REALMS

Realms band photo

REALMS (from l-r): Jordan Ness (bass), Matt Shore (guitar), Karl Lauder (vocals), Jed Cooke (drums), Jonny Ford (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

South Yorkshire five-piece Realms have made quite an impact on their local rock/metal music scene since unveiling debut EP, ‘Echo Chamber‘, in 2017, with a compelling, dense post-hardcore sound, heavily influenced by the emo outfits of the 2000’s.

With the band’s recent offering, ‘Burn The Orchard‘, effectively showcasing more of their originality, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and fans alike, two members of the collective – vocalist Karl Lauder and guitarist Matt Shore – spoke to me, in-depth, about this, the quintet’s approaches to songwriting and lyrics, how they think coronavirus will affect the British music industry, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

MATT SHORE (guitar): Me and Karl met at uni when we were living in the same dorms. We got talking, and realised we had a very similar taste in music. We had both played in bands before, and we decided we wanted to try forming something together. However, because we’re lazy, the band didn’t actually take shape until after we had finished uni.

Karl already knew Jed from a previous band, and after they had both moved back to Doncaster when they finished uni, we persuaded Jed to record some songs me and Karl had written together. We told Jed that since he had already written the drum parts and recorded the songs, he might as well be the drummer, and he never disagreed, so he’s been stuck with us ever since.

We found Ford and Jordan through online ads in early 2016, and we’ve been going ever since then!

How did the name Realms come about?

MATT: We really wanted a band name that was just one word. We had been throwing around random words for a while, and eventually, Realms just stuck. I think it had something to do with what we would call a nightclub if we owned one, or something to do with Yu-Gi-Oh

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

MATT: So far, we have always written the music first. It’s usually all done separately. Me or Ford will be jamming at home, will come up with a part that sounds good, and then develop it into a song on Guitar Pro.

With ‘Echo Chamber‘, there was a bit more collaboration where me and Ford might start a song, and then send it to each other to see if we could think of any other parts or ideas, but with ‘Burn The Orchard‘, it’s a 50/50 split of two songs that I wrote individually, and two songs that Ford wrote individually.

We don’t usually share the Guitar Pro files with the rest of the band until they are complete in our eyes. If we’re on the ball, Jed might write some drums to the GP file before we take the new song to practice, if not, we’ll just hash it out all together and see what comes out.

KARL LAUDER (vocals): It can vary when it comes to writing vocals and lyrics, but ultimately, I wait until Matt, Ford, and Jed have laid the foundations, and then I pick it up and work in melodies. I’ve learnt the hard way not to write bits prior to this because of the fluid nature of songwriting and how drums can really change the flow of a song. Sometimes, the melodies sound better on piano, and we can put piano in our songs, which is what happened with ‘Freefall‘.

My lyrics are 50/50 between pre-written and heat-of-the-moment, though I usually have a theme prior to the song being written, then we take it all to the practice room to iron kinks out. Sometimes, some vocal patterns that work in your head just don’t work when it comes to reality.

What inspires the band lyrically?

KARL: I treat my lyrics like an open therapy session ultimately. Whatever is eating me up, something I struggle to say to people in a close setting, etc. It’s an expression of, usually, my frustration of living in an unjust world and dealing with any emotional issues I have, yet I cannot address them directly to that person. I am an opinionated person, and I think that helps to pick the topic for each song I help write.

Recently, you brought out a new EP, ‘Burn The Orchard’, which has been positively received. How was the recording process for that?

MATT: We recorded ‘Burn The Orchard‘ in our friend’s (Liam Dodd) bedroom. We recorded ‘Echo Chamber‘ with him too, and since we were happy with how that sounded, we thought we would go back for round two.

It was a pretty chill experience mostly, we tracked some rough demos with him to begin with, so we could think about any extra production, we wanted to sprinkle into the songs and then went back to get the proper takes done later on. We just programmed the drums for the sake of simplicity. The guitars were done after that, then bass, and the vocals last. We quad-tracked the guitars to flesh them out a bit, and make them sound chunky.

It was quite a long, gruelling experience, to be honest (laughs), we often left our sessions feeling exhausted and mentally drained. I think it was about two full days to track the guitars.

KARL: Tougher than previously, but that was because vocally, it was a massive improvement. I discovered I can sing higher than I thought was possible, and it was really fun doing a song with all clean vocals to be honest. Doing all the screaming in a day was tiring, and I would have preferred to break it up, but we smashed it out the park, and I’m happy with the finished product.

And for those who have yet to listen to the release, how does it differ stylistically to ‘Echo Chamber’?

MATT: I think we learned a lot from writing ‘Echo Chamber‘ and playing those songs live that we incorporated into the new EP.

Looking back on ‘Echo Chamber‘, it feels a lot more “safe” than the new material. We were writing songs that we wanted to sound like other bands, whereas with ‘Burn The Orchard‘, we already had our own sound and identity, so I think it was easier to write songs that just sounded like Realms.

We definitely worked in some different influences and sounds that people maybe didn’t expect from us this time, especially the song ‘Freefall‘, which is entirely clean vocals and clean guitars with a lot of strings/piano layers.

KARL: For me personally, it’s just a massive one up on ‘Echo Chamber‘. Vocally, it’s 100 times better, from a songwriting standpoint, it’s 100 times better, and lyrically, I feel it’s more rounded, but knowing we can pull some of the things off that we did just makes me pumped to get back to the studio to see what we can make next.

You have played live at venues across Yorkshire, as well as in Birmingham and Nottingham, and have also supported the likes of InAir and CaveKiller. How is the experience – for you all – of performing on stage?

MATT: I love how every show is different. The show with CaveKiller, for example (who are great by the way, awesome dudes), was during that massive storm earlier this year. I can remember driving down the motorway to the show in all that awful weather wondering if I was crazy going out in weather warnings just to play a show, but when you get there, and you’ve finished playing, it’s always worth it.

Being on stage is a lot of fun, and chatting to the other bands afterwards or to people who enjoyed your set is awesome. It’s also a good excuse to get together with the boys for a night out.

KARL: I honestly dread it most nights, but in my opinion, it’s what drives me to be as good as I can be live, and when you really nail a good performance, there is no better feeling. Even if the people in the crowd weren’t into it, knowing we got up there and played as well as we could is such a good feeling.

I always get nervous, and even though we’ve been playing live for as long as we have, it never seems to get any easier. I’ll be the first to admit I’m my own worst critic, if I don’t feel I personally did as well as I could live, it really bums me out, and I tend to beat myself, but luckily, the lads will perk me up.

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

MATT: I’m worried about the venues. I’m hoping that they’re getting enough support through all this. I’ve seen that a few venues have set up fundraiser campaigns to make sure they can stay open during all of this, and to be fair, the support I’ve seen so far has been really good.

I’m looking forward to all the music that will come out of all this. This is the perfect time for bands and musicians to be locked away, and to work on their craft, and I think we’re going to have bands releasing some ace tunes at the end of all this.

I’m also hoping that once all the restrictions have been lifted, people will have a new appreciation of the local scenes. I’m hoping the “you don’t miss it until it’s gone” mentality kicks in, and that people will start attending local shows a bit more, especially if they have spent this lockdown period discovering new bands that they might not have checked out before.

KARL: Like Matt has just said, ultimately, it’s the live venues and live music scene that will suffer the most. Any small business is going to feel the pinch, and ultimately, I don’t know if some will survive.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

MATT: Our plans originally were to play some shows in support of the new EP, but that’s been put on the back burner, so we’re using this time to work on new music. Me and Ford have been furloughed, so we’ve had a lot of time on our hands to write songs. It’s been a more collaborative effort this time with joint inputs into what we’ve been working on which has been fun.

We want to steer away from releasing EPs for a little while, and focus on releasing a few singles in the future. EPs take a long time to get written, recorded, and released, and we don’t want such a long gap in releasing new music as we did between ‘Echo Chamber‘ and ‘Burn The Orchard‘.

We’re also hoping to record these singles in proper studios, so we can up our production standards, and take ourselves out of our comfort zones a little bit, so cost comes into it, as well.

KARL: During lockdown, we are currently working on some songs ourselves, and the plan is to do them as singles. I’d love to write an album, but the time it takes to write one means we wouldn’t get it out for a while, and the business model is kinda changing now to single-based stuff to get picked up and noticed, etc.

Burn The Orchard‘ was a big step in the right direction for us, so we are hoping to use everything we have learnt from these songs, and carry that into our next few releases, which we are hoping will be sooner than our latest EP, so watch this space, I guess.

Realms EP Cover

‘BURN THE ORCHARD’ – THE SECOND EP FROM REALMS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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SUFFER UK

Suffer UK band photo

SUFFER UK (clockwise, from top left): Michael “Chobba” Crutchley (vocals), Jack Kent (drums), Ash Edwards (guitar), Jack “Coop” Cooper (bass), Kie Whitehouse (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘HEAVY SILENCE’ EP ARTWORK by SHINDY DESIGN

Suffer UK are a five-piece from Wolverhampton that combine a diverse range of metal sub-genres, including deathcore and metalcore, to establish a distinctive, overpowering sound, which the band themselves describe as “Black Country brutality“.

With the collective’s second EP, ‘Heavy Silence‘, having recently been unveiled, the rising quintet spoke to me, in detail, about that, their journey so far, and lots of other stuff.

How did the band initially form?

Basically, Chobba had wanted to start a band for several years, and had spent at least five of those years pestering Ash to start one! Ash would say “No” regularly, but Chobba was a persistent son of a bitch! At a New Year’s Eve party, Chobba managed to get a “Yes” out of Ash (whilst very drunk), and Jack just happened to be at the party, and was all for the idea!

Coop was actually found on an online forum (similar to a mail order bride site, except we didn’t have to pay anything), and he said, “Yeah, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’ll have a go“, and somehow, he decided to stick around when he actually heard us! That just left Kie to come on board shortly before our debut show, he knew Jack prior, so he was the easiest member to recruit, plus the lure of a debut show alongside Annotations Of An Autopsy was too good for him to pass up!

How did the name Suffer UK come about?

Originally, we went under a different name before this line-up was fully formed, but we opted to change, for various reasons, to Suffer after Jack suggested it, and so far, it has gone well for us.

The UK part of the name is simply just to differentiate from other bands across social media, as there are many that have the word Suffer in their name somewhere!

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Musically, we take influence from all over the place! None of us listen to one set genre of music with influences ranging from metal, hip-hop, rock, blues, and sub-genres of all of those mentioned and more!

The band’s style is however, heavily influenced by bands such as Traitors, Bound In Fear, Bodysnatcher, The Acacia Strain, Filth, and many more.

What would you say is your approach to songwriting?

So far, we have simply experimented with various ways of writing and haven’t really settled on one way yet! We have spent time as a whole band in the practice room, writing and jamming ideas together.

This has given us songs such as ‘Taxed Slaves‘, ‘Establishment‘, and ‘Slither‘, but we have also spent time writing alone or as just one or two, for example, ‘For We Are Wretched‘ from the new EP was written at home by Ash on his own, things changed when we all got to hear it in the room, but 95% of that was all Ash. ‘Out Of Darkness‘ was written by Kie and Jack in the room on their own, too, so it’s varied from the start with us.

However, we feel we’ve written something worthy of release every time we have, no matter which way it’s been done! We are sure we will continue to experiment with other ways of writing, and seeing where it takes us!

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrically, everything is written by Chobba, so this one is all down to him! Sometimes, things are written from life experiences, and sometimes it’s fanciful fictional tales! Other times, it’s about trying to be clever and having hidden meanings and messages through various metaphors, and other times, it’s just about being blunt, in-your-face, and straight-to-the-point!

A major factor in the lyrics up to now has been of angst towards the state of the world, governments, and other factors! These themes can be heard in songs like ‘Establishment‘ and ‘For We Are Wretched‘.

Recently, you have unveiled your second EP, ‘Heavy Silence’. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was really fun, but also very challenging! We worked with Ant Wall at Firestorm Productions in his small yet very high quality home studio! Due to the size of the room, we were never actually in the studio all together at one time, and we spread the process out over the space of a few months, due to other commitments from both parties.

We all feel we learnt a lot in the studio with Ant, and progressed greatly over the few months we spent working with him, and the extra time for each session allowed us to rewrite, or in some cases, finish the writing in the studio. It was a lot of travelling back and forth, but was well worth it when we heard the final product!

And for those who have yet to listen to the new release, how does it differ stylistically to the band’s debut EP, ‘Slerm’, brought out last year?

Firstly, when ‘Slerm‘ was being written, we were actually still a four-piece, and Kie hadn’t joined yet, so his influence and fresh ears changed the style of our music going forward immediately, but to summarise, ‘Heavy Silence‘ is heavier, far more refined, and has a much wider tone.

We are playing in a lower tuning on our guitars now, too, so that has been a big factor in the sound, new vocal techniques and also having Ant produce has helped massively, as well! We also feel the songs are structured and wrote much better in general than those first few songs, so the progression is most evident for us.

Also, how has the reaction been to ‘Heavy Silence’ up to now?

Its been great so far! A lot of people seem to be surprised, and didn’t expect what they were hearing! We’ve had some incredible reviews come in from various outlets, and that, for us, is so humbling!

Also, the numbers have been great! We’ve hit over 2,000 listeners in the first month since the album was released on Spotify, and over 5,000 streams, too! Both videos of the singles have hit over 10,000 views on YouTube, and the EP stream itself isn’t far behind!

Overall, the reaction has been incredible, and we are really thankful to everyone that has listened, shared, and liked it! We honestly can’t believe it sometimes when we take a step back!

You have performed at venues across the UK, and have supported the likes of Annotations Of An Autopsy, Old Wharf, and Harbinger. How is the experience – for the band – of playing live?

This is a real varied answer for us, as we all seem to take different things away and enjoy different aspects of each experience, but to sum it up, it’s what makes being in a band worth it! We all love the journey to and from shows together, and the banter and laughs it brings, but when you get up on that stage, no matter who is there or  where it is, it’s the best feeling in the world. The adrenaline it brings out is an incredible feeling and getting to do it as often as we have in our short period as a band has been insane.

Playing alongside bands such as Annotations Of An Autopsy, Black Tongue, Waking The Cadaver, Sentenced, and many more, has been an experience we don’t think any of us will forget any time soon, either. It’s just an all-round brilliant experience that we hope continues in the near future, and takes us as far as possible!

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

It’s a super tough time at the moment for everyone involved in the music industry. We’ve lost a ton of shows, including our first headline show and our first UK tour, but so has everyone else, so we can’t be too disheartened by it!

Currently, to sum it up, corona has fucked it, and it’s completely cack, but it will recover, this will pass, and we believe that once shows are allowed to take place again, the industry will thrive and be better than ever before! It may take some time, but it will be worth the wait!

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

Long-term, we really want to travel as far and wide as possible! It has always been a dream for us, so that is a huge goal and aim, but otherwise, we just want to keep having fun, improve in every aspect, build a fan base, and stay humble with everything that comes our way!

Its been a really fun 11 months together, so we want to keep that momentum and enjoyment going for as long as possible! Chobba would also like to add that he does not wish to play in the arse-end of Arkansas as a one-off Tuesday night show, but will happily play in Bilston for a bag of chips and a beer (Just not on a school night).

Suffer UK EP Cover

‘HEAVY SILENCE’ – THE SECOND EP FROM SUFFER UK – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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THE BAGATELLES

The Bagatelles band photo

THE BAGATELLES (from l-r): Tom Collin (guitar/vocals), Rachel Rostron (drums), Jon Dale (vocals/guitar), Richard Liggins (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Derbyshire, The Bagatelles are an emerging four-piece that have built up a cult following on the UK indie scene over the past two years with a sound that is unique and captivating.

In addition to this, the collective have unveiled a string of well-received releases, the most recent being their single, ‘Show Me The Light‘, which they spoke to me about, along with a whole range of other band-related topics.

How did the band initially form?

The band came together in 2018 when Jon answered an advert placed by an indie band that were looking for a drummer. A few line-up changes later, and the band formed in its current incarnation – Tom, Richard, Jon, and Rachel.

How did the name The Bagatelles come about?

As with most bands, we spent ages throwing ideas around until we stumbled across the word “bagatelle” meaning a “short piece of music“, but also more pertinently in the Roy Orbison song, ‘Penny Arcade‘, he sings, “just ring the bell on the big bagatelle“.

Immediately, we were sold. The name seemed to fit like a glove, we play short, catchy songs, and we are an indie band heavily influenced by artists from the past. They don’t come much more iconic than Roy Orbison.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Normally, Jon demos loads of songs at home on an 8-track, in a more or less complete form with music and lyrics. They’re then whittled down to those that could be songs for the band and sent over to the other guys, who then put their own stamp on their individual parts. Over weeks of rehearsing, the songs come to life.

What inspires the band lyrically?

We think emotions generally inspire the lyrics. Whether they tell a story or are metaphorical or whatever, they are always derived from emotion.

At the end of 2018, you brought out a debut EP, ‘More Of A Statement Than A Conversation’, with one of its tracks, ‘Romantic Resignation’, receiving airplay on radio stations around the world. How was the response to the release, for you all personally?

We were delighted with the response to the EP. To be honest, we weren’t sure whether those recordings were demos or whether to release them individually as singles.

In the end, we opted for a DIY EP to showcase the band’s music. We hand-made 100 or so CD’s and gave them out at gigs to try to garner support on the local scene. It was a bonus when they were picked up by radio and given significant airtime, we couldn’t believe it!

Recently, the band unveiled a new track, ‘Show Me The Light’. How was the recording process for that?

As with previous releases, we worked with Rob and Rich at Snug Recording in Derby, who both have such brilliant taste. We discussed our vision for the track with them (this time, we wanted to sound a little more anthemic than our previous lo-fi efforts), and they duly delivered.

And for those who haven’t managed to listen to the track yet, how does it differ stylistically to the EP?

In between releasing the EP and the new single we brought out a couple of singles, ‘One Of These Days‘, and ‘Point Of View‘, which feel like a halfway house between then and now. ‘One Of These Days‘ has nearly 10,000 streams on Spotify, and surprisingly seems to really hit it off with our South American audience!

We were definitely finding our feet as a band when we recorded the EP, whereas now, we have a few more tricks up our sleeves when it comes to the studio. We recorded two more songs this time, too, that will be out over the next few months and they feel like a natural progression for us, bigger and bolder than the other songs, but still full of emotion.

The band have played at venues across the UK, and have also supported the likes of Ivory Wave and SubCulture. How is the experience – for you all – of performing live?

Looking back on the last two years, there really is no greater joy than getting in a room with people, whether it’s five or 500, and playing our music.

We’ve played a few iconic venues on the way, Rough Trade Nottingham and the Leadmill in Sheffield, but it doesn’t matter, the venue or the audience, we always give it everything. It’s great to meet people afterwards, too, especially if they’ve got kind things to say!

In your opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

It’s already having a huge effect with gigs and releases being cancelled and re-scheduled, and yet, whilst it’s incredibly sad and demoralising, it’s important to remember that protecting people’s health and wellbeing must come first.

It’s inevitable that the first gigs back for everyone after the restrictions on movement and social distancing are lifted will be truly euphoric.

And lastly, what are the band’s future plans?

At the moment, we are solely looking at our next two single releases, but by the end of 2021, it would be amazing to have a Bagatelles album. An actual record that would condense the last two years of our music into one body of work, and one that we would all be proud of.

The Bagatelles Single Cover

‘SHOW ME THE LIGHT’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM THE BAGATELLES – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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ROYALS

Royals band photo

ROYALS (from l-r): Alex Baker (drums), Will Sherlock (guitar), Lewis Smyth (bass), Luke Smithson (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Royals, an up-and-coming four-piece from Southampton, have quickly become popular on their local music scene, and online, in the year since they formed, with a sound that offers a new dimension to the pop-punk genre.

Having brought out a debut EP, ‘Painted Gold‘, last year to a positive response, the band have now followed that up with a new single, ‘Out Of Reach‘, and they chatted to me about their latest release, influences, playing live, and much more.

How did the band first get together?

Luke had just come out of a previous project, and was looking for band members. He found Alex on the internet, basically after stalking him, stole him from another local band, and they started writing music for what would become Royals.

We also found Will online through the website Join My Band, as he was looking for a band to join. Luke and Lewis were previously in a metalcore band called Gone By Tomorrow, which hadn’t long broken up.

We had discussed writing music together, just for fun, but it very quickly turned into writing towards what Luke and Alex had already been working towards, and Royals was born!

How did the name Royals come about?

We were in the studio recording our debut EP, ‘Painted Gold‘, and at that time, we hadn’t settled on a band name, so we decided we wanted to have something by the end of our studio time.

There was a fairly decent shortlist of names, which also included Rivals, Rushmore, and Lights Out, but we decided we wanted to go for a one word band name that indicated being a collective, so we settled on Royals.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

As a band, we have a pretty wide range of influences, from the bigger bands on the pop-punk scene, such as State Champs, All Time Low, and Waterparks, to some poppier stuff like 5 Seconds Of Summer. We all listen to so much different stuff that we try and bring in little bits from all over the place whilst still very much being rooted in pop-punk.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Most of the time, Luke and Alex will work on the music side of things and come up with a bunch of demos over time. As a group, we then decide which ones we like best, and then Lewis and Luke will work on the lyrics together. Will is just there to crack jokes.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Life experiences, the world outside, and everything in between. We tend to write about things that we have a strong feeling towards or emotional connection.

Last year, you brought out ‘Painted Gold’ to an overwhelmingly positive response. How was the reaction to the release, for you all personally?

It was really good, for some of us in the band, it was the first music we had released in four, five years, and for others, the first EP they have released where the band didn’t immediately break up afterwards!

We put the EP out before we had actually played any shows, so it was really great to take it all over the country and show people who we are, and also get us set up for what is coming next.

The band have just unveiled a new single, ‘Out Of Reach’, which was produced by Seb Barlow of Neck Deep. How was it – as an experience – working with him?

Working with Seb on recording our new music was amazing, he is very much a producer that could be the fifth member of our band and help take the songs that extra distance.

We had really challenged ourselves creatively to write better songs both for recording, but also for our live show, and Seb was a big part in helping us shape the finer details. We couldn’t be more happy with how our new music has turned out, and we can’t wait for people to hear it.

Also, how does your latest offering differ stylistically to ‘Painted Gold’?

Bigger choruses, catcher riffs! We wanted to move into a more modern pop-punk sound compared to ‘Painted Gold‘, so we put a lot of time into all of the small things, and brought more production elements to the front. It is still very much Royals, but with an overall more polished sound.

The band have been building up a reputation for live shows that are fun and energetic. How is it – for you all – performing on stage?

We love playing live shows, between us, we are all in either full-time work or education, so when we are away playing shows, it is our time to give 100% focus to our craft, and hopefully, it shows that we are having fun, except for when Luke feels the need to hit everything within a mile radius with his guitar, that’s not so fun.

We are fortunate enough to get a good response most people we go, which only drives us to keep cranking it up every time we play.

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

Good question, and not one we think anyone can really know the answer to right now. There have been so many shake-ups of the music industry over the last 15 or so years, due to changing technologies and people’s habits, but the one thing that we know for sure is that people will always want to listen to good music.

The industry may not be perfect right now, but it has survived challenges in the past, and we believe that it is the bands that work with the hand we are dealt most creatively that will be most successful in the long run. It may look a little different from what we are all used to right now, but we all have to be prepared for the challenge ahead.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

More shows, more songs, more everything! Except Alex, he’s just going to watch ‘Brooklyn Nine Nine‘.

Royals Single Cover

‘OUT OF REACH’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM ROYALS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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UNDERKING – ‘Amongst The Dead’

(Self-release)

Underking Album Cover - Amongst The Dead

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Comprising of seven well-crafted tracks, ‘Amongst The Dead‘ is one of two debut albums by British-American rock/metal outfit Underking, but if you are thinking that this offering is a continuation of ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘, then you will find that this is not the case.

Whereas the other release was a natural evolution of the work Max Jeffries had done with his previous band, Rage Cave, and very much led by him creatively, the tables are turned in this, with Dustin Burmeister now at the helm, which results in an overall darker, more intense approach to proceedings.

The album lyrically covers different aspects of the themes of death and the afterlife, for example, murder motivated by revenge (‘Deadman‘), the destructive nature of warfare (‘The Way Of Man‘), situations destined to end in a grisly fate (‘Lost Souls‘), and the romanticisation of death (‘Gravedigger‘), which are all conveyed by a snarling vocal delivery full of anguish.

