Photography by Colm Browne – Critical Mass Photography
Fallen to Flux have been keeping busy since we last spoke to them at the Camden Rocks festival. They’ve been recording demos, completed their first UK tour and have finally found a new drummer after Chris left to pursue his dream career, we caught up with the guys for an exclusive first interview with their new drummer Declan as well as to see how things are going in the FTF camp. Chatting over drinks it’s clear that FTF have a plan, and we will be seeing a lot more from them in the near future.
Declan, hi! So, a bit about you. What is your musical history and influences?
Declan: I grew up listening to old school heavy metal like Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas Priest. They were my big influences. Iron Maidens drummer especially is my biggest influence, his whole approach to drumming. Then I like modern bands like Lamb of God and Trivium. I was ten or eleven when I started playing so basically half my life.
What’s your normal everyday life like and what made you apply for the spot in FTF?
Declan: I study music at ICMP so I wanted to find a band who were serious about what they are doing. There weren’t really any metal bands coming out of the college. I saw the post on Facebook. Figured I may as well go along and see what happens. I had about two weeks to prepare. I learnt the two tracks they gave to me, but then learnt the others as best I could.
Being the new member of the band, what are you hoping to bring into the mix?
Declan: I don’t know, I don’t want to change the direction of the band as I like the way it’s going. I don’t think I’ll be able to put any lyrics to the band but I can come up with my own drum parts and rhythms.
As you are coming in to replace Chris, does that put any pressure on you?
Declan: A little bit, but not too much really. I’m just going to do what I like to do really. I’m not going to try and mimic him, but I probably would have come up with the same sort of stuff as the ideas he used on the EPs, so we are quite similar really.
Moving onto the rest of the band, I saw the other day you’ve been nominated for a ‘Best Rock Act’ award by the Unsigned Music Awards, that must be exciting?
Luke: Have we??
Oli: We have yeah, this is why you should check our social media more, Luke! They kind of came out of nowhere, they’re a new organisation trying to set up something special for unsigned bands. We submitted music to it a while back and they got in contact and said they wanted to write a piece on us.
Luke: That’s nice to know.
So you’ve just finished your first UK tour, how did it go?
Oli: It was really good, unique, exciting, a massive learning process. Doing something like that for the first time, there were many obstacles that you wouldn’t have thought about at all, but y’know, we managed to get over all of them.
Luke: We spent time staying and sleeping in the tour van which was pretty awesome.
Björn: It was basically like a holiday to us. We got a holiday and got to play gigs which is the best thing that could happen.
You did four dates, was there a favourite show?
Oli: I quite enjoyed Manchester. We’ve played that venue before and I think it was quite cool to revisit somewhere we’ve been and feel a different atmosphere. It gave us a real sense of how we’ve developed in terms of our comfort on stage – it was very entertaining. Norwich was fun though cos it was the last night of tour which was a significant one as it was our old drummer Chris’ last show with us. It wasn’t the biggest crowd we could have hoped for but we had a hell of a lot of fun and it was a good send off for him.
So when you went on your quest to find a new drummer, how did you go about doing the auditions?
Björn: It was surprisingly painless.
Oli: We put adverts out on ‘join my band’ and social media sites, and Declan found us through the Facebook post. We had several replies and we asked people to send evidence of what they could do.
Luke: What we wanted to do differently from how we auditioned Björn in the beginning was we wanted it to be a set process as we know where we want the band to be going and so it’s a lot more serious. Once we had the material they sent we then had a session where they played through some of the songs off the EP’s and then a creative session where we played through some material we had written bits of to see how the whole band dynamic was going to be.
Oli: Declan’s first job with us now is writing. We are recording demos and Declan’s got stuck in with that straight away. We went into the auditions with a couple of riffs and we threw them out there and said “see what you come up with”.
Björn: Everyone had something interesting.
Oli: This was one of the things that was such a clear distinguisher for Declan. The parts he was coming up with were so closely aligned with what we would have imagined for it. I mean, you’re taking two guitarists and a bassist saying “this is how you write a drum track” and then getting a drummers perspective to a point where it was a lot more impressive. Declan came in and he nailed the playthrough.
Björn: I’ve never felt this comfortable playing our song Relapse. Chris recorded it using both feet on a double kick drum, Declan just came in a played it with one and we were all saying “how is he doing that?”
Declan: A speedy right foot.
Luke: They were all really nice people who auditioned but we thought “this guy is steps ahead”. Importantly, the way the writing process is going it’s all collaborative as a band and all in the mind of where we are trying to get to. It’s not about saying “I’ve written this riff and I wanna make sure it’s in a song”. It’s more about what we are trying to do with the band as a whole and so that’s why it’s good to have a drummer that isn’t just musically in the right place, but personally fits within the band so we can have everyone involved whole heartedly with the writing process.
(Declan is currently sat quietly listening and loving this)
Oli: We knew we wanted to see Declan again but we wanted to see how his beliefs where aligned with ours and get to know him on a social level so we went down the pub. Even in the audition he was saying stuff that was aligned with the view of the band. Declan had asked how we feel about screamed vocals. Although we all have metal influences in the band, you can’t escape the quality of a melody. We aren’t a fan of screamed vocals and Declan came in and understood straight away. I did expected him to suggest we put screams in places but he didn’t.
This week, Glamour of the Kill announced they are splitting due to the financial pressures of being in the band. Does it worry you that a band that were doing well seem to have been unable to sustain their career?
Luke: At the moment we are working our way up, we all really enjoy playing. None of us are in a situation currently where we are having to make outrageous sacrifices. We are doing what we can do, we take it seriously but right now we aren’t having to make sacrifices to do it.
Oli: It hit me quite hard, but it wasn’t hugely surprising. I knew about them from their early work. What was more surprising was the statement they made about it. They said “You only have to look at how many good bands are having to call it quits these days to know how much of a sorry state the industry is in.” You don’t like seeing a band that has been sacrificing a lot and giving it their all to make an omission like that. This is what we like doing and what we want to do so we won’t compromise on that unless it starts really affecting the rest of our lives.
Now you’ve done your tour, what’s next?
Björn: We are all writing with the prospect of recording an album. We will be doing a Kickstarter campaign to help get that happening. We are looking to raise the money to get the album made and really start the music career.
Oli: The idea is to get the album made and see who’s interested in getting involved. We have two solid EPs and we can show people what we are. We are confident the album will be a good next step up for us but we are in no way in a rush to release it before we are happy that it’s ready. We want to make sure we have the proper strategy in place and the right people involved. We don’t want to rush it like the last EP. We released it too soon as we felt bad that we had told people there was a record coming for about a year, and I think that was an error.
Luke: I think that shows how this has progressed. The last time we put the EP out, the whole point was to say to fans “here is our music”. This time it’s looking to move forward and using a recorded debut album to do that, it’s a difference in approach. It shows the progression we’ve made.
Is there any plans for more gigs?
Oli: I think we will keep it ticking over. One thing you realise when you go out and play a show, you miss being on stage. We are excited to get out an play a gig with Declan as we haven’t actually done that yet, so we will look at organising a welcome show for him. Maybe in London or maybe in Kent where we have been recording the demos…keep things going until another tour. I don’t think any of us want to be away from the stage for too long. Being onstage is what invigorates us the most – being there and seeing fans react.