Psyhton Interview

I’ve been a fan of Yorkshire Metalheads since very early in their career, so here’s my long overdue interview with frontman/chief poseur, Bing

*(And if any of his answers don’t seem to be written in English, that’s his Yorkshire side shining through)

Now, originally, I was supposed to interview you late last year (it’s my fault it never happened), but so much has happened since then… new album, new band member and now new covers EP…
Ta for having us! You’ve helped us out from day one, so I’m chuffed to be doin’ an interview for ya!

We’ll begin with the album, The Last Days Of The Good Times, your 3rd album in as many years… I know mature is a word that probably isn’t thrown at you (personally) very often, but as a band, you’ve really matured on this album. What have you done that’s different, and was it a conscious decision to head in a more, well, Iron Maiden, direction?
The only thing that is properly different is that we’ve had more of us chucking riffs and tunes in the mix; instead of Will writing a whole album, he wrote a few, spruced up a few he had knocking about, me and Eddie chucked in a song or two each and a few riffs… we’re saying that it’s just a more interesting album.

The Maiden/NWOBHM direction was not fully conscious, but it was definitely in there in our subconscious. The album wasn’t necessarily written any differently in terms of aiming for a specific sound, but we’ve been discussing NWOBHM together a lot over the past year; using it as a reference point and something of a rallying point as we try and stick to being a metal band…

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And the artwork, it’s certainly different… were drugs involved when you chose/created it?
Artwork has never been our strong point, but personally, I like the other albums’ artwork – I like the ideas, and they’re there if you see ’em. This one is a bit different because there is actually some ‘art’ work… did it misen wi a pen and some crayons… the idea isn’t too difficult to discern, and I have always doodled this way, lines and wotnot… so – yeah – drugs were indispensable!

I know you like to play live as often as possible, so I guess losing a band member really messes with your live schedule… so who’s out, and who’s the new addition?
Yeah – wheels came off a bit back end of 2018… briefly: Luke is out, Eddie has switched instrument and Duayne is (back) on bass!

Luke (Rodgers) decided in November that he didn’t have time to do the band, for very personal reasons. It was sad because Luke was there from before the start.

So from there, Eddie moved over to guitars; now, Eddie is a guitarist, one of the best I’ve ever known, but he’d been away from doing bands for a while, so that’s how he originally ended up on bass; as soon as the opportunity to get on guitar presented itself, it was an obvious move.

So that left the bass spot open; we had a few people get in touch, and we kinda got the feeling that some were just saying that they were into it and wanted to do it on the assumption that we were just a ploppy little metal band… once they started to have a look at the riffs, I suppose they realised they’d have a job on their hands…

So the only guy who actually learnt any of the songs got the job; and that was Duayne… which is funny, cos Duayne was the original bassist for Psython in 2014, our first incarnation!

Now you’re gigging again, what can we expect from you in 2019? Is it cramming in as many gigs as possible, or do you try and get some more high profile support slots?
We’re trying to get what we can man… we’ve done alright so far, we’ve got some gigs a bit further away (Bristol, Newcastle etc), which is cool, but we’re uncertain if it’s the best strategy for us – see how it goes.

We have to take what we can – we’re not in a position to dictate terms or even ask for payment, so while high-profile supports would be good, we can only hope that we get a few! We’ll keep on at folk like, but, as ever, it’s in the hands of the gods…

And Bloodstock? What would it mean for the band if you got through to play there?
Mate – can you even imagine…??? It’d be massive! Frankly, I’d be in a rock-star reverie all day, if we got to play…

Presuming you’re looking at it through the perspective of M2TM: If we did get there, I think we’d try to make the most of it, play like bastards! Hopefully we’d make some fans, and get some more interest from people able and willing to give us a hand wi stuff… there’d be so many cool underground bands there and so many promoters/managers etc… like to think we’d make the day count!

But, ultimately, it’d be nice to be able to play shows and festies like that under our own steam, to be asked to play… but that’s way off!

Your new EP is a very nice selection of Metal covers from the likes of Def Leppard, Saxon, Maiden and Priest. How did the idea of the EP come about and were there any covers that didn’t make it on this time, that we might get to hear in the future?
Glad you approve! There were loads of covers that didn’t make it; but it was tricky deciding on just one song per band. Really happy with how it’s come out though… I think we’ve done NWOBHM proud, even if I say so myself!!!

We did the EP for loads of reasons really; we needed something to promote once we started gigging again, something to attract attention to the album. We wanted to try out a new method of recording, that would help speed up the recording of albums; Harry recording drums at his place then sending them over to Will for guitars, vox and mixing – worked a treat!

