Asaviour Interview

After making his name as the brilliant hype man for Jehst, UK’s very own Asaviour slapped people into recognising him in his own right with the “Savoir Faire” EP and “The Borrowed Ladder” album.

Now, he’s back with a new record, made with long time friend DJ IQ and recently Abjekt caught up with the man from the HUDD to talk about running his own label, what inspires his production and how he may be able to fit Barack Obama into his schedule in 2010.

Right, Asaviour, Savvy, Mr Savoir Faire, let’s get the basics out of the way – Where are you from, why did you call yourself Asaviour, what’s your basic outlook on life?

I’m from the HUDD (Huddersfield) West Yorkshire, North of The UK for the international readers, I actually called myself Asaviour left the name then came back to it for different reasons. At first it was from the naive arrogant attitude that yeah I can save hip hop (like it needs it haha) I’m the best, all that crap.

I went through a few other names, though nothing ever stuck so I guess it moved back to it after a bit of reading and broadening my outlook on things. It became more about saving myself because you can only really save yourself, no one can do it for you. It was more about life than a rap thing, it influenced the title of my first album “The Borrowed Ladder“, just trying to get somewhere from what I create. Outlook to life here I guess is Live & Let Live innit, much success to you even if you wish me the opposite.

Was Huddersfield a strange place to grow up in for hip hop, or was it pretty easy to get hold of the music you were searching out?

Well, actually it wasn’t too bad its actually harder to get hold of the music nowadays but then again there’s always downloads, you really need to leave your house. We used to go Leeds or Manchester to pick to the real underground ish.

Who were your influences when younger? Was there that one golden record that made you think, “yeah man, this is the shit I want to get into?”. Mine was “Kick In The Door” by Biggie, made me sit up and realise that it was like nothing I’d heard before and all I wanted to do then was get more and more hip hop into my ears.

Okay here goes – Tribe Called Quest – “Electric Relaxation“; Public Enemy – “Fight the Power“; NWA – “Straight Outta Compton“; Snoop – “What’s My Name?“; Biggie – “Juicy/Who Shot Ya“; Jay-Z – “Dead Presidents“; Nas – “The World is Yours” and sooooo many more!!!

Did you want be a rapper from an early age?

Yeah I guess but I wanted to be a few things before a rapper, I wanted to be an inventor, astronaut, racecar or Monster truck driver, lawyer, an actor, assassin, Olympic swimmer, then I guess rapper.

How’d you get in with the likes of Jehst? And at that point, when you were moving into live rapping and such, was there a healthy scene in Yorkshire or did you really have to grind and carve out your own platform to allow your music to reach people?

I’m from Huddersfield and I think he moved up in his early teens, I got to know him through college I’d already started rhyming then, I was his weed supply for a lil bit. We started working on demos rhyming with other mates that moved onto other things, Jehst was far more informed about the UK hip hop and what was going on in this country. He had supportive folks that took him to gigs n’shit, so he knew about events happening in Leeds and surrounding areas.

We’d just go to nights, try get on open mics and do our thing (sometimes get kicked out too!). There were things going on here and there and with time we started to build a name. We had to be quite proactive to make things happen but I guess that’s just the case for anything really, people were generally supportive.

Did it help you touring extensively with the likes of Jehst, learning the ropes and knowing where to go when you branched out on your own?

Yeah man we pushed so much material together it was a great learning process for all of us, Moving from just rapping on stage to actually performing, learning lyrics inside out so stuff sounded seamless, Playing with Jehst, Harry Love, Sarah Love, DJ IQ, Selling out the Jazz Cafe. Generally developing my skills & some professionalism, learning what not to do aswell as what to do, you know attitude etc.

I also gigged with quite a few different artist like DJ IQ, Tommy Evans, Usmaan, Braintax, Verb T, Kashmere Ghost etc they all helped me develop into the artist I am today and definitely stood me in good stead for touring the new album and doing the launch parties etc.

With UKHH being quite hard to make a full time living out of, I read you went to study music tech. What was the thinking behind that?

Well for one I wanted to know what the hell I was doing business wise and musically, I guess for me there was no other way I could have learnt these things, I just took the relatively obvious route to me. Also I didn’t have the money, there was no way I’d be able to get my hands on the wealth of equipment at that age.

What did the course involve?

Advanced Synthesis, Psychoacoustics , Electronics, Music Business, Studio Engineering and so many other things I forgotten..

Did you do it knowing you wanted to move into production as a career?

Yep kinda I guess, I had sounds and beats in my head that I wasn’t hearing and I wanted to get them out (still do). Basically writing lyrics is cheaper. It’s cool if you got a bit of money behind you because it means you can get into production earlier, but I had to save and hustle to get my first sampler which came quite a few years after my first demos n stuff like that.

Coupled that with the fact I’m not an artist that’s instantly impressed with myself, by that I mean I always been quite critical of my own production. Just because I made it, doesn’t mean its good enough to use, Perhaps I’ve be overly critical. I don’t know, but its helped me develop a rounded sound and by that I mean it incorporates a lot of different sounds. I’m not one of these peeps that’s like it’s only hip if you sample this particular record or use these types of drums, and on the other side I’m not trying to make synth’ed out club bangers all day. It’s the balance innit.

And did the music you make suffer as a result of not being able to focus every minute on it?

I’ve always been a quality over quantity type of person. I get waves innit, right now I’m more dealing with business and I’m moving into my writing phase, then I shift more in to production again then I guess I’ll try put something together. End of the day I do whatever when I get inspired but I’ve always kinda worked like that. If anything, it’s worked to my advantage in ways, you can be locked away in the lab not seeing daylight and just focussing on making the music but my music (well at least the lyrics) is about life and your experiences. You need to soak life up to really write that thought real provoking shit, if you’re locked away you can lose touch and relevance.

I mean you can still write clever almost mathematical stuff (rhymes from the head) but not the emotive shit from the heart. On the production side as well you can just get lost in it all – hear a beat too much and think it’s wack when actually it’s next level and vice versa, The music needs time to breath, and so do you, I deffo think distance from the music is good.

How do you think the UKHH scene has changed since the early 2000s when it seemed to be on a good wave, at least in London, big crowds at nights, prolifically big albums being dropped left, right and centre? Do you feel its ridden that wave and it’s back to being really hard to get a lot of people to notice what’s going on?

I’ll be straight up – the financial side for the scene has dropped but the good music is still there, if not better than it’s ever been. But the reality is if you can download it most people won’t buy it. Everything’s very disposable nowadays within 10 minutes you can download a whole album skip through it and bin it. If you look at the amount of illegal downloads people are getting if they were actual sales things would be a whole different story. End of the day I never made crazy money from the music that’s never been my motivation, I guess you just gotta do what you love, work hard at it and the rest is a bonus.

You dropped your full length “Borrowed Ladder” and it got some really good reviews, how do you look back on that record?

Its was a good jump off for me, it took me from just been know for features, and a couple of singles to a proper solo artist, The response was good, got some decent support from DJs and the heads at gigs we played were happy. “So Northern” got a lot love as well. Yeah can’t lie I was happy with its reception its was a good move for me.

So, you’ve now got the “A Loop Theory LP” which you made alongside DJ IQ, do you feel it’s a step up from everything you’d done before? If so, what do you put that down to – is it that you’ve got a lot more to rap about, that you’ve come on a long way in terms of production, you’ve learnt new techniques or maybe opened up to even more new music to take influences from?

It’s a definite leap on from previous releases with regards to the sounds we incorporated, the approach to the writing, everything. I guess I put it down to getting bored of what I was hearing, wanting to push myself and just maturing as a listener of music in general. Like I said before, you need to live a bit to really write good content, I grind my rhymes out of everyday life so yeah I guess it’s just a case of having more to write about. I listen to all sort I used to chill with heads sometimes and they’d talk about a tune being shit literally because it’s not Hip Hop. It got to points were I wondered “Do you not like this or do not want to like this?” I guess I listen to my own instincts a lot more now as I become more confident as an artist.

Did you and IQ share production duties? Did it help to vibe off each other during the making of the record?

Some beats I totally created, some we made together, and some IQ made himself. Yep, it definitely helped vibing off each other catching jokes fucking around with ideas, but to be honest if our heads weren’t in the same place musically I doubt we would have even tried doing the album together.

You two down to tour it?

We already played quite a few gigs across the country and at the moment I’m talking to some peeps in the States & Europe trying to really get the sound out there.

What guest spots do we have on here for people that might not know ? Did you have a wishlist of people you wanted to get involved in the record, or did it all happen naturally, like you and Smurf were chilling and you just decided to work together?

If I’m honest, a bit of both. It just so happens that some of the wish list were people we were already working with on the the album. You can expect Kyza, TB, Verb T, Sir Smurf Lil, Jehst, Pride, Dubbledge, Graziella and a few other suprizes

Now for a really obvious one – who do you wanna collab with that you’ve not worked with before?

Timbre Lockhart, Jay Electronica, Andre 3000, La Roux, Dizzee, Ebony Bones, Calvis Harris, Mr Scruff, VV Brown, Razorlight, Gorillaz and loads more man they’re just who can to my head this instant.

Running your own label can’t be easy, why’d you decide to go down that route? Whilst it’s definitely good for more control of everything, it must mean more trouble, strife and work no?

Yep but it got to a point where that was the only feasible option to take. Putting a record out off your own back is fucking hard work, it’s a number of jobs in itself. I don’t have any assistants right now so it’s quite a struggle, but hey fuck it, without stuggle there’s no progression. I’m just happy the album came out and has had a good response.

What’s the future got in store for Savvy then? More beats for others? More solo shit? Move to America to be Obama’s UK spokeman?

My people are talking to O’s people and we might get something popping mid 2010, more of a spiritual guru thing than spokesman, haha. Yep always grinding – we got a single and crazy video to drop for “No Days Off” featuring Sir Smurf Lil which should be out late August-early September, check out the site www.saving-grace.co.uk for some preview shots. Then I got a compilation and production album coming after that.

Safe for taking the time out to talk to us, shout out any and all right here:

No problem, my pleasure Sir! I guess people should check out the myspace and follow me on twitter innit.

Asaviour and DJ IQ’s “The A Loop Theory” is out now on Saving Grace. Make sure you support UK Hip Hop and cop it!

The Hickey Underworld interview

Live pics by Zac

Any band who are named after a song by Nation Of Ulysses are guaranteed to be men of taste. So when The Hickey Underworld‘s debut album landed in Crossfire’s lap a couple of months back it went straight to the top of the towering pile of crap that constitutes rock music in 2009. This is no mean feat. Usually it takes huge bribes to jump the queue.

We just sat around looking at the sleeve for a while, touched it, sniffed it and then finally decided to play it. When we did it sounded immense, like many of the recent greats from rock underworld – Jesus Lizard, Refused, Shellac, Queens Of The Stone Age – all rolled in one sweaty Belgian bundle. Did we mention the album artwork is amazing? The artwork is amazing. There was nothing else to do but unleash Ben Myers on the phone to call guitarist Jonas Govaerts, like, immediately.

Hi Jonas. So we know nothing about your band – other than the fact that you’re named after a songs by Nation of Ulysses, who were amazing, but pretty obscure…

Yeah, Younes (Faltakh, singer, pic right) and I grew up mail ordering the whole Dischord catalogue, so we were very much influenced by Fugazi and everything they put out. One band that really captured our imagination was Nation of Ulysses with their strange sense of humour and that great name too. Their song titles were a mystery within themselves, but what I found appealing was the messy element of their music. They had really discordant horns on there and even on record they weren’t a tight band at all. That was exciting and they definitely left a mark on us.

Your album was a genuine surprise. I hear dozens of new rock bands each month and 99 out of 100 aren’t terrible, they are something much, much worse – they are merely ‘OK’. So it’s rare to hear any who have such great songs and ideas and style as The Hickey Underworld.

Oh, thanks. It’s strange because we were working on this band so much that were feeling a little bit out of touch with music, plus so many Belgian bands are influenced by British music right now, whereas out inspirations are drawn more from America. In Belgium they’re all ripping off the poppy end of British music but we’re staying well away from that…

What are the origins of the band?

Me and Younes grew up together in Antwerp and have been playing together in bands since we were twelve – so many bands – and they were all pretty much terrible. It was only really years later when Jimmy (Wouters, drummer) joined us about four years ago from a hardcore band that we really found our sound. Before that – crap.

Is there much going on Antwerp at the moment?

Sure, there’s a good scene in Antwerp. For example, when our album came out in Belgium we sold 3500 copies in the first week alone. The scene we are from you can consider yourself a success if you sell half that amount over the course of a year or two, so people are interested and there was an element of surprise to the reaction we got. We must be doing something right. We feel blessed because we got a lot of help. The Belgian band Das Pop have really helped us out. The three guys from the band are from a different musical scene to us but they really helped us out with the production of the album, getting a decent soundman and finding a record deal. Before that they themselves were helped by the Soulwax / 2 Many DJ’s guys. So, yeah, I guess the scene is pretty supportive.

You’re in LA right now. Are you playing shows out there?

No. As well as the band I make short films and put them on the net. A manager in LA picked up on one and has brought me how here to have lots of meetings with studios. I’m staying right in the heart of Hollywood but it’s possibly not as big a deal as it sounds. I don’t drive either so Younes is here driving me around. It’s not a pedestrian town at all.

What do the rest of the guys do outside of the band?

Younes is pretty much a full-time songwriter and our bassist Georgios (Tsakiridis), who only recently joined us, is still at school, studying film. As for Jimmy, I don’t know what he does exactly? I think it has something to do with battered wives. It suits his aggressive persona…

Do you share any other collective influences?

Actually we like quite a bit of world music, Ethiopian music. It’s very refreshing stuff. We’re also really excited that Jesus Lizard have reformed. But aside from music, art and the visual side of things is very important to us…

I should explain to readers that the art-work for your album is very impressive: a colourful fold-out painting that is loaded with sub-satanic and Masonic symbols, hidden messages, pictures within pictures…

Right. And I think the record label and our manager probably hated us for it because we had such specific demands and also because it all had to be folded by hand! A big influence on the visuals was Coffin Joe, the Brazilian horror film-maker, whose work is very powerful and psychedelic, but loaded with dark humour too. An artist friend of ours did the artwork and we really made him work for it. It took months to do. We made him draw ten different temples before he got the right one, which itself is only a small detail in the picture. We were very selective and very precise, because the presentation aspect of music is getting lost amongst download culture. So, there are hidden messages throughout the artwork – the artist put the names of girls he likes in there and if you go through it carefully you’ll be able to find drawings of the four band members too. But you’ll have to look for us hard.

What does 2009 hold for you?

We’re playing some big European festivals, though we’re actually more excited about the smaller club shows. All the bands we love we first saw in small clubs – Kepone, Girls Against Boys, all that type of stuff. Our band works best in clubs too.

We obviously grew up listening to the same bands at the same time.

Yeah! I think we must be the same age.

I’m 33.

Well, we’re actually younger…

You were obviously just a lot hipper growing up, then.

Ha, thanks!

Download The Hickey Underworld‘s debut single Mystery Bruise at i-Tunes here and await the monster that is their debut album scheduled for release via Naive Records in September 2009. Watch the video for the debut single Mystery Bruise here.

Evan Dando – interview

Evan Dando, front man of The Lemonheads, has just spent the entire day doing back to back press for his new album ‘Varshons‘, and yet can still muster a smile as he opens his hotel room door.

Through career highs and lows, with some very public meltdowns but equally public highlights, Dando has always had a happy go lucky outlook, which has endeared him to his legions of fans, who are still on his side after twenty years in the business.

After his brief hiatus in the late 90’s Dando returned to the stage and studio, with a 2001 live album, followed by 2003’s solo record ‘Baby I’m Bored.’ His return to UK to play ‘It’s a Shame About Ray‘ from start to finish at The Shepherds Bush Empire in 2005 was a breathtaking return to form, with every word sung back at Evan and Co, word perfect.

Since then the band’s gone through yet more line up changes, and nowadays Evan is the only original member in the band. With the success of their self titled 2006 album on Vagrant, Evan has taken a new direction with a covers album, ‘Varshons‘, due to be released in June. Picking and choosing from some great artists, Evan joined forces with producer Gibby Haynes (of the Butthole Surfers), with Kate Moss and Liv Tyler taking up vocal duties on a couple of tracks. Dee Massey met with Evan at K West for a catch up…

So Evan, thanks for taking some time out, I know you’ve been in interviews all day so I’ll try and make this easy..

No no…I’m fine. I was doing this ‘underground magazine’ [one of the UK’s biggest selling weekly music magazines] … it’s just not how it used to be over there…..I mean, it was fine but it was a lot of work, we had to do all these recordings and things…but anyway! Look at this…it’s a mock up of the record cover [produces the new cover for Varshons]

Who did the artwork for this?

It’s this guy called Mark Dagley – I mean…this is the actual reason I did the record.

Is this the infamous painting you bought? [Rumour has it Evan’s reason for the album was to pay for the painting]

Yeah! This isn’t a great mock up, the record will look different but you can kinda see it and this is why I made the record, ‘cos I wanted to buy the painting….its really big. [jumps off the sofa to show the size…which is huge..] It’s like big, it’s amazing…

Do you actually have it now?

It’s at my house, at my home in New York [smiles]

So how come you decided to do this covers album, apart from the painting.

Well that was really it basically! I had about half my record done and I thought why not give the people something to listen to while I’m finishing up the next record.

How did you choose the tracks?

My friend Gibby [Haynes, producer of Varshons] really chose most of them, and I chose the first one, the Grams song [“I Just Can’t Take It Anymore“] and ‘Fragile‘, that was my choice, but he chose the GG Allin song [Layin Up with Linda] and stuff. We were hanging out a lot before we made the record, and then I bought this painting and I thought……well if Gibby will agree to produce it, I’ll go ahead and make the record..

You’ve co-produced most of your records, how did it feel giving someone else to reins?

It was very intense! I did let him take a lot of the control over it, especially the song choices…and he came and helped me when I was singing, I mean I’ve never had someone tell me how it sing, but he had an idea of what he wanted and I really respect Gibby, and he’s really smart, so I thought maybe it’d sound just a little bit different to do what he asked me to do, and it worked out fine [laughs].

So of all the producers you’ve worked with…was he the most challenging?

Yeah yes! Actually I’d say he was [laughs].

Would you work with him again?

Yeah of course, definitely – we’ll always be doing something together. We’ve been doing shows together – we have a band called The Time Whales, I don’t even know where the name came from…it’s like a whale logo. We do 3 or 4 songs, and play at these really posh New York places and everyone hates it, but it’s good cos … some of Gibby’s friends , these cool people, come along and they love it because it so pure in this horrible environment, but we’ve done a couple of gigs and it’s fun!

And I understand you’ve been writing a children’s book with Paul McNeil?

Yeah – have your read M is for Metal? It’s a great book! [gets his guitar out of its case] You know there’s a lot of good kids books but that’s right in there with the good ones! I’m so proud of him that he did that.

So yeah…we’re doing this thing, it like… Acronyms…..like pillaging elves sacked the observatories…with drawings. Or prisoners escaped silently…wait…no…prisoners escaped tunnelling….er…I can’t remember that one! [laughs] A pearl emerges shining thanks oyster you know.. Prince’s enigmatic symbol terminated obligation – Popeye explains sex to Olive – it’s going to be fun!

And you’ve done a little acting…

Er…yes! But I don’t know if I’ll ever do anymore [laughs] I’ve never pursued it , it’s just come my way. Except…I’d love to work with John Waters if he does a movie again [ starts playing his guitar] …and I would do anything…I’d sweep the floor! I’d like to work with John Waters, I like John Waters. [smiles]

So you can act, you’re doing a kids book on top of the music – do you have any other hidden talents?

Well I’m a bit of a book worm, so I guess I’m an inspiring short story writer. [Plays a few chords]. I am very serious about…books.

The next Lemonheads album – is it all written yet?

It’s about half way down. Listen to this [plays a few chords from a new track]

That sounds great..

Well…I’ve got to write some more chords and stuff…it’s getting there! It’s going to be fun…it’s getting there.

Are you still writing with Tom Morgan?

We tried to write this song called Mellow Superstition…wait wait [gets his notebook out] – I don’t know if we’ll ever write another song together, we wrote so many and it was so great for so long…and we were so high [laughs]. I mean…we still get high but it’s not the same! It’s almost like…this is enough you know?

Too much of a good thing?

Yeah…exactly.

The tour you’re doing over here….

It’s a solo tour. Just by myself. I do a lot of solo stuff, it’s probably my favourite way of playing actually…no really! I think it’s my strength too actually, because not a lot can get in the way of the songs and I’m a good singer, and I like playing by myself. I like playing in the band…and I like to play solo, I think it’s good to do both. I certainly don’t shy away from playing solo gigs..

You’ve been making records for over 20 years and you’ve still got the most loyal fan base, what’s your secret?

Just ‘cos I’m still really in to it. Nothing’s changed really with me…it’s still really exciting for me, and …um…I’m a late bloomer I think. Like people like The Clash…how do they deal with that? Their first record had so many amazing songs, it must be hard to hit it really hard the first time. I’m like the opposite, I’m just gradually plugging my way towards something, I feel like I’ve still got steps ahead.

What’s your best memory of being in the band?

Oh….I’ll just pick a good memory. Um…hmm….this is hard! No no, I’ll think of one! You know…we did a good gig…but then came the good part, we saw Neil Young play and then The Velvet Underground … and my friend Nick who is a Velvet Underground fanatic…he got the banana from the rider…and the set list! And once Iggy called me, and wanted to write with me and we never wrote anything proper but we tried…and that was cool. I mean, a lot of great things have happened to me.

What’s your favourite city to play…and you don’t have to say London.

[laughs] No I do have a good time in London! But lets see…I really like……Chicago’s a very solid place to play, Glasgow….Zagreb in Croatia and Sydney or Melbourne.

So I have to ask you, what are your 3 essential items to take on tour?

[plays guitar] – – oh Guitar! Passport…but that’s boring. Let’s see….bathing suit, a guitar and…books! [laughs]

And lastly, before I leave you in peace, do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on to our readers?

The foolish man says don’t put all your eggs in one basket…and wise man knows to put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket!

Thank you so much Evan

My pleasure – it was effortless and totally painless [laughs]…unlike some!

Varshons is out on 15th June 2009 on Cooking Vinyl. For further info check out www.myspace.com/thelemonheads
www.evandando.co.uk

Live shot by Phil Procter

The Ghost of a Thousand interview

Enter The Ghost Of A Thousand. Since their 2007 release, This Is Where The fight Begins, the band have gone from strength to strength, with front man Tom Lacey leading the way in what is possibly one of the best live shows around.

What has followed has been a slow rise to the top of the hardcore tree. 2007/2008 saw the band tour relentlessly with shows alongside bands such as Gallows, Alexisonfire, Saosin and a slot at the Lock Up Stage at Reading & Leeds Festivals. This year, the band has signed to Epitaph and look forward to releasing their brand new second album New Hopes, New Demonstrations and festival dates at Download, Reading & Leeds, Relentless Boardmasters, Guilfest and more. Anthony Giannaccini took time out to find out what makes the Ghost tick with Tom Lacey himself.

What was it like re-locating to a different country for the new record?

I think we really needed to leave the UK to get it right, we get very easily distracted and if
we’d recorded in London or Brighton the non-stop drop-ins would have just wound me up in
the end, it was great to be left alone for 5 weeks to get on with things.

Did your new surroundings have any effect on the sound/feel of the new album?

Not really, obviously Pelle was the key influence and to be honest we very rarely got the chance to go out into Stockholm as we were working so hard. Pelle was amazing though, a very funny man and a very strange man which suited us down to the ground. I think he brought the more deranged edge that the record has out.

What is ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’ about? Is there a particular message you’re trying to put across with this new record?

It’s about realising that the things that defined your youth are being taken away from you, and the things you do to try and retain them. I think if it has any message it’s that it’s not always going to turn out how you want, but you can salvage some good things from the wreckage of your life. You know, jolly stuff.

You’ve now picked yourself up a quite a considerable fan base through touring , press exposure and word-of-mouth; what was it like in the earlier days of the band back in Brighton when the crowds maybe weren’t so big?

It was bollocks, but every band has to do it and growing up playing in front of one of the most notoriously indifferent crowds in the country does a lot for toughening you up, making you keen to win people over rather than assuming they think you’re great.

You have a lot of festival dates booked for the summer, how do you approach these shows in comparison to your normal, smaller, indoor venue shows?

The same to be honest, we’re assuming that we’ve got people to win over at both types of shows. Maybe we try and keep the mood a little lighter at festival shows, keep it fun and fast.

Since signing to Epitaph, do you have any plans stateside for the near future?

Not as of yet, its Europe that we’ve got to get out into more at the moment, the US can keep for a while.

We’ve noticed you’re pretty keen on wearing some of the skateboard brands out there; do any of you rate yourselves as skaters?

I’d say a solid 4 out of ten as Gaz and Andy can skate to some degree, where-as the rest of us are fucking useless!

You’re fast becoming a band who is well-known for an intense live show; how do you keep yourselves going throughout a long tour?

Drink lots of water and try and avoid fast food, which sounds very dull but actually works. I don’t drink on tour anymore just because it was turning me into a ginger blimp!

Tom, we know you’re quite a well-established artist and have actually designed your new album artwork; does your work extend from there or do you prefer to dedicate your artistic time solely to your own band?

I love doing both to be honest, I been drawing for a lot longer than being in TGOAT, but they both help each other, people who know the band know I do a lot of our art so it kind of gives it a little brand power…hopefully I’ll get more work after our album comes out, we’ll see.

How do TGOAT approach song writing?

Jag tends to come up with the riffs and will knock them into shape with Andy and Mem, and then we’ll work out the vocal melodies on top of that. Pretty much every song we’ve written has been through several forms; we jam a lot of stuff out and test it live.

Bright Lights

What’s been the biggest challenge TGOAT have had to face as a band?

Just getting better and writing the 2nd record was very tough, we find the whole process exhausting and very stressful, and it’s not getting easier!”

What advice do you have to offer bands out there that have just started out?
Fuck the MySpace off and stop worrying about shirt designs and merch, just get good live and get used to sitting in the van and going to practice. And print demos up and flog them, don’t just rely on people finding you online it doesn’t make the impact it used too at all.

Where, ideally, would you like to see TGOAT in a couple of year’s time?

Recording album number 3 in Nashville I think, although I couldn’t tell you with whom or what’ll sound like. It’d be nice to be playing some slightly bigger headline shows I guess, but we’ll see how we do.

Last words?

I like Ike.

The Ghost Of A Thousand release their amazing Epitaph album New Hopes, New Demonstrations on June 1st. Don’t miss it.

Gran Ronde interview

Thanks to photos by Chuck Espinoza for the photos.

Gran Ronde have a reputation as being THE opening band for huge LA shows – but luckily for them it’s not a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Whilst Gran Ronde fans have swelled in number from opening slots for Razorlight, We Are Scientists and The Enemy to name but a few, they are a stand alone force to be reckoned with.

With their Mark Needham produced debut album due for release in the UK in June, a Great Escape appearance this weekend and a UK headline tour, Gran Ronde are taking their well earned place at the top of the bill.

Frontman Chris Pearson took some time out to introduce Dee Massey and the Crossfire readers to Gran Ronde…

Gran Ronde are pretty new to us over in the UK – so give us a little background… how did you meet? How long have you been plugging away with this band? What’s your background?

We are all from different parts of the states. Bryan came from New York, Fern came from Miami and I came from Oregon after a couple years living in Tokyo. I first came to LA in 2000 on a road trip, and just ended up staying. I wanted a place where I could see the best live music and have the best weather and lots of friends. In 2004, I started to get the idea in my head that it would be a really great idea to be in a band, so I started asking all my friends who wanted to play and ended up meeting Fern and Bryan that way …friends of friends.

In the early stages of the band, when we were just figuring stuff out, but there was so much buzz and the shows were crazy. We were offered a weekly residency in December of that year at The Silverlake Lounge by Scott Sterling, a local promoter. A little known band called Silversun Pickups opened up for us. Ha, now they are playing stadiums or something here!

How would you describe your sound to someone new to Gran Ronde?

That’s a hard one to answer. Reverb drenched, melodious guitar driven rock!? Ha, I do love the reverb and delay pedals. I do love a good melody, and am a sucker for a big sound.

What bands do you think you’re mostly influenced by?

I think it’s pretty easy to hear my love for Echo and the Bunnymen, early Cure, but when I was young I was a metal head, and I love it loud. In college I discovered The Jesus and Mary Chain, that completely changed my perspective on music. From there I got into so much music everything from the Flaming Lips to Yo La Tengo and Stereolab, Low, Guided by Voices. I still want to cover Motor Away. Great rock tune. But my voice is kinda weird and when I sing it kinda has it’s own sound. I just build the songs around that really.

For you what’s the best part of being in a band?

Playing live!

I’m going to stop asking that question…everyone says the same thing! You’ve opened for some great bands – Razorlight, We Are Scientists, The Enemy etc – how did those opening slots come about, and what was it like playing to those huge audiences?

We have been very fortunate to get onto some great bills. Mostly, we will just get an email from a promoter asking us if we wanna play a local show and it kinda goes from there. I have to say the WAS dudes are some the nicest guys around. Silly but nice. The highlight so far was playing NYC with Razorlight at the Irving Plaza on Friday evening. Great show, great crowd. You just wanna live in those moments for ever.

So let’s talk about the new album – Secret Rooms. I understand you ended up working with Mark Needham, who’s produced some amazing albums for The Killers, We Are Scientists etc – how did you end up working with him?

Mark is a great champion of music in LA. He had heard about us in the early stages of the band and took us under his wing and really helped us out. We worked on a bunch of music that ended up on Secret Rooms. He is a very talented guy, who really puts his heart into a project. When you work with him you really feel like you can make that sound you are trying to get.

Did you enjoy your time in the studio? Is the end result all you hoped it would be?

Yes. We did record half of the record on our own because Mark was so busy at the time. In the end Mark was kind enough to mix the whole thing.

The album is out on Filter in the US, and I heard you just got a distribution deal in the UK too? When can we expect to get our hands on the record over here?

June 2009, it will be released by Friends Vs. Records

You’re coming over to the UK this spring for a headline show, this isn’t your first time over here it is? What do you make of UK audiences? How do you handle English food?!

We first came over a couple years ago for a week in London. We did a few shows at Club Fandango and opened for The Academy Is at Barfly Camden. It was great fun. We met very cool people, had some so-so food (we try to stick to Indian). The fans were very cool. UK audiences are much more receptive to music than what we were used to in LA. That kinda heightens the whole experience. We have been waiting to have an actual release before coming back.

You just played The Big Escape in Brighton this weekend – are you going to be playing anymore festivals in the UK?

We are doing the Dot to Dot. and we will be doing a full scale UK tour all over the place. Our dates are posted on our myspace page.

A few quickfire questions…

What’ll be on your rider when you’re big and important?

Motorcycles

What’s your poison?

Michilada

Best hangover cure?

Michilada

Most listened to album recently?

Lou Reed Transformer

Worst thing about living in a van on tour?

Living in a van with 4 dudes (sounds pretty self explanatory to me) – that van is my only vehicle too!

Can people follow the band on Twitter? Do you buy into all that social networking stuff?

No. Not really. I don’t have time for it. I’d rather live a life outside of my computer. Too much maintenance!

What was the first gig you ever went to?

David Lee Roth “Eat Em and Smile” Tour. I was a little rocker. Cinderella opened. Haha!

Finally – any words of wisdom for the Crossfire readers?

Don’t anger a rattlesnake. Come see us play!

For further info on Gran Ronde check out their target=”_blank”>MySpace

DSA interview

Hardcore in America fueled the skate scene from bowl to backyard ramp in the 80’s, it was part and parcel of the make up of American youth culture. Bands that fronted this scene included the likes of Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains, D.I, The Germs, Circle Jerks, 7 Seconds, Suicidal Tendencies, JFA and so many more.

This brash sound made up of hard up, bored kids traveled across the world on skate video soundtracks and those involved left a legacy that will probably never be repeated again to such an extent.

This scene can still be found breeding in backstreets all over the World and one particular UK based hardcore band that has been on the Crossfire radar is DSA from Reading, fronted by a Scottish skater who is still flying the flag left behind by the Stupids.

Grant Mitchell from DSA (no not Eastenders!) is interviewed here by Ina from The Meaning of Hardcore Zine (Spain) to reflect on their latest quest to keep punk rock alive in the United Kingdom.

How long have DSA been going for and what made you begin playing punk rock?

OK, we started DSA around 2002 when I finally convinced some friends to start playing all these songs that I had ideas for over the years. I had a little 4 track tape machine where I used to record ideas, it was like a sketch book really. A lot of the DSA songs are older than you’d think or at least the initial ideas are. I began playing punk music because that’s what excited me, the energy, the authenticity and the idea that anyone can do it.

What does DSA mean?

DSA – Don’t Stand for Anything!

You’ve recently released your own CD, what kind of response are you having?

The CD is having a good response so far, as long as people get to hear it. We are a completely self promoted band and do everything ourselves, which is cool but sometimes takes a little longer for the news to spread. We are selling our CD through the punk independent record shops, our myspace and off course at our shows.

Your music sounds fast and furious, how does it go down live?

Our shows are getting better and better the more we play and people find out about us.

Last year you did a Spanish tour, how was it?

Spain was great, we had the best time there. The people we met were so friendly, the shows were awesome. We toured with the Spanish Hard Core band Trust Nothing, they are a great band and fun to be around on tour. We hope go back and play another tour there soon.

DSA have been intimately involved with the skate world. I’m glad to see that there are still bands defending the authenticity of skateboarding and punk rock. What do you think about the importance of the DIY philosophy?

The music and skateboarding have always gone together for us. The music has inspired us to skate and the skateboarding inspires us to play music. Personally I’m all about the old school DIY thing – it’s just the way it works for me, no one will do anything for you, especially when you can do it yourself with more authenticity and from the heart. We all got into a lot of the bands we listen to through skating, especially from the videos. The Santa Cruz videos always had a good sound track and as a tribute we sampled a part from Streets On Fire (where Jason Jesse is being marched to his prison cell). We used the sample as the intro to our album. The guys at Santa Cruz liked what we had done and used a couple of DSA songs on the Strange Notes DVD ‘Son Get Down From There‘. This was cool because it was like a big loop and we were giving something back into where we had so much inspiration from.

Which 5 bands would you say inspired DSA?

There are way more than 5 bands that have inspired us, but if you’re looking for a ‘if you like them you’ll like DSA’ comparison of 5 bands, then here goes:

1) Dead Kennedys
2) TSOL
3) Circle Jerks
4) D.I.
5) Stupids

Is Punk dead?

Not on my ipod anyway! Seriously though, punk is getting older and there are a hell of a lot of bands playing new and old. It looks more alive now than ever. As long as people stand up and say fuck you and don’t get sucked into the mainstream there’ll be plenty of punks

Any last words?

Just want to say thanks to anyone that’s checking us out and to all those who supported us on the recent tour with Trust Nothing and Rage DC.

Find DSA at their MySpace here and read a review from the tour here.

DJ Vadim interview

Described as “the John Coltrane of hip hop”, Russian-born DJ Vadim has made his name playing show after show of big hip hop tunes as well as producing beats that stick in your memory for a long time to come.

However, his world was flipped around when he was diagnosed with cancer of the eye and had to go through a potentially risky surgery to remove the problem.

But, as Abjekt finds out, he came through the other side with a huge desire to enjoy life and music and having been signed to the juggernaught that is Ninja Tune and now moving across to BBE, 2009 is set to be another big year for Vadim

You were born in Russia and have lived around the world – Was this continual blending of cultures pivotal in how your music was made?

I think that the place where you make music undoubtedly influences what you do and how you do it. If I was born in Mongolia and lived there, would I be doing music now? Probably not. So my environment influences me a lot, London and New York for example and these are always forever changing too!

Do you have any particular influences that made you stop and think “yes, this is what I want to do with my tunes”?

I always wanted to play in a club and be paid to play in a club as a DJ. That was my first dream, as such because back then in the late 80s and early 90s I used to throw my own parties, so the thought of someone else hiring me was huge.

There are genres popping up from all over in clubs and DJ sets these days – Kurduro from Angola, Cumbia from Colombia, B-More from Baltimore, Dub and Dancehall to name but a few, do you feel it’s important to such a diverse mix in the music that’s played in the UK to open people up and experience rhythms they may not have been open to before?

Well yes and no. It’s great that people are listening to such a big variety of music now because it definitely didn’t happen 10-15 years ago… Whilst its not my job to play every style, because that’s impossible, I can still include influences from so many styles.

Your live shows are always great to watch, what’s the process in deciding what you’re going to do for the crowd?

Well it depends if its a DJ show or a live show. It also depends on where and when and what for. Is it a launch party? Is it for a sponsor? Is it part of a tour? What are the crowd like? Are they responding? There are a lt of factors but it all boils down to me connecting and moving the people.

Skipping the age-old question about downloading vs CD buying, is putting on a live show important to get people to come out and buy your CDs there?

Yes of course. It’s all about market presence but aside from the commercial aspect of it, playing live keeps me on my toes and also I can hear what’s hot and what’s not!

You must love playing live with the amount of shows you play in various countries, has there ever been a time where you’ve really want to just chill out and not play live for 6 months or a year? Or is there a constant yearning to get that atmosphere going with the crowd that you can’t stay away from?

Well it’s that age old problem – When you do it, you want to chill and when you’re chilling you think about being on the road. The grass is always greener on the other side, right?

Have you ever had what you can now look back on and label the perfect show? If so, where and when was it and what made it such a perfect night?

I have had nights where the response has been so incredible that it blows me away, yes. Where people are singing along, dancing like nutters and applauding, whistling and stuff. However, looking back at the those times I think what I did could have been better. The time when I get to the perfect show is the time to retire. That’s why I keep searching for the perfect beat.

You’ve worked with people like Vakill, Gift Of Gab, Slug, TTC, Task Force and more in the past as well as being part of the One Self project with Blu Rum and Yarah Bravo – what do you get out of working with various people?

Well it’s fun and passes the time away quite nicely!

Are there still artists and groups that you want to collab with?

Well yeah, of course. From KRS1, Rakim, Black Thought, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Roots Manuva, Damien Marley, Capelton, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, De La Soul, Dweli, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Al Green… where do I stop?

Are you actively pursuing that or do you just keep going and see what comes your way, because I’d imagine that those organic sort of partnerships are the easiest to get on with.

Well unfortunately most of that list would probably want 5 figure sums just to enter into a conversation so until the time where I have that kinda backing, it will remain just a dream!

So, the new album coming out is U Can’t Learn Imaginashun, which is coming out on BBE Records. What’s good about being part of the BBE label and family?

Well, they give me the creative freedom to do what I want to do. Also, being surrounded by so many influential artists is very inspiring – Jazzy Jeff, Kenny Dope, Eb Darge, David Rodigan, Pete Rock, J Dilla, the list goes on.

The new album comes after what must have been a very distressing period in your life – your close family were ill, the credit crunch kicked in and you were diagnosed with eye cancer – how difficult was it to battle through and come out the other side?

Yeah, it was grim. I thought about death a lot going through cancer and I gave music up for a short period. I had an operation which gave me my energy back. Coming through the operation successfully gave me the impetus to go on and make this album. I have have come through all this and been super skeptikal and cynical, but I just felt lucky to be alive.

So do you have a new perspective on life both personally as well as musically?

Yes, like I said, when you go through something so life threatening, you cannot help but be affected one way or another. I try to enjoy the moment more and work less!

What can people expect to hear on the new record?

Music for the mind, body and soul!

And why the title for the record?

Because there are so many things you can learn in life – language, science etc. You can even learn to draw pictures and play instruments but to be creative, you need imagination and no-one can give you that. It’s something that you have to go deep within yourself to find.

Any last words for the world at large?

Stop the separation wall in Palestine/Israel. That will become a symbol of mans stupidity and hatred.

Cheers again for the time and I look forward to seeing a Vadim live show again soon!

DJ Vadim’s new album U Can’t Lurn Imaginashun is out on June 8th through BBE Records. You can check out more of Vadim’s stuff at www.myspace.com/djvadim.

Make sure you don’t miss the launch night at SoundCrash, Thursday 21st May, The Rhythm Factory, Whitechapel, London, E1 1EW. 7pm – 1am – tickets £12 (inc bf) in advance from www.seetickets.com

Underoath interview

Screamo, Emo, post-hardcore, metal-core, christian-rock. Label them what you will but Underoath just plain slay, pure and simple.

After various line-up changes (you can spot original vocalist Dallas Taylor in dirty southern rockers Maylene and the Sons of Disaster) the boys from Florida really made a name for themselves with the release of ‘They’re only Chasing Safety‘ in 2004. An album full of passion and a more melodic approach to previous releases, it spawned the catchy, anthemic single ‘Reinventing Your Exit‘, helping launch the band to a wider audience – If you don’t know it the line ‘Up against the wall, up against the wall‘ might ring some bells.

The band really stepped up a gear with the release of the heavier and downright epic ‘Define the Great Line‘ in 2006 and have gone from strength to strength since with a live show so intense it will literally take your face off.

Another excellent release in the shape of latest album ‘Lost in the Sound of Separation‘ released at the back end of last year has continued the ‘oath juggernaught that keeps on rolling and they just satisfied their UK fanbase with a duo of simply stunning live sets at Give It A Name in Manchester and London this week. New single ‘Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear‘ was released this week.

Tommy P caught up with keyboardist Chris Dudley just before they headed to Europe to find out how things are going in the Underoath camp:

You released ‘Lost In The Sound of Separation‘ towards the end of last year. 6 months on are you happy with how the record has been received both here in the UK and in the US?

Honestly, we couldn’t be more happy. The songs have been going over awesome live, which we believe is the best judge of how an album is received, so we are super stoked!

Did you take a different approach to recording the latest record?

Yeah, we did. As a whole, we focused on trying to give the record more of a loose, live feel than the previous record. We made an effort to edit as little as possible to just keep that feel to it. Plus working with Adam (Dutkiewicz) just makes it a really laid-back environment, which is a big deal for us.

You recently toured South America for the first time. Do you enjoy taking your music to new places and how did the crowds differ from the US and Europe?

Oh yeah, that tour was AMAZING. It was really an opportunity of a lifetime and we hope to go back soon. The crowds there are honestly crazy. Much more so than in the US and Europe. There were kids like banging on our bus, breaking through security, hanging on the bus when we were leaving and all kinds of crazy stuff. It was insane!

Speaking of Europe you just played some dates over here. Do you look forward to hitting European shores when you’re scheduled to come over?

Absolutely! The last time we were over there at the end of last year were the best shows we have ever played there, so we are always really excited to see how these shows do!

So you guys have a new single out. What made you decide on ‘Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear’?

We honestly just thought that was one of the best songs on the record, and we love playing it live. We have also heard a lot of people say it was their favorite song on the record as well, so that just made it an easy decision on our part.

And we understand there was a competition for the people of the UK to get involved in the video for the single?

Yeah, what we did is to have people film their own videos for the song, and the person who made the video that we think is the best got to come hang out with us at Give It A Name. We figured since kids always shoot videos on their own anyway, we would really see what they could do!

You are heading back on the Warped tour this summer. After having to pull out of some dates in 2006, do you still look forward to playing Warped and its grueling 2 month schedule?

Warped is honestly one of the best tours ever. We couldn’t be looking forward to it more. It is hot, sweaty and long, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Are there any new bands you guys are digging recently that we should be checking out over here in the UK?

Innerpartysystem is just mind blowing. We just did a tour in Australia with them, and then went to Canada with them, then we had Give it A Name with them to. You guys should try to catch them when you can for sure. (Editor’s note – we can corroborate that Innerpartysystem were indeed mind-blowing at GIAN)

And finally, after the Warped Tour what are your plans for the rest of the year? Any plans for future recording?

I really don’t know what’s going on after Warped. I know we are going to continue to work on new music, but other than that, it’s all up in the air as of now!

Lost in the Sound of Separation is out now on Virgin Records. Click below to watch a tour video of the band in Switzerland, Belguim and England last week. Fresh off the block.

The Thermals interview

On Monday Portland indie-pop beatniks The Thermals release their forth studio album ‘Now We Can See‘ – their first since leaving one legendary US label, Sub Pop, and moving seamlessly to another, Kill Rock Stars.

The album’s refreshing simplicity and honest pop songs, teamed with their recent killer shows supporting The Cribs on their UK tour have seen the band reach higher levels of acclaim over here than ever before. Where so many bands seem to fall victim to the hype machine, The Thermals keep improving, steadily collecting a snowballing number of loyal and dedicated fans with each record.

Crossfire caught up with front man and founding member Hutch Harrison to discuss new albums, new labels, new fans and life as a member of one of Portland’s finest exports.

‘Now We Can See’ just came out over here in the UK. How do you think this album compares to your previous releases?

We think it is THE BEST one we’ve done, by far, seriously! Kathy and I took a very long time writing this record and we wouldn’t release it unless we felt it was better than what we’d done before.

What are the themes and concepts behind the album?

Love, death, air, light, water, land. These are all inescapable themes of life and art.

Your previous album ‘The Body, The Blood, The Machine’ had a lot of religious references running through it that seem to be absent in ‘Now We Can See’ – do your lyrics reflect things happening in your life at the times they were written?

The times we were living in were of course influencing the lyrics of TBTBTM, but the songs were fiction, a fantasy on how terrible things COULD be. It’s not always easy for people to understand, it can be hard to get away with sarcasm and storytelling in music, people want to take things point blank. I’m talking about the people who thought we were attacking Christians directly.

The album was recorded with Kathy on drums, but you now have a new drummer. What is Westin’s influence on the live sound? Do you feel he brings his own element to the music or does he play what you’ve already written exactly as you wrote it?

Westin KICKS ASS, that’s why we asked him to be our drummer. He’s definitely playing the beats pretty close to how they are on record, but of course he brings his own style, and he’s incredibly charismatic on stage and looks like he’s having the most fun of any Thermals drummer.

For this album you moved from Sub Pop to Kill Rock Stars. What were the reasons for this and what are the pros and cons of working with the new label?

I have to say there’s only pros so far, no cons! But I would still say the same about Sub Pop. We loved working with them and had a ton of freedom, had a really good time, and of course we still work with them. We just wanted a contract that looked different, and we found it with KRS. It’s great that they moved to Portland, we’re in there all the time, distracting them from their work…

Kill Rock Stars as a label is famed for working with bands with a fairly political agenda. Is politics something that you feel motivates you as a band? Do you feel as a band it’s your duty to speak out about political issues?

For a while I’ve been working on not looking to politics for motivation. I don’t consider myself or the band political, it’s definitely not a hole I want to get stuck in, creatively. I don’t think any artist should feel they have some kind of duty to speak out on political issues, because it would make for too many half-assed statements. Religion and politics in this country motivated me for some years, but I had to let it go, for now.

You’re a band who, in the UK at least, have steadily and quietly built a following but failed to really hit the mainstream. Having toured twice with The Cribs, who are a fairly big pop act over here, do you feel that’s something you’re working towards or do you prefer what you have now?

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something we are working towards, but we’re also quite satisfied with the success we’ve had so far, for sure. I think I’d be surprised if we ever got as big as The Cribs.

You just played SXSW – how was that?

Let’s just say we made sure to keep a work to play ration of 1:1, which means we spent most of our time at the four seasons pool, with the KRS crew and consumed large amounts of tequila, straight.

One thing that is clear from other interviews and your press releases is your allegiance to Portland. What is it that makes your hometown so special?

We do have an allegiance to Portland, of course! And to the thousands of other great artists that live here.

If you were to move to another city in the world as a band, where would it be?

Either NYC or Feluy, Belgium

So let’s end with some fresh blood, what new bands from Portland should we be looking out for?

Shaky Hands, Point Juncture, Wa, and Explode into Colors.

Check out The Thermals on Myspace

The Gaslight Anthem Interview

The Gaslight Anthem have already attracted widespread praise from the likes of Kerrang!, who named their album ‘The ’59 Sound‘ number 2 album of the year and the NME also featured it as one of their albums of 2008. It is an album that transcends boundaries between rock and indie, embodying a classic rock and roll feel for the modern age. The band will be playing festivals across the world over the summer and their live show is one you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

With songs such as ‘Great Expectations‘ and ‘The ’59 Sound‘, mass singalongs never fail to erupt from the joyous audiences they entertain. The band’s big festival season includes appearances at Coachella, Sasquatch, Rock AM Ring, Southside & Hurricane, Oxegen, T In The Park and Fugi Rocks festivals. Quite the globe-trotters they are!

Winey G ran the clock down for a Quikfire with singer/guitarist Brian Fallon…

Your album ‘The ’59 Sound’ is set to appear on many ‘Albums of The Year’ lists. What 5 albums would make your list?

In no order.

1. Glas Vegas “Glas Vegas”
2. Ray LaMontagne “Gossip In The Grain”
3. The Constantines “Kensington Heights”
4. Alkaline Trio “Agony and Irony”
5. Kings Of Leon – Only By the Night

What’s your favourite track of the year?

“You Are The Best Thing” Ray LaMontagne

Where have been your favourite places to play outside of your hometown?

London has been my favorite all year.

What makes a hometown show special?

Sleeping in my own bed that night, ha!

What did you hope to achieve with ‘The ’59 Sound’ and have the reactions been close to what you expected?

This was what we were shooting for, to make a record people really connected with, and I think we did that.

What band would you absolutely love to play with and why?

The Killers. I really love this band. I cannot get over it, I just adore them.

Who came up with the idea for the latest video to ‘Old White Lincoln’?

The idea for the video was from Mr. Kevin Slack who Directed it.

What are your favourite music video?

My favorite video of all time is “Downtown Train” by Tom Waits

What would you do in a music video if you had unlimited amounts of money?

I’d blow up a car, for real. An old classic car, I would blow it right up!

What’s the best thing about being in The Gaslight Anthem?

The best thing about being in my band is getting to play all over the world. That’s the best part!

The Gaslight Anthem’s beauty of a new single is released this week on SideOneDummy Records (23rd March). Check out the video for new single ‘Great Expectations’ here: