RELEASE

Release interview photo

RELEASE (from l-r): Aaron Roden, Caleb Allport, Mayson Nicholson, Tom Price, Jack Mitchell.

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

It is difficult to determine the exact genre of music that Release play, as they have a very eclectic range.

This hasn’t put anybody off them though, as their sound, together with politically charged lyrics, has made them one of the most talked about bands on the Stoke music scene.

They’re now spreading their message across the country, recently supporting Clay in Manchester and are about to go on a nationwide tour.

I sat down with them to talk about their seemingly unstoppable rise.

How did you all first get together?

TOM PRICE: Well, myself and Caleb got to know each other more when we started at college.

CALEB ALLPORT: We were both looking for a band and we wanted to start writing similar music with similar ideas and backgrounds.

TOM: We both decided to have a jam some time, and when we were talking about starting a band together, I asked Mayson and two other friends of ours to come along and we all just got on really well, with Aaron joining us some time later.

CALEB: We all gelled musically from the word go.

We started off doing covers of the Buzzcocks and Joy Division, then after a couple of practices, we progressed on to doing our own shit, and now here we are.

How did the name Release come about?

CALEB: It took time to agree on one.

We’d all agree on a name, but then we just kept changing our minds!

TOM: I think it was actually Caleb who came up with Release.

CALEB: Yeah, I suggested the name because I wanted our music to provide a release for not only ourselves, but for others too.

I believe everyone needs a release of some sort, like a kind of escapism whether it’s through drugs, football, music whatever.

TOM: People can come to our shows and get out all the anger and stress of work or family issues and have a good time.

CALEB: I personally wanted to provide a release for people and I think the rest of the chaps do as well.

It’s a good feeling when you’ve been doing what we set out to do from day one.

How would you describe your music?

TOM: I’d say hard hitting rock with a mellow alternative sound.

We’re very influenced by many genres of music.

CALEB: Versatile, with a punk attitude and punk sounds and influences, yet melodic and with heavy blues influence from the guitar section.

Like Tom just said though, we’re heavily influenced by so many genres of music.

You’ve already mentioned the Buzzcocks and Joy Division. Which other bands would you say have had a significant influence on your music?

CALEB: The list is endless!

TOM: I’d say groups like Rage Against The Machine, Black Sabbath, Public Enemy and the Wu-tang Clan.

CALEB: For me, it’d be The Streets, New Model Army, Jamie T, Rage Against The Machine, Bowie, Red Hot Chilli’s, Bauhaus, Foals, even dance artists like Joy Orbison and Jamie xx, I could go on forever!

TOM: The 80’s synth era really hits us too.

CALEB: There’s a big metal influence from Tom as well.

TOM: Yeah, the big four and Pantera are great influences towards myself, as well as hardcore music.

In regards to songwriting, is there a primary songwriter in the band?

TOM: Caleb is the primary songwriter.

CALEB: I’m more lyrics and ideas for the songs, though I suppose I provide most of the backbone.

TOM: He can write what we all feel and put them into the right lyrics, we also write songs on political matters and stories from the past.

CALEB: And the rest of the four geezers do what they do best and mould the dollop of play dough I give them, if that’s a good metaphor!

Do you see yourselves as a politically motivated band then?

TOM: I’d say so yes.

We’re strong believers of politics in the UK, and also what’s happening in other countries.

CALEB: It’s a big part of a lot of our tracks, it’s something that we all have a passion for and we strongly believe in our views of fairness and various other political values, man.

A big political event that has happened in the UK already this year was the vote to leave the European Union. How do you see that affecting the British music industry?

CALEB: I can’t see it affecting the music industry in a positive way when it comes to the economy, whether it be record sales or ticket sales at gigs.

When it comes to leave the EU, personally I think that a number of huge organisations will move their HQs to a country that will remain in the EU.

Therefore, they will be job losses and quite a few people won’t be able to enjoy luxuries such as going to gigs, so that could be a negative.

