Interview: The Qemists (Slam Dunk Fest Preview)

Over the coming days and weeks, Already Heard will be previewing this years Slam Dunk Festival in
detail through a range of interviews and features.

If you’ve attended any UK festival in recent years, it’s likely that at some point or another you’ve come across Brighton electro rockers The Qemists. Having built a reputation of producing adrenaline-fuelled shows, the quintet have often been a stand out set at festivals such as Download, Fuji Rock, Breakout and Butserfest. They’re now about to add Slam Dunk to that growing list.

Their latest album, ‘Warrior Sound,’ contains a high octane hybrid of rock sensibilities and electronic tones that The Qemists have built a stellar reputation from. If you’re looking for an alternative to the plethora of rock, pop punk and metalcore bands on offer, then The Qemists are the perfect remedy.

We spoke to vocalist Bruno Balanta as The Qemists prepare for their Slam Dunk debut. Bruno talked about the festival, ‘Warrior Sound,’ and more.

AH: This is going to be your first time playing Slam Dunk, even though you’ve played festivals all over the place. Are you looking forward to it?
We can’t wait to play, it’s always a wonderful feeling playing a festival for the first time. It’s an incredible line-up so we’re also looking forward to seeing some great acts play. We are bringing the noise though, I’m not sure they’re prepared for what we’re going to hit them with.

AH: Even though you’ve never played it, have you ever been as a fan? If so what are your memories?
Bruno: Sadly, we’ve actually never played or attended Slam Dunk, but we do intend to form some, soon to be, new memories.

AH: This past March you released your latest album ‘Warrior Sound.’ How has the reaction been to the album so far?
Bruno: The reaction has been incredible! People have been waiting patiently on this album for a long time and you know how it is, sometimes that suspense can be hard to live up to, but we’ve had nothing but love. We want to thank everyone that continues to support us and our music; we appreciate every single one of you. All the people that have taken the time to write to us about the album and offer us congratulations – thank you!


AH: For anyone who hasn’t checked out the album yet, what are they missing out on?
I usually answer this in a few words that I feel capture the energy of our album; Rage Against The Machine – The Prodigy – Public Enemy.

AH: Do you think the album is a good representation of the bands live show?
When we make an album we always have the live show in mind, but I think with the natural evolution in the recording/production process we have managed to capture (within this album) that same energy and intensity that we leave on stage. We’re really happy with it.

AH: Slam Dunk is mainly known as a pop punk/hardcore/metalcore festival. As you’re on the Uprawr stage, do you think it’ll be more of a challenge to win the crowd over?
We don’t fear any crowd these days. Something we’ve come to learn is that good energy is good energy, you get what you give, and we give a lot. I think some of the confidence we’ve gained is in the fact that we’ve had to play outside of our perceived “comfort zone” on many occasions, and every single time we find a connection with the crowd/people that transcends genre and becomes about letting go and having fun.

AH: This is going to be Slam Dunk’s 10th anniversary. Why do you think it’s still going strong when other festivals have disappeared?
Bruno: We have always heard the name whispered among friends in the industry and fans alike. From looking at Slam Dunk this year and all it has to offer, it seems to me that if you continue to supply people with good music and a comfortable environment within which to enjoy themselves, they will continue to support you. Come back and talk to us again after we’ve played and we’ll be able to give you a definitive answer I’m sure.

AH: The line-up is stacked with impressive names, who will you be hoping to check out over the weekend?
Bruno: The line-up is incredible, so there’s a few people we’d like to see. Of course our good friends Enter Shikari are headlining our stage so we’ll be sure to see them. Coldrain are on our radar as we’ve just got off tour with Crossfaith, who were adamant we have to see them live. I’m a fan of The King Blues. There’s a lot.

AH: Lastly why should our readers come and watch The Qemists?
Bruno: When people are talking about our show after the event, do you really want to be the person that has to catch up through poor quality mobile phone footage on YouTube? We guarantee you two things; we’ll have the biggest sound at Slam Dunk, and you won’t hear anything else like us at Slam Dunk – Search your feelings.

‘Warrior Sound’ by The Qemists is out now on Amazing Record Co.

The Qemists will be playing on the Uprawr stage:
Slam Dunk North (Leeds) – 7:15 – 8:00pm
Slam Dunk Midlands (Birmingham) – 7:15 – 8:00pm
Slam Dunk South (Hertfordshire) – 7:15 – 8:00pm

View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Slam Dunk Festival 2016 here.

The Qemists links: Website|Facebook|Twitter

Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86) Photo by Jay Hawkins.

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