Frank Iero & The Patience

Interview: Frank Iero, 16/10/17

At the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham date of their ongoing tour of the UK, we caught up with rock icon Frank Iero to talk about everything from food and touring to mental health.

What’s the rationale behind the tour supports? It’s a very diverse lineup…
For me, I’ve been doing this a long time. If I can’t tour around with bands I like then I don’t want to do it. I get to hand-pick who comes out with me and throughout the years I’ve got to meet some really cool people. I wanted to do a tour that would be my last one for a little while and these are my friends that are free and up for touring now.

What would you say is the best aspect of touring?
It’s definitely not the travel; the travel is what gets really hard. Getting to play these songs for different audiences is great – you get such a different reaction every night. Especially going overseas to Europe or the UK in that the cities aren’t far away from each other but the reaction is so different. Realising that and being able to duck and weave with that kind of thing to be like “this really works here, this doesn’t work here” helps you look really professional and get good at performing every night.

Would you say the worst aspect of touring is the travel?
Definitely, it’s hard! The fifth week of tour is where things get really hard, especially when you’re overseas. That’s when people start to crack get really homesick and get angry like “I can’t believe there’s no chips left!” People just explode. The fifth week is especially hard when there’s a sixth week happening though because by week five everyone goes crazy but if you have another week after this one it seems like it’s endless. We’re all really twitchy by the end of the fifth week. I’ve been doing this a long time and it’s always the way [laughs]. By the way, this is the fifth week…

Why do such an extensive UK run as opposed to playing the cities like everyone else?
I know I’m going to take a break after this year and I just wanted to do as much as I could. Nobody else does that, I don’t think. People have been coming up to us saying “why are you here? Nobody comes here,” and we just reply “because nobody comes here.” It’s fun! I just want to go out on a bang.

What’s the difference tour-wise between Frank Iero and the Patience, My Chemical Romance and Leathermouth?
Everything. It’s like asking what’s the difference between being a fireman, making doughnuts and being a shark… Literally the only thing the same is that there are shows involved.

What do you eat on tour?
[laughs] we’ve been using chopsticks a lot. Nando’s and peanut butter jelly… That’s been the staple stuff. Pizza Express just came out with vegan pizza too which is dope. Quavers is the other food group too.

Who’s the favourite band you’ve ever shared a tour bill with?
[sighs] all the bands I’m with right now…? Honestly that’s like picking your favourite kid, I’ve got a lot of friends. I’ve done tours in the past where I thought “oh this person sucks” and I just didn’t tour with them again. I think you can tell from my track record the people I like though.

Is there anyone you want to tour with in the near future?
[long pause, friend Cara Shaw suggests The Breeders] The Breeders, oh man… They would be amazing. How did I not think of them?

You’ve spoken a lot about working with Steve Albini on the new EP but can you sum it up in five words?
Unlike any other experience ever.

How did the cover art with [Radio 1 DJ] Daniel P Carter come about?
Dan and I have known each other a long time and he ended up doing the cover art for the split seven inch we did with Lonely the Brave a couple of years ago then we discussed working on the cover art for Parachutes but when the full scope of what that record was about it made sense for both of us to go in a different direction. I’d seen the first painting [the vampire that was to become the cover] and loved it enough to say “we should definitely do this one”.

You’ve spoken before about issues with anxiety – could you give us any advice for how to manage it at shows or on tour, from your experience?
I have to say – it’s rough. Sometimes you just go through a period where you don’t know what will set it off but your brain is so powerful it throws everything off kilter. I have a prescription I take for moments like that, when I don’t know when it’ll happen. The most important thing is to recognise you’re having an episode and the world isn’t falling apart around you. You need to settle down, breathe deep and compose yourself a bit. It’s almost like you’re having a nightmare and you have to remind yourself that you’re dreaming. It still sucks, but you’ll get through it. Surrounding yourself with people you love and feel comfortable with also helps.

What’s been your career highlight?
I have an answer for this because I was asked this the other day. It has to be getting to write a song with my kids [Best Friends Forever, from the new Frank Iero and the Patience EP] and record it with a childhood hero [producer Steve Albini]. That was a very full-circle moment. It’s almost like I planned it out… I didn’t but anyway [laughs].

Have you got any advice for young musicians?
It’s not a miracle thing that just happens. You’ve got to want it, and you’ve got to work really fucking hard. Ultimately it’s down to the saying ‘nobody cares, work harder’ [laughs]. Do it because you have to, not because you think you’ll get something out of it. You’ll be miserable for a long, long time. If you do it for the right reasons you’ll spend years and years trying.

Is taking time off what’s next for you?
Yes, totally. We end literally the 30th December and nothing else is booked. Back to the US after this to do three shows with The Descendents, one with Every Time I Die then three with Thursday and PUP then we’re done for a while.

 

Huge thanks to Frank for taking the time out to talk to us, it was a hugely surreal experience and he’s a hugely inspiring character!

Hear the new version of BFF below, or the original featuring his daughters in 2014 here:

Warbringer – Interview

We had a chat with Warbringer a while ago after their tour with Havok.

 

For those who are not familiar, how would you describe Warbringer? 

Warbringer is completely lethal metal, like a bomb going off in your face. Fast, aggressive riffs and drums with plenty of searing guitar leads and ferocious vocals. Thrash metal, but a rather extreme hybrid strain with many elements from different styles of metal.

You were previously on tour with Havok, how was that experience?

European tour with Havok was great, we also brought along Exmortus and Gorod. We didn’t have a single bad show, so many awesome fans came out and all the bands had a great sense of camaraderie on the whole trip. A really excellent trip to be a part of.

What was the craziest moment on the tour?

The whole thing has been really smooth. The shows themselves often got pretty crazy, many stage dives and some absolutely insane pits. That’s the best part.

You also have recently release a new album, how has the release been received?

Woe to the Vanquished just came out, and it has been a great release cycle so far! Reaction to the new material both on record and live has been immense, and we are excited to be playing the whole thing live in the near future.

Who were your main inspirations for the record? 


The best of all styles of heavy metal. We aim to write a style of thrash metal that is fast, ripping, lethal, but also with more thoughtfulness both in arrangements and in lyrics than usual, as well as a willingness to weave between different metal styles a bit to create a brand that is distinctly our own.

What are your favourite tracks on the new record?

I really love how all the songs on this record came out, but my particular favorites are “Silhouettes” due to the cool rhythmic thing and the eerie concept, and “When the Guns Fell Silent” just because it’s so grim and epic.

How does the new music fair in comparison to your older material?

Better I think. Faster and more vicious, more technical and complex, stronger arrangements I think, less rooted in pure old school thrash (more extreme metal influence) but equally inspired by the spirit. Lyrically I think it is a big step forward as well.

What got you into wanting to be in a band?

Hearing the sound of metal, seeing my first concerts on stage and wanting to conjure riffs and pure power like they did. In my late teens the idea spawned in my head and grew until eventually I just went for it.

What was your first shows like as the group in comparison to now?

Totally different, it was our first band so the early shows were very amateur and not anywhere near the show we give now. The one common ground is that we always gave 100 percent on stage and I have always been the same frontman.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself as a human growing in the band and personally?

I have improved in a lot of ways as a person in doing this, and definitely wouldn’t be who I am now without this experience. The ups and downs of our 10 year career have made me a stronger, wiser person, and I am really thankful to have this perspective in life.

What advice would you give to upcoming bands?

It’s really tough right now. Try to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse before any shows, make sure to make a really strong first impression. Have the mechanics and logistics of the show worked out well, minimize dicking around on stage, make each second count. Don’t tour as a buy on, it is rape.


What has been on your iPod/MP3 player recently/on this tour? 


Honestly nothing music wise. I have been in a dry spell with listening to music the last several months… since making the record, I don’t know what it is. On the plus side I have really dove into a lot of books and podcasts for historical knowledge in this time but I haven’t got my swing back with listening to music actively. I kind of just listen to whatever other people put on right now.


Is there any projects you would like to work on as well as Warbringer musically?

Not really, for me Warbringer is my band, and I just think of what Warbringer will do next for the most part. I have thought of doing some NWOBHM covers or something but nothing serious.

What would be a dream tour for your band?

Honestly for some of the heavy hitters of the old generation, like the Big 4 or Iron Maiden, to take us out. This would be the kind of push a band like us needs to reach real established success, that kind of mass exposure.

What items would you associate with your genre? 


Riffs, speed, aggression, violence, energy, and also honesty and integrity. People who make this music are doing so because they love it.

If your entire band was involved in a horror film, who would be killed off first and who would be the killer?

I’d imagine Adam would be the killer, and I think me or Jessie would get waxed first. Too trusting and nice, haha.

Would you take $1,000,000 but every time you walked past someone you found attractive, you threw up in your mouth a little bit? 


Nope. The purpose of money is higher quality of life. So if I were to take the money but permanently reduce my quality of life in a big way, what’s the point?

What are your plans for the rest of 2017?

Tour, tour, tour. This year is the “Woe to the Vanquished” year, and we intend to make the most of it! European tour July-August, and a USA tour with Dark Tranquillity and Striker to follow in September-October.

Any final words to your fans?

Come out to a show and get your head blown off! Thanks for supporting and we hope to see you guys out there on the road. Cheers!

The Gospel Youth – Interview

We caught up with The Gospel Youth before their final date at The Key Club on their co-headline tour with Milestones. 

 

For the people who don’t know you, who are you and what do you do?

 

Samuel – We’re trying to be a band, We’re emotional pop rock with a hint of soul. Trying to make a living.

 

How has your co headline tour with Milestones gone so far?

 

Samuel – 50% of it has been great, the other 50% with Milestones has been terrible but our bits been great.

All – (laughs)

 

Samuel – It’s been wonderful, they’re great guys and it’s been cool to see people turning up for two small UK bands and the response has been incredible.

 

What are you expecting from tonight?

 

Kurtis – I don’t know, every time we’ve played Leeds it’s always been really good. Last time we had our first mosh pit. We sing sad shit and it’s really cool to see.

 

The last time you were at The Key Club you were supporting Seaway, now you’re here headlining, how does that feel?

 

Samuel – It’s pretty cool, we’ll see how it goes, we might be headlining to 10 people. It’s cool to see the progression and it’s been really beneficial to us to realise that people are paying an interest and we’re not just doing it in vain I guess.

 

Where would you like to go from here?

Samuel – Japan….Home first, then Japan. We’ll always keep working and pushing. We’d love to do huge shows but as long as we’re still doing this in 10-15 years’ time, that’s kind of where we want to be, we want the long game.

 

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on this tour?

 

All (splitting story telling between them) – The funniest thing that happened was when we were walking through Leeds before our show today and we were approached by an elderly woman. She was mumbling something under her breath all we could make out was “die”, “over” and “end”. It was really weird and we asked if she was okay, she then began shouting at us. She began stating “Everyone will die, the world is over, in the end there is only blackness”. She then walked away, we stood there stunned, we’re still unsure whether this was a threat or some form of prophecy.

 

You seem to have been blowing up recently, what is it like getting so much recognition for all your hard work?

 

Julian – It’s quite hard to see from the inside. This tour we’ve been finding out where we’re at. It’s hard to gauge how much recognition we’re getting.

 

Samuel – It’s probably quite transparent but we’re all quite self-deprecating when it comes to it. We’ll walk off stage and even in London when there was 150 people singing the words back to us. We’d walk off and be like “We could have done better”

 

James – It’s hard to realise how it’s doing when you’re in a band yourself. When you first start being in a band you’re just playing shows but you don’t realise that what we were doing, not a lot of people can do that.

 

Samuel – This is 24/7 for us. If we’re not doing thing all the time, we feel bored and we feel like we’re not doing enough. But to people externally it looks like we’re doing loads. I guess it’s a good way to be as we’ll always be working our hardest.

 

Always progressing is good.

 

What are your plans following the release of your latest album?

 

Julian – We’re trying to stay as busy as we can, without touring too much at the minute. Kind of take things steady.

Samuel – We’re going to do some live studio sessions which are going to be cool, we’re really excited for that. A lot of people on this tour have been like “we didn’t realise you would be as good live as on record” because I guess some bands aren’t as good live as they are on record. So I think to do a little studio session for the people who can’t get out to a show and see us will be really nice.

 

How did you get started as The Gospel Youth?

 

Julian – It started with me and Sam, we were working shit jobs a couple of years ago and got bored and started writing music for fun.

 

Samuel – I was listening to a lot of Dashboard Confessional and was recording with Jules and I was like “ I want to record something like this”. Then a couple of days later I had the demo for Kids sitting in my inbox and was like “This is sick!” and then we recorded it.

Julian – We never really intended for it to be a band, we just did it for fun.

Samuel – When we put Kids online we never thought anyone would care and it was just for our friends and family then we had emails from around the world who were like “What’s happening with this? Who are you guys?” Then the boys in ROAM hooked us up with our first show, which was awful.

Julian – The show was great, we were awful. They were amazing.

 

Samuel – 9 billion line-up changes later, here we are.

 

What would be your dream venue to play?

 

James – Brixton Academy.

 

Kurtis – There’s loads in London, Shepherds Bush Empire

 

Samuel – I’d love to play KOKO.

 

Kev – The Greek Theatre and Red Rocks

 

Samuel – We’ll play anywhere

 

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

 

Kurtis – Thanks for checking us out.

 

Samuel – Thanks for listening and supporting this crazy little dream of ours. We’ll hopefully see you at a show soon or you can tweet us funny puns about dogs and cats

INTERVIEW – Witterquick

Following on from our review of Witterquick’s New EP Fire and Ice  we got chance to ask the bands bassist Ollie Chanter some questions about this release among other things, here is what he had to say about what we asked him.

What was the overall process for writing this release?
There wasn’t a formal start for most of them, they all came about in different ways. ‘I Need a Friend Tonight’ was written about 6 months before our first EP came out… ‘Shattered Suns’ was a demo that was floating around for a year or so which we never quite got right. One time in rehearsals the “Make me feel alive…” chorus part came out of nowhere and glues it all together. …Hiding Place’ came from our experiences leading up to the first release in 2016, it was a song we needed to get out, mostly to carry out that cathartic energy so we could move on as a new band…

When it does come to writing new songs how do you start?
Most songs start with Will, he’ll have recorded a phone memo of a melody or chorus line, then he’ll demo that up for safe keeping, and often forgotten until much later. He and I will go through ideas and develop demos into full songs if they aren’t already…

What are your personal favourite songs off of Fire and Ice?
Everyone has a different favourite, and that extends to our first EP too. ‘Friend’ has a special place for everyone though, particularly live, it’s probably my personal favourite of anything we’ve done, it’s such an intense song. ‘Shattered Suns’ is one that we’re particularly excited for people to hear too.

Lyrically and Instrumentally this EP was great. One of my personal favourites was Lie To Me. Which came first for that track?
As with most of our songs the music comes first. The music sets the scene and creates the vibe which we then use when it comes to the lyric process.

Although the EP isn’t out yet, what are your plans for future releases?
 We’ve got a few surprises up our sleeves for the near future, we can’t go into that just yet. We have no intention of pumping the breaks.

When it comes to playing shows which song is the most fun?
One of the tracks from the new record ‘Shattered Suns’ is a real fun one to play, as is ‘Fade Out’ from our first EP. One that never fails to amaze though is ‘Wayward Signs’, it’s become that track that everyone sings along to. Nothing quite beats a room full of people singing back and connecting with you in that way…

What do you like about playing live?
Aside from the fun we have on stage (we’re quite an active live band), it’s the interaction with the fans. Touring, for us, is all about getting to see our fans. Talking to people who truly connect with your music is an incredible feeling, and very humbling, particularly meeting fans that have come as far as Germany, France, Poland, and recently we even had a guy travel from Kazakhstan! Hearing from fans that one of our songs helped them get through a tough time, or literally saved their life, is beyond words. Knowing that we’ve been there to help people, even if not physically, that’s more than we could have ever hoped for…that’s job done as far as we’re concerned.

When can people catch you playing live for the remainder of this year?  
We’ve got a few announcements coming up which will cover 2017, and 2018 is going to be a busy one for us too.

If you could have your dream gig lineup who would be on it?
Dream lineup? Biffy Clyro, MUSE, and Guns and Roses.

If you could’ve written any song in history what song would it be?
 The list is long and varied. Halo by Ryan Tedder / Beyonce, Kickstart my Heart by Motley Crue.
This release is a great listen so be sure to check out our review of the record but also make sure you grab yourself a copy when it releases.

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!

 

Hacktivist at Download: Reaping What They’ve Sewn

On Saturday afternoon in the media garden at Download, Fiona ran into Rich and Josh from Hacktivist. They gave her some solid life advice, as well as a little bit of insight into being a British rap metal band.

Let’s jump straight into it! Rap metal is obviously a very niche area, how did you find breaking into it?

Josh: From my own teenage years to being a young adult, all the kids at metal gigs seemed to go either really techy metal or really hip hop and start wearing tracksuits, the piercings come out and the stretchers heal up, so I feel like there’s still that demographic of like guys who are into rap, but actually used to listen to stuff like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park.

Rich: These days there’s so much crossover though, because nowadays it’s getting a lot less of ‘are you a greebo’ or ‘are you this or that’ and it’s like ‘what kind of music do you enjoy?’ Most people will say ‘oh you know, a little bit of everything!’

[Laughs] That’s literally the standard answer.

Rich: Erroneously, but most of them have a good heart.

So were there any specific barriers or challenges or anything that you guys faced?

Josh: Oh yeah, totally.

Rich: Purists. Sonisphere France was a particular… [IronMaiden headlined Sonisphere France, the whole first six rows was just Maiden fans.

Josh: Yeah, it can be pretty tough to place us, like a lot of promoters and people who put on shows don’t really know who to put us on with, if there’s any other band with guitars and rappers it’s usually that, even if they’re the complete other end.

Do you have any advice for upcoming bands who are similar to yourselves?

Josh: You can use crisps to spread butter because venues never provide cutlery.

Rich: Make sure you pack flip flops on tour.

Josh: Hmm, yeah, actually very handy.

Rich: Or basically just practise all the time and just get to be the best.

Josh: Get real real used to eating sandwiches. If you can get to peace with that, then you’re halfway there.

That’s pretty sound life advice to be fair [laughs].

Rich: If you can eat sandwiches for breakfast lunch and dinner then you’ve literally made it in the music scene.

Josh: Yeah.

How did you go about choosing a new singer to replace Ben, who left this year? 

Josh: Um… it was an interesting process, we had quite a few people apply from metal bands and different scenes. A lot of people were like ‘yeah, we could do something really interesting’ but we didn’t want to lose the niche-ness and become another heavy band with heavy vocals. So, Jot is someone we’ve all known from Milton Keynes for quite a long time, he featured on the first album, so we had a bit of working history as well. He messaged us, we didn’t know he’d be up for it, but he said ‘what do you reckon?’ and we were like ‘yeah, actually that would work real nice’.

Rich: He’s usually based in France, so that’s why some of us discounted him, but then the more and more you start thinking about these things it’s like, it’s only a flight from wherever to Luton, or if we’re out in, for example when we’re playing in Belgium that’s like an hour drive from where he actually lives.

Josh: It’s literally like five times more expensive to get to Manchester.

Rich: So yeah, the previous history just showed that it worked out back then.

Josh: It’s a testament to modern technology and the future, it’s possible to be a band across different land masses, thanks to stuff like Whatsapp and Dropbox and other web services that are available.

Rich: And migration, until it’s not!

Josh: Yeah that’s gonna be a real pain in the arse, but we’ll deal with that bag of shit when it comes around.

So is he bringing a fresh perspective to the group?

Josh: Yeah, he’s given us a proper kick up the arse, because he’s bringing new stuff in, and he’s listening to the stuff that we’ve got already and he’s getting us all excited about it again. Everything is going in the right direction, and I’m excited about the end of this year.

What’s your personal favourite band that you’ve ever supported?

Rich: Limp Bizkit for me.

Actually I saw them this year, they’re really good!

Rich: We played one show with Limp Bizkit and it was over in France, but they were one of my favourite bands from when I was a teenager, so being able to watch them side stage and have a bit of a chat with them afterwards was a big moment for me personally.

Josh: [EnterShikari still stand out as one of the finest live bands in the UK, and just some of the nicest guys to play a show with, they’ll always make you feel entirely at home.

Rich: I feel like I’m taking something away from [EnterShikari by saying Limp Bizkit.

Josh: It’s obviously a given. We’ve been lumped in with those guys and I’ve got zero problems with that, because they’re an awesome band. If there’s anyone to stick to, it would be [EnterShikari.

Rich: Maybe someday we can all get a joint house together. That’s a plan.

What’s your personal favourite group to have supported you guys?

Rich: Oooooooh.

Josh: I was a big fan of The One Hundred. Those guys are smashing it now. Maybe my opinion is skewed, because I just like bands that are nice guys, because it’s a lot of fun to play gigs with nice guys, even bands that you don’t really like, if it’s a nice group of lads you’ll go out and watch them.

Rich: Asteroid Boys for me I think, they’re a bunch great lads as well, and the music, especially when we’re talking about supporting and stuff, the cross over element with our two bands is really good, so obviously they’re really serious about their thing as well, they slay it and they’re good boys!

Josh: Amen!

[Laugh] What’s your songwriting process, particularly with the new guy Jot as well?

Josh: So it’s pretty studio based, which I think is pretty common across a lot of modern bands. It’s affordable to actually have your own studio, if you’ve got about £200 you can get yourself a set of speakers and an interface. We started off there investing in the band and investing in ourselves. We’ve got Tim and runs his own studio and he’s actually a really talented producer. We spend a lot of time hanging out with Tim. When you’re writing the techy choppy stuff, it doesn’t sound very rock and roll but it’s a lot of hours banging your head against a computer desk, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. It’s maybe more scientific than just rocking up, smoking some doobies and jamming out.

Rich: It’s less of a jam and it’s more formulaic.

Josh: And again because you’ve got the home studio, when you say that nothing’s ever finished and you’ve got to let it go, if you’ve got your own studio you can do version 56 and just adjust a tiny thing.

Rich: You’ve just got to submit it.

Josh: And then you realise you’ve sent the wrong thing at the wrong speed. Or sent it as a jpeg.

[Laugh] Do you have any musical recommendations for our readers?

Josh: If you’ve not checked out The One Hundred or Asteroid Boys, they’re wicked. I imagine if you listen to us you’ve probably heard of Issues, that’s a band we’ve toured with and that’s a great great band.

Rich: I feel like it doesn’t need to be said but Sikth? Do people not know about Sikth? If people don’t, shame on them, they’re always tight, so watch them live.

Josh: Ok here’s a nugget, Fell Silent. They’re a band from Milton Keynes that a lot of people haven’t heard of, but they’re like MeshuggahMeshuggah had a big name by the time Fell Silent came about but they were one of the first bands of that type, it was Fell Silent and PeripheryPeriphery went on and did great things, Fell Silent split up and became TesseracTMoment and Heart of a Coward, so if you haven’t heard of Fell Silent, their first album Hidden Words is the blueprint for most bands out at the minute.

Last question, any plans for after touring?

Rich: Writing.

Josh: Drinking… I mean writing.

[Laugh]

Rich: Lots of writing, because now we’ve got the line up all sorted, we’re gig ready and stuff now, so we stepped up to get that bit, so now it’s material.

Josh: Reaping what we’ve been sewing.

Rich: Or sewing, to further reap. Further reapage.

 

If you haven’t heard Hacktivist‘s debut album Outside The Box, it’s available now!

Interview: The Elephant Trees – 17/6/17

The Elephant Trees are a band from Leeds consisting of Martha Phillips, Sam Hugh-Jones and Tom Palmer. The band blends a great acoustic sound with a slight alt rock edge. So far the band have released their debut single 90 Degrees which you can check out via our premiere here (http://www.musicology.uk.com/the-elephant-trees-exclusive-debut-single/).

We had a chat with Martha and Sam from the band about their upcoming single Monster which is due to be released on the 1st July. With the release show being held at The Key Club in Leeds where they will be joined by the amazing Northern Shore and Faux Pas and Swimming Girls.   Read more