But on the other hand, it could inspire some great music and various other politically influenced art forms which, as past history has shown, could create a great movement in this country.

But at the moment, who knows?

You’re from Stoke. What’s your opinion of the city’s current music scene and how do you think it compares with other cities in the UK?

TOM: I think that Stoke’s music scene has definitely progressed more over time and more bands now are trying different things, which gives Stoke a variety, rather than having lots of bands trying to do the same thing.

How does the band’s recording process go?

TOM: What we do is record as a full band,and then start with the drums, then bass and then guitar and vocals.

If there’s anything else in the song like synth or effects, then it’s usually done at the end.

CALEB: During the process, we usually have creative ideas pop up in our heads, whether it be using a drill on a pick up to create an obscure sound on the guitar or even just an added snare in one bar. It varies.

What have you got lined up over the next couple of months?

TOM: A lovely summer tour from the 1st to 6th September.

Where will you be playing?

CALEB: The tour starts in Cardiff, then we go to Bristol, Cheltenham, back in Stoke for a headline at the Underground, Manchester and we finish the tour off in London.

We’re also playing the Ashcomberry festival near Leek on the 27th August.

There’s some shit hot venues we’re playing at, so we can’t wait to get on the road, hopefully gain some more followers and have a good old time.

How has the reaction been from the venues you’ve played on the road?

CALEB: To be honest man, I couldn’t have asked for any better reactions from the crowds we’ve played to.

It’s such a heart warmer when someone doesn’t know you from Adam and comes up to you after a gig to congratulate you on how much they enjoyed our set etc…

It really does mean the world and also makes it all worth while in a lot of ways, as much as we do it for ourselves and our own enjoyment.

We also, like any artist, like having people who are on the same wavelength as us, it’s a great feeling and we’ve received that from many of the places we’ve played, so thanks a lot to them lot who have taken the time to come and see us and support unsigned music.

Other people think we need chucking in a mental asylum, but it’s all good fun!

What’s your long-term aim?

CALEB: I think I speak for everyone when I say we wanna take it as far as we can go, although never forgetting the main thing is that we enjoy it to the max.

I don’t want a normal job and I want to do what I love for a living.

Who doesn’t?

SERTRALINE – The Sugarmill, Hanley, 05/08/2016

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS by NICOLE BROWN

Sertraline Gig Photo 1

Sertraline came to Hanley for the finale of their nationwide tour promoting their new single ‘Change of Heart’.

For the majority of the members of the metal/rock five-piece, it was a chance to finish on a high in front of a home crowd.

They were helped by strong support, both Rage Cave and YOUYESYOU doing a great job at warming things up.

At some gigs I’ve been to, the first band have struggled to make an impact.

However, Rage Cave were far from this, immediately grabbing everybody’s attention by playing a confident set filled with some well put together tracks.

Watching them, I thought it was remarkable that they had only played their first gig towards the end of June.

YOUYESYOU, led by Stone the Alchemist frontman Chris Munday, were also good, playing with much energy and strength.

Chris showed yet again why he is good at what he does, making sure the audience were engaged and entertained, while at the same time putting as much effort as he could into creating a strong set.

This must have taken some pressure off Sertraline, as from the word go, they seemed to relish every moment they were on stage.

Sertraline Gig Photo 2

Everybody in the band seemed to be in their absolute element, playing a lively, fast and intense set, perfectly complimented by the sublime singing of vocalist Lizzie.

Sertraline Gig Photo 4

All this resulted in a positive atmosphere, with the crowd thoroughly enjoying themselves, some singing along to the tracks, others deciding to form a moshpit which grew as the night wore on.

Sertraline Gig Photo 3

Overall, it was a brilliant evening of hard rock where everybody was on top form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LETLIVE. – ‘If I’m The Devil…’ (4/5)

(Epitaph)

Letlive Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

If anybody was hoping that Los Angeles post-hardcore outfit Letlive. were going to pick up exactly from where they left off, then prepare to be disappointed.

‘If I’m The Devil…’, their fourth studio album, sees the band, led by straight-talking frontman Jason Butler, venture out of their comfort zone.

The sound, even though it can still be classed as post-hardcore, is more experimental, with an eclectic variety of influences, ranging from new wave, hip-hop and indie.

When Panic! At The Disco went down a similar route for their latest album earlier this year, it fell rather flat, whereas Letlive. succeed, mainly thanks to the group’s musical talents and the stewardship of Butler, who shows off a diverse vocal depth, successfully switching from crooning to ranting with relative ease.

In a recent interview, the band said that lyrically, this is the most politically and socially minded record they’ve ever put together, and they are exactly right.

Many of the tracks explore a lot of the political and social issues facing the USA at the moment, with the best example being stand-out song ‘Good Mourning, America’, chronicling the history of discrimination and misrule of authority across the pond.

However, you don’t have to be American to get the message Letlive. try to put across, as the topics very much apply to most other countries in the world right now.

The group made a big risk changing what was a winning formula, but they do enough to keep the majority of their devoted fanbase happy, and at the same time may very well win over some of those who have dismissed them in the past.

TOP TRACK: ‘Good Mourning, America’

BEARTOOTH – ‘Aggressive’ (4/5)

(Red Bull)

Beartooth Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Ohio band Beartooth burst onto the scene two years ago with their full-length debut ‘Disgusting’, winning plaudits for their raw fusion of metalcore and hardcore punk and the frank, deeply personal lyrics of frontman Caleb Shomo.

Coming up with a emulating follow-up seems to be notoriously difficult for a lot of musicians, but the group look to have had no problems with achieving this with ‘Aggressive’.

They have kept the elements of what made ‘Disgusting’ a success, however at the same time, there are a few subtle changes.

There is an increase of intensity and energy to the overall sound, with a slightly more aggressive vocal delivery from Shomo.

The main strength of Beartooth remains the lyrics, with Shomo inviting you freely into his state of mind.

By the album’s conclusion, it’s as if he has become a close friend, confiding in you about his struggles and insecurities and the obstacles he has faced, which shows what a talented lyricist he is.

If you are a young rock fan who is not going through a great time at the moment, then ‘Aggressive’ will be of definite appeal.

TOP TRACK: ‘Loser’

ARCHITECTS – ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ (4/5)

(Epitaph)

Architects Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Up until now, Brighton metalcore outfit Architects have used each album as an experimentation on their sound.

This has produced some good results, such as 2009’s ‘Hollow Crown’, now becoming seen as a modern classic, and not so good, for example, 2011’s ‘The Here and Now’, which saw them go more towards ballads, received a lukewarm response and has since been disowned by the band.

With ‘All Gods Have Abandoned Us’, their seventh studio album, they have mainly stuck to the formula that won them plaudits for their last offering, 2014’s ‘Lost Forever//Lost Together’, even electing to stick with the same production team.

Architects now seem to have found their niche: a heavy sound deeply rooted in metal, with politically-charged lyrics.

The lyrics are centred around themes of religion, politics and human morality, with vocalist Sam Carter musing over his loss of faith in humanity and organised religion, as well as giving his views on topical subjects.

This all comes together in the excellent ‘A Match Made In Heaven’, where Carter verbally attacks the American and British governments for invading countries in the Middle East and leaving them in chaos, resulting in the rise of Islamic State.

The subject matter is a perfect compliment to the sound, which is the group’s heaviest and darkest to date.

From the beginning of opener ‘Nihilist’ to the end of lengthy final track ‘Memento Mori’, ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us’ takes you on a headbanging journey which also makes you ponder the state of the world.

With this, Architects have proven that they have fully recovered from the crisis of identity they suffered after the huge success of ‘Hollow Crown’, and it will be interesting to see where they go next.

TOP TRACK: ‘A Match Made In Heaven’

 

 

 

INFINITY

Infinity interview photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

There was sadness last year when Stoke rock band Already Gone announced they were no more.

However, it wasn’t necessarily the end of the road as three of the group members decided to stay together and start again as Infinity.

With newcomer Pete Baddeley on vocals, the melodic hard rockers have certainly made their mark, receiving much positive feedback for their live shows and debut single, which has been a YouTube hit.

With a growing fanbase and a debut EP out soon, I decided to have a chat with them.

How did you get together?

TIM BUXTON (BASS): Well, me, Dan and Kirk have known each other since school days.

We’ve all played together in previous bands, spent a good few years with our last band and we figured that when we’d start out afresh, we’d stick together.

We were looking for a singer and that’s how Pete found us.

We’ve been working together as a four-piece for the past year or so.

How did the name Infinity come about?

TIM: We needed something memorable and catchy, and something that represented our musical style.

We spent ages thinking of something and Kirk said Infinity would really work.

It’s catchy, it’s easy to remember and we’ve got a ready made logo to go with it.

How would you describe your music?

PETE BADDELEY (VOCALS): HARD ROCK!

TIM: Yeah, good old-fashioned, no-frills hard rock.

PETE: I would say a mixture of the old classic rock and modern rock, good old head bang music!

TIM: We quite enjoy our style, because it’s quite unique, and there isn’t many local bands doing what we do.

It’s different, but it also mixes in well with the majority of the bands we play with without us sounding out of place.

What bands are you inspired by?

TIM: We take our sound from a number of modern bands, like Shinedown, Sixx:AM, Nickelback, Black Stone Cherry, Alter Bridge, Avenged Sevenfold, Hinder….

DAN NUTT (GUITAR): Yeah, man!

TIM: And we’ve all grown up with the classics that will always be in the back of our minds, the Guns N’ Roses, Metallicas and Motley Crues of the world.

But anything we hear, we try to take the best of it and think about how it can affect our music.

PETE: We’ve been inspired by so many bands we’ve met on the road too.

The other week, you supported Headrush at their reunion gig at the Sugarmill. What was it like playing on the same bill as a band that are seen as legends on the Stoke music scene?

TIM: We’ve known the guys in Headrush for years, dating back to our former bands, and Kirk even spent some time playing for them.

It was great to see they’ve not lost anything in terms of performance, despite them not doing anything for so long.

They’re great guys and it was good to see Andy Law (Headrush’s vocalist) again.

We were really excited to be given the opportunity to play with them on our Sugarmill debut.

How was it playing at the Sugarmill for the first time as Infinity?

TIM: Awesome. We’ve all had so many nights out there in the past watching various bands.

When you’ve seen some of your heroes perform on that stage over they years, it’s always exciting to get up there and stand where they stood.

It helps that we feel we played well and the crowd seemed into it.

PETE: We have all played at the Sugarmill in the past, but in terms of the overall show, it was pretty damn special and I was just flabbergasted for the whole experience, it was a great time!

It’s definitely been our biggest achievement as a band.

TIM: So far!

While I was watching your set, I noticed that Pete was wearing a T-shirt with the words ‘Bacon Strips’ written on it. What was going on there?

PETE: There is this channel on YouTube called Epic Meal Time, which is basically a load of guys making ridiculous sized food and they eat it while getting drunk.

They love bacon and I can kinda relate to that!

TIM: We keep telling Pete that he needs to be cool as a singer, but then he does daft things like that and ruins it, so we kind of given up telling him now.

Is Pete the joker of the band then?

TIM: He likes to think so. Thankfully, you avoided the jokes he was cracking at the Sugarmill.

PETE: My bad jokes are to die for, they literally are!

What’s the difference between a zippy and a hippo?

I’ve no idea.

PETE: Zippo! One is really heavy and the other is a little lighter!

TIM: See?

The music scene in the Potteries seems to have a positive vibe to it at the moment. What’s your viewpoint?

TIM: There’s some great bands out there right now.

