SEASONAL PREPARE TO ‘BLOOM’ FOR THEIR DEBUT EP

Seasonal band photo

Surrey pop-rock newcomers Seasonal are pleased to announce their debut five-track EP ‘Bloom’, set for self-release this Friday. With the title chosen to represent the new beginning for the quartet, vocalist/bassist Matt Truseler gives an insight into it’s content: “Lyrically, we take a very honest approach. The songs on this EP are all about personal experiences from our lives and feelings. We wanted to avoid having songs with generic lyrics that although anyone could relate to, do not have a personal connection to us: a balance between, what is relatable for the listener, without losing the meaning of each track for us.”

The band are now streaming lead single ‘Certainty’, with Truseler saying: “The song is about the balance in a relationship where compromise may no longer be an option, but you keep going back for more; the realisation that it isn’t really working and having to be the person to bring up the flaws and break it off. It’s a track that shows a lot of the dynamic in our sound, and the first on the EP, so works well as a stepping off point.”

With a line-up completed by guitarists Max O’Neill and Alex Coombes and drummer Alex Tickner, Seasonal formed as a trio last year, later recruiting Alex on the strength of demos. With the line-up complete, they pushed on with writing more material, but agreed that “something was not quite selling us“.
Continuing to experiment, a change of tuning and the writing of debut track ‘Sevens’
made for a winning combo and from this process, their moniker was plucked:
The name of the band really just came from the change in the attitude and way we approached the project, like a change in the seasons,” summaries Truseler.
Once happy with their repertoire, nine months had passed and the band headed into the studio with the intention of recording just one track with Oz Craggs at Hidden Track in Folkestone. However, upon hearing the first mix, they were inspired to dive in, going on to lay down all of the tracks that became ‘Bloom’. “Oz is really easy to work with and was completely on the same page about how we wanted to sound and the effort he puts in to making that happen is awesome. We really took our time writing this record and we couldn’t be happier with how it came out“, the band enthuse.
The result is an emotionally weathered offering of heartfelt pop rock, reminiscent of Jimmy Eat World, Deaf Havana and Taking Back Sunday. Noting influences from both the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, they feel the acts they adore have shaped their sound, but that they offer something different: “Surrey has a really diverse scene with some amazingly talented bands of many different genres. But we don’t feel that many bands around here, or the UK, are doing the same thing as us at the moment; whether they are a bit more low-fi or balls out pop punk. We think our sound can appeal to fans of many different genres, but we are definitely within a scene still, just looking to bring something a bit different.”
Now with their first show under their belts, a date supporting Seaway in London,
the band are looking to blossom on the road: “It was a great reintroduction to playing live music for all of us, and definitely lit a fire. We are looking forward to getting out and playing these songs to as many people as possible.”
Seasonal Cover
‘BLOOM’, THE DEBUT EP FROM SEASONAL, WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 19.
YOU CAN STREAM THE LEAD SINGLE ‘CERTAINTY’ NOW AT https://soundcloud.com/user-308753604/certainty-1
MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:
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DIVENIRE

Divenire band photo

DIVENIRE (from l-r): Charlie Carter (drums), Dom Morgan (vocals/rhythm guitar), Josh Holmes (lead guitar), Steve James (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Divenire, an indie/alternative rock four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent may only have formed last autumn, but already, they have attracted much interest on their local music scene.

Having all been friends since school, the quartet have a great rapport between them, which is clearly evident in both their big sounding music and live performances.

It’s still relatively early days for them, but with frontman Dom Morgan having been an acclaimed singer-songwriter, and lead guitarist Josh Holmes having previously played bass for fellow Potteries outfit Arcadia, they have talent and ambition in abundance.

After playing at the Lymelight festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme, I chatted to them about what lies ahead.

How did the band get together initially?

DOM MORGAN (vocals/rhythm guitar): It’s a long story, but we’ve been friends for a long time, since high school, which is about eight years now.

We formed as a band for a school concert, I think that was in 2011, but then we parted ways and did our own different things over the years, and then it’s only been recently, it will be a year this September, that we actually got together as Divenire.

Where did the name Divenire originate from?

DOM: That’s a funny story, actually. We were listening to iTunes on a shuffle playlist, and we’d just come back from getting a takeaway…

CHARLIE CARTER (drums): Yeah, it is a very funny story. Like Dom’s said, we were listening to iTunes and we were also trying to come up with a name for the band, so we put the playlist on shuffle to see if we could get any ideas.

A song came on, and we saw that the title of it was ‘Divenire’. It was basically an old Italian orchestral piece, I think it had been used on an advert, and I said to the others that it would be a good name to use. We found out later that the name was actually Italian for “to become”.

In your own words, how would you describe your sound?

CHARLIE: I don’t think we really have a set sound at the moment.

DOM: I think the best way to describe it would be indie/alternative rock, basically.

CHARLIE: We tend to write big songs, songs with a big feel to them.

DOM: Yeah. It doesn’t necessarily matter too much about how the sound is, as long as we enjoy playing the songs that we write, like, there’s some songs of ours that are rather soft and mellow, and others that are dead upbeat, which have kind of a pop-punk vibe to them, like ‘Caravan’ and our new song.

