Bold silences and whispering landscapes: talking Native Construct with vocalist Robert Edens

bySamHarchik_02

You can expect to be impressed by a flood of releases across a reviewing year but to be actually startled is a less regular occurrence but something that Quiet World, the debut album from US progressive metal trio Native Construct achieved. Consisting of vocalist Robert Edens, guitarist Myles Yang, and bassist Max Harchik, the band has crafted a creative emprise of sound and invention which is as fascinating as the background to the album. Quiet World was an album from out of the blue, a mouth-watering, technically gripping landscape of imagination spinning diversity and creative adventure which ignited ears and thoughts. Soon offered the chance to explore the birth, heart, and depths of band and release, we took little time in throwing a torrent of questions at the band’s vocalist.

Hi, and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can we start by looking at the beginnings of Native Construct? The three of you were fellow students at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts; you were studying the same courses?

Rob here–thanks for reaching out to us!

Max and I are both Electronic Production and Design majors, and Myles a Composition and Contemporary Writing and Production dual major. While we studied many of the same core courses, our major courses of study were quite different. The band originally formed in the Berklee dorms, with Max joining on bass later.

When did friendship start to become idea collaboration and subsequently the creation of Native Construct?Photo 3_Cinematic

Myles and I had been playing and recording music together since middle school, and we’d planned to form a prog metal band once we got to Berklee since getting our acceptance letters. Shortly after arriving at Berklee, Myles and I joined with our friend Gabe Salomon to start writing what would become the Chromatic Aberration demo. So, the band formed pretty early on in our Berklee careers, after spending some time jamming with numerous other students.

Do you all come from a background of musical tastes with a common bond? I ask because of the diverse flavours and variety to your music.

We all share a common background in progressive music of many forms, but certainly prog metal most notably. Myles and I having had grown up together, our musical developments have been very similar. Our respective studies at Berklee have definitely brought a lot of the variety to our music, however, since you’re exposed to quite a lot as a student there.

Once beginning to write together etc., how quickly did the premise and direction of your music emerge?

We decided we wanted to write a concept album pretty much from the get-go. After Chromatic Aberration was written, we started writing the rest of the album around this first song, which would eventually become the end of our story.

From reading the accompanying press release to your debut album Quiet World, I understand the writing of songs, the album, and indeed its recording was between your on-going studies? How did you find the time and you could use the college’s facilities?

Finding the time, let alone the creative energy, to completely compose and co-produce this album along with our school studies was quite difficult, but it was something we were passionate about. We really believed in this project, and wanted to take the time and effort to make it the best we could. We were able to make use of Berklee’s facilities on occasion, but the vast majority of the work was done at our home studios.

You have now finished your studies?

Myles and myself graduated this past December, but Max is a couple years younger and has a few semesters left.

Tell us about the recording of Quiet World. It happened over an extended period?

Yes. Like the rest of the album production, the recording process took a long time due to school. We were very meticulous with every aspect, as well. We wanted to make sure everything sounded perfect, so we’d even go back and re-record sections several weeks later just to improve one small aspect of the take.

CoverIn its production etc. was there any others involved or it was a solo effort by the three of you until the signing with Metal Blade?

The album was largely self-produced. All tracking and programming was done at our home studios in Boston, MA, with the exception of vocals, which were recorded with Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston-Salem, NC. The album was mixed by Rich Mouser at The Mouse House Studio in Los Angeles, CA, and mastered by Jamie King.

How did that link up with Metal Blade come about, what brought you to the attention of Brian Slagel of the label?

We got in contact with Tommy Rogers (vocalist of Between the Buried and Me) once the record was finished, who liked it and wanted to help us shop it to labels. Metal Blade, BTBAM’s own label, got back to us with an offer upon hearing the album from Tommy. We’re eternally grateful for him having given us this opportunity!

The vocals to Quiet World were as you mentioned subsequently recorded with Jamie King. How was the experience?

Working with Jamie was a blast. He’s an extremely patient and helpful guy, and really great to work with. It was also really exciting for me to get to record Quiet World inside the same vocal booth I’d seen in the BTBAM studio videos!

Were there other tweaks, evolutions to the album around this point too?

With the exception of Chromatic Aberration between its demo version and now, not much on the album has ever changed. Our vision from the onset remained fairly constant, with changes affecting primarily the sounds in the album rather than the writing.

I think it is fair to say that Quiet World has been enthusiastically received. Did you have any particular hopes for it, especially once Metal Blade was steering its release?

We’ve been nothing short of floored at the overwhelmingly positive response to the album. We knew Metal Blade would be able to get our music out there, but we never could’ve known how well-received this album was going to be–it’s been quite surreal. We’re so excited that people have been enjoying it and can’t wait to bring it to them live!

Tell us about the premise between the lyrical concepts of Quiet World? bySamHarchik_03

The lyrical concepts were intentionally connected in many different ways, not necessarily all relating the same over-arching story to the album. We don’t like to talk about our own interpretation of the story too much since we want listeners to be able to find their own meaning in the music, but I can give some background on the concept. The main source of conflict in the story stems from an unrequited love. Mute, an outcast, escapes into a world of his own creation where he maintains complete control, until a struggle for freedom begins to mount against him. The musical and lyrical content work together to tell many different stories following this concept throughout the album.

What inspired the narrative?

The music and story of Quiet World are largely interdependent, each influencing the other constantly throughout their creation. When we set out to come up with a story to write the album around, we knew we wanted something emotional and eclectic enough for the musical ideas we already had. We also took influences from everything we’d taken in and appreciated throughout our lives: from videogames to fantasy novels to classic prog rock concept albums, Quiet World truly came from all over.

As we mentioned the album has a strikingly diverse and adventurous landscape to its music, are there any bands or artists you would say have inspired the ideation within Quiet World most notably, and in your own personal craft?

The album clearly has several major influences (musical theatre, Queen, Between the Buried and Me), but the main inspiration behind the sound of Quiet World has been to create something strange and interesting through the conglomeration of all these different styles. Through jazz harmony studied at Berklee, vocal writing inspired by Queen, and the emotional storytelling of musical theatre, we were able to put together this album that really felt like its own unique sound.

Is there a live presence to Native Construct?

Absolutely! We’re rehearsing with an additional guitarist and drummer to bring our live line-up to a five-piece, and will be playing shows soon.

What is next for the band? Is the Metal Blade union on-going?

Our agreement with Metal Blade lasts for at least three major record releases, so we’ll likely be buckling down on our next album after the summer.

Big thanks again for talking with us, any last thoughts you would like to share?

I know I’m not Trolzaan. I’ll never be Trolzaan.

https://www.facebook.com/NativeConstruct   http://www.metalblade.com/nativeconstruct/

Read the Quiet World review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/native-construct-quiet-world/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Wild hooks and inescapable persuasions, introducing Threatpoint

Threatpoint Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

There has been very good things coming out of America about a “raw, no gimmick pure groove metal band!” They are called Threatpoint and after checking out their sound it is hard to offer a better description though it does not quite hint at the full variety of sound and texture within their magnetic assaults. This is a band we instantly thought we need to know more about so grabbed the opportunity to corner the band with a few questions.

