Tag Archives: Metal

CATALYSIS

Catalysis band photo

CATALYSIS (from l-r): Sean Ramson (rhythm guitar), Callum Rennie (drums), Col MacGregor (vocals/bass), Drew Cochrane (lead guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Since forming in late 2016, Scottish four-piece Catalysis have been fusing together elements of groove, thrash, and death metal to bring their growing legion of followers a metalcore sound that is distinct and original.

Having unveiled their debut EP, ‘Into The Unknown’, to good reviews last year, the band are now eager to show how they have progressed musically with a self-titled follow-up, to be released in the run-up to Christmas.

To tell me about that, and more, was the Dundee quartet’s lead guitarist, Drew Cochrane.

How did the band get together?

My old band split up right around the same time as our drummer Callum’s old band, so we decided to get together for a jam and see what happened. It went well, so I brought in the other guitar player from my old band too (although he has now left and has been replaced by Sean, who incidentally played bass in the old band).

How did the name Catalysis come about?

It’s actually quite a lame reason, but basically, we were struggling to come up with names, and my dad had mentioned to me in the past that he’d always wanted to use that name for a metal band (he plays predominantly in punk bands), so I thought I’d put it to use for him.

The word is to do with chemical reactions, though, something science-y that we only have a loose grasp of.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

I’d say our typical approach is that generally either Sean or myself will bring a song to the band, more or less musically finished as a recorded demo with programmed drums, and then from there, we’ll iron out any parts that we’re not 100% convinced about in the rehearsal room.

Once we’ve cemented the music, Col will demo his vocals over the track, and we’ll start to work on vocal arrangements and backing together. Usually, because I like to cause myself unnecessary stress whenever I can, I leave writing solos to the last minute when we’re sending off the finished tracks for mixing.

We do sometimes write together in a room as a band too, but most of the time, someone is bringing the bulk of the song to the table pre-written, and the “in the room” part is just the polishing.

What inspires the band lyrically?

On the new EP, there are a couple of tracks which more or less cover the fact that humanity is a brutal destructive force (‘Nothing Left’, ‘Deadline’), a song about the Highland Clearances (for those who don’t know, a very dark period in Scotland’s national history), and a couple of songs that are more about personal things – dealing with struggles and making choices, etc, so we cover a few different angles with our writing.

Actually, our last EP had songs about fantasy stuff, as our old singer was super into Dungeons and Dragons, etc.

Last year, you brought out a debut EP, ‘Into The Unknown’, to good reviews. How was the response to that for you all personally?

The response was great, and obviously as a new band with a first release, we were pretty happy about it.

However, the last EP didn’t really reflect the band, as it was written before Sean or Col joined the band, and they had no real input to it. I think the other thing that somewhat diminished the positive feedback to the EP was that we weren’t massively happy with the production.

Open Eyes Productions, who mixed it, are great, but I think we tried to have too tight a control on the sound, and they didn’t really know how to achieve the sound we wanted, so we ended up with something that wasn’t their best work, and wasn’t what we wanted either.

Next month, the band will be releasing a self-titled follow-up. How has the recording process been?

The recording process for the new EP couldn’t have been smoother. It’s 2018, which means that we’re able to do a lot of the recording ourselves these days – this is great, because it helps keep costs down, and the quality up, as we have as much time as we want to track parts and experiment with layering things without worrying about breaking the bank.

The drums were all tracked at a local studio, then we recorded all the guitars, bass, and vocals at my house, then we sent them off to be mixed.

I think we worked a lot more collaboratively on this EP than on the last one when it comes to recording too – especially when it comes to vocals, as a lot of ideas were bounced back and forward during the tracking process, and everyone recorded their own backing – on the previous release, Sam (our previous singer) took almost complete control, and there was no input (in terms of ideas or actual singing) from anyone else.

I think, as a result, the new EP is stronger and more varied.

And the upcoming EP has been produced by Mendel bij de Leij, of legendary death metal outfit Aborted. How has working with him been as an experience?

