Category Archives: Interviews

SYLAR

Sylar band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Taking their name from the primary villain of late 2000’s sci-fi drama Heroes, Sylar are a five-piece from New York City.

Having formed in 2011 from members of various bands on the Big Apple’s post-hardcore scene, the outfit have truly gone from strength to strength ever since, redefining the rap-metal genre, and positioning themselves as a champion of the underdog, with a sound full of unrestrained energy and huge anthemic choruses.

Currently supporting pals Beartooth on a US tour, the quintet’s frontman, Jayden Panesso, spoke to me about their upcoming third album, ‘Seasons’, how that was put together, what the fan base can expect from it, and much more.

How did the band form?

Funnily enough, we formed on the internet. I was already playing bass and doing backing vocals in another local band in New York, but I wanted more.

I wanted to tour the world and write the music I really wanted to write as a lyricist, so I set out with a goal, and went out looking for people online.

It was so hard, but after some trial and error, here we are. It’s wild to think about how close we are now, not only as a band, but as a family.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

To be honest, it has been different for each record. This time around, though, we took our time with it. We were able to go in the studio with lots of material already written, and it made the process a lot smoother.

Before going to California to fully finalise the record, Miguel and I would send each other ideas back and forth while we were off tour. He would write instrumentals, send them over, and I would brainstorm and send my ideas back.

Thank you modern technology for stuff like FaceTime, as that always helped us be more in touch with each other while we were putting this record together.

What inspires the band lyrically?

I take a lot of pride in my lyrics, it’s something that I’m very picky with. I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m a massive perfectionist, as at times, I’ll sit down with a lyric for days just because one word bothers me (laughs). It’s a blessing, but also a curse.

For ‘Seasons’, I wanted to be very straightforward. I want people to understand the theme and message of each song with the first listen, you won’t have to read between the lines for this one.

I always find inspiration lyrically by just writing about my personal emotions. When I put a record together, it’s like an open diary.

Speaking of ‘Seasons’, coming out next month, how was the recording process for that?

Like I mentioned earlier, it was a more relaxed working environment this time around. We knew exactly what we wanted with this album, so that was already a massive plus. We’ve also grown more mature as musicians, so us coming in prepared with much more material than previously just made everything a whole lot easier.

And how will it differ from the work that the band have put out up to now?

I think people have already weighed in their opinion on the new stuff thus far, as we’ve already released two singles off ‘Seasons’, and fans can tell the difference. Like I said, it is more straight to the point, and it’s easier to listen to vocally than it ever was before.

You’ve supported bands such as Issues and Memphis May Fire, as well as playing at festivals such as the Vans Warped Tour and Slam Dunk. How, for you all, is it performing live?

Performing live is hands down my favourite part of being in the band. I can go on a limb and say the rest of the band feel the same.

Our set time, whether it’s 25 minutes, 45 minutes – is ALWAYS sacred. We take our live performance really seriously, and we always want to be the BEST on every stage, so I think it’s very important to go into shows with that mentality as artists.

And the band have also toured Europe with Of Mice & Men, and Australia with Miss May I. How were they as experiences?

Honestly, playing in different countries is probably my favourite, especially as I used to daydream about being in a successful band that would play shows over the world. It’s amazing. When I step out on stage for things like that, I always talk to myself and give myself pep talks, like, “soak this in Jayden, this is what you always wanted“.

You have a following around the world, had over four million views for your videos, and have also had approval from the likes of Corey Taylor. When the band started, did any of you expect all of this to happen?

It’s crazy because we were working so hard, while also sacrificing tons of things to be able to get this band up on its feet, but even in the midst of all of that, all the things we’ve accomplished already seemed so far out of reach, you know? It’s like you gotta see it to believe it.

I’m just thankful and proud to see our hard work paying off, and it’s only just the beginning.

What are the band’s plans once ‘Seasons’ has been released?

Well, we’ll already be on tour by then, so we’ll be playing new songs and supporting the album. My goal always is to bring our new music to as many places as possible worldwide.

And finally, what advice would you all give to any bands/artists that are just starting out?

Man, I could write a never-ending list of mistakes I’ve made (laughs).

My best advice to any artists trying to do this would be to be patient, and take your time. Things get scary, and exciting, but the best bet is to always take your time.

Also, make sure that you’re happy with what you’re putting out to the world, and lastly, just be yourself, as only you know yourself, and it’s never worth it to be something that you’re not. Real recognises real, and people relate with that the most.

Sylar Album Cover

‘SEASONS’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM SYLAR, WILL BE RELEASED ON OCTOBER 5, VIA HOPELESS RECORDS.

THE BAND ARE CURRENTLY ON A US TOUR SUPPORTING BEARTOOTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Sylar tour poster

MORE INFO ON SYLAR, AND THEIR UPCOMING RELEASE, CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

 

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J.E.F.F. II

J.E.F.F. II photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Jefferson “Jeff” Fichou is currently best known for being the lead guitarist for Los Angeles-based, French-originated indie-rock/folk six-piece Charly & Faust, but now, he hopes to be recognised as a solo artist with a new musical project, J.E.F.F. II.

Having already released a debut single, entitled ‘Sleepless’, with the video for that currently getting much coverage on social media, and with his first album coming out soon, Jeff went into further detail about the project with me, as well as what he hopes to get from it.

How did this project come about?

I’ve been playing in bands for many years. I still do, but I needed to release my own music at some point. I had a lot of pre-written material in my computer, but it took me a few months to settle down and start to work on my tracks.

It takes some time to develop your identity as a solo musician, but there’s no better feeling than releasing music that is your own.

From where did the name J.E.F.F. II originate?

Well, my high school friends used to call me “J-E-2“, because they listened to a lot of hip-hop, and I was the only rock dude in the group.

I wanted to keep the name simple and catchy, and everybody has been calling me “Jeff” for years, so it was a natural choice for me.

I use the number II (two in Roman numerals) for aesthetic reasons, it also looks dope as a logo, and it’s easy to include in the merch.

I initially wanted to keep my real family name, but then, I figured out that it would be impossible for English speakers to pronounce.

I’m from France originally, but now I live in Los Angeles, so I’m trying to fit in!

How would you describe your sound?

It’s a blend of electronic music and guitar-driven rock n’ roll, with a bit of pop as well, and I think my music can appeal to electro fans, hard rockers, pop-punk guys, and guitar nerds.

It’s hard to put a label on it, as it’s too electronic to be considered as pure rock, but it has too much of a rock vibe to really be described as electronic dance music (EDM), and the riffs and energy are both similar to pop-punk.

What are your main musical influences?

As a producer, I like bands such as The Prodigy, for their beats and energy, and The Glitch Mob, for their very chiseled and interesting production.

As a guitarist and rock n’ roll fan in general, I like Jimi Hendrix, The Stooges, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen, I also like punk rock, with its high tempo and high energy, and I also play funk and blues guitar, so I try to throw a few Fender Stratocaster licks into the songs.

My favourite guitarists are John Frusciante and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I spent a few years playing with jazz musicians, so I do sometimes like to play some old be-bop tunes, but the jazz aspect isn’t really obvious in my music.

What is your approach to songwriting?

I usually start by writing a riff on the guitar, then I will record it with a synthesizer. From there, I will add a groove or a beat, then mess around with some effects and samples, and later on, I will throw some lead guitar licks into the mix, as for me, it’s all about vibes and textures.

There are no specific messages in my songs, I just want to write a good instrumental track that people will either enjoy in the comfort of their own homes, or during a live performance.

I like to play with dynamics a lot, my songs, with their ups and downs, are like a journey.

How is the experience, for yourself, of playing live?

At the moment, I’m actually rehearsing, to get ready for touring next year. I have done some solo gigs in the past, but never with the current formula, as I’ve been too busy being a guitarist for other bands/artists all of my life, and it’s going to be exciting to lead, as well as to showcase what I’ve been working on for months now.

Initially, it wasn’t easy for me trying to figure out a way to play my music live, but eventually, I started to build this concept of me DJing and playing guitar at the same time, with a bassist and drummer behind me. It’s like a rock band with a DJ/guitarist up front, instead of a singer.

Touring aside, what have you got lined up for the near future?

I will be bringing out a new album soon, and of course, there will be a lot of gigs to support that. Also, there’s a new music video, and single, in the works, maybe even a collaboration with someone, as well as some re-mixes, so for me, it’s going to be a very busy few months ahead!

The video for my last track, ‘Sleepless’, has been doing quite well on social media, so I will try to contact as many people as I can, to help my project move forward.

You mentioned a new album then. How has the recording process been for that?

It was a blast! I usually record some demos very quickly, then I will spend weeks and weeks editing them, adding some effects, some extra instruments, some vocals, but when you’re doing this kind of music, you need to set some deadlines, otherwise, you’ll be tweaking knobs and making constant changes to your tracks until the end of time.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

Tour as much as possible, and to grow as big as possible! Also try to reach a new audience and to bring more people along on this journey.

To be honest, this is a tricky question to answer, as many musicians, in my experience, don’t really think long-term, and not a lot of bands can predict where they’re going to be in 10, even five, years, as the industry moves so fast, and we, the music makers, have to try to adapt very quickly.

‘SLEEPLESS’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM J.E.F.F. II, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND HIS FIRST ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED SOON.

FURTHER INFO CAN BE FOUND THROUGH J.E.F.F. II’S INSTAGRAM AND YOUTUBE PAGES.

 

FILMSPEED

Filmspeed band photo

FILMSPEED (from l-r): Nick Stout (guitar/bass/backing vocals), Craig Broomba (vocals/guitar), Oliver Dobrian (drums/backing vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Originally from Detroit, but now based in Los Angeles, Filmspeed are a three-piece that have dedicatedly combined melodic hooks, soulful grooves, and anthems guaranteed to get the blood pumping, to create a indie-rock sound that they can truly call their own.

This, in addition to a thriving stage presence, has resulted in the band gaining a devoted fan base, as well as much critical praise.

Having recently been on a US tour, promoting well-received third album, ‘Hexadecimal’, Craig Broomba, the frontman of Filmspeed, spoke to me about the successes, as well as some of the trials and tribulations, that he and his band mates have had up to now.

How did the band form initially?

It has pretty deep roots just outside of Detroit, Michigan. The bassist, Nick, and I grew up in the same town, went to the same high school, worked at the same grocery store etc.

We started Filmspeed with the drummer from the project that took us all out to Los Angeles, a pop-punk power trio with keyboards and loud hair called No One Goes Home.

The first Filmspeed record was put together remotely while each of us had lives away from each other (laughs).

Unfortunately, life takes precedent sometimes, and the original drummer decided to leave, therefore, the second record was a massive purge of material once we welcomed our next drummer.

Now, here we are on album number three, and it’s the first to feature our newest and most bestest drummer/singer/guitar/piano/ degree holding musician/ hell of a great guy, Oliver.

Okay, so now I’ve told you what has gone on in the last two years in this whirlwind of a band, we’re caught up.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Typically, I’ll get an idea somewhere around the 70% complete range and present it to the band. We’ll jam on it, destroy, rebuild, and polish, until we all love it as a Filmspeed future hit.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Life. There’s so many stories to tell, so the music almost always comes first. Once we have a clear idea of what that is, it gets really easy to know which story goes with which vibe.

A few years back, two of you relocated from Detroit to California. What were the reasons behind the move?

We had a motto, which was also the name of the band we moved out here with, “No One Goes Home“. It was about making a career in music our top priority.

Detroit is the greatest place to have as your hometown, as you’ll never find a more honest, loyal, passionate, and tough group of people anywhere, however, as a young pop-punk trio, though, we decided to jump in to a sea of people, and make as big a splash as possible.

And how was it trying to establish yourselves in a new settlement?

It was tough before we got here, and tougher every day, but luckily for us, there’s music fans everywhere you go, and so long as you’re doing something real, they’ll find you.

Also, the biggest advantage to planting a band in Los Angeles is that you have a daily opportunity to busk outside the Capitol Records building! (laughs)

Recently, the band released an album, entitled ‘Hexadecimal’. How was the recording process for that?

This record has two drummers featured on it, with just over half of it written and performed with Oliver, as the songs are written over the course of about four years.

The original plan was to put out an EP by mid 2016, but of course, life happens.  We had a solid batch of nine tracks to choose from, all done on our own with help from our great buddies at AEA.

However, during the talks about how and when to release them, we amicably split with James, our previous drummer, so obviously, we had some retooling to do, therefore, we took time to play live and get a groove, but then, we had to go on hiatus for a few months, during which Nick lost his father, and my mother passed away not long after that. #fuckcancer

Once we got back, we made sure we were settled, unshook, and ready for anything, and we quickly make the decision to make it an LP, so it was back to the studio at AEA, and then, we turned it into a real product at Manifest Music in Santa Monica.

With Oliver at the drum kit, another 11 songs exploded out of us, with the final count being 19 jams, all totally different, fresh, raw, and handmade.

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

Pretty fucking rad!  We got added to some great Spotify spots, got two videos featured with some killer magazines, and have been singing along with the crowds all year long, so it’s been awesome.

How is the experience, for the band, playing live?

It’s everything, as we see ourselves as a live band. No matter what stage it may be, we’ll leave it all there every time.

Now that the album has come out, what are your plans for the near future?

