / Young Guns / Dinosaur Pile Up / Feed the Rhino / ROAM / Muncie Girls / Black Foxxes / Tigercub / Puppy / Straight Lines / Grumble Bee / Bellevue Days / Jonah Matranga
Nothing But Thieves / Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes / Deaf Havana (intimate fan voted set) / The Wonder Years / Beach Slang / Jamie Lenman / Skinny Lister / Will Varley / Black Peaks / Dave Hause & The Mermaid / Queen Kwong / Tall Ships / Employed to Serve / Brutus / Steven Battelle / Vukovi / De Staat / Decade / Wallflower / wars / Greywind / Strange Bones / Making Monsters / Ducking Punches / Shvpes / Away Days / Milestones / Weirds / Personal Best / Cassels / Louise Distras / The St. Pierre Snake Invasion / Polary
Slaves / Lower Than Atlantis / The Front Bottoms / The Menzingers / Honeyblood / Gnarwolves / Kevin Devine / Spring King / Milk Teeth / Oathbreaker / Rolo Tomassi / Lemuria / Freeze the Atlantic / Area 11 / The One Hundred / Sløtface / The Hyena Kill / Get Inuit / Acres / Peaness / MOSES / Petrol Girls / Svalbard / Big Spring / Kamikaze Girls / Bad Sign / Doe / Fizzy Blood / Giants / Apologies, i have none / The Winter Passing / Sœur
COUNTERFEIT’S SLAM DUNK ‘17 PLAYLIST THE LATEST BATCH OF SLAM DUNK BANDS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED. IN AMONG ALL THE GREAT NEW NAMES YOU’LL FIND MILK TEETH, BLACK FOXXES, PUPPY, WATERPARKS, AND BAND-OF-THE-MOMENT COUNTERFEIT, WHO’VE ALSO PUT TOGETHER THIS HERE ‘SLAM DUNK 2017’ PLAYLIST. LOVELY. ENTER SHIKARI – ‘SORRY YOU’RE NOT A WINNER’ This song played a part in how we grew up! BOWLING FOR SOUP – ‘GIRL ALL THE BAD GUYS WANT’ Come on, a pop-punk anthem, one of the defining songs of our childhood. NECK DEEP – ‘KALI MA’ My favourite track off ‘Life’s Not Out To Get You’. Banger. DEAF HAVANA – ‘SING’ Great first single from the new record. BEARTOOTH – ‘I HAVE A PROBLEM’ One of the most raw and honest what we would be considered hardcore to come out of a new band in a long time. Their record influenced our record a lot. AGAINST ME! – ‘CRASH’ Great track from our label-mates just because! THE BRONX – ‘SHITTY FUTURE’ A massively influential band for us as well. This is our favourite track off their album. STRAY FROM THE PATH – ‘BADGE AND A BULLET’ This makes us wanna resist!
WE’VE GOT A SPECIAL SLAM DUNK 2017 MERCH BUNDLE FOR YOU TO WIN! Upset and Slam Dunk have teamed up to bring one lucky fan a bundle of goodies from loads of the lovely bands playing this year’s festival, including Enter Shikari, Boston Manor, Too Close To Touch, SHVPES, Like Pacific and Black Foxxes. To be in with a chance of winning, simply visit upsetmagazine.com and tell us: Which album are Enter Shikari celebrating the tenth anniversary of this year? a. ‘Take To The Skies’. b. ‘Myths of the Near Future’ c. ‘Infinity On High’ The competition will close on Friday 26th May - just before the festival - so get your entry in now.
NORTHLANE SURPRISED EVERYONE WITH A NEW ALBUM, DROPPING ‘MESMER’ OUT OF THE BLUE. WHILE THE BAND STICK TO THEIR NORM OF NOT PLAYING BY THE RULES, THEIR LATEST RECORD SEES THEM FINDING NEW INFLUENCES, AND EXPLORING NEW THEMES, AS FRONTMAN MARCUS BRIDGE EXPLAINS. WORDS: SAM TAYLOR
So Marcus, what made you decide to surprise release your new album? Northlane have always done things a little differently when it comes to releasing music. Whether it was the countdown to ‘Quantum Flux’ and ‘Singularity’ being announced, or sending ‘Ra’ as a gift to those subscribed to our mailing list. This time we wanted to give something back to everyone who’s stuck by Northlane through thick and thin. Was it difficult keeping the secret for so long? There were a few close friends I had told, but besides that, it’s been four to five months of silence! Which has been very hard, as I’m so proud of it!
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
Has releasing this way presented any new challenges? Obviously, it’s a bit risky releasing an album out of nowhere, but we have already been so overwhelmed by the
response we’ve received. We didn’t want to worry about first week sales or anything like that; this is a gift to the fans.
Do you think you’ll continue to use different-from-the-norm release methods in future? Northlane have always messed around with different ways of marketing; we’re always trying to do something new. How did you find the reception to lead track ‘Intuition’? Was it received as you’d hoped? We got to debut ‘Intuition’ at Unify gathering earlier this year, and the response was wild! When you play a new song for the first time, it’s not unusual for people to just stand there and watch, whether they like it or not. They’re just trying to take it in. But at Unify, there was a crazy energy as soon as this kicked in and it was possibly my highlight of the weekend.
What were your major influences during the album’s creation? I draw inspiration from all sorts of music, but I couldn’t pinpoint any specific influences for ‘Mesmer’, at least for me that is. I draw inspiration from bands like Underoath and Slipknot, but then Panic! At The Disco and Bruno Mars were getting spun a lot during the making of this album.
Do you have big plans for the rest of the year? The rest of the year will see us touring quite extensively! We’ve just announced a whole lot of stuff including playing the Main Stage at Download, and a bunch of other European summer festivals followed by a run of shows in Canada! There’s a lot more in the works, but I can’t wait to get back on the road! P Northlane’s album ‘Mesmer’ is out now.
GNARWOLVES ARE BACK WITH A NEW ALBUM, AND IT SEES THEM FLEXING THEIR MUSICAL MUSCLES. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
t’s going to be interesting to see how Gnarwolves work in 2017,” reasons vocalist Thom Weeks. He’s just finished work for the day, and while his Sunday didn’t come with a roast dinner, he’s not complaining. After a hectic few years that saw the trio churn out three EPs and a debut album, alongside opening slots at Reading & Leeds that conjured more than a hint of magic and a seemingly never-ending desire to tour, the band stopped. They hit the snooze button and spent some time not being Gnarwolves.
“Things did get bigger for a while,” reflects Thom. The heart of the band has always been and always will be the idea of three mates having fun playing music together, “and that’s one of the reasons we took a break. It started to feel like something else other than what we intended when we started out. You go on tour loads, and you’re bound to have some bad days. Max is my brother but the three of us have changed from being mates to being this family unit, and that comes with its strains. As they do,” he grins. “Family.” “When we started this band, I was a young man. I’m nearly 30-years-old now, but we’re a lot more sure of ourselves than we were a few years ago and a lot more sure of what we want from being in a band. Musically, I feel like we’re more comfortable with the direction of
the band and how it should sound and feel sonically. That’s changed. We’ve just got a bit more self-assured. We spent a long time just thinking about the lyrics we’d written and the musical ideas, and we ended up worrying about them, as you do when you think about stuff for a long time. We’re not known for over-thinking how we write songs, to be honest,” he adds with another smile. And while change is on the agenda and the record, ‘Outsiders’ isn’t Gnarwolves growing up. “It’s a boring thing to say. I don’t think we’ve matured in any other ways apart from the ways people naturally do as they grow up. We’ve just done a different record to the last one which is good, right? Otherwise, you’re just standing in one place which is pointless.”
The band have always referenced the music they listen to in their own songs. This time around, it’s a load of stuff from Lookout Records’ 90s era mixed with the DC Hardcore scene with alternative rock “dumped on the top”. ‘Channelling Brian Molko’ takes the band’s history of wearing their influences on their sleeves to the point where they’ve stuck an apology in the title, “Normally it’s just an homage, but this one did start out as stealing their song. I’m a thief, but I’m an honest thief,” while the near-seven minute closer ‘Shut Up’ is about an argument that was all Thom’s fault. “It took me so long to have the realisation that I was in the wrong and Max was in the right, so. Musically, it’s a Brand
New song, innit? I really like it. I enjoyed putting bits on it.” Across ‘Outsiders’ there’s more texture, more nuance. It goes from feeling claustrophobic one moment to driving you to take on the world the next. “We approached it from a slightly different angle this time round. We spent more time thinking about crafting a song as opposed to, what bit would be sick in the pit.” It’s also the first time Gnarwolves have written an album as an album. “The first record was a bit hodge-podge because we didn’t know how to write an album, but this one has a sonic stamp on it. All the songs sound like they’re from the same record and I like that, that was deliberate. It was supposed to go on a bit of a journey, but it got a bit lost along the way. I don’t think it’s exactly how I would have imagined it, but I’m well chuffed about it.” There’s an energy to Gnarwolves that inspires movement. Anxious or excitable, their music charges on. ‘Outsiders’ is different, sure but then every one of their records has been different. It still comes kicking, screaming and snarling with that attitude centre stage. It’s why that sense of community, a staple of the punk scene, is taken to new heights and deeper meaning around Gnarwolves. They play music to soundtrack skate sessions and escape, but there’s more to it than getting drunk, high or landing a sick flip. “I reckon we attract a certain kind of person and it’s quite often the
feral teenagers. I just think that’s what our music sounds like, it sounds like music made by feral teenagers and we’ve been playing music made by feral teenagers since we were feral teenagers, so we’re pretty good at it now. That must be it, man. We just tap into that weird rage. It’s not macho; it’s a different kind of irritant. ‘Being from this place is rubbish’. ‘Why is everyone so horrible to each other’.” “When we finished doing lots of tours, I got pretty sad for a while. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I got a bit lost.” Normally when Thom writes songs, he waits until he feels a bit better so he can have some perspective. “This time, I wrote a load of songs when I was feeling pretty miserable and wrote loads of miserable lyrics.” There’s frustration and there’s anxiety, and that “comes from living in the 21st century and all the things that are difficult about that. I would consider myself a sensitive soul in a lot of ways and I like to think about people, the way people react to things and the emotions behind things that happens as opposed to the actual event. A lot of the time with those things, anxiety and frustration are the emotions that are underneath, and that’s probably why it comes across because they’re all about that in a roundabout way.” There’s less escape to ‘Outsiders’ and more acceptance. “Over the course of writing the songs, I came to some quite nice conclusions.” The title originally came from a sample lifted from an Encyclopedia Britannica documentary that told the story of a little girl who felt like she didn’t fit in at school, only to discover that everyone wanted to be her friend, she was just too shy to notice. “It’s so lovely and twee. I loved it ‘cause it was this
idealised version of being in school.” The record looks at relationships and interactions: “‘Outsiders’ is partly down to that sample, but then we expanded on it. Our band don’t necessarily fit into any of the things we’ve flirted with in the past.” Part of that is absolutely out of choice, though. “We haven’t been cast out or anything. Being an outsider isn’t even necessarily a negative thing, it’s just a thing. We chose to flirt and not delve deep into things. That was consciously done. ‘Outsiders’, it’s just that feeling of not fitting in.” There are a lot of fractures across ‘Outsiders’. Broken relationships, regrets and finding a balance in the chaos plague the shadows but it carries on. Determination reigns. Gnarwolves find a way and why shouldn’t they? They’re having fun. “That’s the whole thing. If it weren’t fun, we wouldn’t do it. It was the same drive at the beginning. It doesn’t matter about money, money is silly, and I’m more than happy to go and work a bunch of hours at my job so it’ll afford me time to do my band. It’s worth the sacrifice,” he starts, before arguing: “It’s not even a sacrifice. Obviously what’s going on in the political world is confusing and fucked up at the moment, but I don’t think that should stop people from being creative. In fact, I think it’s more important than it ever was to be creative because we’ve got to rally positively against things. We got stuck in this weird little world and all of a sudden, we’re starting to realise that the idea that we are consumers first and people second was wrong and has made society a bit fucked up. Creative things can surely only be a good thing. Getting together as a community around something that isn’t about buying something is good,” he laughs, realising the irony, “even though I’m flogging a record right now.
You know what I mean, though? You know I’m not going to make any money out of this.” “It’s weird having done Gnarwolves for a while and then having a break to reflect on everything,” he continues. “Before I never really thought about our band, we just did our band. The past couple of years I’ve thought about what our band is. It’s weird, isn’t it? It’s a weird band, which is cool. I’m glad about it.” And Gnarwolves are a weird band. Ruthless in their approach to doing whatever they fancy, they opened the door for bands like Creeper to take their message outside of their scene. “We didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the bigger picture, but just that moment and how we felt in that moment about what we were going to do.” It’s a gut instinct that’s let them keep control but keep learning. They’re still excited; they’re still determined to have fun. There aren’t goals as such, “everything we set out to do as a band, we’ve done,” but a desire to “see more places and make some more friends. I’ve met so many lovely people, and I’d like to meet some more lovely people.” They don’t care if they’re the most popular kids at the party, they’re just stoked they’re invited. “While we’ve been not being a band, Creeper have gone and turned into a big, giant supernova band and I love watching that. I’m so stoked it’s happening, and I’m so stoked it isn’t happening to us at the same time. It’s just so not what I want to do.” They might be odd, and they might be happy being outsiders, but that doesn’t mean Gnarwolves aren’t out to play. P Gnarwolves’ album ‘Outsiders’ is out 5th May.
IT’S A HIT WE’RE TEAMING UP WITH BUSHMILLS IRISH WHISKY TO PUT ON A KILLER SHOW.
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing great bands in proper venues, right? Obviously. If you didn’t think that, you’d be in the wrong place. That’s why Upset’s so excited to be teaming up with Bushmills Irish Whiskey to bring you a date on The Bushmills Tour – where four bands are playing four shows at four independent venues – and we’ve got a doozy for you. Because, really, we love a bit of fun – and there’s no band more fun than We Are Scientists. Promising a greatest hits set, we’re hosting them at London’s Bush Hall on 9th May. That’s tiny. We once saw them at Give It A Name in Earls Court [Yes, this did actually happen, promise – Ed]. You can find all the details, and grab tickets, at upsetmagazine.com. Get on it. P
veryone thinks they could be a superstar DJ. Everyone. Even your nan reckons she’s in with a chance of having it large behind the wheels of steel. But not everyone has what it takes. We’re putting some of your favourite bands to the test. We’ve given two musicians five categories. They pick a song for each, we decide who wins each round, and who takes home the trophy overall. There can only be one victor. This month, Gareth from Los Campesinos! takes on tour buddy Lande from Muncie Girls. Let battle commence... ROUND ONE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY I F T H E W O R L D WA S A B O U T TO E N D.
Gareth: ‘Four Minute Warning’ by Mark Owen. Mark went to the effort of recording this song for this very specific purpose and it would be ungrateful not to use it in such a scenario. Lande: This is a different way of asking for my favourite song! Or am I playing it to other people and we’re all going to die? If it was in my headphones, it’d be ‘Modern Girl’ by Sleater-Kinney. If I was playing a song of my choosing to hundreds of people for them to dance away their last moments to, I’d play ‘Come On Eileen’ by Dexys Midnight Runners.
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
In literally any other
GA RETH F RO M LOS CA M PES I N OS !
VS VS VS
LANDE FROM MUNCIE GIRLS
situation, a Sleater-Kinney track would be an automatic win, but Gareth is right. It would be rude to ignore little Mark Owen, even if he is a taxdodging bastard. Can’t believe we’re doing this but, Gareth, 1-0. ROUND TWO T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY AT A 9 0 S T H E M E D PA R T Y.
Gareth: I know I can rely on someone else to take care of the pop bangers and R&B slow jams, so I am here to ensure you still take some time to emote, with Alanis Morrisette’s ‘You Oughta Know’. Lande: Presumably at a 90s themed party, I’d be DJing a very early slot on account of the fact that I was 7 when the millennium happened, so my enjoyment of the decade’s music is almost second hand. So - nothing too huge - I’d play ‘My Sister’ by Juliana Hatfield. W I N N E R OK, so on account of making us feel dead old, and that Alanis Morrisette is pure fire emoji, 2-0. Gareth’s round again. ROUND THREE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY F O R M O T I VA T I O N .
Lande: This sounds like a song that could only be relevant for someone ten or more years my junior, so I’ll revisit my thirteen year old Windows Media Player library. My mum was never bothered by it, but I imagine ‘Chop Suey!’ by System of a Down upset a few parents. It probably upset a few children as well. W I N N E R He’s thrown it! He’s actually thrown it! 2-2. ROUND FIVE T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY F O R S H OW I N G O F F YO U R DA N C E M OV E S .
Gareth: Three Lions 98. The roar of the crowd, the goosebumps, hairs standing on the back of my neck. I am ready. Not sure if for success or failure, but I am ready.
Gareth: Granted, I’m not as good a dancer as Bruno Mars, but to see me move to ‘Treasure’ really does make you wonder how much better a dancer Mars would be if he had my longer limbs.
Lande: Anything by Le Tigre. But I’m supposed to choose one song so I’ll pick ‘Hot Topic’ for inspiration, for its apt lyrics and great groove.
Lande: My dance moves are well showcased through many, many songs but if I had to choose the real jive generator, it’d have to be ‘You Can Call Me Al’ by Paul Simon. What a massive tune that is.
W I N N E R We all knew that Gareth was going to go Three Lions here, but ‘98? That’s a brave move, especially when up against Le Tigre. 2-1, Lande pulls one back. ROUND FOUR T H E S O N G Y O U ’ D P L AY T O W I N D U P YO U R PA R E N T S .
Gareth: My parents are both incredibly mild-mannered and open-minded, I do not wish to annoy them, I forfeit the point.
W I N N E R And there you have it. By sacrificing Round Four, Gareth leaves himself open to the counter attack. And what a break it is! ‘You Can Call Me Al’ - the sonic equivalent of Manchester United’s swashbuckling goal at Arsenal in ‘09. 2-3, Lande taps it home. AND THE WINNER IS... W H AT A C O M E B A C K ! L A N D E TA K E S I T 3 R O U N D S T O 2 .
JEFF ROSENSTOCK “ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FIGURES IN MODERN PUNK”
HEADLINING TOUR WITH DOE OUT NOW!
SOME KIND OF BLISS
harly Bliss aren’t a band to do things by halves. Having recorded their debut album twice, then waited a year while they found the perfect label to work with, as they release ‘Guppy’ this month Charly Bliss are at last ready to take over the world. Their fighting spirit is
never more evident than in the music video for album opener ‘Percolator’, in which the group team up – battle stance at the ready - to combat an unknown evil. “I think, purely just for convenience, I would say my superpower would
A COMING-OF-AGE RECORD FULL OF BUFFY REFERENCES? SIGN US UP. CHARLY BLISS INTRODUCE THEIR DEBUT.
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
WORDS: JESSICA GOODMAN.
be teleportation, because that would be very convenient with touring,” Eva Hendricks resolves, before posing the question to her bandmates. “Spencer [Fox, guitar] is famous for grinding his teeth at night, so he would use his teeth grinding abilities to chew us out of dangerous situations. Sam
[Hendricks, drums] would use his sharp shins for some kind of cutting situation. Dan [Shure, bass]’s would be earthquake snores - so kind of like storms, but with snores.” She bursts into a fit of giggles. “Those are great answers.” Driving around Austin, Texas, as they head to check in for SXSW, the band are in high spirits. They have every reason to be. With an album of the year contender under their collective belt, as they ready to perform the group are entirely in their element. “There’s nothing like touring to make you realise what works and doesn’t work about your songs,” Eva laughs. “We’ll be practising in our rehearsal space, and we’ll be like, ‘We wrote the best song ever!’ Then we’ll play it in front of an audience, and no one moves, and you’re like ‘Oh, shit.’” Heavily influenced by their time spent playing shows with the likes of Veruca Salt, Sleater-Kinney and PUP, ‘Guppy’ is an embodiment of the energy and enjoyment that Charly Bliss use to fuel every live show. “Our dream for the record was for it to capture the energy and the fun and the enthusiasm of our live set, while also sounding different than our live set,” Eva portrays. “We realised that in addition to being a garage-y rock-y band, at the end of the day we’re a pop band.” Listing the crucial ingredients of their music as “really catchy melodies” and “really hooky, er, hooks,” Charly Bliss have created a recipe for delight. It’s been a long time in the making, but the outfit are finally ready to share that with the world. “We waited so long between putting out ‘Soft Serve’ and putting this album out,” Eva groans. “It’s been a really slow process. I think sometimes that’s made us feel kind of like underdogs.” Recording the album isn’t the only thing the band did twice. “It’s a funny story,” Eva laughs. “We had a completely different album cover planned. Everything was submitted, we thought it was totally done. At the last second, we got a call saying that apparently the photograph that we were planning to use for the cover was owned by the LA Times and was taken by a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, and we had two days to come up with a new album cover.” Time wasn’t on their side, and so the group set about recruiting a few finned friends to help them create a new piece of artwork. “We ended up going
to the pet store, and we bought five pet goldfish,” Eva recalls. “I named all five of the fish after my boyfriend,” she giggles. “Sadly, only one of them is still alive, but he’s still in our apartment, and his name is Toby.” The album itself, written over a three or four year period, is a venture through the turmoil and elation, the swings and roundabouts, and the highs and lows that come bundled in with coming of age. The band’s sugar coated garage pop sounds like it was ripped out of your favourite teen 90s soundtrack and slammed screaming into the 21st century. Ferocious in its flawed admissions, the record takes ownership of its every quirk and question, and the result is equal parts energising and enriching. “I have a very obsessive personality,” Eva states of her influences. “I find one thing that I love and then it’s all I want to consume for a month or two.” Drawing from the likes of celebrated comic series Love & Rockets and iconic show Buffy The Vampire Slayer (with references to the latter scattered through the songs), the record is created with a passion and enthusiasm too vivid to ignore. With the album finally being released this month, things are only going to get more exciting for the bubblegrunge band. “I’m so excited to tour more and consistently,” Eva enthuses. “There’s a small chance a-brewing that we might be coming to play some shows in Europe sometime soon,” she hints. “That would be a massive dream come true.” With their first headline tour of the US ahead of them, and admitting that they are “already working on the next record,” it’s onwards and upwards for the New York four-piece. Excited about “just having this record finally out, and seeing where that takes us,” the future’s looking decidedly bright for Charly Bliss. “I’ve never put out an album before so I don’t know if this is just normal,” Eva chuckles. “Because these songs have been in waiting for so long, and we have all this emotional attachment to them, it feels kind of like releasing our baby into the world. Amazing and terrifying.” Daunted they may be, but in ‘Guppy’ the band have created a formidable force. Standing on the precipice of something great, Charly Bliss are going to take the world by storm. P Charly Bliss’ album ‘Guppy’ is out 21st April.
