Pete Devine sat down with Welsh Alt Metal Quartet Our Last Goodbye after their wonderful Saturday opening performance at this years Station 18 Festival, held at Hangar 18 Music Venue Swansea.
The band is Bethany O’Mahoney on vocals, Matt Alessandro on guitar, Sam Bennett on bass and Kian Hawkes on the drums (not present).
PD: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Matt: It’s a funny one, I guess there can be a lot of classic elements to our sound but we’re bringing in the modern sound, so we’re bringing that to the table as well. So we’ve got a lot of progressive metal mixed with classic rock. To put it into one word, we genuinely couldn’t. It’s a blend of the old stuff and the new stuff.
Bethany: It’s a ‘New Wave’.
Sam: It’s a fusion between a bit of 80s thrash…
Matt: Well, we’re massive fans of Metallica… and there’s a lot of Metallica in our sound.
Sam: Yeah, 2000s Nu Metal, and a lot of new stuff, a mix of the last 30 years of metal music I’d probably say. It’s all of us, I mean I’ve got different influences to you (Matt). My favourite bands are The Police and The Cure and that’s different to what you listen to.
Matt: Absolutely, we’ve all got different tastes and we kind of blend it into one.
PD: Can you give us a brief history of the band?
Bethany: Yeah, so the band kind of formed with Matt and myself. It was a bit of a bedroom project starting up, wasn’t it?
Matt: Yeah, so Lockdown hit us all and we just decided to write some songs. We didn’t really think much of them, they were only little demos here, we put some vocals down and I programmed the drums and bass. We didn’t have the intent to form it into a band at the start, but once the demos started rolling along and we’d got 2 or 3 out for our standards and we thought we’re going to need a band if we’re going to push these out and it would be lovely to gig these songs. So that’s kind of how it started.
Bethany: Yeah, we were grateful we found Sam on Facebook, absolutely amazing bassist.
Sam: Good job I said yes…
Bethany: I was only telling him yesterday that I was so scared to ask him in case he said no. But he said yes and we haven’t looked back since. We did have a different drummer, but he had to move away, so we were really, really lucky then to find Kian, who is such a young drummer as well. We’re just humbled to have him and have him grow with us as a band as well.
Sam: He’s only young, 18 by the way.
PD: He’s a good drummer.
Sam: Can you imsgine how good he will be in 10 years time?
PD: I was only saying, downstairs earlier, that looking at yesterday’s bands and seeing you guys today, that there are so many good young drummers on the local scene.
Bethany: They are like gold dust though ain’t they. You can never find a drummer.
PD: Who are your musical influences, who/what inspired you to take up music?
Bethany: I actually saw the most inspirational person in my life 2 weeks ago. Hayley Williams from Paramore. My absolute ‘girl’. I absolutely idolise her. She inspired me to get into this genre. Another person who inspired me was CJ (Charlotte-Jayne Gilpin) who was frontwoman for Dream State. I fell in love with music because of her. My first ever gig was here (Hangar 18) watching Battle of the Bands and I was blown away, and I turned to my best mate, who was a drummer at the time, and I said “I wanna be like her!”
PD: That was a while ago…
Bethany: That was years ago, I was just a small bean. When Hangar 18 was called The Scene.
Sam: Mine, when I first started playing. The exact gig was Metallica ‘Rock am Ring 2003’, that was the first time I’d seen them play, I was watching Rob Trujillo on stage, and he’s like … I didn’t know what a bass was, and he was jumping around. So I bought like a really old P-Bass copy and when I started playing I couldn’t even tune the thing, I didn’t know what I was doing.
Yeah so Metallica for me and The Cure, The Smiths all that kind of 80s stuff.
Matt: For me, my old man, luckily, he’s a massive guitar freak for all the 80s rock and classic stuff, so I was brought up with the good stuff. From a very young age he got me into Gary Moore, Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe, typically, any band that had like a virtuoso as a guitarist in them. That is what really inspired me when I was young. Although I didn’t actually pick up the guitar until I heard Angus Young with AC/DC on ‘Thunderstruck’. It was either on a radio or in a film and I thought, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I was blown away as a little kid. I remember going out to this local guitar store and I bought this knock-off copy of an SG, it was a really bad guitar and very similar to Sam, I couldn’t set it up, couldn’t play it. But I kept working at it, trying to get this one riff down, meanwhile my dad is shredding in the background, doing all this Gary Moore stuff. So I developed a love for it from there, but I didn’t actually play the guitar straight throughout from there. I gave it up for a couple of years and it was only when I saw Joe Satriani live, that really reignited my love for the guitar and since seeing him live, that turned my world upside down. It was like, right, okay, I’m going to devote my life to the guitar now.
PD: What is your favourite song to perform live?
Bethany: Mine has changed since last night. My favourite song now is ‘Waves’, but originally it was ‘Narcissist’ because I’ve never written a song like that, I’ve never written lyrics like that. I remember you (Matt) writing the song, so Matt wrote everything, all the instrumental and sent it over to me to put lyrics on there and the melody and for weeks and weeks and weeks I just couldn’t come up with anything. And then I was going through different like experiences and I came back to the song and it just all poured out of me straight away. I was on my Word document, typing out my lyrics and I thought THIS IS THE SONG. I remember, as soon as I wrote it, I rang you up and said, “Matt, you’ve got to listen to this, we’ve got a new song!” and I’m absolutely obsessed with it, I love it and that’s why it is going to be the first song that we release and I’m really happy to say that.
PD: Have you ever written a lyric and then looked at it a few weeks later and thought, oh no, I need to change that?
Bethany: I like to be as raw as I can. I just pour my emotions out on the page because that’s the way I express myself. Some of the lyrics are quite deep and sharing them with the guys is quite exposing for me. I’ve never once gone, “I’ll take that back, I’ll retract that.” I mean what I say when I say it and I don’t back down from it and I hope that I can encourage other people to be like that.
Matt: I can give you a completely different answer for the solos.
Bethany: Yeah, he changes them nearly every day.
Matt: I can change the solos nearly every gig.
Bethany: He turned to me before we started today and said “Errr, I’ve changed the solo for tonight,”
Matt: I don’t know, certain parts could be that I’m not feeling it on the day, maybe there’s a sweet arpeggio section coming up and I’m feeling like, I’m not going to be able to hit this, so I’ll write something easier.
Sam: Well, you saw me, I spent 4 days trying to write out those parts. It took ages and hours.
Matt: I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. We keep trying to up each other, so I’ll write something and Sam’ll write something even more ‘flashy’ and it spirals from there.
PD: So, what is your favourite song to perform live Matt?
Matt: I’m going to be boring and side with Beth on that I’m going with ‘Narcissist’ because it is so intense. I feel that as a song, I can just stick it on a rhythm tone and play it from start to finish. It’s aggressive, it doesn’t slow down and it just allows me to go completely nuts on stage. With the other songs, I have to be conscious of where I am, at what point, when to change effects and such. With that song, I just literally push one button and go.
Sam: For me, ‘With Me’, there’s a bass solo and as you saw today, I pressed the wrong button and went into clean mode right on my solo, my shoes are so big. I quite like an elegant, melodic song and I’ve always been a metal bass player, I don’t really play the intricate type noodles.
PD: So, the other band that you are in, are they more metal?
Sam: Yeah, I’d say a bit more aggro alt metal, like Billy Talent, Dillinger that sort of stuff. Whereas this is a lot more technical.
Matt: There’s a lot more going on with these songs, there’s a lot to keep up with. I’m going to have to sort myself out with some new in-ear monitors, because if I don’t hear myself for the slightest moment then it’s really hard to know where you’re at in the song.
Bethany: I know where you’re at, cos I can hear you.
Matt: Yes, she can hear where I’m at and she can hear all my mistakes.
PD: Can you tell us some more about how it feels for you guys when you get up on that stage, what does it mean to you?
Bethany: Best feeling ever, there’s no other feeling like it. I’m such a busy girl, I work, I go to Uni, the gym, everything, I’m so busy. But I will always make the time to come and gig, cos there is no feeling like it. Just letting loose. It’s like therapy for me. I get to just speak to everyone about how I’m feeling and let it all out. Just to see people receiving it and loving our energy, it means so much. It’s quite euphoric really.
Matt: I agree with that 100%. It’s the same with us getting up on that stage, there’s no other feeling like it and I love every second of it. Despite sometimes when I kick myself after if I feel that I’ve had a bad performance or whatever. Every second that we’re on that stage we are having fun and if you notice when you watch us live, that me and Sam are always running up to each other, messing around up there, so there’s a lot of that going on as well.
Sam: I do jump around a lot. I don’t stop when we’re up there.
Matt: You’re nuts! You are crazy.
Sam: I was quite mellow today, if I’m honest.
PD:, Oh you were jumping around there, I thought you were going to hit the wall a couple of times.
Sam: I went down the stairs and my wireless cut out, so I thought I’d better not go into the crowd. I thought, what’s going on here?
PD: Did you play any new tracks today?
Bethany: We did indeed. So, I called it ‘Waves’ and the boys all gave me a funny look, because we haven’t actually named it.
Sam: I don’t like the name.
Bethany: He doesn’t like the name, but we can change it. But that was the second time we’ve played it. The first time was last night. We played a gig in Newport. We thought that we’d treat the audience today to ‘Waves’. I would say that’s our heaviest song at the moment. It’s the first time that I actually scream and for so many years I’ve been a bit too scared to scream. So, it’s really nice to actually share that.
Matt: Yeah, it’s a little bit of an element that we’ll bring to the table now, we can blend in to our future songs. It goes hard, because of the ending breakdown we’ve just added. When we release the track, it won’t actually be on the track, I don’t think so anyway, what we do is we extended it for the live setting and we get an even more disgusting breakdown at the end of it. Yeah, we love that song.
PD: What type of venue do you prefer to play in?
Bethany: I’m going to be different to you guys, I really, really like the small, intimate venues with the crowd right up in your face and you can actually touch them and get in the crowd with them. The venue we played last night was class, ‘cos I literally walked off the stage and I was in the audience.
Sam: The same for me, but the stage is quite high here. If it’s really, really busy in there, then yeah. I like to go into the crowd and knock people over or whatever.
Matt: It’s different for me, I’m the opposite. I feel more comfortable on a bigger stage, just simply because I’ve got more room. I like to move around a lot and I’m really clumsy on stage: I knock things over, I walk into walls, I smack my guitar into pillars and supports for the roof, I thought I’d snapped a string, but I didn’t. I love a big stage just to have that freedom to move around and I also like that, there’s a certain feeling as a guitarist, the bigger the stage the more that wall of bass hits you and on a smaller stage you can lose the low-end a Lot.
PD: How is 2023 looking for Our Last Goodbye?
Bethany: Busy. Very, very busy. We’ve got Kite Thief coming up, The Fiends, There’s Benji (Webbe) from Skindred , he’s doing a DJ set in The Bunkhouse and we’re on that. I cannot wait for that because I absolutely love Skindred. We’ve got another festival coming up too. December we’ve got an Alt night. We’re playing The Fleece in Bristol too. So we are just so busy at the moment. We’re so ready for it as well.
And we’ve got a release coming out soon.
Sam: We’ve got the video coming up too
Bethany: Yeah, we’ve got the video next week.
PD: Are there any bands on the Station 18 bill that you are looking forward to catching?
Bethany: As December Falls. I haven’t seen them in years. We played with them about 5 years ago, so it was before they’d properly taken off. And even then, I was blown away with them. I’m going to Download and they’re playing in Download and they’re here tonight
PD: Many thanks for chatting today, where can people learn more about you and buy your music/merch?
Bethany: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, we’ve got a LinkTree. So ask to buy on Facebook and Instagram.
Matt: Just check the bios of either Facebook or Instagram and it will give you the link to the LinkTree and then you can find access to pretty much everything like tickets to upcoming shows, and any releases that we do in the future.
Our Last Goodbye links:
Band/Artist location – Wales
Facebook – You Tube –
Instagram – LinkTree –
Check our page for Our Last Goodbye