We’re currently preparing for the release of our next single, ‘Bless My Soul’.

It’s coming up quickly to a year since the LP first came out, so we’ve got a video to make and support the new track, so we’re most likely looking at an October release, and after that, we’ll probably bring out one more single before the new year, and then we’ll be hitting the road and planning an EP.

Meanwhile, we got new episodes of our podcast, ‘Consistently Off’, as well as the ‘#NailedIt w/ @CraigBroomba’ vlog constantly renewing on our Facebook page.

And finally, what advice would you give to any emerging bands/artists out there?

Whatever it is that you do, do what you love, and don’t let anything stop you.

Filmspeed Album Cover

‘HEXADECIMAL’, THE THIRD ALBUM FROM FILMSPEED, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA AWFULLY GOOD RECORDS.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

DAYSHIFTER

Dayshifter band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Described as “the love child of Architects and Counterparts“, Newcastle-upon-Tyne quartet Dayshifter have made quite an impact on the British underground metal scene in the past year with a melodic hardcore sound, containing a vocal delivery that is both heartfelt and passionate.

Having recently signed to label Famined Records, the band spoke to me about such things as this, ‘Serpent Eyes’, their latest single release, and the four-piece’s just-completed UK tour supporting Greyhaven.

How did the band form?

We’d previously been in bands before together that had ended for one reason or anything, and Dayshifter formed as an end result.

From where did the name Dayshifter originate?

The band name came about after a previous band we were involved in ended. To us,  the band name stands for change, how just like night turns into day, everything around you is always changing and moving.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Life in general, the whole experience we go through as individuals. From heartache to regret, happiness to depression, life flows and moves in such a wild and changing way, and you learn so much about yourself and the people around you, as you flow with it.

Recently, the band signed to label Famined Records. That must have felt good for you all.

It’s honestly quite surreal for us, like a goal you have in your younger days is finally ticked off. We’re super happy to be working with the Famined guys, they’ve been super good to us so far, and this is just the start of it.

And shortly after that, you brought out a single, entitled ‘Serpent Eyes’. How was the recording process for the track?

We really enjoyed the recording process for this track, as we had a lot more time compared to when we recorded ‘Hopeful / Regretful’, it was super laid back, and all our ideas flowed really well with our producer Dan Kerr.

And how has the reaction been to that so far?

It’s been nothing short of amazing, we’ve received so much positive feedback, and it has truly shown how much we’ve grown as a band in such a short space of time.

The band have consistently toured across the UK, having just completed a few dates supporting Greyhaven, as well as sharing stages with the likes of Oceans Ate Alaska and Loathe. How were they as experiences?

We’ve loved every show we’ve played, no matter if the crowd has been 30 or 300 people, having the opportunity to share the stage with so many bands and other musicians you admire is an amazing thing. We’ve loved every moment, and can’t wait to experience more.

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

Live shows are simply the best part of being in a band, for us, it’s the one time we can switch off from everything else around us, and really pour our emotions and energy into something collectively.

‘Serpent Eyes’ was the first of a two-part series. What can be expected from the second part?

The second part is a sequel in a way, as it addresses the final outcome of an individual as you finally sever your ties with them.

Also, expect the biggest chorus we’ve written to date.

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

We’re happy to continue doing what we do, as writing music, and showcasing it to as many people as possible, are things that we’re truly passionate about.

‘SERPENT EYES’, THE LATEST SINGLE FROM DAYSHIFTER, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA FAMINED RECORDS.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

EVA PLAYS DEAD

eva-plays-dead-band-photo.jpg

EVA PLAYS DEAD (from l-r): Seb Boyse (drums), Tiggy Dee Dockerty (vocals), Matt Gascoyne (guitar), Zach Shannon (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In recent years, some have said that rock n’ roll is dead. However, if you want to show them proof that it’s still very much alive and kicking, then you should recommend they take a look at Nottingham four-piece Eva Plays Dead.

With a no-nonsense rock sound, and a feisty punk attitude, the band have released two well-received EPs, played at venues across the UK, both as headliners and support, and put on a live set that is guaranteed to get even the most shy and retiring rock fan into the moshpit.

They were recently back in their home city to play at the annual Macmillan Fest, and there, I took the opportunity to speak to them.

How did the band get together?

TIGGY DEE DOCKERTY (vocals): It’s quite a long, tedious story, so to make things short, I met Matt in 2007, in Japan on a school exchange trip. I hated him at first, but then we started playing music together.

ZACH SHANNON (bass): As you do.

