Friday, 21 March 2014

Five minutes with The Answer

Words:  Charlotte Whittingham             Photos:  Chris Green

Before The Answer made their way onto the stage at Southampton’s venue The Brooke I had a chance to speak to Paul Mahon and Micky Waters from The Answer.

Charlotte:       So you guys are on tour at the moment and we’re in Southampton at the moment.

Mickey:           This is our first time in Southampton; we’ve been going around the United Kingdom for a very long time and we finally made it here so it’s pretty cool to come here.

Charlotte:       So how you liking Southampton?

Paul:               We haven’t actually left the venue today [laughs].

Mickey:           I’ve been here before and it’s a cool town.
Charlotte:       According to your press release there were some towns on your tour you haven’t visited for a few years, which ones are those?

Paul:               Probably Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen’s a good one. We started the tour there and it was a full house and people were very appreciative that we came back because a lot of bands when they tour in Scotland only tend to go to Glasgow then head back down south. Southampton; which we will find out later on, also Hull was really good and Middlesbrough. They don’t sound like the most exciting places but they were surprisingly good. We have five shows in Germany too, which were good, in some of the German backwaters where we had never been to before and it was all good.

Charlotte:       Looking at your Facebook page it looks like your tour is going very well, the photos show packed venues.

Mickey:           We’re lucky we’ve a got a great fan base around Europe, it’s great doing gigs like this. Particularly when the last campaign we only visited to main cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and maybe Bristol in the West. This tour was all about getting to our fans and touring to more cities so this is a great way to do it.

Charlotte:       So the sold out venues and the positive reception from this new album really contradicts the theory that rock and roll is dead.

Paul:               It’s a little debate that comes around every few years, if I remember rightly it was around when we started. There was a lack of rock and roll bands at the time was one of the reasons so we hope to re-address the balance.

Mickey:           I think the press are like ‘what are we going to write about next?’ It’s the new thing. Classic Rock have done the revivalist thing.

Charlotte:       You’ve a got a new single out, New Horizon.

Paul:               It’s the title track of our new album; we’re excited about that one it’s the first one we play every night on our tour and it’s gone down very well.

Mickey:           It’s a bit of punky one and we really like it.

Charlotte:       The concept of the video is someone being stripped…

Mickey:           That’s a good video; we’re not in it [laughs]. Well make a cameo for  like one frame. It was different for a video, a bit off the wall.

Charlotte:       You’ve got a single bundle coming out soon…

Mickey:           Yes we have or an EP, we’re always recording so we’ve got B-sides that aren’t on our albums as well as Rory Gallagher covers.

New Horizon is available to purchase now, for more information on The Answer click here.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Live Review: The Answer and BlackWolf @ The Brooke, Southampton 10/03/2014

Words: Charlotte Whittingham   Photos: Chris Green

There is no better way to kick off the week with a night classic rock and roll that was delivered in style by two kick ass rock bands that meant business.

First up on stage were BlackWolf, I hadn’t really heard the Bristol rockers sound before until Monday and I have got to say I was instantly taken with their live performance. Their sound reminded me of the old classic rock sounds from the likes of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin mixed with some funky guitar riffs and solos that I would hear from Red Hot Chili Peppers. So it’s safe to say that I really liked their sound.  They most certainly showed a lot of passion and energy in their performance, which passed onto the crowds as they sang along and bobbed their heads along to. Their performance put a huge smile across my face and they were certainly the right band to open up for The Answer.

I understand The Answer are quite well established in the music industry and I had been meaning to check out their sounds for a while, this gig provided the ideal opportunity. Opening up with New Horizon, there was infectious energy from the word go. With charismatic frontman Cormac Neeson at the helm the show was going far from dry, as well as his spirited stage presence his interaction with crowds was remarkable; which went as far as him becoming part of the crowd and getting everyone to sit down as he sang. You cannot get more intimate crowd interaction than that. There was a fantastic selection of tracks including the ballad-like Memphis Water that not only provided a much calmer tone to the evening but also showed off Cormac’s vocal ability. Speaking of showing off abilities the instrumental break provided an excellent opportunity for guitarist Paul Mahon and bassist Michael Waters to deliver their excellent techniques which went down very well with the crowds. Ending with  allowed the fans one last rock out before they marked the end of their flawless set.

So overall the night was a fantastic experience. The Answer and BlackWolf won the hearts of the Southampton crowd and being it was their first time, I hoping it won’t be their last visit. A packed venue and boundless energy from this show is another argument that rock is most certainly not dead.

Find The Answer on Facebook, Twitter and their official website
Find Blackwolf on Facebook, Twitter and their official website

Friday, 14 March 2014

Interview with Charlotte Wessells

With an impending album release coming soon and getting ready for one of the most anticipated rock/metal tours of 2014 Delain have got some exciting stuff happening for them this year. Here’s what happened when I caught up with lead vocalist Charlotte Wessells.

Musical Lotty:  You recently revealed the track listing for the brand new upcoming album, do you have a favourite track or tracks?

Charlotte Wessells:  I usually develop a favourite when I perform the tracks live; particularly how well it works live, how the audience likes it and how much I like to perform the track. In terms of listening to the tracks; I really like Here Come The Vultures, which is the first track on the album, it stands out to me because it’s diverse and it’s a strange song but good strange. Also The Tragedy of the Commons, the last song of the record, it has a guest appearance from Alyssa White-Gluz [from The Agonist] because I really like how that one came out. Basically I’m very excited about how all the songs have turned out because it’s all fresh and new so no real favourite yet but those are the two that come to mind first.

Musical Lotty:  So it’s all about the fans reactions as well?

Charlotte Wessells:  Definitely. I mean if you get a great response then you get a lot of energy when performing the track and that is the most fun thing about performing to get that energy back from the crowd that you put into the performance so that’s a big part of it. Of course there are also songs that we’ve never even performed live, which I love. It definitely depends on the audience’s reaction.

Musical Lotty:  The artwork for the new album was recently revealed, what influences and inspiration went behind it?

Charlotte Wessells:  I had a kind of wish list for what I wanted for the new album cover and I applaud the photographer and the graphic designer for combining many of the things on my wish list as possible into this visual result. I wanted to have cosmic elements because the title The Human Contradiction comes from a post apocalyptic, sci-fi theme. We all love it, I am not a huge sci-fi fan but I really wanted to honour the album title and wanted that in the vision. I also wanted the contradiction visible as well; the contradiction             between human and non-human nature would work well so with the left and right side with the branches and stuff. I also wanted to have technology on the album cover but if you add that there would have been so much visual so we chose to go with these geometrical shapes and look organic but it was great we managed to get all that information on the album cover.

Musical Lotty:  Did the design of the album cover influence the song writing?

Charlotte:  I wouldn’t say this was a concept record; there is definitely a red thread that goes through multiple songs and I think it’s well described by the album title The Human Contradiction. I wanted that as a base for the album cover. For example when we were doing the photos for the album I hadn’t finished writing the lyrics but I knew this was going to be the theme for the album and this would be reflected in the songs. So we develop the artwork  and the songs simultaneously since we didn’t have the time to wait until everything was finished and then start on the artwork, so it brewed together. This way it was kind of nice because these influenced each other in a way.

Musical Lotty:  So this upcoming tour with Within Temptation is to promote the album?

Charlotte:  Yes it is, with the album out just before the tour starts its perfect timing. It’s no coincidence; we planned to have the album done in time for this Within Temptation tour. We’re going to play massive venues with them and we have the opportunity to reach out to lots of people who haven’t even heard of us, this is a good time to do that while we have a new album out. Actually I heard this turn around where you release the album after the tour, I don’t mind which way round it’s done but it’s definitely good timing to have the album and the tour happen at the same time. To be able to present new material to the fans and we’re excited to play new songs.

Musical Lotty:   Have you got a release date for your brand new album?

Charlotte:  April 7th for the UK

Musical Lotty:  Speaking of the UK, you’re touring the UK very soon particularly Wembley Arena which I can imagine being quite exciting for both you and Within Temptation?

Charlotte:  Yeah, this is bucket list. Really looking forward to it.

Musical Lotty: I can imagine this is one of the most anticipated rock/metal shows of 2014; my friend Beth would like to know will the setlist will contain old and new material?

Charlotte: We always play a mixture, we’re not one of those bands that only play songs from one record we like to mix old and new songs on the setlist. Since the new album would have just come out we will play some substantial material from that record.

Musical Lotty: Are there any countries/venues you’re looking forward to playing?

Charlotte: Paris is always a very good place to play. This may sound boring but I’m also looking forward to playing to gigs in our hometown in Amsterdam; particularly this one venue where I have seen all my favourite bands for the first time and multiple times. I have never played there before so it will be like walking on a holy ground where I might in an unguarded moment kiss the floor while I’m there. I’m hugely looking forward to playing at the Heineken Music Hall, the name of the venue.

Musical Lotty: Another question from my friend Beth, will you be doing a collaboration with Sharon [den Adel]?

Charlotte: Yeah maybe, these things kind of tend to happen spontaneously. It may happen or it may not happen, I plan to keep it undecided until the tour starts.

Musical Lotty: What are your plans for the rest of 2014?

Charlotte: We will have our release parties and our club shows in Holland. We’ll also be doing a six-week tour with Sonata Arctica and we are already planning our next European tour so we are going to Russia and we’ve got offers from some really exotic locations which I shouldn’t talk about yet because it hasn’t been confirmed yet. There’s lots of good stuff waiting for us so I am pretty excited about that.

Musical Lotty: From Beth, cookies or pancakes.

Charlotte:       I have to say pancakes.

Musical Lotty:  Any parting words you’d like to share?

Charlotte:  I certainly hope the fans enjoy the record, look forward to seeing them on the road and thanks for the support.

The Human Contradiction release dates are below along with the tour dates with Within Temptation, be sure to catch them on tour and buy the album

Album Release dates

Germany/Austria/Switzerland 04.04.2014
UK/Rest Of Europe 07.04.2014
USA and Canada 08.04.2014

Tour with Within Temptation

06.04.2014 Tonalle, Munich (GER)
07.04.2014 Sporthalle, Hamburg (GER)
08.04.2014 Paladium, Cologne (GER)
09.04.2014 Arena, Ludwigsburg (GER)
11.04.2014 Apollo, Manchester (UK)
12.04.2014 Wembley Arena, London (UK)
14.04.2014 Academy, Newcastle (UK)
15.04.2014 Academy, Glasgow (UK)
16.04.2014 Academy, Birmingham (UK)
18.04.2014 Jarhunderthalle, Frankfurt (GER)
19.04.2014 Thueringenhalle, Erfurt (GER)
20.04.2014 Columbiahalle, Berlin (GER)
22.04.2014 Bikini, Toulouse (FRA)
24.04.2014 Radiant, Lyon (FRA)
25.04.2014 Zenith, Paris (FRA)
27.04.2014 Zenith, Nantes (FRA)
28.04.2014 L’aeroneuf, Lille (FRA)
29.04.2014 Lotto Arena, Antwerp (BE)
02.05.2014 Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam (NL)

Find Delain on Facebook, Twitter and their official website

Words by Charlotte Whittingham