We are here at Havoc Festival, organised by Fearless Vampire Killers. Singer Kier and bassist Drew have joined me on a cosy balcony at the London venue to have a chat.
Hi guys, how are we doing? Are you having a good day so far?
Kier: Good, lovely weather, we’re here, people are here. It’s good.
Talk us through the idea for the festival.
Kier: We thought we’d get some bands together and play, all on the same day! (laughs) I’m joking.
Drew: Well that is what’s happening!
Kier: The idea came from thinking about what we could do this summer. We were talking about how we would like to get some friends in bands involved for a gig. Half supporting the scene and half just kind of wanting to do our own thing.
Was it quite easy to choose the bands that are playing today?
Kier: Yeah, they were just bands we thought were good. We play with a lot of bands and some just stand out.
Drew: You kind of get friends bands in that you like and then it’s a good excuse to get together and enjoy it.
You lost Glamour of the Kill off the bill due to their recent split. Were you surprised at the break up at all?
Kier: No. I just think, it’s not easy being in a band. Especially if you’re not really close. They’ve been going a long time and I think they just got worn down by it. It’s happening a lot, it’s been happening to loads of bands I like. Sometimes it gets to a point where unless your relationships in the band are really strong, you can’t hack it anymore. I don’t blame them. Luckily I have a cool group of people with me that makes it much more enjoyable.
If it all ended tomorrow, what would you take from it all?
Kier: it sounds cheesy but just the experiences I guess.
Drew: I’d probably try and take some of the shared gear, try and get a good price.
Kier: Argue over shared assets. “Yeah, I bought that!”
We are going to hear two new songs from you tonight. Do new songs mean a new album will be coming soon?
Kier: Yeah the singles are coming out on 21 August so you’ll be able to hear them properly. Hopefully they won’t disappoint, I think they’re pretty good. We’ve been working on new material for a while with a new album in mind. We have more new material that you’ll hear about later in the year.
When you do a gig and you’re organising your set list, are there any songs you avoid playing live for any reason?
Kier: Sometimes yeah.
Drew: Sometimes certain ones don’t translate as well as you’d think live, there’s a couple of older singles that we really like but even at the time they didn’t translate live even though we played them as they were written – it just didn’t work. We rework some stuff when we do it live but sometimes it doesn’t work. If you have a 16 track album, you’ve done everything to it to make it the best it can be to showcase it live, so if you’ve got a lot of those songs and older songs it’s quite difficult to try and put the old ones in. You end up leaving out a lot that are sentimental and you want to play cos at the same time we’ve got to play the best ones.
Kier: Also trying not to be one of those bands that play tracks just of the new album, or just off the album that’s popular. You try and think from a fans perspective and think what they will want to hear and then throw some oldies in there for something different. There’s a lot of debate that goes on.
Drew: Last year we had the tour where we asked people to vote for a few songs they wanted. We got them to vote for a shortlist of old songs then we learnt them again and played them gig to gig so that was quite fun. Then it gives you free licence so if you’re a bit shit, they asked for them. It was fun to play some really old songs again.
It seems popular recently for bands to play a full album live. Is that something you like?
Kier: I love it!
Drew: Yeah, when we released our first album we did a very small fan gig at a club down the road from where we live for about 50 fans. We played the album in full then, it’s something we would consider doing with the second album. To me it makes sense cos the first two albums are very conceptual so it’s like a story unfolding as well as a live music gig. I’ve gone to a lot of those concerts and I love that, but it does take away the surprise of being at a live gig cos you know what’s coming next. It’s a bit of a double edged sword.
I interviewed rising band Fallen to Flux recently and they’re doing a Kickstarter campaign to get their album made. With social media, it helps bands get the exposure they need. How do you think your career would have gone by this point if you hadn’t had all of that?
Kier: In some ways we would have done better, in others we may have done worse. I’m pretty certain if we had been around 20 years ago we would be playing in bigger venues. We’ve been in Kerrang magazine countless times, in the past that would have made your career. It’s very different nowadays as there’s an over saturation of stuff online.
Drew: That stuff has really diminished the old powers of the music press and the industry.
Kier: It’s much easier to become a band and get a handful of fans, but it’s much harder to become a big band. I think we’ve been given a foot up with social media but getting past that initial phase is difficult. It puts pressure on bands to have a constant stream of content, cos people forget quickly
Drew: The more original you are the more you will stand out just cos there’s so many bands. All these bands that have a similar sound or look all have the avenue to put themselves out there which is good but it creates a sea of ‘this band is the same as that band’ whereas before you’d have more of ‘the best will prevail’. It’s hard to be original if you want backing by a record company, they are waning and are a bit more conservative than they once were, safer. So you may stand out initially but you might not get picked up.
After the Halloween hit All Hallows Evil are there plans for another Halloween gem?
Drew: I wanna release another Halloween song.
Kier: Nothing specifically Halloweeny but there’s going to be a lot of music coming out around that time.
For my birthday this year I got a book called Zombie Combat Manual. In a zombie uprising how do you think you would do?
Kier: I don’t know if I’d do very well, but I think Luke would do pretty good.
Drew: Luke’s pretty hard!
Kier: Laurence can be quite clumsy so I think he’d go. Shane would be the best. Shane is sneaky and intelligent.
Drew: He’s got a dark soul so he’d probably stitch us up to survive.
Kier: Shane would do the best, I’d be the second worst.
On Halloween I’m getting married. If you were to pick one of your songs to play at the wedding, which one would it be and why?
Kier: Oh god, I wouldn’t play one of ours! Maybe something pretty like Taste The Iron On Your Lips.
Drew: It could be a first dance too cos the groove kicks in.
Kier: Plus its quite romantic, in a sadistic way…yes I’d pick that.
Keep an eye out on the site for our review of Havoc Festival coming soon!
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