We’ve only had a few months to mould our sound. Maybe in a few more months, it might change, but at the moment, we’re quite happy with what we are writing and how it is sounding, so we’ll see how it goes.

Which bands/artists serve as inspiration for you?

CHARLIE: I would like to think lyrically, we are inspired by Biffy Clyro.

DOM: Also, to make big sounding songs, we take inspiration from Catfish and the Bottlemen, because they tend to play big, stadium arena-like songs. Yeah, we kind of have that vibe to us, but we all have different musical tastes, like I’m heavily influenced by, and I’m sure Charlie is as well, Biffy Clyro, Stephen idolises Ed Sheeran…

STEVE JAMES (bass): I’m in love with him.

DOM (laughs): Yeah. What about you, Charlie?

CHARLIE: I don’t know where my influences come from. I like writing the songs with us. I get influenced when I get motivated, when I hear you guys play chords, and I will just say: “I can hear something, I want to put that to it.” Just hearing you guys play something and being able to build it up from that…

DOM: So you’re saying you’re influenced by Divenire. (laughs) What about you, Josh?

JOSH HOLMES (lead guitar): I have no idea.

DOM: Have you ever heard of a band called The Hunna? We supported them at The Sugarmill in Hanley towards the end of last year, and some of their songs are quite similar to what we’re trying to do, especially our new song.

We wouldn’t class ourselves as being in the same genre as them, it’s just a coincidence that our new song sounds like The Hunna, well, it doesn’t sound like them, but it has a similar vibe.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

STEVE: Everyone grabs an instrument, sees what they can come up with, and if we like it, we’ll go back and see what bits we can make a little bit better, tighten it up, see if we can add some more dynamic in certain places.

Most of the time, when we first start though, it’s just a case of hit the drums, play a few riffs, stuff like that.

JOSH: We were jamming one time, and me and Charlie were, I was playing the first two chords of an intro, then Charlie started playing, and then, Dom, you were out getting something, weren’t you?

DOM: Yeah, I was out.

JOSH: By the time Dom came back, we’d got this riff going, we showed it to him, and…

DOM: Yeah, like Charlie was saying earlier, when you hear your bandmates playing, you usually go: “I can hear something there“, so as soon as Josh and Charlie started playing the intro, I got my guitar and I was like: “I’m going to play in a different tune, because I know exactly what to do“.

I tuned the guitar and started playing the two chords. It was exactly the same as what we had got, but it worked with Josh’s harmony, and we wrote ‘Caravan’ there and then, didn’t we?

With the lyrics, sometimes I will take the song away, record it onto my phone and then I will sit there and listen to it, coming up with lyrics as I’m listening back to the tune. Sometimes, Charlie will help.

CHARLIE: Well, he’ll write the lyrics, show them to me, and I’ll then do a bit of editing.

DOM: Yeah, Charlie’s the editor. He’ll sometimes change the words, they’ll still mean the same, but with better pronouncation.

CHARLIE: To better go with the way he sings, things like that.

DOM: We’ll all help each other. If Steve wants to have a bass riff in a song, we’ll ask him to make something up and then we’ll see. If he’s struggling, then we’ll help him. The same goes for Josh, and if I’m struggling to find chords, Josh will show me where his chords are, so I will know what to do, and that’s how we will basically write our songs.

CHARLIE: It’s just a big team effort.

How well do you think the reaction has been to your music up to now?

JOSH: It’s actually been better than we expected. We’re now getting lots of people from different countries messaging us on social media.

STEVE: It’s cool to see people from places like Russia and Mexico liking our music.

JOSH: We got a message the other day from a Belgian man who said he liked us and had even bought some of our songs online.

DOM: So you know, it’s really nice to see that. Also with the local scene, it’s nice to, because we’re a relatively new band, we try and do as many gigs as we can to try and build up a fan base.

We’ve gigged a lot with Bonsai, and because they’re nice lads, when we play with them, we get a big crowd. We don’t try to nick their fans, but if they like Bonsai’s music and they like us as well, then that’s a bonus, isn’t it?

So gigging locally, we’re trying to get as many people as we can to like our songs and come down and see us.

CHARLIE: We’re headlining The Sugarmill in June, so we want to get some fresh material for that, as people are only coming to see us, and most of them have seen us before.

You were talking about your local music just then. What is your current opinion of it?

DOM: To be fair, when we first started looking at the local music scene, we were around thirteen, fifteen, it was a lot different to what it is now. Back then, it was very heavy metal oriented.

Literally, you would go and see a band that you friends were playing in, and at the end, it would be like: “See you next week!” But now, the scene’s huge. There are so many bands in Stoke that are indie rock, alternative, you know, that sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who’s playing, where they’re playing, what’s going on with them.

I think that’s why the Lymelight festival is good, in that they have brought all the local acts together, it’s really nice.

How, for the band, is the experience of playing live?

CHARLIE: It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. It’s amazing and it’s great to see a crowd get involved. When that happens, the feeling you get is of amazement.

JOSH: When we last played at The Sugarmill, we had people climbing up on stage with us.

DOM: Yeah, we had a stage invasion. Playing live, for me, I can get into the zone, close my eyes and go all out, moving around the stage and stuff. I am really happy to play on a stage with my best mates, especially when the chemistry between us all is just spot on. That’s why we’re in a band.

Aside from headlining The Sugarmill in June, what does the band have planned for the near future?

DOM: A song release and hopefully a music video to go with that. We’re also playing an acoustic festival in The Roebuck in Leek.

JOSH: Yeah, there’s a stage there at the back, and it gets so busy.

DOM: It’s in the summertime, and it’s also a beer festival.

JOSH: It’s good fun.

DOM: We’re good friends with The Roebuck’s landlord, so we’ll get some drinks down us and it should be a good time. Other than that gig wise, we’re not playing anywhere locally for a while once the headliner is out of the way.

CHARLIE: We want a break from gigging, so we can do more songwriting.

DOM: I think since last September, we have done a good ten to fifteen gigs, and that’s been in the last seven, eight months. Before Divenire, I was a solo singer-songwriter, and I would often do that amount of gigs in an entire year.

Of course we want to do more gigs, but at the moment, we need to take some time out from doing that.

Will you be planning on bringing an EP or album out at all?

JOSH: No, not at the moment. We’re just going to focus on writing a load of music and releasing them individually. We were going to do an EP, but we feel that it would be forced.

DOM: We want to make ourselves more established before we do anything like that.

CHARLIE: We need to find our sound more as well.

DOM: Yeah, and because our fan base is rather small at the moment, we do have dedicated fans who come to our gigs, which is brilliant, but we’d like to have an EP that would be worth actually getting out and selling to loads of people.

At the moment, we just need to focus on writing some really good songs and releasing them as singles, but when we get to do something like a mini tour and reach that threshold of getting great crowds, that’s when we’ll be releasing an EP.

MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/DivenireUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/DIVENIREUK

AND DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THEIR MUSIC ON SPOTIFY, iTunes, SOUNDCLOUD, DEEZER AND MORE.

 

 

 

 

 

IST IST

ist ist video photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Ist Ist are a post-punk three-piece from Manchester, comprising of vocalist/guitarist Adam Houghton, bassist Andy Keating and drummer Joel Kay.

Having all had much experience of playing their local music scene, the trio joined forces in 2015 and since then, they have generated quite a buzz in the northwest city with their explosive live performances and a sound that has been compared to legendary fellow Mancunian post-punk outfit Joy Division, and described by Louder Than War as “majestic, haunting and hypnotic.”

Now, the band are eager to spread their wings and hopefully make the same impact on audiences in other places across the country.

I spoke to Andy recently, and this is what he had to say:

How did the band get together initially?

Me and Adam have been playing in bands for nearly ten years. We’d never played with Joel before, but we knew him well from other bands on the circuit.

It just came together towards the end of 2015; we got in a rehearsal room to see what would happen and we went from there.

How did the name Ist Ist come about?

It’s not as interesting as you might think. Maybe you don’t think it’s interesting at all. We were going to call the band Das Ist, but it sounded too industrial, so we went for Ist Ist. It’s probably the worst band name ever, but we’re too long in the tooth to change it.

In your own words, how would you describe your sound?

It’s always difficult describing your own sound, because every band thinks they’re unique. It’s intense, a little bit melancholic, but there’s some strangely uplifting songs as well. We’d rather leave it up to listeners to decide what we sound like.

What are the band’s musical influences?

There’s so many in there. Joy Division, Interpol, Gang of Four, Suuns. We get the Joy Division comparisons a lot and we understand why, but I don’t think we’re wedded to any sound in particular. We’re the first Ist Ist, not the next x, y or z. Every band says that, but most of the time, they’re wrong.

The band’s new single ‘Strangers’ was released recently. How well do you think it has been received so far?

‘Strangers’ has been the best received single we’ve put out to date, maybe that’s because we keep growing as a band, so each time we release something, we have more listeners. We’ve also worked a lot harder on PR and getting it out there this time.

It’s probably our most listener-friendly single as well. I’m not convinced it’s our strongest song or the most Ist Ist song, but it’s gone down well. It’s good when we play it live and people in the crowd are singing the chorus back to you.

Will the single lead to an EP or album in the near future at all?

We were planning on releasing an album towards the end of the year, but that’s on ice for the time being. We could put an album of ten very strong songs together, but it’s whether those ten songs work together or compliment each other.

The art of an album is becoming extinct. Streaming sites are to blame for that because people just want to download their favourite songs and these sites give you the “most popular” songs, so instantly, people gravitate towards them and just listen to those ones. I think you should put an album on and listen to it from cover to cover and not for it to just be a hit collection.

We have a little bit of work to do to put the right songs together, but we’ll get there.

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

Live has always been where it’s at for us. We tend to use the same sound tech, and we have someone who runs our own light show, so there’s a consistent quality in the live shows. We’re loud and urgent, but there’s still enough melody and enough hooks in the songs.

