On first listen we fell in love Noyo Mathis and knew that 'Endure' needed to be heard. It's post hardcore meets emo meets indie meets math rock. Take a listen to the full EP right here.
Without a doubt Neck Deep are one of this years breakout bands. After kicking off the year
with the release of their debut LP, 'Wishful Thinking', the Wrexham pop-punk five piece haven’t stopped touring since. From festival appearances throughout the UK and Europe to 2 months in North America as part of the Vans Warped Tour. We caught up with vocalist Ben Barlow and bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans at the Leeds Festival. They discussed their past festival experiences, supporting Blink-182, their up and coming UK headline tour and being
“leaders” of the UK pop-punk movement.
With the festival season more or less over for another year, it’s time for a whole load of
exciting releases to see the light of day. September sees a plethora of exciting releases, so much so that the Already Heard team were spoilt for choices when it came to picking this months must hear releases. Nevertheless they've completed the tricky task and picked out their five must-hear releases for the coming month.
With their combination of refreshingly introspective lyrics, crisp riffs and bouncy choruses, Homebound tick all the right boxes when it comes to promising UK pop-punk bands. Their debut EP, 'Coming of Age' sees the young band make a confident first mark on the ladder to greater things. We spoke to the band to discuss the importance of a debut release, and the comeback of pop-punk.
Packing stadium sized rock anthems with an incredibly striking emotional punch, and graced with one of the most staggeringly unique vocal talents to have graced the UK Rock scene in a long time, Cambridge’s Lonely The Brave have become one of the single most talked about new bands to emerge in recent years. With their debut album ‘The Day’s War’ finally released this week, Already Heard caught up with lead guitarist Mark Trotter and Bassist
Andrew Bushen at last weekend’s Leeds Festival.
We've got a full review, live photos and interviews from one of the highlights of the summer - Leeds Festival.
With the success of most recent album ‘Old Souls’, Deaf Havana cemented their place in the establishment of the British Rock scene, despite having considerably reinvented their sound and expanded their line-up. Now well over a year on from the record’s release, the boys from Norfolk have built on the airplay success of singles like ‘Boston Square’ and ‘Mildred’ and made a highly anticipated return to the R&L Main Stages in of the most prominent spots for a home-grown act all weekend.
Already Heard caught up with James Veck-Glodi and Max Britton from the band mere minutes before they took to the stage in Leeds to find out more about their memoires of previous visits to the festivals, their decision to take their sound in a more gospel influenced direction and their advice for young bands.
AH: Deaf Havana are back on the main stage after two years. How did playing in the tent on the Radio One stage last year compare to being on the Main Stage?
James: I actually preferred it, preferred being inside the tent as there was a bit more atmosphere. It was muddy as hell but it was wicked.
AH: Coming so close to the time that ‘Old Souls’ came out and having changed your sound quite a bit, were you unsure about how many people were going to show up for your performance last year?
James: Oh yeah for sure, we were pooing ourselves. But it was great. You don’t really notice too much when you’re there but I remember looking at the photos and thinking “ok yeah that was crazy”.
AH: It does seem like the band’s reworked sound is well suited to a festival atmosphere.
James: Yeah I think even in my head when I was writing the songs that I had that kind of visualisation.
AH: When you’re up there on a stage the size of the main stages of Reading and Leeds, does it seem an awfully long way from your roots in Norfolk?
James: It’s scary and it’s mad. I really can’t explain how it feels.
Throughout their nine year history Tallahassee, Florida natives Mayday Parade have consistently struck a chord with fans around the world with their blend of heart-wrenching ballads and emotionally charged yet upbeat power-pop. Surprisingly, despite playing some of the biggest Festivals on the planet, the band had never played Reading and Leeds.
That changed at this year’s event, and we caught up with vocalist Derek Sanders just a few hours before their set on the Festival Republic Stage to talk about finally playing the festival, their love of performing in the UK, and how growing up and starting families have influenced the band.
AH: How’s life in Mayday Parade at present? You’ve recently finished a full run on Warped Tour but things have been pretty quiet on the new music front for a while.
Derek: Everything’s great. We wrapped up our summer on the Warped Tour, had a few weeks off and and now we’re over here for these two shows. We’re starting to talk about a new record a little more and get the ball rolling which is very exciting. We’re all very happy.
AH: You’ve travelled a long way just to play Reading and Leeds, but have got a slot very close to the top of the bill on the Festival Republic Stage. How are you feeling about that?
Derek: Just being here is amazing so we’re very excited to play.
AH: It seems like over the years this country has almost become a second home for Mayday Parade with all the success you’ve enjoyed here.
Derek: It really is. This is the place that we have been to the most outside of the US, this is our ninth or tenth time over here. It’s insane that we have been able to come here so many times and see things grow. We feel very lucky.
AH: You recently put out a new video for ‘Hold On To Me’, whose idea was the concept of the video?
Derek: It was a collaboration between the band and the director. We said what we wanted from the video and the director put together a treatment for it and then we bounced ideas back and forth. We were actually over here in the UK when it was filmed so we knew it would have to be a video that we weren’t in but I think it turned out great. It’s one of my favourite videos that we’ve done. I think it really nicely captures the feeling of the song.
For Brighton metalcore titans Architects, 2014 is proving to be a remarkable year. Having released the critically acclaimed and award winning 'Lost Forever // Lost Together' through the renowned Epitaph Records, the quartet have been on the road ever since. Having toured in the UK earlier this year, they’ve since been to the States alongside Letlive. before heading to Asia and Europe.
We caught up with guitarist Tom Searle as Architects made a brief return to the UK for last month’s Leeds Festival before they continued jetting off round the globe. In our brief discussion, Tom spoke about the differences in crowds around the world, being part of Epitaph, their 2015 UK tour with Every Time I Die, Blessthefall and Counterparts, and we also ask him what’s his favourite albums of the year so far.
AH: First off Tom welcome back to Leeds and Reading. How are you finding it so far?
Tom: Yeah good. Yesterday at Reading was pretty spectacular. It was one of those lovely heartwarming shows you do every now and again. It’s great. It’s somewhere between hot and freezing cold. When the sun is out I’m baking, then the sun goes in and it’s generally cold. That’s a ridiculously thing to moan about. I’ve lived in England for 26 years, you’d think I would be use to it by now.
AH: I saw some pictures from last night. It looked pretty packed out in that tent.
Tom: At this festival, it’s a relatively modest size stage but last time we did main stage and I felt like it was a great opportunity, something you would never say no to but as a metal band, it’s not your place almost. You’re like a weird experiment putting a metal band on that main stage, and it’s great that the organisers do that and this year they had a lot of heavy bands like Crossfaith and Hacktivist, it’s sweet, but it’s the tents where we feel most at home. I don’t mind it being a modest size.
AH: I was going to ask you if you prefer the intimate setting of a tent, but clearly you do.
Tom: Yeah tents are where it’s at man!
AH: These are your first UK dates since your tour earlier this year. Since then you’e been around Europe and toured with Letlive. in the States. How has that been?
Tom: Yeah Letlive. in America was really great, and I feel like our “fan base” or whatever, I don’t want to talk like a CEO of a corporation; “we’ve expanded our demographic…” But no it’s been cool. The new album has connected with some people over there, and in Europe we’ve just been doing festivals and stuff. It’s been tiring, a lot of flying at 3am and that sort of thing but it’s been cool. We’ve been to Russia and Ukraine, where a lot other bands were pulling out but I felt like we got a lot of love and appreciation for doing that. It didn’t seem like a chore as all the shows were amazing.
We first met Brighton skate punks Gnarwolves two years ago at Hevy Fest 2012. Back then we called them “one of the fastest rising bands the UK has to offer.” And two years on, they’ve been just that.
Having played a ton of shows and festivals in that time, the trio are now set to release their debut full-length. Simply titled 'Gnarwolves', the record takes the thriving punk elements of the bands previous EPs and combines it with a plethora of raw hooks along with the occasional introspective number.
We caught up with Thom Weeks and Charlie Piper at the Leeds Festival after they defeated the monstrous task of opening up the Main Stage. Along with Senior Editor Sean Reid, the pair discussed at length a range of topics; the step up to the Main Stage, their growth as a band, being a strong example of independent music in the UK, what UK bands we should know about, working with producer Lewis John again, their up and coming debut US tour and more.
AH: Earlier on you played the main stage. How was the transition from playing the Lock Up stage last year?
Thom: It was a transition.
Charlie: It was great step up. The Lock Up last year is such a hard show to beat. It was so brilliant. One of the best shows I’ve ever done in my life. Still until this day, when they told us we were doing main stage, we were like “really? As if we are going to do this?” But it still paid off. Obviously the barrier gap is a barrier gap, there was last year as well, but you kind of forget about it. It took the last 3 songs for kids to get into today but it was still really good. We were having so much fun. I was pulling away from vocals and I could hear people singing along and stuff.
Thom: It was amazing. It was a cool experience. We are really privileged to be able to do it.
Charlie: It felt so good after the set. It was really fucking rad!
AH: By playing on the main stage, did you find it daunting at all?
Thom: Yeah it’s really nerve-racking. I imagine anyone you ask that opens up that stage tells you the exact same thing because mostly it’s bands who play small club shows. It’s terrifying. How do you know if you’re going to fill up that space? I’m 5ft 5 and a half, it’s not an easy feat really but it was really fun to give it a go.
Charlie: It’s interesting to see how everyone is going to act. It’s a surprise isn’t it?
Thom: But then every show should be a surprise. It’s very rare you go into a show and you’re like “I know exactly how this is going to go.”
Charlie: We always go into shows not knowing. We always try and guess but you can never judge.
AH: Did you find it difficult taking that intimate show you have and putting it on the big stage?
Thom: I think we just did the same thing we normally do and hope for the best really.
Charlie: Well for a while we spoke about certain things we would change then in the end we toured for the last few weeks, then at the end of the tour we thought “why don’t we just do this on that stage?” So we did that instead.
Thom: I think that is what went well about it. We didn’t try and turn into a “main stage band” or throw it all out of the window just because we’re on a stage the size of a football pitch.
Charlie: Kids can’t stage dive, so crowdsurf. Things like that here and there. We just want to see people having fun, that’s all we really care about. We don’t want to be like what you said structuring a set to make it everyone sits down and stand up and everyone jumps up and down. If we feel people should be jumping at any point we go “oi! Jump! Go on! Do it!” And if they don’t do it then fair enough.
Thom: It’s all about spontaneity.
Charlie: It’s like we say “it’d be nice to see some of you guys go a bit mental” but if not don’t worry, thank you very much.
Thom: Do what you want.
AH: I think also you get seen by people who may have not heard you before.
Charlie: Definitely. If you think about the amount of people walking at the back of the crowd…
Thom: Seeing our stupid faces on those screens. (all laugh)
Charlie: “He looks a bit weird.”
Thom: “He’s got a creepy face.”
Charlie: “His hair is a bit long. He needs a haircut.”
Thom: “He’s not your typical handsome indie NME male.”
Charlie: “He’s not some weird dressing gown.” (all laugh) Zebra print trousers - get off!
Hailing from North London, Wolf Alice have gradually been building an acclaimed following since their formation in 2010. From their early folk-pop beginnings, the quartet have grown to become a refined indie rock with a grungy edge.
Their latest EP, 'Creature Songs', displays the band’s use of quiet, loud dynamic. Tracks like 'Moaning Lisa Smile' are bold with a grunge-esque core whilst 'We're Not The Same' shows the bands softer, calmer side. It’s a sound that has been welcomed by critics and even saw the band be part of 'BBC Radio One Rocks' initiative earlier this year.
After a summer of playing festivals all over the UK and Europe, Wolf Alice ended their summer at Leeds Festival where we spoke to vocalist/guitarist Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie. The pair discussed their festival highlights, told us about the 'Creature Songs' EP and their future plans.
AH: How are you finding Reading and Leeds so far?
Ellie: Really really good. We’ve had a great weekend.
AH: Is this your first time here?
Joff: It’s our first time in Leeds. All of us have been to Reading before.
AH: You played on the Festival Republic stage earlier today. How did it go?
Ellie: Really well. We were all really happy with it.
Joff: There was an amazing crowd. The crowds over the last couple of days have been really great. We’ve been proper lucky.
AH: That stage has a history of hosting bands who have gone on to do bigger things. Is that something you’d like to follow in the footsteps of?
Joff: Yes (laughs). I would very much hope so. It feels like we’ve got our foot in the door of a big festival, so next year it’s up, up and up.
After delivering one of the best debuts of the year with 'In Humor and Sadness', the duo known as '68 recently made their first trip over to the UK. Having played a run of headline dates, their visit climaxed with an explosive set at Hevy Fest, where we caught up with the pair.
For vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin, he was returning to Hevy Fest for a second time having played their previously with his old band - The Chariot. However having called time on that band late last year, Scogin quickly got to work on the '68 and their debut full-length. He was soon joined by drummer Michael McClellan. Together they’ve produced 'In Humor and Sadness', a record where its roots lie in bluesy garage rock with angst and a hint of hardcore.
When Already Heard spoke to the duo, we were keen to find out how the pair came together and what is the meaning behind the phrase "Regret Not". Thankfully Josh and Michael were willing to answer our questions.
AH: For starters can I get your name and role in the band?
Josh: My name is Josh Scogin. I am the singer/guitarist of ‘68.
Michael: My name is Michael McClellan and I play drums in ‘68.
AH: You’ve recently been on your debut UK tour. How has it been?
Josh: It’s been good. We actually got invitied to play Hevy Fest, and to make ends meet we put some shows round it. I had no idea it was going to turn out this well. So its very nice for a couple of lads from the States like us.
AH: Josh this is your return to Hevy, you were here with The Chariot in 2012. How does it feel to be back?
Josh: It feels good, real good. It’s obviously very different to when we where last here, but its nice to be invited back. I’m anxious to see how the show goes tonight and feel it out from there.
AH: And Michael how are you finding it so far?
Michael: It’s awesome. First time here. It’s really great.
Josh: He got a sweet shirt from Atticus.
Michael: You can’t see it but I’m repping it right now.
Josh: He’s kind of glowing still because I think that is his favourite company ever.
Back in the UK after playing festivals throughout Europe, Already Heard grabbed five minutes with Dave Hause to discuss his Leeds Festival experience. Hause also discussed his forthcoming plans including touring with Hot Water Music in the States, a full band UK tour and more.
AH: So how has your Leeds Festival experience been so far?
Dave: It was cool. It was early and it was raining a little bit in the tent which is always a challenge and people were a little sleepy still, but we really won them over by the end and made it a fun (and) memorable end to the tour. This is the last show of three weeks of festivals.
AH: How has the whole European festival tour been?
Dave: It’s been killer. It really exceeded all of my expectations. I didn’t know what to think. It’s just me and my brother playing shows. He was backing me up on sixty percent of the songs. It’s been really great. It was really run and the people were really warm and welcoming. We had some amazing shows. At alot of them we ended up on top of the crowd at the end singing with the people. It was a really successful set.
AH: What has been your favouirte country to play in?
AH: What festivals have you been playing there?
Dave: I played Hurricane, Southside, Rocco del Schlacko, Open Flair and Taubertal.
For New Jersey indie-folk-punk band The Front Bottoms, the UK is quickly becoming a second home to them. There currently headline tour is their sixth trip back to these shores in 12 months.
Having previously played over here with Brand New and The Presidents of the United States of America, the quartet are back for another headline run which sees them taking out Canadian punk rockers PUP as support.
However before the tour kicked off, we spoke to The Front Bottoms vocalist Brian Sella at the Leeds Festival where he discussed the tour, their recent 'Rose' EP and plans for their third record.
AH: So you’re back in the UK once again. Is this the third time in 12 months?
Brian: Actually this will be the sixth time in 12 months. It’s pretty unreal.
AH: How does it feel back to be back in the UK again?
Brian: It’s amazing. I don’t want to say like it’s coming home but it’s coming back and seeing a bunch of friends you haven’t seen in a long time.
AH: A second home?
Brian: Yeah exacly. It’s great.
AH: This is your first time at Leeds and Reading. How are you finding it so far?
Brian: It’s amazing, although the rain just started so I might change my opinion as soon as I leave this tent. Yesterday was incredible at Reading. I’m excited for Leeds.
AH: What were your expectations beforehand? What did you know about the festival?
Brian: I knew there was going to be a lot of energy. That is what everyone kept telling me, it was going to be insane but nothing was able to describe the way it felt to get on stage. When we played it felt like a million people but it was actually three thousand people underneath this tent. A lot of people singing the words and having a good time so it was very exciting.
AH: Last time you were here for Hit the Deck Festival and the Brand New tour dates. What have you been up to since? I know you’ve toured with Say Anything back in the States.
Brian: Yeah. So we got back home from the Brand New tour and went on tour with Say Anything for 2 months then got home for a week or two, now we’re back here again. It’s good to stay busy.
It’s safe to say Enter Shikari are veterans of the Reading and Leeds Festival having played there repeatedly over the last eight years. For the most part, 2014 has been a quiet year for the St Albans quartet. However, having just returned to the UK after four weeks on the Vans Warped Tour, we caught up with Rou, Chris and Rory from the band at the Leeds Festival.
We questioned them on which is better - Reading or Leeds, and we also asked them a bit about their upcoming fourth full-length.
AH: To begin with can I get your names and role in the band?
Rou: Hello I’m Rou. I shout.
Chris: I’m Chris. I play the four strings.
Rory: I’m Rory. I play guitar.
AH: So you’re back at Leeds for the sixth year running?
Rory: I don’t know anymore.
Rou: I saw somewhere someone had wrote seven out of the last eight, so that makes sense.
AH: What is it about Leeds and Reading that makes want you to come back again and again?
Rory: They keep asking us.
Rou: Yeah. It’s an institution. It’s THE festival, it’s just the one. The line-up is always so diverse which we absolutely love. We never really feel at home on any bill but like the diversity of the Reading and Leeds bill is just incredible.
Rory: We’ve very much at home.
AH: What has been your favourite year?
Rou: I’m really enjoying this year so far.
Chris: Yesterday was really fun.
Rou: I actually made a point in the set yesterday where I made sure I stood and looked out and took it in, instead of getting with it. It just becomes a blur if you go on and don’t think about it. That was good. I really enjoyed the set.
Rory: I think every year is good in the same way, so it’s hard to pick one.
AH: I’m going to put you on the spot, which do you prefer Leeds or Reading?
Rory: It’s got to be Reading, it’s the one we went to as kids. They both have there pros and cons I think. Leeds would be awesome if wasn’t for the weather but it kind of makes it a special vibe because people don’t give a shit, and are in that festival state of mind, which makes it better in a way. It makes it more communal, and everyone is in it together.
AH: What advice would you give to new bands playing the festival?
Chris: I don’t know really. Just do what we do, play hard. Just enjoy it. It sounds cheesy.
Rou: We do whatever we do at a club show.
Rory: Yeah if you keep it in that mind frame that its not any different even though you’re probably shitting it.
AH: Just try and transfer that energy from the club shows?
Rory: Yeah exactly.
Packing stadium sized rock anthems with an incredibly striking emotional punch, and graced with one of the most staggeringly unique vocal talents to have graced the UK Rock scene in an awfully long time, Cambridge’s Lonely The Brave have become one of the single most talked about new bands to emerge in recent years.
With their debut album ‘The Day’s War’ finally released this week, Already Heard caught up with lead guitarist Mark Trotter and Bassist Andrew Bushen shortly after the band’s stellar set on the Radio One/NME Stage at last weekend’s Leeds Festival.
AH: It seemed like the set went really well and drew a decent crowd for so early on the festival’s final day. How are you feeling?
Mark: We were really lucky. We were saying earlier, Sunday lunchtime we’d probably still be in bed ourselves. We were just grateful that people got up to see our little band from Cambridge. It’s pretty amazing.
Andrew: I was absolutely blown away by the response; it was a fantastic crowd. I’m glad everyone was still feeling up to having a turn out on Sunday morning.
AH: It’s been a busy festival season for the band already, has it been the high point of what has already been a remarkable year for Lonely The Brave?
Mark: It’s been bonkers. That’s the only way to describe it. We’ve been pretty much everywhere that would have us. That’s the honest way to put it.
Andrew: It’s been a busy year all round but the summer has been crazy. We’ve been to lots of places in Europe and done most of the UK festivals. We’ve had an amazing time.
AH: While you’ve been playing all the other festivals, have Reading and Leeds been the big ones on the horizon that you were looking forward to?
Andrew: I’ve been to lots of Reading Festivals as it’s near where I live. They are legendary events Reading and Leeds and it’s always an absolute honour to play.
Mark: We’d be here as punters even if we weren’t playing, so being able to be here and be on the other side of the fence is pretty special. We feel very lucky.
AH: Has it been hard to believe how quickly things have grown for Lonely The Brave over the last year or so?
Mark: This year has been mad, and we have to keep reminding ourselves that all of it has been off of the back of one EP. We were worried about doing this festival season because the album’s not out. We thought with the delays that there would be nobody here, I mean why would there be people coming to watch us. Fortunately there have been.
Andrew: Originally the album was going to be out at the start of June and we would have had that to push and we would have something more out there. Like Mark said, on the back of just a few singles things have been amazing.
Love them or hate them, Neck Deep are one of 2014’s breakthrough bands. After kicking off the year with the release of their debut LP, 'Wishful Thinking', the Wrexham pop-punk five piece haven’t stopped touring since. With festival appearances throughout the UK and Europe earlier in the year, they’ve recently returned from two months in North America as part of the Vans Warped Tour.
We caught up with the band back on home soil. Having recently supported their idols Blink-182, Already Heard spoke to vocalist Ben Barlow and bassist Fil Thorpe-Evans at the recent Leeds Festival.
Ben and Fil discussed their past festival experiences, supporting Blink-182, their up and coming UK headline tour and being “leaders” of the UK pop-punk movement.
AH: For starters can I get your name and role in the band?
Fil: I’m Fil. I play bass within the band Neck Deep.
Ben: I’m Ben. I sing in the band Neck Deep.
AH: This is your first time at Leeds. What are your expectations?
Ben: Well it’s our first time playing but we’ve attended before so we sort of know what to expect. I know Leeds crowds can be pretty rowdy. I know, if anything, Leeds is the messier half of Reading and Leeds. I’m expecting some rowdiness. I’m just expecting a lot of kids to come down. I’ve seen a few t-shirts knocking around. I think we will have a decent crowd.
Fil: There’s been a lot of build up to it because it’s been so long since we found out, it’s been growing and growing, now we’re here. So it’s like, “Ok, so how many people are actually come and see us?” Originally there was talk of us doing main stage, (and) we decided that wasn’t really for us. We didn’t think our crowd would “get it” on there and it would be too for us.
Ben: Yeah it would be too early for us to get out of bed.
Fil: We thought we would do the ranks at the Lock Up and work our way up. We didn’t want to go straight to the main stage. We’re really looking forward to it.
Ben: I think it’ll be good.
AH: You mentioned you’ve attended previous festivals. What are your memories from them?
Fil: I came to Leeds when the Kings of Leon headlined. It was the year I finished my GCSE’s because I remember my Mum called me with my results whilst I was camping. I did early bird ticket and went mental. So sick! I spent most of my day at the tent we’re playing today; the Lock Up tent. I saw Alexisonfire and Set Your Goals; that was tight.
Ben: I’ve been the past two years. Definitely the first year I came to Leeds Fest was one of the craziest times of my entire life.
Fil: Oh The Prodigy! That was the year I went. That was crazy! I remembered being absolutely lethered watching them. I was so far back but I was going crazy. I was like, “This is the best thing ever.”
Ben: Last year was decent. The first year I didn’t watch that many bands because it was that mental. We just fucked around all day. But last year I did actually go round and watch some bands. Biffy Clyro were sick, Green Day were sick last year. I saw Hacktivist and Eminem. Last year was fucking sick. I’m glad to have experienced from the mental side of it and the musical side of it.
Fil: I’ve only done it the once because it usually falls on my birthday, so I’m usually doing something when its on.
Ben: It’s just a good mix for everyone. It’s a good festival. It’s a really well-balanced line-up.
Fil: You just feel at home.
Ben: Yeah. It feels like this should be our festival in terms of the festival I would choose go to. Like Download is a heavy festival and I like it but sometimes the crowd there are a bit more “rock-orientated.” I think we fit more into this.
Fil: Yeah and it’s the sort of bands and music we like to listen to.
Ben: If there was a festival for us to play in the UK, it would be Reading and Leeds.
AH: Are there any bands you’re wanting to see whilst you’re here?
Fil: Blink obviously. A Day To Remember, Paramore, You Me At Six.
Ben: We miss Arctic Monkeys because we’re staying here tomorrow and then because we’re playing Reading on Sunday and they’re here. So we don’t get to see them which sucks. But yeah Blink, The Wonder Years, Flume. There’s a couple of DJ’s I want to see. There’s some really good bands. I think this is genuinely the best line-up since I’ve been going. If I wasn’t playing this year, I would probably still be here.
In the ever changing music scene, four years between album releases can seem like a lifetime, however for North West pop-punks Me Vs Hero, they’ve come through a troublesome time which saw members come and go and lead vocalist Sam Thompson becoming homeless for a brief time. Now they’re back on their feet and with a new album, 'I'm Completely Fine', and with a UK tour nearing ever closer, we thought it’d be a good time catch up with the band.
The new record is more focused yet has that distinctive pop-punk sound that Me Vs Hero have honed over the years. Lyrically it takes a more thoughtful route, which is fully understandable considering Thompson’s recent struggles. Nevertheless 'I'm Completely Fine' is a throughly boisterous album that sees Me Vs Hero pick up where they left off.
Senior Editor Sean Reid recently caught up with Sam and guitarist Bobby Pook following their appearance at the Hevy Fest where he quizzed them about the new record. The pair obliged and discussed the making of 'I'm Completely Fine' in great detail.
AH: Can I get your names and role in the band?
Sam: My name is Bobby Pook and play the guitar.
Bobby: My name is Sam Thompson and I am the best vocalist in the entire world.
Sam: Aww you little…
AH: So this is your return to Hevy. You first played here in 2011. How does it feel to be back here?
Bobby: Good. It feels great. I like this festival even though it’s small; it’s still good though. It gets a lot of the bands who wouldn’t get on the other festivals. It’s a cool thing.
AH: How did your set go earlier?
Bobby: I think it went well.
Sam: Yeah it was good. For us its the first time we’re playing a lot of new songs , so besides the fact that we set off at 7 this morning with no sleep because we both work long hours.
Bobby: We basically had no sleep.
Sam: But apart from being really tired and a little ill, we enjoyed it. It’s a nice day and we played the main stage, which had a lot of space.
AH: I’m guessing this is the start of the album cycle?
Bobby: Yeah it’s easing us into it.
AH: What can you tell us about the album ('I'm Completey Fine')?
Sam: It’s new but old. We started writing it like four years and probably finish 2 years ago. It’s taken awhile to get it out.
Bobby: We’ve grown older, so Sam’s lyrics are a lot more mature.
Sam: Yeah the first album was literally lyrics about anything.
Bobby: There has definitely been a lot more thought into it. It makes you prouder of the final product.
Sam: I was sitting in a coffee shop trying to write lyrics when I had no home to go to. It’s more about the sort of struggles we’ve gone through and we go through as people in life. It actually means something. They are relatable to us, wheather they are relatable to anyone else I don’t know.
AH: You mentioned the four year gap between releases. So did you start writing four years ago?
Bobby: It was slow paced. We started writing a couple of songs four years ago then it was a really slow pace. Dee, our drummer left, then it was finding a new drummer and teaching him the new songs and starting back from scratch.
Sam: Our guitarist Ross left.
Bobby: So we got a new guitarist then that happened again. So it was a struggle but we did it and we’re proud of the final product.
AH: How have Grant and Simon fitted into the band? Have they settled in?
Bobby: Yeah. They’re both great. Simon is a great drummer and Grant is a fantastic guitarist. To be honest it is the best we’ve soudned live for years.
Ever since the release of their sophomore LP, 'Mouth of Swords' last September, London prog metallers The Safety Fire have been eating the fruit of their labor with a growing fan base, tours alongside Protest The Hero and Between The Buried and Me on both sides of the Atlantic, and most recently, a handful of UK festival appearances throughout the summer.
'Mouth of Swords' sees The Safety Fire's mix of rapid riffs, blistering drums and catchy hooks is pulled off in an unbelievably good fashion. However there is no slowing down for the quintet as work on album number 3 is in the early stages.
Already Heard met up with guitarist Joaquin “Joe” Ardiles and Lori Peri at the second of four of those aforementioned festival appearances - UK Tech Fest.
Having played Sonisphere the week previously, and with their return to Hevy Fest approaching, Joe and Lori discussed their recent festival experiences, the comparison between festival and club shows, and more.
Already Heard: Just for the record can I get your names and role in the band?
Lori: I’m Lori and I play bass.
Joe: I’m Joe and I play guitar.
AH: I’m guessing you’ve not been around Tech Fest for too long.
Joe: Yeah we got here today. We got here at about 12pm.
Lori: We left London about half 9/10am.
AH: How have you found it so far?
Joe: Yeah good man. It’s chill man.
Lori: It’s cool.
Joe: We’ve never played here before so it’s the first time we’ve been, so I didn’t know what to expect but the guy running it (Simon Garrod) has done a good job. It’s impressive.
AH: It’s the first time it’s happened in Newark, and I’m from here. Like you said it’s impressive. Well laid out, intimate and has a strong community feel to it.
Lori: Yes that’s the key to it. That’s the most important factor of it - community.
Joe: This whole scene is about that though.
AH: Have you checked out any bands yet?
Joe: I saw a bit of Alaya, and the band before them.
Joe: They were pretty cool.
Lori: I had never heard of them before, and I thought, “This is actually pretty good.”
Joe: We’ve been catching up with some friends we haven’t seen in awhile.
AH: Is that what you like about festivals the most?
Joe: Yeah and luckily this is quite small so you’re going to bump into so many people.
Lori: I’m still trying to find my mate Ollie, formerly the bass player from The Haarp Machine.
Joe: Oh Ollie’s here?
Lori: He’s here man. I’ve got to see him. We went on a search for Kaan from No Consequence, we found him. That was great, love that guy. A lot of our friends are around.
Having released one of the most impressive UK metal releases of the year so far in 'Darkness of an Age', London five piece Exist Immortal are riding a wave of momentum. With their mix of chugging riffs and soaring melodies, Exist Immortal recently made their return to UK Tech Fest; their third appearance in as many years.
After being one of the highlights of the weekend, we caught up with four-fifths of the band to discuss their return to Tech Fest, future plans and we find out what is on their van stereo playlist.
Already Heard: Can we get your names and role in band?
Tom: I’m Tom. I play guitar.
David: I’m David. I play bass.
Meyrick: I’m Meyrick and I sing.
Kurt: I’m Kurt and play guitar.
AH: It’s your third time at Tech Fest. As “veterans” of the festival, how does it feel to back here again?
Meyrick: Yes we’ve got the hat-trick. It’s amazing. We were only added to the bill a week and half ago.
Tom: But its cool to be added to this bill. I mean anytime you get to support The Ocean and Sikth. It’s just cool to be back, and having seen the festival grow from strength to strength in size every year. It’s a cool place to be.
AH: What do you like about Tech Fest most?
Tom: The vibe.
David: The community.
Kurt: You walk 5 minutes, and you bump into a friend.
Meyrick: There’s no beef with anyone, and there’s no divide between bands and crowd. You just wonder around seeing people you know. I like to call it “Hang Fest” haha.
AH: Have you been here all weekend?
Kurt: I only arrived here this morning due to work but the rest of the boys have been.
David: We’ve been here since Friday evening.
AH: Who have you seen so far?
Tom: Devil Sold His Soul, Acoda.
David: Jom Gomm was spectacular yesterday.
Meyrick: It was the chillest thing.
AH: So ‘Darkness of an Age’ recently came out. How has the response been so far?
Tom: Really good.
AH: We gave it a 4 out of 5 rating.
Meyrick: Thank you very much.
For Milton Keynes’ progressive metal act TesseracT, Sonisphere 2014 marked a new beginning for the quintet. Having parted ways with Ashe O’Hara weeks before the band’s appearance, the band have been re-joined by former vocalist Daniel Tompkins and are now set to tour the UK and Europe later this year before beginning work on album number three.
As Already Heard learned, the future is bright for TesseracT as new material promises to continue the band’s evolution to becoming more melodic yet as intricate as ever.
Fresh from opening the Apollo stage on the second day of Sonisphere, we spoke to bassist Amos Williams for a detailed talk on how the band reunited with Daniel Tompkins, their third album and their upcoming UK and European tour with Animals As Leaders.
AH: Can we get your name and role in the band?
Amos: Hey whats up. This is Amos. I’m the bass player in Tesseract.
AH: So how have you found Sonisphere so far?
Amos: Sonisphere is probably the best festival, well for me at least the best heavy festival that you’re going to get in the UK. It is just really well laid out, you go from one band to another. There is a lot of variation as well. It is not like the same old stuff, and they tend to get quite exciting bands as well but different acts from all over the world, so it is fantastic to come here and see. Tomorrow (Sunday) is awesome, you’ve got Devin Townsend, Protest The Hero, Karnivool, and Dream Theatre; it is going to be such a good day.
AH: Have you had chance to watch any bands so far?
Amos: Today I’ve had no time at all. I turned up at 6am, that was annoying, and then I was playing at 11am and then I’ve had no time at all to see anybody. I;m maybe going to catch Slayer later. Last time I saw Slayer was fantastic. Unfortunately Jeff Hanneman has died since then, so that sucks but it’s still Slayer though. Obviously Dave Lombardo is not going to be playing drums but it is still Kerry King and Tom Araya. Slayer was a big thing for me when I was a kid. So hopefully they’ll be good.
AH: Are you going to be here tomorrow as well?
Amos: I’m going to try and come back tomorrow. I just want to see my buddies in Devin Townsend Project, Karnivool and Protest The Hero. I hate to say but I’m really not that fussed about seeing anyone else. It is just that when you’re a touring band, you make friends, really good friends with people. Like today, some friends of ours, The Safety Fire, were playing, and I had no time to see them because I was just too busy. I love hanging out with my friends. You get to see them once every six or so months because you’re working so you try and make as much of the opportunity. I just saw most of the Devin Townsend Project, I was like, “Ok dude stay here. I’ll be back in 4 hours when I have finished with press, and I will come and see you.” We only see each other at random places. Last time I saw them was in Norway 4 months ago, and we spent about 10 hours together. Just hanging out and having a good time. They are like family to us, but because obviously they’re Canadian and we’re from the UK, we rarely get to see each other but only on the road. You’ve got to make the most of the chance.
AH: Is that what you enjoy about festivals most? That you get to see friends you don’t see often?
Amos: Yes that is it. It’s my favourite thing because random people you haven’t seen for a couple of years is perfect.
AH: You played early on the main stage. How did you find it playing so early?
Amos: We were really surprised. We were thinking “the weather is a bit bad, it’s really early” but we had a massive crowd. Even more so, it’s light so you can see them. In the dark you can’t see them, only 10 or 20 rows. We were lucky. There were thousands upon thousands people there, and we had quite a few fans which is even better. It’s really nice to see people wearing our t-shirts, so that kind of makes you think you’re doing something right. Main stage is an achievement in itself, but playing the main stage with people watching, wearing your t-shirt, singing along, that makes you feel like you’re doing something good.