It’s been three years since we last dug into the beast that is The Survival Code. Time to see what they’re up to these days. We’re sure it’s every bit as entertaining…
(Gary) Dublin but I’ve been in the UK 10 years, (Tom) I’m a local from London.
How did you meet?
(Tom) That beautiful place known as “Gumtree”. We are a duo now and have been playing together since 2012 or so. We have met so many others from Gumtree and other music sites down the years but this is one that clicked! Meeting band members is always a stressful endeavour as it’s like adopting someone into the family, and as most things in life it’s very hard to get right. This fact along with the new songs and time pressure led to us scaling down to a 2-piece act.
How long have you been playing as a band?
(Gary) We had our first proper rehearsal as a band playing songs in 2012. I moved to London to get from behind the drum kit in heavier rock and metal bands to be a frontman of a project. I figured the best way to show what we were about was to record a representative demo, so did that in 2011 playing all the instruments and that’s what we used to put the band together and were the first songs we played. The songs are actually available everywhere if you fancy seeing what we used to sound like as we released it later in 2012 – Everything But Today.
Before you get sick of being asked. where does the band name come from?
(Gary) No worries! We never get tired of talking about ourselves! Our name is quite intense and it’s all my fault. I’ve always written songs as a means of forming an understanding of what is going on around me and when I turned up in England I had about 80 songs demo’d and ready to go within reason, so it made sense for the project to reflect that theme. So The Survival Code was a vocation of sorts to write songs and to give almost everything to the cause. We stuck to that process throughout and many of those demos became more refined and ended up on releases, including upcoming tracks
What are your influences?
(Tom) Alkaline Trio, Coheed and Cambria, Foo Fighters, Avenged Sevenfold, Royal Blood, Biffy, QOTSA
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
(Gary) Our music has finally found its formula. We are very proud of what we have produced on the lead up to the new album but we are delighted with how we captured our sound on this and feel it truly represents us. If we had to describe our sound I’d say we are more American rock than British in our production, we love riffs, moving guitars, detailed patterns on drums which are all bolstered by soaring vocals with catchy lyrics and punchy bass lines. Our live show is frantic, full on and energetic and we mix that alt-rock feel with pop/rock music and it feels amazing to perform. Perseverance is also one of our strongest traits. We have full artistic control over all aspects of our project and we are self funded so we can go as long as the passion is there. We have met so many talented bands/acts that have come and gone since we’ve been around due to money and life issues, we’re going to keep going until we get this right.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
(Tom) So it’s hard to hide the theme of the album – so yes we do! In the least moan-y way possible, the album is called Hopelessness of People. This is a reflection/summation of our experiences with almost everybody we’ve met in this industry. So many people in this sector get away with filling young and impressionable acts with lies and hot air, it’s unaccountable unlike almost any other job when it comes to results time.
At the end of the day this is an art form and is therefore highly subjective but what we encountered is more to do with actual people. Like a band member that joined after we recorded our first album that was actually a secret drug addict and had to leave after a few months. A manager working with us for 6 months trying to get us on tours disappeared off the face of the earth in 2017 with all the work/contacts and not a word since, to the countless other stories of PR, video, radio, photographer and bass player issues we had. We have always treated the project professionally, it’s hard to find others to see it in the same way.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
(Gary) Full intensity! I often hear that or bands talking about how energetic they are but live it’s often not happening… We should be selling umbrellas at our show, it’s so hot and sweaty – there isn’t a moment! The show itself is also about survival. Now that there are only two of us there is so much to do, and whenever we’re not playing/singing we are banging with the music. We’ve played 60-70 shows over the last 4 years. It’s changed for this release though as we are a duo now. I recorded the bass for the album and we play live to it on a backing. I promise there is so much going on otherwise you’ll leave with no question we don’t need a bass player :)
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
(Tom) At our last album release show, we released 200 balloons and confetti on to an unsuspecting crowd and a balloon fight/football game ensued between the crowd and us throughout the rest of the show. Thankfully we were last on stage as it was our release so nobody minded.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
(Tom) – Pearl export drumkit/hardware and a mixture of Sabian and Meinl cymbals
(Gary) – ESP Eclipse – Mesa Boogie Mini rectifier – Orange “James Root” Cabinet
We use backing tracks too as I was saying earlier, we found a good compromise with our producer where we could use a fairly low tech setup on stage which has enabled us to stress a lot less when setting up before shows. We have noticed since we have done this a great deal of bands/acts are doing similar for some or significant backing. Finding a way to make it deliverable is one of the biggest challenges.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
(Tom) We have a new album out this August 31st called Hopelessness of People in case you missed above. We have had two singles out off the album already which have received good coverage and one more either side of the album before October so we’re very excited for coming months to share what we’ve been doing with the world!
What are your plans for 2018?
(Gary) Two more singles, an album and a load of live dates to confirm. Keep an eye on our site/socials, we promise it’ll be worth it.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
(Gary) We would have to aim high, go for an act that draws the biggest crowd in our sphere which is probably the Foos! So if we support them we can play a stadium and then whoever supports us gets the same which feels like something every musician would love to do at some point. To support us, a band that have been very good to us with shows and are very talented lads a small but up and coming Brighton band called ContraTelic.