TIGGY: After a while, we both decided that we wanted to turn it into a serious thing, so we went on MySpace, as that was the cool thing to do back then. On there, we found Zach, who could play bass to a reasonable standard.

ZACH: Still can.

TIGGY: And then we found Seb, who could play drums.

SEB BOYSE (drums): I had been in a band before with Zach.

TIGGY: And in 2013, we decided to properly form Eva Plays Dead.

How did the name Eva Plays Dead come about?

TIGGY: So originally, I was going to have a persona based on a fictional character.

ZACH: And I came up with the name Eva Black, who is actually a porn star.

TIGGY: So we naturally thought, “We can’t have the same name as a porn star“, so we decided to take the name Eva, and there was this local band who were doing quite well at the time, so we asked them if we could use the title of one of their best-known songs, ‘Play Dead’, and they said we could use it, so we added an s to “play“, combined that with Eva, and it was perfect.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

ZACH: A mess.

SEB: Mainly me.

(Zach and Tiggy laugh)

TIGGY: It depends, like, we’re not really a studio band, so we don’t just sit in a studio with a few songwriters, it doesn’t work like that for us, because it comes naturally, sometimes, a song will stem from a drum beat, a bass line, a guitar riff, and yeah, that’s kind of how it all starts.

ZACH: We just go into a practice room, play a riff, and then, when we’ve done that, we’ll put some vocals down, and then, we’ll start to put all of the individual parts together to form a structure. That’s basically how it works.

TIGGY: I’m a vocalist, but I’ll never claim to be a songwriter, as I see myself as more of a performer.

ZACH: Yeah, you kind of work around what me, Seb, and Matt come up with.

TIGGY: Yeah, that’s my speciality.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ZACH: Sex. Drugs. Sausage rolls.

(Tiggy and Seb laugh)

TIGGY: For me, like, I cringe saying this, but I hate metaphorical lyrics, you know, the lyrics that kind of go, “God is an emotion“, and all that.

I like the lyrics to be literal, and for me, about real situations, for example, with ex-boyfriends who have irritated the crap out of me, I’ll write a song about them, call them a c*** and what have you, which is something I’m quite happy to do, so yeah, literal everyday stuff, because I simply can’t relate to bands who can’t do songs about that, as when I was younger, I listened to a lot of grime, so that’s my background.

ZACH: They say write about what you know.

TIGGY: Yeah, exactly.

ZACH: And also, the lyrics come across as very poetic.

TIGGY: Very much so. I’ve had people come up to me and say, “Are the lyrics supposed to be so literal?“, and I go, “Well, yeah“.

ZACH: We’re not here for subtext.

TIGGY: It’s like jazz, that was literal, wasn’t it?

In 2015, you brought out a debut EP, entitled ‘Sounds Of The Written Word’, which was universally praised. Was that something any of you were expecting during its recording process?

ZACH: We sort of wrote everything with the hope that people would like it, but if they didn’t, it was what it was. I like to think that we’re writing music for those little people who don’t think they’re very cool, if they don’t like it, then it’s not really for them anyway.

The lyrics are very personal to Tig, and we write songs that we like, not songs that we think will sell.

SEB: I think any music that we do bring out is like a time stamp of where we are at that specific moment.

TIGGY: I think the reality is that you don’t realise that a band is actually a group of individuals who spend a lot of time with each other, and we’ve moved on emotionally, because I can’t remember the person I was when we were recording our first EP. Sometimes, I will listen back to it, and go, “Who’s that?

The first EP mainly comprised of material that we had been sitting on for a few years, whereas with ‘The Fix’, our last EP, the material is more current to how I’m feeling.

ZACH: Yeah.

Speaking of ‘The Fix’, how has the reaction been to that?

TIGGY: Yeah, it’s been really good. I think, as a band, we’ve realised that we’re not perfect people, we all have our own individual demons, and I think ‘The Fix’ was a way of getting all that out into the open.

SEB: I think people appreciate us now a bit more, because we’re undeniably ourselves these days.

I remember with our first EP, we were trying to sound like other bands that we admired, and what we had been listening to at the time, but now, our thought process is, “Let’s just do what we want“, and people seem to like that even more.

TIGGY: When you’re younger, you think you have a good idea of how the music industry is, but then you live in it for a few years, and you realise that it’s actually the complete opposite of what you thought it was.

The reality is, yeah, you can be a carbon copy of other bands if you want, but the reason why some bands have been so successful is that they’ve offered something different, so as you get older, you realise that, and I know it sounds cringy, but you have to just be yourself.

