downcast – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
Jeff: I’m the ride or die guy who gets lost in the escapism of music. It’s the buzz of playing live and the depth of creativity that I’m addicted to. Nothing beats it.
Nick: I am the man with the sticks at the back that misses out on all of the live band photos.
Liam: I like to express myself. It’s important to me that I have a way to vent and channel my emotions, and writing and performing music is the perfect way to achieve that.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
Jeff: In 2003, i saw Rancid. Everything changed after that! I started a skate punk band, and we played every local venue that would have us. Following that, I took a bit of a break from music, but I kept writing songs and going to shows. I later decided I had to get back into playing live and reached out to downcast. I got involved with this project and am having a blast playing these awesome songs!
Leigh: I’m originally from Watford, Hertfordshire, but I moved to Cheltenham for university studies in music. I’ve been in bands such as Kill the Weekend, Valens UK and Vampire Money.
Nick: I first picked up a set of drumsticks when I was 21 and commenced drum lessons from then on for a couple of years. I have since become my own teacher through watching YouTube videos of my idols and amazing drummers to adopt the correct techniques. Also by experimenting with different techniques and rudiments to add these to my drumming repertoire. Music is my main passion, and I love to have a laugh and crack jokes every minute of the day. I’m based in a small town south of Bristol, and I am a fan of football and WWE.
Liam: I grew up in South Wales and now live in Bristol. I played in a couple of different local bands before this one, which gave me lots of experience in touring, networking and self-promotion.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
Jeff: Henry Rollins, John Feldman, Spencer Charnas, Fat Mike and Chris Hannah.
Leigh: Paramore, Pierce the Veil, City and Colour, Blink 182 and Sum 41. It’s a long list!
Nick: Stuart Copeland (The Police) – He just uses so many interesting grooves and adopts many different styles into his drumming. Eddie Thrower (Lower Than Atlantis) – another very technical drummer who is very innovative. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters/Nirvana) – I (try to) sing and drum, and Dave Grohl has clearly mastered both of these arts, which I have huge amounts of admiration for.
Liam: As a child, I loved Robbie Williams. Bands like Good Charlotte, The Offspring and Green Day were my first real introduction to rock music around the age of 10. These days, I tend to take inspiration from bands who are honest in their writing and convey either a powerful message or tell an interesting story. For me, a song that doesn’t do these thing is lacking in substance. Some examples of bands/artists that do this well are The Wonder Years, The Story So Far and nothing,nowhere.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
Jeff: My musical goal is to play Slam Dunk Festival. It’s the best festival in the UK hands down! I’d also love to get on a the Kerrang! Magazine cover.
Leigh: Easy! Just to work within the music industry as a teacher, producer, musician or events manager! It’s all fun!
Nick: To play gigs and hear the crowd singing back your own songs to you. I expect that feeling is spine chilling.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
Liam: The songs that we have released to date, as well as the two unreleased singles that we’ve been sitting on, have been written by myself and Ben. We’ve been writing songs together for years. The lyrical content of the songs usually reflects on things I have experienced in my own life and had to learn and grow from. Our forthcoming single ‘catharsis’ is about an abusive relationship that I was in.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
Jeff: We send personal invites to our fans and work with some great promotors locally. Social media does play a part, but it’s all about word of mouth and being seen. I like to get our music on podcasts and radio and just get creative with it.
Leigh: Social media is a strong tool.
Nick: Social media seems to act as the perfect platform for band recognition and coverage in this day and age. It is key for interacting with your fan base too.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
Jeff: Streaming is awesome, but I think physical media still has its place to as take away merchandise.
Leigh: I think it’s a great! Although, I love having physical copies so I feel like I own it.
Nick: Music is much more accessible nowadays, and Spotify aids music lovers to listen to their favourite bands at the touch of their mobile phone screen.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Jeff: Through the fire and the flames – Dragonforce. I wish I could shred like that whole band.
Leigh: There are many songs but Paramore – ‘Last Hope’ is one of them. There’s so much heart and truth in that song, and I find I have such a strong emotional attachment to it. Paramore, overall, are just incredible musicians/songwriters.
Nick: I’d say any song from the Beatles, because to write and record a song without the technology we have today is truly inspiring. Their songs still get played to this day.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
Leigh: High levels of arrogance.
Nick: Dropping drum sticks, gigs being cancelled and out of tune drums.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
Jeff: Getting our new song ‘catharsis’ ready for release. It’s a behemoth of a banger! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. Its catchy as hell!
Leigh: Having my old band Valens UK’s album, which is still not currently released, mastered by Barry Grint.
Nick: Supporting Goldfinger – speaks for itself!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Jeff: Surviving the COVID-19 crisis and promoting our new single.
Leigh: For the band, building our fanbase. For myself, finishing university.
PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.
Jeff: We are working behind the scenes on some exciting things. It’s going to be great to get back on stage after the government declare it safe again. We just want to play loud and tight and have fun with our fans who are like our best friends.
Nick: Due to the current crisis in the world, music shows have been cancelled all over the globe. We are chomping at the bit to get back to playing and because it’s been so long since our last gig. We will do this with all of the energy we have as we’ve missed gigging just as much as fans have missed watching live music!