Interview with Between The Void

I had a nice, pre-show chat with local Dorset-based band, Between The Void, before their gig at the Lord Nelson, Poole Quay on 20th July.  The full interview is here, but you can also access the review article via Rock Regeneration via the link at the bottom.  Check it out!

Between The Void logo

You’ve been doing some dates locally in and around Dorset and Hampshire, how have you been received?

John:  Pretty well, I think.  You don’t necessarily hear from everyone who sees you, but we’ve had people come up after shows and say that they like it.  We’ve also had a few follows on social media, which is nice and promoters have asked us back.  We’re playing a lot in Southampton because there are a lot of excellent venues there so we’re making steady progress.

Marc:  It is difficult playing out of town shows because you don’t have a fan base that you can call upon to come to your show.  You just have to go in blind and hope that people come along.  You need fans to call upon fans, that’s the difficult thing.

John:  Every time we’ve played at the Talking Heads we’ve got a lead which has led to other gigs.  Last time we played at Battle of the Bands, the Septic Stars were very nice, very complimentary, so I’m pretty sure that we’ll do some gigs with them.

You mentioned the lack of a fan base; are you not seeing some of the same people at your gigs?  Is it different faces every time?

Marc:  The difficult thing about a new-ish band is that once you’ve brought your family along to a couple of shows, they don’t want to come any more because they’re bored or have other things to do.  It’s difficult to build a fan base from that.

John:  We have seen some people more than once though, we’re still on first name terms with all of our fans!  We’ve got some people coming to the Railway (in Winchester) who have seen us before.  I think if we went back to the Joiners we would get some of the faces that we saw the first time around.  You just hope that it will snowball, really.

You’ve been going for just over a year, so how did you come together?

John:  Ten years ago Oli and I were in a band and then he went to Tanzania for a while.  When he came back we both still had the bug so we advertised on Gumtree and Join My Band and we got Pippa, after going through quite a few people who weren’t really appropriate; they didn’t like what we were doing, we didn’t like what they were doing or they didn’t necessarily fit.  We went through about eight drummers before Pippa found Marc.

Marc:  I’d just finished with a band called Dead By Dawn – the singer moved back to Scotland and we disbanded.  The two guitarists went to play in a wedding covers band and the bassist went to Metaprism.  That left me so I went back on to JMB, I didn’t really want to go back into heavy metal hard core stuff, even though it’s the music that I love, but I wanted to have something a bit more rocky and a bit more intelligent, with various different levels.  Pippa asked me along to a practice so I just turned up and that was it.  It just worked and happened.

Oli:  It was quite comical, the drummers that we went through.

Pippa:  We had quite a few people come along and play with us as a favour, even John’s brother.

John:  We had a guy who only played the double bass pedal.

Oli:  The best one was the guy who was fresh out of Deep Purple.  He was an absolute 70’s rocker and hadn’t played the drums for a while – he turned up without drumsticks.

John:  Eventually it clicked and everyone was happy straight away.

We’re glad it did!  If you had to pick one BTV song to introduce the band to a new fan, which one would you pick, and why?

Pippa:  I think I would pick ‘(The Silence of) Alex Marshall’ because it’s got the range of lighter and heavier sounds. Also I like playing it!

Marc:  I would say ‘Relax’ based on the reaction that we’ve had to the song, everybody seems to go nuts for it.  It’s got riffs, it’s got heavy drums, it just seems to work, it’s got some funky bass parts, it’s got melodies.

John:  I agree with Marc that ‘Relax’ has probably, on balance, got the best response, but I’d have to play them ‘Alex Marshall’, just because it’s most representative of our sound all round.  ‘Relax’ seems to be every sensible BTV fan’s favourite song …

Oli:  I would say, to listen to, ‘Alex Marshall’, but to play it would be ‘Relax’, purely because it’s got a fantastic guitar solo.

John:  Oh, very modest …

When you’re writing, what are your biggest musical influences?

