Tag: grunge

New Music Friday: Empyre

Empyre are a Northants grunge/hard-rock band. Henrik Steenholdt  on vocals and guitar, Did Coles on lead guitar, Grant Hockley on bass, and Elliot Bale on drums. New single ‘Too Little…

Empyre are a Northants grunge/hard-rock band. Henrik Steenholdt  on vocals and guitar, Did Coles on lead guitar, Grant Hockley on bass, and Elliot Bale on drums. New single ‘Too Little Too Late’ has just come out the traps, and it’s enough of a beast for New Boots to go searching for more info.

How did you guys get together?
Did: Empyre really got started in 2016. Henrik and I were gigging in a busy covers band, and that naturally evolved into writing our own music. The original band relied on friends, who were for the most part session musicians. We realised we needed a dedicated line-up to move the band forward, and set off on the hunt for the right drummer and bassist. During that time we focused on the acoustic side of Empyre. Some of that acoustic duo activity you can find on our YouTube channel. We persevered with that hunt for some time, and have now solidified the four-piece format with Grant on bass and Elliot on drums, both of whom are also Northants based.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences in music?
Henrik: Our music has been described as “atmospheric rock”, “contemporary rock”, “atheist rock”, “hard rock” and “the love child between Pink Floyd and Soundgarden”. We fuse the roots of rock’s tradition alongside some dark, introspective songwriting, but don’t expect dreary and depressing….expect intense, sometimes raw, sometimes anthemic rock. Exactly what the name of that music is we’re not sure anyone agrees on.
Did: We would site influences ranging from Seattle-era grunge bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden to rock heavyweights like the Foos, Guns’n’Roses and Audioslave. But each musician brings their own personal influences to the table, which shapes the band sound. For example Elliot loves Twenty One Pilots, Henrik is a huge fan of George Michael, Alter Bridge and Abba, Did loves modern country, instrumental rock and Taylor Swift, and Grant loves Tool, King’s X, and Faith No More. Varied, I think! As well as music we are influenced by the world around us. The forthcoming album has songs inspired by philosophical comedians like Bill Hicks, a HBO series protagonist from True Detective [Rust Cohle], atheism, existentialism and relationships. All fun and games.

What was the reaction like to those first couple of singles that predated the new one?
We released two taster EPs in the band’s early development, alongside the release of a few acoustic music videos. We had a good enough reaction from that to start building a fan base and attract management. This helped in connecting us with the wider rock scene in the UK, and we started gigging more consistently.

Tell us everything about this new release, ‘Too Little Too Late’.
This single is the first release from our debut album Self Aware, which comes out on July 5th. The song was inspired by the breakdown of a relationship, so might strike a chord with anyone who has any angst towards their exes! The theme goes along the lines of an exploration of an obsessive and toxic relationship preceding, during and after its collapse. Initially your pride is damaged and your emotions feel like they have been severely tainted. Ultimately, you turn your resentment into detachment, realising you have come out better off than the other person involved.

The single also has a music video that we filmed last year [see below]. It conveys the lyrics, with two actresses portraying the difficult relationship. It’s gritty, a bit raunchy even, and Facebook just banned us from advertising it. Spoilsports.

What are your live shows like?
Henrik: My favourite description of our live show was when someone came up to me wide-eyed after a gig, and said “Woah, that was intense”. That, for me, was a great compliment. It’s certainly intensity that I try to put into my performance, especially vocally. We aim for a big sound, and that doesn’t mean deafening. We want the audience to hear the nuances in the music, and the vocals, even when we’re blasting out the heavier tracks.
Grant: This really depends on venue, audience, gig and us. Empyre are equally at home blasting out the heavier tracks as we are sitting down playing softer, acoustic arrangements, sometimes with piano. The best way to answer the question is to come see us!

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues?
Did: Northants has a thriving music scene, and we are regulars at The King Billy and The Craufurd Arms down the road in Wolverton. Plus we have a decent support base in Brackley, where we gig a couple of times a year.
Henrik: We can’t say that we are embedded in the scene here though. We’d love to establish ourselves more within our home county, and we’d welcome all the support Northampton wants to give us. Hopefully there are plenty more potential fans of our music in the county yet to discover us. That’s why it’s great to do interviews like this, and play at events such as Northampton Music Festival, because hopefully it will allow a wider audience to embrace our music. As much as we love playing The King Billy and always have a great time we’d really like to play all over the county.

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
Henrik: Tough to choose, but probably playing an acoustic set in an Arctic-themed amphitheatre with a pool, in an abandoned zoo in Ibiza, to a few hundred people. Surreal, and fantastic.
Grant: It’s been an amazing year, so there has been a few! The feeling just before going onstage at some of the larger festivals or hearing a track being played on the radio for the first time is up there.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Did: Lethbridge Owen Mind over Matter released this month. Empyre joined this talented outfit on the Isle of Wight last year.
Grant: Full Nelson by Massive Wagons. They are on the same management as us [Rock People Management] and we have supported them a few times. The album charted in the UK at 16, it’s great to see them do so well! The last album I streamed was Lykaia by Swedish prog rock band Soen. I love this record and have listened to it daily for the last few weeks.

What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Henrik: Imminent plans include the inaugural tour to support the singles and album releases. On the RPM Takeover Tour we’re joined by Ryders Creed and The Rocket Dolls. Then we play Northampton Music Festival on June 16th, catch us on the main stage in the Market Square. There are at least three more singles to be released over the next few months, and of course the album on 5th July. Plus we’re doing a special acoustic set at Arena Birmingham on June 28th before the Eagles play there that evening, which we’re really looking forward to.
In terms of burning desires, I want the band to play Download, Ramblin’ Man fair, and some of the equivalent European rock festivals.
Did: I’d love to go out with Empyre on a European tour at some point in the future.
Grant: My burning desire would be for Empyre to be established as one of the UK’s top rock bands.

Too Little Too Late is out now via the usual digital platforms. The album Self Aware appears on July 5th.

 

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New Music Friday: Drinsipa

Corby mathcore trio Drinsipa have just released a new single, ‘DOP’. Hear it below, along with an interview with singer/guitarist Beb Reed. How did you guys get together? Why the switch…

Corby mathcore trio Drinsipa have just released a new single, ‘DOP’. Hear it below, along with an interview with singer/guitarist Beb Reed.

How did you guys get together? Why the switch to a three-piece after so long as a duo?
Beb: Josh and I are cousins, and basically in 2013 he came down from up north to live here! And we didn’t really know any other musicians in the local area who wanted to do the same sort of stuff we wanted to do, and had no connection to the local music scene, but we enjoyed jamming and rehearsing, so we started a band with our mate Arran. We played a few gigs, and we were really in to it. We started to write some songs on our own aside from that band, and then we got a gig and had to think of a name, thus Drinsipa was born. We started getting a lot of gig offers quite soon which we’d never had before, and we haven’t really stopped since then. We just love playing gigs and being around the people involved in the music scene. We started writing some more complex and experimental songs mainly due to different influences from different bands we were listening to. Having recorded a full length album, we felt it was time to switch things up a bit. We recorded the Poppy Fields EP from home at our old flat in Poppy Fields in Kettering. We played some gigs with the new songs and we had a really good response, but felt we’d benefit from a bass player to fill some of the more chordy and harmonic parts of the songs from the EP. We had toyed with the idea of having our mate Myles come and play bass for us, so when we decided we were going to get a bass player, we instantly thought of Myles. We taught him the songs and he picked up on them really quickly. We started playing some more shows and writing some new stuff and here we are now.

How would you describe your sound?
We find it hard to describe our sound as we try to make the songs sound as non-traditional as possible. We play with a lot of time signatures and obscure song structures, mainly for a laugh and to keep it interesting not just to perform, but to play, or in some cases just to listen back to ourselves. I’d say dynamics are a big part of the sound, as we have a lot of different sounding sections in songs, so they can go from oober brutal to melodic clean within the space of 4 bars, or in our case every 1 and 3/4 bars [that’s a joke]. But if someone asks, I usually say mathcore because it’s the probably the biggest influence of ours.

What was the reaction like to your debut album 42, from 2016?
The reaction was fantastically amaze balls. The album launch show was especially good. We played at The Hut in Corby, and it went fuckin’ mental!!! We didn’t push the album as much as people thought we should have done, but in all honesty, we only do things as a band we think are fun, because we really don’t want it to turn in to a chore for us. We just appreciate that people loved what we were doing and bought our album. We still get comments about it today, and it’s really cool that people dig it. We were quite out of touch with social media back then too, but it’s a lot easier to do now we have an extra helping hand.

Tell us everything about the new single, ‘DOP’.
It’s titled after the practice studio in which it was written; shout out to the The Pod in Corby! It was the first song we wrote after the Poppy Fields EP. We were going for a more visceral, aggressive sound and with the added help of Myles we were able to work out some pretty interesting sounds. The track is full of fuzzy bass and crazy weird riffs and time sigs. It has a cool major-key riff that floats in and out of the track between the more aggressive section and really stupidly stupid heavy section at the end, which is always fun to play live.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire, playing with like-minded bands? Any favourite bands/venues to play with?
We play with a lot of different kinds of bands in Northampton, too many to name all of them! We don’t let a difference in genre stop us from playing with bands so it’s just one big mates fest! Skirt, King Purple, Monarchs, Sarpa Salpa are just a few of our local favs!

What has been your favourite band moment of the past year?
We just recently played The Guildhall as part of Twinfest, that was crazy! Huuuuuge hall with huge sound, had a great time! We also flew over to Germany as part of Twinfest and played some gigs over in Marburg, which was phenomenal. Probably one of the highlights our musical lives let alone the past year! We made some great friends and connections over there and it’s cool to be part of the Twinfest family.

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
We don’t have too many burning desires for the band. We love playing gigs and hearing feedback about our intentionally confusing music. We know it’s not for everyone, which is part of the reason we write the music we do. I think writing and recording is a big part of why we do what we do, and we like to have a physical copy of music that we have written and recorded, there’s something quite special about that. I guess we will have to see what happens, but for now it’s just a barrel o’ laughs!

DOP is out now for ‘name your price’ here

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New Music Friday: Loose Tooth

Northampton three-piece grunge/hardcore outfit Loose Tooth – Adam Cator [bass], Oli Knight [guitar/vocals] and Josh Miller [drums] have followed up last year’s mini LP with a new single, ‘Castles’. Watch the Joshua…

Northampton three-piece grunge/hardcore outfit Loose Tooth – Adam Cator [bass], Oli Knight [guitar/vocals] and
Josh Miller [drums] have followed up last year’s mini LP with a new single, ‘Castles’. Watch the Joshua Goff-directed video below, after reading this here interview about all the Loose things.

How/why/what/when did the project begin?
Adam: Loose Tooth began two and a half years ago. We’d all just come from bands that had drained us emotionally and needed something a little more honest and cathartic. We had started with no clear intentions, just hung out and wrote some music together. At first we were considering getting a singer but we were too tight-knit to add another member. We hope that desire for honesty comes through in the music.

How would you describe your sound?
Oli: We’re a rock band, there’s certain connotations that come with that we try to avoid when writing. We’re not trying to take the path of least resistance when writing, we push our abilities to come up with something that is hopefully interesting and different, whether that be off-kilter time signatures, chord progressions or scales. There’s a certain amount of depth invested with our writing style that we hope translates into music that interests and excites.

Who are your main influences? Musical and non-musical
Josh: I’ve got a bunch, musical influences include: And So I Watch You from Afar, Reuben, 65daysofstatic, Every Time I Die, Toe, The Cure, Father John Misty, Dillinger Escape Plan, Alkaline Trio, Interpol, Crowded House, Nine Inch Nails. Non-musical thinkers that inspire me are Henry Rollins and David Attenborough.
Oli: As a lyricist I always tried to follow the Martin Gore [Depeche Mode] school of thought, but found it to be disingenuous to myself. Since then I’ve taken to a more ‘kitchen sink’ lyrical style in the vein of Jamie Lenman, who is also a big musical influence.
Adam: My musical influences would be Story Of The Year, From First To Last, Underoath, Reuben and Every Time I Die. My non-musical inspiration would be my dad.

What’s the reaction been like to last year’s self-titled mini-album?
Josh: Really great; people are still discovering it and enjoying it. From the reactions we’ve had people seemed to enjoy the honesty. We left a lot of mistakes in and recorded it having not long written and learned the songs, so it came out quite raw I think. Nowadays with a lot of rock music having a serious level of sheen some listeners enjoyed something a bit grittier than usual.

Tell us about ‘Castles’.
Oli: ‘Castles’ is a really simple song: the chord progression churned around in my brain for a while, and that’s why most of the song is those four chords. I felt the lyrics should speak for themselves, so we took a stripped back approach and left all of the craziness for another day. It’s about the frustrations of modern working life, with external pressures to live a middle class existence, despite the fact the middle class has eroded. The ‘castles held up in the sky’ are just a mortgage, or they’re a yearly holiday, something the average low income worker may feel is out of their grasp. Not everyone wants to climb the corporate ladder – why should they be denied a more comfortable life? We recorded the track with Jay Russell again at Parlour Studios. It’s super comfortable with Jay; he understands our weirdness and he’s a complete pro. The video we shot with Joshua Goff and it was done at at our Josh’s work yard where we rehearse weekly. We built the set and Joshua lit it wonderfully.

Is your record label – Undead Collective – and its roster a tight-knit community?
Adam: Undead Collective is a great group of people, we’re in contact most days and their support and advice beyond the remit of label responsibilities has been amazing. Currently there’s only three bands on the roster. We’re yet to meet the newest additions Seasonal, but we’ve chatted online and they’re great guys.

Would you consider your local scene something to be proud of? On the flipside, what’s your biggest frustration with it all?
Oli: Northampton is rich with talented musicians, the scene is definitely one to be proud of. Northampton can be grey and that can be oppressive, but go to The Lab, The Garibaldi or The Black Prince on a Friday night and you’ve got a few hours away from the desolation. I think our frustrations are more with ourselves rather than the scene, this goes for anywhere. Inclusion to scenes is always reliant on being charismatic and outgoing. It’s something that doesn’t come naturally to us, so we try to be as personable as possible when networking but we’re quiet by nature. That doesn’t always endear yourself to people and ultimately that’s as important as putting on a killer show.

What has been your favourite band moment so far?
Oli: Probably just how many gigs we played last year. We just hired vans and shot off. It was a dream come true for me to finally feel like I was in a touring, hard-working band.
Josh: Everything about being in this band, but mainly writing and recording.
Adam: Playing a show in a rehearsal room in Wales.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Oli: Arc by Everything Everything
Josh: Braille by Palm Reader
Adam: Logic by Bobby Tarantino

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What solid plans do you have?
Oli: Our burning desire is to one day be able to turn up anywhere in the UK and play to a guaranteed 50 or so people. That’s enough for us. Now ‘Castles’ is out we’ll be thinking about the next single, we’ve got a lot to do until then but we’re excited about the future. For now though it’s all coming up Loose Tooth.

Castles is out now via the usual platforms

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New Music Friday: Acolytes debut EP

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding…

Rushden. Army boots, rough-cut Diamond footballers, and some lakes with soul-destroying shops surrounding them. But now some small salvation comes in the shape of Acolytes and their debut EP Pounding Dance Music, via Five Wound Records.

The “NN10 noise brigade” comprise singer/guitarist Hamm, guitarist Tom Bird, bassist Bewlay Stanton and drummer Marcus Lever. The five track EP is not for the faint-hearted, as they fray the senses with the Black Flaggy screamcore of ‘Lord Of The Land’ and ‘Worst Case Scenario’, but also give it some with the good old hard rock/metal sounds (think Kyuss, Nirvana, Motorhead, Mudhoney) on opener ‘Coup de Grace’ and ‘Wanting A War’. The politically-charged DIY band have been building themselves a name through 2017 and so this is a masterly way to begin the year.

Listen below on Spotify or purchase (as a ‘name your price’ deal) from Bandcamp. It’s supposed to be available on CD and cassette from the live shows too, so do get along and see them when you can.

 

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