Tag Archives: Camden

Interview with Hawxx, 3 February 2019

You may not have heard of Hawxx.  I myself wasn’t familiar with them, until I saw them perform in support of Salvation Jayne at the ‘Lady Luck’ in Canterbury late last year.  This female foursome of raucous rockers reside in London and they’re ready to grab the music world by the short and curlies, taking no prisoners along the way.  They were happy to chat about their biggest influences, their clear love of all things foody and the fact that love really is a bitch.  Read on for more insights …

Queen of Rock: Why the name ‘HAWXX’?

Hannah: We love a bird of prey but Eagles was taken and XX symbolises the female chromosome.

Hawxx logo
QoR: Summarise your journey so far; who are HAWXX and how did you get here?

Anna: The band is made up of myself on vocals and guitar, Hannah on guitar and backing vocals, Iman on bass and backing vocals and Jessica on drums. We come from all over; I’m from Greece, Hannah is from Wales, Iman is from Bahrain and Jessica is from Sussex.

The band started at the beginning of 2018. I met Hannah when she was working at Alaska Studios in Waterloo. I lured her in for a jam and that’s where the band was born. Shortly after, we met Iman and then Jess. We’re really lucky that we all work so well together; we have such good chemistry, both musically and in terms of how absolutely insane we all are. We started off gigging as much as we could while writing songs along the way and in November, we ended up working with the amazing producer Larry Hibbit (Hundred Reasons, Marmozets, Nothing but Thieves) for our first single … and it’s about to drop!

QoR: What’s your creative process? Do you all write together? How do you find inspiration for new songs?

Anna: One of the things I love about the band is that there is a relaxed and open minded environment when it comes to writing songs – we all write together. Usually how it works is that one of us will bring an idea to rehearsal (whether that be a riff, bass line or even a fully formed song) and then we will take it on and carry it through to the end all together! In terms of inspiration, I think all our songs are very direct, [they are] about real life situations – whether personal or political. We have songs that span from giving the finger to institutionalised religion, the deterioration of the NHS, how love’s a bitch (COMING SOON!), when your mind gets trapped in dark places and not existing for anybody’s pleasure.

QoR: Tell us about the debut single, ‘Love’s A Bitch’

Anna: ‘Love’s A Bitch’ drops on February 14th as an anti-Valentines Day anthem. The track is about an all-or-nothing attitude to love and the fight to connect with those we love.  I wrote the lyrics to this song when I was in Mexico in 2017 and I was fighting with my boyfriend. I felt such a pull between wanting to get up and leave but also such strong love that I would do anything to fight for it and make it work, hence the chorus, “The dogs of love fight to the death.” By complete coincidence, a couple of days later I watched the movie ‘Amores Perros’, which means ‘Love’s a bitch’ – a film about love AND dog fighting! I knew that we had to call the track ‘Love’s A Bitch’.

QoR: Who are your musical idols and how did they influence you to write music?

Jess: My influences are endless! I’m really into the blues/rock and ‎psychedelic bands from the 60’s and 70’s. Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker are two of my drumming heroes. I also love Lightning Bolt and anything super creative and a bit mental!

Iman: Deftones for the overall sound, Bjork for her innovation, Ani DiFranco for her direct brashness.

Anna: Currently Anna Calvi – I’ve always resonated with her being a female guitarist and been in love with her music, but then I went to see her live in June and it changed my life. I’d never seen anybody with such power on stage before. Also Kate Tempest and Patti Smith.

Hannah: Metallica are probably my biggest influence as they were my gateway ‘drug’ into heavy music – I like the way they have different sounds, from thrash tracks to ballads, to the collaboration with the San Francisco Symphony … there’s more than one way to do ‘heavy’.

QoR: What’s been your biggest highlight so far?

Anna: Recording our debut single with Larry Hibbit was a great achievement. We couldn’t be happier with the choice of producer for our first single and we are so happy with how it’s sounding. We can’t wait to share it!!

