Category Archives: Interviews

Gasoline & Matches: ‘Moving on into the new year, we are hopefully finally putting out an album!’

We sat down with the amazing, local country band Gasoline & Matches at The Long Road the other week. Check out as we chat about the UK scene and their plans for the future!

What’s it like playing country music in the UK?

I mean, we started writing and performing as a band probably six or seven years ago now, and we feel quite privileged to be riding the crest of the wave of the UK bands that are doing a lot of the same festivals up and down the country. The genre’s really building. We feel really proud to be on that wave.

I also think musically, yes it’s a conscious decision when you’re categorising yourself in a genre, but we’re just writing the music that we’ve always listened to and loved. We really do try and keep what we do British. But, at the same time, so many of our favourite artists are American, it’s been a really amazing thing seeing so many of them finally coming over to the UK.

You guys have done a few shows in the US, right?

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of showcase gigs, some support slots as well. Small tours, things like that. But whenever we’re out there we definitely try and research the local open mic and just spread the word about the band.

We’ve worked with quite a lot of different brands in terms of music companies and things. Steve works with Blackstar and we’ve been fortunate enough to be endorsed by Auden guitars and G7 Capos. We’ve met a lot of these companies and there’s opportunities when we’ve been over for things like the NAMM show. We’ve performed on shows there, showcasing what their gear is. And alongside some amazing artists like members of the E Street Band, Lindsey Ell, Sadler Vaden. Really really cool!

Check out our review of the band’s set at the festival here.

Is there much difference from the scene there to here?

Yeah, yeah. It’s a very homegrown thing in the States. They’ve definitely got their own thing going on. The umbrella for country music is huge, lots of different styles. We tend to enjoy real instruments as opposed to synthetics for what we do, so our roots are in blues and rock music. We don’t try to imitate because there would be no point. We try and carry on that thought process of Atlantic tennis where someone from the States will come out who’s influential and Britain has given a lot of influential stuff too.

In a lot ways we’re at an advantage that we play Country/Americana music here in the UK vs in the States because there are so many artists over there and it’s still quite a new thing here. I feel that we do get to share lineups with much bigger artists from being here. Even from an audience perspective, we get to see artists that may be playing stadium shows in the States in much smaller venues. I think it’s a really great experience.

Recently we were over in America and we’re friends with some of Lainey Wilson’s band and we were lucky enough to go to the Gillet stadium in Massachusetts to see her supporting Luke Combs. It was quite a different experience seeing her there and seeing how the fans are. We’ve been in the audience at festivals like The Long Road or C2C watching some of these same artists and it feels like a much different experience. Definitely over here it’s a listening audience. In the States there’s a lot of conversation!

It must be cool to see the rise of the country scene over here?

Yeah! We started going to C2C many years ago and it’s just growing bigger every year. And The Long Road of course, an amazing festival that the guys put on for bands. We’re so happy to be performing this year.

You’ve put out a few singles, is it building towards a longer release?

The plan has been in the works for a very long time now to have our debut album out. The tracks that we’ve released recently, ‘Afraid to Fall’ and ‘Patient Wolves’; we have another single that will be out this year. Then, moving on into the new year, we are hopefully finally putting out an album. We’ve got another host of tracks we’ve been in the studio recording with Gavin Monohan. So we’re at the stage we’re just getting final mixes and mastering. So 2024 will be a big year for Gasoline & Matches!

Have you got much planned for the rest of the year?

We’ve never really done a cluster of a few days, which you would deem as a tour. We’ve never headlined a tour, but we’ve never headlined one, so we are in the process of looking at when the right time is. It might be more into the new year.

We’ve got a few other shows. We host a regular songwriter round in Birmingham at the Symphony Hall, Nashville Sounds in the Round. We have international artists and UK artists performing at that every couple of months. We still have a few more of those happening. We’re also starting a new night in the Midlands called Wish You Were Beer. It’s in a venue called the Roadhouse in Sutton Coalfield. It’s a super cool bar with lots of movie memorabilia. We’re starting that from the 29th of September. We’re hoping to have some other country music guests come join us.

So that’s our plan, a few more shows just to play us out. Then to rehearse up the set as the album, I guess, and do a string of dates in the new year. We need to get back up to Scotland!

With last year finally being completely okay with the world, it must be nice to get back on the road!

It’s fantastic being able to do shows in real life!

And then tell us the story of The Crooked House

So there was an iconic pub in the Midlands called the Crooked House. We had been booked to play there but the gig got cancelled about a month or so before we were due to play. Then, the night that we were meant to be playing, it burnt down. It got picked up online, someone Tweeted the poster because with a name like Gasoline & Matches, when the pub burns down it seemed like a weird internet hoax. On Twitter it got around 250k views on the post, and we were contacted by so many different journalists about it. We spoke to the Times, Daily Mail, BBC Radio 4, even LADBible and ITV National news. The story made it to the New York Times. So, for our press… it did good in the worst way!

It was a very loved and famous pub in the area so we’re sensitive to the knowledge that a lot of people were upset that it happened. We’ve already pledged and said if there’s anything happening towards rebuilding it or in some way making an exhibit, we said we’d absolutely give a gig away to help fundraise.

Tenille Arts: ‘Hopefully next year will be so busy I won’t even have time to breathe!’

We had the chance to chat to the amazing Tenille Arts back at The Long Road festival a couple of weeks back. Check out as we talk about the scene, her plans for the future, and the origins of her debut single!

Firstly, what got you into the country scene?

I mean, growing up, that was what we listened to on the radio. I’m original from Canada and a lot of the music was country. And my family were farmers, so a lot of it resonated with us. And the storytelling and all that, I just thought it was so cool. I was about 15 years old when Taylor Swift came out and she was writing her own songs and all of that so that’s when I got into guitar. I think it sparked a thing. I’d always been writing songs but I’d never actually been able to play them before so that really sparked it all for me!

And you got scouted out quite young, right?

I did! At 15. I’d just learnt guitar and somebody from Nashville asked me to come down and start working with them and start writing real music, going in with actual songwriters. Learning the ropes. So yeah, I got involved very early!

So your first single was a charity one, how did that come about?

So, growing up I was a dancer. I worked for this dance company and this girl, I think she was four at the time, and I was assistant dance teaching, just working with the kids. Helping wrangle them mostly! And one of the parents of this girl came up to me and said ‘we heard you’re a singer, would you like to perform at our charity event?’. And I said sure, what’s it for. They said Cystic Fibrosis and that was something I’d never heard of before, I had no idea what it was. And I did my research and came back and said I absolutely want to be involved in this.

Later on throughout playing at their shows for a while, I was connected with a lot of the CF community in Canada and over here actually, too. The song that I recorded was by Matt Scales. He unfortunately passed away due to Cystic Fibrosis but he was an artist and he wrote this song. I recorded it and put it out with all the proceeds going to CF research and all of that. That was the first thing that I ever got to do and it was incredible. And it’s still out there if people want to donate or be a part of that.

Check out our review of the festival here.

And you’re on tour over here at the minute, right?

Yes, this is actually my last show! Caylee Hammock and I were doing a co-headline tour in the UK. So we did three dates together and then I’m playing today and she’s playing tomorrow. So yeah, it’s been really fun. It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind. This is probably one of my quickest tours over here. We arrived at like 9am the one morning and had a show that night so it’s got a little wild. But we’re good!

And can you make any comparisons between the scene over here to the North American scene?

I love it over here. I love playing small clubs and things like that, especially over here. I will compare the UK to Canada; it’s a very respectful audience. They learn your songs and all of that. Some of the time you’re not even sure if they like you and then they give you a standing ovation! They’re so respectful vs the US where they have so many people playing all of the time, I feel like it’s kind of brushed off sometimes. They get a lot of music all the time. Once in a while there’s obviously some amazing shows over there, and amazing fans and superfans, but here it’s different. And I love it!

You put out a single at the start of the year, is that a standalone release or part of something bigger to come?

So I put out a song called ‘Jealous of Myself’. Then I added LiAnn Rimes to the record, which is really cool! Then I put out a song called ‘Summer Don’t Go’, and we have another one coming out before Christmas. Then, hopefully a full album by January/February. I’ve already written and recorded everything, everything’s ready to go. I’m excited, but it’s all of the extra work that comes with it after that now. It takes a long time. Working on visuals and stuff like that now.

And the rest of the year looks pretty busy for you?

Lots of shows, lots of fun things and obviously trying to fit in finalising the record so I might be away from shows for a little while. Just making sure it’s everything I want it to be. Then I’ll go back to Canada for Christmas and then hopefully next year will be so busy I won’t even have time to breathe!

First Time Flyers: ‘We’re just getting started really!’

We had the pleasure of sitting down with the awesome First Time Flyers at The Long Road festival last weekend. Check it out as we talk about their sound, the scene and their plans for the future!

You guys were in individual projects for a while, what made you want to get together to form this project?

Jake: Money.

Poppy: Simon Cowell!

Tim: As you say, all solo, but just through the nature of our work, we’ve all written together, performed together, I’ve produced stuff for the ladies and a track or so for Jake. We’ve also played in Jake’s band. So between all of that we’ve known each other and of each other for so many years. It was actually Jake who suggested it to me. That we should do it as a four.

Jake: He was reluctant, not gonna lie!

Tim: He just wanted to share fuel costs! But I said what could go wrong starting a band?

Vicki: And then we got involved!

Jake: I think when the idea came about we always wanted it to be very harmony-heavy. There’s something about two guys and two girls that’s so rich when you get that vocal blend together.

Vicki: And now we are a four and we are no longer individuals!

And just how did four people from the UK come together to form a country-inspired band?

Vicki: I think country is a guilty pleasure of a lot of people. They just don’t want to admit it.

Jake: I also just don’t think they know that they’re listening to country!

Poppy: Country is storytelling and instruments and great singing. I think we’ve all loved country music as individuals and now we’re doing this. I wouldn’t say we’re strictly country, we write what feels good and sing what feels good. But we’re hugely influenced by it.

Tim: It’s always the harmonies that make it come back round to that.

Poppy: And the stories in the songs. We always pull that from personal experience and that’s such a country-heavy thing as well.

Check out another interview from the festival here.

A couple of you have worked in the US before; are there any comparisons you can make between the scene there and over here?

Jake: I did a lot of writing in Nashville. It was great fun. You learn so much because they’re just so quick! You can’t hang about when you’re writing with the Americans!

Tim: For me, the stuff I did in America was really bucket list stuff. I was very fortunate at the time to do a couple of shows at the Oprey and the Ryman. It’s mad. It almost feels like a past life it’s so surreal.

But the performing side of stuff doesn’t feel any different. I think there’s just a special feeling when an American audience embrace you. They can be quite territorial about country music.

Poppy: It’s so embedded in their culture to like country music so in a way it’s like, you have so many people who love it, are they gonna get into it.

Tim: I think we’d have fun out there! We will have fun out there.

Poppy: We should and we would!

What’s it like to be a part of this boom of country music in the UK?

Vicki: Yeah, it’s wonderful! I’ll play any festival.

Poppy: You [Vicki] have always said a lovely thing in that you think there’s not many fans here and then you watch someone like Lady A.

Vicki: Yeah, basically, like we were saying earlier that country is taking off but people are scared to admit it. Then you go to these festivals and you’re like ‘where have you been hiding?! Where do you live the other times of the year?’. You just don’t hear of these people. And when you do headline gigs or whatever, we’re very fortunate that we have people who come out and support us and will follow us round, but then there’s all these other people who will go to C2C and the Long Road and there’s SO many more people into it.

Tim: How do we make them regulars!

Poppy: And that’s the cool thing about being in the scene. I think a lot of people think there’s a ceiling in the UK scene but it’s constantly bigger and bigger and bigger.

And obviously you’ve put out a handful of singles now, is it building towards a larger release?

Poppy: We have so many goals! With us, it’s always building to something!

Tim: Honestly, I think we’re quite flexible with what we’re doing, because we’re not tied to a label or anything. Because we worked together really hard before we actually launched in January, we have such a backlog of songs we can put out in any order depending on what we’re aiming for. It’s nice to have that freedom to do stuff. We’re happy to go with anything.

Poppy: And we’re just getting started really!

Is the plan to stay as an independent artist for now?

Tim: I think the beauty of what we do is… it’s this, it’s the live stuff. We love playing in front of people. We love collaborative stuff that isn’t just us sat in a bedroom recording. Yes, you have to do that sometimes, for monetary reasons usually, but because we are so flexible we are open to meeting people. I think those sorts of things happen when you aren’t looking for them. It’ll happen when you least expect it. If the right thing comes along absolutely, we’re ready for it.

And you guys are on tour this month, is this the first time you’ve toured together as a band?

Jake: As a band, yeah.

Poppy: Yeah, well this is our eighth gig as a band! And we have five more. We’re hitting big number 10 this weekend, and then that tour will rack us up to gig 16.

Vicki: That’s actually ridiculous when you say it out loud!

Poppy: This feels like a mini-tour though as we’re together all weekend. We’re so excited.

Tim: We also have a tendency to go away on week trips to write, so they always feel like mini-tours too. We know we vaguely get alone.

And what was it like playing Hyde Park?

Vicki: Mental!

Jake: Unreal.

Tim: We found out pretty late on, as well. It wasn’t much. They do historically leave it quite late sometimes! But we’re glad it was us, for sure. That was a special day!

Do you have an goals you want to hit in the next say five years?

Tim: Talk him through the box, girls.

Vicki: You tell him about your box Poppy!

Poppy: I ordered us a box saying ‘The Adventures of First Time Flyers’ and I got us loads of bits of card and we wrote down what we wanted, and a little reward inside it, and we filmed it. Actually, the first one we opened was BST. And that was a nice little video that went out, it felt like a real moment for us.

We have so many goals. Sell out this tour would be the immediate one. Collaborate with artists, play big festivals, play a support tour would all be absolutely awesome.

Tim: There’s a nice one of playing ‘that’ gig. Where we feel like it’s the pinnacle kinda thing. And that could be today. We don’t know.

Poppy: We have so many big goals, and I think that’s why we’ve had such an exciting year so far. And why it’s not going to slow down.

Jake: We are four very driven people. I think that sort of eggs us on a bit. It’s so much fun. I didn’t have to spend eight hours in a car going to a festival last weekend by myself! It was awesome!

HARDBALL: ‘We’ve finally learned some of the newer songs, now that we’ve had to play them daily!’

BC’s own Hardball released their debut, self-titled album a few weeks ago (check out the review here). We had a quick chat with them about it, which you can find below!

Firstly, how has the tour been so far?

It’s been great! We’ve finally learned some of the newer songs, now that we’ve had to play them daily.

How would you describe your sound?

Loud, boneheaded, thrashy. Lately, I just say “grunge” for brevity- I don’t think it fits perfectly, but it’s a decent approximation of our sound.

What’s it like playing a gungy-style of music in this day and age? 

I’m into it. The shows are bumpin’.

What would you say the scene is like over in Canada? 

It’s pretty broad, and every locality is a bit different than the other so- varied I guess?

How has the response been to your album?

Our friends love it!

What is your writing process like? 

Depends on the situation, but as it pertains to Hardball- Scott comes up with the crux of the song, and we develop it into an arrangement together.

Do you have much planned for the rest of the year?

Ah the usual, slugging it out, more gigs around BC. I’ll be recording some solo stuff, and maybe we’ll get to crushing a second Ball LP.

What would your dream tour be?

One that we didn’t have to organize or handle any logistics of ourselves, where we just show up at the gig, throw down, and then take it easy for the rest of the evening.

Shane Smith & The Saints: ‘You can essentially hear the scar tissue from touring over 10 years!’

Ahead of his massive England debut set at The Long Road festival this coming Sunday, we had the chance to chat to Shane Smith. Check out as we talk about The Saints’ sound, their last year and their plans for the future!

How would you describe your sound?

I think the simplest way to describe our sound is “Folk-Rock”. Certain songs have elements of: “Country”, “Celtic” or “Singer-Songwriter” styles, but overall “Folk-Rock” seems to summarize it best to me.

Check out another country interview here.

What was it like touring with Eric Church last month?

Touring with Eric was an amazing opportunity. We’ve never opened for an act that pulls over 25,000 folks in a single night… it kind of blew our minds! And yet, he was such a nice guy. I had the chance to talk with he and his wife for a long time on our last night and they were both so kind. It was inspiring to hear their story and see what they’ve built together. On the first day though, seeing roughly 10 tour buses and nine different 18-wheelers, all with his logo, loading in their gear was a very eye-opening experience.

What was it like doing Red Rocks? Always been a venue I’ve wanted to go to and seems like a bucket list for a lot of bands!

Headlining a sold out Red Rocks show was a goal that I wasn’t necessarily sure was possible for us… lol, but we’ve always considered it to be the mile-marker for “making it” as a musician. It has always been the “apex venue” in my mind, so seeing 9,000+ of our fans waving their iPhone flashlights during “Fire in the Ocean” was an absolute dream come true. It will probably forever be my favourite venue.

Is The Long Road the first time Shane Smith & The Saints have played the UK?

Over the years we’ve spent quite a few hours delayed at the London-Heathrow airport, but we’ve never had the chance to play a proper show in England. Bennett (fiddle) and I played several acoustic shows over in Ireland years ago, but that’s the only UK performances up to this point.

You’ve put out a few singles this year and last, is it the beginnings of a new album?

Yes, we are currently finishing up a full length album and a few of those tracks will be featured on it. There are many more to come though!

It’s been 10 years between your debut album and most recent single. How would you say your music has changed in that time? How has your fanbase changed?

I feel like our sound has evolved a significant amount since the beginning, and each album has its own, very unique character. This current record definitely has me most excited though. Even my voice has matured so much since the beginning, and you can essentially hear the scar tissue from touring over 10 years. Regarding our fan base, I’m very biased, but I think ours is the best out there… haha! They’re just a very “real” and down-to-earth group of people that have been truly devoted to helping us grow and spread our music around. We appreciate them so much, and it has been incredible to see it grow, these past few years.

How would you say the scene is doing after a tough few of years of restrictions etc?

We’ve seen numerous bands and musicians have a very difficult time bouncing back from Covid and the lockdowns. It caused so many friends of ours to seek out work and jobs outside of music, which then creates scheduling conflicts and a tough environment for a band to keep moving forward. I was very thankful that we were able to hold our band and operation together during that time, while also keeping everyone paid. Our fans played a massive role in that effort, by supporting our merch store and watching all of our livestream concerts.

Do you have a rough plan for the next 5 years? Any goals/milestones you want to hit?

 I think our main goal at the moment is to release this next record in a big way and continue to make our fans happy. We would also probably love to release music and content more consistently, but while having a much more balanced tour schedule in the years to come, since it’s been so crazy lately. Releasing this new music is our next step though, and I think it will take a huge weight off of our shoulders. I’m very excited for our fans to hear it and to start playing the songs live.

Do you have a dream tour you’d want to be a part of? Be it big act you’d want to support, or friends you’d want to bring along?

I would love to see us open for Chris Stapleton eventually. That would be a big goal for the next few years to come. We’ve always been a fan of his music in the Steeldrivers and his early songs before he was so widely recognized. It would also be cool to collaborate with a wider range of musicians and genres in the years to come. From First Aid Kit to Billy Strings, there are so many musicians we respect that we’ve never been able to play shows with or collaborate with.

Beth Blade: ‘Being able to get a magazine that we were buying as teenagers, and reading a review, that’s still mad to me!’

We sat down to chat with Beth Blade and her Beautiful Disasters at Call of the Wild festival earlier this year. Check out the interview below!

How was the set?

It was awesome! When you’re on early there’s always a worry you’re going to play to one hungover guy. And I mean if that hungover guy is having a good time then I’m happy! But yeah, it was fabulous! We had a big crowd so early and they were proper up for it, singing along and stuff.

And so what’s it like being adopted into this NWOCR scene?

Well the best thing about it is that there’s definitely a sense of community. We come to a festival like this and not only do we get to play but we also get to see our friends in the other bands and support them. It’s got a very loving vibe about it. That’s the best thing we can hope for, really!

How would you say the scene is doing these days?

I think it’s better. It’s definitely recovered. It’s getting there. You’ve got the people who really missed it in lockdown. But there’s also the issue that venues are struggling because people still aren’t wanting to buy tickets in advance. You’ll get like 30-40% of people walking in because they’ll wait until the day. And obviously people are still worried that we’re going to cancel. Just for the people out there: we don’t cancel unless someone’s in hospital! That’s the rule!

It’s getting there but people out there, please buy tickets in advance! It’ll support the promoters, the venues and the bands as well. But I think we’re getting back on the right track now after lockdown. Isn’t it great! It’ll continue in a good trend!

Check out our review of the album here.

So your latest album was last year, right?

Last July, yeah. We had our first review a year ago today from Power Play. We went to Preston to get the magazine. See, we’re in a band, so people say ‘you’re in a band, you’re a rockstar!’ and I’m like ‘no, I’m a wanna be rockstar’. But then for us, being able to get a magazine that we were buying as teenagers, and reading a review, that’s still mad to me.

That album was so well received by everybody. It was quite nerve-wracking for me as I put everything into it. There were no secrets. But yeah, it’s been absolutely wonderful. We can’t thank people enough.

And I imagine you’re writing already again?

Yeah. We’ve started writing for album number for as we speak. I think this album’s going to be a lot more aggressive and have a darker turn to it. It’s going to be more raw and natural with all our emotions. The aggression side is more what we’re aiming towards because the last album, while it was aggressive, had emotion and feel to it. This time…

I don’t know, I’m probably going to put a pop-funk song on at the last minute! You could end up with anything! That’s the thing, we’re classified as a hard rock/NWOCR band, but we don’t like to pigeonhole ourselves to just one genre. A good tune is a good tune, it doesn’t matter what it falls under. I might rap, who knows!

What’s the writing process like for you?

Normally Beth will bring in bangers and then we’ll advance on it. Or like I’ll bring something in and if Beth likes it she’ll chop and change it into a way where it’ll fit better. There’s some stuff I bring in where it works, but it works a lot better once another mind has jumped onto it too.

The thing for me is I’ve been writing songs since I was eight or nine years old, they just kinda come to me. Sometimes they’re fully formed and other times they’re not so I’ll send it to Sam and tell him what I feel like it needs. Then these guys put their flavour in it. Sometimes people think it’s just my thing but it’s not. If these guys weren’t playing on the songs it wouldn’t sound like it does. We’ll arrange everything together and it’s really fluid. I like it!

Fury: ‘Every heavy metal fan loves a ballad!’

We sat down and chatted to the amazing Fury a couple of months back at Call of the Wild. Check out as we chat about their set, their plans for the year, and everyone’s favourite song!

How was the set?

Yeah, it felt good, we had a good time, the crowd was good. Over too soon I guess! As soon as we went on it kinda felt like we were at the last song. But yeah, really enjoyed it!

What’s it like to be playing festivals like this? Especially with how big the underground scene is in the UK these days!

It’s been really good. It’s great that the NWOCR fans have embraced us onto some of their festivals. It is great to play with these kind of bands that are doing those shows. It’s kinda made a different element of Fury. Before we were a lot heavier while now we’re a little more accessible so we’re able to play these sort of festivals. So yeah, it’s great to be involved in these kind of things. It’s a different fanbase that we can now appeal to. We still have the heavy songs in some of the sets and on the new album but we’re able to reach further now!

You obviously played a big ballad today [Upon the Lonesome Tide], how did that come about?

Oh yeah, folk songs, he loves them!

I mean our sound… we’ve released four albums now and our sound has evolved with each album. The the album it’s from, The Grand Prize, was a lot more shorter songs compared to the album before.

I have got a lot of the sea and boats and pirates and all that. We’d done kinda similar themes on that before but this was the first one that we a proper full on ballad. Even on the previous two albums we’d done folk but a bit more rock and metal whereas this one is a full-on power ballad. It’s basically just me fulfilling all my fantasies! There’s a bit of a Dubliners influences and some sea shanty influence.

It seemed to go down well live too!

Always does! Like before we played it live I was dead against putting it in the set and then the crowd loved it every time so fair enough! Every heavy metal fan loves a ballad.

I mean, the set that we did tonight… it’s a Sunday… we only had 35 minutes so we were a bit unsure of what to play. The temptation to just give them fast, rocky stuff, and for the best part it was. But it’s one of those things that if we bring that energy down just a little bit and let people enjoy it. And after the set, that’s the one people talk about the most. There aren’t many bands like us doing ballads so it’s something different.

