WEATHERSTATE

Weatherstate band photo.jpg

WEATHERSTATE (from l-r): Toby Wrobel (drums/vocals), Joe Hogan (bass), Callan Milward (guitar), Harry Hoskins (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Bristol, Weatherstate are a talented four-piece who specialise in producing a punk sound that is nostalgic yet fresh, and is also rather reminiscent of the early works of Sum 41, Weezer, and Green Day.

The band’s 2016 release, ‘Dumbstruck’, saw them make their mark on the British underground punk scene, gain a large devoted following, and led to live sets supporting the likes of Trash Boat, Creeper, and The Dirty Nil.

Now, having recently unleashed a new single, the boundlessly energetic ‘Rotten Lungs’, the quartet’s guitarist, Callan Milward, chatted to me about that, their experiences up to now, as well as what they have lined up for 2019.

How did the band form?

We initially formed out of the ashes of an old project. Myself, Harry, and Hogan were living in Bristol at the time, and had been playing in a band since we were sixteen, but after eight years or so of doing that, we decided that we wanted to start a new thing, and so we drafted in Toby from another band I had been involved with to smash the drums, and that’s essentially where Weatherstate started.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Up until recently, we used to come up with power chords, melodies, and structure before we brought a song to a rehearsal room to jam out. We never used to demo anything, and that only changed recently, when we began writing our follow up to ‘Dumbstruck’.

Speaking of ‘Dumbstruck’, which was the band’s debut EP, released in 2016 to an overwhelmingly positive response. Was that honestly something you were rather taken aback by, especially considering it was your first release?

Despite it actually not being our first release (‘Dumbstruck’ was actually our third), we do now see it as the band’s first, because I think exceeded expectations for us, and surprisingly, we found ourselves with a lot more eyes on us than ever.

At the time, I found it insane how quickly everything started to grow for us, and we had to learn fast.

The band recently unveiled a new single, ‘Rotten Lungs’. What inspired you to write that, musically and lyrically?

We had been tied down with trying to write as many songs as we could. I think we simply wanted to write something outside of the Weatherstate pattern, and I remember wanting it to come across as more abrasive, aggressive, and snottier than anything else we had been writing at that time.

Shockingly, it was the easiest song to write for the record, as we wrote and recorded the full demo for it in 24 hours, but I feel sometimes that is the best way to write.

Lyrically, it’s about the deterioration of both physical and mental well-being caused when you isolate yourself from the world, and it also touches on the toxic effects that it can have on your own frame of mind, when trying to help a friend who might not want to be helped, and I think that’s reflected well in the aggressive nature of the song.

And how has the reaction been to that so far?

Great! We’ve been so stoked to get this out into everyone’s earholes.

The band hail from Bristol, which is a city becoming known for championing emerging bands/artists from a wide variety of genres. In your opinion, why do you think that is?

I absolutely love Bristol as a city, but we’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the place. I think Bristol is killing it at the moment, because it’s one of the best places in the country from a creative perspective, the talent is just on the next level, and the community is something I hold dear.

However, we’ve never really found our feet there to call it “home“. Simply, I don’t think we’ve connected there as much as we would have liked to, and that’s always been made tougher by the fact none of us actually live there now (laughs).

We’re excited to be going back there in the new year, though.

You’re also signed to Failure By Design. Do you feel fortunate to have backing by a record label, especially as there is lots of bands/artists now out there who are unsigned?

Failure By Design are killing it right now, and we’re so stoked that we get to work alongside people we consider besties.

The band have supported such outfits as Trash Boat, Boston Manor, Moose Blood, Creeper, and most recently, The Dirty Nil. How were they as experiences?

Yeah! The Dirty Nil shows recently were especially great. It’s almost impossible to match a band like that in terms of a live performance, but we aspire to be as rad as those guys, and Trash Boat helped us out with our first major tour, so we owe those guys a lot. All great experiences.

And how is it overall, for you all, performing live?

It’s something I personally thrive off. Every show, we attempt to top the last one, whether it’s perfecting the stage show, or knuckling down on getting everything tighter, and that’s something I feel every band really should be doing, but also, try not to take yourself too seriously, as being obsessive can take the edge away.

Being a live band is an essential part of Weatherstate, of course. It goes without saying, really.

Next year, the band will be releasing their debut album. Have you started to record it yet? And if so, how is the recording process going?

Yeah, it’s all in the can. We started recording it last year, and finished it up around April this year.

And at what point in 2019 are you seriously thinking of getting that out by?

It’s going to be a surprise!

Also, how will it differ to ‘Dumbstruck’?

I don’t want to go too much in-depth, but I think it’s a good representation of every bit of influence Weatherstate has taken in since we started on a creative level and a personal one.

I think I would say, compared to ‘Dumbstruck’, it’s a more focused and aggressive effort on all parts.

And finally, album aside, what are the band’s initial plans for next year?

To spread the good word of rock n’ roll.

Weatherstate Single Cover

‘ROTTEN LUNGS’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM WEATHERSTATE, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S DEBUT ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED AT SOME POINT IN 2019.

FURTHER INFO ON WEATHERSTATE CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

 

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SONDER

Sonder band photo

SONDER (from l-r): Reece Mason (drums), Andrew Monckton (guitar), Luke Watson (bass), Kraig Fallows (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Staffordshire, Sonder are a four-piece who burst onto the scene last year with their debut EP, ‘Papered Cracks’, which showcased an engrossing mix of early grunge and modern alternative rock.

Since that came out, the band have earned a reputation for playing highly-energised live sets, which has resulted in them supporting the likes of Fangclub and Fizzy Blood, and headlining the 02 Academy in Birmingham.

Having recently unveiled a new single, ‘A Wicked Place’, a frank lyrical reflection of frontman Kraig Fallows’s battle with mental health, and taken from the quartet’s upcoming second EP, Kraig spoke to me about its recording process, what can be expected from the release, and much more.

How did the band form?

Sonder formed in late 2016 after the demise of various projects that we had been working on. Having had a chance meet-up on a night out, after a while of being out of bands, me, Andrew & Reece decided to start writing music together.

After a few months, Reece bumped into Luke, and asked him to join us. He did, and we’ve been writing music ever since.

How did the name Sonder come about?

Sonder comes from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is something I was reading one evening. It is the realisation that each passer-by is leading a life as complex and vivid as your own. It had a real nicer poetic vibe to it, so I suggested it to the lads, and we all agreed on it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

When I’m writing the music from the band, I try and write from a personal place, as I feel this allows you to be honest with whoever is listening to the music.

If I wrote about being a hugely successful “rock star“, then I wouldn’t be being honest to myself or anyone else, so I very much write about whatever is on my mind, whether that be my feelings about what is going on in the world around me, or within my life on a much deeper level.

Recently, the band brought out a new single, entitled ‘A Wicked Place’. How has the reaction been to that so far?

The reaction so far has been amazing. The consensus is that it’s the best song that we’ve released. We’ve had people talking to us about how they connect with the lyrics of the song too, which for me means more than anything else. The fact it’s also our favourite song to play live only adds to it!

And the track deals lyrically with anxiety and depression. Having battled with mental health yourself, Kraig, what are your opinions on the frequent open discussion of the subject at the moment?

It’s a very long and overdue discussion. Mental health is something that for too long has been shunned to one side as not being a “real illness“, or someone just being “a bit sad“, and it’s absolutely wrong!

I wrote this track when I was in a truly dark place. I wasn’t just sat in a corner crying to myself out of self-pity, which a lot of people still think is the cliché for depression. I was struggling to function on a day-to-day basis.

It was hard to get out of bed, or make myself a meal, let alone go to work and interact with people in the wider world. I simply didn’t want to do anything.

For a very long time, it’s something that I’ve hidden away from, especially as there’s still a stigma around men and mental health, in that we’re not allowed to have issues like this, for fear of being seen as not being “manly“, whatever that means, so, one day, I sat down and just wrote about it, and it was the most therapeutic experience I’ve had in years.

Hopefully, with everyone starting to become more open about mental health issues, and people slowly getting a greater understanding of the depths that these issues go to, then society can finally start treating it with the respect that it deserves, and if anyone ever tells you to “man up“, tell them to fuck off!

