Tag: metal

INTERVIEW – OLIVER KAMYSZEW – SCARIM MANAGEMENT

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The music industry is expanding every day, with exponential growth in all sides from PR to label managers becoming even greater. To see how the industry is moving, we talked to Oliver Kamyszew, a graphic designer turned PR, artist manager at Scarim Management and Black Box Booking about the industry and how it’s moving.

Who are you and how did you get involved with Scarim Management?

My name is Oliver Kamyszew and I am an artist manager and public relations representative at Scarim Management (www.scarimmanagement.com). I also book tours under the moniker Black Box Booking Agency. I got involved with Scarim Management during a time where I was working as a graphic designer and I came across a great band called, “Of Virtue”, whom I now represent. The band had a powerful album but little traction meanwhile I saw that my current colleagues & old friends had launched a management agency and I met with them to see if they’d be interested in representing Of Virtue. Instead they inspired me to take them on and start my current management career. This, of course, didn’t come randomly but instead because I had previous experience being in bands where I was in charge of finances, booking, and so on. Here I am today!

You also run Black Box Booking, an American based booking agency. Do both jobs as a PR manager and booking agent crossover? (EG: Is it easier to book the bands on your PR roster onto tours because of the agency?)

That’s correct, I run Black Box Booking Agency (can be found at www.facebook.com/blackboxbookingagency while we rebuild our website). I do not believe that either job crossover. In the case of that guy recently, whatever his name was, who spoofed the UK with his fake ticket sales and such, surely you can say they CAN go hand in hand if need be – but realistically speaking, when I work one job I do one and when I do the other I do that one. The only way it helps each other is if either one is well received for marketing purposes – so if a band is doing great things press-wise, the booking will be easier. If a band is touring hard and has a lot of attention because of that, it’s easier to get press interested. So on and so forth.

Do you feel that living in America makes it easier to get a job within the international music business path? (such as PR, management, labels etc)

No. What I believe has helped me, if anything, is living overseas in Asia for a number of years and learning about a number of scenes as well as having many friends and colleagues who have spent a lot of time in the international touring community.

What has been one of your greatest achievements working in the music industry so far?

First – Finding a team that believes in me and bands whom I respect and admire who allow me to work with them. Second, 1M+ streams on Of Virtue’s single “Surrounded” in 2018 alone, but that was this year and I’m only looking forward to a bigger, better 2019! Ask me this question again next year – I’ll have much more to say.

With streaming at its peak, from an industry perspective, do you feel the number of streams online more important than physical or online purchases?

Well – both are quite important, as they define different things and it takes many more streams to technically sell one cd (so support your friends by streaming a LOT or buying physicals!). However, if you’re looking at the future (which if you’re working any role in the music industry you always should be) then I would say streams are significantly more important now as they’re more accessible and now you don’t need as much help from an external source such as a label to help you reach your fans or get you paid if you know how to set up distribution and publishing collections. Basically – you can be more independent with streaming than you ever could be with a physical product.

With the closure of grassroots venues being a prevalent issue both in America and the UK, what do you believe can be done to stop these closures?

I believe this is a tough one. First, government art budgets. Second, more needs to be invested into making each small show with as much effort as a big one on the part of the promoter and the bands involved. There’s a lot of areas where bands and promoters could be picking up slack in both, America and the UK, especially with how oversaturated both markets are. But – this is also a time thing. We’re in the age of hip-hop and rock/metal are slowly dying – it’s an ebb and flow … It will come back, just like fashion.

Finally, what is your most controversial opinion about the music industry?

Maybe a few. First, there aren’t enough hours in the day for this line work and if you believe this is a 9-to-5 job then it’s not for you. Second, there are too many people not giving this job close to 100% of their time or effort band making the hard workers look bad. Go big or go home.
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HOLDING ABSENCE TO TOUR THE UK NEXT YEAR

Rising post-hardcore outfit Holding Absence have announced they are touring the UK early next year.

Embarking on an 8 date tour spanning Southampton, Birmingham, Manchester and others, the tour is already set to be the biggest headliner for the group. Bringing Capsize along on all 8 dates, you have the chance to catch two great bands this March.

Full dates can be found below!

GIG REVIEW – AS IT IS – 28/11/18 MANCHESTER

As It Is are lined up to play their biggest Manchester show to date – headlining the O2 Ritz. Moving from a pop-punk happiness to a much darker ’emo’ style, it’s safe to say a happy-go-lucky bubblegum pop atmosphere was not to be achieved.
While the band have been around for years, Canadian synth-rock Courage My Love (6.5) supporting large shows on the scale of the Ritz isn’t their forte yet. First on, the struggled to form a connection with a crowd of unresponsive attendees and despite Mercedes’s beautiful vocals and attempts, little could be done to capture a crowd. Through no fault of their own, perhaps it was just a tough crowd. The trio are excellent performers, aside from a slight sound issue causing the bass to smother the guitars, they are indeed a very tight band musically. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t their night.
 
Don’t be surprised when we say Holding Absence (9) are one of the bands on the cusp of breaking out in 2019. Already building a reputation in the scene, the quintet embodied a heavier side of music fans were perhaps not expecting. Instantaneous energy and brilliant stage presence, there was no holding back even in slower tracks ‘Everything’. Musicality was on point as well as stage presence and audience connectivity. If one point was to be made, perhaps more on-stage connection between band members, but otherwise this is a band you will hear a lot about soon.
 
Finally, after embarking on their first UK tour by As It Is in 2015, Trash Boat (7.5) return as supports once again. Generating the largest crowd of fans in the audience, the participation and enjoyment from crowdsurfing fanatics and mosh pit enthusiasts was through the roof. Yet, the bands performance seemed to lack. After witnessing the performance previous runners Holding Absence gave, there was a lacking stage atmosphere. Undoubtedly, the outfit were strong musically, but there was little to make them stand out, little to push them out to those unaware of who they were. An improvement they can work on.
 
Edinburgh’s show turned out to be quite the disaster. Sets being cut short and violent security, As It Is (9) we’re clearly unamused by the events of the previous night. Yet, with a day off before Manchester, the band had recouped to give it their all for this show, notably the biggest performance to date in Manchester.
 
Building a bridge with an audience is fundamental for any live show, and such levels of doing so can easily be seen. Patrick Foley on drums, we will give a pass to. Spending a good half of the show hidden behind a smoke screen (despite a higher platform) its also not easy to give much interaction from so far at the back. What can be said however, is that it can be rather embarrassing when your touring guitarist Ronnie interacts more with the audience than some of the others. Older tracks dug out from the discography ‘No Way Out’ and ‘Can’t Save Myself’ saw lead vocalist Patty Walters moving across the stage singing to front. Yet, it did feel connectivity from bassist Ali Testo lacked majorly in comparison. Granted, it is hard to multitask with instruments and backing vocals, but if guitar/vocalist Ben Langford-Biss can do it, what is the excuse?
 
Harshness aside, an onstage connection between the band could be felt. It’s clear these tracks mean a lot to the group. One of the more emotional connections came mid-way through a the set, slowing down the pace with ‘The Question, The Answer’ and ‘Still Remembering’. Looking in-depth it is almost as if there is a small shift in the emotion of Walters, between gaps going up to fellow band mates mouthing the words ‘I fucking love you’. To see songs played so much still striking deep in the performers is a sight that is heart-warming, as well as showing the depth the band encapsulate in music. A song, perhaps unexpected in the set was ‘The Great Depression’s’ closing track ‘The End’. As a conceptual stage show, voiceovers and formulated colour schemes added to the atmospheric feel. As It Is had an idea for this stage show, but at time almost felt like they were holding back. Going full out could really skyrocket this show, perhaps a thought for their upcoming American show. Aside from a slight timing issue on the spoken word bridge of the closing track, a clever way to end the show.
 
