A couple of days ago, I got the chance to have a chat with the vocalist (Chris) and guitarist (Andy) from UK metallers Wearing Scars. Amongst other things, we chatted about their debut album, studio work and their advice to new bands. Read on for the full details…
How have the shows on the tour been so far?
Chris: They’ve been good! We thought it might be a bit hit and miss as we’re up against Meshuggah and Avenged Sevenfold on some nights but overall it’s been good. There was a bit of cock-up in York where the promoter got the wrong door times but the night before last we played in Chester which was really good.
Andy: It’s been going down well, I think.
C: We’ve been really happy with the turnout for us as well. We’ve had folk turning up with our shirts on and singing along which has been quite a surprise actually.
Your debut album came out in July 2015. How do you feel it’s been received?
A: A lot of guitar fans only really want to hear guitar which is the last thing I want to hear on an album! It was kinda weird to be known for something and then not doing that.
C: I had the same. I was known for doing heavy technical stuff with lots of harsh vocals wheras this music is all clean vocals. I think people were a little shocked a first but we’ve found our own fans and we’ve kinda stopped riding on our previous success. We’ll be starting work on the new album soon as these days album cycles don’t last as long.
A: I don’t think it’s really in our minds that it’s two bands come together anymore. We’ve kinda had a couple of false starts with the new stuff in terms of laying it down. We’ve stopped listening to outside input as it bogged us down. We’ll do a better album if we do what we want to do.
C: If you chase something then you’re screwed. We don’t make anything from doing this so we want to enjoy ourselves.
When writing the songs for this band, did you consciously try and make the songs different?
C: It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. My own band was pretty tech and great but I was the one that was wanting to clam things down and tone down the tech. It got to the point where I was kinda killing my old band so it was definitely conscious for me.
A: I’m definitely more tame in my personal tastes. I wouldn’t really class myself as a metalhead to be honest. This stuff is definitely more song orientated compared to my previous stuff. With the shred stuff, it’s way more from a rock background as that’s what I enjoy.
What sort of equipment are you using at the moment, Andy?
A: At the moment I’m running direct using a Kemper with some profiles I did for an Australian company. For monitoring on stage I’m running that into a H&K 40 watt head. The cool thing about this setup is that I can adjust that for the room without affecting the front of house sound. Therefore if it’s too quiet on stage I can adjust it without pissing of the sound-tech. It’s working out to be the best rig tonally and in terms of ease of setup I’ve ever had. You don’t have to worry about mic placement things and you’ve got the same consistent sound every night.
C: Especially not being top of the bill, you’ve not really got a lot of time to setup and having the Kemper just makes things much easier. All you need to do is turn-up, plug it in and turn it up.
I gather you do a bit of studio work, Chris. How did that come about?
C: Through necessity really. It’s too expensive as a band to go out to a studio and start recording a lot of stuff. If you do it yourself, you have much more control over what you do and can chop and change things as you please. Over the last ten years I’ve gradually got better and better and it’s the sort of thing you drop and leave if you need to go off on tour. You’ve also started getting into it as well, Andy…
A: Yeah, I’ve started getting into it over past years. I’ve always been interested in doing it and in the past year I’ve probably spent more time doing that than playing guitar!
C: I think it’s an important skill. We used to do what bands normally do with paying folk for stuff but these days you’ve got to stay ahead of the game. We just do everything ourselves now. Our bassist is our TM, our drummer does all the merch, I do a lot of the production and Andy writes the songs. It’s kinda like a band in a box!
What advice would you give to a new band?
C: As much I would say don’t do it, my advice is always the same. So many bands go into the music industry thinking that it’s like push starting a car. They think that as soon as they reach the hill that things are going to get moving and take off. Kind of like surfing. You think that you’ll catch the wave that’ll take you into shore, but you need to paddle all the way to shore.
This is what happened with me, I got the record deal and I ran out of money and I ran out of steam. Everything then came to a standstill. People need to understand the reality of the industry. You can’t change it, you just have to roll with it. If you’re not having fun though, then just stop. Make sure you can fund yourself because if you want to tour then it’ll cost you money. Do it for the right reasons and don’t expect a big pay cheque at the end. If you do, give it to me as I’ve given you advice!
Finally, sum up the band in 3 words.
Both: Oh no….
C: I can never answer these kind of questions!
A: Ummmm, I’d say barrel of laughs for the band.
C: Yeah, I think that sums it up. “Barrel of laughs.”