SAM MCTRUSTY FROM TWIN ATLANTIC
EVER WONDERED WHAT ESSENTIALS YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS ALWAYS TAKE ON TOUR? WELL, NOW YOU CAN KNOW!
BLANK PAGE PAPER I’m addicted to drawing and writing things down. I hate thin shitty lined paper, or like printer paper, because I lean so heavily. I’m told that’s a sign of sexual frustration, but really I just like to be bold. I hate a lightly written thing! Say it loud, write it bold!! BLUE JAYS HAT I have a lot of friends and family who live in Toronto, and I’m lucky to say I’ve been to many a game. I like having this on tour because it hides post show horror hair, but also a wee nod to the folk at home that I’m representing. SURGICAL MASKS On the road, I live in controlled air spaces like venues, cars, buses, trains, hotels and do a fair amount of flying now too. I tried this once on a flight because I kept getting ill from screaming then breathing in everyone’s sweaty residue breath. I dunno if it worked but the plus side was it made it entertaining to watch everyone’s reaction to mask on a long haul flight. STEAM I manufacture my own steam. Your feeble bucket and towel steam are no match for my ten years of touring toilet venues of the world. This thing keeps me supple and pink. Hard and red is bad. RECORDING INTERFACE This one is a bit geeky, but this thing is like my gateway to creativity and sanity. I guess it’s a two-parter because it needs its wee pal Mr Macbook. Twin Atlantic play Handmade Festival on 29th April, then tour the UK from 18th May. 17
t’s been just over a year since Tonight Alive let us into the world of ‘Limitless’, all positive force and celebrated acceptance, but that hasn’t stopped the revolution continuing. They’re back with wide eyes, a clearer view of the world and a shiny new song. They were “just ready” to start the next chapter, explains Jenna McDougall. After a conversation with their manager came with the realisation that they didn’t have to stick to the standard two-year cycle. They could let excitement lead, and the group figured, “if we’re going to be a band that’s on the road nine months out of the year, it felt exciting for us to keep refreshing and stay in a creative flow.” “In June that conversation scared me because I wasn’t ready,” Jenna reflects. “It took until January to be ready to write a record or even think about new music because ‘Limitless’ had only been out for a few months.”
E V E RY T H I N G H A P P E N I N G I N RO C K
Change inspires change, though, and things have shifted with Tonight Alive. “We’ve changed record labels. We’ve signed to Hopeless Records worldwide and UNFD in Australia and New Zealand. Having our contracts finish with Sony and Fearless inspired us. We felt excited to be around fresh teams with new eyes and new ears.
“Those teams, they really connect with our mission and our message and our vision. That’s something I’ve had to fight for in the past, just getting people to understand it. I do feel it’s something that had to be compromised in the past because the teams we were working with were not completely onboard. We felt inspired by the change and this song, ‘World Away’ reflects that in how it sounds and what it says.” “It just felt really natural when we were writing it,” Jenna continues. “We were home for three months, from January through March after we toured Australia with A Day To Remember, and Whak [Taahi, guitar] and I were set up in a studio in my house. We wrote every day. It was cool because we saw the seasons change, it went from blistering hot with absolutely no air to just raining for three weeks solid. “‘World Away’ is one of the last songs we wrote from that batch. The
sound of it is a representation of the flow we were in during that writing period. We took the lid off a little bit more. It’s probably exactly what we said we were doing with ‘Limitless’ as well, just how there are no rules but I think this is going in the other direction.” Exploring the idea of “no rules”, they spent time “asking what that means and staying fearless in our creative expression. The chorus talks about the fact that the life you want isn’t so far away, it’s not so impossible. It already exists, it’s just a matter of touching it and making it a physical thing. “I’m reading a book about The Quantum Field, and I’ve never used that language before, but The Quantum Field is a place where all possibility exists. ‘World Away’ is reflecting on the fact that that place exists within you. It doesn’t have to be something that’s external or a year away; it’s about reaching your ideal and ultimate experience and self within you. It’s about tapping into that and using your struggles, fear, pain and suffering as fuel for that change, as a catalyst for growth. “I have a fear of speaking negatively in music. I know from personal experience that just one lyric in a song can resonate on such a deep level, that you can believe what that person says to you. I’ve been very conscience of not writing lyrics that could leave that taste in someone’s mouth like, ‘This is it for me, this is the end of my hope’, but the verses go to that place for a moment. They talk about those insecurities and complexes, but I love the silver lining in life. I always look for it, and that’s reflected in our songs. “I don’t like the word ‘hope’ because it’s not emotive at all for me. This is a song about taking action. It’s about leaning into that pain and fear and seeing what’s on the other side of it. To me, ‘hope’ sounds as if you’re waiting for something to happen, whereas ‘World Away is about taking action. All possibilities are totally real; you just need to grasp them.” Matching the unveiling of ‘World Away’ to the band kicking off their first live shows of the year, “it just seemed fitting to bring something new to the new year.” The song represents the next step of their journey. Constantly facing forward, time away to reflect hasn’t quelled their self-belief or splintered their vision. “My life is what I make it.”
“I think people can be overly humble sometimes and they would never say ‘I want my band to be big’ or ‘I want success’ and it’s not something I say all the time, but I do. It’s something I do want for Tonight Alive, to play the biggest shows possible because I just love the rush of unity with a mass of people singing or moving or feeling the same thing at the same time. That excites me. “I just want to play music, jump around on stage and talk about things I care about. It felt like hibernating a little bit being back in Sydney; it was a really good time of not wearing makeup, not socialising and just being creative and turning in. It was so nice and such a rare opportunity, but now I get to explode again in front of heaps of people,” Jenna laughs. “I love doing that.” P Tonight Alive’s single ‘World Away’ is out now.
ACTION STATIONS TONIGHT ALIVE ARE BACK! ALREADY! LITTLE MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER ‘LIMITLESS’, THEY’VE A NEW RECORD LABEL, RENEWED CONFIDENCE, AND A NEW SINGLE TO BOOT. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER.
BREAK THE BEST NEW BANDS TH E H OT TEST NEW MUSIC
aya Tarsus is thinking back to his life before Blood Youth. “I’d quit music onehundred percent,” the vocalist explains. “I was in a band from when I was 15 to when
I was 20, and at every show we would play to two people. It gets to a point where if it was going to happen, it’d have happened by now.” But just as Kaya’s band was disintegrating, the rest of his life began to unravel, too. “In the space of three months everything bad that could happen, happened; I quit my job, I lost my girlfriend and my band broke-up.”
At a loss as to where his life was headed,
BEFORE BLOOD YOUTH, KAYA TARSUS WAS DOWN AND OUT. NOW, AS THE HARDCORE TRIO PREPARE TO UNLEASH THEIR DEBUT LP, THE VOCALIST REVEALS HOW HE’S BATTLED BACK FROM ADVERSITY. WORDS: JAKE RICHARDSON.
the Harrogate native made the bold, and what he now considers to be naïve decision, to emigrate. “I decided to go to Spain,” Kaya states. “I quit music, I quit everything, and I decided I was going to go and live there forever. And this is what I mean about naivety; I went and moved to Spain, I did a few different jobs, but I very much didn’t know what I was doing. I was pretending I did. So I was in Spain like ‘Yeah, I’ve got this telemarketing job. That’s me now’. But
deep down I felt so shit, I was thinking ‘What am I doing cold-calling people?!’ I was miserable, and I had no idea what I was going to do. I was just waiting, day by day, still in Spain, still doing this, and then Blood Youth just fell into my lap.” Out of the blue, Kaya got a call from an old friend with whom he used to play shows, and was offered a way out of the rut he’d found himself in. “I got a call from Chris [Pritchard, guitar],” recalls Kaya. “I’d been in Spain for six months at that point, and he asked me if I wanted to come back and try out for a band he was putting together, and I was done with working in offices, so I was like ‘Ok, I’ll give it one more go…’ and here we are! Me and Chris hadn’t talked for ages, but it was almost, as cheesy as it sounds, meant to be.” With this new project giving him a new lease of life, Kaya and the band immediately started work on the first Blood Youth songs, but the frontman had unintentionally been preparing for such a scenario some time before. “I came back and we started writing the first EP [2015’s ‘Inside My Head’] straight away. We have a song called ‘Failure’ on that record, and I actually wrote the lyrics for that in my notebook when I was at my job in Spain, and it wasn’t for any band or any song, it was just me writing, and that became the first single we released as Blood Youth!” From the outside, however, it looked like all wasn’t well in the Blood Youth camp from the outset. The band have suffered several line-up changes over the last two years, the most high-profile being guitarist Sam Bowden’s departure for Neck Deep. Although Kaya insists that internally, the band have actually felt quite settled. “The thing is, the three of us have been the main formula since the start of Blood Youth,” says Kaya. “So writing-wise, nothing has changed at all, even though from the outside it does look like that! But this is what being in a band is about; you’re going to have line-up changes, and that’s just life and growing up. You adapt, and you go forward. The spine and the heart of Blood Youth is still there.” Much of this “heart” that Kaya speaks of in the band stems from their shared experiences as members of Yorkshire’s alternative music scene as teenagers. “Chris is from Harrogate like me,” Kaya outlines. “We’d played in bars together when we were younger; his old band had supported my old band. So we’d always known of each other, because Harrogate is such a small town. There’s no ‘scene’ or anything here, so if anyone
likes heavy music, you’re aware of them!” Harrogate might not be a hot-bed of heavy music, but just up the road is Leeds, a city renowned for its embrace of metal and punk, and it was there that Kaya cut his teeth as a musician. “There was this place called Rio’s in Leeds, and when we were 15, in my old band, we would lie about our age to get in and play shows. We were playing to no-one, and no-one cared about us, but we didn’t give a shit about that; we had school the next day and were like ‘fuck it, let’s play a show!’ But Kaya isn’t playing to empty rooms in Leeds anymore. “Whenever Blood Youth play in Leeds it’s a sold-out show, and I say on-stage every time we play there that it’s mental how I used to just play to a man and a dog in the same city! The hardcore and pop-punk scene in Yorkshire is so strong now.” Blood Youth have now established a strong following in the U.K., but with such notoriety comes the pressure to produce the music to back it up. The trio’s debut album, ‘Beyond Repair’, is one that could’ve seen Kaya, Chris and drummer Sam Hallett feeling the heat. Kaya, however, insists that such pressure only comes from the band themselves. “It was more us putting pressure on ourselves, because we were used to doing EPs and none of us had ever written an album before. Personally, I don’t really enjoy recording anyway, because of that pressure you put on yourself. You can listen to a piece of music for so long and it just becomes white noise, and you begin to question whether it’s any good. Fortunately, we’ve put out some tracks from the new album and people are enjoying it!” Kaya might not have enjoyed the recording of ‘Beyond Repair’ so much, but it’s his contribution to the band that’s perhaps the most striking aspect of Blood Youth. With lyrics that deal more with “anger in the modern age” than the broken-hearted shtick often associated with young bands, Blood Youth’s new music manages to stand-out in an increasingly saccharine scene. “The two EPs [‘Inside My Head’ and 2016’s ‘Closure’] were just about a break-up I had, and I was getting tired of writing about the same sort of thing,” confesses Kaya. But in the build-up to the album I met so many strange people; people that were dealing with something, and it made me think about how everyone has a vice, and how we all deal with anger in our own way. For example, some people go out and get really drunk; it’s like everybody has their own thing, and I think we’re in an
age where we’re a little scared to put out how we feel, and we take it out on ourselves. I’ve done it myself in the past. So that’s really the main point of the album; it’s about where we take ourselves when we’re really mad.” When describing the sound of ‘Beyond Repair’, Kaya turns to each band member’s different influences in an attempt to explain the Blood Youth brand of melodic hardcore. “Chris loves ‘Iowa’-era Slipknot,” explains Kaya. “He’s always been really fascinated by that album, and he will listen to it non-stop; I think you can hear that in the riffs of Blood Youth. I’m very much into the more hardcore side of things. I’m a huge fan of Every Time I Die; they were my number one band that I used to listen to when I was growing up, so when we supported them that was insane! Sam… he listens to everything! His favourite band is the 1975, and he’s really into R&B as well. We’re all so varied and so different, and it all comes together in one pot to create Blood Youth!” The joy with which Kaya speaks of touring with Every Time I Die is a poignant reminder that even celebrated musicians have their idols, and looking to the future, the vocalist is determined to echo the attitude of bands like the New York hardcore heroes as Blood Youth continue to climb the rock ‘n roll ladder. “Everyone we’ve ever supported has just been so cool with us,” Kaya gushes. “When we supported Every Time I Die, I remember talking to Keith [Buckley, vocals] and saying ‘I went to this show and this show’, and him being like ‘Yeah, I remember!’ And I was requesting songs that they could play, and they were all loving it! Similarly, we were supporting Architects, and everyone was chill. None of those bands get too ahead of themselves, even though they’re colossal. Same with the While She Sleeps guys; they’re from Sheffield, and we’re from Harrogate, so it was like going out on tour with a big group of friends… we all had the same accent! What we’ve learnt from those bands is to stay grounded. Those bands are all really normal guys; there’s no egos, so that’s really cool.” They may not be at that same “colossal” stage of their career just yet, but armed with an ambitious new album and a desire to do things the right way, 2017 could well be the year Blood Youth join the ranks of modern metal’s elite. P Blood Youth’s album ‘Beyond Repair’ is out now. 21
CANADIAN TRIO COURAGE MY LOVE ARE ON THE VERGE OF BRINGING THEIR DEBUT ALBUM TO THE UK. IT’S AN EXCITING TIME, EXPLAINS VOCALIST MERCEDES ARN-HORN.
COURAGE MY LOVE
WORDS: SAM TAYLOR.
Hey Mercedes. Your album ’Synesthesia’ is out in the UK soon, but it’s already out in Canada and the US - is it weird having to introduce it all over again? I don’t think it will be weird. Our existing fans in the UK have likely already heard the record. We’re just hoping this is an opportunity to make more fans in the UK. It must be great having the chance to win over a whole new set of fans? I love the opportunity and the challenge. It’s a dream come true for us to have fans in countries all over the world, and the UK fan base has always been so enthusiastic and supportive! I can’t wait to meet more of you, and to grow the fanbase as much as possible. We just want our music to reach as many as possible.
What would you really like people to know about your band? We put everything into what we do. We love making music. We love art. We love traveling. And most importantly, we love our fans. All of them. What can you tell us about the album’s 22
sound, how would you describe it? We tried to step outside of our comfort zones for this record. Instead of looking for influences musically, we drew from imagery, colours, vibes etc., hence the album name ‘Synesthesia’. I’d describe the album as very eclectic, very moody, and probably not what you’d expect. Are there any notable themes across the release? Where do you draw influence from with your songwriting? The main theme of this album is all about being overwhelmed by the senses. We wanted to take our listeners to another world. This album was definitely a therapy record for all three of us. During the writing period, we were all going through probably the roughest period of our lives at that point. The emotions in the lyrics were still very raw and close to the surface while we were writing and recording, and I think you can hear that. But the album isn’t just about the negativity and sadness of being at a low point in life, but also about the beauty in surviving that time. It’s about finding yourself, your inner strength, empowerment and self esteem.
Does one of you have synesthesia? While none of us actually have the neurological phenomenon known as synesthesia, I feel that we can definitely relate in the sense that as artists everything we do we translate into art. Everywhere we go we see colours and images that inspire us. We hear sounds that we want to sample in our music. We use every experience in our art. We see art everywhere. The idea of turning something horrible and negative into something positive and creative is something we were striving for with this album. What’s on your band bucket list? Is there anything in particular you’d love to achieve with Courage My Love? So. Many. Things. Always wanted to play Wembley Stadium. My favourite band is Radiohead, so if we could one day work together or open for them, that would be a dream come true. But mostly our dream is to keep doing what we do, and keep enjoying it. P Courage My Love’s album ‘Synesthesia’ is out 19th May.
POP WILL E AT I T S E L F_ P 24
LINKIN PARK ARE ONE OF THE BIGGEST BANDS IN THE WORLD, AND YET THEY’RE NOT SITTING BACK AND RELYING ON THAT SURE FIRE SUCCESS. INSTEAD, THEY’VE TAKEN THEIR SOUND AND PUSHED IT INTO THE PLACE WHERE FEW ROCK BANDS TRULY DARE. LINKIN PARK HAVE GONE POP. WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTOS: PHIL SMITHIES.
ere we go again,” grins Mike Shinoda. “Let’s see what they say about this one.” Linkin Park have a long history of rolling the dice. Of taking chances. Of mixing things up. They used to be called Hybrid Theory, and it’s an idea that’s stuck. Their six-album deep legacy is full of musical leaps, revolutionary blends and an unwavering desire to do what they want. No record sounds the same, and each step could have taken it too far. “The last four, maybe even five records, we’ve had that conversation, but I’m not afraid of taking a risk and failing.” Ultimately the idea of pushing it too far is “for other people to decide. On the last album, we released a six-minute metal song with Rakim on the bridge - suck on that, everybody. At a certain point, you feel like you’re being contrary or crazy just for the sake of getting a rise out of people, but it was different with this record. It didn’t feel like we were trying
worked on, so it’s not so surprising or strange for me” - every cut feels like something entirely new. And that’s exciting in a way few bands can ever manage after their debut. That excitement is the heart of Linkin Park. They’re stoked to talk about music, to be around music, to be making music. You can hear the giddiness in Chester’s voice as he recalls that Brian May said in an interview that not many groups take risks like Linkin Park do. “It was very cool to be seen that way by someone I admire, that was also in a band that took risks and was not afraid to do what they wanted to do or be who they were. I feel like I’ve succeeded on this record just from that one comment.” And you just know that Mike’s holding back from spending all his time talking about all the new music he’s discovered. When you put them together in a room, it’s bubbling, hyperactive chaos. You can feel the enjoyment throughout ‘One More Light’. From the opening glitch of ‘Nobody Can Save Me’, the band relish their newfound space. “It’s a bit of a rebirth. We felt that one once or
role in blending genres,” Mike explained while the band were still on the road for their last album. “That’s what our music has been about since day one. We never felt like we carried a flag for nu-metal but we definitely carried a flag for people who loved many types of music.” Now, alongside the obvious calling cards of rock and hip hop, Linkin Park can add pop to the list. And they were deliberate with the sort of pop record they wanted to make. “If you’re super into a niche, like hip hop or metal, you’re very in tune to the varieties of that lane,” reasons Mike. “If you like metal, you can say you like doom or black metal. It’s very specific, and the same thing is true in hip-hop. There’s a huge difference between Future and Action Bronson but someone who doesn’t listen to hip-hop, they won’t know the difference. Believe it or not but I listen to a lot of pop. There are styles of pop I like, and there are styles that I don’t like. The kind of pop record that we didn’t make is the one that goes ‘Oh girl, baby, I love you’, and we didn’t make the kind of pop record that goes ‘I want to see you dance, I want to see
