We’re starting 2019 with a bang by making Lancaster rockers Passengers our first New Band of the Week of the year. As a Lancaster University graduate many years ago, it’s exciting to find our first band from Lancaster – and what a first band this is.
Passengers have honed an exciting sound that fuses Djent with Metalcore and elements of synth, which frontman Jed Saint jokingly describes to us as “a Fake Djent band.”
The band started out with guitarist Niall Robertson and drummer Aiden Baldwin and a former second guitarist, who got together after a long hiatus, realised the songs they’d written needed to be heard live and swiftly added bassist Daryl Adamson and Jed to the mix.
As Jed, who completed the Passengers quartet, explains: “The guys were hunting for someone who’d fit the vibe, and the local scene for what we do isn’t massive. To be honest, unless I’m missing something, we’re the only Djent/Metalcore oriented band in town – we have plenty of metal of different sub-genres and descriptions and a couple of solid post-hardcore bands, but nothing really like what we’re doing.”
And Jed, who lives in my birth town Bolton, adds: “I was running 2+ gigs a week in the Lancaster area, and it’s not too much of a reach in terms of travel. It had also been a while since I saw a band advertising for a frontman I really wanted to jump in with – working on the industry side has its benefits but I definitely enjoy performing, so that was it.
“The demo I was sent to write/audition vocals for was an early version of what later became Boundaries, and apparently I did an OK job because here we are now. We completed the line-up in spring, and then squirrelled away arguing about how many extra strings we needed Niall to have before his neck-board looked like he was dragging around most of the tree.”
The band have released two singles to date, the most recent of which is Faces of Janus. The track epitomises their modern metalcore sound, fusing gut-wrenching vocals, bone-crushing low-tuned guitars intertwined with sparkling synth sounds.
It opens up with booming stabs of guitar under synth sounds, which continue under savage screamed vocals. The guitars pick up in speed as clean vocals come in then drop into another brutal verse, then a second chorus is followed by cries of “Drown out the detrimental” before the intensity increases further. Huge pounding drums and savage vocals are supported by huge guitars then a big darting low-tuned riff and synth sounds create a humongous metalcore noise. That drops into a final chorus then goes out on a smash of low-tuned guitars. Check it out in the video below:
That track was preceded by the huge Boundaries, which opens up with stabbing synths, a distant guitar sound then crushing low-tuned guitar blasts that continue under a verse of clean vocals. Screamed vocals take over in an intense chorus of “Boundaries are shifting again, Not wary of change but fuck this, Separate the now from the forever, Backtrack and redefine, Sycophancy knows no merit, Separate the now from the forever,” then drops into more clean vocals.
The second chorus extends into more screamed vocals “The signified it knows the change, To be assigned then rearranged, Orwellian, Informative, History distorts, Meanings we give” then a big smash of guitars drops into bigger screamed vocals and huge synth sounds. Check it out in the lyric video below:
On the tracks, Jed tells us: “The reception’s been amazing, which is a bit of a relief because it’s easy to overthink these things. Especially when you consider yourselves as having quite a diverse and eclectic sound, and all of your tracks have a different vibe to them, it’s just been picking the best representations of our sound at this stage.
“Both releases contain elements of Djent and Metalcore riff-wise, both have pelting drums, harsh and clean vocal sections and synth, and yet the treatment, structure and overall feel are completely different. From that perspective, we’ve done what we wanted to with the first two releases and it’s great to see Faces Of Janus gaining a bit of traction. It might be time to seriously plan a longer release – hopefully, we’ve drummed up a bit of appetite for it.”
Going back more than a decade ago I don’t remember Lancaster offering a huge selection of rock venues during my student days, but Jed tells us things are picking up in the area. As he explains: “I’m actually very prolific running events in the Lancaster area personally. To be honest, all of us have been very active in the local community beyond just Passengers.
“While at the moment, Lancaster isn’t even really considered as an option for serious touring bands when agents are routing/sending messages, without giving too much away that’s definitely about to change in 2019. It’s going to be great to build on what I’ve been doing locally over the last eight years from a grassroots perspective and keep punching upwards. We have some immense bands/musicians in the area and I want to get us all on bills with massive, relevant bands.”
The band’s eclectic sound is inevitably inspired by a wide range of influences, from the likes of Architects, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Mastodon through to Silverstein, Good Tiger and Killswitch Engage.
As Jed explains: “I’d say it’s a really evolutionary process, to be honest, everyone’s on their own musical journey and I firmly believe your writing process can be altered by what you’ve been listening to even that day, beyond those influences you’re more consciously channelling.
“Personally, my lyrics are very emotive and humanist, and often have a bit of a balance between angry and melancholy/thoughtful. The world is a fucking weird thing to get the hang of, so what better influence to take from than what’s going down in that bit of it between your ears.”
The band are planning a longer release for mid-2019 and, in the meantime, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to see Passengers live. They’ll be supporting Astroid Boys in Bolton and Sheffield on 18 and 20 January respectively, with more exciting gigs to be announced shortly. More info on that is here.
As Jed adds: “If you’ve seen us live before, then all I can say is sit tight… Change is afoot, we’re working on some killer production to elevate our live show. Next year (2019) everything’s about to change, consider what you’ve seen and heard so far a chrysalis. We are all Passengers.”