RINSE

Rinse interview photo

RINSE (from l-r): Josh Hassall (bass), Rick Hewitt (lead guitar), Josh Hollingworth (vocals/rhythm guitar), Ollie McNicholas (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

RINSE are a four-piece indie rock band from Stoke-on-Trent.

They have only been together for two years, but have already made a critically-acclaimed EP, played as support for groups such as The Horrors and Palma Violets, and have won over fans and critics alike with their diverse music.

No wonder Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music has tipped them to be one of this year’s breakthrough bands.

I spoke to lead vocalist Josh Hollingworth about Rinse’s past, present and future.

Firstly, how did the band get together?

We have all been mates for years. I, Rick and Ollie were in a band together before and that ended around the same time that Josh’s band split up, so we all got together and started RINSE.

How did you come up with RINSE for the band’s name?

When we first started, it took us a while to get a name to stick, because nothing seemed to sound right. There were a few we did like, such as Rain Babies, Scruffs, Womps, but I think Rick came up with RINSE and we liked the sound of it, so it stuck.

What are the band’s musical influences?

We all have quite a different taste in music really. I think this helps our sound as a band, as there is something in every one of our tunes that come from bands or artists who sound nothing like us.

What or who are the inspirations for your songs?

Anything and everything really. We write what comes naturally to us, so nothing ever seems forced. Some tunes can take us up to two or three months, whereas others we can smash in a night.

When writing your music, does it tend to be a team effort or is there one person in the band who likes to have creative control?

Most of the time, we all write as a collective, but some of our songs have been written by one member and we have added all of our own bits once it’s been brought into the studio.

What have you got lined up for the future?

We have a small tour coming up in May and June and another one in September, we’re playing a few festivals, releasing another single and maybe another EP.

Finally, how far would you like the band to go?

As far as we can get it really, it would be quality if we could pack in our jobs and just concentrate on doing the band.

YOU CAN HEAR RINSE’S MUSIC ON SOUNDCLOUD AT https://soundcloud.com/rinseuk

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TONIGHT ALIVE – ‘Limitless’ (4/5)

(Fearless)

Tonight Alive Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘Limitless’, the third studio album from Australian rockers Tonight Alive, marks a departure from the emo/pop-punk sound which defined their first two offerings.

It has been seen by some as a huge creative risk by a group who have gained a solid fanbase with their angst-ridden music.

However, it seems to be a gamble that has paid off well.

Under the slick producing of David Bendeth, whose client list reads like a who’s-who of bands that have made it big over the past decade, there is a more polished sound.

Also, the overall vibe seems to be more upbeat and positive, right down to the vocal delivery, playing of the instruments and songwriting.

This is most evident in tracks such as ‘How Does It Feel?’ and ‘Human Interaction’, which best showcases the band’s musical evolution and growing maturity.

‘Limitless’ may result in a division of the fans, one half feeling they have sold themselves out by aiming for a wider audience with poppier compositions, the other half applauding them for being brave by embracing a change in style.

Whatever the viewpoint, vocalist Jenna McDougall said recently in an interview that Tonight Alive have had to evolve, because they have grown up now and it would be stupid to keep writing songs about being a teenager.

In conclusion, this album could have been a disaster for the band, but with their natural talent and more mature outlook on life, it has resulted in their best album yet.

TOP TRACK: ‘How Does It Feel?’

HACKTIVIST – ‘Outside The Box’ (4/5)

(Rise)

Hacktivist Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having burst onto the scene in 2012 with their self-titled debut EP, Hacktivist’s first full-length studio album has been eagerly anticipated.

Well, now the wait is over and on listening, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

The sound is mostly a blend of heavy metal and grime, with the heavy guitar riffs of Tim ‘Timfy James’ Beazley in harmony with the raps of vocalist Jermaine ‘J’ Hurley.

It shouldn’t work so well, but it does.

The Milton Keynes band is a young, openly political outfit, something that seems to be relatively rare in the music industry these days.

The frank lyrics act as an indicator to this, the majority of the tracks act as a criticism of governments and the super-wealthy.

‘False Idols’ attacks politicians who say they want to make a real difference, but in reality, are no different to their peers, while ‘No Way Back’ accuses those with wealth and power of destroying the world with their greed and corruption.

With this, Hacktivist issue a rallying cry to the listener to get out there and start a revolution, resulting in the ousting of the elite.

Other subjects are touched upon, ‘Deceive and Decay’ criticises reality TV contestants for searching for instant fame and fortune.

Tracks such as ‘Hate’ and ‘Outside The Box’ act as a thank you from the band to their fans for sticking with them, even when others said they would never make it.

Overall, it is a strong debut from a talented group, and will definitely appeal to those who are disgruntled with the modern world and where it is heading.

TOP TRACK: ‘Elevate’

THE CULT – Rock City, Nottingham, 29/02/16

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Cult photo

Rock legends The Cult rolled into Nottingham and shook the iconic Rock City venue to its foundations with an energetic performance.

The band were in the home of Robin Hood as part of a world tour, coinciding with the release of their tenth studio album ‘Hidden City’.

The venue was packed to the rafters with fans, some who have only discovered The Cult in recent years, others who have been followers since their debut ‘Dreamtime’ was released 32 years ago.

When the band entered the stage, an almighty cheer, rather akin to one at a football match, greeted them.

Frontman Ian Astbury resembled Gene Simmons with his all-black attire, tanned skin, most likely gained through years spent in the Californian sunshine, shoulder-length jet black hair and dark sunglasses.

Meanwhile, lead guitarist Billy Duffy almost had the physique of an Olympic weightlifter.

Both of them were on top form, Astbury released his inner Jim Morrison by strutting across the stage and confidently interacting with the audience, even taking the time to verbally attack Keith Richards for calling Black Sabbath ‘a big joke’.

Duffy let his guitar playing do the talking, even slightly smiling to himself when looking briefly at the audience, who were lapping it up.

The band played a diverse range of tracks, from the classics such as ‘Fire Woman’ and ‘She Sells Sanctuary’, through to some of their latest tunes.

Astbury and Duffy must have been pleased to see that the newer songs got just as positive a reaction from the audience as the greatest hits of their long careers.

By the time they drew to a close with ‘Love Removal Machine’, you could literally feel the buzz around the venue.

This gig showed that despite the fact that both Astbury and Duffy are both well into middle age now, they can still put on a show that some of the current bands, with members young enough to be their children, would find impossible to do.