Tag Archives: music

Interview with Kodiak Jack

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

K Jack pic

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

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

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

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

– How did the name come about?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KJ Alhambra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– What’s next for Kodiak Jack?

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

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

www.facebook.com/kodiakjackuk

www.kodiakjackofficial.com

 

Interview with Ocasan

Buckinghamshire pop-rock trio Ocasan are all set to release the third instalment of their second album, ‘Elixir’ later this month. I caught up with them in the calm before the launch-storm to get answers to some burning questions …

 Ocasan band pic

 – Firstly, I have to ask, how did you come by your band name?

Ocasan is my family’s old Celtic name – ‘Okasan’ (with a K) is Japanese for Mother. Feels good to say, right?

– You’re about to release the third EP, ‘Confessions’, the last of the trilogy that make up your second album ‘Elixir’. That was a bold step, what made you decide to do that rather than release a complete album?

We think that the EP model is more suited to our listeners. It’s a great way for fans to digest your music over a period of time, rather than overwhelm them with a barrage of songs at once.

Confessions - Artwork

– What’s the reaction been to the first two instalments?

We’ve had no end of incredible feedback from these records, we’re very proud. You know the EP’s are doing their job when you see new faces constantly appearing at live shows.

– Who are your biggest influences when you’re writing?

We’ve gone back to our grunge and rock roots.  Reuben have been a big influence on our latest writing.  If you we’re to listen to ‘Elixir’ as a whole album, I’m sure you’d hear Foo Fighters, The Police and Incubus in their as well.

– Which two songs would you pick to introduce a new fan to your music?

We’re pretty eclectic as a band when it comes to genres. I would say a good intro would be something like ‘No One’s Safe in Soho’ from our first record and “The Whitey Two Step’ from our latest.

Ocasan three EP's

– You’ve been together as a band for quite some time now – what would you say is the key to a harmonious relationship between you, especially on tour?

You learn an incredible tolerance for each other. I’ve always thought we’d be an amazing study for a psychologist. I think being in a band is like having two girlfriends at once (without the sexy benefits).

Having been with the guys for almost 10 years now we know all our idiosyncrasies back to front and this helps prepare you for certain behaviour. You learn the best ways of dealing with people in all circumstances.  In fear of sounding a little cheesy, no matter how hard it gets we’re bound by the incredible times we have and the music we make. No petty argument will outweigh it.

– Talking of touring, you’ve toured pretty extensively in the past. How does Europe compare to places such as Russia and Canada? Do you have a favourite country to play in?

Every new country has something different to offer. In terms of audience interaction, there is nothing quite like eastern Europe. Those guys are nuts for live music!

Russia nearly killed us, they seriously know how to party with little-to-no sleep, we had a lot of fun there.  As for Canada we got to hang out with some of the nicest people, it’s a lot more laid back than other places we’ve played and that accent is just priceless. We love the Canadians!

Italy is beautiful and we’re always so well looked after. The food and wine is out of this world!  In terms of a solid favourite it really depends on your mood, I could never pick one.

Can someone send us to Japan? That’s next on the list.

– Any tour dates coming up?

Our agent has us up for a few tours at the moment so we’re just waiting to hear back. In the mean time we have our EP launch show at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 20th September. This should be a blinder!

– Any funny/notable tour moments?

I could keep you up all night, but if I was to be ruthless, the one the springs to mind immediately is one the lads love winding me up with.  They love recollecting the time Nathan (our bass player) tried inserting his fingers inside me mid-sleep.  Our relationship has never been the same. I think he thought I was someone else. I hope he thought I was someone else …

– What are you listening to at present? Anything to recommend?

I’m still digging Skindred’s ‘Kill The Power’ and Jamie Lenman’s ‘Muscle Memory’ is a beaut!

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

Not being fingered!  I’m not sure … skinny dipping in the black sea at 3am with our sound man, roadie, several Russian girls and Mr JD was a giggle.

– Finally, what’s next for the band in the next 2-3 years?

There are a few music videos on the go at the moment to help promote the release of the EP on 21st – expect these imminently.

We’re already working on our next record so we’ll look to release that about this time next year.  We’ll carry on touring extensively and exploring this vast and wonderful third rock from the sun.

So, you can catch Ocasan at their ‘Confessions’ EP launch party, at the Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes on 21st September.  In the meantime, have a taster … here’s the vid for ‘Whitey Two Step’ – http://youtu.be/NLDNRoc76uo

www.ocasan.co.uk

www.facebook.com/OcasanMusic

Interview with Screaming Steel

I recently caught up with Martin and Ryan from Hampshire-based rock band, Screaming Steel to talk about all sorts of lovely things, including their eclectic musical influences, how they came by their band name and … why they’re ‘friends’ with inflatable swords … enjoy!

 

Screaming Steel pic

– How was the recent Joiners gig (supporting Dendera) for you?  The crowd seemed to like you … the inflatable swords went down a storm!

Ryan:  It was the best response we’ve had so far and not just down to the inflatable swords, we hope. It’s always easier for the first band to be watched as the crowd are more engaged at that point, so we were chuffed that everyone turned up to watch.

Martin:  I really enjoyed the Joiners gig from where I was sitting.  Like Ryan said, it’s easier to be the first band on but at the same token, it can be a killer if no one turns up when the doors open.  We had to make an impact both visually and musically and the inflatable swords and the music were our friends on the night.  We all had a great time.

– How did you choose the name ‘Screaming Steel’?

Ryan:  I actually can’t remember!

Martin:  That was down to me, I recall.  We needed a “metal” name and I grabbed a band name generator from the net, specifically a metal one and after two attempts, Screaming Steel popped up, it was a no brainer as it just fitted the band perfectly.

– How would you describe your style?

Ryan:  Judas Priest with Pantera vibes

Martin:  I’d like to add that our style can’t be specific to one or two bands because every member of the band has different influences.  My music taste is very eclectic and I’m proud to admit it, so listening to different genres of music, from funk and soul to heavy metal, has defined my playing style.  If I had to put my finger on one ancestral origin for the band, I’d say NWOBHM (Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath).

– If you had to recommend one of your songs for a new fan to listen to, which one would you pick and why?

Ryan:  ‘Deathclaw’ or ‘Hammered’?

Martin:  I am particularly proud of ‘Rider’. Joe (our singer) phoned me just after I joined the band and said “You ride a motorbike don’t you?  I’m gonna write a song about riding a bike”; the rest is history.  ‘Rider’ shows all sides to “The Steel”, it’s just a pulsing great foot-tapper.  However, if I was to recommend a chanting metal anthem, it would be ‘Hammered’, a song we wrote in five minutes and has had little change in composition since its inception.  I have a great friend in California – he builds the best snare drums on the planet – I sent him a copy of our demo and within a week ‘Hammered’ was played on his local radio station (they had a charity day where they’d play anything you requested for a $20 donation) and the DJ’s were singing the chant during the song that was played after ‘Hammered’.  It was a proud moment to know we’d been played on radio in the USA.

– You’ve been doing your bit for charity lately, do you feel it’s important for bands to get involved in charity work, or do you just do it because it’s a local cause close to your hearts?

Martin:  Well, I can answer that one as charity gigs stem from links to me.  Last year in May, our first gig was a joint concert with various acts from the Isle of Wight who came together to perform a concert to raise funds for the Lottie Rann trust.  Lottie is my niece and to cut a long story short, contracted meningococcal meningitis twice. That type of meningitis is the most dangerous of all and can be a killer.  We all rejoiced when Lottie recovered from the first one, but when she got it a second time (which is a billion to one chance) she was paralysed from the neck down.  That was two years ago and now she’s in an electric wheelchair, has control over her limbs, can speak and is able to feed herself.  The concert was all for her, so that she had funds to get a wheelchair and all the adjustments to the family home to make it wheelchair friendly.  Ironically, I met Ryan and Joe for the first time the evening after Lottie contracted it for the second time to talk about joining them to form a band, so Lottie has been there from the beginning of The Steel and thus is a cause close to the heart of the band.

We are doing a joint charity night in Ryde, Isle of Wight in November for another charity cause that’s personal to me – Ryde Inshore Rescue.  Recently some nasty individual took a screwdriver to both of the rigid inflatable lifeboats and destroyed their capability to save lives.  Both boats were out of action and still are right now, but they’re being fixed.  So both The Steel and another band I am in (Ozzy Osbourne tribute band We Waz Ozzy) are doing a gig to raise funds for RIR.

Obviously we can’t perform for every charity we’d like, but charities that are close to us get our undeserved attention.

– You recently acquired a new bassist; how has that affected the band dynamic?

Ryan:  Dramatically, he has reaped new life into the dexterity or our playing and writing.

Martin:  When James, our founder bassist decided to leave we thought it would be a struggle to find a replacement, but we found Sam through an internet ad and he’s brought an explosive dynamic to the band that we’d never thought possible.  He’s brought fun and oodles of enthusiasm and the whole direction of the music has improved, he really is a diamond (but don’t tell him I said so!).

– I understand you’re currently writing some new material, can we expect to see a release soon?

Martin:  With Sam on board, we’re foregoing songs that were in the pipeline for songs that the four of us have written together, normally through a warm-up jam at rehearsals.  The new material, like ‘Deathclaw’, is an improvement from the past songs, and we’d like to think we’ll have enough new material to start recording an album in the early part of 2015.

– Who influences you musically?

Ryan:  Everyone!

Martin:  Where do I start?  Drumming-wise, it started off with Phil Collins and Phil Gould (drummer for Level42) but as I progressed with my playing and listening to different music, I have a plethora of drummers who I’ve pinched ideas from.  Musically, I’m a big fan of 80’s American hair metal (Poison, Cinderella, Mötley Crüe and Dokken, to name a few) and that whole genre has become a major influence and source of playing ideas.

– If you could tour with any band, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

Ryan:  Metallica, just because they are Metallica.

Martin:  I’d like to say Led Zeppelin but then our performance would have to be legendary for the audience to remember us.  Opening for our heroes like Judas Priest and Iron maiden would be a real compliment.  And I love Rammstein, so supporting them would be just as cool.

– What do you think about the current state of the music industry?  Where do you see rock and metal heading in the next 5-10 years?

Ryan:  It’s pretty much a developing world with metal. It has been around since ‘69 and has a very stable dynamic in the musical world. The fact it’s managed to stay a niche for so long is fantastic and keeps itself fresh. New bands come and go; eventually the style shifts slightly but usually for the mainstream, not the fans. Metal is an intellectual people’s music and will always be a back burner of any household from Thin Lizzy to Dimmu Borgir. I hope I’m still part of it in 10 years, or at least helping to shape it.

Martin:  Ryan has summed it up perfectly.  I see that rock will never die, it’s just ace to see young kids walking round with Guns ‘n’ Roses t-shirts and them actually knowing who G’n’R are.  You never see youngsters walking round wearing a t-shirt of a boy band from 20 years ago.  Rock will never die, it’s too awesome.

– What’s the plan for the next 12-18 months?

Ryan:  Ride the unknown!

Martin:  I’d like to think that The Steel will collect new friends, or ‘Screamers’ as we call them.  I’d also like to see us record some of our songs, we have some great feedback from people who’ve been to our gigs and they’ve been hungry for an album size collection of material.  The great unknown, as Ryan put it, is actually where it’s at, we can’t predict our future but if we’re healthy, still great mates and having a blast, then that would be the best thing to look forward to.

 

Catch the video for ‘Deathclaw’, filmed at the Joiners gig https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=664586440301511 – you can also check out Screaming Steel at www.facebook.com/ScreamingSteel

 

Work hard, play hard, engage or die …

So.  I’ve just had a bit of a rant over on Facebook (no change there), but it actually made me so cross that I actually felt I had to write a ‘piece’ about it.  Of course, it’s only my humble opinion, but it makes sense to me!

Bands that quit when the going gets tough.  There.  I’ve said it and I’m almost foaming at the mouth again just with those eight words.  I went on to a band’s Facebook page this morning, only to discover that they have changed their name and started again.  Fine, no problem with that.  The pinned post at the top of the new page, however, was a great long diatribe about how they’ve given their all for however many years but feel that they can’t continue, blah, blah, blah.  It was a self indulgent whine about how hard it is these days, what with venues closing up and down the country, the music scene dying off and basically slating the very people who have kept them going, because they’re moaning that no-one ever came to see them.  It may not surprise you to learn that I have some thoughts on this.

