The Charm, The Fury at Download: The Benefits of Female Vocalists

How have you found the UK metal scene differs from the Dutch metal scene?

Mathijs: It’s very very different, I think the UK scene is all about paying your dues, and it’s very… it’s not dog eat dog but it’s so competitive, and the Dutch scene is a bit more mellow because there’s less competition, and so you notice instantly when you play a show in the UK it’s like… it’s not like you’re treated like royalty here it’s like you have to pay your dues, so here is how we’re going to start you off.

Lucas: It’s like ten other bands are coming to fill that place in for you for free.

Mathijs: Yeah, there’s ten other bands and half of them at least are really good, maybe better than you.

Lucas: Yeah, it’s pretty competitive!

Did you enjoy your set?

Both: Yes!

Lucas: There was so much more audience than we actually expected, because we were kind of early on, and it’s a Sunday and everybody’s hungover… we saw everybody coming from the campsite.

Mathijs: It’s like they’ve come straight from battle, like it’s WWI and they’ve been in the trenches.

I was actually sat outside because I couldn’t get into the stage, your set was awesome! What are your plans for after Download? 

Mathijs: We have a pretty packed festival season, it’s not a full on tour so we’re returning home and after this we’re doing Graspop in Belgium.

Lucas: We’re playing with Slayer this Tuesday.

Mathijs: That’s a bucket list right there!

Lucas: We’re playing in Hungary, Finland.

Mathijs: Finland will be the first time we’re doing Scandanavia which will be great.

Lucas: Czech Republic has a festival called Monsters of Rock. So all of Europe?

Mathijs: We’re mostly played UK and one or two gigs in France and Germany, and obviously the Netherlands because we’re from there, and then we’re doing all these new countries that we’ve never visited before which is really cool.

Are there any challenges that come with being a female fronted band that you didn’t expect?

Lucas: Well maybe not that we didn’t expect, but there are some challenges!

Mathijs: It has benefits and challenges, it’s easier I guess to get in the public eye, but the public eye is gonna be negative, it always is and the first question that they ask is… either they find you not to be deserving of anything, because you’re female fronted and you’re probably shit, or they say the exact opposite, the band us alright but it’s shit because there’s a woman, and people will always frame their opinions based on a woman being in there, so we have to address that first, and then if the music is alright then that’s secondary. But then the benefit is it’s easier to get noticed, but then to get taken seriously it’s maybe harder.

You don’t think you’d have the same challenges if you had a male vocalist? 

Lucas: Different challenges, probably, it would be much harder to get in the picture.

Mathijs: But then, once you start out it would probably be much easier for people to actually listen to the music and see if it’s any good.

Lucas: To look at it without any prefound opinion that people have of female metallists in the music industry… it kind of sucks.

Mathijs: To be fair we get part of it but Caroline gets most of the flack… or appreciation.

Lucas: She gets asked a lot, ‘who are you, are you the girlfriend of the band, are you the manager’ like no, I’m actually the lead singer.

Mathijs: To start off, you’re not in the band, what are you doing here? [Laughs] It gets a bit awkward sometimes.

Do you have any advice for upcoming bands like yourselves?

Lucas: Well, first just set your goals. Do you want to have fun? Do you want to take it somewhere? And then go and do what you want to do. If you want to take yourself seriously like we want to go and get this somewhere, really put every effort in that you can.

Mathijs: Don’t understimate it, it’s very easy to underestimate it, and I think no one in our band ever thought that we were underestimating anything but then when we were thrown into the mix, it was very challenging.

Lucas: What we did from the start was not put anything out that we weren’t totally happy with, so your first track, photoshoot, should be at a level that you yourself are totally confident that it’s right.

Mathijs: Your own opinion should never be ‘this is fine’, it should be ‘this is amazing’.

Which group would you love to support and why?

Mathijs: Probably Metallica. [Laughs]

Lucas: So this is a realistic standard, maybe what we could do in a year.

Mathijs: If I could pick a UK band, I would really love to support While She Sleeps because I feel like they are one of those bands that are refreshing the whole metal sound. They’re the freshest thing coming out of the UK right now and they’re really good live as well.

Lucas: I think our second tour show was with them, and they were nearly as big as they are now.

Mathijs: And they were still kicking ass.

Lucas: We thought they were amazing back then.

So on the flip side, which group would you love to support you guys and why?

Mathijs: Ooh, that’s a hard one!

Lucas: We might actually need to think about that for our upcoming run in Holland, there are some cool Dutch bands.

Mathijs: There are lots of band that are on our level that we would love to support, but we’re not really sure who should be up there as the main act! I still remember at our release show for the previous record, Heart of a Coward supported us in our hometown. Like right now that would be ridiculous, but it was pretty crazy.

Lucas: It’s hard, but the coolest Dutch band are Static.

Mathijs: So our regular guitar player broke his wrist so he couldn’t be here, but our supporting guitar player has his own band and that’s Static. 

 

Keep your eyes peeled for news on The Charm, The Fury!

 

Fizzy Blood at Download: World Domination

For those who aren’t aware of you yet, how would you describe yourselves?

Ben: Physically or musically? We’re a rock band!

Ciaran: We don’t mess about, we like riffs, we like grooves and we like everyone to have a good time!

Are you excited for your set?

All: Yeah!

Is this the first time you’ve played Download?

Ciaran: The second time, the first time was in 2014.

Ben: First time this line up!

Paul: The first time for me!

Ben: We played on the acoustic stage last time, we still played a full set.

Yeah, people do that, it’s really odd! So, what’s your songwriting process?

Ciaran: Er generally I’ll come up with, or Ben will come up with a skeleton of a song, and we’ll take it to the group and we’ll deconstruct it and everyone will put their stamp on it, and then we’ll go away and work on the lyrics together and we’ve got a tune! We kind of demo it out first and then we’ll take it to the live setting.

Ben: Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but when it does work it’s good.

How did Fizzy Blood start out?

Ciaran: Me and Ben were in a band before when we were teenagers, and that ran its course, and then we decided that we were gonna start a new band, and we found these fuckers, I was studying in Leeds at the time and put ads out for the rest of the band, found these guys, jammed it out and based on the common ground and stuff like that. There’s no fairytale, but we’ve been best buds ever since!

Were you at Leeds College of Music?

Paul: Yeah, I was yeah.

Ohhhh, I auditioned for them but I didn’t get in!

Ben: Ah, I didn’t either.

Well clearly they were wrong! So being based in Leeds, do you have a favourite hometown venue?

All: Brudenell Social Club.

Most people say The Wardrobe, so it’s nice to hear a change!

All: Really?! [seem surprised]

Ben: The Wardrobe is good, it just lacks er…

Ciaran: It lacks a bit of the vibe.

Paul: It’s alright, it’s not bad.

Ben: You take a tenner to the Brudenell and you’ve got your night sorted really!

[All laugh]

What’s the best show you’ve ever performed and why?

Paul: The best show we feel we’ve performed well?

Or your favourite one.

Paul: I think Camden Rocks last week was amazing, but I think disregarding that, we played this show in Korea a couple of years ago and everything was amazing! The sound was amazing, we played really well and the crowd reaction was great!

Ciaran: You threw a t shirt into the crowd and people were literally wrestling over it.

Ben: My favourite this year has been Dublin when we played on the While She Sleeps tour.

Ciaran: Oh yeah, that was sick. Everybody was going crazy and tearing each other to shreds.

How was supporting While She Sleeps?

All: Amazing!

Are they good guys?

Ciaran: They’re awesome, they’re the best guys. They’re probably the most accommodating band we’ve ever toured with, they went out of their way to make us feel welcome, and they taught us a lot and became de facto mentors and took us under their wing. Me and Benji actually got ‘six’ tattoos from Matt on our ankles when we finished the tour.

Oh that’s cool! Have you got any tips for budding artists? 

Paul: Innovate, don’t imitate!

Ciaran: Yeah, be creative, do your own thing, don’t try and copy anyone else and if you do, don’t admit to it!

[All laugh]

Do you guys have an ultimate goal for Fizzy Blood?

Ciaran: World domination.

Ben: That’s the ultimate goal of any band, really! We’re doing this until it’s no longer doable.

Ciaran: Until it’s sad really!

Ben: We enjoy doing it, we love doing it, that’s why we do it, I mean we’re not making any money out of it.

Who does these days?

Ciaran: We’re not in it really for success, I mean that would be nice, but we do it because we love to do it, and it’s a cliche answer but that’s why a lot of bands do it and that’s such a powerful thing.

Apart from Korea what’s the best country you’ve ever played in?

Paul: America, we played South by South West two years ago. Every time we’ve been there it’s been a good laugh.

Ben: I like Germany too.

Simple Plan at Download: A Simple Plan

Which song do you love performing live the most?

Jeff: Um, I’d Do Anything is pretty kick ass, it just gets the crowd going. We’ve been opening the show with that song and it actually really works, it’s one of those – you hear the first notes and you say ‘that’s Simple Plan right there’. It’s a great song, and it’s the song that probably got people’s attention first, Mark Hoppus [Blink 182] sang on it, so it’s a really important song for us.

What influenced you to write music and perform in the first place?

Jeff: The truth is always you want to express yourself and you want to be artistic, but at the same time for us, we just wanted to do all the bands that we loved and saw on the TV and heard on the radio. I remember seeing bands like Metallica playing Monsters of Rock and I was just like ‘maybe someday that’ll be us’, that was the goal. It’s always been about getting out there, touring, playing shows and I think as a musician you want to express yourself and do all that stuff but you also dream about being on those stages as well, and that was it.

What’s been the best part of playing Download?

Jeff: You know what, I’ve never played it, my bandmates have, I haven’t. I was having my second kid at the time so someone replaced me on that particular gig. I never played it but as I said it’s very symbolic for me because as I said, on TV I’ve seen bands that I really love and that I grew up with playing this festival or past versions of it, so it’s important for me because there’s amazing bands today and on the whole weekend, and it’s a celebration of music. I think now more so than ever it’s important that people are going to shows because of everything that’s going on. The kids are courageous, and the parents are even more couragous for letting their kids go to festivals, because there is a threat, you know, and I think what you’re saying by going and seeing your favourite bands is ‘fuck that, I’m not gonna bend over to that regime of fear, I’m gonna go out there and be with people with similar taste as me and I’m gonna celebrate life and celebrate music’. It sounds maybe like overly dramatic but I just saw Rock AM Ring being evacuated while we were playing a set and to be honest it got really real for me. I really felt like ‘oh shit, this is not something on the news anymore, it’s right next to me’. I think it’s serious. But yeah, it’s about music. It’s about loving music, it’s about great bands and it’s also a political statement nowadays.

Do you feel that you still relate to your music in the same way as when you wrote it, being older now?

Jeff: Being old? [Laugh]

Old-er! 

Jeff: I don’t feel old so that probably has something to do with the fact that I’m still playing in a band and I’m still staying very active but um… nothing will beat the feeling that I had when I first heard the greatest bands, when I heard Nirvana for the first time, when I heard Pearl Jam for the first time, I can’t even describe those feelings. These bands said exactly what the fuck I was living, it seems so important my identity was everything I cared about, and I see it in kid’s eyes now, it’s the same for them now. I haven’t felt a connection to a band as strongly as I had in those years, I have to be very honest about it, but I have been blown away by certain bands over the years. I work out to Mastodon, it’s a very very strong exit and escape and I love that band. Biffy Clyro, you have to understand that for us in America, we had no fucking clue that these guys were so huge. They’re just an alternative band in America and they were kind of the band that I discovered and was like ‘I know this band and nobody knows about them and they’re fucking awesome!’ I feel like the first time that I heard Nirvana like I had their CD and I was like ‘shit, this is gold!’ and Biffy Clyro is the same. If anything, that was probably the band that made the biggest impression on me in the last ten years.

Was there a simple plan for Simple Plan?

Jeff: You know that name is probably the shittiest band name ever since Metallica, you know, but when you name a band… well in that particular case we were hoping to change the name. We had a show the next week and were like, ‘oh fuck it, we saw a movie called A Simple Plan, let’s call it Simple Plan‘ and then we’ll change the posters, and it just stuck, and now there’s an afterthought wanting to explain it but the reality of it is it’s just a name. But the afterthought is just to get out there, play shows, travel the world and make records. It sounds all very simple, but for some fucking reason it’s a lot harder than it seems!

[Laugh] So, do you have any particular career highlights?

Jeff, Oh, many! So many, the first time I landed in Japan and I felt like I was in the Backstreet Boys and all the kids were waiting for us, and that around  2003 so I was just a kid. The first time I played New Years Eve in Times Square when the ball dropped down and we were playing right in the middle of Times Square, Mark Hoppus singing on one of our songs, he’s one of our idols. Playing really big shows in Europe, like huge festivals, like Rock AM Park, Rock AM Ring, Prague, we were fucking huge in Praque and I don’t even know how! And playing your hometown arena, that’s pretty sick. Playing with Metallica, having James Hetfield sit at my table while I was drinking wine and just chatting with us like it was fucking normal. I’m like ‘dude, I learned how to play guitar with you’, it’s fucked up. The weirdest thing is when I see kids do that to me, and I’m like, I understand but it’s so fucking weird!

What’s next for Simple Plan?

Jeff: We’re gonna finish touring, we have this 15 year anniversary of No Pads [No Helmets… Just Balls], so we’re still playing shows around that, it was meant to be a couple of shows around it, the release date was 19th March and we’re getting into July and we’re still playing shows! We’re gonna do that probably until September, after that we’re gonna start making a record. We have some material but we feel that we have to keep writing a little bit and recording so, that’ll take us too long again, but we’re Simple Plan and that’s what we do, we nitpick and take too long in the studio.

That’s not a bad thing though! 

Jeff: Well you know, when you’re searching for something you’ve gotta do it properly.

So what have you been listening to lately? 

Jeff: As I mentioned, Mastodon and their new record.

Did you catch them yesterday?

Jeff: No, I wasn’t here, we were playing London.

Oh, they were good! 

Jeff: Yeah I’m sure, they’re fucking awesome! I listen to a lot of Ryan AdamsButch Walker, old blues, fuck a lot of things, I even listen to classical! Newer bands I would say that… what did I get recently? I got a bunch of CDs that I haven’t listened to yet, so that’s pretty much it!

You’ve done a lot of collaborations in Simple Plan, which one has been your favourite and why? Or who was your favourite artist? They’re kind of different questions I guess!

Jeff: We recorded a song with Butch Walker, he’s one of my favourite solo artists, he’s got sort of a cult following, he’s pretty big actually, he’s more known for working as a producer for Avril Lavigne. But oddly enough he’s got his own alternative career, we did a song for a Scooby Doo soundtrack and it was a fucking cool experience working with a guy that I respected so much. Mark Hoppus is a kick ass dude. Sean Paul was pretty cool too, shooting a video with him in Barbados and him just kind of being so chill about it, it just reminded me that it should be fun, it’s not always stressful to do something, he just sits in and does it like he’s the fucking king of the world, and really he is, the king of his world. It was very cool and he’s very humble too.

 

Keep your eyes peeled on Musicology for news about the upcoming record!

 

Download Festival 2017: Friday Review

So…Download happened. The historic weekend hit it’s 15th birthday this year, with a truly stacked bill of younger talent as well as displaying a genuinely diverse breadth of genres across all the four stages. Before we fully dive into the review, someone needs to give thanks to whatever black magic occurred over the weekend to make sure no rain fell, as the sun made the weekend infinitely more enjoyable without the fear of trench foot and soggy clothing. So with those initial thanks out of the way, let us begin…

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Alter Bridge Announce Royal Albert Hall Shows

After a triumphant return to the stage at rock festival Download, Alter Bridge have announced two very special shows on October 2nd and 3rd at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The set will consist of never before played songs, fan favourites, as well as the band being accompanied by the Parallax Orchestra. Tickets for these shows go on-sale at 10am on Friday 16th June from Livenation and Royal Albert Hall.

On September 8th via Nepalm Records the band will release their album Live At The O2 + Rarities which was recorded on November 24th 2016. Check out the trailer below:

beartooth

Beartooth release exclusive live album

Metalcore giants Beartooth have released a live album on the streaming service Deezer. The album was recorded at Download Festival Paris this year and is available on Deezer exclusively now.

During the set, the band played tracks from both Disgusting and Aggressive and the full Live From Download Festival Paris tracklist is below:

  1. The Lines (Live From Download Paris)
  2. Aggressive (Live From Download Paris)
  3. Hated (Live From Download Paris)
  4. Beaten In Lips (Live From Download Paris)
  5. Loser (Live From Download Paris)
  6. Always Dead (Live From Download Paris)
  7. In Between (Live From Download Paris)
  8. Body Bag (Live From Download Paris)

Listen to the album here and see the dates on Beartooth’s upcoming Aggressive UK tour below (tickets at beartoothtickets.com):

16/11- Hasselt, BE- Mod Box

17/11- Cologne, DE- Kantine (SOLD OUT)

18/11- Hamburg, DE- Klubsen (SOLD OUT)

19/11- Bolwerk, NE- Sneek

20/11- Copenhagen, DK- Pumpehuset

21/11- Oslo, NO- John Dee

22/11- Stockholm, SE- Debaser Strand

24/11- Helsinki, FI- Nosturi

26/11- Berlin, DE- Lido (SOLD OUT)

27/11- Poznan, PL- Minoga

28/11- Leipzig, DE- Felsenkeller (SOLD OUT)

29/11- Prague, CZ- Futurum

30/11- Vienna, AT- Flex

1/12- Bratislava, SK- Randal Club

2/12- Budapest, HU- Dürer Kert

4/12- Milan, IT- Legend Club

6/12- Zurich, CH- Dynamo

7/12- Paris, FR- Boule Noire

8/12- London, UK- Shepherds Bush Empire

9/12- Leeds, UK- Beckett (SOLD OUT)

10/12- Glasgow, UK- Garage

11/12- Birmingham, UK- O2 Institute

12/12- Manchester, UK- O2 Ritz

13/12- Southampton, UK- Engine Rooms

14/12- Cardiff, UK- Tramshed

16/12- Dublin, IE- Academy

17/12- Belfast, UK- Limelight