Mallory Knox band photo

MALLORY KNOX (from l-r): James Gillett (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Joe Savins (lead guitar/backing vocals), Sam Douglas (lead vocals/bass), Dave Rawling (drums)


Since forming back in 2009, Mallory Knox have firmly established themselves as one of the UK’s top alternative rock outfits, having brought out three critically-acclaimed albums, played a host of prestigious festivals, including Reading and Leeds, and the Vans Warped Tour, as well as amassing a dedicated, sizable fan base.

In February, the band dropped a bombshell, in that long-term frontman, Mikey Chapman was departing with immediate effect, and prior to headlining The Sugarmill venue in Hanley, one of the stops on their current UK tour, guitarists Joe Savins and James Gillett spoke to me, frankly and in-depth, about how his departure has affected them, and also how it spurred the Cambridge collective on to putting together and releasing their recent single, ‘Black Holes’.

How did the band initially get together?

JOE SAVINS (lead guitar/backing vocals): We were sort of in two separate bands, Sam and Dave were in one, me and James were in the other, and it was pretty much a case of those bands coming to an end, and me and Dave deciding to jam together, with no sort of idea of what we were going to do after that, but it became one of the those things that just snowballed.

Before we knew it, we were writing songs, then, we decided to get a bassist in, so that’s when Sam joined, then, we wanted another guitarist, so James came in, and finally, Mikey came along and become our vocalist.

Initially, it was one of those things where we were just recording for fun, basically. We would do the odd gig, and then, before we knew it, there were people coming up to us asking if they could manage the band, and from there, it took off really quickly.

How did you decide upon the name Mallory Knox?

JOE: Early doors, we decided that we wanted our band to be named after a person, because…I dunno…I think it’s easy to get what a band sounds like just by hearing their name, so if a band’s name starts with a “The“, they’re most likely going to be indie, and if, for example, we had called ourselves Tears Of A Bloodlit Skyline, people would presume that we were emo, so if we go down the name route, then it’s quite hard to pinpoint our sound, and for someone to judge us before they’ve even listened to our music.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

JAMES GILLETT (rhythm guitar/backing vocals): I think we all have very different influences, but I mean, early on especially, we were all into sort of 90’s emo, Fightstar, and all that, but me and Joe have always been big fans of Oasis, and the more old-school sort of bands, and Sam’s a massive Blink-182 fan, so everyone’s sort of had their differences, but we are all into what each other are into as well.

Now, we’re more focused on what we want to do, but early on, we tried to put in elements of everyone’s influences, so that’s why you would have pop-punk sections, Fightstar-esque riff sections, things like that.

JOE: Yeah, I think now, if you played someone our new song, and they said that our biggest influences were probably, as a band, Blink-182 and Oasis, I don’t think anyone would put those two together.

Our sound isn’t directly influenced by our influences, if you know what I mean, more like they influenced us to play. It’s a bit of a weird one when we get asked this question, because it doesn’t quite add up to the sound that we actually have.

In February, Mikey left the band. Was it his decision alone to leave, or was it more of a mutual decision?

JAMES: It was completely his decision, and it was something that we actually didn’t want to happen, because we were completely happy with where we were going, and the level we were at, but for him especially, I mean early on, he was never quite happy with where we were.

Everyone else, we were all really contented and pleased of our achievements, but Mikey, he’s different to us in the sense that us four love music, we live it, basically, Sam, when he’s at home, will constantly be thinking up of new ideas for songs and writing them down, and me and Joe will play guitar when we’re at home.

Mikey is a naturally gifted, amazing vocalist, but he never really had to work for anything. I think he was happy to do it as long as he was enjoying himself, but I don’t think it was ever a dream for him, whereas for us, being in a band, playing music to people, and making a living out of it, that’s our dream, and that was the main difference between us and Mikey, really.

He said to us that he didn’t want to do any more music, but it depends on what he does now, he’s off doing what he wants to in life, whereas we weren’t going to let that hold us back from doing what we wanted to do, and that’s why we’re still going now.

Had you known for some time that Mikey was going to leave, or was it sudden?

JOE: We’d known for ages.

JAMES: The first time we knew something was going to happen was just after we had recorded ‘Wired’, and at the time, it was a bit upsetting for us, actually, because we hadn’t seen it coming, but then, there was a period where he was really cool with us, saying that he wasn’t going to go and leave us in it, he would see out the tours and everything, but to a point where we were comfortable enough to go on with him, you know, we respected, and were grateful, of that, it was just frustrating that we were just living our lives for a while, and that’s why when he made the final decision to leave, we actually thought that he would quickly change his mind and stay on, because he had multiple reasons as to why he wanted to go, and we thought that they had changed.

When we asked him again soon afterwards, he was clear that he still wanted to leave, so at that point, the rest of us went, “Let’s write some songs and see what happens“, so we could be best prepared for when we had to announce Mikey’s departure, because we knew that it would put some of our fans’s noses out of joint, and that’s why the announcement was made on, I think, a Wednesday, and then by the following weekend, we had released a new single.

It was kind of like, “Here’s the announcement, we know it’s shit, and a lot of you will be upset, as we are, but this is what we’ve been doing, here’s something new. If you don’t like it, great, if you don’t, sorry.

JOE: I think it was really important to not leave any room for any speculation as to the band’s future.

