BARBUDO

Barbudo band photo

BARBUDO (from l-r): Elliott Salter (drums), Harry Stanworth (vocals/guitar), Ben Stanworth (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by ADAM PROSSER

By fusing together elements of funk, psychedelic rock, and rhythm & blues, Hampshire trio Barbudo have created a distinct, irresistible sound that have both retro and contemporary vibes, which along with a highly successful debut EP, has led many in the music industry to proclaim them a band to watch out for.

The three-piece’s frontman, Harry Stanworth, spoke to me about all this, as well as their recently-released single, ‘Secret Admirer’.

How did the band get together?

Me and Ben had written some songs independently, and decided to get a band together, so we could play them live. To start off with, it was just a bit of fun.

From where did the name Barbudo originate?

It means “bearded person” in Spanish. Ben has a beard, and he came up with it…

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We think melody is important in all areas of the songs, so we try to make them as interesting as possible when writing.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Anything, really. We’ve got into a habit of writing about technology, but anything we experience also finds its way in.

Last year, you released your debut EP, ‘Pleasures’, to much success. Were you surprised by the response that it got?

We played a couple of release shows, and there were really good turnouts for both. People seemed to really like the EP, which was nice, as we had spent a long time recording and producing it ourselves.

The band recently brought out a new track, ‘Secret Admirer’. How has the reaction been to that so far?

Pretty good. It’s been compared by some to George Michael, which we take as a compliment!

DIY magazine chose you as the winner of their Record Store Day competition for the video for your single, ‘SXC’. How did that feel?

It’s great for them to have heard our music, and to have chosen us over other bands. It gives us hope for the future!

And it must be a good feeling to know your music will be pressed to vinyl and sold physically at stores across the UK.

Yeah, it’s great. We are all vinyl lovers, and have always wanted our tunes pressed to wax. Also, it leaves something for the grandkids.

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

Good fun! We try and make the shows as energetic as possible. Playing live really brings the songs to life, and it’s great to see people’s reactions to them.

What are your plans for the near future?

We have new music coming out soon, and we’re also going to gig as much as possible.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

To make this our career!

Barbudo Single Cover

‘SECRET ADMIRER’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM BARBUDO, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD, OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, BANDCAMP, AND SOUNDCLOUD.

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

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/barbudoband

TWITTER: twitter.com/barbudoband

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/barbudoband

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

SHOUT

Shout band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Swedish four-piece Shout may have only recently got together, but already, they are making waves in their native country with a pulsating blend of heavy metal, rock n’ roll and punk rock that takes you back to the days when legendary outfits such as AC/DC, Motorhead, and the Ramones were at the peak of their powers.

With an eagerly-anticipated debut album, ‘People Of The Night’, coming out this September, the quartet’s bassist, Kriss Biggs, gave me an insight into the recording process, what to expect from that, as well as more about the band.

How did the band get together?

Shout are a band that started quite recently, and consists of myself, Rob “Raw” Paris (guitar), Danny Diemond (vocals/guitar), and “Ol’ Hurricane” (drums).

We all started up in different bands, but we’ve all known each other from way back, as we come from the same area of Sweden, and our paths crossed at concerts, parties, and much more over the years.

We have all carried the torch of rock music, ever since we got our first taste of the rock n’ roll lifestyle as teenagers, which got us all hooked for life. Me and Danny played in a band called The Scams, and with them, we hit the road all over Sweden and Europe for more than a decade – having a bit too much fun.

“Ol’ Hurricane” started out as a farmer boy, and he learned to play the drums in his basement. He later moved to the city, where he met me, Danny, and Rob.

Rob had been rocking out playing guitar with his band, Danger, touring Sweden and Europe, and had no plans to slow down when he joined what was to become Shout.

How did the band name come about?

It kind of just came to us. We wanted something that reflected our music, and was also straight to the point, and when you listen to heavy metal, all you wanna do is shout!

To somebody who has yet to listen to your music, how would you describe it to them?

I would describe it as traditional heavy metal, the high-energy, ass-kicking kind, with lots of sing-along choruses that everybody can also shout along with. Scream! Shout! That’s what it’s all about!

What are the band’s musical influences?

Our influences range from heavy metal, rock n’ roll, and punk rock, bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest, W.A.S.P., Kiss, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Turbonegro, Rose Tattoo, the Ramones, Misfits, Danzig, just to mention a few of our rock n’ roll heroes.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We usually write either at home or in rehearsal, sometimes after a few beers at the pub, just to get the right flow! When we get to the studio, we do make some changes, as well as putting the finishing touches together.

I don’t think we have ever written songs whilst on the road, but it’s something that I would like to start doing, since it’s probably easier to get inspired when you’re out playing, surrounded by it all!

What inspires the band lyrically?

Well, since we mostly write about the rock n’ roll lifestyle itself, I guess it’s the usual stuff like fast cars, girls, and rock n’ roll, but also the freedom that the lifestyles brings, and the bond that the music gives us, which also unites all headbangers out there!

You have a debut album, ‘People Of The Night’, coming out this September. How has the recording process been for that?

It was quite a long process from writing the songs and recording the demos, but once that was done, we recorded the album down in Pama Studios in southern Sweden.

We recorded it with Mankan Sedenberg and John Strindgerg, in ten intense days, a period in which we barely slept, but we got it done just in the nick of time, and we had a blast doing it!

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

Like I said earlier, we all come from a line of different bands, and have all been touring a lot, since we love it, but since Shout started out only recently, we have only managed to play one gig so far, which was actually at Bullet’s release party for their new album, ‘Dust To Gold’, so that was fun!

However, we are looking forward to hitting the road again when we get the ball rolling after the album release.

What have you got lined up for the near future?

At the moment, we are working on getting out our second music video, which is entitled ‘Scream! Shout!’, and after that, there may even be a third one, but we’ll see.

Also, of course, we are preparing for the release of the album, that’s something we’re really looking forward to, as well as getting out on the road again!

Many adventures await!

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

Just to spread our music as wide as possible, to be able to play all over the world, and awaken the party animal and get some heads banging!

Shout Album Cover

‘PEOPLE OF THE NIGHT’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM SHOUT, WILL BE RELEASED THIS SEPTEMBER.

CHECK OUT THE BAND’S FACEBOOK PAGE www.facebook.com/thisisshout FOR FURTHER INFO.

 

 

 

TILL I FALL

Till I Fall band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Taking influence mainly from such outfits as Blink-182, Sum 41, and Jimmy Eat World, Californians Till I Fall pride themselves on an independent, creative and expansive alternative pop-rock sound.

Having already brought out three well-received EPs and an acclaimed debut album, the band recently returned to their acoustic roots with a new release, simply entitled ‘Acoustic’.

I spoke to the lynchpins of Till I Fall, Brandon Leland and Zax Avila, about that, as well as their origins, songwriting approach, lyrical influences, and sharing the stage with such highly-regarded collectives as Puddle Of Mudd and Forever Came Calling.

How did the band form?

BRANDON LELAND: I started Till I Fall in 2011 as an acoustic project, heavily influenced by bands like Go Radio, Mayday Parade, and Taking Back Sunday. Zax joined after the release of our first full-length album, ‘Lessons’, and has been working with me on the writing and overall branding of the band ever since.

How did the name Till I Fall come about?

BRANDON: It was in a fortune cookie.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

ZAX AVILA: For both of our most recent releases, Brandon and I would pretty much hang out every day and jam on acoustic guitars together. Once ideas began to flow, Brandon would write lyrics while I bounced structure and riff ideas around until we had something solid we could work with.

What inspires the band lyrically?

BRANDON: Zax takes a lot of musical influence from bands like All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday, and Bayside. I take influence from different genres and artists. Our goal is to always write honest music from our perspectives, whatever the subject matter. Right now, I’m writing a lot of music reflecting on our social and political settings, and growing up and having run-ins with anxiety and depression.

There’s a lot of issues that bands aren’t talking about with their music right now, and that’s something we both see and are trying to accompany.

You’ve just brought out your first acoustic EP, simply entitled ‘Acoustic’. What were the reasons behind you doing this?

BRANDON: We’ve never done an acoustic release before, and have been wanting to share some of the new music we’ve been writing. We’re going to spend this summer working on new music and rehearsing for upcoming tours, so this was something we wanted to put out until we have our next major project finished.

We typically write acoustically, and it’s cool for us to see the transition from acoustic sessions to full band recording and shows. We just wanted to give our listeners the perspective we get when things are simpler and stripped down.

And how was the recording process?

It was a blast getting to record acoustically for sure, we liked getting to play with textures and layers, seeing what new sounds we could create with only acoustic songs. My brother Anthony has always had a great ear for music, so having his engineering expertise really elevated our recordings.

For those who have yet to listen to the new release, what can they expect of it?

ZAX: Our acoustic release really gives you a view on the inside of our unplugged sound. For only being a four-song EP, each one, I feel, uniquely tells its own story through Brandon’s lyricism, and shows you a more honest side of Till I Fall.

How is it, for the band, playing live?

ZAX: It’s fun. We love touring, and hope to do more of it in the next few years.

And you have shared the stage with such outfits as Puddle Of Mudd and Forever Came Calling. How were they as experiences?

BRANDON: (laughs) Yeah, we opened for Puddle Of Mudd. It was cool playing a big venue for the first time, and was obviously nostalgic. We got to open for Forever Came Calling two or three times around the time their split with Handguns came out, I think it was in around 2011, 2012.

Those were fun and it was cool playing shows with them, because they were always really respectful to everyone at shows, and set good examples of how to be a band on tour at the independent level.

Now that the EP has come out, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

BRANDON: We’re planning on doing some recording over the course of this summer, as well as play a handful of shows with some friends. We’ll for sure be back out on tour again this fall!

Till I Fall EP Cover

‘ACOUSTIC’, THE LATEST EP FROM TILL I FALL, IS NOW AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, GOOGLE PLAY, BANDCAMP, AND SOUNDCLOUD.

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

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/tillifall

TWITTER: twitter.com/TILLiFALLSJ

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/tillifallsj

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

YOU KNOW THE DRILL – ‘Selfhood’ TRACK-BY-TRACK

You Know The Drill EP Cover

West Midlands pop-punk quartet You Know The Drill recently announced details of their forthcoming sophomore EP, ‘Selfhood’, which will be released via Scylla Records on June 22.

The band’s vocalist, Benji Yapp, said about it, “Selfhood’ is a word which describes the quality that makes up a person and just being aware and proud of who you are, which really resonated with us as we wrote this EP. We tried not let ourselves be limited by the pop-punk label, and write without worrying what people were going to think, which definitely ended up benefiting the record.

A first taste of the upcoming release was also unveiled recently, in the form of single ‘Snake Eyes’, which premiered on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show.

Now, the Birmingham four-piece are here to reveal more about the EP, track-by-track…

‘OVERCAST’

‘Overcast’ is a song about realising who you are, your downfalls, and owning the mistakes you’ve made in the past. This song started with the jumpy, hyped-up intro which Damo (bass) and Brad (drums) came up with together in Damo’s living room, and we all worked on it from there.

Ever since the song had that faded-in intro, we knew it was going to be track one off the EP, and although we haven’t played it live yet, we know it’s going to be the opener of our set for a long time to come.

It’s definitely the song we’re most excited to play live, because of the pure energy and the back-and-forth vocals, and we’re hoping it’ll go down really well.

‘HOMESICK’

This first thing I wrote for ‘Homesick’ was the chorus, and it was one of the rare occasions for me where it came so naturally when writing it, to the point where the lyrics I initially penned down ended up being the final lyrics.

Lyrically, it is one of the most revealing songs that I’ve ever written, which is about my doubts in being able to make it in music and wondering whether it is all just a waste of time, but then it’s disguised in this really fun, bouncy pop-punk song, and that’s what I love about it.

We had a show the day after this song was released as the second single, and we weren’t really expecting anyone to sing along to it just yet, but as soon as we started that intro, there were about six or seven people singing it back at us and getting involved, which was absolutely insane, so if that’s the kind of reaction it’s getting already, then I can’t wait to see how well it goes down elsewhere.

‘SUSPECT’

I’m sure that if I looked hard enough, then I could find voice recordings of myself hiding in the toilet at work singing a super rough chorus of ‘Suspect’. ‘Suspect’ is the story of someone who feels their significant other may not be faithful to them and how it is affecting their relationship.

One of my favourite lyrics is taken from this song in the chorus, “We’re separated like the sea between the shores“, which to me, I think, is a really powerful metaphor for feeling distance from someone.

It was this song in particular that made me really desire a summer release for the EP, because it has such an uplifting vibe throughout, despite the contrasting lyrics!

This track also features one of my favourite moments on the EP, which is in the final chorus when it drops into this big, open quarter-time section, which just feels so powerful, and kinda makes you wanna go out and rule the world!

‘BLOSSOM’

In between writing sessions down in Eastbourne, Luke (guitar/vocals) would head outside and sit on a brick wall with an acoustic guitar, whilst a dog called Maddie would come and keep him company.

Within a couple of days, he had written this super pretty acoustic track which we knew we just had to put on the EP, so we worked on that too and put it on the record.

Lyrically, I see it as a continuation of ‘Overcast’, only this time, an apology is being made, as well as promises to be better and to grow from the past.

This is the only track on the EP which was recorded entirely at Nightcrawl Studio in Eastbourne with our good friend, Rich Dack. We recorded all of the acoustic late on a Saturday night, and it was the most chilled-out environment to record in, we’d be playing PS4 and hanging out with his dog, Amy, between takes. It was just so relaxing, and I think that comes across when you listen to the song.

Luke did have to re-record one line for this though, because we realised a couple of months after recording that he had actually sung “I lost control of all my goats” instead of “I lost control of all my ghosts“, which was really funny because none of us had realised that for ages.

‘Blossom’ was tentatively titled ‘Maddie’, named after the dog I mentioned earlier, for a long time, but we felt it needed a more fitting name, and ‘Blossom’ just seemed to fit perfectly with the lyrical themes and overall sound of the song.

‘SNAKE EYES’

‘Snake Eyes’ was the very first song written for the EP, and it all started with a clean guitar riff just before the verse kicks in, which Luke came to practice with, and it just expanded from there.

In terms of composition, it changed a lot throughout the writing process, to the point where we ended up cutting sections we had already recorded vocals for. We were very lucky to have Joey Fleming of In Her Own Words lend his vocal talents to the outro section of ‘Snake Eyes’.

All the way along, we knew we wanted someone to feature on that section, but we weren’t sure who, although we did toy with the idea of Joey for ages before actually asking him, assuming he just wouldn’t have been interested, so it only goes to show, don’t ask, don’t get!

Continuing of from the themes of realising your mistakes and then owning them and making them right, ‘Snake Eyes’ touches on realising your self worth and allowing yourself to want better out of your relationships.

You Know The Drill band photo.jpg

‘SELFHOOD’, THE SOPHOMORE EP FROM YOU KNOW THE DRILL, WILL BE RELEASED THROUGH SCYLLA RECORDS ON JUNE 26. YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT NOW FROM iTunes OR scyllarecords.myshopify.com

ON JUNE 23, THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING AN EP RELEASE SHOW AT THE OASIS MARKET IN BIRMINGHAM.

MORE INFO ON YOU KNOW THE DRILL CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/YouKnowTheDrillUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/YKTDUK

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/yktduk

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/user/YouKnowTheDrillUK

 

 

DEATH GOALS

Death Goals band photo

DEATH GOALS (from l-r): Harry Bailey (vocals/guitar), Will Taylor (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by MEL LONDON

Armed with an intense, fast-paced hardcore/mathcore sound that is effective both live and on record, emerging duo Death Goals have been making waves on London’s underground rock and metal scene this past year.

Having brought out a single entitled ‘Stacyletmeseeyourstegosaurus’ last month, the band will be hoping to broaden their reach this July with the release of a self-titled debut EP.

Frontman Harry Bailey recently spoke to me about that, as well as the two-piece’s origins, songwriting approach, and more.

How did the band form?

We formed in April last year, whilst at uni together. My old band was disbanding, and I wanted to form a gross hardcore band, so I jumped on Will, as I knew he was into those vibes, and we’ve been making noise ever since.

How did the name Death Goals come about?

I just got a big old name of potential band names off my phone, and Death Goals was one that I kept coming back to.

For those who have yet to listen to the band’s music, how would you describe it to them?

We like the tagline of “two boys making noise“, because we feel that sums up our sound nicely. Loud, noisy, chaotic madness.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Most of the songs come from me bringing a riff or an idea to rehearsal, or sometimes a whole song, and then us jamming it, chopping and changing, fairly standard stuff.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Um all kinds of things, most of our upcoming debut EP is about my past relationships, but the lyrics also touch on the mass incidents of inappropriate conduct within the hardcore and alternative scene, as well as things that keep me up at night, like existential dread and stuff.

Speaking of the self-titled debut EP, which will be coming out this July, how has the recording process been for that?

The recording process was brilliant. We recorded the whole thing live in one day at London Road Studios in Baldock, Hertfordshire. We did that because we wanted to capture the frantic energy of our live shows, and I feel we’ve certainly done that.

And what can be expected of the EP?

Short songs, breakdowns, and yelping.

The band have already played such London venues as The Black Heart and The Unicorn, as well as supporting the likes of Gutlocker and As Everything Unfolds. How is the experience, for you both, of playing live?

It’s the whole reason we formed the band. We booked our first show after our second or third rehearsal when we had only three or four songs!

However, playing live is everything for us, seeing the looks of horror on people’s faces as I’m running around or throwing guitars at Will or wrapping microphones around people is so funny.

Shout out to As Everything Unfolds, though, they’re ace!

What else do you have planned for the near future?

Hopefully some super cool music videos for the EP, and we’re working on the ideas for them currently!

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

To make falling over whilst holding a guitar a legitimate form of music.

THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT EP FROM DEATH GOALS WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 20.

Death Goals Single Cover

THE BAND’S RECENT SINGLE, ‘STACYLETMESEEYOURSTEGOSAURUS’, IS AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD, OR PURCHASE FROM THEIR BANDCAMP PAGE deathgoals.bandcamp.com

FURTHER INFO ON DEATH GOALS CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/DeathGoals

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/death_goals

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/death-goals

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

 

 

 

SCOTTISH HARD ROCKERS CONCRETE KINGDOMS TO RELEASE DEBUT EP THIS AUGUST

Concrete Kingdoms band photo

Concrete Kingdoms are here to stamp their imprint on the UK scene, and the Scottish rockers have the perfect bait in the form of their blistering debut self-titled EP, out Friday 17th August.

Concrete Kingdoms are an electrifying hard rock band from Fife, Scotland.

Taking inspiration from Guns N Roses, Alter Bridge, Audioslave and Led
Zeppelin, the emerging quintet have been winning over audiences since their
formation.

Support slots with the likes of Puddle of Mudd, Diamond Head, Mitch Malloy, and Nazareth, festival appearances at Rockmantic on the Road and Wildfire, and opening the Winter Storm Festival for Black Star Riders frontman Ricky Warwick, and such outfits as FM and Inglorious, has only served to increase the band’s budding reputation.

The five-piece are set to plough forward even further with the release of their debut EP, which will comprise of four cuts of crushing rock, framed by driving guitars, measured song structures and engulfing hooks, and will also be a must- have for all die-hard rock fans.

Their new single, ‘Time To Play’, is ripe for radio, and is sure to grace the airwaves this summer.

Concrete Kingdoms EP Cover

THE SELF-TITLED DEBUT EP FROM CONCRETE KINGDOMS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM AUGUST 17.

THE BAND WILL ALSO BE PLAYING A FEW UK DATES THIS SUMMER, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Concrete Kingdoms tour poster

MORE INFO ON CONCRETE KINGDOMS CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.concretekingdoms.com

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/ConcreteKingdomsUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/CK_RockNRoll

INSTAGRAM: instagram.com/Concretekingdoms

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/Concrete-Kingdoms-UK

 

 

SLIMBOY

Slimboy band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

If a band or artist had such a thing as a bucket list, then Swiss punks Slimboy have pretty much crossed everything off of theirs.

Signing to a major record label: check.

Touring the world: check.

Supporting huge outfits: check.

Recording albums in Los Angeles: check.

Last year, after a break, the highly-regarded trio made a triumphant return with their fifth album, ‘Sail On Sailor’, which they will be re-releasing in August, and earlier this year, they successfully supported The Ataris on their UK tour.

To talk me through the incredible journey the Basel collective have been on since they first formed at the dawn of this millennium was their vocalist/bassist Joel Bader.

How did the band initially get together?

We met through friends, but over the years, the band has had a lot of line-up changes. This line-up met in 2007 and 2011.

How did the name Slimboy come about?

Well, we needed a name back in 2000. We took Fatboy Slim and turned it around to Slimboy Fat. After a year, we cut the fat, and went on with Slimboy only.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We always just listen to everybody’s ideas and jam. We record a demo version, listen to that, and then rehearse some more until we’re happy.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Our lives.

Your first two albums, ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’ and ‘We Hate Slimboy’, were released to much success and acclaim. Was that something you anticipated, especially when you were recording the debut album?

Nah. not at all. It’s always good to see that people like what you do, but to me, it’s more important that we (the band) like it. The first two albums were fun, but we’ve changed a lot since then.

After that, the band signed a record contract with major label EMI/Virgin. How did that come about?

They heard our debut album and asked us. Simple. It was a fun time, but I like to be independent!

And how were your experiences with them? Mainly positive, mainly negative, or a bit of both?

A bit of both. They paid whatever we needed to be paid, but I wouldn’t miss this experience!

The band took a break between the release of the fourth album and beginning work on latest offering ‘Sail On Sailor’. Why was that?

I split up with the others, because I just wanted to do something else. Me and the drummer (Silvio Spadino) had a band for four years, called Cancer. That was fun!

And at any point were you considering putting Slimboy on permanent hiatus?

Yes, when we split up, but not for long!

This August, the band will be re-releasing ‘Sail On Sailor’. What are the reasons behind that?

A lot of people have yet to hear the album, so we thought we would do a re-release, so more people can hear it! Simple.

You recorded the album at Mike Herrera of MxPx’s studio in Seattle. How was that as an experience for you all?

It was fun. We have known Mike for a long time. His studio is great, and we really like the result!

For those who didn’t get to listen to ‘Sail On Sailor’ the first time around, what can they expect from it?

A simple rock/punk/pop album. We have different styles of songs on the record.

And you will be promoting the re-release with a European tour with American pop-punks MEST. How is it, for you all, playing live?

Well, Oasis was a big one. I’m a big fan, so I was nervous, but it was great! We toured with the Ataris several times. They’re nice guys, and always fun!

You have achieved a lot over the years. Did you ever expect it to happen when the band first formed?

Not at all. I’m very happy with what I was able to see and do!

Is there anything that the band would still like to accomplish that they haven’t managed to yet?

There’s always stuff you wanna accomplish. We wanna tour for as long as we can, and whatever happens and comes our way, we’ll take it!

