THESE WICKED RIVERS

These Wicked Rivers logo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

These Wicked Rivers are a four-piece from Derby, comprising of vocalist/rhythm guitarist John Hartwell, lead guitarist Arran Day, bassist Jon Hallam and drummer Dan Southall.

The band have built up a firm following locally over the last three years with a mature blues rock sound, blending substantial guitar riffery with wholehearted melodies, and taken from a diverse range of both classic and contemporary influences.

Having been trying to get an interview with the quartet since I first saw them perform just over eighteen months ago, I finally got the chance to sit down and have an in-depth chat with them when they played at the Uttoxeter Rocks festival recently.

How did the band get together initially?

JOHN HARTWELL (vocals/rhythm guitar): I was writing songs, playing at open mic nights. I knew Dan from when I played in a previous band, so I texted him and asked if he wanted to join me. He brought Jon along, and then eventually Arran joined us after we met him at a festival, on what was a very drunken afternoon.

ARRAN DAY (lead guitar): Yeah, we were in a horrible state, weren’t we?

JOHN: Yeah.

ARRAN: It was my first Y Not, so I felt like a kid who had been left out. The three of you had been doing things for a bit until I joined, it had been a couple of months?

JOHN: Me, Jon and Dan had started jamming in the February, and you must have got involved around August time.

DAN SOUTHALL (drums): We’d had a pretty formed set by that point.

ARRAN: It was really nice for me, actually being able to just drop into a band where the construct was sort of already there. I could then just come in and ruin it! I’ve done my best, but not quite! (laughs)

From where did the name These Wicked Rivers originate?

JOHN: We were just trying to think of something that we liked the sound of, really, that wasn’t already taken.

JON HALLAM (bass): We were having a break from practice and we were sort of discussing the band name, going through Spotify on our phones, looking at really old blues musicians.

We came across a song called, I think it was, ‘These Evil Children’, something like that, and John said he liked the idea of having a name made up of three short, punchy words, but for some reason, he wanted the word “rivers” involved. (laughs)

JOHN: It’s quite a bluesy word though, isn’t it?

ARRAN: I love the name actually, because it struck me straight away. It’s great to walk into something that already has such a solid name.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

JON: Generally, me or Arran will have a riff, we’ll go to the practice room, play it, and then just jam it out until it turns into a song.

ARRAN: I record things on my phone a lot of the time. We’ll go through a phase where we write a lot. We tend to just send a lot of stuff to each other, and we’ll know within about fifteen minutes if it’s going to be any good.

We normally write full songs when one of us is missing, just to make them feel terrible! It gives you more of a drive when you’re one down.

JON: When we do write, we tend to kick it out pretty quickly. Then, once we’ve written it, either Hartwell or myself will just do a dodgy recording of it on our phones, and we’ll try and write a set of lyrics for it, just see where it goes.

What are the inspirations behind the band’s lyrics?

JOHN: Lots of stuff, really. There’s a lot of things that have happened with ex-girlfriends, stuff like that, people that we know.

JON: Usually when you listen to a song of ours, you can quite quickly identify that it is not a relationship or a woman, when it’s me that’s writing that set of lyrics.

JOHN: ‘War’, that’s about getting through depression and coming out the other side alright. ‘Lady Killer’, that’s about a guy who is a bit of a womaniser, a ladies man. ‘Stone Paved In Gold’, that’s about women. Basically, we write about loads of stuff that happens to us.

JON: Or that annoys us. Some of the new stuff that I’m writing for the band is basically stuff that does my head in. I feel it’s something I need to communicate lyrically rather than moaning about it all on social media.

JOHN: Nobody likes a moaner on social media.

JON: Not at all.

Your second EP, ‘II’, came out in April. How well do you think it has been received?

JON: Overwhelmingly positive, and that’s not being said from an arrogant standpoint either. It took us a long time to do, and all four of us were concerned that when we released it, because we had done so much talking about it, that it was going to fall flat on its arse, but we have yet to get any negative criticism, which is very flattering for us, but very humbling at the same time. Generally, positive reviews of stuff that you have done makes you want to carry on.

ARRAN: I think it was the best way of capturing our sound and where we are at currently as a band. When you’re finding your feet, you want everyone to react well to what you do, because it makes you more driven.

Will the band be heading back into the studio any time soon?

 

JON: Hopefully so. The problem with studio stuff is that it’s all about money. If you want it done right and sounding good, it doesn’t come cheap, so we have to go through a period of time of saving up and what not.

JOHN: I think what we’re hoping to do before we play Rockstock in December is to release a two track single.

JON: If we can get the money together, we could record it in around September.

ARRAN: We’re writing all the time, which is good, because it keeps us active and kind of excited.

JOHN: Keeps us out of trouble as well.

JON: Basically, we’ll do it if we can afford to.

DAN: Send us money! (All laugh)

What else do you have planned for the rest of this year?

JON: Just lots of gigging, basically.

JOHN: Rockstock at the end of the year, as well.

JON: We’re also going to be supporting Ferocious Dog as well at The Hairy Dog in Derby, and we’re playing a Christmas party, also in Derby, so we’re going to be quite busy.

ARRAN: It will be exciting to dive into it all.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

JON: I think I speak for all of us when I say we’d like to do this for a living.

JOHN: That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

JON: To be honest, I think a lot of bands have unrealistic expectations in achieving the ultimate rock n’ roll lifestyle, which just isn’t given to you, not any more. Now, you have to have an image, you have to have backing.

ARRAN: We have to balance this a lot with work and having lives and families and stuff like that. It would be lovely if we could just focus entirely on something we really enjoy doing.

JOHN: I think the long-term aim for us is to keep on having fun doing it. Being able to concentrate purely on that would be a huge bonus to us.

DAN: It gives us something to work towards.

These Wicked Rivers Cover

‘II’, THE LATEST EP FROM THESE WICKED RIVERS, IS AVAILABLE TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD ON iTunes AND ALL OTHER STREAMING SERVICES.

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE BAND AT THESE SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.thesewickedrivers.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/TheseWickedRivers

TWITTER: twitter.com/wickedrivers

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/thesewickedrivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TEAR IT DOWN

Tear It Down band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Tear It Down are a four-piece, comprising of vocalist/bassist Blade Edwards, lead guitarist Jesse Taylor, rhythm guitarist Rhys Jones and drummer Jamie Roberts.

Hailing from the Black Country, the birthplace of heavy metal, the band have established themselves locally with a sound reminiscent of fellow Midlanders Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Now, the quartet are looking to emulate those two outfits by making an impact further afield, which they hope one day will lead to global domination.

Here’s what the guys had to say when I chatted to them recently:

How did the band form?

BLADE EDWARDS (vocals/bass): I’ve been long-term friends with Jesse for about eight years now. One day, we ended up in his room with two guitars and we made a demo of one of our songs ‘Rock God’. It was the worst demo ever, but it expanded from there, and we’ve had a few drummers and rhythm guitarists, but…

JESSE TAYLOR (lead guitar): We just kept sacking Rhys and then kept bringing him back! (laughs)

JAMIE ROBERTS (drums): He was shit, but everyone else we tried was worse! (laughs)

BLADE: After a while, we finally ended up as a four-piece.

JAMIE: I’m the drummer, and I joined about a year ago.

BLADE: It was actually around the time we played our first festival with Anonymous.

JAMIE: And when did Rhys first join?

JESSE: About six months after we first formed.

How did the name Tear It Down come about?

JESSE: Oh, no! (laughs) We were sat in Blade’s house…

BLADE: I think it was actually your house.

JESSE: Well, it was one of our houses. Anyway, we were sat down and Blade told me that we needed to come up with a name for the band, because we didn’t have one and our first gig was coming up.

Some of the names I came up with were Burn The Flag, Tear It Up, Burn It Down, Tear It Down. When I said that, Blade went: “That’s the name!” It was very juvenile, because of how young we were at the time, but it has stuck.

How would you describe your sound?

BLADE: We usually say it’s a fusion of blues and metal.

JESSE: In the early days, we described it as “blue metal“.

BLADE: When we first started, we had more of a bluesy rhythm with a crunchier tone, but as time’s gone on and we’ve added new people, our sound has become louder and heavier.

It started becoming more like when Jamie joined the band, because at the same time, Jesse said that he wanted to play meatier riffs, so we all decided to tune to Drop D, to compensate for his heaviness.