In the same announcement where we said that Mikey was leaving, we also said that Sam was going to take over as the lead vocalist, because we didn’t want all this worrying about whether someone new was going to come in, and if we were going to go down a different route. We were keen to say that we were going to carry on as before, the heartbeat of the band would remain the same, but with a different voice, that’s all.

We didn’t want people thinking, “They’re crap now without Mikey“, so that’s why we got a new track out very quickly, and make sure that our fans weren’t worrying about what we were doing, basically.

Speaking of the recent single, ‘Black Holes’, how do you think the reaction has been to that so far?

JOE: I think the reaction so far has been outstanding, to be honest, because it’s the weirdest song we’ve released.

There was always going to be a little bit of apprehension, because of course, people can get very attached to albums, and the newer stuff, at first, will not feel the same to them, so it always takes a bit of time for that to become accepted, it’s rather like when somebody new comes into a family, they tend to get rejected to start with, and we sort of knew that it would be like that for us this time, because it was our first release without Mikey.

It was so bizarre, because when we initially brought it out, it was the first time that we were worried that our fans might not generally like us, or our sound, any more, but in the end, I think we were overthinking it, because what we didn’t take into account before was that people didn’t like us only because Mikey was our singer, they actually loved our songs and songwriting.

I mean Mikey never really contributed to the writing of the songs, I think he probably only wrote about 10% of the lyrics across all of our albums, with Sam pretty much doing the other 90%, and the rest of us did all of the music, so our identity has kind of remained the same, and that was another reason why we didn’t want to bring a new singer in, because we didn’t want to change too much.

JAMES: We were fully aware that there was going to be that moment where we then found out which of our fans actually loved the band and the songs, and which of them just loved Mikey, because we were one of those bands that got to where we are now because of the people who liked Mikey, so obviously, if you were a person who liked us solely because of his vocals, then you weren’t going to like the new stuff.

I mean you might do, if you can accept that it’s a new thing, if not, you’re not going to like us any more, if Mikey was a big part of you becoming a fan of the band, therefore, we were fully aware of that, but the passion of us four is now more so than ever.

At shows now, we speak to those who have stayed on and stuck with us, who we’re so grateful for, and they tell us how grateful they are of us deciding to carry on, because even though Mikey was, and still is, a great singer, it wasn’t the be-all and end-all for them, and that’s why we’re still doing it.





Judas band photo

JUDAS (from l-r): Todd Blackmore (guitar), John Clancy (vocals/guitar), James Phillips (bass), Sam Horvath (drums)


Hailing from across the UK, but now based in London, emerging indie-rock quartet Judas have achieved a lot in the two-and-a-half years they’ve been together, including a well-received self-titled debut EP, playing at such prestigious music festivals as Isle of Wight and Reading and Leeds, and being championed by the likes of BBC Introducing, Radio X, and Clash magazine.

Recently, the band released a new single, ‘Big Mouth’, which was recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, and they sat down and spoke to me all about it and much more when the four-piece came to Hanley, as part of their recent UK tour supporting Mallory Knox.

How did the band form?

JOHN CLANCY (vocals/guitar): We all met online.

SAM HORVATH (drums): Yeah, I think that was about two-and-a-half years ago now.

JOHN: I had been in another band before. When that ended, I moved down to London, and I found these boys on a website, I think it was called Band Finder, something like that, and they were all studying at the same music college.

TODD BLACKMORE (guitar): We didn’t really know each other at the time, though.

JOHN: Once we had all met online, we decided to meet up and have a rehearsal in Camden, at the Roundhouse, actually, then after that, we all decided to form a band, and we’ve been together ever since.

From where did the name Judas originate?

JOHN: We were originally called The Disciples, because with our original line-up, before Todd joined, we all had disciples names.

TODD: Yeah, so when I came in, I was the only one that didn’t have a disciples name, so soon after that, they started calling me Judas, and then all of us realised that would make a great band name.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

JOHN: It varies all the time. We write some songs acoustically, then everyone adds their own little bit to it, other times, we’ll write onto a computer programme, and a musical idea will develop from there. Actually, two of the songs we’ll be playing tonight were written on an iPhone.

SAM: We used to all go into a room, John would then come up with an idea for a song, and then, we would contribute with our own little parts, but now, our approach changes often, and is more collaborative.

What inspires the band lyrically?

JOHN: Stories of what we’ve been up to, going out, girls.

TODD: Most of them come from what we get up to on tour.

JOHN: It’s basically our lives in a songbook.

TODD: I don’t think there are many of our songs that aren’t about something that we’ve been up to.

JOHN: Yeah, because if you’re making up the lyrics that you are writing, it does come across as fake, so a lot of them do deal with real experiences.

TODD: It’s literally anything, positive, negative, feelings, jokes, whatever.

JOHN: So the lyrics are about us, really.

Your self-titled debut EP was released to rave reviews. Was that something all of you were expecting whilst recording it?

SAM: Not at all, because it was the first four songs that we ever wrote together, so at the time, we were just looking to get into the studio and record some content, so we could convince people to give us some live shows, and fortunately for us, it went down pretty well.

JAMES PHILLIPS (bass): Our last single has so far had a million hits on Spotify.

SAM: So now, we’re pushing everything that we do, to try and build ourselves up further.

Speaking of the last single, ‘Big Mouth’, how was the recording process for that?

JOHN: We actually recorded that at Abbey Road Studios.

That must have been quite an experience for you all.

SAM: Yeah, it was an incredible experience.

TODD: I don’t think you could ever prepare for something like that.

SAM: For us, it was like a kid going to Disneyland.

JAMES: When we got there, one of the guys we were going to be working with gave us a tour, showing us around Studio 1, where The Beatles recorded, so yeah, it was amazing.

Did you get to record in Studio 1, then?

JOHN: No, we recorded at a place called The Gatehouse, which is an extension of the studios.

TODD: All the gear in there was top-of-the-range, and the recording process was a really smooth one, everything came together really easily, because up until then, when we’d be recording tracks, there was always a little problem with something.

JOHN: We basically re-recorded all of the demos that we had done at home in that Abbey Road session.

TODD: And the people there, knew what it was that we wanted before we even got to the studios, so it enabled us to really focus on getting the emotional aspects of the songs right, and improve the overall recording quality.

The band are currently supporting Mallory Knox on their UK tour. How has it been going for everyone so far?

SAM: It’s been so good.

JOHN: Our fan base has grown so much, even in the limited run of dates we’ve played so far, and it’s awesome to support such a big band as Mallory Knox.

TODD: When we’ve been supporting bands in the past, it’s only been for about two or three dates, here and there, but this time, we get to support Mallory Knox for the entirety of their tour, and it’s the first time we’ve done something like that.

JAMES: It’s awesome to get validation from a band with such a big reputation, and the good thing with that is that people actually now know who the fuck we are.

In the last couple of years, you have played some of the UK’s top music festivals, including Isle of Wight, which you’ll be playing again this summer, and last year, you played the main stages at Reading and Leeds. How were they as experiences?

JOHN: It was amazing. When we put the band together, our plan was to eventually get to playing big festivals and compete with the big bands, so I think it was good for us to be allowed to actually play there, because we felt that we deserved it.

SAM: For someone to say to us that we deserved to be up on the main stages at Reading and Leeds, it was an unbelievable feeling for us.

JOHN: It was the result of all of the hard work that we had put in, grafting our bollocks off, to get to that point.

Once the current tour has been completed, what are the band’s plans?

SAM: We’ve got a week off after the Mallory Knox tour, then we’ll be embarking on a headline tour of our own, then more festivals, then back into the studio.

JOHN: We’re going to work at putting a debut album together, then look at getting a label to back us.

TODD: And play as many shows as we possibly can, for the rest of this year.

JOHN: And more supports. If there’s anyone from any other bands reading this, then please sign us up.

JAMES: I think that’s what we’re looking for, mainly.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

JAMES: World domination.

SAM: We just want to keep on doing what we’re doing, but play bigger shows, and get a bigger fan base.

JOHN: More girls.

TODD (laughs): Yeah, more girls. That’s why we’re in this game.

SAM: Bigger van, nicer food, nicer hotels, more sunshine.

JAMES: Everything that we’re doing at the moment, we’re having so much fun doing it.

JOHN: We never want all this to stop.

SAM: And I do believe that we can make it to the next level.


Judas tour poster












Quite a few people out there struggle to keep on top of one job, let alone two, and with much success.

Well, that’s what Tim Brooks has been doing for the last couple of years, combining a financial job in the City of London with a blossoming career as a singer-songwriter.

He has taken elements of rock, pop-punk, folk, and acoustic, along with lyrical content that is a frank reflection of his personal battle with mental health issues, perception on life, and musical experiences up to now, to create a diverse sound that is passionate yet intimate at the same time.

Having brought out two well-received EPs last year, Tim has just followed them up with a new single, ‘Quicksilver’, and he spoke to me about this and much more.

What drew you to music in the first place?

It’s been a part of me for as long as I remember. I guess the main spark came when I was growing up and getting into rock music. I started learning guitar, and had this enlightenment that quite a lot of songs can be blasted out with a few power chords!

I think once you start doing that, you naturally progress to writing your own terrible songs at 15, and before you know it, you’re hooked on the idea of making music!

I think music is expression, and good music is like good art. It can be twisted and dragged into your current situation, and can fully articulate what’s going on in your head, or what’s going on in your life at that very split second.

You currently juggle your music career with a full-time job as a City financier. How do you balance the two?

I’d say when I first started taking this a bit more seriously a couple of years ago, there was no way I’d ever see myself as not going down the full-time muso road. I mean I work in a role where you go home and forget it, one where you don’t really leave any sort of legacy, and that’s the big thing for me.

It’s strange, I feel like I’m going about it from a completely different angle to the normal path, I’ve worked my arse off to get to this level, and now want to scrap it to go into something new.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Anything. It’s really really hard not to sound like a complete prick when talking about songwriting (I’m going to demonstrate this here!), but I really do think songwriting is its own strange and elusive process that you can’t really pin down.

I think for me, I can see something day to day, and a lyric might come to me, and I might get a few notes of melody. The songwriting is just meshing these all together.

That is such a boilerplate summary for a very complicated process, but it is so true! There’s this cliché that some songs take months to write, and you never believe that until you start trying to write songs yourself.

I feel 100% that if you go with a scheduled mindset of “…Tonight, I’m going to write a song in G about the internet…” then it will come out really scruffy, and stick out like a sore thumb with the lyrics!

Last year, you brought out two albums, debut ‘Amateur Cartography’, and follow-up ‘The Fire.The Rain.The Future’. How well did you think the reactions were to them?

Really good! ‘AC’ was an EP that took a while to get out, but managed to blend the rock and acoustic worlds that I’d found myself in. I think in hindsight, I’d maybe approached it a bit scattergun, as it was my first release, and I really knew nothing about the industry as a whole!