How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

ZACH: For three-quarters of the band, it’s pissed.

TIGGY: No, I think for us, it’s like, for me, I was always a performer. I’m going to sound really up myself here, but I trained classically, I trained in music performance, I’ve always been performance-led, so it was never a case of just sitting in a studio.

When I write music, I don’t think about how it’s going to sound in the studio, I always think about how the music is going to work now.

We’re not that pop band that you listen to on Radio 1, we’re that live band you go to see because you know you’re going to feel safe, things aren’t going to get awkward, and you’re going to have a good time, so when we play live, we all try to give the experience that we would have if we ourselves were watching a band, therefore, we always write songs that best suit the live environment, because it’s something that really drives us, and what we want to eventually become best-known for.

SEB: Yeah, I like the idea of writing music that’s not going to make you lean against a wall, it’s actually going to make you want to jump off that wall.

TIGGY: We want the whole crowd to feel like they’re part of something.

And finally, what are your plans for the near future?

TIGGY: At the moment, we’re writing loads of new music, which seems to be getting heavier and heavier by the day.

ZACH: Yeah, it seems like every EP we’ve done so far has gotten heavier, so I would give it a couple of years before we’re a death metal band.

(Tiggy and Seb laugh)

SEB: We’re still not there yet, though.

TIGGY: It’s actually rather scary planning for the future, because you can literally feel the time ticking by, but the reality is, right now, we’re just doing what we love to do, which is to play and write music.

ZACH: We’re going to write some more, play some more, do a few music videos, try and get out on tour again, and repeat.

TIGGY: Rinse and repeat.

ZACH: That pretty much sums it up, actually.

Eva Plays Dead EP Cover

‘THE FIX’, THE SECOND EP FROM EVA PLAYS DEAD, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA PLAYING DEAD RECORDS.

FOR FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THEIR FACEBOOK OR TWITTER PAGES.

 

 

CROSSLIGHT

Crosslight band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Nottingham, Crosslight are a six-piece who, through a deep passion for writing, recording, and performing their own music, as well as a very collaborative songwriting process, have created a unique alternative rock sound that can easily go from highly-energetic one moment, to rather serene the next, something that is reflected in their enjoyable live shows.

All this, as well as May’s debut album release, ‘Road To Recovery’, have already won the band much praise, and they spoke to me about their journey so far, as well as what they have planned for the future, after playing an excellent set at the Macmillan Fest earlier this month, in the sextet’s home city.

How did the band form?

DANIEL GILES (bass): Essentially, a few of us were in another band, and one of the guitarists decided to leave, so we auditioned Luke to be his replacement, but then we decided to do something new, that everyone could get involved with, in regards to songwriting and stuff, and we moved forward from there.

From where did the name Crosslight originate?

DANIEL: Essentially, if you look up “crosslight” in the dictionary, it means two beams of light overlapping. It does sound rather cheesy, but we liked the idea of one beam shining where the other can’t, as for us, it represented the fast that we’ve always got each other’s backs, and will always help each other out.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

CHARLOTTE EASTWOOD (vocals): Tom will mainly come up with the lyrics, and also, Joe will contribute to them, even though he’s the drummer. (All laugh)

Then, I’ll work on the lyrics, first by listening to them, then, I’ll take them apart, and try to get them to make more sense, make more of a coherent story.

I, myself, I’m not a guitarist at all, but I’ll try to come up with a melody on a guitar, write some lyrics to that, and pass that on to the guitarists, and they’ll then expand on that, so at the end of the day, it’s a very collaborative songwriting process, with everyone getting the chance to put their own mark on things.

In May, the band brought out a debut album, entitled ‘Road To Recovery’. How was the recording process for that?

DANIEL: Interesting.

LUKE LITHERLAND (guitar): Well, we started out in a place called BSV Studios in Nottingham, we did six songs there, before we all realised that we actually wanted to make an album.

However, unfortunately, we couldn’t go back to BSV, as it had shut down, so we had to look for another recording studio, and that’s when we came across Tristan Hill at 7HZ Audio.

CHARLOTTE: Tristan started by re-mastering and re-mixing the six songs that we had done prior, and then really helped us out with the other tracks, suggesting to us with some parts, “Instead of doing this, why don’t you do that?” His guidance really made the whole album sound more polished.

And how was the reaction to the album?

TOM BAIRD (guitar): Luke’s dad loves it! (All laugh)

To be honest, I was rather surprised when people came up to us and said that they had very much enjoyed listening to the album, and also, when we were playing live, how many were singing the lyrics straight back at us.

