AS DECEMBER FALLS (from l-r): Will ‘Bambi’ Brown (rhythm guitar), Ande Hunter (lead guitar), Bethany Curtis (vocals), Lukas James (drums)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
A female-fronted four-piece from Nottingham, As December Falls are an outfit currently on the verge of making a huge breakthrough.
Priding themselves on delivering a powerful fusion of pop and rock, led by the melodic vocals of frontwoman Bethany Curtis, the quartet have recently been taking themselves across the UK, impressing the crowds at each of the venues they have played.
It is little wonder then that the music press are tipping them for much success in the near future.
On the warm late spring evening they returned to play a headliner in their home city, I spoke to them and this is what they had to say:
How did the band come about?
BETHANY CURTIS (vocals): I got approached by one of our old members on Facebook, he called me in, he knew Ande from other bands, when they used to play together, and then maybe that’s how he knew Luke as well, who is our drummer, but he’s not here right now.
Then, we played for a bit, and we got Will in, we call him ‘Bambi’, when we were on tour last year, because we needed another guitarist, but then there were sad times as two members left us, but we got through that and everything’s alright now.
Will, you don’t mind me asking, but why do you have the nickname ‘Bambi’?
WILL ‘BAMBI’ BROWN (rhythm guitar): It’s a reference from ‘Scrubs‘.
ANDE HUNTER (lead guitar): Yeah, it came from when we did our third band practice with Will, and someone said something mean to him, and another person reacted by saying: “Be nice to Bambi!“, and it’s kind of stuck from there. (to ‘BAMBI’) You’ve got a forest tattoo to go with it, haven’t you?
From where did the name As December Falls originate?
ANDE: We were literally in the studio recording our first EP, and we had yet to come up with a name for the band. We were just throwing ideas around, and as everything had come together for us in December, it made sense, like that was the month when the first songs were written and when our line-up had fully formed, so yeah, the name came together like that.
What would you describe your sound as?
BETHANY: Pop rock?
‘BAMBI’: Yeah, pop rock. It’s pretty loud. (BETHANY laughs)
Which bands/artists serve as inspiration for you?
ANDE: I think we all have different bands/artists that influence us. (to ‘BAMBI’) What would you say?
‘BAMBI’: I would like to say Dance, Gavin, Dance.
ANDE: No, not happening. For me, it’s anyone really that takes my fancy at the time, The Story So Far…
BETHANY: You like Twenty One Pilots, don’t you?
ANDE: Yeah, but I’m not going to write anything like Twenty One Pilots. My guitar playing is very much influenced by old classic rock guitarists, a lot of Slash, a lot of those old school blues players.
BETHANY: I’m very much into female-fronted rock bands, so for me, it’s Marmozets, Paramore, Against The Current, all those kinds of bands. Obviously, I love Hayley Williams.
What do you think to Paramore’s new stuff?
BETHANY: I really like it, I think it’s really funky. Me and Bambi have constantly been singing their new songs in the van on the way to our gigs.
ANDE: I won’t pass comment. (BETHANY and ‘BAMBI’ laugh)
What would you say was your songwriting approach?
BETHANY: By the way we’ve written our last few songs, I write a few lines of vocals, then I give it to Ande, who sorts it out, because it’s pretty shit. (laughs)
ANDE: I work my guitar around her vocal lines, see what works, and then when the vocals have been put down onto paper, we’ll take it to Bambi, who will add something with the rhythm guitars, and Luke, who will do the same with the drums, so it may seem like we all do it in one room, but we don’t. The process is vocals, guitar, rhythm guitar, drums.
BETHANY: And normally all of our songs will start off acoustically.
How well do you think the band’s music has been received up to now?
ANDE: So far, so good. Considering we’re completely independent, we’re not signed at the moment, we have no management, no backing, I think we’ve done alright. We get a lot of plays, a lot of streams, about 13, 14,000 on Spotify every month. We’re also doing alright on YouTube, we’ve been played on both Kerrang! and Scuzz, Planet Rock, Q. Yeah, we’re doing alright.
You are currently on tour. How has that been so far?
BETHANY: It’s been really good, like we played Swansea last week, and that was really incredible, everyone was nice and friendly. We gained a few new fans from that one, because they came up to us after the gig, and then we played in London as well, that was sick, and our producer came down and watched us, so that was really good.
Was that your first gig in London?
BETHANY: We’ve played Camden twice, once at Camden Rocks and another one at a festival there about a month ago.
ANDE: It was kind of Camden Rocks again. Our gig in London as part of the current tour was the first one we’d done that we were actually involved in promoting etc…
BETHANY: It was our first time headlining a venue in London.
The band are playing in their home city this evening. How is it playing live in front of a home crowd?
ANDE: It’s definitely the best. Our home town shows are always really incredible, we haven’t really had a bad one yet. It’s a really cool experience. We played the Rescue Rooms back in January, and I’ve seen so many bands play there that I loved growing up, so to be performing on the same stage that they have is just mind blowing.
What is your personal opinion of the current Nottingham music scene?
ANDE: It’s amazing to be honest. There’s so much stuff going on. My favourite thing about it is that there are so many different bands playing different genres, it’s not as if just one genre is breaking through, like metal, rock or acoustic, there are literally bands of every genre coming through.
‘BAMBI’: There’s quite a good underground emo scene here as well.
‘BAMBI’: A lot of DIY stuff.
ANDE: It’s a great scene to be playing music in.
What’s lined up for you once the tour’s finished?
BETHANY: We’ll be releasing a single, we’re not quite sure when the release date will be yet, but we recently recorded the video to it, so hopefully that will be really cool.
Other than that, we’re playing Macmillan Fest in September, we’ve got Lowde Fest as well, so that should be amazing.
ANDE: It’s in Hampshire, and we’ll be playing with the likes of Doctor and the Medics and ABC.
BETHANY: Lowde Fest is kind of Hampshire’s version of Splendour. Then, after all that, we’ll be heading back into the studio.
ANDE: At the moment, we’re very much planning whether we want to do another EP, or maybe getting an album together. We’ll see where we’re going before making the decision. It’s in the early planning stages, but currently, we’re just writing more than anything, and when we’ve finished that, we’ll see what we want to do with the songs.
What is the band’s long-term aim? Where do you see yourselves five, ten years from now?
‘BAMBI’: Warped Tour. (BETHANY laughs)
ANDE: Then Wembley! (BETHANY and ‘BAMBI’ laugh) Honestly, to get signed to a major label, release a couple of records.
You don’t mind me asking, but are you close to being signed up at the moment?
ANDE: Well, we’ve been approached by several small labels, unfortunately, someone hasn’t come along yet who has really taken our fancy. We’re not approaching anyone ourselves at the moment, we’re just concentrating on building our own sound and fan base, and we’ll wait and see if someone big wants to come and approach us.
FOR MORE INFO ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.asdecemberfalls.com