If you want to understand Ist Ist, then the live show is where you should go. That’s not to diminish our recordings, because they’re solid and very well produced, especially the last two, but live music should always be more exciting than what’s on record.

What has the band got lined up for the rest of the year then?

We’re going to play more out-of-town shows. We’ve not got a lot to prove by playing smaller venues in Manchester. As far as we’re concerned, we’ve conquered those. We’re going to take it on the road and come back to Manchester in the autumn, play some bigger shows, and try to make the step up. Until you attempt to make that jump and play to larger audiences, you’ll never know what your limit is.

We have some festival appearances confirmed, but they’ve not been made public yet, so we can’t announce them until a later date. It’s exciting though, and we’re taking it up a level.

 

 

 

 

INDIGO

Indigo band photo

INDIGO (from l-r): Elliot Wilcox (vocals/guitar), Jim Windsor (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Stoke-on-Trent alternative rock outfit Indigo may only be a two-piece, but their heavy blues rock sound, containing gritty guitar riffery, rapid drum beats and husky vocals, suggests that they can handle with ease what a lot of other bands would need another two or three members to accomplish.

Their debut single ‘Devil’s Treasure’ and live performances have both enjoyed universal acclaim, and it seems that it will only be a matter of time before the duo’s musical value soars to greater heights.

After playing a superb set at the Lymelight Festival in Newcastle-under-Lyme over the May Bank Holiday weekend, I chatted to them about their journey so far, and what the future holds for them.

How did the band get together initially?

ELLIOT WILCOX (vocals/guitar): Well, originally, we were at school, in a band called The Fortunas, and then a few years ago, me and Jim sort of got the thirst back for it.

JIM WINDSOR (drums): We missed it, didn’t we?

ELLIOT: We did miss it, so then we came back, just as a two-piece. We were going to have a bassist, but we didn’t need one in the end, as we got it sounding how we wanted to.

How did the name Indigo come about?

ELLIOT: We’ve actually got a song called ‘Indigo’, which I’ve just realised we missed off the set list tonight, so yeah, we have a song called ‘Indigo’, and we were both racking our brains trying to come up with a name for the band.

JIM: We wanted something one worded.

ELLIOT: Then, we said that we both liked the name Indigo, so we just decided to call ourselves that, and that was it.

In your own words, how would you describe your sound?

ELLIOT: Well, I don’t know how we would describe it, as shite, probably. I’m joking! However, other people have described it as garage blues rock, something like that.

JIM: We started off more bluesy, and we’ve gradually got more heavier as the sound has got bigger, so I would say now, it was more rockier.

ELLIOT: Yeah, I would say that as well.

What would you say were the band’s musical influences?

ELLIOT: Mutually, we like bands such as Band of Skulls…

JIM: Black Keys.

ELLIOT: Yeah, Black Keys, The Beatles, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, who are brilliant, as well as people like Robbie Williams, all the Motown stuff, The Rat Pack…

JIM: We have quite an eclectic range of influences.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ELLIOT: Erm…I suppose it differs every time. Sometimes, I might come to…

JIM: You’re the main songwriter, aren’t you?

ELLIOT: Yeah, it usually starts off with a song that I might be writing, it may be acoustic, and then I will bring it to practice and we’ll see if we can get the sound right, because I think one thing with this band is that we have to work quite hard at getting the sound we want.

JIM: What with only one guitar.

ELLIOT: One guitar and drums, so we work quite hard on the sound. If it doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t make it, but yeah, we sort of write acoustically and then we’ll see how we can fit it in with the band’s sound.

The band are a part of the Stoke-on-Trent music scene. What is your current opinion of it?

JIM: I think it’s growing. There’s a lot of talent around here, and it deserves to be recognised a lot more than it does, but I think the guys behind the scenes are doing a great job showcasing the city’s music scene a lot more, and it is growing rapidly.

ELLIOT: I’d say that currently, the music scene around here is the best it has ever been since we started playing around ten years ago, whenever it was. We’ve got people like Lee Barber, who are so committed and work their fingers to the bone, so yeah, it is pretty strong at the moment.

How well do you think your music has been received up to now?

ELLIOT: I think we’ve had nothing but good reactions.

JIM: And it’s getting better as well. People seem to get us more now we’ve been around for a bit, because when we started, there wasn’t really anything like us around here.

ELLIOT: I feel we’ve improved as a band, and I think people have noticed that. They’ll come and watch us and say that we’re getting better and better each time.

JIM: The songs are progressing as well.

ELLIOT: Yeah, the songs are getting better, so I think people are reacting well to it.

You’ve just played a set here at the Lymelight Festival. How, for the band, is the experience of playing live?

JIM: It’s a buzz, isn’t it?

ELLIOT: It’s just a buzz, yeah. It’s like, we enjoy ourselves on stage and just go for it. It’s different when you’re playing in front of people, you can feel the adernaline pumping. I mean, a lot of the time after playing, I will just sit backstage on my own and chill out, because you’re buzzing, which is good whether you’re playing in front of two or 200 people.

JIM: It’s a great feeling knowing that people are coming to watch you play, it doesn’t matter whether the crowd is large or small.

ELLIOT: And when they’re enjoying it, like they were earlier, it’s even better.

What has the band got planned for the near future then?

ELLIOT: Short-term, we’ve got our next single coming out in June, I think it will be on the 17th, so that will be the next big thing for us. We’ve recorded another single to follow that later in the year, and then we’ll see what happens with them two, and where we can go from there.

What is your long-term aim?

JIM: We want to progress out of this area, at least.

ELLIOT: Yeah, I think we need to get out of the area, to be honest. As long as we keep enjoying what we’re doing, writing good music and stuff like that, I’m sure it will happen and eventually, we will get there.

We’ve had some really positive meetings recently with people from London and Manchester, so that’s been good. Hopefully, something will come out of them, but as long as we keep on creating good music and enjoying ourselves, we’ll see where the future takes us.

Indigo band logo

FOR MORE INFO ON INDIGO, CHECK OUT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/Indigostoke

TWITTER: twitter.com/Indigobandstoke

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/Indigostoke

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/Indigostoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAMPSHIRE ROCKERS THE BLACK BULLETS UNVEIL NEW VIDEO SINGLE ‘MOCKINGBIRD’

The Black Bullets band photo

Devil’s children are hard to find. Music walks amongst the mist, hearing
the damned and demonic, where only the living fall. In the night, walk the
strangers, an admission of nocturnal salvation.”

The Black Bullets, described as “no holds barred, uncompromising, larger
than life, hydrogen toxic gypsy punk n rollers“, are five bastard children from hell, locked together to produce the filthiest rock ‘n’ roll to penetrate human ears.

In a world festooned with glossed-up half-baked celebrities and pretenders, The Black Bullets are the real deal; they live, breathe, and consume rock ‘n’ roll 24 hours a day.  Raising hell ever since 2012, the Hampshire five-some have suffered high and lows. When their original singer went off to LA to marry a rock star, leaving the band stranded with a slew of shows to honour, the rock crew battled through and enlisted new recruit, Billy T on vocals, who has more than filled the void ever since.

Like a hurricane, with every hurdle thrown in their path, the Basingstoke outfit forge through and keep on moving forward. To date, the band have released a glut of EPs to much underground acclaim, most notably 2013’s ‘Bullet Through Your Heart’, 2015’s ‘Bulletproof’ and last year’s ‘Bombshell’ EP. The hellraisers have also toured throughout Europe, sharing stages with The Anti Nowhere League, UK Subs, Vibrators, Warrior Soul, The Main Grains, and more recently, Love / Hate, Lita Ford, LA Guns, and Michael Monroe.

The Black Bullets are currently taking their party to Europe and they attack the UK this Spring and Summer with further sweat-drenched shows and festival slots. For a full list of live dates, head on over to https://www.facebook.com/TheBlackBulletsUK/

Loaded with a blistering new track and video, it’s evident that there’s just nothing stopping this band from spreading their seed to the masses.

 

 

ALTER EDEN

Alter Eden band photo

ALTER EDEN (from l-r): Alex Coleman (guitar), Aled Roberts (bass), Nick Pilgrim (vocals), Simon Whitney (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Alter Eden are an alternative rock/metal four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent.

Two years ago, the band burst onto the scene with their well-received debut ‘Fearless’, which showcased a sound that was heavy, fast-paced and spanned the sub-genres of metal.

Earlier this year, they returned with their second offering ‘Tigers and Lambs’, which saw them make a real step up, both musically and lyrically.

The Potteries quartet have also built up a loyal and ever expanding following, with their electric live shows and active presence on social media.

Before they played a set at the Your City festival in their home city over the Easter weekend, I chatted with them in-depth about all this and more.

How did the band get together initially?

NICK PILGRIM (vocals): That’s a long story, so we’ll give you the abridged version. Me and Alex, years ago, got drunk in a field, and we decided we wanted to do a musical project together.

First, we did it as a little side project, where we also did a small EP, but then, we left it for a couple of years while we did other projects.

A few years later, we decided to give it another go when our other bands had dissolved. We tracked down Simon, and we took it from there.

How did the name Alter Eden come about?

ALEX COLEMAN (guitar): The name came to me in a dream once. I woke up from it, and the only thing I could literally remember was the name Alter Eden. I knew it meant something, but I wasn’t quite sure what. I then put it as my MSN Messenger screen name… (The rest of the band laugh)…because obviously, that’s what you do with really important things.

In my mind, it was sort of unofficial copyright, so nobody else could steal it from me. (The rest of the band laugh) That was in 2008, and I kept hold of the name for quite a few years, until MSN stopped being cool.

When we were looking for a name for mine and Nick’s musical project, and we were drunk in a field, I brought up the name and he said: “Yeah, that sounds great! We’ll go with that.”

In your own words, how would you describe your sound?

NICK: I think our sound is punk rock with more of an accessible edge to it. We kind of toe that line between heavy and sort of, I don’t really like the word ‘progressive’, but I guess, I’m not sure what the word is for it, but it’s something that has accessible hooks and looks at finding ways of imparting that sound that makes it a bit more catchy.

ALED ROBERTS (bass): It’s like the heaviest old rock band, mixed with the lightest old metal band.

ALEX: I like to think of it as if you are eating something, and instead of putting mayonnaise on it, you put salad cream on it. Now, it isn’t what you are expecting, but the combination works rather well. If you just give it a go, you find you might like it.

NICK: There you go, vegetarian progressive grindcore!

What are the band’s musical influences?

NICK: There’s a couple of big ones, Black Peaks, Marmozets, Muse, older bands such as Queen, also, Deftones, a band called Reuben, they’re really, really good, by the way. I think that’s pretty much covered it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

NICK: Arguments! (All laugh)

ALEX: It can be very formulaic at times, because we spend a lot of time fixating, not just on one major part, but all of these intertwining bits that we do together.

We find that that is probably the hardest part to write. We can put together a really good sounding verse, a really good sounding chorus, but it’s the little links in between that’s the hardest, and we’ll spend weeks chopping and changing things around.

For example, one minute, we’ll be really happy with something, the next, when we’ve pre-recorded it, we’ll scratch our heads, going: “This isn’t really working“, and sometimes, the subtlest thing we can do is by taking something out, but then, it’s that under the microscope approach.

NICK: We’re quite lucky in that all of us can play guitar to some extent, so we can all kind of put together ideas and concepts, and discuss them. That kind of works out as a good thing, in that we will never ever have a “that’ll do” approach to songwriting, there will always be something that we care about.

You’re here as part of the Your City festival. In what way do you think this is a good thing for Stoke-on-Trent, considering that the city is currently bidding to be UK City of Culture in 2021?

NICK: The Stoke-on-Trent music scene can be the most sporadic and the most unified scene in the whole of this country. I’ve personally seen people really trying to pull bands together into something similar to this and Oxjam, but so far, nobody’s been able to do it to the same extent as the Your City team have, and what I find amazing is that there finally seems to be some champions who are really unifying the local scene and pulling all the different bands from the city together. It’s not just one band from one genre, one from the other, it’s a real mix of genres.

Your City is a great way of saying to people that Stoke-on-Trent has an amazing music scene, personally, I think it’s the best in the Midlands, at least. If you think about it per capita, the amount of brilliant bands in Stoke is better and higher than anywhere else in the country.

ALEX: There’s plenty of good musicians, unsung heroes. Things like Your City, and obviously, The Honey Box, have exposed me to local bands that I didn’t even know were from around here.

In February, you released your sophomore EP ‘Tigers and Lambs’. How was the recording process?

NICK: We spent a long time working on ‘Tigers and Lambs’, a good two years actually. We found Mark Roberts, the EP’s producer, after searching on Twitter for him. We had heard the guy on BBC Radio 1, and we all went: “We really want this guy to produce our record“.

We then tracked him down, we did a number of tracks down south in Brighton, and we got him to do a few tracks with us as well.

It was absolutely amazing, because we threw everything into it, every ounce of ourselves, every resource we had, to try and make it the best record that we could possibly make.

SIMON WHITNEY (drums): It definitely came from a sort of personal space, I think, for all of us, like certain parts of the songs, I can remember, came from the frames of mind we were all in at that moment in time. There was a lot of frustration in there, a lot of pensive sort of things going on. It sounds a bit cliched, but it really accounts for it in this case. It definitely came out while we were recording, definitely.

How has the reaction been to the EP since its release?

NICK: Very good. We had some really good press from it, we had some good airplay as well, which was quite nice, but that bit is peripheral.

The most important thing for us was that people who have followed the band for a while really liked it. They came up and said to us afterwards that they really enjoyed listening to it, and that they had been sharing it online and talking about it to their friends, they really tried to support it as much as they could.

To be honest, more than anything, that’s the reason why we create music, and if they like it, then as far as we’re concerned, it’s a success.

ALEX: I think there’s been a really big jump, between sort of having people liking our music because we asked them or that they’ve known us previously, to people that have never met us finding the music, liking it, sharing it, and interacting with it.

We have no idea who these people are, so when the music is doing all the talking for you, then that for me is an indication that it is our own thing now, and it’s doing its own job.

SIMON: People have now definitely seen how much we have grown from the first EP to this one, and that’s kind of the biggest thing for me, because we know how much we have matured as a band, and that some of the people who have followed us for a while have seen that and pointed it out to us.

That’s the biggest achievement for me, the fact that we have managed to focus on that progression, more than anything.

ALED: I don’t know about you guys, I wasn’t around for the first EP, but when we did the release show for ‘Tigers and Lambs’, people were coming up just to buy it, because they had been waiting for it, and some were actually purchasing three at a time.

I don’t know what the reaction to the first one was like, but it was really good just to see people handing over their cash just to buy our EP.

How, for the band, is playing live and touring?

NICK: We make sure we put on the best possible live show that we can, because there is a big difference between listening to a record and seeing a band live.

A band that has a great recorded sound might not sound as good live, but we don’t want that, we want to put everything we can into our live performances, and if we’re not sweating like motherfuckers at the end of the set, then we haven’t done it properly.

SIMON: Unless the venue has really good air conditioning! (All laugh)

NICK: That would be amazing!