But it’s the performance in the encore of previous and new singles saw energy ramp up ten-fold, something incredible from a band already giving a high percentage of their energy in the show. Ending on ‘Dial Tones’, ‘The Wounded World’ and ‘The Stigma (Boys Don’t Cry) pushed a strong end to the show. This group know how to structure a set. Even to the last minute all was given, with ‘The Stigma’ perhaps gaining the largest reaction of fans.
 
As It Is are pushing an important message in their music. To see a room of 1000+ people of all ages singing back such meaningful lyrics and embracing who they are is a beautiful sight. Such connections in the scene may be depleting but shows like this prove that there are still sparks in the darkness.

GIG REVIEW – AVENOIR – MANCHESTER 20/11/18

 
Brash, boisterous and bold. Avenoir (8.5) are not top of the list, or the most popular by any means. Hailing from Leeds, the melodic grunge trio are pushing boundaries to create wider audiences – starting with Manchester.
 
Thirty minutes, seven songs to capture an audience.
Despite being new to the Manchester scene, Avenoir stirred up an atmosphere instantly. With opener ‘Tadpole’, the trio melded together all the energy provided from previous frontrunners and exceeded it. Easier for a three piece? Perhaps, but for such a new band, this level of performance is definitely an impressive feat. As for musicality, aside from the occasional mis-timings, or flat notes, the band were tight. Even through unreleased single ‘Orpheus and Eurydice’, a high level of inter-band connection and timing was great. Yet, instrumental performance aside, ‘Krakow-P- presented the bands ability to transfer emotion from recordings to live. Whether this emotion is through playing or stage presence, the outfit are rather enjoyable to watch. Wrapping up with debut single ‘Leviathan’, the group packed the last reckless hit of their set. Even though the vocal harmonies may have been off at times, a development in sound always takes work. After 30 minutes energy is still at a high and infact leaves quite a memorable set.
 
Avenoir may not have had a huge audience, but they played to their best either way. For a band so young and new to the scene, perhaps other bands should look to these guys for live inspiration. Young, loud and reckless, maybe these guys could be next on your radar.

ARCHITECTS – HOLY HELL – REVIEW

Architects have torn themselves down to the raw bones of their sound and rebuilt. After the tragedy Tom Searle’s (guitar) passing in 2016, it lead to questions on whether the band would ever be able to reconvene. Yet, with the joining of Josh Middleton on guitar, Architects have stepped up once again to release their eighth studio album ‘Holy Hell’
In an album, when you can feel a persons pain penetrating deeper than the intricate structure of a song, you know you are looking at more than a simple album. ‘Death Is Not Defeat’, brings about a mantra exposed to its bare roots in the records opening number. While this track encompasses a more dramatic, slower opening, in no way is this track one to leave out. From a musical perspective, the layering of this track (and album) is intricate and intriguing. With the clever heartbeat drum pattern to the hidden guitar riffs, these features help add a subconscious hidden depth. Topped with Sam Carters raw, cutting anguished vocals, this track is one of the many clever ideas Architects throw into the mix. Even single ‘Royal Beggars’ brings a diverse change to the albums nature. Dominated by deep basslines and a slower atmospheric approach, you can see the band are pushing the boundaries of their music. Carter’s lighter cleans add an ethereal tone to the track, bringing an extra kick of emotion to the curb of the tracks ultimate build-up. Architects want you to feel. To experience the pain they are writing. Listening in a full depth, the bridge’s melancholic lyricism, ‘We have totally lost our way’, offers both an emotional outpouring and a bridging connection to the albums listeners
 
Yet, to long-time listeners, its a common factor for the band to bring a theme of preordained doom to their tracks. ‘Modern Misery’s’ focus on the demise of humanity plagues the lyricism of the track, forcing the track into a black hole of raw vulnerability. Even varying in themes, the nods to Tom with ‘I will go to the grave with a song still in me’ still reign ever-present. Even title-track ‘Holy Hell’s’ downbeat, gloom-ridden riffs mixed with the orchestra style strings settle as a foundation to lift the track. The full flowing impact of mortality intertwined with the theme of mourning only makes this release more heartbreaking, truthful and inspiring,
 
Every track has something to offer. ‘Mortal After All’ and ‘A Wasted Hymn’ bring no hesitation to throwing the truthful punches of the album at full force. Lyricism still being a strong factor, ‘A Wasted Hymn’s’ slow building bridge centres around one line – ‘Can you live a life worth dying for’. Impacting lyrics are a strength of Architects work, providing an extra layer of depth in the song. But don’t let this depth fool you. ‘Holy Hell’ is still one hell of a metal record. ‘The Seventh Circle’ projects the bands heaviest riffs and sound, with Carter’s harsh barbed-wire vocals and heavy musicality melting together in some kind of incandescent fury.
 
With the tragedy of 2016, it was a surprise to many that Architects recouped so soon. It would be no surprise if many gave a pass to this album, due to the pain the band have endured over the previous two years. Yet, a pass of sympathy is one not given to ‘Holy Hell’. Instead, this album is everything expected and more. As a progression from predecessor ‘All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us‘, Architects prove themselves as a well polished band. ‘Holy Hell’ is deserving of its place – and is possibly one of the greatest pieces of work Architects have ever showcased.
 
Rating: 9.5/10

BRING ME THE HORIZON’S SUICIDE SEASON 10 YEARS ON

Bring Me The Horizon were a band nobody took seriously, possibly until the release of legendary breakthrough record ‘Sempiternal’ (2013). Even to this day it is currently debated as to whether they can be classed as a ‘proper band’, or simply a joke within the metalcore scene (especially regarding their newest albums). Back in 2008, September 29th to be specific, Bring Me The Horizon released the album that would help them bridge the gap in their style and rise up the ladder to become better known and one day respected in the metal scene: ‘Suicide Season’.

Seen as a slightly vulgar and repulsive title and artwork, this possibly embodies what the band were after, they didn’t want something that would saturate an already oversaturated rock market, as proven by previous releases. Instead, it appears they longed something that was serious, but still them as they perceived themselves, something that defined them. Receiving both critical appraise and dislike, the group were praised for their instrumental upkeep and development but harshly criticised for “cheap” (Ryan Williams, Thrash Hits) lyricism and shouting vocals opposed to the range Sykes presented in predecessor ‘Count Your Blessings’. Stepping up their professionalism, the group travelled to the lonely Swedish village of Arboga, away from the bustling streets of Birmingham where they previously recorded. However, an unshakable negatively skewed perception meant even producer Fredrik Nordstrom had his pre-perceived doubts from CYB leaving the group mainly to their own devices, but was then initially shocked by the music they had recorded halfway through the SS process. Perhaps this is where the change truly began for the band as they alone created a record they wished to release. With a more positive response, the group also went on to devise ‘Suicide Season: Cut Up’, a variation of remixes of the original tracks for a more electronic feel.

Truly the album is questionable at times, ‘The Football Season Is Over’ is… well the embodiment of the young ‘adults’ the then 5-piece line-up once were (as well as including an interesting feature from JJ Peters of Deez Nuts). The lyricism of the band is also… questionable at times to say the least. Infamously, Sykes beautifully exploits a sample of such in ‘No Need for Introductions, I’ve Heard About Girls Like You on The Back of Toilet Doors’. ‘After everything you put me through, I should have fucking pissed on you’ – the truthful, beautifully poetic lyricism from frontman Oli Sykes that, to this day remains a reminder of just why the band moved on and improved (thankfully for the better). Yet, through this time trouble was never stray, from on-stage fights to lawsuits, there was the potential such negative press could launch the outfit further than their albums ever could. A negative effect on the band meant even less respect was paid to them, a refusal for acceptance and indiscriminate judgement still present to this day.

In total, three single releases were pulled out from this release: ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’, ‘The Sadness Will Never End (Featuring Sam Carter of Architects)’ and most recognisable single ‘Chelsea Smile’. ‘Diamonds Aren’t Forever’ is the dusty forgotten track from the trio, a track once good in its prime but one that inevitably fades into the rest of the album. Alternatively, ‘Chelsea Smile’ resonated so well with fans and the band, that the single is the oldest track the band will play live, even skipping tracks from ‘There Is A Hell’. With an intrepid breakdown and emotionally resonating bridge, it’s completely understandable why the melodic evolution of this track still stands so strong amongst fans and the band themselves. Once again, ‘The Sadness Will Never End’ features the same powerfully impassioned lyrics intertwined in Sam Carters clean vocal style showing Bring Me had the potential bubbling away, but were perhaps held back by alcohol, drugs and further personal issues, later to be admitted to the public.

The albums title track however, is possibly one of the most underrated tracks in all Bring Me The Horizon’s discography. An intensely raw lyricism intertwined with vulnerability and truths is what makes this undoubtably the most beautiful track on the record. Both heavy and ballad-like, it is here we see the heartfelt instrumentals pave a way through the track, a feature that becomes predominant in the groups following release ‘There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It, There Is A Heaven, Lets Keep It A Secret’. ‘If only sorrow could build a staircase, our tears could show the way’, a desolate, melancholic line that proves there is a sense of seriousness to the group. Shown in its entirety then – perhaps now, but now is ever present (at least most of the time).

Here’s the verdict, is ‘Suicide Season’ Bring Me’s best album? Not even close. However, it’s a part of their transition, an important timeframe of their development to becoming the more polished, professional (well… still questionable) and the ‘no fucks given’ band they are today. Look at the group now and they’re almost unrecognisable from who they were ten years ago, but this album is still an important part of their history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

AS IT IS DROP CHILLING NEW VIDEO FOR ‘THE REAPER’

Halloween is upon us and with it comes As It Is’ spectacular horrifying video for ‘The Reaper’ (Featuring Aaron Gillespie).

Directed by Zak Pinchin, the creepy melancholic atmosphere of the story and cinematography not only brings the track to life, but also brings a great twist to Halloween this evening. Speaking of the video, Ben Langford-Biss says, “The Reaper is the moment in the record’s narrative where The Poet becomes so desensitised to the concept of death, that death appears and manifests before him, offering an “escape”- not in a malicious way, but as a means of release from the pain The Poet is feeling. It was one of the most crucial and challenging moments in the narrative, and it was the last one that came together – lyrically and musically. 

To confer these themes of turmoil and conflict, the sort of inner claustrophobia The Poet is experiencing, we wanted the video to be gritty and dark. We ended up taking visual influence from some of our favourite horror movies and TV series, and our director Zak Pinchin really clicked with what we were trying to get across. 

The video shows each of us waking up trapped in rooms, each room representing one of the four stages of grief that the record is chaptered into; denial, anger, bargaining & acceptance. Each of us faces off with death in some respect, whether that be in a literal or metaphysical sense, and there is an external antagonist controlling the events in the rooms – forcing us to face our fears, our grief, or even ourselves.  We were super excited that Aaron Gillespie was able to be a part of the video, to play the part of this puppeteer / antagonist! 

Both the song and the video are so different to anything we’ve done before, and we’re so fortunate that our fans have embraced the darker and heavier side of our band & our constant desire to progress in new directions. And we just cannot wait to finally bring this album to life on stage when we finally start touring The Great Depression era this week: first in Japan, and then in Europe and UK  (which culminates in our biggest headline show to date at the London Forum on December 1), and then we’ll be returning to the US in early 2019 for our first time since Warped Tour! There’s so much more to come from this chapter of our band, we are only just getting started

As if the bands US tour announcement wasn’t enough! Check out the new video and tour dates below!

https://youtu.be/tG6_BxTTAwA