Interview: Sharks

With influences ranging between The Clash, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Black Flag, the Leamington Spa quartet, Sharks, are right up our street. We caught up with the James Mattock (lead vocals and guitar) and Andrew Bayliss (guitar) backstage at Hevy Festival before their set to discuss their album No Gods, signing to Rise Records and their plans for the future…

So for those who don’t know much about Sharks, if you could describe your band in three words, what would you say?

James: God I don’t know….

Andrew: Well, I’m going to go all cheesy and say, ‘Rock. And. Roll’. Sounds so cheesy I know, but it does sum us up quite nicely.

You’ve been on tour with some awesome bands, who would you say are the most inspiring bands you’ve toured with?

James: Oh I don’t know, there are so many… but Social Distortion was cool. Gallows, The Gaslight Anthem…

Andrew: We’ve been so lucky with tours, we’ve had some really good ones. We’ve had a mixed bag, lots of different genres and plenty of big names.

You’re signed to Rise Records, they are currently famous for their metalcore bands, although they do have some sweet punk bands like The Bouncing Souls. What was it that swayed you to Rise Records?

Andrew: They were just very enthusiastic and passionate about wanting to put out our records. We were a little skeptical at first because as you say their roster does lean more towards metalcore, and at the time they hadn’t signed The Bouncing Souls and other bands like that. We were one of the first bands for them to sign that was different to what they had been doing but they were so passionate we went with it.

James: Yeah, we knew of their aspirations to branch out and we were proud to be the band they wanted to branch out with, so yeah, we just went for it! They are a very good label if you want to attempt to crack America. So far they’ve helped us a lot. The only negative thing about signing to Rise Records is that people might see our video on Rise Records Youtube etc and then be a bit confused, like,’Hang on, this doesn’t sound like Of Mice & Men, where the fuck is the breakdown?!’.

Andrew: We were just enthusiastic for people to hear the record, and Rise really wanted to get it out there. We’re pleased to have signed to them.

How has the overall reception been for your latest record ‘No Gods’?

James: Overall its been great! Even these more sort of hardcore kids are into it, I’ve heard they regard it as their ‘chill out’ music, which is a little odd as essentially we are still a punk band! But whatever, as long as people are getting into it, that’s cool!

Andrew: I’m still really proud of that record. We went in with something that is the polar opposite to what we put out, but I think that’s for the best. Brian McTernan, the producer, really helped to reign us in and get a more focused sound, because to start with, looking back it was more of just a jam!

James: I can’t put my finger on it, there’s material that has inspired us from all over. Some really old stuff too. We wrote it over a few years, whereas the current record we are writing over a smaller time scale, like two months! So its hard to say what our influences were when its such a long time span. We were just aiming for a solid debut, a timeless guitar record.

Andrew: We wanted the production raw, we wanted to walk on that line between a nicely produced record and something that is still quite alive. Kind of like The Gaslight Anthem, although they definitely have a different sound, its that kind of guitar record.

Are there plans in the pipeline for new material and tours?

James: Yeah, its going good. I guess we are about half way through a record. We’ll aim for about 20 songs, then cut back.

Andrew: We want to get it wrapped up as quick as possible to keep the positive attitude going and get people to hear new stuff. As much as we like ‘No Gods’ we aren’t going to sit on it for too long.

James: We want it written by the end of the year, and I guess we’ll have to see where we are financially, we might have to record it ourselves. At the moment we are focusing on getting the best songs we can to get out there as quickly as possible.

Andrew: We aren’t on the road as much as we have been, so we are using all this down time to write. Although saying that, we are heading out to Australia soon which we are so looking forward to, and then Japan after that!

James: Hopefully we’ll have a UK/Euro tour soon, maybe November time.

WORDS: EMMA WALLACE