COLD SUMMER – ‘Fight To Survive’ (4/5)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in 2010, Leeds post-hardcore four-piece Cold Summer have released two critically acclaimed EPs and an album, therefore, ‘Fight To Survive’, their third EP, has experienced a high level of expectation.

Well, it’s safe to say it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

It kicks off with ‘Bear Eats Wolf’, a track where frontman Dan Feast frankly sings about his battles with anxiety and depression, cleverly using a bear and wolf as metaphors, which are a recurring theme throughout the entire EP, for his states of mind.

Lyrically, a lot of ‘Fight To Survive’ deals with the band musing about the current global economic and political turmoil and how a lot of people these days are seduced by power and money, leading to widespread corruption and greed.

An example is the song ‘Car Crash (In Progress)’, where Dan likens the world at the moment to a car driving head on towards a massive crash, and that time is fast running out to prevent it.

Throughout, Dan’s vocal delivery, which switches from melodic to screaming with relative ease, acts as an effective guide to the diversely-influenced sound, for example, whenever the vocals increase in angst and aggression, the guitar riffs and drum beats noticeably become heavier.

Overall, this is a well put-together EP that is an enjoyable listen, but at the same time, it makes you really think about the direction we are all heading in, as individuals and as a collective.

TOP TRACK: ‘Bear Eats Wolf’

 

 

 

 

 

DELAMERE – ‘Delamere’ (4/5)

(Scruff of the Neck)

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN 

Originally from Stoke-on-Trent, but now adopted Mancunians, Delamere’s self-titled full debut has been eagerly anticipated, following the success of last year’s EP ‘Bright Young Things’, exposure on such programmes as Made In Chelsea and Soccer AM and the fact they recorded at the same Liverpool studio where Blossoms put together their recent chart-topping offering.

Right from the very beginning, it is clear that this is definitely not going to be a run-of-the-mill first LP.

With each track, the band bring something new to the table, with a diverse, mature sound switching seamlessly from soft to heavy, for example, the tender ‘Woods’ is sandwiched between two of the heftiest sounding songs, ‘Heart’ and ‘Headstrong’.

A constant is the emotive, melodic vocal delivery of frontman James Fitchford, which fits both the slower and more faster paced compositions easily.

Some albums will have three or four brilliantly crafted tracks, with the rest basically being filler material, but with this, you can tell much care and attention has gone into getting everything right.

It is one of the strongest debut albums I have heard in a long time, and judging by this, it will surely only be a matter of time before Delamere are enjoying the same success that bands like Blossoms are at the moment.

TOP TRACK: ‘Black & White Space’

 

 

 

THE SHERLOCKS – The Sugarmill, Hanley, 19/09/2016

SUPPORT: Blaenavon, RINSE

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REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS by CHRIS HOLLINGWORTH

2016 so far has been a year to remember for Sheffield indie/alternative outfit The Sherlocks.

The band, comprising of two sets of brothers, have enjoyed regular airplay on BBC Radios 1 and 6 Music, they have been championed as one to watch by the music press, and they even went to Texas in March to play the prestigious South by Southwest festival.

They were in Hanley as part of a nationwide tour promoting their new single “Will You Be There?”

Support acts Blaenavon and local boys RINSE have also been tipped to go on to bigger and better things, and if their sets were anything to go by, then they both have bright futures ahead of them.

I first saw RINSE only four months ago, and even though they were good then, they now seem to have definitely taken things up to another level.

Blaenavon, not from the Welsh town but actually from Hampshire, played a confident set, with energy in abundance from all three members.

Young frontman Ben Gregory had the crowd in the palm of his hand with a stage presence that could have belonged to a musician with many more years of experience behind them.

After two solid support performances, The Sherlocks must have been feeling the pressure when the time came for them to get under way, but there was absolutely no evidence of this during their set.

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The crowd were instantly hooked on the fast-paced sound, complimented by the melodic vocals of frontman Kiaran Crook.

Their new single, “Will You Be There?” has a rather heavier, more guitar-led sound than what they have done before, but they pulled it off brilliantly and I can see this song as a possible chart breakthrough for them.

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Overall, with their set, The Sherlocks showed exactly why they are possibly being seen as the biggest indie band to come out of the Steel City since the Arctic Monkeys just over a decade ago.

 

 

SikTh

SikTh band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since their first formation seventeen years ago, London six-piece SikTh have gained much respect for their diverse style, encompassing the metal genre, and they are seen as one of the pioneers of djent.

Splitting up in 2007, they shocked the crowd at the 2014 Download Festival by reuniting live on stage.

They have had a brilliant summer touring all across the USA, and there are rumours a new full-length studio album, their first in almost a decade, is on the cards.

I sat down and chatted with bassist James Leach just before they played a headline set at the Macmillan Fest in Nottingham.

How was the band formed initially?

Dan and Pin were, before SikTh, in a band called Malpractice, and that came to an end.

The two of them decided that they wanted to carry on, I think they saw Mikee playing with his old band, and they realised he had a thing about him, so they asked Mikee if he wanted to join their new band.

The three of them got together, and I think they originally had a bassist and drummer as well, one of them was called Jamie, the other Ali, and they also had a vocalist named Tristan, and the band formed in late 1999, early 2000.

Things didn’t work out with some of the members, so they reformed with a new line-up, and that’s where me and Dan Foord came in, and that was in 2001, when the band as we know it really began.

How did the name SikTh come about?

I think they wanted a name that wasn’t really anything, you know what I mean?

They decided to take the word “Sixth” and changed the “x” to a “k”, and obviously, when you Google our name, it’s the only thing that comes up.

You’ve recently been on tour in the USA with Periphery. How did that go?

It was incredible, one of the best experiences we’ve ever had as a band.

Before we went out there, we weren’t really sure how it would go, because we hadn’t really played in the States before, but we were completely blown away from the responses we got from the crowds every night, how enthusiastic and passionate they were about our music, it was a real nice surprise.

Do you think that there’s a difference between American and British crowds at all?

Not really, a mad crowd’s a mad crowd, whether you’re playing in Glasgow, Manchester or New York City.

You know, people are the same the world over.

You surprisingly reunited at Download a few years back. How did that come about?

We split in 2007, mainly because we wanted to pursue other things.

The year before the reunion, me and Dan Foord were playing together at Download, and it was there we bumped in Dan Weller and Mikee.

It was the first time four of us had been in the same room together for what must have been around six, seven years, and we were remembering the old times we’d had when the band had played Download, and someone suggested “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that again?”

So that was when the plan was hatched, and we played Download the following year with the sort of surprise comeback.

It’s been almost a decade since your last full studio album. Are there any plans at the moment for a new one at all?

Yeah, as soon as we play here, we all have a week off, and then we’ll all start writing the songs for our third full studio album.

Hopefully, we’ll be recording that before or during Christmas, so the idea is to get it out some time next year.

What’s your opinion of the current state of the British music industry?

I think it’s okay, people don’t buy records any more, so you can’t make money in the same way you could have done in the past.

Now, you’ve got to diversify and look at other ways of maintaining an income, such as through live shows and merchandise.

Some people are down about it, but I don’t think it’s that bad, because as long as you’re prepared to adapt, you will be okay.

The band has been around for a while now, and you’ve achieved a lot. Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t managed to yet?

I mean, we’ve just returned from our US tour, and that was a landmark for us, because it was something that we’ve always wanted to do.

I guess what I would like to do, at least at one time in my life, is to do a real world tour, that would be incredible.

We have achieved a lot, not that we’ve rested on our laurels, but we would love to do more shows, play live as much as we can, because when I get old and grey, I don’t want to think “we should have played live more often”, so that’s the aim.

Have you got anything lined up in the near future at all?

SikTh wise, like I said earlier, we’ll be working on a new album as soon as we’ve had our week’s break.

We’ve got touring plans for next year, we would like to go back to the States and Europe, and play countries we haven’t played yet, like Australia, but nothing’s for definite at the moment, so I can’t really go into great detail.

What advice would you give to a band that is just starting out?

Play as much as you can, play live as much as you can.

Obviously, there’s a lot of bands out there that don’t get out as much as they ought to, because they have more of an online presence.

Accept as many offers as you can, because you may turn down something that might be really good, and take every opportunity that comes your way.

When you first joined the band, did you ever think SikTh would have become as successful as they are now?

Not really, when me and Dan Foord joined, we rehearsed in a small basement studio in Watford, and I think the idea was initially to get out there and do some gigs, hoping somebody would at least turn up.

To achieved what we have achieved, it’s pretty unbelievable.

EASTDEAR PARK

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Heavy metal outfit EastDear Park can best be summed up like this: ambitious but humble.

As with the majority of up-and-coming bands out there, the Maryland five-piece are aiming for global success, but most of all want to dedicate themselves to playing music with personal lyrics that many can identify with.

They are already making the first big steps towards achieving their goals, earning rave reviews for their recent album “M” and live shows which focus on having a good time and involving the crowd as much as possible.

I spoke to bassist Ben Rockwood about the band’s journey so far, and what the future holds for them.

How did the band get together?

After weeks of getting stoned and air banding to Lamb of God, Shields and I decided we wanted to start a metal band and play shows!

We met Kevin at a party and started playing as a three piece. We eventually met Ryan and Colin and wrote a song our very first day of practice!!

We started jamming every day since then and have grown into what we are now!!

How did the name EastDear Park come about?

We wanted something that represented where we came from, but wouldn’t define our sound at all.

We wanted a neutral name that would allow us to come into every show with a clean slate to kill that first impression every time!

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

If August Burns Red and The Contortionist had a baby, that would be our band.

We make serious music but are all about having a good time on stage! We want our lyrics to represent both the good and the bad in everything.

What are your musical influences?

Our biggest influences are August Burns Red, The Contortionist, Fallujah, Balance and Composure, BTBAM, Snarky Puppy, and the list really goes on and on.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

Ryan or Colin always start the song off by composing riffs together, but overall it’s definitely a team effort.

After Ryan or Colin put together some riffs, Kevin and I start to add the bass and drums and then we add the lyrics on top of the finished song!

Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?

The lyrics are everything I feel, see and hear. They represent what I go through on a personal level, what the band goes through together, and/or what we observe other people go through.

You had an album come out recently. How’s the reaction been so far?

Nothing but positive! The release show was absolutely insane too!

We definitely have a lot more work to do so that we can keep pushing it globally, but everything we have heard back so far have done nothing but lift our spirits!

What’s the experience of playing live?

We try to bring the room together and throw one big party. We want everybody in that room watching us to be able to escape their earthly problems the way bands did for us growing up.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

We’ll be filming a music video for our song “Malice” at the end of this month and then we hope to start hitting the road in October!!

Then, we start sending out our press kits and ideally will hear back from a label asap! We just want to tour!!!

What is the band’s long-term aim?

To travel the world playing shows and meet as many of our fans as possible.

We want to get to know them personally, and we want to know how our music affected them.

Hopefully, that will broaden our perception on everything and keep us humble.

DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THE BAND’S MUSIC AT http://www.eastdearpark.bandcamp.com

DARKSTONE CROWS

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Canadian alternative metal band Darkstone Crows have only been together for nearly three years, but they have already taken their home country by storm with their aggressive but melodic style.

With a second studio album in the works, the Toronto five-piece are looking to expand on a global scale and are hopeful of crossing the Atlantic to make a mark on the British metal scene.

I chatted with them about their past, present and hopes for the future.

How did the band get together?

The band was formed in January 2014 by Jiv and Elle, through a programme at a music school they were both attending.

They ran through a rigorous process of line-up switches over the next year, with our bassist Russ joining in July 2014, our first guitarist Adam joining in January 2015, and drummer Matt joining the following month.

We recorded a four track EP between April and June last year and toured that album heavily over the summer and autumn.

Nick replaced Adam in January this year and we began work on our second album,
while still maintaining a presence on the live circuit and online.

How did the band name come about?

Originally, we were thinking Darkstorm Crows, but one day, Jiv was stumbling on her words and said Darkstone Crows and it stuck.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

Melodic, alternative metal.

What are the band’s musical influences?

Halestorm, Disturbed, Slipknot, Lamb Of God, System Of A Down, Periphery and more.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

Creating something unique that we are all proud of and can use as an outlet.

Where does the inspiration come from for the band’s lyrics?

Different events that occur around the globe. Usually serious, dark topics.

As you said earlier, you have been working on your second album recently. How has the process of recording it been?

It’s been going great so far! We’ve got a great sound, some exciting features and the songs are coming out like we wanted, and we’re excited to share!

What’s the experience for you playing live?

A lot of energy and emotion. Music is an outlet for all of us so we shed a lot of emotion on stage.

We’re all great friends so there’s a lot of energy on stage as we’re always having fun.

What is the long-term aim for the band?

To be able to make music and perform for a living, and to make a difference with our music and see the world.

MAXDMYZ

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In the time they have been together, London alternative metal five-piece Maxdmyz have gained both critical acclaim and a devout fan base with their avant-garde approach to their music and live shows.

With some new work coming out soon, and a gig in France next month, the band’s future is looking rather good.

I chatted to them about all things Maxdmyz.

How did the band get together?

PIETRO “TWISTER” VALENTE (VOCALS): I was at a creative loose end some years ago – and a mate of mine knew a guitarist who was looking to start a band.

Since then, Maxdmyz has been through many incarnations over the years, new members have been recruited as and when via friends of friends, some online advertising, chance meetings in clubs or bars.

The band has kind of come about organically and informally – by far the best way to do it.

How did the name Maxdmyz come about?

JAY TATNELL (DRUMS): This is a mystery – no-one knows as the geezer who came up with left years ago – if he’s reading this, can he send the answer to us on a postcard?

To someone discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it?

ROGER KIRCHNER (GUITAR): Melodic, passionate, aggressive, inspiring, thought-provoking, heavy, light, heavy again, groovy, catchy – brilliant, moving – I’ll stop now – oh, yes, and heavy again and again.

What are the band’s musical influences?

AREK “A’ZEDD” ZDROJEWSKI (BASS): Hendrix, Slayer, Doors, Kate Bush, Type O, John Coltrane, The Beach Boys, Andrews Sisters – anything heavy and gutsy written over the last 50 years or so.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

MARKUS “VORTEX” PESONEN (KEYBOARDS): Extreme caution – no, seriously, gay abandon, spontaneity, joy, levity.

Let me start anew – we’re methodical, rigorous and at the same time flexible in the way we do things.

We let things flow though and in a way every song we do as its own rules and rhythm – literally and figuratively – some fall from you ready-made, others really need to be crafted and worked on.

Where does the inspiration come from for your lyrics?

TWISTER: Love, hate, lust, indifference, weltshcmerz, just the whole gamut of human emotion, which we all share – with me it comes out in words to music – Twister is just a part of me though, and sometimes not even that – every song gives voice literally to another facet of that fractured identity – it’s not inspiration, the lyrics come to me and then have to be sung – they’re born of necessity, compulsion almost.

What’s the experience for the band playing live?

ROGER: At its best, the most amazing thing after sex.

I struggle to find words to describe the high and deep satisfaction you get from doing a great gig – and even if I could – well, it just can’t get anywhere near conveying how great it is to make music together with people whom I not only respect musically but consider friends.

You have some stuff coming out soon. How was the process of recording it, from initial idea to completion?

VORTEX: Pretty smooth really – the ideas came to us often at the studio as we jammed and just fooled about – we just developed them without giving it much thought – if we were still messing with a riff or groove for more than 10 minutes we thought, hey, this might be a keeper.

At some point, Twister got off his ass and wrote a lyric or two, we then played them to our producer Ays Kura – the recording took a week or two – we’re currently at the pre-mix stage.

Next comes production – which Ays will be handling with a modicum of input here and there from the band.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

JAY: We’ve got gigs in London on 2 and 8 October at the Redrock Festival and the Albany Theatre (supporting Anta) respectively, and we’re playing at an industrial festival in Lille on 15 October – also appearing at Club Antichrist in January, which we are particularly looking forward to.

What is the long-term aim for the band?

A-ZEDD: To survive, educate, enlighten, entertain, learn – but above all to prevail.

We want to be doing this till the grave – and maybe beyond…

 

BLOOD YOUTH

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BLOOD YOUTH (from l-r): Max Dawson (bass), Sam Hallett (drums), Kaya Tarsus (vocals), Chris Pritchard (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Blood Youth, a four-piece melodic hardcore band from the small Yorkshire town of Harrogate, are currently one of the most exciting emerging talents around.

Formed two years ago from the ashes of Climates, they have released two positively received EPs and have gained a diverse, rapidly-growing following.

Even the loss of guitarist Sam Bowden and drummer Matt Powels to Neck Deep last year hasn’t put them off course.

I sat down and chatted with them about their music, recent EP and forthcoming UK tour.

How did the band initially get together?

KAYA TARSUS (VOCALS): The band is a culmination of friend groups and old bands.
Chris, Sam and I are all from a little town called Harrogate, and I used to be in a band there, and Chris used to be in a band there as well.

Chris’s band supported my band years ago, and it was literally just one of those things where you ring them up and ask them “Do you want to start a band?”.

I was living in Spain at the time, but I came back to do this.

How did the name Blood Youth come about?

CHRIS PRITCHARD (GUITAR): Before the name came about, we had two names, one of them was Blood Brothers, Black Blood, something like that.

Our manager at the time suggested the name Blood Youth and we were like “Okay”.

We found out later that it’s a sporting term for giving a younger generation a chance to play in sports teams.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

CHRIS: Passive aggression.

KAYA: That’s a good way to describe it.

CHRIS: We’ve got something for everyone really, we’ve got both a The 1975 fanatic and a Slipknot enthusiast in the band, so we kind of merge the two together, we’ve got the heavy verses, we’ve got the singing choruses, there’s something for everyone.

KAYA: We have a really mixed fan base, there’s guys who come to our shows and they want to pit and fight, and then there’s other guys and girls who just want to come and sing along.

It’s really cool to see that as well, because we play so many different types of music.

Which bands/artists are you influenced by?

KAYA: There are so many.

The 1975, Every Time I Die, Architects, Issues, Slipknot…

Me and Chris have always had such admiration for hardcore, old school hardcore and stuff like that.

I’m a huge fan of Henry Rollins and how he conducts himself through music and everything, and I used to just worship Black Flag.

I wouldn’t say they aren’t any Black Flag influences on our music, but we take inspiration from so many different sources.

We also love grime and stuff like that, so yeah, lots of different stuff.

Your EP ‘Closure’ came out earlier this year. How well do you think the reaction has been, considering it was your first work without Sam Bowden and Matt Powels?

CHRIS: We got blown away by the amount of people who actually checked out our EP and bought or downloaded it.

When we got the first week’s numbers, we thought there had been a mistake, so we asked our label at the time to send it to us again.

We had another look and said to them “Are you joking? This seems unreal”, so yeah, everyone seems to love everything that we put out, and it’s good to see that people seem to understand the direction we’re heading in, which hasn’t been forced, it’s just been a natural progression for us.

There’s better songwriting, a better recording process and the guy we worked on the EP with, Jonny Renshaw, he absolutely killed it.

What’s your approach to songwriting?

KAYA: It usually takes a few weeks for us to, and this sounds very cheesy, gather inspiration for the songs.

I can’t just sit there and go “Something’s just come to me”, it’s usually when I’m writing lyrics, I’ll write about various bits and pieces about what’s been going on, something really shit that’s happened that week, and I’ll just write about that and send it off to Chris, who is a riff machine, and he’ll bang them out on his guitar.

We’ll all then get together and work together on it some more.

I would say we are very mixed in what our songs are about, there’s a song about my mum, there’s a whole EP about my ex-girlfriend…

CHRIS: There’s a song about your old apartment as well.

KAYA: Yes, there’s a song about an apartment I used to live in, sleeping on my friend’s bedroom floor and stuff like that.

The fact that people will come up to us and send messages which go, “I totally get what you’re saying there”, that’s all I ever asked for as a reception sort of thing.

You’re going on tour later this month. How is touring and playing live for you?

SAM HALLETT (DRUMS): I love it.

The first show I did after joining the band was in front of 1,200 people, but I love touring and playing shows, also the in-between parts between shows where we hang around and I get harrassed by Chris’s dad.

Less fun, but he loves it! (laughs)

CHRIS: My dad was our original tour manager, but he still comes on the road to enjoy himself and have a laugh with us.

SAM: Before that, it was the merchandise guy and he was even more of a laugh!

KAYA: I prefer being on the road to recording any day, I just love touring.

Have you got anything else lined up in the near future?

KAYA: We’ve got a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes at the moment, a lot of writing has been done, so we’re working on that.

Obviously, we’ve got our tour and everything, but it’s kind of difficult to say out loud what’s going on, because we never know what we’re allowed to say, and we’ve been told off once before for saying something we shouldn’t have.

But it’s all good, it’s all positive.

CHRIS: We’ve got a lot of future studio time as well, and some good stuff to look forward to.

What’s the band’s long-term aim?

KAYA: To headline Wembley.

Our manager said she’d get the band name tattooed on her if we ever get to play there.

At the time, we thought that would never happen, but now, it seems to be a rather positive goal to aim for.

We always shoot for the top, I know that sounds a bit arrogant, but you’ve got to be sometimes.

CHRIS: If you’re not, what are you in it for?

Apart from the fun, obviously.

BLOOD YOUTH WILL BE GOING ON A UK TOUR WITH ZOAX IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER 2016.

