DARK STARES

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INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In 2009, Hertfordshire brothers Miles Kristian (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Brett Harland (bass/backing vocals), and Taylor (drums/guitar/backing vocals) Howell got together with their friend Harry Collins (lead guitar/backing vocals) to form Dark Stares.

Since then, the band have been constantly crafting an edgy, stimulating and immersing alternative rock sound influenced by a wide variety of outfits, ranging from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, to Muse and Royal Blood.

Within three years of the quartet’s formation, they had brought out a successful debut EP, played live with the likes of Enter Shikari and The Darkness, and one of their singles had been chosen by Bono himself as part of a U2 single promo.

Having been three-and-a-half years since the release of third EP, ‘Soul Contract’, the St Albans collective will be bringing out their debut album this May, and they gave me a little insight into its recording process, as well as what can expected from it, when we chatted recently.

How did the band get together?

Well we’ve always been tight-knit, three of us are brothers, and our good family friend Harry has been our mate since we were kids. Our mums were good friends themselves at school, so he’s definitely our honorary bro – we’re all very close.

From where did the name Dark Stares originate?

It kind of came from a TV series called Funnybones, which was a cartoon shown in the mornings for children. It had a memorable theme tune, repeating “dark dark” this and “dark dark” that, one of which was “down the dark dark stairs … some skeletons lived“.

There was a small nod also to a character called Darkstar from the ‘A Song of Dance and Fire’ books, which had also influenced our first ever name (Kalazar), before we settled on Dark Stares.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We’ve always been very inspired by our favourite bands, but during the early days when we used to jam down in a shed, we’d play and play trying to sound like our heroes and develop a ‘big’ or ‘hard’ sound.

It took a while to eventually get the inspiration for songs to come through that felt like our own that had a chorus or riff worth hanging on to.

What influences the band lyrically?

We’ve all contributed lyrics to our songs, there’s usually one main writer from a lyric standpoint, and to be honest, that can really be as diverse as the topic or emotion of a song itself, there’s no main influencer there.

In the autumn of 2012, you unveiled a video for single ‘Bad Machine’, which quickly got over 100,000 YouTube views, and was selected by Bono for U2 single promos. You must have been blown away by all that.

That was a bit surreal. We’d seen ‘Bad Machine’ growing on our YouTube channel and watched the downloads and plays coming in, but when it was used for ‘Invisible’ and such a big band like U2, that was pretty amazing looking back and was a bit strange being in the press for it.

This May, the band will be bringing out their debut album, ‘Darker Days Are Here To Stay’. Why has it taken you nine years to do an album?

We definitely always wanted to release a debut album to an engaged audience, rather than going in cold.

Building an international fan base, however modest, is not easy, and we wanted our fans to be asking and prodding for us to get in the studio and do an album of new material. Doing the EPs has allowed us to build that whilst also developing our sound.

How has the recording process been?

It’s been challenging. We’ve invested in our own studio, building it over the years with gear, so as you’re not time limited, you have to self-motivate and propel yourself through the tracking days. Having the studio now is a great asset for producing our own music and future albums.

And how will the album be different to the three EPs that you’ve released so far?

It’s the best of our last EP, ‘Soul Contract’, developed further with some of our best new material to date. ‘Pedal Pusher’ has been a stand out track so far, and we think there’s some great new songs on there.

The band have played with the likes of Enter Shikari, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals, and were also the sole support for The Darkness at their 2011 comeback gig at iconic London venue The 100 Club. How did that come about?

Fun Lovin’ Criminals, we shared a stage with at a festival. Enter Shikari are a fellow local band originally, so there was definitely some St Albans support there. The Darkness comeback gig was a mysterious and unexplainable gift from the heavens, like U2 picking ‘Bad Machine’ for that promo stunt.

And how was they as experiences for you all?

They were awesome. All totally different experiences, the Shikari gig was at The Forum in Hatfield on a large stage and big audience with three or so other great bands on the bill.

The Darkness was really intimate with just us supporting and had Brian May and other legends just wandering around at the 100 Club.

The festival slot was CockRock 2012, and had Fun Lovin’ Criminals headlining, but we also had a good chat with The Subways afterwards who were really friendly and supportive, another good Hertfordshire band.

What are the band’s plans for after the album comes out?

We’ve already started rehearsals and tracking for our second album, so with our studio banging out the tracks now, we’re looking forward to getting stuck into more new material and getting it out there for our fans to enjoy.

Dark Stares Album Cover

‘DARKER DAYS ARE HERE TO STAY’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM DARK STARES, WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 11.

FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HERE.

 

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CHAPTER AND VERSE

Chapter And Verse band photo

CHAPTER AND VERSE: (front left): Darren Gosling (guitar), (back left): Ash Morton (drums), (centre): Josh Carter (vocals), (right): Jonny Hopwood (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From the east end of London, Chapter and Verse are currently ascending at a rapid rate.

Since getting together in early 2015, the quartet have garnered much praise with a diverse, noisy alternative rock sound abundant in passion and raw emotion, which has seen them compared to the likes of Circa Survive, Crooks, and Saosin.

With this, the band have also wowed crowds across the UK playing festival appearances, their own headline tours, and support slots for such outfits as Courage, My Love, and Dead!

Chapter and Verse’s frontman, Josh Carter, spoke to me about all this, getting Metallica legend Lars Ulrich’s seal of approval, as well as what the band have lined up, prior to their recent set in Derby supporting Dream State.

How did the band get together?

Me, Darren and Jonny were all in bands previously, doing lots of different things, but it got to a stage where we decided that we wanted to do something brand new, and from scratch, so that’s what we did.

The band started off as a three-piece, then later on, we drafted Ash in. We were lucky to find him, actually. We found him on an internet forum, and we brought him in through that.

It’s a pretty boring story! (laughs)

How did the name Chapter and Verse come about?

We took about six months to come up with that name. It was so tricky, because every name that we came up with that we thought sounded cool turned out to already belong to someone else.

One day, we came across this phrase, “chapter and verse“, and we felt that pretty much summed us up, because the specificity of that phrase we felt worked well, and that was that.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

It varies. A lot of the time, one of us will come forward with a skeleton, or a rough idea, of a song, where we want it to go, and we’ll adapt it from there, so it’s normally a case of adapting a whole guitar piece in a very useful manner, adding vocals to it, Darren will make it his by making changes to it, or we’ll adapt it from the lyrics, but we’re all big contributors, there’s no main songwriter, so it’s a massive team effort.

What inspires the band lyrically?

A lot of things. I personally find it really hard to write about anything that I don’t really feel too strongly about, so it’s not like there’s just one type of topic, I just write about things that feel real to me, that I’ve thought about a lot.

Sometimes, it’s things that I really need to get off my chest, or that I feel really strongly about, or that I have something to say on. Normally, if I’m not full of opinions on a topic, I can’t write anything on it! (laughs)

Usually, when I know what my goal is, I’m able to sum it up in a sentence, and it kind of all splurges from there.

Last year, you brought out a single, ‘Magazines’, which followed your 2016 debut EP, ‘The Wolves Back Home’. How was the reaction to those releases?

The reaction to both of them were great. The EP, it’s old for us now, it was the first thing we’d ever done as a band, and at that time, we were still finding our feet, trying to figure out what we wanted to sound like, what we were good and bad at, but it was all received really positively.

The first EP was just five tracks, which we wrote individually, whereas with the new EP that’s coming out later this year, ‘Glow’, and also with ‘Magazines’, we have put a lot more thought into it, learned how to tie everything in better, develop our sound more, become more mature, and it seems, judging by the reaction to ‘Magazines’ as a single, that more people are excited about what we’re going to do next, and I hope that they also recognise the maturity that we think the new EP has.

Speaking of ‘Glow’, how has the recording process for it been so far?

Very good. We’ve completely finished recording the EP now, we’ve actually been sitting on it for a while now. We recorded it with Neil Kennedy, who has worked with bands like Creeper, Milk Teeth and Boston Manor.

On our first EP, we approached him, asking if he could help us record it, but this time, he actually came to us and said, “If you’re thinking of doing another record, I would love to get involved.

Neil was a lot more hands-on with the second EP, so that was good. He had lots of ideas on tones and sounds, he would listen to what we had done, and he would say, “What you’ve done here is great, but what you’ve done there is not so great.

He did a lot of channelling of what we do, and I think that has helped ‘Glow’ to flow much better.

When do you think you’ll be releasing your second EP?

There’ll be some more tracks coming out first, and hopefully, a new video, I don’t really have a release date for them at the moment, but it will definitely be at some point later this year, hopefully by the summer.

Going back to ‘Magazines’, that was recently played on Metallica legend Lars Ulrich’s Apple Music Beats 1 radio show. How was that as an experience?

The weirdest, most bizarre thing ever! (laughs) It was really odd, because even now, we have no idea how it happened. We had nothing to do with it, nor did our management.

The first we knew about it was when we were sent a tweet from Lars himself about two hours before the show first went out, and we were researching it and everything, wondering if it was actually real or just someone playing a practical joke on us.

It was just a really bizarre experience, because Darren is a huge Metallica fan, they were his first love, so I think he was really touched by it all.

Has Lars been in contact with you since he played your track?

No, he hasn’t. He’s been tweeting about his show more. He’s got bigger fish to fry! (laughs)

You’re currently supporting Dream State on their UK headline tour. How has that been going for you so far?

It’s been really great. We’ve only got four shows left after tonight, and the Dream State guys, and girl, have been lovely to us so far. Obviously, we’ve been playing to a lot of crowds that have probably only come for Dream State, so it’s been good to introduce ourselves and our music to them.

We’ve been treated very well, and a lot of people have been cool with us, so yeah, it’s all been really positive. There’s really nothing bad to say about it up to now.

Overall, how is it for the band playing live and touring?

We’ve done headline tours and support tours for other bands, like Courage, My Love, and Emp!re. We try to get out onto the road as much as we can, as much as we’re able to. We base a lot of our songwriting on how well it will go down live, because staying on form live is really important to us, so we try to do it as much as possible.

I presume there will be some live dates this year, after your current tour has been completed?

Yeah, definitely. We’re hoping to announce another tour soon, that will happen hopefully before the summer, but I can’t say anything else about that at the moment, and then after the new EP comes out, we’ll be in festival season.

We’ll be playing the 2000 Trees festival, a handful of independent ones, and hopefully soon, we’ll be able to announce more of the festivals that we’ll be playing.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

Someone who interviewed us recently summed this up perfectly. In order to do an album, we have to earn it first, so we want to get to the stage where we feel like we are ready to make an album that we can be proud of, so yeah, that’s our main goal.

Chapter And Verse Single Cover

‘MAGAZINES’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM CHAPTER AND VERSE, IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, GOOGLE PLAY, DEEZER & SOUNDCLOUD.

‘GLOW’, THE BAND’S SECOND EP, WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

FURTHER INFO ON CHAPTER AND VERSE CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.chapterandverseuk.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/chapterandverseuk

TWITTER: twitter.com/ChapterandVer5e

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/chapterandverseuk

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FORGOTTEN SONS

Forgotten Sons band photo

FORGOTTEN SONS (from l-r): Craig Watt (bass), Robert “Birdy” Burgess (vocals), John Gair (drums), Sandy Middleton (guitar/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

They may be from the most northern point of the British Isles, but Shetland four-piece Forgotten Sons are determined not to let their geographical isolation deter them from pursuing their musical ambitions.

Since forming in 2015, the band have gathered much momentum for a captivating sound full of heavy riffs, melodic hooks, and high energy.

This, along with frank, heartfelt songwriting and a strong work ethic, has seen them compared to such outfits as Biffy Clyro, Alkaline Trio, and the Foo Fighters.

The quartet spoke to me about their recent appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, what can be expected from their new single, out next month, and how it is for them coming from one of the places you would think would produce a heavy rock collective.

How did the band form?

The band formed when four close friends decided to part ways with their individual bands and get together to form Forgotten Sons. We were all hanging out and socialising together out with the band, so we decided to join forces.

From where did the name Forgotten Sons originate?

