THE CARTOGRAPHER (from l-r): Tom Maver Broadhead (bass), Dan Gorman (guitar), Ash Hutley (drums), Jay Roberts (vocals), James Millington (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Hailing from Derby, right in the centre of England, metal five-piece The Cartographer have had an eventful twelve months.
Reforming last summer after taking some time out, the outfit got straight to work on their EP ‘Human Error’, released last October to an overwhelmingly positive reaction.
With this, a sound mixing heaviness with melody, and energetic live shows, the band are currently being tipped as one to watch on the British metal scene.
Just before they embarked on a tour with fellow East Midlands collective Skies In Motion, I spoke to them about such things as that, their recent single, and what they have planned for the future.
How did the band first form?
JAY ROBERTS (vocals): Originally, the band was me and James, the other guitarist, messing around with a few other people, with Dan joining after he was introduced to us by our original drummer.
At first, it was just a hobby, and we thought it wouldn’t go much further than that, but as we’ve got older, it has become more serious and we have become more committed, even though there was a period when we decided to leave it for a while.
DAN GORMAN (guitar): When was that? 2014?
JAY: Mid 2015.
DAN: Yeah. 2015, we split up because our old drummer wanted to go travelling, and our old bassist could no longer fit it around his work.
JAY: Then last year, we decided to start the band back up.
DAN: Jay and James had been working together on a song, which was going to be the start of an entirely new project. They came to me and asked if I would like to collaborate. At the time, I wasn’t doing much, so I said: “Yeah, why not?”
I learnt the song and thought it was pretty cool. After listening to the final product, we realised that it was the same as what we had been doing before the split, only with more progress, so we decided to reform as The Cartographer.
Ash came in on drums, and then we started writing what would eventually become ‘Human Error’. We recorded that in a week last summer, and released it last October. Around the same time, we started doing shows again, and I think Tom joined us on bass at the start of this year.
How did the name The Cartographer come about?
JAY: Before me and James got together to form the band the first time, I was doing something with another singer, we were going to form a band with two vocalists. We played video games a lot, and we were playing Skyrim. We got the map for the game out, and at the bottom of it, it said the name of the guy, which was The Cartographer. We liked the name, it sounded good.
DAN: Was it a quote from Zelda as well?
JAY: Yeah, someone said it was from one of the Zelda games.
How would you describe your sound?
DAN: The best way to describe it would be that the sound is for fans of Heart Of A Coward and Northlane. Heavy, but with melodic choruses.
JAY: Aggressive, with singy bits.
DAN: Aggressive, but beautiful.
You’ve just mentioned some of them there, but what are the band’s main musical influences?
JAY: One of our main influences is After The Burial. We take from that side of metal for the sound, but with the vocals, we do like to take influence from the likes of Wage War, they have nice melodic choruses.
We don’t stick to a certain area of a band, we push ourselves out, bring different types of metal and mix it all together. It’s basically a big mash-up of everything.
DAN: It’s progressive metal meets metalcore, I think.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
DAN: We don’t have one! (laughs) Literally, it’s the driving force behind our writing.
JAY: When it comes to structuring our songs, vocally and stuff, we like to concentrate on current situations, how each member of the band is feeling at that point, so say, for example, ‘Kneel To Nothing’, that’s basically about pollution and how high the levels of it are.
With some of our other songs, we will write the lyrics in a rather generic way, about higher government and how there seems to be no way of pleasing them. We do like to concentrate on topics that are more relevant than something that is just made up in your head.
The band recently released a new single, ‘Vultures’. How has the reaction been to it so far?
JAY: It’s been pretty good, to be fair.
DAN: We’ve done a campaign with Domino PR. Steph, who runs it, has really pushed the boundaries for us. It’s been more than we expected. She has e-mailed us, saying: “Dudes, you need to be doing this, you need to be doing that.” It’s been overwhelming at times, but it’s also been really cool.
JAY: We’ve had numerous reviews for it from all over the place.
DAN: Someone from, I think it was Puerto Rico, did a review. We couldn’t read what it said, because it was all written in Spanish! It was pretty awesome, though.
JAY: We also got approached by Metal Hammer, they wanted us to do a bit where we listed our ten favourite bands, songs, stuff like that. The reaction has been a lot better than any of us expected, which we’re happy with.
You’re about to embark on tour with Skies In Motion. How is the experience of playing live and touring for you all?
JAY: Well, in past interviews, I have said that our live sets are aggressive, with a lot of smoke and hair. Just hair everywhere! (laughs) If you come to one of our shows, you’re not going to see a band just standing there in stasis, we are going to be energetic. If someone’s coming to see us, our aim is to not let them down.
DAN: Yeah, if they’re paying to come, than the least we can do is give them a show to remember. So, doing the tour is going to be a bit bonkers! (laughs)
JAY: Yeah, it should be interesting.
What are the band’s plans for after the tour?
DAN: We’ll carry on writing for our debut album, I think.
JAY: Yeah, album.
DAN: At the moment, we have a total of about twelve songs. Our plan is to write as many as possible, cut the ones that we think are weak, work on the stronger ones, and then go back into the studio.
When were you thinking of getting the album out by?
DAN: I think, originally, it was going to be this year, but now, we think it will be out sometime early next year.
JAY: At the moment, we’re looking at between January and February, but it could be a little bit later.
DAN: It might be March.
JAY: To be safe, we’ll make it March next year.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
DAN: For me, what I would like to do with this band, within the next five years, I would like this to become a source of income for us. Even if it’s minimum wage, I’m happy with that. I would love to do this for a living. I know it’s nigh on impossible these days, but that’s my goal.
JAY: I believe if you work hard for something, you will eventually get it. We’re not expecting to open the main stage at Download in the next few years, but it would be good if we could go on a steady tour with a good amount of shows, get a decent fan base, and at least, get two full albums out.
We need to keep pushing ourselves and constantly get our stuff out there.
THE CARTOGRAPHER ARE CURRENTLY SUPPORTING SKIES IN MOTION ON THEIR UK TOUR.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND AT THESE SITES:
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: thecartographerukofficial.bandcamp.com/releases