We play mostly metal now, but we also chuck in some blues to mix it up a bit. We deliberately calm our live sets in the middle to keep it all fresh.

JAMIE: And to let me relax!

JESSE: Yeah, Jamie’s T-shirt is literally covered in a mountain of sweat. If you pulled on it, it would stick to him.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

JESSE: I write most of the songs, sort of, so I tend to write a series of riffs, like a series of unfortunate events that sort of collapse forwards in the songs.

BLADE: Basically, we have to write a load of riffs, and we have to pick one out of all of them.

JESSE: It’s like picking a name of a hat!

BLADE: So, Jesse writes the riffs, and then me and Rhys will usually come up with some sort of chord structure to put over the top of it. I don’t write anything down, I keep them all in my head.

What are the inspirations behind the band’s lyrics?

BLADE: Girls are quite a prominent theme, I would say. (All laugh) We have to compensate for the lack of them in our lives by singing about them.

JESSE: Occasionally, we will try to write something that is more emotional and thoughtful, but then we realise that we don’t know how to do that, so then we write about things that sound like they could be.

BLADE: A couple of our recent songs have been about war, and our ideas of what people would think in a war scenario.

You’ve just played the opening set at Uttoxeter Rocks. How is the live experience for all of you?

BLADE: It varies quite a lot. We’ve played a few times at a place in Wolverhampton called the Newhampton Arts Centre. The first time, we went on relatively early and virtually nobody was there, but the second time, we were on second to last and we got a huge reception.

When you have people there, you can see them in front and enjoying the music, it helps our performance a lot.

JESSE: Yeah, that was probably one of the best gigs we have played. We played around eight, nine songs and from the second track right the way through to the encore, there was a constant moshpit in front of us.

JAMIE: Looking at that, standing on the stage, it was amazing to watch.

BLADE: When you’ve got a crowd like that, it gives you a very large buzz.

What’s planned for the near future?

JESSE: Probably head off to the pub! (All laugh)

I meant further in the future.

BLADE: At the moment, we are thinking of getting a new bassist in, so we can make the bass more rhythmic, and create more of a vibrant sound.

JAMIE: Blade’s a botched bassist.

JESSE: We did a tour of Spain and while we were there, we realised we didn’t have anyone to play bass, so after necking two bottles of Spanish wine, we passed the bass to Blade.

BLADE: Once we’ve got a bassist solidified in the band, we’ll be looking at getting an EP out, hopefully by the end of this year. Also, we’re looking at merchandising, among other things, because for a small band like us, it’s a big thing being able to get more material out to more people.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

BLADE: I think a big aim for us would be to play a huge festival or do a big tour. In all honesty, we are at the stage now where locally, we are a known band, so now, we are looking to make our name across the rest of the UK and then, looking further ahead, overseas.

JESSE: It would be an amazing feeling to be known worldwide, going on stage with everyone chanting the band’s name.

FURTHER INFO ON TEAR IT DOWN CAN BE FOUND ON THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE: www.facebook.com/TEARITDOWN515

 

 

 

 

 

 

SERENITY CAME CALLING

Serenity Came Calling band photo

SERENITY CAME CALLING (from l-r): Tyler Simpson (drums), Jason Kelly (bass), Gregor MacMillan (vocals), Ross Dickson-McKnight (guitar/vocals), Pete Dodd (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From the city of Stirling in central Scotland, five-piece Serenity Came Calling have made waves on their native metal scene in the last year with a post-hardcore sound that mixes heaviness with ambiance, clean vocals with heavy screaming, and robust breakdowns with melodic choruses.

The band’s recently released single ‘Tenebris’, following on from their successful debut EP ‘By Any Means’, has already received much positive feedback, and they have just completed a tour, with more live dates, supporting the likes of Our Hollow, Our Home, planned for later this year.

I spoke to the band recently, prior to yesterday’s announcement of vocalist Gregor MacMillan’s departure, and this is what they had to say:

How did the band form originally?

We were all a bunch of lads who knew of one another. Pete and I had been good friends at high school. I knew Ross through a music club that was put on in the city. We got to know Jason and Tyler through friends down town and we all had a common interest in heavy music. We had a couple of jamming sessions, saw something in it we loved, and we pushed forward from there.

How did you come up with the name Serenity Came Calling?

We never know how to answer this question! We’re partly named after the ship in the TV show Firefly, that’s where the word ‘serenity’ came in. When we gave the meaning some deeper thought, we recognised that we always wanted to be a band with a message, we liked this whole idea of sending a good and serious message out of dark circumstances. Serenity Came Calling embodied that idea.

 

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Bands like Northlane and Architects definitely influence our instrumental sound. Lyrically, bands like Stick To Your Guns and The Plot In You have led the way. Live, we do our best to create our own signature show with our use of poetic speeches throughout a flowing set, but we take influences from Architects and Stick To Your Guns, for sure.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We’re all pretty hands on! We always want to be firing around new ideas for songs. If they’re not created in the practice space, then they’re created in Pete’s bedroom.

When it comes to lyrics, I like to always be writing, if an idea comes into my head, then it goes straight into my phone’s notes for me to lie awake and build songs around later.

We love making music, songwriting is a massive part of that obviously, so we enjoy getting in about it.

What are the inspirations behind the band’s lyrics?

Our lyrics all flow around personal stories, be it my own or stories I know and have been trusted to write about. Like I said earlier, it’s all about this light in the darkness. We take negative and dark situations and find a glimpse of light to find power in.

Take ‘Tenebris’, our new single, for example, it’s about the absence of God. The song isn’t intended to just all out deny God’s existence. It’s explaining the story of why a young man has lost his faith, but yet, he doesn’t feel all is lost. He recognises that in himself, he has the strength to make change even though he’s scared. To me, that’s empowering. That’s what we’re all about.

Will the release of ‘Tenebris’ potentially lead to an EP or album in the near future at all?

It will! ‘Tenebris’ is the first taste of what is yet to come. At the moment, we’re in the studio. Some new material is finished and we’re working hard to get it all done. Expect to see more on all this soon!

Having recently completed a tour and doing more live shows later this year with the likes of Our Hollow, Our Home, how is the experience for you all playing live and touring?

Playing shows is amazing. Touring is amazing. We love being on the stage and doing what we do. Tours present hardships and learning experiences, but it’s all things we aim to take in our stride. We first did a Scottish tour, now we’ve been down south. Next, we wanna see the whole UK and then go even further after that.

In regards to playing with the likes of Our Hollow, Our Home, it’s madness. We love meeting new bands, and we love playing with them. We recently played with our friends Loathe in London and the show was incredible. It’s all just a massive experience that we wanna keep going with.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

We wanna play everywhere we can and we wanna meet as many people as we can whilst we do it. We wanna continue to make music, release songs that people enjoy, and write lyrics that people can relate to and feel something with.

Our aim is to be a band that stands for something. No matter where we play, or who we play with, we aim to be the band you remember seeing, the band that you walk away from the venue thinking “Fuck, I really felt that!

‘TENEBRIS’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM SERENITY CAME CALLING, IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL MAJOR DIGITAL PLATFORMS.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND BY CHECKING OUT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/SCCBand

TWITTER: twitter.com/SCC_Band

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/serenity_came_calling

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

BANDCAMP: serenitycamecalling.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

 

ROB JARVIS & THE MERCURY SONS

Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Essex-based alt-rock outfit Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons may only have released their debut single in January, but already, they have made quite an impact.

The four-piece have performed sell-out shows, been championed by Kerrang! Radio, and praised for a style of music that they themselves define as “refined, melodic dirt“.

I chatted to frontman Rob recently, and he told me about the band’s beginnings, influences and some new material in the pipeline, including their forthcoming single ‘End Of Our Days’.

How did the band get together?

At the end of my old band, midway through 2014, I was still of course writing as per usual and needed a new musical outlet. After I’d got a few songs and song ideas together, I hooked up with guitar monster Nick Jennison, a guy well-known to the Newcastle music scene and an old friend, to go through them and start doing some arrangements. Everything just went from there, a couple of evenings were spent in my dank student kitchen over some beers.

How did you come up with the name The Mercury Sons?

The name Rob Jarvis & The Mercury Sons came about when I was watching a television programme at home, the characters of said programme often described one of their associates as a ‘mercurial’ man.. The nature of a mercurial man, being unpredictable and surprising… I thought it was an apt idea to support the kind of music I’d like to be putting out, and in some respects, I hope it does surprise people.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

The sound is influenced by a vast and eclectic mixture of music really, main influences are drawn from the sounds and attitudes of bands like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Stone Temple Pilots, with obvious nods to more modern acts like Foo Fighters and Biffy Clyro. The thing is, from there, influence moves way further afield to artists like Jeff Buckley and an abundance of stuff in between.

Importantly, as much as the handful of artists I’ve mentioned have a huge influence on the sound, I don’t feel constrained to them. If I like how something feels and it’s a bit outside the box, we’ll just go with it, it’s important to feel creative freedom, at the end of the day it’ll end up sounding like us anyway, so just run with it.

Lyrically, I draw influence from anywhere and anything, biographical or not. If I feel strongly enough about something and can’t get it out of my head, it’ll end up in a song.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Non – methodical up to a certain point; but there is a pattern, more often than not… I’ll be walking around my house with an acoustic guitar in my underpants or a suitably strange set of pyjamas for a couple of hours, messing around with ideas for riffs and songs.

The mad thing is, when I get some bits together that sounds like a track, something usually clicks and I’ll start singing melody ideas over it and then visualising what the final product might sound like when fully fleshed out. That’s my favourite part, when you first get that little feeling: “Yeah, this is gonna be a song.”

At that point, I’ll hook up with Nick and start working on a semi-final arrangement and demo the song. Nick’s a really great guy to work with, as well as his main talent (among many) a thing we call, adding some guitar sparkle, he really understands what it is I might say to him describing how the track sounds in my head.

You’re currently putting together a new album. How has the process been up to now?

Whether it’s to be an album or a couple of EP’s is currently undecided, but all’s going well, some of the material was actually pencilled a little while ago and currently being tested live, to an overwhelming response which we’ve been really grateful for.

Other than that, I’m having a really good time locking myself away for a little bit and getting creative, and I’m also really looking forward to getting some more demoing done ahead of recording the next lot of music.

When are you hoping to get your new material out?

As far as an extended release goes, I couldn’t possibly put a date on it, but be rest assured, just as we’ve rolled out these first two singles in 2017, there’s still going to be lots of content coming out thick and fast and as often as we can.

Putting out a set of tracks in one go, like an album or EP as opposed to singles, I see as a really big deal. Getting those 4 – 12 perfect tracks all down in one go is representative of a fairly long time, months of writing, changing parts, plucking out new ideas and more importantly, being very critical of the stuff you’ve created and of course chucking some ideas away. So I am taking some time to make sure the best material possible ends up on the record, at least in my opinion.

How is it playing live and touring?

The live campaign so far has been amazing, we’re taking our time to make sure that in between any shows, we work really hard towards the next one, make it as great an experience for the audience as we can. We’ve had really successful sell-out shows in London and Newcastle, and we’re just working hard to get more dates confirmed.

What is your long-term aim?

I need to carry on working hard, keep building on top of these working foundations, bringing out more music and exciting content; I’ve already spent masses of time and energy on Rob Jarvis and The Mercury Sons because I’m aiming high, there’s absolutely no shame in being ambitious and persistent, only in not trying, so the long-term aim is to always keep growing, working hard and reach as many people as we can. The rest will unfold from there.

‘JUST TO MAKE YOU HAPPY’, THE BAND’S DEBUT SINGLE, IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON iTunes.

FURTHER INFO ON ROB JARVIS & THE MERCURY SONS CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.robjarvisandthemercurysons.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/RJTMS

TWITTER: twitter.com/RobJMercurySons

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/robjarvisandthemercurysons

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/rob-jarvis-the-mercury-sons

 

VISTA – ‘Long Live’

VISTA Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having impressed with last year’s debut release ‘VERSUS’, New York two-piece VISTA are back with a new EP.

The band recently told me about the sheer amount of hard work and effort that they have put into producing ‘Long Live’, and this is clear throughout each of the seven tracks.

There has been noticeable development in regards to the sound, which for the most part, is bigger, louder and more anthemic.

This fits well with the lyrical content, which focuses on the theme of forming an allegiance and finding an ‘oasis’ in a dystopian society, something that should resonate with a lot of young people living in today’s world.

Hope Vista’s vocal delivery adapts with ease to the more experimental aspects of the EP, where the duo also get to show exactly how diverse they can be, with ‘Inside Anxious’ employing the use of distorted vocals and ‘Part III’ seeing them eschew the anthem rock in favour of a softer acoustic approach.

It is difficult to pick a standout out of such a well-crafted offering, but if I had to, it would be ‘Dominance 2.0’, which I believe could be the track with which they make a major breakthrough.

Originally a solo track from Hope, with the addition of Greg Almeida’s heavy guitar riffs, the song perfectly captures how solid the pair have become as a musical partnership in the last year.

In conclusion, ‘Long Live’ represents a real step up for VISTA from their debut and shows how much they have grown in confidence and maturity in the time since.

(4/5)

TOP TRACK: ‘Dominance 2.0’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The EP lyrically focuses on the theme of forming an allegiance and finding an ‘oasis’ in a dystopian society, something that should resonate with a lot of young people living in today’s world.

 

 

 

 

TOM LUMLEY

Tom Lumley photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The last couple of years have been quite eventful for Tom Lumley.

Since embarking on a solo career, the Cambridgeshire singer-songwriter has been establishing himself as one of the rising stars of the British underground scene, winning over audiences up and down the country and impressing the music press with an indie rock sound that is fun and energetic.

His EP “Dream City”, released earlier this year, was much acclaimed and got to No. 2 in the UK iTunes Rock Chart.

With a busy summer ahead, including sets at the Splendour Festival in Nottingham and the Tramlines Festival in Sheffield, as well as more music on the way, it is looking like 2017 will go down as a fruitful year for Tom.

He went into more detail about his career so far, influences and all of the above when I spoke to him recently.

What made you want to become a singer-songwriter?

I’ve always been obsessed with music and in bands growing up. When the last band I was in broke up, it just felt right to give a solo career a go.

Which bands/artists have most influenced you?

So many to be honest. From the likes of Guns n’ Roses to Arctic Monkeys to Catfish and The Bottlemen recently, they’ve all had an impact on me.

How would you describe your sound?

Fun, exciting indie rock.

What subjects do you like to cover with your lyrics?

I like to sing about anything relevant to my life or someone in my life, so it really depends what’s going on.

Your EP “Dream City” came out earlier this year. Did you expect the reaction it has had?

Not at all, I’ve been completely overwhelmed. For it to chart the way it did and gain the press it has is more than I ever expected.

Tell us more about your recently released single “Running From Our Lives”.

It’s a song about the world and how we’re all scared to stand up to our problems. I had such a good crowd reaction on tour to this song, so it made sense to make it the next single.

You have a busy summer ahead playing a lot of festivals. How is it for you playing live?

Playing live is what I love, it’s where I feel at home. I don’t think I’ll ever feel what I feel on stage doing anything else. I’m very lucky to have such a great band behind me who feel the same.

What are you planning to do once you’ve done the festivals?

I have a new single coming out on the 28th of September and then we will be touring again in October!

What is your long-term aim? Where would you like to be in, say, five years?

In five years time, I’d like to be playing shows around the world to fans who know my music. The bigger the shows can get, the better. Benicassim and Reading are also on the list for goals in the next five years.

Tom Lumley Cover

“JUST LIKE THE LIGHT”, THE NEW SINGLE FROM TOM LUMLEY, WILL BE RELEASED ON SEPTEMBER 28.

FURTHER INFO ON TOM CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/TomLumleyMusic

TWITTER: twitter.com/TomLumleyMusic

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/tomlumleymusic

 

 

 

 

 

VISTA

VISTA band photo

VISTA: Greg Almeida (guitar), Hope Vista (vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO & COVER ART by HOLLY TURNER

Hailing from the state of New York, two-piece VISTA formed towards the end of 2015 and immediately made an impact with their debut EP “VERSUS”, which showcased an anthemic rock sound and received much praise from the music media.

With the release of follow-up “Long Live” imminent, I spoke to the duo about this, as well as their journey so far.

How did VISTA form?

