Even though we’ve been caught up in the festival season (and a mild case of World Cup fever,) that doesn’t mean we’re going to stop showcasing some of the best and noteworthy bands that are set to break out in the coming months.
There’s a heavy and intense vibe to this month’s edition of “Recommends” as we get-to-know Oxford hardcore three-piece MSRY, London emo punks Delaire, the Liar and reinvigorated melodic metalcore band New Graves.
Just as their name suggests, MSRY aren’t always the happiest bunch. Nevertheless, the Oxford trio, made up of vocalist Kial Churcher, drummer Keir French and guitarist Charlie Bishop, are standing up to the social and political challenges thrown at them and coming out at the other side as better people.
Their forthcoming ‘Safety First’ EP is five raging cuts of razor-sharp hardcore. For example, the title track, ‘Broken Teeth’ and ‘S.I.C.K’ pulsate with lyrical venom amongst a backdrop of wiry riffs and sturdy, thick drums.
Having previously played alongside Employed To Serve and Press to MECO, ‘Safety First’ sees the three-piece leave their mark on a thriving UK hardcore scene with a growing live reputation that is on par with the breakneck delivery they offer on record. Their forthcoming tour alongside fellow hardcore upstarts MTXS promises to be a frantic run of shows that can’t be missed by any hardcore fan.
To learn more about the band, ‘Safety First,’ maintaining the DIY aspect of MSRY, we recently spoke to the band.
For Fans Of: Brutality Will Prevail, Malevolence, and Employed To Serve
AH: You’re preparing to release the ‘Safety First’ EP next month. How has the band developed since last year’s self-titled EP?
MSRY: We’ve become a more positive bunch of guys, to say the least! When we released the last EP, we were all going through a lot of problems individually. Breakups and heartache, depression, self-loathing and hatred, having to completely change our lives and trying to find comforts while our worlds turned upside down. We were able to pass a lot of into our music, but since then we’ve all come a long way and we’re all in a happier place.
We’ve been picked up by management, booking agents and had some amazing shows along to the way and we’re really looking forward to putting on a new EP that shows where we’re at today, a much more energetic, harder hitting and positive MSRY.
AH: ‘Broken Teeth’ is about fighting the negativity that surrounds us. Does the rest of ‘Safety First’ consist of similar themes?
MSRY: Most of our music has been about overcoming something, with the first EP it was more about emotional boundaries that are put up against you. Feeling of losing yourself, your ability to love, and losing your passions for what made you who you are. And with this EP, it’s more geared towards overcoming psychological boundaries and becoming better because of it. ‘Safety First’ is geared towards us having a more positive approach to things, the difficulties we have in the life and the tenacity to push through them.
AH: We also see there’s a track called ‘Trump Card’. No guesses to what that is about. Is there a political element to MSRY?
MSRY: I wouldn’t say the band itself is a politically charged band, it’s just we’re all at an age where politics and what’s happening in the world has come to mean something to us. We look at the decisions that politicians around the world are making. Especially in this day and age where more and more young people are taking an interest and stand in politics – with the recent EU referendum, American Presidential elections and even our own local elections, you see record amounts of young voters having a voice and being heard with their votes. It’s just something we wanted to touch on with our music and get across our point of view and criticism of everything that’s going on in the world right now.
AH: You’re part of an upcoming wave of UK hardcore bands. Having seen names such as Employed To Serve and Palm Reader grow in recent years, do you think the hardcore scene in the UK is strong right now?
MSRY: The hardcore scene in the UK is probably the strongest it’s been in some time! Although it isn’t without some mentions that maybe the scene might be in better shape if we didn’t see the early demise of Ghostfest and Hevy Fest in recent years. They were always pushing hardcore and it’s a great shame that neither are around today. Though it’s only pushed the hardcore scene here harder towards other alternative festivals like Shedfest, Festivile, Download and others.
When you have a scene that’s pumping out bands like Brutality Will Prevail, Malevolence, Employed To Serve, and Palm Reader you’ve gotta think there’s something special in the waters and it’s only looking up for us all as a whole. I’m seeing more and more people wearing our band shirts, more publications paying attention to the scene and more people coming down to gigs. Who knows where the scene is going to be in 5 to 10 years time, but I’m holding out hope that it only gets bigger.
AH: You have been described as “reckless” on stage. Do MSRY thrive better live than on record?
MSRY: I think we’ll take ‘reckless’ as a compliment! Onstage is where everything comes together, both sonically and visually for us. When we started out we wanted to be a band that people wanted to see live, we wanted to grow a reputation of being a band that goes way beyond a ‘show’, something that people remember when they leave the venue at the end of the night, and maybe that does transpire on our recordings. When you’re recording anything it’s about being clinical and getting things right – whereas live it’s about being a performance.
AH: With Keir French producing the band and Kial Churcher handling the band’s visuals, how vital is that DIY aspect to MSRY’s growth?
MSRY: We’ve always been about being able to do as much as we can DIY within the band, and it’s not just a personal choice but also a financial choice as well. We realise how much it costs to be a band, so why not try and do as much in-house with your own abilities and experience as possible, it definitely comes across with fans when we can say to them “We made those designs, all the music is recorded and produced by us.” It’s like an extra level of interaction we can have with them because they’re wearing something we designed and listening to music that we recorded and produced ourselves. They always seem to dig it more because of that.
With Keir recording, we can spend as much time as we want in the studio and he’s constantly crafting our sound to make it sound as good as possible, while Kial doing the visuals and creative designs makes things much easier to control our overall image and craft how our merchandise and CDs come precisely. It’s something we’ll probably always do to an extent because we just don’t know how to let anyone else work for us, we’ve done it for so long it’ll feel kinda wrong letting someone else do it!
‘Safety First’ EP by MSRY is released on 6th July.
Delaire, the Liar
London duo Delaire, the Liar haven’t wasted any time as they released their debut EP, ‘Not Punk Enough’ earlier this month. Described as “La Dispute meets a melodic Alexisonfire,” vocalist/guitarist Ffin and drummer Joey have created a short and sharp set of emotionally charged punk.
With a mentality of not holding on to the past, ‘Not Punk Enough’ offers dynamic, layered punk songs such as ‘Witch Hunt’ and ‘Opulence (Has Taken Lives)’. Whereas urgent cuts ‘Guilt & Recourse’ and ‘Medicine’ thrive on Ffin’s impassioned vocals.
While there is a sense of mystery to Delaire, the Liar, ‘Not Punk Enough’ is full of lyrical intrigued and pent-up angst. Ultimately, they intelligently represent those who feel like they don’t belong.
We spoke to Ffin to get a better insight into Delaire, the Liar.
For Fans Of: La Dispute, Touché Amoré and Alexisonfire
AH: How did you two come together to form Delaire, the Liar?
Ffin: We worked together in music venues and bars for a long while, something about the length of Joey’s fringe at the time really appealed to my inner (and to be fair, outer) emo.
AH: You’ve just launched your debut EP, ‘Not Punk Enough.’ For the title, is the word ‘punk’ used as a metaphor for something else?
Ffin: Definitely, the phrase itself is about not really feeling welcome, or that you’re not doing enough to adhere to an existing social construct or dynamic. Which is total bullshit because you shouldn’t have to, but the brain is a weird and often degrading place and that can be hard to get over.
AH: Lyrically, what is the EP about and what it is inspired from?
Ffin: The EP has multiple themes lyrically, from positivity like a brand new breath on ‘Medicine,’ to intense self-contempt on ‘Guilt & Recourse’. But ultimately what the EP (and our band in general) is trying to say is that you have to look at your past objectively, without sentiment and move forward regardless.
AH: You also released a video for ‘Guilt and Recourse.’ Does the visual of trying to holding on to one another relate to the EP at all?
Ffin: It’s more to do with the context of the actual track, the song is about the projection of insecurity onto the ones you care about most and the negative impact that can have on your relationships.
AH: You’re now part of the Crooked Noise roster. How did that come about?
Ffin: We’ve known Tom (Newman – CN founder) for a while now, and is a grade A legend. He’s put out some absolutely blinding bands (My Only, Toy Mountains, Coldbones) so once our record was done, we sent it over to him and the rest is basically history!
