All posts by muzakreview


Redwolves band photo

REDWOLVES (from l-r): Kasper Rebien (drums), Simon Stenbaek (guitar), Rasmus Cundell (vocals), Nicholas “Randy” Tesla (bass)


Over the past couple of years, Copenhagen four-piece Redwolves have made waves on the Danish music scene with a hard-hitting, rather psychedelic blend of classic and modern heavy rock that is topped off with distinctive vocals and frank, relatable lyrical content, and with the release tomorrow of their debut album, ‘Future Becomes Past’, the band spoke to me about how that was put together, what can be expected from it, and much more.

How did the band first get together?

Rasmus and Simon wanted to start a docile rock band up again in late 2011, so we contacted Kasper and Nicholas (we knew each other from our hometown of Sorø), and started the band up again. We wrote and recorded the ‘Wake Up’ demo EP, and from there, we just kept writing music.

How did the name Redwolves come about?

We had to change our band name in 2014 due to legal reasons. We have always been fascinated by wolves and wanted to keep that in our band name, so we came up with the name Redwolves.

The red wolf was an animal that was considered extinct in the 1970’s, but is somehow still around to this day. It is kind of symbolic for rock music as a genre, and symbolic for the resurrection of the band in 2012.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We usually start off with a riff that Nicholas or Simon come up with, and then we take it to the rehearsal space and play around with it together. We write most of the song structures together in the rehearsal space, and then Rasmus writes lyrics and comes up with melodies.

When everything is done, and the song has taken form, we take another look at it, and from there, we make tweaks and change parts to make the song sound more together and whole.

We often have an urge to write the songs in a certain style, like a fast energetic song, or a slow banger, so our riffs reflect a feeling of a song more than a final product at the beginning of a songwriting process, and on our new album, ‘Future Becomes Past’, all of the songs was written like this.

What inspires the band lyrically?

All the lyrics are written by Rasmus and are inspired by events surrounding his personal life.

The lyrics on ‘Future Becomes Past’ are a mixture of real events and imagination, and reflect the state of mind Rasmus was in at the time of writing and recording, for instance, ‘Plutocracy’ and ‘Rigid Generation’ are a political criticism of our current society, ‘The Abyss’ and ‘Fenris’ are about personal demise and despair, ‘The Pioneer’ and ‘Voyagers’ are parts one and two of a sci-fi story revolving around a character named The Pioneer who experiences the worst outcome of his good intentions and a failed relationship with the love of his life, ‘Farthest form Heaven’ is about the worst day of your life, and ‘Temple of Dreams’ are about the best times of your life – both of them conclude that everything becomes past.

Speaking of ‘The Pioneer’, which was the band’s most recent single, how has the response to that been so far?

We chose ‘The Pioneer’ because we wanted to show people a different side of us and our music. The response has been great, and the reactions we have got have been as we suspected – it has been positive with a hint of surprise and wonder, and we think this song is a great way to show people what ‘Future Becomes Past’ is about as a record.

And how has the recording process been for the upcoming album?

The recording process has been a long one! We recorded all the instruments for ‘FBP’ in April 2017, with the vocals being recorded later that year, and we finalised the record’s mixing and mastering last June.

All in all, we have spent a lot of time to make sure this album would be as good as possible, and we took our time to make sure it became what we wanted it to be. The album has been recorded at three different studios, we had the absolute joy of recording the instruments with Jacob Bredahl at Tapf Studios, and recording the lyrics with Kaspar Boye Larsen (of Volbeat fame) as producer, which was awesome!

How will the new release differ stylistically from your older work?

This album contains a wider spectrum of dynamics and feelings than our previous releases. In addition to this, we’ve also experimented with different guitar effects and sounds, and the bass has become more intense and dynamic.

The focus on the sound of the band, as a whole, has been more refined, and we feel like this album manages to capture a lot of different styles of rock music as a genre, which we think defines the sound of Redwolves.

Rasmus, you have had a few traumatic experiences in the past. Would you say that music has provided an effective coping mechanism for this?

It certainly has. As I described earlier, I have the freedom to write very personal lyrics in this band, and through the writing of these lyrics, I have been able to describe my thoughts and feelings without any filter, which has helped me immensely in dealing with these horrible experiences.

When I write lyrics, it gives me an outlet to describe feelings and topics a lot more in depth than I would ever be able to in spoken language.

In my most personal lyric, which is in the track ‘Farthest from Heaven’, I touch on the most uncomfortable event I have ever experienced through metaphors taken from ‘Dante’s Inferno’.

Lyrics make it possible for people to understand and relate to an experience and the feeling involved, without having to experience the specific trauma themselves.

I have always been writing about traumatic experiences, even before I had a band, and it has always helped me cope with them, and to write lyrics and make it into music with the band is amazing, and hopefully, they make those experiences relevant to others.

How is the live music scene in Denmark at the moment?

The live scene in Denmark is thriving, and we have a lot of young bands making an impact on the music scene right now.

The radio is far behind on this, and usually only play what is popular in a more mainstream sense, but the underground music scene in general is doing really well, and there are a couple of indie labels who are doing great right now too!

However, we feel that we need to play more shows outside of Denmark following this release, as Denmark is a rather small country, and we might not appeal to everyone here, so we would love to play more shows around Europe.

How is the overall experience for you all of performing on stage?

We love to play live! Performing our music live for people is amazing, and we feel that this is a great way to connect with someone you don’t know at all. Our music is meant to be played live.

And finally, what are you plans for the future?

We are playing our release show on the March 22 in Copenhagen, and after that, we are going to play more shows around Denmark.

Also, we are currently working on setting up a tour around Europe this autumn, and while we are doing all of this, we are writing songs for a future release, so we hope that people will follow us in our future endeavours!

Redwolves Album Cover







The Alchemy band photo

THE ALCHEMY (from l-r): Sam Ewen (drums), Alex Porro (bass/synth/vocals), Rhys Taylor (lead vocals/guitar), Luke Welch (guitar/vocals)


Having grown up listening to a diverse range of bands and artists from the worlds of rock, indie, and electronic music, Kent four-piece The Alchemy have used these influences to create, to great effect, a catchy, anthemic sound, which has impressed critics and fans alike since the collective’s formation in 2015, and with their eagerly-anticipated debut album, ‘Chemical Daydream’, coming out towards the end of this month, I chatted to the quartet’s frontman, Rhys Taylor, and drummer, Alex Porro, about this, and much more.

How did the band initially get together?

ALEX PORRO (bass/synth/vocals): The band got together at the end of 2015, following the ending of two previous bands. We decided to join forces after Luke was made aware of Sam, as he was at the same university studying music, and as his group was coming to an end, myself, Rhys, and Luke were looking for a drummer to complete our new project.

How did the name The Alchemy come about?

ALEX: We had a few names, but we eventually settled on The Alchemy as it resonated with us the most, and when said, we felt it had a strong feel to it.

Also, the meaning behind the word, when we later looked into it, reflected us as a band in the way that we bring a wide variety of influences into our music, as well as the four of us all having a part to play in the writing process, much like the practice of alchemy, which was mixing lots of elements to create one.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

ALEX: We have a lot of influences. Everything from modern pop and R&B, to rock and classic stadium bands, examples being Sia, Post Malone, Biffy Clyro, 30 Seconds To Mars, Placebo, and older bands like The Police and Genesis.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ALEX: Like all of our songs, we all have a part to play in its creation, as all of us are songwriters in our own right, and we create in our own time.

To start with, one of us will have an idea for a song, which we will then put forward, and then, if accepted, we will work on that until a demo is formed, which will then undergo changes if any one of us get an idea in which to improve it.

We always approach each song with an attitude of “How can we make this better?“, and I think, by having everybody creatively involved, makes for a better process overall.

What inspires the band lyrically?

RHYS TAYLOR (lead vocals/guitar): The thing with lyrics, I feel, is that they are the statement, the face to the track, the thing that people, I guess, relate to, or put to a moment in life.

When I’m talking about the lyrics in most cases, I never wanna say, “You know this is what this song is about“, but I know personally what I’m writing about or what I am trying to say in the songs, but I do like to cover them in a slightly more metaphorical manner overall, so that people can listen to it and just make up their own mind.

In 2016, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Modern Age’, to an overwhelmingly positive response. Honestly, did that come as a surprise to you all? 

ALEX: It was! We didn’t know what to expect, as it was our first release as The Alchemy with a new sound and direction, so to have a great response from every single we put out, even the EP as a whole getting attention in the way it did, we, as a band, couldn’t have asked for a better debut.

Recently, the band unveiled a new single, entitled ‘Better The Devil You Know’. How has the reaction been to that so far? 

ALEX: We have had a great reaction. We have had a lot of radio stations pick up the single, and we’ve also had a lot of positive reactions to the video as well, passing 10,000 views in under a few weeks on YouTube, and 17,000 on Facebook, so we’re beyond happy that people are finding our material online and really loving what we’re doing!

The video itself is the second installment of a trilogy story which begins narratively with ‘Better The Devil You Know’.

And the track is taken from your upcoming debut album, ‘Chemical Daydream’, coming out later this month. How was the recording process for that?

ALEX: We recorded in our own studio that we built and run. With the help of our friend and mentor/producer Paul Matthews from the New Zealand band I Am Giant, we recorded everything that is on the album in our own studio from the drums to vocals, guitars, and synths.

Having our own space makes the creative side of recording a lot easier, as we can be in there whenever we want, for as long as we want, and try new things and experiment sonically, and the process was a real learning curve, as it’s the first full length we’ve ever done, along with recording techniques we hadn’t used before.

Rhys is pretty handy in the studio already, but now, he has the experience of engineering a full length LP, as well as producing, so we learnt a lot along the way, which we, as a band, are so thankful for, as we would have never had that sort of experience had we used another studio.

Also, how will the album differ stylistically to ‘Modern Age’?

ALEX: In the LP, we mix a lot more of our electronic influences with most of the tracks having a prominent amount of synths and samples, and we even have a track that’s completely electronic, which is a route we’ve wanted to go down since ‘Modern Age’.

The band have supported the likes of Mallory Knox, I Am Giant, and The Intersphere. How were they as experiences? 

ALEX: As a band, we’re always keen to learn from anyone and everyone we meet in the industry, so to have the opportunity to support great bands, let alone ones we admire, and watching how they form a show and their stagecraft, is a golden opportunity.

We’re fans of all three of these bands as well, so it was a real honour to share the stage with them.

And how is it, overall, performing live?

ALEX: It’s an absolute rush. Playing live is what we’re in it for. We love being in the studio and experimenting, but the stage is where we get to let loose and make noise, so we’re always itching to get on tour and play.

We’re fans of bands that really bring a show, so we never hold back, and we even manage to get into the audience!

Lastly, what are the band’s plans following the release of ‘Chemical Daydream’?

ALEX: On April 12, for a week, we will be embarking on a UK tour, starting with a hometown show in Canterbury, to celebrate the release of the LP, followed by gigs in Leicester, Bridgwater, Cheltenham, and Worthing.

We will also be releasing more singles off of the LP, and we will also be bringing out alternative versions of all of our singles, which we are currently recording, and accompanying them will be some live videos.

Then, at the end of April, we will start recording again, so by the end of this summer, we will be ready to blast out all of those tracks.

The Alchemy Album Cover









McRae band photo

MCRAE (from l-r): Joe McRae (drums), Jordan Davies (bass/vocals), Jake McRae (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Aidan Reece (lead guitar/vocals)


Hailing from Lancashire, McRae are a four-piece who combine elements of indie, punk, and alternative rock to showcase a sound that addresses both a sense of aimlessness and optimism, which has resulted in them quickly gaining much popularity and acclaim across the north-west of England.

Now, with new single ‘Postapocalipstick’, the collective hope to spread their reach further around the UK, and beyond, and the quartet recently told me how they plan to achieve this, along with a whole host of other band-related topics.

How did the band initially form?

Jake and Aidan were previously in another band, of which two members left at the last minute, leaving us to quickly fill the slots with Jordan and Joe for upcoming gigs.

Jordan was a mate of ours already, and we asked him if he could learn our set about two days before the gig, and soon after that, Joe, who is cousins with Jake, and after parting ways with his old band, was introduced into the band, and that’s when it all started to fall into place.

I know McRae is the surname of two of its members, but how did it come about as the band name?

When Joe & Jordan joined the band and began gigging regularly with us, we decided that the name needed to change from Jake McRae & The What Went Wrongs, as half of the What Went Wrongs had left, and it felt much more like a band now, rather than a singer/songwriter fronting a group of musicians as it had been before, so we wanted to change the name to something that was less of a mouthful, and that felt right for us.

