Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
Warren Porter – Vocals
Liam Osment – guitar
Charlie Wignall – drums
James Clay – bass
PD: What type of artist are you?
WH: We’d call ourselves an alternative metal band. While that is quite vague, we like that it plays with expectations and allows them to listen to our music not expecting any particular sound. We also think it nicely summarises our range of influences that go all the way from midwest-emo, pop punk and post hardcore through to slam and burtal death metal.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
WH: We started when our Warren (from Michigan, USA) and Liam (from Lincolnshire, England) met at a pub in Bangor, North Wales in 2017. We immediately got along and after realising we were both musicians figured out we’d have a jam and see what came from it. We started writing and managed to find this odd sort of mid-point between our eclectic mix of influences. We quickly found 3 other guys to fill our lineup and started off playing some local shows. We were blown away by the positive reception we received in Bangor with it having such a tight-knit and dedicated metal community and using money from merch and tickets to our shows we eventually saved enough to go and record our debut release, Vacancies with Jigsaw Audio. Not long after that, seeing how quickly we’d gone from just a small time project to something that had massively surpassed our expectations we decided to make the transition from a ‘local band’ to a full-time professional project. We had a reshuffle in our lineup and brought on board drummer, Charlie (who had played in a few pop-punk bands with Liam in years gone by) and bassist James Clay.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
WH: We have a wide variety of influences on both accounts. While the band does have some mutual influences between the members (Such as: While She Sleeps, Thy Art is Murder, Slipknot). However, what we believe to be one of our biggest strengths is how disparate all of our individual influences are, that when combined create something that sounds really unique. For Warren, his biggest influences are undoubtedly in the extreme and death metal spectrum with bands like Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Guttural Slug. Liam’s influences are in the post-hardcore, metalcore and midwest-emo realms, his top influences are Alesana, Hawthorne Heights, The Elijah. Charlie is hugely into grunge and post-punk and jams a lot of The Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse, La Femme. James has his roots in a lot of punk rock and thrash metal bands and is big into Motorhead, Metallica and English Dogs.
In terms of our influences outside of music, we do a lot of writing from personal and shared experience from our own lives, interspersed with inspiration we’ve taken from the landscape of Bangor, Wales in which we started, from literature and from horror films amongst other art forms.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
WH: Our goal is and always ultimately been to take this as far as it will go. In many ways the project has bloomed into something beyond what we would have imagined but equally, there’s a lot more we want to do and we’re keen to pursue this as far as we can. Overall, we are just incredibly grateful to have people who listen and enjoy our music and will be satisfied with continuing to be able to write, record and perform our music wherever that leads us.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
WH: For the most part, we write collaboratively with each member bringing their own ideas to the table for their own parts as well as each others. Usually the process begins with Liam coming up with some riffs, him and Warren generally do a 50/50 split on writing the lyrics, then with that framework in place the band works on it as a whole and develops it into a completed piece.
In terms of the songs subject matter, they vary with each release. However, mostly the songs are a combination of our shared or individual experiences with some added narrative edge.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
WH: With the resources we have at our disposal in terms of social media, we’re able to reach a large number of people. Ultimately that’s the main way that we’ll promote any upcoming shows. Promoting the band itself is something we’ve achieved mainly through playing as many shows as we can, meeting people at those shows, bringing our music to as many platforms as possible and of course doing interviews like this!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
WH: It is both a blessing and a curse. Music is so much more accessible than it has ever been and it’s great to be able to bring it anywhere with you on a phone at the click of a button. So it’s good in one sense that we can reach so many people and be able to bring that music to them without charging them anything through the use of Spotify and other streaming or download platforms. At the same time, it’s had a real devastating effect on performers and artists in that there’s no longer any money to be made in the actual sales of music, so we really rely on the income we’ve made from merch and ticket sales.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
WH: To be honest, we’re pretty happy with what we’ve put out so far and if we were to have written a song that someone else has, then it wouldn’t be a real reflection of us, our influences and who we are, you know? I think if we wanted to perform a song by another artist we’d happily just do a cover. We’re yet to actually cover anything by another band or artist but fingers crossed one day we’ll get around to performing something by Katy Perry!
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
WH: As a band, and as musicians, definitely people who act like assholes to their fans and people who don’t respect the communities or scenes they’re a part of. We’ve met a lot of bands who try to spend all their time getting one up on the other bands in the scene and we have no time for it. Metal is made strong by the love of the community that fuels it.
As individuals, Warren gets really ticked off by the use of double-negatives, Liam rages hard at anyone who eats loudly, Charlie is really annoyed by Stephen Fry (we don’t know why), and James hates washing other people’s dishes.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
WH: One moment that really stands out is in June 2019 we played this show, it wasn’t particularly well advertised or well attended. In fact, as memory serves it was only offered to us with a day’s notice. But the people that came out to it were some of our most dedicated fans who’d been with us since our first show and having them there with us, bringing so much energy and passion when we performed really put things into perspective about how far we’d come.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
WH: Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of things on hold for us and meant we can’t perform, we’re keeping busy writing for our next release. We’ve also released 3 songs from our 5-song collection Vacancies, with 2 more to come soon. We’re working on so much more, but we won’t be able to speak about that in any detail just yet.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
WH: We have the first 3 chapters of our 5-song collection Vacancies available on Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and all major streaming platforms for free. They’re available for download on bandcamp, you can pay what you wish for them or download them for free.