‘The Fire.The Rain.The Future’came about as I was playing a lot of acoustic shows, and found that the ‘AC’ stuff was quite hard to transition to a fully acoustic setting. I think the lyrics were far better as well, and people have definitely commented on this (I am a total lyrics geek, so this made me very happy!).

It’s 100% a lot darker as well, as I think my mental state was a little bit more…active during the writing and recording of that record, and I didn’t hold anything back!

You’ve just released a new single, ‘Quicksilver’. How was the recording process for that?

Great. Y’know, it’s probably one of the most simplistic songs I’ve written, there’s not that many lyrics, and the message is pretty clear, it’s all about the crashing guitars and the emotional emphasis, so if you filter all that down into a recording setting, it was pretty quick and simple.

And how is it different to the other work that you’ve done so far?

Well, I’m very much in the rock camp now. I love acoustic music, but the goal is full band stuff, and I really want to make music that is loud and passionate.

You have established yourself on the London live acoustic scene. How, for you, is the experience of playing live?

I’ve had the range of experiences. Buzzing, empty, posh, scummy, loud, quiet, attentive crowds, couldn’t give a shit crowds, you name it.

I think my music is quite flexible, so for a private members club, I can play more soulful, thoughtful, folky notes, whereas I can belt out drinking songs to a rammed bar in Camden.

The overarching similarity is fun. I really, really love performing and connecting with people.

You met Brian Fallon on his recent European tour. How was that?

I watched that exit door like a hawk outside in Kingston! We got lucky because his tour bus was on the road outside, and there was no method of escape! He was lovely though, we chatted about New Jersey whilst I tried to keep my shit together!

He’s one of my bigger influences. If you watch his interview, where he talks in depth about what Bruce Springsteen means to him, you can tell he bleeds music, and those are the sorts of people you want to look up to.

Now that the new track is out, what are your plans?

Jeez, a lot of work! There is a second single and the full EP to come later in the year, festival shows, a whole smattering of full band stuff, Spotify playlists, interviews, just general musical progression, really. I don’t know if that’s a bit of a stock answer, but it’s true!! This is merely the beginning.

And what is your long-term aim?

I mean…everybody would love a massive house and a rock star music lifestyle, right?

Nah! My contentment will be in being able to travel the world, play my own songs, and to maybe just have a positive impact on people through my lyrics.

I would however also be happy with the former option, if it was on the table!










Century Thirteen band photo

Century Thirteen’s own blend of alternative rock, fuelled with pop-punk, takes from a range of sources, but predominately pulls from Blink-182, New Found Glory, and Green Day.

The Glaswegian punks set loose their new self-titled album on Friday 13th July, through all platforms. The four-piece have also just released a new track, ‘Not My Place’.

Since their formation in 2014, the Scottish tunesters have worked exceptionally hard on their craft. Aided by a strong DIY work ethic, the quartet have already released four well-received EPs, and have built a steady fan base throughout Scotland, which has been encouraged by a series of high-octane and energetic live performances.

The industrious four-piece have also shared stages with everyone from Fenix TX, The Bottom Line, Better Days, Speaking in Shadows, Chasing Cadence, Altered Sky, Your Illuminations, Homebound, and Six Time Champion, to Lightyear.

Century Thirteen also possess a passionate community spirit, and regularly play numerous charity events and shows for such causes as cancer research, metal health awareness, and autism.

The punk rockers have just completed work on their new self-titled album, which arrives this July, and the record is stuffed from back to front with bangers.

From their forthcoming single, ‘A Million Times’, to the newly-released ‘Not My Place’, the album is the band’s best work to date.

Co-vocalist and guitarist, Scott Macleod, comments on the upcoming release: “For this album, instead of recording the tracks ourselves, we were recorded by Andy Malcolmson from the band Northern Nightlights. He gave us more freedom to work on the arrangements and the performance, and the result is so much stronger and more diverse in sound than our previous recordings“.

Century Thirteen Album Cover











Tailblock band photo

Tailblock may not be easy to categorise, but they are certainly easy to like. Offering a sound that will undeniably ignite your aural senses, this hearty trio are poised to break out this year.

The emerging Kent trio will release their sophomore EP, ‘Think Or Be’, on Friday 13th July, and in anticipation, they have just dropped a new track, ‘Heavy Arms’.

Formed in 2016, and coming at you from Dartford, Tailblock have gathered inspiration from the likes of Reuben, Hundred Reasons, Rival Schools, and Glassjaw, but also offer their own distinctive voice on proceedings.

At the end of 2016, the band released their debut EP, ‘Burn Your Bridges’, which was produced by Ian Sadler (Anavae, Roam), and was hailed by String Buzz as, “A flawless staple of the post-hardcore genre; a must listen, and one of which I will find very difficult to forget.

The three-piece have now completed work on their new EP, ‘Think Or Be’, and again, with Ian Sadler at the helm, this new release is a cut above their first record.

Expressing a cluster of earnest and driving tracks, the EP gleams from the speakers with its enticing rhythms and colossal refrains.

With dates in both the UK and Europe in the pipeline, the remainder of 2018 will surely be a busy one for this fledgling trio.

Tailblock EP Cover










Between The Lines band photo


Emerging five-piece Between The Lines, comprising of vocalist Alex J. Lewis, guitarist/vocalist Sam Burnage, guitarist Adam Brewster, bassist/vocalist Lewis Wolton, and drummer Tom Hogan, pride themselves on a pop-punk sound that combines melodic choruses with creative guitar riffery and pulsating beats.

