Right before their debut in Portugal opening for Aerosmith, we sat down with RavenEye for a very pleasant and joyful conversation about music, tours and the meaning of being in the music business these days.
Oli Brown, Aaron Spiers and Adam Breeze have a fresh enthusiasm about making music and performing for a fanbase that seems to be growing every day. There is a bright future looming on the horizon for this young UK band.
ME: First, welcome to Portugal!
Brown, Spiers, Breeze: Thank you.
ME: It is a pleasure to have you here. I believe it is your first time playing in Lisbon.
Brown: Yeah, first time ever in Portugal ever.
ME: You are here opening for Aerosmith tonight, and you have opened for Slash (ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators) before, been on tour with KISS… How is it like to be sharing the stage with such rock royalty?
Brown: Incredible, it is amazing, you know. We are really lucky to be able to support these bands. We get to meet them and everyone has been so kind to us. I don’t know, it’s a dream come true, We wanted come play these stages and it’s amazing, really amazing.
ME: Have you been learning something from this?
Brown: Always. Always things to learn like how they walk the stage, or how they interact with the audience. I go and usually speak quite fast on stage but then you watch Paul Stanley (KISS) speak and he speaks so slowly but everyone understands and that’s really clear, yeah, I learn a lots from them.
ME: You released NOVA last September. In prior interviews, I read that you meant for this album to be a journey, which I feel is something that really comes across. What is the creative process like for a project like that?
Brown: Thank you. You know I think that one thing that we really want it to be as a band, is be ourselves and really put out, I think an honest feeling for us. We wear our heart on our sleeves and that was what NOVA really aimed to do. Yeah, I think the process for us is usually just like: I plug in the computer and put a couple of riffs in and couple of guitar lines and we kind of write the song before any lyrics, so anything comes in and usually there’s some melodic idea that kinda comes across and usually it’s just gibberish. Sometimes gibberish makes the song title and then we write from yeahbleahcdag what you feel you la la la and all of a sudden: “oh that’s the hook”.
ME: Did you felt anytime you needed to go onto a different direction?
Spiers: I think the interesting thing was we wrote a lot of songs for the album. So we knew we had an album coming up and we sat down and we wrote like 25 songs. With the idea that we would know that we would have to cut some down. So there are other songs that just that didn’t make it on the album because we wanted, you know you mentioned the journey. We wanted to have something that was… every song had meaning and had punch and had a place on that record so, you know some really good songs got cut and maybe they’ll see the light of day.
ME: For the next one.
Spiers: That’s right! Maybe if it’s gonna fit for the album so we take it very seriously, what goes on the album and music we release and that was really special. Yeah.
ME: You clearly have Chris Cornell as a big influence in your music.
ME: He was a big loss to the music community.
ME: As such a good artist, he will continue living through music. Is this your ultimate goal as an artist, this kind of “immortality”?
Brown: Hum, I don’t know, I never really thought about what happens when I die, if people will still care. (laughs) but I don’t know. We make music because we love it like. I think, our drive is to play music and enjoy ourselves doing it and yeah, I don’t know. I never really thought about immortality, like I love what we are doing now and you know if affects people now, some people connect to the songs. Seeing someone sing the lyric back to you is one of the best feelings you can have as songwriters cause it means that your song has made, you know someone understand your song inspires them…and that’s an incredible feeling but I, we have no expectations of what we you know what legacy will be.
ME: That brings on my next question: As a band, you will ultimately play an influencing role in your fan’s lives. What is that like?
Spiers: Oh its really special, it’s… to be honest it’s more like a family. I don’t think there are any kind of… you know… we shouldn’t be here setting standards for how our fans should be doing . I think it’s a big party and it’s a big family and we speak to our friends in just like they speak to us on social media or any of that kind of stuff, and at shows so I don’t know this is more of a hang.
Breeze: We hear what people are saying, and you know, no one is different.
ME: That is nice! So I am thinking about your beginning, when you started as musicians. Can you point the exact moment when you felt this was what you wanted to do?
Brown: For me, it was when I toured with a band in America about when I was 16, I went out for 2 months with them and they, it was a blues band called Blind Dogs Smokin’ and they sat me down in a little cafe in Laramie, had a lemon soda, which I thought it was fizzy but it wasn’t and they said to me you have to sing, have to write songs and have to be in a band and they said it a lot more eloquently than I just put it and from that moment I knew music was with me for the rest of my life.
ME: That is such a great story. So, you were talking about social media…interacting with your fans. The music industry is a lot different nowadays with the easy access to music platforms online and it’s easier for people to connect and interact with the bands. Do you see this as an advantage? How does this work for you as a band?
Spiers: Definitely an advantage. I read people that have said it is the best time to be in an independent artist in history of music, so for us is amazing we had to connect with everyone that loves our music
ME: Because, for the fans it is important.
Spiers: Yeah, even in Portugal! We have people contact us, we have never played in Portugal, we haven’t been in Portugal before and people are contacting us on social media saying “Hi, I can’t wait to see your show” and that’s what’s so great about it you know. We can reply and then start a dialog, with people in different countries that we’ve never met before.
ME: Do you think that will ever change?
Breeze: I mean the best thing in the world is when you put a song out, anyone can write a song, click upload and put it on a set where billions of people could be inspired by it.
Brown: Yeah It’s the best way, I think you remove the smoke and mirrors of it all like you know people don’t really see the artists now as unattainable beings, we are all the same people and yeah, it’s fun, it’s fun you learn some cool things about people and you get to find some cool stories of like how your songs are taking them on journeys and it’s awesome, we love it.
ME: With so many bands around it is easy for people to get easily distracted from a band. How do you keep things interesting for your fans? Are you afraid or do you concern about being “forgotten”?
Brown: No, you kind of, like on social media we always keep on it all the time. We kind of try to find new things to do all the time, like we got a new video that’s coming out soon where we do things very stupid. I kinda, I wanna give it away (jokes about it) but, it was really stupid what we do. I think we don’t worry about ever disappearing cause at the end of the day, we love making music and that’s what drives us rather than being accreditation from people or in a validation, we write songs, we play music and we go on stage and that’s what we do best more than anything and as long as we are doing that we are gonna be happy doing it and it’s incredible cause it’s just ever going for us and I think, what it’s nice about you know, I agree like, I think now it’s very much of a click of a finger, people come and go all the time but what’s nice about building up independently rather than with a load of money thrown at us or anything like that, is that we built a solid foundation everywhere we go. So it’s not a massive sold out venue the first time we go there but when we go to this smaller room is packed out that we’d know next time we’d go out there it’s even busier and that we have that solid found base behind us from now till you know forever…
ME: Good to hear about that! Let us talk about your upcoming shows. You played some festivals in Europe, Download for instance.
Spiers: yeah, all the Downloads!
ME: You are about to hit North America with your headlining tour. It is a different responsibility, I believe. Do you prepare yourselves differently?
Brown: Yeah, we do, I think we’ve learned a lot from the big stages and I think that’s what’s nice about those big stages. We can take that to the smaller rooms but you know we always prepare to play any kind of show so you know…
Breeze: Last time we did smaller shows was on our UK run.
Brown: Yeah, it was mental.
Breeze: So, and we didn’t have that experience of playing biggest stages so we cannot wait to bring this arena atmosphere to the smaller rooms cause you just…you know go mad.
ME: Can you tell us what people can expect from your shows.
Brown: Total foolery!
Spiers: High energy, lots of sweat, lots of …hopefully not so much swearing but a lot of fun as well, we love playing these shows.
ME: You are very energetic on stage!
Spiers: Yeah it’s like a workout, don’t go to the gym just do a gig!
Brown (laughs): yeah, it is funny, that’s just what we do, you know. The music kinda gives us that energy to just kinda go a bit nuts
ME: Do you have any venues on your bucket list?
Breeze: Brixton Academy in London
ME: Someone will hear that…
Brown and Spiers (laughs): Oh my God!
ME: What is your biggest ambition as a band?
Brown: The next album. Making the next album as a band for us, cause Adam was not on the first record NOVA. And I think for us as a band we really kinda started to find our feet, just like between the 3 of us and really connect and I think to write songs and make a new album with a real goal and a standard like NOVA was already high standard for us, we are really proud of that record that’s is nothing we would change and I think I’m super excited for what we we’re gonna come out with next. That’s my next tunnel vision… what’s coming next, I’m really looking out now.
ME: Ok and your biggest fear. You have any?
Brown: Spiders (laughs)
ME: Which artist or band, dead or alive, would you love to tour with?
Brown: Soundgarden – Chris Cornell.
ME: I knew you were going to say that.
Breeze: Foo Fighters.
Breeze jokes about being back in Portugal after I tell him Foo Fighters are going to play here in a festival. Spiers adds how great was to see them in Glastonbury (UK festival) and how Breeze was in awe about it.
ME: You already talked about the second album, I am not going to ask about that again. But are you planning that already?
Brown: Yes, we are writing a lot, like we have no particular date we’re recording it yet but we are writing now, we are gonna be writing a lot more actually while we are on the US tour. We got a lot of drives to do and we actually finally have someone else driving with us as well cause it’s usually only ever us the three that tour so… Aaron and I do all the driving, Adam does all the genius video editing so for Aaron and I to have a driver means that we can have a bit more free time so we will definitely doing some writing with that process….
ME: I’m looking forward to that!
Brown: Me too!
ME: Thank you so much!
Spiers: Thank you for having us so much!
RavenEye are currently touring North America.