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce Threatpoint and to your furiously diverse assault of groove/metal what would you describe as your biggest inspirations?

Chris James (vocals), Alex Olivetti (guitar), Mike White (guitar), Eric Ross (bass), and CJ Krukowski (drums). We draw from so many different ideas and genres… But a few that we all like are Devildriver, Testament, Soilwork and Killswitch Engage.

What predominantly inspires the roar to the lyrical side of the band?

Lyrically Chris writes about life. Sometimes struggles we endure or stories of situations people have gone through. There’s always a positive note in them. You’ve got to read into them. There’s a spiritual sense to him.

How does the songwriting process work within Threatpoint?

Songs generally start with a vocal melody or a guitar inspired cut. With the two new guys now everyone writes in the band. Chris and Eric also play guitar. So there are a lot of ideas floating around constantly!

You just touched on it, you have had a line-up change recently, how has this impacted on things like indeed songwriting and where has it invigorated the band most?

Mike and Eric are very good friends that played in a band together prior. So that helps with the ease of transition. Both of them bring massive energy to the band as well as writing skills of different types. We finally feel a sense of completeness with the addition of them.

Careful What You wish For Cover-Reputation Radio/RingMaster ReviewTell us about your album Careful What You Wish For…about its theme, recording etc.

That album took us a year and four months to finish. Among working full-time jobs, doing shows and writing the material we were stretched and burnt out. Originally it was supposedly to be 10 songs, which turned into 20 then was cut to 14. We record at JL Studios in Olyphant Pennsylvania. Joe is a mastermind. His skills are amazing. We say can you get this sound and he does.

CWYWF is a collection of ideas …no one theme…Different real stories or views on our take of life.

How would you describe the evolution in your sound and differences between the new album and its predecessor Dead To Rise?

Definitely more advanced on this album. You strive to get better as you go. Find out what works and what doesn’t go over so well. Some songs are great to listen to on disc but live they don’t go over as well. So it’s always a learning curve.

The band, as readers look at this interview, is undertaking an intensive tour along the Southeast of the US. What can people expect from a Threatpoint show and will you be airing Careful What You Wish For in its full might?

We are currently playing quite a few tracks off it live. Expect high raw energy from the stage. No gimmicks!

Yea, we go to southeast and then out to west coast in the fall. Lots of shows coming up. Hope to see and meet lots of new peeps!

You can stream our full album on our website www.threatpointofficial.com

Once more big thanks for chatting with us, any last words?

Thank you to our fans and anyone helping us to grow. Please stop by our Facebook page and give a LIKE…

https://www.facebook.com/threatpoint     http://www.threatpointofficial.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Roaring with sounds and words: talking Choking On Illusions with Mario Strasser

Mario Strasser

It is not as if hardcore is lacking bands with new voracious ideas and sonic explorations but there are times when one has that extra essence or imagination which sets the passions a flutter. One such encounter came forward this past month from German band Choking On Illusions in the shape of their second and compelling album Rest/less. It is a beast of a melodic hardcore incitement as fiercely confrontational as it is inescapably compelling, a seriously exciting encounter. Offered the chance to dig deeper into album and band, we grabbed it with both hands plying vocalist Mario Strasser with questions, exploring the origins and heart of the band, the creation of Rest/less, and a final bombshell.

Hi Guys, many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

You’re welcome; thanks a lot for giving us the opportunity to say some words!

Can you firstly give us some background to the band and its beginnings?

Well, originally this band started as five kids from a church’s youth group who wanted to play heavy music. Over the years one member after another changed and now I (Mario/Vocals) am the only founding member remaining. With the change of members the band experienced a change of both musical and lyrical style and yeah, REST/LESS pretty much sums up who and what we are now.

Did you have any particular aim and intent with the band and its music from those opening days?

We’ve always been very focused on lyrical content because we never wanted our music to be “just” music. From what I learned about heavy music there has always been more to music. There has always been a message behind it. Be it a positive or negative one, all the artists I admired had something to say and that is something I wanted to keep going with the music we created.

10402430_10152928515889656_5317035852149746870_nAs evidenced by your new album Rest/less, you are shaping hardcore with a fresh and fiercely imaginative mix of flavours and ideas. Did you always intend explore the hardcore core of your sound with this level of adventure or has it evolved organically over time?

I guess you could say that our music evolved over the past few years just the way we evolved as musicians and just human beings. When you grow up you learn to think outside the box and see what is beyond the boundaries you set yourself. That pretty much sums up how we wanted to write our latest album.

It is fair to say, without any disrespect to past members, Choking on Illusions found its creative stride and potency around 2011 when the current line-up came together. What was different and provided the spark for the band to go to the next level?

Thank you, that is pretty much what I and everyone in the band thinks. I guess you could say that some of the guys from the first incarnation of the band were just not that much “into it”. Being in a local band can be pretty hard and it takes a lot of time, energy and money to keep going and so the other guys kinda got lost along the way.

The following year saw the release of acclaimed debut album Guide me home. Now as we mentioned you have unleashed the outstanding Rest/less, how do you see the evolution between the two releases?

The period between the two records was a time where we spent a lot days on the road. We played about 100 shows in 2 years, which is a lot for 5 guys that still try to balance their personal life with being on the road a lot. I think that is something you can really hear on the record.

Did you approach the new album with any specific idea or direction which differed majorly from its predecessor?

When we recorded Guide me home we pretty much only recorded all the songs we had written as a band. For this record, we had an amount of about 30 songs written, out of which we selected the 11 songs you can hear on the album.

You recorded it at Mysterium Studio; this is an environment which you find easy to create within, or are studios generally the same if you exclude the personnel?

Mysterium Studio used to be an amazing place. It has now been closed down because of our producer Arkadi moving to America, but we always had a great time there. Arkadi is one of the most talented guys I have ever met and there has always been a great chemistry between him and us. The atmosphere always resulted in maximized creativity and it he has definitely to be credited for challenging us to broaden our influences.

Tell us about the recording of Rest/less.Choking on Illusions Cover

We started recording the album I think in May 2013, with the first version of it being written, yet untitled; [it was] chaotic and simply just no really good to be honest. We started tracking drums, but about two weeks into it we all decided that this just wouldn’t do it for us. We wanted to put out a better record with better songs, so we went straight back to writing songs. After all, only 4 Songs remained from the first attempt of writing an album. 3 months later in August 2013 we entered the studio again, this time with the songs that made it to the album. I think it took a total of only 10 days to record it, but we had to deal with a lot of delay und unprofessionalism from people outside the band (for example “guest vocalists” being unable to record or to even respond to messages which resulted in them ultimately being cut out apart from Robbert from Wasted Bullet who did an amazing job) so it took until about June 2014 until the whole record was finished.

Do you try to enter the studio with songs basically complete ultimately or are you a band which evolves songs once inside its walls?

We usually write all the songs before and it’s just some minor changes, additional leads or instruments that develop during the recording process.

How does the songwriting process generally work within the band?

The songs are (and have always been) written by me. I write the songs, program them and show them to the rest of the band. Then we get together and work on the songs. Make them better, rewrite them sometimes and try to put them into the best form possible.

We found that Rest/less, though a striking beast from the off, actually grew in its depth and imagination over numerous listens. It took time to explore all the fascinating enterprise beneath its imposing roar. We liked that immensely about the album; was this something you expected might be the case with some listeners?

Thank you; that is definitely something we wanted to achieve. I always like it when an album can still grow after the first time listening. I wished for our music to be something like that, so it’s great to hear that this is the case for at least some listeners. We included a lot of depth in both music, with additional guitars and additional instruments, as well as the lyrics that require a certain will to explore from the listener.

The album is released through Bastardized Recordings, your first with the great label. How did the link up happen?

We were playing a show with our friends in The Green River Burial where Marco from Bastardized Recordings was also attending. From the guys in TGRB Marco knew that we were in the process of recording our new album and after seeing us live he came up to us and expressed his interest. As soon as our record was done he listened to it and he instantly wanted to release our record through his label.

Choking on Illusions Pic2Did knowing they would release it put an extra spring in the step making the album or was the union after recording?

We were done recording before we started talking to Bastardized, so that didn’t affect the writing or recording process.

What is next for Choking on Illusions?

Unfortunately, we will only be doing our last tour and then we’ll go on indefinite hiatus. We were already joking about releasing the songs we never recorded during the time this band was in existence right after we break up, but I don’t really think that that is going to happen.

Once again thank you for talking with us. Any last thoughts you would like to leave us with?

Thanks so much for giving us a chance to talk, we feel extremely blessed to have people care about what we pour our hearts into. Thank you!

Read the Rest/less review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/choking-on-illusions-restless/

https://www.facebook.com/ChokingonIllusions

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 06/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

 

Raucous times and roaring escapes: exploring the heart of US rockers Long Time Divided

LTD 2

Sometimes there is no escaping the lure of a band, whether in sound, presence, personality or whatever. One proposition definitely equipped with that kind of instinctive temptation is Pittsburgh rockers Long Time Divided. Formed in 2008, the quintet has been a persistent rock riot grabbing an enthused and growing loyal fan base locally and spreading further afield. Renowned as one of the hardest working bands on and from the Pittsburgh music scene, Long Time Divided is beginning to stir broader attention. With a new album beginning to boil in the band’s horizon, it felt the right time to find out more about the band, so with thanks to vocalist DJ Beckage we set about exploring the origins, inspirations, and acclaimed live presence of the band.

LTD DJ Beckage - SingerHey DJ;  thanks for talking with us.

Please introduce the band members and give us some background to the band.

Well there’s me, DJ, the lead singer, and then we have two amazing guitarists in Paul Terry and Dean Toughlian. And then we have one of the best 1-2 bass and drum combos in rock with Bob Beveridge on bass and Slick on drums.

As for the band, we’re a hard rock band with a bit of a metal and blues taste mixed in and we’re based out of Pittsburgh, PA (U.S.A.). I always like to categorize us as a blue-collar rock band. We work hard and play harder and we’re really not the “green room” types, you know what I mean? We’d much rather be out having fun with our fans. We had a green room before and it was horribly boring. HA!

Where did you all meet and what did you have any specific intention behind bringing the band to life?

I had dissolved my old band and was looking to join a fully formed band in need of a singer and lyricist and it just happened that the original line-up of the band, including Bob, were looking for a singer. The guys had me audition and that first night we wrote three songs (Breaker, Spiders, and Take Me Away). Everything just clicked. It was great. Later, Paul joined the band so we would have two guitars. Slick came on board after our original drummer just up and left town (weird), and he brought a level of power to his play yet he’s attune to the dynamics of the song and what is needed. Lastly, Dean joined the group, which I think brought a refreshing outlook on the group.

Your sound seems generally described as hard rock yet there is much more in the mix for us. How would you portray it to newcomers to the band in words?

We’re a blue-collar band. We’re the guys you’d want to go with to the bar for a night of drinking and partying. We have a good time at our shows and try to bring everyone along for the ride. Times are tough and we want to be that kick-ass escape for people.

What predominately drives and inspires the lyrical and emotional side of your songs?

I (DJ) typically write what I’m feeling, whether the narrative is about something that personally happened to me or one of my band mates, or if it’s just something I heard or read about in the news. I love bringing a level of honesty to our songs because it gives the listener something to grab hold of and make his or her own.

The textures and melodic flames which sculpt your songs are as imposing as the muscular side of your invention. It suggests songs are carefully and intensely composed. What is the general writing process for the band and do you aim for particular ideas with each song or let them develop organically?

Thanks. That was about as badass a compliment of our music as I have ever heard.

We typically write as a whole group. One person may bring a melody or riff to the group and we just build the songs out from there. I love this because it gives ownership of the song to everyone, which helps eliminate ego from the writing process.

As for our “particular aim,” it goes back to the fact that we want to write music that we want to hear.

You have earned a great reputation for your live presence, highlights so far?LTD 3

I think the highlight for me has been all the big name acts we’ve had the opportunity to play with, like Fuel, Static-X, Soulfly, Jimmie’s Chick Shack, Soul Asylum, and Ace Frehley. Opening for Fuel was my biggest highlight so far. I think the fact that we’ve had these opportunities acknowledges the hard work that we’ve put in to making our music.

What have you in store for the year and fans across 2015?

Well the big thing this year is our sophomoric album. We’re aiming for April to start recording tracks for the new album and I can’t wait. There has been a wonderful growth in all of our song writing skills and I think people will be thoroughly please with the product.

Thanks for talking with us; anything you would like to add to tempt people to check out your vibrant sounds?

Thank you for having me. Anytime I get to talk about how awesome my band mates make me look (Ha!). No, seriously, thank you. We work hard and it’s always a pleasure to have this time to talk about the love for our music.

I want everyone to go to iTunes or Amazon or wherever the hell you–yeah you!–get your music and pick up the Long Time Divided debut album. It’s a helluva rock album and we want all of you to join the LTD Army!

https://www.facebook.com/longtimedividedband 

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 29/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Keeping it loud: exploring the world of STP Records with founder Stu Taylor

STPlogo

It is hard not to be rather excited about an ever thriving UK punk and rock ‘n’ roll scene which right now seems to be bubbling rather rigorously with great bands, inspiring releases, and memorable live events. Certainly in the underground, intoxicating and thrilling propositions seem to be a perpetual temptation for our ears, new and older bands with their shows and releases breaching new tenacious creativity with impassioned roars bred from aggressive and uncompromising rock ‘n’ roll. Helping provide support and an outlet for many of those incitements are serious music fans like Stu Taylor and his STP Records. From putting on shows on the Manchester music scene through to becoming a regular port of call at the Rebellion festival, Stu and STP has become one of the most potent and respected presences in the underground scene. Embracing punk to punk n’ roll, basically anything exciting them with flavoursome unbridled rock ‘n’ roll, the label has brought fans some essential and refreshing releases whilst introducing wider attention to their creators artists, and its founders a continual supply of history lingering shows and performances in Manchester and around the UK. Without wanting to sound like an advert, as a music fan and reviewer it is impossible to miss the open appetite and professionalism, insight and passion in wanting to help promote good bands and music within STP. Hearing of new plans and adventure afoot within the label we thought it was time to explore more the people behind many of our favourite encounters of recent times. So we grabbed Stu, piled him with a torrent of questions and went about learning about the background to man and label, future plans and their inspirations, the team behind the face and label, and how he ‘annoys’ the STP ladies at shows…

1185331_483457091780505_1556240827_nHi Stu, a big thanks for taking time away from important things to chat with us J

Can we start by asking some background to and what inspired you to set up STP Records?

The release side of things came about as an offshoot from the shows we have been doing at The Star and Garter here in Manchester since the mid Nineties, and those shows we started to do as bands were simply not playing Manchester. So with a friend, Ian, we used to travel to shows to see bands and simply asked them to come and play in Manchester. Like most promoters, we have been privileged to see a fantastic array of bands down the years, and sometimes that can lead to those bands becoming very good friends as well.

You know how it works, you are in the same room with bands sharing a beer and chatting away about anything and everything, a band mentions that they want to get their songs heard but either don’t know how or have anybody willing to release things.

The very first time we released something was for a band called Sadie Hawkins Dance and it became a collaboration with some Norwegian labels (October Party Records, Goldenmusic, Fucking North Pole Records) so we could get the hang of doing things.

The rest as they say is history as we continue with shows and releases.

Did you have a particular intent with it?

There was no particular intent and no initial thought other than to put on shows in Manchester to begin with to save us travelling when bands we liked were touring. Likewise there was no particular intent with the release side of things other than helping friends out and of course you have to like what you’re releasing as well otherwise it just becomes impersonal. As with anybody that attends a show, I suppose you could argue that the initial intent was, and still is, to have fun doing things and as any of the bands we have worked with will attest, I have always maintained that, and that extends to releases, the fun aspect from start to finish that hand in hand with the hard work and financial outlay leads to that smile when you get that finished product in your hand for the first time….something you don’t get with a download.

Obviously punk rock in its various shades is the focus of STP and your passions as a fan. Has this bred from mere love of the music and like us a hunger to hear and embrace the best of the genre or was there been a musical side to you before moving to create the label?

Various shades sum us up quite well, as we hope our selection of releases to date reflects. Of course in some instances we have more than one release from a band and whilst that becomes immediately identifiable to those buying from us, and fans of that band, we also think that the cross selection of musical styles on offer at STP Records keeps things interesting for us and others, at least we hope so.

Love of music as opposed to a musical background has of course kept us fuelled, and continues to do so, so yes we do like to hear and embrace all that several genres of music have to offer.

That having been said I can bathroom sing up there with the best of them in that tone deaf way so many of us enjoy so much, coupled with that at show beer fuelled singing which again many partake in so I don’t know if that counts as musical background, if so I’m an expert.

How would you say STP has evolved most dramatically since those early days?

Three areas to cover here; live shows, releases, merchandise…

On the live show side of things, from those first tentative steps of winging things and not really knowing what was involved, we now have our own backlines, can and have put on shows in various size venues not just in Manchester but around the UK, and are more than happy to share that equipment and knowledge, which we do frequently.

Regarding releases, again initial enthusiasm has now given way to full knowledge of every release from inception to final product, and in partnership with bands we like to ensure releases get honest reviews which benefit ourselves and bands in regards to constructive positive/negative feedback. We do enjoy reading fuller reviews rather than the one or two sentence variety but do appreciate some zines etc. do not have the space to carry fuller reviews, but all are welcomed.

Merchandise has become an offshoot of both shows and releases and for STP has built into a stall that we are able to adapt in size from a full 3 sided 18ft stall at large shows to a couple of release boxes at local shows. We have also rather than just concentrate on tee shirts and releases, added a whole range of items that cater for people wanting to buy jewellery, hair dye, boot polish, and a whole range of quirky and one off items sourced from a variety of places on our travels.

I think the largest evolvement for STP however is the name getting out and about by word of mouth combined with an online presence, and of course being out and about and recognised. We also count ourselves very lucky that without question, everybody we have worked with, whether band, festival, zine etc. has also endorsed what we do and for that we are grateful; this could I suppose count as a fourth area of evolvement.

For us STP Records is much more than a label, it is a proposition truly supporting the independent punk scene and its artists well beyond just providing an outlet for their releases. We can assume this was and is increasingly the driving force for the label and your personal endeavours?

Very nice of you to say so…Of course we do support as much as possible artists we release for and are reliant on sites like The Ringmaster Review to help us achieve that alongside venues / promoters / radio stations and the general public; all of these combine to hopefully get people out to see a band for the first time if they have not yet seen them or bring them back if they like what they see / hear first time round.

Of course anybody can release anything or put on a show to support a band / scene, and it will always be a work in progress in an ever evolving / changing entity as there is always room to take on board new thoughts. Support within not just the independent punk scene, but any scene / genre works 2 ways for us, we will give it unconditionally and are grateful if we get a return and likewise sometimes we get support and will return it. It doesn’t always work this way but it’s the same in any walk of life so it’s nothing new, you just have to accept it for what it is and move on focusing on what’s relevant to what you are doing, and again this train of thought comes with experience. We like everybody else have made mistakes in this area but for where we are now, we concentrate on the positive and it is this on-going positive thinking that has become our driving force.

424597_466808396672960_1027000482_n

Stu, Sam, and Babs

STP is basically a one man band? How difficult was it to set up the company and more so keep it going in the modern music scene?

Whilst it may seem like a one man band, it’s truly not. Initially a good friend Ian Lewis helped me set up shows back in the early nineties which is where we moved from being paying customers to promoters. Today we also have Samantha Mason (my better half), Barbara Taylor (sister) and Laurence Smith (nephew) who help out in their own inimitable way regards merchandise stalls, taking money / tickets on the door, carrying gear and basically supporting what the public perceives as STP in the manifest form of myself.

Of course people see what I do publicly, with bands and online and it’s easy to see how that is taken as a one man band but the above 3 people are as much STP Records as I am.

I would also count the many promoters we have done joint shows with, the staff past and present at the wonderful Star and Garter in Manchester, the bands we have released with, the people who have paid for our releases or come to our shows, and the staff and promoters at venues worldwide who have booked our bands and played our songs, and Rockers England store on Oldham Street for selling tickets and CD’s…all of these when added together knit a far and wide STP blanket under which we can sleep soundly.

As previously mentioned, anybody can set up a label, put out a release, put on a show. You just need a basic amount of research and how you take it forward is dependent on what you want to put into it or get out of it. And as anybody doing any of these will tell you, you learn as you go, you will make mistakes, you will do things right, you will upset people, you will be upset by people but if you take all that on board and continue, you will know if it’s right for you.

The modern music scene shifts all the time and you have to continuously look at things and not be afraid to change things, and I’ll cover this a little more in one of your other questions coming up a little further down.

Whereas previously you have been running the label alongside ‘real life’, I believe you have recently made STP your full-time job and attention?

I have indeed for many years been fitting a lot of what I do around a full time job. The only time this has been any different was a few years ago when I gave up work to work alongside the fantastic people of Vice Squad until a short illness took me away from this and back into work…but that’s another story for another day.

But yes, the decision was taken by myself with full support from Samantha to hand in my notice at work and I did indeed walk away from the day to day routine. Of course this decision was taken as we have paid off our mortgage and having worked since leaving college. It’s still a little strange for me after 7 weeks…and to be honest as I have mentioned to a few folk, how I fitted so much in before I will never know as I now seem to have so much to do but I am slowly incorporating appreciating time, nature, and more alongside thinking ahead for what I want do personally regards bringing money in, which for the moment is unimportant, and also for changing what we do STP wise, again something I will talk about further down the set of questions.

Was this move something you have intended for a while?

I had intended to do this a while ago as mentioned when I was out and about with Vice Squad, and indeed the last couple of years it has been the main thought to change my life outlook and something I am now dealing with on my own terms with the full support of family and friends as I look to integrate STP into an acceptable lifestyle for myself, Samantha, family and friends.

2015 will see a new shift in direction for STP I believe, can you explain what will be changing and growing with the label?

2015 will see a small change in that following a hectic release schedule in 2014 we have slowed down a touch this year, again to fit into my current lifestyle change. We have just released Horror Movie Matinee by The Obnoxious UK, again another band who over the course of a year or two have impressed with their attitude and friendliness as well as their music naturally, and sometimes you just have to release something to help bands like this get a foothold and that is indeed at this moment in time what I am doing. Outside of this we are planning only another 4 releases this year from Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies as we also chase up another 2 outstanding releases from late 2014 yet to emerge….but again, I will cover the change and growth question more in your upcoming 2016 question.

Stu & laurence

Stu & lawrence

What about the live side of your work, shows etc.?

Live wise this is a bit bitter sweet at the moment. Our venue of choice for the last 3 decades for putting on shows in Manchester has been the Star and Garter. The venue has now been issued with a compulsory purchase order connected to the upcoming Northern Rail hub work (a story you can look up elsewhere) and that work is scheduled to begin early 2016.

Now a question I have been asked hundreds of times in the last few months is where will I do shows in Manchester…well the simple answer is that I will not be.

I simply cannot bring myself to begin to build the amazing relationship we have built with this venue, it is something unique and if any promoter elsewhere has the same length of time relationship, you will know exactly what we mean. It will be a sad day if/when it closes but I have taken the decision now to hold a last finale weekend for STP shows here and this will take place on Sat / Sun December 19th / 20th and we are urging people to get their tickets for this as for both ourselves at STP and the venue, it will be an emotional one to bow out on and we are hoping we can sell out 2 nights with everyone simply having an amazing time.

We of course have done shows in other venues in and around Manchester as well as further afield, but in a sporting context we view these as away fixtures with Star and Garter shows our home fixtures. We are truly privileged to have worked with the owners, staff past and present and clientele on some truly amazing shows and there are some amazing stories behind some of those shows.

For the future, the only STP shows that will surface will be Dirt Box Disco shows as that is the band we currently work with on a full time basis, and the occasional album release show for when we do decide on a new full release for a band, but none of those will be in Manchester.

How do you see the UK punk scene right now? From the outside its looks and sounds like it is in one of its healthiest states ever since the late seventies. How have you found it working within it?

Very active would probably be the best description. There is an awful lot going on, more so in some places than others but overall it’s in a good place. There’s a healthy mix of young and old, sometimes combining, sometimes not, but overall keeping things going.

There has always been something happening somewhere since the late seventies regards shows, releases, cafes, record shops and that continues today and long may it do so when we finish and leave our little dent in history.

Working within, we have covered every emotion over the years and I think it’s safe to say that’s the same for anybody who has done it. There is good and bad in all walks of life and people will continue to see it first-hand week in week out, but it all blends into making an ever evolving and hopefully thriving set of conditions for others to jump on board and augment, and as we have aged and grown we have learnt to respect anyone who gets on a stage, anyone who works behind that stage, anyone who puts on a show, anyone who releases anything, and anyone who buys anything or attends anything; they are all jigsaw pieces working to finalise an ever unfinished puzzle.

Can we ask a few things about your own musical tastes etc. like what were and have been the bands inspiring your passions as a fan and to get really involved with music? Has it always been punk first spreading outwards?

I hope this was intended as one question, if not apologies for my making it so but it seems apt. As those who know me well know, the only other interview I have ever done was in November 2006 for http://www.fungalpunknature.co.uk and I hit on this very briefly in that interview. Like anybody else of my age group, music played a big part at school and has remained a big part ever since, and hopefully will do so as I approach the big 50 this year and look beyond that.

I have always been drawn towards noisier bands and fortunate enough even at that young age not to pigeonhole things, something that was sometimes frowned upon for peer pressure purposes in the playground, but nonetheless has stood me in better stead for choosing to look at a broader spectrum. Both Rock and Punk gave me the door to finding that need for loud bands and that was augmented by Indie and extreme metal so to answer the second part of this question, it’s not always been punk first spreading outwards, but a good mix of bands and styles, and to answer the first part there are far too many bands over several years to point at. Of course I feel spoilt at having so many good bands over several good decades to watch and listen to and I hope to continue to be spoiled for a while yet.

How about live, what were your earliest pleasures watching gigs and which again especially went towards sparking an appetite to get involved?625591_3939692244749_705180367_n

Anybody who has been bitten by the watching live show bug will know, it starts young…From watching bands at Butlins Holiday Parks as a kid, to watching bands in school, then progressing to venues and pubs (and underage entry and drinking ones included); there have been many a place and reason for going to see something. My earliest pleasure, and still my favourite pleasure (sometimes much to the STP girls displeasure), I have always loved being in venues as early as possible and I continue this today taking in as much as possible and thus giving every band playing my eyes and ears.

Locally, despite closing venue issues aside, we still have many places to go and watch bands ply their trade on a stage, and that’s the same for most towns and cities. We have of course lost many a venue as well already (Banshee, Boardwalk, Metro, International, Rockworld, Gallery etc. etc.) but there are still places to see live bands and always will be, so as long as there are bands to watch and get involved with, that appetite will hopefully remain intact.

Is there anything about the punk scene or the UK music arena in general which has you feeling excited and alternatively things which frustrate even anger as a fan and a label owner?

Pretty much year on year, it’s the not knowing what’s coming next regards a new band, or a new album that keeps me on my toes. With so much talent out there, you just know that somewhere down the line you’re going to want to do something for a band that will hopefully pass on that excited feeling to others, but of course its individual to each and every one of us and it’s also that diversity of feeling that excites as well. Nothing angers me anymore as either a fan or label, I simply now accept things for what they are, do what we do as a label to ensure the best possible platform for our releases and shows, and then quite simply enjoy things and of course if that translates back into someone else being excited about things, all the better.

You mentioned the great releases lined up for the rest of the year, including Dirt Box Disco’s next album, a highly anticipated release from a band we like so many love with a lustful greed. What can you reveal going in 2016?

As previously mentioned above, regards this year and 2016, we have releases planned for indeed Dirt Box Disco, Brassick, The Kingcrows, and Healthy Junkies, and of course you have already reviewed our first release this year from The Obnoxious UK. That’s going to be pretty much it for 2015 as well as our last few shows in Manchester. Of course we will be out and about as usual around the UK (and possibly further afield) at various times this year and for the 2016 part of this question, let me jump straight to the next question and tie it in……..

Are there any ideas or irons in the fire to which you can hint at if not yet fully reveal?

2016 will see a change in thinking regards us releasing things on CD. A continuously shifting attitude to CDs will mean we will literally be doing at the maximum around 3 or 4 full releases in CD format, and by full releases I mean having pressed quantities of 500+, and even then I may even trim these to 300 copies and maybe add a vinyl option.

We do currently have 2 projects for vinyl in the works, one outstanding and one upcoming and we are going to look at maybe releasing some runs of 300 regards vinyl for initially Dirt Box Disco, and then maybe take a look at our back catalogue regards vinyl and in the case of something that may excite us around the corner, possibly a new band release as well.

I am also in 2016 going to be resurrecting and expanding our STPLE range of CD releases. These are Limited Edition releases of just 100 copies of a CD. These will be aimed at bands from overseas looking for some UK zine coverage and radio play, as well as new UK bands that have been in formation for no more than 12 months. The aim for these is to sell 50 to cover costs and use 50 to promote new bands and bands from abroad that folks have not yet heard….we have done 4 of these to date and they proved a very popular concept, plus of course if you own one you know that they are extremely limited with no repeat run by STP Records, so you have to be quick off the mark to order when we start these in January.

And of course our connection with the rise and rise of Dirt Box Disco will continue apace as we plan for 2016, which will see a change too, but I won’t reveal anything on that just yet, people will have to keep watching the sites and social networks.

Where can people best keep abreast of STP and indeed buy its releases etc.?

http://www.stprecords.co.uk/ is our website and of course you can find STP Records on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Thanks again Stu, any last words?

Absolute pleasure, the questions had me re-visiting some memories and I have no doubt omitted a fair bit but as with all things, anybody reading this can come and see me at a show, on a merch stall and ask me about any of this or anything else

Finally a slightly unfair question but is there one release coming up which you are especially excited about?  

Always excited, as mentioned already, about every release so no single one takes precedence over another in the excitement stakes.

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 26/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Rhythmic slavery and expressive words: exploring the creative world of Dave Barbarossa

1450939_10152047691042767_1930614824_n

 A potent and swiftly vocal roar for one particular band in the past months has been very noticeable in the London and UK underground scene, an eager buzz which led ourselves and colleagues at Reputation Radio to go check out live Cauldronated, the new band of punk legend Dave Barbarossa. This is a musician who has been the rhythmic driving force and inspiration behind Adam and The Ants, Bow Wow Wow, and…well the list goes on. Certainly those first two bands, and indeed Dave’s unique playing style left a legacy still inspiring artists today, and it is quite easy to suggest his new project with Eva Menon, has the potential to make the same potent impact. So excitedly we got in touch with the man to not only discover more about the band but also to find out about Dave’s acclaimed debut novel Mud Sharks which has just had a revised edition released via New Haven Publishing Ltd. Dave kindly agreed to let us throw a torrent of questions at him, subsequently taking us into the world of Cauldronated, the seeds and landscape to Mudsharks, the linking up with Adam Ant on tour again, and the musical heart of Dave Barbarossa.

Hi Dave and thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

There is so much to, and areas within your career to talk about but with the enjoyment at your recent show at The Unicorn, Camden still rushing through the veins and thoughts, can we look at your latest project Cauldronated first. How would you describe the band and its sound to newcomers?

Thanks for those kind words, mate. It was a pretty good gig, I have to admit. Cauldronated is a blend of quirky synths, a lot of drums, and impassioned vocals. I like the discipline of playing with a digital metronome (clicks/synths). It pushes my playing into places it wouldn’t go if I were just allowed to play as I liked…so the strictness makes me creative, that make sense?…sounds a little masochistic, but I enjoy it.

Was there a particular spark or idea which gave birth to the band?

I was working with David Harman (we were both in Chicane together). We thought we’d try something very drummy with synths and sequences.

How did the initial link up with David and Eva Menon come about; were these musicians you already had in mind to work with on something?

I’d not met Eva in person. I was aware she was a drummer. When I eventually met her, I had one of those ‘McLaren’ moments and immediately asked her to join David and me in a bit of an experiment.

Eva has a presence and drama to her stage presence which has the potential to be, in my mind, one of the most creatively imposing and invigorating vocalist you have worked with. Was it this quality which first captured your attention too?

Yes, her presence and intensity were compelling. I knew she would ‘pull her weight’ with the idea I had.

When I saw the band at The Unicorn, it was just Eva and yourself on stage, is that the usual live set-up?1970901_10152291115742767_350111327_n

At the moment it is…who knows what the future may hold.

The band has a sound and presence which feels as punk in nature and attitude as anything over the past four decades; this was a deliberate or organic essence which emerged?

It was deliberate only in the sense I wanted something uncompromising and challenging. I didn’t want to serve up what people expected. Musically, I feel uncomfortable being comfortable.

Do you still feel that individualistic punk and defiant attitude in your music and creativity as strongly as those first days and years of your career?

That ‘individualistic and defiant attitude’ sustains me. I’d be in a covers band in a pub without it. At the risk of sounding a bit of a knob, I will forever be a punk rocker.

How about in music in general, is it still loud and potent or more of a recurring whisper in modern music for you?

It is still loud and proud. You just have to dig beneath the superficial…it has always been that way.

Cauldronated seems to find you returning to and exploring the more tribalistic rhythms and contagion which marked your time in The Ants and more so Bow Wow Wow. Is this something you feel too or have you not been too far from that side of your adventure over the past years anyway, so it is just part of the current evolution of your ideation?

There are so many drummers (most better than me) playing ‘straight’ beats, ‘serving the song’, being a ‘side man’. I’ve got a trick and I’m gonna play it!

Your first novel Mud Sharks was published in 2012, but I believe it is being republished again very soon?

It is…With added extras; photo, review and a ‘Mud Sharks’ track. (please keep this under your hat until I have a release date – that will be very soon) ta.

What was the trigger to writing a novel? Was it something brewing in your thoughts for a while?

Yeah, I think a lot of us have a novel in them. I simply got mine down. Some emotional events collided with professional ones and out it came. Frankly, I’m a little stunned about how well it has been received.

Mud SharksCan you give a synopsis to the novel?

This is what is says on the cover so it must be right ‘Mud Sharks? Harry Ferdinand is in trouble at home, in trouble at school and now he’s in trouble with the police. He’s battered, bruised and lost until he meets the love of his life: the drums. Things are never to be the same again. Plunged into the world of Punk Rock, Harry finds purpose, adventure and heartbreak as he transforms from boy to man.’

It looks at and confronts racism and violence in its story, within the embrace of the seventies music scene. How much is autobiographical or inspired from experiences you have had or closely come across yourself?

It is a story based on my childhood, schooldays and early career. Not a factual, chronological ‘blow by blow’ of my life. But, all the stuff, good and bad, happened, pretty much.

Do you feel its narrative and observations still represent the current music world and young lives within it now?

It is a story of its time, but perhaps it resonates with people of ‘Harry’s age now. Dunno

Have you plans to write another book in the future?

Yep, finished the second…It is going through the editing and proofing stage. These things take yonks.

Returning to music, what were the inspirations which led you into music predominantly?

I was captivated by the drums, so big and loud. I wanted to master the instrument, on a very basic level. Never dreamed it would be my life.

We have to ask about those heady days, certainly for us fans, when Dirk Wears White Sox was the creative anthem for a great many of us. What are your strongest personal recollections of that time with Adam and the Ants and in the punk scene generally?

Well, it was a while ago and at a time when a young person’s life flashes by. Personally, I was in a perpetual state of astonishment and relief. Both states were euphoric, blissful, magical…how’s that sound?

Next came of course Bow Wow Wow and the highly publicised and still seemingly talked of departure of yourself, bassist Leigh Gorman, and the sadly missed Matthew Ashman from the Ants. What musically enticed the move and how coincidental was it that the two projects pursued the tribal/Burundi sound from that point on?

I really can’t think of why the drums sounded so familiar in both bands – insane coincidence?   I left Adam because Malcolm gave me the opportunity to be my own man. Create my own sound and lead ‘from the back’. With Adam, I was a loyal soldier to a musical genius. I like change.

Probably the last thing fans imagined would be the coming back together of yourself and Leigh with Adam again, something which happened last year when you both joined him in The Ministers 1979117_10151960991666780_7133093067893089771_oOf New Super Heavy Funk Punk and an UK tour. Was this something you would have probably not predicted over the years either or was the supposed ‘animosity’ between all parties a media driven ‘reality’?

Never been any animosity between myself and Adam. I’ve played in his bands off and on down through the decades. We have coffee, talk about our daughters.

How did the link up for the shows come about?

Adam called me and asked if I’d fancy doing the old Dirk numbers live. We’d never done it live, apparently. The minute we got in rehearsals, we knew why. He turned round to me during Animals And Men and said, ‘This is fucking jazz, how did we do it?…

It is fair to say that you helped pioneer the tribal rhythmic temptation which has graced so many bands and still does. Do you offer yourself an inner smile every time you come across another proposition in band and song form obviously inspired by your legacy?

That’s very kind of you mate. I have been lucky to do what I love and what comes naturally.

1888843_10152291116392767_1239021352_oSadly missing out plenty of the other bands and projects you have been involved with, can we turn back to Cauldronated and what is ahead for the band over the coming months?

We’ve got another offering out soon…Ring of Khan, there’ll be gigs and the inevitable quest for world domination…All of it, such a laugh.

What about your solo sounds,; particularly thinking of the Barbarossa Beat two-track download release of last November which teased with a sound reminiscent of a Bow Wow Wow flavouring in songs like I Want Candy but took feet and energies into a new tantalising dance…More to come and any other irons in the fire musically for us to look forward to?

Yes, more to come with Barbarossa Beat, I love changes in direction, challenges. There are a few other things, collaborations popping up too.

My big thanks again Dave for your time.

An absolute pleasure Pete…Thanks you so much for your interest.

Mudsharks is available @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mud-Sharks-Dave-Barbarossa-ebook/dp/B00ULELOP0/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_img_10 and for more info regarding the book go to https://www.facebook.com/MudSharksNew/

https://www.facebook.com/dave.barbarossa   http://www.cauldronated.net/

The Buy This Thing EP from Cauldronated is available now @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/buy-this-thing/id914978407

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 19/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

Exciting the dead: Talking Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival with Johnny Rose and Tommy Creep.

11051959_10152870480533401_4970847077325022310_n

     The UK horrorpunk and horror bred music scene has never been more thrilling and adventurous than it is right; hordes of bands pushing boundaries and lustful pleasures with their diverse and viscerally tempting sounds. Two musicians have been at the heart of this; been a key cog to the fore and behind the scenes in this emerging creative machine. Johnny Rose of Thirteen Shots and Tommy Creep from Lupen Tooth, have both pushed the British underground rock ‘n’ roll scene with their bands, labels, and simply helping others. Now the pair has linked up to craft and soon unleash the first Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival at the Actress and Bishop in Birmingham on April 4th. Already more highly anticipated than a feisty fondle in back street of a movie house playing the entire Hellraiser franchise, the event is set to be a landmark in the UK horrorpunk scene. We grabbed the chance to talk with both Johnny and Tommy about the festival, pulling it all together and what is in store for those braving its dark temptations. We also dug into the hearts of their bands and record labels to learn…

Hi guys and thanks for taking time out to talk with us ahead of a busy time with your bands, labels, and the upcoming Travelling Morgue Horror Punk festival you guys are behind.

Can we talk about the event first and what sparked the idea to out the festival together?

Johnny – It was something Tommy and I have been talking about for a while, we just had to get the courage to do it!

Tommy – Yeah absolutely, there are too many awesome UK horrorpunk bands around at the moment to fit onto a normal bill so some kind of festival had to happen.

Was this an idea seeded in your thoughts for quite a while or a more recently proposed adventure?

Johnny – It something I think both of us have been thinking about for a while, we just needed each other to help push each other! Both of us are trying to help boost exposure for the UK Horror scene so it made perfect sense to collaborate.

It is easy to come up with the idea of holding an event like this but far more problematic and difficult to actually pull it together. How have you found it so far? Thirteen Shots

Johnny – So far so good, the scene is quite close so the line-up took shape pretty much automatically

Tommy – It’s pretty straight forward so far I think, because Johnny and I are both quite organised people

Has it helped that both of you are the driving force behind the event rather than others and how have you shared the organising and promotion of the festival?

Johnny – Yes I really think working together has been a real advantage; Tommy and I both have different strengths so it makes to a more complete job being done!

Tommy – Yeah so far I’ve been handling the design and ticketing while Johnny’s been organising some of the more logistical stuff, it makes a nice change from working completely solo as we do with our labels.

Are you looking at this as a one off event or already have designs on an annual festival of the best horrorpunk bands and sounds around?

Johnny – That purely depends on the success of this one, I would love it to be a yearly event with different bands and some more international bands joining the line-up.

Tommy – Definitely, as long as people show up, there’ll definitely be more. We’ve already had loads more bands contact us wanting to be on the bill so there’s no shortage there. This’ll be the third event under the name the Travelling Morgue (the last two just being one off gigs), so I’d really love to keep going with lots of smaller events throughout the year culminating in a massive party like we’ve got planned for April 4th!

If it does grow will you look at spreading the type of bands playing it to keep it fresh each time or do you see there enough diverse talent within the European if not the world scene, to cover that anyway?

Johnny – Exactly, would be great for all the bands and for the international bands. I was delighted when Jamey Rottencorpse and the Rising Dead agreed to headline the festival, I have been a big fan of them for a long time, I have a list as long as my arm of bands I would like to book.

Tommy: There’re definitely really diverse bands out there that’d still totally fit the theme. For me the “horror” element is definitely more important than the “punk” element. There are loads of bands in the world, like Creature Feature for example, that while completely different from the horrorpunk bands would fit perfectly on a Travelling Morgue event.

How easy was it to choose the bands to invite to play the show or did you always have a certain few in mind and maybe on board before the event was a reality?

Johnny – Yes it was pretty easy, Tommy and I pretty much agreed on line-up before inviting the bands, a couple of bands we wanted couldn’t make it but hopefully there is next year.

Tommy – There was no way any of the UK horror bands, that me or Johnny have gigged with, would want to miss out on this so it was just a case of whether they were available or not.

Lupen ToothHow can people grab details of and tickets for the April 4th show at the Actress and Bishop in Birmingham?

Johnny- everything you need to know about the festival, tickets, line-up etc. can be found at www.thetravellingmorgue.co.uk

Back to the line-up, both your own bands are playing. Tell us about both Thirteen Shots and Lupen Tooth and their histories.

Johnny – yes, it’s a bit egotistical for us to have our bands playing but we weren’t going to miss out! Thirteen Shots will be playing this show as our only local show of the year so far! It will be great to play for a crowd that may enjoy what we do in the UK before we head out to Europe! We have so many new tunes to debut.

Tommy – Lupen Tooth have only been going since the summer but we’ve already been into the studio 4 times and got a load of material to choose from. People can expect live horror film sampling and several songs about necrophilia haha!

Both bands have new releases in the offing too, will they be available and paraded on stage at the Festival?

Johnny – Our new album will not be ready for the festival, but we will be debuting a lot of songs in our set. We also still have a few copies of our limited edition CD available.

Tommy – Yep! Our EP Strawberries & Cream came out 2 weeks ago so we’ll have those for sale and definitely be playing everything from that, along with some even newer tracks.

Can you share some spoilers over both releases?

Johnny – I can’t give too much away yet, all I can say is this album is our most adventurous one to date. We’re really impressed with how it sounds so far! It is scheduled to a May 1st release.

Tommy – There’s not really much to spoil about Strawberries & Cream as it’s already out, but if you’d like spoilers about the themes for some of our new tracks, just Google “skeletonization” or “cadaveric spasm” haha!

Give us quick run-down of who else will be playing the festival.

Jamey Rottencorpse and the Rising Dead – From Bremen in Germany, I have been a massive fan of these guys for ages and I’m delighted when they agreed to headline!

Jamey R...Pic (c) Johanna Streich

Jamey R…Pic (c) Johanna Streich

Zombina and the Skeletones – Clever, hilarious, catchy, surfy, bubblegum-horrorpunks! Been releasing awesome spooky tunes since 1998, a no-brainer that they should co-headline our festival!

Army Of Walking Corpses – a hard n’ fast, metal-tinged, horrorpunk 5-piece. 2 EPs under their belts and a split 7inch with horrorpunk legends the Crimson Ghosts

Gravedale High – Tight, melodic, fast, awesome horrorpunk, been going almost 10 years, shared the stage with pretty much every international horror band that’s come to the UK.

Headstone Horrors – Female fronted Horror Punk band from Nottingham, gaining a great reputation for being a well put together Horror Punk band!

Trioxin Cherry – Sleevy Horror garage Punk Band from Nottingham, These guys/Girl are one of my favourite bands in the scene, recently confirmed for their second appearance at The Rebellion Punk Festival in Blackpool

The BloodThirsters – Birmingham based Horror Punks, a great opportunity for them to play their first gig to a Horror Punk crowd.

You also as if this was not enough work, run your own labels; Johnny and Undead Artists and Tommy with Graveyard Calling Records. Was there a specific spark or moment which inspired the move to set up your own label for not only your own releases but those of a great many emerging and exciting new bands?

Johnny – For myself I had a feeling I needed to protect and support bands a little bit more. We had been signed to two labels and had really bad experiences with them, so I set up Undead Artists as a label for bands, run by a band. Hoping that I can help my bands and support them correctly, because I understand what they need.

Tommy – I had a solo release that I wanted to put out on tape and thought it’d be more fun to put it out as a “cassette-horror-double-feature” along with another artist’s release and it just grew from there.

Tell us the mind set and intent behind both labels and the type of music and bands you are releasing and giving opportunities to get their music out there.

Johnny – Undead Artists is a record label for Horror Punk/Psychobilly bands; the aim is to help give them the exposure they need. I like to work with bands who dare to push their sound within the genre; I only sign bands I like too. I feel like I can help them more if I’m a fan of the music!

Tommy – Graveyard Calling puts out any music that fits the horror theme, whether it’s electronic, punk, surf, metal, music for haunted attractions, anything spooky! In terms of format, so far I’ve put out cassettes and digital compilations.

zombina....

zombina….

Can you see the labels expanding further to embrace more expansive areas of music eventually?

Johnny – It’s something I’m looking into., If I’m honest I’m not doing it to make a load of cash, I am more about helping the bands. So I would have to really like the bands to sign a band out of my genre.

Tommy – The 80s/retro/synthwave kinda stuff tends to go down best on cassette, while the horrorpunk fans seem to get more into the compilations I put out; so in the future I think it may be the case that I stop mixing things up so much and focus on putting things out in the formats that the fans of the different genres want to buy.

How do you choose what you release? You touched on this earlier Johnny but is it primarily just down to whether something excites you personally or are there other factors?

Johnny – Exactly, if I like the music, I will work with it. It’s really tough saying no to a band but I keep it positive because at the end of the day, just because I don’t like them doesn’t mean they are not a kick ass band.

Tommy – At the beginning it was definitely more a case of “wow, this artist is cool-as-hell, I’m going to record a load of tapes of them”, but now it’s definitely more “this artist is awesome, but would anyone actually want their music on tape?”

Back to the Travelling Morgue festival, what can those treating themselves to its adventure expect?

Johnny – A whole afternoon and night of the very best the UK has to offer, it’s the perfect festival for fans of Punk and Metal too, don’t be put off by the Horror tag, these bands have so much to offer you.

Tommy – Whether you know the bands or not, it’s going to be an awesome day, a bunch of friendly, like-minded people hanging out and enjoying some brilliant music. There’ll also be a stall from Savage Monster Clothing, a raffle, loads more fun stuff!

And might there be any offshoots from the event?

Tommy – So far I’ve put on two Travelling Morgue gigs in Bristol, I’m hoping eventually to have it as semi-regular nights in different places around the UK- nights that fans of spooky music know that they can get dressed up for and catch a couple of cool horror-themed bands.

Also I’m currently organising Bristol Horror Convention for this October, which will be a day celebrating horror in film, books, music, games etc. There’ll be stalls for Graveyard Calling and Undead Artists, and hopefully some kind of after-party-gig. For more info people can check www.bristolhorrorcon.co.uk

Thanks again guys for talking with us. Any last words you would like to leave with or a sales pitch? ;)

Johnny – Thank you for all your support to our scene, I would like to take this moment to thank a couple of great sites helping make this event possible. A thank you to Undead 13, Monsterfiend and Punk alive! See you in April!

Tommy – If you live in the UK, don’t miss out on our horrorpunk fest! Besides the awesome bands, you’ll meet loads of cool people and have a great time.

Thanks RingMaster for the support! If anyone wants to find out more, check out the following links:

Website: www.thetravellingmorgue.co.uk

Tickets: http://www.etickets.to/buy/?e=12288

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1545097419078600

Free compilation: https://undeadartists.bandcamp.com/album/the-travelling-morgue-festival-meet-the-bands

a3953862417_2

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 08/03/2015