|MM - The band's latest album 'No
Quarter' was released last May, were you pleased with the
response it got from the fans and critics?
We were very pleased with it. The
feedback that we got back from it for the most part been
pretty solid. We would have liked a bit more time to
record it, we might have liked a bit more pre-production on
some of the songs. It turned out a really good result
in the end and we were pleased with it.
MM - The band have been pigeon holed as a N.W.O.B.H.M.
band, how do you feel about that?
Rich - Well N.W.O.B.H.M. is distinctive to
certain types of bands that were around in that era, now you have the
New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal scene, as it's been
labeled, and we've been put into that category. I guess
any band that plays any particular type of music is in
danger of being pigeon-holed, but we
don't worry about it too much. we just like to write songs that we
are happy with and that will come across well live. So we don't really focus
in on any genre labels that
are put to our music that much.
MM - The band first started out in 2001, what made you
decide to firstly start a band and secondly, to play old
school heavy metal?
Rich - I think it all stemmed from us being fans
originally. We loved listening to the music and just
wanted to go one step beyond that and to create some of our
own music. I met Matt (Dobson) our drummer on a night
out one time. From there we had a different guitarist
at that time who came in to the band and together we wrote a
whole bunch of songs. Felix (Dock) our bassist was one
of the original members also, although he was only with us
the first time very briefly before he left the band.
He's back with us now so there's three of us from that first
formation of the band.
MM - This is the first night of the next leg of the
tour, although you've been on tour since March. how
have things been going?
Rich - Well obviously it's not been a constant
tour, but we've been trying to play as many gigs and also
get out of the UK and across to Europe to play some
shows. There's a more consistent scene over in Europe
of this type of metal, particularly with the German
fans. We've been over the Germany and to
Belgium. We're going to play our first show over in
France in a few weeks time. We find that doing shows
across the weekend is the best way to do it, shows on a
Thursday, Friday and Saturday night are more popular,
because if you're not a well known band and you try and play
small cities on a Monday night, then there's less chance as
many people will turn out to see you.
MM - How would you compare the European fans to the UK
Rich - That's difficult because it's different. I
would say that in Europe they tend to let loose a little bit
more than here in the UK, but I suppose British people on
the whole tend to be a little bit more reserved in
general. That comes across at gigs, but overall
there's some great scenes over here in the UK. We've
found sometimes it can be hit and miss with shows and
sometimes we've found it's just not worth playing a
particular location at this point in time for where we are
as a band. It's just not worth traveling to a location
if the turnout is not quite there yet. I think in the
90's the whole metal scene died down a little bit, but in
Europe they seem to have maintained a strong underground
scene that continues to be consistent, which is
MM - Have you managed to make a start on the second
Rich - Yes we have about six tracks finished so
far. The first album had eight tracks on it but for
this second one we're hoping to go for nine tracks.
We've got two we've already started working on and the plan
is to start recording the album in January 2020 and to
release it Summer time next year. We want to make sure
we have all the tracks ready to the highest order,
pre-production, before we start recording.
MM - Will it still have the same sort of vibe as 'No
Rich - It's going to be slightly different.
It's still going to be a bit darker and quite heavy, but the
next album should be a little bit more upbeat with a feel
good vibe to it. A bit more melodic is what we're aiming to
incorporate into the vocal lines this time. So yes
it's still going to sound like the same band, but we didn't
want to just do another bunch of songs that sounded the same
as the one's we've already done/ I'm feeling very
positive about it all. We're really looking forward to
recording it and putting it out there and seeing how
everybody likes it. I don't see why our fans wouldn't
enjoy it because we're still the same band, we're just
trying something a little different with the next
MM - How do you feel about the current scene and the
internet, do you think there are too many bands out there
now to how it was in the past?
Rich - Well obviously there are a hell of a lot of
bands out there, but I think there probably always was
before, we just weren't aware of it because we didn't have
the internet back then. Now you have Facebook, Spotify,
YouTube and all these other avenues to discover music.
I think every band has something slightly different to
offer, as everyone has their own sound. I think
there's more than enough room for everyone to have a shot at
it by doing their own thing. Genres and Sub-Genres are
something we definitely have way too many of these days
MM - I think music has become too disposable these days
and fans don't seem to want to invest in a whole album the
way we used to. They're quite happy just to buy one or
two tracks, rather than the whole album. Rich - Yes, I actually think this is a real problem for
some bands as they no longer want to put in all that time
and effort to create a whole album if they think their fans
are only going to buy one or two tracks. I think when
people listen to the first few minutes of the first song on
an album on a platform such as spotify, unless you grab
their attention musically straight away, then their
attention span is going to wander on to another track or
band which is flashing up for their attention in the top
corner. It is very difficult for bands. Plus if
you're not willing to invest you time and money into buying
a physical copy, then you're not really giving us much of a
chance to show you what we can do.
On another side of it the internet is really useful to
find and network with other bands who you could collaborate
with to do shows together.
MM - In the past the music press was Sounds and NME,
so we would get to hear about some bands from the UK, but
people in Japan or Australia would most likely never get to
hear about these bands unless they broke really big.
Nowadays with the internet bands and their music is far more
global, so no matter where you live, you have the same
opportunity to hear their music.
Rich - Yes, although I find the problem with
YouTube is sometimes people might check out a video from a
band's show and make a decision based solely on that video
as to whether they're going to like them or not. But
often these live videos are being shot on dodgy little
camera phone recording with a less than adequate sound
recording system. If I get into a new band I try not
to delve too much into such live videos and recordings as
they rarely accurately reflect how the band actually
sound. I prefer to listen to official recordings and
will then go and check the band out myself and make my own
decision on how they sound live rather than rely on those
types of videos.
MM -If the band had a
mission statement, what would it be and what's next for
Rich - Our mission
statement would be to continue doing as many live shows as
we can. Playing shows at as many places as possible,
both new and old. Hopefully get some longer running
tours supporting some bigger named bands. Also to keep
writing and recording new material. Next year we'll be
releasing our second album, so we'll be looking to tour as
much as possible to promote that new album.
MM - Traveling the
distances you currently do to do shows, do you all have
second jobs or is the band your main job?
We all have
second jobs, we couldn't do this otherwise.
We're lucky that our employers are quite flexible and
lenient and allow us to take holidays or time off to do
MM - Will the second
album be on the same label your debut was released on?
Rich - Yes, it will
be the same label as we have a three album deal with them.
MM - How does the label
support the band and it's release(s)?
Rich - They have
helped us out tremendously actually both with the promotion
of the band and also financially with the recording of the
first album. So on the whole it's been a very positive
experience for us to be with this label. We were an
independent band for about five years, but then obviously
any band who want to be taken seriously need to look to get
signed to help promote them and to give them that standing
as a band that's very much a part of the current
scene. Some of the bigger labels don't seem to be
signing Heavy Metal bands so much at the moment, Hard Rock
bands yes, but not so much Heavy Metal bands.
MM - You're on tour with
Demon Queen from Belgium and recently did some shows over
there with them, how did they go?
Rich - Yes we played
a couple of shows over there about a month ago, a Friday and
Saturday night and they were both great shows. The
first was in a place called Brie and the show was in a very
small part of town. The club was like a farmhouse type
building in the middle of nowhere, but when you went inside
it was brilliant. There was a really big stage and a
good bar and the Belgium fans all came out and had a good
time. The following night we played in Ostend and that
turned out quite well as it was on route back to Dunkirk, so
it was easy for us to get the boat back to Dover. That was
good fun as well. We're getting exposure to fans who
might not have heard of us before but who will hopefully
come and see us again if they enjoyed the shows.
I think there are a few
bands out there who think you can just release an album and
put it online and then play a couple of shows and that's all
you need to do. I know we have the internet to promote
things on but I personally don't think you can beat actually
going out there and playing the shows and meeting the fans
face to face It's hard work, but if you're a real band
then you know this is what needs to be
MM - Well we really
enjoyed seeing the band perform at the S.O.S. Festival in
Manchester in July. We found your music made a refreshing
change to some of the more generic heavy metal bands we see,
so we're really looking forward to the show tonight.
Rich - Thank
you. We're not reinventing the wheel but we do try to
keep it sounding fresh and we try to put our own stamp on
our music. We like to put our own personality into our
music. Hope you enjoy the show.
by: Barry McMinn