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?
[Ross] England! We are from Bedfordshire originally, but half of us now live in Hertfordshire.
How did you meet?
[Ross] James and I have know each other since school, and have been playing music together for over 10 years. We only started playing in bands together about 5 years ago, which is when we roped in our good friend Phil. We searched for a drummer online and found Nathan, who fit in immediately.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
[Ross] We originally formed as Hatespire back in 2009, which consisted of us four and a keyboardist named Marcello. We released a demo and played a few gigs, but unfortunately life got in the way and the band was put on the back burner. Then in 2012 we picked up again.
Where does the name of the band come from?
[Ross] It is the name of a song by one of our favourite bands from down under, Be’lakor. If you don’t already know them you should check them out ASAP.
What are your influences – individually or as a band?
[Ross] Mainly Nordic metal bands from Sweden and Finland. Insomnium, Be’lakor, Omnium Gatherum, Dark Tranquillity. We also partial to a bit of Prog, as well as Jazz.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
[James] Our EP is heavily influenced by the bands mentioned above, notably Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum. That said, the more we write, the more interesting our music is becoming. For example, we’ve got some Japanese-influenced sections that we’ve started to experiment with live, and these will be on our debut full-length.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
[James] We try to make our live sound as huge as possible. On the EP we use a lot of strings and keyboard parts, so we use a backing track with all these for a massive sound. We haven’t played too many gigs, and they’ve mostly been in the Beds / Cambs area. We’ll be planning on taking our show wider in the future, and hopefully abroad soon!
Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it?
[James] Not at all! We played a gig at The Castle Tavern in Luton right after we released our EP, and it was suggested that we should enter. Every round was tough, there are some incredible local bands in this area.
What sort of setlist can we expect?
[James] We’ll be playing a few songs from our EP, and a brand new track from our album, out early next year. We put in all our effort to have this one song ready for Bloodstock, and we’re so proud of it. We recorded it recently with Danny B at HVR Studios in Ipswich. He’s a pro, and a great guy too.
Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?
[James] Definitely Enslaved and Ihsahn for me, although judging by their and our positions on the bill, and cross-referencing them with last year’s stage times (yeah, we’re sad like that) it looks like we’re going to miss out. Still, I think playing will make up for it!
What are you working on at the moment?
[James] Right now we’re working to get our new song ‘Solace’ out before Bloodstock, along with some new merch we can take with us. As soon as that’s over we’ll be finishing the writing of our debut full-length. Again, we’ll be recording with Danny over at HVR Studios. That should keep us busy up until the new year.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?
[James] On the day of our first gig as Hatespire Ross managed to crash his car, totalling it and smashing his Jackson guitar too. He was lucky to be alive, but still managed to perform great, luckily having a spare guitar.
What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?
[James] You can’t do anything half-hearted. If it’s really what you want to do, stop watching telly, put the iPad down and work your arse off!
If you could be part of any 3-band line-up (as support or headlining) who else would you have on the bill?
[James] That’s a tough one! We love so many bands, but I think it’d have to be Insomnium and Be’lakor. Obviously, we’d be on first!
Countless Skies play the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the Friday.