Fancore


Interview: Frank Turner

After embarking on a successful run of shows supporting Flogging Molly in the States, it seems that Frank Turner, one of the UK’s worst kept secrets has finally outgrown his home-grown appeal. With his third album, Poetry Of The Deed released last year to much fanfare across the world, many hardcore fans feel dejected that their little clandestine is gaining the success he deserves. Luckily, the punk spirit is alive and well with Frank’s response being a massive middle finger to anyone who dislikes his particular brand of folk-punk. FANCORE caught up with the man of the moment to talk about incredibly strange side-projects, traditional English songs and still being punk at 28.


You’ve had a pretty good run of fortune recently, with most of your shows selling out and the announcement of your biggest ever headline show later this year. Did you ever think your career would reach these heights?

I wouldn’t say that I ever expected it but hoped would be a word I’d use, but for a long time I didn’t think it would actually happen. I’m really careful with my choice of words, on the one hand I don’t want it to sound like “yes, this is how it is” but at the same I’m not militantly underground. I’m an ambitious person, I like playing big crowds and I want to succeed. I’m very happy that it’s happening but it is pretty surreal. I spend my entire life waiting for the reality police to burst through the door and go “there’s been a terrible mistake!” And take me back to The Swan in Tottenham and make me play to 20 people. Which I wouldn’t particularly mind, I’d still keep playing.

So when you were starting out did you have a point in your mind, where if you hadn’t made it by then you would quit?

Yes, but it wasn’t related to size of venues or anything like that. If I reach the point where I feel like I’m going through the motions and feel like I’m not putting on good shows and writing good song then I’ll stop. And I hope that there are people out there, friends of mine that will be good enough to tell me when I’ve reached that point in my life. But I don’t think I’ve reached that point yet, which is good.

Do you have the people in place to keep you in check?

I have a number of friends who have been more than happy to kick me in the nuts and tell me that I’m useless, so I’m counting on them.

Your latest album, Poetry Of The Deed came out last year, six months on from the release, how do you now view it?

I’m generally quite self-critical, particularly about things I did recently. I’ve just about decided that I liked the first Million Dead album now [laughs]. It’s worse for my solo stuff as well because it’s much more my kind of project. I’m proud of all the records that I’ve made, I’m proud of Poetry Of The Deed but I’ve got a list of things that I want to do differently next time. But that’s been the case with every record that I’ve done. I’m pleased with how it came together and its been my most commercially successful album so that’s nothing to complain about. The record came out 6 months ago but we finished recording last year in May so I’ve had a long time to pick holes in it. It’s a good feeling to have faults that give you ideas for how to correct them next time round. Next time around I’ll be in a different time and place so who knows, but I do have lots of new songs on the way.

So would you say that this is your most commercially viable album to date?

I’d say it was more commercially successful than viable, it wasn’t written with record sales in mind. I wouldn’t really know how to do that as I make a real point when I’m writing of trying to ignore context and just not think about anything like venue size or radio play or any of that shit. What I’ve always tried to do is to write what I think is a good song, because to me the definition of ‘selling out’, which is a much-overused word, is writing songs for an audience other than yourself. Anybody that tells you that they write songs for the fans is either a liar or a fraud essentially, because what could be more dishonest than writing for anyone other than yourself? You are your own audience. I listen to loads of music and have very strong opinions on what I like so when I write something I try to write what I think is a really good song and the minute that I stop doing that is the minute that I really need to stop.

Selling out to me is writing songs for ‘the fans’ ‘the record label’, the radio play list or your girlfriend; if you’re trying to please someone else then you’re doing it wrong in my opinion.

You worked much more with your band on the last album, do you ever get criticised for using the band on and off stage?

There are some people who say ‘I preferred when you play solo’ or ‘I prefer the other albums’, all of which is perfectly fine as people are more than welcome to think that. Particularly when people say they prefer the earlier stuff it’s like cool go and listen to them, it’s not like I came into your record collection and took them away. At the end of the day I have to do what is best for me musically, otherwise I’m dishonest and right at this moment in time I love playing with my band and I think that we make great music together. Actually, having said that…I talk a lot [laughs] you may have noticed. One of my criticisms with POTD is that I may have got a tiny bit carried away about having the band on the album; I think there could have been one more solo song on that record. I think that for the next album I will rein the band back a little bit on one or two songs, but I’m still just writing so we’ll see.

Is there any timeline in place for this new album?

Yes, I have an ambition to get into the studio before the end of this year so we can get the album out in the first half of next year. My manager thinks I’m completely out of my mind, given the tour schedule that we already have between now and February next year, but I think that he is soft and weak and I will prove him wrong [laughs]. I’m also going to try and put out an album of traditional English songs at some point this year as well.

That sounds like an interesting project, can you elaborate a bit more on that?

I got interested in traditional English music, partly because I’m a history buff and it’s cool combining my two loves in life. But also because I’ve had this cultural awakening in the past few years that’s entirely personal, I’m English at the end of the day and not British. I don’t hold anything against anyone from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but I’m English and that is my culture and heritage. I just get very bored of people saying there isn’t such a thing as English culture because there is, they just choose to ignore it or don’t know about it. That applies both on a musical level, there’s a lot of English folk music that isn’t particularly well known and also on a political level in the sense that people are incredible blasé when it comes to political thought that England has made. And the ideas of native liberty and common law I think are extremely important and wonderful and brilliant, but we’ve been losing them for the past fifty years which is an absolute fucking disaster.

But anyway, I went off started researching [traditional music] and found all these amazing songs. And it’s not just this big ideological crusade, they’re really good songs and they’re funny and they’re heartbreaking and sad and catchy. I like the idea that these songs that my forebears would have known and would have sung and that’s a beautiful idea. In the modern industrial world the folk song is more in danger than it has been and the thing is there is a tradition in community in the UK and traditional songs but they’re really insular and defensive. They seem to think that they’re the monks on Mt Athos protecting the sacred flame. But most of the people who come to my shows don’t know about traditional English music, as opposed to people who go to Seth Lakeman shows for example, and I think it would be quite cool if I [could] spread those songs over a lot of new people.

After you’ve done that are there any other projects you’d like to do that you perhaps can’t accomplish a solo artist?

Well I’m writing a book at the moment so that’s underway. I’m also vaguely scoping out the plans for making 2012 the year of the side project. I’ve got all these different side projects I want to do and at the moment [there’s] just no time to do them so I’m thinking maybe do another album, do the traditional album and get the book out of the way and then not take a break as such but just stop for a while. For example, there’s an electronica DJ called Beardy Man, he’s amazing but completely utterly different from what I do. He just does weird, squelchy, odd kind of Aphex Twin noisy electronica. We ended up hanging out together last summer and we said ‘we should do a record together; it would be hilarious and weird as hell.’ I have a taste in weird electronica personally, although I’m terrible at making it, I’ve tried and it was terrible. But I reckon as long as he does the drum machine bit [laughs] I can do a bit of singing and playing guitar and we can make a really messed up twisted ‘dance folk-tronica’ fucked up record.

And are there any other potential projects in the pipeline?

Well, I’ll tell you about this as everyone involved in this wants this to happen but the likelihood of it ever actually happening is extremely low because of our schedules. First of all there’s a punk band called Hot Snakes, from Florida who me and few others think are the best punk band there ever was fucking ever. They kind of became Rocket From The Crypt afterwards and weren’t quite as good. But anyway, the band would be Ben from Million Dead on the drums, Jim from At The Drive In on the bass, Jim from Jimmy Eat World on guitar and vocals and me on guitar and vocals too. It happened because basically me and Jim and Jim ended up in a bar in Arizona in November and you know you have those conversations where everyone is drunk and just agreeing with each other loudly? Well, that’s the plan but as I say I’ve just got no idea when that would ever happen but it would be pretty funny.
With many seeing punk as a youth movement, do you ever feel pressured as an artist to stay angry and cynical?

Punk is a youth movement and that’s one of its strengths, I don’t think that’s a criticism of punk as there’s a certain type of anger you have as a kid, which punk harnesses in a beautiful way. I think it is possible to retain a sort of punk-related attitude as you get older but I don’t have any problem at all with people telling me I’m too old to be punk…well actually, maybe not just yet. But at some point if someone turned around and said it then it would be fine. Punk’s not supposed to be about these old farts who used to be in the Sex Pistols in leather jackets, sitting around and talking about ‘how it was in my day’. Punk is supposed to be about kids meeting up in bathrooms and pubs and smashing the shit out of each other and playing wild and eclectic and adventurous insane heavy music. In terms of me having a pressure to stay angry? Not really, just because I do my level best not to give a fuck about what everyone thinks I should be. I know some people wish I was still in Million Dead and some people wish I still wrote songs like ‘Thatcher Fucked The Kids’ but I’m not going to.

Even though you’re very self critical, do you ever worry that one day you will just make the ultimate Frank Turner album and have nothing else to say and nowhere to go?

There will always be a case of that, as the world is still full of people who think ‘Greetings From Asbury Park’ is the best Bruce Springsteen album, I mean they’re wrong. I think the nature of music is such and the nature of fandom if you like, is such that people will attach themselves to a time and place that they get into something and also to their perceived ownership of something. I think that’s unavoidable to a degree but again what I have to do for my own sanity and dignity and creative responsibility is to do the best record that I can at the time…and whether or not you think that my first album is the best thing I’ll ever do, fine that’s an opinion that people are allowed to have.

Do you think that with your success any current artists are ripping off your sound as a fast-track to fame?

I haven’t really thought about it very much to be honest. I’d be terribly entertained if they were, I’d find it very funny. I think the problem is that ever since I started having any kind of success in music I sort of twigged; I remember having a conversation with Cahir the lead singer for Fighting With Wire years ago. He was like ‘the problem is man, me and you are the kind of people who are going to be in bands who blaze the trail and don’t make the money.’ There’s just something about our personality and approach to music that means we’re always going to be those people. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody started ripping me off and doing much better than me. But I can’t say that I give that much of a shit to be honest.

Finally, you’ve already said you’re doing 2000 Tree and T in the park this summer, any other UK festivals to be announced?

We’re headlining Wood Festival, which is a folk festival down in Oxfordshire which is going to be really good. There’s loads of others that we’re doing that we’re about to announce any day now but I’m not sure I’m allowed to talk about and I don’t want to get us into trouble.

Announced within a few days? Is the fact that the Download Festival announcement is coming up in a few days a coincidence?

I’m not doing Download, I can tell you that much.

Reading Festival then?

Erm, well I can’t really say [laughs].

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Interview: Poison The Well guitarist Ryan Primack
November 23, 2009, 5:36 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Modern hardcore pioneers Poison The Well have had quite a year. The Florida five-piece have been tearing round the world in support of their masterpiece “The Tropic Rot”, the most progressive release of the band’s career. We caught up with lead guitarist and band leader Ryan Primack to talk tours, the future and where this is all going.

You’ve been on a tour of the UK with Rise Against and Thursday, what sort of reception have you been getting so far?

A: The shows that we’ve played with Thursday and just us have been really good, it’s been our normal crowd really. Some of the shows with Rise Against have been really funny, some of the crowds have been super receptive and then some of them have looked at us like we have seventeen hands growing out of our face! It’s been great!

Have you been checking out the sets of the other bands?

A: Yeah every day. Us and Thursday are poor so we didn’t bring anyone to help out onstage. As soon as I’m done playing I’m out onstage making sure everything goes off good for Thursday so I see them every single day. I’ve caught quite a bit of the Rise Against sets, it’s pretty epic. We’re noticing in Spain it turned into an Iron Maiden concert almost cause people were humming along to their guitar riffs just like they do on “Fear of the Dark” (for Maiden).

You’re touring the new album “The Tropic Rot” at the moment, how do you feel the album turned out?

A: I’m pretty happy with it. I’m as happy with it as I am with any record, which means that when it comes out I already hate it (laughs). But that’s how I usually work, everything for me is a work in progress. Everything I do, in hindsight, five minutes later I think is shit. It’s normal for me though.

Have you figured out the next step in terms of where PTW are going on another record?

A: Polka party (laughs). We’re probably going to try and keep reinventing what we do. Sometimes it’s tough when a bunch of guys with zero common sense try to produce something, but you do what you can.

Was the recording process a smooth one?

A: Yeah, this time it went really smoothly. I don’t know if that is good or bad. Maybe it’s better if you have to fight it out.

Has the new line-up helped with this?

A: We all got on really, really well. I only had to kick them six or seven times. In the face.

Do you feel you sound tighter live with the new guys?

A: Now we do. It was a little shaky at first but now it’s definitely come together.

This is possibly your most progressive-leaning album to date, was this a conscious decision or something that developed over the making of the album?

A: It’s pretty much something that naturally happened, we just put together songs, did what we do and hoped for the best and it came out at least mediocre. I’m just one of those people that is incredibly self-defacing about what they do. 

How have the new songs been received live so far?

A: Good, the one’s that we’ve been choosing to play have been going down pretty well. I think maybe next year we’ll start breaking out the more obscure ones and see what happens. We’ll try and gently break it to people.

Often with bands that have a progressive sound you see them performing their whole albums live, is that something you’d ever do?

A: I would totally love to do that, but we’d have to have a bunch of extra people besides the five of us. I wouldn’t want to just do it on (backing) tracks like some bands do. To me that steals away from the point of seeing as band live now. We’ve been trying to get Andrew from Thursday in to do keyboards but he really doesn’t want to do it.

Why not?

A: He really doesn’t like me (laughs). There just hasn’t been time to figure it all out. He’s my favourite dude ever, in the world. More so than Jesus.

Who plays keyboard on “The Tropic Rot?”

A: I do but I didn’t want to put it down there because on (previous album) Versions it looks like I have a laundry list after my name. I felt self-serving and a little embarrassed to be tooting my own horn so this time I just put that I played guitar. I don’t want to be the kind of musician who’s like “check me out!”

Do you plan any UK headline dates in support of the album?

A: Hopefully, we did like, a couple earlier in the year but it was really brief. We don’t have anything for next year as of yet. We kind of went real heavy for this year, people kind of need a little time off. We’re all growing older as people. Sometimes you just want to be at home for a little bit.

PTW are cited as a huge influence on a lot of hardcore and metalcore bands. Oli Sykes from Bring Me The Horizon recently mentioned you in Kerrang, and we spoke to UK band Your Demise last issue and they also cite you as a big influence. Would you say you notice a lot of bands that are cast in the same mould as PTW, and how do you feel about influencing so many acts?

A: I’m immensely flattered. I’m one of those people who never quite hears it though. I’ve been told by people “That band like totally rips you off man!” and I don’t really hear it at all. They just sound like a band doing heavy music you know? None of us reinvented the wheel, or invented a better shaped wheel. I think that the fact of the matter is there were a lot of people in America who had a similar idea at a similar time and some of us got lucky. There’s a lot to be said for the fact of people saying it had an immense influence. It almost seems to me that it a direct musical influence as much as the idea that you can do whatever the fuck you want. Make no apologies about it, just do whatever the fuck you want. Make sure what you’re doing is honest. Maybe that part of the influence I can see because I think that throughout our career the one thing that has remained constant is the big middle finger in the face of those saying “Well if you just do the same thing you’ll be more successful.” That’s why we’re all poor and happy.

We consciously know we’ve made decisions that have negatively affected our popularity but at least we made the decisions on our own. I would rather fail while being honest than succeed while selling somebody a farce.

What sort of negative feedback have you got in the past?

A: It’s not heavy enough, you don’t sound like a hardcore band anymore or this is pussy shit, which is usually an American one. Completely with no real reason. Mostly stuff like “There’s no mosh parts so I’m bored” I can completely live with that.

Do you feel that you’re damned if you evolve and damned if you don’t?

A: You’re screwed no matter what so you might as well at least do what’s honestly in your heart and soul. I’d rather fail and be honest like I said than sell a farce and be rich. Besides then I’d be miserable “Oh my life’s a joke!” That’s why they’re miserable, nobody’s out to get them they just realise their life’s a joke.

Who are your biggest influences at the moment, and have they changed over time?

A: All my things that were my influences when I started writing music with the band are all still there. It’s still an amalgamation of late 90s hardcore, 80s hardcore, punk rock from all generations, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, early metal.

Now I just have more, all that stuff is still there but there’s also soundtrack music, obscure country artists, instrumental music. I still think the root of the matter is when I want to get excited about life I still listen to Bad Brains. I’m still a hardcore kid. When I’m in a great mood I put on Leeway: Born To Expire. I just don’t mosh in my room any more…not that I ever did, that would be so uncool! Hey we were all fourteen once!

At Fancore we are all about championing the cause of up and coming bands as well as more high-profile acts such as yourselves. Are there any unknown bands you would recommend to our readers?

I always take a chance to plug one of my friend’s bands cause I think they’re fucking awesome, a band called Furious Dudes from Miami. Just a really cool, sloppy punk rock band. I guess lately I’ve been listening to this American band called The Carrier a lot. We played in Adelaide with this band called Chorus, who were really good.



Interview: Bruce Kulick- Former KISS man talks his latest album

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The Quickie.

Where we probe Rock gods with some rapid-fire queries. This month, ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick talks new album, playing Vegas and the Hottest Band in the World.

Bruce, How is the new album coming along?

 BK: I am really proud of this CD.  I want to do a total of 11 songs and I have only two more left to complete.

 Do you think it lives up to a previous promise you made that it would be the best solo work of your career?

BK: I know this for a fact. The EP is getting amazing reviews from my fans.

You had Gene and Nick Simmons into the studio to work on tracks with you, how did that go?

BK: Amazing… working with Gene is always fun, but Nick was special as it certainly is a new thing for him.  He did a great performance and his lyrics were perfect.

 Are there any other collaborators on the album?

BK: Well my producer Jeremy Rubolino co-wrote the songs with me.  Tobias Sammet from EDGUY co-wrote one as well.

You play with Union co-founder John Corabi in ESP, along with former Union collaborators Chuck Garric and Eric Singer. Is there any intention to perform or record together again as Union?

 BK: No plans right now, but Corabi is on my BK3 disc.

 Onto KISS, after 12 years in the band, what are your overwhelming feelings about that time in your career?

 BK: It was a great experience.  I loved meeting the KISS fans, and they are the best.  I learned so much from Gene and Paul, and of course every year had its highlights with tours or recording.

 What do you see as your finest contributions to KISS in terms of performances on record?

BK: REVENGE for sure.  The acoustic solo in “Forever”.  MTV unplugged… and some special solos on all the discs.

 How did you feel when the reunion happened and you left the band in 1996? Did you feel the KISS lineup with yourself and Eric could have gone further or was the painted reunion necessary for the survival of the band?

 BK: Well I had no choice but to “leave” the band.  The reunion tour would go on and on.   Economics made the reunion necessary.

 You play in many different bands including ESP, your solo work, Grand Funk Railroad. What element of your career makes you happiest?

BK: My solo work is my biggest reward.  Creating something people love.  But of course playing guitar live, and making people feel my emotion on the guitar, that rules too!

BK3 is scheduled for Summer 2009. Check out http://www.kulick.net for all things Bruce.



INTERVIEW: Herts hardcore upstarts Your Demise- “hardcore for the past 5 years has been pretty uninspiring”
June 20, 2009, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

your demise

New York. Boston. Hertfordshire. You may laugh, but this not-so-sunny South East county is starting to make a name for itself in Hardcore music. Local lads Enter Shikari and Gallows have both achieved national stardom and now another group is on the cusp of joining them. Your Demise have been at this game for a few years now, but after line-up changes and false-starts they have recorded their “real” debut album Ignorance Never Dies and are set to be the sound your eardrums burn to in 2009 and beyond. We sat down with Guitarist Stuart Paice and Drummer James Tailbee to find out about the next big Herts export.
For the uninitiated, what are Your Demise all about?

James Tailbee (drums): Making music we like to listen to but also like to play. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.

Stu Paice (guitar): Although the album is serious (laughs). We’ve always been about the same thing but with this record we were able to explore a bit more so it’s worked out a lot better. A lot more people are into it now.

 Has being on Visible Noise helped get more people into the band?

 S: Before everything was written to a sort of formula of what people that were into us liked. This time we weren’t afraid to say “Fuck it, let’s write some songs that we want to write

J: We’ve been allowed to experiment and do what we want.

S: You don’t have to worry about where the money’s coming from to pay for it. If band’s have an opportunity to get onto a label that will pay for your recording then just fucking do it!

 You’ve been quoted as saying that “Ignorance Never Dies” is your “real” debut album, why is that?

 S: It is our debut album because it’s the first time we’ve had major press. We’re in Kerrang now but we weren’t four years ago when we started. As far as everyone sees it, this is our debut.

 How did the recording of the new album go?

 J: It all just fell into place really comfortably. It couldn’t have gone much better.

S: We nailed it. The only things that were left, because we recorded the album then went on tour with Bury Your Dead, we had to go back halfway through the tour to do some gang vocals and other vocal parts. Then in January we took Sam (Carter) from Architects down there to do a song with us.

 What would you say are your main influences musically?

 J: Fundamentally I’m a Punk Rock kid. I listen to Pop-Punk, Punk Rock and electro and Stu listens to Hardcore. George (Noble, Vocalist) listens to the bloody Stone Roses!

S: I was always a Metal kid. The first two bands I got into were Guns ‘n Roses and Metallica. Then I got really into Hardcore, I mean I still love Hardcore. But Hardcore for the last five years has been very uninspiring. I’m not saying we’re the ones bringing it back, we’ve just written a good record.

 At Fancore we are all about new music and pushing up and coming talent, are there any bands you want to inform our readers of?

 J: Make sure you listen More Than Life, Deez Nuts and Lower than Atlantis who are on this tour with us.

S: Brutality Will Prevail. Run from St Albans where we’re from. Pay No Respect and Save Your Breath from Wales.

 J: Metal bands as well like Ignominious Incarceration. Pop-Punk bands like We Push Buttons. Just go to local shows, watch bands, listen to them, go check out their Myspace.

S: Continue supporting home grown bands. One thing I say to anyone is when a UK band or a UK package is touring the UK go and support them. Everyone needs to just support each other. There is this attitude that if an American band is touring over here then you should buy their t-shirts and stuff but it’s definitely a case of remembering where you are from. If you’re from the UK support the scene because there is a lot going on. And don’t fucking fight at shows you faggots! That just ruins it!

You toured with Biohazard last year, a band you’ve cited as a major influence in the past, what was that like?

 J: I’ve never been into Biohazard my entire life. Going into that tour I didn’t really know what to expect. We played the two UK shows with them and they were awesome, they were such big shows.

 J: We went into the European dates and I really had no idea what to expect but it was amazing. They were really nice dudes, they were so supportive.

S: To have Bobby Hambel and Billy Graziadei remember your name, (laughs). I was a little dickhead fanboy! They could have been real dickheads to us because who are we? They are fucking Biohazard, they don’t need to give a fuck about anyone. But they took the time to watch us. It could have been a nightmare but they were just the best and they made us feel welcome.

 Between yourselves, Enter Shikari and Gallows, do you feel Hertfordshire is becoming a Hardcore hotbed?

 S: I’d say Hertfordshire is a hotbed. There’s also Cry For Silence. Saving Aimee!. There’s lots of bands.

 S: The frustrating thing is that bands get big locally and think they were the bollocks and they still do and that fucks me off.



INTERVEW: Frank Turner “People Who Are Bitter Because I’m No Longer Their Little Secret Can Fuck Right Off”

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After a 2008 that took him further than any folker on the planet, 2009 sees Frank Turner on the cusp of international success with an Epitaph deal in the bag and a tour with punk legends, The Offspring. FANCORE catches up with Frank to talk about the new album, the real reason he left Sonisphere and what it means to be a punk in 2009.

What can we expect in terms of content from the new Frank Turner album?

Frank: For me, the first album was about the hole at the middle of the party, the dichotomy between hedonism and loneliness. Love Ire & Song was about distance and relationships. The new record is about throwing caution to the wind, strategies for not giving up as you get older. I think it’s probably a more positive record than its predecessors. But it’s not radically different.

You’ve said that the new album is almost 75% complete, will it still be out by this September?

 Frank: Yup and we might even be moving it forward a little. It’s now fully rehearsed and next week we go into the studio, as a band, to lay it down. We did a quick residency of shows in Oxford to try out the material live, which went really well.

Has there been any major influences on your song writing, either musically or personally that have affected the current record?

 Frank: The events of the last couple of years have made a difference – that’s probably why it’s a more positive, upbeat record, (laughs). Musically, I’ve been more into the E Street Band than before, and I’ve also been listening to a lot of Bob Dylan of late. Working with the band has also changed things a little.

 How has writing with the band affected the new record?

 Frank: It’s made a huge difference to the arrangements. I’m a pretty average keyboardist; having Matt Nasir work on the parts means that the keys can take a more prominent role.

 How do you address criticism you gain from moving from underground gigs to playing much bigger shows?

 Frank: I address it by baring my skinny English arse. I am the only person I need to justify my business /“career” decisions to, and believe me I spend a lot of time doing that. The illiterate opinions of teenagers on the internet are of no interest to me.People who are bitter because I’m no longer their little secret can fuck right off.

 Do you still think it’s important to continue to play to smaller audiences?

  Frank:I think it’s important to put on the show of your life, regardless of where you are, every time.

 What does being a folk artist in 2009 mean to you?

  Frank: Folk is less of an ego orientated scene, which I like. It’s community music. I like the idea that I can play a show anywhere in the world any time as long as someone has a guitar.

 What are your views on the current music scene and do you think that the tide will turn back to more meaningful messages in punk? 

  Frank: I don’t really know or care what punk means, musically speaking. It’s an argument which has wasted countless man-hours in the past. The grime scene in the UK a few years back was a million times more “punk” than anything with mohawks. As for any current music scene, well, there are some cool bands around right now, I hope they do well.

 Do you feel that an artist has to dilute their message in order to gain mainstream acceptance?

  Frank: Not necessarily. Look at Rage Against The Machine, or hell, Morrissey. I think sometimes people use that as an excuse to take a shortcut. For me, doing what I do wouldn’t be much fun if I wasn’t in creative control, so it’s not really an issue.

 There has been no official statement on why you had to cancel your Sonisphere appearance; can you shed any light on why you have had to pull out?

  Frank: Ugh, industry politics. I’m not 100% sure what I’m allowed to say about this, but basically there was an ego piss-war between some industry big-wigs, and I took the fallout. It sucks. Not much I can do about it though.

 You’ve said before that you consider punk to be a youth movement; do you think as you get older you’ll have less to sing about?

  Frank: People who only sing about anger get very, very dull very quickly. I think you get angry in different ways as you get older; I certainly don’t think many of my friends would say I was less angry now than when I was younger, just about different things. Punk is a youth movement, when it has meaning and is worthwhile.

 Now that you’ve realised an ambition in signing to Epitaph, are there any more career goals that you have to achieve before you’re done?

  Frank: I could list stuff like wanting to play certain venues or whatever, but in n reality my main aim is to write better music. I believe I have better stuff in me than I’ve been able to get out. So I’m going to focus on that.



INTERVIEW: Enter Shikari “We Never Hold Back, If We Did We’d Sound Like The Maccabees”

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UK Dancecore mob Enter Shikari are taking the world by storm, one sweaty frenzy of a show at a time and with the release of Common Dreads it looks like their hold on the planet will do anything but loosen. Shikari boys Rou (vocals) and Rory (guitar) wax lyrical on their mind-blowing new album, keeping up the DIY ethic in music and making it to Edith Bowman’s playlist.

Your success has paved the way for a number of other rock bands influenced by electronic music to gain mainstream attention. How do you feel about these bands using a similar style to you?

Rou Reynolds (Vocals): It’s good to experiment definitely. At the end of the day you should play music you enjoy, whatever texture or mood that brings. It doesn’t always work with everyone but it’s good to try.

Do you feel that these bands are directly copying you?

Rou: I suppose there are definitely a lot of bands that do ‘Mothership’ sounding beatdowns with sort of a trance synth over the top. The amount of standard sounding Metalcore bands alone that we’ve toured with, especially in America have been playing the same stuff.

Rory Clewlow (Guitar): It puts us off a bit, it’s a bit soul destroying hearing the same sort of music every night.

Rou: I don’t think we’ve got any pressure really.

Rory: I guess if we identified ourselves as a band which was original, and did this “different” thing then it would probably be threatening but I guess we’ve always just done it cause that’s what we want to do. We don’t compare ourselves to anyone really we just do our own thing.

Has it been refreshing to play intimate, scaled-down shows this year?

 Rory: Last year was really good ‘cause we did lots of smaller shows and then the year before that we did the big festival seasons. This year we’re going to be doing festivals again but we’re throwing in some smaller shows for a bit of variety cause it’s never good to get stuck doing the same thing over and over again.

 How did the recording process for upcoming album Common Dreads go?

 Rou: By the time we got into the recording studio it was pretty smooth from there on out. A lot of things changed that we didn’t think would, like song structures got played about with and all sorts of alterations happened. The only time it got a bit hairy was at the beginning when we started sorting out the riffs, with crazy four-part harmonies in the background! (laughs) I guess when we started labelling the different riffs and ideas and putting them into categories we were sort of like “whoa” we’ve got this massive mission ahead of us to make sense of all these ideas and put them together. But once we organised it, it was fairly plain sailing.

 Is the direction of the new album radically different from Take to the Skies?

 Rory: There’s definitely progression in the way it sounds. This is the first time on a record where we’ve had a lot of time to experiment. I think we developed as songwriters and players. And lyrically we are more direct; we say what we are thinking rather than shrouding stuff in   metaphor.

 Rou: I still feel that the first album is almost a live album, we just went into the studio, did it in two weeks, we just thrashed it out. We didn’t really experiment or work on it at all in the studio. This time there was time to play about and develop the songs.  This really feels like our first album in a way.

 Do you think that you now have more to say?

 Rory: Well I don’t think we’ve ever been the type of band to hold back (laughs). I think if we were then the first album wouldn’t sound like it does, it would sound like The Maccabees.

 What were your main musical influences going into this album?

 Rou: We really need to start making a list for that question (laughs). So much stuff. Hardcore was still very much an essential theme. ‘Sick of it All’ being my favourite Hardcore band from day one really.

Rory: I’ll chuck Radiohead in there, and Rage Against the Machine.

Rou: Biffy Clyro. A lot of softer stuff like Jose Gonzalez, Regina Spektor. Dance-wise is more genres, like Drum ‘n’ Bass and Dubstep have been a big influence but then again so has House, so has Trance. Hardcore and Happy Hardcore, that whole side of dance.

 Rory: It’s like every song brings something new to the table. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint any direct, main influences.

 Rou: Even UK Hip Hop like Lowkey, The One Taste Collective which is a collective of all sorts of musicians and poets. Is that enough? (laughs)

 You mentioned Dubstep there, a genre that has come into the mainstream more since your last album. How have you used Dubstep on the new album?

 Rou: The idea was to have interludes, like on the last album, not full songs. Dub and Dubstep were sort of a big influence so we decided to make them actual songs with the whole band playing it rather than just me playing it on electronics. It sounds really cool but it took a lot of work, especially on Chris’ (Batten, Bassist) bass set-up. It’s ridiculous now (smiles), it’s completely computerised, digitalised. Some of the sounds he’s getting are just awesome. Taking that to a live scenario is really cool.

 How have the tracks from Common Dreads sounded in the live setting so far?

 Rou: I’ve been pleasantly surprised really. As a fan of a band, if they play something new I’d kind of take a step back from dancing, to listenand watch them play it. A lot of people seem to be going nuts for [the new songs].

 Rory: A lot of what people come to the live shows for is the energy, then they go home and listen to the CD to nitpick the music. I guess that’s just our fans that mainly do that though.

 Another festival you played recently was the Radio One Big Weekend, do you think having major radio backing has helped you as a band?

 Rory: Exposure on Radio One is one of the best things that can happen as a band. It’s the way to get music out to totally random people. To be honest I don’t really listen to Radio One a lot, because I don’t like a lot of what’s on it. Playing the Big Weekend, you would look out at the crowd and you could tell it wasn’t really all our fans. It’s all giveaway tickets at that festival, it’s not people who normally go to gigs so it was good for us.

 Rou: I think it’s that whole “non-music fan” Radio One audience that just listen to the radio for their fix of…

 Rory: (interrupting) Lady Gaga (both laugh).

 Rou: It’s good to introduce them to…I don’t want to sound like too much of a twat but good sorts of…bands. Radio One to be fair have all the specialist shows, like Zane Lowe’s really good he plays loads of new stuff, and they’ve got the Rock Show and the Punk Show so it’s great. But for us (new single) Juggernauts has been played in the middle of the day which is something I never though I’d hear. Us on Edith Bowman! (laughs) It’s weird as hell but it’s cool.

 As a band you have always held DIY ethics, how much longer do you think you can stay on your own record label?

 Rou: I think the way the music industry is going, every minute a band says they are doing a different deal and saying, “this is the future!” We’ve changed distributors for this album and we’re going to plug in to a few more marketing people, but I think the way we run ourselves will always be the same. I couldn’t see us selling away our copyright or something like that. That shit just scares me!

 Rory: It doesn’t really make much sense to us to sign a standard old-school record deal.

 With yourselves, Gallows and Your Demise, do you think that Hertfordshire may be the new home of Hardcore?

 Rou: (laughs) When we were growing up literally all I listened to rock-wise, apart from big bands like Rage Against the Machine was bands from out local scene.

 Rory: All our bands have taken influence from each other, if you know the St Albans Hardcore scene and listen to us and Gallows and Your Demise you’ll definitely hear the influence.

 Rou: There’s so many other bands, like Sikth, Cry for Silence, Incoherence. There was a really huge scene around Watford, Hatfield and St Albans.

 (At this point drummer Rob Rolfe walks in, admonishes his laptop for not charging, before politely apologising, exclaiming “shit, you’re in an interview” and then leaving the room. Nice guy.)

 Rou: Ourselves and Gallows came along after a few years, and now Your Demise as well. It seems to be kicking off again.

 Can you recommend any new bands to our readers?

Rory: Obviously Your Demise. Fell Silent, we’ve toured with them three or four times. They are our mates but they are also an awesome band. A bit like, they’ll hate me for saying this, but a little bit like Meshuggah. The get compared to them all the time.

Common Dreads is currently on sale, if you don’t have it- you pretty much have no excuses…



Paul Stanley: “New Album Is Better Than Classic KISS Records”

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KISS frontman Paul Stanley graced Danny Bonaduce’s radio show this morning, where he spoke about the upcoming fan-routed KISS tour, his art gallery appearances and briefly about the newest KISS album.

The as-of-yet untitled new album has already been self-confirmed for a September release by Paul Stanley himself, who said in the new interview that the band are close to finished it. He also noted that the band’s recent effort is “as good [as], if not better than, some of the vintage” KISS records.

It’s certainly a bold claim! Not beyond them though. Do you have high hopes for the new album?

The full interview can be downloaded as an mp3 from This Location.