HOPE VISTA (vocals): Greg joined the line-up last year, I was looking for a new guitarist and we had mutual friends, so he just messaged me on Facebook asking about it! VISTA was first formed almost two years ago now, though.

How would you describe your sound?

HOPE: We call it anthem rock. Lots of arena rock influences and a large incorporation of electronic sounds, as well. Thick bass, booming drums, guitars that pulse through your body.

GREG ALMEIDA (guitar): We try and make things big sounding, somewhat! We also try to make things resonate with the listener.

HOPE: Yeah, always big. The bigger, the better.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

HOPE: I’m more influenced by life experiences than anything. I take things that I experience or that I see happening around me and turn them into music. The music itself will usually line up with my overall feelings towards whatever I’m writing about lyrically.

GREG: There isn’t really many musical influences we reference every time we write a song, we kinda just try stuff and see what sounds cool and what doesn’t. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t mindful of what other artists are doing, though.

HOPE: That’s super true. We don’t ever want to sit there and say, ‘We want to do what this artist is doing‘, because that’s their craft. Their work. We do a lot of experimentation and see what kind of falls under the anthemic umbrella and what boundaries we can push with that word in mind.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

HOPE: Me personally, I always sit down with one of my guitars and play around until something pops out. Sometimes a melody or lyric will just shoot up and then I run to a guitar and voice memo it on my phone.

GREG: This shit is so random to me. Sometimes I’ll hear an instrumental song in my head, then demo it out and send it to Hope. Sometimes I’ll hear a little line of a vocal and try to expand on it and then put music to it. It’s different every time!

HOPE: Dude, yeah. Each song on this record had a completely different writing process, which was super weird for me.

The band has a new EP, “Long Live”, coming out later this month. How has the recording process been?

HOPE: It was super difficult at times, we compromised a lot to make sure both of us were happy with the final product. It’s harder with two people’s thoughts instead of four, because there really isn’t any majority rule there. If one person doesn’t like something, it’s hard to change their mind, so you have no choice but to find a compromise somewhere. That aspect of it was challenging at times, honestly.

GREG: It took a long time but I’m glad it did. If it had taken like no time at all, I’d be worried it was underdeveloped! We spent a lot of time making sure things were perfect. I was perfectly happy with the amount of time it took and how we went about it.

How will this EP be different to the last one?

HOPE: It’s a lot more developed. We spent months upon months planning for it and developing every angle, from the actual music to the artwork to the overall branding. “VERSUS” was put together quickly, written quickly, no development or growth at all. To put out two records in 14 months is a lot, but listeners will clearly be able to hear the growth if they listen to “VERSUS” and then “Long Live”.

GREG: This EP has a whole different set of people in charge of instruments besides Hope. Hope is a great lyricist and songwriter, so I’m glad I was able to put my two cents in with guitar parts and drum parts and synth design. You can tell that these songs came from me and her together.

You supported Against The Current earlier this year, and you’re going on tour next month. How is the experience of playing live?

HOPE: It’s always awesome for us because we like to put on a super energetic show. We don’t stand still, we don’t NOT interact with people. We try and make it as personable as possible and as cohesive as we can.

GREG: It’s super fun! That’s the best part of it for me.

What is the band’s opinion of the current state of the American music industry?

HOPE: I don’t really have a particular opinion, I just keep up with the times and pay attention to everything that goes on so I can see how it can be applied to VISTA to help us succeed.

GREG: My opinion is that it’s super weird and niche-ey. As you get older, you start to see who the “influencers” are in the industry and you basically just have to choose what you like and what you don’t. I really try not to board any label-fuelled hype-trains anymore. When I look at someone’s page and listen to their stuff, I’m usually able to tell if it was written with integrity in mind. That matters to me.

What is your long-term aim?

HOPE: We’d really like to do a full US tour at some point and eventually break into the European and Asian markets, sign a record deal, record a full-length.

GREG: Yes! And if we can do all of that and still afford to pay all our bills, we will be alright!

HOPE: To make an income by doing what we’re most passionate about.

VISTA Cover

“LONG LIVE”, THE NEW EP FROM VISTA, WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 21.

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

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/VISTAband

TWITTER: twitter.com/ThisIsVISTA

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/VISTAband

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/VISTAband