Tuesday 20 March 2012

As Blood Runs Black // Interview & Live Review

Est.1987 headed down to The Cockpit in Leeds to check out LA metal act As Blood Runs Black

We caught up with Leche [drums] and Nick [bass] pre-show to chat all things recording, new faces, oh, and dirty laundry!

How’s the tour going so far guys? You started out in Mainland Europe before hitting the UK and finish the tour back over there, right?
NICK- It’s awesome; all the other bands on this tour have been bad ass dudes! All we do is hang out; there’s no asshole or ego guys and it’s fun. The shows have been great too, especially the UK. The UK’s been phenomenal, so we’re happy to be out here with all these guys.

You guys are from LA. Do you see a difference in the scenes over in LA to here in the UK?
N- Yeah, ten fold different. I mean not in a bad way and there are similarities, but it’s a culture difference too; kids are into different stuff and the fads are different.
LECHE- They’re very selective out in LA and out here they’re more supportive, they treat the bands well. Touring in the States compared to touring out here, they take care of the bands better over here and I think the girls are hotter out here too, so it’s a big plus every time we come out here.
N- Crowds in LA, if you’re not the flavour of the month then people are stood with the mean mug on, straight faced; but over here kids are so happy to see a band from overseas, they’re more willing to maybe throw down…
L- They’re a little more open minded I guess to new music.

"Instinct" the latest album
Are you a band that prefers being in the studio or out on the road?
N- Both. I mean I love recording and love being in the studio when you get excited, like a little kid at Christmas for new songs, but being on the road is awesome; it’s like hanging out with your best friends everyday. The studio is what allows us to do that.
L- Yeah, it’s like the ticket…
N- Yeah, the ticket to go on the ride, exactly. It’s a good analogy.
L- It’s cool, because I like both; but I like touring better, because we meet people all over the world and see different cultures. It’s a double edged sword too though…
N- We’re getting older!

So, it was five years between “Allegiance” and “Instinct”. How do you feel your sound developed and how will that expand on the next record – any thoughts of that yet?
N- There’s a big, big musical jump from “Allegiance” to “Instinct”, just based on the artists on the record and the progression of musicianship. It did take five years and I think it was worth it. We plan on waiting another five years before releasing our next one.
L- I think ten actually.
N- No, we’re actually in the process of writing and should be recording soon.
L- Every time we say that though something happens and we never do.
N- We promise within the next ten years! [laughing].

Do you have a set routine when you’re writing or is it more spontaneous?
L- A little of both. It’s kind of like we have a little pit and just throw ideas in there and then whatever sticks to the wall we take that and start to morph songs here and there. We usually write more than we need and then pick the “all stars”, then we role with that. But, we’re excited to write a new record because we have new talent in the band and I think it’s going to be interesting adding these new elements to our new record.

In terms of set list how much stuff are you going to play from each album?
N- We try and do half and half because obviously people are going to love “Allegiance” because it was old school and everybody’s used to that, but people need to embrace the new stuff because it has been a long time now.
L- Yeah, new songs, new faces, so we’re trying to branch out to the new sound, but also we don’t want to take away from the reason why we’re here.
N- And the new songs aren’t bad but, like anything new, it’s going to take time to be a classic.

If you could pick one of your songs that best sums up what you’re about, which would it be and why?
L- I would say “Instinct”, the last track on our new record. It’s about proving ourselves and going for it.
N- I would say “Resist” because there’s a lot of distractions and it’s good to resist the negative things in life and I think that today’s youth need that, they need something to relate to; be you and be the best you that you can. It’s important, because some kids are just down to do whatever’s cool and they can end up f*****g themselves. We all have bad experiences and s**t that we’ve learned from. Me and Lech have been best friends since we were fifteen years old, so growing up we’ve stumbled a lot but somehow landed on our feet every time which is a blessing from God or whoever you pray to.
L- We just followed our instinct [laughing].
N- That was the reason behind the titling too, just using our instinct.

"Allegiance" ABRB's debut
I’ve read in past interviews that you carefully select tours that you get offered. Is it important to you as a band that you keep that integrity and still control such decisions?
L- Yes. I mean that’s also is a double edged sword because there are tours that are projected for political reasons or for a certain look. But, we also want to associate ourselves with a certain kind of band we live with the bands sometimes on tour and we want to make sure they are bands that we get along with. Sometimes, I personally, try and dig for dirty laundry to try and see what to expect on the road; because when you’re with a bunch of guys and there’s alcohol everywhere things can get pretty ugly, really fast. We select tours based on the type of bands and yeah, kind of for politics, because at the end of the day we want to have a good time and do what we’re supposed to do.
N- It’s kind of like anything, if you’re going to let someone live in your house then you’re going to make sure that they’re not a crack-head felon. That’s a big part of it, people’s reputations, and I think we have a good reputation. Yeah, we do stupid stuff but overall we have a good reputation. Picking your tours is pretty bad ass too because you get to tour with some of your favourite bands.  

And finally, what band would you recommend we have to check out?
N- “Upon A Burning Body”. We just did the Thrash And Burn tour in the States with them and  those are our boys. The singer Dan filled in for us on a tour in 2009, so we’ve known him in the past and I got to meet the whole band and they’re all like him, sick dudes but really nice guys. Their band is on fire right now, I love them. I give them the most respect but if you could scope out anyone, it’d be them. And Danny, I’m going to need some royalties off this; send my check to my address, I’ll text you when I get home! [laughing].
Thanks guys!

And here's what happened when As Blood Runs Black took to the stage...

Opening with “In Dying Days” from their first album, As Blood Runs Black [ABRB]  storm the stage here at The Cockpit in Leeds and from here on in the LA five-piece are a hurricane of energy. The show, which was originally supposed to take place at The Well, was rescheduled to the larger Cockpit when The Well closed. Although the crowd is more diffused than it would have been at the previous venue, they nevertheless reciprocate the vigour displayed on stage.

“Bring the mother f*****g roof down”; It takes a little encouragement by front-man Sonik Garcia, but soon the majority of the modest crowd are wielding their arms, legs and hair in front of the stage. He, alongside the rest of the band, is captivating, opposing heavy breakdowns with progressive guitar riffs and the hint of melodic vocals.  Leche’s drumming powers ABRB into “Beneath The Surface” and crowd favourite “Hester Prynne”.

Pre show Nick and Leche admitted they were excited to work with the newer talent in the band on album number three, and if tonight is anything to go by then it will be tighter and more epic than ever before. Catchy riffs, harsh vocals and striding rhythms create an impressive dynamic in the band’s live show. Whether they’re playing to huge crowds or a more select set of fans, as tonight, they deliver passion and in abundance.

They are precise, loud and affective in their approach, stirring the crowd to return the favour. Their set is short and powerful, delivering one almighty powerful blow; no encore, no nonsense, they just deliver. The anthemic “Resist” seals their set and testifies that they are a band that need to be experienced live. 

And here's where you can catch the tour...