“I just don’t want it to be boring.”_P to get a rise out of people, really, truly.” Album seven sees the band do what they’ve always done: exactly as they please. To hell with the consequences. “I want people to think that creatively, as artists, these guys have balls,” smiles Chester Bennington. “They go where they want. They’re not bound by the rules of what they’re supposed to be in the eyes of onlookers or anything outside. We are Linkin Park, and therefore the music that we make is Linkin Park. That, to me, is very risky. I’d like people to like listening to the record but also appreciate the danger, in some ways, of what we’re doing and how willing we are to go there without being afraid of it.” There’s no way to side-step it. Linkin Park’s new album ‘One More Light’ is drastically different to anything the band have released before. From the front to the back, it’s a pop record. It’s the “polar opposite” to 2014’s ‘The Hunting Party’, and - while Chester reasons that “being in Linkin Park, I’ve heard thousands of demos that we’ve
twice before in our career,” starts Mike. “The most obvious reference point being our third album ‘Minutes To Midnight’. The first two were pretty similar to each other, and then the third one was a risk, a real step outside of what people were expecting. At that point we were questioning, ‘Do we have to do what we’re known for, or what people expect?’ and we put out this album that was this extreme patchwork of sounds, with every song very different from the last. We intentionally sequenced it that way, so it exaggerated the differences between the songs. This album is much less of a patchwork; it’s much more a blend of styles where there is a core sound to the record. To invent a new style and sound and do it consistently across the record, it takes time. We probably spent somewhere between 12 or 18 months on it. You know when you listen to some albums, and it’s about a thing or a moment, this one isn’t that way. It’s about a lot of different things, and part of it is because we were all going through different things.” “I like to think our music has had some
you shake’. There are certain topics and styles that we’d choose to do or choose not to do, regardless of genre.” It’s what gives the record its authenticity. At no point does ‘One More Light’ feel like a band doing something half-heartedly. Or scraping the barrel. Or following a trend. There are a lot of rock bands taking influence from pop, but this isn’t that. More than an echo, this is a band celebrating the nuances of a genre and getting involved in the conversation. On ‘One More Light’ Linkin Park do what they’ve always done, take the things they like and put them together. Teaming up with Stormzy for ‘Good Goodbye’ isn’t Linkin Park trying to grab onto the coattails of Grime’s success. “We’re not that smart,” grins Chester. Mike’s just been a fan for a few years and wanted to see what happened. “I feel like when some artists explore some territory outside their core thing, it feels like they’re a tourist or it’s a hobby or a whim. For me, the difference is that when I want to put something in a song, 27
I want to feel like I’m not trespassing. I want it to feel like I know what I’m doing and I want it to come from a place of genuine excitement as a fan and a music listener.” “The first thing that happened was curiosity,” ventures Mike. “Every time we go into the studio, I want to feel like I’m doing something different. I’m learning something. I just don’t want it to be boring.” Normally a Linkin Park album emerges from a hundred or so instrumental demos, with the band putting marks by all the ones they like the most. The ones with the most votes end up being explored, worked on and finished. The lyrics come later, influenced by how the track sounds and what memory it evokes. There’s normally a lot of digging in the past. “You’d be creating characters around the situation and then relating your experiences to them. These characters would have to relate to Brad [Delson, guitar], to Mike, to everyone in the band.” ‘One More Light’ was different, but you probably could have guessed that. Instead of the final piece of the puzzle, the lyrics came first and from conversations. “’Hey guys, this is what I’m going through, let’s write about it’. When one of our friends who had worked with us at the record label for many years passed away, we wrote a song about it. It wasn’t like we were going to write a song about loss and then relate our personal experience to it in a way that we could all understand. It’s coming from a place as it’s happening. You feel it. We’re talking about the thing that’s going on, as it’s going on. That feeling that we have writing it, it’s there on the record. That’s powerful.” ‘One More Light’ is the most empowering and beautiful Linkin Park have ever sounded. The record isn’t heavy like ‘Crawling’ or ‘Guilty All The Same’, and there’s no token metal song to satisfy the naysayers. “We’ve got six other albums,” shrugs Mike. Instead, this
record is heavy with the weight of the world. “I feel like a lot of things, whether you’re facing inwards or facing out, are very heavy, emotionally,” explains Mike. “When I look at Twitter or when I watch the news or when I listen to my friends talk about, not even politics, but when I hear them talk about life, things feel heavy.” It hits closer to home, though. The title-track is about the death of a friend and explores “the idea that life is short. There are so many of us and what seems so important to some is just another day to others. In that lonely sad place, sometimes it can feel grim, and you ask ‘What’s the point’? And so this song asks, ‘What’s the point of all it?’ ‘Who cares?’ And the answer is ‘I do’. Even if it seems like there’s no point, there is one. And the point is that I care. I care enough to pay attention; I care enough to keep moving forward.” Not just empty promises, that forward motion is something Chester has struggled with in between records. “For me, the last couple of years have been pretty difficult. 2015 for me was the worst year of my life. 2016 was slightly better in many ways but equally as difficult. There were moments over the past couple of years where I felt like I wanted to give up on everything. I want to walk away. I want to walk away from life, and from everybody I know.” “It’s hard to put into words what stopped me,” he continues. “It’s like talking about anxiety - unless you’ve had anxiety, it’s hard to understand it. I think that’s why they put addicts with other addicts and alcoholics with other alcoholics, because they get it. People who aren’t that way, they aren’t going to understand. They can sympathise, but they’ll never be able to emphasise. It’s not just about those things either; it’s about depression, anger and feeling like you never fit into any part of life comfortably. I’ve been in some pretty deep depression before.
I’ve struggled with it throughout my life, and it got to a point where I was so depressed, and then I got super mad over a number of things, and that gave me a little bit of a kick. ‘This is different to feeling super sad all the time, fuck everybody’. That then turned into me working on things.” “I got to a point where I figured I could either throw in the towel, which is scary, or I could turn things around. After my step-dad passed away, after a couple of people very close to me passed away, and another person very close to me attempted suicide, after that went down I thought, ‘I don’t like the way I feel about this’. Even though I can relate to feeling suicidal, I’ve felt that way before, but I don’t want my kids to have to deal with that. I don’t want the people in my life to have to deal with that. Even though suicide seems like an answer to me sometimes, it’s not an answer. So I have a choice. I can either give up, or I can work really hard at having the kind of life that I want to have. You could throw in the towel, or you could take your fucking life back. One of the things I love about ‘Battle Symphony’ is the lyrics. It’s an admission of me saying I’m not perfect, life is messy, but you know what, I’ve got what it takes inside of me to pick up the pieces, put it back together, dust myself off and trudge forward.” “The lyrics to these songs are complex and conflicted,” reasons Mike. “It’s life happening. ‘Sharp Edges’ is about what you’re told growing up, basically, don’t put your hand on the hot stove. But what the song ends up reminding you is that sometimes you’ve got to do that. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.” “You may just need to know what being burned feels like,” adds Chester. “You may never have been burned, and if someone’s saying ‘Don’t touch that, it’s hot, and you’re going to get hurt,’ you still have no concept of what that means until you touch it. What I’ve ended up
“I want people to t h i n k t h a t c r e a t i v e l y, as artists, these guys have balls.”_P 28
“If we were all zen about everything, the album would be shit.”_P finding out is that I don’t just want to be happy. I need to figure out how to live life on life’s terms. It’s going to go the way it’s going to go and being okay with it, that’s what I need. I just want to be okay with whatever happens. That’s my new mantra. If it’s a good thing, great. If it’s not so good, great.” It’s been a hell of a journey from the song idea ‘I Hate The World Right Now’ that’s still sitting on Chester’s phone and was written at the very start of the process to the almost serene acceptance that floods the finished ‘One More Light’. There’s resolution at every turn, but the conflict, the confusion and the struggles are ever-present. “If you just read through all the lyrics on this album without the music, it would feel kinda depressing,” offers Chester. “But the music, I feel like that’s the hopefulness. It transforms the lyrics from dismal to something else. We’re singing about hard stuff, but it’s very positive. It’s very uplifting in a certain way, and I wanted that to be conveyed in the album title. It felt like ‘One More Light’ worked really well. It’s the hope, especially with the art. You see the innocence of children playing at the beach as this intense sun’s going down and they’re taking in as much as they can, while they can. There’s nothing more hopeful in the world than the world through the eyes of a child. That to me is what it means. It’s that hope. It’s what it’s all about. It’s the thing we’re all striving for, that goodness.” “One of the common threads on the whole record is a lack of control,” explains Mike, who’s been sat thinking about what ties it all together. “A lot of human misery, or a lot of our human struggle, revolves around control and lack of control. If you think about it, everything you can’t control gives you a negative emotion in some way. Being able to get to a point where either you don’t need to have control over 30
something, or you admit that you just don’t, that’s a very subtle big deal. You really want to be okay with the shit that’s happening, but if we were all zen about everything, the album would be shit.” “No one wants to watch TV shows about nice things happening to nice people. It’d be the worst thing ever,” adds Chester. “You don’t feel shitty for those people, it’s just not interesting. What is enjoyable is the nasty shit and what happens next. It’s intriguing. Conflict and resolution. It can’t just be resolution.” With an album like ‘One More Light’, Linkin Park are bound to inspire a certain amount of conflict and friction. “I can’t control what people are going to say, so I’m not worried about their reactions. I know there will be people who are thrilled about the record, there will be people who are so mad that it’s not whatever they had in mind, and there will be people who don’t know the band much, and this is a new sound that they’re experiencing fresh,” beams Mike. “All of those things are in play for us, and it’s so funny, ‘cause we’re parents, too; we had some moments where we were looking at things from a bigger picture point of view for the first time. This last tour was the first time we saw a multi-generational crowd. There was a moment at one of our shows where I looked out and saw a father and his daughter. He was into certain songs; he’d be elbowing her like ‘This is my jam!’ and she’d be doing the same thing back to him about the newer stuff. Maybe subconsciously that stuck with me because I think about what my kids are into and what they like, and I know that I played them songs on this record and asked them what they think. It’s cool. I bet if you ask my kid what song of Daddy’s do you want to listen to, the first song they always ask for is ‘Castle of Glass’ and with the new stuff, heavy is their favourite.”
“My kids have always asked ‘Play Daddy’s song!’ so that they can hear Daddy on the radio or whatever. But they’ve always said Daddy’s music is kinda scary a lot of times and in particular seeing Daddy play is scary, because I’m running around, screaming and it’s pretty intense - but this new stuff, it’s not scary. The older kids are like, ‘Yeah, my dad’s in Linkin Park, whatever.’ But my little kids, they love ‘Battle Symphony’, ‘Heavy’ and ‘Invisible’ in particular. They can sing it, and they can hear what’s being said, and they can understand it, and they like the music, and it makes them happy. I think that automatically makes them like it a lot more. For the first time my girls are like, ‘Daddy sing that song!’ instead of ‘Daddy, shhh!’ They’re also telling people I’m a big super, duper star, which is something that’s interesting ‘cause all my other kids have been like, ‘I don’t want to talk about it’. It’s fun.” Everything that’s going on with Linkin Park, the good, the bad and the ugly, plays into ‘One More Light’. “What we talk about on this record and what we’re doing lyrically, it’s a snapshot of our lives in the present moment or the very recent past. It took 13 months to make the record, it didn’t take us that long to write a lot of the songs, it took us that long to make sure we did everything very precisely, in terms of building the tracks and making everything sound the way it does. We felt like this record was very important and other people were telling us that they felt this record was important, so we wanted to make sure that every detail was properly taken care of. I feel like this record is tapping into who we are at this present moment.” From the lyrics to the conviction, Linkin Park make one thing clear. “We’re not defined by what we’ve done; we’re defined by what we’re doing.” Here we go. P Linkin Park’s album ‘One More Light’ is out 19th May.
