What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Thom: I grew up listening to a lot of 50’s rock ‘n’ roll and doo-wop stuff - Buddy Holly, Dion & The Belmonts, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Clovers, Elvis Presley, etc. so my love of rock music was moulded pretty early on. Michael Jackson was my favourite artist throughout my childhood up until I was around 9 and I watched Korn’s “Who Then Now?” on VHS. I think that was the point when I was like “Okay, I really want to play music in a band”. I was the only kid in my primary school who liked metal music, so I was even more of an outcast for that reason, which just pushed me even more to start playing. I got into high school and met some like-minded individuals who actually knew about the bands I liked and was subsequently introduced to other bands through them. Got my first guitar during the summer break before I started high school so it just started from there and has consistently been a passion of mine since then. I still have that guitar too.
Crag: I got into music at a very early age. My old man is a bit of a music head so I grew up listening to the Beatles, thin Lizzy , pink floyd etc. So it seemed obvious to me that as I grew up it was something I had a passion for. I’d probably be a Gardener or professional asshole. It’s hard to tell.
Cal: My parents never particularly forced music on me, just listened to Michael Jackson and ABBA and stuff like that. I bought Korn's Issues when I was 11 and that introduced me to heaviness. Heard the Sex Pistols a year later and was completely sold on the attitude, aggression and the mindset that songs can have while still being musical, but not flashy or self indulgent. I dunno, probably not a lot. It's a massive part of my life. Probably just swinging my hammer around at work.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Crag: Out of music I’m still constantly listening to new artists and going to gigs as it’s in my blood but I’m also a keen golfer which doesn’t do much for creativity but it resets my inner wiring im also occasional hill bombing skater (the one with a board, not shoes with wheels!). Again this doesn’t have much influence as it’s more of a mind clearing adrenaline rush.
Cal: I'm interest in wildlife and the natural world. Getting out in forest and having a waddle. Nature has always inspired musicians and composers. I think it helps you refocus and get back to a more primal mindset, good for grooves I guess.
Thom: Just regular, everyday stuff. Spend time with my family, see my friends when I can, do the weekly food shop. I don’t really have many hobbies outside of music… I like to mix in my spare time, so I normally just download free multitracks online and mix those.
How long has your band been around?
Crag: We're still in our infancy and coming up to 2 years since our first rehersal. Safe to say within that time we must have had enough almost completed songs for 2 or 3 albums. We’re busy dudes!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Thom: We’re based out of Worcester, and ? of the band have lived here their entire lives. A very small and old city that’s in the process of trying to keep up with other big cities by modernising the city centre and opening a million different burger places. It’s a pretty historic place and can be quite dull at times. That’s the price you pay for living in one of the safest cities in the UK and I really don’t mind that.
Crag: I originally grew up in a place in the midlands called Nuneaton which is a rough old place but if it wasn’t for the rock scene there at a bar called The Crew and the folk I became friends with, I wouldn’t be me today so there’s definitely that! Other than that Google mount judd - it’s the second best thing there.
Cal: Some awesome venues and bars have helped shape the city a lot and theres always been a decent music scene, often more bands than people to watch all the gigs. So these rad places and rad people have helped shape us as well.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
Cal: We kept circling around the idea of nothing. Not entirely sure why. We self deprecate for a laugh quite a lot so maybe that was it. The feeling of nothing fits in quite well with the occasional apathetic, fed up and "pffft" feelings people get and traditionally this genre projects that as a topic. But we went with Zilch, seems like a slightly more fun way of saying nothing.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Crag: I think we’d all agree the best was Worcester Music festival this year. The place was rammed and we were really we received.
Cal: Worst gig we've played was a gig in Hereford where we were in a cafe which had a volume limit of 90db, which is kind of like a butterfly's fart. We couldn't really play our usual set, it was painfully quiet and Crag was hardly touching his drums. It was outside, it was kind of cold and we were on after an acoustic duo. So I think we played 3 songs and went to get drunk. The lads who put us on ("Word of Mouth" from Worcester) had good intentions booking us but it just wasnt our bag. Wrong band for the gig.
Thom: Got to agree with Cal on this one. Hereford was worse because we didn’t get any new fans or fuel money to cover our travel. It’s just one of those things though, you’ve got to grin and bear it.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Cal: Out of the venues we have played so far the firebug in Leicester and The Giffard arms in Wolverhampton are really cool. I used to love playing the Croft in Bristol when that still existed. I'm supposed to say somewhere epic like the Colosseum or inside a volcano. But I just want to play every decent rock club type venue, so give us a shout.
Crag: We have a lot of decent Venues in Worcester that we’ve played in, such as the Marrs Bar, Annie’s, Heroes Bar and Paradiddles. We love them all but Heroes takes it for me. It’s my local watering hole, the people and atmosphere is top notch and the gigs there have been great - well worth visiting! There’s a ton of venues I’d love to play with this band. I’ve played at the Scala in London and Kentish forum Town, two venues I’d love to go back to. Concorde in Brighton is also a place I’d love to revisit.
Thom: I was actually surprised when I thought about it, but I loved playing The Firefly at WMF. It was hot and intense and we had no inhibitions. It was just really good fun. I like Marrs Bar because the sound engineers there are great because they know their craft very well. We always get a huge sound there and the on-stage mix is always good. I'd love to play Paradiso in Amsterdam, it looks amazing.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Crag: Wow, good question. Flying names off the top of my head it would have to be opening for the Foo Fighters with Queens of the Stone Age as main support. Could you imagine?!
Thom: Us, Tigercub, Dinosaur Pile Up. I’ve had the pleasure of supporting Tigercub once in my old band Tempus and it was great. But to be on a bill with them and Dinosaur Pile Up would be amazing.
Cal: Maybe opening for Nirvana, with Dinosaur Jr. off the top of my head, just because we'd fit in a bit.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
Thom: Push your ego down because nobody likes working with people like that. Just keep practicing as often as you can and write whatever comes to you - don’t spend time obsessing over certain vibes you’re wanting to emulate or current trends. Always be true to yourself and make sure you play with like-minded people.
Cal: Play what you REALLY want and keep it authentic, don't try and be too current for the sake of it. Chuck your body and mind fully into playing. Leave any inflated ego at the door and have as much FUN as possible. In my head, if you do that people will recognize it and appreciate your music more.
Crag: I’d say stick at it. Play as much as you can and get that road mileage on you. Gigs are tough to get and a lot of them can be terrible but you gotta do them. It’s all part of the process. Something we’re still going through!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Cal: All of the above. Do more gigs, dont be afraid to tell people to fuck off. Be humble, be welcoming. Maximum effort.
Crag: Easily has to be spend more time focusing on drums and not partying and women when I was a kid. Parties happen all the time. You end up finding yourself with someone you wanna spend your life with, but practicing hours behind your instrument when your brain is at that age is something you can’t get back.
Thom: For the love of God, stop screaming so much - what are you so angry about?! Train your voice and harness your range. Don’t smoke. Idiot.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Cal: For me it's probably 'Righteous', mostly because I had a heavy hand in the riffs. It is a good song to vent with - good gig or bad gig, that song is always a high point for me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
I don’t know what I’d be doing now and I don’t really want to think about it. Maybe I’d be in prison - I probably would have gotten in with the wrong crowd if it wasn’t for being able to vent through music.
I would say “Peachy”. It’s a song for anyone who has ever been left or has lost somebody close to them. I wouldn’t say that it’s about losing someone from a romantic perspective, but it could be viewed that way. It could be about suddenly losing touch with a close friend. Anyway, I would like to think that once we have it recorded it could provide some comfort to people going through anything like that. I think it will resonate with people.
I like playing “Drought”. It’s our most melodic/poppy song and has a bouncy rhythm which really gets me every time. It’s got some cool dynamics in it too so it’s really fun to play live. I’ve noticed that when we announce “Righteous”, our first single, we seem to be getting more of a response with each gig. So, I’d have to say that one would be not most requested, but probably best received.
It really does depend. It could be me or Cal noodling at practice, coming in with a riff or even a fully fledged collection of parts to make a song. We all have a hand in what kind of direction the song goes and the feel of it, but Crag has a knack for suggesting cool things to do in certain sections. We normally just play the parts and work on a structure and then once we have that nailed down instrumentally I’ll start experimenting with melodies, etc. Lyrics are the last thing that are done.
I honestly don’t spend too much time thinking about the lyrics, just certain patterns and rhythms and vowel sounds will jump out at me when we’ve recorded it on a phone in rehearsal and I’ll base lyrics around that. I guess my lyrics can be kind of nonsensical to some people, but if at least one person in the audience at one of our shows gets it or feels it then I’m happy. I like to complain a lot and be sarcastic - it just works for me as a release. In terms of messages, I guess it depends on what you as an individual gets out of the lyrics. A lot of them are about very personal things which is probably why they come across as cryptic. “Righteous” is a double-header - it’s about somebody I used to work under and about people being fake. Those things really piss me off, and those are the lyrics that came out. Pretty dumb, but it makes me feel better.
We do, yeah. It’s totally normal and a lot like a relationship, I think. It’s totally democratic and our discussions are pretty calm. They can be kind of passive-aggressive but that’s all me.
Lots more gigs and lots of new songs. We’ll have a new single out early next year and we’re recording an EP. Maybe even a music video. It’s all coming up roses at camp Zilch.
Again, righteous. Shade is close as well just because it's a punk rager but has an almost metal vibe, all out mosh section in the middle. Some of the songs we're currently writing might nick it though.
it's a mixed bag. Sometimes someone will come in with a completely written song. Sometime 2 or 3 ideas that go together that need finishing. Or we have nothing and just hit a few notes that catch our ear and we end up with a song in a few minutes. Just the usual boring shit like things that happen in the day, looking forward to the weekend or a gig. Just generally being a human.
thom can do that
oh yeah, all the time. There's never any bad blood because it's for a good cause. Having 3 of us makes voting for things easier. We just tend to be passive aggressive about it, make stupid comments and then laugh until it doesnt matter. If its about song ideas, we record them on a phone, and see which sounds better in a few days
For me it’s gonna be righteous. It was the first song we fully wrote as a band and it’s got some balls to it. It’s heavy and it’s sleazy. Again it has to be be righteous for the above reasons but I also like a track we have entitled ‘heavy’. It’s got a great beat it and it’s a little different. Creative process = beer / booze. Great song writing juice. I’ll let Thom answer that. I like the message of partying and letting loose when people see us live. All the damn time. It’s the beauty of being in a band. We try to discuss like adults but the word penis or words such as that get thrown at someone at some point. We then hash through it as a band dig in and get a result we’re all happy with. Having arguments and disagreements in bands is a healthy process and one you have to have to become better as a group. We have a lot coming up next year. Lots of gigs. A single release and an ep. People will be hearing more of us next year. We have the drive and we believe in what we do.