Firstly, your music was probably mediocre anyway.  You can get quite a long way with the support of a few hundred fans even when your music is crap.  It’s called ‘loyalty’ and these are the people that will come out and see you, buy your tee-shirts and wristbands and spend money they haven’t got on travelling to some godforsaken hole in the middle of nowhere, even if they know in their heart of hearts that actually, you’re not that good.  Hey, you might improve and they’ve already invested time and money, so they’re sticking with you because they feel part of something and are glad to be involved from the start.  I know, because I have done this many times (and just occasionally, I’ve backed a winner).

Secondly, everybody accepts that the music scene, particularly rock and metal, is changing.  If it doesn’t adapt to roll with the way the music industry as a whole is evolving, it will die.  All those millions of fans (yes, they’re still there, contrary to popular belief) don’t want it to die, so they keep buying the music and merch.  If the band is good enough and fully committed, they will make the effort to get off of their sofas and come and see them.

This brings me to the heart of the problem.  I don’t consider myself to be an expert in all things music, nor do I claim to be some kind of social media guru or have a degree in the music buying and gig-going habits of the general public.  I do, however, listen to a lot of music, spend a lot of time on social media, talk to a lot of musicians and have some contacts in the music industry who like to wax lyrical about every music fan’s favourite topic these days.  So, based on my experience and in my humble opinion, I’m just going to put this out there.  Bands that quit – YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM.  There.  I feel so much better …

These days, musicians have to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty.  They need to get on the phone, become a keyboard warrior, engage to a new level with their fans and basically work their fine arses off just to exist in the world of rock and metal.  Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, venues ARE closing up and down the country (and I’m not commenting on that specifically – it’s a whole other article), but I see it this way; when I go to a gig with a band who is good, whether it’s a well-known and loved venue or some flea pit that nobody has ever heard of, they will pack it out.  If it is a band that is, at best, mediocre and who are giving a half hearted effort (and who haven’t bothered to create a buzz around them and build a fan base online as well), of course it’s not going to be busy and they won’t get invited back.  Word will spread and yes, they will find that nobody comes to see them.  Stick with me, I do have a point and I am getting to it.

My memory of the nineties ‘heyday’ is hazy, but I don’t recall there being quite so many bands who were on the local gigging circuit.  Also, musicians seemed to stick with one band, for the most part and worked bloody hard at it (and played hard too).  I don’t remember many crap bands, although I’m sure there must have been some, but the gigs that I went to were always pretty much packed.  These days, there seem to be bands coming out of our ears and sadly, some of them should never have picked up instruments in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that virtually everyone has the opportunity now and feels able to give it a go, but frankly, it’s a cut-throat business and it’s over-saturated with new music.  If you don’t take it seriously, or you’re in it for the money, then you may as well hang up your drumsticks because you’re never going to make it, unless you get through via some steaming pile of excrement that passes for a talent show these days.

I’m going to name some bands here – I have chosen them purely because I have seen first-hand how hard they work to keep their heads above water.  So, bands such as Heaven’s Basement, The Dirty Youth, and Feral Sun actually work their arses off.  They cane their social media, making sure they engage with their fans – you can knock me for saying that all the time, but it’s the only way to go these days.  They make a superhuman effort to make sure that they keep selling their merch, because let’s face it, that’s where the money is nowadays, it certainly isn’t going to come from album sales alone now that we’re in the age of the digital download.  The Dirty Youth have successfully got people involved with going down the crowd-funding route.  Feral Sun have risked everything by self-financing their debut album to get it out there into the public domain.  Most importantly, each and every time they get up on that stage, they make sure they give it 110%; and on the rare occasions that they don’t, they acknowledge it and make damned sure that they do it better the next time.

All of these bands started from nothing and whilst they’re not yet at the top of the mountain, they’re making sure that they have everything in place to be able to reach the top whilst other bands are dropping off around them.  Crucially, they are also extremely approachable with fans and will bend over backwards to make a gig an experience that people will remember and want to repeat.  Music has become a customer service industry and if you’re not a people person, then you need to become one, or make sure that the rest of the band are.

There’s so much competition out there these days that bands need to be doing it bigger and better than everyone else.  If you turn up to a gig, have faces like smacked arses, don’t engage with the people that support you, play your set in a somewhat mediocre and uninspired fashion and then leave without seeing any other bands or speaking to your fans, you don’t deserve to be taking that slot.  Give it up to someone who is hungrier for it than you are, because they’ll give it everything they have to try and get to the top.

www.facebook.com/themusicjourno

Interview with Dendera

 Stalwarts of the Hampshire metal scene, DENDERA smashed their headline gig at the Joiners at the end of July – I caught up with them for a brief chat beforehand.

Dendera band pic

Your first album, ‘The Killing Floor’ was well received; what can we expect from album no. 2 and when might it be released?

The album will hopefully be released in the first half of 2015. We are really excited about the new album, the new material is sounding heavier, bigger and maybe a bit more modern, but still has a distinct Dendera sound.

How do you keep your writing innovative and fresh when people come to expect a certain style from you?

Our influences are always developing and changing with what we are into at the moment, but when we write together the end result is consistent with the sound we are aiming for.

You cite many influences as a band, including Iron Maiden and I’ve heard many people say that you sound like them.  Does that bother you or do you take it as a compliment?

Any comparison to one of the best metal bands in the world can only be taken as compliment. We write music that we love and like to play, and so our influences will always come into the music. But that’s not to say we will always sound the same as we are always striving to find our own niche.

Have you any touring plans for the rest of this year?

If an opportunity arises we will definitely take it, however our priority is making the best album possible.

You’ve played with some big names, including Saxon, Soulfly and Gloryhammer.  Who have you most enjoyed sharing a bill with?

We’ve loved sharing the stage with all those acts and the Gloryhammer tour was definitely a highlight. I think we will all have our own personal favourites for example, Steve playing with one of his guitar heroes Vivian Campbell with Last in Line.

If you had to choose one Dendera track to introduce a new fan to the band, which would it be and why?

If we had to choose one it would be Senlac Hill, we feel this shows our own sound and where we come from and our influences in one package.

You already have an existing, loyal fan base; how do you engage with people to promote the band?  Do you think social media helps or hinders bands’ growth?

Social media is a valuable tool and allows bands to directly connect with their fans all over the world. It’s helped us to grow our fan base and reach people that would never had, had the opportunity to see us live at this point. In terms of engaging with fans we are a very social band at live shows and always try and interact with our fans.

What’s been the biggest Dendera highlight so far?

It would be hard to decide between releasing our debut album or the UK tour with Gloryhammer.

Dendera the killing floor

If you could tour or record with any band or artist (current or past), who would it be and why?

You would probably expect us to say Iron Maiden and that would be amazing, but we all have our own particular favourites! Whilst Tony would say Van Halen, Steve would say Dream theater.

I watched the Gloryhammer tour diary from last year – most amusing!  You’re like one big family; who throws the toys out of their pram the most when you’re touring?

Thanks for watching our tour documentary! Others can watch it at the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpIZnbzc5Jc . In all honesty, on the road we all get along so well so there aren’t many toys being thrown. If we were to pick something though Andy doesn’t seem to enjoy falling flat on his arse in the shower whilst hungover!

What’s your opinion of the state of the local/national music scene?

Based on our most recent headline show the local music scene seems to be doing well. That being said, it takes a lot of effort from bands and fans alike to keep it going. We all need to pull together to help it thrive.

What’s next for Dendera?

After recently joining AMP Management, the new album on the horizon and big tour plans for next year it’s a really exciting time. We can’t wait to show everybody what we have got coming. Can we also take this time to thank everybody who has supported us so far. We love you all!

See the link below for the Rock Regeneration review of Dendera’s headline gig last month at the Joiners in Southampton.  You can catch them again when they support Phil Campbell’s All Starr Band back at the Joiners on 29th August 2014 – it’s sure to be a huge gig and tickets have been flying out – message Dendera via their Facebook page for further details!

www.facebook.com/DenderaUK

www.dendera.co.uk

http://www.rock-regeneration.co.uk/wordpress/2014/07/denderatoledo-steeldeath-headscreaming-steel/

Interview with Between The Void

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

Between The Void logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John:  Oh, very modest …

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

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

Do you all write together?

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

Marc: We build organically …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oli:  Stevie Wonder.