These are accompanied by an effective, fast-paced sonic combination of immensely heavy guitar riffs, chugging basslines, and pounding drum beats, seemingly tailor-made for the moshpit.

All in all, ‘Amongst The Dead‘, along with Underking‘s other debut release, showcases two talented musicians, from both sides of the Atlantic, that have got together and produced something which best utilises their creative skills, and should result in them gaining a devoted legion of followers.

TOP TRACKDeadman

(4/5)

READ OUR REVIEW OF UNDERKING’S OTHER DEBUT ALBUM, ‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’, HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

RECKLESS HARM

Reckless Harm band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Reckless Harm, a metal/beatdown four-piece from Birmingham, have quickly made an impression on their home city’s music scene, playing high-energy live sets at venues such as The Flapper, Scruffy Murphys, and the Hare & Hounds, as well as releasing a positively-received debut single, ‘Karma Bites‘.

I recently spoke to the band to find out more about them, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band first get together?

We started as a two-piece, just demoing hardcore music in a home studio. We decided after a while that we wanted to start playing shows, so we found a vocalist. Soon after, we gained a new vocalist, and a live drummer, and we started playing shows more frequently.

How did the name Reckless Harm come about?

Reckless Harm is the legal term for moshing/crowdkilling. It means to hurt someone without direct intention, but due to your own actions, which you should have foreseen, would cause injury.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Many artists in the hardcore to deathcore spectrum such as Bulldoze, Malevolence, Thy Art Is Murder, Knocked Loose, Shattered Realm, Backtrack.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

First, we write music that we feel will engage a live audience well. Lyrics will often be pre-written, then we will choose a set of lyrics and adapt it to fit the song.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Betrayal, anger, disappointment, pain. Any kind of injustice to us or other people can be used as influence.

So far, you have brought out one single, ‘Karma Bites’. How was the recording process for that?

Karma Bites‘ was the final song we recorded out of all of our demos at that time, so it didn’t take as long as some of the others, but we felt it was the strongest song out of what we had written at the time.

And how has the reaction been to the track up to now?

People have mainly enjoyed it, but now, they want to hear newer music from us, as that song is growing stale, as it’s our only release so far.

The band have performed live at venues across their home city of Birmingham, as well as in other places like Manchester, Derby, and Bristol. How is the experience – for you all – of playing on stage?

We put our all into every performance, but a high-energy crowd will encourage more energy on stage. Personally, we love playing out of Birmingham because we enjoy seeing new reactions to our songs.

In your opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

It’s tough for all artists, but we think it’s created an opportunity for people to write new music while they have nothing else to do, so we’re expecting some good releases at the end of this summer.

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

We think touring the world, and just taking Reckless Harm as far as it can go. We really look up to artists like Malevolence and Parkway Drive, who are self-managed bands who make the most out of everything they do.

Reckless Harm Single Cover

‘KARMA BITES’ – THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM RECKLESS HARM – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THEIR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGES.

 

DEADFIRE

Deadfire band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Describing their sound as “a heady mix of old-school rock and contemporary riffs with powerful melodies“, four-piece Deadfire, from the northern Scottish city of Aberdeen, do not specialise in subtlety, preferring to truly make their mark on any venue they play with a powerful, highly-energetic stage presence, which has won the band a devoted legion of followers from across the UK and much of continental Europe.

Having recently brought out a new EP, ‘My Mind Belongs To The Devil‘, the four-piece chatted to me about that, their musical and lyrical influences, life on the road, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

The band formed many years ago as a covers band playing every weekend all over Scotland. We eventually got into writing our own music, then Deadfire took over completely. Playing the covers helped the band become tight as a unit, playing 35/40 song sets, but you can’t beat original music, though…

How did the name Deadfire come about?