Check out our review of their set here.

It’s been a year since the last album, are we working on new music?

Yep! Yeah we are. So this year was supposed to be a quiet year. But we’ve got a new guitarist so it’s kinda bedding Tom in and then a new album. But then we’ve had lost of gig offers. And yeah, we’ll gig, we’ll play live, that’s why we’re in a band. But yeah, that’s still the focus, writing an album. Between gigs we are getting together, rehearsing and writing. The aim is to get it recorded through the summer so we’ll figure out a release date after that!

Have you guys got much booked for the end of the year then?

Yes, loads! In October we’re going on tour in Europe again. Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The last few years we’ve played a festival in Switzerland called URRock Festival. Last year we were main support of Skid Row there which is incredible. The guys there always really seem to like us. They said last year there’s no URRock festival without Fury! This year they’re having a year off from the festival but instead they’ve booked us a few shows out there. It’s gonna be great!

So given that you guys have done a fair amount in Europe, how would you compare the scene there to here?

Comparing here to say Germany and Belgium, I think the fans are a lot more enthusiastic over there. And it feels like not as many people start bands as there doesn’t seem to be as many there. When they are really good they do well, but when they have bands coming in from the UK they’re like ‘oh my god, this is amazing!’. They think it’s so cool you’re from England as they know so many great bands that have come from here.

The Europeans are great with merch, too. Over here a person will buy one CD. In Europe they’ll buy three CDs, and when you ask why they’re like ‘one for home, one for car, one for my friends’.

You tend to get fed better in Europe. Oh, the catering! Shoutout to Ragnarök in Belgium. Everywhere we go in Europe it’s homecooked meals brought straight into the green room. Then again, the British government is terrible for funding music, so I don’t put the blame on the venues themselves here. They’re trying their absolute best but just not getting any support.

Do you have say a five year plan at all?

America! Oh, and Brixton. So the ballad you mentioned, we filmed the music video for that back in 2020, the restrictions had been eased a little bit but you still weren’t be able to get in. We were able to film music videos, and we filmed it down in Brixton. Because of that I think we’ve gotten quite in with the Brixton crowd. We’ve done their pirate festival for the last couple of years. This year they had a galleon out in the harbour and they had a band play on that. So in the very near future, that’d be great!

Obviously we’d like to venture out further into Europe. We played Download last year, we were on one of the village stages, it’d be great to be a part of the main thing! And to just support some really cool bands! A good support slot for a big tour is something we’ve not really done so we’d like that very much!

Dead Writers: ‘We got on the Classic Rock Magazine, we got track of the week!’

We chatted to our good friends Dead Writers at Call of the Wild a couple of months back. Check out as we chat about their recent line-up change and their plans for the future!

First of all, how was the set?

Yeah it went well! We had a bit of a rough time rushing up on stage and everything, we didn’t have enough time to sound check properly. It was a bit more chaotic for us than the final result. 

What’s it like to be invited back from last year, especially to be on a bigger stage and higher spot on the line up?

Very lovely Joe. Lots of space, we could get used to that! It’s probably the biggest stage we’ve played in terms of size. Usually in London stages are more small.  Compared to what we do in London.  Good gigs, but it’s always smaller stages.  It’s funny, sometimes you need to get used to all that space, we just don’t know what to do with it. 

Obviously we chatted last year; how has this last year treated you?

Last year we put out a single, shoot a video, it was very well received. We got on the Classic Rock Magazine, we got track of the week. We beat Steel Panther and Alice Cooper’s guitarists band.  And the latest lineup addition (Bassist – Näo). It’s been one of those periods where a lot more happens behind the scenes than out there in public. We were really missing the shows, so it’s great to be back. 

Check out our review of them here.

Do you have a rough timetable for the EP?

We don’t really have, we did have a bit of timetable in place, but then things get delayed. But hopefully by the end of the summer everything will be out. We also wanted to start recording new songs for an album. 

Have you got plans for the end of the year?

We got booked for three festivals this year including this one. We wanted to put a bit of a tour around them. But again, it sort of caught up with us and we didn’t have the time just yet to do that. But, I think towards the end of the summer we can do a bit more of an organised one to promote the EP, and, all these people who are coming up to us and saying “oh, we’re in Manchester” or wherever it is, we could come and play there. Like you guys in Nottingham saying “you’d go down so well.” You have to take that as a token of promise, and that we could go to these places and have a bit of fun. Spread the good word. 

The band name is so perfect and fitting to what you play, how did you come up with it? Is there a story behind it?

Yeah there is a bit. I remember when we didn’t have an and name when we started the band. I’d had a bit of a personal crisis about the name, when songs are starting to shape up and we haven’t got a band name yet. I was actually finishing reading a book, ‘Notes from the Underground’ by Dostoevsky, which then inspired ‘Lisa’. I’m a bit of a reader, I have a discreet collection at home. I just put down the book, and was thinking, what’s the next thing that I’m going to pick up and read.

I like classic books a lot, I had this thought to myself, everything I read is by dead people. It was like oh, Dead Writers. That’s really good. You know, the songs take influence from poetry and other books as well lyrically. Everyone we mention are names to are like “Dead Writers, that really cool”. It stuck. 

Have you got a 5 year plan?

Do you have a five year plan? It would be nice to play some festivals around and branch out a little bit. I think that’s what personally I would like. Branch out release terms, have an album, with more solid work, just travel around and let us be known in other parts of the UK, and possibly anywhere else. That’s more like a two years plan. Just the natural growth of a band. We’re in for the long haul, we want to spread out, and reach as many people as possible. So, in five years, maybe some really amazing things could happen. But, just carrying on writing and recording music and performing it, and just getting better. 

She Burns Red: ‘We didn’t realise how many people actually cared!’

Ahead of the release of their debut album, we sat down with one half of She Burns Red to chat about it, as well as their future plans and signature sound!

How have the last six or so months been?

It’s been pretty busy, man! Just rehearsing, gigging, getting everything prepared. We started a kickstarter to raise the money for the album. It’s been pretty hectic but it’s been pretty good at the same time!

You guys smashed the kickstarter too, Right? Like it almost happened over night?

It was such a big surprise to us. We didn’t realise how many people actually cared. It was one of those things where you don’t realise it until these sorts of things happen. It takes you back a little bit, makes you realise the sort of support you have.

Is there any specific theme running through the album?

It deals a lot with metal health. But more so in the sense of coming out of a bad time and actually finding positives, rather than finding the bad stuff. The album cover itself was done by Andy Pilkington. We never gave him a brief, we just let him listen to the album and that’s what he came back with. It was one of the first times we’ve all agreed on something! Usually it’s an absolute battle but it made sense and it’s quite a powerful image. I think just by looking at the cover it will give you an idea of what it’s about. And then once you’ve listened to the album, the cover makes even more sense. We’re really chuffed with that!

What’s the writing process like with you guys?

It’s quite a collaborative thing. We all come in with our own ideas and just kinda chuck them into a melting pot and see what happens. We all have completely different influences from each other, as well as a lot of the same ones. Whoever comes up with a good idea and it flows at the time, we just run with it. If something’s not working we don’t force it to work.

We are quite harsh in that. If something’s not right, let’s not waste time, let’s just get rid of that. If anything in the future come up it might work for, perfect. Everything we’ve done has come together really fast. We all put our opinions across and we do all listen to each other. I think you have to. We’ve learned to be honest with each other and to not be too precious about our ideas. If you are too precious then you’re not going to get what you want because no one’s going to agree with you. You might as well do what’s best for the band.

Check out our previous interview with the band here.

Do you guys have a favourite track off the album?

I’d say my favourite track is ‘Crack the Sky’. I think live it’s sounding amazing. It’s just like a groovy, catchy song. It’s one of those songs that immediately from the start it gets your head moving. To me, if I see a crowd moving in time to the music, that’s when I know it’s doing something. Whenever we play that song like I always feel like it has such a good effect on the audience. Also the ending hits hard which is cool!

Have you got much planned for the end of the year?

We’ve got a lot of gigs planned actually! But we are waiting to see how the album does, what happens with the album, so we’re not making certain, definite plans. We’re just letting what happens happen. We don’t want to plan too much and crash and burn. We just want to take it as it goes and see what happens. So far it’s been great so we’re enjoying it whilst we have it!

You guys are doing Rockmantic and Call of the Wild next year with Raz and UPSTGD. He’s your manager, right?

Yeah, it’s kinda a weird long story. It was just when the pandemic started and he had Call of the Wild booked but obviously had to cancel that. At the time we had a venue that we were working out of that could do recorded livestream gigs. I got in touch with Raz saying I could arrange something there under the Call of the Wild banner with a couple of the bands. He said it was a good idea but I think it might be too expensive. We spoke on the phone for a couple of hours. I said we needed a manager but he said he was enjoying putting gigs on too much. Then the next morning Raz messaged saying he’d listened to our EP all night and thought we had something.

We didn’t even have a drummer at the time! Scott hadn’t joined the band! It was just a really weird scenario. We met him at a service station down the M74 outside on a picnic bench. No drummer. But I think he must have just heard something in us. We have really gone from strength to strength with him. He’s done great work for us.

What’s it like to be accepted into this NWOCR scene?

Yeah, it’s just a bunch of people who want to hear new music! People criticise when they live high school, their taste sorta stops there and they don’t listen to anything after that. But there’s all these people that love hearing new bands. And the fact that you can talk to each other and to the people who come to the gigs, I think people really appreciate that.

It’s also good for people who want to go to gigs but don’t want to spend £70/£80. People can see these high quality bands at a lower price and smaller venues where it’s a bit more intimate. It’s great for that, and the more support the better for these bands. And because the ticket prices are so low they’re more inclined to buy merch and say hello. It’s brilliant!

Most of these bands if they weren’t playing they’d be there anyway. There’s some bands that have progressed from the NWOCR scene, but you bump into them and they’re the same people because they’re still linked in that space.

And finally, how would you describe your sound?

I’d say melodic, alternative, heavy rock with a punky element. Grungy too, there’s a lot of grunge! It’s kinda hard because there’s so many different influences. The album has so many different styles and genres. it’s a tricky one to answer. I guess that’s a good thing!

We consciously try and make every song sound different, as well. That’s a big thing for us. We want to make the songs sound different but still sound like us. Some bands have a formula but we don’t really have that. We just work with what we’re working on in the moment.

Shadow Smile: ‘We call it an album but it’s eight different singles… Killer not filler!’

We had the chance to sit down with the awesome Shadow Smile at Call of the Wild a little while back. Join us as we chat about their upcoming album and their plans for the future!

How was the set?

Yeah, we had a really good time. Play all the essential songs I think! Good energy for saying it was early. Second day in as well. It woke people up! Nobody was still in bed after us.

And what’s it like to be one of the heavier bands of the weekend?

I don’t even know how we ended up here. We just kinda got thrown in. But we get on with a lot of the fanbase and they quite like us. I think it’s because we have guitars all over, a lot of clean vocals and a lot of classic rock bits in them. The other elements are a lot more metal; the drumming, the bass, a lot of the riffs. We just sort of scoot around the edge of hard rock.

I think it’s kinda cool to be different as well. I think it works in our favour really. People hear us and question why we’re there maybe, and come and watch. I can’t complain!

Do you have a way of describing your sound?

I don’t think so, no. Just metal really, the collective metal is there. We’ve been saying to everyone we’re such an amalgamation of what we like, it can range from metalcore to really early like 60s rock and then electronica and hip hop. And then you put it all together and you get something that sounds a bit like us really. Then we’re always trying to develop and do something new as well so it’s really hard to put a genre on it. I think other people call us alternative metal, theatrical metal, gothy metal.

So you have the album coming out soon, right?

Yeah! We have one more single that comes out the week after Download, and then the album comes in August, the 18th. Then we’ve got an album launch show at Corporation [Sheffield] and that’s 16th of September.

And what’s the writing process like for you guys?

It varies. Somebody’ll find an idea and send it to the band and somebody’ll put something else in. It just kinda builds up from there. That’s like the main way. It’s very modular. A little element and then build it up. Then we’ll go and see our producer Dan and he’ll give some feedback. ‘Get rid of that, that’s crap, keep that, that’s great’.

The hardest part is the starting of a song. There’s been a few where Connor’s started them and we’ve all built our own parts around it. And then there’s things that were written in the past that we’ve brought forward. But yeah, it’s just getting that initial idea and spark and then see if everyone backs it.

There is a bit of a democracy feel to it. We’re quite brutal with each other, and ourselves as well. You’ve got to be.

The album’s based around the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins, each song relates to an individual sin. It sort of gave us an initial starting point of what each song should sound like, it gave us a bit more to go off. But it was also our worst enemy at times; we’d be writing a song, it’d sound amazing with a great chorus and rhythm, but it doesn’t work with that sin. Some of the best riffs didn’t get on. They could go in a bank and store them for later. But it all depends where we go forward. But it has really pushed us creatively. There’s a lot of songs on the album that we wouldn’t tend to have written if it was just for a single. The theme pushed us in that direction. I feel like creatively we’ve developed.

Would you want to stick to another concept for the next album in the future?

We’ve talked about it. I guess it’s sort of what comes out. I think this next time we’ll try and get a few songs down and see where it’s going. If we can link it to a theme, great. If not then we’ll still have 10 great singles.

I think the main focus, depending on how this album goes and which songs are more successful, that could be the area that we go further in. So I think it’s hard to say until all the songs are actually out and we can see a reaction from fans.

Once the pandemic had finished we did loads of singles, every two months or so, just to get as much out as possible to try and bring people in. The way the album is written in theory; we call it an album but it’s eight different singles, without writing like three show pieces and then five or so filler. Killer not filler.

Have you guys got much planned after the album launch?

It’s early doors. I think we are hoping to get quite a lot of gigs promoted around places where we haven’t played much before. We’ve booked in four dates so far: our album launch show, a couple of others around, and then Blackpool as well. Then Bradford before the album. So we’ll just work around those dates and see what cities we need to play.

And do you guys have a say five year plan?

Connor’s gonna say headline Download. That’s always his favourite one.

It’s not even like I’ve got any passion for Download, it’s just that that is one that’s like the heart of rock’n’roll. You wanna play there. Within five years we’d at least wanted to have played Download. I don’t see that you could headline Download within five years, but if you could, we want that!

But there’s tonnes. Like I want to put out as much good quality music as we can. Keep nurturing our fanbase, they’re the main point of it all. They’ve been super supportive, they crowdfunded our album, and I’d like to keep going with that. The big thing I’ve been saying today is we really don’t want to short change them. They’ve invested their hard earned money at a time where people haven’t got much. That means the world to us so we need to make sure that they’ve invested this, what’s next for them as well. We need to keep an eye on that and make sure we’re delivering the goods!