High Down band photo

Portsmouth born High Down arrived on the music scene last year, and are quickly amassing new fans and gathering firm momentum with their highly contagious brand of hard-hitting pop-punk.

Reminiscent of blink-182, State Champs and New Found Glory, the emerging five-piece deliver knock-out hooks, jack hammer riffs and anthemic choruses that pound your senses into submission. The band unveil their explosive new EP, ‘Moving On’, on Friday 1st September; before then, the pop-punkers have released a new video, ‘Life Lessons’.

High Down were brought together by a mutual adoration for iconic pop-punk, pizza and cold beer. The quintet despatch a cut-throat and captivating edge to the pop-punk genre and have wasted no time in etching their mark.

The band exploded onto the scene with their debut single, ‘Family & Fiends’, recorded with the legendary producer Matt O’Grady (You Me At Six, Deaf Havana). They backed the single with festival appearances at Seasick Fest, Butserfest, Teddy Rocks Festival and Fat Lip Fest, as well as shows with the likes of WSTR, ROAM, and Like Pacific.

Now the tuneful south coast crew reveal their new EP. This release is guaranteed to launch the band to a national level, featuring five killer cuts which bond together modern pop-punk with the five-some’s admiration for metalcore and pop rock.

Their new single, ‘Life Lessons’, is indicative of the band; it’s a perfect slice of punk pop, laden with a throbbing rhythmic drive and a hooky chorus that is destined for the airwaves.


High Down Cover



OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.highdownuk.bigcartel.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/highdownuk

TWITTER: twitter.com/highdownuk

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/highdownuk




Shaded band photo

SHADED (from l-r): Callum Irons (guitar), Matt East (vocals), Barney Shanks (drums), Dan Bradberry (bass)


If you enjoy listening to the likes of State Champs, WSTR and 5 Seconds Of Summer, then you will love SHADED.

The emerging Surrey outfit have a sound that is predominantly pop-punk, however, the four-piece have already shown with their live sets and recent debut single ‘Better With You’ that they are not afraid of embracing elements of other genres.

With inaugural EP ‘The Better Man In Me’ coming out next month, I spoke to the band’s frontman Matt East to get the lowdown on this and other things.

How did you all get together initially?

Callum and I met through a Facebook group for our university. We’ve known each other for just over a year now. We then met Dan and Barney a couple of months back through our old guitarist.

How did SHADED come about as the band’s name?

We had got to the point where we were having EP artwork designed and we were still without a name. We were desperately chucking ideas about last minute until we decided to settle with SHADED.

How would you describe your sound?

From an outsider’s perspective, I’d call us a pop punk band, but we like to think that, with this EP, we’ve explored a bit further than one genre. I think we sit somewhere between pop rock and pop-punk.

What is the band’s approach to songwriting?

Not to try and sound like anyone else. We didn’t want to approach this EP wanting to sound like or emulate any of the bands we listen to. Everything you hear on the EP came totally organically.

Your debut EP, ‘The Better Man In Me’, comes out next month. How has the recording process been?

It was a really enjoyable experience actually. We spent a few weeks in Callum’s bedroom recording and mixing the EP before heading off to Cornwall to master it.

The change of scenery between mixing and mastering really aided the whole process as, when producing a piece of work, there are so many factors that can affect how it sounds – size of rooms, number of walls, surrounding materials.

It’s one thing listening to it back in my car, but hearing our final mixes in a totally different room helped us make final tweaks that we might have missed had we done the mixing and mastering in the same place.

What can be expected from the EP?

The main thing people can expect from this EP is variety. Like I said, we wanted to explore further than just one genre, without straying from the path too much. It’s an out and out pop-punk EP, but we are confident that each song offers something completely different to the others.

The band played in Camden last month, and you have just performed a set at the Burned Out festival in Bournemouth. How is playing live as an experience for you all?

Playing live is easily my favourite part of being in a band. When the adrenaline kicks in and we’re chucking ourselves around, having the best time… nothing beats it.

We seemed to have had pretty good crowd reactions thus far, so hopefully our live set does the EP justice!

What’s planned for after the EP’s release?

We have a few cool things lined up, which we’ll be announcing very soon!

What is the band’s long-term aim?

I think a big long-term aim for us right now is Vans Warped Tour. It’s THE tour to be on when you’re an alternative band, so hopefully a few years down the line we’ll be able to achieve it!

Shaded Cover




FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ShadedUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/shadeduk

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/shadeduk











Fortify band photo

Hailing from Thurrock, Essex and formed in 2015, up-and-coming easycore outfit Fortify comprise of vocalist Anna Louise, Kieran McLoughlin-Spink and Charlie Fallows on guitar, Billy Byford handling the bass, and Jamie “JD” Smith hammering away on the drums.

The tuneful rock crew honed their craft by playing a slew of shows around the greater London area. Supports with everyone from Chapter And Verse and Create To Inspire to TheCityIsOurs have helped to solidify the band’s engaging sound.

The five-piece are now ready to announce their arrival with their alluring new EP ‘Valhalla’. With five slabs of engrossing easycore, the EP kicks off with the hugely anthemic ‘What About Us’, swiftly followed by the captivatingly flowing alt-rock groove of Survivors.

Next up, ‘Rumours’ picks up the pace and delivers a beast of a refrain aided by Smith’s stout drumming and Billy Byford’s chunky bass work. The EP doesn’t let up as ‘Emergency Exit’ hits you with its killer hook and stomping riffery, served up by McLoughlin-Spink and Fallows’s layered guitar work. The quintet bring proceedings to a close with the buoyant energy and vigor of ‘Strangers’.

The lively combo will be playing a series of shows throughout the rest of this summer and into the autumn; hit up their social sites for updates.

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/FortifyUK

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/FortifyUK

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/officialfortify





The Cartographer band photo

THE CARTOGRAPHER (from l-r): Tom Maver Broadhead (bass), Dan Gorman (guitar), Ash Hutley (drums), Jay Roberts (vocals), James Millington (guitar)


Hailing from Derby, right in the centre of England, metal five-piece The Cartographer have had an eventful twelve months.

Reforming last summer after taking some time out, the outfit got straight to work on their EP ‘Human Error’, released last October to an overwhelmingly positive reaction.

With this, a sound mixing heaviness with melody, and energetic live shows, the band are currently being tipped as one to watch on the British metal scene.

Just before they embarked on a tour with fellow East Midlands collective Skies In Motion, I spoke to them about such things as that, their recent single, and what they have planned for the future.

How did the band first form?

JAY ROBERTS (vocals): Originally, the band was me and James, the other guitarist, messing around with a few other people, with Dan joining after he was introduced to us by our original drummer.

At first, it was just a hobby, and we thought it wouldn’t go much further than that, but as we’ve got older, it has become more serious and we have become more committed, even though there was a period when we decided to leave it for a while.

DAN GORMAN (guitar): When was that? 2014?

JAY: Mid 2015.

DAN: Yeah. 2015, we split up because our old drummer wanted to go travelling, and our old bassist could no longer fit it around his work.

JAY: Then last year, we decided to start the band back up.

DAN: Jay and James had been working together on a song, which was going to be the start of an entirely new project. They came to me and asked if I would like to collaborate. At the time, I wasn’t doing much, so I said: “Yeah, why not?

I learnt the song and thought it was pretty cool. After listening to the final product, we realised that it was the same as what we had been doing before the split, only with more progress, so we decided to reform as The Cartographer.

Ash came in on drums, and then we started writing what would eventually become ‘Human Error’. We recorded that in a week last summer, and released it last October. Around the same time, we started doing shows again, and I think Tom joined us on bass at the start of this year.

How did the name The Cartographer come about?

JAY: Before me and James got together to form the band the first time, I was doing something with another singer, we were going to form a band with two vocalists. We played video games a lot, and we were playing Skyrim. We got the map for the game out, and at the bottom of it, it said the name of the guy, which was The Cartographer. We liked the name, it sounded good.

DAN: Was it a quote from Zelda as well?

JAY: Yeah, someone said it was from one of the Zelda games.

How would you describe your sound?

DAN: The best way to describe it would be that the sound is for fans of Heart Of A Coward and Northlane. Heavy, but with melodic choruses.

JAY: Aggressive, with singy bits.

DAN: Aggressive, but beautiful.

You’ve just mentioned some of them there, but what are the band’s main musical influences?

JAY: One of our main influences is After The Burial. We take from that side of metal for the sound, but with the vocals, we do like to take influence from the likes of Wage War, they have nice melodic choruses.

We don’t stick to a certain area of a band, we push ourselves out, bring different types of metal and mix it all together. It’s basically a big mash-up of everything.

DAN: It’s progressive metal meets metalcore, I think.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

DAN: We don’t have one! (laughs) Literally, it’s the driving force behind our writing.

JAY: When it comes to structuring our songs, vocally and stuff, we like to concentrate on current situations, how each member of the band is feeling at that point, so say, for example, ‘Kneel To Nothing’, that’s basically about pollution and how high the levels of it are.

With some of our other songs, we will write the lyrics in a rather generic way, about higher government and how there seems to be no way of pleasing them. We do like to concentrate on topics that are more relevant than something that is just made up in your head.

The band recently released a new single, ‘Vultures’. How has the reaction been to it so far?

JAY: It’s been pretty good, to be fair.

DAN: We’ve done a campaign with Domino PR. Steph, who runs it, has really pushed the boundaries for us. It’s been more than we expected. She has e-mailed us, saying: “Dudes, you need to be doing this, you need to be doing that.” It’s been overwhelming at times, but it’s also been really cool.

JAY: We’ve had numerous reviews for it from all over the place.

DAN: Someone from, I think it was Puerto Rico, did a review. We couldn’t read what it said, because it was all written in Spanish! It was pretty awesome, though.

JAY: We also got approached by Metal Hammer, they wanted us to do a bit where we listed our ten favourite bands, songs, stuff like that. The reaction has been a lot better than any of us expected, which we’re happy with.

You’re about to embark on tour with Skies In Motion. How is the experience of playing live and touring for you all?

JAY: Well, in past interviews, I have said that our live sets are aggressive, with a lot of smoke and hair. Just hair everywhere! (laughs) If you come to one of our shows, you’re not going to see a band just standing there in stasis, we are going to be energetic. If someone’s coming to see us, our aim is to not let them down.

DAN: Yeah, if they’re paying to come, than the least we can do is give them a show to remember. So, doing the tour is going to be a bit bonkers! (laughs)

JAY: Yeah, it should be interesting.

What are the band’s plans for after the tour?

DAN: We’ll carry on writing for our debut album, I think.

JAY: Yeah, album.

DAN: At the moment, we have a total of about twelve songs. Our plan is to write as many as possible, cut the ones that we think are weak, work on the stronger ones, and then go back into the studio.

When were you thinking of getting the album out by?

DAN: I think, originally, it was going to be this year, but now, we think it will be out sometime early next year.

JAY: At the moment, we’re looking at between January and February, but it could be a little bit later.

DAN: It might be March.

JAY: To be safe, we’ll make it March next year.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

DAN: For me, what I would like to do with this band, within the next five years, I would like this to become a source of income for us. Even if it’s minimum wage, I’m happy with that. I would love to do this for a living. I know it’s nigh on impossible these days, but that’s my goal.

JAY: I believe if you work hard for something, you will eventually get it. We’re not expecting to open the main stage at Download in the next few years, but it would be good if we could go on a steady tour with a good amount of shows, get a decent fan base, and at least, get two full albums out.

We need to keep pushing ourselves and constantly get our stuff out there.

Image may contain: 5 people, text



OFFICIAL WEBSITE: thecartographerukofficial.bandcamp.com/releases

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/TheCartographerUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/cartographer_TC















Decrypted band photo


Serving up a flurry of technical riffs, stout breakdowns and melodic, yet aggressive vocal lines, Londoners Decrypted are here to etch their mark. The multi-cultural metallers will release their explosive new single ‘Equinox Of Eternal Embers’ on Friday 29th September.

Decrypted are a vastly dynamic and culturally diverse unit. Although the group now reside in London, Martin Luczynski (guitar) and Rafal Siek (bass) originally hail from Poland, alongside Ricardo Almeida (guitar/backing vocals) who is a Portuguese national, while Vincent Labelle (drums) was born in France. Vocalist Steve Kerr is the only member of the band actually born in England.

Harnessing their unique beginnings and varied backgrounds, the quintet have poured their diversity into their music, creating a sound that is heavy, aggressive, technical, and unique.

The original concept of the band was dreamt up in Poland by guitarist Martin Luczynski. Compelled to move to London in pursuit of a better life, Martin wouldn’t give up on his dream and immediately started searching for suitable members. In 2013, an early incarnation of the band was formed initially in a small living room in the East End of London, with no more than a digital drum kit, a guitar and a glut of inspiration.

Jump forward to 2016, and the five-piece’s line-up was finally complete with the recruitment of frontman Steve Kerr, who enabled the group to burst out of the rehearsal studio and onto the capital’s live music scene.

With responses to their live shows far exceeding expectations, the rising metallers are rapidly creating an army of followers and this is only set to increase as the band release their new video single, ‘Equinox Of Eternal Embers’, and their forthcoming EP, ‘Solitude Of Self Awareness’.

The single will be revealed in September and the track is representative of their blistering sound – explosive riffs and heavy breakdowns merged with an engaging vocal attack.

Have a listen and watch Decrypted become your favourite new band.

Decrypted Cover



FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/DecryptedBand

TWITTER: twitter.com/decryptedband

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/decryptedband









Chris Blackwood interview photo


Originally from North Yorkshire, but now based in Manchester, Chris Blackwood is an emerging singer-songwriter.

Initially an acoustic soloist, Chris is now more at home delivering an indie rock sound as part of a four-piece, taking influence from a range of both retro and contemporary bands and artists.

The release of recent single ‘The Quiet Elude’ has only heightened the anticipation for the imminent unveiling of his self-titled debut album.

The talented musician discussed this and other things when we chatted recently.

What made you want to become a singer-songwriter?

It’s the only way I can communicate in a way that I believe is right and true. Speech is muddy, and there’s rarely chance to say anything meaningful. Everybody’s talking at the same time. There’s so much information now that we all risk being drowned in irrelevance, but music promises more. It makes the world make sense to me, it puts things into perspective and fights all the things in the world that we’d all wish to eradicate.

Which bands/artists do you take inspiration from?

Mainly The Beatles and Pink Floyd, but these are so ingraining in my subconscious that I will talk more about artists that have influenced me more recently. Pavement are a band that I’ve really started taking influence from, and are one of the main reasons I took the leap from acoustic artist to indie rock singer. Elliott Smith has also been a great artist for my songwriting, his chord patterns are unbelievably beautiful.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

They just pour out most of the time. Most songwriters will tell you the same. You get a fragment, a hint of a song, and you chase it. You come to your senses twenty minutes later and realise you have this fully formed song. Elliott Smith said that songs are pictures and fragments of memory. I agree with that statement.

What serves as inspiration for your lyrics?

I try to put everything I see into my lyrics. It’s a fine line songwriting. You have to put it what you feel, but you’ve also got to put in what you think other people will feel.

However, most of the time, people feel the same kind of things, you’ve just got to get the combination right. You’ve got to remove yourself from the equation and think if someone and think if someone was singing this at me, would I feel and believe it? I don’t expect people to understand everything I say though.

Bob Dylan said in his recent Nobel Prize speech that just because he’d read all these works of literature and put them into his songs didn’t mean people had to read the same reading list, they just had to feel it.

Your self-titled debut album comes out shortly. How has the recording process been?

It’s been fantastic, a real breeding ground for ideas. I had a pretty set idea of what I wanted to sound like, but then, I’d bounce ideas back and forth with Dean Glover, the producer and Ben Robinson, the drummer, who would give new ideas. This resulted in an album that has exceeded my expectations of what it could be, and the soundtrack of my life has been improved vastly.

Dean has a fantastic way of getting to the heart of a song, and making each part into a cohesive whole, while Ben can create a drum part for a song after one run-through. He’s unbelievable, a fantastic musician. He sat through fifteen songs recording tambourine for them in a row over two hours, and he got it perfect every time.

What can be expected from the album?

It’s a portrait of what it is like growing up in the 21st Century. Our generation is young, but we’ve got a lot of spirit. We need more music to reflect that, and I think it’s changing.

When I was at school, all I heard on the radio was a heavily compressed electronic rabble with no emotion and no real feeling. Just demographic grabbing glimpses of music. It’s why I slunk away, listening to older bands like The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Smiths. They all seemed so different, with spectrums of their sound seemingly unavailable to the musicians of the time.

However, recently, I’ve heard some outstanding music. Albums from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Tame Impala and Death Grips. Is hip-hop still the future? It appeals to most people that surround me, I want to dissect it more. I think there’s a lot to learn from it.

Going back to the question, it’s a kind of concept album and a kind of coming of age album. I would like the listeners to discern their own individual meanings from the process of the album itself, it feels wrong to give away all the secrets.

You will be supporting the release with a gig in Manchester next month. How is the experience of playing live for you?

I love playing live. I normally play acoustic, so it’s going to be very different. I prefer playing in a full band though, because when we practice, there is a lot of energy that cannot be achieved with an acoustic guitar.

I want people to enjoy the music and walk away with a piece of my music in them forever. That’s what all the best gigs do, leave an imprint on a person.

What is your long-term aim? What would you like to achieve in the next couple of years?

To keep writing as many songs as possible. They keep pouring out, what’s the point of stopping? I’d like to keep touring the album and get it to as many people as possible.

I’d also like to increase the number of band members, because moving from acoustic guitar to an indie rock four-piece has been very enlightening, and I’d love to extend that further.

Chris Blackwood Cover



OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.chrisblackwood.co.uk

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/chrisblackwoodmusic

TWITTER: twitter.com/chrisblackers




THEIA logo


THEIA are a three-piece from Burton-upon-Trent, comprising of vocalist/guitarist Kyle Lamley, bassist Paul Edwards and drummer Jake Dalton.

