CATALINA SKIES

Catalina Skies band photo

CATALINA SKIES (from l-r): Chris Macmorland (lead guitar/backing vocals), Craig Surace (lead vocals/guitar), Sean Hanrahan (drums) Not in photo: Liam Priestnall (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Armed with an infectious, edgy indie-pop sound full of catchy choruses, alluring harmonies, and highly-energetic melodies, Catalina Skies have established themselves on London‘s underground music scene in the last couple of years, and now, the band are determined to build on this momentum in 2020 with a string of new single releases, and more live shows.

Here’s what they had to say to me when we chatted recently:

How did the band first get together?

SEAN HANRAHAN (drums): Let me tell you a story. It all started when Craig met Chris…sorry, that sounds like the start of a bad romantic comedy…Craig met Chris at their work drinks one night, and immediately launched into a debate about the greatest lyrics ever written, to which one of them outrageously claimed ‘Ice Cream‘ by Australian band Muscles.

In spite of this drunken dispute, they uncovered a joint love for music’s incredible narrative power, and decided to set up a jam. Along the way, they found me through a mutual friend, and then we went on to the hunt to find Liam and complete Catalina Skies!

How did the name Catalina Skies come about?

CHRIS MACMORLAND (lead guitar/backing vocals): On our first day in a recording studio, there were various news reports warning Earth of a potentially catastrophic asteroid collision, but thankfully, the scientists’ estimated trajectory was way off so everyone survived, and we got to finish the mix! The organisation who were tracking this asteroid are called the Catalina Sky Survey.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

CHRIS: Anyone can bring something to the table, and if it sets a spark with the whole band…the wheels starts turning. It could start with a riff, drum beat, lyric, or string section!

CRAIG SURACE (lead vocals/guitar): These usually come with an emotional tie for the feel of the song, which matches the current feelings of the band or a member, and brings us to the final song, although you never really “finish” a song…

What inspires the band lyrically?

CHRIS: Jameson’s (on the rocks).

CRAIG: Also, bad life choices…I mean, experiences!

So far, you have unveiled a few singles, the latest one being ‘Tuesday Friday’. How have the reactions been to them, for you all personally?

SEAN: For me personally, I’ve had some great reactions from fans and friends alike. I catch my mates humming the tune or singing the chorus from time to time, and that has been a strange but amazing feeling.

It’s always funny to hear fans come up to us, post-show, saying that they love the song. It always seems to create the most excitement on the dance floor.

The band plan to release some new tracks over the next six months. How has
the recording process for them been?

CHRIS: With the help of experienced producers, we’ve spent more time reviewing song structures, dynamics, and instrumentation, while at the same time, making sure we don’t lose that raw energy.

SEAN: The whole recording process working with our producer at The Recording Studio London was an absolute blast, and we’ve learned a lot, which has made us stronger musicians.

And how will they differ stylistically to the work you’ve put out so far?

SEAN: I think we’ve kept the elements of who we are, while also traversing some new boundaries. Our new work feels raw, almost as if you were right there seeing us live. On drums, the sound differs from our previous work, however, it has kept that beat that still gets people moving while adding more “fuck yeah!” moments. We’ve really tried to create that “Oh? I like that!” feeling!

Also, when are the band currently planning to get the singles out?

SEAN: Watch this space around spring time. I hope you aren’t afraid of gorillas…

You have established yourselves on London’s underground music scene, performing at many of the city’s venues, and have supported the likes of The Ordinary Boys and Sinka. How were they as experiences?

CRAIG: As cliche as it sounds, live music is as much for the people who choose to come to listen, as it is for us. All of our shows have been enjoyable, no matter the size. In fact, our favourite show was at Alley Cat on Denmark Street (RIP). Everything went wrong prior (broken strings, dropped guitars, sub-par amps), but once we were on stage and seeing everyone loving life, it made the night!

The London music scene is tough, there’s so much going on in this city with a mish-mash of tastes, and controversially, lacking a bit of soul these days. We love music, and we just want to give those who do choose to come and see us and our fellow London bands, the love they deserve!

And how is it overall playing live?

CHRIS: Easily the best part of what we do. It also means we get to hang out with Rocco (Craig‘s stage persona).

SEAN: It’s an adrenaline rush that I can’t quite describe. The feeling you get on stage is something else, as you’re just there, raw, unhinged, and bouncing with energy, but just as it’s began, it’s over, and you’re left awashed with memories of that feeling, and it’s a rush that we keep chasing.

And lastly, singles aside, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

SEAN: If I were to give us one solid high-level goal, it would be to get ourselves heard. To share our music and energy with more and more people. We’ve got lots of plans for the future all working with our amazing manager. More music, more shows, more festivals, more us.

Catalina Skies logo

‘TUESDAY FRIDAY’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM CATALINA SKIES – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND WILL BE RELEASING SOME NEW TRACKS OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

FURTHER INFO ON CATALINA SKIES CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

LONA

LONA band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Back in the spring of 2018, I did an interview with an emerging outfit called Judas, that were in Stoke-on-Trent supporting the now defunct Mallory Knox.

Almost two years on, and the London four-piece, now known as LONA, and still comprising of vocalist/guitarist John Clancy, guitarist Todd Blackmore, bassist James Phillips, and drummer Sam Horvath, have continued to ascend the ladder of British indie music, bringing out a string of well-received single releases, supporting Reverend And The Makers on a UK tour last autumn, and winning over more fans with their anthemic, moody dark-pop sound, and thought-provoking, relatable lyrics.

With some new music, and two headline shows, coming up in the next month, Sam spoke to me about this and more.

Why the name change to LONA?

We wanted a name that would better capture the essence of being alone, yet also finding something bigger than yourself, that makes you part of something. A club, a movement. LONA.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We obviously take a lot of inspiration from modern pop music. We listen to a lot of Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, etc…mainly to capture the levels of production genius that goes on in the tracks. We self-produce all of our material in our home studio, so learning from the pop masters is the right way to go about it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We always tend to start with an idea or concept for a song, whether it’s love, heartbreak, or anxiety, and once we know what we want the song to be about, then we play around with a few chords and a few loops on Logic until we get a rough vibe for a sound.

After that, we try to relax, have a couple of beers, and start shaping some verses and potentially a chorus lyrically, too. Once we feel like we have a good development, we’ll sing in a guide vocal to implement a rough structure, and start to build the track around that, and then we spend five days finding the perfect sounds (laughs).

What inspires the band lyrically?

We’re very lucky to have John as our singer, as he’s so talented when it comes to writing words and melody. We draw lots of lyrical inspiration, as most bands do, from the best, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, as we think his storytelling is unrivalled, but we also try to keep a modern spin on it, drawing ideas and production effects from modern tracks also.

You have brought out a string of single releases, the latest one being ‘Not Listening’. How have the responses been to them?

It’s been really great to have had such positive responses to the tracks, ‘Not Listening‘ especially, as it’s a song that is especially close to us, as I think it emulates a lot of the feelings that people go through in life, and we’ve had a lot of fans message us saying that it has helped them through hard times.

It’s also so heartwarming to know that the music we love making is being enjoyed by so many people.

The band have performed at festivals such as Isle Of Wight, Y Not, and Leeds, and also supported Reverend And The Makers on their UK tour last autumn. How were they as experiences?

INSANE!!! We’ve always said, our main forte is our live show, as it’s what we love to do most. We love festivals, we love touring, and we can’t thank Reverend And The Makers enough for having us on tour with them, as it was a HUGE learning curve.

We have two headline shows coming up next month – in London, and in Sheffield – so come down to witness the magic.

💛

And how is it overall playing on stage?

It always goes so fast, as by the time you feel like you’ve played the first chord or note, it’s over! We love it so much. It’s an adrenaline rush like no other, and it’s all we want to do, forever.

What are your plans for the near future?

In addition to the two headline shows, we have two tracks dropping over the next month, so at the moment, it’s all systems go at LONA HQ.

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

If we can go the next 10, 20, 30+ years making music, touring, and being best mates, then it’ll be the best lives we ever could have hoped for. BRING IT ON.

‘NOT LISTENING’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM LONA – IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA LAB RECORDS, AND THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING TWO HEADLINE SHOWS NEXT MONTH, FURTHER DETAILS ON WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW.

LONA London gig poster

LONA Sheffield gig poster

 

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

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FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

 

INTECHNICOLOUR

InTechnicolour band photo

INTECHNICOLOUR (from l-r): Tobie Anderson (vocals), Sam Coveney (drums), Vlad Matveikov (bass), Dave Jackson (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Originally from Leeds, but now based in Brighton, InTechnicolour are a four-piece that pride themselves on creating a dynamic, groove-laden stoner rock sound, and with an eagerly-anticipated debut album, ‘Big Sleeper‘, coming out next month, along with a headline UK tour, I chatted to the band’s vocalist, Tobie Anderson, and guitarist, Dave Jackson, about what can be expected from all of that, and much more, showcasing a dry sense of humour along the way. 

How did the band initially form?

TOBIE ANDERSON (vocals): InTechnicolour started out with Dave and our old friend Ed in a basement in Leeds. After around four or five years of writing prog instrumentals that only the nerdiest of nerds would appreciate, and with the departure of Ed to go and work in the US, Dave decided to try adding some vocals to those songs, and InTechnicolour, as it sounds today, was born…sort of!

DAVE JACKSON (guitar): Yep, pretty much what Tobie said! Myself and Ed wrote two albums as a two-piece trying to do the vocals ourselves – thankfully, these were never officially released on a label, and would be very difficult to find.

Some of the songs that made it onto ‘Big Sleeper‘ (‘Crushed Ear‘, ‘Doomer‘) were written in that tiny, grotty basement just around the corner from the Brudenell Social Club.

How did the name InTechnicolour come about? 

DAVE: We used to spend a lot of our time either playing Zelda or watching classic 70’s blockbusters, and ‘Filmed In Technicolour‘ was always something you would see at the end of these old films, so we just popped a ‘U‘ in there to make it sound more English, and that was that.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting? 

DAVE: I tend to lock myself away in a room with a really loud overdrive pedal, and leave the mic on for a few hours. In the early days, Ed would record hours of random drum grooves, I would then take them away, and try to write a riff to them, but weirdly, I would often loop them in the wrong spot, and get a really messed-up rhythm by accident, in fact, that’s how ‘Doomer‘ came into existence.

What inspires the band lyrically?

TOBIE: I have been a lyricist and singer since the age of 10, and have been singing in bands since I was 12, so lyrically, I have a fair bit of practice. I write what is in my head at the time, but equally, my lyrics will mean something different to me than they do to a bloke in the audience, and the same again for the bloke stood next to him.

However, how you choose to interpret InTechnicolour lyrics is totally up to you…mainly though, it’s Co-op meal deals and shit bus rides that inspire me.

Before Christmas, you unveiled a double A-side single, ‘Miami Funk/Doomer’. How were the initial reaction to the tracks? 

TOBIE: Really positive! The reactions we got from ‘Doomer‘ and ‘Miami Funk‘ were essentially, “YES, can we have more please?

Next month, the band will be bringing out an album, ‘Big Sleeper’. How has the recording process for that? 

TOBIE: Choppy – we changed band members, credit cards, cities we lived in. The album was tracked in three studios, with four different drummers, taking frustratingly long…thankfully though, Big Scary Monsters helped put this boat on the right tracks, and now, we’re gearing up to record, release, tour a lot of music, and be on the other side taking too long.

A big shout out to Mark Roberts (Black Peaks, Toska) is responsible for how we sound, he’s a top-tier producer and human, and he even played on most of ‘Big Sleeper‘, also doing a few tours with us. It’s been a long and weird life already…

Also, what can your fan base expect from the upcoming release?

DAVE: More of the same, but with more chorus, delay, and Tremolo…! These are the only three pedals I own, quite possibly because they are the cheapest effects on the market, but I’m hoping that by album three, I can afford to buy a tuner.

You can expect our third record to at least be in tune, and that’s something to look forward to, if nothing else.

TOBIE: Big riffs! Big hooky vocals! Heavy music you can sing along to!

And the band will be marking the album coming out with a UK headline tour. How is it – for you all – performing live?

TOBIE: It’s where it’s at! Stepping on stage with your brothers in a band, that first song kicks off, and everything else is muscle memory and just existing in the moment. The reason why we all do this is to stand out in front of you all, and assault your ears with riffs and sheer volume, so yeah, we are counting down the days.

DAVE: I’m not usually a guitarist, so I spend the first few gigs getting freaked out at how small my instrument is, and why my hands look so massive, but apart from that, yeah, it’s a breeze. I love it.

Also, you have toured across the UK and continental Europe, supporting the likes of Black Peaks and Haggard Cat. How were they as experiences?

TOBIE: Going on tour with bands you are friends with is pretty wild – all the beers, all the jokes, all the greasy food, frequent gas station pooing, little sleep, card games etc, going between sweaty loud shows – basically the dream for everyone except our girlfriends.

Our next victims are our good friends in CLT DRP, we are gonna break them on day three of this February tour.

And lastly, what are the band’s plans following the album release and UK tour?  

TOBIE: Well, I am currently doing this interview with you from a stunning old chapel studio which has played host to the likes of Robert Plant in the last few months, so that might give you a clue. There are some huge songs currently being written for album number two, we just need to work out which band member can survive without kidneys to be able to pay for it all…

DAVE: I’m gonna save up for a tuner, and get tuning/writing.

InTechnicolour Album Cover

‘BIG SLEEPER’ – THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM INTECHNICOLOUR – WILL BE RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 21 VIA BIG SCARY MONSTERS, AND THE BAND WILL BE MARKING THAT WITH A UK HEADLINE TOUR, MORE DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

InTechnicolour tour poster

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

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YOUTUBE

 

RAMES

RAMES band photo

RAMES (from l-r): Joe Bedford (bass), Oli Zanetti (lead guitar), Fin Dudley (drums), Alan Li (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by JODIE MITCHELL

Since forming early last year, London four-piece RAMES have received much acclaim for their guitar-driven melodic indie-pop sound, influenced by the likes of The Cure and The Night Cafe, and live performances that truly match the band’s dedication and ambition.

With a series of gigs planned, including their first headliner in the UK capital a fortnight from now, the rapidly-rising quartet chatted to me, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band first get together?

We only formed early last year when Alan and Oli, who were previously in a band together, wanted to start a new group to showcase the indie-pop music they had been writing. We got our mate from school, Joe, on bass, we met our drummer, Fin, towards the back end of last year, and we’re all really good mates who make feel-good indie-pop tunes!

How did the name RAMES come about?

Unfortunately, there’s no real great story about how the name RAMES came about. We would love to tell you that there’s a deeper meaning behind the name, but the reality is that we were all sitting in Alan‘s room, trying desperately to think of a good band name. He has a Pulp Fiction poster on his wall, and on it is a list of actor names, one of them being Ving Rhames, so we took the H out, and bosh.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach is pretty simple. Myself (Alan) and Oli have been writing songs together since they were 12 years old, and some of our early songs were absolutely dreadful, but, as you can imagine, 10 years later, there’s now a great songwriting connection between us.

We usually write songs in their most basic form, which we then show the band at rehearsals, and they then help make the song what it is. This is how it usually happens, but there’s no set way of songwriting. I think that’s the key with being creative, as we’re always on the lookout for new song inspirations and ideas.

