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Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your band Fizzy Blood? Have you been a member since day one?
I’m Ciaran Scanlon and I’m the bass player in a rock band called Fizzy Blood. I joined Fizzy Blood back in 2015 a few months after they had come out of the studio recording ‘Feast’. Our drummer Jake and I had been playing in bands together for years, and at the time we were both living together in Leeds, studying at the Leeds College of Music. When Fizzy needed a bassist, I joined them for a few rehearsals and we’ve been playing together ever since. As well as ‘Feast’, we’ve also released ‘Summer of Luv’, plus we’ve just come out of the studio recording our 3rd EP, which we did with the wonderful Alex Newport. This will be released in the next few months so keep an eye out!

You’ve got some impressive shows behind you with your three years in the band, what would you say has been the highlight for you?
For me, it has to be playing overseas. We performed over in South Korea for ‘Zandari Fest’ and Austin Texas for ‘SXSW’, which were both pretty surreal experiences. In the UK, this headline tour we’ve just done is definitely a highlight as well. The gigs we played in Leeds, London and Birmingham were really exceptional and the crowds were so energetic and responsive. It was a really unique moment for the band.

How old were you when you got into playing, and what led you towards playing the bass?
I have been playing bass since I was about fourteen years old, so for about eight years now. I first started when I was in secondary school when a few friends of mine were learning instruments. I used to turn up to the practice room, hang out, and try to get involved any way I could, and with bass being the one instrument none of my friends played I thought ‘why not give that a go?!’. Later I got a bass for Christmas, and the rest is, as you say, history. My dad was really into the bass as well, just as much as I was, so he got me lessons to help develop my learning of the instrument. A few years later I decided to pursue it further and study music at university, which is where I eventually ended up joining the band.

 

What kind of music did you listen to yourself growing up?
Growing up in an Irish household in Birmingham, I was exposed to lots of talented Irish music and musicians. My parents were very much into the Manchester music scene, so bands like The Smith, Oasis, Joy Division and The Stone Roses were always played on repeat.

Can you give us a lowdown on your history and experience with Orange?
When I first started playing I had an Orange combo practice amp, which was one of the first pieces of equipment I ever owned. The Orange amps I have used over the years range from everything from practice combo amps to a Terror Bass and an AD200. I’ve always been a fan of Orange, especially with Fleetwood Mac’s John McVie being a part of the Orange family and roster. From the moment I first played Orange I’ve been sticking to them due to their top quality sound and pristine production, and I’ve been really lucky to use Orange amps across a wide range of tours in the UK with Fizzy Blood.

So you’ve played the Terror bass and you’ve given the AD200 a go, what’s your current set up for this most recent UK tour?
For this as well as the last few Fizzy Blood tours I’ve been using the Orange 4 Stroke 500, it’s got everything I want and I’ve had such a great time playing it. I dont rely on too many pedals either, and my small pedal board consists of a tuner running to a Sansamp into a pedal called a ‘Steel Leather’, which is essentially a treble boost that emulates a pick sound as I play with my fingers. It’s been nice using the 4 Stroke as I normally use my Sansamp to control my tone, as the 4 Stroke has allowed me so much more creative freedom.

If you could go back in time and give your ten-year-old self some words of wisdom, what would it be?
Save up all your pocket money and get yourself an orange amp. You won’t regret it.

First of all, you’ve got a pretty sweet deal here tonight playing with Bad Religion at the Kentish Town Forum, how did that all come about?
Charlie: Well, we’ve told our agent about a few bands that we really like, and after that I think she must have worked some kind of magic! Previously we’ve played with bands such as NOFX and Alkaline Trio, and it must have gone well as we’ve been allowed to open up for Bad Religion!

You must be pretty stoked! You just got back from Italy, how was that?
Charlie: Yeah, today is the day of us kickstarting touring again, we just got back from Italy a few days ago as we were flown over there to play Curtarock Festival – we’re a three piece so it’s quite easy for us to travel light. We brought a backpack full of merch to sell so we could get some money for beer, and that was pretty much it. It was 31 degrees, we had a pool.

Damn, this is the first time ever touring’s sounded luxurious, normally I’m used to hearing about bands spending 18 hours in a van, that sorta stuff.
Charlie: Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of 18 hour drives, vans breaking down – this Italy thing isn’t how we normally roll.

Your second album ‘Outsiders’ was released in May, how did you attack that whole process of recording the second time around compared to your debut album?
Charlie: We’ve been very used to overdubbing, so this time we really wanted to focus on getting that live sound and did all the songs as a three piece in the studio. Thom literally only did two guitar tracks, one where we all played together, then another one after in the same live room, followed by vocals. We had plans to go to America and record with Steve Albini, but that would have cost us a lot of money, so we ended up getting our friend to do it and use the same process as Steve would have used, which is to have it as live and raw as possible – it’s more about the vibe than the talent, and I think it flows better than the first one. Punk just sounds better live.

 

Well, let’s get down to business, the reason we’re both here is because of Orange Amps, what’s your history with the brand?
Charlie: On our first ever tour as Gnarwolves, my friend was in a band called ‘As We Sink’ and he had the terror going through an 8×10 or 8×10 cab, and I just knew I needed that tone. The fact that you can just pack the terror away as well and put it over your shoulder is so sick. I ended up getting one, and I’ve had it for three or four years now and it’s just great! I love it, and wouldn’t go anywhere without it. People still ask me what my tone and sound is, and all I’ve got is one pedal and the terror. Tonight, I don’t even have my pedal with me, so I’ll be plugging straight into the terror using the gain and treble. I’d say any bassist who’s just started and wants to learn to play, the terror is perfect as it’s only got five channels and is so easy to use. I was originally a drummer and only started playing bass for Gnarwolves with Thom (guitarist) basically showing me how to do it, so for me, the terror worked out really well as it wasn’t scary and just quite easy and fun to play around with.

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