It was a great experience. I reached out to him after seeing an advert on Instagram for his mixing services, as I’ve been a long term fan of Aborted, and always enjoyed his solo music, which he mixed himself.

He was super easy-going, and worked with us to attain the perfect sound for what we were trying to achieve. He mixed three of the tracks as singles, then remixed the whole lot to sound coherent as a release when all the songs were done. The mix crushes – he knew exactly how a band like us should sound.

He’s also really friendly and really professional – I couldn’t recommend working with him more.

Also, how will the EP differ to ‘Into The Unknown’?

Compared to ‘Into The Unknown’, there’s probably less of a death metal vibe because of our change in singers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still some heavy growls in there, but Sam predominantly used super harsh vocals.

On the new EP, there’s a bigger focus on strong melodies – almost all the songs have a big vocal hook somewhere. That’s not to say that we’ve softened up, or are trying to write commercially, but we’ve tried to write more distinctive, memorable parts.

The songs themselves are (largely) shorter and more to the point, and there’s a stronger emphasis on both groove and texture – there are more up and down moments. We still have big riffs, we still have guitar solos in each song, but it’s all just more refined, more precise.

How is it, for the band, performing live?

Performing live with the current line-up is a treat. The new songs are going over really well, and we’ve all really upped our game.

One of the big things about the writing of the new EP was how much we put into layering up the vocals and using everyone’s talents to the best effect, so pulling that sound off live and replicating it was a challenge at first, but now that we’re nailing it, I think it gives us a more dynamic and interesting live show too.

There’s a lot of movement on stage, and we’re all really passionate about what we’re doing, and I don’t think with previous line-ups, there was that energy or passion.

What are your initial plans for 2019?

For 2019 so far, we’ve booked our first international show – which is at the Aggressive Music Festival in the Czech Republic, and we’ll be adding some more shows in Belgium, Germany, etc, en route to that show.

We’ve also got a couple of Scottish shows confirmed, and a few more in the works too, even though one of our big focuses this coming year is going to be getting out of Scotland more.

It’s tough, because we all work, and two of the guys have families, etc, but I think basically, we want to take the success we’ve had in the latter half of 2018, and press forward with that.

In terms of new music, there will definitely be a release again next year, though at present, we’re not sure what form it’ll take. It looks likely we’ll be doing an album, but there’s a number of factors to consider with that, including the cost. We’ve already got three or four songs written for it though, with skeletons of another four or so too.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

This one is really easy: to have fun. We’re not under any illusions about who or what we are. We’re four guys with good jobs, some of us are married with kids, etc, and we can’t be giving that all up to tour around Europe sleeping in a van for three months at a time, but what we can do is continue to release quality music as often as we can, and to get out there and play as much as we can without causing a divorce.

Catalysis EP Cover

THE SELF-TITLED SECOND EP FROM CATALYSIS WILL BE RELEASED ON DECEMBER 14, AND THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING A LAUNCH SHOW FOR THE EP IN THEIR HOME CITY THAT EVENING, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Catalysis EP launch show poster

MORE INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE.

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BITCH HAWK

Bitch Hawk band photo

BITCH HAWK (from l-r): Henrik Holmlund (drums), Andreas Hourdakis (guitar), Patrik Berger (bass), Fred Burman (vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

What do you get when a hugely successful songwriter behind such tracks as Icona Pop’s ‘I Love It’, an internationally-renowned jazz guitarist, a highly-skilled drummer, and the vocalist of an extreme metal outfit all join forces to form a band?

You get Swedish four-piece Bitch Hawk, who have united to give you one of the most unique, fiercest blasts of metals you’ve heard in a long time.

Not content with bringing out one album, their self-titled debut, in 2018, the quartet recently unveiled a follow-up, entitled ‘Joy’, and I spoke to frontman Fred Burman about both releases, the collective’s journey so far, and what him and his bandmates have lined up for Bitch Hawk in the near future.