‘A Wicked Place’ was taken from the band’s second EP, coming out in January. How has the recording process been for that?

We wanted to try out something slightly different with our second EP, and this was to record four songs, but at two different studios at two different times, so that we can capture a different type of energy on the two sets of tracks.

We recorded two songs (including lead single ‘Karma…’) with Dan Willett at Univibe Studios in Birmingham (where we recorded our debut E.P ‘Papered Cracks’), and then, a few months later, recorded two songs with Sam Bloor at Lower Lane Studios in Stoke-on-Trent (where we recorded ‘ A Wicked Place’).

It was nice to have this split, as the tracks all sound fundamentally like Sonder songs, but there’s a different vibe on the tracks, and that really comes across on the EP when you listen to it in full.

And I’ve noticed that the upcoming release doesn’t have a title yet. Is that deliberate, or is it that you simply can’t come up with one?

It’s self-titled. Usually, I will pick a title from a line or lyric within one of the tracks, but with this EP, being as it showcases all the different sides of the band, we figured the best thing to do was to keep it self-titled.

Also, what can be expected of the EP?

The new EP showcases everything that Sonder is about. Massive sounding guitars, catchy choruses, pop hooks, and grungy noise!

You’ve supported the likes of Fangclub, Fizzy Blood, and most recently, Pagan. How were they as experiences?

Playing with bands of such high quality has had the most profound effect on us as a band, as it lets you see where you are in comparison, and how much more you need to push yourself in order to get to that level.

Every single gig, no matter how big or small, is a learning experience, but when you’re playing with bands that spend their lives touring and playing shows, you see just how much you need to work to be on their level.

It’s also great to be able to sit and chat with these bands, as they’re doing right now what we really want to be doing ourselves

The band also headlined the 02 Academy in Birmingham earlier this year. How is it, overall, performing live?

Our headline show came almost a year after our first ever show, so it was great to be able to round off 12 months of shows and graft with a headline show. We even played a Feeder cover (we don’t do covers at all, but made an exception for this one show!) which is on our YouTube page.

Gigging and playing live is what it’s all about. We love being in the studio or being in our rehearsal space writing new music, but the real test of a band is when you’re out there playing your songs to the public, because they’ll be the ones who’ll tell you whether you’ve got a good song or not.

Playing live is where we feel we’re at our best, and we love nothing more than putting on a show every single time we play!

You play often in Birmingham. Do you think the city has been overlooked in recent years, in general, in comparison to similar-sized cities such as Manchester?

There are some great bands in the Birmingham/Midlands music scene right now! Bands like God Damn, Youth Man, and Table Scraps, to name just a few, are helping to put the Birmingham scene back on the map, and hopefully, bands like ourselves can continue to try and show people that, as a city, Birmingham shouldn’t be overlooked.

All that’s needed is for more smaller touring bands to take a chance on the city, and to book the shows, because when Birmingham crowds turn up (as they did for our shows with Fizzy Blood and Fangclub), then it can really go off!

I think great scenes are born out of groups of bands getting noticed at the same time (which is what is happening in places like Brighton and Bristol, for example), and that, hopefully, when people see that there are great bands coming out of Birmingham, then it will find its way back on to the regularly toured map.

EP aside, what are the band’s initial plans for 2019?

More shows, more new music! We’re hoping to go out on tour in April/May sort of time, and will just continue to keep playing shows as much as possible. We’d also LOVE to play at 2000 Trees! That’s a band bucket list wish right there!

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

We just want to keep on writing and enjoying the music that we make, and hope that people continue to enjoy it as much as we do.

Sonder Single Cover

‘A WICKED PLACE’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM SONDER, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SELF-TITLED EP WILL BE RELEASED IN JANUARY.

FURTHER INFO ON THAT, AND SONDER, CAN BE FOUND HERE.

 

CATALYSIS

Catalysis band photo

CATALYSIS (from l-r): Sean Ramson (rhythm guitar), Callum Rennie (drums), Col MacGregor (vocals/bass), Drew Cochrane (lead guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in late 2016, Scottish four-piece Catalysis have been fusing together elements of groove, thrash, and death metal to bring their growing legion of followers a metalcore sound that is distinct and original.

Having unveiled their debut EP, ‘Into The Unknown’, to good reviews last year, the band are now eager to show how they have progressed musically with a self-titled follow-up, to be released in the run-up to Christmas.

To tell me about that, and more, was the Dundee quartet’s lead guitarist, Drew Cochrane.

How did the band get together?

My old band split up right around the same time as our drummer Callum’s old band, so we decided to get together for a jam and see what happened. It went well, so I brought in the other guitar player from my old band too (although he has now left and has been replaced by Sean, who incidentally played bass in the old band).

How did the name Catalysis come about?

It’s actually quite a lame reason, but basically, we were struggling to come up with names, and my dad had mentioned to me in the past that he’d always wanted to use that name for a metal band (he plays predominantly in punk bands), so I thought I’d put it to use for him.

The word is to do with chemical reactions, though, something science-y that we only have a loose grasp of.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

I’d say our typical approach is that generally either Sean or myself will bring a song to the band, more or less musically finished as a recorded demo with programmed drums, and then from there, we’ll iron out any parts that we’re not 100% convinced about in the rehearsal room.

Once we’ve cemented the music, Col will demo his vocals over the track, and we’ll start to work on vocal arrangements and backing together. Usually, because I like to cause myself unnecessary stress whenever I can, I leave writing solos to the last minute when we’re sending off the finished tracks for mixing.

We do sometimes write together in a room as a band too, but most of the time, someone is bringing the bulk of the song to the table pre-written, and the “in the room” part is just the polishing.

What inspires the band lyrically?

On the new EP, there are a couple of tracks which more or less cover the fact that humanity is a brutal destructive force (‘Nothing Left’, ‘Deadline’), a song about the Highland Clearances (for those who don’t know, a very dark period in Scotland’s national history), and a couple of songs that are more about personal things – dealing with struggles and making choices, etc, so we cover a few different angles with our writing.

Actually, our last EP had songs about fantasy stuff, as our old singer was super into Dungeons and Dragons, etc.

Last year, you brought out a debut EP, ‘Into The Unknown’, to good reviews. How was the response to that for you all personally?

The response was great, and obviously as a new band with a first release, we were pretty happy about it.

However, the last EP didn’t really reflect the band, as it was written before Sean or Col joined the band, and they had no real input to it. I think the other thing that somewhat diminished the positive feedback to the EP was that we weren’t massively happy with the production.

Open Eyes Productions, who mixed it, are great, but I think we tried to have too tight a control on the sound, and they didn’t really know how to achieve the sound we wanted, so we ended up with something that wasn’t their best work, and wasn’t what we wanted either.

Next month, the band will be releasing a self-titled follow-up. How has the recording process been?

The recording process for the new EP couldn’t have been smoother. It’s 2018, which means that we’re able to do a lot of the recording ourselves these days – this is great, because it helps keep costs down, and the quality up, as we have as much time as we want to track parts and experiment with layering things without worrying about breaking the bank.

The drums were all tracked at a local studio, then we recorded all the guitars, bass, and vocals at my house, then we sent them off to be mixed.

I think we worked a lot more collaboratively on this EP than on the last one when it comes to recording too – especially when it comes to vocals, as a lot of ideas were bounced back and forward during the tracking process, and everyone recorded their own backing – on the previous release, Sam (our previous singer) took almost complete control, and there was no input (in terms of ideas or actual singing) from anyone else.

I think, as a result, the new EP is stronger and more varied.

And the upcoming EP has been produced by Mendel bij de Leij, of legendary death metal outfit Aborted. How has working with him been as an experience?

It was a great experience. I reached out to him after seeing an advert on Instagram for his mixing services, as I’ve been a long term fan of Aborted, and always enjoyed his solo music, which he mixed himself.

He was super easy-going, and worked with us to attain the perfect sound for what we were trying to achieve. He mixed three of the tracks as singles, then remixed the whole lot to sound coherent as a release when all the songs were done. The mix crushes – he knew exactly how a band like us should sound.

He’s also really friendly and really professional – I couldn’t recommend working with him more.

