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Interview With 'Cavalier Kings'

Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?

Fraz: I sing and play guitar, more on the rhythm side of things. I first met Ben in college ten years ago and we started a band. We recorded two EP's and a single, played a few shows and then broke up. After I moved back from university, me, Ben and my cousin Josh started playing again under the name Cavalier Kings.

Josh: I started playing guitar when I was younger, but then gravitated towards the bass later on. I felt a natural affinity towards the bass. Fraz asked me to collaborate on a few things, we took it from there and then we asked Ben to join.

Ben: We’re dotted all over Shropshire and the West Midlands. In early 2015, after jamming with Josh for so long, Fraz persuaded me to come in on drums.

Sam: I play guitar. I am the baby of the band as I'm the youngest, but I also only joined the band last year. I found an ad online from a Telford band looking for a second guitarist, so I checked what the guys had out, liked what I heard and I got in touch. After 30 minutes of our first practice session, they asked me to join!

What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?

Ben: I was working all sorts of jobs to get the bills paid and in the meantime I played in a few different bands. Ever since we became musicians, trying to make it a career and play our instruments for a living has always been the main goal.

Josh: I played in a few bands as a teenager, then ended up going into catering work. Music fell by the wayside for a short period. I then moved back to Telford with Fraz, and then we started working together like we did when we were younger. It was then that I started to regain my passion for music, and I haven't looked back since.

Fraz: For four years prior to the band I was living in Manchester studying music. I started a band which in terms of the sound of the band is what eventually lead to this one we're in now, only a little louder. We released one EP, did one tour and broke up. Soon after that I moved back to Telford from Manchester because it was easier to find work here.

Sam: I went to university to do a degree in Marketing, and since then I've had a few different jobs. But I was frustrated that I didn't have a chance to play music in my spare time, so that's when I started looking at ads online. Music is my biggest passion, and I'm grateful that I now have an outlet for it.

Tell us about your latest EP and why our readers should check it out.

Fraz: I think it's a good start for us musically. We wanted a big arrival and in the record you can hear all our ideas coming together as one. Since then we have been working hard on new ideas and it's all coming together now. It's interesting looking back on it, it really is a blend of different influences bouncing off of each other and making something collective for the first time.

Sam: I actually joined the band after they'd recorded the EP, but it's a great start for us. When I heard 'Skin Off' for the first time, it really took me back to that early noughties Rock sound. I can't wait to get started on the next one so I can throw my hat into the ring!

Josh: I hear it as a 90's sound being brought into the 21st century. It's a nice mash up of ideas, a great starting point, and we're looking forward to working with Sam on the next one.

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?

Ben: As a band we try and write the music as a collective, while Fraz writes the lyrics. For our first EP we were a three piece. Fraz already had the lyrics, guitar and bass parts for four of the five songs pretty much written, and then I came in and put the drum lines to them. 'Tidal Wave' was written a matter of weeks before we recorded the EP and that was the first song we wrote all our parts separately as musicians, like Josh wrote the bass line, I came up with the drum beat and Fraz wrote the riffs and lyrics.

Fraz: In the last few years I've been influenced by a mix of unique alternative bands. I like going back through the years with bands with this particular sound, such as Braid, Cable, Weezer, Quicksand, Helmet, Reuben, Jamie Lenman, Hundred Reasons, Hell Is For Heroes, Biffy Clyro, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, Alexisonfire, Basement, Fugazi, Kerbdog, Max Raptor and Sunny Day Real Estate.

Sam: My playing style is mostly influenced by Alternative Rock bands such as Muse, Biffy Clyro, Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead. I draw influences from a lot of genres though.

Josh: When I write basslines, I take inspiration from Pop Punk, Alternative Rock and Grunge. I try and incorporate my own style to collaborate and harmonise with the rest of the band. We all have an equal input though, Fraz writes the majority of the lyrics but the rest of us contribute to the creative writing process.

Ben: Musically, our inspiration comes from such a vast array of different influences that we could write an entire essay on who lends credence to how we play the way we do, especially as our sound has changed a number of times over the two years we’ve been a band.

As a band what do you believe is your greatest achievement to date and why?

Fraz: 'The Faint Signals' EP was a massive milestone. Getting our first EP pressed, printed and available to buy is a big moment.

Josh: I agree, getting the EP and the promotional material released were when we felt like we jumped a big hurdle.

Ben: I think our greatest achievements are yet to come, but in my opinion we’ve had a few highlights along the way. Getting our debut EP recorded and released, having it reviewed in a magazine next to reviews of bands like Of Mice & Men, Norma Jean and Young Guns and playing all over the country just to name a few.

Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?

Sam: We were playing a show in Birmingham in the summer, and we happened to be playing next door to Good Charlotte. We got to meet Joel Madden and Dean Butterworth in the backstage area, and they were both so cool. We talked about festivals and touring.

Ben: I'd got all my gear set up and went outside for a smoke, and there was Joel Madden and Dean Butterworth poking their heads out from around the corner. They came and had a chat with us, and were generous enough to get us free tickets to their show after we’d played ours.

Fraz: I'll never forget when I met Hell Is For Heroes on their reunion tour. Also, Josh and I met Andrew Fisher from Basement which was pretty cool. I was definitely awestruck both times.

Josh: Meeting Basement was a big moment. One time though, I went to Beautiful Days Festival in Devon, and I got backstage access to meet The Levellers, Ziggy Marley and Dreadzone. We partied all night!

Ben: Last year I also met New Found Glory, one of my biggest musical influences, at Slam Dunk Festival. Yellowcard are my favourite band of all time and I’ve met them a number of times, most recently in December. I was an impressionable young teenager looking for a musical purpose during the big Pop Punk boom of the early 2000’s, so it’s fair to say meeting three of those influences all in one year left me pretty awestruck.

What do you enjoy most about touring?

Fraz: I'm happy to play anywhere I can, I just like playing live music. We haven't officially toured yet, but we have played two or three long distance gigs in a row, like a mini-tour. I hope we can work our way up to doing a tour some point in the near future, but we just need a few people to help make it happen.

Sam: Just being on the road with your mates is good fun though. It feels like a road trip, but then you can go and perform with a load of other bands in front of people you don't know and just go for it!

Josh: Seeing different parts of the country, meeting other bands in the same situation as us, and just the fun we have as a band. It's always a laugh!

If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?

Sam: Expect anything and everything. Sometimes we're quiet, but most times we're loud, and we play with energy and passion. That's what the audience wants to see.

Josh: As Sam said, expect the unexpected.

Fraz: The main agenda has always been about playing with lot of energy and excitement. Some people have said that we remind them of bands they used to listen to years ago, so I guess in a way we're part of a very few that are trying to resurrect that kind of era again.

If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?

Fraz: I'm going to go with bands that are on tour right now. Green Day would be crazy, and At The Drive In. Got to pick those once in a life time opportunities.

Josh: I'd have said Green Day too, but also Blink-182. It would be a blast from the past, going back to me living my teenage years.

Sam: I'd choose Foo Fighters. They're not just one of my favourite bands, but they all seem like such nice guys. I'd imagine they have a lot of stories to tell and would also give us some valuable advice along the way. Plus I've always wondered what goes down at Dave Grohl's infamous backstage barbecues.

Ben: This is like asking someone what their favourite song is, but for me it would be A Day To Remember. They’ve genuinely been one of my most favourite bands of the last five years or so, and they’ve had a huge influence on the way I play today. We’re even endorsed by the same drum company, and to be able to hit the road with those guys would be an absolute dream.

You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?

Fraz: Dead, I would pick Layne Staley. I think he would have a lot of cool things to say. Alive, I really would love to meet Jamie Lenman - the heavy side on his solo album he did was phenomenal.

Ben: Freddie Mercury. Queen were the very first band that got me in to Rock music, and Roger Taylor is the reason I started playing drums. I think the only thing I’d want to know is how he had that profound ability to capture an entire audience of people and have them at his fingertips, while being able to turn almost any song in to a masterpiece. Still, to this very day, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' is one of the greatest songs ever written.

Sam: Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine. Even though I'm not a very political person, it'd be interesting to just chat to him about current affairs. I'm sure it'd be fascinating but I'd also have to talk to him about his gear, and how the hell he comes up with such incredible riffs. He's my favourite guitarist, no doubt about it.

Josh: Mike Dirnt from Green Day, because he's been my biggest influence on the bass. He also seems like a really cool guy.

And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?

Fraz: Absolutely!

Josh: Yes it is!

Ben: Definitely. It’s set on Christmas Eve and repeatedly mentions Christmas. It’s not only a

Christmas film, but it’s the second greatest Christmas film of all time.

Sam: I could watch it any day of the year, it doesn't really get me in the Christmas spirit. These are the sorts of questions that cause bands to break up.

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