Tag Archives: Rock

ROYAL TUSK

Royal Tusk band photo

ROYAL TUSK (from l-r): Calen Stuckel (drums), Quinn Cyrankiewicz (guitar), Dan Carriere (vocals), Sandy MacKinnon (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Armed with their own unique brand of heavy, no-frills rock n’ roll, along with brutally honest lyrical content, four-piece Royal Tusk have already gained a devoted legion of followers from both sides of the Atlantic, and the band’s stock has just kept on rising since the release of their positively-received second album, ‘Tusk II‘, last October.

With the quartet about to embark on a tour of the UK and continental Europe, supporting fellow Canadian rock collective Monster Truck, bassist Sandy MacKinnon told me about the journey he and his bandmates have been on to get to the point they’re at currently, and a host of other topics related to Royal Tusk.

How did the band initially form?

Myself and Dan have been playing in bands together for over 15 years, touring the world and writing music together. After our last band dissolved, it seemed to be a natural progression that we form a new one, focusing on music that was more to our taste.

We enlisted the musicianship of both Calen and Quinn, what with both of them being monsters on their respective instruments, and they also had the same goals, so it was a no-brainer, really.

How did the name Royal Tusk come about?

Well, the truth of the matter is, there is nothing royal about us at all! (laughs) The word “tusk” really kind of evokes the idea of being large, like larger than life, like a giant elephant with massive tusks, or a bad-ass warthog, who are sort of the kings of their lands.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It really depends on the song itself. Some come together so quickly with everyone in our rehearsal space, and ideas will come spilling out, but then there are others that can take what feels like an eternity to get fleshed out.

At the root of it all, it either starts with a banging guitar riff, or a vocal lyric that sounds way too good to not write a song around.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Every song on ‘Tusk II‘ (the band’s second album, released last October) had its own story or message. With so much going on in our world today – good and bad – itʼs hard for us to just stand on the sidelines and not say anything about it.

Look, we’re not trying to change the world, or tell people how to think, however, we want to speak our minds.

How was the recording process for ‘Tusk II’?

As opposed to other records weʼve made in the past, where we would take about a
month in a studio, spending every day working on it, we did this record in two different sessions, where we would do five songs each.

At the time I was hoping we could do it all in one, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as we were able to take time between the sessions to review the songs we had just recorded, and also fine-tune the ones we were getting ready to put down.

And how was the reaction to that, in comparison to the band’s previous releases?

I think everyone – right off the bat – were able to notice that we got substantially heavier, and that the content was angrier as well. I think the reaction has been
very positive across the board, and I think maybe people were starved for a little no bullshit rock n’ roll.

The transition was easy for us, we just wrote music, and it happened to naturally veer towards a heavier sound, and the reaction at our shows has been amazing, with people banging their heads and screaming our words right back at us, itʼs been fucking magical!

You’re just about to embark on a tour of the UK and continental Europe supporting fellow Canadian rock collective Monster Truck. For those who are yet to see the band perform, what can they expect from your live sets?

Anyone who happens to be in the crowd at one of our shows, whether we are supporting or headlining, are going to witness a true blue collar rock n’ roll band.

We are going to leave it all up there, whether it’s to a packed house or a half-full club, and itʼs going to be a real bonafide rock n’ roll show, which is the least we can do for the people in the crowd who are making it possible for us to live our dream.

And this July, the band will be performing at the Rock USA festival in Wisconsin, which is being headlined by Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, and Disturbed. I can imagine that’s something you’re all looking forward to.

The moment we got the offer, and I saw that we were going to be playing on the same day as Mastodon, the little fanboy in me came out, and to be mentioned alongside those kinds of artists is just surreal.

And finally, you’ve achieved much these past couple of years. Honestly, did any of you expect all of that to happen when the band initially got together?

When Iʼm on stage and I look at all the other fellas there with me, Iʼm not that surprised, as we’re a group of hungry musicians that want it more than anyone.

We still have the same goals, and we want to achieve them writing good, honest rock n’ roll music, and like I said earlier, itʼs the people who send us messages online, listen to our music, come to our shows, who are making it possible for us to live our dream, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you, you all fucking rule, and we’ll see you on the road!

Royal Tusk Album Cover

‘TUSK II’, THE SECOND ALBUM FROM ROYAL TUSK, IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA eONE.

THE BAND ARE ALSO JUST ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A TOUR OF UK & EUROPE, SUPPORTING MONSTER TRUCK, MORE DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Royal Tusk tour poster

FURTHER INFO ON ROYAL TUSK CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

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CIELO DRIVE

Cielo Drive band photo

CIELO DRIVE (from l-r): Chris Phillips (drums), Scott Cox (vocals), Julien Morrez (guitar), Beau Stevens (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Formerly known as Scout KillersCielo Drive are a four-piece from Bath who specialise in a powerful, expressive, and atmospheric alternative rock sound, which has enabled them to truly make a mark on their local music scene.

However, the band now look set to expand their reach in the coming months, what with the release of a debut album, entitled ‘Ruins‘, followed by an extensive run of touring across the UK, and Scott Cox, the quartet’s frontman, was more than happy to chat to me about this, and more.

How did the band initially form?

Beau and I met on a website somewhere, I think Beau found Julien on the same website at some point, and we found Chris in a dumpster.

You used to be known as Scout Killers. Why the name change to Cielo Drive?

The name Scout Killers wasn’t entirely marketable, on account of the fact that it could be perceived that we murder children. We decided that that probably wasn’t a good angle.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Each of us have our own musical influences. A few of the guys are into metalcore, which brings a heavier edge to our music, but then I’m into classical rock like Fleetwood Mac and the like, and I know Julien is too. It’s a bit of a mix, but it starts to shine through in our music from time to time, I think.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We have a few different approaches. Sometimes, the guys will bring an almost fully-fleshed idea to a practice session, and we’ll pretty much write the song on the spot, whereas other times, it takes a little bit more work.

We gather round Julien‘s or Beau‘s and get to work on hashing out different versions and demos, and eventually arrive at a version we all like. The former feels a lot more organic, but the latter has a lot of merits that we wouldn’t get if we didn’t deconstruct the song and have a proper look at it.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lots of things, really. I like writing songs that everyone can relate to in some way, shape, and form, so I try and take specific events and experiences, and make something generic from it.

An example is ‘Rip Me Apart‘, which is about visiting my estranged father on his death bed in Portugal. It’s about a specific event, but it has themes that anyone can relate to like loss and fear.

Next month, you will be bringing out your first album as Cielo Drive, entitled ‘Ruins’. How will it differ stylistically to the work you put out as Scout Killers?

A lot of the material we wrote under the name of Scout Killers is the stuff that we’ve been performing for a while. However, there’s definitely been an evolution in this album. It’s half Scout Killers, half Cielo Drive.

For us, there’s a definite split, but who knows if that will translate to newer listeners? We’re in too deep to know the difference now.

And the band worked on the upcoming release with Ryan McCombs (vocalist of SOiL and Drowning Pool). How was that as an experience?

For me, it was awesome on a different level. I’ve been in love with SOiL since I was a kid, and I have to admit I was a little starstruck the first time we had a meeting.

You have become known for delivering powerful live sets. How is it, for you all, performing on stage?

It’s amazing. In this day and age, it feels like every man and his wife and dog are in a band, so to tell your workmates, friends, relatives, etc, that you’re in a band, and to blow them away when they watch you, you know you’re doing something right. That’s a good feeling.

Album aside, what has the band got planned for the rest of 2019?

More writing. We’ve got a bit of a cycle on the go at the moment, and now that we’ve got the album ready and on its way to release, it’s time to head back to the practice room.

And finally, what is your long-term aim as Cielo Drive?

Our long-term goal? I think we’re just happy doing what we’re doing. We joke and say that the band is a hobby that’s gone too far, but it’s just something we love doing, and we’re just gonna keep doing it, and progress with it.

Cielo Drive Album Cover

‘RUINS’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM CIELO DRIVE, WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 17 VIA MUSIC HOUSE 37.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

 

BRIGHTLIGHT CITY

Brightlight City band photo

BRIGHTLIGHT CITY (from l-r): Tom Stock (bass/vocals), Jamie Giarraputo (vocals), Justin Giarraputo (guitar/vocals), Jono Staunton (guitar), Ben Bell (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Armed with a strong sonic combination of elements of rock, indie, and alternative rock, five-piece Brightlight City are an outfit ready to unleash their full potential with debut album, ‘The Harmony & The Chaos‘, which comes out next month, an follows on from their well-received 2017 first EP, ‘Our Future’s Not Dead‘, and the band’s guitarist/vocalist, Justin Giarraputo, recently spoke to me about its recording process, what can be expected from the upcoming release, and much more.

How did the band initially get together?

The short version – the band started with me and my brother Jamie recruiting long-time friend Jono to start writing music with big riffs and even bigger choruses.

After a few members came and went, Jamie heard Ben practicing in a rehearsal studio he used to run and own. Ben then came down and learnt the songs, and he fitted the energy of the band instantly.

Ben then brought Tom into the fold, and the band began to incessantly write, record, and play live.

How did the name Brightlight City come about?

Whilst experimenting with a number of names, we settled on the name Brightlight City, as it seemed to fit our ambitions and passion for our music, with the bright bursting rhythms and hooks, which were underpinned by personal, social, and emotional themes.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach has been something that we have learnt over the last three-and-a-bit years of playing together. We started trying to write as a band in a small space, which did throw up some great ideas and riffs, but for us, it always hit a wall, as sounds were fighting each other.

We now have found that it is easier to thrash out ideas either individually, or in pairs, then bring it to the rest of the band. We also have invested our time (and money) into our own home studio set-up, which allows us to record and lay down the parts before even bringing the ideas to a rehearsal space.

That way, we can send ideas to each other and work on them in our own time before playing them together and committing them to tape on a recording.

Our album (‘The Harmony & The Chaos‘) was pretty much recorded in our two main home studios (one at Tom’s where we recorded the drums, all of the guitar, bass and keyboard parts plus additional vocals, and at Jamie’s where we recorded the main vocals).

This has worked so successfully that myself and Tom have already written six tracks for a new album/EP, which the others are now working out parts for.

In 2017, the band brought out their debut EP, ‘Our Future’s Not Dead’, to positive reviews, and praise from the likes of Kerrang! magazine. How was the response to that for you all personally?

The response was amazing, when you are so heavily invested in writing and performing your music, it feels great to get a pat on the back (or 4 Ks) from a magazine like Kerrang!

We always come from the standpoint of writing music that has passion, honesty and that we love to listen to.

It was really great to read the reviews and response we had for ‘OFND‘ as we did, and still do believe in and love those songs. However, we are really excited at hearing the response to the album, as we put every single piece of our passion, time, blood, sweat, and tears into creating it.

Standing back and listening to it for us is a journey, but we feel it fits as one cohesive piece to define where the band were, and hopefully carves out the direction we will be following over the next releases.

In May, you will be unveiling your first album, ‘The Harmony & The Chaos’. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process – for us – was great, I really feel we grew as a band, and as a collective. We pushed ourselves as individuals to try and better each guitar line, drum fill, and vocal hook that we wrote.

At times it was exhilarating, other times, you felt like you could barely see the light at the end of the tunnel, but to come through it and have the set of songs we have now, we all feel proud of what we have created.

One of the last choruses we recorded was for a song called ‘Who You Are‘. It has this group end refrain in which Jamie summed up the process beautifully with his lyrics -“Make your way through the dark, finding out who you are.

And how will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the EP?

Stylistically, we worked on pushing our song writing into some different directions. We tried to think of our favourite styles present in our favourite songs, so huge choruses with huge hooks, making something nice sound discordant, the “quiet/loud /quiet” approach to the unrelenting straight-up punk and hardcore vibes.

There are a number of themes on the album, as not only do we look at current social and political views, but Jamie became quite insular, and looked at how his genetic make-up and how he personally impacts on the world he lives in.

There are moments on every song of this album where the lines sung are soaked in emotion and deeper meaning, and this is something we always strive to create, which is music with a purpose that others can relate to.

One of the album’s tracks, the recently-released ‘Statues & Monuments’, deals frankly with Jamie’s struggles with anxiety and depression. Obviously, you all think it’s good that there are more open discussions on mental health now.

It is a fantastic thing that we now are starting to turn the tide on the stigma attached to mental health. Rather than just brush it under the carpet or tell someone to “man up“, we are starting to realise the importance of what it means to support each other through our personal battles.

If we could all have more compassion for each other, and start to work together for the benefit of the communities we are part of, with love and understanding rather than being judgmental and competitive, the world we inhabit would become a less scary place.

I really feel that there are infrastructures in place within our society to keep everyone in a state of apathy, which only benefit a minority of people. This is why being creative, whether it be in music, art, drama, literature, etc. allows you to escape the confinements of these structures, and you lay a path for others to follow.

It is also really enlightening to know there is something more than what we have been offered, as for us, creating and playing music is like a part of who we are as individuals that has been enhanced by playing together in a band.

We are all great friends and help and talk to each other about our issues and problems, and always attempt to help and solve them. We always make the most of every opportunity, and attempt to make a positive impact on everything we do.

The band have supported such outfits as Rise Against, Blood Youth, and Fizzy Blood. How were they all as experiences?

Every experience we have been through has been incredible, and we are always learning from our peers and contemporaries in music. Rise Against was an unbelievable show, where we were flown out to Quebec City to play a festival they were headlining, and standing side stage and watching them perform was very inspiring and we were thankful for the opportunity given to us.

Playing with bands like Blood Youth, Fizzy Blood, Max Raptor, Young Legionnaire, and Press to MECO has been great, as it has allowed us to meet and gain valuable advice from bands who we look up to on the scene we are now a part of.

Like I said above, we make the most of every opportunity that we are given, as we know it gives us experience, and a chance to gain advice from other bands.

And how is it overall, for everyone in Brightlight City, performing live?

Performing live is something we love, I know that on stage we all put on an energetic, passion-fuelled performance. Off-stage (or just before we go on), we have a number of rituals that we all follow.

We tend to help each other through the nerves (yes, we still get nervous because we care about what we do, and sometimes when you’re on stage, you are at your most vulnerable, but also most open) by talking about films or TV shows we have been watching, books or new stories we have read, and most of the time, we have some fantastic and ridiculous conversations on various subjects.

All this helps to get us focused on putting on the best show we can, as we always live by the adage “play every show like it’s your last“.

What are the band’s plans following the new album coming out?

We have been playing live loads since February, so we will continue playing as much as we can to promote the album. We will also be looking at securing slots on various festivals and support slots on some tours, and in any spare time that we will have, we will also be finishing off new songs for either a future EP release or album two.

We also run our own label (Undead Collective Records) and will be working with the amazing bands we have on our roster on their releases, if you take anything from this article, 1. pre-order / buy our album, and 2. check out the following bands: Loose Tooth, Best Of Enemies, Merrick’s Tusk, and Seasonal.

We are also on the lookout for any music that fits within the alt-rock genre, so have a listen to the bands above, and if you think you would like to submit anything, then get in contact with us.

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

Our long-term aim is to keep writing, playing, and releasing music. Like I said, we have already written six new songs, which are an even bigger step up from our forthcoming debut album, so we are really excited to see how they turn out.

Alongside that, we also want to support the music scene by building our label into the most popular independent alternative label in the UK. Watch this space, it will happen.

Brightlight City Album Cover

‘THE HARMONY & THE CHAOS’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM BRIGHTLIGHT CITY, WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 17 VIA UNDEAD COLLECTIVE RECORDS.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

FRANK TURNER – PART 2

Frank Turner photo 2

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In the second part of my interview with singer-songwriter Frank Turner – conducted prior to his recent set headlining the Karnage Festival at Keele University – he spoke about such things as performing at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, other standout moments of his career up to now, and a little about his eagerly-anticipated eighth album, due for release later this year.

In 2012, you performed at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. How did that come about?

That was mad, the whole experience was mad, which was incidentally why I did it. There were a few internet punks who said that I shouldn’t have done it, but I told them to fuck off, as it was something you will only really experience once in your lifetime, and me propping up the bar as an old man, telling people about the time I didn’t play the Olympics, is boring, and the other thing about it is that Danny Boyle asked me – and he is somebody I genuinely respect as an artist.

I got a call one day from his management, asking me to have a meeting with him, and I remember knowing at the time that he was doing the opening ceremony of the Olympics, and me thinking that it couldn’t possibly be about that, as it would have been totally ridiculous, so I thought he was going to ask me about the possibility of doing a song for his next film, which would still have been really fucking cool, but when I got to the meeting, Danny just came out and said, “Would you like to play at the opening ceremony? You don’t have to answer now, you can go away and think about it for a couple of weeks if you have to“, and me and my manager were both like, “No, I think we can answer this now, and it’s going to be a yes from us.

That must have been a truly amazing experience.

It was very odd, very surreal, as it didn’t feel real at all, and one of the weirdest parts about it was just how used to everything being insane you got, because I don’t know if you can remember, but they had Harry Potter bad guys on stilts, real sheep, and people dressed as shepherds, and everybody who was a part of it would be outside after rehearsals smoking cigarettes, and backstage, there was this village, and after a couple of weeks of that, you stopped blinking at the fact that you were smoking a cigarette and chatting normally to a guy on stilts who was dressed as a Harry Potter bad guy. It was just really, really odd.

That’s just one of the many things that you have done over the years. What would you say have been your other standout moments?

Well, I always kind of dodge the question by what I said earlier – which I do mean – which is about the fact that I’m still standing, but obviously, we’ve played a lot of big gigs, and that has been amazing, and also, it has been a huge privilege to be able to travel across the world and visit new countries, just because I play music.

Actually, I was in Portugal for the first time about a month ago – how cool is that? – but I would say beyond that, probably my favourite thing is when people who I grew up listening to musically acknowledge me, so I know Mike Burkett (vocalist/bassist of Californian punk legends NOFX), and he’s now a good friend of mine, but I don’t want to go, “Fat Mike’s my mate, and this isn’t the biggest fucking deal in the world!

However, it’s amazing when someone whose songs I idolised as a kid turns around and tells you that they like your songs.

Going back to when you first started out – and you’ve probably mentioned this already – did you ever think that you would achieve what you have?

I think the thing about that is that there’s a difference between aspiration and realistic expectation. I think I would have liked to have done all of this, you know, but I think I would have been quite surprised if you had told me when I was, say, 19, that it was actually going to fucking happen, you know, pleasantly surprised, I should add.

And is there anything you haven’t done yet that you would like to?

Yeah, I think that it’s really important for me to justify what it is that I do, and what I mean by that, is that every time I make another record, I go, “Do I need to make this? Does the world really need another fucking Frank Turner record?

I’ve just finished recording album number eight, which will be coming out later this year, and I am really pleased to be able to say that I think this will be a radical departure for me, as it’s going to break new ground, and I always want to keep things interesting, so to accompany the record will be a podcast.

Writing the books were a big deal, but I want to keep going to new places, there will soon be another side project of mine, which is honestly the most fucked up thing that I’ve ever done, but I can’t say anything more than that about it at the moment, and I just want to keep things exciting and interesting for me, as well as the audience.

How far are you into your next album currently?

It’s been recorded, but it hasn’t been mixed yet. The album should be out around August, but it’ll be very, very different, I think. Other people will be able to better judge that than me, but it certainly does feel different.

If your career as a musician hadn’t taken off, what do you think you would have done in regards to a profession?

I mean, I was in academia when I was younger, I went to uni, which I enjoyed, and I got offered to do a master’s and stuff, so I might have gone down that road, but over the years, when I’ve been asked that question, I’ve slightly flippantly gone, “My mum was a teacher, so I probably would have done that“, but I don’t want it to sound like I think it’s an easy thing to do, because teaching is actually fucking hard, and it’s something I certainly couldn’t do now, but I suspect I would have done something in that world.

And finally, what advice would you give to any emerging bands/artists out there?

You know, on some levels, that’s a question you and I could talk about for fucking hours! (laughs) However, I feel like we’re now in an era where power in the music industry has kind of collapsed, but in a way that has been really healthy, because when I started out – even more so around ten years before – the music industry was a very authoritarian place, as there would be people in the middle making the majority of the decisions, and as a band, you just had to kind of hope that you would come onto the radar of someone who worked in A&R at some record label, or ran a radio station, or was a journalist for a music magazine, whatever, but nowadays, with the internet being what it is, it’s so much easier to make your own luck.

Obviously, you’ve still got to be good, but you can build up a fan base, put out music, pretty much by yourself, and just be fucking busy all the time, as there are 26 hours worth of stuff a day you could do to promote your music, so just fucking get on with it, do you know what I mean?

Frank Turner Book Cover

‘TRY THIS AT HOME: MY ADVENTURES IN SONGWRITING’ IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM ALL GOOD BOOK RETAILERS, AND THE EIGHTH STUDIO ALBUM FROM FRANK TURNER WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRANK TURNER – PART 1

Frank Turner photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

For almost the past two decades, Frank Turner has been on a journey that has taken him from being a member of much-missed post-hardcore outfit Million Dead, to being a well-respected singer-songwriter – specialising in a diverse range of musical genres – and a best-selling writer of non-fiction.

Prior to his recent set headlining the Karnage Festival at Keele University, I had the privilege of speaking to him in-depth about a wide variety of subjects, and in the first of what will be a two-part interview, Frank talked about such things as his earliest musical memory, recently published book, and how he thinks Brexit will affect the British music industry.

What would you say was your earliest musical memory?

I think my earliest musical memory was being in the car with my mum and dad. My parents don’t really listen to any modern music – I think 1900 is the cut-off point for them (laughs) – but having said that, there were two tape cassettes in the car which I remember loving, one was a copy of ‘Sgt Pepper’s‘ that my mum had brought, and I think that was her going, “This is what pop music is!“, which is pretty hilarious in retrospect, and the other was an album by an old music hall duo called Flanders & Swann, and we had their records as well, which I absolutely adore, so for me, that was my earliest musical memory.

Was there a specific moment in your life when you decided that a career as a musician was for you?

Yeah. I had this kind of light switch moment when I was about 10, and I listened to Iron Maiden for the first time, and then at around the same time, I watched the Freddie Mercury tribute concert live on the telly, and I was like, “What the fuck has just happened?“, and pretty much straight away from there, I wanted to get involved, and that Christmas, I got my first guitar, and formed a band with a friend.

If you had asked me when I was 11 if I wanted to be a musician for a living, I would have said yes, but there’s quite a big gap between the aspirations of an 11-year-old and realistically thinking about it, but it never sort of wavered, as each time, I came to better understand what that would meaningfully involve.

However, there was a period of time when I thought it wouldn’t happen, and even if it had done, it wouldn’t have lasted, and probably my proudest achievement in life up to now is the fact that I’m still doing this in my mid to late thirties – touch wood – and that’s something I am very grateful for.

You recently brought out a new book, entitled ‘Try This At Home: My Adventures In Songwriting’, which is a personal exploration of your songwriting process. How did the idea for that come about?

Well, I did a book in 2015 (‘The Road Beneath My Feet‘), which was about touring, and that kind of grew out of the fact that I had started to write a few things down, and I was worried about forgetting them, as up until then, I had had this bizarrely encyclopedic memory of the shows I had done, and what had happened and everything, which my friends would often react to by saying, “I can’t fucking believe that!“, but then it started to fade, so I started to write everything down, and those notes became the first book, which did really well.

After that, the publishers said to me, “Why don’t you write a sequel?“, but that would have been boring, as I had pretty much written everything about life on the road with the first book, but then it occurred to me that in those 300 or so pages, I had written about approximately 1500 shows, yet I hadn’t really written anything about the music I had played in any of those, so I thought there was a gap that needed to be filled.

And how, for you, was the process of writing the new book?

I had gone into the first book with a huge degree of hubris, as I thought, “Well, I’ve written a few magazine articles in my time, so writing a book isn’t going to be too challenging“, but then – of course – I realised, “Is it fuck?” (laughs)

With the first book, there was definitely a moment halfway through writing it where I went, “Oh shit, I don’t know what I’m doing!“, but this time around, I went into it with a clearer appreciation of just how much work was going to be involved, but I mean, essentially for six months, I tried to make myself write around 1000 words between breakfast and sound check, and just discipline myself with that.

You’re known for your libertarian political views. What is your opinion of Brexit and the current parliamentary deadlock?

(laughs) I think – like everybody else – I have no idea what’s going on, as there are several conflicting imperatives that I do not see an easy resolution to. You know, I genuinely think we need to respect the outcome of the 2016 referendum – if we are to have any meaningful sense of democracy – but if it’s going to cause complete political and economic catastrophe, then that would be bad, but to be honest with you, I have no idea.

I used to be very up-to-date in regards to politics, and I was very confident in predicting what was going to happen, but I gave that fucking game up a long time ago! (laughs) I’ve got literally no idea what is going to happen, as I think all of my contempt for political parties at the moment is even-handed.

I suspect there needs to be a real realignment of British politics – which has happened before – it happened in 1832, it happened in 1911 – so I suspect we will soon be going through something like that again, but it’s not that fun to live through.

And how do you think Brexit will affect the British music industry?

That is a live question right now. My tour manager and my production manager – who are both in charge of all of the logistics of my business, if you like – you know, there’s a busy festival season in Europe this year, and at the moment, we have no idea if we will be allowed to do that, as I don’t know if we’ll even be allowed to ship our gear over there.

I know this sounds boringly technical, but we’re currently thinking of actually shipping over over American backline to Europe, as there are clear protocols for that, and we may not have any of those by then, and we might be able to get equipment over there, but we might not be able to bring it back.

The other day, Roger Daltrey was going on about how bands were going around Europe before the European Union even existed, and yes, they did, but the problem is first of all, figuring out customs and logistics for travel and business, which take time, so I’m probably not going to suffer too much personally, but what worries me is all of these new and emerging bands who will want to embark on their first European tour, but may not be able to, and for me, that’s a real problem, but I think – in the long run – economics tends to win arguments, and I suspect that if there is enough business involved, then things will get sorted out quicker than some people – who just look at politics and don’t pay any attention to business – would imagine, but I have no idea, and it’s something I am genuinely worried about.

IN PART TWO, FRANK TALKS TO ME ABOUT SUCH THINGS AS PLAYING THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE LONDON OLYMPICS, OTHER STANDOUT MOMENTS OF HIS CAREER SO FAR, AND HIS EIGHTH ALBUM, COMING OUT LATER THIS YEAR.

MORE NEW ACTS ANNOUNCED FOR CAMDEN ROCKS 2019

The Pigeon Detectives band photo

Camden Rocks Festival is proud to announce a further 60 bands for the 2019 edition, including The Pigeon Detectives, scheduled to perform on the Saturday.

Hailing from Yorkshire, the all-English quartet has established itself amongst the country’s best indie bands. From their platinum-selling debut album, ‘Wait For Me’, to the deeper and more reflective fifth record ‘Broken Glances’, The Pigeon Detectives have the catalogue, and the experience, to deliver a show that will be remembered.

Ruts DC band photo

Also announced are English reggae-influenced punk rockers The Ruts DC, who will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their debut album ‘The Crack’; metalcore four-piece Glamour Of The Kill, singer-songwriter Sean McGowan, anthemic pop-rock Londoners Luna Bay; acoustic duo Undead Raisins (comprising of Andy & Colin from Hundred Reasons); and more.

Glamour Of The Kill band photo

Alongside these artists, there are also fifty of the finest emerging acts in the today’s rock landscape including fresh back from SXSW, exciting new Glasgow punk rockers The Dunts, the new band from Guy McKnight (singer from Matchbox B-Line Disaster), The DSM IV, as well as Novacub – a new project from some of the members of Bloc Party, alternative metal outfit Skarlett Riot, promising punk four-piece Catch Fire, multi-talented indie newcomers Hello Operator, and many more.

The new additions to the Camden Rocks Festival 2019 join an already impressive list of talent from rock, indie, alternative, folk, and punk music, and its myriad of hybrids – a diverse list headed up by the likes of Frank Turner, Deaf Havana, Ash, The Wonder Stuff, Rat Boy, New Model Army, Wheatus, Carl Barat, Ginger Wildheart, The Professionals, Angelic Upstarts, Milk Teeth, Pretty Vicious, Raging Speedhorn, Random Hand, Discharge, Eliza and The Bear, The Virginmarys, Area 11, Sonic Boom Six, The Last Internationale, Our Hollow, Our Home, Spunge, Bang Bang Romeo, Lotus Eater, REWS, Annabel AllumBig Boy Bloater and The Limits, Loathe, Strange Bones, and many, many more.

Not only does Camden Rocks Festival showcase the very best emerging talent alongside much loved established acts, it also feeds off the thriving music scene that makes Camden such a special place; one that continues to draw generation after generation of misfits, rebels, music lovers, and music makers.

Anything goes in Camden, and on the weekend of Camden Rocks, this is amplified to ten.

Taking place on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 June 2019, and now in its eighth year, the festival gives music fans the opportunity to see over 400 bands play across 20 venues all within a stone’s throw of each other in Camden Town, London.

For tickets and more information, go to www.camdenrocksfestival.co.uk

Camden Rocks 2019 final poster

 

TWO YEAR BREAK

Two Year Break band photo

TWO YEAR BREAK (from l-r): George Lilley (drums), Dan Wright (bass), Brad Howard (lead vocals), Charlie Barnard (guitar/vocals), Tony Scibetta (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Early last year, five young lads from London, who all share a passion for pop-punk and emo music, decided to join forces and create an outfit that would effectively show this.

Calling themselves Two Year Break, the band have since made quite an impact with an anthemic sound – which was reflected in positively-received debut single ‘Change My Mind’ – as well as sets at 2018’s Camden Rocks and Tramlines festivals.

With the quintet currently putting together their first EP – due out this summer – they spoke to me about what can be expected from that, the other things the collective have planned for the rest of 2019, and much more.

How did the band form?

There have been many incarnations of the band over the years, however, the Two Year Break that everyone knows and loves now was formed about a year ago!

How did the name Two Year Break come about?

It’s one of those names that means exactly what it says on the tin. The band was on a two-year break, then it wasn’t, and the name just stuck from that point.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We tend to write about things that are personal to us, as collectively, we have all been to some dark places, and the music is a way for us to vent and ultimately heal.

Hopefully, people hear this in our songs, and realise that they aren’t alone with their struggles.   

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrically, we are inspired by any band that conveys emotion in their storytelling. The range of genres we like between us may actually surprise a lot of people, but the emotion is a common thread between it all.

Last year, you released your debut single, entitled ‘Change My Mind’. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was really good, we worked with Clint Murphy, who has been our producer for a while now, so we are a well-oiled machine at this point when it comes to recording.

However this was the first time we had recorded with Brad, and it was amazing to see him smash it out of the park.

And how was the reaction to the track?

Overall, there has been a really positive reaction to the track. We are all pretty normal guys, and to see all the nice messages and comments people are sending our way just adds to our drive to push forward and progress with our music.

You’re planning to release a debut EP at some point this year. How is that coming along?

It’s actually almost complete, we are scheduled to go into the studio at some point in the next few months to record the final two tracks, and then all that’s left to do is make some cover art and give it a name, which, at the moment, is ‘Funkytown Madness’!

And what can be expected of that?

It will be a five-track EP that will take whoever listens to it on a journey to the depths of darkness and back out, all with the pop-punk sound that we love. We feel the songs that are on it are our best to date, and we can’t wait to share them with the world.  

The band performed at Camden Rocks and the Tramlines festival in Sheffield last year. How were they as experiences?

Camden Rocks is always good fun, the best part hands down is doing what we love (playing our songs), and the fact that there are also loads of other really talented bands on the bill that we can see for free afterwards is always a winner.

Tramlines was an experience as it meant playing away from our home ground, and the stories of the road…. maybe one day, we will share them.

And how is it overall playing live?

Playing live is one of the best feelings in the world, as the energy we give out on stage gets absorbed by the audience, and they throw it back at us twice as powerfully! We’re hugely grateful for anyone who ever comes to see us play, and we give it our all every time.

And finally, EP aside, what else do you have planned for the rest of 2019?

We have big things planned for the rest of 2019. We hope to release a couple more tracks and music videos throughout the year, and really grow our fanbase.

There will be some cool merch available from our store, and plenty of gigs and little surprises sprinkled throughout, and if anyone would like to keep up to date with our movements, they can join our mailing list, and to do that, just visit our website to sign up.

Two Year Break Single Cover

‘CHANGE MY MIND’, THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM TWO YEAR BREAK, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND THE BAND’S FIRST EP WILL BE RELEASED LATER THIS YEAR.

TWO YEAR BREAK WILL ALSO BE PLAYING AT THIS YEAR’S CAMDEN ROCKS FESTIVAL, FURTHER DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:

Camden Rocks 2019 Poster

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

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE