Lack of money, lack of time... [are] the testing stages and they need to be like this. (On being an unsigned band)
As the Metal 2 The Masses (M2TM) kicks into full swing with heats across the breadth of the UK and abroad taking place, bands progressing whilst some fall by the wayside, it's once again time for GMA to probe the bands who have entered this prestigious competition that allows the eventual region winners to earn a slot at playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival near Burton-Upon-Trent.
Third up is Callus from Lancashire; questions answered by guitarist / vocalist Louis Clarke.
Debut EP out now
For those not in the know, please explain how Callus formed?
"Callus formed in early 2013 in Lancaster, Ben and I had been friends since high school and enjoyed the same bands and getting pissed together, so it was only natural that we wanted to form a band. We encountered Mark shortly after and that's when things really clicked for us and when we knew we had the proper line-up. I think we played our first show with Mark in Barrow, Cumbria."
Is this your first time in M2TM? If no when did you previously enter? If yes what are your emotions like?
"This will be our second stab at M2TM, we played last years event in Burnley. We are like a caged violent demon-boar at this point... ready to bust loose and launch an assault on all of your senses."
How important is the M2TM initiative for unsigned bands? Irrespective of whether they win their regional heats?
"I do think M2TM is pretty important for unsigned bands, obviously it gets them in there with a chance at playing the main event. Not only that, but with all the attention that the heats get it makes the nights pretty awesome in themselves, which is still great if you are like us last year getting knocked out in the first round (!). The nights always end up being heavily populated as far as we can tell."
What is the Lancashire scene like? Please tell us about local bands, venues, etc.
"Lancashire's scene is pretty good, we try not to take too much notice on what everyone else is doing in scenes though. We like to do our own thing really, if people enjoy it then that's amazing and that makes our night, if not then that's cool as well we enjoy it all the same.
As far as local bands go Lancaster can boast some pretty meaty bands especially with the likes of Bloodyard (who of course won M2TM a couple of years ago) and Insurgency really starting to break out and make a name for themselves. A favourite band of ours is Boss Keloid although they probably don't know it... it blows my mind that something so original and moving came out of Lancashire, Wigan I think to be precise. Of course Manchester seems to be "Where its all happening" though.
As far as venues we love the Yorkshire House (Lancaster) to bits, and we have grown especially fond of The Dark Room at Roper Hall, Preston. Both killer venues."
Will you be going to Bloodstock even if you don't progress to the finals?
"I think at least one of us may go to Bloodstock this year, but last years line-up was outstanding and pretty hard to top for us... A bunch of us went though even though we didn't get through our round of M2TM. With the likes of Boss Keloid, Foetal Juice, Rotting Christ, Gojira, Mastodon and Slayer it was too good to miss. We also made sure to catch After The Abduction who we have played with before at The Alma Inn, Bolton and The Star and Garter, Manchester (two more awesome venues in Lancashire), who won last years M2TM... those guys bossed the New Blood stage."
What are the hardest challenges of running an unsigned band these days?
"One of the hardest challenges of running an unsigned band has to be a matter of time and money... two of us each have kids, all of us have jobs and responsibilities yeah it can be tough. Lack of money, lack of time... its all a test but that's life its just how it goes. These are the testing stages and they need to be like this. Although if someone wants to sign us and pay for our shit then we will have a chat right?"
What plans do you have for the rest of the year and are there any messages you wish to send out to people?
"The plan for the rest of the year is play as many shows as we can and try to reach as many people as we can. We just released our first E.P. as well called Through, Blood, Sweat, Piss and Pain so we want to support that as much as we can and drill that into as many peoples heads as possible. We have something really big planned for early next year so we are trying to build up as much momentum as possible.
Come to a show if you haven't already, you might be surprised... you might not... still reading? Congratulations if you got this far! Through, Blood, Sweat, Piss and Pain."