by Jack Reid
Firstly, can you guys introduce yourselves? H: I’m Harry, I play bass and I’m a first year at the uni. S: I’m Simon, I play guitar and I’m on vocals. I’m a second year here. A: I’m Alex, a fourth year, and I play drums.
Have you guys been playing together for long, or did you form for BOTB? S: We’ve been around since November of last year. A: We definitely wanted to play Battle Of The Bands though. We’ve been playing gigs around the city, like at Timepiece.
How did you guys meet then? S: Well it was through Campus Bands basically. We all met at an open jam at the Music Room shop in town.
What are you guys up to at the moment? A: Well we just realised that we’ve completely ballsed up our practice. We have gear all over campus that we need to reconcile in a very short space of time. S: We’re playing the Cavern tonight (Saturday 2 March), so there’s a lot to sort out. The Showcase is happening at the Cavern in a couple of weeks. How are you involved? A: I actually set that up. I just got in touch with Cavern and said that there have been some really good bands coming through from BOTB this year and it could be good to just set up an event. They said yeah, go for it.
What do you reckon to the local scene then? Who are your picks? A: Well this year… S: All of them, they’re all really good. A: There are some really good student bands that are coming through. S: It’s hard to even pick one. H: I think that Bloom, who are a first year band, are really good. I played with them at the Old Firehouse and I thought they sounded really good. S: There are a few really good ones… which is annoying for BOTB. No, but it’s nice to have a nice big group of solid bands.
So do you reckon it’s all down to Campus Bands then, or is Exeter just getting a better scene? S: A bit of both really. A: I mean, it seems that we’re getting a freakishly good year. Battle Of The Bands is just suddenly getting loads of amazing bands that are just coming out of the woodworks. Also, there are at least two bands formed of people from things like EUJO. They’re semi-professional musicians anyway, and so they’re musically talented people; it’s weird how it’s just worked out.
How is BOTB going for you guys? A: Well, we’re still in it. We’re still hanging in there. S: We’re through to the semis. We’re up against Drive In Saturday.
So, do you usually write your own material or play covers? S: I’ve been writing stuff since I can remember. Then the band got together and we’ve been putting together a few tracks for this new project. A: We’ll probably just be playing originals.
If each of you could pick a cover that the band has to play, what would it be? H: You know what I’d like to do? Twist And Shout. I think that’d be really cool. S: [Laughs] Yeah that’d be really cool, you’d have to do backing vocals. A: My Generation by The Who, that’s a shout. I’d have a lot of love for that. We’ve been trying to avoid covers recently because you know, we’ve been playing Cavern and if you’re playing a good venue like that you may as well keep it to the original stuff. H: I mean obviously Bohemian Rhapsody is the eventual goal, but you know, we’re getting there. S: Oh God, I don’t know. I’ll say Daytripper - it’s just a bit of fun isn’t it.
Is the Cavern a really important venue for local acts, do you think? A: Yeah. The thing is, or at least it is for me, it’s the history. When you look at the names that have played on that stage, and where they were when they played and where they’ve got to - it’s just fantastic. But also, in terms of our own experience and some of the venues we’ve played at, the sound is so good. S: The sound is bloody good… A: So when we play there we really enjoy the set.
Have you ever been into the grim little ‘green room’? All: Ha, yeah. H: I love it though. I love going through to the back, I love going through the little door that says private room. Like I’ve told all my friends it’s decked out, like a private jacuzzi. They all think it’s great.
What’s something you’re listening to right now that we may not have heard of? Here’s your chance to sound really cool. S: Well, we’re not hipsters mate. A: Well, The Computers, Royal Blood… H: Royal Blood are my obsession at the moment. I went and saw them at the Cavern and the bass was great. I went and bought a bass distortion pedal the next day and went to practice like “look what I can do!”. A: I’d like to suggest that we use some of their influence in our songwriting… S: You reckon? [Laughs] A: Okay, maybe not. [Laughs] S: Ah just see what comes out, you can’t predict the future. Harry, you can play the bass and I’ll just stand in the corner. A: Maybe we should listen to more music.
So what do you guys have planned? S: Gigs, gigs, gigs, gigs. A: We’ve started recording which is cool. We don’t want to rush it; we want to take our time with it, and so far, so good. S: Yea,h we write stuff and test them out at the gigs. H: We do actually have a good block of songs to pick from now, and it’s quite cool to be able to record some of them now. A: We’re also looking to festivals over the summer. Rock Sonic should be pretty cool; we’re playing the after party for that. We’re going to be getting involved in a few things. I don’t know, I’ve got big ambitions - I want to go UK wide.
On the way up Forum Hill I noticed one of your stickers. A: Oh good! S: Yeah we didn’t really know what to do with the stickers for a while. They were a bit of an impulse buy - “Yeah, let’s buy some stickers!”. H: Hey, stickers are good. A: I thought I could stick one in the Cavern cupboard as well, so people could see it for years to come.
What’s your favourite song to play right now? S: Supernatural. A: Yeah. H: Yeah, I enjoy the end of Supernatural because I get to play around on the bass a bit. A: I think it’s quite a good song for summing up so many different things about the band, and what we think our strengths are. It’s probably our best piece of songwriting. S: Yeah, depends what you’re after though. A lot of people like Last Look. I’ve actually got a demo of that somewhere.
Where are you guys recording? S: Kay House. It’s good because it’s close - well, I say it’s close, it’s still a fucking mission away. A: The thing is the gear is actually really good out there. They’ve obviously spent a lot of money.
Do you guys go drinking together or are you strictly professional? S: I wouldn’t say professional. The band is not really professional. H: We do drink together. Especially after Battle Of The Bands. After Battle Of The Bands things have escalated. [Laughs] But because we’re all in different years, we’re not constantly around each other. A: Yeah, it’s good though because otherwise it’s like overkill. S: Yeah, I’d get bored of you lot. H: Nah you know, you’re alright guys… A: Oh cheers mate. Coming from you, Fresher.
This cross-year situation seems pretty rare. Did you just spot each other from across the room? S: Yeah, our eyes met from across the bar. H: The light bouncing off his head. S: [Raises middle finger] Yeah, well it was the Open Jam and I just spotted Harry on the bass. A: Took a bit of a risk with me though, mate.