Interview with Zach Bowden (Guitar/Vocals) of Recall The Remains and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
ZB: We’re a 5-piece metal band, with a songs covering a wide range of different styles and influences, blended together to form a cacophony of melody and brutality that we feel would appeal to most metal fans. The lyrics are dark and draw from our own personal experiences with mental health, discrimination, oppression and other things and work beautifully with the backdrop of our music.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
ZB: We’re all from Telford, and all of us have been in different local bands before finally coming together as the band you see today. On top of that, we were all friends with each other in college and were always in the same team so it was almost inevitable that we’d end up in a band together. Jordan (bass) and Elliot (guitar) were the founding members of the band back when they were in school, and have been writing together since they were like 14. From there, the band went through several lineup and stylistic changes. Our drummer Anthony joined in around 2013, and I joined as the second guitarist in around 2016. From this point on our sound started to move towards what you hear today, and finally Jacob completed the lineup in 2017 after initially being a feature on our song ‘First Inversion’.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
ZB: We’ve got a massively diverse array of influences as a band – we’re not one of those bands where we all listen to the same music. As a band, we’re into stuff from Nightwish, Currents, Ice Nine Kills, Thy Art Is Murder and Lamb Of God as well as other artists like Childish Gambino, Ru Paul and Bruno Mars and loads more, and you can hear this in the diversity of our songs… Maybe not the pop influences so much but definitely the rock and metal influences!
In terms of lyrical inspiration, this mostly comes from personal experiences. As a band with a black vocalist and a gay bassist, and also growing up in a time where the “alternative” crowd was ostracised to an extent, we have plenty of experience with dealing with discrimination and oppression, as well as not fitting in. We also draw on our past experiences with mental health and grief, and this is evident throughout our EP ‘Dead Dreams’.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
ZB: First off, we’d love to play Bloodstock. I specifically name drop this festival because we’ve entered the Metal 2 The Masses competition three times to try and win a spot and at the festival but we’ve had equipment malfunctions and now the literal end of the world to prevent us progressing via the competition. Anyway, other than that, we’d love to play any of the big European metal festivals, and if we get chance to do a European or US tour, that would be a dream come true.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
ZB: So my first answer was the release of ‘Dead Dreams’, but as soon as I said that Elliot (who is sat next to me) said “noooooo, Hard Rock Hell Metal”. So I think our proudest moment is a combination of Hard Rock Hell Metal as it’s the biggest and best gig we’ve played to date – the crowd was amazing, the sound was amazing, the staff were amazing and we had a brilliant time performing there. Dead Dreams was also a massive achievement because it’s our debut EP and the reception we’ve had from it has been amazing – thank you to everyone who has listened to or purchased the EP!
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
ZB: You’re right, the market is saturated by so many talented people now so it’s even more important to get the marketing right. Personally, I think our music itself stands out from the others as pretty unique, and the production is a step above other bands at our level (sorry other bands, but thank you Monochrome Productions), so that all helps. Spending the money on a good videographer (shout out to Jay Hillyer) also helps with marketing because the music videos stand out more. Furthermore, going through the process of having a consistent brand (boring I know) helps because it shows that you mean business if all of your graphics are of a similar visual style in comparison to others who may be very casual with how they post updates. We worked with SaN PR on our EP release and Garry was instrumental in spreading the word as well – the EP release would not have been as successful as it was without him.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
ZB: Everything is done by us currently. We don’t have management so it’s up to us to network with as many promoters as possible, and we do have a few live shows lined up for later on in the year although we would love a few more! Our next show is on 22nd August at The Castle & Falcon in Birmingham and is an all-dayer so will be an absolutely sick day out.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
ZB: The music industry saw a massive shift with the introduction of iTunes and peer-to-peer file sharing applications and websites *cough*Napster*cough* and this really marked the beginning of the end for any hopes of making any real money from selling singles and albums. Obviously those superstar artists still make a lot of money from the billions of streams and sales they still get but for smaller artists, the reality is that the only way to make money from music is via touring/merch sales, Patreon, or streaming. That said, TikTok can make artists blow up overnight if their song goes viral, but an artist can’t hinge their entire career on having a viral hit or making money from streams alone.
Personally, I see streaming services as a marketing tool for the band in general, and it’s more useful as a way of saying “here’s our tunes, now come and see us play live” than being the sole representation of the band, and only source of income.
Also, illegally downloading music doesn’t really bother us as we’ve made like £80 in 4 years from streams and digital sales, but it’s pretty pointless when nearly everyone has a device capable of streaming music. I know everything I’ve just said comes back to money but as a band we’re in it because we love making music, but the fact that if we want music to be our career we need to make money means we still have to think about that aspect.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
ZB: The Thing That Should Not Be – Metallica. That song is literally the heaviest song in existence. I know saying that has caused every deathcore and slam/beatdown fan to sense a disturbance in the Force (especially Jacob) but in comparison to the rest of Master Of Puppets, it literally feels like someone has drop a planet-sized anvil directly onto your skull especially in the chorus. Just Metallica at their best, really.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
ZB: The price that streaming services pay out per stream. Some are better than others but getting like 0.0027p per stream or whatever it is just isn’t really right. Artists have put hours and hours and hundreds (or thousands) into writing and recording them songs and to need thousands or even millions of streams to even see any kind of return on that is wrong.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
ZB: We’re currently finalising some songs for a new (as yet untitled) EP. They’re darker and heavier than everything that’s come before, and are a fitting evolution to our sound and really emphasise the progress we’ve made as a band.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
ZB: Check us out on Facebook and Instagram! This is where you will find all of our gig updates until we have our own website (we’ll get there, promise). All of our music videos are also available on Youtube alongside some live footage, the EP Dead Dreams is out now on all streaming services and you can purchase merch and CDs from recalltheremains.bigcartel.com.
Thanks for having us!
(all band photos by Cassy McGowan Images)
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