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!
‘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: