RoomThirteen caught up with Becki Clark (BC), David Stanton (DS) and Dave Smith (DST) from British metallers Season's End at Bloodstock 05 to find out about playing live, their music and their future plans.
RoomThirteen: So this has probably been one of your biggest shows to date, how do you think it went?
BC: We had a really, really good time and the whole thing about it is audience reaction. It's hard playing gigs when you aren't getting any feedback from the crowd, so when you play a gig like today and the audience is with you and you can see them enjoying themselves that's it for us, that's what it's about.
RoomThirteen: Is there a noticeable difference in the crowds for festivals and for your own shows then?
BC: Yeah, definitely, the numbers boosts the whole atmosphere here and you can't really help that playing at a venue that only holds 100 people, so the atmosphere is completely different.
RoomThirteen: Today in your show you used pyros, how far are you planning on taking this whole aspect of your show?
BC: We want to make it as entertaining as possible really.
DS: Wherever we can justify it we will try and use it.
BC: We really want to be entertaining, it's not about pretensions or anything else, it's actually about us enjoying ourselves on stage which we really do now. It took awhile to get there to be honest.
RoomThirteen: Did you find live shows hard at first?
BC: Not exactly hard, we always enjoyed it but I think maybe we took ourselves too seriously when we were younger.
DS: Taking the show too seriously.
BC: Also it was also the pressure; being so worried you forgot to enjoy yourself and what you were doing. I don't know what the reason was but we weren't comfortable, we were trying too hard I think. I think now we just love being onstage, as soon as we got offstage everyone was just saying "I want to go back!" and now we just love what we do and anything entertaining we can do to help that we will do.
DST: If you're enjoying yourself onstage you can project it a bit more at the audience who can sometimes have a complete turn-around because of that.
RoomThirteen: Lots of bands similar to you have to rely more and more on backing tapes and minidiscs to recreate their sound live, is this something you want to avoid or not?
BC: To me and to Paul our drummer, the idea of being consigned to playing one rhythm and being stifled in that way can hurt the expression of the music. We like to be able to vary the music we play live, it's real music. If people want to see a real live band it should be warts and all.
DS: When I go to see a band, I like to see a live band playing and I don't care if their albums aren't represented perfectly. I'd rather go and see a band and maybe they're missing some keyboard parts.
BC: When we play we have to miss out 4 or 5 vocal harmonies which I obviously can't reproduce live. We're not going to try and represent that in a half-hearted, pre-recorded and manufactured way.
RoomThirteen: So you'll be avoiding the whole trend at the moment of using a choir then?
BC: Definitely, definitely. We all love people like Therion, what they do is incredible and choral singing is where a large part of my training comes from. That amazing choir effect is one thing but it's not what we do.
RoomThirteen: So you're re-releasing your debut album 'The Failing Light' this month, what made you decide to do this?
DST: We acquired a record company and they wanted to re-release the album straight off, re-package it and re-mix it and we obviously jumped at that.
DS: The intention was to always do a whole album, we considered doing an EP but for the same price as doing that you can produce your own album.
BC: It was half the product we wanted to put out, it was on a budget.
DS: It was originally a glorified demo we were going to send out to record companies so they could pick up on it and we could then re-record it.
RoomThirteen: Has it been a big jump for the band then, going from a demo and a slot on the second stage last year to a record deal and a main stage slot this year?
BC: It's been a long process, all the legal things that you go through to put out a record and I think for us especially with it being our first deal, the idea of signing away your music is like giving away your babies. It's a huge deal to give away your songs.
RoomThirteen: Did you get a lot of offer from different labels then?
BC: We had a couple of offers where they were offering to take our money to send our album to places we could already send it too.
DST: We always knew what we wanted from a contract.
BC: The fact that our current label would take what we've done and let us re-record it and put money into it was what made them so attractive to us.
RoomThirteen: How do you feel about people who consider female fronted bands a "gimmick"?
BC: I think people have this perception that women don't like the music, a guy came up to me earlier and said "So you don't really like metal, do you? You're a girl, how could you?". I think people have this idea of what women in metal are, I love what I do and if I wanted to be a Celine Dion I would go and sing ballads to soft rock backing tracks! It's about the love of what you do; it's not a case of listening to and copying whatever other bands. It's hard, because I think we're a smaller proportion of the genre, if you like, you're always going to get compared to another band but to me it's like comparing Children of Bodom to Hammerfall.
DST: Exactly, why would having a girl as a singer be any different to a guy?
RoomThirteen: Like when you see people complaining about there being more than one or two female fronted bands on a lineup even when they're very different.
DST: Everyone likes to lump them all in together, lots of our reviews lump us in with Nightwish and Evanescence.
BC: Even though musically we're nothing like them, Nightwish are very very power metal which we don't have a lot of and I think if you listen to us we're very rock based.
RoomThirteen: Who would you say are your main influences then?
BC: We've all got different influences; we all listen to different music. Tom and Daryl, they listen to their jazz, their rock and all the rest of it. David, Paul and I all really love Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Anathema, they're our kind of thing, and Dave listens to his really heavy stuff. For my female influences I would never say Nightwish or anyone like that, my female influences would be Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos. Those are the people I listen to and if I tried to emulate anyone it would be them.
RoomThirteen: So do you hope then that people don't just think of you as just another one of those female fronted power metal bands or something similar?
BC: I hope so, I just hope that people can see the differences.
DST: One review recently picked up on this, as I said loads of reviews have been calling us the "UK Nightwish" but it said here we're the "UK Season's End" and I really liked that.
RoomThirteen: You'd obviously like to be known for your own identity.
DS: I think after one play of the album you can tell we don't actually sound anything like Nightwish or anyone else like that.
BC: At the same time, we say the comparisons don't help but if it makes people listen to us and what we're doing, we're not going to complain about it.
DST: Evanescence and their popularity were the big boost for us, we had a lot of people getting into us even though we're just rock, because of the whole Evanescence thing.
RoomThirteen: So have you never been tempted in your music to go for the whole female vocals and growled vocals style?
BC: It's a very common thing to have a female singer and a male grunter nowadays.
DS: Beauty and the beast.
BC: I think we grew out of it.. not in a maturity way but it just stopped being what we were writing. I think what we're aiming for is something that moves you.
DST: We want to reach as many people as possible and shouting at people doesn't do that. I used to do a lot of shouting and growling and I can still do that kind of thing but it's just not what we're into.
RoomThirteen: Today you played 2 news songs, are we going to be seeing any new material on CD any time soon?
BC: We've made demos of those. We're all aware the re-release is now two years old, material wise and the temptation is to replace older songs with new ones. We've got about 6 or 7 songs in the process of being finished.
DST: We've just got to put it altogether now.
RoomThirteen: What can we expect from the new songs? Shorter songs, longer songs? Heavier or softer?
BC: I don't think we're really aiming for anything in that sense. I think we all know when we feel a song has got what it needs in it and that's the end of it. I would say the new songs are more concise.
DS: That was brought about by playing our songs live and wanting a more rock sound.
BC: I think we do have our roots in rock a lot and also we had a line-up change so the writing process has changed because of that, having new members join made our sound change again.
DST: I think we're more aware now of where the song is taking us, now we're more used to making a song flow and work.
DS: We're also working on trying to make an array of songs that makes up a whole well-rounded album.
RoomThirteen: You recently filmed a video for 'Ghost In My Emotion', how much promotion are you hoping to get for this?
BC: We've done a radio-edit but it was a bit heartbreaking as we had to cut out 3 minutes out of a 6 minute song, in the hope of getting it played on TV music channels which we need to do to break into that slightly more mainstream market: the people who aren't finding their music through the Internet, that aren't going to come to an event like this, who we want to take our music to.
DS: It's a necessary evil.
DST: We went through so many edits to find the one we wanted.
BC: We just hope people recognize it's an edit and go and listen to the whole song!
RoomThirteen: What are your plans for the upcoming year? More touring?
BC: Touring, touring, touring, and recording. Getting the new album out there, or new songs at least.
DS: We have a sub-plan of this ambitious one song, four parts, really long song. Hopefully we're planning to do an album and then in our own time we will work on this EP song, it's quite a sad song and it's got a lot of layers to it.
RoomThirteen: Have you ever played any of that one live or is it entirely new?
DST: It's still in the concept stage, we've not played any of it.
DS: We've made a demo of a ten minute version but it'll grow.
RoomThirteen: How long do you expect it to be in the end?
BC: Oh, at least 3 hours.
DS: 20 to 30 minutes maybe.
DST: Nothing is set in stone, it's still an idea we're toying with.
DS: It would be something easier for us to do ourselves, quickly, and have it be our own creation so it's something we are looking into.
William Southwell-Wright of Room Thirteen