Häxan – White Noise

Häxan – White Noise
Self-Released
Release Date: 24/07/2020
Running Time: 42:34
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

A splendid afternoon to you all, you beautiful bunch of bitches and bastards. Hopefully I find you all headbanging your little heads off and quaffing liver-bursting quantities of fine ales and meads and shoving outrageous quantities of delicious viands down your avid throats (unless you are vegetarian or vegan, in which case shove whatever makes you feels good down your neck and enjoy the fuck out if it). Hang on, this begs the question as to whether oral sex is vegan if the people doing it are both vegan? Does anyone know if a bacon aficionado is NOT vegan in this regard? These are important facts I’m asking for a friend…

Dark Juan Terrace is currently reverberating to British (the band has members from England and Wales, yes it IS a separate country) three-piece hard rock band Häxan. The dogs are cowering and Mrs. Dark Juan is threatening dire and painful retribution (here’s hoping. Hopefully she will break out the inflatable mongoose, the steak knives and the puncture repair kit this time) unless I turn it the fuck down because we have acquired neighbours. My point of view is that they should have researched whether the house next to theirs is a Palace of Metal before they fucking moved in.

Yes, Häxan. House reverberating. Loud hard rock. Right, we’re back on track. It’s very nice to listen to some fucking good time rock and roll instead of the increasingly violent and unpleasant extreme metal I normally enjoy. Häxan provide an excellent soundtrack to an afternoon’s drinking and debauchery (Disclaimer – I am neither drinking nor debauched at this point. I only finished a 48 hour shift a few hours ago) as they are a catchy as fuck hard rock band who are fun to listen to. Taking everything that was great from the glam and gutter rock of the 80’s and 90’s, Häxan have delivered a very solid record for a debut long player. For a bloke of a certain age who can remember this style of hard rock’s popularity the first-time round, it’s a full-on classic nostalgia trip – all bombast, vocal harmonies, snot nosed attitude and killer fucking riffs.

The record opens with ‘Damned If You Do’ which is a damned fine opening gambit. Starting as if an old 8-track tape player was spooling up we immediately enjoy some up-tempo guitar work and drumming before the deceptively sweet vocal of Sam Bolderston (Guitar, vocals, Welshness) kicks in – I enjoyed the little tip of the metaphorical millinery to Royal Blood’s “Ten Tonne Skeleton” in the first verse too. Sam’s voice is easily able to carry menace and power even though she sings in quite a high register and she is capable of conveying a most dangerous attitude through it also. Second track in is ‘Killing Time’ and this is where the band show off their harmonic singing skills. There are a lot of harmonies throughout the record, but this song is fucking brilliant for them. Also, that fucking chorus, butty bach. That fucking chorus. I’m weak at the knees. It is well known that Dark Juan is a sucker for a good chorus, but right now I’m lying prostrate at Häxan’s feet professing undying devotion because they have massive…. choruses. Behave yourselves.

Special mention has to be given to lead single ‘Skeletons’, a damned fine song (which I don’t believe is the strongest song on the album) and album closer ‘Living Dead’ (which IS the strongest song on the album by a country mile). ‘Living Dead’ is just sublime hard rock. It has EVERYTHING. Sam gives it the full beans vocally (I love her voice to bits) and Harriet Wadeson’s (Bass, non-Welshness) harmonising is spine-shiveringly good. It sounds like it was written for “The Ultimate Sin” era Ozzy and there’s a wonderful counterbeat on the cymbal and it’s just a classic fucking tune, man.

The demerits – Whoever produced the cymbals wants shooting. They have managed to make live recorded cymbals sound as if they are sequenced and artificial, which is an absolute travesty and I am really quite cross about it because I have to take a mark away for it because it slightly spoils my enjoyment of a balls to the wall, organic sounding rock record. Everything else is grand – the guitar is meaty and readable and rifftastic, bass suitably bowel-churningly low and growly and Jess Hartley’s (also not Welsh) drums punchy and powerful . ‘Louder Than Words’ is also a mark off because it is very weak compared to the rest of the record – the girls have already proved they are far FAR superior to that tune. Apart from that one slip up, Häxan have created a debut record of uncommon poise and power and confidence. I fucking love them. I love them that much I’m giving them a bonus mark back just for ‘Living Dead’ because it’s so fucking awesome. Don’t question my judgement!

In conclusion then – this is the record Rock Goddess should have made. Häxan are THAT good. They are close to perfection already. All that’s required is better quality control in the songwriting department and someone who doesn’t hate the sound of cymbals recording them. Pay attention to Häxan, for they are going to be fucking COLOSSAL!!!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (System Sgorio Splat Gwaed Tywyll Juan Patent. Probably wrong. Don’t care. I’m only doing Welsh for Sam) awards Häxan 9/10 for an almost perfect debut. Dear ladies, you have a new, very excitable and slightly demented fan. Abandon hope for Dark Juan has appointed himself your champion. You poor things.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Damned If You Do
02. Killing Time
03. Nine Lives
04. Grave Digger
05. Louder Than Words
06. Black Sheep
07. Crash And Burn
08. Skeletons
09. Living Dead

LINE-UP:
Sam Bolderston – Vocals, guitar
Harriet Wadeson – Bass
Jess Hartley – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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 Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach

Interview with Jess Stanley and Kyle Martyn Stanley of Ashen Reach
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi Everyone, Sheri here

I’d like to send huge thanks to Rachael Harrison and Enso Music Management for approaching me for this lovely chat I had recently with Kyle and Jess from Merseyside based Hard Rock band, Ashen Reach. Reforming/Renaming the band in 2018, Ashen Reach have a LOT to offer their audience. I was blown away by how humble and down to earth they are and that they have smashed their way from the first stepping-stone of the music industry, to now crossing its fast-flowing river, in such a short space of time! Be sure to check out this phenomenal band!

Sheri: What I wanted to do first is just brush up on the history of Ashen Reach…I know Ashen Reach reformed from Equinox, is that right?

Jess: Yeah that’s correct! We’re going way back sometime…I originally joined them when I was like…16 and I’m currently the only standing member from the very original line up haha!

Kyle: Oh wow!

Jess: Oh yeah, I got rid of them lot, no I’m joking haha!

Kyle: Hahaha absolute Axel Rose treatment right there!

Sheri: Hahahaha Lordy!

Jess: Hahaha. It was only I would say from about last year, hang on what year are we in now?

Kyle: 2020

Jess: We’ve only been this line up as Ashen Reach with obviously Kyle and Joe for about just over a year now. I think we had our little one-year anniversary at like the 1st August.

Kyle: That’s the 8th or 9th, something like that…

Jess: Something like that yeah, where we just finally got them secured and announced Kyle to the world. Before that, oh going back, we were Ashen Reach still before that for about a year in total as well and then we obviously did the gigs, the two shows with Bullet For My Valentine in April last year. That year was probably the first year we started taking things properly seriously and then obviously the big change up happened…but, was it 2018 or something? It all seems to happen around Christmastime where like, names change, or members change haha. So…hopefully it doesn’t happen again this year because I think we’re quite comfortable with it now haha!

Kyle: Best line-up ever!

Jess: It is, it really really is. But, for the current line up as I say, last year we just finished the Bullet for My Valentine shows and we did one or two gigs and then we parted ways with our singer and Rhythm guitarist…then, after that, Me, Paddy and Mike (drummer, lead guitarist and bassist) were like “What do we do? We just played two of the biggest shows of our life ever!” And it was so good and exciting feeling like that cuz it was like 5000 people one night and 8000 the other to play to…it was just unreal!

Sheri: Wow!

Jess: And it was just us two as well, it wasn’t like it was a festival of 20 bands, it was really something special. So, it was kinda a moment where it was like “Oh no! We definitely have to carry on.” So, we just put some Ads on Facebook and we got Joe, who’s our guitarist with the dreadlocks, first. We did some auditions and then from there on he helped pick Kyle…and I think it was actually Katherine Murph, who’s a promoter on the local scene, she messaged me out of the blue and was like “You know what, I know a singer who’s looking for a Hard Rock band and I know a Hard Rock band who’s looking for a singer! Why don’t I put two of you together?” And then from then it has kinda just been perfect! He came in and did an audition and we were like “yeah!”

Sheri: That’s awesome!!

Kyle: Yeah, I think I had to send the little video in, didn’t I? But I had a chest infection at the time haha…

Sheri: Oh Noooo!!

Kyle: And I didn’t want to be like “oh can I wait?” Cuz I didn’t want it, to you know, sound like an excuse haha so I was like “I’m gonna have to power through this!” haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! He sang one of our old tracks and we were like “yeah let’s get this guy in, see what he’s about”

Sheri: Well, safe to say you smashed it! Haha.

Jess: Oh yeah! We’re so glad you did as well, it’s so much better and it’s like a proper, proper family now…aren’t we?

Kyle: Oh yeah!

Jess: Cuz we wanted to make sure that not only can everyone play their instruments or sing, like we are gonna do it properly, we’re gonna be together for a long time, if you’re gonna be on the road or recording, so it’s like we gotta like these people haha!

Kyle: We is one big family now and dat.

Sheri: That’s how it should be! As we were sorta saying 2018 onwards was like, we saw some pretty exciting things happening for you guys. As you just mentioned you supported Bullet For My Valentine on their Russian tour, wasn’t it?

Jess: Yeah it was 2 gigs there, in St Petersburg and then Moscow.

Sheri: Amazing! Then obviously you also played the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock and then of course there was a line-up change in 2019. So, there are some huge positives as a young band…What has been your favourite part of the journey so far?

Jess: Oh God, do you wanna go for this one Kyle as I just blabbermouthed the whole way through that haha

Kyle: I’d say so far it was probably doing the album. Obviously doing the tours as well, like touring with Fahran and then we toured with Nocturn Wolf, Ritual Spirit and Kilonova. Like erm, just before the world ended. And it was – that was amazing, doing multiple dates in a row, travelling everywhere, meeting loads of new people and stuff like that. It was awesome and then obviously writing and recording the album, getting everything that we’ve put our entire heart and soul into. It sounds so rewarding like, we’ve just seen our new video today and it’s just like – Ahh, it’s so good! It’s just amazing watching it and you know when it’s like – all our hard work is paying off, there it is, it’s right in front of us and it’s just BOSS. Haha.

Jess: I think my favourite part is he growth in general, obviously being there from the very beginning of everything when we were – not even this line-up.

Sheri: Still a baby haha

Jess: Yeah It was! I was 16 when I joined the band and I’m 21 now – still a baby but haha – to see the evolution of the music, the people and just how strong we seem to be right now. Like in one year, we’ve released two singles, about to release the third, gonna release an album, we’ve done two tours and that is in the space of one year of actually getting the band members and then writing it all, so it’s all completely fresh material as well. We’ve got one song that we’ve kept over, and we’ve changed the lyrics and how it’s sung but everything else is completely brand new. It exciting seeing how well it’s all gelled together, and I feel dead proud. Proud of it. Haha!

Sheri: And that’s the thing isn’t it that when you’re an artist, it’s like your band is your baby, you watch it grow and it comes out and it’s all beautiful.

Jess: Yeah haha!

Sheri: So, we were just saying about your new single, ‘Epiphany’, will be released on the 25th September. Do you have a video to go with it?

Kyle: YAAAS.

Sheri: Amazing! Cannot wait to see that! And then your debut album, “Homecoming”, is scheduled to be released in November. After what’s been happening with the end of the world haha, this is actually really great. There are a lot of Artists that are feeling bummed out as a lot rely on touring, selling merch and so on to make their way. So, it’s amazing to see new music during the pandemic.

Jess: Yeah, I think it’s been a make or break situation for a lot of bands.

Sheri: It’s been brutal for everyone. I listened to the album today, multiple times.

Kyle: Ooooh!

Jess: Ooooh, did you haha! Have you got a favourite song?

Sheri: I do! It’s actually the title track that is my favourite. I detect some really strong Alter Bridge vibes and a little bit of a…almost like Trivium – ish, vibe.

Both: That’s a new one!

Jess: Our lead guitarist Paddy loves Alter Bridge so that’s probably how that’s kind of rubbed off in there somewhere.

Sheri: It’s also vocally too, in the lyrics! It’s very Alter Bridge type too.

Kyle: I could hear it in ‘Tear It Down’

Sheri: That’s a really good example actually! There’s a good balance of heavy, classic, groove and even a little bit of proggy metal and hard rock in your sound. So how did you reach your style of songwriting? And what works for you as a band?

Jess: Collaboration. 100%. We’ll all do everything and we’ll all chip in with the lyrics or if something is sung different, we can say “change it like this” or “try a drum beat like that”. Everyone has a say in everything and we feel like that has given the best results and it has worked in everything we have done so far so that is our way forward, isn’t it Kyle?

Kyle: Yeah, it takes a lot of pressure off as well. It’s not like where in some bands you’re like… “well, you’re the guitarist or you’re the vocalist, drummer, you have to write that part” so all of us combined together, it just helps make the song better. The way everything is, the only ego that should be in the room is the song itself.

Sheri: Absolutely.

Kyle: As long as it makes the song better, we should all chip in and as Jess was saying we could say “oh why don’t we try this” There’s a couple of songs that lyrically is 100% one person, maybe only 3.

Jess: But it’s still like “Ok guys what do you think?” No one calls the shots, do they?

Kyle: Yeah.

Jess: And because we all have different influences musically anyway and what we listen to – I think that’s why there’s so many different vibes. Obviously Alter Bridge has stood out a couple of times but other than that, we’ve had a different name from each person. Basically, which is nice because we don’t want to be a carbon copy of anyone.

Kyle: We get Bowie quite a bit too, which is odd because Bowie isn’t an influence haha!

Sheri: So, it’s a collaboration and a bit like a puzzle where everyone makes it a bigger picture. I really loved the title track ‘Homecoming’ I think it’s beautiful. I was sitting here with it on repeat through my work and I was like WOW. There’s a lot of power, emotion and diverse energy to the lyrics and the way your songwriting and music is put together. How do you feel some of your songs on this album reflect the rawness in your sound?

Kyle: I’m glad that people are feeling it because every song has some meaning to it. There’s a couple of songs that have really personal meanings like ‘Alive Again’ but there’s other song’s, like ‘Epiphany’, kinda one we all put together because we all had the vibe of it and we were all like “Okay, we can all understand what’s coming with that” so we all kind of feel within the song if that makes sense? Because we all are right in it, we all get into that mode of feeling and that.

Jess: The album is not a concept album so there’s no running story, so some of the songs might be about something else like, you know ‘Epiphany’ is about abusive relationships basically and then ones like Kyle said are more personal, might be about something that’s happened to someone in the band but overall, we just wanted to show everyone each side of what we can do. This debut album was basically like “This is what Ashen Reach can do” we can do long epic songs, we can do fast jumpy, upbeat songs and do a whole duet basically. We just wanted to show everything we can do but have passion all the way through. None of them are just album fillers. We just wanted to show all our sides, that it was 100% us and that you can hear the passion and effort that’s gone into every track.

Kyle: Even with ‘Ether’ the 1 minute 40 interlude, we didn’t just throw that in and just beef up the track, we put that in because we wanted it to make the album blend better. We just didn’t want to just change the vibe quickly.

Jess: Is it from “Prey”? It would be “Prey” straight into “Here I go” and “Prey” quite like a dark psychological thriller song – but we thought all that out and the order of the album, we just wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just going all in super-fast, super hard, there was a proper build up and I think I feel after you’ve listened to it, you feel “What’s just happened”…like I’m glad I feel like that.

Kyle: Yeah the ending blows you into a false sense of security as well because you think it’s dead relaxing and dead chill, melancholy and then you forget your album is on repeat and it goes DADADADADA and you’re like ARGH!

ALL LAUGH

Kyle: It’s happened when driving and having to swerve out of the way because I’ve almost sh*t myself haha. It just slams back in and you’re like “Oh there it is…Okay!”

Sheri: How do you feel that “Homecoming” is different to your previous work, for example you released a single in 2018 called ‘Gone Tomorrow’?

Jess: That’s one of the ones we took down because we thought it’s a fresh start but we really really loved ‘Homecoming’ so much and everyone would ask us to play it when we perform so we thought we have to keep it but we will just rework it to make it better and more suited to what we are now and it just had something else, it’s difficult to describe. You can tell when you’re playing a song and it’s not even my favourite song now but back then it was just like… this is just epic, we’ve written a nine minute song, people always cheer for and it was known as That Epic Song At The End – we’d finish on that song all the time because it was just a rollercoaster of a song.

Kyle: It doesn’t feel like a nine-minute song.

Jess: Oh no, we’ve heard people say, “oh you’re finishing” and you say, “it’s a nine-minute song” and they’re like “no way!”

Kyle: There was a guy in Scotland, and he was like “Oh really enjoyed your set but I have one criticism.” And we were like “Okay, what is it?” and he said, “Homecoming is too short” and we’re like “Its 9 minutes!!” He was like “IS IT!? Does not feel like nine minutes!”

Jess: So yeah, people get lost in it and I think that’s what made us think “No, we have to keep it and rework it somehow, this has gotta stay and be a staple part!” haha.

Kyle: Its nice seeing people singing along to it at the end of the show, people will start singing the chorus and that’s the first time we’ve heard that as well. You’ll see people just singing along and it’s just like “wow, this is their first time seeing this and they’re already singing along to it”. It’s an absolutely surreal feeling and it’s like… it’s actually happening.

Sheri: That’s when you know isn’t it – when people are catching onto your songs and its humbling.

Jess: We couldn’t be more grateful of people who just listen, share or you know, it is as you say humbling – when you see a couple bands and it doesn’t really matter what level, I know a lot of bigger bands don’t look at their own social medias but when you know when it’ a bit lower level, you see people that don’t reply to comments or they don’t react and these are the people saying “I love it” – I really hate that so much because people have taken time to listen to your music and if you’ve really put that much effort in, you care what people think and you know – we all care so much so we make a conscious effort to make sure we tell everyone who says anything you know “Thank you so much” because it really does mean the world to us when we say it.

Kyle: Yeah, we always try and message people back or reply to them or after a show we will always try and hang around and have a conversation with people and we try to get to know them, the people who listen to our music. Because it makes it personal. It turns a fan base more into a family, because you’ll see them come back and you end up becoming friends. You get a new level with people and its really nice.

Sheri: I love that. I mean, that’s how I essentially got doing what I’m doing now. Years and years ago, I met a band called Breed 77.

Kyle: I’ve heard of them!

Sheri: Really nice guys, I was introduced by a family friend at the studios and went to a couple of their shows and they were mingling and mixing and then making friends with some of them. Doing that, I met lots of different people, friends and circles and now I’ve ended up doing what I’m doing now and that is what I love because bands like you that actually take the time to make friends and mingle with people, you don’t know what your impact is on that person’s life you know…it can make a massive, massive difference. So… that’s amazing, I love it!

Kyle: Yeah if we can make people forget about their problems, even if it’s for like 10 minutes, then we are doing something right and makes everything worthwhile.

Sheri: Do you have plans to tour or promote “Homecoming” after the pandemic dies down a bit?

Jess: We do, nothing is booked or set in stone but Rachael, our manager is working extremely hard to try and get something. I think she said she was aiming for March next year, but we have no idea, nothing is booked yet. But that is the idea.

Kyle: We do have a gig in December as far as we know. It’s not been cancelled yet. So, we are playing December at Planet Rockstock in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl.

Jess: We were like yay we have all these gigs set up, things are going great and then… the world closed down haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we had some really good gigs as well. We had some like… supporting Ryan McCombs from SOiL and stuff like that. And I was so excited, like I was in work when we got the gig confirmed and I’m running ‘round the shop like YESSSS! Because I LOVE SOiL!

Jess: Kyle’s 31 by the way haha

Kyle: Yeah, I was absolutely chuffed! Headbutting the cookies haha going mental and some people were like “Whos’ SOiL?” And I’m like, “You don’t even…how dare you!! Haha I don’t care if you’re 67 Barbara…” hahaha.

Sheri: Educate yourself, like haha!

Both: Yeah exactly! Hahaha.

Sheri: What did you do before creating your way with Ashen Reach/before Equinox? What drew you into making music?

Jess: Paddy our guitarist, he was in a band before and I used to always go see them. I was doing my GCSE’s before I was in Equinox. I just knew I loved playing the drums as well, I was playing my lessons since I was about 12. So, I was a Grade 5 and my teacher was like “Go Forth my child, I can’t teach you anymore, go play in a band.” So I basically set off to join a band and I joined Equinox on JoinMyBand, I just found an Ad and I went to Vulcan Studios in Liverpool and did my practice there and they didn’t have a singer or anything at that point. That’s sort of where I went on and over time was new members and we evolved. We didn’t actually, with the very first line up of Equinox, we didn’t gig at all, we just spent loads of time in the practice room. But it’s because we knew we weren’t ready and then we went from there. But that’s personally how I got into it, seeing Paddy doing gigs on stage and I wasn’t in a band the whole time yet. And I was like I know I definitely want to do it now. Seeing your favourite bands on stage as well isn’t it? It’s like “Oh my God”. Haha.

Kyle: Oh, mine is a long time ago! I was proper into music as a little kid, I used to sing a lot when I was little but then as I got older, I was obsessed with Slipknot and Joey Jordison so I wanted to be in a band. I was actually a drummer for years. I was in a brick punk band kinda like the Artic Monkeys but with a double pedal haha. I was in a few bands, so I ended up forming kind of a Tenacious D double act with my friend Adam at Butlins. It was dead funny because we were told we had to do normal covers and we were like “No, we’re doing Tenacious D!” hahaha. We’re covering ‘Wonderboy’ hahaha. Just before I joined Ashen Reach, I was in a Take That tribute haha.

Sheri: Really??

Kyle: Yeah haha.

Jess: You were like the biggest in the UK, weren’t you?

Kyle: Yeah we were in at number 1 so I toured with them for three years but my itch was like, I wanna do rock and stuff like that so, I was in a proper djent-y metal band but I didn’t want to scream as much anymore. So, I spoke to Murph and I said “I wanna be in Hard Rock band, I don’t wanna scream anymore, it’s killing my voice” and Murph was like “Oh! I know a band!” and that was it!

Jess: Oh, I remember that as well as actually! I only got to drum as Rock Band haha like playing Rock Band with the family and now I can’t play Rock Band because I’m playing the real instrument haha

Kyle: It’s so annoying because as soon as you can play an instrument, you can’t play Rock Band or Guitar Hero haha.

Jess: I’m a boss on the guitar on it though. Expert! Hahaha.

Kyle: Rock Band makes me rage. I was trying to play Everlong by Foo Fighters and it’s like “You’re doing it wrong” and I’m like “No I’m not!” hahaha.

Sheri: Hahaha don’t dictate to me, computer! So, you’re from the Liverpool area?

Jess: Kinda yeah! Some of us are from Merseyside, Cheshire, Wirral. Kyle is from Runcorn.

Kyle: Runcorn is the posh area hahaha. It’s not posh at all…

Sheri: Are there any local Artists you would recommend checking out?

Jess: Oooh, there are good bands but the scene in Liverpool isn’t heavy on the Rock at the moment. We’ve got really good friends in Raised by Wolves; Liv in Raised by Wolves is a really awesome girl, so she definitely needs a shout out! But I think recently, because we’ve not actually gigged that much in Liverpool with Liverpool bands since being in this line up. But we can recommend like…Fahran and when we toured with Kilonova and so on, those guys are awesome.

Sheri: Aye, we had Fahran play at Rabidfest last year and they were amazing. Your first two singles off the album ‘Prey’ and ‘Tear It Down’ have been a hugely promising taste of what’s to come in November! What’s the reception of the singles been like for you? I know Kieran Scott of Ashen Crown did a reaction video to ‘Tear It Down’ recently!

Jess: “Tear It Down” has definitely been taken a whole lot better than ‘Prey’ but not because ‘Prey’ is worse, I think the seven-minute number scares people off. I think we may have just promoted ‘Tear It Down’ more but all the feedback we’ve had ourselves has been great. I think we had one guy though, which makes me laugh, who commented on the Ad on Facebook and was like “I hate this. This is too produced” or said it was too good and that he just didn’t like it. He thought it looked too clean and good, so I don’t know what it was…it didn’t make sense. And we are a local band with no money – so technically, you thinking that we are that clean and super great is like… a compliment haha. We’re not a Sludge, Death, Growl band so…

Sheri: It’s a complementive insult haha!

Jess: Yeah! Sorry hahaha.

Kyle: It like sorry we’re not one of those really (GROWLS) bands haha.

Jess: If you are one of those bands, that is fine! Haha. ‘Tear It Down’ has been played on Planet Rock and a load of stations. We were actually surprised because ‘Prey’ has had some radio time as well. We thought that was never gonna happen because seven minutes is a big chunk. But the Hard Rock Hell competition we were supposed to be taking part in got cancelled, when we did that, we sent them both tracks and they obviously have the segment on their radio show to show off each band who could be getting through and they played ‘Prey’ and we were like Wow!! It’s just really surprising. It’s been really great. I think we definitely kept it solid all the way through and we have done what we aimed to do.

Kyle: You can hear, there’s so many vibes that we were going through as the album has progressed, we wanted to experiment with stuff like in ‘Epiphany’ there’s Mongolian Chant and stuff. All five of us, even Jess is doing some haha. If you hear it, the higher vocal, that’s Jess!

Jess: I don’t sing anything else haha, my claim to fame with the vocals is the voice on “Prey” haha.

Kyle: Every single voice, every one of us have their vocals in the album as well. It’s not just where we wanted to just do me doing every vocal, because we’re not gonna do that live. So, there’s a lot of three-part harmonies. There’s a lot of me, Paddy and Mike all together. Joe has some proper guttural screams. It just adds depth to it so yeah, we wanted to do stuff that we could do live as well.

Jess: That definitely came off well because obviously the voice, the full breakdown as in Kyle’s breakdown in the song. Not like even in the music, that was very experimental for us especially as a second single haha.

Kyle: Yeah, we were like…is this too brave? But we thought let’s just go for it.

Sheri: It works! What advice do you feel is relevant to Artists at the moment?

Jess: I’d say that you have to be proactive. We’ve had lots of help, like my family, we’ve been really lucky to have my Dad who is a photographer and driver so – just make yourself look as professional as possible. You don’t need to look like it’s a business or job, people want to see you having fun. You have to choose what you post; you don’t want to be seen posting really silly things on the page, you have to keep people up to date. Because of the algorithms on Facebook at the moment, if you don’t post for like a day, you don’t get seen. Be as active as possible and make sure you’re professional while you’re showing your personalities I guess because you have to be careful. You have to treat life like you’re on stage all the time. Even if you are a small band. Don’t have the ego but act where you wanna be basically.

Kyle: Don’t be scared of writing what you wanna write as well. Don’t try and fall in with the grain that’s what I would say as well. So, if you’re like “Ah yeah let’s do a 20-minute space ballad, why not?” As long as your full passion is in the song, it can be anything but as long as it sounds like you’re putting your passion and love into it. It’s gonna sound great, regardless. Like you can tell when people write soulless music.

Jess: Always release the highest quality things as well. I was listening to this nine-hour audio book because I was researching “How do we be better?” haha. But rather than releasing a load of demos, if you’re gonna release an album, because it’s gonna take away the impact straight away and it’s not gonna be like “Let’s show them a little teaser before we do the full thing.” Practice videos are different, but it will definitely take away from everything if you release little demo tracks when you’re going to release the full song. Give away some things but don’t give away so much that you ruin it for yourself.

Sheri: Yeah because then people will know what to expect won’t they?

Jess: Yeah, you wanna have an impact and not just like Ah, this sounds almost the same… you want a full impact straight away.

Sheri: Finally, tell us a joke…

Kyle: I’ve got so many what would you like? Haha. I’ll do a family friendly one. My friend said to me “Eh Kyle, for that fancy dress party, I’m gonna dress up as a small island just outside the coast of Italy.” And I said, “Don’t be Sicily” (so silly)

ALL LAUGH

Sheri: Hahaha that is the Dad joke of all Dad jokes.

Kyle: I love it, I know so many Dad jokes haha!

Sheri: Thank you so much for your time guys! It’s been really really lovely talking to you. I’ll look out for Jess’s vocals in ‘Epiphany’ haha.

Jess: Thanks so much Sheri, we really appreciate you having us.

Rick Here!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jess and Kyle for the wonderful interview and to Sheri for putting it all together. I too have been listening to “Homecoming”, the album, and it is a fine debut. You are all in for a treat!

Follow Ashen Reach 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.

EMQ’s with RED SPEKTOR

EMQ’s with RED SPEKTOR

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Stoke-On-Trent, UK based Psychedelic Stoner Hard Rock band Red Spektor. Huge thanks to John, Jonny & Rob for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

John: Hi, my name is John and I play guitar and sing.

Jonny: I’m Jonny and I play drums

Rob: I’m Rob and I play bass; our collective minds make our band Red Spektor which we formed late 2012

John: And we play psychedelic heavy rock. We have a debut album out through label Kozmik Artifactz and an EP from way back and we are just about to release our second album “Heart of the Renewed Sun”!

How did you come up with your band name?

John: I think it was a term seen in a book, but it was one of a few names we had, but this seemed to stick.

Where are you from and what is the Metal & Rock scene like there?

John: We are from Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, UK. The metal and rock scene is good, lots of bands and a few places to play.

Rob: it’s definitely got better over the past few years

What is your latest release?

Rob: We are just about to release our second album “Heart of the Renewed Sun” on the 2nd October. With a single called ‘Long Way Down’ which is out now!

‘Long Way Down’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

John: It’s quite difficult to pinpoint specifically, but it’s fair to say our music has been likened to some of the heavier bands from the 1970’s. For example, Rory Gallagher is one of mine, not because of what he played, but his approach to his music. He does his own thing.

Rob: It is a tough question, cause individually we have a varied taste in music, which definitely has an effect on the music we make. I think it stops it being too much like one thing.

Jonny: For me The Who, songs like Happy Jack and I Can See For Miles were phenomenal, all about the drums and had energy.

What first got you into music?

Jonny: I wasn’t very old, 8 or 9, and my uncle used to come round on pay day having bought a record and I was always fascinated with the vinyl.

Rob: I’ve always been around music, but I think the first time I found my music was when a mate lent me a tape with Suicidal Tendencies and Nuclear Assault.

John: For me, getting my first record player as a teenager and hanging out with my like-minded friends who loved the rock music.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

John: John Frusciante

Rob: No idea for me, I’d love to collaborate with bands like Radio Moscow, Kadavar, Graveyard Uncle Acid on an awesome festival.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

John: Download. I have fond memories of Donington, the hallowed turf of rock during the days of the Monsters of Rock festival. It would be great to fulfil a teenage dream!

Jonny: Has to be Glastonbury for me

Rob: Glastonbury would be cool, but I think something like South by South West, or the new Black Deer festival would be awesome.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

John: It’s not necessarily a weird item, but it felt weird to be given a vintage Ibanez guitar pedal from a fan. It’s worth a lot of money and they wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I still have it and look after it – if they ever want it back!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

John: Everyone I’ve met has been wonderful, so carry on.

Rob: Agreed, stay awesome

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

John: Hillel Slovak the original guitar player from the Chillies who died too soon.

Rob: Same reason for me but I’d bring back Cliff Burton, awesome bass player.

Jonny: for me, its Keith Moon

Rob: that would make an insane super group

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

John: Love: creating lovely honest music with my good friends in the band. Dislike: poseurs.

Rob: Definitely playing our music, and meeting people while doing it. And I agree with hating the poseurs.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Rob: People getting rich on other people’s talents, while those with the talents go poor.

Jonny: Price of music instruments, everything is way expensive.

John: You’re not wrong. But I’d say any form of narrow-mindedness.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

John: It’s tough to name one, but I’d say “Love” by the Cult

Jonny: “Forever Changes” by Love, Rob you have to pick an album with love in it

Rob: Jeez, with love in it? I can’t think of one, wait “Louder Than Love” by Soundgarden, awesome record.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

John: For me, vinyl. Always. But whatever suits you.

Jonny: Definitely vinyl

Rob: Vinyl, then downloads then cassettes. Never CD’s. CD’s aren’t tactile or convenient.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

John: HRH Doom vs Stoner.

Rob: I agree, over 3000 people made that gig insane.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

John: I already do. I’m a designer. It was a hard fight to make that dream come to true. It’s a tough industry.

Jonny: I’d be an artist.

Rob: For me I’d be a failed poet, but I guess technically I already am.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

John: Barney Bubbles, Danny Fields, Rosetta Tharpe, Christine McVie, Sly Stone.

Rob: I agree, as long as they don’t drink all the booze.

What’s next for the band?

Rob: So, the biggest thing is the album launch on the 2nd October. The 5th track from the album is out now [Aug 7th] and called ‘Long Way Down’.

Then it’s getting some gigs sorted somehow. We have some ideas about streaming a live show and making a proper event of it, but we are still working out the details.

We’ll also have a second single out in a month or so along with a few music vids so stay tuned.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

John: Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp.

Rob: yep, the usual places. The main one for physical sales is www.kozmik-artifactz.com/ or www.red-spektor.bandcamp.com/

For digital we also use Bandcamp, but also iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify etc. and something like 26 stores.

Check out our website for details www.redspektor.com/

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jonny: Cake

Rob: Cake, it’s nowt like a biscuit

John: Neither. They are a total eclipse.

Rob: of the heart?

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Rob: I guess the biggest thing is a thank you to everyone that has stuck by us over the years. And a huge shout out to Daz, Simon, Judy and Ashey, they are or have been a huge part of the band and we can’t thank them enough.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.

EMQ’s with Dark Matter

EMQ’s with Dark Matter

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Nottingham, UK based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band, Dark Matter. Huge thanks to them for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Jack: I’m Jack, the lead singer and songwriter (with occasional guitar work on top). I first met our guitarist (Ed) at a jam night organised at Nottingham Uni. I was playing with a few other people at the time, but was hoping to take things a little more seriously with a project a little heavier than my usual blues/rock. Ed (and a couple of others) asked if I was interested in singing on a very impromptu ‘Master of Puppets’ and I tipsily said yes. I was blown away by the accuracy of Ed’s guitar work and asked him if he was looking for a singer, which happened to be exactly what he was looking for as he’d already agreed to meet with James (bassist) and Charlie (our former drummer). We played some covers for a while, then I introduced the band to a song I’d partially written a few years previously but never found a place for, that song was ‘Think of the Children’, which opens our EP. We played our first gig (a battle of the bands) shortly after with a few originals and a bunch of covers and took home first place. We have never looked back.

How did you come up with your band name?

Jack: We brainstormed some ideas, none of which fit, then Ed came into a practice one day and suggested Dark Matter, a name that has now been shouted at me by several hundred people. I don’t think any name could have been more fitting.

Ed: I liked the name because we’re all scientists at Uni, so it links to that and now links to our music as well!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Jack: I’m initially from the Isle of Wight, a place where the rock/metal scene can only be described as dead on a good day! Now I’m in Nottingham and we have a vibrant and active pop-punk and alternative scene here. We have a handful of excellent rock/metal pubs and venues that I like to frequent and an active live music scene.

James: We’ve got some really solid local bands like Witch Tripper as well as other bands coming through like Underking and Cottonmouth I definitely think it’s a strong scene where the best is yet to come, it’s a big change from the local scene back home in a village in Oxfordshire!

Ben: I feel lucky, I have lived in both Manchester and Nottingham which both have a thriving Rock/Metal scene from larger bands all the way to newer acts like us. It really shaped me growing up being able to go to so many gigs, watching a wide variety of bands. My love for My Chemical Romance and getting a group of friends to go see them live, way back when, actually lead to the formation of my first band when I was 15.  And hey, living in Nottingham, Download festival is just on our doorstep so that’s always a plus.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Jack: We released our first EP “Don’t Panic” on 17th April 2020 and have a new single ‘Panic’ being released in September this year.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Jack: That very much depends on what aspect of music you’re asking about! Vocally, I’m hugely inspired by Ronnie James Dio, his is the style I try to emulate without resorting to mimicry, I try to temper this with my softer inspirations such as David Coverdale and Paul Rodgers, anyone listening to Snowflakes will assume I’m also a big fan of Robert Plant and they’d be right to think that! When writing, I try to take inspiration from all of my preferred artists, particularly System of a Down, whose very unique writing style is something I aspire to greatly, but also Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Muse and many many others. Finally, in my guitarwork, I’m unabashedly a blues man, with a particular fondness for Peter Green and Mark Knopfler, the latter of these two being a massive inspiration since (like him) I play without a plectrum.

Ben: Drumming influences would definitely include The Rev, Matt Garstka and Matt Halpern. In my opinion they’re sense of rhythm and creativity is unrivalled. More general influences would include Avenged Sevenfold, Slash, Bullet for My Valentine and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

James: The first bassist to come to mind is always Chris Wolstenholme from Muse I’ve always loved how the bass drives Muses sound, the sounds he gets out of his bass are second to none. From the world of metal Geezer Butler has no equals so couldn’t answer this without mentioning him!

What first got you into music?

Jack: I have a been actively listening to music since my Dad first played ‘Voodoo Child’ by Jimi Hendrix to me at the age of 9, he then introduced me to Deep Purple and Lynyrd Skynyrd and I was instantly hooked and seeking out more music. My dad is a blues guitarist and vocalist himself and I’ve always looked up to him, growing up around a professional musician normalised playing and writing from a young age.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Jack: Dave Grohl. His consistency in writing and energy are just so inspiring, every time I see him perform is a delight and it would be an honour to share a stage with him.

Ben: Avenged Sevenfold. They have always been one of my favourite bands and they are incredibly talented musicians. It would be an experience you would definitely learn from.

James: I have to copy Jack and say Dave Grohl. As well as an excellent song writer he would be such a cool guy to hang out with.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Jack: Download feels a bit like home at this point and it would be awesome to be the other side of the lights, but I would have to choose Hellfest in Clisson, France. Easily the best festival I’ve been to with consistently incredible line-ups, it’s hard to think of anyone else.

Ben: Download – isn’t it obvious. Been by far my favourite festival to attend where I have discovered many of my favourite bands.

James: I’d love to be a metal band big enough to headline Glastonbury, The Foo Fighters headline set from there gives me goose bumps, Download would also be incredible it’s always fun whatever the weather!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Ben: Haven’t received a gift from  a fan yet but once had a fan start a chant in the crowd in an effort to ask me out, don’t know if that counts.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Jack: I’m currently writing about 11 songs at the same time, we definitely have a full album in us in the near future!

James: The best is yet to come. Ed’s a riff machine and Jack’s got so many cool songs in the pipeline we’re itching to get back in the studio.

Ben: Thank you for the overwhelming response to our debut E.P. It has honestly been better than I could have ever imagined. We will be back soon I promise!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Jack: Jimi Hendrix. It’s an easy choice for me, he had so much left to give and it would have been amazing to see where his music would have gone with just another year, let alone more.

Ben: The Rev from Avenged Sevenfold. He has always been a huge influence on me and was definitely taken from us way too early.

James: Chris Cornell or maybe Jeff Buckley. Both incredible musicians imagine the songs they would have written!

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Jack: It would be very easy to give an artsy answer about how it brings me peace on the worst of days or that it allows me to express my emotions better than anything else, but honestly, I just love everything about it. I’m sure I’ll have gripes and issues in the long term, but this is all I have ever want to be and do. I love writing, I love playing/singing and I love performing. The only thing I hate is coming off-stage.

Ben: As a drummer the hate one is easy, transporting all the gear from venue to venue. The amount of shit you have to carry is almost enough to put you off going at all. But once you’re there nothing really compares to the feeling of getting up on stage and nailing a performance.

James: The stats page in Spotify showing all the countries people are listening to us in, it’s incredible seeing the places our music has reached hopefully we’ll be able to play to some of them one day! The worst part is having to go back to reality after a gig!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Jack: In metal specifically, it would be to have bands that write about more diverse and interesting topics. Every time I hear the word “throne” in a metal song, I cringe. In general, I would just like the perception of Rock and Metal to be accepted more. I think bands like AC/DC and the Foo Fighters do an incredible job of offering heavier, exciting music to the masses and I would love to see more music of that style promoted.

Ben: As a drummer the amount of songs that replace the drums with samples is infuriating. No one wants perfectly time aligned samples; we want to hear you play and the expression and feel that come with that. Live drums all the way.

James: I think particularly in the UK music is such an asset to the country, I’d love to see more support for Grass roots venues so new, exciting bands get a chance. The next Metallica/Black Sabbath etc are out there waiting for their chance. At the moment campaigns by the likes of the Music Venues Trust are so important so we don’t lose these important grass roots venues in these unprecedented times.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Jack: “Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV” – Coheed and Cambria. Claudio’s voice isn’t for everyone and some of the lyrics are very forced, but god damn if the song-writing and guitarwork isn’t an absolute masterclass. Such a diverse collection of coherent ideas, this is the album I listen to more than any other for inspiration on song structure.

Ben: It’s tough to pick just one but maybe “Danger Days” by My Chemical Romance. Although it isn’t the best MCR album it had such a personal impact on me and my life growing up and helped lead to the formation of my first band where one of the few songs we played at every gig no matter what was ‘Na Na Na’.

James: RATM self-titled album. Everything from the music to the artwork of the burning monk is perfect.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Jack: I grew up during the changeover between cassettes and CD’s, but I think downloads win for me since they grant such a wide access of music to the whole world.

James: Streaming is certainly most convenient and the best way to discover new bands but there’s something special about owning a piece of the artwork on vinyl.

Ben: CD’s because I don’t own anything that can play Vinyl.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Jack: Either of the last two that we played: Our triumphant return to the place of our initial Battle of the Bands win was so special, having “DARK MATTER” chanted at us as we went on stage and the wonderful response from those who remembered us so well from the year before. Or our runner-up place in Metal 2 The Masses, which I think was our tightest gig yet. I’m just gutted the momentum had to drop with everything that has happened since March.

Ben: Definitely our heat in the Metal 2 The Masses competition. The first time we’ve played a gig where we had a big enough following that everyone was chanting our name before we went on stage. One of the most surreal feelings for sure.

James: Our M2TM heat was incredible, the turn out was amazing and surreal to have people buying our merch we had just got printed for the first time as well as having them chant our name.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Jack: I’m a qualified maths teacher, but I certainly wouldn’t be doing that! I would be a tutor most likely, but I honestly don’t know!

Ben: Theoretical Chemist/Physicist, currently doing a PhD in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry. It was always Science or Music.

James: I’d be in the lab like Ben although my PhD is in Antibiotic Resistance just like him it’s Science or Music for me.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jack: Arsene Wenger (I grew up a massive Arsenal fan during his reign), Douglas Adams (author of my favourite book series), Ronnie James Dio (intellectual musical talk is a must!), Paul Rodgers (for the same reason!) and Tom Hanks (because he seems like such a delight!)

Ben: This is where my inner scientist would come out because I would have to include Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Richard Feynman and Erwin Schrodinger. The fifth place would be reserved for Slash though, someone’s got to bring the party, right?

James: Gotta be Sir Alex Ferguson who inflicted one of Arsene Wenger’s heaviest defeats in the Premier League in 2011 (8-2). I’d also go with Flea, Dave Grohl, Tom Morello and Chris Wolstenholme.

What’s next for the band?

Jack: A LOT! As many gigs and as many new original songs as I can muster! We have two new songs almost ready for performance (and hopefully recording) with many others in the pipeline! We also have a lot of new merchandise and art planned, which we’re hoping to make very affordable (mostly so I can get some!)

Ben: Hopefully when things get back to some form of normality a lot of gigs. But we do have new music on the way and are always working on new material. I don’t think I’d be alone in saying the next 6-12 months will be really exciting for the band.

James: Hopefully, lots of gigs! But we’re also working on a few things to tide people over until then so keep an eye on our pages.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

James: We’re mainly active on FB but our Insta is becoming increasingly popular whatever your preference it’s easy to keep up to date with us.
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/DarkMatterNotts/
Instagram:
www.instagram.com/darkmatternotts/
Spotify:
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1UTSHjAqAaxm4FwTCOTbpv
Youtube:
www.youtube.com/channel/UCF83l_wEe1NeUN5tpCPSeaQ

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Jack: They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the same goes for the identification of Jaffa Cakes.

Ben: Cake, it’s in the name, right?

James: My head says cake, but my heart says throw them in the bin, forget they exist and pick up a pack of chocolate digestives no ambiguity there with the king of biscuits.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

James: Keep an eye on us! As the world goes back to normal, we’ll be ready to pick up where we left off! We’ll be ready to announce the release date of our follow up single ‘Panic’ soon so follow us on our socials!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.

EMQ’s with EMPTY FRIEND

EMQ’s with EMPTY FRIEND

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with London, UK based, Grunge/Hard Rock band Empty Friend. Huge thanks to Dave Kirk and Karl Morgan for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Karl: I’m Karl, and I play drums for Empty Friend. Each of us in the band has his own take on our ‘origin story’, but here’s mine: I’d been playing punk, metal and rock with my friend and guitarist Ryan since we were teenagers. Then, in 2015, my friend and outstanding vocalist Dave and I both found ourselves without bands at the same time and put something together. We connected with Ryan and we were away. The current line-up was set in stone in 2016 when my friend and frequent collaborator on bass, Daverage, entered the fold. Since then we’ve just been writing songs, gigging, recording, and gigging some more!

Dave: Hey I’m Dave, and I’m frontman for the band. Me and Karl had got close through our old bands and we had been talking for ages about being in a band together. Our previous projects came to a natural end in 2014, and after a Soundgarden show that year we decided to make it happen. It’s been awesome being in a band with such good mates, who are, to a man, fantastic and experienced players too.

How did you come up with your band name?

Karl: Failure are one of my favourite bands ever, and when we were discussing possible names for the band, I looked at some Failure tracks for inspiration. ‘Empty Friend’ just seemed like a cool name for a band, in its own right, as well as serving as an affectionate and subtle nod to a band who’ve had an influence on myself, Ryan and Dave.

What Region/Country are you from and what is the Rock/Metal scene like there?

Karl: I’m from Dublin in Ireland, originally. Ryan and Davvers are 100% prime English beef, and Dave is a mysterious hybrid of Scottish, English, and other secret ingredients.

Dave: As a band we are based in London, England, and the metal, stoner and grunge scenes are all alive and well really. There are lots of good bands on the circuit, but it seems to be the venues that are struggling most of all.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Karl: That would be our EP, “Falter”, which came out about a month ago. It’s on Spotify, but if you feel like supporting an underground rock band, go to our Bandcamp page and buy it for whatever price you feel comfortable paying.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Karl: As well as Failure, I’d say one or all of us have been influenced by rock bands like: Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, At the Drive-In, Metallica, Primus, RHCP, etc.

What first got you into music?

Karl: Growing up in Ireland I was exposed to a LOT of U2 from a young age. Now, while most people would describe that as a form of mild child abuse, I still maintain that their early material is outstanding! They were the first band I properly listened to, and the first band I ever saw live…at Wembley Stadium at the tender age of 8!

Dave: For me, it was my parents. My mum was folk singer, and my dad was a bass player (and choir singer), so I grew up with her playing shows and in cover bands later on with my dad. I grew up on rock classics, and before long I was getting up on stage doing Elvis songs at around 10. We did a certain amount of singing in church too, but there was always music playing at home. Queen, The Police, Elvis, Bob Dylan. I only seriously got into rock when I was a teenager in the early / mid 90s though, with the whole grunge wave.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Karl: I think it would be a bit boring to put another rock band here, wouldn’t it? It would be more interesting to collaborate with someone outside our genre and our comfort zone, so I’m gonna go with the amazing and strange Jaga Jazzist. Doing a collab with them would be INSANE.

Dave: Tough to give an insightful answer on this, but it would be pretty awesome to have Josh Homme or maybe Kim Thayil drop a solo on one of our tracks. We’re pretty focused on making our own music right now, but that would be insanely cool. Only if Ryan gave the ok though!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Karl: Predictable answer, of course, but it has to be Glastonbury. I’ve never been to it and going there for the first time as a performer instead of an attendee would be cool as hell!

Dave: Yeah for me it’s the same answer for different reasons. I’ve been 8 times as a fan and would love to be able to see the view from the Pyramid stage. It would be pretty emotional to do that, man.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Dave: In England we’re pretty old-fashioned! I think it would just be shots at the bar!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Karl: Thank you. If it weren’t for you guys, we’d be playing to an empty room.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Karl: Mac Miller. He might have been hip hop, but he was still a rock star (and he could shred on the guitar, by the way). I’d bring him back because he was taken from us far too soon.

Dave: For me it would Jimi Hendrix, beating Chris Cornell only by a whisker, as JH was simply not around long enough at all. I think he would have been a legend in any era. So original and ridiculously cool.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Dave: For me, playing on stage is the biggest privilege out there, and the greatest buzz. Also, the satisfaction of writing new material that tests all of us as a band. On the downside, it’s getting changed pre-gig in rank toilets all around London.

Karl: Playing live is definitely the highlight of being a musician, there’s nothing quite like it. The thing I like the least is having to lug my cymbals and snare drum on a crowded rush hour train!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Dave: I would want governments to support music venues a lot more. They are where tomorrow’s bands are honing their skills, and they are an important part of a country’s culture. They need tax breaks and more support.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Karl: Neil Young – “Harvest”

Dave: Soundgarden – “Superunknown”

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Dave: I love the format of vinyl, and the artwork, but for convenience and quality, gonna say the humble CD!

Karl: I’m with Dave. It’s probably the 90’s nostalgia talking but the CD is king.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Karl: For me, a show we played last November sticks out in my mind as being the best. We shared the bill with an outstanding band from Holland called Black Monsoon, and the atmosphere in the crowd was just fantastic.

Dave: I think it was our December show at the Monarch for Camden Rocks. We had a great crowd, good sound, and we were really pumped. It felt great to be in full flight as a band, and to play for lots of neutral rock fans.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Dave: It’s so important for me psychologically, honestly, I think I would either be dead, living in a van, or living in some off-grid commune somewhere. Being a musician is literally the only thing that keeps me able to hold down a day job.

Karl: I’d probably do something like acting or stand-up. Something that involved taking a risk of some kind, and also sated that strange urge to perform.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Dave: Like celebrities? Living or dead? If we’re saying living, let’s say the Pope, Barack Obama, Beyonce, Flea, and my wife.

Karl: Thundercat, Alan Moore, Paul Rudd, Benny Greb, Patrick Stewart.

What’s next for the band?

Dave: Well, we’re already working on new material for a debut album before too long, but until that’s ready we will be working hard trying tour and play shows once this virus situation has passed.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Dave: We like Bandcamp the most, as it tends to be used by true music fans and gives a better share of sales!

If you check out our website www.emptyfriend.co.uk you can find all our other links there.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Dave: Unbelievably, this case was proven in UK courts at taxpayer expense. They are, legally, a cake. If you are saying ‘in my opinion’, I think they are eaten more as biscuits. If you are asking what the king of biscuits is, I’m gonna say Scottish shortbread or Oreos.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Dave: Thanks for yours man, and thanks for taking an interest in our music and what we’re about.

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