Since forming last year, the band have already amassed a devoted fan base, supported the likes of Better Than Never and Reckless Intentions, and have also been compared favourably to such outfits as Neck Deep, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, and Four Year Strong.

This July, the Bedfordshire quintet will be bringing out their debut EP, ‘To The Wind’, and they recently spoke to me about how the release was put together, as well as what can be expected from it.

How did the band form?

Early last year, our lead guitarist Adam moved back home from university in Cambridge, so we decided to get together for a jam, Tom joined us as a drummer for that session, and things just clicked – from there, we went on to refine our sound and set over the rest of 2017, before we were joined by our new vocalist Alex in January, which completed the current band line-up.

From where did the name Between The Lines originate?

Our name comes from a Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! song called ‘Between Your Lines’ – Chunk! are one of our main influences, so the name is a little bit of a nod to them for inspiring us to do what we do…Thanks Chunk! (Let us support you please!)

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We all work in different ways, but that actually makes it quite fun to build a song from the ground up, we tend to build bit by bit after being influenced by tracks we hear.

We then try to replicate the feeling a song gave us through the guitar melodies, and then we build it up until it becomes something that we’re proud to show off – if it makes us smile when we play it through, then we know we’re onto something good, and the song stays!

What inspires the band lyrically?

Alex is a pretty awesome lyric writer, which we found out really quickly when he joined us in January. Instantly, he hit the ground running and pours his heart and soul into the words he writes.

The lyrics vary in meaning, but Alex always draws from his own experiences and emotions to create powerful lyrics that mean something to him and hopefully also mean something to the people that listen to our tracks!

This July, you will be releasing a two-track debut EP, ‘To The Wind’. How has the recording process been for that?

Pretty long to be honest, we started the recording process last November with Dan Lambert from Valhalla Studios in Bedfordshire – We had a few hiccups along the way, and it took a few sessions to fine tune the drums, bass and guitar tracks.

Eventually, we added the vocals in at the end of January, and we were ready to show people what we had made – it was a learning curve really, but Dan, who has produced the upcoming EP, was absolutely fantastic from the start of the process, so that helped massively.

And what can be expected from it?

Powerful vocals, guitar harmonies, riffs, licks and leads all over the place…We are pretty chuffed with how the tracks have come out to be honest.

We’ve tried to create a unique blend of new wave pop-punk bands like WSTR and Neck Deep, with the more aggressive and gritty sounds of Chunk! No Captain Chunk and Four Year Strong, and those influences are reflected in the two tracks that we will be releasing.

The band have already built up a solid following, and have supported the likes of Better Than Never and Reckless Intentions. How is the live experience for you all?

Every time we step on stage, we give it our all, because since day one, we have all agreed that whether we are playing to five people or 500, we would put everything into our stage show and just enjoy it.

We think the key to being a good band to watch is to enjoy what we are doing, smiling is contagious…Every gig that we do is unique and always a laugh, and hopefully we will have bigger and better shows to come over the rest of this year!

And what are these bigger and better shows the band have lined up?

So, our first gig kicking off the new era with Alex as our vocalist is on May 4 at Club 85, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, and this is a show we are all super excited for, we’ve just upgraded our stage setup significantly, so it’s going to be a completely overhauled live show that will be well worth checking out.

Moving on from there, we are hoping to have a few festivals to play that haven’t been announced yet…By the end of the forthcoming festival season, we’d love to have a few tours lined up supporting some bigger bands, which will enable us to expand our horizons.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

Our most important aim is to enjoy it more than anything else, but the goal is to play shows with people like Neck Deep, As It Is, WSTR, Four Year Strong etc…

If we could get our name on the Slam Dunk line-up as well, that would be pretty insane – we’ve all religiously gone to Slam Dunk south for the last few years, so it would be a dream to play it!

Between The Lines EP Cover






Saharas band photo

SAHARAS (from l-r): Matt Elrick (bass), Dan Lisle (drums/backing vocals), Fernando “Nando” Rocha (lead vocals/guitar/synth), Alex Lisle (guitar/backing vocals)


Armed with a well-defined rhythmic indie/alternative rock sound containing synth elements, Saharas are fast establishing themselves as an outfit to watch out for.

The band have enjoyed rave reviews for their singles, which have had airplay on BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio, as well as playing some fantastic live sets across London and the south east of England.

Now, having just brought out a new track, ‘Sweat’, the Berkshire quartet spoke to me about it, their influences, songwriting approach, and much more.

How did the band get together?

We’ve known each other since primary school, and have always shared a mutual love for music whilst growing up listening to the same bands.

In early 2014, we decided to start writing music together, and here we are! We’re still going strong and enjoying it as much as we did back then. Alex has recently joined the line-up, and we’re buzzing to have him on board.

How did the name Saharas come about?

It came about as a result of us wanting a name which came with a sense of imagery. We feel it suited our sound, and we’ve stuck with it ever since.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

A mix of old and contemporary bands, basically anything with real nice reverb in it! We would have to say our main influences have been the likes of Foals, Joy Division, Tame Impala, Electric Youth, The Maccabees…too many to name.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We used to prefer getting together in a room and brainstorming different ideas until something clicked.

However, as we’ve progressed, one of us will get a strong enough melody written at first, record it on an eight-track, and build the other parts around it whilst gradually recording a demo as we go along.

We’ve used this method with the new material, and we feel really happy with the outcome!

What inspires the band lyrically?

The source of inspiration ranges from personal experiences to films, basically anything that has a meaningful impact on us at a certain point.

For ‘Sweat’, our new single, in particular, the inspiration for that came from watching the film ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’. There’s a dominatrix type of character in it named Ava Lord, who has men falling at her feet, and she uses them for her lustful needs and then ends up killing them.. it’s worth a watch!

On the subject of your new single, how was its recording process?

The track was recorded and mixed with our good friend and producer Ian Flynn at Werkhouse Productions at Musicland Studios in Hackney, London.

We’ve worked with Ian before, on our previous releases, and he makes the whole process very comfortable and fun for us – from pre-production to being in the studio, up until the final product. We really enjoyed getting stuck into this one.

For those who have yet to listen to ‘Sweat’, what can they expect of it?

Our previous releases portrayed the darker side of our sound, whereas ‘Sweat’ can appeal to a broader audience, as it showcases us exploring melancholic hooks along with different rhythms. We just wanted this track to have personality, and for it to be something that people can dance to, especially when we play it live!

Speaking of playing live, how is that as an experience for you all?

We really enjoy having the chance to play our music to an audience. Playing live feels like a celebration in a way…it lets us express ourselves in a positive way, and it feels rewarding when the audience enjoys our set!

What are the band’s plans now the new single has come out?

Well, we haven’t played a show since last November, as we’ve been concentrating on writing new music whilst incorporating a new member into the band, so we definitely want to get back out there gigging again very soon.

Aside from that, we’re going back into the studio next month to record a new single with Ian, which we’re really looking forward to.

Saharas Single Cover










King Abyss EP Cover


Last summer, Staffordshire metal quintet King Abyss burst onto the scene with a much positively-received debut EP, ‘Reborn’.

Recently, the band brought out its follow-up, ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’, which is, overall, a better reflection of their statement of intent.

I caught up with some of the guys prior to them playing a gig to mark the new offering’s release, where they went into it in further detail.

How did the initial idea for the new EP come about?

GEORGE HEATHCOTE (drums): Well, Sam Millard, our lead guitarist, had a backlog of strong songs that he had been working on, even before this band formed, so we all decided that with our debut EP, ‘Reborn’, we would get out the tracks that we all thought would get people interested in us, and then comprise the new release of songs that were more mature.

SAM BRYAN (bass): A bit more like our own sound, I suppose.

How did you come up with ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’ as the EP’s title?

DOM BOULD (lead vocals): One of the tracks on the EP is about nuclear war, and in keeping with that theme, we used a quote from Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who invented the nuclear bomb, which was, “I have become the the destroyer of worlds, I have become death“, so we used one half of that for the title, and the other half as the title for one of the songs.

When I interviewed the two other members of the band, Sam Millard and rhythm guitarist Jay Fellows, just after ‘Reborn’ had come out, they told me that there had been a few problems recording that. How did the recording process for the new release compare?

SAM: It was pretty much problem-free. The only thing that did go wrong was that one day, me and Jay turned up at the wrong recording studio!

(All laugh)

SAM: Apart from that, it was an awesome experience. Myroslav Borys, who produced us, was fantastic. I can’t praise him enough, because he knows exactly what it is that he’s doing. He’s such a good producer, and we would definitely go to him again.

DOM: At the end of the day, us and Myroslav are very much like-minded, he had the same sort of ideas that we had, and if he had a decent idea that we hadn’t thought of, we’d take it immediately on board.We put together the songs, but when you take them into the studio, you have to be open to making a few changes.

The recording process this time was so much more relaxed. Sam Millard is the band’s main songwriter, so he would send us what he had written, and we took it from there.

SAM: It was a million times easier with this EP. Everything just worked brilliantly.

DOM: All bands out there, go and check out Myroslav Borys.

(Sam and George laugh)

How would you describe the EP, both musically and lyrically?

GEORGE: This EP is a lot heavier, apart from the last song, and a lot more technical as well.

SAM: Yeah, this is rather cliched, but the melodic parts are more melodic, and the heavy parts are heavier.

DOM: Lyrically, well, it’s quite difficult to describe. It was a long process, and some of it had to be changed during recording, but we got there in the end. It was worth it, though.

GEORGE: In my opinion, the new EP is much better than our first. I’m not knocking ‘Reborn’, because it was good for a debut, but ‘The Destroyer Of Worlds’ is on another level. I’m just so proud, and I think we all are, of putting it out there.

SAM: Yeah, totally.

What can your fan base expect from the EP?

SAM: Lots and lots of riffs.

DOM: Just so many riffs!

(Sam and George laugh)

GEORGE: I’d say it’s more complete than the first EP was, because that, for us, was much more of a test, but with the new release, our fans can expect a sound like what’s on there more often from now on.

SAM: Yeah, definitely.

DOM: It’s like what George has said, it’s more structured, and we didn’t just want, this time, to get out songs that would get people listening, we wanted it to be a foundation on which to build upon in future. A template, I suppose.

GEORGE: At the end of the day, we still want to have people listening to us, but we also want our sound to differentiate, have a variety of styles and that, really push the boat out, so we can draw in more people who are into different sorts of genres, but at the same time, keep hold of the following that have been with us from day one.

DOM: Yeah, we’re trying to revive something that we felt has been lost in the last 30 years, but with more modern aspects. I know that’s been done to a degree by such bands as Trivium, but we’re trying to keep that melodic, thrashy style alive.

GEORGE: I think we’re unique in thrash metal in that we do breakdowns, but we don’t want to find ourselves on the same page over and over again. We want to keep being new and fresh.

SAM: Totally.

Now that the EP is out, what are your plans for the near future?

SAM: We’re going to try and ramp things up. We’re all individuals, we all want this, I was in a band before, so was Dom, so was Sam, it didn’t work out for any of us, and now that we’ve grown up, our hunger has intensified.

We’re just going to go for it, and just keep going until we do get it. We’ve got to the final of Bloodstock Metal To The Masses, so we want to play Bloodstock, and take it further from there.

DOM: We’re going to be releasing an album, we don’t know when that will be, but we’re just going to keep on playing music, and release the odd single, for the time being.

GEORGE: I think a full album will be something that we’ll be looking at in the long term, maybe in a year or so.

SAM: We’ve already got a festival on the cards.

GEORGE: Yeah, we’ll be playing this year’s Hop Fest, near Northampton.

SAM: With Oceans Ate Alaska…

DOM: Crazy Town.

SAM: Crazy Town! Oh my god, yes!

(Dom and George laugh)

SAM: I suppose we’ll be planning a few tours as well, and there’s a few music videos on the cards, so keep your eyes out for them.

At the moment, we’re talking with various media companies, getting quotes from them. Dom knows a guy, so yeah, we’re going to be pushing ourselves even more, try and really get our sound out there.

DOM: We’re going to keep at this for as long as we can.

GEORGE: Until everyone’s sick of us!

(All laugh)

SAM: Basically, what we’re saying is that we’re definitely not going to stop.



Hop Fest 2018 Poster






Hey Gigantic band photo

Having already had airplay on Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing, ‘Colours’, the new single from London alternative rock quartet Hey Gigantic, really packs a punch with a big anthemic chorus.

The track was recorded at the Ranch Production House, near Southampton, with producer Neil Kennedy (Milk Teeth, Creeper) as part of the same sessions as their previous single, ‘Passenger’.

It’s a song we’ve had for a couple of years and reworked multiple times before we got it to the finished version you hear now. We think it was worth the wait!” says the band’s vocalist/bassist Jonathan Bateman.

He continues, “Written about the end of relationship as one person leaves for what they believe to be something better with someone else, but windup losing their personality to try and make it work. Realising their mistake they scramble to get back their real self and true colours.”

It’s just about appreciating a good thing when you’ve got it and don’t take it for granted and most importantly be true to yourself.

Hey Gigantic Single Cover





Fight For Friday EP Cover

Taking the title of their forthcoming EP from a beloved The Wonder Years song, vocalist/guitarist of Manchester-based emo pop-punks Fight For Friday Seb Harper reveals: “‘Someone You Could Trust’ is relevant to the context of the EP and the message we are trying to portray: the effect that other people can have on someone’s happiness, health and life experience.”

As their first band, the project began life as an extra-curricular school activity at the tender age of 14, picking a name which “sounded pretty cool. Not so much anymore.”

Now seeing the eldest member turn 20, they say: “We’ve achieved more than we’d initially hoped – playing at huge venues such as Manchester Academy, Fac251; releasing our first EP in 2016 and having toured the UK twice. We are nothing more than a high school band that didn’t stop, carrying on to get to the stage that we are now. It wasn’t the quickest journey but its definitely been the most fun.”

Within their genre, the four-piece are inspired by the likes of The Story So Far and New Found Glory, creating scrappy and lively pop-punk, in combination with flairs borrowed from classic rock and hardcore.

In the lead up to the EP’s release next month, the band are pleased to give you further insight into it with this track-by-track…


‘Life Hits You Hard’ is our take on the fast EP opener, as we really wanted to push that high energy sound that we label ourselves with constantly. It was actually the final track that we wrote for this record, with its origins coming from the fact that we desperately wanted to open the EP with a bang.

The song came to life from one chord progression in the intro, and we really just pushed it out from there. Our plan from the start was to make this song as fast and direct as possible, no messing about with any interludes or build-ups, as we didn’t want to give people a chance to calm down. It’s the epitome of what we are all about.

Recording this track was simple and straightforward, probably because it’s a simple song! We went into the studio knowing exactly what we wanted this track to sound like, so there really wasn’t much work that needed putting into getting it record-ready.

We wanted there to be a song on this EP that described our journey as a band since we formed around four years ago, when we were around 15, 16, so we thought what better track to use to portray our past, present and future than the song that perfectly defines our energetic attitudes.

Starting out as school kids, it has always felt like bands around us have looked down upon us in the past and not taken us seriously, which is why for the past four years, “We’ve got nowhere fast.”

We’re still confident on our ability, we’ve been learning and improving together since we formed, and now we are at the point where we are happy with our sound, attitudes and where we are hopefully heading, and that’s the message of ‘Life Hits You Hard’.

We’re unbelievably happy with the outcome of this song, there wasn’t really much that could go wrong with it, so it really has had a perfect outcome for us! For any gig goers out there, we’ve been opening all our shows with this song, so brace yourselves!


This is the oldest track on the record, originally written in mid-2016, and this probably affects the fact that ‘Take it Or Leave’ is our thrashiest, rawest song.

Having said that, it feels like the writing of this track was a turning point for us as a band, as it marks the transition between our more childish punk vibes and trying to create something more meaningful and intricate.