In the last couple of years, the band have made an impact both locally and nationally with a sound they describe as: “high octane, fully loaded, riff-driven Rock n’ Roll“.

Having recently released their second album, which has so far received universal praise, and about to embark on a UK tour, the future is looking bright for the hard rock trio.

Here’s what they had to say when we spoke before their headline set at the Uttoxeter Rocks festival.

How did the band first form?

KYLE LAMLEY (vocals/guitar): We formed about ten years ago. Myself and Paul used to do amateur dramatics and musical theatre together. We were doing a production of ‘Footloose’ at the time, kind of rock n’ roll, not quite your normal rock star vibes, then we started bedroom jamming, as it were, didn’t we?

PAUL EDWARDS (bass): Yeah, I lied to Kyle saying that I could play bass. I turned up for practice, played bass, and that was it.

KYLE: And we’ve stuck together ever since. Jake joined us about a year ago and he has solidified the line-up at last. It’s feeling good now.

How did you come up with the name THEIA?

KYLE: There’s a few different meanings behind it. The one we’ve most gone with is the asteroid that was part of the Big Bang. It created the Moon, but we’ve kind of gone along with the theory that it created some life, so you know, it’s about rock that’s larger than life.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

PAUL: You normally sit in your bedroom, don’t you Kyle?

KYLE: Yeah.

PAUL: He writes as much as we can, brings it to the table, we sort of put it into practice, and then we see where we go.

KYLE: It doesn’t have to be the bedroom. It can be in any room that has a guitar in. (laughs) Once the songs come together, they take on a new life, especially when you perform them live.

You think you’ve got a song cracked, but once you start to play it live, it evolves, and before you hit the studio, we have found that the songs need to grow naturally.

What serves as inspiration behind the band’s lyrics?

KYLE: Everything, really, there’s so many. War, politics, there’s a bit of romance in there. We’ve got a couple of songs that are about our home town Burton-upon-Trent, so when it comes to writing a lyric, it’s more a case of: “Okay, how am I feeling right now? What’s in my head?” That way, the lyrics seem to come more naturally to us.

Your second album, ‘Back In Line’, came out in June. How well do you think it’s been received so far?

PAUL: It’s gone pretty well. There’s been plenty of good reviews so far. It also seems to have gone down well when we’ve performed the tracks off of it live, it has gotten a lot of people excited, and it’s kept up the interest that we got from the first album.

KYLE: I suppose you could call it critically acclaimed. Like Paul’s just said, it’s had a lot of good reviews. Our German and Austrian fans have picked up on it, and we’ve also had interest from people from as far afield as Texas and Australia, so in comparison to our debut album, it seems to have snowballed and it’s really good to see.

The band are going to be on tour over the next couple of months, and playing a few festivals as well. How is the experience for you all playing live and touring?

KYLE: It’s unparalleled, however long you are on stage for, whether it’s half an hour or two hours. 10% of being in a band are all about those moments spent actually being on stage, so when you’re on tour and have a string of dates coming up, it’s like a continuous party.

It’s a good feeling that we’ll be able to take the Anonymous boys out on our forthcoming tour. It’s going to be fantastic.

Where will you be playing?

KYLE: All over the place. We’re going to be playing The Black Heart in Camden, that’s going to be a heck of an experience for us. The strength of the rock community down there, it’s something you can’t really put words to, it always astounds us. It will be the second or third time we’ve played in Camden, and every time we’ve played there so far, it’s been great.

What are the band’s plans once the tour has been completed?

KYLE: At the moment, we plan to head back into the studio around winter time. We did that with ‘Back In Line’, and then come spring next year and festival season is upon us again, we’ll be ready to play.

It would be great to take some new ideas that we have and get another album or EP out of them. Whatever happens, I think the studio time will be really important, definitely.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

PAUL: We’ve got a few aims. It would be amazing if we could get to do a large tour. That would be a big step up for us, definitely. We’re all dreamers, aren’t we?

KYLE: Yeah. Long-term exposure, you know, bands like Thunder and other British bands who have been going for many years, their fan base has just grown and they are very loyal.

We’ve sort of started to realise that we are building up a fan base, it’s sort of happened right under our noses. We’ve looked up and realised that people from all over the place actually like what we do, so it’s a really nice feeling to have that.

Anything else any of you would like to say at all?

KYLE: Yeah, thank you to everyone and their support for us so far. We really appreciate it.





FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/THEIAofficial

TWITTER: twitter.com/THEIA_uk

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/theiafrontman