HO99O9 AREN’T IMPRESSED WITH THE STATE OF THE WORLD, AND WITH THEIR NEW ALBUM ‘UNITED STATES OF HORROR’. THEY DOCUMENT WHY. WORDS: SAMMY MAINE.
fter a multitude of EPs and a ‘Dead Bodies In The Lake’ mixtape, Ho99o9 are finally releasing their debut album. The L.A. by way of New Jersey hip hop/punk duo have been pushing out a kind of pandemonium over the past few years, by way of performances that have deafened, destroyed and dismantled pretty much anything in their wake. Made up of friends theOGM and Yeti Bones, Ho99o9 are a force of artistry; meticulous in their execution, the group is an amalgamation of hip-hop, hardcore, punk and everything in between, crafting an ever-bending sound that demands attention. The pair are currently taking part in their third SXSW, and theOGM is not lost on the significance of the album’s announcement. “My whole life has been building up to this moment. I’d say it was a perfect time; we could’ve dropped an album any time, but the timing on this is the right move. It feels fucking phenomenal,” he says. “It’s like your newborn baby that you’ve been teaching things and feeding, and it’s like finally ready to go off to college or like middle school or something. Off into the
world, the scary, scary world.” ‘Scary’ is a word that some would attribute to Ho99o9’s style – after all, they are called ‘Horror’ – but there’s more to them than unnerving stage make-up or the ability to scream into a mic until the hair on your skin stands on end. Perhaps the ‘scariest’ part of the band is their uncompromising, relentless energy – it’s straight-up alarming. When you go to a Ho99o9 show, you go to a different dimension; a dimension free from the constraints of the everyday, free from expectations or self-restraint. A Ho99o9 show is resolutely and uniquely theirs – a place that’s freaky and unapologetic and basically, bad-ass. As theOGM continues, it’s clear that this sort of ruthless performance is something that runs through their blood. “The [performance] is natural. That’s the easy part. That’s like waking up and brushing our teeth and putting our boxers on,” he says as the pair laugh together. “Recording the music was the easy part, but performing is what pulls your energy and focus. We’ve got to be healthy, and we’ve got to move a certain way because performing it, you have to bring the intensity. Recording it is the easy part, but performing it? That’s the fun part.” The debut album is titled ‘United States of Horror’, which could easily prompt a political evocation, but the band are adamant that they’re not a ‘political band’
per se. Instead, theOGM explains that they write about real life – the life that they and so many others know about growing up, of being black men in America in a post-Trump world, of being a person and a human being with anxiety and anger. “We don’t want to be labelled as a political band – we just want to be a band that has a voice. A band that speaks up for fun things, bad things, good things, everything,” Yeti Bones says. theOGM adds, “Ho99o9 is not political at all. We just speak on what we see and what we know of, and we don’t have that much money, so we don’t talk about driving Benz’s and fucking mansions. So we’ve got to talk about the real shit that we see on the news and what we hear about and go through. The things that people talk about. Reality.” With such a platform, a lot of fans are looking to their favourite artists for inspiration in what to do in these uncertain times. Bands are championing messages of love and empathy and empowerment in between songs, but as to whether the band could be seen as role models for some, theOGM is quick to counteract the notion. “I ain’t got responsibility for nobody – I’m not a role model,” he says resolutely, adding that they write about what they “feel, see and deal.” “And that’s just it,” he continues. “Our only responsibility is to be the best at what 33
we do; we’re not role models, we’re not trying to build an army of people standing behind us and change the world. We’re not going to change the world; y’know, we’re not politicians. We just like to express ourselves in this manner and in this fashion.” When it comes to ‘United States of Horror’ and well, making music in general, Yeti Bones and theOGM have no problem in expressing themselves. They reveal they’ve been sitting on a lot of music for a while now but that it’s all about timing in terms of actually releasing it. “We could’ve put out the album a while ago. We could put out another mixtape if we wanted to, like, right now,” the OGM continues. “As far as the projects and the album coming together, we’ve just been working on music for the past couple of years, and there have always been these things going on in the news and politics and as we create music, we use those things as fuel. So when it was time to put this album together, the title came to us so quickly. We actually had a different title for the album last year, but then as the album was approaching its end, we came up with this cool idea to make it all about the time that we’re going through in the States. All the songs we have tied into that.” Introducing the album was title-track ‘United States of Horror’ and with it came a powerful visual of member Yeti Bones in a Clockwork Orangetype situation – clips of terror playing
as he’s helplessly strapped to a wheelchair. While the group cite some fictional inspirations for the video, they also urge that it’s a true representation of the world we live in – the circulation of fear-mongering from unreliable sources. “We just wanted to show people that all the clips that we put together in that video, are all things that have actually happened. Before we shot that video, our manager was kind of like, ‘Yo, we should be careful because there’s going to be some people who don’t like this shit, and they’re going to be politically attacked or something like that’. These are things that are reality. It’s powerful shit,” theOGM says. However, not everyone was as stoked on the song as expected. “When we put out the video for this single, there was a bunch of fans or a couple of people who were calling us sell-outs, and for someone to call me a sell-out, they would have to know me personally,” theOGM says. “That would have to be something like if I got big and rich and then I left my family and friends behind, and I never took care of them, that’s a sell-out to me. “We don’t put out music based off of fans or based off our manager or based off anyone. Anything we put out is because we like it. When fans are used to a certain sound, they feel like they own you and they control you. Anybody who calls us sell-outs is not a real Ho99o9, deathkult fan. If you don’t like the song or you don’t like what we put out, that’s okay, I don’t have a problem
with that but to call us sell-outs? We’re two black men in America during racism, during all types of crazy shit. What are we selling out from? From what? It’s the dumbest shit to say.” This visual representation of their message also extends to their album artwork, created by the band themselves. “The meaning behind that cover is basically that our youth is in danger,” the OGM continues. “Some kids that are growing up now, they’re going to know Trump as their first president. That shit is sad to think about. And that goes from politics to religion. My mum is very into church and religion, and as a young ‘un, if your parents are into that, they force that upon you. It’s not something you have a choice in, you have to be a part of it, or you’re kind of like an outcast, and once again, that’s our whole thing behind the cover. Our youth are in trouble – that’s with politics, technology, religion, themselves. They are always being controlled by someone, whether it’s parents, whether it’s in school, whether it’s the government or whether it’s their friends.” The album reaffirms this, as theOGM confirms the message of ‘United States of Horror’. “I want people to watch their diet – I mean, watch what you eat, watch what you consume, watch what you watch, watch what you listen to, watch who you hang around with. Just watch your fucking diet.” P Ho99o9’s album ‘United States Of Horror’ is out 5th May.
S P O T L I G H T
S H O W S
SLAVES RAG’N’BONE MAN
P A L A C E
B R I G H T O N P I E R P A R T Y
B R I G H T O N
T H U R S D A Y 1 8 T H - M A Y - 2 0 1 7
D O M E - S A T U R D A Y - 2 0 T H - M A Y - 2 0 1 7
RAY BLK C O R E
P R O G R A M M E
67 A B RA CA DA B RA A L D O U S H A R D I N G ALMA ÁSGEIR BLOOD RED SHOES CABBAGE C H E R RY G L A Z E R R C H I L D H O O D DAG N Y DA N C R O L L D I A N E B I R C H D O U G L AS DA R E DREAM WIFE DRONES CLUB FICKLE FRIENDS F LY T E G A B R I E L L E A P L I N G A L L O P S GOAT GIRL HMLTD IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE JANE WEAVER KOJEY RADICAL LIV DAWSON M A R I K A H A C K M A N M Y S T I C B R AV E S N O VA T W I N S O F F B L O O M O V E R C O AT S P U M A R O S A R A G ’ N ’ B O N E M A N R AT B OY R AY B L K R AY E R E J J I E S N O W S H O G U N S H O U T O U T L O U D S S L AV E S S L Ø T FA C E S M E R Z S T E F F L O N D O N S T U R L A AT L A S S U P E R F O O D T H E AG E O F L . U . N . A THE AMAZONS THE DISTRICTS T H E J A PA N E S E H O U S E T H E M AG I C G A N G T H E PA R R OTS T I G E R C U B YO N A KA ZAK ABEL A N D
M A N Y
M O R E
T O A C C E S S T H E S P O T L I G H T S H O W S P U R C H A S E S E PA R AT E T I C K E T S O R H E A D T O O U R W E B S I T E F O R I N F O O N F R E E S P O T L I G H T S H O W T I C K E T S W I T H A F E ST I VA L W R I ST B A N D. E AC H T I C K E T I S E XC H A N G E D F O R A F E ST I VA L W R I ST B A N D A L L O W I N G A C C E S S T O C O R E P R O G R A M M E V E N U E S S U B J E C T T O C A PA C I T Y.
NEW FOUND GLORY ARE CELEBRATING TWENTY YEARS AS ONE OF POP PUNK’S MOST ENDURING BANDS WITH A BUNCH OF ANNIVERSARY SHOWS, AND A NEW RECORD. WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN. PHOTOS: CORINNE CUMMING.
ew Found Glory have always known how to have fun. If you ever find yourself feeling down, the opening riff to mega-hit ‘My Friends Over You’ is the perfect pick-me-up. It’s something the band have always been good at; they’re pop punk at its very core. This year marks the band’s twentieth anniversary, and it sees them celebrating with new material and landmark live shows in support of A Day To Remember. Ahead of the band’s first ever foray into Wembley Arena, drummer Cyrus Bolooki doesn’t seem particularly fazed by playing such a fabled stage. However, the importance certainly isn’t lost on him. “Back in 2004-5 we supported Green Day [on their ‘American Idiot’ tour], so we did play a few of these places, but it’s an iconic one here. You check it off the list.” While the rest of the band are trying to stay warm in an increasingly cold dressing room, Cyrus considers their impressive feat of lasting an incredible twenty years. “It’s pretty amazing to get
to this point; it’s not something that we thought about when we first started our band, and it’s very important for us to be able to point it out and celebrate with everybody. The fact that we are still here - that is a huge thing, but we are still an active band, and we have a new record coming out.” Heading into the studio to record their ninth full-length, the band were still as in-tune as ever, relishing those hard to predict moments when their songs suddenly clicked into place. “There are different ways to look at it,” Cyrus muses. “We all definitely still enjoy what we do, and with all of our new material, I think we find that it happens at different parts of the process. Sometimes it’s early on when writing, sometimes it’s after you finish the record, but there are always these moments where the songs hit you, and they just take on a meaning with you. “Just like, it’s defined, and we’re still having that happen with these records. I think we’re very proud of our newest record, but it’s going to be very fun being in the twentieth year playing those old records all the way through. We’re going to be playing songs we’ve never played before live, and putting ourselves back in those situations from when we recorded them.”
The band have a legion of fans who’ve followed them since the (relatively) early days of ‘New Found Glory’ and ‘Sticks & Stones’, which feature some of pop punk’s most treasured hits. However, such is their omnipresence they also have a knack for picking up new listeners without even trying. “There might also be some people who quite honestly could’ve been seven or eight years old when these records came out,” laughs Cyrus, “but that’s a great thing for us.” The challenge of digging through their back catalogue - “literally putting on an iPod and listening to it again” - is one he’s looking forward to. “It’s going to be very interesting and fun for us to figure them out quite honestly, and also how to make them translate live. Even if people don’t really know the songs, it’ll be more fun for us to finally get them out there because they deserve to be heard like that.” Twenty years as a band has resulted in a hefty repertoire - helpfully Cyrus has already done the maths. “This is our ninth record coming out which means that there’s one-hundred-and-sixty plus New Found Glory songs. You can’t play one-hundred-and-sixty songs live. We physically cannot do that!” It’s a fair point, 37
and it’s resulted in the rediscovery of a few tracks that’s garnered the reaction, “I don’t even remember doing this?!” “I’m looking forward to playing ‘Catalyst’,” he continues. “I’ve always loved that record, but it also means playing some of the songs that we’ve never played live. ‘Coming Home’ has that same thing going on, it’s songs that when we wrote them, we loved the way they were, and we put them on a record, obviously, but we never really took the time to try and even play them live. It wasn’t even a thought, and now it’s like, we’re doing it, we set that goal!” “We didn’t mean for it to happen,” starts guitarist Chad Gilbert, of their twentieth anniversary coinciding with their new album, ‘Makes Me Sick’, “and that’s why we went with it. It was a natural thing; we usually wait three years between records, and it just so happened it was time we released a new one. As we were talking about it and started writing and looking at touring we were like, ‘Wait a second, next year’s our 20 years… that can’t go unnoticed!’” They’re confident that between the band’s new material, and their anniversary shows later in the year, there’s something coming up for everyone. “Our new album, that we’re really proud, of can’t 38
go unnoticed, but I almost feel like it’s a perfect storm. There are elements in our new record that are gonna make all those twenty-year people who haven’t seen us in a long time be psyched and realise that, ‘Damn, this new album is just as good, if not better, as this old stuff!’” Chad continues: “It’s the perfect platform because sometimes you see a band you love and they play all these new songs, and you’re like, ‘Dammit, that’s cool, I respect the band - but I want the old stuff’. It’s pretty much the perfect tour for our fans; they get to hear one new song and two albums of old stuff.” “And like you said,” adds Cyrus, “not just the fact we’re going to do the twentyyear tour because we’re a twenty-year band, we’re still putting out new music.” They’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. “If you look at this anniversary tour, it’s six albums,” Chad beams. “When a lot of bands do anniversary tours, they’ll play the one album, but it’s six albums that our fans love. The fact we have six albums to celebrate on this tour - because we wanted it to be ones before 2010 - our fans know we’re not only about nostalgia.” New Found Glory’s passion for being an active band, not just trading on ‘the hits’, jumps out. “That every album we’re not selling them short, every album we push ourselves because
that’s what our fans deserve... They don’t deserve for us to just fart out a record that sounds like the last one, you know what I mean? Fo’ sho’!” Even after multiple decades, they remain key players in the pop punk game. “If you put out a lot of records,” explains Cyrus, “there might be people out there who think, ‘Well for this record they really changed their sound’, but when we play all these songs live they all mesh together. It’s going to be fun when you have a record like ‘Coming Home’, and you’re playing it with songs from ‘Not Without A Fight’. They will come together even if one record is generally a little slower and one might be a little punkier. It’s cool because that’s how you can tell the type of band that we are. There’s a constant throughout. When you get all of us on stage together, everything sounds like New Found Glory, whether it’s slow or fast, heavy or not, all that stuff.” With all of this going on and the future looking to be just as strong, the band prepare for their “Hello, Wembley” moment - but not before Chad admits with a chuckle that New Fond Glory are, quite simply, “the best”. New Found Glory’s album ‘Makes Me Sick’ is out 28th April.
Blood and Biscuits
AT THE DRIVE IN
ee e e here’s a lot riding on this album for At The Drive In. Seventeen years away from their defining work, ‘Relationship of Command’, there are questions to answer. Down what many consider to be a vital member in guitarist Jim Ward, and with questions to answer from an initial live comeback that, according to some, didn’t have that incendiary spark it should, it could even be said that ATDI have an uphill struggle ahead of them to convince the cynics. But uphill isn’t impossible. It’s barely improbable. At The Drive In have never felt like a band willing to let gravity do the work, and with ‘in-ter a-lila’ they’ve 40
found a forceful shove that proves there’s still momentum those old legs yet. Obviously it goes without saying that there’s no comparing the band’s first full-length in getting on for two decades with ‘Relationship...’, and that’s no judgement on quality, either. A thing of legend that set a whole scene, only hindsight can make those kind of judgements. It doesn’t show itself up in that company though - which is a victory in itself. That first track back, ‘Governed By Contagions’, still has sharp teeth, while opener ‘No Wolf Like The Present’ has its claws firmly sharpened. There’s a demanding immediacy to ATDI v2.0 that’s every bit as insistent as first time round, launching themselves kicking and screaming at a world that’s left without option but to clear the way. To suggest ‘in-ter a-li-a’ will quieten all corners would be a stretch too far, but it’s more than enough to show that At The Drive In’s return is more than just a cash grab. That fire still burns, and with fuel like this, we all might just catch light yet. Stephen Ackroyd
Marrying electronic elements with experimental guitar playing, Gallops are creating a breed of their own. The most impressive aspect of comeback release ‘Bronze Mystic’ is perhaps its use of space; there’s the wonderful feeling of being entrenched in a sci-fi thriller. The wandering soundscapes make it hard to pull out a favourite track as they almost don’t make sense in isolation; they come to form their own, magical world. It’s a rare gift of a release. Steven Loftin
NEW FOUND GLORY
MAKES ME SICK
Twenty years in and the energy of New Found Glory remains: ‘Makes Me Sick’ has everything you’d expect from the foursome and is a solid celebration of their two decades of pop punk leadership. Wasting no time, opener ‘Your Jokes Aren’t Funny Anymore’ proves their mindset is much the same as ever; the tracklisting reading like the notebook of a snot-nosed teenager. Their uplifting, youthful spit is still there. Steven Loftin
‘Swarmculture’ is the brainmelting debut from Leeds’ Weirds. Creeping in with ‘Things That Crawl’, the band are quick to explode with twanging guitars and dream pop vocals creating an ethereal feeling straight from the get go. Lead single ‘Valley of Vision’ is enormous; Weirds have made it clear there’s no room for mediocrity here. They’ve declared themselves exceptional in their world of blistering otherworldly rock. ‘Swarmculture’ is a phenomenal debut that stands out from the rest. Jasleen Dhindsa
Harrogate trio Blood Youth have enjoyed a rapid rise, despite line-up changes, such as losing guitarist Sam Bowden to Neck Deep, threatening to knock their momentum. ‘Beyond Repair’, their first full-length, takes the promise of their previous releases and streamlines their sound into a more coherent proposition. It’s a fine metalcore record. With a bit of fine-tuning, this could be something special. Jake Richardson
UNITED STATES OF HORROR
Toys Have Powers
HO99O9 aren’t your usual band. And, let’s be bloody clear from the off, they don’t want to be either. They’re the force of nature that makes the elements lose sleep, a visceral, blood curdling assault that doesn’t just rattle the senses, but leaves them smashed on the floor in a million tiny pieces. Unforgiving, answering to nobody and punk as fuck, they’re rewriting a rule book then burning it for good measure. More than essential. Christopher Jones
A SHORT Q&A WITH...
W E I R D S V O C A L I S T A I D A N R A Z Z A L L TA K E S A B R E A K F R O M T O U R P R E P A R AT I O N T O D I S H T H E D I R T O N H I S B A N D ’ S N E W A L B U M .
How are you guys at the moment? Is everything okay in camp Weirds? We’re feeling really good- we’re itching to play the new record live and for people to hear it. It’s a feeling of excitement at how things will turn out! You’ve a hectic few weeks coming up, with the album release and The Wytches’ support tour - are you looking forward to it all? How do you prepare for busy periods like this? It’s always super hectic when you’ve got a lot coming up, but I think we’re handling it okay. We generally try to keep stuff as relaxed as possible and stay on top of the whole admin side of being in a band as that can get on top of you quite quickly. We can’t wait to tour with The Wytches, they’re super nice guys and a band that we’ve always looked up to musically. It’s gonna be a lot of fun onstage and off. How did you find recording the album at The Nave? Was it an obvious choice for you? We’d recorded a couple of things there before with Matt Peel, so we already felt comfortable in that space. It was the only choice really, as we’d forged a relationship with Matt where we could all be as open as possible about the process. Matt and the other guys at the Nave have created an amazing space: it’s in an old converted church, and many of the original features are still there, round the table in the dining area are old church pews, and the live
room has these monolithic beams jutting out through the ceiling. Are there any notable themes across the record? I guess in a general sense, there’s an overarching theme of darkness across ‘Swarmculture’, that we were certainly aware of when writing it. We like dark music and wanted to create our own weird little creepy niche. The lyrics revolve around themes of fatherhood, violence, family, religion and reptiles. How did you come to sign with Alcopop? We sent Alcopop the album after we recorded it and Jack was super into us. We met up in London and instantly felt comfortable working with him, he’s got a positive attitude and works extremely hard for all of his bands. We’ve always respected the way Alcopop release records in unusual ways, and one of the first things we talked about with them was our love of vinyl and weird rarities. Do you have much else in the works for 2017? Where can we find you at festivals? So, we’ve got a few of our own tours coming up, then we’re hitting festivals over the summer, which we’re very excited for. So far we’ve announced Camden Rocks, 2000trees, Live at Leeds, and Truck Festival. 2000trees is one of those festivals we’ve always wanted to play, so that one in particular should be a highlight for us. P
The Flatliners are shifting musical position again. Their first full length for new home Rise Records, ‘Inviting Light’ sees the Toronto four piece maturing nicely. Those edges are smoothed - and it works. Lead track ‘Hang My Head’ is comfortable in its immediacy, while ‘Nicotine Lips’ knows how to wail, but elsewhere - like on ‘Chameleon Skin’ things slow up considerably. The Flatliners aren’t trying to be jacks of all trades. They can master more than one. Christopher Jones
A SHORT Q&A WITH...
F L AT L I N E R S V O C A L I S T C H R I S C R E S S W E L L I S L O O K I N G F O R WA R D TO B RI N G I N G H I S N E W A L BU M TO TH E U K. A N D VI SITI N G TESC O.
