Thursday 7 February 2013

Modestep Headline Tour // Interview & Live Review

Last time Est.1987 caught up with Modestep the London four-piece were supporting Lostprophets on tour. This time around we are back in Manchester and the boys are on a headline tour [the majority of which a sell out], and just getting ready to release their debut album “Evolution Theory” on February 11th

We caught up with them to chat about touring, misconceptions and why you should never go to sleep on the tour bus with your shoes on.

Modestep's Josh Friend on stage in Manchester
So last time we saw you, you were supporting Lostprophets right here in Manchester. Is it nice being back playing a headline set?
JOSH [Friend, vocals]- Yeah, it’s good to be playing our own show, bringing our own supports and doing our thing and it being all about us [laughing].

You played a sold out Newcastle show last night on the first night, how was it?
MATTHEW [Curtis, drums]- Yeah, it went pretty well, they were beating the hell out of each other; they were about fourteen, fifteen years old and proper going for it.
TONY [Friend, DJ]- Some guy showed me his battle scars after, he had a nice black eye.

Tony Friend on stage at Manchester Club Academy
You’ve just also announced your first headline American tour and you’re playing at Coachella- how excited are you?
MATT- Yeah we’re really looking forward to Coachella…
JOSH- We’ve done LA and San Fran before and I can’t wait to go to Coachella and meet 2Pac, it’s going to be really good. Why’s everyone laughing, he was there last year?!

The album comes out in a week. Last time we spoke to you said there are a lot of different influences on there from Pink Floyd to Rage Against The Machine, to modern dub-step artists. Is that still the same? 
TONY- More than ever actually.
JOSH-. Yeah, exactly that. I mean it had been finished when we were doing the Lostprophets tour, so it was just sitting on a desk waiting for someone to pick it up and do something with it.

Are you excited/nervous for it to be finally out there?
TONY- Yeah, once it’s out we can start working on other stuff as opposed to stuff that we actually started doing three years ago. We have added some new tracks, some fresher ones as well. So we’re still excited by it, but it’ll be nice to do some new stuff too.

You get branded as “dubstep”, do you hate that?
TONY- We did call ourselves Modestep, so brought it on ourselves [laughing]

How would you ideally like to be described?
JOSH- A band, because that’s essentially what we are…
MATT- People always have a misconception about us and what we’re like, but then they come and see us live and then change their opinion of what we are as a band.
NICK [Tsang, guitar]- It’s a rock show, but with electronic influence.

Dubstep is huge in the UK at the moment; do you keep up with dubstep acts?
TONY- I listen to it constantly because I was doing a thing on MistaJam’s show on Radio1 quite a lot, so had to do mixes. And we do our own radio show as well so we have to keep our ears to the street and keep down with the kids and all that s**t [laughing].

You toured with Lostprophets; would you like to tour with a rock band again?
MATT- It was interesting because we converted a lot of the fans. We didn’t think we were going to go down that well, but loads of people got into us so I think it was quite interesting in that sense.

Who would you ideally like to be on a bill with? 
JOSH- Daft Punk, just so we can get to see them
MATT- Rage Against The Machine, that would be cool. People would think we were shite if we went on tour with them [laughing]
TONY- Yeah, a tour with really rubbish people so we look good [laughing]

Modestep in Manchester 
After all the touring you’ve been doing we bet you’re dab hands at tour bus etiquette now. What’s the number one tour bus rule?
NICK- Don’t poo.
TONY- And if you fall asleep with your shoes on then you’re fair game to get terrorised. If you take your shoes off you are allowed to sleep. If your shoes are still on it means that you’re so f****d that you couldn’t take your shoes off, therefore you’re going to get vandalised [laughing].

Modestep had a great 2012, what was the highlight and what are you looking forward to in 2013?
JOSH- Reading and Leeds last year definitely.
TONY- Yeah, Reading and Leeds. And this year obviously Coachella and Ultra [music festival] looks ridiculous. I think our last day it’s us, Major Lazer and Snoop Dogg. So it’s just going to be so sick.

And finally, last time we asked you about the Modestep “fan points” that you could save up and swap for getting a tattoo from Tony- have you done any yet?
TONY- No, I haven’t. They scrapped that idea of fan points but I will still tattoo a fan if they really want it. It can only be the Modestep face because that’s pretty much all I can do.

And here's what happened when Modestep took to the stage...

“You know it’s a good gig when sweat is raining from the ceiling” laughs Modestep’s Tony Friend and he couldn’t have been more correct. Modestep is a bit of an enigma; they’re part rock, part dubstep, part electronic and oh they have their own radio show. Multi-talented, they are dynamically taking the airwaves by storm and if you don’t recognise them by face then you will most definitely be familiar with their songs. However, as drummer Matt says, they can’t really be understood until you have seen them live.

Tony Friend on stage in Manchester 

Tonight is the perfect mix of Modestep hits, re-worked covers and new material from the forthcoming album “Evolution Theory”. “Sunlight” and “To The Stars”, two of the band’s most recognisable songs, serve to ignite the crowd here at Manchester’s Club Academy this evening. From the opening of the first track to the close of the last the set and indeed audience is unstoppable. Remixes of tracks such as Nero’s “Promises” and DJ Fresh’s “Louder” only heighten the crowd’s enthusiasm and raise temperature levels. Album tracks such as the rock influenced “Freedom” with its raw sound and unclean vocals are played alongside the more mellow and bassy “Bite The Hand”. “I can feel the bass and it’s making my nose bleed”, chants front-man Josh Friend. Modestep’s own tracks have an epic quality to them, making unknown album tracks instantly infectious, and the onstage presence of the energetic four-piece creates an unrivalled electricity in the room.

The relatively young crowd focus their attention on turning the entire floor into one huge mosh pit, whilst older crowd members resign themselves to taking a back seat and watching from the perimeter. However, no one can deny how engaging Modestep’s entire set is. Musically solid, the entire band work in harmony. Dubstep is very much the “in” musical trend at the minute, but not purely for dubstep fans Modestep are doing their own thing. Josh even takes to the keys to perform an impressive cover of Coldplay’s “Paradise” before the bass kicks back in and the evening ends with the band’s very own “Show Me A Sign”. An unrelenting on stage force, Modestep only spurs the crowd on and transforms the entire Basement Academy floor into one giant mosh pit; dare we say we have seen hardcore metal gigs with more forgiving pits. It really is a spectacle to watch. 

Modestep’s album isn’t even released yet and they are already selling out headline shows up and down the country. And with a busy year ahead for the London four-piece there will be plenty opportunities to check our their live show. So get your best mosh pit shoes on and get stuck in. 

Modestep headline tour dates
07, Bristol, Thekla
08, Birmingham, O2 Academy 2
10, Oxford, O2 Academy 2
11, Norwich, Waterfront
12, Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
14, London, KoKo
15, Exeter, Lemon Grove
16, Brighton, Concorde 2
17, Plymouth, Covert