Category Archives: Interview

Interview: Oblivionized

On the 18th of February 2014 Oblivionized rolled through London to play The Unicorn in Camden as a part of their UK tour with Cowards. We sat down in the back of their van for a chat about the band’s recent activities. Our questions are highlighted in bold.

First of all how’s the album going? Have you finished recording?

Zac: So the album is about 90% done. I got a cold early on and I came back to do vocals, did about 4 songs and it wasn’t good so I’m going to be doing the rest after the tour. We did it at Vagrant Recordings with Tom Dring who’s the drummer from Corrupt Moral Altar. It’s the same place where we did the Confine record. The guitars and drums are already done. Will did the drums in like a day and a half and Sammy did the guitars in one day and smashed it. We did each song in 3 takes through different amps and just layered the guitars to get a nice tone.

I’ve gotta say the man’s on a mission. How many bands is he in now?

Zac: Sammy’s in 3 touring bands now and we’re not even mentioning all the secret projects he has going on where he’s recording everything at home. So Regurgitate Life will be touring soon, Employed to Serve are already touring as frequently as we are and then there’s obviously us.

You guys have a pretty hectic schedule. How do you cope with it all? Is it simply a case that you tour because you enjoy it?

Zac: Yeah it’s just fun. When I haven’t played a show for a while I feel a bit meh and I just feel like I need to get something out of my system. When we first started we did a show and then it became the main reason to do what we’re doing and most of the stuff I do is for music anyway. We’re touring almost every day this month. Last year we did 50 odd shows.

How do you guys cope financially? Is it easy to get by doing so many free shows like tonight’s?

Zac: Nah, the only way we get by financially is between the 3 of us we do some extra work on the side. Will teaches drums. Sammy does landscaping work and freelance. I sell graphics, freelance and do a bit of bar work. Financially we can usually cover all our touring costs but it’ll get to a point when you’re more determined to just go and fucking do it instead of make money. I’ve never considered doing this to make money. I’d rather save all my money and blow it all on tour. I realise that’s not going to continue to work in the long run and when you tour the amount that we do it can definitely be hard, but its worth it to experience some of the stuff we have.

That’s a good attitude man and I’m glad there’s people out there that care that much to just go and play.

Zac: Oh me too man. I was talking about this earlier but we did a tour with Human Cull back in early 2012 and we started in London and did 8 UK shows. In all of those gigs we played to like 50 people in total. One show had a secret headliner which brought in a big audience but most of the shows we were playing to like 4 or 5 people and it made me feel like I didn’t want to do it, but if I don’t keep doing this I won’t get to experience what it’s like to succeed. Eventually if you keep going more people will turn up but you’ve just gotta keep at it.

If you don’t give yourself the exposure you’ll never earn fans.

Zac: Exactly. Nobody gave a fuck about us at the time but it’s got better. Eventually the longer you keep at it people will start to come to shows. I’m never gonna live a rock and roll lifestyle but if we can ever earn some money from it so I can afford the rent or whatever then great.

I wanted to talk about the recent What You Have Become compilation, in particular the title track. Is that going to be on the album?

Zac: That’s not gonna be on the album. We have a bit of a joke between us…

Will: [Will jumps in the van] What’s going on in here?

Zac: Oh we’re just doing an interview. If we’re unsure about something then we test stuff to see how it goes. So that track was like a shoegaze track which Sammy wrote.

I was going to say, is that Sammy on vocals?

Zac: Yeah that’s Sammy singing and he did all the electronics. It was a bit of fun and it’s why we did it on that small run of CDs which were all hand made.

It was cool to hear and it reminded me of Nullify the Cycle.

Zac: On the album we actually have a slower song called I Pity You. It’s a really big sounding song. It doesn’t have clean vocals though. I wanted to get some on the album but there wasn’t enough time to make it all work. Eventually we’ll do a clean vocal track on an upcoming release.

So what’s coming up next?

Zac: After the tour we’ve got a couple of gigs coming up. What are we doing after the tour Will?

Will: Doing a music video in March. Finishing off the album, writing new material as we’re really keen to write new stuff now the album’s done. The album’s good but we can definitely improve so let’s write some more stuff!

I was gonna say, you guys had some line-up changes in your early days but you seem comfortable with the current the line-up.

Zac: Oh we hate each other. We’re making so much money from touring that we can’t get on with each other [laughs]

Will: We’ve got a really bad coke habit.

Zac: My Mum’s in tears every time she sees me.

Will: [in a shrill voice] “Why are you in a band!?”

Zac: My mum’s like, “why don’t you work in retail like everyone else!?” [laughs] and I’m like, “no bitch! Life’s a struggle! Song reference!” I get all Lamb of God on her. But yeah, doing a music video and we’ve got some more gigs. We’re playing Deadbeat Festival which is a charity festival which should be good. In April we’re going to Europe with Human Cull as we’re still touring the split we did with them.

Zac: The album won’t be out until later in the year once we can get a label to put it out. In June we’re going to the States with Plague Widow to tour the This Black Earth split. That’s everything that’s currently definite. What most people don’t realise is that for every tour that goes ahead successfully there’s about 5 or 6 that never happen.

Thanks to Zac and Will for taking the time to talk to us.

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Interview: Throne

Welcome back to Double Cross, our regular feature on bands in the UK heavy music scene with female members. In this edition we speak to Julia Owen from Throne.

My name is Julia Owen and I play drums in Throne. Nicos Livesey is our vocalist/guitarist and Will Michael plays bass.

What introduced you to doom/sludge metal?

I started listening to bands like Kyuss, Nebula, Fatso Jetson and Sabbath in my teens, after that it was just a natural progression into looking for similar bands, heavier bands… anything with a slow tempo and a killer riff has always drawn me in. In terms of playing these kind of genres, I found with my first band (which was basically rock with a slight stoner edge) that I loved playing the half-time sections most, so I decided I needed to find a band to play slow and groovy with!

What’s your proudest musical achievement in Throne to date?

For me it’s a tie between releasing our 7” EP last November and playing Desertfest two years in a row. This year was particularly special as we played on my birthday. Drinking Prosecco out of a bottle on stage was pretty ridiculous.

How’s the reaction been to the 7″? Are you happy with what you achieved?

The reaction was really good. We had a lot of positive reviews and the tracks got played on a bunch of radio stations; it was pretty mad hearing it on Radio One. That was something we never anticipated from our first release.

What bands that you’ve either played with or admire that you would recommend to our readers?

Bands we’ve played with that I can recommend include Limb, Bad Guys, Gurt and a new discovery for me, Dethscalator.
As for bands I admire, Slabdragger have just got themselves a new drummer and are playing again, which I’m really excited about also Mars Red Sky and Green & Wood are definitely worth checking out too

What’s coming up next in the Throne pipeline?

We’ve written a new EP and we’re going into the studio to record it next month. Our 7″ came out in December 2012 but we recorded it back in March last year when we hadn’t been together that long as a band. Since then we’ve had like a year and half of playing shows and writing songs together and as a result this new record sounds quite different. We’re really stoked for people to hear it, should be out by the end of the year.

What’s the best way for people to keep up-to-date with Throne updates and news?

We update our Facebook page the most – http://www.facebook.com/thronemusic
You can also check out our Twitter or Instagram: @tthhrroonnee


Interview: Monolithian

Welcome back to Double Cross, our regular feature on bands in the UK heavy music scene with female members. In this edition we speak to Simon Walker from Monolithian.

We are Monolithian. We are a 2 piece blackened doom band from Falmouth in Cornwall. We consist of Simon Walker (bass and vocals) and Shannon Green (drums).

What introduced you to doom metal?

I (Si) was introduced to doom metal through stoner rock and stoner metal, discovering new and heavier bands all the time. I started listening to Sleep, Electric Wizard and Bongzilla. It went on from there. Shannon was introduced to doom metal through me as at the time she was listening to mostly black metal and death metal.

What’s your proudest musical achievement in Monolithian to date?

Playing with bands such as Big Business, Unsane, Orange Goblin and Annal Nathrakh have been massive honours for us, also the release of our first 12″ vinyl was a trip. The fact that so many people from different musical groups have welcomed us also makes us feel very proud and privileged.

2013 has been a big year for you. You seem to be pumping out new music at a rate of knots with the One/Zero 12″, the split with Ed Wood, another split with Let It Die and then a covers EP. Why so many releases?

It’s all a big fluke really. The One EP has been out for nearly 2 years and Zero was recorded a year ago. It’s just taken this long to finally get it re-mastered and released properly. We originally had a split planned with Witch Cult but during the writing process for the WxCx split we were approached by Ed Wood, so we just recorded a bit more and started organizing a split with them whilst WxCx sorted out there side of the other split. During this time they broke up and Let It Die jumped on board to take their place. It all happened very quickly, which is why we have two 7″s and a 12″ released within 3 months of each other. It’s all a fluke. As for the covers EP, me and Shannon have always wanted to do something to help people who have become homeless and we thought this would be a cool way to raise some money for a local homeless charity and spin some people out by recording cover versions of songs people might not expect.

Is there a reason why you’ve decided to focus on hardcore bands to collaborate with on your splits? Why not other doom bands?

Down in Cornwall there is an extreme metal scene and there is a hardcore scene. Though we do play metal shows we have always been more welcomed by the hardcore/punk scene. Me and Shannon would both consider ourselves more like punks then metal heads. It’s just the extremity of the Monolithian sound would make people think other wise. As a band we share the same views, beliefs and moral values of other hardcore and punk bands in the underground scene, so I think this is why we gravitate towards them and vice-versa. We would love to do a split with another doom/sludge/black metal band but as of right now we haven’t been approached. Only time will tell.

What bands that you’ve either played with or admire that you would recommend to our readers?

We recommend that everybody listen to: War Wolf, F. Emasculata, Ed Wood, Let It Die, Nu Pogodi, 2 Sick Monkeys, Swinelord, Razoreater, Iced Out, The Wounded Kings, Ice Dragon, Crypt Lurker, Sea Bastard, Beartrap, Black Veins, Esoteric Youth, Pine Barrens, Spider Kitten, Brotherhood of the Lake and Grand Collapse. There are many more we could mention but I think this will do for now.

What’s coming up next in the Monolithian pipeline?

We are hoping to book some kind of tour that’s more than a couple of days. There are so many places in the UK and Europe where I know people would like us to come, but it’s been hard for us to travel so hopefully we will sort something out. We’re going to focus on writing a full length release that will blow everything we have done in the past out of the water. We have shows coming up with Eyehategod as well as Leopalooza Festival and Dirty Weekend Festival in Wrexham where we get to play with bands such as Oi Polloi and Extreme Noise Terror. We’re just going to try and play more and release more music.

What’s the best way for people to keep up-to-date with Monolithian updates and news?

Pretty much just check us out on facebook.com/monolithian. We don’t do that Twitter bullshit.

Thanks for chatting with us! Hail Satan, play loud and slow, go vegan.


Interview: Teenage China

Hey guys. Fill our readers in as to who you all are and what you do in the band.

Within Teenage China, Ged handles lead vocal duties whilst Barry and Rick play guitar. Francis plays drums and Simon plays bass. Everyone sings too.

Boring question out of the way first; do the Chinese characters simply mean Teenage China or something else entirely?

The characters roughly translate as young man, adolescent or most fittingly “a youth”. It represents a theme which runs through our music, name and uniform.

What inspired the band’s “uniform”?

We always liked the idea of a uniform image but wanted to avoid the usual clichés (corpse paint). Having consumed a lot of eastern media, we’ve seen armbands appear as a bit of a regular feature there. They’re often a symbol of a group, cause or ideal and we liked that a lot. Since we’re all approaching our thirties, we found that youth (what’s left of it) was a very big theme when we started writing this music. We wanted to write youthful music while we felt that we still could. Our image portrays us as a unified front for youth!

What introduced you to all to post hardcore? You guys seem to come from a very “early 2000s” school of thinking.

We spent our teenage years watching Kerrang! and listening to the Radio 1 Rock Show. This introduced us to bands like Funeral For a Friend, Glassjaw, Boysetsfire and At The Drive In. We’ve been fans of the genre ever since. Our favourite post-hardcore tends to come from the mid to late 2000s. So when starting the band, this was the sort of music we wanted to tip our collective hats to.

What’s your proudest musical achievement in Teenage China to date?

Appearing on Russian file sharing websites.

Are you happy with what you achieved on the Forth EP?

There’s always room for improvement and it’ll take us a while to settle into a more focused sound. As far as first EPs go, we’re all pretty happy with how it turned out.

I love all the little Scottish references in your lyrics like ‘wandering West Lothian’. Do you guys feel a bit of patriotism to Scotland or are the lyrics simply inspired by the places you’ve grown up or lived in?

It’s a bit of both. We’re all fairly patriotic and we love living here. That said, some of the lyrics relating to the places we grew up are written with more disdain than patriotism. For anyone who has grown up in a mid 20th century ‘new town’, they’ll know what we mean. As far as new towns go though, at least we’re not in Cumbernauld or Milton Keynes!

What bands that you’ve either played with or admire would you recommend to our readers?

From our local area some bands we really like are A Torn Mind, Ultimate Slaymaster and Vasquez. In terms of bands from the wider world: Dance Gavin Dance, The Panic Division and Unwound rank very highly.

What’s coming up next in the Teenage China pipeline?

We have plans to record a single and another EP before the end of the year.

What’s the best way for people to keep up-to-date with Teenage China updates and news?

Our Facebook and Twitter pages are pretty active, you can find them here:
facebook.com/teenagechina
twitter.com/teenagechina


Interview: Grog from Die So Fluid

Welcome back to Double Cross, our regular feature on bands in the UK heavy music scene with female members. In this edition we speak to Grog from Die So Fluid.

I’m Grog and I’m the vocalist and bass guitarist of Die So Fluid. My bass playing in my band and session work over the years has got me attention from Bass Guitarist Magazine and I’m officially endorsed by G&L Guitars. I am a main writer in DSF, it’s a three piece rock outfit, we live to create and perform our music.

What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?

For me it’s about substance, energy, communicating ideas that are darker, more honest and maybe more confessional. I don’t like all heavy music, and I don’t believe in limiting your taste to a specific style. Music and art just needs to speak to you and that’s what’s magical and other worldly about it. I grew up in a musical family listening to all kinds of music, classical, pop, punk , rock and metal. I have two older brothers who were into Sabbath, Van Halen, Led Zep, Whitesnake, the Stones and there was always music playing in our house. They even had a band and practiced in our dining room with their friends. I was inspired and excited by everything going on around me. I was a very imaginative child and also drawn to the dramatic possibilities music presents, I love now as I did then the way rock n roll elevates you from the drudgery of everyday life and for me gives life meaning.

Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?

I feel comfortable because I’m doing what I’m meant to do and it feels natural. What I don’t enjoy is the way the media repeatedly ask what it’s like being a woman in the rock and metal genres and center whole features around it*, it exacerbates the concept that we are somehow crippled because of being female. I want to be judged by the quality of what I do, and be asked relevant and interesting questions about the music. Is that so hard? It’s up to the media to fairly represent good music in general. I’ve been inspired by loads of bands with females in them, Smashing Pumpkins, The Breeders, Sonic Youth, Babes in Toyland, My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, PJ Harvey, White Zombie, A Perfect Circle, Verbena, Throwing Muses, The Go-Gos, Toyah, Bonnie Tyler, Hole, The Donnas, Diamanda Galas, Arch Enemy, Kate Bush, Melissa Auf der Maur, Otep, Eurythimics, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Joan Jett, Burning Brides, Royal Trux, Daisy Chainsaw, Dead Weather, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, L7, Hellion, Wolves In The Throne Room, and lots I respect that aren’t necessarily my cup of tea…Lacuna Coil, Evanescence, In This Moment, Halestorm, Paramore, Kittie, Nightwish etc

I recognise that women seem to have to work harder for less reward in the heavy music scene, but the way you make a stand is to keep driving forward, respect yourself and your fans, and basically not give a fuck about negativity and other peoples ‘rules’. . You have to nurture the idea you deserve to achieve your goals to actually do it. You also don’t have to emulate males or pander to male ideals. Being genuine is what resonates with real people. My attitude is inclusive, and I believe in doing what you do to the best of your ability. I can’t speak for ‘womankind’ -we’re all individuals, but all I know is it makes me so extremely happy when I receive messages from fans telling me my songs have inspired them or helped them get through a hard time. No one feels confident 100% of the time, and that kind of ‘real’ feedback makes the fight worth while.

What’s your proudest musical achievement in Die So Fluid?

It will be when the new album is released, I’m so excited about the new material, the wait is killing me. We also have the most epic video we’ve ever made for a track called ‘Black Blizzard’ on hold for the release.

What’s next in the pipeline for Die So Fluid? More shows? New record?

As I mentioned, we have a new album completed and we’re currently looking for the right home for it. We want to release it in Autumn and tour worldwide to support it. It’s called ‘The Opposites Of Light’.

Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?

Don’t do it to pursue some lame idea of celebrity, or if you’re just going to drain our credibility by flashing your tits and think that’s good enough, don’t expect immediate fame and fortune, don’t expect an easy ride, but if you love it and can’t live without it, just do it!!

Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?

The ones listed above, plus a shout out to some friends and supporters we’ve had the fortune to meet on our adventures: The Black Bellies, The Mariana Hollow, Maleficent, Theatre Des Vampires..

*UK Scumscene would like to apologise to Grog and state that we did not intend to make her feel that she was an outsider simply because she’s a woman. The purpose of the interview was to showcase a great band with a great female role model.

Die So Fluid links: Official Website, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Instagram.


Interview: Anežka Piška from Nya

Welcome back to Double Cross, our regular feature on bands in the UK heavy music scene with female members. In this edition we speak to Anežka Piška from Nya.

Hello! My name is Anežka Piška and I am the lead singer of Nya. I sing, write and perform my ass off with the lads!

What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?

My older brothers both introduced me to heavy music and it’s the best thing they ever did. I do enjoy a variety of music – depending on mood – but what attracts me to heavy music in particular is the passion within it; the fast pace, the phat sound of the drums and bass bellowing from the depths of your speakers, and don’t forget the dirty feel of guitar riffs that make you want to go crazy!… Does that not sound good to you?! I don’t think you would get the same feeling listening to Justin Bieber.

Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?

Totally, I think a lot of women in the rock/metal genre would agree that 9 times out of 10 men are the easier of the sex’s to get along with! I am fortunate that my female friends and fans have a very male attitude towards life – a common theme within this genre and its subsidiaries! Perhaps this is why I am so comfortable in general about being, not just a woman, but myself, in this style of music.

What’s your proudest musical achievement in Nya?

Headlining the Doghouse Stage at Download Festival in 2010 wins hands down on this one! The crowd were amazing and the tent was packed! The buzz carried on for weeks… couldn’t shut me up! We do have a small snippet of footage of this on our blog no. 3, it doesn’t capture the intensity of it all but you get a rough idea!

What’s next in the pipeline for Nya? More shows? New record?

We have some pretty exciting things coming up, including heading over to Slovenia for MetalDays and a few days surrounding. We are excited to start writing for our first full length album – No dates confirmed but check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and news of what’s going on at Nya Central! Its going to be a blast so keep on watching!

Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?

‘Just do it’ springs to mind. If you want to be in a band, be in a band! If you want to be a promoter then get on and do it! The only person who is stopping you is you. As long as you have passion then you’ll be fine. It doesn’t matter what other people think, it doesn’t matter what people say. Be professional, be kind, be strong and most importantly be yourself- everyone else is taken!

In this industry you meet so many fantastic individuals and learn so much, there is room for all!

“If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.”

Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?

I love hearing of new female fronted bands so message/tweet me what your listening to at the moment!

Vocalist Leigh in Training Icarus – The power of Leigh’s voice is incredible, her vocal technique is one of the best I’ve seen on the live circuit. Orestea, with Lisa as the front woman, again stunning voice! We have gigged alongside both of these bands and they deliver each time.

Now… we have recently shared a stage with Enemo J. A serious must see band, these guys and gal know how to please a crowd and are well worth a listen! For aspiring female guitarists Danielle is one to watch!

Some female fronted bands/artists on my playlist: Skunk Anansie, Arch Enemy, Guano Apes, Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls, Fergie, Ellie Goulding, Anneke van Giersbergen, Imogen Heap, Bjork and Lamb to name a few of my faves!!

You can order Nya’s Driving the Nails In EP by clicking here.


Interview: Jude Jagger from To The Bones

Welcome to Double Cross, a new feature that focuses on the hard rocking women of the UK heavy music scene. The aim of this feature is to promote equality in UK heavy music and also to celebrate the women who have decided that they can rock just as hard as the guys. In our inaugural edition we speak to Jude Jagger, bassist for riff rockers To The Bones.

Hola! I’m Jude Jagger, I play bass in Bolton based rock ‘n’ roll hellraisers To The Bones.

So first of all, congratulations on the release of Emperor’s Ride which is obviously the first To The Bones release with your performance on it! How’s the reception been to the single?

Thank you! It’s been really positive – loads of airplay from Kerrang! Radio, Amazing Radio and the XFM Rock Show, plus random rock stations in Europe – we definitely want to play in Europe at some point so that’s very encouraging. Think we’d go down well in Europe, they love their rrrock! The tour to promote the single has been rad – there’s nothing better than travelling the country to play gigs and cause some trouble! We’ve done everything on a budget – a transit van with one in the back, 4 of us crammed in a Travelodge room, taking the rider to eat for breakfast the next day, going to a casino with £2 cos that’s all we had between us and living off beer and crisps but it’s been a blast.

You guys have a particularly high-energy stage presence. I remember seeing you guys at The Macbeth in Hoxton and loved watching you get your rocks off more than the guys in To The Bones! What inspires your lively performance style?

Haha! I’ve always thought that if people pay money to come and watch a show, then that’s what they deserve to see – a proper show. I can’t stand watching a band who look like they are too cool to get sweaty, or even worse – bored with their own music. It’s the bands job to entertain and that’s what we’re there to do. Plus it’s really fun throwing yourself around a stage playing music with your friends! I like the unpredictability of it.

What introduced you to heavy music and what continues to attract you to it?

My best mate made me a tape when we were kids with Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins on and I just instantly thought “yes this is it, this is the music that SPEAKS to me!” (I was a very melodramatic child!) He was also in a band that covered those songs, and I went to see them play a lot, and just thought ‘I could do that’. I got into bass players like Kim Gordon, D’Arcy, Kim Deal and Melissa Auf de Maur and was completely inspired by those girls. I have a pretty wide taste in music but there’s something very pure about rock music – it’s solid and uplifting and driven and makes you want to dance. Love it.

Have you felt comfortable being a woman in a heavy band in a music scene that is predominantly populated by men?

Yes, but it would be better if there were more girls. I’ve never had any negative experiences – more often its boys trying to be nice and carry my amp for me, but I’m like… “erm… I’m perfectly capable of carrying my own gear thank you!” I do find it odd that there aren’t more female musicians in general, not just in rock music. It’s always better when things are equal – outside of the band I work a lot stage managing and crewing, and there’s hardly any girls in that world too, but everyone says when there’s women on the team it makes the boys behave better! Unfortunately women in music are judged on their appearance – we were at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods the other day, it was full of grufty, wrinkly old blokes, whereas the majority of the women were dressed in tiny clothing, very heavily made up and young. Seems very unfair that women aren’t allowed to grow old or have a day without makeup! I just can’t be bothered making all that effort, especially on stage as it all gets sweated off and messed up within about 2 seconds anyway!

What’s your proudest musical achievement in To The Bones?

At our last recording session at Brock ‘n’ Broll Studios in Chorley, the police were called because some old lady walking past had heard Rhys recording his vocals and thought someone was being murdered!!

What’s next in the pipeline for To The Bones? More shows? New record?

It’s all go! We’ve got a new single out this Autumn with the album due next year. We’ve got loads of festivals booked for next summer already and some more gigs at the end of this year, and I can’t wait for you all to hear the album, it’s going to be immense. Check out www.tothebones.co.uk for dates and news or follow us on Twitter/Facebook/etc.

Any suggestions for other female rock/metal fans who are looking to get involved with heavy music?

Just do it! Please! Even things up a bit! Girls, just find some mates and book a room to rehearse and make some noise, you don’t have to be able to play really. Unless you are a drummer, in which case get some lessons and a kit and a van and get practicing! There’s nothing worse than a shit drummer… There’s not only a lack of female musicians, there’s a lack of female sound engineers, lighting engineers, managers, promoters, publishers, journalists etc and NO ONE is going to ask you if you want to have a go. You need to make those opportunities yourself so just get on with it.

Are there any other rock/metal bands with female members you can suggest our readers?

New bands that I’m into at the moment are Victor from Birmingham, full on in-yer-face crazy show. Their singer reminds me of Iggy Pop a bit. But she can sing properly! Also loving Sky Valley Mistress, proper bluesy rock tunes, they just played at Download. And Bad Grammar; they’re a 2 piece from Manchester, got a Kyuss/QOTSA/Black Keys kind of vibe.


Interview: Hold Your Horse Is

On the 6th of February Hold Your Horse Is played a show at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch to mark the re-release of their debut album on cassette. We sat down with the band for a chat.

Chris Rouse: Hi I’m Chris, I play drums.
Robin Pearson: Yeah, I’m Robin. I play the guitar and sing.
James Penny: I play bass.

[laughs] You don’t have a name?

JP: I’m James.

The album re-release is tonight and you’re releasing it through Feliciano. How did that come about?

CR: We’ve known Sam Smith (Feliciano) for a long time and he’d just started a semi-record label/tape club. He asked us and a load of other bands if we wanted to put something out on tape and we were totally into that.
RP: He used to promote gigs which is how I know him. He used to put us on in Kingston. He used to work in Greggs and he would show up with everything you could want from Greggs [laughs]
JP: I forgot about that!
RP: Bags and bags and bags of pastries and cakes and sandwiches. We were like “this guy’s cool!” and now he has the Feliciano record label.

I had seen the name about but I didn’t make the connection. I was just like “the guy is named after a pub; cool!”

RP: Good pub.
JP: New to me.

You need to go. There’s one in Holborn.

RP: Yeah there’s loads about. There will be one right near your workplace, I guarantee it.
JP: I thought it was pronounced “Feliciano” [laughs]
RP: Felayshia!

I want to talk about cassettes and how they’ve become popular in the last few years. Loads of bands are putting out music on cassette. Is it romantic to put out music on a dead format?

CR: Yeah totally.
JP: Tapes are a really shit format [laughs]
RP: It’s a shit format but it’s one we grew up with. I’ve got a tape tattoo on my back. I think that shit is dope.
CR: I used to spend loads of time recording stuff off the radio; sitting around listening to the radio for 4 hours just to hear a repeat of a song so I could record it.

Did you to try and cut it so you didn’t get the DJs speaking on it?

CR: Yeah exactly!
RP: I think it’s the same for a lot of bands. The first band I was ever in with my mates from school, our first recording we ever did was on a tape recorded on a shitty little Panasonic tape deck thing. We recorded a song and I remember we had this long running joke through school because on that recording that we gave to someone who was in charge of doing the carnival in our town [laughs] We gave him this tape and I don’t think we even listed to it. When he listened to it you couldn’t hear anything else when our drummer started playing the ride [laughs] and he was like “that bloody ride cymbal!” So its pretty cool we’ve got the album on tape. We haven’t heard it yet.
CR: I used to have an 8 track recorder on my desk.
RP: I had a Tascam 4 track recorder.
CR: That’s what I had! The same thing!
JP: What’s really interesting about this tape release is that its been recorded so that some tracks sound like you’re listening to them on the radio. We’ve actually simulated us pressing the record button. Some of the tracks are just recorded at gigs with a dictaphone. It’s kinda like a mish-mash of those.

I’m looking forward to the live quality of it!

RP: I like the misleading aspect of this interview [laughs]

You seem to play Old Blue Last for a lot of your release shows. Is there something about this place you like to come back to?

CR: It’s just coincidence
RP: There’s been one or two times when I’ve said to our mate, “we need to do some sort of release show, can we do it here?” That’s happened once or twice, but the other times it’s just been a coincidence.
CR: As far as small venues go it’s one of our favourite ones in London. We always get a good crowd here and it’s always a good vibe
RP: People always come to gigs here. People just come to free gigs; it’s Shoreditch, it’s trendy. They see something is on and go “yeah I’m up for that”. It’s funny how there’s so many little websites and magazines that you wouldn’t expect to rate this place really highly that do. I guess a lot of people read about it and go, “fuck it, we’re going to that”.

Favourite show you’ve played?

CR: With this band? [laughs]
RP: We’ve played hundreds of gigs.
CR: The last Westy (Aldershot) one we did on our last tour was really good. So was the London show here actually, that was really good. One of favourite gigs will be a lot later in the year but we’re not allowed to talk about it [laughs]
RP: I remember when we played the Brudenell (Leeds) with Mojo Fury being really good because the venue is awesome.
CR: Oh yeah, that was awesome! The photo from that show is on our ‘Like, Live and Stuff’ EP.
RP: That was a cool gig. Actually, while it’s not the best gig we’ve played, one of the coolest venues we’ve played is the Empire in Middlesbrough. It’s an old theatre and it’s massive. We played a club night and nobody gave it a shit, but we were like “fuck, it’s so massive!” The stage was huge and it had a varnished wooden floor.
CR: Nobody came.

Funniest show you’ve played?

RP: Oh God, you’re going talk about my birthday, aren’t you?
CR: Yeah, I am [laughs] We played on Robin’s birthday two years ago and we all had to dress as ducks.
RP: I don’t know why.
CR: It doesn’t matter why, we were all dressed as ducks.
RP: It was because I was 22 and it’s like in bingo where it’s “two ducks, twenty-two” so it was a duck party.
CR: And you got absolutely battered! He was wearing flippers and trying to change his pedals. Me and Penny weren’t drunk because we were driving and Robin was off his face. He started playing the first song at half the speed thinking, “that’s the right speed” and we got through about 4 songs before he fell over my drum-kit. I stormed off in a big huff because it was a complete waste of time and as I was walking off some guy just full-on cupped my nuts and diffused the whole situation [laughs] So that was horrible but also really funny.
RP: People wouldn’t shut up about that for a while [laughs] I was like “alright, alright”.

Where did the idea for bringing the drums into the crowd come from?

CR: Nigel Powell from Dive, Dive. He did it at one of our first gigs and they used to do it quite a lot back in the day. I thought that was fucking brilliant except when he did it he pulled all the leads out of the drum mics and got told off and had to pay a lot of money.
RP: He basically smashed up all these really nice mics and the sound guy got pissed off.
CR: So I’m like, “that’s a good idea, I’ll steal that”. I did that a few times but I don’t do it all the time, just when I get carried away.

I suppose it works better in the smaller venues.

CR: I actually did it in that massive Middlesbrough venue and everyone just kinda went, “what’s he doing?” [laughs]
RP: Oh yeah! I actually joined you on the floor and there was circle pit around me and Rouse on the floor.

That turned out alright then!

RP: But I was on the floor and some dude was on top of me while I’m trying to play guitar. It was pretty fun [laughs] Can I mention another gig that I think was cool? It was on the Mojo Fury tour as well and we were playing at The Swan in Ipswich. We could talk about that venue for hours because it’s mad. We’ve played there a few times. The stage is just a corner of the room, but the front door to the venue is right next to where you play. This whole thing was when we were exploring the whole ‘moving into the crowd’ thing and I ended up going outside the venue while still playing my guitar, but people were still hearing it in the venue. I was literally on the street.

The album is now sold out on CD; what’s the reaction been like and are you happy how things have been since the release?

RP: People seem to dig it. I think the majority of people that appreciated it are people we know from bands that we’ve played with. There’s also been a lot of people that have just bought it because they’ve seen us in the past or listened to it on Spotify and then bought it. We didn’t really have a lot of money to put into it. We literally only had enough to record it and we didn’t have a label behind us to support it, so we released it in the only way we knew how to do. We don’t know how many people bought it, liked it or whatever, but we really appreciate the one’s that did. It might have been different if someone offered to put it out for us and put some money behind it. There might have been more people into it, but that’s how it goes.

Is being signed a goal for the future?

CR: It was but there’s no money in it any more.
RP: You could try. You could spend all your fucking time trying to get everyone in the world to hear your band, but in the end what is it that you actually want to do it for? If that’s what you want then sick, go for it. We don’t want to spend all our time doing that, we just want to write music that we want to play and if people like it then that’s great.
CR: I think at one point we did want that, but I think we burnt ourselves out in real life.
RP: Yeah, but really we just want a massive sound and to play songs that we think are sick and hope people dig it. We don’t have any dreams to take over the world.
JP: We just want to destroy popular music. “What’s your goal in life?” To destroy popular music [laughs]

You guys have had the same line-up for your entire career thus far and it seems like that’s a rarity in modern rock.

RP: Yeah we’ve been together 5 years this May.
CR: We need a birthday!
JP: That’s half a decade.
RP: That’s fucked. It doesn’t feel that long.

Is that important to maintain because it’s a part of your image?

CR: I don’t think it’s important.
RP: I don’t think it’s an image thing, it’s more that we just work well together.
CR: This sounds really gushy, but when you find someone you work well with you want to keep that going. I’ve played with loads of other bands and not necessarily clicked with anyone in it, but I think us three have a good “chemistry” which sounds so lame.
RP: I’ll tell you what it is; we’re efficient. We’re really efficient. We used to turn up to practice and for a long time we used to practice in Chris’ parents’ old house. We had a 2 hour slot which we were allowed to practice in because of the neighbours and we’d show up, set up, play the set that we were going to play for the next gig, then work on something new, have a break, play the set again and then pack up and go home every week without fail. That’s just how we’ve always done it. We’ve always been quite efficient even at gigs. We’ve always loaded in and sound checked which takes like 10 minutes. Some bands fuck around for hours and we’re like, “no, just no.”
CR: Now we have to pay to practice because my parents don’t live at that house any more. We’ll get to the practice room and they’re like, “right, you’ve got 3 hours” and we still only take 2 hours and that’s it [laughs] Then we go home and everyone at the practice room is like, “where you going?” and we’re like, “we’re done!” [laughs]
RP: I’ve played in other bands where we practice all day and it drives me mad. I’m like, “urgh! Get on with it!” [laughs]

You guys have quite a lot of music videos considering you’re only touring your first album. Who’s the brain-child behind the videos?

RP: Chris Rouse comes up with a lot of ideas. For every video we’ve done he has like 10 other ideas. Chris Rouse comes up with ideas for other bands and they’ve nicked them and made videos that are his ideas.
CR: I stick to the idea that if you’re going to make a video then I don’t want to see a performance video. The music video is another extension of what you’re doing as a band. Nobody wants to watch a performance video because people with camera phones can do that. It’s artwork; you’re adding another element to the music and a video has to work with that. But generally I sit there in bed at night and go, “haha! That would be a good idea!” and then I’ll make a note of it and text Robin in the morning [laughs] This whole band is based on knowing friends with skills that we can borrow. My friend John shot a few of our videos, we shot a couple, Gordon helps up record; they’re just mates who are happy to help us out. The idea was we’d eventually repay them but unfortunately we don’t make any money [laughs]
RP: Videos are so fun. Music videos are what you’ll look back on in a few years think, “fuck yeah, that was sick”. It’s like photos, they’re so good to have to look back on after a tour. Oh, one other thing; Penny doesn’t like acting. He won’t act. Every time we’ve had an idea for a video we’re like, “right, so there’s going to be a very simple story throughout the video” and Penny’s like, “nah. I’m not doing it.”
CR: But, we made him act in the video to Title Track.
RP: Oh yeah, Title Track we made him run along.
JP: It’s easy to act when you’re wearing a massive Lego head [laughs] no facial expressions.

Big thanks to Hold Your Horse Is for taking the time to talk to us.


Interview: Cult Culture

Hi, I’m Chris and I guess I’m pretty much the one man band that runs Cult Culture.

Was Cult Culture simply born out of the desire to press Mine’s debut release or was the plan always to expand and release other artists’ music?

Well doing a label was always something that I wanted to but I just never found the drive to do it as I had a lot going on with previous projects. But I felt the first MINE EP presented a good opportunity to try my hand at it.
We didn’t know that we would put the EP out through Holy Roar at the time so I suggested that I release it on a limited tape just so there was some form of physical release. This was before we teamed up with Holy Roar. Once I started the label and everything was arranged with the tape, I then started to think about moving on to others artists, such as Black Coffee.
 
The resurgence of the cassette has taken the underground rock and metal scene by storm. What’s the attraction to putting out music on this format? Is the label planning to release music on other formats eg vinyl, CD?

Theres just something about tapes that I really love and its a bit of a nod to the days when everyone was releasing records on tape and tape swapping to get new bands out there. Although tapes are popular, vinyl overtakes them dramatically so I guess you are presented with a bit of a challenge to make it more appealing, i.e. packaging etc.
At some point I’d like to move onto vinyl but for the time being I’m pretty happy putting out tapes whenever I can. The fact that tapes cost a lot less than vinyl means I have a lot more freedom to put them out as and when I want too.
 
You’ve recently announced the release of Texan hardcore punkers Black Coffee’s birthdeathbirth EP. How did that collaboration come about?

I first heard Black Coffee through Give Up, who I’ve worked with a lot over the last few years and he sent me the self titled release that he did for them through Sisster Ssound (not a typo) a while back. I suggested working together on the next release but unfortunately he had a lot on so he couldn’t but Ryan (Black Coffee) contacted me after to speaking with Give Up about the UK release and we just sorted it out from there.  I’m really excited about the release, Black Coffee really embody everything that I love about hardcore and punk, totally aggressive, no bullshit, sounds kinda like SSD…..awesome!

The Mine tape was definitely something special in terms of presentation; what sort of elaborate packaging can we expect for the Black Coffee release?

Thanks! I was happy with the way they turned out and I wanted to do something a little special for it. My girlfriend wasn’t too excited about the mess I made on her bedroom floor spray painting the cases but she got over it ha!
All the art for the tapes has been printed up and I’m waiting on something from Give Up that will wrap around the tapes, a little like a book binder. I’m sure I’ll be sticking in some little extras too.

Is Cult Culture going to specialise in punk or are you keen to release music from a diverse range of genres?

My taste in music is pretty all over the place these days so I’m hoping to accumulate a very varied roster for Cult Culture, just putting out bands that I like and have confidence in. Black Coffee are little known over here but I’m into them and when I’ve shown them to friends of mine, the response is always positive. So I guess I’m just relying on my own taste not to let me down haha.

What labels/bands influence you and your direction with Cult Culture?

There’s a lot of labels that I’m interested in and feel I can rely on them for good releases. Notably and not being totally biased, I think Holy Roar is really on top of things right now, especially with the latest releases that Alex has announced and the future only seems bright for that label.

In the US, I’ve always felt that A389 was a label I could always rely on. Lets say I was flicking through a distro and I noticed the logo on a record, I’d probably pick it up without hesitating even if I had no idea what the band sounded like. They released Anne – Dream Punx which is now one of my favourite records and its totally far detached from the other heavier bands on the label.

I feel that running a label and going with releases that you personally like is going to be so much more rewarding than being a label that just jumps on any current bandwagon that’s coming on by.
 
Any other releases you’ve got coming up that you can divulge information about?

I’m talking to another band right now about putting something out in a couple of months but nothing is set in stone yet, I’m excited about it though should it happen!

Got any UK band recommendations for our readers?

Attack! Vipers!, Svalbard, Opium Lord, Ok Pilot, Let It Die and Wade. That’ll keep you busy if you haven’t heard any of these guys before!
 
What’s the best way to keep up-to-date with all Cult Culture activity?

Just the usuals, Facebook (facebook.com/thecultculture) or the website (cultculture.co.uk)
 
I can’t wrap things up without asking how things are in Mine; proud of your achievements so far?

Things are good right now and we’re excited for this year, we’ll be a lot more active for sure! We are really proud of the first EP and the response its had so far. Putting MINE together was a very organic process and its just been flowing along pretty effortlessly in regards to song writing and agreeing on ideas together, its been a totally refreshing experience for me personally.
 
You’ve recently revealed you’re recording again with the band; what’s the plan? New EP? Split? Album!?

Well I can let you know that there will be a follow up to the EP and we’re planning a few special things for the release…..but that’s all I’m giving you, sorry haha.

A big thanks to Chris for taking the time to talk to us. Go to the Cult Culture webstore and buy some stuff.


Interview: Mine

My name’s Mark Scurr and I play bass in Mine.

How did Mine come about?

Chris asked me if I fancied starting a band that was influenced by bands like Fucked Up, Anne etc. It sounded like fun so I was down! He then asked Dave and Matt if they were up for it and luckily they were. I think myself, Matt and Dave were the first choices for it as we all share a very similar outlook on music. We started jamming and it all came together very quickly.

Most of you guys come from heavier backgrounds so why the change of pace?

I think it’s just happened naturally really. I felt personally, that I’d gone as far as I could writing really heavy music and wanted a new challenge. As individuals our interests are creatively spread much further than just metal and hardcore and we all needed to embrace that. It’s been very organic.

The EP has some lavish packaging with a hand-sprayed cassette version and an etched 12″. Do you feel presentation is a big part of what is keeping physical music alive?

I do; if it looks nice someone’s going to pick it up and take a look and that’s all we want really. It’s also nice to give people our music in a package that in some way might feel special to them. Chris sprayed all those tapes himself so there’s some real love there!! The etched 12″ came out awesome as well. We spent a lot of time making sure the EP was presented correctly.

I can’t talk about the presentation with sending some love to two guys. Our logo was designed by Give Up and the photo on the cover is by Mike Jensen. Those guys have been amazing and their work definitely catches our vibe.

The cassette version has been released through Chris’ own Cult Culture label; is this simply going to be a way to release your own music or does Chris have his sights on releasing other bands’ music?

I know Chris definitely has plans to put out some bands in the near future. Some really awesome new bands.

You also released the vinyl version through Holy Roar Records who are probably the biggest force in UK heavy music right now. How did that come about?

Chris has worked with Holy Roar in the past and when we’d tracked our EP he sent it over to them. They dug it and offered to put it out! They did a really good job on the vinyl and we couldn’t really think of a better home for Mine.

Do you feel a lot of pressure putting out your first release; is there something to prove?

Personally I felt none at all. The music came together in such a natural way that for me it was actually totally the opposite. I couldn’t wait to show people what we’d done. I think we all love what we’re doing and we’re past the point of having to prove ourselves. We’re just doing our thing really.

Even though it is still early days for Mine, what’s been the most enjoyable part of being in the band so far?

Building a creative bond with some good friends has definitely been a great part for me, and the fact that some people dig it has also been very cool. Getting our copies of the vinyl was sweet as well!

Any UK bands you would like to recommend our readers?

Yeah totally. Recently I’ve been really digging Conan, Flats, Toy, No Ceremony, Purson, The History of Apple Pie and Big Deal. People should also check out Pariso, Vales and Goodtime Boys.

What shows do you have in the pipeline?

We have a cool show at the Old Blue Last on December the 16th with Birds in a Row, Vales and Bastions. It’s our first home-town show as well so we’re totally up for bringing the thunder. It’s free entry as well. We’re also playing a show on Jan 3rd in Portsmouth with a load of bands who I’ve never heard but seem to be making some good music.

Where can people stay up-to-date with all things Mine and where can they buy your music from?

We have a Facebook page; it’s facebook.com/mineculture. You can pick up our music from cultculture.co.uk and holyroarrecords.com. We also have the full EP streaming on mineculture.bandcamp.com.

Big thanks to Mark for taking the time to talk to us.