LUKE: Yeah, like Charlotte said, it is much more polished than any of our previous work.

CHARLOTTE: The people who have spoken to me about it have said how diverse the album is, for example, the difference between ‘Submerge’, one of our heavier songs, and ‘BACK’.

I think that’s good, as we all like to think that there’s at least one thing for everyone on the 14 tracks that are on there, and in terms of lyrics, the album deals with mental health issues, which every one of us has had to deal with at least at one point in our lives, and that’s something a lot of people can take away from, as that’s something they’ve probably been through themselves, so yeah, the feedback has been really positive.

How is the experience, for you all, of playing live and touring?

DANIEL: It’s the best thing ever, but today, we’ll all a bit hung over after last night.

What happened last night?

DANIEL: It was a birthday party for one of our friends, and everyone got a bit too drunk. We woke up this morning, and went, “Why on earth did we do that?

When I saw your set earlier, none of you seemed hung over.

DANIEL: That’s the thing, though. We’ll trudge through, but then when we get on stage, after the first song, we’ll go, “It doesn’t matter that we’re hung over“, as we’ll get into our set, and start to feel good again.

CHARLOTTE: With touring, though, it can start to take its toll on you, especially when we have to travel far.

We’ve got about three or four cars between us, and we have to squash ourselves in with other people who are following us on tour, but it’s completely worth it, as when we eventually get to the venue, it’s good to have the crowd watch us, and hopefully take something away from that.

TOM: Even if there is just one person in the crowd who will go, “I like it“, it’s still one more person who likes us.

CHARLOTTE: It can be difficult at times, but like I said earlier, it’s totally worth it.

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

CHARLOTTE: We’re going to release ‘I’m Not Done’, from the album, as a single, and we’ll also be bringing out two videos that will sort of link in with each other, so hopefully, they’ll all be out by the end of this month, if not, next month.

DANIEL: There’s no real plan yet, but we may bring all of that out by the end of this year, so we can get a strong PR campaign behind everything, which we think it deserves, to be fair.

CHARLOTTE: And then, leading on from that, we’ll be looking at writing some more music, so we’ll be heading back soon into the rehearsal room, playing stuff and showing each other different ideas.

TOM: I think one thing we have learned, jointly and individually, since we first formed, that it is a lot better to take considerable steps, get everyone together and do things properly, rather than just throw random stuff around, because we want more people to take notice of us.

CHARLOTTE: Yeah.

I think that’s all. Anything else anybody would like to say?

CHARLOTTE: I guess we should talk a bit more about Macmillan, as that’s really the main reason why anyone is here today. In my opinion, the Macmillan Fest is the best festival, as all of the proceeds go to a very good cause.

DANIEL: Yeah, the festival has grown massively over the last few years. I mean, I can remember the first one, at The Central, with Kris Davis, the organiser, dressed in a Santa Claus outfit, and there were only about 30 people there.

CHARLOTTE: And it’s just grown since then.

DANIEL: Every year it has, and you have to give a lot of credit to Kris, as he has done such a great job.

CHARLOTTE: And now, it’s starting to get some big name bands, for example, Black Peaks are headlining today, and that’s something I’m really excited about, but obviously, Macmillan Fest is for a cause that we all care passionately about, and it’s something that we’re proud to be a part of.

DANIEL: Yeah, and I really look forward to seeing where it can go from here.

‘ROAD TO RECOVERY’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM CROSSLIGHT, IS AVAILABLE NOW.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

COVE

Cove EP Cover

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Despite losing vocalist Ben Shorten, 2018 has been a good year for emerging Kent metalcore quintet Cove, what with the release, and critical success, of sophomore EP, ‘A Conscious Motion’, and well-received sets supporting hardcore punks Feed The Rhino on their UK tour.

Prior to the band’s recent performance at the Macmillan Fest in Nottingham, guitarists Pete Woolven and Ben Brazier spoke to me about all of this, as well as a little about their upcoming UK tour, supporting Birmingham melodic hardcore outfit SHVPES.

How did the band form?

BEN BRAZIER (guitar): Me and Pete used to play guitar together a lot at school, so it just formed around that.

For years, we kept making attempts to start a band, but things only started to really move forward when the other three joined.

PETE WOOLVEN (guitar): It sort of started as a studio project with me and Ben, but it grew once we had brought in a few more members, and then, it became a full band.

From where did the name Cove originate?

PETE: I used to work with Charlie, our bassist, and we were trying to think up of names that didn’t sound like a heavy band, because we didn’t want to give off that image, you know.