ALEX: Playing live is such a massive part now, easily 50% of being in a band, because we’ve got this sort of an idea that music isn’t really worth anything anymore, it doesn’t really sell, so now, 50% of your reputation and fan base relies on how well you perform live, because it isn’t enough any more to solely rely on your recorded stuff.

Therefore, performing live is now as important, if not maybe more, because there are bands that musically, I don’t think are that good, but live, they are stellar, and because of that, they stick in my head as being a good band, even though musically, I wouldn’t go and listen to them on the internet, per se, I would definitely go and watch them, and that’s where the revenue streams come in, so now, it is so important to be energetic and engaging.

NICK: We always make sure that we put in the same amount of effort with each show, so like, we’ve played big venues with large crowds, and then, we’ve also played really small shows, where there has been only around ten people watching us, but we have probably had a better time playing to those ten people, because you want to make god damn sure that they leave the venue wanting to buy our merchandise and come to our next show.

ALEX: We’ve done that, though. I remember one gig we did, we only played to, you could have counted the people that were there on two hands, but of those people, the majority of them then bought something, spoke to us, and signed up to things, so I’d rather impress eight out of ten people in a room, than have fifty people there and impress just three of them.

SIMON: Definitely.

Is there anything you’ve got lined up in the near future at all?

NICK: Yeah, we’ve got a run of dates shortly. One of the big things we are doing at the moment, compared to what other bands do, is that we have this idea that bands should be connected to their fans all the time, with everything that they do.

I do think that some bands do this anyway, but the way we’re trying to connect with our fans is by uploading content that they can enjoy. We create new videos every Monday and Thursday, and we’re quite lucky in that we know some filmmakers and sound engineers, so we spend a lot of time basically putting together, either it could be some new musical content or some new video content, to kind of pull people in and keep them up to date with what we’re doing, so it’s a lot of work, but that’s the big thing we’re doing at the moment, we’re finding something on which to grow our fan base, and a way in which to do it.

ALED: I’ve never seen a band put so much out, compared to what we do. The organic reach we’re getting now is crazy.

NICK: Yeah, I still get surprised when someone comes up to us, says: “I saw that video you did, where the mic stand fell on the drummer!“, and we go: “Oh okay, thank you!“. It is genuine surprise.

ALEX: I was playing football a few days ago, and as I was walking with my mates after the match had finished, one of them said to me, and he’s not really that musically minded, he said: “Mate, your band’s getting better and better!“, and I was like: “I didn’t even know you had watched any of our stuff.” He also said that one of our videos was funny, another one was even funnier, and I was taken aback by that.

SIMON: That’s kind of the big point for us, because we wanted to do a thing where, it’s not that we don’t take ourselves seriously, we wanted to keep ourselves grounded, and stay on the same wavelength as our fans, so a lot of the videos we do aren’t meant to be serious, but at the same time, we try to…

NICK: It all ties in, because the age of the haughty rock star, living in their golden castle, are over. They don’t really exist any more, and if they do, they’re douches that we don’t want anything to do with.

So, in order to be successful, you need to be the kind of guy that people can come up and talk to at the end of a show, somebody to have a chat and a beer with. You should give yourself, as an artist, to the people who are consuming your music.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

NICK: To be honest, to grow our fan base. Most bands will say that their main long-term aim is to get a record deal. Well, I wonder, how are you going to get a record deal without having a large fan base? I ask them: “Why is your approach that way?”.

You need to build up a following, try and engage as many people in your music as you can.

ALEX: We’re slightly inspired by a chap named Damian Keyes, who’s got this, not revolutionary, but an interesting, approach towards the music industry. He has sort of floated this idea around of a subscription-based, direct to the artist, revenue stream, so if you had, say a million fans, and 10,000 of them were hardcore, and they all paid £10 a year, and for that £10, they get new videos every week, early access to songs, EPs, albums.

As a subscription-based service, for say, £2 a month, and 10,000 sign up for it, that is a direct source of income to the band, no middle men, marketing, A&R, record label. You are making music and giving it directly to the fans, so our sort of idea is to create a reach and fan base big enough, through social media channels, live music and that, to a point where we don’t need to have a record label, we can just give the content out to our fans, and if they want to pay for it, we can do it that way, and that makes more sense to us.

NICK: Yeah, it should about the fans, making music for, and engaging with them. It should never be about this mythical music industry god in the clouds, who bands send stuff to, and they go: “Sign us, please!“. You should really be doing it for the fans, not for some guy in a suit.

alter-eden-cover

‘TIGERS AND LAMBS’, ALTER EDEN’S SOPHOMORE EP, IS AVAILABLE NOW.

TO KEEP FULLY UPDATED ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THEIR OFFICIAL WEBSITE www.altereden.co.uk AND FOLLOW THE LINKS TO THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES & OTHER SITES.

 

ROSEN BRIDGE

Rosen Bridge band photo

ROSEN BRIDGE (from l-r): Marcus Williams (guitar), Eddie Edwards (guitar), Antony Jones (vocals), Rowan Jack (drums), William Roberts (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since the release of their debut EP ‘Entropy’ two years ago, Welsh metal five-piece Rosen Bridge have seen both their reputation and fan base grow on a monumental scale, and it currently looks like the next couple of months will only see that expand further, with the band embarking on a UK tour later this month, and the release of eagerly-awaited follow-up ‘Dreamcatcher’, which is also being streamed in full by Metal Hammer.

I chatted recently to the quintet, at what is in no doubt an exciting time for them.

How did the band get together initially?

MARCUS WILLIAMS (guitar): A few of us had all been playing in other bands since we were young and over the years, we all met at parties and became great friends, but then, we wondered why we were not all in a band together and the rest is history, really.

EDDIE EDWARDS (guitar): As Marcus just said, we were all friends first and I couldn’t believe it took us so long to realise we should be playing in a band together!

Where did the name Rosen Bridge come from?

MARCUS: We underwent a few names before finally deciding on Rosen Bridge. We didn’t really want a super metal name. In our downtime, we always watch a lot of documentaries, mainly about the universe and space and it just felt right to us. It derives from “Einstein-Rosen Bridge”; which is another term for wormhole, a theoretical idea proposed by physicists Albert Einstein and Nathan Rosen.

EDDIE: I think it’s a pretty unique name in a way, compared to other metal band names, that’s for sure.

In your own words, how would you describe your sound?

MARCUS: Melodic, catchy, somewhat technical at times, and groovy.

What are the band’s musical influences?

EDDIE: It’s really hard not to just reel off a massive list of obvious influences. A big thing for us when we sit down and write, is to just write without an aim to sound like anybody else. Our influences tend to just come through in our music naturally, anyway.

MARCUS: We all listen to a lot of music that’s not necessarily metal. We’re all pretty open minded, but when we’re together, the main thing we listen to is that kind of stuff, as it’s obviously what kind of unites us. Though, it does vary from stuff like Bjork, Paramore, SikTh & Architects.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

MARCUS: Our songwriting is the accumulation of what we love about music, from the note selection to the vocal hooks and drum grooves. It’s what we want to hear out of our music. The riffs and compositions vary on how we feel, be it melodic or heavy. We put a lot of ourselves into our songs, and I think it shows. We sometimes do start writing on a computer, in a programme like Guitar Pro or Cubase. Though we all have bits and pieces of songs in different formats, like videos/voice clips and in our memory! The challenge is to get all these parts together into a coherent song.

EDDIE: We’ve been used to all living a fair distance from each other for years (at least two hours’ drive), so we’ve got used to writing and recording songs on the computer. However, we tend to get our best material down when we’re in a room together and really feeling the moment. It’s hard to not be really self-critical when you write alone, so it’s much more likely an idea will stick if we’re all in a room together and being constructive.

Your sophomore EP ‘Dreamcatcher’ will be released on May 12. How has it been recording it?

MARCUS: It’s been amazing. We got to record it at a very reputable studio (Outhouse in Reading) that we were all at one time or another were hoping we would get to record at. I’m really happy and proud of what we have made and the way it has turned out. There’s no better feeling than hearing everything come together in the studio and making music with your best friends.

EDDIE: The experience of recording was easily one of the best times of my life. We were staying in a campervan in Oxford together and commuting to the studio during the day. We had loads of fun just playing stupid games in the car on the way. We played loads of frisbee, and went to a festival too. Making the record was an awesome experience, as we just didn’t have any real preconceptions of how it was going to turn out, and it just turned out so much better than we thought.

How will your forthcoming release be different to your debut?

MARCUS: I think we have all grown in a lot of ways since then as people and as musicians and we will continue to grow as we go forward, and I’m really looking forward to that.

EDDIE: It’s vastly different in a lot of ways, I think we’ve definitely honed in our sound. Listening to the records together though, it’s still quite similar. I can’t make up my mind to be honest, but it definitely sounds like “us”.

How, for the band, is the experience of playing live and touring?

MARCUS: We love to play live and love interacting with the crowd. It’s the one place where we all feel confident, I think. There’s honestly nothing I’d rather be doing than travelling around the UK in a van with my best friends playing shows every night, apart from travelling the world doing the same.

EDDIE: Touring is just a different world of living, and some people aren’t really into that. I could understand that, if I wasn’t with my best mates. However, playing live is just always so worth it. It always just means so much when people are singing the words back at you. The lead-up during the day to playing and afterwards is just a big emotional event. It really is amazing.

What is your long-term aim?

MARCUS: Just to be able to keep on the road playing live and to always be progressing musically and as people.

EDDIE: Exactly that. We want to keep on the road, with a hope that people are taking something positive from our music and our performance. We want to be always pushing ourselves and the band to be the best it can possibly be. This is something we’re always going to be doing. It’s who we are.

‘DREAMCATCHER’, THE SECOND EP FROM ROSEN BRIDGE, WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 12.

Rosen Bridge updated tour poster

ROSEN BRIDGE ARE ALSO GOING ON A UK TOUR LATER IN MAY, BEGINNING IN MANCHESTER ON THE 18TH AND CONCLUDING IN BANGOR ON THE 30TH.