Also, how will the EP differ to ‘Into The Unknown’?

Compared to ‘Into The Unknown’, there’s probably less of a death metal vibe because of our change in singers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some heavy growls in there, but Sam predominantly used super harsh vocals.

On the new EP, there’s a bigger focus on strong melodies – almost all the songs have a big vocal hook somewhere. That’s not to say that we’ve softened up, or are trying to write commercially, but we’ve tried to write more distinctive, memorable parts.

The songs themselves are (largely) shorter and more to the point, and there’s a stronger emphasis on both groove and texture – there are more up and down moments. We still have big riffs, we still have guitar solos in each song, but it’s all just more refined, more precise.

How is it, for the band, performing live?

Performing live with the current line-up is a treat. The new songs are going over really well, and we’ve all really upped our game.

One of the big things about the writing of the new EP was how much we put into layering up the vocals and using everyone’s talents to the best effect, so pulling that sound off live and replicating it was a challenge at first, but now that we’re nailing it, I think it gives us a more dynamic and interesting live show too.

There’s a lot of movement on stage, and we’re all really passionate about what we’re doing, and I don’t think with previous line-ups, there was that energy or passion.

What are your initial plans for 2019?

For 2019 so far, we’ve booked our first international show – which is at the Aggressive Music Festival in the Czech Republic, and we’ll be adding some more shows in Belgium, Germany, etc, en route to that show.

We’ve also got a couple of Scottish shows confirmed, and a few more in the works too, even though one of our big focuses this coming year is going to be getting out of Scotland more.

It’s tough, because we all work, and two of the guys have families, etc, but I think basically, we want to take the success we’ve had in the latter half of 2018, and press forward with that.

In terms of new music, there will definitely be a release again next year, though at present, we’re not sure what form it’ll take. It looks likely we’ll be doing an album, but there’s a number of factors to consider with that, including the cost. We’ve already got three or four songs written for it though, with skeletons of another four or so too.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

This one is really easy: to have fun. We’re not under any illusions about who or what we are. We’re four guys with good jobs, some of us are married with kids, etc, and we can’t be giving that all up to tour around Europe sleeping in a van for three months at a time, but what we can do is continue to release quality music as often as we can, and to get out there and play as much as we can without causing a divorce.

Catalysis EP Cover

THE SELF-TITLED SECOND EP FROM CATALYSIS WILL BE RELEASED ON DECEMBER 14, AND THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING A LAUNCH SHOW FOR THE EP IN THEIR HOME CITY THAT EVENING, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Catalysis EP launch show poster

MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.

THE EGO RITUAL

The Ego Ritual band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Twelve months ago, vocalist/bassist Jim Styring, guitarist William Ward, and drummer Gaz Wilde, got together to form a three-piece by the name of The Ego Ritual.

In May this year, the Lincoln trio unveiled their debut single, entitled ‘Chakra Maraca’, which showcased a clean-cut, positively vibrant slice of psychedelia, with the inclusion of elements of progressive rock.

With that track getting an overwhelmingly positive response, most notably from the underground music press, the band will be releasing a self-titled debut EP early in the new year, and Jim was ready to chat to me about this, and more.

How did the band form?

I had known William, our guitarist, for years, back to when we had been in several musical projects together, but we had gone our separate ways, and subsequently lost touch.

Fast forward to 12 months ago, and there’s a knock on the door. I answer, and William’s stood there with a guitar, asking if I wanted to write some new songs, and I had been toying with the idea of putting a new band together, so William’s arrival came at a perfect time.

I knew Gaz, our drummer, as the owner of a studio where I had previously recorded. We sent him a couple of tracks, and he was interested in doing something with us.

He’s a great drummer, he knows just what a song needs, and more importantly, what it doesn’t. He wasn’t afraid to step outside the box, and his comfort zone, and push himself.

It all came together pretty fast, so I guess stars aligned.

How did the name The Ego Ritual come about?

Finding a suitable name can be tough, as any band will tell you. The Ego Ritual just came to me, and the same thing happens with lyrics, as it’s often when I’m not consciously thinking about them, they arrive, and it was later I realised that The Ego Ritual made perfect sense.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Most of the songs come from a guitar idea from William. He’ll send a bunch of ideas over, and I’ll write to the ones that grab my attention and speak to me. He has so many great ideas, I’m sometimes spoilt for choice.

