Northampton hard rock band Over The Influence today share their debut video to recent EP track ‘Can’t We Love’, filmed by Joshua Goff. Katie Montford marked the occasion for New Boots by speaking to the band.
When and why did you form?
James: I went about looking to form the band in 2015; my last band split up from members moving away so I wanted to start a new venture.
What music inspired the band?
James: Too much to put into one list but to name a few: Guns n’ Roses, Motley Crue, Black Stone Cherry, Stone Temple Pilots, Halestorm, Led Zeppelin, Buckcherry, Monster Truck, The Dead Daisies, etc.
Growing up who did you listen to? Has your musical tastes changed?
James: The first band I ever really got into was The Rolling Stones. Their track ‘Brown Sugar’ is the song that turned me on to music, and then, when I discovered Guns n’ Roses my life changed, haha! Been listening to the same kind of bands ever since.
Do you remember your first band gig?
James: The first ever OTI show was held in my back garden – we decided to set the band up under a marquee and invite like 80-odd people over, BYOB. Safe to say we had a few angry people from the neighbourhood interrupt. If it’s too loud, you’re too old!
Who is on your playlist right now?
Bex – My choices change on a daily basis, but I’d say: Santa Cruz, Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, The Cruel Knives, Massive, and even some heavier bands like Feed the Rhino! To be honest as long as it’s got some killer riffs, a sweet groove and some awesome vocals it’ll usually find its way onto my playlist.
James: At the minute i’m playing a lot of Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, The Dead Daisies, Lynch Mob, Skid Row and Ratt.
What inspired ‘Can’t We Love’?
Bex – ‘Can’t We Love’ is probably our most pissed-off song, because it’s all about being fed up with the way the world is ran and how it needs to change! There’s hints to the government and their decisions to prioritise money over human life, the media and the web of lies they spin around their viewers and audience and just the general lack of empathy we have for one another. We’d just hear about yet another terrorist attack from ISIS and were just so angry and ‘Can’t We Love?’ was born from that anger.
Do you change persona when you perform?
Bex: I wouldn’t say I change ‘persona’ per-say, but I would say that my general attitude and personality is just more exaggerated. There’s always got to be an element of performing, so I think you can’t ever truly be the person you are at work/home etc. But I also think it’s so important to be yourself on stage as that’s who your audience connects with and builds a relationship with.
Do you feel the band has changed with time?
Bex: Absolutely! I think as we’ve matured as musicians, so have our songs both musically and lyrically. If you listen to songs like ‘Take Control’, which is one of our older songs, you get that more classic rock and bluesy feel, whereas ‘Can’t We Love’ is far heavier and meatier and shows influences from modern rock and even some of the softer sides of metal, which is more in the direction of the next EP’s sound.
James: I agree with Bex, we’ve definitely naturally developed a heavier, more ‘modern’ edge to the sound which I think will shine properly on EP #2.
What was the musical process like? Did you have the idea of the whole song? Lyrical content, instrumentation?
Bex: If I’m honest we don’t really have a set ‘process’ for writing. For ‘Can’t We Love?’ James wrote the riffs and set the structure of the song. All that was left were the lyrics, and this was actually the first song I’d had any lyrically input on. The lyrics were written when me and James were sat in his dining room after hearing the news about the most recent ISIS attack and just needed to write this song.
Who writes the music/lyrics?
Bex: Generally speaking, James writes the main riffs, but each instrument takes ownership of their parts. We like to all sit in a room and bounce ideas off one another, as that tends to create the most ‘OTI sounding’ songs. Previously, James wrote all the lyrics too, but pushed me to take over that role from him once I joined the band on a permanent basis.
What made you make ‘Memories’ so different to the rest of your EP? Both vocally and musically.
Bex: This is actually quite a funny story. So I went to Reading festival with James and of course he found himself in a mosh pit at Five Finger Death Punch’s set, and he broke his finger! This meant he lost all real movement and strength in his bottom two fingers, so really struggled to play guitar for a good couple of months. Whilst he was in a cast he was playing around with an acoustic guitar and wrote the chorus for ‘Memories’. Me previously being an acoustic singer songwriter I fell in love with the song, and myself and James wrote the lyrics and finished the song together. We played it to a few of our friends and family and they loved it too, so we ended up gigging it at a few acoustic shows we played and it got such great feedback we knew it had to go on the EP. We love that it shows our softer side, and I love that I’ve been able to bring my ‘lighter’ vocals to the band, and we feel it just shows a different and more vulnerable side of us to our audience.
James: I’m a big fan of bands that can write both a killer, heavy rock song and also tame it to acoustic when needed. Alice in Chains are a great example of this. Like Becky said I’d broken my finger so the chorus was accidentally written, I went to play a power chord and realised i didn’t have enough fingers, this strange inverted sorta sound came out and i played with it for a bit and got ‘Memories’. In terms of the song itself: I’ve made a lot of stupid decisions in my life so I wrote the song about regret, Bex came in and helped write a lot of the lyrics too.
Did you always want perform rock?
Bex: Not at all! Previously I performed as a solo artist playing self-written acoustic pieces. Although rock music was always a huge passion of mine I never thought I had a ‘rock voice’. I never intended to join OTI but I was asked to fill in some shows on a last-minute basis as James knew I was a singer, and I’ve never looked back!
James: Always have and always will!
Do you have any upcoming shows?
Bex: We’re honoured to be supporting Stormbringer for the second time, playing at our local and legendary venue The Roadmender at the end of April. We love playing with those guys, they’re tight as hell and they’ve got some wicked tunes! In terms of other shows, we’ve got some exciting things booked including some festival slots, but at the moment we’re really focusing on getting some new material written in preparation for our newest EP.
What can we expect next?
Bex: We’re currently in the process of writing the next EP, which we’re hoping will continue to demonstrate that slightly more heavier side that we feel ‘Can’t We Love?’ has begun to show. Think fatter, riffier and more groovy beats that’ll get your head nodding and your heart racing. We might even throw in another acoustic number 😉
James: The majority of the 2nd EP is written and sounding massive now, so it’s just a case of writing the last couple of tracks and then recording it, mixing, mastering and the usual bullshit that goes with releasing an EP.