Downcast – Self Titled EP

Finding a band which stands out with a truly individual sound within the melodic punk landscape has not proven to be so easy these past years. There have been many outfits which have still impressed but finding that specific individuality is less frequent but now we have British outfit Downcast and the release of their self-titled debut EP. It is n introduction which more than suggests that the band with their emo spiced pop punk has the potential to be something different and such the memorable moments within this their introduction we could say they are already well on the way to realising that promise.

Taking inspirations from the likes of The Wonder Years, Alkaline Trio, ROAM, and Neck Deep, Downcast emerged last year, initially concentrating on writing this debut and honing the sound which flourishes within it. Recorded with producer Ian Sadler (Anavae, ROAM), it would be fair to say that the release made a good if not immediately sizeable impact on ears and thoughts. Yet there was something which easily lured us back more than once or twice and with every play has blossomed into a very enjoyable and impressively potent, potential loaded proposition.

It has moments which simply got under the skin and aroused the passions alongside other instances where expectations were fed even if enjoyment still courted those times. The EP opens with Anthurium and potent guitar bait which lures attention into a waiting tide of pop punk tenacity which takes little time to erupt. Settling down into a robust and busily infectious stroll, the track springs melodic hooks and vocal prowess with ease. Surprises are maybe less open yet the song has a tenacious catchiness and open enterprise which takes charge. With firm often heady rhythms bearing down on the senses, it is a strong and magnetic start to the release swiftly backed by the following Sombre.

The acoustic heart of the second track quickly casts a different breath within the EP, guitar melody and vocal unity reinforced as a potent part of the band’s sound. Short but a full captivation, it offers plenty of reasons for expectations of that real originality emerging ahead as too its successor, Window Seat. It is another song which took and needed time to fully persuade but once hitting its stride after a relatively gentle entrance, it blossoms into a rousing roar nurtured through a strong undercurrent of imagination and boisterousness.

The EP is completed by the pair of 2013 and I’m Sorry. The first is the biggest highlight of the release; its instinctive hooks, spicy melodies, and vocal dexterity an infectious blend blending the familiar with the individual. The final track in turn provides another appetising offering if without finding the heights of its predecessors. From its solid if slightly underwhelming start the song builds crescendos of emotion and drama, flourishing with each before settling back down into that initial mercurial calm. In saying that, there is a captivation to the song which never stops nagging and we can only say enjoyment came with it.

Overall, the EP is a powerful foundation to spring from with potential and pleasure at its heart; Downcast a band it could be impossible to ignore ahead.

The Downcast EP is released January 11th.

https://www.facebook.com/downcastUK/   https://twitter.com/downcastuk

Pete RingMaster 8/01/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

 

The Life Underfoot Interview

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

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the band’s beginning?

We’re Life Underfoot from Owego New York. Our guitarist and vocalist Andre and bassist Emory went to school and graduated with each other so we’ve known each other awhile. James our drummer we met through local shows and just clicked!

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?

We all have different musical interest, James is more of a progressive kinda guy, Emory listens to a lot of underground and grunge music, Andre listen to a lot of music a lot of punk/emo stuff. We’ve all been in other bands as well. James is currently in this rad band called Tom Jolu; check them out.

What inspired the band name?

Our 10th grade bio teacher had a poster on the wall of a cut out section of the ground. On the side it said Life Underfoot and Andre always thought it was a sick name for a band.

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

We all just really wanted to be in a band where everyone is dedicated and wants to play shows and tour!!

Do the same things still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced?

We haven’t been a band very long so it’s still pretty fresh faced! But you do start to understand it is not as grand as it always seems!!

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

Hard to say cause we’ve only been a band for going on 2 years, but we played with this awesome band called Vitamin K from Iowa, check them out cause we wouldn’t mind going that route eventually.

Are changes within the creativity of the band more organic or deliberate moves to try new things?

Everything is organic, Andre brings his ideas and demos to practice then we just kinda go from there. James has a lot of knowledge in music so he really helps shapes and perfects our songs.

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?

A lot of the Warped Tour band from like 2001-2006; we’re big fans of just timeless music that everyone loves and can sing along to. Bands like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New have songs that when they come on everyone sings and has a good time.

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

Typically Andre write the music, then Emory and Andre sit down to write the lyrics, then James gives pointer where to tweak and make the songs flow better. Really nice process that seems to work for us.

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

Well it could be anything; Emory and Andre tend to work on the lyrics together, one line could be from Andre’s life or Emory’s life. From a song either of us really likes. Or just something one of our friends wrote and thought it we’d like it!! Andre’s friends Orion and Connor have both written lyrics for some unreleased songs we’re still working on!

Give us some background to your latest release.

Peaks and Valleys EP…We recorded it at the Lumberyard in New Jersey. Really great EP and had a blast recording it. Wanted to go for an acoustic sombre emo vibe.

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

Andre wrote it as a story, not a love story but about any relationship ending in track 1, Our Swan Song, then the protagonist starts to talk about it in track 2, Clock Face, and finally with track 3, Chroma, the character moves on and realises that no matter how hard life hits ya don’t lose ya shade of color that makes you special, hence the line “through all the hardship and pain, that only stain black and grey, think all of that you can gain, just gotta look to the next day.

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 like to have our idea for the song complete and ready before we hit the studio but are always still open to ideas, that’s how great songs are made! Everyone has something that can always bring and take away from parts of a song so never be afraid to at least try out suggestions.

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

We just like to have a good time on stage and rock out! That’s our favorite part and biggest reason for being in a band! Just that feeling of being on stage and people watching is thrilling.

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

Well where we’re from Emo and Punk music are the most popular. Mostly Country, Bluegrass, or cover bands. But Binghamton and Syracuse have always been great to us and the scenes are awesome. Same with New Jersey and Connecticut we’ve had more shows out in those states than Owego.

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

Social media is a great thing for musicians, bands, and artists!! Without that we wouldn’t have had as many of the opportunities we’ve gotten. We’ve gotten the chance to talk to and work with many of our idols because of things like Bandcamp and Facebook!

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

Check us out on Bandcamp all our music is free on there!!

https://lifeunderfootny.bandcamp.com/  https://www.facebook.com/Lif3Underfoot/

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

One Last Daybreak – A Thousand Thoughts

Creating a plaintive post hardcore roar with an emo tinged heart, British outfit One Last Daybreak release their debut EP this April. Offering up five ear luring tracks, A Thousand Thoughts is a potent introduction with a strong ability to grab attention while revealing the potent potential within its creators along the way.

Essex hailing, One Last Daybreak is as fresh as they come, emerging this past January. Whether they have taken time before then honing their style and sound we cannot say though it would not surprise such the accomplished nature of their first release. It has the great rawness which comes with a first endeavour from a newly uncaged proposition but equally a sure touch and imagination which suggests bigger things ahead even at this early stage. With inspirations including the likes of My Chemical Romance, Architects, and Underoath, One Last Daybreak quickly make a persuasive statement which to be fair becomes even more compelling by the listen.

A Thousand Thoughts opens with its first single According to Pleasure, I Was Low on the Food Chain. A lone guitar makes a keen melodic invitation and is quickly joined by bold rhythms amidst a colluding sonic jangle. Vocalist Connor Catchpole is soon in the midst of the lure with his melodic, angst lined proposal; his strong delivery just as potently backed by that of guitarist Jack Smith to create a fiery and enticing union. Quickly the song has the body bouncing as familiar strains meets fresh endeavour, the strings of Smith and lead guitarist Matt Pike creating a captivating weave over the darker moody hues of James Hicks’ bass. It is a strong start to the release enticing ears and intrigue with ease if offering elements of predictability but for personal tastes is soon outshone by the following track.

The Sand In The Hourglass, The Life In My Lungs instantly makes for a compelling affair, the resonance of drummer James Hart’s first swings ringing around the enticement of guitar before driving the blossoming track with boisterous energy as vocals and sonic imagination brew their winning persuasions. Swiftly there is a freshness and spark to the song less noticeable in its predecessor, its character and imagination bold with a fire in its belly which erupts with lava-esque intensity. Short and voracious, the song grabs and firmly retains best track honours though the EP’s title track soon makes for an eager rival with its infectious nature. Though it misses the keen creative invention of the last track it makes up for it with its rich catchiness and eager energy aligned to that natural flair in sound the band seems to have.

The release is brought to a close by firstly In The Movies, a blaze of sonic causticity and temptation further fired up by vocal ferocity and melodic infection, and finally A Coffin For Two. It is an assault of wiry grooves and voracious riffs backed by rhythms with the intent to split bone and a major rival to that top track title. With metal, punk, and rock essences all become embroiled in its physical and emotive furnace; the song is an irresistible predator which alone sparks a real appetite for more.

As suggested, A Thousand Thoughts only gets more enjoyable with every play as too anticipation for the potential it reveals. It is a great sign that the band’s strongest and most striking moments is when they replace familiarity with bold adventure and an edge of unpredictability and though too early to declare One Last Daybreak as the future of something or other, the ingredients to make a mark are brewing nicely.

A Thousand Thoughts is released April 7th.

https://www.facebook.com/onelastdaybreak    https://twitter.com/OneLastDaybreak

Pete RingMaster 04/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hinges – Aches & Pains

Hinges_RingMasterReview

Every year is probably the same, but already there seems to be strong flow of attention sparking debuts in the opening weeks of 2016 and adding to the list is Aches & Pains from UK quartet Hinges. A flavoursome mix of alternative rock and grunge with a rich spicing of emo to it, the single is a potential loaded, ear pleasing first look at the Leeds bred band.

Though formed in late 2014 as Negative Panda, it was as Hinges that the band stepped into 2016 following a recent line-up and of course name change. Under the new guise, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Myles Petcher, bassist Keane Holland, guitarist Luke Hudson, and drummer Callum Stewart now release their first single, a song which quickly lures attention whilst breeding stronger persuasion with each passing minute.

Aches & Pains opens on a single caress of guitar, a slightly melancholic stroking of ears which soon sparks a broader flame across the band. One establishing its feisty presence, the song relaxes again into a minimalistic and emotive stroll around the potent tones of Petcher. Rhythms add a firm touch to it though, keeping the song honest on the side of directness before a raw grunge fuelled blazes breaks out. It is a cycle which repeats across the track, calmer and reflective passages with a Green Day scent to them erupting into Nirvana-esque outpourings of emotion and intensity; both echoed in voice and energy simultaneously

Equipped with a great brooding depth to the bass, a solemn yet inviting air to its moments of reserve thought and sound, and an almost predatory feel to its rousing angst lit crescendos, the song is a tasty first step by Hinges in their new shape. Completed with the previously un-released B-sides in I Hope It Gets Better, a raw entangling of charm and confrontation, and the aggressive agitation that is the highly pleasing Home, the single easily sparks a want to hear more.

That is a quality any band would hope to breed in their songs and Hinges do it with ease across the whole of Aches & Pains.

Aches & Pains is out now @ http://hinges1.bandcamp.com/album/aches-pains

https://www.facebook.com/HINGESUK   https://twitter.com/HINGESBAND

Pete RingMaster 29/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Backslashes And Bad Ideas – Sad Is The New Black

DSC_0196_2_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Recently signing with Imminence Records, US quintet Backslashes and Bad Ideas have just released a limited edition 7” single Sad Is The New Black via MKT Records to spark fresh attention. Containing the songs Mid Twenty Something and its title track, the release gives a potent example of why the Staten Island hailing band has been grabbing attention since forming in 2010 whilst setting the scene of their pungent sound for newcomers.

The band’s music is a blend of indie invention, emo angst, and aggressive pop punk contagion, and in full roar on the new release. Consisting of vocalists/guitarists Nick DePalo and Josh Cronopulos, guitarist Ricky Abolt, bassist Rob Castiglione, and drummer Ed Mone, Backslashes And Bad Ideas self-released their debut EP Nothing Left To Give in October 2012 to strong responses. The following year its successor There’s No Place Like Home came out to even greater reactions and now with the linking up with Imminence Records, the time looks right for the band to break into broader and wider spotlights.

Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   The single opens with Mid Twenty Something and straight away the band are awakening ears with a guitar caress and stronger vocal persuasion. In no time the track saunters along with striking rhythms and expressive sonic enterprise but really hits its true persuasive and appealing stride once it unleashes its full energy and passion. From start to finish the song has ears gripped but it is the rich weave of rhythmic tenacity and melodic flames when in full swing that turns a good if underwhelming song into something with a real punch.

The following Sad Is The New Black similarly makes a low key entrance but is quicker in finding its hearty creative resourcefulness and adventure. Hooks and melodic lures quickly spin a web of intrigue and enterprise whilst the dual attack of vocals has an even more defined and fluid union on the second song to also immediately impress. The sonic interplay between guitars around a tempestuous spine of riffs equally shines whilst the drama of the track emotionally and musically just builds a richer compelling success.

The first of the two tracks is highly enjoyable but simply overshadowed by its companion, though both only spark an interest and anticipation for the band’s next offerings with their new label. If new to Backslashes And Bad Ideas now is the time to introduce yourself to their lively and powerful sound, with the potential of bigger, greater things to come included.

Sad Is The New Black is available now via MKT Records on 7” vinyl @ https://backslashesandbadideas.bandcamp.com/ in a choice of Black Vinyl (ltd to300 copies), Orange, Green and Black Half Splatter Vinyl (100), and Teal and Black Half Splatter Vinyl (100)

https://www.facebook.com/backslashesny

RingMaster 16/06/2015

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

 

Papertowns. – With You In Mind

OutsidePT

Being a simple soul, it has been hard to understand how a band can start with one genre and suddenly change to embrace a distinctly different one. Assumptions would be they start with the style/direction that lights their fires and continues to evolve it to fulfil their potential with the hope of success. There are probably numerous examples of artists doing this that are escaping thoughts as fingers click keys, but undoubtedly Ministry is the most obvious example. You can be sure many do it to chase the success and bucks, though something you cannot accuse the Al Jourgensen band of nor we would suggest Papertowns., a US band according to the press release for their new EP also undertaking that kind of change, though maybe not quite as massive a leap. The Arizonia quintet formed in 2012 as a hardcore provocation but last year after a line-up change “decided to change their genre in hopes of creating a more sharable form of music that not only they could enjoy, but many others could enjoy as well.” How potent their sound was before we cannot say but the band’s new release suggests that with their now emo/angst fuelled rock they are a band to keep an eye on.

Hailing from Phoenix, Papertowns. released their debut release the following year in the shape of Passion/Aggression EP. It was followed and supported by the five-piece going on tour across the southern half of America with Vices and Hotel Books. As mentioned 2014 saw the band undergo a personnel change and subsequently the reassessment of their future leading to the big change in sound. It was not long before they took to the studio to create their new/first offering since the shift. Recorded with engineer/producer Zachary Rippy, the With You In Mind EP has emerged as an attention sparking and flavoursome proposal. How existing fans will have taken to the move only they can say but for newcomers the release, via Famined Records who the band signed with also last year, makes for an intriguing enjoyment.

WYIMFront     Drift Away is the first track from the EP to entice ears, guitar and mellow vocals a gentle, reflective, and slightly sombre initial caress. A brief engagement in length, the track is soon becomes an impassioned roar of vocal anxiety and sonic intensity which subsequently drifts away allowing the following Late Night to step forward with its own mix of melody rich contemplation and tempestuous emotion. Never anything less than stormy, the song still makes a warm and inventive entrance, guitars spinning an engaging and volatile web of sound and expression matched by vocals which at times wander a little but essentially provide another strong emotive flame to the proposition. A great throaty bass line throbs throughout whilst drum rhythms do not intrude with any real venom yet are snappy when needed to be. As the EP eventually emulates, the song is an appealing further introduction to the band, one with a few unsure elements but with far more promise which outweighs their deficiencies whilst sparking an appetite for the band’s enterprise.

Next up is Change, its modest first touch soon a wiry enticing of sonic imagination and spicy melodies courted by a much more forceful rhythmic coaxing. Vocals again are swiftly at the scene and impressively blossoming as they expand to fill the climactic sky of the fuzzily warm and slightly caustic incitement. In no time the track shows a stronger endeavour and imagination than its predecessors, creating enthralling aural scenery around its melancholic narrative and ensuring its three minutes simply fly by.

Empty similarly casts a weave of varied sonic endeavour, the diversely seeded strands entwining around firm rhythms and another vocal display which is especially vibrant when harmonies and multiple voices converge on the senses. The shimmering sultry air of the song is magnetic whilst the turn to a predatory intent through riffs and beats is captivating, though the success is diminished a touch by the closing raw ire hitting voice and sound. Nevertheless there is plenty to be fascinated by and to find keen interest for, reinforced by the spiralling melodic intensity and provocative atmosphere of Dusk which serenades with feisty energy and unpredictable emotion next. It is another song which finds a greater inventiveness and creative intensity, holding ears and thoughts with ease. The warmth of the songs as here, is never given an easy ride by the sonic and emotive turbulence driving each encounter, but again in the penultimate song on the EP makes for a pulsating and potent embrace.

Final song Old Days is a tapestry of guitar enterprise and individual prowess, a showing of rich craft within one last cauldron of emotional unrest. It is an enthralling end to a strong release and though With You In Mind did not have the passions on fire, it is fair to say that as a first glimpse at the new direction of Davy Comyns, Dillon Clinton, Harrison Miller, Jordan Leal, and Jonathan Brown, it makes a healthy and pleasing base for further adventures and enjoyments.

The With You In Mind EP is available now via Famined Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/with-you-in-mind-ep/id982975869

https://www.facebook.com/PaperTownsAZ   http://www.papertownsaz.com/

RingMaster 13/05/2015

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

 

 

Interview with Chris Aylett and Sam Nicholls of Scholars

The end of February saw the release of a single which with an eagerness and energy most bands flounder for immediately installed its creators as a band to swiftly check out and as ones to watch very closely. The band in question was UK rock band Scholars and their single Bad For Business a song which mesmerises whilst firing up the instinct to have fun and express oneself.  We had the pleasure to find out more about the band and their music withy the chance to talk to bassist Chris Aylett and vocalist Sam Nicholls.

Hi gentlemen and welcome to The Ringmaster Review.

For many you have just burst into view so could you please introduce and give a history to the band and its members?

Chris: In a nutshell we’re a 5 piece rock band from Hemel Hempstead. We’ve been together for about 5 years now. Myself and Mike (drums) have always played in the same bands, since we were 11 years old – incidentally our first band was fronted by Frank Carter of Gallows and now Pure Love fame. Tom and Sam knew each other from school and both played in bands of good local repute. We were a 4 piece until last February, when the second guitarist we’d been searching for years finally appeared, in the form of Mr Cal Owen. We’ve recorded and released a lot of demos and we’ve just now reached the point where we’re happy we’ve got enough quality material to record our first album. How would you describe your sound again for newcomers to the band?

How would you describe your sound again for newcomers to the band?

Sam: I think we probably span a couple of different genres and we do try to blend a bit of everything that we enjoy. It’s mainly an alt rock basis but the songs are structured like pop and they’re high energy and often a little pissed off like punk rock. It’s a bit of a frankensound.

What are the influences which have shaped your sound inside and outside of music?

Chris: Musically, our starting point has always been balls-out rock and emo, bands like At The Drive In, Hundred Reasons and Million Dead. You can add to that your classic ‘indie’ bands like The Smiths, The Cure and Tears For Fears – really strong songwriting which pushed the envelope lyrically and musically. You don’t seem to get many bands these days that manage to combine mainstream appeal with genuine musical innovation. More recently we’ve started getting into more electronic music – LFO, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus – which is starting to have a bit of an effect on our sound.

Where does the band name come from and does it reflect you as musicians?

Chris: I wish there was an interesting story behind the name but there really isn’t. When we started out we had a different singer and me and him threw a few names around based on what we liked the sound of. Scholars stuck. Does it reflect us as musicians? Loosely at best I think!

Hemel Hempstead is your home town, is it a big inspiration for you and does it have a healthy music scene for a relatively small place compared to a city?

Sam: There used to be a really healthy music scene in our town when I was a teenager. I used to go to our local arts centre every weekend to watch local bands. But now they’ve closed down almost all the decent places to play, it’s harder for kids to get into rock music in our town. We’ve actually put on some of our own shows in the past and we hope to do so in the future. They’re always a bit success because everyone is crying out for live music in our town.

Having recently reviewed your fantastic new single Bad For Business, we reflected that though unique you are in the similar high energy and infectious camp alongside the likes of Max Raptor, Innercity Pirates and Baddies, is this comparison you can see yourselves?

Sam: Well having played with and been blown away by both Max Raptor and Baddies, I couldn’t be more flattered by that! They’re very different bands but we certainly do have some overlap with them. Even if it’s just how much we love ‘going off’ properly onstage.

Your first single Tornadoes and Fractures was another great track. How do you feel you have evolved as songwriters from the bands beginnings to the new release though it is actually a relatively short time?

Chris: We’ve definitely refined the process. We used to spend hours upon hours tweaking one song only to realise after several weeks that what we had to start with wasn’t great and we were effectively polishing a turd. We listen back to demos of old and realise how overcomplicated they were – we’d throw in every good idea we had. I think we’ve finally learned that less is more. A shout out must go to our manager Mark who helped show us the way; you can’t overestimate the value of an informed outside perspective.

How does the songwriting process happen within Scholars?

Chris: It’s varied over the years. We used to jam together and see what happened, and although that yielded some good results they were a long time coming. These days we each bring semi-formed ideas to the table and ruthlessly go through them, picking out the choicest morsels to develop. In honesty, we now find that if the bulk of a song hasn’t come together within one rehearsal, it’s not likely to happen. Bad For Business came from one riff and was written in about 20 minutes at the end of a rehearsal, for example.

There seems to be a definite thought given to the visual content of Scholars as well as the music it seems, as with the sleeve design for Tornadoes and Fractures and I believe I read you co-ordinate but vary the colours you wear on stage? Is this just extra fun for you or does it have a deeper importance to the band?

Sam: I think it all comes from a desire to be a little unusual and it just has to feel right to us rather than having any specific significance. We used to actually dress ‘colour coded’ onstage but it felt a bit Power Rangers so it’s more subtle now. The whole team have input on how everything looks and it was actually guitarist Tom who came up with the idea for the origami sleeve for Tornadoes. He brought a prototype to rehearsal and it was just clearly the way to go.

What does a Scholars show offer fans, are they as high energy as your singles so far have suggested?

Chris: High energy is pretty accurate, we’ve always gone for it live. We quite like people to think that we’re slightly unhinged and that anything could happen. I think some bands forget that when they play a show, the audience are also watching what they’re doing and that’s 50% of the entertainment. It’s actually a bit arrogant to think that your music is so special and mind blowing that you just need to stand around performing it and that’s enough for 30 minutes. Basically, people are overwhelmed with entertainment options these days and unless you’re Sigur Ros you’ve got to do something a bit special to stop people playing Angry Birds while you’re on stage.

More and more bands seem to want to recreate a live sound close to their recordings rather than the other way round these days but I get the impression you guys just go for it in your gigs, it is about having and giving a fun time and show primarily for you?.

Sam: I don’t know exactly how it started but we discovered somewhere along the line that putting everything into your live show just feels really good and I’ve honestly never felt more right with the world than when we’re playing live and really nailing it. It just feels like that’s what I was born to do. So there would really be no point in us meticulously crafting and polishing songs on record and then struggling to play them exactly the same note-for-note live. It’d lose all its appeal for me. I’d rather go the other way around and try to bottle the sound of the live show when we record. It’s a challenge though!

You have shared stages with the likes of Hundred Reasons, The Computers, The Xcerts, Don Brocco and Gay For Johnny Depp, any gigs that have stood out or been a highlight so far?

Sam: Certainly the last night of HR in Nottingham for me, but mainly because I got to do guest vocals on ‘If I Could’ (my teenage self would never have believed you if you’d told him that was going to happen). The whole Don Broco tour was a huge laugh. Shows with the Gays and The Computers are always great but also hard work because they’re ferociously good live bands. We have to seriously step it up so as to not be eclipsed by their madness.

And any you would rather were lost from the memory?

Chris: Yep! We’ve had a handful of absolute shitstorms. We did a round trip of nearly 10 hours in a hired van to do a festival only to have the event shut down seconds before we were about to start playing – we’d set up and were ready to go. On another occasion we had a row with a pissed up soundman whose wife threatened to knock Sam’s block off. In a way the terrible experiences strengthen the bond between you and make the good shows all the better so we tend to laugh them off.

Do you have a focused direction for Scholars in music and sound ahead or do you just let things evolve organically?

Sam: It would be difficult to try and have a solid plan for our sound I think. We’re always trying new things so it’s always changing but we’re also quite good at reining it in, I don’t think we’ll accidentally end up as a funk band or anything.

Is there an album on the horizon, or more singles first?

Chris: There is indeed an album on the way – we’ll be in the studio in April. We’ve got plans for a few singles leading up to it too.

As still a young and upcoming band how hard do you find it to get strong gigs that will elevate your stature compared to those that are great but at a level you have played for a while?

Sam: Well we’re really grateful for all the help and support and great opportunities we receive at the moment. Shows are rarely disappointing for us even if they aren’t necessarily stadium support tours and main stage festival slots. The big break for us would be to get out on tour in support of someone awesome. I’d just like to let Biffy Clyro know that if they’re ever short of an opening act… well y’know.

What is next for the band over the coming weeks?

Chris: We’re filming another video in the next couple of weeks…we’ve got a crazy idea for it and it should be a mental couple of days. Otherwise we’re going to be getting our heads down finishing off songs for the album and starting pre-production.

Many thanks for taking time to chat with us, good luck with your excellent single.

Would you like to end with words for the world?

Sam: Thanks very much. As a wise man once said… Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.

Oh and lastly how about a dark shameful secret about another band member?

Chris: I’ve been racking my brains for about half an hour and I can’t really think of anything. We’ve all listened to some dodgy bands and had dodgy haircuts in our time but that’s all par for the course. I can give you an interesting fact – Tom (our guitarist, also responsible for recording many of our demos) works for Jeff Wayne of ‘War of the Worlds’ fame and has in his time recorded artists as diverse as Dani Filth and Rhydian off X Factor.

The RingMaster Review 05/03/2012

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