LIBERTY LIES (from l-r): Adam Howell (bass), Adam Stevens (drums), Shaun Richards (lead vocals), Liam Billings (guitar), Josh Pritchett (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Liberty Lies are an alternative rock band from the Black Country.
They have suffered a few setbacks over the years, but they have always carried on undeterred, and now all their hard work seems to be paying off, with them starting to get the acclaim and recognition that they richly deserve.
Having played with groups such as Shinedown and Halestorm and played a well-received set at Fort Fest this year, the five-piece are one of the best unsigned rock acts around.
I caught up with them before their set at the Macmillan Fest in Nottingham.
How did the band get together?
ADAM STEVENS (DRUMS): Me, Shaun and Josh went to school together and we started in 2008.
We did a few tours, released an EP, then Liam joined us in…when was it?…around 2012, 2013?
LIAM BILLINGS (GUITAR): It was around the time Reflections came out, so yeah, it probably would have been early 2013.
How did the name Liberty Lies come about?
ADAM: Yeah, there’s an interesting story as to how we got that name.
SHAUN RICHARDS (LEAD VOCALS): The name’s political, but we’re not! (The band all laugh)
ADAM: We started off pretty much as a hard rock band, so we kind of went initially with Liberty something, then we added ‘Lies’ to it because it sounded good and it fitted well.
To anybody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?
ADAM: We class ourselves as alternative rock, however, a lot of people have recently come up to us and said we’re more metal.
We’re not massively into metal, but if that’s what people hear us as…
We would say personally that we’re a mix of Coheed and Cambria, Biffy Clyro, letlive. and Rage Against The Machine, that’s the sound we’re after.
You’ve already listed some of the bands you have been influenced by. Any others?
LIAM: Loads, man.
SHAUN: Like we just said, Coheed and Cambria, letlive. and Biffy Clyro are big influences for us.
JOSH PRITCHETT (GUITAR): Queens of the Stone Age as well, Fair To Midland.
SHAUN: Not many may have heard of Fair To Midland, but I challenge anybody to listen to them, and then come back and tell us how good they were.
What’s the band’s approach to songwriting?
ADAM: Generally, we write together. We all get in the rehearsal room, put a structure together, normally with a riff, then get down the basis of the song musically.
We will then sit together and write some lyrics.
JOSH: We have a few different techniques we use, so with one song, someone may come in with an idea for a riff or lyric, and we may build something around that.
With other songs, it may be rather spontaneous, we may all work together and do some jamming.
ADAM: We’ll typically jam a riff for a long time, then get the best bits and try and make something from that.
SHAUN: We have a new single coming out on the 14th October called Are You Listening? and that was literally us writing for the EP we’re doing at the moment, but nothing was happening.
Liam was playing around on his guitar, trying to come up with something, and then he came up with a riff on the spot.
We thought “That’s frustration”, so we started to build an idea around frustration, and what we’re most frustrated with now is the music industry.
LIAM: There’s quite a lot of spontaneity in our writing, there’s no sort of steadfast method, we just sit there, bash it out and bang our heads against the wall if we have to! (laughs)
Something then comes out of it and everyone’s happy.
What inspires the band’s lyrics?
ADAM: We’ve done a few different things. A few times, we’ve written stories, as opposed to specific things about us, and we’ve written about people we know.
Our last EP Fracture was quite focused on religion and atheism, and we do write a lot about our frustration at not being signed, the direction of the music industry, stuff like that.
JOSH: I think with our forthcoming single, we talk about how it always seems to be the cream that gets to the top, and how that works for a lot of people in the industry.
ADAM: It’s not necessarily a personal twist, because there are a lot of talented bands, talented artists that never see the light of day.
SHAUN: Then there are bands who sound exactly like other bands who seem to do well,
but at the end of the day, people just like what they like, I suppose.
JOSH: Going back to Fair To Midland, they were a great band, but not many people have actually heard of them, which is a real shame.
Your last EP Fracture, which you talked about earlier, came out last year. How did it go for you all?
JOSH: We were really happy with the final product that we had, but it’s been very difficult to get out there.
We did a feature in the German version of Metal Hammer magazine, but we didn’t get the exposure from that that we would have liked.
It was twelve months of our lives working on it which just disappeared, so ever since, we’ve been trying to be more business minded.
SHAUN: We’ve been working with Prescription PR to promote our new single, they’ve worked with artists such as Paul Weller and Lonely the Brave.
ADAM: It would be ironic if our new single was the one that helped break us through.
How is it playing live?
SHAUN: We love it, and it’s one of the main reasons we keep going, to be fair.
It’s great going around the country, playing to loads of different crowds, and doing it with your best friends.
We just love the atmosphere and energy of it all.
ADAM: To be fair, we travel for hours, don’t we? We typically play a half-hour set, so if we don’t put everything into it, it’s just a waste of time really.
What’s your opinion of the current state of the British music industry?
ADAM: Over the last couple of years, it has got better, there seems to be more decent bands coming through now.
I think for years, the problem was that you had to look like a Topman model to succeed in the music industry.
At the end of the day, we think we’re good at what we do, and if you write good music, then that should be what matters.
LIAM: It’s difficult to meet the criteria of the music industry, but at the same time, to hold on to your integrity.
You’ve already achieved a lot. Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t yet?
SHAUN: Play Download.
ADAM: Earn some money! (The band all laugh)
JOSH: I think we haven’t reached the level of consistency that we would like to yet.
We’ve yet to play a big tour, but there’s been nearly ten years of hard work that’s gone on behind the scenes, so it might take us another two, three years to achieve that.
Also, we would like to do a full album that we are all satisfied with, then maybe another big tour after that.
What have you got lined up in the near future?
ADAM: We’re going on tour with Soil, Saliva and Sons of Texas in November, so that should keep us busy.
Like we said earlier, our new single comes out on the 14th October, and then around the New Year, we’re going to be doing some other stuff.
SHAUN: Hopefully, we’ll be completing our EP, getting that out and doing some shows to promote it.
ADAM: Yeah, we’re excited, and we’re hopeful that next year will be a good one for us.
THE NEW SINGLE FROM LIBERTY LIES, “ARE YOU LISTENING?” WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE OR DOWNLOAD ON THE 14TH OCTOBER.