For some bands, the Slam Dunk Festival is the culmination of months of hard work. For others, it’s the start of an exciting period. Hertfordshire based post-hardcore band, Fort Hope fall into the latter. The trio, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Jon Gaskin, bassist Simon Rowlands, and drummer Jamie Nicholls, are weeks away from releasing their debut album, ‘The Flood Flowers Volume 1’.
Having founded a sturdy, melodic base through several EPs, their first full-length looks set to be a continuation with ‘The People Of The Lake’ and ‘Class Of 99’ showing an edgy, bold sound.
While they may only just be releasing their debut record, this won’t be their first time at Slam Dunk. Having first appeared at the festival with their old band, My Passion, in 2010, the trio returned as Fort Hope in 2015.
Before the kick off the festival on the Key Club stage, we spoke to the band about returning to Slam Dunk, ‘The Flood Flowers Volume 1’ and more.
AH: You’ve recently announced your debut album, ‘The Flood Flowers Volume 1’. How has the band’s sound and songwriting developed on the record compared to your recent EPs, ‘Armure’ and ‘Manne of Lawe’?
FH: We’re very lucky to be able to put out an album, we wanted it to really represent our band, our experiences and our lives. ‘The Flood Flowers is our story, a tale of strength through adversity. The sound is like a summary of everything we’ve done to date, we wanted to show all of the faces of Fort Hope. There’s more to our band/lives than a genre or a scene, we write to unravel ourselves and hope that our songs can affect change in other people.
AH: Besides the album, you’re returning to Slam Dunk for the second time. What do you remember about playing the festival in 2015?
FH: Last time we played the festival it was absolutely amazing, some of our best and favourite show’s to date. At each location, we had to turn people away from our room as they were too full. It was amazing to see so many people believing in us.
AH: The festival has a history of providing a platform for new and emerging bands. Having been in that position before, what advice would you give to those bands playing the festival for the first time?
Our advice would be, don’t over think it. Keep it light and go and and have fun. You can pysch yourself out of these things pretty easily, so just try and relax and enjoy it. Be Yourself.
AH: You’re going to be opening the festival on the Key Club stage. Do you feel any added pressure by being the first band on?
FH: We feel absolutely no pressure, we just feel really excited about the opportunity. If there’s one thing in life we were made for, it’s this.
AH: Because you’re on early, what bands will you be watching afterwards?
There’s a lot of really great bands playing this year, most definite highlights will be Andrew Mcmahon, Don Broco, The Maine, and we wouldn’t miss Enter Shikari’s special set for anything, it’ll be a great celebration of their hard work and will show how far they’ve come. I’m sure it will be something people talk about for a long time.
AH: With so much going on at the festival, why should fans head to the Key Club stage early to see Fort Hope?
FH: veryone should come to see our set. wWe feel like we’ve got something unique and powerful and when we play live we don’t hold back. We want everyone to feel like they’re part of Fort Hope as much as we are.
AH: Beyond the release of ‘The Flood Flowers Volume 1’ and Slam Dunk, what else can we expect to see from Fort Hope in the coming months?
FH: We’re touring the UK with our friend Ryan Hamilton in August, we’re really excited about that. We’re also planning on releasing two records, a live album and ‘The Flood Flowers Volume 2’.
‘The Flood Flowers Volume 1’ by Fort Hope is released on 16th June on Virgin EMI.
Fort Hope will be playing at 1:35pm on the Key Club Stage at Slam Dunk Festival on all three dates.
Slam Dunk Festival 2017 takes place on the following dates:
Sat 27 The NEC, Birmingham
Sun 28 City Centre, Leeds (SOLD OUT)
Mon 29 Forum, Hatfield (SOLD OUT)
Tickets can be purchased here.