CATCH FIRE

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CATCH FIRE (from l-r): Tim Bell (bass), Joe Askew (guitar), Miles Kent (vocals), Ash Wain (drums), Neal Arkley (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Catch Fire are a five-piece pop-punk outfit from Nottingham.

Formed eighteen months ago by four of the now defunct Layby with vocalist Miles Kent, the band have gone from strength to strength, with their debut EP “The Distance I Am From You” receiving a universally positive reaction when released earlier this year, gaining much praise for their sophisticated style of pop-punk.

It’s no wonder then that they are now well on their way to joining the likes of Neck Deep and WSTR at the forefront of the new wave of British pop-punk.

I caught up with them as they were preparing to play a set at the Macmillan Fest in their home town.

How did the band initially get together?

ASH WAIN (DRUMS): Catch Fire got together in March 2015.

We formed from other projects from before, and we’ve been going for a year and a half now.

MILES KENT (VOCALS): Me and Ash met through college.

He already had a project going on called Layby and they were looking for a new singer at the time.

We then had a few jams and shit, and then things got going quite well.

ASH: Our old singer had to leave because he had commitments elsewhere, and as I already knew Miles, I suggested him to be the new singer and he was more or less straight in.

How did the name Catch Fire come about?

ASH: We were trying to think of some names for a long time, and we couldn’t think up anything at all.

JOE ASKEW (GUITAR): I think we considered ‘Spin Cycle’ at one point.

ASH: ‘Spin Cycle’, yeah, we were coming out with stupid shit like that.

One day, I was listening to the lyrics of some songs, trying to get some potential ideas, and then the Fall Out Boy song “Tell That Mick He Just Made My List Of Things To Do Today” came on, and there’s a line in it which is “Let’s play this game called “when you catch fire”, I wouldn’t piss to put you out, stop burning bridges and drive off of them, so I can forget about you.”

I took the “catch fire” from it and that’s how the name originated.

For somebody who is discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

ASH: For the most part, it’s kind of upbeat and generally positive, then we throw a curveball in every now and again.

MILES: We like to spice it up, play with different types of images and things like that.

We take a lot of inspiration from indie and emo music, not just straight up pop-punk.

We like to keep things as different as we can, and just create something we can all like, and hopefully others like too.

We’re not trying to just do what everyone else has done.

TIM BELL (BASS): We’re into so many different kinds of styles, it just comes out.

Which bands/artists are you influenced by?

MILES: I think it’s pretty easy to say that between us, our main inspiration is The Story So Far.

We’ve all followed them since the start and they do play a big role in our writing process.

We just try and take as much inspiration from them as much as possible, because we’re massively inspired by them.

ASH: I must have listened to their entire discography about 300 times in a full cycle, it’s all I listen to! (laughs)

JOE: We have hardcore influences as well, we’re all big fans of Counterparts, and we all try and keep things as fresh as we possibly can.

MILES: Neal’s into more old school stuff like Angels & Airwaves and Blink-182, and me and Ash are quite keen on bands on the thrash wave of emo and pop-punk, such as Life Lessons.

What’s your approach to songwriting?

ASH: Usually, it’s Miles who will come up with a riff, because he’s a guitarist as well, and he’s got a setup at his house where he can record and jam stuff along.

Nine times out of ten, he will send us an idea he’s had for a riff and then it will build from there.

We’ll add some melodies to it and then take it into a full band practice and just build on it that way.

Then again, sometimes Miles will come around to my house with his acoustic guitar and then we’ll just write a song acoustically.

What inspires your lyrics?

ASH: Whatever’s going on. I wrote the lyrics for most of our first EP, and that was just from what people were going through day by day, like getting over depression and stuff.

I’ve never really faced depression to be fair, but I felt like I could explore how people with it felt, and I can see how people can get there by being in really bad relationships and stuff, and it was just trying to emphasise with that kind of thing on the first EP.

MILES: Me and Ash work together writing lyrics, we’ll either write a section and then the other person will build on it and work together, or we’ll both be sat at the side of each other, coming up with different kinds of suggestions.

We like to question a lot of things, if you listen to our first EP, there’s a lot of questions in the choruses and stuff.

We try and make people think rather than telling them something straight, we like to make them think about what their interpretation of it would be.

ASH: There’s a lot of metaphors as well.

You kind of have to look into it to see what it’s about, and sometimes it doesn’t have to be one specific thing, it could mean a whole host of different things.

You’re from Nottingham. How does it feel to be back in your home town?

TIM: Awesome.

ASH: Definitely the best shows we play are in Nottingham, we always have a great time whenever we play here.

We’re not at the stage yet where we can go far and play to lots people, but we’re trying.

We played a sold out show at the Red Rooms recently, and that was incredible.

MILES: We couldn’t really ask for a better home town to be fair, because every time we play here, it seems to go off and people seem to enjoy it, so…

ASH: There’s a strong music scene in Nottingham, and it’s nice to play to people you can relate to on a geographical level.

MILES: Hopefully one day, we’ll go to somewhere like Dublin, it’ll be sold out, and we’ll be playing to around 5,000 people. That would be ace.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

MILES: The next thing will be to release our second EP, which we’re currently in the process of recording.

How is that going?

MILES: It’s going great, we’ve been in the studio for about two weeks now and we’ll be in there for another week or so.

We’re just kind of getting the vocals done at the moment, and we’re trying to make it the best we possibly can.

We’ve been working in Derby with a super cool guy, who’s been making some cool suggestions and it’s going really well.

We’re proud of what we’ve made so far and it can only get better from here.

ASH: It’s definitely a step forward from the first EP, we’re developing a more mature sound.

I’ve felt we have grown a lot over this year, in terms of our songwriting and what we generally come up with, so we thought a more mature sound would be better.

What’s the band’s long-term aim?

ASH: To just try and get our music out to many people as possible, that’s the main reason, innit?

If we can make a lot of money from it, that would be amazing, but for the most part, I just want to play to sold out venues, hear a crowd sing back our lyrics to us, and just generally have fun.

Anything else to add at all?

MILES: Keep an eye out for our new EP, and we have a two week tour in October and November with These Minds.

ASH: Don’t forget to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages, which are called Catch Fire UK.

There will be more updates and details on there.

SISTER SHOTGUN

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SISTER SHOTGUN (from l-r): Tim Chambers (bass), Adam Yeardley (drums), Chloe Ozwell (vocals), Rob Hayes (guitar), Niall Wills (guitar).

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Sister Shotgun are a five-piece hard rock outfit from the West Midlands.

Over the last few years, they have impressed many with their intense but melodic musical style and distinctive live sets, which hark back to an era where image was just as important as the music.

With the band going from strength to strength, and with a new EP coming out soon, I thought it was the perfect time to sit down and talk with them in depth about their journey so far and what the future holds.

How did the band initially get together?

NIALL WILLS (GUITAR): It started with a massive, massive house party.

One of the guys was there and he asked me if I wanted to start playing with them, and it all expanded from there really.

How did the name Sister Shotgun come about?

CHLOE OZWELL (VOCALS): That was me. I’d been sitting on that one for a while, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to use it as a stage name or if it was going to be the band name.

I’m a massive Billy Idol fan, and I borrowed the name from a line in the song ‘White Reading?’

You mean ‘White Wedding’?

CHLOE (laughs): Yeah, what am I saying? ‘White Wedding’!

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

TIM CHAMBERS (BASS): That’s a difficult one, because the way I’d like to put it, and I hope others agree, I would call ourselves rock, but not quite heavy metal.
Growing up, there was always that band that would help you cross over into the metal scene, and that’s where I see us.

We’ve got the ballads, we’ve got the hard rock sections.

The thing is, genres are thrown around everywhere nowadays, there is so many different genres and sub genres, but I would class ourselves as hard rock.

CHLOE: Yeah, we’re rather eccentric as well.

With our stage shows, we wear costumes as opposed to the majority of bands, who go on in just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

TIM: Whenever we get the opportunity, we try to do as much as we can.

Obviously, we wouldn’t use pyrotechnics in small venues, because small explosives and low ceilings don’t mix!

Which bands/artists are you inspired by?

CHLOE: We have a wide range of influences, because we all have such varied musical tastes.

I’m more influenced by bands like My Chemical Romance, Green Day, whereas Tim’s into more extreme stuff.

TIM: Yeah, I’ve got a wide taste, but I do like the kind of heavier stuff, like Black Dahlia Murder, Faceless.

I do also like the more groovier stuff though, like Tesseract.

I only joined Sister Shotgun quite recently, so I’ve not really had the input the other guys have had yet.

I’m also in a band called Sentinel UK, which has a much heavier sound, but we’re a bit up and down at the moment.

CHLOE: Since Tim’s joined, he’s made us a lot better at arranging our songs.

We decided recently to reintroduce ‘Dirty Mind’ into our live set, and Tim had a massive hand in putting that back together with us, he’s really got a skill for it.

TIM: I enjoy more arranging, because if someone comes up with an idea, I’ll go and suggest to them “Why don’t we try this as well?”, and if that doesn’t work, we just scrap it.

I think it’s good to explore different ways of doing stuff, because you never know, it may work better than the initial idea.

You have an EP out before the end of this year, don’t you?

CHLOE: We will have an EP out, we’re not 100% sure when though yet, but we’re hoping it’ll be out by the end of this year.

We do have a name for it, we’ve got the artwork out already, and it’s being produced by Romesh Dodangoda at Long Wave Studios in Cardiff.

Romesh is amazing, he’s worked with bands liked Kids in Glass Houses…

TIM: Funeral For A Friend.

NIALL: Bullet For My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon as well.

CHLOE: He has been fantastic to work with, and from what we’ve heard so far, it sounds huge.

I’m so excited!

NIALL: It has a very big sound to it, and it’s something you would expect from someone like Romesh.

CHLOE: Loads of vocal harmonies and backing vocals! (laughs)

What’s the band’s approach to songwriting?

NIALL: Basically, I spend ages messing around on my guitar, pretty much.

Sometimes, I’ll figure out different ways, but for me, it always starts with a riff, then maybe a chorus, then I’ll always leave space for what Chloe could do, then Rob will show me some weird music he wants to fit in the middle.

We just wing it really.

CHLOE: I feel it’s a really collaborative experience.

The guys will always start it off with the guitars, we’ll always have a riff, then Rob will work on the lead parts, we’ll then send it off to Adam, who’ll demo his drum parts, Tim will do some stuff on the bass.

I don’t usually touch the song until it’s pretty much finished, then I’ll add some lyrics to it and play around with the vocal melodies.

NIALL: Riff, structure, layer, layer, layer!

What inspires your lyrics?

CHLOE: I’m really big on the way Alice Cooper writes, he’s such an amazing songwriter, but it’s all fictional, I really don’t like writing from personal experiences, so depending on how I’m feeling at a certain point, I’ll figure out a fictional story in my head.

I mean, this whole EP we’re doing at the moment, there’s a running theme to it of death.

Will it be a concept EP then?

CHLOE: I would like to think that each track on the EP are little individual concept songs.

I’d love in the future to write a full concept album, but at the moment, I’m taking little snippets and making little stories, so you can get small flashes all through the EP, but yeah, the EP has a running theme of death, dealing with the death of an old personality, killers around you, killers in the government, there’s a lot of stuff going on.

How is it playing live?

CHLOE: It’s an experience, every gig is different in some way.

NIALL: We’ve been through several line-ups over the years, it’s been a case of restarting and getting in people who can really gel.

With the current line-up, we’ve really started to nail our live sets down, and we love the live circuit more than anything.

CHLOE: We do, yeah, and we’re making things bigger and better.

Recently, we played Fort Fest and we had a few girls on with us fire-breathing, so we’re looking to get more into pyrotechnics, when we can.

Every gig we play, it’s a learning curve, and we’re always looking at ways in which to expand and improve.

NIALL: Just little bits here and there, we don’t plan it, and at the end of the day, we just get on stage and have as much fun as we can, try and make a show of it, break our necks on stage, and come back with the biggest hangover we’ve ever felt! (laughs)

CHLOE: After all the recent gigs and the headbanging we’ve been doing, my neck is now about the size of a tree trunk.

What have you got lined up in the near future?

CHLOE: At the moment, we’re just fully focused on the EP and getting that out.

We’ve still got PR to contact, so there will be a PR campaign, we’ve got a few videos in the works, so we’ll be releasing them soon, and try and get the EP out by the end of this year.

NIALL: We’re currently talking to our manager about the possibility of doing some small tours, hopefully, something will come out of that.

What’s the band’s long-term aim?

CHLOE: I would love us to headline a big festival, preferably Download, because they’ve never had a female fronted headliner ever.

I’d love to put on the big show we dream of doing, with lots of props, pyrotechnics and great music.

NIALL: Every British rocker’s dream is to headline Download.

Anything else to say at all?

NIALL: Our EP will be out soon, so buy it when it comes out!

TIM: We’ll also be getting some videos and merchandise out soon as well, so look out for that.