As the festival season rolls on, this weekend the Hit The Deck Festival returns for its fourth outing. As always with over 40 bands playing across 6 stages, the Already Heard team has picked out 10 must-see bands to see at this weekend’s festival.
This Saturday the 2014 edition of Record Store Day takes place. With wealth of rare
releases to buy, Already Heard and Jon Tolley of Banquet Records have picked out 5 must by RSD 2014 releases.
Next week Philadelphia indie punks The Menzingers release, 'Rented World,' one of the
highly anticipated records of 2014 so far. In parts, it picks up where 2012's 'On The
Impossible Past' left off but it also shows the bands growth as songwriters and musicians. We recently spoke to Greg Barnett to discuss the album, the pressure of following up 'On The Impossible Past', their forthcoming London show and the Grozerock Festival.
Despite only forming last year, Essex rockers New City Kings have already gathered plenty of attention from their debut EP - 'Change.' Their radio-friendly rock sound that has seen them compared to a range of bands; Foo Fighters, Deaf Havana, and The Gaslight Anthem.
Already Heard spoke to Mark Kovic to find out more about New City Kings.
With their return to the UK imminent, the latest edition of "Versus" sees us putting the
focus on Alkaline Trio. Self-confessed Trio MEGA fan Jay Sullivan tells us why 'From
Here to Infirmary' is the band’s finest work. Whilst Alex Phelan explains how 'Maybe
I'll Catch Fire' is a superb example of musical catharsis.
12 months from releasing their debut EP, we speak to Blackpool pop-punk/emo
quintet Boston Manor to discuss their influences, achievements so far and thoughts on their contemporaries.
With their latest EP 'Change Nothing, Regret Everything.', Woking five-piece Employed
To Serve have produced 12 minutes of frantic, unrelenting hardcore that finds the band somewhere between The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Chariot. We spoke to Justine from the band to find out how the band has transitioned from a duo to a quintet and she discussed
being part of the Holy Roar! roster, they chaotic yet contained live shows and more.
In the latest edition of our "Tour Tales" feature, Irish doom-punk band Hornets talk us
through their recent UK tour where they played 8 shows in 7 days.
Leeds-based four-piece Walleater are set to digitally release their debut self titled EP next Monday (14th April) through Close To Home Records. We've got the exclusive first play
right here on Already Heard.
Next week Philadelphia indie punks The Menzingers release one of the highly anticipated records of 2014 so far. 2012’s 'On The Impossible Past' received widespread acclaim from critics, something which the band didn’t expect.
Nevertheless two years on, The Menzingers are back with 'Rented World'. In parts, it picks up where 'On The Impossible Past' left off but it also shows the bands growth as songwriters and musicians. The bands tales of personal relationships and introspective lyrics are still in place, but this time they are delivered in a more refined manner.
With the release of 'Rented World' fast approaching, we recently spoke to Greg Barnett to discuss the album, the pressure of following up 'On The Impossible Past', their forthcoming London show and the Grozerock Festival.
Already Heard: For starters can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do in The Menzingers?
Greg: Hi I’m Greg and I play guitar and sing in the band.
AH: The release of album number 4 'Rented World' is getting closer by the day. How does it feel to be releasing the album at last?
Greg: It feels pretty great obviously. The lead up for an album being released is like this weird calm before the storm. We’ve been working on all this stuff for a while now so its definitely exciting.
AH: Your last LP, 'On The Impossible Past' received plenty of praise and topped our very own Record of the Year list in 2012. Did you feel any pressure when writing this record because of what you achieved with the last one?
Greg: Well thank you for that! There was some initial pressure when we started the writing process but that quickly went away. We try to not get caught up in all that stuff and just do what we enjoy doing. I think ‘OTIP’ became something bigger than a record for a lot of people, including us. That being said, the pressure wasn’t necessarily “topping” that one or anything, just making sure every song felt important and had a purpose within the record. I’m pretty confident we nailed that.
Upon A Burning Body strike a very dapper presence when they take to the stage, dressed in black trousers, grey shirts and black waistcoats emblazoned with their logo on the lapel, before they unleash their live show on you. They are a frantic live band, with a relentless touring schedule. We caught up with bassist Reuben Alvarez just before they went on stage in London to support Five Finger Death Punch and talked about their own cocktail, favourite place they have visited, the next album and Slipknot. Here’s that interview.
Already Heard: This looks set to be an epic year on the road for yourselves. You have already played Soundwave, are currently on tour with Five Finger Death Punch, you have Skate & Surf Fest coming up as well as a short US headline tour in May and a support slot across Canada with Emmure coming up. Does the rest of 2014 look set to go the same way?
Ruben: Absolutely it’s all down to our booking agent, so it’s like every other month and every other day is up for grabs and so he’ll book it off. If he can he’ll book up every single day.
AH: Even your off day on the tour you did an extra headline show in Bristol.
Ruben: Yeah, as much as they can they’ll book it. To stay busy and to stay relevant y’know.
AH: And it’s been a good tour so far?
Ruben: Amazing, amazing opportunity. It’s a huge opportunity for a band like us to be on this tour and everybody notices we’re the odd-ball. We’re a bit heavier and crazy. It’s awesome.
AH: Glad it’s going well for you. What song do you most like to play live and what is the story behind that song?
Ruben: For me, let’s see there’s a couple I like to play, mine is ‘Mimic’. I think the reason I like ‘Mimic’ so much is that it has a lot more of the pretty sounding melody guitar melodies and I love the way it switches from really intense to great pretty, almost like Maiden high lead. Musically it’s my favourite and the words too, it has great lyrics for the crowd to sing along, so yeah.
Last month the long awaited debut full-length from Cornwall hardcore quartet Vales was finally released, and 'Wilt And Rise' was certainly worth the wait.
The cathartic collection of screamo is filled with pent up emotion being poured throughout the vocal chords of Chlo Edwards and is complimented by the textured guitar work of Ben Sullivan. The end result is an accomplished record that truly backs up the bands potential from their earlier releases.
We recently grabbed a quick word with Ben to find out why the record took so long to see the light of day. Sullivan also discussed the natural evolution of 'Wilt And Rise', working with producer Alex Estrada in LA, and more.
Already Heard: Hello, who am I speaking with and can you please tell us your role(s) in the band?
Ben: Ben Sullivan, I play guitar in Vales.
AH: Since we last spoke at Hevy Festival 2012, the band’s year has been nothing short of eventful. You’ve toured with the likes of My Iron Lung and Birds in Row, and you recorded your debut full length, 'Wilt & Rise' in Los Angeles. How does it feel to finally have the album seeing the light of day?
Ben: It’s a joy to have the album finally in the hands of people who were anxious for it, to have it take its place amongst paper sleeves and shelves and coursing through headphones…it was stuck far too long in a digital nether region.
AH: Originally it was intended for a Summer 2013 release; Is there any reason for the delay?
Ben: As we grow older, and move past the stage where we can function on little income and youthful politics, we encounter life’s obstacles that seem to pounce on us as our lives clock past the marks of 22…23…24 years old. Employment, interpersonal relationships, and dizzying life decisions throw themselves into a complex system that disregards time, friendships and personal economy. Real life got in the way, folks.
AH: The overall sound on ‘Wilt & Rise’ seems to not only build on the ideas found on 'Clarity', but also enhances them. It’s grittier, yet still holds a clinging disparity. Would you describe this as simply a natural evolution or were the ideas intentional? Or would you say it was a combination of both?
Ben: On the topic of the ideas in Wilt & Rise being intentional, I’d say positively that they were not. Vales has never written with a set goal in mind, but rather sought to find a contemporary release and flowing of ideas and structures. As to it being a natural evolution… that’s where the album’s influence can be found. A natural evolution of members finding out more about their instruments, finding out more about the sounds that we wanted to record, and finding out more about ourselves that would also draw parallels with our audience, thereby striking up something people can relate to. A further musical release that has not yet been scheduled will show Vales’ soundscape to have morphed yet again. Write for yourselves, your audience, but never for a script.
AH: Besides the obvious screamo and hardcore influences, some other ingredients can be detected. What other influences helped to develop this record’s sound? And how important/difficult is it for a band in find their originality in a scene such as this?
Ben: I would love for you to elaborate on these other influences. As authors of the music, it’s very hard to become detached from the the very ideas that have been going around in your head for over a year. It’s hard to think what other people will interpret out of your music. I would very much like to know what you hear in ‘Wilt & Rise’. In exchange, I will tell you what I hear.
I hear the collective passion of every single member of every single band we ever played with. Every note that we’ve ever heard on tour, every sore back from a hard floor we’ve ever woken up on, every mile that we have driven. All these factors shape the band like a chisel, picking away until a form is shaped - and from there the form is noted down, recorded, and released, before the chisel gets back to work and changes the form once again. In that temporary holding of form, you can find ‘Wilt & Rise’, and we would like to thank every single person that ever encountered Vales, for it is because of their influence that I speak to you now.
It’s safe to say Exeter quartet Idiom aren’t your typical metal band. As their latest EP, 'Movement' shows, the four-piece are a genre-crossing band that are willing to take chances with elements of rock, metal, hardcore and even rap. It’s no surprise then that Idiom's influences include Rage Against The Machine, SiKth, System Of A Down and Deftones and have played shows alongside Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, (Hed)pe, and 36 Crazyfists.
What makes Idiom even more unconventional is that they have by-passed the typical method of releasing music through a label, and have opted to release three EP’s through Metal Hammer magazine throughout 2014, with 'Movement' being the first of those three.
With a whole load of UK dates planned to support the new EP, we had a brief catch up with guitarist Kris Gibbz to find out more about 'Movement', the next two EP’s, the bands diverse style and their future plans.
Already Heard: Hey. Can I ask who I’m speaking and tell us what you do in Idiom?
Kris Gibbz: Hey. You are speaking to Kris and I play guitar. Nice to chat!
AH: Let’s get straight to it. You’ve just released a new EP titled 'Movement'. How would you sum it up for those hearing Idiom for the first time?
Kris: I would say ‘Movement’ is a diverse mix and each song is a journey and a feel in it’s own right. There are metal bits, dancy bits, songs you can sing along too and others where you can really go off in a pit!
AH: From hearing the EP, it seems to have a bit of everything; pop-hooks, melodies, breakdowns, a hint of nu-metal all wrapped in a metalcore ball. When you were writing the EP, wemhat was the initial goal?
Kris: Because of the diverse range of musical personality in the band it’s hard to not write music that can be a real mix, there was a conscious effort in this release to make each song stick out, rather than just bits of songs. But no goal as such other than to express ourselves as we do.
Modern Baseball are on the verge of big things. They’ve got a brilliant new record out on Run For Cover and tours with The Wonder Years in the US and Real Friends in the UK booked up and ready to go. Being young, emotional, and from Pennsylvania might seem to be the ultimate recipe for success at the moment but of course there’s more to it than that. There’s hard work, absolute dedication, and the ability to pen emotionally all-encapsulating records that need to be checked off too. It’s hard to claim when listening to either of Modern Baseball’s self-recorded full lengths that they’re lacking any of the necessaries.
We gave their latest offering, ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’ a full five marks last month. They made our ones to watch list two years running – not an error, they really can only keep going up in 2014. This is the year they make it to Europe. Touring in May with Real Friends and You Blew It! on what is surely going to be one of the Summer’s best tours. Having exhausted our Google-searched synonyms for best, love, majestic, and yes-please-more-right-now it seemed that all we could do was ask Modern Baseball themselves what they thought about things right now.
So, if you want to know what it’s like writing a hotly anticipated sophomore record for one of the scene’s most consistent labels; what UK bands Modern Baseball are digging right now; or who they’d team up with RHCP/Bruno Mars style to blow your mind, read on.
Already Heard: Hello, Modern Baseball. How’s it going?
Modern Baseball: Suppy, Dawg!
AH: You’ve entered the Billboard 200 at number 84, number one for vinyl; did you ever think you’d be such legitimate pop stars?
MB: Nope! We are just stoked that everyone likes the new record so much!
AH: How did the writing process differ from ‘Sports’ to ‘You’re Gonna Miss It All’? Did you feel the pressure of being on such a consistently solid label as Run For Cover or did you take confidence knowing that they were ready to put out your next record?
MB: With ‘Sports’, Jake (the other songwriter) and I had around 25 songs, demoed acoustic, and then after cutting 25 songs down to 12 songs we went into the studio, and almost made everything up as we went along. With ‘YGMIA’ we had 15 songs that we had written acoustic, then we demoed full band then went into the studio with a plan to make sure we could utilize our time to the fullest; something we had trouble with when recording ‘Sports’. Also with ‘YGMIA’ we had the objective of making a second full length, while with ‘Sport’s we had a ton of songs that we wanted to be an album ~ I hope that makes sense haha. As far as RFC, we felt no pressure because they were such welcoming people, though that just made us want to make an even stronger record.
With a title like 'The World Is A Terrible Place And I Hate Myself And Want To Die', on paper the debut EP from Philadelphia duo The Weaks doesn’t sound like a cheerful affair. Nevertheless Chris Baglivo and Evan Bernard have turned out a fuzzed out collection of emo/pop-punk that is reminiscent of Weezer’s early power-pop days.
Frankly its an EP that has certainly caught our attention and has received its fair share amount of praise so far. Tracks like 'Dunce Pageant' and 'Nietzche’s Harvest Song' are short, sweet, poetic, and honest with comparisons being made to bands like Pixies, Say Anything and fellow Philadelphian’s Modern Baseball.
We recently spoke to Chris and Evan to find out more about 'The World Is A Terrible Place…', where the title came from, and we question whether Philadelphia really does have the best punk scene in the US?
Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in The Weaks?
CB: I’m Chris Baglivo, and I am a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, whatever.
EB: I am Evan Bernard and I am a songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, keyboard player also. I am also the band dungeon master and occasionally go by the name “the unstoppable party.”
AH: For those who are unfamilair with The Weaks. Can you talk us through how you came together? I understand you used to play together in a band called Dangerous Ponies?
CB: Evan and I have been friends for years, and we started Dangerous Ponies with Chrissy Tashjian (now of the rad band Thin Lips). Our drummer Mikey Tashjian was also in the Ponies for the bulk of its existence, and he has been Chrissy’s brother his entire life. While we were in the Ponies, Evan and I decided to challenge ourselves by writing and releasing a song every week (hence The Weaks). Once the Ponies split, we decided to do the Weaks full time as a band instead of a recording project.
AH: I read your influences range from Weezer to Thin Lizzy to The Ergs. How would you best sum up The Weaks sound?
CB: Heavy pop.
EB: An amalgamation of all of the music we like. What’s more exciting than diversity?
AH: Some may know you for your ‘Song A Week’ project. How did that idea come about?
EB: Chris and I wrote a lot of songs in the ponies that got passed on and overlooked because they weren’t a great fit for the band. So we thought “why not just make a project we can do whatever we want?”
With the likes of Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, and Bury Tomorrow achieving plenty of success at home and abroad, UK metalcore is certainly on the rise and Southampton’s The Valiant look to follow the path set out by the aforementioned bands.
Having worked with renowned producer Lewis John on their recently released debut 'Empress Heights', The Valiant has been receiving widespread praise for their take of metalcore. Packed with pummelling drums, riffs, melodies, breakdowns and complimenting clean and scream vocals, 'Empress Heights' is an impressive debut that delivers all metalcore fans want from a record.
Since forming in 2009, The Valiant are now seeing the results being paid off for their hard work and dedication.
We caught up with drummer Dan Moss to find out more about 'Empress Heights', how not to be a predictable metalcore band, and more.
Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do in The Valiant?
Dan: Hey, I’m Dan Moss. I play drums in the band.
AH: I understand the band has been together for nearly five years now. How has the bands style developed over the years?
Dan: Yeah, we got together in 2009! When we started we didn’t really know which way we wanted to go with our music and to be honest we weren’t very good at our instruments … but over the years we’ve really helped each other progress and get better at our craft. We’ve already started writing new songs which we’re taking a completely different approach with by really taking our time with every song and getting it exactly how we want it, arranging structures differently and throwing around new ideas is a lot of fun!
AH: You recently released your debut LP 'Empress Heights'. For those who haven’t heard it yet, how would you describe the record to them?
Dan: Well it’s our first release and all we wanted to do was to make it heavy, fast, ballsy and chuck in a little ballad for good measure which is what we hope comes across on the record.
AH: 'Empress Heights' has been receiving praise from a range of publications. Did you expect such a positive response?
Dan: We honestly didn’t! We were really nervous about all the reviews and features we’ve had in the press recently, it’s been over a year of hard work and hurdles for us and we’re stoked it’s all paid off and truly humbled with all the kind words we’ve had from everyone.
Let’s admit it, the US pop-punk “scene” is ever-growing and producing new bands. One of them being Massachusetts quartet Traditions who’s brand of emotionally-driven pop-punk makes them stand out from the crowd, and as they point our aren’t merely “riding the wave”.
Next month Traditions release 'Cycles', their debut EP. A meaningful collection of pop-punk songs that sees the band wearing their hearts on their sleeves. It’s no surprise that their influences include The Wonder Years and The Swellers.
We’re sure 'Cycles' will certainly be welcomed by pop-punk fans and be hearing more from Traditions in the future.
We spoke to vocalist Randy Burlingame about 'Cycles', the bands formation, and 'Eyes Of A Man' which is being exclusively on Already Heard.
Already Heard: Hey! Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you do in Traditions?
Randy: Hey, thanks for having us! My name is Randy Burlingame, and I sing and play guitar in the band.
AH: Let’s begin with how the band started. I understand Traditions sees you all bringing your previous musical experiences together?
Randy: I think Traditions was a thing just waiting to happen. Jack (Dunphy - Bassist) and I have been friends and playing music together since middle school. Matt (Cyphers - Guitarist) was the first friend I made in college (we eventually became roommates for a couple years), and Mike (Gelinas - Drummer) was already in my other band at the time (Arrows Over Athens). We all were writing together for a little while when AOA decided to call it quits, and that’s when Traditions became a serious project for us all.
AH: In the press release for your new EP, you’re compared to the likes of Taking Back Sunday, The Wonder Years, and The Swellers. Who do you consider as influences?
Randy: The fact that we’ve been compared to such great bands is really humbling, especially because those three particular bands are three of our bigger influences as a group. If I had to pick a few more (at least for me personally), I would definitely add Bayside, The Story So Far, and probably a bit of Yellowcard too.
AH: From hearing ‘Cycles’, I get the impression Traditions are more than your standard pop-punk band especially in your lyrics?
Randy: Yeah, I can agree with you there. To be honest, we were just fortunate (well, unfortunate really) to have meaningful things to write about. One of our best friends had taken his own life about a year before we started writing, my girlfriend of a few years just broke up with me, and Matt was basically living out of his car at the time. As terrible as those things were, they provided lyrics for the record. I think that’s what makes it unique.
Since we last featured Yearbook as part of our “Recommends” feature in November 2012, the Andover-based quartet have been hard at work writing and road-testing new material, which will see the light of day on March 5th.
The EP titled 'Old Bones' sees Yearbook dealing with the stresses of committing yourself and putting other priorities to the background. The end result is a collection of songs that shows the bands growth, adding depth and focus, as well as taking a somewhat darker approach both musically and lyrically.
Vocalist/guitarist Andy Halloway recently took some time out to discuss the new EP with Already Heard. Halloway also spoke about the importance of road testing material and their forthcoming tour with Swim Good.
Already Heard: Can you introduce yourself and your role in Yearbook?
Andy: Hi, my name is Andy and I sing and play the guitar at the front in Yearbook.
AH: Last time we spoke to you was back in November 2012. How has life changed for Yearbook over the past 12 months or so?
Andy: We spend more time playing gigs and driving around in a van now, which is great. We have written and recorded the whole of ‘Old Bones’ as well so its nice to have new material to play. As a band we have become a lot more focussed as well, I think having a record to work towards has helped a lot with that.
AH: And now you’re preparing to release a new EP called 'Old Bones'. I understand it deals with the stresses and strains of being in a band?
Andy: Its doesnt deal so much with the stresses and strains of actually being in a band, but more the stresses and strains that come with really committing yourself to something no matter what the cost to you. Everything about our lives has to fit around the fact we are in Yearbook. Jobs, education, partners, holidays and even family have to take a back seat sometimes whilst we focus on playing a tour, or recording a record or even just writing new material.
Earlier this month Surrey quartet Canterbury released their third full-length record, 'Dark Days', a collection of anthemic and atmospheric pop-rock songs which builds upon the bands previous efforts with fantastic results.
Funded by the PledgeMusic service and working Hassle Records, 'Dark Days' has allowed Canterbury to retain their DIY ethics whilst simutanously enhances their cohesive musical style by working with both PledgeMusic and Hassle Records.
Shortly after the release of 'Dark Days', Already Heard spoke to Mike Sparks from Canterbury to find out more about the record, their thoughts on crowdsourcing services, joining Hassle and more.
Already Heard: Can you introduce yourselves and your role in Canterbury?
Mike: I’m Mike, I play guitar and sing…mostly the high parts. Luke plays bass and sings….mostly the low notes. James plays guitar…mostly the electric and occasionally sings the REALLY low notes, and Chris he plays the drums…mostly with sticks.
AH: How are things in the Canterbury camp right now?
Mike: Really great actually, ‘Dark Days’ came out last week and the reaction has been insane!
AH: 'Dark Days' has been in the works since last April when you launched a PledgeMusic campaign. What was the decision behind taking this route?
Mike: Well we have always been a fairly DIY band, so when Hassle Records came along and got involved, we didn’t want to surrender everything to label, and they were great at working with us and moulding a new structure around us. With PledgeMusic, we essentially had a year long pre-order for our record, and the fans were able to get involved in a record from its very first stages. It was a great route to go down for us as a band.
AH: Crowdsourcing services like PledgeMusic and Kickstarter has both been embraced and critcised by music fans. Do you feel some bands misuse its purpose?
Mike: I feel there’s a few ways to do it. We never saw it as more than a really extended ore-order and a way for people to really be involved, so we never wanted anything on there that you couldn’t ‘Pledge’ for that wasn’t something to do with us making music. I think some people can get a bit carried away with what they offer, but I think the bands who do it properly outshine.
It may only be January but the UK rock scene is already making itself known with the likes of Canterbury, Neck Deep and Blitz Kids receiving praise for their new releases however its Bath quintet Decade who have kicked off the year on a high with their superb debut full-length 'Good Luck'.
The album sees Decade producing 10 stellar examples of UK rock at its finest with recent singles 'Brainfreeze' and 'British Weather' being just a hint of what 'Good Luck' has to offer. Its a record that offers tons of consistency and energy, and is sure to see the band transition from support act to headliners. In other words despite the year-long wait, Decade have delivered on their potential from early releases.
Now having been named as one of Already Heard's '50 bands to watch in 2014' and with 'Good Luck' receiving praise across the board, Decade are set to head out on the road later this month alongside Mayday Parade, Man Overboard and Divided By Friday.
Before things get hectic for the band, we caught up with bassist Harry Norton to discuss moving away from the pop-punk tag, joining Spinefarm Records, 'Good Luck', future touring plans and more.
Already Heard: Hi. Can you tell us who you are and your role in Decade?
Harry: Hi, my name’s Harry and I play bass.
AH: You’re finally releasing your debut album. Having been in the works for over a year, how does it feel to finally get it out?
Harry: Originally we planned to self-release it last year but after signing to our label the plans changed. In a way it’s almost a relief to finally be able to show people. At times it was quite frustrating but it feels great to finally release it.
AH: Although you’re normally classed as a pop-punk band, from hearing the album there are subtle elements that show you’re not quite “pop-punk”. Is that something intentional?
Harry: I don’t think it would be accurate to say it’s completely intentional. Alex doesn’t sit down to write a song with the mindset that it should sound a certain way but we definitely wanted to move away from the ‘pop-punk’ label our older material attracted. Between us we listen to a vast range of music and I think other musical influences were always going to affect the writing process for the album. Overall i’d say it was of more of a natural progression than intentional.
This past 12 months has been an outstanding year for Mallory Knox. From the release of debut album 'Signals' to joining Search and Destroy Records to BBC Radio One airplay to endless shows and festival appearances throughout the UK and beyond culminating in a practically sold out headline tour across the UK at the end of 2013.
You might think the Cambridge band would be ready for a break but they’ve just entered the studio with producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters, Jimmy Eat World, Pixies, Twin Atlantic, You Me At Six) to begin work on album number two before they head out back out on the road supporting A Day To Remember.
After a jam-packed 2013, Already Heard spoke to singer Mikey Chapman and bassist Sam Douglas just before their London show last month, where they discussed their highlights from the past year, playing Warped Tour in Australia and we also reveal some exciting news to the band as well.
Already Heard: Almost a year ago we described ‘Signals’ in our review of your album as “a strong and consistent record” and that “with [your] careers depending on ‘Signals’ [you as a band] have absolutely nothing to worry about and in [our] opinion [it] may be the key to your success” and it certainly seems our prediction has rung true.
Firstly we would like to congratulate you on what has been a fantastic year for Mallory Knox. We would like to kick off this interview by revealing to you, that your album ‘Signals’ has made Already Heard’s Top Ten Albums of the Year list. Congratulations.
Mikey Chapman (MC): Well first of all thank you so much for all of that. I remember reading the review and feeling really kind of warmed by it , because it was a time that you feel kind of nervous, you are unsure how people are going to feel about your CD and you’ve put a lot of work into it. So for you guys to back us like that was really amazing and for us to be in the Top 10 is even cooler, just thank you so much for the support, it really is incredible.
AH: You are welcome. Have you found the reaction to the album a little overwhelming, or have you been able to take it all in your stride?
Sam Douglas (SD): I think a bit of both really, there are times where you have to look and go “WOW how the hell did this happen?”. Maybe like Reading and Leeds (Festivals) when we found out we were doing that it was definitely like a freak out moment. Everyone in the band just started screaming, but then there’s things like we wrote the album, we believed in it, we thought the songs were good you know, so we though if it gets in the right hands it could do something, but…I didn’t…maybe not this quick to have done some of the stuff we’ve done. So it’s been a bit of both.
Having risen to fame as the lead singer/songwriter for various punk rock outfits including Paint It Black and The Loved Ones, Dave Hause was already well established before taking his first steps into the realms of being a solo artist. His first solo show was way back in 2009, as part of Chuck Ragan’s folk and punk variety show The Revival Tour. However it wasn’t until 2011 when he released his first solo effort, ‘Resolutions’ that Dave Hause’s solo career began to snowball.
Now having toured with punk heavy weights such as Alkaline Trio, Gaslight Anthem and Social Distortion, he’s back with second album ‘Devour’. Released in October to positive reviews, ‘Devour’ is a biting criticism of the American Dream and the state of things today. As well as critical acclaim, demand for Hause has led to him playing (and selling out) bigger venues, and his current EU tour is his most monumental yet.
As said European tour draws to a close, we caught up with a slightly late and incredibly apologetic Dave Hause to discuss touring, signing to Rise Records, the new album and his picks of 2013 and 2014.
Already Heard: So for a start how’s the EU tour going?
Dave Hause: It’s been wild, really, really exciting to take some risks and play some rooms so that I didn’t want play because I thought they were too big and then most of them sold out. It’s been crazy. So it’s interesting because you have to really think about what you’re doing when people are paying for a ticket with your name on it. You have to plan your show and get sleep and water, and you just can’t fuck off to the pub.
AH: Hence you have fruit…
Dave Hause: Yeah, Jameson’s and wine too! It’s been an interesting curve to learn what to do.
AH: So as you were saying, you’ve played some big shows and you’ve supported big bands like Gaslight and Alkaline Trio, and you’ve played your own sets which are more intimate – what do you prefer doing?
Dave: It’s exciting to make the climb, I’ll be honest it’s really exciting to go from two minutes into your set no one knows who you are and at the end everyone’s clapping; that’s an exciting thing to pull off. But I think long term when you write songs and you try to make this your lifestyle you want your own audience and you want to cultivate that. So I think headlining I would prefer but I like the thrill of being thrown out at somebody’s wolves and fend for yourself.
Returning with their first album in six years, 'Balancing' sees Hertfordshire’s The October Game showcase dynamic growth and versatility with a brooding undertone throughout. Although the initial aim wasn’t to make a record, 'Balancing' documents the bands efforts over a two year period, with the end result being a focused and compelling collection of songs that each stand out by their own merit. Tracks such as 'Beg Cycle' are rich with sweeping strings, whilst lead single 'We Built This Wall To Destroy It' is a groove-centered rock number that highlights the bands pop sensibilities.
Already Heard recently spoke to Luke Williams and Nick Kozuch from The October Game to discuss 'Balancing' in more detail; the writing process, its various packages, working with Scylla Records, and more.
Already Heard: To begin with can you introduce yourself and your role in The October Game?
N: I’m Nick. I do guitars and electronic bits.
L: I’m Luke. I sing and play guitar.
AH: We know 'Balancing' is your third record, can you give us a brief history about The October Game to date?
L: We started life as a 3 piece and recorded with a session drummer/friend for our first album ‘Box Of A BIllion Lights’ (2006). We toured the arse off of that album playing about 200 gigs in the UK, Czech Republic and Iceland. In 2007 Ollie Taylor joined the band on drums and after playing lots of gigs we recorded and released our second album ‘Wildblood’. Our track ‘Concrete’ from that album did us well and got picked up and championed by Tom Robinson (BBC6 Music) and off the back of that we had some great BBC Introducing slots at some major UK festivals as well as more touring of our own. Nick Murray joined the band in 2010 playing Viola & Keys and over the period of a couple of years of demoing/playing etc we started to piece together ‘Balancing’.
AH: 'Balancing' sees you entering into various genres from alt rock to indie pop to electronica. Is this a new approach or has this been something The October Game has done for some time?
L: The ingredients are there in all 3 albums, just in different quantities. Our music has always been very varied.
AH: With such an expansiveness style, what was your mindset when you were writing this record?
N: Unlike our previous album (‘Wildblood’), which had an identity and (for want of a better word) a theme throughout its entire composition, with ‘Balancing’ we wrote each track without any particular overarching aim or guiding intelligence. We weren’t even set on the idea of making an album. Instead, we tried to give each track its own independent character and identity; to do all we could to bring the most out of each track without too much of a reference to the others we were writing. The result was that we ended up writing and demoing around 30-40 tracks that were just sitting on a bunch of hard drives. We decided to piece the album together retrospectively from what had already been composed. ‘Balancing’ is our attempt to create a record, in every sense of the word, of what The October Game were up to between 2011 and 2013.
You might recognise him from his previous band Basement, but Andrew Fisher is currently going it alone with his new project Honey Milk. Don’t expect it to sound anything like what you’ve heard previously though. Honey Milk is a much more pop-orientated acoustic solo (for now, anyway) project, which automatically distances itself from any musical style you might have began to associate with the former Basement front man.
We managed to catch up with Andrew after the release of his first five song demo (which is up for free download at his Bandcamp, I might add) just to get a little look into what the future holds for Honey Milk and also a little insight into what goes into writing a Honey Milk song.
Already Heard: Hello Andrew, could you first give us a brief overview of who you are, what Honey Milk is and how the project came about?
Andrew: Hello. My name is Andrew Fisher and I sing and play guitar in Honey Milk, currently a one-man pop project. I’ve always played guitar in my room from a very young age and always wrote songs and sang silly things about whatever was on my mind. Honey Milk is basically me trying to capture that simple carefree style of playing music in a way that doesn’t sound rubbish (I hope). I used to live in Manor Park in East London and I hadn’t had an acoustic for a while since moving away from my parents. I found one that I knew was worth a lot more than Cash Converters was asking, so I bought it and started writing songs to keep me busy and get things off my chest.
AH: You recently released a demo as a free download, were you happy with the general reaction it got?
A: I think so, yeah. It’s nice when people like the things you do. The thing I’ve noticed though, is a lot of people like either what they are told to like or what they think is cool, which is usually what they are told is cool. As long as my close friends like it then I’m happy. I like it and that’s what’s most important.
AH: How long have the songs on the demo been ‘in the making’?
A: Not long at all. I think I wrote them all at most, the month before we recorded. I write songs almost daily. I record them on my phone and the ones that stick in my head and make me wanna listen back to the recordings or play again are the ones that I wanna record. It works well that way because I’m constantly being creative, but also separating the good songs from the bad.