We all like the band Rise Against and liked their song ‘Long Forgotten Sons’. We also had a joke saying we were forgotten about in the Shetland music scene as it is mostly fiddles and accordion music.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Birdy and Sandy usually sit down together in the house with Sandy coming up with guitar riffs. The lyrics are put together by the pair of them. We all meet up at band practice and jam the songs until we get a structure to the song.

What inspires the band’s lyrics?

Mostly Birdy writes about previous relationship problems or life issues. Life itself is our inspiration for lyrics.

You were recently featured on BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat. How did that come about?

BBC Newsbeat were coming up to Shetland to do a feature on the isle and the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival. We had a friend that put our band forward to them, and we had an interview that was aired on BBC Radio 1.

And I presume you’ve had a lot of interest since that went out?

We have had interest from all corners of the UK, and quite recently had some airtime in the Netherlands.

Next month, the band will be bringing out a new single, ‘Ragged Sails High’. How has the recording process been?

We recorded a demo ourselves in an old house with our drummer, John, mixing it. The Animal Farm label took our demo, remixed it to a high quality, and got it mastered in Wales.

And what can be expected of it?

It is quite a rocky number compared to our last single, ‘Leave The Light On’. There is a lot of energy and power to this song.

Coming from the Shetland Isles, how is the music scene there?

Mostly fiddles and accordions. There is a rock scene up here, but it sways towards the heavy metal side of things. We are halfway in between with our sound.

Are there many other bands/artists from that area doing what you’re doing? 

We have a handful of bands that are the same genre as us, but they will concentrate on covers rather than creating their own songs.

What’s planned for after the upcoming single is released?

We are headlining the Pitmedden Festival in Aberdeenshire towards the end of May, on the Saturday night. We also plan on doing a mini-tour of Scotland to get ourselves known on the mainland.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

We’d love to be gigging all the time and getting ourselves heard. We’d love to quit our day jobs and do this for a living.

Forgotten Sons Single Cover

‘RAGGED SAILS HIGH’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM FORGOTTEN SONS, WILL BE RELEASED VIA THE ANIMAL FARM ON MARCH 23.

FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HERE.

 

 

DISTANT BLUE

Distant Blue band photo

DISTANT BLUE (from l-r): Joe Cliff (bass), Peter Wronko (drums), Ed Binding (vocals/lead guitar), Kieran Hodnett (rhythm guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Taking influence from the likes of Green Day and Blink-182, Distant Blue take you back to a period when pop-punk reigned supreme, with a fun blend of explosive power chords and deep lyrics drawing from the band’s past experiences.

2017 saw the East Midlands four-piece make quite an impact on their local music scene, with unmissable, highly energetic live performances, including an appearance at Nottingham’s Macmillan Fest, and a well-received single, ‘Amber Leaf’.

I spoke to the guys prior to their recent set supporting Dream State in Derby, and this is what they had to say:

How did the band form?

ED BINDING (vocals/lead guitar): It started off just being me and Peter. We had been in bands together before, and we decided to embark on a new project. We started looking around for people to join us, and one day, we asked Joe, who I’ve known for my entire life, and Kieran, who used to go to our old school, if they wanted to jam with us.

PETER WRONKO (drums): Joe and Kieran were kind of in the band before they became official members.

ED: Yeah, when me and Peter were in bands with other people…

KIERAN HODNETT (rhythm guitar): I used to follow them around. I was their number one supporter.

(All laugh)

ED: And now, you’re in a band with us.

KIERAN (laughing): Yeah.

ED: Congratulations, bud.

From where did the name Distant Blue originate?

PETER: Honestly, a friend of ours, who is actually coming to see us tonight, came up with the name.

ED: Distant Blue is actually the title of an Architects song, but we didn’t know that at the time.

PETER: She suggested that we call ourselves by that name, and we thought, “That sounds good“, but when we realised that it was actually a song by Architects, we all went, “Oh, shit!

ED: However, by that time, we had already brought out T-shirts and everything with Distant Blue on them, so it was easier to keep the name, but we’re doing alright with it so far.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

ED: It’s quite loose, like sometimes, I’ll write a song and bring it to the lads, or we’ll just go into practice and jam something.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ED: Past experiences, mainly.

PETER: Growing up, girls…

ED: Girls, yeah. (laughs) A little bit of politics in there, as well, but we don’t tend to dwell on that too much. It’s not really worth our time. Just general life, really.

KIERAN: Yeah, what we go through.

Last November, you brought out a single, ‘Amber Leaf’, which followed your debut EP, ‘HolyWater’. How was the reaction to those releases?

ED: Generally, really good.

PETER: I don’t think ‘HolyWater’ was very good, to be honest. I felt it wasn’t recorded to our best quality.

ED: We do plan to re-record it, though, but I think ‘Amber Leaf’ got a good reaction.

PETER: To be honest, ‘HolyWater’ was a bit raw, but when ‘Amber Leaf’ came out, everyone was like, “Woah! It’s a catchy song, that!”

(All laugh)

So when were you thinking of re-recording ‘HolyWater’?

ED: Maybe in a couple of years.

PETER: At the moment, we’re focusing on newer stuff.

KIERAN: Maybe when ‘HolyWater’ reaches an anniversary or something.

ED: Yeah, we’ll re-release it then to a much higher quality. Maybe, we could even re-write some of the songs from it, but that’s just all ideas at the moment. Nothing is set in stone.

The band are supporting Dream State here tonight. How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

KIERAN: Love it.

ED: The best thing there is.

PETER: It’s better than sex!

(All laugh)

KIERAN: That’s going down in history!

PETER: It’s all the adrenaline you get when you’re up on stage, playing the music you’ve written as a band, making the crowd happy.

ED: Yeah, any feedback from the audience, for us, is crucial, even if it’s negative.

KIERAN: And if it is negative, at least it’s constructive criticism.

What are your plans for the near future?

PETER: We’ve got some big plans, and hopefully, they will happen. We just have to keep pushing ourselves.

ED: Hopefully, we won’t let anything slip too soon, but we hope to break out of the East Midlands, and get to further parts of the UK.

KIERAN: Expand our audience.

ED: Just get out of Nottingham and Derby, really. We’re sat on a few tracks at the minute, so we can pick and choose when to bring them out. The future is bright.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

ED: To just enjoy ourselves and have fun. If we get anywhere, that would be great, if not, we keep on trying, you know what I mean?

PETER: We won’t let anything stop us.

KIERAN: Hopefully, if we can become that band who can be uplifting to anybody who finds themselves in a bad mood, more people will listen to us, and that would be one of our end goals.

ED: Yeah. Adding onto that, knowing that others out there can get joy out of listening to your music, connecting to them on that level, that would be some achievement.

Distant Blue Single Cover

‘AMBER LEAF’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM DISTANT BLUE, IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, SOUNDCLOUD & BANDCAMP.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/OfficialDistantBlue

TWITTER: twitter.com/DistntBlue

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/distantblueuk

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

 

ARMS AKIMBO

Arms Akimbo band photo

ARMS AKIMBO: Back row: Matt Sutton (drums) Front row (from l-r): Colin Boppell (bass), Chris Kalil (guitar/vocals), Peter Schrupp (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having formed as part of a college project three years ago, Los Angeles four-piece Arms Akimbo have, in that time, established themselves as a real musical force.

The band have achieved this through a run of successful singles and an EP, which has seen them perfect a powerful style of indie rock, containing infectious riffs, anthemic choruses, soaring harmonies and sophisticated songwriting.

This, as well as their raucous live performances, has resulted in the quartet getting almost two million plays on Spotify, and support slots for such illustrious outfits as The Animals.

Now, with sophomore EP, ‘The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party’ having just been released, Arms Akimbo’s frontman, Peter Schrupp, chatted with me about it, as well as his, and the band’s, experiences so far.

How did the band form?

The band actually stems from Chris’s recording arts senior thesis project. For the assignment, Chris worked with me to track some of my solo project material/work on writing full band assignments, since that was part of the project criteria. They brought both Colin and Matt to work on the sessions, and the rest is history.

How did the name Arms Akimbo come about?

I just had a few names I was considering for solo stuff. It means “hands on your hips,” and it sounded silly, so we were into it. I think I saw it in a book of “least commonly known English phrases,” and put it in my notes.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Something we’ve gotten more keen to when writing new songs is thinking, “Do I have anything to say?

If there’s a driving force to the lyrics, it usually influences a mood in the musicality. Chris and I both write, and we’ve had a couple eerie moments where we bring songs to the band and they sort of feel like kindred spirits or “sister songs“. We’ve been writing a lot about Los Angeles, social influence, and the classic – heartbreak.

What influences the band lyrically?

Nostalgia. There’s a feeling of both longing and happiness in missing someone or something. I hope we can invoke that sentiment in our songs. I also think we’re influenced a lot by comedy. Not that our songs are inherently funny, but we enjoy turns of phrase and think they deserve a place in music.

In 2015, you released your debut EP, ‘Vignettes’, and the following year, you brought out a single, ‘Michigan’, which, to date, has had close to a million plays on Spotify. Would you say you were blown away from the huge responses they got?

Yeah. We’ve been amazed to see the response to our music since day one. It’s insane, because what we saw locally was the gradual turning of heads – people going, “Woah, you guys are kinda good!” Meanwhile we had people in Argentina or the UK telling us they listen to our little EP every day. I guess that’s the beauty of the internet.

I remember writing a timeline for our first year of being a band, and we achieved those goals in four months. It’s safe to say we had to restructure our goals and realise that this band had become something much bigger than us from the jump.

Last year, the band opened for rhythm and blues legends The Animals at Santa Monica Pier. How did that come about?

We won a battle of the bands, one of those ‘School of Rock’ type victories where they all fight for that ONE BIG SHOW. We figured we should just go for it and honestly, we had no idea we would even make it through.

On the day itself, we got to meet Eric Burdon and some of the band members, and we have nothing but love for the whole experience.

And how was that as an experience for you all?

We got to hang out at the secret Snapchat party backstage and play ping-pong next to Eric. On the real, it was a complete whirlwind. At the end of the day, we just love performing, and the more people we can interact with the happier we are.

We had the pier completely filled with people, and thousands more down at the beach also watching. Surreal.

The band have just unveiled their second EP, ‘The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party’. How was the recording process?

The process was fantastic. We teamed up with Stephen Gomez again, who had produced our previous three singles.

What’s great about working with Stephen is that he’s really good at working on his feet. Some of the songs on this EP were fully fleshed out before going to him, and some required a lot of creative input in the studio. We’ve worked together with Stephen enough now that we know he understands our end goal and our vision.

For anybody who hasn’t managed to listen to the EP yet, what can they expect of it?

On this new EP, we took a chance and really stretched our sound. While the production style remains similar to our previous singles, the actual content itself varies quite a bit within the album.

Also, we wanted ‘The Wrong Kind Of Dance Party’ to feel like one coherent work rather than six singular tracks. We spent a long time trying to find the best way to tie the whole album together, and we’re super excited about what we ended up with.

What are your plans now that the EP has come out?

First, we’re going to celebrate with a show at the Troubadour in West Hollywood.

After that, we’re literally getting right back in the studio to record some more songs that we’ve written. We’re also hitting the road and planning on a ton of shows. Clubs, festivals, houses, etc. We just figure it’s a cycle, and we have a lot more to share with everyone right now.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

We live together and create all of our work out of our living room. We just want to bring our living room to everyone around us.

Arms Akimbo EP Cover

‘THE WRONG KIND OF DANCE PARTY’, THE SECOND EP FROM ARMS AKIMBO, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, DEEZER & BANDCAMP.

YOU CAN ALSO LISTEN TO ONE OF THE TRACKS FROM THE NEW RELEASE, ‘SEVEN MIRRORS’, ON SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/arms_akimbo/seven-mirrors

FURTHER INFO CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.armsakimbomusic.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ArmsAkimboOfficial

TWITTER: twitter.com/ArmsAkimboBand

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/armsakimbo_official

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

 

 

THE LOTUS

The Lotus band photo

THE LOTUS (from l-r): Marco Lancs (drums), Rossano “Rox” Capriotti (vocals/bass/keyboards), Luca De Falco (guitar/backing vocals), Kristal Cross (synth/backing vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Lotus are a four-piece, originally from Italy, but now based in Manchester, who pride themselves on an ability to create an emotional, elaborate and atmospheric sound that takes the listener on a journey of self-discovery.

