Interviews

INTERVIEW: Damo Fawsett of Slam Cartel talks to The Classic Rock Show

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Slam Cartel  are Gary Moffat (vocals), Terence Warville (guitar), Damian J Fawsett (lead guitar), Marc Neudeck (bass guitar), Steve Campkin (drums). The band have been busy in the recording and rehearsal studios of late in readiness to accommodate a few of the new songs ahead of some up and coming shows. We took the opportunity between rehearsals to grab a few words with their lead guitarist, Damo Fawsett, and ask about the new music.

Damo: Yes, we’ve got a new single ‘Storm Seasoned’, we’ve just finished all the final recording on it now, just put the last bits down. It’s got to be mixed and mastered and then it will be ready to go.

TCRS: How to the mixes sound so far?

Damo: Yeah, it sounds great, it’s still pretty much the Slam Cartel you know. Still in the same vein, so the die-hard fans won’t be disappointed. The people that have heard it, the rough, the lucky few that we’ve played it to have said ‘Storm Seasoned’ is a beautiful song.

TCRS: What’s ‘Storm Seasoned’ about?

Damo: It’s a love story. It’s Terry’s lyrics, so you know the guy is a poet anyway, so he writes great lyrics and he’s probably the best one to explain the story of the song. Everyone has got their own interpretation of it and I don’t want to do him an injustice by telling him my interpretation of it, but no it’s got a great vintage feel to it as well, it’s like, I’m not going to spoil it because I want people to be surprised, but it’s kind of got an early Who, Floyd type vibe to it, you know it’s a beautiful song with a kind of dark vibe.

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TCRS: You’re one of the new boys in Slam Cartel.

Damo: I’m the last one in, yeah so hopefully I won’t be “last one in, first out” [laughs]. I’ve been in the band probably about 18 months now and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve had to prove my worth, you know they don’t just take any old crap, I have to work hard to stay in the band. It’s great we’re all a good bunch of mates, we all get a long, we socialize as well, it’s quite unusual in bands these day to get along and have a good time together and we still do and that’s what it’s all about is enjoying yourself, enjoying the music you’re playing.

TCRS: Guitar-wise, what is your go-to guitar in the studio and does that find its way on stage?

Damo: For years and years I use to hate Fender Telecasters.  I just thought they were just a country and western guitar. It wasn’t until I saw a local guy that I know, a session guitarist Jeff Whitehorn, who has played for Paul Rogers and Elkie Brooks, I was chatting to him at a gig and he showed me this hollow bodied telecaster and I was really turned off by the idea of a hollow body Telecaster. You know the fact that they feedback and it was sounding like a Telecaster, he played it and it was amazing.

TCRS: A Telecaster Thinline?

Damo: Yeah. Jeff can make anything sound good, so I got a hold of one made by a company called ‘Fret King’, and played it and I use it for everything. I’ve got loads of other guitars, but the Fret King ‘Country Squire Semitone’. For guitarists that want to know what the spec is it has two humbuckers on it, and you’ve got the ability to turn it into single coils like an old style Telecaster. I’ve used in the studio with Slam Cartel recently and I use it live on most of Slam Cartel’s stuff as well. I’m endorsed by Fret King and Vintage. Vintage used to be a budget range and now they’re producing real high-end guitars and they’ve got Les Paul style that I use as well and its better than most guitars I’ve ever played including the Gibson Les Paul.

TCRS: And you’re running them through Marshall stacks?

Damo: I use to use Marshall years ago and then I went off and tried all sorts of different amps and a lot of these other amps sound great you know, Engl, Black Star, whatever, all these different things. I used a Cornford for years which sounded great as well, but there’s only one that will work in Slam Cartel and that is a Marshall. You just need that grit and the sleaze and only a Marshall can do that.

TCRS: You’ve got some more gigs lined up as part of this tour.

Damo: Last year, we talked about two rounds of gigs, you know we did a lot in the first part of the tour earlier in the year and then later in the year, from the summer on through the winter, we do like a second bout of the tour. We just announced a hand full of dates for the second part of the tour, there’s quite a few more coming in and hopefully we’ll have a few nice big support slots as well like we did last year.

TCRS: So the singles, not quite in the can yet but very close to?

Damo: Yeah

Damo Fawsett of Slam Cartel

Damo Fawsett of Slam Cartel

TCRS: Tour and dates gets lined up, what else can we expect from Slam Cartel this year? Are you likely to do some more recording or is that already in your back pocket so to speak?

Damo: Yeah, there’s no doubt we’ll go back in the studio, we’re as good in the studio as well as we are out on stage… you know if the influence is there and the will is there to keep writing, then we’ll keep doing it. We’ve got a good team we work with, we use George De Angelis (Producer) and Mandy Parnell masters our stuff as well, so you know we’ve got the right people to do the gold dusting as well.

TCRS: There may be a few people reading this who might not make the connection with the two names you’ve just mentioned and what they have probably heared on the radio.

Damo: Yeah the best way of explaining it all, the best advice I could give to our producer and the lady that a masters our recordings is just to Google them because I could go on for hours about this stuff but George De Angelis, great producer, I probably wouldn’t like to work with anyone else as a producer now, you know the guy is an absolute genius.

TCRS: He used to be Trevor Horn’s Engineer?

Damo: Trevor Horn, yeah that’s right. He knows his stuff. We’ve Mandy Parnell, she’s received a Grammy nomination. She gold dusts everything and she’s won countless awards for what she does and you probably couldn’t get better than her to be honest.

TCRS: Plenty of stuff coming up for Slam Cartel, then. Potentially an EP at some point?

Damo: Yeah we’ve got a few options, we can keep putting out singles if the demand is there. It’s something that we need to all sit down and discuss really, the way forward, we might go away tail end of the year and start writing an album. That’s the good thing about writing music and releasing music these days, if you’ve got the backing behind you and the financing, you can go and do it, but it’s something we need to look at. We may put all the singles together on an EP and put out a five-track EP later in the year or we might just keep releasing a few more singles, but there’s probably going to be a video as well. We’ve got some ridiculous ideas (Laughing). We haven’t approached anyone yet about doing a video, but we have sat and discussed it and some ideas have been muted, so needless to say the video will be as epic as the new single, it may be ridiculously epic but it will be great. We did a little live studio session a few months back at a local studio. They did a little video for us, we recorded ‘Hypnotize’ live and they recorded us doing it and they sort of synced the track and video together and it worked quite well. I’m quite proud of it, but I think you can’t really beat a good music video. Yeah, I mean basically just keep an eye on Slam Cartel on Twitter and Facebook, there’s always stuff going on and we’re always full of surprises as well, I mean a lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes, we’re always talking to people and getting offers on things and we now this is something quite high profile I’m discussing at the moment, so it’s really just keep an eye on us.

Forthcoming Slam Cartel gigs can be found here.

Slam Cartel links: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Thanks for visiting.

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
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INTERVIEW: Diff’rent Strokes for different folks. SOiL’s Tim King and Ryan McCombs talk candidly.

SO_W-P07_smallThe album “Whole” (AFM Records, 2013) redefined what Soil was all about. Ryan McCombs, having returned to the band in 2011, bringing back his trademark punch-in-the-face vocals and lyrics, matching the killer riffs and rhythms of Tim King (Bass) and Adam Zadel (guitar).

Last year (2013) following a more than successful tour with Skindred, the band returned to the USA only for Ryan to then suffer a Stroke while at home. Not unsurprisingly, Ryan’s stoicism and dry sense of humour held fast throughout this episode. His recovery has, thankfully, continued to progress well, such that the band have been able to use the unforeseen time out, to focus on their own health, family and friends. 

Soil have now made a welcome return to the UK in support of Coal Chamber’s ‘Rivals’ tour. We sat down with Tim and Ryan before they took to the stage at The Waterfront, Norwich. As usual with Soil, there’s a lot of humour and laughter in the room.

TCRS: Welcome back to Norwich. The last time we saw you in the city was with Skindred back in January 2014.

Ryan: That was a great tour.

TCRS: ‘Whole’, your last album, had certainly gained a lot of traction with the fans by then.

Tim: Yes, it’s actually done really well for us. The fans received it really well and it sold well. We couldn’t have asked for anything more in this day and age.

Coal Chamber UK tour dates

Coal Chamber UK tour dates

TCRS: You continue to move your setlist around, keeping it fresh.

Tim: Yeah, we’ve been throwing in something a little special each time we come, so it’s not the same show.

Ryan: There’s a handful of songs we have to play, otherwise we’ll get lynched afterwards! [laughs] If we didn’t play ‘Halo’, somebody would’ve definitely poked my eyes out after the show. So there’s a handful of songs you have to play, but we always try to throw in a little something different here and there depending on the length of set.

Tim: Like in this one (tour) we threw in a song off the Redefine album called ‘Pride’ and we haven’t played that in awhile [Editor’s Note: 10 years?] and we brought ‘Black Betty’, the Ram Jam cover, back in on this one too. A little something special.

TCRS: How’s your health, Ryan?

Ryan: Shit! It sucks!

TCRS: But you went through a bit a spell last year where things weren’t…

Ryan: Last time I was here, I went home and decided to have a stroke.

TCRS: How are you now?

Ryan: I’m fine, until we get tired, my speech starts to slur a bit. I get tired and I got this stupid right leg that it doesn’t let me run really, so if a bear jumps in the room real quick, all it has got to is outrun me because I brisk walk it will outrun me at this point [laughs]. But I was so lucky, the type of stroke that I had, the recovery time that I had from it, doctors were just amazed by it and didn’t understand it and so I was really blessed by the after effects were so minimal in my case… so yeah I went home, I went to bed that night, straight from getting off the plane from being over here and woke up with a stroke! But it’s been cool, because I’ve had a good surroundings, you know whether it’s at home or whether it’s the band members and stuff. We took the needed time off to make sure that I could do it without my brain blowing up. It’s just a matter of being smart about what I do and taking life in moderation, dealing with the old chest thumper and the head jelly and making sure everything is going to be fine.

TCRS: Tim, seeing Ryan the way he was, what was your immediate reaction?

Tim: It scared the crap out of me! My long term girlfriend, she also had a stroke, so I…

Ryan: My ‘Stroke buddy’.

Tim: Yeah, I mean it hit double as hard, because I had to deal with her stroke and then Ryan. But it actually kind of helped me, because I knew what she went through, so I was able to know what Ryan was going through and really try to be there as much as I could for him and figure out stuff for the band.

Ryan: Yeah he sent me a book ‘Dealing with a Stroke for Dummies’ [laughter]. I think what we really need to pay attention to though is the one common factor here, there’s two people that had strokes and Tim knows them both! [more laughter]

Tim: We didn’t really know what was going to happen to the future and we kind of looked at it as, you know, “What if it is over? We have had an amazing time, but if it’s not, we’re just going to change some things and do whatever we need to make it to where we can keep on doing it” and that’s kind of the approach we take with it.

Ryan: Luckily my time away from the band there was a couple other singers though, so if I do happen to stroke out, there are always replacements [laughs].

Tim: No we’re not coming back. When one of us has gone off the list, I think it’s time to say “Sayonara”.

Ryan: Not the way I see it, I’m getting cardboard cutouts of you guys! Can we do that next tour? I’m getting old [laughs]. Seriously tho’, one of the great things about these guys is that they go into every run with the knowledge that I need to take life differently than I use to. So when it usually comes down to sleeping I make sure that I get my sleep. They’re being mom and dad, making sure I take my medicine and stuff. Everybody is very conscious of the situation, just really helping to make sure my butt is in the quietest place in the bus and I’m getting some rest.

TCRS: Ryan, I know you’re huge Football (American Football) fan. How was the draft for the Browns (Cleveland Browns)?

Tim: They’re an awesome basketball team.

Ryan: That’s his knowledge of sports right there!

Tim: That’s my cue to exit! [laughs]

Tim: I loved it. The two players that they took in the first round, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving, were two of the three guys that I had said like a week before that I would take, so I couldn’t have been happier. First, I got to go for the first me and my brother talked about going to the draft for 25+ years and actually be there and I won my pass and I won. I’ve never won anything in my life, so I got to take my brother. So after 25- 30 years of talking about it, we were finally there, at the draft and it was a really cool experience! But I think even in the later round picks, I liked the kid from Washington State (Xavier Cooper), the defensive tackle. I couldn’t complain, even their 7th round pick to take the Cornerback out of the Cardinals…should’ve been the first round pick because he was still healthy last year. So I think they really filled a lot of holes.

TCRS: And “Deflategate“?

Tim: Man, I’m so… so tired of it. If something was right, I’d say it was right. If something was wrong, I say it’s wrong. In their (New England Patriots) case, if you broke the rules, you pay the price, it’s that simple. When you refuse to give items up, to be looked into, such as in his case, they wanted to take a look at his emails and take a look at his cell phones, text messages and stuff, and he refused to do that, to me when you refuse to show that you’re innocent, that means you’re hiding something. It’s like all these guys in sports, regardless of the team, regardless if they get in trouble for something and they pay the situation off. If you’re innocent of something bad, you want to be known that you’re innocent. At least I would want to know. If I’m getting blamed for jay-walking and I wasn’t jay-walking, I want to be known that I’m innocent of it. I’m not going to go pay somebody off to show that I’m not innocent or not give you the stuff that would prove that I’m innocent. To me, when people do that, you’re guilty, it’s done.

TCRS: Tim do you think that question has got it out of this system for this tour?

Ryan: He heard “Football” and his mind was like *Ping* [holds up a bottle of water] “Man this is the best water I’ve had in ages, this is really good water…I wonder what’s in this water, where’s this water from?”

Tim: I mean you guys may have just been talking Spanish for all I know, I just kind of shut the switch off and turned it back on.  [laughter]

Soil-TourTCRS: For Soil, obviously you’ve got this tour with Coal Chamber here in the UK, and then Europe. Straight after that, it’s back to the States?

Tim: We do the UK and then we have four European shows with Coal Chamber and then we’re going back to the States for two weeks, then we start up with Powerman 5000 on a tour of the States. So it’s just kind of like this is a proper third leg of the whole cycle [with ‘Whole’], so we actually did like three proper UK, Europe and States tours in this, so it was kind of cool to have it like that instead of non-stop tour. We’ve been out for a long time on this record.

Ryan: We had to sit still too long while I was wrestling around with the brain. These doctors are sucking my wallet out clean. We’ve got to get out of that place and get some air!

TCRS: And put down another record?

Tim: Funnily enough, right before this run, we were talking about doing new songs and stuff and throwing some rough ideas and discussing it. So we’re a little strapped for time right now because we do this and then go into Powerman, but you know definitely after that we’ll work on some new stuff. It’s kind of like the age old, it’s so weird nowadays in the business, whether you put out a few songs, put out a full length record, so we’re just going to see where it takes, see how many songs we get and more likely there’ll at least be some EP of some sort.

TCRS: Well listen fellows it’s been an absolute joy to catch up with you guys again and get to see you perform back in the UK. You’ve got a strong following here.

Tim: It’s been a blessing. The UK crowd in particular, has just embraced us from day one. It’s always fun. We were laughing earlier, we’ll come here as long as they let us and even after they stop letting us, we’re coming back to annoy the shit out of everybody.

Soil are currently touring the UK with Coal Chamber, along with the Defiled and Dope.

Official Soil links: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

UK Tour w/ Soil, the Defiled & Dope
20.05.15 UK – Leeds / Stylus
21.05.15 UK – Norwich / The Waterfront
22.05.15 UK – Warwick / Copper Rooms
23.05.15 UK – Nottingham / Rock City
24.05.15 UK – Glasgow / O2 ABC
26.05.15 UK – Bristol / Motion
27.05.15 UK – Exeter / Lemon Grove
28.05.15 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2
29.05.15 UK – Wolverhampton / Wulfrun
30.05.15 UK – Manchester / The Ritz
31.05.15 UK – London / Koko [Sold Out]

Thanks for visiting.

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

#INTERVIEW: Coal Chamber’s Mikey and Meegs on proving themselves over again

“It’s been 13 years since Coal Chamber put out a record. We all worked so hard on this music to make sure the whole album was a stellar push forward for the band and not some nostalgia trip! If you like it heavy and unique you’ll love ‘Rivals’! This record is full of crushing huge hooks and big down tuned riffs to move ya. Support Heavy music in all its forms!” says Dez Fafara on their new album.

When we eventually come to look back on this year, 2015 will be marked down and under-scored as the year in which the reformed NuMetal band Coal Chamber made a welcome return to the world stage. Not only did they return to the stage, but they came armed with a highly anticipated and stunning new album – ‘Rivals’ – released on Napalm Records.

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If you thought that Coal Chamber were just going to go through the motions and regurgitate the sound from their previous two albums ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Chamber Music’, then think again. ‘Rivals’ is truly invigorating, helped, not least, by Mark Lewis’ (Producer) deft touch in the studio and the bands’ maturity in their songwriting, as well as how they now handle their own personal relationships. The latter had undergone such extremes, it ultimately lead to the band’s break up some 13 years ago.

We caught up with Mike ‘Mikey’ Cox (drummer) and Miguel ‘Meegs’ Rascón (guitar) at The Waterfront, Norwich, on the second date of their UK tour. We began by asking about how the album was put together and the reaction to the release of ‘Rivals’.

Mikey: Yeah, like the response has been crazy! You know, we kind of just write, we don’t plan on “Oh my God that’s right”, like we tried in the past. You try to write a certain way to try to envision what people want to hear. You write it, and you’re like “Yeah, this sounds like us”. With the new record, I think a lot of it is the fact that we’ve all matured as musicians. We just got older, wiser and me and him (Meegs) spent more time on really locking in all the individual parts, but it still sounds like us.  Our Producer, Mark Lewis (who has produced from Whitechapel and DevilDriver), helped us a lot. We wanted a live, nasty, not perfect record; we didn’t sit and make everything perfect. We did Click Track on the record like we always do, but our tempos go up and down like live, you know? We tried to do it with one tempo and it sounded horrible. It sounded boring, because we’ve always been a band that pushes and pulls. When parts get heavier, we go! All the tones on the record, all his (Meegs) wacky guitar shit, we spent four days just getting drum tones alone, which is crazy! It’s a nightmare going through the process, but in the end you know it just sounds nasty. We wanted a nasty record, that’s my best term for it, ‘nasty’.

TCRS: If I can turn to Meegs – Mike’s been talking about what’s gone down in the studio, but could you explain to us what is so different between how you put this album together and for instance ‘Dark Days’ and ‘Chamber Music’?

Meegs: Well on a personal level, the comradery and the way we treat each other is obviously like night and day. Back then, it was all wacky and fucked up and that definitely kinda like penetrates into your music, you know it definitely affects your music, whether it’s bad or good, but now it’s like you know we get along. We’re great friends and on a personal level it definitely shows in the way we write and also from ‘Dark Days’ to Rivals there’s a big gap. Musically, its progressed to the better, so yeah, so just personally and musically it’s just like night and day, definitely.

TCRS: We were catching up with Dez (Farfara – vocals) earlier, and he was recalling the time all got together and listened back to the final mix of ‘Rivals’, and it was quite an emotional moment for you all?

Mikey: Yeah, I mean when you’re writing the songs… you know, we holed up in a shitty rehearsal space and just do it old school. So me and Meegs always had the vision of how it’s going to sound recorded. Other people walk into a rehearsal space and you’re just jamming this loud, it sounds like shit and you don’t envisage how it’s going to sound polished on the record. When I got that music back, even before Dez did any vocals, I used to work for Snoop Dogg and I would travel four hours total in the day, two hours in the traffic and two hours back, and I listened to it on repeat for months and months and every day I was like I can’t believe how good it sounds and it captured everything we were trying to get and the ones Dez laid vocals and I got just the rough, I was like holy shit! To this day, I can’t believe it came out as good as it did. I’m not saying we’re not capable of it, because obviously we are, but you have a vision of where it’s going to go. Sometimes you get a record and oh shit it’s not as crazy as I thought it would be, you know This song is not as heavy as I thought it would be. With this record, I was like every song, top to bottom, I was like “Holy shit! This sounds good!”. Once we heard the final – we only changed the mixes just a little bit, perhaps three or four times with Mark (Lewis), it was very emotional, because I never in a million years thought we would be sitting here, let alone do a record ever. Mark (Lewis) really helped us and every really stepped up their game. To finally get it to happen, it was very emotional. We’re really proud of the record.

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TCRS: You’re currently on tour here in the UK. You’ve certainly got some fond memories of the UK, right?

Mikey: Yeah first time we did a signing here was at the Virgin Megastore in London. I was 19 and we were there for like five hours. Got in the cab and they were chasing us down the street in the cab! I called home and I was like “Mom I’m a Beetle, I’m famous!”. I’m so famous, I’m not rich but I’m definitely famous over here.

Meegs: Definitely not rich! [laughs]

Mikey: Yeah. It’s been really good here. We’re looking at it as starting over. We have the old songs we have to play. We love those songs, but for taking that much time off you have to reinvent yourself and you have to prove yourself all over again. You can’t expect to have the same fan base as when you broke up. 13 years is a long time and a lot of bands come back after two years and don’t do shit!

TCRS: No doubt you’ll be introducing a few more new songs to the setlist, but for the time being you’ve got ‘Rivals’ and ‘IOU’?

Mikey: Yeah. We don’t want to play songs that people over here haven’t heard through someone’s iPhone recording and then post it and people think that’s how the record sounds through someone’s phone. Once this tour is over, we’re going to add four more new songs to the set.

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Coal Chamber’s Meegs and Mikey at The Waterfront, Norwich

Meegs: The fans that we do have, obviously, they’re here to see us preform the old songs. But we want to expand the fan base and have the people really hear what we’re doing now, than what we’re doing in the 90s.

TCRS: You’ve moved on?

Mikey: I think with our area of music, with all the bands that grew up with and toured with back in the day, we all turned into crazy assholes and the bands couldn’t stay together and now I think everyone is growing up…

Meegs: We’re no longer in our 20s, so it’s like you’re kind of invincible, you know, in the head space and physically in your 30, 40s.

Mikey: I mean we pretty much lived the life of 50 people, with all the shit we’ve done and experienced in travelling, that’s more than 50 people combined do.

Meegs: Yeah, like here we just became normal and just we’ve done so much that you’ve lived like a couple lifetimes, so we’re good, we’re not going to be old people going oh we should’ve done it, like “No, we did it!”.

Mikey: Yeah, we’re still a bunch of nut cases, we got our things you know… I think every musician is a fucking nut job, all of them.

Meegs: You kind of have to be.

Mikey: We all think way differently from the rest of the world and you know stuff is not realistic and you’re living in a travelling submarine, so your grasp of reality is weighed. When I get home and I do normal stuff with my son. It takes me a second to go “Oh wow! This is normal!”, because you literally in airports and throwing around and pointing in one direction and but it’s definitely a dream come through.

Coal Chamber’s tour support comes from as. These three bands are worth the admission price alone and didn’t disappoint the Norwich faithful on Thursday night (May 21st, 2015).

Coal Chamber came, saw and conquered, rounding off a splendid evening with 13 songs, all delivered with aplomb.

Take it from us, these guys are more focused than ever before…go check ’em out on tour and pick up a copy of ‘Rivals’!

UK Tour w/ Soil, the Defiled & Dope
20.05.15 UK – Leeds / Stylus
21.05.15 UK – Norwich / The Waterfront
22.05.15 UK – Warwick / Copper Rooms
23.05.15 UK – Nottingham / Rock City
24.05.15 UK – Glasgow / O2 ABC
26.05.15 UK – Bristol / Motion
27.05.15 UK – Exeter / Lemon Grove
28.05.15 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2
29.05.15 UK – Wolverhampton / Wulfrun
30.05.15 UK – Manchester / The Ritz
31.05.15 UK – London / Koko [Sold Out]

Coal Chamber band links: Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Thanks for visiting this site. We hope you enjoyed reading the interview.

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

Cancer-Bats-art

INTERVIEW: Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier talks about the new album, Reading and Leeds Festival, gigs and fans

Produced by legendary multi-platinum producer Ross Robinson (At The Drive-In, Slipknot, The Cure, Sepultura, Glassjaw) Searching For Zero is simultaneously the most melodic, yet menacing Cancer Bats release. The record incorporates the crude hardcore punk of their 2006 debut, Birthing The Giant and more metal leanings of 2008’s Hail Destroyer, while pushing the heavy hybrid sounds of 2010’s Mayors Bears Scraps and Bones and 2012’s darker Dead Set On Living to a new plateau. The choruses are hookier, the screams more savage, the riffs more vicious, the songs more powerful. This is Cancer Bats at their pinnacle – their ‘True Zero’.

We caught up with Liam Cormier ahead of their gig at Norwich UEA to get a little more insight into how the album was written and recorded, but began by asking how the current tour has been going.

TCRS:  Liam Cormier, welcome to The Classic Rock Show, and welcome to the Norwich UEA.

Liam Cormier: First time attendee to the show, but long time fan of Norwich.

TCRS: You’re here with While She Sleeps as part of a co-headline tour which began over on mainland Europe a few weeks ago.  And this will be your third night in the UK, following Birmingham and Manchester. How’s it been going so far?

Liam Cormier: So far so good.  I mean the shows have been crazy. Birmingham was packed out.  Tons of kids going off. The nice part about this tour is that there is While She Sleeps fans and Cancer Bats fans, as well as Hundredth and Oath Breaker, but everybody is sticking around for like a really good night.  Sometimes when you do you know shows people will only kinda around to watch the band that they want to watch then they take off.  Whereas this everyone is excited about the whole package and it makes for just such like a party.

Cancer Bats band

TCRS: This will be, for most of the audience that you are playing to tonight, the first time that the audience has heard tracks from your new album, your latest album, “Searching For Zero”, tell us what you have been playing and how, how has that been going down.

Liam Cormier:  It’s been going down great.   I mean we’ve been playing a lot of stuff off the new record.   I mean we definitely wrote this album with like playing it live in mind, so we were pretty excited to try out like as many of the tracks as we could, but obviously we want to still mix it up and play stuff off of all of our albums, just to have a party, you know.  So make sure that kids who don’t have the new record as yet can still have a good time.  But it’s been rad, obviously people know “Arsenic” and “Satellites” and “True Zero”, we play those three and people sing along.  But we’ve been playing like “Devil’s Blood” and “Beelzebub”,  and the response of those has been just as good.  We’ve been playing “Buds”,  people have been just like headbanging super hard so it’s been really cool to see that like the whole record is getting a response and not just a couple songs that we have on the Internet.

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Cancer Bats – Norwich UEA LCR – 24th April 2015

 

TCRS: The album sounds absolutely awesome. You seem to have drawn on energies captured on previous albums.

Liam Cormier: Yeah, I feel like, I mean with this record we definitely had like a chance to really reflect on, you know, what we had done like you said, kinda taking all of our favourite pieces from, you know, all of our past records.   But especially looking at, I mean we’re such a live band, I think that’s almost predominantly how we’re known, and we’ve  put out records that we obviously try and reflect that.  When we’re writing an album, we look at, you know like why do we put these sixteen songs like in our set list every night?   Why are these the songs that like kids always ask for? So it’s like using that almost as a jump off point for like where we are going to start writing.   Not to try and copy those songs, but to have that like okay this really works when we leave this live, or this like doesn’t work so well, this is more of a studio track.  So our goal is to have like the whole album be like you know a live set-list that we can play, so it’s like trying to like incorporate those kind of ideas of flow and like pacing in terms of like how we would even put a record together now.

TCRS: You worked with Ross Robinson, who’s worked with just about everyone who is anybody.

Liam Cormier:  Oh. Absolutely, yeah!  And then The Cure on top of it, yeah!

TCRS: How was that experience for you guys?

Liam Cormier: It the first time we had ever recorded even outside of Toronto. So for us to go so far down to like Venice Beach, California, instead of an industrial park in Toronto, it was amazing. I mean the best part about the whole experience was that we came to Ross with like a finished record; we’d been jamming it like all the songs were finished, I had finished vocals, everything was ready to go.  So then it was his input you know on how to take that the step further.  And we look at it like, we could have you know, stayed in Toronto and recorded there but this is I feel like the big difference between like “DSOL” and “Searching For Zero”;  it’s having the input of someone like Ross, who has so much experience, who has such just like a passion to like bringing out the like energy of an album of a live band,  of like a real band that wants to like,  just let forth  like aggression.  You know what I mean?  So to have all that,  but then to have someone like Ross who knows how to transfer that on to a record who is, like you said, he’s done Heavy Drive and Blood Brothers, Norma Jean, Glassjaw, so many bands that I love and respect and it’s like, okay he’s going to use all of those tricks with like our band to now like capture it on an album and be super stoked while we’re doing it. It’s just like we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

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Cancer Bats – Norwich UEA LCR – 24th April 2015

 

TCRS: Was it a pretty compact session with Ross?  Everything was mapped out pretty much before you sort of got there?

Liam Cormier: Yeah, I mean we definitely had a lot of ideas about how they wanted to approach the studio with him. One of the things that our friends in Comeback Kid had just finished recording their new album and they told us they had done a different song everyday; so they would do vocals, bass, guitar for like a different song which we really liked that idea of having like every song has its own setup of guitar bass, tones like vibe and we brought that to Ross and he was just like, “Ahhh, that’s of that’s a great idea!”  Like even though he’s got all these tricks and he knows all these things to do it like here we’re kinda even shaking things up for him.  And then on top of it we had like zero time to do with it.  We’ve always recorded in three weeks that’s just like what we know about recording albums and Ross has only ever recorded for like 6 to 8 weeks.  So, right off the bat he was just like, “This is awesome! We’re gonna cram everything that I’ve ever done into like half as much time.”   But he was really up for like that energy and what that would produce, almost like a franticness where you can’t really over think anything that’s happening. You just kinda have to go with your gut reaction on like basically everything; which we were really up for as well, like,  “Oh this is so cool!”.   So it meant that we were working like 14 hour days and we never took any days off.   We were there for a little under a month, working 14 hours a day, just like crushing it. We’d work from Noon ’til three or four in the morning every single day. And then it would be like, “All right, see you guys in the morning.”  And like Ross would go crash and like the rest his ears.  We would all pass out and then we would like wake up in the morning, go get coffee, hang out on the balcony, watch people surf, eat our breakfast and then be like laughing and making noise and that would wake Ross up.  And then he’d come down be like, “All right”. He’d like walk his dog and then it was just like back into the studio, it was like crushing all day.  It was the best vibe ever.

TCRS: And that’s certainly picked up on what’s come out on the album.

Liam Cormier: I think that’s the thing, yeah. That energy and that’s franticness I definitely think translates.  And the nice part is that I feel like people seen us play in like you know crazy venues and in these small places and you know wild shows, those are the ones that are like picking up on that energy and being like, “This makes me think of when you played like “The Mole” and like “Bath”.  “This makes me think of when you played like in Morecambe and like, “This is like when you played The Barfly in 2008” .  You know and like that kind of response from long-time fans that gets me excited cause I’m like, “Okay cool”, like  “That was the idea”, like,  “You get it”, like “Wicked!”  So yeah it’s definitely been a like awesome to get that feedback from people.

TCRS:  And 2015 is already mapping out to be…

Liam Cormier: Pretty hectic. Yeah! We’ve got  Leeds and Reading that we’re coming back for which we are super excited. The Pit is looking awesome, I’m really excited about that. We’ve known Daniel P Carter for a very long time, so we’re even like super pumped when he got like his own stage and then to like soon after be asked to play it, it’s just like the best thing ever. I think it’s going to be such a good day. We definitely have like a ton of tours that are coming up. Nothing planned for the UK yet other than Leeds and Reading but definitely like more European stuff. We have tons of e-mails every day to come to Australia and how bummed they are that they live far away from us, so we’re trying to figure that out to get to Australia straight as soon as we can. For us we love like just playing like small gnarly bars and that’s what we’ve done all over the world and we’ve been fortunate to play some great shows in Australia but for us it hasn’t been enough.   Like coming from Canada we know that there’s more than just five cities.  You know we’re used to like, in Canada there is like thirty places that you can play, and it’s not just Toronto, Montréal, Winnipeg, Vancouver, you know,  so we kind of sympathize with Australia where most tours only hit like your five major cities and then you have like 12 hours or 24 hours of country in between that have great scenes and have places you can play. So that’s our whole goal is to try, I mean we want to try and do that everywhere but I mean, it’s even like, I know the drives aren’t like that, but the same idea applies in the UK. Like we’ve done twenty six-day tours in the UK and hit like every city you know that’s why we have friends in Newquay, we have kids from Morecambe that I like, “Your show was my first show I ever went to!”  And we’re like, yeah, we get that.  I didn’t grow up in Toronto you know, I grew up an hour and a half outside of it and I went to like shows in halls and like that’s how I got exposed to punk rock and that’s how I got exposed to hard-core. It’s like,  if it wasn’t for those bands making that effort, it’s like I wouldn’t have you know been in this position right now. So it’s like I didn’t want to try and do that as much as we can in these other places.

TCRS: Liam Cormier, thanks for chatting with The Classic Rock Show. We’re looking forward to the show tonight.

Liam Cormier: No worries. Yeah! I’m so excited for tonight. I think it’s gonna be wild!

Cancer BatsLater that evening, Cancer Bats went on to take down the Norwich UEA LCR with a stellar performance, comprising 16 song setlist and a high-octane fueled delivery that rounded of the night perfectly.

There are three remaining dates on their current co-headline tour with While She Sleeps:

APR 28th – Newcastle, University
APR 29th – Glasgow, O2 ABC
APR 30th – London, Forum

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ClassicRockShow @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

INTERVIEW: Fynn and Philipp of The Picturebooks

thepicturebooks-614x521The Picturebooks are a blues-soaked German duo consisting of Fynn Claus Grabke (vocals/guitar) and Philipp Mirtschink (drums). Recently signed to the highly regarded LA psych/stoner imprint Riding Easy,they released their first album for the label, entitled ‘Imaginary Horse’, in late 2014 in the US and are currently on an extensive UK tour with The Answer to promote the forthcoming UK release of the record.

TPB-Cover-1400-pxRecorded in the same garage where they regularly refurbish and repair motorcycles and choppers (both are enthusiastic bikers), ‘Imaginary Horse’ captures a raw, rich and real energy befitting the room’s natural reverb, industrial aura and spiritual spark. More importantly, it has begun to rev up the boys’ career.

The video for the first single from the album, ‘Your Kisses Burn Like Fire’ is a sweaty, boot-stomping affair featuring a growling Grabke, a driving backbone via Mirtschink….and some beautiful scenery. It can be seen here:

It was at Chinnery’s, Southend-On-Sea, where I managed to sit down and have a face-to-face chat with Fynn and Philipp following a 30 minute set that left those who witnessed the performance breathless, hot and sweaty.

MJ: Boys, what a tremendous show you put down for us here at Chinnery’s . I’ve gotta start with Phil firstly because it looked as though you injured your hand during that set because you were sort of shaking it and holding it and, tell us what went on there.

Phil: Ah, pretty simple, I just hit the rim of my floor tom and it hurt, so… and then it’s probably not the first time, it happens every time, you know. I’m used to it.

10645213_10152717153075775_7388073654010946158_nMJ: I’ve not seen anyone hit the drums so hard since I saw Tommy Aldridge with Ozzy Osbourne!

Phil: Thank you.

Fynn: Ya. I don’t call him a drummer, he’s a destroyer!

MJ: We were talking earlier Fynn about your start to the set, and it wasn’t the first time you tell me you broke a string. Not just one but two.

Fynn: Ya two on this, the other night I had three strings, and once… I don’t know. I, well we change the strings all the time, and they were really fresh, I don’t know what’s, something’s wrong this tour with the strings. I’ve gotta check what’s going on there. I don’t know, ya it broke I think the second chord I played.

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MJ: But hey, that’s live rock and roll.

Fynn: It is, it is, you know, our saying is always a broken cable or a broken string is half of the show you know, sometimes.

MJ: Now let’s just talk a little while about your album Imaginary Horse. What is an Imaginary Horse?

Fynn: It’s a funny story. When I was a kid I had an imaginary friend, an imaginary horse called Ponpon, and that’s what the song is about. The version that’s on the album is a very short version of it. There’s a longer version, but we decided to take a little, that version a little shorter one because it just made more sense, it was much cooler to do it that way. It’s just clapping and me singing to it, and kinda get intimate, I guess that’s the right word, intimative feeling.

RidingEasylogoMJ: And the album, which is out on…?

Fynn: Our international label is RidingEasy Records, they’re in California, Los Angeles, California. And it’s licensed to Noisolution Records in Berlin for Germany, Austria, Switzerland.

MJ: Talking of things International, I hear that you picked up an American tour through your Instagram feed?

Fynn: This happens so much lately. Our first American tour we just got through Instagram, basically, because Cedric Bixler from At The Drive-in and Mars Volta, he just liked our pictures a lot, and he became a fan of the band just through the pictures. And he contacted us, he was like just the pictures look so amazing, I wanna hear something from this band. And we send him some stuff that was unreleased, it was like… two years ago now? So he got like very early recordings of our album, and he loved it so much, and he booked us like two shows in Los Angeles, and we just went there without the right visa, and it was a big fuckup, and they tried to send us back. And it was weird, they showed us private emails, it was crazy. And after these two shows, we were booked out for two months, because they were just the right people. I think Cedric must have done something, I don’t know. And ya, it was a big success.

MJ: So Phil, where are you based, because you got German heritage obviously, but are you Europe based or are you US based?

Phil: No, we are based in Europe, ya. I’m from a small town, Gütersloh in the middle of North Rhine-Westphalia, right in the belly button of Germany. We got the British air force in our hometown. So half of our hometown is Brit. So we grew up with Brits, that’s where, you know, we got our English from.

MJ: Going back to the album Imaginary Horse, it’s got a very raw and real edge to it. How did you put that album together?

Fynn: Ya well, let’s start at the beginning. My dad has a professional studio in Gütersloh where we live. It’s in the middle of nowhere, it’s like on a farm, there’s just like a forest around it. And we always hung out there and we had a practice room next door, and a motorcycle garage where we build choppers and stuff like that. And Philipp and I wrote the whole album in there and we always loved the sound. And when we went next doors in the real studio to record it, the sound just became… ya, the whole song became clean is one word, but well but not clean as in like not distorted, but normal. And we thought we wanna hear it the way we heard it in the practice room, you know, so we tried to find how we could do this. It took us a long time of course but then we found out a technique that was in our garage, we put everything out there that we could so we get more roomy sound of it, so we cut out the carpet and stuff like that, and we put two microphones twelve feet away from us and recorded everything live, and no artificial reverb on anything, this is the real reverb that was made in that room. You know, so, that was the idea.

MJ: Was the video for ‘PCH Diamond’ shot in that same garage or was that elsewhere?

Fynn: No that wasn’t in that garage; that was in Glory Motorcycles in Los Angeles. A very good friend of ours, Justin Kell, he does all the bikes for all the movies. Funny fact, he did the bike for Indiana Jones, stuff like that, and some, he does all the bikes for Tom Cruise, stuff like that. He’s the real deal but he’s a really cool dude. He skates and stuff like that, so we know him through skateboarding.

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MJ: Skateboarding, that’s a big thing with you guys.

Fynn: Ya well, I grew up with my dad being a professional skateboarder since the 80s. So we always had friends from all around the world coming to us, and me coming with them to all these places where he went to contests, stuff like that. So, I guess that’s where my American accent comes from, because we’ve always been in the States a lot. And ya that was always a good thing.

And then, when he started doing music, he was super successful doing music. He had super big bands that toured the States and all over Europe. One band was called Thumb, and the other band was called All-Stars, and he had bands back then, Eight Days, that was like in all the skate videos. So he’s always been into music. So I basically grew up in skate parks, and in a tour van. Basically in a tour bus. He always brought me on tour. And ya, and then Philipp and I met, we met in this… you go…

MJ: Over to Phil.

Phil: That like ten years ago or so we just met in our local skate park, just hanging around and whatever, skated all day, and ya. That’s our skating background I think right?

Fynn: Ya well we still do, we still skate all the time and we just try to find something to do after we’ve skated, you know? We became best friends, and then we were like what do we do now? We skated till darkness, what do we do now? So first it was like go into the pub, but then it was like getting boring at some point. And then we started getting into my attic where all the equipment that my dad still had in there, because he used to have a studio in the attic. It used to be called Cloud Scrap, or wait was it called Upstairs Studio? Because it was all up there. So there was still some equipment lying around, an old Sonor drum set, and some guitars, and that’s how it all started.

MJ: And what are the, I guess you brought your boards out over here?

Both: No.

MJ: So you’re having withdrawal symptoms?!

Phil: To be honest, when you’re on tour you’re always afraid of like, when you go skate are you gonna break your bone or whatever, so… don’t do that.

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Fynn: Ya, the show suffered from it, you know, and that, that was like the worst case scenario because at the end of the day this is what we’re doing, you know? And skating is something that’s fun and it’s cool. That’s something I learned after being sponsored, you know? I was sponsored at one point and I lost all the fun of skateboarding because I had to be at contests and stuff like that, and I quit doing that and just do it for fun, and that’s the thing.

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Phil: We don’t want to get hurt on tour.

MJ: I wanna come to the instruments that you’re using. What have you got, what’s your setup Phil on the drums?

Phil: I’ve got a Ludwig kit, with a twenty six inch kick, a bass drum, I guess ya. An eighteen inch floor tom, and I just, how do you say, rebuilt my old drum set. I used the old bass drum kit and whatever, kick drum ya. I used the old kick drum and turned it into a floor drum, the big one on the right side, it’s a twenty four inch, and I have two snares and that’s pretty much it.

Fynn: And a bell, and the bell…

Phil: And the bell, ya of course.

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MJ: And any effects on that?

Phil: Ya you listened to our record right? So all the sounds you hear live are the same sounds we used in the studio, you know? It’s live recorded, and we try to, how do you say it, we try to…

Fynn: Get that sound on stage?

Phil: Get that sound on stage there, and I have that same feeling…

Fynn: Reuse, re-reuse…

Phil: We use some triggers to get the real bass from the recording in the studio, to get the real snare sound, to get the real chain, chim, chim, what is it called…percussion.

Fynn: Ya you know we, for Philipp said, all the instruments and something you hear on the album is something that Philipp and I always work out together. It’s not like it’s just him drumming, it’s not just me playing guitar, it feels like we’re both playing it. And so we built these pits, just go into the music store and buying normal, traditional tambourines and stuff like that, just bored us at one point. And it felt like, this sounds like every other shit that’s already out there. So we started building our own percussion instruments you know, because we’ve always been inspired by Native American music and all the tribal stuff, and it never sounded like something you could buy in a music store, you know? So we were really creative…

Phil: You can do that but it’s fuckin expensive to do that so…

Fynn: Ya, you can do it, it’s expensive first of all and it’s, again the easy way to do it. So we build them ourselves.

In the beginning, it was weird because it felt like cheating, and it was like it’s not the real thing but you have to hit it hard if you want to sound it big you know? The album was recorded in a motorcycle garage, and we used the actual reverb, and just recorded the entire album with two microphones. Not like everyone else would, close mic-ing it and then all these mix tricks that everyone has. Then when you wanna put it on a stage you realise a bass drum on a stage all of a sudden isn’t in a motorcycle garage anymore, so you get the typical bass drum sound, and it didn’t sound like what we had recorded. So to be able to do that we have a trigger that actually triggers the bass drum and snare sound to sound like that, that’s all.

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MJ: It’s an awesome sound. Sounds really cool. Fynn tell us about the rig that you’ve got set up.

Fynn: Ya well, um, I tried out so many guitars and, like, from no-name stuff to all the good stuff that’s out there, and I always try to get like newer guitars because it’s not like that complicated and you can get them everywhere, and some of them are really cheap. But they always sound very plastic to me, like, I just didn’t like it. So what I did was try out all the old stuff, and it started out with the old Gibson my dad had.

We were hanging out in Los Angeles while we were recording the, and still writing the album, and I bought this very old Gibson ES125, which is an old cut-away and almost looks like an acoustic guitar. I think it’s like from the early sixties, and I bought it for super cheap from this awesome guitar store in the middle of nowhere. Like it was in Los Angeles in this street called Santa Nella, and this dude, he was a great dude, he was the weirdest dude ever. It was a funny story behind it. Anyway, I bought it for super super cheap, and basically that’s the whole sound of the album is that guitar, a very very cheap preamp, and through a custom made amp I made. It’s actually a Marshall amp that I put into an old Jennings, which basically is Vox combo, ya.

pbMJ: And, you’ve got some stomp boxes as well which you tend to tinker around with to your heart’s content.

Fynn: Ya well the thing is on the album I really just use that, but you always have to re-create it for live, you know, because our set is very dynamic, and if you just use that setup it doesn’t come across like that, it always feels like one, it’s the same loudness, you know, the whole set. So I’ve got two of these preamps to get a one louder one, and one for the other guitar because it sounds a little different. And then I have a delay where I do funny stuff with, I got a fuzz to get it much more fuzzier, what else do I have… it’s a funny thing, it’s a handmade, like a handmade preamp too. It’s a booster, it’s called the Moon Booster from a company called Redson Effects. I wanna mention this because they’re… I just found out about these and they’re super good. I got that one in my set now. I got a Fender… ya he made it for me. That’s another thing, ya he made it for me, which is… I love when it’s custom made for someone’s stuff. I got a Fender reverb, it’s like a remake of a big old Fender reverb, with like a small pedal. And then I have another thing that’s like re-creating the roomy sound that I always have, that’s over everything. Ya it just has a little room sound to it.

Another thing I’d like to mention is for this album we forbid ourselves to listen to music for two years so we don’t get wrong influence, you know? Because it happens so fast today that you listen to something new, that’s like a new band, and you’re like oh wow that’s awesome, and you end up in the practice room sounding just like that. And to not have that we forbid each other to listen to music. So all we had was Katie Perry and Lady Gaga for like two years.

And then what happened is like, so the thing why we did it, we wanted to get the raw, raw’s always a good word, a raw sound out of it. Like, what’s us without the influence of other bands, just like from now on. And we got inspired by so many other stuff that has nothing to do with music, just being in the desert in California or stuff like that, you know. That’s why sounds like PCH Diamond happened. PCH is the Pacific Coast Highway that goes along the whole Pacific coast, and stuff like that. So that was a cool experience. I just wanted to say that.

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MJ: I take it that the tour your has been going really well?

Fynn: It’s going really well, The Answer are super cool dudes, and became really close friends with them. And ya, the other band, Bad Touch too, shout out to them, ‘cos they work really hard too. So ya, it’s a cool tour.

MJ: Gentlemen, thank you very much for your time, and all the very best for the rest of the tour with The Answer.

Fynn: Well, to everybody that doesn’t know us yet here in the UK, everybody that knows us and hasn’t seen us, would be rad, we’re coming back for sure on our own tour in May!

Go visit…Like/Follow www.thepicturebooks.com Facebook Twitter IG YouTube

Cheers

MJx

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
Twitter: @ClassicRockShow
Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/theclassicrockshow

 

INTERVIEW: Bad Touch discuss their debut album ‘Half Way Home’

A Norfolk five-piece who are turning heads and going places in the industry, Bad Touch blend together elements of classic, 80’s rock with blues licks to create a powerhouse of melodic rock. Listing Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes and Rival Sons amongst their influences, they are a band who love to turn up the volume, but also infuse their songs with subtlety and melody.

It bodes well for new album ‘Halfway Home’, due out at the end of April, and we got a taste of their style when we played their lead single ‘Wise Water’ on the show last week

https://soundcloud.com/bad-touch-demo/wise-water-1/s-h6g57

The album has been a long time coming for Bad Touch as it’s been 5 years since their inception. Having started with cover songs, their set has evolved into their own material. Which they have taken the time to hone and mould into their own style. Patiently working on their own material before launching into a debut album, the result is truly impressive.

Bad Touch are currently supporting The Answer on their UK tour and prior to them taking the stage at Chinnery’s, Southend-On-Sea, last week, I sat down with all five members of the band and began by asking about the length of time it’s taken them to release their debut album.

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MJ: ‘Half Way Home’ is your debut album. It’s been a long time coming. We played the lead single ‘Wise Water’ on the show last week and I can tell you that it went down really well with the listeners.

Stevie: I’m glad that you say your listeners like Wise Water. Yes, it has been a long time coming. Well, it was just that we all wanted to make sure that, when we got this album out, we wanted to do it right. So, you know, we wanted to make sure that people wanted it. We’d done a few UK tours, and we got our name out there. So, we thought, let’s do the album because people want it.

MJ: There’s a lot of people that have seen you fellas play. They like your music and we get requests to play Bad Touch. Seeks, how’s that sound to you with the reaction that you’re getting from the album?

Seeks: It’s lovely. It’s great that people are asking for us to play our own music. It’s fantastic. I mean I don’t know how anyone else would feel about it, but just for people wanting our music being played is the whole point we do it, you know?

MJ: Let me turn to Bailey. What is it you’re enjoying most about this album?

Bailey: I’m loving it. We spent ages writing it, recording it. And it’s now actually out there for people to listen to. That’s nice to actually hear them say that they’re enjoying it as well.

IMG_3459MJ: George, tell us about the songwriting on this album. Have you all taken a share of responsibilities?

George: We sort of write each song in a different way. Like on some of them one person might have written 90% of it, but other songs you might just get a guitar riff and then we all sort of collaborated together. But, in general, it’s hugely more or less one person has the germ idea, and then we all take it away, and then we all write our own parts to it. And lyrics can be done in one night or one year, you know?

Stevie: That’s one of the things I love about being in Bad Touch the best is getting everyone else’s ideas and going, “Wow. That sounds awesome. I’d have never have thought of that.”

MJ: Rob, you’re obviously testing out the new songs on this tour?

Rob: On the set at the moment is all the new stuff from the album. There’s no sort of old tracks from the old EP. But, we’ve got a couple more experimental tracks on the album where we sort of do our thing where it goes on for a little while. They’re blues-y, slower. So, we try to keep it more upbeat with the set that we’re doing. But, obviously, we’ve got half an hour set, so we sort of want to get on there, do our thing, and then come off. So, it’s going well at the moment. The Answer guys, they sort of pick the particular tracks they like, and they’ve been really cool about it. So, it’s all going well.

MJ: And the feedback, Stevie, on this tour with The Answer has been really positive.

Stevie: Yeah. It’s lovely to have all these people saying how much they’re enjoying it, both the album and the live performances and stuff like that. I mean, but we take criticism where criticism is due just like we take credit. We’re quite aware that we’re not breaking any sort of boundaries with regards to musical experimentation. We’re quite happy doing what we do and it being feel good, rock music, you know? I think too many times people are caught up in it and the brains behind it and think, “Oh, we’ve got to be new. We’ve got to…” It’s like, if it sounds good and you enjoy playing it, then that’s all that matters. And, if people enjoy it, then even better, you know?

badtMJ: You seem to have found your feet with this album.

Stevie: Oh, that’s very kind of you. No, we definitely wanted to make sure that you say that. The thing with this album, which I’m most happy is that it sounds like us. If you came to see us and bought the album, you wouldn’t get the album home and go, “This doesn’t sound like them.” It captures us or what it is to be Bad Touch, you know?

George: In the album, we’ve tried things on the album that is different, but that’s the whole point of an album. But, it’s not like we’ve gone synthesizers, and electric drum kits, and things. It’s basically a five-piece rock band doing what they do, you know? And we did everything on the album.

MJ: Well, we’re going to leave it here because you’re off to sound check. Thanks so much for chatting with us on The Classic Rock Show. Last few words from you guys for the fans out there?

Seeks: A big thank you everyone and to your listeners for the support.

Rob: Yeah. Thanks a lot everyone. You’ve been great.

George: Yeah. Keep coming to the gigs and keep rocking!

Bailey: If you haven’t heard the album yet, we hope you enjoy it.

Stevie: Just want to say thanks for listening and, even more so, thanks for wanting us. And thanks too to The Classic Rock Show for putting us up.

Bad Touch on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeInstagram and www.badtouchrocks.co.uk

Cheers

MJx

Website: www.TheClassicRockShow.co.uk
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INTERVIEW: The Answer’s Micky Waters on their new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’

imageThe Answer’s new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’, out on Napalm Records, crashed into the UK charts with their highest chart placing ever. Making number 44 in national UK Album chart, Number 1 in the Rock Chart and Number 6 in the Indie Album chart.

the answerFeaturing larger-than-life riffs, unforgettable melodies and a return to their raw bluesy roots! ‘Raise A Little Hell’ presents a collection of hard hitting anthems that point to the spirit of AC/DC and Thin Lizzy. The album is a follow up to the critically acclaimed 2013 release New Horizon and was preceded by their first single “Red”, roundly given the thumbs-up by our listeners.

“Red” was penned by Nashville writers Neil Mason (The Cadillac Three) and Tyler Bryant and was one of two previously penned songs that The Answer very much wanted to record as part of the ‘Raise A Little Hell’ album and to give their own unique sound to. The single video was directed by Darren Lee from Maverick Renegade Productions and features uniquely designed ‘Monster’ costumes created by Belfast based Christine Boyle whose design credits include Game Of Thrones and Universal’s Your Highness.

The new album, produced by Spanish producer Guillermo ‘Will’ Maya and recorded in his Madrid studio, September 2014 was also mixed by Chris Sheldon (Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, Garbage) in London, October 2014. Cormac Neeson from the band commented:
“We’re delighted to announce our new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’. This is a special record that reflects a return to the hard ass blues rock ‘n’ roll we hold so dear. This album truly showcases who we are and the best of The Answer in full flow. We can’t wait for you all to hear it!”

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Following on from their single release “Red”, the Irish Rockers have now released a brand new lyric video for the track “Long Live The Renegades”. The band commented on the song:
“‘Long Live The Renegades’ is the opening track on our new album ‘Raise A Little Hell’. It’s a bit of a rocker and we tried a slightly different production technique on this track by keeping it very dry. The song is about just doing what you do best and having a bit of a bunker mentality. This is our fifth album and we’ve gone back to our earlier blues and roots style with what we think are harder rockin’ grooves. Hope you like it as much as we do!”

Earlier this month (March 2015), The Answer embarked on a 40 date headline UK and European club tour followed by a series of summer festivals and soon to be announced US tour plans!

We caught up with Bassist Micky Waters down at Chinnery’s, Southend-on-Sea, where they performed later that night to an audience who were sufficiently familiar enough with songs from the new album to sing along to them.

MJ: Raise A Little Hell. It’s number 1 in the UK album charts! Congratulations!

Micky: Thank you, we’re really proud of it, actually, this record to be honest is the first we’ve been in the studio without an agenda at all. We just really had a bunch of really fresh ideas, some cool riffs, some chorus ideas, and trusted in each other’s I guess ability to put the songs together on the spot. And that was the vibe. There were a couple of songs that were almost there but even they were kind of rewritten in the studio, just soaking up the atmosphere of the four of us being up in the mountains in the middle of Spain hanging out there. Just getting stuck into it, you know?

MJ: A different approach for this album, then?

Micky: Yeah, it really is. Honestly we really don’t care anymore. We’re just doing what we want to do. In the past we had been told, “You’re too Led Zeppelin or you don’t have a song to get on mainstream radio”. We were told all these things. We listened to all those things. This time around we’re like you know what? We’re all in our early 30s now, we don’t really care, just going to go in the studio and do exactly the kind of record we can get off on. And that’s the result of it.

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MJ: This is your fifth album. It must be very pleasing for you guys to get the album sounding in such a way that everybody throughout the band is pleased with it.

Micky: Yeah this is probably the first one that hasn’t been dented by being passed along, demo a song, then listened to it, and re-demoed with it, tweak it, tweak things, add things, take things away, this one everything that you hear is fresh. The first idea that was written that was put down, that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, we’re proud of every record we’ve ever done. We put our heart and soul and a lot of work into every single one of them, but this one in particular is a lot freer. There’s a lot more expression on it I think.

MJ: And it’s come easier this time around?

Micky: Yeah it came so quick. Was only I would say a month, two months, we finished tour last April/May time, and basically took a month to chill out, and then stuck it in and we were finished by September.

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Micky Waters

MJ: And working with Will Mayer, you’ve known each other for quite some time now.

Micky: He’s a very old friend. Again he knows us guys as musicians and personally better. He’s just very good at getting a performance out of us. And creates an atmosphere that is funny and vibey. He’s a very funny guy. He keeps us going and laughing. You know? He’s very creative. We were making Talk Boxes and setting up a strange kind of, setting up the Ampeg flight case and putting a beater on it to get a sound. Pots and pans and everything….trying everything and recording it to see what would happen. We’ve never done that before. So lots of creative things going on all the time.

MJ: “Red” has been very popular on the show.

Micky: Going down great every night. Not that it surprised me, but it’s actually going down a lot better than I thought it would. Last night, in Liverpool, Cormac was in the front row. It was St Patrick’s Day, and he handed round some whiskey and little glasses to the front row. And we started playing that song. Had a bit of a groove going. The whole place was going off. It was really good fun!

MJ: Tell us about you’ve been evolving through this tour.

Micky: Again, this tour has been really…we just want to refresh everything. We believe we’ve got strong material now that we can replace some of the older songs and create a different show for our fans to come to and I have a chat with our fans every night and actually thanking me for replacing and refreshing the set. It’s a different vibe, you know?

10995297_10153569539371102_1033716420126972622_oMJ: You’ve been ably supported by Bad Touch and The Picturebooks on this tour.

Micky: Great bunch of lads. The Picturebooks have got a really interesting sound going on. Really interesting set up. The Bad Touch guys really have their stuff together. More than most bands that have played with us before. They’re really tight, really good musicians. Pleasure to have both of them on board, to be honest.

 

MJ: Other than rounding off this rather extensive tour, what else have The Answer got in store for us in 2015?

Micky: This is really the warm up, we finish the UK, then we go to Europe until mid-May. And then we do a couple of festivals, couple of really good ones including Hellfest, in France, which is in my opinion the best festival in Europe. Pretty awesome lineup there. Really excited about that. Airborne going right after us and we know those boys pretty well. Going to be a good laugh. We’ll all be beer drinking at dawn that day. And then we’re off to the States for six weeks to tour. Some shows with Whitesnake and a lot of shows by ourselves. So it’s, you know, that will take us up to August, then after that who knows. I kind of take it one day at a time to be honest.

MJ: Well, Mickey thanks ever so much for sitting down with us today. You’re going to be running off very shortly for a sound check. Last words for the fans out there?

Micky: Thank you very much for supporting us. If you haven’t gotten it already, go get our “Number 1 Rock album” Raise a Little Hell…stick it on. turn it on really loud and enjoy.

MJ: Doesn’t that sound good saying “Number 1 Rock album”?

Micky: (Laughs) It does, actually. Cheers!

The Answer are on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramOfficial Website.

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