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!
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Hi, I’m Paul the guitarist with By Any Means. We’re from Belfast, Northern Ireland although I’m originally from Leeds but have been here in NI for over 20 years now.
How did you meet?
We all met through the band really. Paul the vocalist and Gav the drummer were each in other bands that B.A.M. played on the same bill with and they later became members of the band as others left. Chris has been in B.A.M. with me pretty much since the beginning, though I’m the only original founding member left.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
We’ve been together as a band for 6 years now, though Paul has recently joined, Gav has been in for about a year and Chris for 5 years.
Where does the name of the band come from?
Our original bassist (who then went onto vocals for our album Built On Respect) Dave came up with the name.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
When it comes to the music Chris and I write the riffs and our influences are very wide ranging. Everything from blues, bluegrass, jazz and folk to metal, punk and hardcore. In our music I hear a lot of old-school influences like Agnostic Front, Madball, SOIA and Slapshot but also a solid rock and metal groove from bands like Machine Head, Sabbath, Orange Goblin, Trouble etc. Those are definitely bands that I would turn to when I’m in the mood for writing new riffs.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
I think in the B.A.M. sound there’s something in there for everyone who enjoys heavy music. We have flat-out hardcore songs that have speed, simplicity and aggression and we’re not afraid to break it down to slower more riff-laden groove for something that you feel compelled to at least nod your head to and break out the air guitar. Chris throws in some fantastic jazz inspired bass runs into the mix of minor pentatonic inspired riffs and it really lifts a simple groove into something more technical and thoughtful. Add to that vocals that are aggressive but clearly heard, lyrics that are meaningful and thought out and a good rhythm from the bass and drums locking in and I think we’ve a really good formula for getting into people’s ears.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
I think our live show is what makes us a great band. We’ve spent a lot of time on our live sound so it’s heavy and stand-out punchy. We’re very energetic and move around on stage. I hate a band who stay in one place and guitarists who just stand and look at the neck of their guitar the whole time. We interact with each other and the crowd and try to make them feel part of the show, after all it’s THEIR show, not ours – we’re just the entertainment. We encourage people to get on stage, sing along and stage dive and we encourage them to move and get involved in a pit. We want them to remember the part they played in it, and through that remember us as well.
We’ve played hundreds of shows, I couldn’t even guess. We’ve played with bands like Madball, Soilent Green, Dripback, Orange Goblin, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, First Blood and so, so many more.
When/how did you find out you’d been selected to play at Bloodstock?
[Laughs] there’s a story behind that but I’ll give you the short version, which is that we found out late last year. It was really hard to keep it a secret for so long put it that way.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
Just the number ones and the hits [laughs]. Fast, aggressive, groove laden and more riffs than you could shake a riff branch from the riff tree at.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
Orange Goblin or Pro-Pain. Both massive influences on me as a guitarist and both know how to put on a show. Orange Goblin are all old mates of mine too so I definitely wanna catch them.
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re gonna start writing for a new album once Bloodstock is over and we’ve support slots with English Dogs and UK hardcore legends Discharge coming up. Plus gigs with Beholder and my old band Freebase to look forward to.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
I’ve been touring with bands for almost 30 years now and I’ve seen some stuff would make your toenails go black and drop out. The wildest things are not fit for print put it that way [laughs]. I once had a fight with Glenn Benton of Deicide and knocked his ass down on the ground. Prick.
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
Play like hell – Play any and every gig you can for no money if you have to.
Tour as much as you can – Your mates blowing smoke up your ass about how great you are doesn’t mean squat. Playing to someone who couldn’t give a damn about whether or not they like you actually liking you is worth a hundred mates saying you’re the next Five Finger Dick Pull.
The mark of a good band is their live show – Anyone can sound great on CD so work on it. Make a mark live and people will forgive your scratchy demos.
Work on your live sound and use the best equipment you can get your hands on – If you turn up to a show with a line 6 spider combo don’t be surprised if the sound engineer or crowd don’t take you seriously.
Be humble – Listen to advice given to you by the pro’s.
Ask questions – Most pro’s are happy to answer well presented questions about how they got started and the stuff they had to go through to get a break.
Network – Take every gig as an opportunity to chat with the promoter. Have your cd/demo etc. with you and be nice to the promoter and he/she might just book you to play on the next bill they put on.
Most importantly – HAVE FUN. Trust me, you ain’t gonna get paid for a loooooooong time. You’re probably never gonna make it either so have fun with it cos if it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!
Well we’re a ‘smaller, unsigned act’ [laughs]. Above would be Metallica or Slayer. They shaped my life when I was a kid with albums like Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, Hell Awaits and Reign In Blood. I’m old enough to remember those albums being released! As I say to the younger guys in the band ‘I might be old but I got to see all the best bands with their greatest line-ups’. I’d have a young band from Northern Ireland called Donum Dei below us. Keep an eye out for that name cos I’ve no doubt they’ll be playing Bloodstock in the very near future.
Thanks guys. Paul BAM.
By Any Means are playing the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the Sunday.