It was actually Aidan and our producer that thought our best option was McRae, which, to be honest, we’re not crazy about, so it’ll probably end up changing a few more times in future.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We were all brought up on what our dads were listening to, which ranged from classic rock bands, to northern soul. We like to think there are elements of all the types of music we listen to in our songs, and more recently, it has been the likes of The Libertines and The Strokes who have made a pretty big impact on all of us.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Most of our earlier songs stem from a structure written with an acoustic guitar and lyrics, but more recently, we’ve built upon a sequence Aidan’s come up with, or even just from the four of us jamming.

Lyrically, it’s all written from common feelings from a personal viewpoint of a situation, and that usually ends up being relatable.

Recently, the band brought out a new single, ‘Postapocalipstick’, which followed debut track, ‘Cashback’. In your opinion, how have they been received so far?

We had been sat on ‘Cashback’ for ages before it was released, and when we decided to finally bring it out, we felt that we needed to film a video, so we did, and we kinda left it at that.

When it came to ‘Postapocalipstick’, we had more of a plan, and so far, we’ve had much more feedback and attention, which is all buzzing, because we think that it is the best song we’ve written so far, and it took quite a while to get it to where we wanted it to be, so to have such a great response to it has been really rewarding.

Having supported the likes of Urban Theory and The Hubbards, you will be opening for Ivory Wave in Manchester on April 27. For those who have yet to see McRae live, what can they expect?

We think of ourselves as a live band, rather than a studio band, so we’d suggest if anyone’s into our songs, seeing them live is the best way for us to demonstrate what we intended to write, and personally, we think there’s an atmosphere you can create at a gig that you just can’t get from listening to music.

And how is performing on stage, for you all, as an experience?

We’re all big gig-goers, and our favourite way to engage with a band is by watching them live, and so we try and make that impact on the people watching us, by keeping things as highly-energetic and loud as possible, and we have yet to play a gig that we haven’t enjoyed.

Following that gig, what are your plans for the rest of 2019?

We’ve got at least two more singles we’re hoping to release this summer, we’re also planning a headline show in Manchester, and we will be playing a few festival slots, but they’re yet to be announced!

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

To keep playing bigger and bigger shows, and to release more music, are about the only aims we’ve currently got, but also, Aidan wants to invent some gig tech!

McRae Single Cover








Uncle Paul band photo


From Blackpool, alternative rock three-piece Uncle Paul take a rather old-school DIY approach towards sound and lyrical content, preferring to just get together, play, and see what comes out of that.

It has served them well so far, what with the band bringing out three positively-received EPs, the latest being recent offering ‘Dot Rotten’.

To find out more about the trio, I spoke to their guitarist, Niall Carroll, and the following is what he had to say:

How did the band initially form? 

The band formed in 2011, with the intent of playing live improv shows, and we played quite a lot during our first few months as a band.

Looking back now, it is hard to believe we would show up and play without any preconceived notion of any song structure, as with each gig, we would discard any previous musical ideas, so we likely couldn’t remember what was played, and would start again!

The idea of having “songs” entered the frame once we had started recording our first EP. We decided to write original material, and from there on in, we jammed, remembered the songs, and quite liked them.

How did the name Uncle Paul come about? 

Everyone has a dodgy uncle or knows someone with a dodgy uncle called Paul, right?

What are the band’s main musical influences? 

It is hard to say really. We have never approached the band with a type of sound or a preconceived style or band we want to sound like, so I’d say everything from The Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Tad to Crass.

I think our influences play a subconscious role, but we never think about a band or sound when we are playing or writing, as we just get together and see what naturally flows.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting? 

The three of us get together, plug in, and play. It is as simple and as honest as that.

One of us will hit upon something, and it will evolve from there, but the three of us never spend too long trying to make a song work, and if it doesn’t work, then we either change it or forget about it.

With us being a three-piece and similar-minded, we are on a wave length which we can tune into and make music we all like and agree on. The first port of call is to anyways write music we enjoy playing and that we think doesn’t suck.

What inspires the band lyrically? 

Currently, I would say the 80’s pop sensation known as Tiffany. A lot of our songs are quite lyrically sparse, and can be interpreted how the listener chooses or feels. The lyrics aren’t too direct in execution, leaving room for them to bond with the music, which brings the vibe/energy of the song out.

Recently, you unveiled your third EP, ‘Dot Rotten’. How was the recording process for that? 

The three of us are best friends first and foremost, and we are never too precious about our own ideas. If it isn’t working, we just shoot it down and continue.

Our drummer, Luke Williams, has his own rehearsal and recording studio, so we did it all ourselves. That way, there was no pressure, we just hung out and pressed record.

We have an old school DIY approach to the band, and we just happen to be three dudes who write, record, and release our own stuff.

Daniel Worsley, our vocalist/bassist, handles the art, which I think perfectly brings the vibe and colour of the music across.

Each EP has definitely shown us evolve as a band, and I think ‘Dot Rotten’ is another step forward for us. If you play the three EPs side-by-side, they end and the next one then starts the same, and this was done intentionally to highlight how each release has evolved and yet flows into the other.

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

Once we had finished the EP, we threw a non-lavish release party. We got a few local acts playing along with us, and we gave out the CD.

So far, the response has been really positive, and people seem to be really digging the music. The three of us are quite proud of the songs, production, and artwork, and with this EP, we feel it really conveys the band’s style and intentions quite well.

Also, we have had a few reviews, and more requests for interviews, so hopefully we can get the music out there to more people who would dig it.

So far, the band have mainly performed live in their home town of Blackpool. How, in your opinion, is the rock scene doing there at the moment? 

I think there is a resurgence of the music scene and it can only be viewed as a good thing. Blackpool has plenty of great bands, and more venues need to take a risk and devote time to unsigned music.

There was a time where, from Thursday to Saturday, there would be three or four venues playing host to bands, and you would try and catch them all, but sadly, that dipped, and it appeared venues cared more for two meals for £10, and forgot about live music.

I think the tide is definitely turning now, though, as there are a wealth of bands bursting to get out and play, and Blackpool could certainly be the epicentre of a booming music scene for the north-west.

Personally, the Blackpool music scene has been a hidden gem waiting to be discovered for decades.

And how is the overall experience, for the band, of playing live? 

Personally, it is the best thing about being in a band. There is a quote in the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer Of The Gods where Jimmy Page is quoted as saying “the intention was to get out and play“.

Certainly, that was the intention of the early days, and still is now, because nothing beats getting up on stage and making a racket.

And finally, now that ‘Dot Rotten’ has come out, what are your plans for the rest of 2019? 

We are currently balls-deep in writing new material. We are about four songs in, and we hope to begin recording for our fourth EP this summer.

We have always preferred concentrating on EPs rather than albums, as I think our music is better digested that way, and it lets us cut the fat from our meaty musical selections.

Essentially, the three of us will continue to hang out, make fun of each other – once the tears have dried – and we will write a bunch of songs we like. We will also continue to play live at any venue that will put us on.

Hopefully, we can support Tiffany on her tour, because I am sure we will have a song she would like.

Uncle Paul EP Cover





Aiden Hatfield band photo


Last year, after featuring in various bands for a decade, Leeds musician Aiden Hatfield decided that the time was right for him to embark on a solo career, and last month, he brought out, to a positive response, his debut single, ‘This Is Never Ending’, which showcased an alternative rock sound influenced by the likes of Guns N’ RosesBiffy Clyro, and Frank Turner, as well as lyrical content that is an honest representation of his battle with depression.

With ‘Chapter One’, his much-anticipated first EP, being unveiled next month, I spoke to Aiden about all of this, his thriving clothing brand, In Music We Trust, and much more.

Firstly, what was your earliest musical memory?

My earliest has to be my dad having Guns N’ Roses on in the car whenever we went anywhere, and to this day, they’re still my all-time favourite band, but it wasn’t until I was 13, and one of his friends brought his new guitar over to our house, that I realised that I wanted to actually play music and not just listen to it.

And when did you decide to pursue music as a full-time career?

Pretty much from that point on, I knew that I wanted to “make it” as a rock star, and I’ve played music ever since, but it wasn’t until I was about 25 did I realise how much work I was going to have to put in to actually make it happen, rather than just thinking that wanting it really bad was going to be enough, so therefore, I’ve worked at it every day since then.

For a decade, you played in various bands, before taking the decision last year to go solo. What were the main reasons behind doing that?

I find it really difficult to find people that are as driven and passionate about music as I am, so I figured I’d just do all of the work myself (writing, recording, shooting videos, and booking shows), then just get people involved when I wanted to tour, and so far, it’s been working out great.

And how, for you personally, is it different to write and perform songs, in comparison to doing it as part of a collective?

Well, playing on stage is pretty much the same since I have a band up there with me, but writing songs is completely different, as I’m now the only person involved in the writing process, which is both amazing and a nightmare.

I can write songs to be exactly how I want them to be, but it’s so easy to run out of ideas when you’re the only one comping up with them, but I managed to get ‘Chapter One’ finished to a point where I’m completely happy with it, so at least I know I can do it, and will continue to do so.

You have been open about your battle with depression. Honestly, at first, did you find this difficult to discuss with others?

Funny story, actually…I didn’t originally open up about it on purpose. I did an interview with the BBC and, prior to the interview, the interviewer asked if I had depression, and I kind of said “Err… yeah, I guess I do” without thinking much of it.

The interviewer then broadcast this information on regional television, so then there was really no going back from there. I kind of came down in a cold sweat when I first saw the piece, but it has since given me the confidence to be completely open and encourage others to do the same, so really, it was a blessing in disguise.

And you help those who find themselves in similar situations with your clothing brand, In Music We Trust. where you donate half of the profits to the Mind charity. Did you ever envision, when you started it up, just how successful it would eventually become?

When I came up with the idea for the brand and everything behind it, I knew I had come up with a really great idea, I knew that it had the potential to be successful, and I also knew that people would love it and it would be relatable, but at no point during those early days did I think that I personally would have the capability or the motivation to actually do it justice.

That being said, I knew I had to prove myself wrong, so I did, and now, I can’t believe how well it’s doing and there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not grateful for the amazing support I’ve had from other people.

Recently, you unveiled your debut single, ‘This Is Never Ending’. How has the response been to that so far?

The response to that has been so amazing. I knew those that supported me unconditionally would enjoy it because they’re amazing, supportive people, and they didn’t disappoint, but I didn’t expect complete strangers that didn’t already know me, and the work that I do, to like it as much as they did.

I also didn’t expect people to tell me that it’s their “go to” song when they’re having a bad day, and I certainly didn’t expect people to tell me that their elderly mothers absolutely love it! (laughs)

And the track has been taken from your much-anticipated debut EP, ‘Chapter One’, coming out next month. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was fairly straightforward, as I’m the only musician that plays anything on the EP. I’m responsible for the drums, all of the guitars, the bass, and all of the vocals.

I recorded the whole thing in my house, and got it mixed and mastered by Kieran Smith, who did an amazing job. I honestly couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Also, what can be expected of the upcoming release?

Well, I’m a big fan of emo music from the 2000s and how poetic the lyrics are, so it’s my own take on that, but with guitar solos since I’ve always loved Guns N’ Roses.

Also, there’s not a song on there that didn’t come straight from my heart, and I just hope that people enjoy listening to them as much as I enjoyed writing and recording them.

And to promote the EP, you will be embarking on a UK tour. What can audiences expect from your live sets?

Well, I plan to play every song off the EP with a band up on stage with me, but I’ve also got a bunch of new songs that I want to play for people, which will just be me up there with a guitar, as I’ve never been one for playing to backing tracks or having anything too flashy going on, which a lot of bands are good at, and it’s fine that they do, but that’s just not for me.

The plan for my EP was for it to sound like four musicians in a room, and I want the same from my live shows.

Lastly, what are your plans following ‘Chapter One’ coming out and the conclusion of the tour?

As much music as possible for the rest of my life, as I don’t ever want to stop doing what I love. I’ll continue to run my In Music We Trust clothing brand, I’ll keep encouraging people to be nice to each other, and I’ll keep making mistakes and learning from them… all whilst playing music.

Aiden Hatfield EP Cover


Aiden Hatfield tour poster









The Riven band photo

THE RIVEN (from l-r): Arnau Diaz (guitar), Totta Ekebergh (vocals), Olof Axegard (drums), Max Ternebring (bass)


Having all met as students studying music in London, four-piece The Riven have developed, since forming in 2016, an immensely powerful blues-rock sound reminiscent of outfits such as Thin Lizzy, early Rush, and Rival Sons.

