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