I was lucky enough to be a part of Survival Code’s album launch for their debut album MMXV (which in roman numerals stands for 2015). I got to witness the start to what is looking to be a promising future for these guys. I also got to briefly speak to them before their concert started to get a little insight into the band members and how this all got started.
How did Survival Code begin? And how did you all meet?
Gary: Well I got to the UK in 2011 and started working on a demo and advertising the music I was working on. I then advertised on gumtree for bands members.
Tom: I got back from travelling and taking a break out and just wanted to do something fun and new. So when I found Gary’s advert I took him up on the offer and it just all started from there.
Pete: I just wanted a change from the band I was in and was looking to try something new as well, so well again when I saw Gary’s ad on Gumtree I thought I’d give it a go.
What were your musical influences?
Our influences are heavy rock but we wanted to be lighter than the generic metal you get out there and add pop elements into our music. When you consider how big the pop industry is, it dwarfs all other forms of music. Plus whether you like it or not, pop music has an impact and influence on all our lives. At the time we were sick of the music we were playing and wanted to infuse the pop element into it, mixing it with our own style.
What are your live shows like or how do you anticipate them being?
They’re sweaty and intense. We love to just infuse an element of fun into our sets; we keep our smiles going and love interacting with the audience. End of the day the whole thing is fake (this made all the guys laugh) it’s just the industry. Our sets are just loud, mixed with darkness and softness. We just want to keep the door open for most people and hope they enjoy our sound.
What are your future plans for Survival Code?
We haven’t really discussed anything long term, but the short term goal of ours is to be able to be part of a summer festival. We would love to join the other big names and end up on the big stage with them. We would just love to experience the summer festivals from the stage and share our music with the thousands of people stood out in the blazing heat to see their favourite bands. Well kicking off the album was a really good kick off point for us and has been our main for a long time. We even took a break out for a couple of years of playing live to put all our effort into this album and work on us as a band. It was far too inconsistent for us to manage both live playing and working on the album, it was a huge risk and we just hope that the gamble has paid off for us.
What are your most memorable moments or memories as a band?
I’d say playing with Zoax in Barfly was an amazing moment for me as I’d never experienced playing with such a big band. It really was an experience and it just made us want to up our game. I mean the main moment for us is that when we lost our fourth member, we honestly thought that we wouldn’t be able to be a three piece band. It really has worked for us though and well now it’s just natural for us.
And on to the live show…
At this point the band had to get ready for their set and left me to head down to the stage area to await the starting acts Sherman Herman and Sal Vitro.
Sherman Herman were the band to get the night kicked off. I’ve got to say they have a very unique sound to them as their music was clearly influenced by soul music which gave them a very retro sound. It’s almost a very folky sound that I would associate with a 1960s era English rock/blues band. Their set was very mellow, even their own “fast songs” had a very chilled out aspect to them. Now I personally found them to not be in my own personal tastes as I’m more of a heavy metal/power metal fan. As such, I am accustomed to fast paced, loud and aggressive music, so I find it hard to get into Sherman Herma’s style. Don’t however let this take away from the band as they do have some real potential, but their set really does need to cater to the right crowd and the right bands to support.
Sal Vitro were the next band to hit the stage. Now this was a difficult band to really describe as their music style had a very mixed element to it, combined rock with a vintage blues/soul sound to them. Now as described previously I am a very big fan of loud, in your face metal music, but I really found myself enjoying Sal Vitro. I loved the mix or music styles they added in, just listening to this review you’d probably feel that it would be difficult for the combination of a rock/blues sound, crossed with the backing singing similar to the style that Diana Ross would have behind her and coupled alongside the style of piano playing I would expect to hear out of a bar in the American deep south.
These combinations just gave the band a very unique sound and worked really well in my opinion. I could picture these guys headlining a blues club or bar in the 1960s. If I closed my eyes and listed to their set I can picture a poorly lit, dank blues bar, smoke wafting round the room but what took away from the atmosphere being the raw passion of the guys playing away on stage. The lead singers clean vocals blasting out with pure passion that blended in so well with the blues style guitar licks and the sorta keyboard playing I would expect to see from the likes of Jules Holland.
I thoroughly enjoyed their set and couldn’t help but nod my head and tap my foot along with them. These guys truly do have real promise in my eyes. Again with the right setting and paired with the right bands then they would genuinely shine. I would gladly go to see these guys again and would highly recommend them, especially for anyone partial to a bit of blues.
The Survival Code then took to the stage to finish off their album launch party and show the crowd why they were there.
I can say that I honestly enjoyed their set, which is rather surprising as I generally don’t enjoy bands that mix the rock sound with pop music. But I found their mix of modern rock and the pop sound worked really well and gave them an interesting sound. Ordinarily I’d try to compare them to bands I have listened to in an attempt to gauge how their music compares, but I found it difficult to place their music against other bands as they really do have a different sound to most other bands I’ve listen to.
Lead singer and founder of Survival Code, Gary, had a very strong and melodic tone to his vocals. It really did complement the heavy drums that Tom banged out and the deep, booming sounds that bassist Pete dished out. The band clearly have a passion for their music and pour a lot of energy into their performance. They weren’t joking either when they said they like to add an element of fun into their performance, such as when Gary jumped into the crowd with his guitar and literally played in the audience.
What truly made it a unique experience was when Pete emptied a whole bag of balloons onto the stage and started throwing and kicking them into the crowd. It’s amazing how quickly an audience can revert back to childhood when someone throws a load of balloons to them! It was good fun watching the crowd throwing them about or throwing them onto the stage to have the band kick them back out again.
I found their set thoroughly enjoyable and it made a welcome change to watch a band that didn’t take themselves too seriously and know how to keep things fun. I truly do believe that this album is going to really sky rocket the band to bigger things and I am not at all surprised that they have already amassed the fan following they have.
For Survival Code I see a very bright future and if they carry on the path they are heading down then their dreams of playing a summer festival are sure to come to pass. I just hope I’m there to cheer for them when they do.