Shortly after unveiling a well-received debut EP, ‘Blackbird’, the band decided to relocate to Sweden, the native country of three of the members, and since then, they have been working hard on putting together their first album, which the quartet recorded in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

With the release of that imminent, I spoke to drummer Olof Axegard about the upcoming self-titled release, journey so far, and much more.

You’re all from Sweden and Spain, but you actually formed the band in London. How did everyone end up there?

We all went there to study music. Arnau lived with Max and Totta, whilst I was in the same programme and year as Arnau. You could say Arnau was the glue, but the idea of the band didn’t become real until Max and Arnau started writing music together, and the next step after that was to get more people to join them.

Totta was living in the same house, and as we know, she has an amazing voice, so it was a good thing that she liked what they were up to and joined. I joined later on, as they were throwing a birthday party for one of their housemates, and I went there just to party really.

Later that night, Arnau asked if I was busy, and if I would be interested to jam some music they had been writing. Obviously, knowing Arnau, I knew it was gonna be good, so I accepted his offer, and the rest is history.

How did the name The Riven come about?

It was Totta who came up with it. We, as most bands, went through a period of a lot of different names being thrown around, but nothing really stuck until Totta found this Swedish word “riven“, which she then looked up to see if there was a English word for it and there was, with the same spelling and meaning.

Riven” means torn or broken, which captured us as a band very well. We all come from different sides of music, we all come from rock, of course, but we approach music and writing differently, which keeps everything fresh and exciting.

What inspires the band lyrically?

We like our songs to have lyrics with a lot of meaning, and that could be a story or something that has happened to us in real life. Personally, I like conceptual ideas, so, for me, it’s stories.

However, these stories need to have connections to my personal life, and a good example of this would be ‘Far Beyond’, a track from our new album.

In 2017, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Blackbird’, which immediately won much acclaim from the underground rock press. Honestly, were any of you expecting that at all?

Well, no! (laughs) I mean, we all love our first EP, but the reception we got, as our first outing, wasn’t expected, so it was a very incredible experience to hear so many good things about the first bits of music we put out there.

And the band promoted that with a tour of the UK, Sweden, and Finland, supporting the likes of Fates Warning, Elephant Tree, and The Dahmers. How was that as an experience for you all?

Fun, unbelievable and amazing! Not much more to say really, as we couldn’t have asked for a better first tour. Supporting such incredible and different bands was a huge experience, and we learned a lot from each of them. Also, being able to play in different countries just a few months after the release of our first EP was great.

Later that year, you relocated to Sweden from London. What were the main reasons behind this move?

The reason behind that is because we felt that we needed to move closer to our scene of music. I mean, London and the UK has a great live music and rock scene, but most of the bands that we listen to currently are coming out of Sweden, so that felt right as our next step.

Also, I think we had all gotten a bit tired of hustling around London, and we wanted to do something new.

And how, in the band’s opinion, how is the contemporary Swedish rock scene different to the contemporary British rock scene?

Just looking at the amount of great bands that the Swedish rock scene is creating at the moment, compared to the British, you could say it’s way more suiting to us. Don’t get me wrong, there are great bands coming from the UK like Elephant Tree or Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, however, it just feels right to be in Sweden right now.

Very shortly, you will be releasing your self-titled first album, which the band recorded in Madrid. How was the recording process for that?

It was great! We had a good amount of time to write and do pre-production with Ola Ersfjord before going to him in Madrid to record it, so once we were there, everything ran very naturally and very smoothly.

Ola made us feel like we were at home, so we were all able to get the best performance out of ourselves. We had a great time recording in, and enjoying, Madrid.

And how will the upcoming release differ to ‘Blackbird’?

There’s a lot that will differ from the ‘Blackbird’ release. First off, we have a great label behind us helping us reach new goals. Also, we have people around the world willing to work with us to be able to go into new markets, so more or less, ‘Blackbird’ was all us, whereas now, it’s a massive team effort, which feels great. The music business is tough, so having this team behind us is a joy!

And finally, what are the band’s plans following the album’s unveiling?

First of all, we have our release gig on March 15, then we have a couple of tours in Europe coming up during 2019, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media feed to see where we go next.

The Riven Album Cover








Death Blooms band photo

DEATH BLOOMS (from l-r): Dan Partridge (drums), Paul Barrow (vocals), “Giz” Gibbs (bass), Ad Lucas (guitar)


From Liverpool, Death Blooms are an up-and-coming four-piece who specialise in a boundary-pushing metal sounds that is explosive, sinister, and takes from a diverse range of musical influences.

Having brought out a new single, ‘Crosses’, ahead of their second EP release this April, I spoke to the band when they stopped by recently in Stoke-on-Trent, as part of a UK headline tour with SHVPES, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band first get together?

PAUL BARROW (vocals): So we had been in all sorts of different bands, and it was when mine and Ad’s old band finished that we decided to start something new, which we did, and we just carried on from there.

How did the name Death Blooms come about?

PAUL: At the beginning, we had a bunch of different names that we were considering, and Death Blooms just happened to be the best one. Also, it was the name that best fitted our sound.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

PAUL: We just put in as much as we can, from a wide range of influences, for example, nu-metal, metalcore, pop-punk, which reflect our diverse musical tastes, so yeah, we just throw everything in, and see what happens.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PAUL: So far, we’ve tended to write lyrics that have a personal meaning to all of us, for example, metal health issues, but basically, we just put down whatever’s going through our heads at the time, and I think that creates a general vibe where we can release our emotions.

AD LUCAS (guitar): All of the confusion in our heads, we just get a piece of paper, and write it out.

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

PAUL: It’s been amazing, and people seem to really dig it. It’s been weird, though, as the song has been in our live set for a while now, pretty much since we started, but yeah, the reaction so far has just been ace.

“GIZ” GIBBS (bass): And when we’ve been playing it live recently, everyone has been singing along to it, which is fucking awesome.

And the track was taken from the band’s second EP, ‘You Are Filth’, which will be coming out this April. How has the recording process for that been?

PAUL: The process just started, everything came together, and then it was over.

(The band all laugh)

PAUL: Nah! It was actually really cool. We recorded the EP over a few sessions with Dave Radahd-Jones at his home studio.

AD: He’s the same producer who helped us with our first EP.

PAUL: Yeah, he’s ace, because he seems to just get our sound, and what we want to do with it. In comparison to when we did the first EP, where me and Ad got together, sat down somewhere, wrote a few songs, and then sent them over to Dave, this time, we spent two sessions writing the tracks with him.

It was a dead comfortable atmosphere throughout, really, and I noticed that Dave’s studio had some really nice carpets.

(The band all laugh)

PAUL: Also, the coffee was nice.

AD: Yeah, coffee-fuelled metal!

(The band all laugh)

How will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the debut?

PAUL: I don’t know, really, as I think that it’s just a continuation of what we did with the first EP, only with a more coarse sound.

AD: I feel that it has more groove and melody.

PAUL: Yeah, it’s almost like it’s heavier and punkier at the same time.

AD: Yeah, I think we’ve added a bunch of songs that have more hooks to them, definitely.

Last year, you played at Download, supported King 810, and opened for Korn frontman Jonathan Davis in Manchester, which must have been quite an experience for the band.

PAUL: It was wild, and actually, it was Dan’s first show with us, wasn’t it, mate?

DAN PARTRIDGE (drums): Yes, it was.

PAUL: So you went straight in at the deep end.

DAN: Yeah, it was pretty fucking crazy, man, because we all grew up listening to Korn.

“GIZ”: It was a hell of an inititation.

(The band all laugh)

DAN: Yeah, definitely.

PAUL: When Dan joined, we just said to him, “By the way, your first show with us is going to be opening for Jonathan Davis“, but it was ace, man, and the Korn fans in the crowd got us, so it was good, like.

And how is it, overall, performing live on stage?

“GIZ”: Fun, real fun.

PAUL: It’s real fun.

AD: And we pray that it will never become a chore for us.

PAUL: We do what we do, and we fucking love doing it, especially when it all pays off, unless we’re feeling sick, but even then, we will still give everything to it.

AD: And now that we’ve just done our sound check, we can’t wait to get back out there.

And finally, what are the band’s plans following the release of ‘You Are Filth’?

PAUL: Shortly, we’re going to be announcing something that we can’t go into too much detail about at the moment, and then for the rest of this year, we’re just going to sort out what we are going to do.

AD: Stuff will definitely be happening.

PAUL: We’ll also be bringing out a few more singles from the EP, and a few videos as well, so yeah, a lot of content, and loads more live shows too.

Death Blooms EP Cover