But, perhaps more cynically, we wanted to record some songs that nailed our metal colours to the mast… we feel that there’s a lot of splitting hairs when it comes to genres; we’re metal, and we use hues from the whole spectrum of this broad Rock and Metal church! We decided that we’d like to do something to tip out hats to a time when Metal was still the unwanted child of the music scene, but was full of pride and energy.

So lots of reasons, but we’re chuffed wi how it’s come out, and we hope we’ve done NWOBHM proud… I actually got in touch wi Graham Oliver to send him the song; he lives near me and every now and then I see him dropping his mum off in the centre. He gave me the thumbs up… it’s proper mint to think that there were kids like him, playing music like that, in the 70s right where I live… and Metallica supported them in the US… mint!

But it is really tempting to do another load of covers… just cos it’s so much fun!

We all know the music industry and has been turned on its head with streaming, declining cd sales etc… So, a band in your position, trying to “further your career”, what’s missing and what needs to be done to help emerging bands?
Oh man… we need some industry magic… or a lottery win! We need someone to bang our drum, cos we’re really bad at selling ourselves and doin’ all that PR stuff…

But who knows what a career in a metal band will look like in a few years!!! I’ll stick to my guns though and repeat what I always say; you can’t analyse ‘the scene’ without taking the wider economic picture into account. Top and bottom of it, most people have a lot less money in their pockets. Couple that with the fact that the way we socialise these days does not demand that you physically be anywhere. Essentially, I reckon, people stay home to have a drink and listen to music, watch vids… save their pennies…

Until something drastic happens economically, I really struggle to see where live heavy music will be in say 10 years. 10 years ago my hometown was far from awesome, but there were half a dozen or so decent pubs where you could catch live underground metal bands… they’re gone now… and it’s hardly news to point out that there are so many ‘metal-friendly’ pubs shutting down, even in the cities!

Many thanks for your time… is there anything else you’d like to add, shit to plug etc…?
Thanks for your time man – always there to help us out, just wish we could do more for you! I’d urge any readers to check our choonz out… and then come to a show and buy some merch!!!

https://www.facebook.com/psythonofficial/
https://psython.bandcamp.com/

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WTF1: Chmcl Str8jckt

I get my ideas for things from all sorts of situations. This one came about, partially, after a chat with Chmcl Str8jckt frontman, Kevin Snell.

 He told me he’s written two songs about his wife for the new album….one simply being titled “Love”. I told him he was going soft in his old age. He shut me up completely when he told me that one song was about seeing her “experience pleasure” and in the other he gets slaughtered for her.

 So Kevin Snell, what the fuck do you sing about?

 I think you’re in a different situation than most vocalists, mainly as you didn’t start singing and writing lyrics until you were in your mid 40s… was it hard to get started and find your own niche?

Ha Ha! Yes, I never wrote a lyric until about a year and a half ago when we wrote the songs for our self-titled debut. I did it out of necessity as the few other front men we tried out just couldn’t capture the vibe that Mike and I wanted. I never want to write “I hate you” “Everyone sucks” “I want to crush you”-type stuff. I wanted to tell little dark stories. It was quite hard to get started, really. It helped that I am a voracious reader and always enjoyed literature. The first song I wrote was “Dressed To Kill”…..a fairly generic topic of a creepy guy stalking a stripper. Once I got that one under my belt the flood gates opened and I realized that the material I want to write about is all around me! I have a stack of post-it notes on my desk and I say phrases into my phone regularly….I then come back to these later when I am ready to write. As I write this to you, I see notes that say “Bring the bourbon and act like a man” and “Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her Momma 40 whacks” on my desk.

 On your 2017 debut, you sing about everything from stalkers to the killer, Dylann Roof. One track though, is very personal. One Last Salute, which is about your battles with alcohol.

 Is it easier putting it all out there, via a song, rather than say, sitting down with someone and opening up to them?

I like variety so some of my songs are metaphors for personal issues, as you say about “One Last Salute” and alcohol. On this track from our debut, I pictured myself setting up at the bar for a night of “battle”. The bottles are “soldiers” that I will slay (consume) as my war rages through the night. In the opening verse I set the stage with “my guts in a knot” and the “soldiers cringe as I lift the opening salvo to my face”. We are all bracing for a fight that never ends well. It finally does end, though, with “as the sun is slowly rising, I drink down One Last Salute.” I am paying homage and respect to my worthy opponents, the “dead soldiers everywhere” (empty bottles). Many people understandably think that song is literally about soldiers and war. I actually had to explain it to a women in the military who didn’t appreciate me singing about “dead soldiers”. I do drink quite a bit…..I am careful to keep it in check. I have a very hyper “type A” personality and a drink or 6 is the way I turn off my mind and relax for a change. On the new release there is a track called “Black Vulture” which is another song about the escape that alcohol provides. Black Vulture is actually a vodka that is distilled here in my hometown. It allows for another perfect metaphor…..”this vulture consumes guilt, like others on a carcass, it quells the screaming in the head of this beast that walks among us.” I don’t mind writing personal songs, as I am very open and honest about who and what I am. Probably too open, ha ha!

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But, again, I love variety in sound and lyrical content. I like to write songs about “characters” too. From the debut, “Silver Or Lead” is about the late drug lord Pablo Escobar while “Dead Flat Black” is about Jack The Ripper. On the new cd (just a few months from being finished!!) “Ode To Peckinpah (Bloody Sam)” is about American western film director, Sam Peckinpah…..an absolute brilliant madman that was hated by his peers and completely out of control.

There are also the 2 tracks for the new release, as you mentioned, that I wrote about my wife and best friend, Misha. This was new territory! The first track, “Bomb Cyclone” is about her “going off”. Ha ha! Our lives, like everyone else’s, are full of challenges….difficulties at work, sick parents, etc. I wrote “Bomb Cyclone” as a celebration of seeing her experience joy. Shedding the woes of reality for a night and living in the moment! I love to see that pure happiness. “She’s a Bomb Cyclone….no flowers in her hair…but she dances in the flames and lives without a care. She’s a Bomb Cyclone and she’s gonna go off!” The other song, “Love”, is truly new territory for us. Mike and I were hanging out and he played a riff for me. It was beautiful and haunting. He said, “I just wrote this, but I know it’s not Str8jckt material.” I loved it and wanted to use it. I recorded the riff and then programmed around it. Once the song was shaping up I started thinking about lyrics. It’s slower, poignant, dark and beautiful….like love. So I simply thought I will write a song about how much I love Misha. It became a very Helen of Troy-ish song. “A thousand ships were launched….and they’re coming for you…..but they gotta get through me…..and I couldn’t be more happy!” After writing the verses I felt I had written my ultimate love song. I read it a few times and realized “Wow…the ultimate expression of love to me is fighting/dying for the one you cherish”. I realized that is the kind of “crazy” that we who have testosterone are subject too. I suck at listening and empathy…but I’ll fight an army for you! WTF? So I wrote the chorus as a commentary of my verses….”we men are wretched things…..we men are wretched things.” (Though I’m very happy in my wretchedness!)

On the debut “Today The Devil Dies” was an anomaly too. It was about current events at the time. The sentencing of the awful Dylann Roof…..mass murderer and hate monger. I always am shocked when people kill each other over no reason except blind hatred. I had to write my revenge song against him “today the devil is gonna die….so drop the noose and let’s hang ’em high”.

BUT, the bulk of what I write is simply little horror stories! “House Upon The Hill” from the debut isn’t so different than many books I’ve read. A depressed dad kills himself in the house. Each decade a new family moves in and the spirit of the dead man entices the weakest member of each new family to suicide (while narrating the song!). Each of the 4 verses is dedicated to the 4 families that inhabit the house…ending with “cries for daughter break the still, as I grow ever stronger in the House upon the hill.” On the upcoming release we have “Cut Deep”, “Meat Hook” and “Baphomet” that are all along these lines, although “Baphomet” is historical horror (the burning of the Knights Templar, etc).

We’ll end with a quick chat about your next album, which you’ve just finished recording. What subjects have you tackled on the album. And is there anything that you hope will make people sit up and take notice?

Regarding the upcoming release…when I got the life changing call from John Bechdel (Ministry, Fear Factory, Killing Joke) saying that he’d like to produce this next release, we had only 2 songs written. Two songs that didn’t make it onto the debut. I knew I could rework them to make them better. Bechdel was on tour with Ministry when he called me but we set a time to work at his studio for about 2 months later. We had this amazing, mind blowing opportunity…and no material!! Ha ha! Well, in about 2 months we wrote all of the songs you will hear on the new release!

 I hope the big “take away” from our next release is that variety and blending of styles is a great part of what makes industrial music so interesting and inviting. Just like on the debut, we want to capture that old school feel that we loved so many years ago, while incorporating elements of rock, metal and punk. What was always exciting to me as an industrial fan was how Thrill Kill infused disco…..Pailhead infused punk…..Revco infused rock…..Godflesh infused metal….Legendary Pink Dots infused jazz!! We will continue to blend the styles that we love into our industrial framework. There will be “purists” that will hate us for this, but we don’t care a bit!

Keep an eye on https://www.facebook.com/chmclstr8jckt/ for details of the new album, which should be out, probably around February or March 2019. Kevin has afforded me a sneak preview of some of the material, and the album is going to slay…

 https://chmclstr8jkt.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/machinemanrecords/

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Decent News Interview

Yep, this is the first interview for the new Ghost Wave Radio website, and I managed to have a chat with Decent News guitar player, Eddie LaFlash.

Asking a band about their band name is one of the most boring unimaginative ways to begin an interview. But for Decent News, it’s actually a valid question…. What is Decent News and how did you get to that from “Hopscotch and the Tickled Fancy’s”?
First I’d like to say thank you very much for taking the time to do this with us, We love your show! Hopscotch and the Tickled Fancy’s huh? That’s a whole long story but I’ll save it for another time. It was an Industrial band that I had formed in 2012 and we disbanded in 2015. I don’t really remember how the name came about, I think the name was just supposed to not reflect how we sounded at all. When we formed this group in 2016 the first name we had for ourselves was Freakuency, which I thought was a really clever name until I found out that around 2 dozen other bands thought it was clever. Eventually we came down to either Decent News or A Few Boys.

And any names that got rejected along the way?
I actually just found the list of names that we had to choose from. Basically we each thought of some names, I think I came up with maybe 20 names, Collin came up with
about 5 and Laken came up with about 70. We did kind of like a round robin thing to eliminate some names

Here are some of the ones that didn’t make it:
Those!
Stepstool
Radiator Faction
One of my kids is Gonna eat Shit
Survaillance Abuse
Water Seizure
The Files
Steamfresh Oopsies
KillFuck

The list is practically endless, and some of them were clearly not going to make it. Although looking back, I really like Water Seizure.

Musically and visually, you don’t really follow a set format or blueprint either. Apart from your single, Halogen, your artwork is kind of quirky, and the music follows a similar path… well it does to me anyway. Was it a conscious decision to be “a bit weird”, but with enough melody to still draw people in? Or is it down to a weird collision of influences?
The quirkiness comes from us just having fun. We never take ourselves seriously at all, to us, It just feels really awkward to have a serious sort of theme or persona that you see a lot of bands doing these days. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just doesn’t reflect who we are. Musically everything is pretty straight forward, Lyrically, is where we start to have fun with it. I don’t think we make it a goal to make our music goofy, but if we get writers block we usually just start fucking around with ideas until it sounds usable.

Now, moving onto your new remix album… and I’m a sucker for remixes. What made you decide to do a remix album of Filth and how does it feel for a band when other artist re-interpret your music?
I love it. I think it’s so cool how people can interpret ideas and rethink the way that a song is put together.

I won’t put you on the spot and ask which remix you liked the best, but did any band do something and you thought, “damn, I wish we’d done that”?
That’s a tough one, I love all of them. Every remix that we got blew us away in their own way. If I had to pick one…. personally I’d have to say 80KV’s remix. The intro and outro gave me chills ha ha. When I gave her the stems for Sanctuary I included the 15 minute version of the source sample that plays at the beginning and end of the song and she really picked out things that we completely skipped over.

Decent News are now lining up a few gigs. Am I right that your August 15th gig is your debut? Is being a gigging band important to you, or is the digital world where it’s at in terms of being your main focus.
August 15th at Cerry Street Station in Wallingford, CT is Decent News’ first gig! It’s about time. We’ve really been wanting to get out there and gig. It’s always a fun experience and it’s such a rush. I feel like bands have to gig to reach their full potential. The digital world is great if someone is looking for your music, but at a gig you’re pretty much forcing the people who came to listen to your band. Who knows, you might show them something they’ve never heard before.

I’ll be brutally honest and say I think (good) record labels are a dying breed and pretty much obsolete these days, especially when it comes to underground bands. But I love what Chris at Machine Man Records is putting together. Especially with your label mates Chmcl Str8jckt making really good progress, does that spur you on and give you belief that your small corner of the scene can make some headway. Or is more a case of take it as it comes and see what happens?
Chris is the man! He’s done so much for us and he really is a great dude. With all the hard work that Chris is putting in, I hope it gets big. I don’t think we’re too worried with success though, I know we’re in good hands and that’s all that matters

Now the remix album is out, what’s next for Decent News? Is it too early to think of the next album, or are you dying to make the most of your new studio?
Thanks for noticing the new studio! It fucking rules and I’m so excited to piss off my neighbors. We have some ideas and demos kicking around but I can’t really do too much because Caleb is in New Hampshire until the beginning of November, so I don’t want to do too much without him.

Many thanks for your time, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Anytime time man! Check out our latest release on Machine Man Records “Filth: Remixed” featuring many talented artists from all over the globe!

https://www.facebook.com/decentnews/
https://decentnews.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/machinemanrecords/