How did the band get together?

Andreas, Patrik, and Henrik had the band in a more theoretical sense for a couple of years, and they approached me to join in late 2016, I think.

At that point in my life, I was craving to do more aggressive music, and given the line-up of members, it was a no-brainer.

How did the name Bitch Hawk come about?

The name was already in place when I joined. They wanted something stupid, and stupid, it is. Gloriously so.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

For ‘Joy’ (the band’s recently-released second album), we set out to cross-contaminate old Megadeth with Lumpy and the Dumpers, and in my mind, we nailed it.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We’re kind of a new band, although we’re already two albums in. I would say we’re still very curious about each other, and fascinated with the stuff everyone brings to the table when we’re writing.

Every idea inspires a new one. The best kind of creative environment.

Earlier this year, the band released their self-titled debut album. How was the reaction to that?

Mostly rave reviews, but also a couple of stinkers, so I guess we can be quite polarising, as it should be.

And recently, you unveiled its follow-up, entitled ‘Joy’. How was the recording process for that?

Pelle Gunnerfeldt (Fireside, the Hives) recorded and mixed the album in Gröndal Studio in Stockholm. It was pretty much recorded live in a day and a half with some vocals and a couple of guitars recorded in Patrik’s studio the following week. Real smooth, no fuss.

How does ‘Joy’ differ to the debut album?

It’s more intense, more to the point, more Bitch Hawk. I’d recommend a listen!

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

For me – a taste of iron in my mouth, sometimes a broken rib (happened about a year ago), and a sense of JOY.

And finally, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

We will be doing shows, as candid and furious as they come, and there are currently several in the pipeline, which we’ll be announcing soon.

We’re going to change the world, one show at a time.

Bitch Hawk Album Cover

‘JOY’, THE SECOND ALBUM FROM BITCH HAWK, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA ADRIAN RECORDINGS.

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

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THE MECHANIST

The Mechanist band photo

THE MECHANIST (back, from l-r): James Cheal (vocals), Alex Wem (bass) (front, from l-r): Les Harrison (drums), Sam Butterfield (guitar), Jonny White (guitar/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

By combining fast technical metal riffs and brutal metalcore breakdowns, along with a positive and collaborative songwriting approach, Leeds five-piece The Mechanist are rapidly making a name for themselves on the British metal scene.

Having recently brought out a double A-side single, ‘Timekeeper/Between The Lines’, as well as playing a headline show in their home city, the band spoke to me about them, the quintet’s journey so far, as well as their initial plans for 2019.

How did the band form?

The band was formed by James Cheal and former guitarist Sam Parry, who set about recruiting via friends and the internet whilst writing the first EP. The line-up changed around for a while, until we settled on the current members. Sam Butterfield joined last year after Parry decided to depart from the band.

How did the name The Mechanist come about?

James came up with the name The Mechanist after researching the philosophy of mechanism, the idea that everything is composed of a multitude of individual interconnecting inanimate parts which present the illusion of soul, self, etc.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

We are influenced massively by the new music emerging from bands like The Contortionist, SikTh, and Architects!

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Sam and Jonny usually begin writing riffs together or alone, then bring these ideas to Les and Alex to work on arranging the structure, and to help piece the song together. Vocals usually come last, with James writing his parts. This process is completely collaborative, and promises to show our best work.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Our first EP, ‘Minds & Machines’, which we released last year, was lyrically inspired from The Mechanist philosophy, and dealt with themes of free will and self as illusory and the multitude of difficult questions and answers raised by the subject.

‘Timekeeper’ and ‘Between the Lines’, our more recent singles, focus more on getting older, and the effect that the passage of time has on your relationships with others and yourself.

Speaking of your debut EP, how was the reaction to that?

The reaction was huge! We poured our hearts into the promotion and release of that EP, and we feel that it payed off!

We spent a lot of time creating content for social media such as all our music videos, playthroughs, lyric videos, and extra content (Dog Meme), which all help build a fan base and get our content viewed. It showed us that some careful planning can pay off, and is totally worth our time and effort.

