DEAD! (from l-r): Louis Matlock (rhythm guitar), Alex Mountford (vocals), Sam Chappell (bass), Sam Matlock (lead guitar)
Not in photo: Adam Breeze (drums)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
The city of Southampton seems to have become a hotbed of emerging rock talent in recent years.
In the last decade, bands such as Band of Skulls, Bury Tomorrow and more recently, Creeper have broken through.
Now, it’s the turn of five-piece DIY punk group Dead!
The music press have said that there are the one of the bands to watch in 2016.
I caught up with them after they played a great set at the 2Q Festival in Derby.
Firstly, how did the band get together?
ALEX MOUNTFORD (vocals): We formed in 2012. Some of the guys were at uni together, I had known Sam (Matlock, lead guitarist) for a few years beforehand.
They started up Dead!, and needed a singer, so they sent me their first single, ‘Damned Restless Future’, which is now the name of our fan club.
From there, we played a few gigs and have carried on playing DIY punk ever since.
How did you come up with the name Dead!?
SAM MATLOCK (lead guitar): I’m an admirer of Friedrich Nietzsche (19th century German philosopher) and his theory of nihilism, which suggests there are no morals, no religion and a belief in individual freedom.
There’s a chapter in a book of his called ‘God Is Dead’, which upset a lot of Christians when it was first published, mainly because they didn’t read it!
When we started, we thought “Let’s f****** go for it and see what happens.”
Nietzsche’s had a big influence on us, and I think on the DIY punk scene as a whole.
When we announce gigs, new songs whatever, we say ‘Such and Such Is Dead!’ which is a little nod.
What brought you to the 2Q Festival?
SAM M: The money!
No, seriously, we just want to play as many different places as we can, because, especially with the younger members of the crowd, it may be their first experience of seeing a live rock band, and we need to make sure they get a good first impression of us.
What’s the inspiration behind your music?
SAM CHAPPELL (bass): A lot of stuff to be honest, books, comics, films.
SAM M: I think inspiration can come from anywhere.
I write a lot of music for the band, and we’ve just finished a tour, going round the country, playing with loads of different bands every night.
I think it’s cool to do that, even if they don’t necessarily play the same genre.
I mean, festivals like the one we’ve played today are great, they have an eclectic line-up, some of the bands you might not like, but if you hear someone play something really good, you get slightly jealous, and think to yourself “Why can’t I write more stuff like that?”
When you’re back home and playing about with your guitar, all of the experiences you’ve had whilst on tour come flooding back.
Also, if you watch a film with a really good vibe to it, it makes you want to write a song that could be on the soundtrack.
With songwriting, is it a team effort or more down to just one or two of you?
SAM M: It varies.
When we’re jamming in the rehearsal room, sometime I’ll come up with something, play it to Alex, who adds vocals to it, and then show it to the rest of the band.
They either like it or don’t, if they do, they’ll suggest some ideas on how to change it.
Maybe, in about 100 years or so, they’ll listen to it and go “Let’s f****** play it as it is!”
How is it playing live?
SAM M: I think we’re getting there.
When we started, we were just focused on having a good time, that still applies, but over the years, we have started to realise where we need to be as a band.
We all enjoy playing live music, and most of all, we want the people who come to our gigs to come out afterwards thinking “That was f****** good!”
Now, we do value more the importance of making our live performances as flawless as possible.
With our early gigs, if any of us missed a note, we’d shrug it off and carry on, whereas now, it’s important to hit every note, because we wrote them for a reason.
When you’re playing a song the best you can, you can do the f*** the want, the better we are, the happier.
It then only depends on whether the crowd likes you or not.
ALEX: You can listen to a recorded album time and time again, but you’ll never get a real perspective of what a band is all about until you have seen them live.
What’s the band’s opinion on the current state of the music industry?
SAM M: It depends on which parts of it, if you look at the situation with Ke$ha and all that, it’s a load of s***, the pop world really needs to pull its f****** socks up.
But the rock world is really pushing f****** hard at the moment, what Bring Me The Horizon have done, they’re on top of the world right now, is encouraging.
A lot of it is down to the bands.
LOUIS MATLOCK (rhythm guitar): I think a lot of it is down to the press, to be honest.
SAM M: Personally, I’ve enjoyed meeting loads of people in the industry, a lot of bands moan that it’s evil, but it’s not.
If you can go out there and meet the right people, the industry is full of creative types who actually give a s***.
Yeah, the money’s good, but they f****** care, they have some great ideas, and always saying “Do you want to go to this gig or that gig?”
I’ve never met people before who can go to so many gigs, and never tire of it, but there are other parts of the industry that let it all down, they seem afraid to take chances.
SAM C: 90% of people in the rock industry were in touring bands, and they settled down and got actual jobs doing something they love.
ALEX: We’re young, so we don’t have to worry about that just yet, at least not for another year.
Finally, what are you hopes and plans for the future?
SAM M: World domination!
Dunno, we all like cats, so would like to have more of them in the near future.
ALEX: We’ve got loads of great stuff coming up.
In our heads, we want to be the best musicians, the best band.
This summer’s going to be really important for us, we’re going to have some incredible f****** shows.
We’re playing Download, Slam Dunk, Reading & Leeds amongst others.
SAM M: We’re also supporting Hands Like Houses on tour, and we’ll be playing some of the same venues with them that we played recently, which there is nothing wrong with, because the crowd will be different, and more people will become aware of us.
DEAD! WILL BE SUPPORTING HANDS LIKE HOUSES ON THEIR UK TOUR THIS SUMMER.
TO FIND OUT MORE, CHECK OUT THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE AT theinternetisdead.co.uk