My only prior knowledge of Torquay is it being a seaside town that my grandparents used to visit every year and for being the host town of classic TV comedy Fawlty Towers. So I was excited to learn that the south Devon town is part of a hotbed for emerging rock, led by some exciting new bands like The Experimental are anything to go by.
The band first formed after a jam between frontman Darren and drummer Chris at the latter’s party. Joe Billingham had played bass with Chris before so was soon added, songwriting began and they recorded their debut EP in November 2016. They haven’t looked back since, recently supporting The Hoosiers on their UK anniversary tour, which Joe tells us was a big deal: “We played to a large appreciative crowd and more of the same would be nice.”
They’re now in the midst of writing their first album, on which Joe told us: “It’s going well. We recorded the first five tracks over the summer, have a couple more songs written and waiting to be recorded, plus some ideas floating around that have yet to fully take shape.
“We’ve returned to work with Josiah Manning at Momentum Studios here in Devon, having previously worked together to record our first EP. Sometimes recording has proved difficult given the time and monetary constraints we have to deal with, but Josiah is a fantastic engineer and producer, working with him previously has certainly helped the process this time around. The working relationship we have is good and the initial mixes of the album tracks are exciting.
“Recording and releasing the EP has really helped us realise what works for us. This album will be a closer reflection of our live sound, and despite being more rock focused than our earlier recordings will hopefully still provide a diverse listening experience.”
Joe describes their music as “Vodka. Red. Bull. (or Energy. Drive. Passion),” which gives you a clue as to what to expect, and that’s exactly what they deliver in most recent single Million Voices. It starts with a repeating guitar riff underneath drawn-out vocals, then kicks into life with a faster heavier guitar riff, driving drums. Palm-muted guitars then support the more intense vocals “Like atom bombs they will rip above the sky, My hurricanes they will thunder through the likes of you and I.” A big atmospheric chorus follows built around the lyrics “A million voices all singing as one” then drops down into a fast-paced riff. Check it out in the video below:
On their style, Joe tells us: “Live, it’s like a wall of sound. We use multiple amps, effects and vocal parts to achieve something that sounds big – in other peoples’ words ‘Big Sound’ is the most common feedback we receive. It’s energetic and driven, riffy but with melody. Each of us has a very different musical background and ideas of how we want to sound, but together we combine to make something unique. Think rock sounds but with a twist, harmonies play a big part in our music.
“Song ideas can come from anywhere, generally we find it easier to write about other peoples lives, and observations we make. We don’t generally songwrite together, although it’s in the rehearsal space that songs really come together. Something that may have started life as a bass riff I’ve sent to Darren has been listened to and built upon, and then its Chris’ drum parts that often dictate how a song really takes shape – they often get less heavy at this stage as we add drums and harmonies.”
As alluded to previously, the band talk about their homeland of south Devon as a growing “musical hotbed,” on which Joe explained: “It’s not easy being south of Bristol. There are lots of pubs putting on music, but unless you’re playing covers its hard to get gigs. We do alright, the rock scene down this way is strong despite limited venues. A few bands to check out from round our way – Moriaty, Reigning Days, King Colobus, Ethyrfield, Black Tree Suns and for something a little different Cornwall’s The Dirty Repeats.”
Festival applications are in for 2018, with some confirmations already, including SummerMoon, GetRad and Flummoxed Festivals in June, and Wigfest in July. More info on all their gigs is here. They’ll also have singles and videos released in the build-up to the album release, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.