How was the recording process for ‘Timekeeper’?

The recording process was a huge amount of fun! We spent four days at Fox Hound Studios in Cheshire, with producer Mike Bennett tracking live drums, guitar, bass, and vocals.

It was made easy by our preparation prior to the recording, however, during the process, our bass player, Alex, started getting very sick, and it was only the day after recording when he went to hospital that we found out that he had popped his lung, and he ended up spending the next two months in hospital for a total of six surgeries.

Now if that’s not a great story, then we don’t know what is!

And for those who have yet to listen to it, what can they expect?

If you haven’t heard ‘Timekeeper’ yet, then we would really recommend it, as we feel it’s the best representation of what you can expect from us in the future! We are currently working on a new EP, and feel that ‘Timekeeper’ bridges the gap between our first EP and the material that is still in the works!

You’ve supported the likes of Arkdown, Harmed, and Borders. How is the experience, for you all, of playing live?

We love supporting these guys, as they always put on a killer show! It helps us to up our game when we are surrounded by such talent, and it really inspires us to improve our live shows and keep up our own process.

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

We have a few more great gigs lined up this year, we’ve just played a headliner show at the Key Club in Leeds, but we are planning on spending the rest of 2018 writing and finishing off our newest material for a spring release early next year, where we plan to hit the ground running with new material, merchandise, and content!

And finally, what is your long-term aim?

Our long-term aim is to continue playing and performing the music we love, and to keep true to ourselves in the process. Everyone goes through changes in their lives, and we want to enjoy the journey and just keep at the top of our game!

The Mechanist Single Cover

‘TIMEKEEPER/BETWEEN THE LINES’, THE LATEST DOUBLE A-SIDE SINGLE FROM THE MECHANIST, ARE AVAILABLE NOW.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

 

A NIGHT LIKE THIS

A Night Like This band photo

A NIGHT LIKE THIS (from l-r): Ronan Samolinski (drums), Dan O’Brien (guitar), Dom Hoven (vocals), Josef Lovett (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

A Night Like This, an alternative rock four-piece from south Wales with post-hardcore and emo influences, have been on a roll ever since the release of their first single, ‘Survival’, last year.

The band, who specialise in writing songs that are about real, important topics that their rapidly-expanding fan base can relate to, have brought out a positively-received debut EP, ‘Between Hell & Home’, and have supported the likes of Blood Youth, Loathe, and Holding Absence.

With a new track, entitled ‘Throne’, having just been unveiled, the quartet spoke to me about that, all of the above, and more.

How did the band form?

Friends coming together through a mutual love of music and composition.

From where did the name A Night Like This originate?

It’s really simple, and quite boring – the truth is we were at a practice, and said, “It would be great to play a show on a night like this“, and at that point, we had not yet named the band, so one of us jokingly said, “Hey, that works, A Night Like This – we have our name“, and it just stuck.

What would you say was your songwriting approach?

We all individually demo at home, all throw our ideas into the bag, so to speak, then we talk it out, see who likes what elements, and combine them to get the finished product in a practice room.

It can be a lengthy process of chopping and changing, as with anything – but we are proud of the results we can achieve when we work as a unit.

In May, the band brought out a debut EP, entitled ‘Between Hell & Home’, which followed on from last year’s first single release, ‘Survival’. How was the reaction to the EP?

The initial response was incredible. We headlined a release show at Sin City in Swansea to over 100 people, which is our largest hometown crowd to date – we sold out of multiple items of merch, and everyone was, in general, thrilled with the outcome.

We went on to play a four-day weekend tour to promote its release in July, and then a UK headline tour in September, and the overall response has been great.

You’ve just unveiled a new single, ‘Throne’, which was recorded with Michael “Padge” Paget, the lead guitarist of Bullet For My Valentine. How was working with him as an experience?