Over the years, we’ve altered and edited bits of this song, meaning it contains elements of us at our rawest, but also moments of detail that we never had when we first wrote it.

Most of the track is loud, angsty and edgy, but as it draws to a close, the vibe completely flips as everything stops into a mellow, questioning build-up until the song kicks back in, but instead of the angst and edge, we went for emotional, powerful vibes that completely contradict the first five or so minutes of the record.

We really went to town with recording the end of this song. We’d been excited to go crazy and add as many tracks and sound onto the final section for a long time, so it felt good for the ideas we had to come to life. We layered up track after track of different vocal lines and harmonies, and got a few bits of gang vocals in there too.

We’re really happy with how this turned out, it could have been very sloppy and messy, but luckily with the help of producer Dave Page (White Bear Studios), it came out better than we imagined.

‘Take It Or Leave It’ is the breakup track that every pop-punk record apparently needs. The lyrics tackle the topics of insensitivity, selfishness, and how people can change for the worse without explanation.

Hopefully, this breakup song doesn’t come across as cheesy and whiny, but rather a more mature, introspective analysis on personalities.

Having so much hope for this track, and spent so much time planning it out, we were worried that the outcome wouldn’t reach our high expectations. We were blown away by how the finished track sounded. It met every hope we had, and more.

We’ve been playing it live for around two years now, so we know it unbelievably well! Sometimes, we feel that this song isn’t our best because we’ve had it for such a long time, but people’s reactions to us performing it reminded us that it’s not too bad.


The feel-good song. This one’s upbeat, catchy, and incredibly happy, yet somehow it has ended up as our heaviest track. We wrote this with the intention of creating something for people to sing along and have a good time to, which it ended up being for a while. It’s even got a cheesy key change!

When we took it into the studio to be recorded, our producer Dave said he didn’t like the key change. We took his advice, and somehow ended up changing the tuning from Drop D to Drop C and writing a 30-second breakdown to precede the key change.

It’s a really different song to what it was before the studio and it captures all vibes, from sing-along to throwing down. Mega EZ-core vibes.

The lyrics for this track don’t really mean a huge amount, we just wanted to get people psyched and have a melody to sing along to, and we think the chorus really captures that inspiring catchy vibe.

This song has changed almost completely during its time in the studio, and in our opinion, 100% for the better. We’re so glad that this track turned out the way it did, as it’s gone from being our least promising tune, to our most exciting and out-there banger.


To us, ‘Target Practice’ is the best and most meaningful song that we’ve ever written. It’s a track that captures our more serious personalities, and it’s also a song that we can all relate to lyrically and musically.

You can expect to find a mellow edge to this song, switching between calm and questioning energy, straight into full-on, anger-driven hooks.

We wrote this after pondering on different variations of the intro riff for quite a while. When we finally decided to elaborate on the riff, we didn’t want to overcomplicate the song into something technical, yet unenjoyable.

We wanted to find that perfect mix between technicality and simplicity that creates an interesting yet catchy tune. The ending of the track is our first attempt at a real instrumental section, which hopefully shows our more creative edge.

Similar to ‘Life Hits You Hard’, the recording of this song was really straightforward, mainly due to the fact that we knew exactly what we wanted to come out of it, and it wasn’t really too complicated to record at all.

The lyrical content of this track talks about how other people can try their best to bring you down when they see you doing well for yourself. Certain people will try anything to ruin your happiness when they don’t have it themselves, and you’ve just got to brush it off, show people that you’re better than that, and rise above them.

We’re really pleased with how this song has come out. The recording has captured every bit of emotion that we put into the writing of the track, and it has come out better than anything that we could’ve hoped for.

Hopefully, people can relate to this song as much as we do, and it can be one of those tracks that might inspire somebody to do great things with themselves and others around them.

Live, it’s quite a difficult song to perform! We love to put it last in the set because there’s no better track to finish a show with, but that can take its toll, as we probably need the most energy to do this song justice.

We love playing it though, and we can tell that it’s a good one, because people seem to be immersed throughout the three or so minutes that it lasts.


There was no better track to end the EP with than ‘Headache’. It’s our emotional anthem, and a massive contrast to the vibe at the start of the EP. Our nickname for it is ‘Sad Song’, because that’s what it is, a sad song, but having said that, it still contains all the catchiness and high energy attitude that we contain.

We wrote this just after the news of Chester Bennington’s death, so when we sat down to write the lyrics for the track, that was the main thing on our mind.

It got us thinking introspectively and how other people’s actions can affect somebody massively, especially when there’s nobody around to listen to you and give you the helping hand that is needed.

Recording this, we tried a couple of things that are unique to the track. We double tracked each guitar with an acoustic guitar part to add thickness and depth to the sound, which we think worked really well.

The bridge section of the song came together whilst we were in the studio, because we felt that that section felt quite empty and boring, so we wanted to add another dimension to it.

Luckily in the studio, there was a piano, so we made full use of that. The melody that we played throughout the bridge is a variation of one of the riffs that opens as well as closes the song, acting as a little theme for it.

Once again, we’re so happy with how this track turned out. It sounds so huge, which we were aiming for, because if the song was slightly sloppy or weak, it just wouldn’t have worked.

Again, we have only David Page to thank for the amazing job that he’s done on every track of this record, as he helped them reach their full potential.

Fight For Friday band photo




Fight For Friday gig poster