By Rhys Stevenson
Two years ago, the German Industrial Goth / EBM / NDH trio Oomph! unveiled their twelfth album "Des Wahnsinns fette Beute" (Eng: "Fat Booty Of Madness") and this year mark their 25th anniversary as a band who have never split, nor have had any line-up changes (apart from the live setup where long-standing drummer Leo handed over drumming duties to Silvestri and bassist / backing vocalist Tobi handed over his duties to Hagen Godicke, whilst the band introduced Okusa and El Friede on percussion and keyboards respectively).
GMA spoke to Dero (middle of the photo) about what makes Oomph! tick along nicely.
Hi Dero hope all is well. Now as Oomph! have been going a staggering 25 years, what in your opinion has been the highlight(s) and the least favorite part(s) of the band's career so far?
Well our first ever record deal which was with Machinery Records, this lead to the releasing of our first album "Oomph!". Our first ever club show and the first festival we played at (GMA: we presume this is Ozzfest 2002), our first ever duet, our first show in a foreign country, our first video-clip... there are so many highlights to mention and we're very thankful about that fact.
Four years ago you released your first English compilation album "Truth Or Dare" (Wahrheit Oder Pflict), what was the reception like from the non-German speaking fans?
"Truth Or Dare" is to be seen as a gift for our non-German speaking fans... the album was mainly released in foreign countries, so it was clear that it has not been done for the German, Austrian or Swiss markets... our foreign fans were very thankful for our English adaptations, because they are able to understand our German lyrics far better now with this album...
"Truth Or Dare" can be purchased via: eBay / Amazon.de / Amazon.com / iTunes
Now you're considered pioneers of the Neue Deutsche Harte (NDH) movement, could you explain to our readers would that exactly entails, what makes the music genre what it is?
As this "trademark" had been mentioned by some German music journalists, in the middle of the 1990's, OOMPH! was already there for about 6 years..."NDH" deals with the associations of the 1980's "Neue Deutsche Welle" but implies some kind of hardness, strength and German cliches... OOMPH! never used to be a band who was only hard, so this explaination did not fit very well on our music... even if bands like Rammstein, Eisbrecher or Unheilig claim that OOMPH! were the main influence on them, in my eyes OOMPH! is far too versatile to put a very one-dimensional stamp like "NDH" on it... we don´t like to deal or play with some cliches about Germans that´s been spread especially in foreign countries... that would be too ambigious for us...
Now have you performed in the UK? If so when? If not, would you consider this in the future? Speaking of the future, what plans does Oomph! have for the coming year?
Unfortunately we didn´t have the opportunity to play in the UK so far... if we were left to our own devices, we´d play everywhere in the whole world, but it does not depend on us, you know... it needs a proper local promoter and distributor, who believes in the band and wants us to play there... we´re busy with working on our forthcoming album which hopefully will come out early next year... we´re looking forward to it very much... it would be great to have the chance to play some festivals or club-shows in the UK next year... if you see any chance, please contact our live booking agency... ;-)
Check out "God Is A Popstar" below, this is taken from their release "Truth or Dare" - it is the English version of "Gott Ist Ein Popstar".
"God Is A Popstar" taken from the album "Truth or Dare"
The song "Gott Ist Ein Popstar" caused some controversy in Germany, what enticed the band to write this song and could it be said that the song highlights modern religious traits that have 'glamorized' more traditional religious traits?
Actually the song was a pretty ironical approach on all those casting events..."Britain´s Got Talent", "Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar" and so on... it seems that the now gods are those casting heroes... fortunately they´re not very long-lasting gods... you can recognize a transcendental decay in our "Western world" and I´m not sure yet, if it´s good or bad for us... ;-)... let´s see...
If you could choose any five Industrial / Goth bands past or present that you could tour the world with, who would it be and why?
NIN - one of the most innovative and influencing bands of the last 25 years..."The Downward Spiral" is just killer!
TYPE O NEGATIVE - such a versatile and dark romantic band..."Bloody Kisses" is a true piece of art...rest in peace, Pete!
D.A.F. - to me, one of the most innovative bands from Germany, which had a huge impact on other bands... try "Der Mussolini"!
KRAFTWERK - real heroes, as we all know..."Das Model" is just cult!
NITZER EBB - great British band... unfortunately very underrated... "SHOWTIME" was their best album in my eyes...
You were 19 or so when you started Oomph! How did you meet Crap (Andreas) and Flux (Robert Flux) and what inspired you to play NDH / Industrial Gothic Metal?
Crap and I used to live in the same skyscraper when we were kids... we grew up in Wolfsburg, which is a very industrial city, which is focused on the manufacturing of the "Volkswagen"... if you want so, the perfect base for founding an industrial band... ;-)... so we were hanging around in the late 80's with our first synthesizers and made some pretty infantile noise... but it was much fun to try and compose our first material back then... Flux joined us in 1989 and thus we founded OOMPH!...
Most people would have recognized you from the "Wahrheit Oder Pflicht" - era with spiked hair and trademark-style beard, did you get inspiration for this or was it along the lines of 'lets do something unique'?
As a kid of the 1980's, I tried out almost every haircut and color that´s been available... ;-)... maybe it was just the right style at this point of time... it was kind of a mixture of everything that i tried out before... ;-)
Check out "Augen Auf!" below, taken from the album "Wahrheit Oder Pflict"
"Augen Auf!" taken from "Wahrheit Oder Pflicht" and featured on the FIFA 2005 soundtrack.
Now "Augen Auf!" is without a doubt Oomph!'s best charted single to date and has featured on FIFA 2005, now two things:- 1. what is the story behind the song and is there a difference in meaning between "Augen Auf" and "Augen Auf Ich Komme"?
The lyrics contain parts of an ancient German child´s game which is pretty much like "Hide and Seek"... we wanted to create a creepy version of this game... "Augen Auf!" means "Open Your Eyes", and "Augen Auf Ich Komme!" means "Open Your Eyes I´m Coming!"... but you cannot translate it one to one into English, that´s why we chose "Ready Or Not I´m Coming!" in the English version... you can decide yourself, if there´s a double meaning in those lyrics...;-)
Oomph!'s songs all tend to vary across lyric topics e.g. more romantic "Brennende Liebe" to cosmetic surgery-style "Wer Schön Sein Will Muss Leiden", how do you choose what lyric topics you want to do and does each album have a theme?
Not every OOMPH! album is a concept album with a certain topic, like "Wunschkind" or "Defekt"... sometimes life in itself offers just too many stories to tell just to be fixed on one single topic...if you walk with open eyes through our world, you´ll be inspired permanently...
How does "Des Wahnsinns Fette Beute" compare to the rest of the albums Oomph! has released?
I would consider it our most courageous album so far... I guess, it was about time to show our self-ironical side with this release... if you wanna avoid becoming ridiculous over the years, you have to have the guts to laugh about yourself and make fun of yourself... that´s true badass behavior in my eyes... ;-)
Check out "Das Letzte Streichholz" from the album "GlaubeLiebeTod" below.
"Das Letzte Streichholz" taken from the album "GlaubeLiebeTod"
Finally are there any thank you's and hello's you wish to express to fans, friends, etc? (feel free to add any other information)
Thanx a lot to everybody who believes in OOMPH! and who helps to spread the OOMPH! virus all over the world... keep your eyes open, ´cause we´re coming... ;-)
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with Tuesday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Iceland, whose entry Pollapönk made it to the finals (live Saturday night on BBC1 - check your own national broadcaster), they mix punk rock with children's music, this however is overshadowed by the interesting fact that their back-up vocals are split amongst Óttarr Proppé (from Ham) and Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (from the Viking Metal band Skálmöld). You might as well admit that Iceland and Finland have both gone down the rock route this year (we would like to see more of this), what with Ukraine's Gothic pop entry also gone through, there is a little theme going on this year.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Pollapönk and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'No Prejudice' and the Icelandic Rock Music scene. Many thanks to Haraldur
Gíslason for talking to us.
"Eurovision is a happy place".
Hey guys, first off how does it feel to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is a dream come true to get on to a big stage like this and to get our message out to as many people. We don’t feel any pressure, but we are determined to have fun and do our very best to make Iceland proud.
The song "Enga fordóma (No Prejudice)" is about a young person who has the habit of stuttering around others and fears to be mocked or bullied because of this. With this song it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all bullying and prejudice as everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. We think that the world needs to hear the "no prejudice" message. Especially from middle age, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle age, heterosexual, white men makes us a group that is most unlikely to be discriminated against and we believe that we should use this opportunity to point out the injustice in this world. Of course we know that it will not instantly make the world a better place. It is our small contribution.
What inspired you to get the suits? Especially in vibrant colors :)?
With different colors we are calibrating diversity. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. Also we just look very good in these colored suits.
What does Pollapönk mean and why that name?
Pollapönk means two things. Punk for kids and puddle punk.
Could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Icelandic Rock scene?
The Icelandic rock scene is very good. All the members from Pollapönk come from the Icelandic underground rock scene. There is a lot of good bands coming up and the scene is growing.
Now you have been going eight years, where have you played outside Iceland?
Not so much as Pollapönk. But Heiðar and Haraldur are in a band called Botnleðja that has toured a lot outside Iceland. Once they supported Blur in the UK. Gudni and Arnar are in a band called Mugison that has toured a lot as well. Bibbi or mister Orange as we like to call him is in a heavy metal band called Skálmöld. Our member of parliament Óttarr is also in a band called Ham.
Could you give a brief history of the band and how you met?
Pollapönk was founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gíslason and Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnleðja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of education from the University of Iceland. The purpose was to write and perform music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing-a-long to. The first album "Pollapönk" was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Þór Gíslason who is Haraldur‘s brother and bass-player Guðni Finnsson joined Pollapönk which then became a quartet. Pollapönk have made two more albums, and played numerous gigs for children and grown-ups all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is the chairman of the Association of Pre-school Teachers, Heiðar Örn is a Pre-school teacher and Arnar Þór and Guðni are professional musicians.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
The Eurovision Semi Final No.2 is on tonight on BBC3 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm and UK viewers CAN VOTE tonight - we'd like Malta, Israel, Lithuania, Finland and Slovenia to go through amongst others - Romania, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Belarus.
The Eurovision Final is on Saturday - BBC1 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm we believe.
It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with yesterday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Malta, whose entry Firelight employs a unique mix of folk, country and pop music that ultimately is overshadowed by the interesting fact that four of the members are all family members. Moreover front-man Richard Edwards has had his own stint performing across the UK by performing alongside the likes of Leona Lewis, Ray Quinn and more as he had entered the X Factor competition, getting applauds from Simon Cowell and making it into the last 80 before joining the rock band Cast Away, before heading back to Malta in 2009.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Firelight and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'Coming Home' and the Maltese Folk Music scene. Answers by Richard Edwards, front-man of Firelight.
Eurovision is "lots of fun and millions of viewers".
Hey guys, so first off how does it feel to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014?
It's a very good feeling. As individuals we have entered the Malta finals several times, but as a band it was fantastic to finally win. We are proud to be proud to be representing Malta in Copenhagen.
And so how did you all meet, and did you all have the same aspirations?
Well four of us are family members -- three brothers and a sister. Two good friends of ours make up the rest of Firelight. We all have a tremendous passion for music.
So how did you all get into music and who inspires you?
Our Dad is a famous singer in Malta. We were brought up in a house full of music. I have many musical heroes from Johnny Cash to Sir Paul McCartney.
And could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Maltese Folk music scene?
We've tried to create a sound that mixes folk music with rock and pop. It's fusion music. It's proving popular in Malta. We just hope the rest of Europe likes it too.
Now what do you think of the UK entry this year?
It's good. It's a great song and we like hanging out with Molly too. I had my own UK experience when I took part in X Factor. Simon Cowell gave me the thumbs up and I had the pleasure of performing at boot camp with the likes of Leona Lewis.
Please tell us a bit about your song 'Coming Home'?
There was a personal story behind me writing it. It's very much about overcoming difficulties. But I think it will mean different things to different people. All the Poles, Czechs, Latvians etc in the UK know what it's like to be away from family for months at a time. Hopefully, 'Coming Home' will mean something to them.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
We love the UK. Our Mum is from Yorkshire. So vote for us and we promise to come to the UK to give you all a big kiss.
Catch Firelight tomorrow night performing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 semi-final number two at 8:00PM (GMT) on BBC3 (or your broadcaster linked here). VOTE FOR MALTA!!!!!
"We don't have a uniform or set dress style. It's just really an expression of each individual and who we are".
Following their successful performance at the charity event Danfest, which was a festival designed to raise awareness for autism involving raising money for the chosen charity from which former drummer David Pankhurst's son has autism; and David's sad departure from the band leading to the new drummer Jay being instated, I had a couple of minutes sit down time to talk to the band and find out what's happening, how they enliven their sets and what the future has in stock for them.
By Rhys Stevenson
So guys you played Danfest which was raising money for charity in order to raise awareness of Autism, how was this for you?
We had a great time, playing for a good cause. It was worth while for us to see Dan and Evie's face light up watching the bands play. Was great that the day turned out well and raised money for the charity.
Danfest was David Pankhurst's last live show, what was the band's reaction to him saying he can no longer play?
We were really shocked Dave was with us for just over a year. It was a bolt out of the blue and we were gutted. It was a tough time for the band and Dave but with his blessing we carried on and found a new drummer. Leaving a band is always a difficult thing especially when the decision is taken away from you. Dave's now gone into band management and we wish him every success in the future and glad he's managed to keep himself involved with music in some aspect.
From September till the end of the year, what plans have you got and how do you plan to finish 2013?
We're planning on doing a load more gigs really and planning what's next for new recordings and videos.
Some people have commented on each member and their dress style on stage, what would you say your individual dress style is like?
We don't have a uniform or set dress style. It's just really an expression of each individual and who we are.
Now Brad as your the lead guitarist, what was the most challenging aspect of you learning to play and what tips and tricks can you share with GMA's readers?
Learning to play for me was fairly tough, especially with the lead work (my fingers aren't that quick).
As for tips and tricks, learn the music you like, then forge your own style. There are a million faster players who can out shred, sweep pick or whatever than me. But I aim for feeling, and that counts more in our music than any amount of technical ability can give you. Matt has a much more technical role in the band and is often overlooked on the 12 string, as he is more often than not playing a lot of melodic lead runs throughout the songs and I consider him the lead guitarist as well in this band. We both play rhythm and we both play lead. Without the other, the band would not be the same.
Ken, same question as above but applying to Bass Guitar.
I wish I could give you more of an answer, I didn't find anything particually challenging, at the same time music shouldn't be challenging except to the listener.
Melany, your vocals are sensational. How do you practice your singing and how did you get into singing?
Thank you that's very kind. Since I was young I've always loved to sing.It just is such a free way to express yourself.I can't not do it.
Jay, you're now Trash Monroe's new drummer, how have you felt so far and how would you sum Trash Monroe up in one sentence?
So far I have felt welcomed into a warm and loving rock and roll family which allows me to have a whole lot more freedom of expression. To sum Trash up in one sentence?? Trash Monroe are a pop-punk through to monstrous heavy metal enema that the whole world needs in it's playlist.....and other places
Regarding the stage presence, Brad and Melany, the relationship between you two on stage is interesting, who came up with the idea of what you could call 'dramatics' whereby Melany puts her arm round Brad's throat, what is it meant to portray?
Brad: From my side of things, I wouldn't really say it was anything that was planned out, how I react to Melany, Ken, Matt or Jay on stage depends on the song and the feeling I get from it at that moment, be it the rhythm of the music, or how the lyrics affect me or how I want to interpret them at that time. Everything that comes out on stage is a reaction to the music, the energy in the room and is my way of expressing myself further.
Melany: It's because I'm trying to get his attention ;) but to be serious, this is NOT a show for me. I do not plan to do anything beforehand. There are parts in certain songs which makes me want to be close to certain members of the band at certain times and other times I like to stay alone. For me it's my mood. How I'm feeling. A vibe. Sometimes I draw strength from the physical contact onstage. It reminds me that I'm not alone. Sometimes it's not as deep as that and I just wanna say 'Hi, enjoying yourself?' to my band mates.
To all band-members, if you had to choose what person you wanted to be for a day (musician, actor, celeb, etc) who would it be and why?
Brad: I'm quite happy being me to be honest, but as with most people, i'd like to be playing music as a way of living and playing alongside those that have influenced and inspired me.
Ken: Stephen Hawking to just have that clarity of mind and imagination would be great gift. I would just hope I'd be able to keep the things I've learned till the next day.
Melany: I've never wanted to be anyone else. I'd have the same amount of problems in a different body. What's the point in that? I would much rather spend the day with someone like Martin Luther King / Elvis Presley / Nelson Mandela / Marilyn whoever and try to learn something about myself through them.
Jay: I'd be Nikki Sixx for a day. To see the world through the eyes of someone with that level of determination, that will simply not allow life to put you down, would be amazing. If you can survive everything he has been through and keep going then you must have great depth of character. Plus the fact that the man defines Rock and Roll, a pure legend!!!!
Matt: I think i'm pretty fortunate to be me as I get to play music with some really good friends, but if I had to choose anyone I'd probably choose Duff McKagen as he played in and with some amazing bands and the guy is really focused and has his head screwed on.
If you have not played outside the UK yet, where would you play first and why?
Anywhere where people want to listen to something original and will have us.
Finally are there any greetings, hello's, thank you's you wish to issue to friends, fans, family?
Special thanks go out to Becky Rowe for helping us with merch at gigs and everything else you continue to do for us and to Alan Comerford for getting us through some tough spots and taking amazing photographs.
Thank you to all that come out to shows, Buy our merch, leave kind words on our pages and generally support us in everything we do. You all know who you are. You make this band what it is and for that we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Viva la Trash
Catch Trash Monroe at the following confirmed dates:
27th September - The Green Room @ Welwyn Garden City, Herts
25th October - The Square @ Harlow, Essex
23rd November - The Judge & Jury @ Colchester, Essex
"I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better"
Following Lindsey Stirling's hard-worked rise to international stardom, it was time for GMA to take time out to have a chat with such a talented musician in many aspects: creativity, originality and most importantly the ability to challenge the unthinkable. GMA's Rhys Stevenson set to find out what lies behind the violin and the musical genius of Lindsey Stirling.
Hi there Lindsey, I see you are performing in Australia next month, is this your first time performing there?
Yes! Actually I have never been to Australia, so I’m hoping to meet a wallaby and a kangaroo or two lol
So what made you or who influenced you to play the violin?
When I was young my family didn’t have a lot of money, but that didn’t stop our family from having fun! My dad would find all kinds of fun things for our family to do, one of which was going to free orchestra concerts. It didn’t take me very long to notice that the violins were “front and center” and had all the interesting parts. When I was about six years old I started begging my parents to give me lessons. My mom finally found one teacher who was willing to give me a fifteen minute lesson every other week. I’m so grateful to my parents and to my first teacher who believed in me enough to give me a chance.
You mix the classic elements of the violin with dubstep and other alternative genres, what gave you this idea and are you hoping other budding artists will catch onto this genre crossover?
As I got older I started loosing interest in violin, and it occurred to me that it was because I was playing other people’s music. I had an intense desire to create my own, and to share it. In high school I joined a punk rock band called “Stomp on Melvin” and I learned to improvise and create music “on-the-spot.” This is also when I started learning to “move” on stage. I continued to perform / jam with bands throughout college. One day I decided to record myself dancing to “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas and put the video up on YouTube. The video went viral, but shortly after that I decided to serve a full-time mission to New York. http://www.lindseystirling.com/lindsey-blog/in-memory-of-nyc/
Once I returned home, my friends kept encouraging me to try out for America’s Got Talent, so when the show contacted me I decided to audition. During the competition I improvised to several popular songs. It wasn’t until I was “X-ed” lol that I realized that what I really wanted to do was create my own songs… I didn’t want to just improvise over someone else’s music anymore. It was a that point that a friend introduced me to Marco G. He believed in me enough to help me create three singles for what I could afford at the time (which was very little). Together we created “Spontaneous Me,” “Transcendence,” and “Song of the Caged Bird.” I’ve been creating music ever since.
You recently appeared on BBC's The One Show, how was this for you?
SO much fun! Jon and Sian were amazing; I enjoyed the interview and I felt extremely honored to be on the show!
Your self-titled debut album charted at no.1 in Austria, what was your reaction when you learned about this and is there a tour of Europe in your plans for next year given you did one this year?
I was pretty shocked. It is just amazing to me that so many people throughout the world are enjoying my music! It’s truly a dream come true for me. I’m not entirely sure what the plans for next year are yet, but I am pretty certain I will be visiting Europe again in the near future. I will actually be visiting Europe during the next several months for promotional purposes, etc.
Upon Sharon Osbourne commenting: "You need to be in a group. ... What you're doing is not enough to fill a theater in Vegas." - I guess it's now safe to say you have proven her wrong?
Yeah…basically lol. But at the same time I know that having Gavi and Drew on tour with me has made a huge difference. I don’t think my performance would be quite as exciting if I was on stage all by myself with a synthesizer playing in the background lol, so in a way she was right.
I see you helped contribute to the theme tunes for the Skyrim and Halo video games, was this a challenging aspect in your career and could we see you helping out on any film scores in the future?
I actually don’t play a lot of video games, so yes. My fans kept requesting these, so when I decided I liked the music enough to do a cover I had to listen to the songs quite a bit before I could create the medleys. I also had to research the games, and I did my best to stay consistent with the characteristics and look of the games and the characters in them. “Gamers” can be really picky about those particulars lol.
What advice could you pass on to musicians who idolize you when playing the violin? Do you feel that you can mix and match music genres in different ways without friction between the multiple genres?
When it works, it works. I have always loved ALL kinds of music. There are very few music genres that I don’t like. Within every genre of music I like certain songs and styles. I believe that there is real power in music, and that if we find the best music to listen to—music that is uplifting—it has the power to change us for the better. Alternatively, music can also affect and change us for the worse if we are not careful of the things we choose to listen to.
What are the rest of your plans for the latter half of the year? What can fans expect from you?
I will be touring Asia / Australia for around two weeks in August. After that I plan to work on my album as much as possible in between my promotional visits to Europe, etc. I honestly don’t know how I am going to finish the album by March with all that is going on lol but that’s the goal!
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings, etc you wish to issue to friends, family, etc?
I definitely would not be who I am or doing what I am doing if it were not for my amazing parents. My friends and family have always been a huge support and believed in me. Today I’d like to give a shout-out to my awesome dad, who taught me that anything is possible. He has always wanted to publish a book and finally, after years of hearing “no” from publishers, his first book has been published. I’m so proud of you dad! You did it! https://www.facebook.com/StephenJStirlingAuthor
Readers can check her music out on the YouTube channels below, news via her Facebook page and website.
You can purchase Lindsey Stirling's self-titled album via iTunes (http://po.st/StirlingYiTx1) or online (http://www.shopbenchmark.com/lindseystirling/)
Following on from GMA's review of Eva Jade Landon's latest release 'Evalution' we took time out to sit down with the American musician and find out what really drives her to make her music that extra special. Interview was by Rhys Stevenson.
Hi Eva, so first off what got you into music and specifically the style of rock you play?
I've been into music for as long as I can remember. I don't think there was one event, specifically. I was writing lyrics and recording melodies onto tape decks all through elementary school, picked up the drums in the school band when I was 12, and by the time I was 15 I was fronting my own project. Most of the rock music I write has a 90's grunge influence mixed with punk and melodic pop melodies.
So when you were growing up what artists did you listen to and take influence from?
Honestly, Hole was probably my biggest influence when I was younger. It was the first time I had ever seen a female playing guitar and screaming about something that matters to her. I didn't know that kind of thing even existed. And it turned me on to a lot of other great female musicians that also became huge influences to me (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill, The Distillers, etc). It made me feel like I wasn't crazy for wanting to do something that had almost always been male territory.
Regarding the state of Maryland, are there any rock schools or music colleges that budding musicians can go to?
Well, I know that we have a School of Rock here. A few locations, I believe. But actually, this is the first year ever we will have a Rock Camp for Girls in Baltimore which is really exciting. I've performed at the DC camp a few times, but it's great that they are able to expand more locally and that the camp is growing. A lot of local musicians I know are involved and I actually have been invited to teach a few workshops, as well.
So where in the USA have you played and are there any plans to play outside the USA?
I've been really lucky that I can say I've had the opportunity to play all over the United States. To name a few: Maryland, DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Southern California, Ohio, St. Louis... even made it out to Toronto, Canada. I would love to be able to do a tour outside of the US, just need to find the funding to get a whole band out there. ha.
I notice you own your own label, how did this come about? Was it directly with your music or are there more artists on it?
We have about six artists right now, including myself, and we are always accepting more submissions. It all kind of came about after I had a really bad experience with an independent label I had signed a digital and physical distribution deal with. I wanted to offer artists a way to put their music out there without the risk of having to go through the type of situation I was in.
Regarding your music how do you go about lyric writing? Do you take specific themes or emotions, or something else?
Most of my lyrics come from personal experiences or emotions... it's kind of funny because sometimes you don't even realize what's affecting you at the time until it falls out on the paper.
Looking to the future what plans do you have in 2013 and beyond? Any new songs, releases?
I'm actually planning a lot of collaborations in 2013. I just released a new single called "The Drama" featuring female vocalist Abs Kase of the band Frenamie, and I'm about to go into the studio to do another collaboration tentatively titled "Deja Vu". We are also planning to shoot a music video this summer for the "The Drama", that will feature a bunch of cameo appearances from bands and promoters all over the area. It should be pretty cool. Some of my songs were also recently selected to be part of the soundtrack for an independent film titled "Deadly Punkettes" that's currently in pre-production and is set to release in 2014. It's about an all girl band who's former lead singer comes back from the dead to haunt her replacement.
How popular is rock and metal in the USA given the vast amount of pop, hip-hop and r&b artists there are?
Actually, despite the fact that mainstream radio caters to Top 40 genres, most of the local scenes across the country are primarily dominated by Rock and Metal bands. You'd be surprised. I'm actually the wild card in most of the shows I play.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's and greetings you wish to issue to fans, friends, etc?
Well definitely thank you to Global Metal Apocalypse for taking the time to do this interview with me, to all the musicians and producers I've worked with over the years who have gotten me to this point, and of course to all my friends and fans for their constant love and support! You guys know who you are! Xo.
"We played what I'm pretty sure was the first ever Steampunk festival in Lincoln back in 2009".
Genre: ALTERNATIVE ROCK / DEATH POP
Label: GOREMOUNT RECORDS
All questions: Laurence Beveridge (except question 7 which was Kier Kemp)
So guys you're playing Download Festival, this surely has to be the band's biggest career highlight so far?
Yeah well we played Download last year as well, so it's really awesome to be back. It's definitely between playing Download twice and playing Brixton on the Kerrang! tour that ticks the box marked "highlight of career".
You just released your second release 'Exposition', has there been a shift in music style from 'Militia of the Lost'?
Yeah in fact it was almost a shift backwards. On 'Exposition' each member of the band wrote a song and it was much less collaborative. I guess we just wanted to flex our musical muscles. It's an awesome record, but not the direction we're heading in.
There have been times where you have been associated with the Steampunk / Victorian image, what is your opinion?
We love Steampunk. We played what I'm pretty sure was the first ever Steampunk festival in Lincoln back in 2009. We love the whole Victorian vibe and I guess the literature we write could be described as steampunk.
Reverting back to Download, will there be any new material unveiled on the day? Will you be playing any earliest material?
We might be playing a new song, as we're heading into the studio to record album number 2 like 3 days later, so yeah. But old material, who knows.
On the note of Download, have you brainstormed set designs or will you go for the simple option?
I'm not sure how much we're allowed to do regarding set design, but we're going to get something exciting. Maybe a replica spitfire or some shit.
You have been nominated for the Kerrang! Awards, in two categories I believe? What is your reaction to this?
We're excited. It's the same award we were nominated for last year, so lets hope we get it this year!
Kier, you appeared on Channel 4 News in light of the changes to hate crime, how was this for you, was it easy to express yourself on television or was it a little surreal?
It was both! I had never done live TV before that and it's a very different experience. Luckily being in a band and performing prepares you for these things a little more. It was evident that my counterpart from The Telegraph didn't feel so comfortable. It was a fantastic experience. I'd do it again in a heart beat. Especially for such a good cause!
What plans does Fearless Vampire Killers have for the year ahead and what can fans look forward to?
New album, touring with Madina lake and another single off 'exposition'.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings etc you wish to send out?
Thanks to all the fans for sticking with us even though we're busy and can't always chat. You guys are more important than anything else in this business.
"Edenlust isn't considered straight "Gothic" but we keep that dark aura within it".
Genre: DARK ROCK / METAL
So GMA found time to pull aside Torrin from Texan rockers Edenlust to have a quick chit-chat, this was quickly followed by a rodeo of which we lost.
So Torrin how did Edenlust come about and how does the band differ from the many Texan bands out there?
Edenlust was formed by Taylor Dennis (guitars) who also fronts Revengeance, Nick Crane (bass), and myself (vocals) back in mid fall / autumn of 2009, just the 3 of us. Nick and I have been friends since high school and so he introduced me to Taylor who both were already jamming at the time and brainstorming ideas for a new, at the time labeled, Gothic metal band. That first night of us being together we sat down in the middle of Taylor's rehearsal room and wrote our first song "Baptized In Winter Blood".
Throughout the next two years the line up would grow into a 5 piece group with some member changes here and there. Currently it's back to Taylor, Nick, and myself which we all felt that just like the beginning of Edenlust, is best for us creatively and mentally. Comparing to most of the bands back in Texas there would be the Pantera (which I love by the way) influenced groups metal wise, and occasionally something way past different from any of them. But it wasn't just all of that, many bands that I've heard or have seen are all very different as possible. With Edenlust, my personal goal was and still is to make it stand out a little more than most others. Nowadays the sound of the band has become more open in terms of musical, lyrical and mental influences and has been a personal goal of releasing personal feelings, whether it being from my own experiences, others, or the entire world for that matter. I wouldn't so much say that now, Edenlust isn't considered straight "gothic" but we keep that dark aura within it. Our brand new song "Frozen Red" comparing to the more popular "Kiss The Rain" track really explains that evolution and maturity of Edenlust.
Given the Texan climate, do tornadoes affect the band's activities and if so how? Have you seen or been affected by any?
There have been tornado or thunder storm warnings here and there, I say that it has ever rarely affected a small portion of audience members for an entire show with us playing alongside 4 other bands from showing up in order to remain safe. However we are still to this day very grateful for all of their support and coming out and having a good time anyway. I wouldn't say I've been so close to a tornado, but a decent distance away to know one was around, that had to been around 4 years back.
What would you say the biggest challenge was for American bands these days?
In my own perspective, it's pretty tough when your a local band working really hard to promote a show or whatever while most people seem to be more interested in major acts, which is completely understandable and I have no hard feelings towards them. If one decides to attend a local show, you won't regret that $5 or $10 bucks you've spent checking out 5 to 12 unknown bands. You may like them all, you may like only a few or only 1, probably none, but you never know what you could be missing out.
How would you describe your music without using genre tags or cliches?
As mentioned before, it was common for us to be labeled as a Gothic Metal band in the beginning. I hear the sound of Edenlust... well, just Edenlust! Haha! It's tough to really describe it other than dark, melodic, often monstrous, catchy metal / rock.
You're now a three piece, what happened to the past two members?
There are about a total of 4 ex members. All I can say is that 1 of them was due to creative and personal differences with us 3 while the others have gone their own ways for something else whether it being for himself, work related, it could be anything. I'm not saying that we should forget the past, but the rebirth of Edenlust is all for moving forward. I'm still appreciative of the ex members contributions though.
How did you personally get into singing and who inspires you? Idols? Influences?
Ever since I was a child, growing up to Pantera, Metallica, and amongst many other well known groups, I've always wanted to be a singer / frontman but I've always wanted to be involved with writing and creating music, which I do with the others for Edenlust or for fun anyway. A lot of my favorite bands come from the Japanese Visual Kei Music scene. Dir En Grey, my favorite band, is a huge inspiration for me not just musically, but the energy consumes me. It's surely a damn great feeling if a band is able to do that. Amongst the other influences are Slipknot, As I Lay Dying, Sentenced, U2 (huge fan believe it or not!), The Misfits (Graves Era preferably) and the list goes on. Other than that I want my voice along with the lyrics I be heard as a moving message.
Finally any hello's, thank you's to your fans?
A shout out to all of my friends and family back in Texas, I love you all! Huge thanks to Taylor and Nick for remaining in the dream, the bands we've share the stage with, my fiancé who had put up with me and my nonsense. Haha! A thank you to YOU who have given the chance to interview me and learn a bit about Edenlust, and most importantly... The Fans, the Victims! Without any of you we would be absolutely nothing, this is only the new beginning... YOU ALL RULE!
Some time ago GMA caught up with Northern Irish Metallers Therapy? The interview can be heard above and consider it as something from the GMA archives.
"We like to keep most of our work at its roots, in Wales".
Genre: POP PUNK / POST-HARDCORE
Following the review of ‘Mountains’, the upcoming EP by Welsh Pop Punk / Post-Hardcore mob King & Country, the oven was set alight as to flame these lads into giving answers, so as the pincers were warming up the interview was well under way, now where was those other utensils...
Guys, your about to release your latest EP 'Mountains', what have you changed since your previous release?
This E.P is a lot more thought out in the sense of direction. It’s a lot tighter in terms of music genre and all four songs compliment each one another well.
How the band come together and was it touch and go or has much changed over the past 2-3 years?
The band came together whilst we were studying in University together. Three of us had been in a previous band whilst in college and we had always planned to start a new project as soon as we could dedicate the time too write and play live. Not a lot has changed over the last year 2 years. We have concentrated on our live sound to replicate the big sound we achieved in the studio.
You recorded your upcoming EP with Romesh Dodangoda (FFAF, Kids In glass houses, etc), what five notable points during the EP making process would you say made studio time as best as it could be?
I think number 1. Would have to be Romesh himself, he’s such a relaxed and friendly guy to work with, he gets the best out of us and non of us ever felt under pressure or rushed. 2. The environment that you work in, such good vibes and endless laughs. 3. The past clients he has worked with speak for its self! 4. Rob, the studio technician is another quiet guy, but is always on hand to help out wherever needed, great guy! And finally 5. The experience as a whole! We would love to go back and record further songs with him in the near future!
Your EP has caught the attention of BBC Radio 1, what was the general feeling amongst the band upon learning this news?
For us, this was huge! We always listen to the station travelling to and from gigs, so to hear our selves featuring on air was a great achievement!
The artwork for 'Mountains' is as the EP title states, what enticed you to choose this name and does it relate to Snowdonia per chance?
We like to keep most of our work at its roots, in Wales. Take for example the recording process. We wanted to work with someone that knows the scene and has worked with such big Welsh artists and bands. The artwork and the title ‘Mountains’ was thought up of the highs and lows we have to face as a band trying to achieve greater things in the industry.
You switch between Pop Punk and Post-Hardcore on the EP, who inspires you to create this balance and what do you feel makes the mixture all the more special?
There are many bands and artists that make the mixture. We listen to a range of bands. Indie has a feature in our writing. We like listening to bands such as Lower Than Atlantis, Young Guns Story Of The Year.
What has the band got planned for this year and what would you love to see and do this year?
We have quite a lot planned for the year. The plan mainly consists of gigging this E.P around the UK and building friends and fans. We want to record a single or two towards the end of the year too.
If you could do an EP launch party, where would you have it and who would you have it with? (Hint: also provide reasons why those choices)
Parties are always a winner, but with friends it would be great! I think with local bands. It’s always good to support your local scene and try and inspire people to get into music.
Who came up with the band name and does it have any meaning? How would you define it?
The name King & Country was thought up on our way home from University driving through the country lanes of our hometown. We always had a love for the countryside and we felt that being a British band that King & Country was something personal to us but had a British sound to it.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's and general messages you want to give out?
There are always thank you’s to give out! I think mainly to fans, family and friends for supporting what we do. Anyone that buys our CD’s and merchandise!
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