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!

 

Metallica announces UK/EU leg of ‘WorldWired’ tour

You should now be finally excited to see that Metallica are going to be come back to the UK and Europe as part of their dubbed ‘WorldWired‘ tour!

You can check out all the dates below as well as a snipped of what you might expect!

Sept. 4, 2017     –    Amsterdam, Netherlands  –  Ziggo Dome
Sept. 6, 2017     –    Amsterdam, Netherlands  –  Ziggo Dome
Sept. 8, 2017     –    Paris, France  –  AccorHotels Arena
Sept. 10, 2017   –    Paris, France  –  AccorHotels Arena
Sept. 12, 2017   –    Lyon, France  –  Halle Tony Garnier
Sept. 14, 2017   –    Cologne, Germany  –  Lanxess Arena
Sept. 16, 2017   –    Cologne, Germany  –  Lanxess Arena
Oct. 22, 2017     –    London, England, UK  –  The O2 Arena
Oct. 24, 2017     –    London, England, UK  –  The O2 Arena
Oct. 26, 2017     –    Glasgow, Scotland, UK  –  The SSE Hydro
Oct. 28, 2017     –    Manchester, England, UK  –  Manchester Arena
Oct. 30, 2017     –    Birmingham, England, UK  –  Genting Arena
Nov. 1, 2017      –    Antwerp, Belgium  –  Sportpaleis
Nov. 3, 2017      –    Antwerp, Belgium  –  Sportpaleis
Feb. 1, 2018      –    Lisbon, Portugal  –  MEO Arena
Feb. 3, 2018      –    Madrid, Spain  –  Wizink Center
Feb. 5, 2018      –    Madrid, Spain  –  Wizink Center
Feb. 7, 2018      –    Barcelona, Spain  –  Palau Sant Jordi
Feb. 10, 2018    –    Turin, Italy  –  Pala Alpitour
Feb. 12, 2018    –    Bologna, Italy  –  Unipol Arena
Feb. 14, 2018    –    Bologna, Italy  –  Unipol Arena
Feb. 16, 2018    –    Mannheim, Germany  –  SAP Arena
Mar. 27, 2018    –    Herning, Denmark  –  Jyske Bank Boxen
Mar. 29, 2018    –    Hamburg, Germany  –  Barclaycard Arena
Mar. 31, 2018    –    Vienna, Austria  –  Wiener Stadthalle
April 2, 2018      –    Prague, Czech Republic  –  O2 Arena
April 5, 2018      –    Budapest, Hungary  –  Sports Arena
April 7, 2018      –    Stuttgart, Germany  –  Schleyerhalle
April 9, 2018      –    Stuttgart, Germany  –  Schleyerhalle
April 11, 2018    –    Geneva, Switzerland  –  Palexpo
April 26, 208      –    Munich, Germany  –  Olympiahalle
April 28, 2018    –    Krakow, Poland  –  Tauron Arena
April 30, 2018    –    Leipzig, Germany  –  Leipzig Arena
May 2, 2018      –    Oslo, Norway  –  Telenor Arena
May 5, 2018      –    Stockholm, Sweden  –  Ericsson Globe
May 7, 2018      –    Stockholm, Sweden  –  Ericsson Globe
May 9, 2018      –    Helsinki, Finland  –  Hartwall Arena
May 11, 2018    –    Helsinki, Finland  –  Hartwall Arena

Suicide Silence – Suicide Silence [REVIEW]

What is arguably going to be the most controversial record in its musical field, Suicide Silence are here to show off their versatility and show off something else that the fans will most likely criticise. With it now seeming the band going into a direction and create something they have always wanted to, have they made something that will good light or will it be just another backlash to add to their list?

The first two songs on the record are the tracks that people have already heard and are banging their heads against the desks in pain. ‘Doris’ starts off with a very strange intro to the album as a whole, but once the track kicks in it flows a lot more groovy in its album writing. The live recording of the entire album is a main feature throughout with the band having some off the cuff touches. Whilst the ‘tee-hee’ vocal parts can be a bit off putting, the more noticeable cleans have a decent tone on them and once the bass sections flows through, the sound on that is such a nice flavour to the song. The guitar effects can take away at some points with the flanger/phaser sound being a weird placement. As it flows straight into the next track ‘Silence’ the heavy intro is a mosh pit waiting to happen and gives a throwback to their older material. Then the verses have a distinct nu-metal sound within its walls and as the vocals flow really nicely on some of it, at points it can feel a bit off putting. With the KoRn/Deftones names thrown around as comparisons for sections, it does come off but at the same time it feels a bit upsetting comparing these disingenuous sections to those bands.

Listen’ opens up the unheard songs with the bounce of the drum patterns and the distortion of the guitars, which at some point feel muddy at time. The bass and vocal heavy sections feel full of raw emotion and punch through, and feel when the guitars start chugging, it has that moment of feeling like some angsty metalcore with the high screams getting a bit eye wincing at points. Then there are these parts that have some uncouth chanting singing bits in the background with the more spoken word element having a sprinkle of seasoning to the otherwise already salty dish. The ending minute of this track feels ripped out of the ‘Issues’ era of KoRn music, dubbing a nice nostalgic feel. Arguably one of the better tracks on the record is most likely the softest song you’ll ever hear from the band. ‘Dying In A Red Room’ is beautifully written and gives a much darker tone without having to utilise so much of their heavier accolades. The Deftones influence is much more apparent in this track and even with a taste of the band Tool coming into full effect. The only downside of this song is the ending when the sound of Eddie’s vocals make him come across like a dying computer.

With the band asking for less feedback, ‘Hold Me Up Hold Me Down’ kicks off with some feedback before the guitars kick in and bring something that is an enjoyable listen, but as the song goes on, the bands structure seems to fall off the rails, with the style of vocals that Eddie does over one section feeling really out of place and makes you lose interest in the track and with an album that has quite a huge chunk of four and a half to almost six minute tracks, being something that grips the listener is something you really want. What might surprise a lot of listeners is that there is a monstrous breakdown with some of the most disgusting low vocals being produced and the guitar tone working effectively. The fact that this breakdown goes on for half of the song feels like a lack of creativity, which is amazing coming from an album that encompasses so much unique elements from so many genres. There will also be the fans who will get off on the pig squeals and blast beats, and rightly so.

Run’ is a definite throwback to the 90’s way of writing and music style with the structure of its guitars and drums with the clean vocals, like in DIARR, work a lot more as a whole when you think about how they are writing their music. The guitars are what make this track a more enjoyable experience with the tone that they use having such a great flow within it and overall becomes another enjoyable track. ‘The Zero’ uses key changes to a bit of its advantage, with about 3 different keys being used overall. The clean vocals start to fall off the rails again with the odd grunt addition and the pattern he uses not feeling like it flows with the track for most of the song. The panning of the guitars get a bit more of a pulsating motion in the verses and the instrumentation push a bit more, with the choruses being a very solid listen, especially with the screams. The ending of the tracks poses a bit more of an exciting side of the band, with the guitar buildups muted and tremolo picked with the selected drum pattern helping put a few more wheels in motion.

The final two tracks are the bands final clasps and with ‘Conformity’, it starts to show off the more enjoyable side of their softer material and with the addition of the acoustic guitars, it adds a more seductive element to it. Once again, the instrumentation builds so much around it being a great track and the clean vocals for 85% of the track really give an argument to them pushing more of that side of them and whilst the track has notions of the calmer side of Metallica in the linear parts of it all as well, unfortunately the time aspect of the track feels a lot more dragging than it does gripping. The final track goes on a heavier tirade and has a more death metal aspect to it much like ‘The Cleansing’ album era. The old school fans of the band will definitely be gripped to this track with its ferocity and its stylistic approach with the blast beats and pounding triplets. ‘Dont Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself’ is undoubtedly one of the heaviest tracks on the record and closes the album on a very tribal note, with the whistling and the sounds of clinking instruments.

You have to applaud the band. They have made something that is the path they want to go and invoke a lot of stylistic endeavours that will no doubt be great in their future releases. The fact of the matter is though that the live recording, a certain amount of clean vocals, some parts of the guitar tones and the overall attraction of many influences turn this album into a bit on an audible calamity. The band have set a new bar for themselves musically, but it honestly won’t be hard to beat.

[4/10]

Apocalyptica announce ‘Plays Metallica By Four Cellos’ UK shows

Bringing a melodically classical sense to one of heavy metal/thrash metal biggest and baddest bands on the planet, Apocalyptica have announced a few anniversary shows for their ‘Plays Metallica By Four Cellos‘ album. These shows will include other Metallica classic songs as well as the ones featured on the record.

You can check out the dates above as well as a music video for their cover of ‘Battery‘ below!

Solitude – Reach For The Sky [REVIEW]

A lot of people might not know much about Japan, but their music scene is always rampant with great artists. From Dir En Grey to artists such as Maximum The Hormone, the country knows how to bring something spectacular to music. The same could be said for classic heavy metal group Solitude, who are able to channel some amazing artists to bring you eight solid tracks of nice riffage.

Kicking off with a mostly guitar centric intro, the first track ‘Venoms Angel’ feels just like a classic thrash metal record out of the gate with held electric guitar notes and a soft, yet poignant acoustic guitar before the rest of the band bring something fast paced and exciting. Bringing off older shades of Metallica and their thrashier elements, the whole first track is the perfect way to get you right into the record. Then leading into ‘Blow’, the Judas Priest feels super strong with this one and the old school flames fly high in testament and the vocals have a gravelly tone, yet power through nicely with the rest of the head banging ensemble.

The record is a full on affair of all things you love about the genre and more! With some of the catchiest songs that feel like they were ripped out of the eighties and nineties, you can only feel the leather jacket protruding out of your body and your hair getting extremely long to feel like you belong with this record. All the tracks know how to hit well with the guitars, with the song ‘Escape From The Crime’ focusing on that. With that track being the instrumental interlude, even if the track almost hits 4 minutes of runtime, the band don’t try and overdo it and brings a brilliant track to help keep up the pace.

The one point that seems to be a mainstay that can be a little bit displeasing to some listeners is the vocal element of it. Whilst it can take a while to get used to the singing voice that Akira Sugiuchi brings to the table, it can somewhat undervalue some of the instrumentation that the band brings, such as the ever-enjoyable riff in ‘You Got My Mind’. The longest track, which is also the albums closer, ‘December’ brings the album to a really amazing close with everything just working together as a cohesive unit and just flowing that much nicer. The track works with the vocal style brought and for those eight minutes, you are hooked from beginning to end.

This album is definitely a one to listen to many different age groups. For the new fans who want that classic feel for the modern age to the older metalhead who want something to take them back to their youth, Solitude have brought something very strong to your music library.

 

Metallica have a few UK appearances lined up this month

If you’re a big fan of Metallica and come from the UK, then you best heed these messages. The massive hard rock/heavy metal band will be doing a signing at midnight (17th November) in HMV Oxford Street in release of their new album ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct‘ to be released. They have also got a ballot come up for fans to win entry to their show the next day (18th November) at House Of Vans. You can apply HERE with a notice saying that if you win, a donation of £20 should be made on the door to go to The Railway Children charity. Check out the new track ‘Atlas, Rise!‘ below too!

KYNG – Breathe In The Water [REVIEW]

Keeping it healthy for the heavy metal genre is So Cal trio Kyng who aren’t afraid to shy away from conventional norms. Their latest album ‘Breathe In The Water’ aims to show how they are still smashing their music with crunchy riffs, fast paced action and why they deserved to be on tours with acts such as Black Label Society and Clutch. With this record now being their third instalment into the era of Kyng, they show that they haven’t slowed down and are still able to bring the big guns.

The guitars on this record stay prominent throughout and provide a very powerful punch whilst staying in line with the rest of the band. Hearing the beautiful cleaner sections in intros such as ‘Closer To The End’ and then getting thrown into a southern banger like ‘Follow Blindly’ shows how meticulous they were about creating something special and unworldly. The bass tone as well adds so much depth into the entire record that it helps elevate each of the fourteen tracks that are provided. The acoustic interlude provided in the song ‘The Beginning of What Was’ is another enjoyable element towards the later part of the album and helps split everything up evenly.

As well as the guitars being a strong part of the field, the drums help an awful lot with making this record such a brilliant listen. Not going over the top and trying be its own unique entity is what makes this album that much more well-rounded and helps each track feel special in its own right. A great track that shows this is the opener ‘Pristine Warning’ as its one of the most high-octane tracks on the record.  When it goes to the more toned down and ballad-esque tracks like ‘Show Me Your Love’ which utilises all their past knowledge and they incorporate it very professionally into this song.

Eddie Veliz’s vocals are at one with this record. Within previous one you get the feeling that they were lacking in their punch in the production on the record but this whole record as whole improves that tenfold, especially in the vocal area. ‘Bipolar Schemes’ pushes just the single toned vocals to a newer level than previous record ‘Burn The Serum’ with terms of projection sound. As for harmonies, tracks like ‘Not Enough’ get drenched in them! The mix of tones are tastefully done and even though they sometimes get overpowered by the rest of the instrumentation, its nice to hear them hit different octaves to spread across the bass/treble mixing.

Third time is most definitely the charm when it comes to Kyng. With heartfelt riffs and a powerful selection of songs to get through, they definitely keep you mostly intrigued from start to finish. This will definitely be in a high ranking of your favourite albums if you enjoy throwing the devil horns or even holding up your can of beer. Rock on, Kyng!

kyng-breathe-in-the-water-cover-art

Released: 7th October 2016
For Fans Of: Black Stone Cherry / Metallica
Label: Razor & Tie

Metallica release new single ‘Moth Into Flame’

There’s really no need for introductions here, Metallica are one of the biggest bands on the planet within whatever bracket you consider. The American metal giant are gearing up to the release of their upcoming album Hardwired… To Self-Destruct on November 18th.

Following their first single Hardwired, the band have now released Moth Into Flame into the world, and it’s a roaring, riff-central beast that prove Metallica are back and in the shape of their life. Check it out here: