Black Coast band photo

BLACK COAST (from l-r): Scott Pinnington (guitar), Jack Beardsall (bass), Charlie Hewitt (vocals), Matt Clarke (drums), Joe Mayer (guitar)


Since forming almost three years ago, Stoke-on-Trent five-piece Black Coast have, with a melodic hardcore metal sound, and a strong work ethic, have been carving out a reputation for themselves as one of the most exciting outfits to emerge from the British metal scene in years.

Having relentlessly toured across the UK, last year, the band truly went global, embarking on a full Japanese tour, as well as supporting the likes of Stray From The Path and In Hearts Wake.

Now, with the first part of their new double EP, ‘Ill Minds’, out, the Potteries quintet spoke to me about the collective’s rapid rise, experiences, and much more.

How did the band form?

We all knew each other from previous bands, and used to practice next door to each other, so when those bands came to an end, Scott asked Joe if he wanted to start something that was a bit heavier than before, and from there, Black Coast was formed.

How did the name Black Coast come about?

It was a name that Joe had floating about when his old band were planning on re-naming. We liked it, and decided to roll with it.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

The main influences are bands like Stray From The Path, Pantera, Ocean Grove, to name a few, but really, we’re influenced by anything and everything.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It usually starts with a guitar riff or a concept for a song, and progresses from there, building on it and layering it as we go.

It’s a very natural and organic approach to writing, letting the song almost write itself, as if we have to force it too much, then it’s usually a sign that the song isn’t working for us, so we’ll tend to leave it, take it apart, and come back to it with a fresh approach.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Charlie writes the majority of the lyrics, so the content is usually something that’s personal to him. It usually covers the topics of everyday issues that he and a lot of other people go through, and tends to be an outlet to vent about them.

Your debut EP, ‘Crows Of The North’, came out just a month after you officially formed, and was very well-received. Honestly, did any of you expect the response it had so soon into the band’s career?

Not really. We all personally felt the songs were pretty good at the time, and we were all happy with them and just wanted to get them out to get the ball rolling.

We were still trying to find our feet as a band, trying to find a musical direction, and luckily, people ended up enjoying it. We owe a lot to ‘Crows’ (one of the tracks off the EP), because we rode off it for a long time before we released some new music, and it helped us to open doors and tour consistently throughout the following years.

And the band have just brought out the first half of the follow-up to that, ‘Ill Minds Vol. 1’. What was the reason behind releasing it in two parts?

We were initially going to do a ten-track album, but decided the time wasn’t right to release our debut album yet. We felt that a two-part release would be more beneficial, as it means that we can have a decent stream of music coming out over a longer period of time.

We didn’t want to wait as long to release new music as we did with ‘Crows’, and it also gives us plenty of time to work towards a new record.

And how was the recording process for that?

We recorded with Johnny Renshaw (Devil Sold His Soul) at Bandit Studios in the Cotswolds, and we just had the best time. He pushed us to get the best out of ourselves and the songs, and really worked with us to get them sounding how we wanted them to.

Johnny also understood what the band is about, we’re a very live-oriented band, so we wanted to capture that essence as much as possible.

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

If you’re a fan of heavy music with loads of riffs and groove, and also want something to bang your head to, then check us out.

Last year, the band embarked on a full tour of Japan. How did that come about?

Our manager, Daryl, had been on tour over there with his band the previous year, and organised for us to go over.

And that must have been some experience for you all.

It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, as it was our first time touring outside of the UK. We were fortunate to be taken around by Juntaro, the vocalist from the band FP, who we were on tour with. That guy was amazing, as he sorted our accommodation, drove us everywhere, showed us the best places to eat, and translated for us.

Also, everyone we met out there were so welcoming and friendly, and the venues really took care of the bands. The people at the shows had a real appreciation for music, and took the time to check you out.

Also, how was it supporting the likes of Stray From The Path and In Hearts Wake?

Another amazing experience, and an opportunity that we’ve been lucky to have. As we said earlier, Stray have always been a big influence on the band, so getting the chance to support them was something that we took in every moment of.

Supporting bands like these gives you a glimpse of how to take your own band to the next level, especially when you can chat to them about how they do things, and they give you pointers and tips in return.

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

Performing live is one of the major things that we take pride in. We always make sure our shows are consistently full of energy, regardless of how many people are there, and always want to get the crowd on the same wavelength as us.

Charlie doesn’t rehearse any of the things he says in between songs, as we want to keep each show as personal and honest as possible.

What are your plans for the near future?

At the moment, we have a few more shows left to round off the year, so we’re looking forward to them. We have ‘Ill Minds Vol.2’ coming out early next year, so there will be some follow-up shows with the release of that, and currently, we’re working on some new music.

And finally, the band have already achieved much in the almost three years that they have been together. What would you all like to achieve with Black Coast in the next three years?

We just want to keep doing what we do, and, as up and down as it can be in a band, enjoy every minute of it.

We have more releases to come, new music we’re working on, which we’re super excited about, just keep playing bigger and better shows, and really push ourselves to get the best out of the band, and us as musicians.

Black Coast EP Cover



Black Coast gig poster









Passengers band photo


From Lancaster in the north-west of England, four-piece Passengers have drawn influence from a range of alternative genres, including metalcore, djent, and post-rock, to give their growing fan base a sound that is both rapidly identifiable, and sonically infectious.

The band’s debut single, ‘Boundaries’, has so far been streamed almost 20,000 times on Spotify, and they have been championed by Metal Hammer, not bad for an outfit that only got a full line-up together seven months ago.

Having just unleashed a new track, ‘Faces Of Janus’, and with plenty already lined up for 2019, including their debut EP, the quartet’s vocalist, Jed Saint, and drummer, Aiden Baldwin, spoke to me about all of that, and more.

How did the band form?

AIDEN BALDWIN (drums): Passengers originally started out as a three-piece with Niall, myself, and our second guitarist, who has since left the band, and the three of us got together to start writing music and jamming after long hiatuses from music due to life and parenthood!

It quickly became apparent that the songs were shaping up nicely, and we realised we should complete the line-up and take this live. Daryl and Jed joined on bass and vocals, and we were set.

Seven months later, we’re here doing interviews, so it’s all happened quite quickly, to be honest.

How did the name Passengers come about?

AIDEN: Niall and I are fascinated by, and are somewhat believers in, the concept of extra-planetary life, and the idea that we are here on borrowed time. We are nothing more than PASSENGERS on this planet. We should focus and use our time here as best we can.

We happen to love Deftones too, and their song ‘Passenger’ is perfection.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

AIDEN: We all draw from different places individually, and our influences/tastes are changing all the time, I’d say we’re a rather eclectic bunch, which I think comes out in the music.

However, if we were to choose two each right now, it would be: Jed – Killswitch Engage (both vocalists’ eras) and Silverstein (Shane Told); Daryl – Ministry and Mastodon; Myself – Architects (Dan Searle) and Good Tiger/The Faceless (Alex Rudinger); Niall – Dillinger Escape Plan and Between The Buried And Me.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

AIDEN: To begin with, it’s generally been a case of getting together in our rehearsal space, jamming out in each other’s faces, and finding what fits, then we’d record a rough version, record it, and give it to Jed to write lyrics, refine it, and then re-record for release.

More recently, it’s becoming a case of developing our ideas at home, sharing them with each other, then coming together in our rehearsal space to get everything nailed, and work on the live performance of it.

What inspires the band lyrically?

JED SAINT (vocals): My lyrics are very humanist and emotive – I’ll often pen them directly off the back of what I’m feeling.

‘Faces Of Janus’, for example, is a song simultaneously about the two-facedness of people within our own lives, but also about polarisms within our own psyche, and is named after the two-faced Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings/transitions and endings, appropriate, as I think the transitional feel really comes out in the lyrics. We are all in transition. We are all Passengers.

Earlier this year, you released your debut single ‘Boundaries’ to positive reviews and almost 20,000 streams on Spotify (so far). Was that the response you were expecting, especially considering it was your first release?

AIDEN: No, not at all! Don’t get me wrong, we wanted it to do well, but we’re a small band from up north where nothing much happens. I didn’t expect anything close to this, and knowing that people have listened to us in over 27 countries and counting (according to Spotify) is amazing.

This one song has led us to play shows with some of our favourite bands, meeting a bunch of awesome new people, and being included on the cover CD of Metal Hammer magazine/coming second in Metal Hammer‘s public vote to play Wembley Arena at the Progress Wrestling event.

It has definitely helped build a solid foundation for us to work from.

You’ve also just unveiled a brand new track, ‘Faces Of Janus’. For those who have yet to listen to it, what can they expect?

JED: One thing I really enjoy about our music is the refusal to get pigeonholed, because everyone plays a part in the writing process, and we all draw from different schools of thought. It’s brilliant, as people ask me to put a label on what we play, and the closest I can get is kinda-sorta fake djent?

‘Faces Of Janus’ is one of these – Niall’s eight-string guitar and Daryl chucking some bum-clenching low end into the mix, spacey synths weave in and out of clean/harsh vocal interplay to build a bit of atmosphere, and it’s all shunted forward by part man/part tank (aka “band dad“) behind the drums. 

In September, you made your live debut supporting Martyr Defiled at their farewell show in Manchester. How did that come about?

JED: I’d say we’re simultaneously the most and least DIY band at this level, to be honest with you.

We all have experience working in different sectors of music – Aiden is a killer graphic designer and musician (if we can say that about drummers), Niall and Daryl are both accomplished producers, and I’m a promoter, so there’s not really been as much of a learning curve as there might have been.

I had worked with Martyr Defiled plenty of times before, and I’ve got a lot of love for that band, so when I was offered their farewell gig with Rawkus (and Tapestry), it was a bit of a kicker to get our shit together in time to play that bad boy!

And how was the gig as an experience for the band?

There were some nerves since we’d all been out of the game for a while (and it was actually my first show fronting a band, let alone my first show in about five years), but it all came together really well on the day!

We were on fairly early, but it was great to see plenty of friends/curious people/other bands on later in the day out nice and early to catch us, especially Kev from FYM Reacts, who has been at the vast majority of our gigs since, and has left each one with a massive bangover!

The majority of you hail from Lancaster, which, to be honest, doesn’t have a huge music scene. Do you think that makes it much harder for bands/artists from areas like that to break through than those from places such as London?

AIDEN: Absolutely, yeah. We live in a bit of a black spot when it comes to touring circuits, etc, so eyes aren’t really focused on this area much.

Having said that, our town has a rich little music scene filled with some insanely talented musicians, and is generally very supportive of upcoming bands. If a band is looking to “break through” from round here, it requires a lot of travelling… but it can be done!

Social media has changed the game for anyone to make themselves known worldwide, and there are tools online that make it easy to be heard nationally, so if you know what you’re doing, you can be heard and seen.

One of the best are the team at BBC Introducing, who gave our new single its debut radio play on release day (which didn’t involve any bribes, expensive PR, or record label involvement). It can be done.

2019 is just around the corner. What are the band’s initial plans?

AIDEN: Well, January sees us back out with Astroid Boys and Pengshui for a couple of dates, which is awesome (as well as a few massive treats/shows we can’t tell you about just yet!), and gives us a chance to play ‘Faces Of Janus’ live to some new heads.

After that, we have a bunch more unannounced shows/runs/festivals in the pipeline. More news on those soon!

The main aim for the first part of the year is to get the debut EP finished and out into the wild, then work on getting it into new earholes for the remainder of the year.

We’re also working on some additional production for our live shows, as we feel this is a huge part of the experience when coming to see us play. Keep your eyes peeled for live dates in your area. We’re coming for you.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

JED: I guess that all really depends on who gets behind us and who wants to get involved with us/us involved with them!

At the moment, we’re taking it step by step, it’s cool to see the beginnings of this project starting to snowball. I want to get this debut EP perfect, I’d like to do some more extended touring – hopefully hit up Europe with some of our new friends – then keep punching upwards.

Passengers Single Cover










Weatherstate band photo.jpg

WEATHERSTATE (from l-r): Toby Wrobel (drums/vocals), Joe Hogan (bass), Callan Milward (guitar), Harry Hoskins (vocals/guitar)


From Bristol, Weatherstate are a talented four-piece who specialise in producing a punk sound that is nostalgic yet fresh, and is also rather reminiscent of the early works of Sum 41, Weezer, and Green Day.

The band’s 2016 release, ‘Dumbstruck’, saw them make their mark on the British underground punk scene, gain a large devoted following, and led to live sets supporting the likes of Trash Boat, Creeper, and The Dirty Nil.

Now, having recently unleashed a new single, the boundlessly energetic ‘Rotten Lungs’, the quartet’s guitarist, Callan Milward, chatted to me about that, their experiences up to now, as well as what they have lined up for 2019.

How did the band form?

We initially formed out of the ashes of an old project. Myself, Harry, and Hogan were living in Bristol at the time, and had been playing in a band since we were sixteen, but after eight years or so of doing that, we decided that we wanted to start a new thing, and so we drafted in Toby from another band I had been involved with to smash the drums, and that’s essentially where Weatherstate started.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Up until recently, we used to come up with power chords, melodies, and structure before we brought a song to a rehearsal room to jam out. We never used to demo anything, and that only changed recently, when we began writing our follow up to ‘Dumbstruck’.

Speaking of ‘Dumbstruck’, which was the band’s debut EP, released in 2016 to an overwhelmingly positive response. Was that honestly something you were rather taken aback by, especially considering it was your first release?

Despite it actually not being our first release (‘Dumbstruck’ was actually our third), we do now see it as the band’s first, because I think exceeded expectations for us, and surprisingly, we found ourselves with a lot more eyes on us than ever.

At the time, I found it insane how quickly everything started to grow for us, and we had to learn fast.

The band recently unveiled a new single, ‘Rotten Lungs’. What inspired you to write that, musically and lyrically?

We had been tied down with trying to write as many songs as we could. I think we simply wanted to write something outside of the Weatherstate pattern, and I remember wanting it to come across as more abrasive, aggressive, and snottier than anything else we had been writing at that time.

Shockingly, it was the easiest song to write for the record, as we wrote and recorded the full demo for it in 24 hours, but I feel sometimes that is the best way to write.

Lyrically, it’s about the deterioration of both physical and mental well-being caused when you isolate yourself from the world, and it also touches on the toxic effects that it can have on your own frame of mind, when trying to help a friend who might not want to be helped, and I think that’s reflected well in the aggressive nature of the song.

And how has the reaction been to that so far?

Great! We’ve been so stoked to get this out into everyone’s earholes.

The band hail from Bristol, which is a city becoming known for championing emerging bands/artists from a wide variety of genres. In your opinion, why do you think that is?

I absolutely love Bristol as a city, but we’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the place. I think Bristol is killing it at the moment, because it’s one of the best places in the country from a creative perspective, the talent is just on the next level, and the community is something I hold dear.

However, we’ve never really found our feet there to call it “home“. Simply, I don’t think we’ve connected there as much as we would have liked to, and that’s always been made tougher by the fact none of us actually live there now (laughs).

We’re excited to be going back there in the new year, though.

You’re also signed to Failure By Design. Do you feel fortunate to have backing by a record label, especially as there is lots of bands/artists now out there who are unsigned?

Failure By Design are killing it right now, and we’re so stoked that we get to work alongside people we consider besties.

The band have supported such outfits as Trash Boat, Boston Manor, Moose Blood, Creeper, and most recently, The Dirty Nil. How were they as experiences?

Yeah! The Dirty Nil shows recently were especially great. It’s almost impossible to match a band like that in terms of a live performance, but we aspire to be as rad as those guys, and Trash Boat helped us out with our first major tour, so we owe those guys a lot. All great experiences.

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

It’s something I personally thrive off. Every show, we attempt to top the last one, whether it’s perfecting the stage show, or knuckling down on getting everything tighter, and that’s something I feel every band really should be doing, but also, try not to take yourself too seriously, as being obsessive can take the edge away.

Being a live band is an essential part of Weatherstate, of course. It goes without saying, really.

Next year, the band will be releasing their debut album. Have you started to record it yet? And if so, how is the recording process going?

Yeah, it’s all in the can. We started recording it last year, and finished it up around April this year.

And at what point in 2019 are you seriously thinking of getting that out by?

It’s going to be a surprise!

Also, how will it differ to ‘Dumbstruck’?

I don’t want to go too much in-depth, but I think it’s a good representation of every bit of influence Weatherstate has taken in since we started on a creative level and a personal one.

I think I would say, compared to ‘Dumbstruck’, it’s a more focused and aggressive effort on all parts.

And finally, album aside, what are the band’s initial plans for next year?

To spread the good word of rock n’ roll.

Weatherstate Single Cover








Sonder band photo

SONDER (from l-r): Reece Mason (drums), Andrew Monckton (guitar), Luke Watson (bass), Kraig Fallows (vocals/guitar)


From Staffordshire, Sonder are a four-piece who burst onto the scene last year with their debut EP, ‘Papered Cracks’, which showcased an engrossing mix of early grunge and modern alternative rock.

Since that came out, the band have earned a reputation for playing highly-energised live sets, which has resulted in them supporting the likes of Fangclub and Fizzy Blood, and headlining the 02 Academy in Birmingham.

Having recently unveiled a new single, ‘A Wicked Place’, a frank lyrical reflection of frontman Kraig Fallows’s battle with mental health, and taken from the quartet’s upcoming second EP, Kraig spoke to me about its recording process, what can be expected from the release, and much more.

How did the band form?

Sonder formed in late 2016 after the demise of various projects that we had been working on. Having had a chance meet-up on a night out, after a while of being out of bands, me, Andrew & Reece decided to start writing music together.

After a few months, Reece bumped into Luke, and asked him to join us. He did, and we’ve been writing music ever since.

How did the name Sonder come about?

Sonder comes from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, which is something I was reading one evening. It is the realisation that each passer-by is leading a life as complex and vivid as your own. It had a real nicer poetic vibe to it, so I suggested it to the lads, and we all agreed on it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

When I’m writing the music from the band, I try and write from a personal place, as I feel this allows you to be honest with whoever is listening to the music.

If I wrote about being a hugely successful “rock star“, then I wouldn’t be being honest to myself or anyone else, so I very much write about whatever is on my mind, whether that be my feelings about what is going on in the world around me, or within my life on a much deeper level.

Recently, the band brought out a new single, entitled ‘A Wicked Place’. How has the reaction been to that so far?

The reaction so far has been amazing. The consensus is that it’s the best song that we’ve released. We’ve had people talking to us about how they connect with the lyrics of the song too, which for me means more than anything else. The fact it’s also our favourite song to play live only adds to it!

And the track deals lyrically with anxiety and depression. Having battled with mental health yourself, Kraig, what are your opinions on the frequent open discussion of the subject at the moment?

It’s a very long and overdue discussion. Mental health is something that for too long has been shunned to one side as not being a “real illness“, or someone just being “a bit sad“, and it’s absolutely wrong!

I wrote this track when I was in a truly dark place. I wasn’t just sat in a corner crying to myself out of self-pity, which a lot of people still think is the cliché for depression. I was struggling to function on a day-to-day basis.

It was hard to get out of bed, or make myself a meal, let alone go to work and interact with people in the wider world. I simply didn’t want to do anything.

For a very long time, it’s something that I’ve hidden away from, especially as there’s still a stigma around men and mental health, in that we’re not allowed to have issues like this, for fear of being seen as not being “manly“, whatever that means, so, one day, I sat down and just wrote about it, and it was the most therapeutic experience I’ve had in years.

Hopefully, with everyone starting to become more open about mental health issues, and people slowly getting a greater understanding of the depths that these issues go to, then society can finally start treating it with the respect that it deserves, and if anyone ever tells you to “man up“, tell them to fuck off!

‘A Wicked Place’ was taken from the band’s second EP, coming out in January. How has the recording process been for that?

We wanted to try out something slightly different with our second EP, and this was to record four songs, but at two different studios at two different times, so that we can capture a different type of energy on the two sets of tracks.

We recorded two songs (including lead single ‘Karma…’) with Dan Willett at Univibe Studios in Birmingham (where we recorded our debut E.P ‘Papered Cracks’), and then, a few months later, recorded two songs with Sam Bloor at Lower Lane Studios in Stoke-on-Trent (where we recorded ‘ A Wicked Place’).

It was nice to have this split, as the tracks all sound fundamentally like Sonder songs, but there’s a different vibe on the tracks, and that really comes across on the EP when you listen to it in full.

And I’ve noticed that the upcoming release doesn’t have a title yet. Is that deliberate, or is it that you simply can’t come up with one?

It’s self-titled. Usually, I will pick a title from a line or lyric within one of the tracks, but with this EP, being as it showcases all the different sides of the band, we figured the best thing to do was to keep it self-titled.

Also, what can be expected of the EP?

The new EP showcases everything that Sonder is about. Massive sounding guitars, catchy choruses, pop hooks, and grungy noise!

You’ve supported the likes of Fangclub, Fizzy Blood, and most recently, Pagan. How were they as experiences?

Playing with bands of such high quality has had the most profound effect on us as a band, as it lets you see where you are in comparison, and how much more you need to push yourself in order to get to that level.

Every single gig, no matter how big or small, is a learning experience, but when you’re playing with bands that spend their lives touring and playing shows, you see just how much you need to work to be on their level.

It’s also great to be able to sit and chat with these bands, as they’re doing right now what we really want to be doing ourselves

The band also headlined the 02 Academy in Birmingham earlier this year. How is it, overall, performing live?

Our headline show came almost a year after our first ever show, so it was great to be able to round off 12 months of shows and graft with a headline show. We even played a Feeder cover (we don’t do covers at all, but made an exception for this one show!) which is on our YouTube page.

Gigging and playing live is what it’s all about. We love being in the studio or being in our rehearsal space writing new music, but the real test of a band is when you’re out there playing your songs to the public, because they’ll be the ones who’ll tell you whether you’ve got a good song or not.

Playing live is where we feel we’re at our best, and we love nothing more than putting on a show every single time we play!

You play often in Birmingham. Do you think the city has been overlooked in recent years, in general, in comparison to similar-sized cities such as Manchester?

There are some great bands in the Birmingham/Midlands music scene right now! Bands like God Damn, Youth Man, and Table Scraps, to name just a few, are helping to put the Birmingham scene back on the map, and hopefully, bands like ourselves can continue to try and show people that, as a city, Birmingham shouldn’t be overlooked.

All that’s needed is for more smaller touring bands to take a chance on the city, and to book the shows, because when Birmingham crowds turn up (as they did for our shows with Fizzy Blood and Fangclub), then it can really go off!

I think great scenes are born out of groups of bands getting noticed at the same time (which is what is happening in places like Brighton and Bristol, for example), and that, hopefully, when people see that there are great bands coming out of Birmingham, then it will find its way back on to the regularly toured map.

EP aside, what are the band’s initial plans for 2019?

More shows, more new music! We’re hoping to go out on tour in April/May sort of time, and will just continue to keep playing shows as much as possible. We’d also LOVE to play at 2000 Trees! That’s a band bucket list wish right there!

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

We just want to keep on writing and enjoying the music that we make, and hope that people continue to enjoy it as much as we do.

Sonder Single Cover