Cove doesn’t really mean anything, but it looks good on a T-shirt, it’s just one word, and it has a good ring to it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

PETE: I think it has changed a little bit since we first started, as then, we were trying to figure out exactly what we wanted to sound like.

We always wanted to be a riffy band, kind of early metalcore, early Architects-sounding, but yeah, now, especially on our last EP, we try to produce songs that translate well live, whereas with the first EP, there was a lot of stuff that kind of got lost in the midst of things.

With the second EP, we started to think of how the tracks would come across live a bit more.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PETE: The lyrics are kind of written by all of us, to be fair, like, we threw around ideas and stuff, and everyone in the band takes a different approach, however, the main themes are to do with personal experiences, for example, family stuff, stuff we’ve all been through the years.

I think none of the songs have a direct meaning, as the meanings are different for each band member.

In March, you brought out a second EP, entitled ‘A Conscious Motion’. How was the recording process for that?

PETE: It was good. We recorded with the boys we had worked with on our first EP, and we went into the studio with a clear idea of what we wanted to do with it.

We wanted the EP to be sonically bigger, have more stuff going on, and be less raw. Overall, we just wanted it to make us break out of our comfort zone a little.

And how has the reaction been to the release?

PETE: It’s been really good so far. We’ve all said that it’s the first time we have released something, and people seem to care about it, because with the first EP, we pretty much did everything on our own, but this time, quite a few people have gone, “Fair play. This is a good body of work“.

BEN: Yeah. I feel like we have made a natural progression with this EP, which is good.

Unfortunately, vocalist Ben Shorten has now left the band. What were the main reasons behind that?

BEN: I think Ben felt like being in Cove wasn’t the right thing for him anymore.

Was it his decision alone to leave, or was it more of a mutual agreement?

BEN: Well, he did want to go, and obviously, that was fine with us, and everything now sort of hinges on what we plan to do in the future. I think we’ve found our bearings now, we do have some new stuff in the pipeline, but we can’t really say what exactly is going to happen.

We parted with Ben on good terms, and I think everyone’s happy now, as at the end of the day, it was a good thing.

At the moment, we have a temporary vocalist filling in for all of the shows we’re doing, but we get on with him really well, and he’s been a good fit for the band so far.

PETE: Everyone has said how good he is, but we need to figure out how we’re going to move forward before we make a proper decision.

BEN: It’s not even a case of figuring out what we need to do with the vocalist, as we just need to get everything else together before we can announce the stuff that we’re going to do next, as we can’t say everything is really solid, but it all seems to be working great at the moment, and everyone is very happy.

Earlier this year, the band supported Feed The Rhino on their UK tour. How was that as an experience for all of you?

PETE: It was great. Our sets were received really well throughout the tour, and Jack, our drummer, knows the guys really well. It was our first proper tour, and it was good to get the response that we did.

BEN: Feed The Rhino are one of my all-time favourite bands. When I was 19, they brought out their second album, and for a while, it was all I listened to, and I also sent them a cover I’d done of one of their songs, when I first started to play the guitar, so to go from all that to supporting them, within five or six years, it was a proper dream, and I have to say it has been one of the best tours we’ve done up to now.

PETE: I also think the crowds were good for us, and it gave us good exposure.
And how is it overall, for the band, performing live?

BEN: Yeah, it’s really good, especially when we supported Feed The Rhino, as they are one of the best live bands in the UK.

They have excellent production values and stuff, so to go on tour with them for almost two weeks, it was almost like a test, a proper lesson for us in how to go about putting on a great live show, and by the fourth, fifth date, we were really getting into our stride, which resulted in a lot of positive feedback, especially after we had played at the Underworld in Camden.

And finally, what are your plans for the near future?
BEN: Again, we just need to figure out how we’re going to move forward before making any concrete plans, in terms of new music and stuff, and I think we’re not at the stage at the moment where we can make any big announcements.

PETE: Yeah, there’s nothing to announce musically yet, but we are going on tour again soon, this time with SHVPES, so that should be good, and there are also a few more shows in the works. We know what we want to do, we just need to take some time to work out how.

COVE WILL BE SUPPORTING SHVPES ON THEIR UK TOUR THIS NOVEMBER, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Cove tour poster 2

‘A CONSCIOUS MOTION’, THE SECOND EP FROM COVE, IS AVAILABLE NOW. FURTHER INFO ON THIS, AND THE BAND, CAN BE FOUND HEREHERE, AND HERE.