eee Northlane are back with surprise album ‘Mesmer’. Opening track ‘Citizen’ says it all really: aggressive and pushing back at the way things are going (“corruption won’t keep revolution at bay”). It’s a record with plenty to unpack. Threads to pull at, lessons to learn, questions to ask over and over again all surrounded with a powerful want for something more. This is Northlane flying straight and causing a ruckus. Ali Shutler
LIKE IT IS EP
eeee Tigress’ second EP ‘Like It Is’ has power and dynamism in abundance: no fillers, just pure rock tenacity. From opening corker ‘Give Me A Chance’ to the QOTSA garage rock of ‘Power Lines’, they cover all angles of edgy hard rock in crystal clear, sonic perfection. ‘Headaches’ shows the band’s darker edge, while ‘Shockwave’ beams in symphonic sensitivity, and finale ‘Temper, Temper’ drones and whirrs like an angry Paramore track. It’s nothing short of unstoppable. Jasleen Dhindsa 42
Your new album’s out soon - when did you begin work on it? What was your starting point? It’s tough to know when one writing process ends and another begins, since there’s always songs that tend to creep up right at the end there before we get into the studio, but might not be fully formed in time for recording… But I think we’ve been working on writing music for ‘Inviting Light’ in some way since 2013 or 2014. The band took a bit of a break in 2015, did you find that helped you get going with this album? Absolutely. It was a really productive year for us behind the scenes. We still did some touring, but compared to most years it was quieter. We did a hell of a lot of writing that year. When we’re home from the road we find the focus we need to dig in and really build something from the ground up together. We wanted to try to reach some new ground with this record, and we needed time to dip our toes into that pool a bit and see how it felt. 2015 became a year with a lot more time being offered up for us to do that. Are there any songs on the album that especially mean a lot to you? They all do. They always do. You can never choose favourites, because then the others get jealous. Is this release the start of a new chapter for you guys? I believe it is. But they all are, you know? With each album you kind
of hit the reset button and think more about how to go about your music, how to go about touring, all these things progress and evolve. ‘Inviting Light’ is our fifth album and the band is celebrating our 15th Anniversary this year, so this one may feel a bit more special now. But in all honestly I think we’ll find some way to make the next one feel just as important to us too. You’re touring with The Menzingers here in the UK soon - what can we expect from your live sets? Well we’re definitely going to have to bust our asses playing between two incredible bands like The Menzingers and The Dirty Nil. We’re excited to get back to the UK with new music and to show off a couple new tricks. Our new challenge is to find a way to fit five records’ worth of music into 35-45 minutes. Maybe we’ll just play everything doubletime. Is there anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to visiting while you’re here? We have a friend who was asked this exact question at customs when coming into the UK years ago. To mess with the border guard, he told them that he had been waiting years to travel to England and see a Tesco. Like it was some museum of consumerism and a turning point in human history. I don’t think the folks at the border had any more questions for him after that, so they just let him in with broken hearts. P
THE WINTER PASSING
DOUBLE EXPOSURE EP
eeeee Bands like Charly Bliss are timeless. Though you can trace their musical lineage back to the heady days of early-mid 90s grunge pop, it’s an influence that never tires, especially when it’s delivered with such sugar spun magic. But bands like Charly Bliss also know how important it is to nail it. A series of false starts making an album resulted in them recording it twice, after realising what any sensible person could have told them in the first place - they’re a brilliant pop band. With that firmly sorted, ‘Guppy’ is free to be the album it’s supposed to. Sparkling from front to back, its rammed tight with gemstones, every track a glittering delight. When bands are this much fun, nothing else matters. Stephen Ackroyd
A substantial development from 2015’s ‘A Different Space Of Mind’, with ‘Double Exposure’ The Winter Passing have struck a greater balance between dynamic, sprightly flourishes and their impassioned throwbacks to the golden age of emo. Featuring one of the most infectious opening tracks you’ll hear all year, the EP’s addictive personality rarely lets up. Short, sharp and sensational, ‘Double Exposure’ is a snapshot of what will hopefully be a turning point for The Winter Passing. Danny Randon
If ‘Cult Drugs’ proves anything, it’s that Blood Command are bloody good fun. Whereas previous effort ‘Funeral Beach’ was a ferocious dose of lacerating punk-rock, this latest album is a giddy, hedonistic, party-ready record. Opening with ‘CTRL+ALT+DELETE’ – a manic three minutes of Marmozets-on-speed rock ‘n roll fury – ‘Cult Drugs’ is an LP which smacks you squarely round the chops from the get-go. This is one good-time pill you’re going to want to swallow. Jake Richardson
Big Scary Monsters
THE VELVET FACE EP
It seems unnecessary at this juncture to point out that HalfNoise, the indie psych pop sideproject of once and now again Paramore drummer Zac Farro, sounds nothing like his punk pop roots. Because it really, really doesn’t. But it does share one aspect - it’s very bloody good indeed. ‘Scooby’s In The Back’ is blissed-out but immediate, all near falsetto and driving rhythms that stand out in a genre that might often catch itself nodding off. ‘French Class’ rides the beat as it speeds into the distance, every bit the continental party, and Hayley Williams even makes an appearance on ‘As U Wave’. HalfNoise may be different, but that doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. Stephen Ackroyd
Big Scary Monsters
A particularly brutal sounding effort from Part Chimp, ‘IV’ is menacing in all the right ways. They give a little clue to their intention straight away with the oddly terrifying piano intro in opener ‘Namekuji’, which introduces the tracks before the onslaught. Singer Tim Cedar’s vocals don’t fight for the top spot at any point; the sheer wall that comes with every track is an impossible for even the strongest voices to overcome. It’s all power, power, power here: small doses and you should be fine. Steven Loftin
Since forming in 2011, Gnarwolves have dealt in short, sharp bursts of hardcore punk rock which has seen them become a favourite of the UK punk scene. One stark difference between this LP and the music that has gone before it is the number of songs that break the three-minute long barrier; fifty percent of this album falls into that category, and the Brighton three-piece are all the better for it. The Weezer-ish stoner-rock of ‘Talking To Your Ghost’ is a stellar, singalong-ready bit of songwriting, while the popinfused punk rock of ‘Argument’ is one of the best songs Gnarwolves have ever penned. Fans of the band’s old style needn’t worry, though; there’s plenty of classic Gnarwolves on show here. Still, it’s when they deal in their new, more expansive sound that they really impress. Gnarwolves are a band to cherish. Jake Richardson
CREEPER START AT THE END THE FORUM, LONDON
WORDS: ALI SHUTLER. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
nd so it’s complete. Years in the making, Creeper have finally finished the escape of The Callous Heart and with the release of ‘Eternity, In Your Arms’, they’ve given control of their world to the real world. Except by now, the two overlap. Long sold out, tonight’s show at London’s Electric Ballroom is more than a celebration of the release, it’s a proud showing of what comes next. The mystery is over but the escape is forever. Milk Teeth are also gearing up to show off what comes next. They’ve been away for a bit, there’s been talk of a new album but for the most part, tonight is a reminder of why they’re one of the best bands around. We’ve seen them open countless sets with ‘Brickwork’ but tonight feels different. Infused with another layer of urgency, the band tear into it and don’t let up until the still-devastating ‘Kabuki’, seven songs later. There’s a snippet of Smash Mouth’s ‘All-Star’ which opens lungs before ‘Swear Jar’ stretches them further. There’s also a new song aired, casually dropped into the set without fanfare, but taking that snarling desire for a good time and cutting it with the frustrations of the world, it doesn’t need one. Creeper are less urgent. They’ve been slowly building to nights like this and from the moment ‘Black Rain’ kicks in, all that groundwork pays off in glorious, overblown fashion. The likes of ‘Hiding With Boys’, ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Down Below’ don’t just inspire sing-alongs, they demand pledges of unity. ‘Misery’ is transformed from a bedroom lament to a promise of standing tall and ‘I Choose To Live’ is a pact the room makes together. Hannah’s turn in the spotlight, after jostling for it throughout, is a powerful reminder that Creeper are more than just one person. The band themselves are like punk-rock Spice Girls, each adding a heavy dose of personality to their patchwork puzzle and live, their gang vocals and individual flourishes elevate the show to a lightening bolt musical theatre production. There’s even a bow at the end. More than the showmanship onstage though, the band comes with an empowering message of unity and self-expression. Untethered from the fear of judgments, the room indulges itself. The words, the escape, the promises mean something special to each individual present but together, this is more than a band. This is the start of something.
ALL TIME LOW GIVE LONDON A REASON TO BE EXCITED EVENTIM APOLLO, LONDON WORDS: STEVEN LOFTIN. PHOTO: SARAH LOUISE BENNETT.
hatever the arena, All Time Low continue to provide timeless escape. Sure, it’s only been six months since their last show proper but the band inspire excitement whatever the occasion. And tonight at Hammersmith Apollo, as the band prepare to launch their seventh album, there’s even more reason for to be excited. But before that, it’s the turn of the new blood. Waterparks deliver their short set to a completely packed Apollo with the early crowd erupting for them almost as much as they would for the headliners later. While the vocal levels were an issue, it didn’t stop the Texas trio from owning the stage and using every inch of it with supreme hyperactivity. SWMRS also receiving a chaotic reaction from the crowd. Powering through their set they paused for a moment to remind everyone that learning to think for themselves is the only way to fight fascism. Naturally, this led to ‘Drive North’ cut ‘Miley’ which pays homage free thinking. With the support acts having suitably stirred the crowd into a frenzying throng the electricity in the air for All Time Low was palpable. Launching things off with ‘Kicking and Screaming’ and moving swiftly into ‘Weightless’, it’s a succinct barrage of what they do best – pop punk packed with both meaning and fun. Focusing mostly on tracks from ‘Future Hearts’, the band know their audience. That’s not to say the deeper cuts such as ‘Six Feet Under The Stars’ from 2007’s ‘So Wrong, It’s Right’ aren’t still met with ferocity but the familiarity the crowd offers comes from those this side of 2010. Through all the fun, there was still time for a more tender moment during ‘Nothing Personal’ cut ‘Therapy’ where frontman Alex Gaskarth took to the stage solo before five thousand mobile torches lit up the darkened Apollo and their owners singing along in perfect synchronicity. As the final chords rang out around the barraged Apollo, the atmosphere refused to wane, exactly as it has done for the last fourteen years of their career. All Time Low are seeing the stages getting bigger, the crowds getting wilder and the best part? We’re all still excited. 45
WHAT’S EXCITING YOU RIGHT NOW? “We’ve been getting into a few bands recently, Zachary went to see Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation twice the other week, and I’ve just been getting into the new Gnoomes album ‘Tschak!’ which is excellent. There’s no feeling like discovering a band that you can’t live without!” Aidan, Weirds “We’re very excited to be going back on tour in Europe and the UK this spring! I love everything about the cultures and sites we get to experience on the road, not to mention the lovely people we get to meet.” Mercedes, Courage My Love “We are playing a lot of places we’ve never been to before including Asia and Israel and heaps more that haven’t been announced yet. I love seeing the different kinds of fans when you visit these places. They don’t often get
bands touring their country so when you do, they appreciate it!” - Marcus, Northlane “Last year Doe’s (pictured) record came out and that’s an incredible record. This year the Cloud Nothings’ record and the Meat Wave record excited me. I’m very excited to hear Fresh’s new record too. They did it with our friend Dom who was the assistant on our record and Fresh are great. They write really good songs. “There’s a lot of good bands around at the moment. We’re in a really good time for good music and my favourite thing about the past couple of years is that people have started to write really good songs. UK bands write really good songs now and for a little while there were lots of great bands sonically, but they didn’t have songs, now there are millions of them. You can’t turn around without bumping
into another rad new band. I’m excited generally, I think it’s going to be a sick year for music. I’m glad people are starting to get switched onto bands outside of four dudes singing about their ex-girlfriends. It’s a change in the tide and it’s time and it makes me feel very immature for ignoring that point in the past. There are so many sick bands and you get to hear a new perspective that you don’t get to hear as often, which is good.” Tom, Gnarwolves “Pretty much everything is exciting me at the moment, we just released a new record after taking a fairly long break so that is obviously exciting for us to be putting new music out and playing shows again. We are all just really looking forward to being a real band again and doing things properly this time round.” James, Deaf Havana
U PS ET M AGA Z I N E .C O M
SUBSCRIBE TO UPSET.
DISRUPT THE NOISE.
Featuring Linkin Park, New Found Glory, While She Sleeps, Ho99o9, Gnarwolves and loads more.