You may have heard of a really cool band from Newport. Something to do with helicopters. Well, they’re not the only act to make a noise that can be heard emanating from deepest, darkest… erm… Wales!
Neil (guitar), Dan (vocals) and James (guitar) have known each other since around 2011, which was when they were in another Newport based band together. Rhys (drums) came on board in 2018 and then Dave (bass) just last year. Copehill Down started as just a two person home recording project, consisting of Neil on guitar and Vocalist, Dan.
How long have you been playing as a band?
The band has existed in some form since 2015 but we’ve only really been playing together as our full line up since around May last year.
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
Neil had a book lying around called Abandoned Places. It was basically a book of narrated photography of various abandoned places around the world. This theme along with themes we’d been writing about lyrically at the time, just seemed to work together. We did some more research online and came across this abandoned, purpose-built army training village in the Salisbury Plains called Copehill Down. Neil and Dan thought it had kind of a cool ring to it, as in a ‘Parkway Drive’ kind of ring and that was that. Some people assume we’re ex-soldiers because of the name which makes us laugh – I can assure you we’re not soldier material.
What are your influences?
The common influence for all of us is certainly metalcore, right from the first wave of bands like Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying and Unearth right up until present day bands like Landmarks, Polaris and Spiritbox. We’re all also into different progressive, djent styles and that finds its way into the writing here and there. And of course, the classic metal of the 80s and 90s including Metallica and Iron Maiden, which inspire a lot of our riffs. All of these bands have helped us to grow into the band we are.
Individually, our favourite bands are:
- Rhys (drums) – Meshuggah
- Dave (bass) – While She Sleeps and SikTh
- Dan (vocals) – August Burns Red
- Neil (guitar) – Unearth and After The Burial
- James (guitar) – Monuments and Parkway Drive
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
We’re a fierce, technical and emotionally charged metalcore band, capturing the raw aggression of the early metalcore of the 2000s and 2010s (Unearth, Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying), but we are also heavily influenced by classic metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Metallica. We combine crushing riffs, epic hooks, brutal breakdowns and gritty energy. Our roots stem from metalcore but as we continually develop our sound, we’re infusing elements of progressive and djent styles with a view to forge a unique sound that can’t be labelled as any specific genre.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
We write about social commentary a lot, basically things that p**s us off and those things we have to deal with in every day life. For example, our single, Type I is about the power structures in society and wanting to be independent of them. Other themes we’ve recently written about are all hinging on the decline of human civilisation and where we’re heading as a species. So yeah, cheery stuff!
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
It’s still very early days for us and so far we’ve only played a handful of local shows but we’re hoping to ramp up our live shows across the UK later in the year once we finish recording our EP, we’d also love to get onto the festival circuit.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Again, haven’t encountered anything too wild just yet but watch this space!
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
- Neil (guitar): Ibanez Prestige, Ibanez Iron Label RGS, ESP LTD H3-1000, Engl Ironball Special Edition, Engle cab.
- James (guitar): Schecter KM6-MKII, Ibanez Iron Label RGDIX6MPB, Line 6 Helix LT Floor, Laney LFR-212
- Dave (bass): Warwick RockBass Corvette 5-String, Fender Rumble Stage 800 Bass Combo, Darkglass Microtubes B3K Bass Overdrive Pedal.
- Dan (vocals): Shure Beta 58A, Boss VE-1 Vocal Echo
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
We recently released our new single and music video – Akiya on 18th Feb which we’ve been promoting pretty heavily for the last couple of weeks. Akiya is arguably our most aggressive and technical song so far and represents the end result of experimenting with our sound over the last couple of years. The song pulls on loads of influences and we’re really happy with the pretty unique sound we’ve landed on. We’re currently working on an EP which we are hoping to release in August with a couple more singles being released before then.
What are your plans for the next 6 months or so?
The next six months are going to be very busy with two more singles and music videos to be released leading to the launch of the full EP in the summer. We are also playing in the South Wales heats of the Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses competition beginning in May! We’re then hoping to organise various live shows around the UK following the release of our EP.
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!
We’d love to support August Burns Red. They’re a band we’ve really admired for a long time and have a huge amount of respect for. They’ve worked really hard and crafted their art and sound and they’ve just kept on slowly rising up the ranks to become the respected band they are today. They’ve just persevered, and they seem like cool guys! Also got a lot of respect for Parkway Drive, they’ve literally done it all themselves, the tenacity that takes is something to be admired! A local band we’ve played with, who are also well worth a shout out, are I Fight Bears from Bridgend – they’re a really talented band and they always put on a great show!
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