What inspires the band lyrically?

A lot of the time, we write about the problems and joys of being young. We try and write about subjects that are relatable, and things that we go through in life. As Alan usually writes the lyrics, a lot of the songs are about his girlfriend, but not in a proper cringey way.

Last November, having already unveiled two well-received demo tracks, ‘Every Time’ and ‘Talk’, you brought out your debut single, ‘Easy For You’. How was the recording process for that?

The two demo tracks were recorded and mixed in Alan‘s room, but our debut single was recorded in Wolverhampton with Gavin Monaghan, who we’ve worked with before. He’s a great guy and a top producer, and has worked with the likes of JAWS, The Sherlocks, and Robert Plant.

Gavin was great at implementing our ideas, and perfecting the track to match our vision for the song, which we feel is really representative of us, making it a great song for our debut single.

And how has the response been to the single up to now?

The track has been very well-received, and we’re very happy with the response. The track received BBC Introducing recognition, and was chosen as the Sunday Mirror‘s single of the week. It has also been added to a few great Spotify playlists, had a number of radio plays, as well as some other cool stuff like being played in a couple of EFL Championship matchday playlists.

The band have played at such venues as The Sebright Arms and The Camden Assembly, and last year performed at the Wilkestock Charity Music Festival, alongside the likes of Slaves and We Are Scientists. How were they as experiences?

We think that at such an early point in our career, we feel extremely grateful to be playing such good venues consistently, and we’ve been fortunate to support the likes of Deco and The Manatees on their UK tours.

Every gig we’ve done, we have given our all, and we thank not only the venues for having us, but the crowds that have shown up and supported us during these early stages. We’ve had some extremely good times at these venues this far, and long may it continue.

To be mentioned alongside the names above is great, and we are looking forward to hopefully becoming a household name like that ourselves one day, although we appreciate the graft and effort this will require, we are confident that we have the right amount of attitude and love for the music to hopefully see us there one day.

And how is it overall being on stage?

Playing live is probably our favourite part of being in a band. It’s what it’s all about. Being on stage is a surreal feeling, and our first gig at The Horn (a venue in St Albans, Hertfordshire) was a special night.

We worked so hard to get the songs written and rehearsed to a live standard, so to see it all come together is satisfying. It’s a great rush filled with many emotions, from the pre-gig nerves/excitement, to the on-stage adrenaline, to the satisfaction of walking off stage with your head held high, knowing you have given the fans a good show.

What are your plans for the near future?

Following on from the back end of last year, we’ve got a load of gigs coming up, including some more supporting slots for bands on their UK tours, as well as our first headline show in London on February 7, at The Grace in Islington.

We’ve also got brand new music lined up for this year that we can’t wait to share with you all, and some other exciting things that we’re not allowed to talk about yet, so stay tuned.

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

Obviously, we’d love to one day be playing the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, but whilst we’re dreaming, we really just wanna keep making tunes, and growing as a band, so our music can reach more ears.

Things are going well at the moment, and it’s still very early days for RAMES, but we’re all having fun, and making music is what we love to do, so we’ll just keep going, and keep making and sharing our music to as many people as possible.

RAMES Single Cover

‘EASY FOR YOU’ – THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM RAMES – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

MODERN SHAKES

Modern Shakes band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Last summer, London punk four-piece Modern Shakes brought out a debut EP, ‘Murmur‘, to an overwhelmingly positive response, and with the band currently putting the finishing touches to its follow-up, their drummer Dan Conant chatted to me about that, supporting Australian punk outfit Clowns, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

Ian and I know each other from trying to form a band years ago, which never got off the ground, but we always stayed in touch, and saw each other at various gigs on the DIY punk scene.

Ian‘s previous band, Janowski, had split, and he had been playing solo as Wayfairer for a while when the conversation came up about trying to start another full band.

I had always liked Ian‘s songwriting, and I was keen to get on the drums again, so we booked into a studio in West London with Colin, the old bass player from Janowski, to work on some songs back in the summer of 2017.

A lot has happened since then, in terms of line-up changes, but we’re back now, with a solid new set raring to go!

How did the name Modern Shakes come about?

We’re fans of the band Banner Pilot, and after going through a whole bunch of different names, we settled on naming ourselves after their song of the same name.

To somebody discovering the band for the first time, how would you describe your sound to them?

Melodic punk rock with an org-core influence, and a UK twist!

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We all have various influences in the band, but the ones that shine through the most are the American org-core bands like Banner Pilots, The Flatliners, Dillinger 4, etc, but also older bands like Leatherface.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Ian is the main songwriter, bringing riffs, lyrics, and mostly finished song structures to the table, we then go through and iterate on them, adding and changing sections and working as a group to finish them off.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Our lyrics are like tattoos. Some of them have meaning, some of them just look good. Writing, for Ian, is generally a cleansing process: trying to right wrongs, looking towards the future, dwelling on the past, the understanding of our being, and hope, love, melody, and wordplay.

Last August, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Murmur’. How was the reaction to the release?

The reaction was good! We got shout outs from ShoutLouder, and ended the year at the top of Colin’s Punkrock World EP list, which was great, and overall, the EP was received well from everyone that heard it.

And the band have been busy working on a follow-up. How has that been going so far?

We’re now at the final mixes stage. Daly George is a great engineer/producer, and has made us sound great.

Also, how will your next EP differ stylistically from your first?

This time round, we’re a little bit slower, and have more melodic complexity, due to our second guitarist Ian, and Sam joining us on bass. We’ve tried to evolve the sound while remaining consistent.

And when are the band thinking of getting the release out by?

Hopefully in mid-February.

Before Christmas, you supported Aussie punks Clowns at The Old Blue Last in London. How was that as an experience?

That was great fun. Clowns are an outstanding punk rock band who really get the crowd going. We got lucky knowing the guys in SPLURGE (Joe used to play in Janowski with Ian), and they very kindly recommended us for the opening support slot.

Also, it was good to play the Old Blue Last, as well, being a historic venue in London.

And how is it overall performing on stage?

Always fun, as there’s nothing better than playing tunes you love with your pals!

And lastly, EP aside, what are the band’s plans for 2020?

More gigs, more songs, and hopefully more records!

Modern Shakes EP Cover

‘MURMUR’ – THE DEBUT EP FROM MODERN SHAKES – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S SECOND EP WILL BE RELEASED SOON.

FURTHER INFO ON MODERN SHAKES CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

 

CAFE ASPEN

Cafe Aspen band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Drawing from an eclectic range of musical influences, emerging five-piece Cafe Aspen have quickly established themselves on the Sheffield music scene with an indie-rock sound that is rapturous yet dark, and includes psychedelic guitar riffs and anthemic choruses.

Soon to be supporting fellow indie-rockers The Outcharms at iconic Steel City venue The Leadmill, the quintet spoke to me about that, the positive reaction to last year’s debut EP, ‘Take‘, and much more.

How did the band first get together?

The band originally formed at university, we just started writing, and then we kind of realised that we had something pretty good going. We’ve since added new members, and the current line-up is the one we’re going forward with.

How did the name Cafe Aspen come about?

We’d love to have a great story behind this, but we really don’t. We originally thought of The Aspen, but then we realised it just sounded like a cheap budget hotel. Cafe Aspen just seemed right.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Everything. If you asked all of us individually, we would all answer differently, and we think that those different influences help, as we don’t like to just firmly sit in one genre.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

A song can come from anything. If somebody has a riff idea, then it gets posted in our group chat, and the others pick it up. We practice regularly, and are working on new songs together all the time.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Again, it can be anything. We do like the lyrics to clever and intricate. What one person takes from the lyrics might be completely different to what somebody else does.

Last year, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Take’. How was the recording process for that?

It was really fun. We recorded at our mate’s studio, Make Noise Studios. Alex is great, and knows our sound, and for a new band, that really helps, having somebody who knows the band, and is also extremely talented.

And how – for the band – was the reaction to the release?

We were really pleased with the reviews and reaction we got from it. We went through a transition around the time of the release, getting Kyle in on drums and Nath on bass. It was weird for them, as it wasn’t them playing on the EP, so we can’t wait to get back into the studio and release something big this year.

You have supported the likes of The Luka State and Bad Luv, and you also performed at Tramlines last year in your home city of Sheffield. How were they as experiences?

Our first year as a band was amazing, and we played with some top bands who really set the bar high, we know the level we’ve got to be at now. Tramlines was a real highlight, as was headlining Barnsley Live, and our first headline show at Shakespeares in Sheffield.

And how is it overall playing on stage?

The stage is where we all belong, and we believe that anybody who experiences our live show will not go away disappointed, as we’re energetic, loud, and like to throw a party.

What are the band’s plans for the near future?

Well, we’ve just announced a big Sheffield show at the iconic Leadmill with The Outcharms, which we’re all buzzing about! After that, it’s back into the studio, and hopefully a run of dates to celebrate the release of that in a couple of months, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

Look, we’re all really passionate about making music, and we just want to keep progressing and see where it goes. As long as we’re all enjoying it, that’s the main thing, so if we keep doing what we do, then who knows? The sky’s the limit.

Cafe Aspen EP Cover

‘TAKE’ – THE DEBUT EP FROM CAFE ASPEN – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND YOU CAN LISTEN TO IT – AS WELL AS THE BAND’S OTHER TRACKS – AT THEIR SPOTIFY PAGE.

Cafe Aspen gig poster

CAFE ASPEN WILL ALSO BE SUPPORTING THE OUTCHARMS AT THE LEADMILL IN SHEFFIELD ON FEBRUARY 21. TICKETS FOR THAT ARE AVAILABLE FROM HERE.

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

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

 

 

TREVOR’S HEAD

Trevor's Head band photo

TREVOR’S HEAD (from l-r): Matt Ainsworth (drums), Roger Atkins (vocals/guitar), Aaron Strachan (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Surrey, three-piece Trevor’s Head have won over critics and fans alike in recent years with a raw, gritty mix of stoner rock, punk, grunge, and metal, which the collective have taken across the UK as part of a relentless touring schedule.

Having brought out a string of successful releases, including 2018 album ‘Soma Holiday‘, the trio will be returning to the studio this spring to record their next offering, which they were happy to talk about, along with a range of other band-related topics.

How did the band initially form?

MATT AINSWORTH (drums): Roger and I were introduced to each other by a mutual friend shortly after we had finished secondary school. We jammed a lot over that summer, but then didn’t see each other again until our last year of college, when he joined a band I was in with a few mates.

We went through a bunch of names, people came and went, and we settled on Trevor’s Head in 2010. We were a four-piece for a while, but then in 2014, Dave and Tom (then guitarist and bassist) had enough and left, so we got Aaron in on bass, decided to keep it as a trio, and let the music get heavier.

How did the name Trevor’s Head come about?

MATT: That stupid name came about when I was on holiday in Devon, looking at a road atlas to find some decent beaches. I flipped over a few pages to Cornwall, and spotted a place called Trevose Head, which I thought sounded like Trevor’s Head, which I found amusing.

We were looking for a new name at the time, so I texted it to the rest of the guys as a (not entirely serious) suggestion, and for some reason, they all liked it, so it stuck!

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ROGER ATKINS (vocals/guitar): Songwriting for us is a very organic, collaborative experience. It usually starts with someone coming in with a riff, a section, or a full song template, and we work together to add to it or change the music to the point where we all agree it works.

Lyrics normally go on last, written for the music at hand, although sometimes, we’ll look through our old notebooks and find something that fits. It’s rare we write lyrics first, and then create the music around those, like we did with ‘Casa De Eduardo‘ on ‘Tricolossus‘, but it’s a technique we’re looking at doing more on the new album, because it can really open up unexpected avenues of songwriting.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ROGER: A combination of real-life experience and storytelling. Songs like ‘Roll It Over‘, ‘21 Tonnes‘, and ‘Sleepstate‘ are drawn from direct personal experience, whereas ‘Blood Moon‘ and ‘Pan-Galactic Peaceniks‘ are examples of us imagining a wonderful new reality and penning it down.

There’s always been a socio-political viewpoint running through our music, as well, which you can hear in songs like ‘Government Whores‘, ‘Billion Dollar Fart‘, and ‘Bomb‘. Unfortunately, these songs are very apt in the current climate.

AARON STRACHAN (bass/vocals): There’s a definite lean towards the political and social side of things, but also clowns, the Amish, chips, and magicians!

In 2018, you brought out your third album, ‘Soma Holiday’. How was the reaction to that?

ROGER: I think, overall, the feedback from fans, critics, and the label was great. We really felt like we grew as musicians writing it, and were able to let our eccentricities come out a bit more. It was a fun album to make!

MATT: With that one, we really did just throw every idea we had at it. “Mad bastards” was one person’s reaction to it. “Fieldy” at APF Records was really keen on it, so it was great to have the backing of someone who is genuinely into the music we’re making.

AARON: I feel like some people may have thought it was a little more far out than the previous one, but it received a great response, and was the first album anyone agreed to release, so I reckon that’s a win!

And currently, the band are writing their fourth album. How is that going at the moment?

ROGER: Yeah, it’s going really well. We had a slow 2019 by our standards, due to outside commitments, but it’s such a joy getting back together to write some new music again.

The album is shaping up to be more refined and ballsy than the last offerings. We still couldn’t tell you what genre it is, but we’re super excited to get it finished, so people can hear and decide for themselves!

AARON: We’re taking a more streamlined approach on this one, but it’ll still pack all those traditional Trevor’s Head punches that people have grown to love.

Also, when do you think you will have the album out by?

MATT: We’ve got the first recording session booked at Sam Thredder‘s studio, The Cro’s Nest, for April, and will follow it up with another this summer, so hopefully, it will be out towards the end of this year, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the band.

The band have performed at venues across the UK, and have supported the likes of Witch Tripper and Morass Of Molasses. How were they as experiences?

ROGER: The gigs are always great fun! We’ve known the Morass Of Molasses guys for years, and they are like musical brothers to us.

Obviously, the bigger gigs we’ve played, like supporting Colour Haze, Radio Moscow, and Greenleaf are awesome, due to the size of the crowd, but sometimes, it’s the smaller gigs that you really remember. Our album launch for ‘Tricolossus‘ was in the back room of a pool hall in Redhill, Surrey, and it was so fucking crazy we’ll never forget it.

We’re going to be supporting Mondo Generator on March 10 at The Exchange in Bristol, so we’re dead excited about that.

AARON: Meeting all of those other bands, and forming lasting friendships, is one of the best parts about being in a band. If we didn’t all help and support each other, then there would be no scene. I would have to say my personal favourite was supporting Colour Haze at The Garage. That was bloody beautiful!

Also, how is it overall playing on stage?

ROGER: Indescribable. On the right night, with the right crowd, I honestly don’t think anything could top it.

MATT: Absolutely love it. We wouldn’t be doing every week if it wasn’t the most fun you could have with your clothes on!

AARON: It’s my favourite place to be!

And lastly, album aside, what are your plans for the year ahead?

ROGER: Drink less alcohol, and eat fewer Dairylea Dunkers.

MATT: Yeah, right.

AARON: Riffs, riffs, and then maybe a few more riffs.

Trevor's Head Album Cover

‘SOMA HOLIDAY’ – THE MOST RECENT ALBUM FROM TREVOR’S HEAD – IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA APF RECORDS, AND THE BAND’S NEXT ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

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