Over the past year and a half I have approached this review on and off; having been aware of its concept, idea, concoction (call it what you will), so I apologise in advance if this skips tense at some stage, or a thought ends sharply, like a piece by a beat poet – for a lot can take place in such an amount of time. I have opened and closed this work countless times, even if only to browse and read through my notes from months before to ensure each word I choose is enough, is sufficient in doing this record (and band) justice, and each decision rightly grants me the opportunity to review One for Sorrow, and discuss my experiences in depth – for that too, I must thank We Are Fiction eternally for the adventures they have given me, and this in return is my tribute to them.

We Are Fiction
One for Sorrow
Rating: 5/5

With this review, I wish to coalesce it with a book I recently finished reading, uniquely entitled Steppenwolf, a novel by German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse. Originally published in Germany in 1927, it was first translated into English in 1929, combining autobiographical and psychoanalytic elements much like One for Sorrow, the novel was named after the lonesome wolf of the Steppes.

Its story in large reflects a profound crisis in Hesse's spiritual world in the 1920s while memorably portraying the protagonist's split between his humanity and his wolf-like aggression and homelessness. One reason I took so fondly to the story, and felt the urge to combine the two works more so than that already mentioned, was due to this struggle – before me, I visioned vocalists Barker and Kucharski face one another, defending one side of the split.

The novel has also recently appeared in the hands of many influential musicians: Kevin Devine Instagramed (is that a verb yet?) a page of the book, and Keith Buckley mentioned a character was reading it in the latest short story he posted on his personal blog, so it felt somewhat fitting that it has been accepted in the musical world, which can be used as an appropriate work of fiction (heh) to reference, and merge passages amidst the arteries and avenues of my analysis and discussion.

To begin, We Are Fiction emerged in 2008, consisting of five friends, Phil Barker (vocals), Ryan Chambers (bass), Andi Scott Shaw (lead guitar), Tom Calton (drums and percussion) and Marc Kucharski (guitar and vocals). Hailing from Peterborough, in Cambridgeshire, their name was taken from one of the first songs they wrote. Having drifted in and out of musical ventures together previously, it was in 2008 they were able to finally acknowledge each other as friends, but respectfully also ‘musicians [and understand they] must play [their] part according to [their] duties and [their] gifts’ (157). For example, Calton does not overdo his part like many drummers do just to be noticed; only after time he has been able to find the right time to slot in the perfect beat, and knows that merits such a greater rewards than trying to becoming ostentatious and ruin what music is being created.

The band has a ragged edge, the music erratic, angular and emotional. I like everything about them, their spasmodic movements, the drummer’s jazz flourishes, their disjointed, orgasmic musical structures. You feel a kinship with the members and sense their pride in their roots. Like the Steppenwolf, We Are Fiction do not shy away from where they are from, accepting the dying music scene and seeing that as their challenge to overcome, and create their own; to start a new. They try to take any negative attitude towards Peterborough and reverse it, like in ‘The Worst of It’, the song opens with the line “see I know what you’re about to say, that I hate my life and I hate where I live”. They are highly regarded locally as ‘the old connoisseurs, the reverers of Europe as it used to be, of genuine music and poetry as once they were’ (47).

Recorded at CDS Studios in Chelmsford with Mike Curtis (ex-Fei Comodo), One for Sorrow features an admirable work-rate of British melodic post-hardcore and American punk rock; a record of love, and loss, and love again. I feel privileged we have the opportunity to follow them on a journey, as they recite tales innovatively and much cooler than The Canterbury Tales, that’s for sure. Each song like a chapter, and Shaw said every song has meaning behind it; they all serve purpose.

“It’s a rock n’ roll record”, Barker declared, “every song that we wrote is about a passion that we have in our life, so we’ve wrote it all with heart. Hopefully every track will mean something to somebody out there and you can’t say fairer than that; I hope everybody likes it”.

Despite being a record that took just over two and a half years to complete, time became a valuable and trusted ally as Chambers recalls: “The songs came out relatively fast once we started writing them. Half of the album was created in Tom's parent’s garage, with the other half coming together at the Blue Barn in Ely (where we spent most of our time playing party ping-pong instead of writing: it's a real fun game involving a ping-pong table, Mansion House and The Vengaboys)”.

“The recording side was not done in the ideal way for this album - looking back, that's probably where we've learnt the most. We were all working full time jobs at the start of the recording process, so we would hit the studio for two days at a time on weekends we could make free. We spent the better part of two years in and out of the studio, but I'd say we spent a maximum of fifteen days actually recording. It was a really hard way to work, but it has taught us a lot about how we want to approach the next album”.

However, this was only musically, I remember Barker sitting in his living room furiously texting Kucharski regarding his side of the lyrics; anxious, keen and frustrated all at the same time due to the time it was taking him to pen the likes of ‘Władysław’. But Kucharski could only be described best as a lazy perfectionist, and as our mothers have all told us at some stage, good things come to those who wait.

The songs were then mixed and re-amped by Lee Batiuk at Regal House Studios in nearby Wisbech with Lee Batiuk for three days which was described as “definitely the easiest part of the process”, before being sent overseas for mastering at Turtle Tone Studios in America to become the record we hear today.

I first listened to the album or rather several half-complete demos roughly a year ago, many of which instrumentals, after a fierce drinking bout, and I prominently remembering Shaw’s ferocious and penetrating guitar solos taking charge (which would later become ‘Tilt’), leaving me eager and wanting more.

When I was a child, I remember watching The Mummy in the cinema, and in it there was a phrase that never left me, I always end up saying it: “patience is a virtue”. I love that this phrase can be applied to that emotion I felt regarding One for Sorrow. After five years without a record released, one would’ve thought they would be back at square one, but as Kerouac once said “little paradises take their time”.

Mansion House
‘I was swept at once into a world of noise and excitement’ (210) Hesse blurts out as One for Sorrow apertures with a high-octane, burst of energy anthem dubbed ‘Mansion House’: the epitome of fun. ‘Mansion House’ was originally demoed under the name ‘The Party Song’, which ultimately can sum the track up in those three words alone. A fury that bubbles through the speakers, foaming from start to finish; sparkling off a gloriously delicious and technical riff by Shaw, whilst Calton, Chambers and Kucharski thump away at their weapons with crashing symbols.

It was would seem out of place if Barker was not tearing himself apart whilst this ensemble took place, hammering the microphone into his chest. Thunder clouds brew amidst a southern rock projection before Barker’s enchanting, powerful (I best get this one out of the way early) bark is suddenly harmonised and capitalised on by Kucharski’s majestic and enviable vocals. It’s once the first chorus ends you’re struck by the lightening, and you realise what sort of storm is taking place.

One may feel it is not their strongest track (more so musically than anything else), and an interesting play to have ‘Mansion House’ open their debut album – in turn, potentially being the song many first-time listeners will be introduced to the band through, but it’s position in the track listing is just. If we step aside from the obvious that it allows the record to hit the ground running, and certainly not bore the listener, it lyrically and emotionally presents We Are Fiction how they wished to be viewed, a rock n’ roll band singing about friends and having good, drunken fun; letting go of the little things and letting your hair down: “now all my secrets are on the dance floor”.

This concept developed over time to be a niche the band holds dear to them; it’s seen as a little signifier, associated with the theme of happiness, enjoyment, loyalty, and most importantly, family (“you are the friends that I trust when I’ve had too much to drink”, Barker chants), that is then projected into their work, but also towards their mentality and their fans. Again and again you will hear phrases embedded in the songs from One for Sorrow that transcribe to ‘you are not alone’ or a more self-empowering ‘I am not alone’. ‘Mansion House’ alone includes “I’ll never turn my back on you”, and “I am never alone”, only to be stringed throughout and become more headstrong, like in ‘A Thousand Places to Sleep’ we hear “you should face your demons with your friends”.

The name itself, ‘Mansion House’, has a great story behind it and has helped influence the characters of the band since its birth (if you can call it that) several years ago. Calton used to work at the supermarket ASDA located in the city centre of Peterborough, and time after time the homeless and rough sleepers would seem to favour a specific alcoholic drink, all of them purchasing it; “these streets are hard to face when walking is a sober grace”. This was a dark coloured bottle, located on the bottom shelf in the corner of the store, of strong fortified wine, sporting a plain white label branding Mansion House across its body. Intrigued and beguiled, the guys and our friendship circle ended up adopting this drink as our own – once concurring its unique and powerful taste, one can guarantee a good (and drunken) time*. I remember the first time I had it, the band were playing the basement in Nottingham’s Rock City; Chambers and I sat behind the merchandise table writing ‘WAF’ and our friend’s names on a brick in the wall before Barker scaled to the rafters mid-set and spent two songs sitting above the crowd because he wasn’t sure how to get back down.

The characteristics of the song and the gimmick of the Mansion House are inviting, saying that here’s a drink you too can buy, and be one of us; again strong-housing that fantastic ideal of unity, reinforcing the ‘team’ in #TeamWeAreFiction.

The band have actually been playing the song for over two years at shows; it features heavily in their set-lists to break up the more rock sounding rocks, and help fit in at the post-hardcore and metal shows. A short snippet of the track featured in Trust No One’s spring/summer 2011 promotional video, a clothing brand established by Chambers and Calton during their off days, which can be seen here (click here). It’s mad to think they’ve held back on releasing a gem for so long; teasing their fans. Alongside the recording, which was of course later re-mastered like the rest of the record, two nights (one in January, and the other around May) saw the guys shoot a music video for the track, with the help of director Lewis Cater, myself and twenty of our friends. I can’t say there was much to the video; I turned up late in the afternoon at Chamber’s and Barker’s bungalow (called the Ron Bungalow; both avid lover of Anchorman) to find Calton cramped in the toilet, bashing away on his drum set to then drink, drink, and drink some more to have it all captured on camera – just your average party, where Kenny Bavin of All in Colours shows up dressed as Rufio with a sword made of dildos, footprints are left on the ceiling, a competition winner drinks from a dog bowl, curtains are pulled down and a gentleman named Tommie Nott re-enacts Katy Perry’s infamous squirt cream scene. Unfortunately, they say it’ll never see the light of day, and is currently hidden away on a password protected Vimeo account, for now at the very least.

The itself song contains a lot of power, spirit and intensity, and delivers the band passion in another light – their more social context, depicting their life more so off stage than the emotions conveyed on side, which helps break up the album, and transgress them to a wider audience as a whole, but helps maintain a well structured image of a band; that they are there for fun, to express their passion in different ways, and it allows them to present themselves to the listeners for how they are – true party monsters (endorsed and therefore fuelled by Monster in fact). ‘Mansion House’ is the perfect introduction, saying ‘this is who we are, and this is the music we make’ which sees the world involuntarily head-bang, less subtle as the song progresses into its empathic explosion of an ending: go out with a bang.

*Perhaps we are to blame for its influx in price: what once was only £3.00 is now £4.00. To the homeless, if you are reading this in the public library, I am truly sorry.

Bright Lights
We begin with an infectious lead riff that is awfully enjoyable, and once Kucharski’s vocals kick in, I’m completely engrossed by this home grown, uplifting song with an emotional chorus about the passion We Are Fiction have for the music and decisions they make, and life on the road – essentially doing what they love: “I feel most at home when I’m on the road, but I have never felt alone”. They are living their dream with their best friends and they couldn’t be happier. Rather than scream it from the rooftops, they do so on stage, recalls tales of being stuck “in between four walls and broken wheels”* or sleeping on some knackered sofa, it’s all part of the experience.

But to add to this lovely ideal, the friends are also making new friends along the way. It’s only so fitting that ‘Bright Lights’ should then feature guest vocals by not one, but two soldiers in the same fight: Sam Douglas of Mallory Knox and Marc Halls of Hey Vanity!. The guest vocals pull no punches as they oscillate back and forth throughout, toying with Barker’s and Kucharski’s vocal melodies amidst an American punk-rock filling sound with a British twist.

The simple song encompasses a positive attitude towards the hardships of being in a band, and expresses that the ends always justify the means; a motivational and encouraging song for any aspiring artist.

*Continuing with the love of Anchorman, the band’s van is called Brian Vantana.

My Dreams Are Haunted
I first listened to this beast in the summer of 2011 in Chamber’s bedroom, on his laptop, two months before it was released on Halloween; through those tiny, red speakers my first big reaction was the cross over vocals (i.e. “all of the blame that you just could not take”) that was never addressed or take advantage of in previous single ‘Sail On’. I remember saying something along the lines of “Oh, that’s good. I like that”.

The voices of Barker and Kucharski don’t fight one another; they blend like the characters of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, musically joining to create something higher and more impactful: ‘In spite of this apparently clear division of his being between two spheres, hostile to one another, he has known happy moments now and then when the man and the wolf reconciled with one another’ (70).

Fully utilising the fact they now have a flamboyant guitarist with an undeniably soothing, majestic voice, ‘My Dreams Are Haunted’ allowed the band to go down difference ventures with their sound and after the success from the likes of Her Words Kill, Dividing The Line, Hondo Maclean and even early-Funeral for a Friend, Kucharski’s presence in the band felt utterly, vitally new and refreshing. It allowed Shaw to work on more technical guitar patterns and explore new settings with pedals; it opened his creative door also.

The song’s placement in the track listing, but also countless reviews, suggest that ‘My Dreams Are Haunted’ is the band’s signature track, mostly favoured for its soft harmonies and gamut of guitar harmonics which later crash through any expectation to emphasise the love lost and significance of the words sang, as it merges beauty with power and fear. The song discusses an inner-struggle (‘if life scorned my beautiful dreams, I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong-headed’ (176)) between the “heart and [the] head” of someone unsure what they ‘want’, and the consequences of tearing another apart, spear-headed with the graceful key phrase “if you dream of me, say so”.

‘My Dreams Are Haunted’ is ‘a bold and unrestrained body of work which is unafraid to push their more experimental, electronic tendencies to the fore and feature lyrics of a highly personal, bluntly confessional nature’ (176). It catapulted the band from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to suddenly feature for a week on BBC Radio 1 – reaching a listening audience of roughly six million sets of ears worldwide. I remember discussing this with Barker and he jokingly commented “I feel really bad. People tune in expecting Adele, and they get me screaming at them”.

In an interview with Peterborough’s local and grammatically appalling (the staff don’t like me and have since blocked me from commented on articles featured on their website) newspaper, Chambers said “being played on daytime Radio 1 is a huge achievement for an independent band like us [...] and we’re ecstatic to be given the chance of being part of this”. Their main focus was then highlighted not on themselves, but other around them, “hopefully [this] open[s] the door for other unsigned local acts to have a great opportunity like this”. The aim was to bring their family and friends to the foreground, not themselves, which was incredibly generous and just plain lovely to read.

Following the phenomenal achievement of national airplay, Tom Young of the BBC described ‘My Dreams Are Haunted as “the perfect shot of adrenaline for those days you just can't get out of bed”, as the sublime and bewitching guitar solo becomes the pinnacle to this delicate and emotionally driven track – Shaw deserves a hefty pat on the back for his efforts in this song.

Many charts song have that repetitive nature to get stuck in heads and be successful; it’s the quick fix and the cheat – however, here, each chorus here is not overused and recorded separately. With each time it comes around, you hear the passion and desperation in Kucharski’s voice increase tenfold. This song allows him to become the advocate of Davey Havok he truly is (donning his AFI sleeve tattoo), imitating AFI with a note of hope, a singular and obdurate thread, woven in the timber of his voice before its low-faded tranquil ending, reminiscent of Deaf Havana’s ‘Waves’ (Meet Me Halfway, At Least, 2009).

‘And then I saw you. And I knew my dreams were right a thousand times over, just as yours had been’ (176).

Old Wounds
In my opinion, ‘Old Wounds’ is the dark horse of the record. I’ll mention Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die again. If he felt he was “bitten by the party animal” (‘We’rewolf’, The Big Dirty, 2007), then We Are Fiction were devoured. ‘Old Wounds’ is like ‘Mansion House (Part II)’, only this time it packs more of a punch and further stimulates the mind to discover its meaning, for it is a lot deeper. However, I feel it’ll be rather quickly over looked and unappreciated. It’s twisting bridge and pop-tastic chorus sees the track just like Steppenwolf; Hesse wrote that Steppenwolf was ‘more often and more violently misunderstood’ than any of his other books. Hesse felt that his readers focused only on the suffering and despair that are depicted in Harry Haller's life, thereby missing the possibility of transcendence and healing.

Barker comments: “‘Old Wounds’ came about when I started to notice both my grandfathers become frail and both have since passed away. These two men raised my family, buried their wives, lived alone and still showed an amazing amount of love for my family and me”.

“Their strength inspired me and made me think about all of our elders, from all families, backgrounds and generations. World wars were fought and won, loved ones came and went, mental and physical scars developed. Yet these elder generations still managed to create the world we live in today and pass on their experiences, knowledge, love and care”

‘Old Wounds’ transcribes to scars we have to live with and what came before us that have had/made an impact, and with that, the nature of the song is to be hard, fast-paced and lively to really take your attention; as if it were to metaphorically grab you by the back of the head and force your head to look down at these details Barker is trying to share and, if nothing else, expose in honour.

I urge you to listen to the heartfelt words of this, and in fact every song; it distinguishes the different from a music-maker and an artist. Alongside this, ‘Old Wounds’ motivates spirits, encouraging us to “live every day to the full” in honour of those before us, and in order to do so, Kucharski begs “teach us how to be kind and strong like you”.

Musically, nonetheless, Calton and Chambers work seamlessly well together, curving round the track to ensure every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘T’ is crossed; they play a big part in this song, carrying it’s weight, which cannot be ignored – it’s the tempo of the track that gives it such character and sovereignty.

Barker adds, “Whether these woes belonged to my friend’s grandparents or my own, they all shaped the people I surround myself with and I long to be that courageous. I wish those that have passed a beautiful eternal rest and those that live comfort, happiness and love. This song is a mark of respect to all those loved and lost”.

Sail On
One could argue that this song is what made We Are Fiction the band that they are today; the one song that single-handedly saw them soar to the top, and beyond. Released to the public in January 2011, after a stint of not releasing marital for over two years, ‘Sail On’ also remained their only release for the following ten months, yet managed to obtain the attention of near-enough everyone in the UK underground scene and consistently opened doors to the young pioneers. Shows, tours, record label interest and even slots at festivals began to emerge; as Hesse recalls, ‘for me too, its raw and savage gaiety reached an underworld’ (47).

I remember first listening to it roughly the day after it was released over Facebook, when my relationship with the band was only kindling at the time, and Chambers was my sole friend; shivering in the cold squalor of my then girlfriend’s living room with her housemate darting in and out to listen also. I suppose it’s funny how I can still remember the feeling of it all, audio squawking from the laptop speakers as they ricocheted against the high ceiling and cascading curtains, very faint very audible to distinguish the progression made and striking differences, emulated elements of A Day to Remember and Underoath: ‘at many moments the old and the new, pain and pleasure, fear and joy were quite oddly mixed with one another. Now I was in Heaven, now in Hell, generally in both at once’ (157). I was severely impressed.

