Biting the hand that bleeds you: facing the Weak13 roar with Nick J Townsend

WEAK13_RingMasterReview

UK trio Weak13 is a band we have had a rich taste for over quite a few years now, and increasingly so as new songs and their gripping latest album emerged. A chance to get to the heart of the band arose recently, so in a long overdue chat we talked with band founder Nick J Townsend about the origins and subsequent years of the band, the imposingly refreshing drive of the band and its members, their latest release and much more…

Hey Nick, thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Cheers yeah I’m currently running a music festival in Wolverhampton at the moment but yeah cool fire away.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Well I’m Nick J Townsend; the band’s founder, I sing and play guitar; WEAK13 began in my hometown in Kidderminster in 1999; went under multiple line-up changes which was very distracting when it came to trying to do songwriting or trying to make any solid plans; eventually I moved to the Black Country around about 2008; I think that was the year; and then I revamped the band and recruited bassist Wesley Smith and drummer Neel Parmar. Since 2010 the band has remained the same and it’s ensured stability; we’ve been able to produce a professional debut studio album now titled They Live with engineer John Stewart and I know we couldn’t have tried doing anything like that with people coming in and out of a band;

Have you been in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Speaking personally WEAK13 is my creation and the main band I’ve worked in; I was for a short period in a high school band called Incision which pretty much seemed to just play Metallica songs but I made some nice friends from it; a couple of years later I joined a college band called Bamboo Puncturing; it was an experimental three piece thrash metal band, very heavy, the drummer Chris was also the singer, Stuart Smith was the bassist who behaved very metal although he would take the piss out of anyone else calling themselves metal. I just played guitar for them. The band only lasted about 9 months but for our final show we supported Strapping Young Lad during the ‘City’ album tour and it was the first time I’d played with a signed artist. Although it wasn’t a long conversation I kind of liked chatting to Devin Townsend and I think after watching his set I decided then that I wanted to do something on my own terms musically. WEAK13 began a few years later. Neel Parmar and Wesley Smith have both been in lots of bands before joining WEAK13; they’re very experienced musicians.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

Photography by SquishFlash Images.

What inspired the band name?

I get sick of answering this one but it’s my own fault because I give multiple long answers but the main inspiration was the dangerous surgical operation on my head that I experienced when I was 13; I was born with a defect on my head, bullied constantly throughout my childhood because of the way I looked. Doctors told me at 8 years old that I could have an operation but I had to wait 5 years until I was old enough to operate on. When you are 8 years old and told that you have to wait 5 years…that’s like your entire life again! I didn’t know how I was going to last 5 days at school let alone wait 5 years. I was made to feel weak for years and the age of 13 was all I could look forward to. I was a very depressed child but I didn’t know what depression was at the time, had suicidal thoughts at the age of 8.

I was in hospital for a few months, my skin was stretched and my eye lids could not shut so I would pass out with my eyes wide open; it was a traumatic time for me. After the operation, over 100 metal staples and more stitches had to be ripped out whilst I was awake, no anaesthetic. I returned to school at 13 and I was a normal looking boy again; everyone then wanted to know me; the same people who bullied me….I thought “I haven’t changed….you have”. I had no social skills, didn’t know how to interact with others very well, didn’t understand the world; years later in 1999 my aim was that I wanted to feel the same way as I did before the operation so I shaved half of my hair off and then I named my band WEAK13. That may not fully answer your question but that’s pretty close.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

I originally wanted to have a band on my own terms that I could shape; ‘Project Mayhem’ from the film Fight Club was a great inspiration. I always wanted WEAK13 to be a three-piece like Nirvana, Cream, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience; but it took a while to get to that stage. Three musicians working together seems to make sense, it’s a bigger thing sharing ideas together. I find bands with too many musicians in them become distant from the songwriting, we sound tight because there’s a tightness in how the song is forged; it’s not just a riff, there’s a story behind it; subject matter; a feeling. I’d hate to be in a band with five people or more in it; your songs are your child and creation and it’d be like trying to raise a child with a biological father plus multiple step dads in the same house, too many voices in authority.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

There’s been a lot of change since I began but the basic original idea for the band is still there and maybe more so now; where in the Fight Club movie Project Mayhem eventually became a cult-like organisation trying to bring down modern society; WEAK13 was originally intended to be anti-consumerist and even anti-music industry because I really find the majority of signed artists bland, lifeless and harmful; they dumb down the public with their empty songs and brainwash musicians in to thinking that they are as good as it gets. The only good things that come from many of the elite bands are the watered down ideas they steal from emerging artists and claim as their own but in a more boring and less inspiring way. There has definitely been some evolution in WEAK13. We’re using our music as a weapon; lyrically and subject matter wise we do things most bands haven’t even woken up to yet. We’re currently writing about things such as crisis actors, poison in our foods, population control and the brainwashing media whilst mainstream artists are singing about whose got the biggest bottom.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We have a very distinct sound now which is strange because we can play in different styles and it still sounds like WEAK13; learning how to be yourself is the key I believe. On the They Live album we worked with engineer John Stewart; he saw us play live and wanted to capture the rawness of the band’s sound on to a record but still make it well produced and of a high standard; he did just that. When we recorded Ashes In Autumn I think we realised that WEAK13 had evolved into a clear identifiable musical entity. People hear a WEAK13 song played and they know it’s us. A lot of bands can’t do that.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more you deliberately wanting to try new things?

Photography by Mark Hopson

Photography by Mark Hopson

We have to try different things every time; why write the exact same song again? Years ago I used to buy those albums where the first three tracks were the singles and the rest were just bad clones. I remember something Michael Jackson once said which was make every song a hit; now whether or not a song becomes a hit in this current biased and fixed musical climate is beside the point but I think every song should be treated with the same passion, enthusiasm and standards; there are no unimportant WEAK13 songs now. Every song counts. There’s a natural songwriting process, often the lyrics come first or the song subject and then the music is shaped around it. Some bands have no idea what to write about; that has never been a problem for WEAK13.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

The three of us come from different backgrounds, have totally opposing influences and we shouldn’t logically fit as well as we do. I think because all three of us do what we want in WEAK13 and how we want, it all comes together nicely. I have never told Neel Parmar how to play the drums, I don’t insist on knowing exactly what the baselines are to WEAK13 songs because I enjoy hearing them played and written by Wesley Smith; if he wants to change something he’s done then I encourage it. We all can be musicians in WEAK13. Yes, I often come up with the initial starting point for a tune but it changes when we all get together. When Neel Parmar laid his incredible drums down to ‘Obey The Slave’ the tune became more epic than I could have possibly imagined.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Normally it’s the song subject that comes first or a lyric, I might then put a few guitar riffs together, I go to Wesley Smiths house and show him; Neel Parmar hears what we both come up with together and then he interprets how he thinks the drums should sound and then we have a song. It’s literally often that basic; the song has to be interesting to us, the catchier the better; I write hypnotic choruses people say; well I never want people to forget them so job done.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Pretty easy, the world around us; there are forces of evil out there so there are plenty of things to write about. Media lies to the public every single day; governments are not for the people as they try to make out. I do a lot of research for any song subject and have to be very careful on sources of information as there is a lot of inaccurate data out there.

Can you give us some more background to your latest release?

WEAK13 began recording the They Live album back in 2012 and it took 3 years before we completed it; we all had jobs, no label, had to work a way to fund it, where and when to record, what tracks to go on it, the availability of the great engineer Mr John Stewart from the band Eight Great Fears. We didn’t want to rush this as we wanted an album that is basically better than current mainstream artists. We’re an underground band with no record label and no mainstream music industry supporting us but we wanted an album that embarrasses mainstream artists out there with a record contract. We have been getting only good reviews and it must be humiliating for some of these recording artists out there that turds like us have a superior album. People can order the album from the bands own site http://weak13official.com/ and we’ve not released it on iTunes or any of these streaming sites as we got sick of hearing how bands were getting ripped off, so we control our album at the moment; if they want it they order it from us. It’s got 11 great rock songs on there and they are professionally written and recorded, pretty much everyone that hears the They Live album is blown away and that’s how we like it. This is more than just an album, it’s a wake-up call to modern music journalists; they have a choice, either they sit back and watch their music industry go down in flames and patronise, undermine or ignore us, or do proper journalism and cover bands like WEAK13 who are growing naturally and are becoming bigger without any major corporate backing.

Give us some specific insight to the themes behind it and its songs.

Each song has its own identity and a role on the album theme; the manipulation of how most people see the world thanks to the mainstream media is a main theme to They Live. The song Sex Pest for example is not about sex but because I’m using certain codes of language the listener assumes it’s all about sexual deviance until there are certain parts of the song where I’m so obviously talking about nonsexual themes that you’d have to be brainwashed or brain dead not to notice, I even admit on the recording what the song isn’t about in the bridge section. The song is using the exact same sensationalism that newspapers do; sex themes to get your attention but there is a hidden agenda, my hidden agenda is a warning to be weary of the media with its semiotics and what it preaches as fact; do your own research. Now that is one song of many on the They Live album; I could talk more about that one song, there’s an orgasm noise at the beginning and at the end of the tune which everyone assumes is a female one; it isn’t; it’s the sound of Neel Parmar making that noise. Do not trust what you see or hear in media. The song is really too clever for its own good.

weak13art_RingMasterReviewAre you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Structure wise I think the songs stay very close to the original demos we make before entering the studio but we find that some things don’t work as well and we have to make changes here and there; when WEAK13 recorded the song Go Away it was supposed to be for the They Live album; it was the first recording session the band had with engineer John Stewart and it was beautiful and raw as hell; by the time we recorded the rest of the album tracks the nature of the sound on the album had changed dramatically and John Stewart asked us if we could re-record Go Away so that it was more on par with the other tunes on the album. So we recorded it again and it was super, clear as hell, polished and big, but we felt it wouldn’t sound right on the album as it was too good now; the rawness of the original demo was brilliant but when it became better produced we felt it lost a lot of soul so we didn’t include it on the album. It still to this day hasn’t been released to the public because we loved the original demo so much. Our engineer wasn’t happy with the decision but we had to be honest with him which I think he respects more.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

It is the best way to hear WEAK13. We play to new fans every year and they get what we are about; it’s more than just a live show, it’s an attitude; we see bands come and go around us because they have nothing to relevant say; musically we’re tight and we’re talking about subjects which are current and important to human survival and we deliver a message with every gig we play. We have some fans thanks to the internet who still haven’t watched us live but those that have seen us understand us a lot better.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

I think a lot of new bands out there are bone idol and lazy because they have been programmed to believe a rock and roll lie. A young and upcoming metal band for example wants to be a great metal band and so starts trying to behave like it’s piers but stupidly they play to only one type of audience and don’t even consider anyone else or any place outside of their comfort zone. I always hear the speech “We play metal to metal fans and no one understands us but metallers”; so with that in mind they will only promote and take serious the venues which are deemed as fully metal (who often don’t take the band serious as they aren’t big), they normally only aim their music to one type of audience (often an audience that doesn’t exist because they are unknown). They avoid everyone around them who are not of a metal nature or dressed like a bat, ignoring local promoters, potential new fans, snubbing local music festivals and venues, not trying to be a part of their own community, not taking serious the time of local and real recording engineers (preferring to home record on a iPhone), being rude to bar staff and venue owners when it’s in their best interest to promote their own shows and the venue including supporting non-metal bands (networking is a great opportunity). Working together as a band means everyone involved needs to work together not “Speak to Dave as he does all the band stuff…I just play guitar”. Kids try and behave like spoilt musicians with a huge record contract and management who do everything for them and two years later their band splits up and they can’t figure out where it all went wrong. I have never had problems with working hard and I get good results.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

We do have a lot of success thanks to people watching our music videos, they buy our album from the website, come to shows, grab merchandise at gigs and if someone just starting out asked me how to be a musician I’d answer “learn to use a photocopier or printer, learn social media, learn about advertising” plus a dozen other things which are often nothing to do with bashing out chords on a guitar. If you want to survive and continue to do music I think you need to learn other skills. I learned a lot about the stage by doing stage management. I watched how bands used the web for their career so I had to learn how to use the web, maybe in the case of large bands someone else was paid to do that job for them but there’s nothing wrong with having a go and trying to learn for yourself. To put it simply; a lot of members of bands have this idea that they can only do one thing in the band and that’s it, play a guitar or beat a drum; half the members of upcoming bands have no idea what their fellow musicians even do when they are not in a rehearsal room. The more skills a musician learns the better; yes I spent thousands of hours on a computer pushing WEAK13 to new places and it works. I invested my time and I got a result, I didn’t say “leave it to Leroy as he knows computers”; I had to learn a lot of boring things but they have helped the band. I fucking hate computers but I use them as a tool; that’s what they are and bands need to stop acting like rock gods who have everything done for them whist they polish their pickups and learn more about how they can help their band on the internet and most of all in the real world. There’s a downside that some bands do stuff only on the internet. WEAK13 has a physical album that you can hold in your hands, fans wear real T-shirts, we go out and play to real people; we exist away from the internet as well as be part of it and we try our best. Yes; we use the internet a lot but when you appear in the real world then people take you seriously more because it’s like a surprise to them; you’re not just a jpeg on their iPad, you can be on a physical poster for an actual show at a real venue filed with genuine critical thinking people.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Watch the Down On Me video on YouTube because it’s funny. I also direct music videos; I had to learn how to do film making, I have a University degree in film and media now and it is boring stuff but it’s for my band so it’s important.

http://weak13official.com   https://twitter.com/weak13   https://www.facebook.com/weak13fanpage

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Snarling blossoms: exploring the heart of The Bad Flowers

The Bad Flowers_RingMasterReview

Drawing on influences found in the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Who, British rockers The Bad Flowers soon showed a sound with its own distinct character after emerging in 2014. The West Midlands trio has continued to grow and earn a potent reputation for their rousing sound and equally spirited live presence. Ahead of a new EP, we had the pleasure to throw a few questions at the band who kindly revealed more about the emerging might of The Bad Flowers.

Hello all and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background what brought you all together?

We are The Bad Flowers from Cannock; we have Tom Leighton on lead vocals and guitar, Dale Tonks on bass and backing vocals, and Karl Selickis on drums. The band came about from projects we were working on individually that ran their course, but we all came together when we were playing on the same bill and we kept in touch from there.

So The Bad Flowers is not your first outfits? How have previous endeavours impacted, if at all, on what you are doing now; in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

We have all been in bands before and have been playing for as long as we can remember. When we came together we found that we all wanted to follow the same direction and it worked really well for us, our focus is to play music that we enjoy, that we all have input into which we hope will bring something new to the industry whilst maintaining the influences of the music and bands that have inspired us.

What inspired the band name?

It was a lyric from a song of one our previous bands that we kept going back to, and when it came to us making a fresh start it just felt right.

TBF2_RingMasterReviewWas there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and if so has it changed?

There was no specific idea it has just developed from what we enjoy playing and what we feel works well, and we are really grateful for the support we receive.

The drive to write great music and put on exciting live shows has always been there. The music itself has definitely developed as we have grown as artists, but we’ve always maintained the same sound.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We take more time over each song; we want to make sure each element of the song is exactly how we want it to be. Before we debut a new song, we lay down hours of practice to ensure we’ve got it right.

Has any shift and movement in your sound been more organic or deliberate in wanting to try new things?

The movement has been organic. As we’ve grown up and gained more experience the sound has moved with us.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

There is no one in particular, but as individuals we all have different inspirations which when we write together gives us our sound.

Is there a general process to the band’s songwriting?

It usually happens by one us coming up with an idea and we jam it out during practice until we have a rough idea of where we want it go, then we take it away and work with it to make it tighter and it evolves from there.

How about lyrics? Where more often than not, where are they drawn from or inspired by?

The inspirations for our lyrics come from Tom; he is always thinking of lyrics at work or at home to put into the songs.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?TBF3_RingMasterReview

The next release is a four track EP which includes our most recent songs that are more powerful and slightly dirtier sound than what we have released before.

How about some insight into its themes and songs?

The songs are based on our experiences in the band and as individuals. There is a song based on a recent tour of Europe and we try to make the lyrics relatable and something people can connect with.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We get the songs to the point where are happy with them, we practice them over and over again before we go into the studio to record. There are often times where we may make a few tweaks when we hear the recorded version to better the song.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

We really enjoy playing live and we go out to put all of our effort in no matter where we play or who we are playing to. There is nothing better for us than seeing people enjoying our music and leaving with a smile on their face.

The Bad Flowers tour dates_RingMasterReviewIt is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods?

In the midlands there is a thriving scene for new music and there are great local venues that support the industry. After playing all over the country it is still great to come back and play sold out local shows.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

We keep people updated on Social Media of up and coming gigs, any news we have and it’s also a great way to keep in touch with fans, as well as giving us a platform to promote ourselves to people who may not have heard of us before. Social Media is a great tool to use as long as it is used on the right respect.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you for taking the time to read our interview. Keep your eyes and ears pealed for the future and we hope to as you soon.

http://thebadflowers.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/thebadflowersband

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Infectious bounds and spiky hooks: an interview with Pranx

PRANX_RingMasterReview

With a clutch of videos and a potent first EP behind them, Pranx is a German outfit beginning to lure potent attention. Their rousing live presence has equally drawn high praise. So to discover more about this upcoming proposition, we seized the chance to talk with the trio about their EP, progress to date, and all things Pranx in general.

Hi guys, many thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

We are PRANX, a Pop Punk band from Mosbach, Germany consisting of Marcel on drums, Rouven on bass and vocals, and Boris on guitar and vocals. We formed in February 2014. Rouven and Boris had played together in a band since 2008 but their drummer quit. Instead of just searching for a new one we decided to make a new start entirely and form a new band with a new name and new songs. We met drummer Marcel on Facebook to start PRANX in early 2014.

Being involved in other bands before, has that had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Like we said, Boris and Rouven had played together since 2008. Marcel was also involved in some bands before including a German hip hop band. I don’t think it affected the style we’re playing now with PRANX but it definitely had an impact on our growth as musicians in general. The good chemistry between our two vocalists regarding singing harmonies together for example has been cultivated while playing together in their former band.

What inspired the band name?

It’s a shorter version of Rouven’s and Boris’ former band Prank FanatiX. We wanted to have a name that’s easier for people to remember as it always was spelled wrong on flyers. The original Prank FanatiX name was inspired by the term ‘faith fanatics’ in Green Day’s song ‘East Jesus Nowhere’.

Pranx2_RingMasterReviewWas there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

As a band we hope to enrich some people’s life by playing music, just like all those bands we look up to did and still do to us. Music of those bands had such a massive impact on our lives over the past few years, so we hope that someday people feel the same thing about our music. That’s what we want to offer the people who listen to our music. Another idea behind starting this band is to create some kind of exit out of this daily routine. We want to achieve more in life than just working normal jobs and get stuck in boring lives like 99% of today’s society.

Do the same things still drive the band time?

Yes, we’re still driven by the same things. I think even more than when we started.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

It hasn’t evolved that much since PRANX started but it definitely has since our first days of making music in general. Our very first songs clearly had a Blink-182/Green Day stamp on them whereas now our sound is much more individual (even though you can clearly still hear the Blink influences of course). Since a few years we’re also influenced by this new wave of pop punk bands that has appeared. Bands like Neck Deep and The Story So Far are also great inspirations.

Has it been more of an organic movement in your sound or more a deliberate wanting to try new things?

A mix of both I would say. A huge part of our sound comes from us wanting to try new stuff but sometimes while writing songs something new comes up and you hadn’t planned it. If it’s not something we had in mind for our sound but still sounds cool we go along with it and try to implement it.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

That’s hard to answer. I can’t think of anyone that changed the way we create music but I’m sure it happened subconsciously anytime along the way. All in all we’re still very conservative songwriters. Take a guitar, play some chords and jam some melodies until you find something you like and go from there.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

When someone has the idea of a new song he usually likes to write the first version of it all by himself. The process is writing the whole thing, making a demo with all the instruments and arrangements and then showing it to the rest of the band. Then we look at it together and see what we can optimize and change to make it the sound great.

Where are your lyrical inspirations drawn from more often than not?

The inspiration for the lyrics comes from situations of our everyday life. Things you go through in every stage of your life or even things and problems we notice in other peoples’ life around us can make perfect inspiration for song lyrics.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?art_RingMasterReview

It’s a 4 track EP called Things On Your Mind that was released in early 2015. There are two music videos so far and the third is released very soon, but we plan on doing one for the last song as well. All the videos are directed and produced by bassist Rouven. All in all I think the album is a great mixture of catchy sing-along choruses and cool punk riffs, spreading a lot of positive energy.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Another Year and Standard are more or less love songs about girls from the past. Especially for Standard I tried to write the cheesiest lyrics and make it as cliché as possible. You could see it as a kind of a tribute to all the 90s pop punk love songs. Pogo Romance is a song about failing while promising a glimpse of hope for getting back up again at the end. Nightmare is about social isolation and forgetting to live your life in the ‘real’ world.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Since we’re a band that’s short of money like every other band and studio time is expensive we try to do as much work for the record as we can before we enter the studio. This means we have the final songs all ready to record in their final state and try to make changes in the studio only when really necessary.

Tell us about the live side to the band?

For me playing live is the best part of being in a band. It’s not only having fun and partying on stage with your friends but also the time of the night where you’re not on stage and have the chance to meet new people and other musicians. There are so many cool people we got to know just by playing shows all around Southern Germany. Always nice to connect with and to play shows for awesome people!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it in Germany? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the want is there for new bands?

Where we come from is actually one of the worst places for bands to start. The music scene of our hometown is as good as dead and I think it always has been. We always have to travel a little bit further to play good shows. We have to rely heavily on the internet to reach people because there’s little to no interest in live bands in our region.

Pranx3_RingMasterReviewHow has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

I don’t know if PRANX would still exist if there was no internet. We probably [would not have] even found a drummer if [we had not] met Marcel on Facebook. 95% of people got to know us through Facebook or YouTube so without that I don’t think we had a chance to even reach people.

I think you can still use the internet to your advantage even when you’re a big band with greater success. But I also think it can be hard to influence whether it’s working for you or not. What works for one band does not necessarily have to work for another and sometimes the mass of people on social media is hard to predict or analyse. In my opinion, your music is what counts at the end of the day. You can do every single thing right when promoting your music through the internet but if your songs suck people still won’t like you. On the other hand you can get good exposure if your music kicks ass even if you’re not a social media pro.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thanks for the interview! If you like, you can check us out at https://www.facebook.com/PRANXofficial to watch all our music videos and check regular updates. Watch out for our next music video for the song Pogo Romance that’s going to be released soon!

http://pranx.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/PRANXofficial   http://www.pranxofficial.com/

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 16/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Growls and grooves: talking with The Devil In California

The Devil In California_RingMasterReview

“Hailing from the broad, cracked streets of West Oakland, California,” The Devil In California is a band uncaging rock ‘n’ roll which rumbles with attitude and adventurous enterprise. Since forming they have swiftly forged their own identity with a rousing hard/heavy rock sound which devours as it masterfully involves the senses and imagination. Currently working on their second album, we grabbed the opportunity to talk with the heavy rockers to explore The Devil In California past, present, and ahead.

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Tony Malson – We are The Devil In California; formed in 2013. Our drummer Eddie had an ad out that attracted Jamie (guitar), who brought in Matt (bass) to jam and see what was up. Eddie gave me a call and asked if I wanted to check out the project. I loved the tunes and The Devil was born. Snake was added to the project after mixing our first tunes. The line-up was then complete. We all share a passion for heavy hitting hard rock with influences galore.

Have you been/are involved in other bands before?

Tony – I moved to the bay area in 94 and have been singing in Bay Area bands ever since. Bands like AngryInch, Fiksate, The Servants, Mavalour and played drums/sang in Insecto and Monte Casino to name a few; all an artistic pathway leading to The Devil In California.

Jamie Cronander – Most of us have played in quite a few bands. Some you’ve probably heard of. Some of us have side bands. Some rock bands, metal bands, industrial bands, tribute bands, even trumpet in a brass band. We prefer that the Devil be thought of in its own light.

Has past experiences had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

Tony – Every musical experience I’ve had in other acts has contributed to how I approach writing/singing in The Devil. And I’m still exploring different avenues and genres to broaden my musical horizons; so much to learn.

Jamie – TDIC is its own inspiration thing. We draw influence from a lot of things, and most importantly from each other. You’d probably find that all of our other music, be it present or past, does not sound like the Devil.

What inspired the band name?

Eddie Colmenares – I came up with it when doing the initial planning.

Tony – Eddie came up with the name and I liked it right away; perfect for this band.

DIC_RingMasterReviewWas there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Eddie – There was. I really wanted to put together a heavy, hard rock band that had that southern, slide guitar vibe to it.

Jamie – Matt and I were working on a project that kept getting put on hold by the other members. We wanted to do something that was more heavy, old school, and southern influenced. Alice In Chains, Corrosion Of Conformity, Skynyrd, Pantera, Clutch, STP, Allmans, etc. We had plenty of time, so we started a couple ideas and were directed to Eddie’s ad almost immediately.

Tony – I think the idea of a swampy, heavy, melodic, hard rocking 5 piece was the idea from the beginning. I came in after Jamie, Eddie and Matt had jammed a bit so it changed a bit from there but we all have a similar vision.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Eddie – It’s a mix. First, we aren’t that old of a band, so nothing is ‘too much of the same’ yet. And we are moving up pretty fast – it’s a lot coming at us at once, which in turn drives us more.

Tony – I’ve always been very musically driven personally. My passion to play music and get that music out to the world hasn’t really swayed in the last twenty plus years. I’ve always got the same vibe from the band in that regard. But you can’t grow without change and we tend to evolve in a very natural upward spiral. Has our music changed? Yes. Does it still encapsulate TDIC? Absolutely!

Since those first days, how would you say your sound has equally evolved?

Jamie – Definitely an evolution, but a young one; we have some prettier stuff coming, and some harder stuff coming. We’ve only got the one record out. But if you dig it, fear not. The next record will be just as hard hitting and sing-alongy, but will not be a repeat of the first.

Tony – I’ve always enjoyed the band “process” of learning to play with new musicians and finding that absolute sweet spot where everyone’s talents, technical abilities, and musical emotions come together as one. This process takes years and is a constant evolution. And in my opinion it’s really coming together with The Devil.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

Jamie – A lot of it is that Snake joined later in the process of the first record. He still had a heavy hand in the songs on the record, but the structure was mostly in place. Snake and I work VERY well together, so now that we’re able to do the whole process of guitars together, I think the band is really blooming into something better as we become one.

Tony – Definitely more of an organic flow towards our sound and what feels good.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Tony – Everything from Prince to Pantera inspires me. I’m a huge fan of the Seattle sound that was so instrumental in the 90’s. Alice in Chains have always struck a deep chord with me; Soundgarden as well for that matter. Chris and Layne were and are my top vocal heroes.

Jamie – Alice In Chains is a big common thing for all of us. Their ability to be as pretty and acoustic as they get or ugly and heavy as they get, is intense and the vocal harmonies…so important. For me personally; Corrosion Of Conformity, Pantera, Stevie Ray, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, STP, Allman Bros., CCR. They’ve all changed the way I think about the guitar.

Is there a process to the songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?TDIC_RingMasterReview

Tony – In this band the riffs usually come first. We formulate the tune based on that then I begin to add lyrics and melodies. I prefer to wait until I hear a song and digest the riff before I start to head in a lyrical direction. You never know where inspiration will come from so you can’t fall in love with a preconceived idea.

Jamie – Usually it stems from me and Snake bringing in riffs we’re having fun with. We’ll hash them out at home a bit, record the ideas, send it to the guys on line, and then bang on it all together in the studio.

How about the lyrical side of your songs, where do you, more often than not, draw inspirations from?

Tony – My lyrics are largely derived from the life experiences of myself and those that surround me. Inspiration can take many forms. I’m always open to a new vibe or sound or riff. It’s kept me coming back for years on end. I love writing and recording new material.

Can you give us some background to your current release, Longer Ride Down?

Eddie – We only have the debut release out, so really, the background is “we formed, and wrote a record in a year”. We go back into the studio this winter for the follow-up.

Tony – It’s a hands down, kick ass, hard rockin’, heavy grooved, melodic, ear bender. If you dig heavy riffs with harmony and soul all wrapped up in emotion then you’re in!

Can you give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs.

Tony – I’ve always gravitated towards the darker side of musical tastes. The beauty in expressing that space is undeniable. It can be very moving and haunting at the same time. That being said, positivity needs to reign supreme in your approach to life as well as music. You usually have to traverse the darkness to see the light.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

Eddie – Oh lord, hahaha… they are final final final, and then we still change things. All songs are prepped long before we are in the studio.

Tony – We always do a pre-production round of recording before we do the final tracking. 99% of our changes to our songs happen in prepro. Then we are super close to the final product when doing the final version in the studio.

Jamie – We usually end up pre-producing songs in full three times at least. The first takes are to nail tempos, and see if we feel like they need anything, like additional breaks, leads, backups, etc. As for the finals, we record them just guitar, bass, and vox, lay drums over them, then redo the instruments over the drums.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Tony – We want you to walk away from our live show saying, “That was one of the best bands I’ve ever seen”. So our approach is filled with intensity and vigor. We all have a professional approach to our live show but realize that without a little danger and spontaneity it’s hard to take it to the next level.

TDIC_RingMasterReviewIt is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

Tony – We have made a good splash in the Bay Area. It’s not an easy place to play music as the people and crowds are so diverse. This diversity is what we love but it also lends to many different kinds of music being played out live. There is no “one scene” in the bay so you have to fight a little harder for your rock and roll piece of the pie; which only makes you a better act in the end.

Eddie – The San Francisco / Bay Area is a fickle place. If you want to do well locally, you better be really good out of the gate, and then keep it coming. Fortunately we have some great, loyal fans. We’re at that stage where when we are playing and I look out at the audience, I don’t even know 70% of the people. That’s awesome.

Are there still the opportunities to make a mark there if the drive is there for new bands?

Tony – Absolutely! There are always opportunities to take advantage of. No excuses. Get out there and attack the scene. Write good tunes, play a great live show, and leave it all on the stage. You will see results.

Eddie – Yes, but it’s a whole new paradigm now. Be ready to work your ass off if you want to do anything other than play your local bar. Nobody is going to come along and hold your hand these days. No label is going to show up at your local show and whip a contract out of their suitcase to hand you. That is absolutely over – doubly so if you are not in an “urban” act, or are a rapper. We do pretty much everything in house, and it’s a just as much a job as it is a band.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

Tony – The music industry is an ever changing beast due to the internet and social media today. You have to get on board and ride that bitch to your benefit or it will leave you behind in an instant. There is always more to be done but we are benefiting from it for sure.

Eddie – I think social media was far bigger of a deal just a few years ago than it is now. The stream of having said that, at least 80% of our exposure is through some sort of social media interaction.

Jamie – The internet is basically the only way to discover music these days. If you’re not on FB, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and everything else, you’re not putting in the work. People do still buy physical CDs, but usually they’ve been watching your video before that.

Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success or is it more that bands struggling with it are lacking the knowledge and desire to keep it working to their advantage?

Tony – It’s a positive in the end. It has to be. You need to make it so and will it to be. Even a bad situation offers lessons towards a positive outcome. Ask questions. Investigate all the solutions. If you’re not failing in some arena then you’re not trying hard enough.

Once again guys, big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Tony – Thank you! And yes, our new album is in the works and due out this winter. We have some more touring this summer going down as well. Keep an eye out for some new videos and some surprises from The Devil. Let’s Rock!

Eddie – Thanks! And please stay tuned – more is coming!

All – Please follow us on your favorite social media site!

https://www.facebook.com/thedevilincalifornia   https://twitter.com/eldiabloencali

https://www.instagram.com/thedevilincalifornia   https://www.youtube.com/thedevilincalifornia

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 10/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Blood and rage: exploring the roar of Incentives

Incentives_RingMasterReview

Bred in and roaring from the heart of the Australian melodic hardcore/metalcore scene, Incentives is poised to release new EP Dusk. Already drawing potent attention their way, the release is sure to accelerate awareness of the striking quintet. We recently took the chance to explore the band ahead of the EP’s unleashing and get to the core of the potential fuelled outfit…

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

Holla! We are Incentives, a band out of Melbourne, Australia. We started about three years ago thanks to our guitarist Rory bringing us all together.

Is Incentives your first musical adventure?

None of us had really been involved in anything of any real significance before the band. I suppose it was kind of cool that we can all call this our first and only band!

What inspired the band name?

Honestly, I’ve no idea what inspired the name it was more of a “this will do for now” kind of thing, and then it just stuck and we’ve grown to really love it.

Did you come with a specific idea when forming the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

We really had no idea what we wanted to sound like or anything along those lines. I feel that this has in a way helped us to find our own sound which I believe we are honestly starting to do.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Well I guess it grows a bit. We started off happy just playing any show, but now we are looking to play bigger shows, get on more tours and just generally keep growing as a band!

Photo Andrew Bromley

Photo Andrew Bromley

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

I’d say it’s just constantly becoming a more refined sound. We were all teenagers when we first started and so now we are finding we are making a more complete (whole) sound. Slowly learning what suits us and what doesn’t and hopefully making stuff people will enjoy too.

Has that refining been an organic movement or more through the band deliberately setting out to try new things?

I’d say pretty organic, nothing is forced within the group. We obviously always like to experiment, some of which works, some that certainly doesn’t but it is all part of moving towards a unique sound.

Presumably across you guys there are a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

I couldn’t really name one specific band or artist that has really changed our approach, but bands such as Volumes and Counterparts have provided a massive influence on our writing and sound. Parkway Drive is probably the reason we all got into this kind of music in the first place so they deserve some credit in here that’s for sure!

Is there a certain process to your songwriting which generally guides the writing of songs?

Usually our guitarist Max will write some riffs and melodies and then our drummer Joe will program drums and then Kyle our vocalist will write all his lyrics and patterns over that.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Everything is based off life experiences. And more specifically they are based around relationships, with friends, loved ones, and family. Sometimes things will get exaggerated, but who doesn’t love a bit of a story hey!

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

Our latest release is Corrode which is the first single off our upcoming EP, Dusk, set for release on the 30th of June. It’s a fast paced hard-hitting track with our mate Max from Imprisoned art_RingMasterReviewfeaturing in it and doing a stand up job.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and other songs.

I’ll answer this from the viewpoint of the whole EP (yet to be released). It’s all to do with relationships and the ups and downs to pretty much every little emotion and situation that defines them. Corrode in particular is about dealing with a partner that is suffering from a mental illness and just how damaging it is to not only them but to you too.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

It’s a bit of both really! We usually go in with a pretty decent idea, but there are always aspects that still need writing or changing and Sam who produces our stuff and also writes for his band Ocean Grove really helps us out.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect?

Absolutely! We all love playing live. We like to think we are pretty high energy band, lots of bouncing around and head banging. If it’s fun for us, we figure it is fun for the audience!

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?

Oh for sure! There are sooooo many bands out there at the moment and to stand out you really have to do everything right all the way from image to music and live performance. Melbourne in particular has a ridiculous amount of talent (Void of Vision, Ocean Grove, Sentinel) just to name a few. I guess what we do to separate ourselves is just play our style and hope people dig it. High quality production of music and promotional work is of huge importance if you’re going to get anywhere!

Incentives2_RingMasterReviewHow has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?

Without social media I doubt we’d be anywhere. In fact this is a certainty. We were lucky enough to get to tour overseas last year and I know for a fact that we were discovered via social media! So best we all pray to the Facebook God’s and hope that our ridiculously over-priced Facebook Boost’s get us some decent exposure!

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thanks for having us! Keep an eye out for our debut EP coming June 30th which hopefully you will enjoy!

https://www.facebook.com/IncentivesMelb   https://incentivesmelbourne.bandcamp.com/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 10/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Creative espionage and inventive intimation: an interview with Aiming For Enrike

 

Photo: Marius Mada Dale

Photo: Marius Mada Dale

Without doubt, one of the year’s most exhilarating and inventive propositions has been Segway Nation, the new album from Norwegian duo Aiming For Enrike. The encounter is a fascinating instrumental adventure in sound and captivating aural suggestiveness; a multi-flavoured infectiousness created by drummer Tobias Ørnes and guitarist Simen Følstad Nilsen. Offered the chance to learn more with the duo, we set about discovering the creative heart of band and album.

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

First of all can you tell us about yourselves as individuals?

We are two quite calm persons; a guitar player and drummer. We love making and playing music, so we spend a lot of time in the rehearsal space, practicing, jamming, and composing.

When did you first meet and what sparked the idea to form the band?

We met in 2010, when we attended a music school in Oslo. We were both into experimental noise rock music. After seeing some mind-blowing bands like Monolithic and Zu, we wanted to do something like that as a duo. By using loops we managed to get a huge sound even though we were only two. In the beginning we had more of a noise/prog sound but over the years the songs developed into more conventional song structures where we have incorporated a lot of influences from electronica, funk etc.

Is there a specific meaning behind the band name?

Yes, but not worth sharing😉

Photo © Haakon Borg / Magpie

Photo © Haakon Borg / Magpie

It is wonderfully difficult to pin down the Aiming For Enrike sound for us, how would you describe it to newcomers to the band?

It’s an adventurous band with good melodies, cool grooves, and lots of energy. It has a very distinct sound, but still the music can go in many different directions.

What and who have most inspired your musical ideas and subsequently sound would you say?

Our sound is kind of schizophrenic and has a lot of layers because of a wide range of influences. Of course we can be inspired by other things in life, but I think it is only music and music gear that have a direct influence to our sound. Aiming for Enrike is the result of two people and sounds like something none of us would have made by ourselves.

Here are some names: Miles Davis, Josh Homme, James Brown, Nels Cline, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Greg Saunier, Hot Snakes, Glen Branca, Mike Patton, Moha…

I am no expert on the broad expanse of the Norwegian music scene right now, generally coming across the diversity of metal and rock bands from there, but I get the feeling that your music is a one of a kind there; something unusual to the Norwegian landscape of sound. Is that the reality and if so how have they taken to it?

In Norway it is very common to have musical collaborations across genres. If you look at the jazz and improvisational music scene, you have lots of artist who play music that have more in common with pop, rock/metal, electronic music than traditional jazz. In jazz festivals you can go and see pop acts, and in commercial festivals there are jazz bands playing. So I think in general people are very open to new stuff.  Most artists are not so focused on sounding like the other one. It is a good thing to be original, and have your own thing going. We don’t know of any other Norwegian band that sounds like us but way more people than we would have guessed have been positive and open to it.

You have just released new album, Segway Nation; a release which had our imagination as busy and enthralled as ears and feet. Where does a ‘typical’ Aiming For Enrike song start composing wise?

We always start by just playing. We spend a lot of time just improvising, or trying out different kind of ideas. It is important that we are inspired when we play, and that there is a fun factor. We try to follow our intuition, and not doubt our choices too much. Then we record our ideas and make tunes out of them.

Throughout the album, there is an organic freedom, almost as things were created, played, and improvised in the moment. Tell us about the recording of Segway Nation; were songs already AimingForEnrike-SegwayNation_RingMasterReview2400written before recording them or was there an element of conjuring twists and turns there and then?

Everything is played live in the studio, without any click track. That might create a more «free» or improvised feel. On Segway Nation we composed all the songs before we recorded them, but there are some parts in the songs where we improvise. It can be open sections, or written parts played in different ways. That keeps it interesting for us, and hopefully for the listeners. Some of the more «free form» songs like Minitrue and Phone Phobia are the result of some improvised recording sessions.

Another great aspect to the album is the way it inspires the listener’s imagination to create its own adventures. Can you tell us about some of the actual themes and inspirations to the tracks and their suggestive dramas?

We didn’t have any specific plans for this. But it is a good thing if the listeners make up their own adventure in the music. I don’t think there are any specific themes to the songs, but there are specific inspirations to some of the songs. It can be a groove, melody, riff etc.

The past few years has seen some impressive and ear striking duos emerge with varying styles and dynamics within their union. Often it seems that the slimness of personnel allows a band to bring its live presence much more easily to recordings. It is the same with you guys; there is a feeling that listening to Segway Nation would be like standing in front of you on stage. Do you think there is some validity in that thought from your perspective; less bodies and minds leads to less of a leaning on technology and tricks when recording music?

There is more space in the music when you are a duo, and that makes it easier to follow your intuition and play in the moment. Since we record our music live in a room, the recording becomes very representative for us as a band. There are very few options sound wise with only a guitar and a drum kit, so I think it is hard to lose the live feeling in the recording.

Marius Mada Dale

Marius Mada Dale

Tell us about your live side; how you translate the dynamics of songs to the stage?

It works really great! We played the songs live many times before we recorded them. So the recording is not much different from a live performance. With the live performance you will also get the visual aspect and a bit more playful approach to the material.

What is next for Aiming For Enrike now that the album is out and earning acclaim and new hearts?

We are working on new material, which is turning out really good! And we have some festivals coming up this summer; first there´s Nattjazz festival in Bergen, then Øya festival in Oslo. We are planning a European tour in the fall! So lots of cool stuff coming up!

Once again many thanks for giving your time to us. Anything you would like to add?

Check out our album Segway Nation, and also the live in Rohdos garage videos on YouTube.

Read the review for Segway Nation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/aiming-for-enrike-segway-nation/

https://www.facebook.com/aimingforenrike    http://www.namemusic.no/aimingforenrike/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 04/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Three minutes and counting…talking pop with The Perfect Pop Co-op

pp_RingMaster Review

Recently we featured The Perfect Pop Co-op on the site, an indie label reminding of days past with their DIY attitude and energy and excitement with the kind of sounds and releases already unveiled. Formed by members of outstanding, one of a kind UK band the Tuesday Club, The Perfect Pop Co-op is ready to stir up the music scene with pop bred revelry. We set about getting to the heart of the label with creators Andy, John, and Dave…  

Hello and thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

The Perfect Pop Co-op has been around for a while now, tell us about its beginnings.

Andy: The Perfect Pop Co began as an idea around 2011. All of the members of the Tuesday Club were in different bands at the time and we were looking at a vehicle to release material through. Previous to the PPCO, we (John and Andy) were in a band called The Scratch and used to release our material through our own label Ponyland Records; PPCO was based on those lines, but basically the idea was a Rough Trade style collective or Factory Records, which was more accurate in the fact that both they and we had no budget or business acumen… (allegedly)…

So it is fair to say that the label was formed as much as anything because of The Tuesday Club but was also diverted from realising its initial intent because of the band’s success?

Andy: Well as we said we had already had the idea and done the vinyl renaissance thing too, our first 7″ (The Scratch) came out in 2002 when vinyl most defiantly wasn’t hip, but yes especially as at the time of starting the Tuesday Club we were an 8 piece so there was budget, desire, and more than a little material ready and waiting. Jordan had Recharged Radio, Andy, John and Terry had The Scratch, Dave was in We are White Worm, Minki had 50ft Woman, Lozz had been in loads of bands and since left to form Knock Off and Brian had been in lots of bands too and worked as a session player.

John: Yeah – as Andy said, we’d originally set up the label to release all the different bands we were in – but as the Tuesday Club was such fun the other bands went on the back burner and the TCs became our main focus.

Dave: The mistress became the muse if you like.  For me, it was like falling in love with being in a band again; limitless possibility and no baggage.  Remembering why I wanted to do this in the first place.

pp tc_RingMaster ReviewWhy form a label in the first place. I know The Tuesday Club is not exactly a band which is ever idle so it was not because of wanting to find something to do.

Andy: Basically we were overflowing with ideas and concepts and needed a way of archiving them coherently, but at the same time giving the world a chance to listen in. Since it’s conception The Bleeed, Andreas and The Wolf and two or three other off shots have happened, not least The D.O.D.O from 2011 and Reverse Family that has been in existence since 2006.

John: We’ve always been pretty prolific on the writing and recording front… not everything always fitted with what we were doing with the Tuesday Club, and with 8 of us in the band, getting the time to get us all together to write, rehearse and record material meant that there was always a surplus of tracks – so with The Bleeed, that was 4 out of the 8 of us recording some of those tracks in the gaps between working on the Tuesday Club.

I am assuming The Tuesday Club came first, a fair time before the start of the label? Give us some idea to the background of the band too; how you all got together etc.

Andy: Actually the label may have come slightly earlier; we started putting on nights at a local pub in St. Albans, The White Hart Tap. The Scratch generally headlined, 50ft Woman played and we had other bands come down as support. We had these loyalty cards that got stamped and we gave away free stuff to people who collected enough stamps. I think the Tuesday’s were only rehearsing at this time, I seem to think 2011 November, Electrowerkz in London being our debut.

What was the spark to Perfect Pop Co-op returning to its original idea and bringing other projects to ears?

Andy: There had been a lot of upheaval in the band, the tragic loss of Terry hit us all very hard; Lozz and Brian had already left, I guess we were unsure of the future and kind of thought we need something solid and positive to focus on

At the moment, the bands and releases on Perfect Pop Co-op are all linked in some way or another to members of the band?

Andy: Yes at the moment, each project features at least one or more past or present member of The Tuesday Club, but we do have dreams of samplers featuring other bands, we are basically trying to raise the profile of PPCO to see where it can take us

Can you give us some insight to the bands currently filling the label’s cast?

Andy: Each band has a different sound, though most in fact all have Andy singing on them; there are a lot of styles. We see The D.O.D.O for instance as a 60’s tinged – psych experiment. The Bleeed is our goth, Hammer Horror side, but we also have 2 or 3 experimental pop acts and an 80s synth duo! We never set out to write in a style, and tend to go with where it takes us. Our latest plans are for a PPCO invasion of Irish 4 piece Girl Band, who blew our minds when they played in St. Albans last year.

John: We often write and record tracks concentrated bursts with whoever is about – for example The DODO album was written and recorded in 3 weeks over Christmas a few years back with 3 out of the 5 of us in The Scratch – and so that became one project. Another, as yet unnamed project, which still needs mixing – was an albums worth of stuff recorded by 3 of us from The Tuesday Club last August – so that will become another project – so I guess these bands are all just different permutations of a wider pool of friends – so each one is different as we all bring different things to the party.

Are these all on-going projects too; bands we can expect more releases and new songs from in the future?PPart_RingMaster Review

Andy: Yes, we have plans to release something new for every month of this year; generally when a new mag (IN THE CLUB) is out. In the club 028 May 16 comes out so a new release will, not only older material, but we are intending to record a new track a month in our bunker, under the Perfect pop review.

What are the differences, if any, of releasing just one’s band’s material and having many projects to take care of?

Andy: There’s no difference really, other than the style of the artwork.

I read somewhere about the labels’ idea of the ‘perfect’ pop song. Can you elaborate on that and does it mean we are safe from hearing meandering ten minute epics from you? haha

Andy: Well everyone’s idea of perfect pop is slightly different, none of us are Queen fans, but Bohemian Rhapsody wasn’t 2 minutes or O Superman by Laurie Anderson. Personally my favourite ever single is Buffalo Stance by Neneh Cherry, but I don’t think you could beat Ride a White Swan by T.Rex or Tainted Love by Soft Cell, they are more the area we are dabbling in I’d say.

John: I think we all have a love of the 7 inch single – fitting everything into a 3 minute blast of perfection is quite an art and growing up in the 70s and 80s we were spoilt with great examples – what I liked back then was that often really quite weird tracks could get onto top of the pops. Laurie Anderson is a good example – but things like the Flying Lizards – I Want Money… or Pump up the Volume by MARRS.

Dave: Speak for yourselves.  Queen is a bit of a guilty pleasure.  Great pop music is like that elusive thing where a song hits the spot, first time, and it lives with you forever.  It’s just…..right.  No thought required, no second listen, just perfect.

Perfect pop…

Is there a plan in motion with Perfect Pop Co-op in regard to expanding artists and where you hope to be in say two or five years?

Andy: Yes as we said earlier, first we need the world to know we’re here, from there who knows

Will the label remain an in house bed of creativity or are you looking at some point in releasing records from other bands?

Andy: The Creativity bit is key to us, but yes we’d love to one day have PPCO numbers all over people’s record collection.

The remit will always remain pop in its varied guises?

Andy: Yes, I think a catchy chorus is always they key

Tell us more about the online magazine from Perfect Pop Co-op.

Andy: The mag started as a vehicle for The Tuesday Club and everyone contributed daft columns, and we did a monthly podcast of tracks we liked by new and old bands. But as the band evolved/changed we got less TC and more PPCO, plus now we have more outside contributions. We like getting bands we like involved too, our In the Club section has already featured Richard Norris (Beyond the Wizards Sleeve), John Robb (Membranes), Will Crewdson (Adam and the Ants), Maggie Demonde (Scarlet Fantastic) and Pete Jones (Department S), plus loads of local St. Albans bands we like too. The idea is defiantly ‘fanzine’ in the style of the Old punk zine ‘Sniffing Glue‘, very DIY, rather than the old NME or Melody Maker – there’s no time for loads of editorial, but that’s not to say that we wouldn’t welcome an editor Pete😉 – trouble is the pays crap… £0 per hour! Basically the mag is a free way to support and PR our musical community and hopefully tempt people into buy our wares!

ppart2_RingMaster ReviewWhat is in line for our ears and imagination rom the label in the coming weeks?

Andy: Next up we are going to put out an Andreas and The Wolf single track and with the June mag is Zerox, The Tuesday Club cover of the Adam and The Ants classic, we recently did a gig with Adam’s current guitarist Will Crewdson – top bloke and in more bands than our own Rogerio TC, so we thought what with Adam back on the road too why not get that baby out in circulation!

And from our favourites The Tuesday Club?

Andy: We’ve just been back in the studio with our producer the fab Steve Honest at Hackney Road and recorded 4 tracks towards a new album (3), which we hope to have out in the spring of 2017.

Will there be a live aspect to the label, i.e. shows with your bands together at any point?

Andy: That was something we spoke about which is where the PPCO review idea came from, it’s definitely a possibility

Once again big thanks for the chat and time shared. Anything you would like to add?

Andy: Our thanks is to you Pete for your continued support. All we’d say to the world is get over to our bandcamp and get involved:-) The Perfect Pop Co-Op

Read out feature on The Perfect Pop Co-Op @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/17/introducing-the-perfect-pop-co-op/

Keep an eye and ear out for what comes next at, musically https://theperfectpopco-op.bandcamp.com  and in word and vision @ https://issuu.com/perfectpopco-op/docs/in_the_club_028_may_16/1

https://www.facebook.com/The-Perfect-Pop-Co-Op-205518542879875/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 02/06/2016