Since we started, we’ve shared the stage with some real talent, and with some of the bands that are making waves around the country, Stoke is where it’s at for music right now.

PETE: I believe that this is now the best time to support local music, because there are so many great bands at the minute, and so many different styles out there too!

Long may it last, I say.

TIM: Damn right.

PETE: Amen to that!

You have an EP coming out soon. How has it been recording it?

TIM: We’re going to be putting the finishing touches to it in the next few weeks actually.

It’s been a great experience going into the studio, hearing the song evolve throughout the day, putting the little bits at the end to make it sound more polished.

It’s a proper journey that we love to do, even when the pressure is really on when it’s your time to play and to make sure you don’t mess it up.

PETE: We’re taking it slowly at the moment, one step at a time, one song at a time.

It’s a new experience for me to go into a recording studio and I’m loving it!

TIM: Yeah, me, Dan and Kirk have all been in multiple studios in the past.

Paul at Summerbank Studios in Tunstall knows us though, and we have a great time, coming out with a great sound at the end.

PETE: That’s why it’s so catchy!

When you’re writing tracks, is it a group effort or does there tend to be a member of the band who does the majority of the songwriting?

TIM: It’s a group effort definitely. We all have our roles we fill.

Dan’s the main music writer though. We all chip in from time to time, but Dan does the majority of the riffs.

Kirk lays down a beat for them, which is something he does naturally.

Then, it’s usually me and Pete who throw some lyrics on the top.

We all contribute to make it better.

DAN: Like Tim says, it’s a group effort, it all starts from an idea and it just snowballs from there really, starting with a structure or basic skeleton and then we keep adding to it.

Then, you always end up adding and layering in the studio, because that’s where they come to life!

What inspires the lyrics?

TIM: Life, man.

We take aspects of what we know. We like to fuel our songs with things that we’re actually familiar with and feel from day to day, and then make them so people out there can relate to them and know what we’re banging on about.

PETE: Everything that’s going on in this world: pain, love, anger etc.

Some of the lyrics we have are like an open question waiting to be asked.

What have got lined up in the near future?

TIM: Our main concentration is to release our EP, so people can listen to the songs.

Beyond that, we’re planning on gigging as much as we can, getting music videos out there and going on to a full album sometime next year if things go according to plan.

DAN: Yeah, the album ain’t a million miles away in terms of being written or recorded to be fair.

PETE: We are just going to keep getting our music out there, either live or online.

We have big plans and aspirations, and we have started a vlog with highlights from our shows which is great for connecting with people!

What’s your long-term aim?

PETE: Headline Download!

TIM: To get as many people listening to our music as we possibly can.

We want to headline festivals, we want to tour the world, we want thousands of people singing our songs and chanting our name.

We want to play with as many bands as we can, at as many places as we can.

We want to finish playing in 40 years and say ‘Yeah, we’ve done it all’ with no regrets at all.

INFINITY’S DEBUT EP WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

YOU CAN SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF THEIR GIGS AT THEIR OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE.

CHRIS MUNDAY

Chris Munday interview photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by MARTIN KESSEL

Chris Munday has made quite an impact on the Stoke music scene in the last few years.

As frontman of rock band Stone The Alchemist, him and his group have gained a good local reputation with their diverse and honest musical approach.

The outfit have decided to take a break, but Chris is keeping himself busy with his new project, YOUYESYOU.

I chatted to him about his journey so far, and what the future holds.

When did you realise you wanted to get into music?

The moment I hit 15. I’d been into pop music for years and done a few talent shows when I was in High School, but then I heard rock music around the time the nu metal explosion happened and it’s stuck with me even now, and a few years later a friend heard me singing, liked my voice and took me down the path of joining bands.

How did your friend hear you sing in the first place? Was it at one of the school talent shows you did?

We were hanging out once, and I think it was a Meat Loaf song of all things, but yeah, I joined his band and it didn’t really go anywhere, but I just remembered enjoying going to the practices, I left them to join another and that’s when I got into my ‘serious’ bands.

What was the ‘serious’ band you joined?

It was a band called Andraste, with three other ambitious guys that was basically a covers band with our own songs cut in between.

It spiked my creativity and got my voice heard and even had a small following at the time, can’t believe that was almost ten years ago.

How did Stone The Alchemist come about?

It was with a few false starts, I’ll say that, but it kicked in around about 2011 after Jono heard me singing once at a place in Newcastle-under-Lyme called The Rigger, and we did our first gig a few months later.

I rememeber Jard walking in and looking nothing like he does now, but the moment that guy started playing drums I was like “I’ve got to do this.”

Are your parents musical at all?

Yeah, My mum and dad have a real taste for any kind of music really.

In terms of being in a band etc, my mum was in one in the seventies doing backing vocals and my dad has a vinyl collection that must be a mile long, I just know you’ll hear Stevie Wonder and Tina Turner who are nothing short of musical idols to my Mum, whereas my dad has been my gig buddy for years, years ago he took me to see Motorhead and it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to, I’m gonna stop there because I could go on, so in short, yes.

What band was your mother in? And it must have been quite an experience seeing Motorhead in the flesh.

I think she was in a band called Neon Blue, or Neon Light, something like that and yeah, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the warty faced beaut three times, once with Slash. The loss of Lemmy hurt us all.

What bands are you inspired by?

I have way, way too many. Nine Inch Nails and Trent Reznor will always be my biggest love though, Kyo from Dir en grey in terms of vocal styling.

At the moment I’m digging Sia, Death Spells and Cane Hill, also Korn’s new song kicks ass.

How and where do you get your ideas for songs?

They just sort of grow, sometimes we have an idea and sometimes it’ll be working through trying to get something, I find sometimes some of the best songs come about when we’ve written lyrics first, then we have a general idea for music to fit the mood of the lyrics.

Having been part of the Stoke music scene for a while now, how do you think it has changed since you started out?

The smoking ban has quite possibly been the worst thing for bands, I’ll tell you that, but I think the best bands in Stoke are the ones that endure and last such as Tussk and HeadrusH, and now with Sons of Andal, Sertaline and Alter Eden whose members were all in Blue Origin.

There’s a fantastic scene in Stoke and it’s vast too.

I don’t think I’ve been anywhere else where there’s more than three or four venues in the area where bands can play and Stoke has been awesome in pushing its bands forward.

You’ve recently written some articles for REBEL. Is writing something you would consider doing more of in the future?

I’ll do the odd interview here and there as well as the odd review too, but at the moment, I’ll be focusing on my music and other creative projects.

What are the other creative projects you’re doing?

I’m currently writing an animation called Camden Terrorist Rejects with a very talented artist called Louise Hodkiss, that too should be out this year and we’ll be dropping a tease trailer in the not too distant future so stay tuned!

I’ll look out for that. Can you tell me any more about it?

Yeah, it’s about four teenagers from the north of London who all kick large amounts of ass, it’ll be a series with episodes similar to an anime, but we’ve got Carl Davis on board too to make it a more immersive experience, we’ve also got Twenty Blocks Away doing the films score and his music is incredible, so please check out our page on Facebook and we’ll keep you posted!!!

What’s happening with Stone The Alchemist? Are you all taking a break, or is that it now?

I’m keeping all that hush hush at the mo, but I’ll be focusing more on YOUYESYOU this year and next.

But, Alchemist will have some news fairly soon on what’s ahead.

Tell me more about YOUYESYOU.

YOUYESYOU are a three-piece from Stoke with a stripped back sound consisting of drums, the noisiest fucking bass guitar heard and me on vocals, it’s more personal in lyrics and a more simple and direct approach in terms of songwriting.

Jord Poole and Liam Stride have been in bands also for years and those two guys were also in Skarlett Arcade a few years back.

What are your plans for the band? An EP, an album maybe?

A few local gigs in Stoke, and the EP should be arriving later this year.