An integral and pinnacle chapter in the We Are Fiction story, the song itself is their benchmark which acquired them the boots to wear for that ‘first step’ – it was the recognition and criticism they received which made them realise, through the release of this song, that they were on to a winner, and that they could change their lives, becoming musicians. That hard work was paying off and this was something they could do – they could make it; their fiction could become a reality.

From what starts as a singular struck chord progression and sweetly sang melody, which we later discover is the addictive chorus, ‘Sail On’ begins like a classic rock song the likes of Fall Out Boy in their underground heyday and Taking Back Sunday have learnt to perfect. We’re then met by a hammering and thunder of the drums and guitars with sudden lightning bolts of flare, and a fast-paced, chaotic hardcore meets punk-esque verse that somehow comes across so soft, mixed with pop style vocals to follow.

As the second chorus builds another layer, featuring a vigorous vocal overlap, the words “I’m sorry, I’ve got to let you go” ring out and begin to tug at the listener’s heartstrings - and there we see the final nail in the coffin. Kucharski takes full advantage by stripping the song right back down to how it began, humming “how am I supposed to stand there next to you, and know this isn’t love?”, before a gargantuan, climactic instrumental accompanied with epic gang vocals. Then, the distorted fade out. So you’re left to take in a grand, captivating and monumental song that you just didn’t realise We Are Fiction had in them – to come out with such a track after a lengthy absence, it all makes sense.

Speaking to Kucharski on a night out drinking, he told me he wrote his lines unaware of what Barker had penned, which is why they may seem to be different sides to the same story; it’s what two minds are able to bring to the metaphorical table. We spoke of loved ones and relationships, and he said he was inspired by his muse, his partner of many, many years. He said, thinking of his now wife, then girlfriend, he never wanted to cause her harm or let her down, even during their early days when there were fights and weeks of separation. Even then, when he would see her, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget these words, he said “I couldn’t keep my hands off her; I didn’t want to”. It made me think that that was what true love is, and it added that extra impact to his words in this song.

It was a troublesome time during the writing stages of ‘Sail On’; both Chambers and Barker both lost ones they loved, and this song helped reflect that – Barker’s choice to let go of someone he held so close, and with his words to help council and comfort Chambers. Incidentally both parties rekindling for periods; Chambers to this day still with his partner (I personally could not see it any other way).

It was around this time we became close friends, and I would annoy Barker to high Heavens hoping for advice as I went through the same emotional hardship (a little weaker than the two), spending Saturday nights at their little insurance-supplied flat, whilst maintenance and repairs went on (for months) at the Ron Bungalow due to a burst pipe and flood. Shaw shortly after the success of the song suffered a similar separation, and the words helped motivate him to struggle through the hard time, fully sported by his army of friends.

Kucharski on the other end, trying to protect what is his, his love with his partner almost like a Ying and Yang effect; two ends of the poles. He remains stoic – yet through song he reveals his vulnerabilities without shame. In reflection, when the endearing line “remember me when your future starts” is cried out in the second verse, I cannot help but feel it is one of the most sincere lines I’ve ever heard.

The emotional chains are held ever tighter through tattoos that the band sport, hailing ‘Sail On’s significance and meaning: whatever stormy sea you may approach, you are never alone, you will always have your friends and family with you and you must keep your head above the water at all times and sail on through. Chambers was the first to get ‘Sail On’ tattooed on him; it’s visible in latter part of the original music video on his wrist. The work supplied by tattooist and good friend Leigh Tilbrook (the same handsome devil that features in the video for ‘My Dreams Are Haunted’).

Shaw later got the same words on the back of his neck, as did Kucharski on his leg. Calton has an anchor on his arm, if that counts, and Barker a galleon upon stormy waters as part of his sleeve. As for myself, Tilbrook branded ‘Sail On’ across my heart – I look at my chest and smile; it means overcoming struggle and it signifies friendship.

Kucharski explains that “the original inspiration for ‘Sail On’ came from the contemplation you get of your own mortality, and that it could be sooner than you'd like, and how important you then realise it is for other people to keep their and your love going. It finished as a deeper contemplation about situations in life where people tell you you're not strong enough to do something, or that moment when you have to stop everything you're doing to think ‘how am I going to get through this and move forward’? ‘Sail On’ is an anthem for that moment”.

Depicting these inner-battles of teenage angst and misunderstanding, a winsome music video was released two months after the single to help solidify the bands new found form, to great effect. This was also my minimal claim to fame. I remember receiving a call from Shaw’s then girlfriend whilst I was aimlessly wondering about the town centre with my then girlfriend, and we were asking to head down to a local bar (Club Revolution, sadly no longer open) and play some pool in the background whilst Chambers shot his ‘stood up’ scene. I recall shouting out jokes the entire time as I cracked ball after ball into each and every pocket, whilst my adversary attempted to catch up. But I just could not for the life of me pot the black. I began swearing profusely, yet somehow Chamber kept a straight face the entire time, solemnly drinking his beer and looking at his phone. I ended up losing, too caught up in the moment and coming from a gene-pool where any pub related activity is a no-go, my fifteen seconds of fame were over.

A Thousand Places to Sleep
‘A Thousand Places to Sleep’ was the first or second song the band ever wrote together with their current line-up, to feature Kucharski, and yet from its name alone, they set themselves a mighty task and outlined their goal from day one. It expresses a desire to travel and play music to every city, every town, every village, and on every stage. I feel through its musical tone and structure, eager fans would be able to decipher that it is an early song by the band, and as a tribute, listeners are thrown back to memories of ‘This Life We Lead’ from the self-titled EP, as a megaphone effect is applied to the vocals during the instrumental breakdown late into the song, adding another layer; more texture; more substance.

A marvellous effort that is gripping and tinged with awe from start to finish, which reminds me of an early Before Their Eyes, especially with its rare southern-rock breakdown at the end to polish the track off. Their debut self-titled album was infectiously devilish; a well mixed blend of rock, pop, and aggressive post-hardcore that ‘A Thousand Places to Sleep’ seems to emulate fantastically. Harrowing drums and a gifted techno riff open the ears up to a world of excitement that’s booted with optimism and up-beat tones. The song resembles this sense of hope and mirrors the positive phrase “maybe the grass is greener on the other side” but with a dark twist that could only be believable and agreeable with the nature of the rock n’ roll music that accompanies.

The track was demoed under a slightly longer name. ‘A Thousand Places to Sleep (But There’s Only One Home)’ which gives the song’s theme away once more, and played live quite often in the early-Kucharski days alongside ‘Mansion House’ to help create a lively and party-esque atmosphere during shows to display the ineffability of their passion; the ideal to ‘live long in every good deed, in every brave thought, in every love’ (179).

If the song couldn’t be any more complete, the harsh, abrupt ending rolls off striking the same note of the guitar picking to follow in next song ‘Tilt’ – they flow into one another as you turn the page to uncover another new chapter.

The sexy side of We Are Fiction comes out in this grunge-inspired track built around a heavy groove, smooth solid sound and dirty jazz noise – soundtrack to fill up any American pool hall or classic bar swarming with neon lights, beer mats and barflies.

Beginning with a tickling riff, ‘Tilt’ absorbs you entirely as soon as the other instruments are introduced in this piece: the buzz of the bass, the distortion of the rhythm, and most notably, the whirl of the lead guitar which showcases the talents of the Prince influenced Andi Scott Shaw, one of the UK’s most talented riff-masters. Dispatched with venom, his arms are the serpents of my joy, slivering up the neck of the fret board. You become the oar in the water, with his guitar the steady hand; swooping, gliding, in and out, up and down along the currant.

Like a blind man’s bluff, Peterborian rapper Xidus Pain’s appearance at first surprises you, only to fill the missing gap left in ‘Tilt’, completing the track. He brings something new and refreshing to the album; the listener rocking back on their chair now shoots forward (or falls off) – the song is different enough as it is from their normal rock sound, but they blend up all the elements more so, by introducing hip-hop infused tongue-twisting lyrical class, a stark polar opposite, but worked so timelessly well, it is the (not icing on the cake, but) ice in that glass of whisky.

In ‘Tilt’, the band mention home repeatedly; when you take into consideration previous songs like ‘Bright Lights’, you can’t simply assume they mean where they rest their head at night and where they keep their frozen chicken, if anything ‘Bright Lights’ tries to see them as far away from that place as often as possible. By home, We Are Fiction is talking about a state of mind and a place in their heart – they’re talking about music and everything about it. Take the chorus, Barker screams “I find myself on this lonely path […] despair! Despair! I’m breaking down! [...] can’t find my way home”. He’s not with his companions, he’s not making music, he has to stray away from his dream because he needs to make ends meet in order to currently survive and support himself in a place he does not wish to be. Having to work the horrible, mundane 9-to-5 jobs many of us creative souls find ourselves stuck in is miserable and heart-rending, one cannot live their dream and be, essentially, happy.

‘Tilt’ is another way of expressing how much they love music, what they do as We Are Fiction and naturally the passion they have – thankfully portrayed so original and visionary, which is where, I believe anyway, the name derives from, on verge of breaking point. Xidus Pain raps “I can’t quit”, listing the sacrifices he’s made, and “this music we make is more than an addition”, he has to make it, music has to be his life, it is his esse; and that’s why Kucharski bonded so well with him over time whilst he used to work at Peterborough Music, a local music shop. They acknowledged each other’s passions and connected over the love they share, only to later (now) harness raw aggression and raise Hell together.

With this attitude, they create music for the right reasons too as they “fight to keep [their] sanity”: ‘then it isn’t fame. Fame exists in that sense only for education, it is a matter for the schoolmasters. No, it isn’t fame. It is what I call eternity. The pious call it the kingdom of God […] and this is the kingdom of truth’ (179). The dark and gritty song (with an immensely optimistic hidden meaning, might I add) is then counter balanced by...

The Worst of It
...telling you exactly what to do when you are down, or things are not going your way.

An uplifting pop-punk style song tie-dyed in a positive mental attitude and philosophy of hope, encouraging you to get back up on your feet, dust down and take on the world: you can do anything you put your mind towards, like the band have time after time in order to get where they are; in order to make this song!

This track wipes the floor with the likes of All Time Low; it’s certainly more masculine and British and works to a greater advantage is getting a message across – it’s not music for the sake of music, it’s there in order to change an attitude, much like what is discovered at the end of Steppenwolf. It is argued that Hesse does not define reality based on what occurs in physical time and space; rather, reality is merely a function of metaphysical cause and effect. What matters is not whether the murder of a character actually occurred, but rather that at that moment it was the narrator’s intention to kill Hermine. In that sense, Haller’s, the narrator, various states of mind are of more significant than his actions.

Without the ‘correct’ mentality, no action can follow. It is that fact alone We Are Fiction penned “we’re about to let you in to a philosophy from the worst of it [...] try and smile through the worst of it”.

‘The Worst of It’ was the first time the band utilised social media and networking. Instagram began hitting its peak, and with it, the guys began releasing previews to the single and video over their official account (@wearefiction) to their 700-odd followers. A simple video to emphasise the words more than the action of five guys playing their instruments together and having fun with balloons and glitter against a plain white background. Another app proving to be very popular is Snapchat, and with it Calton sent me a stop-motion clip of the video; a shot of Barker simulating aural sex – quite possibly one of the funniest things you will ever see. One could say that throughout ‘The Worst of It’ Barker’s aural sword is still as sharp as ever...

The song is truly effulging, immensely catchy, ‘and though there was no chamber-music to be had nor a lonely friend with his violin, still that lovely melody was in my head and I could play it through to myself after a fashion, humming the rhythm of it as I drew my breath’ (46) for its danceable nature is held tightly by the unbreakable rhythm and should no doubt feature in at least one of your playlists every summer from now on.

Chambers sites this as his favourite song to date that the band have, created on and surrounding nothing but love amidst one of their hazy Blue Barn nights. Named in honour of Kucharski’s late grandfather, Władysław (pronounced ‘vla-di-slav’ – or as Chambers puts it “pretty much ‘what is love’… That’s how Marc says it anyway”) translates from Polish to English to mean ‘possessor of the glory and fame’, which subtly encapsulates this remarkable hidden depth the band embed within each song; the further to dig, the more you find.

The name was borne by four Polish kings, and later, a true gentleman who “grew up in the south of Poland through the Second World War, where he was torn away from his family and forced to fight”, Kucharski recalls.

“I always remember him telling me stories about the things he had seen. I look at them now and think how very disturbing some of them are, but in contrast he was such a loving happy man. He and my nonna were a big part of my upbringing including my faith, we both shared the same chronic illness and I grew very close to him as he and I started to get older. Though he was taken away from us under the care of professionals where he should have been kept safe and well, but sometimes life happens to you and doesn't consider any of your plans or feelings; this was one of those moments. I only learned after he left that I was never the one who told him much, he gave me so much of his life stories his time and his love and I suddenly at this point felt I never really reciprocated that. So, this song is an ‘ode’ to my grandfather if you will. It's a very intimate personal struggle I needed to have out with him, every time I play it, I play it so he can hear it, trying to make it reach his soul every time”.

As a result, this excruciatingly beautiful song took Kucharski ages to write (“and I think of everything that I wanted to say”; “I think of all the things that I need you to know, I’ll have to wait until I’ve earned my own headstone”), to perfect in pen, to ensure every word was as important as the last and to ensure no other word could replace it to justify his grandfather’s legacy and ensure his story is told the way it should be; ‘of all literature up to our days the drama has been most highly prized by writers and critics, and rightly, since it offers (or might offer) the greatest possibilities of representing the ego as a manifold entity’ (72), as Hesse adds.

Barker takes a back seat in ‘Władysław’, as the song opens with a comforting yet eerie, atmospheric guitar pluck-of-strings and solemn, slow-tempo drum beat. Kucharski’s poignant, touching story unravels over his lips before concluding with its impassioned crescendo of a chorus, spurring “I never got the chance to tell you how much I love you”, which lingers in the mind. Chambers recalls the writing process of this musical piece quite well: “we were all drunk and literally just hammered away as fast as we could”.

This song also holds a true delight. Kucharski shows his flare and Michael Jackson fuelled passion two and a half minutes in that is so eye-opening one must take a step back. After this gorgeously pleasing display, only then Barker enters reasserting the strength of ‘Władysław’ – to me, great timing. However, it is Kucharski that strikes the match to ignite this candle, and truly light up this song, transforming it into an incredible ballad and angelic medley of talent. He was the missing piece of the We Are Fiction puzzle. With no disrespect to Adam Lewis, former backing vocalist and guitarist that Kucharsiki replaced, Chambers said to me once “Adam had a killer voice, but Marc has this passion that just can’t be matched”.

The name Władysław is composed of the Slavonic elements volod (rule) and slav (glory); hence, ‘glorious rule’, a perfectly fitting coincidence.

Earth Medicine
A stand offish, stand-out track, ‘Earth Medicine’ is infectious and addicting, named on behalf of natural drugs and dedicated to overcoming adversaries. You do not want the track to end; you must hit replay. Or at least I do time and time again. It was my first reaction when I listened to it first in Barker’s car after a night out at some Chinese restaurant, me in the backseat secretly praying that the journey would last long enough to ensure I heard the entire song – and thankfully it did, engaged entirely by the thrilling, almost engine fuelled riff that builds up for the first verse, well into the song at roughly a minute and forty seconds, that made me want to pray at Sainte-Jeanne-d'Arc in Paris for absolution.

‘I stood for a moment on the scent, smelling this shrill and blood-raw music, sniffing the atmosphere of the hall angrily, and hankering after it a little too. One half of this music, the melody, was all pomade and sugar and sentimentality. The other half was savage, temperamental and vigorous. Yet the two went artlessly well together and made a whole’ (47) – the duality of the vocals and guitars are compelled to recognize one another, locking horns to create this apocalyptic anthem with its doomsday styled ending; the howling of Kucharski’s thundering guitar – drastic heavy chords whilst Shaw’s wails his weapon in the distance; swept away by a tornado like a ‘hectic struggle between desire and dread’ (116).

Lyrics “take a flame, start a fire, light the darkness and inspire” shows that ‘the music [has] merit of a great sincerity’ (47). It’s stunning and inspirational like every other One for Sorrow song, but finally the aggressive background gives that meaning the extra push; you recognise you’re approaching the end and it becomes your turn to make a move in order to acknowledge such comely aesthetics yourself.

The single came along with a music video, the bands fourth. On a rainy Thursday night, I headed over to a local club in Peterborough where they were shooting a scene. I was mere background noise, but good looking and charming background noise, as I sat at the bar and had a few drinks, walked off, and came back, etc. in a sped up montage as we see the rapid decline of the video’s protagonist. Unfortunately, however, due to television law (or something along those silly PC lines) we could not actually drink alcohol, and were substituted cheap cola and water.

The story line itself is somewhat of an Easter egg for fans of the band and their recent videos, tying in ‘Sail On’ and ‘My Dreams Are Haunted’ together in a very clever, touching, and very subtle way.

‘Earth Medicine’s release made timelines on Facebook standstill with constant sharing, linking and discussion with its stronger sound than previous two releases and darker video content, along with new features and effects. Chambers mentioned “we had the chance to use brand new technology lasers in the music video which have never been used before, filming our videos entirely ourselves it’s a massive privilege to be able to get our hands on stuff like this”. Every opportunity the band have had, they have put to good use, and roughly two minutes in, you can spot myself portraying the ‘most miserable man in the world; drinking alone at the bar’ look. I think I nailed it.

Forget About Me
‘Forget About Me’ is unique. What originally started off as just an introduction with drums, the wonders of mixing allowed the pristine work of Gerrard “Gerry” Harrison (drummer of Turn & Run) to add original piano and atmospherics to beautiful perfection; dramatising the opening instrumental to sway with a powerful presence. You can just picture Kucharski and Calton hammer away at their weapons as Shaw takes centre stage with his dynamic and fabulous skill.

I feel as if I have heard this guitar riff flow through my mind a thousand times before, but never so clean and embracing; never so stylish and devilishly good, and I am knocked for six when I take a step back from this ocean I’ve found myself submerged in and remember that this has been created by five regular guys that I see week in, week out; five normal people have made something so extraordinary and fulfilling.
Likewise, the emotive “woah” we hear is reminiscent of Deaf Havana’s Veck-Gilodi singing “I got you, I got you” (‘I Will Try’, Fools and Worthless Liars, 2011) and à la Alexisonfire in ‘Control’ (Watch Out!, 2004), two acts that highly influence the band. Kucharski suddenly backing up that flare up with his gospel-like vocals, only to then be backed by the rest of the band – only the second time too that we hear Shaw.

Chamber’s bass echoes in and out, like twinkling stars, swimming naked in the sky; a tiara in our favourite dark haired lover as Barker howls at the end, tearing himself apart, tearing away, gasping, gnawing, desperate for the climax, literally giving it his all to his last breath. It’s enough to give one goosebumps and have every hair stand on end: ‘its effect [is] immeasurably enlivening and delightful – as though one were filled with gas and no longer any gravity’ (204).

Now the gauntlet is laid; take them up on their challenge and find your home, your outlet as the band call out “just follow the light home”. They’ve showed you their love and their passion, what they call home; mimicking their previous vocal chant from their self-titled EP, “never let go of your dreams”, and craftily, they’ve repeated themselves with a well developed phrase, seeping with meaning and oozes inspiration, surging you forward to still not let go, and now chase your dream like they have; the same theme that they began exploring in ‘Bright Lights’, now more emotional as you sense the desire and seriousness in their voices. It’s thriving with urgency, and is a powerful ending to the record.

With an emergence of American pop-eqsue post-hardcore, this record could not come out at a better time to help affirm British position and stature amongst the ranks; a similarity One for Sorrow now holds with the Steppenwolf is the loneliness and isolation, it’s a stand-alone album, ‘[its] appearance unmistakeably as a separate and single entity’ (72). Along with this, there’s not ‘too much’ of any one track, and nothing is repetitive; each song is entirely different and defined, which is rare for any record these days. I remember it was why I held Brand New’s Deja Entendu so fondly and highly, and One for Sorrow is now no different.

Becoming contemporary but honourable and humble to genres before, and ‘despising the bourgeoisie, […] they add it its strength and glory; for in the last resort they have to affirm their beliefs in order to live’ (66). From the locker room to the sea of possibilities, these stars of electricity make you feel almost jealous that someone else other than yourself could right this instant be listening to this treasure, finally breached from its chest as the hard work has finally paid off: ‘the few who break free seek their reward in the unconditioned and go down in splendour’ (66).

However, no good poem is ever finished until it has been read, and therefore no good record can ever be finished until you’ve listened to it.

I have argued several times in previous reviews that a specific artist deserves praise, recognition and respect, and here where I suppose I stress it quite a lot, I have been extra benevolent and almost philanthropic for I know the hardship We Are Fiction have gone through, all the time they have put away, and how their lives have been completely taken over for the arts.

Aside from the fact that they are good artists, they’ve gone that extra mile for us, the public; the fans, and never once for themselves; you know ‘most intellectuals and most artists belong to the same type. Only the strongest of them force their way through the atmosphere of the Bourgeoise-Earth and reach the cosmic’ (66) where they belong to be.

Looking back on the journey, I asked Chambers what memories he would cherish about this record, and how the experience could be summed up:
“Personally, I think it's more the things this album has led to, rather than the record itself. Having the opportunity to play at Leeds and Reading this year, and being a featured artist on Radio 1 - both of those are things I’ve dreamt of since I started playing music at 13. I never thought that, even before releasing our debut album, it would lead to so many dreams coming true for me.
To answer a bit more direct, one memory I will cherish from the making of this album is one of Blue Barn nights. We were doing some live tracks over Skype to a select few fans when our best bud Stevo (Stephen Best, bassist of All in Colours) turned up. Within 15 minutes of his arrival, our nice little live acoustic sessions for fans just turned in to us dancing and singing to ridiculous songs, and Stevo puking after nailing a bottle of Mansion House - we woke up the next day to see the barn chickens eating Stevo’s stale sick...”
 All that is left is to address the name of this piece: One for Sorrow. Kucharski gladly informed me that “One for Sorrow was an attempt to tie in our music with something real and physical, like the magpies you see in everyday life, and the superstition that a single magpie represents, sadness, pain, and sorrow - a lot of this album represents the same feeling, so it felt fitting”.

The music is heartbroken, and yearns for young close hearts, lips of girls in their teens, lost impossible chorus girls of eternity dancing slowly in our minds to the mad ruined tambourine of love and hope to now embrace this unapologetic powerhouse of emotional conflict. And suddenly it’s absurd to think that in a flash, three years are over; they passed by in the space of forty minutes, and you’ve experienced an entire story, the whole process of being, revealing to the world that there is beauty in sorrow, and poetry within the magpie. To conclude, ‘whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, [and] passion instead of foolery’ (117) can find home in this album.

Hesse, Hermann. 1965. Steppenwolf. London: Penguin.


I don't quite know if I have intentions to hang up my gloves, but I have begun to lose my passion in writing. My work is time consuming, and I find myself physically and mentally drained  at the end of each day (perhaps working out straight after doesn't aid either), and my mentality has become selfish; I find myself green-eyed at every blogger gaining attention, or every friend making something of themselves, be it through luck or good will and determination, and I wonder what I'm doing wrong; why am I not receiving any recognition, or support, or work. I strongly feel my philanthropism is not reciprocated, and now I feel horrible for saying so! Perhaps I am just filled with philistinism. But alas, I am a nobody in the world where I strive so hard to be somebody in. This column has served all purpose it can as a portfolio showcasing a range of essays, reviews and articles, and yet no purpose at all.

However, I am working on an review/essay for my friends We Are Fiction, relating to their debut album release, due next month; I hope I will have time to spend on it, and the desire the complete this big project, which I have approached several times over the space of the last year and a half. Something truly in depth, in hope it'll shine some beautiful yet blinding light onto One for Sorrow. It'll be my pièce de résistance, if you like, for this website until that flame is reignited (Lord knows how long that will take). I can only apologise for my state of affairs and my feelings, and if you are reading this, and truly care, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

For the penultimate act, I dove into my documents and pulled out a dream I once had...

I was at Bretton Woods Community School, my old secondary school, and I had just recorded three songs in the music room on my Stagg; my awful red, electric guitar; something I could barely play. Power chords and echos from the hall way in this sphere-like building of rooms that simply resembled a prison, with brick walls pained pale-violet.

And I remember one song was like old school rock track, Led Zep, but I metalled it up, like an unappreciative idiot would. So I asked my music teacher, Miss Collard, who I called Sara, if I could have them recorded onto a CD. She said yes, and pulled out two rusty keys from her cardigan pocket, and told me to follow her.

We climbed these steep, crumbly and small steps having walked outside, and it was so scary. The sky was as grim as the walls inside - I had no recollection of how we appeared outside; as if the insides and outsides of my dream were merged, and I found myself facing this sand-coloured pyramid-esque building. How was I on the outside? There were broken bike racks, these twisted steel pieces of art, all the way up and Sara kept trying to swing them around back into place and fix them as we ascended. Then some weird woman (can only presume she too was a teacher), who looked like some biddy that used to live on the floor above me whilst I dwelled in one of my many holes in Cambridge, came into the picture and followed us. Sara opened the door at the top of this pyramid and we entered into hall way that was like the music room's corridor; as if we had gone full circle through a trap door, or even black hole.

There was another door immediately to our left, which was a 'practise/office' room no student was ever really allowed in during school hours, yet Sara gave me a key saying that the CD with my recordings was in there, with my name already on it. I unlocked the door and hid behind it as it opened. It was thick and heavy. There was an absolutely defining bang, noise ricocheting off the walls to amplify... then a gush of water proceeded. Flooding the floor. Out stepped this little boy in a bit of a shock, as I peered round the door. He simply walked off. Following him, a floating faceless turtle with his belly facing upwards and straight at me. His chest was empty and hollow, it had a huge hole in it, like it were the top piece to a coat of arms, and I could see straight to it's shell. Inside the turtle’s chest was this toy of a clown's head and underneath the head was this vibrant orange silk cloth, as if the clown wore a cravat. It glided and it was buoying in the air. Sara stepped forward towards this turtle, bent over and looked at the chest, and then looked up at me, and said "It must be Morrissey".



The Blackest Beautiful
Rating: 4/5

What interestingly came available to stream online a whole month before its physical release, on 9th July – Letlive showcased to the world The Blackest Beautiful. The daring act of kindness and generosity showed how confident they were about their fan base; they’re one of those bands that have ‘true’ fans, that will still go out and buy that music, be it on a CD or iTunes  - risky, but incredibly respectful and deserving, letting the whole music industry know that this band are in it for the right reasons.

The first I found out about this album was the Instagram marketing they did that suddenly sprung up – an incredible idea: themselves, friends, other bands and a like posted a set of different photos on the same day, all with the same hashtag, #theblackestbeautiful, causing everyone to become baffled and inquisitive. I remember clicking on the hashtag link and being so impressed with how clever the whole concept was. Or, as vocalist Butler put it in a recent interview, “That’s the beauty of art. Art allows you to be that person that is atypical, that person that is outside of the box, that strange person”.

From the band that pushes the boundaries of post-hardcore, progressive rock, mathcore, experimental rock, the inheritors of that uncategorisable blend will no doubt receive a rapt reception for this release. Opening salvo ‘Banshee (Ghost Frame)’ announces a band that has remained loyal to their hardcore origins, “It’s not a wild departure from our previous record by any means, it’s very much Letlive in its essence”. The song is a mammoth sonic attack, reflecting the melting pot Los Angeles neighbourhood in which the band came together, blended up with a mature jazz and funk twist than the likes that ‘Muther’ displayed from previous efforts. And that’s only the first track.

Many people tend to jump to and fro on the ‘they sound just like Glassjaw’ bandwagon, and with the likes of ‘White America's Beautiful Black Market’, this argument will be never ending – but that’s a good thing, surely? The jazzy infused breakdowns we come across on this track in particular (and later approached somewhat in ‘27 Club’... Have you not listened to ‘Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence’ (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence, 2001)? How about the breakdown found in there; sound familiar? Not even the subtle, spoken word bridge? The drums in ‘The Priest and Used Cars’ bring me straight back to ‘Convectuoso’ (Worship and Tribute, 2003) too...

Reaching ‘Dreamer's Disease’, one begins to understand just how unpredictable the album is; matching the constant tempo changes along the way in each song too, where it’s Letlive’s often confrontational lyrics, and it’s this theme that progresses throughout a stand-out release and thoroughly enjoyable listen. ‘Pheromone Cvlt’ struck me, as it opens with this disco-like number, which instantly makes me think my shuffle has come into play, and put on a We Are the Fury song by mistake, displaying a new melodic sophistication: their music development, much like their frontman, cannot sit still.

