Our World Below?, the Shropshire metal band headlining the Wolverhampton Slade Rooms before recrding their new album. During their show, we got the chance to interview them with them about performing, losing album mixes and the nine finger shuffle….
Alright so could you please introduce yourself, what you play in the band and your favourite song that you’ve written to this date?
Spike: I’m Spike, I play bass and my favourite tune, its gotta be my own tune which is called Spike!
Dave: I’m Dave I’m the lead vocalist and my favourite song is probably Amongst The Dead.
Jim: I’m Jim (or Jamie) and I play guitar and my favourite song from the first album, don’t listen to it its shit! The second albums going to be good cause I’m on it, A song called Kent, it’s a good song. Listen to it if you want!
Jack: My names Jack, I play drums and my favourite song is probably a song called ‘The Orchid Is Dead’ off the amazing first album!
Neil: My names Neil, I play guitar and my favourite song is probably Kick Finger. Yeah they let me have a solo in that one.
Dave: You have a solo in every fucking thing!
So, Our World Below? quite an original name but I have to ask, why the question mark?
Jim: Here we go.
Jack: Shut up! So it’s called Our World Below with a question mark because it’s a question because when I was trying to put together a new band and trying to get a new idea of something to do as a band, I tried to think of a concept of a name for the band, but based on the fact that I wanted it to be three words that weren’t usually associated with each other, so if I typed it in google it wouldn’t come up every time for misdirected searches. At the time, I was very aware of the news and stuff that was going on in the world and the injustices and I came up with this idea that if we were able to view our planet from above and rather than see it as continents and oceans, if we were able to see it as all the injustices that were going on in the world and if we were looking at that would we even recognise it as our own planet?
Jim: And there you go.
Dave: Now Neil’s gonna explain what the lyrics in Kick Finger mean!
Spike: Random shouts!
Jim: Is this for children?
Jack: Bedtime story Jim! An audiobook!
In a short answer, if you were to look down at the world, describe what you would see in three words.
Jack: People being killed.
Dave: Our World Below.
Jack: Death, greed and injustice.
So you played Midlands Metal Crusade back in 2015 at the Slade Rooms, and now you’re back here again. Do you feel like you’ve improved performance wise since 2015?
Jim: Was that my first gig? Yeah I knew the set which was a start!
Jack: Jim’s not as bad as he was then. That gig that we played back in 2015 was Jim’s second gig or third gig and we’d toured that summer in 2015 and our drummer left and I was playing guitar and I swapped and went to drums and Jim came in. That was like right at the start of a very different lineup to the new transition of the band so, we definitely feel like Jim’s more of a part of the band now and we work together now and he knows how to play the songs now! But he has a rubbish body.
Jim: I’ve got a fucking new wireless as well so I should be jumping around like a prick but I’m not going to.
So you said that this is going to be your last show for a while as you’re recording your new record! Do you have anything planned for the record already or are you starting from scratch?
Jack: We’ve got one more gig this year which is a smaller festival.
Jim: Don’t answer the question Jack! Jack the torie!
Jack: There’s a point to my answer hear me out! So we’re playing in August in a small local festival run by some friends of ours so we won’t probably be looking at going to writing the next album until we’ve done that but we have been already in the process of writing since the start of this year. I think we’re about five/six songs in to the writing process but in the recording process those songs still may change quite a bit. What we’re really aiming to do is with our first album, all the songs were weirdly written before we’d ever actually played as a band, we did the band as a direct reaction to bands we’d been in previously. What we did is we wrote not the best songs that we could write but a bunch of songs, get them learned as quick as possible and do an album as quick as possible to get out working without wasting time. Seen as that went well we decided to do was take a lot more time and more effort into crafting an album we’re really happy with. The main aim for the album is to represent what we can do and what like better than our first album.
Spike: There will be a sneak preview, we’re playing some new songs tonight
Jim: So basically yes, we’ve got half the album written and we’re not going to do it like last time and release it before we’ve actually recorded it all!
Can you elaborate on this?
Jack: We ended up two weeks away from releasing the album, we had the cases and all the artwork in it, all the songs recorded and everything done and I’m sat at my sister’s house having dinner and Dave phones me up and he goes ‘JACK! I’ve lost the album’.
Spike: Me and Dave were on the phone for four hours.
Dave: What had happened is I’d lost all the mixes which was for the record. On the computer this is not like actual physical mixes.
Jack: We set ourselves a date for the album which seemed like a really easy date to get and as the date approached we got further and further stressed. So the aim with this one is to take time off, get it all done first before we even approach it.
Jim: We’ve already got a release date, sometime between 2018 and 2022!
So your release of ‘Democracy And The Illusion Of Choice’ was in 2014, Do you feel you’ve improved musically, aside from losing demos and mixes?
Dave: I found them! I just saved them to the loops file.
Jack: I personally feel we’ve improved because of the different approach we’re taking in the sense that with that with the last album all the songs were written before we ever played with them and the album was pushed out very quickly and with this, even the songs we’ve got written there’s a lot more time spent with them and a lot more of a critical element in there. So hopefully we’ve learnt lessons! We also have an older combined age now.
Jim: We’ve matured. We’ve got better equipment and we’ve got a better sound and we’ve matured.
Jack: Jim once slept with Madonna and impersonated Tom Araya from Slayer.
Jim: I did an impersonation of Tom Araya from Slayer in a newspaper article for a fine I haven’t paid!
Being a band for so long you probably have a few fun experiences, can you tell us some of your best experiences?
Jack: My best experience being in a band is walking in here while playing with Chimaira and finding Dave doing a piano solo with the guitarist from Chimaira. Dave can’t play piano so he was just going *slamming piano impersonation* NYAH NYAH NYAH NYAH!. Chimaira were looking at him like ‘can you take him out of here’ and no one even knew how he got in here!
Jim: I remember nicking drinks from a venue, getting that pissed up and having to lean against the wall while playing. That wasn’t a very good experience actually. Jack was just as pissed though!
Jack: The police escort on tour was a good one. We were trying to find somewhere to sleep and we got lost so we approached a policeman, asked him is we could sleep anywhere and he tried to explain but we were so dumb that we just stared at him till he went ‘follow me’ and drove us to somewhere we could sleep.
Dave: I was like ‘Jack, why are we following a police officer’
Jim: ‘I can’t actually think of a decent experience gigging it’s generally a shit experience! Carrying fucking stuff, the only good thing is that 45 minutes when you’re on stage everything else is dire!
Dave: You haven’t been on tour with us yet Jim. These lot were all drunk and we’re playing gis some nights and I’d be like ‘Jack what time are we on’ and he’d be like ‘The usual time, midnight’ and I’m like ‘That’s not the usual time Jack that’s really really late’ and they’re all drinking after we’ve played.
Jack: I’ll tell you what was a cool experience, we played a festival last summer which all of our kids came to, cause we’ve all got kids, and at the end of the set I think we had like four of our kids on stage with like headphones on and hitting drumkits and head banging everywhere so for us that was great because the places we usually go to, the young children aren’t allowed in. Like Dave spent about two songs with one of his boys in his arm and letting him do some of the vocals down the mic.
Dave: I had the boy in one hand and a Brewdog in the other.
Jack: Who was holding the mic then?
Dave: Not sure, I think I taped it to my face.
What’s the worst experience you’ve had as a band?
Jim: I think hanging around with Dave while he was drunk! Worcester music festival!
Jack: That was because of us!
Dave: Jim wanted to be louder than his friend
Spike: One of his mates were quite loud and Jim wasn’t having that, just turned his amp full blast.
Jim: Neil turned up too!
Dave: The loudest I’ve ever heard. It felt like somebody had stabbed knitting needles in my ears.
Jim: Then me and dave got stuck on the motorway all night.
Jack: As a band we’ve been quite lucky that we haven’t had a ridiculous amount of dramas or catastrophes.
Jim: My personal life’s a fucking nightmare, not in a bad way, just bad things keep happening!
Jack: Previous bad experiences from other bands are stuff like money to people, being ripped off and all sorts so very carefully with this band we decided we were gonna not enter any deals with agents or managements. We don’t allow anyone else to have any control over what we do.
Jim: Plus we’ve all been around the block now and we’ve played our mistakes
Jack: Dave’s the youngest in the band
Dave: Spike’s older than time!
Jack: How old are you?
Dave: How old am I?? How old do you think I am?
Jack: Dave’s the youngest in the band, he’s 32, so we’ve been around a bit. Plenty of life experiences.
Finally, if you could say anything to the readers, what would you say to them
Spike: Neil this is for you
Jim: Wait can I take this one? I have something really important to say to all these readers, vote Labour! Neil can say now.
Neil: No, I was just going to say don’t get in a car with Jim!
Jack: Neil is the best guitarist in the world with nine fingers!
Jim: 9 finger shuffle! Jack you better take this one but keep it short!
*For the benefit of the readers Jim just made a massive hand gesture!)
Jack: Peace and love! Don’t judge anybody by the colour of their skin no matter how much money they’ve got, don’t listen to propaganda, look both directions when crossing the road, never put on the pants that you had on yesterday. Always tie your shoelaces so their tight enough to take on and off without having to re-do them! Save hours of your life!
Dave: And whatever you do when you’re at a venue, don’t try to pick a fight with the owner and step down straight away when you realise he’s gonna take the beer away!
Jack: Especially if you’re wearing a vest you stole off a girl! but yeah we’d say thank you to anyone who’s ever seen us, anyone who likes our music in any way shape or form.
Jack: We’d say thank you to anyone who’s ever seen us, anyone who likes our music in any way, shape or form. Other than that good luck everyone, hope you dont get… (Us: hit with a car?) Yeah, Jim!
Jim: And vote Labour! Type that up!
Spike: Just forget the 25 minutes just put ‘Vote Labour’!