Tag Archives: Butserfest

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)

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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 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