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BORDERS

Borders band photo

BORDERS (from l-r): Dan Hodson (drums), Gavin “Gav” Burton (guitar/backing vocals) , Jordan “JJ” Olifent (vocals), Tom Britton (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Lincoln-based four-piece Borders are a band full of ambition, with dreams of taking their technical metal sound, comprising of infectious hooks, pounding rhythms and aggressive vocals, and showcasing it to as many people around the world as possible.

Judging by their recent achievements, there’s no reason to believe the band’s aims are unrealistic, what with the likes of Metal Hammer and Kerrang! tipping them for big things, as well as the success of their third EP, ‘Diagnosed’, released earlier this year, which saw them lyrically criticise the manipulation of mass media and the greed of pharmaceutical companies.

I chatted with them recently at the Macmillan Fest in Nottingham, where the quartet were playing their latest offering in full.

How was the band formed?

GAVIN “GAV” BURTON (guitar/backing vocals): Me and Dan went to school together. We used to jam out to Slipknot and Machine Head in his bedroom. Once we had finished school, we went to music college together.

Once we left college, we still wanted to pursue a career in music, so we set out with this project, wanting to push ourselves that bit further.

Tom went to university with Dan, so that’s how they met. We had a vocalist for two years, but it didn’t work out with him. Jordan’s been our vocalist now for around a year and a half. We found him on the interweb.

JORDAN “JJ” OLIFENT (vocals): The magic of the internet, yeah.

TOM BRITTON (bass): We had a kind of live audition, where people sent videos to us and that sort of thing, and Jordan was the one who really stood out for us.

How did the name Borders come about?

TOM: The story behind it isn’t really that exciting. There’s no cool origin story, we just literally had a big list of names which we thought sounded awesome, and best fitted the style of music we were going for.

Borders was one of the names that really stood out, we all felt that it hit a lot of points, especially at the moment, what with borders between countries experiencing a lot of conflict, so we went with that.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

GAV: Normally, it will come from some sort of riff that I’ve made up with my mouth whilst driving. I’ll go home, and then try to figure out how to play it, eventually getting a kind of rough blueprint for a song.

Then, me and Tom will go over all of the instrumental bits, with Dan changing the drum parts. Jordan will then write the lyrics and vocals, giving me some horrific backing parts that I can’t do. I have to do some crazy high singing! (laughs)

So yeah, that’s generally how it works, starting from some random riff in my mind.

The band released their third EP, ‘Diagnosed’, back in April. How well do you all think it was received?

JORDAN: It was amazing. Yeah, it was really nice to see it get out there in all the formats. We toured it as well, that was really good fun, getting to play all of the new songs.

TOM: We all felt that it was a massive step up from our last EP, which was the first with Jordan, so it was really good to get it out, so we could say to people that this was our sound now, heavier and more aggressive. We’re really proud of it.

GAV: The recognition from the bigger outlets such as Metal Hammer and Kerrang! was very kind. They were really getting behind it. Just getting that little nod was awesome.

TOM: It made us think that we’re on the right track.

Over the summer, you toured with Black Coast. How was that?

JORDAN: The shows were awesome, but it was a little bit of a nightmare. Our van broke down once, and on another occasion, we accidentally locked the van in an overnight car park that wasn’t 24 hours! (laughs) We all had to spend the night, with all of our gear, in a hostel.

The following morning, we went back to the car park to get the van, and a car was on fire, so we couldn’t get in.

TOM: That was when we were supporting Whitechapel in London, which was an add-on to the tour.

GAV: Yeah, it was a mad couple of weekends, but the shows were really good.

JORDAN: It was fun hanging out with the guys from Black Coast. We had a great time, and would love to play with them again soon. Yeah, there were a couple of problems in between, but we were just really unlucky.

I became ill at the end of the tour, so on the last night, they had to do an instrumental set without me. It was really good actually, sitting back and watching my own band. That was a crazy experience, so it was both a positive and a negative.

The band are going on tour again later this month. How is the experience for you all of playing live?

JORDAN: It’s the best part of being in a band, really.

DAN HODSON (drums): We’re all such calm individuals.

TOM: I’d say we’re pretty chill.

DAN: Yeah, something goes on when we play.

TOM: It does feel like a release, because with the whole gigging experience, you’ve got so much build-up, you’ve got to book the gigs, drive to the venues, and you wait for ages, but then, when we finally go on, it’s an awesome experience.

When you’re playing your songs live in front of fans singing along, it feels really good.

What are your plans for after the forthcoming tour?

TOM: Chilling out, but in terms of band stuff, we’re still writing, so hopefully, we’ll have something ready for release some time next year. We’re pretty much all go on that at the moment, so we’ll be recording the demos for that, and putting together all the different parts.

GAV: We do have another tour planned for later in the year. We’re not able to announce anything at the moment, all I can say is that it will be a cheeky little two-weeker with a big band, which should be amazing. We’re just waiting on being allowed to hype about that.

What is the band’s long-term aim?

GAV: Just to push ourselves as much as we can, really. You know, we’d love to play Download or a big festival like that in the next couple of years.

TOM: We’d also like to play in as many countries as possible.

JORDAN: If our music can take us to many countries, where we can see a lot of the world without having to pay out on anything ourselves, that would be great. We want to play to as many people as we can, for as long as we can keep feasibly doing it.

Borders EP Cover

‘DIAGNOSED’ IS AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE, STREAM OR DOWNLOAD FROM ALL MAJOR PLATFORMS.

BORDERS WILL AGAIN BE EMBARKING ON A TOUR LATER THIS MONTH. FURTHER DETAILS BELOW:

Borders tour poster

MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/BordersBandUK

TWITTER: twitter.com/BordersbandUK

INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/BordersbandUK

YOUTUBE: www.youtube.com/user/BordersbandUK

 

 

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MACMILLAN FEST 2017 – Nottingham, 02/09/2017

Macmillan Fest 2017 poster

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTOS of The Treatment by CALLUM GROVE

As the summer festival season drew to a close for another year, a corner of the centre of Nottingham was taken over by the Macmillan Fest, which was now in its eighth year raising money and awareness for the great cause that is Macmillan Cancer Support, and has become a fixture of the city’s rock music calendar.

This was my second time covering it for this site, and in terms of the weather on the day, there was no comparison to the first.

Last year, the festival took place under grey skies and torrential rain, but this year, it was blue skies and glorious sunshine all the way.

With the opening bands kicking off their sets around half past one, I got to the press accreditation tent, situated around the back of the legendary venue that is Rock City, as the clock struck 1pm.

Having got my wristband and press pass, I made my way into the Black Cherry Lounge, an adjacent nightclub that was doubling for the day as a press and band preparation area.

There, you could see roadies shifting equipment about, vocalists undertaking rigorous singing exercises, and musicians making final tweaks to their instruments before they ventured on stage.

With my first interview of the day, with Welsh post-hardcore quartet Holding Absence, under my belt, it was time to head over to the Rescue Rooms, which was playing host to the majority of the day’s sets, with the building holding three of the stages. It lacks the prestige of its neighbour, but is a great venue nonetheless.

Opening up the place’s main stage were local metal five-piece Centurion. They had earned that spot on the bill after winning the festival’s Battle of the Bands competition back in June, and judging by their live performance, it was easy to see how they had won.

Centurion gig photo

The set was delivered with much feistiness, whether it was coming from the strong vocals and stage presence of frontwoman Esme Knight, or the band’s sound, much influenced by the classic metal of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and “The Big Four”.

It must have been daunting for them to be the opening act, what with being handed the task of warming up the crowd, who at this point in proceedings, had yet to really get into the swing of things, but after seeing the band perform such a confident set, actively involving themselves with the audience, it seems to have been taken with relish.

Directly upstairs from this, another band native to Nottingham were playing another strong set.

Say The Word are classed as a pop-punk outfit, but their sound is not stereotypical of the genre, with the quartet also taking influence from the likes of the Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen.

Say The Word band photo

With more of a compact space, the crowd were able to get up, close and personal with the band members, who all performed with high energy, which by its conclusion, had left them, and much of the patrons, covered in sweat.

Currently enjoying a rising reputation, this was probably the last time you would have had the opportunity to see them play such an intimate stage.

After that, I decided to cool down by taking a little stroll outside around the back of the Rescue Rooms, where there were stalls offering free samples of whisky, charity head shaves, clothing and other merchandise, as well as a barbecue and a raffle (with a cuddly Chewbacca as one of the main prizes).

Then, it was back to the Black Cherry Lounge to conduct some interviews, which you will be able to see on this site shortly.

All of the bands I chatted with, including locals Skies In Motion and Beckon Lane, Lincoln outfit Borders, and one of the headliners, Hacktivist, who had recently supported Korn, were comprised of nice, down-to-earth guys. You could tell that they were there to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause, rather than using the festival as an opportunity to inflate their egos.

One of these were metalcore five-piece Our Hollow, Our Home, who were performing a stone’s throw away in the basement of Rock City, and their set will be looked back on by the people who were there to see them as one of the highlights of the day.

Our Hollow, Our Home band photo

The Southampton quintet certainly knew how to work the crowd, with heavy sounds that made you feel as if there was an earthquake going on, and the frontman actively encouraging the crowd to form a moshpit, which gradually grew from just a few die-hard fans at the front, to, by the set’s conclusion, pretty much the entire room, creating an electric atmosphere.

On my way to the Rescue Rooms to see one of the main draws, heavy rock five-piece The Treatment, I bumped into a devout fan of theirs who told me that this would be the 13th time he had seen them live.

Having not seen them play in the flesh once, I thought they must put on a great show if they’re good enough to have been seen that many times, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Treatment gig photo 1

The Cambridge outfit are now at the stage where they can attract a devoted following wherever they play, and this was made clear with the almighty roar, more akin to that experienced at a football match, the crowd gave when they emerged onto stage.

They started playing at full throttle, and even towards the end of their hour-and-a-bit set, not one of the band members showed any signs of slowing down, performing with energy in abundance.

The Treatment gig photo 2

The quintet’s enthusiasm was matched by the audience, who were eagerly singing along, word for word, to the lyrics, even to the tracks from their most recent album ‘Generation Me’, as well as bobbing their heads to a sound that was a mix of classic rock, heavy metal and punk.

The Treatment gig photo 4

The Treatment really do know how to work a crowd, with frontman Mitch Emms issuing rallying cries in between an intense vocal delivery, and the guitarists, comprising of two brothers, treating them to some great riffery.

The Treatment gig photo 3

I would highly recommend seeing this band at your earliest opportunity, because in this age of Autotune, much choreography and where image is seen as more important than talent, it was refreshing to see something where real rock ‘n’ roll played by gifted musicians took centre stage.

Some have said in the recent past that rock is dead, but judging from what I saw across the stages, these people must have a defeatist attitude, because if you look beyond the mainstream and delve just a little into the underground, you will pleasantly find that it is actually in very rude health.

My review can’t end without me acknowledging everyone who selflessly gave up their free time and worked incredibly hard in order to make sure such a substantial event ran like clockwork, and that as much money and awareness as possible was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support, a great charity that helps people unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with a terrible illness that has devastated the lives of many people over the years.

YOU CAN MAKE A DONATION TO MACMILLAN CANCER SUPPORT AT www.macmillan.org.uk