Honestly, it was surreal – Bullet For My Valentine are a band that every single one of us has been a fan of for quite some time, but Padge was an absolute pleasure to work with, and he made the whole experience really fun for all of us – we even shared a few beers.

However, we also really need to mention Drew Hamley (Unit 15 Productions/bassist of I Fight Bears) for his work alongside Padge, as the single was co-produced, and together, they are an incredible team.

And for those who have yet to listen to the track, what can they expect of it?

Something a little different to the previous release, a step towards our newer sound – slightly heavier, but still with that catchy chorus edge and combining multiple elements.

You can expect a balance of clean vocals, screams, classic post-hardcore riffs combined with a touch of ambience, and lots of melody.

Live, the band have supported the likes of Holding Absence, Shields, and more recently, Blood Youth, Emp!re, and Loathe. How were they as experiences?

Every single one of those bands are an inspiration to us as a collective, all incredible musicians, and just all-around good people. We’ve had the honour of playing with Holding Absence on two occasions – both have been incredible, and Lucas Woodland, their frontman, has been good enough to share our previous single releases on his social media channels.

The most recent show was with Blood Youth, and playing with such a respected touring band (in the main support slot position) was incredible, especially in such a small, intimate venue.

And how is it overall, for you all, performing on stage?

We all live and breathe this band, we play every show like it’s our last – we aren’t just band mates, we’re a family. Whether we play to a handful of people, or a full room, each show is an experience in its own right, and we will ALWAYS play to our heart’s content.

On December 15, the band will be supporting Dream State in Swansea. I can imagine that’s something you’re all looking forward to.

Of course, as they’ve come an incredibly long way in the last year or so, and the show is likely to be a sell-out. They’re a strong example of what can become of local music, as a few years ago, they were playing tiny venues in south Wales to small crowds, and now, they’re playing every major festival, and going on huge tours.

Anyone who hasn’t got tickets should get them now, as they’re selling fast. (Cheeky plug, buy online at www.derricksmusic.co.uk)

And what are your plans following that?

We will be going away for a little while – we can’t say too much yet, but all will be revealed in due course. We know what you’re thinking, and the answer is that is no, we’re not splitting up.

And finally, what is the band’s long-term aim?

World domination.

A Night Like This Single Cover

‘THRONE’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM A NIGHT LIKE THIS, IS AVAILABLE NOW.

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

 

 

BAILER

Bailer band photo

BAILER (from l-r): Alex O’Leary (vocals), Sean Conway (drums), Dave Cleere (bass), Chris Harte (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

With a heavy, ambitious metallic hardcore sound, and a live set that is pure chaos and ferocity, four-piece Bailer are an outfit that have firmly established themselves on the metal scene in their native Ireland.

2018 has seen the band broaden their horizons, having toured Russia, brought out a well-received self-titled EP, and been championed by the likes of Kerrang! and Metal Hammer.

On the eve of the quartet’s UK headline tour, vocalist Alex O’Leary and drummer Sean Conway spoke to me about what has been a productive year for them, as well as a little more about the inner workings of the band.

How did the band form?

ALEX O’LEARY (vocals): The band formed after Chris sent me a few demos that I put vocals down on for fun. After reviewing the tracks, we loved the sound and decided to give it a shot. Another shot even, as myself and Chris had been in bands previous to Bailer. Me and Dave were in another band at the time, but we transitioned over full-time once we got moving.

How did the name Bailer come about?

ALEX: I suppose Bailer has loads of connotations. Nodding towards people bailing on you, bailing on a situation for wrong reasons, being the person who sometimes has to bail for the right reasons, but yeah, funnily enough, it came about when we were brainstorming possible names sitting in the van heading to record our first two songs, and we were stuck behind a tractor carrying bails of hay. Enough said. (laughs)

What are the band’s main musical influences?

ALEX: It varies with each member of the band, I guess. There’s strong influences in our sound from bands such as Every Time I Die, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Norma Jean, but there’s also strong influences from hip-hop, hardcore, metal etc…it’s a mixed bag of influences really.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

ALEX: As time goes on, I think your approach to songwriting changes, as it should, as being stuck in the same routine and using the same methods can result in stale material.

Chris usually sparks the creative process with riffs he has, and we collectively put our own spin on it when it gets to the jam room, but we also have tons of demos that we all work away on when we have time at home.

What inspires the band lyrically?

ALEX: A lot of the lyrics are based on negative personal experiences or views of my own that I try to make sense of. Being negative or going through a shit time in life inspires me to vent, and I become better for doing so.

In February, you brought out a self-titled EP, your third, which was very well-received, and got excellent reviews from both Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Was the overwhelmingly positive reaction something you were all taken aback by?

ALEX: I would have to say yes. We are all music fans in the band, and at one point or another, bought these magazines to read about new bands. It was an honour to see ourselves in there, as it had been a goal for the band, and we were delighted with that recognition.

Earlier this year, the band toured Russia, and last month played Brighton contemporary rock festival Mammothfest. How were they as experiences?

SEAN CONWAY (drums): They were great experiences in different ways. Russia at the start of the year was our first proper tour outside of Ireland and presented a whole load of challenges we weren’t expecting.

We landed with no equipment due to an airline mix-up and nearly had to cancel, and we also had to get a fill-in vocalist at the last minute, but we got through it, it definitely made us stronger, and we ended up having some unbelievable shows along the way.

Playing Mammothfest, though, was a breeze! We had no issues, and we had a great time. We were also playing with our buddies in Jenova and God Alone who travelled over with us. It was a perfect UK warm-up for our tour this month.

Yes, you will be embarking on a UK headline tour later this month. How is it, overall, performing live?

SEAN: Performing live for us has always been the number one most fun and rewarding part of the band. We love putting music together and recording it, but that immediate feedback and reaction you get from playing live is hard to get anywhere else.

The style of music we play lives and dies on stage, and we definitely always have our live show at the forefront of our minds. We will be mostly playing places we’ve never been to before on this tour, and we’re really excited to try to break new ground for the band.

And finally, what are the band’s plans for the beginning of 2019?

SEAN: We hope to focus a lot on the writing of our debut album at the start of 2019. Of course, we have shows planned, but we definitely want to focus on writing as much as we can while we have the time.

We have a bunch of demos to flesh out and work on throughout the first half of the year, but make no mistake, we will be touring even harder in 2019!

Bailer EP Cover

THE SELF-TITLED THIRD EP FROM BAILER IS AVAILABLE NOW.

THE BAND WILL ALSO BE EMBARKING ON A UK TOUR LATER THIS MONTH, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Bailer tour poster

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

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE

THIS SUN NO MORE

This Sun No More band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Despite having formed a decade ago, at high school, Staffordshire collective This Sun No More are only now in the process of putting together their debut album.

The band’s journey over the last ten years has, at times, been difficult, with numerous line-up changes, but now, the outfit are at their most settled, having established themselves on the local music scene with an atmospheric brand of post-metal.

Prior to their recent set at Chords Against Cancer in Uttoxeter, I spoke to the band’s vocalist/guitarist, Pete Hill, and drummer, Andy Wheeler, about the release, due out early next year, and some of the experiences that they have had since 2008.

How did the band form initially?

PETE HILL (vocals/guitar): Well, it started with me jamming with a drummer I know, and he kind of wanted to just do Iron Maiden and AC/DC covers, so we were just jamming, and one of our guitarists now, he started off playing bass, during one of our practice sessions, picked up someone’s guitar, started playing this nice atmospheric post-metally thing, and from that point, we decided to work on something like that instead, and that’s pretty much how it started.

How did the name This Sun No More come about?

PETE: I don’t know.

(Andy laughs)

ANDY WHEELER (drums): I think it was always Joe’s plan, he’s our lead guitarist and main songwriter, to do a concept album based on ‘Dante’s Inferno’.

PETE: To be honest, I’ve never really grasped how Joe came up with the name.

ANDY: It’s something different, and all of the good band names were already taken.

(Pete laughs)

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

PETE: So generally, it starts with Joe writing a few riffs, stringing them together, and then he’ll bring them to the rest of us.

We all have an idea of how it’s going to go, we’ll say, “We’ll do a few bars of this, a few bars of that“, and then we will, we have three guitarists and a synth player, all start writing little bits to add to all that, and then make a few changes once we all start jamming it together.

ANDY: We just kind of go with the flow.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PETE: At the moment, we’ve nearly finished doing our first album, and that will be a concept album dealing with ‘Dante’s Inferno’ and the nine circles of Hell, so that’s what we’re doing at the moment, but we also take inspiration from all sorts of things.

ANDY: Stuff to do with what the circles are all about.

PETE: Yeah, and there’s quite a bit of Star Wars in there! (laughs) Also, I’ve taken some lines from ‘Moby Dick’.

ANDY: Basically, we write about the cultures that we’re interested in.

Last year, you brought out an EP, entitled ‘The Black Thread’. How was the recording process for that?

PETE: It was really good. We practice at a place in Stone called Tower Studios, and recently, the guys who run it installed a recording studio.

The recording process itself ran smoothly, we felt, as we’ve been practicing there for years, and we know the owners.

ANDY: Anthony Weaver, who mixed the EP, helped us out a bit to make sure it was the strongest it could possibly be, and yeah, it was a fun process putting it all together.

PETE: It was nice to have some input from somebody from outside the band, and Anthony is very musically intelligent, so it made for a smooth process.

And how was the reaction to the EP when it came out?

PETE: Generally positive. I think we got a couple of decent reviews online, but unfortunately, it didn’t go very far, because shortly after we had finished recording it, at the time, we had a female vocalist called Charlotte, so we had recorded the EP with her, but she left the band shortly afterwards, so we decided to rework a lot of the songs, and to make the vocals less clean and more shouty overall.

ANDY: We also incorporated more synths into the sound, which sort of filled in the gap left by removing Charlotte’s vocals, but ‘The Black Thread’ doesn’t really represent who we are as a band anymore.

PETE: Yeah, we’ve still got a few songs like on the EP on the album, but now, we’re focused on pushing the album forward when that comes out.

When do you think you’ll have the album out by?

ANDY: Early next year. We’ve still got two songs to record in the studio.

PETE: And sort out the extra bits.

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

PETE: Oh yeah, it’s great. We’ve been going for about ten years now.

ANDY: In that time, we’ve had members coming in and out, me included. In the past, I’ve been the synth player, then I left, then re-joined as a drummer, the bassist now used to be the drummer.

PETE: We’ve had all sorts of weird line-up changes, but we’ve been constantly gigging throughout, and that’s really our bread and butter.

Like I say, we’re only just getting around to finishing our first album, so we’ve put a lot of time in gigging.

ANDY: The initial sort of group that started the band have all been friends since high school, pretty much, so gigging together, we’ve all always been on the same page, really. We’ve always had that some connection, so it’s been good.

PETE: That’s what you do it for, the love of the game! (laughs)

And finally, album aside, what has the band got planned for the near future?

PETE: So, after the album comes out, we would like to do a full UK tour, just go up and down the country, playing at venues in major cities and further afield, and then look towards writing more music for our next album, just keep the momentum going.

ANDY: We’re not sure if we would do another concept album.

PETE: We’ll see how we feel when it comes to writing some new material, so yeah, the plan for next year is to basically get the album out, push that as far as we can, and see if we can get onto festival bills and the main gig circuit.

THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM THIS SUN NO MORE WILL BE RELEASED EARLY IN 2019.

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

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BANDCAMP

SOUNDCLOUD

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PRECIBUS

Precibus band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Having started out as an instrumental outfit, Staffordshire five-piece Precibus’s sound has evolved over the years into what is now a complex combination of alternative and progressive metal.

The band have become highly-regarded on their local scene, and despite missing out on a place at Bloodstock this summer, as well as having to change their line-up, they are looking to the future with much optimism.

I recently chatted with bassist Jacek and drummer Pawel prior to the quintet’s recent set at Chords Against Cancer in Uttoxeter, and this is what they both had to say:

How did the band get together?

PAWEL (drums): We met through a website looking for band members, because me and Mariusz, the guitarist, had played together in a band back in Poland, and in around 2009, we both started to think about putting a new band together. First, we looked for a bass player, Jacek came along, and the three of us started jamming together.

JACEK (bass): Was the website Join My Band?

PAWEL: Join My Band, yes. After three years of being a trio, playing mainly instrumental stuff, we recruited a second guitarist/vocalist, and then in 2013, we got a lead vocalist in, and that was when we really started to play the songs we do now.

How did the name Precibus come about?

PAWEL: It’s a funny story, as my missus actually proposed the name, and it came from one of her favourite songs from one of her favourite bands. I then proposed the name to the others, they liked the sound of it, and we started calling ourselves Precibus from there.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

PAWEL: We all like quite a wide range of music, but I think our main influences are Soundgarden, Tool, Faith No More, also progressive rock.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

PAWEL: Usually, someone will come up with an idea, we then work around that, most of the time, we will work together on the idea, and eventually turn it into a song, but sometimes, one or two of the band members will work on the majority of a song.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PAWEL: Well, you would have to talk to our old vocalist about that, as he tended to write most of the lyrics.

JACEK: We recently brought in a new lead vocalist, Jaro, and so far, he’s just been performing the songs that were written prior to him coming in, but I think with our old vocalist, the lyrics had much to do with their personal experiences.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

PAWEL: We all like quite a wide range of music, but I think our main influences are Soundgarden, Tool, Faith No More, also progressive rock.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

PAWEL: Usually, someone will come up with an idea, we then work around that, most of the time, we will work together on the idea, and eventually turn it into a song, but sometimes, one or two of the band members will work on the majority of a song.

What inspires the band lyrically?

PAWEL: Well, you would have to talk to our old vocalist about that, as he tended to write most of the lyrics.

JACEK: We recently brought in a new lead vocalist, Jaro, and so far, he’s just been performing the songs that were written prior to him coming in, but I think with our old vocalist, the lyrics had much to do with their personal experiences.

So far, you have released two EPs, 2014 debut ‘Madness’, and 2016 follow-up ‘Control’. How were the reactions to them when they first came out?

PAWEL: I think it was mainly positive. The two EPs were completely different records, you could say, a variety of different songs and musical styles. ‘Control’ was much more complex, and a better indicator of where we’re heading as a band now.

Earlier this year, the band got to the final of Nottingham Metal 2 The Masses, where the winner got the chance to play at the Bloodstock festival. How was that as an experience?

PAWEL: That was good, but at the time, our old lead vocalist and second guitarist had both said they were leaving, but had agreed to carry on until the end of the competition, so we were going through a transitional phase, as we still had the old line-up for our live performances, but at the same time, we were rehearsing with the new guys.

How did you do in the final?

PAWEL: Unfortunately, we lost to another band called Underdog.

I can imagine it was a disappointment missing out on playing Bloodstock, then.

JACEK: Yes, because we got so close, but we’ll try again next year.

PAWEL: Probably a different area, though, such as Staffordshire, because in Nottingham, we were up against so many good bands, all playing to a very high level.

How is it overall, for the band, performing live?

PAWEL: It’s great fun, and it’s what we set out to do, above all else.

JACEK: And it’s good to see how our songs have been so welcomed by the crowds we’ve played to.

PAWEL: As I said earlier, we take much inspiration from progressive rock, so there are some complex rhythms in our live sound, but that’s what we like.

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

PAWEL: We have a new line-up now, so soon, we’re going to start writing some new songs, and hopefully next year, we will be able to release some new stuff.

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

FACEBOOK

BANDCAMP

YOUTUBE