Category Archives: Interviews & Features

King Kraken: ‘We fit in every little genre which is great!’

Wales’ own King Kraken sat down to chat to us ahead of the release of their new album, talking about the recording and writing process as well as their plans for the future. Check it out below!

Check out our review of the album here.

So firstly, how would you describe your sound?

Yeah, it’s a bit of a difficult thing to describe to be honest. There’s so many different influences in there that it’s difficult to nail down one sound. Like the second song on the album, the middle part, is something completely different to the rest of the song. I don’t think we’re just one genre of music.

We sort of drift between everything to do with rock and… we’ve been told thrash, which I don’t really agree with. There’s just elements of different genres in there and it’s difficult to pinpoint what we are I suppose. We fit in every little genre which is great!

I suppose the main way we sound is a heavier version of Clutch, Mastadon, Black Stone Cherry, a mix of all of three!

What was it like to write and record the new album?

We came out of the dreaded lockdowns and said, right, we need to get back on it. Because we live so far apart from eachother we couldn’t actually get together during lockdowns. We had lost of different bits of songs we’d written and used them as building blocks to start off the album. We’re really picky writers and we just tear everything apart so it’s quite a long writing process. It always works out for the best! It was an enjoyable process and we had vision of just getting it done. We had a date that we wanted to get it done by and we did it. It just kinda flowed to be honest.

I imagine there’s not a full story to the album? I saw you’d written a couple of tracks a bit ago?

Yeah, the last two tracks of the album are off an EP that was actually recorded just before Covid became a thing. And there is one other track that we basically finished before lockdown. Then the rest were after the long gap really. I think one of them only got finished about a week before we went into the studio!

That was ‘Green Terror’ that was! That was the last track we wrote for the album. Mad!

I assume you have a bit of a tour pensilled in off the back of the album?

There’s lots of stuff that we can’t actually talk about at the moment, but yeah, we’ve obviously got Call of the Wild, Wildfire fest in Scotland. I really want to go to Europe this year, I really hope we can pull something off there! We did Ibiza last year and that was awesome, a wicked experience. Even if it was a bit of a nightmare getting out there!

But yeah, there’s lots of stuff going on in the background. The beginning of ’23 has just been mental. Every day we’ve been doing something. I’m not used to this! The amount of interviews we’ve had to do is mad. It’s just been so many Zoom calls, we’ve been loving it! We wouldn’t have it any other way really, it’s been a hell of a ride. Ever since the album was announced in October everything’s been really cool.

What do you think to the music scene at the minute?

The Welsh music scene is absolutely kicking off at the moment. The Welsh bands are taking off and it’s amazing to watch the bands that were the next stage up jumping up another step. Those Damn Crows, for example. They’re selling out all over the UK and we love it. We’re so proud of them!

I don’t think the scene as a whole as recovered. There’s still a lot of venues that have gone under, there aren’t as many places that we can play. But it’s definitely getting better. Especially here in Wales. Covid seems to have done Wales an enormous amount of good to be honest, there are so many bands coming out of here.

But the weird thing is we have a bigger following in England than we do in Wales! It may be because we played our biggest gigs, Hammerfest last year on the main stage for example. It’s getting there, slowly.

What’s it like being added to the NWOCR scene?

It’s a bit mental isn’t it? None of us really actually like that genre so it’s kinda funny really. But being incorporated into a scene is cool as it means we get gigs in that scene. And I don’t think we’re any more out of place in that scene than we are in the metal thing either.

I think that because we have the ability to cross genres we have that ability to be on different bills wit all sorts of genres. We love that!

Have you got any plans for the next few years?

There’s definitely… play Download, play Bloodstock, play all the big festivals. We’re getting better slots and it’s just about working your way up the levels. I think this album has definitely got us off of the toilet circuit so to speak.

As for album two, we’ve definitely talked about it. We haven’t got any songs written for it yet because we really want to focus on this album. We put a lot into this album. For the next year it’ll probably be a split between touring for this album and writing for the next. Maybe not next year but the year after. It would definitely be nice to capitalise on everything with this album!

Dallas Dwight of The LA Maybe: ‘They’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!’

We were at Winter Rocks Festival last weekend (check out our review of the weekend here) and had the pleasure of chatting to Dallas of the amazing LA Maybe. Unfortunately the video and audio quality both suck as we were shooting in the smoking area, so I’ve painstakingly typed it all out, just for you! Check it out below!

So this is the first stop of the tour, right?

First stop of the tour, yeah. It was our first time out here at Call of the Wild earlier this year, did a little run then and now we’re back out! We’ll be here for most of December.

And have you seen any differences in playing here as opposed to the US?

Yeah, people seem to like us more over here! So we like it over here, we’ve had a blast. As far as rock fans, they’re rock fans, so we feel right at home!

And how did the whole UK shows comes about? I Know Raz (UPSTGD) got in touch?

Raz just discovered our album and then contacted us and we just kinda went from there. That would have probably been right before the album came out in 2021, so we were talking to him for about a year setting up that first time, and now we’re back. And it’s going really well!

And you guys just put out a single, right?

‘Down to Fight’, yeah! It came out when we were on the Kiss Cruise which was Octoberish. It’s gone well so far, the video was a lot of fun to make. It was crazy, we got to chainsaw through a couch on fire and all sort of stuff. We’re really happy with how it’s turned out.

And is it the start of another album or?

We’re gonna do singles, and it’ll lead up to an album! All the singles will be on the album and it started with this one! Probably be the end of next year for sure. We’re excited about that too!

Have you got much else planned for next year?

Yeah, we’ll be at home, hiding away money and figuring out where to spend it. Back here maybe or a tour at home. Fortunately in music there’s a lot of places your money can go these days. I don’t know if we’re going to come back here next year, it’d be awesome but I don’t think it’s on the cards, so to speak. But in 2024 I’m sure we’ll be back!

And you’ve started up a podcast, right?

We did, earlier this year! It’s called Your New Favourite Band. We’ve been highlighting bands we like as well as recap what we’ve been doing like the Kiss Cruise and stuff.

Oh yeah, how did that come about?

The Kiss Cruise, we actually won the contest for it! On there with Sebastien Bach and a bunch of other great names. It was super fun. A real once in a lifetime experience. Hopefully not just once though!

And speaking of, do you have a dream tour lineup you’d want to be a part of?

I mean I’ve always loved Guns N’Roses so that’d be fun! But then I don’t know how many years they have left in them. But that’d be a dream for sure! But also all the younger bands we’ve been playing with would be awesome. Dirty Honey, Black Crows, that’d be good. Any and all people!

And finally, what’s it like being adopted into the NWOCR scene?

Yeah, it’s really nice! It’s really vibrant over here. It feels really good to be back over here and be a part of this whole family of it all. It’s a lot of the same people which is all good.

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Credit to the wonderful Mark Ellis for the photo.

Black Mirrors: ‘If we continue to behave like we are doing now we might disappear!’

We had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with rising leaders of the new grunge movement, Black Mirrors. Having already reviewed their most recent album (which you can find here) we were excited to talk to them about it! Check it out below!

Firstly, how would you describe your sound?

I would say it’s a mixture of a lot of different things. Like we love music from the 90s but in the 90s a lot of different genres just appeared. Look at bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, Soundgarden. Even bands from the stoner sound like Queens of the Stone Age. Rage Against the Machine as well! A lot of great bands just appeared at that time, and I’d say our style is influenced by all of these bands. Bands from the early 90s which we really really love.

And the album just came out, it seems to be going down well?

Yeah, we’re having some very positive feedback on it, it’s really cool to hear!

And what was the writing/recording process like? Did you get caught out in Covid?

Yeah. It was pretty special for us because we did everything remotely with our producer, since he wasn’t allowed to come to Europe, and we couldn’t go to the US. So we did everything remotely through Zoom and stream. And yeah, we actually wrote the songs during the lockdown because… we didn’t do anything else! So we thought yeah, let’s be creative. The best things we can do is music, you know. So we started to write songs. I started to write songs as well which is pretty different to the first record because most of the ideas came from Pierre.

So basically for this one I added some ideas, we worked on it with Pierre and we started to work on the songs with our producer with a dual acoustic/lead guitar and vocals. Then with the whole band and then in the studio together.

And is there a theme running through the album? Or is it more a story per track?

We didn’t think about it as like, let’s do a project like The Wall, like a rock opera. But the thing is it’s true that after a while it was kind of obvious that the album was about how we just change and destroy the earth. How we’re leaving this planet and how humans are just destroying everything. That’s why we chose this title. It has different levels of meanings. The first one is very obvious, like at some point we’ll all be dead, so let’s do something nice between now and that time.

But you could also think about it like all the human beings; if we continue to behave like we are doing now we might disappear.

And the last way is that looking at not just human beings but all the living things on the planet, we are just one. One big thing. And it’s something that we should start to understand as people, to be like we share the same thing and the same energy, and we should fight for all the living beings, not just ourselves.

I imagine it’s quite cathartic to work through some of these issues through song?

Yeah, it’s something that you want to do as an artist, I guess. It’s our own reflection, our own vision on how it is now. A song like ‘Ode to my Unborn Child’ is really really deep for me and personal. It’s the most personal song I’ve ever wrote. It was like, we are now at an age where we’re thinking if we want kids or not. The whole thing was like, do we want kids on this world? It’s a world that I’m angry at, and I’m angry at myself too to be part of this world and this system. It’s a bit difficult and I’m struggling to live with that, daily. So it’s like, do I want any kids to feel the same thing that I do. So this song was almost a mourning process for me.

I imagine you’re doing a tour off the back of the album?

Yeah! Nothing is announced yet because we’re waiting for a good opportunity. The thing is this post-Covid situation is kind of tricky, it’s not that easy, especially compared to three years before. But yeah, we have something on the way and we’ll announce it in the next few weeks.

Have you had an issues setting up the tour?

Well, we can definitely feel that it’s different than before lockdown. Especially with ticket sales; now people are waiting till the last minute to buy the ticket. Or you have to pick between a lot of shows that you want to go to.

Also, the price of gas. It’s really expensive now. If you tour with a van or a bus it’s a big, big difference. Multiplied by two even, now. It definitely effects bands like us!

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The New Roses: ‘There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have come up with myself!’

Hard/classic rock band The New Roses put out their much-acclaimed new album, Sweet Poison, last month (check out our review of it here). We managed to sit down with frontman Timmy Rough to talk all about it, from the writing process to their touring plans. Check it out below!

You just put out the new album. What was it like to record it?

Yeah. So, every song on the record actually came to life during the lockdowns. The very first song sounded really terrible because we were dealing with all the frustration, it was really sad stuff. Nobody felt anything listening to them. We didn’t feel like making an album back then, all the material just made it worse.

So, I wrote a song called ‘The Usual Suspects’ and after that everyone was really engaged and really wanted to do something. We had the right motivation and vibe for the record. After that I wrote maybe 60 songs and we took the time and hooked it down to the last 11 songs that were lasting. Then we took all them and recorded them.

And what about those other 49 songs? Do you think they’ll ever see the light of day?

Yeah, maybe! You know a lot of them are just shit because for every good song I write I write maybe two or three shitty songs. But a couple of them are really good! They were a little too close to the new record though and we don’t want that. Maybe we’ll take them out when there’s enough space between the new stuff and the Nothing But Wild record and we can just blend them in, I guess.

You said last time we talked that it was the first time you’d written with the rest of the band. How was that compared to writing on your own?

It was way more fun. Still, the initial ideas come from me but this time everybody participated a lot more than we used to do it. Maybe that’s maybe because we had a bit more time; we could try things out and go back and forth a little. I guess you hear that on the record, everybody’s input. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in there that I wouldn’t have come up with myself!

Is there a main inspiration or sound to the album?

We recorded at the same studio that we recorded all our other records in, so it’s just a little improvement but the same foundation of our sound. Every record we make we’re scratching stuff away, carving it away. You try to distil it down to a point where there’s just 100% necessary stuff. This record is really the most we’ve done that. It’s pretty much exactly what we play live. It was much easier to bring those songs to the stage this time because most of the songs are just two guitars, two vocals, bass and drums.

The other inspiration, the main topic, was not to bitch. Not to complain or take the victim role. We wanted to stand up for ourselves, stand up for our audience and give them a good time and demonstrate some strength and some faith. That was the main goal for the record.

Have you got any highlights or stories from making the album?

You know at first it was very difficult because we couldn’t get into the rehearsal room together. We always had to send tracks around and everybody recorded their stuff at home. We’d always meet in Skype or Zoom meetings and talk about the recordings. At first it was really weird because the songs were coming to life but we weren’t playing together. But when it finally did it was really weird. We all knew the songs so well, but we’d never played them together. But when it happened, and fortunately it did happen before we went to the studio, so in the end we recorded in the studio like we used to do.

That was very fortunate for us, we were afraid we would have to record and create the whole record without even once being together. But that didn’t happen. So, when we finally got together it felt really energetic and really cool to get the stuff recorded together.

And I assume you have a big tour planned off the back of it? There are some UK dates, right?

Yes sir! It’s gonna be December. London on the 1st, Cardiff on the 2nd and Sheffield on the 3rd. Winter Rocks festival is the Sheffield date. I’m really looking forward to it, it’s been a long time. I think late in the Covid year we did a festival in the UK, we did Call of the Wild, so it’s been too long! It’s gonna be fantastic!

And I assume there’ll be a bit more of an expansive tour coming in the new year?

Yeah! So, at the moment we’re on the German tour and we’re playing all our important German cities. Then after that we’re in the UK. Early next year we’ll be in France and then we’ll kinda see how winter goes and see how the Covid thing is gonna be. As soon as we’ve got a bit better of a vision we’re gonna be all over the place!

I imagine there’ll still be a hint of writing going on, too?

Hell yeah, that’s what I do. I’ve got my notebook, my scratch book with me. I keep on collecting stuff right away. It’s what I always do. When touring is done I’ll take everything out and lock myself up in a small room and I go through everything I wrote down and start making songs out of that nonesense!

Marco Mendoza & Bad Actress Rock Real Time Live!

A true legend of the classic rock scene after playing with the likes of Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Journey and many more, Marco Mendoza returned to his solo project earlier this year, bringing out an album and announcing an extensive tour. Taking along the phenomenal Bad Actress along with him on the UK leg of the tour, it was set to be a fantastic couple of weeks! We managed to head along to Chesterfield’s legendary Real Time Live last night to catch the show in person and chat to both bands. Check out what we thought below!

After a slightly late start, Bad Actress take to the stage to much fan-fair. And, to put it simply, they tear the stage a new one. I’ve not seen a band so young have such stage presence, attitude and energy for a long time. In fact, scratch that. I haven’t seen a band of ANY age have this much of those qualities in a long time. The band tour that stage up from the moment they got on it to the moment they left. That sort of performance seems reserved for just a few medium sized bands nowadays, so to see it in such an intimate venue from a younger band is fantastic.

They ripped through a full set of their own glam/sleaze tracks, that a lot of the audience seemed to know and enjoy. Every member of the band shone, from the tight rhythm section to Vinnie’s amazing vocals to the frankly insane leads from Chick. All of their talent blends well into their combined songwriting, too. Tracks like ‘Outta My Head’ and ‘High-Speed Heartbreak’ are firm fan favourites and sound if anything better live than they do on track. These guys are gonna be MASSIVE in the very near future, and I can’t wait to see them play to packed out, huge crowds.

When asked about what being on the tour with Marco was like, Chick and Lui had this to say:

It’s been really good actually. He’s a really supportive guy. This is his second time taking us out. We’ve got him in the van actually for this tour! We just brought ourselves a new van back in July and kitted it out with like seats and a table. It’s got nine seats so we’ve got all of his three in too. It’s all good craic getting to know each other! We had to come over from Swansea this morning; it was a long drive but it was good fun!‘.

Then the main man himself took to the stage. The anticipation in the air was palpable, and as soon as Marco Mendoza and his band ripped into the first few notes of the lead single of New Direction, ‘Take it to the Limit’, everyone cut loose. From the crowd singing along and dancing to the band’s high energy, the whole room kept the buzz high.

From there, Marco and co ripped through his back catalogue, playing the very best of his solo stuff, alongside a few cheeky highlights from his time in Thin Lizzy and other covers. Whether it was Thin Lizzy, Stevie Wonder or even Plastic Ono, all were fantastic. Heck, bringing Vinnie and Chick out at the end to jam ‘Boys are Back in Town’ with them was amazing, and went down a storm. However, his own material arguably went down even better. Tracks like ‘New Direction’, ‘Sue is on the Run’ and ‘Sweetest Emotion’ were clear crowd favourites, even more so than some of the Lizzy classics.

Check out our previous interview with Marco here.

Much like Bad Actress, each of the three members got to show off their incredible talents for their instruments, too. Honestly, this felt like a set for the musicians in the audience. Between the extended instrumental parts in a few songs, drum and bass solos and even some beatboxing/scatting from Marco, there was plenty to love even when there were no vocals at play.

When talking about his recent approach to touring, Marco had some very candid words to say:

We’re out there making a difference. What’s going on now with the state of mind of the fans and the music industry alike, worldwide, is that people are very apprehensive, very concerned. They really think about it twice, buying that ticket, going out to that show or supporting that venue. I’m here as a little reminder to say that if we don’t make a difference, it’ll all go. We’ve seen it, the past year or two, some of my favourite venues here and in LA and New York and everywhere, they’re disappearing.

So, something to think about folks; please make an effort to show up when your local bands are playing, national or international, and support the local venues. Without them, there’s no place to play! Whenever you can, make a difference‘.

And check out our review of New Direction here.

So, as I’m sure you can tell, it was one hell of a gig. Both bands are on a roll currently, both live and on track. They still have plenty of stops left on the tour, too, so if you can make it down to any to them I would very much urge you to do so. You won’t be disappointed!

Burridge.: ‘Wow this is gross, let’s do it!’

Alt rock singer/songwriter Burridge. recently released her second EP, Here Are Your Words (read our review of it here). We got to speak to her about it, alongside her plans for the future. Check it out down below!

How would you describe your sound?

I would say it’s just generic angry girl rock. I don’t know. I’ve always struggled with… you know when people are like ‘oh, my band is this genre’, I don’t really understand strict genres. A lot of the music I listen to crosses over so many genres. Or maybe I’ve just not got a very good ear for them! But yeah, I’d just say it’s generic angry girl rock.

The EP came out recently, it seems to have gone down well?

I think so! I’ve had some good feedback and some good streaming numbers which is apparently what it’s all about nowadays! So yeah, I think it’s gone down okay!

And is there a specific story running through it?

So there kind of is and isn’t. There wasn’t meant to be. But my first EP, if you listen to it from start to finish, is kind of a journey from me being early 20s, discovering the world and realising God, this is an experience. Then with this EP I’ve not released in order of when I wrote the songs, but the whole thing is me getting to grips with ‘okay, life is not always great, how are we going to work it out’. So, there is a story, but it isn’t linear, it’s kind of everywhere. But then so is life, so it’s fine!

And do you use session players, I assume?

So my producer, Sean Kennedy, plays everything. He’s a genius. I can’t ever thank him enough. I’ve worked with him since I was 22, so like nine years. I’ll go in and Ill hum a tune or I’ll take my guitar and I’ll play something really badly and sing along and he’ll be like ‘no, that’s great, we can make a song out of it’. He’d just pick up his guitar and he just gets me, he gets exactly what I want things to sound like.

But I do have a full live band now. We are a band so we’re gonna start writing together. Kieran, my guitar player, is an incredible songwriter so we’re gonna start. Maybe the next EP or album or whatever we’re going to do, we’ll do it together instead of just me. I’m excited to do that as I’ve never done any co-writing before.

Are you aiming for an album next or EP or more singles?

I don’t know. I never like to force writing. I’ve never sat down and been like ‘I need to write a song because I’m recording next week’. It’s always ‘I’ve written a song, lets get it recorded’. If we start writing stuff together and suddenly we come up with a huge album worth of songs that we feel is great and has out sound then lets do it.

But I’m quite happy to just keep dropping singles every now and then. That way it keeps you relevant. Unless you’re like, Fleetwood Mac where you can disappear for 10 years and then suddenly drop an album. Wehn you’re at my stage you’ve just got to keep as relevant as possible so singles might be the way forward. Maybe we’ll then compile them all onto an album. But we’ll see, you never know what can happen in this industry. It could all change overnight! It’s just about being reactive and proactive.

Do you have a general plan for the next 5 years? Any goals?

I have like realistic goals, and then I have huge goals. I would love to record with Dave Grohl, that’s my pinnacle. But I just want to go out and play as many shows as possible. Now that I have a band and I don’t have to just do acoustic shows, I just want to play everywhere, anywhere that will have me. What I want is to play all the really dirty, small venues that no one else wants to play. I thrive off it, I love it! Like wow this is gross, let’s do it! It’s that like nothing to lose attitude where I can try new things, I can throw myself on the floor I can climb things, whatever. That’s what I want to do anywhere, I don’t mind if it’s central London or a tiny village in North Wales, let’s go!

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Kyle Daniel: ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins!’

We had the chance to sit down with Kentucky’s own Kyle Daniel to talk about his European tour (including The Long Road Festival), and his music, past and future!

How was the European tour?

Oh man, I’m still on an absolute high from that thing. It was incredible. This time felt like a family reunion of sorts. It was very nice!

The cool thing about this run was all of the different places that we played. We played on a boat, we played the blues garage which felt like we were in Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Tennessee or something. I love playing clubs, I’ve played clubs my whole life, and a couple of venues in Germany were like that. And then obviously The Long Road Festival (review here) was super cool as well!

What’s the scene like in Europe compared to over there?

I think there’s a different appreciation for music all together. It feels a little hungrier I guess. Maybe it’s the fact that they don’t get to see a bunch of American artists so part of the hunger comes from that. But man, some of the best fans that anybody could as for, definitely. The support from socials to merchandise to streaming songs, the crowd over there is a different beast, for sure.

Your local scene looks to be having a bit of a resurgence too, right? Any other artists you want to shout out?

Yeah! I mean there’s so many that it’s really tough to kinda single anybody out. There’s a lot of groups in and around Kentucky that are making a splash right now. I think it’s really cool. For the longest time I think Kentucky Tennessee people think like ‘do your cousins wear shoes?’ and stuff like that. For the longest time there was a weird stigma about being from Kentucky. I think guys like Tyler Childers and Sturgil Simpson and Chris Stapleton obviously blew the doors wide open for it to be cool to be from Kentucky again. I’m just glad to see some buddies overseas, I got to see Everette while over there and it’s like man, we played in a bar that holds 350 people for years and years called Tidballs in my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Super proud of them!

How would you describe your sound? What inspirations do you draw from?

I would categorise it as southern rock personally, as that’s what I grew up on. I love The Almond Brothers, Greg Almond is my hero. And obviously the duel guitar leads, that leant itself to [Lynyrd] Skynyrd and Thin Lizzy and The Band, that classic sound that was this Southern thing. Even though The Band weren’t from the south they definitely sounded like a southern band.

I think that was what really initially for me that set the hook. My dad was a big Almond Brothers and Skynyrd fan and Marshal Tucker and Charlie Daniels so you put all that stuff together… I specifically remember I think that all leant itself to my own personal taste when I remember my dad saying ‘Son, this is real music’ and put on The Almond Brothers band. ‘Statesboro Blues’, they counted it off and I will never forget what it sounded like when that slide guitar came in. I was like ‘what is that?’ and my dad was like ‘son, that’s slide guitar, you need to learn how to play that!’.

So that was it. I went from some teenage punk kid that loved what was popular. Ironically early on Green Day was one of my favourite bands. I had a different eclectic taste, I loved a lot of hip-hop and rap. I grew up in the 90s so a lot of that R&B, soul stuff kinda peppered in with the alt rock stuff so it was kind of a jolt to say the least when that kind of stuff was introduced. I was listening to something completely different at the time. It definitely spun me in the right direction!

You put out the Following the Rain EP a couple of months ago. Did you want to talk about it? It seems like quite the journey!

Yeah man. I think this entire record, which will be ‘Kentucky Gold’, is quite the journey. I started writing this probably a year before Covid started and it’s still not out. There’s many reasons for that. The record itself, the songs are very close to me. I think this record as a whole gives a 30,000ft view of who Kyle Daniel is as a writer, as an artist, as a human being. A lot of them are very emotional songs.

I wrote a song for my wife on the record which I had never done before. I wrote a song that touches on dealing with depression and the things that I’d kinda gone through in that time. We did cut the record in the midst of Covid so that was in 2020 I believe. They’re very close to me, they’re very personable. I wrote a song about my old man on the record. I wrote about the state of the Union in some of the stuff. Not politically charged one way or the other, just a hey, this is where we’re at. A sign of the times sort of song. Ironically it still rings true to this day.

I think I tried to give as broad of a perspective of the way that I think, the way that I can feel at times and who I really am. That way people that don’t know who I am maybe get a little better understanding of that.

I can’t imagine you can give much about the dates of the album but is looking like this year?

No, I think it’s probably going to be a next year thing. I waited on it because I couldn’t tour in the midst of Covid so I tried to do what I could to keep the fire burning on socials and just being selective. I felt like what I have in this record is special and I didn’t want to rush it out just to rush it out. I probably could have done that but I’ve spent a small fortune as an unsigned artist on this record so I felt like as a businessman I had to make sound decisions on when and how I release the record.

You know, some things work, some things don’t. I feel like I’m in a really good position at this point and I think it’ll definitely coming out next year. And I think the patience I’ve had will lead to the record being hopefully more successful.

The unsigned artist thing is really taking of recently, it’s easier than ever to get heard.

Yeah it is. For me I know that can be good and bad. Part of the frustration sometimes is not being able to cast a wider net. But you can sit here in your home studio and record a record and put it up on Tunecore just like that. I think it has its pros and its cons. You have the freedom and the creativity to do what you’d like but you can hit a ceiling real fast.

Have you got any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Stay after it. I think that’s the number one name of the game here in Nashville and I think maybe anything in life. My old man used to always tell me ‘A winner never quits and a quitter never wins’. That’s a very true statement, I think that only the strong survive. It’s a dog eat dog world. There are 2500 artists in Nashville right now at my level doing what I’m doing. They’d cut my throat to get in front of me any day of the week. I’m not saying that maliciously, but everybody’s serious about what they do. I think if you don’t have an undying hunger for music you should probably try to find something different. It’s a gruelling, long road that artists take.

I’ve been here for 13 years and watched them blow up like a firework but then do just that and be done. Then I’ve also seen people who’ve taken a bit more of the long road approach. Put the time in, played their dues, played the small dirty venues for $25 and they have continued to write, record, tour, just continue to push the ball down the court. Sooner or later that gets recognised.

And there we have it! As always keep up to date on all of our content from our Instagram here.

Massive Wagons: ‘Your time will come, don’t give up!’

We had the chance to sit down with the awesome Baz from Massive Wagons while at Call of the Wild the other month for a quick chat about the band and their future plans! Check it out from below!

What’s it like finally being able to play Call of the Wild?

Yeah, it’s great! Big admiration for the organisers having to reschedule it two or three times because of Covid. Bands dropping out and suddenly you’re doing it a different weekend and a band can’t play on the same day or whatever but we’re here at last! We’ve played for Raz (the organiser) a few times over the years. Him asking us to do this is really cool, we’ve been looking forward to it.

And what brought on your pyro and bigger stageshow elements?

The thing is you play with so many great bands on this scene and your live show is kinda your bread and butter these days. We sorta hit a ceiling and you’ve just gotta think of ways to stand out. We’ve always reinvested money back into the band.

We started it at Steelhouse. We did a headline slot there on the Friday a few years ago and did a bit there. Every time we do a headline festival slot we always try to bring a show, you know? You’re a headliner for a reason, you’ve gotta bring it.

It’s coming along tonight, we brought our firework, a box of matches.

Are you working on new music?

Yeah, it’s recorded, it’ll be out this year (check out some of it below!). We recorded it a couple of months ago.

Check out our last COTW interview here.

And then straight into touring?

Yeah! Well we’ve got quite a few festivals, we’re in Europe quite a lot this year. Same as normal really, it never really stops. We’ve got loads planned! As much as possible.

How is it different preparing for a gig supporting at an arena compared to your own show or a festival headline slot?

It’s a little bit different. Obviously we’re supporting so we’re not bringing our own big show. Headline shows are a lot different, it’s a lot longer for a start. I think we’re doing about half an hour [supporting Thunder]. it’s in an arena so we’ll need proper monitoring and stuff like that. It’s different preparation. The sound’s always different in an arena but it’s nice, I’m really looking forward to it!

We did a little run of dates with Lynyrd Skynyrd a few years ago in arena which was very cool!

Do you have any advice you could give smaller bands starting out?

A big one for us… we’ve been going since about 2010 I think. We never got any support to us for a long time and we were always a bit bitter and jaded about it. But I’d say to other bands don’t be in a rush, it’ll happen when it happens. It was better for us for it to happen later in our career because we got ourselves pretty good. You’re going on stage and you’re actually going to win fans over. You know what you’re doing.

Don’t feel bitter about other bands getting support slots and you’re not, your time will come. Don’t give up!

Jack J Hutchinson: ‘I need to be reminded by my manager that I should be playing songs off the current album!’

Check out our interview with our good friend and awesome blues guitarist/songwriter Jack J Hutchinson! We spoke about his upcoming EP/DVD boxset, his upcoming tour and his new line-up!

Obviously we were going to see each other at Rockin’ the Bowl this year before the cancelation. Having said that, what do you think of the music scene at the minute?

I mean there’s a lot of bands that were on at Rockin’ the Bowl that I’ve seen at a lot of festivals in the last year or so so there are some great acts. A lot of guys that I’ve been on the same bill as that I really rate. Some great players. The biggest thing for me is songwriting really, bands that have good tunes, and there’s tonnes of great stuff. I like quite a variety of different music too, from blues to heavy rock and even acoustic folk stuff as well. We’re sort of overloaded with music at the minute which is cool!

You have the EP/boxset coming out next month, how did that come about?

Well, I released an album earlier on this year called ‘The Hammer Falls’ and during that process I was offered the opportunity to work with Kevin Shirley who’s produced some incredible artists: Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Joe Bonamasa, just loads of people. So I was kinda in the latter stages of mixing the last record when Kevin offered to do one or two songs. I had this idea of doing a remix of some of the tracks we were working on last year. So what you hear on this EP is alternate takes of some of the songs.

I think it’s quite interesting to compare them to the other versions on the album. And then there’s a brand new song on the EP as well. So that’s pretty cool!

A DVD isn’t something you see much in the underground scene these days, do you think bands are having to do more ‘out there’ merch to make more of a living?

Yeah I guess. I’ve always wanted to try and come up with new ideas in terms of the product that I put out there. When I put my album ‘Who Feeds the Wolf’ out I did it on a splattered red and black vinyl which seemed quite a unique thing at the time but everybody’s doing it now. I’m not insinuating that they’re doing it because I did it but…

I could have done this release as another multicoloured vinyl release. There are two reasons why I didn’t. One was because I wanted to try something different and I wanted to do something that was a two disc set, like the Rolling Stones ‘From the Vault’ boxset. Also I brought this Winery Dogs DVD a couple of years back that was pretty cool. Like a companion disc for the record. So that’s where the idea of it came for.

Check out our review of The Hammer Falls here.

Another reason I didn’t want to do it on vinyl is because of the experience of the manufacturing of it over the last two years. It’s taking so long to do it. I was lucky with The Hammer Falls as I got a heads up about what was coming. I put my order in before the album was even fully recorded. I paid for the slot like 10 months prior. There was only like three songs that we still had to record but there was a risk in it. It could have gone completely, horribly wrong.

But for this release I wanted to get something out for the latter half of this year. Then the Kevin Shirley thing came about and I thought it was exciting and something just a bit different!

Is it touring for the foreseeable or are you writing again already?

I’m actually supposed to be going to Spain next month. It’ll be the first time I’ve really been over to Europe since the pandemic kicked off. So at the moment I’m just trying to work out all the visa stuff and all that. When I started playing guitar when I was like 14 I didn’t envision that it’d all just be admin at one stage in my career. It’s all I’ve really done this week.

So next month we’re headed out on tour. I’ve got a new band heading out with me later on in the year which is cool. This Brilliant bassist called Charlie Rachel Kay who’s joining. She’s the bassist for Ashley Sherlock. Then the drummer is Phil Wilson who’s played with tonnes of people: Elles Bailey, Sean Webster, Lawence Jones. It’s going to be exciting to take a new band out. I’ve had the same band now for almost four years. We work really well together and had some amazing experiences but they’re kinda moving on to do different projects.

Yeah, it’s exciting to be playing some new songs. And I have been writing a lot of material recently so we’ll have to see if any of it makes it into the setlist. I hope it will! It’ll be a real shift from the last tour where we were kinda doing stuff that we’d been playing for two or three years. Now’s the time to refresh it a bit!

Do you think it’ll have a bit of a different feel on stage with new members?

I don’t know, man. I’ve never been one to over-rehearse ahead of tours. I think you’ve got to allow things to organically develop. You’ve got to trust your players. The person who really needs to do their homework tends to be me, I’m a bit of a scatterbrain with all of this stuff. I move on from project to project quite quickly so I need to be reminded by my manager that I should be playing songs off the current album.

We’re looking at getting some rehearsals in at the end of this month, which is exciting in of itself. With bands you’ve got to foster a vibe with the people who are part of the band. Music is one element of it, but if people are miserable in the band they’re not going to play very well. I want every band I take out with me to enjoy it. This is rock’n’roll man, they should be going out and having a blast on tour, not moping and moaning about it.

The few support bands announced for it so far look sick. How would you say the environment of the NWOCR scene is?

Yeah, I mean I speak quite closely with Wes (my manager) on who to take out. I always see support slots, although I don’t really like using the word support, as an opportunity for the bands that come out with me to meet my audience and gain fans. But also I want bands to come out that are going to make it a pleasurable experience for me. I make sure I listen to the acts and I want a badass collection of bands on the tour. It means that before I go on stage I can go out and have fun and watch the bands myself.

We have a band that are doing a few of the dates, Firekind, they were the support act for my tour last year. They’re great, just really fun to have around. They make you laugh and that’s what you want. And obviously White Raven Down are a fucking incredible band too.

Marco Mendoza: ‘The new direction is the right direction!’

We spoke to bass legend Marco Mendoza ahead of his new album, New Direction’, about said album, his upcoming tour and any advice he has for new bands. Check it out down below!

Talk to me about the new album?

It’s coming out September 16th. I’ve gotta say I’m really excited about it! We started recording this in September ’19, so three years ago. After 2021 just for a minute it felt like ‘is this thing ever going to come out’, you know? At the beginning of this year we were working the logistics with the label and even then we didn’t know what was going to happen.

So, when they released the first single ‘Take it to the Limit’, the response was great. More than expected. Then ‘Shoot for the Stars’ also got a lot of thumbs up and stuff. Then ‘New Direction’ came out, the title cut of the album, and everybody seems to dig it. So I’m really happy man. From ground zero to the release of the album, I have some dates to announce, including the UK.

So hopefully we’re headed in a new direction, we’re trying to find our way back home after our industry got hit hard. So there’s specs of a light at the end of the tunnel, a lot of hope and optimism. It’s not going to happen by itself, you need to learn to roll the dice and believe in it. I’m excited to say the least. I was forced to listen to the songs back and I’m really proud of it. It’s a good album!

And would you say it’s a new direction in terms of the sound?

Well, it’s a trip. In our industry we start labelling everything, ‘this is hard rock, this is classic rock, this is metal, this is black metal and this and that’. And at the bottom of it all is pop music. Back in the day, the people I grew up listening to had songs on the radio, so they were pop songs. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent… they were playing music on the radio. So to me, that was what pop represented. Then as we got into the 70s and 80s we started labelling things and I get it, it’s fine.

I would say if we had to label it we’re leaning more on the songwriting, the pop side of music if you will, which is fine.

The new direction is that we found a direction again! Like I said, we lost our way somewhere and for a moment it was pretty grim. The world came to a screeching halt and we weren’t sure when it was going to start, there was a few false starts too. September/October last year I ended up rolling the dice and I got invited to do some stuff and with all the restrictions and lower capacity, we had a successful tour. That’s what gave me a little more gas in the tank. The new direction is the right direction.

Check out our last chat with the man himself here.

Is there a different approach taken to writing with your solo stuff as opposed to with the likes of the Dead Daisies?

Yeah, well the Dead Daises was put together to be a collective, meaning every member of the band would get around the table with acoustics and collectively throw ideas into the melting pot. We’d come out with 20-25 ideas that were almost finished and then our producer would also be there and we’d all agree which to pick.

With my solo project it is different, it’s a little quicker. I’m not saying it’s better or easier, just harder. I’ve written with cats that are songwriters and for me to be part of that I just stay out of the way. There’s a lot of different dynamics depending on the situation. You learn to compensate and navigate and adjust.

With us being a solo project, Sorrin being my producer/guitar player/songwriting partner, him and I make decisions so it’s quicker. It’s very sincere, very honest. We don’t over-analyse stuff, we just know when something’s working, we document it. It’s a faster process. And then we get the players in and they play the songs.

The process is different; it’s quicker and… not more productive but it’s a faster process. I like to work fast when it comes to music. There’s two schools, one is play, learn the songs, record it, boom, done. Then the other method is a lot of playing and adjusting and relearning. It’s like baking a cake, you’ve gotta make sure it’s right before you take it out of the oven.

What goes into the decision of choosing a single?

Well I think with the previous album, Viva, the first song that was written was ‘Viva La Rock’. We got together and within an hour, hour and a half the song was done. We sent the demo to a label and they loved it. They said this is the title for the album, this is the first single.

It kinda repeated itself again this time around, the first song was ‘Take it to the Limit’. Again it was written within hours of us getting together and sent to the label and they said it’s great and it’s the single and title of the album. The decision was made but then 2020 and 2021 came and I did a couple of runs under the Take it to the Limit heading so we decided to change it around and look at how relevant these other songs are to what is going on. New Direction had a great response so we chose that instead of Take it to the Limit, which was overused.

I believe the album has more than three singles to be honest, but logistics and decision making and all that, it’s got to go through due process. New Direction being the title cut made sense.

It’s back and forth ideas and suggestions. For me, to be honest, I have a great team of people working with me. I put my two cents in, I take a few steps back, then I either agree with the process or I put my two cents back in, then I take a few steps back again. It’s all about trust and knowing that people are pros and are making the right decisions. I think the single choices were good.

Is it just touring for the rest of the year now?

Yep! Next week I do a festival in Romania and then we start in Germany begnning of September. And then we’re booked all of September, October and all the way to November 25th I believe. It’s a trip. We started with 20 dates, now it’s this and this and we two more and then three more. When you announce you’re going out people are aware of it so you start getting ‘well you’re here, can you come here?’. That’s the process. But I’m really looking forward to coming to the UK!

Do you have any advice for bands just starting out?

The not to dos are very simple for me because I did it the wrong way. Pay attention. Do it for the right reason. Do it because you love the music and because you’re passionate about it. And set goals, long and short term, to stay focused. Be willing to put the time in, through blood sweat and tears, because there will be blood sweat and tears! Sometimes the music for me is its own reward. After all the logistics and travel and financial worries, getting up on stage and get away from that and let the music take me places, that’s my reward. It keeps me coming back.

Also, be okay with letting it go when it becomes frustrating. I think there’s something to be said for learning stuff while you’re having fun. You’ll accomplish a lot. And believe in yourself, no matter the people around you. Gravitate towards people who support you. You can’t expect anyone else to support you if you can’t support yourself.

The not to dos for me very simple: don’t drink, don’t do drugs, don’t do anything mind-altering that can impede your ability to be there and be as productive as you can be. I went through it and I went through hell. I came out of it, thank god, but I often think what would have happened if I’d have stayed on the right side of the street.

And the reality is there’s hundreds if not thousands of projects and artists and bands that want to be in your place so if you start goofing off people are going to say ‘next’.

And work work work, practice practice practice, and book as many shows as you can. I know it’s sometimes hard as the finances aren’t there, but in terms of human nature when we want something, we make it happen.

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