They say that when the phoenix bursts into flames you should not worry, as it won’t be long until they rise from the ashes reborn and ready to live life again. So when The Family’s vocalist Matthew Baxendale and Bassist Dom Bass saw that their old band, Dead Harts, was burning out, they started to make plans for their rebirth.
“We kind of knew Dead Harts was coming to an end when we were out on tour with Stray From The Path back in 2015,” Bax explains. “We had toured a lot and things were changing within our personal lives. I remember Dom and me thinking about doing something else with music and we started thinking of the angle that we would want to pursue. Grunge as a genre was always something that we have loved, especially growing up. It’s always been a style I’ve wanted to do but with Dead Harts going on, we didn’t really have time to do anything else. So now we have the chance.”
From those early brainstorms, The Family was born. As Dead Harts started to say farewell and disband, the cogs were already in motion. They made sure that every base was covered before revealing any plans because “the hype usually dies if you aren’t fully prepared.” This gave the four-piece, completed by guitarist Josh Lowe and drummer Ben Talbot, the chance to really nail down what they represented, and it’s a concept very close to home.
“We wanted to make sure that we had a product and a concept that everybody could be involved in. Basically, everyone is The Family. We wanted to incorporate everyone who is involved, be that us or the management or even the fans and producers that we use, into the world that we have created.”
This concept is one that feels like something that can become bigger and better with time. A whole new movement of sorts where everybody plays their own part and help shape the future of the band. It’s a community feeling that many genres pride themselves on, but one that Dead Harts often struggled to be a part of.
“I never really felt like Dead Harts fitted in anywhere,” Bax admits. “We learnt how cliquey the hardcore scene is the hard way. Some hardcore kids fucking hated us and some loved us. Some metalcore kids liked us and some didn’t. It’s easy to section your mind off from that while you’re doing it, but now we can start to open our minds a little more. With The Family we want to, if you will get more commercially viable in where and with whom we play. We don’t want to close any doors; we just want to open even more.”
It’s definitely the style of the music that The Family plays that is the biggest change within the ranks. For many, the culture change could be tricky to get the old cranium around, but according to Bax it’s been a much smoother road than expected creating their debut EP. “To be honest it’s really quite hard to write hardcore. You can’t just have the conventional verse-chorus-verse-chorus. You have to pull out a fat riff every few seconds. With this style of music, it’s an awful lot easier to write. You can structure it in a much more digestible way aside from it just being all out fucking mayhem.”
Based on the songs that make up ‘Welcome To The Family,’ you can tell how in sync the band’s current set up is. Paying respect to the classic grunge sound that dominated the 90’s but also managing to sound fresh and relevant, this is a band indulging in the opportunity to play without boundaries or pressure. It seems that not having to live up to what people expect of them is working wonders for their happiness too.
“To be honest I have always liked this sort of music more than hardcore,” Bax shrugs. “We always just loved to play hardcore music in the live environment. Apart from playing live, I didn’t really like any other aspect of the hardcore scene. I can honestly say that what we are doing now is something I have always personally enjoyed more, and the shows that we have played so far have been so much more fun and laid back. Now we just want to have a good time and make sure that everybody else is having a good time too. That’s all that really matters.”
So with the world at their feet, an unquenchable thirst for progression and the vision to bring together every element of their set up into one huge group fuelled on respect and companionship, the next couple of years could be absolutely massive for The Family. Best get nicely acquainted now then.
‘Welcome To The Family’ EP by The Family is out now.
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)