FALLEN (from l-r): Alistair Rowe (lead guitar), Ross Vickers (guitar), Nathan “Fallen” Edwards (vocals), Richard “Smee” Matthews (drums), Dave “The Ripper” Morris (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Taking in elements of nu-metal and groove metal, Staffordshire/Cheshire five-piece Fallen have a sound that is hard-hitting and infectious, influenced by the likes of Disturbed and Five Finger Death Punch.
They combine this with American prison attire, masks, and much theatrics to unleash a live set high in energy and intensity, which has resulted in the band gaining a devout following, who they call “The Fallen Horde“, and a spot on The Independent newspaper’s list of the best 100 unsigned acts to see live.
Having released their debut EP, ‘Convictions’, last year to rave reviews, the quintet plan to bring out an eagerly-anticipated follow-up in 2018. However, before then, they are taking a couple of months break, down to personal commitments.
I chatted with them prior to what would be their last gig until next summer, supporting Circus Junkie Rebels in Hanley, and this is what they had to say:
How did the band get together?
NATHAN “FALLEN” EDWARDS (vocals): Admittedly, I didn’t start up the band, as it was started by Alistair. I joined after replying to a BandMix advert, and through a lot of line-up changes and stuff, it’s now become mine and Alistair’s baby.
Dave’s been in the band for, I think it’s coming up to a year and a half now, nearly two years. One of the guys playing with us tonight is a stand-in who played with us for around 12 months.
The drummer is the newest member, it would be fair to say. He’s been with us for seven, eight months, and he was originally brought in as a stand-in, but he excelled, and we found him to be far more committed, a better drummer all round, so we made him permanent.
How did the name Fallen come about?
NATHAN: I would have to defer that to Alistair, because I inherited the name when I joined the band. To be honest, I’ve always really liked the name.
We’ve only really had one bit of a hiccup with it, as there’s another band out there called Fallen, they play Evanescence covers. Every now and again, when they play at The Box in Crewe, we get messages saying, “Can you save me a ticket for your gig?“, and we have to reply, “It’s not us!” (Both laugh)
To be honest, I think the name was chosen because it sounded cool and there weren’t a lot of people using it. The only other drawback has been that some of the venues we’ve played at have put us down as The Fallen, and we have had to go, “It’s just Fallen!”
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
NATHAN: Actually, we have quite an interesting way of writing. I play guitar, like almost everyone else in the band, and what we do is if anyone’s got some riffs in their head that sound pretty cool, we will put an entire rehearsal to one side for writing and recording.
We all come in with guitars, and we will all show off the riffs that we’ve got. We’ll either go “yay” or “nay” or someone might say, “Change that note, it might sound cooler that way“, and between all of us as a band, we have a good chemistry, and we know how each other writes, and the sounds we like to hear…
DAVE “THE RIPPER” MORRIS (bass): And then we video record it at the end, just so we know what we’re actually playing.
NATHAN: I then take the video recording away. From the field of music, it starts to develop its own flavour, and it has to be real, balls-to-the-wall, thrashy stuff. It can’t be terrible, it has to be strong, uplifting, hard and violent, so from there, I will write the lyrics, tailoring it to the sound of the music.
What inspires the band lyrically?
NATHAN: I would say Disturbed are a really big influence on us, because I think David Draiman is an excellent songwriter, and if I could pull off just one-tenths of what he can do, then I would be very pleased with myself.
Other than that, you can definitely say we draw some inspiration from Five Finger Death Punch, Pantera…
DAVE: Some of our songs have also been influenced by TV shows. One of our newest ones was based on Supernatural.
NATHAN: Yeah, these days, you get into the habit of binge-watching TV shows, and then you think of them while writing some lyrics down. You think, “That would sound really cool“, so with the Supernatural-inspired track, I wrote some lyrics about demonic possession, hence the title, ‘Possession’, and that was based on one of the episodes.
You released your debut EP, ‘Convictions’, last year. How did you find the reaction to it?
DAVE: To begin with, it was really good.
NATHAN: We’ve actually started to record a second EP. All we’ve got to do now are the vocals and mixing.
DAVE: Last year, when we did our EP launch, the venue we did it at was packed, and there were lots of people there who were actually buying it.
NATHAN: I was really happy with how it was received, but it was a shame that we didn’t manage to film a music video for any of the tracks.
Also, maybe if we had mastered it slightly differently, but we’re hoping, after the release of the second EP, to go back to ‘Convictions’, and release it as a self-titled seven track mini-album. That would more than likely happen next March, April.
Unfortunately, we’re going to have to take a little break after tonight, for various reasons.
DAVE: Yeah, me and my girlfriend are having a baby, Ross is getting married and going on tour with his other band, Footprints In The Custard…
NATHAN: I’m going to have to go into hospital and have a few operations that, unfortunately, can’t be avoided. I’m going to be out of action for at least a month.
DAVE: Therefore, tonight’s gig will be our last until some time next summer, but to be fair, we’re working around other people’s commitments.
NATHAN: When we’re all available again, we’ll be focusing on getting the second EP out, maybe write some more new material, and hopefully, we’ll finally get to make a music video.
The break’s not going to impede us in any way, we’ll be back out in the middle of next year, harder, better, faster, stronger.
The band are known for their theatrical, energetic live sets. Is that something you would say you put just as much effort into as your music?
DAVE: It’s now just more of a routine, isn’t it?
NATHAN: Yeah, when people have first joined the band, they become really excited about putting on all the costumes and getting to design their character and form their own persona, but when you’ve been doing it for about two or three years…
DAVE: You get to the venue about half an hour before you’re on, get into your costume…I’m not saying the excitement doesn’t fade, but we now know what to do without ever really thinking about it.
NATHAN: It would be like if you wore glasses, and you left for work first thing in the morning without them, you would know there was something wrong. For us, Fallen has always been about being theatrical, what with the American prison jumpsuits and gas masks, which we’ve had since day one, and they’re never going to go anywhere.
About three years ago, we did a few gigs where we just wore black T-shirts and combats, but it wasn’t anywhere near as fun. The only drawback to dressing up is that when you’ve been screaming and growling throughout the set, some of the crowd are afraid to come up to us afterwards, because they seem to think we’re mentally unhinged, and we’re not! (Both laugh)
DAVE: The flipside of that is when we haven’t done the dressing up, we still haven’t had many come up to us, because they don’t recognise you.
NATHAN: There are people out there who have seen me about half a dozen times on stage, and they’ve come up to me and gone, “You look familiar. Are you in a band?“, and I’ve replied, “Yeah, I’m in Fallen“, and they look at me and go, “You’re not in that band!“, because they don’t recognise me without the costume and make-up.
I have to keep saying to them, “I’m in Fallen“, but they’re still unsure.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
NATHAN: The long-term aim is to keep going until we stop enjoying it.
NATHAN: We’re knocking on to our late twenties, early thirties now, so the chances of making it big, playing Download or any other big festival, are getting smaller every year. The organisers of these festivals want young guys who can sell tickets to 18, 19 year olds.
DAVE: We do it because it’s fun, and we genuinely enjoy doing it, playing the same style of music we were listening to about ten years ago.
NATHAN: We’re probably getting over the hill now, but we’ll keep on doing it until we no longer find it fun, and then, we’ll just call it a day, with no hard feelings from anybody.
‘CONVICTIONS’, THE DEBUT EP FROM FALLEN, CAN BE BROUGHT ON CD FROM THEIR GIGS.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THESE SITES: