Two halves of two bands that were coming to their ends met up for some jams at the end of 2009. We knew each other from the local music scene (Three of us actually went to the same school but in three different school years). We hit it off straight away and decided to focus on this new band at the start of 2010. We then put together a mini-album which we were going to release all by ourselves but then in 2012 we were approached by our management company, Kings Agency, after a little help with getting the word out from our friends in a band called ACODA. Kings Agency helped us release the record and then encouraged us to get to work on an LP. Our founding vocalist, Konrad, then left the band in 2013 as he felt that he couldn’t dedicate everything he would need to make the album a success. We got Carl in straight away and then wrote and recorded the album. We then signed with Lifeforce to release the album and that brings us up to present day.
We honestly have no idea what our ‘genre’ is and I don’t think it’s for us to say what it is. It’s always for the listener to decide. Just this week we’ve read that we’re metal, post-metal, sludgecore, metalcore and hardcore. We didn’t choose to write music in any particular style, it just came out this way the second we started jamming, and that’s the truth.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements:
With this being our first attempt at an album, we didn’t have much of an idea of where we wanted to go with it all. We wrote a bunch of songs, chucked away the ones that didn’t work together and that was pretty much the thought process. Carl took it upon himself to have all of the lyrics to a set theme though which really helped to give the album a sense of purpose.
Ideas about the album:
We are extremely proud of the record and we’re not just happy with what we put in to it, but also with the work of Jonny (production, mixing, engineering), Acle (mastering) and Tom (art and band photography). We picked the best guys for the job and in our opinion this shines through on the sound quality and the artwork quality.
As far as improvements go, we feel that the album suffers from the same thing that nearly every debut album suffers from: it’s a bit of a mixtape. It’s a collection of songs that were not written in one go. This isn’t always a bad thing as a lot of people say that some band’s debut albums are their best albums. Maybe the magic disappears if you become too self-aware? We’re definitely aiming to have more continuity on the next one though.
It’s very early days yet; we’ve only seen a couple of foreign language reviews so far and no one outside of the industry has heard anything other than the single we put out. Everyone that has worked and is working on the release seem excited about it though, and of course Stefan from Lifeforce liked the album so much that he decided to take a punt on a small, relatively unknown band from the UK and release it for us. That’s the biggest compliment of them all.
Next step; live or studio:
We would love to get touring with some new bands and meet some new people, and we have a few bits and pieces bubbling and coming together. Our record label is European and there will be press in mainland Europe for the album, so fingers crossed we generate some interest there and get to do a bit of travelling. We want to start writing a new album as soon as this one is released; we think that we would like to start writing the next album by having a story or a concept that we can use as a framework, and we think we have settled on a concept which is interesting and has a lot of scope for exploring and covering everything that we’re capable of.
If you had told us this time last year that we would be signed to Lifeforce Records to release our debut album, we would have snapped your hand off. We’ve all been playing in bands for quite a while now, and we’ve learned that you should never expect anything, you have to work hard for every break you get and you should never be disappointed with or ungrateful for what is handed to you. With all this in mind, we’re just taking each day as it comes, we’ll welcome every opportunity afforded to us and we’re just going to enjoy the ride.
Lyrics, themes and concepts:
I write all of the musical parts and Carl writes all of the lyrics. We’re both quite cynical people (I’m not afraid to say!) so the tone of our music is quite dark and the lyrics naturally fall on the negative side. All of the songs on ‘hopeisnowhere’ explore the themes of control in its various forms and the effects of that control on different people.
The idea we have for the next album is a chronological journey through a man’s life where he becomes more cynical, tired and weary of the world and the people around him with every passing day. I guess it will be a caricature of the personalities of Carl and I. So that we can get our points across we’ll probably end up taking it to its logical conclusion where this guy ends up isolating himself completely to the point where he has absolutely no way of relating to anything or anyone around him.
Preference; live or studio:
The answer to this will be different for every member, and would also probably change day to day. For example, Bartlett hates going to the studio because he sits around for 90% of the time and then he has to spring in to life and nail his bass takes, whereas I enjoy it because what I do takes up the most time and so I’m occupied most days. I guess overall we would rather be out in the van, no pressure, having fun, meeting people, seeing new places and then getting to do our thing at the end of the day. We get to sleep in beds when we’re recording though…
We all write our own parts but I always start the ball rolling with a few different sections of the music, and then we jam it out and try to arrange it all so that it flows nicely and naturally. I do occasionally write the music for a whole song and we play it exactly as I have written it (the song ‘Black Cloud,’ for example), but this rarely happens. Carl writes all of the lyrics himself after we have finished the music. When he’s done this we might make tweaks to bring out a bit more in the lyrics/vocals.
That’s a bit of a tough one as I think that the inspiration for our music is on a more subconscious level. My favourite band is Deftones and I also like the guitar work of Incubus, Devil Sold His Soul and probably some stuff like Brutality Will Prevail, The Acacia Strain and the heavier side of things like that. Lewis’ favourite band is Opeth and he likes a lot of metalcore drumming. Carl is mostly a fan of metal and he used to be in a death-metal band, but he also like a lot of post-metal like me and we both love The Mire. Bartlett loves Interpol and atmospheric indie rock. It’s quite a mix of inspirations really. When it all comes together I suppose you get a moody, wall-of-sound band with quick drum fills and metal growls!
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake:
We try to approach writing as if it were a creation, and not a product, so with that in mind we don’t consider the audience much. We may consider whether something would work well live or on a recording, and we try to make sure that every second is engaging and that there’s no filler or parts in songs that are there just for the sake of being there.
If it all ended tomorrow then without a doubt it would be creating an album from start to finish and actually having the final thing there in our hands. That is timeless and will be with us forever. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it – we all made this album together and we will always remember it and love it for all of the good times we had making it together. I think I can feel my eyes welling up as I write this.