United by addiction, depression and divided homes, Leeds melodic metallers Values present a brutal but honest message on their debut EP – ‘Broken Nation’. Formed from the ashes of Anchored By Avarice and Portraits, the quintet got together last year and quickly put together a set of impassioned, heavy songs that carry plenty of substance.
On songs such as ‘Pros & Cons’ and ‘Adrift,’ Nathan Baker’s scathing screams are met with towering, domineering guitars. Whilst the bands dynamic approach appears throughout with dense breakdowns being countered by soft, melodic parts.
With ‘Broken Nation’ now out in the open after its release last month, Already Heard spoke to guitarist Danny Widdowson about Values, the EP, the social message it offers, their influences and more.
AH: The band only formed last year yet you’ve just released your debut EP. How did you come together? I understand you come from two bands – Anchored By Avarice and Portraits.
Danny: After Portraits parted ways, the drummer Josh Hardy and the guitarist Chris Ward were looking to get involved in a new project, and originally me, Baker and the guys in Portraits had the idea to do a Northlane tribute act called South Street (I still don’t know to this day whether it was a serious idea or a joke). That idea soon got scrapped and we decided to create original music. Soon after that Anchored By Avarice split up so Jack Bhogal joined us on bass along with Ryan on drums as Josh had work commitments and that left me with one band; VALUES.
AH: From hearing the EP it seems ‘Broken Nation’ is a fitting title for the EP. What is the EP about? Does is have an overall message?
Danny: The EP’s general idea is “Broken people, broken homes, broken nation”. It’s looking at our own personal problems we’ve been through like addiction, depression and living in a divided home and asking ourselves, what drove us to that self-destruction? Then that opens us up to our ‘Broken Nation’ and realising that these “social norms”, “traditions” and “legacies” that occur in our every-day lives are in fact consuming us. But just like that self-destruction, for change to initiate it must start from within ourselves. We are promoting people to make that positive change from within in numbers to create a wider impact on a society that is imploding.
AH: Does the title have any political or social meaning behind it?
Danny: I wouldn’t say any of us delve heavily enough in politics to say it’s a political message, but I would say it was definitely socially driven. People strive for success, fame, fortune, class and social integrity in the hope to find happiness at the cost of other people’s happiness and I feel like we’ve lost touch with what life is about. There isn’t just this set default path anyone can take to achieve happiness and ‘Broken Nation’ explores the idea that while the problems we face in life can be destructive, we should focus on looking within ourselves first and understanding who we are, that way we can know what makes us happy as individuals.
AH: Ghost Music has a tendency to support emerging UK metal/hardcore acts. How did you join up with the label?
Danny: Toyan (St.Hilaire) got in touch with us about 3 months after we released the band after seeing our video for ‘Blind Ignorance’ and asked if we wanted management, was as simple as that really!
AH: Stylistically the EP is dominated by big, sharp riffs and aggressive vocals. Who do you consider your influences to be?
Danny: Our influences are mainly bands like Northlane, While She Sleeps, The Ghost Inside and Counterparts. We try to give off as big a vibe as those bands do anyway, our aim was always to make the biggest tunes we could, regardless of genre.
AH: What impression do you hope to leave with listeners once they’ve heard ‘Broken Nation’?
Danny: We hope that they leave with an impression that we hit all bases. We try to balance fast riffs, beatdowns, singing choruses and post-rock ambient cleans. We love being dynamic and I hope the listener appreciates that.
AH: Leeds has its fair share of venues, is that an advantage for a band like Values?
Danny: I think it’s definitely an advantage of living in and around Leeds, each venue sort of has its own stamp on the genres that play there.
‘Broken Nation’ EP by Values is out now on Ghost Music.
Values links: Facebook
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)