Only two years since their inception and Hertfordshire hardcore boys Aconite Thrill have just signed a deal with Mighty Atom Records, home to acclaimed bands such as Funeral For A Friend and Hondo Maclean. Via the peculiar medium of MSN messenger, DiS speaks to them as they prepare to embark on their most extensive UK tour yet….
So are you excited about the tour?
Ali (bass): ‘Yep I am, I will try not to get mega ill and eat fresh fruit regularly…’
Alex (guitar): ‘Ali gets three strikes of bad luck every tour and then goes mad…real bad luck I mean…’
Tom (guitar): ‘In April we played on the road and Ali's amp blew up and then he got the plague... (we thought it was SARS), which was quite amusing - that is until two more of us dropped like flies with same bug! And before we knew it, we were trawling home with sick notes in hand... This tour coming up Ali is going to be wearing a old skool deep-sea diving suit of armour to protect himself!’
Do any of you have annoying habits while on the road?
Tom: ‘Just the usual things that you might expect when coordinating 5+ people to a schedule... everyone always seems to have do everything when they like and not when it would make sense. So there's always the odd occasion when "hunger strikes"... just at the time you need to leave for the next show. Old-man bladders should be strongly avoided wherever possible!’
A deal with Mighty Atom, that’s pretty cool. Did you approach them or did they go after you?
Tom: ‘Well we initially spoke to them when they were still working on Funeral For a Friend’s major label deal, so they couldn't commit at that point... but about a month or so ago we said “Yeah?" and they said “Yeah!". And that was that’.
Why did you decide to sign with them? I hear you were getting offers from all over the place…
Alex: ‘We just got a really good vibe from Atom. We got on really well with them and liked their ideas. They seem to understand what we’re about’.
Well it was probably a good choice if you consider how well their other bands are doing at the moment….
Tom: ‘Yeah that’s right, their bands are very much at the front of stuff at the moment…supporting some top bands’.
It does mean, however, that you’re on the same roster as 3 Colours Red. Are you fans?
Tom: ‘I am definitely, I have all their stuff from their first incarnation, and I can confess to seeing them support Bush in Kilburn October 1997. And they were amazing!’
Would you sign to a major label if the opportunity arose?
Alex: ‘Yes, obviously depending on the ins and outs of it. I don’t think there is any point in not trying to reach the biggest audiences possible, and the bigger the label, generally speaking, the more people you can touch.’
Tom: ‘It depends…disappearing off to major labels alienates your grass roots support…so if you get stuck out in the cold you have nothing! So it’s very much about fine details with such things. Alternative bands need to keep control of ridiculous marketing otherwise you look stupid’.
Ali: ‘We have a style of music that we play and take very seriously so we would like whoever we work with to work with that, and not make us look like metal prats basically…because it’s very easy to look like a metal prat nowadays!’
There are a lot of hardcore metal bands trying to break through at the moment. How would you describe your sound, and what makes Aconite Thrill different to all the others?
Tom:‘Its true, there are hundreds of bands and many deserve the support that you need to make a big impact, that will hopefully make that lasting impression. Our sound is quite different we have been told, because we aren't shy about going bonkers and playing really heavy stuff right next to really melodic light parts. We honestly follow our ears and play what we find most suitable, and we aren't about portraying any image so we don't feel confined by having to be 'tough' all the time or following any other such potential pitfall’.
You were born out of the same Watford/Hertfordshire scene that created Sikth. Some would say you’re better than them, discuss….!
Ali: ‘No way! We are not better than Sikth, we’re totally different. They have the skills to pay the bills…so do we…but in a different way’.
Tom: ‘They are hometown mates…so it’s not really a competition with the bands anyway…’
Ha, ha ok. I was only joking really, just wanted to see what you’d say. The Watford hardcore scene was really thriving a year or so ago, but it seems to have died down a bit now. Do you think the smaller bands will disappear as bigger ones such as you and Sikth become more well known outside of the local area?
Tom: ‘Not at all, there is serious potential everywhere. Eden Maine, CryforSilence…even Firstborn and Incoherence are quite known on an underground level’.
Alex: ‘There are still loads of bands, it just needs a new community to witness it. All the bands are still going stronger than ever, and as Tom says, there are more now’.
It’s interesting that some of the most exciting music at the moment, is emanating from small, underground local scenes. The same thing happened in Wales with Hondo Maclean and Funeral for A Friend, and to a certain extent is happening in Scotland with bands such as Mercury Tilt Switch and Aereogramme. Why do you think this is?
Tom: ‘Success breeds success, and in the locality of any breaking band there will others that will simply take heart and know what it is that they too must do, often by being able to draw 2nd hand experience to help themselves with their own affairs. Encouragement is everything I suppose!’
You played the Ux-Fest in nearby Uxbridge this summer. It has had a reputation of showcasing upcoming bands but unfortunately this year was the last time it’s going to take place….it’s such a shame because there aren’t many venues in that (Greater London) area where teenagers can go to….
Alex: ‘This is very true…’
Tom: ‘Hopefully it will change venue and appear under another guise because it does work so well’.
Are you doing any all-age shows on your tour?
Alex: ‘I think most of the shows are for over 14s or 16s’.
Ali: ‘Yay! Music for all, that’s the way it should be’.
A lot of the fans of hardcore are pretty young…it’s almost as if the kids who used to like nu-metal have realised it was shit and have found something a bit more…authentic…
Alex: ‘I think that’s pretty much the case…but it’s still surprising that some places we go, you find that the majority are still nu-metal kids, kicking strong. They just tend to go out less. It would seem that most nu-metal kids wouldn’t even think to go to a gig with a UK headline act. Funeral for A Friend are the only band in the country that I know of who are close to a US counterpart’.
Tom: ‘I’m sceptical of fashions within music though. They always turn band and everyone gets upset eventually!’
The debut EP for Mighty Atom, ‘504hrs’ comes out in November. What does 504 hrs mean?
Ali: ‘It’s roughly how many hours it took us to record the EP. It’s like ‘here’s our effort in 504 hours’. It seemed like a nice thing’.
Alex: ‘Yeah, it’s all the hours in three weeks. It’s partly from our song ‘B-Movie Explosion’ which is about losing three weeks of your life, so it’s got lots of meanings’.
One of the highlights of your live set is ‘It Would Have Been a Beautiful Day but I’m Knee-deep in Shit and Corpses’. What’s the inspiration behind that title?
Tom: ‘Haha. Yes its perhaps an expression that anything can be amazing if there wasn't horrendous draw backs! Any day could be beautiful... but certainly not if there was corpses everywhere, it wouldn't matter what the weather was. No Sir!’
What are your plans after you’ve finished the forthcoming immense tour?
Alex: ‘Rest and then do it all again. We’ve got to get our writing hats on too…’
Tom: ‘We are going to get some serious writing down in advance because we have seen what can happen if you get caught out for material…’
Alex: ‘Yes. Nothing worse than making curtains and then finding the last one is just too short…because you haven’t got enough material’.
Hmmm yes. Do you write the songs together?
Ali: ‘Yes, everyone has an input on writing the songs. Riffs come from drumbeats, bass-lines, guitars – everywhere. We just chuck them all together and mould them’.
Well good luck with the tour and the EP release. What will be playing on the tour-bus stereo?
Tom: ‘Oooh various. We have a highly democratic system, where by everybody puts a Cd in the Changer and we bash it on 'random' - then we let the Cd player do the DJ-ing! I expect Sikth, New FFAF, Hondo Maclean, Million Dead, Mars Volta & Perfect Circle will all be likely suspects at some juncture!’
Aconite Thrill are touring the UK for the next two months, check their profile to see if they’ll be at a town near you! Visit www.aconitethrill.com and download exclusive tracks.