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

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

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

So, what’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

You can catch the BTV review article here –

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

facebook.com/betweenthevoid

Interview with Villains’ Matt Steane

Following the triumphant release of their first single, ‘The Fall’, Chelmsford rockers Villains are back to caress our ears with a new tune, ‘Wicked Ways’.  I managed to grab five minutes to interrogate guitarist Matt about the latest happenings in their world.

Villains group shot

Your new single, ‘Wicked Ways’, has had over 1,600 views so far and seems to be creating a buzz on social media.  How does it feel knowing that people are getting into your music?

It’s one of the best feelings in the world! We played a hometown show on Saturday and it was great to see so many people singing along. Wicked Ways is one my favourites from the album and was always seen as a potential single, so to see that people are picking up on that and enjoying it means the world to us.

Did you enjoy playing Ipfest and did you catch any new bands that you can recommend?

Ipfest was an awesome show. We’d actually shot a video during the day for our next single so we were all pretty shattered by the time we got to the show. But when we went on there were a fair few people down the front and that definitely gave us the boost needed to play. Because we got there a bit later we didn’t get to catch all of the bands, which was a shame, but I can safely say that people need to check out WHEN GIANTS FALL.  I don’t listen to much heavy music these days but I was well impressed with these guys. I think it can be difficult to make decent heavy music without being typecast as one thing or another so it was really refreshing to see them putting their own slant on it.

You’ve supported some pretty big names on tour like Soil, Blitz Kids and Fearless Vampire Killers; who has been the best band to tour with so far?

I think they’ve all been great for different reasons. The Soil/Fozzy tour was the first tour we did and it was a great opportunity to get out there and to play to a lot of people in different places around the UK. Playing with Blitz Kids was awesome as well; they’re good friends of ours and being asked to play their album release show was a really great moment for us. It coincided with our single release at the time as well which was perfect really. The guys in FVK are awesome too; some of the nicest guys in rock music to be honest. So I couldn’t really pick a favourite if I’m being honest. Every tour we’ve done has been great for different reasons.

Are you planning on doing any more dates this year?

We’re always keen to get out there and play to new people. We’re hoping that we might get the opportunity to hit up some more support tours later on this year and play in some new towns that we haven’t visited before.

If you had to pick one band to tour with, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

From a completely personal point view it would be The Who. In my eyes they are the greatest band in the world so it’s pretty self-explanatory as to why I’d want to tour with them! I can’t imagine the rest of the boys would necessarily agree with me on that one but hey, I’m doing the interview so I’m answering the questions!

Who or what inspires you when you’re writing songs?

When it comes to song writing I think the key for us has always been to write about things that you can relate to. We all listen to a variety of music and that blends well to create a sound that we would typify as ours. Renz writes the lyrics and a lot of what he writes is auto-biographical and is based on events that have happened directly to him or were close to him. He writes in quite an open-ended way though, which means that his lyrics are always open to interpretation. That still happens with me sometimes; I’ll ask him what a song is about and it will often be something very different to what I thought originally!

Might we expect an album any time soon?

We’re writing at the moment with a look to record a few more songs at the end of the summer. So we hope that they will be available for people to listen to in the not-too-distant future. That’s all I can say about that at the moment….

What’s your take on the state of the music industry right now?

That’s a good question. I think it’s very difficult to judge really. One minute you can be on the up and all of a sudden it is ripped from under your feet. I think British rock music in general is amazing at the moment. There are so many great bands out there that are absolutely smashing it, but how many bands have you seen come and go in the last few years? I think it’s very much a case of living for the moment when you’re in a band these days, because one minute you can have the world at your feet, and the next you’re back stacking shelves at Tesco.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I’ve been spinning the latest Canterbury album a fair bit recently. It’s unbelievably good. The new album from our friends in Verses is also incredible and well worth checking out.

What’s next for Villains?

As I mentioned, we’re writing and recording towards the end of the summer. We’re then hoping to get out on the road towards the end of the year on a support tour or two. We’ve also got another single coming out towards the end of the summer which we shot the video for the other week, so we’re all pretty excited about all of that.

We’re excited too!  You can check out the video for ‘Wicked Ways’ at the link below, as well as the band’s Facebook page.  Look out for some tour dates and some more music later this year!

http://www.muzu.tv/villains/villains-wicked-ways-music-video/2266781/

www.facebook.com/villainsofficial

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