Due to the huge number of bands playing at Bloodstock this year, and the fact that our two roving reporters will actually want to watch some of them, we’re doing a little round of pre-festival interviews this year. We’re focussing on the bands playing the Jagermeister and Hobgoblin New Blood Stages so they get a chance to convince you to go and watch them. Remember, these guys and gals are the future of our musical world!
Hell’s Gazelles’ singer Cole Bryant rattled the following off for us…
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
We’re all from around the Oxfordshire/Buckinghamshire area. Guitarist Nath Digman and I are from a small market town called Thame, drummer Luke Evans is from High Wycombe, and Bassist Dan Podbery is from a village called Eynsham. We always say we’re an Oxford/High Wycombe band since that’s where we have a real following.
How did you meet?
Me and Nath went to school together in our home town of Thame, and started the band when we were about sixteen after I sung at some school event. After more than our share of line up changes we met Luke through a side project and our new bassist Dan through advertising and word of mouth.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
We’ve only seriously pushed the band for the last year, year and a half maybe, but the very first incarnation of the band formed way back in 2008. This line up only became finalised this June with the addition of Dan Podbery.
Where does the name of the band come from?
We’ve always been huge fans of The Darkness. Nath read an interview with Justin Hawkins about a song they wrote early in their career that they only ever played once: “Hell’s Gazelle”. They dropped it because Gazelles didn’t seem hellish enough, but we made it plural and embraced it. It’s almost a bit of an antonym. It’s drawn a few comments in the past, but hey, who’s going to forget a name like that?
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
We’re really into our Hard Rock. All the old school Rock and Metal, but a lot of modern stuff like Heaven’s Basement, Tracer, The Answer, Black Spiders etc.
Nath was raised on a lot of AC/DC, Thunder and Thin Lizzy. The Darkness was a huge influence on him growing up, and he has a constant eye on the modern scene. That modern twist on a classic formula really shows through in his playing.
I’ve always sung. As a kid I was introduced to Queen, the gateway drug of rock music, and since then I’ve really got into my Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, AC/DC etc. I’m really influenced by those big names, Freddie Mercury, Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Rob Halford, David Coverdale, Ian Gillan. I aspire to be as good as those guys, as a singer and a frontman.
Dan looks to bassists like Steve Harris, Geezer Butler and Bob Daisley. Dan’s dad is this awesome music guru, so Dan was brought up surrounded by all those awesome bands of the 70s and 80s, and he’s developed the perfect mix of what you want in a rock bassist. Lots of melodic awareness and great rhythm.
Luke loves Mike Mangini, Gary O’Toole and Buddy Rich, but his love of funk and soul bass players have always played a huge part in his development, names like Victor Wooten, Larry Graham and Mark King. The great thing about Luke is that he’s always trying to stretch his horizons, both as a drummer and in terms of musical taste.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We’re a balls out, riff heavy Hard Rock band, with an emphasis on melodic vocals. Songwriting is very important to us, and there’s a lot of attitude in what we do, so it makes for a really potent mix when you add some vocal acrobatics over the top. I think that our classic attitude to song writing with a more modern perspective makes us stand out from the crowd.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Aggressive, full on, but again, very musical. Expect to get involved, we love a bit of audience participation. I’m way past losing count on the gig front, I think there’s been a dozen or so this past six months, before then I couldn’t tell you.
Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it?
Absolutely not. That’s not to say we didn’t think we were a good enough band, we just thought that the fact that we’re essentially a Hard Rock band rather than a pure Metal band would be a real barrier. I guess it means we’ll be a bit of a wildcard for the New Blood Stage!
What sort of setlist can we expect?
Most of it is pretty pacey, all out rock, but there’re some surprises in there. We’re definitely not a one trick pony. It’s all about texture when you put a set together.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with / are glad you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Got to see Black Label Society! Don’t want to clash with them. There’s some others on the smaller stages too. There’s Jettblack, a band from High Wycombe who’ll be playing the Sophie Lancaster stage. They’re a great band. Also I’ll want to catch Martyr De Mona on Saturday.
What are you working on at the moment?
There’s always new songs coming down the tube. We’re going into the studio to record our debut this November so we want to make sure everything is perfect for then. Next year is when we plan to make our big push, and that EP is going to be the springboard, so Bloodstock has come at a great time for us.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
I think that generally there’s an unhealthy amount of casual nudity.
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
Work on your songs, make sure everything you’re doing is the best it can be, and don’t take crap. A lot of people give you that at the start.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?
That’s a tough one! Personally, at the moment, I’d say The Darkness headline, Heaven’s Basement main support, and we’d open up. That’d be pretty sweet.
Hell’s Gazelles play the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the Sunday.