Interview with Rody
“Protest The Hero show off in every song how amazingly talented they are on their instruments, so with this in mind it is no surprise as to why they have built up a huge following all across the world! Their latest album ‘Scurrilous’ is another one of our personal favourites from 2011. So please get yourself down to a show when the band tour the UK shortly, as you will be blown away by their awesomeness....” What can you tell us about your latest album 'Scurrilous' ? With this album, we left behind some of the metal-cock-stroking ways of our past and went for a more honest reflection of who we are as people, and as musicians. Some have called it a more 'progressive' record, but what does that really mean? The answer is nothing.
What was it like to work with Julius Butty again? Can you tell us what he brings to creating a Protest The Hero record? It's always great to work with Juice; since our first record, he's become such a close friend, which has its downsides as well... one major downside is that when we get together we'd rather just get stupid drunk than actually do any work.... but ultimately, the work that gets done is first class, in my opinion. Speaking for myself, Juice has an excellent ear for melody and harmony. If I'm struggling with anything, he has a very simple way of explaining it to me in terms that I can understand. Also, if I'm ever unsatisfied with a melody that I've written, he's really quick to suggest a way better alternative!
How would you say this record compares to your previous release, 'Fortress' ? Again, it's not quite as deeply rooted in 'metal' - we tried to explore some things outside of that ridiculous genre, while still maintaining a heavy and aggressive presence. The biggest difference, though, is the lyric shift; I primarily wrote the lyrics on 'Scurrilous' whereas Arif had written the lyrics on all of 'Fortress', so the voice changes quite a bit. He has a much more complex style than myself; I tend to be a little more blunt, possibly due to my failing intellect...
You recently did a video for 'Hair-Trigger', which is the second single off 'Scurrilous', and the video looked really fun to shoot; can you tell us a bit about how the video came together, and maybe what you wanted it to mean to followers of Protest The Hero? We really don't like shooting videos, it's tedious and laborious and really taxing on the body. However, this video was considerably more enjoyable, though still quite taxing. Our videos are often quite light-hearted and don't often match the music very well, but that's kind of the point. We like to make ourselves laugh, and hope to make others laugh a little. The true purpose of the video is this - not everything should be taken so fuckin' seriously.
The musician Jadea Kelly also appears on the track; can you tell us how this collaboration came together? She has also appeared on some earlier material as well, right? Correct! She also sang on our first record. I've always had a certain affinity for male/female duets, and although I don't think a full song would be entirely appropriate for our band, a feature at the end of this track suited it quite nicely. We grew up with Jadea, and it seems as though we've always known her. We tried another girl for the part, she had a more Paramore-esque kind of thing going on, and she was great, but Jadea brings a certain maturity to the part that we just couldn't deny.
Chris Hannah also appears on the new record; can you tell us how this collaboration came together? Since the dawning of our stupid band's creation, Propagandhi have always been our biggest influence, and though it's not always incredibly apparent, it's always there. We had the opportunity to open for them in the UK in 2010, I believe, and we struck up a pretty good friendship with the fellas. One night during the recording of 'Scurrilous', Luke and I had a few drinks and sent Chris a ridiculous email, essentially begging him to sing on the record, and he responded quite quickly, and to our surprise was willing to do it! It's my favourite thing that I've ever been a part of, and I'm still pissin my jeans that it's on there!"
The front cover artwork for 'Scurrilous' is really amazing; can you tell us the story behind where the image came from, and what you wanted it to mean to your fans? The art was done by Arif's grandfather (Jafar Petgar) some 60 years ago. We had all grown up practising and playing at Arif's parents' house and we were surrounded by his paintings, including the one that adorns the record's cover. It seemed fitting, based on the themes of the record, that it should be the cover. Also, it's kind of a neat little piece of our history, and something of an ode to Arif's family, and his family's history!
At this point, what songs have you enjoyed performing live the most from the new record and why? We haven't yet played all of the songs on the record live, but at this point, my favourites to perform have to be 'Hair-trigger' and 'Dunsel'; they're both quite challenging vocally, but still fun to play. However, 'Tongue-splitter' is proving to be quite the challenge for me; it may be my opening to a blossoming rap career (joking of course). I'm sure when I've fully mastered that one it will become one of my favourites because I seem to be drawn to the more difficult songs.
We must ask, what's it like to have your songs feature on the legendary video game, 'Guitar Hero' ? It's cool, I suppose it's somewhat of an honour, we're all quite fond of video games to some degree; however, none of us have ever really been much good when it comes to playing 'Guitar Hero', and I think it's pretty hilarious to see kids playing the songs better on a video game than we could ever hope to do live!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I'm excited to get back out on the road, we've had quite the long break, and I'm sick of sitting around with my thumb up my ass. I know some of the guys like sitting at home and biding their time, but I can't fuckin' stand it. We've afforded ourselves the opportunity to travel the world and get paid while doing it. Not many people can say the same, so when we sit around for lengthy periods I feel as though we're wasting an amazing opportunity. That being said, I'm very excited to get back to the UK where my drinking habits are not considered anything out of the ordinary, and where I can gorge myself on chips and cheese until I want to shit my bed, but can't due to dairy product-induced constipation.
Interview with Justin Collier
“Recently Man Overboard were part of the EPIC pop punk’s not dead tour in the USA with the fantastic New Found Glory. As well as this their self titled newest record has gone down a treat with both fans and critics, so get yourself excited as these pop punk newcomers are heading to the UK to tour with Save Your Breath and The Story So Far, if you love your pop punk, then this tour is NOT to be missed!” How was the 'Pop Punk's Not Dead' tour, and do you have any memories from the tour that you would like to share with us? Holy crap, this tour ruled... Even the "worst" show was still amazing.... we had a true blast. There are tons of memories from this tour, some I can share, some I can't, haha... The Philadelphia and New Jersey show were particuarly memorable for us because they are at venues we grew up going to shows at so it was a pleasure and an honor to be able to play those venues with bands we love and respect.
Since we last spoke you now have your new album out, with this in mind can you tell us what the themes and inspirations are behind your latest release? There isn't any huge overlying theme apart from just normal life experiences that our lyricists have gone through and that lead them to write the lyrics in these songs... some light hearted and some a little more heavy and deep.
How come you wanted this album to be a self titled release? We couldn't settle on a name and eventually decided that no name was good enough for this album so we self-titled it.
What was the recording process like for this album? We did some demoing/pre-productions at Niks studio in New Jersey. Steve Klein was in NJ for a couple NFG shows around Bamboozle so he came down for two days and we did a bunch of work and continued on our own throughout May. We recorded the album at Cannon Found Soundation Studios in North Jersey all of June 2011 with Steve Klein as well as Jesse Cannon and Mike Oettinger. It was then sent out to be mixed in LA by Paul Miner and mastered by Kris Krummet.
What would you say was the hardest track to record and why? There was a couple days that the air conditioner was broken so there was some guitar parts that got recorded in INSANE heat... so that was certainly hard but I know there are some harmonies on the album that challenged Zac and Nik but they killed it.
How would you say this record compares to your first release 'Real Talk' ? I don't think it is wildly different but shows some growth and a few new elements that we haven't really experimented with before.
What songs are you enjoying playing live of the new record the most, and why? We played "Dead End Dreams" and "Somethings Weird" on the Pop Punks Not Dead Tour... Somethings Weird was especially fun because its fast and has some fun riffs.
How is your record label Lost Tape Collective going? Also is it ever hard to maintain at the same time as the band? It is going well! We have some new (re)releases from Strike Anywhere, Balance & Composure, Man Overboard and more coming out so keep your eyes peeled. We take things slow and keep it kind of low key so we can balance the work while on the road... plus we have some buds do the mail-order so we don't get behind.
How excited are you to be back in the UK for a headline tour, and what should attending fans expect? I am really excited... we start rehearsal in a few days for the US / UK headline tours.. we are working on a nice and lengthly setlist so everyone gets to hear what they want to hear.
Also, you have The Story So Far and Save Your Breath on the tour, how did you end up choosing these guys as support? We always like to have a US band and UK band when we tour the UK... TSSF is killing it right now and we have known some of those guys since last summer when we played with them in San Francisco so we found it fitting to bring them over for their first UK tour. SYB did some dates with NFG this summer so we thought it would be fitting to have them along for the ride as well!
What do you want 2012 to do for Man Overboard? Improve upon how awesome 2011 was! Thats all I can ask for haha
Interview with Dave McPherson
What made you want to use the the pledge campaign again, well with InMe this time of course? Because it's a fantastic idea! They're an amazing bunch of passionate people to work with & my solo campaign was so successful & ridiculously fun & absorbing. It's the best way to purchase an album for the listener, the band, the charity & the wonderful PledgeMusic themselves. I've spent the last 6 months devising a list that I believe gives great value for money whilst bringing us closer to our audience which is something incredibly important to us.
How did you get to the album title 'The Pride' and what does this mean to you? I was toying with the idea of a pride of underwater lions for whatever strange reason & then I discovered a title with a double meaning. On the one hand, it sounds cheesy but we feel kind of like a pride of lions in that we stick together & remain defiant via our passion & ambition for music. On the other hand we have a lot of pride in what we do musically & as people. We also thought it'd be a cool way of getting people involved in that they become part of 'The Pride' in every way they help & support us!
Can you tell us about some of the lyrical content on this record, and if there is a theme or certain direction that you are heading in as a band maybe? Lyrically I wanted to try something completely different. I'd describe it as very poetic with lots of imagery & the majority of the album is very positive. I'm in a good place in my life right now & I wanted to spread that feeling a bit! The music is in places a lot more optimistic than what we've done in the past. 'Herald Moth' was really heavy for us & quite dark & technical whereas this album focuses solely on melody & hooks. It sounds arrogant of me to say but it's very epic & still progressive. It's easily our proudest effort & jam packed with raw emotion.
Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process for this record? It was done in a whole new fashion for us as we recorded it in separate sessions over around 5 months. We used Mike Curtis from Fei Comodo at CDS Studios & I can honestly say it's the best production we've achieved for our band. We work together really well & we're also great friends so it was a right laugh.
What new song has been the hardest to put together as a band and why? 'A Great Man' was tough as Greg wasn't happy with the first million versions I sent him! We rewrote it a lot to find a compromise & we got there in the end. 'Guardian' was also tricky for the same reasons! This album has been much more of a natural band effort as opposed to me writing everything at home which I believe is because I really trust this lineup on a creative level & feel we're all on the same page about the sort of music we want to achieve.
Who came up with the artwork for 'The Pride' and what do you want it to mean to your fans? Jim Vickers from fragileart.co.uk came up with it. He did all the art for my solo album & his stuff is truly genius. I gave him the underwater lion concept with jellyfish, the seabed & iridescence & that's what he came back with! It's perfect to me, I guess it's supposed to suggest a rather epic album full of strange imagery as well as glorify the sea-lion, so to speak!
So how would you say this new record compares to your prior release 'Herald Moth' ? Like I said, 'Herald Moth' was a particularly dark album as I wasn't in the best shape when writing & recording that. At the time I also wanted to make our music as technical as possible which I guess I needed to get out of my system. This time I was more interested in packing an album full of emotion, melody, hooks & positive energy. I'd say this album is a lot bigger than 'Herald Moth' in every way. Also, we recorded 'Herald Moth' with Ben & that lineup didn't work out for a number of reasons. No disrespect to Ben, he's a lovely guy & I wish him the best but Gazz came in & fit the role perfectly. His creative input in this album has really let the album shine as well as obviously Greg & Si.
“InMe are without a doubt one of the hardest working bands in the UK, since their formation they have built up a strong fan base who will support their every move. Now they are ready to release their new album ‘The Pride’ and if it is as outstanding as ‘Herald Moth’ was then we are in for another treat! As well as this, the band are heading out on a huge UK tour shortly, so we strongly advise you go and check out a show!”
What made you want to unleash 'A Great Man' first of the new album, and how have fans reacted to it so far? We thought it was the best overall song that highlighted a little bit of everything. It has hooks, emotion, riffage, electronica, a crowd singalong part & more! The reaction has been amazing, obviously you can't please everyone but it's a belter in our opinion. We never want to make the same album twice so we're very lucky that our audience follow us in our little creative journeys!
So you've recently done a live recording of Overgrown Eden to release on DVD, how excited are you about releasing this, and also how come you didn't decide to do a live DVD for the rest of the albums which you played through live? Very excited! It's easily the best live album we've ever done. It was really interesting & nostalgic to reinterpret the songs based on the musicians we are today. The plain & simple reason we only did 'Overgrown Eden' is because Sony owned the rights to it & the other shows weren't in the budget as it costs quite a bit to set up!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? We live to tour so we're very excited! We're doing 5 new songs as well as a real nice mix from our back catalog. They should expect a well oiled machine giving everything they've got & hopefully getting to hang with as many of them as possible!
What do you want 2012 to do for InMe? I won't lie, it'd be really nice to get back to the level we were at years ago. We drifted off the radar for a number of years for a number of reasons & sometimes it's hard for us to be a band as much as we'd like. I'm fortunate enough to earn a living from my solo work but there are quite a few necessary jobs in the InMe camp to make ends meet. If things keep ascending it'll be amazing to be just a full time band again. We make it work because we're survivors & we love doing this regardless but I feel we deserve more & we'll keep grafting until we get there. We have a lot of cool things on the horizon & if people pledge they'll personally be helping us get there!
Interview with Pete
â€œAlthough they recently had to pull out of the Four Year Strong tour This Time Next Year are still ready to take over the pop punk scene in 2012. Their latest record Drop Out of Life is fantastic, and one of the many great releases of 2011. So have a read, and discover another fantastic pop punk band today!â€? How was the 'Pop Punk's Not Dead' tour? Do you have any cool stories from the road you'd like to share with us? The tour was amazing. Made new friends, hung out with old ones, and got to play some pretty wild shows. Not really a cool story, but in Arizona we left our scrims (these big screen stage banners with our band's logo) at the venue by accident. We didn't realize it until the next day and went around to all of the bands asking if they had grabbed them. Everyone said they hadn't so we were pretty bummed. That night we played without scrims. However, it ended up somebody DID grab them. During our set, some of the dudes from the tour had set them up and taped them to the top of our van and trailer. We were pretty surprised when we came out to load after the set. Long story short, we learned our lesson haha.
Now you've toured with one of the biggest names in Pop Punk 'New Found Glory', who would you guys really want to tour with next and why? To be honest, if we could tour with Saves The Day, that would be pretty amazing. Saves The Day made me want to be in a band and really influenced me in the way I try to write music.
What can you tell us about the lyrical content on your latest album 'Drop Out of Life'? This record lyrically is pretty self explanatory: drop out of life. Most of the songs were written about people and situations that changed my perspective on the life I used to lead. I used those experiences, both positive and negative, to really try and figure out a better life for myself. It just so happened the band was it for me and I tried my best to portray that in the record,
What bands did you listen to around recording this new album, did any influence you whilst writing maybe? To be honest, I was listening to a lot of music from the 90s. Two big influences for me at the time were Lit and Green Day. I just felt like those bands got it. They wrote, simple yet powerful riffs and were all about the hooks. Bands like that just KNEW how to write catchy songs.
What was it like to work with Chad Gilbert and Paul Miner in the studio? Working with Chad was really a privilege but most importantly a HUGE learning process. Chad is a dude that knows how to work with bands like us. We told him what we were going for and he immediately understood and began to shape the songs together. Always positive, he brought something new to the table every day and was incredibly thorough. If he didn't like something, he sure as shit wouldn't just settle. He really played a huge part in how the songs turned out. Paul Miner was awesome as well. Not only did he kill it as an engineer, he helped with everything from tracking bass to hitting some harmonies that were too high for me haha. The two of them make a perfect team, as cheesy as that sounds.
Which song would you say was the hardest to record of this record and why? Probably "Spoontonic" if only because of the lyrical content. The song is pretty heavy and at times it was hard to get through. Pretty depressing song haha. Not only that, there are tons of layered vocals and harmonies throughout the song. For whatever reason, we seemed to put so much time and effort into that one song. That being said, I think the song turned out awesome and ended up being one of my favorites.
“We wanted our fans to take away one simple message; drop out of life and make yourself happy. Fuck normality, fuck acceptance.” How did you get to the album title 'Drop Out of Life' and what do you want it to mean to your fans? Drop Out of Life is actually a reference to the band Sleep. If you listen to Sleep than you probably get DOOL more than anyone. We wanted our fans to take away one simple message; drop out of life and make yourself happy. Fuck normality, fuck acceptance.
How would you say you have progressed as a band since the release of 'Road Maps and Heart Attacks'? I think when we wrote and recorded Road Maps…, we were a very young band and had little notions on what it was to do an actual full length with a legit producer. We were kind of just thrown into things. I'm happy with how that record turned out but I think if anything we learned what not to do next time around. When we wrote Drop Out of Life we were much older and a little wiser. We knew exactly what we wanted the record to sound like and began writing a year before we actually hit the studio. I just feel like we had our heads on straight and knew what we wanted.
At this point how would you say fans have been reacting to your new material? It's be unreal! Every show we played we had kids singing along. At some shows we had kids singing all new songs and no old ones, which I thought was pretty cool. I think the record has gone over really well and this past tour helped tremendously.
What do you want 2012 to do for This Time Next Year? We want to tour as much as possible, try hit Japan and Australia, and eventually head back over to Europe in the early summer and fall. Hopefully this is the year people recognize Drop Out of Life. Heads up!
Interview with Rou Reyn
So how did your UK tour go with Your Demise and Letlive.? Any cool memories from the tour you would like to share with us? Excellent, thank you. It was great fun touring with such awesome bands and awesome people. had some great nights out together, one particular evening in Newcastle, the venue had a club night after with a big student night on, I somehow ended up dancing with all the YD boys on a podium on the stage, ended up being quite a ridiculous night but I won't go into details.
Also, We attended the Bristol Academy show and we were given leaflets which featured interviews with each band playing. This is something you rarely see at an alternative gig, and it was really cool. Can you tell us a bit about how this idea came about? It was for a couple of reasons, one, to give an insight into any of the bands if you didn't know anything about them and two, for us personally to give an in depth interview of questions that aren't the same old thing that's asked in most interviews
So, how have the new songs been going down live? Really well, it's always a bit nerve wracking the first few times you play a new song live but the reactions were immediate and very positive which is a good omen for the rest of the album.
How did you go about choosing 'Sssnakepit' as the first single from your new album, and at this point how would you say fans have reacted to the song? We wanted to make a strong impact and give an idea of what our new music is about. it's tough, unforgiving and won't give anyone the wrong impression about enter shikari. it's one of our most obvious blends of dance and rock and when we kick it live it really blows the roof off the venue.
The music video for Sssnakepit looked really great, can you tell us a bit about how it came together? We wanted to really show the two different sides to the song, the intro and outro drum 'n' bass sections, and the bulk of the track being hard hitting punk rock. so the best way to do it was literally have it set in 2 rooms, one being an underground dance club and the other being a rock venue with a sort of 'portal' between the two. we all love going to both events so to have them come together like this was a great statement and great fun working on.
How did you get to the album title 'A Flash Flood of Colour' and what does it mean to you as a band? How we normally find titles is by going through all the tracks and seeing which lyrics stand out as contenders and this album was no different. There were a few contenders but 'a flash flood of colour', from the song 'warm smiles', seemed to stand out as the most appropriate. We wanted a very big sounding title but also something very positive and forward thinking to follow the album.
The artwork to this album is really cool and unique, can you tell us a bit about who came up with the front cover image, and what you want it to illustrate to your fans? Thanks. The idea was first brought about as a lighting design for our live shows but the more we used and thought about it the more we thought it was a very solid symbol that would be a great basis for all our album art work. It basically represents the modern day society's hierarchical pyramid being turned on it's head. The only way to solve all the problems of the fucked up world we live in is to have a complete and absolute shift in system and even thought process.
What would you say was the biggest challenge in creating this new record? Choosing which songs not to put on the album. We’re a very creative band and constantly have new stuff pouring out of every orifice so to whittle all our ideas down to a 45 minute album was difficult. We knew we had the songs and we knew we had the right people behind us with the recording and releasing processes so the rest of it came easily.
What's it like putting out a record on your own record label 'Ambush Reality' ? It feels great. The best thing is having full control over every aspect. Obviously we listen to good advice from people that know what they're talking about but the final decisions always fall down to us.
With years of touring and the recent sign to Hopeless Records (North America), how would you say the band are doing over in the USA now? From the UK it really looks like you guys are starting to take over?! It’s probably the most difficult territory in the world to tour, the drives between gigs are sooooo fucking long and not always in the most comfortable environments but finally it seems our hard work is paying off. It seems everywhere we go we are getting great responses from lots of people that know us. Also, i can't tell you how exciting it is to have a label that actually gives a shit about the band.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? It’s going to be awesome, big venues with huge production with plenty of the new album mixed with the classic favourites. We can't wait.
“These guys have been extremely busy prepping their brand new album ‘Bones’ for the world to hear. The first two singles released of this album were absolute killer, so with this in mind I think it’s safe to say that everyone is excited to see what 2012 holds for the fantastic Young Guns!”
Interview with Simon Mitchell
How did your show in China go then? I mean is it ever weird or surreal playing so far away from home, and still have crowds sing-along to your songs? The China trip was mental. It's a place we thought we'd never get to go to as a band, and we did, so a very surreal experience for us to say the least. The very fact we get to play music in front of people that have never seen us before on the other side of the world, and for them to know the lyrics to our songs blows my mind. I know that's something bands say but until you experience it for yourself, you don;t quite realise how special it is.
How did you go about choosing 'Learn My Lesson' as the first single to release from 'Bones', and how happy are you with the response it has received so far? This was actually a really hard task! We thought it'd be much easier, but once we got the final mixes of the songs, we soon realised that it wasn't going to be easy picking our first single. I guess we felt "Learn My Lesson" was a good bridge between the first album and an introduction to the new album. We wanted our first single to represent the new elements we have added to our sound on the album, but to also have an instant satisfaction which we felt it achieved, so we're very happy with the response the song has had.
YOUNG GUNS The video for 'Learn My Lesson' is really cool, can you tell us who came up with the video idea, and what you wanted it to mean to your fans? We had a rough idea ourselves as to what kind of vibe we wanted the video to have. Instead of just a standard performance video of us 5 playing, we wanted to put a lot of thought into the surroundings and environment for the video. The director ultimately took our initial ideas and added his flare to the overall idea.
So, how did you get to the album title 'Bones' and what does it mean to you? We all had the thinking that we wanted our album title to be short and bold. We came up with a few suggestions and by this point we had already come up with 'Bones' as a track title. It had an immediacy that maybe some of the other tracks didn't have in the name, and it was short and bold so went with it.
What can we expect from the lyrical content of 'Bones' ? From a lyrical standpoint, in this song particularly the content is a little less direct than the first album. Whereas the first record was more a diary, Gus wanted the songs on this album to be a little more open to interpretation, but the idea behind the record as a whole, and the title, is that we all hold inside ourselves everything we need, it's about self-empowerment.
What was it like recording an album in Thailand then? Recording in Thailand is up there as one of the best experiences of my life. When we got the news that we were going to record in Thailand, we were pretty excited to say the least, but couldn't quite believe it until we actually got to the airport. One of the main benefits with recording in Thailand was that being away from distraction and 'normal' life we were able to take advantage of the surroundings to help the creative aspect of recording. Every day we had to pinch ourselves to realise where we were, and we we're all really stoked, and vibes were good. This definitely put a huge ease to what is normally a stressful and tiring experience.
So you guys worked with Dan Weller again, with this in mind, what is it you love so much about working with Dan? Yes, we do indeed love Dan. He's been with us from our first E.P Mirrors to now, and he's not only an amazing producer but he's a close friend of the band too. I guess with that in mind, he knows how to get the best out of us, and knows our personalities very well. His input and constructive feedback is highly regarded, another reason why we chose him for this record.
What would you say was the most challenging part about creating 'Bones' ? The initial stages of the writing process are always the hardest. We had a bunch of ideas that we had been working on, and it was a time where we would string all these ideas together. Some days would be really good and things would seem to naturally form together, and then other days it would be like banging your head against a brick wall. There were times of writer's block, but then we would move onto something else and try to maintain our sanity by not letting the frustration get to us. Once we had most of the songs written before we headed out to Thailand, we felt much more at ease.
, le o h w a s a d r o c e r â€œThe idea behind the e id s in ld o h ll a e w t a th and the title, is it's , d e e n e w g in th y r e v e ourselves â€? t. n e m r e w o p m -e lf e s t u abo How would you say 'Bones' compares to 'All Our Kings Are Dead' ? I would say it's different in the sense it's more direct and more to that point both musically and lyrically. The first album was a display of most of our influences growing up and really just making a mark on the scene. I'd like to think we've managed to tighten our sound on this record, and really make sure that there weren't any bits that were not needed, without sacrificing the integrity of the song. From a lyrical standpoint, it's much less a diary of emotions and thoughts, but more bold and direct.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK headline tour, and what should attending fans expect? We're beyond excited for the tour, and really looking forward to showcasing some of the new material. By that point, 3 of our new songs would have been heard by our fans so it will be exciting to see how they react to them. It's also a small club tour around the UK, so we'll be playing places we have never been to before like Saltash, and with the shows being smaller, it'll mean more intimacy and energy between us and the crowd. It may also be a time, where we get to meet new fans of the band, so either way, super stoked for this tour!
What do you want 2012 to do for Young Guns? For the album to go no.1 in the UK charts. Is that asking for much? Seriously though, to be able to continue to tour and to function as a touring band off the back of this album and to get us to new places like the US and Japan would be our dream.
Letlive. “Last year this band managed to raise the bar for live performances at the HUGE Download Festival (don’t believe us? well just search for it on YouTube!). Shortly after this they completed a brilliant tour with Enter Shikari, and now they are about to head out on tour with New Found Glory, The Blackout and While She Sleeps, so in short it looks like 2012 is going to be a great year for Letlive.”
Interview with Ryan So you recently did a tour with Enter Shikari and Your Demise, how was this tour and do you have any crazy memories from the tour you would like to share? We did. It was definitely a notable experience within both our career and our lives - considering we have become close friends with the bands, and will be joining them in future endeavors as well. As the final days of tour go, they are the most memorable - the stage was akin to a supermarket that had been run through with a semi.
You guys are known for doing some pretty crazy things live, I mean when we saw you at the Bristol Academy we witnessed Jason climbing all over the venue, as well as jumping into the mosh from time to time! With this in mind, what would you say is the craziest and most dangerous thing you have done live at this point? I think we all have been caught in the moment, and have found ourselves in some pretty testing predicaments, but, personally, I would have to say the harshest situation I've had the pleasure of experiencing was a loosely flung microphone to the face, from our very own Jason Aalon. Naturally, my eye had (To avoid the tacky pun) "been through" better days.
What was it like to play the legendary Download Festival last year? We hear you got in a bit of trouble with some bouncers? Do you have any certain memories from the show you would like to share? To be honest, if you watch the video, I am completely oblivious to the whole thing. Wherever Jason is being hassled, I am looking the other way or in front of the situation. It was entirely new news to me when I got off the stage. The only thing I remember thinking was "Where is Jason? The song is starting and we don't have a singer. Did we tell him we were going on?"
Your latest album 'Fake History' has generated some amazing press all over the world, Do things like this add any pressure to being in a band? We usually try to avoid thinking of anything of the sort too much, and creating any unwanted pressure. It's very gratifying, and we appreciate it all so much, but at the same time, you need to take it as a grain of salt and stay grounded. We are still going to do what we do, and try to accomplish things we personally believe in, without the weight of thinking that anyone is actually going to listen to our music.
What was it like to have Jason voted as the number 1 rock star in the world today by Kerrang! here in the UK? We were wondering who the dude was and why it wasn't Gerard Way or Andy Biersack.
What would you say are the main themes behind your album 'Fake History'? Illuminating harmful or senseless sociological idiosyncrasies. Just shit about the people around you.
How did you get to the album title 'Fake History' and can you tell us a little bit about what it means? The title seemed to fit with the very broad scale of topics Jason was writing about. It can be interpreted as a declarative statement, or as a command. It refers to an alternate possibility of understanding, one that you may or may not have been influenced by. Essentially, we're just pleading for people to use that thing that sits behind your eyes more often.
What is the meaning behind the song 'H.Ledger' ? is it an actual reference to Heath Ledger or is it something slightly different? It has a loose attachment to the celebrity - at the time we were writing the song, that was a pretty popular topic, and seemed to fit with the theme Jason was looking to portray. Vanity is death.
What can you tell us about the song Renegade 86' , and how did you go about choosing this as a single of 'Fake History' ? The song is about Jason's relationship with his dad, and the career he was pursuing before Jason was born. Look where he is now, huh? It was chosen by chance, essentially. I'll explain in the next answer.
Interview with Murray Macleod
â€œLast year The Xcerts supported a lot of bands that they grew up listening to, so for them, the bucket list gets smaller. This year the band are again of to a fantastic start with their own headline tour, as well as a support slot with the HUGE Brand New, with so much great support behind this band, we are excited to see what the future holds! Check them out.â€? What was it like to tour with the legendary Manchester Orchestra? Do you have any cool stories from the road that you would like to share? It was really great. We hit it off with those guys pretty instantly, we all have a very similar sense of humour. We are huge fans of them musically so the fact we became friends pretty instantly made for a great trip. That tour was a definite highlight of 2011. Not too many big juicy stories, everyday was fun and plenty of things happened, but most of my tales are a 'you had to be there' type situation.
As well as this, you got to tour with Taking Back Sunday just recently as well. How exciting was this tour? Also a great tour. We've been big fans of that band since we were teenagers so the fact we got to tour with them was pretty surreal. Their audiences were fantastic, we seemed to go down well each night and again we got on fantastically with the band so that always makes for a great tour.
A while before this tour we saw that Adam Lazzara had posted some of your lyrics on his Twitter account, how cool was this for you guys at the time? Yeah, that was very cool. Seeing things like that happen on social networking sites feels really odd to me. It almost doesn't feel real. It almost feels like someone is playing a practical joke on you.
How did your tour go with Frank Turner? As your music is slightly different to Franks was it ever weird opening for him? We are currently on tour with Frank and all is good. European crowds are very open minded about music. European crowds just enjoy live music whether you sound similar to the other bands on the bill or not. It would appear once people get over the initial shock that we are a rock band and are very loud, they really get into it.
2011 has clearly been an amazing year for you guys, so at this point can you give us one or two of your personal highlights from the year? Like i said earlier our tour with Manchester Orchestra was a definite highlight of the year. Playing with Biffy Clyro at the Royal Albert Hall was incredibly surreal/mind blowing. T In The Park was also a huge milestone for our band. We were playing on one of the smaller stages and i don't think any of us could have predicted how many people showed up. From the get go the people in the crowd lost their minds, it was a really fantastic moment. We've had quite the year and we are exceedingly thankful for the opportunities we have been given. A huge thankyou to everyone that has continued to support us.
You just recently released an EP for Slackerpop which also features four alternative versions of tracks that you have already done, can you tell us what these alternative versions are like, and how fun were they to re-record? They definitely showcase the more delicate side of our band which we like to present to people. 'Scatterbrain' is a very intense and noisy record so hopefully people will enjoy hearing a few of those songs in a gentler form. We re-recorded those songs with our good friend Paul Steel and i think we spent 2 days recording. We drank too much coffee and watched too many stupid videos on Youtube. Very relaxed, very fun.
How excited are you for your upcoming tour with Brand New and I Am the Avalanche, and what should attending fans expect? I can't even comment because the news hasn't sunk in yet. We may play a new song on that tour and you can expect us to make a whole heap of noise for 30 minutes. Business as usual.
You guys are also doing a headline tour in January with support from Flood of Red, how excited are you for this? Very psyched. We haven't done a headline tour in a long time so it will be nice to play to our own crowds and play for longer than 30 minutes. The fact we are going out with our good friends in Flood Of Red is truly wonderful. They helped us out a lot when we first started touring so it's great that after all these years we are continuing to play shows together.
Have you guys started work on any new material just yet? If so how is it coming along? We have indeed. We are being very militant with the new material which wasn't the original plan but we just want to make sure we write the best record we can. We are really honing in on our songwriting capabilities whilst trying new things. We are exceedingly excited with what we have written so far.
What do you want 2012 to do for The Xcerts? I mean, we are starting the year with a headline tour which is looking set to be great and then we go to Europe with I Am The Avalanche and then join Brand New on tour throughout the UK. 2012 is looking pretty incredible and that's only the first 2 months of the year. Hopefully we will keep growing as a band musically and in stature. We would very much like to be playing bigger venues by ourselves this time next year. We will continue to work hard and just hope that what we do connects with people on a larger scale.
“At Download Festival last year these guys simply proved to the UK that they are an awesome live band! On top of such great performances they have also just released their new album Dead Throne. To promote this the band will be back in the UK shortly for a full headline tour, don’t miss out because it’s going to be EPIC!” So, you got to play the huge Download Festival (again) this year, how was this whole experience? Download was great: it was our second time playing and first time on Main Stage, and it went over really well.
You guys are currently on the 'Dead Throne' tour, how is that going, and do you have any highlights so far? Dead Throne Tour U.S. is excellent. Our first proper headline tour in quite some time, and we really couldn't be happier with the results.
How have fans been reacting to the ne material so far, and what new song are enjoying playing live the most at the m
Reaction has been fantastic. It's been two or thre since Dead Throne was released, and you can t have been listening and getting to know the song enjoy "Born to Lose", "Mammoth", "Kansas", and Anything new is particularly fun to play, though.
What can you tell us about your latest 'Dead Throne' ?
Well there's a lot that goes through the album, I about a specific topic all day. A lot of the record w around hero-worship, love lost, and other theme
Before heading into the studio to record 'Dead Throne' what would you say you guys wanted to achieve with creating this album? Really just one-uping WRAABB and putting out the most relevant release possible. I'm stoked with the end result of the album and it really does feel like our band summed up a collective group of songs.
What would you say was the biggest challenge for your band in the recording process for 'Dead Throne' and why? Keys and synths were done in Indiana while the rest of the album was engineered in Massachusetts, which was a bit tricky, but we got around it.
How would you say this album compares to 'With Roots Above and Branches Below' ? I think Dead Throne steps above WRAABB in songwriting and general cohesiveness. It also has a way of focusing and honing in on whatever topic or sound is present.
How did you get to the album title 'Dead Throne' and what does it mean to you? Dead Throne was spun off Dead Idols, which was the original idea. Like the whole album it means the world to me. The record is absolutely sincere to who I am and to who this band is, so obviously it's very important.
We read that you guys have your own Vans shoes now, can you tell us how this idea came to life, and maybe a bit about the creation behind the shoe design?
Interview with Mike
ew e you moment?
ee months ell fans gs. I really d "Chicago".
could talk weaves s.
Like most music-enthused kids we've always loved Vans, and because of Warped Tour and whatnot we've always had a fantastic relationship with the brand. When they approached us about doing a shoe, we could not have been more honored.
How excited are you for your UK tour, and what should attending fans expect from the set? I am excited to headline the UK for the first time. Fans can expect more songs than they're used to from us, which I know has been lacking in our usually short UK performances.
What do you want 2012 to hold for The Devil Wears Prada? Same thing as always, just trying to play to as many people as possible and spread what we are trying to do.
Which one was the hardest to turn into an acoustic track and why? How do you go about balancing your touring life with your life back home? For me it's easy, i just cut out any kind of home life completely! haha i'm always on the road and i love it, i feel more at home in a tour bus than anywhere else. It definitely gets hard for a lot of the guys who have wives and kids because we are gone so much, it's hard to keep your woman happy when you see her every six weeks. we have lost a few members in the past once the wives and babies came along.
On 'A Best of Us for the Rest of Us' you did an acoustic CD entitled 'skacoustic' how fun was it to record acoustic versions of your songs? That was one of our most fun studio experiences in a long time, we have been playing the same versions of these songs for so long and it was fun to re-arrange them and give them different instrumentations and different feels than the usual. The 22 song "Skacoustic" album is now available on itunes for the first time.
We tried to do "Down in Flames" as a skacoustic track and it just didn't work out at all. there are about 10 other skacoustic song attempts that really sounded bad and that no one will ever hear!
So how did your tour go with Goldfinger, do you have any particular highlights from the tour that you would like to share with us? Our South American tour was fantastic! Awesome, Noisy, Rowdy crowds of Brazilians and Argentineans singing along and dancing their asses off! And we had 2 days off in Rio, I drank rum out of a coconut on the beach! Also, i played guitar for Goldfinger because Charlie was not able to join them on that tour. That was a lot of fun rocking out with those guys!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour and what should attending fans expect? We're very excited to get back to the UK, We're going to rock your knickers off!
Interview with Aaron Barrett
2011 has been an extremely busy year for Reel Big Fish, you've toured all over the world, with this in mind can you give us some of your personal highlights from your travels? Actually, this year hasn't been any busier than the past 15 years! We have been touring the world nonstop for a long time! We're very lucky to be able to do this as a job and we can't thank our fans enough for making that possible! We just love to play music for people and just about everywhere we go we get a warm welcome from RBF fans! Our tour with the Aquabats in early 2011 was definitely a highlight because we haven't toured with those guys since 1997 and it was awesome to see our old friends and play with one of our most favorite bands of all time!
Are you guys working on any new material at the moment? If so can you tell us how it is going, and maybe a little bit about the direction of the music? I've written a bunch of fast, fun, good old fashioned RBF ska songs and i'm hoping to get the guys together to start working on them in early January before we leave for our Europe tour.
How would you say the ska scene has changed (or stayed the same) in the UK since you first started coming here? It seems like the UK ska scene is still going strong, there are lots of great bands and many many many ska fans! We've always felt that the UK appreciates ska music more than anywhere else in the world!
How would you say UK fans differ from those in the USA? We definitely feel a lot of love from the UK audiences, they make us feel very welcome and always have! There is just a special feeling there that we really don't get anywhere else.
What do you want 2012 to do for Reel Big Fish? New album, more touring, and keep the ska party going all around the world!
“With their new album ‘No Sanctuary’ just released, and an upcoming UK tour with the huge Four Year Strong, these guys are of to a great start this year, if you love your pop punk, we strongly advise you give these guys your time, as they are fantastic!”
Interview with Marc What is the message that you are trying to bring with your new album 'No Sanctuary’? I’m not sure if there is a clear cut message exactly. Each song on the record has its own meaning, but there is a loose connection between all of them. We have been criticized that our last record was too dark. Although, some of the material may be sad or angry at points, I feel No Sanctuary is an uplifting record.
How did you get to the album title 'No Sanctuary' and what does it mean to you? No Sanctuary is taken from a line in one of the songs on the record. For me, No Sanctuary is about escape. Things in life can get you down. Everyone in this band has had life kick them in the ass in one way or another over the last couple of years. You realize that you can’t hide from it. You have to take shit head on. There is No Sanctuary.
Are there any events in particular that have been an influence to this record? Sure. Everything in our own personal lives, our collective band life, and the world around us reflects on each one of us as songwriters and musicians. It seems like we’ve each lost friends and family and been in and out of serious relationships since the last CD. Our long time drummer and friend Jack left our band. It all can be heard in one way or another through the music. I feel like the struggle for most touring bands is to allow yourself space and to not get hung up on the microcosm of tour life.
What bands have influenced you on this new record and why? All five of us are always listening to different stuff all the time. In one way or another it comes out in the songs. There are still the same pop punk band influences like Alkaline Trio, Saves, The Day, The Acceptance, on this record. At the time I was listening to a lot of big Rock bands like the Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Coldplay and older Pop/Rock like Peter Gabriel, Billy Joel, and Elvis Costello.
What was it like to record with Andrew Wade? How did he push you as a band? Wade was really great to work with for this record. We went in to the studio with a very specific idea in my mind for this record, and some of us were definitely a little apprehensive about working with him because we hadn’t met prior. He ended up being exactly what we needed. He had some ideas, but he didn’t push them too hard on us. Wade really helped us expand on the songs by pushing us as musicians. We had a lot of fun too. It was a good experience.
Also, what attracted you to choosing Andrew Wade to record with? Obviously, Wade has worked on some well known records, but that really didn’t matter to us. At the time we were trying to figure out who should record this, the label had mentioned Wade to us. We liked the quality of the recordings he had done previously, and we were excited to be out of our comfort zone. A lot of the recordings we have done in the past have been with people we already knew. It was good to be in Ocala, Florida where we didn’t know anyone. There weren’t any distractions and we really were able to focus on the task at hand.
How would you say your material has progressed since 'The Kids Can't Lose’? We recorded The Kids Can’t Lose in 2008. We all have matured as people and players a lot since that time. When we were recording that CD I think we were still feeling each other out musically, now we have a better idea of how each component works to make A Loss For Words what it is. The Kids Can’t Lose is a pretty solid pop punk record. No Sanctuary has more elements of Hard Rock, Grunge, and R&B than its predecessor. It is definitely the best music we have written thus far.
What can you tell us about your split EP with Such Gold, and how did this collaboration come together? Such Gold is one hell of an amazing band. We have done multiple tours with those guys and we have become close friends. I’m not sure how it came up to do a split, or whose idea it was, but we are really happy we could do a split with them. It is a collaboration between Mightier than Sword Records and No Sleep Records as well. Both those labels are doing really cool things. Such Gold kills it too. That song Backyard is incredible.
How excited are you for your UK tour with Four Year Strong, and what should attending fans expect? We couldn’t be more excited. Four Year Strong are our great friends. Our bands have been playing shows for so long in the New England area. It’s always great to play with them, but being able to share a stage with them in other countries is something else. We will definitely be playing a good amount of songs from No Sanctuary. Over the last three years we have been playing songs from The Kids Can’t Lose. All of us are just really excited to play some new songs. But don’t worry we’ll still be playing older songs too.
What do you want 2012 to do for A Loss For Words? I hope 2012 puts us in front of people who want to hear honest music and feel what we’re doing as a band. We spend so much energy each day for the 30 minutes we get to play on stage. It’s the most amazing feeling. Nothing compares to it. We are afforded this amazing opportunity to reach people, some we know, some we don’t. I just hope it continues and we don’t fuck it up. Ha Ha.
Interview with Jeremy
“If you were lucky enough to catch Touché Amoré at Hevy Interview with Jeremy Bolm Fest last year then you know that these guys are ones to watch out for in 2012. So pick up their album ‘Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me’ listen to it, then get yourselves down to one of their upcoming UK shows, trust us, these guys are ace!” So as 2011 ends, what would you say was the biggest challenge for your band and why? Planning the best ideas for 2012 as far as where to tour + what to write/release. You don't want to keep doing the same old things. Keeping things interesting and fresh is the way to go always.
At this point how would you say 'Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me' has been received by your fanbase? Yeah, it's gone over better than expected.
What were your goals when you went into the studio to record this new album, and how happy are you with the result? We wanted to challenge ourselves as much as possible. We've never worked with a real producer before so we were nervous to say the least. Ed Rose got the best performance we could muster out of us and we're forever grateful.
Can you tell us a bit about the lyrical content that runs throughout the new album? A lot of the record is about tour life in general. Dealing with being away from family/friends or any relationship in general.
In a kind of reference to the last question, but as a lot of your songs run between 1 and 2 minutes it is ever hard to get all the lyrical content in the songs that you want heard? I always write the words after all the music is written. I've always been a perfectionist/stresscase when it comes to writing in general. If anything I just consider it an extra challenge. But a song thats two minutes feels too long to me in general.
What song are you enjoying playing live of the newest album the most at the moment, and why? I enjoy certain songs for certain reasons. Overall I love playing "~" and "Amends" the most I would say. Lyrically I'm very attached to both and the crowd participation for each song is overwhelming.
How would you say you have progressed as a band since the release of '...To the Beat of a Dead Horse' ? We've gone through some member changes and as a unit we write a lot stronger. A lot more confidence I would say in what we do.
â€œWe wanted to challenge ourselves as much as possibleâ€? You guys played Hevy Fest in the UK last year, how was this whole experience for you? We had a great slot and we're able to play to a solid amount of kids. I was thankful we were semi-indoors (we played in a tent) as oppose to outside to the field. Unfortunately there was a large barrier and the gap between us and the crowd was chalked full of security and photographers which made the intimacy level drop as far as possible, but overall we still had a great time. Getting to play with friends bands from home when you're that far away from where you live is a really cool experience as swell. Hevy also had a great BBQ truck I was thankful for.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour and what should attending fans expect? We're looking forward to it for sure. We are playing some places we've never been before. I'm most excited to play Glasgow as my favorite band (Belle and Sebastian) are from there and I've always been fascinated with the music that comes from there (Camera Obscura, B&S, Arab Strap, etc). Fans should expect a loud and energetic set.
What can we expect to see from Touche Amore in 2012? We're hoping to do some interesting releases as well as a whole lot of touring!
“Since they were highlighted as ones to watch out for by many respected publications in 2011, Marmozets have since then built themselves a pretty awesome following whilst recording their new EP. Shortly they will be heading out on tour with Hyro Da Hero, but this tour will just be the start of a fantastic year for these upcomers!” So, what were your personal highlights from 2011, and why? Personal highlights were definitely getting the opportunity to play Hevy festival. Such a great but weird feeling; when you’re thinking about buying tickets to go to a festival to go see your favourite bands... then get told you’re playing! Pretty surreal for us. Also, writing new material, getting played on Daniel P Carter's Rock Show on Radio 1, Recording a live session in the Maida Vale studios for Radio 1 also and getting declared as 1 of 10 top unsigned bands in country by Kerrang! Magazine. Seems almost like some sort of odd dream really.
How happy are you with the response Passive Aggressive is getting so far from fans and critics? Completely over the moon with it. To get the reaction and the reviews we've been getting is unreal. We did not expect anything like that at all.
Why did you want to release your EP Passive Aggressive for free, and how well do you feel this has worked for the band so far? It only seemed fair to release it for free and try to create a bit of a buzz.
How are you adjusting to seeing your band appear in pretty much every alternative music publication out there? I mean this must be pretty cool or surreal maybe? The words cool and surreal sum it up nicely. It's hard to get your head around really!
Interview with Jack & Sam
What song are you enjoying playing live the most off Passive Aggressive at the moment and why? That's a hard one... The Perfect Beverage is always a fun song to play live, we get to go crazy.
Why should an unfamiliar reader check out your band? Because we'd love them to hear us play tasty beats.
How excited are you to be touring with Hyro Da Hero and what should attending fans expect? We can't wait, I think we all look at the tour dates 4 times a day and just think..."holy crackpipe" I mean the fact that Paul from ATDI & the Mars Volta plays in the band is awesome enough. They're two massive influences on our band. We've never done a full length tour either so it'll be a new experience also.
You guys have a new EP ready for the world to hear, with this in mind can you tell us how it is sounding and maybe a bit about the direction of the music? Weâ€™re dead excited about getting it out. Overall we much prefer it to Passive Aggressive and we feel we've developed a lot since that. We've really found our sound. It's overall heavier, mathier, crazier, disjointed and the songs are overall longer.
What does 2012 hold for Marmozets? If itâ€™s as good as 2011, were not complaining about anything. We can't wait to get touring the UK, to continue writing new material and meeting awesome dudes.
â€œDecade have recently received airplay on huge music channels such as Scuzz TV, now they are getting ready to release their new EP which was produced by the awesome Dan Lancaster (Lower Than Atlants). So prepare yourself, as Decade are about to take over!â€? So, what would you say was your biggest highlight from 2011 and why? Last year we did so many things that we never thought we would have the opportunity to do. We toured all over the UK with D.R.U.G.S, Forever The Sickest Kids and Set Your Goals, released two music videos along with a new single and played Sonisphere and Slam Dunk Festival. It it's hard to decide but my personal highlight was playing Hub Festival in Liverpool. It was the biggest crowd we've played to so far and for an unknown band we were blown away by the reaction we got.
As an upcoming band, what makes you stand out above the rest? We're pop punk at heart, but our music combines that and a British rock/hardcore edge. We think this makes for a pretty fresh sound and hopefully offers something for everyone.
We've read that you guys have five tracks recorded, can you tell us a bit about how these tracks are sounding, and maybe a bit about the direction of your new material? We're really happy with how the tracks are sounding and we can't wait to get them out there for people to hear. They're definitely a big progression from our older material. Our first EP and single had so many different influences that i think it was difficult to gauge what our actual sound was. Having spent the last year writing we were able to work out exactly which direction we wanted to head in and because of that I think we've achieved a much consistent and mature sound than before. Lost At Sea came out well over two years ago and we actually recorded The Doctor Called in early 2010, so we're really looking forward to showing everyone how we've developed musically since then.
Can you tell us about the recording process behind your new material? For this EP we chose to record with Dan Lancaster, who we knew from his work with Lower Than Atlantis and Don Broco. It was recorded at his studio in Hatfield back in November and took five days. Having used the same producer for our first EP and single it was good to work with someone new. Dan has a very natural style which suited us perfectly.
Interview with Harry How fun was shooting the video for 'Never Enough' ? I mean can you tell us a bit about where it was done, and maybe what you want the video to illustrate to your fans? The location for the video was Bourne Wood just outside of Farnham, which is well known for its use in TV and film. The video itself was shot by our good friends Rich Dimery from Sick Guy Films and Jordan Green. There's more of a relaxed atmosphere when you're working with people you know. Obviously you spend more time messing about but it's a lot easier to bounce ideas off each other and to tell each other what you think works and what doesn't.
How happy are you with the support your music video for ‘The Doctor Called (Turns Out I’m Sick As Fuck)’ has received, I mean it's been on Scuzz TV right? That must of been a bit surreal? It's been pretty insane! Scuzz played it a lot during the first few weeks and the reaction we received was awesome. It definitely introduced our band to a lot of people who wouldn't have found out about us otherwise. When I was younger I discovered most bands by watching their videos on music channels, so i think it's a really good way to gain new fans. It's really, really weird seeing yourself on TV though.
How excited are you for your UK tour in February, and what should attending fans expect? We can't wait. We're heading out on our own this time, so it'll be cool playing with different bands each night. We'll be playing a mixture of old and new songs, so it'll be a great an opportunity to introduce the newer material to people, as well as playing the old stuff they've paid good money to come and hear.
What do you want 2012 to do for Decade? Hopefully the release of the new single, video and EP will kick start our year and draw in a lot of new fans so we can carry on growing as a band. We're not looking to get big quick or anything, so if that enabled us to carry on touring, meet new people and visit new places then we'll be stoked.
â€œThe Getaway Plan have been around since 2004 creating a huge following in their home country of Australia, now in 2012 they are ready to take on the world, read on to discover a fantastic new band to start of your year!â€?
What can you tell us about 'Requiem' ?
Interview with Clint Ellis
So how has it been writing and recording together again after your hiatus? It was a lot different this time around. I was on tour with Amity for most of it, so we didn't get to jam as a full band as much, it was mostly done on computers and sent back and forth but it still worked really well. It wasn't until we got to Toronto where we got to jam the songs as a band, and everything just fell into place really well.
I couldn't pin point any direct themes or influences as we were all doing such different projects during our time off, but we just wanted to make it as big as possible. Dave Botrill was great with that, every idea we had whether it was getting a gospel choir or some french horns, he managed to accomodate all of those ideas.
How did you get to the album title 'Requiem' and what do you want it to illustrate to your fans? Well it basically means a celebration of the dead, and that's pretty much what the album is. When we broke up, it was the worst feeling ever, but in retrospect it turned out to be the best thing we could of done. So the album is a celebration of that.
What was your biggest challenge behind the creation of 'Requiem' and why? My biggest challenge was just getting all of my parts written in time. During the writing process I was overseas touring so I didn't have as much time as the others to prepare myself. On top of that I had to leave Canada after pre production to do my last tour with Amity, and then fly back straight after that to start tracking my parts. There were alot of late nights, but I think the pressure pushed me to really think about what I wanted to play.
How happy are you with the response this album has been getting from fans and critics? I am so grateful, the feedback from fans has been both uplifting and inspiring. Just to know that people enjoy the album as much as we do creates this instant connection that we can definitely feel whether we're on stage playing or just doing a meet and greet.
At the moment, what new song are you guys enjoying performing live the most at the moment and why? How would you say this album compares to 'Other Voices, Other Rooms' ? The main difference I would say is it's just a much bigger album. There are so many layers that we put into these songs, and it just creates a much wider soundscape. On Other Voices we didn't have as many resources to get sounds and ideas we wanted, but there was no holding back on Requiem.
What was it like to work with David Bottrill, and how does he push you as musicians? It was incredible! He is such an amazing producer as well as just a great human. Everything he said and every idea he had, was just so inspiring and refreshing it felt like we had a 5th member in the band. It truly was the best musical experience I've had in my life.
I would say Heartstone. It's my favourite song on the album, and playing that outro live is one of the greatest feelings I've ever had holding a guitar.
Can you tell us a little bit about the side projects you guys got up to in this hiatus? I was involved in alot of projects, but the main one was The Amity Affliction. I got to write an album with those guys and tour the world and it was an incredible experience. I'm so grateful for the oppurtunity those guys gave me, and we're still all great friends.
What do you want 2012 to do for The Getaway Plan? More and more shows! I enjoyed the last tour so much, I just want to play as many shows as possible and hopefully get something started overseas, that would be splendid!
We read that Art was in two car accidents, can you tell us how these incidents related to part of Audio Karate coming back together to be a band again? Well it became the catalyst that's for sure. I had basically given up music I had a good job I was content to leave music behind. But when I had my first accident I realized how quickly life could be taken away from you. It also hit me, literally, that I wasn't completely happy and music was the thing missing. Plus I worked for a bank so I was sick of being a corporate whore
Why did you decide to change the name to Indian School, and what do you want this new name to mean to fans of the band? Changing the name was tough because the nucleus of Indian School is Audio Karate. But for us and hopefully for fans its a new start, a new sound. Audio Karate released its last record in 2004 it seemed silly to me to take on a name [audiokarate] that felt languished.
We hear you have a keyboard player in the band now? Can you tell us about how this new member came in? I wish it was a far more interesting story but the truth is I simply found a musicians advert on a website and our piano players influences were actually bands we had played with and that were friends of ours.
What can you tell us about your latest EP 'The Cruelest Kind' ? Well it took quite a while to finish, almost a year. And we recorded the record ourselves with our guitarist Leach doing the engineering. When it came to lyrics I employed the help of one of my buddies Joshua Mitchell to co-write. Most of the songs are about girls which I've always been inspired by, everything from the really great ones, to the broken ones. There's a song about dying and also Rob your House is about the greeds on Wall Street and how we got fucked over.
Interview with Arturo Barrios
â€œIf you love about to re Indian Sch some sligh name. The also ready them out, a out for in 2
You recently did a split release with Science Fiction Theater to promote your song Elvis, can you tell us a bit about how this collaboration came together? Well Mike Jimenez who sings for SFT is the drummer for Rufio who audio karate toured with. Plus we're from the same part of Southern California. So when I decided to start writing music again I started doing so by collaborating with Mike on some songs. It's also the way we met Shawn Sullivan who ended up mixing our record.
What was it like to record with Shawn Sullivan? How did he contribute to the creation of your latest EP? He brought it all together, the feel and sound of it. We actually re-recorded some guitars and vocals with him. I'm pretty sure he's a madman but he might be a genius.
What was it like to work on a release together as a band again? As it's been a while since you guys worked on a full album together? Its like the old adage about never forgetting to ride a bicycle. It didn't feel strange or difficult.
Are you guys working on a new album to follow this? If so how is that coming along? We're gonna release this EP in February on Walnut Tree records and go from there. We do have an albums worth of material so when the time comes we’ll be ready
How did you guys end up on Walnut Tree Records, and how excited are you to have your EP come out here in the UK? Tom from the label approached us, he had seen audio karate play in London years back and had heard about Indian School. We're very excited we've always been well received in the UK so it makes perfect sense that we d release this in the UK first.
What do you want 2012 to do for Indian School? I'm trying not to think to much about this year and what's gonna happen. I just wanted to create music again and I've done that so if it all ended for us tomorrow Id actually be ok with it.....until the next car accident of course!
e Audio Karate then what you are ead will please you very much! ool is the same band (well with t line up changes) with a new eir new EP ‘The Cruelest Kind’ is for the world to hear! Check as Indian School are ones to look 012!”
Interview with Liam Collins
How did your album launch go? Was it cool to play songs that you maybe have not played before? Yeah it was really good! We wanted to make sure we played through the whole album, including the weird ambient intro track! So it was nice to give some rare songs an airing.
What song are you enjoying performing off the new album the most at the moment and why? The thing is, we’ve been playing most of these songs for the last couple of years. So the few that we don’t normally play like ‘The fight For the Queen’ have been real fun. Also, I’ve just started adding electric guitar to the live set and get to play slide on ‘TFFTQ’ so we’re starting to expand our sound a fair bit too. Other songs like ‘Sunrise’ are always pretty epic live and always fun.
The video for 3AM was really cool, who came up with the idea, and what did you want it to illustrate to your fans? We sat down with Keri Collins - our director – and just had a brainstorming session. It was originally going to be more of a take on an 80s action film, with us all starring as terribly named (and dressed) heros. There was Sylvester Trombone, Arnie Black n’ Decker, Steven Seagull etc. Actually, he was my favourite as he was always going to carry a Seagull around on his shoulder. That would have been fun. Ah well, there’s always the next single ay?
What was the recording process like for Wash Away These Nights? Long. We started recording it straight after Hounds of Justice (June 2010) so it’s only taken a year and a half. This was because we were recording in 3 hour sessions every Thursday night. It takes a while to get going and warmed up each week and by the time you’re into it, it’s time to call it a night! But recording with Luc Prosser (producer) was really good, he’s a real funny guy with the same sense of humour as us and it made the sessions much more fun.
How did you get to the album title Wash Away These Nights? It’s a line taken from the album closer, ‘Sunrise’. It pretty much sums up the album’s content.
What can you tell us about the lyrical content or maybe just the general album themes on Wash Away These Nights? Well, we’ve got a few different themes running through it. A lot of it deals with getting out and breaking free. So if you’re in a situation in your life you’re not happy with, whether it’s work, love, music or whatever then just pick up your pots and pans and head for the exit door. We’ve also got a song about Queen Elizabeth II on there, just for the craic.
How would you say you have progressed as a band since the release of Hounds Of Justice? Well our sound has got a lot bigger now, like I was saying earlier. We’ve introduced electric guitar, lots of percussion and everyone’s singing a lot more.
So what do you want 2012 to do for Rusty Shackle? We’re hoping to continue our evolution until we finally reach the pinnacle and become a barbershop quintet. We’re going to call ourselves ‘Steve Staunton’s Lugubrious Tones.’
Interview with Joel Can you tell us a bit about the formation of Flights? Adam (drums) and Joe (guitar, vocals) had been in bands together since they were in school. I'd seen them play quite a bit as we all lived in the same town, and my old band would play the same shows so we all knew each other. Adam and I started talking about forming a new band together as we had similar tastes in music. Joe met Dean (bass) at uni and it all just came together from there really. It was great timing because I got a call from my friend after our first practice asking if I wanted to head to Abbey Road for a day of free recording! At this point we barely had written anything but we were up for it and (after frantically pulling a song together) we went into the studios the next weekend to record a very early version of 'Stitched to the Bone'. We all had such a good time that we decided to keep going and the rest is history.
So, For an unfamiliar reader can you describe what you sound like? Hmm â€“ we get described as 'Progressive Rock' which I suppose we are in a way. I guess that's a term that gets thrown at most bands that play around with time signatures and structure, but we don't really think in terms of genres. We have guitars, drums and bass, big riffy bits, pretty delicate bits, some big, uplifting harmonies and some dark, sparse melodies.
Are there any particular bands that have influenced your sound since you've begun? There are a few bands that we're all collectively fans of (yourcodenameis:milo, Radiohead, Dillinger Escape Plan and Oceansize to name a few) and they all have an influence on us. I think we're lucky because everyone has an input in the writing process, and everyone brings their own personal ideas and preferences. Adam likes stuff like The Chariot and Dean loves Lou Reed - it all goes into the mixing pot. There are some bands we've all been listening to recently: Vessels, Three Trapped Tigers, The Joy Formidable, And So I Watch You From Afar and Young Legionnaire. I don't think it directly influences us but we definitely get inspired through hearing new music.
What are the themes and influences that run through your latest self titled mini album? That's a good question. When we started writing songs we didn’t really have any plans to string re-occurring themes through the record but there are a few stylistic elements that form a definite part of our sound. The use of choral harmonies and dynamic shifts are good examples. Lyrically all of the songs use a lot of imagery to convey certain atmospheres and scenes. Joe and I would often sit and write the lyrics together and I think it was born out of that collaboration. For instance - ‘Judge’ was inspired by the book 'Watchmen'. Joe and I had both been watching ‘The Wire’ too which definitely had an influence. Stuff like that just seems to find its way into whatever we’re working on at the time.
What was it like recording in the legendary Outhouse Studios? We had an amazing time and met some really nice people. There was a bit of an adjustment period because they have a very set way of working and it was different from other studios that we'd been to in the past. It was good to feel like the project was completely in control but we underestimated how long we'd need timewise. It meant that there were a few stressful moments towards the end where we were up against it! It was great to meet James (Billinge) who recorded and mixed the EP, he was a really great influence and completely understood what we wanted to achieve.
How come you guys wanted this album to be a self titled entitled release? Purely because we couldn't think of a more appropriate name that wasn't really cheesy! As it was our first release we wanted something that would be indicative of us. The idea of the EP was to show people what we're about – we didn't want to release a record with 6 songs that all sound the same. There are various different sides to the band and we wanted to include all of them. When we started to think about names it became difficult to find something that reflected that. In the end we thought that a self titled approach would be the best solution.
How happy are you with the response the album is getting so far from fans and critics? Yeah it's been awesome. We were all really proud of the EP when we finished recording it but I don't think any of us thought it would do this well. The reaction from critics has been really nice but the fans reaction has been unbelievable. It's amazing to hear from people who we've never met saying that they're huge fans of the record, and it's a really humbling feeling to know that people are behind us and enjoy hearing what we've written.
How did your recent tour go with The Perfect Crime? Are there any particular highlights you would like to share with us? This is a really boring answer but every date on the tour was so much fun and a highlight in itself. It's brilliant being able to go to new towns every night and meet new people. TPC are great guys and it's nice when you get to watch a band you genuinely love every night. Their crew were all awesome too. There were a few funny stories but mainly it was just cool to hang out with ace people and play shows.
What can we expect to see from you in 2012? Well we just put out Carol Of The Bells as a Christmas download. The plan now is to spend the next couple of months demoing and finishing off songs for our début album. We're also looking at heading out on tour again soon. There are some other things that we're really excited about but we can't talk about them yet!
Can you tell us how you got into composing in the first place? Was there maybe a moment when you decided that composing is what you wanted to do with your life? I think the writing thing just followed from learning to play guitar. I think I was eleven or twelve. As soon as I'd learned a few chords and could play a few songs I wanted to write my own. I was into the Beatles at the time so everything I wrote sounded suspiciously like something off Revolver. Only shit. The film composing didn't happen until I was in my twenties. It was a little British indie and their music budget was 500 quid or something ridiculous. They originally asked me to write the songs, but when they couldn't get a proper composer to write the score for nothing they asked could I do that as well. I lied and said yeah. I didn't have a clue what I was doing but I thought it was the coolest thing in the world and wanted to do it again. So that was the moment I suppose.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was one of your first major film projects, so with this in mind how did you feel at the time and what are your memories when you look back at that time now? I hadn't really done that many films when I was sent this 200 page script with the worst title I had ever heard in my life. I usually hate reading scripts but it sounded like a spaghetti western so I read it. It was the coolest funniest script I'd ever read. So I got a meeting with Guy and Matthew and told them I would demo the whole score on spec if I had to. They had nothing to lose so they let me have a go and it ended up being one of the easiest films I've had to do. Guy played me a few tracks that he liked the vibe and the sound of and then he basically left me to it. If he didn't like something I'd try something different. If he liked it it went straight into the film as it was - no changes or re-workings. So the entire Lock Stock score is just a load of rough-arsed demos really. I think that probably ended up being part of the charm.
Who are your musical influences as a composer? I'm a bit of a schizophrenic with music but in terms of film music it would have to be Ennio Morricone. Even now, when I hear the theme from A Fistful of Dollars I think "Fuck, I wish I'd written that." After that I'd say Bernard Herrmann, Nina Rota and John Barry. Even though they were great orchestrators, it was always about the theme you know… the theme was everything. And they could nail it in seven notes or less. Listen to Nina Rota's Godfather theme, or Morricone's theme from Once Upon a Time In America… there's more heart and depth in there than 99% of film music you hear coming out of Hollywood nowadays. They're what I call film composers. Outside of film music my biggest influence has probably been Lennon. No matter what different things I've gotten into over the years he has always been lurking there somewhere.
What does a typical day at work hold for you? It depends where I'm at on the film and how behind schedule I am. Usually I'll be on it by 10am and I'll work in one or two hour blasts with short breaks in between. Around 10pm I'll have a few beers and then slam it till about 3 or 4am. I usually get more done through the night because people aren't interrupting me asking where the music is. If it's getting near to the dub date then I might have to do two shifts a day, sleeping a few hours in between each one. It doesn't matter whether you've got two months or two weeks to do it. It still hijacks your life until it's over.
When you start work on a film or TV project as a composer do you have a certain basic structure to follow, or is it maybe a case of the client showing you what they want to accompany their project? You have to have a plan or a system or you're gonna be in trouble very quickly. Every film composer has their own way of doing things but the road map is basically the same. As to who decides how the music is going to be, it depends who you're working with. When I did Liam with Stephen Frears all he said was "Trust your heart and I'll tell you if I like it or not." Which was superb. With Danny Boyle, we'd talk for ages about the film and the characters and all the submerged or metaphysical stuff… but he'd never ever say 'this has to be on strings', or 'this has to sound like this track'. He'd leave me to figure that stuff out. But then you get directors like Michael Mann on Miami Vice who have very definite ideas of what the music should be before you even start - sometimes before they've even cut the film. Every director is different and no two films are the same.
On 'The Surface Of The Sun' the suspense in the song is fantastic, so with this in mind how do you go about creating the suspense in music? I mean how challenging is this to achieve? It's hard to explain and I don't know myself half of the time. I never had any formal training, in fact I still can't read music, so a lot of it is intuitive. I hate formulaic scores so I usually try to feel my way through it as much as I can. On 28 Days Later Danny said "forget what's gone before and do your own thing". And the score ended up being a kind of negative image of what a 'zombie film score' is supposed to be - the quiet thoughtful scenes had music, and most of the crazy violent scenes were left without music. For whatever reason it just felt right. But it's always a challenge. Even now it doesn't come easy.
When you've finished creating the music, and you watch the film for the first time does it ever feel weird or surreal? Yeah it does. Especially if it's in a cinema with a real audience. You've put all this energy into trying to figure out ways to manipulate the emotions of an audience, because that's what film composers do, and then suddenly you're sitting in a big darkened room with a load of strangers and you're about to find out if you succeeded or failed. It is a bit weird to be honest.
You've worked on a handful of Danny Boyle films, with this in mind what attracts you to his work so much? Danny's a very visceral filmmaker and I think this shows more than anything in his films. And he's brave. As long as it feels right, even if it's not what he expected, he'll be up for it. Like the slow grungy guitar crescendo at the end of 28 Days Laterâ€Ś I wouldn't have had the confidence to play that to any other other director but I knew he'd get it straight away. He'll always want do something more original even if it makes the film flawed in another way. I love that.
How fun was it to do the soundtrack for Sunshine? As the film was set in space were there any kind of guidelines or inspirations you followed when creating the soundtrack? Some films are fun and some films are rewarding. Sunshine definitely falls into the 'rewarding' category. I'd just crawled my way to the end of Miami Vice, I had pneumonia, and I had to start Sunshine straight away. I was fucked but I still was up for it. Plus there's something about space that composers have always been drawn to and I couldn't wait to do something I'd never done before. But it was definitely more of a labour of love than a fun time. There were no guidelines on Sunshine and it was visually such a beautiful film that I never felt I needed any other inspirations. Just the usual go with your gut and see what happens.
As well as Sunshine you worked on the fantastic 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, what was this experience like? I mean is creating music for an apocalyptic type atmosphere a challenge? 28 Days was a blast. When Danny first rang me up he said "I'm doing this kind of zombie home movie. No one cares about it so we'll be able to do what we want." That was how he sold it to me and that's exactly what we did. We knew from the off that we weren't interested in doing any kind of typical 'zombie score'. So we had a laugh trying out all these mad ideas. At one point we decided to actually have no score whatsoever and just have thousands of tiny bits of fucked up lo-fi musical detritus just floating in and out of the film randomly. It was fantastic. But it made the film one of the bleakest things we'd ever watched. Then we realized that maybe we do need actual music after all. But it was great to push the boat out and see what happened. So yeah it's a challenge but it's the kind of challenge you want. I think I'm a liability on a lot of types of films but I feel at home with the darker or more apocalyptic stuff. It's a much deeper well to draw from.
You also composed on The Last House on the Left in recent years, so what does it take to create that perfect scare scene in a film? I think with any kind of emotive hit it's all about the build up to it. How you get there. That's why I love long slow crescendos so much. You can eke out the tension inch by inch without the audience feeling like you're pressing buttons. You can kind of creep up on them you know? And silence is hugely important. You can often have more of an effect by stopping the music in just the right place than you ever could by any musical shift or turn. I'm sure there's a formula somewhere but I've never worked it out. I work on the basis of if it scares me then i'm doing something right. If it doesn't, then I'm not.
Also, with The Last House on the Left did you ever look to the original film for inspiration or did you want to do something fresh and new yourself? To be honest, I loved what David Hess did on the original. It's out of it's mind. Totally surreal for a film that was that disturbing and shocking. But Dennis' film was a very different film so the score had to be very different to the original. So I tried to deal with the horror in more of a melodic, less Hollywood way. More European I supposeâ€Ś adding sadness or beauty to the horror rather than just underpinning it with 'scary music'. When you get it right juxtaposition has much more of a deeper effect I think. Especially with the darker stuff.
What was it like to work on Kick-Ass? Also what scene did you enjoy working on the most and why? Kick-Ass was insane but I loved the film and it was good to work with Matthew again. There were already three composers on it before I came on so I wasn't sure how much I'd be doing. But I got to do about about 35 scenes which was cool. And Matt's a one off. He's very edgy and a perfectionist at the same time. He'll want you to go at it no holds barred but then he'll dissect every note afterwards. So the first half of the process is great and the second half is like pulling teeth. But he knows what he's doing and he's got a great style so you go with it. We've known each other since Lock Stock and Snatch, which he produced, so we knew how to deal with each other and get it all done. I think my favourite scene to work on was the end scene where Kick-Ass picks up Hit Girl and they jet pack away through the sky scrapers into the sunset. It's so over the top and comic book it makes me laugh every time I see it. Plus it was one of the scenes I did with Henry Jackman so it was cool to be writing with someone else for a change. Henry did the posh orchestral stuff and I did the noisy thrashy section. No surprise there then.
What is the hardest thing about writing to an image from a film? Is it maybe just hard sometimes to create music for a certain character or a certain scene? Not really. The hardest part of writing for film is the timeframe. When you have maybe thirty days to write 40 or 50 scenes, and record and mix them, and have playbacks every few days for the director or the studio, you're not left with a lot of time to sit around and wait till something pops into your head. You can't just sit there and wait for inspiration to happen. There's just no time. You have to force it. The music is the last thing to go on a film so when the final film mix date is set you have to be ready or the film isn't coming out. So you're constantly abusing the creative process and usually running with your first ideas. That to me is by far the hardest part. The actual writing is the easiest part.
What can we expect to see from you in 2012? I realized last year that I was starting to burn out and I needed a break from movies for a bit. So after Kick-Ass I decided to put the brakes on and do some of my own stuff for a while. So I've spent most of this year working on three album ideas that I'm releasing on my own label, Distorter Records. The first one is out in April and is called 'Anonymous Rejected Filmscore'. 'Ano' for short. Somehow, I've only ever had one score thrown out, but it just happened to be one of the more original ones and I was gutted. So I thought fuck it, just finish it and put it out yourself. And even though it was originally a film score, being able to suddenly do what I wanted with the tracks and not have to answer to anyone was very liberating and cathartic. It made me want to write music again. So maybe after I've gotten these albums out of my system I might continue to do both things. It's all music at the end of the day.
Dom Joly is in short an absolute legend, most of us first remember him when he was in the show Trigger Happy TV which was a massive success here in the UK. More recently he was in the show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Outta Here, but for those who don’t know Dom also likes to write his own books as well as writing for various newspapers, so read on to discover the busy life of
So, how did your 'Welcome to Wherever I Am' tour go? Are there any particular highlights from the tour that you would like to share with us? Having never done anything live before it was incredibly stressful but, ultimately really good fun once I got the hang of it. The highlight for me was probably physically throwing out a drunk who was sitting in the front row constantly interrupting me. As the shows went on I enjoyed getting more experimental, so I used to sit on stage drinking and listening to music while the audience came in, which freaked them out a bit. I also had a big bit at the end where I would sell stones at half-time and then people could throw them at me.
This was your first ever time on a stage right? So how was this experience for you? Weirdly, I've always had a bit of a phobia of public speaking- I can attack people dressed as a squirrel or travel to war zones but, public speaking freaked me out, so I decided to face it…big style…70 nights on the trot…it's fair to say I've got better.
What were the subjects or plans for your live shows then? It was a kind of retrospective of my curious career so far. It all stemmed from someone asking my kid whether their dad was "Domjoly" and she came back and asked me- "dad, what is Domjoly?" It was a good question as I've done so much weirdness in the last fifteen years, so I tried to explain how it all made sense to me.
What part of creating this live show would you say was the hardest for you? The hardest part for me was choosing clips to show. There were so many that I wanted to use and had to cut loads as it was way too long.
You are currently working on your follow up to 'The Dark Tourist' entitled 'Scary Monsters and Super Creeps' which is about Yeti and Bigfoot right? Can you tell us how this is going and what else we can expect from the book? So far I have gone after "Ogopogo" which is Canada's Loch ness Monster and also Bigfoot in Northern California. It's just a great idea for a cool travel book- I'm going after the "big six" of Cryptozoology with an open mind and see what trouble I can get into. I've already been chased by lady redneck with crowbars and crashed my car miles from nowhere up a mountain and had to hike out through "weed' country.
Because of your work at The Sunday Times and various other papers, you've travelled to places all over the world, can you tell us out of all the places you have been, where would you say you had the worst experience as a tourist and why? Well…as a 'tourist" worst places are hideous things like Disneyland or a Sandals resort- this is my idea of hell. The most curious place I've been is definitely North Korea- like Disneyland on Acid- totally cut off from outside world, fits every wildest depiction of "big Brother" type government- insane…and brilliant at the same time.
Last year you were involved in 'I'm A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here' with this in mind can you tell us what made you want to do such an interesting project, I mean what were your thoughts when they first asked you to do the show? They always ask me as I think they knew I was a fan of the show but last year I suddenly thought- fuck it, why not? Everyone I knew said "don't do it" but I'm very contrary and just thought, "when would I ever get the chance to do something like that?" I genuinely didn't do it for the money or the "celeb" status- I just like doing weird things, and this was very weird. I get asked on all these types of shows all the time and I wouldn't do another one- I loved every second of it
So, What were your personal highlights from when you were in 'I'm A Celebrity.. Get Me Out Of Here' ? Meeting Shaun Ryder and Jenny Éclair. I love them both and Jenny and I are now really good buddies and I see Shaun as often as I can. I also slightly fell in love with Stacey so I'm so chuffed she is doing well although, personally speaking, I couldn't imagine a fate worse than having to advertise Iceland or bring out your own scent but, each to their own.
Also, can you give us some of the worst memories from being on the show? Worst memories was the feeling of loss of control and the weather. You quickly became aware of how hostages feel and how just fucking with tiny bits of your routine really freaks you out. It's amazing how quickly you adapt to something like the camp and so when they move you from it, it freaks you out. Also our weather was so bad- it rained all the time which really got you down.
We've read that you have started work on a movie style follow up to 'Trigger Happy TV' called 'War of The Flea' in the USA, can you tell us how this is going, or if you have not started filming just yet, can you tell us what ideas you have planned? Sam Cadman and I have signed a deal for "War of The Flea" but we don't know when we will start filming- it's a huge, epic hidden camera movie in the States, using flash-mobs and Grizzly bears and invasion flotillas but…I've said too much already.
This question is going back a bit now, but can you tell us how the 'Trigger Happy TV' show started? I mean, where did the idea come from, and how did you get it on to TV? I got a job for Paramount Comedy Channel after being a political reporter and a diplomat- I started making little three minute clips of stuff and they would start to put them in between their main shows- Channel 4 saw them and hey-ho. All sorts of people were working there back then- Leigh Francis, Sasha Baron Cohen, Some of Peep Show, The Little Britain guys, Simon Pegg….
Can you tell us one or two of your funniest moments from doing the 'Trigger Happy TV' show? They were all really private moments that you never saw- we used to call them "For The Beauty" moments as we didn't film them it just made us laugh. We worked near Capital Radio and Tony Blackburn would walk past every morning at exactly the same time. We would get his autograph every day on weird objects like a melon, or a stuffed rat- it became a ritual and he never noticed that we were the same people - I have a huge collection. Trigger Happy worked because it was just Sam and me trying to make each other laugh.
Did you ever get people that were genuinely really annoyed with your pranks? I mean what do you do in those situations? Not really. I developed a really good radar for these sort of things and could spot an axe murderer from a hundred feet away. Also, I was never trying to piss anyone else, just make them put up with an idiot. If they got genuinely angry then I wasn't doing my job right.
What else can we expect to see from Dom Joly in 2012 then? Potentially a very exciting big new TV show- very different sort of hybrid reality/comedy that I'm very excited about- it was my idea and people love it/ Also a possible new hidden camera show, my Scary Monsters Book, I'm starting a new Podcast and, of course, there's the Movie…. Happy days..
“It's a huge, epic hidden camera movie in the States, using flashmobs and Grizzly bears and invasion flotillas but…I've said too much already”
â€œJason Graves is a fantastic composer, he has done work on huge games such as Dead Space, Dead Space 2 as well as Command & Conquer 4. We were lucky enough to catch up with him to find out exactly how intense the life of a games composer can be!â€? Can you tell us a bit about how you got into composing in the first place? It seems like I was always banging on pots or plinking away at the piano growing up. I started on the drums in middle school and by high school was taking lessons for piano, drums and vibraphone. I think there's a natural extension that goes from practicing and practicing on your instrument to just experimenting with it and making things up. By the end of high school I realized I was having a lot more fun making up my own music!
What was your first major bit of work as a composer, and can you tell us about this experience and how you felt at the time? The first time I really got to hear my music performed by an entire orchestra was one of those eureka moments. It wasn't really a "major" piece - I was still a student at the University of Southern California. But it was my first full orchestra piece and I got to conduct it myself. All those musicians playing together, hearing it live right in front of you...it's like the best sounding sound system in the world! It's still my favorite part of composing and it all started with that first piece in 1996.
So, as a composer, what does a typical day at work hold for you? I usually start by deciding the night before which game and specific cue I'm going to work on the next day. I've found I work best if I focus on only one game each day to prevent "genre whiplash" halfway through the day. I start fairly early, anytime between 5 and 7am, and take a few breaks through the day to eat. I'm usually uploading the final stems to the developer's FTP by 5 or 5:30. I don't work nights or weekends unless absolutely necessary. I've learned I'm much more productive with that essential bit of time to recoup and recharge.
When you are creating music to games like Dead Space, Dungeon Siege III or Command and Conquer, is there a particular formala that you stick to for each piece once you start composing? Or do you literally improvise to the visuals you are given from the game? Each piece is quite different, so there's really no set formula, other than I usually compose the entire cue for the strings first, then fill in the brass and woodwinds. I save the percussion and drums for last, using them as the added "spice" on top of the rest of the score. Any visual references are definitely the impetus behind the music.
You've composed for both Dead Space and Dead Space 2, so with that in mind which project would you say was more of a challenge to you and why? Wow, hard to say! They both presented such unique challenges. The original Dead Space was simply a monster of a score to produce, mostly because I was venturing into new territory and trying some really unusual things with the orchestra that hadn't really been done in games before. The biggest challenge of Dead Space 2 was to produce a new score that emotionally felt like the next step of the journey for the player. I wanted to be sure and keep the vibe of the original while moving the overall sound into a different direction.
After achieving such great success with the first Dead Space soundtrack, did you ever feel any pressure when creating the second? Absolutely! First of all, there's always the usual pressure I put myself under just to make the score sound as good as I possibly can. Honestly, that would have been enough for me! But on top of that, I was very focused on not disappointing the fans of the original game. I wanted them to be able to listen to the music from Dead Space 2 and think, "Ok, yeah, that definitely has that Dead Space sound to it."
What does it take to make the perfect scare scene in a game? I mean how do you go about composing such crafted work? It's really not about the music composition as much as it's about the music implementation. Sure, it helps considerably if the music fits the mood and emotion of the scene, but even the best music would fall flat if it were implemented poorly. That's the main reason the music to the Dead Space series works so well in the games - it's all about the brilliant implementation that the audio team at EA Redwood Shores did. I can't thank them enough!
You've composed for various other scary games like Aliens, Blacksite: Area 51, F.E.A.R. 3 and Prey 2. With this in mind, what is it that attracts you to working on these type of intense soundtracks? I don't necessarily hand-pick my projects. Most of the time they pick me! And honestly, I'm pretty convinced my last name isn't making my prospective jobs any less dark or scary, either. But seriously, a big part of this dark streak I'm currently on is a simple matter of public awareness of whatever my last few jobs were. "Hey, we need a dark, original sounding score for our game. Dead Space had a dark, original sounding score. Let's get Jason to compose one for us, too!" What's really nice about games is even though I may be brought on to a project because of something I did for Dead Space, no one has asked me to duplicate that score again. The biggest thing game developers want for their project is originality, and the more unique and memorable I can make the music for their game the happier they are. And the happier I am, quite frankly. It was the utter lack of creative freedom and originality that caused me to leave Los Angeles twelve years ago. Ever since I started composing for games I've never looked back!
What was it like to win two BAFTA awards (as well as a couple of other awards!) for your work on Dead Space? Many emotions were coursing through my body all at the same time - disbelief, shock, elation...to say it was an out of body experience would be an understatement! It was truly wonderful and something I'll never forget.
As you work on games rather a lot, do you ever turn to films as inspiration for your work? Actually, since my background was originally in music for film and television, you could say I am constantly inspired by films. Not any specific films or film music composers, per se. It's more like the idea of film music, the inherent structure, the way it ebbs and flows with action on screen and can tell a story on its own divorced from the picture. That's the kind of emotional roller coaster ride I'm aiming for in my music, even if all I'm asked to compose is two minutes of high intensity combat music. I like to build it up, pause, drop the bottom out from under it, swell back in and change gears into a new section. It's all about the tension and release! I feel like the tension can be that much MORE tense if there's something to contrast it with. It's just more interesting with the gameplay, otherwise your brain just turns it off and ignores it because it's this constant barrage of high-intensity sound that never stops.
What would you say are the main differences between composing for film as to composing for video games? Music for games needs to be able to adapt and change to the gameplay at a moment's notice, so you have to approach game music composition completely differently than music for film. Another huge difference is simply the amount of music that needs to be written. Most films may have sixty to ninety minutes of music. Most games have ten to twelve hours of gameplay and most of that will have music underneath it.
What do you have planned for 2012? I just finished building a new studio from the ground up, which is culmination of almost four years of planning and construction. I moved in a month ago and look forward to really breaking it in! 2012 is proving to be my busiest year yet. It also marks a decade of game music and more than eighty titles under my belt. I'm looking forward to the next ten years!
Interview with David Gamage
So can you tell us about the creation of Engineer Records? It’s been a labour of love all along. I was working on a few projects, mainly Scene Police Records with a couple of friends, but also bands, a zine and some gig promotion too. I wanted to do more so set up Engineer Records. It was originally called Ignition Records actually, but about two years in we ran into some hassles with Oasis management company as they are called Ignition. We didn’t really need the legal hassles so after some arguments changed the name to Engineer. It’s been that way since and everyone involved is either in a band themselves or has been. They all know the score and what needs to be done to help our label acts. They’ve all seen it from both sides. But as i said, it’s always been a passion of mine, the alternative music scene, working with like-minded positive people. Creating as well as consuming. We started out with releases for friends bands and bands we had toured with - Hot Water Music, Hunter Gatherer, Rydell, Elemae, San Geronimo, Chamberlain, Joshua, Babies Three, Planes Mistaken For Stars, etc. A pretty good start, and we just developed it from there.
How did you get to the simple yet effective title of Engineer Records? Well, kinda just came up with it when we had to, as mentioned above. It was actually our second choice but we are pretty happy with it.
Can you tell us what the average day involves for you? As part of Engineer Records? Obviously listening to a lot of music and answering a lot of post and emails, but there’s no real average day. Some days we’ll be in the office working on the website, uploading digital content, packing and sending orders and stock from our distros. Other days we’ll be working with designers, manufacturers and suppliers. Some days we’ll be on tour with the bands and running stalls at gigs. There seems to be a lot more online work to be done now. All of our releases are available for downloads and we run a lot of social media such as YouTube and Facebook as well as our own sites.
At the start of 2011 you did a compilation CD to benefit those who had suffered the tsunami in Japan. How did you guys come up with this idea, and how rewarding was this for your label, as in seeing so many people support the idea? We were watching a few tv programmes about a week after the event. (I was away the weekend it happened). It just seemed so bad and we deal with quite a few Japanese labels and have a Japanese distributer partner too. Another person passionate about it was Dave Fritz of Junior Achiever/Ramona called us up to suggest the idea and we couldn't be happier to do so. We’ve done quite a few compilations in the past, plus quite a few benefit releases too, so we just thought why not? Releases can be out together pretty easily online now, especially for digital releases, so with a few calls and emails we had more than enough bands and tracks to do something good. We took a while to get all the masters in and Craig Cirinelli designed a cool cover for the album. Mikee chose the running order and managed to get all the tracks mastered by Ian Sadler of Emeline Studios. It came together pretty well and fast. Our US distributer Nail wanted to put it out on itunes and amazon in Japan and USA and we wanted it to be a whole album download for a donation. Keep it simple and cheap, so we added it to a bandcamp site too. We launched it with some pr work and a video on youtube too and it seems to be going ok. We are sending a cheque to the children’s charity involved but the problem with these things is that people forget pretty quick, so we sent out reminder promo a little while back for the six month anniversary too.
What do you guys look for when you are signing a band? The qualities anyone would look for. Great songs, good guys, something original / special too. The music has to grab us first of all. We have a fairly broad range of alternative rock / hardcore bands i suppose but the emo /pop-punk thing seems to suit us, also more indie or acoustic bands too. We like bands with heart. The thing is, the bands need to be out gigging and ready to tour. They need to put the work in themselves and pull their weight as running a label and promoting the band and their releases is harder work than you’d think. We always go see our bands play live if possible and discuss the partnership with them as we go along.
For upcoming bands, can you give them some good tips for getting signed to a label? Hone your craft. Anyone can have a ‘release’ out now. You can do it yourself online easily enough. But that’s not really it. You have to be as good live as you are on the record. You have to practice and gig and develop your style and sound. Some bands can do this quickly, but for most it takes some time. Develop your fanbase and enjoy yourselves would be the main thing and if you are good enough then a label will probably come and find you. And if you are sending demo’s to labels, try to post them a CD and some band info, or maybe email a link to your tracks. Please don’t send them twenty emails of 6meg each of your songs! Ha ha.
“You have to be as good live as you are on the record. You have to practice and gig and develop your style and sound” What would you say is the hardest factor about running your own record company? Hmmnn. I think it is different for each person, depending on their job. Trying to get the finances / cashflow in order is always fun. But i think getting good tours booked is one of the hardest things. It can be very time consuming and costly so as well as our own work on this we use booking agents too. In fact you can get agency help with most things, pr, videos, radio, booking.
Alternatively what would you say is the most rewarding aspect about running Engineer Records? Any creative aspect is pretty rewarding. When you see your friends bands CD arrive from the pressing plant. When you see that bands video on Kerrang tv, or the kids singing along at the gigs. That’s all pretty cool stuff to be part of.
As 2011 ends, can you give us 1 or 2 of your personal highlights from the year, and why they mean so much to you? I was stoked to see all our bands releases and tours, I always am. We had a cool new Engineer Records tshirt then sold out straight away. We ran a charity RockNite show for a local school and raised £3k in one evening. I enjoyed having four videos on uk tv at the same time at one point this year too – Mikee J Reds, Nikson, Call Off The Search and Kyoto Drive. But i think my absolute highlight in 2011 was the last show of the Elemae/Mikee J Reds tour. We have worked with Elemae for a long time and they are good friends. To bring them over from the USA was fun and to see all our friends enjoying a pretty intimate show with them, well, the atmosphere was just awesome.
What do you want 2012 to do for Engineer Records? Well, we are going to work as hard as ever. We have big new videos and releases from The Satellite Year, Kyoto Drive, Her Only Presence, Take Cover, Call Off The Search, etc and we are working with a few new artists too, like Sam Craddock and Arthur Walwin. We intend to step up our digital downloads and online promotions, run more tours and do even more for our bands. I guess we’ll see where that takes us.
Indian School witnesses the reformation and rebranding of turn-of-the-century punk-rockers Audio Karate. The line-up is the same, but the sound has evolved. This isn’t some rehashed skate-punk – with front man Arturo Barrios recognising the importance of not resting on your laurels. Instead, Indian School have crafted a more mature, refined and current sound. The six-track EP starts as it means to go on; ‘Elvis’ gently introducing listeners to Indian School’s surfer rock meets indie rock vibe, with Barrios’ vocals maintaining the raspy Descendents punk edge. There is an undoubtedly mellow feel to the instrumentals, a haze that seemingly slows down time, reminiscent of The Subways or Phoenix. ‘Wind You Up’ puts the indie into overdrive; screeching guitars, melancholy moans and stampeding drums provides the grandiose and pop of a Stereophonics tune, whilst providing the buzz of The Stroke’s ‘Reptilia’. There is an awesome feeling of nostalgia that oozes from ‘Rob Your House’, with the 80s-style synths capturing the feel-good freedom of the teen movies that characterise the decade. ‘Cocktail Flu’ showcases the shredding capabilities of guitarist Anthony Leach, lacing a huge outro which wouldn’t have gone amiss elsewhere on the EP. ‘Head Right’ wraps up the EP nicely – the acoustic ballad ticks the last box making this EP the complete package. Indian School’s debut EP, ‘The Cruelest Kind’ is the perfect soundtrack to a summer’s day in the Golden State, so keep it in the car and wish away the cold. RM
Those of you with at least some knowledge in Greek mythology should know the basic outline of the story of Icarus, that guy who soared too high to the sun with wax wings. Look a little further into this story than what's on the immediate surface and you'll come across the name Daedalus, the father of Icarus and the man who created said wax wings. Of course, that story didn't have the happiest of endings, especially for poor Icarus. The Bath/Bristol based powerpop outfit portray a story of their own through their self-titled EP however, one with a far more uplifting message wrote about the fictional city of Victoria Place containing a character named Daedalus. The band name make a little more sense now? Thought so. The story throughout the music approach bares much resemblance to that of Coheed & Cambria, and in terms of sound they've got a bit of CoCa hiding in their too, hiding away from the more obvious comparisons with Fall Out Boy and Motion City Soundtrack, driven by the sweet vocals of frontman Chris Yeoh. 'Dream Catcher' brings many memories of FOB in their early 'Take This To Your Grave'-era, and right from that first track proper all the way to the the woah-oh driven outro chorus rings in EP closer 'Mr. McKief', Daedalus' Right Eye show promise and integrity in a band that are as fresh on the scene as they are on the ears. If you're a fan of Motion City Soundtrack, Fall Out Boy or Coheed & Cambria it won't be too hard for you to latch onto this and give it your own seal of approval. Daedalus' Right Eye might not be the next big thing off the back of this release, but it's very clear that this is only their first baby step into creating something far more masterful and on a grander scale. ZR
Enter Shikari is somewhat a phenomena. Getting your head around their success can be puzzling – perhaps it’s their effective combination of so many genres? Maybe it’s their political commentary that strikes with the youth of today? At the simplest level, they’re just a glorified version of the Streets, but instead of talking about banging out one of his mates in MacDonald’s, Roughton "Rou" Reynolds sings about reform, revolt and reaction. Whatever the key to their rise to success has been, it all seems to become clear on A Flash Flood of Colour. The third instalment in the Shikari saga looks destined for even greater triumph than their previous efforts. The album witnesses more drum and bass, techno and electronica than any of its predecessors, moving further away from the post-hardcore sound of early-Shikari, but an equally natural progression from ‘Common Dreads’. It’s a synthy record, but not in the Four Year Strong sense; you could be off your tits on ecstasy at a warehouse party dancing to ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ (a song which also proves that the band hasn’t lost their sense of humour). A number of tracks witness some sort of technocore breakdown, flirting dangerously with dubstep, a sound that will undoubtedly put-off fans of their earlier material. A Flash Flood of Colour holds the most passion and rage of any Shikari record thus far; ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ is combination of scathing speeches from Rou and brutal screams. Another highlight is ‘Stalement’, which presents the quartets incredible diversity in song-writing – a beautiful ballad and emotional critic of the state of international affairs today. Meanwhile, ‘Search Party’ and ‘Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here’ provide the catchiest hooks of the album. When 2011 saw young men and women putting their lives on the line in revolutions across the world, one has to question what a bunch of middle-class English boys can really offer other than hard-man, hidebehind-the-microphone rhetoric. On the other hand, at least they’re doing something and doing it very well. In the words of Rou himself – “don’t be fooled into thinking that a small group of friends cannot change the world”. RM
InMe are a tough band to pin down to any rock subgenre, some find certain aspects of their sound too heavy, whilst others find them almost too melodic. This traversing of styles however is what makes InMe a great band and one that has won an army of devoted fans since their first release, Over Grown Eden, in 2002. They have honed and perfected their style over the last decade, which has brought us to their fifth studio album, The Pride. Once again the clear mix of heavy and melodic is used to great effect on tracks Reverie Shores, and Halcyon Genesis. Dave McPherson’s vocals are heartfelt and his lyrics, honest, ‘I didn’t want to hurt you, so I hurt myself instead’, he sings on, Pantheon. InMe do what they do well, but it’s the progressive strides they have made on this album that really standout. On Moonlit Seabed they have incorporated Enter Shikari-esque break downs, with heavy guitar and screamed vocals being layered with electronic synths, and parts of Silver Womb could almost be described as progressive metal with its angular riffing and complicated time signatures. Other highlights include, Beautiful Sky Gardens, which ending creates an almost hymn like feel, and closer Legacy. InMe have taken further steps to progress their style without losing any of the characteristics that define them and set them apart from their peers. Existing fans will lap this up and a hoard of new fans could be just around the corner. GR
Gaining immense amounts of press attention and a rapidly swelling fanbase following the free download and revamped release of ‘Passive Aggressive’ towards the end of last year, it goes without saying that Leeds’ Marmozets are one the hottest new acts to watch out for through 2012. Just over a month into the new year and they’re pumping a new EP in the airwaves, ‘Vexes’, and with it the female fronted rockers have marked themselves as bright new hopes for the whole year. Much more rough around the edges and grittier than the previous EP, Marmozets have stepped away from their more powerpop days of yore and are now in the boots of technical influences such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Botch. Yet what the band use to their great advantage through this often hard to grasp genre are crisp clean hooks to catch and pull their fans amidst the destruction. Front woman Becca Macintyre sounds more pissed off and agitated than ever before, yet still able to retain that slick melodic line when the Yorkshire lot are ready to slide you in. Opener ‘One Man Wolf Pack’ chucks you right into the front rows of distortion and anarchy, whereas ‘09/10/11 – 12:13’ is a 6 minute long piece of organised chaos that blends into one track all of the bands strongest traits into one display. EP closer ‘Arrive Alive’ leaves things on an epic final note and shows yet another potential route for further evolution in following releases, kicking up the dust one final time, even into its final seconds. The fact left behind is that when the dust settles Marmozets will remain standing tall, and all of the aforementioned is made even more impressive when all five members are barely in their early 20s. Get on the Marmozets hype wagon now before it accelerates to a speed you can’t keep up with. It’s clear that’s their intentions, and they have the talent and potential to achieve that. ZR
Mad Apple Circus hail from Bristol and their blend of ska, big-band jazz and funk proves that, although this style of music may have slipped in popularity in the last twenty years, it hasn’t slipped in quality. Each track on this EP showcases the band’s range of influences, which stretch from three-tone ska bands such as Reel Big Fish, to ska jazz greats like The New York Ska Jazz Ensemble. The EP opens with the punky stomp of Jukebox, but really gets going on second track, Let The Jury Sing, in which the horn sections big-band influences clearly shine through. The pace is slowed for the blues tinged, Movers And Shakers, before Jolly Red joker sums up what this band are all about, with three minutes of big-band horns, tight reggae rhythms and a super slick vocal delivery. Impressive stuff from a young band clearly want avoid the generic musical bandwagon. GM
‘World On Your Side’ should be the go-to introduction for any listener new to Out For Tomorrow, an alt-rock gem from the South West. Their sound is comparable to that of Hours era Funeral for a Friend, viewed by many as the heyday for the Welsh pioneers of post-hardcore.
The title track is a massive anthem; dark and ominous, with the chorus lyrics “I wish that I could be just like you” ringing out with emotion that give the feeling these could well be Ben Lumber’s last words. Luckily, this is just the start; ‘Breath’ is comparatively more mellow, but is the best display of the intricate guitar work of the two axe-men that underpins the other tracks. ‘When the Novelty Wears Off’, is a progressive number which whets the appetites of those looking for a bit more complexity in their headphones. The EP ends on a high with ‘Green Eyed (Nous Tous Savions)’, where a thunderous bridge moves seamlessly into the outand-out explosive chorus. Whilst the hooks lack in places, the sharp recordings, consistently strong vocals and towering guitar riffs offer more than enough to put Out For Tomorrow on your radar as one to look out for. RM
Mikee J Reds, also of pop-punk outfit Call Off the Search, has teamed up with Massachusetts singer-song writer veteran Jonah Matranga. The split is a small collection of romantic and emotional acoustic ballads; well-written, sung with integrity and an all-round pleasure to listen to. Jonah Matranga’s first offering, ‘Sweet Life’, is a fittingly stripped-back call for the simple things in life. His vocals are not for everyone, but the authentic cracks and rough-at-the-edges style echoes Bright Eyes are perfect for this type of American acoustic-folk. Meanwhile ‘Secret World’ is a sugary sweet love song, with lyrics that could have been pulled straight from an Owl City record. Mikee J Reds, with considerably less experience in the music industry, shows that the older generations can learn a thing or two from their successors. ‘Living Well’, befitted with strings, keys and a powerful voice similar to that of Green Day’s Billy Joel, is as epic as an acoustic song could be, whilst ‘Old Skin’ is propelled by the impressive vocal harmonies and anthemic outro. For Matranga, this is just another release in a long line of recordings and there’s a dime-a-dozen feel to his half of the split. However, this is Mikee J Reds’ solo debut and with two stand-out tracks, the prospect of an EP or full-length from this artist is exciting to say the least. RM
Newport Centre - November 23rd - 2011 When Frank Turner announced that he was playing Newport Centre most people didn’t think that he would be able to sell out a venue of that size or people to pull off a show in that big a setting. How wrong those people were! Having not played Newport since 2004 with noise merchants Million Dead, the people of Newport had been waiting for this for a very long time. The moment he stepped onto the stage it already had that special feeling about the show, almost as if it was the hometown hero returning. Backed by his brilliant backing band they perfectly performed through a mammoth set including songs from all previous albums and the next album. Halfway through the set he apologetically told the story of how he hadn’t been back to Newport in 7 years and that he intends to come back really soon, which made the crowd erupt even louder than they had for the rest of the night. Even the seemingly odd choice of a Queen cover could not derail the show tonight. It is no wonder that Frank Turner is becoming the solo artist to see on the festival circuit as of late, as songs such as “Photosynthesis”, “I Still Believe” and “Long Live The Queen” seem perfectly written for a bigger audience and had the diehards and the first time newcomers dancing and singing all night. It also contained Confetti falling from the ceiling. Does it get any better than that? Frank Turner is one of if not the acoustic artist in the country right now and tonight’s show was easy to see why. BS
Cardiff CF10 - November 28th - 2011 There are a few reasons or circumstances that can make something a bad gig, whether it be the venue, the sound, the set list or equipment messing up. Unfortunately for T.A all of these things occurred. CF10 is frankly a really poorly laid out venue that unless you are standing in the first row you are going to struggle to see, and like its big brother venue The Great Hall, what we get is a hugely muffled sound that doesn’t let T.A’s huge sound break through. Adding this with out of tune guitars and starting with the instrumental “Serious Underground Dance Vibes” this was setting up to be a really bad show. Luckily for the audience T.A are so good at the moment that they almost overcame all of these problems. Playing a set that was slightly too long (Over 1hr 30mins) they still had the crowd loving every part of their set. Like their fellow country men Biffy Clyro they have a loyal, cult like fan base who not only sing every word as loud as possible but also clap perfectly in time to every time signature change or staccato guitar line. Although Sam Mctrusty warns the crowd that he is jet lagged from coming back from America, this is still a really underwhelming performance by the young Scots that is very out of character, however things do slightly get back on track when they start “Lightspeed” from the Vivarium EP. If this is the first review of T.A you have ever read then please don’t judge them on this performance. This was an extremely rare “off” show for one of Britain’s brightest shining young bands. BS
Kingston Hippodrome - January 16th 2012 Finally, after months of anticipation, Enter Shikari’s 3rd studio album ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ has been released. It’s a special album and to mark it’s release what better than to throw a bash at the tiny club-like venue, Kingston Hippodrome? The St Albans four-piece casually strolled on the stage, opening with the first track on the album, ‘System’ with ‘Meltdown’ following. The lads had set the pace for what was promising to be an energetic sweat-filled evening. Frontman Rou Reynolds wasted no time in jumping into the crowd to be roughed up while they screamed along to the new additions to the setlist ‘Arguing with Thermometers’ and ‘Search Party’. Despite the gig being held to celebrate the launch of the new album the setlist involved a few old favourites, such as ‘Fanfare for the Concious Man’ and ‘Sorry you’re not a winner”- which Reynolds dedicated to the ‘anoraks and connosieurs’. The guys continued to bounce around the undersized stage with ease still in high spirits from the previous night at London’s Borderline, a gig which not only marked the album release, but also Rou’s birthday. If you were unable to make either of these gigs, I have pity as it is doubtful that they will play in venues as minute as these two for a while. Fear not though they will be on tour in March so be sure to purchase one while you still can. And while you’re at it grab the new album, you’ll be hooked straight away. AG
Arkhaos, a melodic death metal band brings 4 members, each with their own individual influences to combine into one immense musical idea, with all 3 guitar players being vocalists. All are working relentlessly to bring a new sound of Metal to the people. The debut E.P ''These Worlds'' stretches between melody and breakdown, bringing fans a heavy show with guaranteed headbanging and moshing.
Title. Elder Scrolls V Skyrim Developer. Bethesda Platform(s). PCWindows, PS3, 360 UK Release date: Out Now RATED: 15
At last, it’s finally here! The fifth instalment from one of the most influential western RPG franchises of all time and possibly the most impressively marketed games EVER! The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim is set to redefine open world RPG’s and bring never before seen scale to console gaming. Like many modern RPGs, Skyrim starts with some robust character creation; the first choice to consider is what race do I want to be? This is very much down to personal preference although each race does possess a racial perk that can be very handy depending on your play style. Humans – Breton, Imperial, Nord and Redguard, Orcs, Wood elves, Dark Elves, High elves, (Lizard people) Argonian and the (cat people) known as the Khajiit. All have very distinct looks and history and your race can influence how characters react to your race in the game. So I mentioned a perk or stat increase. Call it a ‘racial bonus’, for example the Khajiit +10 to sneak and a boost to their lock picking stats, making them good thieves. Another example would be the High Elves: +50 Magicka as well as two extra magical abilities make them very powerful mages. There really is a great deal of choice and in all honesty the perks only really make a difference to hardcore RPG players obsessed with stats. My advice: pick a race, sex and look that you enjoy and get playing. Skyrim stays true to tradition in beginning the game, regardless of your character’s race, sex or anything else - as a prisoner, a nameless captive that has been picked up by Imperial forces. It is only when a soldier asks ‘what is your name?’ are we prompted to pick one and born into the world of Skyrim! After narrowly avoiding execution albeit thanks to a dragon attack, we begin our journey. The primary thing on everyone’s mind is why are the dragons back! And apparently as one of the only survivors from the attack, we are now an expert on fighting dragons... go figure. As always I am not here to ruin any of the story, all I will say is that your connection to the dragons is far from a coincidence and the core narrative is based around you and the big winged beasties, and is full of twists and turns that will take you all over the place. What makes Skyrim so rich is the characters you meet along the way, from the Thieves Guild - in the pursuit of wealth, to enlisting in the army and taking part in epic battles, Skyrim is so saturated in rich narrative driven quests, every time you embark on one you can’t help but feel hugely involved. It is the true essence of open world. You can stick to the core story or just roam the world in search of quests, of which there are so many! The game never ceases to amaze and will often feel as if it’s expanding, with quests seemingly infinitely offered. Skyrim certainly awards exploration; the best items in the game seem to be awarded to those who are willing to travel. All this effort will make you feel very invested in your character and like all great RPG’s you end up playing as an extension of yourself and finding constant justification and reason for all your actions, even when you kill a hobo for money… Environment is a huge part of explorative RPG’s and thankfully the world Bethesda has created is jaw dropping: the attention to detail will blow your mind. From grandiose landscapes that demonstrate the scale modern videogames can achieve, to snowy mountain-tops to green fields laden with detail. The cotenant of Skyrim is by far the most immersive (single player) game world of all time. All this praise and I haven’t even mentioned the architecture. As with everything that surrounds the Elder Scroll’s universe, back-story is rife wherever you go, from the thousands of in-game books to lore-rich quests, it is a very fleshed out world and Cities play a huge part in this. There are 9 Holds/Cities in Skyrim, each led by a Jarl(lord/lady). These vary in size and each are very distinct in their own way. For example, the first major city you encounter is the friendly Nord Hold known as Whiterun and its grand keep of Dragonsreach, which will undoubtedly become a place of great attachment, After questing there for a while you will enable the option to buy property there, which is a great way not only to store items but to further develop that sense of belonging. As the game progresses you will find that many of the Holds offer the option to purchase property, some much grander than others. Failing that, you could just be a sadist and wipe out the entire cities… the choice is yours.
Over the years we have seen many different levelling systems in RPGs, usually based around the notion of killing stuff: gain XP and level up so you can go kill tougher stuff and progress through the game. However, though this may be a tried and tested method, it is getting rather predictable. Thankfully Bethesda has made a great effort to create an innovative levelling system based on player style, rather than the traditional kill something, gain XP, level up. Players instead gain XP through using particular abilities. For example, use archery and for every successful use of that skill you will gradually level up that ability, not only bolstering your overall level but enabling you to access the upper reaches of the archery ‘Skill Tree’, making you better at your most used skill. Every level offers a skill point, so be sure to place them in the abilities you use most. These trees cover the full range of character abilities from magic, weapon specialisation, armour specialisation, sneaking etc… I could go on all day, the thing I am getting at is the intuitive system Bethesda has produced, allows your character to develop organically and dare I say it realistically. After all, how would a real person get good at archery? They’d do archery! That pretty much sums up Skyrim’s beautiful levelling system. So what’s it like to use all these abilities? Combat in Skyrim is AWESOME. For me, the most important thing about a game where you get to fight dragons, giants, the undead and many more is making sure that combat always feels enjoyable. 99% of the quests in Skyrim will have you kill or fight something and that needs to be something to look forward to. Thankfully the game is full of epic battles, killing dragons never stops being a big deal and even the standard enemies scale to your level, so be it a boss fight or a bunch of smelly bandits, every fight will be enjoyable and a test of your skill. Only in the latter stages of the game will you feel vastly superior, which can also be an awful lot of fun and allow you to get creative with combat. So whether you choose to invest your skills in magic, melee or archery, Bethesda has ensured that all combat options are viable and more importantly fun and certainly more engaging than any other RPG combat I have ever seen. There is also a fourth method to combat, the all new Shout system that links into the story, will allow you to learn powerful magical shouts that can come in handy in those tricky combat situations. The presentation of Skyrim is, as I have already perhaps hinted – AMAZING. However it does have one incredibly irritating fault: dialogue. As I’ve already said there are a lot! of characters in Skyrim, however there seems to have been very few voice actors used. This becomes incredibly evident when faced with a character whose voice doesn’t match their face. You’ll be talking to a slender High Elf with a gruff American accent. It can be very distracting and in the more severe cases, make you not care what is being said. As many of you will know, I place a lot of value in the replayablity of games, longevity means a lot. In Skyrim’s case content is certainly not an issue, with hundreds of hours of game-play it’s far more than a simple A-B affair, there is so much to do in Skyrim that you can actually play forever. The game will keep generating quests and the explorer in you will keep you wondering around the tundra for those elusive legendary items. Skyrim is by no means perfect. I would actually describe it as ‘Full of faults, beautiful and revolutionary’. So let’s start with the faults, to say Skyrim was Buggy would be an understatement. However it is the catch 22 with games of this scale, they will inevitably be full of bugs, they can’t fix everything. So when we are walking along and see a mammoth fly up into the air never to return, just remember it’s the price we pay for a game that looks amazing and is very close to never ending. Remember patches can and will fix a lot of the problems and to those who have ‘finished’ the game, DLC expansion is expected 1st quarter of 2012.
debut single 3 Second Rule is now available to download from iTunes for just 79p!"
"a41 - a four piece Alternative / Indie Rock band from the Northwest of England. With a great live sound and powerful performances, they are not to be missed! Get involved at www.a41music.com and be part of the a41 experience!"
Yes, it’s another superhero movie, but this one is guaranteed to be like no other. The Avengers see’s the Marvel superheroes unite in order to conquer evil. The cast for this film is beyond any other with Robert Downey Jr (Ironman) , Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Samuel L Jackson. We dare to think what the budget for this film was but after seeing the trailer there is no questioning whether it was worth it. The superheroes are bought together to fight off an enemy who is threatening global safety. It doesn’t seem to be the most original plot, but it will have no problems in entertaining. We will have to wait until May to see the final product and whether you opt for 2D or 3D; it’s going to blow you away. There’s going to be a lot of competition in May-July when it comes to superhero movies, but this one could be the big one. We’ll wait and see.
Hollywood’s coolest Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are returning for a third instalment of supernatural humour along with some memory erasing and of course, explosions. Men In Black 3 will be released in May to mark ten years since its predecessor was released. A trailer released gives us an idea of the story line which involves Agent J (Smith) having to go back in time to rescue his partner Agent K (Jones) from an alien which is simultaneously trying to destroy human kind. Although it doesn’t seem like ten years since the last Men In Black film, the third is being welcomed with open arms, though we’re unable to get how neither Smith nor Jones seem to have aged at all since the prequel. With the backing of Steven Spielberg as executive producer we’re expecting some very promising things for part three however, and so should you.
Batman is back and it’s fair to say that we’re pretty excited. Director Christopher Nolan is once again at the reins of this one along with Christian Bale who returns as the protagonist superhero. The cast for The Dark Knight Rises is beyond star-studded and includes Anne Hathaway as Catwoman. ‘Inception’s’ Tom Hardy plays the muscle-bound psychotic villain Bane while Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays the Gotham cop. It all sounds a bit too good to be true doesn’t it? This will be the last of Nolan’s offerings to the Batman chronicles so expect him to go out with a bang. Little has been given away involving the story line, but cinema’s have been screening a six minute prologue for the film which is no doubt circulating around the internet. It’s definitely worth a watch, you know what to do. Will Batman succeed is saving Gotham City from the grasps of Bane? Probably, but we will sure as hell be there to see it.
Where better to start than with director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’. We’ve been waiting long enough, and now finally shooting has begun and Bilbo Baggins and his vertically challenged friends will be back on our screens in December. As well as going back to the same director, the new films will see the return of Andy Serkis (Gollum) and no one other than Britain’s finest Ian McKellan (Gandalf). There will also be an addition of some familiar faces such as ‘The Office’ star Martin Freeman and QI’s brain box Stephen Fry. We won’t give away any of the storyline, but it is strongly recommended if you read the book before going to see the film, but be warned, it will leave you as excited as we are, almost. The plans are for the book to be split into two films with the sequel, ‘The Hobbit-There and Back Again’, being released in late 2013. That is of course if the world doesn’t meet its rumoured peril. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, please.
to be in with the chance of winning
worth of Sinstar stuff
In Which Year was SINSTAR created?
A. 2010 B. 2004 C. 2011
Enter Shikari, Young Guns, Letlive., Reel Big Fish, The Devil Wears Prada,