ALBANY

Albany band photo

ALBANY (from l-r): Jim De Ath (rhythm guitar), Chris Fletcher (bass), Matt Duke (vocals/lead guitar), Dan Sharratt (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In recent years, some have questioned why there have been no bands to establish themselves, in a big way, on the British indie-rock scene.

One outfit determined to see that change are Lincoln four-piece Albany, who have generated much buzz and excitement within their genre with a powerful, rough-edged sound, drawn from a broad range of influences, coupled with lyrical content dealing with life in general.

The quartet’s frontman, Matt Duke, spoke to me recently about their journey so far, how 2018 has gone for them, and what they hope to achieve in the near future.

How did the band form?

It all started in 2008, around The Enemy years, and it was a three-piece semi-acoustic thing we had going on in Coventry, but this disbanded after a couple of years, and I kind of slipped into a hiatus from music.

However, after three years, my best mate who was the bass player in Coventry got engaged and asked me to play a 45-minute live set at his wedding reception.

At the time, obviously I didn’t have a band, so I literally had a year to find some musicians and decide on a set, but I’d been out of the game for a bit, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull it off, but I advertised online, and the first person that got back to me was Chris, the current bass player.

We started rehearsing, along with a load of other randoms I pulled together, the set went great, and it went from there really. During those rehearsals, I’d been toying with the idea of getting the band back together because I’d found I was a lot better than I was at uni, so it kind of gave me a bit of a spark to do something with or try; so I asked Chris if he’d be interested, which he obviously was, he knew a drummer, we got together, banged out a couple of songs I’d written for the old band, which sounded incredible, and after a couple of months or so, we found a rhythm guitarist, and after an overhaul last year with another axe man, here we are today. The rest is history.

How did the name Albany come about?

It’s named after a pub and a road in Coventry, close to where I used to live. At the time, in 2007, there were a lot of bands called “The” something…..so I wanted just one word that was clear, simple, effective, AND something a crowd could chant easily when we’re about to blow their heads off live.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Just wait for them to happen. You can’t force it, I can’t anyway, it’s just how I learnt, and sometimes, it’ll be a month before anything comes, but it’s always worth the wait, so I just don’t chase it too much.

If I sit down and try and MAKE myself write a song, nine times out of 10, it won’t happen, and therefore, it’s a waste of time, and to the frustration of the others, it doesn’t work in rehearsals either. They’re desperate to come up with something together, but my head just doesn’t work like that.

I’m an average musician at best, and to come up with something on the spot, it would have to be a massive stroke of luck. We get intros and outros for our show easily, but song-wise, they have to wait, but most of the time, it’ll come to me out of the blue; whether I’m driving, or at work, or, to my girlfriend’s annoyance, in the middle of the night; she has been known to lose her temper at 3am, but when songs like ‘Kingpin’ get written, I wouldn’t change it, but wherever I am or whatever I’m doing, I’ve got to get it down on my phone, otherwise I’ll forget it.

From there, I’ll go find it on the guitar, tweak it, and get the music down pretty quickly, but yeah, a lot of people at work think I’m bat crazy, as they’ll walk into the toilet, and I’m sat there in the corner singing into my phone.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Life. Literally.

Relationships, love, heartbreak, getting stuck in queues, people annoying me, whatever happens or is happening at that time, it tends to get written about, but this is all down to what I’ve said from day one; all great songs tell a story, and that’s because, in one way or another, people can relate to them somehow, and so they have more appeal, but again, it’s like the music, there has to be something going on in my life to inspire the song, otherwise I’d be writing about old women in a jacuzzi, and nobody wants to hear about that.

One of the EARLY songs we did was called ‘Push It In’….get your head round that! Clearly, that never even made it to rehearsal.

You all have a passion to resurrect the anthemic British guitar appeal. Why do you think that has declined in recent years?

Lack of inspiration, I think. I think the last 10 years has been dire, guitar-wise, and it’s annoying because every decade has always had something or someone big defining it.

Back in around 2004/2005, there was a new wave of guitar bands after the 90’s thing, The Killers, Kasabian, The Libertines, The Enemy, Razorlight, etc…that was great. I call it “jingly jangly” indie, but when it was time for the next “big thing” indie-wise to make a noise, around two or three years, there was hardly anything, and I think that’s why all the big bands are either still going or are getting back together and becoming bigger than ever in 2018, because there’s still a huge want and need for it.

See, I adore the internet, socials, YouTube, all of it, but it’s Catch-22, because it has ruined the industry, and more to the point, has made it harder for bands like us to be acknowledged, which adds to the fact that the industry is boring because the same shit just keeps churning out.

Nowadays, it seems to be more about how much traction you get on Instagram than the actual music, but I guess it will change, as everything comes full circle eventually, and hopefully, we’ll be the ones to get the ball rolling. It’d be nice.

At the start of 2018, the band signed to the UK’s largest independent indie label, SoundHub Records. How did that come about?

They found us, I guess through our socials, and said they loved us and wanted to get involved, as it was up their street, and they wanted to help make the next EP, so we talked, gave them a live showcase of, I think, three songs…. and no word of a lie, they said it was “one of the best showcases they’ve had“, and last year, we released anything we did independently, so we needed the right people behind this one to make it worthwhile, and they know their stuff, they’re bang on, and our kind of people as well, so as anything goes when you click with someone, it was pretty easy.

And I can imagine you were all feeling good when you signed the contract with them.

Well yeah, because someone was finally listening. I had been writing for three years, as a band we’d finally found our sound, and at gigs, especially local ones, we were going down a storm, so from our point of view, it was, “Right now, we’re talking! Someone gets it…AND we don’t have to start singing about getting drunk in a Lego house to get noticed“.

Recently, the band brought out a new single, entitled ‘Kingpin’. How was the recording process for that?

A lot of fun. See, we do things the wrong way round, in my eyes, but it’s great at the same time, because it lets us have a bit of room for playing around with it.

I’ve always seen it as, you write a song, work it out, record it, and then when it comes to rehearsals, work out a live version for gigs, but we work backwards, and I guess that’s how a lot of bands that need to fund themselves are… because we always end up playing the song live for however long before it even makes the studio!

Therefore, a lot of times, we end up with two versions of songs. ‘Kingpin’ didn’t change structure-wise, the magic with that came with the guys at Soundhub, their input to it, and what they added to it…and the other tracks too, which all sound incredible, but working this way, I guess, gives us the best of both worlds and the fans too, because it lets us have a choice as to how to play a song live….and that’s how you keep things interesting…it’s like a relationship….keep changing it up, keep them on their toes, make things exciting, don’t become predictable, and you’re onto a winner.

How has the reaction been to the track so far?

Mega, and from our fans and the people that follow us, really, really good. I mean they had been lucky enough to hear it live a couple of times before we went into the studio with it, and we’re quite lucky in the sense that a lot of people that come to most of our gigs do come and talk to us afterwards, if they can, and if they’re talking about a song; they either love it, it’s okay, or they’re not keen. They say how it is, and I click with that.

With this one, people who have messaged us have said that they have put it on loop,  and they can’t get enough.

I mean, I knew the moment I got the hook, “Can you see it now?” that it was gonna be a banger, but how it has turned out, we couldn’t be happier, to be fair, and with a couple of changes that were made in the studio when we came to playing it as a band, it came to be what it is, which was an in-your-face, straight-to-the-point, driven indie rock belter.

And will ‘Kingpin’ eventually lead to a third EP, or debut album release?

See, we thought we were doing a third EP, but the guys at SoundHub suggested we recorded three singles and released them all separately, so that’s what we did, and it kind of made sense because rather than releasing it all in one go like we have in the past, riding the wave, and then it’s all over, with this, we could light a fire with ‘Kingpin’, and then as and when we could, keep stoking it with the next one and the next one, get a bit of long-term momentum going, but this song’s big enough to keep itself burning for a few months yet…and then we’ll hit it with another. It’s all mapped out.

This year, you played at Camden Rocks, as well as embarking on an enthusiastically-received 10-date UK tour. How were they as experiences?

We’ve had a great summer, yeah. Loved it. We played 2Q in Lincoln, we headlined The Platform at The Engine Shed as part of This Feeling, Joefest, which is a well-known local festival that we opened up on the BBC Introducing stage for, we played the British Superbikes at Cadwell Park, which was a hot messy one, and yeah, Camden Rocks.

It’s all been great, but Camden was massive for us. We were all twitching for that, I mean we’ve played London before a few times, at The Fiddlers Elbow, but Camden Rocks felt like a step forward for the band, because we were on the bill with other well-known bands, bands that we are fans of, and the reaction we got drove us to keep going; we packed the venue out, the crowd were bouncing to every song in our half-hour set, and the festival’s asked us back next year.

I mean, to me, that speaks for itself, there are people out there that want it.

And how is it overall, for the band, performing live?

It’s why we do it. No better feeling, especially at festivals and big stages, as you get to see the whites in people’s eyes! Rehearsals can be a ball ache, not because we don’t enjoy it, but because we all work full-time, and by the time we get there, we’re all knackered….and sometimes we don’t get anywhere because of it, but it’s all worth it, especially when you’ve got a string of dates in front of you.

What are your plans for the near future?

We’ve got our last gig of the year on November 30 in Lincoln at The Rogue Saint, and after that, I’m going to sit in a dark room for a week, and get my head down for a bit.

I’ve got three or four songs that are massive, so we’ll be laying them down throughout December, get through Christmas, and then it all starts again.

I can’t give much away, because not everything is confirmed yet, but we’ve got a busy year ahead.