AH: Besides the EP release show, what other plans do you have in the works?
Ffin: One of the most important things for us is to really show people what we can do live. So there will be as much of that as we can muster, be it shows or live sessions. And of course, EP 2.
‘Not Punk Enough’ EP by Delaire, the Liar is out now on Crooked Noise Records.
On paper, the concept of a band starting over with a new singer under a new name is fairly common. Yet, for members of now defunct melodic hardcore group, High Hopes, the addition of Mitchell Bock (formerly of When We Were Wolves) has opened a whole new creative chapter.
Now known as New Graves, the quintet has been crafting a set of songs that are heavy, both musically and lyrically. As debut single, ‘Empty Lungs’ shows, the band have used their personal struggles to write songs based on recovery and self-help.
While with production being handled by Fredrik Nordstrom (Bring Me The Horizon, Architects, We Killed The Prom Queen,) New Graves have a thunderous and impassioned sound that thrives with unity and renewed hunger.
As they embark on a new, bright chapter, we spoke to drummer Daryl Pryor about the changes they’ve been through, ‘Empty Lungs,’ working with Fredrik Nordstrom and future plans.
For Fans Of: Architects, Parkway Drive and Bury Tomorrow.
AH: Some readers may recognise you as High Hopes. Having bought in Mitchell Bock on vocals, what spurred on the name change?
Daryl: It became apparent quite quickly when we started demoing new ‘High Hopes’ material, there was more than a slight change in the overall sound and feel of the band. Bringing someone with the level of talent that Mitch has onboard really given us an opportunity to explore avenues that hadn’t been available in the past, and we did just that. We felt that the music that we were writing together had a certain freshness to it, something that we knew deserved a fresh start rather than being associated with previous music.
AH: In terms of sound and style, what has changed since becoming New Graves?
Daryl: From the outset, I think people will be able to pinpoint the obvious change and growth when comparing New Graves to any previous musical endeavours we have all been a part of. We spent a lot of time working on the more fundamental aspects of songwriting in this process; the songs structure, hooks, melodies and the repetition of key elements have been a priority for us. The progression and maturity of us as individuals and as a group really shines through with New Graves, it’s something we’re really proud of.
AH: Your debut single, ‘Empty Lungs’, explores loss, isolation and recovery. We hear there is other material in the works. Does that take a similar lyrical route?
Daryl: We definitely focused on a few key subjects that we are very passionate about when it came to the lyrical themes of our music. ‘Empty Lungs’ is the first among a collection of songs that openly talks about isolation, recovery and self-help. Its empowering to see more and more people speaking openly about their struggles every day, a subject that was very much overlooked just a couple of years ago. We want to give people the ability to be stronger than their struggle, and we hope that with the message in the music it will encourage them to speak openly about issues.
AH: As cliché as it is to ask but what was the motive behind releasing ‘Empty Lungs’ first?
Daryl: ‘Empty Lungs’ is the first single from a record focussed on recovery and self-help. The debut track is a totem for laying your fears and anxieties to rest, the centrepiece in our own battles to recover from personal trauma; lost friends, divided families and negative self-image, these songs are our public decision to be stronger than the struggle. We’re making everything New Graves, from the Facebook community to the live shows, into a common space for people to fight off those demons.
AH: You worked with acclaimed producer Fredrik Nordstrom. How beneficial was his experience towards New Graves’ material?
Daryl: The number of influential records that Fredrik has produced was a major factor in our decision to head to Sweden to work on these songs. Spending 4 weeks, isolated, away from unwanted distractions gave us a real advantage when it came to bringing these songs to life.
Fredrik knew exactly what we were looking for. His ability is second to none when it comes to music production, and we were privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a talented producer.
AH: Besides the single, you’re also making your live debut alongside Hacktivist early next month. What else can we expect from New Graves in the coming months?
Daryl: We’ve spent the last 8 months working on all aspects of New Graves; live shows, creative content, social media, additional music. We’ve got a back catalogue of content and announcements in place for all our social sites over the coming months.
‘Empty Lungs’ by New Graves is out now.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)
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