We’re certainly not short of material. If you’re lucky, songs write themselves. These tracks felt almost fully formed very early on in the process, again, like they’d come to us from somewhere else.

We just went with them, wherever they wanted to go, and we weren’t mindful of the classic three and a half minute limit, if a song took six minutes to say what it had to say, then six minutes it was. There were, and are, no rules.

What inspires the band, lyrically and musically?

I have said this many times, but it’s far more important what the listener thinks, than what the writer had in mind. I’m quite guarded over specific lyrical meanings, you can read into them whatever you want.

‘Chakra Maraca’ can mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people. No one’s right, no one’s wrong. I know what it meant as I wrote it, but it’s all interpretation. It’s music to tap your foot to, or to dig deeper and have a look.

Our songs are like those 3D pictures you stare at. You spend some time with them, and a whole new world will then present itself.

In May, you brought out a single, entitled ‘Chakra Maraca’, which was very well-received by much of the underground music press. How was the reaction for you all personally?

Our first recording, our first single, had to make a statement. We wanted to announce our arrival. It hints at what’s to come. The reaction has been very positive, so we’re looking forward to people hearing the EP.

And speaking of the band’s self-titled debut EP, coming out on January 18, how has the recording process been for that?

It’s gone great. As I previously mentioned, Gaz is also the studio owner and engineer, and he has done a superb job, above and beyond the call of duty. We haven’t rushed things, we’ve allowed them to develop at their own pace, and we’re very happy with how it’s sounding.

And what can be expected of the release?

People who understand ‘Chakra Maraca’ and “get” it, will be drawn to the other songs. There’s certainly a thread running through them, not just in sound and influence, but feel, it’s almost a spiritual thing.

Music finds you, you don’t find it. If it’s for you, you will be drawn to it. If people like what we’re doing, then great. If people don’t like what we’re doing, then that’s okay, too.

We’re here for the people that connect with us and join the dots. There are subtle ways to hypnotise people.

How is the experience, for the band, performing live?

I will let you know, when we have done it. We made a decision early on to concentrate on the recordings, before performing the songs live. I see many bands eager to hit the road, without having the songs. We’ve built the foundation first.

EP aside, what have you all got planned for the early part of 2019?

We were lucky enough to be asked to play the annual, Fruits de Mer Records, ‘The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus’ Festival, next August, on the strength of ‘Chakra Maraca’.

We’re very much looking forward to that, as we’ll be in great company, and in previous years, it has sold out.

We also plan on writing more songs, and releasing a further EP, at some point early next year.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

To continue to write and record. You can set unrealistic goals and set yourself up for disappointment, but as long as the ideas keep coming, and we feel we have something to say creatively, we’re happy.

The Ego Ritual Single Cover

‘CHAKRA MARACA’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM THE EGO RITUAL, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SELF-TITLED FIRST EP WILL BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 18, VIA KOOL KAT MUSIK.

FURTHER INFO ON THE EGO RITUAL CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

EMERGING MIDLANDS ALT-ROCKERS SONDER REVEAL NEW SINGLE

Sonder band photo

Emerging alternative rockers Sonder plan to break from the underground with the release of their mesmerising new single, ‘A Wicked Place’. This mouth-watering track takes from everyone from Nirvana and Biffy Clyro, to Arcane Roots and Basement, and the single can now be accessed via all key platforms and services.

Formed in late 2016 in Staffordshire, Sonder have formed an engrossing sound that mixes the grit of grunge, meshed with colossal guitar riffs and pop sensibilities.

Bursting onto the scene last year with their debut EP, ‘Papered Cracks’, the band soon earned a reputation for delivering highly energetic shows; such praise saw the foursome pick up a run of shows with Fangclub, Fizzy Blood, Sick Joy, and The Fallen State.

The band continued their climb this August with the release of the first single, taken from their forthcoming untitled EP, out in January 2019, and the track, entitled ‘Karma’, was happily backed by a headline slot at Birmingham’s O2 Academy.

Sonder push on again with their new single, ‘A Wicked Place’. Vocalist and guitarist, Kraig Fallows, talks about the track: “‘A Wicked Place’ is the second single from our upcoming new EP. It is about dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s about trying to pretend everything is fine, whether you’re convincing yourself or others, and struggling to deal with the smallest things and being scared to ask for help. The track is influenced by my own personal battles.”

Sonder Single Cover

‘A WICKED PLACE’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM SONDER, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SECOND EP WILL BE RELEASED NEXT JANUARY.

FURTHER INFO ON SONDER CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

BITCH HAWK

Bitch Hawk band photo

BITCH HAWK (from l-r): Henrik Holmlund (drums), Andreas Hourdakis (guitar), Patrik Berger (bass), Fred Burman (vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

What do you get when a hugely successful songwriter behind such tracks as Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, an internationally-renowned jazz guitarist, a highly-skilled drummer, and the vocalist of an extreme metal outfit all join forces to form a band?

You get Swedish four-piece Bitch Hawk, who have united to give you one of the most unique, fiercest blasts of metals you’ve heard in a long time.

Not content with bringing out one album, their self-titled debut, in 2018, the quartet recently unveiled a follow-up, entitled ‘Joy’, and I spoke to frontman Fred Burman about both releases, the collective’s journey so far, and what him and his bandmates have lined up for Bitch Hawk in the near future.

How did the band get together?

Andreas, Patrik, and Henrik had the band in a more theoretical sense for a couple of years, and they approached me to join in late 2016, I think.

At that point in my life, I was craving to do more aggressive music, and given the line-up of members, it was a no-brainer.

How did the name Bitch Hawk come about?

The name was already in place when I joined. They wanted something stupid, and stupid, it is. Gloriously so.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

For ‘Joy’ (the band’s recently-released second album), we set out to cross-contaminate old Megadeth with Lumpy and the Dumpers, and in my mind, we nailed it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We’re kind of a new band, although we’re already two albums in. I would say we’re still very curious about each other, and fascinated with the stuff everyone brings to the table when we’re writing.

Every idea inspires a new one. The best kind of creative environment.

Earlier this year, the band released their self-titled debut album. How was the reaction to that?

Mostly rave reviews, but also a couple of stinkers, so I guess we can be quite polarising, as it should be.

And recently, you unveiled its follow-up, entitled ‘Joy’. How was the recording process for that?

Pelle Gunnerfeldt (Fireside, the Hives) recorded and mixed the album in Gröndal Studio in Stockholm. It was pretty much recorded live in a day and a half with some vocals and a couple of guitars recorded in Patrik’s studio the following week. Real smooth, no fuss.

How does ‘Joy’ differ to the debut album?

It’s more intense, more to the point, more Bitch Hawk. I’d recommend a listen!

How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

For me – a taste of iron in my mouth, sometimes a broken rib (happened about a year ago), and a sense of JOY.

And finally, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

We will be doing shows, as candid and furious as they come, and there are currently several in the pipeline, which we’ll be announcing soon.

We’re going to change the world, one show at a time.

Bitch Hawk Album Cover

‘JOY’, THE SECOND ALBUM FROM BITCH HAWK, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA ADRIAN RECORDINGS.

FURTHER INFO ON THIS CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

SOUNDCLOUD

 

DESERT CLOUDS

Desert Clouds band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Originally from Italy, but now based in London, Desert Clouds are a four-piece who specialise in an alluring, atmospheric style of alternative rock, containing elements of stoner and psychedelia, influenced by a broad range of bands and artists.

Having been busy in the studio putting together a concept album, entitled ‘Nothing Beyond The Cage’, coming out next January, the quartet’s frontman, David Land, chatted to me recently about that, as well as a host of other band-related topics.

How did the band get together initially?

Desert Clouds was formed by a bunch of guys who, among all the things they were doing together, music was that one which allowed them to express freely all their emotions and hopes. That strengthened their friendship and put new incoming members in front of a sort of family rather than a simple band.

That’s how everything started, and that’s how it has always been so far. All genres and music approaches we play and have are just consequences of our moments and growth throughout the years.

