Video Interview with Christoffer Holm of VENGEANT

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Video Interview with Christoffer Holm of VENGEANT
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello all! Sheri here…

This time, I am sharing with you a lovely and deep chat I had with the equally nice Christoffer Holm of Swedish Symphonic Metal band Vengeant!

Vengeant are a brand-new International band, with their vocalist Danae Komodromou hailing from Greece! Currently, they are working on their forthcoming, debut, EP, with their first single ‘Angels Battle Cry’ released in February 2021. Their second single ‘The Unreal’ will follow on 23rd April. Both will be available on all major platforms!

I discover that there is a particular and interesting theme to the much anticipated, forthcoming album with Vengeant and one that will delight many fans of collectible and tradable card games.

Watch this space…

VENGEANT Video Interview by Sheri Bicheno

Vengeant are:
Danae Komodromou – Vocals
Christoffer Holm – Lead Guitar and Bass
Dennis Eriksson – Rhythm Guitar
Alfred Fridhagen – Drums

LINKS:

‘Angels Battle Cry’ (Visualiser)

Vengeant Promo Painting (Artwork by Sanjin Halimic)
Artwork by Sanjin Halimic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Video Interview with EMPYRE

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Video Interview with EMPYRE
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi all! Miss Bicheno here! I am back with another interview…and this time I had a really insightful and lengthy video chat with Did Coles (Lead Guitar) and Henrik Steenholdt (Vocals) of Northampton, UK based Rock band Empyre.

After playing in a successful cover band and wanting to expand on creating their own music, Empyre formed in 2016, catapulting into creating a range of ballads with atmospheric and hard rock layers. Due to play Planet Rock’s Rockstock this year and with more gigs being announced all the time (including a support slot on Mason Hill’s upcoming 2021 UK Tour in September) and all subject to Covid restrictions being lifted, Empyre have a string of stages they have frequented around the UK over the years and if you listen to their stunning offerings with added Acoustic versions, you will see why!

After my Skype cut out our introductions (doh!), have a watch of the interview below with these brilliant guys!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

EMPYRE Video Interview by Sheri Bicheno

Empyre are:
Did Coles – Lead Guitar
Henrik Steenholdt – Vocals
Elliot Bale – Drums
Grant Hockley – Bass

LINKS:

‘Only Way Out’ (Official Video)


Empyre Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Paul March of Zebadiah Crowe

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Interview with Paul March of Zebadiah Crowe
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi guys! I return with another chat from a further killer artist. This time I present a great chat with the lovely Paul March of Zebadiah Crowe – a duo of chaotic Industrial Black Metal from Hertfordshire.

Having known Paul since he played at Mammothfest, some years back, in his Electronic Metal project, Shyly Virus, I’ve followed his work with Zebadiah Crowe closely. The band started in 2006 and went on to release 2008 demo “Lo’Grosh”, a 2009 Split with Orion and then in 2010 they released their first full-length album “Grawl! The Many Deaths of the Great Beast”. Second full-length album “Omak K’aah” was then released in 2013, followed by a long break until 2020, where Zebadiah Crowe returned with the beastly new album “Host Rider”.

Take a look below for my chat with Paul and some insight into the return of this monster!

Sheri: Now obviously, I know you best from your days in Shyly Virus – give our readers an insight to Zebadiah Crowe and where you started…I know you started around 2006?

Paul: Yeah, let’s not dwell on that hahaha. It makes me feel even older haha. But yes, we did! We started way, way back in 2006. I’d already been knocking around and seen a little bit before that with another band. I’m gonna be honest with you, it just started off as me and four other guitarists just jamming stuff out. And yeah, it just became ZEBADIAH CROWE. It went up on Myspace and people didn’t hate it hahaha. So…here we are! People didn’t hate it as much as the other stuff, so we just ran with it.

Sheri: Best way to start!

Paul: It didn’t completely suck haha.

Sheri: I know that you have quite extensive experience in other bands so are there other things that you were working on before?

Paul: We were originally a doom/sludge band and we got some Radio 1 air play out of that. The most bizarre thing you’ve ever heard in your entire life is that, you know, you hear yourself coming out of the radio especially with that sort of thing. And, as I say, we just started to wing it, but the weird thing is that Jim’s family know my family and two of our family members were working together – and I said that I was looking for a guitarist and this person said “Ah! My son is a guitarist!” and that’s how we kinda ended up working together. So, it was complete nepotism to be honest with you haha. And here we are almost 20 years later! It’s…you know, I would be out for good behaviour by now hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha. I’m sure it feels like it sometimes.

Paul: Yeah, but I think I try his patience on an almost daily basis too so…hahaha!

Sheri: Yeah, but that’s what makes good partners! Haha.

Paul: Definitely. It wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t throwing things at me all the time so…haha.

Sheri: Remember to duck! What I find interesting about Zebadiah Crowe is that you combine flavours of Black Metal and Industrial Grind. As you’ve got a wealth of experience in other bands…Phlefonyaar, Shyly Virus, Skrugg…How did you come to find that this was your preferred direction?

Paul: Well, there is so much interesting and fun good music out there. Let’s be fair, what would the world be without it? One of the joys in life for me has been trying to A) Find it and thinking what would happen if I put this together? And B) I’m a massive Pig Destroyer fan. So, I can remember sitting there and basically sort of thinking “What would a Black Metal version of Pig Destroyer sound like?” So, I went round the web and no one – well, it just wasn’t there! Especially not back in 2006. So, like a lot of people, I went “If no one else is going to do it, I’m gonna have to!” Then the telephone call was made, the rehearsal room was booked and here we are…and that’s just how it goes. Hahaha. It was done sheerly and purely because I wanted to hear that sort of stuff and I wanted to apply my meager talents to it…and, hopefully, I’ve done it justice. I’d also like to say that you know, some bands have now since materialised that are very much in that vein thank goodness…and they’re all really, really good! So, I think it’s fantastic that people are actually stepping outside the box to do things, especially as extreme music very much works on genres so it’s nice to see people just trying stuff.

Sheri: Yeah, outside the box and not conformity.

Paul: Yeah, people trying new things and not relying on in the in-built audiences you get with say, “I’m going to be in a doom band.” if you get my drift, obviously you get the Doom audience and the Doom audience like you and then Presto! Whereas you probably have to work a little bit harder on who you are if you’re trying something new. But I’m extremely glad that people are trying something new and are still doing it.

Sheri: Absolutely. I think it’s also about diversity as well. Because as you say, if people are into Doom then it also opens up other avenues on sub-genres you know. That’s what I find interesting about you guys. You’re not in a box so to speak.

Let’s talk a bit about your previous releases…Your last release before “Host Rider” was in 2013 with “Omak K’aah” which was just pure face melting evil – Take our readers through some of the dynamics of that album?

Paul: The idea was to make the most heinously evil music I could possibly think of. That was the top of the list on the drawing board. Then it was taking apart what other people consider to be heinously evil music and think “Can I do better than this? Is it possible? Can I at least approach it?” So, the first thing that became apparent to me is that we needed an atmosphere. And that’s where I think the industrial side comes in. So, there’s me at the side of the road with my tape deck recording ambient sounds and all that sort of stuff. So that came into it. And then I had to flex my drum programming skill…if you can call it that. It’s like killing an ant with a hammer haha. So, I had programmed drums before, but I think that’s the first album where I actually sat down and really got into it. It’s probably quite primitive by other people’s standards now. It was getting it to also sound real and not too much like a drum machine, so to a certain extent, you had to build in errors. Which I know sounds completely ridiculous, but it’s actually true haha.

And lastly, I had the guitarist I needed in ‘Forrrr’. I had my tape recorder full of riffs, I played them to him and he recorded them and he just crammed it all together in one big heap and what you hear is what we had at the end of it. I’m actually still quite proud of that, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that album. I think it still stands, even though it’s a hard listen, I like to think it’s still a good listen. I know lots of people may find elements that they don’t like, you can’t please everyone. For me, I still go “yeah, that’s one of my better pieces of work, I’m very pleased with it.”

Sheri: Amazing. It’s interesting to see how you evolve as a musician, from your early releases and finding a piece that you’re proud of.

Paul: You’ve got to try and see the best in things, I think. I chalked that one up as a success.

Sheri: I think it is, because when people talk about Zebadiah Crowe, that is one of the pieces that crops up most. For me as well… a few friends or acquaintances, particularly another Ever Metal reviewer Rick Eaglestone, who also is with Moshville Times! When I said I’m gonna be doing this interview, he highly recommended I check the album out LOUD… and I did! Hahaha.

Paul: They said some really nice things about us, we are very thankful to them. They are really good people, big thank you to them!

Sheri: You released “Host Rider” in June 2020 – after a long break of seven years. What do you think has developed in “Host Rider” and the band during that break?

Paul: The band members are probably in a better place, I would say. Towards the end of that particular period of Zebadiah Crowe, I was living in my car. I’m conducting this interview from my car – it’s a different car. Hahaha. But yeah, it got to the point where we just couldn’t function as people, so we had to take some time off from doing Zeb. So off we went…and I think that in the in-between years, we’ve learnt a lot of things, we’ve done other bands with and without each other. The upshot has been that when we came to release “Host Rider”, we were a lot more focused. We knew what we were doing and an awful lot more, I think. There was an end game to it. Again, if you have the big list next to it, it had bullet points on it rather than just written at the top in biro. “This, this and this needs to happen.” This is the end game here and this has to happen. Circle at the bottom, this. So, I think this is probably the difference that you’re seeing.

Sheri: I do see the changes; I can see that there’s a bit more of an industrial vibe.

Paul: Yeah, it’s funny that you say that. We speak to people and what we get back was that the split album we did, our 3 tracks on that, were probably the most industrial tracks we’ve done. We don’t want to go too industrial though. There’s that whole thing about industrial that I’m not going to go into right now haha but yes, I think that’s well observed, there is more industrial on it. I don’t call it “Industrial” myself, I call it “atmosphere”.

Sheri: Ambience haha!

Paul: Yes, to get our message across, that’s probably the icing on the cake.

Sheri: I do detect some tones that actually reminds me a little bit of Ministry. I’m not sure if you have any influences in your music but that’s what I connect it to.

Paul: Oh yes, I am a massive Ministry fan. In my top three bands, they’re probably one of those three. I absolutely love Ministry, I always have. I know that they died off a bit, but “Psalm 69” was a turning point for me when that came out. I’d never heard anything like that before. I think that it’s been a benchmark to a certain extent. In our own way, we’ve tried to recreate some of that and hopefully we have done!

Sheri: I think it shines through definitely. Your vocals are a bit rawer and sharper in this album, straight from the get-go. ‘Knucklebones’ is a really fun track to me, It’s just pure energy and fight through the whole thing. Just dirty haha! It touches on a lot of destructive and primitive scenes – creatures rising from depths to massacre – Give our readers an insight into the theme going on “Host Rider”, from your perspective.

Paul: Well, let’s take the title to start with. I’ve always been a comic book fan; I was always into Ghost Rider. I thought well, you know, it’s like this stuff rides us through life so that’s where the title came from. I’m very lyrically influenced by Poe, Lovecraft, I like to paint pictures with it. I want to give people the image. I’m very glad that you said that you could see things as you heard it because that says a lot to me. That’s what I’m after haha. And to bring this stuff to people, hopefully in a way they enjoy rather than a terrifying way that they won’t enjoy. One of the things that we learnt from the older albums is that people don’t like to be scared. Hahaha. That’s not what people want in an evening hahaha. So, we had to dial it back a little bit because for some people it was like “I can’t listen to this, this is terrifying.” Hahaha.

Sheri: I think it depends on people’s perception and what they’re looking for. That’s the beauty of music. Scary can be good.

Paul: Well, that’s brilliant, I suppose it’s kinda like a horror film. People do like to be scared every now and then but, then again, you don’t want to scare people to the point where they lose control of their faculties. Hahaha. We don’t blame people though haha.

Sheri: I think you’ve got a good grasp on what you’re doing and putting out there. There’s more ambience on “Host Rider”.

Paul: It’s a lot more punk to me, than the last album. Certainly, more than The Split. I think that comes from the writing process a little bit. Me and Jim (Forrrr) listen to a lot of punk music, his favourite band is Black Flag, for example. There’s a touch of when writing the riffs, what would Forrrr like to hear? I try to push those towards him and get him to put his spin on it and rock it back and forth until we get what we’re after.

Sheri: One of our readers has described “Host Rider” as a theme in Mortal Combat, they’re fighting in Hell. There’s background music and they’ve said “Host Rider” is like the Hell Scene fight haha.

Paul: I will take that, I love Mortal Kombat. So, thank you. That’s going on the résumé haha.

Sheri: What pushes you to bring these to the surface? Do you draw inspiration from a source?

Paul: Well, if I was in a Hardcore band, I would probably write about living on the streets, if you get my drift. If I were to put that in Zeb, it wouldn’t work and it would probably sound a little bit fake. There’s a certain authenticity that you need to have with this stuff in order to commit to it. If there’s no authenticity, then you can’t commit to it. So, we all have our problems in life, we all struggle with certain things. Sometimes the monsters you’re hearing about are real monsters that I have given a name to and put down and given them their own tory and let them out into the world. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know but it certainly makes for good listening.

Sheri: My favourite tracks from “Host Rider” are ‘The Neon Goat of Crimson Grief’, ‘Godblind And Destitute’…and ‘A Horror To The Eyes Of Saintly Men’ – the riffs and frenzied drums combined with some pretty atmospheric effects is right up my street. When you come to creating your tracks, what is the best method for you both?

Paul: I would say it’s 99% me, I don’t think he would be upset with me saying that. I just bully him hahaha.

Sheri: Someone has to be the boss hahaha.

Paul: He basically comes in and I have these ideas and he goes “no that can’t be done.” And my response is usually “Well, that’s unfortunate because we’re doing them.” Hahaha.

I’ve got all of these noises and I’ve done this; I want the beats per minute to be this, I’ve got these basic drum tracks worked out and the bass line…so yeah, it’s basically probably 99% me standing there going “now do this, now do this.” Hahaha. And he sits there with a long suffering look on his face going “Yeah, I can’t do that.” Hahaha. “That’s not humanely possible.” haha. And then unfortunately I make a complete noose for my own neck because then I have to play Bass under everything I’ve got him to do and then that’s when I discover that actually no it’s not possible haha.

Sheri: Do you have anyone in the band for live purposes at all?

Paul: Actually, yeah, we do! We have a couple of people – we got one guy who does drums for us, he’s stateside – a guy called Marshall. We were hoping to get out on the road to go places but obviously things have had a stopper put on that. We should have been on tour now, to be honest with you. It’s a bit of a shame. We do have another guy on drums for touring Europe and the UK. We’ve done a few shows with the drum machine and there’s something about the simplicity about just plugging it in and playing along. It never stopped Godflesh, it will never stop us. I think it’s good to have variation in things. It makes you a better musician, I think. It means you’ve got to play catch up to yourself. It keeps you on your feet and on your toes. It makes you better…and with the way things are going, there’s a chance we are gonna have to think fast and think on our feet. So, more options are better. It’s much easier to get a drum machine through customs than a drummer hahaha. One fits in the box…so does the other, but one is bigger hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha. Your vocals are STURDY as f**k! How do you settle on your vocal range for Zebadiah Crowe?

Paul: Normally, in other bands I’ve been in, my vocals aren’t quite that scathing, they’re normally a bit deeper, so I have to go up the range ever so slightly when I’m doing the main vocals. It’s more of a shriek, so you have to warm up before you do those, I reckon hahaha. So, there’s usually 10 minutes before going on stage where I’m out behind the venue in an alleyway screaming my head off, trying to warm my vocals up and you know, people look at me like I’m insane. Hahaha. It happens you know! There’s nothing you can do about it. People come down and are like “are you alright?” and I’m like “Yeah, I’m fine, honestly, I’m not hurt, I promise!” And you have to loosen your vocal chords off and obviously we do a lot of twin – which is really big screams that are done low and high. I’m quite lucky that I can split my voice off so I can do both at the same time. I don’t know how or why I can do it; I just seem to be able to – but not all the time, not gonna lie. On that front, we’re quite lucky and there’s a way of doing them. It’s almost like shrinking and it’s almost like barking if that makes sense. It’s very much doing vocals to the melody of the drums instead of the guitar. So, I will go with the drum patterns on the vocals normally. The incredibly talented Florian from Dark Fortress also taught me some good tricks. He’s a talented man so when he tells you something, you should listen haha. I like to push myself; it’s been an adventure with the vocals.

Sheri: For people like yourself, who can do Black Metal, or most Metal vocals, and have different techniques, it’s a good insight to see where yours come from. What advice can you give other Black Metal artists?

Paul: Only what I do. For the love of God, warm up. You might be alright for a little while, but you will blow your voice and it’s not fun. A lot of vocalists might disagree with me there and don’t need to warm up, but I know some vocalists that like to drink milk and some like to drink wine before they play. I personally avoid spicy food when I warm up. Other than that, try not to hurt yourself haha. Gaahl from Gorgoroth would have wine before he went on, but it would have to be room temperature. There are all sorts of different techniques really. Protect your instrument though, would be my suggestion.

Sheri: What is happening next for you?

Paul: Well, it’s kind of with image and computer games… Our EP “Lychmilk” was released in early February with three tracks…I’m not gonna ruin anything but we’ve been very very VERY kindly allowed to use footage from a computer game that you can get on the PlayStation 4. So, that’s pretty cool. It’s in the Pipeline, I really hope you like the video because it is absolutely fantastic and it took a great deal of self-control to not put it out straight away, not gonna lie haha. Scott form Dark North Media, he’s a lovely man. He puts up with…me! Hahaha. He’s helped tremendously with it and applied his prestigious talents to it, so I am very excited for that. There’s that then will be the next full-length album in the Spring. Which is KINDA done…but I’m dragging my heels on it because I wanna get it right haha.

Sheri: I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into that!

Paul: I really hope we can tour it as soon as possible, really hoping we can all get back out there. I haven’t managed to do festivals and see what we can put on the bucket list haha.

Sheri: Finally, let us know how others can support you!

Paul: Don’t just support us, Support anyone who’s trying to do something. Providing they like it obviously, but go to BandCamp pages, go to the websites, watch the videos, tell people about us and other bands like us. Make sure that these people get heard and are not left out in the cold because people need more support. With Spotify and everything, you don’t get much from what you put out. Even if you share our video, bang, thank you, it means the world to us. Plus, when you’re standing in a builder’s yard with bags of concrete, and you go to your phone and see it, it helps, it’s really great and really pushes you forward, it’s great.

Sheri: We will look out for your new release! Thank you so much for your time, mate. Really appreciated.

Paul: Me and Forrrr really appreciate it, you guys are pretty much the life blood of what we do cuz you help us reach people. Thank you!

‘Wormhavens Dance’ (Official Video)

Zebadiah Crow are:
Paul March (The Horrid) – Vocals, Bass, Drum Programming
Jim Males (Forrrrthen) – Guitars

LINKS:

Zebadiah Crowe Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Red Terror UK

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Interview with Red Terror UK
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi All! Sheri here. I’m back with another interview and this one is with Brighton/London based Punk band Red Terror UK!

Red Terror were formed in 2017 and as they put it, make noise about the UK government! Their self-titled EP, released in 2018, has helped them play live in some of the UK’s favourite Southern underground venues such as The Tavern, The Hope and Ruin, The Prince Albert, Bar 42 Worthing, The Pipeline, The Green Door Store and many more.

Read on to see what shenanigans they create, the concept behind their message in the EP and to never take things from strange men in large overcoats…

Sheri: So, we know Red Terror was unleashed in 2017! As with a lot of punk agendas, you have political confrontation in your music. Give our readers an insight into your background and how was Red Terror conceived?

Siri: Ahh hahaha it was initially conceived out of me, Joey and someone else wanting to have a bit of fun but it sorta just stopped. Then it came to a Uni assessment in the second year I think, and we needed to make a band as part of the assessment, so we just turned around and were like “you wanna give it another go?”. Then ended up getting J (Jed) into the band, who is not here right now haha – and then one thing led to another and we ended up with this somehow.

Ashwin: So, I filled in for a few shows and then it got into being like “look, just drum for us, already” haha which is fine!

*Jed enters the chat*

Jed: Sup?

Ashwin: J – can you give us a bit of backstory into Red Terror?

Siri: Sorry, can I just hold up a second – we’ve finally managed to get all four of us in the same place at the same time hahaha.

Jed: Absolutely beautiful haha. From what I gather, Joey, Siri and Connor who is our previous drummer, used to put on gigs and go on and play ‘Endless Nameless’ (Nirvana song) and I went to this gig in Worthing that Joey was playing and they were like “do you wanna join the band?” and I was like “Ok, I’ll give it a go”.

Joey: We made you sign a contract.

Jed: Did we actually have a contract?

Joey: Yeah, we made you sign a contract, so you are legally bound to be in Red Terror for the next 97 years hahaha.

Jed: Hahaha. Oh shit. I remember that night we went to rehearse over the bridge and we were just noisy bastards. Until eventually, it was like, about 6 months later, we started tightening up and we actually played a gig. Then after that it was basically every other week, right we’re playing this, we’re playing that and chaos and pints ensued…

Sheri: Where are you all based? Are you all in Brighton?

Joey: We were. I mean, the majority of us moved away from for one reason or another and we sort of just meet in London when we can. It’s kinda the middle for everyone.

Ashwin: Our most recordings are back in Brighton but the last few months we’ve been either in Earlsfield or East Croydon where we go up and do practises now. There was a time where we were all based in the same City and it was a lot easier haha.

Siri: Back in the day!

Ashwin: Siri is the only one who’s managed to keep their lifestyle in Brighton which is fair play because I couldn’t do that forever hahaha.

Sheri: As mentioned, your music is politically charged, for all the reasons the UK needs to hear! Give our readers your own thoughts into the message you’re putting out there?

Joey: So, I mean, I think a lot of it comes from me personally, I was at College kinda around the time when the Tory coalition with the Liberal Democrats started. I remember me and someone else at College were completely ripping into one of the College Tutors as she was Tory…and I think it comes from that frustration of no matter what anyone seems to do, we’re just stuck with the Tories through an indefinite amount of time. I think we know how to channel that through music and it turns out that a lot of people seem to agree with that. A lot of bands have a similar method. It becomes a place where people can vent their frustrations and we’re almost like…through us doing that, we’re giving others a platform to voice those opinions, I guess.

Siri: I’d say also that we come from varying different backgrounds and ways that the UK government and political spectrum has impacted us in different ways, like we all come from different backgrounds. I mean obviously being individuals of colour, so there’s multiple different reasons for our views about the government and about how it’s impacted us and such. Having that broad sort of spectrum, it helps us in our music to appeal and apply it to the rest of the UK and the rest of the world because it’s a reflection on not just us but everyone at the moment.

Joey: We have a lot of hate mail as well from right wingers for like…we haven’t even done anything for ages…we have the occasional inbox or like comment on our posts that try to “Cancel us” I guess… what was that one from that guy the other day?

Siri: That was madness. What was he on about?

Jed: He was clearly in the middle of having some kind of normal one haha. Just wanting to express that hahaha.

Sheri: So, these are the motives behind creating what Red Terror are essentially about. It’s like putting personal things into music.

Jed: Oh, spite! A lot of acts, compared to them, I think we are a lot more violent in terms of performance. Because, as Siri has got on his Bass headstock, “You gotta mind out for the flying bass” because he’s just throwing it everywhere! I mean, how many people have you actually maimed?

Siri: Hahaha. I’ve not actually maimed anyone! I nearly killed Joey…

Joey: Things can happen where we include Hannah, the ceiling at the Tavern in Exeter, me, J…

Siri: The bass itself.

Joey: Who was the person you smashed in the face? Who got like a massive lump? I think it was Meg…or was that from the ceiling?

Jed: Oh no that was the bar at The Tavern, I think.

Siri: That wasn’t me, that was the metal bit in front of the stage that fell down so that was not me hahaha. There was this metal bar in front of the stage and they were just rocking it back and forward until they just ripped it out of its socket. It just collapsed on top of Meg and everyone else.

Sheri: Death to everyone!

Joey: Almost simulating a revolution…

Jed: I think a lot of post punk bands are missing that kind of level of stupid edgy spite that the original run of punks kind of had before they all turned Tories haha. The aim is to keep it in the left camp.

Ashwin: I think what’s different about being in this band compared to other stuff I’ve been involved with, is that it’s guaranteed to be fun and have this unbridled chaos that ensues and it seems to feed off quite well no matter who we’re playing with. I think there’s a level of accessibility with the left-wing messages in there but it’s not to a point of being like “haha Orange Man bad.” “Haha, Tories bad.” Especially since recently, there’s stuff we’ve sung about that we’ve drawn more from personal experience as opposed to just being like “Uh, government bad.” or that we are Communist punk rock – it’s expanded a bit more since then which is really nice and it’s just a good outlet to have that more politically driven side of things rather than being someone who talks the talk on their social media but doesn’t actually do anything actively.

Sheri: Let’s talk about your releases – you released EP Red Terror in 2018 – Apart from your iconic 44 second ‘Jeremy Corbyn Ate My Homework’, my favourite track is ‘Parasite’, which focuses on the Theresa May governance. Take us through the back roads of the lyrical meaning to this EP.

Siri: I forgot the lyrics. Hahaha. Joey just makes the lyrics up on the spot haha.

Joey: It was around the time that Windrush and a lot of racist attacks were empowered by Brexit. Their society is about refugees basically and people sort of attacking them and newspapers demonizing people for leaving more poorer countries. I mean, ‘Whitehawk’ is just a silly and fun song basically about… just don’t be a c*nt and don’t hate other people for no reason. ‘Pop Music’ was the first song we ever wrote, actually. That was kind of when me, Siri and Connor used to practise, we used to cover some Greenday songs. Haha.

Siri: And Feeder wasn’t it?

Joey: Yeah, haha I think that’s where the influence for that came from and it almost turned into a piss take out of itself. Obviously, we wrote the song and I was like “How do we make this more cheesy?” So, I added a key change to the last chorus.

Ashwin: That one’s my favourite to play live because I always like adding the tempo to ridiculous speeds to the point where it’s three times as fast as it’s meant to be but during the recording, I’m like “but it needs to be faster, I’m going to make this faster because I started this god damn tempo off and I want some control in this part.” haha.

I think that’s the only one that has a relationship theme, the rest of them are very blatant with the theme!

Joey: Yeah, we have our obligatory pop-punk break up song for certain.

Sheri: When coming together to write Red Terror, in terms of songwriting, how did you find fitting the rawness and energy to amalgamate your message and your music?

Siri: I would say in terms of the music, it was never really like we got into the studio and there were plans to be a punk band. It just sort of a case of we got in there and was like “let’s just play something” and it ended up as Red Terror. All of us come from fairly different musical backgrounds. Like. Shwin, you’re more sort of noisy and shit. J, from my understanding you’re more sort of old wave, Talking Heads and stuff like that. The weird shit.

Jed: Power pop and stuff like that. I’ve been part of the writing process, I just thought I enjoy that a part of the energy in a song can be the chords and they can go to stupid places. Siri came up the riff for ‘Why Should I?’ Which is our next single. I came up with the chorus, so I just slapped some chords together – it sounds a little bit weird.

Siri: Hahaha. That’s the Red Terror style – just “slap some stuff together”.

Sheri: Just get stuck in haha.

Joey: Some of the earliest recordings, I have them, it sounds almost kinda like a lost Nirvana session where we’re just dicking around and that’s sorta how it started and it became more and more refined because we took bits out of it and kept those bits and sort of got rid of the bits where I was screaming into the microphone and where J was scratching at the guitar against the amp and stuff like that. We still kept some of those bits in, but they have their place now instead of being spontaneous.

Sheri: That’s part of the personality of it. If Red Terror were a drink, what would you be and why? Give our readers a comparison taste…

Jed: DON’T SAY BUCKFAST!

Hahahaha. I’m gonna say Buckfast! Absolute unadulterated fucking chaos and you never know what’s gonna happen with it hahaha. Sometimes chaos and sometimes WTF is happening haha.

Ashwin: I’m gonna go with Black Sambuca – Siri can explain this story as it’s very relevant to when headlined our last gig. Hahaha.

Joey: Wasn’t that Buckfast as well?

Jed: But would that mean that we are about to admit that we committed a crime? Hahaha. We don’t need to include that part hahaha.

Ashwin: So basically, we partied in this playground and there was a man who offered us Black Sambuca and £10 crack from his very large overcoats – think that is one of the weirdest experiences, we haven’t had anything as surreal as that. We didn’t drink it obviously but… hahaha.

Siri: That could be something to do with the next song haha.

Sheri: Try anything once I guess haha. There’s a picture that’s one of my favourites and it’s featuring Siri in a chair and a pile of chunder…So whatever drink has that effect, I agree hahaha.

*everyone bursts into laughter*

Siri: I think that was a dodgy burger!

Joey: Siri’s dad bought us all burgers from Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Siri ungratefully decided to throw it up. Hahaha.

*all laugh*.

Siri: I think I’d only had like two drinks and then when we played, I went absolutely H.A.M when we played and my body was just like “no, you have done too much”.

Joey: Were you screaming “I hate Gourmet Burger Kitchen” before you threw up, or did I make that up?

Siri: No hahaha.

Joey: How do I remember it? Hahaha.

Jed: After that gig we all had to go straight back home because we had to go to work the next day. I had to be in by 10am and I think I was still drunk.

Siri: And I was quite drunk, sitting in my dad’s car for about 2 hours all the way from Exeter. Clearly my Dad was just there like “WTF has my son become?” hahaha.

Sheri: As the live music scene has been majorly trampled on over the last year, I can imagine it’s been a pain to be as productive as you’d like. Have you been making any plans for when live gigs return to some normality?

Joey: It’s been discussed. We’ve a few ideas.

Siri: I think we’ve bounced around a couple of ideas but for the most part it’s been more that we don’t know when this is gonna end. Also, we would rather not be in a situation where we book something and then BANG, you’re in another lockdown.

Ashwin: I think the most frustrating thing last year was that it was very obvious gigs were getting rescheduled for September that it just wasn’t happening…and promoters were being really optimistic about that and it was pissing me off because there was no vaccine in sight, there’s no funding for these venues, most of these venues are having to do crowd funders to keep afloat and there was just no normality. I find that its weirder when we did practise and record stuff, as soon as lockdown was lifted the first time, people were going fresh into the practise phases and it kinda seems pointless because it’s like… the live shows that you want in that capacity are just not possible and if you are going to, you’re gonna have these shit sit down equivalents, which I get why people are doing, but for punk bands it’s just not the same.

If you’re an indie band or a solo Artist, I mean I don’t want to shit on people who are doing these socially distance gigs, I just feel like it’s better to wait until everything settles and you don’t feel guilty for playing these things because you’re not putting people at risk. Above all, if there’s something that’s gone away rather than “well, we can squeeze this in before another lockdown” I just don’t think that’s great.

Siri: What if we played gigs in Hazmat suits?

Sheri: Are you working on any new material that you can tell us about?

All: Yes!

Joey: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of songs and I’ve got a few ideas that we first started writing since the last full lockdown. Song called ‘Tram Man’. Which, is once again about a bad experience that Siri had…

Sheri: Why is it always you? Hahaha.

Siri: It was traumatising hahaha.

Ashwin: ‘Tram Man’ was made because of a practise that we had in East Croydon, where we got on the tram to get to the practise room and because in London, they don’t accept cash on public transport, Siri couldn’t just buy a ticket on the tram, so he got slapped with a £100 fine or something ridiculous like that and we just decided to write a song about it.

Jed: I’ve started writing lyrics in a way. The way it kinda turned out is just kinda like more anxiety about where technology is actually going and that it might actually leave us all behind. If you’re homeless and you wanna get about, what do you do? If you don’t have a credit card and where banks are going cashless, you’re kind of fucked.

Ashwin: Exactly…and that’s definitely increased over COVID and fuck knows what it will be like after this period where people are afraid – and I understand why because it’s handing things over. But also, I feel like it’s already hard enough for people in marginalised positions to you know, even have a fixed address for a bank account or even access to medication and so the idea, I guess in a larger way, is ‘The Tram Man’ is this unbeatable figure of aggression, essentially. Hahaha. No one really likes going on a train and figuring out that you don’t have the right ticket and then being charged extra for that so…it’s like an extended metaphor of that…

Sheri: Tell our readers how we can support you at the moment.

Joey: Ah, listening to us on Spotify and YouTube and sharing our stuff around. We haven’t really got any monetized revenue, really. I mean we’re a punk band so we’re not really doing this for money.

Ashwin: Even if we did anyway there’s no money to be had because that’s what life is like hahaha.

Joey: We’ve got merch; CD’s, T-shirts and stuff. So, if anyone wants to send us a message with their address, they can always buy a T-Shirt…or buy me a beer.

Siri: If you really wanna help us out, you can leave food out for the Racoons that make up the 4 people sat before you haha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: Send out food and beer hahaha. Do you have any other platforms apart from Facebook?

Jed: We’re on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Joey: And Instagram, Apple Music, Twitter page…

Jed: What we would like to encourage people to do is make a playlist and put it on loop and basically take as much money from Daniel Ek as possible…because he’s being a bastard hahaha.

Ashwin: To be honest, playlists are the best way of supporting people because not only are you helping your mates but you’re expanding music that people might not be familiar with. The thing with Spotify is that most of the similar sounding things are not to do with the sound itself, it’s to do with the sort of people that listen to your music. So, in my other bands, there’s loads of unrelated Artists that will come up as suggestions, but they happen to be what people are listening to at the time, so if you have a playlist of similar sounding things or different bands that have the same members as each other or something, that’s usually the best way of supporting. It also means that you don’t have to slog through you know, loads of other stuff if you just want to listen to one track etc. I think it’s really easy to be really cynical about Spotify and there’s this evil overlord’s thing…but I guess that platform is there, it’s convenient, it’s not going away so you might as well make good use of it.

Siri: The only reason your playlist is set up like that is because we all know that “Shoegaze” isn’t a real genre. Hahaha.

Jed: Playlist culture now is just a bit of bollocks…

Ashwin: Prove it. It increases your overall streams and I think there’s a way of doing it where it isn’t this contrived thing and I think that also having collaborative playlists where people can add their own – as long as it’s within reason and people aren’t silly with it and add like, I dunno, Gary Glitter or something stupid like that. Then you can make it a fun, collaborative thing to have so…

Siri: Now who’s talking about problematic Artists haha.

Jed: I’ve been working on my other project as well and part of that is that I’ve been doing a lot of the promotion for it, for the first time and I’ve been watching those little music videos about how you increase your reach; you go onto to submit your email to blogs, you do all this and that. I got added to one playlist out of all that and it’s got like 500 songs on it. So, I think it gets to the point sometimes where you just, a lot of the time, the desperation to be added to it gets to you. But I don’t see a better way of doing it.

Sheri: Not until some things get back to normality and you can physically promote yourselves. Finally, give some advice!

Ashwin: It’s about getting the balance right, don’t be afraid to self-promote because at the end of the day, unless you have all of these connections that you know, no one is gonna do it but yourself…on the other hand, I really object to people who add you on Facebook and then immediately be like “Hey, man. Come like my metal core band or…add you to an Instagram group with all of their friends that you’ve never met before and they’re like “Come watch our new music video!” So those things, bad. Sponsors, links or whatever – they might be a bit annoying, but they do work. Thing is getting over that anxiety of like “I’m in a band and I’m doing that.” or whatever and your friends might find it a bit annoying but…who fucking cares? They might be quite pleasantly surprised by it but just…self-promote but just be smart about it.

Joey: Yeah, dont; force your music upon people because they’re probably more likely to reject it straight away – even if you think it’s great, people don’t like adverts, generally. And I guess people don’t like being told what to do so any information out there for your music. I’m not even on Facebook anymore because I think it’s a load of shit but like…I share stuff to Instagram stories and stuff because people respond to it like “oh sick!”

Ashwin: Yeah, it’s more organic than just bombarding people with a load of shit. There’s a lot of stereotypes around DIY musicians where it’s easy to take the piss out of them because it is pretty cringe, but it is also the only way to promote…so…if all 4 of you are promoting at the same time, you share the embarrassment but if you’re doing it on your own, you’re sorta fucked hahaha.

Siri: It’s difficult when, if you do make a post and it will get lost in the sea of other posts going around from different bands or memes or whatever, it’s so easy for your stuff to get lost in that. So, it is really difficult unless you’re willing to fork out money to pay Zuckerberg to give you more reach.

Jed: I got banned from Facebook Ad’s recently. I don’t know how – I think what happened was that it came up with PayPal for two different things and I wasn’t getting an invoice for some of it, so I ended up blocking it and then I got banned from it cuz it’s just fucked how they operate it. I guess my advice is exist out of spite! If no one is listening, keep making it and you know, pay to like one person in a tiny basement with your trousers off cuz one day…

Ashwin: Hahaha. Why do they have to have their trousers off!?!

Jed: Cuz I mean, we’re not big. But there are still people who will come out to see us and I still get messages from people who are like “I recognise you through this thing” or Facebook groups and things like that. It’s a small world.

Joey: Yeah, me and Siri got recognised by someone and neither of us had any idea who they were.

Siri: I think that was after our first gig, we walked into an offie’ and some guy was like “You’re the guys from Red Terror!” and we were like YAAAAA!

Joey: Yeah? What’s it to ya haha!

Ashwin: And it wasn’t a threat, it was like OH MY GOD someone recognises us hahaha. WHY DO YOU KNOW US? Hahaha.

Joey: As long as you’re not a cop haha.

Ashwin: Yeah “You’re from Red Terror, you’re the ones that broke the mirrors last night.” hahaha. I just did that in a West Country accent and I have no idea why.

Sheri: Why not hahaha. Thanks so much guys, it’s been brilliant!

Red Terror: Thank you so much!

Red Terror are:
Siri Crawford – Bass
Joey Reeves – Vocals
Ashwin Bhandari – Drums
Jed – Guitar

LINKS:

Red Terror UK Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

Interview with Nathan Hammond of Spyder Byte

Spyder Byte Logo

Interview with Nathan Hammond of Spyder Byte
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello all! I return with another great band that I interviewed leading up towards the end of the dreaded year of 2020…

Spyder Byte are a 5-piece hailing from Kent and formed back in late 2011, starting as no more than a group of 13-to-16-year-old mates from school. With a common goal in mind and signing to Enso Music Management, Spyder Byte was born, with the intention of adding to the revival of 80’s-style-metal.

I had a lengthy chat with one Nathan Hammond, a compadre I knew from the Mammothfest days and who plays Bass for this rockin’ bunch. They recently also introduced new Guitarist Robbie Weller into their ranks! Check them and the interview out…

Sheri: You formed in 2011 and went on to kick ass on stage at Bloodstock, Mammothfest and Hard Rock Hell. Take us through a bit of the history of Spyder Byte, how did you come to be?

Nathan: Ok, so most of us went to school together down in Kent – that was Connor (drummer), C.C (guitarist) and myself. We were in a band before, we were in a small-time band just doing covers and stuff. We kinda just wanted to do more original music and at the time it just so happened that us three, us three little 12-and-13-year-old-kids, weren’t really into stuff like Asking Alexandria, Motionless in White and that kind of shit – we were all into old school heavy metal and rock you know, everything basically our parents liked. It just got us into it. So, we decided to set something up to start getting into and start writing it in a Motley Crüe style, more of an 80’s sound, basically, we started writing the music that we wanted to and gradually I think things just started falling into place. After the first couple of months, we were desperately looking for a singer. We’ve found it is quite hard to find a proper good solid rock voice. We were going for someone like Bon Scott mixed with a little bit of Lemmy, you know basically someone who has the flare and who has the sound.

Ages and ages ago, we are talking nearly ten years ago, Connor met Dan (vocalist) at another gig they were doing and he invited him along just for a jam to see what he was like. I think Dan was a little bit kind of “Ooooh, maybe not so much” at first, because he’s kinda heavy into thrash metal and death metal. But you know, he softened up, he softened up with age haha!

Sheri: I remember he cut all of his hair off! But he’s still got beautiful hair anyway haha.

Nathan: He is a beautiful human haha.

Sheri: Your style is described as sleaze metal/glam rock – I know that some of you have different influences and preferred styles of metal; thrash, death, power etc… What made you come together and create something between you that was essentially a bit different to those styles of metal?

Nathan: Honestly, I don’t think you know getting into the music scene, it started to get over saturated with similar sounding bands with similar sounding structures and chords and things like that – not that I’m knocking them! Cuz they can all play and it was just a case of us wanting to do something a bit different. So, you know, it started off with an amalgamation of all of our influences and tastes and so you had me, that was at the time massively into Crüe and Crash Diet, all the Scandinavian sleaze bands. Connor, I think just started to edge into listening to a bit more power metal and then obviously we had Dan come in with Thrash… I mean, he loves his Status Quo but we won’t go there hahaha! It was just kind of a mix of wanting to create something a bit different. I mean, I’m thinking back to some of the albums we’ve got now. We can go from doing sleazy hard rock, kind of like Backyard Babies kind of style and then you know, we can throw it all up in the air with an Iron Maiden sounding track, it’s really just a case of us being happy with whatever we are playing. If one day we are kind of feeling writing a bit of you know, a bit more of a speed metal type track then that’s what we will do but at the same time, we love getting a bit sleazy, getting a bit punky you know? You’ve got to inject a little bit of positivity. You got to listen to something and be like “LETS GO!” you know? It’s gotta hit you in the face haha.

Sheri: Your first album, “Addictive”, was released in 2015. This album is such fun! Drunkenness, sexy, rock and roll… My favourite tracks are ‘Strip Club Blues’ and ‘Moonshine’. I feel ‘Strip Club Blues’ has that classic rock and roll; biker blues feel to it. I feel like I should be at a biker rally with a pint of JD and Coke, getting off my trolley throwing myself about to this album haha. What did “Addictive” do for you as a band?

Nathan: So…honestly, it came at a really strange time. We recorded the album in 2014. There were complications with the engineer of the band, he was in hospital due to a lot of health reasons. So, we were just sat on all these songs and waiting for the finished article to come back – we were trying to get everyone hyped up saying there’s this kind of massive sound from this small-time band, all really young at the time – this was about 5 years ago so I’d have been about 17/18 so we were all really young. Basically, all we wanted to do initially was showcase and say, “this is us” and thankfully I think it did that. We went through two lots of pressings, selling all of them, which for a small-time band, I think is a massive deal. It came at a real weird time, I had a back operation in 2015 as well so we couldn’t really get out and promote it as effectively as we could have and, thankfully, I think that worked. Gradually it all fell into place, we still get people now come up to us and say that “Addictive” is such a brilliant album! Completely side stepping the fact that we had just released another one hahaha, but that’s good! It’s what we want! If people can prefer one album over the other, tell us the reasons why, it gives us something to work on and honestly, we value feedback. We want to know people are having a great time listening to us, that’s all we want.

Sheri: Absolutely. I think because your debut album/first release give the first impression so that’s maybe why people will pick up on that!

Your latest release,“When The Lights Go Out”, came out last year. Again, this is a lot of fun. I pick up some Guns ‘n Roses and as you said earlier, some Bon Scott era type AC/DC vibes on this album. ‘Nocturnal Beauty’ and ‘Shameless Star’ in particular. Take us through the journey of this album…


Nathan: What we focused our sights on is that we knew it was a very long time since our first album had been released. Thankfully, we were all in a really good position to start writing and recording effectively because we all went down to university together, BIMM in Brighton. Luke was our guitarist, Dan, Conner and I were all living together and it was a case of us writing like that, doing a bit of demoing and then we found our muse with a guy called Winter who did the sound engineering for that album.

He was a massive guidance for us in terms of how to get the best sound and what to do to get it to sound great. Also, in terms of writing, you take on an engineer’s point of view and their words and their wisdom to feed back into your own tracks. It came from a good place. I think we were all a little bit stressed at the time because obviously we were at Uni and had other shit going on. But it was 4 years since anyone had actually heard any new material from us, a lot of stuff had happened to us in the band, you know, personal lives and things like that – the state of the world. So that kind of all went into those songs, you know, so it was experiences and feelings that we’ve all had and stuff that we have seen. But also, it’s not bad to also throw in some songs about weird Western characters as well hahaha so you know, it’s all quite fun and real life.

Sheri: It is a fun album! The message of this album is a little bit different in places than “Addictive” – we have the tracks like ‘Spark’ which I feel is more about our inner selves and mental health.

Nathan: Yeah actually! That wasn’t initially what the song was about, but that is kind of what the meaning is now. It’s a power yourself, positive track to get yourself motivated.

Sheri: It is. I was listening to it, even though it’s a fun track, it addresses real life issues but in a positive way!

Not long ago you released a music video for your track ‘Vixen’, a track about a female masked hero. In the video, the man gets tied up by a gang for a suitcase of money – she comes to the rescue but takes away the money as a reward and leaves him tied up in the chair. Haha.

Nathan: That’s it hahaha. That’s our foxy vixen! She knows what to do haha. She’s got her sights set; she’s sorted haha.

Sheri: Have there been any changes you feel are apparent to Spyder Byte between “Addictive” and “When The Lights Go Out”? How do you feel you have evolved?

Nathan: Songwriting wise we have definitely evolved. The way that we did things for “Addictive” was that bar one song and set of lyrics, that was written by me. So, compare that to “When The Lights Go Out”, that was the kind of shift that I think we needed. I think also it helped that we lived together as well so that we could write together rather than with it just being me asking what could be done better. I’d like to say it shows a little maturity, but we’re all still sleazy little f*ckheads hahaha so…hahaha. We’ve got different kind of things going on in that album, in terms of the way that it was written. It just sounds to me far more polished and has better riffs, better songs etc. I’m not saying “Addictive” doesn’t hit you in the face, but I just feel like you get more of it with this album. It’s definitely punchier and it hooks you in a little bit more.

Sheri: In terms of your song writing, how does this come together into what makes you all happy with the end result?

Nathan: Oooh that’s a good question! Honestly, it’s just a case of throwing around ideas and seeing what sticks… You know, I will take some music to Dan, Dan will listen to it, if I’ve got lyrics with it as well, he will look over them and see what he likes or suggest to change something and then you take it to the guitarist who will work on that and filling in embellishers and then take it to Connor and he will hammer and pound it away and then just generally it gets brought together in a practise room like that. It’s something we’ve never really done before, we’ve never kind of taken a song into a practise room and done it like that – there have been the odd occasions like ‘Reach Out’ for example on “When The Lights Go Out” that was brought in from Luke and CC. I think of one practise session we had just finished writing a song – wasn’t even what we went in for, but we just ended up writing a track so it’s like “yeah cool, nice one!”

So, I think it’s better to have everyone else’s input than it rather be left to solely one person.
Ultimately, you could get half-way through playing a set and just think “Ah fuck, I don’t really want to play this track” – that’s not what we want, I want everyone in the band to be happy with what’s going on. They have to buy into the band too.

Sheri: Team effort! Do you have a favourite track to play or that you feel has been received well?

Nathan: We get a lot of pits and everyone turns into a crazy Thrasher when we play ‘In Your Face’ from “Addictive” haha. Everyone just kinda loses their inhibitions and start piling into each other. In terms of me personally, I love playing ‘On Time’, that’s a really fun one to play.

Sheri: Most of your songs are really fun and upbeat and so you must feel that your gigs are quite fun to play.

Nathan: Oh god, yeah! We always come out of a gig with a smile on our faces and if something hasn’t worked right or if someone has dropped a note, you just kinda put that shit behind you really and focus on what went right, how good it made you feel – if you fucked up, it doesn’t really matter. I’m guilty of that as well and I’m my own worst critic but it doesn’t really matter. As long as you’re enjoying what you do and see everyone’s reaction when you’re playing – that’s all that matters.

Sheri: It’s about positivity!

Nathan: ‘Black Velvet Lover’ is easily my favourite track to play. ‘New Blood’ as well. I like a bit of a riff. If I can just chuck in a riff or play alongside a riff next to a guitarist, then I’m really happy. Because then I’ve got some shit to do and I just don’t have to go errr…stay on that one note for 5 minutes haha. Also, we haven’t played it live yet but one of our tracks called ‘Hopeless’. It’s a bit of a stark difference from anything else that we’ve done. It’s a lot heavier, it’s got a proper story behind it. It’s actually about homelessness down in Brighton.

Sheri: That comes after ‘Spark’and was something I was going to ask you about – is it to do with poverty of some sort?

Nathan: I mean, you know what it’s like in Brighton. It’s awful in London but because Brighton is a much smaller city and you’re constantly going around it, you always see homelessness. You can’t not see stuff like that, as a songwriter, and not get moved by it. It’s such an epidemic. No one has to go through it really.

Sheri: I think the more that it’s covered, the more can be done about it. It is brutal in Brighton for homelessness.

Nathan: But going back to the themes of the songs, it’s kinda book-ended by two songs about positivity you know? ‘Reach Out’ is completely about mental health. It starts off with “fuck it all to Hell.” If that doesn’t scream to you how much anguish someone can be in, then it’s mad. So, you’ve got positivity in the form of ‘Spark’ and you’ve got real life issues in the forms of ‘Hopeless’ and ‘Reach Out’. It’s book-ended by ‘Black Velvet Lover’, which is kinda sexy and sultry and has the moves to seduce you. So, it’s kind of weird, how the band and the songs work. I think if you kinda break up the reality and the fiction, I guess…one is gonna cheer you up and one is gonna make you think “Oh, this shit is actually going on.” And it’s something we never really thought about doing in terms of the band. We were all just really about writing good times, partying, booze, sex and all that kind of stuff. But you know, it’s hard to escape you have got to speak about it.

Sheri: Well, this is it, you have got the power to do that if you are an Artist. Your album cover art is brilliant! You have a certain style that sort of reminds me of old-style comic book covers…Do you have an Artist that you stick to?

Nathan: Yes, so we have done for the past two releases. I’m not really sure about the future but we’ve got a new single almost ready to enter into its final stages, but we’ve had someone doing the Art for that already. The first two albums were done by a guy called Doyle. I don’t know his second name unfortunately, but his online tag is Doyle Raw-meat. He’s a fantastic Artist, really good prices and really nice guy. He was recommended to us by Sam Thredder, who was out engineer and did “Addictive” and is the guitarist for Slabdragger. So many times, you see single or Album Artwork come out and they’re bland and they’re plain and just one colour – and we’re not about that in this band. It’s about vibrancy and about hooking people in and making sure it actually catches them you know. So far over the past two albums, Doyle has been an absolute delight to work with you know? He’s created out little mascot, Boris (a monster featured on the Album Artwork). He’s on a lot of t-shirts. He’s just made everything come to life and actually with “When The Lights Go Out”, I think one of our references was the first Guardians of The Galaxy comic book covers. I don’t think it initially was going to be but when we found it, it was like “Oh shit, that looks quite cool actually!” hahaha. That’s what it turned into…It’s such a massive part of selling your music, selling your album – if you’ve got something visually appetizing then generally, I think you’re gonna do better.

Spyder Byte Album Cover Art

Sheri: Amazing! I totally agree, I think if you have a product you have to try to make it look good. You just mentioned that you’re writing again possibly, so what’s next for you guys?

Nathan: Yep! So…we have just started recording our next single due to be released soon. It’s almost in its final stages of recording, mixing and mastering. It’s not totally different to what we’ve done before – it’s quite similar but there is something different. Like a new lease of life about this kind of sound and about the way I think we’re going to go, going forward for the next EP or the next album. I shan’t give away too much of it yet just in case anything changes haha but generally, we’re looking forward to it, looking forward to bringing it out and it’s gonna again hit everyone and catch people.

Sheri: I’m looking forward to it! What are your thoughts on the importance of supporting the music scene right now?

Nathan: Oh God, you need to! Everyone needs to. We are in such a shit situation with everything and I think out of everything that music is one thing in this world that kind of binds people together. Fair enough if you don’t like one Artist and someone else does but you can still listen to it. You can still enjoy it. Live gigs – is there a better feeling? No. There is no better feeling…apart from maybe a blow job hahahaha. But! Still! You know hahaha…it’s true. Everyone has got to support their local scene regardless of how failing it is or how tight it is or even how loose, even if you’re not a big supporter of your scene, that is still someone’s dreams and ambitions right there. Venue owners, bands, even behind the scenes, Merch companies. Everything that can be done to support Artists and Bands should be done. If that means going on Spotify, dropping them a fiver, picking up a shirt just help support in anyway shape or form. You either use it or lose it and at the moment I think, it doesn’t help with the pandemic, but we’re in that situation where it’s getting to the point where we could have lost it. I think the UK generally we’re gonna pull back from it but it’s the not knowing. I’ve got faith though; I’ve got faith in the way people will actually approach music now and approach live gigs. I think this has been a massive wake up call to just go “Fuck, I need to go out and get some entertainment in my life!” You know?

Sheri: I think that also applies to people that run venues and so on. I think a lot of people take advantage of the fact that music is so accessible but now it’s not in the physical sense. Artists are still making music but as you say, it’s a wake-up call. What would this pandemic be like without music??

Nathan: I don’t think I could have done any of this Pandemic if I hadn’t got at least AN album with me. I cannot switch off without music. Music is everything, it is to me anyway, I cannot wake up at all and not listen to some music. It’s completely taken over from video games, TV etc. It’s always gonna be there and will never let you down.

Sheri: Any advice for fellow Artists?

Nathan: Keep strong, keep together, you’re gonna get through any hard times that you’ve got. Do it for the love. Try and progress yourself further but do it for the love.

Vixen (Cinematic Music Video)

Spyder Byte are:
Dan Lawrence – Vocals
Connor Cape – Guitar
Robbie Weller – Guitar
Nathan Hammond – Bass
Connor Godfrey – Drums

LINKS:

Spyder Byte Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Marc Hood of Cadaver Soirée

Cadaver Soirée Logo

Interview with Marc Hood of Cadaver Soirée
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello all, It’s Sheri!

I return from the other side of 2020 (Happy New Year) and boy oh boy, I’ve had a few insightful chats leading up to Christmas… Here I sat down with Marc Hood (vocalist) of one of Leeds’ dark gems, Cadaver Soirée.

Formed in 2016, Cadaver Soirée play a mixture of Death, Black and Doom Metal. Taking influence from various sources and placing emphasis on heaviness and memorable riffing, the guys aim has always been to provide a brutal and diverse listening experience.

Give them a listen!

Sheri: What got you into making music and where you are now?

Marc: I’ve been into being a musician, that sort of thing for about 15 years, I’ve done everything really, in terms of being in a band. I’ve been a guitarist, I’ve pretended to be a bassist haha, I’ve played synth in a band as well. I’ve done near enough everything. I’ve even drummed many years ago. I was in a band with Andy from Cadaver, I was the bassist, it was called Hammer X – I’d pretty much left Hammer X at that point because it was a different style to what I’m doing now so Andy had heard my vocals and had suggested I try out. So, I joined on a whim and it turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me, musically.

Sheri: I love that! You mention you’ve done different things before – have you been in a similar type of band or has it always been different?

Marc: To be honest, I’ve done near enough everything. The band I drummed in was a sort of Amon Amarth/Viking type so that was fun! I was in a groove metal band; I was lead guitar in that. I played bass in a Classic Rock band – I did full spectrum on the bass. The band I play Synth for is a Black Metal band, obviously Cadaver is death metal.

Sheri: Wow, that’s cool! Education wise, did you pick up all of this through education?

Marc: No, I’m entirely self-taught, I wanted to do music in high school, but the teacher didn’t think metal was a viable sort of music, so… (we could do an article on how narrow minded a point of view, by some, so-called teachers this is!! – Rick)

Sheri: Yeah, tell me about it! Haha.

Marc: Haha, so I just thought I’d go my own way, so I’ve had no formal education and everything I’ve done I’ve done myself or by form of imitation.

Sheri: Understood. There’s a lot of musician’s like yourself that are self-taught but to have such a range is awesome. Your debut album “To Betray The Creator”was brought out in 2017…

Marc: The original “Cordyceps” demo was recorded in 2017 with the previous line up and then songs from that were taken for “To Betray The Creator” and that was in 2019.

Sheri: And it was on Morning Star Heathens (MSH Records) – a big shout out to Shane (label boss Shane Giess), I’ve got a lot of time for that guy!

Marc: Absolutely! The original single, ‘Limbless’, that was with Morning Star – the actual album itself was self-released. The original single ‘Cordyceps’, the actual tape was with Morning Star as well.

Sheri: I think that’s probably where I first heard it. This album shows elements of Doom and Black Metal blended into your Death Metal vibe. Is this something that naturally came with making the album? How did you find your fitting?

Marc: It’s kind of a mix of our influences, particularly Andy, our guitarist. He’s big into Extreme metal and all its forms, he loves Black metal, big fan of Grindcore, that sort of thing. So, for the most part of the songs that he’s written – he writes the majority of our music and then me and Neil sort of add our flavour to it and more recently our new drummer he adds as well but the sort of bare bones of the songs are pretty much Andy. It’s more of a reflection of his influence, especially that first album. Some of the songs he’d written many years ago and he’d never really had an outlet to release them and play them live because the other band he was in was nowhere near that heavy.

Sheri: Understood. So basically, it was down to influences for all of you, especially Andy – so my next question is do you put your music together collectively or do you have a certain method that you make work together in your songwriting?

Marc: It used to be entirely that Andy would send us a riff idea, send us a song idea where he would do everything on it except the vocals, he would program the drums and suggest bass lines and then me, Neil and Nate (our previous vocalist) would just add vocals and bass because Neil isn’t like most bassists, he plays something completely different and it just works, he comes up with a lot of very, very interesting things. There’s only two or three times on the entire album he’s actually following the guitar. We all make small suggestions, so on the new album for example, there’s a couple of riffs that have come in and I’ve suggested “that bit needs a blast beat” or “that’s fine” – you know, we’re very diplomatic as a band, almost too nice, I think.

Sheri: Haha, I think as other Artists have said though, you do have to get on as a band.

Marc: Yeah, it helps haha! More recently the dynamics changed a little bit where me being in the band and able to play instruments, I’ve been contributing riffs as well so that takes the form of either me showing Andy a riff in the practise room and then he makes something of it there and then, which he can do…or he records it and sorta takes it away and works on it for the week or we just jam things out as well.

Sheri: So, he has a bit of a play around with it. Cool. Can you tell our readers what inspires your songwriting?

Marc: Well in terms of my part as the vocalist, I come up with the themes of the songs obviously. I have a bit of a broad spectrum of influences, I’m quite a political person as well as historically political. We have a new song written called ‘Napalm Light’ which is about the more horrible side of the Vietnam War. As well as a more satirical song that we’ve got in the works – we’ve got the classic Death Metal splatters and Gore and that sort of thing and then I tend to write about people that I don’t like!

Sheri: Cool! Haha. What better way than to get that out of your system, really? Very resourceful way. Haha. On “To Betray The Creator”vocally, you have some different ranges that reach the listener – For example, on ‘Cordyceps’ and ‘Entombed In Dirt’we see what I would perceive as a more Black Metal range and then on later tracks such as ‘Aeons Of Lies’and ‘Augmented’, more Death growls are present. What are your thoughts on that perception?

Marc: To be honest, that’s a good perception, it’s not one that I’ve heard someone say to me before as well, which is nice. It depends on the song really and certainly on ‘Cordyceps’ it’s certainly rawer. It’s much higher in the mix, not sort of as deep and grunty, again that’s more of a reflection on the song, I kind of listen to the song and see what’s needed and adjust my performance. In the particular case of ‘Cordyceps’, that was written by Nate, the previous vocalist, I’ve just changed it up a bit to suit my vocal style a little bit more and my sort of phrasing, but it really depends on the song. It’s good to hear that there is that noticeable difference because I do think it’s nice to have that kind of range when you’re doing vocals. To me there’s nothing worse than a monotonous sounding vocalist so…if someone’s a one trick pony it’s kind of like “Okay, what else can you do?”

Sheri: Some vocalists, that work on the Black Metal range, have to put work into it but it seems to come naturally to you.

Marc: It very much does yeah because in the previous band I was in, I had to sing clean vocals and I’m not very good at that. I can sing but I prefer not to and when I came to Cadaver, in the first rehearsal, it was really the first time I’d ever done proper Extreme Metal vocals. So, I kinda went in with the view on seeing what happens and it turns out I was quite good at it. Then I sort of developed that over time and became more proficient in techniques and that. To be honest with me, it’s more to do with the raw emotion that’s in it, there’s very little technique involved. People have asked me in the past “How do you make that sound” and it’s like…how do you explain talking? Haha. It’s exactly the same for me, I can’t explain it.

Sheri: As you’ve been hinting, you’re writing new material at the moment! Ease my anticipation – what’s been happening behind the scenes for Cadaver Soiree through the last year?

Marc: Well, we have been affected a lot by what’s been going on, as everyone is. We got a message mid-way through the year from Wiktor, our new drummer. We sorta played together previously when he was in his previous band, so he asked if we wanted to try him out.

Of course, if you’re offered a drummer, you try and snatch him…because there are no drummers anywhere haha. He’s a relay good fit, a really nice guy, great drummer, he picked up our material really quickly. We had been writing some stuff anyway, so it’s been more of a case of teaching him the songs and we’ve been writing new stuff at the same time.

He puts his own flavour to it and it’s great. Really, really natural feel to his drumming so…We are planning on recording some of the songs we’ve got and writing new material as well and we’re gonna be recording that probably early this year. Releasing the same way that we released “To Betray The Creator” – looking at CD and Digital. Potentially a tape release if there’s a call for it, as I know there is a kind of underground tape collecting scene for it as well. If it’s wanted, we’ll do it! We’re gonna look to release it Springtime and tour when gigs can come back.

Sheri: So, your next plans will be promoting the new material and getting back to gigging when you can?

Marc: That’s right! One or two of the new songs we have already played live actually, with the gigs we had in early 2020 and things like that because it’s quite easy just to chop it out if you’re using a drum machine so you can copy and paste it and whatnot – now that we’ve got Victor, it’s great, it’s gonna improve the live show as well because now I’ve come along a lot more with that kind of energy so let’s hope it will pick up and we can get out there a lot more.

Sheri: Yeah, I’m looking forward to it! As your debut album was out in 2017 and you have new material coming to us soon, what do you feel is different or evolved in your songwriting now?

Marc: In terms of the overall sound, it’s gone a lot more aggressive – a LOT more. That’s partially down to me because the way I like to deliver the vocals is a really bludgeoning, belligerent kind of way. The same with the guitar as well, it’s a much more technical direction as well and a lot faster. It’s heading for almost Tech Death in some places whilst keeping it as catchy as we can keep it and again with the live drums as well, that’s making a lot of difference. What we have been doing with the original album as well, we have been doing a lot of synth and orchestral sounds in there, certainly in songs like ‘Evil Breeds Evil’ and ‘Entombed’. There were a lot of sort of orchestral sounds in there and piano and things like that. We are gonna be stripping that back because, first of all, it’s difficult to do that live if you haven’t got a keys player and we don’t really have the intention of doing that. With the addition of the live drums as well, it sort of adds what the synths added. A lot of energy and oomph to the sound so…we’re gonna be heading more towards a traditional Death Metal direction and kinda moving away from the Swedish Death Metal – but keeping elements of it because that’s what we are…but sort of adding the more American style of Death Metal…Cannibal Corpse, that kind of thing. Really heavy and just…like being punched in the face haha.

Sheri: That’s what we’re looking for! Hahaha. In regard to what is happening right now, what are your thoughts on supporting the music scene at the moment?

Marc: It’s absolutely crucial. There are not words enough to say how crucial it is to support the music industry at the moment – because the government are sure as hell ain’t doing it. Whilst I am in favour of supporting musicians at the moment I am also a little bit wary about putting gigs on and the dangers involved, I know of a few promoters at the moment that are doing it, so long as it’s kept safe and distanced as possible – but in terms of local bands, we’re not out there, we’re not playing gigs and we haven’t got the opportunity to come and see people like we would do. Bandcamp are really helpful at the moment where on Friday’s they take away their cut of what they take so it’s really helpful for bands. Social media has really stepped up too – it’s a big platform for bands to engage with people and we like to do that as much as possible, so if someone comments on one of our videos or posts, we make sure to engage with that because really, it’s the only engagement at the moment that we can get. We don’t get to share it with people anymore.

Sheri: I think that it’s important for Artists to engage with their fans anyway because the better it will be for them, ultimately. How do you see things adapting once the worst of the Pandemic is over? Or what would you like to see in way of change?

Marc: In the way of change, there’s always the preference on mobile attended gigs, I mean, we know as much as anyone what it’s like to play to two people and things. So hopefully that will be a thing – that gigs will be more well attended because you see a lot of people out there that just want gigs back. So hopefully that means that interest will still be there in live music. So, I’d like to see sort of more appreciation for Artists. Not to sound too big headed or anything but it’s vital to my own Mental Health – if it wasn’t for music, I think I’d go loco.

Sheri: Absolutely, I agree with you. I think it’s really important, especially in times like this when you’re limited, music is everyone’s outlet isn’t it?

Marc: It’s an escape. I always feel like I’ve had a massage after a gig, sometimes I just drop to my knees and enjoy it for a moment. It’s brilliant. I’ve been more on edge about the lack of gigs than the actual virus in some ways.

Sheri: It’s part of your life so it’s frustrating at having to put your life on hold. But hopefully it’s not going to be too much longer until the world can be safe and get back to normal. What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen happen whilst you’ve been in music?

Marc: Hmmm…I was referred to once as an accident waiting to happen because I move around a lot. I was given a wireless unit to stop the wires knocking things over – so there’s been a few times where I’ve just gone and sat down with people in places that we’ve played – it turned into a bit of a ritual actually – the strangest thing was actually when I think about it, there was a lady who came in part way through, sat down and started sobbing…and I mean tears streaming down her face. She was absolutely intoxicated beyond all belief and then she asked me to sign her chest. I said no because I’m a happily taken man – but I did sign her arm and I signed it “Rob Dukes” (Exodus vocalist). Hahaha.

Sheri: Did you!? Hahaha. Is there a story behind that?

Marc: It’s literally the first name that came to mind haha – I didn’t want to sign mine haha!

Sheri: Any advice for other bands at the moment?

Marc: Don’t give up. I know how difficult it is at the moment and how it was to begin with, sort of reaching your audience, finding yourself musically, getting the right line-up together…everything about it is a challenge but it is really the best reward I can think of. That moment when you are looking back at a crowd and they get it – AH, I genuinely can’t describe it, it is pure euphoria.

Sheri: It’s part of you, part of your life and what makes you up isn’t it? It’s sad to see that a few bands have had to throw the towel in at the moment and are not able to do anything – but equally there are a lot of bands trying to push forward and making new material. The music scene does also club together and support people as much as possible.

Marc: There’s a really, really good scene at the moment in the Death Metal community – we have good friends across the country like Pemphigoid, great guys – they’re really nice people, you wouldn’t think listening to the music, but Death Metal musicians are always lovely. Ashen Crown are absolutely wonderful.

Sheri: Ah, we love both those guys at Ever Metal haha.

Marc: The whole scene – I haven’t come across anyone I don’t like yet, which is unusual for me as I’m a cantankerous sod…

Sheri: Hahaha. There’s always gonna be one though somewhere but not naming names, I’ll stay professional or something along those lines haha. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Marc: Hahaha I know! Just a huge, huge thank you to everyone that supports us and listens to our music, that puts us on at gigs and buys our merchandise and things like that – it’s so unbelievably humbling – I sound like a dick, I know but we thank you. That’s all I can say really.

Sheri: Thank you for your time!

Marc: Thank you, have a good one!

Cadaver Soirée Are:
Marc Hood – Vocalist
Neil Hannaford – Bass
Andy Firth – Guitars
Wiktor Wrona – Drums

LINKS:

Cadaver Soirée Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Sheri’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020

Sheri’s Top Ten Releases Of 2020
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Sheri’s top ten releases of 2020. Sheri is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. Apart from being hugely passionate about our scene and music, she is so friendly, caring and always there for her friends, even though she’s had a tough year herself. It doesn’t matter how down you are; Sheri always makes you smile. Her lovely nature means she is excellent at interviews and she has become my interview guru, always managing to get the best out of people, in a year where the nearest we have been able to get to most bands, is on Zoom. We can look forward to many more of those. I am incredibly lucky that she is a part of Ever Metal and my friend. Thanks Sheri.

10. Ashen Reach – Homecoming (November 2020)

www.facebook.com/ashenreach

‘Tear It Down’ (Official Video)


9. Kataklysm – Unconquered (September 2020)

www.facebook.com/kataklysm

‘The Killshot’ (Official Video)


8. Deified – Anthrobscene (May 2020)

www.facebook.com/deified

‘Apotheosis/Rebirth’ (Lyric Video)


7. Grimorte – Esoteric Ascendence EP (October 2020)

www.facebook.com/GrimorteDoom

‘Esoteric Ascendance’ (Full EP Stream)


6. Draconian – Under a Godless Veil (October 2020)

www.facebook.com/draconianofficial

‘Sleepwalkers’ (Official Video)


5. Ward XVI – Metamorphosis (September 2020)

www.facebook.com/WardXVI

‘Shadows’ (Official Video)


4. My Dying Bride – The Ghost of Orion (March 2020)

www.facebook.com/MyDyingBrideOfficial

‘To Outlive The Gods’ (Official Video)


3. Lamb of God – Lamb of God (June 2020)

www.facebook.com/lambofgod

‘Memento Mori’ (Official Video)


2. Ensiferum – Thalassic (July 2020)

www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

‘Andromeda’ (Official Video)


1. Paradise Lost – Obsidian (May 2020)

www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial

‘Fall From Grace’ (Official Video)

To read the original reviews, where available, follow these links:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Chris Kenny and David Jordan (Deej) of Incinery

Interview with Chris Kenny and David Jordan (Deej) of Incinery
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri Here!

Born from the Midlands Thrash and Metal scene in 2009, Incinery have ploughed festival stages such as Bloodstock, Download, MetalDays to name a few! They brought out their first album “Dead, Bound and Buried” in 2014 and released their second album “Hollow Earth Theory” on 30th October 2020! I recently got a chance to have a sneaky listen to the album (many thanks to Dan at FatAngel Management) and have a chat with Chris Kenny (guitars) and Deej (David Jordan – Bass) about the new album, sci fi, alien abduction and working through lockdown…

Sheri: You formed back in 2009 and since have done some – pretty spectacular stuff! Bloodstock, MetalDays, Download…Damnation! Going back for a moment, take us through the roots of Incinery and what gave you the push to get into music?

Chris: So…it really started as a covers band for our old guitarists’ 21st birthday! So, me and him played in some bands beforehand and he had the idea of “I wanna do something for my 21st, let’s do a little band thing and play some music”. So, we did that and started out doing covers and then we sorta carried on doing covers…and then after a while we were like “Let’s not do covers anymore” haha. At that point we had a different line up and then once we started going into our own stuff and that, we then switched and that’s when we got David on board and everyone else so…

Sheri: Were you doing Thrash covers before or a bit of everything?

Chris: It was mainly thrash that we were doing – Metallica covers, Megadeth, that sort of thing.

Sheri: And you mentioned that there was a different line up, so since forming the foundation of Incinery have you been the same line up?

David: It’s been pretty stable since the first EP has been out. To be honest, where we are now, we’ve been the same line up we started with, we’ve just had a few comings and goings since we’ve gone along and those have been sort of dictated by external pressures and the financial stuff around balancing being in a band against everything else you’ve got to do. I had to leave after the EP’s were released, a bit under a year I think, it was a while back, about 2011 or something and then our other guitarist had to leave the band after the first album was released, for similar reasons. Other things just sort of getting in the way, but it was sort of why the gap is so big between the first album and this one, we’ve gone through trying to sort that out and getting it back to how it can work better. It sort of clicks better with all the original guys in so…

Sheri: Your first release was E.P “Dawn Of War”, which for our readers, was released in 2011 and then that was followed by your 2013 E.P “Nothing Left”. For me, these early releases sound like you had elements of Death Metal and even a bit of Black Metal in places, under your signature Thrash sound. I can detect this in songs like ‘Rise’, ‘Nihilum’ and ‘Behind The Lies’. What are your thoughts on that perception?

Chris: Hahaha I think that as we’ve gone on, we’ve put more of it in to be honest… hahaha. So that’s a great perception!

David: Yeah it’s like obviously Incinery is a Thrash band but we all listen to quite a lot of Death Metal and some of us, Black Metal so I think it’s sort of natural that it bleeds in a little bit even though it’s not what we’re aiming to do specifically but it’s hard not to play what you like isn’t it?

Chris: I think, as well, it helps us sort of stand out from being a regular Thrash band because it gives us a bit of uniqueness, I think.

Sheri: Absolutely, so you have some diversity in there as well.

David: Yeah, I think that some of the stuff that people like about us is that it’s not just – cuz you can go to a Thrash all-dayer festival and there’ll be some really good bands but it can be a bit samey I guess so I think the thing that has helped us get on is probably that there’s a little bit of variety in it and we try a few different things out and you’ll probably hear a little bit of that coming out on this album as well.

Sheri: Your 2014 debut album “Dead, Bound And Buried” saw some slight changes from your earlier works in terms of guitaring style and rhythm. I would say, a bit more sticking to your brutal Thrash sound than anything else…vocals, strings and drums are really tight! I can definitely note some subtle nods of Exodus from this album. Particularly in ‘Death May Die’ and ‘Destroy The Gods’. I absolutely love that track! From building Incinery from scratch and getting to that quality in not a long time at all, what works for you in order to produce that strong energy of Incinery?

Chris: I think the first thing is that it sounds really simple really, but we all get on with it & each other haha – that’s a big thing haha. But you know, especially where there are some bands that don’t, some bigger bands and that but… it’s something that definitely helps you start out building stuff.

David: I think that as (Chris) Kenny says, it sounds sort of funny in a way but it does really help if you can get on in that way because when you’re writing songs, sometimes you need to be critical in a constructive way of stuff that you hear and if there’s animosity or people don’t get on, I mean I know other bands where they just have ended up not playing anymore because they just can’t be in a room, or if you’re too protective over what you come to the table with and you’re not willing to hear what everyone else has to say then you might end up getting your own way musically like in the creative process, but you’re not gonna – what you come out with is crap or not as good as it could have been because you didn’t take other stuff on board… so that is worth it, if you’re in a band, make sure you get on haha.

Sheri: It definitely has to be a group effort. In terms of your songwriting, how is it put together? What works for you? Does someone come up with lyrics and another person come up with riff…

Chris: What tends to happen is that one of us will come up with two or three riffs and maybe stick them together to start putting a structure together. What could be say, an intro verse chorus as we’re in a modern age where we can sort of quickly record things down, ideas…do that and send them to each other to say “Here, have a listen to this, what do you think? Do you like it?” Then we then take that structure and take it to band practise and start to develop it from there. Sometimes, someone maybe comes in with a complete song because we’re sometimes just happy to write the whole song or maybe half a song and then from that point we get things structured down and then everyone starts thinking about what they want to do with it. So, I would never dictate Deej’s bass lines or anything like that, he’ll come and go “Ok, this makes me want to play this particular motif here.” Or do a bass solo type thing here and he will go away and start adding that. From that foundation, we start building it up and that’s where you start getting those other styles coming in. I think with the lyrics, it’s mainly James and Deej also chips in with a lot of ideas for that as well.

David: Yeah, the lyrics always end up being the last thing that happen because a lot of James’ lyrics are quite rhythmic or the rhythm is what he ties what he’s doing to and in the past James has been known to start writing out the lyrics to the song and we’ll show up to the next band practise and we’ve totally changed the structure of the song just because that’s what’s happened whilst we’re writing it. James then has to throw everything out and start again so he tends to wait until we’ve got what we think is gonna be the final structure down and then he can get on with that, so like on this album there are some songs we didn’t really know the lyrics for until we were listening to them being recorded haha.

Sheri: That’s an interesting way to do that! Totally cool. Let’s talk about the message in “Dead, Bound And Buried” – I’m picking up that there is a pretty dark story but without being so much as a concept album?

David: Yeah, it’s hard to speak on James’ behalf I guess but we don’t really do a concept album in terms of it being a narrative but I know that he likes to read a lot and there’s a lot of horror and science fiction that he reads and he likes to get that into the lyrics.

Chris: There’s a lot of Lovecraft type things in there…

David: There’s a lot of Lovecraft in “Dead, Bound And Buried” hahaha.

Sheri: You have a new album due to release! For our readers, “Hollow Earth Theory” is due out on 30th October and I had Dan (FatAngel) send me a sneaky peek. It is BRUTAL. There are some absolutely killer solos and riffs tearing through this album. The on-point drumming provides the backbone and I think that James’ vocals are cleaner and rawer. How do you think you have evolved leading up to “Hollow Earth Theory”?

Chris: I think…there’s been a long gap between the last one and this one so…a lot of it has just been experience and growth through…just getting old haha! A lot of it is experience and we’ve written stuff before. Even though “Dead, Bound And Buried” was released in 2014, a lot of it was written a couple of years prior to that so there is actually a more extended gap for us. To bring in some of that knowledge and the things we’ve done before and try to do better with it and gain – make everything a little deeper and a bit bigger and add more to what we can do. I think from a writing point, it’s a big aim.

David: I think one of the differences for me is that on the first three releases, there’s a lot of really good riffs and a lot of really good moments and what I think we’ve gotten better at is looking at songs as a total package and one thing that made a difference was that with “Dead, Bound And Buried”, we recorded that in the studio in about two weeks. So, we went down to the studio and we all lived in each other’s pockets for 14 days and just had to get it down. But what that also meant was that we were writing to a deadline so we were trying to get to that date when we knew we were gonna have to go in and so there are songs that turned out fine but they probably didn’t turn out how they could. This time Kenny recorded for the most part…we did it in Kenny’s back bedroom, In some ways that’s given us a lot more time because we had most of the album drafted, with probably 6 months to go from the music side of things and it just meant we could sit down with it and refine it and actually play through the songs and not have to settle for the first draft and go “Ok let’s change that.” The songs are more cohesive.

Chris: It’s a different perspective when you’re writing a song, you’re writing the bits and then you play the song and then when you are actually able to sit down and listen to the song that you’ve just made, it’s a completely different perspective to how you hear it and I think because we’ve had the chance to do that as well that’s also enhanced it for us.

Sheri: So, you’ve actually had the opportunity to digest it as you?

Chris: Definitely.

Sheri: Understood. You’ve not long released “Hollow Earth Theory’s” first single, ‘Falling Into The Sky’ – can we explore the message of this? I feel this is a track that suggests a glimpse of foreign life…sci-fi based…

David: It’s about getting abducted by Aliens…hahaha

*all laugh*

David: When we were writing it, the riffs and stuff, it was one of the last songs that got written for the album. It was almost a bit of an accidental single really because we didn’t think that far ahead and then sort of went “What are we gonna put out? What do we think would be a good track?” It’s the shortest song on the album which means from a single point of view, that was a bit of a go-er and it’s quite bouncy and fun and I think when we wrote it before we knew the lyrics, we knew it was going to be a fun one to play live, which we haven’t done yet for obvious reasons but the lyrics sort of suit it. So, it’s turned out well, it’s good!

Sheri: It is a bloody good track, it is! How do you think it’s done? has it been well received?

David: Yeah there’s been a few people who have done the single reviews for it and it’s been quite positive from the guys that have commented and got back to us, it’s landed alright, I think!

Sheri: Fab! It’s essentially a look into the new album that’s coming out so that’s brilliant! You released the second single ‘Ellison’ on Friday 16th October. This track, I am presuming, refers to the works of the writer Harlan Ellison – what inspired this?

David: Yeah that’s right! Haha. I’m trying to remember how it came about…I know me and James both read the story, it’s based on a thing called I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, which was one of the titles we were playing around with and we thought it was a bit wordy for the song which is why we ended up going with ‘Ellison’. But it’s a really amazing story, I’m not sure if it’s that widely read but it’s about a future where we’ve built Artificial Intelligence and then that has wiped out humanity basically and the song is about that, when you look on the face of it.

Sheri: Wow! I know some of Ellison’s work, one of the most popular is A Boy And His Dog. I wish I could go into more detail as the album isn’t released yet hahaha, but I feel you’ve got a theme going on in Hollow Earth Theory. What can you tell our readers to expect from this album?

Chris: I can’t speak lyrically because I don’t get involved in that but…I let the people who know words do that hahaha. I think they can expect something that is very much a core in its inner experience… but a new inner experience at the same time. I think it’s a good balance of that… I think it’s a good balance of the familiar and the new. I think they can expect 55 minutes of their ears being ripped off basically hahaha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: I agree, I think it’s brilliant… as you say, it’s about an hours’ worth of face melt haha. Your Album Cover Art is always really good as well. Do you use the same Artists?

David: There’s a few Artists we go back to for generally different projects we work on so it’s not always the Album Art, it’s a different Artist to the previous one because ‘Dead, Bound and Buried’ artwork is really like… I don’t know how to say it… it’s you know, a METAL album where on the cover it’s got you know, Demons and portal to Hell and a tomb and sarcophagus and zombies hahaha it’s just like everything crammed in there. Hollow Earth Theory has got a much more minimalist design, we went with a guy called Dan Leyton who I think does some Graphic Novel design – but because it’s sort of a science fiction theme thread that runs through the album, we kind of went with that and liked the way it looked and we’re really happy with the way it turned out.

Sheri: I’ll be sure to check out his other work, I feel this of all your album artwork, it is quite dark. Just to look at things from another point of view – What are your thoughts on the support for the music scene at the moment?

David: It’s quite a difficult time for everyone obviously at the moment. It’s difficult obviously for the venues primarily and we hope that as many of those as possible can come out of this intact. I know a grant has just gone out so some of the guys like Bloodstock have received a government grant to help them continue to function. As musicians, it’s really difficult and for fans as everyone wants to get out and go to gigs and no one can see when that is gonna be a reality at least for the short term. So, in a way for us, you see a lot of bigger Artists releasing E.P’s and stuff at the moment and I’m sure it’s because all they can do is get in the studio and write because it’s harder for them trying to make their living off this. For us, it’s an inconvenience but we all have day jobs that are paying the bills that aren’t this. So that for us is obviously good but if you’re in say Mastodon, I was reading the other day that they’re flippin’ picking up welfare cheques and you just think “Bloody Hell, if Mastodon can’t make a living at the moment, there’s not a lot of hope for anyone else.” If you’re a fan, it’s going to buy merch and support the Acts and try to sort of preserve the scene until we can come out the other end and start getting out. As long as the venues are there and the bands are there once we can get back out, you’ll hope it will pick back up.

Sheri: It will do, I think it will do, I just think it’s going to be a case of support as much as possible, as there are some bands that have been a casualty of what’s going on at the moment.

How have you found putting together a new album, working together and releasing the new album, during the madness we are going through? We need more of this haha!

Chris: A lot of it was done pre lockdown and stuff and then…some of it kinda got put on hold, we had some vocals that we still needed to do. We couldn’t meet up and that. In the interim, with being at home, there was still a lot I could do myself that I needed to do in that time so there wasn’t time wasted and then as soon as we got back out and got James round to finish off the vocals and finish off any extra little bits and then staying safe, staying at home I could just mix the whole album and get it done and keep firing it out to these guys til they gave it the OK and then send it off for master really.

David: We’ve often worked, as Kenny was saying earlier, with Demos and things, we’re used to working remotely as I live in Birmingham and the rest of the guys live in Nottingham so if we have ideas, we have to work in that way anyway and send things over so to some extent that’s not been a huge challenge and as it’s all done now and we’re getting it out, even halfway through the year, we’ve been able to work remotely on it. It’s been OK for us at this point, it’s a shame we can’t do a traditional album launch which we would have liked to have done and get out and play it… that will come in the New Year hopefully and also just finding new ways to work. I know a lot of bands are doing live studio type performances. For the new single ‘Ellison’ we’ve done a lockdown video which we’ve had to perform in our respective houses and then edit it after haha. That wouldn’t have been part of the game plan a year ago but it’s something we’ve done now and quite happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s just partly adapting isn’t it? And just hoping we’re back on stage soon.

Sheri: As soon as I hope! So, you’ve had to compromise quite a bit?

David: Yeah but it’s been in some ways a creative task set in there, and you look at someone like Devin Townsend for instance, some people seem like they’re thriving on it, just bashing out music and it’s great! Haha.

Sheri: It’s needed. What’s next for Incinery?

Chris: Think just for now we’re gonna try and push things in any way we can, just get some noise going about the releases and that and then next year, permitting everything opens up, with gigs, get out there and get it played to people properly, how it should be done live. I think that’s gonna be the next focus for a while, maybe look at writing something…

David: We’re booked onto Hammerfest for the New Year and that was again one of these gigs that was originally gonna be this year and they’ve pushed it all back but we’re hoping, touch wood, that all goes ahead and we’ll be playing that in Birmingham in February and like Kenny says, a few ideas kicking around for album number 3 and hopefully it won’t be another however long it’s been, like 6 years before it comes out haha.

Sheri: I’m sure it won’t! I hope it will be better next year where you can get out and do what you can normally do. Finally, have you got any advice for other Artists at the moment?

David: I think we need some advice haha. I guess just use the time that you’ve got, it depends where you’re at in your career. If it’s bands that are starting out, use the time that you’ve got now where you’re not gigging to work on your songs and try and get material written and put stuff together and then get ready to go back out again.

Chris: I’d say use this time as well to start getting used to building yourself up on things like social media when you’ve got the time to do it, you know, it’s a powerful tool. You can learn earlier on and get good at it; I think that helps a lot.

Sheri: So, time for self-promotion.

Chris: Yeah, it’s not always something you can just do, you have to build up, especially when you’re doing a lot of it yourself which a lot of bands are. You have to build up how you do it, ideas, marketing plans and things like that. It all comes with practise and experience so if you can get that in whilst you’ve got a chance to, use the technology that you can use to get out there while you can.

Sheri: Thank you guys! I appreciate your time!

Incinery: Cheers! Bye!

Incinery’s new album “Hollow Earth Theory” was released on October 30th and is already receiving great reviews! You can purchase it, all other Incinery releases and merch at the following link:

https://incinery.bandcamp.com/merch

More information on Incinery can be found at the following links:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Psychoberrie and Dr Von Stottenstein of WARD XVI

Interview with Psychoberrie and Dr Von Stottenstein of WARD XVI
By Sheri Bicheno

Sheri Here,

I was so happy to be able to sit down recently and talk to UK based Avent-Garde, Theatrical/Horror Rock/Metal band WARD XVI to get an insight into their music and concept behind their art. Ginger and lemon tea at the ready, I pressed the Skype button and was greeted by two familiar painted faces, Psychoberrie (Kerrie – Vocals) and Dr Von Stottenstein (David – Guitars)! WARD XVI, based in Lancashire, tell us all about their fabulous new album “Metamorphosis”, the concept of the band, the Whittingham Asylum and how the music has unexpected twists. They also go back to their roots and explain the meanings of their music below the surface.

Sheri: We know that the name WARD XVI was inspired by Whittingham Hospital and the disturbing reports surrounding the Asylum. For our readers, let’s explore a bit on what drew you to this and how it represents you as Artists?

Psychoberrie: We spent quite a long time finding a name for the band at first, because the story element was in place but then we couldn’t agree what to call it and one day I was reading on the internet and I found the Asylum which is based near us – Whittingham Asylum – where there was some horrific abuse that took place there and the worst of which was on Ward 16.

Sheri: So that’s how it came to light?

Dr Von Stottenstein: And you thought you’d have it with Roman Numerals so that forever and ever we would have our name said in different ways, mispronounced haha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha just to make it hard for people to find us on social media…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Bring the Roman Numerals back! Haha

Sheri: I was gonna say the Roman Numerals are a good input because it confuses people but in a good way…education! Hahaha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha yeah!

Sheri: As theatrical artists, you have a concept to the band and your brilliant live performances. Tell our readers about what expression on stage means to you and how you put your message across?

Dr Von Stottenstein: It means quite a lot to be honest. I think, myself and some of the other members of the band, they’ve been influenced in the past by bands that dress up like idiots haha. Or like Iron Maiden or Alice Cooper – Artists that aren’t just turning up in jeans, there’s a concept to it. It’s almost like it’s 3D – I know music shows are 3D anyway but it feels like there’s more of a bridge between ourselves and whoever’s in the crowd and it’s easier to bring the crowd into the stage show. For me personally, I’m quite boring in real life…

Sheri: Surely not!!

Dr Von Stottenstein: At first I was quite worried about putting face paint on and things like that and then it actually…well, when you get to the gig, to be able to become somebody else and disassociate yourself! When I’ve been in bands in the past where you just wear T-shirt and jeans and whatever, it’s hard to become who you are on stage and then come back off stage to the same person. So, at first, I was hiding behind the mask and I became more liberated on stage to become someone a bit freer, to express how I felt. In the 7-8 years I’ve been in the band, I actually almost feel like this is me now and when I go to work in the suit and whatever, that’s the alter ego. When I feel stressed the first thing I wish is that I had my face paint on. So, it’s like a front in terms of who I really am.

Sheri: So everyday life sort of thing…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah.

Sheri: Understood. What about you, Kerrie?

Psychoberrie: I think I’ve just always wanted to be in the ultimate form of entertainment sort of thing. Because I think it’s best to appeal to as many senses as you can. The whole point of doing it is to entertain all the people that listen to it and all the people that watch it so rather than just being auditory, you’ve got something to watch as well, it’s entertaining.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, It has evolved in the last 5 or 6 years because at the beginning we were all just dressed up in random masks and face paint and it really didn’t mean anything, it was just like a gimmick really although the seeds of the concept was there, there was no uniformity to it, it was everybody just dressing up and it was hard to get engagement either from the band members or the people that would come into see us and then go away because we wouldn’t be able to associate it with anything. So we slowly started to build a story as we got along towards the first album  and it’s got to a point when we started to record the second album that it was like an identity and there was a storyline that was then ready to be created and developed even more.

Sheri: So, there’s an ongoing concept to you guys. When I think of WARD XVI, I don’t put your sound into a label or box, you cover a lot of genres and don’t conform to just one… you’ve got different elements to your style – how would you describe your sound to those that are starting their own journey with you?

Psychoberrie: That’s one of the questions we’ve always struggled to answer which is why we came up with Avent-Garde Theatrical Rock, we didn’t actually want to put ourselves in a box cuz we’re trying to represent what that story is about in that particular song so…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Well it’s funny isn’t it because going back to being liberated by the face paints and all that – we don’t actually force ourselves into writing in a different way, we don’t go “We’re gonna write this bit dark and we’re not gonna write this bit like Eastern European or whatever – we’re not good enough musicians to do that…”

*I pull a frowny face*

Dr Von Stottenstein: No, no, but we’re not technically and theoretically good enough, we blag it haha! So, we kinda jam stuff and then because we like so many different types of music, it just falls into place. So it means that we cannot be tied to quite a narrow tool when we’re writing music…and to be fair, when we wrote this album, because there’s a few more of us writing this album than there were writing the first one, I thought it was very much more focused and the range of music was a lot narrower…but we’ve been told that it’s actually even broader than it was in the first one which surprised me and made me happy.

Sheri: I felt that too! Let’s briefly talk about your first album “The Art of Manipulation”, which was released in 2017 – the concept to this was of a psychopathic woman manipulating a man into killing her for her own pleasure. In the album, it speaks as if it’s in the first person, we can see this in tracks such as ‘Take My Hand’, ‘Blackened Heart’ and the title track – however ‘Crystal Ball’ is different to the others, which indicates another side to the story telling. Can you broaden on that at all?

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve never been asked that question before! Haha.

Psychoberrie: Haha! That one’s about him – he’s going to see a fortune teller and he is warned against her so I think that’s a part of the story that just was needed for someone to tell him “This person is really bad.” But not for him to completely ignore them because he’s got his rose-tinted glasses on.

Sheri: I love that track, it’s one of my favourites actually because it comes from another person’s perspective. There are a lot of different emotions in “The Art of Manipulation”. The one that stands out to me is ‘Hold Me’ which shows a glimpse of inner recognition and clarity in a warped kind of way, like an ocean of sadness – it makes the listener sympathise with her which ultimately, could be the most dangerous track on this album, so to speak. What are your thoughts?

Psychoberrie: I think that’s bang on to be honest because that would be the intention really, would be to get everyone to feel sorry for her and for her to use it as a form of manipulation.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it’s almost like Stockholm Syndrome – but it’s funny because we get that almost like the ‘Every Breath You Take’ similarities. People have told us that they love the song and we’ve had it at weddings and like really romantic parties and it’s actually quite a sinister song haha. People think it’s actually something that’s a just position to what the actual music’s about.

Sheri: You brought out a new album on 25th September! “Metamorphosis” and I have to say, from my perspective, this album is much darker in some ways! You’re still true to your touch on theatrics and exploring the deep corners of the mind. I feel this is a follow up to Psychoberrie’s story in “The Art of Manipulation”?

Both: Yes, it’s a sequel-prequel haha.

Psychoberrie: If we follow the timeline of the interviewer, it’s all about what order of the questions he’s gonna ask and the first album is asking about some events that have taken place before she’s locked up and talking to him. But in this one, he wants to find out why she is the way she is. The only place you can go is right back to the beginning.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, so it’s a flashback So the first story is the prequel, and the second story is the sequel haha.

Sheri: So, we’re taken back essentially to find out why she is the way she is. That’s brilliant.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re twisting it to the point where in the first one she’s just a random nutter haha

Psychoberrie: Haha. Yeah, we’ve had to kind of flip and turn it on its head.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But yeah, at the end of this, what the hope, is that you go “Well if it was me, would I have done the same kind of thing?” and really empathise!

Sheri: Yeah, it makes you think.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, she’s ruined. (To Kerrie) You’ve ruined Psychoberrie for me haha.

Psychoberrie: Hahaha!

Sheri: I’m looking forward to what else you’ve got in store for her because I feel like this is not the end…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Nope! Once the nervous breakdown has finished from writing this one, we’ll start writing the next one.

*all laugh*

Sheri: When we enter into this album, one of the first tracks, ‘The Cradle Song’, which is another of my favourites on the new album, shows a depth of songwriting that is displayed through this album that touches on the emotional and I want to say – a somewhat mysterious connection to mentality – in both lyrics and composition. How do you decide on your songwriting and what makes it all come together?

Psychoberrie: With that particular song, it started with the music box at the beginning because I’ve always been obsessed with the idea that the first song on the album would take you back to childhood with the music that you hear, so I wanted to kind of mimic maybe a children’s mobile or the kind of sounds that you would hear as a child – even if you took the introduction away that’s at the beginning, you would know that that’s what happened. So, with that particular song, that’s where we started it and we built the rest of the song from that introduction.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it was quite easy after that. I know we had this idea in mind of having almost like an idea of waltzing around the baby, so that could be quite easy to come up with that polka type of feel. But I thought it would end up quite a bit heavier, but it ended up being quite power ballad like.

Sheri: Yes, it is powerful!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Which surprised me because we didn’t expect it to go that direction, it just did.

Sheri: But you’re happy with it?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah… the baby is on it as well!

Sheri: That’s brilliant! In terms of your songwriting how do you piece it together? Kerrie, do you write the lyrics and does someone come up with another part or is it something you all piece together?

Psychoberrie: A mixture of different things. On the last album it was very much the band was jamming and I was having to cram in lyrics to whatever they had done, but with this album a lot of the songs came as the lyrics were first so it was mainly me and David working on it…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Who’s David? Hahaha.

*all laugh*

Psychoberrie: Martin was doing the keys so we were demoing at home and jamming at the Room so we really structured it around the story, and it really enabled us to put a lot more thought into the direction of the song. So, Dr Von Stottenstein had come up with an intro or something like that and it would lead into how it goes…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, we discovered home computers and home studio and we didn’t do it with the first one, the first one was bodged, really, all put together jamming. But this one we could just be really pre-meditated and record a demo all the way through and see if it worked and if the sound was good – you could just listen to it just like an normal album, you can pick out flaws then quite well.

Psychoberrie: I think last time I would come up with vocal ideas but then I would be going to a room and expecting people to just be able to jam. I think putting music underneath vocals is something that a lot of people find quite hard to do.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But I like to have an idea of what the mood is so that I can then write it in that mentality, where Psychoberrie likes to have the guitars first sometimes and it’s kinda finding a happy medium to it.

Psychoberrie: I don’t like to have a whole song in place, sometimes maybe just an intro because that would then set the mood and inspire some of the lyrics. Because what I don’t want to do is get caught in the trap of singing in the same key and then the same chord progression, where I can hear a different chord progression, I can think of something a bit different.

Dr Von Stottenstein: It’s also luck, loads of luck really. You never think of what it’s going to be like…

Psychoberrie: It’s just natural.

Dr Von Stottenstein: A lot of it, we didn’t put a lot of effort into writing some of the music. We practised a lot and we worked hard on it, but we didn’t really strain ourselves, we didn’t get writers block or anything like that, it just flowed out…

Sheri: It went pretty smooth?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it felt a lot more natural than it did last time.

Psychoberrie: It went a lot easier working with less people and I always thought that would make the music less eclectic. What we didn’t want was to lose how random our music is, it incorporates a lot of different genres so I just thought with less minds working on it, it would end up becoming too narrow.

Dr Von Stottenstein: But because we got two minds on it, we’ve got the double psychotic similarities haha.

Sheri: Partner’s in crime! Hahaha. You have a different ambience on this album, you have some melodies that really take you through to a realm of longing and sadness, like ‘Shadows’ and then there are tracks such as ‘Mister Babadook’ that are heavier and more fast paced and alsoBroken Toys’ which is more fun, fast and upbeat. When you do come to song writing, how do you decipher which feeling fits with the way you are heading on a particular track?

Psychoberrie: I think it’s because we said that we needed this album to be the darkest album as the subject is dark, but it’s also got to be childlike, I think! With ‘Broken Toys’ I always wanted to do a prequel to the song ‘Toy Box’ which is on the first album so I wanted to tie into the Toy Box theme when she’s an adult and the reason why she goes to that when she’s grown up is because that was her safe place when she was a baby. We kind of tied it together in that way so there’s different thought’s behind every one of then I think.

Dr Von Stottenstein: You just added so much to it! When we wrote ‘Shadows’ I never expected it to be as powerful as it is. I knew it was meant to build up and build up to some kind of crescendo, but the lyrics are just phenomenal…

Psychoberrie: I think where ‘Shadows’came from is the idea that we wanted the last song on every album to have their own storyline so it’s always going to be about a time when she was in the Asylum so, it was always gonna be the last song wasn’t it?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, but again, there was nothing pre-meditated about what made ‘Mister Babadook’ heavy, it was just you’d written it in B, and I thought “Oh! I need a new guitar, I’m gonna buy a seven string”!

Psychoberrie: Yeah because I learnt the piano piece with no understanding of the bearing on what that would have on him playing the guitar haha and he was playing along with it and because he had a six string, he was playing stuff that was really high and it just didn’t work – so he had to buy a new guitar hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha. Perfect excuse for a new guitar!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah! Haha!

Sheri: Your daughter is featured in the video for your single ‘Mister Babadook’! Did she enjoy being part of the visual side of WARD XVI?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, she’s also the voice at the beginning of the song! She enjoyed it too much haha. She was in trouble for it because she was meant to look scared, but she just laughed all the way through it haha. I was worried it might traumatise her a little bit but she’s seen us dressed like this for so many years and she’s drawn pictures of us and the original ‘Toy Box’ video, there’s a bit of it where there are cartoon characters dancing, they drew them. So, I think they’ve always seen that, and I was worried it would be frightening for her but because she’s had so much time watching us do what we do and everything, she loved it! It makes it a lot more emotional for me to watch the video. I feel kind of like she’s vulnerable and I’m you know…haha

Psychoberrie: Hahaha you’ve got to go and save your own daughter haha.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah haha!

Sheri: She must have probably felt safe because it was you guys you know?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, I’m not too sure I’d like someone else pulling her under the bed haha. She was really good. She’s only nine and so when you look back and watch the videos, she’s so sincere in walking around, she took so much interest in what everyone was doing so…

Psychoberrie: And that candle was red hot wasn’t it? She was holding it all the time and it was burning her arm, but she was persevering, she was saying “No, I’m alright.” Hahaha!

Dr Von Stottenstein: Don’t say that…don’t say that we burnt our own child, you never know who might be reading hahaha!

Psychoberrie: Hahaha. It wasn’t like 3rd degree burns haha.

Sheri: Resilience hahaha. Bless her haha! Does she portray Psychoberrie in ‘Mister Babadook’? I want to say that there are pieces on “Metamorphosis” that take us back to Psychoberrie’s past…

Psychoberrie: Yeah that’s exactly what it was, when we went to do the video, I didn’t want to play Psychoberrie, it wouldn’t make any sense, it’s supposed to be a young Psychoberrie so…

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, it was her timeline, her pathway from childhood to then so the videos will hopefully show the story, they’re obviously a single on their own but the intention is that if we were have to cancel every gig, we would get a video for every song and there should almost be a theatric timeline so it’s almost like a theatre show rather than stand-alone music videos.

Sheri: So, you would be able to piece all the music videos together and it comes out as one story – it’s very clever hahaha!

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re just blagging it haha We just need to make it so – we’re skint now! Hahaha. We’re broke.

Sheri: I don’t know many Artists that do that kind of approach, it’s really quite clever.

Dr Von Stottenstein: There’s a few bands that are doing that, the likes of Avatar. Avatar have been doing things like that, they’re last album was so amazing, and their concept was amazing. We cheat a little bit because we do talk to people as they seem to do, they seem to immerse themselves, like Ghost do too, they do the same so I think it’s having confidence in the story and portraying a storyline with theatre that the music comes alongside to it. That makes us a little bit different to other bands that kind of do what we do. We are fully in the concept, it’s all in the story and I think the hardest thing for us to do really…

Psychoberrie: Paying for it hahaha.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Other than paying for it, when you’ve got 30 or 40 minutes to do the show, we still want to show the timelines and show the narrative and sometimes it’s very difficult, especially if people are just wandering in and out and don’t necessarily know the story so it can look like there’s a gimmick cuz there’s some crazy woman running around with a chainsaw, it’s all part of the album storyline and it’s trying different ways to still portray that and allow people to know that there’s context to it, that it’s almost like a trailer to a film. Where you can see the unabridged version of something like that when you listen to the album.

Sheri: So, it needs to be obvious that it’s part of the story when you’re on stage.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve got an actor on stage with us, he hands out sort of like newspapers with the storyline in it so people can read it – so it’s almost like going to a theatre and getting a programme. We’ve started to do that because it allows people to piece together what the story is without needing to really pay a lot of attention whilst they’re getting drunk and bouncing around everywhere haha.

Sheri: It’s more fun to watch you though hahaha

Psychoberrie: I think people just put it in their pocket and read it when they get home and are like “oh that’s what it’s about!” hahahaha.

Sheri: I think it’s a clever concept and because it’s something you have to keep to as well so… I imagine that when there’s a later release, it’s going to be quite a long process of that concept on stage because it is like obviously watching a band and their music but also a theatre.

Dr Von Stottenstein: That’s the thing, I don’t usually like musicals!

Sheri: You have our friend John Badger on the drums and Russ from Footprints In The Custard joining you on guest vocals for ‘Shadows’! How easy was it for everyone to collaborate during this pain of a year?

Dr Von Stottenstein: We finished recording two days before lockdown.

Psychoberrie: I was just thinking it was another Swine Flu when we were in the studio…

Dr Von Stottenstein: We finished recording something like 9 o’clock on the Friday night and then Sunday night it was announced that lockdown happened, and I was just going into shielding, so we were really really lucky! It was difficult because our producer couldn’t get to the studio

…he had to shield a little bit as well and that pushed things back, but it allowed me and Psychoberrie 24 hours a day for 5 months to really really just go mental on it.

Psychoberrie: The artwork on it, I put a lot more effort into because normally it’s just me coming home after work and the last thing I wanna do is get on the computer and do the same thing I’ve been doing all day at work. So, this one I could just focus on it 100% and I enjoyed doing it.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah you did all the merch, all the PR and everything like that. We were sitting in the sun and it was just nice to spend time with my family and do what I love to do. Now it’s out, we can’t actually go out and sell it so it’s like OHHHH!

Sheri: I mean, there’s only so much that social media can do isn’t there…


Dr Von Stottenstein:
We’re trying to do things a little bit different like running competitions and things like that just to make it a little bit less spammy which can be really difficult because Facebook have just completely closed all up the algorithms so it’s just been hard for everybody. Not just us, it’s not like we are going to lose our livelihood through it, other people are but it’s obviously something that we love, and we want people to enjoy it.

Sheri: What are your next plans for WARD XVI?

Psychoberrie:
We’ve got the album coming out, so fingers crossed the album launch on 30th January. We’re hoping to also do a tour so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for that one.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, we really want to do a UK tour where we can take it up and down the country so we’re hopeful, but we are realistic. We were meant to be launching a gig tomorrow- but if we can do January with Footprints in the Custard, then Pulverise at Manchester Academy then that would be ace but if we can’t then we will just have to be responsible and try to find an alternative and find something else to keep momentum. I think we will probably have to think laterally what else to do. Because it’s quite difficult.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’ve been offered to do so many virtual gigs and things like that, which is ace – but because it’s a show, we need people interactive within it, it’s become very difficult you know, we can’t just get in front of the camera and do it, it takes a bit more for us to do that – a bigger stage and things. Fingers crossed though!

Sheri: It will happen, and I think it’s part and parcel of testing these things out.

Dr Von Stottenstein: We’re all in it together though aren’t we so…I think it has brought people closer together. Hopefully when the scene opens up again, the scene is going to be so desperate for it, they’ll probably appreciate it more than what it was before.

Sheri: Absolutely. And people are going to be wanting to get out to them as well.

Dr Von Stottenstein: Venues were shutting down before COVID happened so fingers crossed it’s made people more of aware of what they’re missing.

Sheri: Any advice you can give to other artists?

Dr Von Stottenstein: Yeah, keep the faith! You only have to look at Van Halen and his death where it was completely uniting a scene that was 2 days before kicking off and were becoming almost tribal. The music is beloved no matter what… and people love playing it or people love listening to it, they love being a community based upon it. And we can’t lose that… if we can’t perform it live, then we all need to find ways to keep the scene moving and keep it positive and just be happy that we are still able to create music – we just might have to do it in a different way. It’s a hard time but hard times bring good things with it too. Even just really good ideas and really good things to the scene that no one anticipated. Power to the people haha!

Sheri: Thank you so much guys, it’s been lovely to talk to and see you!

WARD XVI: Thank you!

WARD XVI’s new album “Metamorphosis” is out now and receiving fantastic reviews.

Read Beth’s full review of the album here:

More Information on WARD XVI can be found at the following links:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Democratus

Interview with Democratus
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

Democratus, hailing from South Wales, have smashed their way through the music scene since 2014, playing Bloodstock, supporting Light The Torch, and sharing the stage with some amazing bands such as Agrona, Kilonova and Suffocation. I have been following them for the last two years or so and recently got the chance to catch up with these hilarious and lovely chaps!

Read on for more including strategizing as a band around the Pandemic, serial killers, their thoughts on supporting the music scene, turning a chaotic show into a memorable one…and a hint of a new album!!!

Sheri: For our readers, You formed around late 2014 after Steve’s band Counterhold ended?

Steve Jenkins (Vocals): Yep, Counterhold!

Sheri: After our chat last year, I know Rich had not long joined the band…can you give us a bit of a history lesson on Democratus and your roots…

Steve: Shall I take this one?

*Zak joins the conversation*

Rich Rees (Guitar): Omg! Zak has appeared!

Steve: A wild Zak has appeared!

Rich: Yeah, it’s like the last peanut at the bottom of the bag haha!

Joey Watkins (Guitar): He looks purple! What is going on with him? Haha.

Steve: It’s looking ominous, mate.

Joey: Willy Wonka told you not to eat the gum in the factory mate, or else this would happen.

Zak Skane (Drums): Hahaha I’m not in the mental space for this interview, I don’t think I am!

*all laugh*

Steve: Right, I’ll take this one then. History of the band; we started the nucleus of Democratus around late 2014 just after Bloodstock, the plans were set up with a vastly different line up to what it is now. We started gigging around 2015 and that was my push to kinda get too the magic 5 song mark and then we just chucked ourselves out there to kind of own our craft on the live circuit. Members came, members went until we got Joe and Kerrin in on guitar around the same time. I basically ended up losing both guitarists on the same day. Around the 2016 mark, then got Joey and Kerrin in cuz myself and Spoon, we were virtually on the verge of saying “alright shall we go our separate ways?” And we thought no, we will crack on. Between myself and Spoon, we had written the majority of the music we had at the time so we thought we would get another line up sorted and crack on. Then in 2017 Zak Came In.

Zak: *waves* Hi!

Steve: And things started to come together in terms of our live performance. We ended up getting through to the finals of the Metal 2 The Masses in South Wales and whilst we lost out on that, rather than mope about it, we thought “right…” the stuff we were playing at that point was written under old line-ups. So we decided that we would hit the restart button and start working on new music, create a sound that was five of us at the time and basically kind of work on our stage show, cover both bases because we were on the verge of getting our first EP out, “Starting Again”.So, we did that and then started immediately working on new stuff. “Starting Again”was the line in the sand. This was the old stuff and then we moved forward from it. 2018 then happened and we were fortunate enough to win the South Wales Metal 2 The Masses that time round and it all kicked off from there…

Sheri: So, you basically started from scratch?

Steve: Yeah basically. Kerrin then decided, and we kinda saw it coming, that the band stuff kind of wasn’t for him. It was getting a bit too busy with the life he had and what he was doing at home and stuff, so he decided to step back. We’d already had a couple of occasions then were Richard filled in for us on a couple of gigs prior, so there was only one option once Kerrin said he was gonna step down. We ONLY approached Rich and THANK GOD he said yes haha.

Rich: I got in by default! Haha.

*all laugh*

Sheri: You weren’t dragged in kicking and screaming then? Haha!

A lot of your songs are very humanity based and politically driven. They highlight a lot of the problems that humanity is facing – homelessness, poverty, recession, the greed of the government, sin and faith. You have a message to put out there as opposed to making music that just sounds great. I can pick this up in the songs like‘Damnation’, ‘Creator of Poverty’ and ‘Is This Fear’? Tell us more about this and what it means to you.

Steve: I suppose I’ll have to take this one again won’t I? Haha!

Yeah, I miss being oblivious to the political situation as we have it. As a carer to my wife, I’ve had my hand forced into keeping an eye on current situations and it’s not in a good place. So, for me lyrically, it just makes sense that Democratus has become my catharsis, my chance to vent at what’s wrong in the world in a more constructive way than trying to get banned on Facebook. Hahaha!

Sheri: You? Never! Hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha. But yeah, I’ve never been one of those that can write much in the way of fantasy lyrics. I can kind of write personal stuff you know; with any issues I have going on in my own head. But it’s all quite realistic, quite relatable stuff rather than things about Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy stuff… which, you know, has its place! I love that kind of stuff but for me, I’m not that kind of lyricist so thankfully the boys then come up with music that is as suitably angry as I am, and it fits. The boys kind of know my stances on things like that and are happy for me to rant about it, which I’m grateful for.

Joey: Sometimes we don’t always agree though Steve.

Steve: We don’t always.

Rich: That’s the thing, from a political point, we’re actually quite a diverse group. But when it comes to writing the music and stuff like that, I think the new stuff that we are working on now, is gonna be completely different, not in terms of the message or anything like that because we’ve got so many more lyrics and different music and then there’s my influence on it where I’ve not really written anything for Democratus before, so I’m hoping the new record is gonna be amazing to be fair.

Steve: Yeah, see it kind of ties in with the name itself anyways. How Democratus came to be in terms of its name was, we were chatting in the early incarnation, we were chatting about what we should call ourselves and I turned around and said “We’re a Democracy, not a Dictatorship” we all have to decide on something that we think sounds good. Our guitarist at the time then came up with Democratus and we all went “ooooh!” so you know, it’s all been a joint collaborative effort. I kind of handle the management side of things, but musically, we all chip in, we’ve all chucked in riffs here and there and you know, even if it’s just me humming something, but we all collaborate.

Joey: I think all of us having such a diverse range of opinions and actually, you know, seeing the world from different angles is really helpful towards the lyric writing as well, so it doesn’t kind of alienate an entire group of people. We need to kind of keep it focused as well going down that route. I think our aim is to say “Look, there’s problems with everything and it needs sorting.”

Steve: That’s it. I try not to be as linear as someone like Rage Against the Machine for example, I do try and leave a fair chunk of the lyrics open to interpretation so if people can take a personal feeling out of the lyrics I’ve written then great!

Sheri: Absolutely, yeah. So, in terms of your songwriting, as you say, everyone chips in, it’s not so that you have say a guitarist that only writes the riffs, how do you put it together?

Rich: Zak just turns up at my house and goes “I’ve written a song now learn it.” Hahaha!

*all laugh*

Rich: And then I tell him why the song is bad and then we fix it haha.

Zak: Song. Bad. Fix. Haha.

Joey: I tell everyone that I’m currently working on something and that it will blow them away but it’s yet to appear haha!

Rich: Due to release in 2025 haha.

Joey: Yeah haha! I’ve come up with a couple of riffs and sent them off to Zak and he’s kind of built a song around that so like ‘The Unworthy’was something that me and Zak worked on and again the lyrics of that kind of came like…we were all at practice, we were all really pissed off cuz someone had trolled the band page saying that we didn’t deserve any of the bigger shows we’ve had or you know, how we didn’t deserve Bloodstock or anything like that and they said “Yeah, you’re not worthy” and we’re like

“Yeah, you’re right, we’re not. But we still did it.”

Sheri: Wow…just wow!

Joey: So yeah, like some of the lyrics kinda come from there. And the ironic thing is that their band is now broken up…

Sheri: WELL WELL!!

Joey: So yeah, it’s kinda like… haha.

Sheri: That goes to show then eh! Steve, your vocals are remarkably diverse, and you can do all sorts of ranges. From heavy to something a bit more melodic and cleaner…Listening to tracks like ‘Dead Without Dying’ and ‘BTK’, then to a slight contrast in ‘Starting Again’ and ‘The Furious Horde’. How do you find vocally what fits with the direction of the songwriting and harmonies of Democratus?

Steve: Ahh there’s no set way of thinking with it. Whilst I kind of chuck us in the Melodic Death Metal group, that’s more for like chucking ourselves to promotors who like to label things and stuff. It’s basically a case of, if we all think it’s good, it’s in. So vocally, it continues to be a work in progress. If you’d have asked me to do these kinds of vocals 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do them. It’s been a gradual process from being a very rough, motley clean singer to working in the occasional screams and growls that I used to do with Counterhold through to then thinking “OK, maybe I can try and see if I can do the more aggressive stuff”. Cuz all my favourite bands are Melodic Death Metal anyway and as soon as Counterhold called it quits, that was the route that I kind of wanted to aim for. So vocally, it was kind of, “Alright, I’ll test it out. If doesn’t work, I’ll go back to mostly staying on clean vocals.” But thankfully, I’m told it seems to be working!

I do what I do, and I love what I do, but obviously, I’m my own worst critic as well so if I don’t think something works, I will take it back. The boys can come to me and say, “This doesn’t quite fit, we think you can do something a bit better with it.” I try not to be a Diva so you know, they can come to me and I’m not gonna throw a hissy fit over it, I’ll take it on board. Might not always listen to them, but… haha.

Joey: It’s like when Mike, the guy who produced and helped do the mixing and mastering and recording of the “Damnation”E.P helped. We had 3, maybe even 4 versions ofBTK’ and the recorded version is different to the live version. Mike was basically like “Look, the song just needs cutting here and there because it’s too long for a record. Whereas where you’re playing it live, that’s fine as people can’t see you over a CD” so we then went through various cuts of it where vocal phrasing was and everything like that and it took us a couple of weeks really to suss that out. So, I think that’s also been really important for us when we’re looking at recording, so you’ll notice a big difference in production value between “Starting Again”and “Damnation”, hopefully between whatever the album is gonna be as well. I think we’re really gonna be taking our time with it and doing something really good and so what you might see in the live version probably may not be on the recorded version, but the reason for that is to try and get a bigger sound and to try and encapsulate that energy and that feel of being in the room with it not just being onto a CD.

Sheri: Understood. Amazing. Now, you’re mentioning a writing of a new album!!! (Getting excited)

Steve: Yes!

Sheri: I’m picking this vibe up guys!

Steve: Hahaha! Certainly, dropping hints.

Rich: I’m sorry…was there a plug? Hahaha.

*All laugh*

Sheri: What are your plans for that? Are you looking to release that in the New Year…What can you tell us?

Rich: Personally, I’m enjoying not working to a schedule at the moment, obviously have to try and get everything together eventually, but right now it’s nice just to go “Hey, I’ve got some riffs, let’s work on these,” So we’ll go to practice and we’ll work out a few things or we’ll send each other recordings of what we’ve done. I mean, even Steve has been writing some riffs that we want to potentially work on, but as a newcomer, we’ll figure it out haha.

Joey: There’s some bones of a good song there.

Steve: I’m about 3 weeks away from being a better guitarist than Joey hahaha.

Joey: Yeaaaah…haha

Sheri: Oh noooooooo! Hahaha.

Joey: That’s true hahaha

Rich: Joey tries, don’t say that hahaha!

Joey: The thing is we’re not really working to any schedule, we’re currently in the process of writing as many song as we can really and what we’re gonna do is once we’ve written a load of songs, we’re gonna record rough demos of them and then we’re gonna take a hat trick to them and curtail anything we think won’t work, maybe come back to them later but we’re gonna have an album’s worth of really good songs, not three or four good ones and seven songs of filler kind of thing.

Steve: That’s it Sheri, we take pride in the tracks we already play live anyway. We may drop one or two of them in the run up to getting the album sorted but yeah…5 of them are already in the set list as it is.

Sheri: Oooooh, all the excitement!

Joey: Unfortunately, all that sort of stuff has kinda halted cuz, currently, me and Zak are the only ones not in a Lockdown area in Wales.

Zak: Yeah pretty much!

Steve: You’re aware there’s a Lockdown by literally half a mile, aren’t you, Joe?

Joey: Yeah, I’ve gotta drive like 30 miles to go to the Supermarket now.

Sheri: Loooord!

Joey: Yeah basically I live on the Monmouthshire side so I’m in the same county as Zak so I’ll plan on meeting up with Zak one evening or couple of evening’s in the week now and we’ll just try and get stuff recorded so we’re not at a complete loss. But we can’t practise and learn the songs together at the moment unfortunately, which sucks. There we are.

Sheri: That’s a bit sucky but gotta make the best of what we have.

Joey: Exactly.

Sheri: The composing is absolutely marvellous, with the strings and drums, you have a lot of twists and unexpected turns in your style of melodic death metal and your methods. I detect some other elements, even some Thrash! An example of this I think, is in the track ‘Deity’on your EP “Starting Again”. Last year, I remember Joey telling me he started out as a not very good guitarist amongst his injuries haha – surely you gotta feel differently as time has passed?

Joey: Yeah haha. I don’t think I’m on that first EP. We were that pushed for time and trying to record. I’m on the new EP and I’ll be on the album but that first EP, I saw the red light and my playing just went totally out of time, I couldn’t play a triplet.

Rich: Seems to be a curse for Democratus guitarists because I’m not on the new EP much either haha! But I’ll be on the album…

Joey: Haha yeah so Kerrin had to record my parts of that because we tried one four or five hour session and I just couldn’t get anything down and it got to the point where I was just like “Look, Kerrin, I don’t mind not being on it, we need to get this done.” Because…Like, it had been written in a time where I had been in the band but those songs had been written prior to my joining, I don’t really have any connection to them, I enjoy them as songs but they’re nothing I had anything to do with the writing process of, so I was like “You know what, Kerrin, you take it.”

Zak: The thing is with the EP; we were just replicating what the previous line up did. Just putting our own twists on it to make it original.

Joey: Yeah, so there were solos and everything that we had re-written and a couple of things that we added but the for the most part it’s old Democratus and that’s one of the reasons it’s even called “Starting Again”cuz you know…that’s was just like the end of that.

Steve: For me, “Starting Again”was tied in simply with my re-start after Counterhold. It’s as simple as that. It’s not a subtle nod, but yeah… like I said, “Starting Again”by the time we got round to recording it with the boys that we had in the band, it was simply a case of “Right, let’s just get this out there so we’ve got something to plug.”

Joey: Yeah, in all honesty, it was a very difficult recording process, it took a lot longer than we thought it would in terms of before Zak joined, our drummer – nothing against him, again just a similar problem to me in terms of recording, he just really struggled to be tight and to be able to play on the record so that really slowed things down. But then we got Zak in and things kind of all came together. I mean, Spoon, he’s not on the interview on the moment, but he’s probably the tightest player out of all of us when it comes to recording, you know.

Sheri: In light of that, you’ve had some pretty huge highlights with Democratus – playing Bloodstock, supporting…YOU SUPPORTED LIGHT THE TORCH!

Zak: I KNOW haha

Joey: Yeah!!

Rich: …did I!?


*all laughs*

Zak: You saw the poster, Rich? haha.

Joey: Yeah Rich, just photoshop yourself in there really badly hahaha

Rich: Yeah, the only picture I’ve got of Democratus at all, doesn’t have me in it haha but it’s the tour poster that I’m on haha!

Joey: Yeah, that really was like a highlight for all of us because me, Zak and Steve…Howard Jones has been a huge influence on us and then to share the line-up was just a Holy Shit moment basically.

Steve: The weirdest thing about that was just how straight forward it was from making my initial pester to the promoter – I had a heads up after going to see them open for In Flames like a couple of days before it was announced, so I basically messaged the promoter and then noticed the promoter had their phone number on their page… so I thought “bugger it!” and called them up and I just went “look… if I’m pestering too much, please let me know but I’m chasing up the message that I’ve sent regarding the Light The Torch show, if there’s any chance of a local slot, please can you let us know.” Because my worship of Howard Jones is rather well known.

Zak: I’m pretty sure Howard knows that as well haha.

Steve: Damn right he does haha!

Zak: When we were at Bloodstock, they had the meet and greet because he did the Jasta show and Jamie was the first person there and then there was Kirk and then it went to Howard to shake hands and Howard just went “I know you!”

Steve: … “I’ve seen you before!” hahaha.

Zak: Nervously sweating as well hahaha

Joey: So, it was great that we got on that show and didn’t get a restraining order hahaha.

Steve: The promoter told me “I’ll see what I can do, I’ll get back to you.” So, a week and a half later, I chased up with one more message basically saying “Can you let me know what’s going on because I need to know if I’m selling my ticket or not.” Then the following morning I woke up to the email saying, “You’re in, send us your logo.” How I didn’t wake up my Amy FIST PUMPING THE F*KING AIR, I will never know!

Sheri: Hahaha that’s brilliant!!

Joey: And just a couple of words on that promotor – a couple of months later they put Insomnium on and we asked them for the slot and unfortunately we didn’t get it but they were really good enough to put us on the Guest List for that. So massive Kudos to them, that was really good of them.

Steve: Yeah, they were a great bunch.

Sheri: Wicked! That’s so cool. You see, I love stuff like that. So, like I say, you’ve had some huge highlights and obviously you have your two EP’s out at the moment and you’re working on an album… How do you feel you have evolved over time?

Rich: I mean I’ll put it this way, I’ve played guitar since I was 15, so that’s 15 years now and I feel I’ve progressed more in my time with Democratus than I have in the other 12 odd years haha. I remember the first time you asked me to do lead guitar and I was like “excuse me!?”. There was that practice where there was the first solo going up and I remember just doing the bend and then Joey just turning around and laughing at Steve, so I either did something very wrong or very right just now haha. So, I just nervously carried on haha.

Sheri: You obviously did do right haha!

Rich: Yeah, apparently! Haha.

Joey: I think that our song writing is always evolving, as you said earlier, our lyrics are very politically charged, and the landscape is always changing with that. You know, a hell of a lot has changed in the last 4 years since I joined the band and the lyric writing has reflected that. In terms of guitar work, new members make things…everyone has their own spin on things. Zak is just churning out riffs like a madman, which is great!

Sheri: Like a boss!

Zak: Yeah, I haven’t got a life so…haha

Joey: Yeah…Oh no! I didn’t mean…yeah, you haven’t got a life hahaha. Also, I think our understanding of recording has come on leaps and bounds since the first EP. So, you know, we’re paying more attention to things like dynamics, things like guitar tone and everything like that just to try and make the songs sound bigger and better. We’re always looking to try and improve. Yeah, just make things interesting.

Steve: Which is why we work. This is why we work. We’re always looking to improve, we’re never just settling for, you know, the words “That will do”. They are banned in the studio when we are recording. You’re always looking to improve in whatever way, be it a better vocal line, a better guitar solo, a better riff being played, better drum fill. You know, we don’t box ourselves into how we should sound because we’re always looking to progress. If we decided that this is how we are gonna start sounding for the next 4 or 5 albums, we would all get bored to buggery anyway!

Joey: There’s only been a couple of times where I’ve had to ask Steve about lyrics and whether he thinks that’s a good line. I was terrified because you’ve got the song ‘Preach To The Hate;and its original title was Hints of Hate and I said “It’s a bit too in your face to be called Hints of Hate” and it was a nervous moment for me because Steve was like “You’ve never questioned my lyrics before.” And I was like “Oh no! What have I done?” haha.

Steve: Hahaha! And you will never do so again!! Haha

Joey: The whole album has been more like a group contribution whereas the previous 2 have always been like “here’s a riff” and one person has written the whole song, whereas now it’s like everything is just stemming to contribute to it. Even recently, the lyrics have been quite group contributed as well, haven’t they Steve?

Steve: Yeah, even if it’s just you guys giving me a subject to go off, yeah – I mean, I’ve always been open to lyrical contribution. One of the latest thing’s that we’ve written has had Zak’s full input on the lyrics! I looked ‘em over the other day and they look fantastic. I am more than happy to put my vocals over what he’s given me. So yeah, it’s a case of – there’s no ego’s in the band. Our overall outlook on it is just to see where it goes.

Joey: Yeah, pretty much.

Steve: We’re not expecting anything, we’re not demanding anything – we’re just kind of putting ourselves out there, asking if the possibilities are there and if they are, brilliant! If not, we crack on doing what we’re doing anyway.

Sheri: Educate me! My favourite song of yours is ‘BTK’, but… what does that stand for?

Zak: Steve, that’s all you mate!

Steve: That’s me, OK! This one stands for ‘Bind, Torture, Kill’.

Joey: I thought that was a sandwich! Hahaha

Rich: Bacon, Tomato, Kale hahaha.

Steve: Hahaha! It’s basically a set of lyrics I was sat on around the Counterhold days that just weren’t doing anything, but it’s based around the Bind, Torture, Kill killer. So, I was reading an article in one of those daytime magazines about him. What was in there was some of the letters that he would write to the Police before he was caught. It was all very simplistic stuff, so the lyrical approach is very simplistic for that reason. It’s based around the letters that he would send, the way that he would speak about how he tortured his victims, how much pleasure he found in building up to the kill and stuff like that. So yeah, it’s all based around Dennis Rader.

Rich: I’ll tell you something interesting if you want to know, especially about the video. I got to do the lyric video essentially, I was the only one with video editing experience but unfortunately, I was on horribly outdated software and the fact that it came to light in the first place was interesting. But what I realised half-way through and it’s still there to this day – is there is now a folder on my computer called Murder Photos full of pictures of Dennis Rader and actual pictures of his crimes! Hahaha so…

Steve: There’ll be new pictures incoming with one of my censored lyrics, mate, you know that!

Rich: Yeah but eventually, GCHQ are gonna find out, mate! Hahaha.

Sheri: So, there’s a lot of extensive research that goes into that sort of thing as well. In light of the album you’re working on, what are your plans for 2021, all being well?

Rich: To gig again one day!

Joey: Yeah, hopefully!

Steve: Oh God, I miss it. It’s been 84 years…

*all laugh*

Steve: Basically, under current circumstances, all we can do is song write. So, all we can do is send over song ideas to each other and so that when the lockdown is lifted, we can get the pre-production on the go and get the Demo’s on the go. After that, once everything is up, we’re gonna try and get gigging as quickly as we possibly can. We’ve got a few dates, no more for this year…that’s bust.

Zak: We’ve got a few in the pipeline though haven’t we, that we secured.

Steve: Yeah, we’ve got a mini tour that we’ve scheduled for March that we’re hoping to keep hold of. I think that is probably the realistic target now, is March dates that we’ve got booked in. We’ve not gone public with it yet so we can’t say who we will be touring with but there’s some very good, very established bands.

Sheri: Amazing! We will keep our ear out for that as well then!

Joey: We just wanna get back to Oxford again. I love that place!

Steve: Ahh yeah Oxford!

Rich: Oxford was the best gig I’ve played by far apart from maybe Newcastle and that was more just a miracle that happened in the night sort of thing haha.

Joey: Everything that could have gone wrong… went wrong haha. Spoon broke Bass string, Rich kept knocking guitar cables out hahaha

Steve: I must have gone through a pack of Vocalzone in the run up to that day…

Joey: The batteries died on my wireless kit halfway through a song whilst I was playing haha

Rich: 4am in Newcastle in the snow…

Joey: Yep we went from Oxford to Workington, played a gig and then from that gig, drove to Newcastle…it was long.

Rich: All in one day…

Zak: It was snowing as well!

Rich: That was Zak’s favourite bit haha

Sheri: That sounds absolutely brutal! Sounds like you had a bit of a nightmare gig there, no?

Joey: It should have been, but it really wasn’t, it was amazing! The atmosphere was there, it didn’t really matter, the crowd were amazing, Zak did a drum solo which I’ve never seen him do before, it was beautiful!

Rich: Yeah, it was actually really good!

Zak: You put me on the spot for that, ya f**kers! Hahahaha.

Joey: It wasn’t us! It was Kilonova hahaha

Rich: Yeah, Kilonova put you on the spot for that hahaha

Joey: I highly recommend checking out Kilonova, their live shows, they bring a ridiculous amount of energy, like…first time we were on that tour, we just went “Ah sh*t, we gotta follow that…Um…” hahaha

Steve: Yeah Ellen and the boys are sweethearts, they’re brilliant.

Joey: Yeah, they’re good people.

Sheri: I know of Kilonova, they’re fantastic! Please tell our readers in your own words why it is so important to support the scene at the moment…

Steve: Given the current circumstances, we’ve all been saying for years that you have to use it or lose it. Right now, that is amplified a thousand times over. Given the current situations within venues and performing arts, are getting zero in the way of support. I’m not gonna go down a political rant on that, I’m just saying as it is, we have no support. So, we basically cannot do any of this if people aren’t gonna come out and support the scene. It doesn’t have to be for us. It has to be for the venues, it has to be for the workers.

Joey: Yeah, for the people who actually have it as a career you know, like, being a performer – because there’s just no funding for them. Even the big companies are struggling at the moment in terms of what is happening with events. There’s a lot of investment gone into trying to put these events on and it’s all up in the air as to everything that’s gonna be happening across Europe. So, it’s not just the grassroots that are suffering, it’s everyone in the industry right from the bottom to the very top. So, imagine lockdown if you couldn’t listen to music because at the end of the day if bands don’t have a platform, artists don’t have a platform, if they can play in venues and won’t have a way to get people through the door and it’s gonna be gone and it won’t come back… and it will be a real shame to see that go. For a lot of people, it’s the only outlet they really have. There’s a lot of talented musicians who absolutely love doing what they’re doing, it helps them to deal with the sh*t they’ve had at work or you know, it helps people unwind and get their feelings out…and if that isn’t there, it’s gonna really mess up a lot of people.

Steve: I mentioned it on my Facebook the other day that it’s not even just the financial implications that places and people are gonna struggle with, it’s the mental health side of it as well. You know, not having that security is gonna play Holy Hell with people’s mental well-being. So, it’s a case of, we have to look after each other. You don’t have to like the genres of music; you just have to support it because it all needs help.

Sheri: Absolutely you’re right, at the moment I feel like that even though things are the way they are, people do, especially in the underground scene, have to help each other out mentally.

Joey: It will all come back, I just think there’s gonna be a lot people who won’t come back from it in terms of their businesses, which is gonna be a real shame. Like you see on Facebook almost every week that the iconic venues are closing because the landlords are like “Well, we need the money” and a part of me is really really pissed off with the owners of these venues but at the same time, that’s their revenue stream as well, they still need their money and yeah…

Sheri: It’s a vicious circle.

Joey: Yeah, and it’s gonna be tough times for a lot of people and I think that when times are really shit, people are gonna need good music to listen to.

Sheri: Absolutely… and that’s why you’re getting an album out haha!

Rich: Full circle back to the flood, YAY! Hahaha.

Joey: And if it doesn’t work, we will just sell it to America to Guantanamo Bay as a form of torture, there’s lots of avenues open to us! Hahaha.

*all laugh*

Steve: I mean one thing I would add about the scene supporting and stuff like that is in South Wales in particular, I’ve noticed, seems to have a core nucleus of bands. From the likes of Agrona, Sodomized Cadaver, In Which It Burns, Blind Divide etc. The list continues, there’s a core nucleus of a good 20 to 30 bands that genuinely look out for each other, you know, we’re all offering each other shows. Bands like Agrona and Sepulchre are putting on their own band nights alongside Gavin from Sodomized running his promotions company that’s going from strength to strength. We’re all looking out for each other, we’re all plugging each other, we’re all kind of chucking in our support where we can get it. Agrona for example have just been confirmed for the SOPHIE slot at Bloodstock next year. There’s no jealousy, there’s no pissing and moaning about it, we couldn’t be any prouder of them. It’s the same when Sodomized played the SOPHIE stage when we were doing Bloodstock, you know, there’s no animosity, there’s no one upmanship, the scene is just genuinely supportive.

Joey: The bands that do have a bad attitude, we’re just like “well, we’re not playing with you and no one’s gonna want to play with you.” Or they fall by the wayside pretty quickly because that attitude doesn’t get you far at all.

Sheri: That’s what it’s about at the end of the day. I’ve always been a believer in…If you’re gonna do this then do it together.

Steve: Otherwise you can crack on and form a tribute band hahaha

Joey: And that’s where the real money is hahaha.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke! And don’t say our music hahaha.

Rich: I’m not allowed to tell the jokes anymore. Hahaha.

Sheri: Has Rich been banned?

Rich: I’ve been banned from a few comedy venues when I did stand up so…hahaha

Sheri: That sounds like that’s got a story behind it haha

Rich: I’m not about to give you a rendition here haha.

Sheri: Fair enough. Hahaha. Anyone?

Joey: What’s brown and sticky…? A stick.

Rich: Here’s a fun fact about flavoured water…it’s actually healthier than crack hahaha

Joey: Yeah but crack is pretty moorish…

*all laugh*

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really insightful. I really appreciate it.

Joey: Happy birthday for the other day! Best people are born in September, fact. Just putting that out there…

Sheri: Thank you! I sat by the beach and got drunk hahaha.

Democratus: Best way to spend it. Hahaha. Thanks for having us!

Rick Here. I’d like to send huge thanks to Sheri and Democratus for this great interview.

For more info on the band then check out the links below:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.