This Et Al

This Et Al – Leeds Cockpit – November 28th

by Emma

This Et Al Interview – Leeds Cockpit – 28 November 2006

This Et Al are a hotly tipped young band hailing from Leeds and Bradford. Having received rave reviews and being compared to bands such as Mogwai and Queens of the Stone Age by other reviewers, they are set to assault the rock scene in 2007 after a quiet 2006 spent writing and recording their debut album. I went into the gig with high expectations, and This Et Al did not disappoint!

Emma – There isn’t a great deal of information around about you guys so I just wanted to go right back to the start – how did it all begin with the band, were you all friends beforehand?
Ben – Yeah, 2002 it started, in Bradford. We won the Futuresound thing and played Leeds festival and we did a single with Forward Russia and we did a tour with Forward Russia and then we did another single which sold out so then recorded the album so we’ve done four singles and four tours.

Emma – did you all have regular jobs beforehand or did you just go straight into the band from school?
Steve – Well we all still kinda work now, there’s not much money in this yet!

Emma – so were you in other bands?
Steve – I was in a band called Egos Gained when we were like thirteen or fourteen. We invented new metal! Well we did! Wu – didn’t we invent new metal?
Wu – it’s nothing to admit to!
Emma – so you’re to blame!
Steve – yeah! Me and Ben were in a band called Idiot Box as well.

Emma – When did you start playing gigs with this band?
Ben – Properly, well at first it was just three of us – me, Wu and Steve and we were trying to find a singer and we tried out some singers and then we realised that Wu could sing! We started gigging properly in 2003.

Emma- How does your writing process work, do you all kinda do your own thing and then get together and throw your ideas in, or do you all sit and do it together in the first place?
Steve – It varies, some of the songs have been written in that way, like starting with one single guitar part and then developing it…discussion based. Other times someone brings a song along that’s completely done and ready and we all like it so we just go with that. It’s whatever works really!

Emma – what kind of bands are you all listening to and were you all listening to when you got together?
Steve – ooh… er… Trail of Dead
Ben – The band that made me want to do this was And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead and kinda gothic stuff like Joy Division.
Steve – Mogwai and stuff and a lot of post rock

Emma – Do you find that your own influences kind of pull you apart when you’re trying to write – do you all pull in different directions?
Ben – Sometimes, especially with Ste, ‘cos sometimes he’s either ultra heavy or dark and sometimes I just wanna write a pop song! But it works though ‘cos you get a good darkness but also the melodies.
Steve – We’ve got a good democracy, eventually we reach a position where everything is in place. We never started off trying to be like any other band or anything, it was like “right, we like all these different styles and we wanna catch them all”.

Emma – Did it take a while for you to develop your own sound?
Ben – No, not really it just kind of happened pretty instantly.
Steve – Yeah, just instantly really

Emma – You had three sold out singles in 2005, so how many copies were sold, how many did you put out?
Ben – 500, then a thousand, then 2000 CDs for the last single, and also 500 vinyls for two of the singles.
Emma – you had some really good feedback on those as well didn’t you?
Ben – Yeah they all got good feedback, but on the last single it all got fucked up with the distributors and all the bollocksy music industry shit, so we’d like to forget about that!

Emma – tell me about the Futuresound thing – what happened there?
Ben – Well we didn’t really expect anything from it or anything, we just thought, “oh great” and we had some fun. We didn’t set out to win.
Steve – No, at that stage we just weren’t caught up in any of the business, we thought we would just give it a go, and lo and behold we won it!
Emma – When did you play the Leeds festival – was that this year?
Ben – We didn’t play this year, ‘cos we played last year and the year before. The first year we were on the unsigned stage, that was 2004.
Steve – We headlined the unsigned stage didn’t we, not this year but the year before. The year before that is when we won Futuresound.
Ben – This year we were meaning to be there but because we had some singles – and the last single kind of flopped because it wasn’t in any shops when it was released – we wanted to play the festival but we got the choice of headlining the unsigned stage or playing the Carling stage but because of certain reasons we missed out on the Carling stage.
Steve – The album wasn’t ready by then anyway, I mean it’s good to play Leeds fest but unless you have an album and something to really sell and push …
Ben – …plus we were still working on the album so we’ve got nothing to plug.
Emma – It’s a good opportunity though isn’t it to get people from all over the place just to hear your music
Steve – Oh yeah, but on the flip side of that though there are so many bands there that you do get forgotten about quite easily in the event itself really. Especially if you’re on the Carling stage.
Ben – But you get a VIP pass!
Emma – What kind of reception did you get when you did play?
Ben – The first time was good ‘cos we were in the comedy tent of all places. Literally about five minutes before we went on – stood at the front at the barrier there were about two people…
Steve – …There were just a few groups of mates in, then we went back in and came out again a few minutes later and it was absolutely rammed!

Emma – Did you go see many of the other bands while you were there, did you abuse your VIP pass?!
Ben – Of course yeah! We went and stood at the side of the stage with Bloc Party and stuff, it was great!

Emma – Having played the festival, do you prefer to do that or would you rather play the small venues like this where you can get a better sound and play to your own crowd?
Ben – Well playing a festival is a one off thing, it’s a great experience but it’s not all it seems – you are literally bundled on stage so it’s quite hard to get your head round at first. The smaller dirty little hole gigs are much more fun and sweaty. At the first gig of this tour actually, there were like seven hundred people and we didn’t really know what was going on!

Emma – Your first album is due out early next year…
Ben – Yeah, we have a limited number of copies available now to just try and get it out there and get people talking about it, but officially its gonna be released early next year.
Emma – Can you tell me more about the feel of it – has it got a particular mood or direction?
Ben – Really it was a way of drawing a line under each song for us.
Steve – and it was all recorded on vintage equipment as well so there wasn’t one item that we used that was younger than thirty years!
Ben – Which proves interesting when you’re mixing with five people!
Steve – It’s a nice quality to the recording, it has a good character
Ben – plus it means we can draw a line under all that now and start on the new stuff.

Emma- Where did you record the album?
Steve – Do you know the Somatics? Well Richard Green, the front person, has a home studio in the attic in like a mill complex.
Ben – He has like an old BBC deck with a big old tape machine in there.
Steve – It’s a really nice environment to work in there’s loads of gismos and gadgets.
Ben – We’d get the red wine in and be up until five o’clock in the morning just making noise!

Emma – How long did it take to record, because you’ve kind of been out of sight for most of the year?
Ben – It’s weird, because we started recording it, then Richard fell ill and then we went away touring with Depeche Mode and then we all had holidays and whatever…
Steve – and because we all still work as well we had to fit it all in whenever we could – it was an opportunistic recording!

Emma – If you had to try and sell your band to someone who had never heard anything of you what would you say to them to try and win them over?
Steve – Um, we’re obsessed with blow jobs!
Ben – Noise!
Wu – (stops talking and looks over from across the room) – sorry, I just heard the words blow jobs! Yeah!
Ben – My own take on it is that obviously we like it heavy, but at the same time there’s lots of pop hooky elements in there so it’s catchy.
Steve – It’s sort of an answer to the generic thing that’s going on now – we’re a window –‘cos you’ll get a fad and then it gets completely saturated and then you get something that comes along in it’s own little window. I kind of see it as an answer to being bored of hearing the same thing.
Ben – As opposed to an instant hit it’s one of those where you’ll listen to a track that you like, and then you’ll listen to it another five times and get into it.
Emma – I think the ones that grow on you are usually the best ones anyway. Having said that though, you have already been compared to a few other bands.
Steve – It’s obviously a compliment but to listen to us it’s not like “oh they sound like this band”, although you can see the influences there. It’s sometimes easier to say that we sound like this band or that band…
Ben – it’s lazy journalism really!

Emma – What are your plans for next year then once the album has been released?
Ben – We’re gonna finish the tour, then our manager is working to get a label and to get the album backed up so we can officially release it and officially tour it. And then we can get some fucking money behind it!
Steve – We’ll write the next album as well, get cracking with that.

Emma- If you could tour with any band of any artist of all time who would you choose?
Ben – I don’t know actually…you could support your heroes but then you might not go down well at all!
Steve – And it’s not just about liking the band its how they are as people as well.
Steve – Pink Floyd! That would be mind expanding.

Emma – and if you could create your dream line up…
Ben – Johnny Marr on guitar, Bonham, me on guitar! Probably Jeff Buckley singing.

Emma- Tonight is the fifth night of the tour tonight, will it be quite special because it is in your home town?
Steve – Yeah it’s always good playing Leeds!
Emma – Do you have plans to tour outside of the UK later?
Ben – We have started planning some dates in Europe but without the backing, we can’t do it, so watch this space!

At this point the guys were almost due on stage so we left it there and made our way into the main room to check out the performance. This Et Al put out an unfaltering performance of crowd favourites and lived up to the credit already gained from previous reviews. If you’re looking for something that is that bit different, and set apart from the production line of alternative music that seems to be streaming from the charts – check out this band. It will be worth your while.

Enter Shikari

Enter Shikari – Leeds Cockpit 7th December 2006

by Emma


I always find that a great opener to any interview is when you walk in and are immediately offered a beer! The Enter Shikari boys wasted no time in cracking open a few cold ones while we got settled in! I had been looking forward to this interview for quite some time and was struck by how grounded, down to earth and polite the boys are – an absolute pleasure to interview.

Emma – First of all congratulations on your recent success, because you have really been doing quite well lately
All – Thank you

Emma – Things have been pretty crazy for the last twelve months or so…how do you feel about being propelled into the spotlight all of a sudden?
Chris – Pretty good, pretty cool. I mean in the last twelve months, well in the last few months its taken kind of a jump with all of the press and the magazines getting on board and stuff. If you think that maybe a year and a half ago we were still playing these shows and were getting good turnouts – it’s just been getting better and better each time really gradually, so that’s good but its nice to have a push as well. So it’s been really crazy since then!
Rob – Its exciting – we don’t know what’s gonna happen next.

Emma – you’ve released a couple of singles, and with Sorry You’re Not A Winner – I watched the video climb up some of the MTV video charts so quickly. I caught the Red Button Chart one morning and you were at number two then the same afternoon it had moved straight to number one – and it was all within a couple of days! How do you feel about that – was it just crazy?
Rob – Pretty mental yeah, its kind of the same as with the Kerrang Best Newcomer award – it was like “what, how did we get this?” and we just kind of jumped up and were like “well we haven’t really done anything!”
Emma – It’s all pretty much reputation based isn’t it?
Chris – I don’t think we really noticed the amount that they were playing it until we actually got told, ‘cos we’re not at home during the days and stuff…
Roughton – I’ve never had sky either so I’ve never seen it!
Emma- I got your mailing list email about the Scuzz competition saying that your video was gonna be on, and within a couple of days it was getting played on all sorts of channels
Rory – and we lost that competition! That was the ironic thing!
Chris – It’s weird as well, with the Mothership one actually, we had two edits of that –there was this one edit that was shot through like a peephole, a circle, and at first they told us that we couldn’t use that and they were never gonna play it. Then after the Sorry You’re Not a Winner video came through, now they are all playing the first edit that they were never gonna play!
Emma – and it was all shot in someone’s house wasn’t it?
Chris – yeah in my parents’ front room!

Emma – In the town we come from there are quite a few people that actually do hold gigs in their flats and houses – your video really reminded me of that.
Chris – my living room’s not been the same since!
Emma – Did you ever do that whole thing – playing gigs in people’s houses etc…
Roughton – We’ve done a few in people’s houses, yeah, like house parties. I remember doing a house party in Wales…
Rob – It was just a student house, and we played the shittest set ever! The drum kit that I had was just falling apart!
Chris – We really like the idea of really intimate crowds – just absolute mayhem – not too many people crammed into really tight spaces – its always fun.
Roughton – In one of the versions you can see the lampshade go tumbling across peoples heads and stuff and getting thrown about
Chris- It really was mental, that video!

Emma – So you have had quite a lot of label interest and as everything has blown up so quickly – I heard that there has been a bit of a bidding war going on between labels…have you been tempted by any of their offers?
Chris – Well yeah, of course we were tempted…definitely
Rory – Today we might be doing a signing to Vital Distribution – it’s basically like a distribution thing
Chris – It just enables us to stay independent and own our copyrights. Everyone who came to us – I think they really wanted us, ‘cos there were really good contracts that they were offering us, but at the end of the day we didn’t really want that
Emma – You’ve managed to maintain control for the last three years haven’t you?
Roughton – Yeah
Chris – We just thought – well why chuck it away, when they (labels) will just chuck money at you… and you’re gonna have to pay it back anyway!
Emma – When did you decide that you were just going to stay independent
Roughton– It was a long decision…
Chris – We were just going from side to side, again and again – I mean the original plan was to set up a record label and do some releases ourselves and see how it goes…which is what we did!

Emma – Well that leads me on to my next question, which is – tell me more about your label Ambush Reality. Did you just do that to facilitate your own single releases?
Chris – Yeah basically the plan was that we were just gonna put out a few singles and test the water see how it goes, and luckily it seems to have blown up a bit, which is cool. We had a lot of help from our manager – he’s run labels before so he helped us out with a lot of the administration and that side of it

Emma – So far with the singles you have released you have put out a limited number of copies on CD and vinyl format and the rest has been download only – are you planning keep doing that or are you moving more toward digital release?
Rory – We just thought we’re not gonna get into the charts with this single! But yeah, we were actually really surprised by how well it did so we thought why don’t we just make it a limited edition for our fans at the moment so they can go out and get it.
Emma – It was quite hard to get a copy too – after just a few days I tried to get a CD copy and everywhere I tried had sold out, so I had to get vinyl!
Rob – It was really annoying like in our home town St Albans there was only one copy!

Emma – Let’s go back a bit – you’re all friends from school right?
All – Yeah
Emma – Do you think that helped to give you a good grounding – like when things started getting crazy did it help that you are good friends to keep each others feet on the ground?
Roughton – Yeah – I think we have a pretty good friendship & relationship going on.
I think if we see anyone slipping out of line we can just tell them.
Chris – And I think because we spend so much time together, it’s like there’s no point getting pissed off about silly little things

Emma – I think you have a pretty unique sound going on – did you realise that there was a window for this type of sound and deliberately set out to fill it?
Rory – Not at all, it’s just been a natural progression really.
Emma – Was it an immediate thing or has it taken a while to build to the sound you are at?
Chris – Oh yeah, its definitely been building up , and especially if you think about the synths that we used to use in the early demos and stuff we did, a couple of them are pre-sets and stuff wheras now its all written and layered and we just keep adding more to it.

Emma – You have a bit of a reputation for having mad shows and things getting a bit crazy! Tell me more about that…
Chris – Cardiff! Let’s tell them about Cardiff
Rob – No…Dublin!
Chris – Dublin, yeah that’s the one!
Rob – By the end of the show there were six ambulances, a police car and a fire engine there!
Emma – nice!
Chris – People were just being carried out – like knocked out! And they only had one security guard! Just one! And they tried stopping the show…
Rob – I fought him off! They said turn it off – and I just said no!

Emma- It’s getting to the end of this tour now isn’t it really…when you are on tour what are the three most essential items that you have to take with you?
Roughton – Good question! We haven’t had that question before…right…
Mystery bloke joins in – Rou needs his make up!
Chris – Hair gel is definitely one!
Rob – Shower gel!
Rory – Febreeze!
Chris – Yeah, Febreeze is number one! Yeah the bad thing is we always forget it as well!
Emma- There must be more important things!

Chris – I think Febreeze because you cant take too many clothes with you and Febreeze just sorts them out
Rory – I’d say t-shirts, Febreeze and hair gel!
Chris – There would be music and stuff in there as well – we need more than three, can we have six?!!

Emma – I have been reading a few reviews where you are being branded as the “new rock gods” and “the best band in the uk”…
Roughton – yeah that was in Kerrang yesterday wasn’t it!
Emma – Yeah I saw that! What do you think about that – do you think that you are being put on a pedestal that might be difficult to live up to?
Chris – We like reading it!
Roughton – I don’t think we feel under pressure, I think the press has come along quite quickly but its still not like they are bigging us up that much…
Emma – I don’t know – rock gods?!!
Chris – It is kinda weird…we were sitting there and we were like “heeeeeey, rock gods!”
Yeah I don’t think we’re under pressure to live up to it though.
Rory – The way I see it is we’ve been doing what we’ve been doing for the last three years – people can say what they want about it.

Emma – You all ditched university to be in the band full time – if you didn’t have the band what would you do?
Chris – at uni I was studying a music course anyway – music industry – so I would probably end up working for a record label somewhere, just something involved you know…
Rory – I was doing guitar making and learning how to build guitars basically
Rob – I was doing photography – I’m kind of the odd one out!
Emma- Did you all start uni courses?
Roughton– yeah we all did a year
Chris – We all made sure we were within a hundred miles of each other as well so we could get back and do the mid week gigs we needed to.
Rory – It was really hard having to worry about the band, and worry about uni work and trying to juggle them. And trying to do course work between mid week gigs!
Rob- Yeah especially when we get back from a gig at like three in the morning in Newcastle or something and then we have to get up at seven to go to uni the next day
Rory – There was a lot of sleeping in the van – it was like you get to the van, sleep, get top the gig, play …

Emma – Let’s move onto next year – you have a few things planned for next year so I hear – is it right that you’re going to be supporting Alexisonfire and Billy Talent?
Chris – Yeah that’s right, and they are apparently really nice guys
Emma- Yeah Alexisonfire are really nice, you’ll have a great time! Do you feel really excited to know that you’re gonna be playing with some really high profile bands
Chris – Oh yeah, definitely!
Rory – I saw a great quote that The Automatic said – it was something like the small bands are the ones who are up themselves and the big bands are the ones who are always down to earth, and its so true.
Mystery bloke – Alexisonfire make you get a tattoo every night!
Emma – ah were you there for the Yeti?!!
Mystery bloke – I’m scared of the Yeti!! Rou’s gonna get a Yeti tattooed!

Emma – If you could choose any band to tour with, who would you choose and why?
Chris – that’s a tough one…
Rou – Prodigy
Chris- any band in history?
Emma – Yeah
Rob – Mozart!
Chris – Yeah he’d be fun!
Rob – Can you imagine playing to that sort of crowd!
Emma – What are you listening to at the moment on the tour bus?
Rob- Skeeter
Rory – Comeback Kid, he’s getting played a lot in the van
Emma – You must spend a lot of time listening to stuff in the van
Roughton – Yeah, we listen to mix compilations!

Emma –I would like to talk about this year’s Download festival – that was quite a big thing for you guys to pay, and the tent was packed fit to burst! Did you expect that?
Roughton – We didn’t expect that many people to be watching, the tent was overflowing – looking out from the stage there were just heads as far as you could see
Rory – and that was before we’d had any press at all!
Emma – Did you meet or check out other bands there and make the most of your backstage passes?
Chris – yeah, we were sitting next to the guys from Billy Talent, and we’re gonna be doing a lot more of that!
Rory – I had a picture with Nick Oliveri
Chris- I got a picture with one of the rangers from Starwars…
Rory – Sick Of It All were my highlight, but it meant I had to miss the Prodigy
Rob – Prodigy were my highlight
Emma – Do you plan to play any festivals next year?
Chris – All of them!
Rory – Hopefully we’ll get to play Download, Reading and Leeds, and T in the Park.

Emma – Describe Enter Shikari in one sentence
Chris – Good!
Emma – you can do better than that
Rory – An organised riot!
Rob – …of gargantuous proportions!

Emma – What would you like people to gain from your music?
Rob – To open people’s eyes – like for people that are solidly into rock music hopefully they’ll start thinking that maybe dance music isn’t so bad and vice versa. Making bridges!
Roughton – I think without realising we’re becoming quite environmentally friendly, so maybe that’ll be something we expand on.
Emma – Well that’s all, unless you have anything you would like to add?
Chris – The album comes out in March, buy it please!
Rory – Download it
Rory – Give us money!

We thanked the guys for a great interview and then made our way downstairs to a packed out room to watch the gig. Enter Shikari have received a whole lot of praise over recent months but they have worked so hard and deserve every word of it. The gig was mind-opening and was one of the best performances I have ever seen. Shikari kicked the shit out of so many other live performances I have seen and loved before and there is no doubt in my mind that they are going to blow a lot of those bands out of the water in 2007 – so watch out!

Alexisonfire – Taste of Chaos

by Emma

Manchester Apollo – 12 November 2006

From one dressing room to another… immediately after a great interview with Senses Fail, I caught up with Dallas Green, of the amazing Alexisonfire for a chat prior to their slot at the Manchester Taste Of Chaos date.

As always Dallas was warm, friendly and excited to be playing here in the UK once again. Dallas told us about how he was feeling pretty tired as he’s having trouble getting used to the time difference, and keeps falling to sleep at 10am!

E. I last spoke to you about six months ago, when you were here for the City and Colour tour. What has been going on since then, what have you all been up to?
D. Lots of stuff, after that I went to Europe with Alexis and then we got home and we did the Warped Tour in North America. Then our new record came out and we have just been touring since then. We came over to do Reading and Leeds and then we did a Canadian tour and an American tour and now we’re here.
E. So you have just been on the road all the time!
D. Yeah, that’s right!

E. How are you enjoying the Taste Of Chaos tour so far?
D. It’s good, but we have only been on it for two days ‘cos we haven’t been on the whole thing so, for us it’s great but all the other bands are really tired and stuff. They have been on the road and they are ready to go home. So we’ve kinda come on and we’re new faces so everyone’s like, ‘oh, hey guys’!
E. So you’re the most popular people in town! Do you think that being part of a tour like this puts more pressure on you as a band?
D. Definitely, ‘cos when you do your own tour mostly you have the kids that like your band come to watch you play, and that’s usually the way it is, you know. Kids that are interested in getting to know your band come to watch you play but on a big tour like this there’s you know, probably a handful of kids that maybe don’t like you or a handful of kids that have never even heard of you, so you have to play to not only the kids that are here to see you but tons more people. We’re on right in the middle so you have to keep it going and we’ve got a tough act to follow, we play after Underoath who are always amazing live – so yeah, there’s a lot of pressure doing big, big tours like this.
E. Of course there are also benefits – it’s a great opportunity to get more people in there listening to you.
D. Oh shoot yeah, exactly, you get to try and win more people over.
E. I am sure that you will do just that!

E. My next question was going to be – have you had any more group tattooings whilst you have been on this tour, but since you only joined two days ago there will have been no time for that kind of thing yet!
D. No, a bunch of us have just got tattooed in California by our friend who tattoos us there, but we haven’t gotten all the same thing yet.
E. Well that was quite a fun story from our last interview anyway!
D. Yeah!
E. How did the whole thing come about with you having Olly (Mitchell, Johnny Truant frontman) as your tour manager?
D. Well we just became friends with them when we did the Johnny Truant/Alexisonfire tour, and …well he’s actually here with us now too…Paul who was in here earlier, he’s the drummer for Johnny Truant! It’s just nice to have people who know the area with you, so when I was doing that I was gonna do it in a car, the City and Colour thing, so we figured we would just ask Olly ‘cos he’s my friend, you know, instead of getting in some professional tour manager.
E. So is he responsible for all the late nights and lack of sleep..!!
D. Nooo that’s just me, I can’t adjust, can’t switch gears, it’s not working out!

E. Moving on to Crisis…the album did really well didn’t it, debuting at number 1 in Canada and in the top 100 over here in the UK?
D. Yeah, it’s crazy, yeah
E. You have certainly had a fantastic reception over here and you’re getting more play on the music channels than ever before…
D. On the shows that we have played so far it seems like kids know the words to the newer songs more than then knew the older songs, so that’s cool because we like the newer songs better!
E. And new fans are always a good thing!
D. Yeah!
E. Did you ever imagine that it would be so well accepted and so quickly?
D. No, I mean, we have grown to be quite a popular band in Canada, so we figured it was gonna do well there. We never imagined it would go to number 1 but that’s something that we don’t really imagine because, we never really ever think that we’re capable of that, you know. We’re such an independent smaller band that with records by Christina Aguilera and stuff like that coming out at the same time we just don’t expect ours to go in at number 1… But to have it do so well over here already, the last records have taken us touring and touring and touring for people to get used to it, but this one – people got into it right away, it’s very surprising but it’s great.
E. When you got together to write the songs for this album, did you plan to write songs that are fairly softer than your older material? If you go right back to your debut Alexisonfire, these new songs are more easy listening.
D. I don’t know if they’re softer, but I think they are maybe just a little less metally, and stuff like that. I think we have more of a rock influence now as opposed to the first record, which was kinda all over the place and stuff and I think that had a lot to do with that it was the first bunch of songs we had ever written. We didn’t know what we wanted then but I think with this record we really figured out that we just wanted to write good catchy rock songs that are fun to play live. On the first two records there’s a bunch of songs that we don’t like playing now because they just don’t feel the same playing them live as when we wrote them. But now, every song on the new album we really just love to play.
E. Are you planning to play a mix of songs this evening?
D. Yeah, well we only have a half hour so we’ll try and do a couple from each record and we’ll play more off the new one, but yeah we will play a few from the others.

E. On Crisis…there are a lot more vocals from Wade on this record…where has he been hiding his voice all this time?!
D. I think that Wade just came to the table with more vocal ideas, you know, and that’s the way we write. We don’t say ‘okay here’s what you’re gonna do, here’s what I’m gonna do’. It’s just like whoever comes up with an idea…we will all work with it. Wade just brought more songs that he had singing ideas for.
E. And he sounds really good too!
D. Yeah he does.

E. Are you able to tell me what will be the next single released from the album – do you know yet?
D. Yeah, it will be Boiled Frogs. We shot the video a month ago so it’ll be out I think at the end of November or in early December.
E. What is the theme for this video?
D. The song is kind of a dedication to some of our parents whose generation got stuck working shitty jobs, and they give you just enough to keep you going but don’t really ever give you enough so you can escape from it one day, and that’s what Boiled Frogs is about. So we did a video kinda like that, we each have a different role and it’s all just about monotony and being fed up with your situation and stuff like that.

E. Back to your success in Canada… you have been nominated for some awards that are coming up shortly – the Casbys – and you are up for best newcomer, but also your solo album and the Alexisonfire album are up against each other for best indie album!
D. I heard that’s gonna happen a couple of times this year and next year – there’s a thing called the Juno’s which is like the Canadian Grammy Awards and we heard that we are gonna be nominated for the same award so…
E. It’s kinda strange because Sometimes came out over a year ago!
D. Yeah, but it just got really popular all of a sudden, over the last few months, so I think that people are now starting to like treat it like it came out this year, but it did, it came out last November!
E. So have you been winding each other up about it?
D. Yeah, yeah we have. They always give me crap about it, you know!

E. I have also read that you have all been doing your part for charity too – recently George has done a painting for the Brush For Hope Kidney Foundation, and you have all been organising food drives…
D. Yeah George did a painting and it’s up for auction, and it was up for over a thousand dollars I think which is crazy! It’s freaking George out cos he never thought that that would happen. But yeah, we like to do things, like on our Canadian headline tour we did a food drive and things like that. There’s also an organisation called Skate For Cancer which we try to be really involved in, it’s our friend Robbie who raises money for cancer research and awareness and stuff like that. I figured that when you get to a certain point in popularity where you can attach your name to something and it helps people who maybe wouldn’t look at it otherwise, look at a cause, then I think it’s your right to do it. I don’t know, it just seems like you should do it and it’s very easy to do so…
E. Do you have any plans for other events like that in the future?
D. I think we’ll stay supporting Skate For Cancer continuously, and we’ll just kinda wait and see what comes our way that we really wanna get behind. I’m sure that for all of our Canadian tours from now on we will pick something like the food drive to do.

E. Onto your website, there is a news section up there and is it right that you are also going to be writing a journal on there?
D. Yeah, we’ve already started it, yeah. That’s just something that is fun and we can post youtube clips on there – like on our American tour we had a really great show in Austin Texas, and the next night it was on youtube, so we did a journal about it and put up a link to that. So if something funny happens we can just write about it.
E. Will you be writing a journal whilst you’re on this tour?
D. Yeah, although we’ve only been on it for two days and the internet has been really sparse, so we haven’t really had a chance. But I’m sure we will soon enough.
E. Who has been writing most of the stuff on there so far, because there are some really funny posts on there at the moment!
D. It’s mostly Wade and George that get around to doing it so far.
E. I thought it was! You can tell by some of the comments that they have come from those two!

E. Also on the news section of your site – there is mention of an untitled new band which features members of Alexisonfire and Attack In Black…can you tell me who is involved in this project?
D. Oh, Wade is involved in a thing called Black Lungs – I don’t know if you have ever heard about it…Wade is putting out a solo record, similar to mine, and I think he is gonna do some shows in January. This band called Attack In Black are gonna play as his backing band, sort of.
E. So is that already written and ready for release?
D. Yeah the record is already done, he recorded it in summer, but he’s not had a chance to put it out yet.

E. So what will happen next for Alexisonfire? What are your plans for next year?
D. Oh, just touring! We’re coming back here in February to do our thing with Comeback Kid. We get home from this, and then we have Christmas off, and then we’re doing a Senses Fail tour in the States. Then we come back here, and then we go back to America.
E. So you won’t get much time off!
D. Yeah, we’re just touring… and you know we’re over here all the time!

I thanked Dallas for a great interview and wished him the best of luck for the show. We bumped into Johnny Truant’s Olly on the way out as he was laughing about the size of the dressing rooms! He kindly saw us back to tour manager Stu and then gave us a big wave during their set. The great thing about this band is that they never lose their humility, they are sincere, and keep their feet planted firmly on the ground.

Senses Fail – Taste of Chaos

by Emma

Manchester Apollo – 12 November 2006

Backstage at Taste Of Chaos lives up to the name… there are like a million bands to soundcheck, a maze of winding staircases, dressing rooms, interview rooms, shower rooms and of course the main stage. People are everywhere, organising rehearsing or just hanging out and security is tight. There are bands here that aren’t even here to play – they are just here to have fun and support friends! I made my way to the Senses Fail dressing room where Garrett was intently typing away on his laptop, and waited for tour manager Damon to find Dan, who he had temporarily lost!

Minutes later Dan arrived and after a bit of hand shaking and brief introductions we got down to business:

E. So how are you finding the tour so far?
D. So far it’s been great…we are about a month into it now, which feels like two years ‘cos it’s been so long! We went to New Zealand first and then Australia and then Japan and most of Europe. We did Germany last and we just got here a couple of days ago. So it’s been great but it’s very long!

E. Do you think that your under more pressure being part of a big tour like this rather than doing your own tour, or do you think it’s less pressure because obviously you have a shorter time slot to fill onstage?
D. I’d say probably a little less pressure, because, like you said, we’re not headlining, we only have to play for a half hour and we’re the second or third band out of six or something, so we get done early and we can go mess around or whatever afterwards. But I mean there’s also the pressure of keeping up with the other bands, the other bands are really good.
E. A little bit of competition…
D. Yeah and it’s all friendly competition but you’ve gotta be able to put on your own show just as well as everybody else and you need to feel like your up to par with everybody else – that’s the only thing that’s sometimes like ‘oh man!’, you know, ‘is our set as good as their set?’.

E. Still Searching is your second full length album – what has feedback been like so far for that, have you heard much?
D. I think good, I mean I’ve read a couple of magazine reviews that we’ve gotten and people seem to like it, and the kids are into it which is really cool. I met a girl outside just before who had me sign her CD case, and she was like ‘Oh, it’s a great album – much better than the last one’ so I’m like ‘alright, cool, I’ll take that!’

E. I heard that there were some rather critical messages posted on your internet site where you had fans of the first album complaining about a couple of songs they had heard from the second album.
D. I think people were bummed out that from the songs they heard right off the bat there wasn’t enough screaming I guess, and I think people were a little butt-hurt about that! I think that is just a part of the band and the music evolving and getting smarter in a way. Going into it, it wasn’t like a conscious thing where we were like ‘oh, were not gonna scream on this record’, but we just did it. We tried to do it more tastefully, and just where it was needed and where it seemed to suit the songs and not just do it for the sake of doing it which a lot of bands do – it just becomes overused and contrived and, you know, loses integrity I think.
E. So how did you deal with those kind of comments?
D. Well I think anytime that a band comes out with a new record that’s not exactly the same as their last record, there’s always gonna be people that are really psyched, and get it, and are like ‘oh this is a lot better’ and ‘these parts make more sense now’. But there will be those people that always want you to keep releasing the same record that they fell in love with the first time, and that’s just one of things you’ve gotta deal with.
E. If you did release pretty much the same songs I guess you would never grow as a band
D. Yeah, exactly!

E. Calling All Cars is going to be the first single released from the album, which is due out soon (November 20th), what are your hopes and expectations for that single?
D. I don’t know, I try not to expect too much, you know, and I just hope people like it
E. You have a video out for that already don’t you?
D. Yeah, yeah…so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens!

E. I think that the new album, lyrically, seems to be a lot more personal and more up close than previous material…do you (all) feel a little bit conscious that because the lyrics are so personal they are kinda laid bare for everyone to speculate upon?
D. Well I think the lyrics are definitely more sincere, but it’s hard for me to say because I’m not the one who writes all the lyrics, but I’m proud of the lyrics that Buddy wrote and he’s really come a long way with his writing over the past however many years we have been doing this. I mean, it’s very honest, there’s a lot less use of metaphors and big words and stuff and it’s very straight up and you know that that’s him right there. He’s talking about his life and the shit that he’s gone through over the past couple of years or whatever.
E. I think that people really appreciate that honesty too
D. I think that people can see through and know that they’re real lyrics and that it’s real shit that he’s talking about.

E. So, if I can go back to the beginning…how did the band form? It was in 2002, right?
D. Yeah coming up on five years, so that’s pretty good.
E. Did you all know each other before?
D. Garrett and Buddy had known each other briefly from playing in bands beforehand, and Dave (our old guitarist) as well. It’s really weird how I came into the mix – I was in a band with two kids then we broke up and they started playing in a band with Dave. Then they broke up, and I just randomly got talking to Garrett online, and like, I was looking for people to play with, he was looking for people to play with and so we met up with each other. We started playing, and then Dave and our very, very original bass player Mark came into the mix like a week later. We all started playing and then Buddy came, and it was just really weird how it happened but it really just kind of snowballed.
E. How do you think that you have grown together both musically and personally since that time, so over the last five years?
D. A lot, I mean like when we first started playing, well for me at least, we didn’t really even know each other and we were just doing it because we wanted to play music and that was pretty cool and pretty sincere. But now we’ve been touring for fucking ever, and have had to live with each other all the time, you know, so it’s like you have to either become really close or you end up hating each other and it doesn’t work out. So as you can see, things are okay and especially ever since Heath joined the band we’ve all been a lot tighter and we’ve had a good time in the last year, so it’s all cool.

E. How do you feel about being compared to other bands that are from New Jersey, bands like Saves The Day or Thursday – do you mind that or would you rather step away from the comparisons?
D. Well obviously we’d always like to be thought of as our own band and not as something that’s a knock-off of something else, but also being compared to those bands is cool because they are really awesome bands and they are all really awesome guys too, so…yeah it’s fine with me!
E. I think that the new album allows you to break away from that a bit more, as like you say, it does have a different sound
D. Yeah, I think so.

E. Okay, so from what I have read, you seem to have done pretty well in the States, Australia and Japan…do you see this as your big chance to really break the UK?
D. Yeah I’m hoping so, we’ve gotten pretty positive feedback from the record so far. Kerrang has been really cool to us and Rock Sound, and we’ve been getting a decent amount of press. The shows we’ve played so far – Birmingham and Glasgow last night – they were both incredible, really great and it’s like a breath of fresh air coming out of Germany. Germany’s great, but it’s just very different, and so it’s cool to get into the UK.

E. You apparently recorded the album in a haunted house…did you see any evidence of the supernatural?!
D. There were a couple of weird things that happened, I mean it was weird at the time but thinking back…I don’t know, it’s hard to say if anything was really going on. There was just weird shit like the frickin garbage can lid flew off in the middle of the night across the room! Brian McTernan (the producer) has got three dogs, and he had done records there before we made our record. He had brought two of his dogs to the studio before and both of them wouldn’t go upstairs in the house – they would just sit at the bottom of the stairs and look up! So then when we went to the studio he brought his other dog who had never been there before and we tried to see if he would go upstairs – he wouldn’t go up there either so that was kinda weird! Eventually though I think someone picked him up and carried him upstairs and once he got there he was okay. You know, it’s just like little weird stuff like that which kinda plays with your head more than anything else, and I think that’s how people get scared.
E. That place was out in the middle of a small town wasn’t it – do you feel that it was better to get away and be somewhere that is quite isolated so that you can focus on producing your album?
D. I don’t think it could have been any more perfect, honestly, I mean other than the weather – it rained a lot, but big deal, we were inside you know. We were in a small town, there’s like nobody there during the week and it’s like a ghost town, and then on the weekends it’s Woodstock, so it’s a big touristy place on the weekends. But yeah, we lived in this house that was as close to the studio as this venue is from the tour buses outside, so it was right there for us and we were just there doing what we needed to do.
E. I guess it saves you from being distracted as well?
D. Yeah, I mean originally we had thought about going out to LA to record but there’s just like, there’s just too much going on there and too much chance of ‘oh well, let me finish my stuff early so I can go out tonight’ and we didn’t wanna do that, we wanted to stay very focused.
E. Well it worked, you have produced a really good album.
D. Thank you.
E. As for the recording, there are quite a few effects that were used to produce the album and a lot of layering of your recordings – do you find it hard to recreate that sound when you’re playing live at shows like this?
D. Well there’s a lot of stuff, like on The Priest and The Matador for instance or on the first song The Rapture, we’re gonna bring pro tools with us, like we’re not gonna be running vocals or anything or cheating, it’s just there’s certain instruments that we can’t play so we’ll have it run for that so that you can get the full experience of a few of the songs the way they were meant to be heard live. So that should be cool. I’m excited about that but also a little nervous cos we’ve never done anything like that before, but it should be okay.
E. I’m sure it will sound really good.

E. I was watching the ‘Making of…’DVD, and midway through it almost turns into a cookery programme!
D. What can I say, I like good food…
E. Do you think you might do that again and make another documentary style DVD alongside your recording, as it came across really well.
D. Oh yeah, I thought it was really cool and I’m way into any kind of behind the scenes, like on DVDs I watch all the special features and stuff like that. I love when bands come out with behind the scenes DVDs and live DVDs – I just like seeing everything that goes into either a record or a movie or putting on a show.
E. You seemed to be having a really good time doing it as well…
D. Yeah it was fun, I mean we had these two girls that came and filmed us (well they are actually women I should say, not girls), and they came in a couple of times a week and filmed and then the rest of it was us doing it. It was cool because, you know, we just tried to have fun with it and also it’s cool to watch back. Like when we got our copies of the CD I watched it, and a couple of months from now or something I’ll watch it again and be like ‘oh yeah, I remember that, that was really fun’.

E. For all of the people who are here tonight, maybe more so for the people that haven’t heard your music before, what would you like them to take from it and get out of your music?
D. Well, I would like people to be like ‘wow, they were really good, that was cool, I’m gonna go check them out’. You know, I don’t know what more there is to ask, if people haven’t heard the band hopefully we won’t suck tonight and we’ll be good and they will buy the record and come see us when we come back.
E. So is the plan now just to continue touring?
D. Yeah we’ve pretty much got from now until the beginning of April planned out, and then after that we’ll see. We’re gonna come back for just five or six shows I think at the beginning of February and then we’re gonna do this, the Taste Of Chaos, in the US for two months, and then I’m sure that we’ll be back over here at least another two or three times on this record. Hopefully things will go well!
E. Well best of luck, and I really did enjoy your album.
D. Thank you, that’s awesome, I appreciate it.

The High Society

by Louise

The High Society – my second victim at Trashstock. Formed at the arse end of 2005 and boasting not one but two ex King Adora members, The High Society are ready to take on the world. Cornered in the bar, Maxi & Nelsta provided me with some good pre-gig entertainment.

Lou: Can you please introduce yourselves and say what you do in the band?
Maxi: Hi, I’m Maxi and I’m the best one in the band.
Nelsta: I’m Nelsta and I’m better.
Lou: Better than the best?
Nelsta: Better than the best.
Lou: That’s impressive!
Nelsta: Yeah!
Lou: So, how has your Trashstock experience been so far?
Maxi: So far? Well, I came in, James (the promoter) gave me a Slippery Nipple…
Nelsta: No, a Liquid Cocaine.
Maxi: Yeah, a Liquid Cocaine (shot), he made me snort that.
Lou: Snort it?!
Maxi: Yeah, it really hurt. So I can’t remember much of the sound-check, but I’m told it sounded really good. James said, and I quote: “You’re the best band I’ve ever seen sound-check and tonight I don’t know if I’ll be able to control myself. I might have to get on stage with you. Naked.”
Nelsta: Yeah, so obviously they’re very nice people.
Maxi: Although a little unhinged.

Lou: So, are there any other bands on tonight’s bill that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?
Maxi: Umm…I was really looking forward to seeing the band that headlined last night!
Lou: Oh… But you missed it?
Maxi: Yeah… I don’t really know any of the other bands playing tonight but we just saw Disarm sound-check and they’ve got a bit of that LA punk thing. I quite like that. And I’m told – by everybody, actually – that they’re absolutely wonderful!
Lou: They are! And…James said you were a bit unsure about headlining tonight… Is that because you’re quite a new band?
Maxi: Yeah, we’re still a bit wet behind the ears. Well, I mean we’re completely over-confident about doing it, but we just felt we hadn’t really done enough to earn the headline slot on a big bill. The Glitterati were doing it and that was fine, we were happy to support but…they heard we were supporting and got scared and went to America so we had to headline. It’s fine, it’s just……a long time to wait around. But if all the other bands are good it should go fast.
Lou: So, what can people expect from a High Society gig?
Nelsta: Umm…deafening…
Maxi: Sexy.
Nelsta: Bloodbath.
Maxi: It’ll be very exciting.
Lou: I take it you’re looking forward to it?
Maxi: Yeah!
Nelsta: Oh definitely! Can’t wait!
Maxi: Struggling to keep our clothes on!

Lou: So, apart from the obvious musical talents, what do each of you bring to the band?
Maxi: What do we two bring? Ummm….drive… Well, just the majority of the talent, really.
Nelsta: Yeah, we’re 98% of the band. Or 97%. We’ll give the others 1% each.
Maxi: Yeah, one each. For trying.
Lou: Very generous!

Lou: What are your vices/weaknesses?
Maxi: Umm…Liquid Cocaine.
Nelsta: Vodka.
Lou: Will you be hammered before you go on stage?
Maxi: I probably will be.
Nelsta: I’ve gotta drive…
Maxi: We could stay in a hotel
Nelsta: Is there one here?
Maxi: There’s one nearby
Nelsta: How much is it?
Lou: About £50 per night, I think.
Maxi: Our vices; Nottingham, cheap hotels.

Lou: So, tell me a little-know fact about The High Society?
(Some thought goes into this one)
Maxi: Umm… Topper weighs three stone. And umm…Ash once fought ten men in a bar. And won. And Glenn loves a whole lotta woman. He likes the bigger lady. You don’t stand a chance.
Lou: Well, I’m spoken for!
Maxi: Oh, well, you definitely don’t stand a chance then!
Nelsta: No, actually you stand more of a chance!
Maxi: Competition.
Lou: A challenge.
Maxi: Yeah!
Lou: So, are there any long term goals for the band? Any particular ambitions?
Maxi: Oh, stardom! This isn’t a hobby! We’re fucking serious.
Nelsta: We don’t wanna ever work again. We want to do this forever.
Lou: Cool! Right, if you could have any special powers, what would you have?
Maxi: It’s gotta be to fly, hasn’t it?
Nelsta: You’d like to fly would ya? Like whatshisname…
Maxi: Superman
Nelsta: (sings) I beliieeeve I caaan flllyyy…
Maxi: Oh yeah! R Kelly?!
Nelsta: The whole invisibility thing gets me going.
Maxi: Ey’up, who’s got the round in?
(This last comment was aimed at the barmaid who came to clear our table of empty glasses)
Lou: Right, let’s finish it off… Any final words?
Nelsta: Antidisestablishmentarianism.
Lou: The longest word on the dictionary.
Nelsta: Yep.
Maxi: When you’re interviewing, always buy the people you’re interviewing a drink.
Nelsta: You’ll get better answers.
Lou: Ok. Next time.
Maxi: Yeah, next time.
Lou: That’s a promise.
Maxi: We’ll hold you to that.
Lou: Deal.

BIG thanks to:
A) Maxi & Nelsta for a great interview
B) Maxi for his fabulous posing for my constantly-poised camera
C) The High Society for a brilliant performance

Devilish Presley

by Louise

At this year’s Trashstock (two nights of awesome sleazy/glammy rock, held on 18th & 19th August, at Nottingham’s Junktion 7), I pinned down a few bands for interviews. My first victims were rockin’ twosome Devilish Presley. Formed in 2002, they’re now on their third album, released on their own label. I have previously described them as: “Majestically dark, yet sparkling and vivacious. Full of life and dressed with a tight ribbon of fiery vocals.” Now I’ve seen them live and that still stands. I have to admit, it was rather strange seeing a band with no drummer – the stage seemed quite bare – but that detracted not one jot from DP’s brilliant, charismatic performance. Their upcoming gig dates follow at the bottom of this interview, but for now, come join me, Johnny & Jacqui on the stairwell in Junktion 7, during the sound-check stage of the evening, while we talk Christmas crackers, Monkey glands and rock n roll tantrums.

Lou: How’s it going?
Johnny: Very well. Bit tired because we’ve been doing a lot of gigs, but we’re good.
Lou: I know you haven’t played yet, but so far, how has your Trashstock experience been?
Johnny: Umm… It’s nice to be with all the glam people. Normally we’re with glum people. We’ve swapped a ‘u’ for an ‘a’. And yeah, so far so good!
Lou: And are you looking forward to the show?
Johnny: Oh we always look forward to playing. It’s the only part of the day that’s worth all this hanging around!
Lou: Yeah, there is a lot of that…
Johnny: Hurry up and wait, I think is the way to put it.
Lou: Yeah… So, when did you first start writing songs?
Johnny: I was really little when I started writing. But when Jacqui & I got together, we wanted to express our angst.
Jacqui: Yeah, it’s therapy.
Johnny: A therapeutic experience!

Lou: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before?
Johnny: Loud!
Jacqui: We’re a real mix of things really. People always say, “But what exactly are you?” We’re just…what we are.
Johnny: We’re not influenced by anyone. It’s just rock n roll. The only difference between us and other bands is we use a drum machine because there are only two of us.
Lou: Well you can’t do everything at once, can you?
Johnny: Well if I could, I would! I’m just waiting for cloning.
Jacqui: Yeah, then I’m out.
Johnny: She’s only here until I’ve got some clones. Anyway, what was the question…Oh yeah, the sound! The sound is umm… bright gold and very fierce. A bit like a harpoon gun going off.
Lou: Very good description! And you’re on album number three now, do you think your musical style has changed much since you first started out?
Johnny: Yeah, it’s gotten more……polished.

Lou: What’s your very favourite thing about being in Devilish Presley?
Johnny: The hours. We get weekends off. And always meeting new people… Every day’s different.

Lou: Johnny, it says on the Devilish Presley website that you’re 4 million years old. How do you stay looking so youthful?
Johnny: Monkey glands. Injections of monkey glands and liquid eyeliner.
(This topic was discussed in more detail but I don’t want to go giving away trade secrets!)

Lou: What’s the least and most rock n roll thing you’ve done in the past 24 hours?
Johnny: I don’t really do anything rock n roll because I just define rock n roll.
Lou: You’re rock n roll personified?
Johnny: Yeah. …I threw a tantrum when we first arrived.
Lou: What did you throw a tantrum about?
Johnny: Oh, they took our backdrop down and I didn’t like it. We’re quite precious about that flag because we’ve had it a long time. Somebody tried to steal it once at a festival and we had to hunt them down!

Lou: Do you have a band motto?
Johnny: We don’t actually. We’ll have to get one out of a Christmas cracker or something.
Lou: Ok, I’ll interview you again after Christmas then for the exclusive revealing of your motto.
Johnny: Yeah, definitely!

Check out Devilish Presley for yourselves… Upcoming Gig Dates:

Tuesday 26th September Leeds @Met Uni with Misfits’
Friday 13th October Colchester @ Insanitorium – Acoustic
Friday 10th November London @ Betsey Trotwood – Acoustic
Friday 24th November London @ The Klub
Saturday 9th December Warsaw Poland @ Aurora
Tuesday 12th December Freiburg Germany @ My Way
Friday 15th December Berlin Wild at Heart
Saturday 16th December Underworld
Wednesday 27th December Mansfield @ Town Mill

The Pleasures


by Louise

At silly o’clock on a Sunday morning, five post-gig boys allowed me the pleasure of interviewing them. This was the final night of The Pleasures’ three-night UK tour and spirits were high. This mini tour had been a first for all of us…
• The Pleasures’ first gigs in the UK
• Neo’s (guitarist) first ever gigs with The Pleasures
• My first Tour Promoter/Manager experience

So, seated around a dining table in the kitchen of our host’s (the other promoter) abode, lodger, Jen, and I interviewed the rabble to review the past few days.

Louby: So…
Dancette: Yes, hello, good evening. Good morning!
Louby: It is good morning! What time is it?
Neo: It’s Jack o’clock.
(By this time, at least one bottle of Jack Daniels had been consumed and it had been “Jack o’clock” for some time)
Louby: Party tiiiime! It’s…twenty five to four on a Sunday morning. The last night of your first ever UK tour…
Jen: Best moment?
Lord: Now.
Louby: Right now?
Lord: Fuckin’ Jack o’clock.
Louby: Any others? Second best moment?
Dancette: The multiple orgasms in the electric chairs.
(better known as massage chairs!)
Lord: The electric chairs??
(much laughter)
Lord: (to Louby) Do you have those in the UK, electric chairs?
Louby: Apparently! At service stations! And you pay £1 for five minutes!!
Jen: And apparently they’re multiply orgasmic!

Louby: Which was your favourite night of the three?
Dancette: Every night was different. I couldn’t say which one was the best.
Sensai: The location was different, so every day there’s a different feeling.
Lord: I can’t really separate into different nights, for me it was one big experience.
Louby: And will you be coming back?
Dancette: Oh yes!!
Sensai: Indeed, we will!
Louby: Woohoo! And would you play the same venues again?
Lord: Yes, some of them. We plan to come back in the next 12 months. And play some more dates, maybe a week or so.

Louby: You were interviewed on Totalrock radio station, on Friday. How did that go? Were you happy with it?
Dancette: Oh yes!
Louby: Have you done a radio interview before?
Dancette: Yes.
Lord: But not in English.
Louby: Did you find that difficult?
Lord: Umm…it was kinda difficult. A little more difficult than now because it was live.
Dancette: I was a little nervous, but I just realised now that it was live! It was live, wasn’t it?!
Lord: What did you think? They would record it & play it later?
Dancette! Ooohhh, now I’m nervous about all this!
Louby: Well, it doesn’t matter know because it’s been & gone!
(Dancette dons a bright blue wig and causes many a Robin Black impression)

Louby: So, how was it working with James?
Neo: Tremendously awesome!
Lord: Working with James we had a big laugh all the time. He’s really passionate.
Sensai: We bum him on the bus.
Lord: We fucking love him!
Louby: And how was it working with the Louby?
Dancette: Oh, very nice. She was very nice and kind to us.
Lord: But she said no yesterday. I saw a sign here in England that said “get a yes for sex”, so I thought I would keep that in mind. And then you said no yesterday.
Louby: Did I?
Dancette: Hey, come on, everybody knows when a girl says yes she means no, and the other way around.
Louby: Ok… So if I want sex with someone…
Dancette: You have to say no.
Jen: Yes means yes and no means harder!

Louby: Neo, you’re the new boy and these UK shows were your first time playing live with The Pleasures, how was it?
Neo: Tremendously awesome, I think! I wasn’t nervous, I don’t know why. I always was nervous with my other bands before we played live, but not this time. I had a great time and had all the fun I expected to have and was more outgoing onstage.

Jen: How different were the UK crowds to the crowds back home?
Dancette: Not very different.
Sensai: We expected more difference. But they were smiling more often.
Lord: And they understand the lyrics better than the Germans.
Louby: Well, they are English lyrics!
Neo: Yeah, that does help!

Louby: Ok, each give one word to describe your band mates… Starting with Neo…
Lord: Rocker
Dancette: Cool
Son: Fireball
Louby: And now, about drummer boy…
Dancette: Machine
Lord: Energy
Neo: Wild
Sensai: Accurate
Louby: About Dancette?
Neo: Too outgoing on stage
Lord: One word please!
Neo: I’m sorry
Louby: If you collaborate you can get a sentence together…
Jen: Cunning plan there!
Lord: Dancette. Is. Too. Outgoing.
Louby: There you go!
Lord: Son, what’s your word for Dancette?
Son: Transexual.
Dancette: Too kind, guys. I love you. FUCK you! I quit the band!!

Louby: What about The Lord?
Dancette: Screamy.
Sensai: Eierpopeia
Louby: I dunno what that is! I have to type this up!
Neo: E. I. E. R. P. O. P. E. I. A.
Louby: Thank you. Anymore for anymore?
Neo: Workaholic.
Sensai: Show-off-freak! That’s my word! Get out Eierpopeia, I want show-off-freak instead.

Lou: The stages you were playing on were quite small, did that hinder your performance at all?
Dancette: Absolutely not.
Sensai: Dancette was not afraid of the small stages, he just ran over us and kicked us away…
Lord: He ripped out my fucking guitar cable four times today!!
Sensai: And he gave The Lord electro-shocks!
Lord: Yeah, I have to tell this! At the first concert we had really serious problems with the currency.
Neo: Because we had no ground.
Lord: Yeah. So, the problem was, when I touched the guitar and sang into the microphone, the circle was closing and I got electric shocks directly in my face. So, when I touched my guitar and Dancette was singing and he was touching me with his other hand, the circle was closing too, so I had electric shocks where he was touching me. And he was outrageous and completely freaking out on stage and was always touching me and fucking…whatever me! And he just didn’t realise about the electric shocks, but I did! And when we played ‘Are You Bored Of Getting Older’, I was lying down on the stage & he was completely over me and screaming into my face and I was like “fuck, get away from me!” and I was trying to push him away but the more I tried to push him away the more he thought I was just going so crazy on stage!
Louby: And I thought you’d fixed the problem!
Lord: Kind of.
Neo: But we knew that if Dancette touched us we’d get electric shocks.
Louby: So it’s all Danci’s fault.
Dancette: But it’s good for me because then I have more space on stage.
Sensai: That’s right, everyone stays away! Like he was clothed in barbed wire!
Louby: And, when Dancette punched a whole in the ceiling and it fell down… What did you think?
Dancette: My first thought was, ‘should I go on?’ But these guys kept playing. And my second thought was I shouldn’t touch it, I just waited for someone to come & take it away from the stage.
Sensai: It was kinda funny that we were bringing down the ceiling!
Neo: Our first UK gig and in the first minute we broke the ceiling!
Dancette: But it was great!
Sensai: Rock n roll.

City and Colour – Dallas Green

by Emma

Interview – Dallas Green (City & Colour) – York Fibbers – 24 May 2006

Wednesday, 24th May 2006 in York, and I was lucky enough to bag my dream interview with the truly wonderful Dallas Green. Most of you will know Dallas from Alexisonfire, the hardcore screamo band from Canada who are doing extremely well and are currently embarking upon a mammoth European tour. On this day however, Dallas was here to play one of few solo shows as City & Colour, his awesome acoustic side project which is far from the aggressive tones of Alexisonfire.

Emma: Hi Dallas, I won’t keep you long because I know you need to save your voice, so first of all I just want to ask how are you finding the tour?

Dallas: Oh it’s good, yeah, it’s been surprising to be the first time over here by myself

Emma: Is it really strange to be here playing on your own without the rest of the guys?

Dallas: Not really, ‘cos I’ve been doing it for a while and I have always played shows by myself, so it’s not really that big a deal.

Emma: How does it feel being the main focus of attention, I guess if you have been doing it a lot you will be used to that?

Dallas: Um, I don’t know…I have never really been into the whole attention thing you know, I just really like playing, and that’s what I do of course, so its always weird just to have people kinda focus in on you, you know what I mean?

Emma: Yeah, how do you deal with that?

Dallas: I just try and be as honest as possible and let people know that I’m just there…you know I’m just a dork who loves to play guitar and to sing and that’s it!

Emma: Do you think that you are playing to the same audience with City & Colour as when you play with Alexisonfire?

Dallas: Yeah I think that most of the kids are kids that know the band you know and have been nice enough to check out the solo stuff, but there are some people, especially in Canada and stuff, there’s been a lot of people because my songs are on the radio now and stuff like that and there’s people that weren’t really into Alexis that are coming out to the shows basically because they’re not really into aggressive music or whatever. I think here it’s mostly people who are into Alexis.

Emma: Have you released any songs from the album at home?

Dallas: Yeah, Save Your Scissors was the radio single, the first one and the new one’s gonna be Coming Home

Emma: Sometimes was released over her last year…

Dallas: Yeah in November

Emma: …what has the feedback been like so far?

Dallas: Yeah it’s been really good, most of the feedback has been really good, and I haven’t heard a lot of negative stuff…I mean, I’m sure there’s lots of people that would throw it aside because of the band I’m in, you know, a lot of people don’t like that kind of music and they just figure that what I’m doing is probably not that good. So but everybody’s been really nice about it so…

Emma: Good, do you intend to continue with City & Colour, or is it a temporary side project?

Dallas: Yeah I mean its just like whenever we have time I just do it like you know what I mean like I’m only over here because we’re doing a European tour with Alexis. After tomorrow I fly to Germany, the guys – I just talked to them they are flying to Germany today so when I tour – it’s only when we have time, you know. But I’ll do another record because I always write songs, you know what I mean

Emma: Do you have your own favorite song from the album that is special or personal to you?

Dallas: I think that day old hate is my favorite song, and I don’t know why…that song just moves me in a way… I always save it to the end because I don’t feel right singing songs after it – it feels like it’s an end.

Emma: Moving on to the Switcheroo album that you recorded with Moneen…

Dallas: Yeah

Emma: How did you perceive their versions of your songs?

Dallas: I thought they were great, it’s funny, I can’t really sing Accidents the way I used to sing it anymore. Everytime I have to sing it like Kenny sang it, just from hearing that version of the song. It’s pretty funny I think.

Emma: And how did they react to your versions of their songs?

Dallas: They really liked them, ‘cos they really wanted to hear what George was gonna do with their words and stuff so that was fun.

Emma: Do you have a particularly fond or funny memory of being on tour either by yourself or with the guys?

Dallas: I don’t know…most of the moments I have on tour are pretty funny, especially when we are on tour with bands that we get along with like Johnny Truant. When we toured with that band, we all got the word Yeti tattooed on us – just a funny word that we were saying a lot, so we thought why not! We’ll tattoo it on us!

Emma: Well your not afraid of tattoos anyway…

Dallas: No, I’m not! There were some people where actually that was their first tattoo that they ever got so it kind of hurt!

Emma: Okay, so when you are on tour, what is the thing that you miss most about home?

Dallas: Um…I think just my family. I’m really, really close with my family and, you know, we always have these moments where we all sort of meet in the kitchen and then we just end up having a big talk for a really long time and stuff so I miss my family most of the time.

Emma: I bet you’re on the phone to them all the time when you’re away!

Dallas: Yeah, always

Emma: So this year you are all set to play at the Download festival

Dallas: Yeah

Emma: Are there any other bands there that you would want to check out if you have the time?

Dallas: Yeah I’m gonna go and see Johnny Truant play ‘cos they are playing the day before and a band called Khoma who playing right before Johnny Truant who I’m really excited to see. I’m gonna watch Alice In Chains, and I’ll probably go and watch Guns N’ Roses just to see how awful its gonna be!

Emma: not Metallica?

Dallas: No, I don’t have any intent on going to see Metallica! Billy Talent! I’ll probably go see them, and Opeth.

Emma: Will you be playing any of your own solo songs?

Dallas: No, whenever it’s us, it’s us and that’s it.

Emma: I saw you play once where you did an acoustic version of Side Walk When She Walks, and that was pretty special…

Dallas: Yeah, that’s cool

Emma: So for someone at our age you have really achieved a lot, do you feel that there is still a whole lot more to achieve?

Dallas: Oh I always like to play for more people and have our music get out to more people but, I think what we’ve done and what I’ve done is unbelievable like for me Because I never really figured…I never really had a lot of faith in myself, you know, I always knew I really enjoyed singing and playing and stuff, but I never thought it would get to where other people would enjoy it especially across the world and stuff like that. So I don’t know, I’m pretty happy. If it all got taken away from me tomorrow I would be angry probably, but I wouldn’t be totally devastated because I’ve done more that I ever thought I could, so…

Emma: I’m gonna move onto a subject that’s close to both of our hearts now…I read that Jeff Buckley really changed your life and was a massive influence. How did his music affect you?

Dallas: He made me want to sing! Before…I didn’t really sing too much before I listened to him. I was kind of afraid you know. It’s a hard thing to do especially when you’re not that confident, to sing in front of people and see what their reaction is gonna be. Before that I was really into instrumental stuff, like Mogwai was really big in my life before him, but then I found Jeff Buckley and he just made me wanna sing, just listening to him, so he’s responsible for me coming out of my shell.

Emma: And he was the same way too – like he didn’t want to sing until he realised how much people wanted to hear him sing

Dallas: Yeah

Emma: Do you have a favorite track of his?

Dallas: Dream Brother has always been one of my favorites to listen to and there’s a song that he does…they re-released Live At Sine – the double CD – it was originally a four track EP but they put out a double one and the first song on the first disk he did this thing where he just kinda stopped and clapped and sang. I love listening to that.

Emma: I also heard that you are really keen on skateboarding?

Dallas: Yeah, I’ve been skateboarding my whole life

Emma: Do you have much chance to take time out while you are touring to do stuff like that?

Dallas: No I hurt myself like a year or two ago skateboarding and I had to wear a cast and so I try not to skateboard on tour, because that was the eyeopener. As much as I love skateboarding – if I fall and break my hand on tour – there goes the tour, so when we’re off I’ll skateboard but when we’re on I don’t – so its not much!

Emma: So you will have to wait a while now before you can!

Dallas: Yeah, and then I forget all the stuff that I could do before!

Emma: A few months ago I got to interview George and Wade when you played a gig in Leeds…

Dallas: Oh, cool!

Emma: And I was asking them about the roles that you all have on a personal level within the group, and they both said that you were the sober one who made sure everybody else stayed in line, like almost the mum of the group! What do you think about that?

Dallas: Yeah, I’m definitely the mom! Well I’m the oldest so I immediately took that role, like those kids, they grew up in this band you know what I mean so when we started they were 17 pretty much so they have had to experience their late teens and early twenties on the road. So I immediately took the role, like I would sorta stay focused and let them grow up and party and do their thing, you know what I mean? And it worked well because that’s the way I am by nature I’m just kind very focused and driven you know?

Emma: What would you like people to take away from listening to your music, what would you like them to get out of it?

Dallas: I just hope that people get that its just honest, I really just want it to be about the song. I mean, I’ve never really wanted it to be about the way I dress or the way we dress or you know, what kinda fight we got into with another band you know ‘cos I think that a lot of the music today is popular because there’s a story behind it. I really don’t care about that you know, and like at shows in Canada especially, girls will yell out ‘you’re sexy’ or something like that and I just kinda say, you know I appreciate that but I really hope that you like the songs and that you’re not here because you like the way that I look. You know, that’s not what its about, it’s about the how the song makes you feel and that’s all I’m really trying to do.

I thanked Dallas for his time and stayed around for the show, which was nothing less than amazing. After generously staying around before the gig to chat to fans and sign many t-shirts and CDs, Dallas performed most of the tracks from album Sometimes along with a couple of other songs (including, to my delight, Side Walk When She Walks) with no more than an acoustic guitar and his achingly beautiful voice. The room was packed and an awed audience sang along to Casey’s Song and Save Your Scissors. Dallas bubbled with cheeky humour as he shared a few little stories from his tour with the crowd and involved interaction from tour manager Ollie. Dallas certainly won over the room with ease and the quiet simplicity of his songs shone through and made it one of the most gracious, relaxed and entertaining gigs I have ever attended. Heaven!

Sweet Seduction

by Louise

I first saw Sweet Seduction playing at the finals of the UK Unsigned Rock event, held in Birmingham on May 26th. The classic riffs, gritty vocals, and energetic performance impressed me enough to make me mither for an interview. Drummer Randii was kind enough to indulge me…

1) How are things in the Sweet Seduction HQ?

Fine, we’ve just recorded 12 tracks of which 4 or 5 we’ll put out as an EP and the others will be locked away as they’re re-recordings of existing EP & Album tracks we’ve released in the past. We may tease people on MySpace with the new production and the alternate beginnings to some tunes or maybe stick a live recording of a Whole Lotta Rosie (AC/DC) on there if not on the EP as a VCD or something. Other than that still slaving away getting back to our old gig ethic, we’ve had a couple of chilled, well for us anyways, months gig wise with recording etc.

2) You recently took part in the UK Unsigned Rock event and won a slot at the Bulldog Bash. What did you think of the whole experience and the other bands involved?

It was good, we were quietly confident as we played last year and seemed to be one of the bands that got mentioned in reviews despite being on the Unsigned stage and most press concentrating on the main stage… That and the fact it was local and in 06 the scene for us in Birmingham has picked up ten fold. As far as other bands go, our mates and fellow Rock n Rollers Headrush are playing also, but UK Unsigned in general was quite a mix because the same regionals were for Bloodstock as well so we had a lot heavier stuff goin’ down like Dead Weight, who are awesome at what they do. I believe they’re on Bloodstock, I’m trying to talk them into the Bulldog too as its a lot heavier this year.

3) You played the Bulldog Bash last year, tell us about that..

It Rained!! Right fucking before we went on stage, but y’know we managed to attract people over to brave the rain and stay at the open air stage rather than run to the Main Stage which is in a marquee… So can’t complain too much, just a bit of bad luck I guess. I gather the 2nd stage will be moved near the main stage this year to gain the unsigned bands more exposure and passing punters, it was a bit out the way last year and you had to hope people were curious or the riffs would travel and pull people in from the stalls… Let’s just hope it’s sunny this year! But yeah, what’s not to like about the Bulldog? Bands, Beer, Bitches, Being Tattooed, Bikes and other stuff beginning with B… And its the 20th anniversary this year so will hopefully be the biggest yet!

4) You were previously know as the Wild Roses, why did you change your name?

We needed to, and I think we’ve progressed because of it, every reviewer saw the easy way out… a classic rock influenced band must want to be Guns n Roses, especially with a name like that right? And its pissed us off, we did actually play shows where people turned up and expected us to be a GnR tribute and we were like “yer can stick Sweet Child o Mine up yer ass, were not playing it!” So yeah we have that GnR influence but we also are influenced from 70s, 80s, 90s and even 00s stuff. Sweet Seduction does hint a bit towards Glam/Cock Rock but that’s where the heart lies as a whole I guess, we can all agree that every member listens to Skid Row where as only a select few do the Backyard Babies or say Beautiful Creatures. To be fair the band started off as an out and out cock rock band until Savage and me joined and brought a lot of modern Sleaze influences… so the Wild Roses may have been right at the time, the difference now being we’ve changed a hell of a lot and people used the whole GnR comparison as a put down even after that. Now the GnR thing is just someone trying to pigeon hole the band as they do all bands, and maybe said person doesn’t have a wider knowledge of the Sleaze/Classic Rock genres. The only bad reviews we tend to get these days are from narrow minded idiots who have something against Classic Rock before even putting the CD on, and at the end of the day we get more AC/DC comparisons since changing the name and its hardly a put down being compared to the two biggest Rock bands to walk the planet!?

5) What’s the best gig you’ve played and why?

Well there’s two answers to this… Both complete opposites… The one where we headline and have full control of the audience, the sort where every lyric is sung back to you. Then there’s also no better feeling, especially being an unsigned band aiming to gain fans, when you support and are appreciated by an audience that aren’t there for you. We’ve played with a whole host of signed/touring bands… We’ve played with the Sweet (well, Andy Scott the remaining member and session musos making up the rest of the band) a couple of times now and both of them were to 4/500+ people and we went down pretty well as I guess you’d expect from an audience of people who are fans of a band who’ve influenced bands that made a big impression on us such as Motley Crue… And of course we all now love the Sweet too because of it, they rock hard live and have heavier stuff than us! I remember the first time round, we were called up to play on the morning of the show and being quite shocked as the only song I knew of the Sweet’s at the time was Blockbuster and it didn’t scream rock n roll… well I was wrong! But yeah, as said above next to that it would have to be headlining the Flapper a few months back where we had the crowd singing back to us louder then the PA, that’s a massive high also.

6) Which track do you most enjoy performing?

Well most of them but we’ve all got favourite tracks and some not so, but that’s what becomes of five different people with different opinions, you have to agree to meet in the middle. For me it would have to be Crazy City Blues & Down in the City… Partly because they’re newer and we’ve not played them for the past two years, and partly because I think we’ve improved as a band and this is the result. Also I reckon we’d get lynched if we didn’t play Good Time Girl because people know it from MySpace and it’s nice going to a new city and seeing people singing along. Other than that, for much the same reasons, One Hell of A Night. And because it’s an anthem and you’ll get the gist of it and can be singing along by the second chorus even if you’ve not heard it ever before. Only problem is we hate practicing it because we play it every set without fail, although live it’s a different story.

7) Tell us a little-known fact about Sweet Seduction

Errrrr, someone related to Sony told us to go for Eurovision 07… They should have given us a contract instead!? I don’t think it’s really the done thing unless you’re established. The UK wouldn’t accept a rock band, fans would only moan they’re selling out. Although its ok to vote for a Finnish band most haven’t heard of, I mean people knew of Lordi but they’re gonna make big business over here because of that now, and fair play to them, I voted! Rock fans are really fucked up in their ethics. Although if the offer were to come along… ha ha.

8) Whats the bands motto?

…..One hell, one hell of a night….

9) Are pyrotechnics the way to go?

Fuck yeah!!

10) What can we expect to see from Sweet Seduction in the rest of 2006?

The usual hard work ethic. This is what we do in life, we’ll just keep building on what we’ve laid down already. With the amount of bands getting attention and signed out there, that couldn’t go toe to toe with us half cut, we can only assume we’re unlucky and expect to get snapped up some time soon.

Check out Sweet Seduction’s MySpace for gig dates:


by Louise

I was only vaguely familiar with Superreal’s existence, until I saw them play at the UK Unsigned Rock event in Birmingham on May 26th, then I was witness to how good they look on stage and how infectious their music is; good ol’ guitar driven rock with a punky edge. They were certainly one of the very best bands (out of 9) to play that night, so I decided to track them down… Singer/Guitarist John answered a few questions for us…

1. How are you?
Good thanks, just busy rehearsing and writing for our upcoming gigs.

2. Where did Superreal get its name from?
Well, a regular at my local called Mark, was charged with the task of thinking up a name for us. He came back to us a couple of weeks later with about 30 ideas, each with their own logo design. We liked Superreal, and like the logo with the stars in. If anyone needs a band name, he’s definitely the man.

3. How did it all start?
Now that’s a long story, the short version is: Me and Chris (Guitarist) have been in a band together since we were 18, but we started Superreal in 2000, with the same drummer (Scott) from our first band and a new bassist (Dan). Then Scott moved to America and got married, so after months of searching, enter Zammo. Then Dan left to go to uni, so then we found Bex. We have now been in the same line up for about 5 years.

4. Has your sound changed much since you first started out?
Not too much, we have just got better at performing it. In the start I was writing the songs, but now it is very much more a group effort.

5. What’s been the highlight of your time with the band, so far?
Probably supporting Ginger from the Wildhearts, and then being asked by him to play with him again.

6. What are the band’s goals/aspirations?
Basically, be in a band for a job. This doesn’t involve shit loads of cash, but enough to survive would be good.

7. If you could tour the world with any band, who would it be?
Foo Fighters would be good, I heard Dave Grohl is the nicest bloke in rock.

8. Who would you have in your ideal festival line-up?
If we include bands that obviously can’t play, it would be (in no particular order):

The Clash
The Ramones
The Beatles
Cheap Trick
The Wildhearts
Green Day
The Stray Cats
The Living End

Oh, and us….. I could probably complete 20 stages, but that would be good enough for now.

9. What one song do you wish you had written?
The one that sticks out in my mind is “If you want my love” by cheap trick. The confess it’s the best beatles song that they have written, but it’s a work of genius.

10. What are your plans for the rest of 2006?
Gig, record and pick up more fans and experiences, but most of all have fun doing it.

Thanks to John for the interview.
For more info & to hear some Superreal tracks, check out:

Kid Ego

by Louise

Liverpool Barfly, March 11th 2006

Kid Ego Are:
Zakk – Vocals
Birdy – Lead Guitar / Vocals
Phil – Rhythm Guitar / Vocals
Rookie – Bass Guitar / Vocals
Nickky – Drums

It was a VERY cold, half rainy/half snowy March evening. Hordes of classic rockers, metal rockers & punk rockers congregated outside Liverpool’s Barfly, waiting to be let in to what would hopefully be a warm, dry haven…with a bar!
After a short wait, I was led backstage and upstairs to a room with walls caked in posters and graffiti brandishing a wide assortment of band names and logos and pictures. It was here that Zakk and Nickky of the mighty Kid Ego were chillin’. After introductions and some discussion of the whereabouts of the rest of the band (out mingling with the fans or on a quest to find some eyeliner), the interview began…

The band have been together for just over a year. Asked how their lives have changed in that time they describe it as a rollercoaster. A good rollercoaster.
Zakk: It started with just me & Rookie in a drug-riddled squat house dreaming about having a band. Nickky, Birdy & Phil were our mates anyway, and we finally got a band together. It’s just really taken off. People enjoy what we do and we enjoy doing what we do.
Lou: So, no members have come and gone, you’re all the same from the start?
Zakk: Well, we auditioned quite a few people. It went from being a dream to like ‘we could really do this’. So it took a couple of months and we auditioned a lot of people, and finally found the right line-up. We were all best friends anyway.

Proceedings were interrupted by a charismatic, long-haired, eyelinerless guy. Rookie. He was invited in to say a few words…
Rookie: Are you recording now???
All: Yes!
Rookie: Oh really?!!
He promptly set about closing the door behind him & joining in on the fun.
Rookie: Right everybody, I’m angry with Zakk because he’s nicked my eyeliner. I’m bitter about it now.
Zakk: Me and Rookie are like husband and wife.

It’s here that I learnt that rock boys don’t like to buy their own eyeliner. Apparently it looks like they’re stealing it. Kid Ego mothers are the ones to thank for their sons having a good supply of eyeliner. Although on this particular occasion the supply has run dry.

Lou: When I first saw a picture of Kid Ego, I instantly thought of Motley Crue. Are they a big influence?
Zakk: To be honest, when we first started the band I didn’t have that much knowledge or experience of those kind of bands, it was Rookie who influenced me. He got me addicted to them. So we agreed we’d go for a classic rock sound, and that’s what we enjoyed doing best, it’s what comes naturally.

By now we were joined by another eyelinerless guy sporting dreds, getting his band mates to sign things for their fans who were waiting patiently downstairs. It’s Phil. Again discussion turns to eyeliner, as Phil wields a felt-tip pen that he was just given on the premise that it is, in fact, eyeliner. We’re all a little dubious.

Lou: So, your debut album is out in April?
Zakk: Yes.
Rookie: We haven’t got an exact date for it yet…
Lou: How excited are you, about that, on a scale of one to ten?
Zakk: Me & Rook keep talking about it, because, in 12 months we’ve gone from being sat in a room thinking “aw, imagine if we had a band” to having a band and…
Rookie: A CD with our picture on it! It’s just fantastic.
Zakk: It’s very surreal, I would say.
Rookie: I think the best thing is, in the studio, to here our songs played back to us, it was the weirdest thing. The first three songs we recorded I just drove home listening to them on repeat.
Lou: So you like listening to your own music once it’s finished?
Rookie: Oh yeah, definitely!
Zakk: No, I don’t. It’s like hearing your own voice on a video recording that a family member made at a party or something.
Lou: Yeah, it’s the same when I type up these interviews, I don’t like my own voice.
Zakk: Well, it doesn’t get any better when you’re a singer!

Lou: And the album’s called Ignite The Tide. Where did that title come from?
Zakk: Well, I wrote the lyrics (to the title track) based around the general experience of being in this band. The song’s actually written in more of a poetic form, and it just describes the really surreal feeling of being with four guys on stage, who were just your mates but are now more like brothers, and it’s also about how the crowd becomes part of the band and it’s all just one big atmosphere in the room, so to speak.
And I suppose that was a good way to describe the album, as a whole.

Lou: And you’re playing the Whisky…
Zakk: Aw, go on, say it again…
Lou: You’re playing the Whisky A Go Go in LA, on July 15th, how excited are you about that?
Zakk: We still have to keep… Are we REALLY?
Phil: It’s something you think about going to, like “oh yeah, one day I’m gonna go to the Whisky”, and now we’re playing there, it’s like…wooah..
Zakk: We said that even if we don’t get anywhere with this band, all we want to do is say that we’ve stood on the Whisky A Go Go stage. And now that’s gonna happen…

We all shared a moment of awe. I tried to get an invite to the gig, but alas, I think I’ll have to wait a little longer for my time to visit the Whisky.

Lou: Does the band have a motto?
Zakk: Work hard, play hard. We always say that. We are a sleazy rock band and we do love to party, we like to have fun, we like to have a drink, we do like…ladies. But on the other hand, we look at our idols and where they went wrong… There’s not a lot of drinking that goes on before show, but afterwards we like to PARTY. We do work hard, then we play hard.

Lou: So what’s your coolest or funniest Kid Ego story?
Zakk: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say!! Just listen to the lyrics in like…half of the songs, and there’s about a million stories in there! Listen to Heartbreak Hooker. That’s about a trip…it was Rookie’s 21st birthday so me & him went to Amsterdam and had a blast.

Lou: Is there a question that you never get asked in an interview, but you’ve always wanted to answer?
Zakk: Uuuummmmm….good question!! I’m actually having to think now! Uumm…Kid Ego is speechless. Well, this is another thing! I mean, doing interviews, for us, is quite weird. We might be called Kid Ego but we have no ego. We just have fun, we don’t dis anybody, we don’t judge anybody, we don’t slate anybody else’s music, we’re just…
Lou: Nice boys? What like to rock…
Zakk: Well, you see, I don’t know if we should be called bad boys, we’re more like cheeky boys. We’re just really naughty and cheeky, we don’t slag anyone off. We try not to have fights.
Lou: You need some hot pants and stilettos, then.
Zakk: Ah, there’s a story for you! I danced with both of the Cheeky Girls in a nightclub. I was completely off my face and I told them I was a big promoter and I could get them a show at Wembley or something.

This anecdote is discussed in some detail, and I can confirm that Zakk was sandwiched between the Cheeky Girls, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get them that gig at Wembley!

Lou: Describe Kid Ego in three words.
Phil: “Kid Ego Kid…”
Cue lots of thought
Phil: “I am Phil”
Zakk: Why are we limited to just three?
Lou: Five?
Zakk: Can’t we have 27?
Lou: No, because that just defeats the point!

At this point, Birdy walks into the room…

Zakk: Birdy, describe Kid Ego in three words.
Birdy: “Rock and roll”
Much laughter
Zakk: Aaww, come on!! How about….”sleaze is back”..?
Birdy: Good one.
Phil: “Have you farted”.
Zakk: How about you be generous and give us two extra words?
Lou: Ok. Describe Kid Ego in five words…
Zakk: “Sleaze is back, with avengeance”.
Lou: Do you want to add another word or two?
Zakk: Can I have another…ummm…
Lou: Ok, describe Kid Ego in a sentence…
Zakk: “Sleaze is back, with avengeance. I need a pint.”
Lou: That’s two sentences.
Phil: Use a comer.
Birdy: No, it doesn’t work.
Zakk: When did you learn punctuation in the last five minutes??!!!

Lou: Ok, any final thoughts or words you’d like to leave us with?
Phil: See you later.
Zakk: Everyone out there, right, rock n roll is alive and well. There are so many bands out there that are amazing. There’s a lot of people trying to redefine different genres of rock, this going on and that going on, we’re not dising any of that, but if there’s people out there who want some good old classic rock with a bit of a modern twist, want to come and have some fun, everyone’s welcome to come party with us, come rock out with us. We just like to have fun.
Lou: You’re just cheeky boys.
Zakk: Weee aaare the cheeeeky boooys.

All that remains to be said is that the gig that night was awesome. Kid Ego are brilliant!

(This also appeared in April 2006, issue 17)

Robin Black

by LouisePurveyors of some of the catchiest rock tunes ever, Robin Black combine sleaze, leather, leopard print, blue hair, make-up, and of course, masses of talent to create something vibrant and raucous and shimmering with brilliance. And they have a real rock n roll attitude and a loyal fan-base to complete the package.

Robin’s half beautiful half beautifully gritty voice is superb, somewhat spine-tingling, even, in the mighty “Better Off That Way”, which is just one of a whole album full of instant classics. Incidentally, the album is called ‘Instant Classic’, how convenient.

As their impending UK tour draws ever closer, Mr. Black was kind enough to answer a few pre-tour probing questions for Optimum Impact…

How are you?
Thirsty. Can’t wait to get to the UK, have some Lager, and rock.

What has the band been up to since you were last in the UK?
We released INSTANT CLASSIC, our greatest album to date, in Canada and
toured the whole beast, bringing vicious, honest, rock and roll to
Canadians. Now we’re gonna slay the Brits with The Rock.
We’ve also drunk thousands of beers, and excited tens of thousands of babes.
Ky smoked all the pot. Life is good.

Are you looking forward to touring the UK again?
Man, this will be our FOURTH tour of the UK. And it will be our biggest yet.
And the best.
The crowds LOVE their rock, and we are the best there is at it. The Lager
flows plentifully. The venues treat us great. And we will treat you all to
the party of your lives.

Are there any particular gigs/venues you’re looking forward to playing?
We have really LOVED playing there before. The Limelight in Crewe was
awesome, JB’s in Dudley has been GREAT for us, and they have always
treated us well. A couple of our most memorable shows have been there. I
have a scar to prove it.
Bradford Rio’s is a great club. Junktion 7 in Nottingham is an AWESOME
party, and Nottingham has become like a home town gig for us. We start the
tour there, and have our wrap party there, where Kidd and Creep and I will
get WASTED and watch Ky and Starboy do an acoustic gig. Fun. If we’re not
too annihilated, we may all do a short set there, with some special guests.
I’m personally REALLY looking forward to The Camden Underworld. I love
London, love the crowd there, and I hear that it is selling out FAST, and
they are throwing a kick assed after party for us. You’re all invited.
There’s a couple of new towns for us on this tour, and we wanna slay those
dragons too.
Fuck, this whole tour is gonna rock.

Do you have a favourite song to play live?
All of our songs kick ass, live. All of ‘em. All killer, no…….you get
the picture, bitches.

Will we be treated to fancy pyrotechnics on the tour?
In your pants.

You pride yourselves on being ‘different’, how much has that
helped/hindered your rise to rockstar status?

Ya know, different is just a way of life for us. And for our fans.
We represent all the outcasts out there, all the rebels, all the
individuals. Some seasons it’s “in” to be different, some seasons you are
considered a freak. We don’t give a fuck. And neither should you. Do your
thing. Be yourself.

How old were you when you knew you had to be a rockstar?
I’ve never wanted to do anything else. When I could speak(ish), I started
putting on little shows for my neighbours.
Everybody should just do what they dream of doing. The world would be a much
better place.

What’s the most rock n roll thing you’ve ever done?
Seriously, although we DO think it’s cool to be naked, covered in
blood and vodka and drugs with naked chicks everywhere, and we HAVE done
that and worse (better), and will do it again, undoubtedly on this tour,
that’s not what rock and roll is. That’s cartoon rock and roll and, yes,
it’s fun as hell.
That 50 year old couple who blows off work, gets a babysitter for the kids,
breaks out their old leathers to come to the Robin Black show and fucking
LOSE IT are rock and roll. That chick who follows her dream and makes
sacrifices to continue following her dreams is rock and roll. That guy
sitting at home, right now, smoking a joint, writing a song on his shitty
old guitar is rock and roll. The young dude looking for answers in an
Aerosmith record is rock and roll. That old guy down the street who cranks
his old records and refuses to cut his hair is rock and roll. You are ALL
rock and roll. And we’ll lead your party.

If you were a super-hero which would you be?
Robin Black

If you were to be left on a desert island & could only keep three things,
what would they be?

My band, an audience, and my girl.

Do you have any goals/hopes for 2006?
The number one priority now is to KICK ASS all over the UK. Find a label
in Europe for INSTANT CLASSIC. We are already looking at trying to return
to the UK around August for another tour because you’ll all already
be desperate for more.

Any final thoughts to leave us with?
Come see this beast live. We will give you everything we have,
everything you need.
We can’t wait to see ya all………………….

Catch Robin Black & co in the UK in April.


by LouiseMirror are a three-piece gothglamrock band based in Germany.
They have a cool, heavy, unique sound and frontman, Mike, has some wonderful, shiny, pvc trousers!
Check the band out here:
And here:

And check out our interview, too…

How are you?
MIKE: Thanx, I am alive!

RAMIN: At the moment? Tired! But this refers to my job, I had a lot of private work to do the past weeks. Now, I´m in holidays and keep my guitars in tune.

IAN: In general I am fine. I´ve been really practicing a lot since summer. Playing in 3 bands as drummer means four or five days or evenings practicing and some gig every week. And every coming musician knows that you don’t earn money in this time. You have to pay for your practicing room, drums-equipment, bus that you drive, recordings…. So I really have to work a lot to make things happen…
These days I have a little flu, not bad. But I have big troubles with my back. So I also have to do sports; some gymnastics…

Who’s who & who does what in the band?
MIKE: I am the leader and do pretty much everything except drums and some lead guitar. It makes vocals, piano, keys, bass, balalaika and some guitars.

RAMIN: Mikey is the guy for the lead vocals , main songwriter and last but not least bass-man and piano-player. He also does the business stuff. Ian plays drums and percussion, and here and there, contributes on the vocal-lines. I´m the guitar-ass, second songwriter and do some lead and backing vocals. Mikey is the founder and the band-leader behind the scenes, I´m selling Mirror live on stage!

IAN: I am driving the bus, collecting the guys inside, carrying big black boxes and, between, playing the drums

How long has the band been together?
MIKE: I founded the band in the 90s, but Ramin’s been there since 2001
and Ian’s been in the band since 2004.

RAMIN: The band-thing `Mirror` has existed for more than ten years and was founded by Mikey in 1994. I´m the second or third guitar-player, I joined the band in 2002. The constellation with Ian refers to April 2004, while we were searching for drummer no. X. This constellation recorded `Shocking Debut´ in December 2004.

Who/what are your main influences?
MIKE: Bands and people who don´t give a shit and do what they believe in
without hurting the innocent.
I am talking about Manowar, Queen, Motley Crue, X Japan, Dir en grey, The Pleasures
and heroes like Martin Luther King.

IAN: Main infuences? There are a lot. I think my roots base between the late Buddy Holly 50s and late Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Thin Lizzy, Queen. Over the last years I prefer hearing more drumming styles that I call “filling the holes”, like Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band…

Describe your sound/style in 5 words..
MIKE: Versatile – visual – music – glitter – rainbow

RAMIN: Versatile, Fist in your face!

Are there any bands/artists you’d like collaborate with?
MIKE: I collaborate with Leif (Dancette) from The Pleasures all the time
and I am not going to stop it because it´s the most exciting collaboration
since Queen / Bowie´s “Under Pressure”.
But I´d love to perform “Mitsu No Tsuba” with Kyo as guest on TV-total.

RAMIN: Not really, in the past two years, we joined several gigs with different bands. In my opinion, we have to do our stuff ourselves, because none of them fit our style! There a lot of big names on the heavy rock heaven, but it will take some time to become rock giants!

IAN: There are several, I agree with Mike’s statements!

If you were to get a stage costume designed & made especially for you, what would it look like?
MIKE: Actually, I have the most of my stage costumes custom made.
Black and red, bat wings looks pretty cool.
But I think I will create something else in the future…

RAMIN: Nothing special, I´m always dressed in black and play black guitars.

IAN: I have a very special self made collection of jeans with some snake- cow- or comic inlays and I love self made shirts. I think I would really like to complete these clothes together with a designer…

What three things can you not live without?
MIKE: Girls, music, alcohol

RAMIN: My honey, my babies (especially the ‘Pauls), good food!

IAN: Love, music, coca cola

What made you smile today?
MIKE: Reading about George Bush´s 2 dogs and 1 cat and their peace in a magazine.

RAMIN: Me playing `little wing` (SRV-version) correctly!

IAN: A turn into Northern Germany´s Harz montains. Nature pure with my love.

What has been the highlight of your time in Mirror, so far?
MIKE: Doing a classical piano concert all alone without the guys
in Kiel but seeing the hall filled with fans and with Leif (Dancette) as special guest.
But the Mirror gig in Berlin with The Pleasures was great too thanx to the fans and only to them, despite dreadful sound and dreadful management.

RAMIN: Playing in Berlin with a correct working tube-head while totally losing control in a cool atmosphere! `Dearly Screw´ was awesome!

IAN: The support of Mike’s mom. And to complete an album with 3 people who live up to 100 kilometers away from each other with several recording sessions also 100km in a totally different direction.

Do you get nervous before a gig?
MIKE: A little bit, not too much, but not completely cold.

RAMIN: Never, I`m always half-drunk and I like to get on stage!

IAN: Since I was 14.

What’s your favourite Mirror song & why?
MIKE: I love all my children, so to speak, but “Golden Blues” has a special meaning to me personally.
And “Night On Broadway” is crucial due to exposing the band´s concept
through every band member writing and singing at least one verse of it.

RAMIN: I like `Valentine´s pleasure´, previously unreleased, cool sleaze rock, and I also like `Animal´ ´cause my guitar kicks ass in this song!

IAN: I like the percussive style and sound of Don Quijote

What are your hopes/plans for the future of Mirror?
MIKE: To be the biggest band in the world! And to never give up our hopes and dreams. To bring joy to ourselves and our fans.

RAMIN: Release the CD, the DVD, get on stage again, get a 45-billion-dollar contract and buy Hef´s Villa with all the bunnies!

IAN: To be big in Japan and later in the rest of the world is a nice dream when I think about Mirror
…see on the stages of the world…

My Awesome Compilation

by Emma

My Awesome Compilation – Q & A

I caught up the MAC guys at their gig in Leeds on 27th November and as always had a really good laugh!

I managed to twist front man Chris Driver’s arm into following up with a few questions by email…

1. You guys have a very strong work ethic – you seem to be touring all the
time! Have you actually had any time off this year?

We had the odd day off and stuff, but it does feel like we’ve been touring
all year!! It’s so much fun though. Being on the road is what we’re all

2. Are you planning to keep touring over the next year? Are you planning
to take the tour overseas?

We’re going to take a couple of months off to concentrate on writing for the
next album. Then, hopefully, early next year we’ll be going to Japan and
maybe into Europe again. Everything is being sorted as we speak, so watch
this space!!

3. The View Is Amazing was released last year, and Actions this year –
have you seen a huge difference in the public’s reaction to MAC over this
period of time, or have you seen a big increase in attendance numbers at
your gigs?

The feedback from both releases was amazing, but we’ve definitely seen a
difference since Actions was released. More and more people seem to be
showing interest in us now. Every time we go back to play a town we’ve been
before, there is always bigger crowds, which is really a great feeling. It’s
nice to know the word is spreading!

4. What has the feedback been so far for Actions?

Everyone seems to be digging it! We’re all really proud of this album so
it’s nice to know people are enjoying it!

5. Are you hoping to play any of the festivals next year?

Fingers crossed!! We’ve never played Reading or Leeds or anything so it’s
Definitely something we want to do! We’ll just have to wait and see!

6. The majority of your tracks are very upbeat and cheery – yet I have
still seen reviews where you have been categorised as emo! How do you feel
about being labelled with a particular genre?

It seems like the genre of emo changes every day! I don’t think anyone knows
what it is anymore! We don’t see ourselves as an emo band. We just play
British rock music!

7. What songs are on your IPOD/CD player at the moment?

We’ve all been listening to a lot of Shots Fired, Hundred Reasons…and a lot
of older stuff too like AC/DC and Kiss. You’ve got to listen to the old
stuff once in a while!

8. If you were deserted on a desert island and could only keep three
things – what would you choose?

A giant panda. A porno mag. Shark repellent!

9. Tell us your best joke!

How do you confuse an idiot? Purple.

10. Describe MAC in three words

Hot Sexy Rock!

11. What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on the road this

This year is like on big blank. So much has happened, yet my mind is blank.
I remember something about a stuffed goat, a blender, a nine iron and a used
condom…….Your guess is as good as mine!!

12. What was the best gig you have ever attended?

For me it was Foo Fighters in Manchester about 2 years or so ago. Fucking
amazing! But I remember when we all went to see Hundred Reasons and Douglas
at the Leicester Charlotte when we first got together….we all just stood
with mouths open. HR and Douglas rocked that place so hard!

13. A genie grants you three wishes…

YEH. A room of 62 naked hot chicks. The powers of spider-man. And….. a big
tub of chocolate ice-cream!

14. What do you miss most about home?

My bed and dirty movies!

15. Were any of you in bands before MAC got together?

We were all in bands around Leicester since we were all like 14 ish.
Actually I think Darius and Woody were in a band at the age of about 11. We
all met on the circuit around Leicester and we all got on real well. Then a
few years down the line, we got together and formed MAC!

16. If you were a sweet…what sweet would you be?

Pear Drop!

17. Beer or spirits?

Beer with the occasional spirit!

18. If you could date any rock star/celebrity who would you choose and why?

Jessica Alba, Kirsten Dunst or Sean Bean (the guy’s a legend!)

19. Is there anything else you would like people to know about you? (Like
a Jerry Springer stylee last thought)!

Please email your naked photos (girls only or Sean bean) to Thanks and Keep Rocking!!



Armor for Sleep

Armor for Sleep Interview

by Emma

Armor For Sleep Interview – Leeds Cockpit – 13 December 2005

Armor For Sleep are a band that I have an awful lot of time and respect for, and have done for quite some time now, so it was an absolute pleasure to catch up with front man Ben Jorgensen before the show for a chat.

E. This is the sixth date of your UK tour. What has been the highlight of this tour so far?
B. I guess the Manchester show was awesome, that has probably been the highlight so far. All of the shows have been awesome, but there was just this crazy energy there. I felt like it was the most connected we have been to the British fan base.
E. What are your plans once the UK tour has ended? Are you touring elsewhere, or concentrating on writing?
B. We have been on tour for pretty much a year straight, so we’re going to take January off and start writing our next album, and then we go on tour again at the end of January for two months on our headline tour of the States.
E. Your debut album Dream To Make Believe was released in 2002, and the follow-up What To Do When You Are Dead this year. How have your lives changed over this period of time?
B. Um, I think our lives have changed like, just the obvious things like we’re on tour a lot more and there’s a lot more stuff to do with the band, a lot more press. I think it’s just kinda put us in this weird place where the band stuff is all we do, you know what I mean? Like at first we were all willing to make our lives the band, and now, we don’t have a choice! There’s no turning back at this point.
E. Have you seen a big increase in public interest over the last few years?
B. Yeah, since the new CD came out it’s like we have a whole new fan base and I think it upset a lot of people who liked our first record a lot. It wasn’t really publicised, so they were the people that went out and found out about it on their own. When our new CD came out it had a bit more press behind it, so a lot more people were coming to our shows that didn’t know us from the first album and I feel like some of the fans who were there from the beginning didn’t like that.
E. You have supported many other great bands over the years – how does it feel to be headlining now?
B. It feels cool, you know? Like after headlining a show it’s gonna be weird to go back to supporting a band again, because you kinda get used to playing at a certain time and everyone being there to see you. So to go back to supporting would seem like a step back.
E. What To Do When You Are Dead is a very mature and thought-provoking album
B. Thanks
E. Did you decide on a concept and write around that, or did your writing develop in that way more unintentionally?
B. Um, well I started writing our songs for this album, and for some reason the first few songs that I wrote lyrics for were from the perspective that I was dead and I was like well this is really weird, but it’s what’s on my mind right now so I’ll just leave it and once we get to the studio I’ll change things around. And so I started kinda like thinking about stuff like that and then I went to some book stores and I started reading up on people’s views on the paranormal and people’s thoughts on ghosts and everything, and I found it really interesting that people spend so much time thinking about and planning for what to do when you’re dead. So I kinda decided to stick with the idea and so a bunch of things happened at once that made me want to go with that idea.
E. How do you all get along together whilst touring? I imagine it can get pretty intense when you are together 24/7!
B. We actually get along a lot better than any band that I know, like, when we’re on tour we share the same hotel room together and we’ll stay up until like five in the morning just talking and laughing. I don’t know any other band that gets along as well as we do.
E. Have you all known each other a really long time?
B. Yeah, we’ve known each other since we were all like thirteen so you know its cool, we’re having fun.
E. How would you describe your sound?
B. It’s always a weird thing for me to think how other people perceive us because I know it just comes out of us, you know? Like we don’t think about it, so I wouldn’t know what to say.
E. Who are your own musical influences?
B. We all come from different backgrounds of music, like Nash and PJ used to listen to Silverchair, and I came from a more punk rock and hardcore kind of thing. I guess at the same time bands like Saves The Day were from New Jersey and so we listened to a combination of hard rock and the early emo stuff that was around New Jersey.
E. Are there any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
B. There’s a band called Backwards American Dream from Seattle that we just toured with a little bit
E. What is on your IPOD at the moment?
B. I downloaded a lot of Aphex Twin before I came here – it’s good for plane rides, you can just put it on and zone out. And bands like Air, I downloaded a lot of albums earlier, just like spacey relaxing music on that I can put on and not think about, you know?
E. What was the best gig you have ever been to see?
B. I guess one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to when I saw At The Drive In play the Firehouse in New Jersey. It was one of their last shows there a couple of months before they broke up, and it was like five dollars and there were just a few hundred people there.
E. If Armor For Sleep didn’t exist, what do you think you would be doing now? Have you or any of the other guys had any strange jobs before?
B. I don’t know, I mean everyone was still in school before this. I know that I would probably still be going to school, I was gonna be an English major and write a book. I know that for me, I could never have an office job, I would try to be a writer or something on my own terms. I have only had two jobs in my life. I worked at this Law Firm for a lawyer and his wife, and one summer they went on vacation, and so there was no-one in the office. I had to just stay there and answer the phones and if there was a client I would call him at his beach house. But I was the only person in there and I only had to do anything when the phone rang! So every day I came in there, I took off my jacket and I slept on the floor and put the phone next to my head. I slept all day and if somebody would call it would wake me up, and I would answer the phone, and then go back to sleep!
E. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
B. The first wish would be to have an infinite number of wishes! Probably, the first wish I would want to fly, the second wish, I would wanna be able to stop time and the third wish I guess would be for world peace or something like that.
E. What would you like the future to bring for Armor For Sleep?
B. I hope that our next record is really good, I have and idea of what kind of record we want to write.
E. Any idea roughly when we can expect that to come out?
B. Probably like, the fall – probably September/October time. The thing that makes me happy about the first album is that we knew what we wanted to do, and I feel that we went out and did that album that we were all talking about. So I hope that we go out and make the album that we all want to make again.
E. When you are writing do you find that some of you try to pull in different directions musically?
B. Everyone’s got their own little spin on things that they want to put on it, but it’s more about finding a middle ground that makes everyone happy. It’s like, I hope that we’ll all be able to see the same thing.
E. How do you write together? Do you all get together and thrash it out as a group, or do some of you bring your own ideas to the table and work from there?
B. I’ll pretty much get the ball rolling, like I’ll write a lot of stuff in my room and then I’ll come into practice and show it to them so we have something to work off of. But once it’s kind of on the table everyone takes their knife and starts hacking away! The only part that is really done exclusively is when I write the lyrics. I don’t tell anyone what I’m doing and I just show up to the studio and everyone’s cool with it. Everything else is pretty collaborative.
E. If you could leave us with one thought about the band, what would that be?
B. I have been wondering what people look for in a band these days, I mean, there is so much emphasis on fashion and guyliner, you know what I mean? Like hair metal – it goes away after a while. I already see kids nowadays starting to just be annoyed and realising that none of that is real, you know what I mean? So I just can’t wait for the day when that’s completely gone and we can just get back to enjoying the music again.

Funeral For A Friend – Taste Of Chaos

Funeral For A Friend – Taste Of Chaos Interview

by Emma

6 November 2005

Taste of Chaos was one of the biggest and most sought after tours that the UK has seen this year. I went to speak to Ryan Richards and Kris Roberts in their dressing room before their slot to find out the latest on what the guys have been up to and what we can look forward to in the future.

E. So how is the tour going so far?
R. Yeah, got a bit of jetlag and stuff. Australia and Japan were amazing you know, they are probably the furthest away you could play and it is very different. It was the first time we’ve played in Australia.
E. What was the reception like for you there – was it very different?
K. That was kinda weird actually…of all the places we’ve been the reception we had in Australia was probably closest to what we have in England. Which kind of surprised me, yeah. In Australia it feels like – it’s the furthest place you could possibly go away, and you’re so far away but you feel really close to home. It’s just so strange.
R. It’s probably because you’re underneath!
E. So how do you think that Taste Of Chaos is going to compare to Give It A Name? Although it’s a similar set up isn’t it.
R. It is kind of, yeah, there’s the fact that it’s touring around and Give It A Name was just a one off whereas this isn’t. It’s definitely had time to gel, and it would be wrong to say it’s been better organised, but it’s been tried and tested and its a bit of a smoother-running machine which I’m sure Give It A Name will grow to be in time, but there was a few teething problems. We still had fun though.
E. Will you be watching any of the other bands tonight, do you get time to do that?
K. Well I have pretty much watched every other band that we’ve been on tour with so far. I particularly enjoyed watching Killswitch. Considering they are playing with only one guitarist…it’s absolutely ridiculous. All the bands on this tour are great you know they are all different in their own unique and exciting way.
E. Yeah, Rise Against have just started playing and they are sounding really good tonight.
R. Yeah Rise Against are amazing…so are Story Of The Year.
E. What do you miss most about home when you are away touring?
K. Probably my family, and next to my family a toilet and shower.
E. The Kerrang Awards this year were a bit of a triumph for Welsh Bands?
R. Yeah definitely
E. Are you proud of that?
K. Yeah, we definitely didn’t expect to win, especially being up against Feeder and the Stereophonics which are both massive bands.
E. There are quite a few welsh bands that have crept up into the spotlight over the past 12-18 months.
R. People are starting to give them a chance.
E. Definitely, yeah. Are there any smaller welsh bands that you have heard lately that you think may be about to burst onto the scene anytime soon?
R. There are lots, there are so many, I mean Hondo McLean have been doing it for a while now and they are really cool and have got their own following and we’ll see what they do with their next record, that’ll be exciting.

At this point Kris started talking but was rudely interrupted by one of the other band members bursting in singing and jumping around the place – The Used’s Bert McCracken, calling in to say Hey!

K. What was I saying…oh yeah, it seems like a couple of years ago, Welsh bands had to constantly go to London to try and get discovered and this year people are actually willing to travel to Wales.
R. It always has been a good scene but now people are giving it a chance.
E. As a group, what is the writing process that you go through – do you all get together and thrash it through?
R. We rip each other’s ideas apart basically!
K. On the last record some of the songs we would sit down and come up with an initial idea together, and with Monsters and History, we wrote in the studio didn’t we?
R. We sat down and wrote those together, and just a couple of songs we did like that.
K. So it’s kinda different depending on the situation we’re in.
E. Matt has been involved in other projects…
K. Has he?!! Well, they have got names, but I think that’s as far as he has got! I am sure he’s probably sat down and he has collected some ideas, but this isn’t the right moment, it’s the same for the rest of us, he has no time to do anything!
E. That ‘s actually where I was leading…are any of the rest of you interested in doing anything aside from Funeral For A Friend?
K. Definitely, I mean, both of us are big metal fans and that would be something that I wouldn’t mind doing, but I don’t know, this is my first and foremost band.
E. Plus I guess it’s difficult anyway when you have been on the road for two and a half months!
K. It’s the last thing that you want, you don’t think ‘what am I gonna do with my spare time, oh I know, I’ll start another band’!
R. We’ll see what happens over Christmas.
K. And hopefully we might get some presents! You’ve been a good boy this year!
R. Yeah, you got my list!
E. The video for History has been released…did that concept come from any family history or personal background?
R. Yeah, various members of the band as a matter of fact. It was something that was very close to us and very personal to us and I think most of us have had family members who have worked in the mines and who were involved in that. I live in the village where the tower colliery is based, which is the last open-cast mine in Europe. That was a big part of the village, so it’s very close to the communities we grew up in and our families. And it’s come out great, you know, just the way we wanted it.
E. If you were given the choice, would you rather play a small indoor venue, or a huge capacity arena or festival?
K. I think that they all have their pro’s and cons if you know what I mean, you know the small shows are always really cool and they are always really lively, they feel quite special. At the same time there’s a lot of fucking horrible things you have to deal with when you do small shows, like usually small stage space and terrible sound. It’s enjoyable to play to the audience, but the actual enjoyment of playing is probably a lot less. Big shows are less personal, but everything tends to sound better.
R. I think I’d quite like seeing a couple of thousand people jumping up and down, and to hear a couple of thousand people singing back at you is amazing.
K Probably one of my favourite shows actually, saying that, it when we did an acoustic session at Reading this year, and that was like, a hundred and twenty people, and that’s possibly one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done.
E. What was the best gig that you have ever been to see?
R. Certainly one of them is from the first year we played Donnington, and Metallica did a secret set that ended up being not that secret, and I basically, Metallica had been my favourite band, growing up they got me into metal and I started losing all faith in Metallica, and then St Anger came out and I was just totally done with them. And then they came out and did all of their classic songs that I always loved and it was just amazing.
K. And I didn’t get to see that because I was in hospital with my wife at the time, so they got to meet like, fucking, Metallica, and the guys in Iron Maiden (who I met after luckily), and Chris Cornell. Of course I would rather have been with my wife, but they (looking at Ryan accusingly) weren’t very nice!
R. She could have picked another day!
K. I don’t know, for me, probably the best show, the show I have most enjoyed going to watch would possibly be when I saw Pantera at the Ozzfest, it was the first time I saw them and I had been waiting for about six years to go watch them, so that was probably my favourite show ever.
E. How would you describe your music to someone who had never heard it before?
R. Oh fucking hell…that you would probably have to listen to at least five songs to get it, because there isn’t any one song that sums us up really.
K. What do we sound like? It’s kinda weird ‘cos we sound like Funeral For A Friend, so to describe to someone how you sound is quite difficult, you know?
R. I would call it five different personalities worshipping our heroes.
K. I like that one! We’ll have to use that more!
E. Of all the songs that you have written, which is your own favourite?
K. It’s like trying to pick a favourite child! Probably for me personally I would have History as the song that I am particularly proud of. It was something of an idea which I initially had probably about eight years ago, but I could never get it right. Then we sat down and pulled it apart and suddenly it worked, and probably to me that is the most satisfying, because I haven’t got to fucking think about it ever again!
R. I think I’m kinda the same way about that, History, probably because of the way it came together. it was one of the most natural things we have ever done.
E. If you could record any song at all, what song would you choose?
K. I wouldn’t pick anything, because we wouldn’t do it the same as what they done it…
R. We have already done enough covers, to be honest!
K. We did The Boys Are Back in Town – that’s a classic
R. Yeah and we did Sunday Bloody Sunday. We did a Bryan Adams cover once upon a time.
K. Yeah…Summer of 69, which no-one will ever hear! Everybody can search the fucking web all they want but they will never find that!
E. This will be my last question…what is going to happen with you guys in 2006?
K. World domination!
R. We are hoping to do another tour to wrap up the album early next year and hopefully bring some really cool bands with us as we always like to do. Then we’ll probably be doing the same in the other places we have been, like the States, Japan. We can think about the new record then over the summer!
E. And hopefully get a bit of time out between, this time!
K. I don’t know, it didn’t happen last time!
R. Yeah, we’ll see about that!

On that note we thanked the guys for their time and wished them a good show and went back out into the venue to enjoy an excellent show, impressed by Reggie & The Full Effect, Story of The Year, Rise Against, Killswitch Engage, The Used and of course Funeral For A Friend were on fantastic form, as always.



Fastlane Interview

by Emma

Fastlane Interview – Leeds Cockpit – 25 October 2005

Now I knew from previous experience that the Fastlane boys would be up for a laugh – I wasn’t wrong – so I decided to make this interview a little more fun! Instead of asking the questions in the usual fashion I had each question on a slip of paper and let the boys take turns at a lucky dip! I snatched away Matty O’Grady and Ian Maynard after their performance and we retired to the dressing room for a chat…

Q. Tell us your best joke!
Matty. Ok the joke is ‘what sort of a bee produces milk?’…and the answer is ‘a boobee’
OI. Maynard, what’s yours?
Maynard. That is my favorite bloody joke, oh Christ! Well I don’t want to offend any minority or females or anything like that! Oh here’s one – ‘why did the scarecrow win a Nobel prize?’…’because they said he was outstanding in his field’!
Matty. That’s very good.
Q. If you could collaborate with any artist who would you choose and why?
Maynard. Probably Van Gogh, because he’s not a musician and I don’t know but what a crappy question, who asked me this?! Who would I choose…
Matty. Beach Boys
Maynard. Beach boys would be nice
Matty. They could sing and we could do the instruments.
Maynard. That’s a shit answer
Matty. It’s a shit answer, but to a bad question!
Q. You have now been confirmed as support band for the Zebrahead November tour. Are you focusing on touring at the moment… your work ethic seems very harsh.
Matty. We don’t decide anything, we get told what to do is the answer to that.
Maynard. The thing is we were gonna do a headline slot with Avril Lavigne supporting us but she won’t even come out for a drink with us!
Q. What is the best gig you have ever attended?
Matty. Brian Wilson, Portsmouth Hall – fucking amazing. It’s the best thing I have ever seen in my life.
Maynard. Greenday back in 199…
Matty. That was good but the Brian Wilson band piss on anything I’ve ever seen on TV, live or anything ever. 40 people singing a 40-part harmony – it’s just fucking amazing.
Q. When you go to a gig, do you get into the moshpit or do you play it safe?
Matty. No I don’t get in there
Maynard. I used to, and then I found out that the kids were getting smaller and I was getting bigger and its not really fair. Gary and Biffen go in.
Q. How do you get along together when touring – it must get pretty intense.
Matty. The last couple of weeks it’s got very intense but apart from that the last three years have been alright.
Maynard. Yeah generally we’re good together, because everyone’s a bit of a pussy and no one wants to ever say anything, so it all just builds up into this big massive argument and then it gets sorted out.
OI. Is there one person who tends to get to the point and says it all?
Maynard. Biffen’s upfront, Biffen’s a very upfront person.
Spunge guy. Can I do a question?
(At which point Maynard swiftly pockets the packet of cigarettes that he borrowed from me).
OI. Can we have our cigs back please?
Maynard. I’m sorry! And I’m a thief! Professional thief and bassist.
OI. Very smoothly done though!
Q. Beer or spirits?
Maynard. Beer every time! But I do like Jack Daniels, so I’ll go for beer until I’m pissing like a fucking racehorse, and then I’ll hit spirits.
Matty. Beer.
Spunge guy. Does cider come under beer? (Queue various grunts of disgust from everyone else in the room). Starts to sing – ‘I am a cider drinker, except when there’s nothing on the rider’.
Matty. Oooh this is an interesting one.
Q. You are given one night to date any artist slash celebrity, one night only, male or female, who would you choose?
Maynard. Alex Mac!
Matty. (Pointing at Spunge guy) well him for starters, and if he’s not available, busy schedule…
Maynard. It’s gotta be Alex! Fucking love that bird. Along with my girlfriend! Oh! The bird out of Aladdin, or the princess out of …
Matty. They’re cartoons!
Maynard. Yeah…or Jessica Rabbit.
Matty. Oh actually, what’s her fucking name from Girl Next Door, Elisha Cuthbert, fit as fuck. This is gonna get us in trouble…
Q. Five words to describe Fastlane
Matty. I dunno…c*nts would have to be the first one!
Maynard. So c*nts, beer, rock, fun, gimme some of the w*** would be the last one!
Matty. I’m gonna be controversial and take the top one
Q. New Start was recorded in March/April 2004, have you or are you planning to get back into the studio to record a second album? What has the feedback been like for New Start?
Matty. The answer to that would be- for the first part -the label wants us to record another album, second part is we’re not ready to.
Maynard. Well, our labels don’t want us to do it yet, they wanna wait, for hell to freeze over or something.
OI. Have you written new material?
Maynard. Yeah we got new material on the go on my laptop here, it’s under lock and key so no one can ever hear it until its ready. And how is being received…the Japanese love it, the English…well they do like it but it’s just harder in England. Yeah we’re not getting as much coverage as we would want.
Matty. The bottom line is that the English record industry hasn’t got the balls to push any plans.
(Ben walks in)
Maynard. Ben enters, the door slams, the room goes quiet!

Q. If you could recommend one album of all time, what would it be?
Matty. Are You Dead Yet? – Children Of Bodom.
Maynard. I’m gonna probably have to say Kylie’s first album, the one with locomotion and, possibly Jason Donovan was quite hot at that time. He did Sealed With A Kiss…
Matty. I got the impression he just did a couple of comedy records, and then fucked off, and got on the sk**…
Maynard. Oh no, he was good. This was back in the day when he couldn’t get into Harrods because his jeans were ripped and he was a rock motherfucker. It’s True! It was in The Sun…must be true!
Q. What has been the highlight of 2005 for you?
Matty. For me…uh…there are three
OI. You can have have three
Matty. I can have three? Okay, playing with New Found Glory at Southampton, Middlesborough Town Hall, that was good…and Download.
Maynard. Download festival was great and I got to see Slash
Matty. And I didn’t, ‘cos I was in the other area like a prick and saw the singer from HIM.
Maynard. And we managed to steal away with us an entire crate of lager after consuming as much as possible!
Q. How did the band get together and how long have you been playing as a group?
Maynard. Me and Matty – it started off as just us two in the bedroom and he was on drums and I played guitar, when I was about 14 so about 9 years ago. Yeah we were playing together and wanting to start a band
Matty. Not sexually, just musically… until we got bored
Maynard. Yeah, and we were writing atrociously rude songs about big cocks and stuff like that and we thought it was really funny. And we got Ben and Biffen to join, Ben was on guitar and vocals with me, Biffen was on bass and we all fucked off to uni and stuff like that
Matty. Me and Biffen didn’t cos we were losers, and then we all got back together again
Maynard. And I fucked my third year off and started just going out with them all the time touring
Matty. Again not sexually…until we got bored.
Maynard. Oh yeah, and we had a drummer called Mr M Gun, and then he vacated for Gary Tough. And now it’s been about two years.
Q. What’s your best drunken story?
Matty. In other words, what’s your best story!
Maynard. Recently or ever?
OI. Ever
Maynard. Oh I’ve got a great one! I was in the county of Stafford, got obliterated, went into Asda, and thought it would be great to see if I could run round the entire of Asda with no trousers on, so I did that and got carried out by the security guards, and then half an hour later my friends found me hanging over a fence with a string of onions around my neck and a bag of potatoes! And then I woke up, apparently I took it all back to the house, woke up the next morning and went downstairs and started shouting at everyone
‘cos there was fucking potatoes all over the house and I was like ‘someone’s gotta fuckin clear this up’ and then they said it was you last night! So if anyone reads this from Stafford, I’m really sorry.
Matty. One night I got paraletic and decided to go to my mate’s house and got pulled over by the police, and apparently, I went and called shotgun in the police car!
Q. Are there any new bands that have caught your attention recently?
Matty. Children Of Bodom – their new album
Maynard. Oh god, Children Of Bodom are a sick fucking metal band, they’re awesome.
Matty. They are brutal as fuck
Q. What do you hope for the future of Fastlane?
Maynard. I wanna get rich and famous, and be able to afford to spend loads of cash on drugs and alcohol and not have to worry about reality. Just to be able to do the band.
Matty. Even for 50 quid a week I’d still do it
Maynard. Yeah if I could pay myself 50 pound a week I’d shit my pants
OI. Matty what did you do while the others were at uni?
Matty. I worked – I lived in a pub and I was a chef for three years, and drank a lot!

At this point various members of headline band Spunge burst into the room shouting ‘Hands up in here who’s a man’ before producing a can of Old Spice deodorant and attacking all of us with it, spraying it between their arse cracks, and leaving the room stinking!

Q. What one thing could you not live without?
Matty. Oh god well you’d have to say penis wouldn’t you!
Maynard. Food and water?
Matty. Cos that’s just a given really isn’t it?!
Maynard. Well you aren’t gonna last long without food and water, well I’d substitute the water for lager if I had to…a bath in lager…I bet that would be really tickly! And all the bubbles around your bits!
Q. How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard Fastlane before?
Maynard. If you wanna know, just buy the record!
OI. Just pretend we don’t know about it!
Maynard. It’s quite good. It’s fun fucking heavy poppy shitty rock shit!
Q. Metallica or Maiden?
Matty. Oh fuck. Oh Iron Maiden, I don’t like Metallica, and Iron Maiden have great t-shirts and awesome artwork.
Matty. Next one, okay, this is quite a tricky one, so take your time, okay?
Q. If you had to be a biscuit, what biscuit would you be?
Matty. Okay, well I don’t like biscuits, but if I had to be a sweet…
Maynard. Well that’s just changing the question!
Matty. That’s what I did, yeah!
Maynard. That’s like saying ‘What’s your favourite colour?’ ‘Well instead of my favourite colour, I’ll tell you my favourite horse!’
OI. Well if you had to be a drink…
Matty. Oh I would be lager
Maynard. Because the foam is your hair, all year round tan, amber colour.
Matty. Can I be a sweet though? I eat a lot of sweets!
Maynard. Honestly, no word of a lie, and you can quote me on this. Maynard says Matty, is like a fucking… ok Matty gets up and, everyone else gets up and is like maybe we should have a cheese toastie, maybe we should get a fry up. Matty is just straight in the sweet cabinet and buys maybe a pack of Haribo Sour, and washes it down with some sour liquorice!
Matty. Yeah!
Maynard. Then lunchtime comes, and Matty goes and finds some sour spiders, sour worms…
Matty. They were shit, don’t buy them!
OI. What about chocolate?
Matty. Oh I don’t do chocolate
Maynard. No I don’t do chocolate…but I would say Galaxy over Dairy Milk!
Maynard. Biscuits…McVities Caramels, but…Jammy Dodger! It’s like two biscuits!
Matty. I would say digestives
Maynard. What just plain fucking digestives? That’s like saying ‘What car would you like out of any car?’ ‘A Metro’!
Matty. Well, simple man…you know.
Maynard. Yeah so Jammy Dodgers but I want the sugar on the jam, some of them don’t even bother putting the sugar on it!
Maynard. Just, take your time over a biscuit!

This could have gone on forever…so we all decided to leave it at that and headed down to the bar!


Alexisonfire Interview

by Emma

Leeds Cockpit – 23 October 2005

The mighty Alexisonfire…my favourite band in the entire universe! I was pant-shittingly nervous and utterly delighted to be interviewing them before their gig at The Cockpit. Mark and I were invited into the tour bus for a talk with vocalist George and guitarist/vocalist Wade.

E. We all know what role each band member plays musically, however on a personal level what role would you say that each of you plays within the group?
G. Wade is definitely a serious guy!
W. None of us really try and take ourselves too seriously and you know touring is such a strange way of living that we just pretty much try and laugh everything off, like all the massive problems.
G. But yeah, I would say that personality-wise, Steele is probably the brains. I don’t know it’s a really tough question! Dallas is like the mum, like the sober one always making sure that we’re in line. But you know, we all have a lot of each other in us.
M. You have your new album coming out soon. The first album is more focused on your (George) vocals, and the second is more of a mix between you (George) and Dallas. What’s the focus of the new album?
W. Free-form Jazz
G. Yeah free-form jazz oddesy mostly.
W. I think that, you know we have a split coming out at the end of the month. There’s one new song on it that’s like a lot rockier, like a kind of rock ‘n’ roll sound. I think we haven’t really written too much like the songs we have now. One thing we’re not going to do with the new album is repeat ourselves. It’ll be an Alexisonfire record but it’ll be like new.
E. With the split album, what did you think of the cover versions that the other band has done of your songs?
G. I was really excited about that actually, yeah.
W. I think we were all really stoked with the way it turned out. I don’t know, like just to hear like really good friends of ours, and all of us have been into them for a while and we used to go their shows, you know. And so to hear them take a song that we’ve written and you know like put their own spin on it – it’s just really neat. And I think they are really pleased with the way we did it…we wouldn’t show them the songs until we were all sitting together and when they came over to our Toronto show before this we all got on the bus and like had a listening party to the CD and they seemed to be okay with it.
G. They were really fun yeah. Those guys are really close friends of ours and we’ve done the cross-Canada tour with them and they are just like some of the sweetest and most awesome people that we’ve ever met.
M. What is the plan for after this tour, are you touring in a different country?
W. Well we go to the states for three weeks on a headline tour and then after that we are going to try to write. We spent all summer trying to not play shows, which we’re not very good at doing, and then we played shows all summer long!
M. Do you enjoy touring still?
W. Yeah, it’s good, but I think by the time we get home from the American tour…
G. I think we’ll be well ready to just have some down time!
E. You played at the Give It A Name show in May in London, did you get chance to hang out with any of the other bands there?
W. We would pretty much hang with Rise Against.
G. We got to hang out a little bit with the Funeral For A Friend guys.
W. Actually, they weren’t playing or anything but Jay from Metal Soundclash was over and we were just hanging out with those guys also during the day and stuff.
G. Other than that it was just us, you know, all the rest of the bands on that show sucked anyway, so…I’m joking!
M. We read your website, and it shows quite a variance in your musical influences. Who would you say your main influence is, because Alexisonfire don’t sound like anybody else. What did you listen to when you were growing up?
W. Yeah everyone has their own thing. I guess that when I first started playing guitar and I was buying records I was buying a lot of Manson and I had this absolute skid-bag guitar teacher who wore massive docs and had really long red hair and he was just like feeding me all this metal, and then I kind of started getting more into punk rock and stuff like that and now I think everyone listens to absolutely everything.
G. It’s really difficult to pin point one musical influence – I think you would have to say that we’re influenced by music but we listen to a lot of different types of music and that influences us, not necessarily like this band was the reason why we did it. I think we all have a very collective music taste so the songs kind of happen that way.
E. Your videos portray a really good sense of humour, do you get up to many pranks and play tricks on each other when you’re on tour?
W. Um, we don’t do pranking so much, more just acting like complete assholes!
G. Yeah yeah we take the piss out of each other and just like joking and cracking wise all the time.
W. I have one (story) actually, last night we were walking home from the bar, our bass player Chris had borrowed my hat and was wearing this mesh-backed hat and I guess this group of girls walked by and they took it, took his hat and he didn’t notice – I guess he was kinda drunk. They knocked the hat off of his head, and so he was walking for a bit then realised he wasn’t wearing it, and he realised that it must have been them. Then he started running after them down an alley, he got the hat and then he went up to them and one girl was wearing a cowboy hat, and he took the cowboy hat off of her head and ran away with it!
G. It’s upstairs, we have the hat!
W. And they were chasing him and he just ran away with the cowboy hat!
G. That’s like a metaphor for our band I think! That entire scenario is a huge metaphor for our band!
M. If you were given a choice, to play small venues like this or festivals, which would you rather play?
W. I think the fact that we get to do all of that is really good, there’s something that’s really amazing about playing a fest. Arenas are weird, its such a different kind of thing from playing shows like the one we played when we were in Belgium, right before we came to the UK on this, we played right on the floor and there were people standing 360 degrees around us and that’s such an incredible feeling and to be absolutely exhausted and feel absolutely terrible and its so hot but it’s the most amazing thing.
G. And you have kids like pushing their way onto the stage and pulling cords out of everything, you know, but it’s good, it’s like this chaos that’s like really really fun you know? And you just feel terrible the whole set and it’s great. There’s something really great about that but there’s something also really great about playing a big show in front of like thousands of people.
W. You see that when we’re playing Arenas or something like that, like Toronto – there’s almost 8 thousand people there and when almost every single person in the club is clapping at the same time, seeing that or having everyone singing along to certain parts is just crazy.
E. Is it true that you offer free entry to gigs for any fans that have an Alexisonfire tattoo?
W. Yeah, there’s someone here tonight actually!
E. Do you have them yourselves?
W. Yeah I got one
G. I’m still paying to get into Alexisonfire shows!
W. I had heard that Rocket From The Crypt used to do that and I was like, if someone is going to take such a step and support us like that, especially with us having a lot of tattoos, and if they are interested in doing that then it’s the least we can do. It’s amazing.
E. That’s a really cool thing to do for your fans.
M. You’re album artwork – do any of you have a say in that or is it someone else that decides and tells you.
G. It’s all us!
W. We have pretty much a say in everything that we do. There was some sort of massive communication breakdown with our artwork getting re-done for our CD on Sorepoint, our first CD
G. The one with just the black cover with the heart skull
W. And we showed up and were like ‘what the fuck is this?’ ‘cos actually our artwork was like catholic school girl night flight that me and George did all the photography for, and we didn’t think our CD was out and we came over here for the first time and those were in there are we were like ‘this is atrocious looking’. With Watch Out we wanted to put out a CD cover that doesn’t really have anything to do with the subject matter of the CD at all. We just wanted to do something that didn’t look very computerized. The trouble is a lot of bands, like hardcore and screamo whatever, a lot of the packaging looks so similar, it looks splattery like a dolby photo shot so we just kinda wanted to do something that looks like somebody drew it all up.
E. Pretend like we have never heard your music before – how would you describe it to me?
G. The worst shit you have ever heard ever! So bad…….. so bad!
W. We sound kinda like drinking nine ciders, then going to a kebab shop, getting the meat on the chips right, and then just covering it with really hot curry at four in the morning, going to bed, waking up the next morning feeling like …
G….like someone puked in your stomach!
M. What have been the highlights so far of touring the UK?
W. It was pretty good when Steele stole that woman’s cowboy hat!
G. Yeah that was pretty good when that happened!
W. The UK is a hell of a lot different from the states
G. Every city seems to have a lot of history and spirit and architecture, every city has it’s own kind of flavour which is something you don’t get in the United States, you know. Every city is just like Wallmart, Taco Bell and MacDonalds all over the place. Then there’s the ghetto where we’re playing where people are smoking crack outside of our van or bus.
W. Yeah that’s the main difference, the cities have a lot of character. Canada is a relatively new country, the oldest building in our city is like the Ministry of Transportation which was made in 1975 or something!
M. Do you see any big differences between the fans in different countries?
W. I think that last time we played here was absolutely mental
G. Yeah that was probably the best.
W. I think that here people are trying to emulate something that they think is happening in America, like at shows, but they are doing a better job of it! But as a result of trying to emulate it, it’s like way crazier!
G. Way better shows!
W. I think also that people get really excited over here when bands come over from other countries, it’s like when we played in New York last time, we knew two other bands that were playing right down the road, and there’s probably six other shows in a three block radius and people on any given night have a chance to go see whoever they want so I don’t think people necessarily get as excited about us there.
E. What would you hope the future to bring for Alexisonfire?
G. Riches, jewels!
W. Helicopters
W. Just to try and keep making music that we think is worthwhile
G. If Alexisonfire never progressed past the point that we have right now, I would be very happy. But I’m not saying that I don’t want us to get better, or get bigger, I’m just saying that I think we have achieved a lot in this band and I feel very comfortable with that but at the same time if more stuff happens that’s great. I’m not going to start wishing for anything because I feel very lucky and very privileged that I can travel the world, and I don’t have to work a shitty job and I can pay my rent.
W. When we got to the point where the band was like ‘this is what we do now’, that was such an achievement in itself. The fact that we get to play music every day, we would be doing this if we were doing in the basement in my mom’s house and just playing on the weekend or something like that, so to be able to travel and play is great.
M. When you are writing new material, is there anyone in particular who writes the lyrics, or do you write your own parts?
G. Well myself and Dallas and Wade usually all have input like we all just kind of like sit down and try to work out a song together. How it happened with Watch Out is that we would pick a topic and we would all try and work out lyrics that would fit.
W. George probably writes more lyrics than anyone else and usually has such a mass of them that we end up editing it down to the song.
M. When you’re all on stage you seem like a really close-knit band, and seem like you are all friends. Were you all friends before you started the band, is that how it came around?
W. Yeah, I played baseball with our bass player when I was eight or nine, and George’s dad coached our baseball team, and we won!
G. Every baseball team I was ever on – we were like the last placed team. It was like the bad news bears without having any sort of victory. We never came around, we were always just a fucking awkward geeks, you know!
W. We know everyone and all met through music and stuff like that. I met George because he had a really nice punk coat. A studded leather jacket, and I started saying hello to him and I’d see him at shows and record stores.
G. Yeah me and Wade met through punk!
E. So will be hearing new material from you tonight?
W. You will, you will be hearing two new jams!
M. Are you guys okay with Dallas doing his own thing, with his side project?
G. It fucking cheeses me off man!
W. Constant arguments!
G. No, actually I’m very proud of him and it makes me very happy when I hear he’s doing well with everything. Wade and myself have a side project as well called The Black One, it’s a rock ‘n’ roll band kind of thing. It’s just something we do and I think it’s like we all like a lot of different music and Alexisonfire satisfies one creative urge but sometimes you just want to make other types of music.
W. Yeah and Dallas’ acoustic stuff really has nothing to do with the band, it’s just a way for him to write that kind of music. He sings like an angel!

On that note we thanked George and Wade and got a couple of cheeky photos, said our goodbyes and headed off to watch the show. Alexisonfire put on another amazing performance and I couldn’t have been more pleased! They still hold strong for me as the best live performance I have ever witnessed, following my earlier review this year, and the crowd couldn’t get enough of them! The two new tracks performed proved to be excellent, pushing forward the high standard set by their previous work. Alexisonfire are a force to be reckoned with and are so deserving of all they have achieved.


The Mascara Story

by Emma

The Mascara Story Interview – York Fibbers – 15 August 2005

Cheeky Irish boys…very attractive cheeky Irish boys…is what I was faced with when I went to interview The Mascara Story. After Daveit, Jay and Sean finished sound check and had their dinner we eventually managed to find somewhere relatively quiet to talk…after attempting to squeeze five of us into a dressing room the size of a matchbox!

E. Have the last few months have been a whirlwind since entering the Kerrang/Snickers Unsigned competition? What kind of reaction have you received so far, especially considering that you have only been playing together for 16 months?
S. Yeah it’s been really crazy, the last four months actually since the Snickers competition have been crazy, we’ve been doing a lot of everything.
J. It has taken us from the local scene to the sort of A list scene overnight, and it has really been odd, but it’s not to say that we didn’t work for it or that we just got it handed to us on a plate.
D. We’ve worked really hard for it. We’ve been working harder in the past couple of months than we have done for a while.
E. So did you all play individually before you got together as a band?
J. Well the story is that Daveit and Sean had a band called Crash before and we would all be in various bands, I was in this sort of metal band…
D. Shit band!
J. ..and I was just a laughing stock doing covers and then we were just so sick of it and then me and Dave were chatting on the internet we were like lets get together, lets do something
D. yeah bandwise… lets get together bandwise, nothing else!
J. and we took one jam and then he rang up Keddy and he was like ‘we got this two piece sort of thing going and we want a bass player’ so later we ended up being really good friends…and we just hooked up then.

E. This year has proved to be an excellent one so far for bands just emerging and people are really starting to embrace newcomers such as Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium. Do you feel that it was very good timing for you to make yourselves known on the scene this year while people are so receptive?
D. Yeah it was a great time that we actually emerged because as you say like Bullet For My Valentine and Trivium have just gone up really really fast so yeah I think it was great timing actually, couldn’t have been better.
J. The ideal time to come out is summertime, ‘cos you come out at Christmas and you bring out a single then you’re gonna have like Elton John bringing out a Christmas single and maybe a Michael Jackson greatest hits album and so it was good but there are a lot of bands pulling up this year, and it’s good to have competition.

E. Have you seen any change in your home lives yet – have you suddenly started receiving phone calls from old school friends and acquaintances?
D. That’s actually a really good question!
S. Not really, I don’t know it’s more of a thing where everyone you meet now back home, all they wanna talk about is the band, you know, so it seems like everybody is just band, band, band…
D. there’s no relationship talking.
S. So we’ve lost a lot in personal relationships, but people are just curious though.
J. There’s a lot of people you would never ever speak to, they wouldn’t really give you the time of day and then as soon as all this happened they would stop you in the street and they’re now your new found fucking friend! Then some of my old teachers were like ‘if you keep practising in the back of class on them drumsticks you’re never gonna get anywhere’ … and then every time I meet one of them and tell them about it their face just crinkles right up like! So yeah, you do get everyone wanting a wee piece, and they always ask ‘where’s Sean, where’s Dave?’ as if we’re joined at the hip the whole time. But no, it’s good…you get that a lot.

E. This is the seventh night of your tour – how is it going so far? Any funny stories you would like to share with us?
D. Excellent! Sean’s gonna tell a story about vases.
S. No, that’s like the next question
S. Yeah it’s been going excellent, were all enjoying ourselves. We’re actually touring at the moment with Brigade and we’re quite like family at the moment because we get on so well with them and it’s amazing, it really is excellent so I just hope that the rest of it is the same.
J. We like going to a new place every night, when you’re in the back of a van you wake up and you’re like ‘where are we?’, ‘don’t know’ but as long as there’s a subway in each town I’m happy!
E. Yeah Cheese Steak Melt!
D. That’s what he had
J. That’s what I had today man!
D. This is bonding!
J. As far as any funny stories… there’s just the story where…
S. There’s none!
J. There was Liverpool, when we played Liverpool there was this insane crowd, and you know the way they want drumsticks and plecs and set lists…well they came up on the stage after and took everything that was on the stage and they took about maybe seven pairs of my bloody drumsticks, so I was walking around today trying to buy new sticks and everything.
E. Yeah we saw you two (Jay and Daveit) wondering around the street when we got here
D. We were trying on new handbags, that’s what we were doing! No seriously. So the vase story Sean…oh wait will that tarnish your career?!
S. Oh yeah if we tell the vase story we’ll get arrested…I’ll get fucking arrested!

E. How did you enjoy playing Download (twice!)? Did you get the opportunity to watch & hang out with any of the other bands?
J. What do you expect us to say, it was amazing…it really was.
D. One of the best experiences we’ve ever had ever. We’ll never forget it. We met every band that we actually liked on the bill, we met every last one of them…really good guys.
J. I got to meet Reuben, the whole band and just hang out with them and ask them all the questions I ever wanted to ask.
D. My Chemical Romance
J. Yeah, everybody…The Bled, The Used.

E. Would you rather play at a huge festival, or play a day like Give It A Name or A Taste Of Chaos?
D. I’m definitely a big festival kinda guy
S. I think I would probably more like Taste Of Chaos and stuff because I don’t really like outdoor gigs, I think they lose a lot of sound. I like a good compact venue
D. Like the barfly’s
J. I love the big big big gigs like the Snickers stage…I just loved every minute of it. We go on stage and we have this little tiny amp but I had this big drum raiser and it was so powerful and I was ready to do it
D. You were in heaven
J. I loved it

E. You have been recording with Pedro to record This Is Not A Bruise single – do you have any plans to work with him in the future to record your first EP or album?
J. Well like, you know like, as far as recording the new single…we loved our EP version a lot more, but we were recording with this producer back home and we love him to bits he’s called Neal Calderwood and he gets a fantastic sound and for the money you pay and for the length of time you’re in there it’s just unbelievable, so you know, I’m sure Pedro is very good for the rock sound like The Darkness and maybe he would have done good for Magnus Blaze – if Magnus Blaze had of won.
D. Yeah … great
J. But we haven’t really stayed in touch…
D. And we don’t have any plans to work with him in the future, we love Neil Calderwood.

E. I have been reading the stuff on your website – Jay it seems you’re into Mathcore, whilst the other two are into less hardcore music. Do you think that your differing musical tastes is an advantage for you as a group, or have there been any differences of opinion whilst writing, over which direction the band is taking?
S. I think me and Daveit, we like anything at all
D. …with melodies and harmonies and stuff
S. My favourite bands are girl-singing bands
J. not to say that I don’t listen to everything, my dad used to like sit me down when I was a wee baby before I could speak and make me listen to Madonna and mum used to sit me in the kitchen and listen to country music with her on a Sunday when I was younger. I like the hard edge stuff like The Dillinger Escape Plan.
J. If we all listened to Motley Crue then we would sound like Motley Crue, but because we listen to Sixth and Silverchair, it does definitely help when everyone has their own differences and influences.
D. We’re all starting to settle now on sound that we want and on a song that we like and the way we want our choruses and the way we like our instruments…we’re starting to really set it all out.
S. Yeah we’re comfortable with our sound

E. If you had to describe The Mascara Story in five words what would they be?
J. Really…
D. Summer Sounding Sunshine Power Pop!

E. What role would you say each of you has on a personal level within the group?
S. Two of us are drunks!
D. Yeah two of us are drunks and the other one of us has to call us a cab at the end of the night!
J. We have things we all do when we’re on tour and we’re all gigging…Daveit takes care of all the internet stuff cos he knows his shit about computers, Keddy does all of the arty stuff and I look after all of the odd bits.
D. I am sounding more and more ridiculous, not only do I like Natalie Imbruglia, I like Computers…next you’ll tell her about my knitting obsession and stuff…

E. If you could collaborate with any band…?
D. Silverchair.
J. I think it’s a more personal, individual thing…Dave and Silverchair…but if we had to decide on one band together…
S. The Used
J. Or Brigade, just for hell of it ‘cos they’re nice people and they write good music

E. Are you planning to get involved with the Kerrang/Samaritans Rock For Life Campaign?
D. (flashing Rock For Life Band and one dirty arm) Yeah we’ve got them!

E. Daveit I noticed that the first gig you ever went to was Bon Jovi!! What was the BEST gig you have seen?
D. It was a learning curve…
J. Actually the best performance I have seen live was at the Virgin Day Of Rock so far, and it has to be Bullet For My Valentine, they just blew me away and I haven’t seen a better performance than that yet.
S. Funny enough I think Bullet too
D. I can’t decide….

E. Are you middle of the pit guys or standing at the edge guys?
D. I’ll be standing on the edge, leaning on the bar with my pint hoping that no-one will bother me
S. I guess we’re a bit of both ‘cos when we’re drunk we’re in there going stupid and dancing like, so… showing ourselves up!
D. So that question actually depends upon alcohol levels!

E. Have you got any guilty pleasures…eg is any of you a closet Backstreet Boys fan?
D. Oh Damnit!
J. I don’t know, it’s not like I think Avril Lavigne’s music is really good, I just think she’s really hot. She’s got some good music but I like to turn it on mute, and then watch the…
D. With your pants round your ankles!

E. What is the best thing EVER?
J. Drums
D. Writing Songs
S. Sex
J. Yeah!

E. So a couple of questions for all the girls – you’re all around 19/20 is that right? What are your Starsigns? Do you all have girlfriends? Who are your ideal ladies?
S. We’re all 19…what age did you think we were?!
J. I’m Taurus
S. Virgo
D. Daveit is a Libra…Libra
J. I haven’t had a girlfriend since the last three days… I think I’m the only single one here…
J. I like really petite girls who have a nice wee sorta dress sense, who dress really cool
D. Come on Jay you go for boobs and that’s it!
J. No I see petite and cool wee chicks and I like ‘em
D…and they got nice boobs!
J. Yeah okay and they got nice boobs…anyway I’m more of an ass kinda guy!
S. I just like rock chicks

E. Anything else that you would like people to know about you?
J. I’m a complete fucking drum nerd
D. I have an eleven inch penis, all round
E. Girth too?!
D. It’s just an apple! A granny smith, that’s what it is!
J. (about Sean) he really likes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, he likes comics and cartoons and really cool kid stuff that people should still like when they get older.
S. I still wear nappies

E. What are your plans after this tour?
D. Yeah well after this we’re probably gonna take a little tiny wee break and then we’re just gonna get back on the road again, and back into writing seriously and we wanted to play in Manchester.
S. Yeah we wanna get gigs in Leeds/Manchester next.
J. We might be recording another two track
S. And we might be doing another Irish tour at the end of September but we’re not totally sure, we haven’t agreed on it yet so it’s just really up in the air.

On that note I thanked the boys for their time and switched off the Dictaphone! We hung out for a while and had a few beers and a chat with Sean, rounded Jay up too to play a prank on the support band Brigade by decorating their tour van, and generally had a real good laugh.

Support act Brigade put on an excellent show and impressed me thoroughly! This is a band worth paying attention to… I am sure you will be hearing much more from them in the future.

The Mascara Story then took to the stage and chugged through a blistering set, captivating their audience. These guys have a fantastic stage presence and as they blitzed through their excellent tracks, including favorites This Is Not A Bruise, Episode, About Last Night and Cue The Violins, it became glaringly apparent why these guys beat down the competition at the Snickers Unsigned comp. The show was awesome and the guys threw a massive energy into their performance, clearly loving every second of it. Their hard work and obvious talent is paying off and I hope that Daveit, Jay and Sean go all the way with this group, they certainly deserve it. To top it all off they are actually all really cool, sound lads, and I will definitely be making time to catch up with them again when they are next in town (unless of course they think I’m a complete weirdo)!!


Funeral For A Friend

by Emma

Interview – Leeds Refectory 30 June 2005

Now you will notice that this month’s zine features my review of two of the recent FFAF tour dates…well Ben and I caught up with ace drummer Ryan Richards a couple of hours before he took to the stage for the Leeds show for a chat about the tour, the Hours album and each other. We were ushered onto the tour bus an hour behind schedule (things were a bit hectic, Matt and Darran had both been mobbed by fans outside earlier and previous interviews had run late), as Gareth stood outside having a smoke with a pal and enjoying the peace since the doors had opened a half hour earlier and the crowds had disappeared. We were directed upstairs to find Ryan and his playstation perched on the comfortable leather interior. We were introduced and shook hands with a very friendly and welcoming Mr. Richards, exchanged pleasantries and pressed on with the interview.

E. We all know what roles each band member plays musically within Funeral For A Friend, but what role would you say each of you has on a personal level within the group?
R. I would say that I am the joker of the band, but I guess that we would all say that! I think Kris is the intense one, Darren is the wiser one being the eldest, Gareth is the excitable zany one and Matt, well Matt is just the odd one!

E. Have the last ten days or so been a whirlwind for you? The album is selling like hotcakes and you’re well into the tour, did you imagine that it would be so well received and so quickly too?
R. Yes, it’s been great just to get the new material out there and heard, it’s so different from our last album. We wouldn’t be really upset if it didn’t do so well because it reflects where we all are at this stage but it has been brilliant so far.

E. There is virtually no screaming on the new album, was that an intentional thing or did it just happen that way?
R. It wasn’t really intended that way, we just felt that the screaming wasn’t really needed with the feel of this album. We didn’t just want to put it in there for the sake of it if it doesn’t fit. It actually puts me off some other bands when they do that…not mentioning any names though! The earlier EP had a lot more screaming because the tracks were much heavier and fast and furious.

E. How have your family and friends reacted to some of the new tracks, there are some really personal songs.
R. The album really reflects what has been going on in our lives over the past two years so they already knew what we have all been through, so I don’t think they were surprised to hear it coming out in the songs. I think that some of the lyrics are quite obvious so everyone will get them and know what they relate to but then there are a lot of cryptic lyrics in there too which some people including some of the fans will get, and some won’t.

E. How have you enjoyed touring with Bullet For My Valentine so far?
R. It’s been great, we have all known each other for about ten years, back in Wales we all played within different bands in the circuit so it’s really good to all tour together and to see them doing really well after all this time. They have been working really hard for years so they deserve it.
B. Has there been a lot of craziness, are there any funny stories from being on the road?
R. Oh there is always something crazy going on…It’s mad enough when there are five welsh men together on the road, never mind when there are nine!

E. Did you enjoy the Give It A Name show? Did you get the chance to hang out with any of the other bands?
R. Yeah it was good to see some of our old friends. We had just flown in that day so we were all a bit tired and we had to just get straight in there. Some of the other guys are good friends of ours – Coheed and Cambria, Finch, and Alexisonfire are good friends of ours.

E. What are your planned once the UK tour has ended – will you get any down time or are you taking the tour overseas?
R. Oh no, we won’t get any down time at all! We are doing the Warped Tour, then we have Leeds and Reading Festivals and the Taste of Chaos tour which we are doing all over, including Japan. Then we’ll be doing a US tour and going to places like Germany etc.
E. You’ll be absolutely knackered by the end of the year then!
R. Yeah, yeah we definitely will be!

E. What happened with you guys being the mystery guest at Download this month – were you pulled in at short notice and did you replace Motley Crue?
R. Ha ha, I think the Motley Crue thing was just a product of the rumour mill! We always knew that we wanted to play Download and so we made sure we could do that, and we got to see some other great bands there too.

(At this point Kris came sneaking into the room on tiptoes mouthing ‘sorry” and grinning as he looked for something on the table between Ryan and us).

E. I know that Matt has been doing some publicity for the Kerrang and Samaritans Rock For Life Campaign – is that something that you have all been involved with?
R. Yes, we all thought that it was something great that we could all get behind, there are a lot of celebrities supporting the campaign. We have all designed some wristbands for the campaign, I think it’s a great thing to get involved with.

E. Finally, what music do you like to listen to – do you have a favorite band at the moment or are there too many to choose from?
R. Oh there are loads that I like! I think it would be hard to choose an actual favorite as it changes all the time as I see and hear more bands. I think we all really like the old classics – Metallica, Pantera, ACDC.
B. What do you think of Trivium? I think they are brilliant.
R. Oh god yeah I think they are really great. When I first heard them I though they were technically brilliant and then Ii heard how old they were! They were only sixteen at the time and they were amazing! I know the Bullet guys really love Trivium and they have met them quite a few times.

Cue more Trivium appreciation between Ben and Ryan…we then thanked Ryan for his time and let him go as the interview was an hour behind schedule anyway. Ryan thanked us and we had a couple of cheeky photos before shaking his hand and saying our goodbyes. On our way downstairs we bumped into a surprised looking Matt Davies who was just coming onto the bus, and exchanged ‘ello’s as we passed.

(This also appeared in August 2005, issue 9)