Interview: Above All
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Id always been into music from a young age from 1st discovering my Dad’s “The Who” records and then forming my own tastes as I grew up then hitting my teenage years, hanging out with friends who were in bands and then becoming part of a scene. Well music dragged me away from quite a successful swimming career and it became my focus, having already stepped away from the music scene and now coming back I’ve already got another life away from music with a successful business in the utility industry and have an amazing family- its nice to treat Above All as a fun side project and that goes for all the other members in the band who all have different careers in all different areas, but it’s a serious project albeit part time.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I spend a lot of time exercising, rowing and mountain biking and I’m a keen kite surfer. I like to make the most of my surroundings and spending time outside helping me cope with quiet a full on stressful job, hanging out with my family and always listening to music and going to see bands when I can. Im not sure how my creativity is influenced by my lifestyle, but I normally get influence from listening to bands that I discover.
How long has your band been around?
Well obviously we took a small break of 20 plus years, but we formed in April 1994 when I returned from the UK from my stint over in the US collegiate system and just hit the ground running from there. But the reformation came about during lockdown after I was asked to go on the Then and Now podcast and just ended up reconnecting with the bandmembers back in the summer of 2020.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are originally based out of Southend, Essex, but we are scattered across the South of England now from Essex to Cornwall.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Hallam our bass player came up with the band name and I think it was meant as a stance of rising above the negative and using an aggressive heavy sound as a powerful positive influence, definitely not a arrogant better than you meaning as some people misread it as.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We’ve had some great ones back in the day from supporting Korn at their 1st London show at the Astoria, supporting Fear Factory, Madball and Earth Crisis. Our last show last summer which was our reunion comeback show at the “Then and Now” festival was very special to all of us as In don’t think that any of us ever thought it would happen.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I think playing at the London Astoria, Marquee, Camden underworld were favorites looking back, but also the smaller shows we used to put on in Southend at Saks still live found in the memory.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
There’s so many good bands out there these days but Uk bands such as Malevolence, Split Knuckle, Raiden, Knuckledust, some really good US bands who are still ripping it such as Madball, Integrity, Hatebreed,END-then chuck in some legends like Machine head, Slayer and the like….to be honest we are just stoked to be playing any shows considering how long we’ve been out of the game,
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Play the music you want to hear, enjoy it and don’t take it too seriously, I’d give that advice to myself and be prepared to stick to you guns and ignore the haters.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Don’t split the band up-haha, we should have taken some time out regrouped and not left it so late with our comeback.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Out of the old ones I would probably say “Prison” which was always fun to play got a good reaction, and we played that live on Headbangers Ball on MTV. The three new songs on the “Disarm The Gods” EP really mean a lot to me as I’m really proud of them and personally for me my own vocal performance.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Well were find out when we start playing live again later this year. Prison, Empire, Unborn kingdom are always crowd pleasers.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
At the moment as we are split up across the country, Ben and Jay are coming up with riffs and ideas, we send them out to each other, and we all put them into Logic and work individually until we are all happy – not ideal but needs must at the moment.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I don’t sit down to put a specific point or message across, they are all normally personal reflections that are borne from things going on the world.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Not really as we aren’t spending too much time together it’s all pretty organic and easy going- were just super stoked to be doing thjs again.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Keep writing and putting out new releases whether that’s by ourselves or any label who may be interested.- play live and just enjoy it.