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Interview: Radio Aftermath
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Sam (Moran, Guitar): I've always been surrounded by it! Used to have a pretty long commute to school and spent that time listening to shreddy metal and reading kerrang.
Rob (Burns, Bass): My mum and dad loved 70’s and 80’s rock so I grew up listening to Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Roxy Music, Be Bop Deluxe and all that. And one day a friend at school happened to lend me a copy of Nevermind. I remember as soon as those first chords hit on Teen Spirit that was it for me…
Chris (Dennett, Vocals and Guitar): Music is a broad term… As lame as it might sound, I got into rock music because one of my neighbours as a kid gave me a burnt CD of Evanescence’s first album, and it was the only CD I had so I listened to it non-stop whilst delivering papers in my neighbourhood. I used to take my earphones off when the screaming parts came on because I thought it would turn me into a “mosher” if I listened to them (laughs) I guess you can say that eventually happened. Upgraded to Iron Maiden and Metallica, then my best mate back showed me Green Day and Blink-182 and that was it, I learnt how to play guitar and we started a punk rock band.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Sam: So, between the band and the day job I spend the remaining free time gaming and getting bullied by my cats.
Rob: I drink heavily and shout a lot. I also play a lot of games, currently Elden Ring has my heart, and probably a decent amount of RSI. Also like to watch TV and films. One of my old practice routines was to try and jam along to the scene as I was watching, so if I hit on something I like when I’m doing that that will end up in front of the band at some point.
Chris: I’m a chef by trade, been doing it since I was 16, I’m 33 now… A long ass time. That’s the main grind as it pays the bills, but hopefully the band will take over that one day.
How long has your band been around?
Sam: The bands been about since 2014, but i only joined during the pandemic. It’s been a great thing to focus on while the world's been going to shit!
Rob: I joined around 2016 after the original line-up disbanded, although it wasn’t until Jack and Sam joined that things started to pick up. This happened to coincide with everything falling apart. A little bit concerning that it took the world going to the dogs for us to get our shit together, but hey ho.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Chris: we are a Leeds (UK) based band. Not sure how that’s influenced the music, my lyrics tend to be either about my world view or about personal relationships. I guess the way my life has evolved living in this city could have influenced the music in some way, it had to have.
Rob: Leeds BAY-BEH! For me personally Leeds has always had a strong live scene as well as excellent heavy bands. Ghostfest back in the day, Damnation fest, and then venues like Mabgate Bleach and Boom! Cater to the noisy bands I’m always trying to rip off!
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Chris: I read once that Matt Skiba (of Alkaline Trio) when coming up with his band’s name, went into a dictionary and just picked out words he liked and put them together, or something along those lines anyway. So, I did the same, I wrote down words I liked the sound of, put them together and Radio Aftermath just stuck out to me, had a ring to it, and it didn’t just sound like any other band name out there which was important to me as I’ve always wanted to bring something different with this band, from artwork to visuals, performance. I want us to be the biggest small band in Leeds (laughs)
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Sam: We had an absolute banger at the Adelphi in Hull. It was my local venue growing up and the crowd were top notch.
Rob: The Adelphi show was an excellent night. The following one at Santiago in Leeds was great too, hometown gig with all our mates out. We also played Bad Apples in Leeds (RIP) a couple of Halloween’s ago that was pretty nuts just because of the sheer amount of costumed people going apeshit in a tiny basement show.
Chris: We did a Hull show last year when on tour, which is Sam’s hometown. Honestly, we rock up to this battered old venue in the middle of the suburbs, looks like it’s been shut down for years, the street is no better, houses boarded up, windows hanging off etc. We spent our first hour there tending to some old drunk guy who’d passed out in the middle of the street, mid-afternoon. I looked at Sam and said, “what have you gotten us into here…” (laughs) Well, opening time gets here, and the place fills up, and continues to fill up, come our set, the place is packed and people go nuts! It was the first time I’d ever had people sing my songs back to me. I was gobsmacked. Was such a good show and good night, my most memorable one to date, and I can’t wait to go back and play again.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Sam: There's so so many places we'd like to play. I'm still sad The Cockpit in Leeds has closed permanently because that was a great spot to go watch bands. There's something great about home crowds, and the gig we put on at Rebound Social was probably my favourite so far.
Rob: I miss Cockpit too, Joseph’s Well as well. I would like to hit the stage at Key Club and Brudenell locally. As well as that, an excellent support slot at an O2 Academy gig would be amazing.
Chris: Aside from the Adelphi in Hull being one of my new favourite venues to play, in Leeds I’d say probably the Lending Room in the Library Pub. Always a good sound and great crowd. Would love to play the Brudenell Social Club though, that one is still on our band bucket list for Leeds venues.
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
Sam: Christ, that's tricky. Festivals are sick for the sheer amount of music you can see so I'm cheating and saying Download. Download headlined by NIN and Deftones would do me nicely.
Rob: Us, Reuben, Every Time I Die, and Nirvana. Can’t happen since two of those bands have had acrimonious break ups and the Nirvana reason is obvious…
Chris: Oh god, good question! Well, it’d be joint headline Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age, Turnstile as main support, Alexisonfire, and obviously we’d be the small openers (laughs) but I’d be ok with that getting to play on the same bill as those bands.
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?
Sam: Keep it fun. Practice. Don't get too pissed up at every rehearsal.
Rob: Make sure to communicate regularly with each other and have some vague plan. If you’re like me and you don’t have a deadline to aim for then you’ll just piss about ad infinitum…
Chris: Put more time and effort into it. Unfortunately, you’ve also got to concentrate on and build your social media presence, that’s so key for getting your band out there’s these days. Also, and mainly, don’t let anyone, ANYONE, detour you from following your dreams and passions. Ever. Whether it’s family, a partner, a best friend. Don’t listen to the negativity you’ll get. Keep at it. I’ve had so many close people to me over years try to tell me to give up, quit, “grow up”, fuck that man. Do what your heart tells you and give it your all.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Sam: 'Listen, i don't have much time, it's you, Sam, but from the future. It’s important, that whatever you do, don't... ' and then just stop.
Rob: “Trademark the following: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Tesla and Uber.” Also don’t forget to practice your scales.
Chris: don’t sweat the small things, it will always get better. Also, look after your teeth…
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Sam: Our next single is a tune called Custom Made Lizard Shoes and it has been reworked, pulled apart, stitched together and just generally laboured over for pretty much the whole pandemic. We've got Tom Wallwork from our fellow Leeds pals When They Riot doing a cheeky vocal feature too, and we love those dudes.
Rob: You, and All of Us is pretty special to me since I wrote and performed all of it except the drums myself. So, by default it has the most of me put into it!
Chris: Hmm, another difficult question, they all mean a lot to me. But if I had to pick one? Probably a song called See Through Lies. That song came from a difficult time in my life, I was in this unbelievably toxic relationship, the slightest thing would set off arguments, so much so that I felt like I couldn’t be truthful about anything from fear of kicking things off, so I would lie about stupid shit just to try and have an easy life.
Which songs are your favourite to play, and which get requested the most?
Sam: We like to kick things off early with our song We Eat the Buffalo. That always pops off and it's fun as fuck to play. Just a good skate punk banger.
Rob: Estranged is our most well-known song and when we get in front of people who know us, I hear them singing along with the lead guitar melody. That’s pretty special.
Chris: See Through Lies is always a crowd favourite as it’s the big ballad type song, but it’s a bastard to sing live! I’m not standing here pretending I’m some kind of pro... My personal favourite to play live is our 2021 single Estranged, we’ve just rehearsed it so much that no matter how sloppy we’re being on the night, that one is always performed to a T, it’s just fun to play, easy to execute and each part of the song is different.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Sam: It varies! Sometimes one of us writes a song, we jam it out and it's that simple. Other times a humble WhatsApp voice note of a riff can start a chain of events leading to another banger for our shows.
Rob: If I don’t have something on the go then I get anxious. So, I’m always cranking out riffs and the like. A lot of it is guff, but every so often you hit upon something that people pick up on. I’m generally trying to push myself to be better, sometimes technically, sometimes just from a songwriting perspective.
Chris: There’s always guitar demos knocking about in the WhatsApp group, but personally I’m up and down, I can go weeks or months without having anything, then suddenly, I’ll just get a wave of creativity and start writing riffs or lyrics, there’s nothing like a deadline to kickstart your creativity though, that sometimes is the biggest motivator.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Chris: To understanding life isn’t always peachy, but it can always get better if you try to live it to the fullest and stand up for what’s right.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Sam: I mean we're a pretty functional group of misfits. We all know that eventually we'll be able to get separate helicopters to our stadium tour, so we just scrunch up any resentments into a teeny tiny ball and bury it away until then.
Rob: If that doesn’t work, I just start screaming “I’ll kill your families!” until I bore everyone into submission.
Chris: Nah not really, it’s all mutually beneficial, everyone has a say. I learnt to put ego aside a long time ago, the end goal is working for the song, not the individual.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Sam: Our new single is coming out in 4 hour’s time! Check out Cup of Coffee in the big time from May 6th on the streamers. If you dig it, we've got Lizard Shoes next month and the EP soon after!
Rob: By the time this is live Coffee will likely be out, Lizard is due in a month or so, mixing depending. I’m excited to start trying to plan a tour for all of this. It’s been a long time coming! And of course writing some new material, I’m sick of all our songs now, haha.
Chris: Keep moving forward, keep growing, hopefully the shows and crowds will get bigger.