John:  It’s a big mixture; I’m a massive Seattle fan, so in general, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains – they’re some of my favourite bands that I still listen to a lot, even though everyone else has stopped listening to them.  Also Incubus, Funeral For A Friend … although I don’t know how much they [Funeral] influence the writing as they haven’t written anything good themselves for a while.

Do you all write together?

John:  Normally one of us will come with the bones of a song and we’ll flesh it out together.

Marc: We build organically …

John:  Well done.  We promised that we would work in the word ‘organic’ at some point … I think it’s different for everyone.  We had to do a cover for one of the Jurassic Mark Battle of the Band nights, so we did Day Tripper and Pippa just went on a reggae/funk trip.

Marc:  We actually realised that we listened to the same bands at the same time of our lives.  We grew up listening to ska and punk and moved into heavier rock and hard core but we draw influences from everything; jazz, rhythm and blues, Chilli Peppers and the grunge stuff of the 90’s.

Oli:  We’re not idiots, we realise that if we rock up here at the Nelson and play an absolute chug-fest then it’s not going to do down very well.  I’m not saying we play to each venue, but with the songs we’ve got from start to end it varies a lot.

Marc:  I think that plays into our hands with venues like this.  In other bands it was difficult to get gigs in pubs because it would be a heavy metal venue that put on heavy metal bands and that’s it.  We have the flexibility and opportunities to play in a much wider area.  The Goblet is a bar that we played last week – we’d have never got in there if we were in any way heavy.  We have heavy riffs, but we’re not shouting and screaming.  Anybody and everybody who can appreciate a little bit of this or that in a certain song can latch on to us – that’s the idea I suppose, isn’t it?

What do you think of the state of the local music scene at the moment?

John:  I think it’s thriving in certain genres; if you’re a doom band, there’s a lot of support for that.  I think Southampton is buoyant – it’s brilliant, but I think a lot of that is down to the venues, there are really good venues with good sound that are prepared to give local bands playing original music a chance without the prerequisite of having to sell 100 tickets.  I would love to play Mr Kyps, but I totally understand why they put on bands like Dirty DC and not us.  They need to keep their head above water.

Oli:  The problem with Bournemouth and Poole, well Poole especially, they shut the centre down, which doesn’t help.

Marc:  With Bournemouth being a Uni town, the Uni has no music scene and the students don’t seem to want to get involved in live music.  Back in the days of the Gander and Mr Smiths, where you used to play rough and ready punk gigs …

Ah, the days of the Gander and Mr Smiths – happy times!  Back to the present, if you could play with any band or artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Oli:  Stevie Wonder.

John:  I think Led Zeppelin would be hard to beat.

Marc:  Probably any punk band that went through the late 1970’s, just for the whole scene and how much influence it had on the culture at the time.  It would have been really cool to have been a part of that.

Pippa:  I’d play with Mr Bungle but I would be star struck by Mike Patton the whole time so I wouldn’t be able to do anything.

So, what’s next?

John:  Recording.  We’re going into the studio.

Pippa:  We’ve recorded a couple of songs, but we want to go and get the drums down properly.  I think we’d like to play some festivals.

Marc:  I think we’d like to write some new songs between now and Christmas.  I’d like to do some open mic nights.  We can transfer four or five of our songs into acoustic versions and I’d like to do an experiment to see how that would go down.  There’s people drinking in a pub, they don’t come to see you, they don’t pay to see you, they’re just there soaking at the atmosphere. You come on, you play a couple of songs which are catchy, they go home and think – next time these guys are playing a live set we’ll go along.  Building fans is impossible through social media and with friends and family because there’s only a finite number of people available, but I love the thought of just getting out there and playing some songs and seeing what happens.

BTV coming to an open mic night near us soon, then?!  Anything else to add?

John:  Thanks to everyone that’s come along to see us!

You can catch the BTV review article here –

http://www.rock-regeneration.co.uk/wordpress/2014/07/between-the-void

facebook.com/betweenthevoid

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