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

To rescue indie rock, I guess, and to give the people back what they want, and hopefully inspire a few of them along the way? I don’t know. We’re just taking every moment as it comes, every opportunity as it comes, and making waves where we play, to as many places as possible, if not for anyone else, giving ourselves a bit of hope that guitar music is still alive.

There’s no quirks or confusion with us, it is what it is, and we love what we do; we just need a leg up, and with a bit of luck, the best case scenario, by the time our thing’s gone full circle, will hopefully be us riding our own wave, in the middle of the sea, on a yacht.

Albany band logo

‘KINGPIN’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM ALBANY, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA SOUNDHUB RECORDS.

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

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A NIGHT LIKE THIS

A Night Like This band photo

A NIGHT LIKE THIS (from l-r): Ronan Samolinski (drums), Dan O’Brien (guitar), Dom Hoven (vocals), Josef Lovett (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

A Night Like This, an alternative rock four-piece from south Wales with post-hardcore and emo influences, have been on a roll ever since the release of their first single, ‘Survival’, last year.

The band, who specialise in writing songs that are about real, important topics that their rapidly-expanding fan base can relate to, have brought out a positively-received debut EP, ‘Between Hell & Home’, and have supported the likes of Blood Youth, Loathe, and Holding Absence.

With a new track, entitled ‘Throne’, having just been unveiled, the quartet spoke to me about that, all of the above, and more.

How did the band form?

Friends coming together through a mutual love of music and composition.

From where did the name A Night Like This originate?

It’s really simple, and quite boring – the truth is we were at a practice, and said, “It would be great to play a show on a night like this“, and at that point, we had not yet named the band, so one of us jokingly said, “Hey, that works, A Night Like This – we have our name“, and it just stuck.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We all individually demo at home, all throw our ideas into the bag, so to speak, then we talk it out, see who likes what elements, and combine them to get the finished product in a practice room.

It can be a lengthy process of chopping and changing, as with anything – but we are proud of the results we can achieve when we work as a unit.

In May, the band brought out a debut EP, entitled ‘Between Hell & Home’, which followed on from last year’s first single release, ‘Survival’. How was the reaction to the EP?

The initial response was incredible. We headlined a release show at Sin City in Swansea to over 100 people, which is our largest hometown crowd to date – we sold out of multiple items of merch, and everyone was, in general, thrilled with the outcome.

We went on to play a four-day weekend tour to promote its release in July, and then a UK headline tour in September, and the overall response has been great.

You’ve just unveiled a new single, ‘Throne’, which was recorded with Michael “Padge” Paget, the lead guitarist of Bullet For My Valentine. How was working with him as an experience?

Honestly, it was surreal – Bullet For My Valentine are a band that every single one of us has been a fan of for quite some time, but Padge was an absolute pleasure to work with, and he made the whole experience really fun for all of us – we even shared a few beers.

However, we also really need to mention Drew Hamley (Unit 15 Productions/bassist of I Fight Bears) for his work alongside Padge, as the single was co-produced, and together, they are an incredible team.

And for those who have yet to listen to the track, what can they expect of it?

Something a little different to the previous release, a step towards our newer sound – slightly heavier, but still with that catchy chorus edge and combining multiple elements.

You can expect a balance of clean vocals, screams, classic post-hardcore riffs combined with a touch of ambience, and lots of melody.

Live, the band have supported the likes of Holding Absence, Shields, and more recently, Blood Youth, Emp!re, and Loathe. How were they as experiences?

Every single one of those bands are an inspiration to us as a collective, all incredible musicians, and just all-around good people. We’ve had the honour of playing with Holding Absence on two occasions – both have been incredible, and Lucas Woodland, their frontman, has been good enough to share our previous single releases on his social media channels.

The most recent show was with Blood Youth, and playing with such a respected touring band (in the main support slot position) was incredible, especially in such a small, intimate venue.

And how is it overall, for you all, performing on stage?

We all live and breathe this band, we play every show like it’s our last – we aren’t just band mates, we’re a family. Whether we play to a handful of people, or a full room, each show is an experience in its own right, and we will ALWAYS play to our heart’s content.

On December 15, the band will be supporting Dream State in Swansea. I can imagine that’s something you’re all looking forward to.

Of course, as they’ve come an incredibly long way in the last year or so, and the show is likely to be a sell-out. They’re a strong example of what can become of local music, as a few years ago, they were playing tiny venues in south Wales to small crowds, and now, they’re playing every major festival, and going on huge tours.

Anyone who hasn’t got tickets should get them now, as they’re selling fast. (Cheeky plug, buy online at www.derricksmusic.co.uk)

And what are your plans following that?

We will be going away for a little while – we can’t say too much yet, but all will be revealed in due course. We know what you’re thinking, and the answer is that is no, we’re not splitting up.

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

World domination.

A Night Like This Single Cover

‘THRONE’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM A NIGHT LIKE THIS, IS AVAILABLE NOW.

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

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BAILER

Bailer band photo

BAILER (from l-r): Alex O’Leary (vocals), Sean Conway (drums), Dave Cleere (bass), Chris Harte (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

With a heavy, ambitious metallic hardcore sound, and a live set that is pure chaos and ferocity, four-piece Bailer are an outfit that have firmly established themselves on the metal scene in their native Ireland.

2018 has seen the band broaden their horizons, having toured Russia, brought out a well-received self-titled EP, and been championed by the likes of Kerrang! and Metal Hammer.

On the eve of the quartet’s UK headline tour, vocalist Alex O’Leary and drummer Sean Conway spoke to me about what has been a productive year for them, as well as a little more about the inner workings of the band.

How did the band form?

ALEX O’LEARY (vocals): The band formed after Chris sent me a few demos that I put vocals down on for fun. After reviewing the tracks, we loved the sound and decided to give it a shot. Another shot even, as myself and Chris had been in bands previous to Bailer. Me and Dave were in another band at the time, but we transitioned over full-time once we got moving.

How did the name Bailer come about?

ALEX: I suppose Bailer has loads of connotations. Nodding towards people bailing on you, bailing on a situation for wrong reasons, being the person who sometimes has to bail for the right reasons, but yeah, funnily enough, it came about when we were brainstorming possible names sitting in the van heading to record our first two songs, and we were stuck behind a tractor carrying bails of hay. Enough said. (laughs)

What are the band’s main musical influences?

ALEX: It varies with each member of the band, I guess. There’s strong influences in our sound from bands such as Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean, but there’s also strong influences from hip-hop, hardcore, metal etc…it’s a mixed bag of influences really.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ALEX: As time goes on, I think your approach to songwriting changes, as it should, as being stuck in the same routine and using the same methods can result in stale material.

Chris usually sparks the creative process with riffs he has, and we collectively put our own spin on it when it gets to the jam room, but we also have tons of demos that we all work away on when we have time at home.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ALEX: A lot of the lyrics are based on negative personal experiences or views of my own that I try to make sense of. Being negative or going through a shit time in life inspires me to vent, and I become better for doing so.

In February, you brought out a self-titled EP, your third, which was very well-received, and got excellent reviews from both Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Was the overwhelmingly positive reaction something you were all taken aback by?

ALEX: I would have to say yes. We are all music fans in the band, and at one point or another, bought these magazines to read about new bands. It was an honour to see ourselves in there, as it had been a goal for the band, and we were delighted with that recognition.

Earlier this year, the band toured Russia, and last month played Brighton contemporary rock festival Mammothfest. How were they as experiences?

SEAN CONWAY (drums): They were great experiences in different ways. Russia at the start of the year was our first proper tour outside of Ireland and presented a whole load of challenges we weren’t expecting.

We landed with no equipment due to an airline mix-up and nearly had to cancel, and we also had to get a fill-in vocalist at the last minute, but we got through it, it definitely made us stronger, and we ended up having some unbelievable shows along the way.

Playing Mammothfest, though, was a breeze! We had no issues, and we had a great time. We were also playing with our buddies in Jenova and God Alone who travelled over with us. It was a perfect UK warm-up for our tour this month.

Yes, you will be embarking on a UK headline tour later this month. How is it, overall, performing live?

SEAN: Performing live for us has always been the number one most fun and rewarding part of the band. We love putting music together and recording it, but that immediate feedback and reaction you get from playing live is hard to get anywhere else.

The style of music we play lives and dies on stage, and we definitely always have our live show at the forefront of our minds. We will be mostly playing places we’ve never been to before on this tour, and we’re really excited to try to break new ground for the band.

And finally, what are the band’s plans for the beginning of 2019?

SEAN: We hope to focus a lot on the writing of our debut album at the start of 2019. Of course, we have shows planned, but we definitely want to focus on writing as much as we can while we have the time.

We have a bunch of demos to flesh out and work on throughout the first half of the year, but make no mistake, we will be touring even harder in 2019!

Bailer EP Cover

THE SELF-TITLED THIRD EP FROM BAILER IS AVAILABLE NOW.

THE BAND WILL ALSO BE EMBARKING ON A UK TOUR LATER THIS MONTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Bailer tour poster

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

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HAGGARD CAT

Haggard Cat band photo

HAGGARD CAT (from l-r): Matt Reynolds (vocals/guitar), Tom Marsh (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by GARY GENT

In August last year, infamously destructive Nottingham hardcore outfit HECK decided to call it a day, leaving their loyal fan base wondering what the band members were going to do next.

Well, vocalist/guitarist Matt Reynolds, and drummer Tom Marsh, had something lined up, as they had been performing and recording occasionally as a two-piece for a few years prior.

The duo decided to throw themselves into what was now a full-time project named Haggard Cat, and ever since, with a full devotion to their craft, they have gone from strength to strength, touring with the likes of Jamie Lenman and Ugly Kid Joe, bringing out a well-received debut album, and putting on the best live show possible.

Currently on yet another UK tour, Matt took some time out from that to speak to me about the band, their experiences, and much more.

How did Haggard Cat come about initially?

We actually started out in order to play a gig in Nottingham Rock City Basement. Me and Tom were in the pub next door when we bumped into our friend that needed to find an opener for the Swellers show that evening.

As it was such short notice, we figured he wasn’t exactly likely to find someone and so we offered to turn up with a guitar and some drum breakables, and make a racket.

We ended up playing the show, our set comprised of a few old blues songs and some stripped-down material from our old band, but the majority of it was a bunch of riffs that we had either been jamming on up to that point or that we just made up on the spot that we hashed out into very rough forms of songs that eventually turned up on our first demo/album ‘Charger’ back in 2013.

Word spread from the very rough set, and every now and then, we got asked to perform a show as our fictional two-piece band, so we kept it underground but still alive to play whatever shows we were asked to do.

We kept it this way for years until we started work on our first real album, ‘Challenger’, and that’s when things really started to take shape and we really started to focus in on what we were creating.

From where did the band name originate?

The name was a reaction to how we perceived what we were doing with that very first show… we were a gift that nobody had asked for and seldom wanted, a Haggard Cat Bothday Present (Bothday being a reference to mine and Tom’s hometown).

It didn’t take us long to decide that we weren’t fond of the hasty title we’d given ourselves, so we shortened it to HCBP, which we stuck with for quite a while, and it wasn’t until we emerged with ‘Challenger’ that we made the decision to simplify to just Haggard Cat (mainly because a lot of people were having trouble remembering four seemingly random letters).

What are your main musical influences?

We get inspired by anything that forces an emotion within us, be that positive or negative. I think anything that is powerful enough to stir any change of mood or mental state is worth listening to and take influence from.

That could be the driving simple rhythms and repetition of classic rhythm and blues, or the pounding ferocity of hardcore punk. I think there’s inspiration to be taken from all parts of the spectrum.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Tom and I have played together for over a decade now, and from experience, our best material always comes from actually heading into a room together and physically hammering it out to feel what comes to us naturally.

The majority of our best riffs come when we’re not thinking too hard about it, so that’s how the roots and bones of all our songs start life and take shape.

What inspires the band lyrically?

When it came to writing our last album, we put the songs together musically and the lyrics came a lot later. I’ve never worked that way before, as generally I tend to have long passages of lyrics written that I lift from to shape songs that fit the musical themes cohesively, but with this new way of writing, the lyrics themselves became much more immediate, so I ended up writing about what was happening around us, so the material was all together more introspective.

It just so happened that what was happening around us was insane right wing politics re-entering the mainstream in a big way, so a lot of the material ended up being a reaction to that.

We’d never consider ourselves a political band per se, but it would have been pretty much impossible to not pass comment on the insanity that was developing around us, but at the same time, we have plenty of songs about drinking and behaving badly, because we’re pretty good at that too.

In April this year, you brought out your second album, ‘Challenger’. How was the recording process for that?

We had an incredible time making ‘Challenger’. The space we went to was a huge church up in Leeds called the Nave, and we also had our good friend Matt Peel at the helm, so it was very much an enjoyable experience.

The space allowed us to lay all the tracks down live, so you can really get the organic feel of being in the room with the band when you stick ‘Challenger’ onto your headphones.

Matt also records directly to analogue tape, which really upped the overall warmth and dynamics of the record. I can’t imagine recording anywhere else at this moment in time after experiencing the Nave, as it’s such an inspirational, creative space.

And how was the reaction to the album for the band personally?

So far, so good! It’s been out for just over six months now, and although the critical acclaim was absolutely mind-blowing, it’s the reaction of people that come to the gigs that we are really taken aback by.

Since the release, we have seen so many people singing along to every word at our shows, and that’s all we could have ever hoped for from releasing our music into the world. We’re really glad people are embracing these songs as much as they are.

You pride yourselves on playing as many gigs at as many venues as possible. How is it, for you both, performing live?

We absolutely do pride ourselves on that, yes! As I mentioned earlier, playing live is pretty much everything that this band is about. It’s the way the band was formed, it’s how the songs are written, and it’s where it all really comes to life.

The energy that we share when playing live is what we make music for. That experience is everything, and we will always work as hard as we physically can to keep taking this show as far as we can, as constantly as we can. Playing live is our life.

And the band are currently on the Upset magazine ‘About To Break’ UK tour. How has that been going so far?

It’s going really well! It’s great to see even more people coming out to the headline shows after a good solid year of touring; it seems every extra time we come out, we see even more faces, and we hope it continues to grow and grow.

We’re also sharing the stage with three other incendiary bands, Bitch Falcon, Drones, and InTechnicolour, which has been an absolute honour; all three are bands you really shouldn’t sleep on.

And finally, what are your plans following the current tour?

Well, we’re actually planning to disappear for a little while, but if we told you why, we’d have to kill you. We may also have an extra special treat, though, coming your way just in time for Christmas…

Haggard Cat Album Cover

‘CHALLENGER’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM HAGGARD CAT, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA EARACHE RECORDS.

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

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RIVER BECOMES OCEAN

River Becomes Ocean band photo

RIVER BECOMES OCEAN (from l-r): Dorian Neidhardt (drums), Ben Bartup (guitar), Marvin McMahon (vocals/piano), Danny Snow (guitar/backing vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in 2013, Brighton-based alternative rock four-piece River Becomes Ocean have constantly focused on developing their sound and live presence, a devotion which has led the band to two well-received EPs, tours across the UK and continental Europe, and support slots for the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Hollywood Vampires.

Early in the new year, the quartet will be unveiling their debut album, entitled ‘A Motion Paralysed’, and guitarist/vocalist Danny Snow spoke to me about its recording process, collaborating with Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier, as well as what we can expect from the upcoming release.

How did the band get together?

Marvin, Dorian and I met in Germany touring with former bands, and we decided to start something together. We met Ben on a night out drinking, got chatting, and the rest is history. RBO was born.

From where did the name River Becomes Ocean originate?

The name resembles the movement of something small turning into something big, much like a river turning into an ocean, it starts with a spring, and ends in a huge mass of water. We started out small, and have been growing ever since.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We all come from various musical backgrounds, so a mixture of metal, punk, classical, and pop flows into everything.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

Due to us not living in the same country any more, someone comes up with an idea,  and we then send it back and forth online. We all work together on the songs, just not in the same room.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Love and everything that comes with it. The negatives, the positives, the break-ups, the pain, the healing, the desperation. We are an emo band at heart.

Early in the new year, you will be bringing out a debut album, entitled ‘A Motion Paralysed’. How has the recording process been for that?

We were working to a tight deadline, which always actually helps us to get things done. What didn’t help, though, was when I mowed our producer’s lawn despite having hayfever, and ending up being hospitalised.

And the band have collaborated with Liam Cormier, vocalist of Cancer Bats, on ‘Silence Means Nothing’, a track on the upcoming release. How did that come about?

We are always looking for other artists to work with, so we keep an eye out who is on tour whilst we are in the studio, and just reach out.

And how was the experience of working with him?

Liam actually rode his motorbike down from London to meet us in Brighton, and is just the nicest dude ever. He ripped the vocals in a matter of minutes, and just hung out and chatted with us for a couple of hours.

Also, how will the album differ to the two EPs the band have released up to now?

Other than having more songs, I think we have finally found our unique sound. There has always been the element of what RBO is, but this album has very different approaches, heavy metal riffs, pop-punk vibes, and pop songs, yet you can tune in at any part of the record and will recognize it’s us.

You’ve toured across the UK and continental Europe, and have shared the stages with the likes of Funeral For A Friend and Hollywood Vampires. How were they as experiences?

As a band, our attitude is to treat every show the same, regardless of who we play with, how big the audience is, or how bad the rider is.

And how is it, overall, performing live?

It’s a different experience every night, as you play to a different crowd in a different city, and drink different local beers. We absolutely love touring. What could be better then spending weeks and weeks on end with your best friends?

What has the band got planned following the unveiling of ‘A Motion Paralysed’?

A huge touring cycle that will hopefully bring us to new parts of the world we haven’t played yet.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

World domination.

River Becomes Ocean Album Cover

‘A MOTION PARALYSED’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM RIVER BECOMES OCEAN, WILL BE RELEASED ON JANUARY 18, VIA DEPARTMENT MUSIK.

THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING A FEW UK DATES NEXT MONTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

River Becomes Ocean tour poster

MORE INFO ON RIVER BECOMES OCEAN CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

NORTHSHORE

Northshore band photo

NORTHSHORE (from l-r): Matty Waterhouse (drums), Dan Shepherd (bass/vocals), Ben Vickers (vocals), Kyle Davies (guitar), Elliot Parry (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Middlesbrough, a town in the north-east of England, Northshore are a five-piece armed with a sound inspired by a varied range of music, spanning from chart pop, to pop-punk, to heavy rock, and lyrical content that is a frank exploration of themes such as mental health, addiction, and relationships.

Having impressed with last year’s debut EP, ‘Alternative Futures’, the band have spent much of 2018 perfecting what will be its follow-up, ‘For What It’s Worth’.

With that not out until next February, the quintet’s bassist/vocalist, Dan Shepherd, spoke to me about the, at times problematic, recording process for the release, what we can expect from it, and much more.

How did the band form?

The band formed last year after Ben had moved back to Middlesbrough, and hit myself and Kyle about starting up a new project. We had all known each other prior, and our bands used to tour together all the time. We then went round, heard some of the demos he had written, and thought, “We can’t not do this“.

We found Matty in a practice room at the local college, and Kyle pretty much pestered him until he agreed to join. Elliot joined earlier this year, around halfway through the recording process of ‘For What’s It Worth’, so he’s still fairly new. He originally joined just as a fill-in guitarist, but he fit in so well and absolutely killed it every night, so it was a no-brainer that we would ask him to join permanently.

How did the name Northshore come about?

We like to have fun with this question, so we change our answer every time someone asks us, but the real story is that Ben was like, “We’re from the north, we like near the beach…How about Northshore?” Pretty boring, right? Whereas I think it’s a lot funnier to tell people we’re named after the high school in the film Mean Girls.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Our influences change depending on who in the band you ask, as we have a pretty varied musical taste. I listen to a lot of R ‘n’ B, and try to incorporate that into our vocals as much as possible, whereas Ben and Matty are into the heavier side of things like Architects, so we have a mixture of what we’re all into.

Collectively, we all love bands like State Champs, The Maine, old You Me At Six, With Confidence, drifting more towards the poppier side of our genre.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach to songwriting usually starts with Ben coming up with a riff or an idea, and then building that up, we recorded our last two EPs with Ben, as he has a studio set up in his house that he uses to put ideas down.

When Ben comes up with an idea, I usually let him tweak it for a couple of weeks, and then I start to put vocal ideas down, jot down lyrics, and go from there.

When vocals have a rough structure, I will bring them to Ben, and we will sit and tweak vocal lines, decide who is singing which part, refine lyrics, and all that stuff. 

We’re horrendous for tweaking things, though, as we can change things right up until the very last second, for example, we were recording our upcoming EP, an we were constantly changing things as we were going along, removing guitar parts, rewriting leads, vocals, drums.

For the EP following ‘For What It’s Worth’, our songwriting approach should change, now we’ve brought in Elliot. He joined us after we had written the majority of the EP, so we don’t have a wealth of experience writing with him.

However, he’s sent over a few ideas since he joined, and they’ve so far all been ace, so we’re very much looking forward to working more with him for our next release.

Last year, the band unveiled their debut EP, ‘Alternative Futures’. How was the reaction to that?

The reaction to ‘Alternative Futures’ was more than we ever could have expected.

We were a brand new band, and the support we received from bands around our scene, and people at our shows, was overwhelming. We were out playing shows in places we had never been to before, and people already knew the words to the songs, so for a band from a tiny town like Middlesbrough, that was insane.

You’ve already mentioned a bit about the follow-up for that, ‘For What’s It Worth’, coming out next February. How was the recording process?

It was quite possibly the most stressful thing that we, as a band, have ever experienced, as anything that could have gone wrong did.

We had to leave our old studio when the EP was fully recorded, build a brand new one in Ben’s house, and start again from scratch, so we re-recorded the EP, listened to it back, realised we weren’t happy with it, and so, we started recording it all over again, and did that over and over until we were all finally happy.

This EP, and everything that was thrown our way during its recording process, a lot of which isn’t really worth getting into any more detail about, almost made us call it a day on more than one occasion, as it pushed us to our absolute limits, and we were so close to giving up, but now, I’m so thankful that we didn’t.

This is why the title is so important to us, because it really made us question what music, and this band, was actually worth to us.

And how will the upcoming EP differ to the band’s debut release?

I don’t want to fall into the band cliche of being like “everything is better”, but it is a massive step-up for us, for sure, as with our debut release, we were a new band, still getting used to one another, trying to find a sound, and I think that’s why ‘Alternative Futures’ was kind of a mish-mash of everything, because we were trying to find what worked best for us.

With ‘For What’s It Worth’, we feel like we’ve found that a little more, it’s definitely more consistent, a lot poppier, which suits us well, and myself and Ben took over lyric duty for the first time, so for the both of us, it feels so much more personal.

We made the decision to have me sing a lot more on this record too, after testing the waters with 50/50 vocals with the ‘Father’ single, we found that was what we wanted to pursue moving forward, so basically, everything is bigger, better, catchier, and a lot closer to how we actually want to sound.

You have supported the likes of You Know The Drill and Like Pacific. How were they as experiences?

Playing with You Know The Drill was ace, it was our first tour as a band, and they were kind enough to take us out. They’re really the best guys, so it was a laugh from start to finish. We were going to try and sort another run with them, but unfortunately, they broke up recently, which sucks. 

Supporting Like Pacific come out of absolutely nowhere, and that show was incredible, as we had so much fun, and I think we won some fans over, which is always the goal. 

They were super-nice guys, and gave us some advice for moving forward. They definitely know how to command a crowd, and we can only learn from that. 

And how is it, for you all, performing live?

Performing live is why we started a band in the first place. We all love it, as there’s nothing like being in a room full of people singing your own words back to you, and we’ve made so many friends through touring as well. It’s tough for sure, but definitely worth it. 

EP aside, what has the band got lined up for the near future?

We have a show with the lads in Overbite in Leeds on December 7, and then an EP release show in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the date it is released. That’s all we have in stone right now, but we’re currently working to make 2019 a super-busy year, so we’re in the process of sorting out as many tours as possible to show off our new release.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

I think our long-term aim is to just continuously grow. If we ever get to the point where we could do this as a career, that would be a dream, but right now, we’re just focusing on getting ourselves out there as much as possible.

Northshore EP Cover

‘FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH’, THE SECOND EP FROM NORTHSHORE, WILL BE RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 15.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

DEEVER

Deever band photo

DEEVER (from l-r): Phil Appleton (bass/vocals), Dan “Higgy” Higgins (drums), Billy Taylor (vocals/guitar), Stevie “Twister” Stoker (guitar/vocals)

Last year, after writing and recording two successful albums with highly-regarded classic rock outfit Inglorious, who have been described as “the future of British rock“, guitarist Billy Taylor decided to move on, get together with some of his old friends, and form a collective offering a modern rock vibe blending elements of hard rock, punk, and metal, full of aggressive riffs and captivating hooks.

Over the past few months, DeeVer, a four-piece from the north-east of England, have been hard at work putting together what will be their debut album, ‘You Need This’, coming out next February, and Billy was happy to take some time to talk to me about that, and much more in regards to the band.

How did the name DeeVer come about?

According to Urban Dictionary, Deever has two meanings, 1: an unwanted gift. 2: 10lbs of shit in a paper bag that can only hold 5lbs of shit. Both of these meanings are a bit tongue-in-cheek, and it sets the bar as low as possible. The only way is up now, right? (laughs)

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We write songs. Yes, we all love riffs, guitar solos, and big drum fills, but we like to write songs. We all agree to play “for the song“, and we get rid of anything we deem unnecessary.

Generally, a song will be born from a riff that any one of us could have come up with, then we hammer it out as a pair, a trio, or a full band, and start adding parts, that way, it starts to take shape, and is magnetised to the DeeVer sound. The lyrics almost always come last.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrics can be inspired by any number of things. The vast majority of the lyric and vocal writing comes from me, and a lot of the upcoming record has some very personal lyrical content.

Songs like ‘Parachute’ and ‘Jim’ are some of the most personal songs I’ve ever written, the latter of which I sat down and wrote the night I got back from saying goodbye to my granddad for the last time.

Other songs I’ve written have been about people I’ve known, or situations I’ve witnessed, but sometimes, the whole thing can be totally made up!

Next February, you will be bringing out your debut album, ‘You Need This’, some of which has been recorded at iconic Liverpool recording complex Parr Street Studios. How was that as an experience?

We knew that Parr Street was the studio we wanted to use to record Higgy’s drums. I had recorded there back in 2016 with Inglorious, and that’s how I met Tony Draper, who has engineered and mixed the whole album.

Tony is a incredibly gifted engineer and musician, and I knew that he would pull the best out of the kit and Higgy, and after about 10 minutes of being there, we all agreed that we were in the best place possible, along with the best possible engineer.

The main room is huge, and is perfect for getting a massive sound, not to mention the vintage Neve desk, on which tonnes of great records have been recorded.

Add Tony to the equation, and you’re onto a real winner.

And Nick Watson, who has worked with the likes of Iron Maiden, The Sex Pistols, and Coldplay, has mastered the upcoming release. How was it working with someone of his calibre?

Much like Tony, Nick is just one of them guys who is at the top of their game. He knows exactly what he’s doing, and understood exactly what we wanted to achieve.

We all wanted this record to sound as great as possible, which is why we went to one of the best, and that is exactly what he gave us! He’s also a great guy, and a great mastering engineer.

Also, what can be expected of the album?

Songs. Songs that we, as a band, enjoy playing, and I still enjoy listening to, packed with hooks, fat riffs, and a brutally honest, aggressive tone.

How is the overall experience, for the band, of performing live?

We all love playing. We are all full-time musicians, and it’s what we have done for years, so it has become second nature to us.

For me though, the jump from guitarist to a frontman who also plays guitar has given me an awful lot more to think about on stage! (Don’t fuck up the chords, don’t fuck up the words, and don’t say anything too offensive into the microphone!) (laughs)

Album aside, what are your plans for the near future?

We are always playing and writing, and that’s a constant, so new material will always be on the horizon.

Once the album is out, touring will be our top priority, and like I said, we love playing these songs, and can’t wait to get out and share them in a live environment. (Also, we can’t wait to play these songs really fucking loud!)

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

We love doing what we’re doing, so to be able to continue to do this, and keep growing, would be amazing.

Deever Album Cover

‘YOU NEED THIS’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM DEEVER, WILL BE RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 1.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE