SABOTEURS – ‘Dance With The Hunted’

(Self-released)

Saboteurs Album Cover

REVIEW by TOM NEIL
ARTWORK by ANITA INVERARITY

Dance with the Hunted‘ is the latest album from Saboteurs, who are a Lincoln-based five-piece who blend together elements of alternative rock, post-punk, and folk. They dropped their first EP back in February 2018, and I strongly suggest that you check it out, but anyway, that’s enough of an introduction, as now it’s time for the main event.

Splintered‘ – the first of 10 tracks that comprise this offering – starts off strong with a live, energetic feel of a crowd talking, before merging into an amazing guitar section that just blows through you.

The song actually feels like it was recorded live, as it has a raw, honest feel that you don’t get from something that was laboured over in a studio.

Splintered‘ is neither too fast or too slow, instead it reaches a middle ground, which I feel pleases fans of both of those musical styles, therefore, the track makes for a great opener.

Over And Doubt‘ is instantly engaging, what with tight vocals that seem to smack you in the face, and a good flow overall, especially with the subtle harmonies between the vocalists, who work together to ensure that they aren’t overpowered by the instruments.

Also, there is a nice, heavy percussive section right in the middle that’s just amazing, and it’s something that you can just lose yourself in.

All of this results in a song that is very dynamic, and one I’ll certainly be listening to again in the future.

Believe Nothing Hurts‘ has a cracking opening that makes me think of a soundtrack from an old film, and from there, the track goes from strength to strength, with well-paced highs merging with fast sections that show what happens when the guitar, bass, and drums are all working in genuine harmony.

Despite its title, ‘Break Down‘ doesn’t quite break things down, as instead it slows the overall pace a little with a pleasing acoustic folky number that has just the right amount of edge to it, and this is a song that I seriously considered for the top track, because I’m partial to folk, and this is a strong example.

Marooned‘ has a slow-paced build-up, which is maintained consistently throughout, which makes for a nice shift, as it’s almost like Saboteurs are easing us back up after the previous number, and if that is the case, then I admire that, as not every band will pay such close attention to the running order of their albums.

Anyway, ‘Marooned‘ just works really well for me, as it’s still got that live feel to it, and as the middle track on what has so far been a pretty substantial album, it’s certainly not letting the Lincoln quintet down.

In my opinion, ‘I Think My Face Hates Me‘ has a slightly different vibe to the songs that have come before it. It’s still a strong addition, but it changes things up, which is an interesting choice as we moved towards the second half of this release.

It is rather enjoyable, though, as it’s energetic, the pacing isn’t frenetic, but it knows when to let loose a little, and as a result of this, it impressed me more than enough to earn the accolade of top track.

‘One Track Mind’ marks a return to the style of the earlier numbers, as like a lot of songs on this, it’s neither heavy, slow, or melancholic, it represents a musical journey.

Whilst not the best that this album has to offer, the title track is a good, strong entry, and ‘Traces‘, while it is slower and a little more subdued that some of the other songs, doesn’t surrender any power, and still manages to pack a mighty punch, and along with ‘Break Down‘, this nearly grabbed the top track slot, whilst ‘Willows‘ finishes proceedings off by picking up the pace slightly, opening with thrashing guitar riffs and powerful vocals, which certainly doesn’t disappoint.

One final thing that I have to say on the album is that I just love ‘Dance With The Hunted‘ as a title, as it is so evocative.

TOP TRACK:I Think My Face Hates Me

(4/5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FINDING KATE

Finding Kate photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
PHOTOS by ARTEMIS EVLOGIMENOU and WILLIAM PAVLI

Drawing influences from the musical genres of rock, alternative, and pop, Finding Kate – the project of singer-songwriter Kate Pavli – is proving to be a force to be reckoned with, what with a vocal delivery that is versatile and powerful, accompanied by a sound that is dark, emotional, and hard-hitting.

Kate‘s 2016 debut album, ‘If I Fall‘, was well-received by critics and fans alike, and she will surely get the same response for her upcoming single, ‘I Feel Bad‘, coming out on May 10, and the following is what Kate had to say to me when we chatted recently:

What would you say was your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory is listening to Soundgarden whilst playing out in the garden! I remember my brother and I used to play on the trampoline, and my dad would always play loud music from his sound system.

He used to play the best music – Pearl Jam, Bon Jovi, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, etc, and we had different CDs we would slot in, and then it would shuffle. How exciting!

Was there a specific moment at all when you decided that a career in music was for you?

I think it was when I was about 14 years old! I took part in Cyprus Has Talent, and that’s when I realised that music was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I wanted to be a performer, I wanted to be like Avril Lavigne, and I wanted to tour the world. I still want to! (Well, not be like Avril, but maybe be an opening act for one of her shows (laughs))

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

My approach to songwriting is simple. I usually write the music and vocal melody at the same time. I sing phonetics or phrases that I feel, and then I start structuring my ideas.

If I think it’s special, then I send my ideas to my producer Chris, and once we filter out the tracks we want to work on, Chris will work on arranging, composing, and producing all the parts, so when I’m writing, the music comes first, then the melody, and then the lyrics.

My vocal melodies are quite set from the beginning, because I know exactly my range and power, but quite often, my producer will change some of my chords to something more “experimental” or “out-of-the-box“. It’s crazy how much one chord can change a whole musical composition!

From there, the lyrics start to come to life. Usually, I keep a “theme” for each song, and I think to myself, “What was the initial idea you had? What was the first lyric you sang to this?“, and then I go from there.

If the core was about leaving something behind, then I will work on the lyrics to suit that theme, if the core was about feeling pity, then I will again work on the lyrics to surround that initial idea.

My songwriting approach is rather simple, but the arrangement and production of my tracks are a bit more complex.

What inspires you lyrically?

Whatever I am feeling in that moment. I get inspired by my feelings, my friends, people around me, society, and I pretty much pour my heart and soul out. My first phrases/hooks usually stay as the “theme” of the song, and then my lyric co-writer and I will build on that theme.

In 2016, you brought out your debut album, ‘If I Fall’, which was well-received by critics and fans alike. Honestly, were you expecting the response the album got at all?

Yes and no! I feel like there was some great traction at the start with airplay on Kerrang! TV and Radio, and a few interviews and features, but after the release, the buzz died down a little.

I found it quite hard to gain new fans, having come from Cyprus to the UK, where absolutely no one knew me, so I had to build my fan base from the ground up. I felt that not enough people were hearing my material, and I had to find a way to access new fans, otherwise, the album was just going to sit on a shelf.

Once I started playing more shows and jumped on good support slots with local and international bands, I felt like the album picked up again. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the support I have received so far, and the album is gradually getting more popular, almost three years down the line!

After that was released, you then took a two-and-a-half break. What were the reasons behind that?

It just happened that way, there was no particular reason. In the first year of release, I found myself playing quite a few shows, and the focus was to promote that album, not necessarily to write new material.

Once I started writing new songs, my producer and I had a huge filter system, so we went back and forth to decide what my next songs would be, then along came my new management from the USA, and together we selected my top three “priority” tracks, so it was a lot of back and forth and decision-making.

Finally, I decided that I wanted ‘I Feel Bad‘ to be my lead single after such a long absence, and I feel like it’s time to finally unleash it now!

On the subject of the new track, how was the recording process for it?

The recording process was pretty simple. After selecting this demo as a lead single, the pre-production happened in Cyprus at Soundscape Studios. My producer Chris worked on all the parts and arrangements, and brought my ideas to life, and I also had some awesome musicians come and play on the track.

Drums, synths and lead guitars were recorded in Cyprus, whereas bass and some additional guitars were recorded in London, and my vocals were also recorded at Soundscape Studios in Cyprus!

And how will the upcoming release differ stylistically to ‘If I Fall’?

I Feel Bad‘ is very modern and fiery, and I believe it’s more energetic than my previous album, but still has a dark core. It’s also more alternative, more distorted, more “grungey“, but it’s also a very catchy track with pop undertones.

Also, will the single eventually lead to another album at all?

I hope so! I have a series of singles ready to be released over the next few months. I have so many songs in my library, some are more “commercial“, and some are more “alternative“. There’s no rush for an album yet though!

You have performed live sets across the UK. How – for you personally – is the experience of playing on stage?

It’s a great experience, as I love playing with super-talented musicians, and I also love playing acoustically with one piano. I love singing, I love sharing my songs with the world, and I love looking into a crowd of people who are there to support music.

And finally, what are your plans following ‘I Feel Bad’ coming out?

I’m going to play shows in the UK, meet new fans, and hopefully play some shows in Europe in the new year. I’m also going to keep writing, creating, composing, and releasing new music into the world!

Finding Kate Single Cover

‘I FEEL BAD’ – THE NEW SINGLE FROM FINDING KATE – WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 10, AND FURTHER INFO CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

THE BOURGEOIS

The Bourgeois band photo

THE BOURGEOIS (from l-r): Ty Clark (drums), Zach Mobley (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Oklahoma, The Bourgeois are an alternative rock two-piece who have proven that they are ones to watch on the American rock scene with a sound that is influenced by such outfits as Royal BloodRage Against The Machine, and the Pixies.

This has led to praise from such music publications as Alternative Press, as well as sets supporting the likes of the Eagles Of Death Metal and Electric Six on their respective US tours, and with a new single, ‘Check My Pulse‘, having just been released, the duo’s vocalist/guitarist, Zach Mobley, spoke to me about all of this and more.

How did the band initially get together?

The band started out as a solo project for me, and Ty joined later after responding to a Craigslist ad. There have been a lot of line-up changes, but we’re the core of the group.

How did the name The Bourgeois come about?

We just thought it would be really cool, and not a terrible idea at all, to name our band something that the majority of people can’t spell or pronounce correctly.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It’s always evolving. At the moment, we’re just trying to write music that appeals to us. I’ve got no idea what other people want to hear, and it would probably be a waste of time for me to try and guess.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Anything that feels real.

You’ve so far brought out two albums, both of which were well-received. Honestly – especially with the debut – did you expect the responses they got?

Considering the array of things constantly competing for people’s attention in this age, we’re definitely stoked when someone finds time to check out our stuff.

The band have just unveiled a new single, entitled ‘Check My Pulse’. How was the recording process for that?

We recorded the track with Jim Kaufman in Santa Monica, and it was pretty rad, as it felt like everyone was on the same wavelength.

And how does the new track differ stylistically to the work you had released before?

We’ve evolved and improved as songwriters, and this track grabs you by the jugular vein.

The band have toured with the likes of the Eagles Of Death Metal and Electric Six. How were they as experiences?

Cool dudes. Great crowds.

And how – for you both personally – is the experience of performing live?

Every show is a unique experience. I think we may have run the whole gamut of human emotions at this point.

And finally, single aside, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

Do cool shit.

The Bourgeois Single Cover

‘CHECK MY PULSE’ – THE NEW SINGLE FROM THE BOURGEOIS – IS AVAILABLE NOW.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

VIRTUE IN VAIN

Virtue In Vain band photo

VIRTUE IN VAIN (from l-r): Mason Williams (bass), Emyr Thomas (guitar), Hywel Thomas (vocals), Daniel Bryant (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in 2012, Cardiff four-piece Virtue In Vain have built up a solid following across the UK with an aggressive, technical progressive metalcore/deathcore sound, as well as highly-energetic live sets, including slots supporting the likes of Napoleon and Carcer City, and with the upcoming release of second EP, ‘Dusk//Dawn‘ – their first offering in five years – promising to show off a band more focused and determined to push themselves further forwards, I decided to have a chat with the collective’s frontman, Hywel Thomas, and the following is what he had to say:

How did the band initially form?

I started the band after playing in various other acts. I wanted to start a band with my friends and my brother, which had passions for music, and for telling a story.

How did the name Virtue In Vain come about?

I am a strong believer in anti-idolism, because by idolising someone, I feel you create a idea of them being better than you. I have many inspirations of where my music style comes from, and they inspire me to make music, but I don’t want to do that simply by copying what someone else is doing, as I would rather create it in my own way.

With this, I created the idea of Virtue In Vain, which is my way of saying, “What you perceive is worthy, is not as worthy as it seems“.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting? 

We changed after our first release in how we approached. Now, I will initially come up with a rough idea of what we will be writing about, then Emyr will write a basic structure and riffs off his ideas of how it should be, and from there, we go back and forth making it the best we possibly can until it is complete.

We have found that by doing it this way, we have been far more productive, and have been able to add more layers and depth to all elements of our songs.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Past experiences. I write concept pieces and then break them down into elements to make up a bigger picture. I then look at what has happened to me, and write about the scenario, be it good, bad, or how I could have approached it differently.

I always turned to music to help me through difficult times, and so I write in hope that I can help someone else.

Next month, you will be unveiling your second EP, ‘Dusk//Dawn’. How was the recording process for that?

Intense! We took our time to come up with something we are proud of. We had a full EP, and then changed elements, as it just wasn’t our best. After the songs were complete, we really went all out in the studio to get the best version of ourselves, which we feel you will be getting with this EP.

And will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the band’s 2014 debut EP, ‘For All You Know Is The Mask I Wore’?

A big change! We still have elements of what our style is, but we have added more layers to our sound. This can be apply to samples, to the way we write and structure a song, and with with we wanted to portray in this EP, we feel the style fits perfectly.

You have supported the likes of Napoleon, Ice Nine Kills, and Carcer City. How were they as experiences?

Amazing! Every time we play a show supporting these names, as well as musicians all over the country, it inspires us every time, as there are so many different styles and stories, and it really pushes you as a band to go above and beyond with the amount of talent that is out there nowadays.

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

It is our favourite element of being a band. At the core of this band, we have always aimed to put on amazing live shows, which we spend months planning for, so we can project the energy and passion of each song!

With each show, we have become a better band, and over the years, we’ve found playing live more and more enjoyable.

And finally, EP aside, what have you all got planned over the next few months?

We have some unannounced shows and tours coming out soon, as well as new merch, so stay tuned for plenty more from Virtue In Vain!

Virtue In Vain EP Cover

‘DUSK//DAWN’ – THE SECOND EP FROM VIRTUE IN VAIN – WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 17 VIA HALF HEARTS MUSIC.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

WITCH OF THE EAST

Witch Of The East Album Cover

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by ANNA BEAN

Late last year, Aeris Houlihan – vocalist/guitarist of sister-doom duo Chambers – decided to move on and embark on a solo musical project.

This has resulted in Witch Of The East, which is a beautifully dark and deeply emotional combination of grunge, dark pop, and industrial rock, which was effectively showcased with recent video release ‘Hexenhaus‘, and with much more in the pipeline – including a debut album coming out this July, and a extensive run of UK touring to promote that – Aeris explained everything about it to me in more detail.

How did Witch Of The East initially come about?

My previous band (Chambers) came to an end, mainly because we were pushing in different directions artistically, but we have a lot of good memories together that I’ll always cherish, and ultimately, I decided to leave because the time felt right.

One night just prior to making this decision, I was driving back on my own from Manchester after a not so great practice. I looked over to the other side of the motorway to see a paramedic trying to save the life of a man that had just been in a bad car accident. I don’t want to get graphic, but I saw something I try to forget regularly, and for me, it was like a bullet to the brain, because I then began to ask myself, “Why continue to do something I’m not enjoying? Life is too short!

What was the reason behind choosing Witch Of The East as a name?

Witch bloodline mixed in with being inspired by Middle Eastern music. Also, lest we forget the Witch of the East (‘The Wizard of Oz‘), who only had a tiny amount of screen time. She deserved more! 

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

I write when I feel really emotional over something. When you’re feeling that way, the last thing you want to do is write a song, which is why I force myself to do it, as you get to capture something from the dark lands and share it with people.

I also write songs whilst picturing the characters and environments they’re in, so I guess you could say I’m like a screenwriter.

What inspires you lyrically?

Being as honest as I can to serve the song, an example of this being ‘When You Fuck Me‘, which is a very vulnerable song.

I also love poetry, and I like to add that or spoken word to some of the songs I write, as it adds another dimension to them. 

You recently brought out a video for one of your tracks, entitled ‘Hexenhaus’. How has the response been to that so far?

I’m going to be releasing music videos for all of the songs on the album, before releasing the album itself, as I wanted to take a different approach. The visual side of things is just as important to me as the music, and I do my own videos, so I’m able to bring out the personalities of the songs even further. 

The track was taken from your debut album, ‘Queen Of Insecurity’, due for release this July. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was half-done at my home studio by myself. I wrote a bunch of songs with the intention of having them feel like a journey from one to the next, kind of like being in a haunted house, walking from one room to the next.

My favourite part of the recording process was having my friends Medina Rekic (ex- White Miles), Lee Smith (ex-Middleman), and Morgan Pettigrew (Minatore) playing on the record. It was a honour, as they’re all so talented! 

And how will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the work you put out as part of Chambers?

Witch of the East is a solo project. However, I love working with other musicians, and when I’m writing a song, I sometimes get excited about a section, as I can visualise/hear one of my friends (musicians) playing on it, which is when I usually message them asking them if they want to collaborate, and I’m going to be working on a single later this year with one of my favourite musicians, which is exciting, as I know they’ll inspire me and get me thinking in a way that I may not have considered before.

You have already played a couple of live sets. How have they been going down with audiences?

There’s been a really strong connection between the music and the audiences, as I think people can relate to a lot of what I’m singing about, and a guy was actually crying on my shoulder after one of the last shows, which was a first for me!

And how is performing live as an experience for you personally?

I feel a strong connection to the audiences at our shows, which is something very special, as bringing one another joy makes me feel happy.

However, it’s terrifying singing about your innermost personal feelings, as I’m opening up my heart to a room full of people every show, but this way, the songs are so much more powerful. 

Album aside, what have you got planned for the rest of 2019?

We’re going to be touring a lot this year, playing shows with some of my favourite bands, as well as doing at least another five music videos, and I’m also filming and editing music videos for a few other bands this year.

Music aside, I want to get back into my jiu-jitsu classes.

And finally, what is the long-term aim of Witch Of The East?

My personal aim is to keep writing songs that excite me, and also to keep working with such amazing musicians as my drummer Michael McManus.

There’s also a lot of other things underway by our label I’m Not From London Records, such as touring Europe and America by 2020, and I’m also excited about the possibility of working with fashion labels. There will be more to come on that subject!

‘QUEEN OF INSECURITY’ – THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM WITCH OF THE EAST – WILL BE RELEASED ON JULY 5 VIA I’M NOT FROM LONDON RECORDS, AND FURTHER INFO ON THIS – AND MORE – CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

COSMIC NINJA

Cosmic Ninja band photo

COSMIC NINJA (from l-r): Jonny Angelini (guitar/vocals), Tam Cullum (vocals/light synth), Ellie Daymond (drums/samples), Rob De Wandelaer (bass/vocals/samples)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Influenced by a diverse range of musical genres, emerging Bristol four-piece Cosmic Ninja are rapidly gaining a devoted legion of followers – and much critical praise – for their eclectic, politically-charged blend of alternative and electronic rock, and live sets that include an interactive light synth and a synchronised light show.

The band will be hoping to build on the already firm foundations they have laid over the next couple of months, having reached the final of a competition that will see the winner play at this summer’s Glastonbury festival, as well as the release of a self-titled EP, and to tell me more about this – along with a host of other Cosmic Ninja-related topics – was the collective’s guitarist/vocalist, Jonny Angelini.

How did the band initially get together?

Tam and Rob met initially and started working on music with our first drummer Duke, who had been in a previous band with Tam. I joined shortly after, when they felt that the band needed to add something extra to the sound, and all of our meetings were arranged through good old Gumtree!

Luckily, we had a lot in common straight away and a shared musical vision of the sound we wanted, and we’ve not looked back ever since!

How did the name Cosmic Ninja come about?

Naming a band is extremely hard, as anyone who has been in a band will tell you! We struggled initially, as your name is obviously a huge part of your branding, and we wanted to get it right, but basically after lots of brainstorming, we came up with Cosmic Ninja.

We thought it sounded cool, and the connotations seemed to fit our music quite well, as we have quite a spacey/cosmic sound with the synth elements, and we like to catch you by surprise with some more aggressive moments! Also, who wouldn’t want to be a Ninja?

What would you say was your approach to songwriting? 

We all have our own ways and preferences when writing, but generally, the music comes first before we tackle melodies and lyrics. Someone will come up with a concept and a basic song idea, and then we will work together until we have something we are happy with.

Technology is a big part of the process as we programme our synths, and we write a lot on our laptops, as it is an easy way to share ideas quickly and remotely.

We try not to put too many restrictions on what we write, so there is a lot of freedom. We can be quite blunt with each other, but sometimes, it is important to be honest and passionate about ideas.

Luckily, we are usually on the same page in terms of our sound, and the genres we want to hit, and it has worked well for us so far.

What inspires the band lyrically? 

We touch on quite a lot of topics and issues, especially as we all contribute to the lyrical content. Personal experiences and struggles is a big source of material, of course, and our next release, ‘Sympathy‘, is about helping someone close to you with mental illness, and making sure they know you are there for them. I think this is something we have all dealt with in our lives in some way.

Generally, we are careful not to be too preachy or in your face, as we don’t want to be cliche. Having said that, it is hard not to write about political and social issues given our situation in the UK, as at the moment, we are a divided country, people have passionate feelings on matters, and we are no exception, and putting those thoughts into our music is a great way to get stuff off you chest and make sure the right emotions are there when you are performing the songs.

You recently brought out a new single, entitled ‘We Got Up’. How has the reaction been to that so far?

We have had awesome feedback, which we are really pleased about. ‘We Got Up‘ is definitely quite a weird song with a lot of different tones and ideas, so it is great that it has gone down well.

Also, it is a fun one to play live too, and it has already become a bit of a band favourite, and people especially dig the video, which we had a lot of fun filming! Love some pyro!

And the track was taken from the band’s new self-titled EP, which will be released this May. How was the recording process for that?

It was a great experience. We took the decision to go for a higher quality recording, and to work with producer Jayce Lewis, who knows the type of sound we are aiming for.

Most of the music was written prior to the studio, as we had been playing the songs live, but Jayce really helped us get the best out of them. ‘Yeah Right‘ in particular went through a huge transformation, and ended up being something so different, but so much better than we had planned to record!

We learned a lot from working with Jayce, and took away a lot of tips for the future. The studio was hard work, but a really comfortable environment to do our thing in!

Also, how will the EP differ stylistically to the work that you’ve put out up to now?

Up until the EP, we were still experimenting with our sound and how we could combine rock and electronic music, and some of our previous tracks were long, convoluted, and lacked a cohesive structure and message, as we were just trying to get too many ideas in there, and maybe experimenting a bit too freely, so we had to figure out how to streamline and concentrate our songs into something more palatable.

The tracks on the EP are refined and better-structured, you can definitely see the development of the band, and I think we have a much clearer direction. We have quite diverse visions for our music, and sometimes it is difficult to condense ideas into a something coherent and memorable for the listener, and that’s something we are getting better at all the time.

The band are becoming known for live sets that feature an interactive light synth, a synchronised light show, and all of the members wearing LED shoes and glasses. For those who have yet to see you live, what can they expect?

We bring an audio visual experience at our shows. The music is our product, but how you package/present and essentially sell the product is equally important. The lights and accessories really help us to set the tone in our sets, in the sense that we want to great a rave/party vibe when we play.

We are taking inspiration from the dance and electronic music that we love, where lights and a stage show can be a big factor in the performance, especially when there is no live band rocking out to keep your attention. In our case, we are greedy, but we want the best of both worlds!

And how is the overall live experience for you all personally?

We absolutely love playing live, as you will be able to tell if you come to a Cosmic Ninja show. This is one of the main reasons why we do what we do, as it is great to get on the stage and unleash our energy on the audience.

It is important to enjoy what you do, and if you are having a good time, it is likely to be reciprocated by the audience, so we put it all out there and we are always completely genuine when performing, as there is nothing worse than watching a band that looks miserable and also looks like they would rather be anywhere else, but I can promise you that will never be the case at one of our shows!

Just before the EP comes out, the band will be in the final of a competition, which will see the winner play the Pilton stage at this year’s Glastonbury festival. I can imagine that’s something you are all looking forward to.

We are over the moon to have been asked to take part in the competition. A lot of bands would cut off their collective arms for this sort of opportunity, so to say we are excited is an understatement.

I’m a regular punter at Glastonbury, and I think it’s one of the best festivals and places on the earth! It is a great place to escape life and to have an amazing time with your friends, the atmosphere is always incredible.

I’ve got so many memorable moments there, so to take part as a performer is one of my main musical ambitions. It is going to be tough for sure, there will be stiff competition, but I know what we can bring when we play live, and we fully intend to smash it out the park.

Also, I didn’t get manage to get tickets in the sale, so I may have to leave the country in the last week of June!

And finally, what else have you got planned for the rest of 2019?

We have a busy summer lined up with shows and festivals around the UK, with more coming in all the time, so keep an eye on our gig listing for more info.

After some road testing, we would like to go back into the studio to record, ideally before the end of 2019.

Cosmic Ninja EP Cover

THE NEW SELF-TITLED EP FROM COSMIC NINJA WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 3.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

BEST OF ENEMIES

Best Of Enemies band photo

BEST OF ENEMIES (from l-r): Christian Kally-Gallimore (bass), Liam Washford-Bent (drums), Sam Christmas (vocals/guitar), Ben Sapsford (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by JESSICA PIOCHON

EP COVER ARTWORK by JEZ PENNINGTON

From CroydonBest Of Enemies are a four-piece who specialise in a mature, emotional pop-rock sound, along with anthemic choruses and soaring melodies.

Since bringing out their debut EP, ‘Sorry State‘, in 2016, the band have gained much support from critics and fans alike, and have been championed by the likes of BBC Introducing and Kerrang! Radio.

With the release of second EP, ‘A Fear That Comes Around’, imminent, the quartet’s drummer, Liam Washford-Bent, spoke to me about its recording process, what can be expected from the upcoming offering, and much more.

How did the band form initially?

I wasn’t there when the band formed initially, but from what I’m aware of, this band was formed through the end of an old band called Lives that Sam, Ben, and Christian were a part of.

After that band fell through, they then got together with a wonderful young man named Simon, and started making pop-rock tracks under the name Best Of Enemies.

How did the name Best Of Enemies come about?

It’s not a particularly interesting story. The boys all came up with name suggestions, and Best Of Enemies happened to be the one that was the least rubbish.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

I don’t think that we have a particular musical influence, as we all listen to a bunch of different stuff, so when we come together for the writing process, it’s really just a lot of us that’s coming out in the music that we make, so I suppose in a way we influence each other, which is quite nice.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach to songwriting always starts with the music itself. We’ve got some basic recording gear, so whenever we get an idea, we can make sure we get it down, and then we work on it over time.

These ideas can start in the practice room or at one of our houses, and from there, we all get together to lay down our parts and watch the songs take shape.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrically, we tend to write about anything, just as long as it’s honest. Sam’s our chief wordsmith, and what’s nice about his lyrics is that they’re refreshingly honest, as they tell the story of how he’s feeling at the time he wrote them, and there’s never a sense of trying to dress them up or trying to pass them off as something they’re not.

In 2016, you brought out an EP, entitled ‘Sorry State’, which was well-received. Honestly, did any of you expect the response that it got?

Shucks, that’s most kind of you to say! I don’t think we expected it to prove as popular as it did. We’d released the first EP, which had a good response, specifically with our mates, and then all of a sudden, we released ‘Sorry State‘, and it kinda just blew up for one reason or another.

It was incredibly overwhelming to receive such a positive response, especially from those songs, which were quite personal.

Shortly, the band will be unveiling the follow-up to that, entitled ‘A Fear That Comes Around’. How was the recording process for it?

The recording process itself for ‘A Fear That Comes Around‘ was incredibly slick and easy, and we got everything done in a week, as we’d been practicing and demoing like crazy in the weeks and months leading up to going into the studio.

There were a lot of delays in getting our tracks back, it’s been a year-long panic in that sense, so hopefully people won’t have lost interest, and the wait will have been worthwhile. (crosses fingers tightly)

And how will the new EP differ stylistically to ‘Sorry State’?

Stylistically, there’s a lot more space in these new tracks. While the lyrical content is still the same thematically, the music is more varied, and a slight step away from the hard-hitting, punchy rock ‘Sorry State‘, whilst still maintaining the same tones and feel that the last EP had, and if you listen to our recent track, ‘Shake the Feeling‘, it gives you an idea of where we’re headed.

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

The live show is always something we look forward to and thrive on. We love being on stage together, and if you watch us when we play, you can tell that we enjoy every second of it!

From moving to every corner of the stage, interacting with each other, and even getting up close with the audience, we always try to make the most of our performances.

EP aside, what have you got lined up in the near future?

We’ve got a few shows coming up, which we’re hyped about, an EP release show on April 24 at the Tooting Tram & Social (I’m actually going to a midnight screening of Endgame afterwards, so pray for me at work on Thursday), then we’re playing the Camden Rocks festival on June 2, which is HUGE for us, and we’re also playing the Feel Good Social Club Summer Fest in Salisbury on June 22. Those are the only shows I’m allowed to talk about at the moment, but we have more in the works.

Other than that, we’ve already started work on some new material, so you may be hearing from us sooner than you think…

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

Our long-term aim is simply to keep having fun. We’ve seen a lot of bands that we’ve befriended break up in the past few years, simply because they stopped enjoying it, which is a real shame, but as long as we’re having fun and doing what we love, then we’ll keep on going.

Other than that, it’d be cool to play a big festival like Reading & Leeds or Isle of Wight, whoever will have us (laughs).

Best Of Enemies EP Cover

‘A FEAR THAT COMES AROUND’ – THE NEW EP FROM BEST OF ENEMIES – WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 24 VIA UNDEAD COLLECTIVE RECORDS.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM