EVERY AVENUE Interview with Matt
"With a recent tour just completed with the huge Yellowcard, and their new album Bad Habits finally unleashed upon the world, this band is clearly giving a lot to the alternative music scene right now. Get ready though, as the band are heading over to our shores to tour with We Are The In Crowd, as well as playing the massive Hit The Deck Festival, so please, be excited UK as the fantastic Every Avenue are coming to a town near you!" How did your tour go with Young Guns here in the UK, and are there any cool/crazy stories that you can share with us from the tour? Our tour with YG was insane. There were wild nights getting tossed out of bars, Jimmie breaking his foot on stage in London, a trip to Loch Ness, and we got to meet some pretty amazing folks.
What songs are you enjoying performing of the new album the most at the moment, and why? Probably Tie Me Down and Whatever Happened To You. They're both more upbeat, energetic songs, which I think are usually more fun to play live.
Compared to when you first started out, have there been any big changes in the way you construct songs nowadays? We do a lot more full band writing now, where in the past it was usually only one or two members writing the bulk and then the rest of us filling in the gaps.
How would you say the bands sound has progressed since the release of Picture Perfect? We really wanted to make a record that felt like our live show (besides the fuck-ups), and we've been playing our more aggressive songs live, so our sound has gotten a bit edgier. but melody is the most important thing to us, so that's where the focus remains.
Can you tell us about your friendship with Ryan Key from Yellowcard, and how he ended up working on the track â€˜Tie Me Down' We've known Ryan for a few years now. He actually helped out with a song on Picture Perfect, so when the opportunity arose to work with him again, we jumped on it. He's a great singer and has an amazing ear for melody, and we're really happy with how that song turned out.
In a kind of reference to the last question, how has it been to tour with Yellowcard, and have there been any experiences from that tour in particular that you can share with us? Getting to tour with a band like Yellowcard was pretty surreal. It was amazing watching those guys kill a 22 song set every night when I can barely get through 3 songs without forgetting my name. I definitely learned alot from their work ethic and professionalism. Oh yeah, and LP is a beast!!
We must ask, what is it like to play an entire Vans Warped Tour? Dream come true! I don't know how it is for kids starting bands now, but my first bands goal was to play the local stage at the Detroit Warped stop. After being on half the dates in 08 and 09, I thought I was prepared for the whole summer, but no such luck. It's a grind, and it wears on you, but it's also more fun than I could have expected. Plus, who really needs to shower, right?
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour with We Are The In Crowd, and what should attending fans expect? I can't wait to get back! This will be our 5th time coming to the UK, and it really does get better every time. We're good friends with WATIC, so I'm really looking forward to getting back and causing trouble. It's the American way!
What does 2012 hold for Every Avenue? Imminent doom! Well, I guess that's more for everyone. A Grammy?
Interview with Tay Jardine "After their recent tour with All Time Low, this band have won over a lot of new fans by proving that they have what it takes to create a fantastic live show. With their new album Best Intentions already out there, and a great following now behind them, the band are ready to do their first headline tour here in the UK, it’s surely going to be awesome!” So since we last spoke you have now released your new album Best Intentions, at this point how happy are you with the reception it has received from both fans and critics? We are extremely excited about the response we've gotten so far!
Who came up with the video idea for Rumor Mill and what did you want it to illustrate to your fans? The director came up with most of the concept. We really liked his idea and rolled with it. We wanted to illustrate "no good deed goes unpunished" and basically to not give up.
How excited are you for your headline tour with Every Avenue as support, and what should attending fans expect? We are so stoked. We love the Every Avenue dudes, and The Summer Set was just announced as well. I can't wait to hang with everyone again. We want our first headliner to be special for the audience, so we've been trying to think of some ideas for the tour.
Do you think you guys will find it weird/interesting that you have Every Avenue supporting when you tour here, whereas when you tour in the USA it's the other way round? It's not weird, just a little surprising to some i suppose. I've seen that some people are unhappy about it in the states but we've grown much faster here in the UK than in the states. Personally, i couldn’t give a crap who plays first or last on any tour. As long as our fans get to watch our set then what does it really matter.
What do you guys love so much about playing/touring here in the UK? The fans. In the UK, some fans follow the entire tour and you really get to know them personally. It feels really good to get so close to fans in that way. It's been great and we can't be more thankful.
You guys are also playing Hit The Deck Festival along with Kids In Glass Houses, The Wonder Years, Deaf Havana and many other respected bands, how excited are you guys for this festival, I mean have you heard much about it? I just heard of it this year. But I love playing festivals. We always end up running into other bands we're friends with. It's like a giant reunion!
“We want our first headliner to be special for the audience”
In regards to festivals here in the UK are there any ones that you guys really want to play over the summer? I'm not all too familiar with what festivals go on during the summer, but i know we are talking about trying to make time to come back over this summer. We'll certainly try our best.
You guys have toured with a lot of huge/respected bands in the alternative scene, with this in mind who else would you really love to tour with in the next couple years, and why? I'd kill to tour with bands like Jimmy Eat World or The Foo Fighters. but that unfortunately is pretty unrealistic at our stage as a band. I really don’t know. I love meeting new bands so throw anyone at us, really haha.
What else does 2012 hold for We Are The In Crowd? A TON of touring. We really dont want to take any breaks. We are doing alot of international dates this year.
Interview with Soupy
2011 was arguably the most eventful and successful year for you as a band. With so much touring and the release of the incredible ‘Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing,” how do you reflect on last year? Honestly, it's weird. Last year was the year when we started really doing the things that we saw bands we looked up to do when we were kids. We started playing those sized venues. We were on our first (and second and third!) magazine cover. We did all of Warped Tour. It's kind of like being on the other side of the curtain. We're starting to see how it "works" and on some levels it's disenfranchising because you romanticize it so much growing up and then you realize how much business and whatnot that you need to deal with and how many awful people work in this "biz," but then I look at the videos from our holiday show in Philadelphia and I see us on the kind of stage I used to see bands on. I see all those amazing people singing the lyrics back at us. I can look at those videos and remember that I have the greatest job in the world and feel so lucky that we got here.
In September you completed your biggest headline UK tour and then only two months later you returned with Yellowcard and Saves the Day. The Wonder Years seem to make a big effort to consistently play in the UK; is there any particular reason for this? We just want to play where people want to hear us. We're trying to make an effort to get to all of those places.
"It's crazy to think that when this band first featured in Stencil Mag they were touring every pub/venue they could in the UK to get their music out there. Since then, it has been clear to see that this much dedication in what you believe in, does get rewarded. Now, the band are high up on festival line ups, they've toured with some of the biggest pop punk bands in the world, and their latest record, in our eyes is one of the best pop punk records out there, so take a read and get yourself updated with the exciting world of The Wonder Years"
Yellowcard and Saves the Day are two bands that have undoubtedly shaped the genres that the Wonder Years fall into; how was it to play with such great bands? I think the moment that serves best to explain that feeling came when we played Manchester. There were only two showers so, to be courteous, everyone tries to shower as soon as their set is over so that when the next band is done, they can get showers too. Anyway, I'm taking a shower after our set and I hear Saves the Day playing Holly Hox Forget Me Nots but it seems totally normal. It took me a minute to put the pieces together but it felt so familiar because in high school, I used to get ready in the morning listening to Through Being Cool. So here I was, ten years later showering and listening to those same songs, except this time, instead of getting out of bed, I just got off stage in England and instead of the CD, I was actually listening to Saves the Day playing.
It seems as though you guys never take any time off from touring â€“ it must get tiresome- how do you deal with so many days on the road? We watch a lot of TV series from front to back on our laptops and then trade them back and forth. That passes time and let's you feel at home. We try to make sure we get enough space from each other when we need it and that we stay in contact with the people we love at home. Other than that, it's just about trying to sleep, stay rested and taking vitamins to stay healthy.
Have you had any time to write new material? Not really. We did record a new song called Me vs the Highway that's coming out this spring on a split with Stay Ahead of the Weather.
You made clear the difficulties of writing music that stays true to the bands “sound”, whilst also staying current and original – it’s clear that you achieved this on ‘Suburbia’ – how do you think you will continue to do this for the next record? The same way we did it for Suburbia. The name of the game is expand, don't abandon. We wanna stretch our limits but we don't want to change who we are.
You’ve been announced as the headliners for the Glamour Kills Tour, you guys must be pretty stoked to be the main act for such a prestigious tour? I am excited. The past two GK tours were headlined by All Time Low and The Ready Set so it's cool to do one with more of a grass roots feel. Nothing against those bands. We hung out with both of them all summer and I have a ton of respect for them. I just know that the people at GK love music that ATL or TRS make but also love bands like ours or things as far removed from that as The Mountain Goats or La Dispute or Fucked Up so it's cool to see the company show another side of themselves with this year's tour.
What’s it been like to tour with Polar Bear Club, Transit, The Story So Far, A Loss For Words and Into It. Over It. ? It's amazing to be able to do a tour with so many of our friends and so many bands that I'm personally excited to watch play every night.
Many critics have a problem with the genre pop-punk. With so many of the aforementioned bands classed as pop-punk, as well as many other pop-punk bands releasing albums last year, how do you feel about the genre? Do you see it having a place in the music world in the future? People want to put everything into genre and sub-genre boxes so they can say they hate it all or they love it all and really, I don't give a fuck. I don't think it matters what you call the music. What's important is the heart behind it. I see people talking about how bands like ours must play this kind of music because we want the money and women and drugs or some bullshit that come with it. Here's the reality. They don't come with it. If I wanted that shit I'd start making dubstep or something. We do this because we love it. What's important here is that the bands in this set of genres whether it be bands like The Wonder Years or A Loss for Words or bands like Touche Amore and Defeater or bands like Into It Over It or The Front Bottoms is that we all actually truly believe in what we do. There's an ethic behind it and that will always have a place in the music world.
The Wonder Years has never shied away from hard work and no-one can question the years of determination that you guys have put in to get to where you are today. How does it feel now that everything seems to be going in your favour? It feels like we better keep working that hard if not harder because resting on our laurels is not in our skill set.
How do you plan to maintain and surpass your current achievements in 2012? We'll be working as hard as we can as long as we can. We'll be working to put on the best show every night on tour, to be putting together the best merch designs for fans, to be creating videos and photo content and to create the best record we can for our next release. We want to stretch ourselves and think of new things to give to our fans that other people aren't. We want to be creative and innovative and we never, ever want to be complacent.
Interview with Austin
"It's been nearly a year since the release of 'The Flood' and since then Of Mice & Men have gained new followers all across the world, at the same time they got to tour with some extremely influential bands like As I Lay Dying where they got to show off their insane talent as a band throughout the tour. Now they are on the verge of a UK tour with a spot at Hit The Deck Festival, as well as putting together a new album, so check them out because these guys are about to DOMINATE our music sceneâ€?
For some readers who may still be unfamiliar with Of Mice & Men, can you tell us a little bit about the formation of your band, and what you sound like? I started the band in Columbus Ohio, and shortly after getting signed came to the conclusion that I needed other members. I packed everything I could into my car, the rest into a storage unit, and drove all the way to Newport Beach California to pursue the "American dream." And our sound is fast, heavy, melodic, and.... heck, fun! We sound like "Of Mice & Men" and that's something I'm really proud of. In our short career of only 3 years that name has become my family.
How is the new album The Flood going down live, and what songs are you enjoying performing live of the album the most? Our fans have shown such a great response to our second release "The Flood!" It was a major step for us musically from the self titled, and we actually got to sit down and write it together, opposed to the debut which was thrown together almost. I love playing all of these new songs. Product of a Murderer, I'm a Monster, and Still YGD'N are probably my top three live though.
How did your tour go with the huge As I Lay Dying, and what part of the tour was a particular highlight for you and why? The tour was great! Being direct support to such an influential band was a great experience. The Ghost Inside was also on that tour, and they are one of my favorite hardcore bands, so all in all I couldn't have been happier with it. Ha, one of the best highlights for me was when Tim Lambeis himself came up to me one night and asked me for advice about vocal health when sick. I was listening to the guy scream when I was in 6th grade, and then here he was asking ME about things. All the guys in AILD became good friends of ours, and I have not a single negative thing to say about them.
You have suffered a lot of issues with your heart, so how would you say harsh times like this have brought you closer together as a band? Loads of issues. I'm the reason they created the game "Operation"... It's like all these doctors are using me over and over again for practice haha. I left the band for about a year to get my open heart surgery done, I had an enlarged aorta valve and they had to go in and give me a brand new one. From even waking up after the surgery, to being able to re-join my family again and tour, has given me the craziest outlook on life. Just the fact I get to get up every day and be alive is enough for me. Being able to do that, and then do what I love for a living, is the icing to the cake. Life is crazy. And I wish everyone could cherish it the way I do. I really just hope I can use the band and our music to reach out to people in that way. To let people know that it gets better. And yeah, it may be bad for you, but I guarantee things are worse for a heck of a lotta people out there. If you wake up with a roof over your head, and food in your kitchen, you're already leaps and bounds ahead of most.
You had to leave the band for this issue briefly, but when you re-joined the band, was it a natural process, as in when you re-joined were there ever any worries that it wouldn't be the same as before? When I re-joined it was like hopping back on a bicycle after a year without. Bringing Alan to the band as well really brought a since of friendship and family to the entire group. I came back and things were even better than before. I missed my friends, and I really think that shows when we play as well. We have a blast. If we fall off and fade away, at least I can be happy with knowing I had that.
Does being in a full time touring band ever affect your heart at all? Sometimes it does, yes. I actually got a viral infection inside of my heart for part of a tour in October/November. I was on some crazy medications that made it so I couldn't drink alcohol and party, eat crazy food, and go as "hard" as I would usually like. But I really have no complaints, we have an amazing group of friends/crew that work with us, and I don't have to do anymore than I need. They always go above and beyond to make sure I'm comfortable and healthy. Our team is the best.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? I'm really stoked to be coming over to Europe again! It's our first time headlining there and it's really exciting. The fans and friends we have come in contact with on the past tour have made us feel like the country is our second home. I want to meet as many people as possible and see as much as I can. I'm a huge history buff and Europe has a plethora of that. Anyone that comes to our shows can expect to see us melting faces and having the times of our lives. We want everyone in the audience to feel the same way we do.
You are also playing Hit The Deck Festival, how stoked are you for that, and for readers who may be attending the festival, why should they come and check you out over another band? I'm really excited! I think it'll be a lot of fun to meet all the dudes in the bands that are from there. Making new friends and drinking buddies is always a fun time. People should come check us out, because we came miles and miles further than anyone else to play the thing, and I'm sure we won't let you down.
Talking of festivals, are there any other festivals that you would really love to hit in the UK at some point? We are playing Slam Dunk Fest which will be amazing! And I've always wanted to play Sonisphere, Metallica, Slayer and Mastadon are on this year!
If you were not in a full time touring band, what do you think you would be doing with your life at the moment? I love sports, and teaching as well. I'm really a family man. If I had it my way I'd be married with three kids on a big farm, and be the coach of my kids baseball team. Family means a lot to me. And I want to be able to raise little Carlile's of my own to release into the world haha.
You guys only formed in 2009, and you have already achieved so much, with this in mind what are your main goals over the next couple of years? The next two years I want to tour with bands like Korn, or Slipknot, Linkin Park, etc. And take over the world. This is my passion, and nothing would be greater to me than being able to continue to do it, and for it to continually grow and grow. We as a band have seen so much, been through so much, and overcome so much. We are on a ride, and don't plan on getting off it anytime soon.
â€œWe as a band have seen so much, been through so much, and overcome so much. We are on a ride, and don't plan on getting off it anytime soon.â€?
â€œTheir new album Dead Set on Living is ready to blow you away, and very shortly Cancer Bats will be heading to the UK for a stack of shows and crazy times, so get yourself up to date as these guys will be starting a mosh pit in your local venue very shortly!â€?
Interview with James
â€œThese guys have been away for a while prepping some new material for the world to hear, in this time they have parted ways with some band members, but now after this huge change in the band camp they are back and at their strongest once again. A new chapter has now begun...â€? You guys have recently announced a new line up, can you tell us why the original members left, and how the new members came in? Joe Nicholson made the decision last year that he wanted to pursue a degree in Chemistry so he's gone to university. Joseph Thorpe's departure was more to do with personal differences. The new members have been friends of ours for the last 5 or 6 years and were the first people we had in mind when addressing new people to join. We know them from the other bands they've played in and Nathan has been on tour with us selling merchandise a handful of times.
So you guys are working on your third album now, how would you say it is sounding, and what can fans expect from the album? Obviously it sounds slightly different with the change up in members but it still sounds like Rolo Tomassi. It's more direct and immediate than previous material I think, but we've still left room to experiment in the studio and make sure we're making interesting music. I'd say there was maybe an increase in the more melodic side of the band but not particularly in a poppy way.
You have just released your new single Old Mystics, what can you tell us about this song? That song, along with the B-side Mesmerizer, were songs I wrote last year. I was really happy with how they both turned out and thought they definitely warranted a release but since getting more into the album writing I don't think they fit with the other songs I've been working on.
As you have a new line up, how has this affected the writing and recording process? I think every band and person has their own way of writing music and shaping songs so it's taking a little time to get used to how each other works but the chemistry has been great so far. We got four songs done in the first two practices we had together. Similarly in the studio, everyone has their own way of doing things so it's just been a case of trial and error and making sure everyone is comfortable with their way of doings things.
How would you say the new material compares to your prior release Cosmology? It's more direct and immediate; maybe a bit less of the prog side of things.
Lyric wise, what events or influences have affected the writing? We've always written from experience and real life so the events of the last two years since Cosmology.
We read that Jason Sanderson is the producer of your third album, what made you want to work with him again? Jason has been a friend of ours for a very long time. He's very easy to work with and we think he gets the best out of our band. The two new boys have also recorded with him with their other bands so everyone is comfortable in his studio and used to his way of doing things.
What do you want this third record to do for the status of Rolo Tomassi? I want it to help us maintain the level of touring we can do and to help us reach out to other parts of the world we haven't made it to yet. I'd hope this record will give us the scope to go to America on tour and maybe South East Asia too.
How excited are you to be heading out on tour with Architects; and what should attending fans expect? To hear some new material; we'll be trying out some of the album three stuff live for the first time.
As well as this tour you guys are also playing Hit the Deck festival, how excited are you for this festival? Very! Myself and Ed live in Nottingham so it's a kind of home-coming of sorts. I went to Hit the Deck last year and it was really good fun so I'm looking forward to having the chance to play it.
What else does 2012 hold for you? Plenty of touring and good times!
Interview with Max Bemis You guys have now signed to Equal Vision Records, how did this decision come about? We've known those guys since we were really young. When we first became a band and dropped out of college, we were talking to labels, and they were the first label we talked to. I don't know why, but it somehow worked out with us ending up signing to Dog House Records and then we were signed to a major label for most of our career. Then us and the label decided it was time to end that relationship a couple of years ago, a year and a half ago actually Equal Vision was one of the first labels we thought of and they really aggressively pursued us. To me they were the label that stood out the most, who we were talking to, that I knew would actually put their all into our career as a band. The two AR people we have are two of the most down to earth people I've met. It made the most sense on many levels.
And how has it been with them so far? Amazing. I mean, they've given us all the resources and support to make the record we wanted. And at the same time it's been this really intimate experience where we've got to be involved on the things that we wanted to make sure were going right, which were sort of taken out of our hands with a bigger label.
How come you guys decided to work with Tim O'Heir again on your new album, and how has this whole process been? It's been amazing, we've worked with him before, but this was the first time we got to work with him as adults, who knew more about recording, so we really got to savour and appreciate how great a producer he is, instead of being these chaotic kids that he had to control.
So you worked with him as opposed to him telling you what to do? Well he'd always let us do what we wanted to do, like the first time round he didn't tell us what to do. But this time I think our thinking was a lot more organized and that made it an easier experience for him.
Are there any guest appearances on the new album, if so can you tell us a bit about how they came together? Actually, my wife Sherri sings on it. She sang on the last record and we love her voice. We try to utilize her wonderful voice and it gives us a chance to offset the super gritty, overly-male centric music that we make. It's amazing that I'm married to someone so talented.
How did you guys get to the album title 'Anarchy, My Dear' and what does it mean to you? It definitely has a personal meaning to me. But I think it applies to the other members of the band too. We're all around the same age and we're going through a lot of the same things. It's basically about the experience of freeing your mind from the boundaries that you set up and other people set up around your decisions. I attribute a lot of the influence of these negative thought patterns to the way our government and our society works. So that's why I relate to the term 'anarchy'. I mean you could say 'freeing your mind' or 'being enlightened', but I think it specifically applies to the way countries and our country holds values. I mean it isn't in the Constitution, the Constitution is a wonderful document, but it's how we've chosen to interpret it as a society.
So is the record reflective of the political turmoil witnessed in 2011? I mean, Occupy Wall Street came after you wrote the record, right? Yeah it did, ironically, it's weird. I mean, a lot of those thoughts and sentiments are peppered throughout the record. It's political, but it's not obvious. I've tried to incorporate it in a way that anyone with any political belief, whether you're right wing or left wing or whatever, you probably believe that decisions shouldn't be made for you. Wherever my political views slant is irrelevant, where there's a greater spiritual idea or anarchy and not letting your government and society define you.
The album artwork for this album is really unique, can you tell us how you came up with the idea, and what you wanted it to mean to fans of the band? We were looking for a really iconic image. If someone supports what we believe in on this record and relate to it, then I can kind of see it as a movement of some kind. I know that some bands, like the Used have already explored that idea, very similarly actually, it's kind of a rip-off of the Used. We've seen this idea of anarchy that we're championing as something we want to represent, the same way corporations and governments try and represent themselves. So we came up with the idea of using a flag with the image of a burning flag on it, to represent the mentality we're promoting with this record.
The fact that you are now away from some bad times in your life, with perhaps a clearer view on things, has this changed the way you write, tour and approach music? I mean I wouldn't be thinking or singing about any of the stuff I sing about on the record if I didn't have a really strong foundation of self and happiness and joy in my life. I mean my focus would still be on the futile search for love or the struggle with my demons; there's still some of that in my life to some degree, but a lot of the other issues have come and gone and I've gotten older and I have a whole new set of baggage. When you write music you're trying to write for yourself to help you get through the day-to-day, but for me the bigger struggle in my life is me versus my demons, or how I can continue to be myself in a really aggressive society?
So has it gotten any easier to write music? It hasn't really gotten easier to write music, but it's gotten easier to write songs that are original and not an annoying rehash of what I've already done. I don't regret any of those old records, I love them, but it had to go in a different direction.
The first single from 'Anarchy, My Dear' was 'Burn A Miracle'. At this point how happy are you with the response it has got from fans and critics? Really, really happy. It's such an odd song, I thought it would be more polarising than it was, cos' it's super weird. But I guess it reminded people of the essence of our band and I'm really happy about that. There seems to have been an overwhelmingly positive response to that song and that makes me excited to play it live.
And have you had a chance to play it live yet? When are you next out on tour? No, unfortunately. We're touring at the end of late March, and we're playing South-by-South West in midMarch. We have a proper long headlining tour in late March all the way through May.
What would you say is your favorite song from 'Anarchy, My Dear' and what does it mean to you? I would say 'Burn A Miracle' is my favourite song actually. It makes me feel like my values and the things I've been shaping in the last few years of my life are valid. By writing a song that really cuts to the point and the truth, it really makes you examine whether it's real or not and it makes you question yourself - when I sing a song, or when I think about it, it strikes me as being very true. So in that regard it's a really positive thing for me to have a song like that. When you feel a radical thought about society or the world, and think wow, I'm not that far off, it actually stems from something real.
Can you tell us about how Two Tongues came together? Me and Chris became friends because basically Saves the Day has been my favourite band since I was fourteen or fifteen years old. We met while playing a show together and it turned out Say Anything was kind of his favourite new band and so we had this mutual admiration for each other and that turned into a close friendship. It seemed like the obvious choice to eventually play music together. It was sort of like a fantasy for me and then for Chris it was a great thing too. We wrote a record together about the relationship between someone who's inspired and someone who's inspiring, and how it's a give and take. It's awesome cos' it's still something we do and it's still part of our lives and we want to make another record at some point in the next few years.
So have you got any new material as of yet? Not yet; a lot of Two Tongues is very conceptual, so I think it's not like a normal band where you write a song here and there and eventually it comes together and becomes a record. I think we like doing concept records, so I think we'll have to find the right time to play and really get into it.
What do you want 2012 to do for Say Anything? We've unfortunately had to spend the last couple of years getting things back together, in terms of finding a label and recording the record, we've had to be off the road for a while, so for the people that love us and the people that will love us, we really just wanna' be out there and present in culture. Interview by Ramsey Marwan
Interview with Joseph Marro
"In September of last year, this band reformed to play their first live show together in four years at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia, for the people at this show, it was clear to see that it was important to have this band back in the alternative music scene, the energy the band gave, and the response from the crowd was just something else......with a new album in the works, this is clearly one of the most exciting times to be listening to such a great band, so spread the word because The Early November are back!" So for those who don't know, can you explain why you decided to announce a hiatus back in 2007? It's hard to really pinpoint one specific thing but I would have to say we we're all getting pretty burnt out on the amount of touring. We all had girlfriends or wives at that point and it was really hard to be away for 7 weeks at a time, making barely above minimum wage. We all just needed a break. No one was really mad at anyone else. In a lot of ways, I'm sure the hiatus saved our friendships and it is allowing us to do it again now.
Can you tell us about the side projects you guys got up to in this time? Ace recorded a few records & EP's. One under the moniker Ace Enders & A Million Different People and two under I Can Make A Mess. He recently had a baby girl named Ivy. Sergio played with Ace on a tour or two. Jeff recorded a solo album and did a lot of writing and session work for other bands. Bill kept a lower profile working odd jobs. Now he's working on a organic farm in Southern NJ. I joined HelloGoodbye in 2008. We toured a bunch, put out a record and generally had a really good time. I've also gotten into managing other artists and got married this past October.
When did you guys decide you wanted to get back together then? I mean was it maybe a gradual process or maybe just one moment that sparked the idea of reforming? We would talk about it here and there over the past 4 years but for some reason or another, it just didn't make sense to happen. Everyone was off doing their own thing and there was really no hurry. Suddenly, it all just clicked and everyone was down to give it a try. Originally, it was going to be just one show. One turned into two, then a new record, and now a small run of shows.
What was it like playing your first show together again at the The Electric Factory in Philadelphia? Without question, the absolute best show of my life. We've played that venue before supporting other bands and we've even played to bigger crowds but nothing can compare to that night. At times, it was very hard to even play. My hands were shaking and I felt nauseous, but not out of nerves or anxiety. It was just incredibly emotional.
You recently signed to Rise Records, can you guys tell us why you wanted to sign with them, and how it's been so far? We've known Matthew from Rise for a while now. Ace remained pretty close with him over the years. At first, we just kinda threw it out to them like "if we we're to make a new record, would you be interested?". They were so enthusiastic and genuinely believed in the band because they truly are fans. From the beginning, we have been on the same page and it really feels like a nice partnership as opposed to a "you're lucky to have us" or "we're lucky to have you" vibe.
Can you tell us about your new material? Maybe a bit about how it is sounding or just the general direction of the music? We're still in the early stages but so far I can gather that is very much an Early November record. We are focusing a lot on the overall tone of the record - the sounds that are being captured, the ambiance and atmosphere. Without giving too much away, I'll say that there will be some loud rock stuff, some pretty twinkly stuff, some moody dark stuff.
One of your own Ace Enders is producing the new album at his recording studio (The Living Room),how come Ace wanted to produce the album instead of another producer doing it, and how exciting or interesting has this process been so far? Ace has pretty much produced or co-produced everything we've done since day one. That's his "day job" producing and engineering. He's built himself a really nice studio in a comfortable space and there's no one better to guide the band and the songs than him.
In a kind of reference to the last question, what has it been like to write and record as a band together again? Really nice and familiar. We more or less grew up together and it's interesting to see how after years of not being around one another everyday, we still have the same sense of humor and jokes. The writing process is still mostly the same as it was years ago. Basically, Ace writes a song and shows it to the band and from there we all say what we think would be cool to add or tweak.
How would you say the alternative music scene has changed (or stayed the same) since you guys first started out? There seems to be much more bands, labels & booking agencies, which is a really cool thing. When we first started, I feel there was a "what band will break into the mainstream next?" vibe. I know that's still around obviously, but with major labels and radio meaning less and less, bands can define and find their own success. In a lot of ways, it reminds me more of when I was growing up and the late 90's punk/indie/DIY scene. More and more kids are going to start putting out records and booking bands from their bedrooms which makes me very happy. Sure, there will may be some over-saturation and people trying to take advantage of other people but hard work and integrity will always allow the right ones to win out.
What do you want 2012 to do for The Early November? First and foremost, make a killer record that we can all put on, as guys in our late 20's, and be proud of. I have no interest in trying to re-capture our youth. It was fun but that's not who we are now. I want to make an honest record that represents us and The Early November's name. I want to go to more places the band never got the chance to; Europe, Australia, SE Asia, Russia, etc. I want to be there for the kids who liked us when we started who are now nearing 30 and I want the kids now to not think we're too old.
Interview with Erik "Bowling For Soup are once again showing off their musical talent with an acoustic tour, you can expect the hits as well as a damn good time! The unique point to make about this tour is the support acts, Erik Chandler (Bowling For Soup) will be promoting his upcoming solo work, and Jaret Reddick will be showing off his new side project People On Vacation.....clearly, this tour is not to be missed! So have a read because this fantastic feature includes an interview with every act on the line up!"
How excited are you guys for your upcoming UK tour, and what should fans expect? We are amazingly stoked that the success of our past acoustic tours has made it so that this can be an annual event. When we first presented the idea to our UK promoters and to our former record label, we were met with a bit of resistance. “No one really does that” is the response that we kept getting from all directions, and our response was simply, “Why not?” Jaret and I had been doing the acoustic set in the States for several years, and we felt that we knew our fans well enough to know that this “Acoustic Evening” concept would go over really well with the UK fans. After about two years of convincing, we were finally given the opportunity and after the very first show, everyone understood what we had been going on about. Our acoustic set is a much more up close and personal view of the music, as well as a much more interactive live show. It’s kind of like having some buddies grab a couple of guitars at a party and playing in your living room. We talk a lot about the songs and where they come from, share stories from the road and about the recording process, and, for the most part, we end up just hanging out on stage. We end up answering audience questions and taking requests. Also, fans get to hear some songs that they’ll probably never hear at a full blown BFS show.
What do you guys love so much about doing these acoustic performances? For us, it is such a very low key show. We like that, because it’s not something that we get to do very often. If you’ve ever seen a BFS show, you know that it is a very high energy performance. We love that, but it’s nice to be able to slow it down a bit. As I said before, it’s a very intimate experience and it’s nice to feel like we’ve just spent time with our audience, hanging out. And, for the most part, I think the fans leave with that same feeling.
You guys have stated that you feel more locked in playing 'The Hits' when you perform as a full band, with this in mind, how come you guys feel that way? For us, the idea behind a full band show is to play a “power set” and we control the energy of the show with the songs…bring it up or take it down as we see fit. Please keep in mind that when we say “the hits” we don’t mean that literally…exactly literally. We mean songs that we know are going to create the best energy for the show. That might mean a song with a video that you’ve seen 1000 times on TV, or that might mean a song that is a deep album cut that you might not expect. Or it could even mean that we bust into a Katy Perry or Bon Jovi cover. Having said all of that, when you have 11 albums, there are three or four from each that stand out as crowd favorites, whether they were “hits” or not. That is the group from which we try to choose. We never use a set list, so the show changes from night to night and sometimes we choose well…and sometimes we don’t. But that’s all part of it for us.
What songs have been the hardest to turn into an acoustic song and why? I can’t say that any of them have been really difficult, because they all start out on acoustic guitar anyway. The biggest difficulty is to relay the dynamics of a particular song that has multiple layers of instrumentation when you’ve only got two acoustic guitars. Basically, before an acoustic tour, Jaret and I discus what songs we want to play. I then take that list and deconstruct the songs back to the acoustic roots. Sometimes we play them very straight forward, but sometimes, and these are the ones that seem really special, they kind of become a brand new song, with a brand new feel. That’s really cool, and we can tell that audiences seem to enjoy that as well.
You guys have certainly played the UK a bunch of times now, with this in mind, what is it you love so much about playing here? It is, was, and always will be the fans. UK audiences are so very different than anywhere in the world. It is most definitely a cultural thing. People come to a show for a good time, and they demand that you provide that. Luckily, that fits right in with what we try to do, so it has always been a great match for us.
When did you decide that you wanted to do some solo material away from BFS? I wouldn’t say it was a question of deciding THAT I wanted to do solo material, it was just a question of WHEN. In the beginning, Jaret and I split songwriting and lead vocal duties for BFS. But fairly early on, it became obvious that the sound of the band, and the direction we wanted to take, was leaning more towards his side of things. I actually had to take him out and fill him full of beer to tell him that he was going to be the lead singer, and he was going to have to stand in the middle…I continued to write for BFS for a while longer, but my songs didn’t really fit our direction. As a result, I basically quit writing and then found myself with a bit of writers block. I think that was simply because I didn’t feel I had an outlet for my songs. There just wasn’t any time to do anything outside of BFS. That’s an amazing problem to have, by the way. So, a few years ago, Jaret and I started discussing the possibility of doing a side project based on my songwriting. With this in mind I started writing again. Somewhere in that process, I moved to the east coast and he started People On Vacation, and it just made more sense for me to do this as a solo project, so here we are.
What can you tell us about the upcoming 'Writing The Wrongs' EP, and maybe a bit about how it sounds in comparison to BFS? Musically it is very different. BFS being rooted in melodic punk rock, my solo stuff comes from my love of the Alt/Indie music of the 80s/90’s. Lyrically, the subject matter is close to that of BFS, relationships or lack thereof, drinking with friends, etc…I just write in a different style than Jaret. I kind of hide the bits of truth in veiled references that may be obvious, or they may be only something that I would be able to get. Or if you are the person I’m writing about, you might get it also…Where he writes in plain English, just like you would talk, I like to hide behind metaphors and disguise things a bit…
What can we expect from the lyrical side, as in has there been any events in particular that have influenced what you are currently writing about? Lyrically, I normally come up with a single line that I think sounds cool, and build a song around it. That may end up being a verse, or a chorus, or a bridge. Then that get’s filtered through all of my experience. I might end up writing about something that happened last week, or 20 years ago, or a combination. It could be about me, or someone close to me, or even something that I saw on TV or in a movie. I’ve been lucky enough to have a very wonderful life with a broad spectrum of experience that leaves me a lot to draw from. Very rarely do I write a song that has no basis in any truth at all. There are a few, but for the most part I write about real life situations.
What artists/musicians have influenced you on your solo efforts and why? I tend to be influenced by songwriters who I feel don’t take the easy route as far as melody or chord choices might go. Lyrically, I like story tellers…Someone who can kind of put you in that situation so that you’re experiencing it for yourself…Evan Dando (& The Lemonheads), Paul Westerberg (& The Replacements), early R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Bob Mould, Billy Joel, Lennon & McCartney (Beatles & individually), Jeff Tweedy, Fastball, Dinosaur Jr., Alex Chilton, The Pixies, Buffalo Tom…I could go on for days, but I won’t bore you. And I’ll cease showing my age…
As you have been part of Bowling For Soup for so long now, how have you been finding it adjusting to playing live without them? Having been a part of such a solid unit for almost 18 years now, it is a little intimidating to step out of that comfort zone. Especially since my music is so different than what BFS does. One of the biggest hurdles I’ve found is stepping on stage alone, without the safety net of a band around me. I’ve been playing a lot of songwriter nights…these little unadvertised sets that are kind of allowing me to work out my solo performance. It’s been great fun, but I do find myself with a few nerves about it. I’m currently putting the band together that will be backing me, so I won’t be by myself up there for too much longer. I guess it’s all about finding my comfort zone as a front man again. And I am finding it. It’s just a matter of getting to a point where I don’t over think things too much.
Interview with Ryan
Interview with Josh "Their new album Part & Parcel is fantastic, their live shows are also....fantastic, this band is in short awesome, and their music is a style that we think the music scene really needs more of at the moment. As well as their new album release, the band will shortly be heading out on the road with the huge You Me At Six to win over some new followers, so read on below, as 2012 might just be The Skints biggest year yet!" So you guys recently got involved with Pledge Music to help support your new album Part & Parcel, can you tell us abit about how this idea came about, and how well this process worked for your band? Yeah, basically at the start of 2011 we were chatting to a couple of labels about putting out the new record, but we couldn't really work out a situation with who we were talking to. We didn't want an A&R down at the studio telling us how their label thinks The Skints record should sound, our producer and our band members musical input is all that matters to us! So our manager found out about Pledgemusic and hooked us up with them, and with the help of our followers we raised our studio money in 11 days.
Your new album Part & Parcel is now out, for those who have not picked up the record yet (crazy people) can you tell them what they should expect from the album? You can expect the result of the hardest work any of us have put in to anything! Four young people from northeast London writing honest, original songs with a juicy twist and a sprinkle of Jamaican music from the last 50 years.
How would you say this record compares to your last album release? I think our songwriting and general musicianship has come on so much in the last 2 years that it's kinda tough to compare the 2 records. I'd say the songs are alot more riddim based than the first record, and the bass is gonna mess you up.
Lyric wise, what are the main themes or influences that run through Part & Parcel? I think between Marcia, Jamie and myself, we went alot more personal on this album. Alot of stories about ourselves and our friends and "the world through the eyes of The Skints" points of view. There's definitely more relationship based songs on Part & Parcel, but we can only write about our own experiences, and that's the kind of thing that's gone down!
We read that you worked with Mike Pelanconi on this release, with this in mind, how was this process and how does he push you as musicians? Mike AKA Prince Fatty is an amazing producer. And he absolutely took us to school haha! I'm kidding, but he did really make us refine our playing in authentic Jamaican beats. It was like an old Kung Fu movie, whee the young apprentice gets trained in the mountains by the wise old sensei. Recording the whole thing on to tape made the whole thing sound so much more real as well.
What musicians would you say have influenced you on Part & Parcel and why? There's so many influences in this band, it's always impossible to answer that one...but for actual MUSICIANSHIP and playing in the studio, we were taking influences from people like the Ras-Ites, Roots Radics, Sly & Robbie, The Skatalites, The Wailers, Stevie Wonder...a whole bunch!
You guys recently released your first single from the album - Ratatat, with this in mind how did you guys go about deciding this would be the first single to release? Ratatat wasn't originally going to be the first single, but after our cover of Katy B's "On a Mission" got such a mad response on Youtube, we thought we'd follow it up with another song where Marcia is the lead follow and a little more grimey influenced.
What can you tell us about your newest single Ratatat? As in, what is the message behind the song? Ratatat is actually quite a bitter heartbreak song haha! Marcia obviously tells her story at 100mph and in the second verse, I give my account of an unfortunate female situation. It's definitely one to get wild to at shows though.
How excited are you about your upcoming tour with You Me At Six, and what should attending fans expect? Possibly the kind of music they've not really heard much of before? We hope people will give us a chance even though we don't sound anything like any of the other bands playing, but people are coming out for a good night (hopefully) so maybe they can be introduced to something a little new to them, and just appreciate good vibes music! And maybe buy our new album haha.
Also, you guys sometimes get slots where you will be supporting bands that are not entirely similar to your sound,with this in mind, do you ever worry about not connecting to the crowd? Yeah of course, but it'd be a bit boring playing to the same kinds of people all the time. When we toured with Gym Class Heroes, it was touch because their fans are SO passionate about Gym Class, that sometimes it felt like we weren't good enough. But once you look past the first 4 rows of Travy McCoy die hards people were vibing, and we walked away with some really dedicated new people on our side. I don't think you should be 'scared' to play in front of anyone if you're proud of what you do though.
Last year you guys got to play with some of the bands you grew up listening to (Reel Big Fish, Capdown, among many others) how awesome is this for you as a musician? Or is it maybe just surreal? It's very awesome and very surreal. We've been very lucky to have played with so many artists we grew up listening to, our friends don't believe us most of the time! We can't thank those artists who were and are heroes to us for taking us out on the road with them enough. We are forever humbled.
What else does 2012 hold for The Skints? Obviously Part & Parcel is out April 9th, go get that! Lots of touring, after You Me at Six we go to Europe with State Radio then we are straight into our busiest festival season yet, with a headline tour right after the summer...we're gonna be everywhere! Hopefully we'll see you about. The Skints will be working hard but most importantly having fun in 2012.
Interview with Matt Wilson
"Just recently they got to tour with New Found Glory on the Pop Punks Not Dead Tour, and now, they are coming back to the UK for a full tour which concludes with them playing the mighty Slam Dunk Festival. If you love your pop punk then make sure you don't miss out, as Set Your Goals are AMAZING!"
So since we last spoke you have now released your new album 'Burning at Both Ends' at this point how happy are you with the response it has received from your fan base? I think that any time the six of us are able to write and record music together, then somehow manage to release it to the world, that is a miracle in and of itself. The listeners' response is secondary to me.
Do you feel that you have achieved what you wanted to achieve with this new album? Given the circumstances, yes. There were several instances where we've each thought the band would break up in the studio and our objective was to complete the record without that happening. We accomplished that.
You guys just got off the Pop Punk's Not Dead tour, how was this tour for you and are there any shows that stood out to you for a particular reason? The entire tour was great, and definitely the best tour of 2011 for us. The most standout date for me would probably be the last show of the tour in San Diego. During NFG's last song we all ran out on stage and started partying. After their set the whole tour took a group photo together as well. Good times.
What new songs do you feel have gone down the best at your live gigs? "Certain" has proven to be a hit at the shows, that song probably goes over the best. Other than that, we've tried out "Cure for Apathy," "Start the Reactor," "Exit Summer," "The Last American Virgin," and "Product of the 80's." We're going to be trying out a couple more for our Spring tour with Cartel so I'm eager to see how those go over.
The music video for Certain is ace, can you tell us how you guys came up with the idea, and how fun it was to shoot the video? Thanks! We had a loose "80's prom" theme that we wanted to go with, and our friend TJ Burke (director) took that concept and ran with it. Shooting the video was a lot of fun because we got to work with a friend and things just sort of came together as we filmed. A friend of ours had a VW van similar to the one used in "Back to the Future" and TJ's friend had a DeLorean so we began filming a chase scene for the end of the video and as we were doing that, we just happened to see a guy who resembled Doc Brown walking down the street and asked him if he'd like to be in the video. It all came together quite nicely. TJ is very good at animation and CGI. He's worked on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies and a number of other big budget film and music video projects as well, which came in handy for the effects and the monster sequence of the video.
Who came up with the idea for the music video The Last American Virgin and what did you want the video to mean/show to your fans? "The Last American Virgin" was more of a compilation of footage from last year's Warped Tour. We had a videographer out with us for a couple weeks and he just put it together for us as a way to illustrate what life on Warped Tour is like.
Will you guys be releasing anymore singles of this album, if so can you confirm what ideas you have in mind? We haven't really discussed further plans for singles with Epitaph. Lately we've been focusing on writing new material while the ideas are fresh. We're currently in the studio with Chad Gilbert working on two new songs before we leave for tour to have something new to show our listeners. We've talked about putting out a 7" with a song from Burning At Both Ends and a new song, but it's all still in the beginning stages.
You guys are touring loads at the moment, with this in mind is it ever hard to balance your personal life with your touring life? Balancing life at home with life on the road has always been a constant struggle. It's something that never gets any easier, but you learn to deal with it and to plan accordingly as tour/home schedules develop.
What DVDs/Games have you been playing/watching whilst on tour!? One of my best friends Duncan works for Magnolia pictures and he just sent me a stack of DVDs from Magnet, their subsidiary, so I'm excited to check those out. We've had a lot of time at home for the past few months so I've been playing "Batman: Arkham City" quite a bit. As far as new movies I've seen, "Drive" was easily in the top three of 2011 for me. "The Lorax" came out this week and I'm really looking forward to seeing that too. On tour we play a lot of "Call of Duty" and "Halo" in the van. Sometimes I'll nerd out and play "Final Fantasy Tactics" on my Nintendo DS or "Starcraft" on my laptop too.
How excited are you for your European tour with Make Do And Mend, Cancer Bats, Every Time I Die, and what should attending fans expect? Very excited for this tour. We love the ETID dudes, it should be a good time. Fans should expect the unexpected. Various liquids and heavy objects/bodies may be catapulted into the crowd, so be warned!
What do you want 2012 to do for Set Your Goals? We want to tour South America, Russia, return to Australia, and hopefully even begin working on a new record before the year ends.
Interview with James Carroll
For those who don't know can you explain why Mike Poulin has parted ways with you guys? Poulin has been touring hard for a long time. He spent the years that he played bass with us also playing in another full time touring band. He was barely ever home. Over the course of the last 6 months or so we all (him included) noticed a distance. We finally took the time to sit down and talk about it, and we all decided that what Pope needed from the band, he couldn't really get, and what the band needed from him he couldn't really give. No drama, just life.
How did Luke Schwartz end up joining the band, and how is he adjusting to being in the band so far? Luke has toured with us a bunch over the past few years in one capacity or another. He always felt like a member of this band, so it was a pretty easy decision. He's done an incredible job adjusting. I mean he jumped in right in the middle of us writing a new record, and he has honestly contributed so much. It honestly feels as though he's brought new life to this band.
So you guys are currently working on your new album, can you tell us how this is coming along? It's going great. Today is the last day of drum tracking. Drums sound huge.
Lyric wise, what sort of subjects can we expect to hear about on the new record? To be honest, I spent the last year of my life in a nervous wreck. I'm not exactly sure why. I feel as though there are so many facets of my life that I care so much about and that I try to nurture as best I can, and it's been really tough not to let them tear me apart. That thought process had a very heavy influence on the lyrics for this record.
How would you say the new material compares to 'End Measured Mile' ? Definitely different. I like to think that we drew from everything that we did right on EMM and improved on the things that we did wrong, but everyone says that about their new record so we'll see.
What's it like to work with Matt Bayles, and how has he pushed you as musicians so far? It is very cool to be working with Matt. We are all huge fans of him and the records that he has made. He's been great in helping us focus our ideas and apply them as efficiently as possible for these songs.
How excited are you for upcoming tour with Set Your Goals, and Spycatcher, and what should attending fans expect? Super stoked. SYG are old friends, and I've heard great things about spycatcher. Attendees should expect an all around fun time, and some new songs from us.
The tour also leads nicely into the Slam Dunk Festival, how excited are you for this, and for readers that may be unfamiliar with your music just yet why should they come and check your set out? We are pretty fucking stoked. Slam Dunk is one of those festivals that we have always wanted to play, but have never had the opportunity, so we're going to go pretty hard. I will go ahead and say that we will be playing the second hardest set of the fest. Naturally, we can't top ETID.
What else does 2012 hold for Make Do And Mend ? New record, Warped tour this summer, hopefully another UK/Euro trip before the year is through.
Interview with Dale
Lyric wise, what are the main themes and influences that run through Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray? Giving up on relationships that have a negative affect on ones life. Shaun wears his heart on his sleeve so you can tell a lot of stories just by listening!
Can you tell us a bit about where the album was recorded and how long this process took? It was recorded at blackbird studios in, TN. We had an incredible time with Brendan O'Brien. It's a great music town and it broke our preconceived notion of Nashville being just a country western town. We recorded the record in a number of small sessions so overall it was about a year in the making- doing about four songs each session.
What was it like to work with Brendan O'Brien and how does he push you as musicians? Brendan was so great to work with. He is a musician as well as a producer so it's easy to relate to the way he thinks. He has so much experience in this business and we have so much respect for him.
How would you say this album compares musically to your prior releases? We dont like to compare them too much because we approach each album as a stand alone project and are so proud of our work in every case.
Since you guys recorded this album with Troy McLawhown he has now left to be in Evanescence, how surprised were you when he left, and how weird has it been playing these new songs without him? Being a three piece has always been in our DNA having started out as a three piece, so the transition was fairly smooth. It was a shock for us when Troy decided to leave but these things happen in any type of relationship.
Can you tell us a bit about how the artwork came together? I mean you got to work with Mark Kostabi right who also did some work for Guns N' Roses!? A mutual friend put Shaun in contact with Mark because he had shown interest in working with the band. We are a fan of his work and thought it was a great opportunity and we loved his idea for the artwork. He really nailed the essence of the record and Shaun loved the piece so much he actually bought the original painting from mark.
How great was it to have the album hit number 2 in the U.S. Billboard 200? Fuck you Adele for stealing #1 from us (and every other artist this year!) Ha- obviously just kidding it was an amazing feeling debuting that high.
Country Song has also done really well, but it has a slightly different feel to the track (compared to the rest of the album), can you tell us what the influences are behind this track, and a bit about how it came together? The song is a metaphor for us as a band. We're like the black sheep of the industry. We aren't heavy enough to be metal or indie enough to be really alternative.
With the fantastic reception the album has already received, how excited are you to finally have it released here in the UK? You have no idea. We've been fighting for this to happen for almost a full year.
What else does 2012 hold for Seether? After touring around the world we head out with Nickelback and Bush in the US and Canada and then back to Europe and ending the year with a world headline tour. Basically world domination!
ANTI-FLAG Interview with Chris
â€œTheir latest release The General Strike is superb and it clearly shows that these guys will always be there to show us the worlds true colours! The band have also just recently confirmed their own festival here in the UK which is nicely named Antifest! So get excited as Anti-Flag are about to show us the next part of their outstanding career as a band!â€?
Your new record, ‘The General Strike’ was leaked in its entirety last month – can you explain how that happened? The thing is, I know who did it and I want to be angry at this person, cos’ this person was also someone I considered a friend. It was the principle of being unprepared for the birth of your child and then it’s born. But the good news is, people who’ve heard it say they’ve really enjoyed the record and that’s precisely why you write and record songs, in the hope that some people find some sort of solace inside of them. But it also makes you really want to strangle this person who leaked it! It’s a gift and a curse I suppose.
How do you feel about the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) debacle? With piracy so directly affecting your newest album, did this encourage you to support the Act? I feel that there were so many things tied into that legislation that it just didn’t really make any sense. The thing about piracy and the way people are dealing with piracy is that no-one is coming up with any new solutions. They are all coming up with the solution of punishing the people who use the technology, to slow it down and that’s just not gonna’ happen. You can’t stop technology from moving forward. The night our record was released, I was in Chicago with friends and they were having an argument about SOPA; and one of them was a strong proponent of it, he was a producer who said that he’s working so that bands can make money and not have to work in bars or whatever. And I said well that’s all well and good, except I’m in a band whose record leaked today and I got an email from a part of the world where the album isn’t going to be released, saying they heard the record and they love it. To me, that’s why you write songs, so people can find them and hear them and the fact that I got an email from South Indonesia; you know, there’s no record label there! The person only found it because that technology exists, so you have to throw your hands up and say that’s a positive. So, I’m open to the discussion, but I’m also open to the fact that A) It gives us a forum to reach more people and B) that we get to tour and have people come up to us and say “we didn’t buy your record, but we’re supporting your band by coming to the show” or buying a t-shirt or something like that. We have that dialogue with the people that are supporting us where we can say “download it if you want to”, but please support us in other ways so we can actually survive. When you’ve been a band for 15 years you start to get worried! You start to think, I have no skills as a human being other than this.
Originally you said that the record would be titled ‘Magnum’; now the record is called ‘The General Strike’, did the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011 have any impact on this? That was a great joke where the sarcasm was missed I suppose. Justin is a big fan of that movie Zoolander and Derek Zoolander’s signature move is called “Magnum”, so that’s what he was referring to; but that joke was missed!
But yeah, very much so. I think the cool thing for me about ‘The General Strike’ was that we began to talk about it and we saw the calls for a general strike in the Occupy movement, and people would meet in squares and sit and talk. From outside sources they would be criticised for not having a specific goal or agenda or a list of demands but instead they were sitting out and saying we should focus on greater humanity and I thought “man, that’s genius”. It’s very “Bill and Ted” in its “be excellent to each other” mentality and that to me was very inspiring. When Anti-Flag went down to the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York, I looked around and saw them building the new World Trade Centre in the shadows of the Twin Towers and there were tourists that were taking photos, and at the bottom corner of their photo, there’s Occupy Wall Street. It became almost this subversive thing in relating that to the title, I started to think that we need a general strike in the sense that workers in China would stand up from their chairs and say we don’t need this Ipod, I need a decent wage. I think that deserves support; I’m not saying we need to fucking live in huts and grow our own food and make our own clothing, but I am saying that when people stand up for human rights, we should support them. Then there’s also the metaphorical general strike, with people in their own lives saying “you know what, when I go to work today and that guy I don’t really like says a racial slur, I’m gonna’ tell him to fuck off”. That’s your own personal strike.
It seems that a lot of bands nowadays care more about fashion than politics – how does it feel to be a politically active band in an age where music is no way near as politically charged as it used to be? Well there’s a lot more elbow room than there was in 2004. It’s just us! I mean that’s ok, we were a band in 99’, in the height of the Clinton era, when everyone had a car in the garage and a turkey on the table and we’d go to Texas with an upside-down American flag as our backdrop and people wanted to fucking kill us. We’ve lived through “good times” America and everyone being apathetic. But we also thought that Clinton was waging wars of aggression and there was a lot of things that should have been done positively that he was doing negatively. If we look at today, Barack Obama came in swinging a fucking bat and it was all great and everyone was very excited for him to end the war and shut down Guantanamo Bay and here we are almost four years later and Guantanamo Bay is still open and the health care we were promised is getting shut down – so there’s still room for us to be a band. It might be less lucrative than it was when everyone in the world hated George W. Bush, but that was ok too, because that was the “right thing to say”. I was cool with it when we were on Warped Tour and the other bands who’d never had a political bone in their body were saying “don’t vote for George W. Bush”. I wasn’t like “get off my fucking lawn”, I looked at it like “welcome”. I do believe there is a place for Anti-Flag. And that’s one of the things about ‘The General Strike’ that we’re really happy about; there’s a confidence to it, where maybe over the last couple of records our confidence has been shaken – we were kind of afraid to be Anti-Flag. Now I’m like fuck it, we still sound like Anti-Flag, but let’s make the best fucking Anti-Flag record we can make.
What led to the decision to self-produce the new record? We had that conversation, where we knew what we wanted to sound like. We didn’t want to have the time constraints of a normal studio. We wanted to be able to write for as long as we needed to, to get to a place where the ‘General Strike’ compared to ‘The Terror State’ , or a different record that is definitive in the sound of Anti-Flag. You can’t do that with a producer in a fancy studio – you get 3 to 6 weeks and then you’re out of money. So we built our own studio, the guy who mixed it is a good friend of ours who did it for a favour, behind closed doors after hours and I think it sounds good, you know? I don’t think it sounds like four idiots in a fucking studio, because that’s what it was. It doesn’t sound like it was done too quickly or rushed.
The album artwork is a mock-Newspaper front-page; whose idea was it for this striking cover? Well there was a General Strike in Seattle in 1917 and we have a song about Joe Hill, called ‘1915’. That idea of post-War America makes you think of that World War One era. And there was something about it that made sense for the record. There was a newspaper that came out in Seattle in 1917 and that’s what we based the record artwork on.
What do you hope 2012 will bring Anti-Flag? I really hope some reaffirmation for us as a band. With the type of touring that we’re doing and the way we’re setting up the ‘General Strike’. I’ve been in the band for 15 years and the band’s been together since 1996 and that’s a long fucking time, you know? I want it be a year that when it’s all said and done, we can look back on it and say we put out a record that will last longer than us. With the shows we’re playing, the festival we’ve set up in the UK, and the shows we’re doing in Germany and America, they’re small in capacity and they’re almost all sold out – there’s this element of us getting back to the people that were there from the beginning and that’s gonna’ be a really cool first four months of this year for us. Then we’re gonna’ do Warped Tour in the States and some festivals overseas and I’m hoping to do Leeds and Reading, that’s always been something that’s been really positive for our band. Things like that will just be really cool to do, the things that we know work for Anti-Flag, not necessarily worrying about doing things that bands do just to fucking do them. I wanna’ do things that are positive and fun and make us feel like the band are having an actual impact, not just playing songs and jumping around on stage like assholes. I wanna’ create tangible victories with our band; the goal is to alert people, and like what you said earlier, it’s fashionable to be in a band right now - we’re a band that stands against racism, and homophobia and sexism and nationalism – they might not be the popular opinions of bands, but we’re for damn sure gonna’ say it. Interview by Ramsey Marwan
Interview with Billy Lunn
"When you go to see The Subways live, I think it's safe to say you can expect a damn good time, you'll even see Billy jumping into the crowd and making sure the crowd stay entertained throughout the set! With new awesome tunes like 'It's A Party' and 'We Don't Need Money To Have A Good Time' now in their set list we strongly advise that you do not miss these guys when they tour the UK in April, as this band just keep getting better and better!" Since we last spoke you have now released your new album 'Money and Celebrity', with this in mind how happy are you with the reception the album has received by fans at this point? Overwhelmed would be the right way to describe it! The songs are going down brilliantly live! Songs like We Don't Need Money To Have A Good Time and It's A Party now have bigger reactions than Oh Yeah and Rock & Roll Queen. To see the crowd react in such a way really makes all the work we put into the album worthwhile.
What song is your favourite to perform of 'Money and Celebrity' at the moment and why? I am really enjoying playing Celebrity. I think it's one of the songs I'm most proud of on the album, and there's a part of the song where every time we have played it the audience go nuts. It's always such a pleasure to see.
Other than releasing your new album, what were your main personal highlights of 2011? Being played on Radio 1 was a big moment for me. I've always wanted to hear our music on that station, and when We Don't Need Money To Have A Good Time was A-listed on there, that was definitely a highlight of my year!
On your tours last year, did you guys discover any new venues that you wished you had played before? We found a great little venue in Swansea. It was a beautiful day too, so I went for a walk round the city and I loved it. I'd like to play more shows in Wales!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? We're always excited when it comes to any tour! We're currently in Germany, about to go to Slovenia, Hungary and Austria, and we're having the time of our lives - though a tour in the UK always does feel a little more special. Fans can expect the usual: lots of noise, rock, lights, sweat, smiles, mosh-pits, crowd-surfing, jumping off speakers!
You guys get to tour a lot here in the UK, what venues would you say have been your favourite to play here and why? London has always been a bit nerve-racking and stressful because, well, it's London. But every time we play Koko it just feels different. I think it might be my favourite venue to play ever. It's also one of my favourite places to go and watch bands too. When you walk in and see the red and gold open up in front of you. The sound is great, not a bad spot in the house!
You guys are known for your epic summer festival performances, but do you guys prefer playing to a large crowd, or do you prefer to perform in more intimate venues? Both have their special appeal! The intimate shows are great because everyone gets hot and sweaty, and we can see the whites of the audience's eyes and see their faces as they scream and sing along, but there is also something very special about seeing 50,000 people move as one along to the music. Both send shivers up my spine!
As a touring band, has it ever been hard to balance your personal life with your tour life? My life is The Subways. I wake up every morning and I'm thinking about the band, I go to bed every evening and I'm thinking about the band! Even when I'm home from touring I'm writing music or I'm preparing for the next tour. This is my life, and I love it!
We know you guys like to get the crowds going wild, so where do you guys personally think you saw the most craziest crowd? Or maybe, biggest circle pit?! We played Moscow recently and that was shockingly crazy. It was definitely in my top three all time favourite shows we've played! Reading Festival 2008 sticks in my mind too. The biggest circle pit has to have been at Rock Am Ring festival in Germany!
We've seen you jump into the crowd many a times, have there ever been any gigs where your band members have been worried that you might not make it back to the stage?! Charlotte does get very concerned about whether I'll make it back onstage alive. When I dove into the crowd in St. Petersburg it felt like I was being swallowed alive by a shark. They wouldn't let me go, and I had to get back onstage! Josh and Charlotte are always worried about me, but I'm not happy until I've found something to jump off!
What would you say has changed the most in the alternative music scene since you guys first started out? Digital music is way more popular. When we started out people were more interested in learning how to play instruments, now everybody is concerned with learning the latest program or software. That's fine, but we grew up on rock and roll, so we'll always value musicianship more.
What else does 2012 hold for The Subways? Hopefully lots more touring and writing! I plan on having new songs ready for the next album by the end of the year, and I also plan on producing it myself! Fingers crossed it all goes well!
TWIN ATLANTIC Interview with Craig Kneale
“It’s only been five years since the formation of Twin Atlantic and since this point they have acheived so much, they have even just finished a USA tour with You Me At Six, so with that in mind, let’s find out what these guys want to show us next!” Your latest album 'Free' has been out a while now, with this in mind, do you feel that you have achieved what you wanted to achieve with that album? I think it's actually gone beyond where we thought it would? We hoped it would make us able to play to a couple of 100 people in each city but it's kind of grown legs of it's own and it's actually growing even more as we speak. It's been amazing and surprising to see it happen, we love the album to pieces but you can never be sure how it's going to be received in the big bad world so it's been really nice to see it build.
How is your tour going with You Me At Six, The Swellers, and We Are The Ocean, also at this point, what has been the highlight of the tour for you guys and why? It's going ok so far, we're only a couple of dates in so far so we're still finding our feet a little bit. Everyone seems really nice and the jet lag has subsided so we'll be firing on all cylinders pretty soon I think. My highlight so far is finding a toy shop in Cleveland that had all the Ghostbusters figures I had when I was about 6 years old. Brought back some good and painful memories of letting my brother take them all to school one day and he lost them all. I remember I found Pete Venkman's head at the bottom of my street a couple of days later...
How have you found crowds over there compared to here in the UK? I think they're actually much the same as crowds elsewhere? They're perhaps a little bit more willing to talk to you and they are a bit more into the material aspect of supporting a band via merchandise etc... but they have the same passion that crowds have everywhere else. But they do call you 'dude' and 'bro' alot, that's hard to get used to.
So this year you celebrate 5 years as a band, so with this in mind, how happy are you with the bands current status, and just how far you have come since day 1? I think we're all very happy and also bemused with where we are after five years together. We've achieved more than we ever thought we would. We always had tonnes of belief in ourselves but when you're practicing in a spare room in your parents house it's hard to visualise yourself even getting out of Glasgow, never mind playing all over the world - we get a lot of time in front of people that are so passionate about our band. We always took the band very seriously, but we try not to think about what we've achieved as in the grand scheme of things we're still tiny fish.
Where would you like to see your band in another 5 years time then? Hopefully still on the same trajectory and still enjoying making music together. We've managed 5 years without any major fall outs so I think we're good for now. We've always said that as long as we can see progress at the end of the each year, even if it's just baby steps, we'll keep doing this. We're more confident in our abilities than we ever have been so I think the future is bright. But not orange.
How excited are you for your upcoming UK tour, and what should attending fans expect? We're very excited, our last headline tour at the end of 2011 was a very special one for us - it was the first time crowds in England & Wales seemed to have the same passion for our music that Scotland has had for the last while. Nearly every show sold out so it left us thirsty to take the next step so this April can't come soon enough. Crowds can expect what they've seen from us before but with some slightly fancier production and also a comedy half hour set by myself half way through the show. That second part isn't true, as much as I fought for it. The world needs to hear my jokes.
As well as your headline UK tour, you guys are also heading out with the HUGE Blink 182, with this in mind, how did this chance come around, and how excited are you for such a tour? We did a few shows with Blink in 2010 and did a short European tour with Angels & Airwaves at the beginning of last year so we struck up a relationship with Tom through that and I think he just likes our band? We're really excited about these shows aswell, they're big on another level. We've done a few arena supports before and they're always fun. Catering is usually a taste explosion as well, and the real goal of tour is to eat nice food isn't it?
You've been lucky enough to tour with some pretty big bands, so what do you learn the most from doing these kind of support slots? We have kind of learned everything we now know about surviving on the road. Our first support tour was in 2007 with Circa Survive. It was only 5 shows but to us it felt like the most gruelling experience of our lives. We learned so much just by watching them and we've just picked stuff up along the way from bands we've supported since then.
You guys are also hitting the Warped Tour, how excited are you to be part of such an iconic tour? I think we're more scared than excited! We've heard it can be really tough, especially for a band with not much of a profile in America. Also, we're from Scotland where the sun only shines one day a year and the heat can be mental for most of the tour. We'll either have a great time or come back so burnt that we'll be dead.
What else does 2012 hold for Twin Atlantic? Lots of touring obviously, but we're also really anxious to get recording again. We've started to get the songs together for something new so hopefully we can get it pieced together and out before the end of the year. Last time we said this it came out a year later, so we'll see how that pans out....
Interview with Tom
“After the release of ‘The Here And Now’ the band were unsatisfied with the mixed reaction they got from fans so with just a year past since it’s release the band have already announced their follow up album ‘Daybreaker’. They have indicated to their fans that this will be similar to their older material. So as the pressure mounts for the next release with both fans and the band, we catch up with Tom to get updated with everything Architects related” How did your headline shows go in December with Deaf Havana, Heights and Tek-One, also do you have any cool memories from the tour that you can share with us? They were amazing, we had an absolute blast on that tour. We were a little nervous about some of the shows, especially headlining the Forum but everything went great, I still can't believe we did it. It's pretty surreal. It was only short so there wasn't much time to make memories but there was a hell of a lot of drinking going on. Because it was so short we labelled it the '20 days in 5 days tour' so we had to fit everything we'd do on a normal length tour in 5 days. Basically meaning we got horribly drunk everyday. Nothing to exciting. All the bands were great, I think some people thought the bill was too varied but it actually worked out great. I was really impressed with Heights, they're a great band.
Last year you got to tour America with Bring Me the Horizon, how did this tour go for you? It was a good time. We lived out of our means and went in a bus, which took the all night drives out of the equation, that made the tour a little more pleasant. Plus we were mates with all the bands on the bill.
Since we last spoke you have now put out your recent album 'The Here and Now' with this in mind how happy are you with the response it has received from your fan base so far? Not really. I think everyone is aware that the record got a mixed reaction. Its always sad to see fans disappointed. Especially when I already felt a little disappointed myself. I'm probably not supposed to say that it did, but it hurt. People were saying we were over and that the Architects they loved was dead. It made me question a lot of things. It was a learning curve for me.
What songs are you enjoying performing the most of the album at the moment and why? I always enjoy playing 'Stay You Forever', it's probably the heaviest track on the record, it always has a good energy live.
How would you say Daybreaker is comparing to The Here and Now? Heavier, loads heavier. I think it's just bigger and more ambitious, I can't wait to release it.
Lyric wise, what are the themes or influences that run through Daybreaker? It's less focused on personal problems and looks more at bigger problems going on. I think a lot of people are becoming more aware of whats going on. Too many of us float through life without acknowledging what is happening around them. In the western world we're far too separated from the damage our lifestyles cause to the earth.
â€œPeople were saying we were over and that the Architects they loved was dead. It made me question a lot of things. It was a learning curve for meâ€? The Here and Now' has been out for a year now, but this is sometimes the early stages for touring a record with some bands, so with this in mind what made you guys want to get back in to the studio so soon? We tend to write records pretty quick. As soon as we released THAN, I wanted to get back in the studio. Every record is a reaction and a learning experience. After THAN I immediately had a really clear idea of what I wanted to do next. Perhaps from a business point of view, releasing records so quickly doesn't make sense, but I love writing music, thats why I'm in a band, not to run a business.
You guys are booked to play Groezrock, how excited are you for this slot, and are there any other bands on the bill that you will be checking out when you get there? Yeah, I can't wait to play. We did it a few years ago and it was an amazing show. We actually fly into belgium from South America to play, so we're gonna be exhausted! Should be great though, Your Demise are playing on our day as well I think, so we'll be hanging out with those guys no doubt. Plus it'll probably be the last time I get to see Thrice who I've been a fan of for years!
How excited are you for your upcoming UK headline tour, and what should attending fans expect? They should expect us trying to be a good band. With mixed results. I absolutely cannot wait for that tour, I'm stoked to be bringing Stray From The Path over to the UK. Those guys are amazing. Some how we've never toured the UK with Rolo Tomassi, so I'm looking forward to putting that right.
What else does 2012 hold for Architects? I'm not sure to be honest! Gonna release a new record and see what happens!
Interview with Winston
We've read that you guys are already working on a follow up to Deep Blue, can you tell us a bit about the material you have, and maybe how it is sounding? It’s sounding very heavy to start with. Other than that it's sounding pretty damn interesting. We're trying to bring some more elements into the sounds we already have and so far its woking really well. We have a stack of songs ready and some stuff that will really surprise people.
How would you say the material you have so far compares to your previous releases? It’s the next step of the evolution. heavier, faster, but on the melody side its crazy. There’s some mental stuff in there we haven't tried before, and some of the sweetest guitar work we've ever put down.
You guys have also stated that you will release a DVD can you tell us a bit about what will be on it and what you want it to show to your fans? The DVD follows the band over the last year, playing shows, travelling and existing across 40 different countries. It has some crazy shows, some amazing places and some amazing people. There is some stuff on there that has to be seen to be belived. Ever seen what happens at a metal show in Calcutta India?
2012 marks ten years since you guys first started, so how would you say you have progressed as a band since the early days? I think we've progressed personally and as friends, which has led to us being more confident in the music we write and the way we carry ourselves on stage. Now more than ever we do this band the way we want. We're over being cool, uncool, heaviest, techest, slowest, catchiest or whatever, we're stoked just being Parkway.
In these ten years, what would you say has been the hardest thing or event to accomplish as a band and why? Getting enough sleep haha. Seriously that has been the only thing. We've loved every minute of it and still have the same passion for what we do, as we did the day we started. Everything we have accomplished however difficult was fun so it wasn't a hard undertaking, its just been hard keeping up with everything. i kill for zzzz's these days.
You guys got to tour in some pretty amazing places last year, with this in mind, what tours stood out the most to your band and why? Playing india. It wasn't a whole tour, but man, we played fucking INDIA!!!!!!!!! i canâ€™t put into words what it meant, you'll have to wait and see the DVD.
You guys have got to tour with some pretty huge bands, in the next couple of years, who would you really love to tour with and why? The gaslight anthem and Lana Del Rey, love both of them, and they make amazing music. simple as that.
How did you guys find playing the huge Sonisphere last year? Sonisphere was the biggest, most insane show we have ever played. To be honest i think there was so much adrenaline going through me at the time, that it wiped the memory from my mind!!! i know it was crazy, i know i loved it, but itâ€™s just a blur now haha.
How excited are you for upcoming UK tour and what should attending fans expect? So excited!!! We love the UK and we've been away for too long, plus we're bringing some sick friends. this tours going to be awesome, old songs, new songs, as many stage dives as you can bust and plenty of riffs to hum along to. Sounds kinda like a party huh!!
What else does 2012 hold for you? A new record, a new DVD, a million tours, a show in antarctica, first band to play on the moon. some of those answers might no be true though.
“This guy is an incredible acoustic solo artist, he is known for his outstanding talent on both vocal and guitar, original material, as well as his insanely amazing covers, I mean he covered Bohemian Rhapsody by himself with an acoustic, pretty cool right? Anyway....he is back on the music scene to unleash a new EP as well as a new album, so read on to discover the legend that is Newton Faulkner” So, what can you tell readers about your upcoming EP 'Sketches’ ? It's a mish-mash of stuff I did at home, or in people's living rooms - it was all pretty casual. There's a couple of stripped back versions of album tracks and a random song that didn't make the album, but I really liked, plus a little surprise.
What would you say has been the hardest part of recording 'Sketches’ and why? ....that's a tricky one...to be honest, I kind of made the record by mistake. I was just making a fun demo, if I'd known it's going to be released I would of made much more of an effort.
We've read that you've recorded most of your new record at home, how come you decided to do this, and how has this process worked out for you so far? It's been done all over the place, this one, in my house, in the producers garage in LA, on a boat in East London. Itâ€™s been relatively calm, the making of this album, which is very nice but slightly unnerving. I'm sure it'll all get very intense at the last second, which will put my mind at ease.
How would you say your material for your new album compares to 'Rebuilt by Humans' ? I loved Rebuilt by Humans, OK I was in the minority, but I am incredibly proud of it, but this one's much better. It's more organic and guitary and it's got more hooks and is a little bit looser and more fun. The whole recording process has involved friends and hanging out, so it really hasn't felt like work and me and Sam Farrar, who's produced most of the record. We have had a real laugh on both sides of the Atlantic, which I think you can hear in the recordings. It sounds like fun, because it was.
What musicians have influenced how you write on your upcoming record? A lot of the same guys as the first two with a few new additions. There's been a huge amount of good stuff coming out over the last few years, from Mumford and Sons, Adele and Goyte to the rise of dubstep.
How did you get involved in the BBC Introducing Masterclass, and how fun or rewarding has this process been for you? They asked and I said, alright. It was amazing, I learnt loads, I always feel a little bit guilty after things like that, I always feel like I've leant more than anyone else...
How excited are you for your UK tour and what can attending fans expect? I cannot describe how excited I am, I'm a road man - Big noise, new songs and possibly shoes...I am considering wearing shoes for this one. Which I know is like Bob Dylan going electric, but artists have to be allowed to develop.
What else does 2012 hold for you? Lots of tours, album three and a little Olympics.
2011 saw the release of your fourth studio album, ‘Union Black’ and you gained a load of great reviews. Now that the dust has settled, how do you feel the record has been received? I feel that Union Black opened a lot of new doors for Skindred through the albums rave reviews which it deserved. We have gained a whole load of new respect at home & abroad which is great.
In your last interview with Stencil Mag you talked about the difficulties of gaining air time on American radio – did ‘Union Black’ make some headway in this area? Union Black hasn't been released officially on a label in the USA, we go over in March to play some shows (at SXSW) and meet a few new possible labels, we got a fair few songs that we know and believe will get the airwaves in the US buzzing again with the sound of Skindred, our fan base there is great...
What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Cut Dem’? It’s pretty terrifying! Haha it wasn't meant to be such a horror flick, but it is... The songs about UK knife crime, I guess the two of them are scary things... But that's about the only paralell I can draw between the video & the song!
Skindred are one of the hardest bands to place in one genre: how would you define your music? Do you think genres are important? I think personally that the most important thing in real music is the fact that you rock! And we do that for sure, forget what sort of music it is, does it make you want to rock? That's the most important thing in any form of music...
Interview with Benji
You’ve been confirmed as the headliners for Hammerfest 4, the Jägermeister Music Tour in April, as well as Takedown 2012. How excited are you for all of these? Being asked to headline anywhere is amazing, we are so thankful, but we know we bring the place alive and that's what promoters and punters want at the top of the bill..
You won the Kerrang award for Best Live Act last year. How important is the live show to you? How do you keep things interesting while playing on stage? As a band for me the live show is everything, I try not to make things up before hand, I just do my thing during a show and wait for what bolt of lightning Zeus hands to us..
Skindred has been around for over ten years; you’ve clearly put in a huge amount of hard work to get to where you are today - is it difficult to adjust to the snow-balling success? We've sowed a harvest and the crops are coming in, that simple.. Its’ been a long time in the making an I'm enjoying every minute..
Are there any plans already in motion for a follow up to ‘Union Black’? We have been all coming up with ideas so yes come the ass end of 2012 we should be in the studio recording a release for 2013
What direction do you see your music going in in the future? Anywhere we want to go, we ain't been pinned down to a sound fortunately so we can do what we want!
What would Skindred like to have achieved by the end of 2012? Some more amazing live shows a rocking 5th album and a pocket full of money.. and a sound that brings the world together for the better...
So how has it been so far having created your own label with the help of Hopeless Records? Bert: We have wanted to do things our own way for a long time now. We love how things are going so far and have never been so excited. Jeph: So far they have been great, and they better keep it up or someone is getting stabbed. Or talked to sternly.
What can you tell us about the recording process for your latest album Vulnerable? Bert: We have been writing for the last year and a half. Demoed thirty songs or so... Once we started the record with John it was a very quick process. Eleven or twelve songs in twelve days, with about another month or so to finish. It was done at feldmanns house in bel air and finished at his new house. The majority of the songs were written on a keyboard. Jeph: It all started over a year and a half ago. We all came together at our usual practice place and jammed tons of ideas, a couple of weeks later we started up again by jamming different ideas. Then we decided to record some demos with some friends of ours (Matt & Alan) we ended up recording the super demo version of I come alive and a couple others that made the record. Then back again writing and writing. Finally we ended up deciding to go back to feldmann to record with (long story there) Bert took a little bit of charge and took some of the old ideas he wasn't feeling and rewrote them starting with a piano, and also he wanted to come up with some musical parts as well. That's the slimmed down quick version. OlĂŠ
How did you guys go about choosing 'I Come Alive' as the first single to release of your new album, and how happy are you with the response it has received so far? Bert: The response has been great! We think this song represents the whole concept of the record in a way. The idea of learning from mistakes and making yourself a better person from the things you learn is a constant subject on this record. It was also the first demo in the song writing process for vulnerable.
As a band, what was the most challenging part behind creating this new record? Bert: The most challenging part was making something that I want to listen to. Making sure that there is not one boring moment on this record.
John Feldmann has worked on most of your material, with this in mind what is it you love so much about working with him, and how does he push you as musicians? Bert: He is a very hard worker and he is very creative. He's very open to ideas and getting weird. We know each other so well. He is family.
How come you guys didn't work with John on your last album Artwork? Bert: We just wanted to try something new. I think it is important to keep trying new things. Jeph: We would rather explore and experience our musical future as much as we possibly can, it's important to challenge yourself as a musician. We will work with someone else again in the future, and I look forward to seeing a different point of view on music.
What are the lyrical inspirations behind Vulnerable, I mean are there any particular subjects that you have wrote about, or maybe certain events that have influenced this records direction? Bert: I always write about love and loss. Humanity and mortality. Successes and failures and how we cope with them. This record is for the people who never really fit in. The misfits and outcasts. The true music fans. It's about daring to chase your dreams no matter what you lose along the way. Jeph: The idea of vulnerability as a strength. Once you strip everything away and are left with nothing except who you really are and can show yourself for who you really are that's your most vulnerable point. If you can learn to live like this and take the world on as yourself without fear then you really are at your strongest point in life.
The artwork for Vulnerable is great, can you tell us a bit about who came up with the idea, and maybe what you wanted it to mean to your fans? Bert: It is a statement about the power of the vulnerability of youth. Kind of a play on lord of the flies. Jeph: We came up with the idea for the cover, and our friend Frank Maddocks was the artistic force behind making it all come true and tying the cover into the rest of the art.
It's now been ten years since the release of your self titled first album, so how do you feel you have progressed or changed as a band since that point? Bert: We feel alive. So proud of the things we have accomplished along the way. Looking forward to the next ten years! Jeph: We have learned how to get along being cramped in small spaces for hours and hours of time haha. Plus how to enjoy sitting on planes for more than 10hrs and sometimes as much as 20hrs. Also being in a band is about the sound and feel of the entire song not just each member soloing together.
As we are a UK based magazine, we must ask, what have been one or two of your craziest memories from touring here? Bert: I will always remember our very first show in the UK. Before I could even say we are the used I was smashed in the face with a full beer. It was at that moment I knew I would love it! Jeph: Getting in a fight with bootleggers and having them light our bus tires on fire. Bert smoking weed in his hotel room at 4am and setting off the fire alarm to the entire building which resulted with firemen kicking his door down. Also meeting some different bootleggers and finding out I had been listening to their demo CD for over a year haha. Plus playing some kick ass Reading and Leeds shows with the biggest wall of deaths I've ever seen. UK kids love to party.
So what do you want 2012 to do for The Used? Bert: This is going to be a big year for the used! Even though we never went anywhere, you can officially say that the used are back!!! Jeph: To be the first band to play on the moon. This is our year, the Olmecs, Mayans, and Aztecs prophesied that we would destroy the world on December 2012 so be ready for us.
Interview with Joe
"If you love your Punk/Rockabilly music, then you are in the right place, as Graveyard Johnnys are currently taking over this genre with their new album 'Songs From Better Days' So what are you waiting for? Pick up their record and check them out!" What are the themes or influences that run through your latest record 'Songs From Better Days' ? The album is a collection of thoughts, experiences and lessons we've learned since being in a band. We're not trying to be clever or unique with lyrics, we're just being ourselves. Honesty is the best policy. The music side of things I suppose is a natural combination of myself and Tom's tastes rolled into one.
How did you get to the album title 'Songs From Better Days' and what does it mean to you? It's part of a line from the song "The Wasted" which is in the style of a sea-dog who has made the decision in life to be at sea because that's where he belongs. It's basically about the struggles you have trying to have a settled homelife at the same time as travelling one. I suppose it's the only deep sort of song on the album and that lyric sort of stood out for an album title. It was either that or "The Dark Side Of The Poon" but that seemed too serious.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for this record? The album was made at Junkyard Studios in Newport, South Wales over some weekend sessions last year. Jeff Rose of Dub War fame did a fucking great job, he captured the chaos and energy and at the same time got a really polished, modern sound and that's exactly what we wanted.
What was the hardest part of the record to create for your band and why? I suppose the hardest part for us was writing and recording some of the songs without ever playing them before as a full band, that was a completely new experience for us. All of the music was written and recorded with just guitar and drums, there was no basslines and hardly any lyrics until the last minute. It was pretty spontanious which is a scary feeling because you've had no time to try other things out but at the same time it was fun that way. It's wicked to be playing the new songs live now!
How did you go about deciding that Cherylene will be the first single to release from your new album? We were always chuffed with that song and when we recorded it we just thought it was a good introduction to our new sound and aggression. There's not many rock and roll songs about Chav birds too and most people seem to relate to it rather than hearing another song about hell or a fucking Cadillac from Outer Space or something.
Since the albums release, how happy are you with the feedback you've been receiving from fans so far? It's been amazing! We're getting so much support from old faces and new. It is always a worry whether people will be into it or not, especially when you do something a bit different I suppose but yeah, we're buzzing with the reaction.
You guys do a lot of shows across Europe, with this in mind how cool is it to be playing live so far away from home, and still have people singing along to your tracks? It feels wierd to see people sing back at you, especially when you're thousands of miles away from home. I suppose it's so easy for people to hear our music these days on 'tinternet and that but yeah it's an amazing feeling to be jotting lyrics on the back of a flyer at home one day and then having a room full of complete strangers screaming them back in your face a few months later.
What else do you guys have planned for 2012? Well the album comes out on limited edition red vinyl sometime this summer as a split with an amazing Berlin band called "Bonzai Kitten" we will be doing UK and Euro dates to promote that, also we are touring the UK for a week in May with "The Brains" from Canada, check them out. There's some festival dates through the summer and we're currently booking a Spanish tour for September. Inbetween all that there is another video planned, something to do in Finland and all sorts of other stuff I can't remember at this point in time. It's busy as fuck and that's how we like it.
Can you tell us how you guys first got together then? There have been quite a few different line-ups throughout the history of the band, I’m the latest member to join and I couldn’t be happier to be playing with the current line-up. Before I joined, I went along with them for three dates in Belgium and got a little taster of tour life, along with a lot of tasting of Belgian beer. I got the feeling that the old vocalist wasn’t enjoying the touring that much and then he announced he was leaving once they got back to England. I had been in bands with Mike (Bennet, guitarist) before, so I knew he was an awesome songwriter. I knew Tom (Higgins, guitarist) and James (Glover, bassist) from going to shows and clubs in Manchester, and I met Carl (O’Pray, drummer) through the rest of the band. So, I did a vocal audition and got the gig. As I said before, I’m beyond happy to be part of this band, and hopefully can help to keep up the strong reputation they already had whilst exploring new areas of song writing as well.
How did you guys get to the band name Empires Fade, and what do you want it to mean to your fans? As far as I’m aware, it’s just a cool band name. It’s pretty memorable and we thought it was relatively easy to say until people started calling us Empire Space, Vampires Fade and Empire Fades whenever we told them the name. It’s not that difficult, is it?! Maybe we just talk like tits, especially Tom.
For readers who may be unfamiliar with your band, can you tell us a little bit about how you sound? We all like a wide range of music, but for the most part I’d say that the overall sound of Empires Fade is a fairly even mixture of August Burns Red, Misery Signals and The Ghost inside if I had to give people reference points. It has tech parts, there’s aggression, heavy bits, fast passages and plenty of melody. Crowds could and do definitely go sick to it, but there’s also an element to it where I think people can just stand back and appreciate what’s being played. It has breakdowns in, but they’re challenging, basically we don’t like to give people an easy ride at first but if you take a few listens to get it stuck in your head, hopefully you’ll be impressed. I still get baffled every time I hear a new demo, and it’s easy to forget that other people haven’t heard these songs 1000+ times like we have so it may take a bit of time for some. But, with any luck, we’ll win you over in the end.
So what can you tell us about your EP ‘Reflection’? We’re so happy with how it’s turned out. Our guitarist Mike recorded, produced and mastered it all and he’s done a wicked job, so bands should check him out if they like what they hear. It’s five tracks and they’ve all got their own energy to them whilst keeping a sense of familiarity throughout. We’ve taken our sweet time getting it out, but there’s no point in half-arsing these things so I’m glad we took the time to get it just right. We’ve had loads of positive feedback from the recent video release for ‘Virtue’, so hopefully people will feel the same about the EP and then - come November - the album.
Lyric wise, what can we expect from your EP? There's a mixture of themes on the EP, a few hit quite close to home and I don't doubt some people close to me would be shocked to find out the lyrics are about them. People have fucked other people over, I've been fucked over and I've not been perfect either, so it seems to be a constant cycle sometimes. There's a lot of trying to deal with that, trying to understand what goes on in people's heads and why they act like they do. There's also a lot about pushing through all that bullshit and believing in yourself. I hate to sound preachy or 'hardcore lyrics 101', but everyone has it in themselves to take control and make something their own, even if you don't believe it yourself right now. I'm still not over a lot of things from the last few years which annoys me beyond belief, but I know I'll look back one day and think "fuck, why did I carry that with me for so long?" So these songs are helping towards that, pushing on and leaving those who betray you and those you cared about behind.
You guys have done some pretty awesome tours so far, with bands like The Elijah and Poison My Blood, (can we say Liferuiner instead of Poison My Blood here? That tour was a long time ago) with this in mind, what has been one of your most memorable moments on tour as a band, and why? We toured a fair amount last year, and I've gotta say I had the best time on every tour. In March with Martyr Defiled and The Elijah we made great friends with some of the UK's top underground bands, and in December we made great friends with Australia's Buried in Verona and the sweet dudes in The Handshake Affair from Germany, but I think our three week tour with Liferuiner across the UK and Europe in May was the most special, for me at least. Getting on the ferry felt like a proper adventure and even though there's a lot of travelling in a van, you can hardly complain. You get to travel all over different countries, playing shows and hanging out with your best friends while constantly making new ones. The camaraderie is unbeatable, and even when someone is feeling shitty it doesn't take long to realise you're doing what you've wanted to do for your whole life. It also gave us a proper, proper taste of touring life and cemented us as a band. We've still got a lot to prove, but playing 20 gigs in 21 days really helped us to hone our live show and realise that when you're on stage, you don't hold back. You play hard and you play right and it just all comes together. Every moment is memorable and you try and make it all count as much as possible.
Now there is a lot of competition when it comes to being in a full time band, so what sets you guys above the rest of upcoming bands out there? I think I might have gone through a lot of the reasons in previous questions but I think persistence, determination to prove to people that the songs we have are worth hearing, and a belief in ourselves has a lot to do with it. We wouldn't play music we didn't like, so why not try to make music we fucking love? I don't think it's arrogant to be proud of what you've created, so show people what you've done at every opportunity. There is an unreal amount of bands out now and it's hard to push your name out there when you're a small band, but there's no harm in trying. No one's going to hear you if you just play to your mates in the same city all the time. We try to get out there and let people know about us as much as we can. I wouldn't say it sets us above the rest and I'm not saying we're any better than the next unsigned band, but belief and a bit of determination can go a long way to getting people to hear and appreciate what you've done in the past and what you're doing now/in the future.
What else does 2012 hold for Empires Fade? A two week UK tour in June, hopefully both Europe and America later in the year and a full-length in November. We're gonna be really busy, but we're at a point now where I think we're strong enough to take on new challenges and truly push ourselves. We need to prove ourselves this year, and we're going to take as many opportunities as we can get to spread the word and let people hear our music.
â€œStencil Mag catches up with Inon Zur to find out just how much work goes into composing the soundtrack for huge games such as Fallout 3 and Prince Of Persia!â€?
When did you realize that you wanted to be a composer? This idea came to me very early during childhood; music just came quite natural from the age of 3. One of my first musical memories was my mother singing to me and I just came up with a harmony and started singing it. I was attracted to classical music in my early years and wanted to listen to records of symphonies, piano concertos and more. I composed my own songs and studied the history of music as well as music theory along with composition and appreciation from a very early age. I found myself composing original music more than just practicing. I also learned guitar and French horn but piano has always been my main instrument. During my teens I realized that music is what I loved to do and I kept on learning more and more, and composing more. My goal was to be a conductor and classical composer. At university I also started to study jazz. I also listened to a lot of pop/rock and acquainted myself with other new styles to increase my musical vocabulary.
So what does a typical day involve for you as a composer? I try to plan my day ahead so I will know what the missions will be and to make the day productive. Sometimes I have new musical ideas at night for an important demo, or a concept I'm developing, which I like to write down first thing in the morning. I'm thinking of ideas all the time but in the morning I'll jump on it. I will divide the rest of my day working on my projects, talking to clients, networking, and communication. I will find a part of the day to listen to music, to expand my ideas and gain inspiration by listening to music in other genres and artists.
What was it like to work with Jack Joseph Puig on the song "I'm Not Calling You A Liar (Dragon Age II: Varric's Theme)" Florence Welch? Working with Jack was an interesting experience, to become familiar with his concept of production. He brought his unique and specific style of mixing and producing which is what we were looking for with this song. Florence was really happy with the arrangement; they approved the track immediately after we finished the recording.
How great was it to have that song nominated for "Best Song In Game" at the Spike TV VGA's? It's great that games are now being recognized alongside film and TV. We were happy to receive the recognition, and appreciated the fact that the public are noticing how we are trying to make something a little different for a game. In this case, we took a song that was already written but renewed it in accordance with the game, and shifting its momentum and the idea of the song towards the story of the video game, which was a very interesting process. We were very happy that our approach was recognized. I've consciously incorporated songs in the scores to the Dragon Age series as opposed to other games. Dark fantasy is a great genre for telling an emotional tale, and songs capture the heroism, love and passion, betrayal and all the other human behavior and characteristics. The power of the vocal is very unique, and I feel that it adds a lot of emotion to the soundtracks, and with such a dark and violent game, this feature adds a touch of kindness, compassion and beauty.
You recently worked on The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, how fun was this whole process for you? I mean you got to work at the legendary Abbey Road Studios right? It was an extraordinary experience. Obviously I had heard all about Abbey Road before I recorded there but until you actually experience the recording you don't appreciate its uniqueness. The room and aura is totally different from any other recording studio. It was almost like opening the door to a new world for me in terms of the sound and the orchestra. In a way they made me revisit my own music from a new perspective, and it was recorded in the right way for this project. The whole score was being recreated because of this venue and the orchestra's performance of my music.
Also did you watch any of the Lord of the Ring films or read any of the books for influence as to what the game should sound like? I am very much familiar with Tolkien's works. I remember when I first read all of his books as a teenager I was heavily influenced by his work because it introduced me to a whole new world of adventure, fantasy, imagery, culture, and language. It was a great inspiration to tap into this immersive world. For me to be working on The Lord of the Rings, it is not so much that I've come full circle but it is certainly a wish come true. We stayed loyal to the sound of the movies however we have taken the music to a darker place. I created an entirely new array of themes and musical palettes for this game which are different than the movie scores. We do not use any quotes or direct references from the film soundtracks. The score is entirely original but the sound is reminiscent of the films so the audience is not going to feel detached from the franchise.
What was it like to perform these songs live at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)? It must of been great for other people to hear these fantastic songs? The whole concept behind this concert was actually two very different main ideas: of course, to promote the game The Lord of the Rings: War In The North, but also to introduce young people to classical orchestra. This score has a heavy classical influence featuring only orchestra and choir; there are no electronic sounds, it is 100 % acoustic. Most of those attending have never experienced a live orchestra in action. I felt like a missionary bringing the orchestral tradition to many people who never saw a trombone playing live before in this kind of setting. It was a great idea of Warner Bros. to showcase live orchestral music through the promotion of The Lord of the Rings: War In The North. In addition to the game, it demonstrated the interaction between the conductor and the orchestra, and the experience of live music. So I was really happy that I could help bring this art form to a larger audience.
What was it like to work on the EPIC Prince of Persia, and what are your fondest memories from this experience? Prince of Persia is its own distinct world so I really immersed myself in this fantastic universe. It is a colorful, romantic, yet very powerful world with unnatural, magical forces, and draws inspiration from the eastern landscape. Combining all of its special ingredients - the love story, passion and darkness and then conveyed in this landscape creates a unique style in both the way the game looks and the way it sounds.
You also worked on Fallout 3 & Fallout: New Vegas, so how hard was it to put something together for a game that is just so big? The Fallout games are huge open-world experiences and because you can go everywhere all the time, the music can be more flexible and not so specific to just one place. I tend to look at the musical score as the emotional dimension of a game. This is why I always try to understand what the producer wants the player to feel from an emotional point of view rather than trying to describe what is actually happening right now. In this way, the score taps into the psychological realm instead of staying passively as a mere description of exactly what you see. Therefore, the music is helping to create the realistic elements of the drama. From a technical viewpoint, each track that I wrote featured a lot of layers and elements which could be played separately as independent cues at different times.
When your writing for huge games like Fallout 3, are there any particular guidelines you follow as a composer? Being immersed in the world is the most important factor, and knowing the story and characters. You also need to be able to understand the motivation of those characters so the music interweaves with the narrative and is constantly supporting the story.
What were your main musical influences as a composer when writing for Fallout 3 & Fallout: New Vegas? New Vegas is quite different in many ways. Fallout 3 was a synth-based score and largely orchestral. New Vegas features unique organic sound design music with solo string quartet instruments performed by the Lyris String Quartet, as well as country-western style alongside twisted organic elements. There Will Be Blood was one of the references that inspired me.
What was the hardest scene to work on in those Fallout games and why? I think the biggest challenge was describing a post-apocalyptic Las Vegas that was from the '60s but set as it was now in 2020. This was one of the aspects we discussed a lot.
Since you started out as a composer, what has been the most challenging process for you and why? Each project presents its own challenges. I don't think one is easier or harder than the other. I need to find my own voice in each project, challenging myself as a composer, and to take my experiences and bring something new while fitting the project.
What does 2012 hold for you? I'm continuing to compose new music for several MMORPGs such as EverQuest, RIFT and TERA, as well as scoring new titles for to be announced. I'm also writing original music for Hollywood movie trailers.
So how did you guys start Sin Star clothing? Ryan and I were away with our band at the time. Although we loved making music and living the tour-lifestyle, it was becoming really hard living out of a suitcase and slogging away with little reward at the end of it. That's when we started talking about how cool it would be if we could do something we loved, like designing tshirts, and make a good living from it.
When would you say was there a point where you knew that this is what you really wanted to do with your lives? We'd been creating tshirts informally for a few months and had already seen some minor successes, especially on our website, when it suddenly occurred to us that this could be our full time job. That's when we both took the plunge and quit our other part-time roles that had been our safety nets, and we haven't looked back since.
How did you guys get to the name Sin Star clothing, and what does it mean to you? I can't claim credit for the name Sin Star - it's something Ryan came up with. We were trying to evoke something of the gritty lifestyle we'd experienced living band-life on the road and the typical rockstar every young musician aspires to be. Plus Sin Star is a catchy name that's easy to remember and we hoped would stick in people's heads.
Can you tell us what you get up to on an average working day at Sin Star clothing? Although we have a relaxed and enjoyable working environment, we still start work at 8am and finish about 7pm. Ryan and I are both caffeine addicts so we are constantly wired on espresso. I'll spend the majority of my day on the mac designing graphics for the website or a piece of clothing, whilst Ryan will keep on top of figures and stay in contact with buyers and retailers etc. We also have Jay working for us who arranges the picking, packing and delivery of orders to make sure customers get their orders on time. In between this we all play random music and have regular breaks in our retro games area, playing Fifa or Super Mario Bros.
Since you have started what has been the most rewarding process for you and why? Definitely seeing people wearing our clothes. It's such a confidence boost spotting a celeb in something we've designed, but it feels even more amazing just seeing random people out and about in Sin Star!
In a kind of opposite to the last question, as a company, what has been the hardest challenge for you to achieve, and why? The hardest thing has been learning through trial and error things like, which was the best manufacturer for us? We travelled all over the UK and Europe trying to find the right balance between cost and quality, and we've been really lucky to find someone who creates exactly the effects we're after with our clothes and understands what we need.
Can you tell us about who comes up with the designs for your clothing range, and a bit about how that all comes together? Ryan and I will sit down together as often as possible and throw ideas around between us. Sometimes we have a striking image we want to create, and othertimes it might be a cool slogan. Either way we like to make sure both compliment each other. Once we have a concept in mind, Ryan will think about any photography we need to create by taking loads of pictures, and I'll start putting the whole design together. At this point we usually combine what we have and make amendments until we're happy with the final piece. Sometimes this can happen really quickly, but then at times it can take weeks.
For upcoming clothing companies reading this, what advice would you give them to help them succeed with their projects? Take risks! And don't be afraid of taking risks. You have to make a few mistakes to learn from them, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's all part of the learning curve. Plus, it makes the end result even better once you've properly earned it.
You guys have started to sell your own fixed gear bikes as part of the company, can you tell us how this idea came about, and how well fans have taken to the idea so far? The Sin Star brand and ideology embodies a certain image and we felt that fixed gear bikes really fit in well with this. Our first tshirt designs were aimed at sports professionals among others too, so it almost felt like going back to our roots too. So far the response to the bikes has been great, they're a real coveted item and have been sold as far as Japan and Australia already!
â€œTake risks! And don't be afraid of taking risks. You have to make a few mistakes to learn from them, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's all part of the learning curveâ€? How rewarding has it been for you when you see people wearing your clothes? I mean, famous people have even worn them right? It really is such a buzz seeing your icons and famous faces wearing our stuff, having said that, even seeing someone across the street in something we've designed, I still get excited!
What does 2012 hold for Sin Star clothing? Sin Star are going to go international in 2012, but we're taking it slowly. It's taken a long time to get where we are today, and we don't want to bite off more than we can chew and lose everything we've spent so long building. Watch this space!
"We catch up with Oliver Phelps as he tells all about his time as George Weasley from the world wide famous franchise Harry Potter!"
Can you tell us when and how you got the role for George Weasley? It was through a friend of my mum. She saw an ad in the paper that they were auditioning for roles in Harry Potter. So James and I went to an open audition in Leeds and things went well from there. I think because we didn't come from a acting background we didn't expect to get the part so we stayed mostly calm throughout all the other auditions we had after that.
How fun was your first day on the set, and what can you remember from this experience? My first day on set was actually filming the last scene in the movie. This shocked me because I had assumed films were shot in order. It was up on the Yorkshire moors in a little village called Goathland.
At the time, did you ever think Harry Potter was going to be the massive franchise it became? I'd always thought it was going to be big, but not the huge juggernaut it became, the biggest film series of all time.
As the films went on and got a bit more 'darker' your character got bigger and bigger (as in the scenes became more serious), with this in mind, what was it like to grow in to this role? It was nice to be able to play the same character but in a different way. I would ask some of the older members of the cast for advice and they'd really help me out. This was one of the best things about HP, the who's who, of British actors were there, so it was nice to get some of their takes on things.
What would you say was one of your proudest scenes acting as George Weasley? I think for me it would be in the Deathly Hallows part one when you see how Georges ear has been blown off. I'd always wanted to do a scene like that.
As part of the Weasley family, what was it like to become a family on screen with the other actors involved? I'm sure throughout the films, and now even this has made you become close friends? It was a very easy thing to do. We were always around each other so there was banter and jokes. When we did interviews with the whole Weasley clan, it was hilarious.
Of course you guys are actually brothers in real life, so how hard or surreal was it when you had to do the scene where Fred dies? I won't lie, it was not one of the most favourite scenes we filmed over the years. Obviously to get the right feel across you have to put yourself in the characters position. How would it feel to have your brother dead in front of you? Not very nice, but its not a nice scene, it shows how even loveable characters aren't invincible from the dark magic.
Other than that scene, how epic was it to shoot the final battle in Hogwarts, and what other memories do you have from doing this huge scene? The battle of Hogwarts scenes were fun and action packed. It was surreal walking into the Great Hall and seeing it ripped to pieces and the same with the courtyard. It was nice to be able to do more action stuff.
When you did the last film, how weird was this experience for you guys, knowing that it would be the last time you worked together creating these films? I didn't really think about it until the end of shooting. People told me they cried on their last day but for me there were no tears. It was the feeling you get when you know your leaving school. You know the date and the void after it. I did find myself however taking in the moments more, the great hall days for example, filled with people, i remember those so clearly.
â€œIt was surreal walking into the Great Hall and seeing it ripped to piecesâ€œ Out of the directors involved in the Harry Potter franchise, which one did you feel that you had the best connection with and why? I think they were all great in their own way. Chris Columbus gave us the chance and looking back, had great patients with our acting ability at the time. Mike Newel was one of the directors who let James and I really run with the roles by getting our characters to do more stuff that they hadn't done before.
Will you be checking out the WB Studio tour in March then? I'm actually going to be in America when the studio tour opens but i'll be sure to pop in when i'm back in the country to see what has become of where i spent most of my adolescence.
What else does 2012 hold for you now then? I'm in the Sates for a few months working on some cool stuff and even working on some projects in the development stages, it is nice and challenging. I'm also working on reinventing a old brand we use to be attached to but more on that nearer the time!
SWOUND! - INTO THE SEA Nottingham-based band Swound! have quietly been making a name for themselves over the last few years with sporadic EP and single releases, all which have received favourable attention from a number of publications and websites, as well as an appearance on Nickelodeon's Yo Gabba Gabba. Now in 2012, the quartet are ready to unleash their debut full-length 'Into The Sea' on their own label, The Gremlin Corporation. For those who aren't familiar with Swound!'s style, expect to hear a mix of feel-good rock that takes its inspiration from Weezer and The Pixies. From the start this is something that is apparent as tracks like 'Your Kids Are Gonna Love It' and 'In My Head,' back up this fact. Whilst 'Tokyo' shows the bands capabilities of producing catchy, guitar-driven songs that have plenty of appeal and satisfying harmonies. Another influence in Swound!'s arsenal is Nirvana as 'Everybody Hates Her' and 'If Only I Could' sees grungeesque guitars being used and gives them a rockier edge. Although Swound!'s influences are instantly apparent throughout, they certainly don't lack originality or talent. Tracks like 'Ghosts' and 'When The Spaceship Lands' are structurally strong with formidable choruses that prove to be enjoyable. For a début record, 'Into The Sea' is an appealing yet promising start. During the later stages you get the impression they're running out of ideas and a slight change in formula would be welcomed. Nevertheless with a good balance between edgy alt-rock and pop-sensibilities, Swound! have produced a well-rounded record that is more than capable at keeping your attention. SR
EMPIRES FADE – REFLECTION EP It’s a common fact that a lot of the more local and underground acts are generally a little poor, or mediocre at best. Sometimes however, if you search hard and dig deep enough, you unearth some gems. Well, Empires Fade are one of Manchester’s said gems, and they’ve been digging their way out of the ground into the spotlight for a few years, but with new EP ‘Reflection’ they could be well on ground level. Opener ‘Virtue’ comes smashing in with pure rage and drops on your like a boulder to your chest, grabbing you by the neck and forcing you to mosh along. The dual guitar work of Mike Bennett and Tom Higgins is aggressive yet melodic in its chorus, and sets the tone of the EP from the off. Other stand out tracks come in the form of ‘The Highest High’ and title-track closer ‘Reflection’, both of which bear their only moments of any clean vocals. The former brings a hefty breakdown midway through that thankfully doesn’t sound like a cut and paste job from the sea of other acts thinking it’s the cool thing to do, and things go almost apocalyptic when the build up begins. “Now I swear, I can't wait for the day when the smoke spells out your name” screams vocalist Callum Galbraith before silence falls and continues “…and then it’s blown away”. Then, for almost a lack of a better word, shit hits the fan. Truly exceptional. Empires Fade are on for a great year in 2012 following the release of this free-to-download EP. Providing they get the right help and push with other people in the industry and bunked onto the right tours, they could be more than just local heroes of Manchester. ZR
EVERY TIME I DIE – EX LIVES Buffalo’s Every Time I Die have built a strong reputation from their consistently brilliant albums, supported of course with their equally as strong live performances to boot. When news of ‘Ex Lives’ first emerged, the hype train starting rolling, and since the momentum has built and built. So much so, that ‘Ex Lives’ is easily one of the most hyped records of 2012. But, is it worth its hype? Simply: yes.
“Those predicting the exact formula of their past releases will very well be slapped with surprise.” Opener and lead single ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ is the visceral and venomous southern hardcore we’ve all known Every Time I Die to be from the very beginning of their career, but they manage to keep it fresh and new. There’s riff after riff, firing off like a shrapnel grenade throughout the record. Those predicting the exact formula of their past releases will very well be slapped with surprise. The banjo leading riff into ‘Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow’ could sound completely questionable and, possibly, even come across as a bit of a joke. But, Every Time I Die manage to make it work and sound as a natural inclusion into the piece. One of the brightest shining moments comes from Keith Buckley’s clean vocal moments, such as that in second lifted single ‘Revival Mode’. It is, however, the outro in ‘Drag King’ that’s the strongest and catchiest moments that truly sheds the gritty outer shell of Keith Buckley’s voice and exposes it to a weapon that can tug at the heartstrings, leaving “What does he have that I don’t, except you?” on rotation in your head for hours to follow. Despite the years adding up on Every Time I Die, something that some people will think work against the southern hardcore outfit, what the four-piece have undeniably created here is arguably the strongest album of their career, and a strong contender for one of the best releases of 2012 already. ZR
THE SKINTS - PART AND PARCEL Back in 2011 London based reggae, dub, ska, four piece, The Skints, announced that they’d be starting a campaign to have their fans financially aid the recording of their new album through Pledgemusic. They were given ninety days to raise the funds or the recording would not go ahead, amazingly by the eleventh day the cash was raised and work on the album could get under way. The result is simply wonderful and confirmation that not a penny of their fans money was wasted. Influences come from all corners of reggae, dub and ska and the often rap style vocals give the music a contemporary edge. This constant mixing of styles gives the album more diversity than most bands achieve in a whole career but never strays too far away from what makes The Skints unique. Every track bursts with a self-assured, upbeat, sun-kissed confidence that I defy you to not dance to. Highlights include the two-tone stomp of Lay You Down and the almost Lily Allen-esque Ring Ring which showcases the bands pop sensibilities. Is a contemporary ska revival on the cards? I hope so, Because we need more bands like this. Awesome stuff. GM
APOLOGIES, I HAVE NONE - LONDON The obvious comparison when first hearing London, the debut album from four piece Apologies, I Have None, is US political punks Anti-Flag. This is mainly due to the vocals of founding members Dan Bond and Josh Mckenzie and the catchy, upbeat punk sound that both bands employ. Listen on though and the comparison will slowly drift away and what’s left behind is by no means a clone of the Pittsburgh legends. These London boys have a real ear for vocal melodies that are extremely catchy without ever becoming poppy, the music itself leans more towards the melodic side but somehow always retains the punk rock edge, listen to Holloway or Anywhere and The 26 for a great examples of this. The advantage of having two vocalists is also used to great effect as many parts are sung together which will translate to their live shows and surely cause mass sing-alongs, checkout Joiners & Windmills, which is bound to become a fan favourite. The striped back Foundations featuring just piano and guitar is another highlight that still never strays into cheesy territory. In short, an almost flawless melodic punk debut, why almost? Well, there’s always room for improvement, just not that much in this case. It’s that good. GM
SHARKS - NO GODS Having spent the best of part of eighteen months touring on and off in both America and the United Kingdom, Leamington Spa's SHARKS are now set to release their debut full-length “No Gods.” With the record being released by currently popular Rise Records (Man Overboard, Transit, Of Mice and Men, Hot Water Music and more) and being produced by Brian McTernan (Polar Bear Club, Senses Fail, In Fear & Faith, Fireworks and We Are The Ocean,) their somewhat high expectations for “No Gods.” For fans and critics, it's a record that thankfully delivers in abundance. “Til The Wonders Rise” sets bar high from the start with sharp, punk rock riffs being combined well with James Mattock's infectious vocal melodies. Recent single “Arcane Effigies” is next and keeps up the momentum in a bold manner; pounding drums with an irresistible chorus that plain and simply leaves you hooked. It is something that the quartet showcase throughout “No Gods.” Their ability to write punk rock-fuelled “pop” songs is nearly immaculate, and does not allow the band to loose its identity. On tracks like “Matthew's Baby” and “Dawn Soft Light,” the bands style and approach is welldefined; appreciative melodies mixed with edgy, explosive guitars. Although the “sounds like The Clash” tag may still be thrown in places. On “No Gods,” Sharks have shown they are able to produce a thorough, enjoyable record that is well-written and highlights their best points, giving them more definition thus making it a highly favourable record. With plenty of life span and longevity, expect to see “No Gods” on a few end of year lists come December. SR
FROM THE GET GO - DESIGNS Midlands-based quintet From The Get Go may not be the most original sounding band, but then again not every band is out there to set themselves apart from everyone else. So long as you can churn out the sound you’re after well, without committing a complete copycat of another band then you could do a hell of a lot worse. ‘Designs’ might be the first true stepping stone into getting the band’s name across the nation. Opener ‘At The End Of This Cigarette’ is definitely one to appease the fans of the more recent work from Deaf Havana and Young Guns, complete with a slick clean vocals, before progressing into the line and sinker follow-up that is ‘Waves’. The band also show some resemblance to an early training version of Fightstar. The almost marching drum line that leads in ‘Bring Me Your Worst’ opens up for one of the more notable dashes of harsh vocals throughout the EP, something From The Get Go use within moderation, which is a good tactic. From what’s on offer throughout this release, sticking more to clean hooks and soaring choruses is a safe bet. Still, it’d be nice to see the true potential of this tool the band have. A tool that if utilised correctly could open many more doors. Admittedly, they may not be gracing magazines any time soon, but ‘Designs’ is a great stamp onto the music scene for the post-hardcore/alternative rock outfit. Time will see if they have the drive and determination to keep this success going from the get go. ZR
MXPX - PLANS WITHIN PLANS “Plans Within Plans” is Bremerton, Washington's MxPx's ninth studio album and with a career now stretching nearly 20 years, the pop-punk group aren't showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon, as “Plans Within Plans” is 13 songs of blistering, energetic punk that unfortunately doesn't dare to step out of its comfort zone. Nevertheless long-time fans of the band won't be disappointed as tracks like “Nothing Left” and “Best Of Times” are energetic, punchy numbers with irresistible choruses. Whereas “Stay On Your Feet” and “In The Past” have that thriving, raw punk attitude that the trio have continuously pulled off throughout their career. Although “Plans Within Plans” combines catchy pop-punk with old-school punk rock, you can't help but feel the band lack ideas and aren't willing to challenge themselves, even if the bands come across as sincere and honest in their lyrics. Sure its clear the band are very good at the genre they perform, but by the time you reach later tracks like “Nothing's Gonna Change” and “When It Comes To You,” you can't help but wish for a little of variation, even though they have a good energy. On the whole “Plans Within Plans” is a record that will be appreciated by fans, but for others it may struggle to keep their attention. SR
LOSTPROPHETS - WEAPONS It’s fair to say that the Lostprophets have experimented with several different styles since their nu-metal debut, TheFakeSoundOfProgress, in the year 2000. Hard rock, Indie and full on Stadium Rock have all crept in and seen the Welsh lads grow from underground heroes to world conquering stars. New album, Weapons, opening one, two of Bring ‘Em Down and Better Of Dead makes for a strong start with huge sing-along choruses, monster breakdowns and riffs reminiscent of their Start Something era. From here on out the formula shifts and you can expect anything from the sugary pop-rock of Jesus Walks to the synth led A Little Reminder That I’ll Never Forget .The strongest part of this album are the choruses, something that the Lostprophets are not stranger to, but here they burst with hooks that will no doubt catch the attention of large crowds once again. Brushes of strings and pianos are present throughout this album both are used intelligently to help lift tracks to new heights of grandeur, most notably on closer Can’t Get Enough. Highlights include the more rocking We Bring And Arsenal and the heartfelt A Song For Where I’m From. To say there’s something for everyone here is a bit if a stretch, as fans of their first two albums may still find this a little too clean-cut, but this band have never been one to rest on their laurels and Weapons looks certain to take the Lostprophets back to the top of the mainstream rock pile. GM RUGOSA NEVADA - VERONA EP Rugosa Nevada are a four-piece alternative-rock band from Derby, previous releases include a single in 2009, followed by a two track EP in 2010. These have seen them gain a healthy local following, BBC Radio play and slots at the Y-Not Festival in Derbyshire. The piano intro to opener Strangers sets the scene for the atmospheric direction this band effortlessly takes the listener in. The music is comparable to Angels And Airwaves or Thrice’s more melodic moments, whilst still planting a firm foot in the indie bracket. Strong rhythm sections and simple echoing guitar riffs are thoughtfully layered on top of one another and the effective repetition and minor changes make it easier for the listener to be sucked in. This is evident on the aforementioned Strangers and the brilliant Build To Nothing. The title track is much of the same with synths adding an extra depth. A nod must got to lead singer Dan Holdsworth’s vocals which blend seamlessly with the music and the thoughtful lyrics are tailor made for a mass sing-along. Hurricane is a more straight-up rock track but still manages to harness the bands ethereal style. There is a slight lack of variation here, but what they do they do well. Overall an impressive release. GM
Gig Review: Kerrang! Relentless Energy Drink Tour. Featured Artists: New Found Glory, The Blackout, letlive., While She Sleeps Date & Venue: Thursday 16th February 2012, o2 Academy Birmingham Reviewer: Colin Russell-Ames With our country sadly lacking anything with the reputation of American’s titanic Warped Tour, the headbanging crowds of the UK have taken the Kerrang! Tour into their hearts over the past few years. The tour’s yearly combination of a powerhouse star or two topping a bill backed up by some of the best new rock music in the country has been a hit year after year, and this year’s 7th incarnation was no exception. This tour’s line up was arguably one of the strangest combinations we’ve seen, with pop-punk legends topping a much more hardcore bill than they would be used to. This was evidenced by the opening band, While She Sleeps, who came out screaming and never really stopped. The metalheads from the Steel City were an undeniable power on stage, inspiring even the least scream-friendly members of the crowd to move, mosh and, inevitably, crack open across the middle for a wall of death halfway through their closing song. The only criticism that could be directed towards the band was that they were all business on stage – tearing from one song to another with barely any time to breathe inbetween, only stopping to briefly namecheck Kerrang! Magazine and their tour mates before crashing off the stage as abruptly as they’d come on. However, it must be said, this might be due to the time constraints of being the opening band – see the band headlining and I feel this might be very different. Next up were an act that are causing one hell of a stir on the post-hardcore scene right now, letlive. – and they were pretty much everything While She Sleeps were, but turned up around 30 notches. Fast-paced, powerful rhythms topped off by the screaming vocal style of Jason Aalon Butler, a man who has (with good reason) developed a reputation as something of a madman. Throwing himself around (and off) the stage, riding a chair across the stage, disappearing completely from view only to come crashing back through the crowd, and causing himself harm on more than one occasion, including physically cutting his own stomach with a shard of a coffee cup he’d broken on the stage. However, therein lies letlive.’s greatest problem. While Jason’s ridiculous antics certainly make the band’s performance memorable, the music takes somewhat of a backseat. I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the songs they performed, only describe more of Jason’s intense showmanship. Perhaps if he learns to tone it down to the right level, it can remain memorable without becoming all-consuming.
“It’s simple, New Found Glory are one of the most fun bands to watch in the world,”
Indeed, perhaps a band that Jason and the rest of letlive. could learn from were the night’s next act. Originally scheduled to be the moment when Sum 41 made their K! Tour debut, instead, due to injuries preventing their frontman Deryck Whibley from performing, instead, bizarrely, the o2 Academy’s speakers were suddenly filled with the strains of Elton John’s “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word”. One by one, the members of Welsh sextet The Blackout filed solemnly out onto the stage, Sean Smith making a great job of using the elephant in the room to his advantage – indeed, he was wearing a t-shirt of the band The Blackout were replacing, and opened the set by simply declaring “I’m sorry we’re not Sum 41”, before launching into “I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot!” – a song that makes a statement if there ever was one. The band paid homage to the pop-punk legends with a superbly performed cover of “Fat Lip” (introduced by Smith with the words “Wait a minute, we are Sum 41!”), but managed to keep the focus on their own music, and before long even the most staunch Blackout haters seemed to have been silenced by the power of their music. The band have a reputation as one of Britain’s best live bands, and they lived up to it here, blowing the previous two bands away by perfectly combining frontman antics with focus on the crowd and the music. The classic “It’s High Tide Baby” and chart-bothering final song “Higher & Higher” provided set highlights, with Sean displaying a surprising talent for rapping when performing Hyro Da Hero’s vocal section - although it has to be said, the most enjoyable song of their performance, and certainly the one which got the crowd moving the most, was indeed “Fat Lip” – a testament to the band’s bravery, particularly considering the bottles they had to dodge on previous dates when playing the same song. After three bands with hardcore credentials, a pop-punk band waiting to headline might have been nervous about winning over the crowd. However, waiting in the wings were not just any pop-punk act, but in fact one of the bands that can arguably be credited with the creation of the genre, the legendary New Found Glory. Arriving on stage with the energy packed into seemingly every band in their genre, the opening triple-header of singalong anthems “All Downhill From Here”, “Radiosurgery” and “Understatement” give NFG’s message to the crowd in the simplest possible terms – they’re here to have fun, and you’re going along for the ride. Perhaps the best summary of their attitude came from frontman Jordan Putnik midway through the set – “If you know the words, sing along. If you don’t, fucking pretend you do anyway!” It’s simple, New Found Glory are one of the most fun bands to watch in the world, and one of the best live bands around to boot. Their sets are impossible not to enjoy, because the entire band’s incredible passion on stage pulls you relentlessly in, until you’re trying your best to sing along with tracks you don’t even know. And NFG pack in anything they can think of – from brand new single “Anthem For The Unwanted” to early tune “Dressed To Kill”, to no less than three different covers: The band’s now-famous version of Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me”, bonus track from the latest album “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones, and a new addition to the setlist for this tour, fellow pop-punk icons Green Day’s legendary “Basket Case”, which is used to superbly open a quick encore which is rounded off with superhit “My Friends Over You”.
“Every fan of every band on the tour got exactly what they came for. And really, what more can anybody ask?” Overall, this is a gig which is hard to judge as a whole, as the headliners contrasted with their supporting bands so wildly, but every band did what they’re known for doing superbly. Whether it’s While She Sleeps’ intensity, letlive.’s insane frontman antics, The Blackout’s combo of irreverent humour and serious power tracks, or New Found Glory’s fun-filled singalong anthems, every fan of every band on the tour got exactly what they came for. And really, what more can anybody ask? Roll on Kerrang! Tour 2013.
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Gig Review: (Supports: The Crave, Octane OK) Date & Venue: Monday February 27th, HMV Institute Birmingham A somewhat diverse crowd always seems to gather whenever a band like Theory Of A Deadman arrive in town, but with the fairly late addition of local pop-punk artists Octane OK as an opening act, the queue outside Birmingham’s HMV Institute is a bizarre thing to behold – from 14 year olds who I don’t think would object to being described as fangirls, to twenty-something rockers, all the way to a decidedly middle-aged gent in a leather jacket who is, wonderfully, planted at the front of the queue, and has apparently been here for a number of hours. Despite the weird and wonderful observations that can be made about the appeal of live music based on the queuing mass, this strangely mixed crowd seems to have an effect on the atmosphere throughout the evening, as there is never really a point at which the audience seems to unite as one. Considering they were only announced to be playing 4 days before the show, and their pop-punk style contrasting somewhat with the hard rock that the latter two bands on the bill play, many would have thought that the odds were stacked firmly against Octane OK on this night. However, the local boys went out and did what they do best, exuding pure talent on stage as they tore through a few new songs which had the crowd moving before bringing out hits from their successful EP So Alive, a record which saw them garner a nomination for Best British Newcomers at the Kerrang! Awards in 2011. The band’s performance was spot on, and guitarist Mikey Rainsford’s great work during “Curtain Call” was a particularly impressive moment in what was, it has to be said, arguably the best performance of the entire night. This show did not feel like a local band pushing to get noticed, but rather a group of future stars ready to break out and become England’s next big thing – and their upcoming debut full-length album may be the catalyst to spark this push into motion. The main support for the tour, The Crave, put on another good show, but it has to be said that after the get-upand-go which Octane provided, their more formulaic performance feels somewhat lacking. The band weren’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – but crucially, neither were they a great discovery. You could stand and nod your head quite happily while they played, but almost the second they were off-stage they were forgotten, and if you want to create a legacy and become something more than a regular support act, you simply need to do more. When it came time for the headline act, it was clear from the start that something was amiss with frontman Tyler Connolly – he came onto the stage in a rather more reserved style than he is known for, and his vocals were sketchy at best. Considering I had seen the band performing an acoustic set less than 3 months prior, I knew Connolly’s voice was not usually a letdown, and the explanation that Tyler is suffering from an illness and battling through it to perform sheds light on the situation. While it’s difficult to out-and-out criticise the band for this (after all, it would’ve been easy for them to simply postpone the gig, but they played on through and refused to let the fans down) the fact cannot be avoided that it did affect the show in a big way. Connolly’s signature vocals and often hilarious (although also somewhat controversial, at least with the ladies) lyrics are what makes this band who they are, and without that punch, they struggle to maintain a decent set. They do their best, and to their credit hits like “Lowlife”, “Bitch Came Back” and “Santa Monica” still entertain even with Connolly’s struggles. An unexpected launch into the intro of “Paradise City” by Guns ‘N’ Roses gives Tyler a chance to stand back as he simply allows the crowd to sing a chorus while focusing on knocking out the song’s guitar, before finishing the main set with a rendition of classic hit “Bad Girlfriend” which arguably finally pulls the lacklustre, differentiated crowd into top gear, yelling as one as Connolly sings they lyrics with as much vigour as he can muster. Opening the 2 track encore with a strangely chosen cover of J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine”, the band keep the crowd on their side with the energy they’ve clearly been saving for the end of the show, before they finally end the show with the entire crowd roaring the lyrics to the anthem that is “Hate My Life”. Overall, the show left us with two main points, and being an optimist, I’ll open with the negative before closing the review on a more positive note. The combination of a somewhat tame support band and a sadly stricken headliner (I know it’s not their fault, but when such a key aspect as the lead singer’s voice is lacking, it can’t be ignored) means that there is some slight disappointment around the final show. But one thing that has to be said for the next 12 months or so: Watch out for a little troupe by the name of Octane OK, because one day, this band is going to be big. And if their performance tonight was anything to go by, that day is not far around the corner. CRA
Gig Review: (Support: Me) Date & Venue: Sunday January 29th 2012, o2 Academy Birmingham Any time an artist has managed to sell out the 3000-strong capacity of the main room of Birmingham’s o2 Academy, especially weeks before the gig, it has signalled the upcoming arrival of a great night of music. Panic! At The Disco joined this list shortly before Christmas, and it told at the gig, as the venue was heaving long before the support was even on stage. Shortly before 8pm, the first and indeed only support band – a touch I was pleased with, I’ve never been a fan of overloading the support line-up – took to the stage, the interestingly named “Me”. The band came with a great energy, some cracking soldier jackets (Think somewhere between Sgt Pepper’s and The Black Parade) and crucially, some brilliant songs. The band put on a tight performance, and from my spot in pretty much the dead centre of the crowd, you could feel the room begin to bounce as the fans slowly warmed to what was, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, a great support slot. The singer sounded great, and the whole band had the sound not of a support trying to find their place, but a firmly talented and confident group ready to break out in their own right. I, for one, will be keeping tabs on them, and look forward to seeing them excel. (For anyone interested in checking them out, find them through www.twitter.com/meband - You won’t regret it) However, no matter how good the support band were, this night was all about one group – and they were about to shine.
“The actual positioning of the songs seemed absolutely perfect, and you could tell that the band had spent a good long time planning where and when to play each song” The stage set-up that Panic! brought with them was magnificent – smoke-spewing organ pipes, a keyboard covered by a full back from which the band’s logo glowed, and the drummer set up above them on a platform from which frontman Brendon Urie decided to backflip at one particularly energetic point in the set. And yet, despite all that, the one thing that still took centre stage was, rightfully, the music. Ominous low music played as the band assembled slowly on stage, only to suddenly give way to the ridiculously bouncy opening chords of “Ready To Go (Get Me Out Of My Mind)”, and the gig was underway with a bang as they pleased the crowd with a set packed full of old favourites such as “Camisado”, “But It’s Better If You Do”, and “Lying Is The Most Fun A Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off” – introduced by Urie with a simple “This song’s title is too long to remember”. The actual positioning of the songs seemed absolutely perfect, and you could tell that the band had spent a good long time planning where and when to play each song – superhit “The Ballad Of Mona Lisa” roaring in as the third song, and a great combination of “The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide…”and “Let’s Kill Tonight” playing one after another to bring the crowd back after an interestingly chosen cover version of “Personal Jesus” – whether you want to credit that to Marilyn Manson or Depeche Mode is personal choice. The main set was brought to a rip-roaring end, as Brendon began a 3-minute soliloquy on his mother by saying he was once embarrassed to hear one of his own songs as the ringtone on his Mom’s phone, before coming to realise that he should not be
embarrassed, but feel blessed that his Mom shows so much pride in his work. His seemingly overwrought persona was brought to a crashing stop with the combined punchline and reveal that finished his speech, as he tells his Mother simply this: “I am so proud I came out of your vagina. This song is called I Write Sins Not Tragedies!” – the classic and still arguably best song Panic! have ever written engulfing the venue in pure emotion, with almost the entire first verse being sung by the crowd, as they were simply so deafeningly loud that nobody would have heard Urie even if he’d tried. The highlight of the 3-song encore was the middle track, as Brendon (in an almost Mick Foley-like cheap pop moment – look it up) confessed that he “loves playing in the UK so much, we wanted to cover one of the best rock bands in the UK”, before playing one song nobody expects to see a band like P!ATD play – The Darkness’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love”. And, unbelievably, the band absolutely nailed it. The only thing more impressive than Brendon’s stunning hidden talent for falsetto vocals was touring guitarist Ian Crawford’s spot-on nailing of the song’s classic solo, before the set was brought to a rousing close with “Nearly Witches (Ever Since We Met)”. Before the gig, I went in expecting to enjoy an entertaining show by a band who I never named as one of my favourites, but always enjoyed. I came out, quite simply, a convert. I now firmly believe that P!ATD are one of the best live bands pop-punk has at the moment, and will defend that claim to the ends of the earth. Simply put, if you haven’t seen them yet, get to a show as soon as you possibly can – take it from me, you won’t regret it. CRA
- CARDIFF CLWB IFOR BACH 07/02/12 2011 was a fantastic year for Marmozets, they got a slot at Hevy Fest, whilst being noticed by many well respected music publications at the same time. 2012 also started nicely for them as they got to support the huge Four Year Strong, they've got a slot confirmed for Download Festival, and now as we see them play tonight, they are out on a massive UK tour with Hyro Da Hero. So it seems everything is going as planned for these guys as they are starting to become much more than just an upcoming band, and it looks like this year will be their year. The band are first on tonight, but they still instantly blow the crowd away with their endless energy, the guitarists are jumping into the crowd whilst performing their complicated parts with ease, and the lead singer is hitting every note with no problem at all. The band perform old school tunes like 'Lives' perfectly, and they also give us a fair does of new music from their brand new EP 'Vexed' which is also great to hear live, and shows that the band have progressed nicely since the release of 'Passive Aggressive' . With killer tunes like 'Onemanwolfpack' it is clear to see that Marmozets will not be playing such intimate venues for much longer, their talent is insane, and they are only just getting started. We will be looking out for their debut album for certain. AD
- Bristol 02 Academy 08/02/12 It's fair to say that tonight we have one hell of a line up, and kicking it off is none other than The Xcerts, sure last year they got to tour with some huge bands like Taking Back Sunday/Manchester Orchestra, but it's been hard for them to break out of this stereotype where everyone thinks they are either a) another Biffy Clyro or b) another Brand New (simply because they worked with Mike Sapone). Tonight we see them elevating above such remarks, as they are starting to create a big following all across the country, their following was proved when Murray asks if anyone has heard of his band before, and he seems surprised when many members of the crowd, clap and roar at the comment. Anyway enough of the bands current status, and on to the review, well what can we say, they give it everything they got, and with tracks like 'Do You Feel Safe' and 'Scatterbrain' being performed perfectly with an added dose of lead singer Murray jumping around the stage with the occasional head mosh! what more can you really want for an opening band? The Xcerts are going onwards and upwards, so look out for these guys, as they may well headline an 02 Academy within a couple of years.
â€œThey instantly show us an electric performance and visually lose their minds in the musicâ€? Next up is I Am The Avalanche, we should remind you that their record Avalanche United is absolutely fantastic, and for anyone reading this, that hasn't got it, we strongly advise you purchase it shortly. Even though I Am The Avalanche recently completed a headline tour in the UK it was great to see them tour with their friends from home Brand New. I guess this band have not released anything in the music scene for a long time, but it was easy to see that the band had a great fan base, as there were many people with their hands up, and singing along to every word. With tunes like 'New Disaster' and 'Brooklyn Dodgers' the band pull of a strong show, and they easily help with getting the crowd warmed up for what was to come. So this is what everyone has been waiting for, Brand New, now one of the key concepts that help make this band who they are, is the mystery behind them, they don't give out to many interviews, and they are not on Facebook everyday updating their location, this is what adds to the atmosphere at a gig, and makes it ten times more exciting, and it is 100% what we need more of these days. As well as this, the band have not released any new material in a while, so in short, anything could happen. They hit the stage and kick straight into the instrumental 'Welcome To Bangkok' which is a great start, as they instantly show us an electric performance and visually lose their minds in the music. Then the band go straight into 'The Archer Bows Are Broken' which is fantastic, and it gets everyone jumping from the front to the back straight away....as the set goes on with classic songs like 'Sic Transit' 'Tommy Gun' 'Jude Law' 'Seventy Times Seven' it was at times hard to hear the lead singer Jesse sing as the crowd were just singing so loud, which is perfect. Tunes like 'Jesus Christ' hit the spot and simply remind the fans why we still need Brand New as their live performances are just something else, the band always give a mesmerizing show and I am sure that for fans who have not seen Brand New before they will note this down as something completely different. So as the set closes with 'You Won't Know' the crowd are still going pretty crazy, and I am sure that if they continued to play for another hour or two after that, people would still be there. The band didn't play any new songs, but the set was a simple reminder to us that these guys really did help shape music over the last ten years, and the four albums that they have come out with are all solid, and for me, I am only excited to see what these guys do next. AD
â€œNylon Sky are just about to finish their 1st UK Tour with their last show being the single release launch on the 25th March at the Star Inn in Guildford. The Single Man Down will be available to download on 26th March on all major download sites. Following this their 2nd EP 'Barbie Heads & Computer Rooms' will be coming out on Monday 9th April, this will also be released via all download providers aswell as the band's Big Cartel and at all live shows.â€?
Developer. Bioware Platform(s). PC Windows UK Release date: Out Now RATED: 12 Pay Monthly: 8.99 www.swtor.com
Whispers rippled across the industry back in 2010 ‘Bioware are making an MMO based on their previous STARWARS knights of the old republic series’ this was made real by the epic E3 trailer that followed. All this excitement left me feeling anxious, yes I love Bioware - yes I love STARWARS, but ultimately the greater the expectation – the greater the fail. This worry was not un-justified, Bioware have never made an MMO before and - lets face it - the franchises previous attempt, STARWARS Galaxies, died a quick death. However the pros – Bioware are a pair of safe hands - the makers of the Mass effect series and Dragon Age to name a few. Furthermore no one can argue Bioware and EA’s commitment with a pre-release cost estimated at 150 to 200 million dollars. STARWARS The Old Republic is the most expensive game ever made on release. Now I know that people who like STARWARS and MMO’s will want to play this game and indeed they have bought it. Bioware saw strong sales on release, the reason then for me reviewing this game 3 months after release stems from the importance of an MMO’s ability to keep people playing, so lets see how a reviewer who’s hit the level cap and seen the whole game feels about SWTOR. So in a dark room in some galaxy far, far away, I sit down, install the 3 discs, choose a server - in my case a Player Vs Player (PVP) one and create a character. The first choice is whose side you’re on? Do you want to be a part of the Sith Empire or the Galactic Republic? Then it’s just a matter of what sort of combat style best suits you, here is a brief breakdown of classes with thanks to starwarsmmolevelingguide.com which includes the info on Tank, Damage and Healer choices (see green logos).
As you can see, Bioware have stuck to what is commonly known as the ‘holy trinity’ of Tank, Healer and Damage – but more on that later. So you have decided what you want to do in the game, now… what do you want to look like? There is a range of playable species’ available to choose from, including Human, Chiss, Cyborg, Miraluka, Mirialan, Rattataki, Sith Pureblood, Twi’lek and Zabrak. Some species are faction specific and in many cases class specific. However both Humans and Zabrak can pick any class. Anyone familiar to the STARWARS universe will recognize the races – and yes there are a lot of Zabrak Sith Assassins, some people just want to be Darth Maul…. The story in SWTOR currently makes up a large chunk of the game. Each class has their own individual story, which neatly takes you to the level appropriate planets - normal quests then accompany the core narrative. Each planet is very individual, offering a new aesthetic and feel from the icy barrens on Hoth to the war torn cities of Corellia. They are rich impressive places full of lore and interesting geography and architecture making a perfect backdrop to the numerous quests. At this point I will briefly outline the MMO formula for anyone miffed by the process of questing, In MMOs, you gain ‘experience’ XP for killing things and doing quests for people in game, through levelling up you get stronger and in turn can do harder, ‘more interesting’ quests. Quests are everywhere in SWTOR and for the most part are narrative rich, which I have to say has been very refreshing. The game continually reminds you why you need to kill 10 guys giving context to some otherwise boring tasks, unlike its contemporaries. I would have to say that the real strength of the levelling process is in the core story, which has some truly ingenious writing – leaving you wanting more and more. Companions play a huge part in your development through the game, they are acquired throughout the story - meeting your first at around level 10. Every class gets different companions and depending on your play style, I recommend that you choose a companion that compliments your own abilities. i.e. as Healer I chose to use a tanking companion for most of the game, eventually you will have around 6 companions making up your crew. In terms of Game-play the UI looks like that other MMO, you know, that one with the Orcs and Dragons and unsurprisingly plays like it too. However this is not necessarily a bad thing. It has come to be the look of the genre, action bars choose an enemy to attack and press different abilities until it’s dead. As I mentioned earlier, the game focuses around the ‘holy trinity’ Tank, Healer and DPS within group questing, you will need to make a balanced group to succeed, tanks will have to manage threat and healers in turn will have to keep an eye on health bars and people standing in an air strike etc… Ultimately I could spend all day breaking down SWTOR’s gameplay, all I will say is that it works, it doesn’t break the mould or step outside of the wake of WoW, the addition of companions is probably Bioware’s biggest change from the ‘formula’ I only wish they had a little bit more. For example, they haven’t done much more to change ‘professions’, known as ‘Crew Skills’, you can pick up to 3 including 1 crafting skill such as: Armormech – the ability to work with hard metals and electronic shielding Armstech – constructing blasters, blaster rifles and upgrades Artifice – delicate work of constructing Jedi and Sith artifacts Biochem – engineering of chemical serums and biological implants Cybertech – construct gadgets and components for Droids and high-tech armors Synthweaving – the art of creating lighter outfits and armors As well as up to 2 gathering/mission skills including: Archaeology – seek out imbued items like Lightsaber crystals and ancient artifacts Bioanalysis – collecting genetic material from creatures and plants Scavenging – recovering useful materials and parts from old or damaged technology Slicing – a skill in accessing secured computer systems Diplomacy – the art of conducting and managing negotiations Investigation –following clues to discover valuable secrets Treasure Hunting – the ability to track down and recover valuable items Underworld Trading – expertise in the trading of illegal goods and services
The point is that they have done very little to improve the laborious task of Creating and gathering, apart from the addition of being able to send your companions out to gather materials or craft items. It still just feels like an after thought. Another slightly disappointing addition is the ‘on rails’ Space Battles - which act as a mini game, that many players will skip entirely as it lacks any real depth at all. That ‘little bit more’ I speak of seems to have been put into the visuals, presentation in SWTOR is brilliant. The visuals are more realistic than we are used to, from an MMO however they still have a distinct style. Spell and blaster effects look brilliant and lighting is incredible. NOTE! This is a lot to do with your PC. A lot of praise has been given by my contemporaries about the ‘great voice acting’, and I would have to agree with them, there is such a huge range of voices in the game, and, full of emotion, the variety adds to the immersion of the stories, at times its like watching a film… but a film you have invested a lot of time in. So make or break time in the review, does SWTOR have any Longevity? Well it takes a long time to level - at least a few 100hours. However this is an MMO, once I am level 50 I want some content! I feel the major problem at the moment was that the levelling process was so special that getting to level 50 feels like an anti-climax. PVP – is not really a great option for longevity as at the moment it just doesn’t feel right, there are 3 Warzones… Alderaan - a capture and hold, Voidstar - break through gates and destroy and the third Hutball - a sort of American football style game. The problem is that the latter seems to be the only one that ever comes up… In order for PVP to work we need cross server queues – I am assured this is going to happen, but until it does PVP is just dull. Not to mention the horrid ‘Lag’ that even the best PC’s suffer from. So the question remains: will it last? Like so many before it, will it fall into obscurity like so many before them. I would have to say that server populations have seemed to be decreasing since release and finding a group can be hard at times. Those familiar with WoW’s Dungeon finder system will sorely miss its absence, whoever thought finding a group could be so hard? Why they didn’t try to include one I’ll never know. Furthermore its success is very much hindered by its customer support, it would seem that Bioware lack the infrastructure to support its player base, this has been a downfall of many companies entering the market. Bioware has to ask itself: do people play an MMO’s for great voice acting? Or do they play to take on challenges with their friends in a game that fundamentally ‘works’? Are people going to continue to pay monthly for a product that keeps bugging out? The answer is no, so FIX it! Because at its core SWTOR is amazing!
Developer. Yuke’s & THQ Platform(s). PS3, 360 UK Release date: Out Now RATED: 15
The UFC has undoubtedly become a household name; it has brought the ‘at times’ brutal sport of Mixed Martial Arts ‘MMA’ firmly into the mainstream. With this success they have of course felt the need to create a series of games, the first of which missed the mark by a long way, the second felt promising - so the question remains will it score a late knockout in the third round? Or will it be left to the judges i.e. ME. Thankfully we see some big changes to UFC Undisputed 3. Starting with the primary Career Mode in which you take the roll of a rookie fighter trying to make his way in the UFC. This begins with the extensive character creation options, in which I managed to create a rather fetching fellow not too dissimilar to myself. This helps, as you don’t necessarily want to watch a fighter of your likeness getting his face pounded unless you’re into that sort of thing… Anyway! Through fighting a series of made up fighters you eventually find yourself competing in the UFC, along the way you should take advantage of the training camps to increase your range of moves. These are real fighting camps, with moves from your favourite fighters. Check the camps info for the fighters they represent. Pick one you like and you can begin to emulate your favourite fighting style. You may get caught up in learning lots of moves, but you must also take the time to bolster your stats, sure you can head kick like a king but if you get submitted in the first minute of every fight… then its pretty useless. The Career Mode offers an authentic look at the life of an MMA fighter, picking lesser opponents so that you can really work on those stats for later fights. Training can at times feel arduous but I couldn’t help but feel that was sort of the point. Train hard, fight easy and maybe – just maybe you’ll knock out GSP or in my case, not. Other modes include: Exhibitions - Choose a weight class and fight, quick and easy. Title mode – Choose any fighter and become the champion at that weight class by beating your way to the top. Title Defence mode, where you can defend your hard earned title from the previous mode. Tournament: Create a competition involving up to 16 competitors, great when you have your friends over. Ultimate fights mode - re-create legendary fights unlocking the full video of the actual bout. Well worth it for fight fans.
As well as the extensive new modes, UFCU3 also offers the option of Pride rules – with real pride commentators Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros , you can stomp on people and football kick them in the head when they’re down. Those Japanese sure have funny ideas when it comes to rules. However it came as a nice change of pace. The game continually offers little rewards of fighter videos and interviews, which I welcomed as a nice break from the action. Furthermore ‘Points’ are rewarded for every fight, which can then be spent in the game ‘shop’ to buy extra fighters and clothes used in creation modes. The roster is extensive with over 150 fighters including everyone you could think of, even legends such as Dan Severn and of course fan favourites such as GSP, Jon Jones and Machida. The Game-play in UFCU3 is very limited, that is not to say it lacks depth, it’s just limited to the Octagon with very little in the way of content outside of the fights. However I think this is a good thing; it allows UFCU3 to be the most technical fighting game ever made. Thankfully there is an extensive tutorial - which I hate to say is a necessity, as the game does not give up its complexities easily. However, the ‘juice is worth the squeeze’, as Forrest Griffin would say. Regardless of your skill level, never forget that the game does have an element of the ‘lucky punch’ which makes playing a friend an interesting, but ultimately practice makes perfect. Especially when it comes to the almost needlessly complicated new submission and groundwork controls that in the beginning were a mystery to me. Having said that, with time, you will come to realise that the game controls are very intuitive, sure it’s confusing at times – the learning curb is steep and expect to have some frustrating losses along the way, just like a real fighter. In terms of Sound & Visuals the game is the real deal, and offers a very authentic UFC experience - from the fighter info to the announcers, it certainly captures the atmosphere perfectly. Fighter likeness is pretty spot-on and they’ve even replicated stances and mannerisms adding to that already polished presentation. It really is a fan’s dream come true. If you fancy yourself a bit of a pro you can always test your skills online, and even join a fighters camp with friends. My only fear is that with the game’s learning curb, will people be put off by the online community, or even worse will they get bored before they get good? It seems this is a risk Yuke’s and THQ are willing to take. The website linked above, is well worth a look to see how the UFC community is embracing Undisputed 3, I especially enjoyed the ‘knock out of the week’ section of the site. I can honestly say that UFCU3 has all the trademarks of a game that will get old…. and simply sit on the shelf collecting dust. That is, unless you have a group of friends that love UFC as much as you do, in that case let the punches fly and the good times roll. In terms of an MMA game, you wont find better, however in terms of a perfect game… it is lacking in scope, except for the scope that is in the fights itself, this game could take forever to master and do we really have the time?
Before I start, I ask you to forget about Daniel Radcliffe’s previous work, namely the Harry Potter Chronicles, turn a new leaf and all that. Woman in Black follows a young Edwardian Solicitor , Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) who relocates to a swampy Midlands village, quite the opposite to the busy London streets that he is familiar with. His purpose in the village is to settle the affairs of a recently deceased widow though he begins to be interrupted by a few supernatural happenings. Children are dying left right and centre in the village and it is linked with the Victorian curse which is associated with the woman in black. Radcliffe’s priorities change and instead now he is trying to uncover the story behind the cloaked figure which is linked with the deaths, though few people trust him enough to aide him. Though the film seems to start quite slowly, it doesn’t lack the moments which make you jump out of your seat, one of the main reasons the stage production was so popular. Radcliffe plays his part adequately but at times it doesn’t feel as though he is the real protagonist as most of his time in the film is trying to investigate and search for answers involving the woman in blacks past. This being said it is certainly a must see, especially if you haven’t yet seen the stage version. AG
This film is already potentially looking to be the comedy of the year. Produced by ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Old School’ director, Todd Phillips, Project X is the story of three high school losers who are looking for some much needed popularity and in order to gain it they throw the party to end all parties. With everyone being invited, without surprise it gets messy beyond belief. It all starts the way most house parties begin; parents are away, party time! What better way to boost your popularity and potentially lose your virginity? It starts out casual, but things escalate when the invitation for the bash goes viral over the internet and the amount of guests rises from 50 to 1500. Nightmare or godsend, the party goes on, but surely it’s just a matter of time before the police step in to act as the party poopers. Despite the fairly unknown cast, this film is a must see; expect reckless behaviour, a dangerous amount of alcohol consumption and a lot of nudity. Todd Phillips has pulled it off once again with his contribution to this one, let’s just call it Hangover 2.5. AG
This is a film which seems to have appeared out of nowhere. 21 Jump Street is the story of two ex classmates, Morton (Jonah Hill) and Greg (Channing Tatum) who are reunited as they work to become police officers. They are paired up to work as park patrol, about as mundane as it gets, and hard to mess up you would’ve thought, Right? Wrong. Hill and Tatum get their break when they spot drug dealer leader and arrest him but forget to read him his rights which results in Domingo (DeRay Davis) being released. The of them are reassigned to work on 21 Jump Street under Captain Dickson (Ice Cube) and use their youthful appearances to infiltrate the high schools in order to expose any wrong doings. Obviously Tatum and Hill don’t go about it the legitimate way, with the film containing its fair share of underage drinking and drug use. The question is, will they be having too much of a good time to get the drugs bust which they need in order to keep their jobs? It’s a combination of actors much like those seen in ‘The Other Guys’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ so let’s hope that it’s at least half as good! AG
Comedies involving serious illnesses are a struggle to pull off correctly, without insulting anyone. 50/50 attempts this, combating some particularly hard hitting scenes with moments that will at least provide a half-hearted and uplifting smile. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a small time radio producer who is diagnosed with a rare kind of spine cancer after he goes to the doctors complaining with back pain. The film follows Adam and his goofy work colleague Kyle (Seth Rogen) as they use their friendship to battle against the cancer which has given Levitt a 50/50 chance of surviving. Pre diagnosis, Rogen appears to have little respect for Levitt and it is clear to see that this gets to him. The storyline may come across slightly predictable but in no way is it off-putting. It is a story of something so terrible having the ability to bring two people closer and the experiences which they help each other through. Of course this film does give the subject of cancer, and battling the disease, a Hollywood sugar coating, it is less about the cancer and more about the developing â€˜bromanceâ€™ between Levitt and Rogen. The head shaving scene is a prime example of this and should you watch the film, will be the one scene which sticks in your head more than any others. AG
So the incredible factor about this film, is that it is 100% independently funded by the huge Angels & Airwaves, and as well as this the soundtrack on the film is even done by the band. The music that Angels & Airwaves create is a perfect accompaniment to this space adventure film. For fans of Tom Delogne (Who also helped produce this project), this is a film they have been expecting for a long, long time and in our eyes, it was clearly worth the wait. The film tells the narrative of Astronaut Lee Miller who is stranded all alone in his space station. As time goes by, and his life support systems start to slowly decline Lee finds himself fighting with reality. He ends up interacting in his mind with some Polaroid pictures that have been left by previous crew members, Lee also finds a 1864 journal which tells a special story from the American Civil War....after this events start to turn rather interesting. Director William Eubank has done a fantastic job on this film, and I believe he has really made a film that Angels & Airwaves and other fans will be extremely proud of. We would also like to add that William Eubank has far surpassed the efforts of many directors out there, as he went to the huge effort of building the Space Station featured in Love in his parents back yard, this alone shows extreme determination, and only excites us to see what the directors next film project will be. If you love space films like Moon, Sunshine and even 2001: A Space Odyssey then this is a film for you. Just like all of those classics it leaves you thinking about the film and it's hidden messages for days to come. So tell your friends and spread the word, as this cult classic is not to be missed! AD
The Used, Anti-Flag, Skindred, Parkway Drive, Say Anything, Architects, Cancer Bats, Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years, The Early November, ,...
Published on Mar 20, 2012
The Used, Anti-Flag, Skindred, Parkway Drive, Say Anything, Architects, Cancer Bats, Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years, The Early November, ,...