Category Archives: Music

Interview with Hours

 I recently caught up with the awesome band Hours to have a chat about their impending tour and new single ‘Crossfire’.  Enjoy!

Hours pic

I believe the band is just over a year old. How did you come together?

Yeah, that’s right. It’s been a crazy year! We came together through knowing each other from previous bands and over a period of messaging each other, writing and laying down demos, we eventually came together to give it a go as a group. Before we knew it, we were in the recording studio and doing gigs. It’s certainly been a busy first year!

How would you describe your style and what to expect from a live show to a new fan?

We certainly find inspiration in a lot of different places, which has really helped us to shape our own style, but I’d say our music would be for fans of bands like The Dangerous Summer, Deaf Havana and Mallory Knox. When it comes to live shows, we’re really proud of our live performances. We definitely don’t hold anything back – we leave everything on the stage. That’s how it should be when you’ve paid to come and see us, right?

Glad to hear it! You released your debut single ‘Casino Lights’ last year and you have been featured on the BBC Introducing show; what sort of opportunities has that opened up for you?

We were really proud to release ‘Casino Lights’; we wanted to make sure that when people asked what we were about, all we had to do was show them the song and it went down really well. BBC introducing was a great stage for us to do that. After the release we managed to land some really great shows with the likes of Natives and We Are The Ocean, which were all great opportunities to further our fan base.

How did it feel to see yourselves in Kerrang! Magazine?!

Opening up the magazine that is essentially the alternative music bible and seeing an article about ourselves in there was very surreal. I think we all felt a very childish sense of excitement that Wednesday morning, haha!

You’re touring next month, how are you feeling about getting out on the road?

We’re all really looking forward to it but there’s a bit of nervous anticipation amongst us. There’s a lot of temptation on the road and we’ve been known to enjoy a drink or two. So, lots of partying, 8 days in the van, sleeping on peoples floors … it should be a lot of fun if we make it out the other side!

Do you engage with fans, i.e., are you happy to hang out after shows, talk to people on social media, etc?

We love to engage with our fans, we’re big fans of twitter and we’re always hanging around after our shows to talk to people and make friends, it’s one of the best things about being in a band getting to meet all these wonderful people.

Your new single ‘Crossfire’ is out in August – who/what do you draw your musical influences from?

For this single, as corny as it sounds, we definitely influenced each other. Each idea that was hatched was followed by another from someone else. We kept challenging each other to go further and now we’ve ended up with a song that is a really honest representation of who we are and what we’re about.

Any notable ‘fantasy’ rock star moments so far? Who would you most like to meet?

We’ve been really lucky in previous bands as we’ve gotten to brush shoulders with some really cool people like Ed Sheeran, McFly and Deaf Havana. We were also good friends with the Mallory Knox boys too. In our short year, we’ve still managed to pick up a few messages from Go Radio and Anavae, plus we’ve enjoyed the company of both Natives and We Are The Ocean. As for who we’d like to meet … I think we’d all like to catch up with the Mallory Knox boys again at some point, that would be pretty cool.

If you could tour with any band of your choice, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Probably You Me At Six, they’ve been such a big influence on each of us at some time or another and I can’t imagine any part of that tour being anything but fun!

What’s your opinion on the current state of the music industry?

To be honest it’s hard to care about the industry side of things when all we want to do is go to new places, meet new people and play our hearts out each night. If it gets to a point where we can’t do that our opinion might change.

Where do you hope Hours will be in 5 years?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, all we hope for is that we can keep enjoying playing the music we love, to the people we love. Anything more than that is a bonus. Sure, we’d love to see things go as far as we can take them but at the end of the day we’re here to enjoy ourselves.

Hours Crossfire pic

You can catch the Hours gang on the following dates in August: –

1st, London – Relentless Garage 2
2nd, Leicester – Lock42
3rd, Birmingham – Rainbow
4th, Newcastle – Think Tank
5th, Manchester – Sound Control
6th, Nottingham – The Maze
7th, Norwich – Waterfront

Check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hourstheband 

Pulled Apart By Horses – new single & tour date news

Mark the date of 1st September in your diaries!  That’s when Pulled Apart By Horses’ new track ‘Lizard Baby’, and their third album ‘Blood’ will be hitting your ears …

PABH

“[Lizard Baby] has all the hallmarks of a future anthem, with a call and response verse and an explosive, unforgettable chorus” – Gigwise

Pulled Apart By Horses have announced details of the next release to be taken from their hotly anticipated third album ‘Blood’.  ‘Lizard Baby’, which received it’s premiere on Radio 1 as Zane Lowe’s Hottest Record on 8th July, is out on 1st September on the band’s own label, Best of the Best, through Sony Red.

Partly inspired by the birth of the royal baby last summer, you can make your own interpretation as to what that means!

“I guess it vaguely touches on the media & public attention given to people in the lime light and how people can adopt alter egos or change with power” explains Pulled Apart By Horses front man, Tom Hudson. “There’s also a bit of a dig at bands and performers who put on a false show or a contrived act.”

Listen to ‘Lizard Baby’ & watch the pseudo video here (official video to follow soon):

http://smarturl.it/lizardbabyaudio

A three minute, hypnotic rock sleaze fest, ‘Lizard Baby’ is the follow up to ‘Hot Squash’ which received amazing responses, spent four weeks on the Radio 1 playlist and caused the NME to proclaim “Pulled Apart By Horses are now a serious rock band.”  Of the new track, Q said “this time around they’ve slowed down their schtick to a stoner-rock chug on this snarling gem.”  These two teasers from their new album ‘Blood’ demonstrate the new musical and lyrical maturity the band have achieved since their last release.

Pulled Apart By Horses have also just confirmed some new regional UK dates in addition to their European dates for Dr Martens and main stage Reading & Leeds Festival slots.

Full live dates are now:

August –
18th – Coventry, Kasbah
19th – Nottingham, Bodega
20th – Liverpool, East Village Arts Club
23rd – Reading Festival
24th – Leeds Festival

September –
8th – Paris, Maroquinerie
9th – Hamburg, Molotow Exil
10th – Copenhagen, Rust
11th – Stockholm, Debaser Strand
13th – Amsterdam, Bitterzoet

Album track listing:

  1. Hot Squash

  2. ADHD in HD

  3. Lizard Baby

  4. You Want It

  5. Hello Men

  6. Skull Noir

  7. Grim Deal

  8. Bag Of Snakes

  9. Outahead

  10. Medium Rare

  11. Weird Weather

  12. Golden Monument

Links:

http://www.pulledapartbyhorses.com

http://www.facebook.com/pulledapartbyhorses

http://www.twitter.com/PulledHorses

 

 

 

Chasing Cadence – new release ‘Heartstrong’

Those cheeky Hertfordshire rockers, Chasing Cadence released their brand new single ‘Heartstrong’ last week, with the track receiving its first exclusive radio play the week before on Alex Baker’s Kerrang! Radio Unsigned Show.

Chasing Cadence Heartstrong

Having already supported the likes of Don Broco and Taking Back Sunday of late, the Cadence boys are ready to conquer the rock world this year.  From where I’m standing, it looks as though they’re well on their way!

They kicked off 2014 in a big way after their single ‘Paper Sails’ was play listed on Kerrang! TV, as well as smashing their sets at both this year’s Takedown and Download Festivals. The band play Tramlines Festival in Sheffield at the end of the month, with a full UK tour planned towards the end of the summer.

Watch the brand new video for ‘Heartstrong’ here:

Live dates: 

July 18 – Club 85, Hitchin
July 26th – Tramlines Festival, Sheffield
August 1st – Beacon Court Tavern, Gillingham
September 12th – The Empire, Swadlincode
October 25th – The Imp, Scunthorpe
October 31st – The Cockpit, Leeds

You can check them out further at their Facebook page – go and give them a cheeky like!! www.facebook.com/ChasingCadence

Preview – New Age Festival, 16.08.14, Somerset

What do you get if you cross four stages, 30 bands, a BBQ, an Hawaiian beach bar and … er, a local rugby club?

It may sound bizarre, but Bridgwater Rugby Club in Somerset will be playing host to a whole heap of awesome bands on Saturday 16th August, for a one-day ’boutique’ music festival.  With a line up including the likes of The Computers, Natives, Glamour Of The Kill, Verses, Idiom, The First, Falling Red and Fizzy Blood to name but a few, this is a day that promises to slap you in the face with a fillet of rock and leave you pining for more.

All this for only £15 a ticket – you would be MAD to miss out!

New Age Fest

Check out the New Age Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/newagefestival and you can get updates on twitter @NewAgeFest.  See you there!!

 

Review of Download Festival 2014

Review of Download Festival, 13/14/15 June 2014

Arriving on the Thursday night at Donington Park in bright sunshine just felt … wrong, somehow.  Where was the rain?  The mud?  Why was I sitting round a BBQ with a beer instead of huddling miserably inside my tent?  I decided I would live with it, although I was strangely comforted when I was woken by the sound of rain during the night …

Download 3

FRIDAY

Expecting a sodden swamp, I stumbled out of my tent to find a few clouds but no mud, no rain and it was ridiculously warm.  Perfect weather for a beer and some live music so I wandered into the arena just as Miss May I took to the main stage.  The American five-piece band brought their brand of metalcore to a bright eyed and bushy-tailed Download crowd who seemed to enjoy the interaction and thundering music on the main stage.  I left them to it and headed to the Red Bull Studios tent, which is where I pretty much spent my whole weekend.  The first band on that stage were Goldray and I must admit when I saw the guitarist’s spangly jacket, coupled with the long red dress and headdress the vocalist was sporting, I nearly turned tail and walked out.  They weren’t bad, however, sort of a less heavy Die So Fluid and the vocalist had good ability.

I found next band, Bad Touch on twitter some months ago and I was eager to see them up close and personal.  I have to say they didn’t disappoint, however I found them to be similar to Irish rockers, The Answer.  There was a good crowd, however and singer Stevie did a great job of engaging their audience.  A short walk took me over to the Jägermeister acoustic stage for Brother and Bones.    They had drawn a very decent-sized crowd and were playing out of their skin with their funky, melodic rock.  The performance was pretty intense, with the entire band absolutely rocking out and the crowd was lapping it up, totally engaged with the fresh sound.  Their set was wrapped up after some first class musicianship and vocals and there was some pretty nice guitar sliding going on too.  One of my highlights of the weekend, for sure.

Brother and Bones

Brother and Bones

Chilling out on the grass with a beer, I managed to catch the set from Mia Klose, albeit from ground level.  Swedish Mia’s voice is somewhat of an acquired taste and whilst I can see why the band is generating a buzz, it wasn’t really my thing.  I also thought their cover of Guns ‘n’ Roses classic ‘Paradise City’ to be a bit weak.  Another band I caught by ear only was They Say Fall – a packed Red Bull tent was chanting for them and their post hardcore style went over very well with the crowd.  All I could hear from outside the tent was distorted guitars; I can only imagine how it sounded from the inside.

I headed over to the Zippo Encore stage to meet up with some friends and happened upon The Answer.  I’ve seen them before and thought they were really good performers live, however I felt that this set was a little samey, although featuring some superb guitar solos and vocals.  There was a decent size crowd to pay homage to their Irish rock roots however and they seemed to go down a storm.  The next band had my full attention and they absolutely smashed the Zippo stage.  The Temperance Movement gave a stunning performance, although I thought the crowd could have been bigger considering the buzz that the band has been generating over the last eighteen months.  The set featured a supremely funky bass guitar solo and last track ‘Midnight Black’ was sublime, ensuring that they ended with rapturous applause.

TTM 4

The Temperance Movement

I thought it couldn’t get much better, but I was proved wrong straight away by Californian groove rockers Rival Sons, who kicked off with a raunchy number and didn’t look back as they grabbed the crowd by their collective short and curlies and took us on a roller coaster of rock.  They’ve just released a new album, ‘Great Western Valkyrie’ and I’ll be buying it as soon as.  Definitely ones to watch – they’re going to be huge.

Rival Sons

Rival Sons

It’s taken me 20 years to get to see Rob Zombie live on stage and although he was worth waiting for, I did feel that his set lacked a little something.  It certainly wasn’t energy; he was running around the stage like a man half his age, chancing his arm by walking along the front barrier in the crowd, collecting a blow up sex doll and taking it back to the stage.  My favourite track, ‘Thunder Kiss ‘65’’ was included and an encore brought out the crowd pleasing ‘Dragula’.

At this point, the sky began to darken ominously, right on cue for Avenged Sevenfold.  With a theatrical backdrop and pyrotechnics aplenty, this was always going to be a spectacular set given how popular this band has become, with the release of ‘Hail to the King’ cementing their status as one of the decade’s most celebrted rock acts.  Kicking off the fun and games with ‘Shepherd of Fire’ from the aforementioned album, the crowd were straight into the performance, all singing along and enjoying a bit of banter from front man M Shadows.  The set featured some older material, such as ‘Burn It Down’ from the ‘City of Evil’ album and ‘Buried Alive’.  There was an emotional tribute to fallen hero Jimmy Sullivan in ‘So Far Away’, but the set ended on a massive high with yet more  pyros and some fireworks, bringing an epic first day to a close.

A7X 2

Avenged Sevenfold

Saturday

Everyone was talking about the enigmatic Iceman Thesis on Saturday morning, with rumours abounding as to who could possibly be in the band, as they were playing on two stages simultaneously.  Our group split in half and I got to the Red Bull tent to see a mannequin on stage, with a hessian sack over the head, an IT tee-shirt adorning the body.  When the band took to the stage, they sported full black face masks so it was impossible to tell who they were.  After ten minutes of brutality in a packed tent, the set ended as abruptly as it had begun, with members of the band throwing bits of mannequin and hessian head sacks into the audience.  Nobody was any the wiser.

It must have been hard for the next act to follow that, but Cytota managed admirably.  Heavy and very popular, judging by the amount of people crammed in to see them, the band had an amazing energy about them and the guitarist got up close and personal with the crowd, demanding that they start a circle.  Not a bad start to the day and I can’t wait to see what they do next.  Breathe In The Silence followed and it as frustrating that I couldn’t really hear the vocals properly.  The singer lost vocals anyway; as he swung his mic round the end flew off into the crowd and he had to wait a little bit before we could actually hear something again.  They certainly made up for any lack of substance in enthusiasm and gave a great lesson in how to carry on when things go wrong.

I headed over to the main stage again to catch a bit of Bury Tomorrow.  The lead singer was inciting people to start circles, even though technically, that wasn’t allowed this year.  I did like the fact that he told us all that the band “don’t take themselves too seriously” and then asked everyone to lie down and jump up at the count of 4.  They even had separate ‘girl’ pits and ‘dude’ pits going, which worked for about 20 seconds and was fairly amusing.  I left halfway through their set to go and catch Chasing Cadence on the Red Bull stage.  Playing to an empty tent is never a good sign, but more people gradually started to drift in as CC got  down and dirty on stage.  They were very enthusiastic performers with some eager supporters in the crowd and they belted out fan favourites such as ‘A Sight For Sore Eyes’ and latest single ‘Paper Sails’.  They also threw some free stuff out into the crowd, which always goes down well.  These guys were clearly stoked to be playing Download and that’s what it’s about; a sterling performance from them.  Japanese metalcore outfit Coldrain followed and they had the crowd bouncing from the very first scream.  I only saw three songs from them, but they were well received and I would like to catch another gig to see them properly.

Chasing Cadence 2

Chasing Cadence

Killswitch Engage are a band I’ve never really got into, although I‘ve only ever heard good things about them.  I always thought they were a bit heavy for me, but I caught most of their set and I loved it.  It was awesome the way they incited the crowd to “engage in responsible forms of dancing”, i.e., to get a pit going and look out for one another.  The crowd were well into them and very appreciative and they created a good atmosphere.

Although by now I was flagging a bit (not enough beer …), I headed back to my second home of the Red Bull tent to catch Nothing More who recently featured on the Introducing page in Kerrang! Magazine.  I thought the sparse crowd were a bit lukewarm, however it did start to fill up quite quickly once they got going.  They had a second, basic drum kit at the front of the stage and after the second or third song, the bassist clamped his guitar to a stand attached to it, whilst three of them proceeded to play it.  It was a strange set, but the crowd ended up loving them and I think we’ll see big things from these guys.  Certainly I would catch them again.

Finally, it was time for the big set of the day for me.  I had been looking forward to Bring Me The Horizon for weeks and although they were on quite early, there was still a massive crowd waiting for Oli Sykes & Co.  They kicked proceedings off with huge track ‘Shadow Moses’, from last year’s immense album ‘Sempiternal’.  The crowd went mad at the front, with sneering front man Oli inciting a wall of death.  ‘The House of Wolves’ followed with Oli imploring the crowd to jump.  More awesome power tracks from the album of last year followed, including ‘Go To Hell, For Heaven’s Sake’, ‘Empire (Let Them Sing)’ and ‘Can You Feel My Heart’.  Oli had everybody down on the floor, springing up to ‘Antivist’, finally concluding a stellar set with ‘Sleepwalking’.  This was a set that stuck a middle finger up to the haters and showed the world that BMTH should, and probably will, be headlining Download very soon.  In the meantime, we have the massive Wembley show in December to look forward to – a fact that Mr Sykes didn’t let us forget.

BMTH 3

Bring Me The Horizon

Penultimate band of the night was electro-punk rockers The Howling, back in the Red Bull tent.  Blacky, Rev and the boys were in fine form, opening up a storming set with ‘Rock ‘n’ Roller’.  Considering they clashed with main stage headliners Linkin Park, they drew a considerable crowd and proceeded to rip through a killer set, with outstanding energy and enthusiasm.  I particularly liked the way they had somebody moving through the crowd handing out fake AAA passes, it was a nice touch that ensured people wouldn’t forget their set, but frankly that would have been hard to do anyway.

I couldn’t not head back to catch some of Linkin Park; ‘Hybrid Theory’ was a seminal work that I listened to non-stop when it came out and I was rewarded with just over half the album in all of its live, blistering glory.  I still know the words and I sang along quite happily with the rest of the songs.  I found the rest of their set a little bit tedious, probably only because I wasn’t familiar with the newer work, but I heard a few mutterings along the same lines as I made my way back to the camp site.  Still, it was great to see Linkin Park live as I had never seen them before, so again, I finished the night a happy bunny!

Sunday

I have to confess, I was feeling pretty hung over on the Sunday morning, so we were late getting into the arena, however operating on the ‘go hard or go home’ theory, I grabbed a beer and headed straight to the Pepsi Max tent to see screamers The Charm The Fury.  They’re a female-fronted outfit from The Netherlands and not only is the lead singer an amazing vocal talent, but the musicians around her were also first class.  They hammered through a competent set which saw a packed tent showing their whole-hearted appreciation.  I stayed in Pepsi Max to see some of The Graveltones’ set, however it wasn’t really my sort of thing so I left after about three songs, but their funky, punk-rock stylings seemed to have quite a few fans in the tent.

Buckcherry were up next on the main stage, just after the heavens opened for a legendary Download shower.  They rolled through some of their best songs, including ‘Lit Up’ and ‘All Night Long’, but to be honest, I just wasn’t feeling it.  Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was the thought of going home that night, but I just couldn’t get into them.  Likewise with Richie Sambora, I was watching him, but he wasn’t really holding my attention.  I found his set kind of mellow and I appreciated the Bon Jovi covers of ‘Lay Your Hands On Me’ and ‘Dead Or Alive’.  I also really liked ‘Stranger In This Town’, but I’m not sure I would have chosen to see him outside of Download.  Joe Bonamassa on the other hand, had my full attention.  I’d not seen him before although of course I had heard about his legendary guitar playing.  I also thought he had an awesome voice and I thoroughly enjoyed his set, which included tracks such as ‘Slow Train’ and ‘Who Killed John Henry’.

‘Secret’ band Black Stone Cherry absolutely brought the house down at the Pepsi Max tent.  I understand they were a last minute addition to the bill, hence the placing on a small stage.  It turns out that there were around 20,000 people in and around the tent for their performance and I can well believe it – I couldn’t get anywhere near as I made the mistake of sitting down for five minutes beforehand.  I did hear them though and they completely killed it with tracks such as ‘Me and Mary Jane’, ‘White Trash Millionaire’ and ‘Blame It On The Boom Boom’.  All I could see was a sea of hands in the air as the crowd sang along to every track – absolutely awesome.

I almost didn’t head back to the Red Bull tent for the last time, however I wanted to see Canadian Reignwolf.  I almost missed them, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  I saw singer/guitarist Jordan Cook standing on a branded bass drum at the front of the stage and this seemed to be bluesy, dirty rock and roll at its finest.  By the time they were on their fourth song, the tent was well over half full and the crowd were going mad for it.  Jordan then decided to play the drums, whilst still playing his guitar – I’ve never seen anything like it.  He got short shrift from security though, when he climbed up on the amps to play; they were there like a shot to get him down.  The set finished with a track called ‘This Is The Time’ – rather appropriate for Reignwolf, I think.

Reignwolf

Reignwolf

On a bit of a high, I headed back to the main stage to see my band of the moment, Alter Bridge.  I had been waiting all weekend for this and as Myles Kennedy and Co appeared on stage and launched into the opening notes of ‘Addicted To Pain’, I remembered why I come to Download every year.  ‘White Knuckles’ and ‘Cry of Achilles’ followed and all I could do was sing along and stare helplessly up at the big screens as the band pumped out one belting track after another as the crowd revelled in singing along with Myles.  Halfway through the set he introduced the band, walking out along the barrier, singing to one lucky lady in the front row.  A stunning rendition of ‘Blackbird’ followed and I was moved to tears by ‘Watch Over You’.  Mark Tremonti did a sterling job with ‘Waters Rising’ and as they brought their set to a close, Mr Kennedy was looking suitably humbled and pleased with such a great reaction.  It was a truly awesome set and I found it hard to believe that Aerosmith would be able to top it …

Alter Bridge 3

Alter Bridge

So, we came to the headliners.  Aerosmith headlined Donington Monsters of Rock in ’94, which was the last time I saw them.  When they came out on stage, I found myself thinking that there was no way these guys could put on a good show –  after all, nobody is getting any younger right?  So. Wrong.  Aerosmith exploded on to the stage with ‘Train Kept A Rollin’; Steven Tyler resplendent in an Indian head-dress and an all-white outfit, still looking every inch the rock star.  Hit after hit followed, including ‘Eat The Rich’, the iconic ‘Love In An Elevator’, ‘Cryin’’ and ‘Living on the Edge’.  Unfortunately, we had a very long drive back home, so we had to leave at that point, but I could still hear them playing as we headed back to the car and I can only say that, from what I saw and heard, Aerosmith were pretty as much as good live now as they were all those years ago and I’m a bit gutted that we didn’t stay until the end.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, with only a few minor band clashes.  The toilets were clean, the stewards, for the most part, were polite and helpful and there were only small queues in the beer tents.  Download just keeps improving every year and although it will be hard to top the last three years, I’ll still be buying a ticket for 2015.  Why?  Because it’s where I feel at home, standing in a crowd with thousands of other people, singing along to my favourite songs, watching my idols up there on that stage.  As the Kiss song goes “This is my music, it makes me proud, these are my people and this is my crowd …”.  So yes, I’ll be back next year for sure.  With bells on.

Interview with Matt Jones of Grenades – 10.06.14

I caught up with Matt Jones (a.k.a Django Black) of Grenades after their May show at the Talking Heads in Southampton, where they supported Pulled Apart By Horses.  Here’s what he had to say about the local music scene, his hopes for a future album and the state of the music industry in general …

Grenades logo pic

Couple of quick fire questions to warm you up …

Download or Sonisphere?

I would have to say neither, we’re more ATP kinda guys; private chalets and shellac.

North or South?

Both have their merits.  Leeds have got some cool bands at the moment, obviously PABH are from there, but it’s also home to my new favourite band, Eagulls.  Of course, we’re from the South though, so it has a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ in comparison. Some might say a mystical allure..

Jägermeister or Firewater?

I’m not entirely sure what Firewater is, but if I wanna get proper grotesque I’ll go with a cocktail of absinthe and chemicals, followed by a self-loathing chaser.  I often abuse myself before writing, like an anti-chastigation to filthy the soul.

Classic Rock or Rock Sound?

I couldn’t say, I don’t read the music press.  The irony isn’t lost on me.

South Park or Family Guy?

I’m religiously South Park.  It’s so clever on so many levels. If someone just wants gross-out humour, then it’s there, but it also has cutting satire, stemming from socio-political observations that challenge the way we look at culture.  I think that if someone has a platform to express worthy, well informed opinions that question the way by which society behaves, then I can only commend them for doing so, and if they make it funny at the same time that’s even better. Family Guy’s good too though and I really enjoyed Ted.

Now, down to serious business ….

Are you finding that you have the same faces turning up to gigs, i.e., are you building a solid fan base?

To be honest with you we’re lucky for anyone to turn up at all. The crowd were wonderful at the PABH + Wytches show, but they hadn’t come to see us. Hopefully we entertained them though. Winchester has a brilliant venue called The Railway which puts on some really cool acts, I recently saw Nick Oliveri down there who was raw and awesome, but there just doesn’t seem to be any kind of scene. There are some excellent bands about like Cavaliers and The Wynona Ryders, but there’s just no consistent crowd of people who seem to go out for live music. It’s amazing when you consider that students make up about a quarter of the city’s population. Obviously, I’m not talking about every student, but the majority don’t seem to be very inquisitive, supportive of local art, or interested in what else is happening outside of their Uni bubble.

It’s quite worrying that presumably the future generation of leaders and professionals seem disinterested and unengaged with what’s going on around them.  After all, the arts at their grass roots are what define our culture. So for anyone who might be reading this, don’t just sit in your room listening to music on the internet, don’t just attend the already well attended festivals, don’t just sit on your bum, in front of the TV obsessing over glorified karaoke contests, head down to your local venue and check out who’s playing. That’s where you’ll see the magic, unspoiled, pure creativity before the corporate machine chews ’em up and spits ’em out. These guys ain’t doing it for a job, this ain’t their 9 – 5, they’re doing it because they love it, and I for one think it’s amazing to experience that first-hand, because once you take part, you become part of the history and that’s how legends are made.  I appreciate every single person who has spent their time and money on coming to see us play, do you think that Mr Rock & Roll feels the same way when he’s performing to a sea of anonymous faces, made up of lads and Dorises at some Disney Land festival sponsored by the Devil.  I’m not saying don’t go and see your favourite bands, I’m saying do both, because there’s great stuff happening on your doorstep.

Well said and entirely agreed with!   When you’re writing, what influences you?

I think the most obvious influences are the Pixies, Nirvana and Fugazi. Essentially, I’d become pretty bored of the indie-pop bands that were dominating the alternative music scene. Don’t get me wrong, I really like acts such as The Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club and Bloc Party, in fact, Grenades’ early material fell far closer to that camp. It’s just not my passion. Simply, I want to make music like the music I grew up on and I have a lot to say. After graduating from Uni last year, Chris De Roux and myself really struggled to find employment and were forced to sign on.  Now, Winchester is an expensive place to live so what we received in benefits didn’t cover our outgoings. Once rent and bills went out we were left with about £15 a week for everything else; food, toiletries, clothing, washing up liquid, etc. I had to go out administering hand jobs in public toilets just so I could eat and apparently I’ve been told that’s illegal work, like I enjoyed it or something …

Anyways, during my sordid year of living in poverty I became acutely aware of so many social and political injustices. Why do the rich exploit the poor? Why can’t people look after the environment? Why do people kill each other over things like idealism and religion? What the hell is racism all about? Racists are weird. The list can go on and on and that’s what the songs are about. The funny thing is, as a teenager and young adult I was very much concerned with these themes in my first band Yenpox, but over the years I guess my lifestyle became more comfortable and I suppose I became apathetic, losing my edge. Maybe falling on hard times was a blessing in disguise because I got my mojo back.

If you had to pick two of your tracks to turn a new fan on to Grenades, which two would it be?

My favourite track that we do is probably ‘Santa Maria’, I think it’s cool, visceral and gnarly. The others see it as more of a fan favourite, but I would want to release it as a first single. I think it would really announce the band. The others like ‘The Mark of Cain’ best. I think the other one I really like is ‘The Rapture’. Actually, this is a tough question, it’s like Sophie’s Choice. I really enjoy playing ‘Babel’ too and can be heard singing it in the shower.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Obviously, I’ve already mentioned a few bands, but the others I’m digging at the moment are Men of Good Fortune from Hackney Wick and Royal Blood from Worthing; both excellent. The cat’s out of the bag regarding Royal Blood but MOGF are equally worth listening to.  On top of Grenades I also do quite a bit of acoustic stuff under the name Django Black (I have a Soundcloud) so often pay attention to that scene as well. At the moment I’m listening to guys like Chris Simmons, George McCanna and Greg Vernon, who are all really talented songwriters.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever given you?

I don’t think anyone’s ever given me anything weird. In truth, I’m far more likely to give them something weird, weird and unexpected. It weirds me out when people ask for autographs though. It really isn’t worth anything. If it was I’d be selling it myself, I’m completely broke.

What’s the best/worst thing about being in a band on the local music scene?

The best thing about playing in local venues is there’s no driving involved, therefore we can all get pissed. The worst thing is limited exposure – obviously, I want to be performing to as wide an audience as possible.

Grenades

Grenades supporting The Wytches and Pulled Apart By Horses at The Talking Heads, Southampton, 10.05.14

Have you had any notable ‘celebrity’ band moments?

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘celebrity’? The most star struck I’ve ever been was supporting Eric Bachmann of The Archers of Loaf. They’re one of my all-time favourite bands, and he made a point of watching me play. With his permission, I even did a rendition of ‘Web in Front’ during my set. It was a special night for me, and I’d like to give Andy Rossiter at Love Thy Neighbour in Brighton a shout out for booking me, thanks man.  If you mean the reverse of that scenario I always love it when other people cover my songs. It’s a massive compliment and reaffirms to me that I’m doing something right, even if I don’t get paid for it.

How do you see the music industry evolving in the next 5-10 years?

Who can say? I think rock music will actually start rocking again. I think for the last 15 years roughly, rock music has been very tame and more like pop. That’s not to say there haven’t been some fantastic acts, it’s just I think it’s time the pendulum swung back the other way. Commercially I hope that more people start paying for music again. If you don’t buy the music, the artists don’t get paid, they have to work day jobs to fund living and ultimately the quality dips. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the moment people stopped paying for music it became a bit more shit.

Can Grenades fans expect an album in the near future?

I would very much like to put a record together. We have some small label interest, but we’ll see. I would like a certain amount of autonomy over the recordings, so doing it ourselves might be for the best. I want it to be as filthy and gnarly as possible. Basically, I want my parents to hate it. That’ll learn yer for getting me an Admiral Akbar instead of Boba Fett for Christmas 1984, I still carry these scars.

What’s next for Grenades?

Over the next couple of months we’ve all got bits and bobs here and there, but I’ll probably write a few more tunes over the summer. I just need to get angry and induce some alcohol-fuelled misery and pain.

Check out the Grenades facebook page at www.facebook.com/GrenadesMusic

Preview – Soil, American Head Charge & (hed)p.e

Fresh on the heels of a string of massively successful US appearances, with a tranche of upcoming dates across Europe later this year, UK dates have now been announced for Soil, American Head Charge and (hed)p.e.  All UK dates will be supported by 8 Foot Sativa and details can be found below: –

SOIL pic

Sun 19 Oct  –  Southampton, 1865

Tue 21 Oct  –  London, Electric Ballroom

Wed 22 Oct  –  York, Fibbers

Thu 23 Oct  –  Glasgow, The Garage

Fri 24 Oct  –  Sheffield, Corporation

Sat 25 Oct  –  Manchester, Club Academy

Sun 26 Oct    Chester, Live Rooms

Tue 28 Oct  –  Weymouth, Pavilion

Wed 29 Oct  –  Bristol, Bierkeller

Thu 30 Oct  –  Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms

Fri 31 Oct  –  Reading, Sub 89

Sat 01 Nov  –  Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

Soil’s sixth album ‘Whole’ was released in late 2013 and by the band’s own admission, it marks a return to the hugely successful ‘Scars’ era – an album which spawned the iconic track ‘Halo’.  Soil have now sold over a million records worldwide in a career spanning over 15 years.

Tickets are sure to fly for this one, so get yours today!

Tickets – http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/artist/soil-tickets/14139

Soil – http://www.facebook.com/SOiLmusic

American Head charge – https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge 

(hed)p.e – https://www.facebook.com/hedpe

8 Foot Sativa – https://www.facebook.com/8FOOTSATIVABAND

Interview with Feral Sun @ Camden Barfly, 03.05.14

Interview with FERAL SUN, 03.05.14 @ The Barfly, Camden

You’ve just released your album ‘Evacuate’, how’s the feedback been so far?

Jay: We’ve been pretty stoked to get the positive feedback that we’ve been receiving. It’s our debut album and the people that have been picking up the album and buying it – the fans, which we massively appreciate and then industry people such as radio stations and all the other’s who’ve picked it up so far, the reviews have been really positive. We’ve also been stoked to get some of the real positive responses, as in the “fresh sound” comments, some of the bands people are saying we sound like and being put in a similar category as some of those bigger bands. To hear those kind of responses is our dream. Now it’s about trying to get it out there more, with more people hearing it.

Well, you’ve certainly been getting lots of radio play, you’ve got Emma Scott (formerly of Kerrang!) plugging you and you’re only about halfway through your tour?

Mick: Just before the halfway mark with the current dates and hopefully soon some more dates may be added. It’s going well.

Evacuate

Are you seeing people coming back to different shows or is it different faces every night?

Marco: Random people who happen to be there are looking forward to the next show and are then following us around.

Jay: It’s quite awesome when you go to a gig somewhere completely different and whether it’s a small venue or somewhere a little bit bigger, to see some of the same people that you saw in another town, that’s an awesome feeling. It’s amazing; you can’t get a better feeling than that.

Those people will grow with you as you get bigger as well … I saw something on Facebook about a South African tour – is that something that may definitely happen?

Jay: The band is originally from there, Mick is from Pretoria …

Mick: I’ve been talking to a big booking agent in South Africa and they’re really interested in getting us over there, but we need to make it worth their while, so if we fill up venues or bring 20,000 or 30,000 to a festival. They’re looking for sponsors and we’re promoting and getting our name out there. It’s been a fantastic start, with SA radio exclusives and interviews; in the first two weeks, we got onto to the top 10 most wanted charts in my home town and we stayed there for 5 weeks, only being beaten by Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters’, for two weeks in a row. It’s just been great, from there on we’ve done ‘Breathe’ and ‘The Long Road’ and had a great response, so we’re just waiting for them to get the sponsors ready. We can look at doing it ourselves but we’ve got so many places now – people from America are asking us when we’re going to be over there, and Belgium, The Netherlands – we have radio stations over there playing us every day now. We’re thinking we’ll start with the European market and then take it from there. If the SA tour comes about, we’ll gladly be going.

You’re really starting to spread far and wide!

Mick: It seems that way, slowly but surely. Yesterday or the day before (on Facebook), I just happened to find these Italians talking about us, saying that we sounded a bit like Stonesour; I’m not friends with them or anything so that was great so we’re starting to see things happening, on twitter it’s also going well.

Jay: We’re not doing anything major, nothing on a grand, Wembley stadium scale in the slightest, but it’s just great to feel that people are listening to the music and coming to the shows.

Mick: One step at a time …

So, Wembley, is that the ultimate goal?!

Jay: My goal is just to keep on rocking for as long as I can, to be honest.

Mick: How far can we take it? If we don’t reach Wembley, it’s not the end of the world.

Marco: The amazing thing is that, of course we’re working hard, but doing all of this, we’re still having fun, we’re still enjoying it and people are having a good time with us.

Alex: That’s the main factor which drives you to do the gigs, once I’ve stopped having fun, maybe I’ll quit music!

Mick: I think the crowd feeds off of our having fun, onstage or off stage. Now that we’ve set up we can relax, have a few beers and it starts now. I’m sure most bands say it, but we are one of the easiest working bands, we haven’t had troubles with anyone along the way.

Jay: We like to try and be one of the easiest working bands, just the kind of band that just wants to play, you know? We’re just trying to have a good time.

Alex: It’s a really good chemistry.

Interview shot - Heath Bateman

(Picture courtesy of Heath Bateman)

You have people coming to different shows again and again from different places, are these people that have been there since day one?

Marco: There are a few that have been there from the beginning, from the first few gigs. Actually the good thing is that they’re trying to spread the word and bringing along more friends and people.

Mick: We haven’t got to actually doing it yet, but hopefully by the end of this year or next, as there has been a lot of demand for it, we can hire a coach and bring a lot of our friends and fans to Birmingham.

Marco: The first time we played Birmingham there were people coming up from London, travelled by train to see us. They were singing along and wearing tee shirts.

Jay: Yeah, and they came and stayed with us! They crashed where we crashed. They came all the way to Birmingham so we said come and party with us and they crashed with us. They’ve already spent money on public transport …

Do you find that people bring things to shows for you?

Mick: Our last gig was my birthday and there was a lovely birthday card from three of the DJ’s from Rock and Roll Circus and a birthday cake as well. I did have a bit of a worry as I saw James Hetfield get completely destroyed at Sonisphere with cake on his birthday and I thought, where’s this cake going?!

Marco: To be honest, we thought about it … but it had candles on it, we didn’t want hot candles burning his face!

Taking it right back, how did you settle on the band name?

Mick: Originally, it came from Wild Child and it just didn’t go with the way the sound was going. South Africa was very grungy at that time, with Nirvana and Pearl Jam etc. When we changed members in SA, I looked into a Webster’s dictionary and saw ‘feral’ as another name for wild, but I didn’t think Feral Child would go down very well. Then I thought bring SA into it, and everyone kept saying the music had energy so it became Feral Sun. Around that time MySpace was kicking off and the name was one of one – it wasn’t on there already and when I got here, we got the domain name, feralsun.com. The only thing we couldn’t get was Facebook, we lost the name when we changed to a page, so we had to go with Feral Sun Rock. Anyway, it’s an absolute gold mine of a name and people seem to like it from what I’ve heard.

When you’re writing, what sort of influences do you draw on?

Jay: All four of us bring something different. I’m a metal head, but I’m also a hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass and dub-step head. Classical music, jazz and funk flavours … I started playing drums because I got given a rock tape, so I was always a rock drummer, rather than going the urban route. My influences are rock-metal, metal to get me the flavours that I need to push to for the next album, drumming-wise, but I still have this automatic urban groove flavour.

Alex: For me, I cannot say if I’m driven by jazz influences, rock or nu-metal, for me the main thing is to look at the song as a listener. It doesn’t matter if I play it or not, but I just want to stand outside and listen to it and see if it needs to be changed and it doesn’t matter what kind of influences, the main thing is that the product is a song to be delivered to the people and they accept it.

Marco: We’re all from different countries but we’re all into rock. Coming from different backgrounds we pull all of that into the music itself, a bit of everywhere. As a guitar player I always aim for the big guitar heroes, but I listen to classical music, more rock. But I think it’s the way we bring that to the band that makes the difference, not what we listen to.

Mick: Everybody is influenced by somebody. Definitely all the 90’s grunge bands, everyone from the Pixies all the way through to Soundgarden and Alice In Chains. Nowadays I’m into Karnivool, Trivium, Killswitch Engage – at the end of the day, you take your influences, then you try and write something that is Feral Sun. Nobody can pinpoint us to one band, which is great. If one person says a song sounds like Stonesour and someone else says it sounds like Soundgarden, to me that’s like, wow, you are comparing us to massive bands. Everyone needs to compare a new band the first time they listen to them, because it’s something familiar to them.

Alex: Sometimes when we write new songs, somebody will get the idea which sounds great but then it turns out that somebody else already used a similar melody or rhythm and we don’t want to copy anyone, we just want to be an original band.

Marco: It’s very complicated nowadays, there are so many bands!

Mick: It’s finding the recipe between something that we’re happy to play on stage and also something that the crowd is going to enjoy.

If you could play with any band, alive or dead, current or past, who would it be and why?

Jay: I think I would love to support someone like Karnivool because they’re just ridiculous. We’re a different sound to them, but I just think being able to come off stage and watch those guys rip it to pieces after us …

Marco: My biggest dream would be to share the stage with Dream Theater. I don’t think that would happen as we’re so different, but they’re my favourite band.

Alex: I’m going to be unoriginal but I would love to play with Metallica, just to say to James Hetfield, thank you for my childhood, because that’s what made my childhood, so I’d like to shake his hand and say thank you very much.

Mick: This is a tough one. Can I say two, as it would be very close between Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. The two biggest influences vocally in my music career and they’re still going, still writing great tunes. I think we could definitely support both of them quite easily!

You’re currently un-signed, do you feel pressure to get a ‘record deal’ as people would understand the term?

Jay: I don’t think we feel pressure, I think we’re stoked to have some real hard working band members; Mick carries a lot of the administration side of the band on his shoulders. Everybody in the band is doing their bit, but Mick has been the driving force, specifically during this album, so the last 18 months have been great with a bit of management support and Emma Scott getting involved with us, and the radio stations, getting interviews – none of that would have happened if Mick hadn’t gone out there and searched and contacted these people and got them to check us out. Everyone has done their part and we’ve been productive. We’ve tried to throw a few things at labels, but they need to see that we’re serious about it, so we’ve been trying to get to a level where we’ve got proper management and booking and support, which we have now. We’ve tried to do it in an organic, correct way because in this industry now, unless you’re fortunate enough to be supported by a big [record company] nobody’s got any money anyway. We can only show that we still want it and all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope that the right people are in the right place and that we’re playing the right way.

That leads on to my next question! Given that rock and metal is allegedly outselling other genres in this country, a lot of people are saying that the industry is dead on its arse and that bands will never make it anyway. What’s your opinion?

Marco: There are still good bands out there.

Jay: It’s not dead on its arse, it’s just going in a different direction.

Mick: I think it’s changed. It is a dog eat dog eat world and if bands are falling off along the way, the ones that really want it and are striving for it will get that spot. It’s not just about who you know now and bands have to show they can do it for themselves. We’re lucky that we own everything that we’ve done, but there will come a point where, unless we have a sponsor, to actually get it to the level that we want to go to, that’s where labels with money come aboard. We know the dangers of going that way but that’s what it is.

Jay: If it does come to us it would be awesome, but it has to be the right opportunity.

A lot of people don’t buy CD’s anymore, they prefer to download music …

Jay: People do still buy CD’s. There are still big chains, HMV are still there and there are still independent shops.

Mick: Vinyl is coming back, I went to HMV a week ago and there was Trivium and Bullet For My Valentine on vinyl. It’s on its way back but in a smaller, on demand market. We would definitely look into that, maybe start with 10 and see if people go for it.

What about the pledge route? Might you consider that?

Mick: It probably is in the pipeline. We funded this album, which wasn’t cheap, but we were happy to do it because we love doing it and it was the only way we could do it. Some days have been 12-16 hours solid work, day in day out. If it wasn’t for these guys, I wouldn’t be sitting here now and we’ve done all that hard work and I can breathe again now. If we can get on to something like this then hopefully a lot of that will be taken off my shoulders and I can get back to doing what I love doing most – writing and playing music.

What tunes are you listening to when you’re travelling?

Jay: We make mix CD’s, but we’re always adding stuff.

Mick: I think we should add ‘Heart of A Coward’, another London-based band.

Jay: Sometimes we’ll put on some dance music just to get out of the metal and have something different on a long journey.

You’re playing Nuke-Fest in Hull on 12th July? Any other festivals or summer appearances?

Jay: If all goes to plan during the next few days, hopefully we may have some more bookings soon.

Mick: With festivals, bands need to be on labels, so that’s a massive wall for us to climb and most of the bands will have had to have a release out, so we just missed it. We’re tighter as a band now and there’s a whole lot of things that have been in the background that yes, we’re ready now, but we’ll be a whole lot more ready next year.

We’ll be looking out for you at all the big festivals next year then! Anything else to say?

Jay: Thank you very much for reading this – if you’ve heard the album and you like it, we massively appreciate it!

Feral Sun’s debut album, ‘Evacuate’ is out now and available to buy from their website or from iTunes.  Check out their Facebook page for more gig dates – you seriously need to catch these guys live!

www.feralsun.com

www.facebook.com/feralsunrock

 

 

 

Are you on Facebook?

So, if you’re on Facebook, please take a moment to pop over and like my page – http://www.facebook.com/themusicjourno.  With the way that Facebook are changing all of the pages settings, it will be a miracle if anyone ever gets to see it, but I’ll keep posting and see what happens!

As you may know, I’m currently studying part-time to become a journalist, with a specialism in music.  To be honest, it’s a hard slog at present, as I’m doing so much reviewing; I’m finding that I don’t have the time to study and it’s becoming an ever more competitive field.  But I will get back into it – even if I don’t manage to make a career out of it, I love writing and I have met some fantastic people over the last eight months, most of whom have been really supportive.  The bands I have interviewed and reviewed have been tolerant and professional and I have tried to return the favour.  I’m finding that if you don’t ask, you don’t get – in fact, that’s my new motto!

A lot of people are saying that Facebook is on its last legs.  I’m not sure if I agree with that, I only know that I see the reach on my page dropping steadily, week after week.  I also have problems posting links to other pages and people and apparently now, if somebody likes your page but doesn’t have three separate activities (e.g., likes, shares etc.) within one calendar month, FB will remove your page from their likes.  I find that incredible, as when did it become acceptable for such a big brother approach to be tolerated?  Will people vote with their feet and leave FB in their droves?  Probably not …

Anyway, the whole point of this post is to say that, if you have time and you might be interested in accompanying me on my journey as I attempt to get qualified as a music journalist, then feel free to give me a like.  I don’t spam, although sometimes I do post a couple of things at once, especially if I’m busy with reviews.  It would be great to see you there …

I’m on a couple of other sites, if you might be interested.  In for a penny, in for a pound … !

www.queenofrock75.tumblr.com

www.twitter.com/queenofrock75

Interview with Danni and Matt from The Dirty Youth, Brighton, 30.03.14

I caught up with Danni Monroe (vocals) and Matt Bond (guitar) of The Dirty Youth before their gig in Brighton on Mothers’ Day to talk touring, drinking and weird fan behaviour … read on for the lowdown.

How was Takedown Festival?

Danni: Awesome. It was manic, to describe it in one word.

Matt: So many bands that are new as well, it was good.

How is it touring with Glamour Of The Kill and Heaven’s Basement?

Matt: It’s such a blur.

Danni: I can’t believe we’re on week three of the tour already. I can’t break down the days, can’t even remember what I was doing three days ago.

Matt: You always wake up not knowing where you are, or what day it is.

Danni: I knew it was Mothers’ Day today because I set a reminder on my phone! It’s been good though, we’ve had a wicked reception and it’s good that it’s three bands that aren’t really put into one genre or scene. It’s a good audience really, a mixture of ages … in fact it’s quite an older audience, compared to others that we’ve done.

I saw you at the Electric Ballroom last week which was a great show, did you enjoy playing there?

Matt: We enjoyed that one.

Danni: That was a manic day, lots of press.

Who’s been the best band that you’ve toured with so far?

Matt: The best band was Korn, that was really cool. We heard some horror stories beforehand about them not liking support bands. After we finished the first show, Munky (James Shaffer) came and stood in the dressing room doorway and just looked at us, then he said “you guys are really good” – he said we were his favourite support band!

Danni: We did a cover of one of their songs just before we went on tour and Jonathan Davis came up to me and asked if I wanted to sound check with them, which was pretty cool. I didn’t know the words to all of their songs, but luckily they had karaoke style TV’s with the words coming up which was amazing – I looked like a pro, singing the songs! Karaoke with Korn – not many people have done that! The guys came running in, Matt had just got out of the shower!

Matt: I was, like, is Danni singing with Korn?!

Awesome, that’s how memories are made! What do you do when you’re off stage, how do you kick back and relax?

Danni: It depends on what kind of cycle we’re on with albums and touring and really. Obviously, if we’ve got an album to write we’re fully into that, or concentrating on the live performances.

Matt: We film a lot of stuff, we’re doing another DVD at the moment, ‘The Dirty Youth Project’. We did a pledge campaign for the last DVD (‘28 Gigs Later’) and it went really well. We just film everything and there isn’t a lot of time to do anything except recover from the night before and drive and do press.

Is it literally a blur of different towns on tour? Do you ever get time to see anything?

Danni: No. Not ever. I‘m a massive ‘Friends’ fan and we went to Chester the other day, where they have a replica ‘Central Perk’ café. We literally didn’t have time to leave the venue, go in a taxi fifteen minutes away to see it. It was on my list of things to do on this tour.

Matt: Last time we went to Europe we had time to go to the Coliseum in Rome. We had a day off luckily.

Danni: That was the only thing we saw, though. It is a big blur when you’re on tour.

Matt: It’s so funny because when we watch the DVD back it’s like “Oh yes, we’ve been there!” The only other thing to do really is drink.

Danni: I have one or two every day but I don’t get drunk, I wouldn’t be able to sing.

I won’t mention the Heaven’s Basement tour bus incident then …

Danni: That was the only time I’ve been drunk on this tour. We were drinking Jagermeister and Tequila – I did tell them I would be sick if I carried on drinking.

Matt: Usually Danni can drink most men under the table.

Danni: Me and Jager don’t get on.

I’m not surprised, it’s evil stuff! Are you all on the same bus, then?

Danni: No, there’s 8 of us in a van, and Glamour and Heaven’s Basement are on the bus.

Moving swiftly on, you’re managed by Rob Ferguson, of Transcend Music?

Danni: Yes, he manages us, but we’re still independent and unsigned.

Matt: We’ve always done everything ourselves, really, but it got the point where we needed a manager and we know where we are with Rob, known him a long time. We told him we wanted to play one of the main stages at Download and he told us we could do it. It’s just been announced for this year for the second stage …

Danni: There’s not many unsigned bands that can do that!

Matt: Playing on the same stage as Status Quo! That was my first ever gig …

That’s what it’s all about! Tell me what sort of feedback you’ve received for your first album ‘Red Light Fix’?

Matt: It’s kind of weird … obviously we took the album seriously, but we were just a band having a jam. Then we released ‘Fight’ which got so many plays on YouTube and featured on loads of games. We do all of our own post as well and now we’re posting to Japan, Australia, America, Italy, Mexico and Brazil, we can see it spreading.

Danni: It’s just gone crazy, the other day we posted a batch of about 80 things to 20 different countries. We have quite a growing fanbase in Transylvania which is random as we’ve never been there!

What inspires you when you write?

Matt: Our experiences, things that we’ve been through, or people that we know, or even films we’ve watched. It’s all very real, just drawing from every day experiences.

Danni: Everyone is shouting on this tour for earlier songs, like ‘Requiem For a Drunk’ and you can tell that we wrote that when we were 18 and going out and getting smashed. We wouldn’t write a song like that now, but with the new album that’s coming out people will be able to see that we’ve grown, especially lyrically.

When you go back to Wales, do you find that people treat you any differently? Do you get recognised a lot?

Matt: If we go somewhere together.

Danni: Until this tour we had pretty much a year out to do the album and we don’t really do that much locally, we’re not a ‘scene’ band. I used to go the Blue Banana about three years ago and everyone would recognise me. I went in there the other day and even though our song was the Blue Banana song and video of the week, no-one said anything!

Matt: If people see one of us it isn’t so much, but when they see all of us … we were in a petrol station in Birmingham the other day and this car just stopped and these two girls got out and started running towards Leon (Watkins, drummer) and they were playing the songs in the car, it was nice.

Danni: That’s my tiny bit of exposure of getting that feeling of what Take That used to go through, with their crazy girl fans.

Matt: Someone had a panic attack when they saw us, which was really weird. We were in Italy and some girl ran across the road, grabbed Danni and just started crying. We’re small and we’ve got so far to go, but we’re starting to see little bits like that now. Someone bought us food yesterday as well which was amazing.

Danni: I broke my sunglasses on the first day of the tour and I updated my status on Facebook and a girl bought an amazing pair of aviator sunglasses to the show for me. Someone bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels, too, it’s been amazing.

Matt: I did put a status up saying I forgot my Playstation 4, but I didn’t get one of those.

Aw, it’s nice that people give you gifts! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had?

Matt: We got given some ducks, rubber ducks. They drew our faces on them and Danni’s even had lipstick on it! The strangest thing that happened to me though, was that someone followed me round Asda and started tweeting about what I was buying! They tweeted that they didn’t know I was a vegetarian because I bought vegetarian sausages. I’m not a vegetarian, but yes, I did buy veggie sausages!

Danni: Someone made us some TDY keyrings, they were cool.  I always get people tweeting me saying that they saw me but they didn’t want to come and say hi. I always find that weird, like, why didn’t you just come and say hi?!

Matt: I think it’s a good indication of how it’s spread, especially in services; if you get recognised at the services, you know it must be working, people are paying attention.

Danni: Generally, you draw more attention to yourself if you walk through services wearing sunglasses and a hoody because you look like shit, with pink hair sticking out of the side.

I find that hard to believe, Danni, you always look amazing!

Danni: Dry shampoo is the way forward on tour, definitely! Talking gifts, I did share my bottle of Jack, although Mikey from GOTK drank half of it, even though they get tequila and vodka every night on their rider. We’re hardcore drinkers on this tour and if I didn’t have to sing every night, I would drink them under the table.

Matt: They’ve got a reputation for partying and so have we; so many people thought it would be carnage with all of us but we’ve been quite well behaved.

Do you find, as you’re a female-fronted band that you have to deal with any preconceptions or prejudices before people hear you sing or see you live?

Matt: I think the classic mistake that people make is that people see “female-fronted” as a genre. It’s so ridiculous. It’s like putting Metallica and Busted in the same genre because they’ve got male singers.

Danni: It’s always going to happen though, I remember when I was growing up, bands who were absolutely nothing like each other like Skunk Anansie and No Doubt were always compared because there wasn’t really anybody else. It’s annoying because we’ve been going for 7 years now and people still see us as a new band, because we’re only just getting our PR campaign sorted.

Matt: It takes so long. So many bands come in and they think they’re going to get a deal straight off. It takes time and when you do get offered a deal, you have to look really carefully at it.

Danni: It’s easier to take out a loan and do it yourself. Keep your costs down, you make more money.

So, do you think that the music industry as we know it is dead?

Matt: No. There are loads more outlets for music now than ever. CD sales and the music used to be the meat of the dinner and now it’s not, it’s a side dish. The other avenues, TV, games, are massive now.

Danni: We’re on a game that’s coming out soon, on the PS4.

Matt: Because you’ve got Facebook, twitter and all of the other outlets for music – when we were first in a band we used to have to come to London with a CD and hope an A&R man turned up. Danni and I hounded people for 10 hours a day on MySpace, every day when it started. Eventually we broke them down.

Danni: It’s not that people don’t appreciate or want the music any more, it’s just that they don’t all pay for it. So you’ve got the same audience and amount of people wanting it, just not all wanting the physical copies.

Matt: People really love music and that’s not going to change. Vinyl’s coming back.

Danni: We still sell twice as many CD’s as tee-shirts every night. The quality is better on a CD as well, I think.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Matt: Our new single, that’s a track!

Danni: It’s a cheesy answer, but I’ve been listening to Heaven’s Basement and Glamour a lot before this tour. Our driver is into loads of up and coming bands, so he’s introducing me to some new music. The guy out of Mallory Knox has got a great voice.

Matt: I watched a band the other day called Fat Goth. I quite like Kvelertak too.

What’s the best and worst thing about what you do?

Danni: Seeing people singing back the lyrics is amazing.

Matt: The bits in between are the worst. The uncertainty, the constant onslaught of people saying that music is dead and that bands are never going to make money.

Danni: You get quite a lot of negative interviews these days.

Matt: If they dropped the prices of Mars Bars from 50p to 10p, they wouldn’t say chocolate’s dead. You’re not going to earn millions unless you’re in a massive band.

Good point … so what’s next for The Dirty Youth?

Matt: The new single, we’ll be doing a headline tour and a massive support tour and, of course, Download.

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(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Whittingham)

Thanks, Danni and Matt – I can’t wait to catch TDY again! You can buy the music on iTunes, Amazon, etc.(or a good, old fashioned record shop!) and you can also check out their new video, for ‘Alive’ here – http://youtu.be/eHdzXO0vZ3E

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