After a slight hiatus, our monthly round-up of need-to-know bands is back. As always, “Recommends” is on hand to highlight a host of bands that we think you’ll be hearing plenty more from in the coming weeks and months.
This month, we introduce you to heartfelt post-hardcore Aussies Endless Heights, Brit rock upstarts Sun Arcana, Canadian alt-rockers Selfish Things, emerging Melbourne metalcore band Thornhill, South Coast emotional hardcore collective Carrier and Danish noise/alt-rockers Alcabean.
When you’re young and in high school, you start a band with your friends just to “have fun”. However, as you grow as individuals you begin to grow as a band. That is exactly how Endless Heights have evolved since forming in Sydney, Australia some eight years ago.
The quintet, made up of vocalist Joel Martorana, drummer Julian Diaz, bassist Matt Jones, and guitarists Jem Siow and Christian “Chich” Hrdina, were originally a melodic hardcore band with anthemic songs. Nevertheless, as they have grown up together from being teenagers to becoming young adults, the members of Endless Heights have shown they are comfortable and confident to musically expand. This has all led to their second album, ‘Vicious Pleasure’.
The album is an engaging, occasionally dark, record that is threaded together by Martorana’s cathartic songwriting. Songs such as ‘You Coward’ and ‘Come A Little Closer’ swell with a mix of sonically-satisfying post-hardcore and Martorana’s heartfelt delivery.
As we learn, Martorana’s lyrical outpouring was made possible, and conveyed, through his bandmates understanding of his inner turmoil; vices, toxic relationships and being a better person.
In the days leading up to the release of ‘Vicious Pleasure’, we spoke Joel Martorana about the record in detail, the band’s origins and their forthcoming UK tour supporting Casey.
For Fans Of: Casey, Citizen and Trophy Eyes
AH: We’re just under two weeks away from the release of ‘Vicious Pleasure’. How do you normally feel when you’re about to release new music? Excited? Nervous?
Always super excited, but this time around I’m actually really relieved. We’ve sat on this record for some time now to really plan and organise its release as best as possible. We’ve also put the most time, energy and effort into this record (compared to earlier releases), and I’m so ready for people just to listen to it now and hear our heart! Definitely also a bit nervous, but I’m just so excited to show people what we are all so proud of.
AH: Although this your second album, we hear Endless Heights has been together for the best part of eight years. For newcomers, can you give us a brief overhaul on the history of the band?
Joel: Endless Heights was born in our second last year of high school in Australia, we grew into a melodic hardcore band, with anthemic lyrics and we just wanted to have fun as friends, and inspire people or whoever was willing to listen to us! We’ve never, ever had a member change, and walked a lot of life with each other (i.e. transitioning from teenagers to adults together), and have been through every dark and light phase of each other’s lives. I think this is what gives our band such character, and why we can have so much fun – because we all know the priority is our relationship with one another. That’s been hard to juggle at times in recent years, as we’ve completely changed musically into more of a dark, rock band – i.e. we have become, or strive to be a ‘professional’ band.
I think this band with my friends, has been such a safe place for me to come out of my creative comfort zone. ‘Vicious Pleasure’ lyrically, is so taboo (compared to lyrics from my past) to me, but SUCH a release mentally. Our history is the story of a family, we don’t see it as just ‘working together’, I honestly see everyone in Endless Heights as family.
‘Vicious Pleasure’ has been described as a new chapter for the band. How would you summarise the overall sound and tone of this album? In addition, how has the band’s sound evolved from past releases?
Joel: ‘Vicious Pleasure’ is an absolute sonic and lyrical roller coaster ride – and to me, its a murky journey of the heart. The tones and soundscape throughout the record are beautiful, but also extreme. It takes me to those places in my heart or your gut that you really, really want to avoid – and brings up all that stuff you need to process and sticks it right in your face. That’s why I’ve loved making this record with the guys – the dark, eerie, but hauntingly beautiful soundscapes, leads and parts we’ve written draw such raw and real lyrics out of my soul (effortlessly) that I know I need to sing about – even though they terrify me!
Compared to other releases, this record is both softer (songs like ‘Paralyse’) and heavier than ever (‘Run, You Coward’). The main difference is that ‘Vicious Pleasure’ had NO rules, NO limits – its the boldest and committed we’ve ever been to songwriting, and I’m really grateful to Lachy (producer) for pushing us.
AH: From hearing the album, we get the impression that writing it must have been a cathartic process for you?
Joel: Absolutely, and playing these songs fully is. Its what I’ve always loved about alternative music. I remember being a teenager and first seeing punk and hardcore bands live, and losing my mind over the fact that these bands of all ages, backgrounds, shapes and sizes had this platform with one another to sing about WHATEVER they wanted – and that people could connect with that. No one needed a stadium pop-song, or that ‘perfect song’ to be able to share the burdens of their hearts and achieve that sense of community and fulfilment. Since then, any music I’ve been involved with has followed this angle, but never to the extent of ‘Vicious Pleasure’.
I would improvise lyrics to a lot of the songs as part of the writing process, and shock myself with what would come out – so many ‘oh, I guess I need to deal with this more’ moments. It’s scary actually, but I know its important just to be human and as real as possible with myself – because at the end of the day the truth is what sets some music apart as transformative (even if it’s just me that’s dealing with stuff, and able to grow)! And what I’ve been lucky to learn from Endless Heights, is that whenever you are vulnerable, and super open (to the extent that it can almost feel tacky or just very uncomfortable) is when other people resonate with what you’re creating too – and it gets to be cathartic for the listeners.
AH: How beneficial to the record was it recording it live over the course of 12 days?
Joel: The live element to the tracking definitely gives a more fulfilling element to the recording process for me. I can’t believe how far we moved this baby in 12 days (haha), and it made me grow and learn VERY quickly in the studio. I also think it gave the record a bit more character in itself – and let us finish it in line with our budget restraints and stuff; every band has them!
AH: How does the album title define the overall tone of the record?
Joel: ‘Vicious Pleasure’ perfectly encapsulates the journey of the record – a lot of the record centres around how easy it is to indulge, or ‘survive’ through whatever guilty pleasures or vices you can lay your hands on. The record delves into seduction and how it can be entangled with love, and the joy and thrill of losing yourself in someone (even when you feel its unhealthy). ‘Vicious Pleasure’ is a wrestle sonically, lyrically and spiritually between the ‘real you’ that you strive to be, and the current or ‘old you’ that you’re dying to break away from – and the toxic or tainted relationships that can surround this part of yourself.
AH: In the spring, you’re coming over to the UK to tour alongside Casey. Will this be your first time over here as a band? If so, what are your expectations for the visit overseas?
Joel: This will be our second time in the UK! I’m SO EXCITED to get back overseas – we are such a better band now, and more hungry than ever just to tour as much as possible and meet more people! Last time I didn’t even get time to smash a traditional English breakfast, so I’m making that happen this time around – bring on the blood pudding (!?), I want to try it!
AH: From listening to ‘Vicious Pleasure’ and being familiar with Casey, it feels like a good pairing for the tour. How would you describe a normal Endless Heights show?
Endless Heights plays with bands across so many genres, so its hard to pick! But our headline shows are typically highly emotional with heaps of crowd interaction, and pretty wild. Sometimes I barely even sing, because people just need to take the microphone themselves and get something out of them (which I love). So get on top of someone, swim to the stage and take over!
AH: Looking past the album release and UK/EU tour, what’s next for Endless Heights?
Always so hard to say, but it’s still our dream to travel and play in as many new cities and countries as possible. Everything Endless Heights does is such a gift to us, and all bonus to the amazing stuff we have been lucky to achieve and do. I know we have more music to write and share with the world too, which I think we’re nearly ready to properly start experimenting with, we will keep growing into being more raw and real than ever.
‘Vicious Pleasure’ by is out now on Endless Heights on Cooking Vinyl Australia.
When your debut EP is on the same label as Lower Than Atlantis and Waterparks and you’re working with a producer whose credits include Jamie Lenman and Arcane Roots, then you’re certainly on the right path on to good things. That is exactly where Essex quartet Sun Arcana currently find themselves. Having inked a deal with Easy Life Records last year, they’re now set to ‘As I Take A Breath…’.
Having dabbled in various college and cover bands, the four-piece, consisting of Tom Harper-Ward, Ryan Daniels, Harry Acreman and Jules Wildblood, came together in 2015 with the aim to create a band that breathed on broad, melodic rock. And they have certainly delivered on that mission as ‘As I Take A Breath…’ is six songs full of pure intent.
‘Wonderful’ served as the band’s launching point last November. Stirring, bold guitars with a subtle groove that is reminscent of Muse. Likewise ‘Fracture’ is a guitar-driven and punchy opener. ‘Oxygen’ is almost a cinematic delight before ‘Wonderful’ drifts in with sweeping strings and impassionate vocals from Tom Harper-Ward. Rounded out by ‘Oblique’ and the atmospheric ‘When I Turn Cold’, Sun Arcana prove they’re ones to watch, especially when they make their Download Festival debut in June.
To learn more about all things Sun Arcana; their origins, their EP and more, we spoke to drummer Ryan Daniels.
For Fans Of: Muse, Biffy Clyro and Arcane Roots
AH: We understand a few of you have been playing in various bands for quite some time. What was the motive behind forming Sun Arcana?
Ryan: The formation of Sun Arcana was strangely a really natural process. Almost like fate – without sounding to cliché. Harry and I used to live three doors apart and we also went to the same secondary school – although we never spoke. Tom and I attended the same 6th form – albeit a couple years apart, and the lads met Jules whilst studying at West London University. So in a very weird way, most of us knew of each other’s existence years before we all officially met. As for the motive, I think we were all just at a point in our lives where we were sick a tired of being in college bands, cover bands and bands that lacked the enthusiasm and drive. We all wanted to take this seriously, and for me personally, that as the first time that I had ever been surrounded by like-minded musicians.
AH: So far you’ve released three singles, all slightly different from each other. How have you found the response to the singles?
Ryan: The response has been amazing. As we are a fairly new band, we kept our expectations quite modest, although inside we were all eager to finally get our songs out there. We knew we wanted to come out with a “BANG!” and with a track that really showed off our capabilities, not only as musicians but also as songwriters. Hence our decision to chose ‘Wonderful’ as our debut release. I can probably speak for all of us when I say that ‘Wonderful’ was the first track that we were all really proud of. Up until that point, our previous releases left us feeling a little, I guess, unfulfilled. We knew what we wanted to create as a band, but didn’t quite know how to get there. But I suppose that is a phase that every band has to go through. It is all a learning process, and that’s exactly what these singles are. It’s the best parts of the last couple of years, coming together to make the best songs we have ever written.
AH: For those who have yet to hear any of the singles, how would you define the bands sound?
Ryan: The great thing about this band is our diverse taste in music, and I think that is really shown through our music. I grew up as a pop-punk kid, Harry is a massive Hans Zimmer fan, Tom worships Kendrick Lamar, and Jules can always be found belting out ‘The Greatest Showman’ soundtrack – and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be joining him. That being said, we are a rock band. We love to merge all of our influences into huge riffs and catchy choruses that take huge inspiration from bands such as, Muse Paramore, and Marmozets.
AH: Do these singles establish what Sun Arcana are about stylistically – diverse and expansive?
Ryan: Definitely. I think the most obvious about these singles is their diversity. As I previously mentioned, ‘Wondeful’ is hard-hitting, ‘Oxygen’ is anthemic and ‘Everybody’ is emotional, yet powerful. This is something that we have definitely tried to embrace. We wanted to show all sides of Sun Arcana so there is something for everybody. There are songs for the headbangers, songs for shower singers, and songs for the hopeless romantics.
AH: You’ve just announced your debut EP. Besides the previous singles, what else can we expect from it?
Ryan: Without giving too much away, you’d be glad to hear that we have some more naughty riffs, and old Sun Arcana classic – reworked with more awesomeness – and probably the poppiest track we have ever written.
AH: Along with the EP, you’re set to play the Download Festival in June. For a new band, how big of an opportunity is it to play a festival as big as Download?
Ryan: I shouldn’t probably start this question off by mentioning that we will be playing Download on my birthday. I am so excited! But anyway, this will most definitely be our biggest show to date. This will be such an amazing opportunity for us to spread the word about Sun Arcana and to really showcase these tracks on stage.
AH: In addition, how would you sum up a Sun Arcana show?
Ryan: A Sun Arcana show is loud, full of energy, full of sweat. We treat every show as our first and leave it all on stage.
‘As I Take A Breath…’ EP by Sun Arcana is released on 9th March on Easy Life Records.
The trait of a solo act turning into a full-band has become commonplace in recent years. Nevertheless, having extra cooks in the kitchen can bring different ingredients to what your solo work is trying to produce. That’s how vocalist Alex Biro sees how Toronto-based alt-rockers Selfish Things has benefitted from becoming a quartet.
Having started the project in 2015, Biro has used Selfish Things as means to face his mental health issues and substance addictions, and to figure a way out of a tumultuous period of his life. It is those personal troubles that serve as the lyrical spine to Selfish Things’ debut EP, ‘Vertical Love’. Wrapped in an accessible alt-rock skin, songs such as ‘8147 Mullholland Terrace’, ‘Rust Cohle Never Sleeps’ and ‘Hangman’ have a bold shine, while ‘Five Years’ and closing number, ‘1435’, take a more ballad-like route. Yet it’s ‘Without You’ where Biro’s inner turmoil comes to light as he sings “I gave up everything I had to chase a dream that hates me back.”
Ultimately, ‘Vertical Love’ is the result of fleshed out ideas between Biro and his bandmates, Cam Snooks, Mike Ticar, Jordan Trask and Burton Lavery. As Alex explains below, the extra personnel has added another dimension to his songs.
We also spoke to Alex about the transition from solo to full-band, ‘Vertical Love’’s lyrical nature and teaming up with A Wolf At Your Door Records in the UK.
For Fans Of: Twenty One Pilots, Mayday Parade and Jimmy Eat World.
AH: We understand Selfish Things was a solo act for you. How did it evolve into a full band?
Alex: It was a natural progression. With my old project, I played piano/drums and co-wrote a lot of the records, but never really felt like I “fit in.” I’d always written songs on the side as a passion project and after leaving my old group in 2014, I kind of found myself wanting to be a part of something that I actually enjoyed on a personal level. I met Cam (Snooks – rhythm guitar player) while he was interning with our Canadian booking agent. I asked him if wanted to join, he said yes, and became the first full-time member of the band about six months after I released the first single. Mike (Ticar – lead guitar) joined the next summer after we toured with GOB with a few session players – he’d known Cam from his local scene and brought a lot of good energy to the band. Jordan (Trask – drums) worked with my wife at the restaurant where I met her – he’d been with a really, really cool hardcore band called Prophets for years and when I found out they were calling it quits I immediately swooped in. Burton (Lavery – bass) was the last piece of our puzzle – he was a member of Liferuiner (who I’d always looked up to) and was actually supposed to just play a few shows with us, but I charmed him into staying and now he’s stuck with hearing me snore on tour until we’re old and shitty.
AH: Since becoming a full band, how has the band’s sound developed?
Alex: I think it’s really changed for the better. I find that I write within a certain sphere (which I figure everyone kind of does) when I’m on my own – it can get stagnant and boring and one dimensional after a while. Having the input of a bunch of people who all adhere to different musical experiences kind of forces you to move your melodies and lyrics in different ways, which ultimately helps you create different more interesting records.
AH: Your debut EP, ‘Vertical Love’, is set to be released next month. For those just discovering Selfish Things for the first time, what can they expect from the EP?
Alex: That’s a good question – I think I’m still kind of trying to figure that out myself. We definitely don’t really sit in a particular “lane,” or sound. I figure what really ties the whole thing together is the honesty that comes with writing records during a really chaotic period in your life. It’s tiring listening to music that glorifies suffering or makes it seem like being totally fucked up on Xanax or Percs is a real coping mechanism for depression or suicidal ideation. People can expect a twenty-something vomiting his quarter-life crisis into six mp3’s, I guess, haha.
AH: Lyrically, we hear the EP is about the “most tumultuous periods” of your life. Could you expand on this?
Alex: Yeah. I’ve always had mental health issues and have been on SSRI’s (antidepressants) since I was hospitalized at 17. Leaving my old band, dealing with tons of fucking drama, and not having any real idea how to get back to where I was in music left me really nihilistic and hopeless. I used weed and alcohol to numb myself to the world and felt myself slipping into the meaninglessness I felt I embodied. I didn’t want to accept that everything bad that had happened to me was (ultimately) my responsibility. I wanted to reject reality and had no interest in accepting the innate chaos that comes with being a human being. I worked an unfulfilling day job for the first time in years in the financial district of Toronto and ended up serving $40 dollar lamb dinners to kids who used to bully me in high school. It was fucking terrible, but it was necessary.
AH: Does the EP have a lasting message that listeners can take away with them?
Alex: That life is chaos. ‘Five Years’ to me summarizes everything I was writing about perfectly (beyond ‘1435’, obviously). “We all live rejected/stoned and pathetic/brainless in hopes of being/moulded, accepted/cool and poetic/charming beyond belief.” People project versions of themselves as a means of existing within the fallacies they create. Happiness and positive emotion make people impulsive. Accepting your evil and understanding that malice and destruction are just as human as love or creation is imperative to finding order within the chaos we both experience and create.
Here in the UK, ‘Vertical Love’ is being released through A Wolf At Your Door Records. It’s a label that has a history of launching bands towards bigger things on these shores. How did Selfish Things team up with A Wolf At Your Door?
Alex: AWAYD reached out initially after hearing our first single ‘8147 Mulholland Terrace’ on BBC R1. Once we teamed up with Raw Power Management, we figured it was a good time to explore the relationship and found that Leo, Lottie and the whole AWAYD/SO Recordings team were incredible people with a clear, unique vision. We feel really lucky to be a part of the family and genuinely enjoy working with them.
AH: The EP is co-produced with James Paul Wisner. With such an acclaimed history of working with notable names, what effect did James have on the EP?
Alex: James is an incredible producer. He looks at every take (whether it be lead guitar, rhythm guitar, piano, vocals, etc) as a unique fingerprint and really works hard to make sure that every note elevates the overall product. He’s also a fantastic guitarist and isn’t afraid of getting hands-on when he feels certain elements could be elevated with whatever’s brewing in his head. He has this ridiculous ability to tap into your musical brain and can evoke the right emotions at the right time. We honestly wouldn’t be the same band without him and I’m really, really thankful he took a chance on us.
AH: Around the EP release, you’re going out on a lengthy North American tour with Layne. Do you have plans to visit the UK? What can we expect from a standard Selfish Things show?
Alex: We definitely have plans to visit the UK at some point in 2018. Our live show is really just an extension of our personalities. Cam likes to jump off of various objects, Mike spins around in circles, Jordan takes his shirt off and Burton looks handsome. I figure I kind of just look like someone trying to avoid a full-blown mental breakdown, haha.
‘Vertical Love’ by Selfish Things is released 16th March on A Wolf At Your Door Records.
One day you’re in school, swapping voice memos on an iPad, the next you’re sharing the stage with a host of bands that have influenced you. That’s the sort of trajectory Melbourne five-piece Thornhill have experienced in the space of just two years.
Formed by high school pals Jacob Charlton (vocals) and Ethan McCann (guitars), those initial voice memos would be the catalyst to what would become their debut EP, ’13’. Dominated by a stringent metalcore sound, that EP along with follow-up singles ‘Limbo’ and ‘Temperer’, led Thornhill to grab the attention of infuential Australian-based label, UNFD.
Fast forward to the present day, and now Jacob and Ethan, along with Ben Maida (drums), Nick Sjogren (bass) and Matt Van Duppen (guitar), have just released their second EP, ‘Butterfly’. It sees the quintet serve up a hybrid of metalcore, prog-rock and djent. When it’s all threaded together, it’s a refined and dynamic EP from a young band that can only get better.
In the lead up to the release of ‘Butterfly’, we spoke to Jacob and Matt about Thornhill’s early days, joining UNFD and what other hidden musical gems are they hiding Down Under.
For Fans Of: Northlane, Karnivool, Architects
AH: First of all, how did Thornhill come together? We understand it’s related to Ethan’s and Jacob’s mutual love for Northlane and Architects?
Jacob: Ethan and I met in year 9 in music class and were in competing bands at our school. We later became close friends in year 10 over our similar taste in music. From there we began to write our own material on an iPad and we still continue to do that, most of the new EP was written on that same iPad, using voice memos for vocals.
Matt: I did a music course with Ethan for about half a year in 2013 where we got along really well because of our interest in heavy music. When he told me he was starting a band a few years later, I was wanting to get my foot in the door with some management experience so I have been with the guys from the start. I only joined on guitar in October last year and it’s grown even more from there.
AH: It seems you’ve done a lot in the space of just two years. How would you sum up the history of Thornhill so far?
Jacob: We see ourselves as a super lucky band, we have always been given advice by people in the industry, especially in the early stages of Thornhill so we wouldn’t make mistakes, we’d know what shows to play and what gear to buy. We’ve been very fortunate in the opportunities we have received, whether it be show offers or picking up management at such an early stage in our careers. So far it has been an amazing ride and we’ve already played with so many of our heroes so we owe it all to the people that help us get where we are today.
Matt: I was (un)fortunate enough to have made many mistakes in starting up bands in the past and could give the guys a bit of an understanding less about what to do, but more about what not to do. I was genuinely surprised at how much they all had their heads screwed on from the start though, and they helped themselves get on the front foot early on.
AH: And now you’ve released ‘Butterfly’, your debut EP for UNFD. It’s a label that has a glowing reputation both in Australia and overseas. How did yourselves and UNFD strike up a partnership?
Matt: It was exactly a year ago actually when I was just managing the band at this stage. I submitted them to Luke Logemann (Unified Music Group) to open a show for Architects and linked our new singles ‘Temperer’ and ‘Limbo’. He emailed back saying that he loved the tracks and we set up a time to have a chat at their offices in Richmond. We ended up getting that opening spot for Architects and the rest of the guys met Luke that night at the show and kept chatting from there.
We weren’t really actively looking for a label at this point until UNFD sent an offer out of nowhere one day, which took us all by surprise. One thing that really stood out to myself and the guys was their genuine interest in the band and determination to have us on board which, while there were some small amounts of interest elsewhere, we didn’t get with other labels.
AH: For those who are hearing Thornhill for the first time, how would you describe the band’s sound and the ‘Butterfly’ EP?
Jacob: Basically we wanted six tracks that are relatively stand-alone, whilst trying to create a diversity among them. I wanted to experiment a lot more with my voices tones and range ever since the release of ‘Temperer’, from 13’ (2016 EP) to now. I’d never really seen myself as a clean singer in this band because I was never that good at it. So I definitely had to push myself out of my comfort zone, both in the studio and live. We are still finding our sound and will continue to do so, but for now, this EP is the closest to Thornhill we have come.
Matt: In terms of the musical side of things, there’s definitely a Northlane and Karnivool influence within a lot of the guitar work, but I think we’ve got a sound there where people can easily distinguish us from those bands. There are tracks that show Jacob’s melodic vocals at their full capacity and then there are parts (particularly in ‘Lavender’) where the melodic vocals are ditched and it goes completely heavy all the way through the track. So there are definitely songs in there for everyone who enjoys heavy music, and even for those who are new to it and need something to bridge their way into the heavier stuff.
AH: Lyrically, what is the EP about and is there a connection between the six songs?
Jacob: The EP is about the evolution of emotion, the evolution of our sound and Thornhill evolving our writing style. Each song is either an experience or a memory of good and bad moments in my life, and how they intertwine. The first song and the last are the only songs that combine each other’s lyrics and are the beginning and endings of love and heartbreak.
AH: We’re seeing a wealth of bands emerge from Down Under. What other musical hidden gems do you have in Australia that we should know about?
Matt: There’s a small pop-punk band in Melbourne called Stuck Out that are really impressive, as well as Endless Heights who have a really loyal following here in Aus. They’re touring Europe/UK in March/April with Casey and have an album coming out on the same day as our EP.
Jacob: We toured with a band from Adelaide called Reactions in November who are incredible, definitely one of the most underrated bands in Aus. Sleep Talk are also another band from Adelaide that I love and they’ll be playing our release show in April.”
‘Butterfly’ EP by Thornhill is out now on UNFD.
The start of Carrier’s beginnings is a familiar one. Formed after playing together in numerous bands, the quartet hasn’t wasted any time, delivering their debut in just under the space of a year.
On the surface, the Plymouth group sound like any number of metallic hardcore bands doing the rounds. While they admit wearing their influences (Counterparts, August Burns Red) on their sleeves, the five songs that made up ‘Wither’ come from a period of despair and complete openness.
Songs such as ‘Grieve’ is a release of angst aimed at the concept of death and all the pain losing someone close can be. While ‘Wither’ comes and goes in the space of 13 minutes of relentless hardcore blasts, ‘August’ enthuasies the cathartic nature as Kris Adams screams “you’ll never be alone” against a backdrop twinkling guitars.
Ahead of its recent release, we spoke to guitarist Marvon ‘Jay’ Jordaan about ‘Wither’, its sound and their aspirations.
For Fans Of: August Burns Red, Counterparts and As I Lay Dying
‘Wither’ is your debut EP and comes less than a year since the band formed. How did Carrier come together?
Jay: Olly (Lyle – bass), Kris (Adams – vocals) and I all had known each other in college and had shared the stage in various other bands. When all of those bands had broken up we decided to do something together. We heard that Totti (Thomas Bromley) was free as we started the search for a drummer so it all just kind of worked out.
AH: We understand that your previous bands were different to how Carrier sound. What was your aim, soundwise, when the band started?
Jay: Yeah, we all have a lot of different influences and we all write very differently. We seem to like similar styles of metal and hardcore so we used the best of what we had to offer and made a sound that reflects us both individually and as a single unit.
The initial idea was to create a band that had the great elements of early 2000’s metalcore and be cohesive in 2018. From that, we’ve all started to chip in our own little influences and stylistic preferences to make something we hope is pretty interesting.
AH: In terms of the bands sound, there’s certainly a mix of hardcore and metal. Are there any bands you consider as key influences?
Jay: Definitely, like I said we all love different sides of the same coin. Generally, I think we take a lot of influence from Counterparts, August Burns Red and Bleeding Through, and we’ve been compared to As I Lay Dying so I guess we wear our influences on our sleeves.
AH: You recently released ‘Grieve’ and it has been described as “the heaviest and fastest track” on the EP. How does it connect to the other songs on ‘Wither’?
Jay: It’s the breaking point, there’s been a build-up of intensity and tragedy in the record so to speak. Its followed by our lighter and more emotional tracks, so it’s a bit of a turning point. I don’t want to give too much away but when you listen to the record there’s a definitive progression and the lyrics are very open and honest.
AH: With the EP coming and going in the space of 13 minutes, it seems you want to be very direct with listeners. What lasting message do you want people to take away from hearing ‘Wither’?
Jay: We like to be blunt. If we need an epic 20-minute track to say what we need to, then we’ll write it, but for this EP it was a simple message of dealing with pain. We hope that everyone who listens to it can find hope and peace in their lives and in whatever situation they may be in.
AH: Besides the EP release, what are Carrier’s short-term and long-term plans and goals for the coming months?
Jay: For now, we’re writing some more music and trying to get as many shows as we possibly can under our belts. Ideally, we want to look at getting some new songs recorded but that will only be late in the year if not early next year. We’ll see, for now just play to anyone who wants to listen, and we hope they enjoy it.
‘Wither’ EP by Carrier is out now.
Originally formed under the moniker of John Alcabean, the Danish noise-rockers first came to light in 2016 with ‘Real Time Fiction’. That debut release saw the then-trio be compared to indie fuzz names such as Drenge and Wolf Alice. Nevertheless, the sibling pair of Victor and Julius Ryle Schack realised they needed to add something to their sound.
First up was the arrival of new drummer, Lucas Olierook, with
Joachim Holmgaard joining as the band’s second guitarist. Now as a four-piece with a simpler name of Alcabean, they’re set to return with a second EP next month. Titled ‘Head Down’, it’s six songs sees Alcabean grow their sound. Although there are hints of 90s alt-rock, songs such as ‘Running’ and ‘Bloody Pose’ are delivered in a bold and raw fashion. While ‘Still Remember’ is a jangly, bass-driven stomp with an infectious hook, proving Alcabean’s melodic sensibilities.
As we learn from speaking to frontman Victor Ryle Schack, don’t expect Alcabean to get comfy in their alt-rock skin. With a settled line-up and name, the future for the Copenhagen group looks promising. Read on as Victor explains the lineup changes, their songwriting process and more.
For Fans Of: Smashing Pumpkins, Wolf Alice, and Drenge
AH: We know the band was formed by you and Julius but Lucas and Joachim are relative newcomers to the band. How did they become involved?
Victor: About the time we released ‘Real Time Fiction’, we realized that we needed a more powerful drummer to make sense of our upcoming live performances. Me and Lucas knew each other from former bands and I gave him a call. Joachim joined the band half a year later because I thought it was a good idea not to be the only guitarist in the band, and so I could focus a little bit more on the vocals too. Since these guys have joined the band our live-shows have been a lot more focused!
AH: You’re preparing to release your new EP, ‘Head Down’, on March 16th. Having become a four-piece, how has the band’s sound and songwriting evolved on this EP?
Victor: First of all, I think that the new EP sounds way better because of what Lucas and Joachim bring to the recording process, they’re both brilliant at their instruments. The songwriting process hasn’t changed that much though, most songs had been written when Lucas joined the band and most songs had been demoed when Joachim joined, so we haven’t written this EP together.
I do most of the songwriting and get Julius to throw in some ideas on and off, then we try to impact the songs with our individual qualities in the studio, but the basic song idea has already been written. The most important for me is that I can play the songs stripped down on an acoustic guitar and still have a good feeling. I try not to think too much about genre and so on.
‘Still Remember’ is the latest single from the forthcoming EP. With it being one of the EP’s most upbeat moments, how have you found the response to the track?
Victor: I think ‘Still Remember’ has been the single with the most impact so far from our band. People seem to like it, no matter if they listen to rock music or not. So I think that is positive. I know we all really appreciate the good reception.
AH: You’re often described as having an “alternative 90’s” sound. Is this something you’ve embraced or are looking to evolve away from?
Victor: When I first started to write the first Alcabean songs, I listened to a lot to 90’s rock music and the alternative rock scene from both 90’s and 2000’s, so did my brother and still do, but in moderation compared to back then. So, I think that is something we have embraced since the beginning. But as you evolve as a person, so does your music. We have made two pretty hard-hitting alt-rock EP’s now and I personally want to experiment a little bit more on the next release. I’m writing right now and these new songs could go I many different directions.
AH: Lyrically, what is the EP about? Are there any themes or ideas that run throughout ‘Head Down’?
Victor: I’m not good at finding a theme and sticking to that lyrically. Maybe it sounds vague but I just to try to keep it simple lyrically and focus on good sounding words to fit the melody. But with that being said, the reason we called the EP ‘Head Down’ is that the themes are about juggling between keeping your guard up and protecting yourself, but at the same time be open to the world around you and evolve as an individual.
AH: Looking beyond the release of ‘Head Down’, what else can we expect to see from Alcabean in 2018?
Victor: We’re playing some shows in Denmark promoting the new EP including our first headliner shows ever, so that is exciting. Hopefully, we are going to play some festivals during the summer too, and we are also planning to play some shows in the UK. Hopefully in the fall.
‘Head Down’ EP by Alcabean is released on 16th March on We Are Suburban.