I recently reviewed Leeds-based sextet Tormenta’s new single “Tattooed Scars”. With the band recording a new album this year, good things could be happening for them. The single has certainly got me eager to find out what the band has in store for us next and I urge you all to keep an eye open for them coming to a town near you. I thought this would be a good time to catch up with them as they tell us all about their aspirations and goals for the coming year. Thank you guys and best wishes to you and Tormenta in 2019. The single should be commended for highlighting the plight of the issue of mental illness that can affect us all. The attached video was produced with zero budget and along with adding various mental health helplines at the end of the video, Tormenta add a nice touch to this promising single.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Tormenta is spread all over Yorkshire! We are mainly Leeds/ Sheffield based but John has just moved to Manchester.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
Tormenta is made up of Robin (clean vocals), Joe (harsh vocals), John & Fee (guitar), Donna (bass) and Dec (drums) We are just around a year old, all started off an Ill Nino tribute band that Donna, Fee and John were in.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Robin – What makes us musically unique is that we have vast diversity of influences and sounds that collate into something completely new. We have roots firmly in nu-metalcore but me and Dec are inherently rock musicians which works surprisingly well with the more industrialized metal which John, Fee and Donna advocate. Then you throw a deathcore vocalist in the mix and you’ve got yourself a Tormenta!
Tormenta have released an EP, Chapter 1 – The Storm is Coming in April 2018, and are about to release your debut album on March 9th entitled Chapter 2 – The Storm is Here. How does it feel to put in all your blood, sweat and tears and get your music out there?
Robin – Releasing Chapter 2 Is basically just a vortex of excitement, stress, anticipation, fear and probably more stress!
John – It feels amazing to listen back to our songs with such clarity! To be fair a lot of our songs we hadn’t even heard back unless it was a live video or dodgy phone video in practice so it’s just as exciting for us to be hearing this record!
Donna – I’m still getting my head around the fact I can play an instrument, so releasing an album is just nuts for me!
What can you tell us about Chapter 2 – The Storm is Here and how would you say the sound is compared to that of your EP?
John – Well straight off the bat there is a VERY BIG production difference. The original EP was recorded via 2 bedrooms from one side of Leeds to the other on whatever minimal equipment we had between ourselves. Chapter 2 was done with a great guy called Nathan Bailey at Toolmakers studio in Sheffield, so it was just beautiful to be able to hear those vocals shining though which originally sounded a little muffled on the EP recording. Like I mentioned before, a hell of a lot more clarity on this record.
Where was the album recorded and where will it be mastered? Are you using the same team or trying something different with this album?
With Nathan Bailey at Toolmakers Studio in Sheffield. However, due to our budget constraints we went about it a slightly unorthodox way. We recorded all the samples, guitars and bass at our home studios, sent the stems to Nathan and then had drums and vocals recorded at the studio before it all being mixed and mastered by Nathan. We have never been a band to listen to people that tell us “You HAVE to do it this way” or “That’ll never work like that”. We did exactly what we had to do in order to create this record and we are damn proud of what we have achieved especially considering the incredible amount of hurdles we have come up against.
Although there is only a year between releases, do you think you have found the sound you want for the band or will you keep experimenting?
We are loving how much we are developing our sound each and every time we play together. We’re getting more comfortable with one another as musicians and super keen to push the boundaries of what we are capable of. So in short yes, what’s life without a little experimentation? ;)
Tormenta are very active on the live front. What should we expect from a live show and how does it feel to perform your songs on stage and seeing the crowd react?
Fee – To say we are still a relatively new band on the scene, nervous and introverted is not in our vocabulary. From our very first show in March last year up to main support of King 810 in Sheffield in December last year we have put 200% energy into every show and we get stronger as we progress. At the end of our set we’re all absolutely dripping because none of us are fret board watchers. When I was vocalist I never used the stage, I was always in the crowd and jumping around. I’m a little more restricted nowadays due to being tied to an amp and carrying an expensive weapon but I’ve still managed to clout Joe with my guitar!
So if you see our name on a poster, come down and see us because I can promise you regardless of whether we’re opening or headlining, we will have our lights set up, smoke cannons and sheer force of our presence and music that will make any band due on after us severely question how they’re going to follow us.
What are the lyrical themes from the new album? Is there a main lyricist within the band?
Robin – I’m the main lyricist for this album, we had it written before Joe joined us. The lyrical themes involve a combination of political anguish and personal journeys of emotion. Overall this album delves into the both the global turmoil that increasingly threatens our planet as well as themes of nihilism, isolation and rage… with a few happy moments along the way!
In the future I’d love to base more songs from the band’s own stories and challenges (as we have done with “Murderous”) so that everyone feels their voice is heard through our song.
How often is the band able to get together and rehearse in the studio? Where do you get together and record?
Ha, well it’s a bit of a nightmare as we all have about a thousand things happening in our lives spread out over a large geographic area but it’s usually once a week and of course gigs throughout the month too.
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Tormenta a band where all members contribute to the songs?
Donna – Due to distances, we have so far written most songs online. John or Fee will come up with some riffs to a basic midi drum beat, the structure is then done by me and Fee, when samples are also added into the mix and when everyone is happy with the basic song, it gets sent to the vocalists to layer over. Dec makes the drumbeat his own when we play it live. So far it’s worked great for us, however we are going to try and get together to jam some stuff in a studio next time round as we know our collective brains have got some banging tracks in them!
Being a sextet and having different musical influences within the band, is there sometimes a lot of negotiating in the studio or do you feel you are writing the music you want to for the band?
Yeah there is an awful amount of discussion when it comes to making sure we are all happy with a track. It can take quite a while (especially if someone wants a structure change last min when you think everything is all good!) but on the flip side of that we have written songs before and have all simply said “change nothing”. It’s swings and roundabouts but we do whatever it takes to get the sound we want and ensure we our being true to ourselves with the music we put out there.
How hard has it been to juggle the touring side of things with the everyday jobs? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield in 2019?
Well the touring side of things has been more the gigging side if you see what I mean? Ok wait let me put that in better words. We haven’t really spent any solid time in a bus together for weeks at a time but we have done gigs everyday at points and obviously the rest of the time so we 90% of the time try to always get back home so we can still get on with our everyday jobs… for now that is.
How hard is it for a metal band like Tormenta to survive in the current climate where bands have to tour non-stop and sell merchandise in order to bring money back into the band?
Donna – It’s incredibly hard. I can categorically say we have not made a penny yet. There is a lot of money that goes into being in a band with instruments, software, stage lighting, scrims etc. That has all come out of our own pockets, we all have to work, and we have families and homes to run. As much as we would love to be able to do this full time, it’s just not possible (yet).
I make our own merchandise to keep production costs low, but we pass on the saving to the fans by selling it cheap. We would much rather someone was able to buy a t shirt at a fiver, than not buy one at all cos they cant afford it.
I think what all musicians are hoping for long term is a better deal from online streaming sites like spotify. With the severe decline in CD sales, online really is the best bet to get your music heard, but at 0.006 dollars per stream, it sadly takes a helluva lot of streams to even think about breaking even.
Dec – I don’t feel that we are surviving on financial stability, personally I think that’s secondary. I think we’re surviving because we fill up people’s news feeds everyday with posts and fill inboxes with emails asking for gigs etc. We have a huge online presence and we interact personally with our fans. That and we put on an awesome live show visually and audibly, it’s the passion for the music that keeps us going 100%
Being from Leeds, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?
Donna – We Span Leeds and Sheffield but have met so many amazing bands on the Road! Locally, check out One Year Dead and Empusa, those guys are incredible! We also have huge love for THECITYISOURS, As Flames Rise and Overthrone. These guys are just super sound and the music is insane!
A fun question to end this interview. If you were a DJ and were allowed to bring 5 CDs to the party, what would they be?
John – Ill Nino – Revolution/Revolucion, The Offspring – Ixnay on the Hombre, The Best 60s Album in the World…. Ever, Slipknot – sic, Alkaline Trio – Good Mourning
Fee – Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory, Emmure – Eternal Enemies, Backstreet Boys – Millennium, Elvis Presley – 30 #1 Hits, Ill Niño – Revolution/Revolucion
Donna – Korn – Korn, Killswitch Engage – End of Heartache, Emmure – Speaker of the Dead, Ill Nino – Revolution/Revolucion.
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
John – Support you local scene and get our there to discover some new music. If we don’t ALL do our bit to keep it alive this shit could die out quick…..where would we all be without metal!?
Donna – I agree with John! We love nothing more than gigging, the shows are local and either free or very cheap to enter, we just need people to come through those doors!! Every big band you know of today has started as a local band. Take a punt, hop down to your local venue and support underground music before the big corporations and ‘Talent shows’ Take over!
Music needs YOU!
Tattooed Scars is out now.