Metalcore is arguably one of those genres that has fallen into the trap of being stigmatised for being too formulaic, relying too much on riffs, breakdowns and bland imagination. So where does this leave Windrunner? Well by adding melodies and progressive elements to the mix, the Vietnamese quintet have come up with a solution to bypass the clutches of being pigeon-holed as just another Metalcore band. It might as well be said that whilst Vietnam is famous for it's motorbikes and bicycles, with Windrunner in full throttle, soon Vietnam will be acknowledged for it's vibrant metal scene. Windrunner were more than pleased to chat to GMA about their deal with Famined Records, the Vietnamese Metal scene, how metal is viewed by the public and their plans for 2019.
"Society has been more and more accepting of metal, but it’s still nowhere it needs to be in a music scene dominated by V-pop and K-pop"
For those who have not heard of Windrunner, could you give us a brief history of the band?
"The band began about 6 years ago, when two local Vietnamese bands combined with current members of Windrunner. Mind you, the scene here is still small, so we have all known each other for years and a few of us have played in different bands together before. It's been kind of back and forth between acts, before this line up solidified. The band has been officially together as Windrunner only for 3 years, continuously growing and blending styles and ideas."
Please can you tell us the history of the Vietnamese Metal scene, it's current state, what festivals, media, support, etc., are present?
"Our scene is quite young, but pulsing. We regularly have shows of every genre you can think of - and the metal scene is doing great right now, with some fresh new acts and creative new directions. There are a few promoters that are pushing the scene and inviting some amazing international acts - Emmure is coming over in March, for example, so we are eternally grateful to them. It's young, it's thriving, and it's at that point where it just steadily keeps growing because it hasn't been around for long."
Bands like Ngũ Cung, Microwave and Black Infinity have gained international attention, for yourselves what is it that makes the Vietnamese style of metal (as it were) what it is?
"We look up to our big brothers in Ngũ Cung, Microwave (we just recently shared the stage with them!) and Black Infinity as the pioneers of metal in Vietnam, but we don’t draw much musical influences from them. Each band has a different style and we want to create our own style too. One thing that we all have in common though is we all have tried to incorporate some elements of Vietnamese traditional music into our own style of metal, one way or another."
It seems that neighbouring countries like Laos and Cambodia are producing metal bands too, do you have bands from neighbouring countries come to play in Vietnam?
"Yes, South East Asia is certainly growing more talented bands each year. We have a few notable bands from around the region from places such as Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, even Japanese bands are making motions to tour in our area."
What do your parents think of your music? On a wider scale how does Vietnamese society view metal music?
"As metal music has only been in Vietnam for a short time, the generation gap generally doesn’t allow for a good connection among us and our parents in terms of music. The same applies to how the society views metal music. Rock music isn’t even mainstream here, so metal is just another black sheep. Just over a decade ago, underground metal shows would always get busted by the authorities. Generally though, society has been more and more accepting of metal, but it’s still nowhere it needs to be in a music scene dominated by V-pop and K-pop."
Are you all self-taught? Or did you attend music school's (if there any?)
"Yes all of us are self-taught. Besides the general music classes in grade school, YouTube was and is still our best music teacher."
Obviously releasing 'Mai' your debut album through an American label must carry great feelings? Are you hoping you will expose Vietnamese Metal to the world?
"It’s an honour, so we are eternally grateful for Famined Records and the help they have given us. Our heads were exploding with the feedback and exposure we were witnessing on various internet platforms across the States and international scene in general. It’s truly humbling and so unbelievably exciting. Of course! We are hungry, and Vietnam has tons of quality acts ready to break out."
With the Metalcore genre saturated as it is, what is Windrunner hoping to bring to the table that has not been done already?
"Too right. Lyrical themes and structures are becoming a bit standardised for most genres of heavy music, so what we want to bring is a genuine fresh blend, and push for new sounds and combinations not heard before. We have a few ideas in the pot ready to go for our next release."
For metalheads visiting Hanoi, what sights / attractions could you recommend? What is the best way to get around?
"The city is rich in historical sights. Museums, traditional pagodas and temples are scattered across Hanoi, and the night life in certain areas will keep you busy for sure. The food alone is a landmark in Vietnam, so come hungry! Renting a motorbike or just good ol’ taxis are the best and fastest way to get around."
What are your plans for 2019?
"We already have some ideas brewing for our next release. We have an amazing tour coming up in March with Emmure across South East Asia and China, which we are beyond excited for. After that, we're definitely moving onto bigger and better things! If you liked what you heard so far, just wait for what's next."
Finally do you have any greetings, or thank you's that you wish to send out?
"We would simply like to thank everyone for their interest and support over the last few months. All the feedback, likes, posts, shares - each one means the world. We would like to thank our local supporters for coming to shows and making each one memorable. We would like to thank the team at Famined Records for believing in us and giving us a chance to grow in a way we would never have thought possible."
Bloodstock cherishes and relishes the opportunity to showcase metal bands from all over the world, this year they reeled in Nepal's Underside, a Groove Metal / Metalcore leviathan that is taking the Asian Metal scene by storm. But it has not always been plain sailing for the band as vocalist Avishek KC explained to GMA, he spoke to us about the Nepalese economy, challenges the scene and band faced, the importance of the Ghurka and how metal unites world cultures.
"No one bought CDs... you couldn't afford it, 20-30 US Dollars would be like 3,000-4,000 Nepalese Rupee (NPR)... my pocket money for 2 months to buy one album"
KC, how did Underside come about? What challenges have you faced?
"We started Underside after the country suffered war, we were tired of shifting from one band to the other so we go together and started this whole new project, with a lot of energy and anger.
Oh man, where do I get started? Ok, the survival itself in a country like Nepal is number one just in terms of the economy, everyone goes through that it's normal, then you have the police, the system, the security, the society, they hate everyone with long hair. There was a time where police used to grab you and chop your hair off, just for looking like different. It's not the first time, I've been through that on many levels and if you're walking in the middle of the night, get in. It's changed a little bit now comparatively but, and then there were the power shortages, we had power out for like 16 hours a day so imagine being in a band, and that was because the Government was selling electricity illegally to companies and they found out the whole country was in darkness for 10 years because of some corruption in the system.
When there is no light it has a ripple effect, on your job, timings, everything and itself being in a country that far is a big challenge trying to get your music out here so you talk to someone and it's like 'OK let's watch it if you're here' if you get a gig or two, I think those are some of the few challenges faced so far.
Getting gear in Nepal is fine, it's not that hard but they don't sell the expensive stuff because no one can afford it, so there are a lot of music stores that sell low-grade guitars from 200-400 USD so you can make do with what you can get."
How long has the Nepalese Metal scene been going? What is it like?
"It's been there but in it's infancy, it has been there for a while but not for a while, not very long. Now it's slowly coming up with our best but it's not an easy job, it's a struggle everyday so.
Yeah we have one we do as a band and as a team put on Silence Festival, the only metal festival otherwise there is no metal festival scene at all, so it's a brand new culture slowly coming out, it's a lot of hard work for us to, even to put one show on.
It's insane, even within the country Kathmandu is so centralized, now we've sort of taken over the city with our music and put show on in front of what 800 people in a venue a few days before Bloodstock. Now we're focusing on outside of the country and are going to the rural places, probably will be doing a little bit of India, so that's the plan to go on."
Would you play in neighbouring Bhutan?
"Yeah of course! I would love to play there with Underside, I think we have some fans from Bhutan who message us on our social media, so yeah that would be sick".
What do your parents think of your music? When did you want to become a musician?
"My parents have never... I think my dad once came to the show and just left after two songs, that was also because my nephew and niece wanted to come, so he came four hours early and I asked him to come again and then he came back and instantly left. My mum has never seen my shows so.
I don't know, I think I always use to want to become a musician when I was a kid and I guess it was what I wanted from the band, I think it was when I heard Pantera and then I wanted to play guitar, but I then said no you can't play guitar you got to sing. But it was always there, I always love the culture of being in a band, playing music it just spoke to me so... ever since I can remember."
What was the journey from Kathmandu to Bloodstock like? Tell us what happened. How did you get invited to play Bloodstock?
"Ah man, it's been pretty crazy with two flights, 6 hours on one plane and two hours break and then 8 hours on another plane and then our home and then a 4-hour drive to Bloodstock. So yeah that's pretty much a little journey, but before that there's been a lot of preparation where we were working on production, we were trying a smaller scale production pretty much for the first time, for Bloodstock we want to bring a little bit of home, just been talking to the production crew in the tent so yeah we worked pretty hard and prepared to do it.
Well we received an invite, I have got a few friends here and promoters who have been working for the festival in the past, so we started a good relationship over the years you know, I think it's from peoples love and friendship that has made the band what it is."
Do you feel that Nepalese band coming to play in the UK could aid tourism in Nepal?
"I think it does because like we're representing where we are from and people get to know where you are from and I'm telling you about this because you asked about the problems, if you ask me about the good stuff there are a lot of good things, good people, they're the most helpful and I think friendly people you meet going about disregarding the society, the police, the system. But yeah I think it does, when people get to understand and connect, I think it does help in some ways."
With the UK and Nepal sharing a long history together, do you feel it's ever more important to support the Ghurka's?
"I think it's a cool thing that we have that relationship with the Ghurka's and like, it's been there for years and it's always good to fuse and connect on a certain level, keeping a healthy relationship. So it's always good to cherish, improve it and make it better. I think it's great, times like this when conflicts are happening, problems with each other and everything all the time, I think it's a great thing that we connect."
Who was the biggest band to play in Nepal thus far? Has the Nepalese Government become more relaxed in recent times?
"I think Behemoth, Vader, but no I think Behemoth is still the biggest to have played Nepal so far. Yeah I mean even last year the police were just bar-standing, we had so many problems trying to get the Twelve Foot Ninja boys out of the airport because the Government did not understand the system of bringing in your own equipment and stuff, it's just like you can't do whatever the f**k you want; 'I've got it, everything in a letter' and they were like 'we don't know come back Monday' and I was like 'dude the festival is today, you can't tell them to come on Monday', and I had to be on stage in 30 minutes so we play after the band because I was still at the airport stressing."
So is Nepal still a slightly conservative country?
"Yeah yeah in regards to metal music and being out there with your long hair and looking like all of us here it still is, it is an open place for tourism as we get a lot of tourists, but when it comes to the society; they have a different attitude towards it, because we are from the inside and are kind of rebels. But you go there and do things that we do, so they have a different approach for how you're treated."
What did you listen to when you were in high school?
"A lot of Pantera, Metallica, Slipknot... I was in a Black Metal band, there was something about Black Metal that I really love, it's been a while when I was listening to Mayhem, Nargaroth, Burzum, I love that stuff back in the day and also a lot of alternative stuff. So there was a lot to listen to, you used to have a lot of friends into different things, we were listening to pretty much everything. Listening to the old stuff on vinyl, Hendrix, Manson and stuff, depends on who you hanged out with back in the day. I loved albums by the likes of Korn, anything you can get your hands on, but it was so hard to get music at that time - if it was metal, everyone would just listen to it and no questions asked.
No one bought a CD, you couldn't get it because you couldn't afford it, 20-30 US Dollars would be like 3,000-4,000 Nepalese Rupee (NPR) and that would be my pocket money for 2 months to buy one album. You couldn't get it even if you said you'd save up to buy it, so whatever you had you listened to it as much as you can. For the UK a £10-£15 album would be like 2,000 NPR and that's a lot of money for us at that time especially when we were children.
What could you buy for 2,000 NPR?
"Nothing man, just like cigarettes... a little bit more than that, not a lot, definitely not a lot. Maybe lunch and stuff, you could buy posters and stuff, bootleg albums, etc., Nowadays children have the spending access, they can buy guitars; I got my first electric guitar when I was 16 and it cost about 200 USD and it was a fight; my parents got it in but it was a brutal fight."
Do you have any greetings or thank you's that you wish to send out?
"Yes, thank you to you man for talking to us or any other press that's talking to us at Bloodstock; it's amazing to be here, our crew, all the boys, our fans and people back home."
With a population that rivals the entire population of the British cities of Liverpool and Sheffield, you couldn't fault Suriname for having a close-knit metal scene. Despite it's size it has a strong and ever-growing scene. Flying the flag for the Surinamese Metal scene is Groove Metal / Metalcore outfit Asylum, who this year won the Wacken Metal Battle Caribbean (previously won by Trinidad & Tobago's Lynchpin; first edition winners) and ultimately went to Wacken Festival in Germany where they placed 9th internationally at the Wacken Metal Battle, not too shabby for a band who only formed six years ago and released their debut EP 'Domination' this year. GMA spoke to the band's vocalist Romeo about their scene, the band's history and their experience at being at Wacken Open Air.
"It (winning WMBC) put things into perspective... we were going to be ambassadors for the entire Caribbean region in Europe."
For those who have not heard of Asylum, could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you in previous bands?
"Asylum is a metal band from Suriname, South America, that formed in 2012. The name refers to the band being a safe haven for metalheads in a country where metal is severely frowned upon. Asylum incorporates traditional Death and Thrash Metal with their own South American style they dub “Srananmetal”. Asylum first had a long standing underground scene before they broke out and gained notoriety in the Caribbean metal scene. In 2018 Asylum headlined local festivals and won the Wacken Metal Battle Caribbean 2018 in Trinidad and finished 9th place internationally at the Wacken Metal Battle in Germany. 3 of the 4 members have been in previous bands and various projects."
What is the Surinamese Metal scene like? How long has it been going? Is it big?
"While metal dates back to the 1970’s, metalheads today are even more passionate about the music. Being a small country the scene is relatively small but it is healthy and growing."
What challenges as a metal band from Suriname do you face?
"First and foremost, the financial aspect. Since the scene is small, you have to do a lot of self-investment and organizing for shows and travels. Everything is paid out of pocket."
How did it feel to win the Wacken Metal Caribbean Battle this year? What was your Wacken experience like?
"In Trinidad it was our first time playing outside of the country. We did not expect to be so well received by the Trinidadian fans and the whole experience blew our minds. It put things into perspective as we realized we were going to be ambassadors for the entire Caribbean region in Europe. We not only wanted to make our country proud but every metalhead across the Caribbean.
Coming from a small country, none of us really get to see the metal greats perform. We rarely get to see any big shows or much less perform at one. Suddenly we shared the same stage as our South American heroes, Sepultura, and performed in from of thousands of cheering metalheads. It electrified us to our cores and this experience has given us the necessary tools and ambition to continue on this journey of metal domination. Big plans for 2019."
What nationalities for the battle were there? Is the wider Caribbean scene big?
"There were 30 countries and or regions represented. The wider Caribbean scene isn’t as big as the rest of the world. But the isolation has led to a lot of unique creativity from the bands and the scene is very lively and unlike anything you may see abroad."
For metalheads visiting Paramaribo, what sights / attractions could you recommend?
"We recommend you head on over to Unker Bunker Terras and get information on local shows and events. They are sporadic, but when they happen it’s a lot of fun and there everyone is welcome."
In general, how has 2018 been for the band? How will you sign off the year and enter 2019?
"2018 has been the most successful and fulling year for the band so far. It has left us motivated and we are pursuing new horizons in 2019. Our dicks are hard."
Are there any greetings, thank you’s, etc., that you wish to send out?
"We’d like to say hello to everyone who hasn’t heard about us and invite them to check us out and be part of the Asylum. We’d like to thank all our fans who made 2018 so memorable. We do this for the love of Metal, thanks GMA for this interview. Stay metal."
Metal music undeniably has reached the farthest parts of the globe and arguably in some unsuspecting locations as a result. From Greenland to Zimbabwe, it's caught the imaginative eye of many and as a result have given birth to numerous metal scenes. But what about the more isolated islands on planet earth? One band Surrender The Thief, hope to finally place Guam on the map in the metal music universe. For sure the likes of Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia are perhaps considered the metal music leaders on this continent, but with new scenes in the likes of French Polynesia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea emerging, where does this leave the island of Guam? GMA spoke to vocalist Charles Megino about the scene's history, the band's plans (including a crowdfund to tour Japan) and the struggles of geographical isolation.
"Most musicians here either commit to weekly bar gigs, monthly showcases, or stick to DIY recordings and focus on digital exposure."
For those who do not know of Surrender The Thief, could you please give us a history of the band?
"All members of Surrender The Thief were / are members of other local bands. We all pretty much knew each other and came together to try and do something different with the local scene. In the early stages of writing and tracking, only myself (Charles), Joaquin, Julius, and Jonah were involved. As we got closer to finishing the album, we started recruiting members to fill the remaining slots and start preparing for live performances."
Hailing from Guam must come with difficulties, could you tell us what challenges metal bands and fans face on the island of Guam? How long has the Guam Metal scene been going?
"Being a metal band from Guam definitely has it's ups and downs. So far, the response has been great. Definitely exceeded my expectations. Guam used to have a very diverse underground scene, holding strong onto punk, hardcore, and metal. As the years went by, the scene died down. High school bands were hard to find (when about 10 years ago, teenage bands were sprouting left and right). When we threw our CD release show for Wasteland last November 2017, it was basically a shot in the dark.
We had no clue how well / bad the show would do, but we gave it our all. We dressed up the venue, hired a sound team and brought in some serious equipment. Our initial goal was to bring change to the scene, raising the flat standard to an entirely different level. That show ended up exceeding my expectations, as hundreds came to that show and had a great time. From what I've heard, many of the show-goers have been aching for a metal / hardcore show, so they had an opportunity to enjoy that as well."
Do you know of metal bands from neighbouring islands like the Marianas, Palau, Micronesia, etc? Is it expensive to leave the island? How would you go about touring? Gigging, etc.
"As of now, not aware of any metal bands from our sister islands. Leaving the island is definitely the biggest challenge for bands here. It gets costly. Most bands here rely on weekly bar gigs, and if lucky enough, get an opening slot for concerts that come by. Metal bands don't come around here, so we're definitely not getting on one of those for a while (LOL). With that said, most musicians here either commit to weekly bar gigs, monthly showcases, or stick to DIY recordings and focus on digital exposure. A couple of reggae bands have toured the West Coast (US), but for metal, not recently."
Your planning on going to tour Japan in January, how well is the crowdfunding going? Who will you be playing with in Japan?
"The crowdfunding for this tour has been going okay. It's a bit difficult to convince people to support your dreams (LOL), but so far, the response and support we've received have been great. We're only 2 months away so we've been pushing hard to make sure we meet the requirements. Not quite sure who we'll be sharing the stage with (as the local promoters in Japan are the ones to coordinate that), but we're stoked no matter what! We're very thankful that they were open to having us share our passion with their country."
You released your album 'Wasteland' earlier this year, what has the reception been like? Any attention from overseas?
"The reception has been good. The challenging part would definitely be marketing. It's very tricky trying to catch peoples' attention with how many metalcore bands are out there now. For those who have heard the album, we've received nothing but praise. We've received emails and messages from Germany, the UK, Australia, the Philippines, and mainland US. All positive so far!"
Will the album be released physically?
"Wasteland" is available on most major digital platforms: Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, CD Baby, Amazon, etc. If interested in physical copies, we have a bunch that we'd love to mail out to interested buyers. CD Baby also has a limited amount of physical copies of "Wasteland" for sale."
For those metalheads visiting Hagatna, what sights / attractions could you recommend in seeing?
"That's a tough one. Guam's economy is heavily reliant on tourism, so there's a lot to see. It's always nice to submerge yourself in other cultures to learn further about a place and it's people, so I'd probably stay within those lines."
With 2018 closing up, what plans aside from the impending Japanese tour do you have?
"For now, we're focusing primarily on the tour. I'm trying to get in contact with more booking agents and promoters to land us some slots / shows in the Asian countries, so hopefully we get in on more of the action next year. We've also started writing some new material, so we may have another release by late 2019."
Are there any greetings you wish to send out to friends, family, etc?
"To all of our loyal supporters, family and friends who have helped us get where we are today, WE APPRECIATE YOU! Our fan-base / support system is very important to us, and we couldn't be happier with what we have. Just know that everything we do, we don't only do it for ourselves, but for Guam's music community as a whole. Si Yu'us Ma'ase, Guahan!"
When you think of the Scottish Metal scene you tend to think of the likes of Alestorm, sure their Pirate Metal sound is popular among the masses but they aren't the only Scottish Metal band with a sumptuous sound. Entering the affray is Dumfries' own Turbyne, whose mix of Melodic, Death, Prog and Metalcore have left the Bloodstock faithful in awe, with their sound not like anything that has been heard before but yet use the very basics of said metal genres, what they done with those genres is bent and snapped them to pieces, to create something they can call their own.
After rampaging on the New Blood Stage, GMA caught up with the now sextet and explored their past, what two vocalists bring to the band and the current status of the Scottish Metal scene.
Answers given by various members; indicated where possible.
(on song lengths):- "It's nothing to do with how long the song is, it's all about the ideas and how well you get them across".
Hi guys, firstly tell us who you are, what you play and how did you become involved in Turbyne?
"Hey I'm Calum, I'm the guitarist and I was here at the start; started the band with a few of my friends. Hey I'm Gary, I joined the band in 2012, I sing and I also play keyboards.
Hi I'm Brian, I play bass and I think I joined around like 10 years ago or something, I'm not quite sure, but through a friend; they were looking for a bassist and so I joined.
I'm Kyle the drummer and I'm co-founder with Calum here as creator of the band, the one and only. Hey I'm Keith, I'm the vocalist and I joined way way back in the day in the beginning.
I'm Jamie, I was the last to join and I kind of just invited myself into the band, I didn't actually be asked to join, I just sort of said I'll come along and play keyboards for you, so yeah that's what I do now."
So you have two keyboardists? Who is best at playing them?
"Absolutely Jamie, I (Gary) just pretend to play the keyboards, ah he's just started. It's a new addition that we're actually bringing to Bloodstock tomorrow, so it's the first time that it's done properly and Jamie holds the whole fort in terms of solo's and proper synth, I just kind of fill in with my backing strings, so hopefully its goes well tomorrow - I'm not nervous at all... I absolutely am.
Before I played keyboards you had two vocalists, so erm Keith and I were full-time vocalists so that's something we introduced when I joined the band really. But yeah we're trying it out to see if we can push ourselves to make a bigger sound and push ourselves harder basically to add more on the stage show or to the live sound as well, so we're going to be adding more live guitars as well, we're all going to be very busy."
What's it like being a sextet when recording music? Hard and tricky surely?
"Ages, ages and ages. We do all what we can before we hit the studio, there's a lot of demo's, a lot of kind of coordinating... maybe I'll have a practise with Jamie and we'll go over what we're going to do and the singers will get together and they'll practise their bits and then it all kind of comes together in the practise space. So yeah it takes a long time before we're ready to record anything, but it works for us."
Who came up with the band name and what does it mean?
"....erm, (silence), Kyle can answer that one. I believe it was actually Kyle who came up with the name, there was a bit of a catch of course we created the band during the Nu Metal years when it was invoked to spell your name incorrectly (laughs), hence the 'y' rather than the 'i' but at least it makes it original. There's not a literal meaning to what it is, we like to leave it interpretable, but it means certain things to us, there's not a concrete origin if that makes sense?"
What was going through your minds when you were confirmed to play Bloodstock? What did you parents say?
"I was actually at work, which is quite a formal job - I wear a suit, I won't mention what I do, but I was sitting with a client at the time and I think I made some sort of an excuse to leave the room to do a small to big lap of the office, kick over one of the desks and go back to the client and finish the interview that we had. I couldn't contain myself, I couldn't send enough text messages at the same time, not to mention we couldn't actually tell anyone at the time. So yeah it was insane to be fair, because we got the invitation as oppose to you know winning on our Metal 2 The Masses night, so to actually be asked to come along and play we feel is an absolute privilege and pleasure, to have someone say we want you to come along and showcase what you can do. It was a magnificent moment for me anyway, it was almost like a mark of approval from people we've been waiting to hear from for a very long time.
They were happy aye, they've supported us through... well my parents have supported us through Metal 2 The Masses heats and have been gutted when we didn't get it so they were chuffed.
I think my mum had to ask what Bloodstock was (laughs), it took about 45 minutes to explain, I probably went through the whole roster of the bands that are playing and not one rung a bell, so we just ended up with 'it's a big thing mum, be happy for me' (laughs), so she was.
My parents are into music anyway, so they were happy for us yeah.
Aye they were chuffed, my family have always been big supporters of what we do and they travel to come and see us at gigs, and yeah just happy.
I'm adopted... (laughs), no my parents were over the moon as well and I think as well as our close family and friends who were elated just as much as we were.
Yeah I've been getting congratulations from around the world, people all over the place and well none of them know what Bloodstock is, but you know it's the words festival, stage and playing that hit the net, so yeah they're really thrilled for the band. Lot of support from people who talk to us and are with our music so that's really good to have."
Sum up Bloodstock in two words and no more.
"Big deal", "enough said", "f*cking awesome", "pretty decent", "i'll take three - ask me sunday", "I really have no idea, all that can come to mind is 'pretty decent', 'f*cking awesome', so yeah I'll go with 'f*cking awesome' too" (laughs all around).
Can you tell us more about your eclectic style of metal?
"It's heavy and kind of based in experimental progressive metal, but with this kind of NWOBHM stuff going on as well, there's a lot of metalcore... basically it's what we've come up with, with a kind of collective styles of music that we all like and that we're all into. We just play the kind of music that we want to do and that we think would be interesting and new, it's very hard to describe as there's a lot of different substances in there. It's all very diverse and we keep ourselves guessing never-mind, there's nothing off-limits when it comes to the style of the band, nothings off-limits with us. The best way to define it is to listen to it and then decide for yourself what you actually think it is, and then if you put a label on it then you can identify it easily.
For the six years I've been in the band, we've been called how many different genres? We've tried different genres... but we bring out the next song and then all of a sudden they'll define us as something else, so as Jamie said it's best to listen to it and decide what part of it's new and pick your own genre, we don't mind - we've been called a lot of things.
I like that... (all laugh), if somebody else started to play 'Turbyne Metal' I think that could become a thing, yeah that would be nice if that was a thing to kind of lead a trend or something by everyone."
Most Prog Metal bands tend to deliver 7-10 minute songs, what are your thoughts about that?
"To be genuinely progressive I think that sounds about right, there's a lot of ideas and in our case anyway there's a lot of ideas in one song and it's difficult to pick the ones that are right from the ones that are wrong, so in our case yes we do tend to be a bit longer, but we do try and chop them down so they don't seem indulging you know what I mean? I love prog music but some of it is drawn out, we try and be cautious of not making item seem too much for what we're going for.
I think we try and find a balance between your heavy part and as that starts to draw out, we'll change it up for something that might suit someone else in the same song and I think that comes across really well with us, I think you can really break it down into a nice clean sound and then bring it right back as heavy as you want to... as long as it doesn't betray the song, as long as it feels right and feels natural in the progression of the song.
To be fair Turbyne has always been known for the length of it's songs but I don't think when Calum our main songwriter is writing a song that the clock is a big factor, I think the narrative of the song and what he's trying to express is more important than how long it's going to take to do it. But yeah having said that songs reach between 3-10 minutes, maybe over, there's a real diversity in what the band plays.
I'm used to playing classical music as well so I also play 45 minute symphonies and two-and-a-half musical theatre shows, so a 5-7 minute Turbyne song is a pretty short space of time (all laugh) to fill in with noise so I'm quite glad that they just end nicely, it doesn't matter anyway as long as the idea is strong, that's the main part - it's nothing to do with how long the song is, it's all about the ideas and how well you get them across in delivering them to your audience - if it takes a while, it takes a while."
What challenges do Scottish Metal bands face these days?
"Getting out there really, we're from quite a small town so the biggest obstacle we often face is getting onto bills and expecting to bring in people, that's a problem because you know we're from a smaller town, it can sometimes stand in our way. I'd say getting a fan-base and getting out to new people, new fans, new areas is the hardest part for our fans from Scotland.
I think our biggest problem is locations, so even if we head northwards (we're on the borders of Scotland; 45 minutes from Carlisle) up to Glasgow, Edinburgh, then Dundee and Aberdeen, but even driving up to Aberdeen takes us four and a half hours. Don't get me the wrong the band is completely committed so we will travel everywhere, anywhere that wants to hear us, we'll bring the sound to them, but it is the hardest part is getting on bills, finding that niche market where people are doing to appreciate what we're doing and finding out bands that are similar to us which is very, very difficult with the type of music that we are.
Because of the music we play as well we don't really fall into one category or the other, we're not the heaviest metal band but we're too heavy for non-metal music as well, so I think that is another obstacle as well is that exactly where we sit in the market and bills that we can play on, bands that are likewise with the fans that might go out to see, bands like us.
I think playing this festival is exactly what we need though because you're playing in front of people that would never see us otherwise, so this is the best opportunity you've got."
Have you had any fans from outside of the UK get in touch with you?
"Yeah there's a Finnish guy, I could probably name a bunch of Australians who listen to our music now, but yeah erm remember... was it Finland or Norway that guy was from?
I think it was Norway, his named sounded Finnish but was from somewhere up there, yeah he got in touch through Facebook saying he came across us and really appreciated what we done and hopefully we would go over there soon and play and we were like alright, that's good stuff.
It's always nice to hear from people that are that far out and either have stumbled across us or someone's told them about our music, it's nice when they feel they have to message us and say they enjoy it; it's crazy to have a few people from the USA, mainly Florida just to say they love the music, so if anybody wants to give us a contract to Florida (laughs), I'm due a holiday so anytime.
Business class right?
At least business class and I'm expecting our own private jet, maybe Air Force One, I might settle for that."
What are your plans after Bloodstock?
"We've got a few more gigs mostly in Scotland and north of England, we're just going to keep padding for shows, we're preparing for our second album so the song's are nearly there, we're still kind of writing and perfecting them - we're hopefully going to start tracking by the end of the year, hoping for a 2019 release so that'll take a lot of attention, a lot of energy, but yeah just keep looking for shows and stuff like that, see if we can chase this and hopefully get a few things out of it as well. Trying our best to network over here as well, see what comes."
Finally guys are there any greetings, thank you's or hello's you wish to send out?
"Yeah just to everyone that has supported us, those who get us here you know we had a lot of help from the people down our way, we owe them a lot of thanks, all the fans back home as well and everywhere else. Everyone that has supported us, watched our videos, listened to our music, bought our album - yeah it's all for them, we just hope we can do them proud.
Thanks to every single person who went out their way to give us that one step up or just spread our music about, talking about and supporting us. Thanks to everyone around us, they're always supportive and it's a nice environment to be in.
Same again thanks to everyone for supporting us, every listen counts so.
Aye just everybody, everybody who has ever been to a gig or has supported us.
Perhaps a big shout out to Simon for taking a chance on us, it's beyond appreciated and we plan on to corner him and tell him that in person. To take a risk on a band who is kind of different as us, it's a big leap of faith but we fully intend to live up to and exceed his expectations.
Simon and also anyone else who has seen the band live and just take a chance with, we know these guys are good, but will they be the right act for the stage. Our road manager deserves a shout out too."
Spain has always had a decent metal scene manifesting in itself, with a handful of bands going on to establish international recognition. But what about it's Metalcore sect? It's hard to think of Metalcore existing in the Iberian nation, but it's bands like Flames At Sunrise who make it known - their infectious blend of Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, Nu Metal and Heavy Metal all come together to create a sound that is truly modern yet truly distinct as it cannot be easily classified as any one genre.
Having signed to Wormholedeath in support of their debut album "Born In Embers", this ten-legged rampaging bull needs to be tamed and thus it was right for GMA to give Flames At Sunrise a right grilling interrogation.
"In Spain, most media attention goes to the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's and to the new stars of programmes such as Operación Triunfo."
For those who have not heard of Flames At Sunrise, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"We are a metal band from Barcelona who formed in 2011. We always wanted to bring our personal visions of music, based on our influences from different modern metal styles, and create a new message from the sound experimentation.
After 3 years on the stage, we released our first EP called “Never Coming Home”. This EP contains 4 songs: “Never Coming Home”, “Take It Down” and “Bitch” (with a video-clip for each one), and “Grievance”.
The release of "Born In Embers" came out with two video-clips: “III Faces” and “Ark Flesh”, and a lot of good news. The first one is that “III Faces” got more than 1,000 visits in less than 12 hours and is proposed as one of the best Spanish video clips in 2017 by “METAL ESPAÑOL"
How does it feel to sign with Wormholedeath? What is the support for Catalonian / Spanish Metal bands generally?; do you prefer to be referred as Catalonian?
"We are very proud to have signed with Wormholedeath and it’s a real pleasure to work with people who take our project as seriously as we do. We really hope we grow up together.
About the support, is something a bit hard to talk about. There’s a real fan base who support a lot of projects in the underground, but, obviously, metal is not a mainstream in our country, or at least, not modern metal. But we try to stay optimistic and work so hard to offer something special to everyone who wants to listen to us a few minutes.
We don’t really mind nationalities. Is up to everyone consider where they came from, and where the want to belong. We belong to our music and to every place where we play it."
How would you describe your sound, sounds like you have elements of Nu Metal, Post-Hardcore, Metalcore and Heavy Metal in your music.
"We tried a lot to put a genre to our music, but it got no sense. Everyone in the band got their own influences and their own way to understand music and work with it. We just try to put all of our ideas together and get to an agreement. Maybe is the time to kill all those genres in metal and talk about something more global. We like to call our music capsule core because we like Dragon Ball and ‘cause it contents a lot of different kind of genres in a song."
What challenges as a band have you had to face thus far and as musicians personally?
"As a band we still struggle with the Spanish metal tradition of the eighties. It's hard to get a new audience to listen to your songs and get involved, but little by little we are seeing results.
Each one of us has had problems dedicating ourselves to music, bearing in mind that we cannot live professionally from it yet. But we are still training as musicians and trying to expand our knowledge to become self-sufficient as a band."
Barcelona Cathedral / source: Spain Attractions
What does the song title 'Ill Faces' mean? Did you have any ideas to put forward for the music video itself?
"'III faces' refers to a Japanese proverb that speaks about the three faces that each person has inside them: the first is the one you show to the world; the second is the one you show to your friends and family; and the third is the one you only know and defines who you really are. Thus, in the music video we try to expose the three faces of a character and how the real one, the one that defines you, drags you and ends up showing itself."
Will you go on tour in support of your debut album? What was reception like for the album?
"Yes. We’re going to be touring in Spain and some places in Europe in the next few months. The reception of our album was better than we expected. We knew we were releasing an album with strange ideas and we didn't know how the public would react, but we were surprised by the wide acceptance of a single like 'III faces'."
Would you say the overall Spanish Metal scene has had more attention drawn towards it over the last decade or so?
"We don’t think so. In Spain, most of the media attention goes to the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's and to the new stars of programmes such as Operación Triunfo. The metal scene continues to be nourished by old groups and tributes, but little by little it opens up to new experiences."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"We’re going to be touring and we’re going to be working on some new things that, with luck, you’ll be able to hear and see in September of this year. Thank you very much for the interview!"
The UK and Nepal have a long standing history with each other, right from the early days of the Ghurkas through World War 2 and into the modern day, the British-Nepalese bond is strong indeed. Aside from that the metal scene out there is thriving despite it's lack of representation on the international stage. Bands like Dying Out Flame signed with Spanish label Xtreem Music, Kalodin had a stint in Singapore and Antim Grahan's activities are unknown, but here are three bands who have had an impact on the wider global metal community. However, there is one band who arguably is waving the flag for the Nepalese Metal scene, scheduled to perform at Bloodstock Open Air this year, Underside are on course to make history as they tell GMA it's not easy being a metal band from this landlocked Himalayan nation.
Hey guys, can you give us a brief history of the band, how did you form, were you in bands previously?
"Yeah we formed after the guitarist (Bikrant) and I (vocalist KC) met at the Silence Festival in 2010, Dr. Pandu (guitarist) and I were in a band before Underside. Our first show was at Silence Festival 2011 and later on Nishant Hagjer, the drummer from Undying joined Underside and has been with us for 3 years now"
Nepal has a really good underground scene with bands like yours, Antim Grahan, Kalodin and Dying Out Flame gaining attention overseas; and your festival KTM Rocks too, what are the main challenges that you face as a Nepalese Metal band?
"Yes it is a pretty decent scene, however not many bands have been able to break out, like all 3 of the other bands you mentioned aren’t active right now. Which is the main problem, bands form and split up easily and don’t thrive. There are so many social and economic problems (we can go on all day) that it’s a fight to be in a metal band everyday in a country like Nepal, but it’s something worth fighting for.
What are your plans before your date with Bloodstock Open Air, how are you guys feeling? Will this be your first time on British soil? Will you be doing a tour of the UK.
"Yes we are super excited and I’m writing to you from Singapore as we are in transit. We are heading to New Zealand for 3 dates with Twelve Foot Ninja and then to Australia for 4/5 headliner shows (across April and May) with several local bands. We have a few shows to be announced back home in Nepal for the end of July before we go to Bloodstock.
This is not our first time in the UK, but we can’t express how excited we are for Bloodstock, we will have something special and worth watching for everyone there. Regarding tour plans I think we are still finding a few shows, but open to any offers and invitations."
The UK and Nepal have a long-standing history; most notably the Ghurka's fighting alongside the British in both world wars, how important is it to remember the relationship we have as nations and as people?
"I think it’s important to remember that humanity should come first irrespective of race, nationality, religion or anything. But it's very cool and beautiful that a mutual love and respect exists between the 2 countries and it should be cherished."
Have you had bands from the likes of India, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh come over to play? How hard is it to organize a gig or indeed a festival?
"Not very often, it’s super difficult to pull off shows. We do our own festival (Silence Festival) and do small shows with some bands from India and stuff, but it’s super hard to stay afloat."
Your new album is set to be released soon, will this be released via a label?
"We actually released our LP independently without any label and have already started working on our first album for early 2019. There are talks but nothing solid so far, we have been an independent band and it’s been okay so far, but if we get a good offer then why not."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"It’s been a good year, we toured India and played 3 shows, we did a six-show tour in Nepal and are now on the Australia and New Zealand tour, ultimately Bloodstock and hopefully more touring and working on the record."
With only a month to go before one of the biggest music competitions hits our screens, AWS from Hungary are raring to go to lay waste on the masses at this years Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Lisbon following Portugal's win last year. It's not often a metal band gets put forward to represent their country, indeed the genre has only managed to secure one win - Lordi from Finland.
But following Lordi, a slew of metal bands emerged: Terasbetoni (Finland; following Lordi's win), Eldrine (Georgia), maNga (Turkey) and Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko (Albana), now it's Hungary's turn to put the volume up past thirteen and let the lads in AWS fly the flag for the metal music scene worldwide. GMA spoke to the lads who form this Post-Hardcore/Metalcore outfit about their trip through the national selection in 'A Dal', their home town, future plans and the meaning behind their chosen song.
See how AWS won 'A Dal' and began their journey to the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon below.
"We do hope there will be more metal at Eurovision from now on... it’s not as easy to consume as pop music for example.""
For those who do not know of AWS, can you give us a brief history of the band?
"Sure, we’re a five-piece band playing Modern Metal. We founded AWS back when we were in the same high school. We started with English lyrics (Fata Morgana album), but then switched to Hungarian (ÉGÉSFÖLD and Kint A Vízből albums). We’ve released three albums so far and we are working on the fourth one. We have toured Hungary many times and also played shows in Europe, for example we recently played a gig in London."
You chose the song 'Viszlát Nyár' to participate in the Hungarian preselection show 'A Dal' and subsequently won it, what does the song mean and were you surprised to win? What were emotions like on the night of the grand final?
"Of course we were surprised! We are a metal band that’s going to Eurovision (laughing). We were shocked at first but then we went to our favourite spot in town to celebrate with our friends. We were happy for our victory. Our song is about dealing with death. We think that in our culture we make things harder for ourselves by avoiding the topic of death carefully and sometimes forget about the fact that our time here is not infinite. Sometimes we forget to pay attention to the loved ones in our lives and we only realize these things when we lose them. If we could give more thought to the fact that we won’t be here forever, we could live a happier, fuller life and spend more time with the people and things that are important to us."
Will you be looking to do a tour before or after your Eurovision performance? Will 'Viszlát Nyár' be featured on a new album?
"Yes, for sure. Originally we wrote the song as a first single for our new album coming later this year. We will play a lot of festival gigs in the summer."
You play a mix of Post-Hardcore, Metalcore and Melodic Metal, do you feel metal music isn't well represented in Eurovision as much as it could be?
"We do hope there will be more metal at Eurovision from now on. Since this genre is quite heavy, full of strong emotions, it’s not as easy to consume as pop music for example."
Surely representing Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest will be your biggest achievement; what made you enter 'A Dal' in the beginning?
"We didn’t think about the ESC in the beginning. We just wanted to show our music to a broader audience in Hungary. And we are going to Lisbon with the same goals: we are glad to have this opportunity and we would like to give our best shot to show people our music."
What did the judges say to your style of music during 'A Dal'? Has your song 'Viszlát Nyár' had any radio slots across Europe?
"Not yet, but there is an English version in the making, you might hear that soon! Not all the members of the jury were familiar with our style of music, but we received amazingly high from them in every round."
For those metalheads visiting your town of Budakeszi, what sights / attractions could you recommend seeing?
"You should check out our giant pines and our wildlife park with boars, bears and deer."
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
"We are sticking to our original pre-Eurovision plan: we are touring in Hungary and recording our fourth album. We are going to release it at the end of this year."
Finally what can Eurovision viewers and attendees expect from your performance?
"We can’t tell you too much about it in advance, but they can be sure to see a true AWS show full of power and pyro"
Australia. The very mention of the country's name sparks off the thoughts of sandy beaches, BBQ's, stray kangeroo's and the Sydney Opera House. Underneath all the glitz and glamour of this glorious nation known colloquially as 'down under', Australia has a savage metal scene that has seen the likes of Ne Oblivicaris, The Berzerker, Buried In Verona, Thy Art Is Murder and Destroyer 666 among others break out into the wider international metal community over the last 2 decades.
But despite the success of the bands above, the scene as a whole seems rather isolated when it comes to touring. It's down to bands like Aetherial who look at the challenges ahead, take them head on and forge their own path to progress forward. For Aetherial this is through the concrete metropolis of Melbourne, famed for it's Grand Prix circuit. GMA spoke to Cassandra, the band's bassist to unearth what the band is all about, what the scenes down under are like, their new single, visiting local attractions and 2018 plans.
As Fosters put it. Good Call.
"I don't see why metal [bands] can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - they would have to be creative [with music exposure]. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
Hi guys, for those unfamiliar with Aetherial could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you / are you in previous / current bands?
"Hey, thanks for having us Global Metal Apocalypse! I’m Cassandra, bassist in Aetherial.
Currently, we are based in Melbourne, Australia. Aetherial was formed by Shep and myself in 2013. Previously, we both played in a stoner / metal / grunge band called Cave Of The Swallows which also featured our friend and original Aetherial drummer Mr Paul Gatt. Shep was also the former vocalist in the South Australian-based Stoner / Southern Rock band Mammoth, with ex-Suffocation / Autopsy member Josh Barohn.
We recorded our album, 'The Still Waters of Oblivion' over a two year period at Everland Productions. In 2016 we signed with New York-based management company Extreme Management Group and most recently this year to Imminence Records in the US and Truth Inc Records over here in Australia, who will be jointly releasing the album worldwide November 10th."
What is the Melbourne and wider Australian Metal scene like? Do most bands do a tour of Australia and New Zealand than SE Asia?
"From a Melbourne perspective, the scene is pretty small, there are a handful of good venues to play at in the city and some good regional venues that work hard to keep live music going outside of the city. Unfortunately over the past 5-10 years quite a few great live music venues have closed down in Melbourne due to residential developments and noise restrictions, which has made it difficult for smaller bands to get a gig. A smaller population in general will always impact audience size and peoples interest and engagement in metal, particularly as its not common in mainstream culture here.
It is common for bands over here to tour the East Coast in the main cities, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a few stops in-between. But the sheer distance in-between and cost that is involved with getting to these places often prevents many bands embarking on a full national tour. You see a few bands heading over to New Zealand and Asia, generally larger more established bands though."
What are the challenges of being an Australian Metal band?
"Getting your music seen and heard!! There is a lot of really good music over here, if people would take the time to listen to it! Getting people to shows is another massive hurdle over here. People will have no hesitation paying $150+ to see established bands, but will not pay $10 to see 4 local acts?
Breaking through to reach people outside of the country, even reaching new fans interstate is also very challenging. It is important to utilise social media to try and get out there and engage people, it is a continual and ongoing aspect of being in a band now, particularly with reach being limited on Facebook and now Instagram for bands unless you pay for it. Many Australian bands head overseas to Europe or the US, simply because they can reach more people and play more shows!"
You just released your new single 'The Fallen Mark The Way' from your forthcoming album, what has reception been like?
"Great thanks! We have had a lot of good feedback from our fans and made a bunch of new fans too! It’s always great to hear positive words from people who get inspired from hearing our music."
Check out the lyric video for 'The Fallen Will Mark The Way' (taken from Aetherial's forthcoming debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion') below.
Seeing as Oceania is slightly isolated, could you see metal music ever emerging from countries like Fiji and the Solomon Islands? Is metal music in Australia widely accepted?
"Yes, it is rather isolated over here! We don't get a lot of bands touring here. It is a long way to come and quite expensive to travel here. Due to our smaller population the audiences are a lot smaller compared to overseas as well.
Metal music generally is not part of the everyday culture over here, like it is over in Europe. It’s accepted by those involved in the scene and other musicians, but in the general population it’s not particularly well known, well received or publicised. For example metal or even hard rock is not played on commercial radio, it’s really only played on dedicated metal or hard rock community radio shows. People over here still have a lot of preconceptions about the music, artwork and general themes of metal; most people don’t / can't understand it, they seem to find the content too confronting and don't want to be involved. Hopefully though with some amazing bands coming out of Australia now more people are becoming interested in the genre.
I don't see why metal can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - There’s probably already some killer bands over there! However, I think they would have to be creative with how they get their music out there. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
For metalheads holidaying in Melbourne, aside from the Grand Prix, are there any attractions / sightseeing locations you would recommend?
"Yes!! You could seriously spend months here and not see everything - the great thing about Melbourne is that there is always something going on and to discover! There are some amazing music stores where you can pick up some vintage and / or rare guitars / amps / pedals like Found Sound or The Swop Shop. For art lovers, there are so many tiny galleries all over the city showing local art and The National Gallery has killer diverse exhibitions from Van Gogh to Dior to Mid Century Modern Furniture.
For wine lovers, you can take a day trip down the coast to the Mornington Peninsula or The Yarra Valley, for amazing wine and scenery. You can visit boutique spirit distilleries like Starward Whisky in Port Melbourne or Four Pillars Gin in the Yarra Valley - which seriously gives some of the English Gin a run for it money! Melbourne is paradise for lovers of good food and coffee!! With markets like South Melbourne and Prahran Markets and amazing restaurants on every corner. There are festivals for Beer, Cheese, Salami and now even a chicken nugget festival. The Great Ocean Road makes for a good drive- for beautiful rugged coastline, Healesville Sanctuary for meeting kangaroos, koalas and other native animals. And of course you can catch some local bands at The Brunswick Hotel, The Bendigo Hotel or Cherry Bar, folks over here are always up for a chat and a beer."
With your debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion' out in a week's time, will there be a tour supporting the album?
"There definitely will! The Australian Tour will take place early next year with hopefully some International dates to be announced as well! But you’ll have to stay tuned to our social media pages to get the details."
What plans have you got leading into 2018? Do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
"Lots of touring and promoting our record! We currently have some killer merch available now at Merchnow and there’s some brutal new merch coming out soon! Shep and I have been co-hosting a heavy metal radio show once a month on Melbourne’s 3CR called The Heavy Session, so along with our friend and host Chris we have some awesome plans for the show as well.
We’d love to send a massive hello, to all our friends and fans over in UK - we’re working hard to come over and play for y’all in 2018!!! Thanks very much for the support!"
Many might see their latest photo as perhaps as Visual Kei, sure their Gothic-Glam crossover is one to admire and for the ladies to swoon over. But this quintet are no pushovers, in fact what we could see here is in fact the dawn of a new scene in Italy, as the guys in Beyond The Fallen go on to explain, hailing from the Vatican City (or Italy) is not as weird as it seems, or is it?
Hi guys, for those who do not know of Beyond The Fallen could you give us a brief history? Are you really from the Vatican?
"Hey there! We are Beyond The Fallen, an industrial metalcore band born and raised in the Vatican City, as odd as it may sound. We started the band back in 2014, releasing a full length album named "You Rise, We Fall". In 2015 we released a remix EP named "Re:Fall", while our latest piece of work is a single called "Anima"."
Italy has had a long-standing history with the industrial music sound, what makes it so popular there (if so)?
"Actually, metal bands and in general alternative music in Italy doesn't work out as well as it may seem from the outside. There's been probably one, maybe two alternative bands that actually "made it" in the alternative music scene, but truth is any metal band in Italy knows very well that the only way to make it is to gain attention from international labels and fans. "
You recently released your new video 'Anima', what makes the sound different in comparison to older songs? Is there a story behind the video?
" "Anima" was our first work with our guitarist Yuki, who entered the band after the release of our first LP. We wanted to evolve our sound from the very harsh, raw industrial of our first record to something more polished and modern, and it turned out to be very easy and natural thanks to Yuki's approach to songwriting and music in general, which was very different from what we've had with "You Rise, We Fall". The result was a more metalcore-ish song, with loud guitars and a lot of changes in the song moods. We kept some of our key elements though, like synths and drum-work, and the mix turned out to be an excellent starting point for us in our pursuit of a new sound.
About the video, we did something different this time around. In our first video, "Disconnected", we played a lot with dark and sick atmospheres, trying to achieve something that would confuse and impress the viewer. With "Anima" we did the opposite. The white background gives a sense of clarity, everything is bright and visible and while there are still some strange, confusing elements (thanks to our wonderful actors and costume designers) the action is quite clear so the viewer can focus more on the overall flow instead of wtf-ing about what's happening on screen."
How was it working with Utau Yume on the music video? Would you invite her on tour with you?
"We've had a great experience working with Utau Yume. It was our first time working with someone else, and her music is so different from ours that we actually were a bit concerned about how things could turn out. Instead, everything went extremely smooth. Songwriting sessions with her were very easy and fun, and everything came out naturally. Not to mention her incredible performance! We'd love to bring her with us on stage, it's something we already thought and talked about, and we can't deny that it could surely happen."
What has the international response to your music been like so far? Have you had any fans come from any countries that you were surprised by? What do people in your area think of your music?
"We've had a great support from both national and international fans. Most of them were surprised about how different "Anima" was from our previous work, but thankfully in a good way. With the release of the single we also printed physical copies of it and of our previous LP and EP, which were only digital at the time of release. We still don't know why but it seems our music gets a lot of love in Mexico.
We tried to reach countries like Germany, UK and of course the US, but the love and support we receive from Mexican fans is something we didn't expect at all and we're very happy and grateful about it. We also have fans from Japan, and our love for the people there and the country itself was what led us to write a song in japanese. About Italy, we played several shows around the country in the last 2 years, and we managed to reach a lot of people who supports us in a wonderful way."
With the popularisation of the 'Gothic Metalcore' movement inspired by Motionless In White, would you consider them and yourselves as pioneers of the said genre? Or what you describe yourselves as?
"MIW could totally be considered pioneers, but for us, we don't consider what we do pioneering at all. We had an idea, back then, to try and mix our love for the '90s industrial scene with modern metal music, and we're still working on it to get to the sound we have in mind. When we'll reach that point, fans and critics will say if what we do is pioneering or not, but for us it's just trying to express ourselves in the way we think best suits what and who we are."
Does each member have their own unique look in terms of clothing and make-up? Would it be safe to say that you're influenced by the Visual Kei scene?
"We are totally influenced by the V-Kei scene! We went a little overboard in the promo material for "Anima", but with it being a song in Japanese, mostly for japanese fans, we felt it was natural and we've had a lot of fun building our looks and outfits. Every one of us has a very different taste in style so we find ourselves talking (and arguing) about our looks often when we have to shoot a video or some promo pics. While writing and playing music are of course our favourites things to do, we surely think and work a lot about our image in order to deliver something that's carefully thought and realized from start to finish."
Where does Beyond The Fallen go on from here (the music video release)? Debut album? UK / EU tour?
"We have a lot of material for our second LP, that should come out sometime around 2017. We'll start working in studio in October, and thanks to "Anima" we have a clearer idea about what the album will be. We can't wait to let you guys listen to it!"
Finally do you have any hello's or thank you's you wish to send out?
"We'd like to thank you for this interview of course! And also thanks to all of our fans for their incredible support, we never thought what we do could mean so much for people and every one of our fans is a reason for us to keep working as hard as we can."