Since the release of their 2010 debut album, ‘Forgotten Silence’, the band have won much acclaim, and the three singles they brought out last year was proof that the guys have not lost their touch.

With an eagerly-awaited second album coming out later this year, Rossano “Rox” Capriotti, The Lotus’s frontman, spoke to me about its recording process, what can be expected of it, and the journey the quartet have been on up to now.

How did the band get together?

Me and Luca started the band in 2004: we were just kids trying to imitate their idols, and in fact, we were playing a few covers of Muse, Queen, Pink Floyd and Nirvana, but soon we got bored of playing someone else’s songs and we decided we wanted to play our own music.

After a three-month US tour in 2008, we started working on our very first album, ‘Forgotten Silence’, which was eventually released two years later.

How did the name The Lotus come about?

The band’s name was chosen randomly by our very first guitarist, who was in love with R.E.M.’s song ‘Lotus’ at that time. We liked it and we realised that, besides the musicality and majesty of the word lotus, it was the perfect name for us because of its meaning of purity and rebirth.

To somebody discovering your music for the first time, how would you describe it to them?

It’s very hard to find a proper definition of our sound. We’ve never needed to specify what kind of music we were playing, but we just realised that people need it. Everyone needs you to be classified in a specific area (genre), even though you don’t recognise it as yours.

So, having said that, we’d say our music is a kind of alternative Rock with a lot of influences from metal, electronic and classic rock music. Some people have compared us to Muse, Faith No More, Dream Theater and Placebo.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We are big fans of Queen and Muse, as you might have already understood, but we also love Pink Floyd, Metallica, System Of A Down, U2, Depeche Mode, or even some heavier stuff like Slipknot.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our writing process has changed over the years. We used to write riffs and parts in the rehearsal room, re-elaborate them at home, and then take them back to the rehearsal room to give them the final touch.

Now, it’s more a computer-based writing process, since half of the band is living in Manchester, and the other half in Italy, but we’re glad technology is helping us a lot.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Most of the songs are written by me and Luca and we both get inspired by our everyday life.

We think that words are overrated, because each individual can understand different meanings based on the different mental set, but if you try to write good lyrics with the right music, we think the listener can be led on the right path by the mixture of words and frequencies.

You’re currently working on your second full-length album. How has the recording process been up to now?

We started writing songs for the new album back in 2008, even before our first album. After moving to Manchester, we decided we wanted a great producer at the helm, and so we contacted Paul Reeve, who’s worked with the likes of Muse, Razorlight, and Supergrass.

The pre-production process began in 2016, and we initially went to the recording studio in September that year to record four tracks that eventually will be included in the album. We have already released three of them and you can find them on Youtube, Spotify, and all major digital stores and channels.

Our plan is to finish everything within the next four to five months, and hopefully release it before the end of this year.

We’re currently promoting our new singles and playing them live in the Manchester area, but we will definitely get on the tour bus after the album release.

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

We’ve played a lot of shows since we formed the band. We’ve been in the US and UK before moving permanently to Manchester, so I’d say we know how to be on stage, but it still feels like the first time: it’s a strange feeling, but we love it.

Regarding our sound live, we’d say we our shows are definitely energetic and powerful. Even though our music is not heavy metal, we do have that kind of live approach. We try to let the audience be completely overwhelmed by our music both physically and mentally.

In the future, we will implement some interesting light effects, though.

What are your plans for the near future?

Our next steps are to finish recording the album, releasing that and the new single, and a lot of gigs!

What is the band’s long-term aim?

Touring the world for two years, and then back to the studio. That is actually all we want! If you can do a worldwide tour, it means you’ve sold a lot of copies, and you’re really enjoying the musician’s life.

THE SECOND FULL-LENGTH ALBUM FROM THE LOTUS WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.the-lotus.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/thelotusofficial

TWITTER: twitter.com/TheLotusBand

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/thelotusbandofficial

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/thelotusofficial

 

 

 

 

 

 

roves

roves band photo

roves (from l-r): Matt Jamieson (drums), Ethan Morgan (vocals/guitar), Ellis Morgan (bass), Connor Coutts (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having played in various bands around the Reading area from an early age, lifelong friends Ethan Morgan and Connor Coutts decided to form their own outfit.

Soon afterwards, they named it roves, and recruited Ethan’s brother Ellis and Matt Jamieson.

The four-piece have a sound that is characterised by emotional, atmospheric ambience full of infectious energy.

Having recently released their debut single, ‘Always’, Ethan spoke to me about it, their journey so far, and what the outfit have lined up in the near future.

From where did the name roves originate?

It originally came when we were in a Range Rover. For some reason, roves popped out at me and from there, I couldn’t get it out of my head. We searched up the definition and “to travel without a destination” seemed to fit with what we’re doing with the band.

We considered other options, but really, as soon as roves came to the table, we had the name sorted.

How would you describe your sound?

If we were to headline it under a genre, we’d probably say alternative rock, however, we like to use the tagline of “ambient and atmospheric sad songs“. We reckon that probably gives a bit more of an insight into our sound.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We draw influence from everywhere, and each of us have individual tastes that we think comes out in our music. Ellis and I have always favoured acoustic artists growing up such as Ben Howard and Lewis Watson.

Matt, on the other hand, comes from a background of loving pop-punk music and bands such as Moose Blood, and Connor, his music taste is as eclectic as it gets, with anyone from Chance the Rapper to Led Zeppelin yielding inspiration.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

It varies between two different approaches. It either comes from me bringing a near complete structure and melody of a song to a rehearsal and then building it up collectively, or Connor will bring in a riff or guitar part that we then build upon.

What inspires the band’s lyrics?

I tend to write lyrics from experiences or stories people have told me. It usually just comes from what I want to put down on paper or into song. It just so happens that I tend to write better sad songs than I do the opposite.

You have just brought out a debut single, ‘Always’. How was the recording process for that?

It was great! We recorded with Sam Winfield at Studio91 in Newbury and we couldn’t have asked for a better first time in the studio. It’s the only song that we’ve played at every gig so far, and so we knew what we wanted from our time there.

It was a really comfortable and enjoyable couple of days, and we’re hoping to return for a second time over Easter to record our next single.

Speaking of your next single, entitled ‘Bottle’, what can be expected of it?

‘Bottle’ is a song that started off as an instrumental that Connor wrote to assist our video, ‘introducing roves’, and from there, it turned into more of a full song. It’s a video we collaborated on with Jordan Golebiowski from General Public.

Jordan is a great friend of the band and is practically the fifth member, he’s been following us around and helping us out with loads of stuff as we’ve developed.

In terms of “Bottle“, it’s a contrast to a more traditional alt-rock song such as “Always“. For now, you can find it accompanying ‘introducing roves’ on YouTube, but it will be released onto Soundcloud in the near future.

You recently played at The Boileroom in Guildford, and on BBC Introducing in Reading. How were they as experiences for you all?

We loved both gigs. It was our first time playing in Guildford, and The Boileroom was an awesome venue.

In terms of the BBC Introducing gig, growing up in Reading, we had always wanted to play the Purple Turtle, and had seen other bands come through and do it before. A great crowd turned out, and it was definitely our favourite gig to date.

And next month, the band will be supporting indie-folk outfit The Tin Pigeons in Camden. I can imagine you’re all very much looking forward to that.

Yeah we can’t wait! Connor and I saw them at Barn on the Farm in Gloucestershire a couple of years back, and they’re a really sweet band. It’s our first time playing in London as well, and we couldn’t be more excited.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

In the next couple of months, we have a lot planned. We’re hoping to release our next single around May, but in the meantime, we’re planning on playing as many gigs as possible, keeping our YouTube channel active, and officially releasing jumpers to our merch line on Depop.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

Really, we would just love to be doing well enough with our music to make it our full-time job. It’s a long way off yet, but we’re really passionate about what we’re doing, and hopefully, people can get behind that.

roves Single Cover

‘ALWAYS’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM roves, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, GOOGLE PLAY, AMAZON MUSIC & SOUNDCLOUD.

FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/rovesband

TWITTER: twitter.com/rovesband

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/rovesband

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com