Interview With 'Suffer No Fools'
Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
Mike: I'm Mike; I play drums in Suffer No Fools. We play heavy metal and formed around a year ago. I was first made aware of the band through Jamie, who I met through different connections I had made at university. After finding out we both had a love for heavy metal, he suggested I try out for Suffer No Fools. I heard tracks that would later be on the Restless Youth EP, loved them, smashed them in rehearsal, then I was in. Ali: Hello, name's Ali, I’m the vocalist and rhythm guitarist in Suffer No Fools. March last year I auditioned for a vacant vocalist position for the band. By the end of the audition I knew things could work out really well, which I think the other members will agree with. Since then it has become a project I have been seriously working on. Alex: I’m Alex and I play bass guitar in Suffer No Fools. As Mike mentioned, myself, Jamie (who is currently in Spain), Mike, and our old guitarist Jack Kirby all met at University. Jack was in my course, Jamie was on a similar course but I actually met him through forming a cover band with Jack, after playing together I suggested that we form a new band and play some original music. Jamie and Jack were both up for it, and that became Suffer No Fools. We then snapped up Mike and Ali and the rest is history.
What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
Alex: Since music entered my life it was dominated pretty heavily by it but for a long time I didn’t know that I had any talent to pursue playing in a band. I would watch all these other bands form in school and knew that I wanted to play the kind of stuff that I loved to listen to, so I picked my brothers acoustic guitar and tried to learn the basics, from there I taught myself everything I know and now here we are. Ali: Talking about chosen path and dream, music has always been both. I feel I’m destined to do a lot. Being a respected musician and a performer that is able to leave an impression while performing live is what I want to go for. If you’re doing something you are passionate about, it should be loud and wild enough for people to know. Mike: It's been music all the way for pretty much as long as I can remember; right back to when I picked up the violin when I was 7 or 8. Playing in a band is such a thrill, and when I'm not playing in the band I'm doing production and mixing. So it's always music one-way or the other.
Tell us about your latest EP and why our readers should check it out.
Ali: 'Songs For The Restless Youth' is an epic piece of art. If you feel like listening to something unique and satisfying in the metal scene, turn to this EP. Alex: You know when your album is called ‘Songs for the Restless Youth’ you’ve got something a bit more than the average EP/album that gets churned out. We’ve talked in the band about why we're all drawn to this sort of music and we came to the conclusion that a lot of it comes down to the power of the riff. We are a riff based band, we don’t do a lot of progressive or rhythmic stuff like you see most of the Djent or Modern Metal bands doing, not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just not our thing. So if you want riffs, and a singer that sings, check it out. Mike: There are no gimmicks on this album, there's no repetitive chugging or breakdowns and there's certainly no synths. It's all about big riffs, crushing drums and big choruses.
Who would you say is the bands main song writer or is it a group effort and where do you draw your inspiration lyrically and musically from?
Ali: The first EP was mostly done by Alex, who did a considerable job in my opinion, so I would say he is the main songwriter for the band. As time has passed, we all as members know what our roles are and how to make it sound even better on the recorded track or live, it definitely has become a group effort. My emphasis is always on sounding good live as I'd like people to see and hear how good the band dynamic and chemistry is. Mike: Alex has a very creative stance when it comes to the band, which I'm all for. We all do give our ideas and opinions but to have one person lead it helps keep it organised. I wasn't even in the band when 'Restless Youth' was being written, but there are some sections of the new EP, which I have had some creative input over. As for influences, a lot of the riffs I come up with are quite Thrashy, I love bands like Evile and I feel it can be heard when you listen to my riffs. Lyrically I love folklore. Whether it be an old ghost story or a piece of Tolkien’s fantasy, I find it so interesting. Alex: I would pretty much agree with what Ali and Mike said, there is certainly a natural order within the band, but everyone is free to express their ideas any way they see fit. We have been writing/recording our next EP and it’s a further evolution of our collaborative effort. There is this one song called ‘Egypt’ that myself, Ali, and Mike all collaboratively wrote that is probably our best work to date, it’s still evolving and it’s a working title, but when people hear this thing live it’s going to go down a storm. Then we have our seven-minute opus ‘Bourbon Street Shark Attack’, again a working title! It completely throws out the rulebook we established when working on 'Songs For The Restless Youth'. That EP is very C Minor heavy, and that was great because it really cemented the tone of the songs, but this time we are going further outside of our comfort zone, we have some very dissonant stuff, the use of modes such as Phrygian, and major keys!
As a band what do you believe is your greatest achievement to date?
Mike: Probably getting as far as we did in Metal to the Masses Road to Bloodstock. Ok we only played one live show in that contest, but for me that's still awesome. To be considered to play Bloodstock, a major festival, is pretty amazing. Alex: Yeah that was definitely a highlight, Mick Wood and all those guys were fantastic and so welcoming. Playing our first show at 'The Good Ship' was one of the most deafening and exciting achievements in my opinion. There was barely anybody there but there was something about that show that was special, I remember just about being able to hear the rest of the band and just having a blast. We must have been loud because they haven’t invited us back!...
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?
Ali: Nope, not yet. Alex: I don’t think there has been one individual that has left that impression on me. I am more awestruck by the countless fantastic bands that continue to play, to present their music and always kick ass live and on their recordings. I’m talking about bands like Bad Frankenhausen, Dorylus, Praetorian, Taken With The Tides, Massacres, and tons more who are grassroots level and already putting on shows better than bands ten times their size. Do yourself a favour and check them out. Mike: Not really no. The only big people I've met have been from Metal bands and all of them strike me as just being normal people. On stage they look pissed off and sing about killing people but then you meet them and they're just chill. I guess the closest I've been too awestruck was seeing Iron Maiden for the second time. They played 'The Red And The Black' of the new album which is 13 minutes long and it was my favourite moment of any show I have ever been to.
What do you enjoy most about touring?
Mike: We haven't really 'toured' as such, it is something we definitely plan to do but everything hasn't quite lined up yet. My favourite thing about gigging though is definitely meeting people. Meeting bands, fans, locals, bar staff, promoters, it's amazing to be a part of it all. Alex: I’ll second that, pretty much everyone we have met have been absolutely fantastic people to just have a chat with and get to know. It’s just a pleasure to be able to present our music, our show, to anyone who wants to listen. We are always on the lookout for new places to play, new audiences to play to, and fresh ears to hear our music. We have always said that we will try our best to take our show anywhere people will have us.
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
Mike: We don't strive to be the heaviest band in the world so don't expect the entire building to be a mosh pit. We have the riffs and the grooves so be ready, to do, a lot, of headbanging. Alex: Definitely headbanging, that’s what you will see at our shows, a bunch of heads moving in unison, plus we like to try and involve the audience as much as we can, whether it’s singing along, shouting along, dancing along, fucking along, if someone in the crowd is reacting in some positive way to our music we have done what we set out to do.
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
Alex: Killswitch Engage, Adam D, enough said. Mike: I obviously would love to tour with a band like Iron Maiden or Metallica but that may be a bit too ambitious. I think a band like Killswitch Engage would be awesome to tour with because they seem like great guys and I think their fans would love our music.
You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
Mike: I would have to say Ronnie James Dio. He has been in so many bands and has met so many people I can imagine he has so many stories about his musical career. I think he would be fascinating. Alex: Richie Edwards of Manic Street Preachers, where did he go? Why did he disappear? Will we ever know?
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Mike: Of course. Nothing spreads the Christmas message more clearly than 'yippee ki yay mother fucker.'
'Shots From The Studio'
'Songs For The Restless Youth' is available now.