‘27 Club’, for me, is the pinnacle, and rightly slotted as the concluding track of the record. Almost like a continuation to ‘H. Ledger’, (Heath Ledger being a member of the notorious ‘club’), or link up to the line “They said you’re nobody till someone kills you, that’s what B.I.G. said, so I do too” in ‘Renegade ‘86’, (also the riff from that song prevails after all the experimentation, they still maintained their strong house style – you could listen to this for the first time and easily think ‘Yeah, this is a Letlive song’). Featuring lines like “They told me if I look up, they told me I would find you there”, the ongoing theme is apparent – however there is later a tongue in cheek twist to religion with that line, when Butler sings in the bridge “If I look up to find you, then how can I deny you?”. Lyrics from previous track ‘Younger’ also solidify this idea brought on from the ‘club’: “Only the good die young”.

But anyway, ‘27 Club’ is a howler of a track, it’s opening riff is just full of adrenaline; whilst the bass provides so much hardcore funk, it impresses me every time I listen to it, and ultimately grows on me more with each listen. Butler, who is 27 himself, flares his vocals throughout in this middle finger to modern media. Front Magazine usually write bollocks from start to finish of their monthly two hundred pages, but they actually had something beautiful to say about this album: “The songs are emotive in the extreme as they boil with anger in a way that’s relentlessly passionate and stirring, whilst avoiding all of the typically macho bulls*** hardcore clichés and replacing them with cool-as-s*** couplets and intelligent, thought-provoking rage” (Issue 183).

I think I ended up only giving this album a 4 out of 5 rating, because in my mind I’ve been thinking ‘how do you better your best?’. The album is fantastic, but I still expected more, knowing that it’s not quite possible. Butler bears his soul in this explosive mix of eleven tracks, to which he declared over Facebook, and perfectly so, “All we ever wanted was to give you the album you deserve”. They did just that.


At a recent social gathering, All in Colours guitarist Richards let me in on some secrets; witnessing two videos in the pipelines for current released songs, both excellent and different – fun, engaging and energetic; party! Which is exactly their philosophy – music is fun. But not only two music videos, I got a taste of some new tracks too: an R&B style number, filled with groove and funk, a spooky, insanely kooky vocalled song oozing eeriness, and one about being a hypochondriac, with an incredibly catchy chorus: “I’m waiting for the doctor’s call to find out I’m not very sick at all”. Gigner is writing a letter to himself, to help understand what is going on in his head.

Now with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire air time regularly, and personal tweets telling them to ‘party hard’ from rock legend Andrew WK, I’m really eager to see what the boys can pull out next, and you should be too.

Update: So I've just come back from a little intimate acoustic set Richards and Gigner played in our local Two Seasons shop. A shame about the turn-out, but the set was unannounced and just for fun. Blisterning lovely bank holiday sun shone down on the lads as they played impressive covers and new songs - 'Skywalker', and 'Gravedigger', which sees Gigner stretch his vocal range to the max in fabulous style, and I detected hints of, and will compare his voice to that of, Michael Jackson. You may not believe me now, but you will soon enough.


I suppose I can’t really discuss local talent, without mentioning my close friends We Are Fiction. Having signed with the brand new record label Destroy Everything, and finally slotting together the final pieces of the debut album, One for Sorrow (God, I’ve been wanting to spill that juicy bombshell for some months), the boys drop their fourth single linked to the album, ‘The Worst of It’, this time an up-beat and fun number, more focused on happiness and that ‘PMA’ vibe, the video is simplistic and smart: We Are Fiction goofing around and playing to a white backdrop. It’s a summer banger.

Along with this, they’ve managed to secure themselves a place performing on the BBC Introducing stage at this year’s Reading and Leeds – come on, it was only a matter of time. Although, by the time this article sees the light of day, the festival would be all over and they’d have gained a hundred or so more devout followers – so you probably know the rest by now, and how they’re on the verge of blowing up...


One of my favourite bands at the moment, Acres, recently embarked on a tour across Europe, and best of all, they recorded it all. There’s nothing more pleasing than a band that want to capture the moment on film for those who can’t make the journey, and see the sites they see – but also get that inside, behind-the-scenes footage no one would have access to twenty years ago. Split up in three segments on YouTube, we see the band cross borders, burst ear drums and break bones.

The videos certainly are worth checking out, whilst also being a little bit arty to help fulfil the ascetic urges we all have; some great scenic shots feature, along with the culture of lifestyle of a European post-hardcore fan; eerie and unique venues and surroundings along with a good live shot to add to the fray.

I caught up with vocalist Richard Morgan, gratefully taking a few minutes of his time to reminisce:

What was the best bit of your tour?
The best bit of the tour has to be the people we met. From the kindness and hospitality of the promoters and venue staff to bands, and people who came to the shows. And most certainly, the guys in Amber who I miss every day.

And the worst bit?
Worst bit was probably the issue we had with the van, but I don't want to dwell on that. These things happen.

What're your top five tour essentials?
Pants, a hat, Vocalzones, my notebook, and that first beer after a show.

You're still a relativity new band; how well were you received over there? Anyone know your lyrics?
We had a great reception over there, in Wetzlar (Hesse, Germany) we were asked to do an encore which has never happened before, and yeah, there were kids singing along or requesting songs during our set which was just an insane feeling.

What was the best foreign food and drink you had on your travels?
The food was great out there, we had vegan food at every venue and in Copenhagen we had an amazing pasta salad dinner which I don't think anyone had less than two helpings of each! As for drink, well we partied in Jena with some amazing dudes, and the owner of the place busted out this peppermint liquor called Pfeffi which was incredible. That night was just ridiculous.

Travelling broadens the mind, right? So what have you taken away from this?
I think the biggest thing I've taken away from tour is a renewed desire to take our music to people. I think we all feel inspired to write even better songs and do all that we can as a band and as individuals to get back to mainland Europe as soon as we can!

Sum the experience up in no more than five words.
Life's short, so stunt it!*

And finally, what's the one thing you feel the UK could learn from other European countries?
The UK can definitely take a lot from mainland Europe. Don't get me wrong, I love playing shows here but sometimes, when you're lucky to even get some petrol money after driving for hours to play a show nobody bothered to promote, it can feel a little cold compared to the love we felt out in places like Germany. But we're a new band still, I feel very lucky to be able to share our songs with anyone at all and I would take playing to a room full of people having fun over a pay check any day.

Preach, brother! You can check out the videos here, here, and here.

Note: *Hot Rod. Educate yourselves.


There’s a new Deaf Havana song about: 'Boston Square'. To be honest, it’s been about since May now, and unless you have been living in a cave (how very decadently Art Deco of you), you’ve heard it. I actually had the notes for this song stored up since I first heard it played on BBC Radio 1 with Zane Lowe but not had a chance to drop its mention into a column until now. Still, it’s new-enough.

The style of the song itself is different, introducing a new generation to that folk style first hinted at through the re-release of Fools and Worthless Liars. I could see it a mile off coming; why keep the same time when you can progress to a wider audience and develop your sound, especially with who they're soon to be supporting: The Boss at Hard Rock Calling festival. That’s certainly something to make any father proud. The song itself inherits a classic Springsteen sound, something the band admits they’ve been leaning towards for a long time; it’s just taken this long to write songs in such a way.

Boston Square is a place in Hunstanton where they would skateboard as teenagers (check it out on Google maps; I used to walk around there with my family when we’d visit), and is a song about their late friend, Phil, set to be the opening track to their new record Old Souls out later this year. It wouldn’t surprise me if the entire record is full of songs leaking that grown-up, Americana vibe neither.

There are some really gripping lyrics in this song; very heartfelt and carefully crafted – time has been spent on these compared to earlier songs, but in general Veck-Gilodi has just had the time to pen some decent words and string ‘em together: “I know you met the devil once when you were young. You let him in just enough to push you out; you managed 21 years before he talked you round to giving up. We traded knowledge in our fields of expertise then we parted ways and you gave up on everything”. He mentioned in his interview with Zane Lowe that process was a lot more relaxed, and that the “songs came out more naturally”. Even reading the lines now, knowing what they mean, I feel a little bit sad. “I thought I saw your reflection, in the window of a passing car, but I guess I was wrong, all I am is wrong these days”. That’s why they are where they are today.

Update: Just before publishing this column, Deaf Havana dropped a new song and a cracking music video to go with it, 'Mildred (Lost a Friend)'; emotional and visually stunning, I honestly don't know if these boys can put a foot out of line - everything they have been doing lately is right on the mark. Old Souls and the winter months are about to go hand-in-hand.


I feel commiseration towards Tu Amore is in order. They were whittled down to the final 25 bands out of hundreds, only to miss out at the final stages, to have the chance to play Download festival. But, if anything, it has encouraged them to press on; it’s not like they’ve been quiet, having just finished off a tour supporting Enter Shikari, and with the unfortunate departure of bassist Joe Davis, the band are acting fast in recruiting a new member to not stop this momentum.

With new tracks on the horizon, Tu Amore are back in the studio soon; something I’m keen on hearing the final results: I saw one track was entitled ‘Devil’, previewed by drummer Pickles on Instagram last month, and frontman Mackereth teasing fans with series of videos featuring soft yet hauntingly sad piano melodies.

The other night in fact, whilst out (a little bit boozed) Pickles did the classic thing of telling me they had four tracks ready for recording in the studio, and pulled out his phone, giving me the choice to listen to one of the four new tracks demoed. My eyes lit up when I saw ‘England’, knowing how articulate this song would have to be in order to work, perfect for the literary arsenal Mackereth has dose out – and it was absolutely brilliant. With more tracks like that soon to be released, they’ll be tearing up a stage at Download next year; I have no doubt about it. But to end this column, I’ll leave you with the words Pickles left me, which did have me chortling to myself: “We’re basically U2 now”.


S*** hot tracks right now

Color Film – 52 Minds
I honestly cannot get enough of Daryl Palumbo’s new project, and the fact that there is only two songs out at the moment is leaving me chomping at the bit – I can relate to that scene in Peep Show where Super Hans is tied to the hotel bed, gagging for more drugs (“Super Hans, are you trying to skin up with your feet again? Because it doesn't work, does it? It just makes a mess”). The echoing, synth-like, trickling guitars, repetitive drums, heavy and clear and a smooth, jolty bass line really ooze Gareth Jones’s mixing influence with a modern edge.

Chauncey (Cardboard City) – Slow Leak (featuring Keith Buckley)
This is a slow and dark track, with a freak dub-beat; the kind of music you’d make alone in your bedroom once downloading a music making program – this would be your first completed song. The only difference from yours to this is that Chauncey got Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die to sing on his, making this one Hell of an aggressive, experimental collaboration.

Emarosa – Broken vs. The Way We Were Born
I think half-in love with the artwork, and half-still impressed by the vocals Johnny Craig displayed back at Slam Dunk, I decided to give this album a proper go. I’m glad I did. I used to be a huge fan of Emarosa when their debut EP came out; Chris Roetter was a big influence on me – but when he left, and the band began to receive mainstream appeal and attention, I somewhat strayed. This track in particular impresses me: after the intro, there are several repetitive high-note bars; usually bands would begin an onslaught of noisy vocals for dramatic effect, creating a sense of urgency, and something big – but Craig, fully confident with his voice – literally sinks that riff into the ground into a slumber. The last thing you would honestly expect. Safe to say, I’m finally giving Emarosa (the record, at least) the attention it deserves.

Dustin Kensrue – Blanket of Ghosts
Stripped back and raw; country and calm; beautiful. I’ve rediscovered the former Thrice frontman’s first solo record and it’s helped me relax and unwind so much during these hazy and hot summer nights.

G.O.O.D Music – I Don’t Like (Remix)
This is a damn good dark hip-hop song; arrogant like all the rest but I’m a sucker for any and every wrestling reference going, so when this song opens with “That’s rare n****, Ric Flair n****, the power’s in my hair n****, I get it, beat the chair n****”, I’ll end up liking it no matter what, and you should too. It’s a popular song anyway, but this remix is fantastic. Furthermore, even with a little Google search, you can find all sorts of funny hidden meanings to this song. For example, a website called Rap Genius say: “Flair is acknowledged to be one of the greatest wrestling “heels” (villains) of all time, and his character is famously vain, especially about his hair, which is of course the same color [sic] as Pusha’s beloved cocaine”. Mm, drugs. The 'trendsetter' line also imitates Flair's popular catchphrase "Rolex wearin', diamond ring wearin', kiss stealin', wheelin' dealin', limousine ridin', jet flyin' son of a gun" - something they all aspire to be.

But, if that's all too much for you, perhaps you can just look at this meme a friend of mine posted and have a little chuckle: click here.

Baauer - Harlem Shake (Cazzette Ultra Bootleg Remix)
It's quite funny how an old article of mine started receiving hit and hit after hit once 'Harlem Shake' went viral - obviously not a bad thing for anyone involved. I still find myself yearning to play the original track, as like a tip-of-the-hat to my former self, or to not let that fun spirit die; maybe even remind a soul or two of the song, but thankfully now, I have this track to follow straight after, and back up everything. Baauer publicised this remix on his Facebook and I was really impressed - it's dubstep at it's best; so finally something decent. Including hints and tweaks of the song, but adding a whole new layer, this will  really play a crucial role at your next manic house party; perfect Centurion background music.

The EA Sports FIFA ’13 iPhone soundtrack
Much to my girlfriend’s disapproval, I downloaded the game and haven’t looked up (let alone away) from my iPhone since.

Confide – Sooner or Later
Since when were Confide back? After a terrible re-release, honestly ruining a great debut, they brought out a second record, which I cannot even remember the name of off the top of my head – I gave it a few spins before deleting the lot. When Ross Kenyon joined Confide I was a massive fan (roughly the same time I got into Emarosa, etc.), but it just went tumbling (Tumblring, hah) downhill thereafter. Suddenly, I get hit in the face with this banger, back to their roots with a musical 2013 added touch; and I guess the rest is history… (God, that's such a bad line, sorry).

Jay –Z – Tom Ford
I will admit, besides the Linkin Park collaboration record, I’ve never really listed to anything Jay-Z has put out. I just over looked it. But after listening to ‘100$ Bill’, I figured I’d check out his new album, and I was not disappointed. I knew I wouldn’t be, but it was just seeing me take that time out to give him the time Jay-Z deserves.

Stray from the Path – Badge and a Bullet
You would think they were turning into Rage Against the Machine when they dropped ‘Landmines’ a few weeks back, following their recent RATM cover, and in a way, you would be right. They’re not mimicking Rage, but picking up where rage left off. Even with the song names and hidden messages embedded within their videos, it’s hard to deny that they’re now filling that much needed gap in the music market. I doubt they’ll get as big as Rage, or cover the same ground, but they’re trying, and that deserves all the respect in the world – keeping the fight alive.

I Can Make a Mess – Enola
Ace, you silver-tonged devil, you.

Counterparts – Decay
As a recommendation from Stray from the Path over Instagram, I thought ‘why not?’, and decided to check them out, having been dubbed ‘the most underrated band around right now’. ‘Decay’ is my favourite, alongside ‘Lost’, off their brand new release, third album The Difference Between Hell and Home.  I needed some new harder music in my life to spark things up, and this release certainly impressed me.

Kanye West – I Am a God
Christ, what a name. Having frustratingly lost the sincerity carried on his first two records, Ye is back endorsing the persona he is now attributed to: the bastard son of hip-hop; egotistical, dark, rough and ballsy. ‘I Am a God’ is probably my favourite from Yeezus, but for some light entertainment, why not check out this website and stop West from ‘getting into his zone’: click here.

Hmm, I might make another mixtape soon.


This article was originally written for an upcoming London publication Raw Edit, to be showcased either June, July or August 2013. Or so I'm told...

From being off his face in glitter wigs and straw hats in a night club, to tripping over his own feet on Astroturf power league football  pitches (he’s a cracking defender), to driving around, lurking in B&Q car parks trying to bum smokes off of me, you could say I’ve known Mark Breed for a long time.

But for those who don’t know, Breed started off as your everyday kid and became the creator of a “trashy clothing company” founded in January of last year, known as Hoodbats. Now shooting over six and a half thousand likes on Facebook, Hoodbats has become a bit of a worldwide phenomenon, adored from coast to coast, Australia to America. Straying far from the generic ideals of a street label with a bland logo, Hoodbats offers something different and rather special to its audience for it starts and centres on and around its core – the art; the true essence to a successful clothing label.

Breed supplies all the artwork himself for his products, art that is seeped in subtle satire, grim imagery, with rough lines and enough preternatural to confuse one self’s state of normality for an acid trip. “I try and delve deeper to find my inspiration especially to find an interesting subject for my next drawing. I’m not one of these guys who will put out t-shirts with weed on just to make loads of sales quick. It’s a cheap way to the top and I’m not buying”, says Breed. For someone who favours the antique and archaic to the here and now, the old, cabin in the woods, rustic way of life; stripped down and bare – it’s clear to see that this ideal holds influence in his art and ends up portrayed expertly.

Based in Peterborough, Hoodbats has now expanded nationwide, to having his affordable clothing stocked in store at Wonderland Vintage, a quaint boutique in Preston. His oozing charismatic persona hones in with a DIY approach scrambled up with anything spooskish and ghoulish (“I’ve always been interested in old Halloween imagery, mainly 60’s to 70’s stuff because almost everything was handmade”), and fuels the fire.

It’s as if his imaginative ways and outlet has started to create a creative media franchise – more than just a clothing label and selling artwork, but encouraging others to do the same, alongside dipping in with visual media works. Is it too soon to say he is a visionary? Breed could easily be coined as the macabre Daniel Johnston of the modern day.

I approached the big wigs at Raw Edit with the idea to follow him around for the day on their time, promising an amusing anecdote or two, along with a good piece of writing. Thankfully, after laughing at the introductory video of a middle-aged, long-haired stoner-rocker-hippy head banging and throwing the horns up to psychedelic sitar music on his official website, they gave me the green light.

Having turned down others previously bar two, I felt honoured and excited for the chance to sit him down and pick his brains; even Breed was, “I've had other people actually pester me but I'm actually excited for things like this. Can't turn down a little credit”. Breed later went on to say “Some dude came from London to interview me a few weeks back. It was awkward at start. It's just getting used to having people actually interested in interviewing me. Motherf***ing cray cray”. It’s his sincerity that catches me here; from that alone I can see he works hard and created this label for all the right reasons, and his success is thoroughly deserved.

With my back pocket stuffed with some paper, flooded with questions, I travelled over and was taken to his back garden, where he likes to hang out. When I arrived, he was just finishing up shooting tin cans with an air rifle sporting jazzy tropical beach shorts; black with green vines and pink and yellow petals, and, as it was a sunny day, a sombrero. He was incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming as we led the way into his shed. He hands me a beer, which, despite being humbling, flattens me as it blows my opener and first question, ‘Pick your poison, Mark. Milk and two sugars?’, out of the water. The silver lining to this however, is that it was a San Miguel, “I like to stay classy”. Cambridgeshire’s best kept secret has great taste.

How would you describe yourself to those who have never heard of you?
A careless soul.

Where are we right now? Describe this shed to me.
We are in the magnificent bat cave/shed in my garden. I've had this place as a drinking, smoking zone for a hefty six or seven years, and I've just slowly filled it with things I have accumulated over that time. Literally every scrawl on the wall and every prop in here has some kind of story behind it. Which is why this place, to me, is a shrine of youth.

You initially started out, when I first knew you, playing in really dark, hardcore bands which has matured over time to other musical outfits; so when did becoming an illustrator fit in to this schedule, and when did it take over?
When I decided to grow up a bit and realise I needed a job, I decided to study to ensure a decent living, however saying that I only finished college then went on to work at The Range [a large garden and furniture store] for two weeks until I was fired on the opening day. This didn't bother me because a few months before I had printed some of my artwork onto t-shirts, and it was selling pretty well. After this I decided to pull all my time into Hoodbats and nothing else.

Is your art influenced from music then, or how did your style come about? 
I believe that music can change the approach of what you draw. It never really changes my style. I never really had a certain style until after college when I went crazy experimenting with different medias. Even more so then I done at college. I really have no idea how it came about.

What would you say your other influences are?
I like delving deep with inspiration. I find inspiration in the most peculiar places. It's mainly photography that does it for me; old Halloween, carnival, and horror photography.

Your work has now created a solid fan base; you clearly have your own voice. How long did it take you to perfect your style to what we see today?
I would say around three years. If you check out the first illustrations it would seem I'm getting lazier but in actual fact I just think detail clutters my drawings. It's strange how much attention some of my drawings get even though some take me ten minutes. That's the kind of person I am. I'm always in a rush for no reason at all.

So what did you want to be when you were younger?
For some strange reason I wanted to be a gardener. I think Garden Force had me under some kind of spell. I just wanted to be knocking around with Tommie Walsh and Charlie Dimmock and her boobs.

When you started this project initially, you went under the handle ‘Creep it Real’ and then changed that to a slogan, and adopted the name Hoodbats for your brand name. How did that name come about? What made you think you needed to change?
Hoodbats came about from just changing ‘hood rats’. As my aim of selling trashy clothing came to mind I needed a name that would reflect that image. When I read the description of a hood rat, (roughly knowing what it meant before), I was hooked and had the biggest grin on my face when I realised I could change rats to bats; making it instantly gothy-er.

I read that you said “I feel like everyone who buys something from Hoodbats is a part of this small group or ‘cult’ of outsiders”. Is Hoodbats now becoming a cult? Is that what you’re aiming for?
I'm just trying to sell my clothing really but at the same time I get so much support from people and they tend to stick around. There was an incident where a company had kind of ripped off one of my shirt designs. Without telling anybody to do anything about it, my "followers" tore their Facebook page apart like a pack of wolves, leading to an email from the company asking me to please stop the horrible comments.

Tell us about your artistic process. Do you just let the pen do the walking with no rough drafts, or do you do line after line after line, rubbings out, tracing paper, pencil before pen, etc.? Is it your aim to capture ‘that’ moment, or whatever they say...
Thick black pen or a Sharpie, A4 paper, and let the pen do the walking. Majority of the time I'll throw away three or four drawings before I do one I like. I never really have an idea of what I'm doing. If I really like it I will trace it with the tablet so it's on the computer with smooth edges... Ready for a t-shirt.

You recently started drawing onto vinyls, beginning a small collection, to good reception too. I’m sure many can see this as the start of a big project. How do you come up with your ideas?
I'm stocked up on pre-orders however I actually scrapped that idea. The reason being is I was using fine tip paint pens that were around £4 each. The nibs on them would constantly snap or just leak, sometimes ruining the whole of what I just done. I had a huge fallout with it one day. I'm sure I'll find my calling soon.

Are they all spur of the moment decisions, or do you have any more projects in the pipeline (that you can let us in on)? For example, you’re a big skateboarding fan too – any ideas in that field?
All the actual Hoodbats designs have had a lot of thought into them. Like anybody whose brain is like a sieve, I have a notebook where I sketch ideas or just scribble filth into it. I never really started as a skateboarding kinda brand, I doubt I’ll be going completely into that direction. Wouldn't mind selling to skate stores though.

You’ve citied some key influences for yourself already, but what keeps you inspired? Boredom to draw, the buzz when you receive praise and good critique from fans, other artist’s work; fuel and yet competition?
I only ever draw when I am inspired. Sometimes that means sitting down in the shed, listening to music on my vinyl player, surrounded by good memories. I won't just sit and draw. It would be screwed up into a ball and thrown at the bin.

Everyone has their pride and joy as an artist; I myself favour between two specific poems I’ve penned – what currently is your favourite piece of work?
I literally only have one, and that’s the ‘bathead’. To this day I still haven't drawn anything as good. That is only in my eyes though. I'm too much of a critic on my own work. I'd love to read those poems though.

I imagine you get some pretty crazy requests from time to time to draw something garish and outlandish. I mean, I remember asking you to draw me a grizzly bear with toasters for feet – but what’s the weirdest request you’ve had?
One that made me laugh was an eagle coming out of an eagle’s chest. Eagleception?

What was the trigger point then, for you to think ‘right, this is getting some creditable attention, let’s make some money’? Or was that never really an aim?
It was never the aim. You see a lot of people trying to start up clothing companies because they have seen other people do it and that it looks easy. It's a lie. It's hard to actually get yourself known. I was just lucky I had my blog at the time. I started out selling just my illustrations on t-shirts as a kind of merch store. It was only after I had a run with some terrible jobs and getting fired I wanted to make it into a business.

Do you reckon you’ll get to a stage where you can do Hoodbats for a living and live comfortably?
I'm doing Hoodbats for a living now. I think with things like this you just have to believe in yourself and have some kind of faith. Hopefully it will take one t-shirt to just blow up and everybody buy it. I thought about this the other day, if all of my 6,700 followers on Facebook bought £100 pounds worth of t-shirts (unlikely but bare with me). I would make £670,000. Not bad.

What do you currently do in your spare time?
I just find people to bum around with (not literally bumming). At the moment my friends and I have a project going in the middle of the woods near me. Making a place to BBQ, camp and get weird.

Now for our favourite topic: music. What have you been listening to as of late?
Recently I’ve been listening to Grateful Dead, early Van Morrison, Connan Mockasin, and as always [Led] Zeppelin.

Tell us about your music projects.
I've started writing for when Kristian [Bell, of The Wytches] gets back from tour. There is also more Beach Whores stuff on the menu with even stranger videos.

And both NME, and the Independent and Guardian newspapers picked up on you guys?
Well at the moment it's really Kristian, Gianni, and Dan's thing. I'll be more involved when the second album has been started. Incredible though right?

You recently worked on the debut music video ‘Digsaw’ for The Wytches, didn’t you? Am I right in reading that you filmed it on just an iPhone?
Yep, just an iPhone with some filters on it. I also added many filters in using iMovie. I've moved onto Final Cut now so the next video (which I'm working on as we speak), will be one to watch out for.

Is visual media something you’re hoping to break out into as well?
Most definitely. I'm experimenting by myself at the moment. If you follow my Vine you might see some of the weird videos among the stupid videos.

You’re very passionate about your music, and I find you strongly opinionated, thankfully on the good spectrum. What are your top five essential tracks?
You know this is ridiculously hard. I might try picking some recent favourites:
The Growlers - Tijuana
Girls - Broken Dreams Club/Ghost Mouth
Bill Fox - A Little More Rain
Nina Simone - Just Say I Love Him
Grateful Dead - Cream Puff War

Can you recommend us any worthwhile artists, be it music or illustration, to keep our eyes on?
For sure. Check out Prettywhores, Robert Borbas, Ze Burnay, and check out Bill Crisafi's photos.

What is next for you? Be it this year, or the future in general.
Get a camper van and start taking Hoodbats on the road. The Bohobus...

Finally, what’s the dream?
My dream would be successful in everything I do. I've started looking at old video cameras because I want to start making some spooky short movies. Either that or I'd like The Wytches to get a record deal and just tour with them dudes.

After we concluded the interview, we finished the night by polishing off what beers remained and watching several episodes of How I Met Your Mother, before I rang for a taxi and made my way home. I spent the next few days thinking about this diamond in the rough character, Breed, puzzled and wondering where his charm and talent could derive from, before accepting that he truly is a simple man; answering all other questions my mind concocted.

His advice to others comes through his actions; it appears his credos was set in stone long ago, and to see that he won’t be swayed from this is incredibly delightful and refreshing. Always responding to customers and fans, and keeping that connection, that cult, alive, sticking to his original blueprint. I’m not sure where he finds the time to one of those handful of people that always seem to interact so well, let alone make music and single-handedly man his blogs and websites, along with all the drawing, stock taking, and other business work he puts in. Some would say his credos is just ‘stay true’, some would say it’s ‘keep it real’, but Breed prefers to word it somewhat differently...

To join the Hoodbats revolution, click here.

This interview is a bit of a lengthy one, so I do thank you if you read it. I felt somewhat annoyed when I submitted this piece, as it just ended up as more of an introduction to Hoodbats, which was something I didn't really want - but unfortunately due to lack of knowledge about the retail world, it was hard to get into the depths of talking about the process, hardship and everything in between of running a clothing label and Mark's personal life as a result; which I would have much rather preferred. We've taken it upon ourselves to try and come back to this in a year or so when I have a greater understanding, we are closer friends, and hopefully Mark is more successful. He himself currently is working towards purchasing a van and travelling around the country (and probably Europe now documenting The Wytches' success)  - but for now, we can use this as a starting point.

Image credit: Copyright of Mark Christopher Breed, 2012-2013: Source.