Hannah: Also playing KOKO in Camden! Didn’t think we’d be able to do that in the first year of our career. It felt amazing to have that much space on stage and feel Jess’ double kicks in your chest! Also the absolutely massive stack of Domino’s Pizza waiting for us in the green room after.

Hawxx in live action
Photo © Aaron Thompson

QoR: Being an all female band, have you encountered issues with discrimination and prejudice?

Iman: I’ve been told, “I play bass with the skill and conviction of a man” (apparently female bassists lack conviction and skill).

Jess: I have also been told that I play like a man as a compliment!

Anna: I remember talking to a professional male musician about HAWXX right at the beginning and he said, “You’re an all female band? You’ve got to be careful with that though because it could come across as gimmicky.” When I pointed out that you wouldn’t say that about an all male band, there was a long pause and some head scratching, but we’ve been pretty pleased with how these moments have then turned into respect after we perform.

QoR: Whats the most important thing a band can do to kickstart their career?

Hannah: When you find out, can you tell us please?

QoR: If you had to pick one festival to perform at, which one would you choose?

Hawxx: Download.

QoR: If the world was ending one hour from now, how would you spend your last 60 minutes?

Hannah: Is it definitely ending? While hiding under a desk (as is the advice for earthquakes and nuclear threats), I’d try to remember all the survival knowledge I’ve gained from watching Bear Grylls and ‘Walking Dead’, in case I survived.

Iman: I would probably spend the last 60 minutes getting as high as possible whilst riding a Harley around the countryside at top speed … and I’d give my mum a hug.

Jess: I’d probably just eat lots of ice cream.

Anna: I’d quite like to jump on Iman’s Harley – it sounds fun, as long as we can stop at Spice Village in Tooting for a curry. We could pick up Jess on the way and bring a takeaway to your desk, Hannah.

QoR:  Couple of ‘quick fire’ questions …
Download or Bloodstock?

Hannah: Download, baby … wouldn’t kick Bloodstock out of bed though.

QoR: PowerPlay or Metal Hammer?

Hannah: I’m directly quoting from my neck tattoo … ‘PowerPlay all the way’.

QoR: Greta van Fleet or Rival Sons?

Iman: They can fight to the death for my vote.

QoR: Jager or Fireball?

Hannah: Fireball actually; I haven’t ruined it as a drink by being horrifically hungover after [drinking] it.

Jess: HAWXX tend to enjoy red wine and olives.

QoR: Cheese or chocolate?

Hannah: If I can’t have both then I won’t bother hiding under the desk and trying to survive five questions ago …

Hawxx
Photo © Adam Razvi

You can catch Hawxx at: –

Fighting Cocks, Kingston – 16 February
New Cross Inn, London – 17 February
Esquires, Bedford – 22 February
Lot 7 , Ashford – 28 February

Watch ‘The Death of Silence (Live)’ from Hawxx’ gig at The Monarch in Camden, 17 January 2019 © Dan Maguire, via YouTube

Thank you for reading!  

 

All text is the property of Vikkie Richmond, a.k.a Queen of Rock.  No part of this review must be reproduced, either in part or in full, without the express and explicit permission to do so.  Failure to observe this will result in a report to the relevant authorities for breach of intellectual property rights.

 

Interview: Alex from Damn Dice, 04.06.16 at the Buck’s Head, Camden

Damn Dice recently released their self-funded, debut album ‘The Great Unknown’.  Fresh from a triumphant tour with Black Rain, and today’s amazing Camden Rocks set at the Electric Ballroom, I caught up with vocalist Alex for a beer and a chat about the merits of physical CD’s versus downloads, festivals and wrestling …

damn-dice-band

Vikkie: You just played the Electric Ballroom for Camden Rocks Festival – how was it for you?  It sounded pretty good from where I was standing!

Alex:  It was amazing – I don’t think we expected such a turn out; you were there, you saw how busy it was.  That always spurs you on but we always try to give everything.

V: You always give 110% and you’re all about the live show.  When you have to take time out to record, do you enjoy it, or would you rather be out on stage?

A:  We enjoy it, definitely.  Of course, it’s good to play live but when you’re writing the songs and they come together, you get that excitement, like when you first join a band.  You want to play them live and people don’t know them but the recording and writing process is fun, not so much in the studio as there is a lot of waiting around, especially for me as I go last!  It’s a good experience.

damn-dice-live-2

V:  Where did you record ‘The Great Unknown’?

A:  We recorded at Angry Bee studios in Hackney, which is my home turf.

V:  It’s a fantastic album, quite different to the EP.  You all write together, so what influences do you draw upon?

A:  Most of the bulk of the music comes from Wallis and François (Fourmy, brothers) and then we get together to do the vocal stuff. I do the lyrics and most of the vocals.  I don’t think there’s one moment where you think ‘Oh yeah, I want to write about this’, but you just draw on things you’ve noticed, things that have happened, experiences that you’ve had.

V: I didn’t actually realise that Wallis and François are brothers – François designed the website, didn’t he?

A:  He did, he does all of the visual stuff; he’s a dab hand at Photoshop and he did the editing for the videos … he’s really good at that stuff!

V:  Talented!  So, in terms of a follow up to ‘The Great Unknown’, when might we expect a follow up?

A:  We hope to get the majority of it, at least the writing, done in the second half of this year.  As to the recording, we still have to find a way to realise that in terms of money.

V:  Do you find that it’s harder to reach people, as you aren’t signed to a record label?

A:  I don’t know … a record label, what can they do really, apart from chucking a whole load of money behind you and getting you in the magazines?  Otherwise it’s social media these days, isn’t it?  For example, if you are going to check out a band, you’re going to go to Facebook, Twitter …

V:  I found you through Twitter originally, there are some great bands to be discovered in that way!

A:  It’s easier to update.  It’s good to have the website because you can put a lot of stuff there, like a shop, information – obviously you can’t do that with 140 characters on Twitter!  You kind of need a website.

V:  You added your fifth member of the band – Diego – in August last year.  What was behind the decision to bring in another member?  Why go from a four piece to a five piece?

A:  Sound, basically.  What often happens is many of the songs have a key change in the solo and if you haven’t got a good bass sound, it’s difficult for the listener to hear what’s going on.  You might change key and the guitar player starts soloing and people think it’s in the wrong key or it sounds bad because you can’t hear the bass properly.  We decided to have another guitar player to give it that foundation.  When we recorded, we recorded a guitar track under the solos anyway, which is obviously not do-able live with one guitar player so we decided to bring [Diego] in to make sure we have the full sound that we needed for the live shows.

V:  Do you not find it hard, with four of you bouncing around on stage?

A:  It depends on the stage!  The Electric Ballroom is quite a big stage.  At the Barfly, you do knock into each other a bit.

damn-dice-live

V:  If you had to pick two or three of your songs to introduce you to a new fan, who had never seen or heard you before, which would you pick?

A:  Maybe ‘What Now?’ because that’s one of the newer songs that we wrote and I think it represents the direction that we are going in more than the others.  I have a soft spot for ‘Caught In the Ride’ as it’s the first song that we wrote together and I love that song.

V:  We’re into festival season, Camden Rocks kicks off just before Download … haven’t seen you on the bill for Download?  Anything else lined up in Europe?

A:  Unfortunately not.  Maybe this is where labels and having outside representation can help you.  Contacting people directly … I feel like there’s a guy who sits there on his computer and gets 10,000 emails from unsigned bands … that’s how it feels.  Hopefully we will be doing that next year.

V:  Do you all take your turn at networking and keep an ear out for opportunities?

A:  We all actively contact people and get them to contact us.  We try as much as we can, of course, we have to.  If we’re not there, it’s not for want of trying!  We are going to have a bit of a break in August, though.  There are so many things to do and you can’t just concentrate on one thing.  When you are in the situation that we are, you have to do everything yourselves.  Contacting people, following up, promotion, social media, developing graphics and pictures, video … and all that goes with it.

V:  It’s a lot of work.  What’s next for Damn Dice though?  You’ve said that you’re going to have a break, you’ve hinted that you might possibly have a new album.

A:  We want to just gig as much as we can, just get out there.  I think the best thing you can do as a band is just play as much as you can.  Sometimes we might be spending money, on travelling and other stuff, but ultimately it’s an investment. You can’t just sit at home, you have to push your product, basically.

V:  I’m glad you said that, because so many bands do just sit at home, thinking that it’s too hard.  It’s totally the wrong attitude and it’s probably why so many bands just die on the wayside.

A:  You need to put the effort in.  When you’re a five piece band … we split everything.  We split costs, it’s not that bad, but the most important thing is getting out there to play because if no-one knows who you are, what’s the point?  Your Mum’s always going to be a fan, but you need more than that!

V: I had a question from a fan on twitter, which was, “Would you rather play at Madison Square Garden, do a film soundtrack, or open for Bruce Springsteen”?

A:  The Garden, definitely the Garden.  It’s iconic and I’m a big pro-wrestling fan and Madison Square Garden is the spiritual home of WrestleMania.

V:  So … you’re a wrestling fan, you play classical guitar and you have really bad eyesight … that’s what I’ve learned about you today!  Anything else you would like to put out there that people don’t know about you?

A:  I think that about covers it!

V:  Do you download music or do you like to have that physical CD in your hand?

A:  I download music.  I can’t remember the last time I bought a physical CD.  I have a lot of CD’s at home, but I listen through my computer – I don’t have a separate CD player and I definitely don’t have a record player.  I think there’s a generation who grew up not knowing physical music, so the concept of listening to an album probably doesn’t exist for a lot of young people. The dynamic has changed as well because if you go back to vinyl, you have two sides, a side-A and a side-B and the album was structured based on that idea so there would be certain songs faster or slower and arranged in a particular way.  When it went to CD with just a long stream of music that had a certain dynamic as well.  Now, I think people don’t listen to ‘albums’ from start to finish, they like this song and that song, so they will download those.

V:  So when you’re writing an album you don’t have in mind that you’ll start with a particular song …

A:  Yeah, we still do.  We put a lot of thought into the track listing.

V:  Do you have any messages for Damn Dice fans?

A:  Everyone that’s already a fan, thank you so much for supporting us.  The most important thing is support local music, get out to the gigs if you can.  You know if you like the music, buy it, because ultimately it helps.  If I like a band, I will buy their music because it’s a way of supporting the band.  If an album costs £10, I’m going to buy it; I’ve just bought two beers, which cost nearly £10 and I value music more than I value beer!  Support local bands, get out there because it does make a difference to the band.  When you see people there and they like the music it does make a difference to us, to the bands.  When I go to see a band that I like, it means a lot to me to see these guys.  £1 is not much to spend for a song that you like and every little helps.  Support your local scene and have fun.  We have fun, so we want to invite everyone else to have fun with us!

vik-and-alex-damn-dice

You can find out more about Damn Dice via their websiteFacebook page or Twitter

Check out the videos for Rock (Like You Mean It)What Now? and my personal favourite, Driven

You can also check out the album of photos of Damn Dice at Camden Rocks Festival by Chris of Dirty Rock Photography here

Camden Rocks Fest mini-review

A sunny day in Camden Town, a few friends, more than a few beers and some rocking good bands.  I had a blast at Camden Rocks Festival this year, although I only got to see seven bands, due to so many clashes and a late arrival back from the Sheffield Heaven’s Basement gig the night before.  Anyway, here’s my mini review of the day.  Enjoy!

The first band of the day was Damn Dice (8.5/10), a native hard rock outfit who were all dressed in black leather, with more hair and eyeliner than I’ve seen on stage for a long while.  They kicked off with some riff laden, scissor-kicking mayhem, as they hammered their way through a convincing set, including the soundtrack to new video ‘Driven’.  With harmonics and headbanging aplenty, I thought their set was pretty good; this is a band on the up, with their debut album “The Great Unknown” hitting the airwaves on 24th August.  Watch out for them in future (and keep your eyes peeled for my interview with the band and my review of the album!).

Damn Dice on stage at the Camden Barfly

A swift trot over to the Stables and The Cuban meant it was time for the eagerly anticipated set from London hard rockers New Device (7.5/10).  Dressed in vests, with tattoos and biceps on display in equal measure, New Device gave a credible set, however for some reason they didn’t fully hold my attention and it all sounded a bit … generic.  They did perform to a packed room, however and I’d like to see them again to make up my mind.  I’m going to acquire a copy of their album “Takin’ Over London” next week …

New Device at The Cuban

I might get criticised for reviewing the next band, as it’s well known that they’re favourites of mine and perhaps I should have seen someone else instead, but Max Raptor (9/10) always give 110%, balls out, awesome energy to every single show and I couldn’t resist seeing them, as it’s been a while.  I wished I was anywhere else but at the Barfly though;it was absolutely heaving and I could barely breathe, let alone see the stage.  Wil and the guys looked lean, full of beans and more than up for a good show, kicking off with ‘The Great and The Good’.  There were clearly a lot of Max Raptor fans in the room and the whole place went nuclear with the crowd singing along to all the lyrics.  I was stuck at the back so I couldn’t get any decent pics, but with new song ‘Population’ thrown into the middle of the set, before the mayhem of ‘Obey The Whips’ and the pure genius of ‘England Breathes’, it was clear that the band were loving being on the stage as much as we were enjoying watching them.  A mad set culminated in ‘The King Is Dead’, with a massive circle pit going on down the front.  Never a disappointment, always mad, you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t seen this lot yet. Get on it!

A serious cool down was needed after that, so I headed to the Monarch to see The Wild Lies (9/10), a band that are full of old-fashioned strut and raunch, with a bang-on-trend sound.  Clearly a lot of other people thought the same as the place was packed.  A slick sound, coupled with 100% rock star appearance ensured that this lot went down a storm and I defy anyone not to want to rock out whilst listening to them.  With a Download Festival appearance lined up next week and a new video out for ‘Asteroid Central’, The Wild Lies should be on anyone’s playlist; certainly they didn’t disappoint any of the assembled throng in the Monarch.  Well worth a watch!

The Wild Lies at The Monarch

I couldn’t see Heaven’s Basement (9/10) and not review them;anyone who has followed my blog or Facebook page will know how fond I am of the Basement Boys.  Turning their usual set on its head and kicking off with ‘Executioner’s Day’, Aaron, Sid, Rob and Chris flew through a disappointingly short set, with crowd pleasers such as ‘I Am Electric’, ‘Can’t Let Go’ and ‘Heartbreaking Son of a Bitch’.  Sid did an admirable job of vocals with ‘Paranoia’ and Aaron couldn’t resist his trademark crowd surfing.  With some serious pit action going on I was surprised they chose to slow things down with ‘Price We Pay’, never a favourite of mine, but they eased the crowd back to fever pitch and finished a cracking performance with a two song encore of ‘Welcome Home’ and absolute favourite ‘Fire Fire’, which had the whole place bouncing.  This was my 15th HB gig and whilst I still adore them and their music, I think they need to crack on with album two and get some new material out in front of the fans.  Having said that, I headed to the bar absolutely dripping with sweat, euphoric at having been part of yet another awesome, atmospheric gig.  Roll on HBII and another tour …

Heaven’s Basement at The Underworld

I would love to tell you how amazing Skindred were, but by the time I came back from the loo, the crowd was packed tighter than a shopping centre on Boxing Day – I couldn’t get anywhere near them and the venue was getting ridiculously hot, so having caught a smashing rendition of ‘Kill The Power’, it was with regret that I headed back up to street level.  Judging from the reaction of those people closest to me before I bailed, Skindred’s set was going to be another good one.

With a banging head and aching feet, I headed back to the Monarch for the last band of the day.  Jett Black have been on my bucket list for a long time and whilst I couldn’t tell you what tracks they played, I know that they had an appreciative audience and sounded pretty awesome from where I was sitting (yes, sitting. I’m nearly forty, give me a break …).  Again, another band that I would like to see play a full set, sober and bright eyed and bushy tailed, to give them full justice.

Bands I didn’t get to see, but heard people raving about were – Glamour Of The Kill, Fallen To Flux, Bullet For My Valentine, Buck and Evans, Buffalo Summer and Voodoo Vegas.

All in all, it was an immense day.  I got to meet up with some friends, see some awesome musicians, spend time with The Boyfriend, sit in the sun and have a few beers.  That’s all you can ask for on a beautiful day in Camden Town.  Much kudos to the organisers and roll on Camden Rocks 2016.

All photos courtesy of Chris White

Album review – Dendera “Pillars of Creation”

Review – Dendera “Pillars of Creation”

It’s been an eventful couple of months for Hampshire-based hard rock band, Dendera.  They stepped up a stage from last year for a dark performance at Southampton Uni’s esteemed Takedown Festival in March; then they found themselves a man down as Tony Fuller, axe-man extraordinaire, left the band this month.

However, one good thing to come out of 2015 despite Tony’s departure, was a new album, “Pillars of Creation”, which the outgoing guitarist featured on before he left.  Anyone who may have written Dendera off as an Iron Maiden sound-a-like band can firmly shove their opinion where the sun doesn’t shine, for this new album is 100% Dendera – unique and heavy as hell.  It’s clichéd to say a band have matured, but with this album, Dendera really have stepped things up a gear or two.  Always cohesive as musicians, this is a tight, polished diamond of a record that will hopefully silence the critics once and for all.

Dendera Pillars of Creation artwork

“Pillars of Creation” is only eight tracks long, however each song is loaded with killer riffs, sweet vocals and 100% pure musicianship.  It’s clear that Dendera aren’t messing about with this record; they mean business and this could be the one that gets them the breakthrough that they deserve.

First track ‘Claim Our Throne’ could be a tongue in cheek homage to the place they’re hoping to take on the rock scene with this album.  Starting off with an intro that could have come straight from a Machine Head album, ‘Claim Our Throne’ is a bang up to date metal track that also screams overtones of more traditional metal … it’s a bruising, belter of a track.  I particularly like the backing vocals, which bring a new dimension to Ashley’s voice.

Second offering, ‘Bloodlust’ is brutal; a romp through some awesome guitar work with some dark vocals and superb drumming.  It’s more recognisable as Dendera, in my humble opinion, but that makes it even more exciting to listen to because it shows how much they’ve evolved since ‘The Killing Floor’.

Ever since I heard third track ‘In High Tide’ live back at the Joiners last year, I loved it.  It chugs along with some classic Ashley vocals thrown in, but the riff reminds me vaguely of 80’s Megadeth.  Anyway, it’s one of my favourite tracks and well worth repeated listening.

‘Disillusioned’ starts with a charming vocal, “Broken and bound by the pain that consumes you, eaten alive by the lies and deceit …”; you just know that this is going to be an epic track and it doesn’t disappoint.  Almost melodic in places (oh, how we hate that word, right?), this is a classic track with some awesome musical work.

Track number five, ‘The Daylight Ending’ is an aural delight that will make your ears bleed if it’s turned up high enough and there is more of the same with ‘The Chosen One’, which will be a firm hit with the stoner rockers out there who prefer a slightly slower pace.  Still epic, nonetheless.

Penultimate track ‘Unholy’ is the undoubted winner for cranking it all the way up to 11 … it whips along at a mad pace and with lyrics such as “All shall perish for my wrath” and “Unholy, my anger, I’ll take a chance upon the other side”, it’s a vitriolic, spitting creation that will go down well at your next party, when you want to upset the neighbours …

Final track, ‘Edge of Tomorrow’ ends the album exactly as it started.  Explosive, with crashing, manic riffs, thoughtful lyrics and some serious changes of pace, it’s an epic track that quite rightly finishes off one of the best local band records I’ve heard for some time.

With an album launch party planned for Thursday 18th June at the Garage in London, it’s clear that Dendera are fully prepared to come back stronger following Tony’s departure, and you better watch out if you’re not expecting them to melt your face off.  If you miss this one, you truly will miss out.  See you at the front!

Tickets can be bought here –  http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/checkout/event.php?eventId=AJI1806X&camefrom=TW_TICKETMASTER_TMLISTINGS

Pre-order Pillars of Creation –

http://denderauk.bigcartel.com/product/pillars-of-creation-cd

Track Listing: –

Claim Our Throne

Bloodlust

In High Tide

Disillusioned

The Daylight Ending

The Chosen One

Unholy

Edge of Tomorrow

www.dendera.co.uk

www.facebook.com/DenderaUK

Interview with the Dirty Thrills, November 2014

I recently had the good fortune to see an amazing performance from a band that I have only just discovered (not quite sure how this has occurred, but I’m so glad I’ve found them now).  London-based, self-confessed dirty blues rockers, Dirty Thrills rocked the Stillery early on the bill of Camden’s Nightmare Festival.  To be honest, I fell in love with their sound straight away and had to find out more about them; thankfully, they were happy to talk about the great state of the rock and roll industry, their burning desire to tour the States and, erm, pole dancing videos …

Dirty Thrills band pic

How was Nightmare Fest?

Ah it was amazing, we had a killer time (no Halloween pun intended). We were really impressed with our set at The Stillery.  Well, from what we remember, it was just an energetic blur, with us drenched in sweat and torturing our instruments.  We wouldn’t have it any other way though.

You’ve got a few dates coming up – for anyone that has just discovered you, can you give any hint as to when you might be touring again?

Yes, we will playing a few more dates from now until the end of the year so check out our Facebook for updates on those. In terms of a full-on tour, we are in the process right now of getting that together at the moment.  We plan on kicking off the new year with a tour – no messing about!

You’ve been going for two years, building on a solid fan base, are you finding it easy to pick up new fans?

In the most humble way possible, it is becoming a lot easier. I think as your band’s name and reputation gets out there and begins to snowball, more and more people starting joining your fan base.  We live on Facebook and twitter, spreading the word of our band, so it looks as if it is paying off.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

We’ve all got different favourites, but with a common passion for rock ‘n’ roll – to name a few; Queens of the Stone Age, Jack White, Rival Sons, Led Zeppelin.

If you could only tour with one band in the next year, who would you pick and why?

We were talking about this the other day as a band, and we came to the conclusion that Royal Blood would be a great band to tour with. We’re great fans of their music and their epic ‘duo’ sound.  Our styles would go together perfectly on a rock bill.

That’s one I wouldn’t miss! What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever given you?

We once had a couple of girls send us a video of them pole dancing to our song ‘Drunk Words’. We weren’t complaining …

How would you describe your musical style?

Dirty blues rock ‘n’ roll with melodic vocals. Our debut album has a bit of everything – riff-based tunes, heavier tunes, classic-rock and a rock ballad. Our style is for anyone who loves a good noise groover, but with something to sing along to.

How does the writing/recording process work for you? Do you all do it together, or add bits separately?

We have a very healthy recording process. The work process normally differs from song to song, but generally, one person has the bulk idea for a new song, and the rest of us build it up together.  It usually starts with a guitar riff, and then we go from there.  If we’re not feeling inspired we don’t force a song out, we just go for a beer!

What’s been the highlight for the band so far?

Probably writing and recording our debut album, the whole process was awesome. We’re already itching to get into the studio again.

dirty thrills album pic

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

There is no ‘non-cheesy’ way of putting this, but the best thing about we do, is the ‘buzz’! That moment on stage and in time where everything is perfect, and you’re having the time of your life.  The worst thing is the waiting around before a gig when you’re not allowed to be drunk, ha ha.

Are there any countries that it would be a dream to play for you?

We would love, as many others would, to play in the USA. Venues like Red Rocks and Madison Square Garden are up there with all-time dream venues to play.

Any 2015 festival news that you can share?

None that we are allowed to share at the moment, we’ve just started working with some new contacts just recently, and we will definitely have some exciting festival announcements soon. Stay tuned guys.

What do you think about the current state of the music industry and do you think that ‘rock is dead’?

No we don’t think rock is dead at all. People have been saying this for years, some even said it before the 80‘s and 90’s.  It’s not dead in the slightest, it’s just having a recharge.  It takes this ‘hiatus’ state for a genre to re-emerge as something bigger, better and different.  There are new rock artists appearing every day who are slowly turning the tide to a new movement, people just don’t know it yet.

Where do you hope to be as a band in 5 years?

We hope to have gotten bigger and better as a band, and to be playing all over the world for everyone to see. It feels like just the beginning for us, and we’re all excited as to what’s in store in the future.

It was both a pleasure and a dirty thrill (see what I did there?!) to chat to these guys – make sure you check out their album, which you can buy here –

http://dirtythrillsclothing.bigcartel.com/product/dirty-thrills-dirty-thrills-album-cd

Check out their website and Facebook pages here and make sure you don’t miss them next time they’re touring – these guys are going to be HUGE!  They also have an album launch show next Monday, 17th November at the Barfly in Camden, go to their FB page for more details.  Miss it, miss out!

http://www.dirty-thrills.com/

www.facebook.com/DirtyThrills

Also, take a look at the video (part 1, there are MANY more!) of the making of their album –

http://youtu.be/bUmB5ilwBHI

Headbangers Balls – saying ‘Balls to Cancer’!

If you thought charity had little to do with metal, you seriously need to think again.  Those awesome folks over at Headbangers Balls have arranged a series of gigs in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust and they’re also raising awareness of testicular cancer. 
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Over eight venues around the country, the line up includes such heavyweights as Savage Messiah, Evil Deth, Onslaught, Collibus and a whole host of other kick-ass metal mayhem merchants*, all for less than a tenner a night!
(*see individual events for exact line-up details, as bands vary)
HB_LOGO
07.11 CHESTER – THE COMPASS
Reign of Fury’s only HBB headline show
Chester
 
08.11 MANCHESTER – REBELLION BAR
Headline: Savage Messiah
Manchester
 
14.11 CAMDEN TOWN (FREE SHOW)
Headline: Anihilated
 
Camden
15.11 LONDON – BOSTON MUSIC ROOM
Headline: Fleshrot
London
 
05.12 NUNEATON – QUEENS HALL
Headline: Beholder
Nuneaton
 
06.12 BIRMINGHAM – THE FLAPPER
Headline: Lawnmower Deth ft. Dr Hell from Evil Scarecrow
Birmingham 1
 
13.12 GLOUCESTER – NEW OLYMPUS THEATRE
Headline: Bull Riff Stampede
Gloucester
 
17.01 BIRMINGHAM – NEW YEAR SHOW – THE FLAPPER
Headline: Onslaught
Birmingham 2
 
Head on over to Facebook and give the Balls’ page a like, also check out the individual events for further details.  This is a great opportunity to catch some fantastic metal bands, raise awareness of a killer disease and rack up some dosh for kids with cancer.  What more could you ask for?!
 

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