After spending a full day sitting in the pub, trying to come up with names, then googling them only to find out the good ones were taken, we gave up, only for our founding bassist, Rich, to come up with Deadfire, in the early hours, about half an hour after we had all gone home.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We all have different influences, and we bring them all together. Charlie‘s heavily into Motorhead, Misfits, Down, and Nirvana, Jonny‘s into Every Time I Die, The Used, John 5, but also some country and pop stuff, Boothy‘s into Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Metallica, and a lot of old blues stuff, and Tunk‘s into AC/DC, Therapy?, Rage Against The Machine, and Guns N’ Roses.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We write all songs together at jam. Usually, Jonny or Boothy will take a riff idea in, and we just jam it from there. We don’t overthink it or force it. If it ain’t working, then it gets ditched! (laughs)

What inspires the band lyrically?

Usually personal experiences or feelings. Sometimes, it’s a bit too personal, like on ‘My Own Best Enemy‘. After our second album, ‘Hounds Of Justice‘, came out, we sat Charlie down after we read some of the lyrics to ask if he was okay! (laughs)

However, there are also songs like ‘Hounds Of Justice‘, which was a challenge set by a pal of ours, Al Smith, to write a song just given a title.

At the end of February, you brought out a new EP, ‘My Mind Belongs To The Devil’. How was the recording process for that?

Recording is always a great experience for us. We always record together, so for example, if it’s a day where just the drums are done, we are all in.

We record at Captain Tom’s, home to our label, Fat Hippy Records, in Aberdeen, with Paul Emerson, who has just got so much experience, he makes it easy for us. Tom and Paul have always been great to us, and we see Captain Tom’s as home.

And how has the reaction been to the release so far?

We’ve had amazing reviews so far, so it’s all been positive. There has been plenty of radio play, too – we love getting reviews from unbiased sources, and it’s always ace when they are good.

We recently signed to Reaction Management, which has been great for opening doors previously locked to us, and all of the other bands on the roster have quickly become like family to us.

The band have toured across the UK and much of continental Europe, and have also supported the likes of Hawkwind and Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons. How were they as experiences?

Each experience was ace in their own way. There are so many stories. When we supported Hawkwind, and they pulled up in their van, the side door opened like a smoke machine, and the band emerged like they had just come out of a time machine, with Ron Tree wearing a full-length fur coat, carrying a rubber chicken, which Charlie now owns (the chicken, that is), even though the roadies pleaded with him to give it back.

During the Phil Campbell gig, our bassist at the time, Goat, had a pedal malfunction that cut his sound on a bass intro song. We didn’t even notice Phil was in the crowd until he started a football chant of “Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Aberdeen” at us. He was ace, and we had a good laugh when we spent time with him at the merch desk. He wanted a T-shirt and album from us, which we tried to give him, but he insisted on paying for.

On the opposite scale, when we played with Enuff,z,Nuff, they sat downstairs while we played, and ignored us when we came off, where Charlie accidentally bumped into one of them, and the plastic chain from their jeans got caught. Fake rockers! (laughs)

Europe is always fun, too – different folk altogether. The best was the Hutzn Mugge festival in Germany, what an experience that was. Amazing gig with amazing people. The Cave in Amsterdam is also a great venue.

Last time we were on tour in Poland, our van broke down midway through, so we sat in 35-degree heat, drinking all of the beer we had (never leave a beer behind), graffitied the van, and just left it there. You can see that on the video for ‘Mary Jane‘. Taxi, train, bus, then plane to get home, it was a great adventure.

Also, how is it overall performing live?

We live for playing live. We are a busy band, and we will play wherever we are invited. We love travelling, too. You need to see us live to understand. We are high-energy, drunken bastards, larger than life, twice as ugly, and tight as a drum.

In your opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

It has stunted us, that’s for sure. We are throwing riff ideas back and forth, but we can’t wait to jam and play again. We are not an acoustic band by anyone’s stretch, so you won’t see us going live with watered down versions of our songs. We hope, when we are allowed out, attendances will go up for future shows.

And lastly, what are the band’s future plans?

Gig, write, gig, gig, gig, and then possibly start to record before this year ends. We also want to give a shout-out to our pals A Ritual Spirit, Ugly Clinic, Bleach HCP, The Zenith, and Nocturne Wulf. Check them out…

Deadfire EP Cover

‘MY MIND BELONGS TO THE DEVIL’ – THE LATEST EP FROM DEADFIRE – IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA FAT HIPPY RECORDS, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE