Sometimes when you interview bands you get one line answers and you wonder why you spend the time writing the questions for them to answer. Then you come across a band like Spreading the Disease who instil humour in their answers and make the time and effort all worth while. Some bands don’t take themselves to seriously and take this humour wherever they go whether it’s the living room, rehearsal studios or in the live environment. Five piece Spreading the Disease, are currently very busy, what with signing up to Darran Smith’s (Funeral for a Friend) Monster Management, recording their next album called Mindcells and shooting videos backing up this release. I then had to get in touch with the band and see what else they have in store for us all. I wish Steve Saunders and the rest of the band the best of luck in 2019.
Simple things first – where are you guys from?
Steve Saunders: I live in Dover although from Hertfordshire originally, grew up from very young in Spain and returned here in 1989.
Jack Apella: Broadstairs
James: East Kent.
Martin Osborne: The depths of Mordor, where dead things lie.
How long have you been playing together as a band?
SS: Since around 2015 I believe.
JA: I have been with the band for around 18 months now.
James: With me, just over a month.
MO: So long I’ve forgotten what other people look like. Seriously… help me.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
SS: Unique? Probably because we look like a bunch of misfits in our own band. We don’t take ourselves seriously, it’s about having a good laugh and making sure everyone has a fun time. Our music is a mixture of many genres and influences, each review is different and compares us with another band, anything from Slipknot, Pantera to Black Sabbath and Anthrax and many more. I guess we kind of create something that does not really sound like anyone and pleases us.
JA: I think that we all draw inspiration from such different sources, it’s a mash-up of all our styles.
James: I confuse everyone by having 8 strings. Lead lines and solos influenced by Paradise Lost and Drowning Pool.
MO: Nothing… we literally rip off everybody. It kinda helps we’re all into different stuff though so it doesn’t sound like much else.
Spreading the Disease released their debut album Insurrection in September 2017. How does it feel to put all your blood sweat and tears and get an official album out there?
SS: Well, originally we recorded an EP called Viral which received loads of praise from many radio and press reviews and major mags such as Powerplay and a virtually unheard of KKKK review from Kerrang! for an EP. At that point we started gigging and never hardly stopped. We wrote the album as and when able and only managed to record it whilst a couple of changes in our line-up were taking place. Sadly we lost our original drummer, Edd Saunders, and original singer, Adam May, both of whom we care a lot for and consider family to us. We replaced them with Connor Snyder on vocals and Jack Apella on drums who also do amazing work and are family to the band, who have contributed so much to the band as we move forward. The album was also well received by press and radio all over the place and has helped to further establish the band as a solid unit and part of the underground music scene to stay.
JA: I didn’t perform on this album but I have put plenty of B, S and Ts into touring the shit out of it!
MO: Tiring but worth it. Kinda like having a kid I guess. The same amount of screaming and slightly less poop at least.
I imagine that you have already written new songs different from those of the album. How would you say the sound of the new songs compares to that of the debut album?
SS: Indeed, we have written many new songs and looking to release a new EP for now around Springtime 2019. They are a variation again on our first two albums; we like to keep things fresh and surprise people with each release. It is of course always StD and has a theme that is recognisable as us.
JA: The sound now is a lot more mature and more polished. Its also in drop A so a lot heavier!
MO: Simply better… no, they’re much more dynamic and a lot heavier. We actually hear singing on these songs too.
Where will the next album be recorded and where will it be mastered? Are you going to use the same team or trying something different with this album?
SS: The first two albums we recorded at Magpie Studios with Charlie Creese near Ashford in Kent who did a marvellous job indeed and his production was applauded. However, for the next chapter in the band’s progress we decided to work with Stuart Davey. Jack introduced us to him and having recorded some demos with him we liked the production and felt it was right for these next works.
JA: So we have just recorded an EP and a demo for the album at my mate Stu’s studio (Infiltrate Studios). He doesn’t have an all-singing and dancing setup but the sound is immense!
MO: We’ve been recording with a guy named Stu… I’m still trying to figure out if his dad’s called Peter and why he keeps talking about vengeance. He includes mastering in the cost though.
You are very active on the live front, from local pubs and clubs to playing various festivals. What should we expect from a live show and what is the experience like playing in front of a crowd for the band?
SS: We pretty much had not stopped for around 3 years since the release of the EP Viral. We have played with pretty much every band you could name on the scene at one point or another and starting with a great couple of gigs at Rebellion in Manchester and the O2 Academy in Birmingham, both were very successful. We have played dozens and dozens of places from Trillians in Newcastle to Grand Central in Manchester and so any more. We have played a range of festivals and hopefully will be playing more as we go. Recently stepping into Europe late 2018 and shall be doing a lot more of that here on with the help of our new management company. We signed to them and work closely with Darran Smith of Funeral for a Friend fame and the UAC Management company team. We are excited for the future working with them and hoping that festivals and bands will work with us more and more in 2019. The band works very hard and are a well-oiled machine. Live, the band is energetic, chaotic, crazy at times, exciting and love to interact with the crowd. We have so much fun playing and people see that and join in with us. We do however come out all guns blazing and take no prisoners. We love playing live. We have some exciting festivals and shows the band will be playing this year already and a fair few plans ahead.
JA: We love playing live, our shows are pretty mental sometimes I am the only one left on stage.
James: Watch out for a goth fanboy and a pool of smoke and flour.
SS: We rehearse every Monday where able up in Erith North Kent in Banana Road Studios. It makes it easy as two of us are from London area and the rest of us in Dover so it kind of makes it the same distance for all of us.
JA: Every week we try and rehearse at Banana Road Studios in Erith.
James: Every week.
How are the songs constructed in the studio? Are there the main songwriters of songs that take care of everything or is Spreading the Disease a band where all members contribute to the songs?
SS: In the recording studio we work to the usual system, ghost tracks with drums first then the rest of us go in and do our parts, then mix and master. Pretty much Martin and I are the songwriters, often either he or I write a song then arrange it till happy, sometimes we write one together when jamming. Then we take it to the other lads who put their parts in and lyrics and then we pull it all together. Obviously they too have input and between us we come out the other end with a final product.
JA: Steve and Martin write the riffs then they give me free reign to lay drums down and I also help to tweak the structure here and there. Then Connor fits his weird lyrics where he can. James is just a ridiculous musician so he only needs 10 seconds to write stupidly good leads.
MO: Like Lego. First we pour it all out, stand on it and complain. Then laboriously build a castle and dragon then knock it all over and start again.
There is nothing in a band I love more than when they have more than one vocalist. Spreading the Disease have two vocalists all adding diversity to each and every song. Was this discovered by accident or were the members vocalists in other bands?
SS: When putting the band together I had a clear idea of what I wanted: a vocalist that could sing cleans as well as screams. However, as we went on, we found that Martin could also sing so we started working the songs so that both guys could do parts. I do a few backing vocals here and there too.
JA: Someone stepped on Martin’s toe, he screamed, it sounded good.
MO: I wouldn’t say I’m a singer. I make some racket with my gob that kinda compliments what Connor does but I wouldn’t call it singing. I used to sing in my first band but that was only out of necessity.
Being a four piece band 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?
SS: Originally we were a five piece. Our other guitarist was Julien Riquelme who is also StD family, a great musician whosee work you can hear specially on the Viral EP. He had to leave due to other commitments and we had not been able to find a replacement that fitted our requirements until now. It looks like we have found the right chap and all being well shall be introducing him soon. It is early stages yet and he is working very hard to work with us on the EP and so on as well as join the live shows. A new member not only has to be able to play but most importantly needs to fit in with us all. We are a real bunch of xxxx to each other and constantly take the piss and are loud etc, but its all done in jest and fun. That said, if you’re a quiet person, you either buckle up and get with it or you’re not going to make it with so many hours spent together. Personally I love the guys and we work so well together; everything flows and seems easy, no bad falling out and look out for each other and when asked this question, my reply is “I am right where I want to be”. I have never been happier musically and working with such great people. I love what we do musically – we push boundaries. I feel we write exciting, interesting music which also has an anger element and messages we feel from within and wish to share, but not preach. That said, if Slipknot wanna offer me a job and pay me, well, I might consider it!
JA: We are actually a five piece now, but I think we all are the same page musically. We just know what sounds good and go with it. Although Steve just compares everything to Sabbath and we’re all like “Huh?”
James: Five piece now… I just play the riffs and wait until someone shouts at me to do something else.
MO: Always. We all make other music but when it comes to StD songs we all get involved and have an input, which is what makes StD songs.
There is a good vibe around the band at the moment and having been signed up to UK and US management companies, what touring plans are there for 2019? Do you have plans to go on bigger tours and further afield?
SS: As mentioned above, we recently signed with UAC Management and have started working on plans for the future. We want to take the band abroad, wherever it takes us, tour with bigger bands, of course. We shall also be playing a fair few dates in the UK, too. We had to slightly change our policy though, a natural progression for most bands. Having played all over with the intention of getting the brand out there and known to most, we feel that we have now achieved this and have done it at considerable cost to us on many levels so we feel that at this point, we of course wish to play but we must at least cover basic costs. This might mean less but better events but it is something that we feel is right, fair and needed for the band to move forward. In the US we have a few very good connections who know the business well and wish to help and work with the band, so our manager will be looking at working with them too and seed where it takes us all.
JA: If we don’t do Download, management is getting fired!
MO: Of course. We have plans to straddle the planet and just go to town and never come home. Sadly plans aren’t reality so little excursions into Europe are the first steps to world domination. Like the Germans, you’ve got to start somewhere so why not in the Netherlands?
How hard is it for a band like Spreading the Disease 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?
SS: As said in the previous segment, it is tough for all bands out there in this climate, it is such a shame to see this industry in this state, having grown up within the industry working on many different levels over the years from booking agent, to promoter, manager, musician, etc and watching it get to this point. But here we are, all of us, so we need to make the best of it and hopefully things will change and make this business a strong one once more at some point. I feel strongly that good bands should be paid according to the position they’re in at the time, their value. Hence why we feel we need to now at least cover basic costs, no one expects large profits or most of the time any profit but at least not lose more. Keeping the band running day to day is very costly. Vans, merch, promo, recording, albums, insurance, tax, repairs to instruments and vehicles and more.
JA: Pretty tough really, if we weren’t all so passionate about it I think we would have folded a long time ago. But we March On (inside joke).
MO: We are currently accepting donations to the we need to eat fund, please give generously. Connor and I have voracious appetites.
Being from Kent, are there any other bands from your local scene that you would recommend?
SS: Sure. There are not loads but I can think of a few bands and friends that are in said bands that are damn good bands such as Wicked Stone, Salvation Jayne, Famyne, The Self Titled, Risque and the Ridicule and others.
JA: Foreboding Ether!
MO: Not from round these parts but my favourite band we’ve played with is Recall The Remains. Awesome chaps. I think our singers are going to have a joint venture sometime.
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?
SS: Rammstein, Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Sabbath and Tool.
JA: Wu Tang Clan – 36 Chambers, Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP, Lamb Of God – As The Palaces Burn, Slipknot – Volume 3: Subliminal Verses, Papa Roach – Infest.
James: Drewsif Stalin’s Musical Endeavours – Anhedonia, Saor – Aura, Extermination Dismemberment – Serial Urbicide, Midnight Odyssey – Funerals From The Astral Sphere, Fields Of The Nephilim – Mourning Sun.
MO: S Club 7 – Greatest Hits, Foo Fighters – In Your Honour, Nigel Stanford – Automatica, The Smurfs’ Christmas album, Cliff Richard – Living Doll.
Any last message for our readers here at Moshville Times?
SS: I would like to thank your readers, everyone that has and does support our band who we consider friends, every promoter, radio presenter, press person, venue owner, festival organiser, family, interviewer, reviewer that has or does work with us and to those who hopefully will eventually work with us, support us and become friends too with us. Huge thank you, you are all amazing!
JA: Hope to see you all at a show soon! Look out for our new EP Mindcell in stores soon…