Category Archives: Live music

Interview with Sid Glover of Heaven’s Basement, 06.12.14

British rockers Heaven’s Basement have been labelled as the ‘hardest touring band in rock’, and that’s pretty much what the last two years have been about for them; playing globally to promote their debut full-length album, ‘Filthy Empire’.  The recent one-day Winter Rocks Festival in Sheffield was their last performance of the year, and also probably the last before the second album is released at some point next year (although, with these guys you never know – they’re all about the live shows).  I managed to catch up with guitarist Sid Glover before they hit the stage to talk about touring, guitar heroes and flying planes.  Enjoy! 

HB indiv band pic

How’s the writing been going for the second record?

Yeah, good.  We started writing individually because I’ve been getting some ideas together and I think Rob had probably been doing the same, but we are all together now with writing hats on.  We’re not recording yet, just writing.  Recording doesn’t take long, we did ‘Filthy Empire’ in seven or eight days, I think.

Is it hard for you to switch off when you get back from a tour?

It’s crazy, I’m a fucking nightmare person to live with, but I have a rigorous routine of catching up with friends and writing songs.

You don’t sleep very well, do you?  You’re always posting on twitter at stupid o’clock …

I just get loads of ideas at night, which is good.  We’ll do loads of jamming during the day and I’ll sit down and get loads of ideas at night and I’ll record vocal ideas which pisses everyone off!  I’m down there wailing away at 6am and everyone’s like “Shut the fuck up!” I just get on a roll but when you tour, you get energy at weird times, like I’ll get energy between 10 and 6 in the morning.  If you leave me alone, I’ll live a thirty eight hour day.  I can sleep, once I go to sleep I can sleep like a fucking dead person, but I need a thirty hour day.  Every now and then it flips so I have to have a roll over day.

How else do you switch off?

I’ll probably watch a film with a couple of drinks but it’s all about writing songs, really.  That keeps me up longer because I’m a bit of a perfectionist – I can’t leave an idea half-finished, so I’ll stay up all night, but the pay-off is awesome and when it’s done, it’s done.

Who are your ultimate guitar heroes and musical influences?

Jimi Hendrix was first, then Stevie Ray Vaughan probably came along and Rory Gallagher, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and David Gilmour.  That’s pretty much all you really need!

Have you always known that you wanted to ‘do’ music?

Yes.  I didn’t always know I wanted to do it, it was always just assumed that I would – it was never a question.  Ever since I was about four, I was just [playing the] guitar and nobody knows why; I was just attracted to it and gravitated to it.  It’s very odd, no-one else in my family is musical, so it’s a bit strange.

cropped-hb2.jpgElectric Ballroom, Camden, March 2014

Any musical ancestors?

I think my [Great-Grandmother] was a bit of a child prodigy on the piano; she was a concert pianist at the age of thirteen.

So you’ve never done anything else, job-wise, apart from music?

No, I was always doing music, as soon as I found a path, I went down it.  I think I sabotaged my own life so that I had to make it work.

Moving on, you recently flew a plane whilst you were at the Red Bull Air Race in Austria.  Did you enjoy it?  You looked a little bit scared …

No, I wasn’t scared – I love flying.  If I looked a little bit off colour it’s because I’d been at Chris’ (Rivers, drummer of HB) stag party a few hours previously and I hadn’t slept.  It was a bit of a heavy night and then, getting in a plane that goes 250 miles an hour upside down … it was the best hangover cure I think I’ve ever had.  I wasn’t scared but I was trying not to pass out.

Would you do it again?  Is it something that you would like to do as a hobby?

We went and played in Austria and we saw the pilots in the bar and I was like, “Take us up!”  I spoke to the English guy that won and he said he’ll take us up because he lives nearby.  I kind of did it when I was a kid – my Dad always flew, so I’ve always been around planes.  It’s not a passion of mine, but it’s fun.

Talking of fun, what was your favourite video to record off of Filthy Empire, and why?

‘Lights Out In London’ because we just took over Brick Lane.  We hired out two of the biggest bars in Brick Lane, invited people down and threw an all-night party.  I stayed until the end and watched all of the storyline footage getting shot, which was fun.  ‘Fire Fire’ and ‘Nothing Left To Lose’ were cool, because they were the first ones that we’d ever done.  We were in the desert and it was kind of cool, a novelty experience.

Why do you dislike having your picture taken so much?

I don’t dislike having my picture taken!  I probably have my picture taken a hundred times a day.  Everyone says that I look miserable in photos, but I am smiling on the inside.  Even when I think I’m smiling, people are like “You look fucking miserable, Sid.” I’m just not a photogenic smiler!

Heaven's Basement Nosturi 261113 w 030

Nosturi, Helsinki, November 2013 (Photo courtesy of Karen Chappell, http://www.fotoadventures.co.uk)

For you personally, what are the best and worst aspects of touring?

Pros are constant stimulation and massive adrenaline highs every day.  If you like that stuff then there’s not really any cons.  It depends what level of touring you’re at.  We’ve done everything from driving ourselves in a van when we started out, to touring on buses and planes.  You don’t really see your friends much, but you’re on tour with friends and meeting new people all of the time.

Who’s the biggest pain in the arse on tour, and why?

Aaron, because he likes to try and chill and look after himself, whereas I don’t, so that’s an issue.  I think that probably means I’m the pain in the arse!

Who gets in the most trouble?

Shit happens all the time.  We like to leave our sound guy behind quite a lot, that’s fun.  I don’t think I’ve ever been left behind, although our drummer often does [get left].  In Manchester, when we were on tour with Papa Roach, I went for a drink with them on their bus, but didn’t realise their bus left so I ended up in Newcastle and we were meant to go somewhere else for a day off.  It’s all good; we can’t get into that much trouble!  Although, I did get stuck in this place in America once; we ended up in this seedy shop that was clearly a front for a drugs den.  There was this minute of being held up, a gunpoint kind of thing … that was me and our sound guy.  That was pretty hairy, but we managed to make them all our best friends and everyone loved us.  We managed to get the fuck out of there, but that was pretty close.

What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve ever been given by a fan?

There are no weird things, just really nice stuff.  Our fans give us cool things, like paintings they’ve done, or drawings, or really sweet letters … jewellery or alcohol.  All of those things are good!  We’ve been fairly lucky, there’s never been severed heads, or anything like that.  No voodoo dolls made of hair or anything … actually, no, there was a doll once which was made of hair – that was kind of weird.

Not your hair, though?!

I hope not.  I didn’t think about that!

If you could work with just one artist, band or producer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

George Martin, the Beatles producer.    He was a big part of the Beatles developing their recording sound and I would love to see how he works.

Any new bands that you can recommend to us?  Anyone cool that you’re listening to?

I’m fairly uninspired with most of the new stuff I’ve heard recently.  I’ll tell you what I do like though, we are well into the new Kasabian album.  I know that’s not an underground thing that nobody’s heard of, but they seem to have blended pilled-up dance music with elements of classic rock and I think that’s quite a good combination.  I listen to anything that’s got a soul to it, anything that’s good, mainly blues and rock, but anything that doesn’t scream of ‘cookie cutter’ fake music, which is most stuff these days.

What’s been your biggest Heaven’s Basement highlight, to date?

Probably the London show (Electric Ballroom) on our last headline tour; when it was booked, I told everyone that they were stupid because I thought it was way too big.  We’ve only ever supported bands there that are on their third or fourth album who we considered quite successful bands, so to do it on our first album … it was four or five times bigger than our previous headline show, so it was nice to be proven wrong.

I have a few ‘fan’ questions for you.  First up, what’s been your best and worst gig?

We did Montreal and Dallas on the tour with The Pretty Reckless – they were wicked shows, performance and energy wise, everything gelled and it was just devastating.  Nostalgia-wise, things like the Electric Ballroom show, Download second stage, Kansas City Rock Fest … the ‘big’ gigs, that’s great.  The worst gig … there was one gig where I accidentally got hammered beyond belief.  We were just hanging out in the day, and had forgotten that we were playing and there’s a moment when you walk on stage and it’s past the point of ‘cool’. You have a few drinks to loosen up and get in the mood and then realise you have zero control over this.  It is one of the most terrifying feelings in the world, to know that you then have to entertain these people, but not let on too much to the band that you’re hammered!  It turned out to be a great show so I can’t really complain, but … that moment of fear!

There was also a gig in Germany once where everything broke.  Every part of my rig broke so, most of the show the band was playing whilst I was swapping gear out.  It got to the point where I was literally down to just trousers – my belt snapped, my guitar strap snapped, all the heads had gone on my amp so there was one tiny cable linked up to one amp, no guitar strap, no belt.  I raised my pick to play the last note and the singer leant up to the crowd and knocked the guitar pick out of my hand!  But that was a good gig, too – when things are going wrong it usually adds to the energy.

Is there any news, 2015 festival-wise, that you’re allowed to mention?

To be honest, our priority is on the album, so it kind of depends when we do that.

Why do you use the name ‘Sid’, rather than your real name of Andrew Edward?  Was it something to do with Sid Vicious?

No, definitely not!  None of the men in my family are known by their real names, it’s a very strange thing.  It’s like they’re given a name when they’re born and instantly it’s changed!  I found out recently that my Dad’s name is not his real name, his Father’s name, isn’t his name.  It is what I am, it’s just an odd tradition.

It suits you, though … I can’t imagine you as an ‘Andrew’.

Nobody can … that’s not my name!

Do you have a ‘favourite’ guitar to use?  If so, which one?

Not really, they all serve their purpose.  My ‘favourite’ guitar is probably the one I got when I was four and has a string missing.  I dabble, depending on how I’m feeling at a certain time, I’ll use a certain guitar; they’re flavours to be played with.

Sid guitar

“When things go wrong, it usually adds to the energy”

Is there anything that you would like to add?

Yeah, to anyone that has come out to a show for the last couple of years, thank you for supporting us.  We’ll be back next year with a new album.

You can buy a copy of ‘Filthy Empire’ at record stores or via the usual online outlets.  iTunes also have the two previous EP’s available –  ‘Heaven’s Basement’ and ‘Unbreakable’ – both highly recommended!  Keep an eye out for HB2 in 2015; in the meantime, check out some HB videos below to keep you going!

http://heavensbasement.com

http://www.facebook.com/heavensbasement

‘Lights Out In London’ – http://youtu.be/-UwsGZCeIro

‘Can’t Let Go’ – http://youtu.be/VwVkRMWOsZc

‘Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch’ – http://youtu.be/Q6Yq5i3WDfw

‘Nothing Left To Lose’ – http://youtu.be/kP1u79wSdDY

‘I Am Electric’ – http://youtu.be/XjRaKId4Rps

‘Fire Fire’ – http://youtu.be/zgz_vmwEp_0

http://www.facebook.com/themusicjourno

The awesome 2014 – a personal year in numbers

Well … What. A. Year.  I think I can safely say that 2014 has, without a doubt, been both the best and the worst year of my life.  I have been to some amazing venues this year, seen some truly awesome bands and some not-so-good ones, too.  I got to interview some idols, made some new friends and contacts, but I also lost my very dear and treasured Dad, whom I miss dreadfully.  As I write this, am looking at a very uncertain, scary but exciting future, due to the decision to uproot my life and move on.  I guess, as my God-mother recently told me, I’m not one to do things by halves …

Rival Sons Pie and Vinyl         

With Rival Sons at a record signing session, Pie and Vinyl, Portsmouth, 08.12.14

Overall this year, so far I have had 75 pieces of writing published via Rock Regeneration, Do More Magazine, Get Your Rock Out, Bournemouth Echo, CultNoise Magazine, Red Dragon Records and my blog.  I have seen 138 bands – of those, 114 of them I hadn’t seen before, and I have also managed to cross 17 bands off of my ‘essential must-see’ list.  I went to 7 festivals, most of which were one day affairs.  I also hit 2,000 views on my blog which I’m chuffed with.

There were several contenders for overall gig of the year, but there is no outright winner; I would have to say the Heaven’s Basement gig at the Electric Ballroom in March was epic, Download Festival was completely awesome (and I’m chuffed I saw so many bands to review) and the Winter Rocks Festival last week will go down as a highlight, purely because I got to meet some of my online friends who are also part of the Heaven’s Basement unofficial ‘family’ and of course, I got to see the band themselves play probably one of the sweatiest gigs ever (which was my 13th HB show, and hopefully not the last).  There was also the small matter of finally being able to interview my favourite guitarist …

Smily Sid and Vix

With Sid Glover, post-Winter Rocks Festival

Speaking of interviews, I conducted 32 of them, some by email, most face to face.  I discovered so many fantastic bands this year that I had not seen or heard of previously, including Royal Blood, Butcher Babies, Anti-Mortem, Liberty Lies, Killer Be Killed, Feral Sun, The Killing Lights, The Answer, The Treatment, Dendera, Blackwolf, Blues Pills, California Breed, Dirty Thrills, Diamond Days, I Divide, Massive, Nothing More, Skillet, Theory Of A Deadman, The Vintage Caravan, Regulus, Glamour Of The Kill, Die So Fluid, Bad Touch, Brother and Bones, Reignwolf, The Family Ruin, Twenty Two Hundred and Wovenwar, just to name the ones that immediately spring to mind.

Vix and Scott of Blackwolf

With Scott Sharp of Blackwolf

I made my radio presenting debut on Hope FM (which was sadly not repeated!), I had my first press wristband with Takedown Festival and my first AAA pass as Press Area Manager at ButserFest.  I also got to interview Shappi Khorsandi and review her live show, which  was fantastic, as I’m a big fan!  I’ve applied to 5 magazines, two record companies and one PR company for work experience, all of whom I never heard back from, but I’ll keep trying.

There are people I know who have done phenomenally better than me this year, but I’m extremely proud of what I have achieved – mainly because most of what I have written has come out of me being cheeky, asking for review passes, badgering bands for interviews and basically making a nuisance of myself with PR companies.  Although I have done nowhere near as much studying as I would have liked, I am still enrolled and it is my plan to press ahead with that in the new year, therefore I intend to cut right back on the reviewing (and yes, I mean it this time!).  I hope to have the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism by the end of 2015.

Download 3

I already have tickets for next year to see Glamour Of The Kill, Slipknot, Queen and Adam Lambert and for Download Festival, so 2015 is shaping up to rock even harder than this year.  I have also had confirmation that I’m part of the official Takedown Festival Media Team, which has made my Christmas.

To those who thought I was doing this as a ‘hobby’ and that I would ‘get it out of my system’, I would like to say that I’ve had the best year, music-wise and I have no intention whatsoever of sitting back and using 2014 as a bunch of nice memories and nothing else.  I passed that fork in the road and made my decision and now, I have every intention of heading in the right direction.  I can’t wait for the next twelve months and I hope you’ll continue to share the journey with me!  Bring. It. On.

Merry Christmas!

MerryMetalChristmas(1)

https://www.facebook.com/themusicjourno

https://www.twitter.com/queenofrock75

Review of Rival Sons / Blues Pills / Jameson, Portsmouth Pyramids, 08.12.14

rivalsons-5358

It’s been quite a year for Californian rock and rollers, Rival Sons.  Fresh from a string of European dates, an award-nominated fourth album and a generally steady trajectory into the big leagues, tonight they were scaling the dizzy heights of … Portsmouth.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Portsmouth, in fact quite the opposite.  The newly refurbished Pyramids Live venue has a much improved sound system and a lovely new carpet – what more could a rock and roll fan ask for?

Kicking proceedings off was an earnest, solo young man from California by the name of Jameson.  Despite the unfunny comments about Irish whisky coming from the somewhat inebriated, older people I had the misfortune to stand next to, he did well.  Most of the audience were appreciative and considering it was just him and his guitar, I thought he did a fantastic job of holding everyone’s interest.  He has a new EP out, ‘Carnivore’, so I would recommend that you check him out.

Jameson live

Next up were the sensational Swedes, Blues Pills.  This was the second time I’ve had the pleasure of catching this band and I like them more each time I see them live.  Elin looked resplendent in a short red dress, long hair flying as she got into a groove, tambourine in hand.  With fantastic songs such as ‘Devil Man’, ‘Black Smoke’ and the finale of ‘Little Sun’, Blues Pills went down a storm and Elin’s voice is a treasure to behold.  It goes without saying that you should go and buy their eponymously titled debut album.

Blues Pills live

Finally, we came to the headliners.  Fresh from a record signing at the quaint and very welcoming ‘Pie and Vinyl’ in the town centre, Rival Sons took to the stage in a burst of colour, opening their set with ‘You Want To’.  Jay’s voice was sublime, Scott’s guitar playing was ethereal … I could go on, but they had me, and probably everyone else in the room, captivated from the first note. The awesome signature tune, ‘Pressure and Time’ followed and then, much to the delight of the crowd, the romping ‘Electric Man’.  Jay’s vocal did strain a little bit on ‘Secret’, but purely because he was so in the moment, I think, sinking to his knees with the microphone – nobody could ever accuse this band of not giving 110%.  Scott also gave us a sublime guitar solo during ‘Manifest Destiny, Part 1’.

Rival Sons live

One awesome track after another followed and it’s not very often that a band can hold an entire room in the palm of its hand for an hour and forty minutes – Rival Sons managed it effortlessly, almost made it look easy, even.  When they left the stage there was uproar, the crowd hungry for more and the Californian rockers obliged them with a four-song encore, starting with the insolent ‘Open My Eyes’ and ending with trademark song, ‘Keep On Swinging’.

It’s easy to be biased when you really like a band, but these guys came out looking every inch the rock and roll stars that they are and they just owned the stage from start to finish.  Today Portsmouth, tomorrow … well, who knows where Rival Sons’ epic journey will take them.  One thing is for sure, if you get the chance to see them in the next twelve months at a local venue near you, do it.  You might not get another opportunity for such an intimate gig.

Rival Sons Pie and Vinyl

With Rival Sons at the pre-gig ‘Pie and Vinyl’ signing session

Rival Sons set list: –

  1. You Want To
  2. Pressure and Time
  3. Electric Man
  4. Good Luck
  5. Secret
  6. Good Things
  7. Manifest Destiny, Part 1
  8. Torture
  9. Rich and the Poor
  10. Where I’ve Been
  11. Tell Me Something
  12. Get What’s Coming

Encore songs: –

  1. Open My Eyes
  2. Sacred Tongue
  3. Jordan
  4. Keep On Swinging.

https://www.facebook.com/rivalsons

https://www.facebook.com/BluesPills

https://www.facebook.com/jamesonmakesmusic  

Review – Soil plus supports, Weymouth Pavilion, 28.10.14

Soil band pic

It’s not every day that you get to see four bands of the calibre of the line up on the current Soil tour, especially in a sleepy seaside location such as Weymouth, so it’s no surprise that the good metal fans of the town turned out in force for this extravaganza. I’m not sure if it was sold out, but it was certainly a respectable number for a Tuesday night.

First on the bill were Canadian metallers, Wolfborne, who did an admirable job of warming up a growing crowd. I hadn’t really heard much of their material beforehand, so it’s always great to discover a new band and I hope I’ll get to see more of them.

Next up came rock/punk/rap outfit (Hed)P.E, who from the first note inspired a mosh pit down at the front, with the eager crowd singing the lyrics back to vocalist Jahred.   They belted out classic tracks such as ‘No Turning Back’, ‘Bartender’ and ‘Renegade’, as the temperature rose along with the energy. Jahred was out into the crowd at the front and general chaos ensued; his engagement with the fans was pretty awesome – a real lesson in how to be an excellent front man that many bands could learn from. They ended a manic set with a one-off cover of The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’ which went down a storm.

I was a little disappointed with third band American Head Charge’s set, but then (Hed)P.E were a hard act to follow. Indeed, I think many of the crowd felt the same as the number of bodies at the front thinned out as their set went on. I found it to be a bit plodding, although more people came back when they speeded things up a bit. It seems that louder isn’t always necessarily better.

Soil tour poster

Last but certainly not least, came the mighty American band Soil, who have been one of my favourites for many years and it was a real pleasure to be able to have a quick chat with singer Ryan McCombs before the gig. The lights were down as Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ rang out across the room as an intro and suddenly, bathed in blue light, there they were in all their glory. Kicking off with ‘Loaded Gun’, Soil stormed through a killer set, with the crowd loving it and getting involved from the off. We were treated to such favourites as ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Deny Me’, ‘Way Gone’ and of course the epic ‘Breaking Me Down’. The penultimate song was the massive track ‘Halo’, before a finale of ‘Shine On’ brought the house down.

I’m so glad to have finally seen Soil, they gave an awesome performance and it was also a treat to be able to cross (Hed)P.E off of my must-see list. A fantastic night of metal in a good little venue, so a big well done to the organisers Advanced Promotions for another amazing gig!

Soil set list: –

  1. Loaded Gun
  2. Two Skins
  3. The Hate Song
  4. Deny Me
  5. Need to Feel
  6. The One
  7. Way Gone
  8. Redefine
  9. Unreal
  10. Breaking Me Down
  11. Halo
  12. Shine On

www.soiltheband.com

www.headcharge.com

www.hedperocks.com

www.wolfborne.com

 

Interview with I Divide, Southampton, 11.10.14

It was with great pleasure that I got the opportunity to have a chat with three fifths of Exeter rockers, I Divide, before their show with The Dirty Youth back in October.  Standing in a freezing car park next to a dodgy looking church, Josh (guitar), Henry (guitar) and Kristen (bass) waxed lyrical about festivals, social media and what their plans are for world domination.  Or something like that … enjoy!

I Divide band pic

How did you enjoy your appearance at the recent alcohol and drug-free Butserfest?

Josh:  Yeah, it was awesome.  We’d never been there before so we didn’t really know what to expect – I’d seen some stuff online but yes, we really enjoyed the set and it was a good crowd.  We hadn’t played for a few weeks, so it was just nice to get back on stage and play a show.

You also did an acoustic set, which was awesome and one of the best sets of the day. How was it for you?

Josh:  It was cool.  Although we’ve done some acoustic sets before, we never really done one in front of a live audience as it’s normally for radio or for a video interview. To do it in front of a little audience was really nice!

Henry:  I didn’t expect there to be that many people there, really.  Walking outside and seeing the queue and realising they were for us …

Awesome. So, you’ve been supporting the Dirty Youth on their UK tour, has it been enjoyable?

Henry: We get on with them really well, we’ve had a few messy nights out with them but it’s been a really fun tour over quite a lot of dates. You get a mix of tours where some you only do a handful of dates across bigger cities, but it’s nice to actually go to a few more places on this one.  We’re covering the span of the UK, we went up to Aberdeen …

I’ve heard that the Scots like to party …

Henry:  We love the Scots!

Josh: They’re amazing!

You’ve had a pretty good year, really – you’ve toured with some big names and you’ve done Takedown and Butserfest … what’s been the highlight so far for you?

Henry:  Belgium was pretty cool, we played a festival over there with some awesome bands like Heart in Hand, Anavae, Carcer City …

Josh:  Loads of British bands!  We got to play with some big American bands over there as well though.

Henry:  We haven’t done a lot of European touring, so it was nice to go over there and play to a big crowd.

Your debut album, ‘Last One Standing’ is excellent. Have you had positive feedback?

Henry:  Thank you!  Yes, we’ve had loads of good feedback so far.

I Divide album artwork

You released an EP before that, there was a bit of a gap in between the two?

Josh:  Yes, not quite two years in between them. We released ‘What’s Worth More’ in 2012, it was nine tracks, seven ‘proper’ songs and two instrumentals.  A few of us played in a band before and some songs on that CD were written before we really, properly formed I Divide.  What we began with was to get some music out there and some songs to play live, whereas ‘Last One Standing’ was us sitting down and writing an album, recording it together and that was the one we wanted as our debut album.  To answer your question, the reaction has been wicked and we’ve had some really good reviews for it.  It did really well in the iTunes chart.

Henry:  We didn’t expect that, really.  We weren’t sure what to expect!

What’s your favourite track to play off of the album?

Kristen:  I like ‘Tell Me Something’.

Henry:  I really like ‘Tell Me Something’ as well.

Josh:  I really like quite a few to play live – ‘Runaway’, we’ve been playing that for quite some time, as we wrote it quite early on. It’s a really bouncy song, really energetic, it’s the one that makes me sweat the most!  I really like playing all the songs off the album.  ‘Monster In Me’ is a bouncy one and ‘I’m Not Leaving’ is a good one to jump to.

Kristen:  It’s been good this tour – we’ve got a whole new set and everyone’s singing along, they know the words.

(At this point Kristen is stretching like a pro-athlete in the car park and it’s clear that they take this VERY seriously …)

Josh:  When you play a load of live shows in a row, we always warm up anyway but …

Henry: The last few nights I haven’t warmed up and I regret it quite a bit now.

Kristen: We’re getting older now, as well.

Oh, come on – you’re only 23! Anyway, moving swiftly on to a boring question, who are your biggest musical influences when you write and who does most of the writing?

Henry:  I would say Josh, mainly.  He writes a lot of the lyrics and the music.  I just kind of come along and get my guitar and start writing lead stuff.

Josh:  I’m not the best guitarist in the world, but I love song-writing.  I’ll sit down and write the rhythm, the lyrics and the melody – obviously I’ll get Tom involved for the melodies and the lyrics, then we’ll grab these guys and get the instrumental stuff put in.

You put a lot of pictures up on Facebook and you use twitter too, do you tend to interact with your fans a lot, or do you not really bother? You seem to be quite sociable and open to people.

Josh:  We try and put a lot of effort in to talk to our fans.  We do a lot of stuff on social media and spend a lot of time trying to write back whenever people tweet us and message us, to make sure people’s questions are answered and they feel like they have that interaction with the band.  I’ve been speaking to a lot of people tonight who can’t believe that we message them back!  Obviously it’s getting harder and harder as we progress as a band and we get more and more messages.  We were just chatting to some guys at the bar, one’s been a fan of the band for ages and wanted to buy us a drink and every night that we play a show we always go down and just talk to everyone, take photos with everyone and get involved and make sure that everyone who wants to meet us at a show can definitely meet us; we don’t ever want anyone to go away and say that they didn’t get the chance.

Well, that’s going to get harder as your popularity increases! Let me throw in a question to mix things up a bit.  Who’s the biggest pain in the arse on tour?!

Josh:  Henry’s the biggest drinker.  We went out in Sheffield the other night and Henry got himself into a bit of a state where he couldn’t really stand up and we had to carry him halfway across Sheffield to get him back!  He then decided to sleep on the floor of the van.

Henry:  It was £2.50 for triple vodka and cokes with free shots and the Jagerbombs were £1.00.

Kristen:  To be fair, we were all sick that night …

That brings me neatly to the next question. What are the best and worst aspects of what you do?

Henry:  It’s great to get out and meet people, to have connections with the music and stuff.  It’s an honour.  We had fans who came from Cornwall going up to Aberdeen to see us and they spent two days travelling. Sometimes people don’t understand how much it means to us to see people from home when you’re this far away.

Josh:  One girl has travelled from Paris today to see us, she flew in to London and got a train down here.  We were like, we had better play well!  There aren’t many bad aspects to it though, apart from missing home, that’s the only difficult thing.  When we were away in Belgium I had some family stuff going on and I found that quite difficult.  Being away from my girlfriend is always hard.

You’re playing the Zombie Ball at Halloween – what does it mean to you to be playing alongside bands such as Skindred and Glamour Of The Kill?

Josh:  Skindred are getting so big now, it’s ridiculous. It’s going to be sick, we’re really looking forward to that show.   We’ve always loved playing shows on Halloween because it gives us an excuse to dress up as absolute idiots and Skindred are one of my favourite bands to watch live. I got given a ticket to see them down in Exeter and now I’ve seen them about ten times.

So what’s next and what’s your long-term plan for the band?

Kristen:  Just getting our name out there, and to start writing for the next album.

Any festivals lined up for next year?

Josh:  That’s kind of where we are – at this point in time, over the next few months we’ll be looking to get festivals.  I was saying to Kristen earlier that next year is just going to be the year where we do try and get on to every festival going.  We’re obviously going to be thinking about album number two and doing bits and pieces for that, but we’ll be touring as much as we possibly can and just keeping busy.

Do you have any longer-term goals or ambitions that you want to cross off of your lists, or do you take things as they come and enjoy it?

Josh:  We all want to travel the world with the band – if we can get to the stage where we get enough international followers to make it worthwhile enough for us to fly around and see the world doing this, we would be happy.

Henry:  If we make it as far as Australia that would be awesome.

Indeed, it would. Finally, a question I should have asked at the start – how did you arrive at the name I Divide?

Henry:  We get asked that loads, but there is no answer – we need to make one up.

Kristen:  We need some kind of epic story …

Josh:  It’s lyrics from a Brand New song, actually.  We came to the decision because we all came up with about thirty or forty names each that we thought were good, put them into a massive list and took it in turns to cross names off.  We wanted something short and snappy that didn’t really mean much else that people would quickly associate the words with us.  We really need to make up a better answer for this question!

Well, I had a blast chatting to these guys and although they’re not currently touring as such, they have just announced a show on 28th November at the Zombie Hut in Corby – check their Facebook page for more details and tickets.  You can also buy a physical copy of their album from the usual outlets, or online at iTunes.

www.idivideband.com

www.facebook.com/idivideband

Check out the videos for ‘I’m Not Leaving’ and ‘Follow Me’ here –

http://youtu.be/YEcA_EsnBek?list=PLsqIiBny50NvR1K_bTTpJT-AwJKO75yb1

http://youtu.be/rNobv67EEnQ

Interview with Buffalo Summer, 07.10.14

So, only Fools and Horses, Orange Goblin, Space Raiders (of the crisp variety) and Game of Thrones … these are just some of the things that are currently powering Welsh southern-rockers Buffalo Summer around the British Isles.  The European leg of the tour may have been indefinitely postponed by headliners The Treatment, but our wonders of Wales are quite happy as long as they’ve got a TV and some potato-based snacks.  Bassist Darren King tore himself away from the google-box long enough to have a quick chat …

Buffalo Summer band pic

– You’ve had some epic shows this year with the likes of Skid Row, Buckcherry and Phil Campbell. Do any of those shows particularly stand out for you and why?

We enjoy all the shows! Madrid with Buckcherry & Skid Row was a definite highlight on that tour though. It’s the second time we’d played there and it was amazing to see Buffalo t-shirts in the crowd!

– How did it feel to be sharing a bill with the mighty Black Sabbath in Hyde Park?

There are no words to describe it! We had a blast throughout the day and got to hang out with Motörhead and Soundgarden for a bit … unreal! A big tick for the bucket list there.

– The new tour with The Treatment and Massive kicks off tomorrow, are you excited for it?

Hell yeah! We’ve been good buds with The Treatment boys for a few years, but we’ve never toured together. When the opportunity arose we jumped at the chance.

 – Any places you’re particularly looking forward to visiting?

We always look forward to places we’ve never played, which on this tour is only Northampton and Rotterdam! That being said we always look forward to Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield as we’ve always had an awesome reception there. The same could be said for most places though!

– What are you listening to on the road? Any new music we should check out?

The new Orange Goblin album is decimating my ears as I type! Surely got to be one the albums of the year and it only came out yesterday! The new Mastodon record has been getting pretty heavy spinnage in the van over the summer too and the States And Empires album – It’s Neil from The Phil Campbell All Starr Band’s new project!

– How do you chill out during your downtime? Is the travelling harmonious and do you all get on?

It’s about as un-rock and roll as you’d think! We usually mooch about watching films and TV shoes. We’re all really into Game of Thrones and stuff.  Can’t go wrong with a bit of Only Fools & Horses on a rainy afternoon in Hamburg though!

Because we’ve all known each other since childhood more-or-less, we all have the measure of each other and it makes being cooped up together that much easier. There’s minimal feuding going on … unless someone’s gone and polished off the last packet of Space Raiders!

Buffalo%20Summer%20album%20cover

– Who or what do you draw influence from when you’re writing new material?

Lyrically a lot of Andrew’s influence comes directly from our current circumstances. The perils and pit-falls of life on the road, with the overwhelming love of doing it. He’s also really ecologically conscious so there’s some stuff come from that angle too. Musically, we just write really organically.

In the first instance we don’t put much though into it – it just happens. Once we have a rough song floating about, then we’ll get the microscopes out and really scrutinise the parts. Everything gets refined from there.

– Is a new album in the pipeline?  If so, when might we expect it and what can we expect from it?

The new album is done! We’re in the process of getting it mix and mastered and hopefully it’ll be out at the beginning of next year!

– If you had to pick two songs to introduce a new fan to Buffalo Summer, which would you pick and why?

I would say the songs ‘Down To The River’ and ‘A Horse Called Freedom’. With ‘River’, it’s already one of our signature songs and displays our unashamed love of all things Southern. With ‘Horse, it’s one of the first songs we wrote and it has a bit more hoof to it, with a big sing-a-long chorus. Those two are fan favourites for sure.

– You are playing HRH in Wales in November which you must be looking forward to. Any festivals  in the pipeline for next year?

It’s early days yet, so we can’t say much … the new record will be out though so we should have some extra momentum!

– What’s your take on the current state of the music industry and do you feel that rock music as we know it is a dying genre?

It’s a difficult place to do business, that’s for sure. Then again – everyone and their Nana knows this. So when I see bands complaining about it I think “Did no one tell you? Did you not get the memo?” You have to have a fundamental and deep rooted love of living this life otherwise it’ll break you.  Of course, over time it becomes hard enough to break the best of them. There’s two sides to everything. Personally, I think rock is in a more diverse and vibrant place than it has been for a really long time. It’s as alive as it ever was!

– Biggest Buffalo Summer highlight so far?

Playing Download last year was indescribable. Our agent was there and he said “If there’s 200/300 people out there, I’ll be happy”. We walked out to a sea of Buffalo Summer tees and like, 2000 people. Shame I was so hung-over I can’t remember much else!  I blame Iron Maiden.

– What’s next for the band?

We’re on the road for a month now then we head back to Wales to get the album sorted and ready to roll. Also, we need to buy a new van!  Dear Santa …

You can catch Buffalo Summer on the rest of their UK tour with The Treatment and Massive, dates below: –

B Summer tour poster

October –

16th – London, Underworld

17th – Colchester, Arts Centre

19th – Norwich, Studio

20th – Southampton, Joiners

21st – Exeter, Cavern

23rd – Brighton, Audio

www.buffalosummer.net

www.facebook.com/buffalosummer

Interview with Kodiak Jack

Fresh from a recent performance at the highly acclaimed drug and alcohol-free Butserfest, Portsmouth-based Kodiak Jack are certainly on the up.  They’ve been creating a buzz locally, following the release of their rocking second album, ‘Alhambra’ and with a special charity gig coming up and gig bookings coming in thick and fast, I wouldn’t mind betting they’re a band that you’re going to hear a lot more of in the coming months. I was lucky enough to grab ten minutes with them to shoot the post-gig breeze – enjoy!

K Jack pic

– You played the alcohol and drug-free Butserfest recently. How was that for you?

The Butserfest show was our last gig of a tour around England so it was a great way to wrap it all up. Five minutes before we were due on stage, we realised that my bass guitar and our lead guitarist’s amp were broken, so it was a mad rush to fix the amp and get hold of a replacement bass! Even so, the show went ahead on time, we played a good set and those that were there seemed to enjoy it, which is the main thing.

– Taking it right back, you’ve been going for some years, how did the band get together?

Yeah, it’s about seven years now. The band formed as a bunch of guys in different bands that really just wanted to try something new altogether. There have been some line-up changes in that time but the line-up we’ve had for the last 18 months is our definitive one and I don’t think any of us would change it again for the world.

– How did the name come about?

Kodiak Jack is a rather shady character that popped up briefly in an episode of The Mighty Boosh. A few of the guys love the show and so the name was taken from that.

– If you had to recommend just one of your songs to a new fan, which would it be and why?

I think all 5 of us would pick a different song – but I reckon that’s a good thing! Personally, for me I would say ‘Brother’ which was the first single from our second album. For me, it captures all of our strong points – a big riff, catchy chorus, harmonies, it just rocks really!

– You seem to engage well with your fans; indeed you have your own street team! Have you got supporters who have been with you since day one?

We have friends who have followed us from the start, but over the last few years we’ve developed a loyal fan base and we have people that follow us around to a lot of our gigs which is great. It means a lot to us and shows that we must be doing something right if these people are parting with their cash regularly to travel around and see us play.

– On to the new album, ‘Alhambra’. I believe you recorded it in California – how did that come about and did you enjoy the experience? 

A well known music journalist was talking to our manager and he said he would play our material to a friend. The friend turned out to be Brian Wheat who is the bassist in Tesla. He has an incredible studio and liked what he heard, so he invited us out to record our second album at his J Street Recording Studio in Sacramento.

KJ Alhambra

We were there for 4 weeks although some of the guys had to leave early due to other commitments. It was very hard work and 4 weeks isn’t really a long time to make an album so there were a lot of long days in the studio. That said, it was a huge amount of fun! We met some great people and Sacramento is a fantastic place to be. There were some days that were tougher than others, but we knew we were going there to work and not to party for a month. When we did get some down time we made the most of it and relaxed and enjoyed ourselves before we got back to business.

– Did you find it a richer experience than recording the first album? How did it differ?

The first album was done at a much smaller studio over a weekend. It was still fun, and the guy who recorded it knew what he was doing. The main difference was just the scale of everything. J Street is a much bigger, more advanced studio and it was brand new – we were the first band to record there. Plus Brian has 30 years experience in the music industry and has pretty much done all there is to do in the world of rock music, so working with him and fitting in with his methods was also a huge change from when we did the first album.

– What inspirations and influences do you draw upon when you’re writing?

We all listen to different bands, so it really depends on who it is that’s bringing a new idea to the table. Once we start on a new song we all tend to have an input on it and so all kinds of influences start to come through. Our guitarist Jon brings a lot of new ideas to practice, but they often tend to sound a little bit too much like the Smashing Pumpkins for us to be able to use them, which is strange because he has never even listened to the Pumpkins!

– How was it supporting Tesla? They’re obviously somewhat of an iconic band to rock fans of a certain age …

It was an incredible day really. From hanging out back stage at the O2 Academy in Islington right up to playing the last note on stage. Tesla and their crew are all a friendly bunch and we have got to know them quite well now, so it was actually pretty relaxed in the build up. Watching Tesla sound check was an eye opener – we knew right then that we were going to have to be playing as good as we possibly could. There was a big crowd there and they really got in to our set so I think we delivered!

– Speaking of gigs, you’re playing in a charity gig in the next couple of weeks. Do you do a lot of charity work and do you feel it’s important?

We’ve done a few and we have a couple more lined up as well. I think it is important – especially if it’s for a cause that is close to someone in the band. There’s no harm in doing something like that if people will benefit from it and as with all our gigs it’s another chance to hit the stage and do what we love doing. Some of the lads will also be running in the Great South Run for a Portsmouth-based Down’s Syndrome Association charity called Footprints.

– Do you have any festival appearances in the pipeline for next summer?

We sat down with our manager recently and festivals are definitely high up on the priority list for next year. We are already booked in to a two day festival at The Maze in Nottingham in May 2015 and hopefully we’ll get on to lots of other festivals.

– What’s your opinion of the local music scene and of the whole industry in general right now?

Portsmouth has always had a lot of great bands and we’re lucky to have some decent venues in town as well. It’s a bit strange for us because most of the bands are either Indie or Metal and we’re neither! Despite that, there are a few Portsmouth bands that we love gigging with and it’s always good to have a nice relationship with other bands in the area. As for the global music industry it gives me a bit of a headache! I look at the charts and think ‘Who are they?’ Luckily there are some decent bands stealing the pop world’s thunder a little, like Royal Blood for example. The sad thing for me is that bands seem to tour less and less and rely on a handful of big arena shows or festivals instead of hitting the road. It’s so easy for people to get their hands on music these days that a lot of bands probably think its pointless doing a load of travelling to promote something that everyone has already heard and downloaded.

– What’s been the biggest highlight so far for Kodiak Jack?

The Tesla show back in June is easily right up there for me. There was a sell out crowd at a fantastic venue, and we were opening up for a great rock band. I’d happily do that every day! The crowd were there for Tesla and the vast majority had never heard of us, but by the end of our show they were loving it and we were getting stopped by people all night asking for photos and autographs. That was a great feeling and made all the hard work preparing for the gig well worth it.

– What’s next for Kodiak Jack?

Well we have plenty of gigs booked and no doubt a few more will be added, but as well as that we are working hard on new material for a third album. A few new tracks have been tried out live now and have been well received so we just need to keep writing, practicing and performing as much as possible. Nothing gets handed to you on a plate in music so we need to be seen to be busy and consistently coming up with some more great tunes for people to enjoy!

Watch out for Kodiak Jack – they’re going to be massive!  Check out the video for ‘Brother’ here http://youtu.be/8rbrjozCYf8

www.facebook.com/kodiakjackuk

www.kodiakjackofficial.com

 

Interview with The Family Ruin following Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball, June 2014, London

TFR dearly departed plus pic

The Family Ruin are a fantastic up-and-coming rock band from the North of England.  They were meant to be touring around America with Crown The Empire at this point in time but, due to visa issues, unfortunately they weren’t able to go.  They have, however, just announced a support slot on the Asking Alexandria ‘Moving On’ tour of America and Canada later this year.  Also, their debut album, ‘Dearly Departed’ has just been released in America this very day (European fans – have some patience, only six sleeps to go!). 

So, in case you missed the original, first time around interview that I did with them earlier this year at the Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball in London, here it is once again for your delectation and delight! 

The Family Ruin WATERMARKED

L-R – Liam Redman, Wrath Of A King; Craig Robinson, TFR; Josh Adamson, TFR; Johnny Mennell, TFR; Natalie Conway, Red Dragon Records; Dom White, TFR and Me (Photo courtesy of Emma Radwanski Photography).

What did it mean to you to be playing alongside bands such as Funeral For A Friend at the Voodoo Rocks Club night?

It’s insane. I think, years back, we played with FFAF in our hometown of York (as The Fallen), so it’s great to be back on the bill with those guys, who have obviously massively climbed the ladder since then.  I think then they had just released their first EP, so they were at the level we’re at now.  It’s awesome to be playing with the Basement boys again, we’ve done quite a bit with Heaven’s Basement before and they’re good guys.  We’ve not gigged for 6 months and this is the first show since we’ve recorded the album and signed with KBB; it’s nice to be doing a high profile London show.  Good times!

You were formerly known as The Fallen. Did signing to KBB (a record label part-owned by Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria) bring about the name change?

We’d been The Fallen for many years and we wanted to stick with it. It’s a bit of a sad explanation really, but there are so many different variations of the name.  There are other bands out there with the same name and you couldn’t Google it and find us straight away.  KBB told us they wanted to do the best for us, that we needed to be easily identifiable, so we went through two weeks trying to think of a name.  We could have punched each other, we all thought we had the best names in the world and everyone else hated them … it took a long time to come up with The Family Ruin.  We whittled it down to about five names and sent it off to KBB, told them that we hated everything we had come up with and told them to choose.

So, who actually came up with The Family Ruin?

It’s a bit of a cheat really, but there’s a band I really like called Oh, Sleeper and I was looking for references to lyrics and stuff; they have a quality song called ‘The Family Ruin’ and to me, that just kind of sounded like what we were producing at the time musically and it defined the sound for me, in my head … I’m not sure if everyone agreed with that. It’s got an identity because you want people to read it as, The Family Ruin, so no-one’s perfect but we can all join together and make something of it.

Very profound! Who do you draw your musical influences from?

We’re all totally different, so when we come together to start writing songs, there’s a good starting point. I think that’s good though because we all like different genres of music and it all comes together to make our sound, which is hard to compare to another band.  Each song will vary; it’s not the kind of band where you’re going to get the same song throughout the album.  It also works well because we get to play with different types of bands; our songs sound like different genres.  We can roll up to some gigs and be the heaviest band on the bill and then we turn up to others that make us sound like Steps.

For anyone that’s not seen you before, how would you describe your show?

Party! That’s one thing that’s stuck with us through the years … one time we did a show back in Yorkshire and they put us on the poster as ‘party metal’, which is something we’d not heard before. We like to make sure there’s a groove in there so you can bang your head or have a good time.  We’ve been known to have a few beverages and we enjoy a good time, we just want everyone to come down and get rowdy.  We’ve got Liam (Redman, Wrath of a King) standing in on guitars tonight, he’s played a lot of riffs and tried to rock out to it, but he’s got some filthy grooves.  As long as it’s rowdy and the beer’s flowing, it’s just got to be a party.

You’ve just announced a US tour, what are you hoping will come from that?

Leaving work! That’s a big factor to be fair, we’ve spent a lot of years doing nine to five jobs, so the US tour is a massive step up for us – it’s a proper platform to take the new album on and it’s going to be awesome to be in the States.  We hope that they’re going to accept us.  We’re starting to work on a few other things over there as well, so all being well, it’s not just going to be the one tour, we have got other things in the pipeline.  In 2015 we’re going to spend quite a bit of time in America, and then we’ll focus back on the UK.

Well, you’re doing some UK dates this year, but nothing on the South coast. What’s that about?!

We hate them all, and we don’t like driving or really like leaving Yorkshire that much! No, to be honest, we’ve just been in touch with a really good booking agent who sorted us out for the UK to get us warmed up and prepped for the States.  We don’t want to look as if we’re just ditching the UK because we’re not, but this is just a small showcase tour.

But you’ve missed out the South completely …

Speak to the booking agent, although we’ve been to Plymouth twice …

That’s not the South coast though! What about Southampton, Portsmouth, Bournemouth …

The plan is to go to the States for a while, build up a bit of a profile and hopefully that will feed back through to England. If we can get some more decent shows over here then we can tour the shit out of the UK.  It seems no matter what dates we announce, someone’s always asking why we’re not playing somewhere else.  It’s a shame for us, because we’re not hitting Scotland on this tour either and there are quite a few people up there asking why.  It’s basically just a quick, warm up tour and when we come back we’ll hit more dates.

You’ve been at this for quite some time now, what would be the one piece of advice that you would give to an upcoming band?

We would say, literally, don’t give up. We’ve had a couple of line-up changes, but you have to have a certain determination to stick at it and your heart has to be in it.  Over the years we’ve had some shit shows, we’ve lost money, but we’ve stuck at it.  You have to find the right group of people that you get along with – thankfully we’ve always had that, even with the members who have left in the past, we’ve never had musical differences or anything like that, it’s always been that they can’t fight the struggle anymore or can’t commit.  At a low level, it’s going to cost you a lot of money, you have to be prepared to sacrifice a lot of your free time and anything that you earn outside of the band, you’re going to have to put it back in.  But if the dream is strong enough, it’s going to pay off in the end, so stick at it.  If you really want it, it’s a lifestyle choice.  We all work to be in this band and if any of us didn’t, we would be nowhere near where we are now.  It’s all about the heart.

We’ve literally just landed on our feet with the whole KBB thing and everything has fallen into place since then. You have to stick to doing your own thing, too, but it’s all about your lucky break.  We started recording the EP this time last year with Sam and Joe Graves from With One Last Breath, they have a studio in York – we’re all local lads.  Ben Bruce was recording a solo album with Sam and Joe and they told him, very kindly, to check us out as he mentioned he was starting up a label.  They’d seen us play as well, but it all came down to luck.  KBB’s a very hands-on label, they want to get involved in artwork, the songs and give direction, but they’ve given us no ultimatums just because they have the knowledge.  They’re on the second stage of their careers, we’re on our first!

So ‘Dearly Departed’ hits the streets in the USA today, Europe on 29th September – seriously don’t wait to catch these guys – they’re awesome and fully deserve your attention!  In the meantime, check out the audio for ‘Let’s Go’ here – http://youtu.be/CdZ4aR6q06U

Keep an eye out for my review of ‘Dearly Departed’ – coming soon!