And finally, what advice would you give to emerging bands/artists out there?

Just go for it and don’t stop, even if it gets worse and hard. The music business is a hard one. Keep it up!

Slimboy Album Cover

‘SAIL ON SAILOR’, THE LATEST ALBUM FROM SLIMBOY, WILL BE RE-RELEASED ON AUGUST 10.

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

 

 

 

THE FORGOTTEN AGE

The Forgotten Age band photo

THE FORGOTTEN AGE (from l-r): Ben Jones (rhythm guitar), Alex Wynne (bass/screamed vocals), Mike Bassington (vocals/lead guitar), Jack Hawley (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Forgotten Age are a four-piece from north Wales, who take from a diverse range of influences and combine lively riffs with strong melodies and powerful vocals to create a metal sound that appeals to fans of Killswitch Engage and fellow Welsh outfit Bullet For My Valentine.

The band burst onto the scene in early 2016 with their debut single, ‘Undone’, the video to which got over 7,000 views within the first few months of release.

Also, in March last year, they brought out a first EP, ‘Enough’, which was well-received both by their growing legion of followers and much of the underground music press.

Now, with a highly-anticipated follow-up coming out next month, entitled ‘Paradigm’, the Bangor collective’s rhythm guitarist, Ben Jones, gave me an insight into the recording process, what to expect from it, as well as the inner workings of the quartet.

How did the band form?

Myself and Alex started jamming with our former lead guitarist, and eventually, she introduced us to Mike, who was interested in becoming the singer for the band. After one or two more sessions, we called in an old friend to drum for us, and started gigging under the name of The Forgotten Age.

From where did the name The Forgotten Age originate?

We attended a local networking session for musicians in Bangor, and of course, people started asking what the name of the band was. Prior to the event, we’d thrown around some ideas, and eventually, we decided that we liked the sound of The Forgotten Age.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our songs normally start off with a guitar riff for the verse and chorus. If the riffs are solid, it’s much easier to get inspired for the remainder of the track.

We always start by making sure that the transitions from section to section are really smooth, so as to maintain a fluid sound. The bridge section of the song always seems to be written last, as we tend to write quite linearly. Mike will often have an arsenal of lyrics stored away, and he can choose which fits the best stylistically.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Normally, the lyrics are inspired by events that have occurred in certain points of our lives, past conflicts, relationships, and the ways we deal with our differences, basically, human nature versus our self-imposed societal and moral restrictions.

The stuff we write about is very relatable, these things could happen to anyone, but because they are so personal, that’s what makes them unique, and hopefully, what makes them interesting.

In February 2016, you brought out a debut single, ‘Undone’, and the video for that got over 7,000 views within the first few months of release. Was that something that took you all by surprise?

It was definitely great to see, but with anything in life, you get out what you put in. We put in a lot of time and effort to reach a wider audience, so maybe it was less surprise and more relief that we were able to achieve several thousand views on our debut video, and see our hard work pay off.

And in March last year, the band released their first EP, ‘Enough’. How well was the reaction to that?

With it being our first EP, I think people were quite surprised at how crisp the record sounded.

Unlike a lot of bands these days, we don’t drop tune our guitars to crazy low tunings, and I think people found this to be refreshing. Not every song sounded the same on the EP, and I think because of this, we were able to captivate a wider audience.

Next month, you will be bringing out your second EP, ‘Paradigm’. How has the recording process been for that?

At times it was quite hectic. We had about four or five days to track drums, guitars and vocals. It’s never an easy feat, but when you’re on a budget, it’s something you just have to get on with.

We have a bad habit of finishing off at least one song in the studio, and this time around, it was the track ‘Paradigm’ – arguably the most technically demanding song of the record.

And how will it be different to ‘Enough’?

As opposed to our first record, which was a collection of our best songs, these songs were purposely written to fit the theme of ‘Paradigm’. In the process of writing and recording the EP, we finally found our sound as a band, and have produced a record that easily trumps ‘Enough’.

Vocally, the screams are way bigger and nastier. Mike’s clean vocals sound phenomenal, and are a stand out feature of the record. Guitar-wise, this record was far more demanding than ‘Enough’, and the riffs are on a different level to before.

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

Everyone in the band loves playing live. If you’re lucky enough to have a highly-energetic audience, you can feed off their energy and throw it right back at them, and it just makes for an amazing show.

There’s nothing more satisfying than watching people sing along to your original material, and over the years, this has become a common occurrence, especially in local venues.

What are your plans once the forthcoming EP has come out?

We’ll be looking to play a handful of shows across the UK in order to promote the EP, and during these events, you’ll be able to get your hands on brand new T-shirts and signed physical copies of the EP.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

We’re hoping that with the release of ‘Paradigm’, this will propel the band into the spotlight, and will help us reach a far larger audience.

We’re hoping we can catch the attention of big festival organisers, so that we can hit these bigger stages, like Download, Bloodstock, etc…

The Forgotten Age EP Cover

‘PARADIGM’, THE SECOND EP FROM THE FORGOTTEN AGE, WILL BE AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM JUNE 29.

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

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/theforgottenage

TWITTER: twitter.com/Forgotten_Age

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/theforgottenageofficial

SOUNDCLOUD: soundcloud.com/the-forgotten-age

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com

 

STATIC FIRES

Static Fires band photo

STATIC FIRES (from l-r): Tom Gibbins (bass), Jack Piper (drums), Jack Clements (lead guitar), Sam Randles (vocals/rhythm guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From south Wales, Static Fires are a hotly-tipped alternative rock quartet that have already drawn favourable comparisons to such heavyweight outfits as the Foo Fighters, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kings of Leon.

In the spring of 2016, the collective brought out a debut self-titled EP, which was met with an overwhelmingly positive response.

For the last couple of months, the Swansea four-piece have been working hard on putting together a follow-up to that, which will be coming out this August, and they recently took the time to tell me all about it and other band-related topics.

How did the band get together?

We all met whilst we were in school growing up, and started playing together properly whilst doing our A-levels. After a stint in the recording studio, which produced some of the tracks on our first EP, we decided that we wanted to share our music with the world, and we’ve been doing so ever since!

How did the name Static Fires come about?

Previously, we had gone by the name Cinder. However, after discovering that there was another band with the same name, we brainstormed away looking for a new name until we settled on Static Fires, which was in keeping with our fire/flames theme.

To anybody who has yet to hear your music, how would you describe it to them?

Punchy and accessible rock music with eclectic influences and thoughtful arrangements.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrically, there is no particular writing process which we follow every time. Usually, one of us will attempt to write lyrics for a certain part, and we’ll start to get an idea for the ideas and themes that are developing.

We’ve had a lot more fun developing the lyrics for this album, compared to our EP, as we’ve let ourselves be carried away with creating cool ideas for the stories the songs are trying to tell, such as bad luck on ‘Thirteen’, and apocalyptic love on ‘Blood Red’.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

The music always comes first to us. We use a mix of jamming and individual songwriting which we bring together and let develop naturally. Sometimes, we’ll put an idea on the backburner until we have the right direction to take it.

That happened with one of our tracks, ‘Like The Sun’, which was easily rewritten a few times- but always for the better.

This August, the band will be bringing out their debut album, ‘Thirteen’. How has the recording process been for that?

Terrific! Late last year, we holed ourselves up in the Boneyard recording studio in Llandarcy, Neath, in order to create the album. We had so much fun watching our music develop through the recording process and be brought to life.

And how will it be different to your 2016 self-titled debut EP?

Our growth as songwriters definitely shows on ‘Thirteen’ when compared to our EP. We’ve taken more risks and dared to be more complex- both with the musical arrangements and with our ambitions.

We’ve kept the variety from the first EP, and perhaps even expanded from it in places, but still kept true to the things we enjoy. We’re immensely proud of ‘Thirteen’ as an album.

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

Great! We can’t wait to start playing as much as possible over the coming months to help promote the album and perform our new material to newer audiences, as we’ve always enjoyed playing live and performing at new venues!

And finally, what have you got lined up over the next couple of months?

We’re currently promoting ‘Return’, which is the first track we’ve released from the new album – currently available to stream exclusively on YouTube.

Next month, we’ll be debuting the music video for another one of our tracks, and also releasing that as a single! Also, we’ve got release gigs planned for both the single release and the album.

Static Fires Album Cover

‘THIRTEEN’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM STATIC FIRES, WILL BE RELEASED ON AUGUST 10.

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

 

LIQUID STATE

Liquid State band photo

LIQUID STATE (from l-r): Harry Moffatt (drums), Kray Zellinger (guitar), Keren Ashley (vocals), Ben Bull (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by ALI FEWELL

Describing themselves as “loud, sweaty, and fuelled by Red Stripe“, Liquid State are a quartet that have become firmly established on the Bristol underground music scene this past year with a powerful, gritty, moshpit-friendly alternative metal sound.

Having saw off a very competitive field of talented outfits to be crowned as Underdog Battle of the Bands champions last year in their home city, the collective recently released a single, ‘Dirty Little Preachers’, which has so far received much acclaim.

With their debut EP, ‘Save Yourself’, coming out this July, I spoke to the four-piece’s frontwoman, Keren Ashley, and she gave me an insight into its recording process, what can be expected from the upcoming release, and more.

How did the band get together?

Believe it or not, Liquid State started off as an acoustic two-piece! It was a college project for myself and Kray, but we very quickly decided acoustic music was not the route for us, as our songwriting unintentionally got heavier and heavier. We then added drums and bass, and progressed from there!

How did the name Liquid State come about?

Liquid State was a random idea that I had for a song title, although Kray recommended we use it for the band name instead. We agreed, and thus Liquid State was born!

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Kray is our main songwriter, and how it tends to pan out is that he will get inspired by a sound, whether it be a drum beat, a bassline, guitar line, or even just a random noise that he finds interesting, he’ll then go off and write something around his inspiration.

He uses Logic a lot, where he will record something and develop it by adding layers, changing frequencies, and generally just playing around with it until it’s built into something that can be worked into a song.

What inspires the band lyrically?

My biggest inspiration for our song lyrics is documentaries. I binge watch a lot of dark crime documentaries and horror films in my spare time, and you’ll find a lot of my lyrics are written about murders, prostitution, and generally other taboo subjects.

I feel that I get a lot more emotion through writing darker lyrics than if I was to write the basic love song lyrics.

Last year, you were crowned champions of Underdog Battle of the Bands in your home city of Bristol. How did that feel?

Absolutely amazing! The whole competition was full with such talent that we just never knew who would get through to the next round, so when we got through the auditions to the semi-finals, we were thrilled, and then even more so when we got through to the finals!

Playing the finals was incredible, it was the biggest stage we’d ever played, and the audience were fantastic, we had friends and family come from all over the UK to support us, and it was, from start to finish, the best gig we’d ever be a part of!

It was when they started revealing the winners at the end, and we hadn’t placed 3rd or 2nd, that we all suddenly became so, so tense with nerves. It was either we win, or we go home with nothing, and with all of the bands having played so well, we just had no idea who would take the crown, so when they said our name, we were just absolutely speechless!

We still are speechless, and it was nearly a year ago!

The band recently released a single, ‘Dirty Little Preachers’. How has the reaction been to that?

It’s been ridiculous! We’ve had over 6,000 views in a week, we’ve been included in lots of music blogs and websites, and have had so many shares, comments and likes, it’s unreal! We’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support, and now we’re just buzzing to get the rest of the songs out!

This July, you will be bringing out your debut EP, ‘Save Yourself’. How has the recording process for that been?

The recording process was so much fun! None of us had recorded properly before and the whole experience was just something extraordinary. Our studio was in the middle of Malvern in Worcestershire, surrounded by hills and fields, so it was nice to get away from city life and have the atmosphere where we could just focus and work really hard to get the best out of our tracks!

Our producer, Scott Mahoney, was also incredible and really pushed us to create something. Don’t get me wrong though, it was a hard week. We’d go to the studio for around 11am the one morning, and Scott and Kray didn’t return back to the hotel until 8am the next morning; they had spent a solid 20 hours hammering out guitar, I don’t know how they did it without dying, it was quite unbelievable.

And what can be expected of the upcoming release?

We’ve got big things to come with our release, and we are just so excited to get all of our songs online for people to listen to! People can expect to see new merch designs, physical CDs, and a small UK tour, we’re looking forward to stepping out of Bristol for a little while, and connecting with new bands and fans from different cities too.

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

Loud, sweaty and aggressive.

We feel that live shows are much more than just the music, we aim to capture everybody’s attention and create the same feeling that is felt when watching bands like Marmozets and Arcane Roots.

You could have the sickest tunes, but standing on stage looking pissed off won’t get the same engagements as being the band with the sickest tunes and a mad live show. We want people to talk about us after a show, and remember who we are for the next one.

What else do you have planned over the next couple of months?

So we have our EP being launched in July, which will be followed with a release gig. We’ll also have another music video coming out to one of the tracks, and a small tour. We’ve got lots lined up, but we just need to get some dates down first!

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

We just want to be able to keep writing new, exciting music, to release albums, tour around the world, and gain more beautiful fans! We’d love to be seen as a band that helps to inspire women to get involved in music as well, metal isn’t just for men, and women can rock it just as hard!

Ultimately, we just want people to love our music as much as we do, and to become known as the band that puts on a mad show, and that you just have to go and see live!

Liquid State EP Cover

‘SAVE YOURSELF’, THE DEBUT EP FROM LIQUID STATE, WILL BE AVAILABLE TO STREAM, DOWNLOAD OR PURCHASE FROM SPOTIFY, iTunes, APPLE MUSIC, GOOGLE PLAY, AMAZON MUSIC, AND THE BAND’S OFFICIAL WEBSITE liquidstateuk.com

FURTHER INFO ON LIQUID STATE CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/liquidstateuk

TWITTER: twitter.com/liquid_stateuk

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/liquidstateuk

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com