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Photo by Ella Stormark

You recently released your eight studio album, and I’ve noticed a pattern where you release a new record every other year – can you run us through the process and cycle of recording, releasing and touring?
Well, you basically said it, that’s kind of how Every Time I Die work. You write for a few months, you record for a month, month and a half, release the record and then tour two, two and a half years on it non stop, that’s the formula the band’s been following for the last eighteen years. Our fans pretty much expect a new record every two to three years, followed by touring Europe, Australia and America. We feel pretty fortunate to still be able to do that and that we still have people coming to our shows and buying the records.

You’re notoriously known for your intense and insane live performances, so after eighteen years of touring excessively for two years at a time, are you not absolutely, unbelievably exhausted?
Oh, we are! Don’t let anyone fool you, we’re not getting any younger either. That said, I think we kind of just know what we need to do to mentally prepare and get in the zone. Years ago it was easy to get wasted every day, wake up and not feel any effect, but now that shit’s just out the window. I know Keith took the summer of drinking, and our drummer took the entire year off. If I drink I need to have a day off after. We cant do what we were doing before, I think we’re focusing all our energy on that one hour on stage, the you’ve got 23 hours to decompress and get back into the mind frame of playing live. We’re not the kinda band that just gets up there and picks up a guitar, you know? There’s a lot of energy between the crowd and us. I think it’s very much a mental thing, and then we do keep the partying to a minimum these days.

Photo by Ella Stormark

So you’ve got 23 hours of build up between shows, how do you spend that time?
We all kind of know how to stand out of each others hair and just do our own thing – Jordan’s really into drawing and his artwork so he will be off doing that, Keith’s got his book stuff so he’s constantly writing, I’ll listen to some podcast or just goof around online, and Andy’s into working out as he’s got his wrestling and things, so we’ve all just got our own thing that keeps us busy. A couple of hours before the show we just get into this routine where a couple of people will have a drink or two to take the edge of, and I’ve got my stretching routine… It’s really not as crazy as you think it would be – we’ve got our own ways to unwind and get in the zone, and that’s about it, nothing too crazy.

I think a lot of people expect you guys to act like savages at all times…
Yeah, it’s hard to live down some of those young kids in the DVDs setting their hair on fire and stuff like that, but that portraits the band in a completely different era. It’s still there though for everyone to see, so people will watch it and almost be like ‘dude why isn’t your hair on fire?’ when we meet, and then I’m just ‘Weeell, it’s been 12 years, and we’ve got a long drive tomorrow, so…’ It’s kind of funny how we’re always gonna be perceived as that crazy band, and in some aspects we still are, but it’s not as intense and 1000 miles per hour as it was back then. We’l have kids approaching us like ‘Yeeeah, do some shots!’, and all you can think is ‘Oh, no.. My back hurts, my shoulders are killing me..’ We tend to focus the craziness on the shows and performance, and all that extra curriculum? I don’t want to let you down, but we’re old men. We’re trying to keep up, but we’ll be in walkers pretty soon.

Photo by Ella Stormark

Except for the obvious punk / hardcore sound to your music, I pick up on elements from various genres such as stoner rock, and even blues. What kind of music got you into playing in the first place?
Every single person in this band would have a completely different answer. I know my parents, and Keith and Jordan’s parents loved The Beatles, Andy’s parents loved The Who, so you had all these influences around you. I started going to shows in the early nineties just as we got MTV, so you had stuff liken Headbanger’s Ball and all this music would blow me away, bands such as Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, Rancid and Green Day. Then you’d start looking at the back catalogue to all these bands’ records labels and that way come across even more bands you liked. We’re all huge Zeppelin and Sabbath fans, so there is a lot of different influences that contributes to what this band have become today. When we started, bands like Converge and Dillinger Escape Plan were the kind of bands that we’d go see and be blown away by, that’s what we wanted to do. If we could ever play a show and kids were going that crazy to our music? That was the goal when this band started, those guys were our heroes. As far as our songwriting’s come today, that’s just the evolution of all kinds of genres blended together. Our newest record got a bit more of a rock vibe as Keith’s got a lot more actual singing, but we’re not gonna lose that crazy, hardcore sound.

Photo by Ella stormark

So obviously, you play Orange Amps – do you remember your first ever encounter with the brand?
You know, that’s a really good question, and the first thought I have now that you’ve brought that up… I think there was a Weezer video in 1994 or 1995, it might have been ‘Say it ain’t so’, and they were in someone’s living room or house, and I think one of the guitarists were playing through an Orange, and all I remember seeing when I was growing up was Marshall amps and stuff like that, so this Orange one looked so cool as it stood right out. I’m gonna have to look this up though as soon as this interview’s over, and if I’m wrong, well, I’m sorry.

I don’t think I plugged into an Orange bass wise, myself, until about four years ago. I’m not a big bells and whistles kind of guy, I like the easy to use, set it and forget it kinda stuff. It’s consistent, and I know what I’ll get out of it every time I turn it on, so that’s what I love about it.

What’s your set up for tonight?
I run two rigs, on stage left I have an AD200 bass head with 8×10 cabs, and on stage right I have the bass terror through 8×10 cabs. That’s my ‘England set up’, back home I just recently got the OB1500, and that sounds great too! It’s basically like the bass terror, but with this extra little boost on it that I really like, it’s kind of got this ability for the highs to come through a little bit better, without taking away from the lows and I really need that playing with Every Time I Die as Andy and Jordan’s guitars are so loud it’s like being at an airport and you’re surrounded by jet engines. I gotta be able to cut through and keep up with the guitars.

Photo by Ella Stormark

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During the first night of their two sold out co-headline shows at London’s Boston Music Room, I caught up with Black Peak’s Andrew Gosden and HECK’s Matt Reynolds to find out how life on the road is, and how it is sharing the spotlight. But more importantly, what their weapon of choice would be during a potential zombie apocalypse.

How is it being on a co-headliner tour compared to touring on your own?
Andrew: This tour has been great so far. It’s really interesting and exciting playing a co-headliner, you get the opportunity to play in front of people who may not necessarily buy tickets to see you, a bit like playing at a festival. It feels like the audiences have been open and accepting of both bands. I think it is a great mix of music with something for everyone. You can have a sing and rock out to our songs, and also experience the pure insanity and awesomeness of HECK!
Matt: At the very start of the tour I imagined it was  going to be incredibly nerve wracking going up against Black Peaks every night. They’re such an enormous sounding live band that it was a daunting prospect. After a few days of the tour that all faded away, although we’re both very different bands it became very evident quite quickly that we play off each other very well, both of our fan bases have come together in a wonderful way too. Having four guys that we now consider our brothers in Black Peaks side stage every night only spurs us on and feeds our appetite for carnage. I’ve been in the pit for Peaks nearly every night… Having said that, that bass guy, Guss or something I think they call him, he’s a bit of a prick.

Where did the idea of the tour come from?
Matt:
We made friends over the festival season, both Black Peaks and us were playing a lot of the same stages and I guess subliminally it just made us want to recreate that dynamic between us on a tour. It just seems to make sense, it’s like kicking an audiences ass in two very different ways every night.
Andrew: The idea of doing this co-headliner had been floating around for a while. As soon as the opportunity to play with HECK became a reality we jumped at it. We are all huge fans of the band and thought it would be great fun. They are such lovely guys!

You’re both in pretty heavy bands, is there any bands or artists you’ve been influenced by that plays music completely different to the one you play yourself?
Andrew: I listen to such a varied mix of music that I guess even subconsciously I will be taking influence from so many different genres. I am a huge fan of 70’s prog rock. Bands such as Yes, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull are in constant rotation on my iPod. I am also a huge fan of bands like Autolux, Young Widows and Bjork who are very different to the music we play.
Matt: LOADS! Our van playlists are pretty much entirely made up of wonderful, luscious, over-produced pop, Steely Dan and Hall and Oates are particular favourites. Our van is chock packed full to the rafters with wall-to-wall bangers! Influences wise I’ve always listened to tonnes of blues music too, which has definitely shaped the way I write and play

Any guilty pleasures?
Andrew: I own a copy of Madonnas ‘like a virgin’ record. It’s such a great album. I guess that can be classed as a guilty pleasure..
Matt: I’d argue to the death that You’re the Voice by John Farnham is the greatest song ever written. It’s also unfollowable, there’s not a track in the world that can be played after that doesn’t then sound flat and lifeless. Robbie has been creeping in an awful lot recently too, the cheeky badger.

How does a day in the life of HECK and Black Peaks on the road look like?
Andrew: At the beginning of the tour it started off quite civilised. Now it has descended into a torrent of passive aggressive abuse and sarcastic banter.
Matt: Toil and bedlam. With a pub lunch at Weatherspoons for an hour at about 6pm-ish.

Do you remember your first ever encounter with Orange, whether it was seeing it or playing it yourself?
Matt:
I just remember seeing them on stages and in videos as a kid and thinking that they were just so damn cool and iconic. All of the coolest bands seemed to use them, it was only a matter of time until I took the plunge and got one too, I’ve played through nothing else since. When I was old enough to have a full-time job I spent my entire first month’s wages on a Rocker 30 and 2×12. I bunged it in my tiny box of a bedroom and used to give the neighbours and my ear drums hell, it was really dumb and definitely too big for my bedroom, the door couldn’t even open fully with it in there, I just had to kind of side step my way through. But I loved it and I’ve not looked back since!
Andrew: The first time I really noticed Orange amps was when I saw Converge for the first time. That iconic look and sound gripped me and I knew they were the amps I wanted to use from then on.

What do you look for in an amp?
Andrew: Something that sounds great is simple to use and reliable.
Matt:  Yeah, something that sounds huge and can withstand the horror that I throw at it! With Orange it’s all about crushing bottom end and unashamed ballsyness.

What’s your current set up, amps and pedals?
Andrew: I am currently using my AD200 and a Thunderverb 50, each running through an Orange 4×10 cab. I run the AD200 relatively clean and have the Thunderverb running really dirty. I am using the Orange amp detonator to split my signal between the 2 amps. I have the AD200 running all the time and kick in the Thunderverb for heavy sections and parts where Joe is soloing or playing lead lines.
Matt: I currently use a Thunderverb 200 (the greatest and most ridiculous guitar amp ever made) through a 2×12 and 4×12 loaded with V30s. I have a fairly simple pedalboard, but some absolutely choice little bits of wizardry on there. My favourite of which is my original Russian big muff, built like a tank and flattens like a steamroller. I couple it with a Electro-Harmonix Octave Multiplexer to achieve some ridiculously gnarly square-waved sub bass madness. I also use a EHX pitchfork and a Disaster Transport modulated delay by Earthquaker for gentler moments.

It’s the zombie apocalypse – choose your weapon of choice and explain your reasoning.
Andrew: It depends what kind of zombies we are talking about?! I think I would have to go for a crossbow. You don’t have to worry too much about ammo running out as you can reuse the arrows, you can pick them off at a safe distance and use it as a melee weapon up close. I’d like to think I’d be a badass like Darryl from The Walking Dead. In reality I don’t think I’d last too long……
Matt: I’m going with (Dillinger Escape Plan’s) Greg Puciato’s eternally punching arms. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, I guess I’d just attach them to my chest and let them punch away. They’re like a horse’s legs with hammers attached. I can just imagine them relentlessly punching away reducing zombies to rubble. No one would fuck with a guy with hammer-horse-legged arms sticking out of his chest. I’d shit ’em.