MUDKISS FANZINE

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MANCHESTER METAL: PART ONE - THE SCENE…….. THE SAUSAGE FESTS……….THE DIBBLE……….INTERVIEW BY ANDY BARNES

 
Deep in the Manchester Musical underground, in the depths of Satan’s Hollow, a beast is reborn. Emerging from the murky mire, its spiral to ascension abounds….. on this occasion, no rise to fall or emergence in vain. Instead, a metallic proboscis appears to skratch the surface, before standing, grand, central, smelling the fear and desperate to feed on the charred remains of the directionless indie minions within this aural Oasis of North West England.  Intrigued by this seemingly swift and frenetic upsurge in Mancunian metal, Mudkiss met Paul (Noz) Norrington from Skratch the Surface PR and Management,  Daniel Mucs -Guitar with Wolfcrusher, Drums with Not Above Evil,  Chris (Mitch) Mitchell-Taylor -Bass with Wolfcrusher,  John Curran - Drums with Incassum, Chris Taylor Guitar with Incassum, Paul Sadler vocals & guitar with Spires and Al Jolley – Bass with Spires,  all constituent, although not wholly components of a potent brew created in the Devil’s Kitchen itself………….or is it? 

Seated in a Castlefield  amphitheatre on the outskirts of Manchester City Centre, the sun beaming down with a group of the most personable and talented musicians you could ever wish to meet,  the alleged and perceived depravity of metal appears a million miles away.  

ANDY: To the outsider, there appears to have been a sudden upsurge in great metal bands appearing in Manchester. Would you agree?

CHRIS: Right here’s living proof (Laughter)

PAUL: Yeah….. recent years it’s definitely on the up it seems…..you couldn’t really name a classic metal band from Manchester if you know what I mean, like you could from Birmingham or from wherever……but hopefully that’s kinda changed and there’s quite a few bands with a lot of talent at the moment……..yeah, I think I’d agree with you on that. (Laughing.)

ANDY: Manchester, certainly over the last thirty years or so has been associated more with indie music, and suddenly it seems a whole bunch of metal bands have sprung up at the same time to a certain extent. Do you guys feel as though there’s a metal “scene” in the city?

(A chorus of agreement)

PAUL: Definitely…..you’ve just got to look at….. well  Bloodstock for example.   On the Sunday there was four or five bands from Manchester playing ……..that’s probably not happened before to be fair.  It’s just not a place that you associate with metal as you say……. it’s indie and you know Stone Roses, Oasis……

Al: Morrissey

PAUL: (Laughing) Yeah, exactly…… stuff like Joy Division.  Definitely it’s nice to be able to feel, to an extent, part of a little scene that’s going on…….you know…….I wouldn’t say it was a huge scene but there’s certainly some bands coming through that are really, you know……..

CHRIS: When you have a scene associated, like the indie scene, there’s always going to be an alternative to that, there’s always going to be people kind of…… not fighting against it, but doing their own thing against that……

JOHN: There’s definitely a reaction to it.

CHRIS: And I think now that’s just getting stronger and stronger in Manchester.

MITCH: It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

NOZ: I think for me what’s happening at the moment is……. you’ve got four or five sets of people all doing interesting things for rock and metal bands in Manchester, which in the past you didn’t really have,  I mean…. I used to get really wound up about the fact that everybody associated indie with Manchester and not metal……on a personal level I’ve been working with metal bands from up here since about 2000 now…… and for five years before that, playing in metal bands myself up here and interviewing bands as a fanzine writer…..if you look at it traditionally, on like a cultural level……. if that’s the right word….moving just outside of, a band booking a gig, equals a scene kind of thing…… with the indie side of it there’s millions of reasons why that always dominated, apart from the obvious one….. that music is more commercial therefore it will crossover bigger in the first place… you know a lot of the people that were involved with that scene were involved in different ways, like the guys from Factory Records had The Hacienda….and The Hacienda put Manchester on the map nationally for a lot of years and that kind of thing…..and metals never really had that…..I mean Jillys Rock Scene had a bit of a stigma, but big wow, it didn’t really change anything…….Jillys for years and years…….. until late 90’s and early 2000’s when Dave Morris started booking a lot of stuff at Jillys and Music Box it didn’t really do that much with the live side of the scene, given the profile it had as a club……you know, quite a separate thing…. You’d have a gig at The Academy, a gig at The Roadhouse and a club night at Jillys…….. Over the last sort of ten years or so, more and more’s cropped up, Rock Kitchen’s happened, Satan’s Hollow’s happened, Caged Asylum’s happened…….none of them have really taken the world by storm individually but I think between that……you’ve got Grand Central, that seems to have got a lot more popular over the last couple of years…….and you know, there’s just things  springing up…….you’ve got RockSector Records doing their thing….they do the S.O.S festival annually in Bury now….that’s another thing….. it gives a lot of the bands round here something to do on an annual level……you’ve got Dave and his guys at Mutiny doing a lot of stuff with Moho Live, Star and Garter, other venues…..you’ve got myself doing Skratch the Surface…. cos a lot of bands have started coming to us in the last few months….they’ve at least now got the structure  and sort of proper planning around what they’re doing……  for the local gigging to matter more…so for me that’s what’s going on at the moment….that’s why we’re at this point now…. between different camps of people like myself with Skratch the Surface or Rock Centre, Mutiny Promotions guys, a few other people, there’s more just going on in Manchester now, and even though ironically  Jillys itself has closed…. I think the scene as a whole in town is waking up a bit. I mean I don’t think overnight, I think gigs are a struggle, the scene is hard at the moment….

PAUL: Yeah, course it is.

NOZ:  But I think it will slowly start to change……. I think the tricky point is how you take a band from pulling a good crowd at Grand Central for free to pulling a good crowd at Academy 3 for a ten pound  ticket price….that’s what I’m trying to do next year with a lot of the guys sat here right now and some of that remains to be seen……but I think on the smaller level people are waking up to a lot bands, because the bands are being pushed more, more people are getting interested……and it’s a natural progression really.

ANDY: What I find frustrating, there’s obviously a market for metal in Manchester. Machine Head for example are playing the Central, the old G-Mex in December, so there are metal fans out there.  From the bands assembled here today, I’m hearing some of the greatest metal music I’ve heard in ages, so why can’t those metal fans be turned onto the local bands. Is there still a perception that the American, or Scandinavian better?

PAUL: I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily that…. you’re right to an extent definitely…….you expect it to be Swedish……. American whatever…….the thing about the music scene in general and it’s not just metal but it doesn’t really matter how good you are……obviously it does to you in a band (laughing) if you were to go by record sales and recognition, the biggest metal bands these days are by no means the best…….stuff like Metallica are long past their best……. and you know they were a great band but for any genre of music it doesn’t matter how good you, especially in metal as it’s not  a particularly commercial type of music as you say.

NOZ: I think the stigma isn’t necessarily American’s better than British, it’s always easier to sell something to somewhere you’re not from……..I mean in my experience, I’m yet to manage a really big band but with some of the bigger, in quote marks bands I have managed like Forever Never and I-Def-I, when we had those bands playing in places like France or The Netherlands or Germany or Scandinavia, the kids there would get excited about it…the kids would come on all the social networking sites and get excited about it….they’d want to come down and check your gig out…..at the gig it’d have an atmosphere that’d be the same as when I were a kid and going to watch an American band…..but when you’re trying to sell people a band they know from the local clubs and they know from the pubs and they know his missus’s sister…… there’s less glamour to it, so it’s harder.  The biggest problem with the British scene, rather than they necessarily think everything American’s better is that people in Britain seem to be way more motivated to put down their own, than get behind their own…… when you’ve got a band breaking out of a local scene, resentment does set in pretty fast…….I mean fingers crossed with the current crop of bands we’ve got at the minute, you know there’s not a lot of that and the majority of what I hear from band to band or band to me is really positive and a lot of the guys sat here today are good gigging buddies and all the rest of it so that’s cool…….but nationally, in Manchester  and a lot other cities in the U.K……if a band starts pulling away from the local scene the first thing that seems to happen is……you know, they’re giving it the big rock star……and 90% of the time it’s not true, 90% of the time, the band in question are just heads down and doing what they’re doing…….  and the other thing is because a lot of local bands, not to sound snobbish or patronising just don’t have a clue, they really don’t….the perception of what’s going on is always skewed anyway…….you can have a band that starts getting it’s first bits of national press, it’s first bits of national radio and a few of the local bands will get bitter about that, but that bands life hasn’t changed, they’re still getting next to nothing for the gigs they’re playing …..a lot of it’s to do about nothing in the first place and it’s all quite frustrating really…..I think the stigma if you will or the battle is just getting people to get excited about something that is from their own doorstep and I think that’s where  the part about the music being quality does actually count for a change……I mean not to knock scenes or anything like that….there’s always been strong bands from Manchester…… bands I’m nothing to do with on a professional level like Obsessive Compulsive from Manchester they’re a good band, they’re hard working and they know what it’s all about and they’re starting to get somewhere now, so I’m not just about my own bands you know……I’ll say good things about anyone if they deserve it…….. but yeah,  I think with a lot of what’s going on at the minute with your Wolfcrusher’s, and your Incassum’s and your Spires…. the bands are all good enough that they can rise above any of that tittle tattle anyway…..so the fact that the band music can stand up against a national band or an international band should hopefully start to count for something.

PAUL: You notice it as well with…..I mean we’ve talked about this…….with the European scene they take it so much more seriously….if you get a good review, I don’t know, on a Danish, for example, website the next day you’ve got ten C.D’s to people in Denmark……..if you get a good review in say a British thing…..most of the time you might get a like on Facebook you know what I mean. (Laughter)

DANIEL: If you’re lucky (More laughter)

PAUL: It’s just a different thing you know.

CHRIS: Within Manchester itself people are quite spoilt you know cos you’ve always got the Apollo gigs and the Academy gigs, so you’ve got the big touring bands coming from everywhere, they’ll probably play London and then play in Manchester……so that’s why I think it’s hard within Manchester as well…..why shell out your ten quid for a local band at Academy 3 whenever you can save up a bit more and go and see Slayer at Apollo…….you know people are spoilt here….but whenever you play a gig in a smaller place, like we had one in Stoke recently and everyone was buzzin off it and everyone was buying the merch…….that’s a real big thing…….I think people get a bit jaded with live music here….they can take it for granted.

DANIEL: Every week you get a good gig….you can say probably more than once a week.

ANDY: Is that where Facebook and social networking comes in, you can track areas where your fans are, so if you have 100 people in Newton – Le – Willows you can go and play there, rather than another town?

PAUL: Yeah…..it’s quite cool, I only discovered this feature the other day….you can sort of see where everyone’s from……it’s quite interesting to see what countries people are from….I looked at ours the other day and there was England……U.S and then……Indonesia………How people in Indonesia  know who we are………

NOZ: You got played on radio there ages ago.

PAUL: Did we (Laughter)…….. there you go. (more laughter.)

ANDY: You’re absolutely right though, we were talking about Shining earlier and I saw a video of them playing a T.V show in Norway, that looked as though it was late afternoon, just before the kids programmes. You could never imagine, Wolfcrusher, Spires, Incassum or Not Above Evil on day time television over here. 

NOZ: Well yeah…. like Paul was saying re the sales in Europe…..people in Europe are just less cynical and I can see why, because over here there’s a recession on and people are going to be picky what they spend their money on and like Chris said, you’re competing with the profile acts for that ticket money and t-shirt money…..in Europe, fanzine culture and the whole grass roots things still a lot bigger…..you know, places like Germany a lot of bands do a lot of CD sales live because in the older 25-40 fan bracket over there, it’s quite customary for people to go to a gig with a view to buying  the cd at the gig and that kinda thing, a lot of full length albums are sold at shows….it’s quite a stand alone market……like mini albums are viewed with suspicion over there, it’s all about the full length albums, so if you’re in Germany  best thing you can do is get a full length album on the merch stand  and it sounds random I know, but I’ve had distributors say that to me…… every time I take a mini album to a German distributor like, can’t you just do a full length album…… they just don’t get mini albums over there…… and I can’t work out why but you get these little nuances and little quirks with each area….. but in Europe Fanzine culture’s still bigger and people just seem happier to just put their hand in their pocket……and as you say, the media is more attuned to Heavy Metal culture…..I think traditionally in Britain, it’s quite (long pause)………….I wouldn’t say the genre is ridiculed but you know, whenever metal does cross over into main stream media it’s always cliché heavy…..there is always a poking fun element…….I remember some awful BBC 2 documentary years ago about metal kids and the metal scene…..and  they picked some emotionally  troubled seventeen year old chick from Camden that led her boyfriend around on a dog collar…….and the footage was from a Raging Speedhorn gig in Highbury Garage in 2002 with this, you know, weird goth chick leading her boyfriend round…..and you know that’s not how it is……..that’s not how it is.

Al: Hey speak for yourself. (Laughter)

NOZ: Hey dude, what you do on your own time…... (More Laughter) No…..you know it’s things like that and it just gets me back up….. because it’s kinda comedy viewing and you sort of take your hat off to it…….but that’s not what it’s about….. and ironically a lot of metal bands are probably some of the most intelligent song crafters and musicians and what not on the planet….. and you get in the main stream,  they just want to talk about goths with dog collars on their boyfriend…… whereas in Europe it’s not like that……..there was a Manchester band years ago called Kill to This….. they did alright for a while, did more than most do and they got on this thing Canal + which was like…….well no, that was the channel,  I can’t remember the programme name……. but it was like the French version of TFI Friday……. and between just doing that one show and a Slipknot support slot in Paris, that band had really good legs, did good sales, good press and good touring in France for a few years. now you wouldn’t get that here……..not because I’m a bad manager, but I couldn’t get Spires on T.F.I Friday, I couldn’t get Incassum on the British version of that, because even if we had 60,000 record sales under our belt, which we don’t have right now, they probably wouldn’t do it anyway, do you know what I mean . The only time British Metal gets anything big is when it’s comedy. There was an Earache Records band in the 90’s called Autonomy, a rap metal band, and they  got played on Chris Moyles or someone like that back in the day………..no, I think it was someone bigger….. the ginger guy.

ANDY: Oh, Chris Evans.

NOZ: Chris Evans, yeah……. they got played on his show, straight away did a few more records and everyone was talking about it, major labels sniffing……..

PAUL: Mind you, Napalm Death were on T.F.I Friday……….but again it was a comedy thing.

NOZ: Well, there you go…..there’s an element of tongue in cheek there.  I remember that was actually in one of the metal mags years ago…… and they were going on about how the studio staff were ridiculing the mosh pit whilst it was happening and that kinda thing.  And yeah sure, I’m a thirty one year old guy and I listen to all styles of music and there are massive elements…..I take the mick out of metal, I do it when I’m working, me and Ryan take the mick……. Oh you know…… should we go and get these guys a Jaegermeister sponsor……oh no Jaeger’s  a bit 2008 (Laughter)……but that’s just banter it’s different to actually underselling a really creative genre which is something the British media does you know.

CHRIS: What was that link I saw on Roadrunner, apparently Mastodon are going to be on Jools Holland….. so that’s quite cool.

NOZ: So there you go, it does happen.

CHRIS: It’s taken a long time but Mastodon have always been one of those bands……they’ve got their reviews in The Guardian and stuff like that....... so they did mange in some kinda way.......

NOZ: Yeah, there are always exceptions.

CHRIS: But the fact that someone like that is playing on Jools Holland might hopefully open a path for some of the rest of us and in future might hopefully make it more acceptable.   

NOZ: Well Jools Holland is one of those rare things where..... as much as it’s a main stream media thing and there’s budgets involved blah, blah, blah, he has a lot of the say....he’s into music for music’s sake, he’s a music lover. I mean I think he had like Queen Adreena and Henry Rollins and quite a few cool bands on over the years......but yeah I didn’t know about that, that’s quite interesting actually....we’ll have an e-mail to someone at Jools Holland I think. (Laughter.)

ANDY: I become frustrated with it as well, especially as the main complaint I hear is “ I don’t like the vocals,” well great, but have a listen to the music. There’s some incredibly talented musicians around being almost totally ignored.  After this year’s Mercury Prize, there was a slight lash back over Bring Me The Horizon not being nominated and surely at some stage, organisations like The Mercury Prize will have to recognise , metal for what it is, a brilliant genre of music which should receive more recognition?

MITCH: It’s all pop over here though isn’t it, that’s the thing at the end of the day.

PAUL: It’s just there’s a kind of thing.....you can convey any emotion in music but as soon as it comes to aggression....... or something along those lines, people switch off to it......you know they go, oh no, I like happy songs, sad songs, this kinda songs.

CHRIS: Why’s 50 Cent so fuckin popular then.......some of them........I don’t sing about slapping Ho’s and any of those things.(Laughter.)

DANIEL: Maybe that’s the problem (More Laughter)  

PAUL: I do..... (Yet more laughter)........but no. .I think the whole , when you’re talking about someone who doesn’t like metal....the classic thing is it’s just noise or whatever and no matter how well you play your instrument, some people are just dyed in the wool, that’s what they’re going to think no matter how good you are.

ANDY: I think particularly when I listen to Spires album though, there’s every emotion within your songs, yes it’s brutal in places, but yet it’s also tender, so the argument metal is always angry doesn’t really stack up.

PAUL No, course it doesn’t……..there’s no sense to it……but the moment you hear someone screaming at em…..switch off…..and I can understand it, it’s not for everyone is it.

ANDY: I think the main problem is people just don’t give it a chance.

Al : Yeah, that’s the annoying thing……if people don’t like it that’s absolutely fine you know……..but just typecasting it and deciding on it before you’ve listened to it…..or you’re in one of them bands where some of the vocals are screaming………yeah doesn’t mean there’s not a depth to it….. some intelligence to it just because someone’s screaming and pointing.

ANDY : I was speaking to a mate this morning about metal and mentioned Incassum have a female vocalist in Sharleen which he said was quite interesting as when it comes to metal, women are just sex objects, and I said, you what, that’s not the case at all.

JOHN: We don’t do stereotypes here.

ANDY: Exactly, but there’s still a perception that all rock and metal still centres around the early 90’s poodle rock crap Poison and the like used to produce. You’re either singing about worshipping the Devil or shagging someone.

NOZ: I can safely say as someone who’s spent a lot of time in bands, going up and down the U.K in the last seven years, there’s very little shagging goes on in Heavy Metal in 2011.

ANDY: Disappointingly enough (Laughing)

NOZ: There’s a lot of Travelodges, a lot  late nights, a lot of early mornings, a lot of coffee….

CHRIS: A lot of sausage fests (Laughter)

NOZ: Yeah, basically…….that stuff died out years ago it’s all a myth….even with the big gigs….. yeah, you know, where there’s profile, there’ll be women that want to do things I’m sure……but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as it once was even at the big shows…….to be honest, most bands that have that attitude these days  most would just be like, wankers….it used to be considered cool but because times have changed in society and all the rest of it……..you know all these guys here…. I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t walk past them in an alley on a dark night, but these are all actually some of the most polite well mannered guys I’ve ever met on a personal level in a long time and I think that’s all part of it you know………….he says as the Dibble roll in. (Laughter – as the police slowly drive past) 

ANDY : Absolutely……I interviewed Talanas a few weeks when they played with Spires at The Witchwood and you couldn’t meet a more polite bunch of guys.

Noz : Hal is an extremely learned guy for a metal band.

Paul : He’s a lovely guy but he’s very well to do you know…..lovely chap….. but to look at him…….. that’s it, the image and the reality is a different thing and a lot of people just can’t see past it……someone with long hair who might scream at you every now and again turns out to be a lovely polite chap (Laughing.)

ANDY: Surely to a certain extent, in general a lot of metal is having an on stage persona, playing a part?  I’m sure some don’t and it is a personality, but more often than not it’s a part similar to acting.

MITCH: It’s just entertainment at the end of the day…….. that’s all it is……. that’s what it boils down to.

ANDY: Course it is……but it’s almost as if that’s not allowed in metal, people don’t see it like they do in other genres.  People tend to think you all sacrifice goats in your back gardens before a gig and after go out to rape a virgin and why would they think that, you’re just playing music like anyone else and in most cases, probably better than the majority.  Anyway, what do you think has actually brought this gathering of metal bands in Manchester……I can hear today, some local accents, but also some not so local accents……. is it centred around the Universities in the City?

JOHN: I think to touch on the point from before, a reaction to a lot of  the music that’s happened in previous years and cos there’s not really been a scene in Manchester…..well I’ve been here seven years and I’ve never really…….. obviously some of the bands Noz has managed like Forever Never and I-Def-I I heard about them when I came to uni……but I’ve never witnessed anything like this I guess.

NOZ: I think at the minute there’s kind of a mix of bands that have sprung up quite quickly and bands that have been around a while but have only started to sort of really push it fully……I mean with the Incassum guys, I’ve known these guys loosely since 2007, if not a little before….. 2006, Runcorn…but you know since late 08 to now…..and within that from kinda mid 09 to now, they’ve really stepped up  how they’re going about things and what they’re looking to do and things like that…….and you’ve got that going on…….that’s happening  with Incassum, it’s happening with a band called Skin The Pig you know they’ve been around…. they’re survivors….. they’ve had a lot of line up changes, been around years, but good band, good guys…… Matt their guitar player’s an old friend of mine…… but friendship aside, on a professional level I’m PR’ing them at the minute and they’re getting some good stuff……so you’ve got bands like that who’ve been around, but it’s only recently they’ve just started to put a bit of weight behind it, get involved with PR and management, that kind of thing….. start looking at, ok how can we go about this with a bit of a strategy and get out of that sort of lull of, you play The Witchwood, you play The Roadhouse three months later, then a year later not a lot’s happened…….you know it happens to a lot of bands, but you can’t blame them, cos when you’re in a band there’s so much to think about…….you’re thinking about how do I pay the rehearsal room, writing songs, your day job……and that’s where people like us guys come in, we can do that thinking for them about all the other stuff and we’ve already been there and done it…..so there’s bands who’ve been around they’re starting to come up, and then you’ve got bands like Wolfcrusher who’ve only been going a matter of months and they’re already on Blood Stock, already in Metal Hammer, they’re already doing X,Y,Z  they’ve got plenty of stuff planned…….and then you’ve got bands like Spires who are somewhere in the middle of it……where they’ve kind of not been around as long as some of em, they’re not as new as some of em……the thing with Spires is…….they’re not a huge band yet…….but all the signs at the minute are mega positive, so I think they are going to break through on a national level……I’m not going to say, yeah, Spires are going to become rock stars, but they are going to break through a lot more in the next six months it’s not slowing down.  I think a lot of it’s just the combination of these things you know…… it’s sort of the antithesis of what I was moaning about earlier…..a lot of bands like to dog on a local band when they start getting somewhere….they like to make up this rumour, they said this, they did that, they think this about that……..you know what we’ve got happening at the moment is the opposite of that……it’s bands who want to play together, want to go watch each other when they’re not playing together, who buy each other’s CD’s and shirts, they know each other on a social level…..and you know it’s just one of them things……and not to sound like a sort of shady marketing guy or whatever, but when you’ve got a bit of a scene kicking off a bit  it helps,  because one thing can help sell the other…… that’s how the grunge scene came up, that’s how the nu-metal scene came up…….any American scene that’s been worth it’s salt…….as much as people sort of do that classic thing where they get behind it, the press tags a name on it, nu metal, grunge whatever……press get behind it, people sell records, people do good tours, then three years later everyone turns their back on it, you know nu metals crap now, grunge is crap now………I’m not so bothered about the negative end of it, I think  if you get a few things coming up at once it works…..Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam all that lot come up together……on a smaller level, Los Angeles Tool and Rage Against the Machine come up together…..Los Angeles 5 or 6 years after that, Korn, Snot whoever, they all came up together…..Deftones…… people like AFI got in on it…… and you know, I’m not comparing Spires, Wolfcrusher and Incassum to the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Nirvana and Pearl Jam by any shout….not to piss on our chips but  I’m not going to sit here and do that. (Laughter)  What I am sort of saying…. what we’ve got at the moment is bands that are interested in each other, press that are interested in the bands  and press that are interested in more than one of the bands at once……..and something does come from that even on a smaller level……..you’ve got Spires in the press at the moment name dropping  Gone Til Winter, name dropping Incassum, name dropping Wolfcrusher……..you’ve got Incassum in the press name dropping Spires…..and round you go…….now I’m not saying little name drops change your life……

PAUL: It all helps though.

NOZ: Yeah, and it shows local promoters that, alright, these bands get of their arse and these bands do the work….and those  local promoters are going to be happy to work with these bands than the bands that don’t do the graft……and that’s where you get a healthy scene, it’s a mix between things being done right on a professional level and things being done right on a personal level and dare I say it, the whole thing being fun…because that’s a big part of any local scene….and that’s what I  think has been lacking in Manchester….. gigs aren’t as fun as they used to be……and I don’t know why, maybe it’s the recession, maybe it’s not a music thing, maybe it’s because the industry is getting harder, maybe it’s saturation because there are more bands than ever……let alone before you get to how many bands do you have to compete with nationally and internationally on your Facebook’s, your Reverb Nations and all that…..how many are you just competing with locally…….it may sound stupid and people may not think it but it takes hell of a lot of work just to get to the point these guys are at now where your names out of the local mire a little bit……..cos even just between Warrington, Preston, Stockport, Blackpool, Manchester, Oldham….you know what  I mean,  just these places…… before you even get to the Midlands, North East, North wherever else……there’s millions of bands out there………now I get like twenty guys a week adding me on Facebook and I don’t know who they are and it’s just cos there’s somebody from a Manchester Band that’s got fifty nine mutual mates with me so they’ve thought…..oh,  if I add him or I add him, he’s going to manage me and I’ll get a Porsche….because they don’t understand that even when you’ve got managers and  stuff (Laughing) you’re at the start of a long war still, we’re not magicians or whatever…..but I think in Manchester at the minute, that’s what’s going on.  If people weren’t interested we wouldn’t be sat talking to you now and this isn’t the first thing you’ve done for us and hopefully it won’t be the last thing you do for us (Laughing) and we’ve got three or four other fanzines we’ve got similar relationships, that are all Manchester based with at the moment….you know there’s a lot going on at the minute……there’s Manchester Rocks guys, I don’t know them personally but they’re getting quite active on Facebook, they’re reviewing things, they’re getting decent numbers reading it, they’re covering a lot of the Grand Central stuff and it’s just a combination of all these little things, that’s when you get a scene and that’s when people hopefully you know, sort of go, oh you know what, this is actually quite cool, if I get behind this band I can go out, have a really good night, get pissed, meet a few fit birds and watch some good bands all for a fiver (laughter)……and I can go and do that courtesy of whoever at Satan’s Hollow, whoever at Star and Garter, I don’t have to do it through Live Nation for twenty five pound a pop at Academy 1 or whatever …….I’m not knocking that cos that’s where I want my bands to be and I love Live Nation,  I want to work with them more (Laughing)  but you know it has to start on a smaller level…..it has to start with people being bothered enough to get out of their armchair on a Tuesday night and go watch a band for like five pound on a Tuesday…… and take four mates with em…..cos that’s the other thing you know, word of mouth at this stage is essential, without a scene you don’t get word of mouth……..if you’ve not got a local scene all you’ve got is a bunch of people who go HMV, buy a Slipknot CD, go for a pint and go home…….you know, go to the club, have a pint and a kebab, go home, knock one out and go to sleep or whatever and that’s not what we want people doing…..we want people coming  into town, going to a gig, meeting twenty people in the pub, taking them to the gig with em,  half of em buying a CD and a shirt….now whether we achieve that or not remains to be seen……….. but I’m seeing the acorns with the trees kind of thing at the minute….. so fingers crossed it’ll pan out…….

ANDY: Let’s hope so.

NOZ: The whole hard thing coming back to the recession, state of the industry overall you know, I could talk about that for ten weeks…….. I could bore you to death about that………..         

So that’s the local Manchester Metal scene, through the eyes and ears of Daniel, Mitch, John, Chris, Al, Paul and……. mainly Noz.  Pt.2, coming soon, focuses on the bands themselves, their albums, EP’s, upcoming gigs and new releases, plus one of the best videos I’ve witnessed for a long time, of any genre of music. Stay tuned.

Interview by Andy Barnes 01/10/11
Photographs by Mel