We’ve heard the name TheCityIsOurs be bounding here and there for quite some time but you’re sure to hear a lot more about them in the coming weeks and months. Today sees the London metallers unleash their debut album – ‘Low’.
On the surface, it’s a monstrous set of melodic metalcore songs with plenty of riffery, breakdowns and anthemic hooks. Yet if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find an album clouded in darkness. After some time to reflect on their purpose as a band, the quintet wrote a thoroughly honest touching on a range of personal subjects; loss of loved ones, mental health and self-betterment. The finished product sees ‘Low’ thrive with sincerity, allowing the band to face up to their demons and come out at the end of the tunnel in a better place.
It’s clear TheCityIsOurs are band who always wear their hearts on their sleeves. While musically, they wrap their songs in a dense, abrasive skin, we learn that their interests go beyond all things metal.
We asked vocalist and guitarist Mikey Page to talk music by the numbers.
1 Artist I Couldn’t Live Without…
For me, Charlie has done it all. He’s fronted a pop-rock boyband, a metalcore band and had his own acoustic solo project, all with great success. His versatility as an artist has been a real influence to me as I’ve grown up as a musician, from learning Busted songs as a kid on my first ever guitar, to finding my love for metal through Fightstar on my walks to school. Charlie is the epitome of a musical all-rounder and I know I wouldn’t be where I am now without his music.
2 People I Know, That Shaped My Passion For Music…
My father is probably the main reason I found my love for music in the first place. As a double bass player in a rockabilly band, I grew up listening to all things 50’s and my love for music spawned from there. He used to take my siblings and I out for long drives on summer evenings and here he introduces me to bands such as Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses and Dire Straits to name but a few. These bands helped me fall in love with the guitar, and without that, I probably never would have picked one up in the first place!
Our Tour Manager – Ian
Ian has been involved in City since day one, and in my life personally for many years before that. He’s always encouraged me and the rest of the band to stay true to ourselves and follow our dreams and its definitely safe to say, we wouldn’t be here today without him!
3 Songs You Wish You’d Written…
Don Mclean – Vincent
Storytelling at its finest. You can feel the emotion and heartache in the lyrics and the delivery is just beautiful. No crazy production or instrumentation, just a man with a guitar wearing his heart on his sleeve. Chills.
Guns n’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
One of the most iconic riffs/songs in rock and roll history. I imagine the royalties aren’t too shabby either!
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
Imagine sitting at a piano and having a vision like this. Not just a song, but a complete musical experience from start to finish. This truly is a masterpiece like no other, which I would love to have been a fly on the wall during the writing of. Stunning.
4 Bands Everyone Should Hear…
Hailing from the Oxford area, these boys blew us away the first time we saw them live. Their emotionally driven post-hardcore vibe creates a gargantuan wall of sound; beautifully drizzled with melodic vocals that will leave you feeling like a train has hit you emotionally. Definitely ones to watch!
Our Hollow, Our Home
OHOH have been smashing the UK metalcore scene wide open over the last few years, spearheading the rise in independent bands! Their sophomore album ‘In Moment // In Memory’ is in my opinion, an absolute master piece, guiding you through the complete journey of grief experienced by Vocalist Tobias Young, following the passing of his father. If you like heavy riffs, punishing screams and song along hooks that will lodge themselves firmly in your brain, then OHOH are the perfect band for you.
Providing an audacious blend of fun and technicality, Palmist are one of my favourite new bands on the scene at the moment. The level of energy in their three-track debut EP, ‘The Walls Between You & I’ shows just a glimpse of what the band have to offer, with their mix of synth-pop and alt-rock providing the perfect setting to make it feel like summer even on the coldest of evenings! If you’re a fan of bands such as Don Broco, Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa, check these boys out!
From the depths of Yorkshire, Captives have stepped out of the shadows to release arguably one of the EPs of the year in ‘Ghost Like You.’ Simply put, their sound is huge! Soaring vocals, euphoric synth lines and a pounding rhythm section create something very special indeed. A particular favourite is their track ‘Signs.’ I challenge you not to have this stuck in your head after one listen!
5 Songs You Love…
Of Mice & Men – Another You
Mikey (guitars/vocals): This is a song that embodies the perfect blend of emotion, instrumentation and intensity. The lyrics beautifully describe the pain of loss, which was something I was experiencing personally at the time of its release. It was one of those songs that stopped me dead in my tracks the first time I heard it, and had me addicted in seconds. The sheer power of the message gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!
Nothing More – God Went North
Jamie (bass): This song just optimises heartbreak for me. I remember hearing it not that long after losing my mum to cancer and being able to relate to the words and pain in the singer’s voice so much so that it felt like I was being ripped apart. I remember being stunned by how the words encapsulate what it’s like to go through that painful experience, and since hearing that song, I’ve always tried to get across emotions in a similar way and make an audience feel the pain I’m going through, in hopes they can relate too.
Crystal Lake – Aeon
Louis (drums): What a monstrously heavy song Aeon is – punishing from start to finish, a fury of noise and distortion, enough to shake your brain inside your skull. What a gifted drummer Crystal Lake has – the unfathomable speed of the drummer sounds like a machine gun. Likewise, with the vocalist – the screams sound like a demon is whispering into your ear. The creative, destructive, wall-of-sound characteristic of this song never grows dull.
Roadrunner United – The Dagger
Sam (vocals): The first discovery of a song where I really heard “screamers” and thought “Damn, I want to know how to do that”. The combination of Howard Jones and Robb Flynn just absolutely overwhelmed my ears as a teen, in my opinion, they were a metal vocal power couple ha-ha. This song really opened my eyes to how the lyrics of a song can mean so much emotionally yet still come across in a powerful, unrelenting way that you can really make rock and metal be interpreted however you see fit, just by the techniques utilised in the instrumentation and vocals. I will love this song, until the day I die is the long and short of it.
All That Remains – Six
Stuart (guitar): This was one of the first songs that had really pulled me into listening to metal and I can remember just feeling so excited hearing it for the first time. It really motivated me to pick up my guitar and improve. I wanted to be able to play this song and I wanted to be able to play it as good as Oli (Herbert). ‘Six’ must’ve been the first song that I spent weeks and months grinding at, despite it being way out of my skill range I just didn’t give up. It gave me such a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished learning that beast and proved to myself that with hard work, you will get results.
6 Bands You’re Keen To Play With…
One of the best breakthrough bands in the UK right now. Euphoric in sound, vision and performance.
Its Slipknot fam. Next.
We toured the UK with the boys a couple of years ago, and lord knows that reunion party would be something to remember!
Another of the very best in the UK right now! We’ve played with the lads a few times over the years and its always been a good ol’ giggle, so it would be great to play some more shows with them.
Collectively, one of our favourite bands on the scene right now. An absolutely incredible live band. I’d love to tour with them, just so I could watch them tear it up every night!
Total curveball, but Bruno is one of the best entertainers on the planet. Straight up, I just want to be near him.
7 Places You’d Love To Play…
I’ve seen some of my favourite ever shows there. I’d love a chance to play there!
Camden has always been like home to us and KOKO is such an awesome venue, it would be amazing to go full circle and go from playing some of the smallest venues in the area, to one of the biggest.
Rock Am Ring Festival
One of the festivals any rock/metal band dreams of playing!
Download was our first major festival and the download audience welcomed us so warmly, it would be truly awesome to go back again – hopefully with less mud this time…
A hugely iconic venue. It seems everyone who is anyone has graced that stage, so it would be awesome to leave our own legacy there!
The metal scene in Australia is insane. With bands such as Parkway Drive, Polaris and Alpha Wolf coming out of there, we’d love a slice of that particular pie!
Again, another one for the bucket list of any band, to tour the states would be incredible. Such varied cultures all in on one land mass, it would be an amazing experience to travel them and explore what the country has to offer!
8 Essential Tour Items…
Spare Strings & Sticks Etc
Don’t allow yourself to get caught short! Pack spares of everything, just in case! You never know when you might need them.
This can fix almost anything! Never leave home without it.
Another great tool, either for making notes on set lists, marking equipment or signing things when your super famous…
The Wetherspoons App
There is an unwritten law that ‘spoons must be visited by touring bands as and when you are in the vicinity of one of these establishments. The app allows you to place your order from the comfort of your seat, which is very important after a long day of sitting in a van. Fast food at service stations gets old very quickly, so a decent spoons with guarantee to sort you right out. Plus, the peas on the side of your Fish and Chips will give you some much-needed nutrients
Getting the best night sleep you can is essential. Sleeping on your mates floor is not so bad, when you’ve got a nice pillow to rest your head on.
Hand Sanitiser/Baby Wipes
Hygiene is important kids…
Basic Tool Kit
A few screwdrivers, wrenches and other bits and bobs are always handy to get you out of any sticky situations you should find yourself in.
There are so many upcoming photographers in the UK and across the globe, desperate to make a name for themselves in their own scene. You’re going to make a lot of amazing memories on the road, so make sure you have somebody there to capture them for you!
9 Words To Describe Your Band…
Emotive, Empathetic, Fun, Exciting, Lively, Unassuming, Gracious, Intense, Low.
10 Favourite Albums Of All Time…
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal
Mikey: At the time, this album was a very bold move for a band that had initially started out as a deathcore project. Sempiternal is an album of songs, following largely a pop structure, but laced with punishing breakdowns, unforgettable riffs and some of the biggest hooks I’ve ever heard on an album of its kind. I always look for an album that makes me feel something, and from the minute I heard the world premiere of ‘Shadow Moses’ on the radio, I felt this album.
The Darkness – Permission To Land
Mikey: This was the first album I ever purchased myself and one of the main reasons I was desperate to learn to play guitar. I loved the fun, care-free feel of a lot of 80’s ‘hair-metal’ bands, and this was captured perfectly by the Darkness, but with a modern twist in the production and feel. The guitar playing was vibrant, the choruses were catchy and it didn’t take itself too seriously as an album, which is another attribute I love! At the age of 11, I was running around the house screaming “Get your hands off of my woman, motherfucker!” If instilling that kind of behaviour in a child doesn’t make an album perfect, I don’t know what does!
Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane
Jamie: This was one of the first albums I ever bought myself, and I remember listening to it as a kid, not always understanding the meanings of the songs, but learning all the lyrics and singing along to it on a daily basis. As I’ve become older, it’s become totally timeless for me. The songs brought on a whole new meaning once I could relate to their themes and it’s really helped to engrave in my mind the power of writing about personal experiences and how to get those emotions across to a wider audience.
Green Day – American Idiot
Jamie: Green Day were the first proper band I saw live, unless you count Steps…TRAGEDY! I always liked the album, and the band, but once I saw them at Milton Keynes Bowl, I became obsessed. The way they take a performance and transform it into an experience and a journey for the audience, still to this day influences me in my own performances. Although it’s an album I rarely listen to nowadays, it’s one I will always hold very dear to my heart.
Bullet For My Valentine – The Poison
Sam: This album basically personified my youth, I was late to the game when it comes to metal, rock and alternative, I only really came into following these scene around 11 years ago when I was 15 and overtime when I eventually discovered Bullet, this album was on constant repeat. The insane riffs, the solos, the in your face drum beats, crushing vocals… it just had it all and only further fuelled my love for rock, metal and all surrounding genres!
Polaris – The Mortal Coil
Sam: There is so much that can be said about this band, individually and as a whole unit, but this album will stay with me for life. Each song is executed perfectly in terms of musical and lyrical relationship, the lyrics to each song is structured perfectly, the riffs just never end, the quality of the production is through the roof… I could go on. I personally feel like the music is ridiculously relatable in terms of emotion and power, across all generations, and achieving that in my eyes is nothing short of genius.
Citizen – Youth
Louis: I stumbled upon ‘Youth’ in the midst of my school years. This album is filled to the brim with honey-sweet teen angst. Whenever I listen to it, I get bittersweet – I reflect on my 16-year-old self and what it felt like to be a careless teen again. My friends and I would all listen to ‘The Summer’ on full blast, screaming the lyrics back and forth at each other. I meet people today who continue to worship this album, like a bible to their religious cult. Youth helped me to passionately express myself without feeling judged or criticised and to not be afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve.
Slipknot – Slipknot
Louis: I remember the moment as if it happened yesterday, hearing ’Sic’ for the first time, at 13-years-old. I was jaw-dropped in amazement – the sheer brutality and ferocity that was pumping through my earphones, instantly hooking me. This album was my stepping-stone into adoring heavier genres of music, musically creative and sonically terrifying. Whenever I’m feeling vexed or pissed off, I whack this album on – it’s an embodiment of all visceral and deeper emotions and I automatically feel content. ‘Slipknot’ will forever be in my Top 10 metal albums ever.
Keane – Hopes & Fears
Stuart: This was the first bit of music, let alone album, that I had ever owned. It was bought for me as a birthday present with a neat little CD player and I took that shit around with me everywhere. Music has always been present in my life when I was younger, but I never really thought much of it as it was often just chart stuff on the radio or that same Seal CD played in the car that I’d heard hundreds of times. This album really pulled out my love for music, and was the very beginning of a music and band obsessed child/teenager. I still bump into songs from this record in the abyss of Spotify shuffle and they still bang as hard as they did when I was 10.
Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership
Stuart: I’ve been a big fan of DGD since I first heard Downtown Battle Mountain’ when I was back in school. Everything they released I absolutely loved, but for me, Mothership really took them to a new level. Packed with technical riffs that you can’t get out of your head and some wonderfully bizarre lyrics, it encompasses the true essence of who Dance Gavin Dance are, and as a long-standing fanboy, it makes me really damn happy. I’m completely unable to pick up my guitar without playing the intro riff to ‘Betrayed by the Game’. Play count – Over 9000 (sorry).
‘Low’ by TheCityIsOurs is out now.