How did the name Desert Clouds originate?

It comes from a song we released in 2008. Looking for a band name, we noticed that the song’s lyrics strongly represented the way we see life, in fact, they are about a state of mind where all ideals, hopes, gods and thoughts are, metaphorically speaking, described as clouds that pass by and vanish, leaving you roaming around a desert which represents life in its essence, and, sometimes, you even wonder if those clouds were real or simple mirages.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It’s pretty simple and spontaneous. To be honest, I don’t sit down and think about writing a song or about its subject, and I don’t really try to dig in ourselves to find the right inspiration for doing it.

It’s more like that the idea, or the sensation of having one, comes by itself, we try to be ready to catch it and transform into a song…like a vulture does with its prey.

After that, the original idea gets into our hands and becomes what you listen. Sometimes, it is close to what I’ve hunted, sometimes completely different, but, in the end, always better, as more vultures are better than one.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Most of the times, songs themselves guide our lyrics.

In general, our lyrics tend to represent an uncommon perspective on life, in its essence. They often merge existentialism with ordinary, everyday human emotions such as frustration, hope and interior state of decay.

We don’t really touch political or social subjects and, unintentionally, always find ourselves writing on things that we consider beyond those.

In our lyrics, you can often find metaphors that try to describe emotions through cosmic events or introspective analysis and abstract feelings.

Last year, you released an EP, entitled ‘Time Distortions’, which placed the band firmly on the map. How was the reaction to the EP for you all personally?

‘Time Distortions’ is an important step for Desert Clouds. That is the first record with our producer, Andrea Lepori, and we were excited when we released it, because we knew that it could have pushed the band onto a new level, which eventually, it did, and only because we jumped, straight away, into the new release, that ‘Time Distortions’ has been put on one side…a bit.

Besides that, we all consider ‘Time Distortions’ our hidden trampoline, and are still performing some of its songs such as ‘Strangelet’ and ‘Weight’. You can find it on Bandcamp, and, of course, at our live shows.

In January, the band will be unveiling a new album, ‘Nothing Beyond The Cage’. How has the recording process been for that?

All of our work in a recording studio can be considered like a very long surgery: very uncomfortable and with some post-operative pains.

It has been a long dispute between us and Andrea, where, in the end, we enriched our music knowledge, we increased our studio experience, and opened up our horizons.

All efforts, arguments and recording sessions will bring ‘Nothing Beyond the Cage’ to light in January, and we are confident that it will be even better than ‘Time Distortions’.

And how will the album differ to ‘Time Distortions’?

Compared to ‘Time Distortions’, ‘Nothing Beyond The Cage’ comes from spending more time working in the studio where, along with the producer, we went deeper into the arrangements and song structures, which, in our opinion, made this work more complex and mature than its predecessor.

Around the time the album comes out, you will be embarking on a UK tour, then a few dates in your native Italy after that. How is the experience, for the band, of performing live?

Besides whatever I said above, live performances are still the perfect environment for Desert Clouds, as during our show, you can see the real sound and vibe of the band, something that we only try to reproduce into a studio.

Our music is made of improvisation and different ways of performing, depending on the moment. Whoever comes to our concerts won’t likely see the same show every time, as even with the same songs, there will be always a genuine mood that belongs to that specific moment.

That is the real reason why we play live music, as recordings are for having a memory of that period, those songs, those people, to promote your music, to let your fans have a piece of you, of your story, to let them support your band, and to listen to your songs again and again, but, really and truly, you are when you are…in the present, and live shows are…

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

We really want to make Desert Clouds become an established band within the music industry. There are not dreams of fame behind our hopes, we only want to reach as many people as possible with our music, and share with them as many emotions as possible.

Nowadays though, it is becoming harder and harder for bands like us to sustain their own projects, and a little help from the industry won’t hurt much.

At least, compared to what you can now find in the mainstream, and unfortunately, sometimes also in the underground scene, Desert Clouds, like many other bands, still have something interesting to say.

Desert Clouds Album Cover

‘NOTHING BEYOND THE CAGE’, THE NEW ALBUM FROM DESERT CLOUDS, WILL BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 18.

FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HERE.